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September 21, 2009

Johnson & Hodge

(Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Tate Gallery, London)

Today marks Dr Samuel Johnson's 300th birthday.
Best known as the lexicographer of the Dictionary
of the English Language and as the subject of 
James Boswell's biography. 
My attraction to Johnson stems from his
affection for cats, particularly Lily, a well behaved 
white "kitling" and Hodge, described as having sable fur.
Boswell records how Johnson went himself to the fishmongers to buy oysters for Hodge as he didn't trust a servant to show the cat affection after having been sent on such a lowly errand.
A statue of Hodge, sitting on Johnson's dictionary
with an open oyster at his feet, stands in front of
Johnson's house at 17 Gough Sq, London.

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