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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, June 24, 2013

mlle. dupuy thanks her cat handsomely

. . .But we may repeat the touching anecdote of Bayle's friend, Mlle. Dupuy. This lady excelled to a surprising degree in playing the harp, and she attributed her excellence in this accomplishment to her cat, whose critical taste was only equalled by his close attention to Mile. Dupuy's performance. She felt that she owed so much to this cat, under whose care her reputation for skill on the harp had become universal, that when she died she left him, in her will, one agreeable house in town and another in the country. To this bequest she added a revenue sufficient to supply all the requirements of a well-bred tom-cat, and at the same time she left pensions to certain persons whose duty it should be to wait upon him. Her ignoble family contested the will, and there was a long suit. Moncrif gives a handsome double-plate illustration of this incident. Mlle. Dupuy, sadly wasted by illness, is seen in bed, with her cat in her arms, dictating her will to the family lawyer in a periwig; her physician is also present.
-- from Edmund Gosse, Gossip in a Library (New York: Lovell, Coryell & Co., 1891), p. 181.
I also found more about this will, in which Mlle. Dupuy spells out just how her cats (it seems she was survived by two) should be served:
Madame Dupuis, the famous harpist of the seventeenth century, directed that if her two cats survived her, thirty sous a week must be laid out upon them, in order that they might live well. "They are to be served daily, in a clean and proper manner, with two meals of meat-soup, the same as we eat ourselves, but it is to be given them separately in two soup-plates. The bread is not to be cut up into the soup, but must be broken into squares about the size of a nut, otherwise they will refuse to eat it. A ration of meat, finely minced, is to be added to it; the whole is then to be mildly seasoned, put into a clean pan, covered close, and carefully simmered before it is dished up."
-- from Appletons' Journal, vol. 9 (July-December 1880; New York: D. Appleton & Company), p. 323.

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