Nearly as charming a monument as you can find, a tribute to Samuel Johnson’s puss stands just across from Dr. Johnson’s former residence in Gough Square.
From Fleet Street, duck into the alley by Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub, and follow the twitten until you emerge in Gough Court, an elegant little square.
Dr. Johnson lived and worked in this home, compiling his dictionary in the attic, until he moved out in 1759.
Across from Dr. Johnson’s house is the monument to his cat Hodge.
Boswell recalled Hodge in his Life of Johnson, writing:
I never shall forget the indulgence with which [Johnson] treated Hodge, his cat: for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature [. . . .] I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson’s breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, ‘Why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;’ and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, ‘but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.”
He’s sitting on a dictionary, and, yes, those are oyster shells at Hodge’s feet.