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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, December 01, 2014

a couple more wills in favor of pets

These were only two of a booklet full of curious, generous bequests in Mrs. Wm. Pitt Byrne's
Curiosities of the Search-room: A Collection of Serious, and Whimsical Wills . . .

A rich and eccentric widow, whose will was proved in London some years ago, left at her death a parrot, whom, "having been her faithful companion for 24 years," she left in charge of an appointee, with an annuity of one hundred guineas, the existence and identity of the bird to be proved twice a year, and all payments to be withheld from the moment the feathered pensioner ceased to be produced.

A Mr. Jonathan Jackson, of Columbus, Ohio, died a few years ago, leaving orders to his executors to erect a cats' home, the plans and elevation of which he had drawn out with great care and thought. The building was to contain dormitories, a refectory, areas for conversation, grounds for exercise, and gently sloping roofs for climbing, with rat-holes for sport, an "auditorium," within which the inmates were to be assembled daily to listen to an accordion, which was to be played for an hour each day by an attendant, that instrument being the nearest approach to their natural voices. (Wait, what?  - curator) An infirmary, to which were to be attached a surgeon and three or four professed nurses, was to adjoin the establishment. No mention seems to have been made of a chapel or a chaplain! The testator gives as his reason for thus disposing of his property that "it is man's duty as lord of animals to watch over and protect the lesser and feebler, even as God watches over and protects man." He does not, however, explain how it happens that on this principle he does not consider it his duty to protect rats from the "sporting"propensities of cats.

(Published in London by Chapman and Hall, 1880, excerpt from p. 198-9.)

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