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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 !

Saturday, January 08, 2011

on the nature of curiosity

Curiosity is a very curious thing. It predominates in rational beings and yet is no mark of rationality. Man shares it with his dog, and woman with her cat; with this difference, that the curiosity of one animal is chiefly exercised about things, and the curiosity of the other concerns persons.
The cat and dog, when taken to a strange place, institute, by scratching and smelling, an inquiry as to the nature of the premises: without being metaphysicians, they settle the question of distinctions and differences, and finally, coil themselves on the hearth-rug and consent to be at home.
But the cat and dog's master and mistress, when taken to a strange place, begin in another way. Their inquiries are all personal. " Who is he ?" " Where does she come from?" "Where do his friends live ?"—till a copious series of questions put the inquirer in possession of many a stranger's personal narrative. But it requires a much longer time to make a curious man and woman settle down on the hearth-rug than suffices for Puss and Ponto.

From MY NEIGHBOURS OVER THE WAY, by "Miss Jewsbury," and reprinted from the British Magazine in the Museum of Foreign Literature, Vol. 17 July-Dec 1830, p 131.

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