Biography of a spaniel; to which is annexed The idiot; a tale, with a new preface.

Biography of a spaniel; to which is annexed The idiot; a tale, with a new preface. - Anonymous These two stories, which according to Judith St. John's illuminating preface were likely not originally published for children, were only mildly entertaining. The most imaginative part of the spaniel story was the notion that dogs end up on the moon after death; this idea is the subject of the one illustration in the volume. The life of the spaniel, Jolli, is a rather tedious string of alternations between abusive and good masters, although he does end up back with his first master, Lafleur, a grenadier and deserter, and, faithfully sticking by his side, is killed by the same bullet that kills Lafleur. The prose is flat in the extreme. Apparently a catalogue for Minerva Press (the original publisher) attributes these two tales to a "Mrs. Showes", but it is unknown who she was, or whether she was the author or in fact, as advertised in the very first Minerva Press edition, which included a number of other stories, a translator from the German.

"The idiot" is the story of a young man who falls in love with a young lady whose virtues are demonstrated by her faithful care for her mentally disabled brother. It's fairly appalling, but would be useful, I suppose, for sociological study of attitudes towards the mentally disabled (and their female caregivers). The most chilling moment for me was when Walton, the young man, muses, "How blessed will the man be who calls her his! Oh that I were he! what a daughter, friend and companion should I then be able to present to my amiable, ailing mother!"

Borrowed from York University Library.