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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Otis The King, parts 1575 - 1578



1575. He examines The General first, and then the wife. He thinks for a long time, rubbing his ear with his paw in a pensive way. Finally he begins to lick The General’s face in a typically dog like way. He licks all of the spots from the sick man's face and chest, and then proceeds to cure the wife.


 
1576. Thus ends, “The Smallpox Skit.” It is true that the skit ceased to have any effect on an audience after the invention of the smallpox vaccine. Once the terror of the disease was gone the effect of the skit lost it power to entertain. By the early years of the 19th century the skit had almost disappeared from the repertory of the wandering theatre troupes.


 
1577. I do wish however you could have seen the audience’s reaction to the end of the skit at the moment when Otis begins to lick The General’s face. No one was inclined to laugh; on the contrary they looked on awestruck and open mouthed. It may have been simply flecks of grape skin Otis was licking but…


1578. There was not a person in the audience who was not inwardly asking themselves the question, “Would I lick the face of a person with smallpox; and that questions immediate corollary, “a dog’s affection is of a different order than human affection.

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