Simeon Strunsky: The Patient Observer And His Friends
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Am I so very much to blame?
But while the birds about the Harringtons' home simply offend my regard for the truth, the Harringtons' dog causes me acute bodily and mental discomfort. He is of a spotted white, with a disreputable black patch over one eye, and weighs, I should imagine, between eighty and ninety pounds. During luncheon he takes his place under the table, and from there emits blood-curdling howls with sufficient frequency to make conversation extremely difficult. This he varies by nosing about the visitor's legs and growling. I am not fond of dogs under the best of circumstances. I always labour under the presumption that they will bite. Their habit of suddenly dashing across the floor, in furious pursuit of nothing in particular, upsets me. But an invisible dog under a dining-room table is a dreadful experience. It is true that I managed to give Mrs. Harrington a fairly rational account of the woman's suffrage parade. But was she aware, as I sat there smiling spasmodically, what agonies of fear were mine as I waited for those white fangs under the table to sink into my flesh? If, under the circumstances, I confused Harriet Beecher Stowe with Julia Ward Howe, and made a bad blunder about woman's rights in Finland, am I so very much to blame?