Friday, March 16, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 8
March 16, 2007

Hello Everyone! Wimsey here. Or maybe I should say O’Wimsey, as St. Patrick’s Day is once more upon us. For anyone reading this who does not live in New York City, it really is true that on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish (even bloodhounds) which means that everyone is entitled to celebrate, which they do. A lot. And then some. And then some more. In short, it is a very festive day. Whilst there is no serious talk of dyeing me green this year, I have informed my human Maria that I will be wearing my elegant green sequined cravat in honor of the occasion. I make a very handsome Irishhound if I do say so myself. And of course Maria’s friend Elizabeth is already looking forward to the nutrition-enhancing drool with which I intend to fortify her St. Patty’s day libations.

Now however, laudable St, Patrick was—protecting bloodhounds from snakes and all that, I want to propose that November 3rd--St. Hubert’s Day-- should also be a holiday. For those of you who do not actually spend their evenings curled up with “The History of The Bloodhound,” you may not be aware of this, but my ancestors were brought from the Holy Land during the Crusades and deposited at the Monastery of St. Hubert in the Forest of the Ardennes. This was apparently a wholly appropriate maneuver as St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. But can you just imagine the shock and awe (not to mention mess) that my relatives must have caused:


Abbott: What on earth are they?

Crusader: We don’t know, actually. We stole them from the Paynim on general principle. We were hoping that the learned monks here could figure it out.

Abbott: Did they lose a lot of weight on the way over or something? They seem excessively baggy.

Crusader: No, I think they come like that. We don’t exactly know why anyone would want something that looks that way, but you know, these Paynim are a strange lot.

Abbott: Gadzooks! The beast seems to have flung some strange fluid onto my cassock.

Crusader: Ooops, I forgot to warn you about that. They seem to do it quite a lot. Why the Sieur de Baskerville alone has had three embroidered silk bilauts ruined. He was mighty peeved, I can tell you! But then the beasts found a juicy boar, so we decided that the fluid was a magic embrocation of sorts. I must say, the stuff does rather get into everything. We found that only a mounted knight in full body armor is truly protected. But then we started worrying about rust factor you know. And the horses weren’t happy.

Abbott: And what is that strange odor?

Crusader: That’s them again, I’m afraid. They are a rather pungent lot. They also tend to get a bit loud when riled up.

Abbott: My son, while we monks of St. Hubert are always appreciative of a small tribute or two, the munificence of your gift of these beasts overwhelms us. We find that this gift is simply too generous to be compatible with our humble monastic lifestyle.

Crusader: Well, we thought you might see it like that. The thing is, we think we can scam the King of France into thinking that they are rare and precious—think of the privileges that we could extort, er, I mean the gratitude that would come our way—if you were the only source of supply of these desirable animals. Here’s the deal: we heroic knights will take care of the demand side of things—you know, creating the right buzz at Court and all that, while you monks take care of actually raising a supply of the creatures.

Abbott: That is asking a lot my son. However, who are we humble monks to deny the King of France a prize that he so richly deserves. Might I suggest, however, that you alert the royal tailors to lay in vast quantities of additional cloth. I have a feeling His Majesty may be needing it.


And of course, the rest, as they say is history. The French king took the bait hook, line, and drool and bloodhounds became the ne plus ultra of medieval chic:


Duke of Burgundy: I hear the French king has acquired a strange new animal. I must have one too.

Conte d’Anjou: I don’t know if that is wise your grace. I hear they are loud, smelly and cover everything within a several cubits radius in a strange, sticky humour. Also, the monks of St. Hubert are charging a fortune for them and they are refusing to sell them at all unless you have connections.

Duke of Burgundy: If the French King has one then the Duke of Burgundy must have one. Also, the Duchess has been nagging me about it. Apparently she thinks they’re sweet. She also has it on good authority from the Queen’s bedchamber that Her Majesty’s youthful appearance is due to smearing the animal’s secretions on her face. Anyway, even the Conte d’Artois has one.

Conte d’Anjou: Yes, but that was only because he won it in a poker game from the Duke of the Aquitaine.


And so the fact that my kind could only be owned at the highest echelons of society, were hideously expensive to buy and extraordinarily inconvenient to keep, made us the acme of fashion (and people wonder why I think humans are foolish). And in those days, it wasn’t even necessary to dress up in little pink clothes either! Sometimes, the old ways are best.

Well, I don’t like to brag, but because of the Bloodhound, (or the Chien de St. Hubert as we came to be called—I am sure the Abbott was thrilled), the good Monks of St. Hubert prospered and built many fine buildings to inspire the faithful, the textile trade and consequently the entire economy flourished, people far and wide were well fed because of the increased availability of juicy boar, and the Queen of France looked young.

Well, that’s just where things stood when William the Conqueror had the brilliant idea of foisting us upon the English. It is my belief that the sight of us confused the Anglo Saxon armies (“Forsooth, what the hell is that!!!) and that bloodhounds are responsible in large measure for Duke William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. From there, of course we jumped the pond (baying our way across the Atlantic, no doubt) to America where we established ourselves in great style. And now we hunt juicy boar in Central Park.

But I digress. We were speaking of holidays. Think of all the extra fun a new holiday would engender! On St. Hubert’s Day people could drink lots of beer, fling drool, bay and engage in the wearin o’ the black and tan (a lot more tasteful and flattering a color than green, I think). But why stop there. In addition to St. Hubert’s Day, I believe that our annual roster of holidays should include National Bloodhound Appreciation Day, take a Bloodhound to Work Day and Walk a Bloodhound for Six Hours Day. Also, a parade up Fifth Avenue would not be amiss. (“Grand Marshall Wimsey is leading the Band of Baying Bloodhounds on a nine hour march through the boroughs of New York”). As bloodhounds are actually responsible for the Norman Conquest, and, as a consequence, much of Western Civilization, I hardly think it too much to ask.

But of course the most exciting holiday (from my point of view at least) is the fact that March 19th is my birthday! Well, on hearing about the date of my birth it was all “Did you know that Wimsey was a Pisces when you agreed to have him?” and “Was that really wise; Pisces are so difficult; they have a very artistic temperament that is so hard to deal with” and “Is that why Wimsey sings so loudly?” etc., etc., etc. But I don’t care (do I ever?)-- I will finally be three and I won’t have to cope with the human fear that I am going to get even bigger. On the other hand, it has become apparent to me that show judges like a rather meaty looking bloodhound, so in the spirit of cooperation for which I am well known, I have instructed Maria to make me the same cream cake that that famous gourmand Nanook had for his birthday. Whatever made him that big, I want it too! (“If Nanook the Newfy has it, then Wimsey the Bloodhound must have it”—some things are timeless, don’t you think. Although I must say, I think I will pass on all Nanook’s bath paraphernalia. ((As an aside, Maria and Elizabeth have a plan to bath me in Elizabeth’s bath tub. Stay tuned for that one)).

Well, that’s all for this week. The juicy boar of Central Park await. I hope you enjoyed the history lesson. We Wimseys are very illustrious you know.

Until next week,

Wimsey

7 comments:

Peanut said...

Happy early birthday. I hope you get lots of presents and a great cake

Sophie Brador said...

Oh Wimsey, I loved your history lessons -- and your ascot! You look very dashing and of course the only possible choice pour le roi du France. Happy St. Pattie's day AND Happy Birthday!!!!

Nanook The Newfoundland said...

Your card is in the mail, my friend. And I have posted a happy birthday blog just for you! It is brief, but fulsome.

You have also inspired me to post about the history of my noble breed as well. Did you know a newf named Seaman was on the Lewis and Clark expedition?

Sherry said...

happy happy birthday!!!!!

from bob and layla

(yes, we are cats )

wally said...

Yo Wimsey! Happy Paddy's Day. Interesting info about your breed. And have a happy burpday!

wally.

Bogart said...

Hey Wimsey, how is the weather in NYC these days? I know you're a big guy and all, but is it tough to get around? (My mom is from NYC and remembers walking around in snowstorms with her old German Shepherd).

Love,
Bogart

Ash said...

Let's hear it for St Hubert's Day.. it sounds a fine idea to me, surely a day of long walks, good sniffs and short naps.

St P's Day is not an event in this part of the world and whizzes by without anyone noticing. A birthday, however, need to be celebrated so congratulations, Mr W, you're looking well on it.

Kind regards from the chocolate tart,