Perhaps he lacked something of Fido’s moody charm, of his frivolous pathos, of his absurd joyousness, of his enchanting vanity.
Perhaps it was just Fido’s youth that he lacked, and his irresponsibility. There was a certain gravity about Ponto—a perfect dignity. His fastidiousness had gone beyond the stage of selections, and had reached the stage of exclusions. But he never lost his manners, or his manner.
Always he said “Good-morning,” and “Good-night.” If I was embarrassed, or worried, he would pretend not to notice it, but if I was happy, or sad, he would show his sympathy in a hundred ways—putting his head on my lap, or cutting absurd capers to distract my mind.
And then one day I went away.
I told Ponto when I said good-bye to him that it would be some time before I saw him again.
How was I to explain partings to him? The monstrous role that geography plays in our lives? I just told him that I loved him, that his image was in my heart, that our separation was only the preparation of a glorious meeting when old-remembered delights would merge into newly discovered ones.
He listened to me while I stroked his heavy charmeuse ears. He licked my hand, knowing that with my whispering words, I was trying to console myself as well as him.
Then I left him quickly.
They wrote to me that he had disappeared.
They wrote to me that his master had reclaimed him.
But I know that he is mine.
For I have made a great discovery.
What I love belongs to me. Not the chairs and tables in my house, but the masterpieces of the world.
It is only a question of loving them enough.