of Eugene O'Neill's The Last Will and Testament of An Extremely
Distinguished Dog, which he wrote to console his wife Carlotta shortly
before their dog Blemie's death from the illnesses of old age.
O'Neill (familiarly known to my family, friends and acquaintances as Blemie),
because the burden of my years is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my
life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my
Master. He will not know it is there until I am dead. Then, remembering me in
his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to
inscribe it as a memorial to me.
of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great
store upon things. They do not waste their time hoarding property. They do not
ruin their sleep worrying about objects they have, and to obtain the objects
they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and
my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress,
who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn
and Roy and Willie and Naomi and — but if I should list all those who have
loved me it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is in vain of me
to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to
dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.
Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I
have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy
in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should
cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier
life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown
blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit
could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick,
bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over lingered my
welcome. It is time I said good-by, before I become too sick a burden on myself
and on those who love me.
leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We
accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys
life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those
of my fellow Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise
where one is always young and full-bladdered; here all the day one dillies and
dallies with an amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted; where
jack-rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands
of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings
there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning and one curls oneself
up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave
days on earth, and the love of one's Master and Mistress.
much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain.
Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleeps
in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.
earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must
never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another
one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a
poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would not like to
feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a
dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most
dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the
living-room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a
kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some
dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone
knows, are best.
as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred, or as well mannered or as
distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must
not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his
inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I
bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in
1929 at Hermes in
He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place
Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but
again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial
dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in
some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jackrabbits than I have been able
to in recent years. And, for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I
know will be his in my old home.
farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to
yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the
remembrance of my long happy life with you: "here lies one who loved us
and whom we loved." No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not
all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.