As I was Going to St. Ives
Cats and Wives - A Count or a Suggestion?
The gentleman in this picture is looking pleased and quite calm for
a man with so many wives and so many cats and kittens. Although it looks
like there are a tremendous number of cats in this illustration, the
wives are only holding a couple of sacks each, and there don't appear
to be seven cats in each of the sacks. No kittens are pictured whatsoever,
and there are supposed to be over two thousand of those! It does what
many of the illustrations of this poem do ? it gives the suggestions
of many cats. All of the pictures show the seven wives, but most only
show a few sacks and cats. Most do not make a distinction between the
cats and the kittens. One illustration, by Allen Atkinson, shows the
wives as rabbits. Fortunately, in that version, the sacks are all closed
so the cats can't get out and eat the wives!