THE LITTLE DOG, (vexed)
Indeed I do, Sir! It’s fine sand, and velvety lawns that are swept every morning; it’s a reclining chair on the grass, great, fresh cushions of cretonne, foamy milk, naps in the shade, and charming little red apples to play with.
TOBY-DOG, (shaking his head)
No. It’s the road covered with white powder that makes the eyelids smart and the paws burn, the tough, shriveled, sweet-smelling grass, where I scratch my nose and my gums; it’s the fearful night—for I’m the only one to guard them, He and She. I lie in my basket, but the beating of my poor overdriven heart keeps me awake. I hear a dog crying to me from far off, that the Bad Man has passed on the road. Is he coming in my direction? Will I be obliged in another minute, my eyes bloodshot and tongue dry as chalk, to throw myself upon him and devour his shadowy face?...
THE LITTLE DOG, (trembling and in ecstasy)
Go on! Go on! Oh! how frightened I am!...
TOBY-DOG, (modestly) Don’t be afraid—it has never happened. All that is the country, yes, and the interminable hill, in the shadow of the carriage, when thirst, hunger, heat and fatigue, render the soul submissive and hopeless ...
THE LITTLE DOG, (quite worked up)
Oh, nothing. One arrives at the house, after all, and the pail of dark water, one drinks without taking breath, ("his tongue,” She says, “his big tongue is parted in the center, like an iris-petal”) while sore eyelids and dusty lashes are splashed with cooling drops.... The country is all that and many things besides....
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (on the piano, musingly)
All that, yes ...and the habits of the year before that one finds again, molded to one’s shape, like a cushion marked with the imprint of a long sleep ...the long nights of freedom, when the lone owlet, with his sad little laugh, makes his way through the air as quietly as I do on the ground, and silvery gray rats cling to the vines, eating grapes and keeping their eyes on me at the same time. It’s the sun-cure on the hot stone-wall, from which I arise wan and shrunken, baked through and through, but svelte enough to make the youngest tomcat envious. (Coming back to the present with a murderous look at THE LITTLE DOG.) Death to you, ill-smelling beast, for having evoked these by-gone joys! Aren’t you going to disappear, that I may come down from this cold pedestal, where my paws are growing numb?
TOBY-DOG, (enthusiastically to THE LITTLE DOG)
But let us forget all that! With you there, I can think of nothing but you. I feel that I love you!
THE LITTLE DOG, (lowering her eyes)
Do you mean ...really?