I was recently in London and had the great pleasure of visiting the house, not far from St. Paul's Cathedral, where Samuel Johnson's mighty dictionary was compiled. As you enter the quiet square, you are greeted by this lovely statue of Samuel Johnson's cat, Hodge. Johnson spoiled his cat, going out to buy him fresh oysters rather than asking his servants to do it lest they come to the resent the cat for having to run errands for him! You can see the oysters on the book -- the Dictionary, naturally -- which serves as the base of the statue. I have to wonder whether Hodge disturbed the lexicographer and his amanuenses by jumping up and stretching out on the tables piled with books in the garret where the dictionary was researched. What self-respecting cat would miss that opportunity?
P.S. If you find the English language fascinating, you might enjoy regular updates about English usage and word origins from Wordlady. Receive every new post delivered right to your inbox! If you are not already subscribed, you can either:
use the subscribe window at the top of this page
(if you are reading this on a mobile device): send me an email with the subject line SUBSCRIBE at email@example.com
Also check out my upcoming Rollicking Story of the English Language courses.
Follow me on twitter: @thewordlady