Pets were not only useful (horses for transport, sporting dogs for hunting, and lapdogs to eat fleas from their owners’ bodies), but also could be fashion statements. The rarer or more perfectly bred the animal, the better. In some cases, even people could be considered pets, especially if they were lower class people with a specific genius or talent in need of aristocratic patronage.
- “A few of the houses with the most pretension to literary taste have their tame poets and petits littérateurs, who run about as docile, and more parasitical, than lap-dogs; and, like them, are equally well-fed, ay, and certainly equally spoiled” (Victims of Society 152).
- “Her Ladyship was not remarkable for anything save a correct taste for poodles, parrots, and bijouterie” (Vivian Grey 1:97).
- “’I had great difficulty in getting her – her dam was out of Austerlitz, the celebrated charger of Maréchal B.; and the sire to Austerlitz was grandson to Sultan, the Arabian that Napoleon rode at the battle of Marengo” (Cheveley 37).
- “A sheep-dog! . . . My dear Mrs Crawley, what a fancy! Why not have a Danish dog? . . . Or a Persian greyhound, eh? . . . or a little pug” (Vanity Fair 437).
- “Vincent suddenly recollected that he had a commission of a very important nature in the Rue J.J. Reousseau. This was – to buy a monkey’” (Pelham 1:176).
- He “offered to procure her a real cat of the true Persian breed, black ears four inches long, with a tail like a squirrel’s” (Pelham 2:277-278).
- “No, she could not give up the canaries; but the glass bowl with the gold fish . . . fish – dull things! – would not miss her” (Ernest Maltravers 2:14)
- “Lord Leicester . . . washes his poodle in milk of roses” (Mrs. Armytage 1:106-107).
- “Bertha left London the next morning in a carriage, with three children, two dogs, a monkey, and a macaw” (Conduct is Fate 2:164).
- “’Nothing was so difficult to procure as a good lady’s horse’” (Recollections of a Chaperon 1:249).
- “there happened to be some sponge biscuits at the dessert:
‘They are excellent!’ said the Marchioness of Smallberry . . . ‘Can I have the receipt? I think those our man-cook makes disagree with my Italian greyhounds’ . . .
‘Too heavy, my dear Marchioness,’ replied the Countess . . . ‘My poodle eats four dozen every day, and has never had a moment’s illness’” (Almacks’ Revisited 2:215-216).
- “’those peacocks of yours, – fourteen of them they tell me you’ve got’” (Hyde Nugent 1:103).