A Tale of Two Cat’s-Eyes: 1915

The cat’s-eye, while artistically attractive, is lacking in historical interest, and little can be gathered as to any romance of early history connected with it. However, I know from personal experience that the following tale is true, and so the good or evil effects of the stone must be judged on its own merits.

A friend, deeply interested in all superstitions concerning jewels, said that her husband was one of those men who seem born with the proverbial golden spoon at hand to minister to their wants. Everything he touched turned to money: if he bought land, it inevitably happened to be a piece that some one must have immediately at any price asked, shares in companies rose fabulously, and he never failed to back the right horse!

He constantly speculated in mining ventures, and it was from a friend, who had been able, through “inside information” to sell at the critical moment and realise a tidy fortune, that he received the first scarf-pin which appears in this story. It was a round stone, set in very tiny but brilliant diamonds, and though her husband hated jewellery, he took to this pin, which he wore so constantly that it became quite a joke among his friends. Luck still came his way, and then — she could not quite remember the circumstance — he had another pin given to him, strangely enough, again a cat’s-eye, but of oval shape and not so brilliant as the first, and he seldom wore it. Again, several years passed, finally ending in his long, painful illness and death, at a comparatively early age, and the widow declared he had never been lucky since the second pin came into the house. Not that he was unlucky, but time after time, just at the point of success, presto! failure appeared, or, if not actual failure, impossibility of making a brilliant coup. Some of the real estate which had promised so well decreased alarmingly in value, and he was harassed by several lawsuits, his health failed unexpectedly, and with one thing and another it seemed as if the luck which had so conspicuously stood his friend was about to desert him. There were endless trivial details told in confirmation of the story.

Some years after, the widow died, leaving no will, and the jewels came to the daughters, the elder of whom knew her mother’s superstition in regard to the oval cat’s-eye.  Now, sad as it is to relate, this excellent family, like most other families, had its black sheep, in the person of the eldest son, who, with the eager assistance of a doting mother, had done his best to ruin the family, and had got hold of large sums of money to which he had not the slightest right, as they were the property of his brothers and sisters, and the patience of the family had long been exhausted.

We are all human, thank goodness! and therefore liable to err, but the sisters resolved to obey their mother’s oft-expressed wish, “that dear __ is to have his father’s cat’s-eye pin if anything happens to me.” They determined that he should, and, no size or shape being specified, he was sent, and duly acknowledged, the oval cat’s-eye, the round one being bestowed on the younger brother.

Now this is an astonishing truth, but, since receiving that stone, he has gone from bad to worse. He has borrowed enormous sums at ruinous rates of interest, and is being sued on all sides by tradesmen, servants and employees whose bills he calmly ignores. He is in very bad health, and being hourly made a fool of by his wife, who is following in the footsteps of those gay ladies from whose ranks she was caught up and married by the young fool! Last of all, he is in the clutches of six shark-like and utterly unscrupulous lawyers, and the naughty brothers and sisters are watching with interest the end of the little drama. And here is the moral, for the young brother, with his round stone, is steadily going up in the world and seems to share the luck of his father — so, after all, there may be something in the influence of the two cat’s-eyes. Who knows?

Peeps Into the Psychic World, M. MacDermot Crawford, 1915

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil does not generally believe in talismans or curses—she believes that the best curses are home-made—but is charmed by the ingenuity of the brothers and sisters in ridding themselves of a noxious sibling.

For a story of a cursed royal ring, see here. And see here, for a story of royal talismans, or here, for a haunted mummy necklace.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

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