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Authors: Dodie Smith

The 101 Dalmatians

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Table of Contents
 
THE 101 DALMATIANS
A large car was coming towards the Dearlys. It drew up at a big house just ahead of them, and a tall woman came out onto the front-door steps. She was wearing a tight-fitting emerald satin dress, several ropes of rubies, and an absolutely simple white mink cloak. Her hair was parted severely down the middle and one half of it was black and the other white—rather unusual.
“Why, that's Cruella de Vil, ” said Mrs. Dearly. “We were at school together. She was expelled for drinking ink. ”
“Come in and meet my husband, ” said Cruella. The absolutely simple white mink cloak slipped from her shoulders to the floor. Mr. Dearly picked it up.
“What a beautiful cloak, ” he said. “But you'll find it too warm for this evening. ”
“I never find anything too warm, ” said Cruella. “I wear furs all the year round. I sleep between ermine sheets. I worship furs, I live for furs! That's why I married a furrier. ”
Then Mr. de Vil came in. Cruella introduced him and then said, “Where are those two delightful dogs?”
Pongo and Missis came forward politely.
“Wouldn't they make enchanting fur coats?” said Cruella to her husband.
Pongo gave a sharp, menacing bark.
PUFFIN BOOKS
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books USA Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd,10 Alcom Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd,182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
 
First published in the United States of America by The Viking Press, 1957
Published with illustrations by Michael Dooling in Puffin Books, 1989
Published simultaneously in Canada
 
Copyright © Dodie Smith, 1956
Copyright renewed by Dodie Smith, 1984
Illustrations copyright © Viking Penguin Inc., 1989
All rights reserved
The Hundred and One Dalmatians
appeared in serial form, with different
illustrations, as “The Great Dog Robbery,” in
Woman's Day.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA
Smith, Dodie, 1896- The hundred and one dalmatians.
 
Originally published: New York : Viking Press, 1956.
Summary: Pongo the Dalmatian and his wife Missis undertake a daring
expedition to rescue their fifteen puppies from the clutches of the vicious Cruella de Vil.
[1. Dalmatian dog—Fiction. 2. Dogs—Fiction.] I. Dooling, Michael, ill. II. Title.
eISBN : 978-1-101-15364-2
 
 
 
Set in Electra.
 
 

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The Happy Couples
NOT long ago, there lived in London a young married couple of Dalmatian dogs named Pongo and Missis Pongo. (Missis had added Pongo's name to her own on their marriage, but was still called Missis by most people.) They were lucky enough to own a young married couple of humans named Mr. and Mrs. Dearly, who were gentle, obedient, and unusually intelligent—almost canine at times. They understood quite a number of barks: the barks for “Out, please!” “In, please!” “Hurry up with my dinner!” and “What about a walk?” And even when they could not understand, they could often guess—if looked at soulfully or scratched by an eager paw. Like many other much-loved humans, they believed that they owned their dogs, instead of realizing that their dogs owned them. Pongo and Missis found this touching and amusing and let their pets think it was true.
Mr. Dearly, who had an office in the City, was particularly good at arithmetic. Many people called him a wizard of finance—which is not the same thing as a wizard of magic, though sometimes fairly similar. At the time when this story starts he was rather unusually rich for a rather unusual reason. He had done the Government a great service (something to do with getting rid of the national debt) and, as a reward, had been let off his income tax for life. Also the Government had lent him a small house on the Outer Circle of Regent's Park—just the right house for a man with a wife and dogs.
Before their marriages, Mr. Dearly and Pongo had lived in a bachelor flat, where they were looked after by Mr. Dearly's old nurse, Nanny Butler. Mrs. Dearly and Missis had also lived in a bachelor flat (there are no such things as spinster flats), where they were looked after by Mrs. Dearly's old nurse, Nanny Cook. The dogs and their pets met at the same time and shared a wonderfully happy double engagement, but they were all a little worried about what was to happen to Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler. It would be all right when the Dearlys started a family, particularly if it could be twins, with one twin for each Nanny, but until then, what were the Nannies going to do? For though they could cook breakfast and provide meals on trays (meals called “a nice egg by the fire”) neither of them was capable of running a smart little house in Regent's Park, where the Dearlys hoped to invite their friends to dinner.
And then something happened. Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler met and, after a few minutes of deep suspicion, took a great liking to each other. And they had a good laugh about their names.
“What a pity we're not a real cook and butler,” said Nanny Cook.
“Yes, that's what's needed now,” said Nanny Butler.
And then they both together had the Great Idea: Nanny Cook would train to be a real cook and Nanny Butler would train to be a real butler. They would start the very next day and be fully trained by the wedding.
But you'll have to be a parlourmaid, really,“ said Nanny Cook.
“Certainly not,” said Nanny Butler. “I haven't the figure for it. I shall be a real butler—
and
I shall valet Mr. Dearly, which will need no training as I've done it since the day he was born.”
And so when the Dearlys and the Pongos got back from their joint honeymoon, there were Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler, fully trained, ready to welcome them into the little house facing Regent's Park.
It came as something of a shock that Nanny Butler was wearing trousers.
“Wouldn't a black dress with a nice frilly apron be better?” suggested Mrs. Dearly—rather nervously, because Nanny Butler had never been her Nanny.
“You can't be a butler without trousers,” said Nanny Butler firmly. “But I'll get a frilly apron tomorrow. It will add a note of originality.” It did.
The Nannies said they no longer expected to be called Nanny, and were now prepared to be called by their surnames, in the correct way. But though you can call a cook “Cook,” the one thing you cannot call a butler is “Butler,” so in the end both Nannies were just called “Nanny, darling,” as they always had been.
After the dogs and the Dearlys had been back from their honeymoons for several happy weeks, something even happier happened. Mrs. Dearly took Pongo and Missis across the park to St. John's Wood, where they called on their good friend, the Splendid Veterinary Surgeon. She came back with the wonderful news that the Pongos were shortly to become parents. Puppies were due in a month.
The Nannies gave Missis a big lunch to keep her strength up, and Pongo a big lunch in case he should feel neglected (as the fathers of expected puppies sometimes do), and then both dogs had a long afternoon nap on the best sofa. By the time Mr. Dearly came home from business they were wide awake and asking for a walk.
“Let us
all
go for a walk, to celebrate,” said Mr. Dearly, after hearing the good news. Nanny Cook said the dinner was well ahead, and Nanny Butler said she could do with a bit of exercise, so off they all set along the Outer Circle.
The Dearlys led the way, Mrs. Dearly very pretty in the green going-away suit from her trousseau, and Mr. Dearly in his old tweed jacket, which was known as his dog-walker. (Mr. Dearly wasn't exactly handsome, but he had the kind of face you don't get tired of.) Then came the Pongos, looking noble; they could both have become champions if Mr. Dearly had not felt that dog shows would bore them—and him. They had splendid heads, fine shoulders, strong legs, and straight tails. The spots on their bodies were jet-black and mostly the size of a two-shilling piece; they had smaller spots on their heads, legs, and tails. Their noses and eye-rims were black. Missis had a most winning expression. Pongo, though a dog born to command, had a twinkle in his eye. They walked side by side with great dignity, only putting the Dearlys on the leash to lead them over crossings. Nanny Cook (plump) in her white overall, and Nanny Butler (plumper) in a well-cut tail coat and trousers, plus dainty apron, completed the procession.
It was a beautiful September evening, windless, very peaceful. The park and the old, cream-painted houses facing it basked in the golden light of sunset. There were many sounds but no noises. The cries of playing children and the whir of London's traffic seemed quieter than usual, as if softened by the evening's gentleness. Birds were singing their last song of the day, and farther along the Circle, at the house where a great composer lived, someone was playing the piano.
“I shall always remember this happy walk,” said Mr. Dearly.
At that moment the peace was shattered by an extremely strident motor horn. A large car was coming towards them. It drew up at a big house just ahead of them, and a tall woman came out onto the front-door steps. She was wearing a tight-fitting emerald satin dress, several ropes of rubies, and an absolutely simple white mink cloak, which reached to the high heels of her ruby-red shoes. She had a dark skin, black eyes with a tinge of red in them, and a very pointed nose. Her hair was parted severely down the middle and one half of it was black and the other white—rather unusual.
“Why, that's Cruella de Vil,” said Mrs. Dearly. “We were at school together. She was expelled for drinking ink.”
BOOK: The 101 Dalmatians
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