The Four Million
Memoirs Of A Yellow Dog
I don't suppose it will knock any of you people off your perch to read a contribution from
an animal. Mr. Kipling and a good many others have demonstrated the fact that animals
can express themselves in remunerative English, and no magazine goes to press
nowadays without an animal story in it, except the old-style monthlies that are still
running pictures of Bryan and the Mont Pélee horror.
But you needn't look for any stuck-up literature in my piece, such as Bearoo, the bear,
and Snakoo, the snake, and Tammanoo, the tiger, talk in the jungle books. A yellow dog
that's spent most of his life in a cheap New York flat, sleeping in a corner on an old
sateen underskirt (the one she spilled port wine on at the Lady Longshoremen's banquet),
mustn't be expected to perform any tricks with the art of speech.
I was born a yellow pup; date, locality, pedigree and weight unknown. The first thing I
can recollect, an old woman had me in a basket at Broadway and Twenty-third trying to
sell me to a fat lady. Old Mother Hubbard was boosting me to beat the band as a genuine
Pomeranian-Hambletonian-Red-Irish-Cochin-China-Stoke-Pogis fox terrier. The fat lady
chased a V around among the samples of gros grain flannelette in her shopping bag till
she cornered it, and gave up. From that moment I was a pet—a mamma's own wootsey
squidlums. Say, gentle reader, did you ever have a 200-pound woman breathing a flavour
of Camembert cheese and Peau d'Espagne pick you up and wallop her nose all over you,
remarking all the time in an Emma Eames tone of voice: "Oh, oo's um oodlum, doodlum,
woodlum, toodlum, bitsy-witsy skoodlums?"
From a pedigreed yellow pup I grew up to be an anonymous yellow cur looking like a
cross between an Angora cat and a box of lemons. But my mistress never tumbled. She
thought that the two primeval pups that Noah chased into the ark were but a collateral
branch of my ancestors. It took two policemen to keep her from entering me at the
Madison Square Garden for the Siberian bloodhound prize.
I'll tell you about that flat. The house was the ordinary thing in New York, paved with
Parian marble in the entrance hall and cobblestones above the first floor. Our fiat was
three—well, not flights—climbs up. My mistress rented it unfurnished, and put in the
regular things—1903 antique unholstered parlour set, oil chromo of geishas in a Harlem
tea house, rubber plant and husband.
By Sirius! there was a biped I felt sorry for. He was a little man with sandy hair and
whiskers a good deal like mine. Henpecked?—well, toucans and flamingoes and pelicans
all had their bills in him. He wiped the dishes and listened to my mistress tell about the
cheap, ragged things the lady with the squirrel-skin coat on the second floor hung out on
her line to dry. And every evening while she was getting supper she made him take me
out on the end of a string for a walk.