Thurber’s Dogs

I’d heard about Mutley but not, until just the other day, met him. On one our regular routes through the fields outside the village there he was with his keeper, keeper not owner, his owner’s mother residing in the town at the other side of the fields, she did explain but can’t remember why, anyway it has no bearing on what I have to say. Always a pleasure to bump into another Basset of course, if you hadn’t guessed, Mutley is a Basset Hound. Attempts to recruit Mutley and his crew to join us on Club Walks were unfortunately evaded.

However what ‘mother’ did remind me of was James Thurber, not that she resembled him in the least but during our conversation she suggested that he had drawn cartoon Bassets, I was sceptical. I had a vague memory of Thurber’s drawings and did remember Thurber dogs. Back home I sniffed out a few images on the net and came away more confused. Somehow I felt these were not Bassets but perhaps poorly, from an anatomical point of view, drawn Bloodhounds, from a humorous point of view, the point after all, brilliantly drawn. Frustrated, I promptly ordered a copy of the Library of America publication ‘James Thurber Writings & Drawings’.

There it was, on page 83, proof, part two of a piece, ‘The Seal in the Bedroom’, written/drawn in 1932 ‘The Bloodhound and the Bug’. As, much of the Bloodhound’s bug stalking is done close to the ground ‘mother’ might be forgiven for thinking him a Basset.

So I have Mutley to thank, if not for Mutley, I wouldn’t have had a conversation with ‘mother’, for reintroducing me to Thurber. Am looking forward to reading ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, ‘My Life and Hard Times’, ’Fables of Our Time’, ‘Is Sex Necessary?’ and many other gems.

Clearly Bloodhounds in this cartoon

hound features ☞