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Once again, we could learn much from
these noble and selfless beings!
Last Will and Testament of a
by Eugene O'Neill, the first American writer to win the
Nobel prize for Literature
I, Silverdene Emblem 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.
I have little in the way 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.
I ask my Master and 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
It will be sorrow to 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
I am afraid this is too 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.
One last request I 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 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.
So I suggest a Dalmatian 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 Paris. 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.
One last word of 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.