Part 2 out of 5
of any one teaching me anything. But I was only sullen and
obstinate, because I was kicked about so much. If he had been kind
to me, I would have done anything for him.
I loved to wait on Miss Laura and Mrs. Morris and they taught
both Billy and me to make ourselves useful about the house. Mrs.
Morris didn't like going up and down the three long staircases, and
sometimes we just raced up and down, waiting on her.
How often I have heard her go into the hall and say, "Please send
me down a clean duster, Laura. Joe, you get it." I would run gayly
up the steps, and then would come Billy's turn. "Billy, I have
forgotten my keys. Go get them."
After a time we began to know the names of different articles, and
where they were kept, and could get them ourselves. On sweeping
days we worked very hard, and enjoyed the fun. If Mrs. Morris was
too far away to call to Mary for what she wanted, she wrote the
name on a piece of paper, and told us to take it to her.
Billy always took the letters from the postman, and carried the
morning paper up to Mr. Morris's study, and I always put away the
clean clothes. After they were mended, Mrs. Morris folded each
article and gave it to me, mentioning the name of the owner, so
that I could lay it on his bed, There was no need for her to tell me
the names. I knew by the smell. All human beings have a strong
smell to a dog, even though they mayn't notice it themselves. Mrs.
Morris never knew how she bothered me by giving away Miss
Laura's clothes to poor people. Once, I followed her track all
through the town, and at last found it was only a pair of her boots
on a ragged child in the gutter.
I must say a word about Billy's tail before I close this chapter. It is
the custom to cut the ends of fox terrier's tails, but leave their ears
untouched. Billy came to Miss Laura so young that his tail had not
been cut off, and she would not have it done.
One day Mr. Robinson came in to see him and he said, "You have
made a fine-looking dog of him, but his appearance is ruined by
the length of his tail."
"Mr. Robinson," said Mrs. Morris, patting little Billy, who lay on
her lap, "don't you think that this little dog has a beautifully
"Yes, I do," said the gentleman. "His points are all correct, save
"But," she said, "if our Creator made that beautiful little body,
don't you think he is wise enough to know what length of tail
would be in proportion to it?"
Mr. Robinson would not answer her. He only laughed and said that
he thought she and Miss Laura were both "cranks."
CHAPTER XI GOLDFISH AND CANARIES
THE Morris boys were all different. Jack was bright and clever,
Ned was a wag, Willie was a book-worm, and Carl was a born
He was always exchanging toys and books with his schoolmates,
and they never got the better of him in a bargain. He said that
when he grew up he was going to be a merchant, and he had
already begun to carry on a trade in canaries and goldfish. He was
very fond of what he called "his yellow pets," yet he never kept a
pair of birds or a goldfish, if he had a good offer for them.
He slept alone in a large, sunny room at the top of the house. By
his own request, it was barely furnished, and there he raised his
canaries and kept his goldfish.
He was not fond of having visitors coming to his room, because,
he said, they frightened the canaries. After Mrs. Morris made his
bed in the morning, the door was closed, and no one was supposed
to go in till he came from school. Once Billy and I followed him
upstairs without his knowing it, but as soon as he saw us he sent us
down in a great hurry.
One day Bella walked into his room to inspect the canaries. She
was quite a spoiled bird by this time, and I heard Carl telling the
family afterward that it was as good as a play to see Miss Bella
strutting in with her breast stuck out, and her little, conceited air,
and hear her say, shrilly, "Good morning, birds, good morning!
How do you do, Carl? Glad to see you, boy."
"Well, I'm not glad to see you," he said decidedly, "and don't you
ever come up here again. You'd frighten my canaries to death."
And he sent her flying downstairs.
How cross she was! She came shrieking to Miss Laura. "Bella
loves birds. Bella wouldn't hurt birds. Carl's a bad boy."
Miss Laura petted and soothed her, telling her to go find Davy, and
he would play with her. Bella and the rat were great friends. It was
very funny to see them going about the house together. From the
very first she had liked him, and coaxed him into her cage, where
he soon became quite at home, so much so that he always slept
there. About nine o'clock every evening, if he was not with her, she
went all over the house, crying, "Davy! Davy! time to go to bed.
Come sleep in Bella's cage."
He was very fond of the nice sweet cakes she got to eat, but she
never could get him to eat coffee grounds food she liked best.
Miss Laura spoke to Carl about Bella, and told him he had hurt her
feelings, so he petted her a little to make up for it. Then his mother
told him that she thought he was making a mistake in keeping his
canaries so much to themselves. They had become so timid, that
when she went into the room they were uneasy till she left it. She
told him that petted birds or animals are sociable and like
company, unless they are kept by themselves, when they become
shy. She advised him to let the other boys go into the room, and
occasionally to bring some of his pretty singers downstairs, where
all the family could enjoy seeing and hearing them, and where they
would get used to other people besides himself.
Carl looked thoughtful, and his mother went on to say that there
was no one in the house, not even the cat, that would harm his
"You might even charge admission for a day or two," said Jack,
gravely, "and introduce us to them, and make a little money."
Carl was rather annoyed at this, but his mother calmed him by
showing him a letter she had just gotten from one of her brothers,
asking her to let one of her boys spend his Christmas holidays in
the country with him.
"I want you to go, Carl," she said.
He was very much pleased, but looked sober when he thought of
his pets. "Laura and I will take care of them," said his mother, "and
start the new management of them."
"Very well," said Carl, "I will go then; I've no young ones now, so
you will not find them much trouble."
I thought it was a great deal of trouble to take care of them. The
first morning after Carl left, Billy, and Bella, and Davy, and I
followed Miss Laura upstairs. She made us sit in a row by the
door, lest we should startle the canaries. She had a great many
things to do. First, the canaries had their baths. They had to get
them at the same time every morning. Miss Laura filled the little
white dishes with water and put them in the cages, and then came
and sat on a stool by the door. Bella, and Billy, and Davy climbed
into her lap, and I stood close by her. It was so funny to watch
those canaries. They put their heads on one side and looked first at
their little baths and then at us. They knew we were strangers.
Finally, as we were all very quiet, they got into the water; and what
a good time they had, fluttering their wings and splashing, and
cleaning themselves so nicely.
Then they got up on their perches and sat in the sun, shaking
themselves and picking at their feathers.
Miss Laura cleaned each cage, and gave each bird some mixed
rape and canary seed. I heard Carl tell her before he left not to give
them much hemp seed, for that was too fattening. He was very
careful about their food. During the summer I had often seen him
taking up nice green things to them: celery, chickweed, tender
cabbage, peaches, apples, pears, bananas; and now at Christmas
time, he had green stuff growing in pots on the window ledge.
Besides that he gave them crumbs of coarse bread, crackers, lumps
of sugar, cuttle-fish to peck at, and a number of other things. Miss
Laura did everything just as he told her; but I think she talked to
the birds more than he did. She was very particular about their
drinking water, and washed out the little glass cups that held it
After the canaries were clean and comfortable, Miss Laura set
their cages in the sun, and turned to the goldfish. They were in
large glass globes on the window-seat. She took a long-handled tin
cup, and dipped out the fish from one into a basin of water. Then
she washed the globe thoroughly and put the fish back, and
scattered wafers of fish food on the top. The fish came up and
snapped at it, and acted as if they were glad to get it. She did each
globe and then her work was over for one morning.
She went away for a while, but every few hours through the day
she ran up to Carl's room to see how the fish and canaries were
getting on. If the room was too chilly she turned on more heat; but
she did not keep it too warm, for that would make the birds tender.
After a time the canaries got to know her, and hopped gayly
around their cages, and chirped and sang whenever they saw her
coming. Then she began to take some of them downstairs, and to
let them out of their cages for an hour or two every day. They were
very happy little creatures, and chased each other about the room,
and flew on Miss Laura's head, and pecked saucily at her face as
she sat sewing and watching them. They were not at all afraid of
me nor of Billy, and it was quite a sight to see them hopping up to
Bella. She looked so large beside them.
One little bird became ill while Carl was away, and Miss Laura
had to give it a great deal of attention. She gave it plenty of hemp
seed to make it fat, and very often the yolk of a hard boiled egg,
and kept a nail in its drinking water, and gave it a few drops of
alcohol in its bath every morning to keep it from taking cold. The
moment the bird finished taking its bath, Miss Laura took the dish
from the cage, for the alcohol made the water poisonous. Then
vermin came on it; and she had to write to Carl to ask him what
do. He told her to hang a muslin bag full of sulphur over the swing,
so that the bird would dust it down on her feathers. That cured the
little thing, and when Carl came home, he found it quite well
again. One day, just after he got back, Mrs. Montague drove up to
the house with canary cage carefully done up in a shawl. She said
that a bad-tempered housemaid, in cleaning the cage that morning,
had gotten angry with the bird and struck it, breaking its leg. She
was very much annoyed with the girl for her cruelty, and had
dismissed her, and now she wanted Carl to take her bird and nurse
it, as she knew nothing. about canaries.
Carl had just come in from school. He threw down his books, took
the shawl from the cage and looked in. The poor little canary was
sitting In a corner. Its eyes were half shut, one leg hung loose, and
it was making faint chirps of distress.
Carl was very much interested in it. He got Mrs. Montague to help
him, and together they split matches, tore up strips of muslin, and
bandaged the broken leg. He put the little bird back in the cage,
and it seemed more comfortable. "I think he will do now," he said
to Mrs. Montague, "but hadn't you better leave him with me for a
She gladly agreed to this and went away, after telling him that the
bird's name was Dick.
The next morning at the breakfast table, I heard Carl telling his
mother that as soon as he woke up he sprang out of bed and went
to see how his canary was. During the night, poor, foolish Dick
had picked off the splints from his leg, and now it was as bad as
ever. "I shall have to perform a surgical operation." he said.
I did not know what he meant, so I watched him when, after
breakfast, he brought the bird down to his mother's room. She held
it while he took a pair of sharp scissors, and cut its leg right off a
little way above the broken place. Then he put some vaseline on
the tiny stump, bound it up, and left Dick in his mother's care. All
the morning, as she sat sewing, she watched him to see that he did
not pick the bandage away.
When Carl came home, Dick was so much better that he had
managed to fly up on his perch, and was eating seeds quite gayly.
"Poor Dick!" said Carl, "A leg and a stump!" Dick imitated him in
a few little chirps, "A leg and a stump!"
"Why, he is saying it too," exclaimed Carl, and burst out laughing.
Dick seemed cheerful enough, but it was very pitiful to see him
dragging his poor little stump around the cage, and resting it
against the perch to keep him from falling. When Mrs. Montague
came the next day, she could not bear to look at him. "Oh, dear!"
she exclaimed, "I cannot take that disfigured bird home."
I could not help thinking how different she was from Miss Laura,
who loved any creature all the more for having some blemish
"What shall I do?" said Mrs. Montague. "I miss my little bird so
much. I shall have to get a new one. Carl, will you sell me one?"
"I will give you one, Mrs. Montague," said the boy, eagerly. "I
would like to do so." Mrs. Morris looked pleased to hear Carl say
this. She used to fear sometimes, that in his love for making
money, he would become selfish.
Mrs. Montague was very kind to the Morris family, and Carl
seemed quite pleased to do her a favor. He took her up to his room,
and let her choose the bird she liked best. She took a handsome,
yellow one, called Barry. He was a good singer, and a great
favorite of Carl's. The boy put him in the cage, wrapped it up well,
for it was a cold, snowy day, and carried it out to Mrs. Montague's
She gave him a pleasant smile, and drove away, and Carl ran up
the steps into the house. "It's all right, mother," he said, giving Mrs.
Morris a hearty, boyish kiss, as she stood waiting for him. "I don't
mind letting her have it."
"But you expected to sell that one, didn't you?" she asked.
"Mrs. Smith said maybe she'd take it when she came home from
Boston, but I dare say she'd change her mind and get one there."
"How much were you going to ask for him?"
"Well, I wouldn't sell Barry for less than ten dollars, or rather, I
wouldn't have sold him," and he ran out to the stable.
Mrs. Morris sat on the hall chair, patting me as I rubbed against
her, in rather an absent minded way. Then she got up and went into
her husband's study, and told him what Carl had done.
Mr. Morris seemed very pleased to hear about it, but when his wife
asked him to do something to make up the loss to the boy, he said:
"I had rather not do that. To encourage a child to do a kind action,
and then to reward him for it, is not always a sound principle to go
But Carl did not go without his reward. That evening, Mrs.
Montague's coachman brought a note to the house addressed to
Mr. Carl Morris. He read it aloud to the family.
MY DEAR CARL: I am charmed with my little bird, and he has
whispered to me one of the secrets of your room. You want fifteen
dollars very much to buy something for it. I am sure you won't be
offended with an old friend for supplying you the means to get this
"Just the thing for my stationary tank for the goldfish," exclaimed
Carl. "I've wanted it for a long time; it isn't good to keep them in
globes, but how in the world did she find out? I've never told any
Mrs. Morris smiled, and said; "Barry must have told her;" as she
took the money from Carl to put away for him.
Mrs. Montague got to be very fond of her new pet. She took care
of him herself, and I have heard her tell Mrs. Morris most
wonderful stories about him stories so wonderful that I should say
they were not true if I did not how intelligent dumb creatures get to
be under kind treatment.
She only kept him in his cage at night, and when she began
looking for him at bedtime to put him there, he always hid himself.
She would search a short time, and then sit down, and he always
came out of his hiding-place, chirping in a saucy way to make her
look at him.
She said that he seemed to take delight in teasing her. Once when
he was in the drawing-room with her, she was called away to speak
to some one at the telephone. When she came back, she found that
one of the servants had come into the room and left the door open
leading to a veranda. The trees outside were full of yellow birds,
and she was in despair, thinking that Barry had flown out with
them. She looked out, but could not see him. Then, lest he had not
left the room, she got a chair and carried it about, standing on it to
examine the walls, and see if Barry was hidden among the pictures
and bric-a-brac. But no Barry was there. She at last sank down,
exhausted, on a sofa. She heard a wicked, little peep, and looking
up, saw Barry sitting on one of the rounds of the chair that she had
been carrying about to look for him. He had been there all the
time. She was so glad to see him, that she never thought of
He was never allowed to fly about the dining room during meals,
and the table maid drove him out before she set the table. It always
annoyed him, and he perched on the staircase, watching the door
through the railings. If it was left open for an instant, he flew in.
One evening, before tea, he did this. There was a chocolate cake
on the sideboard, and he liked the look of it so much that he began
to peck at it. Mrs. Montague happened to come in, and drove him
back to the hall.
While she was having tea that evening, with her husband and little
boy, Barry flew into the room again. Mrs. Montague told Charlie
to send him out, but her husband said, "Wait, he is looking for
He was on the sideboard, peering into every dish, and trying to
look under the covers. "He is after the chocolate cake," exclaimed
Mrs. Montague. "Here, Charlie; put this on the staircase for him."
She cut off a little scrap, and when Charlie took it to the hall,
Barry flew after him, and ate it up.
As for poor, little, lame Dick, Carl never sold him, and he became
a family pet. His cage hung in the parlor, and from morning till
night his cheerful voice was heard, chirping and singing as if he
had not a trouble in the world. They took great care of him. He
was never allowed to be too hot or too cold. Everybody gave him a
cheerful word in passing his cage, and if his singing was too loud,
they gave him a little mirror to look at himself in. He loved this
mirror, and often stood before it for an hour at a time.
CHAPTER XII MALTA THE CAT
THE first time I had a good look at the Morris cat, I thought she
was the queerest-looking animal I had ever seen. She was dark
gray just the color of a mouse. Her eyes were a yellowish green,
and for the first few days I was at the Morrises' they looked very
unkindly at me. Then she got over her dislike and we became very
good friends. She was a beautiful cat, and so gentle and
affectionate that the whole family loved her.
She was three years old, and she had come to Fairport in a vessel
with some sailors, who had gotten her in a far-away place. Her
name was Malta, and she was called a maltese cat.
I have seen a great many cats, but I never saw one as kind as
Malta. Once she had some little kittens and they all died. It almost
broke her heart. She cried and cried about the house till it made
one feel sad to hear her. Then she ran away to the woods. She
came back with a little squirrel in her mouth, and putting it in her
basket, she nursed it like a mother, till it grew old enough to run
away from her.
She was a very knowing cat, and always came when she was
called. Miss Laura used to wear a little silver whistle that she blew
when she wanted any of her pets. It was a shrill whistle, and we
could hear it a long way from home. I have seen her standing at the
back door whistling for Malta. and the pretty creature's head would
appear somewhere always high up, for she was a great climber,
and she would come running along the top of the fence, saying,
"Meow, meow," in a funny, short way.
Miss Laura would pet her, or give her something to eat, or walk
around the garden carrying her on her shoulder. Malta was a most
affectionate cat, and if Miss Laura would not let her lick her face,
she licked her hair with her little, rough tongue. Often Malta lay by
the fire, licking my coat or little Billy's, to show her affection for
Mary, the cook, was very fond of cats, and used to keep Malta in
the kitchen as much as she could, but nothing would make her stay
down there if there was any music going on upstairs. The Morris
pets were all fond of music. As soon as Miss Laura sat down to the
piano to sing or play, we came from all parts of the house. Malta
cried to get upstairs, Davy scampered through the hall, and Bella
hurried after him. If I was outdoors I ran in the house; and Jim got
on a box and looked through the window.
Davy's place was on Miss Laura's shoulder, his pink nose run in the
curls at the back of her neck. I sat under the piano beside Malta
and Bella, and we never stirred till the music was over; then we
went quietly away.
Malta was a beautiful cat there was no doubt about it. While I was
with Jenkins I thought cats were vermin, like rats, and I chased
them every chance I got. Mrs. Jenkins had a cat, a gaunt,
long-legged, yellow creature, that ran whenever we looked at it.
Malta had been so kindly treated that she never ran from any one,
except from strange dogs. She knew they would be likely to hurt
her. If they came upon her suddenly, she faced them, and she was a
pretty good fighter when she was put to it. I once saw her having a
brush with a big mastiff that lived a few blocks from us, and giving
him good fright; which just served him right.
I was shut up in the parlor. Some one had closed the door, and I
could not get out. I was watching Malta from the window, as she
daintily picked her way across the muddy street. She was such a
soft, pretty, amiable-looking cat. She didn't look that way, though,
when the mastiff rushed out of the alleyway at her.
She sprang back and glared at him like a little, fierce tiger. Her tail
was enormous. Her eyes were like balls of fire, and she was
spitting and snarling, as if to say, "If you touch me, I'll tear you to
The dog, big as he was, did not dare attack her. He walked around
and around, like a great clumsy elephant, and she turned her small
body as he turned his, and kept up a dreadful hissing and spitting.
Suddenly I saw a Spitz dog hurrying down the street. He was going
to help the mastiff, and Malta would be badly hurt. I had barked
and no one had come to let me out, so I sprang through the
Just then there was a change. Malta had seen the second dog, and
she knew she must get rid of the mastiff. With an agile bound she
sprang on his back, dug her sharp claws in, till he put his tail
between his legs and ran up the street, howling with palm She rode
a little way, then sprang off, and ran up the lane to the stable.
I was very angry and wanted to fight something so I pitched into
the Spitz dog. He was a snarly, cross-grained creature, no friend to
Jim and me, and he would have been only too glad of a chance to
help kill Malta.
I gave him one of the worst beatings he ever had. I don't suppose it
was quite right for me to do it, for Miss Laura says dogs should
never fight; but he had worried Malta before, and he had no
business to do it. She belonged to our family. Jim and I never
worried his cat. I had been longing to give him a shaking for some
time, and now I felt for his throat through his thick hair and
dragged him all around the street. Then I let him go, and he was a
civil dog ever afterward
Malta was very grateful, and licked a little place where the Spitz
bit me. I did not get scolded for the broken window. Mary had
seen from the kitchen window, and told Mrs. Morris that I had
gone to help Malta.
Malta was a very wise cat. She knew quite well that she must not
harm the parrot nor the canaries, and she never tried to catch them,
even though she was left alone in the room with them.
I have seen her lying in the sun, blinking sleepily, and listening
with great pleasure to Dick's singing. Miss Laura even taught her
not to hunt the birds outside.
For a long time she had tried to get it into Malta's head that it was
cruel to catch the little sparrows that came about the door, and just
after I came, she succeeded in doing so.
Malta was so fond of Miss Laura, that whenever she caught a bird,
she came and laid it at her feet. Miss Laura always picked up the
little, dead creature, pitied it and stroked it, and scolded Malta till
she crept into a corner. Then Miss Laura put the bird on a limb of a
tree, and Malta watched her attentively from her corner.
One day Miss Laura stood at the window, looking out into the
garden. Malta was lying on the platform, staring at the sparrows
that were picking up crumbs from the ground. She trembled, and
half rose every few minutes, as if to go after them. Then she lay
down again. She was trying very hard not to creep on them.
Presently a neighbor's cat came stealing along the fence, keeping
one eye on Malta and the other on the sparrows. Malta was so
angry! She sprang up and chased her away, and then came back to
the platform, where she lay down again and waited for the
sparrows to come back. For a long time she stayed there, and never
once tried to catch them.
Miss Laura was so pleased. She went to the door, and said, softly,
"Come here, Malta."
The cat put up her tail, and, meowing gently, came into the house.
Miss Laura took her up in her arms, and going down to the kitchen,
asked Mary to give her a saucer of her very sweetest milk for the
best cat in the United States of America.
Malta got great praise for this, and I never knew of her catching a
bird afterward. She was well fed in the house, and had no need to
hurt such harmless creatures.
She was very fond of her home, and never went far away, as Jim
and I did. Once, when Willie was going to spend a few weeks with
a little friend who lived fifty miles from Fairport, he took it into
his head that Malta should go with him. His mother told him that
cats did not like to go away from home; but he said he would be
good to her, and begged so hard to take her, that at last his mother
He had been a few days in this place, when he wrote home to say
that Malta had run away. She had seemed very unhappy, and
though he had kept her with him all the time, she had acted as if
she wanted to get away.
When the letter was read to Mr. Morris, he said, "Malta is on her
way home. Cats have a wonderful cleverness in finding their way
to their own dwelling. She will be very tired. Let us go out and
Willie had gone to this place in a coach. Mr. Morris got a buggy
and took Miss Laura and me with him, and we started out. We
went slowly along the road. Every little while Miss Laura blew her
whistle, and called, "Malta, Malta," and I barked as loudly as I
could. Mr. Morris drove for several hours, then we stopped at a
house, had dinner, and then set out again. We were going through
a thick wood, where there was a pretty straight road, when I saw a
small, dark creature away ahead, trotting toward us. It was Malta. I
gave a joyful bark, but she did not know me, and plunged into the
I ran in after her, barking and yelping, and Miss Laura blew her
whistle as loudly as she could. Soon there was a little gray head
peeping at us from the bushes, and Malta bounded out, gave me a
look of surprise and then leaped into the buggy on Miss Laura's
What a happy cat she was! She purred with delight, and licked
Miss Laura's gloves over and over again. Then she ate the food
they had brought, and went sound asleep. She was very thin, and
for several days after getting home she slept the most of the time.
Malta did not like dogs, but she was very good to cats. One day,
when there was no one about and the garden was very quiet, I saw
her go stealing into the stable, and come out again, followed by a
sore-eyed, starved-looking cat, that had been deserted by some
people that lived in the next street. She led this cat up to her catnip
bed, and watched her kindly, while she rolled and rubbed herself
in it. Then Malta had a roll in it herself, and they both went back to
Catnip is a favorite plant with cats, and Miss Laura always kept
some of it growing for Malta.
For a long time this sick cat had a home in the stable. Malta
carried her food every day and after a time Miss Laura found out
about her and did what she could to make her well. In time she got
to be a strong, sturdy-looking cat, and Miss Laura got a home for
her with an invalid lady.
It was nothing new for the Morrises to feed deserted cats. Some
summers, Mrs. Morris said that she had a dozen to take care of.
Careless and cruel people would go away for the summer, shutting
up their houses, and making no provision for the poor cats that had
been allowed to sit snugly by the fire all winter. At last, Mrs.
Morris got into the habit of putting a little notice in the Fairport
paper, asking people who were going away for the summer to
provide for their cats during their absence.
CHAPTER XIII THE BEGINNING OF AN ADVENTURE
THE first winter I was at the Morrises', I had an adventure. It was a
week before Christmas, and we were having cold, frosty weather.
Not much snow had fallen, but there was plenty of skating, and the
boys were off every day with their skates on a little lake near
Jim and I often went with them, and we had great fun scampering
over the ice after them, and slipping at every step.
On this Saturday night we had just gotten home. It was quite dark
outside, and there was a cold wind blowing, so when we came in
the front door, and saw the red light from the big hall stove and the
blazing fire in the parlor they looked very cheerful.
I was quite sorry for Jim that he had to go out to his kennel.
However, he said he didn't mind. The boys got a plate of nice,
warm meat for him and a bowl of milk, and carried them out, and
afterward he went to sleep. Jim's kennel was a very snug one.
Being a spaniel, he was not a very large dog, but his kennel was as
roomy as if he was a great Dane. He told me that Mr. Morris and
the boys made it, and he liked it very much, because it was large
enough for him to get up in the night and stretch himself, when he
got tired of lying in one position.
It was raised a little from the ground, and it had a thick layer of
straw over the floor. Above was a broad shelf, wide enough for
him to lie on, and covered with an old catskin sleigh robe. Jim
always slept here in cold weather, because it was farther away
from the ground.
To return to this December evening. I can remember yet how
hungry I was. I could scarcely lie still till Miss Laura finished her
tea. Mrs. Morris, knowing that her boys would be very hungry, had
Mary broil some beefsteak and roast some potatoes for them; and
didn't they smell good!
They ate all the steak and potatoes. It didn't matter to me, for I
wouldn't have gotten any if they had been left. Mrs. Morris could
not afford to give to the dogs good meat that she had gotten for her
children, so she used to get the butcher to send her liver, and
bones, and tough meat, and Mary cooked them, and made soup and
broth, and mixed porridge with them for us.
We never got meat three times a day. Miss Laura said it was all
very well to feed hunting dogs on meat, but dogs that are kept
about a house get ill if they are fed too well. So we had meat only
once a day, and bread and milk, porridge, or dog biscuits, for our
I made a dreadful noise when I was eating. Ever since Jenkins cut
my ears off, I had had trouble in breathing. The flaps had kept the
wind and dust from the inside of my ears. Now that they were gone
my head was stuffed up all the time. The cold weather made me
worse, and sometimes I had such trouble to get my breath that it
seemed as if I would choke. If I had opened my mouth, and
breathed through it, as I have seen some people doing, I would
have been more comfortable, but dogs always like to breathe
through their noses.
"You have taken more cold," said Miss Laura, this night, as she put
my plate of food on the floor for me. "Finish your meat, and then
come and sit by the fire with me. What! do you want more?"
I gave a little bark, so she filled my plate for the second time. Miss
Laura never allowed any one to meddle with us when we were
eating. One day she found Willie teasing me by snatching at a bone
that I was gnawing. "Willie," she said, "what would you do if you
were just sitting down to the table feeling very hungry, and just as
you began to eat your meat and potatoes, I would come along and
snatch the plate from you?"
"I don't know what I'd do," he said, laughingly; "but I'd want to
"Well," she said, "I'm afraid that Joe will 'wallop' you some day if
you worry him about his food, for even a gentle dog will
sometimes snap at any one who disturbs him at his meals; so you
had better not try his patience too far."
Willie never teased me after that, and I was very glad, for two or
three times I had been tempted to snarl at him.
After I finished my tea, I followed Miss Laura upstairs. She took
up a book and sat down in a low chair, and I lay down on the
hearth rug beside her.
"Do you know, Joe," she said with a smile, "why you scratch with
your paws when you lie down, as if to make yourself a hollow bed,
and turn around a great many times before you lie down?"
Of course I did not know, so I only stared at her. "Years and years
ago," she went on, gazing down at me, "there weren't any dogs
living in people's houses, as you are, Joe. They were all wild
creatures running about the woods. They always scratched among
the leaves to make a comfortable bed for themselves, and the habit
has come down to you, Joe, for you are descended from them."
This sounded very interesting, and I think she was going to tell me
some more about my wild forefathers, but just then the rest of the
family came in.
I always thought that this was the snuggest time of the day when
the family all sat around the fire Mrs. Morris sewing, the boys
reading or studying, and Mr. Morris with his head buried in a
newspaper, and Billy and I on the floor at their feet.
This evening I was feeling very drowsy, and had almost dropped
asleep, when Ned gave me a push with his foot. He was a great
tease, and he delighted in getting me to make a simpleton of
myself. I tried to keep my eyes on the fire, but I could not, and just
had to turn and look at him.
He was holding his book up between himself and his mother, and
was opening his mouth as wide as he could and throwing back his
head, pretending to howl.
For the life of me I could not help giving a loud howl. Mrs. Morris
looked up and said, "Bad Joe, keep still."
The boys were all laughing behind their books, for they knew what
Ned was doing. Presently he started off again, and I was just
beginning another howl that might have made Mrs. Morris send
me out of the room, when the door opened, and a young girl called
Bessie Drury came in.
She had a cap on and a shawl thrown over her shoulders, and she
had just run across the street from her father's house. "Oh, Mrs.
Morris," she said, "will you let Laura come over and stay with me
to-night? Mamma has just gotten a telegram from Bangor, saying
that her aunt, Mrs. Cole, is very ill, and she wants to see her, and
papa is going to take her there by tonight's train, and she is afraid I
will be lonely if I don't have Laura."
"Can you not come and spend the night here?" said Mrs. Morris.
"No, thank you; I think mamma would rather have me stay in our
"Very well," said Mrs. Morris, "I think Laura would like to go."
"Yes, indeed," said Miss Laura, smiling at her friend. "I will come
over in half an hour."
"Thank you, so much," said Miss Bessie. And she hurried away.
After she left, Mr. Morris looked up from his paper. "There will be
some one in the house besides those two girls?"
"Oh, yes," said Mrs. Morris; "Mrs. Drury has her old nurse, who
has been with her for twenty years, and there are two maids
besides, and Donald, the coachman, who sleeps over the stable. So
they are well protected."
"Very good," said Mr. Morris. And he went back to his paper.
Of course dumb animals do not understand all that they hear
spoken of; but I think human beings would be astonished if they
knew how much we can gather from their looks and voices. I knew
that Mr. Morris did not quite like the idea of having his daughter
go to the Drury's when the master and mistress of the house were
away, so I made up my mind that I would go with her.
When she came down stairs with her little satchel on her arm, I got
up and stood beside her. "Dear, old Joe," she said, "you must not
I pushed myself out the door beside her after she had kissed her
mother and father and the boys. "Go back, Joe," she said, firmly.
I had to step back then, but I cried and whined, and she looked at
me in astonishment. "I will be back in the morning, Joe," she said,
gently; "don't squeal in that way." Then she shut the door and went
I felt dreadfully. I walked up and down the floor and ran to the
window, and howled without having to look at Ned. Mrs. Morris
peered over her glasses at me in utter surprise. "Boys," she said,
"did you ever see Joe act in that way before?"
"No, mother," they all said.
Mr. Morris was looking at me very intently. He had always taken
more notice of me than any other creature about the house, and I
was very fond of him. Now I ran up and put my paws on his knees.
"Mother," he said, turning to his wife, "let the dog go."
"Very well," she said, in a puzzled way. "Jack, just run over with
him, and tell Mrs. Drury how he is acting, and that I will be very
much obliged if she will let him stay all night with Laura."
Jack sprang up, seized his cap, and raced down the front steps,
across the street, through the gate, and up the gravelled walk,
where the little stones were all hard and fast in the frost.
The Drurys lived in a large, white house, with trees all around it,
and a garden at the back. They were rich people and had a great
deal of company. Through the summer I had often seen carriages
at the door, and ladies and gentlemen in light clothes walking over
the lawn, and sometimes I smelled nice things they were having to
eat. They did not keep any dogs, nor pets of any kind so Jim and I
never had an excuse to call there.
Jack and I were soon at the front door, and he rang the bell and
gave me in charge of the maid who opened it. The girl listened to
his message for Mrs. Drury, then she walked upstairs, smiling and
looking at me over her shoulder.
There was a trunk in the upper hall, and an elderly woman was
putting things in it. A lady stood watching her, and when she saw
me, she gave a little scream, "Oh, nurse! look at that horrid dog!
Where did he come from? Put him out, Susan."
I stood quite still, and the girl who had brought me upstairs, gave
her Jack's message.
"Certainly, certainly," said the lady, when the maid finished
speaking. "If he is one of the Morris dogs, he is sure to be a
well-behaved one. Tell the little boy to thank his mamma for
letting Laura come over, and say that we will keep the dog with
pleasure. Now, nurse, we must hurry: the cab will be here in five
I walked softly into a front room, and there I found my dear Miss
Laura. Miss Bessie was with her, and they were cramming things
into a portmanteau. They both ran out to find out how I came
there, and just then a gentleman came hurriedly upstairs, and said
the cab had come.
There was a scene of great confusion and hurry but in a few
minutes it was all over. The cab had rolled away, and the house
"Nurse, you must be tired, you had better go to bed," said Miss
Bessie, turning to the elderly woman, as we all stood in the hall.
"Susan, will you bring some supper to the dining-room, for Miss
Morris and me? What will you have, Laura?"
"What are you going to have?" asked Miss Laura, with a smile.
"Hot chocolate and tea biscuits."
"Then I will have the same."
"Bring some cake too, Susan," said Miss Bessie, "and something
for the dog. I dare say he would like some of that turkey that was
left from dinner."
If I had had any ears I would have pricked them up at this, for I
was very fond of fowl, and I never got any at the Morrises', unless
it might be a stray bone or two.
What fun we had over our supper! The two girls sat at the big
dining table, and sipped their chocolate, and laughed and talked,
and I had the skeleton of a whole turkey on a newspaper that Susan
spread on the carpet. I was very careful not to drag it about, and
Miss Bessie laughed at me till the tears came in her eyes. "That
dog is a gentleman," she said; "see how he holds bones on the
paper with his paws, and strips the meat off with his teeth. Oh, Joe,
Joe, you are a funny dog! And you are having a funny supper. I
have heard of quail on toast, but I never heard of turkey on
"Hadn't we better go to bed?" said Miss Laura, when the hall clock
"Yes, I suppose we had," said Miss Bessie.
"Where is this animal to sleep?"
"I don't know," said Miss Laura; "he sleeps in the stable at home,
or in the kennel with Jim."
"Suppose Susan makes him a nice bed by the kitchen stove?" said
Susan made the bed, but I was not willing to sleep in it. I barked so
loudly when they shut me up alone, that they had to let me go
upstairs with them.
Miss Laura was almost angry with me, but I could not help it. I had
come over there to protect her, and I wasn't going to leave her, if I
could help it.
Miss Bessie had a handsomely furnished room with a soft carpet
on the floor, and pretty curtains at the windows. There were two
single beds in it, and the two girls dragged them close together so
that they could talk after they got in bed.
Before Miss Bessie put out the light, she told Miss Laura not to be
alarmed if she heard any one walking about in the night, for the
nurse was sleeping across the hall from them, and she would
probably come in once or twice to see if they were sleeping
The two girls talked for a long time, and then they fell asleep. Just
before Miss Laura dropped off, she forgave me, and put down her
hand for me to lick as I lay on a fur rug close by her bed
I was very tired, and I had a very soft and pleasant bed, so I soon
fell into a heavy sleep. But I waked up at the slightest noise. Once
Miss Laura turned in bed, and another time Miss Bessie laughed in
her sleep, and again, there were queer crackling noises in the frosty
limbs of the trees outside, that made me start up quickly out of my
There was a big clock in the hall, and every time it struck I waked
up. Once, just after it had struck some hour, I jumped up out of a
sound nap. I had been dreaming about my early home. Jenkins was
after me with a whip, and my limbs were quivering and trembling
as if I had been trying to get away from him.
I sprang up and shook myself. Then I took a turn around the room.
The two girls were breathing gently; I could scarcely hear them. I
walked to the door and looked out into the hall. There was a dim
light burning there. The door of the nurse's room stood open. I
went quietly to it and looked in. She was breathing heavily and
muttering in her sleep.
I went back to my rug and tried to go to sleep, but I could not.
Such an uneasy feeling was upon me that I had to keep walking
about. I went out into the hall again and stood at the head of the
staircase. I thought I would take a walk through the lower hall, and
then go to bed again.
The Drurys' carpets were all like velvet, and my paws did not make
a rattling on them as they did on the oil cloth at the Morrises'. I
crept down the stairs like a cat, and walked along the lower hall,
smelling under all the doors, listening as I went. There was no
night light burning down here, and it was quite dark, but if there
had been any strange person about I would have smelled him.
I was surprised when I got near the farther end of the hall, to see a
tiny gleam of light shine for an instant from under the dining-room
door. Then it went away again. The dining-room was the place to
eat. Surely none of the people in the house would be there after the
supper we had.
I went and sniffed under the door. There was a smell there; a
strong smell like beggars and poor people. It smelled like Jenkins.
CHAPTER XIV HOW WE CAUGHT THE BURGLAR
WHAT was the wretch doing in the house with my dear Miss
Laura? I thought I would go crazy. I scratched at the door, and
barked and yelped. I sprang up on it, and though I was quite a
heavy dog by this time, I felt as light as a feather.
It seemed to me that I would go mad if I could not get that door
open. Every few seconds I stopped and put my head down to the
doorsill to listen. There was a rushing about inside the room, and a
chair fell over, and some one seemed to be getting out of the
This made me worse than ever. I did not stop to think that I was
only a medium-sized dog, and that Jenkins would probably kill me,
if he got his hands on me. I was so furious that I thought only of
getting hold of him.
In the midst of the noise that I made, there was a screaming and a
rushing to and fro upstairs. I ran up and down the hall, and
half-way up the steps and back again. I did not want Miss Laura to
come down, but how was I to make her understand? There she
was, in her white gown, leaning over the railing, and holding back
her long hair, her face a picture of surprise and alarm.
"The dog has gone mad," screamed Miss Bessie. "Nurse, pour a
pitcher of water on him."
The nurse was more sensible. She ran downstairs, her night-cap
flying, and a blanket that she had seized from her bed, trailing
behind her. "There are thieves in the house," she shouted at the top
of her voice, "and the dog has found it out."
She did not go near the dining-room door, but threw open the front
one, crying, "Policeman! Policeman! help, help, thieves, murder!"
Such a screaming as that old woman made! She was worse than I
was. I dashed by her, out through the hall door, and away down to
the gate, where I heard some one running. I gave a few loud yelps
to call Jim, and leaped the gate as the man before me had done.
There was something savage in me that night. I think it must have
been the smell of Jenkins. I felt as if I could tear him to pieces. I
have never felt so wicked since. I was hunting him, as he had
hunted me and my mother, and the thought gave me pleasure.
Old Jim soon caught up with me, and I gave him a push with my
nose, to let him know I was glad he had come. We rushed swiftly
on, and at the corner caught up with the miserable man who was
running away from us.
I gave an angry growl, and jumping up, bit at his leg. He turned
around, and though it was not a very bright night, there was light
enough for me to see the ugly face of my old master.
He seemed so angry to think that Jim and I dared to snap at him.
He caught up a handful of stones, and with some bad words threw
them at us. Just then, away in front of us, was a queer whistle, and
then another one like it behind us. Jenkins made a strange noise in
his throat, and started to run down a side street, away from the
direction of the two whistles.
I was afraid that he was going to get away, and though I could not
hold him, I kept springing up on him, and once I tripped him up.
Oh, how furious he was! He kicked me against the side of a wall,
and gave me two or three hard blows with a stick that he caught
up, and kept throwing stones at me.
I would not give up, though I could scarcely see him for the blood
that was running over my eyes. Old Jim got so angry whenever
Jenkins touched me, that he ran up behind and nipped his calves,
to make him turn on him.
Soon Jenkins came to a high wall, where he stopped, and with a
hurried look behind, began to climb over it. The wall was too high
for me to jump. He was going to escape. What shall I do? I barked
as loudly as I could for some one to come, and then sprang up and
held him by the leg as he was getting over.
I had such a grip, that I went over the wall with him, and left Jim
on the other side. Jenkins fell on his face in the earth. Then he got
up, and with a look of deadly hatred on his face, pounced upon me.
If help had not come, I think he would have dashed out my brains
against the wall, as he dashed out my poor little brothers' against
the horse's stall. But just then there was a running sound. Two men
came down the street and sprang upon the wall, just where Jim
was leaping up and down and barking in distress.
I saw at once by their uniform and the clubs in their hands, that
they were policemen. In one short instant they had hold of Jenkins.
He gave up then, but he stood snarling at me like an ugly dog. "If it
hadn't been for that cur, I'd never a been caught. Why ," and he
staggered back and uttered a bad word, "it's me own dog."
"More shame to you," said one of the policemen, sternly; "what
have you been up to at this time of night, to have your own dog
and a quiet minister's spaniel dog a chasing you through the
Jenkins began to swear and would not tell them anything. There
was a house in the garden, and just at this minute some one opened
a window and called out: "Hallo, there, what are you doing?"
"We're catching a thief, sir," said one of the policemen, "leastwise
I think that's what he's been up to. Could you throw us down a bit
of rope? We've no handcuffs here, and one of us has to go to the
lock-up and the other to Washington street, where there's a woman
yelling blue murder; and hurry up, please, sir."
The gentleman threw down a rope, and in two minutes Jenkins'
wrists were tied together, and he was walked through the gate,
saying bad words as fast as he could to the policeman who was
leading him. "Good dogs," said the other policeman to Jim and me.
Then he ran up the street and we followed him.
As we hurried along Washington street, and came near our house,
we saw lights gleaming through the darkness, and heard people
running to and fro. The nurse's shrieking had alarmed the
neighborhood. The Morris boys were all out in the street only half
clad and shivering with cold, and the Drurys' coachman, with no
hat on, and his hair sticking up all over his head, was running
about with a lantern.
The neighbors' houses were all lighted up, and a good many people
were hanging out of their windows and opening their doors, and
calling to each other to know what all this noise meant.
When the policeman appeared with Jim and me at his heels, quite
a crowd gathered around him to hear his part of the story. Jim and
I dropped on the ground panting as hard as we could, and with
little streams of water running from our tongues. We were both
pretty well used up. Jim's back was bleeding in several places from
the stones that Jenkins had thrown at him., and I was a mass of
Presently we were discovered, and then what a fuss was made over
us. "Brave dogs! noble dogs!" everybody said, and patted and
praised us. We were very proud and happy, and stood up and
wagged our tails, at least Jim did, and I wagged what I could. Then
they found what a state we were in. Mrs. Morris cried, and
catching me up in her arms, ran in the house with me, and Jack
followed with old Jim.
We all went into the parlor. There was a good fire there, and Miss
Laura and Miss Bessie were sitting over it. They sprang up when
they saw us, and right there in the parlor washed our wounds, and
made us lie down by the fire.
"You saved our silver, brave Joe," said Miss Bessie; "just wait till
my papa and mamma come home, and see what they will say.
Well, Jack, what is the latest?" as the Morris boys came trooping
into the room.
"The policeman has been questioning your nurse, and examining
the dining-room, and has gone down to the station to make his
report, and do you know what he has found out?" said Jack,
"No what?" asked Miss Bessie.
"Why that villain was going to burn your house."
Miss Bessie gave a little shriek. "Why, what do you mean?"
"Well," said Jack, "they think by what they discovered, that he
planned to pack his bag with silver, and carry it off; but just before
he did so he would pour oil around the room, and set fire to it, so
people would not find out that he had been robbing you."
"Why we might have all been burned to death," said Miss Bessie.
"He couldn't burn the dining-room without setting fire to the rest of
"Certainly not," said Jack, "that shows what a villain he is."
"Do they know this for certain, Jack?" asked Miss Laura.
"Well, they suppose so; they found some bottles of oil along with
the bag he had for the silver."
"How horrible! You darling old Joe, perhaps you saved our lives,"
and pretty Miss Bessie kissed my ugly, swollen head. I could do
nothing but lick her little hand, but always after that I thought a
great deal of her.
It is now some years since all this happened, and I might as well
tell the end of it. The next day the Drurys came home, and
everything was found out about Jenkins. The night they left
Fairport he had been hanging about the station. He knew just who
were left in the house, for he had once supplied them with milk,
and knew all about their family. He had no customers at this time,
for after Mr. Harry rescued me, and that piece came out in the
paper about him, he found that no one would take milk from him.
His wife died, and some kind people put his children in an asylum,
and he was obliged to sell Toby and the cows. Instead of learning a
lesson from all this, and leading a better life, he kept sinking
He was, therefore, ready for any kind of mischief that turned up,
and when he saw the Drurys going away in the train, he thought he
would steal a bag of silver from their sideboard, then set fire to the
house, and run away and hide the silver. After a time he would
take it to some city and sell it.
He was made to confess all this. Then for his wickedness he was
sent to prison for ten years, and I hope he will get to be a better
man there, and be one after he comes out.
I was sore and stiff for a long time, and one day Mrs. Drury came
over to see me. She did not love dogs as the Morrises did. She
tried to, but she could not.
Dogs can see fun in things as well as people can, and I buried my
muzzle in the hearth-rug, so that she would not see how I was
curling up my lip and smiling at her.
"You are a good dog," she said, slowly. "You are" then she
stopped, and could not think of anything else to say to me. I got up
and stood in front of her, for a well-bred dog should not lie down
when a lady speaks to him. I wagged my body a little, and I would
gladly have said something to help her out of her difficulty, but I
couldn't. If she had stroked me it might have helped her; but she
didn't want to touch me, and I knew she didn't want me to touch
her, so I just stood looking at her.
"Mrs. Morris," she said, turning from me with a puzzled face, "I
don't like animals, and I can't pretend to, for they always find me
out; but can't you let that dog know that I shall feel eternally
grateful to him for saving not only our property for that is a trifle
but my darling daughter from fright and annoyance, and a possible
injury or loss of life?"
"I think he understands," said Mrs. Morris. "He is a very wise dog."
And smiling in great amusement, she called me to her and put my
paws on her lap. "Look at that lady, Joe. She is pleased with you
for driving Jenkins away from her house. You remember Jenkins?"
I barked angrily and limped to the window.
"How intelligent he is," said Mrs. Drury. "My husband has sent to
New York for a watchdog, and he says that from this on our house
shall never be without one. Now I must go. Your dog is happy,
Mrs. Morris, and I can do nothing for him, except to say that I shall
never forget him, and I wish he would come over occasionally to
see us. Perhaps when we get our dog he will. I shall tell my cook
whenever she sees him to give him something to eat. This is a
souvenir for Laura of that dreadful night. I feel under a deep
obligation to you, so I am sure you will allow her to accept it."
Then she gave Mrs. Morris a little box and went away.
When Miss Laura came in, she opened the box, and found in it a
handsome diamond ring. On the inside of it was engraved: "Laura,
in memory of December 20th, 18 . From her grateful friend,
The diamond was worth hundreds of dollars, and Mrs. Morris told
Miss Laura that she had rather she would not wear it then, while
she was a young girl. It was not suitable for her, and she knew
Mrs. Drury did not expect her to do so. She wished to give her a
valuable present, and this would always be worth a great deal of
CHAPTER XV OUR JOURNEY TO RIVERDALE
EVERY other summer, the Morris children were sent to some
place in the country, so that they could have a change of air, and
see what country life was like. As there were so many of them they
usually went different ways.
The summer after I came to them, Jack and Carl went to an uncle
in Vermont, Miss Laura went to another in New Hampshire, and
Ned and Willie went to visit a maiden aunt who lived in the White
Mr. and Mrs. Morris stayed at home. Fairport was a lovely place in
summer, and many people came there to visit.
The children took some of their pets with them, and the others they
left at home for their mother to take care of. She never allowed
them to take a pet animal anywhere, unless she knew it would be
perfectly welcome. "Don't let your pets be a worry to other
people," she often said to them, "or they will dislike them and you
Miss Laura went away earlier than the others, for she had run
down through the spring, and was pale and thin. One day, early in
June, we set out. I say "we," for after my adventure with Jenkins,
Miss Laura said that I should never be parted from her. If any one
invited her to come and see them and didn't want me, she would
stay at home.
The whole family went to the station to see us off. They put a
chain on my collar and took me to the baggage office and got two
tickets for me. One was tied to my collar and the other Miss Laura
put in her purse. Then I was put in a baggage car and chained in a
corner. I heard Mr. Morris say that as we were only going a short
distance, it was not worth while to get an express ticket for me.
There was a dreadful noise and bustle at the station. Whistles were
blowing and people were rushing up and down the platform. Some
men were tumbling baggage so fast into the car where I was, that I
was afraid some of it would fall on me.
For a few minutes Miss Laura stood by the door and looked in, but
soon the men had piled up so many boxes and trunks that she
could not see me. Then she went away. Mr. Morris asked one of
the men to see that I did not get hurt, and I heard some money
rattle. Then he went away too.
It was the beginning of June and the weather had suddenly become
very hot. We had a long, cold spring, and not being used to the
heat, it seemed very hard to bear.
Before the train started, the doors of the baggage car were closed,
and it became quite dark inside. The darkness, and the heat, and
the close smell, and the noise, as we went rushing along, made me
feel sick and frightened.
I did not dare to lie down, but sat up trembling and wishing that we
might soon come to Riverdale Station. But we did not get there for
some time, and I was to have a great fright.
I was thinking of all the stories that I knew of animals traveling. In
February, the Drurys' Newfoundland watch-dog, Pluto, had arrived
from New York, and he told Jim and me that he had a miserable
A gentleman friend of Mr. Drury's had brought him from New
York. He saw him chained up in his car, and he went into his
Pullman, first tipping the baggage-master handsomely to look after
him. Pluto said that the baggage-master had a very red nose, and
he was always getting drinks for himself when they stopped at a
station, but he never once gave him a drink or anything to eat,
from the time they left New York till they got to Fairport. When
the train stopped there, and Pluto's chain was unfastened, he
sprang out on the platform and nearly knocked Mr. Drury down.
He saw some snow that had sifted through the station roof and he
was so thirsty that he began to lick it up. When the snow was all
gone, he jumped up and licked the frost on the windows.
Mr. Drury's friend was so angry. He found the baggage-master, and
said to him: "What did you mean, by coming into my car every few
hours, to tell me that the dog was fed, and watered, and
comfortable? I shall report you."
He went into the office at the station, and complained of the man,
and was told that he was a drinking man, and was going to be
I was not afraid of suffering like Pluto, because it was only going
to take us a few hours to get to Riverdale. I found that we always
went slowly before we came in to a station, and one time when we
began to slacken speed I thought that surely we must be at our
journey's end. However, it was not Riverdale. The car gave a kind
of jump, then there was a crashing sound ahead, and we stopped.
I heard men shouting and running up and down, and I wondered
what had happened. It was all dark and still in the car, and nobody
came in, but the noise kept up outside, and I knew something had
gone wrong with the train. Perhaps Miss Laura had got hurt.
Something must have happened to her or she would come to me.
I barked and pulled at my chain till my neck was sore, but for a
long, long time I was there alone. The men running about outside
must have heard me. If ever I hear a man in trouble and crying for
help I go to him and see what he wants.
After such a long time that it seemed to me it must be the middle
of the night, the door at the end of the car opened, and a man
looked in "This is all through baggage for New York, miss," I
heard him say; "they wouldn't put your dog in here."
"Yes, they did I am sure this is the car," I heard in the voice I knew
so well, "and won't you get him out, please? He must be terribly
The man stooped down and unfastened my chain, grumbling to
himself because I had not been put in another car. ""Some folks
tumble a dog round as if he was a chunk of coal," he said, patting
I was nearly wild with delight to get with Miss Laura again, but I
had barked so much, and pressed my neck so hard with my collar
that my voice was all gone. I fawned on her, and wagged myself
about, and opened and shut my mouth, but no sound came out of
It made Miss Laura nervous. She tried to laugh and cry at the same
time, and then bit her lip hard, and said: "Oh, Joe, don't."
"He's lost his bark, hasn't he?" said the man, looking at me
"It is a wicked thing to confine an animal in a dark and closed car,"
said Miss Laura, trying to see her way down the steps through her
The man put out his hand and helped her. "He's not suffered much,
miss," he said; "don't you distress yourself. Now if you'd been a
brakeman on a Chicago train, as I was a few years ago, and seen
the animals run in for the stock yards, you might talk about cruelty.
Cars that ought to hold a certain number of pigs, or sheep, or
cattle, jammed full with twice as many, and half of 'em thrown out
choked and smothered to death. I've seen a man running up and
down, raging and swearing because the railway people hadn't let
him get in to tend to his pigs on the road."
Miss Laura turned and looked at the man with a very white face.
"Is it like that now?" she asked.
"No, no," he said, hastily. "It's better now. They've got new
regulations about taking care of the stock; but mind you, miss, the
cruelty to animals isn't all done on the railways. There's a great lot
of dumb creatures suffering all round everywhere, and if they
could speak 'twould be a hard showing for some other people
besides the railway men."
He lifted his cap and hurried down the platform, and Miss Laura,
her face very much troubled, picked her way among the bits of
coal and wood scattered about the platform, and went into the
waiting room of the little station.
She took me up to the filter and let some water run in her hand,
and gave it to me to lap. Then she sat down and I leaned my head
against her knees, and she stroked my throat gently.
There were some people sitting about the room, and, from their
talk, I found out what had taken place. There had been a freight
train on a side track at this station, waiting for us to get by. The
switchman had carelessly left the switch open after this train went
by, and when we came along afterward, our train, instead of
running in by the platform, went crashing into the freight train. If
we had been going fast, great damage might have been done. As it
was, our engine was smashed so badly that it could not take us on;
the passengers were frightened; and we were having a tedious time
waiting for another engine to come and take us to Riverdale.
After the accident, the trainmen were so busy that Miss Laura
could get no one to release me.
While I sat by her, I noticed an old gentleman staring at us. He was
such a queer-looking old gentleman. He looked like a poodle. He
had bright brown eyes, and a pointed face, and a shock of white
hair that he shook every few minutes. He sat with his hands
clasped on the top of his cane, and he scarcely took his eyes from
Miss Laura's face. Suddenly he jumped up and came and sat down
"An ugly dog, that," he said, pointing to me.
Most young ladies would have resented this, but Miss Laura only
looked amused. "He seems beautiful to me," she said, gently.
"H'm, because he's your dog," said the old man, darting a sharp
look at me. "What's the matter with him?"
"This is his first journey by rail, and he's a little frightened."
"No wonder. The Lord only knows the suffering of animals in
transportation," said the old gentleman. "My dear young lady, if
you could see what I have seen, you'd never eat another bit of meat
all the days of your life."
Miss Laura wrinkled her forehead. "I know I have heard," she
faltered. "It must be terrible."
"Terrible it's awful," said the gentleman. "Think of the cattle on
the western plains. Choked with thirst in summer, and starved and
frozen in winter. Dehorned and goaded on to trains and steamers.
Tossed about and wounded and suffering on voyages. Many of
them dying and being thrown into the sea. Others landed sick and
frightened. Some of them slaughtered on docks and wharves to
keep them from dropping dead in their tracks. What kind of food
does their flesh make? It's rank poison. Three of my family have
died of cancer. I am a vegetarian."
The strange old gentleman darted from his seat, and began to pace
up and down the room. I was very glad he had gone, for Miss
Laura hated to hear of cruelty of any kind, and her tears were
dropping thick and fast on my brown coat.
The gentleman had spoken very loudly, and every one in the room
had listened to what he said. Among them, was a very young man,
with a cold, handsome face. He looked as if he was annoyed that
the older man should have made Miss Laura cry.
"Don't you think, sir," he said, as the old gentleman passed near
him in walking up and down the floor, "that there is a great deal of
mock sentiment about this business of taking care of the dumb
creation? They were made for us. They've got to suffer and be
killed to supply our wants. The cattle and sheep, and other animals
would over-run the earth, if we didn't kill them."
"Granted," said the old man, stopping right in front of him.
"Granted, young man, if you take out that word suffer. The Lord
made the sheep, and the cattle, and the pigs. They are his creatures
just as much as we are. We can kill them, but we've no right to
make them suffer."
"But we can't help it, sir."
"Yes, we can, my young man. It's a possible thing to raise healthy
stock, treat it kindly, kill it mercifully, eat it decently. When men
do that I, for one, will cease to be a vegetarian. You're only a boy.
You haven't traveled as I have. I've been from one end of this
country to the other. Up north, down south, and out west, I've seen
sights that made me shudder, and I tell you the Lord will punish
this great American nation if it doesn't change its treatment of the
dumb animals committed to its care."
The young man looked thoughtful, and did not reply. A very
sweet-faced old lady sitting near him answered the old gentleman.
I don't think I have ever seen such a fine-looking old lady as she
was. Her hair was snowy white, and her face was deeply wrinkled,
yet she was tall and stately, and her expression was as pleasing as
my dear Miss Laura's.
"I do not think we are a wicked nation," she said, softly. "We are a
younger nation than many of the nations of the earth, and I think
that many of our sins arise from ignorance and thoughtlessness."
"Yes, madame, yes, madame," said the fiery old gentleman, staring
hard at her. "I agree with you there."
She smiled very pleasantly at him and went on. "I, too, have been a
traveler, and I have talked to a great many wise and good people
on the subject of the cruel treatment of animals, and I find that
many of them have never thought about it. They, themselves, never
knowingly ill-treat a dumb creature, and when they are told stories
of inhuman conduct, they say in surprise, 'Why, these things surely
can't exist!' You see they have never been brought in contact with
them. As soon as they learn about them, they begin to agitate and
say, 'We must have this thing stopped. Where is the remedy?'"
"And what is it, what is it, madame, in your opinion?" said the old
gentleman, pawing the floor with impatience.
"Just the remedy that I would propose for the great evil of
intemperance," said the old lady, smiling at him. "Legislation and
education. Legislation for the old and hardened, and education for
the young and tender. I would tell the schoolboys and schoolgirls
that alcohol will destroy the framework of their beautiful bodies,
and that cruelty to any of God's living creatures will blight and
destroy their innocent young souls."
The young man spoke again. "Don't you think," he said, "that you
temperance and humane people lay too much stress upon the
education of our youth in all lofty and noble sentiments? The
human heart will always be wicked. Your Bible tells you that,
doesn't it? You can't educate all the badness out of children."
"We don't expect to do that," said the old lady, turning her pleasant
face toward him; "but even if the human heart is desperately
wicked, shouldn't that make us much more eager to try to educate,
to ennoble, and restrain? However, as far as my experience goes,
and I have lived in this wicked world for seventy-five years, I find
that the human heart, though wicked and cruel, as you say, has yet
some soft and tender spots, and the impressions made upon it in
youth are never, never effaced. Do you not remember better than
anything else, standing at your mother's knee the pressure of her
hand, her kiss on your forehead?"
By this time our engine had arrived. A whistle was blowing, and
nearly every one was rushing from the room, the impatient old
gentleman among the first. Miss Laura was hurriedly trying to do
up her shawl strap, and I was standing by, wishing that I could help
her. The old lady and the young man were the only other people in
the room, and we could not help hearing what they said.
"Yes, I do," he said in a thick voice, and his face got very red. "She
is dead now I have no mother."
"Poor boy!" and the old lady laid her hand on his shoulder. They
were standing up, and she was taller than he was. "May God bless
you. I know you have a kind heart. I have four stalwart boys, and
you remind me of the youngest. If you are ever in Washington
come to see me." She gave him some name, and he lifted his hat
and looked as if he was astonished to find out who she was. Then
he, too, went away, and she turned to Miss Laura. "Shall I help
you, my dear?"
"If you please," said my young mistress. "I can't fasten this strap."
In a few seconds the bundle was done up, and we were joyfully
hastening to the train. It was only a few miles to Riverdale, so the
conductor let me stay in the car with Miss Laura. She spread her
coat out on the seat in front of her, and I sat on it and looked out of
the car window as we sped along through a lovely country, all
green and fresh in the June sunlight. How light and pleasant this
car was so different from the baggage car. What frightens an
animal most of all things, is not to see where it is going, not to
know what is going to happen to it. I think that they are very like
human beings in this respect.
The lady had taken a seat beside Miss Laura, and as we went
along, she too looked out of the window and said in a low voice:
"What is so rare as a day in June,
Then, if ever, come perfect days."
"That is very true," said Miss Laura; "how sad that the autumn
must come, and the cold winter."
"No, my dear, not sad. It is but a preparation for another summer."
"Yes, I suppose it is," said Miss Laura. Then she continued a little
shyly, as her companion leaned over to stroke my cropped ears,
"You seem very fond of animals."
"I am, my dear. I have four horses, two cows, a tame squirrel, three
dogs, and a cat."
"You should be a happy woman," said Miss Laura, with a smile.
"I think I am. I must not forget my horned toad, Diego, that I got in
California. I keep him in the green-house, and he is very happy
catching flies and holding his horny head to be scratched whenever
any one comes near."
"I don't see how any one can be unkind to animals," said Miss
"Nor I, my dear child. It has always caused me intense pain to
witness the torture of dumb animals. Nearly seventy years ago,
when I was a little girl walking the streets of Boston, I would
tremble and grow faint at the cruelty of drivers to over-loaded
horses. I was timid and did not dare speak to them. Very often, I
ran home and flung myself in my mother's arms with a burst of
tears, and asked her if nothing could be done to help the poor
animals. With mistaken, motherly kindness, she tried to put the
subject out of my thoughts. I was carefully guarded from seeing or
hearing of any instances of cruelty. But the animals went on
suffering just the same, and when I became a woman, I saw my
cowardice. I agitated the matter among my friends, and told them
that our whole dumb creation was groaning together in pain, and
would continue to groan, unless merciful human beings were
willing to help them. I was able to assist in the formation of
several societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and they
have done good service. Good service not only to the horses and
cows, but to the nobler animal, man. I believe that in saying to a
cruel man, 'You shall not overwork, torture, mutilate, nor kill your
animal, or neglect to provide it with proper food and shelter,' we
are making him a little nearer the kingdom of heaven than he was
before. For 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' If
he sows seeds of unkindness and cruelty to man and beast, no one
knows what the blackness of the harvest will be. His poor horse,
quivering under a blow, is not the worst sufferer. Oh, if people
would only understand that their unkind deeds will recoil upon
their own heads with tenfold force but, my dear child, I am
fancying that I am addressing a drawing-room meeting and here
we are at your station. Good-bye; keep your happy face and gentle
ways. I hope that we may meet again some day." She pressed Miss
Laura's hand, gave me a farewell pat, and the next minute we were
outside on the platform, and she was smiling through the window
CHAPTER XVI DINGLEY FARM
"MY dear niece," and a stout, middle-aged woman, with a red,
lively face, threw both her arms around Miss Laura. "How glad I
am to see you, and this is the dog. Good Joe, I have a bone waiting
for you. Here is Uncle John."
A tall, good-looking man stepped up and put out a big hand, in
which my mistress' little fingers were quite swallowed up. "I am
glad to see you, Laura. Well, Joe, how d'ye do, old boy? I've heard
It made me feel very welcome to have them both notice me, and I
was so glad to be out of the train that I frisked for joy around their
feet as we went to the wagon. It was a big double one, with an
awning over it to shelter it from the sun's rays, and the horses were
drawn up in the shade of a spreading tree. They were two powerful
black horses, and as they had no blinders on, they could see us
coming. Their faces lighted up and they moved their ears and
pawed the ground, and whinnied when Mr. Wood went up to them.
They tried to rub their heads against him, and I saw plainly that
they loved him. "Steady there, Cleve and Pacer," he said; "now
back, back up."
By this time, Mrs. Wood, Miss Laura and I were in the wagon.
Then Mr. Wood jumped in, took up the reins, and off we went.
How the two black horses did spin along! I sat on the seat beside
Mr. Wood, and sniffed in the delicious air, and the lovely smell of
flowers and grass. How glad I was to be in the country! What long
races I should have in the green fields. I wished that I had another
dog to run with me, and wondered very much whether Mr. Wood
kept one. I knew I should soon find out, for whenever Miss Laura
went to a place she wanted to know what animals there were
We drove a little more than a mile along a country road where
there were scattered houses. Miss Laura answered questions about
her family, and asked questions about Mr. Harry, who was away at
college and hadn't got home. I don't think I have said before that
Mr. Harry was Mrs. Wood's son. She was a widow with one son
when she married Mr. Wood, so that Mr. Harry, though the
Morrises called him cousin, was not really their cousin.
I was very glad to hear them say that he was soon coming home,
for I had never forgotten that but for him I should never have
known Miss Laura and gotten into my pleasant home.
By-and-by, I heard Miss Laura say: "Uncle John, have you a dog?"
"Yes, Laura," he said; "I have one to-day, but I sha'n't have one
"Oh, uncle, what do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, Laura," he replied, "you know animals are pretty much like
people. There are some good ones and some bad ones. Now, this
dog is a snarling, cross-grained, cantankerous beast, and when I
heard Joe was coming, I said: 'Now we'll have a good dog about
the place, and here's an end to the bad one.' So I tied Bruno up, and
to-morrow I shall shoot him. Something's got to be done, or he'll
be biting some one."
"Uncle," said Miss Laura, "people don't always die when they are
bitten by dogs, do they?"
"No, certainly not," replied Mr. Wood. "In my humble opinion
there's a great lot of nonsense talked about the poison of a dog's
bite and people dying of hydrophobia. Ever since I was born I've
had dogs snap at me and stick their teeth in my flesh; and I've
never had a symptom of hydrophobia, and never intend to have. I
believe half the people that are bitten by dogs frighten themselves
into thinking they are fatally poisoned. I was reading the other day
about the policemen in a big city in England that have to catch
stray dogs, and dogs supposed to be mad, and all kinds of dogs,
and they get bitten over and over again, and never think anything
about it. But let a lady or a gentleman walking along the street
have a dog bite them, and they worry themselves till their blood is
in a fever, and they have to hurry across to France to get Pasteur to
cure them. They imagine they've got hydrophobia, and they've got
it because they imagine it. I believe if I fixed my attention on that
right thumb of mine, and thought I had a sore there, and picked at
it and worried it, in a short time a sore would come, and I'd be off
to the doctor to have it cured. At the same time dogs have no
business to bite, and I don't recommend any one to get bitten."
"But, uncle," said Miss Laura, "isn't there such a thing as
"Oh, yes; I dare say there is. I believe that a careful examination of
the records of death reported in Boston from hydrophobia for the
space of thirty-two years, shows that two people actually died from
it. Dogs are like all other animals. They're liable to sickness, and
they've got to be watched. I think my horses would go mad if I
starved them, or over-fed them, or over-worked them, or let them
stand in laziness, or kept them dirty, or didn't give them water
enough. They'd get some disease, anyway. If a person owns an
animal, let him take care of it, and it's all right. If it shows signs of
sickness, shut it up and watch it. If the sickness is incurable, kill it.
Here's a sure way to prevent hydrophobia. Kill off all ownerless
and vicious dogs. If you can't do that, have plenty of water where
they can get at it. A dog that has all the water he wants, will never
go mad. This dog of mine has not one single thing the matter with
him but pure ugliness. Yet, if I let him loose, and he ran through
the village with his tongue out, I'll warrant you there'd be a cry of
'mad dog!' However, I'm going to kill him. I've no use for a bad
dog. Have plenty of animals, I say, and treat them kindly, but if
there's a vicious one among them, put it out of the way, for it is a
constant danger to man and beast. It's queer how ugly some people
are about their dogs. They'll keep them no matter how they worry
other people, and even when they're snatching the bread out of
their neighbors' mouths. But I say that is not the fault of the
four-legged dog. A human dog is the worst of all. There's a band of
sheep-killing dogs here in Riverdale, that their owners can't, or
won't, keep out of mischief. Meek-looking fellows some of them
are. The owners go to bed at night, and the dogs pretend to go, too;
but when the house is quiet and the family asleep, off goes Rover
or Fido to worry poor, defenseless creatures that can't defend
themselves. Their taste for sheep's blood is like the taste for liquor
in men, and the dogs will travel as far to get their fun, as the men
will travel for theirs. They've got it in them, and you can't get it
"Mr. Windham cured his dog," said Mrs. Wood.
Mr. Wood burst into a hearty laugh. "So he did, so he did. I must
tell Laura about that. Windham is a neighbor of ours, and last
summer I kept telling him that his collie was worrying my
Shropshires. He wouldn't believe me, but I knew I was right, and
one night when Harry was home, he lay in wait for the dog and
lassoed him. I tied him up and sent for Windham. You should have
seen his face, and the dog's face. He said two words, 'You
scoundrel!' and the dog cowered at his feet as if he had been shot.
He was a fine dog, but he'd got corrupted by evil companions.
Then Windham asked me where my sheep were. I told him in the
pasture. He asked me if I still had my old ram Bolton. I said yes,
and then he wanted eight or ten feet of rope. I gave it to him, and
wondered what on earth he was going to do with it. He tied one
end of it to the dog's collar, and holding the other in his hand, set
out for the pasture. He asked us to go with him, and when he got
there, he told Harry he'd like to see him catch Bolton. There wasn't
any need to catch him, he'd come to us like a dog. Harry whistled,
and when Bolton came up, Windham fastened the rope's end to his
horns, and let him go. The ram was frightened and ran, dragging
the dog with him. We let them out of the pasture into an open
field, and for a few minutes there was such a racing and chasing
over that field as I never saw before. Harry leaned up against the
bars and laughed till the tears rolled down his cheeks. Then Bolton
got mad, and began to make battle with the dog, pitching into him
with his horns. We soon stopped that, for the spirit had all gone
out of Dash. Windham unfastened the rope, and told him to get
home, and if ever I saw a dog run, that one did. Mrs. Windham set
great store by him, and her husband didn't want to kill him. But he
said Dash had got to give up his sheep-killing, if he wanted to live.
That cured him. He's never worried a sheep from that day to this,
and if you offer him a bit of sheep's wool now, he tucks his tail
between his legs, and runs for home. Now, I must stop my talk, for
we're in sight of the farm. Yonder's our boundary line, and there's
the house. You'll see a difference in the trees since you were here
We had come to a turn in the road where the ground sloped gently
upward. We turned in at the gate, and drove between rows of trees
up to a long, low; red house, with a veranda all round it. There was
a wide lawn in front, and away on our right were the farm
buildings. They too, were painted red, and there were some trees
by them that Mr. Wood called his windbreak, because they kept
the snow from drifting in the winter time.
I thought it was a beautiful place. Miss Laura had been here
before, but not for some years, so she, too, was looking about quite
"Welcome to Dingley Farm, Joe," said Mrs. Wood, with her jolly
laugh, as she watched me jump from the carriage seat to the
ground. "Come in, and I'll introduce you to pussy."
"Aunt Hattie, why is the farm called Dingley Farm?" said Miss
Laura, as we went into the house. "It ought to be Wood Farm."
"Dingley is made out of 'dingle,' Laura. You know that pretty
hollow back of the pasture? It is what they call a 'dingle.' So this
farm was called Dingle Farm till the people around about got
saying 'Dingley' instead. I suppose they found it easier. Why, here
is Lolo coming to see Joe."
Walking along the wide hall that ran through the house was a large
tortoise-shell cat. She had a prettily marked face, and she was
waving her large tail like a flag, and mewing kindly to greet her
mistress. But when she saw me what a face she made. She flew on
the hall table, and putting up her back till it almost lifted her feet
from the ground, began to spit at me and bristle with rage.
"Poor Lolo," said Mrs. Wood, going up to her. "Joe is a good dog,
and not like Bruno. He won't hurt you."
I wagged myself about a little, and looked kindly at her, but she
did nothing but say bad words to me. It was weeks and weeks
before I made friends with that cat. She was a young thing, and
had known only one dog, and he was a bad one, so she supposed
all dogs were like him.
There was a number of rooms opening off the hall, and one of
them was the dining room where they had tea. I lay on a rug
outside the door and watched them. There was a small table spread
with a white cloth, and it had pretty dishes and glassware on it, and
a good many different kinds of things to eat. A little French girl,
called Adele, kept coming and going from the kitchen to give them
hot cakes, and fried eggs, and hot coffee. As soon as they finished
their tea, Mrs. Wood gave me one of the best meals that I ever had
in my life.
CHAPTER XVII MR. WOOD AND HIS HORSES
THE morning after we arrived in Riverdale, I was up very early
and walking around the house. I slept in the woodshed, and could
run outdoors whenever I liked.
The woodshed was at the back of the house and near it was the
tool shed. Then there was a carriage house, and a plank walk
leading to the barnyard.
I ran up this walk, and looked into the first building I came to. It
was the horse stable. A door stood open, and the morning sun was
glancing in. There were several horses there, some with their heads
toward me, and some with their tails. I saw that instead of being
tied up, there were gates outside their stalls, and they could stand
in any way they liked.
There was a man moving about at the other end of the stable, and
long before he saw me, I knew that it was Mr. Wood. What a nice,
clean stable he had! There was always a foul smell coming out of
Jenkins's stable, but here the air seemed as pure inside as outside.
There was a number of little gratings in the wall to let in the fresh
air, and they were so placed that drafts would not blow on the
horses. Mr. Wood was going from one horse to another, giving
them hay, and talking to them in a cheerful voice. At last he spied
me, and cried out, "The top of the morning to you, Joe! You are up
early. Don't come too near the horses, good dog," as I walked in
beside him; "they might think you are another Bruno, and give you
a sly bite or kick. I should have shot him long ago. 'Tis hard to
make a good dog suffer for a bad one, but that's the way of the
world. Well, old fellow, what do you think of my horse stable?
Pretty fair, isn't it?" And Mr. Wood went on talking to me as he fed
and groomed his horses, till I soon found out that his chief pride
was in them.
I like to have human beings talk to me. Mr. Morris often reads his
sermons to me, and Miss Laura tells me secrets that I don't think
she would tell to any one else.
I watched Mr. Wood carefully, while he groomed a huge, gray
cart-horse, that he called Dutchman. He took a brush in his right
hand, and a curry-comb in his left, and he curried and brushed
every part of the horse's skin, and afterward wiped him with a
cloth. "A good grooming is equal to two quarts of oats, Joe," he
said to me.
Then he stooped down and examined the horse's hoofs. "Your
shoes are too heavy, Dutchman," he said; "but that pig-headed
blacksmith thinks he knows more about horses than I do. 'Don't cut
the sole nor the frog,' I say to him. 'Don't pare the hoof so much,
and don't rasp it; and fit your shoe to the foot, and not the foot to
the shoe,' and he looks as if he wanted to say, 'Mind your own
business.' We'll not go to him again. ''Tis hard to teach an old dog
new tricks.' I got you to work for me, not to wear out your strength
in lifting about his weighty shoes."
Mr. Wood stopped talking for a few minutes, and whistled a tune.
Then he began again. "I've made a study of horses, Joe. Over forty
years I've studied them, and it's my opinion that the average horse
knows more than the average man that drives him. When I think of
the stupid fools that are goading patient horses about, beating them
and misunderstanding them, and thinking they are only clods of
earth with a little life in them, I'd like to take their horses out of
the shafts and harness them in, and I'd trot them off at a pace, and
slash them, and jerk them, till I guess they'd come out with a little
less patience than the animal does.
"Look at this Dutchman see the size of him. You'd think he hadn't
any more nerves than a bit of granite. Yet he's got a skin as
sensitive as a girl's. See how he quivers if I run the curry comb too
harshly over him. The idiot I got him from didn't know what was
the matter with him. He'd bought him for a reliable horse, and
there he was, kicking and stamping whenever the boy went near
him. 'Your boy's got too heavy a hand, Deacon Jones,' said I, when
he described the horse's actions to me. 'You may depend upon it, a
four-legged creature, unlike a two-legged one, has a reason for
everything he does.' 'But he's only a draught horse,' said Deacon
Jones. 'Draught horse or no draught horse,' said I, 'you're describing
a horse with a tender skin to me, and I don't care if he's as big as an
elephant.' Well, the old man grumbled and said he didn't want any
thoroughbred airs in his stable, so I bought you, didn't I,
Dutchman?" and Mr. Wood stroked him kindly and went to the
In each stall was a small tank of water with a sliding cover, and I
found out afterward that these covers were put on when a horse
came in too heated to have a drink. At any other time, he could
drink all he liked. Mr. Wood believed in having plenty of pure
water for all his animals and they all had their own place to get a
Even I had a little bowl of water in the woodshed, though I could
easily have run up to the barnyard when I wanted a drink. As soon
as I came, Mrs. Wood asked Adele to keep it there for me and
when I looked up gratefully at her, she said: "Every animal should
have its own feeding place and its own sleeping place, Joe; that is
The next horses Mr. Wood groomed were the black ones, Cleve
and Pacer. Pacer had something wrong with his mouth, and Mr.
Wood turned back his lips and examined it carefully. This he was
able to do, for there were large windows in the stable and it was as
light as Mr. Wood's house was.
"No dark corners here, eh Joe!" said Mr. Wood, as he came out of
the stall and passed me to get a bottle from a shelf. "When this
stable was built, I said no dirt holes for careless men here. I want
the sun to shine in the corners, and I don't want my horses to smell
bad smells, for they hate them, and I don't want them starting when
they go into the light of day, just because they've been kept in a
black hole of a stable, and I've never had a. sick horse yet."
He poured something from a bottle into a saucer and went back to
Pacer with it. I followed him and stood outside. Mr. Wood seemed
to be washing a sore in the horse's mouth. Pacer winced a little,
and Mr. Wood said: "Steady, steady, my beauty; 'twill soon be
The horse fixed his intelligent eyes on his master and looked as if
he knew that he was trying to do him good.
"Just look at these lips, Joe," said Mr. Wood "delicate and fine like
our own, and yet there are brutes that will jerk them as if they were
made of iron. I wish the Lord would give horses voices just for one
week. I tell you they'd scare some of us. Now, Pacer, that's over.
I'm. not going to dose you much, for I don't believe in it. If a horse
has got a serious trouble, get a good horse doctor, say I. If it's a
simple thing, try a simple remedy. There's been many a good horse
drugged and dosed to death. Well, Scamp, my beauty, how are
you, this morning?"
In the stall next to Pacer, was a small, jet-black mare, with a lean
head, slender legs, and a curious restless manner. She was a
regular greyhound of a horse, no spare flesh, yet wiry and able to
do a great deal of work. She was a wicked looking little thing, so I
thought I had better keep at a safe distance from her heels.
Mr. Wood petted her a great deal and I saw that she was his
favorite. "Saucebox," he exclaimed, when she pretended to bite
him, "you know if you bite me, I'll bite back again. I think I've
conquered you," he said, proudly, as he stroked her glossy neck;
"but what a dance you led me. Do you remember how I bought you
for a mere song, because you had a bad habit of turning around
like a flash in front of anything that frightened you, and bolting off
the other way? And how did I cure you, my beauty? Beat you and
make you stubborn? Not I. I let you go round and round; I turned
you and twisted you, the oftener the better for me, till at last I got
it into your pretty head that turning and twisting was addling your
brains, and you had better let me be master.
"You've minded me from that day, haven't you? Horse, or man, or
dog aren't much good till they learn to obey, and I've thrown you
down and I'll do it again if you bite me, so take care."
Scamp tossed her pretty head, and took little pieces of Mr. Wood's
shirt sleeve in her mouth, keeping her cunning brown eye on him
as if to see how far she could go. But she did not bite him. I think
she loved him, for when he left her she whinnied shrilly, and he
had to go back and stroke and caress her.
After that I often used to watch her as she went about the farm.
She always seemed to be tugging and striving at her load, and
trying to step out fast and do a great deal of work. Mr. Wood was
usually driving her. The men didn't like her, and couldn't manage
her. She had not been properly broken in.
After Mr. Wood finished his work he went and stood in the
doorway. There were six horses altogether: Dutchman, Cleve,
Pacer, Scamp, a bay mare called Ruby, and a young horse
belonging to Mr. Harry, whose name was Fleetfoot.
"What do you think of them all?" said Mr. Wood, looking down at
me. "A pretty fine-looking lot of horses, aren't they? Not a
thoroughbred there, but worth as much to me as if each had
pedigree as long as this plank walk. There's a lot of humbug about
this pedigree business in horses. Mine have their manes and tails
anyway, and the proper use of their eyes, which is more liberty
than some thoroughbreds get.
"I'd like to see the man that would persuade me to put blinders or
check-reins or any other instrument of torture on my horses. Don't
the simpletons know that blinders are the cause of well, I wouldn't
like to say how many of our accidents, Joe, for fear you'd think me
extravagant. and the check-rein drags up a horse's head out of its
fine natural curve and presses sinews, bones, and joints together,
till the horse is well-nigh mad. Ah, Joe, this is a cruel world for
man or beast. You're a standing token of that, with your missing
ears and tail. And now I've got to go and be cruel, and shoot that