Tag Archives: pets

An Up-to-Date Dog: 1897


Dreadful dream this morning! Thought I was sitting at a cold, draughty street corner, with nothing on but a leather collar, and a tin mug in my mouth, collecting coppers for a  common, vulgar blind person. Most degrading! Intensely relieved, on waking, to find myself in my own comfortable padded basket. Had kicked the quilt off, and somehow managed to wriggle out of my nightgown. Talking of my nightgowns, whomever embroidered my monogram on them might have done it in two colours instead of only one. So much more chic.

After breakfast, to Toilet Club with Robert. Curling-tongs not warm enough. Obliged to complain sharply of carelessness of new assistant, who snipped nearly half the tuft off one of my haunches! Sprayed with a new scent, which, personally, I don’t care about. Dog shaved just before me wearing rather a smart overcoat, trimmed with fur, and having side-pockets for handkerchief, brush, &c. Asked him who his tailor was. Said he forgot the name—only fellow in town who really knew how to cut an overcoat. Just like my Old Woman, not to have heard of him! Catch her standing me a fur overcoat! Some dogs have all the luck!

Looked in at jeweller’s on way home. Bangle done, at last. Not bad; looks rather well on left front paw, though I don’t see why I shouldn’t have one on each leg while I’m about it. At all events she might have made it gold! However, I suppose a silver bracelet is considered good enough for me.

Tried on tan shoes at bootmaker’s. Well enough for country wear, but hardly the thing for town. Mr. Ferdie Frivell’s principal poodle told me himself that he wouldn’t be seen in Piccadilly in anything but patent leathers. And though Zulu may be rather an ass in some ways, I will say this for him—there aren’t many poodles as well turned out, or who can tell you what’s right and what isn’t right (if you know what I mean) better than old Zulu can. Brown shoes to walk about town with. That’s just one of those distinctions women don’t seem able to grasp!

Tete-a-tete lunch with the Old Woman. Wore my navy-blue lounge-coat, and cerise bow in my top-knot. O.W. boring, as usual. Wouldn’t let me have second helping of stewed chicken. Told Robert – in my presence—that I was “getting much too stout.” So is she—but she had some more chicken! I do not wish to break with her unless I’m absolutely compelled, but I cannot live happily under a roof where I don’t feel that my merits are properly appreciated. And really, to have personal remarks made upon one’s figure, to a menial–! She thought she could make it up afterwards by calling me a “Diddy-iddy-duckums”—but that was entirely beside the point, and she need not have spilt some coffee on my best morning jacket.

Drive with the O.W. Called on Lady Ida Downey, who was not at home. Robert was told to leave one of my visiting-cards on her Japanese spaniel, Mousme, a conceited, pampered little black and white beast, whom I have rather gone out of my way to snub. Much annoyed, because this sort of thing puts a poodle in such a thoroughly false position; but of course my Old Woman doesn’t consider that!

Stopped at confectioner’s for sweets. It’s a very curious thing, considering how long she’s known me, but the Old Lady never can get it into her head that I infinitely prefer fondants to chocolate creams! Is this native stupidity on her part, or merely want of observation?

My fawn-coloured driving-coat, with braided facings, seems to attract a good deal of notice; it certainly does suit me. How so many dogs can bring themselves to go about as they do in a state of Nature I simply can’t understand. If I was in their place, I should die of shame, I really believe. I should certainly catch a severe cold.

In the evening, as it seems to-day is my birthday, I entertain a few intimate friends at tea. Not a very successful party, somehow. Frisette put her foot into my saucer, and wolfed up all the apricot sandwiches—which got on my nerves. Goggles and I had a little difference about the last macaroon. As his host I suppose it would have been in better taste not to make my teeth meet in the curl of his tail; but no one knows how provoking a pug can be, till he’s tried!

One stuck-up little terrier tried to show off by sitting up and nursing a rag doll between his forepaws, which was really more than I could stand.

The party broke up rather prematurely, in a general row, after which I discovered that my black satin dress-coat with the rose-coloured lining was torn all down the back. I shall never be able to wear it again!

To bed, heavy and depressed, feeling tired of life and much troubled at night by biliousness, which is all the Old Lady’s fault for not keeping a French cook. The sort of slops Mrs. Harricoe sends up are enough to ruin any dog’s constitution!

Ah, well, some day—when they have lost me—they’ll be sorry they didn’t study me a little more.

Punch’s Almanack for 1897

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  It is the beginning of something called “National Pet Week,” in the States. We have previously read of the excesses of the pampered “Dandy Dogs” of the metropolis. The dandy dog of the account above, unnamed, save for the revolting “Diddy-iddy-duckums,” sounds an unpleasantly conceited, thoroughly spoilt canine.  Should his mistress learn of his complete contempt for her (“Old Lady,” indeed!) Mrs Daffodil would wager he would find himself on that cold street-corner, begging a crust, before he could say “morning coat.”


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.


The New York Girl and the Dog-Catchers: 1890

(c) Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A New York Girl’s Nerve

From the New York Sun.

A black French poodle was trotting down Fifth avenue on a breezy, bright afternoon with a fine, straight young woman. The dog seemed proud of his mistress and the girl was proud of her dog. While all was peaceful and danger seemed nowhere nigh, a rickety and creaky covered wagon, drawn by a pitiable wreck of a horse, and having on its seat two repulsive young men, came around a corner. One of the young toughs leaped to the ground and made a quick plunge for the dog, catching it by the hind leg and whirling it above his head in a circle, running as he did so toward the rear of his wagon. Quicker than it takes to say so the young woman was in front of the young tough, with one hand clutching his coat collar and the other holding the muzzle of a silver-mounted smelling bottle to his face.

“You drop my dog or I’ll shoot you,” said the girl.

The young fellow peered out of his small eyes into the determined face before him, and as he attempted to shake the girl’s hand from his collar, said: “Aw, wot yer given me, any way? Don’t yer see we’re der dog catchers, an’ you ain’t got no right ter have yer purp out without a muzzle? Der dog goes along wid us, see?”

The girl’s face took on a fiercer and still more ominous look. The dog, still in the grasp of the man, was twisting to get away and yelping with pain.

“If you do not drop my dog this instant,” said the girl, “I will fire. Do you hear me?”

The catcher dropped the dog. By this time people were coming up to see the disturbance. The young woman put the bogus weapon into the small chatelaine bag that she wore, blew a small silver whistle, and, accompanied by her joyous dog, pursued her morning walk serenely and with stately grace.

The Anaconda Standard 29 October 1890: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Just as Boston girls were labeled intellectuals and Philadelphia girls had a reputation as the souls of propriety, New York girls were said to be able to take care of themselves. Given the “mean streets,” they might walk—dodging scores of mashers, cads, and cat-callers—this was obviously a necessity. Hat-pins and stout parasols could be deployed in an emergency. This young lady showed a particularly inventive flair in using her smelling-salts bottle as a weapon. One of the Hall footmen, who is fond of thrillers at the cinema, reports that he has seen a lip-stick case used in an identical manner in a spy picture. Without the poodle, of course.

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.


Diary of a Young Dog: 1898


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.