My Name Is Caesar

In the first decade of the 20th century, he was known as the terror of the court.  Described by the French as 'a person of importance', with 'la beaute du diable', he was officious and snobby.  He was also fond of attacking gentlemen's trousers.

He was Caesar, a wire-haired fox terrier, a constant and a boon companion to King Edward VII.

 

The Faberge workshops, previously known for more elegant, glittering subject matter, immortalized this rough-coated, working dog in a trinket made of precious stones and jewels, with rubies for eyes, a gold bell and a gold collar.  Commissioned by the King, it was a gift to his long-suffering wife, Queen Alexandra.

 

Caesar 

 

Then, on May 6, 1910, the King died.  Only a dog suffers blindly, without care, untainted by understanding.  Caesar was inconsolable and refused to eat.  He was found in the King's bedroom by the Queen, hidden under the bed and shaking…an animal doesn't posess a human's comprehension, but he knows all the same.

 

That same year a small illustrated book was published, titled "Where's Master? – by Caesar, The King's Dog."  Allegedly written by the animal himself, it is a description of sorrow and confusion as deep and pathetic as the title.  The cover bears Caesar's portrait by Maud Earl, a noted Victorian painter of animals.  One of her most famous paintings was called 'Silent Sorrow', which depicted the mourning dog resting his head on his master's unoccupied chair.

 

 

Publications around the world documented a nation's grief at the loss of its King, of Europe's loss of its 'Uncle' and of a dog's loss of his master.  

 

Alexandra continued to care for Caesar and made the necessary funeral arrangements.  So on May 20, when King Edward VII's coffin was carried to Paddington station, it was followed by the his dearest pet, trotting sedately – behaving as he should for perhaps the first time in his life – led by a member of one of the Highland regiments.  He preceded Kaiser Wilhelm in the procession.

 

The tomb of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra is located in the south aisle of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.  And lying at his master's feet, instead of the long-maned British Lion – the heraldry on which the sun never set – is the wire-haired fox terrier who one day would find his days dark. 

 

Caesar died in 1914.  There is some confusion as to where he was buried:  some say that he sought ground - as all good terriers do – on the grounds of Marlborough House, the London home of the Dowager Queen.  Others claim that he is buried at Sandringham, where many royal pets are buried, and which is the home of The Queen's Kennels today. 

 

But there is also a story that he rests in the garden at Regal Lodge, the racing stable of Lillie Langtry, the first of the King's mistresses to be brought from behind the curtain, and be publicly recognized.  Alexandra might have been deaf, but she was not blind (she notified Mrs. Keppel - whose daughter, Violet, would shock her in time – the current royal mistress, of the King's condition; she was holding his hand when he died).

 

During that funeral procession towards the end of May, regiments and officials strode en masse.  Swords, rifles, cuirasses and monocles glinted in the sun.  But there was one other mourner who also lent his light, by way of his canine loyalty – which is a perfect thing – and by way of his little gold collar, which was inscribed with the words:

 

My Name Is Caesar.

I Belong To The King.

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14 responses to “My Name Is Caesar

  1. Bbeautifully-written piece, Aubrey.
    *snif*

  2. Wonderful read, thanks for writing that Aubrey. 🙂

  3. A good story, well told. Very engaging. Not a fan of the Faberge, I must say. But the little collar is impressive, isn't it?

  4. Why did that make me cry a little? I think it was the last bit about the collar.

  5. Very interesting – and touching – read, Aubrey. That is how all dogs should be loved.Now I'm all teary-eyed too.

  6. Oh that is such a sweet story!

  7. That was a great story, beautifully told. And if I may say so, Caesar looks an awful lot like my dog, Sammy.

  8. I would just like to say here that a video of Caesar following the King's coffin DOES exist – I saw it on television and everything. That gave me the idea for the post, actually – though the story wasn't new to me.
    However, despite searching for Days, I couldn't find it online. But I will confirm that it is a most touching, tear-making, sniffling sight.
    emily: I myself prefer Faberge to make pretty, shiny things – but if you click on the picture, you just might be able to see on the collar where the jeweler engraved: "I Belong To The King"
    Muffin: Is Sammy a wire-haired, too? Does he behave the same – kind of bratty, but painfully loyal at the same time?

  9. Oh yes, very wired haired, and naughty but loving. He's a Jack Russel so he's shorter in the leg, but this picture shows the similarity of face (they even have the same markings).

  10. There was an old dog named Caesar, Who went for a cat just to tease her; But she spat and she spit, Till the old bulldog quit. Now when poor Caesar sees her, he flees her. – Unknown

  11. No pet lover—especially a dog lover—can read this unaffectedly.
    While not quite as profound as Caesar's collar insignia, my Friday's reads:
    "You think I'm cute? You should see my master ! " 😉

  12. How interesting! You're always a wealth of information.

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