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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

dog of state, germany 19th c

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=129560
In which we learn of the great German stateman Otto von Bismarck's series of loyal, forbidding sidekicks, all named Tyras. . . 
As far back as Alcibiades, four-footed and other animals have played a conspicuous part in the world, and deserve their popularity, having done on the whole less harm, and shown more sterling qualities than the celebrities with whom they were associated; on that plea alone, dumb creatures have a right to a place in contemporary reminiscences.The more modern prototypes of historical quadrupeds have thrown into the shade their ancient predecessors: the horse of Caligula; the dogs of Charlemagne sitting at his council; the greyhounds of Charles IX.; the falcons of Louis XIII.; the lapdog Fortune, which the Empress Josephine would have in her bed, to the intense displeasure of Napoleon; and the famous Moustache, the favourite of the Imperial Grenadiers of the Guard, who at Marengo slept in the Emperor's tent; and even Nero, who in a spirit of emulation was raised by Napoleon III. to the rank of first favourite at Compiegne, where he was petted and caressed as such by the ladies of the Court. Their claims to notoriety pale before the importance of Tyras, the now historical hound of Prince Bismarck, who has been called "a dog of State;" he is a power and a character, fully imbued with his mission and fulfilling it conscientiously. Lying at length in the Chancellor's study in the Wilhelmstrasse, he follows, with the fierce look of his unflinching eyes, every movement, every gesture of his master's visitors; he is ever prepared to fight Socialists or Anarchists, and to make his teeth meet in the flesh of any suspicious individual approaching too near for what he considers the Prince's safety. Tyras has his own personal attendant, his special menu, and any number of courtiers, whom he treats with insolent contempt. Tyras has been known to die several times already, the press has given a pathetic account of the suppressed grief of the Chancellor at his loss; but the next day another huge mastiff from Ulm, as forbidding, ferocious, faithful, pampered and feared, the exact counterpart of his predecessor, is at his post, and the new Tyras is equally attached, equally beloved, and equally indispensable.

-- from Velde, M. S. van de. (1889). Cosmopolitan recollections (Vol. 2). London: Ward and Downey. 221-3.

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