by Bill Nye
Public Domain Books
A man whose mother-in-law had been successfully treated by the doctor, one day presented him with a beautiful Italian hound named Nemesis.
When I say that the able physician had treated the mother-in-law successfully, I mean successfully from her son-in-law’s standpoint, and not from her own, for the doctor insisted on treating her for small-pox when she had nothing but an attack of agnostics. She is now sitting on the front stoop of the golden whence.
So, after the last sad rites, the broken-hearted son-in-law presented the physician with a handsome hound with long, slender legs and a wire tail, as a token of esteem and regard.
The dog was young and playful, as all young dogs are, so he did many little tricks which amused almost everyone.
One day, while the doctor was away administering a subcutaneous injection of morphine to a hay-fever patient, he left Nemesis in the office alone with a piece of rag-carpet and his surging thoughts.
At first Nemesis closed his eyes and breathed hard, then he arose and ate part of an ottoman, then he got up and scratched the paper off the office wall and whined in a sad tone of voice.
A young Italian hound has a peculiarly sad and depressing song.
Then Nemesis got up on the desk and poured the ink and mucilage into one of the drawers on some bandages and condition-powders that the doctor used in his horse-practice.
Nemesis then looked out of the window and wailed. He filled the room with robust wail and unavailing regret.
After that he tried to dispel his ennui with one of the doctor’s old felt hats that hung on a chair; but the hair oil with which it was saturated changed his mind.
The doctor had magenta hair, and to tone it down so that it would not raise the rate of fire insurance on his office, he used to execute some studies on it in oil–bear’s oil.
This gave his hair a rich mahogany shade, and his hat smelled and looked like an oil refinery.
That is the reason Nemesis spared the hat, and ate a couple of porousplasters that his master was going to use on a case of croup.
At that time the doctor came in, and the dog ran to him with a glad cry of pleasure, rubbing his cold nose against his master’s hand. The able veterinarian spoke roughly to Nemesis, and throwing a cigar-stub at him, broke two of the animal’s delicate legs.
After that there was a low discordant murmur and the angry hum of medical works, lung-testers, glass jars containing tumors and other bric-a-brac, paper-weights and Italian grayhound bisecting the orbit of a redheaded horse-physician with dude shoes.
When the police came in, it was found that Nemesis had jumped through a glass door and escaped on two legs and his ear.
Out through the autumnal haze, across the intervening plateau, over the low foot-hills, and up the Medicine Bow Range, on and ever onward sped the timid, grieved and broken-hearted pup, accumulating with wonderful eagerness the intervening distance between himself and the cruel promoter of the fly-blister and lingering death.
How often do we thoughtlessly grieve the hearts of those who love us, and drive forth into the pitiless world those who would gladly lick our hands with their warm loving tongues, or warm their cold noses in the meshes of our necks.
How prone we are to forget the devotion of a dumb brute that thoughtlessly eats our lace lambrequins, and ere we have stopped to consider our mad course, we have driven the loving heart and the warm wet tongue and the cold little black nose out of our home-life, perhaps into the cold, cold grave or the bleak and relentless pound.