Thank you very much for your letter and I apologise for my delayed response.
As you might appreciate, there was quite a backlog of books for me to review and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a book again. Not that I wasn’t thrilled to receive your letter.
Knowing how I shun attention on the golf course, I appreciate your reservations about writing to a book critic. I commend you on your courage. However, there’s no red pen here!
In your letter, you asked me why dogs don’t live anywhere near as long as humans. After much research, I have turned to Scottish poet, author and amateur dog breeder, Sir Walter Scott,
“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”
Sir Walter Scott
By the way, Sir Walter Scott’s most famous and favourite dog was a deerhound, Maida (1816-1824 Named after the Battle of Maida, which took place in 1806, he was a gift from Alexander Macdonell of Glengarry, a friend of Scott, and whose brother led the 78th Highlanders in the battle, a victory for the British against the French in the Napoleonic Wars.
Scott wrote to his son Charles that “Old Maida died suddenly in his straw last week, after a good supper, which, considering his weak state, was rather a deliverance; he is buried below his monument, on which the following epitaph is engraved in Latin [Maidae marmorea dormis sub imagine Maida / Ante fores domini sit tibi terra levis],thus Englished by an eminent hand : –
‘Beneath the sculptured form which late you bore,
Sleep soundly Maida at your master’s door.'”
The monument mentioned is a statue of the dog at the hall door of Scott’s home, Abbotsford House.
Thought you’d appreciate a bit of dog trivia, especially as you are building up quite a dossier about poet’s dogs.
By the way, you might let your father know I’m free for a round of golf. Rather rusty but death is perhaps the ultimate assault on your handicap.
Thought you’d appreciate a bit of dog trivia.
By the way, you might let your father know I’m free for golf. Rather rusty but death is perhaps the ultimate handicap.