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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 !

Sunday, July 01, 2012

"general hamley and his cats"

Edward Bruce Hamley (British, 1824-1893) was an Army general, a writer, and a Conservative politician.  Not as a whole the sort of lineup that makes for a kitty enthusiast, but as it turns out he very much was.  Here's a short article from a periodical of his time called The Review of Reviews (1893 vol. 8, p. 271) recalling this with fondness:

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The writer of a very appreciative character sketch of General Hamley in Blackwood's Magazine contains a passage of more than general interest. Many people knew General Hamley, no doubt, but the number that knew him were but as a drop in a bucket compared with the number of those who know cats, aud who will be more attracted to the departed soldier on account of his affection for these household pets than for the part which he took in storming the earthworks at Tel-el-Kebir. The writer says:—

No account of General Hamley would do him justice which did not allude to his affection for cats. The cat in effigy, or ID water-colours or crayons, was as common on the tables and walls in his rooms as the bears about Berne. Cats in all characters and situations were showered on him in Christmas cards by ladies who flattered that amiable weakness. He was hand-in-glove with all the cats at the clubs, whether, as he said, they were regular or merely honorary members. He lived on terms of daily familiarity with the cat who used to reside in a hutch behind the "United Service." As he walked home in the peaceful night by lamplight he could never pass a cat on a door-step without stooping to scratch it. In his most earnest talk at one of the windows in the Athenaeum dining-room, he would stop himself and lay his hand on your arm, if he saw one of his feline friends stretching itself and polishing its claws tiger - like against the trunk of a tree. We remember at one of the annual Saturday Review dinners at Greenwich, by an odd coincidence, four men chanced to be seated together, all devoted to cats. Two of them had written monographs on the noble animal, but Hamley was the most enthusiastic of the four. We have seldom heard him in greater verve or force as he illustrated his psychological analysis of the qualities and virtues of his favourites with a flow of anecdotes and recollections. One of these he gave in the letter in "The Story of the Campaign:"  On the march from the Alma to the Katcha, "I carried a small black kitten, which one of our people picked up on the bank of the river, on my holsters for some time, feeding him with biscuits, but during my absence from the saddle he made off." What a pleasing trait that is in his character!
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You can learn more about General Edward Bruce Hamley here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.