July 15, 2011
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the Upper West Side of Manhattan’s famously wild, wonderful and willful bloodhound coming to you mostly from Central Park. I have pretty much installed myself under a tree for the summer much to the consternation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who don’t find sitting under a tree for hours on end especially entertaining. But such is the reality of life with a Hound that this matters not one whit to me.
Elizabeth, who has wide experience with numerous non-Hound dog breeds and mixes—i.e., “regular dogs” is always trying to explain to Maria, whose experience has been largely limited to Hounds, that normally a human’s wishes have an impact on a dog’s behavior. But in fact my human’s wishes do have an impact on my behavior —just not the one they want. Hounds such as myself like to do the opposite of what humans want just on general principle. This means that, as a practical matter, my humans have no sooner settled themselves resignedly under one tree when I feel the urgent need to go sit under a different one.
But sometimes —especially during the midday heat—I end up going over to Riverside Park for my “walk” and this being New York one never knows who one is going to run into (or in my case, over). So it was no surprise that Maria and I came across the actor who plays Dr. Hank Lawson on USA’s Royal Pains. Sadly the little fellow (I am taller than he is!) had his nose buried in a script so I was not permitted to disturb him. I would very much have liked to tell him that if his show incorporated a fine, premium sized bloodhound such as myself, his character would have many more interesting injuries to treat. If I see him again I would be happy to knock him down to demonstrate.
But in spite of the hot weather (and the intermittent appearance of my cooling coat, the wearing of which makes my sweat drenched humans jealous) I came across this sign which piqued my interest. So my question is: define “everyone?” My humans were reluctant to let me participate (“No Wimsey, No!) But the sign does not appear to exclude large drool flinging, butt poking leg chasing Hounds does it?
But in their defense, at least New Yorkers are a mobile lot. I understand that this weekend is Carmageddon in Los Angeles owing to a major freeway being shut down. I’ve dealt with enough tourists from California (“You mean I have to walk up that hill?”) to imagine their horror. I can just see Angelinos staring at their feet and exclaiming “You mean I can use these to get somewhere?!” Lets face it, people in Los Angeles think that the purpose of feet is to display their shoe collection whereas people in New York City actually employ them for sensible things-- like dancing around in the hot July sun for instance.
Well this week there were two holidays important to those, like me, who are proud of their French heritage: July 10th was the birthday of my idol, Marcel Proust and July 14th was Bastille Day. Very much like me, Marcel Proust turned his life into a series of stories—ones where, coincidentally, he came across as quite a laudable chap whereas his friends and acquaintances not so much. But fortunately for readers with short attention spans, I don’t bite into a piece of kibble on page one and finish the bowl 500 pages later. And also fortunately, unlike Proust who understandably died with a conspicuous paucity of friends, everyone still seems to love and admire me no matter what I say. Of course since what I say is so dwarfed by what I do it is not surprising. The pen might be mightier than the sword but it’s not mightier than a raided laundry basket.
And of course Thursday was Bastille Day, a day when France celebrates liberté, egalité, and fraternité, and I celebrate paté, Camembert and croissants. But I have to say that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette get a bad rap in the history of the French Revolution—really the problems were caused by Louis XIV. I should know since one of my ancestors, Archambault Wimsie, Duc de St. Hubert had a very close relationship with him.
Scenes from the Court Life of Louis XIV as Recorded By Archambault Wimsie, Duc de St Hubert
7:30 am: The Levée
Valet: Sire it is time.
King: You’re late. St. Hubert is already up and eager to start our day. Please get him off of me now—my arm has fallen asleep and my sleeve is wet.
Valet: Certainly Sire. I see the Hound has destroyed yet another of his majesty’s pillows.
King: Don’t you dare refer to him in that way or you’ll be polishing Madame de Maintenon’s shoe collection for all eternity! I created him Duc de St. Hubert and you will refer to him properly.
Valet: Yes Sire. If Monsieur le Duc will just trot this way, I have a tasty piece of meat. Sire I will wash you now if you please.
King: That’s not necessary. St. Hubert has already done it. Invaluable that fellow. Is it time to have sex with Madame Maintenon yet?
Valet: No Sire. I understand she has postponed the morning boff until after breakfast. She says it puts her off her food. Especially since you and that..I mean you and M. le Duc have been sharing a bed. Perhaps seeing her three times a day is excessive.
King: Nonsense. She knew I was a dog when she took up with me. It’s only three times because I’m old. Now what are you serving us for breakfast?
Valet: For M. le Duc this morning we have a fine lapin farci aux herbes, en porchetta et jus de persil simple. For Sire, a bowl of broth.
King; Capital! St. Hubert is devilish fond of rabbit and I know everyone attending the levée will enjoy watching him eat it. And try to be a bit quicker with the serviette—he got Colbert in the face again yesterday. When the Duc has finished his repast run him out for a poop in the parterre and then send him in for chapel. The Duc is very musical you know.
Valet: Yes, we’ve heard.
King: Oh, and this shirt has a hole in it.
10:00 am: Chapel
Another excellent service but I thought St. Hubert’s upper ranges were a bit thready today.
10:58: Sex with Madame de Maintenon.
St. Hubert napped which was good because MdM hates when he watches.
11:00am: Council Meeting
Finance meeting today. So tedious. No one really understands the stuff except Colbert and perhaps St. Hubert who is always inspecting the accounts with tremendous interest. Will just nod sagely, scratch St. H’s ears and think of MdM’s tits. Very soothing.
Colbert: The state is spending too much money.
King: This again! Isn’t that what taxes are for?
Colbert: But if we take away all people’s money they won’t be able to buy bread.
King: Then let them eat cake. That’s cheaper right? At least that’s what St. Hubert tells me when he swaps his baguette for my torte aux fraises.
Colbert: It is a well-known fact that people get testy when you take away their money and when they get testy they form large and unpleasant groups in the street.
King: But isn’t that why we have an army. Shoot the buggers. And besides there aren’t any streets in Versailles so the trouble is a long way away. I mean Paris is practically in a different country.
Colbert: And speaking of Versailles, if you make all the nobility live here there is no one to tell you what’s really going on the in the rest of the country and there is a feeling afoot that the nobility have become blood sucking, parasitic absentee landlords who are only interested in dressing in silly clothes and kissing your ass.
King: And your point being? For the record St. Hubert, who likes kissing my ass, by the way, agrees with you. He is always hounding me to let the nobles go home and suggesting we get out and about more but I always assumed it was because he wanted more space for himself and wanted to hunt on other people’s lands. He finds Versailles a bit confining you know.
Colbert: Perhaps St. Hubert should be king.
King: Normally I’d have you executed for treason for saying so but I agree that St. Hubert would make an excellent king, although frankly he thinks he’s one already so I don’t know if he’d recognize the promotion.
At last back to my apartment so courtiers can watch St. Hubert steal my lunch. A little of that Colbert fellow goes a long way. Wish I could kill him but then I’d just have to replace him with some other boring old coot who will try to tell me that I don’t need a 530,000 square foot house. Such rubbish. Everyone needs a 530,00 square foot house. I’m just ahead of my time.
1:58 Sex with MdM.
Hard to concentrate when MdM is yelling at St. H to get off the bed.
Finally Leisure time! Have arranged to go out hunting with St. Hubert. Will try to make up for MdM’s bad behavior. St. H is very sensitive. Perhaps today I’ll have better luck convincing him that he’s just supposed to find the boar not kill it and eat it. Cook is getting annoyed at just having scraps to work with.
6:00PM: More Affairs of State
Fabulous day out hunting! Boar scraps, deer scraps, rabbit scraps and some actual whole birds! St. H and I are both in a better mood. Will leg it over to MdM’s and confer with those confounded councilors some more, sign stuff I don’t understand and watch St. Hubert play with MdM’s hats. Maybe that’s where all the money is going!
10 PM Dinner
Phew! How time does not fly when one is pretending to handle matters of state that one doesn’t understand and protecting one’s beloved companion from one’s mistress cum secret wife. Women get so worked up over a few irreplacaeble, one of a kind couture hats. Fortunately it’s time to go and have people watch me eat again. But now it’s the whole royal family on view so St. H will have his own food and won’t have to steal mine. I can’t imagine that he’s hungry but I have instructed cook to prepare one of his favorites—grenadins de veau aux morilles. St. H is a lot more entertaining to watch eat than we are although tonight chef says he’s found a way to reconstruct something that looks like a whole a boar from all the left over bits. Very glad, as the boar stew was getting boring.
After dinner will chit chat with the ladies of the court and St. Hubert will chit chat with their skirts-- glad I wear breeches—then am having a few friends over for a friendly game of cards. Probably should turn over proceeds to Colbert to show I understand and sympathize with the country’s fiscal problems. Wouldn’t want him to think I’m extravagant.
11:28PM: Final session with MdM to ensure sound sleep. St. H already snoring loudly.
11:30PM: Bedtime at last! Wonder what I’d do without all these valets—the only thing more mysterious than the economy is these clothes.
11:40PM Forgot morilles give St. H gas.
So you see Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette weren’t really the problem. And for the record, historians (at least those with Hounds) agree that had my ancestor been king French history would have been a whole lot less bloody. At least in one sense.
So that’s it for this week. (PS: You will notice some pictures of me in front of unusual objects—just in case you are wondering, these are art installations in Riverside Park South.)
Until next time,
Wimsey, Duc de St. Hubert, Le Hound-Soleil and a very royal pain