quotes_july6_2008.htm

(July 6th to 12th)



Format: Triple

The result came when a Fear leaped out of the goose-fleshed streets of London between the icy shop-fronts, and drove John to his flat … It was succeeded a few days later by a small dog, pressed against the skirting-board of his room—an inky, fat horror with a pink tongue, crouched in the attitude of a little beast he had often watched at Mr. William’s fashionable West End pet-shop…

  

This is from “The Woman in his Life” from Limits and Renewals.

John Marden is in the throes of a nervous breakdown, through a combination of overwork and terrible memories of the War. He takes to drink, but this doen’t help. Then he starts to have the ‘horrors;, in the shape of a phantom dog.

Fortunately his valet, and old comrade, hits on the idea of giving him a real dog, Dinah, an Aberdeen puppy, to whom he becomes deeply attached. He saves her from distemper, and when she is trapped in an underground tunnel, crawls in to rescue her, braving his deepest terrors. When he recovers from the ordeal, he finds he is cured.


‘Now, you wouldn’t think, would you’—he glanced off the book toward my wildly swaying dressing-gown on the door—‘that I’ve been seeing things for the last half-hour? ’Fact is, I’m just on the edge of ’em, skating on thin ice round the corner—nor’east as near as nothing—where that dog’s looking at me.’

   

This is from “The Dog Hervey” in Traffics and Discoveries.

The narrator is on a ship with a recent acquaintance, Shend, an alcoholic who is seeing terrifying visions of a ghostly dog. Strangely enough it is Harvey, the strange squinting uncanny little dog that the narrator had earlier been looking after for Moira, a woman friend. It turns out that many years before she and Shend had met, and he had loved her ever after. When they reach England Moira and Shend meet, and will clearly spend the rest of their lives together. Harvey reverts to normal dogdom,


‘It’s a lead-coloured steamer, and the sea’s lead-coloured. Perfectly smooth sea—perfectly still ship, except for the engines running, and her waves going off in lines and lines and lines—dull grey’. ‘All this time I know something’s going to happen…
Then I hear a thud in the engine-room. Then the noise of machinery falling down—like fire-irons—and then two most awful yells. They’re more like hoots, and I know—I know while I listen—that it means that two men have died as they hooted. It was their last breath hooting out of them—in most awful pain.

   

This is from “In the Same Boat” in A Diversity of Creatures.

Two young people have become drug addicts because of terrible recurring dreams. They are introduced by their doctors, who arrange for them to take an overnight train journey together when they know that the nightmares are coming on. They help each other through the night, without the drugs, and succeed in warding off theor terrors.

Here one is telling the other of his nightmare visions. To tell them is a relief. When they discover that the dreams are replaying real experiences that their mothers had had before they were born, the nightmares are exorcised.

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