THE ANGEL IN THE HOUSE.
A Day from the Diary of a Young Dog.
7:00 A. M. — Woke up feeling rather below par, owing to disturbed rest. Hardly energy enough to stretch myself. In the middle of the night a strange man came in by the kitchen window very quietly with a bag. I chummed up to him at once. He was nice to me and I was nice to him. He got me down a piece of meat that I could not reach myself. While I was engaged on this he, took a whole lot of silver things and put them into the bag. Then, as he was leaving, the brute — I believe now it was an accident — trod on my toe, making me yelp with pain. I bit him heartily, and he dropped his bag and scurried off through the window again. My yelping soon woke up the whole house, and in a very short time old Mr. Brown and young Mr. Brown appeared. They at once spot the bag of silver. They then declare I have saved the house and make no end of fuss with me. I am a hero. Later on Miss Brown came down and fondled me lots, and kissed me, and tied a piece of pink ribbon round my neck, and made me look like a fool. What’s the good of ribbon, I should like to know? It’s the most beastly tasting stuff there ever was.
8:30. — Ate breakfast with difficulty. Have no appetite.
8:35. — Ate kittens’ breakfast.
8:36. — An affair with the cat (the kittens’ mother). But I soon leave her, as the coward does not fight fair, using claws.
9:00. — Washed by Mary. A hateful business. Put into a tub and rubbed all over — mouth, tail, and everywhere—with filthy, soapy water, that loathsome cat looking on all the while and sneering in her dashed superior way. I don’t know, I am sure, why the hussy should be so conceited. She has to clean herself. I keep a servant to clean me. At the same time I often wish I was a black dog. They keep clean so much longer. Every finger-mark shows up so frightfully on the white part of me. I am a sight after cook has been stroking me.
9:30. — Showed myself in my washed state to the family. All very nice to me. Quite a triumphal entry, in fact. It is simply wonderful the amount of kudos I’ve got from that incident with the man. Miss Brown (whom I rather like) particularly enthusiastic. Kissed me again and called me “a dear, clean, brave, sweet-smelling little doggie.”
9:40. — While a visitor was being let in at the front door, I rushed out and had the most glorious roll in the mud. Felt more like my old self then.
9:45. — Visited the family again. Shrieks of horror on seeing me caked in mud. But all agreed that I was not to be scolded to-day as I was a hero (over the man)! All, that is, except Aunt Brown, whose hand, for some reason or other, is always against me — though nothing is too good for the cat.
9:50. — Glorious thought. I rushed upstairs and rolled over and over on the old maid’s bed. Thank heaven, the mud was still wet!
10:00 to 1:00. — Dozed.
1:00. — Ate dinner.
1:15. — Ate kittens’ dinner.
1:20. — Attacked by beast of cat again. She scratched my hind leg, and at that I refused to go on. Mem: To take it out of her kittens later.
1:25. — Upstairs into dining-room. Family not finished luncheon yet. I go up to Miss Brown, and look at her with my great pleading eyes. I guessed it; they are irresistible. She gives me a piece of pudding. Aunt Brown tells her she shouldn’t. At which, with great pluck, Miss Brown tells her to mind her own business. I admire that girl more and more.
1:30. — A windfall. A whole dish of mayonnaise fish on the slab in the hall. Before you can say Jack Robinson, I have bolted it.
1:32. — Curious pains in my underneath.
1:33. — Pains in my underneath get worse.
1:34. — Horrid feeling of sickness.
1:35. — Rush up into Aunt Brown’s room and am sick there.
1:37, — Better. Think I shall pull through if I am careful.
1:40. — Almost well again.
1:41. — Quite well again. Thank Heaven! It was a narrow shave that time. People ought not to leave such stuff about.
1:42. — Up into dining-room. And, to show how well I am, I gallop round and round the room at full pelt, about twenty times, steering myself by my tail. Then, as a grand finale, I jump twice on to the waistcoat part of old Mr. Brown, who is sleeping peacefully on the sofa. He wakes up very angry indeed, and orders Miss Brown to beat me. Miss Brown runs the burglar for all he is worth. But no good. Old Mr. Brown is dead to all decent feeling. So Miss Brown beats me. Very nice. Thoroughly enjoyable. Just like being patted. But of course I yelp and pretend it hurts frightfully, and do the sad-eye business, and she soon leaves off, and takes me into the next room and gives me six pieces of sugar.
Good business. Must remember always to do this.
2:00 to 3:15. — Attempt to kill fur rug in back room. No good.
3:15 to 3:45. — Sulked.
3:46. — Small boy comes in and strokes me. I snap at him. I will not be every one’s plaything.
3:47 to 4:00. — Another attempt to kill rug. Would have done it this time had not that odious Aunt Brown come in and interfered. I did not say anything, but gave her such a look, as much as to say, “I’ll do for you one day.” I think she understood.
4:00 to 5:15. — Slept.
5:15. — Awakened by bad attack of eczema.
5:20 to 5:30 — Slept again,
5:30. — Awakened again by eczema. Caught one.
5:30 to 6:00. — Frightened canary by staring greedily at it.
6:00. — Visited kitchen folk. Boned some bones.
6:15. — Stalked a kitten in kitchen passage. The other little cowards ran away.
6:20. — Things are looking brighter. Helped mouse escape from cat.
6:30. — Upstairs, past the drawing-room. Door of old Mrs. Brown’s bedroom open invitingly. I entered. Never been in before. Nothing much worth having. Ate a few flowers out of a bonnet. Beastly.
7:00. — Down to supper. Ate it, but without much relish. I am off my feed to-day.
7:15. — Ate kittens’ supper. But I do wish they would not give them that eternal fish. I am getting sick of it.
7:25. — Nasty feeling of lassitude comes over me, with loss of all initiative, so I decide to take things quietly, and lie down by kitchen fire. Sometimes I think that I am not the dog that I was.
8:00. — Hooray! Appetite returning.
8:01. — Ravenous.
8-05. — Nose around the kitchen floor and glean a bit of onion, an imitation tortoise-shell comb, a shrimp (almost entire), an abominably stale chunk of bread, and about half a yard of capital string.
8:30. — If one had to rely on other people, one might starve. Fortunately, in the hall I happen on the treacle-pudding, and I get first look in. Lap up the treacle, and leave the suet for the family. Ah.
8:40. — Down into the kitchen again. Sit by the fire, and pretend I don’t know what treacle is like. But that vile cat is there — and I believe she guesses — keeps looking round at me with her hateful, superior look. Dash her, what right has she got to give herself such airs? She’s not half my size, and pays no taxes. Dash her smugness. Dash her altogether. The sight of her maddens me — and when her back is turned I rush at her and bite her. The crafty coward wags her tail, pretending she likes it, so I do it again, and then she rounds on me and scratches my paw viciously, drawing blood, and making me howl with pain. This brings Miss Brown down in a hurry. She kisses me, tells the cat she is a naughty cat (I’d have killed her for it), gives me some sugar, and wraps the paw up in a bread poultice. Lord, how that girl loves me!
9:00. — Ate the bread poultice.
9:15. — Begin to get sleepy.
9:15 to 10:00. — Dozed.
10:00. — Led to kennel.
10:15. — Lights out. Thus ends another derned dull day.
The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] 10 January 1898
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: In the course of her long career Mrs Daffodil has known a great many dogs–for example, Wink, the Dowager Duchess of Spofford’s pomeranian, who came to a tragic end when a large caller at his mistress’s house sat upon him, mistaking him for a muff. One of Mrs Daffodil’s previous masters, a medical gentleman with a macabre sense of humour, prized a large black, wolfish animal, which he daubed with luminous paint and sent out to roam the moors at night. And, of course, there was Master Georgie’s wolf-hound, Angela, unjustly accused of killing a fox to explain the blood in the library to the police. [See “A Spot of Bother.”] Mrs Daffodil must applaud the ingenuity and spirit of this young (and surprisingly literate) dog in taking revenge on Aunt Brown and playing the innocent victim of the cat. It takes cunning to outwit a cat.
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.