Story of My Cousins

Story of My Cousins

THE STORY OF MY COUSINS. Brief Animal Biographies. By Henry S. Salt. Watts and Co. 2s 6d. net.

In this little book about a few animals of this quite familiar kind, there is just the right touch–the touch which can come only from the pen of a writer whose attitude towards these “cousins” is free from the idea of possessing them as properties or as “pets.”

This is helpful towards winning our interest in the doings and adventures of the several characters sketched, and it is helpful towards impressing upon those who perhaps have not fully realised what the writer experienced, that there is a good deal to be learned from these cousins of ours.

“Master” was a feline friend of many parts, whose “Major-Domo” was in his service for fifteen years, and the relationship seems to have been an ideal one. We are told about Cousin Cosette, the little grey cat, and Iolanthe who is yet in the prime of life, sharing hearth and home with one who has devoted many years to the study and teaching of the rights of animals. Lucky cats! we venture to think.

There is also a charming account of the befriended rook which bird-lovers will appreciate, and of Gyp, the Maltese terrier, who lived at Eton College, and whose affectionate nature revealed “what a wonderful thing is the free-given love of a dog.”

Alluding to the unmannerly way some people have of regarding animals as though they were outside and beyond the pale of politeness, Mr. Salt remarks:

“Now, even if I have been originally inclined to treat cats in that brusque manner, I could not possibly have done so after spending years in the company of Cosy and Master, or, indeed in the company of any animal for such experience was to me, as Bacon said of travel, ‘a part of education,’ and as instructive as a tour round the world. Just as one finds in foreign races not dissimilarity, but likeness to ourselves, so sympathetic acquaintance with non-human beings with it the conviction that they, too are persons not things–sentient and, in their proper degree, rational fellow-beings with feelings and affections closely akin to our own.”

No one could regret becoming possessed of Mr. Salt’s latest book, it is too thoroughly beautiful, good, and true.

J. W.

The Animals' Friend (Annual Volume), 1923, p. 119