“While I had him, I was always sure of having one who would love me alike in riches or poverty, who always looked at me with looks of the fondest love, always faithful and always kind. To think of him was a talisman against vexing thoughts. A thousand times I have said, ’I want my Mossy,’ when that dear Mossy was close by and would put his dear black nose under my hand on hearing his name. God bless you, my Mossy! I cried when you died, and I can hardly help crying whenever I think of you. All who loved me loved Mossy. He had the most perfect confidence in me—always came to me for protection against any one who threatened him, and, thank God, always found it. I value all things he had lately or ever touched; even the old quilt that used to be spread on my bed for him to lie on, and which we called Mossy’s quilt; and the pan that he used to drink out of in the parlor, and which was always called Mossy’s pan, dear darling!
“I forgot to say that his breath was always sweet and balmy; his coat always glossy like satin; and he never had any disease or anything to make him disagreeable in his life. Many other things I have omitted; and so I should if I were to write a whole volume of his praise; for he was above all praise, sweet angel! I have inclosed some of his hair, cut off by papa after his death, and some of the hay on which he was laid out. He died Saturday, the 21st of August, 1819, at Bertram House. Heaven bless him, beloved angel!”
It is as sad as true that great natures are solitary, and therefore doubly value the affections of their pets.
Southey wrote a most interesting biography of the cats of Greta Hall, and on the demise of one wrote to an old friend: “Alas! Grosvenor, this day poor old Rumpel was found dead, after as long and as happy a life as cat could wish for—if cats form wishes on that subject. There should be a court mourning in Cat-land, and if the Dragon wear a black ribbon round his neck, or a band of crape, a la militaire, round one of the fore paws, it will be but a becoming mark of respect. As we have not catacombs here, he is to be decently interred in the orchard and catnip planted on his grave.”
And so closes this catalogue of Southey’s “Cattery.”
But, hark! my cats are mewing, dogs all calling for me—no—for dinner! After all, what is the highest civilization but a thin veneer over natural appetites? What would a club be without its chefs, a social affair without refreshment, a man without his dinner, a woman without her tea? Come to think of it, I’m hungry myself!
STARTING A POULTRY FARM.