"Progress on the stage is often crablike, and little parts, big parts, and no parts at all must be accepted as 'all in a day's work'. "
Did she also have a fleeting thought for The Two Gentleman of Verona, Shakespeare's early play about love and fidelity? In it Launce, the comic servant is upstaged by his badly-behaved mutt, Crab the dog.
Launce teaching his Dog 18th century engraving, Henry W. Bunbury,
© Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco
"When a man's servant shall play the cur with him, look you, it goes hard; one that I brought up of a puppy; one that I saved from drowning when three or four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it. I have taught him, even as one would say precisely, 'Thus would I teach a dog.' I was sent to deliver him as a present to Mistress Silvia from my master, and I came no sooner into the dining-chamber but he steps me to her trencher and steals her capon's leg. O! tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself in all companies." But worse is to come:
"He thrusts me himself into the company of three or four gentleman-like dogs under the duke's table: he had not been there -- bless the mark---a pissing-while, but all the chamber smelt him. Out with the dog!
. …Nay, I'll be sworn, I have sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stolen, …I have stood on the pillory for geese he hath killed,…. thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? When didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? Didst thou ever see me do such a trick?"
Two Gentlemen of Verona Act IV, sc. 4.