Friday, January 9, 2009

Mrs. Tabby

During last evening's reading (a Gothic by Florence Hurd), the heroine is alone (her 1st night) in the large country estate she's been hired to caretake. The sun has set, Emeline's discovered a seemingly haunted back bedroom (she soon shrugs the unsettling/disturbing impressions off as being due to an overtired mind and a case of the new-surroundings jitters -- despite that room being her 2nd eerie happening in a mere few hours' time) and has just finished eating supper when she hears a thud in the basement. Soon there's a scratching at the basement door. She nervously calls out and grows more nervous when there's no reply, just more scratching.

Then she hears a "meow."

Relieved, Emeline unlocks and opens the basement door. A large cat saunters into the kitchen. Emeline picks her up and notices the cat is very much in the motherly way, and probably soon to deliver her litter.

Emeline carefully puts the cat back outdoors (the mistress of the estate likely does not want a brood of kittens in any corner of the grand old family house), referring to the cat in her mind as "Mrs. Tabby."

I thought that was cute. :-) And later it occurred to me, why MRS. Tabby? Because the novel was published in 1966 and pregnancy outside of wedlock was a hugely (pardon the pun) frowned upon no-no. It wouldn't have done for a pregnant cat to be *Miss* Tabby. She must be "married" somehow, or the equivalent to. ;-)

It was, of course, the era wherein married TV show couples (with maybe two exceptions) didn't share a bed; they slept in separate twin beds. A reminder of the times.


Debbie K. said...

The book is "Secret of Canfield House", right? I loved that book! You are so right about "Mrs. Tabby" in the book and the outdated concepts of men and women. In the book I remember Miles told Emmeline she doesn't have to fear about"...even being raped" like it was a sexual thing, not violence. Good gothic mystery, though, one of my favorites.

Debbie K. said...
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