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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 !

Monday, August 28, 2017

jeremy bentham's cat, sir john langborn

I've spoken in passing about Jeremy Bentham and that his cat was named Sir John Langborn. But until recently, that's all I knew about that worthy animal.  I've found more of his story now, and I'm giving it to you in turn:
Bentham was very fond of animals, particularly 'pussies' as he called them, 'when they had domestic virtues;' but he had no particular affection for the common race of cats. He had one, however, of which he used to boast that he had 'made a man of him,' and whom he was wont to invite to eat maccaroni at his own table. This puss got knighted, and rejoiced in the name of Sir John Langborn. In his early days, he was a frisky, inconsiderate, and, to say the truth, somewhat profligate gentleman; and had, according to the report of his patron, the habit of seducing light and giddy young ladies of his own race into the garden of Queen's Square Place; but tired at last, like Solomon, of pleasures
and vanities, he became sedate and thoughtful took to the church, laid down his knightly title, and was installed as the Reverend John Langborn. He gradually obtained a great reputation for sanctity and learning, and a doctor's degree was conferred upon him. When I knew him, in his declining days, he bore no other name than the Reverend Doctor John Langborn; and he was alike conspicuous for his gravity and philosophy. Great respect was invariably shown his reverence; and it was supposed he was not far off from a mitre, when old age interfered with his hopes and honours. He departed amidst the regrets of his many friends, and was gathered to his fathers, and to eternal rest, in a cemetery in Milton's Garden (- Bentham lived in a house that had belonged to the poet Milton - curator).
So: the cat ate noodles at the table, was knighted, and eventually went into the Church. Good for Sir John Langborn. From White, Adam, 1817-1879. Heads And Tales, Or, Anecdotes And Stories of Quadrupeds And Other Beasts Chiefly Connected With Incidents In the Histories of More Or Less Distinguished Men. London: J. Nisbet, 1870. pp. 150-51.

There's another bit of chat from Jeremy Bentham (the man was a fountain of good material) that I'll share with you tomorrow for its sheer entertainment value.

1 comment:

A few Good Cats said...

Right honourable gentlemen, both of them.