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Foreign News: Cat Mike

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Old Mike, Farewell! We all regret you, Although you would not let us pet you; Of cats, the wisest oldest best cat, This be your motto,—Requiescat!

Heartfelt, this elegy appeared last week from the pen of Assistant Keeper Hiley of the Department of Printed Books of the august British Museum. It was written in memory of ancient and honorable Cat Mike, whose small tombstone, near the Great Russell Street entrance to the Museum, bears this lapidary inscription: “He assisted in keeping the main gate of the British Museum from February 1909 to January 1929.”

Cat Michael, the doyen of all Bloomsbury felines, was quite as proud and pompous as the gloomy edifice he guarded. Residents of Bloomsbury, whose suspicion of strangers is chronic and world-famed, reminded each other last week that “Old Mike” spoke to nobody, and would only allow two people to pet him: his owner, the official gatekeeper, and that eminent Egyptologist Sir Ernest A. Wallis Budge. Hiley’s Elegy on Cat Mike treats of this in the stanza: He cared for none — save only two: For these he purred, for these he played, And let himself be stroked, and laid Aside his antihuman grudge — His owner — and Sir Ernest Budge! Egyptologist Budge, whose honors and attributes take up more than a full column and a half in the British Who’s Who, is at present preparing a brief, definitive me morial biography of Cat Mike, soon to appear in limited edition from a London publishing house. Other books by Savant Sir Ernest Budge include: The Coptic History of Elijah the Tishbite; The Laughable Stories of Bar-Hebraeus ; An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary; The Book of the Dead; The Book of the Bee; and The Mummy (Enlarged Edition).

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