March 28th 2008
Hello everyone. Wimsey here reporting from Manhattan’s fun filled Upper West Side. And it’s spring! And in spring a young Hound’s fancy lightly (or not so lightly as we do nothing lightly) turns to thoughts of love. So really I blame my atrocious behavior at last Sunday’s Easter dog show entirely on Alfred Lord Tennyson who penned those immortal words (are we sure he wasn’t really called Alfred Hound Tennyson?) My human Maria and her friend (and my handler) Elizabeth were so incensed at my bad behavior that I am apparently in the Hound House. This is a lot like being in the dog house except that nothing bad actually happens because Hounds are just too cute to be mad at.
Well last week things actually did get off to a promising start—Wimsey Bath Night enrolled a new recruit—a dog loving photography student from Germany called Julie who is documenting my life, which is actually pretty difficult because every time she sets up a shot I immediately have an urgent need to face in the opposite direction or to shake my head or to lift my leg (although to be fair, this latter activity deserves a prominent place in any photo documentary of my life--my prodigious peeing prowess, even after hours of walking, is legendary). In any case Julie has many lovely, blurry pictures of my hind quarters, the back of my neck and my ears in full rotation. But I did allow her to capture my most intimate moment--the reverent worship I reserve for the sight of my dinner being cooked. (Elizabeth, who aspires to elicit a similar show of reverence from me in the show ring, frequently laments not being a turkey or a plate of scrambled eggs). But to be fair I do periodically bestow upon her my attentive “cookie face” just before I ram my muzzle into the pouch around her abdomen, causing the disgorgement of a cookie. She is kind of like a Pez dispenser for Hounds).
But I digress. Anyway, over post-bath cocktails we all got to hear about Elizabeth’s excellent German adventures when, apparently in her student days, she subsisted entirely on beer and wurst (and she also told us about the time she accidentally ordered pickled head cheese owing to her deficiency in restaurant German, Goethe having never introduced the topic of pickled head cheese in his oeuvre. More’s the pity. Personally I thought it all sounded delicious—there are no bad parts of animals only uneducated palates). But fortunately this discussion of all things German was rapidly superseded by a much more fascinating discussion of all things Hound and a good time was had by all. Especially me, which is the main thing. So sad that the good cheer was not to last, but into every life a little Hound must fall.
Well Elizabeth was worried that owing to it being Easter no one would show up at the dog show except a bunny. But guess who showed up! The love of my life, Phoebe! Now Phoebe is a gorgeous girl bloodhound who was next to me on the bench at Westminster and with whom I am profoundly in love. She is like Grace Kelly in a bloodhound suit—elegant, aloof and devastatingly beautiful. And wherever she is my nose must be, preferably inhaling the intoxicating perfume of her nether regions (apparently this is an honor rarely bestowed and many a young Hound has come close to losing a nose in the process). I am very much encouraged as my nose remained un-nipped, but as for showing with her around—out of the question! I paced (the gait that I am not supposed to do in the show ring where I use both legs on the same side of my body instead of the opposite side as in the trot) in a protesting and lumbering manner when being gaited away from her and galloped in a joyous and enthusiastic manner when being gaited towards her. And then I refused to stand with my nose pointing away from her and whatever Elizabeth’s talents might be, stacking a backwards facing Hound is not one of them Especially as I was straining heroically against my paltry, insignificant show collar to stand next to my love, who remained serenely cool and collected throughout. I didn’t win. That honor went quite rightly to the Magnificent Phoebe who stood and gaited like a lady—wholly unconcerned with the maelstrom of male emotions and energy with which she was being showered.
And as far as my spectacular non-gaiting, Phoebe’s owner was all “I am sure it was because Wimsey didn’t like the floor.” And my humans were like “We don’t think the floor had anything to do with it.” I am such a dawg! Like most mammals of the masculine persuasion, the prospect of female companionship drives all other thoughts out of my head. Such it is that species are perpetuated, even the noble bloodhound. (We take the admonishment to be fruitful and multiply very much to heart…. or wherever). And as I am not in possession of a surfeit of neurons in the first place (or so I am repeatedly told), the ones I do possess are just that much more easily overwhelmed by instincts of a less intellectual nature. So I join a long (and growing!) list of reviled males who loved not wisely but too well (the Immortal Bard understood, but then again Shakespeare was a product of Tudor England, where, if recent movies and TV productions are to be believed, people routinely threw caution ((and much clothing)) to the winds in pursuit of unbridled passion. The only thing that makes Elizabeth more apoplectic than my show ring behavior are the grotesque historical distortions employed in these Tudor defaming shows--- The Tudors being one of Elizabeth’s many fascinating hobbies (like The Wursts of Germany). If only she would devote the same amount of energy to the study of The Hound perhaps I would behave better in the show ring.
Court of Wimsey Tudor
Page: King Wimsey Tudor approaches! All Hail, Present Bottoms!
King Wimsey Tudor: Excellent. Excellent. Very fragrant today. Hey, you’ve been eating the Royal Kibble! Off to the Tower with you!
Hound Courtier: But it was left unattended. Your Houndhsip did not object when I stole the Hound of France’s pheasant!
King Wimsey Tudor: Very true. But the Hound of France is Our Enemy. He prances around, eats strange food with too many sauces and bays with an incomprehensible accent. I also hear he even likes to wears coats! And the Lady Hounds think he is very cute!
Hound Courtier: Yes, I heard about that.
King Wimsey Tudor: Why the other day I caught him with his nose so far up the Hound Consort’s bum that I was surprised he could breath. I get nipped in the nose for doing that! I was going to bite him, but then it was time for dinner. Although bottom sniffing is about the only thing his nose is good for—he is certainly not capable of using it to find juicy animals. Not that he needs to—the Lady Hounds like to feed him their food.
Hound Courtier: And I heard about the Masque.
King Wimsey Tudor: Yes he came disguised as a poodle! All that fur and pom poms! He’s a disgrace to the kennel. And of course the Lady Hounds made a fuss and pretended not to know him. Ridiculous! He reeks of garlic. And Crown Royale.
Page: Your Majesty, the royal architect is here.
King Wimsey Tudor: Excellent. Show him in. I am going to rebuild Hampton Court in liver.
Well what can I say. Spring brings out the romantic Hound in me. I will see Phoebe again in a few weeks at the Eastern Bloodhound Specialty in Harrisburg. Elizabeth is thinking of dipping herself in liver before I enter the ring.
And speaking of fun and frolic, that is the theme of this week’s visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. We return to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a painting by Pieter Brueghel who, although Flemish, painted this picture during the reign of that uber Tudor Elizabeth I (The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel, 1565, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Now although very hard work, harvest time (like spring) was also a time for hearty rejoicing. Now see how the addition of a lively, roaching Hound adds to the festive atmosphere of Brueghel’s great masterpiece of peasant life! The Harvest Hound.
Well this weekend I am to spend with Elizabeth as Maria has snuck off for the weekend (I wonder if it is to get away from me?). And as usual I plan on being maximally disruptive (the only good Hound is an Annoying Hound) and also as usual Elizabeth has laid in a large supply of gin.
Until next time,
Wimsey , Prisoner of Love.