Tuesday, November 14, 2006

attica-ruth magazine 13

Journal Jottings

McCartney in Gir?

Photo: HINDU Young World: Sushanta Patronobish
Is he fashionably vegetarian, or playful, or frustrated, this Gir lion, presently in a zoo?

Tree and Leaf

My Brother-in-Law, Gentil e Nobre

My first meeting with Jimmy was when I came to Bombay with my father, for my formal engagement, at the end of January 1950.

I knew that all the arrangements for our accommodation in a hotel near Asian Building had been made by Jimmy, but he was still just a name to me. When our train halted at the V.T., we planned to hire a taxi. Suddenly we noticed a gentleman and a lady who appeared to be looking out for a passenger they had come to meet. As they looked attentively at each passenger, we alighted, coming face to face with them. Jimmy said: “Here we are. Dr Alvares?” and my father replied: "Sim". Then Jimmy introduced himself and his wife, Irene. The name ‘Jimmy’ was informal and affectionate, and that is how he was known in official circles as well as to his friends.
It is a common belief that first impressions are long-lasting and powerful. So it was with this one. I thought Jimmy and Irene a very amiable couple, affable and considerate; Jimmy had seen to all that long-distance travellers might require. After settling us into our hotel room, they left, with Jimmy assuring us that he would return to take us to his home for lunch, when we would meet other members of the Heredia family.

Mine was an arranged marriage and, naturally, I was apprehensive at every stage. I observed and assessed every family member introduced to me, and I was even more favourably impressed with Jimmy and Irene. The engagement ceremony took place at Asian Building, presided over by Cardinal Valerian Gracias, a friend of all the family but especially of Jimmy and Irene. After that there was a sumptuous dinner, for the family and a few close friends. I noticed Jimmy’s special affection for Fred, and in due course I had proof that this was not my fancy or imagination. Later on, it was Jimmy who made all the arrangements for the wedding, and gave a very grand dinner for us, including Fred’s guests who had come from the district where he was posted.

I soon learned that Jimmy, as head of the family after his father’s death, had cared as attentively and affectionately as a father for his younger brother and sisters. All of us had the benefit of his understanding of financial matters, and of his wise investments. I noted silently, but gratefully, the many times he assisted Fred unasked, and the interest he took to promote Fred’s career.

Over the years I came to know of so many other good qualities in Jimmy that are well-known to others, and which I don’t need to write about. My first favourable impression of Jimmy was confirmed many, many times and enlarged. But to my mind the best thing any one ever said about Jimmy was the remark of my great and dear friend Clara:
“Senhor Jimmy e muito differente, a ‘gentleman’, gentil e nobre.”

Remembering Uncle Jimmy

The two characteristics of Uncle Jimmy that I chiefly remember when I think of him are his love of laughter, and his helpfulness.

When I was little I learned one verse of a Gujarati folk-song that was generally danced to - perhaps a garba - and in the solemn way that small children have, I must have demonstrated this minor accomplishment to Uncle Jimmy. Years and years after that, his first greeting to me was invariably “Khem cho Chakliben?” with a broad grin. He was never unkind in his humorous replies or remarks - not that I ever heard - but he had a well-developed sense of the ridiculous, and frequently found some comical aspect to things said in his hearing.

I still have a yellowed thesaurus which long ago yielded in usefulness to a better organized volume. Yet it keeps its place with my other reference books and for one reason: its inscription. On the fly-leaf is the date, 7 August 1967, and the words: “to dearest Ruth, from an admiring Uncle”. I never knew why Uncle Jimmy sent me the book, and so inscribed - I was too shy to ask lest it seemed like fishing for another compliment, and that inscription made me quite sufficiently proud!

This circumstance must have been in my mind when I appealed to him for assistance in obtaining a much-desired book. In December 1968 I had made the acquaintance of Tolkien in the classic bound volumes of Allen & Unwin, and my dearest wish was to have my own copy of The Lord of the Rings always to hand. Ahmedabad’s bookshops were too rustic then for Tolkien, but even Higginbotham’s and International Book House of Bangalore had offered Mummy books on Good Habits in the belief that that was what she meant by a book about hobbits. So I asked Uncle Jimmy. He must have got the books from Strand Bookshop, and I received - oh glorious gift! - an entire set of Tolkien in the now notorious Ballantine edition with the bizarre covers. Four of those five books were read almost to pieces before being replaced by a revised edition. But the gift was recorded in my Tolkien scrapbook as “received from Uncle Jimmy on 6 April 1970”, and there remains the fifth book, A Tolkien Reader.

So you see, Uncle Jimmy is always around somehow, and always a benevolent presence…

And here are two photographs in which you can see Uncle Jimmy, both times on the extreme left. James Nathaniel Heredia; ‘J. N. Heredia’ of the road in Ballard Estate, Bombay; “Jimmy” to all in the world who knew him, was a person affectionate, kind, dependable, and much more. Something of this you may see in his smile.

scribendi cacoethes

Sunbright blossom
blazing in the heat of high summer:
black branch, green leaf,
and every flower impearled.

Dusty path, brown burnt hedges,
and a shimmering road;
high white walls sun dazzle,
hot blue-glass sky weighs down,
and nothing moves that can be still;
only that blossom –
glancing over the wall.

Stooping swiftly out of the heavens
a bird’s call:
so clear, so sweet,
it stopped the turning of the spheres,
and beauty seized me by the throat
so that I knew this,
- here – and now – this
was the moment –
Verweile doch! Du bist so schon!

But all things pass, even such a moment
of beauty that is earthfound.
Somewhere a dog barked, children shrilled at play,
and all the sounds and smells
of life at mid-morning in summer

I live yet,
and so, most strangely bright,
does that moment out of time;
held forever in my soul,
alive – but very still.

©1972 by Ruth Heredia

Ruth Heredia is the originator and holds the copyright to all material on this blog unless credited to some source. Please do not use it or pass it off as your own work. That is theft. If you wish to link it, quote it, or reprint in whole or in part, please be courteous enough to seek my permission.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

attica-ruth magazine 12

Journal Jottings


Photo: SPORTSTAR: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Intent, appraising – umpire in disguise, perhaps? Spectator at Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, during a Champion’s Trophy match between S. Africa & Sri Lanka.

[Pace, Blaise Pascal, mon ami, use of the first person singular is unavoidable here.]

“You know you‘ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~ Paul Sweeney

I have just renewed acquaintance with an ‘old’ friend, The Marquis of Carabas by Rafael Sabatini. The best of Sabatini has to be read twice over: the first time for the story & the second for the writing. The best of Sabatini’s books become friends for life.

I read Carabas a few years ago & was impelled to investigate the Quiberon expedition of 1795, to compare it minutely with Sabatini’s story. Events overtook me & the project was regretfully abandoned, unfinished. Now that investigation has been resumed & the final results will probably appear on the Rafael Sabatini website: http://www.rafaelsabatini.com/. In any case it is a site that appreciative readers of Sabatini must not miss.
--> Written many years after Scaramouche (pub. 1921), The Marquis of Carabas, also known as Master-at-Arms, is remarkably similar in many particulars. Given the time of life when Sabatini wrote Carabas, and all that had happened to him between 1921 and 1940, it is not surprising that Carabas is more subdued in tone. There is plenty of action, a deal of mystery, hatred, betrayal, duels aplenty, and much clever dialogue. Sabatini is master of that. It is a characteristic of his stories that makes a reader either embrace or spurn him. There is also a marked advance in the writing and the plotting from what Sabatini achieved in the first edition of Scaramouche. In Carabas there is such a thoughtful engagement with the complexities of history as is found in the revised edition of Scaramouche. This hero, Quentin de Morlaix, does not begin with a fixed position on who is right and who is wrong, although he has a sensibly democratic leaning from the outset. His basic values do not change but he does learn to reckon with human beings as individual persons first and 'party members' second. The novel has many characters who, like most human beings, are difficult to classify unequivocally as either friend or foe.

As he does in Scaramouche the King-maker (pub. 1931), Sabatini takes a byway of the history of the French Revolution. He weaves that bit of history into his tale of love and adventure and growing up, focusing on the Quiberon misadventure, and draws his hero into the historical narrative as convincingly as he does in King-maker. Again, as he does in King-maker and other novels (Bellarion, pub.1926, for instance), Sabatini takes a real historical person and gives him an important part in the plot, but he also makes a significant alteration or two in the 'history' of that person as a character in his story. This should keep an alert reader from ever confusing Sabatini's fictitious representation in the novel with the true historical person. I can imagine Sabatini's special satisfaction with this plot device since he used it more than once.

Another point of likeness with Scaramouche the King-maker is in the gradually developing relationship between the hero and his 'patron' - who is in both cases a real historical person - which ends with a rather similar transition in the hero's hitherto ambivalent feelings for this person, both transitions arising from a similar cause. The legitimacy of the hero's parentage is questioned, as it is in more than one of Sabatini's novels and short stories, including Scaramouche. (This is a characteristic of Sabatini's writing with a painful origin in his own life.) However, unlike Andre-Louis Moreau, who - at least in Scaramouche - hurtles from adventure to adventure, changing roles as he changes apparel, Quentin de Morlaix has his share of adventure but with a difference. Quentin's adventures are far more believable, more logical from the premise of the plot, and certainly bring him closer to death, time and again, than the adventures of Andre-Louis threaten his life in Scaramouche - though the case is different in King-maker.

The French Revolution seems to have had a special appeal for Sabatini. Six years before The Marquis of Carabas, he wrote Venetian Masque, whose back-story includes the Quiberon expedition, and its plot has many elements in common with the later novel: a dishonest steward, the usual clutch of tiresome emigres, a beautiful aristocratic 'spy' who tries to seduce the hero, and the blurring of national identity - is the hero fully French or is he English?

One of the characteristics of Sabatini's historical novels that particularly appeals to me is that history doesn't just become a source of 'local colour'. It is brought to life using whatever Sabatini had garnered from his wide reading of primary sources. Early in The Marquis of Carabas we are introduced to the world of French emigres in London, and I was reminded of Gone With The Wind, of the preoccupation with what was necessarily a shabby gentility in the remainder of Southern society that survived in Atlanta. Among the emigres is a nobleman to whom a nabob's daughter is married, clearly a barter of wealth for a title - shades of Vanity Fair. Except that this couple are nothing like the generally deplorable society Thackeray depicts. These are kind, generous and sensible.

The heroine is intelligent, spirited, loving - and best of all - that rara avis among Sabatini women, not liable to choose, unfailingly, a perverse interpretation of the hero's words/deeds/motives, which choice makes both miserable for unconscionably long stretches of a novel. The opening and closing sentences of the novel are also typical of Sabatini at his best, and are in a similar vein of humour (and of music) as those he wrote for Scaramouche and for Scaramouche the King-maker.

The Marquis of Carabas does become a friend one parts from regretfully.

Those who knew my father well may remember that FJ was a lifelong admirer of Sabatini’s writings. He first made their acquaintance in the mid to late 1930s, & read them with undiminished pleasure until the end of his life.

Anyone who wants to read The Marquis of Carabas online can download it for free from gutenberg.net.au.


Here are two recipes peculiar to the family. The recipe for sorpatel was evolved by the pater, Frederic Joseph, from the instructions of his beloved mother-in-law, Eugenia. She, in turn, either developed it herself from the traditional recipe or inherited this version from her Costa father, who was a notable ‘theoretical’ cook. Why ‘theoretical’? Because in his day he only needed to sit in a comfortable chair in the kitchen while he directed the cooks & scullions who would give substance to his idea for a dish.

The recipe for feijoada was reconstructed from memory of a version that FJ himself had conjured out of his own memories of a favourite dish. He did not leave a written note of this recipe.

Sorpatel (Costa-Heredia variant)
Pork (medium fat) 750 gms
Pig liver 250 gms
Ginger-garlic paste 1 heaped tsp
Tomato puree
Onions 3 large
Chilli powder 3 heaped tsps
Dhaniya (coriander) powder 2 heaped tsps
Geera (cumin seed) powder 1 heaped tsp
Haldi (turmeric) powder ½ tsp
Cinnamon ]
Cloves ] all 3 ground together to make 1 tbsp
Cardamom ]
Hot water
Gur (jaggery)

Setting aside a few pieces of fat, cut pork & liver into smallish pieces.
Marinate the meat with salt, ginger-garlic paste & tomato puree.
Render fat from pieces set aside. Remove the chitterlings, drain & add to the marinating meat.
In a pressure cooker fry thinly sliced onions in the rendered lard until pearly.
Add the condiments & roast well on medium heat.
Add the meat & brown it thoroughly, reducing the heat to allow juices to flow out of the browning meat. To further this process, cover the pan (but not with its proper lid) after stirring in the spoonful of ground spices.
Rinse out with hot water the pan used for marinating, & add this water to the meat. (Water added to cooking meat must ALWAYS be hot, else the meat becomes tough.)
Close the pressure cooker with its proper lid; increase the heat till steam comes out of the vent; fit the weight on; reduce the heat after the first expulsion of steam; & cook the meat for 35 minutes thereafter.
After the cooker is cool enough to open, add vinegar & gur to taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary, & boil briskly for a short while to cause free floating lard to be absorbed in the gravy. (Don’t ask how & why this works. FJ used to do it, & taught the method. It works.)

Feijoada (FJ’s version)

Rajma (red kidney) beans
Chicken soup cube
Pork 250 gms
Onion 1 medium-size, finely sliced
Star anise 1
Cloves a few coarsely ground with the star anise
Ginger-garlic paste 1 heaped tsp
Dried red chillies 2
Tomato puree
Hot water
Balsamic vinegar

Cut the pork into medium size chunks & salt it.
Pressure cook the beans, drain them, & stir in the soup cube while the drained beans are still hot, so that it dissolves.
Fry the onion till pearly.
Add condiments & spices & fry well.
Add the G&G paste & the chillies.
Brown the pork thoroughly & then reduce the heat to draw out juices.
Add tomato puree & then the beans, with sufficient hot water to cover pork & beans while they simmer under cover.
It may be necessary to top up with more hot water to make enough gravy.
When the pork is judged to be soft enough, add vinegar & gur to taste.

Ruth Heredia is the originator and holds the copyright to all material on this blog unless credited to some source. Please do not use it or pass it off as your own work. That is theft. If you wish to link it, quote it, or reprint in whole or in part, please be courteous enough to seek my permission.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

attica-ruth magazine 11

Journal Jottings
~ "A life less ordinary"

Delighted to read an interview with long-time friend Leela Ramanathan, illustrated with two lovely photographs.
See hinduonline.com for the supplement to newspaper of Friday 27 October.

~ "During Divali pets hide from the sound"

So they do, poor things, & some find unusual places of refuge!

Photo: HINDU: K. Gopinathan


Photo: HINDU: Murali Kumar K.
Lowest end music system from the bargain basement enraptures as effectively as - more effectively than? - top-of-the-line product. Proves that in truth what matters is not so much the quality of that which delivers the music as the quality of mind in the one who hears it.
Offer in support of this proposition the following: back in the 70s & 80s this lover of music explored the often strange & always fascinating world of "Western Classical" music, into its outer reaches & back to its earliest, Oriental-sounding origins. These explorations were conducted through the then abundant & superior music programmes of BBC World Service, heard fitfully as far as an erratic power supply & the electrical interference of kitchen appliances would allow, (not to mention the almost inevitable "wow-wow-wow" of poor reception), & always heard through a heavy storm of hiss, crackle & pop. Never did one lose heart even if frequently misplacing one's temper. Every fragment of music, as if it were a shard of porcelain or glass, was stored away as though it had been the finest Ming or the rarest Murano, entire & unblemished.
To recognize the matchless beauty & artistry of Claudia Muzio, Rosa Ponselle - oh, one must stop before nostalgia overcomes the spirit in this fading time of year; to recognize these beauties in such circumstances & be haunted by them ever after... Only the parched soul grateful for a single drop of heaven-sent refreshment could so respond. So, yes, this image perfectly mirrors the experiences of long ago, when life was as full of trials as today, but the spirit was young & hope had not had her wings so severely clipped. Eheu fugaces!

THE MAGUS (concluded)
The exhilaration generated by a live performance is not peculiar to Shakespeare's plays. But there is one source of this exhilaration that Shakespeare tapped more skilfully than any other dramatist. He used to the fullest the power of language. We all delight in language used with imagination, skill, wit and boldness. We may not ourselves be very adventurous in our use of it, but it gives us keen pleasure to follow an artist's exploration of the potential of language, especially if the result is as vibrant and graceful as the truly great writers make it. Shakespeare was one of the greatest of these, and he lived in an age when the language was as full of promise as Eldorado, while he and his contemporaries worked its mines as vigorously as any gold-hungry Spaniard. That splendid vitality still fires the blood, stretches the mind or stops the heart as it chooses; and when it chooses will ravish the ear with sweetness. With his contemporaries we have no present concern, but here is a necessarily random and restricted sampling of voices from Shakespeare's plays, now
Henry V:
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words -
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester -
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered -
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...

Macbeth:Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

poignant:Charmian: O Eastern star!
Cleopatra: Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast
That sucks the nurse asleep?

Charmian: O, break! O, break!
As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle-
O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too:
What should I stay –
In this vile world? So, fare thee well.
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies
A lass unparallel'd.

Lear: Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks; rage, blow.
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drowned the cocks.
You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head. And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' th' world;
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
That makes ingrateful man.

Beatrice: Kill Claudio.
Benedick: Ha! Not for the wide world.
You kill me to deny it.
O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart i’the marketplace.

Antony: Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay.

Horatio: Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest:

Dogberry: Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.
or wise:
Edgar: Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all.

Besides language we love stories. It is an enduring love, and Shakespeare's plays have memorable stories of many kinds: simple, happy, funny stories, dark, troubled stories, stories that terrify, that sadden, that console, that encourage…. What they all have in common is that they engage our emotions at deeper levels than most stories do. Perhaps only the great Greek dramatists etched their stories as deeply on the mind.
We have glanced at a few reasons why Shakespeare's plays are still loved, but there is another which was better understood, perhaps, by the playgoers of his own time. These were not primarily scholars, intellectuals and persons of cultivated taste, although numbers of them went to the theatre. For so did everyone else: apprentices, craftsmen, labourers, farmers come to London on business, lawyers and their clerks, shopkeepers and pedlars, priests and choristers, merchants, bankers, butchers, bakers, courtiers, soldiers, and university men. Nor was it men alone who went to the plays. They took wives, mothers, daughters, sweethearts along.

And Shakespeare had no difficulty in satisfying this diverse gathering of widely varying tastes and interests. Perhaps it was because his plays had to have something to please all; perhaps it was because Shakespeare himself had a heart and mind that embraced all of humanity with lively interest and understanding; perhaps it was a little of both, but in consequence his plays brought all the world – totus mundus - onto the stage, common man and hero, buffoon and philosopher, many kinds of sinners and even a few saints. It was as if Shakespeare's motto had been: "I am a man and reckon nothing human alien to me". His audience responded to that - how should they not? Sadly, the nature of that audience changed and for quite long the plays became the preserve of the learned and the wealthy; all too often of the snob. But now, from a number of causes, Shakespeare is accessible again to the plain, everyday citizen with no other object than to enjoy a good play. That is all the motive Shakespeare expected; he acknowledged it and strove to satisfy.

Shakespeare's characters frequently commit follies or worse. They suffer, change and are redeemed, or obstinately hold their course towards self-destruction. But whatever they do and however mixed our feelings about them, they move us. Most of the time they move us more deeply than their real-life counterparts would do, whether to tears or to laughter. They are real, yet larger than life and more concentrated. They haunt us, returning at moments of consequence to nudge us into heightened awareness. And suddenly there are truths we comprehend about ourselves or other people, because once a play by Shakespeare stirred us deeply and lodged in our memories. Phrases, lines, whole speeches surface slowly to illuminate a murky motive, a mystifying deed. Therefore, not only do his plays purge our emotions of those humours whose excess harms our minds and bodies, but they also exercise our intellects with insights keenly revealing but ultimately charitable, disturbing but finally consolatory, which enable us to endure the many shocks that are our daily lot.

When people anywhere, who take an uncomplicated pleasure in story, language and play-acting, overcome the quite unnecessary awe, and sense of inadequacy with which many regard Shakespeare, they find themselves experiencing more delight and lasting satisfaction than they have found in most other drama. If nothing else, at least they can see many of the world's finest actors and actresses exercise their skills to the uttermost in playing a Shakespearean role. It is surprising how many film and TV stars nourish an ambition to take up the challenge of such a role. As for the stage actors, it is by their achievements in Shakespeare's plays (and sometimes by their notable failures) that they are judged and remembered.

Ben Jonson called him a dramatist "not of an age but for all time", and so he is, but Shakespeare with his word-magic that gives wings to the mind, and his all-embracing sympathy, is also a dramatist for all hearts anywhere on this teeming globe.
scribendi cacoethes

A Romp of Puppies

The first remembered puppy was Scamp, an Alsatian of impressive pedigree. When the pick of the litter was offered, the puppies were only days old. They were fat, furry & black, like bear-cubs. Every step they essayed ended – splat! – pup on its pink tummy, legs splayed out, mewling faintly as very young creatures do.

Scamp spent his first nights in a large cardboard carton placed beside Mother’s half of the bed. He required her to dangle her hand within easy reach of questing paw or muzzle. When Scamp arrived at the stage code-named ‘doglet’, signifying halfway to young adult, he found his way onto the bed, nestling between Father & Mother. Turfed out of their room, he consoled himself by twitching the quilt off the children’s bed & smartly rolling up in it, snug as a bug in a rug. But that came later. While still a pup, he began by crying piteously when first confronted by the staircase, but after he tried plopping down the stairs & then bouncing up them, he was content to make only the softest plaints.

After Scamp came Rufus, a Collie of equally impressive lineage. In adult life Rufus would turn out to be more than just a highbred beautiful dog, & then the children amused themselves with fantasizing that he was a skin-changer like the enchanted prince in Snow-white & Rose-red. But when he rode home under Father’s arm that first day, Rufus seemed all snout & distended tummy. De-worming corrected the latter & soon that long slender snout, with its Roman bump, was poking curiously at a rubber ball.

In an hour Rufus had invented doggie golf, to be played with nose & paws around the obstacle-strewn course of a family dwelling. Occasionally he vocalised a short scale in his light baritone, as he scrabbled to retrieve the ball. Rufus was never bored or out of sorts. That daylong (& sometimes night-time) game of golf saved his life when he was first afflicted with heat-stroke. Getting groggily off his charpoy as soon as he heard the muffled thud of his ball, Rufus gamely putted around his golf course.

Coco succeeded Rufus. He was a right demon as a pup. Coco was the largest in his litter – Big Brown his owner called him - & bullied his siblings as all such pups do. For a mongrel he was remarkably handsome, better looking than his highbred white Pomeranian father. From his woolly black ‘some-sort-of-Tibetan’ mother Coco inherited a violent temper. Also, large dark liquid eyes, & long black streamers on his ears, which gave him a charm that wholly belied his Artful Dodger ways.

Coco’s first Christmas in the household that acquired him, he seized a plaster angel from the Crib & sped into the garden with it, like the Devil carrying off a lost soul. He could crack pistachio kernels & eat the nuts as neat as you please; scouts’ honour. He had a vocabulary, too, that served his elementary purposes: “Coco, you are a bad boy.” – “Ang!” “Will you do it again?” - “Nah!” – “Next time I’ll beat you.” – “App!” (The last with a mock snap, delivered sideways, which made it all the more raffish.)

Palmerston had the most solemn face of any pup the family had seen. Yet there was a wiliness in it which, taken with his bristly side-whiskers, earned him this name among them. For Palmerston was a pup of passage & might well end his days answering to the name of Tinku. Why then is he remembered? It was that whiskery Victorian face atop the tiny doggy body.

En route to his new home, Palmerston attended a board meeting in company with Father. From the Chairman down, there was not a body at that meeting who was not distracted by the pup playing pat-ball among the legs under the board-room table. Next morning Father looked about the bedroom for his seemingly vanished charge. Palmerston’s whiskers gave him away. He had hidden in Father’s shoe, but his hairy face projected above its sides.

By some unlucky chance no photographs were taken of these dogs as pups. In due course the best of them as doglets &/or ‘doggers’ (young adults) & old dogs will be assembled, but until such time here are two delightful pups that not long since lighted up the morning news:

Ruth Heredia is the originator and holds the copyright to all material on this blog unless credited to some source. Please do not use it or pass it off as your own work. That is theft. If you wish to link it, quote it, or reprint in whole or in part, please be courteous enough to seek my permission.