RUFUS H. PHELPS
I HAVE never owned any dog except Irish setters; three of whom have been named Rufus. The one whom I describe here was the second to bear his name, and he belongs in this autobiography because he was the most literary dog in the world. Rufus was Irish, he was red-headed, he was a good fighter after he had exhausted diplomatic formalities; therefore it was natural that he should have been born during the World War, and on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, still celebrated as a bellicose occasion.
He was born 12 July 1917 and died 28 June 1931, having nearly attained the venerable dog's age of fourteen.
Bernard Shaw celebrated 12 July 1928 by writing his own name for us in one of his books and under it 'Rufus's Birthday.' But the two never met.
When we had the honour of entertaining Joseph Conrad in our house in New Haven, Rufus displayed adoration. He fawned upon him, shook hands, and gazed into the face of the seaman with intense earnestness. Mr. Conrad responded with strokes and caresses. That was an unforgettable scene when the old seadog conversed so intimately with the dog of the fields.
On the first occasion when John Galsworthy entered our library, and sat at my desk, Rufus came in. He ran to Mr. Galsworthy, and although he had never seen him before, greeted him as if both were intimate friends. Mr. Galsworthy, who had an Irish setter of his own three thousand miles away, immediately knelt on the floor,