Bentley or Dachshund?

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Bentley or Dachshund ?

Sir,

For my sins, I spend almost every lunch hour with members of the Bentley Drivers’ Club and you may imagine the topic on Which conversation centres. Like doctors discussing a confirmed hospital case, my friends lay bare the inmost organs of their respective charges. until a point is reached when every symptom, he it cough or murmur, assumes a significance which demands acknowledgement and sympathy. What is worse, my friends are not content that they alone should have these mechanical patients. Great was the pressure brought to bear on me to get a Bentley too, but I bought a Dachshund and so became an outcast like my friend the Lotus owner.

I have not openly defended My decision : to have done so would have cost me my lift back to the office after lunch and the office is a mile distant, but now I can contain myself no longer. Dachshund or Bentley ? Here is a question having such repercussions on the whole British way of life that without doubt some illustrious public-spirited body will eventually appoint a committee to inquire into it. After years of study, years that will bring the century’s end that much closer, a Grand Report will be published, and my guess as to its title makes the heading of this article. In the meantime. with 39 years to go it is not for me to assess what influence our ” pets ” may yet exert, but as so many nice young men are daily being lured unthinking into the Bentleymen s camp, I feel compelled if only in the cause of peace to proclaim the merits of the only alternative beasty worthy of consideration. If the following comments refer only to Miniature Dachs., I hope all Bentleymen will forgive me. I have as little time for the fat, heavyweight variety as a Bentley driver has for a hearse.

First things first before you decide which to buy, Consider where you are going to keep it. A garage ? Take care, for an average garage fits a Bentley like gloves a :size too small. If you are so lucky as to own a ‘bus garage, is there a crane and room to take the engine out ? If not, remember a 12 I S in. orange box in a corner of the kitchen would make a Dachshund an excellent home. No orange box ? A blanket under the oven would be cosier still. Flat dwellers, remember that a Dachshund can go upstairs! A Bentley usually sleeps all night and most of the day like a Dachs.; but where the joyful greeting, where the welcome home ? Is there a twinkle in the headlamp ? Is there a sign of reCognition, any indication as to its real feelings ? A Bentley is a soulless queen. Impassive she awaits the attention of her courtiers, responsive only to the Most knowing and certain to let down th,ose who fail to give her all their attention. Compare the Dachs.’ affection for its master : see it radiating pleasure and joie de vivre, standing at the top of the stairs, tail scything, delighted to be able to see eye to eye with a human. When nights are cold and the rain falls, which would you prefer to come home to?

As regards weather, both have an equal aversion to rain. How many Bentleys go to a meeting in winter ? Not many, I am told, but probably More than the number of Dachs. that would go of their own free will to a Dachshund meeting, Consider though, Potential Owner, whether it is easier to wash and dry a Dachshund or a Bentley, and, as for summer -maintenance, whether it is not easier to brush the one than polish the other.

When it comes to speed, the Bentley scores. A Dachshund, even the latest model has only two gears, and although in bottom it achieves about 5,000 pawsteps a minute, this produces a mere 5 m.p.h. because each step is only four inches. Maximum speed is about Y5 m.p.h. In most other aspects of performance, however, the Dachs, is far superior. Its low centre of gravity Makes cornering safe even at top speed : flexible chassis and four-paw drive enables it to tackle slopes and cross-country courses which no Bentley could manage : for a Dachs.; every rut is a motorway. Acceleration, especially when starting home for supper or when an Alsatian is behind, leaves nothing to he desired: braking is instantaneous, though there is a tendency to skid on polished surfaces. A Dachs. is quieter running and good ones do not bark in built-up areas at night.

One can obtain a show Dachs. for £25. Running costs, while supplies of horse last, come to Is. a day, and a licence to put it on the road for a year costs only 7s. 6d. What is more remarkable is that these costs do not increase with mileage : a Dachs. vill do ten to fifteen miles every day its owner cares to take it for .a spin. Reliability is incredible and there is almost no risk of punctures, breakdowns or delays for any cause. ” Abs! ” exclaims the Bentley driver, banging his tankard on the counter having seen a loophole in the argument, ” The value of my Bentley increases. In fifteen years it may be worth half as much again, and where will your Dachshund be then ? Underground! ” Let me be the first to admit that a vintage Dachshund would be no treasure. But a Dachshund’s family continues. Even if each bitch has only three pups every two of its first six years, today’s Dachs. in 15 years would have over 200 doglet descendants. Suppose half of these were sold for a mere Lbo each, is the Bentley’s appreciation such an advantage ? Each pair of Bentleys would need to have a little Bentley to match this figure.

In numbers rob lies the answer to those who want to feel significant (and who will deny that there is pleasure to be had driving a great Bentley down the High Street, with all one’s fellow travellers gazing up at one or left in the smoke behind ?). A Bentley driver has an air about him, a sniff of superiority, exclusivity yet how much more unusual and distinguished it is to own a pack of Dachshunds, especially if one hunts with them, and certainly they look up at their master with a similar mixture of envy and respect. A pack of Dachshunds, too, would provide the excuse for the floppy cap, perhaps even for the Bentleyman’s car-tickler moustache if one is determined to conceal one’s expression in this way.

When all is said, my dear Potential Owner, a Dachshund has live times more to commend it than any Bentley. Think well before you buy a load or trouble. Wait! One last thought I commend to you before I set out on my lonely walk hack to the office : a Dachshund may not be perfect, but if it does give trouble one can at least pick it up and carry it home!

Putney. MICHAEL WIISTOVER. [I think that quite probably this will evoke a reply from a Bentley owner, if not from the Il.D.C.—En.]