Image credit The Tate Museum, The Awakening Conscience, William Holman Hunt, 1853, oil on canvas, 30" x 22", held by The Tate Museum, London, England.
And the (unfortunately dark) kitty close-up, from the left edge under the table:
Bugler tells us this:
The cat crouching under the table plays a central role in this drama of a young woman's moral wakening. Just as an unfortunate bird is trying to escape its clutches, so the kept woman is rising from her lover's lap, suddenly aware of the the need to extricate herself from a sinful way of life.
Me? I'm thinking that many times in our lives we find ourselves in a situation where the realization just dawns: this is wrong, this is bad, must bail (today's political landscape engenders in me the same helpless feeling and the desire to return to normality).
The cat seems aware of the woman's plight and in a strange way seems sympathetic, as evidenced by the cat's interested and almost pleading expression: "Do the right thing!"
[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art. You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]