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The Convert (1) : Victorian cat-lover Harrison Weir launches into his favourite subject, but finds his audience growing restive.
The Convert
Part one

Abridged from ‘Our Cats’ by Harrison Weir (1824-1906).

On the eve of the world’s first Cat Show, held in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London, organiser Harrison Weir was frankly boring a friend with his flights of ecstasy on cats.

“STOP,” said my friend, “I see you do like cats, and I do not, so let the matter drop.”

“No,” said I, “not so. That is why I instituted this Cat Show; I wish every one to see how beautiful a well-cared-for cat is, and how docile, gentle, and — may I use the term? — cossetty. Come with me, my dear old friend, and see the first Cat Show.”

Inside the Crystal Palace stood my friend and I. There lay the cats in their different pens, reclining on crimson cushions, making no sound save now and then a homely purring, as from time to time they lapped the nice new milk provided for them. Yes, there they were, big cats, very big cats, middling-sized cats, and small cats, cats of all colours and markings, and beautiful pure white Persian cats; and as we passed down the front of the cages I saw that my friend became interested.

Abridged from ‘Our Cats’ by Harrison Weir (1824-1906).

More like this

Harrison Weir (1) Extracts from Literature (93) Cat Stories (17) Cats, Dogs and Other Animals (19)

Picture: From ‘The Book of the Cat’, by Frances Simpson (1903). View original
Judges at the Richmond Cat Show, held (for the first time) as an extension of the annual dog show at the Old Deer Park in 1902. The photograph was included in a series for Frances Simpson’s ‘Book of the Cat’ (p. 73). The accommodation at the Crystal Palace thirty years earlier was evidently rather more five-star.
The Convert Part Two
By Harrison Weir

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Selected Stories
The Jay Treaty can be seen as the start of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
An inquisitive monk spied on a guest’s night-time walks.
Scotland’s association with the brother of Peter is down to an early 8th century Bishop of Hexham.
MacPherson’s tireless efforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.