Eugene O’Neill’s Tribute to his dog “Blemie”

The Last Will and Testament
of An Extremely Distinguished Dog

The reputation of Eugene O’Neill as the American Shakespeare was established even before his death in 1953. O’Neill’s output was formidable – more than 30 plays, including the posthumously produced classic, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. He was a Nobel Prize winner. Reflecting his own tempestuous emotional background – be came from a yeasty but tragic Irish-American family – his plays are rarely engaging. So his epitaph to his dog is a rarity among O’Neill documents – sentimental, even whimsical, close in spirit to his one major comedy, Ah Wilderness! The dog was acquired at a relatively peaceful period of O’Neill’s life. He and his protective third wife, the beautiful actress Carlotta Monterey, looked upon it as their ‘child.’ O’Neill wrote Blemie’s will as a comfort to Carlotta just before the dog died in its old age in December 1940

Last Will and Testament
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 love
me.
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 and Mistress.

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.

source: petloss site

3 responses to “Eugene O’Neill’s Tribute to his dog “Blemie”

  1. Eugene O’Neill’s Tribute to his dog “Blemie”Roxie Reads Index

  2. Discovered this today. Beautiful anytime but especially at Christmas time! Enjoy!!!

  3. I found this in Stanley Coren’s book “Why We love the Dogs We Do” some years ago and loved it. Being a dog lover myself, the tribute to Blemie truly touched my heart and I made copies of it which I have sent to friends and even acqaintances when I have learned of their losses of beloved dogs. I sent a copy to a very dear friend just today with a heartfelt handwritten card, in hopes it will bring her some small measure of solace as she deals with her loss.

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