Oh, yes! It's exactly what you think. Read on!
Naturally, the subtitle says it all...
“Giving An Account of an Old Miserable Woman, who lately kept a blind ale-house, in St. Tooley-Streat, near the Burrough of Southwark; who was so wretchedly covetous, as to deny her self the common benefits of life, as to meat and cloaths; leaving, at her death, about fifteen hundred pounds, to her cat, using to say often, when the cat mow’d:
“Peace Puss, peace:
The poem that ensues is a bit silly but sort of endearing as well. (And I have to say, it was nice to see a relationship between a woman and her cat that was not wrapped in accusations of witchcraft, bestiality or other fantastical conjectures.)
As the story goes, for years, this "mean" woman did not spend her money, preferring to keep her alehouse earnings to herself.
Finally, when no one had seen her for a while, one of her neighbors went in to check on her:
“Upstairs he went, and in the bed,
He found the Rich Old Woman dead:
And, looking in a truk just by,
Near Eighteen Hundred Pounds did lie.
No sooner he had found the hoard,
But he divulg’d it all abroad:
Then shockt the neighbours, to behold,
The Treasur’d bags of coyned gold.
Thus did she cheat the battle such,
They thought her poor; for she was rich:
Her belly saved it for her CAT,
But Puss must shew the will for that."
Unfortunately, there's no word on what the cat did with her legacy, but hopefully she was able to get a nice mouse cobbler from time to time.
Not crazy though, right?
10/7/2014 05:13:18 pm
I suspect Puss never got a whisker of the inheritance. The probate lawyers probably got their mitts on the money and either hid it away like a cat bats its toys under the furniture, or took large administration fees from the trust. That's how it was done in New England, and where did the dear Puritan magistrates learn their methods?
4/4/2021 05:23:09 am
One book lists twenty legacies left to cats, but this one is the earliest known case. but there are at least four other Pet Cats well documented and described around the same time period, I have only just heard of this broadsheet and am delighted to find it on your website
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Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.