Man’s best friend

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 08.14.31In The Leper of Aosta (1811), Xavier de Maistre demonstrates, writes Dalrymple,

understanding of the intense and loving relationship that the lonely and disabled develop with their dogs.

In the story, presented largely in the form of a dialogue, the leper tells a sympathetic soldier (with whom he refuses all contact for the soldier’s sake):

Stranger, when sorrow or discouragement attack you, think of the hermit of Aosta. You will not then have visited in vain.

Dalrymple comments:

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 08.12.19Ah, if only the thought of those who are worse off than ourselves could truly console us as it should!

He notes the similarities between Maistre’s story and Turgenev’s Mumu (1854).

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 08.13.57Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 08.14.55

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