In 1914, Beatrix Potter was working on a new story featuring her cast of mischievous animals. It was called the “The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots,” and it featured “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life,” Potter wrote to her publisher.
The cat would go out on hunting, in the guise of Puss in Boots, but ends up in a trap. Peter Rabbit (older now, and tubbier) was there, too, along with other characters who made Potter famous.
But the kitty’s tale (Kitty called herself “Miss Catherine St Quintin,” according to Potter’s story) was never published. There was World War I, and work on the sheep farm Potter had purchased. Potter had drafted the story, and started sketching illustrations for the book, but she never quite finished it.
A few years back, though, a publisher happened to read a reference to the story in an old biography of Potter. She went to the Victoria and Albert museum archive, where Potter’s papers are kept, and searched through them. There she found notebooks filled with the story, and one color illustration. It still needed some editing–Potter had admitted as much–but the story was all there.
The story, reportedly ”full of incident and mischief and character,” will be published in September, and after many decades, the world will finally learn about the adventures of Miss Catherine St Quintin.
Bonus finds: Baby dinosaur
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