She should skip the chicken if she wants us to be excited about her strict vegetarianism.
* * * * *
To the Prime minister’s st. Bernard pup.
Ere your native country figured as the
home of winter sport,
Paradise of spies and agents, and for kings a last resort;
Ere the hospitable chamois lent his haunts to Bolsh and Hun
Or the queue of rash toboggans took the curve of Cresta Run;
Long before a locomotive climbed the Rigi,
cog by cog,
Fame had mentioned your forefathers—such a noble breed of dog,
How they tracked the lonely traveller with their nimble, sleuthy snouts,
Till beneath a billowy snowdrift they remarked his whereabouts.
How they dug him out of cold-store like
a Canterbury sheep,
Took their tongues and kindly licked him where his nose
had gone to sleep,
Called attention to the cognac which they wore in little kegs
And remobilised the stagnant circulation in his legs.
How they lifted up their voices, baying
like an iron bell,
Till the monks of good St. Bernard heard the same and ran like hell—
Ran and bore him to their hospice, where they put him into bed
And applied a holy posset stiff enough to wake the dead.
Heir to this superb tradition, born to
such a pride of race,
From the doggy flair that tells you what a lineage you can trace
You will draw, I trust, a solace for the strange and alien scene
Where you undergo purgation in a stuffy quarantine.
Further, if a homesick feeling sets you
itching in the scalp
With a wave of poignant longing for the odour of an Alp,
Let this thought (a thing of splendour) help to keep your pecker up—
You have had a high promotion; you are now a Premier’s pup!
You shall guard his sacred portals, you
shall eat from off his plate,
Mix with private secretaries, move behind the veil of State,
And at Ministerial councils, as a special form of treat,
You shall sniff at WINSTON’S trousers, you shall fondle CURZON’S feet.
You may even serve your master as an expert,
one who knows
All the rules regarding salvage in the Great St. Bernard snows,
Do him good by utilising your hereditary gift
To retrieve his Coalition from a constant state of drift.
* * * * *
We—Great-aunts Emily and Louisa—had in our innocence been telling a few old fairy stories at bedtime to those three precocities whom our hosts call their children.
We knew that they talked Latin and Greek in their sleep and were too much for their parents in argument, but we thought that at least, at the story hour——