Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Demon Cat; A Naval Melo Drama

[1] Art by William Ralston, 1889 (detail).

Hester Viles sent me a little memoir about a favourite comic picture-book in her family, about an incredibly catastrophical cat, nicknamed The Demon. A large-sized book (9.5 by 12 inches, 24 by 30.5 cms) fully titled: The Demon Cat; A Naval Melo Drama By C.W. Cole and W. Ralston. Illustrated in black-and-white with some pages in color. First published in December 1889 by Simpkin, Marshall & Co. in London / John Menzies & Co. in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Hester did note:
The book is very damaged and the front and back pages are glued onto the outer covers, I could not see the dates. The book belonged to my father in law, but judging by the state of it, I would not be surprised if it came from Edward Viles. Dad probably got it from his father who probably received it from the family. Dad loved it and the two of us often sat together, laughing ourselves silly over the story…

Antiquarian bookseller Rooke Books, in Bath, England, offers a good copy for sale HERE that has at least two more pages than Hester’s copy:

[2] Two pages from Rooke Books’ copy.
[3] A Chinese Admiral pays us a visit. “PRESENT ARMS!’

The particular copy of the book reproduced below belonged to Walter Richard Viles, grandson of Walter Percy Viles, the Victorian author of penny dreadfuls and boys’ stories. The boards and pages are heavily damaged and pages seem to be missing from it.

Artist William Ralston (1848-1911) illustrated several children’s books and an 1890s edition of Thackeray’s novel Barry Lyndon, and was a contributor of many strips and illustrations to periodicals like Punch, The Illustrated London News, The Cornhill Magazine, The Graphic, The Daily Graphic, and The Sporting and Dramatic News.

[4] A well-worn front cover.
[5] The Demon boarded us.
[6] During the night.
[7] To catch a wasp.
[8] Rest of the afternoon.
[9] To stalk a gull.
[10] Negative success.
[11] Kind-hearted young seaman.
[12] Wrung out.
[13] On the awning to dry.
[14] The chief engineer’s stuffed birds.
[15] Quiet nap in a ripe Stilton.
[16] The use of cat gut.
[17] The “breakage book”.
[18] The gun “loaded and left”.
[19] A trail of curses.
[20] Its final ricochet.
[21] Hunted “by order”.
[22] Through a skylight.
[23] “Con——!!!”
[24] In the surgeon’s berth.
[25] Refuge below.
[26] Requies-Cat in pieces.
[27] A well-worn back cover.
Thanks to Hester Viles.

1 comment:

  1. . . .purr . . .purr, loved this post
    and the story also
    thanks from down under
    mal E