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Title: A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs
Author: Hutton, Laurence, 1843-1904
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs" ***

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  [Illustration: THACKERAY AND THE BOY]



  A BOY I KNEW
  AND FOUR DOGS


  By Laurence Hutton


  Profusely Illustrated


  NEW YORK AND LONDON
  HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
  1898



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  |                     By LAURENCE HUTTON.                      |
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Copyright, 1898, by Harper & Brothers.

_All rights reserved._



                              TO
                          MARK TWAIN

                        THE CREATOR OF
                          TOM SAWYER

                     ONE OF THE BEST BOYS
                         I EVER KNEW



   _May the light of some morning skies
    In days when the sun knew how to rise,
    Stay with my spirit until I go
    To be the boy that I used to know._
            H. C. Bunner, in "Rowen."



ILLUSTRATIONS


  THACKERAY AND THE BOY                        _Frontispiece_

  THE BOY'S MOTHER                               Facing p. 4

  ST. JOHN'S CHAPEL AND PARK                        "      6

  THE BOY'S UNCLE JOHN                              "      8

  THE BOY IN KILTS                                  "     10

  THE BOY PROMOTED TO TROUSERS                      "     12

  "CRIED, BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN KISSED"               "     14

  "GOOD-MORNING, BOYS"                              "     16

  PLAYING "SCHOOL"                                  "     18

  THE BOY'S SCOTCH GRANDFATHER                      "     20

  THE HOUSE OF THE BOY'S GRANDFATHER--CORNER
      OF HUDSON AND NORTH MOORE STREETS             "     22

  "ALWAYS IN THE WAY"                               "     24

  READY FOR A NEW-YEAR'S CALL                       "     26

  A NEW-YEAR'S CALL                                 "     28

  TOM RILEY'S LIBERTY-POLE                          "     30

  THE BOY ALWAYS CLIMBED OVER                       "     32

  THE CHIEF ENGINEER                                "     34

  "MRS. ROBERTSON DESCENDED IN FORCE UPON THE
      DEVOTED BAND"                                 "     36

  THE BOY AS VIRGINIUS                              "     38

  JOHNNY ROBERTSON                                  "     40

  JANE PURDY                                        "     42

  JOE STUART                                        "     44

  BOB HENDRICKS                                     "     46

  MUSIC LESSONS                                     "     48

  THE BOY'S FATHER                                  "     56

  WHISKIE                                           "     62

  PUNCH                                             "     64

  MOP AND HIS MASTER                                "     68

  ROY AND HIS MASTER                                "     74

  ROY                                               "     76

  "HE TRIES VERY HARD TO LOOK PLEASANT"             "     80

  ROY                                               "     82

  THE WAITING THREE                                 "     84

  MOP                                                     87



INTRODUCTORY NOTE


The papers upon which this volume is founded--published here by the
courtesy of The Century Company--appeared originally in the columns of
_St. Nicholas_. They have been reconstructed and rearranged, and not a
little new matter has been added.

The portraits are all from life. That of The Boy's Scottish grandfather,
facing page 20, is from a photograph by Sir David Brewster, taken in St.
Andrews in 1846 or 1847. The subject sat in his own garden, blinking at
the sun for many minutes, in front of the camera, when tradition says
that his patience became exhausted and the artist permitted him to move.
The Boy distinctly remembers the great interest the picture excited when
it first reached this country.

Behind the tree in the extreme left of the view of The Boy's
Scottish-American grandfather's house in New York, facing page 22, may
be seen a portion of the home of Mr. Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in 1843 or
1844, some years earlier than the period of "The Story of a Bad Boy."
Warm and constant friends--as men--for upwards of a quarter of a
century, it is rather a curious coincidence that the boys--as
boys--should have been near neighbors, although they did not know each
other then, nor do they remember the fact.

The histories of "A Boy I Knew" and the "Four Dogs" are absolutely true,
from beginning to end; nothing has been invented; no incident has been
palliated or elaborated. The author hopes that the volume may interest
the boys and girls he does not know as much as it has interested him. He
has read it more than once; he has laughed over it, and he has cried
over it; it has appealed to him in a peculiar way. But then, he knew The
Dogs, and he knew The Boy!

                                                       L. H.



A BOY I KNEW



A BOY I KNEW


He was not a very good boy, or a very bad boy, or a very bright boy, or
an unusual boy in any way. He was just a boy; and very often he forgets
that he is not a boy now. Whatever there may be about The Boy that is
commendable he owes to his father and to his mother; and he feels that
he should not be held responsible for that.

His mother was the most generous and the most unselfish of human beings.
She was always thinking of somebody else--always doing for others. To
her it was blessèd to give, and it was not very pleasant to receive.
When she bought anything, The Boy's stereotyped query was, "Who is to
have it?" When anything was bought for her, her own invariable remark
was, "What on earth shall I do with it?" When The Boy came to her, one
summer morning, she looked upon him as a gift from Heaven; and when she
was told that it _was_ a boy, and not a bad-looking or a bad-conditioned
boy, her first words were, "What on earth shall I do with it?"

She found plenty "to do with it" before she got through with it, more
than forty years afterwards; and The Boy has every reason to believe
that she never regretted the gift. Indeed, she once told him, late in
her life, that he had never made her cry! What better benediction can a
boy have than that?

The Boy's father was a scholar, and a ripe and good one. Self-made and
self-taught, he began the serious struggle of life when he was merely a
boy himself; and reading, and writing, and spelling, and languages, and
mathematics came to him by nature. He acquired by slow degrees a fine
library, and out of it a vast amount of information. He never bought a
book that he did not read, and he never read a book unless he considered
it worth buying and worth keeping. Languages and mathematics were his
particular delight. When he was tired he rested himself by the solving
of a geometrical problem. He studied his Bible in Latin, in Greek, in
Hebrew, and he had no small smattering of Sanskrit. His chief
recreation, on a Sunday afternoon or on a long summer evening, was a
walk with The Boy among the Hudson River docks, when the business of the
day, or the week, was over and the ship was left in charge of some old
quartermaster or third mate. To these sailors the father would talk in
each sailor's own tongue, whether it were Dutch or Danish, Spanish or
Swedish, Russian or Prussian, or a _patois_ of something else, always to
the great wonderment of The Boy, who to this day, after many years of
foreign travel, knows little more of French than "_Combien?_" and little
more of Italian than "_Troppo caro_." Why none of these qualities of
mind came to The Boy by direct descent he does not know. He only knows
that he did inherit from his parent, in an intellectual way, a sense of
humor, a love for books--as books--and a certain respect for the men by
whom books are written.

  [Illustration: THE BOY'S MOTHER]

It seemed to The Boy that his father knew everything. Any question upon
any subject was sure to bring a prompt, intelligent, and intelligible
answer; and, usually, an answer followed by a question, on the father's
part, which made The Boy think the matter out for himself.

The Boy was always a little bit afraid of his father, while he loved and
respected him. He believed everything his father told him, because his
father never fooled him but once, and that was about Santa Claus!

When his father said, "Do this," it was done. When his father told him
to go or to come, he went or he came. And yet he never felt the weight
of his father's hand, except in the way of kindness; and, as he looks
back upon his boyhood and his manhood, he cannot recall an angry or a
hasty word or a rebuke that was not merited and kindly bestowed. His
father, like the true Scotchman he was, never praised him; but he never
blamed him--except for cause.

The Boy has no recollection of his first tooth, but he remembers his
first toothache as distinctly as he remembers his latest; and he could
not quite understand _then_ why, when The Boy cried over that raging
molar, the father walked the floor and seemed to suffer from it even
more than did The Boy; or why, when The Boy had a sore throat, the
father always had symptoms of bronchitis or quinsy.

The father, alas! did not live long enough to find out whether The Boy
was to amount to much or not; and while The Boy is proud of the fact
that he is his father's son, he would be prouder still if he could think
that he had done something to make his father proud of _him_.

From his father The Boy received many things besides birth and
education; many things better than pocket-money or a fixed sum per
annum; but, best of all, the father taught The Boy never to cut a
string. The Boy has pulled various cords during his uneventful life, but
he has untied them all. Some of the knots have been difficult and
perplexing, and the contents of the bundles, generally, have been of
little import when they have been revealed; but he saved the strings
unbroken, and invariably he has found those strings of great help to him
in the proper fastening of the next package he has had occasion to
send away.

  [Illustration: ST. JOHN'S CHAPEL AND PARK]

The father had that strong sense of humor which Dr. Johnson--who had no
sense of humor whatever--denied to all Scotchmen. No surgical operation
was necessary to put one of Sydney Smith's jokes into the father's head,
or to keep it there. His own jokes were as original as they were
harmless, and they were as delightful as was his quick appreciation of
the jokes of other persons.

A long siege with a certain bicuspid had left The Boy, one early spring
day, with a broken spirit and a swollen face. The father was going, that
morning, to attend the funeral of his old friend, Dr. McPherson, and,
before he left the house, he asked The Boy what should be brought back
to him as a solace. Without hesitation, a brick of maple sugar was
demanded--a very strange request, certainly, from a person in that
peculiar condition of invalidism, and one which appealed strongly to the
father's own sense of the ridiculous.

When the father returned, at dinner-time, he carried the brick,
enveloped in many series of papers, beginning with the coarsest kind and
ending with the finest kind; and each of the wrappers was fastened with
its own particular bit of cord or ribbon, all of them tied in the
hardest of hard knots. The process of disentanglement was long and
laborious, but it was persistently performed; and when the brick was
revealed, lo! it was just a brick--not of maple sugar, but a plain,
ordinary, red-clay, building brick which he had taken from some pile of
similar bricks on his way up town. The disappointment was not very
bitter, for The Boy knew that something else was coming; and he realized
that it was the First of April and that he had been April-fooled! The
something else, he remembers, was that most amusing of all amusing
books, _Phoenixiana_, then just published, and over it he forgot his
toothache, but not his maple sugar. All this happened when he was about
twelve years of age, and he has ever since associated "Squibob" with the
sweet sap of the maple, never with raging teeth.

It was necessary, however, to get even with the father, not an easy
matter, as The Boy well knew; and he consulted his uncle John, who
advised patient waiting. The father, he said, was absolutely devoted to
_The Commercial Advertiser_, which he read every day from frontispiece
to end, market reports, book notices, obituary notices, advertisements,
and all; and if The Boy could hold himself in for a whole year his uncle
John thought it would be worth it. _The Commercial Advertiser_ of that
date was put safely away for a twelvemonth, and on the First of April
next it was produced, carefully folded and properly dampened, and was
placed by the side of the father's plate; the mother and the son
making no remark, but eagerly awaiting the result. The journal was
vigorously scanned; no item of news or of business import was missed
until the reader came to the funeral announcements on the third page.
Then he looked at the top of the paper, through his spectacles, and then
he looked, over his spectacles, at The Boy; and he made but one
observation. The subject was never referred to afterwards between them.
But he looked at the date of the paper, and he looked at The Boy; and he
said: "My son, I see that old Dr. McPherson is dead again!"

  [Illustration: THE BOY'S UNCLE JOHN]

The Boy was red-headed and long-nosed, even from the beginning--a shy,
introspective, self-conscious little boy, made peculiarly familiar with
his personal defects by constant remarks that his hair _was_ red and
that his nose _was_ long. At school, for years, he was known familiarly
as "Rufus," "Red-Head," "Carrot-Top," or "Nosey," and at home it was
almost as bad.

His mother, married at nineteen, was the eldest of a family of nine
children, and many of The Boy's aunts and uncles were but a few years
his senior, and were his daily, familiar companions. He was the only
member of his own generation for a long time. There was a constant fear,
upon the part of the elders, that he was likely to be spoiled, and
consequently the rod of verbal castigation was rarely spared. He was
never praised, nor petted, nor coddled; and he was taught to look upon
himself as a youth hairily and nasally deformed and mentally of but
little wit. He was always falling down, or dropping things. He was
always getting into the way, and he could not learn to spell correctly
or to cipher at all. He was never in his mother's way, however, and he
was never made to feel so. But nobody except The Boy knows of the agony
which the rest of the family, unconsciously, and with no thought of
hurting his feelings, caused him by the fun they poked at his nose, at
his fiery locks, and at his unhandiness. He fancied that passers-by
pitied him as he walked or played in the streets, and he sincerely
pitied himself as a youth destined to grow up into an awkward, tactless,
stupid man, at whom the world would laugh so long as his life lasted.

An unusual and unfortunate accident to his nose when he was eight or ten
years old served to accentuate his unhappiness. The young people were
making molasses candy one night in the kitchen of his maternal
grandfather's house--the aunts and the uncles, some of the neighbors'
children, and The Boy--and the half of a lemon, used for flavoring
purposes, was dropped as it was squeezed by careless hands--very likely
The Boy's own--into the boiling syrup. It was fished out and put, still
full of the syrup, upon a convenient saucer, where it remained, an
exceedingly fragrant object. After the odor had been inhaled by one
or two of the party, The Boy was tempted to "take a smell of it"; when
an uncle, boylike, ducked the luckless nose into the still simmering
lemonful. The result was terrible. Red-hot sealing-wax could not have
done more damage to the tender, sensitive feature.

  [Illustration: THE BOY IN KILTS]

The Boy carried his nose in a sling for many weeks, and the bandage,
naturally, twisted the nose to one side. It did not recover its natural
tint for a long time, and the poor little heart was nearly broken at the
thought of the fresh disfigurement. The Boy felt that he had not only an
unusually long nose, but a nose that was crooked and would always be as
red as his hair.

He does not remember what was done to his uncle. But the uncle was for
half a century The Boy's best and most faithful of friends. And The Boy
forgave him long, long ago.

The Boy's first act of self-reliance and of conscious self-dependence
was a very happy moment in his young life; and it consisted in his being
able to step over the nursery fender, all alone, and to toast his own
shins thereby, without falling into the fire. His first realization of
"getting big" came to him about the same time, and with a mingled shock
of pain and pleasure, when he discovered that he could not walk under
the high kitchen-table without bumping his head. He tried it very often
before he learned to go around that article of furniture, on his way
from the clothes-rack, which was his tent when he camped out on rainy
days, to the sink, which was his oasis in the desert of the basement
floor. This kitchen was a favorite playground of The Boy, and about that
kitchen-table centre many of the happiest of his early reminiscences.
Ann Hughes, the cook, was very good to The Boy. She told him stories,
and taught him riddles, all about a certain "Miss Netticoat," who wore a
white petticoat, and who had a red nose, and about whom there still
lingers a queer, contradictory legend to the effect that "the longer she
stands the shorter she grows." The Boy always felt that, on account of
her nose, there was a peculiar bond of sympathy between little Miss
Netticoat and himself.

As he was all boy in his games, he would never cherish anything but a
boy-doll, generally a Highlander, in kilts and with a glengarry, that
came off! And although he became foreman of a juvenile hook-and-ladder
company before he was five, and would not play with girls at all, he had
one peculiar feminine weakness. His grand passion was washing and
ironing. And Ann Hughes used to let him do all the laundry-work
connected with the wash-rags and his own pocket-handkerchiefs, into
which, regularly, every Wednesday, he burned little brown holes with the
toy flat-iron, which _would_ get too hot. But Johnny Robertson and
Joe Stuart and the other boys, and even the uncles and the aunts, never
knew anything about that--unless Ann Hughes gave it away!

  [Illustration: THE BOY PROMOTED TO TROUSERS]

The Boy seems to have developed, very early in life, a fondness for new
clothes--a fondness which his wife sometimes thinks he has quite
outgrown. It is recorded that almost his first plainly spoken words were
"Coat and hat," uttered upon his promotion into a more boyish apparel
than the caps and frocks of his infancy. And he remembers very
distinctly his first pair of long trousers, and the impression they made
upon him, in more ways than one. They were a black-and-white check, and
to them was attached that especially manly article, the suspender. They
were originally worn in celebration of the birth of the New Year, in
1848 or 1849, and The Boy went to his father's store in Hudson Street,
New York, to exhibit them on the next business-day thereafter. Naturally
they excited much comment, and were the subject of sincere
congratulation. And two young clerks of his father, The Boy's uncles,
amused themselves, and The Boy, by playing with him a then popular game
called "Squails." They put The Boy, seated, on a long counter, and they
slid him, backward and forward between them, with great skill and no
little force. But, before the championship was decided, The Boy's mother
broke up the game, boxed the ears of the players, and carried the human
disk home in disgrace; pressing as she went, and not very gently, the
seat of The Boy's trousers with the palm of her hand!

He remembers nothing more about the trousers, except the fact that for a
time he was allowed to appear in them on Sundays and holidays only, and
that he was deeply chagrined at having to go back to knickerbockers at
school and at play.

The Boy's first boots were of about this same era. They were what were
then known as "Wellingtons," and they had legs. The legs had red leather
tops, as was the fashion in those days, and the boots were pulled on
with straps. They were always taken off with the aid of the boot-jack of
The Boy's father, although they could have been removed much more easily
without the use of that instrument. Great was the day when The Boy first
wore his first boots to school; and great his delight at the sensation
he thought they created when they were exhibited in the primary
department.

The Boy's first school was a dame's school, kept by a Miss or Mrs.
Harrison, in Harrison Street, near the Hudson Street house in which he
was born. He was the smallest child in the establishment, and probably a
pet of the larger girls, for he remembers going home to his mother in
tears, because one of them had kissed him behind the class-room door.
He saw her often, in later years, but she never tried to do it again!

  [Illustration: "CRIED, BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN KISSED"]

At that school he met his first love, one Phoebe Hawkins, a very sweet,
pretty girl, as he recalls her, and, of course, considerably his senior.
How far he had advanced in the spelling of proper names at that period
is shown by the well-authenticated fact that he put himself on record,
once as "loving his love with an F, because she was Feeby!"

Poor Phoebe Hawkins died before she was out of her teens. The family
moved to Poughkeepsie when The Boy was ten or twelve, and his mother and
he went there one day from Red Hook, which was their summer home, to
call upon his love. When they asked, at the railroad-station, where the
Hawkinses lived and how they could find the house, they were told that
the carriages for the funeral would meet the next train. And, utterly
unprepared for such a greeting, for at latest accounts she had been in
perfect health, they stood, with her friends, by the side of Phoebe's
open grave.

In his mind's eye The Boy, at the end of forty years, can see it all;
and his childish grief is still fresh in his memory. He had lost a bird
and a cat who were very dear to his heart, but death had never before
seemed so real to him; never before had it come so near home. He never
played "funeral" again.

In 1851 or 1852 The Boy went to another dame's school. It was kept by
Miss Kilpatrick, on Franklin or North Moore Street. From this, as he
grew in years, he was sent to the Primary Department of the North Moore
Street Public School, at the corner of West Broadway, where he remained
three weeks, and where he contracted a whooping-cough which lasted him
three months. The other boys used to throw his hat upon an awning in the
neighborhood, and then throw their own hats up under the awning in order
to bounce The Boy's hat off--an amusement for which he never much cared.
They were not very nice boys, anyway, especially when they made fun of
his maternal grandfather, who was a trustee of the school, and who
sometimes noticed The Boy after the morning prayers were said. The
grandfather was very popular in the school. He came in every day,
stepped upon the raised platform at the principal's desk, and said in
his broad Scotch, "Good morning, boys!" to which the entire body of
pupils, at the top of their lungs, and with one voice, replied,
"_G-o-o-d morning, Mr. Scott!_" This was considered a great feature in
the school; and strangers used to come from all over the city to witness
it. Somehow it made The Boy a little bit ashamed; he does not know why.
He would have liked it well enough, and been touched by it, too, if it
had been some other boy's grandfather. The Boy's father was present
once--The Boy's first day; but when he discovered that the President of
the Board of Trustees was going to call on him for a speech he ran away;
and The Boy would have given all his little possessions to have run
after him. The Boy knew then, as well as he knows now, how his father
felt; and he thinks of that occasion every time he runs away from some
after-dinner or occasional speech which he, himself, is called upon to
make.

  [Illustration: "GOOD MORNING, BOYS"]

After his North Moore Street experiences The Boy was sent to study under
men teachers in boys' schools; and he considered then that he was grown
up.

The Boy, as has been said, was born without the sense of spell. The Rule
of Three, it puzzled him, and fractions were as bad; and the proper
placing of e and i, or i and e, the doubling of letters in the middle of
words, and how to treat the addition of a suffix in "y" or "tion"
"almost drove him mad," from his childhood up. He hated to go to school,
but he loved to _play_ school; and when Johnny Robertson and he were not
conducting a pompous, public funeral--a certain oblong hat-brush, with a
rosewood back, studded with brass tacks, serving as a coffin, in which
lay the body of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, or the Duke of Wellington,
all of whom died when Johnny and The Boy were about eight years
old--they were teaching each other the three immortal and exceedingly
trying "R's"--reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic--in a play-school. Their
favorite spelling-book was a certain old cook-book, discarded by the
head of the kitchen, and considered all that was necessary for their
educational purpose. From this, one afternoon, Johnnie gave out
"Dough-nut," with the following surprising result. Conscious of the
puzzling presence of certain silent consonants and vowels, The Boy thus
set it down: "D-O, dough, N-O-U-G-H-T, nut--doughnut!" and he went up
head in a class of one, neither teacher nor pupil perceiving the
marvellous transposition.

All The Boy's religious training was received at home, and almost his
first text-book was "The Shorter Catechism," which, he confesses, he
hated with all his little might. He had to learn and recite the answers
to those awful questions as soon as he could recite at all, and, for
years, without the slightest comprehension as to what it was all about.
Even to this day he cannot tell just what "Effectual Calling," or
"Justification," is; and I am sure that he shed more tears over
"Effectual Calling" than would blot out the record of any number of
infantile sins. He made up his youthful mind that if he could not be
saved without "Effectual Calling"--whatever that was--he did not want to
be saved at all. But he has thought better of it since.

  [Illustration: PLAYING "SCHOOL"]

It is proper to affirm here that The Boy did not acquire his
occasional swear-words from "The Shorter Catechism." They were born in
him, as a fragment of Original Sin; and they came out of him innocently
and unwittingly, and only for purposes of proper emphasis, long before
the days of "Justification," and even before he knew his A, B, C's.

His earliest visit to Scotland was made when he was but four or five
years of age, and long before he had assumed the dignity of trousers, or
had been sent to school. His father had gone to the old home at St.
Andrews hurriedly, upon the receipt of the news of the serious illness
of The Boy's grandmother, who died before they reached her. Naturally,
The Boy has little recollection of that sad month of December, spent in
his grandfather's house, except that it _was_ sad. The weather was cold
and wet; the house, even under ordinary circumstances, could not have
been a very cheerful one for a youngster who had no companions of his
own age. It looked out upon the German Ocean--which at that time of the
year was always in a rage, or in the sulks--and it was called "Peep o'
Day," because it received the very first rays of the sun as he rose upon
the British Isles.

The Boy's chief amusement was the feeding of "flour-scones" and
oat-cakes to an old goat, who lived in the neighborhood, and in daily
walks with his grandfather, who seemed to find some little comfort and
entertainment in the lad's childish prattle. He was then almost the only
grandchild; and the old man was very proud of his manner and appearance,
and particularly amused at certain gigantic efforts on The Boy's part to
adapt his own short legs to the strides of his senior's long ones.

After they had interviewed the goat, and had watched the wrecks with
which the wild shore was strewn, and had inspected the Castle in ruins,
and the ruins of the Cathedral, The Boy would be shown his grandmother's
new-made grave, and his own name in full--a common name in the
family--upon the family tomb in the old kirk-yard; all of which must
have been very cheering to The Boy; although he could not read it for
himself. And then, which was better, they would stand, hand in hand, for
a long time in front of a certain candy-shop window, in which was
displayed a little regiment of lead soldiers, marching in double file
towards an imposing and impregnable tin fortress on the heights of
barley-sugar. Of this spectacle they never tired; and they used to
discuss how The Boy would arrange them if they belonged to him; with a
sneaking hope on The Boy's part that, some day, they were to be his very
own.

  [Illustration: THE BOY'S SCOTCH GRANDFATHER]

At the urgent request of the grandfather, the American contingent
remained in St. Andrews until the end of the year; and The Boy still
remembers vividly, and he will never forget, the dismal failure of
"Auld Lang Syne" as it was sung by the family, with clasped hands, as
the clock struck and the New Year began. He sat up for the occasion--or,
rather, was waked up for the occasion; and of all that family group he
has been, for a decade or more, the only survivor. The mother of the
house was but lately dead; the eldest son, and his son, were going, the
next day, to the other side of the world; and every voice broke before
the familiar verse came to an end.

As The Boy went off to his bed he was told that his grandfather had
something for him, and he stood at his knee to receive--a Bible! That it
was to be the lead soldiers and the tin citadel he never for a moment
doubted; and the surprise and disappointment were very great. He seems
to have had presence of mind enough to conceal his feelings, and to kiss
and thank the dear old man for his gift. But as he climbed slowly up the
stairs, in front of his mother, and with his Bible under his arm, she
overheard him sob to himself, and murmur, in his great disgust: "Well,
he has given me a book! And I wonder how in thunder he thinks I am going
to read his damned Scotch!"

This display of precocious profanity and of innate patriotism, upon the
part of a child who could not read at all, gave unqualified pleasure to
the old gentleman, and he never tired of telling the story as long as he
lived.

The Boy never saw the grandfather again. He had gone to the kirk-yard,
to stay, before the next visit to St. Andrews was made; and now that
kirk-yard holds everyone of The Boy's name and blood who is left in the
town.

The Boy was taught, from the earliest awakening of his reasoning powers,
that truth was to be told and to be respected, and that nothing was more
wicked or more ungentlemanly than a broken promise. He learned very
early to do as he was told, and not to do, under any consideration, what
he had said he would not do. Upon this last point he was almost morbidly
conscientious, although once, literally, he "beat about the bush." His
aunt Margaret, always devoted to plants and to flowers, had, on the back
stoop of his grandfather's house, a little grove of orange and lemon
trees, in pots. Some of these were usually in fruit or in flower, and
the fruit to The Boy was a great temptation. He was very fond of
oranges, and it seemed to him that a "home-made" orange, which he had
never tasted, must be much better than a grocer's orange; as home-made
cake was certainly preferable, even to the wonderful cakes made by the
professional Mrs. Milderberger. He watched those little green oranges
from day to day, as they gradually grew big and yellow in the sun. He
promised faithfully that he would not pick any of them, but he had a
notion that some of them might drop off. He never shook the trees,
because he said he would not. But he shook the stoop! And he hung about
the bush, which he was too honest to beat. One unusually tempting
orange, which he had known from its bud-hood, finally overcame him. He
did not pick it off, he did not shake it off; he compromised with his
conscience by lying flat on his back and biting off a piece of it. It
was not a very good action, nor was it a very good orange, and for that
reason, perhaps, he went home immediately and told on himself. He told
his mother. He did not tell his aunt Margaret. His mother did not seem
to be as much shocked at his conduct as he was. But, in her own quiet
way, she gave him to understand that promises were not made to be
cracked any more than they were made to be broken--that he had been
false to himself in heart, if not in deed, and that he must go back and
make it "all right" with his aunt Margaret. She did not seem to be very
much shocked, either; he could not tell why. But they punished The Boy.
They made him eat the rest of the orange!

  [Illustration: THE HOUSE OF THE BOY'S GRANDFATHER--CORNER OF HUDSON
                 AND NORTH MOORE STREETS]

He lost all subsequent interest in that tropical glade, and he has never
cared much for domestic oranges since.

Among the many bumps which are still conspicuously absent in The Boy's
phrenological development are the bumps of Music and Locality. He
whistled as soon as he acquired front teeth; and he has been singing
"God Save the Queen" at the St. Andrew's Society dinners, on November
the 30th, ever since he came of age. But that is as far as his sense of
harmony goes. He took music-lessons for three quarters, and then his
mother gave it up in despair. The instrument was a piano. The Boy could
not stretch an octave with his right hand, the little finger of which
had been broken by a shinny-stick; and he could not do anything whatever
with his left hand. He was constantly dropping his bass-notes, which, he
said, were "understood." And even Miss Ferguson--most patient of
teachers--declared that it was of no use.

The piano to The Boy has been the most offensive of instruments ever
since. And when his mother's old piano, graceful in form, and with
curved legs which are still greatly admired, lost its tone, and was
transformed into a sideboard, he felt, for the first time, that music
had charms.

He had to practise half an hour a day, by a thirty-minute sand-glass
that could _not_ be set ahead; and he shed tears enough over "The
Carnival of Venice" to have raised the tide in the Grand Canal. They
blurred the sharps and the flats on the music-books--those tears; they
ran the crotchets and the quavers together, and, rolling down his
cheeks, they even splashed upon his not very clean little hands; and,
literally, they covered the keys with mud.

  [Illustration: "ALWAYS IN THE WAY"]

Another serious trial to The Boy was dancing-school. In the first place,
he could not turn round without becoming dizzy; in the second place, he
could not learn the steps to turn round with; and in the third place,
when he did dance he had to dance with a girl! There was not a boy in
all Charraud's, or in all Dodworth's, who could escort a girl back to
her seat, after the dance was over, in better time, or make his
"thank-you bow" with less delay. His only voluntary terpsichorean effort
at a party was the march to supper; and the only steps he ever took with
anything like success were during the promenade in the lancers. In
"hands-all-round" he invariably started with the wrong hand; and if in
the set there were girls big enough to wear long dresses, he never
failed to tear such out at the gathers. If anybody fell down in the
polka it was always The Boy; and if anybody bumped into anybody else,
The Boy was always the bumper, unless his partner could hold him up and
steer him straight.

Games, at parties, he enjoyed more than dancing, although he did not
care very much for "Pillows and Keys," until he became courageous enough
to kneel before somebody except his maiden aunts. "Porter" was less
embarrassing, because, when the door was shut, nobody but the little
girl who called him but could tell whether he kissed her or not. All
this happened a long time ago!

The only social function in which The Boy took any interest whatever was
the making of New-Year's calls. Not that he cared to make New-Year's
calls in themselves, but because he wanted to make more New-Year's calls
than were made by any other boy. His "list," based upon last year's
list, was commenced about February 1; and it contained the names of
every person whom The Boy knew, or thought he knew, whether that person
knew The Boy or not, from Mrs. Penrice, who boarded opposite the Bowling
Green, to the Leggats and the Faures, who lived near Washington Parade
Ground, the extreme social limits of his city in those days. He usually
began by making a formal call upon his own mother, who allowed him to
taste the pickled oysters as early as ten in the morning; and he
invariably wound up by calling upon Ann Hughes in the kitchen, where he
met the soap-fat man, who was above his profession, and likewise the
sexton of Ann Hughes's church, who generally came with Billy, the barber
on the corner of Franklin Street. There were certain calls The Boy
always made with his father, during which he did not partake of pickled
oysters; but he had pickled oysters everywhere else; and they never
seemed to do him any serious harm.

  [Illustration: READY FOR A NEW-YEAR'S CALL]

The Boy, if possible, kept his new overcoat until New Year's Day--and he
never left it in the hall when he called! He always wore new green kid
gloves--why green?--fastened at the wrists with a single hook and eye;
and he never took off his kid gloves when he called, except on that
particular New Year's Day when his aunt Charlotte gave him the
bloodstone seal-ring, which, at first, was too big for his little
finger,--the only finger on which a seal-ring _could_ be worn--and had
to be made temporarily smaller with a piece of string.

When he received, the next New Year, new studs and a scarf-pin--all
bloodstones, to match the ring--he exhibited no little ingenuity of
toilet in displaying them both, because studs are hardly visible when
one wears a scarf, unless the scarf is kept out of the perpendicular by
stuffing one end of it into the sleeve of a jacket; which requires
constant attention and a good deal of bodily contortion.

When The Boy met Johnny Robertson or Joe Stuart making calls, they never
recognized each other, except when they were calling together, which did
not often occur. It was an important rule in their social code to appear
as strangers in-doors, although they would wait for each other outside,
and compare lists. When they _did_ present themselves collectively in
any drawing-room, one boy--usually The Boy's cousin Lew--was detailed to
whisper "T. T." when he considered that the proper limit of the call
was reached. "T. T." stood for "Time to Travel"; and at the signal all
conversation was abruptly interrupted, and the party trooped out in
single file. The idea was not original with the boys. It was borrowed
from the hook-and-ladder company, which made all _its_ calls in a body,
and in two of Kipp and Brown's stages, hired for the entire day. The
boys always walked.

The great drawbacks to the custom of making New-Year's calls were the
calls which _had_ to be made after the day's hard work was supposed to
be over, and when The Boy and his father, returning home very tired,
were told that they _must_ call upon Mrs. Somebody, and upon Mrs.
Somebody-else, whom they had neglected to visit, because the husbands
and the sons of these ladies had called upon the mother of The Boy. New
Year's Day was not the shortest day of the year, by any means, but it
was absolutely necessary to return the Somebody's call, no matter how
late the hour, or how tired the victims of the social law. And it bored
the ladies of the Somebody household as much as it bored the father and
The Boy.

  [Illustration: A NEW-YEAR'S CALL]

The Boy was always getting lost. The very first time he went out alone
he got lost! Told not to go off the block, he walked as far as the
corner of Leonard Street, put his arm around the lamp-post, swung
himself in a circle, had his head turned the wrong way, and marched off,
at a right angle, along the side street, with no home visible anywhere,
and not a familiar sign in sight. A ship at sea without a rudder, a
solitary wanderer in the Great American Desert without a compass, could
not have been more utterly astray. The Boy was so demoralized that he
forgot his name and address; and when a kindly policeman picked him up,
and carried him over the way, to the Leonard Street station-house for
identification, he felt as if the end of everything had come. It was bad
enough to be arrested, but how was he to satisfy his own conscience, and
explain matters to his mother, when it was discovered that he had
broken his solemn promise, and crossed the street? He had no
pocket-handkerchief; and he remembers that he spoiled the long silk
streamers of his Glengarry bonnet by wiping his eyes upon them. He was
recognized by his Forty-second-plaid gingham frock, a familiar object in
the neighborhood, and he was carried back to his parents, who had not
had time to miss him, and who, consequently, were not distracted. He
lost nothing by the adventure but himself, his self-respect, a pint of
tears--and one shoe.

He was afterwards lost in Greenwich Street, having gone there on the
back step of an ice-cart; and once he was conveyed as far as the Hudson
River Railroad Depot, at Chambers Street, on his sled, which he had
hitched to the milkman's wagon, and could not untie. This was very
serious, indeed; for The Boy realized that he had not only lost himself
but his sleigh, too. Aunt Henrietta found The Boy sitting disconsolately
in front of Wall's bake-shop; but the sleigh did not turn up for several
days. It was finally discovered, badly scratched, in the possession of
"The Head of the Rovers."

"The Hounds" and "The Rovers" were rival bands of boys, not in The Boy's
set, who for many years made out-door life miserable to The Boy and to
his friends. They threw stones and mud at each other, and at everybody
else; and The Boy was not infrequently blamed for the windows they
broke. They punched all the little boys who were better dressed than
they were, and they were even depraved enough, and mean enough, to tell
the driver every time The Boy or Johnny Robertson attempted to "cut
behind."

  [Illustration: TOM RILEY'S LIBERTY POLE]

There was also a band of unattached guerillas who aspired to be, and
often pretended to be, either "Hounds" or "Rovers"--they did not care
which. They always hunted in couples, and if they met The Boy alone they
asked him to which of the organizations he himself belonged. If he said
he was a "Rover," they claimed to be "Hounds," and pounded him. If he
declared himself in sympathy with the "Hounds," they hoisted the
"Rovers'" colors, and punched him again. If he disclaimed both
associations, they punched him anyway, on general principles. "The Head
of the Rovers" was subsequently killed, in front of Tom Riley's
liberty-pole in Franklin Street, in a fireman's riot, and "The Chief of
the Hounds," who had a club-foot, became a respectable egg-merchant,
with a stand in Washington Market, near the Root-beer Woman's place of
business, on the south side. The Boy met two of the gang near the
Desbrosses Street Ferry only the other day; but they did not recognize
The Boy.

The only spot where The Boy felt really safe from the interference of
"The Hounds" and "The Rovers" was in St. John's Square, that delightful
oasis in the desert of brick and mortar and cobble-stones which was
known as the Fifth Ward. It was a private enclosure, bounded on the
north by Laight Street, on the south by Beach Street, on the east by
Varick Street, and on the west by Hudson Street; and its site is now
occupied by the great freight-warehouses of the New York Central and
Hudson River Railroad Company.

In the "Fifties," and long before, it was a private park, to which only
the property owners in its immediate neighborhood had access. It
possessed fine old trees, winding gravel-walks, and meadows of grass. In
the centre was a fountain, whereupon, in the proper season, the children
were allowed to skate on both feet, which was a great improvement over
the one-foot gutter-slides outside. The Park was surrounded by a high
iron railing, broken here and there by massive gates, to which The Boy
had a key. But he always climbed over. It was a point of etiquette, in
The Boy's set, to climb over on all occasions, whether the gates were
unlocked or not. And The Boy, many a time, has been known to climb over
a gate, although it stood wide open! He not infrequently tore his
clothes on the sharp spikes by which the gates were surmounted; but that
made no difference to The Boy--until he went home!

The Boy once had a fight in the Park, with Bill Rice, about a certain
lignum-vitæ peg-top, of which The Boy was very fond, and which Bill Rice
kicked into the fountain. The Boy got mad, which was wrong and foolish
of The Boy; and The Boy, also, got licked. And The Boy never could make
his mother understand why he was silly and careless enough to cut his
under-lip by knocking it against Bill Rice's knuckles. Bill subsequently
apologized by saying that he did not mean to kick the top into the
fountain. He merely meant to kick the top. And it was all made up.

  [Illustration: THE BOY ALWAYS CLIMBED OVER]

The Boy did not fight much. His nose was too long. It seemed that he
could not reach the end of it with his fists when he fought; and that
the other fellows could always reach it with theirs, no matter how
far out, or how scientifically, his left arm was extended. It was "One,
two, three--and recover"--on The Boy's nose! The Boy was a good runner.
His legs were the only part of his anatomy which seemed to him as long
as his nose. And his legs saved his nose in many a fierce encounter.

The Boy first had daily admission to St. John's Park after the family
moved to Hubert Street, when The Boy was about ten years old; and for
half a decade or more it was his happy hunting-ground--when he was not
kept in school! It was a particularly pleasant place in the autumn and
winter months; for he could then gather "smoking-beans" and
horse-chestnuts; and he could roam at will all over the grounds without
any hateful warning to "Keep Off the Grass."

The old gardener, generally a savage defender of the place, who had no
sense of humor as it was exhibited in boy nature, sometimes let the boys
rake the dead leaves into great heaps and make bonfires of them, if the
wind happened to be in the right direction. And then what larks! The
bonfire was a house on fire, and the great garden-roller, a very heavy
affair, was "Engine No. 42," with which the boys ran to put the fire
out. They all shouted as loudly and as unnecessarily as real firemen
did, in those days; the foreman gave his orders through a real trumpet,
and one boy had a real fireman's hat with "Engine No. 42" on it. He was
chief engineer, but he did not run with the machine: not because he was
chief engineer, but because while in active motion he could not keep his
hat on. It was his father's hat, and its extraordinary weight was
considerably increased by the wads of newspaper packed in the lining to
make it fit. The chief engineer held the position for life on the
strength of the hat, which he would not lend to anybody else. The rest
of the officers of the company were elected, _viva voce_, every time
there was a fire.

This entertainment came to an end, like everything else, when the
gardener chained the roller to the tool-house, after Bob Stuart fell
under the machine and was rolled so flat that he had to be carried home
on a stretcher, made of overcoats tied together by the sleeves. That is
the only recorded instance in which the boys, particularly Bob, left the
Park without climbing over. And the bells sounded a "general alarm." The
dent made in the path by Bob's body was on exhibition until the next
snow-storm.

  [Illustration: THE CHIEF ENGINEER]

The favorite amusements in the Park were shinny, baseball, one-old-cat,
and fires. The Columbia Baseball Club was organized in 1853 or 1854. It
had nine members, and The Boy was secretary and treasurer. The uniform
consisted chiefly of a black leather belt with the initials [reversed
C]B[reversed B]C in white letters, hand-painted, and generally turned
the wrong way. The first base was an ailantus-tree; the second base
was another ailantus-tree; the third base was a button-ball-tree; the
home base was a marble head-stone, brought for that purpose from an old
burying-ground not far away; and "over the fence" was a home-run. A
player was caught out on the second bounce, and he was "out" if hit by a
ball thrown at him as he ran. The Boy was put out once by a crack on the
ear, which put The Boy out very much.

"The Hounds" and "The Rovers" challenged "The Columbias" repeatedly. But
that was looked upon simply as an excuse to get into the Park, and the
challenges were never accepted. The challengers were forced to content
themselves with running off with the balls which went over the fence; an
action on their part which made home-runs through that medium very
unpopular and very expensive. In the whole history of "The Hounds" and
"The Rovers," nothing that they pirated was ever returned but The Boy's
sled.

Contemporary with the Columbia Baseball Club was a so-called
"Mind-cultivating Society," organized by the undergraduates of
McElligott's School, in Greene Street. The Boy, as usual, was secretary
when he was not treasurer. The object was "Debates," but all the
debating was done at the business meetings, and no mind ever became
sufficiently cultivated to master the intricacies of parliamentary law.
The members called it a Secret Society, and on their jackets they wore,
as conspicuously as possible, a badge-pin consisting of a blue enamelled
circlet containing Greek letters in gold. In a very short time the
badge-pin was all that was left of the Society; but to this day the
secret of the Society has never been disclosed. No one ever knew, or
will ever know, what the Greek letters stood for--not even the members
themselves.

The Boy was never a regular member of any fire-company, but almost as
long as the old Volunteer Fire Department existed, he was what was known
as a "Runner." He was attached, in a sort of brevet way, to "Pearl Hose
No. 28," and, later, to "11 Hook and Ladder." He knew all the fire
districts into which the city was then divided; his ear was always
alert, even in the St. John's Park days, for the sound of the
alarm-bell, and he ran to every fire at any hour of the day or night, up
to ten o'clock P.M. He did not do much when he got to the fire but stand
around and "holler." But once--a proud moment--he helped steer the
hook-and-ladder truck to a false alarm in Macdougal Street--and once--a
very proud moment, indeed--he went into a tenement-house, near Dr.
Thompson's church, in Grand Street, and carried two negro babies
down-stairs in his arms. There was no earthly reason why the babies
should not have been left in their beds; and the colored family did not
like it, because the babies caught cold! But The Boy, for once in his
life, tasted the delights of self-conscious heroism.

  [Illustration: "MRS. ROBERTSON DESCENDED IN FORCE UPON THE
                  DEVOTED BAND"]

When The Boy, as a bigger boy, was not running to fires he was going to
theatres, the greater part of his allowance being spent in the
box-offices of Burton's Chambers Street house, of Brougham's Lyceum,
corner of Broome Street and Broadway, of Niblo's, and of Castle Garden.
There were no afternoon performances in those days, except now and then
when the Ravels were at Castle Garden; and the admission to pit and
galleries was usually two shillings--otherwise, twenty-five cents. His
first play, so far as he remembers, was "The Stranger," a play dismal
enough to destroy any taste for the drama, one would suppose, in any
juvenile mind. He never cared very much to see "The Stranger" again, but
nothing that was a play was too deep or too heavy for him. He never saw
the end of any of the more elaborate productions, unless his father took
him to the theatre (as once in a while he did), for it was a strict rule
of the house, until The Boy was well up in his teens, that he must be in
by ten o'clock. His father did not ask him where he was going, or where
he had been; but the curfew in Hubert Street tolled at ten. The Boy
calculated carefully and exactly how many minutes it took him to run to
Hubert Street from Brougham's or from Burton's; and by the middle of the
second act his watch--a small silver affair with a hunting-case, in
which he could not keep an uncracked crystal--was always in his hand. He
never disobeyed his father, and for years he never knew what became of
Claude Melnotte after he went to the wars; or if Damon got back in time
to save Pythias before the curtain fell. The Boy, naturally, had a most
meagre notion as to what all these plays were about, but he enjoyed his
fragments of them as he rarely enjoys plays now. Sometimes, in these
days, when the air is bad, and plays are worse, and big hats are worse
than either, he wishes that he were forced to leave the modern
play-house at nine-forty-five, on pain of no supper that night, or
twenty lines of "Virgil" the next day.

  [Illustration: THE BOY AS VIRGINIUS]

On very stormy afternoons the boys played theatre in the large garret of
The Boy's Hubert Street house; a convenient closet, with a door and a
window, serving for the Castle of Elsinore in "Hamlet," for the gunroom
of the ship in "Black-eyed Susan," or for the studio of Phidias in "The
Marble Heart," as the case might be. "The Brazilian Ape," as requiring
more action than words, was a favorite entertainment, only they all
wanted to play Jocko the Ape; and they would have made no little success
out of the "Lady of Lyons" if any of them had been willing to play
Pauline. Their costumes and properties were slight and not always
accurate, but they could "launch the curse of Rome," and describe "two
hearts beating as one," in a manner rarely equalled on the regular
stage. The only thing they really lacked was an audience, neither Lizzie
Gustin nor Ann Hughes ever being able to sit through more than one act
at a time. When The Boy, as Virginius, with his uncle Aleck's
sword-cane, stabbed all the feathers out of the pillow which represented
the martyred Virginia; and when Joe Stuart, as Falstaff, broke the
bottom out of Ann Hughes's clothes-basket, the license was revoked, and
the season came to an untimely end.

Until the beginning of the weekly, or the fortnightly, sailings of the
Collins line of steamers from the foot of Canal Street (a spectacle
which they never missed in any weather), Joe Stuart, Johnny Robertson,
and The Boy played "The Deerslayer" every Saturday in the back-yard of
The Boy's house. The area-way was Glimmer-glass, in which they fished,
and on which they canoed; the back-stoop was Muskrat Castle; the rabbits
were all the wild beasts of the Forest; Johnny was Hawk-Eye, The Boy was
Hurry Harry, and Joe Stuart was Chingachgook. Their only food was
half-baked potatoes--sweet potatoes if possible--which they cooked
themselves and ate ravenously, with butter and salt, if Ann Hughes was
amiable, and entirely unseasoned if Ann was disposed to be disobliging.

They talked what they fondly believed was the dialect of the Delaware
tribe, and they were constantly on the lookout for the approaches of
Rivenoak, or the Panther, who were represented by any member of the
family who chanced to stray into the enclosure. They carefully turned
their toes in when they walked, making so much effort in this matter
that it took a great deal of dancing-school to get their feet back to
the "first position" again; and they even painted their faces when they
were on the war-path. The rabbits had the worst of it!

The campaign came to a sudden and disastrous conclusion when the hostile
tribes, headed by Mrs. Robertson, descended in force upon the devoted
band, because Chingachgook broke one of Hawk-Eye's front teeth with an
arrow, aimed at the biggest of the rabbits, which was crouching by the
side of the roots of the grape-vine, and playing that he was a panther
of enormous size.

  [Illustration: JOHNNY ROBERTSON]

Johnny Robertson and The Boy had one great superstition--to wit, Cracks!
For some now inexplicable reason they thought it unlucky to step on
cracks; and they made daily and hourly spectacles of themselves in the
streets by the eccentric irregularity of their gait. Now they would take
long strides, like a pair of ostriches, and now short, quick steps,
like a couple of robins; now they would hop on both feet, like a brace
of sparrows; now they would walk on their heels, now on their toes; now
with their toes turned in, now with their toes turned out--at right
angles, in a splay-footed way; now they would walk with their feet
crossed, after the manner of the hands of very fancy, old-fashioned
piano-players, skipping from base to treble--over cracks. The whole
performance would have driven a sensitive drill-sergeant or
ballet-master to distraction. And when they came to a brick sidewalk
they would go all around the block to avoid it. They could cross Hudson
Street on the cobblestones with great effort, and in great danger of
being run over; but they could not possibly travel upon a brick
pavement, and avoid the cracks. What would have happened to them if they
_did_ step on a crack they did not exactly know. But, for all that, they
never stepped on cracks--of their own free will!

The Boy's earliest attempts at versification were found, the other day,
in an old desk, and at the end of almost half a century. The copy is in
his own boyish, ill-spelled print; and it bears no date. The present
owner, his aunt Henrietta, well remembers the circumstances and the
occasion, however, having been an active participant in the acts the
poem describes, although she avers that she had no hand in its
composition. The original, it seems, was transcribed by The Boy upon
the cover of a soap-box, which served as a head-stone to one of the
graves in his family burying-ground, situated in the back-yard of the
Hudson Street house, from which he was taken before he was nine years of
age. The monument stood against the fence, and this is the legend it
bore--rhyme, rhythm, metre, and orthography being carefully preserved:

   "Three little kitens of our old cat
    Were berrid this day in this grassplat.
    They came to there deth in an old slop pale,
    And after loosing their breth
    They were pulled out by the tale.
    These three little kitens have returned to their maker,
    And were put in the grave by The Boy,
        Undertaker."

At about this period The Boy officiated at the funeral of another cat,
but in a somewhat more exalted capacity. It was the Cranes' cat, at Red
Hook--a Maltese lady, who always had yellow kittens. The Boy does not
remember the cause of the cat's death, but he thinks that Uncle Andrew
Knox ran over her, with the "dyspepsia-wagon"--so called because it had
no springs. Anyway, the cat died, and had to be buried. The grave was
dug in the garden of the tavern, near the swinging-gate to the stable,
and the whole family attended the services. Jane Purdy, in a deep crape
veil, was the chief mourner; The Boy's aunts were pall-bearers, in white
scarves; The Boy was the clergyman; while the kittens--who did not look
at all like their mother--were on hand in a funeral basket, with black
shoestrings tied around their necks.

  [Illustration: JANE PURDY]

Jane was supposed to be the disconsolate widow. She certainly looked the
part to perfection; and it never occurred to any of them that a cat,
with kittens, could not possibly have left a widow behind her.

The ceremony was most impressive; the bereaved kittens were loud in
their grief; when, suddenly, the village-bell tolled for the death of an
old gentleman whom everybody loved, and the comedy became a tragedy. The
older children were conscience-stricken at the mummery, and they ran,
demoralized and shocked, into the house, leaving The Boy and the kittens
behind them. Jane Purdy tripped over her veil, and one of the kittens
was stepped on in the crush. But The Boy proceeded with the funeral.

When The Boy got as far as a room of his own, papered with scenes from
circus-posters, and peopled by tin soldiers, he used to play that his
bed was the barge _Mayflower_, running from Barrytown to the foot of
Jay Street, North River, and that he was her captain and crew. She made
nightly trips between the two ports; and by day, when she was not tied
up to the door-knob--which was Barrytown--she was moored to the handle
of the wash-stand drawer--which was the dock at New York. She never was
wrecked, and she never ran aground; but great was the excitement of The
Boy when, as not infrequently was the case, on occasions of sweeping,
Hannah, the up-stairs girl, set her adrift.

The _Mayflower_ was seriously damaged by fire once, owing to the
careless use, by a deck-hand, of a piece of punk on the night before the
Fourth of July; this same deck-hand being nearly blown up early the very
next morning by a bunch of fire-crackers which went off--by
themselves--in his lap. He did not know, for a second or two, whether
the barge had burst her boiler or had been struck by lightning!

  [Illustration: JOE STUART]

Barrytown is the river port of Red Hook--a charming Dutchess County
hamlet in which The Boy spent the first summer of his life, and in which
he spent the better part of every succeeding summer for a quarter of a
century; and he sometimes goes there yet, although many of the names he
knows were carved, in the long-agoes, on the tomb. He always went up and
down, in those days, on the _Mayflower_, the real boat of that name,
which was hardly more real to him than was the trundle-bed of his
vivid, nightly imagination. They sailed from New York at five o'clock
P.M., an hour looked for, and longed for, by The Boy, as the very
beginning of summer, with all its delightful young charms; and they
arrived at their destination about five of the clock the next morning,
by which time The Boy was wide awake, and on the lookout for Lasher's
Stage, in which he was to travel the intervening three miles. And
eagerly he recognized, and loved, every landmark on the road.
Barringer's Corner; the half-way tree; the road to the creek and to
Madame Knox's; and, at last, the village itself, and the tavern, and the
tobacco-factory, and Massoneau's store, over the way; and then, when
Jane Purdy had shown him the new kittens and the little chickens, and he
had talked to "Fido" and "Fanny," or to Fido alone after Fanny was
stolen by gypsies--Fanny was Fido's wife, and a poodle--he rushed off to
see Bob Hendricks, who was just his own age, barring a week, and who has
been his warm friend for more than half a century; and then what good
times The Boy had!

Bob was possessed of a grandfather who could make kites, and swings, and
parallel-bars, and things which The Boy liked; and Bob had a mother--and
he has her yet, happy Bob!--who made the most wonderful of cookies,
perfectly round, with sparkling globules of sugar on them, and little
round holes in the middle; and Bob and The Boy for days, and weeks, and
months together hen's-egged, and rode in the hay-carts, and went for the
mail every noon, and boosted each other up into the best
pound-sweet-tree in the neighborhood; and pelted each other with little
green apples, which weighed about a pound to the peck; and gathered
currants and chestnuts in season; and with long straws they sucked new
cider out of bung-holes; and learned to swim; and caught their first
fish; and did all the pleasant things that all boys do.

At Red Hook they smoked their first cigar--half a cigar, left by uncle
Phil--and they wished they hadn't! And at Red Hook they disobeyed their
mothers once, and were found out. They were told not to go wading in the
creek upon pain of not going to the creek at all; and for weeks they
were deprived of the delights of the society of the Faure boys, through
whose domain the creek ran, because, when they went to bed on that
disastrous night, it was discovered that Bob had on The Boy's stockings,
and that The Boy was wearing Bob's socks; a piece of circumstantial
evidence which convicted them both. When the embargo was raised and they
next went to the creek, it is remembered that Bob tore his trousers in
climbing over a log, and that The Boy fell in altogether.

  [Illustration: BOB HENDRICKS]

The Boy usually kept his promises, however, and he was known even to
keep a candy-cane--twenty-eight inches long, red and white striped like
a barber's pole--for a fortnight, because his mother limited him to the
consumption of two inches a day. But he could not keep any knees to his
trousers; and when The Boy's mother threatened to sew buttons--brass
buttons, with sharp and penetrating eyes--on to that particular portion
of the garment in question, he wanted to know, in all innocence, how
they expected him to say his prayers!

One of Bob's earliest recollections of The Boy is connected with a toy
express-wagon on four wheels, which could almost turn around on its own
axis. The Boy imported this vehicle into Red Hook one summer, and they
used it for the transportation of their chestnuts and their currants and
their apples, green and ripe, and the mail, and most of the dust of the
road; and Bob thinks, to this day, that nothing in all these after years
has given him so much profound satisfaction and enjoyment as did that
little cart.

Bob remembers, too--what The Boy tries to forget--The Boy's daily
practice of half an hour on the piano borrowed by The Boy's mother from
Mrs. Bates for that dire purpose. Mrs. Bates's piano is almost the only
unpleasant thing associated with Red Hook in all The Boy's experience of
that happy village. It was pretty hard on The Boy, because, in The
Boy's mind, Red Hook should have been a place of unbroken delights. But
The Boy's mother wanted to make an all-round man of him, and when his
mother said so, of course it had to be done or tried. Bob used to go
with The Boy as far as Dr. Bates's house, and then hang about on the
gate until The Boy was released; and he asserts that the music which
came out of the window in response to The Boy's inharmonic touch had no
power whatever to soothe his own savage young breast. He attributes all
his later disinclination to music to those dreary thirty minutes of
impatient waiting.

The piano and its effect upon The Boy's uncertain temper _may_ have been
the innocent cause of the first, and only, approach to a quarrel which
The Boy and Bob ever had. The prime cause, however, was, of course, a
girl! They were playing, that afternoon, at Cholwell Knox's, when
Cholwell said something about Julia Booth which Bob resented, and there
was a fight, The Boy taking Cholwell's part; why, he cannot say, unless
it was because of his jealousy of Bob's affection and admiration for
that charming young teacher, who won all hearts in the village, The
Boy's among the number. Anyway, Bob was driven from the field by the
hard little green apples of the Knox orchard; more hurt, he declares, by
the desertion of his ally than by all the blows he received.

  [Illustration: MUSIC LESSONS]

It never happened again, dear Bob, and, please God, it never will!

Another trouble The Boy had in Red Hook was Dr. McNamee, a resident
dentist, who operated upon The Boy, now and then. He was a little more
gentle than was The Boy's city dentist, Dr. Castle; but he hurt, for all
that. Dr. Castle lived in Fourth Street, opposite Washington Parade
Ground, and on the same block with Clarke and Fanning's school. And to
this day The Boy would go miles out of his way rather than pass Dr.
Castle's house. Personally Dr. Castle was a delightful man, who told The
Boy amusing stories, which The Boy could not laugh at while his mouth
was wide open. But professionally Dr. Castle was to The Boy an awful
horror, of whom he always dreamed when his dreams were particularly bad.
As he looks back upon his boyhood, with its frequent toothache and its
long hours in the dentists' chairs, The Boy sometimes thinks that if he
had his life to live over again, and could not go through it without
teeth, he would prefer not to be born at all!

It has rather amused The Boy, in his middle age, to learn of the
impressions he made upon Red Hook in his extreme youth. Bob, as has been
shown, associates him with a little cart, and with a good deal of the
concord of sweet sounds. One old friend remembers nothing but his
phenomenal capacity for the consumption of chicken pot-pie. Another old
friend can recall the scrupulously clean white duck suits which he wore
of afternoons, and also the blue-checked long apron which he was forced
to wear in the mornings; both of them exceedingly distasteful to The
Boy, because the apron was a girl's garment, and because the duck suit
meant "dress-up," and only the mildest of genteel play; while Bob's
sister dwells chiefly now upon the wonderful valentine The Boy sent once
to Zillah Crane. It was so large that it had to have an especial
envelope made to fit it; and it was so magnificent, and so delicate,
that, notwithstanding the envelope, it came in a box of its own. It had
actual lace, and pinkish Cupids reclining on light-blue clouds; and in
the centre of all was a compressible bird-cage, which, when it was
pulled out, like an accordion, displayed not a dove merely, but a plain
gold ring--a real ring, made of real gold. Nothing like it had ever been
seen before in all Dutchess County; and it was seen and envied by every
girl of Zillah's age between Rhinebeck and Tivoli, between Barrytown and
Pine Plains.

The Boy did an extensive business in the valentine line, in the days
when February Fourteenth meant much more to boys than it does now. He
sent sentimental valentines to Phoebe Hawkins and comic valentines to
Ann Hughes, both of them written anonymously, and both directed in a
disguised hand. But both recipients always knew from whom they came;
and, in all probability, neither of them was much affected by the
receipt. The Boy, as he has put on record elsewhere, never really, in
his inmost heart, thought that comic valentines were so very comic,
because those that came to him usually reflected upon his nose, or were
illuminated with portraits of gentlemen of all ages adorned with
supernaturally red hair.

In later years, when Bob and The Boy could swim--a little--and had
learned to take care of themselves in water over their heads, the
mill-pond at Red Hook played an important part in their daily life
there. They sailed it, and fished it, and camped out on its banks, with
Ed Curtis--before Ed went to West Point--and with Dick Hawley, Josie
Briggs, and Frank Rodgers, all first-rate fellows. But that is another
story.

The Boy was asked, a year or two ago, to write a paper upon "The Books
of his Boyhood." And when he came to think the matter over he
discovered, to his surprise, that the Books of his Boyhood consisted of
but one book! It was bound in two twelvemo green cloth volumes; it bore
the date of 1850, and it was filled with pictorial illustrations of "The
Personal History and Experiences of David Copperfield, the Younger." It
was the first book The Boy ever read, and he thought then, and
sometimes he thinks now, that it was the greatest book ever written.
The traditional books of the childhood of other children came later to
The Boy: "Robinson Crusoe," and the celebrated "Swiss Family" of the
same name; "The Desert Home," of Mayne Reid; Marryat's "Peter Simple";
"The Leather Stocking Tales"; "Rob Roy"; and "The Three Guardsmen" were
well thumbed and well liked; but they were not The Boy's first love in
fiction, and they never usurped, in his affections, the place of the
true account of David Copperfield. It was a queer book to have absorbed
the time and attention of a boy of eight or nine, who had to skip the
big words, who did not understand it all, but who cried, as he has cried
but once since, whenever he came to that dreadful chapter which tells
the story of the taking away of David's mother, and of David's utter,
hopeless desolation over his loss.

How the book came into The Boy's possession he cannot now remember, nor
is he sure that his parents realized how much, or how often, he was
engrossed in its contents. It cheered him in the measles, it comforted
him in the mumps. He took it to school with him, and he took it to bed
with him; and he read it, over and over again, especially the early
chapters; for he did not care so much for David after David became
Trotwood, and fell in love.

When, in 1852, after his grandfather's death, The Boy first saw London,
it was not the London of the Romans, the Saxons, or the Normans, or the
London of the Plantagenets or the Tudors, but the London of the
Micawbers and the Traddleses, the London of Murdstone and Grinby, the
London of Dora's Aunt and of Jip. On his arrival at Euston Station the
first object upon which his eyes fell was a donkey-cart, a large wooden
tray on wheels, driven, at a rapid pace, by a long-legged young man, and
followed, at a pace hardly so rapid, by a boy of about his own age, who
seemed in great mental distress. This was the opening scene. And London,
from that moment, became to him, and still remains, a great moving
panorama of David Copperfield.

He saw the Orfling, that first evening, snorting along Tottenham Court
Road; he saw Mealy Potatoes, in a ragged apron and a paper cap, lounging
along Broad Street; he saw Martha disappear swiftly and silently into
one of the dirty streets leading from Seven Dials; he saw innumerable
public-houses--the Lion, or the Lion and something else--in anyone of
which David might have consumed that memorable glass of Genuine Stunning
ale with a good head on it. As they drove through St. Martin's Lane, and
past a court at the back of the church, he even got a glimpse of the
exterior of the shop where was sold a special pudding, made of currants,
but dear; a two-pennyworth being no larger than a pennyworth of more
ordinary pudding at any other establishment in the neighborhood. And, to
crown all, when he looked out of his back bedroom window, at Morley's
Hotel, he discovered that he was looking at the actual bedroom windows
of the Golden Cross on the Strand, in which Steerforth and little
Copperfield had that disastrous meeting which indirectly brought so much
sorrow to so many innocent men and women.

This was but the beginning of countless similar experiences, and the
beginning of a love for Landmarks of a more important but hardly of a
more delightful character. Hungerford Market and Hungerford Stairs, with
the blacking-warehouse abutting on the water when the tide was in, and
on the mud when the tide was out, still stood near Morley's in 1852; and
very close to them stood then, and still stands to-day, the old house in
Buckingham Street, Adelphi, where, with Mrs. Crupp, Trotwood Copperfield
found his lodgings when he began his new life with Spenlow and Jorkins.
These chambers, once the home of Clarkson Stanfield, and since of Mr.
William Black and of Dr. B. E. Martin, became, in later days, very
familiar to The Boy, and still are haunted by the great crowd of the
ghosts of the past. The Boy has seen there, within a few years, and with
his eyes wide open, the spirits of Traddles, of Micawber, of Steerforth,
of Mr. Dick, of Clara Peggotty and Daniel, of Uriah Heep--the last
slept one evening on the sofa pillows before the fire, you may
remember--and of Aunt Betsy herself. But in 1852 he could only look at
the outside of the house, and, now and then, when the door was open, get
a glimpse of the stairs down which some one fell and rolled, one
evening, when somebody else said it was Copperfield!

The Boy never walked along the streets of London by his father's side
during that memorable summer without meeting, in fancy, some friend of
David's, without passing some spot that David knew, and loved, or hated.
And he recognized St. Paul's Cathedral at the first glance, because it
had figured as an illustration on the cover of Peggotty's work-box!

Perhaps the event which gave him the greatest pleasure was a casual
meeting with little Miss Moucher in a green omnibus coming from the top
of Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. It could not possibly have been
anybody else. There were the same large head and face, the same short
arms. "Throat she had none; waist she had none; legs she had none, worth
mentioning." The Boy can still hear the pattering of the rain on the
rattly windows of that lumbering green omnibus; he can remember every
detail of the impressive drive; and Miss Moucher, and the fact of her
existence in the flesh, and there present, wiped from his mind every
trace of Mme. Tussaud's famous gallery, and the waxworks it contained.

This was the Book of The Boy's Boyhood. He does not recommend it as the
exclusive literature of their boyhood to other boys; but out of it The
Boy knows that he got nothing but what was healthful and helping. It
taught him to abominate selfish brutality and sneaking falsehood, as
they were exhibited in the Murdstones and the Heeps; it taught him to
keep Charles I., and other fads, out of his "Memorials"; it taught him
to avoid rash expenditure as it was practised by the Micawbers; it
showed him that a man like Steerforth might be the best of good fellows
and at the same time the worst and most dangerous of companions; it
showed, on the other hand, that true friends like Traddles are worth
having and worth keeping; it introduced him to the devoted, sisterly
affection of a woman like Agnes; and it proved to him that the rough
pea-jacket of a man like Ham Peggotty might cover the simple heart of
as honest a gentleman as ever lived.

  [Illustration: THE BOY'S FATHER]

The Boy, in his time, has been brought in contact with many famous men
and women; but upon nothing in his whole experience does he look back
now with greater satisfaction than upon his slight intercourse with the
first great man he ever knew. Quite a little lad, he was staying at the
Pulaski House in Savannah, in 1853--perhaps it was in 1855--when his
father told him to observe particularly the old gentleman with the
spectacles, who occupied a seat at their table in the public
dining-room; for, he said, the time would come when The Boy would be
very proud to say that he had breakfasted, and dined, and supped with
Mr. Thackeray. He had no idea who, or what, Mr. Thackeray was; but his
father considered him a great man, and that was enough for The Boy. He
did pay particular attention to Mr. Thackeray, with his eyes and his
ears; and one morning Mr. Thackeray paid a little attention to him, of
which he is proud, indeed. Mr. Thackeray took The Boy between his knees,
and asked his name, and what he intended to be when he grew up. He
replied, "A farmer, sir." Why, he cannot imagine, for he never had the
slightest inclination towards a farmer's life. And then Mr. Thackeray
put his gentle hand upon The Boy's little red head, and said: "Whatever
you are, try to be a good one."

To have been blessed by Thackeray is a distinction The Boy would not
exchange for any niche in the Temple of Literary Fame; no laurel crown
he could ever receive would be able to obliterate, or to equal, the
sense of Thackeray's touch; and if there be any virtue in the laying on
of hands The Boy can only hope that a little of it has descended upon
him.

And whatever The Boy is, he has tried, for Thackeray's sake, "to be a
good one!"



FOUR DOGS



WHISKIE


AN EAU DE VIE

  In doggerel lines, Whiskie my dog I sing.
    These lines are after Virgil, Pope, or some one.
  His very voice has got a Whiskie Ring.
    I call him Whiskie, 'cause he's such a rum one.

  His is a high-whine, and his nip has power,
    Hot-Scotch his temper, but no Punch is merrier;
  Not Rye, not Schnappish, he's no Whiskie-Sour.
    I call him Whiskie--he's a Whis-Skye terrier.



FOUR DOGS


It was Dr. John Brown, of Edinboro', who once spoke in sincere sympathy
of the man who "led a dog-less life." It was Mr. "Josh Billings" who
said that in the whole history of the world there is but one thing that
money cannot buy, to wit: the wag of a dog's tail. And it was Professor
John C. Van Dyke who declared the other day, in reviewing the artistic
career of Landseer, that he made his dogs too human. It was the Great
Creator himself who made dogs too human--so human that sometimes they
put humanity to shame.

The Boy has been the friend and confidant of Four Dogs who have helped
to humanize him for a quarter of a century and more, and who have souls
to be saved, he is sure. And when he crosses the Stygian River he
expects to find, on the other shore, a trio of dogs wagging their tails
almost off, in their joy at his coming, and with honest tongues hanging
out to lick his hands and his feet. And then he is going, with these
faithful, devoted dogs at his heels, to talk about dogs with Dr. John
Brown, Sir Edwin Landseer, and Mr. "Josh Billings."

The first dog, Whiskie, was an alleged Skye terrier, coming, alas! from
a clouded, not a clear, sky. He had the most beautiful and the most
perfect head ever seen on a dog, but his legs were altogether too long;
and the rest of him, was--just dog. He came into the family in 1867 or
1868. He was, at the beginning, not popular with the seniors; but he was
so honest, so ingenuous, so "square," that he made himself irresistible,
and he soon became even dearer to the father and to the mother than he
was to The Boy. Whiskie was not an amiable character, except to his own
people. He hated everybody else, he barked at everybody else, and
sometimes he bit everybody else--friends of the household as well as the
butcher-boys, the baker-boys, and the borrowers of money who came to the
door. He had no discrimination in his likes and dislikes, and,
naturally, he was not popular, except among his own people. He hated all
cats but his own cat, by whom he was bullied in a most outrageous way.
Whiskie had the sense of shame and the sense of humor.

  [Illustration: WHISKIE]

One warm summer evening, the family was sitting on the front steps,
after a refreshing shower of rain, when Whiskie saw a cat in the street,
picking its dainty way among the little puddles of water. With a
muttered curse he dashed after the cat without discovering, until within
a few feet of it, that it was the cat who belonged to him. He tried to
stop himself in his impetuous career, he put on all his brakes,
literally skimming along the street railway-track as if he were out
simply for a slide, passing the cat, who gave him a half-contemptuous,
half-pitying look; and then, after inspecting the sky to see if the rain
was really over and how the wind was, he came back to his place between
the father and The Boy as if it were all a matter of course and of
every-day occurrence. But he knew they were laughing at him; and if ever
a dog felt sheepish, and looked sheepish--if ever a dog said, "What an
idiot I've made of myself!" Whiskie was that dog.

The cat was a martinet in her way, and she demanded all the privileges
of her sex. Whiskie always gave her precedence, and once when he, for a
moment, forgot himself and started to go out of the dining-room door
before her, she deliberately slapped him in the face; whereupon he drew
back instantly, like the gentleman he was, and waited for her to pass.

Whiskie was fourteen or fifteen years of age in 1882, when the mother
went to join the father, and The Boy was taken to Spain by a good aunt
and cousins. Whiskie was left at home to keep house with the two old
servants who had known him all his life, and were in perfect sympathy
with him. He had often been left alone before during the family's
frequent journeyings about the world, the entire establishment being
kept running purely on his account. Usually he did not mind the
solitude; he was well taken care of in their absence, and he felt that
they were coming back some day. This time he knew it was different. He
would not be consoled. He wandered listlessly and uselessly about the
house; into the mother's room, into his master's room; and one morning
he was found in a dark closet, where he had never gone before, dead--of
a broken heart.

He had only a stump of a tail, but he will wag it--when next his master
sees him!

  [Illustration: PUNCH]

The second dog was Punch--a perfect, thorough-bred Dandie Dinmont, and
the most intelligent, if not the most affectionate, of the lot. Punch
and The Boy kept house together for a year or two, and alone. The first
thing in the morning, the last thing at night, Punch was in evidence. He
went to the door to see his master safely off; he was sniffing at the
inside of the door the moment the key was heard in the latch, no matter
how late at night; and so long as there was light enough he watched for
his master out of the window. Punch, too, had a cat--a son, or a
grandson, of Whiskie's cat. Punch's favorite seat was in a chair in the
front basement. Here, for hours, he would look out at the
passers-by--indulging in the study of man, the proper study of his
kind. The chair was what is known as "cane-bottomed," and through its
perforations the cat was fond of tickling Punch, as he sat. When Punch
felt that the joke had been carried far enough, he would rise in his
wrath, chase the cat out into the kitchen, around the back-yard, into
the kitchen again, and then, perhaps, have it out with the cat under the
sink--without the loss of a hair, the use of a claw, or an angry spit or
snarl. Punch and the cat slept together, and dined together, in utter
harmony; and the master has often gone up to his own bed, after a
solitary cigar, and left them purring and snoring in each other's arms.
They assisted at each other's toilets, washed each other's faces, and
once, when Mary Cook was asked what was the matter with Punch's eye, she
said: "I _think_, Sur, that the cat must have put her finger in it, when
she combed his bang!"

Punch loved everybody. He seldom barked, he never bit. He cared nothing
for clothes, or style, or social position. He was as cordial to a beggar
as he would have been to a king; and if thieves had come to break
through and steal, Punch, in his unfailing, hospitable amiability, would
have escorted them through the house, and shown them where the treasures
were kept. All the children were fond of Punch, who accepted mauling as
never did dog before. His master could carry him up-stairs by the tail,
without a murmur of anything but satisfaction on Punch's part; and one
favorite performance of theirs was an amateur representation of "Daniel
in the Lion's Den," Punch being all the animals, his master, of course,
being the prophet himself. The struggle for victory was something awful.
Daniel seemed to be torn limb from limb, Punch, all the time, roaring
like a thousand beasts of the forest, and treating his victim as
tenderly as if he were wooing a sucking dove. The entertainment--when
there were young persons at the house--was of nightly occurrence, and
always repeatedly encored. Punch, however, never cared to play Lion to
the Daniel of anybody else.

One of Punch's expressions of poetic affection is still preserved by a
little girl who is now grown up, and has little girls of her own. It was
attached to a Christmas-gift--a locket containing a scrap of blue-gray
wool. And here it is:

  "Punch Hutton is ready to vow and declare
    That his friend Milly Barrett's a brick.
  He begs she'll accept of this lock of his hair;
    And he sends her his love--and a lick."

Punch's most memorable performance, perhaps, was his appearance at a
dinner-party of little ladies and gentlemen. They were told that the
chief dish of the entertainment was one which they all particularly
liked, and their curiosity, naturally, was greatly excited. The table
was cleared, the carving-knife was sharpened in a most demonstrative
manner, and half a dozen pairs of very wide-open little eyes were fixed
upon the door through which the waitress entered, bearing aloft an
enormous platter, upon which nothing was visible but a cover of equally
enormous size--both of them borrowed, by-the-way, for the important
occasion. When the cover was raised, with all ceremony, Punch was
discovered, in a highly nervous state, and apparently as much delighted
and amused at the situation as was anybody else. The guests, with one
voice, declared that he was "sweet enough to eat."

Punch died very suddenly; poisoned, it is supposed, by somebody whom he
never injured. He never injured a living soul! And when Mary Cook dug a
hole, by the side of Whiskie's grave, one raw afternoon, and put Punch
into it, his master is not ashamed to confess that he shut himself up in
his room, threw himself onto the bed, and cried as he has not cried
since they took his mother away from him.

Mop was the third of the quartet of dogs, and he came into the household
like the Quality of Mercy. A night or two after the death of Punch, his
master chanced to be dining with the Coverleys, in Brooklyn. Mr.
Coverley, noticing the trappings and the suits of woe which his friend
wore in his face, naturally asked the cause. He had in his stable a
Dandie as fine as Punch, whom he had not seen, or thought of, for a
month. Would the bereaved one like to see him? The mourner would like to
look at any dog who looked like the companion who had been taken from
him; and a call, through a speaking-tube, brought into the room, head
over heels, with all the wild impetuosity of his race, Punch
personified, his ghost embodied, his twin brother. The same long, lithe
body, the same short legs (the fore legs shaped like a capital S), the
same short tail, the same hair dragging the ground, the same beautiful
head, the same wistful, expressive eye, the same cool, insinuating nose.
The new-comer raced around the table, passing his owner unnoticed, and
not a word was spoken. Then this Dandie cut a sort of double
pigeon-wing, gave a short bark, put his crooked, dirty little feet on
the stranger's knees, insinuated his cool and expressive nose into an
unresisting hand, and wagged his stump of a tail with all his loving
might. It was the longed-for touch of a vanished paw, the lick of a
tongue that was still. He was unkempt, uncombed, uncared for, but he was
another Punch, and he knew a friend when he saw one. "If that were my
dog he would not live forgotten in a stable: he would take the place in
the society to which his birth and his evident breeding entitle him,"
was the friend's remark, and Mop regretfully went back to his stall.

  [Illustration: MOP AND HIS MASTER]

The next morning, early, he came into the Thirty-fourth Street study,
combed, kempt, shining, cared for to a superlative degree; with a note
in his mouth signifying that his name was Mop and that he was The Boy's.
He was The Boy's, and The Boy was his, so long as he lived, ten happy
years for both of them.

Without Punch's phenomenal intelligence, Mop had many of Punch's ways,
and all of Punch's trust and affection; and, like Punch, he was never so
superlatively happy as when he was roughly mauled and pulled about by
his tail. When by chance he was shut out in the back-yard, he knocked,
with his tail, on the door; he squirmed his way into the heart of Mary
Cook in the first ten minutes, and in half an hour he was on terms of
the most affectionate friendship with Punch's cat.

Mop had absolutely no sense of fear or of animal proportions. As a
catter he was never equalled; a Yale-man, by virtue of an honorary
degree, he tackled everything he ever met in the feline way--with the
exception of the Princeton Tiger--and he has been known to attack dogs
seven times as big as himself. He learned nothing by experience: he
never knew when he was thrashed. The butcher's dog at Onteora whipped,
and bit, and chewed him into semi-helpless unconsciousness three times a
week for four months, one summer; and yet Mop, half paralyzed, bandaged,
soaked in Pond's Extract, unable to hold up his head to respond to the
greetings of his own family, speechless for hours, was up and about and
ready for another fray and another chewing, the moment the butcher's
dog, unseen, unscented by the rest of the household, appeared over the
brow of the hill.

The only creature by whom Mop was ever really overcome was a
black-and-white, common, every-day, garden skunk. He treed this
unexpected visitor on the wood-pile one famous moonlight night in
Onteora. And he acknowledged his defeat at once, and like a man. He
realized fully his own unsavory condition. He retired to a far corner of
the small estate, and for a week, prompted only by his own instinct, he
kept to the leeward of Onteora society.

He went out of Onteora, that summer, in a blaze of pugnacious glory. It
was the last day of the season; many households were being broken up,
and four or five families were leaving the colony together. All was
confusion and hurry at the little railway station at Tannersville.
Scores of trunks were being checked, scores of packages were being
labelled for expressage, every hand held a bag, or a bundle, or both;
and Mop, a semi-invalid, his fore paw and his ear in slings, the result
of recent encounters with the butcher's dog, was carried, for safety's
sake, and for the sake of his own comfort, in a basket, which served as
an ambulance, and was carefully placed in the lap of the cook. As the
train finally started, already ten minutes late, the cook, to give her
hero a last look at the Hill-of-the-Sky, opened the basket, and the
window, that he might wag a farewell tail. When lo! the butcher's dog
appeared upon the scene, and, in an instant, Mop was out of the window
and under the car-wheels, in the grip of the butcher's dog. Intense was
the excitement. The engine was stopped, and brakemen, and firemen, and
conductors, and passengers, and on-lookers, and other dogs, were
shouting and barking and trying to separate the combatants. At the end
of a second ten minutes Mop--minus a piece of the other ear--was back in
his ambulance: conquered, but happy. He never saw the butcher's dog or
Onteora again.

To go back a little. Mop was the first person who was told of his
master's engagement, and he was the first to greet the wife when she
came home, a bride, to his own house. He had been made to understand,
from the beginning, that she did not care for dogs--in general. And he
set himself out to please, and to overcome the unspoken antagonism. He
had a delicate part to play, and he played it with a delicacy and a tact
which rarely have been equalled. He did not assert himself; he kept
himself in the background; he said little; his approaches at first were
slight and almost imperceptible, but he was always ready to do, or to
help, in an unaggressive way. He followed her about the house, up-stairs
and down-stairs, and he looked and waited. Then he began to sit on the
train of her gown; to stand as close to her as was fit and proper; once
in a while to jump upon the sofa beside her, or into the easy-chair
behind her, winking at his master, from time to time, in his quiet way.

And at last he was successful. One dreary winter, when he suffered
terribly from inflammatory rheumatism, he found his mistress making a
bed for him by the kitchen fire, getting up in the middle of the night
to go down to look after him, when he uttered, in pain, the cries he
could not help. And when a bottle of very rare old brandy, kept for some
extraordinary occasion of festivity, was missing, the master was
informed that it had been used in rubbing Mop!

Mop's early personal history was never known. Told once that he was the
purest Dandie in America, and asked his pedigree, his master was moved
to look into the matter of his family tree. It seems that a certain
sea-captain was commissioned to bring back to this country the best
Dandie to be had in all Scotland. He sent his quartermaster to find him,
and the quartermaster found Mop under a private carriage, in Argyle
Street, Glasgow, and brought him on board. That is Mop's pedigree.

Mop died of old age and of a complication of diseases, in the spring of
1892. He lost his hair, he lost his teeth, he lost everything but his
indomitable spirit; and when almost on the brink of the grave, he stood
in the back-yard--literally, on the brink of his own grave--for eight
hours in a March snow-storm, motionless, and watching a great black cat
on the fence, whom he hypnotized, and who finally came down to be
killed. The cat weighed more than Mop did, and was very gamy. And the
encounter nearly cost a lawsuit.

This was Mop's last public appearance. He retired to his bed before the
kitchen range, and gradually and slowly he faded away: amiable,
unrepining, devoted to the end. A consultation of doctors showed that
his case was hopeless, and Mop was condemned to be carried off to be
killed humanely by the society founded by Mr. Bergh, where without
cruelty they end the sufferings of animals. Mop had not left his couch
for weeks. His master spoke to him about it, with tears in his eyes, one
night. He said: "To-morrow must end it, old friend. 'Tis for your sake
and your relief. It almost breaks my heart, old friend. But there is
another and a better world--even for dogs, old friend. And for old
acquaintance' sake, and for old friendship's sake, I must have you sent
on ahead of me, old friend."

The next morning, when he came down to breakfast, there by the empty
chair sat Mop. How he got himself up the stairs nobody knows. But there
he was, and the society which a good man founded saw not Mop that day.

The end came soon afterwards. And Mop has gone on to join Whiskie and
Punch in their waiting for The Boy.

The family went abroad for a year's stay, when Mop died, and they rented
the house to good people and good tenants, who have never been forgiven
for one particular act. They buried a dog of their own in the family
plot in the back-yard, and under the ailantus-tree which shades the
graves of the cats and the dogs; and The Boy feels that they have
profaned the spot!

It seemed to his master, after the passing of Mop, that the master's
earthly account with dogs was closed. The pain of parting was too great
to be endured. But another Dandie came to him, one Christmas morning, to
fill the aching void; and for a time again his life is not a dogless
one.

  [Illustration: ROY AND HIS MASTER]

The present ruler of the household has a pedigree much longer and much
straighter than his own front legs. Although he comes from a
distinguished line of prize-winning thoroughbreds, he never will be
permitted to compete for a medal on his own behalf. The Dog Show
should be suppressed by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Dogs. It has ruined the dispositions and broken the hearts of very many
of the best friends humanity ever had. And the man who would send his
dog to the Dog Show, would send his wife to a Wife Show, and permit his
baby to be exhibited, in public, for a blue ribbon or a certificate--at
an admission-fee of fifty cents a head!

Mop's successor answers to the name of Roy--when he answers to anything
at all. He is young, very wilful, and a little hard of hearing, of which
latter affliction he makes the most. He always understands when he is
invited to go out. He is stone-deaf, invariably, when he is told to come
back. But he is full of affection, and he has a keen sense of humor. In
the face he looks like Thomas Carlyle, and Professor John Weir declares
that his body is all out of drawing!

At times his devotion to his mistress is beautiful and touching. It is
another case of "Mary and the Lamb, you know." If his mistress is not
visible, he waits patiently about; and he is sure to go wherever she
goes. It makes the children of the neighborhood laugh and play. But it
is severe upon the master, who does most of the training, while the
mistress gets most of the devotion. That is the way with lambs, and with
dogs, and with some folks!

Roy is quite as much of a fighter as was any one of the other dogs; but
he is a little more discriminating in his likes and his dislikes. He
fights all the dogs in Tannersville; he fights the Drislers' Gyp almost
every time he meets him; he fights the Beckwiths' Blennie only when
either one of them trespasses on the domestic porch of the other
(Blennie, who is very pretty, looks like old portraits of Mrs. Browning,
with the curls hanging on each side of the face); and Roy never fights
Laddie Pruyn nor Jack Ropes at all. Jack Ropes is the hero whom he
worships, the beau ideal to him of everything a dog should be. He
follows Jack in all respects; and he pays Jack the sincere flattery of
imitation. Jack, an Irish setter, is a thorough gentleman in form, in
action, and in thought. Some years Roy's senior, he submits patiently to
the playful capers of the younger dog; and he even accepts little nips
at his legs or his ears. It is pleasant to watch the two friends during
an afternoon walk. Whatever Jack does, that does Roy; and Jack knows it,
and he gives Roy hard things to do. He leads Roy to the summit of high
rocks, and then he jumps down, realizing that Roy is too small to take
the leap. But he always waits until Roy, yelping with mortification,
comes back by the way they both went. He wades through puddles up to his
own knees, but over Roy's head; and then he trots cheerfully away, far
in advance, while Roy has to stop long enough to shake himself dry.
But it was Roy's turn once! He traversed a long and not very clean
drain, which was just large enough to give free passage to his own small
body; and Jack went rushing after. Jack got through; but he was a
spectacle to behold. And there are creditable eye-witnesses who are
ready to testify that Roy took Jack home, and sat on the steps, and
laughed, while Jack was being washed.

  [Illustration: ROY]

Each laughed on the wrong side of his mouth, however--Jack from agony,
and Roy from sympathy--when Jack, a little later, had his unfortunate
adventure with the loose-quilled, fretful, Onteora porcupine. It nearly
cost Jack his life and his reason; and for some time he was a helpless,
suffering invalid. Doctors were called in, chloroform was administered,
and many delicate surgical operations were performed before Jack was on
his feet again; and for the while each tail drooped. Happily for Roy, he
did not go to the top of the Hill-of-the-Sky that unlucky day, and so he
escaped the porcupine. But Roy does not care much for porcupines,
anyway, and he never did. Other dogs are porcupiney enough for him!

Roy's association with Jack Ropes is a liberal education to him in more
ways than one. Jack is so big and so strong and so brave, and so gentle
withal, and so refined in manners and intellectual in mind, that Roy,
even if he would, could not resist the healthful influence. Jack never
quarrels except when Roy quarrels; and whether Roy is in the right or in
the wrong, the aggressor or the attacked (and generally he begins it),
Jack invariably interferes on Roy's behalf, in a good-natured,
big-brother, what-a-bother sort of way that will not permit Roy to be
the under dog in any fight. Part of Roy's dislike of Blennie--Blennie is
short for Blenheim--consists in the fact that while Blennie is nice
enough in his way, it is not Roy's way. Blennie likes to sit on laps, to
bark out of windows--at a safe distance. He wears a little sleigh-bell
on his collar. Under no circumstances does he play follow-my-leader, as
Jack does. He does not try to do stunts; and, above all, he does not
care to go in swimming.

The greatest event, perhaps, in Roy's young life was his first swim. He
did not know he could swim. He did not know what it was to swim. He had
never seen a sheet of water larger than a road-side puddle or than the
stationary wash-tubs of his own laundry at home. He would have nothing
to do with the Pond, at first, except for drinking purposes; and he
would not enter the water until Jack went in, and then nothing would
induce him to come out of the water--until Jack was tired. His surprise
and his pride at being able to take care of himself in an entirely
unknown and unexplored element were very great. But--there is always a
_But_ in Roy's case--but when he swam ashore the trouble began. Jack,
in a truly Chesterfieldian manner, dried himself in the long grass on
the banks. Roy dried _him_self in the deep yellow dust of the road--a
medium which was quicker and more effective, no doubt, but not so
pleasant for those about him; for he was so enthusiastic over his
performance that he jumped upon everybody's knickerbockers, or upon the
skirts of everybody's gown, for the sake of a lick at somebody's hand
and a pat of appreciation and applause.

Another startling and never-to-be-forgotten experience of Roy's was his
introduction to the partridge. He met the partridge casually one
afternoon in the woods, and he paid no particular attention to it. He
looked upon it as a plain barn-yard chicken a little out of place; but
when the partridge whirled and whizzed and boomed itself into the air,
Roy put all his feet together, and jumped, like a bucking horse, at the
lowest estimate four times as high as his own head. He thought it was a
porcupine! He had heard a great deal about porcupines, although he had
never seen one; and he fancied that that was the way porcupines always
went off!

Roy likes and picks blackberries--the green as well as the ripe; and he
does not mind having his portrait painted. Mr. Beckwith considers Roy
one of the best models he ever had. Roy does not have to be posed; he
poses himself, willingly and patiently, so long as he can pose himself
very close to his master; and he always places his front legs, which he
knows to be his strong point, in the immediate foreground. He tries very
hard to look pleasant, as if he saw a chipmunk at the foot of a tree, or
as if he thought Mr. Beckwith was squeezing little worms of white paint
out of little tubes just for his amusement. And if he really does see a
chipmunk on a stump, he rushes off to bark at the chipmunk; and then he
comes back and resumes his original position, and waits for Mr. Beckwith
to go on painting again. Once in awhile, when he feels that Mr. Beckwith
has made a peculiarly happy remark, or an unusually happy stroke of the
brush, Roy applauds tumultuously and loudly with his tail, against the
seat of the bench or the side of the house. Roy has two distinct
wags--the perpendicular and the horizontal; and in his many moments of
enthusiasm he never neglects to use that particular wag which is likely
to make the most noise.

  [Illustration: "HE TRIES VERY HARD TO LOOK PLEASANT"]

Roy has many tastes and feelings which are in entire sympathy with those
of his master. He cannot get out of a hammock unless he falls out; and
he is never so miserable as when Mrs. Butts comes over from the Eastkill
Valley to clean house. Mrs. Butts piles all the sitting-room furniture
on the front piazza, and then she scrubs the sitting-room floor, and
neither Roy nor his master, so long as Mrs. Butts has control, can
enter the sitting-room for a bone or a book. And they do not like it,
although they like Mrs. Butts.

Roy has his faults; but his evil, as a rule, is wrought by want of
thought rather than by want of heart. He shows his affection for his
friends by walking under their feet and getting his own feet stepped on,
or by sitting so close to their chairs that they rock on his tail. He
has been known to hold two persons literally spellbound for minutes,
with his tail under the rocker of one chair and both ears under the
rocker of another one. Roy's greatest faults are barking at horses'
heels and running away. This last is very serious, and often it is
annoying; but there is always some excuse for it. He generally runs away
to the Williamsons', which is the summer home of his John and his Sarah;
and where lodges Miss Flossie Burns, of Tannersville, his summer-girl.
He knows that the Williamsons themselves do not want too much of him, no
matter how John and Sarah and Miss Burns may feel on the subject; and he
knows, too, that his own family wishes him to stay more at home; but,
for all that, he runs away. He slips off at every opportunity. He
pretends that he is only going down to the road to see what time it is,
or that he is simply setting out for a blackberry or the afternoon's
mail; and when he is brought reluctantly home, he makes believe that he
has forgotten all about it; and he naps on the top step, or in the
door-way, in the most guileless and natural manner; and then, when
nobody is looking, he dashes off, barking at any imaginary ox-cart, in
wild, unrestrainable impetuosity, generally in the direction of the
Williamsons' cottage, and bringing up, almost invariably, under the
Williamsons' kitchen stove.

He would rather be shut up, in the Williamsons' kitchen, with John and
Sarah, and with a chance of seeing Flossie through the wire-screened
door, than roam in perfect freedom over all his own domain.

He will bark at horses' heels until he is brought home, some day, with
broken ribs. Nothing but hard experience teaches Roy. There is no use of
boxing his ears. That only hurts his feelings, and gives him an extra
craving for sympathy. He licks the hand that licks him, until everyone
of the five fingers is heartily ashamed of itself.

  [Illustration: "He is stone-deaf when he is asked to
                  come back"]

  [Illustration: "He pretends he has forgotten all about it"]

  [Illustration: "He poses willingly and steadily"]

  [Illustration: "He waits patiently about"]

  [Illustration: ROY]

Several autograph letters of Roy's, in verse, in blank-verse, and in
plain, hard prose, signed by his own mark--a fore paw dipped in an
ink-bottle and stamped upon the paper--were sold by Mrs. Custer at
varying prices during a fair for the benefit of the Onteora Chapel Fund,
in 1896.

To one friend he wrote:

    "My dear Blennie Beckwith,--You are a sneak; and a snip; and a
    snide; and a snob; and a snoozer; and a snarler; and a snapper; and
    a skunk. And I hate you; and I loathe you; and I despise you; and
    I abominate you; and I scorn you; and I repudiate you; and I abhor
    you; and I dislike you; and I eschew you; and I dash you; and I dare
    you.

                                  "Your affectionate friend,

    "P. S.--I've licked this spot.
                                  "R. H.

                                  His
                          Roy [paw print] Hutton.
                                 mark.

    "Witness: Kate Lynch."

Inspired by Miss Flossie Williamson Burns's bright eyes, he dropped into
poetry in addressing her:

       "Say I'm barkey; say I'm bad;
          Say the Thurber pony kicked me;
        Say I run away--but add--
         'Flossie licked me.'

                                  his
                              "Roy × Hutton.
                                 mark.
    "Witness: Sarah Johnson."

In honor of "John Ropes, Esquire," he went to Shakspere:

                    "But that I am forbid
  To tell the secrets of thy mountain climb,
  I could a tail unfold, whose lightest wag
  Would harrow up the roof of thy mouth, draw thy young blood,
  Make thy two eyes, like a couple of safety-matches, start from their
      spheres;
  Thy knotted and combined locks to part right straight down the middle
      of thy back,
  And each particular brick-red hair to stand on end
  Full of quills, shot out by a fretful Onteora porcupine.
  But this eternal blazon must not be
  To ears that are quite as handsome as is the rest of thy beautiful body.

                ("'Hamlet,' altered to suit, by)

                                  his
                              "Roy × Hutton.
                                 mark.
    "Witness: John Johnson."

His latest poetical effort was the result of his affection for a
Scottish collie, in his neighborhood, and was indited

                  TO LADDIE PRUYN, ESQ.

            Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot,
              And the Dogs of Auld Lang Syne?
            I'll wag a tail o' kindness yet,
              For the sake of Auld Ladd Pruyn.

    Witnesses:
      Marion Lyman,
      Effie Waddington,
      Katherine Lyman.

  [Illustration: Punch. Whiskie. Mop.
                 THE WAITING THREE]

While Roy was visiting the Fitches and the Telford children, and little
Agnes Ogden, at Wilton, Conn., some time afterwards, he dictated a long
letter to his master, some portions of which, perhaps, are worth
preserving. After the usual remarks upon the weather and the general
health of the family, he touched upon serious, personal matters which
had evidently caused him some mental and physical uneasiness. And he
explained that while he was willing to confess that he _did_ chase the
white cat into a tree, and keep her away from her kittens for a couple
of hours, he _did not_ kill the little chicken. The little chicken,
stepped upon by its own mother, was dead, quite dead, when he picked it
up, and brought it to the house. And he made Dick Fitch, who was an
eye-witness to the whole transaction, add a post-script testifying that
the statement was true.

John says the letter sounds exactly like Roy!

Roy's is a complex character. There is little medium about Roy. He is
very good when he is good, and he is very horrid indeed when he is bad.
He is a strange admixture of absolute devotion and of utter inconstancy.
Nothing will entice him away from John on one day, neither threats nor
persuasion. The next day he will cut John dead in the road, with no sign
of recognition. He sees John, and he goes slowly and deliberately out of
his way to pass John by, without a look or a sniff. He comes up-stairs
every morning when his master's shaving-water is produced. He watches
intently the entire course of his master's toilet; he follows his
master, step by step, from bed to bureau, from closet to chair; he lies
across his master's feet; he minds no sprinkling from his master's
sponge, so anxious is he that his master shall not slip away, and go to
his breakfast without him. And then, before his master is ready to
start, Roy goes off to breakfast, alone--at the Williamsons'! He will
torment his master sometimes for hours to be taken out to walk; he will
interrupt his master's work, disturb his master's afternoon nap, and
refuse all invitations to run away for a walk on his own account. And
the moment he and his master have started, he will join the first
absolute stranger he meets, and walk off with that stranger in the
opposite direction, and in the most confidential manner possible!

There are days when he will do everything he should do, everything he is
told to do, everything he is wanted to do. There are days and days
together when he does nothing that is right, when he is disobedient,
disrespectful, disobliging, disagreeable, even disreputable. And all
this on purpose!

It is hard to know what to do with Roy: how to treat him; how to bring
him up. He may improve as he grows older. Perhaps to his unfortunate
infirmity may be ascribed his uncertainty and his variability of temper
and disposition. It is possible that he cannot hear even when he wants
to hear. It is not impossible that he is making-believe all the time.
One great, good thing can be said for Roy: he is never really cross; he
never snaps; he never snarls; he never bites his human friends, no
matter how great the provocation may be. Roy is a canine enigma, the
most eccentric of characters. His family cannot determine whether he is
a gump or a genius. But they know he is nice; and they like him!

Long may Roy be spared to wag his earthly tail, and to bay deep-mouthed
welcome to his own particular people as they draw near home. How the
three dogs who have gone on ahead agree now with each other, and how
they will agree with Roy, no man can say. They did not agree with very
many dogs in this world. But that they are waiting together, all three
of them, for Roy and for The Boy, and in perfect harmony, The Boy is
absolutely sure.

  [Illustration: MOP]



  +--------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                                                              |
  | Transcriber's Note                                           |
  |                                                              |
  | Inconsistent hyphenation (cobblestones/cobble-stones,        |
  | dogless/dog-less) has been retained, along with the author's |
  | deliberate mis-spellings.                                    |
  |                                                              |
  +--------------------------------------------------------------+





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