Hey, felinity assembled, boy do we have a mystery for you!
Elvira here and the above book is a 1st edition, published in 1901; because it has lost its dust jacket and the cover has a couple of stains, Daddy Kiril was able to get it through a seller on Amazon for $15.
There is a penciled note on the inside that shows the book was sold once upon a time for $70; Why? Here's why:
Who was Agnes Repplier?
I did a little research and it turns out she was a famous, but long forgotten, human essayist and author, born on April Fool's Day 1855, who lived until 1950.
"She was one of America's chief representatives of the discursive essay, displaying wide reading and apt quotation. Her writings contain literary criticism as well as comments on contemporary life." (Wikipedia)
The Fireside Sphinx is a 300 page history of domestic cats, especially famous cats, from antiquity to the end of the 19th century, illustrated by Elizabeth Bonsall, with many line drawings in the text. You can read it in PDF or even Kindle, if interested.
Oh, and before you show this to your human there is something you need to know in case you need to explain before they freak out; the word "pussy" appears throughout the book, it appears at our first look.
In fact, Nikita wonders why they didn't just call the book "The Fireside Pussy" and be done with it! Hee, hee!
To help educate your human I want to encourage you to read a controversial, thoroughly researched, essay Nikita once wrote before you show them this post:
Jan. 2010 - May I Have a Word?
So, what's the mystery?
The author autographed this copy for someone, a year after publication; where (other than her hometown of Philadelphia), why and for whom are mysteries that will probably never be solved, but at least we can possibly know exactly what she wrote.
That is where you and your human come in.
As you can see she has written her message in cursive and certain words on the 2nd and 5th lines need deciphering.
Leave your suggestions in the comments. :-D
By the way, the author wrote a 2nd book on cats, in 1912, and daddy is getting a 1st edition copy, w/o dust jacket, he found on Amazon for $9 (More recent reproductions can be purchased as well)
The Cat: Being a record of the endearments and invectives lavished by many writers upon an animal much loved and much abhorred (Our friends, the beasts)
****UPDATE - 10pm****
The lady also wrote an essay in 1912 called - The Grocer's Cat
****UPDATE - JUNE 2013****
We got the 2nd book!