Letter 8611

Cupples, A. J. to Darwin, Emma

8 Nov [1872]


Accounts of dogs that howl to music; their expression whilst so doing.


The Cottage | Guard Bridge | Fifeshire

8th Nov

My dear Mrs. Darwin

Please thank Mr Darwin for sending me his book, it was very kind indeed ofhim.f2 I have not been able to do more than look at the plates, because MrCupplesf3 walked it off, and a minister here has got the promise of it after him,all without my leave in the matter. I have written to Aberfoyle to makeinquiries about the dog who howls to the musicf4   Miss Glenf5 is a person to berelied upon, and I have given her instructions, and told her to be veryparticular. I cannot say for certain about the puckering up of theeyes or face   my impression is it simply winked its eye lids very fast, as one would do ifhammering was going on, and that the eyes ran with or, were filled withmoisture like a person crying, but Miss Glen will be able to tell us. Afteryour letter came I remembered a young lady having told me their dog howled whenparticular tunes were played so I went off to see it, but after walking threemiles I was told it was a dog they once had and that it was in Campbelton.f6She told me their ministers wife said their dog howled so off we set to get thedog, for in this case the minister had no piano, but we were told shement her dog at home, her mothers dog in fact at Stirling.f7 Then the minister who is agreat wag began to tell me about a wonderful dog in St Andrews who used topull the bell, and not only howl to music but played the piano and howled to hisown playing. So I set off another day to find this wonderful animal. I foundall he said about the dog was true, but he had been the property of ProffrMacgill and the gentleman is deadf8 and the dog is away   And now the Ministerkeeps teazing me about my novel hunt never failing to ask every time Imeet him “Well have you caught the howling dog yet”   He has toldseveral of thegentlemen in the neighbourhood too, who say “Oh by the way I have heard of awonderful dog who howls, but he’s in Sky.”f9 or some eaqually far away place.However though it has been a great amusement to them, it has been very usefulto me for the stories I have heard about dogs, is something extraordinarythrowing my poor dog quite into the shade, and I shall be able to tell myfriends in Edinburgh who doubt my story. We have both been ill with severecoughs but are getting better now   the season is very trying and it does notappear to be getting any better either.

With my kind regards to Mr Darwin andmany thanks once more | I remain | Yours very truly | A J Cupples.

Please remember me to your daughter I have a feeling she is married now, so Icannot say Miss Darwinf10

DAR 161: 281



The year is established by the reference to Expression, which waspublished in November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
Cupples’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression(Appendix V).
George Cupples.
No other mention of the dog has been found; there is no otherletter from A. J. Cupples to Emma Darwin in the DarwinArchive–CUL. CD mentioned dogs’ howling to music in Descent 2:333.
Catherine Glen lived in Aberfoyle, a village in Stirling, Scotland.
Campbeltown is on the peninsula of Kintyre, western Scotland.
Stirling is presumably here the Scottish town, not the county.
John McGill, professor of Hebrew, died in 1871.
Skye is an island in the Hebrides.
Henrietta Emma Litchfield was married in August 1871 (seeCorrespondence vol. 19).
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