“Understandably distraught when his beloved cat Bob died in 1862, the writer was eager to keep a visual memory on his desk. One of Bob’s paws was promptly stuffed and adhered to an ivory blade, which was engraved “C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862.”
There is a picture of said letter opener via the link. I’m still not quite sure what I think about it, but it seems entirely like a Chaz thing to do. Didn’t he also have his pet raven stuffed as well?
Was just about to post this article! The Raven Grip was also stuffed, and is now on display at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department. It’s pretty creepy to see in person (they also have plenty of other Dickens-related holdings).
The carefully preserved and stuffed raven named Grip — later the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem — is perhaps the quirkiest part of the Philadelphia public library’s valuable Dickens collection, now on display to celebrate his bicentennial.
I visited the Free Library about a year ago to see Grip. Their rare books collection is really fascinating, and they have a number of other Dickens-related items, too. Definitely check it out if you’re in Philly!
How Dickens’s pet inspired Edgar Allan (and how that taxidermied bird ended up in Philly)