About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, July 05, 2014

napoleonic appreciation for the st bernard

From an 1810 book on the rise, history, and philosophy of Napoleon Buonaparte: an appreciative few paragraphs on the good monks and great dogs of the Great St. Bernard. . .

Upon the Great St. Bernard is a monastery of Bernardins—a religious order of men, who are perfectly satisfied with three months of summer and three hours of fine weather in a day, during this fleeting season, in exchange for the numerous privations that they are obliged to suffer in this dreary abode, in consequence of its affording them unusual opportunities of doing good. . .
Among the ingenious acts of benevolence that these voluntary exiles practise, for the benefit of their fellow creatures, is the pains they take in instructing the canine Species to alleviate and reduce the number of accidents peculiar to the vicinity. Morning and evening the dogs of the monastery are sent out to explore the frozen caverns of the heights; and if, in their journies of discovery, they hear the cries of any unfortunate creature, they run towards the spot, express their joy, and exert all the powers of their instinct to encourage the hopes of the engulphed sufferers to expect assistance. They hasten back to the convent, and, with an air of disquietude announce what they have seen: upon such occasions a small basket is fastened round the dog's neck, filled with Food proper for re-animating life, and proper persons are dispatched with the sagacious messenger to assist in snatching the unfortunate creatures from destruction. The curiosity of the French, and the consternation of the inhabitants at their approach, filled many a craving aperture in these yawning gulphs with unexpected death. It was soon reported in the camp, that the chapel was filled with dead bodies, that the dogs had discovered in the snow: a sense of danger made so strong an impression upon the minds of the French, that they caressed these dogs with such emotions of pleasure as at once bespoke their apprehensions and gratitude.

-- from Willem Lodewyk Van-Ess, The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte ...: With a Concise History of the Events that Have Occasioned His Unparalleled Elevation, and a Philosophical Review of His Manners and Policy as a Soldier, a Statesman, and a Sovereign. Including Memoirs and Original Anecdotes of the Imperial Family, and the Most Celebrated Characters that Have Appeared in France During the Revolution (W. Day, 1810) pp. 432-3.

No comments: