I told the Junior Paper Shredder yesterday that her Column (as she calls this blog) was starting to attract literary attention. Not just Family Business. Literature. Interestingliterature (http://interestingliterature.com/ ) and E-Tinkerbell’s Blog (http://etinkerbell.wordpress.com/ ) are both followers now.
“What’s Literature?” she asked. “Something I ought to be getting my teeth into?”
I told her she should be proud to be a Dandie Dinmont. The only breed of dog, so far as she or I know, to be invented by one of the great classic authors. The name, at least.
Sir Walter Scott (like Dandie Dinmonts and small family businesses) is underrated today. He was a great story teller who created some marvellous characters. Ivanhoe (in a Victorian children’s version) was the first classic to hold me spellbound. I listened riveted as my mother read it to my two older brothers. Years later, working on Louis XI for A-level History, I found the whole period vividly brought to life (how accurately historically I still have no idea) by Quentin Durward. The original Dandie Dinmont was a character in Guy Mannering renowned for his ownership of Pepper and Mustard terriers. They were just becoming established as a breed when the book was published in 1805. Hence the name of the breed.
Scott later wrote “The race of Pepper and Mustard are in the highest estimation at this day, not only for vermin-killing but for intelligence and fidelity. Those who, like the author, possess a brace of them, consider them as very desirable companions.”
I took Guy Mannering down from the shelf and showed it to the JPS.
“I’ll chew it over this evening,” she promised.