Monday, May 01, 2006

More About Dogs

I remembered something I read in Daniel Deronda about dogs, and found it again.

"The dogs--half-a-dozen of various kinds were moving lazily in and out, taking attitudes of brief attention--gave a vacillating preference first to one gentleman, then to the other; being dogs in such good circumstances that they could play at hunger, and liked to be served with delicacies which they declined to put in their mouths; all except Fetch, the beautiful liver-colored water-spaniel, which sat with its forepaws firmly planted and its expressive brown face turned upward, watching Grandcourt with unshaken constancy. He held in his lap a tiny Maltese dog with a tiny silver collar and bell, and when he had a hand unused by cigar or coffee-cup, it rested on this small parcel of animal warmth. I fear that Fetch was jealous, and wounded that her master gave her no word or look; at last it seemed that she could bear this neglect no longer, and she gently put her large silky paw on her master's leg. Grandcourt looked at her with unchanged face for half a minute, and then took the trouble to lay down his cigar while he lifted the unimpassioned Fluff close to his chin and gave it caressing pats, all the while gravely watching Fetch, who, poor thing, whimpered interruptedly, as if trying to repress that sign of discontent, and at last rested her head beside the appealing paw, looking up with piteous beseeching. So, at least, a lover of dogs must have interpreted Fetch, and Grandcourt kept so many dogs that he was reputed to love them; at any rate, his impulse to act just in that way started from such an interpretation. But when the amusing anguish burst forth in a howling bark, Grandcourt pushed Fetch down without speaking, and, depositing Fluff carelessly on the table (where his black nose predominated over a salt-cellar), began to look to his cigar, and found, with some annoyance against Fetch as the cause, that the brute of a cigar required relighting. Fetch, having begun to wail, found, like others of her sex, that it was not easy to leave off; indeed, the second howl was a louder one, and the third was like unto it. "Turn out that brute, will you?" said Grandcourt to Lush, without raising his voice or looking at him--as if he counted on attention to the smallest sign.And Lush immediately rose, lifted Fetch, though she was rather heavy, and he was not fond of stooping, and carried her out, disposing of her in some way that took him a couple of minutes before he returned." (Ch. 12)

And later in Daniel Deronda, we see a (possibly Maltese) tiny dog worn as a fashion accessory by Lady Mallinger:

"Lady Mallinger, with fair matronly roundness and mildly prominent blue eyes, moved about in her black velvet, carrying a tiny white dog on her arm as a sort of finish to her costume;" (Ch. 35)

The Maltese dog spurned by Dorothea makes a return appearance in Ch. 55 of Middlemarch, in the scene where Celia is persuading Dorothea to take off her widow's cap. Mrs. Cadwallader is stirring things up with suggestions of Dorothea's remarriage. "Sir James was annoyed, and leaned forward to play with Celia's Maltese dog." So it would seem that Celia got the puppy after all!

3 Comments:

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Anonymous rachel said...

I'm not convinced that you've even read this book, "anonymous".

8:02 PM  
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