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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 !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

long ago: a pet squirrel in virginia

Once upon a time in 18th century Virginia, Elizabeth Ewell married her second husband. He was a French gentleman by the name of Galvan De Berneau, and as the excerpt below will prove, he must have been very fond indeed of her and her pet squirrel.

* * *

Of De Berneau Dr. Jesse Ewell wrote, 1869:

"He was a Frenchman of great vivacity and intensely frenchified. He could never acquire the true pronunciation of English. He had a residence near Dumfries called 'Rural Felicity', but he could never come nearer to the name than 'Fed-tr-al-city.' He was devoted to his wife and called her 'Honey.' I never saw them but I have seen Mrs. De B.'s portrait. She had a majestic figure, beautiful features and noble countenance. My childish fancy was much interested in a squirrel sitting on her shoulder in the portrait, and 'thereby hangs a tale."

"In those days ladies wore side pockets of large dimensions and in hers the pet squirrel nestled. On one occasion not finding his accustomed nuts he amused himself by cutting up the old man's gloves and also a piece of the lady's apron. She pronounced sentence of death against the pet but he pleaded for pardon and vowed that he would 'write one poetrie." After a long time he produced this which he read with great complacency :

'"How happy is de Bunny who lives upon de honey,
He find among us all his friend
He chaw in de pocket vidout distinctshon
His massa glove and his misses apron.'

"I do not remember how long he survived his effort but think the old gentleman, the old lady, and squirrel all died soon after without issue."
* * *

-- from Joanna Glassell, Virginia Geneaologies: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family Scotland and Virginia..., Joanna Glassell, Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M.A. (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: self published, 1891), p. 336.

2 comments:

A Few Good Cats said...

We've heard worse! And the topic of the poem was a very good choice.

curator said...

You know, I thought it was cute too!