It was a bleak and dreary January day when I first was invited to tea with Sir Edward T. Mittens of Yorkshire, to spend the afternoon in a philosophical conference with the reclusive Birman. Upon arriving a few minutes past our scheduled appointment, my hair soaked with wet English snow, he greeted me at the door, thrusting a cup of piping hot Darjeeling (I am an Earl Grey Kat, myself) into my hands as he hustled me in, spending no time on ordinary pleasantries, through the foyer. “It is almost here!” he mumbled excitedly, perhaps more to himself than anyone else. Before even handing my coat to his servant, I found myself standing before a canvas that – to mine untrained eyes – appeared to be the very picture of someone’s unkempt bedding tossed about on a mattress.
“Your bedsheets, Sir Mittens?” I asked with tentative inquisition.
“No, no, no.” He dismissed, pushing his glasses up higher along his beige nose. “Do you not recognize my recreation?”
I did not. And my expression indicated so.
“It is the Hora of Spring!” He declared with a sweeping paw. “And her cloak of flowers. Well, a piece of it.” He admitted thoughtfully, a paw now caressing a whiskered cheek.
“Ah…” I recollected. “You mean, from the Birth of Venus.” I had recalled reading of Botticelli’s famous work when I was but a mewling student at the Academy.
“Yes, yes, precisely.” Sir Edward replied, paws now crossed as he walked over to stand in front of a window, looking out into the storm. “Even in our darkest, coldest hour, it comforts me to know that Spring is coming.”