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Washington, United States
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 !

Thursday, June 26, 2014

desdemona will prefer waiting for the roasts

The Irish writer and generally colorful personage Sydney, Lady Morgan  (1783-1859) includes this story in her 1829 collection Book of the Boudoir.  Among its musings and essays I found this story of a visit to a highly placed Italian friend and his choice of fine dinner company.  I think "Angola" cats must be what Angora cats were called at the time.
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. . . I have observed, that all domestic animals are more amiable and intelligent on the continent, than with us: it may be they are better treated; for nothing tames like kindness. The fine breed of Angola cats, so common in the South of Italy, is a proof of the assertion; they are much caressed and attended to, and are as intelligent and as attachable as dogs. The first day we had the honour of dining at the palace of the Archbishop of Taranto, at Naples, he said to me, "You must pardon my passion for cats (la mia passione gattesca), but I never exclude them from my dining-room, and you will find they make excellent company."
Between the first and second course, the door opened, and several enormously large and beautiful cats were introduced, by the names of Pantalone, Desdemona, Otello, and other dramatic cognomina. They took their places on chairs near the table, and were as silent, as quiet, as motionless and as well behaved, as the most bon-ton (high-class - curator) table in London could require. On the bishop requesting one of the chaplains to help the Signora Desdemona to something, the butler stept up to his lordship and observed, " Desdemona will prefer waiting for the roasts." After dinner they were sent to walk on the terrace, and I had the honour of assisting at their coucher (going to bed - curator)for which a number of comfortable cushions were prepared in the bishop's dressing-room.

-- Morgan, L. 1783-1859. (1829). The book of the boudoir. New ed. London: H. Colburn: Vol 2, pp. 39-40

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