In which Catherine the Great of Russia has to take a moment to define her terms regarding an impoverished nobleman's former pet.
The empress Catherine being informed of (Baron Sutherland's) difficulties . . . she ordered her ministers in England, Holland, and France to buy up all his acceptances; by which means his credit was saved; and in due time he was able to repay his benefactress all she had advanced. The baron possessed a pug dog which the empress admiring, it was presented and graciously accepted. Crammed with luxuries that were before untasted, poor pug paid dear for his dainties; actually dying of repletion. The empress, grieved at this event, said to one of her officers, "Go! take Sutherland, and have him flayed and stuffed!"
Obedient to the imperial dame, away went the officer to the baron's house, and told him, with a face full of horror, the dreadful orders given by the empress! . . . Having prevailed on the officer to let him go to the empress in a whole skin, when the trembling banker was announced . . . the empress, on being informed of the ludicrous mistake, laughed heartily, and soon removed the fears of the baron, by telling him it was the dead pug (which she had named 'Sutherland') that she had ordered to be 'flayed and stuffed,' and not himself.
True or just a good story? From John Brown, The Northern Courts: Containing Original Memoirs of the Sovereigns of Sweden and Denmark, Since 1766, Including the Extraordinary Vicissitudes in the Lives of the Grand-children of George the Second, Volume 2 (A. Constable and Company, 1818), p. 135.