156a: What Maisie Knew

Good Folks,

In response to Post 156: The Purpose of Fors, I received the comment below from Jack Harris. I immediately posted it, and attempted to include the picture of Maisie he had sent along with it. (Maisie insisted he contact me right away!)

As it turns out, however, WordPress does not provide a way to post pictures with comments. So, to circumvent this unfortuante limitation, I’ve copied Jack’s comment, pasted it here, and attached his picture of the historically accurate and sensitive Maisie–to whom I am, as indeed are we all, indebted for her fine memory, allegiance to relatives both past and present, and appreciation to Sir Walter for making her and her descending kin famous. (She is of the firm conviction, however, that Scott or no Scott, the general good breeding of her blood relations would have ensured their eventual rise to the top of the list of preferable small friends.) Here’s

Jack: It should be mentioned, Jim, that, in Guy Mannering, Sir Walter Scott introduced us to the Dandie Dinmont terrier. They were then known as Pepper & Mustard terriers. In the novel, a pack of these wonderful little dogs were owned by Dandie Dinmont, a farmer who had them so that he could keep his farm free of vermin, including foxes and otters. While delightful as pets, they are quite fierce as predators — squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs beware! After the novel was published, the dogs became very popular (Scott had several, as did Queen Victoria), and the dogs were renamed “Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers”! The possessive was later dropped, but that is the source of the unusual breed name. Maisie thought you would find this of interest as soon as she read your post.

Maisie Harris 2019

Of course, the crack Victorian novelists among you would have immediately spotted and known the source of Maisie’s uncommon name: Henry James’ 1897 novel, What Maisie Knew. The present Maisie has, of course, has read it, but is quick to point out that she has never in her life known anyone like the scandalous parents depicted therein. She prefers to think of herself as a dandy descendant of Sir Walter’s cadre and a fine, cute, and beloved member of Clan Harris.

Many thanks to Jack and Maisie!



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