The cat - a goddess, an enigma, a playmate and a friend. Dorothy M. Stuart approaches her subject along four main roads: archaeology, history, legend and literature. The Ancient Egyptian Mau is here; the enchanted cats of Irish legend; the Gib of Gammer Gurton’s Needle.
Hodge and Selima, Jeffry and Dinah refused to be left out; but there are less familiar examples, too: the cat which voluntarily shared the Earl of Southampton’s captivity in the Tower; the kitten in whose defence John Keats had a stand up fight with a brutal butcher-boy of Hampstead; the delinquent who at dead of night gnawed the strings of her master’s lute.
Graymalkin, the witches’ familiar, comes into the picture; and we catch fascinating glimpses of two furry sympathizers licking the tears from Florence Nightingale’s cheeks, and of Cardinal Richelieu solemnly adding something on behalf of a cat and her kittens to the modest pension assigned by His Eminence to Mademoiselle Marie de Gournay, Montaigne’s ‘polished female friend’.Dorothy Margaret Stuart is better known for her elegant and polished biographies, but in this short book we see a lighter side of her pen in an appreciation of feline company.
||234 x 156 mm
||15 August 2015
||65 black-and-white illustrations
Dorothy Margaret Stuart was a poet and the author of 28 books, mainly historical biographies. Little is known of her life and it seems likely, or at least plausible that she was a direct descendent of Bess. Notwithstanding this, and the inevitable favourable colour with which she paints her subject, Dorothy Stuart was a poetess and an author of skilled old-school competence and as a consequence her text reads smoothly, cleanly with well-crafted passages making the biography a delight to read. She died unmarried in 1963.