The Owl, the Pussycat and the feline behind the scenes…
Oh yes, there was also the fabulous man who wrote of my adventures. His name was Edward Lear. He was devoted to me and to other felines who came to know him. In addition to my long luxurious fur, I am world class at the art of cuddling and along with the other felines entrusted to his care, we are equally devoted to him.
Lear was born the twentieth child of a London stock broker and his wife. In his late teens he left the family home with his eldest sister and began providing for himself with his skills as an illustrator. He continued to draw and paint throughout his life.
This prolific writer and artist (animals and landscapes) was compared to the work of the great Jean-Jacques Audubon. In addition to his writing and drawing, he gave drawing lessons. It is without a doubt that one of his most easily recognized pupils was none other than Queen Victoria. She had been known to visit the Atelier and to pick up a pencil or two. While many of her lessons were confined to the castle, accommodations were often made in deference to the teacher’s fragile health. Furthermore, she adored the numbers of animals and especially the freedom there. What some do not know, it is our secret, is that she was as thrilled as could be when we would grace her lap with our presence. To be petted by the queen…
THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
– Edward Lear 1871
“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey,
And plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!
Pussy said to Owl, “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married;
too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end if his nose.
Dear Pig, are you willing
to sell for one shilling
Your ring? Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married the next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
As anyone can tell, this intelligent and gifted artist was besotted by cats, birds and other living creatures. I, Puss, was the inspiration behind one of the most famous of all nursery rhymes. You may have noticed that for poetic reasons, Mr. Lear added a Y to the end of my name. However, as he was such a dear man and generous to a fault, we shall overlook that minor indiscretion. As humans go, I would say that for myself and the other felines in the house were most fortunate. We were adored and pampered. Likewise, we were exceptionally fond of Edward and continued to inspire him throughout his life. If you take the time to examine more of his work, you will see our paws in it. Despite his fragile health, he continued to provide sanctuary and love to many generations of felines and other creatures. More than that, he celebrated our uniqueness.
Our thanks to Rasma Raister: firstname.lastname@example.org for sharing the beautiful photos of “Puss”. It is our hope that as photos can be matched with stories that are worthy, we can bring you more Fabulous Felines in History.
If you are interested in having your precious felines included in future Fabulous Felines in History posts, please send photos without tell-tail signs of the time they are set in. Our felines are time travelers. Please forward photos for consideration to Colette and Simone in care of our human and resident typist at email@example.com . Please know that names are chosen to suit the time and situation in which the feline resides and it is unlikely that we shall be using the lovely moniker you had chosen with such care.
We hope that you will enjoy our little posts and perhaps visit us on our own blog? Colette, Simone and our human at: http://lesdeuxdivasmavieenrose.wordpress.com
Disclaimer: All errors are human in origin and shall be dealt with.