Read Downton Tabby Online

Authors: Chris Kelly

Downton Tabby

BOOK: Downton Tabby
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Thank you for downloading this Simon & Schuster eBook.

Join our mailing list and get updates on new releases, deals, bonus content and other great books from Simon & Schuster.

or visit us online to sign up at
eBookNews.SimonandSchuster.com

For

THE ENGLISH CATS

(are the best in Europe)

A CAT MAY LOOK ON A KING.

—John Heywood (c. 1497–c. 1580), as quoted by a kitchen maid in some TV show

Table Setting

1. Mouse Fork

7. Stoat Knife

13. Hair Knife

2. Vole Fork

8. Vole Knife

14. Milk Glass

3. Stoat Fork

9. Mouse Knife

15. Milk Glass

4. Plate

10. Bug Spoon

16. Milk Glass

5. Napkin

11. Shrew Fork

17. Milk Glass

6. Place Card

12. Hair Plate

18. Milk Goblet

Foreword

D
OWNTON
T
ABBY
. T
HE STATELY
Y
ORKSHIRE
home of the Earl and Catness of Grimalkin, their three kittens—the pretty one, the prettier one, and the other one—their kittens’ kittens, their servants, and, of course, the Dowager Catness, Vibrissa.

Their evil footcat; their handsome chau-fur; the blind cook; the dopey maid; and Boots, the saintly, longsuffering valet who keeps getting framed for gnawing on things. I mean, over and over.

Their lives, loves, births, deaths, marriages, affairs, prides, prejudices, senses, sensibilities, mills, flosses, cakes, ales, high teas and funfairs, car accidents, scandals, bouts of Spanish influenza, and war with Germany.

Their blithe spirits, private lives, and easy virtues . . . the whole kitten caboodle.

Edward VII between feedings

Introduction

ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD VII.
A time of romance and leisure, grace and elegance. The cats of this enchanted era never imagined that it could all come to an end. How could they? They were cats.

Here in this pretty world, gallantry took its last bow . . .

Here was the last ever to be seen of knights and their ladies fair, of master and of servant . . .

Look for it only in coffee-table books, for it is no more than a dream remembered.

A civilization gone to the dogs.

A roast field-mouse—not a housemouse—is a splendid bonne bouche for a hungry boy; it eats like a lark.

—C
HARLES
D
ICKENS, QUOTING
B
RITISH NATURALIST
F
RANK
B
UCKLAND

Cats and Englishmen

I
N THE EARLY YEARS OF
the last century, the courtly cats of England’s stately manors lived life in much the way the owners of England’s stately manors did: someone fed them, then they spent the day grooming and sleeping and kind of ambling around, then someone fed them again.

It never occurred to either group—cats or gentry—that they should do what you might consider “any work.”

Cats were—and are—the gentry of the animal kingdom.

Their place in society, their role, was to
provide work
for
others
.

To be admired.

To set an example.

And the ultimate demonstration of their affection was to fall asleep on you.

BOOK: Downton Tabby
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Wild About the Wrangler by Vicki Lewis Thompson
In My Skin by Holden, Kate
10th Anniversary by James Patterson
Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire
Magic and Macaroons by Bailey Cates
Untitled by Unknown Author