| BLUMFELD, AN ELDERLY BACHELOR|
Blumfeld, on the other hand, can't stand dirt in his room. To
him cleanliness is essential, and several times a week he is obliged
to have words with his charwoman, who is unfortunately not very
painstaking in this respect. Since she is hard of hearing he usually
drags her by the arm to those spots in the room which he finds
lacking in cleanliness. By this strict discipline he has achieved
in his room a neatness more or less commensurate with his wishes.
By acquiring a dog, however, he would be almost deliberately introducing
into his room the dirt which hitherto he had been so careful to
avoid. Fleas, the dog's constant companions, would appear. And
once fleas were there, it would not be long before Blumfeld would
be abandoning his comfortable room to the dog and looking for another one.
Uncleanliness, however, is but one of the drawbacks of dogs. Dogs
also fall ill and no one really understands dogs' diseases. Then
the animal sits in a corner or limps about, whimpers, coughs,
chokes from some pain; one wraps it in a rug, whistles a little
melody, offers it milk-in short, one nurses it in the hope that
this, as indeed is possible, is a passing sickness while it may
be a serious, disgusting, and contagious disease.
And even if the dog remains healthy, one day it will grow old,
one won't have the heart to get rid of the faithful animal in
time, and then comes the moment when one's own age peers out at
one from the dog's oozing eyes. Then one has to cope with the
half-blind, weak-lunged animal all but immobile with fat, and
in this way pay dearly for the pleasures the dog once had given.
Much as Blumfeld would like to have a dog at this moment, he would
rather go on climbing the stairs alone for another thirty years
than be burdened later on by such an old dog which, sighing louder
than he, would drag itself up, step by step.