‘Presently she saw a singular dog. Other people also saw it. It was of the colour of chocolate; it had a head and shoulders richly covered with hair that hung down in thousands of tufts like the tufts of a modern mop such as is bought in shops. This hair stopped suddenly rather less than halfway along the length of the dog’s body, the remainder of which was naked and as smooth as marble. The effect was to give to the inhabitants of the Five Towns the impression that the dog had forgotten an essential part of its attire and was outraging decency. The ball of hair which had been allowed to grow on the dog’s tail, and the circles of hair which ornamented its ankles, only served to intensify the impression of indecency. A pink ribbon round its neck completed the outrage. The animal had absolutely the air of a decked trollop.’ (The Old Wives Tale, 1908)
This quotation is the second part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.