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Title: The Animal Story Book
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "The Animal Story Book" ***

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



Transcriber's Note

Illustration captions in {brackets} have been added by the
transcriber, with reference to the list of illustrations, for the
convenience of the reader.



                      THE
               ANIMAL STORY BOOK

                   EDITED BY
                  ANDREW LANG


  _WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. J. FORD_


       [Illustration: {TWO ORAN OTANS}]


           LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
     FOURTH AVENUE & 30TH STREET, NEW YORK
      LONDON, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA AND MADRAS
                     1914


              _Copyright, 1896,_
           By Longmans, Green, & Co.

            _All rights reserved._

        First Edition, September, 1896.
    Reprinted, November, 1896, July, 1899,
          June, 1904, February, 1909,
               September, 1914.



    THE FAIRY BOOK SERIES

    Edited by Andrew Lang

    _New and Cheaper Issue_


    EACH VOLUME, $1.00 NET


    THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations.

    THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations.

    THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 101 Illustrations.

    THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations.

    THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations.

    THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations.

    THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations.

    THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations.

    THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations.

    THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations.

    THE RED BOOK OF ANIMAL STORIES. With 65 Illustrations.

    THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. With 66 Illustrations.

    THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 54 other
      Illustrations.

    THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 43 other
      Illustrations.

    THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 42 other
      Illustrations.

    THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 43 other
      Illustrations.

    THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 50 other
      Illustrations.

    THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates and 44 other
      Illustrations.

    THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 44 other
      Illustrations.

    THE BOOK OF PRINCES AND PRINCESSES. By Mrs. Lang. With 8
      Coloured Plates and 43 other Illustrations.

    THE RED BOOK OF HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. With 8 Coloured Plates
      and 40 other Illustrations.

    THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK. With 6 Coloured Plates and 46 other
      Illustrations.

    THE ALL SORTS OF STORIES BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. With 5 Coloured
      Plates and 43 other Illustrations.

    THE BOOK OF SAINTS AND HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. With 12 Coloured
      Plates and 18 other Illustrations.

    THE STRANGE STORY BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. With Portrait of Andrew
      Lang, 12 Coloured Plates and 18 other Illustrations.


    LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO., NEW YORK



  [Illustration: ANDROCLES IN THE ARENA]



    _To_

    _MASTER FREDERICK LONGMAN_


    This year our Book for Christmas varies,
    Deals not with History nor Fairies
      (I can't help thinking, children, you
      Prefer a book which is _not_ true).
    We leave these intellectual feasts,
    To talk of Fishes, Birds, and Beasts.
      These--though his aim is hardly steady--
      These are, I think, a theme for Freddy!
    Trout, though he is not up to fly,
    He soon will catch--as well as I!
      So, Freddy, take this artless rhyme,
      And be a Sportsman in your time!



_PREFACE_


Children who have read our Fairy Books may have noticed that there are
not so very many fairies in the stories after all. The most common
characters are birds, beasts, and fishes, who talk and act like
Christians. The reason of this is that the first people who told the
stories were not very clever, or, if they were clever, they had never
been taught to read and write, or to distinguish between Vegetable,
Animal, and Mineral. They took it that all things were 'much of a
muchness:' they were not proud, and held that beast and bird could
talk like themselves, only, of course, in a different language.

After offering, then, so many Fairy Books (though the stories are not
all told yet), we now present you (in return for a coin or two) with a
book about the friends of children and of fairies--the beasts. The
stories are all true, more or less, but it is possible that Monsieur
Dumas and Monsieur Théophile Gautier rather improved upon their tales.
I own that I have my doubts about the bears and serpents in the tales
by the Baron Wogan. This gentleman's ancestors were famous Irish
people. One of them held Cromwell's soldiers back when they were
pursuing Charles II. after Worcester fight. He also led a troop of
horse from Dover to the Highlands, where he died of a wound, after
fighting for the King. The next Wogan was a friend of Pope and Swift;
he escaped from prison after Preston fight, in 1715, and, later,
rescued Prince Charlie's mother from confinement in Austria, and took
her to marry King James. He next became Governor of Don Quixote's
province, La Mancha, in Spain, and was still alive and merry in 1752.
Baron Wogan, descended from these heroes, saw no longer any king to
fight for, so he went to America and fought bears. No doubt he was as
brave as his ancestors, but whether all his stories of serpents are
absolutely correct I am not so certain. People have also been heard to
express doubts about Mr. Waterton and the Cayman. The terrible tale of
Mr. Gully and his deeds of war I _know_ to be accurate, and the story
of Oscar, the sentimental tyke, is believed in firmly by the lady who
wrote it. As for the stories about Greek and Roman beasts, Pliny, who
tells them, is a most respectable author. On the whole, then, this is
more or less of a true story-book.

There ought to be a moral; if so, it probably is that we should be
kind to all sorts of animals, and, above all, knock trout on the head
when they are caught, and don't let the poor things jump about till
they die. A chapter of a very learned sort was written about the
cleverness of beasts, proving that there must have been great
inventive geniuses among beasts long ago, and that now they have
rather got into a habit (which I think a very good one) of being
content with the discoveries of their ancestors. This led naturally to
some observations on Instinct and Reason; but there may be children
who are glad that there was no room for this chapter.

The longer stories from Monsieur Dumas were translated from the French
by Miss Cheape.

'A Rat Tale' is by Miss Evelyn Grieve, who knew the rats.

'Mr. Gully' is by Miss Elspeth Campbell, to whom Mr. Gully belonged.

'The Dog of Montargis,' 'More Faithful than Favoured,' and 'Androcles'
are by Miss Eleanor Sellar.

Snakes, Bears, Ants, Wolves, Monkeys, and some Lions are by Miss Lang.

'Two Highland Dogs' is by Miss Goodrich Freer.

'Fido' and 'Oscar' and 'Patch' are by Miss A. M. Alleyne.

'Djijam' is by his master.

'The Starling of Segringen' and 'Grateful Dogs' are by Mr. Bartells.

'Tom the Bear,' 'The Frog,' 'Jacko the Monkey' and 'Gazelle' are from
Dumas by Miss Blackley.

All the rest are by Mrs. Lang.



_CONTENTS_


                                                            PAGE
    'Tom': an Adventure in the Life of a Bear in Paris         1

    Saï the Panther                                           14

    The Buzzard and the Priest                                25

    Cowper and his Hares                                      30

    A Rat Tale                                                34

    Snake Stories                                             43

    What Elephants can Do                                     50

    The Dog of Montargis                                      56

    How a Beaver builds his House                             64

    The War Horse of Alexander                                68

    Stories about Bears                                       71

    Stories about Ants                                        82

    The Taming of an Otter                                    88

    The Story of Androcles and the Lion                       91

    Monsieur Dumas and his Beasts                             99

    The Adventures of Pyramus                                154

    The Story of a Weasel                                    160

    Stories about Wolves                                     163

    Two Highland Dogs                                        174

    Monkey Tricks and Sally at the Zoo                       191

    How the Cayman was killed                                194

    The Story of Fido                                        200

    Beasts Besieged                                          205

    Mr. Gully                                                209

    Stories from Pliny                                       213

    The Strange History of Cagnotte                          215

    Still Waters Run Deep; or, the Dancing Dog               219

    Theo and his Horses: Jane, Betsy, and Blanche            225

    Madame Théophile and the Parrot                          231

    The Battle of the Mullets and the Dolphins               233

    Monkey Stories                                           237

    Eccentric Bird Builders                                  245

    The Ship of the Desert                                   248

    Hame, hame, hame, where I fain wad be                    253

    Nests for Dinner                                         257

    Fire-eating Djijam                                       259

    The Story of the Dog Oscar                               264

    Dolphins at Play                                         274

    The Starling of Segringen                                278

    Grateful Dogs                                            280

    Gazelle                                                  282

    Cockatoo Stories                                         289

    The Otter who was reared by a Cat                        292

    Stories about Lions                                      295

    Builders and Weavers                                     307

    More Faithful than Favoured                              310

    Dolphins, Turtles, and Cod                               316

    More about Elephants                                     321

    Bungey                                                   329

    Lions and their Ways                                     333

    The History of Jacko I.                                  338

    Signora and Lori                                         348

    Of the Linnet, Popinjay, or Parrot, and other Birds
      that can Speak                                         351

    Patch and the Chickens                                   354

    The Fierce Falcon                                        356

    Mr. Bolt, the Scotch Terrier                             360

    A Raven's Funeral                                        364

    A Strange Tiger                                          368

    Halcyons and their Biographers                           373

    The Story of a Frog                                      375

    The Woodpecker Tapping on the Hollow Oak Tree            384

    Dogs Over the Water                                      387

    The Capocier and his Mate                                394

    Owls and Marmots                                         396

    Eagles' Nests                                            399



_LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS_


                                                            PAGE
    Tom is invited to the Ball                                 3

    'The Minuet was Tom's greatest Triumph'                    9

    Tom discovered in the Box                                 12

    'They at last all took hold of his Tail'                  16

    Terror of the Orang-outang at Saï                         17

    Saï has to take a Pill                                    21

    The Cats no match for the Buzzard                         27

    The Buzzard carries off Hat and Wig                       28

    'Seeing such a number of Rats, he left his Horses
      and ran for his Life'                                   37

    The Rats in the Larder                                    41

    The Baron kills the Snake                                 44

    The Baron slays the Horned Snake                          46

    How the Indians make the Horned Snake disgorge his
      Dinner                                                  48

    The Elephant helps the Gardener                           53

    De Narsac recognises his Friend's Dog                     57

    The Dog flies at Macaire in the presence of the King      61

    The Baron kills the Bear                                  75

    The Grizzly                                               79

    Androcles in the Lion's Cave                              93

    Androcles in the Arena                                    97

    'Monsieur Dumas, may I accommodate you with my
      Monkey and my Parrot?'                                 107

    The Auvergnat and his Monkey                             111

    The Last of the Laidmanoirs and Mademoiselle
      Desgarcins                                             120

    Dumas arrives at Stora with his Vulture                  127

    'It's a regular Kennel'                                  131

    Jugurtha becomes Diogenes                                135

    Pritchard and the Hens                                   142

    'Pritchard reappeared next moment with a Hare
      in his Mouth'                                          145

    Cartouche outwits Pyramus                                156

    Mademoiselle de Laistre and her Weasel                   161

    'When Day broke'                                         166

    The Death of the Famous Wolf of Gévaudan                 171

    'The Long Vigil'                                         187

    The Capture of the Cayman                                197

    The Wounding of Fido                                     201

    The Dream of the Hungry Lion                             207

    Cagnotte comes out of his Skin                           217

    'And what do you Think she Saw'                          221

    Blanche telling Ghost Stories to Jane in the Stable      227

    How the Dolphins helped the Fishermen to catch
      the Mullets                                            234

    Two Oran Otans                                           238

    The Baboons who stole the Poor Man's Dinner              241

    Birds' Nests for Dinner                                  258

    'In the full enjoyment of a large lighted Log
      on the Dining-room Carpet'                             261

    'Oscar would charge and rout them'                       265

    'Oscar felt rather Frightened'                           269

    'Oh, Oscar, Oscar, lad what _have_ you Done?'            271

    The Boy goes to School on the Dolphin's back             275

    Dumas finds Joseph standing on Gazelle's back            284

    Dumas brings Gazelle to No. 109 Faubourg St.-Denis       288

    The Lion caught in the Pit                               297

    The Ambush                                               300

    'All Three stopped to gaze at the Man who dared to
      put himself in their Path'                             303

    'And pinned Him to the Ground'                           314

    'Long, Long Ago.' The Elephant dreams of his Old
      Companions                                             323

    The Elephant falls on his knees before the little
      Scotch Terrier                                         327

    Bungey at the Spanish Ambassador's House                 331

    The Hottentot noticed a huge Lion lying in the Water     335

    Annoyance of the Captain on finding his Flask of
      Rum upset                                              339

    Lori refuses to Share with the Signora                   349

    A Raven's Funeral                                        365

    The Tiger and his Friend                                 369

    Love's disgraceful Behaviour out Shooting                377

    The Sole Result of his Day's Sport                       380

    Mademoiselle Camargo becomes a Barometer                 381

    The Faithful Spaniel                                     389



_'TOM'_

_AN ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR IN PARIS_

From Alexandre Dumas.


Some sixty years ago and more, a well-known artist named Décamps lived
in Paris. He was the intimate friend of some of the first authors,
artists, and scientific men of the day, and was devotedly fond of
animals of all sorts. He loved to paint them, and he kept quite a
small ménagerie in his studio where a bear, a monkey, a tortoise, and
a frog lived (more or less) in peace and harmony together.

The bear's name was 'Tom,' the monkey was called 'Jacko I.,'[1] the
frog was 'Mademoiselle Camargo,' and the tortoise 'Gazelle.'

    [1] To distinguish him from Jacko II., a monkey belonging to Tony
    Johannot, the painter.

Here follows the story of Tom, the bear.

It was the night of Shrove Tuesday in the year 1832. Tom had as yet
only spent six months in Paris, but he was really one of the most
attractive bears you could wish to meet.

He ran to open the door when the bell rang, he mounted guard for hours
together, halberd in hand, standing on his hind legs, and he danced a
minuet with infinite grace, holding a broomstick behind his head.

He had spent the whole day in the exercise of these varied
accomplishments, to the great delight of the frequenters of his
master's studio, and had just retired to the press which did duty as
his hutch, to seek a little repose, when there was a knock at the
street door. Jacko instantly showed such signs of joy that Décamps
made a shrewd guess that the visitor could be no other than Fan, the
self-elected tutor in chief to the two animals--nor was he mistaken.
The door opened, Fan appeared, dressed as a clown, and Jacko flung
himself in rapture into his arms.

'Very good, very good,' said Fan, placing the monkey on the table and
handing him a cane. 'You're really a charming creature. Carry arms,
present arms, make ready, fire! Capital!'

'I'll have a complete uniform made for you, and you shall mount guard
instead of me. But I haven't come for you to-night; it's your friend
Tom I want. Where may he be?'

'Why, in his hutch, I suppose,' said Décamps.

'Tom! here, Tom!' cried Fan.

Tom gave a low growl, just to show that he knew very well who they
were talking of, but that he was in no hurry to show himself.

'Well!' exclaimed Fan, 'is this how my orders are obeyed? Tom, my
friend, don't force me to resort to extreme measures.'

Tom stretched one great paw beyond the cupboard without allowing any
more of his person to be seen, and began to yawn plaintively like a
child just wakened from its first sleep.

'Where is the broomstick?' inquired Fan in threatening tones, and
rattling the collection of Indian bows, arrows, and spears which stood
behind the door.

'Ready!' cried Décamps, pointing to Tom, who, on hearing these well
known sounds, had roused himself without more ado, and advanced
towards his tutor with a perfectly innocent and unconscious air.

'That's right,' said Fan: 'now be a good fellow, particularly as one
has come all this way on purpose to fetch you.'

  [Illustration: TOM IS INVITED TO THE BALL]

Tom waved his head up and down.

'So, so--now shake hands with your friends:--first rate!'

'Do you mean to take him with you?' asked Décamps.

'Rather!' replied Fan; 'and give him a good time into the bargain.'

'And where are you going?'

'To the Carnival Masked Ball, nothing less! Now then Tom, my friend,
come along. We've got a cab outside waiting by the hour.'

As though fully appreciating the force of this argument, Tom trundled
down stairs four steps at a time followed by his friend. The driver
opened the cab door, and Tom, under Fan's guidance, stepped in as if
he had done nothing else all his life.

'My eye! that's a queer sort of a fancy dress,' said cabby; 'anyone
might take him for a real bear. Where to, gentlemen?'

'Odéon Theatre,' said Fan.

'Grrrooonnn,' observed Tom.

'All right,' said the cabman. 'Keep your temper. It's a good step from
here, but we shall get there all in good time.'

Half an hour later the cab drew up at the door of the theatre. Fan got
down first, paid the driver, handed out Tom, took two tickets, and
passed in without exciting any special attention.

At the second turn they made round the crush-room people began to
follow Fan. The perfection with which the newcomer imitated the walk
and movements of the animal whose skin he wore attracted the notice of
some lovers of natural history. They pressed closer and closer, and
anxious to find out whether he was equally clever in imitating the
bear's voice, they began to pull his hairs and prick his
ears--'Grrrooonnn,' said Tom.

A murmur of admiration ran through the crowd--nothing could be more
lifelike.

Fan led Tom to the buffet and offered him some little cakes, to which
he was very partial, and which he proceeded to swallow with so
admirable a pretence of voracity that the bystanders burst out
laughing. Then the mentor poured out a tumbler full of water, which
Tom took gingerly between his paws, as he was accustomed to whenever
Décamps did him the honour of permitting him to appear at table, and
gulped down the contents at one draught. Enthusiasm knew no bounds!
Indeed such was the delight and interest shown that when, at length,
Fan wished to leave the buffet, he found they were hemmed in by so
dense a crowd that he felt nervous lest Tom should think of clearing
the road with claws and teeth. So he promptly led his bear to a
corner, placed him with his back against the wall, and told him to
stay there till further orders.

As has been already mentioned, this kind of drill was quite familiar
to Tom, and was well suited to his natural indolence, and when a
harlequin offered his hat to complete the picture, he settled himself
comfortably, gravely laying one great paw on his wooden gun.

'Do you happen to know,' said Fan to the obliging harlequin, '_who_
you have lent your hat to?'

'No,' replied harlequin.

'You mean to say you don't guess?'

'Not in the least.'

'Come, take a good look at him. From the grace of all his movements,
from the manner in which he carries his head, slightly on one side,
like Alexander the Great--from the admirable imitations of the bear's
voice--you don't mean to say you don't recognise him?'

'Upon my word I don't.'

'Odry!'[2] whispered Fan mysteriously; 'Odry, in his costume from "The
Bear and the Pacha"!'

    [2] A well-known actor of the time.

'Oh, but he acts a _white_ bear, you know.'

'Just so; that's why he has chosen a brown bear's skin as a disguise.'

'Ho, ho! You're a good one,' cried harlequin.

'Grrooonnn,' observed Tom.

'Well, now you mention it, I _do_ recognise his voice. Really, I
wonder it had not struck me before. Do ask him to disguise it better.'

'Yes, yes,' said Fan, moving towards the ball-room, 'but it will never
do to worry him. However, I'll try to persuade him to dance a minuet
presently.'

'Oh, could you really?'

'He promised to do so. Just give a hint to your friends and try to
prevent their teasing him.'

'All right.'

Tom made his way through the crowd, whilst the delighted harlequin
moved from one mask to another, telling his news with warnings to be
discreet, which were well received. Just then, too, the sounds of a
lively galop were heard, and a general rush to the ball-room took
place, harlequin only pausing to murmur in Tom's ear: 'I know you, my
fine mask.'

'Grroooonnn,' replied Tom.

'Ah, it's all very well to growl, but you'll dance a minuet, won't
you, old fellow?'

Tom waved his head up and down as his way was when anyone asked him a
question, and harlequin, satisfied with this silent consent, ran off
to find a columbine and to dance the galop.

Meanwhile, Tom remained alone with the waiters; motionless at his
post, but with longing eyes turned towards the counter on which the
most tempting piles of cake were heaped on numerous dishes. The
waiters, remarking his rapt attention, and pleased to tempt a
customer, stretched out a dish, Tom extended his paw and gingerly took
a cake--then a second--then a third: the waiters seemed never tired of
offering, or Tom of accepting these delicacies, and so, when the
galop ended and the dancers returned to the crush-room, he had made
short work of some dozens of little cakes.

Harlequin had recruited a columbine and a shepherdess, and he
introduced these ladies as partners for the promised minuet. With all
the air of an old friend he whispered a few words to Tom, who, in the
best of humours after so many cakes, replied with his most gracious
growl. The harlequin, turning towards the gallery, announced that his
lordship had much pleasure in complying with the universal request,
and amidst loud applause, the shepherdess took one of Tom's paws and
the columbine the other. Tom, for his part, like an accomplished
cavalier, walked between his two partners, glancing at them by turns
with looks of some surprise, and soon found himself with them in the
middle of the pit of the theatre which was used as a ball-room. All
took their places, some in the boxes, others in the galleries, the
greater number forming a circle round the dancers. The band struck up.

The minuet was Tom's greatest triumph and Fan's masterpiece, and with
the very first steps success was assured and went on increasing with
each movement, till at the last figure the applause became delirious.
Tom was swept off in triumph to a stage box where the shepherdess,
removing her wreath of roses, crowned him with it, whilst the whole
theatre resounded with the applause of the spectators.

Tom leant over the front of the box with a grace all his own; at the
same time the strains of a fresh dance were heard, and everyone
hurried to secure partners except a few courtiers of the new star who
hovered round in hope of extracting an order for the play from him,
but Tom only replied to their broadest hints with his perpetual
'Grroonnn.'

By degrees this became rather monotonous, and gradually Tom's court
dwindled away, people murmuring that, though his dancing powers were
certainly unrivalled, his conversation was a trifle insipid. An hour
later Tom was alone! So fleeting is public favour.

  [Illustration: 'THE MINUET WAS TOM'S GREATEST TRIUMPH']

And now the hour of departure drew near. The pit was thinning and the
boxes empty, and pale rays of morning light were glinting into the
hall when the box-opener, who was going her rounds, heard sounds of
snoring proceeding from one of the stage boxes. She opened the door,
and there was Tom, who, tired out after his eventful night, had fallen
fast asleep on the floor. The box-opener stepped in and politely
hinted that it was six o'clock and time to go home.

'Grrooonnn,' said Tom.

'I hear you,' said the box-opener; 'you're asleep, my good man, but
you'll sleep better still in your own bed. Come, come, your wife must
be getting quite anxious! Upon my word I don't believe he hears a word
I say. How heavily he sleeps!' And she shook him by the shoulder.

'Grrrooonnn!'

'All right, all right! This isn't a time to make believe. Besides, we
all know you. There now, they're putting out the lights. Shall I send
for a cab for you?'

'Grrroooonnn.'

'Come, come, the Odéon Theatre isn't an inn; come, be off! Oh,
_that's_ what you're after, is it? Fie, Monsieur Odry, fie! I shall
call the guard; the inspector hasn't gone to bed yet. Ah, indeed! You
won't obey rules! You are trying to beat me, are you? You would beat a
woman--and a former artiste to M. Odry, would you? For shame! But we
shall see. Here, help--police--inspector--help!'

'What's the matter?' cried the fireman on duty.

'Help!' screamed the box-opener, 'help!'

'What's the matter?' asked the sergeant commanding the patrol.

'Oh, it's old mother what's her name, shrieking for help in one of the
stage boxes.'

'Coming!' shouted the sergeant.

'This way, Mr. Sergeant, this way,' cried the box-opener.

'All right, my dear, here I am. But where are you?'

'Don't be afraid; there are no steps--straight on this way--he's in
the corner. Oh, the rascal, he's as strong as a Turk!'

'Grrrooonnn,' said Tom.

'There, do you hear him? Is that to be called a Christian language?'

'Come, come, my friend,' said the sergeant, who had at last managed to
distinguish Tom in the faint twilight. 'We all know what it is to be
young--no one likes a joke better than I do--but rules are rules, and
the hour for going home has struck, so right about face, march! and
quick step too.'

'Grrrooonnn'--

'Very pretty; a first-rate imitation. But suppose we try something
else now for a change. Come, old fellow, step out with a good will.
Ah! you won't. You're going to cut up rough, are you? Here, my man,
lay hold and turn him out.'

'He won't walk, sergeant.'

'Well, what are the butt ends of your muskets for? Come, a tap or two
will do no harm.'

'Grrrooonnn--Grrrooonnn--Grrrooonnn--'

'Go on, give it him well!'

'I say, sergeant,' said one of the men, 'it strikes me he's a _real_
bear. I caught hold of him by the collar just now, and the skin seems
to grow on the flesh.'

'Oh, if he's a real bear treat him with every consideration. His owner
might claim damages. Go and fetch the fireman's lantern.'

'Grrrooonnn.'

'Here's the lantern,' said a man; 'now then, throw some light on the
prisoner.'

The soldier obeyed.

'It is certainly a real snout,' declared the sergeant.

'Goodness gracious me!' shrieked the box-opener as she took to her
heels, 'a real live bear!'

'Well, yes, a real live bear. Let's see if he has any name or address
on him and take him home. I expect he has strayed, and being of a
sociable disposition, came in to the Masked Ball.'

'Grrrooonnn.'

'There, you see, he agrees.'

'Hallo!' exclaimed one of the soldiers.

'What's the matter?'

  [Illustration: TOM DISCOVERED IN THE BOX]

'He has a little bag hung round his neck.'

'Open the bag.'

'A card.'

'Read the card.'

The soldier took it and read:

'My name is Tom. I live at No. 109 Rue Faubourg St.-Denis. I have
five francs in my purse. Two for a cab, and three for whoever takes me
home.'

'True enough; there are the five francs,' cried the sergeant. 'Now
then, two volunteers for escort duty.'

'Here!' cried the guard in chorus.

'Don't all speak at once! Let the two seniors have the benefit of the
job; off with you, my lads.'

Two of the municipal guards advanced towards Tom, slipped a rope round
his neck and, for precaution's sake, gave it a twist or two round his
snout. Tom offered no resistance--the butt ends of the muskets had
made him as supple as a glove. When they were fifty yards from the
theatre, 'Bah!' said one of the soldiers, ''tis a fine morning.
Suppose we don't take a cab. The walk will do him good.'

'Besides,' remarked the other, 'we should each have two and a half
francs instead of only one and a half.'

'Agreed.'

Half an hour later they stood at the door of 109. After some knocking,
a very sleepy portress looked out.

'Look here, Mother Wideawake,' said one of the guard; 'here's one of
your lodgers. Do you recognise him?'

'Why, I should rather think so. It's Monsieur Décamps' bear!'

The same day, Odry the actor received a bill for little cakes,
amounting to seven francs and a half.



_SAÏ THE PANTHER_

From Loudon's _Magazine of Natural History_.


About seventy or eighty years ago two little panthers were deserted by
their mother in one of the forests of Ashantee. They were too young to
get food for themselves, and would probably have died had they not
been found by a passing traveller, and by him taken to the palace as a
present to the king. Here they lived and played happily for several
weeks, when one day the elder and larger, whose name was Saï, gave his
brother, in fun, such a dreadful squeeze that, without meaning it, he
suffocated him. This frightened the king, who did not care to keep
such a powerful pet about him, and he gave him away to Mr. Hutchison,
an English gentleman, who was a sort of governor for the English
traders settled in that part of Africa.

Mr. Hutchison and Saï took a great fancy to each other, and spent a
great deal of time together, and when, a few months later, Mr.
Hutchison returned to Cape Coast he brought Saï with him. The two
friends always had dinner at the same time, Saï sitting at his
master's side and eating quietly whatever was given him. In general he
was quite content with his portion, but once or twice, when he was
hungrier than usual, he managed to steal a fowl out of the dish. For
the sake of his manners the fowl was always taken from him, although
he was invariably given some other food to satisfy his hunger.

At first the inhabitants of the castle and the children were much
afraid of him, but he soon became very tame, and his teeth and claws
were filed so that he should not hurt anyone, even in play. When he
got a little accustomed to the place, he was allowed to go where he
liked within the castle grounds, and a boy was told off to look after
him. Sometimes the boy would go to sleep when he ought to have been
watching his charge, and then Saï, who knew perfectly well that this
was not at all right, would steal quietly away and amuse himself till
he thought his keeper would be awake again. One day, when he returned
from his wanderings, he found the boy, as usual, comfortably curled up
in a cool corner of the doorstep sound asleep. Saï looked at him for a
moment, and then, thinking that it was full time for him to be taught
his duty, he gave him one pat on his head, which sent the boy over
like a ninepin and gave him a good fright, though it did not do him
any harm.

Saï was very popular with everybody, but he had his own favourites,
and the chief of these was the governor, whom he could not bear to let
out of his sight. When his master went out he would station himself at
the drawing-room window, where he could watch all that was going on,
and catch the first sight of his returning friend. Being by this time
nearly grown up, Saï's great body took up all the space, to the great
disgust of the children, who could see nothing. They tried to make him
move, first by coaxings and then by threats, but as Saï did not pay
the smallest attention to either one or the other, they at last all
took hold of his tail and pulled so hard that he was forced to move.

  [Illustration: 'THEY AT LAST ALL TOOK HOLD OF HIS TAIL']

Strange to say, the black people were a great deal more afraid of Saï
than any of the white ones, and one of his pranks nearly caused the
death of an old woman who was the object of it. It was her business to
sweep out and keep clean the great hall of the castle, and one morning
she was crouching down on all fours with a short broom in her hand,
thinking of nothing but how to get the dust out of the floor, when
Saï, who had hidden himself under a sofa, and was biding his time,
suddenly sprang on to her back, where he stood triumphantly. The old
woman believed her last hour had come, and the other servants all ran
away shrieking, lest it should be their turn next. Saï would not
budge from his position till the governor, who had been alarmed by the
terrible noise, came to see what was the matter, and soon made Master
Saï behave himself.

  [Illustration: TERROR OF THE ORANG-OUTANG AT SAÏ]

At this time it was settled that Saï was to travel to England under
the care of one of his Cape Coast friends and be presented to the
Duchess of York, who was very fond of animals. In those days, of
course, journeys took much longer than they do now, and there were
other dangers than any which might arise from storms and tempests.
While the strong cage of wood and iron was being built which was to
form Saï's house on the way to England, his lady keeper thought it
would be a good opportunity to make friends with him, and used to
spend part of every day talking to him and playing with him; for this,
as everyone knows, is the only way to gain the affection of bird or
beast. It was very easy to love Saï; he was so gentle and caressing,
especially with children; and he was very handsome besides in his
silky yellow coat with black spots, which, as the French say, does not
spoil anything. Many creatures and many men might have made a great
fuss at being shut into a cage instead of being allowed to walk about
their own house and grounds, but everyone had always been kind to Saï,
so he took for granted it was all right, and made himself as
comfortable as he could, and was quite prepared to submit to anything
disagreeable that he thought reasonable. But it very nearly happened
that poor Saï had no voyage at all, for while he was being hauled from
the canoe which had brought him from the shore into the ship, the men
were so afraid to come near him that they let his cage fall into the
sea, and if the sailors from the vessel had not been very quick in
lowering a boat it would have been too late to save him. As it was,
for many days he would not look up or eat or speak, and his friend was
quite unhappy about him, although the same symptoms have sometimes
been shown by human beings who have only been _on_ the sea instead of
_in_ it. At last he was roused from his sad condition by hearing the
lady's voice. He raised his head and cocked his ears, first a little,
then more; and when she came up to the cage he rolled over and over
with delight, and howled and cried and tried to reach her. When he got
a little calmer she told him to put his paws through the bars and
shake hands, and from that moment Saï was himself again.

Now it was a very strange taste on the part of a panther whose fathers
and grandfathers had lived and died in the heart of African forests,
but Saï loved nothing so much as lavender water, which white people
use a great deal in hot countries. If anyone took out a handkerchief
which had been sprinkled with lavender water, Saï would instantly
snatch it away, and in his delight would handle it so roughly that it
was soon torn to atoms. His friend in charge knew of this odd fancy,
and on the voyage she amused herself regularly twice a week with
making a little cup of paper, which she filled with the scent and
passed through the bars, taking care never to give it him till he had
drawn back his claws into their sheaths. Directly he got hold of the
cup Saï would roll over and over it, and would pay no attention to
anyone as long as the smell lasted. It almost seemed as if he liked it
better than his food!

For some reason or other the vessel lay at anchor for nearly two
months in the river Gaboon, and Saï might have been allowed to leave
his cage if he had not been an animal of such very strong prejudices.
Black people he could not endure, and, of course, they came daily in
swarms with food for the ship. Pigs, too, he hated, and they ran
constantly past his cage, while as for an orang-outang monkey about
three feet high, which a black trader once tried to sell to the
sailors, Saï showed such mad symptoms at the very sight of it that the
poor beast rushed in terror to the other end of the vessel, knocking
down everything that came in its way. If the monkey took some time
to recover from his fright, it was very long before Saï could
forget the shock he had received. Day and night he watched and
listened, and sometimes, when he fancied his enemy was near, he would
give a low growl and arch his back and set up his tail; yet, as far as
we know, he had never from his babyhood killed anything.

  [Illustration: SAÏ HAS TO TAKE A PILL]

But when at last the winds were favourable, and the ship set sail for
the open sea, other adventures were in store for the passengers.
Pirates infested the coast of Africa in those days, and they came on
board and carried off everything of value, including the stores of
provisions. The only things they did not think worth removing were the
parrots, of which three hundred had been brought by the sailors, and
as these birds could not stand the cold, and died off fast as the ship
steered north, Saï was allowed one a day, which just managed to keep
him alive. Still, there is very little nourishment to be got out of a
parrot, especially when you eat it with the feathers on, and Saï soon
became very ill and did not care even for parrots. His keeper felt his
nose and found it dry and feverish, so she begged that she might take
him out of his cage and doctor him herself. A little while before, Saï
would have been enchanted to be free, but now he was too ill to enjoy
anything, and he just stretched himself out on deck, with his head on
his mistress's feet. Luckily she had some fever medicine with her,
good for panthers as well as men and women, and she made up three
large pills which she hoped might cure Saï. Of course it was not to be
expected that he would take them of his own free will, so she got the
boy who looked after him to hold open his mouth, while she pushed down
the pills. Then he was put back into his cage, the boy insisting on
going with him, and both slept comfortably together. In a few days,
with the help of better food than he had been having, he got quite
well, and on his arrival in England won the admiration of the Duchess
of York, his new mistress, by his beauty and gentle ways. As his
country house was not quite ready for him, he was left for a few
weeks with a man who understood animals, and seemed contented and
happy, and was allowed to walk about as he liked. Here the Duchess of
York used constantly to visit him and play with him, even going to see
him the very day before he--and she--were to move into the country. He
was in excellent spirits, and appeared perfectly well, but he must
somehow have taken a chill, for when, on the following day, the
Duchess's coachman came to fetch him, he found poor Saï had died after
a few hours' illness from inflammation of the lungs.

After all he is not so much to be pitied. He had had a very happy
life, with plenty of fun and plenty of kindness, and he had a very
rapid and painless death.



_THE BUZZARD AND THE PRIEST_

Bingley's _Animal Biography_.


About one hundred and forty years ago a French priest received a
present of a large brown and grey bird, which had been taken in a
snare intended for some other creature, and was very wild and savage.
The man who brought it was quite ignorant what kind of bird it was,
but the priest knew it to be the common buzzard, and made up his mind
to try to tame it. He began by keeping it shut up, and allowing it to
take no food except out of his hand, and after about six weeks of this
treatment it grew much quieter, and had learnt to know its master. The
priest then thought it would be safe to give the buzzard a little more
freedom, and after carefully tying its wings, so that it could not fly
away, he turned it out into the garden. Of course it was highly
delighted to find itself in the sun once more, and hopped about with
joy, and the time passed quickly till it began to get hungry, when it
was glad to hear its master calling it to come in to dinner. Indeed,
the bird always seemed so fond of the priest, that in a few days he
thought he might leave it quite free, so he unfastened its wings and
left them loose, merely hanging a label with his own name round its
neck, and putting a little bell round its leg. But what was the poor
man's disgust, to see the buzzard instantly spread out its great wings
and make for the neighbouring forest, deaf to all his calls! He
naturally expected that, in spite of his trouble and precautions, the
bird had flown away for ever, and sat sadly down to prepare his next
day's sermon. Now sermons are things that take up a great deal of
attention, and he had almost forgotten his lost favourite when he was
startled by a tremendous noise in the hall outside his study, and on
opening the door to see what was the matter, he saw his buzzard
rushing about, followed by five others, who were so jealous of its
copper plate and bell, that they had tried to peck them off, and the
poor thing had flown as fast as it could to its master's house, where
it knew it was safe.

After this it took care not to wander too far from home, and came back
every night to sleep on the priest's window sill. Soon it grew bolder
still, and would sit on the corner of the table when he was at dinner,
and now and then would rub his head against his shoulder, uttering a
low cry of affection and pleasure. Sometimes it would even do more,
and follow him for several miles when he happened to be riding.

But the buzzard was not the only pet the priest had to look after.
There were ducks, and chickens, and dogs, and four large cats. The
ducks and chickens it did not mind, at least those that belonged to
the house, and it would even take its bath at the same time with the
ducklings, and never trod upon them when they got in its way, or got
cross and pecked them. And if hawks or any such birds tried to snap up
the little ones who had left their mother's wing to take a peep at the
world, the buzzard would instantly fly to their help, and never once
was beaten in the battle. Curiously enough, however, it seemed to
think it might do as it liked with the fowls and ducks that belonged
to other people, and so many were the complaints of cocks and hens
lamed and killed, that the priest was obliged to let it be known that
he would pay for all such damage, in order to save his favourite's
life. As to dogs and cats, it always got the better of _them_; in any
experiment which it amused the priest to make. One day he threw a
piece of raw meat into the garden where the cats were collected, to
be scrambled for. A young and active puss instantly seized it and ran
away with her prize, with all the other cats after her. But quick as
she was, the buzzard, who had been watching her movements from the
bough of a tree, was quicker still. Down it pounced on her back,
squeezed her sides with its claws, and bit her ears so sharply, that
she was forced to let go. In one moment another cat had picked the
morsel up in its teeth, but it did not hold it long. The process that
had answered for one cat would answer for a second, as the buzzard
very well knew. Down he swooped again, and even when the whole four
cats, who saw in him a common enemy, attacked the bird at once, they
proved no match for him, and in the end they were clever enough to
find that out.

  [Illustration: THE CATS NO MATCH FOR THE BUZZARD]

It is not easy to know what buzzards in general think about things,
but this one hated scarlet as much as any bull. Whenever he saw a red
cap on any of the peasants' heads, he would hide himself among the
thick boughs overhanging the road where the man had to pass, and would
nip it off so softly that the peasant never felt his loss. He would
even manage to take off the wigs which every one wore then, and that
was cleverer still, and off he would carry both wigs and caps to a
tall tree in a park near by, and hang them all over it, like a new
kind of fruit.

  [Illustration: THE BUZZARD CARRIES OFF HAT AND WIG]

As may be imagined, a bird so bold made many enemies, and was often
shot at by the keepers, but for a long time it appeared to bear a
charmed life, and nothing did it any harm. However, one unlucky day a
keeper who was going his rounds in the forest, and who did not know
what a strange and clever bird this buzzard was, saw him on the back
of a fox which he had attacked for want of something better to do, and
fired two shots at them. One shot killed the fox; the other broke the
wing of the buzzard, but he managed to fly out of reach of the
keeper, and hid himself. Meanwhile the tinkling of the bell made the
keeper guess that this must be the priest's pet, of which he had so
often heard; and being anxious to do what he could to repair the
damage he had done, he at once told the priest what had happened. The
priest went out directly to the forest, and gave his usual whistle,
but neither on that evening nor on several others was there any reply.
At last on the seventh night he heard a low answer, and on searching
narrowly all through the wood, the priest found the poor buzzard,
which had hopped nearly two miles towards its old home, dragging its
broken wing after it. The bird was very thin, but was enchanted to see
his old master, who carried him home and nursed him for six weeks,
when he got quite well, and was able to fly about as boldly as ever.



_COWPER AND HIS HARES_

From Bingley's _British Quadrupeds_.


No one was fonder of animals, or kinder to them, than Cowper the poet,
who lived towards the end of the last century; but of all creatures he
loved hares best, perhaps because he, like them, was timid and easily
frightened. He has left a very interesting account of three hares that
were given to him when he was living in the country in the year 1774,
and as far as possible the poet shall tell his own story of the
friendship between himself and his pets--Puss, Tiney, and Bess, as he
called them.

Cowper was not at all a strong man, and suffered terribly from fits of
low spirits, and at these times he could not read, and disliked the
company of people, who teased him by giving him advice or asking him
questions. It was during one of these seasons of solitude and
melancholy that he noticed a poor little hare belonging to the
children of one of his neighbours, who, without meaning really to be
unkind, had worried the little thing almost to death. Soon they got
tired even of playing with it, and the poor hare was in danger of
being starved to death, when their father, whose heart was more tender
than theirs, proposed that it should be given to their neighbour Mr.
Cowper.

Now Cowper, besides feeling pity for the poor little creature, felt
that he should like to teach and train it, and as just then he was too
unhappy to care for his usual occupations, he gladly accepted the
present. In a very short time Puss was given two companions, Tiney
and Bess, and could have had dozens more if Cowper had wanted them,
for the villagers offered to catch him enough to have filled the whole
countryside if he would only give the order.

However, Cowper decided that three would be ample for his purposes,
and as he wished them to learn nice clean habits, he began with his
own hands to build them a house. The house contained a large hall and
three bedrooms, each with a separate bed, and it was astonishing how
soon every hare knew its own bedroom, and how careful he was (for in
spite of their names they were all males) never to go into those of
his friends.

Very soon all three made themselves much at home in their comfortable
quarters, and Puss, the first comer, would jump on his master's lap
and, standing up on his hind legs, would bite the hair on his temples.
He enjoyed being carried about like a baby, and would even go to sleep
in Cowper's arms, which is a very strange thing for a hare to do. Once
Puss got ill, and then the poet took care to keep him apart from the
other two, for animals have a horror of their sick companions, and are
generally very unkind to them. So he nursed Puss himself, and gave him
all sorts of herbs and grasses as medicine, and at last Puss began to
get better, and took notice of what was going on round him. When he
was strong enough to take his first little walk, his pleasure knew no
bounds; and in token of his gratitude he licked his master's hand,
first back, then front, and then between every finger. As soon as he
felt himself quite strong again, he went with the poet every day,
after breakfast, into the garden, where he lay all the morning under a
trailing cucumber, sometimes asleep, but every now and then eating a
leaf or two by way of luncheon. If the poet was ever later than usual
in leaving the house, Puss would down on his knees and look up into
his eyes with a pleading expression, or, if these means failed, he
would seize his master's coat between his teeth, and pull as hard as
he could towards the window. Puss was, perhaps, the pleasantest of all
the hares, but Bess, who died young, was the cleverest and most
amusing. He had his little tempers, and when he was not feeling very
well, he was glad to be petted and made much of; but no sooner had he
recovered than he resented any little attentions, and would growl and
run away or even bite if you attempted to touch him. It was impossible
really to tame Tiney, but there was something so serious and solemn in
all he did, that it made you laugh even to watch him.

Bess, the third, was very different from the other two. He did not
need taming, for he was tame from the beginning, as it never entered
into his head that anyone could be unkind to him. In many things he
had the same tastes as his friends. All three loved lettuces,
dandelions, and oats; and every night little dishes were placed in
their bedrooms, in case they might feel hungry. One day their master
was clearing out a birdcage while his three hares were sitting by, and
he placed on the floor a pot containing some white sand, such as birds
use instead of a carpet. The moment they saw the sand, they made a
rush for it and ate it up greedily. Cowper took the hint, and always
saw, after that, that sand was placed where the hares could get at it.

After supper they all spent the evenings in the parlour, and would
tumble over together, and jump over each other's backs, and see which
could spring the farthest, just like a set of kittens. But the
cleverest of them all was Bess, and he was also the strongest.

Poor Bess! he was the first to die, soon after he was grown up, and
Tiney and Puss had to get on as best they could without him, which was
not half as much fun. There was no one now to invent queer games, or
to keep the cat in order when it tried to take liberties; and no one,
too, to prevent Tiney from bullying Puss, as he was rather fond of
doing. Tiney lived to be nine, quite a respectable age for a hare, and
died at last from the effects of a fall. Puss went on for another
three years, and showed no signs of decay, except that he was a little
less playful, which was only to be expected. His last act was to make
friends with a dog called Marquis, to whom he was introduced by his
master; and though the spaniel could not take the place of Puss's
early companions, he was better than nobody, and the two got on quite
happily together, till the sad day (March 9, 1796) when Puss stretched
himself at his master's feet and died peacefully and without pain,
aged eleven years and eleven months.



_A RAT TALE_


Huggy was an old rat when he died--very old indeed. He was born in the
middle of a corn-rick, and there he might have lived his little life
had not the farmer who owned the rick caused it to be pulled down.
That was Huggy's first experience of flitting, and it was done in such
a hurry that he had hardly time to be sorry. It was pitch dark when
his mother shook him up roughly and told him to 'come along, or he
would be killed by the farmer,' and poor Huggy, blinking his sleepy
eyes, struggled out of his snug little bed into the cold black night.

Several old rats met him at the entrance, and sternly bade him stay
where he was and make no noise, for the leader was about to speak.
Huggy was wide-awake by this time. The rat spirit of adventure was
roused within him by the scent of coming danger, and eagerly he
listened to the shrill, clear voice of the leader:

'Friends, old and young, this is not a time for many words, but I want
you all to know the cause of this sudden disturbance. Last night I was
scavenging round the farmer's kitchen, seeking what I might devour,
when in came the stable-boy tapping an empty corn-sieve which he had
in his hand. He said a few words to the farmer, who rose hastily, and
together they left the kitchen, I following at a convenient distance.
They went straight to the stable, and talked for some time with their
backs to the corn-bin, which was standing open in the window. After a
while I managed to scramble up and peer into it, only to confirm what
I dreaded most--the corn-bin was empty! To-morrow they will pull down
this rick, thresh the corn, and replenish the empty bin. So, my
friends, unless we mean to die by dog, stick, or fork, we had better
be off as soon as it is daylight.'

There was a shuffle of feet all round, and a general rush of anxious
mothers into the rick to fetch out their young. Huggy was waiting at
the entrance; so, as soon as he caught sight of his mother, he raced
off with her to join the fast-assembling crowd at the back of the
rick. The leader ranged them in lines of ten abreast, and, after
walking up and down to see that all were in their places, he gave a
shrill squeak, and the column started. They marched steadily for about
two miles--slowly, of course, because of the young ones. Nothing
proved an obstacle to them. Sometimes a high wall crossed their path,
but they merely ran up one side and down the other, as if it was level
road. Sometimes it was a broad river which confronted them, but that
they swam without hesitation--rats will not stop at such trifles.

At length they came to a field where a man with a pair of horses was
ploughing. His coat, in which his dinner was wrapt, lay on the wall
some little distance from him. Seeing such a number of rats, he left
his horses and ran for his life, and hid behind a knoll, whence he
could view the proceedings without himself being seen. To his great
disgust, he saw the creatures first crowd round his coat, then run
over it, and finally eat out of his pocket the bread and cheese his
wife had provided for his dinner!

That was a stroke of luck for the rats. They had not counted on so
early a breakfast; so it was with lightsome hearts they performed the
rest of their journey.

Huggy was very glad when it was over. He had never been so far in his
life--he was only three weeks old. Their new home proved to be a
cellar, which communicated on one side with sundry pipes running
straight to the kitchen, and on the other with a large ventilator
opening to the outside air. A paradise for rats! and as to the
inhabitants of the house--we shall see.

It was early in the afternoon when they arrived, so they had plenty of
time to settle down before night. Huggy, having selected his corner,
left his mother to make it comfortable for him, and scampered off for
'a poke round,' as he called it. First he went to the kitchen, peeped
up through a hole in the floor, and, seeing no one about, cautiously
crept out and sniffed into all the cupboards. As he was emerging from
the last he beheld a sight which made his little heart turn sick.
There, in a corner which Huggy had not noticed before, lay a huge dog
half asleep! And so great was Huggy's fright that he squeaked, very
faintly indeed, yet loud enough to set Master Dog upon his feet. Next
minute they were both tearing across the kitchen. Huggy was a wee bit
in front, but so little that he could feel the dog's hot breath behind
him. There was the hole--bump--scrabble, scrabble--Huggy was safe!
Safe! yes--but oh, so frightened!--and what made him smart so
dreadfully? Why, his tail ... was gone--bitten off by the dog! Ah,
Huggy, my poor little rat, if it had not been for that foolish little
squeak of fright you might have been as other rats are--but now! Huggy
almost squeaked again, it was so very sad--and painful. Slowly he
crept back to the cellar, where he had to endure the jeers of his
young companions and the good advice of his elders.

  [Illustration: 'SEEING SUCH A NUMBER OF RATS, HE LEFT HIS HORSES AND
    RAN FOR HIS LIFE']

It was some weeks before Huggy fully recovered himself, and more weeks
still before he could screw up his courage to appear among his
companions as the 'tailless rat;' but at long and at last he did crawl
out, and, because he looked so shy and frightened, the other rats were
merciful, and let him alone. The old rat, too--the leader--took a
great fancy to him, and used to allow Huggy to accompany him on his
various exploits, which was considered a great privilege among the
older rats, and Huggy was very proud of it. One night he and the
leader were out together, when their walk happened to take them (as it
generally did) round by the pantry. As a matter of course, they went
in, and had a good meal off a loaf which the careless table-maid had
left standing on the shelf. Beside the loaf was a box of matches, and
Huggy could not be happy till he had found out what was inside. First
he gnawed the box a little, then he dragged it up and down, then he
gnawed a little more, and, finding it was not very good to eat, he
began to play with it. Suddenly, without any warning, there was a
splutter and a flare. Huggy and the leader were outside in a
twinkling, leaving the pantry in a blaze. Luckily no great damage was
done, for the flames were seen and put out in time.

So, little by little, Huggy was led on. In vain did his mother plead
with him to be careful. He was 'a big rat now, and could look after
himself,' he said. The following week the leader organised a party to
invade the hen-house. Of course Huggy was among the number chosen. It
required no little skill to creep noiselessly up the broken ladder,
visiting the various nests ranged along each side of the walls; for
laying hens are nervous ladies, and, if startled, make enough noise to
waken a town. But the leader had selected his party well, and not a
sound was made till the proper time came. Once up the ladder, each rat
took it in turn to slip in behind the hen, and gently roll one egg at
a time from under her. The poor birds rarely resisted; experience had
taught them long since the futility of such conduct. It was the young
and ignorant fowls who gave all the trouble; they fluttered about in a
fright and disturbed the whole house. But the rats knew pretty well
which to go to; so they worked on without interruption. When they had
collected about a dozen eggs, the next move was to take them safely
down the ladder into the cellar. This was very soon done. Huggy lay
down on his back, nestled an egg cosily between himself and his two
front paws; a feather was put through his mouth, by which means a rat
on either side dragged him along. Huggy found it rather rough on his
back going down the ladder, but, with a good supper in view, he could
bear most things. The eggs having been brought thus to the level of
the ground, the rats dragged them in the same way slowly and carefully
down to the cellar.

So time went on. Night after night parties of rats went out, and each
morning they returned with tales of adventure and cunning--all more or
less daring. But the leader was getting old. Huggy had noticed for
some time how grey and feeble he was becoming; nor was he much
surprised when, one day, the leader told him that he (Huggy) would
have to take his place as leader of the rats. Two days after this the
old rat died, leaving Huggy to succeed him; and a fine lot of scrapes
did that rat and his followers get into.

The larder was their favourite haunt, where joints of meat were hung
on hooks 'quite out o' reach o' them rats,' as the cook said. But
Huggy thought differently, and in a trice ten large rats had run up
the wall and down the hook, and were gobbling the meat as fast as they
could. But there was one hook in the centre of the ceiling which Huggy
could not reach; from this hook a nice fat duck was suspended by a
string. 'If only I could get on to that hook I should gnaw the string,
and the duck would fall, and----'

Huggy got no further. An idea had come to him which he communicated
quickly to the others. The plan seemed to be appreciated, for they all
ran to an old chair, which was standing just under this difficult
centre hook. The strongest rat went first, climbed up the back of the
chair, and balanced himself on the top; Number 2 followed, and
carefully balanced on Number 1; Number 1 then squeaked, which meant he
could bear no more. It was a pity he could not stand _one_ more; for,
as they were, the topmost rat could just reach the prize, and though
he nibbled all round as far as he could, it was not what might be
called 'a square meal.' The cook was indeed amazed when, next morning,
she found only three-fourths of her precious duck remaining. 'Ah!' she
said, 'I'll be even with you yet, you cunning beasts!' And that night
she sliced up part of a duck with some cheese, and put it in a plate
on the larder floor. At his usual hour, when all was dark and quiet,
Huggy and his followers arrived, and, seeing their much-coveted prize
under their very noses, were cautious. But Huggy was up to the trick.
'To-night and to-morrow night you may eat it,' he said, 'but beware of
the third.' So they partook of the duck, and enjoyed it that night and
the next, but the third the dish was left untouched.

  [Illustration: {THE RATS IN THE LARDER}]

The cook was up betimes that morning, so that she might bury the
corpses before breakfast. Her dog (the same who had robbed Huggy of
his tail), according to his custom, followed her into the larder. On
seeing the plate just as she had left it the night before, the cook,
in her astonishment, forgot the dog, who, finding no one gainsay him,
licked the dish with infinite relish. Poor dog! In spite of all
efforts to save him he died ten minutes afterwards; and the cook
learnt her lesson also, for she never tried poisoning rats again.

Here end the chief events of Huggy's life--all, at least, that are
worth recording.

Some years after the death of the dog I was sitting in the gloaming
close to a steep path which led from the cellar down to the river,
when what should I see but three large rats coming slowly towards me.
The middle one was the largest, and evidently blind, for he had in his
mouth a long straw, by which the other two led him carefully down the
path. As the trio passed I recognised the centre one to be Huggy the
Tailless.

Next morning my little Irish terrier, Jick, brought him to me in his
mouth, dead; and I buried him under a Gloire de Dijon in a sunny
corner of the garden.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fantastic as some of the incidents may sound, they are, nevertheless,
true, having been collected mainly from an old rat-catcher living in
the town of Hawick.



_SNAKE STORIES_


In 1850 Baron de Wogan, a French gentleman, left his native land and
set sail for North America, to seek his fortune and adventures. He was
descended from two noble adventurers, the Wogan who led a cavalry
troop from Dover to the Highlands, to fight for Charles II., and the
Wogan who rescued Queen Clementina, wife of James III., from prison in
Innspruck. In 1850 adventures, wild beasts, and Red Indians were more
plentiful than now, and Wogan had some narrow escapes from snakes and
bears. Soon after coming to North America he had his first adventure
with a rattlesnake; he was then camping at the gold fields of
California, seeking for gold in order to have money enough to start on
his voyages of discovery. His house was a log hut, built by himself,
and his bed a sack filled with dry oak leaves.

One day, finding that his mattress required renewing, he went out with
the sack and his gun. Having filled the sack with leaves, he went off
with his gun in search of game for his larder, and only came home at
nightfall. After having cooked and eaten his supper, he threw himself
on his new mattress, and soon was asleep. He awoke about three, and
would soon have fallen asleep again, but he felt something moving in
the sack. His first thought was that it was a rat, but he soon felt by
the way it moved that it was no quadruped, but a reptile, no rat, but
a snake! He must have put it in the sack with the leaves, as might
easily happen in winter when these creatures are torpid from the cold,
and sleep all curled up. With one leap the Baron was out of its
reach, but wishing to examine it more closely, he took his gun to
protect him in case of danger, and came near the bed again; but the
ungrateful beast, forgetting that they had been bedfellows, threw
itself on the gun and began to bite the muzzle. Fearing that it might
turn and bite him next the Baron pulled the trigger, and hitting the
serpent, literally cut it in two. It measured two feet long, and when
the Baron cut off its tail, he found a quantity of scales which made
the rattling sound from which this serpent gets its name.

  [Illustration: THE BARON KILLS THE SNAKE]

As soon as the Baron had found enough gold, he bought a mule whom he
called Cadi, and whom he became very fond of, and set off into the
backwoods in search of sport and adventure. (Poor Cadi eventually met
a terrible end, but that is a Bear story.) He soon added another
companion, a young Indian girl, Calooa by name. She was the daughter
of a chief of the Utah tribe, and had been taken prisoner, with
several other women, by a tribe of hostile Indians whom the Baron fell
in with. She would have been tortured and then burnt with the other
prisoners had the Baron not saved her life by buying her for a silk
handkerchief, a knife and fork, and some coloured pictures. She
wandered with him and shared all his adventures, till she was found
again by her tribe and taken back to them. One hot day they had been
marching together about thirty miles through a country infested with
panthers and pumas. The Baron was heading the little procession, when
suddenly a cry from Calooa that she only used in moments of danger
made him turn round. Then he saw that what he had taken to be a huge
rotten branch of a tree, and had even thought of taking with him for
their camp fire, that evening, was in reality an enormous serpent. It
lay across the path asleep, its head resting on the trunk of a tree.
The Baron raised his gun to his shoulder, and came nearer the monster
to get a good aim. He fired, but missed. The horrid creature reared
itself nearly on end and looked at him with that fixed stare by which
the serpent fascinates and paralyses its victim. The Baron felt all
the fascination, but conquering it, he fired a second time, and this
time wounded the creature without killing it outright. Though mortally
wounded, the snake's dying struggles were so violent that the young
trees all round were levelled as if they had been cut with a scythe.
As soon as they were sure that life was extinct, Calooa and the Baron
came nearer to examine the snake's dead body. Though part of his tail
was missing, he measured nevertheless five yards long and eighteen
inches round. Thinking that it seemed of unusual girth, the Baron cut
it open with an axe, and found inside the body of a young prairie
wolf, probably about a week old. The peculiarity of this snake was
that it gave out a strong odour of musk, like the sea serpent in Mr.
Kipling's book.

  [Illustration: {THE BARON SLAYS THE HORNED SNAKE}]

The most horrible serpent that the Baron encountered and slew was the
horned snake; he learned afterwards from the Indians that it is the
most deadly of all the snakes of North America, for not only is its
bite venomous, but its tail has a sting which contains the same
poison. It crawls like other snakes, but when it attacks it forms
itself into a circle, and then suddenly unbending itself flings itself
like a lion on its victim, head forward and tail raised, thus
attacking with both ends at once. If by chance it misses its aim and
its tail strikes a young tree and penetrates the bark, that tree
immediately begins to droop, and before long withers and dies. On the
occasion when the Baron encountered it, Calooa and he had been fleeing
all night fearing an attack of hostile Indians. About daylight they
ventured to stop to take rest and food. While Calooa lit the fire the
Baron took his gun and went in search of game. In about half an hour
he returned with a wild turkey. When they had cooked and eaten it, he
lay down and fell asleep, but had only slept two hours when he awoke,
feeling his hand touched. It was Calooa, who woke him with a
terror-stricken face. Looking in the direction she pointed, he saw
about fifty yards away an enormous horned snake wound round a branch
of sassafras. It was lying in wait for a poor little squirrel, that
cowered in the hollow of an oak. As soon as the squirrel dared to show
even the tip of its nose, the serpent flung itself at it, but in vain,
as its great head could not get into the hole.

  [Illustration: HOW THE INDIANS MAKE THE HORNED SNAKE DISGORGE HIS
    DINNER]

'Fortunately,' the Baron says, 'my gun was by my side. I rose and went
to the rescue of the defenceless little creature. When the serpent saw
me he knew he had another sort of enemy to deal with, and hissing
furiously hurled himself in my direction, though without quitting his
branch. I stopped and took aim. The serpent evidently understood my
attitude perfectly, for unwinding himself he began to crawl with all
his speed towards me. Between us there was fortunately an obstacle, a
fallen chestnut tree; to reach me he must either climb over it or go
round, and he was too furious to put up with any delay. Ten paces from
the tree I waited for him to appear, one knee on the ground, my gun at
my shoulder, and the other elbow resting on my knee to steady my aim.
At last I saw his horrid head appear above the fallen tree, at the
same moment I fired, and the ball pierced his head through and
through, though without instantly killing him. Quick as lightning he
wound himself round a branch, lashing out with his tail in all
directions. It was his dying struggle; slowly his fury subsided, and
uncoiling himself he fell dead alongside the tree. I measured him and
found he was eight feet long, and seven or eight inches round. He was
dark brown, and his head had two horns, or rather hard knobs. Wishing
to carry away some souvenir to remember him by when I should be at
home again in France, I tried to cut off his horns, but found it
impossible. Out of curiosity I then took an axe and cut him open, when
I found inside a little bird, dazed but living. Presently it revived
and began to flutter about, and soon flew away among the bushes and
was lost to sight. I did not then know that this is a common
occurrence, and that when the Indians find a serpent asleep, as is
generally the case after the creature has gorged itself, they hit it
on the head with a stick, which makes it throw up what it has
swallowed whole, and its victims are often still living.'

Calooa on one occasion had a narrow escape. She had put her hand into
a hollow in a branch of a cherry-tree where was a blue jay's nest, to
take eggs as she thought. Hardly had she put in her hand when she
screamed with pain; a rattlesnake that had taken possession of the
nest had stung her. The Baron, much alarmed, expected to see Calooa
die before his eyes. He did not know of the remedy the Indians use for
snake bites. Calooa herself was quite undisturbed, and hunted about
among the bushes till she found the plant she knew of, then crushing
some of the leaves between two stones, she applied them to the bite,
and in a couple of hours was completely cured.

Besides these snakes the Baron learned from the Indians that there is
another even more dangerous, not from its sting, which is not
poisonous, but because it winds itself round its victim, and strangles
him to death. Fortunately the Baron never met one, or he would
probably not have lived to tell his snake stories.



_WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN DO_


Long, long ago the earth was very different from what it is now, and
was covered with huge forests made up of enormous trees, and in these
forests there roamed immense beasts, whose skeletons may sometimes be
seen in our museums.

Of all these beasts there is only one remaining, and that is the
elephant. Now the elephant is so big and shapeless that he makes one
think he has been turned out by a child who did not know how to finish
his work properly. He seems to need some feet badly and to want
pinching about his body. He would also be the better for a more
imposing tail; but such as he is, the elephant is more useful and
interesting than many creatures of ten times his beauty. Large and
clumsy though he may be, he alone of all animals has 'between his eyes
a serpent for a hand,' and he turns his trunk to better account than
most men do their two hands.

Ever since we first read about elephants in history they were just the
same as they are now. They have not learnt, from associating with men,
fresh habits which they hand down from father to son; each elephant,
quick though he is to learn, has to be taught everything over again.

Yet there is no beast who has lived in such unbroken contact with man
for so many thousands of years. We do not know when he first began to
be distinguished for his qualities from the other wild animals, but as
far back as we can trace the sculptures which adorn the Indian temples
the elephant has a place. Several hundred years before Christ, the
Greek traveller Herodotus was passing through Babylon and found a
large number of elephants employed in the daily life of the city, and
from time to time we catch glimpses of them in Eastern warfare, though
it was not till the third century B.C. that they were introduced into
Europe by Alexander the Great. The Mediterranean nations were quick to
see the immense profit to which the elephant could be put, both in
respect to the great weights he could carry, and also for his
extraordinary teachableness. In India at the present day he performs
all kinds of varied duties, and many are the stories told about his
cleverness, for he is the only animal that can be taught to push as
well as pull.

Most of us have seen elephants trained to perform in a circus, and
there is something rather sad in watching their great clumsy bodies
gambolling about in a way that is unnatural as well as ungraceful. But
there is no question as to the amount that elephants can be taught,
particularly by kindness, or how skilfully they will revenge
themselves for any ill-treatment.

In the early part of this century an elephant was sent by a lady in
India as a present to the Duke of Devonshire, who had a large villa at
Chiswick.

This lucky captive had a roomy house of its own, built expressly for
it in the park, a field to walk about in, and a keeper to look after
it, and to do a little light gardening besides. This man treated the
elephant (a female) with great kindness, and they soon became the best
of friends. The moment he called out she stopped, and at his bidding
would take a broom in her trunk and sweep the dead leaves off the
grass; after which she would carefully carry after him a large pail of
water for him to re-fill his watering pot--for in those days the
garden-hose was not invented. When the tidying up was all done, the
elephant was given a carrot and some of the water, but very often the
keeper would amuse himself with handing her a soda-water bottle
tightly corked, and telling her to empty it. This she did by placing
the bottle in an inclined position on the ground and holding it at the
proper angle with her foot, while she twisted the cork out with her
trunk. This accomplished, she would empty all the water into her trunk
without spilling a drop, and then hand the bottle back to her keeper.

In India small children are often given into the charge of an
elephant, and it is wonderful to see what care the animals take of
them. One elephant took such a fancy to a small baby, that it used to
stand over its cradle, and drive away the flies that teased it while
it slept. When it grew restless the elephant would rock the cradle, or
gently lift it to the floor and let it crawl about between its legs,
till the child at last declined to take any food unless her friend was
by to see her eat it.

Amazing tales have been told of what elephants can be trained to do,
but none is stranger than a story related by a missionary named
Caunter, about some wild elephants in Ceylon. Some native soldiers who
had been set to guard a large storehouse containing rice, were
suddenly ordered off to put down a rising in a village a little
distance away. Hardly were their backs turned when a wild elephant was
seen advancing to the storehouse, which was situated in a lonely
place, and after walking carefully round it, he returned whence he
came. In a short time he was noticed advancing for the second time,
accompanied by a whole herd of elephants, all marching in an orderly
and military manner.

  [Illustration: THE ELEPHANT HELPS THE GARDENER]

Now in order to secure the granary as much as possible, the only
entrance had been made in the roof, and had to be reached by a ladder.
This was soon found out by the elephants, who examined the whole
building attentively, and being baffled in their designs, retired to
consult as to what they should do next. Finally one of the largest
among them began to attack one of the corners with his tusks, and some
of the others followed his example. When the first relay was tired
out, another set took its place, but all their efforts seemed
useless; the building was too strong for them. At length a third
elephant came forward and attacked the place at which the others had
laboured with such ill-success, and, by a prodigious effort, he
managed to loosen one brick. After this it did not take long to dig a
hole big enough to let the whole herd pass through, and soon the two
spectators, hidden in a banyan-tree, saw little companies of three or
four enter the granary and take their fill of rice until they all were
satisfied. The last batch were still eating busily, when a shrill
noise from the sentinel they had set on guard caused them to rush out.
From afar they could perceive the white dress of the soldiers who had
subdued the unruly villagers and were returning to their post, and the
elephants, trunks in air, took refuge in the jungle, and only wagged
their tails mockingly at the bullets sent after them by the
discomfited soldiers.



_THE DOG OF MONTARGIS_


For three days Aubrey de Montdidier had not been seen by his friends
and comrades in arms. On Sunday morning he had attended mass in the
Church of Our Lady, but it was noticed that in the afternoon he was
absent from the great tournament which was held at Saint Katherine's.
This astonished his friend the young Sieur de Narsac, who had
appointed to meet him there, that they might watch together the
encounter between a Burgundian knight and a gentleman from Provence,
both renowned in tilting, who were to meet together for the first time
that day in Paris. It was unlike Aubrey to fail to be present on such
an occasion, and when for three successive days he did not appear at
his accustomed haunts, his friends grew anxious, and began to question
among themselves whether some accident might not have befallen him.
Early on the morning of the fourth day De Narsac was awakened by a
continuous sound, as of something scratching against his door.
Starting up to listen, he heard, in the intervals of the scratching, a
low whine, as of a dog in pain. Thoroughly aroused, he got up and
opened the door. Stretched before it, apparently too weak to stand,
was a great, gaunt greyhound, spent with exhaustion and hunger. His
ribs stood out like the bars of a gridiron beneath his smooth coat;
his tongue hung down between his jaws, parched and stiff; his eyes
were bloodshot, and he trembled in every limb.

  [Illustration: DE NARSAC RECOGNISES HIS FRIEND'S DOG]

On seeing De Narsac the poor creature struggled to his feet, feebly
wagged his tail, and thrust his nose into the young man's hands. Then
only did De Narsac recognise in the half-starved skeleton before him
the favourite dog and constant companion of his friend, Aubrey de
Montdidier. It was clear from the poor animal's emaciated appearance
that it was in the last stage of exhaustion. Summoning his servant, De
Narsac ordered food and water to be brought at once, and the dog
devoured the huge meal set before it. From his starved appearance, and
from the voracity with which he devoured the food set before him, it
was evident that he had had nothing to eat for some days. No sooner
was his hunger appeased than he began to move uneasily about the room.
Uttering low howls of distress from time to time, he approached the
door; then, returning to De Narsac's side, he looked up in his face
and gently tugged at his mantle, as if to attract attention. There was
something at once so appealing and peculiar in the dog's behaviour
that De Narsac's curiosity was aroused, and he became convinced that
there was some connection between the dog's starved appearance and
strange manner and the unaccountable disappearance of his master.
Perhaps the dog might supply the clue to Aubrey's place of
concealment. Watching the dog's behaviour closely, De Narsac became
aware that the dumb beast was inviting him to accompany him.
Accordingly he yielded to the dog's apparent wish, and, leaving the
house, followed him out into the streets of Paris.

Looking round from time to time to see that De Narsac was coming after
him, the greyhound pursued its way through the narrow, tortuous
streets of the ancient city, over the Bridge, and out by the Porte
St.-Martin, into the open country outside the gates of the town. Then,
continuing on its track, the dog headed for the Forest of Bondy, a
place of evil fame in those far-off days, as its solitudes were known
to be infested by bands of robbers. Stopping suddenly in a deep and
densely wooded glade of the wood, the dog uttered a succession of low,
angry growls; then, tugging at De Narsac's mantle, it led him to some
freshly turned-up earth, beneath a wide-spreading oak-tree. With a
piteous whine the dog stretched himself on the spot, and could not be
induced by De Narsac to follow him back to Paris, where he straightway
betook himself, as he at once suspected foul play. A few hours later
a party of men, guided to the spot by the young Sieur de Narsac,
removed the earth and dead leaves and ferns from the hole into which
they had been hastily flung, and discovered the murdered body of
Aubrey de Montdidier. Hurriedly a litter was constructed of boughs of
trees, and, followed by the dog, the body was borne into Paris, where
it was soon afterwards buried.

From that hour the greyhound attached himself to the Sieur de Narsac.
It slept in his room, ate from his table, and followed close at his
heels when he went out of doors. One morning, as the two were
threading their way through the crowded Rue St.-Martin, De Narsac was
startled by hearing a low, fierce growl from the greyhound. Looking
down he saw that the creature was shaking in every limb; his smooth
coat was bristling, his tail was straight and stiff, and he was
showing his teeth. In another moment he had made a dart from De
Narsac's side, and had sprung on a young gentleman named Macaire, in
the uniform of the king's bodyguard, who, with several comrades in
arms, was sauntering along on the opposite side of the street. There
was something so sudden in the attack that the Chevalier Macaire was
almost thrown on the ground. With their walking-canes he and his
friends beat off the dog, and on De Narsac coming up, it was called
away, and, still trembling and growling, followed its master down the
street.

A few days later the same thing occurred. De Narsac and the Chevalier
Macaire chanced to encounter each other walking in the royal park. In
a moment the dog had rushed at Macaire, and, with a fierce spring at
his throat, had tried to pull him to the ground. De Narsac and some
officers of the king's bodyguard came to Macaire's assistance, and the
dog was called off. The rumour of this attack reached the ears of the
king, and mixed with the rumour were whisperings of a long-standing
quarrel between Macaire and Aubrey de Montdidier. Might not the dog's
strange and unaccountable hatred for the young officer be a clue to
the mysterious murder of his late master? Determined to sift the
matter to the bottom, the king summoned De Narsac and the dog to his
presence at the Hôtel St.-Pol. Following close on his master's heels,
the greyhound entered the audience-room, where the king was seated,
surrounded by his courtiers. As De Narsac bowed low before his
sovereign, a short, fierce bark was heard from the dog, and, before he
could be held back, he had darted in among the startled courtiers, and
had sprung at the throat of the Chevalier Macaire, who, with several
other knights, formed a little group behind the king's chair.

It was impossible longer to doubt that there was some ground for the
surmises that had rapidly grown to suspicion, and that had received
sudden confirmation from the fresh evidence of the dog's hatred.

The king decided that there should be a trial by the judgment of God,
and that a combat should take place between man, the accused, and dog,
the accuser. The place chosen for the combat was a waste, uninhabited
plot of ground, frequently selected as a duelling-ground by the young
gallants of Paris.

In the presence of the king and his courtiers the strange unnatural
combat took place that afternoon. The knight was armed with a short
thick stick; the dog was provided with an empty barrel, as a
retreating ground from the attacks of his adversary. At a given signal
the combatants entered the lists. The dog seemed quite to understand
the strange duel on which it was engaged. Barking savagely, and
darting round his opponent, he made attempts to leap at his throat;
now on this side, now on that he sprang, jumping into the air, and
then bounding back out of reach of the stick. There was such swiftness
and determination about his movements, and something so unnatural in
the combat, that Macaire's nerve failed him. His blows beat the air,
without hitting the dog; his breath came in quick short gasps;
there was a look of terror on his face, and for a moment, overcome by
the horror of the situation, his eye quailed and sought the ground. At
that instant the dog sprang at his throat and pinned him to the earth.
In his terror, he called out and acknowledged his crime, and implored
the king's mercy. But the judgment of God had decided. The dog was
called off before it had strangled its victim, but the man was hurried
away to the place of execution, and atoned that evening for the murder
of the faithful greyhound's master.

  [Illustration: THE DOG FLIES AT MACAIRE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING]

The dog has been known to posterity as the Dog of Montargis, as in the
Castle of Montargis there stood for many centuries a sculptured stone
mantelpiece, on which the combat was carved.



_HOW A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HOUSE_

Bingley's _Animal Biography_.


If we could look back and see England and Wales as they were about a
thousand years ago, we should most likely think that the best houses
and most prosperous villages were the work not of the Saxon or British
natives, but of the little beavers, which were then to be found in
some of the rivers, though they have long ceased to exist there. Those
who want to see what beavers can do, must look to America, and there,
either in Canada or even as far south as Louisiana, they will find the
little creatures as busy as ever and as clever at house-building as
when they taught our forefathers a lesson in the time of Athelstan or
Canute.

A beaver is a small animal measuring about three feet, and has fine
glossy dark brown hair. Its tail, which is its trowel, and call bell,
and many other things besides, is nearly a foot long, and has no hair
at all, and is divided into little scales, something like a fish.
Beavers cannot bear to live by themselves, and are never happy unless
they have two or three hundred friends close at hand whom they can
visit every day and all day, and they are the best and most kindly
neighbours in the world, always ready to help each other either in
building new villages or in repairing old ones.

Of course the first thing to be done when you wish to erect a house or
a village is to fix on a suitable site, and the spot which every
beaver of sense thinks most desirable is either a large pond or, if no
pond is to be had, a flat low plain with a stream running through,
out of which a pond can be made.

It must be a very, very long while since beavers first found out that
the way to make a pond out of a stream was to build a dam across it so
strong that the water could not break through. To begin with, they
have to know which way the stream runs, and in this they never make a
mistake. Then they gather together stakes about five feet long, and
fix them in rows tight into the ground on each side of the stream; and
while the older and more experienced beavers are doing this--for the
safety of the village depends on the strength of the foundation--the
younger and more active ones are fetching and heaping up green
branches of trees. These branches are plaited in and out of the rows
of stakes, which by this time stretch right across the river, and form
a dam often as much as a hundred feet from end to end. When the best
workmen among them declare the foundation solid, the rest form a large
wall over the whole, of stones, clay, and sand, which gradually tapers
up from ten or twelve feet at the bottom, where it has to resist the
pressure of the stream, to two or three at the top, so that the
beavers can, if necessary, pass each other in comfort. And when the
dam is pronounced finished, the overseer or head beaver goes carefully
over every part, to see that it is the proper shape and exactly smooth
and even, for beavers cannot bear bad work, and would punish any of
their tribe who were lazy or careless.

The dam being ready and the pond made, they can now begin to think
about their houses, and as all beavers have a great dislike to damp
floors and wet beds, they have to raise their dwellings quite six or
eight feet above the level of the stream, so that no sudden swelling
of the river during the rainy season shall make them cold and
uncomfortable. Beavers are always quite clear in their minds as to
what they want, and how to get it, and they like to keep things
distinct. When they are in the water they are perfectly happy, but
when they are out of it they like to be dry, and in order to keep
their houses warm and snug they wait till the water is low during the
summer, and then they can drive piles into the bed of the stream with
more safety and less trouble than if the river is running hard. It
generally takes two or three months before the village is finished,
and the bark and shoots of young trees, which is their favourite food,
collected and stored up. But the little round huts, not unlike
beehives, are only intended for winter homes, as no beaver would think
of sleeping indoors during the summer, or, indeed, of staying two days
in the same place. So every three or four years they spend the long
days in making their village of earth, stones, and sticks, plastered
together with some kind of mortar which they carry about on their
tails, to spread neatly over the inside of their houses. All that a
beaver does is beautifully finished as well as substantial. The walls
of his house are usually about two feet thick, and sometimes he has as
many as three stories to his house, when he has a large family or a
number of friends to live with him. One thing is quite certain: no
beaver will ever set up housekeeping alone; but sometimes he will be
content with one companion, and sometimes he will have as many as
thirty. But however full the hut may be, there is never any confusion;
each beaver has his fixed place on the floor, which is covered with
dried leaves and moss, and as they manage to keep open a door right
below the surface of the stream, where their food is carefully stored
up, there is no fear that they will ever be starved out. And there
they lie all through the winter, and get very fat.

Once a French gentleman who was travelling through Louisiana, was very
anxious to see the little beaver colony at work, so he hid himself
with some other men close to a dam, and in the night they cut a
channel about a foot wide right through, and very hard labour they
found it.

The men had made no noise in breaking the dam, but the rush of the
water aroused one beaver who slept more lightly than the rest, and he
instantly left his hut and swam to the dam to examine what was wrong.
He then struck four loud blows with his tail, and at the sound of his
call every beaver left his bed and came rushing to see what was the
matter. No sooner did they reach the dam and see the large hole made
in it, than they took counsel, and then the one in whom they put the
most trust gave orders to the rest, and they all went to the bank to
make mortar. When they had collected as much as they could carry, they
formed a procession, two and two, each pair loading each others'
tails, and so travelling they arrived at the dam, where a relay of
fresh labourers were ready to load. The mortar was then placed in the
hole and bound tight by repeated blows from the beavers' tails. So
hard did they work and so much sense did they show, that in a short
time all was as firm as ever. Then one of the leading spirits clapped
his tail twice, and in a moment all were in bed and asleep again.

Beavers are very hard-working, but they know how to make themselves
comfortable too, and if they are content with bark and twigs at home,
they appreciate nicer food if they can get it. A gentleman once took a
beaver with him to New York, and it used to wander about the house
like a dog, feeding chiefly upon bread, with fish now and then for a
treat. Not being able to find any moss or leaves for a bed, it used to
seize upon all the soft bits of stuff that came in its way, and carry
them off to its sleeping corner. One day a cat discovered its hiding
place, and thought it would be a nice comfortable place for her
kittens to sleep, and when the beaver came back from his walk he
found, like the three bears, that someone was sleeping in his bed. He
had never seen things of that kind before, but they were small and he
was big, so he said nothing and lay down somewhere else. Only, if ever
their mother was away, he would go and hold one of them to his breast
to warm it, and keep it there till its mother came back.



_THE WAR HORSE OF ALEXANDER_

Part of the story of Bucephalus is taken from Plutarch.


There are not so many stories about horses as there are about dogs and
cats, yet almost every great general has had his favourite horse, who
has gone with him through many campaigns and borne him safe in many
battle-fields. At a town in Sicily called Agrigentum, they set such
store by their horses, that pyramids were raised over their
burial-place, and the Emperor Augustus built a splendid monument over
the grave of an old favourite.

The most famous horse, perhaps, who ever lived, was one belonging to
Alexander the Great, and was called Bucephalus. When the king was a
boy, Bucephalus was brought before Philip, King of Macedon,
Alexander's father, by Philonicus the Thessalian, and offered for sale
for the large sum of thirteen talents. Beautiful though he was, Philip
wisely declined to buy him before knowing what manner of horse he was,
and ordered him to be led into a neighbouring field, and a groom to
mount him. But it was in vain that the best and most experienced
riders approached the horse; he reared up on his hind legs, and would
suffer none to come near him. So Philonicus the Thessalian was told to
take his horse back whence he came, for the king would have none of
him.

Now the boy Alexander stood by, and his heart went out to the
beautiful creature. And he cried out, 'What a good horse do we lose
for lack of skill to mount him!' Philip the king heard these words,
and his soul was vexed to see the horse depart, but yet he knew not
what else to do. Then he turned to Alexander and said: 'Do you think
that you, young and untried, can ride this horse better than those who
have grown old in the stables?' To which Alexander made answer, 'This
horse I know I could ride better than they.' 'And if you fail,' asked
Philip, 'what price will you pay for your good conceit of yourself?'
And Alexander laughed out and said gaily, 'I will pay the price of the
horse.' And thus it was settled.

So Alexander drew near to the horse, and took him by the bridle,
turning his face to the sun so that he might not be frightened at the
movements of his own shadow, for the prince had noticed that it scared
him greatly. Then Alexander stroked his head and led him forwards,
feeling his temper all the while, and when the horse began to get
uneasy, the prince suddenly leapt on his back, and gradually curbed
him with the bridle. Suddenly, as Bucephalus gave up trying to throw
his rider, and only pawed the ground impatient to be off, Alexander
shook the reins, and bidding him go, they flew like lightning round
the course. This was Alexander's first conquest, and as he jumped down
from the horse, his father exclaimed, 'Go, my son, and seek for a
kingdom that is worthy, for Macedon is too small for such as thee.'

Henceforth Bucephalus made it clear that he served Alexander and no
one else. He would submit quietly to having the gay trappings of a
king's steed fastened on his head, and the royal saddle put on, but if
any groom tried to mount him, back would go his ears and up would go
his heels, and none dared come near him. For ten years after Alexander
succeeded his father on the throne of Macedon (B.C. 336), Bucephalus
bore him through all his battles, and was, says Pliny, 'of a passing
good and memorable service in the wars,' and even when wounded, as he
once was at the taking of Thebes, would not suffer his master to mount
another horse. Together these two swam rivers, crossed mountains,
penetrated into the dominions of the Great King, and farther still
into the heart of Asia, beyond the Caspian and the river Oxus, where
never European army had gone before. Then turning sharp south, he
crossed the range of the Hindoo Koosh, and entering the country of the
Five Rivers, he prepared to attack Porus, king of India. But age and
the wanderings of ten years had worn Bucephalus out. One last victory
near the Hydaspes or Jelum, and the old horse sank down and died, full
of years and honours (B.C. 326). Bitter were the lamentations of the
king for the friend of his childhood, but his grief did not show
itself only in weeping. The most splendid funeral Alexander could
devise was given to Bucephalus, and a gorgeous tomb erected over his
body. And more than that, Alexander resolved that the memory of his
old horse should be kept green in these burning Indian deserts,
thousands of miles from the Thessalian plains where he was born, so
round his tomb the king built a city, and it was called

    'BUCEPHALIA.'



_STORIES ABOUT BEARS_


Baron de Wogan, a French gentleman, whose adventures with snakes are
also curious, was the hero of some encounters with the grizzly bear of
North America. First, I would have you understand what sort of a
creature he had for an opponent. Imagine a monster measuring when
standing upright eight or nine feet, weighing 900 lbs., of a most
terrifying appearance, in agility and strength surpassing all other
animals, and cruel in proportion. Like his cousin the brown bear, whom
he resembles in shape, he is a hermit and lives alone in the immense
trackless forests which covered the Rocky Mountains, and indeed (at
least in olden times) the greater part of North America. During the
day he sleeps in the depths of some mountain cavern, and wakes up at
dusk to go out in search of prey. All the beasts of the forest live in
terror of him--even the white bear flies before him. He would go down
to the valleys and attack the immense herds of buffaloes which grazed
there, and which were powerless against him, in spite of their numbers
and their great horns. They join themselves closely together and form
one compact rank, but the grizzly bear hurls himself at them, breaks
their ranks, scatters them, and then pursuing them till he catches
them up, flings himself on the back of one, hugs it in his iron
embrace, breaks its skull with his teeth, and so goes slaying right
and left before he eats one. Before the Baron's first, so to say,
hand-to-hand encounter with a grizzly, he had been long enough in the
country to know something of their ways, and how worse than useless a
shot is unless in a fatal spot.

After the return to her tribe of Calooa, a young Indian girl, who had
been his one human companion in many days of wandering, the Baron was
left with only his mule Cadi for friend and companion, and naturally
felt very lonely. He set his heart on getting to the top of the Rocky
Mountains, at the foot of which he then happened to be. Their
glittering summits had so irresistible an attraction for him, that he
did not stay to consider the difficulties which soon beset him at
every step. No sooner did he conquer one than another arose, added to
which the cold of these high regions was intense, and it constantly
snowed. After three days he had to declare himself not only beaten,
but so worn out that he must take a week's rest if he did not want to
fall ill. First it was necessary to have some sort of a shelter, and
by great good luck he found just at hand a cavern in the rock, which,
without being exactly a palace, seemed as if it would answer his
purpose.

Upon closer examination he found that it had more drawbacks than he
cared about. All round were scattered gnawed bones of animals, and the
prints of bear's claws on the ground left no doubt as to who the last
inmate had been. The Baron, however, preferred to risk an invasion
rather than seek another abode, and prepared for probable inroads by
making across the entrance to the cave a barricade of branches of oak
tied together with flax, a quantity of which grew near. He then lit a
good fire inside the cave, but as the last tenant had not considered a
chimney necessary; the dense smoke soon obliged him to beat a hasty
retreat. Besides he had to go out to get supplies for his larder, at
present as bare as Mother Hubbard's. With his usual good luck the
Baron found, first, a large salmon flapping wildly in its effort to
get out of a pool, where the fallen river had left it. This he killed,
and next he shot a young deer about a mile away and carried it to
camp on his back. In order to preserve these eatables he salted some
of them with salt that he had previously found in a lake near, and had
carefully preserved for future use. He then dug a hole in a corner of
the cave, putting a thick layer of dry hay at the bottom, and buried
his provisions Indian fashion, in order to preserve them.

As it was still only twelve o'clock, the Baron thought he would spend
the rest of the day in exploring the neighbourhood; first he examined
the cave, which he found to be formed of big blocks of rock firmly
joined together; above the cave rose the cliff, and in front of it
grew a fir-tree, which served at the same time to defend the entrance,
and as a ladder to enable him to mount the cliff. As he could not take
Cadi with him, he fastened him to the fir-tree by his halter and girth
joined together, so as to leave him plenty of room to graze. Then he
put some eatables in his game bag, and set off on a tour of discovery.
When he had walked about three hours, and had reached a rocky point
from which he had a fine view of the surrounding country, he sat down
to rest under an oak-tree. He knew nothing more till the cold awoke
him--it was now six o'clock, and he had slept three hours. He started
with all the haste he could to get back to his cave and Cadi before
dark, but so tired and footsore was he that he was obliged to give in
and camp where he was, for night was coming on fast. It was bitterly
cold and snow fell constantly, so he lit a large fire, which at the
same time warmed him, and kept away the bears whom he heard wandering
round the camp most of the night. As soon as the sun was up in the
morning, he set off with all his speed to see what had become of Cadi;
but though fifteen miles is not much to bears balked of their prey, it
is much to a weary and footsore man, and when he had hobbled to within
half a mile of the camp, he saw that it was too late: the bears, whom
he had driven away from his camp in the night with fire-brands, had
scented poor Cadi, and four of them were now devouring him--father,
mother, and two cubs. Imagine his rage and grief at seeing his only
friend and companion devoured piecemeal before his very eyes!

His first impulse was to fire, but he reflected in time that they were
four to one, and that, instead of avenging Cadi, he would only share
his fate. He decided to wait on a high rock till the meal was ended.
It lasted an hour, and then he saw the whole family set off to climb
the mountain, from the top of which he had been watching them. They
seemed to be making straight for him, and as it would be certain death
to sit and wait for them, he slipped into a cranny in the rock, hoping
that he might not be perceived; even if he was, he could only be
attacked by one at a time. He had not long to wait: soon all four
bears passed in single file, without smelling him or being aware of
him; for this he had to thank poor Cadi: their horrid snouts and jaws
being smeared with his blood prevented their scenting fresh prey.

  [Illustration: {THE BARON KILLS THE BEAR}]

When he had seen them at a safe distance, he ventured to go down to
the cave he could no longer call his own. Of Cadi, nothing remained
but his head, still fastened to the tree by his halter. The barricade
was gone, too, and from the cave came low but unmistakable growls.
With one bound the Baron was up the tree, and from the tree on to the
cliff. From there he threw stones down before the entrance to the
cave, to induce the present inmate to come out, in order that he might
take possession again. The bear soon came out, and, perceiving him,
made for the fir-tree. By its slow and languid movements the Baron saw
that it was curiosity more than anger that prompted it, and, moreover,
it was evidently a very old bear, probably a grandfather, whose
children and grandchildren had been to pay it a visit. Curiosity or
not, the Baron had no wish to make a closer acquaintance, and fired a
shot at the brute by way of a hint to that effect. This immediately
turned his curiosity into wrath. Seizing the fir-tree, which he was
going to use as a ladder, he began to climb up. A second shot hit him
in the shoulder. He fell mortally wounded, but even after a third
shot, which took him in the flank, his dying struggles lasted twenty
minutes, during which he tore at the roots of the fir-trees with his
terrific claws. The Baron did not care to waste any of his bullets,
now getting scarce, in putting out of his pain one of Cadi's
murderers. When finally the bear was dead, the Baron came down to take
possession of his cave, and at the same time of the bear's skin. On
penetrating into the cave, he found that the rascal had paid him out
in his own coin, and, in revenge for the Baron taking his cave, had
eaten his provisions. The Baron was quits in the end, however, as the
bear's carcase furnished him meat enough for several days. The Baron
cut off pounds of steak, which he salted and dried over the fire. The
useless remains he threw over the nearest precipice, so that they
should not attract wild beasts, to keep him awake all night with their
cries. Then, having made a huge fire in front of the entrance, which,
moreover, he barricaded with branches, he threw himself on his bed of
dry leaves to sleep the sleep of exhaustion.

Some time passed before the Baron's next encounter with a bear. He was
camping one night in a dense forest, sleeping, as usual, with one eye
and one ear open, and his weapon at hand, all ready loaded. His rest
was broken by the usual nightly sounds of the forest, of leaves
crunched and branches broken, showing that many of the inmates of the
woods were astir; but he did not let these usual sounds disturb him,
till he heard in the distance the hoarse and unmistakable cry of the
bear; then he thought it time to change the shot in his gun for
something more worthy of such a foe. This preparation made, he set off
at dawn on his day's march, which up to midday led him along the bank
of a large river. He thought no more of the blood-curdling howls of
the night, till suddenly he heard from a distance terror-stricken
cries. He put his ear to the ground, Indian fashion, to listen
better, and as the danger, whatever it was, seemed to be coming
nearer, he jumped into a thicket of wild cherry and willow trees, and
waited there in ambush, gun in hand. In a few minutes, a band of
Indians with their squaws appeared on the opposite bank of the river,
and straightway leaped into the water, like so many frogs jumping into
an undisturbed swamp. At first he thought he was being attacked, but
soon saw it was the Indians who were being pursued, and that they all,
men and women, were swimming for dear life; moreover, the women were
laden with their children, one, and sometimes two, being strapped to
their backs in a sort of cradle of birch bark. This additional weight
made them swim slower than the men, who soon reached the opposite
shore, and then took to their heels helter-skelter, except three, who
remained behind to encourage the women.

  [Illustration: {THE GRIZZLY}]

The Baron at first thought it was an attack of other Indians, and that
it would be prudent to beat a retreat, when suddenly the same terrible
cry that had kept him awake in the latter part of the night resounded
through the forest, and at the same time there appeared on a high bank
on the other shore a huge mass of a dirty grey colour, which hurled
itself downhill, plunged into the river, and began to swim across at a
terrific speed. It was a grizzly bear of tremendous size. So fast did
it swim, that in no time it had nearly caught up with the last of the
squaws, a young woman with twin babies at her back, whose cries, often
interrupted by the water getting into their mouths, would have melted
the heart of a stone. The three Indians who had remained on the bank
did their utmost to stop the bear by shooting their poisoned arrows at
it; but the distance was too great, and the huge animal came on so
fast that in another minute mother and children would be lost. The
Baron could not remain a spectator of so terrible a scene. He came out
of the thicket where he was hidden, and frightened the Indians almost
as much as if he had been another bear. Resting his gun on the trunk
of a tree, he fired at the distance of 125 yards, and hit the animal
right on the head. It dived several times, and the water all round was
dyed red with blood; but the wound was not mortal, and it continued on
its way, only more slowly. After urging the Indian, who seemed to be
the unhappy woman's husband, to go into the water to help her--for,
through terror and fatigue, she could no longer swim--the Baron took
deliberate aim again and fired. The second shot, like the first, hit
the bear on the head, but again without killing it. It stopped the
brute, however, long enough to let the poor woman get to shore, where
she fainted, and was carried away by the men to the forest, leaving
the Baron and the bear to fight out their duel alone. The Baron had
barely time to reload and climb to the top of one of the trees, when
the bear was already at the foot of it. So near was he when he stood
upright, that the Baron could feel his horrid breath. Up to then the
Baron thought that all bears could climb like squirrels; fortunately
for him he was mistaken. Expecting to be taken by storm, he fired
straight in the creature's face. The two balls took a different
course: one went through the jaw and came out by the neck, the other
went into the chest. The bear uttered a terrific roar, stiffened
itself in a last effort to reach him, and fell heavily on its back at
the foot of the tree. The Baron might have thought him dead had he not
already seen such wonderful resurrections on the part of bears; but
the four shots, though at first they dazed and troubled the beast,
seemed afterwards to act as spurs, and he rose furious and returned to
the charge. The Baron tried to use his revolver, but, finding it
impossible, he drew out his axe from his belt, and dealt a violent
blow at the bear's head, which nearly split it in two, and sent the
blood splashing in all directions. The bear again fell to the ground,
this time to rise no more. The Baron being now convinced that the
grizzly bear is no tree-climber, took his time to draw out his
revolver, to take aim and fire. The shot put out one of the bear's
eyes, the axe had already taken out the other. This finished him, but
his death struggles lasted twenty minutes, during which the tree was
nearly uprooted. When all was at an end the Baron came down; he cut
off the formidable claws, and broke off the teeth with an axe to make
a trophy in imitation of the Indians, and then proceeded to skin him
and cut him up. The Indians, who had been watching the combat at a
safe distance, now came back, enthusiastic. They surrounded them, the
victor and the vanquished, and danced a war-dance, singing impromptu
words. The Baron, seated on the bear's carcase, joined in the chorus;
but the Indians, not content with that, insisted on his joining in the
dance as well. The rejoicing over, the Baron divided among the twenty
Indians the flesh of the bear--about 15 lb. or 20 lb. fell to each.
The skin he kept to himself, and the claws, of which the Indians made
him a warrior's necklace, hanging it round his neck like an order of
knighthood.[3]

    [3] The young reader must no longer expect such adventures as the
    Baron de Wogan achieved.



_STORIES ABOUT ANTS_


If any one will watch an ant-hill on a fine day in April, he will see
the little inhabitants begin to rouse themselves from their winter's
sleep, which lasts from the month of October, with the red ant at all
events. Groups of them come out to the top of the ant-hill to warm and
thaw themselves in the rays of the sun. Some, more active and robust,
run in and out, waking up the lazy, hurrying the laggards, and rousing
all the little community to begin their summer habits. But this
activity does not last long; they are as yet only half awake, and
still numb and torpid from the winter's cold, and the little throng
increases or diminishes as the sun shines or disappears behind a
cloud. As two, half-past two, and three o'clock arrive, they have
nearly all disappeared inside the ant-heap, leaving only a few
warriors, of a larger make and tried courage, to watch over the
well-being of the little republic and to close up all openings with
tiny chips of wood, dry leaves, and shreds of moss, so as to hide the
entrances from human eye. Two or three sentinels wander round to see
that all is secure. And then they enter, and all is still.

If we come back again in about a week, we shall find the ants in the
middle of their regular migration to their summer quarters, not far
from their winter ones. This takes place, with the red ant, at all
events, with great regularity every April and October. The red ant is
beyond doubt a slave-owner; the slaves may be easily recognised from
their masters by being of a smaller make and light yellow colour. As
soon as the masters have fixed the day of their 'flitting,' they
begin probably to ensure the consent of the slaves by violently
seizing them, and rolling them into a ball, and then grasping them
firmly they set off towards the summer quarters at full gallop, if an
ant can be said to gallop. The master ant is in a great hurry to get
rid of his living burden; he goes straight ahead in spite of all
obstacles, avoiding all interruptions and delays, and as soon as he
arrives at the summer ant-heap, plunges in, deposits the slave all
breathless and terrified from his forced journey, and sets off back
for another.

Darwin, who closely studied the migrations of the ant, says that they
differ in their means of transport: one sort is carried by the slaves;
the other, our friend the red ant, scientifically called 'formica
sanguinea,' carries his property carefully in his mouth. It seems
strange to us that the master should carry the slave, but no stranger
than it would appear to the ants if they should begin to study our
habits, that some of us should sit in a carriage and be driven by the
coachman. The slave, once installed in his summer quarters, seldom
appears again before the autumn exodus, unless in the event of some
disturbance in the camp, or its invasion by some ants of a hostile
tribe, when the slaves take part in the defence and especially watch
over the young ones. The slaves seem to be carpenters and miners, and
warriors when necessary. They build the dwelling, repair it, of which
it has constant need, and defend it in case of attack with dauntless
courage. But their principal duties seem to be to take charge of the
development of the young, and to feed the masters--no small task, as
there seem to be ten masters to one slave, and they seem incapable of
eating unless fed. Experiments have been tried of removing the slaves
from them, and though sugar and every sort of tempting food is put
down beside them, they will starve rather than help themselves. In
fact, one wonders what the masters can be left for but to drive the
slaves, which they do with great ardour. A French gentleman who spent
years studying the habits of the ants, tried one day, by way of
experiment, to take a slave away from its master; he had great
difficulty in removing it from its bearer, who struggled furiously and
clung to its burden. When at last the slave was set free, instead of
profiting by its liberty, it turned round and round in a circle as if
dazed, then hid itself under a dead leaf. A master ant presently came
along, an animated conversation took place, and the slave ant was
seized upon and borne off again to bondage. The same gentleman another
day observed a slave ant venture out to the entrance to the ant-hill
to enjoy the warmth of the sun. A great master ant spied it and set to
with blows of its horns (antennæ they are called) to persuade it that
that was not its place. Finding the slave persisted in not
understanding, the master resorted to force, and seizing it by its
head, without taking the trouble to roll it up, as they are generally
carried, he hurled it into the ant-hill, where no doubt it received
the punishment it deserved.

If we came back to the ant-heap a week after our last visit, we should
find the migration finished if the weather has been fine; but ants,
especially after their first awaking, are extremely sensitive to wind
and rain, and only work well in fine weather. They are equally
affected by weather before a storm: even though the sun may be
shining, they will remain in the ant-heap with closed doors. If it is
shut before midday, the storm will burst before evening; if it is shut
before eight or nine in the morning, the rain will fall before noon.

All this time we have been speaking only of the red ant; but there are
any number of different kinds in Europe, not to mention the enormous
ants of the tropics, who march in such armies that the people fly
before them, deserting their villages. Different species differ
totally in their habits and ways of building and living. The greater
number of species live apart, and not in a community with an
elaborately constructed house like the red ant. The little black ant
is the commonest in this country, and the busiest and most active. She
is the first to awake, in March, sometimes in February, and the last
to sleep, sometimes not till November. Their instincts and habits of
activity, however, are apt to deceive them, and they get up too soon.
The French gentleman already mentioned observed an instance of the
kind. On February 24, after an unusually mild winter, the sun shone as
if it were already summer, and it was difficult to persuade oneself
that it was not, except that there were no leaves on the trees, no
birds singing in the branches, and no insects humming in the air.
First our friend went to examine the red-ant heap, which was closed as
usual, all the inhabitants being still plunged in their winter sleep.
The black ants, on the contrary, were all awake and lively, and seemed
persuaded that the fine weather had come to stay. Their instincts
deceived them, for that night it froze; rain, snow, and fog succeeded
each other in turn, and when next he visited the ant-heap he found
them lying in masses, stiff and dead, before the entrance to their
dwelling.

Between the red and black ants there is great enmity, and terrible
combats take place. When they fight they grasp each other like men
wrestling, and each tries to throw the other down, and break his back.
The conquered remain on the battlefield, nearly broken in two, and
feebly waving their paws, till they slowly expire in agonies. The
conqueror, on the other hand, carries away his dead to burial and his
wounded to the camp, and then, entering triumphantly himself, closes
the doors after him. The gentleman already quoted witnessed the
funeral of an ant. He had passed the ant-heap about a quarter of an
hour, and left, as he thought, all the inhabitants behind him, when he
saw what appeared to be an enormous red ant making for home. On
stooping to look more closely, he saw that it was one ant carrying
another. He succeeded in separating them from each other, and then
saw that the burden was neither a slave nor a prisoner, but a dead
comrade being carried back to the ant-heap for a decent burial; for if
ants fall into the hands of the enemy, they are subjected if alive to
the most cruel tortures and if dead to mutilations. Usually, when an
ant is relieved of anything it is carrying--whether it be a slave, a
wounded ant, or some eatable--it will set off at full speed and let
the burden be picked up by the next passing ant; but this one made no
attempt to run away, and only turned round and round in a perplexed
and irresolute way, till its dead friend was put down beside it, then
it seized its precious burden and set off homewards with it.
Travellers even tell that in Algeria there are ant cemeteries near the
ant-heaps.

No lover of animals doubts that they have a language of their own,
which we are too stupid or deaf to understand. Anyone who studies the
ways of the ants sees, beyond a doubt, that they too have a way of
communicating with each other. For instance, an ant was one day seen
at some distance from the ant-hill, and evidently in no hurry to go
back to it. In the middle of the path she perceived a large dead
snail. She began by going round and round it, then climbed on its
back, and walked all over it. Having satisfied herself that it was a
choice morsel, but too large for her to carry home alone, she set off
at once to seek help. On the way she met one of her companions; she
ran at once to her; they rubbed their antennæ together, and evidently
an animated conversation took place, for the second ant set off
immediately in the direction of the snail. The first one continued on
her way home, communicating with every ant she met in the same way; by
the time she disappeared inside the ant-heap, an endless file of busy
little ants were on their way to take their share of the spoil. In ten
minutes the snail was completely covered by the little throng, and by
the evening every trace of it had vanished.

Recent observations have proved that the time-honoured idea of the
ant storing up provision for the winter is a delusion, a delusion
which La Fontaine's famous fable, 'Le Fourmis et la Cigale,' has done
much to spread and confirm. It is now known, as we have already seen,
that ants sleep all winter, and that the food which we constantly see
them laden with is for immediate consumption in the camp. They eat all
kinds of insects--hornets and cockchafers are favourite dishes--but
the choicest morsel is a fine fat green caterpillar, caught alive.
They seize it, some by its head, some by its tail; it struggles, it
writhes, and sometimes succeeds in freeing itself from its enemies;
but they do not consider themselves beaten, and attack it again.
Little by little it becomes stupefied from the discharges of formic
acid the ants throw out from their bodies, and presently it succumbs
to their renewed forces. Finally, though the struggle may last an hour
or more, it is borne to the ant-heap and disappears, to be devoured by
the inmates. Perhaps these short 'Stories about Ants' may induce some
of you to follow the advice of the Preacher, and 'go to the ant'
yourselves for more.



_THE TAMING OF AN OTTER_

From Bingley's _British Quadrupeds_.


Otters used once to be very common in England in the neighbourhood of
rivers, and even in some instances of the sea, but in many places
where they once lived in great numbers they have now ceased to exist.
They destroy large quantities of fish, though they are so dainty that
they only care for the upper parts of the body. If the rivers are
frozen and no fish are to be had, they will eat poultry, or even
lambs; and if these are not to be found, they can get on quite well
for a long time on the bark of trees or on young branches.

Fierce though otters are when brought to bay, they can easily be tamed
if they are caught young enough. More than a hundred years ago the
monks of Autun, in France, found a baby otter only a few weeks old,
and took it back to the convent, and fed it upon milk for nearly two
months, when it was promoted to soup and fish and vegetables, the food
of the good monks. It was not very sociable with strange animals, but
it made great friends with a dog and cat who had known it from a baby,
and they would play together half the day. At night it had a bed in
one of the rooms, but in the day it always preferred a heap of straw
when it was tired of running about. Curious to say, this otter was not
at all fond of the water, and it was very seldom that it would go near
a basin of water that was always carefully left near its bed. When it
did, it was only to wash its face and front paws, after which it would
go for a run in the court-yard, or curl itself to sleep in the sun.
Indeed it seemed to have such an objection to water of all kinds, that
the monks wondered whether it knew how to swim. So one day, when they
were not so busy as usual, some of the brothers took it off to a
good-sized pond, and waited to see what it would do. The otter smelt
about cautiously for a little, and then, recognising that here was
something it had seen before, ducked its head and wetted its feet as
it did in the mornings. This did not satisfy the monks, who threw it
right in, upon which it instantly swam to the other shore, and came
round again to its friends.

All tame otters are not, however, as forgetful of the habits and
manners of their race as this one was, and in some parts they have
even been taught to fish for their masters instead of themselves.
Careful directions are given for their proper teaching, and a great
deal of patience is needful, because if an animal is once frightened
or made angry, there is not much hope of training it afterwards. To
begin with, it must be fed while it is very young on milk or soup, and
when it gets older, on bread and the heads of fishes, and it must get
its food from one person only, to whom it will soon get accustomed and
attached. The next step is to have a sort of leather bag made, stuffed
with wool and shaped like a fish, large enough for the animal to take
in its mouth. Finally, he must wear a collar formed on the principle
of a slip noose, which can tighten when a long string that is fastened
to it, is pulled. This is, of course, to teach the otter to drop the
fish after he has caught it.

The master then leads the otter slowly behind him, till by this means
he has learned how to follow, and then he has to be made to understand
the meanings of certain words and tones. So the man says to him, 'Come
here,' and pulls the cord; and after this has been repeated several
times, the otter gradually begins to connect the words with the
action. Then the string is dropped, and the otter trots up obediently
without it. After that, the sham fish is placed on the ground, and
the collar, which seems rather like a horse's bit, is pulled so as to
force the mouth open, while the master exclaims 'Take it!' and when
the otter is quite perfect in this (which most likely will not happen
for a long time) the collar is loosened, and he is told to 'drop it.'

Last of all, he is led down to a river with clear shallow water, where
a small dead fish is thrown in. This he catches at once, and then the
cord which has been fastened to his neck is gently pulled, and he
gives up his prize to his master. Then live fish are put in instead of
the dead one, and when they are killed, the otter is given the heads
as a reward.

Of course some masters have a special talent for teaching these
things, and some otters are specially apt pupils. This must have been
the case with the otter belonging to a Mr. Campbell who lived near
Inverness. It would sometimes catch eight or ten salmon in a day, and
never attempted to eat them; while a man in Sweden, called Nilsson,
and his family, lived entirely on the fish that was caught for them by
their otter. When he is in his wild state, the otter lives in holes in
the rocks, or among the roots of trees, though occasionally he has
been known to burrow under ground, having his door in the water, and
only a very tiny window opening landwards, so that he may not die of
suffocation.



_THE STORY OF ANDROCLES AND THE LION_


Many hundred years ago, there lived in the north of Africa a poor
Roman slave called Androcles. His master held great power and
authority in the country, but he was a hard, cruel man, and his slaves
led a very unhappy life. They had little to eat, had to work hard, and
were often punished and tortured if they failed to satisfy their
master's caprices. For long Androcles had borne with the hardships of
his life, but at last he could bear it no longer, and he made up his
mind to run away. He knew that it was a great risk, for he had no
friends in that foreign country with whom he could seek safety and
protection; and he was aware that if he was overtaken and caught he
would be put to a cruel death. But even death, he thought, would not
be so hard as the life he now led, and it was possible that he might
escape to the sea-coast, and somehow some day get back to Rome and
find a kinder master.

So he waited till the old moon had waned to a tiny gold thread in the
skies, and then, one dark night, he slipped out of his master's house,
and, creeping through the deserted forum and along the silent town, he
passed out of the city into the vineyards and corn-fields lying
outside the walls. In the cool night air he walked rapidly. From time
to time he was startled by the sudden barking of a dog, or the sound
of voices coming from some late revellers in the villas which stood
beside the road along which he hurried. But as he got further into the
country these sounds ceased, and there was silence and darkness all
round him. When the sun rose he had already gone many miles away from
the town in which he had been so miserable. But now a new terror
oppressed him--the terror of great loneliness. He had got into a wild,
barren country, where there was no sign of human habitation. A thick
growth of low trees and thorny mimosa bushes spread out before him,
and as he tried to thread his way through them he was severely
scratched, and his scant garments torn by the long thorns. Besides the
sun was very hot, and the trees were not high enough to afford him any
shade. He was worn out with hunger and fatigue, and he longed to lie
down and rest. But to lie down in that fierce sun would have meant
death, and he struggled on, hoping to find some wild berries to eat,
and some water to quench his thirst. But when he came out of the
scrub-wood, he found he was as badly off as before. A long, low line
of rocky cliffs rose before him, but there were no houses, and he saw
no hope of finding food. He was so tired that he could not wander
further, and seeing a cave which looked cool and dark in the side of
the cliffs, he crept into it, and, stretching his tired limbs on the
sandy floor, fell fast asleep.

Suddenly he was awakened by a noise that made his blood run cold. The
roar of a wild beast sounded in his ears, and as he started trembling
and in terror to his feet, he beheld a huge, tawny lion, with great
glistening white teeth, standing in the entrance of the cave. It was
impossible to fly, for the lion barred the way. Immovable with fear,
Androcles stood rooted to the spot, waiting for the lion to spring on
him and tear him limb from limb.

  [Illustration: ANDROCLES IN THE LION'S CAVE]

But the lion did not move. Making a low moan as if in great pain, it
stood licking its huge paw, from which Androcles now saw that blood
was flowing freely. Seeing the poor animal in such pain, and noticing
how gentle it seemed, Androcles forgot his own terror, and slowly
approached the lion, who held up its paw as if asking the man to help
it. Then Androcles saw that a monster thorn had entered the paw,
making a deep cut, and causing great pain and swelling. Swiftly but
firmly he drew the thorn out, and pressed the swelling to try to stop
the flowing of the blood. Relieved of the pain, the lion quietly lay
down at Androcles' feet, slowly moving his great bushy tail from side
to side as a dog does when it feels happy and comfortable.

From that moment Androcles and the lion became devoted friends. After
lying for a little while at his feet, licking the poor wounded paw,
the lion got up and limped out of the cave. A few minutes later it
returned with a little dead rabbit in its mouth, which it put down on
the floor of the cave beside Androcles. The poor man, who was starving
with hunger, cooked the rabbit somehow, and ate it. In the evening,
led by the lion, he found a place where there was a spring, at which
he quenched his dreadful thirst.

And so for three years Androcles and the lion lived together in the
cave; wandering about the woods together by day, sleeping together at
night. For in summer the cave was cooler than the woods, and in winter
it was warmer.

At last the longing in Androcles' heart to live once more with his
fellow-men became so great that he felt he could remain in the woods
no longer, but that he must return to a town, and take his chance of
being caught and killed as a runaway slave. And so one morning he left
the cave, and wandered away in the direction where he thought the sea
and the large towns lay. But in a few days he was captured by a band
of soldiers who were patrolling the country in search of fugitive
slaves, and he was put in chains and sent as a prisoner to Rome.

Here he was cast into prison and tried for the crime of having run
away from his master. He was condemned as a punishment to be torn to
pieces by wild beasts on the first public holiday, in the great circus
at Rome.

When the day arrived Androcles was brought out of his prison, dressed
in a simple, short tunic, and with a scarf round his right arm. He
was given a lance with which to defend himself--a forlorn hope, as he
knew that he had to fight with a powerful lion which had been kept
without food for some days to make it more savage and bloodthirsty. As
he stepped into the arena of the huge circus, above the sound of the
voices of thousands on thousands of spectators he could hear the
savage roar of the wild beasts from their cages below the floor on
which he stood.

Of a sudden the silence of expectation fell on the spectators, for a
signal had been given, and the cage containing the lion with which
Androcles had to fight had been shot up into the arena from the floor
below. A moment later, with a fierce spring and a savage roar, the
great animal had sprung out of its cage into the arena, and with a
bound had rushed at the spot where Androcles stood trembling. But
suddenly, as he saw Androcles, the lion stood still, wondering. Then
quickly but quietly it approached him, and gently moved its tail and
licked the man's hands, and fawned upon him like a great dog. And
Androcles patted the lion's head, and gave a sob of recognition, for
he knew that it was his own lion, with whom he had lived and lodged
all those months and years.

And, seeing this strange and wonderful meeting between the man and the
wild beast, all the people marvelled, and the emperor, from his high
seat above the arena, sent for Androcles, and bade him tell his story
and explain this mystery. And the emperor was so delighted with the
story that he said Androcles was to be released and to be made a free
man from that hour. And he rewarded him with money, and ordered that
the lion was to belong to him, and to accompany him wherever he went.

And when the people in Rome met Androcles walking, followed by his
faithful lion, they used to point at them and say, 'That is the lion,
the guest of the man, and that is the man, the doctor of the lion.'[4]

    [4] Apparently this nice lion did not bite anybody, when he took
    his walks abroad. Or, possibly, he was muzzled.--Ed.

  [Illustration: ANDROCLES IN THE ARENA]



_MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS_


I

Most people have heard of Alexandre Dumas, the great French novelist
who wrote 'The Three Musketeers' and many other delightful historical
romances. Besides being a great novelist, M. Dumas was a most kind and
generous man--kind both to human beings and to animals. He had a great
many pets, of which he gives us the history in one of his books. Here
are some of the stories about them in his own words.

I was living, he says, at Monte Cristo (this was the name of his villa
at St.-Germains); I lived there alone, except for the visitors I
received. I love solitude, for solitude is necessary to anyone who
works much. However, I do not like complete loneliness; what I love is
that of the Garden of Eden, a solitude peopled with animals.
Therefore, in my wilderness at Monte Cristo, without being quite like
Adam in every way, I had a kind of small earthly paradise.

This is the list of my animals. I had a number of dogs, of which the
chief was Pritchard. I had a vulture named Diogenes; three monkeys,
one of which bore the name of a celebrated translator, another that of
a famous novelist, and the third, which was a female, that of a
charming actress. We will call the writer Potich, the novelist the
Last of the Laidmanoirs, and the lady Mademoiselle Desgarcins. I had a
great blue and yellow macaw called Buvat, a green and yellow parroquet
called Papa Everard, a cat called Mysouff, a golden pheasant called
Lucullus, and finally, a cock called Cæsar. Let us give honour where
honour is due, and begin with the history of Pritchard.

I had an acquaintance named M. Lerat, who having heard me say I had no
dog to take out shooting, said, 'Ah! how glad I am to be able to give
you something you will really like! A friend of mine who lives in
Scotland has sent me a pointer of the very best breed. I will give him
to you. Bring Pritchard,' he added to his two little girls.

How could I refuse a present offered so cordially? Pritchard was
brought in.

He was an odd-looking dog to be called a pointer! He was long-haired,
grey and white, with ears nearly erect, mustard-coloured eyes, and a
beautifully feathered tail. Except for the tail, he could scarcely be
called a handsome dog.

M. Lerat seemed even more delighted to give the present than I was to
receive it, which showed what a good heart he had.

'The children call the dog Pritchard,' he said; 'but if you don't like
the name, call him what you please.'

I had no objection to the name; my opinion was that if anyone had
cause to complain, it was the dog himself. Pritchard, therefore,
continued to be called Pritchard. He was at this time about nine or
ten months old, and ought to begin his education, so I sent him to a
gamekeeper named Vatrin to learn his duties. But, two hours after I
had sent Pritchard to Vatrin, he was back again at my house. He was
not made welcome; on the contrary, he received a good beating from
Michel, who was my gardener, porter, butler, and confidential servant
all in one, and who took Pritchard back to Vatrin. Vatrin was
astonished; Pritchard had been shut up with the other dogs in the
kennel, and he must have jumped over the enclosure, which was a high
one. Early the next morning, when the housemaid had opened my front
door, there was Pritchard sitting outside. Michel again beat the dog,
and again took him back to Vatrin, who this time put a collar round
his neck and chained him up. Michel came back and informed me of this
severe but necessary measure. Vatrin sent a message to say that I
should not see Pritchard again until his education was finished. The
next day, while I was writing in a little summer-house in my garden, I
heard a furious barking. It was Pritchard fighting with a great
Pyrenean sheepdog which another of my friends had just given me. This
dog was named Mouton, because of his white woolly hair like a sheep's,
not on account of his disposition, which was remarkably savage.
Pritchard was rescued by Michel from Mouton's enormous jaws, once more
beaten, and for the third time taken back to Vatrin. Pritchard, it
appears, had eaten his collar, though how he managed it Vatrin never
knew. He was now shut up in a shed, and unless he ate the walls or the
door, he could not possibly get out. He tried both, and finding the
door the more digestible, he ate the door; and the next day at
dinner-time, Pritchard walked into the dining-room wagging his plumy
tail, his yellow eyes shining with satisfaction. This time Pritchard
was neither beaten nor taken back; we waited till Vatrin should come
to hold a council of war as to what was to be done with him. The next
day Vatrin appeared.

'Did you _ever_ see such a rascal?' he began. Vatrin was so excited
that he had forgotten to say 'Good morning' or 'How do you do?'

'I tell you,' said he, 'that rascal Pritchard puts me in such a rage
that I have crunched the stem of my pipe three times between my teeth
and broken it, and my wife has had to tie it up with string. He'll
ruin me in pipes, that brute--that vagabond!'

'Pritchard, do you hear what is said about you?' said I.

Pritchard heard, but perhaps did not think it mattered much about
Vatrin's pipes, for he only looked at me affectionately and beat upon
the ground with his tail.

'I don't know what to do with him,' said Vatrin. 'If I keep him he'll
eat holes in the house, I suppose; yet I don't like to give him
up--he's only a dog. It's humiliating for a man, don't you know?'

'I'll tell you what, Vatrin,' said I. 'We will take him down to
Vésinet, and go for a walk through your preserves, and then we shall
see whether it is worth while to take any more trouble with this
vagabond, as you call him.'

'I call him by his name. It oughtn't to be Pritchard; it should be
Bluebeard, it should be Blunderbore, it should be Judas Iscariot!'

Vatrin enumerated all the greatest villains he could think of at the
moment.

I called Michel.

'Michel, give me my shooting shoes and gaiters; we will go to Vésinet
to see what Pritchard can do.'

'You will see, sir,' said Michel, 'that you will be better pleased
than you think.' For Michel always had a liking for Pritchard.

We went down a steep hill to Vésinet, Michel following with Pritchard
on a leash. At the steepest place I turned round. 'Look there upon the
bridge in front of us, Michel,' I said, 'there is a dog very like
Pritchard.' Michel looked behind him. There was nothing but the
leather straps in his hand; Pritchard had cut it through with his
teeth, and was now standing on the bridge amusing himself by looking
at the water through the railing.

'He _is_ a vagabond!' said Vatrin. 'Look! where is he off to now?'

'He has gone,' said I, 'to see what my neighbour Corrège has got for
luncheon.' Sure enough, the next moment Pritchard was seen coming out
of M. Corrège's back door, pursued by a maid servant with a broom. He
had a veal cutlet in his mouth, which he had just taken out of the
frying-pan.

'Monsieur Dumas!' cried the maid, 'Monsieur Dumas! stop your dog!'

We tried; but Pritchard passed between Michel and me like a flash of
lightning.

'It seems,' said Michel, 'that he likes his veal underdone.'

'My good woman,' I said to the cook, who was still pursuing Pritchard,
'I fear that you are losing time, and that you will never see your
cutlet again.'

'Well, then, let me tell you, sir, that you have no right to keep and
feed a thief like that.'

'It is you, my good woman, who are feeding him to-day, not I.'

'Me!' said the cook, 'it's--it's M. Corrège. And what will M. Corrège
say, I should like to know?'

'He will say, like Michel, that it seems Pritchard likes his veal
underdone.'

'Well, but he'll not be pleased--he will think it's my fault.'

'Never mind, I will invite your master to luncheon with me.'

'All the same, if your dog goes on like that, he will come to a bad
end. That is all I have to say--he will come to a bad end.' And she
stretched out her broom in an attitude of malediction towards the spot
where Pritchard had disappeared.

We three stood looking at one another. 'Well,' said I, 'we have lost
Pritchard.'

'We'll soon find him,' said Michel.

We therefore set off to find Pritchard, whistling and calling to him,
as we walked on towards Vatrin's shooting ground. This search lasted
for a good half-hour, Pritchard not taking the slightest notice of our
appeals. At last Michel stopped.

'Sir,' he said, 'look there! Just come and look.'

'Well, what?' said I, going to him.

'Look!' said Michel, pointing. I followed the direction of Michel's
finger, and saw Pritchard in a perfectly immovable attitude, as rigid
as if carved in stone.

'Vatrin,' said I, 'come here.' Vatrin came. I showed him Pritchard.

'I think he is making a point,' said Vatrin. Michel thought so too.

'But what is he pointing at?' I asked. We cautiously came nearer to
Pritchard, who never stirred.

'He certainly is pointing,' said Vatrin. Then making a sign to
me--'Look there!' he said. 'Do you see anything?'

'Nothing.'

'What! you don't see a rabbit sitting? If I only had my stick, I'd
knock it on the head, and it would make a nice stew for your dinner.'

'Oh!' said Michel, 'if that's all, I'll cut you a stick.'

'Well, but Pritchard might leave off pointing.'

'No fear of him--I'll answer for him--unless, indeed, the rabbit goes
away.'

Vatrin proceeded to cut a stick. Pritchard never moved, only from time
to time he turned his yellow eyes upon us, which shone like a topaz.

'Have patience,' said Michel. 'Can't you see that M. Vatrin is cutting
a stick?' And Pritchard seemed to understand as he turned his eye on
Vatrin.

'You have still time to take off the branches,' said Michel.

When the branches were taken off and the stick was quite finished,
Vatrin approached cautiously, took a good aim, and struck with all his
might into the middle of the tuft of grass where the rabbit was
sitting. He had killed it!

Pritchard darted in upon the rabbit, but Vatrin took it from him, and
Michel slipped it into the lining of his coat. This pocket had
already held a good many rabbits in its time!

Vatrin turned to congratulate Pritchard, but he had disappeared.

'He's off to find another rabbit,' said Michel.

And accordingly, after ten minutes or so, we came upon Pritchard
making another point. This time Vatrin had a stick ready cut; and
after a minute, plunging his hands into a brier bush, he pulled out by
the ears a second rabbit.

'There, Michel,' he said, 'put that into your other pocket.'

'Oh,' said Michel, 'there's room for five more in this one.'

'Hallo, Michel! people don't say those things before a magistrate.'
And turning to Vatrin I added, 'Let us try once more, Vatrin--the
number three is approved by the gods.'

'May be,' said Vatrin, 'but perhaps it won't be approved by M.
Guérin.'

M. Guérin was the police inspector.

Next time we came upon Pritchard pointing, Vatrin said, 'I wonder how
long he would stay like that;' and he pulled out his watch.

'Well, Vatrin,' said I, 'you shall try the experiment, as it is in
your own vocation; but I am afraid I have not the time to spare.'

Michel and I then returned home. Vatrin followed with Pritchard an
hour afterwards.

'Five-and-twenty minutes!' he called out as soon as he was within
hearing. 'And if the rabbit had not gone away, the dog would have been
there now.'

'Well, Vatrin, what do you think of him?'

'Why, I say he is a good pointer; he has only to learn to retrieve,
and that you can teach him yourself. I need not keep him any longer.'

'Do you hear, Michel?'

'Oh, sir,' said Michel, 'he can do that already. He retrieves like an
angel!'

This failed to convey to me an exact idea of the way in which
Pritchard retrieved. But Michel threw a handkerchief, and Pritchard
brought it back. He then threw one of the rabbits that Vatrin carried,
and Pritchard brought back the rabbit. Michel then fetched an egg and
placed it on the ground. Pritchard retrieved the egg as he had done
the rabbit and the handkerchief.

'Well,' said Vatrin, 'the animal knows all that human skill can teach
him. He wants nothing now but practice. And when one thinks,' he
added, 'that if the rascal would only come in to heel, he would be
worth twenty pounds if he was worth a penny.'

'True,' said I with a sigh, 'but you may give up hope, Vatrin; that is
a thing he will never consent to.'


II

I think that the time has now come to tell my readers a little about
Mademoiselle Desgarcins, Potich, and the Last of the Laidmanoirs.
Mademoiselle Desgarcins was a tiny monkey; I do not know the place of
her birth, but I brought her from Havre, where I had gone--I don't
know why--perhaps to look at the sea. But I thought I must bring
something home with me from Havre. I was walking there on the quay,
when at the door of a bird-fancier's shop I saw a green monkey and a
blue and yellow macaw. The monkey put its paw through the bars of its
cage and caught hold of my coat, while the blue parrot turned its head
and looked at me in such an affectionate manner that I stopped,
holding the monkey's paw with one hand, and scratching the parrot's
head with the other. The little monkey gently drew my hand within
reach of her mouth, the parrot half shut its eyes and made a little
purring noise to express its pleasure.

  [Illustration: 'MONSIEUR DUMAS, MAY I ACCOMMODATE YOU WITH MY MONKEY
    AND MY PARROT?']

'Monsieur Dumas,' said the shopman, coming out with the air of a man
who was more decided to sell than I was to buy; 'Monsieur Dumas, may I
accommodate you with my monkey and my parrot?' It would have been
more to the purpose if he had said, 'Monsieur Dumas, may I _incommode_
you with my monkey and my parrot?' However, after a little bargaining,
I bought both animals, as well as a cage for the monkey and a perch
for the parrot; and as soon as I arrived at home, I introduced them to
Michel.

'This,' said Michel, 'is the green monkey of Senegal--_Cercopithecus
sabæa_.'

I looked at Michel in the greatest astonishment. 'Do you know Latin,
Michel?'

'I don't know Latin, but I know my "Dictionary of Natural History."'

'Oh, indeed! And do you know what bird this is?' I asked, showing him
the parrot.

'To be sure I know it,' said Michel. 'It is the blue and yellow
macaw--_Macrocercus arararanna_. Oh, sir, why did you not bring a
female as well as a male?'

'What is the use, Michel, since parrots will not breed in this
country?'

'There you make a mistake, sir; the blue macaw will breed in France.'

'In the south, perhaps?'

'It need not be in the south, sir.'

'Where then?'

'At Caen.'

'At Caen? I did not know Caen had a climate which permits parrots to
rear their young. Go and fetch my gazetteer.'

'You will soon see,' said Michel as he brought it. I read: 'Caen,
capital of the department of Calvados, upon the Orne and the Odon: 223
kilomètres west of Paris, 41,806 inhabitants.'

'You will see,' said Michel, 'the parrots are coming.'

'Great trade in plaster, salt, wood--taken by English in 1346--retaken
by the French &c., &c.--never mind the date--That is all, Michel.'

'What! Your dictionary never says that the arararanna, otherwise
called the blue macaw, produces young at Caen?'

'No, Michel, it does not say that here.'

'What a dictionary! Just wait till I fetch you mine and you will see.'

Michel returned in a few minutes with his book of Natural History.

'You will soon see, sir,' he said, opening his dictionary in his turn.
'Parrot--here it is--parrots are monogamous.'

'As you know Latin, Michel, of course you know what monogamous means.'

'That means that they can sing scales--gamut, I suppose?'

'Well, no, Michel, not exactly. It means that they have only one
"wife."'

'Indeed, sir? That is because they talk like us most likely. Now, I
have found the place: "It was long believed that parrots were
incapable of breeding in Europe, but the contrary has been proved on a
pair of blue macaws which lived at Caen. M. Lamouroux furnishes the
details of these results."'

'Let us hear the details which M. Lamouroux furnishes.'

'"These macaws, from March 1818 until August 1822, including a period
of four years and a half, laid, in all, sixty-two eggs."'

'Michel, I never said they did not lay eggs; what I said was--'

'"Out of this number,"' continued Michel in a loud voice,
'"twenty-five young macaws were hatched, of which only ten died. The
others lived and continued perfectly healthy."'

'Michel, I confess to having entertained false ideas on the subject of
macaws.'

'"They laid at all seasons of the year,"' continued Michel, '"and more
eggs were hatched in the latter than in the former years."'

'Michel, I have no more to say.'

'"The number of eggs in the nest varied. There have been as many as
six at a time."'

'Michel, I yield, rescue or no rescue!'

'Only,' said Michel, shutting the book, 'you must be careful not to
give them bitter almonds or parsley.'

'Not bitter almonds,' I answered, 'because they contain prussic acid;
but why not parsley?'

Michel, who had kept his thumb in the page, reopened the book.
'"Parsley and bitter almonds,"' he read, '"are a violent poison to
parrots."'

'All right, Michel, I shall remember.'

I remembered so well, that some time after, hearing that M. Persil had
died suddenly (persil being the French for parsley), I exclaimed, much
shocked: 'Ah! poor man, how unfortunate! He must have been eating
parrot!' However, the news was afterwards contradicted.

The next day I desired Michel to tell the carpenter to make a new cage
for Mademoiselle Desgarcins, who would certainly die of cramp if left
in her small travelling cage. But Michel, with a solemn face, said it
was unnecessary. 'For,' said he, 'I am sorry to tell you, sir, that a
misfortune has happened. A weasel has killed the golden pheasant. You
will, however, have it for your dinner to-day.'

I did not refuse, though the prospect of this repast caused me no
great pleasure. I am very fond of game, but somehow prefer pheasants
which have been shot to those killed by weasels.

'Then,' said I, 'if the cage is empty, let us put in the monkey.' We
brought the little cage close to the big cage, and opened both doors.
The monkey sprang into her new abode, bounded from perch to perch, and
then came and looked at me through the bars, making grimaces and
uttering plaintive cries.

'She is unhappy without a companion,' said Michel.

'Suppose we give her the parrot?'

'You know that little boy, an Auvergnat, who comes here with his
monkey asking for pennies. If I were you, sir, I would buy that
monkey.'

'And why that monkey rather than another?'

'He has been so well educated and is so gentle. He has a cap with a
feather, and he takes it off when you give him a nut or a bit of
sugar.'

  [Illustration: {THE AUVERGNAT AND HIS MONKEY}]

'Can he do anything else?'

'He can fight a duel.'

'Is that all?'

'No, he can also catch fleas on his master.'

'But, Michel, do you think that that youth would part with so useful
an animal?'

'We can but ask him, and there he is at this moment!' And he called
to the boy to come in. The monkey was sitting on a box which the
little boy carried on his back, and when his master took off his cap,
the monkey did the same. It had a nice gentle little face, and I
remarked to Michel that it was very like a well-known translator of my
acquaintance.

'If I have the happiness to become the owner of this charming animal,'
I continued, 'we will call it Potich.' And giving Michel forty francs,
I left him to make his bargain with the little Auvergnat.


III

I had not entered my study since my return from Havre, and there is
always a pleasure in coming home again after an absence. I was glad to
come back, and looked about me with a pleased smile, feeling sure that
the furniture and ornaments of the room, if they could speak, would
say they were glad to see me again. As I glanced from one familiar
object to another, I saw, upon a seat by the fire, a thing like a
black and white muff, which I had never seen before. When I came
closer, I saw that the muff was a little cat, curled up, half asleep,
and purring loudly. I called the cook, whose name was Madame Lamarque.
She came in after a minute or two.

'So sorry to have kept you waiting, but you see, sir, I was making a
white sauce, and you, who can cook yourself, know how quickly those
sauces curdle if you are not looking after them.'

'Yes, I know that, Madame Lamarque; but what I do not know is, where
this new guest of mine comes from.' And I pointed to the cat.

'Ah, sir!' said Madame Lamarque in a sentimental tone, 'that is an
antony.'

'An antony, Madame Lamarque! What is that?'

'In other words, an orphan--a foundling, sir.'

'Poor little beast!'

'I felt sure that would interest you, sir.'

'And where did you find it, Madame Lamarque?'

'In the cellar--I heard a little cry--miaow, miaow, miaow! and I said
to myself, "That _must_ be a cat!"'

'No! did you actually say that?'

'Yes, and I went down myself, sir, and found the poor little thing
behind the sticks. Then I recollected how you had once said, "We ought
to have a cat in the house."'

'Did I say so? I think you are making a mistake, Madame Lamarque.'

'Indeed, sir, you did say so. Then I said to myself, "Providence has
sent us the cat which my master wishes for." And now there is one
question I must ask you, sir. What shall we call the cat?'

'We will call it Mysouff, if you have no objection. And please be
careful, Madame Lamarque, that it does not eat my quails and
turtle-doves, or any of my little foreign birds.'

'If M. Dumas is afraid of that,' said Michel, coming in, 'there is a
method of preventing cats from eating birds.'

'And what is the method, my good friend?'

'You have a bird in a cage. Very well. You cover three sides of the
cage, you make a gridiron red-hot, you put it against the uncovered
side of the cage, you let out the cat, and you leave the room. The
cat, when it makes its spring, jumps against the hot gridiron. The
hotter the gridiron is the better the cat is afterwards.'

'Thank you, Michel. And what of the troubadour and his monkey?'

'To be sure; I was coming to tell you about that. It is all right,
sir; you are to have Potich for forty francs, only you must give the
boy two white mice and a guinea-pig in return.'

'But where am I to find two white mice and a guinea-pig?'

'If you will leave the commission to me, I will see that they are
found.'

I left the commission to Michel.

'If you won't think me impertinent, sir,' said Madame Lamarque, 'I
should so like to know what _Mysouff_ means.'

'Mysouff just means Mysouff, Madame Lamarque.'

'It is a cat's name, then?'

'Certainly, since Mysouff the First was so-called. It is true, Madame
Lamarque, you never knew Mysouff.' And I became so thoughtful that
Madame Lamarque was kind enough to withdraw quietly, without asking
any questions about Mysouff the First.

That name had taken me back to fifteen years ago, when my mother was
still living. I had then the great happiness of having a mother to
scold me sometimes. At the time I speak of, I had a situation in the
service of the Duc d'Orléans, with a salary of 1,500 francs. My work
occupied me from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon. We
had a cat in those days whose name was Mysouff. This cat had missed
his vocation--he ought to have been a dog. Every morning I started for
my office at half-past nine, and came back every evening at half-past
five. Every morning Mysouff followed me to the corner of a particular
street, and every evening I found him in the same street, at the same
corner, waiting for me. Now the curious thing was that on the days
when I had found some amusement elsewhere, and was not coming home to
dinner, it was no use to open the door for Mysouff to go and meet
me.[5] Mysouff, in the attitude of the serpent with its tail in its
mouth, refused to stir from his cushion. On the other hand, the days I
did come, Mysouff would scratch at the door until someone opened it
for him. My mother was very fond of Mysouff; she used to call him her
barometer.

    [5] A remarkable instance of telepathy in the Cat.--A. L.

'Mysouff marks my good and my bad weather,' my dear mother would say;
'the days you come in are my days of sunshine; my rainy days are when
you stay away.'

When I came home, I used to see Mysouff at the street corner, sitting
quite still and gazing into the distance. As soon as he caught sight
of me, he began to move his tail; then as I drew nearer, he rose and
walked backwards and forwards across the pavement with his back arched
and his tail in the air. When I reached him, he jumped up upon me as a
dog would have done, and bounded and played round me as I walked
towards the house; but when I was close to it he dashed in at full
speed. Two seconds after, I used to see my mother at the door.

Never again in this world, but in the next perhaps, I shall see her
standing waiting for me at the door.

That is what I was thinking of, dear readers, when the name of Mysouff
brought back all these recollections; so you understand why I did not
answer Madame Lamarque's questions.

Henceforth Mysouff II. enjoyed the same privileges that Mysouff I. had
done, although, as will be seen later, he was not distinguished by
similar virtues, but was, in fact, a very different sort of cat.


IV

The following Sunday, when my son Alexandre and one or two intimate
friends were assembled in my room, a second Auvergnat boy, with a
second monkey, demanded admittance, and said that a friend having told
him that M. Dumas had bought his monkey for forty francs, two white
mice, and a guinea-pig, he was prepared to offer his for the same
price. My friends urged me to buy the second monkey.

'Do buy this charming creature,' said my artist friend Giraud.

'Yes, do buy this ridiculous little beast,' said Alexandre.

'Buy him, indeed,' said I; 'have I forty francs to give away every
day, to say nothing of a guinea-pig and two white mice?'

'Gentlemen,' said Alexandre, 'I am sorry to tell you that my father
is, without exception, the most avaricious man living.'

My guests exclaimed, but Alexandre said that one day he would prove
the truth of his assertion. I was now called upon to admire the
monkey, and to remark how like he was to a friend of ours. Giraud, who
was painting a portrait of this gentleman, said that if I would let
the monkey sit to him, it would help him very much in his work, and
Maquet, another of my guests, offered, amidst general applause, to
make me a present of it.[6] This decided me.

    [6] Maquet. The immortal Augustus MacKeat.

'You see,' said Alexandre, 'he accepts.'

'Come, young man,' said I to the Auvergnat, 'embrace your monkey for
the last time, and if you have any tears to shed, shed them without
delay.'

When the full price was paid, the boy made an attempt to do as I told
him, but the Last of the Laidmanoirs refused to be embraced by his
former master, and as soon as the latter had gone away, he seemed
delighted and began to dance, while Mademoiselle Desgarcins in her
cage danced, too, with all her might.

'Look!' said Maquet, 'they like each other. Let us complete the
happiness of these interesting animals.'

We shut them up in the cage together, to the great delight of
Mademoiselle Desgarcins, who did not care for Potich, and much
preferred her new admirer. Potich, indeed, showed signs of jealousy,
but, not being armed with the sword which he used to have when he
fought duels, he could not wash out his affronts in the blood of his
rival, but became a prey to silent melancholy and wounded affection.

While we were still looking at the monkeys, a servant came in bringing
a tray with wine and seltzer water.

'I say,' said Alexandre, 'let us make Mademoiselle Desgarcins open the
seltzer-water bottle!' and he put the bottle inside the cage on the
floor. No sooner had he done so, than all three monkeys surrounded it
and looked at it with the greatest curiosity. Mademoiselle Desgarcins
was the first to understand that something would happen if she undid
the four crossed wires which held down the cork. She accordingly set
to work, first with her fingers, and then with her teeth, and it was
not long before she undid the first three. She next attacked the
fourth, while the whole company, both men and monkeys, watched her
proceedings with breathless attention. Presently a frightful explosion
was heard: Mademoiselle Desgarcins was knocked over by the cork and
drenched with seltzer water, while Potich and the Last of the
Laidmanoirs fled to the top of their cage, uttering piercing cries.

'Oh!' cried Alexandre, 'I'll give my share of seltzer water to see her
open another bottle!' Mademoiselle Desgarcins had got up, shaken
herself, and gone to rejoin her companions, who were still howling
lamentably.

'You don't suppose she'll let herself be caught a second time,' said
Giraud.

'Do you know,' said Maquet, 'I should not wonder if she would. I
believe her curiosity would still be stronger than her fear.'

'Monkeys,' said Michel, who had come in on hearing their cries, 'are
more obstinate than mules. The more seltzer-water bottles you give
them, the more they will uncork.'

'Do you think so, Michel?'

'You know, of course, how they catch them in their own country.'

'No, Michel.'

'What! you don't know _that_, gentlemen?' said Michel, full of
compassion for our ignorance. 'You know that monkeys are very fond of
Indian corn. Well, you put some Indian corn into a bottle, the neck of
which is just large enough to admit a monkey's paw. He sees the Indian
corn through the glass----'

'Well, Michel?'

'He puts his hand inside, and takes a good handful of the Indian corn.
At that moment the hunter shows himself. They are so obstinate--the
monkeys, I mean--that they won't let go what they have in their hand,
but as they can't draw their closed fist through the opening, there
they are, you see, caught.'

'Well, then, Michel, if ever our monkeys get out, you will know how to
catch them again.'

'Oh! no fear, sir, that is just what I shall do.'

The seltzer-water experiment was successfully repeated, to the triumph
of Michel and the delight of Alexandre, who wished to go on doing it;
but I forbade him, seeing that poor Mademoiselle Desgarcins' nose was
bleeding from the blow of the cork.

'It is not that,' said Alexandre; 'it is because you grudge your
seltzer water. I have already remarked, gentlemen, that my father is,
I regret to say, an exceedingly avaricious man.'


V

It is now my painful duty to give my readers some account of the
infamous conduct of Mysouff II. One morning, on waking rather late, I
saw my bedroom door gently opened, and the head of Michel thrust in,
wearing such a concerned expression that I knew at once that something
was wrong.

'What has happened, Michel?'

'Why, sir, those villains of monkeys have managed to twist a bar of
their cage, I don't know how, until they have made a great hole, and
now they have escaped.'

'Well--but, Michel, we foresaw that that might occur, and now you have
only to buy your Indian corn, and procure three bottles the right
size.'

'Ah! you are laughing, sir,' said Michel, reproachfully, 'but you
won't laugh when you know all. They have opened the door of the
aviary----'

'And so my birds have flown away?'

'Sir, your six pairs of turtle doves, your fourteen quails, and all
your little foreign birds, are eaten up!'[7]

    [7] Let the reader compare the conduct of Mr. Gully, later!

'But monkeys won't eat birds!'

'No, but Master Mysouff will, and he has done it!'

'The deuce he has! I must see for myself.'

'Yes, go yourself, sir; you will see a sight--a field of battle--a
massacre of St. Bartholomew!'

As I was coming out, Michel stopped me to point to Potich, who had
hung himself by the tail to the branch of a maple, and was swinging
gracefully to and fro. Mademoiselle Desgarcins was bounding gaily
about in the aviary, while the Last of the Laidmanoirs was practising
gymnastics on the top of the greenhouse. 'Well, Michel, we must catch
them. I will manage the Last of the Laidmanoirs if you will get hold
of Mademoiselle Desgarcins. As to poor little Potich, he will come of
his own accord.'

'I wouldn't trust him, sir; he is a hypocrite. He has made it up with
the other one--just think of that!'

'What! he has made friends with his rival in the affections of
Mademoiselle Desgarcins?'

'Just so, sir.'

'That is sad indeed, Michel; I thought only human beings could be
guilty of so mean an action.'

'You see, sir, these monkeys have frequented the society of human
beings.'

  [Illustration: {THE LAST OF THE LAIDMANOIRS AND MADEMOISELLE
    DESGARCINS}]

I now advanced upon the Last of the Laidmanoirs with so much
precaution that I contrived to shut him into the greenhouse, where he
retreated into a corner and prepared to defend himself, while Potich,
from the outside, encouraged his friend by making horrible faces at me
through the glass. At this moment piercing shrieks were heard from
Mademoiselle Desgarcins; Michel had just caught her. These cries so
enraged the Last of the Laidmanoirs that he dashed out upon me; but I
parried his attack with the palm of my hand; with which he came in
contact so forcibly that he lost breath for a minute, and I then
picked him up by the scruff of the neck.

'Have you caught Mademoiselle Desgarcins?' I shouted to Michel.

'Have you caught the Last of the Laidmanoirs?' returned he.

'Yes!' we both replied in turn. And each bearing his prisoner, we
returned to the cage, which had in the meantime been mended, and shut
them up once more, whilst Potich, with loud lamentations, fled to the
top of the highest tree in the garden. No sooner, however, did he find
that his two companions were unable to get out of their cage, than he
came down from his tree, approached Michel in a timid and sidelong
manner, and with clasped hands and little plaintive cries, entreated
to be shut up again with his friends.

'Just see what a hypocrite he is!' said Michel.

But I was of opinion that the conduct of Potich was prompted by
devotion rather than hypocrisy; I compared it to that of Regulus, who
returned to Carthage to keep his promised word, or to King John of
France, who voluntarily gave himself up to the English for the
Countess of Salisbury's sake.

Michel continued to think Potich a hypocrite, but on account of his
repentance he was forgiven. He was put back into the cage, where
Mademoiselle Desgarcins took very little notice of him.

All this time Mysouff, having been forgotten, calmly remained in the
aviary, and continued to crunch the bones of his victims with the most
hardened indifference. It was easy enough to catch _him_. We shut him
into the aviary, and held a council as to what should be his
punishment. Michel was of opinion that he should be shot forthwith. I
was, however, opposed to his immediate execution, and resolved to wait
until the following Sunday, and then to cause Mysouff to be formally
tried by my assembled friends. The condemnation was therefore
postponed. In the meantime Mysouff remained a prisoner in the very
spot where his crimes had been committed. He continued, however, to
refresh himself with the remains of his victims without apparent
remorse, but Michel removed all the bodies, and confined him to a diet
of bread and water.

Next Sunday, having convoked a council of all my friends, the trial
was proceeded with. Michel was appointed Chief Justice and Nogent
Saint-Laurent was counsel for the prisoner. I may remark that the jury
were inclined to find a verdict of guilty, and after the first speech
of the Judge, the capital sentence seemed almost certain. But the
skilful advocate, in a long and eloquent speech, brought clearly
before us the innocence of Mysouff, the malice of the monkeys, their
quickness and incessant activity compared with the less inventive
minds of cats. He showed us that Mysouff was incapable of
contemplating such a crime; he described him wrapped in peaceful
sleep, then, suddenly aroused from this innocent slumber by the
abandoned creatures who, living as they did opposite the aviary, had
doubtless long harboured their diabolical designs. We saw Mysouff but
half awake, still purring innocently, stretching himself, opening his
pink mouth, from which protruded a tongue like that of a heraldic
lion. He shakes his ears, a proof that he rejects the infamous
proposal that is being made to him; he listens; at first he
refuses--the advocate insisted that the prisoner had begun by
refusing--then, naturally yielding, hardly more than a kitten,
corrupted as he had been by the cook, who instead of feeding him on
milk or a little weak broth, as she had been told to do, had
recklessly excited his carnivorous appetite by giving him pieces of
liver and parings of raw chops; the unfortunate young cat yields
little by little, prompted more by good nature and weakness of mind
than by cruelty or greed, and, only half awake, he does the bidding of
the villainous monkeys, the real instigators of the crime. The
counsel here took the prisoner in his arms, showed us his paws, and
defied any anatomist to say that with paws so made, an animal could
possibly open a door that was bolted. Finally, he borrowed Michel's
Dictionary of Natural History, opened it at the article 'Cat,'
'Domestic Cat,' 'Wild Cat'; he proved that Mysouff was no wild cat,
seeing that nature had robed him in white, the colour of innocence;
then smiting the book with vehemence, 'Cat!' he exclaimed, 'Cat! You
shall now hear, gentlemen, what the illustrious Buffon, the man with
lace sleeves, has to say about the cat.

'"The cat," says M. de Buffon, "is not to be trusted, but it is kept
to rid the house of enemies which cannot otherwise be destroyed.
Although the cat, especially when young, is pleasing, nature has given
it perverse and untrustworthy qualities which increase with age, and
which education may conceal, but will not eradicate." Well, then,'
exclaimed the orator, after having read this passage, 'what more
remains to be said? Did poor Mysouff come here with a false character
seeking a situation? Was it not the cook herself who found him--who
took him by force from the heap of sticks behind which he had sought
refuge? It was merely to interest and touch the heart of her master
that she described him mewing in the cellar. We must reflect also,
that those unhappy birds, his victims--I allude especially to the
quails, which are eaten by man--though their death is doubtless much
to be deplored, yet they must have felt themselves liable to death at
any moment, and are now released from the terrors they experienced
every time they saw the cook approaching their retreat. Finally,
gentlemen, I appeal to your justice, and I think you will now admit
that the interesting and unfortunate Mysouff has but yielded, not only
to incontrollable natural instincts, but also to foreign influence. I
claim for my client the plea of extenuating circumstances.'

The counsel's pleading was received with cries of applause, and
Mysouff, found guilty of complicity in the murder of the quails,
turtle-doves, and other birds of different species, but with
extenuating circumstances, was sentenced only to five years of
monkeys.


VI

The next winter, certain circumstances, with which I need not trouble
my readers, led to my making a journey to Algiers. I seldom make any
long journey without bringing home some animal to add to my
collection, and accordingly I returned from Africa accompanied by a
vulture, which I bought from a little boy who called himself a
Beni-Mouffetard. I paid ten francs for the vulture, and made the
Beni-Mouffetard a present of two more, in return for which he warned
me that my vulture was excessively savage, and had already bitten off
the thumb of an Arab and the tail of a dog. I promised to be very
careful, and the next day I became the possessor of a magnificent
vulture, whose only fault consisted in a strong desire to tear in
pieces everybody who came near him. I bestowed on him the name of his
compatriot, Jugurtha. He had a chain fastened to his leg, and had for
further security been placed in a large cage made of spars. In this
cage he travelled quite safely as far as Philippeville, without any
other accident than that he nearly bit off the finger of a passenger
who had tried to make friends with him. At Philippeville a difficulty
arose. It was three miles from Stora, the port where we were to
embark, and the diligence did not go on so far. I and several other
gentlemen thought that we would like to walk to Stora, the scenery
being beautiful and the distance not very great; but what was I to do
about Jugurtha? I could not ask a porter to carry the cage; Jugurtha
would certainly have eaten him through the spars. I thought of a plan:
it was to lengthen his chain eight or ten feet by means of a cord; and
then to drive him in front of me with a long pole. But the first
difficulty was to induce Jugurtha to come out of his cage; none of us
dared put our hands within reach of his beak. However, I managed to
fasten the cord to his chain, then I made two men armed with pickaxes
break away the spars. Jugurtha finding himself free, spread out his
wings to fly away, but he could of course only fly as far as his cord
would permit.

Now Jugurtha was a very intelligent creature; he saw that there was an
obstacle in the way of his liberty, and that I was that obstacle; he
therefore turned upon me with fury, in the hope of putting me to
flight, or devouring me in case of resistance. I, however, was no less
sagacious than Jugurtha; I had foreseen the attack, and provided
myself with a good switch made of dogwood, as thick as one's
forefinger, and eight feet long. With this switch I parried Jugurtha's
attack, which astonished but did not stop him; however, a second blow,
given with all my force, made him stop short, and a third caused him
to fly in the opposite direction, that is, towards Stora. Once
launched upon this road, I had only to use my switch adroitly to make
Jugurtha proceed at about the same pace as we did ourselves, to the
great admiration of my fellow-travellers, and of all the people whom
we met on the road. On our arrival at Stora Jugurtha made no
difficulty about getting on board the steamer, and when tied to the
mast, waited calmly while a new cage was made for him. He went into it
of his own accord, received with gratitude the pieces of meat which
the ship's cook gave him, and three days after his embarkation he
became so tame that he used to present me with his head to scratch, as
a parrot does. I brought Jugurtha home without further adventure, and
committed him to the charge of Michel.

It was not until my return from Algiers on this occasion that I went
to live at Monte Cristo, the building of which had been finished
during my absence. Up to this time I had lived in a smaller house
called the Villa Medicis, and while the other was building, Michel
made arrangements for the proper lodging of all my animals, for he
was much more occupied about their comfort than he was about mine or
even his own. They had all plenty of room, particularly the dogs, who
were not confined by any sort of enclosure, and Pritchard, who was
naturally generous, kept open house with a truly Scottish hospitality.
It was his custom to sit in the middle of the road and salute every
dog that passed with a little not unfriendly growl; smelling him, and
permitting himself to be smelt in a ceremonious manner. When a mutual
sympathy had been produced by this means, a conversation something
like this would begin:

'Have you a good master?' asked the strange dog.

'Not bad,' Pritchard would reply.

'Does your master feed you well?'

'Well, one has porridge twice a day, bones at breakfast and dinner,
and anything one can pick up in the kitchen besides.'

The stranger licked his lips.

'You are not badly off,' said he.

'I do not complain,' replied Pritchard. Then, seeing the strange dog
look pensive, he added, 'Would you like to dine with us?'

The invitation was accepted at once, for dogs do not wait to be
pressed, like some foolish human beings.

At dinner-time Pritchard came in, followed by an unknown dog, who,
like Pritchard, placed himself beside my chair, and scratched my knee
with his paw in such a confiding way that I felt sure that Pritchard
must have been commending my benevolence. The dog, after spending a
pleasant evening, found that it was rather too late to return home, so
slept comfortably on the grass after his good supper. Next morning he
took two or three steps as if to go away, then changing his mind, he
inquired of Pritchard, 'Should I be much in the way if I stayed on
here?'

  [Illustration: DUMAS ARRIVES AT STORA WITH HIS VULTURE]

Pritchard replied, 'You could quite well, with management, make
them believe you are the neighbour's dog, and after two or three days,
nobody would know you did not belong to the house. You might live here
just as well as those idle useless monkeys, who do nothing but amuse
themselves, or that greedy vulture, who eats tripe all day long, or
that idiot of a macaw, who is always screaming about nothing.'

The dog stayed, keeping in the background at first, but in a day or
two he jumped up upon me and followed me everywhere, and there was
another guest to feed, that was all. Michel asked me one day if I knew
how many dogs there were about the place. I answered that I did not.

'Sir,' said Michel, 'there are thirteen.'

'That is an unlucky number, Michel; you must see that they do not all
dine together, else one of them is sure to die first.'

'It is not that, though,' said Michel, 'it is the expense I am
thinking of. Why, they would eat an ox a day, all those dogs; and if
you will allow me, sir, I will just take a whip and put the whole pack
to the door, to-morrow morning.'

'But, Michel, let us do it handsomely. These dogs, after all, do
honour to the house by staying here. So give them a grand dinner
to-morrow; tell them that it is the farewell banquet, and then, at
dessert, put them all to the door.'

'But after all, sir, I cannot put them to the door, because there
isn't a door.'

'Michel,' said I, 'there are certain things in this world that one
must just put up with, to keep up one's character and position. Since
all these dogs have come to me, let them stay with me. I don't think
they will ruin me, Michel. Only, on their own account, you should be
careful that there are not thirteen.'

'I will drive away one,' suggested Michel, 'and then there will only
be twelve.'

'On the contrary, let another come, and then there will be fourteen.'

Michel sighed.

'It's a regular kennel,' he murmured.

It was, in fact, a pack of hounds, though rather a mixed one. There
was a Russian wolfhound, there was a poodle, a water spaniel, a spitz,
a dachshund with crooked legs, a mongrel terrier, a mongrel King
Charles, and a Turkish dog which had no hair on its body, only a tuft
upon its head and a tassel at the end of its tail. Our next recruit
was a little Maltese terrier, named Lisette, which raised the number
to fourteen. After all, the expense of these fourteen amounted to
rather over two pounds a month. A single dinner given to five or six
of my own species would have cost me three times as much, and they
would have gone away dissatisfied; for, even if they had liked my
wine, they would certainly have found fault with my books. Out of this
pack of hounds, one became Pritchard's particular friend and Michel's
favourite. This was a dachshund with short crooked legs, a long body,
and, as Michel said, the finest voice in the department of
Seine-et-Oise. Portugo--that was his name--had in truth a most
magnificent bass voice. I used to hear it sometimes in the night when
I was writing, and think how that deep-toned majestic bark would
please St. Hubert if he heard it in his grave. But what was Portugo
doing at that hour, and why was he awake while the other dogs
slumbered? This mystery was revealed one day, when a stewed rabbit was
brought me for dinner. I inquired where the rabbit came from.

'You thought it good, sir?' Michel asked me with a pleased face.

'Excellent.'

'Well, then, you can have one just the same every day, sir, if you
like.'

  [Illustration: 'IT'S A REGULAR KENNEL']

'Every day, Michel? Surely that is almost too much to promise.
Besides, I should like, before consuming so many rabbits, to know
where they come from.'

'You shall know that this very night, if you don't mind coming out
with me.'

'Ah! Michel, I have told you before that you are a poacher!'

'Oh, sir, as to that, I am as innocent as a baby--and, as I was
saying, if you will only come out with me to-night--'

'Must I go far, Michel?'

'Not a hundred yards, sir.'

'At what o'clock?'

'Just at the moment when you hear Portugo's first bark.'

'Very well, Michel, I will be with you.'

I had nearly forgotten this promise, and was writing as usual, when
Michel came into my study. It was about eleven o'clock, and a fine
moonlight night.

'Hallo!' said I, 'Portugo hasn't barked yet, has he?'

'No, but I was just thinking that if you waited for that, you would
miss seeing something curious.'

'What should I miss, Michel?'

'The council of war which is held between Pritchard and Portugo.'

I followed Michel, and sure enough, among the fourteen dogs, which
were mostly sleeping in different attitudes, Portugo and Pritchard
were sitting up, and seemed to be gravely debating some important
question. When the debate was ended, they separated; Portugo went out
at the gate to the high road, turned the corner, and disappeared,
while Pritchard began deliberately, as if he had plenty of time before
him, to follow the little path which led up to a stone quarry. We
followed Pritchard, who took no notice of us, though he evidently knew
we were there. He went up to the top of the quarry, examined and smelt
about over the ground with great care, and when he had found a scent
and assured himself that it was fresh, he lay down flat and waited.
Almost at the same moment, Portugo's first bark was heard some two
hundred yards off. Now the plan the two dogs had laid was clear to us.
The rabbits came out of their holes in the quarry every evening to go
to their feeding ground; Pritchard found the scent of one; Portugo
then made a wide circuit, found and chased the rabbit, and, as a
rabbit or a hare always comes back upon its former track, Pritchard,
lying in ambush, awaited its return. Accordingly, as the sound of
Portugo's barking came closer, we saw Pritchard's yellow eyes light up
and flame like a topaz; then all of a sudden he made a spring, and we
heard a cry of fright and distress.

'They've done it!' said Michel, and he went to Pritchard, took out of
his mouth a nice plump rabbit, gave it a blow behind the ears to
finish it, and, opening it on the spot, gave the inside to the two
dogs, who shared their portion contentedly, although they probably
regretted Michel's interference. As Michel told me, I could have eaten
a stewed rabbit every day for dinner, if such had been my desire.

But after this, events of a different kind were taking place, which
obliged me to leave my country pursuits, and I spent about two months
in Paris. The day before I returned to St.-Germains I wrote and told
Michel to expect me, and found him waiting for me on the road half way
from the station.

'I must tell you, sir,' he said, as soon as I was within hearing,
'that two important events have happened at Monte Cristo since you
went away.'

'Well, Michel, let me hear.'

'In the first place, Pritchard got his hind foot into a snare and
instead of staying where he was as any other dog would have done, he
bit off his foot with his teeth, and so he came home upon three legs.'

'But,' said I, much shocked, 'is the poor beast dead after such an
accident?'

'Dead, sir? Was not I there to doctor him?'

'And what did you do to him then?'

'I cut off the foot properly at the joint with a pruning knife. I then
sewed the skin neatly over it, and now you would never know it was
off! Look there, the rascal has smelt you and is coming to meet you.'

  [Illustration: JUGURTHA BECOMES DIOGENES]

And at that moment Pritchard appeared, coming at full gallop, so that,
as Michel had said, one would hardly have noticed that he had only
three feet. My meeting with Pritchard was, as may be supposed, full of
deep emotion on both sides. I was sorry for the poor animal. When I
had recovered a little, I asked Michel what his other piece of news
was.

'The latest news, sir, is that Jugurtha's name is no longer Jugurtha.'

'What is it then?'

'It is Diogenes.'

'And why?'

'Look, sir!'

We had now reached the little avenue of ash-trees which formed the
entrance to the villa. To the left of the avenue the vulture was seen
walking proudly to and fro in an immense tub, which Michel had made
into a house for him.

'Ah! now I understand,' said I. 'Of course, directly he lives in a
tub----'

'That's it!' said Michel. 'Directly he lives in a tub, he cannot be
Jugurtha any more; he _must_ be Diogenes.'

I admired Michel's historical learning no less than I did his surgical
skill, just as the year before, I had bowed before his superior
knowledge of natural history.


VII

In order to lead to more incidents in the life of Pritchard I must now
tell my readers that I had a friend called Charpillon, who had a
passion for poultry, and kept the finest hens in the whole department
of Yonne. These hens were chiefly Cochins and Brahmapootras; they laid
the most beautiful brown eggs, and Charpillon surrounded them with
every luxury and never would allow them to be killed. He had the
inside of his hen-house painted green, in order that the hens, even
when shut up, might fancy themselves in a meadow. In fact, the
illusion was so complete, that when the hen-house was first painted,
the hens refused to go in at night, fearing to catch cold; but after a
short time even the least intelligent among them understood that she
had the good fortune to belong to a master who knew how to combine the
useful with the beautiful. Whenever these hens ventured out upon the
road, strangers would exclaim with delight, 'Oh! what beautiful hens!'
to which some one better acquainted with the wonders of this fortunate
village would reply, 'I should think so! These are M. Charpillon's
hens.' Or, if the speaker were of an envious disposition, he might
add, 'Yes indeed! hens that _nothing_ is thought too good for!'

When my friend Charpillon heard that I had returned from Paris, he
invited me to come and stay with him to shoot, adding as a further
inducement that he would give me the best and freshest eggs I had ever
eaten in my life. Though I did not share Charpillon's great love of
poultry, I am very fond of fresh eggs, and the nankeen-coloured eggs
laid by his Brahma hens had an especially delicate flavour. But all
earthly pleasures are uncertain. The next morning Charpillon's hens
were found to have only laid three eggs instead of eight. Such a thing
had never happened before, and Charpillon did not know whom to
suspect; however he suspected every one rather than his hens, and a
sort of cloud began to obscure the confidence he had hitherto placed
in the security of his enclosures. While these gloomy doubts were
occupying us, I observed Michel hovering about as if he had something
on his mind, and asked him if he wanted to speak to me.

'I should be glad to have a few words with you, sir.'

'In private?'

'It would be better so, for the honour of Pritchard.'

'Ah, indeed? What has the rascal been doing now?'

'You remember, sir, what your solicitor said to you one day when I was
in the room?'

'What did he say, Michel? My solicitor is a clever man, and says many
sensible things; still it is difficult for me to remember them all.'

'Well, sir,' he said, 'find out whom the crime benefits, and you will
find the criminal.'

'I remember that axiom perfectly, Michel. Well?'

'Well, sir, whom can this crime of stolen eggs benefit more than
Pritchard?'

'Pritchard? You think it is he who steals the eggs? Pritchard, who
brings home eggs without breaking them!'

'You mean who _used_ to bring them. Pritchard is an animal who has
vicious instincts, sir, and if he does not come to a bad end some day,
I shall be surprised, that's all.'

'Does Pritchard eat eggs, then?'

'He does; and it is only right to say, sir, that that is _your_
fault.'

'What! my fault? My fault that Pritchard eats eggs?'

Michel shook his head sadly, but nothing could shake his opinion.

'Now really, Michel, this is too much! Is it not enough that critics
tell me that I pervert everybody's mind with my corrupt literature,
but you must join my detractors and say that my bad example corrupts
Pritchard?'

'I beg pardon, sir, but do you remember how one day, at the Villa
Medicis, while you were eating an egg, M. Rusconi who was there said
something so ridiculous that you let the egg fall upon the floor?'

'I remember that quite well.'

'And do you remember calling in Pritchard, who was scraping up a bed
of fuchsias in the garden, and making him lick up the egg?'

'I do not remember him scraping up a bed of fuchsias, but I do
recollect that he licked up my egg.'

'Well, sir, it is that and nothing else that has been his ruin. Oh! he
is quick enough to learn what is wrong; there is no need to show it
him twice.'

'Michel, you are really extremely tedious. How have I shown Pritchard
what is wrong?'

'By making him eat an egg. You see, sir, before that he was as
innocent as a new-born babe; he didn't know what an egg was--he
thought it was a badly made golf ball. But as soon as you make him eat
an egg, he learns what it is. Three days afterwards, M. Alexandre came
home, and was complaining to me of his dog--that he was rough and tore
things with his teeth in carrying them. "Ah! look at Pritchard," I
said to him, "how gentle _he_ is! you shall see the way he carries an
egg." So I fetched an egg from the kitchen, placed it on the ground,
and said, "Fetch, Pritchard!" Pritchard didn't need to be told twice,
but what do you think the cunning rascal did? You remember, some days
before, Monsieur ---- the gentleman who had such a bad toothache, you
know. You recollect his coming to see you?'

'Yes, of course I remember.'

'Well, Pritchard pretended not to notice, but those yellow eyes of his
notice everything. Well, all of a sudden he pretended to have the same
toothache that that gentleman had, and crack! goes the egg. Then he
pretends to be ashamed of his awkwardness--he swallows it in a hurry,
shell and all! I believed him--I thought it was an accident and
fetched another egg. Scarcely did he make three steps with the egg in
his mouth than the toothache comes on again, and crack! goes the
second egg. I began then to suspect something--I went and got a third,
but if I hadn't stopped then he'd have eaten the whole basketful. So
then M. Alexandre, who likes his joke, said, "Michel, you may possibly
make a good musician of Pritchard, or a good astronomer, but he'll
never be a good incubator!"'

'How is it that you never told me this before, Michel?'

'Because I was ashamed, sir; for this is not the worst.'

'What! not the worst?'

Michel shook his head.

'He has developed an unnatural craving for eggs; he got into M.
Acoyer's poultry-yard and stole all his. M. Acoyer came to complain to
me. How do you suppose he lost his foot?'

'You told me yourself--in somebody's grounds where he had forgotten to
read the notice about trespassing.'

'You are joking, sir--but I really believe he can read.'

'Oh! Michel, Pritchard is accused of enough sins without having _that_
vice laid to his charge! But about his foot?'

'I think he caught it in some wire getting out of a poultry-yard.'

'But you know it happened at night, and the hens are shut up at night.
How could he get into the hen-house?'

'He doesn't need to get into the hen-house after eggs; he can charm
the hens. Pritchard is what one may call a charmer.'

'Michel, you astonish me more and more!'

'Yes, indeed, sir. I knew that he used to charm the hens at the Villa
Medicis; only M. Charpillon has such wonderful hens, I did not think
they would have allowed it. But I see now all hens are alike.'

'Then you think it is Pritchard who----'

'I think he charms M. Charpillon's hens, and that is the reason they
don't lay--at least, that they only lay for Pritchard.'

'Indeed, Michel, I should much like to know how he does it!'

'If you are awake very early to-morrow, sir, just look out of your
window--you can see the poultry-yard from it, and you will see a sight
that you have never seen before!'

'I have seen many things, Michel, including sixteen changes of
governments, and to see something I have never seen before I would
gladly sit up the whole night!'

'There is no need for that--I can wake you at the right time.'

The next day at early dawn, Michel awoke me.

'I am ready, Michel,' said I, coming to the window.

'Wait, wait! let me open it very gently. If Pritchard suspects that he
is watched, he won't stir; you have no idea how deceitful he is.'

Michel opened the window with every possible precaution. From where I
stood, I could distinctly see the poultry-yard, and Pritchard lying in
his couch, his head innocently resting upon his two fore-paws. At the
slight noise which Michel made in opening the window, Pritchard
pricked up his ears and half opened his yellow eye, but as the sound
was not repeated he did not move. Ten minutes afterwards we heard the
newly wakened hens begin to cluck. Pritchard immediately opened both
eyes, stretched himself and stood upright upon his three feet. He then
cast a glance all round him, and seeing that all was quiet,
disappeared into a shed, and the next moment we saw him coming out of
a sort of little window on the other side. From this window Pritchard
easily got upon the sloping roof which overhung one side of the
poultry-yard. He had now only to jump down about six feet, and having
got into the inclosure he lay down flat in front of the hen-house,
giving a little friendly bark. A hen looked out at Pritchard's call,
and instead of seeming frightened she went to him at once and received
his compliments with apparent complacency. Nor did she seem at all
embarrassed, but proceeded to lay her egg, and that within such easy
reach of Pritchard that we had not time to see the egg--it was
swallowed the same instant. She then retired cackling triumphantly,
and her place was taken by another hen.

'Well, now, sir,' said Michel, when Pritchard had swallowed his fourth
egg, 'you see it is no wonder that Pritchard has such a clear voice.
You know great singers always eat raw eggs the first thing in the
morning.'

'I know that, Michel, but what I don't know is how Pritchard proposes
to get out of the poultry-yard.'

'Just wait and see what the scoundrel will do.'

Pritchard having finished his breakfast, or being a little alarmed at
some noise in the house, stood up on his hind leg, and slipping one of
his fore-paws through the bars of the gate, he lifted the latch and
went out.

'And when one thinks,' said Michel, 'that if anybody asked him why the
yard door was left open, he would say it was because Pierre had
forgotten to shut it last night!'

  [Illustration: PRITCHARD AND THE HENS]

'You think he would have the wickedness to say _that_, Michel?'

'Perhaps not to-day, nor yet to-morrow, because he is not come to his
full growth, but some day, mind you, I should not be surprised to hear
him speak.'


VIII

Before going out to shoot that day, I thought it only right to give M.
Charpillon an account of Pritchard's proceedings. He regarded him,
therefore with mingled feelings, in which admiration was more
prominent than sympathy, and it was agreed that on our return the dog
should be shut up in the stable, and that the stable-door should be
bolted and padlocked. Pritchard, unsuspicious of our designs, ran on
in front with a proud step and with his tail in the air.

'You know,' said Charpillon, 'that neither men nor dogs are allowed to
go into the vineyards. I ought as a magistrate to set an example, and
Gaignez still more, as he is the mayor. So mind you keep in
Pritchard.'

'All right,' said I, 'I will keep him in.'

But Michel, approaching, suggested that I should send Pritchard home
with him. 'It would be safer,' he said. 'We are quite near the house,
and I have a notion that he might get us into some scrape by hunting
in the vineyards.'

'Don't be afraid, Michel; I have thought of a plan to prevent him.'

Michel touched his hat. 'I know you are clever, sir--very clever; but
I don't think you are as clever as that!'

'Wait till you see.'

'Indeed, sir, you will have to be quick, for there is Pritchard
hunting already.'

We were just in time to see Pritchard disappear into a vineyard, and a
moment afterwards he raised a covey of partridges.

'Call in your dog,' cried Gaignez.

I called Pritchard, who, however, turned a deaf ear.

'Catch him,' said I to Michel.

Michel went, and returned in a few minutes with Pritchard in a leash.
In the meantime I had found a long stake, which I hung crosswise round
his neck, and let him go loose with this ornament. Pritchard
understood that he could no longer go through the vineyards, but the
stake did not prevent his hunting, and he only went a good deal
further off on the open ground.

From this moment there was only one shout all along the line.

'Hold in your dog, confound him!'

'Keep in your Pritchard, can't you! He's sending all the birds out of
shot!'

'Look here! Would you mind my putting a few pellets into your brute of
a dog? How can anybody shoot if he won't keep in?'

'Michel,' said I, 'catch Pritchard again.'

'I told you so, sir. Luckily we are not far from the house; I can
still take him back.'

'Not at all. I have a second idea. Catch Pritchard.'

'After all,' said Michel, 'this is nearly as good fun as if we were
shooting.'

And by-and-bye he came back, dragging Pritchard by his stake.
Pritchard had a partridge in his mouth.

'Look at him, the thief!' said Michel. 'He has carried off M.
Gaignez's partridge--I see him looking for it.'

'Put the partridge in your game-bag, Michel; we will give him a
surprise.'

Michel hesitated. 'But,' said he, 'think of the opinion this rascal
will have of you!'

'What, Michel? do you think Pritchard has a bad opinion of me?'

'Oh, sir! a shocking opinion.'

'But what makes you think so?'

'Why, sir, do you not think that Pritchard knows in his soul and
conscience that when he brings you a bird that another gentleman has
shot, he is committing a theft?'

'I think he has an idea of it, certainly, Michel.'

'Well, then, sir, if he knows he is a thief, he must take you for a
receiver of stolen goods. Look at the articles of the Code; it is said
there that receivers are equally guilty with thieves, and should be
similarly punished.'

  [Illustration: 'PRITCHARD REAPPEARED NEXT MOMENT WITH A HARE IN HIS
    MOUTH']

'Michel, you open my eyes to a whole vista of terrors. But we are
going to try to cure Pritchard of hunting. When he is cured of
hunting, he will be cured of stealing.'

'Never, sir! You will never cure Pritchard of his vices.'

Still I pursued my plan, which was to put Pritchard's fore-leg through
his collar. By this means, his right fore-foot being fastened to his
neck, and his left hind-foot being cut off, he had only two to run
with, the left fore-foot and the right hind-foot.

'Well, indeed,' said Michel, 'if he can hunt now, the devil is in it.'

He loosed Pritchard, who stood for a moment as if astonished, but once
he had balanced himself he began to walk, then to trot; then, as he
found his balance better, he succeeded in running quicker on his two
legs than many dogs would have done on four.

'Where are we now, sir?' said Michel.

'It's that beast of a stake that balances him!' I replied, a little
disappointed. 'We ought to teach him to dance upon the tight-rope--he
would make our fortunes as an acrobat.'

'You are joking again, sir. But listen! do you hear that?'

The most terrible imprecations against Pritchard were resounding on
all sides. The imprecations were followed by a shot, then by a howl of
pain.

'That is Pritchard's voice,' said Michel. 'Well, it is no more than he
deserves.'

Pritchard reappeared the next moment with a hare in his mouth.

'Michel, you said that was Pritchard that howled.'

'I would swear to it, sir.'

'But how could he howl with a hare in his mouth?'

Michel scratched his head. 'It was he all the same,' he said, and he
went to look at Pritchard.

'Oh, sir!' he said, 'I was right. The gentleman he took the hare from
has shot him. His hind-leg is all over blood. Look! there is M.
Charpillon running after his hare.'

'You know that I have just put some pellets into your Pritchard?'
Charpillon called out as soon as he saw me.

'You did quite right.'

'He carried off my hare.'

'There! You see,' said Michel, 'it is impossible to cure him.'

'But when he carried away your hare, he must have had it in his
mouth?'

'Of course. Where else would he have it?'

'But how could he howl with a hare in his mouth?'

'He put it down to howl, then he took it up again and made off.'

'There's deceit for you, gentlemen!' exclaimed Michel.

Pritchard succeeded in bringing the hare to me, but when he reached me
he had to lie down.

'I say,' said Charpillon, 'I hope I haven't hurt him more than I
intended--it was a long shot.' And forgetting his hare, Charpillon
knelt down to examine Pritchard's wound. It was a serious one;
Pritchard had received five or six pellets about the region of his
tail, and was bleeding profusely.

'Oh, poor beast!' cried Charpillon. 'I wouldn't have fired that shot
for all the hares in creation if I had known.'

'Bah!' said Michel; 'he won't die of it.' And, in fact, Pritchard,
after spending three weeks with the vet. at St.-Germains, returned to
Monte Cristo perfectly cured, and with his tail in the air once more.


IX

Soon after the disastrous event which I have just related the
revolution of 1848 occurred in France, in which King Louis Philippe
was dethroned and a republic established. You will ask what the
change of government had to do with my beasts? Well, although,
happily, they do not trouble their heads about politics, the
revolution did affect them a good deal; for the French public, being
excited by these occurrences, would not buy my books, preferring to
read the 'Guillotine,' the 'Red Republic,' and such like corrupt
periodicals; so that I became for the time a very much poorer man. I
was obliged greatly to reduce my establishment. I sold my three horses
and two carriages for a quarter of their value, and I presented the
Last of the Laidmanoirs, Potich, and Mademoiselle Desgarcins to the
Jardin des Plantes in Paris. I had to move into a smaller house, but
my monkeys were lodged in a palace; this is a sort of thing that
sometimes happens after a revolution. Mysouff also profited by it, for
he regained his liberty on the departure of the monkeys.

As to Diogenes, the vulture, I gave him to my worthy neighbour
Collinet, who keeps the restaurant Henri IV., and makes such good
cutlets à la Béarnaise. There was no fear of Diogenes dying of hunger
under his new master's care; on the contrary, he improved greatly in
health and beauty, and, doubtless as a token of gratitude to Collinet,
he laid an egg for him every year, a thing he never dreamt of doing
for me. Lastly, we requested Pritchard to cease to keep open house,
and to discontinue his daily invitations to strange dogs to dine and
sleep. I was obliged to give up all thoughts of shooting that year. It
is true that Pritchard still remained to me, but then Pritchard, you
must recollect, had only three feet; he had been badly hurt when he
was shot by Charpillon, and the revolution of February had occasioned
the loss of one eye.

It happened one day during that exciting period, that Michel was so
anxious to see what was going on that he forgot to give Pritchard his
dinner. Pritchard therefore invited himself to dine with the vulture,
but Diogenes, being of a less sociable turn, and not in a humour to
be trifled with, dealt poor Pritchard such a blow with his beak as to
deprive him of one of his mustard-coloured eyes. Pritchard's courage
was unabated; he might be compared to that brave field marshal of whom
it was said that Mars had left nothing of him whole except his heart.
But it was difficult, you see, to make much use of a dog with so many
infirmities. If I had wished to sell him I could not have found a
purchaser, nor would he have been considered a handsome present had I
desired to give him away. I had no choice, then, but to make this old
servant, badly as he had sometimes served me, a pensioner, a
companion, in fact a friend. Some people told me that I might have
tied a stone round his neck and flung him into the river; others, that
it was easy enough to replace him by buying a good retriever from
Vatrin; but although I was not yet poor enough to drown Pritchard,
neither was I rich enough to buy another dog. However, later in that
very year, I made an unexpected success in literature, and one of my
plays brought me in a sufficient sum to take a shooting in the
department of Yonne. I went to look at this shooting, taking Pritchard
with me. In the meantime my daughter wrote to tell me that she had
bought an excellent retriever for five pounds, named Catinat, and that
she was keeping him in the stable until my return. As soon as I
arrived, my first care was to make Catinat's acquaintance. He was a
rough, vigorous dog of three or four years old, thoughtless, violent,
and quarrelsome. He jumped upon me till he nearly knocked me down,
upset my daughter's work-table, and dashed about the room to the great
danger of my china vases and ornaments. I therefore called Michel and
informed him that the superficial acquaintance which I had made with
Catinat would suffice for the time, and that I would defer the
pleasure of his further intimacy until the shooting season began at
Auxerre.

Poor Michel, as soon as he saw Catinat, had been seized with a
presentiment of evil.

'Sir,' he said, 'that dog will bring some misfortune upon us. I do not
know yet what, but something will happen, I know it will!'

'In the meantime, Michel,' I said, 'you had better take Catinat back
to the stable.' But Catinat had already left the room of his own
accord and rushed downstairs to the dining-room, where I had left
Pritchard. Now Pritchard never could endure Catinat from the first
moment he saw him; the two dogs instantly flew at one another with so
much fury that Michel was obliged to call me to his assistance before
we could separate them. Catinat was once more shut up in the stable,
and Pritchard conducted to his kennel in the stable-yard, which, in
the absence of carriages and horses, was now a poultry-yard, inhabited
by my eleven hens and my cock Cæsar. Pritchard's friendship with the
hens continued to be as strong as ever, and the household suffered
from a scarcity of eggs in consequence. That evening, while my
daughter and I were walking in the garden, Michel came to meet us,
twisting his straw hat between his fingers, a sure sign that he had
something important to say.

'Well, what is it, Michel?' I asked.

'It came into my mind, sir,' he answered, 'while I was taking
Pritchard to his kennel, that we never have any eggs because Pritchard
eats them; and he eats them because he is in direct communication with
the hens.'

'It is evident, Michel, that if Pritchard never went into the
poultry-yard, he would not eat the eggs.'

'Then, do you not think, sir,' continued Michel, 'that if we shut up
Pritchard in the stable and put Catinat into the poultry-yard, it
would be better? Catinat is an animal without education, so far as I
know; but he is not such a thief as Pritchard.'

'Do you know what will happen if you do that, Michel?' I said.
'Catinat will not eat the eggs, perhaps, but he will eat the hens.'

'If a misfortune like that were to occur, I know a method of curing
him of eating hens.'

'Well--but in the meantime the hens would be eaten.'

Scarcely had I uttered these words, when a frightful noise was heard
in the stable-yard, as loud as that of a pack of hounds in full cry,
but mingled with howls of rage and pain which indicated a deadly
combat.

'Michel!' I cried, 'do you hear that?'

'Oh yes, I hear it,' he answered, 'but those must be the neighbours'
dogs fighting.'

'Michel, those are Catinat and Pritchard killing each other!'

'Impossible, sir--I have separated them.'

'Well, then, they have met again.'

'It is true,' said Michel, 'that scoundrel Pritchard can open the
stable-door as well as any one.'

'Then, you see, Pritchard is a dog of courage; he'll have opened the
stable-door for Catinat on purpose to fight him. Be quick, Michel, I
am really afraid one of them will be killed.'

Michel darted into the passage which led to the stable, and no sooner
had he disappeared than I knew from the lamentations which I heard
that some misfortune had happened. In a minute or two Michel
reappeared sobbing bitterly and carrying Pritchard in his arms.

'Look, sir! just look!' he said; 'this is the last we shall see of
Pritchard--look what your fine sporting dog has done to him. Catinat,
indeed! it is Catilina he should be called!'

I ran up to Pritchard, full of concern--I had a great love for him,
though he had often made me angry. He was a dog of much originality,
and the unexpected things he did were only a proof of genius.

'What do you think is the matter?' I asked Michel.

'The matter?--the matter is that he is dead!'

'Oh no, surely not!'

'Anyhow, he'll never be good for anything again.' And he laid him on
the ground at my feet.

'Pritchard, my poor Pritchard!' I cried.

At the sound of my voice, Pritchard opened his yellow eye and looked
sorrowfully at me, then stretched out his four legs, gave one sigh,
and died. Catinat had bitten his throat quite through, so that his
death was almost immediate.

'Well, Michel,' said I, 'it is not a good servant, it is a good friend
that we have lost. You must wash him carefully--you shall have a towel
to wrap him in--you shall dig his grave in the garden and we will have
a tombstone made for him on which shall be engraved this epitaph:

    'Like conquering Rantzau, of courage undaunted,
    Pritchard, to thee Mars honour has granted,
    On each field of fight of a limb he bereft thee,
    Till nought but thy gallant heart scatheless was left thee.'

As my habit was, I sought consolation for my grief in literary
labours. Michel endeavoured to assuage his with the help of two
bottles of red wine, with which, mingled with his tears, he watered
the grave of the departed. I know this because when I came out early
next morning to see if my wishes with regard to Pritchard's burial had
been carried out, I found Michel stretched upon the ground, still in
tears, and the two bottles empty by his side.



_THE ADVENTURES OF PYRAMUS_


Pyramus was a large brown dog, born of a good family, who had been
given, when a mere pup, to Alexandre Dumas, the great French novelist,
then quite a young man. Now the keeper to whom Pyramus first belonged
had also a tiny little fox-cub without any relations about the place,
so both fox-cub and dog-pup were handed over to the same mother, who
brought them up side by side, until they were able to do for
themselves. So when the keeper made young Dumas a present of Pyramus,
he thought he had better bestow Cartouche on him as well.

Of course it is hardly necessary to say that these fine names were not
invented by the keeper, who had never heard of either Pyramus or
Cartouche, but were given to his pets by Dumas, after he had spent a
little time in observing their characters.

Certainly it was a very curious study. Here were two animals, who had
never been apart since they were born, and were now living together in
two kennels side by side in the court-yard of the house, and yet after
the first three or four months, when they were mere babies, every day
showed some difference, and soon they ceased to be friends at all and
became open enemies.

The earliest fight known to have taken place between them happened in
this way. One day some bones were thrown by accident within the bounds
of Cartouche's territory, and though if they belonged to anybody, it
was clearly Cartouche, Pyramus resolved most unfairly to get hold of
them. The first time Pyramus tried secretly to commit this act of
piracy, Cartouche growled; the second time he showed his teeth; the
third time he bit.

It must be owned that Cartouche had shown some excuse for his violent
behaviour, because he always remained chained up, whereas Pyramus was
allowed certain hours of liberty; and it was during one of these that
he made up his mind to steal the bones from Cartouche, whose chain (he
thought) would prevent any attempt at reprisals. Indeed, he even tried
to make out to his conscience that probably the bones were not dainty
enough for Cartouche, who loved delicate food, whereas anything was
good enough for him, Pyramus. However, whether he wanted to eat the
bones or not, Cartouche had no intention of letting them be stolen
from him, and having managed to drive off Pyramus on the first
occasion, he determined to get safely hold of the bones before his
enemy was unchained again.

Now the chains of each were the same length, four feet, and in
addition to that, Pyramus had a bigger head and longer nose than
Cartouche, who was much smaller altogether. So it follows that when
they were both chained up, Pyramus could stretch farther towards any
object that lay at an equal distance between their kennels. Pyramus
knew this, and so he counted on always getting the better of
Cartouche.

But Cartouche had not been born a fox for nothing, and he watched with
a scornful expression the great Pyramus straining at his chain with
his eyes nearly jumping out of his head with greed and rage. 'Really,'
said Cartouche to himself, 'if he goes on like that much longer, I
shall have a mad dog for a neighbour before the day is out. Let me see
if _I_ can't manage better.' But as we know, being a much smaller
animal than Pyramus, his nose did not come nearly so close to the
bones; and after one or two efforts to reach the tempting morsel which
was lying about six feet from each kennel, he gave it up, and retired
to his warm bed, hoping that he might somehow hit upon some idea
which would enable him to reach the 'bones of contention.'

All at once he jumped up, for after hard thought he had got what he
wanted. He trotted merrily to the length of his chain, and now it was
Pyramus's turn to look on and to think with satisfaction: 'Well, if
_I_ can't get them, _you_ can't either, which is a comfort.'

  [Illustration: CARTOUCHE OUTWITS PYRAMUS]

But gradually his grin of delight changed into a savage snarl, as
Cartouche turned himself round when he had got to the end of his
chain, and stretching out his paw, hooked the bone which he gradually
drew within reach, and before Pyramus had recovered from his
astonishment, Cartouche had got possession of all the bones and was
cracking them with great enjoyment inside his kennel.

It may seem very unjust that Cartouche was always kept chained up,
while Pyramus was allowed to roam about freely, but the fact was that
Pyramus only ate or stole when he was really hungry, while Cartouche
was by nature the murderer of everything he came across. One day he
broke his chain and ran off to the fowl-yard of Monsieur Mauprivez,
who lived next door. In less than ten minutes he had strangled
seventeen hens and two cocks: nineteen corpses in all! It was
impossible to find any 'extenuating circumstances' in his favour. He
was condemned to death and promptly executed.

Henceforth Pyramus reigned alone, and it is sad to think that he
seemed to enjoy it, and even that his appetite grew bigger.

It is bad enough for any dog to have an appetite like Pyramus when he
was at home, but when he was out shooting, and should have been doing
his duty as a retriever, this fault became a positive vice. Whatever
might be the first bird shot by his master, whether it happened to be
partridge or pheasant, quail or snipe, down it would go into Pyramus's
wide throat. It was seldom, indeed, that his master arrived in time to
see even the last feathers.

A smart blow from a whip kept him in order all the rest of the day,
and it was very rarely that he sinned twice in this way while on the
same expedition, but unluckily before the next day's shooting came
round, he had entirely forgotten all about his previous caning, and
justice had to be done again.

On two separate occasions, however, Pyramus's greediness brought its
own punishment. One day his master was shooting with a friend in a
place where a small wood had been cut down early in the year, and
after the low shrubs had been sawn in pieces and bound in bundles, the
grass was left to grow into hay, and this hay was now in process of
cutting. The shooting party reached the spot just at the time that the
reapers were having their dinner and taking their midday rest, and one
of the reapers had laid his scythe against a little stack of wood
about three feet high. At this moment a snipe got up, and M. Dumas
fired and killed it. It fell on the other side of the stack of wood
against which the scythe was leaning.

As it was the first bird he had killed that day, he knew of course
that it would become the prey of Pyramus, so he did not hurry himself
to go after it, but watched with amusement, Pyramus tearing along,
even jumping over the stack in his haste.

But when after giving the dog the usual time to swallow his fat
morsel, Monsieur did not see Pyramus coming back to him as usual in
leaps and bounds, he began to wonder what could have happened, and
made hastily for the stack of wood behind which he had disappeared.
There he found the unlucky Pyramus lying on the ground, with the point
of the scythe right through his neck. The blood was pouring from the
wound, and he lay motionless, with the snipe dead on the ground about
six inches from his nose.

The two men raised him as gently as possible, and carried him to the
river, and here they bathed the wound with water. They then folded a
pocket-handkerchief into a band, and tied it tightly round his neck to
staunch the blood, and when this was done, and they were wondering how
to get him home, a peasant fortunately passed driving a donkey with
two panniers, and he was laid in one of the panniers and taken to the
nearest village, where he was put safely into a carriage.

For eight days Pyramus lay between life and death. For a whole month
his head hung on one side, and it was only after six weeks (which
seems like six years to a dog) that he was able to run about as usual,
and appeared to have forgotten his accident.

Only, whenever he saw a scythe he made a long round to avoid coming in
contact with it.

Some time afterwards he returned to the house with his body as full of
holes as a sieve. On this occasion he was taking a walk through the
forest, and, seeing a goat feeding, jumped at its throat. The goat
screamed loudly, and the keeper, who was smoking at a little distance
off, ran to his help; but before he could come up the goat was half
dead. On hearing the steps of the keeper, and on listening to his
strong language, Pyramus understood very well that this stout man
dressed in blue would have something very serious to say to him, so he
stretched his legs to their fullest extent, and started off like an
arrow from a bow. But, as Man Friday long ago remarked, 'My little
ball of lead can run faster than thou,' the keeper's little ball of
lead ran faster than Pyramus, and that is how he came home with all
the holes in his body.

There is no denying that Pyramus was a very bad dog, and as his master
was fond of him, it is impossible to believe that he can _always_ have
been hungry, as, for instance, when he jumped up in a butcher's shop
to steal a piece of meat and got the hook on which it was hung through
his own jaws, so that someone had to come and unhook him. But hungry
or not, Monsieur Dumas had no time to be perpetually getting him out
of scrapes, and when a few months later an Englishman who wanted a
sporting dog took a fancy to Pyramus, his master was not altogether
sorry to say good-bye.



_THE STORY OF A WEASEL_

Bingley's _Animal Biography_.


Weasels are so sharp and clever and untiring, that their activity has
been made into a proverb; and, like many other sharp and clever
creatures, they are very mischievous, and fond of killing rabbits and
chickens, and even of sucking their eggs, which they do so carefully
that they hardly ever break one.

A French lady, called Mademoiselle de Laistre, a friend of the great
naturalist, Monsieur de Buffon, once found a weasel when he was very
young indeed, and, as she was fond of pets, she thought she would
bring him up. Now a weasel is a little creature, and very pretty. It
has short legs and a long tail, and its skin is reddish brown above
and white below. Its eyes are black and its ears are small, and its
body is about seven inches in length. But this weasel was much smaller
than that when it went to live with Mademoiselle de Laistre.

Of course it had to be taught: all young things have, and this weasel
knew nothing. The good lady first began with pouring some milk into
the hollow of her hand and letting it drink from it. Very soon, being
a weasel of polite instincts, it would not take milk in any other way.
After its dinner, when a little fresh meat was added to the milk, it
would run to a soft quilt that was spread in its mistress's bedroom,
and, having soon discovered that it could get inside the quilt at a
place where the stitches had given way, it proceeded to tuck itself up
comfortably for an hour or two. This was all very well in the day,
but Mademoiselle de Laistre did not feel at all safe in leaving such a
mischievous creature loose during the night, so whenever she went to
bed, she shut the weasel up in a little cage that stood close by. If
she happened to wake up early, she would unfasten the cage, and then
the weasel would come into her bed, and, nestling up to her, go to
sleep again. If she was already dressed when he was let out, he would
jump all about her, and would never once miss alighting on her hands,
even when they were held out three feet from him.

  [Illustration: MADEMOISELLE DE LAISTRE AND HER WEASEL]

All his ways were pretty and gentle. He would sit on his mistress's
shoulder and give little soft pats to her chin, or would run over a
whole room full of people at the mere sound of her voice. He was very
fond of the sun, too, and would tumble about and murmur with delight
whenever it shone on him. The little weasel was rather a thirsty
animal, but he would not drink much at a time, and, when he had once
tasted milk, could not be persuaded to touch rain-water. Baths were
quite new to him, too, and he could not make up his mind to them, even
in the heat, from which he suffered a good deal. His nearest approach
to bathing was a wet cloth wrapped round him, and this evidently gave
him great pleasure.

Cats and dogs about the place condescended to make friends with him,
and they never quarrelled nor hurt each other. Indeed, in many of
their instincts and ways, weasels are not very unlike cats, and one
quality they have in common is their curiosity. Nothing was dull or
uninteresting to this little weasel. It was impossible to open a
drawer or take out a paper without his little sharp nose being thrust
round the corner, and he would even jump on his mistress's hands, the
better to read her letters. He was also very fond of attracting
attention, and in the midst of his play would always stop to see if
anyone was watching. If he found that no one was troubling about him,
he would at once leave off, and, curling himself up, go off into a
sleep so sound that he might be taken up by the head and swung
backwards and forwards quite a long time before he would wake up and
be himself again.



_STORIES ABOUT WOLVES_


Wolves are found in the colder and more northern parts of Asia and
North America, and over the whole of Europe, except the British Isles,
where they were exterminated long ago. Some say Lochiel killed the
last wolf in Scotland, some say a gamekeeper was the hero. The wolf
very much resembles the dog in appearance, except that his eyes are
set in obliquely, and nearer his nose. His coat is commonly of a tawny
grey colour, but sometimes black or white, and he varies in size
according to the climate. Some wolves only measure two and a half feet
in length, not counting the tail, others are much larger. They have
remarkably keen sight, hearing, and sense of smell, and such a
stealthy gait, that their way of slinking along has passed into a
proverb in countries where wolves are common. They live in rocky
caverns in the forest, sleep by day like other beasts of prey, and go
out at night to forage for food. They eat small birds, reptiles, the
smaller animals, such as rats and mice, some fruits, grapes among
others, and rotten apples; they do not disdain even dead bodies, nor
garbage of any sort. But in times of famine or prolonged snow, when
all these provisions fail them, and they feel the pinch of hunger,
then woe betide the flocks of sheep or the human beings they may
encounter. In 1450 wolves actually came into Paris and attacked the
citizens. Even so lately as the long and severe winter of 1894-5, the
wolves came down into the plains of Piedmont and the lower Alpes
Maritimes in such numbers that the soldiery had to be called out to
destroy them. In such times a wolf in broad daylight will steal up to
a flock of sheep peacefully feeding, seize on a fine fat one, and make
away with it, unseen and unsuspected even by the watchful sheep dog.
Should a first attempt prove successful, he will return again and
again, till, finding he can no longer rob that flock unmolested, he
will look out for another one still unsuspicious. If he once gets
inside a sheep-fold at night, he massacres and mangles right and left.
When he has slain to his heart's content, he goes off with a victim
and devours it, then comes back for a second, a third, and a fourth
carcase, which he carries away to hide under a heap of branches or
dead leaves. When dawn breaks, he returns gorged with food to his
lair, leaving the ground strewn with the bodies of the slain. The wolf
even contrives to get the better of his natural enemy, the dog, using
stratagem and cleverness in the place of strength. If he spies a gawky
long-legged puppy swaggering about his own farmyard, he will come
closer and entice him out to play by means of every sort of caper and
gambol. When the young simpleton has been induced to come out beyond
the farmyard, the wolf, throwing off his disguise of amiable
playfulness, falls upon the dog and carries him away to make a meal
of. In the case of a dog stronger and more capable of making
resistance the stratagem requires two wolves; one appears to the dog
in its true character of wolf, and then disappears into an ambush,
where the other lies hidden. The dog, following its natural instinct,
pursues the wolf into the ambush, where the two conspirators soon make
an end of it.

So numerous have wolves always been in the rural districts of France,
that from the earliest times there has been an institution called the
_Louveterie_, for their extermination. Since the French Revolution
this has been very much modified, but there is still a reward of so
much per head for every wolf killed. Under ordinary circumstances the
wolf will not only not attack man, but will flee from him, for he is
as cowardly as he is crafty. But if driven by hunger he will pursue,
or rather he will follow a solitary traveller for miles, dogging his
footsteps, and always keeping near, sometimes on one side, sometimes
on the other, till the man, harassed and worn out by fatigue and
fright, is compelled to halt; then the wolf, who had been waiting for
this opportunity, springs on him and devours him.

Audubon, in his 'Quadrupeds of America,' tells a story of two young
negroes who lived on a plantation on the banks of the Ohio in the
State of Kentucky, about the year 1820. They each had a sweetheart,
whom they used to go to visit every evening after their work was done.
These negresses lived on another plantation about four miles away, but
a short cut led across a large cane brake. When winter set in with its
long dark nights no ray of light illuminated this dismal swamp. But
the negroes continued their nightly expeditions notwithstanding,
arming themselves by way of precaution with their axes. One dark night
they set off over a thin crust of snow, the reflection from which
afforded all the light they had to guide them on their way. Hardly a
star appeared through the dense masses of cloud that nearly covered
the sky, and menaced more snow. About half way to their destination
the negroes' blood froze at the sound of a long and fearful howl that
rent the air; they knew it could only come from a pack of hungry and
perhaps desperate wolves. They paused to listen, and only a dismal
silence succeeded. In the impenetrable darkness nothing was visible a
few feet beyond them; grasping their axes they went on their way
though with quaking hearts. Suddenly, in single file, out of the
darkness sprang several wolves, who seized on the first man,
inflicting terrible wounds with their fangs on his legs and arms;
others as ravenous leapt on his companion, and dragged him to the
ground. Both negroes fought manfully, but soon one had ceased to move,
and the other, despairing of aiding his companion, threw down his axe
and sprang on to the branch of a tree, where he found safety and
shelter for the rest of that miserable night. When day broke, only the
bones of his friend lay scattered on the blood-stained, trampled snow;
three dead wolves lay near, but the rest of the pack had betaken
themselves to their lair, to sleep away the effects of their night's
gorge.

  [Illustration: 'WHEN DAY BROKE']

A sledge journey through the plains of Siberia in winter is a perilous
undertaking. If a pack of hungry wolves get on the track of a sledge,
the travellers know, as soon as they hear the horrid howls and see the
grey forms stealing swiftly across the snow, that their chances of
escape are small. If the sledge stops one instant men and horses are
lost; the only safety is in flight at utmost speed. It is indeed a
race for life! The horses, mad with terror, seem to have wings; the
wolves, no less swift, pursue them, their cruel eyes gleaming with the
lust for blood. From time to time a shot is fired, and a wolf falls
dead in the snow; bolder than the others, he has tried to climb into
the sledge and has met his reward. This incident gives a momentary
respite to the pursued, for the murderous pack will pause to tear in
pieces and devour their dead comrade; then, further inflamed with the
taste of blood, they will continue the headlong pursuit with redoubled
vigour.

Should the travellers be able to reach a village or friendly farmhouse
before the horses are completely exhausted, the wolves, frightened by
the lights, will slink away into the forest, balked this time of their
prey. On the other hand, should no refuge be near, the wolves will
keep up with the horses till the poor beasts stumble and fall from
fatigue, when the whole pack will instantly spring upon men and
horses, and in a few moments the blood-stained snow alone tells the
tale.

There have been instances, but fortunately few, of wolves with a
perfect craving for human flesh. Such was the notorious Bête (or
beast) du Gévaudan, that from the year 1764 and onwards ravaged the
district of that name, in Auvergne, to the south of the centre of
France. This wolf was of enormous size, measuring six feet from the
point of its nose to the tip of its tail. It devoured eighty-three
persons, principally women and children, and seriously wounded
twenty-five or thirty others. It was attacked from first to last by
between _two and three hundred thousand_ hunters, probably not all at
once. With half a dozen wolves, each equal to 200,000 men, a country
could afford to do without an army. But the wolf of Gévaudan was no
common wolf. He never married, having no leisure, fortunately for the
human race. The whole of France was in a state of alarm on its
account; the peasants dared no longer go to their work in the fields
alone and unarmed. Every day brought tidings of some fresh trouble; in
the morning he would spread terror and confusion in some village in
the plains, in the evening he would carry off some hapless victim from
some mountain hamlet fifteen or twenty leagues away. Five little
shepherd boys, feeding their flocks on the mountain-side, were
attacked suddenly by the ferocious beast, who made off with the
youngest of them; the others, armed only with sticks, pursued the
wolf, and attacked it so valiantly that they compelled it to drop its
prey and slink off into the wood. A poor woman was sitting at her
cottage door with her three children, when the wolf came down on them
and attempted to carry off each of the children in turn. The mother
fought so courageously in defence of her little ones that she
succeeded in putting the wolf to flight, but in so doing was terribly
bitten herself, and the youngest child died of his wounds.

Sometimes twenty or thirty parishes joined forces to attack the beast,
led by the most experienced huntsmen and the chief _louvetier_ of the
kingdom. On one occasion twenty thousand hunters surrounded the forest
of Preinières, where it lay concealed; but on this, as well as every
other occasion, the wolf escaped in the most surprising--one might
almost say miraculous--manner, disappearing as if he had been turned
into smoke. Some hunters declared that their bullets had rebounded off
him, flattened and harmless. Others alleged that when he had been
shot, like the great Dundee, with a silver bullet (a well-known charm
against sorcery) at such close quarters that it appeared impossible he
should not be mortally wounded, in a day or two some fresh horror
would announce that the creature was still uninjured. The very dogs
refused at length to go after him, and fled howling in the opposite
direction. The belief became general that it was no ordinary wolf of
flesh and blood, but the Fiend himself in beast shape. Prayers were
put up in the churches, processions took place, and the Host remained
exhibited as in the times of plague and public calamity.

The State offered a reward of 2,000 francs to whosoever should slay
the monster; the syndics of two neighbouring towns added 500 francs,
making a total of 100_l._ English money, a large sum in those days.
The young Countess de Mercoire, an orphan, and châtelaine of one of
the finest estates of the district, offered her hand and fortune in
marriage to whoever should rid the country of the scourge. This
inspired the young Count Léonce de Varinas, who, though no sportsman
by nature, was so deeply in love with the Countess that he determined
to gain the reward or perish in the attempt. Assisted by a small band
of well-trained hunters, and by two formidable dogs, a bloodhound and
a mastiff, he began a systematic attack on the wolf. After many
fruitless attempts they succeeded one day in driving the creature into
an abandoned quarry of vast size, the sides of which were twenty or
thirty feet high and quite precipitous, and the only entrance a narrow
cart track blasted out of the rock. The young Count, determined to do
or die alone, sternly refused to allow his men to accompany him into
the quarry, and left them posted at the entrance with orders only to
fire on the beast should it attempt to force its way out. Taking only
the dogs with him, and having carefully seen to the state of his
weapons, he went bravely to the encounter. The narrow defile was so
completely hemmed in on every side that, to the vanquished, there was
no escape nor alternative but death. Here and there, on patches of
half-melted snow, were footprints, evidently recent, of the huge
beast; but the creature remained invisible, and for nearly ten minutes
the Count had wandered among the rocks and bushes before the dogs
began to give sign of the enemy's presence.

About a hundred yards from where he stood was a frozen pool, on the
edge of which grew a clump of bulrushes. Among their dry and yellow
stalks Léonce suddenly caught a glimpse of a pair of fiery
eyes--nothing more; but it was enough to let him know that the
longed-for moment had at length arrived. Léonce advanced cautiously,
his gun cocked and ready to fire, and the dogs close at his heels,
growling with rage and fear. Still the wolf did not stir, and Léonce,
determining to try other tactics, stopped, raised his gun to his
shoulder, and aimed between the gleaming eyes, nothing more being yet
visible. Before he could fire the beast dashed from among the
crackling reeds and sprang straight at him. Léonce, nothing daunted,
waited till it was within ten paces and then fired. With a howl of
anguish the wolf fell as if dead. Before Léonce had time to utter a
shout of joy, it was on its feet again. Streaming with blood and
terrible in its rage it fell on the young man. He attempted to defend
himself with his bayonet, which, though of tempered steel, was broken
as if it had been glass; his gun, too, was bent, and he himself was
hurled to the ground. But for his faithful dogs it would soon have
been all over with him. They flew at the wolf's throat, who quickly
made an end of the bloodhound; one crunch broke his back, while one
stroke of the ruthless paw disembowelled him. Castor, the mastiff,
had, however, the wolf by the throat, and a fearful struggle ensued
over the prostrate body of Léonce. They bit, they tore, they worried,
they rolled over and over each other, the wolf, in spite of its
wounds, having always the advantage. Half stunned by the fall,
suffocated by the weight of the combatants, and blinded by the dust
and snow they scattered in the fray, Léonce had just sufficient
strength to make one last effort in self-defence. Drawing his
hunting-knife, he plunged it to the hilt in the shaggy mass above him.
From a distance he seemed to hear shouts of 'Courage, Monsieur!
Courage, Castor! We are coming!' then conscious only of an
overwhelming weight above him, and of iron claws tearing at his chest,
he fainted away. When he came to himself he was lying on the ground,
surrounded by his men. Starting up, he exclaimed, 'The beast! where is
the beast?'

  [Illustration: THE DEATH OF THE FAMOUS WOLF OF GÉVAUDAN]

'Dead, Monsieur! stone dead!' answered the head-keeper, showing him
the horrid creature, all torn and bloody, stretched out on the snow
beside the dead bloodhound. Castor, a little way off, lay panting and
bruised, licking his wound. The Count's knife was firmly embedded in
the beast's ribs; it had gone straight to the heart and death had been
instantaneous. A procession was formed to carry the carcase of the
wolf in triumph to the castle of the Countess. The news had flown in
advance, and she was waiting on the steps to welcome the conquering
hero. It was not long before the Countess and the gallant champion
were married; and, as the wolf left no family, the country was at
peace. Are you not rather sorry for the poor wolf?



_TWO HIGHLAND DOGS_


I

Righ and Speireag were two Highland dogs who lived in a beautiful
valley not far from the west coast of Scotland, where high hills slope
down to the shores of a blue loch, and the people talk a strange
language quite different from English, or even from French, or German,
or Latin, which is called Gaelic.

The name 'Righ,' means a king, and 'Speireag' means a sparrow-hawk,
but they are words no one, except a Highlander, can pronounce
properly. However, the dogs had a great many friends who could not
talk Gaelic, and when English-speaking people called them 'Ree' and
'Spearah,' they would always answer.

Righ was a great tawny deerhound, tall and slender, very stately, as a
king should be, and as gentle as he was strong. He had a rough coat and
soft brown eyes, set rather near together, and very bright and
watchful. His chief business in life was to watch the faces of his
friends, and to obey their wishes quickly, to take his long limbs away
from the drawing-room hearth-rug when the butler came in to put on the
coals, not to get in the way more than so big a dog could help, and not
to get too much excited when anything in the conversation suggested the
likelihood of a walk. But his father and all his ancestors had led very
different lives; they had been trained to go out on the mountains with
men who hunted the wild deer, and to help them in the chase, for the
deerhounds run with long bounds and are as fleet as the stag himself.
Then, when the beautiful creature had been killed, it was their duty to
guard the body, and to see that carrion crows, and eagles, and other
wild birds should not molest it. But Righ's master was a Bishop, who,
though he lived quite near to a great deer forest, and often took his
dogs over the hills to where the deer lived, never killed anything, but
loved to see all his fellow-creatures happy among the things they liked
best.

Speireag was a very little dog, of the kind that is called a Skye
terrier, though the island of Skye is one of the few places in which a
long-haired terrier is very rare. He was quite small, what his
Highland friends called 'a wee bit doggie;' he was very full of life
and courage, wonderfully plucky for his size, like the fierce little
bird whose name he bore. Like a good many little people he lacked the
dignity and repose of his big companion, and, though very
good-tempered among his friends, was quite ready to bite if beaten,
and did not take a scolding with half the gentleness and humility with
which Righ would submit to punishment, perhaps because he needed it
oftener, for he was so busy and active that he sometimes got into
scrapes. He was only three years old at the time of this story and
Righ was seven, so it was perhaps natural that Righ should be the
wiser of the two.

They lived in a beautiful house quite near the loch, and they had a
large garden to play in, and they could go in and out of the house and
do just as they liked so long as they came when they were called and
did as they were bid, and did not climb on the sofa cushions when
their feet were muddy. There were very few houses on their side the
water, and as their friends went about in boats as often as other
people go out in carriages, the dogs were used to the water, and could
swim as easily as walk, and what is more, knew how to sit still in a
boat, so that they were allowed to go everywhere with their friends
because they gave no trouble.

They had a very happy life, for there was always something going on,
which is what dogs like, and plenty of people to go walks with. Their
young masters sometimes went out with guns, and a dog, a country dog,
loves a gun better than anything in the world, because he knows it
means business in which he can help. Sometimes their mistress took
them for a walk, and then they knew that they must be on their best
behaviour, and not wander too far away from the road and have to be
whistled back, and not fight with the collies at the cottage doors,
nor chase cats, nor be tiresome in any way; they generally kept close
beside her, Righ walking very slowly so as to accommodate his big
strides to the progress of a poor human thing with only two legs, and
Speireag trotting along with tiny little footsteps that seemed to make
a great fuss and to be in a great hurry about nothing at all.

There was nothing, however, so delightful as going for walks with
their own master, the Bishop. For one thing, they generally knew he
really meant to do something worth while. Pottering about with a gun
or escorting a lady is pleasant enough, but it generally means coming
home to lunch or tea, and the real joy of a dog's walk is to feel that
you are getting further and further away from home, and that there are
miles of heather and pine-wood behind you, and yet you are still going
on and on, with chances of more hares and more squirrels to run after.
Sometimes the Bishop would stop at a shepherd's hut or a lonely
cottage under the lee of a hill, and sometimes he would sit down to
examine a flower he had gathered in the wood, but they forgave him
very good-temperedly, and could always find something to interest them
while they waited.

Righ generally sat down beside his master and stretched out his great
limbs on the heather, for he liked to think he was taking care of
somebody or something. Speireag would lie down for a minute, panting,
with his little red tongue hanging out and his hairy little paws all
wet and muddy; but he never rested for long, but would dart off,
pretending to have found a rat or a squirrel, even if none really
existed.

It was in December, 1887, the weather was raw and cold, there was ice
floating about on the loch, and the sea gulls used to come up to the
garden terrace to be fed. The young masters were away, and mistress
could only take walks along the road, there was nothing to tempt her
to a mountain scramble or a saunter in the woods. The Bishop was very
busy, and day after day the dogs would start up from the rug at the
sound of the opening of his study door upstairs, and after a minute's
anxious listening, with ears cocked and heads erect, they would lie
down again with a sigh of disappointment, for there was no sound of
approach to the hat-stand nor of whistled invitation for a walk.

Finally came a sad day when the Bishop went away, and dog-life
threatened to become monotonous. Then, one Saturday, hope revived, for
a visitor came to the house, an old friend whom they loved and trusted
as a good dog always loves what is trustworthy. He was a frequent
visitor, and had, in fact, left the house but three weeks before. He
was there for a holiday rest, and had leisure to bestow on dogs and on
long walks, which they always shared.

He was very thoughtful for them, not the sort of man who would set off
on a whole afternoon's ramble and say, when half a mile on his way, 'I
wish I'd remembered Righ and Speireag!' He always remembered them, and
thought for them; and when he fed them after dinner, would always give
big bits of biscuit to the big dog, and little bits to the little dog,
and it is not every one who has the sense for that!

Every day, and often twice a day, he took them out, down to the church
or the pier, or across the lake and up to the Pass of Glencoe, where
stern grey hills and hovering eagles and a deep silent valley still
seem to whisper together of a sad true story that happened there in
just such weather as this two hundred years ago.

These were very happy days for dogs, for they did not mind the cold,
it was only an excuse for wild scampering and racing, and they were
very grateful for their friend's return. He had been ill, but was able
to enjoy his walks and though about sixty years of age he had all
those qualities of youth which endear a man to a dog or a child. He
was brave and unselfish, and strong to love and to endure, and they
loved him without knowing why; without knowing that he had lost his
health from overwork in the service of the poor and suffering, and
among outcasts so low as to be beyond the sympathy of any heart less
loving than that of a dog or of a very good man. 'Father' Mackonochie
he was always called, and though he had never had wife or children of
his own, many a fatherless child, and many a lonely grown-up man or
woman, felt that it was quite easy and natural to call him by a name
so sacred.

On the Wednesday after he came, he took Righ and Speireag for a
glorious walk through the shrubberies and out through a gate on to the
road at the foot of the hills behind, a road that winds on and on for
many miles, the mountains rising steeply above, the lake being cold
and grey below; the bank, that slopes away from the road to the water,
in places covered with gorse and low bushes and heather, where an
enterprising dog may hunt for rats and rabbits, or rush headlong after
a pee-wit or moor-fowl as it rises with a scream at his approach and
flutters off high into the air, and then descending to within a few
feet of him, skims low before him, hopelessly far, yet tantalisingly
near.

The way was familiar to them by land or by water. Often had they
sailed up the loch in the same direction, further and further into the
heart of the mountains, the valley becoming more and more narrow, the
shores of the lake nearer and nearer to each other, till, had they
gone far enough, they would have reached the Dog's Ferry, a spot where
the water is so narrow that a dog may easily swim across. Righ, strong
swimmer that he was, had often crossed the loch near his master's
house, where the ferry boats ply, and needed no Dog's Ferry, but few
dogs made such powerful strokes in the water as he.

This day, however, they did not reach the Dog's Ferry. The afternoon
was closing in, there were streaks of gold in the dull grey sky, and
it was, the good Father thought, time to return. 'Never mind, little
man,' he said as Speireag looked reproachfully at him with wistful
brown eyes gleaming through overhanging silvery locks, 'we'll do it
to-morrow, only we must set off earlier.'

This was good news, and the little dog started home gaily, running, as
little dogs will, ten miles, at least, to every one of the road, and
tired enough when home was reached at last. Dinner was a welcome
feast, and Righ and Speireag slept sound till it was time for evening
service. They always attended chapel night and morning, and took their
places at the foot of the steps, half-way, when both were present,
between mistress in her seat and master at the place of his sacred
office. To-night, as usual, they remained perfectly quiet and
apparently indifferent to what was going on till, at the words
'Lighten our darkness,' bed-time came into immediate prospect, and
they started into expectant attitudes, awaiting the final 'Amen.'


II

The next morning, though cold, was fine and fairly bright, and the
dogs watched eagerly for signs of the promised walk. The service in
chapel was rather long this morning, for, as it was Advent, the
'Benedicite' was read, and though Righ and Speireag noticed only that
they had time for a longer nap than usual, there were some present who
will never forget, as the season comes round again each year, the
special significance of part of that song of praise--

    O ye frost and cold--O ye ice and snow--O ye nights and days
    O ye light and darkness, O ye mountains and hills,
    O ye beasts and cattle, O ye holy and humble men of heart,
    Bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever!

But at last the service was over and the dogs trotted out into the
hall, and followed mistress and their friend to the front door to see
'what the weather was like.' It was not a specially pleasant morning,
but it would do for a walk, and after waiting a few minutes to have
some sandwiches cut, the only detention that could be endured with
patience, the three set out. After about six miles they were on new
ground, but on they went, the lake to the right of the road getting
narrower--on past the Dog's Ferry and still on, till the loch had
become a river, and could be crossed by a bridge.

Righ and Speireag knew, by a more certain method than looking at
clocks, that it was lunch time, half past one at least, and they never
thought of doubting that they would cross the bridge and turn
homewards along the other side the loch, and so get in about tea-time;
or, for their friend was enterprising, by a longer way also on the
further side, either of which would involve a delightful long walk,
but with just that hint of a homeward turn which, even to dogs, is
acceptable when breakfast has become a mere memory.

They accordingly followed the road on to the bridge, but as Father
Mackonochie did not overtake them, Righ, ever watchful of his friends,
turned to look back and saw him speaking to a girl, after which, to
their surprise, he whistled them back, and instead of continuing along
the road as it turned off to the right, kept straight on, though there
was now only a rough track leading through a gate into the wood
beyond.

When they had advanced a few paces into the wood, he sat down under a
tree and took out his packet of sandwiches. Righ and Speireag, sitting
close beside him, had their share, or perhaps more, for their wistful
brown eyes hungrily reminded him that they had multiplied the distance
many times over, and that an unexpected luncheon out of doors is a joy
in a dog's day, of a kind for which a man may well sacrifice a part of
his minor pleasure.

Starting off again was a fresh delight. On they went, further and
further, always climbing higher and getting deeper into the wood. To
the left, the steep mountain-side rose abruptly above them; to the
right, below the path, the river tore its way between steep banks
down, down to its home in the lake. Now and then the trees parted and
made way for a wild mountain torrent leaping from rock to rock down
the hill side, and rushing across their path to join the river below.
As they climbed further these became more frequent. Their friend could
stride across, setting an occasional foot upon a stepping-stone, and
Righ, too, could cross safely enough, long-limbed as he was, though
now and then he had to swim, and the streams were so rapid that it
needed all his strength to cross the current. Sometimes he helped
Speireag, for the brave little dog would always try to follow his big
companion, and sometimes, with an anxious bark, would give warning
that help was needed, and then the kind Father would turn back to pick
up the little dog and carry him till they were in safety.

It was very hard work, they were always climbing, and in many places
the road was polished with a thin coating of ice, but the dogs feared
nothing and kept on bravely.

The path dwindled to a mere track, and the climbing became steeper
still. The streams crossed their road still oftener, and the stones
were slippery with ice. The wood became thinner, and as they had less
shelter from the trees, great flakes of half-frozen snow were driven
against their faces. There was no thought now of hares or stags, Righ
and Speireag had no energies left for anything but patient following.
Poor little Speireag's long coat was very wet, and as it dried a
little, it became hard and crisp with frost. The long hair falling
over his eyes was matted together and tangled with briers, and his
little feet were sore and heavy with the mud that had caked in the
long tassels of silky hair. Even Righ was very weary, and he followed
soberly now instead of bounding along in front, his ears and tail
drooped, and each time he crossed the ice-cold water he seemed more
and more dejected.

As they left the wood behind them, the snow fell thick and blinding,
but just at first, as they came out into the open, it seemed not quite
so dark as under the trees. There was nothing to be seen but grey sky
and grey moor, even the river had been left behind, and only blackened
patches remained to show where, in summer, the ground was spread with
a gay carpet of purple heather and sweet bog-myrtle. They got deeper
at each step into half-frozen marsh; there was no sound or sign of
life. The dogs felt hungry and weary, and they ached with the cold and
wet. But they were following a friend, and they trusted him wholly.
Well they knew that each step was taking them farther from home, and
farther into the cold and darkness. But dog-wisdom never asserts
itself, and in trustful humility they followed still, and the snow
came down closer and closer around them, and even the grey sky and the
grey moor were blotted out--and the darkness fell.


III

It was a disappointing home-coming for the Bishop that Thursday
evening! There was no hearty handshake from waiting friend, no
rejoicing bay of big dog or extravagant excitement of little dog to
welcome him. The three had been out the whole day, he was told, and
had not yet reappeared. A long walk had been projected, but they had
been expected home long before this. When dinner-time came, and they
did not appear, two servants had been sent out with lanterns to meet
them, as the road, though not one to be missed, was dark, and some
small accident might have happened. The men were not back yet, but
doubtless the missing party would soon return.

The night was dark and stormy, and Father Mackonochie had been for
some time somewhat invalided, and as time passed the Bishop became
increasingly anxious. At length he ordered a carriage, and with the
gardener set off towards Kinloch, the head of the loch, thinking that
accident or weariness might have detained his friend, and the carriage
might be useful. On the way they met the first messengers returning
with the news that nothing could be heard at Kinloch of the missing
three, except that they had passed there between one and two o'clock
in the afternoon. The Bishop and his men sought along the road, and
inquired for tidings at the very few houses within reach, but in vain.
The night was dark and little could be done, and there was always the
hope that on their return they might find that some tidings had been
heard, that the lost friends might have come back by the other side of
the lake.

So at last they turned back, reaching home about four o'clock in the
morning. No news had been heard, and all felt anxious and perplexed,
but most believed that some place of shelter had been reached, as the
dogs had not come home. They could find their way home from anywhere,
and there seemed little doubt that, overtaken by darkness, all three
had found shelter in a shepherd's or gamekeeper's hut, perhaps on the
other side of the lake, as they had almost certainly crossed the
bridge, no one having met them on the road by which they had started.

Nevertheless all that was possible must be done in case of the worst,
and as soon as daylight returned four parties of men were despatched
in different directions, the Bishop himself choosing that which his
friend and his dogs were known to have taken the day before.

A whole day of search over miles and miles of the desolate wintry
mountains revealed but one fact, that the party had eaten their
luncheon under a tree in the wood, beyond the bridge. The squirrels
had left the sandwich paper there to tell the tale, and for the first
time it seemed likely that they had not turned homewards on reaching
the head of the lake, either by the same road they had come, or by
that on the other side of the water and through Glencoe.

One by one, the search parties came home with no tidings. No trace of
the wanderers had been seen, no bark of dogs had been heard, no help
had been found towards the discovery of the sad secret. Weary and
heartsick as all felt, no time was to be lost, every hour made the
anxiety greater, and all were ready in a very short time to start
afresh.

Again, for the second time, all through the long night they wandered
over the mountains, through the wood, and across the deer-forest
beyond. It was an awful night. Again and again were their lights blown
out; the snow lay deep in all the hollows; where the streams had
overflowed their banks, the path was a sheet of solid ice; the rocks,
polished and slippery, were climbed with utmost difficulty. At every
opening in the hills an ice-cold wind whirled down glen and corrie,
sleet and hail-stones beat against their faces, the frozen pools in
the marshes gave way beneath their feet. The night was absolutely
dark, not a star shone out to give them courage. The silence and the
sounds were alike awful. Sometimes they could hear each other's
laboured breathing as they tottered on the ice or waded through the
snow, sometimes all other sounds were lost in the shrieking of the
whirlwinds, the crackling of the ice, and the roaring of the swollen,
angry streams.

What could have happened? Even if accident had occurred, either or
both of the dogs would surely have returned, and how could even a
Highland dog, hungry and shelterless, live through such a night as
this?

Morning came again, and returning to the point, near the bridge at
which the carriage had been left, two of the parties met, and drove
home for food and dry clothing, and to learn what others might have to
tell.

There was no news, and again the same earnest friends, with many more
kind helpers, set out on their almost hopeless journey. The trackless
wilds of the deer-forest seemed the most likely field for search, and
all now, in various groups, set off in this direction.

Hour after hour passed without any gleam of hope, and even the Bishop
began to feel that everything possible had been done, and was turning
sadly homewards. A second party, a few hundreds yards behind, had
almost come to the same resolve, many of the men had been without rest
since Thursday, and even the dog, who with one of the keepers of the
deer-forest had joined the party, was limping wearily and was
exhausted by the cold and the rough walking.

Suddenly he stopped, and, with ears pricked and head erect, listened.
No one knows better than a Highlander the worth of a collie's opinion,
and more than one stopped to listen too. Not far away, and yet faint,
came the bark of a dog! Among the men was Sandy, one of the Bishop's
stablemen, who knew and loved Righ and Speireag, and his heart leapt
up as he recognised the deerhound's bay!

Away, to their left, the mountains were cleft by a narrow glen, the
sound came from the bank on the hither side. The Bishop and his party
had climbed to the further side, but a shout reached them, alert and
watchful as they were.

They turned back wondering, scarcely daring to hope. The men who had
called to them were hastening to a given point, the dog, nose to
ground, preceding them. There is no mistaking the air of a dog on
business. The collie's intentness was as different from his late
dejection as was the present haste of the men from the anxious
watchful plodding of their long search.

In another moment they came in sight of something which made them hold
back the dog, and which arrested their own footsteps. The Bishop
himself must be the first to tread on what all felt was holy ground.

There, on the desolate hillside, lay the body of Father Mackonochie,
wreathed about with the spotless snow, a peaceful expression on his
face. One on either side sat the dogs, watching still, as they had
watched through the two long nights of storm and darkness. Even the
approach of friends did not tempt them to forsake their duty. With
hungry, weary faces they looked towards the group which first came
near them, but not till their own master knelt down beside all that
remained of his old friend, did they yield up their trust, and rise,
numbed and stiff, from the posts they had taken up, who knows how long
before?

To say a few words of prayer and thanksgiving was the Bishop's first
thought, his second to take from his pocket the sandwiches he carried,
and to give all to Righ and Speireag.

A bier was contrived of sticks from a rough fence that marked the
boundary of the deer-forest, and the body was lifted from the frozen
ground on which it lay. The return to Kinloch, where the carriage
waited, was very difficult, and the bearers had to change places very
often.

Slow as was their progress, it was as rapid as Righ could manage,
numbed with cold, and exhausted with hunger. The little dog was easily
carried, and for once little Speireag was content to rest.

  [Illustration: 'THE LONG VIGIL']

No one will ever know what those faithful dogs felt and endured
during those two days and nights of storm and loneliness. Those who
sought them in the darkness of that second awful night must have
passed very near the spot where they lay, sleeping perhaps, or
deafened by the storm, or even, possibly, listening anxiously with
beating hearts to the footsteps which came so near, and yet turned
away, leaving them, faithful to their post, in the night.

They in their degree, like the man whose last sleep they guarded, were
'true and faithful servants.'

       *       *       *       *       *

It is pleasant to know that Righ and Speireag did not suffer
permanently for all they had undergone! They lived for five years and
a half after, and had many and many a happy ramble when the sun was
bright and the woods were green, and squirrels and hares were merry.
They could not be better cared for than they had always been, but, if
possible, they were more indulged. If they contrived to get a dinner
in the kitchen as well as in the dining-room, their friends remembered
the days when they had none, and nobody told tales. If they lay in the
sun quite across the front door, or took up the whole of the rug
before the winter fire, everyone felt that there were arrears of
warmth to be made up to them. Their portraits were painted, and in the
sculpture which in his own church commemorates Father Mackonochie's
death, the dogs have not been forgotten.

Righ was the elder of the two, and towards the end of his thirteen
years showed signs of old age and became rheumatic and feeble, but
Speireag, though three years younger, did not long survive him.

They rest now under a cairn in the beautiful garden they loved so
well; dark green fir trees shelter their grave, a gentle stream goes
merrily by on its way to the lake below, and in the crannies of the
stones of which the cairn is built, fox-gloves and primroses and
little ferns grow fresh and green.

On the cairn is this inscription:

    IN MEMORY OF

    15th December, 1887.

    RIGH died 19th January, 1893.

    SPEIREAG died 28th August, 1893.



_MONKEY TRICKS AND SALLY AT THE ZOO_

_Naturalist's Note-book._


Some monkeys are cleverer and more civilised than others, and the
chiefs have their followers well in hand; every monkey having his own
especial duties, which he is very careful to fulfil. When the stores
of food which have been collected are getting low, the elders of the
tribe--grey beards with long manes--meet together and decide where
they shall go to lay in fresh supplies. This important point being
settled, the whole body of monkeys, even down to the very little ones,
leave the woods or mountain ravine where they live, and form into
regular order. First scouts are posted; some being sent on to places
in advance, others being left to guard the rear, while the main body,
made up of the young and helpless monkeys, follow the chiefs, who
march solemnly in front and carefully survey every precipice or
doubtful place before they suffer anyone to pass over it.

It is not at all easy, even for an elderly and experienced monkey, to
keep order among the host of lively chattering creatures for whose
safety he is responsible, and indeed it would often be an impossible
task if it were not for the help of the rear-guard. These much-tried
animals have to make up quarrels which often break out by the way; to
prevent the greedy ones from stopping to eat every scrap of fruit or
berry that hangs from the trees as they pass, and to scold the mothers
who try to linger behind in order to dress their children's hair and
to make them smart for the day.

Under these conditions, it takes a long time even for monkeys to
reach their destination, which is generally a corn-field, but, once
there, scouts are sent out to every rock or rising ground, so as to
guard against any surprise. Then the whole tribe fall to, and after
filling their cheek pouches with ears of corn, they make up bundles to
tuck under their arms. After the long march and the hasty picking,
they begin to get thirsty as well as hungry, and the next thing is to
find some water. This is very soon done, as they seem able to detect
it under the sand, however deep down it may be, and by dint of taking
regular turns at digging, it does not take long before they have laid
bare a well that is large enough for everybody.

Monkeys love by nature to imitate what they see, and have been known
to smoke a pipe, and to pretend to read a book that they have seen
other people reading. But sometimes they can do a great deal more than
this, and show that they can calculate and reason better than many
men. A large Abyssinian monkey was one day being taken round Khartoum
by its master, and made to perform all sorts of tricks for the
amusement of the bystanders. Among these was a date-seller, who was
squatting on the ground beside his fruit. Now the monkey was
passionately fond of dates, but being very cunning was careful not to
let this appear, and went on performing his tricks as usual, drawing
little by little nearer to the date basket as he did so. When he
thought he was near enough for his purpose, he first pretended to die,
slowly and naturally, and then, after lying for a moment on the sand
as stiff as a corpse, suddenly bounded up with a scream straight in
front of the date-seller's face, and stared at him with his wild eyes.
The man looked back at him spell-bound, quite unaware that one of the
monkey's hind feet was in the date basket, clawing up as much fruit as
its long toes could hold. By some such trick as this the monkey
managed to steal enough food daily to keep him fat and comfortable.

No cleverer monkey ever lived than the ugly old Sally, who died at
the Zoological Gardens of London only a few years ago. Her keeper had
spent an immense deal of time and patience in training her up, and it
was astonishing what she was able to do. 'Sally,' he would say,
putting a tin cup full of milk into her hands, with a spoon hanging
from it, 'show us how you used to drink when you were in the woods,'
upon which Sally stuck all her fingers into the milk and sucked them
greedily. 'Now,' he continued, 'show us how you drink since you became
a lady,' and then Sally took the spoon and drank her milk in dainty
little sips. Next he picked up a handful of straw from the bottom of
the cage, and remarked carelessly, 'Here, just tear those into six,
will you, all the same length.' Sally took the straws, and in half a
minute the thing was done. But she had not come to the end of her
surprises yet. 'You're very fond of pear, I know,' said the keeper,
producing one out of his pocket and cutting it with his knife; 'well,
I'm going to put some on my hand, but you're not to touch it until
I've cut two short pieces and three long ones, and then you may take
the second long one, but you aren't to touch any of the rest.' The man
went on cutting his slices without stopping, and was quite ready to
begin upon a sixth, when Sally stretched out her hand, and took the
fourth lying along the row, which she had been told she might have.
Very likely she might have accomplished even more wonderful things
than this, but one cold day she caught a chill, and died in a few
hours of bronchitis.



_HOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED_

Waterton's _Wanderings in S. America_.


In the year 1782 there was born in the old house of Walton, near
Pontefract, in Yorkshire, a boy named Charles Waterton, who afterwards
became very famous as a traveller and a naturalist. As soon as he
could walk, he was always to be found poking about among trees, or
playing with animals, and both at home and at school he got into many
a scrape through his love of adventure. He was only about ten when
some other boys dared him to ride on a cow, and of course he was not
going to be beaten. So up he got while the cow was only thinking how
good the grass tasted, but the moment she felt a strange weight on her
back, she flung her heels straight into the air, and off flew Master
Waterton over her head.

Many years after this, Waterton was travelling in South America,
seeing and doing many curious things. For a long time he had set his
heart on catching a cayman, a kind of alligator that is found in the
rivers of Guiana. For this purpose he took some Indians with him to
the Essequibo, which falls into the sea not far from Demerara, and was
known to be a famous place for caymans. It was no good attempting to
go after them during the long, bright day. They were safely in hiding,
and never thought of coming out till the sun was below the horizon.

So Waterton and his Indians waited in patience till the moon rose, and
everything was still, except that now and then a huge fish would leap
into the air and plunge again under water. Suddenly there broke forth
a fearful noise, unlike the cry of any other creature. As one cayman
called another answered; and although caymans are not very common
anywhere, that night you would have thought that the world was full of
them.

The three men stopped eating their supper of turtle and turned and
looked over the river. Waterton could see nothing, but the Indian
silently pointed to a black log that lay in the stream, just over the
place where they had baited a hook with a large fish, and bound it on
a board. At the end of the board a rope was fastened, and this was
also made fast to a tree on the bank. By-and-bye the black log began
to move, and in the bright moonlight he was clearly seen to open his
long jaws and to take the bait inside them. But the watchers on shore
pulled the rope too soon, and the cayman dropped the bait at once.
Then for an hour he lay quite still, thinking what he should do next,
but feeling cross at having lost his supper, he made up his mind to
try once more, and cautiously took the bait in his mouth. Again the
rope was pulled, and again the bait was dropped into the river; but in
the end the cayman proved more cunning than the Indians, for after he
had played this trick for three or four times he managed to get the
fish without the hook, and when the sun rose again, Waterton knew that
cayman hunting was over for that day.

For two or three nights they watched and waited, but did not ever get
so near success as before. Let them conceal a hook in the bait ever so
cleverly, the cayman was sure to be cleverer than they, and when
morning came, the bait was always gone and the hook always left. The
Indians, however, had no intention of allowing the cayman to beat them
in the long run, and one of them invented a new hook, which this time
was destined to better luck. He took four or five pieces of wood about
a foot long, barbed them at each end, and tied them firmly to the end
of a rope, thirty yards long. Above the barb was baited the flesh of
an acouri, a creature the size of a rabbit. The whole was then
fastened to a post driven into the sand, and the attention of the
cayman aroused to what was going on by some sharp blows on an empty
tortoiseshell, which served as a drum.

About half-past five the Indian got up and stole out to look, and then
he called triumphantly to the rest to come up at once, for on the hook
was a cayman, ten feet and a half long.

But hard as it had been to secure him, it was nothing to the
difficulty of getting him out alive, and with his scales uninjured,
especially as the four Indians absolutely refused to help, and that
left only two white men and a negro, to grapple with the huge monster.
Of these, too, the negro showed himself very timid, and it was not
easy to persuade him to be of any use.

The position was certainly puzzling. If the Indians refused their
help, the cayman could not be taken alive at all, and if they gave it,
it was only at the price of injuring the animal and spoiling its skin.
At length a compromise occurred to Waterton. He would take the mast of
the canoe, which was about eight feet long, and would thrust it down
the cayman's throat, if it showed any signs of attacking him. On this
condition, the Indians agreed to give their aid.

Matters being thus arranged, Waterton then placed his men--about seven
in all--at the end of the rope and told them to pull till the cayman
rose to the surface, while he himself knelt down with the pole about
four yards from the bank, ready for the cayman, should he appear,
roaring. Then he gave the signal, and slowly the men began to pull.
But the cayman was not to be caught without a struggle. He snorted and
plunged violently, till the rope was slackened, when he instantly
dived below. Then the men braced all their strength for another
effort, and this time out he came and made straight for Waterton.

  [Illustration: THE CAPTURE OF THE CAYMAN]

The naturalist was so excited by his capture, that he lost all sense
of the danger of his position. He waited till the cayman was within a
few feet of him, when he flung away his pole, and with a flying leap
landed on the cayman's back, twisting up the creature's feet and
holding tightly on to them. The cayman, very naturally, could not in
the least understand what had happened, but he began to plunge and
struggle, and to lash out behind with his thick scaly tail, while the
Indians looked on from afar, and shouted in triumph.

To Waterton the only fear was, lest the rope should prove too weak for
the strain, in which case he and the cayman would promptly disappear
into the depths of the Essequibo. But happily the rope was strong, and
after being dragged by the Indians for forty yards along the sand, the
cayman gave in, and Waterton contrived to tie his jaws together, and
to lash his feet on to his back. Then he was put to death, and so
ended the chase of the cayman.



_THE STORY OF FIDO_


Fido's master had to go a long journey across the country to a certain
town, and he was carrying with him a large bag of gold to deposit at
the bank there. This bag he carried on his saddle, for he was riding,
as in those days there were no trains, and he had to travel as quickly
as he could.

Fido scampered cheerfully along at the horse's heels, and every now
and then the man would call out to her, and Fido would wag her tail
and bark back an answer.

The sun was hot and the road dusty, and poor Fido's little legs grew
more and more tired. At last they came to a cool, shady wood, and the
master stopped, dismounted, and tied his horse to a tree, and took his
heavy saddle-bags from the saddle.

He laid them down very carefully, and pointing to them, said to Fido,
'Watch them.'

Then he drew his cloak about him, lay down with his head on the bags,
and soon was fast asleep.

Little Fido curled herself up close to her master's head, with her
nose over one end of the bags, and went to sleep too. But she did not
sleep very soundly, for her master had told her to watch, and every
few moments she would open her eyes and prick up her ears, in case
anyone were coming.

  [Illustration: THE WOUNDING OF FIDO]

Her master was tired and slept soundly and long--much longer than he
had intended. At last he was awakened by Fido's licking his face. The
dog saw that the sun was nearly setting, and knew that it was time
for her master to go on his journey.

The man patted Fido and then jumped up, much troubled to find he had
slept so long. He snatched up his cloak, threw it over his horse,
untied the bridle, sprang into the saddle, and calling Fido, started
off in great haste. But Fido did not seem ready to follow him. She ran
after the horse and bit at his heels, and then ran back again to the
woods, all the time barking furiously. This she did several times, but
her master had no time to heed her and galloped away, thinking she
would follow him.

At last the little dog sat down by the roadside, and looked
sorrowfully after her master, until he had turned a bend in the road.
When he was no longer in sight she sprang up with a wild bark, and ran
after him again. She overtook him just as he had stopped to water his
horse at a brook that flowed across the road. She stood beside the
brook and barked so savagely that her master rode back and called her
to him; but instead of coming she darted off down the road still
barking.

Her master did not know what to think, and began to fear that his dog
was going mad. Mad dogs are afraid of water, and act in a strange way
when they see it. While the man was thinking of this, Fido came
running back again, and dashed at him furiously. She leapt at the legs
of his horse, and even jumped up and bit the toe of her master's boot.
Then she ran down the road again, barking with all her might.

Her master was now sure that she was mad, and, taking out his pistol
he shot her. He rode away quickly, for he loved her dearly and could
not bear to see her die.

He had not ridden very far when he stopped suddenly. He felt under his
coat for his saddle-bags. They were not there!

Could he have dropped them, or had he left them behind in the wood
where he had rested? He felt sure they must be in the wood, for he
could not remember having picked them up or fastening them to his
saddle.

He turned his horse and rode back again as hard as he could.

When he came to the brook he sighed and said, 'Poor Fido!' but though
he looked about he could see nothing of her. When he crossed the brook
he saw some drops of blood on the ground, and all along the road he
still saw drops of blood. Tears came into his eyes, and he felt very
sad and guilty, for now he understood why little Fido had acted so
strangely. She knew that her master had left behind his precious bags
of gold, and so she had tried to tell him in the only way she could.

All the way to the wood lay the drops of blood. At last he reached the
wood, and there, all safe, lay the bags of gold, and beside them, with
her little nose lying over one end of them, lay faithful Fido, who,
you will be pleased to hear, recovered from her wound, and lived to a
great age.



_BEASTS BESIEGED_

Adapted from Théophile Gautier.


Twenty-five years ago (in the winter of 1870-1871) Paris was closely
besieged by the Germans, who had beaten one French army after another
on the frontier, and had now advanced into the very heart of the
country. The cold was frightful, and no wood could be got, and as if
this was not enough, food began to give out, and the people inside the
city soon learned to know the tortures of hunger. There was no hay or
corn for the horses; after sheep and oxen they were the first animals
to be eaten, and then whispers were heard about elephants and camels
and other beasts in the Jardin des Plantes, which is the French name
for their Zoological Gardens.

Now it is quite bad enough to be taken from the forests and deserts
where you never did anything but just what you chose, and to be shut
up in a small cage behind bars; but it is still worse not to have
enough food to eat, and worst of all to be made into food for other
people. Luckily the animals did not know what was being talked about
in the world outside, or they would have been more uncomfortable than
they were already.

Any visitor to the Jardin des Plantes about Christmas time in 1870,
and for many weeks later, would have seen a strange sight. Some parts
of the Gardens were set aside for hospitals, and rows of beds occupied
every sheltered building. Passing through these, the visitor found
himself in the kingdom of the beasts, who were often much more gentle
than their gaolers.

After coming from the streets where nothing was the same as it had
been six months before, and everything was topsy-turvy, it was almost
soothing to watch the animals going on in their usual way, quite
regardless of what men might be doing outside. There was the white
bear swinging himself from side to side and rubbing his nose against
the bars, just as he had done on the day that he had first taken up
his abode there. There was a camel still asking for cakes, and an
elephant trumpeting with fury because he didn't get any. Nobody had
cakes for themselves, and it would have been far easier to place a
gold piece in the twirling proboscis. An elephant who is badly fed is
not a pretty spectacle. Its skin is so large that it seems as if it
would take in at least three or four extra bodies, and having only one
shrunken skeleton to cover, it shrivels up into huge wrinkles and
looks like the earth after a dry summer. On the whole, certain kinds
of bears come off best, for they can sleep all the winter through, and
when they wake up, the world will seem the same as when they last shut
their eyes, and unless their friend the white bear tells them in bear
language all that has happened they will never be any the wiser.

Still it is not all the bears who are lucky enough to have the gift of
sleep. Some remained broad awake, and stood idly about in the corners
of their dens, not knowing how to get rid of the time that hung so
heavily on their paws. What was the use for the big brown marten to go
up to the top of his tree, when there was no one to tickle his nose
with a piece of bread at the end of a string? Why should his brother
take the trouble to stand up on his hind legs when there was nobody to
laugh and clap him? Only one very young bear indeed, with bright eyes
and a yellow skin, went on his own way, regardless of spectators, and
he was busily engaged in looking at himself in a pail of water and
putting on all sorts of little airs and graces, from sheer admiration
of his own beauty.

  [Illustration: THE DREAM OF THE HUNGRY LION]

Perhaps the most to be pitied of all were the lions, for they do not
know how to play, and could only lie about and remember the days when
towards sunset they crept towards the cool hill, and waited till the
antelopes came down for their evening drink. And then, ah _then_! but
that is only a memory, while stretched out close by is the poor
lioness in the last stage of consumption, and looking more like those
half-starved fighting lions you see on royal coats of arms than a real
beast. At such times most children would give anything to catch up the
Zoological Gardens and carry them right away into the centre of
Africa, and let out the beasts and make them happy and comfortable
once more. But that was not the feeling of the little boy who had been
taken by his mother to see the beasts as a treat for his birthday. At
each cage they passed he came to a standstill, and gazing at the
animal with greedy eyes, he said, 'Mother, wouldn't you like to eat
that?' Every time his mother answered him, 'No one eats these beasts,
my boy; they are brought from countries a long way off, and cost a
great deal of money.' The child was silent for a moment, but at the
sight of the zebra, the elk, or the little hyæna, his face brightened
again, and his voice might be heard piping forth its old question,
'Mother, wouldn't you like to eat that?'

It is a comfort to think that the horrid greedy boy was disappointed
in his hopes. Whatever else he may have eaten, the taste of lions and
of bears is still strange to him, for the siege of Paris came to an
end at last, and the animals were made happy as of old with their
daily portions.



_MR. GULLY_


He was a herring gull, and one of the largest I have ever seen. He was
beautiful to look at with his soft grey plumage, never a feather of
which was out of place. Of his character I will say nothing; that can
be best judged by reading the following truthful biography of my 'dove
of the waters.'

I cannot begin at the beginning. Of his youth, which doubtless, in
every sense of the word, was a stormy one, I know nothing. He had
already acquired the wisdom, or perhaps in his case slyness is a
better word, of years by the time that he came to us.

Gully was found one day in a field near our house in a very much
exhausted condition. He had probably come a long distance, which he
must have accomplished on foot, as he was unable to fly owing to his
wing having been pinioned.

He was very hungry and greedily bolted a small fish that we offered
him, and screamed for more. We then turned him into the garden, where
he soon found a sheltered corner by our dining-room window and went to
sleep standing on one leg. The other one he always kept tucked away so
that was quite invisible.

Next morning I came out to look for Gully and feed him. He had
vanished! I thought of the pond where I kept my goldfish, forty
beautiful goldfish. There sure enough was Mr. Gully swimming about
contentedly, but where were the goldfish? Instead of the crystal
clear pond, was a pool of muddy water; instead of forty goldfish, all
that I could make out, when Mr. Gully had been chased away and the
water given time to settle, was one miserable little half-dead fish,
the only survivor of the forty.

This was the first of Gully's misdeeds. To look at Gully, no one could
believe him to be capable of hurting a fly. He had the most lovely
gentle brown eyes you ever saw, and seemed more like a benevolent old
professor than anything else. He generally appeared to be half asleep
or else sunning himself with a contented smile on his thoughtful
countenance.

Gully next took to killing the sparrows; he was very clever at this.
When he had finished eating, the sparrows were in the habit of
appropriating the remnants of the feast. This Gully strongly
disapproved of, so when he had eaten as much as he wanted, he retired
behind a chair and waited till the sparrows were busy feasting, then
he would make a rush and seize the nearest offender. He sometimes used
to kill as many as from two to four sparrows a day in this manner. The
pigeons then took to coming too near his reach. At first he was afraid
of them and left them alone; but the day came when a young fan-tail
was foolish enough to take his airing on the terrace, close to Mr.
Gully's nose. This was too much for Mr. Gully, who pounced upon the
unfortunate 'squeaker' and slew him. _L'appétit vient en mangeant_,
and after this Mr. Gully took the greatest delight in hunting these
unfortunate birds and murdering them. No pigeon was too large for him
to attack. I only just succeeded in saving the cock-pouter, a giant
among pigeons, from an untimely death, by coming up in time to drive
Mr. Gully away from his victim.

After this we decided to shut Mr. Gully up. We thought he would make a
charming companion for the guinea-pigs. At that time I used to keep
about fifty of various species in a hen-run. So to the guinea-pigs
Gully was banished. At first the arrangement answered admirably, Gully
behaved as nicely as possible for about a month, and we were all
congratulating ourselves on having found such a good way out of our
difficulty, when all at once his thirst for blood was roused afresh.
One day he murdered four guinea-pigs and the next day three more of
these unfortunate little beasts.

We then let him join the hens and ducks. He at once constituted
himself the leader of the latter; every morning he would lead them
down to a pond at the bottom of the fields, a distance of about a
quarter of a mile; and every evening he would summon them round him
and lead them home. At his cry the ducks and drakes would come
waddling up to him with loud quacks; he used always to march in the
most stately manner about two yards ahead of them. Of the cocks and
hens Gully deigned to take no notice. On two occasions he made an
exception to this rule of conduct. On the first, he and a hen had a
dispute over the possession of a worm. This dispute led to a fight of
which Gully was getting the best when the combatants were separated.
On the second occasion Gully was accused of decapitating a hen. No one
saw him do it, but it looked only too like his work. He had a neat
clean style.

One day he led his ducks to the pond as usual, but in the evening they
returned by themselves. We came to the conclusion that the poor old
bird must be dead. We quite gave him up for lost, and had mourned him
for two or three weeks, when what should we see one day but Mr. Gully
leading his ducks as usual to his favourite pond, as if he had never
been away.

Where he had spent all the time he was absent remains a mystery to
this day. After this he remained with us some time, during which he
performed no new feat of valour with the exception of one fight which
he had with a cat. In this fight he had some feathers pulled out, but
ultimately succeeded in driving her off after giving her leg such a
bite that she was lame for many a long day.

Since then he has again disappeared. Will he ever return? Mysterious
was his coming and mysterious his going.



_STORIES FROM PLINY_

HOW DOGS LOVE


Now there was living at Rome, under the Emperors Vespasian and Titus
(A.D. 69-81) a man called Pliny, who gave up his life to the study of
animals and plants. He not only watched their habits for himself, but
he listened eagerly to all that travellers would tell him, and
sometimes happened to believe too much, and wrote in his book things
that were not true. Still there were a great many facts which he had
found out for himself, and the stories he tells about animals are of
interest to every one, partly because it seems strange to think that
dogs and horses and other creatures were just the same then as they
are now.

The dogs that Pliny writes about lived in all parts of the Roman
Empire, and were as faithful and devoted to their masters as our dogs
are to us. One dog called Hyrcanus, belonging to King Lysimachus, one
of the successors of Alexander the Great, jumped on to the funeral
pyre on which lay burning the dead body of his master. And so did
another dog at the burial of Hiero of Syracuse. But during the
lifetime of Pliny himself, a dog's devotion in the heart of Rome had
touched even the Roman citizens, ashamed though they generally were of
showing their feelings. It had happened that a plot against the life
of Nero had been discovered, and the chief conspirator, Titus Sabinus
by name, was put to death, together with some of his servants. One of
these men had a dog of which he was very fond, and from the moment
the man was thrown into prison, the dog could not be persuaded to move
away from the door. At last there came a day when the man suffered the
cruel death common in Rome for such offences, and was thrown down a
steep flight of stairs, where he broke his neck. A crowd of Romans had
gathered round the place of execution, in order to see the sight, and
in the midst of them all the dog managed to reach his master's side,
and lay there, howling piteously. Then one of the crowd, moved with
pity, threw the dog a piece of meat, but he only took it, and laid it
across his master's mouth. By-and-bye, the men came for the body in
order to throw it into the river Tiber, and even then the dog followed
and swam after it, and held it up and tried to bring it to land, till
the people came out in multitudes from the houses round about, to see
what it was to be faithful unto death--and beyond it.



_THE STRANGE HISTORY OF CAGNOTTE_

_Ménagerie Intime._


In the early part of this century, a little boy of three years old,
named Théophile Gautier, travelled with his parents from Tarbes, in
the south of France, to Paris. He was so small that he could not speak
any proper French, but talked like the country people; and he divided
the world into those who spoke like him and were his friends, and
those who did not, and were strangers.

But though he was only three, and a great baby in many ways, he loved
his home dearly, and everything about it, and it nearly broke his
heart to come away. His parents tried to comfort him by giving him the
most beautiful chocolates and little cakes, and when that failed they
tried what drums and trumpets would do. But drums and trumpets
succeeded no better than cakes and chocolates, for the greater part of
poor Théophile's tears were shed for the 'dog he had left behind him,'
called Cagnotte, which his father had given away to a friend, as he
did not think that any dog who had been accustomed to run along the
hills and valleys above Tarbes, could ever make himself happy in
Paris.

Théophile, however, did not understand this, but cried for Cagnotte
all day long; and one morning he could bear it no longer. His nurse
had put out all his tin soldiers neatly on the table, with a little
German village surrounded by stiff green trees just in front of them,
hoping Théophile might play at a battle or a siege, and she had also
placed his fiddle (which was painted bright scarlet) quite handy, so
that he might play the triumphal march of the victor. Nothing was of
any use. As soon as Josephine's back was turned Théophile threw
soldiers and village and fiddle out of the window, and then prepared
to jump after them, so that he might take the shortest way back to
Tarbes and Cagnotte. Luckily, just as his foot was on the sill,
Josephine came back from the next room, and saw what he was about. She
rushed after him and caught him by the jacket, and then took him on
her knee, and asked him why he was going to do anything so naughty and
dangerous. When Théophile explained that it was Cagnotte whom he
wanted and must have, and that nobody else mattered at all, Josephine
was so afraid he would try to run away again, that she told him that
if he would only have patience and wait a little Cagnotte would come
to him.

All day long Théophile gave Josephine no peace. Every few minutes he
came running to his nurse to know if Cagnotte had arrived, and he was
only quieted when Josephine went out and returned carrying a little
dog, which in some ways was very like his beloved Cagnotte. Théophile
was not quite satisfied at first, till he remembered that Cagnotte had
travelled a long, long way, and it was not to be expected that he
should look the same dog as when he started; so he put aside his
doubts, and knelt down to give Cagnotte a great hug of welcome. The
new Cagnotte, like the old, was a lovely black poodle, and had
excellent manners, besides being full of fun. He licked Théophile on
both cheeks, and was altogether so friendly that he was ready to eat
bread and butter off the same plate as his little master.

The two got on beautifully, and were perfectly happy for some time,
and then gradually Cagnotte began to lose his spirits, and instead of
jumping and running about the world, he moved slowly, as if he was in
pain. He breathed shortly and heavily, and refused to eat anything,
and even Théophile could see he was feeling ill. One day Cagnotte was
lying stretched out on his master's lap, and Théophile was softly
stroking his skin, when suddenly his hand caught in what seemed to be
string, or strong thread. In great surprise, Josephine was at once
called, to explain the strange matter. She stooped down, and peered
closely at the dog's skin, then took her scissors and cut the thread.
Cagnotte stretched himself, gave a shake, and jumped down from
Théophile's lap, leaving a sort of black sheep-skin behind him.

  [Illustration: CAGNOTTE COMES OUT OF HIS SKIN]

Some wicked men had sewn him up in this coat, so that they might get
more money for him; and without it he was not a poodle at all, but
just an ugly little street dog, without beauty of any kind.

After helping to eat Théophile's bread and butter and soup for some
weeks, Cagnotte began to grow fatter, and his outside skin became too
tight for him, and he was nearly suffocated. Once delivered from it,
he shook his ears for joy, and danced a waltz of his own round the
room, not caring a straw how ugly he might be as long as he was
comfortable. A very few weeks spent in the society of Cagnotte made
the memory of Tarbes and its mountains grow dim in the mind of
Théophile. He learnt French, and forgot the way the country people
talked, and soon he had become, thanks to Cagnotte, such a thorough
little Parisian, that he would not have understood what his old
friends said, if one of them had spoken to him.



_STILL WATERS RUN DEEP; OR THE DANCING DOG_

_Ménagerie Intime._


When Little Théophile became Big Théophile, he was as fond as ever of
dogs and cats, and he knew more about them than anybody else. After
the death of a large white spaniel called Luther, he filled the vacant
place on his rug by another of the same breed, to whom he gave the
name of Zamore. Zamore was a little dog, as black as ink, except for
two yellow patches over his eyes, and a stray patch on his chest. He
was not in the least handsome, and no stranger would ever have given
him a second thought. But when you came to know him, you found Zamore
was not a common dog at all. He despised all women, and absolutely
refused to obey them or to follow them, and neither Théophile's mother
nor his sisters could get the smallest sign of friendship from him. If
they offered him cakes or sugar, he would accept them in a dignified
manner, but never dreamed of saying 'thank you,' still less of wagging
his tail on the floor, or giving little yaps of delight and gratitude,
as well-brought-up dogs should do. Even to Théophile's father, whom he
liked better than anyone else, he was cold and respectful, though he
followed him everywhere, and never left his master's heels when they
took a walk. And when they were fishing together, Zamore would sit
silent on the bank for hours together, and only allowed himself one
bark when the fish was safely hooked.

Now no one could possibly have guessed that a dog of such very quiet
and reserved manners was at heart as gay and cheerful as the silliest
kitten that ever was born, but so he was, and this was how his family
found it out.

One day he was walking as seriously as usual through a broad square in
the outskirts of Paris, when he was surprised at meeting a large grey
donkey, with two panniers on its back, and in the panniers a troop of
dogs, some dressed as Swiss shepherdesses, some as Turks, some in full
court costume. The owner of the animals stopped the donkey close to
where Zamore was standing, and bade the dogs jump down. Then he
cracked his whip; the fife and drum struck up a merry tune, the dogs
steadied themselves on their hind legs, and the dance began.

Zamore looked on as if he had been turned into stone. The sight of
these dogs, dressed in bright colours, this one with his head covered
by a feathered hat, and that one by a turban, but all moving about in
time to the music, and making pirouettes and little bows; were they
really _dogs_ he was watching or some new kind of men? Anyway he had
never seen anything so enchanting or so beautiful, and if it was true
that they were only dogs--well, _he_ was a dog too!

With that thought, all that had lain hidden in Zamore's soul burst
forth, and when the dancers filed gracefully before him, he raised
himself on his hind legs, and in spite of staggering a little,
prepared to join the ring, to the great amusement of the spectators.

The dog-owner, however, whose name was Monsieur Corri, did not see
matters in the same light. He raised his whip a second time, and
brought it down with a crack on the sides of Zamore, who ran out of
the ring, and with his tail between his legs and an air of deep
thought, he returned home.

  [Illustration: 'AND WHAT DO YOU THINK SHE SAW?']

All that day Zamore was more serious and more gloomy than ever.
Nothing would tempt him out, hardly even his favourite dinner, and it
was quite plain that he was turning over something in his mind. But
during the night his two young mistresses were awakened by a strange
noise that seemed to come from an empty room next theirs, where Zamore
usually slept. They both lay awake and listened, and thought it was
like a measured stamping, and that the mice might be giving a ball.
But could little mice feet tread so heavily as that? Supposing a thief
had got in? So the bravest of the two girls got up, and stealing to
the door softly opened it and looked into the room. And what do you
think she saw? Why, Zamore, on his hind legs, his paws in the air,
practising carefully the steps that he had been watching that morning!

This was not, as one might have expected, a mere fancy of the moment,
which would be quite forgotten the next day. Zamore was too serious a
dog for that, and by dint of hard study he became in time a beautiful
dancer. As often as the fife and drum were heard in the streets,
Zamore rushed out of the house, glided softly between the spectators,
and watched with absorbed attention the dancing dogs who were doing
their steps: but remembering the blow he had had from the whip, he
took care not to join them. He noted their positions, the figures, and
the way they held their bodies, and in the night he copied them,
though by day he was just as solemn as ever. Soon he was not contented
with merely copying what he saw, he invented for himself, and it is
only just to say that, in stateliness of step, few dogs could come up
to him. Often his dances were witnessed (unknown to himself) by
Théophile and his sisters, who watched him through the crack of the
door; and so earnest was he, that at length, worn out by dancing, he
would drink up the whole of a large basin of water, which stood in the
corner of the room.

When Zamore felt himself the equal of the best of the dancing dogs, he
began to wish that like them he might have an audience.

Now in France the houses are not always built in a row as they are in
England, but sometimes have a square court-yard in front, and in the
house where Zamore lived, this court was shut in on one side by an
iron railing, which was wide enough to let dogs of a slim figure
squeeze through.

One fine morning there met in this court-yard fifteen or twenty dogs,
friends of Zamore, to whom the night before he had sent letters of
invitation. The object of the party was to see Zamore make his _début_
in dancing, and the ball-room was to be the court-yard, which Zamore
had carefully swept with his tail. The dance began, and the spectators
were so delighted, that they could not wait for the end to applaud, as
people ought always to do, but uttered loud cries of 'Ouah, ouah,'
that reminded you of the noises you hear at a theatre. Except one old
water spaniel who was filled with envy at Zamore's talents, and
declared that no decent dog would ever make an exhibition of himself
like that, they all vowed that Zamore was the king of dancers, and
that nothing had ever been seen to equal his minuet, jig, and waltz
for grace and beauty.

It was only during his dancing moments that Zamore unbent. At all
other times he was as gloomy as ever, and never cared to stir from the
rug unless he saw his old master take up his hat and stick for a walk.
Of course, if he had chosen, he might have joined Monsieur Corri's
_troupe_, of which he would have made the brightest ornament; but the
love of his master proved greater than his love of his art, and he
remained unknown, except of his family. In the end he fell a victim to
his passion for dancing, and he died of brain fever, which is supposed
to have been caused by the fatigue of learning the schottische, the
fashionable dance of the day.



_THEO AND HIS HORSES; JANE, BETSY, AND BLANCHE_

From _Ménagerie Intime_.


After Théophile grew to be a man, he wrote a great many books, which
are all delightful to read, and everybody bought them, and Théophile
got rich and thought he might give himself a little carriage with two
horses to draw it.

And first he fell in love with two dear little Shetland ponies who
were so shaggy and hairy that they seemed all mane and tail, and whose
eyes looked so affectionately at him, that he felt as if he should
like to bring them into the drawing-room instead of sending them to
the stable. They were charming little creatures, not a bit shy, and
they would come and poke their noses into Théophile's pockets in
search for sugar, which was always there. Indeed their only fault was,
that they were so very, very small, and that, after all, was _not_
their fault. Still, they looked more suited to an English child of
eight years old, or to Tom Thumb, than to a French gentleman of forty,
not so thin as he once was, and as they all passed through the
streets, everybody laughed, and drew pictures of them, and declared
that Théophile could easily have carried a pony on each arm, and the
carriage on his back.

Now Théophile did not mind being laughed at, but still he did not
always want to be stared at all through the streets, whenever he went
out. So he sold his ponies and began to look out for something nearer
his own size. After a short search he found two of a dapple grey
colour, stout and strong, and as like each other as two peas, and he
called them Jane and Betsy. But although, to look at, no one could
ever tell one from the other, their characters were totally different,
as Jane was very bold and spirited, and Betsy was terribly lazy. While
Jane did all the pulling, Betsy was quite contented just to run by her
side, without troubling herself in the least, and, as was only
natural, Jane did not think this at all fair, and took a great dislike
to Betsy, which Betsy heartily returned. At last matters became so bad
that, in their efforts to get at each other, they half kicked the
stable to pieces, and would even rear themselves upon their hind legs
in order to bite each other's faces. Théophile did all he could to
make them friends, but nothing was of any use, and at last he was
forced to sell Betsy. The horse he found to replace her was a shade
lighter in colour, and therefore not quite so good a match, but
luckily Jane took to her at once, and lost no time in doing the
honours of the stable. Every day the affection between the two became
greater: Jane would lay her head on Blanche's shoulder--she had been
called Blanche because of her fair skin--and when they were turned out
into the stable-yard, after being rubbed down, they played together
like two kittens. If one was taken out alone, the other became sad and
gloomy, till the well-known tread of its friend's hoofs was heard from
afar, when it would give a joyful neigh, which was instantly answered.

Never once was it necessary for the coachman to complain of any
difficulty in harnessing them. They walked themselves into their
proper places, and behaved in all ways as if they were well brought
up, and ready to be friendly with everybody. They had all kinds of
pretty little ways, and if they thought there was a chance of getting
bread or sugar or melon rind, which they both loved, they would make
themselves as caressing as a dog.

  [Illustration: BLANCHE TELLING GHOST STORIES TO JANE IN THE STABLE]

Nobody who has lived much with animals can doubt that they talk
together in a language that man is too stupid to understand; or, if
anyone _had_ doubted it, they would soon have been convinced of the
fact by the conduct of Jane and Blanche when in harness. When Jane
first made Blanche's acquaintance, she was afraid of nothing, but
after they had been together a few months, her character gradually
changed, and she had sudden panics and nervous fits, which puzzled her
master greatly. The reason of this was that Blanche, who was very
timid and easily frightened, passed most of the night in telling Jane
ghost stories, till poor Jane learnt to tremble at every sound. Often,
when they were driving in the lonely alleys of the Bois de Boulogne
after dark, Blanche would come to a dead stop or shy to one side as if
a ghost, which no one else could see, stood before her. She breathed
loudly, trembled all over with fear, and broke out into a cold
perspiration. No efforts of Jane, strong though she was, could drag
her along. The only way to move her was for the coachman to dismount,
and to lead her, with his hand over her eyes for a few steps, till the
vision seemed to have melted into air. In the end, these terrors
affected Jane just as if Blanche, on reaching the stable, had told her
some terrible story of what she had seen, and even her master had been
known to confess that when, driving by moonlight down some dark road,
where the trees cast strange shadows, Blanche would suddenly come to a
dead halt and begin to tremble, he did not half like it himself.

With this one drawback, never were animals so charming to drive. If
Théophile held the reins, it was really only for the look of the
thing, and not in the least because it was necessary. The smallest
click of the tongue was enough to direct them, to quicken them, to
make them go to the right or to the left, or even to stop them. They
were so clever that in a very short time they had learned all their
master's habits, and knew his daily haunts as well as he did himself.
They would go of their own accord to the newspaper office, to the
printing office, to the publisher's, to the Bois de Boulogne, to
certain houses where he dined on certain days in the week, so very
punctually that it was quite provoking; and if it ever happened that
Théophile spent longer than usual at any particular place, they never
failed to call his attention by loud neighs, or by pawing the ground,
sounds of which he quite well knew the meaning.

But alas, the time came when a Revolution broke out in Paris. People
had no time to buy books or to read them; they were far too busy in
building barricades across the streets, or in tearing up the paving
stones to throw at each other. The newspaper in which Théophile wrote,
and which paid him enough money to keep his horses, did not appear any
more, and sad though he was at parting, the poor man thought he was
lucky to find some one to buy horses, carriage, and harness, for a
fourth part of their worth. Tears stood in his eyes as they were led
away to their new stable; but he never forgot them, and they never
forgot him. Sometimes, as he sat writing at his table, he would hear
from afar a light quick step, and then a sudden stop under the
windows.

And their old master would look up and sigh and say to himself, 'Poor
Jane, poor Blanche, I hope they are happy.'



_MADAME THÉOPHILE AND THE PARROT_

_Ménagerie Intime._


After the death of Cagnotte, whose story you may have read, Théophile
was so unhappy that he would not have another dog, but instead,
determined to fill the empty place in his heart with cats. One of
those that he loved the best was a big yellowy-red puss, with a white
chest, a pink nose, and blue eyes, that went by the name of Madame
Théophile, because, when he was in the house, it never left his side
for a single instant. It slept on his bed, dreamed while sitting on
the arm of Théophile's chair while he was writing (for Théophile was
by this time almost a grown-up man), walked after him when he went
into the garden, sat by his side while he had his dinner, and
sometimes took, gently and politely, the food he was conveying to his
own mouth.

One day, a friend of Théophile's, who was leaving Paris for a few
days, brought a parrot, which he begged Théophile to take care of
while he was away. The bird not feeling at home in this strange place,
climbed up to the top of his cage and looked round him with his funny
eyes, that reminded you of the nails in a sofa. Now Madame Théophile
had never seen a parrot, and it was plain that this curious creature
gave her a shock. She sat quite still, staring quietly at the parrot,
and trying to think if she had ever seen anything like it among the
gardens and roofs of the houses, where she got all her ideas of the
world. At last she seemed to make up her mind:

'Of course, it must be a kind of green chicken.'

Having set the question at rest, Madame Théophile jumped down from the
table where she had been seated while she made her observations, and
walked quickly to the corner of the room, where she laid herself flat
down, with her head bent and her paws stretched out, like a panther
watching his prey.

The parrot followed all her movements with his round eyes, and felt
that they meant no good to him. He ruffled his feathers, pulled at his
chain, lifted one of his paws in a nervous way, and rubbed his beak up
and down his food tin. All the while the cat's blue eyes were talking
in a language the parrot clearly understood, and they said: 'Although
it is green, that fowl would make a nice dinner.'

But Madame Théophile had not lain still all this while. Slowly,
without even appearing to move, she had drawn closer and closer. Her
pink nostrils trembled, her eyes were half shut, her claws were pushed
out and pulled into their sheaths, and little shivers ran down her
back.

Suddenly her back rounded itself like a bent bow, and with one bound
she leapt on the cage. The parrot knew his danger, and was too
frightened to move; then, calling up all his courage, he looked his
enemy full in the face, and, in a low and deep voice he put the
question: 'Jacky, did you have a good breakfast?'

This simple phrase struck terror into the heart of the cat, who made a
spring backwards. If a cannon had been fired close to her ear, or a
shopful of glass had been broken, she could not have been more
alarmed. Never had she dreamed of anything like this.

'And what did you have--some of the king's roast beef?' continued the
parrot.

'It is not a chicken, it is a man that is speaking,' thought the cat
with amazement, and looking at her master, who was standing by, she
retired under the bed. Madame Théophile knew when she was beaten.



_THE BATTLE OF THE MULLETS AND THE DOLPHINS_


Many singular stories may be found in Pliny, but the most interesting
is how men and dolphins combine together on the coast of France, near
Narbonne, to catch the swarms of mullet that come into those waters at
certain seasons of the year.

  [Illustration: HOW THE DOLPHINS HELPED THE FISHERMEN TO CATCH THE
    MULLETS]

'In Languedoc, within the province of Narbonne, there is a standing
pool or dead water called Laterra, wherein men and dolphins together
used to fish; for at one certain time of the year an infinite number
of fishes called mullets, taking the vantage of the tide when the
water doth ebb, at certain narrow weirs and passages with great force
break forth of the said pool into the sea; and by reason of that
violence no nets can be set and pitched against them strong enough to
abide and bear their huge weight and the stream of the water together,
if so be men were not cunning and crafty to wait and espie their time
and lay for them and to entrap them. In like manner the mullets for
their part immediately make speed to recover the deep, which they do
very soon by reason that the Channel is near at hand; and their only
haste is for this, to escape and pass that narrow place which
affordeth opportunities to the fishers to stretch out and spread their
nets. The fishermen being ware thereof and all the people besides (for
the multitude knowing when fishing time is come, run thither, and the
rather for to see the pleasant sport), cry as loud as ever they can to
the dolphins for aid, and call "Simo, Simo," to help to make an end of
this their game and pastime of fishing. The dolphins soon get the ear
of their cry and know what they would have, and the better if the
north winds blow and carry the sound unto them; for if it be a
southern wind it is later ere the voice be heard, because it is
against them. Howbeit, be the wind in what quarter soever, the
dolphins resort thither flock-meal, sooner than a man would think, for
to assist them in their fishing. And a wondrous pleasant sight it is
to behold the squadrons as it were of those dolphins, how quickly they
take their places and be arranged in battle array, even against the
very mouth of the said pool, where the mullets are to shoot into the
sea, to see (I say) how from the sea they oppose themselves and fight
against them and drive the mullets (once affrighted and scared) from
the deep on the shelves. Then come the fishers and beset them with net
and toile, which they bear up and fortify with strong forks; howbeit,
for all that, the mullets are so quick and nimble that a number of
them whip over, get away, and escape the nets. But the dolphins are
ready to receive them; who, contenting themselves for the present to
kill only, make foul work and havoc among them, and put off the time
of preying and feeding upon, until they have ended the battle and
achieved the victory. And now the skirmish is hot, for the dolphins,
perceiving also the men at work, are the more eager and courageous in
fight, taking pleasure to be enclosed within the nets, and so most
valiantly charging upon the mullets; but for fear lest the same should
give an occasion unto the enemies and provoke them to retire and fly
back between the boats, the nets, and the men there swimming, they
glide by so gently and easily that it cannot be seen where they get
out. And albeit they take great delight in leaping, and have the cast
of it, yet none essayeth to get forth but where the nets lie under
them, but no sooner are they out, but presently a man shall see brave
pastime between them as they scuffle and skirmish as it were under the
ramparts. And so the conflict being ended and all the fishing sport
done, the dolphins fall to spoil and eat those which they killed in
the first shock and encounter. But after this service performed, the
dolphins retire not presently into the deep again, from whence they
were called, but stay until to-morrow, as if they knew very well they
had so carried themselves as that they deserved a better reward than
one day's refection and victuals; and therefore contented they are not
and satisfied unless to their fish they have some sops and crumbs of
bread given them soaked in wine, and had their bellies full.'



_MONKEY STORIES_


Before telling you more stories about monkeys, we must tell you some
dry facts about them, in order that you may understand the stories.
There are three different kinds of monkeys--apes, baboons, and monkeys
proper. The difference is principally in their tails, so that when you
see them at the Zoo (for there are none wild in Europe, except at
Gibraltar), you will know them by the apes having no tails and walking
upright; baboons have short tails and go on all fours; and monkeys
have tails sometimes longer than their whole bodies, by which they can
swing themselves from tree to tree. Apes and monkeys are so ready to
imitate everything which men do, that the negroes believe that they
are a lazy race of men, who will not be at the trouble to work.
Baboons, on the contrary, can be taught almost nothing.

There are two kinds of apes, called oran otans and chimpanzees. They
are both very wild and fierce, and difficult to catch, but, when
caught, become not only tame, but very affectionate, and can be taught
anything. Nearly two hundred years ago, in 1698, one was brought to
London that had been caught in Angola. On board ship he became very
fond of the people who took care of him, and was very gentle and
affectionate, but would have nothing to do with some monkeys who were
on the same ship. He had had a suit of clothes made for him, probably
to keep him warm. As the ship got into colder regions he took great
pleasure in dressing himself in them, and anything he could not put on
for himself he used to bring in his paw to one of the sailors, and
seem to ask him to dress him. He had a bed to sleep in, and at night
used to put his head on the pillow and tuck himself in like a human
being. His story is unfortunately a short one, for he died soon after
coming to London. He could not long survive the change from his native
forests to the cage of a menagerie.

  [Illustration: TWO ORAN OTANS]

Another, a female, was brought to Holland nearly a hundred years
later, in 1776, but she, too, pined and died after seven months'
captivity. She was very gentle and affectionate, and became so fond of
her keeper that when they left her alone, she used to throw herself on
the ground screaming, and tearing in pieces anything in her reach,
just like a naughty child. She could behave as well as any lady in
the land when she liked. When asked out to tea, she used to bring a
cup and saucer, put sugar in the cup, pour out the tea, and leave it
to cool; and at dinner her manners were just as good. She used her
knife and fork, table napkin, and even toothpick, as if she had been
accustomed to them all her life, which, of course, in her native
forest was far from being the case. She learnt all her nice habits
either from watching people at table, or from her keeper's orders. She
was fond of strawberries, which she ate very daintily, on a fork,
holding the plate in the other hand. She was particularly fond of
wine, and drank it like a human being, holding the glass in her hand.
She was better behaved than two other oran otans, who, though they
could behave as well at table as any lady, and could use their knives
and forks and glasses, and could make the cabin boy (for it was on
board ship) understand what they wanted, yet, if he did not attend to
them at once, they used to throw him down, seize him by the arm, and
bite him.

A French priest had an oran otan that he had brought up from a baby,
and who was so fond of his master that he used to follow him about
like a dog. When the priest went to church he used to lock the oran
otan up in a room; but one day he got out, and, as sometimes happens
with dogs, who cannot get reconciled to Sunday, he followed his master
to church. He managed, without the priest's seeing him, to climb on
the sounding board above the pulpit, where he lay quite still till the
sermon began. He then crept forward till he could see his master in
the pulpit below, and imitated every one of his movements, till the
congregation could not keep from laughing. The priest thought they
were making fun of him, and was naturally very angry. The more angry
he became the more gestures he used, every one of which the ape
overhead repeated. At last a friend of the priest stood up in the
congregation, and pointed out the real culprit. When the priest looked
up and saw the imitation of himself, he could not keep from laughing
either, and the service could not go on till the disturber had been
taken down and locked up again at home.

Another kind is called the Barbary ape, because they are found in such
numbers in Barbary that the trees in places seem nearly covered with
them, though there are quantities as well in India and Arabia. They
are very mischievous and great fighters. In India the natives
sometimes amuse themselves by getting up a fight among them. They put
down at a little distance from each other baskets of rice, with stout
sticks by each basket, and then they go off and hide themselves among
the trees to watch the fun. The apes come down from the trees in great
numbers, and make as though they were going to attack the baskets, but
lose courage and draw back grinning at each other. The females are
generally the boldest, and the first to seize on the food; but as soon
as they put their heads down to eat, some of the males set-to to drive
them off. Others attack them in their turn. They all seize on the
sticks, and soon a free fight begins, which ends in the weakest being
driven off into the woods, and the conquerors enjoying the spoil. They
are not only fierce but revengeful, and will punish severely any
person who kills one of them. Some English people who were driving
through a country full of these apes in the East Indies, wished, out
of sheer wantonness, to have one shot. The native servants, knowing
what the consequences would be, were afraid; but, as their masters
insisted, they had to obey, and shot a female whose little ones were
clinging to her neck. She fell dead from the branches, and the little
ones, falling with her, were killed too. Immediately all the other
apes, to the number of about sixty, came down and attacked the
carriage. They would certainly have killed the travellers if the
servants, of whom there was fortunately a number, had not driven the
apes off; and though the carriage set off as fast as the horses could
lay legs to the ground, the apes followed for three miles.

  [Illustration: THE BABOONS WHO STOLE THE POOR MAN'S DINNER]

_Baboons_ are as ugly, revolting creatures as you could wish to see,
and very fierce, so they can seldom be tamed nor even caught. There
are, of course, few stories about them. When people try to catch
them, they let their pursuers come so near that they think they have
them, and then they bound away ten paces at once, and look down
defiantly from the tree-top as much as to say, 'Don't you wish you may
get me?' One baboon had so wearied his pursuers by his antics that
they pointed a gun at him, though with no intention of firing. He had
evidently seen a gun before, and knew its consequences, and was so
frightened at the bare idea, that he fell down senseless and was
easily captured. When he came to himself again he struggled so
fiercely that they had to tie his paws together, and then he bit so
that they had to tie his jaws up.

Baboons are great thieves, and come down from the mountains in great
bodies to plunder gardens. They cram as much fruit as they possibly
can into their cheek pouches to take away and eat afterwards at their
leisure. They always set a sentinel to give the alarm. When he sees
anyone coming, he gives a yell that lasts a minute, and then the whole
troop sets off helter-skelter.

They will rob anyone they come upon alone in the most impudent way.
They come softly up behind, snatch away anything they can lay their
hands on, and then run off a little way and sit down. Very often it is
the poor man's dinner that they devour before his eyes. Sometimes they
will hold it out in their hands and pretend they are going to give it
back, in such a comic way that I would defy you not to laugh, though
it were your own dinner that had been snatched away and then offered
to you.

_Monkeys_ live in the tree-tops of the forests of India and South
Africa, where they keep up a constant chattering and gambolling, all
night as well as all day, playing games and swinging by their tails
from tree to tree. One kind, the four-fingered monkey, can pass from
one high tree-top to another, too far even for a monkey to jump, by
making themselves into a chain, joined to each other by their tails.
They can even cross rivers in this way. There are any number of
different kinds of monkeys, as you can see any day in the monkey house
at the Zoo. One kind is well named the howling monkey, because they
howl in chorus every morning two hours before daylight, and again at
nightfall. The noise they make is so fearful that, if you did not
know, you would think it was a forest full of ferocious beasts quite
near, thirsting for their prey, instead of harmless monkeys a mile or
two away. There is always a leader of the chorus, who sits on a high
branch above the others. He first howls a solo, and then gives a
signal for the others to join in; then they all howl together, till he
gives another signal to stop.

The egret monkeys are great thieves. When they set to work to rob a
field of millet, they put as many stalks as they can carry in their
mouths, in each paw, and under each arm, and then go off home on their
hind legs. If pursued, and obliged for greater speed to go on all
their four legs, they drop what they carry in their paws, but never
let go what they have in their mouths. The Chinese monkey is also a
great thief, and even cleverer about carrying away his booty. They
always set a sentinel on a high tree; when he sees anyone coming, he
screams 'Houp, houp, houp!' The others then seize as much as they can
carry in their right arm, and set off on three legs. They are called
Chinese, not because they come from China, but because the way the
hair grows on their heads is like a Chinese cap. It is long and parts
in the middle, spreading out all round.

In many parts of India monkeys are worshipped by the natives, and
temples are erected for them. But monkeys of one tribe are never
allowed to come into any of these sanctuaries when another tribe is
already in possession. A large strong monkey was once seen by some
travellers to steal into one of these temples; as soon as the
inhabitants saw that he did not belong to their tribe, they set on him
to drive him out. As he was only one against many, though bigger and
stronger than the others, he saw that he had no chance, and bounded up
to the top, eleven stories high. As the temple ended in a little round
dome just big enough for himself, he was master of the situation, and
every monkey that ventured to climb up he flung down to the bottom.
When this had happened three or four times, his enemies thought it
best to let him alone, and he stayed there in peace till it was dark
and he could slip away unseen.



_ECCENTRIC BIRD BUILDERS_

From Jones' _Glimpses of Animal Life_.


Everybody knows how fond birds are of building their nests in church,
and if we come to think of it, it is a very reasonable and sensible
proceeding. Churches are so quiet, and have so many dark
out-of-the-way corners, where no one would dream of poking, certainly
not the woman whose business it is to keep the church clean. So the
birds have the satisfaction of feeling that their young are kept safe
and warm while they are collecting food for them, and there is always
some open door or window to enable the parents to fly in or out.

But all birds have not the wisdom of the robins, and swallows, and
sparrows that have selected the church for a home, and some of them
have chosen very odd places indeed wherein to build their nests and
lay their eggs. Hinges of doors, turning lathes, even the body of a
dead owl hung to a ring, have all been used as nurseries; but perhaps
the oddest spot of all to fix upon for a nest is the outside of a
railway carriage, especially when we remember how often railway
stations are the abode of cats, who move safely about the big wheels,
and even travel by train when they think it necessary.

Yet, in spite of all the drawbacks, railway carriages remain a
favourite place for nesting birds, and there is a curious story of a
pair of water-wagtails which built a snug home underneath a
third-class carriage attached to a train which ran four times daily
between Cosham and Havant. The father does not seem to have cared
about railway travelling, which, to be sure, must appear a wretched
way of getting about to anything that has wings; for he never went
with the family himself, but spent the time of their absence
fluttering restlessly about the platform to which the train would
return. He was so plainly anxious and unhappy about them, that one
would have expected that he would have insisted on some quieter and
safer place the following year when nesting time came round again; but
the mother apparently felt that the situation had some very distinct
advantages, for she deliberately passed over every other spot that her
mate pointed out, and went back to her third-class carriage.

Yet a railway carriage seems safety itself in comparison with a London
street lamp, where a fly-catcher's nest was found a few years ago.
Composed as it was of moss, hair, and dried grass, it is astonishing
that it never caught fire, but no doubt the great heat of the gas was
an immense help in hatching the five eggs which the birds had laid.

Those fly-catchers had built in a hollow iron ornament on the top of
the lamp, but some tomtits are actually known to have chosen such a
dangerous place as the spot close to the burner of a paraffin street
lamp. And even when the paraffin was exchanged for gas, the birds did
not seem to mind, and would sit quite calmly on the nest, while the
lamplighter thrust his long stick past them to put out the light.

Birds reason in a different way from human beings, for a letter-box
would not commend itself to us as being a very good place to bring up
a family, with letters and packages tumbling on to their heads every
instant. A pair of Scotch tomtits, however, thought otherwise, and
they made a comfortable little nest at the back of a private
letter-box, nailed on to the trunk of a tree in Dumfriesshire. The
postman soon found out what was going on, but he took great pains not
to disturb them, for he was fond of birds, and was very curious to see
what the tomtits would do. What the tomtits did was to go peacefully
on with their nest, minding their own business, and by-and-bye eight
little eggs lay in the nest. By this time the mother had got so used
to the postman, that she never even moved when he unlocked the door,
only giving his hand a friendly peck when he put it in to take out the
letters, and occasionally accepting some crumbs which he held out to
it. But no sooner did the little birds break through their shells than
the parents became more difficult to deal with. They did not mind
knocks from letters for themselves, but they grew furiously angry if
the young ones ever were touched by so much as a corner, and one day,
when a letter happened to fall plump on top of the nest, they tore it
right to pieces. In fact, it was in such a condition, that when the
postman came as usual to make his collection, he was obliged to take
the letter back to the people who had written it, for no Post Office
would have sent it off in such a state.



_THE SHIP OF THE DESERT_

From Burckhardt's _Travels in Nubia_.


Of all animals under the sun, perhaps the very ugliest is the camel;
but life in the deserts of Africa and Arabia could not go on at all
without the constant presence of this clumsy-looking creature. Some
African tribes keep camels entirely for the use of their milk and
flesh; and it is noticeable that these animals are much shyer and more
timid than their brothers in Syria and Arabia, who will instantly come
trotting up to any fresh camel that appears on the scene, or obey the
call of any Bedouin, even if he is a stranger.

In general, the camel is merely employed as a beast of burden, and
from this he gets his name of the 'ship of the desert.' Like other
ships, he sways from side to side, and his awkward motion is apt to
make his rider feel very sick, till he gets accustomed to this way of
travelling. Camels are wonderfully strong and enduring animals, and
can stow up water within them for several days, besides having an
extraordinary power of smelling any water or spring that is far beyond
the reach of man's eyes. These qualities are naturally very valuable
in the burning deserts which stretch unbroken for hundreds of miles,
where everything looks alike, and the sun as he passes across the
heavens is the traveller's only guide.

Partly from fear of warlike tribes, which wander through the deserts
of Arabia and Nubia, and partly from the help and protection which a
large body can give, the one to the other, it is the custom for
merchants and travellers to band together and travel in great
caravans of men and camels. They try, if possible, to find some well
by which they can encamp, and every man fills his own skins with water
before starting afresh on his journey. More quarrels arise about water
than people who live in countries with plenty of streams and rivers
can have any idea of. One man will sell his skinful to another at a
very high price, while if a traveller thinks he will be very prudent
and lay in a large store, the rest are certain to take it from him
directly their own supply runs short. Foods they can do without on
those burning plains, but not water.

Some of these misfortunes befel a traveller of the name of Burckhardt,
who left Switzerland in the opening years of this century, to pass
several years in Africa and the East. After going through Syria, he
began to make his way up the Nile, and even penetrated as far as
Nubia, joining for that purpose a caravan of traders under the
leadership of a Ababde--an Arab race who from the earliest days have
been acknowledged to be the best guides across the desert.

Owing to the intense heat which prevails in those countries, the
marches always take place in the small hours of the morning, and
midnight seems to have been the usual hour for the start. Very
commonly the march would continue for eleven hours, during which time
the men were only allowed to drink twice, while the asses, who with
the camels formed part of the caravan, were put on half their
allowance. Sometimes a detachment was sent on to wells that were known
to lie along the route, to get everything ready for the rest when they
came up; but it often happened that the springs were so choked up by
drifting sand that no amount of digging would free them. Then there
was nothing for it but to go on again.

It was in the month of March that Burckhardt and his companions had
their hardest experience of the dreadful desert thirst. The year had
been drier than was common even in Nubia, and even in the little oases
or fertile spots, most of the trees and acacias were withered and
dead. Hour after hour the travellers toiled on, and soon the asses
gave out, and their riders were forced to walk over the scorching
sand. Burckhardt had been a little more careful of his stock of water
than the other members of the caravan, and for some days had cooked no
food or eaten anything but biscuits, so that he had been able to spare
a draught every now and then for his own ass, and still had enough to
last both of them for another day. However, it was quite clear that
unless water was quickly found they must all die together, and a
council was held as to what was best to be done. The Ababde chief's
advice was--and always had been--to send out a company of ten or
twelve of the strongest camels, to try to make their way secretly to
the Nile, through the ranks of unfriendly Arab tribes encamped all
along its eastern shore.

This was agreed upon; and about four in the afternoon the little band
set out, loaded with all the skins in the caravan. The river was a
ride of five or six hours distant; so that many hours of dreadful
suspense must pass before the watchers left behind could know what was
to be their fate. Soon after sunset a few stragglers came in, who had
strayed from the principal band; but they had not reached the river,
and could give no news of the rest. As the night wore on, several of
the traders came to Burckhardt to beg for a taste of the water he was
believed to have stored up; but he had carefully hidden what remained,
and only showed them his skins which were empty. Then the camp
gradually grew silent, and all sat and waited under the stars for the
verdict of life or death. It was three in the morning when shouts were
heard, and the camels, refreshed by deep draughts of the Nile water,
came along at their utmost speed, bearing skins full enough for many
days' journey. Only one man was missing; but traders are a cruel
race, and these cared nothing about his fate, giving themselves up to
feasting and song, and joy at their deliverance.

Yet only a year later, the fate that had almost overtaken them befel a
small body of merchants who set out with their camels from Berber to
Daraou. The direct road, which led past the wells of Nedjeym, was
known to be haunted at that date by the celebrated robber Naym, who
waylaid every caravan from Berber; so the merchants hired an Ababde
guide to take them by a longer and more easterly road, where there was
another well at which they could water. Unluckily the guide knew
nothing of the country that lay beyond, and the whole party soon lost
themselves in the mountains. For five days they wandered about, not
seeing a creature who could give them help, or even direct them to the
right path. Then, their water being quite exhausted, they turned
steadily westwards, hoping by this means soon to reach the Nile. But
the river at this point takes a wide bend, and was, if they had known
it, further from them than before; and after two days of dreadful
agony, fifteen slaves and one merchant died. In desperation, another
merchant, who was an Ababde, and owner of ten camels, had himself
lashed firmly on to the back of the strongest beast, lest in his
weakness he should fall off, and then ordered the whole herd to be
turned loose, thinking that perhaps the instinct of the animals would
succeed where the knowledge of man had failed. But neither the Ababde
nor his camels were ever seen again.

The merchants struggled forwards, and eight days after leaving the
well of Owareyk they arrived in sight of some mountains which they
knew; but it was too late, and camels and merchants sank down helpless
where they lay. They had just strength to gasp out orders for two of
their servants to make their way on camels to the mountains where
water would be found, but long before the mountains were reached, one
of the men dropped off his camel and, unable to speak, waved his
hands in farewell to his comrade. The other mechanically rode on, but
his eyes grew dim and his head dizzy, and well though he knew the
road, he suffered his camel to wander from it. After straying
aimlessly about for some time, he dismounted and lay down in the shade
of a tree to rest, first tying his camel to one of the branches. But a
sudden puff of wind brought the smell of the water to the camel's
nostrils, and with a furious bound, he broke the noose and galloped
violently forward, and in half an hour was sucking in deep draughts
from a clear spring. The man, understanding the meaning of the camel's
rush, rose up and staggered a few steps after him, but fell to the
ground from sheer weakness. Just at that moment a wandering Bedouin
from a neighbouring camp happened to pass that way, and seeing that
the man still breathed, dashed water in his face, and soon revived
him. Then, laden with skins of water, the two men set out for those
left behind, and hopeless though their search seemed to be, they found
they had arrived in time, and were able to save them from a frightful
death.



_'HAME, HAME, HAME, WHERE I FAIN WAD BE'_


Nothing in nature is more curious or more difficult of explanation
than the stories recorded of animals conveyed to one place, finding
their way back to their old home, often many hundreds of miles away.
Not very long ago, a lady at St. Andrews promised to make a present to
a friend who lived somewhere north of Perth, of a fine cat which she
wished to part with. When the day arrived, the cat was tied safely up
in a hamper, put in charge of the guard, and sent on its way. It was
met at the station by its new mistress, who drove it home, and gave it
an excellent supper and a comfortable bed. This was on Friday. All
Saturday it poked about, examining everything as cats will, but
apparently quite happy and content with its quarters. About seven on
Sunday morning, as the lady drew up her blind to let in the sunshine,
she saw the new puss trotting down the avenue. She did not pay much
attention to the fact till the day went on, and the cat, who generally
had a good appetite, did not come in to its meals. When Monday came,
but the puss did not, the lady wrote to her friend at St. Andrews
saying she feared that the cat had wandered away, but she would make
inquiries at all the houses round, and still hoped to find it. On
Tuesday evening loud mews were heard outside the kitchen door of the
St. Andrews house, and when it was opened, in walked the cat, rather
dirty and very hungry, but otherwise not at all the worse for wear.
Now as anybody can see if he looks at the map, it is a long way from
St. Andrews to Perth, even as the crow flies. There are also two big
rivers which _must_ be crossed, the Tay and the Eden, or if the cat
preferred coming by train, at least two changes have to be made. So
you have to consider whether, granting it an instinct of _direction_,
which is remarkable enough in itself, the animal was sufficiently
strong to swim such large streams; or whether it was so clever that it
managed to find out the proper trains for it to take, and the places
where it must get out. Any way, home it came, and was only two days on
the journey, and there it is still in St. Andrews, for its mistress
had not the heart to give it away a second time.

Trains seem to have a special fascination for cats, and they are often
to be seen about stations. For a long while one was regularly to be
seen travelling on the Metropolitan line, between St. James's Park and
Charing Cross, and a whole family of half-wild kittens are at this
moment making a play-ground of the lines and platforms at Paddington.
One will curl up quite comfortably on the line right under the wheel
of a carriage that is just going to start, and on being disturbed
bolts away and hides itself in some recess underneath the platform.
Occasionally you see one with part of its tail cut off, but as a rule
they take wonderfully good care of themselves. The porters are very
kind to them, and they somehow contrive to get along, for they all
look fat and well-looking, and quite happy in their strange quarters.

Of course cats are not the only animals who have what is called the
'homing instinct.' Sheep have been known to find their way back from
Yorkshire to the moors north of the Cheviots where they were born and
bred, although sheep are not clever beasts and they had come a
roundabout journey by train. But there are many such stories of dogs,
and one of the most curious is told by an English officer who was in
Paris in the year 1815. One day, as the officer was walking hastily
over the bridge, he was annoyed by a muddy poodle dog rubbing up
against him, and dirtying his beautifully polished boots. Now dirty
boots were his abhorrence, so he hastily looked round for a
shoe-black, and seeing one at a little distance off, at once went up
to him to have his boots re-blacked. A few days later the officer was
again crossing the bridge, when a second time the poodle brushed
against him and spoilt his boots. Without thinking he made for the
nearest shoe-black, just as he had done before, and went on his way;
but when the same thing happened a third time, his suspicions were
aroused, and he resolved to watch. In a few minutes he saw the dog run
down to the river-side and roll himself in the mud, and then come back
to the bridge and keep a sharp look-out for the first well-dressed man
who would be likely to repay his trouble. The officer was so delighted
with the poodle's cleverness, that he went at once to the shoe-black,
who confessed that the dog was his and that he had taught him this
trick for the good of trade. The officer then proposed to buy the dog,
and offered the shoe-black such a large sum that he agreed to part
with his 'bread-winner.'

So the officer, who was returning at once to England, carried the dog,
by coach and steamer to London, where he tied him up for some time, in
order that he should forget all about his old life, and be ready to
make himself happy in the new one. When he was set free, however, the
poodle seemed restless and ill at ease, and after two or three days he
disappeared entirely. What he did then, nobody knows, but a fortnight
after he had left the London house, he was found, steadily plying his
old trade, on the Pont Henri Quatre.

A Northumbrian pointer showed a still more wonderful instance of the
same sagacity. He was the property of one Mr. Edward Cook, who after
paying a visit to his brother, the owner of a large property in
Northumberland, set sail for America, taking the dog with him. They
travelled south together as far as Baltimore, where excellent shooting
was to be got; but after one or two days' sport the dog disappeared,
and was supposed to have lost itself in the woods. Months went by
without anything being known of the dog, when one night a dog was
heard howling violently outside the quiet Northumberland house. It was
admitted by the owner, Mr. Cook, who to his astonishment recognised it
as the pointer which his brother had taken to America. They took care
of him till his master came back, and then they tried to trace out his
journey. But it was of no use. How the pointer made its way through
the forest, from what port it started, and where it landed, remain a
mystery to this day.



_NESTS FOR DINNER_


However wonderful and beautiful nests may be, very few English people
would like to eat them; yet in China the nest of a particular variety
of swallow is prized as a great delicacy.

These nests are chiefly gathered from Java, Sumatra, and other islands
of the Malay Archipelago, and are carried thence to China, where they
fetch a large price. Although, within certain limits, they are very
plentiful, they are very difficult and dangerous to get, for the
swallows build in the depths of large and deep caverns, mostly on the
seashore, and the men have to be let down from above by ropes, or
descend on ladders of bamboo. In Java, so many men have lost their
lives in nest gathering, that in some parts a regular religious
ceremony is held, twice or three times a year, before the expedition
is undertaken; prayers are said, and a bull is sacrificed.

It is not easy to know what the nests are really made of, because from
the time that Europeans first noticed the trade--about two hundred
years ago--they have differed among themselves in their accounts of
the jelly-like substance used by the swallows. Some naturalists have
thought it is the spawn of the fish, which floats thickly on the
surface of these seas; others, that it is a kind of deposit of dried
sea foam gathered by the birds from the beach, while others again
think that the substance is formed of sea plants chewed by the birds
into a jelly; but, whatever it may be, the Chinese infinitely prefer
nests to oysters or anything else, and are willing to pay highly for
them.

  [Illustration: {BIRD'S NESTS FOR DINNER}]

The nests, which take about two months to build, are always found to
be of two sorts: an oblong one just fitted to the body of the male
bird, and a rounder one for the mother and her eggs. The most valuable
nests are those which are whitest, and these generally belong to the
male; they are very thin, and finely worked. The birds are small and
feed chiefly on insects, which are abundant on these islands; their
colour is grey, and they are wonderfully quick in their movements,
like the humming birds, which are about their own size. They are
sociable, and build in swarms, but they seldom lay more than two eggs,
which take about a fortnight to hatch.



_FIRE-EATING DJIJAM_


Some curious notes about walking unharmed through fire, in the
November (1894) number of 'Longman's Magazine,' under the heading 'At
the Sign of the Ship,' suggested that a record might be kept of
Djijam's eccentricities, especially as they differed somewhat from
those of most other dogs. Anyone accustomed to animals knows, and
anyone who is not can imagine, that dogs differ as much in their
behaviour and ways as human beings. Djijam was as unlike any dog I
have ever had, seen, or heard of, as could be. My wife, who is a
patient and successful instructor of animals, never managed to teach
him anything, any attempt to impart usual or unusual accomplishments
being met with the most absolute, impenetrable idiocy, which no
perseverance could conquer or diminish in the least degree. That this
extreme stupidity was really assumed is now pretty clear, though at
the time it was attributed to natural density.

It was at Christmas-tide, about two years ago, that my wife and I
drove over to a village some few miles away, to choose one of a litter
of four fox-terrier pups, which we heard were on sale at a livery
stable. We found the mother of the lively litter almost overpowered by
her boisterous progeny, who though nearly three months old had not yet
found other homes. Without any particular objection on the part of the
parent we examined the pups, and selected and brought away one which
seemed to have better points than the rest, whom we left to continue
their gambols in the straw, unconscious probably that any other means
of warming themselves were possible. The journey home was accomplished
with the customary puppish endeavors to escape restraint. The same
evening, after the servants had retired to bed, Master Djijam was
placed in the kitchen, out of harm's way as it was thought. The last
thing at night we went to inspect the little animal, and could not at
first discover his whereabouts. When a thing is lost it is customary
to hunt about in unlikely places, so we looked into the high
cinder-box under the kitchener, and found the object of our search
comfortably curled up directly under the red-hot fire. It was fairly
warm work fishing him out.

For another reason, not connected with heat, he was subsequently
christened Djijam, a truly oriental name, which some of our friends
think may have helped to develop his original taste for fire.

When Djijam was about six months old we observed that he frequently
jumped up to people who were seated smoking. This induced a humorous
friend one day to offer him the lighted end of a cigarette, which
Djijam promptly seized in his mouth and extinguished. After that
triumph Djijam usually watched for, and plainly demanded the lighted
fag ends of cigarettes and cigars, so that his might be the
satisfaction of finishing them off. This led to lighted matches being
offered to him, which he eagerly took in his mouth, and if wax vestas,
swallowed as a welcome addition to his ordinary diet. From matches to
lighted candles was an easy step, and these he rapidly extinguished
with great gusto as often as they were presented to him. He would also
attack lighted oil lamps if placed on the floor, but they puzzled him,
and defied his efforts to bite or breathe them out. A garden bonfire
used to drive him wild with delight, and snatching brands from the
fire, indoors or out, was a delirious joy. My wife discovered him once
in the full enjoyment of a large lighted log on the dining-room
carpet. Red-hot cinders he highly relished, though in obtaining them
he frequently singed off his moustaches. Perhaps the oddest of his
fiery tricks was performed one day when he wished the cook to hand him
some dainty morsel on which she chanced to be operating. This was
against the rules, as he well knew, so she declined to accept the
hint. Djijam was at once provoked to anger and cast round for some way
of obtaining compensation, at the same time hoping, perhaps, to
retaliate. He naturally went for the kitchen fire, out of which he
drew a red-hot cinder and carried it in his mouth across the kitchen,
through a small lobby into the scullery, to his box-bed, into the
straw of which he must have speedily dropped the live coal, and jumped
in after it. Soon after, the cook smelt wood burning and searched the
lower part of the house lest anything were afire. Finding nothing
wrong, she last of all visited the scullery, and found Djijam enjoying
the warmth of his smouldering straw bed and wooden box.

  [Illustration: 'IN THE FULL ENJOYMENT OF A LARGE LIGHTED LOG ON THE
    DINING-ROOM CARPET']

Alas, Djijam grew snappish even to his best friends, and although it
was suggested that he might be found an engagement on the Variety
stage of the Westminster Aquarium, as a fire-eating hound, it was
reluctantly decided that he should go the way of all flesh. I am sure
if he had been asked, he would in some way have indicated that he
preferred cremation to any other mode of disposal. But it was not to
be, yet it was a melancholy satisfaction to learn that his end was
peaceful though commonplace.



_THE STORY OF THE DOG OSCAR_


In the north-west of Scotland there is a very pretty loch which runs
far up into the land. On one side great hills--almost mountains--slope
down into the water, while on the opposite side there is a little
village, with the road along which the houses straggle, almost part of
the loch shore. At low tide, banks of beautiful golden seaweed are
left at the edges of the water, and on this seaweed huge flocks of
sea-gulls come and feed.

A few years ago there lived in this village a minister who had a
collie-dog named Oscar. He lived all alone in his little cottage, and
as Jean, the woman who looked after him, was a very talkative person,
by no means congenial to him. Oscar was his constant companion and
friend.

He seemed to understand all that was said to him, and in his long,
lonely walks across the hills, it cheered him to have Oscar trotting
quietly and contentedly beside him. And when he came home from
visiting sick people, and going to places where he could not take
Oscar, he would look forward to seeing the soft brown head thrust out
of the door, peering into the darkness, ready to welcome him as soon
as he should come in sight.

One of Oscar's favourite games was to go down to the shore when the
tide was low, and with his head thrown up and his tail straight out,
he would run at the flocks of gulls feeding on the seaweed, and
scatter them in the air, making them look like a cloud of large white
snow-flakes. In a minute or two the gulls would settle down again
to their meal, and again Oscar would charge and rout them.

  [Illustration: 'OSCAR WOULD CHARGE AND ROUT THEM']

This little manoeuvre of his would be repeated many times, till a
long clear whistle was heard from the road by the loch. Then the gulls
might finish their supper in peace, for Oscar's master had called him,
and now he was walking quietly along by his side, looking as if there
were no such things in the world as gulls.

'No, Oscar, lad! Not to-day! not to-day!' said the minister one
afternoon, as he put on his hat and coat and took his stick from the
dog who always fetched it when he saw preparations being made for a
walk.

'I can't take you with me; you must stay in the paddock. No run by the
loch this afternoon, lad. 'Tis too long, and you are not so strong as
you were. We are growing old together, Oscar.'

The dog watched his master till he disappeared over the little bridge
and up the glen, and then he went and lay down by the paling which
surrounded the bit of field. Jean soon went out to a friend's house to
have a little gossip, and Oscar was left alone.

He felt rather forlorn. Across the road he heard the distant splashing
of the waves as they ran angrily up the beach of the loch, and the
whistling of the wind down the glen.

He watched the grey clouds scudding away overhead, and he envied the
children he heard playing in the street, or racing after the tourist
coach on its way up the Pass.

He began to feel drowsy.

'The gulls will be feeding on the banks now! How I wish ...' and his
eyes closed, and he dreamt a nice dream, that he was dashing along
through shallow pools of water towards the white chattering flock,
when--what was this in front of him? White feathers! Two gulls! Was he
dreaming still? No the gulls were real! What luck! He could not go to
the gulls, so the gulls had come to him.

In a moment he was wide awake, and made a rush at the two birds who
were gazing at him inquiringly with their heads on one side. But after
two or three rushes, 'What stupid gulls these are!' thought Oscar.
'They can scarcely fly.'

And, indeed, the birds seemed to have great difficulty in lifting
themselves off the ground, and appeared to grow more and more feeble
after each of Oscar's onslaughts. At last one of them fell.

'Lazy creature! you have had too much dinner! Up you get!'

But the gull lay down gasping.

Oscar made for the other. Why, that was lying down too! He went to the
first one. It was quite still and motionless, and after one or two
more gasps its companion was the same.

Oscar felt rather frightened. Was it possible that he had killed them?
What would his master say? How was he to tell him it was quite a
mistake? That he had only been in fun? He must put the gulls out of
sight.

He dragged them to one side of the cottage where the minister used to
try every year to grow a few cherished plants, and there in the loose
earth he dug a grave for the birds.

Then he went back to his old place, and waited for his master's
return.

When the minister came back, for the first time in his life, Oscar
longed to be able to speak and tell him all that had happened. How
could he without speech explain that the death of the birds was an
accident--an unfortunate accident?

He felt that without an explanation it was no use unearthing the white
forms in the border.

'Sir, sir!' cried Jean, putting her head in at the door. 'Here's Widow
McInnes come to see you. She's in sore trouble.'

The minister rose and went to the door.

'Stay here, Oscar,' he said, for Widow McInnes was not fond of Oscar.

In a few minutes the minister came back.

He patted Oscar's soft head.

  [Illustration: 'OSCAR FELT RATHER FRIGHTENED']

'She wanted to accuse thee, Oscar lad, of killing the two white
pigeons which her son sent her yesterday from the south, and which
escaped this afternoon from their cage. As if you would touch the
bairnies, as the poor woman calls them! Eh, lad?'

Oscar wagged his tail gratefully. Then in a sudden flash it came upon
him that he _had_ killed the pigeons. Now he saw the birds were
pigeons, not gulls, and, worse than killing them, he had, all
unknowingly, told his master a lie; and he could not undo it. He
whined a little as if in pain, and moved slowly out of the room. The
minister sat on, deep in thought, and then went outside the house to
see the sunset. Great bands of thick grey cloud wrapped the hill-tops
in their folds, and lay in long bands across the slopes, while here
and there in the rifts were patches of pale lemon-coloured sky. The
loch waters heaved sullenly against the shore. The minister looked
away from the sunset, and his eye fell on a little mound in the bed by
the cottage.

'What did I plant there?' he thought, and began poking it with his
stick.

'Oscar, Oscar!'

Oscar was bounding down the path. He had just determined to unbury the
pigeons and bring them to his master, and, even if he received a
beating, his master would know he had not meant to deceive.

But now, hearing the call, and the tone of the minister's voice, he
knew it was too late. He stopped, and then crept slowly towards that
tall black figure standing in the twilight, with the two white pigeons
lying at his feet.

'Oh, Oscar, Oscar lad, what _have_ you done?'

At that moment a boy came running to the gate.

'Ye'll be the minister that Sandy Johnston is speiring after. He says,
"Fetch the minister, and bid him come quick."'

  [Illustration: 'OH, OSCAR, OSCAR LAD, WHAT _HAVE_ YOU DONE?']

The minister gave a few directions to Jean, and in a moment or two was
ready to go with the boy. It was a long row to the head of the loch,
and a long walk to reach the cottage where Sandy Johnston lay dying.
The minister stayed with him for two nights, till he seemed to need
his help no more, and then started off to come home. But while he was
being rowed along the loch, a fierce snowstorm came on. The boat
made but little way, and they were delayed two or three hours. Cold
and tired, the minister thought with satisfaction of his warm
fireside, with Oscar lying down beside his cosy chair. Then, for the
first time since it had happened, he thought of the pigeons, and he
half smiled as he recalled Oscar's downcast face as he came up the
path.

With quick steps he hurried along the street from the landing-place.
The snow was being blown about round him, and the night was fast
closing in. He was quite near his own gate now, and he looked up,
expecting to see the familiar brown head peering out of the door for
him; but there was no sign of it.

He opened the gate and strode in. Still no Oscar to welcome him.

'Jean, Jean!' he called. Jean appeared from the kitchen, and even in
the firelight he could see traces of tears on her rough face.

'Where is Oscar?'

'Ah, sir, after ye were gone wi' the lad, he wouldna' come into the
house, and wouldna' touch a morsel o' food. He lay quite still in the
garden, and last night he died. An' it's my belief, sir, he died of a
broken heart, because ye did na' beat him after killing the pigeons,
and he couldna' make it up wi' ye.'

And the minister thought so, too; and when Jean was gone, he sat down
by his lonely fireside and buried his face in his hands.



_DOLPHINS AT PLAY_


For some reason or other, dolphins, those queer great fish that always
seem to be at play, have been subjects for many stories. Pliny himself
has told several, and his old translator's words are so strange, that,
as far as possible, we will tell the tale as he tells it.

'In the days of Augustus Cæsar, the Emperor,' says Pliny, 'there was a
dolphin entered the gulf or pool Lucrinus, which loved wondrous well a
certain boy, a poor man's son; who using to go every day to school
from Baianum to Puteoli, was wont also about noon-tide to stay at the
water side and call unto the dolphin, "Simo, Simo," and many times
would give him fragments of bread, which of purpose he ever brought
with him, and by this means allured the dolphin to come ordinarily
unto him at his call. Well, in process of time, at what hour soever of
the day this boy lured for him and called "Simo," were the dolphin
never so close hidden in any secret and blind corner, out he would and
come abroad, yea, and scud amain to this lad, and taking bread and
other victuals at his hand, would gently offer him his back to mount
upon, and then down went the sharp-pointed prickles of his fins, which
he would put up as it were within a sheath for fear of hurting the
boy. Thus, when he once had him on his back, he would carry him over
the broad arm of the sea as far as Puteoli to school, and in like
manner convey him back again home; and thus he continued for many
years together, so long as the child lived. But when the boy was
fallen sick and dead yet the dolphin gave not over his haunt, but
usually came to the wonted place, and missing the lad seemed to be
heavy and mourn again, until for very grief and sorrow he also was
found dead upon the shore.'

  [Illustration: THE BOY GOES TO SCHOOL ON THE DOLPHIN'S BACK]



_THE STARLING OF SEGRINGEN_

Translated from the German of Johann Peter Hebel.


In a little German village in Suabia, there lived a barber, who
combined the business of hair-cutting and shaving with that of an
apothecary; he also sold good brandy, so that he had no lack of
customers, not to speak of those who merely wished to pass an hour in
gossiping.

Not the least of the attractions, however, was a tame starling, named
Hansel, who had been taught to speak, and had learnt many sayings
which he overheard, either from his master, the barber, or from the
idlers who gathered about the shop. His master especially had some
favourite sayings, or catchwords, such as, 'Truly, I am the barber of
Segringen'--for this is the name of the village--'As heaven will,' 'By
keeping bad company,' and the like; and these were most familiar to
the starling.

Everybody for miles round had at least heard of Hansel, and many came
on purpose to see him and hear him talk, for Hansel would often
interpose a word into the conversation, which came in very aptly.

But it happened one day, Hansel's wings--which had been cut--having
grown again, that he thought to himself: 'I have now learnt so much, I
may go out and see the world.' And when nobody was looking,
whirr!--away he went out of the window.

Seeing a flock of birds, he joined them, thinking: 'They know the
country better than I.'

But alas! this knowledge availed them little, for all of them, with
Hansel, fell into a snare which had been laid by a fowler, who soon
came to see what was in his net. Putting in his hand, he drew out one
prisoner after another, callously wringing their necks one by one.

But suddenly, when he was stretching out his murderous fingers to
seize another victim, this one cried out: 'I am the barber of
Segringen!'

The man almost fell backwards with astonishment and fright, believing
he had to do with a sorcerer at least; but presently recovering
himself a little, he remembered the starling, and said: 'Eh, Hansel,
is it you! How did you come into the net?'

'By keeping bad company,' replied Hansel.

'And shall I carry you home again?'

'As heaven will,' replied the starling.

Then the fowler took him back to the barber, and related the manner of
his capture, receiving a good reward.

The barber also reaped a fine harvest, for more people came to his
shop on purpose to see the clever bird, who had saved his life by his
ready tongue.



_GRATEFUL DOGS_

From 'Das Echo,' June 8, 1895. Letter to the editor, signed G. M.,
Mexico, purporting to be an extract from a letter of his brother in
Nebraska. I have translated and recast it.


A farmer in Nebraska--one of the Western States of North
America--possessed two dogs, a big one called Fanny, and a small one
who was named Jolly. One winter day the farmer went for a walk and
took with him his two pets; they came to a brook that ran through the
farm, and was now frozen up.

Fanny crossed it without much ado, but Jolly, who was always afraid of
water, distrusted the ice, and refused to follow. Fanny paused at the
other side, and barked loudly to induce her companion to come, but
Jolly pretended not to understand.

Then Fanny ran back to him, and tried to explain that it was quite
safe, but in vain, Jolly only looked after his master, and whimpered;
upon which, Fanny, losing patience, seized him by the collar, and
dragged him over.

For this kindness Jolly showed himself grateful some time afterwards.

Fanny, greedy creature, was fond of fresh eggs. When she heard a hen
cackle she always ran to look for the nest, and one day she discovered
one under the fruit-shed. But, alas! she could not get the beloved
dainty because she was too large to go under the shed. Looking very
pensive and thoughtful, she went away, and soon returned with Jolly,
bringing him just before the hole.

Jolly, however, was stupid and did not understand; Fanny put her head
in, and then her paws, without being able, with all her efforts, to
reach the egg; the smaller dog, seeing that there was something in the
hole, went in to look, but not caring for eggs, came out empty-handed.

Thereupon Fanny looked at him in such a sad and imploring way, that
her master, who was watching them, could scarcely suppress his
laughter.

At last Jolly seemed to understand what was wanted; he went under the
shed again, brought out the egg, and put it before Fanny, who ate it
with great satisfaction, and then both dogs trotted off together.



_GAZELLE_

PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A TORTOISE


Alexandre Dumas, in whose book, as I told you, I read the story of Tom
the Bear, as well as those of other animals, was one day walking past
the shop of a large fishmonger in Paris. As he glanced through the
window he saw an Englishman in the shop holding a tortoise, which he
was turning about in his hands. Dumas felt an instant conviction that
the Englishman proposed to make the tortoise into turtle soup, and he
was so touched by the air of patient resignation of the supposed
victim that he entered the shop, and with a sign to the shopwoman
asked whether she had kept the tortoise for him which he had bespoken.

The shopwoman (who had known Dumas for many years) understood with
half a word, and gently slipping the tortoise out of the Englishman's
grasp, she handed it to Dumas, saying, 'Pardon, milord, the tortoise
was sold to this gentleman this morning.'

The Englishman seemed surprised, but left the shop without
remonstrating, and Dumas had nothing left for it but to pay for his
tortoise and take it home.

As he carried his purchase up to his rooms on the third floor he
wondered what could have possessed him to buy it, and what on earth he
was to do with it now he had got it. It was certainly a remarkable
tortoise, for the moment he put it down on the floor of his bedroom it
started off for the fireplace at such a pace as to earn for itself the
name of 'Gazelle.'

Once near the fire, Gazelle settled herself in the warmest corner she
could find, and went to sleep.

Dumas, who wished to go out again and was afraid of his new possession
coming to any harm, called his servant and said: 'Joseph, whilst I am
out you must look after this creature.'

Joseph approached with some curiosity. 'Ah!' he remarked, 'why, it's a
tortoise; that creature could bear a carriage on its back.'

'Yes, yes, no doubt it might, but I beg you won't try any experiments
with it.'

'Oh, it wouldn't hurt it,' assured Joseph, who enjoyed showing off his
information. 'The Lyons diligence might drive over it without hurting
it.'

'Well,' replied his master, 'I believe the great sea turtle _might_
bear such a weight, but I doubt whether this small variety----'

'Oh, _that's_ of no consequence,' interrupted Joseph; 'it's as strong
as a horse, and small though it is, a cartload of stones might
pass----'

'Very good, very good; never mind that now. Just buy the creature a
lettuce and some snails.'

'Snails! why, is its chest delicate?'

'No, why on earth do you ask such a thing?'

'Well, my last master used to take an infusion of snails for his
chest--not that it prevented----'

Dumas left the room without waiting for the end. Before he was
half-way downstairs he found that he had forgotten his handkerchief,
and on returning surprised Joseph standing on Gazelle's back,
gracefully poised on one leg, with the other out-stretched behind him
in such a way that not an ounce of his eleven-stone weight was lost on
the poor creature.

'Idiot! what are you about?'

'There, sir, didn't I say so?' rejoined Joseph, proudly.

'There, there, give me a handkerchief and mind you don't touch that
creature again.'

  [Illustration: DUMAS FINDS JOSEPH STANDING ON GAZELLE'S BACK]

'There, sir,' said the irrepressible Joseph, bringing the
handkerchief. 'But indeed you need not be at all afraid; a waggon
could drive over----'

Dumas fled.

He returned rather late at night, and no sooner took a step into his
room than he felt something crack under his boot. He hastily raised
his foot and took a further step with the same result: he thought he
must be treading on eggs. He lowered his candlestick--the carpet was
covered with snails.

Joseph had obeyed orders literally. He had bought the lettuces and the
snails, had placed them all in a basket and Gazelle on the top, and
then put the basket in the middle of his master's bedroom. Ten minutes
later the warmth of the fire thawed the snails into animation, and the
entire caravan set forth on a voyage of discovery round the room,
leaving silvery tracks behind them on carpet and furniture.

As for Gazelle, she was quietly reposing at the bottom of the basket,
where a few empty shells proved that all the fugitives had not been
brisk enough to make their escape.

Dumas, feeling no fancy for a possible procession of snails over his
bed, carefully picked up the stragglers one by one, popped them back
into the basket, and shut down the lid. But in five minutes' time he
realised that sleep would be out of the question with the noise going
on, which sounded like a dozen mice in a bag of nuts. He decided to
move the basket to the kitchen.

On the way there it occurred to him that if Gazelle went on at this
rate she would certainly die of indigestion before morning. He
remembered that the owner of the restaurant on the ground floor had a
tank in the back yard where he often put fish to keep till wanted, and
it struck him that the tank would be the very place for his tortoise.
He at once put his idea into execution, got back to his room and to
bed, and slept soundly till morning.

Joseph woke him early.

'Oh, sir, such a joke!' he exclaimed, standing at the foot of the bed.

'What joke?'

'Why, what your tortoise has been up to!'

'What on earth do you mean?'

'Well, sir, could you believe that it got out of your room--goodness
knows how--and walked downstairs and right into the tank?'

'You owl! you might have guessed I put it there myself.'

'Did you indeed, sir? Well, you certainly _have_ made a mess of it
then.'

'How so?'

'Why the tortoise has eaten up a tench--a superb tench weighing three
pounds--which the master of the restaurant put into the tank only last
night. The waiter has just been telling me about it.'

'Go at once and fetch me Gazelle and the scales.'

During Joseph's absence his master took down a volume of Buffon, and
consulted that eminent authority on the subject of tortoises and
turtles. There seemed to be no doubt, according to the celebrated
naturalist, that these creatures did eat fish voraciously when they
got the chance.

'Dear, dear,' thought Dumas, 'I fear the owner of the tank has Buffon
on his side.'

Just then Joseph returned with the accused in one hand and the kitchen
scales in the other.

'You see,' began the irrepressible valet, 'these sort of creatures eat
a lot. They need it to keep up their strength, and fish is
particularly nourishing. Only see how strong sailors are, and they
live so much on fish----'

His master cut him short.

'How much did you say that tench weighed?'

'Three pounds. The waiter asks nine francs for it.'

'And Gazelle ate it all?'

'Every bit except the head, the back-bone, and the inside.'

'Quite correct, Monsieur Buffon had said as much. Very well--but
still--three pounds seems a good deal.'

He put Gazelle in the scale. She weighed exactly two pounds and a
half! The deduction was simple. Either Gazelle had been falsely
accused or the theft had been much smaller than was represented.
Indeed the waiter readily took this view of the matter, and was quite
satisfied with five francs as an indemnity.

The varied adventures of Gazelle had become rather a bore, and her
owner felt that he must try to find some other home for her. She spent
the following night in his room, but thanks to the absence of snails
all went well. When Joseph came in next morning, his first act as
usual was to roll up the hearth-rug, and, opening the window, to shake
it well out in the air. Suddenly he uttered an exclamation and flung
himself half out of the window.

'What's the matter, Joseph?' asked his master, only half awake.

'Oh, sir--it's your tortoise. It was on the rug, and I never saw
it--and----'

'Well! and----?'

'And I declare, before I knew what I was about, I shook it out of the
window.'

'Imbecile!' shouted Dumas, springing out of bed.

'Ah!' cried Joseph with a sigh of relief. 'See, she's eating a
cabbage!'

And so she was. Her fall had been broken by a rubbish heap, and after
a few seconds in which to recover her equanimity, she had ventured to
thrust her head out, when finding a piece of cabbage near, she at once
began her breakfast.

'Didn't I say so, sir?' cried Joseph, delighted. 'Nothing hurts those
creatures. There now, whilst she's eating that cabbage a
coach-and-four might drive over her----'

'Never mind, never mind; just run down and fetch her up quick.'

  [Illustration: DUMAS BRINGS GAZELLE TO NO. 109 FAUBOURG ST.-DENIS]

Joseph obeyed, and as soon as his master was dressed he called a cab,
and taking Gazelle with him, drove off to No. 109 in the Faubourg
St.-Denis. Here he climbed to the fifth floor and walked straight into
the studio of his friend, who was busy painting a delightful little
picture of performing dogs. He was surrounded by a bear, who was
playing with a log as he lay on his back, a monkey, busy pulling a
paint brush to pieces, and a frog, who was half-way up a little ladder
in a glass jar. You will, I dare say, have guessed already that the
painter's name was Décamps, the bear's Tom, the monkey's Jacko I., and
the frog's Mademoiselle Camargo, and you will not wonder that Dumas
felt that he could not better provide for Gazelle than by leaving her
as an addition to the menagerie in his friend's studio.[8]

    [8] See p. 375.



_COCKATOO STORIES_

_Naturalist's Note-Book._ Reeves & Turner: 1868.


About thirty years ago a gentleman, who was fond of birds and beasts,
took into his head to try if parrots could not be persuaded to make
themselves at home among the trees in his garden. For a little while
everything seemed going beautifully, and the experimenter was full of
hope. The parrots built their nests in the woods, and in course of
time some young ones appeared, and gradually grew up to their full
size. Then, unluckily, they became tired of the grounds which they
knew by heart, and set off to see the world. The young parrots were
strong upon the wing, and their beautiful bright bodies would be seen
flashing in the sun, as much as fifteen miles away, and, then, of
course, some boy or gamekeeper with a gun in his hand was certain to
see them, and covet them for the kitchen mantel-shelf or a private
collection.

The cockatoos however did not always care to choose trees for their
building places. One little pair, whose grandparents had whisked about
in the heat of a midsummer day in Australia, found the climate of
England cold and foggy, and looked about for a warm cover for their
new nest. They had many conversations on the subject, and perhaps one
of these may have been overheard by a jackdaw, who put into their
minds a brilliant idea, for the very next morning the cockatoos were
seen carrying their materials to one of the chimneys, and trying to
fasten them together half-way up. But cockatoos are not as clever as
jackdaws about this kind of thing, and before the nest had grown to
be more than a shapeless mass, down it came, and such a quantity of
soot with it, that the poor cockatoos were quite buried, and lay for a
day and night nearly smothered in soot, till they happened to be found
by a housemaid who had entered the room. But in spite of this mishap
they were not disheartened, and as soon as their eyes and noses had
recovered from their soot bath, they began again to search for a more
suitable spot. To the great delight of their master, they fixed upon a
box which he had nailed for this very purpose under one of the gables,
and this time they managed to build a nest that was as good as any
nest in the garden. Still, they had no luck, for though the female
laid two eggs, and sat upon them perseveringly, never allowing them to
get cold for a single instant, it was all of no use, for the eggs
turned out to be both bad!

Some cousins of theirs, a beautiful white cockatoo and his lovely
rose-coloured wife, were more prosperous in their arrangements. They
scooped out a most comfortable nest with their claws and bills in the
rotten branch of an acacia tree, and there they brought up two young
families, all of them white as snow, with flame-coloured crests. The
eldest son, unhappily for himself, got weary of his brothers and
sisters, and the little wood on the outskirts of the garden, where he
was born, and one winter day took a flight towards the town. His
parents never quite knew what occurred, but the poor young cockatoo
came back severely wounded, to the great fury of all his family, who
behaved very unkindly to him. It is a curious fact that no animals and
very few birds can bear the sight of illness, and these cockatoos were
no better than the rest. They did not absolutely ill-treat him, but
they refused to let him enter their nest, and insisted that he should
live by himself in a distant bush. At last his master took pity on
him, and brought him into the garden, but this so enraged the
cockatoos who were already in possession, that they secretly murdered
him. However it is only just to the race of cockatoos to observe that
they are not always so bad as this, for during the very same season an
unlucky young bird, whose wing and leg were broken by an accident, was
adopted by an elderly cockatoo who did not care for what her
neighbours said, and treated him as her own son. The following year,
when nesting time came round, the white cockatoos went back to their
acacia branch, but were very much disgusted to find a pair of grey
parrots there before them, and a little pair of bald round heads
peeping over the edge. These little parrots grew up with such very bad
tempers that no one would have anything to do with them, and as for
their own relations, they looked upon them with the contempt that a
cat often shows to a man. To be sure these relations were considered
to be rather odd themselves, for they did not care to be troubled with
a family of their own, so had taken under their protection two little
kittens, who had been born in one of the boxes originally set apart
for the parrots. The two birds could not endure to see the old cat
looking after her little ones, and whenever she went out for a walk or
to get her food, one of the parrots always took her place in the box.
It would have been nice to know how long this went on, and if the
kittens adopted any parrot-like ways. Luckily, there was one
peculiarity of the parrots which it was beyond their power to imitate,
and that was the horrible voice which renders the society of a parrot,
and still more of a cockatoo, unendurable to most people.



_THE OTTER WHO WAS REARED BY A CAT_

_Naturalist's Note-Book._


There is still living in the kingdom of Galloway a wonderful cat who
is so completely above all the instincts and prejudices of her race,
that she can remain on friendly terms with young rabbits, and wile
away a spare hour by having a game with a mouse. A _real_ game, where
the fun is not all on one side, but which is enjoyed by the mouse as
much as by the cat.

Hardly less strange, from the opposite point of view, is the
friendship that existed between two cats and an otter, which had been
taken from its mother when only a few hours old, to be brought up by
hand by a gentleman. This was not a very easy thing to manage. It was
too young to suck milk out of a spoon, which was the first thing
thought of, but a quill passed through a cork and stuck into a baby's
bottle proved a success, and through this the little otter had its
milk five times every day, until he was more than five weeks old. Then
he was introduced to a cat who had lately lost a kitten, and though
not naturally very good-tempered, the puss took to him directly,
evidently thinking it was her own kitten grown a little bigger. In
general this cat, which was partly Persian, and, as I have said, very
cross, did not trouble herself much about her young ones, which had to
take care of themselves as well as they could; but she could not make
enough of the little otter, and when he was as big as herself she
would walk with him every day to the pond in the yard, where he had
his bath, watching his splashings and divings with great anxiety, and
never happy till he got out safe.

But, like human children, the baby otter would have been very dull
without someone to play with, and as there were no little otters
handy, he made friends with a young cat called Tom.

All through the long winter, when the pond was frozen, and diving and
swimming were no longer possible, he and Tom used to spend happy
mornings playing hide and seek among the furniture in the dining-room,
till Tom began to feel that the otter was getting rather rough, and
that his teeth were very sharp, and that it would be a good thing to
get out of his reach, on the top of a high cupboard or chimney piece.

But at last the snow melted, and the ice became water again, and the
first day the sun shone, the otter and the old cat went out for a walk
in the yard. After the little fellow had had his dive, which felt
delicious after all the weeks that he had done without it, he wandered
carelessly into a shed where he had never been before, and to his
astonishment he suddenly heard a flutter of wings, and became
conscious of a sharp pain in his neck. This was produced by the beak
of a falcon, who always lived in the shed, and seeing the strange
creature enter his door, at once made up his mind that it was its duty
to kill it. The cat and the gentleman who happened to come in at the
same moment rushed forward and beat off the bird, and then, blinded by
excitement, like a great many other people, and not knowing friends
from foes, the cat rushed at her master. In one moment she had
severely bitten the calf of his leg, given his thigh a fearful
scratch, and picked up the otter and carried him outside. Then, not
daring to trust him out of her sight, she marched him sternly up the
hill, keeping him all the while between her legs, so that no danger
should come near him.

As the otter grew bigger the cats became rather afraid of his claws
and teeth, which grew bigger too, and inflicted bites and scratches
without his knowing it. But if the cats tired of him, he never tired
of the cats, and was always dull and unhappy when they were out of his
way. Sometimes, when his spirits were unusually good (and his teeth
unusually sharp), the poor playfellows were obliged to seek refuge in
the bedrooms of the house, or even upon the roof, but the little otter
had not lived so long with cats for nothing, and could climb nearly as
well as they. When he had had enough of teasing, he told them so (for,
of course, he knew the cat language), and they would come down, and he
would stretch himself out lazily in front of the fire, with his arms
round Tom's neck.

It would be nice to know what happened to him when he really grew up,
whether the joys of living in a stream made him forget his old friends
at the farm, or whether he would leave the chase of the finest trout
at the sound of a mew or a whistle. But we are not told anything about
it, so everybody can settle it as they like.



_STORIES ABOUT LIONS_


The lion in its wild state is a very different animal from the lion of
menageries and wild-beast shows. The latter has probably been born in
captivity, reared by hand, and kept a prisoner in a narrow cage all
its life, deprived not only of liberty and exercise, but of its proper
food. The result is a weak, thin, miserable creature, with an unhappy
furtive expression, and a meagre mane, more like a poodle than the
king of beasts in a savage state.

The lion of South Africa differs in many points from that of Algeria,
of whom we are going to speak. In Algeria there are three kinds of
lions--the black, the tawny, and the grey. The black lion, more rarely
met with than the two others, is rather smaller, but stronger in
build. He is so called from the colour of his mane, which falls to his
shoulder in a heavy black mass. The rest of his coat is the colour of
a bay horse. Instead of wandering like the other two kinds, he makes
himself a comfortable dwelling, and remains there probably all his
life, which may last thirty or forty years, unless he falls a victim
to the hunter. He rarely goes down to the plains in search of prey,
but lies in ambush in the evening and attacks the cattle on their way
down from the mountain, killing four or five to drink their blood. In
the long summer twilights he waits on the edge of a forest-path for
some belated traveller, who seldom escapes to tell the tale.

The tawny and grey lion differ from each other only in the colour of
their mane; all three have the same habits and characteristics, except
those peculiar to the black lion just described. They all turn night
into day, and go out at dusk to forage for prey, returning to their
lair at dawn to sleep and digest in peace and quiet. Should a lion,
for any reason, shift his camp during the day, it is most unlikely
that he will attack, unprovoked, any creature, whether human or
otherwise, whom he may chance to meet; for during the day he is 'full
inside,' and the lion kills not for the sake of killing, but to
satisfy his hunger. The lion is a devoted husband; when a couple go
out on their nightly prowl, it is always the lioness who leads the
way; when she stops he stops too, and when they arrive at the fold
where they hope to procure their supper, she lies down, while he leaps
into the midst of the enclosure, and brings back to her the pick of
the flock. He watches her eat with great anxiety lest anything should
disturb her, and never begins his own meal till she has finished hers.
As a father he is less devoted; the old lion being of a serious
disposition, the cubs weary him with their games, and while the family
is young the father lives by himself, but at a short distance, so as
to be at hand in case of danger. When the cubs are about three months
old, and have finished teething (a process which often proves fatal to
little lionesses), their mother begins to accustom them to eat meat by
bringing them mutton to eat, which she carefully skins, and chews up
small before giving to them. Between three and four months old they
begin to follow their mother at night to the edge of the forest, where
their father brings them their supper. At six months the whole family
change their abode, choosing for the purpose a very dark night.
Between eight months and a year old they begin to attack the flocks of
sheep and goats that feed by day in the neighbourhood of their lair,
and sometimes venture to attack oxen, but being still young and
awkward, they often wound ten for one killed, and the father lion is
obliged to interfere. At the age of two years they can slay with one
blow an ox, horse, or camel, and can leap the hedges two yards high
that surround the folds for protection. This period in the history of
the lion is the most disastrous to the shepherds and their flocks, for
then the lion goes about killing for the sake of learning to kill. At
three years they leave their parents and set up families of their own,
but it is only at the age of eight that they attain their full size
and strength, and, in the case of the male, his full mane.

  [Illustration: THE LION CAUGHT IN THE PIT]

The question is sometimes asked, why does the lion roar? The answer
is, for the same reason that the bird sings. When a lion and lioness
go out together at night, the lioness begins the duet by roaring when
she leaves her den, then the lion roars in answer, and they roar in
turn every quarter of an hour, till they have found their supper;
while they are eating they are silent, and begin roaring as soon as
satisfied, and roar till morning. In summer they roar less and
sometimes not at all. The Arabs, who have good reason to know and
dread this fearsome sound, have the same word for it as for the
thunder. The herds being constantly exposed to the ravages of the
lion, the natives are obliged to take measures to protect them, but,
the gun in their unskilled hands proving often as fatal to themselves
as to their enemy, they are forced to resort to other means. Some
tribes dig a pit, about ten yards deep, four or five wide, and
narrower at the mouth than the base. The tents of the little camp
surround it, and round them again is a hedge two or three yards high,
made of branches of trees interlaced; a second smaller hedge divides
the tents from the pit in order to prevent the flocks from falling
into it. The lion prowling in search of food scents his prey, leaps
both hedges at one bound, and falls roaring with anger into the pit
digged for him. The whole camp is aroused, and so great is the
rejoicing that no one sleeps all night. Guns are let off and fires lit
to inform the whole district, and in the morning all the neighbours
arrive, not only men, but women, children, and even dogs. When it is
light enough to see, the hedge surrounding the pit is removed in order
to look at the lion, and to judge by its age and sex what treatment it
is to receive, according to what harm it may have done. If it is a
young lion or a lioness the first spectators retire from the sight
disgusted, to make room for others whose raptures are equally soon
calmed. But if it is a full-grown lion with abundant mane, then it is
a very different scene; frenzied gestures and appropriate cries spread
the joyful news from one to another, and the spectators crowd in such
numbers that they nearly edge each other into the pit. When everyone
has thrown his stone and hurled his imprecation, men armed with guns
come to put an end to the noble animal's torture; but often ten shots
have been fired before, raising his majestic head to look
contemptuously on his tormentors, he falls dead. Not till long after
this last sign of life do the bravest venture to let themselves down
into the pit, by means of ropes, to pass a net under the body of the
lion, and to hoist it up to the surface by means of a stake planted
there for the purpose. When the lion is cut up, the mothers of the
tribe receive each a small piece of his heart, which they give to
their sons to eat to make them strong and courageous; with the same
object they make themselves amulets of hairs dragged out from his
mane.

Other tribes make use of the ambush, which may be either constructed
underground or on a tree. If underground a hole is dug, about one yard
deep, and three or four wide, near a path frequented by the lion; it
is covered with branches weighted down by heavy stones, and loose
earth is thrown over all. Four or five little openings are left to
shoot through, and a larger one to serve as a doorway, which may be
closed from within by a block of stone. In order to ensure a good aim
the Arabs kill a boar and lay it on the path opposite the ambush; the
lion inevitably stops to sniff this bait, and then they all fire at
once. Nevertheless he is rarely killed on the spot, but frantically
seeking his unseen enemies, who are beneath his feet, he makes with
frenzied bounds for the nearest forest, there sometimes to recover
from his wounds, sometimes to die in solitude. The ambush in a tree is
conducted on the same lines as the other, except that the hunters are
above instead of below their quarry, from whom they are screened by
the branches.

  [Illustration: THE AMBUSH]

There are, however, in the province of Constantine some tribes of
Arabs who hunt the lion in a more sportsmanlike manner. When a lion
has made his presence known, either by frequent depredations or by
roarings, a hunting party is formed. Some men are sent in advance to
reconnoitre the woods, and when they return with such information as
they have been able to gather as to the age, sex, and whereabouts of
the animal, a council of war is held, and a plan of campaign formed.
Each hunter is armed with a gun, a pistol, and a yataghan, and then
five or six of the younger men are chosen to ascend the mountain,
there to take their stand on different commanding points, in order to
watch every movement of the lion, and to communicate them to their
companions below by a pre-arranged code of signals. When they are
posted the general advance begins; the lion, whose hearing is
extremely acute, is soon aware of the approach of enemies, who in
their turn are warned by the young men on the look-out. Finally, when
the lion turns to meet the hunters the watchers shout with all their
might 'Aoulikoum!' 'Look out!' At this signal the Arabs draw
themselves up in battle array, if possible with their backs to a rock,
and remain motionless till the lion has approached to within twenty or
thirty paces; then the word of command is given, and each man, taking
the best aim he can, fires, and then throws down his rifle to seize
his pistol or yataghan. The lion is generally brought to the ground by
this hail of bullets, but unless the heart or the brain have been
pierced he will not be mortally wounded; the hunters therefore throw
themselves upon him before he can rise, firing, stabbing right and
left, blindly, madly, without aim, in the rage to kill. Sometimes in
his mortal agony the lion will seize one of the hunters, and, drawing
him under his own body, will torture him, almost as a cat does a mouse
before killing it. Should this happen, the nearest relation present of
the unhappy man will risk his own life in the attempt to rescue him,
and at the same time to put an end to the lion. This is a perilous
moment; when the lion sees the muzzle of the avenger's rifle pointed
at his ear he will certainly crush in the head of his victim, even if
he has not the strength left to spring on his assailant before the
latter gives him the _coup de grâce_.

The Arabs in the neighbourhood of Constantine used, about fifty years
ago, to send there for a famous French lion-hunter, Jules Gérard by
name, to rid them of some unusually formidable foe. They never could
understand his way of going to work--alone and by night--which
certainly presented a great contrast to their methods. On one occasion
a family of five--father, mother, and three young lions--were the
aggressors. The Arab sheik, leading Monsieur Gérard to the river,
showed him by their footprints on the banks where this fearful family
were in the habit of coming to drink at night, but begged him not to
sacrifice himself to such fearful odds, and either to return to the
camp, or to take some of the tribe with him. Gérard declining both
suggestions, the sheik was obliged to leave, as night was at hand, and
the lions might appear at any moment. First he came near the hunter,
and spoke these words low: 'Listen, I have a counsel to give thee. Be
on thy guard against the Lord of the Mighty Head; he will lead the
way. If thy hour has come, he will kill thee, and the others will eat
thee.' Coming still nearer the sheik whispered: '_He_ has stolen my
best mare and ten oxen.' 'Who? who has stolen them?' asked Monsieur
Gérard. '_He_,' and the sheik pointed for further answer to the
mountain. 'But name him, name the thief.' The answer was so low as to
be barely audible: 'The Lord of the Mighty Head,' and with this
ominous counsel the sheik departed, leaving Gérard to his vigil.

As the night advanced the moon appeared, and lit up the narrow ravine.
Judging by its position in the heavens it might be eleven o'clock,
when the tramp of many feet was heard approaching, and several
luminous points of reddish light were seen glittering through the
thicket. The lions were advancing in single file, and the lights were
their gleaming eyes. Instead of five there were only three, and the
leader, though of formidable dimensions, did not come up to the
description of the Lord of the Mighty Head. All three stopped to gaze
in wonder at the man who dared to put himself in their path. Gérard
took aim at the shoulder of the leader and fired. A fearful roar
announced that the shot had told, and the wounded lion began painfully
dragging himself towards his assailant, while the other two slunk away
into the wood. He had got to within three paces when a second shot
sent him rolling down into the bed of the stream. Again he returned to
the charge, but a third ball right in the eye laid him dead. It was a
fine, large, young lion of three years, with formidable teeth and
claws. As agreed upon with the sheik, Monsieur Gérard immediately
lit a bonfire in token of his victory, in answer to which shots were
fired to communicate the good news to all the surrounding district. At
break of day two hundred Arabs arrived to insult their fallen enemy,
the sheik being the first to appear, with his congratulations, but
also with the information that at the same hour that the young lion
had been shot, the Lord of the Mighty Head had come down and taken
away an ox. These devastations went on unchecked for more than a year,
one man alone, Lakdar by name, being robbed of forty-five sheep, a
mare, and twenty-nine oxen. Finally he lost heart, and sent to beg
Monsieur Gérard to come back and deliver him if possible of his
tormentor. For some nights the lion made no sign, but on the
thirteenth evening Lakdar arrived at the lion-hunter's camp, saying:
'The black bull is missing from the herd; to-morrow morning I shall
find his remains and thou wilt slay the lion for me.'

  [Illustration: 'ALL THREE STOPPED TO GAZE AT THE MAN WHO DARED TO
    PUT HIMSELF IN THEIR PATH']

Accordingly next morning at dawn Lakdar returned to announce that he
had found the dead bull. Gérard rose and, taking his gun, followed the
Arab. Through the densest of the forest they went, till at the foot of
a narrow rocky ravine, close to some large olive trees, they found the
partially devoured carcase. Monsieur Gérard cut some branches the
better to conceal himself, and took up his position under one of the
olive trees, there to await the approach of night, and with it the
return of the lion to the spoil. Towards eight o'clock, when the
feeble light of the new moon barely penetrated into the little glade,
a branch was heard to crack at some distance. The lion-hunter rose
and, shouldering his weapon, prepared to do battle. From about thirty
paces distant came a low growl, and then a guttural sound, a sign of
hunger with the lion, then silence, and presently an enormous lion
stalked from the thicket straight towards the bull, and began licking
it. At this moment Monsieur Gérard fired, and struck the lion within
about an inch of his left eye. Roaring with pain, he reared himself
up on end, when a second bullet right in the chest laid him on his
back, frantically waving his huge paws in the air. Quickly reloading,
Monsieur Gérard came close to the helpless monster, and while he was
raising his great head from the ground fired two more shots, which
laid the lion stone dead, and thus brought to an end the career of the
'Lord of the Mighty Head.'



_BUILDERS AND WEAVERS_


No one can examine birds and their ways for long together without
being struck by the wonderful neatness and cleverness of their
proceedings. They make use of a great many different kinds of
materials for their nests, and manage somehow to turn out a nest which
not only will hold eggs, but is strong and of a pretty shape. Rotten
twigs are, curiously enough, what they love best for the outside, and
upon the twigs various substances are laid, according to the species
and taste of the builder. The jay, for instance, collects roots and
twists them into a firm mass, which he lays upon the twigs; the
American starling uses tough wet rushes and coarse grass, and after
they are matted together, somehow ties the nest on to reeds or a bush;
while the missel thrush lines the casing of twigs with tree moss, or
even hay. To these they often add tufts of wool, and lichen, and the
whole is fastened together by a kind of clay. The favourite spot
chosen by the missel thrush is the fork of a tree in an orchard, where
lichens are large and plentiful enough to serve as a covering for the
nests.

Still, if the account given by Vaillant and Paterson is true, the
sociable grosbeaks surpass all the other birds in skill and invention.
They have been known to cover the trunks of trees with a huge kind of
fluted umbrella, made of dry, fine grass, with the boughs of the trees
poking through in various places. No doubt in the beginning the nest
was not so large, but it is the custom of these birds to live
together in clans, and each year fresh 'rooms' have to be added. When
examined, the bird city was found to have many gates and regular
streets of nests, each about two inches distant from the other. The
structure was made of 'Boshman's' grass alone, but so tightly woven
together that no rain could get through. The nests were all tucked in
under the roof, which, by projecting, formed eaves, thus keeping the
birds warm and dry. Sometimes the umbrella has been known to contain
as many as three hundred separate nests, so it is no wonder that the
tree at last breaks down with the weight, and the city has to be
founded again elsewhere.

Now in the nests of all these birds there has been a good deal of what
we called 'building' and 'carpentry' when we are talking of our own
houses and our own trades. But there are a whole quantity of birds
spread over the world, who are almost exclusively weavers, and can
form nests which hang down from the branch of a tree without any
support. To this class belongs the Indian sparrow, which prefers to
build in the tops of the very highest trees (especially on the Indian
fig) and particularly on those growing by the river-side. He weaves
together tough grass in the form of a bottle, and hangs it from a
branch, so that it rocks to and fro, like a hammock. The Indian
sparrow, which is easily tamed, does not like always to live with his
family, so he divides his nest into two or three parts, and is careful
to place its entrance underneath, so that it may not attract the
notice of the birds of prey. In these nests glow-worms have frequently
been found, carefully fastened into a piece of fresh clay, but whether
the bird deliberately tries in this way to light up his dark nest, or
whether he has some other use for the glow-worm, has never been found
out. But it seems quite certain that he does not _eat_ it, as Sir
William Jones once supposed.

The Indian sparrow is a very clever little bird, and can be taught to
do all sorts of tricks. He will catch a ring that is dropped into one
of the deep Indian wells, before it reaches the water. He can pick the
gold ornament neatly off the forehead of a young Hindu woman, or carry
a note to a given place like a carrier pigeon. At least so it is said;
but then very few people have even a bowing acquaintance with the
Indian sparrow.



_'MORE FAITHFUL THAN FAVOURED'_


There never was a more faithful watch-dog than the great big-limbed,
heavy-headed mastiff that guarded Sir Harry Lee's Manor-house,
Ditchley, in Oxfordshire.[9] The sound of his deep growl was the
terror of all the gipsies and vagrants in the county, and there was a
superstition among the country people, that he was never known to
sleep. Even if he was seen stretched out on the stone steps leading up
to the front entrance of the house, with his massive head resting on
his great fore-paws, at the sound of a footfall, however distant, his
head would be raised, his ears fiercely cocked, and an ominous
stiffening of the tail would warn a stranger that his movements were
being closely watched, and that on the least suspicion of anything
strange or abnormal in his behaviour, he would be called to account by
Leo. Strangely enough, the mastiff had never been a favourite of his
master's. The fact that dogs of his breed are useless for purposes of
sport, owing to their unwieldy size and defective sense of smell, had
prevented Sir Harry from taking much notice of him. He looked upon the
mastiff merely as a watch-dog. The dog would look after him, longing
to be allowed to join him in his walk, or to follow him when he rode
out, through the lanes and fields round his house, but poor Leo's
affection received little encouragement. So long as he guarded the
house faithfully by day and night, that was all that was expected of
him: and as in doing this he was only doing his duty, and fulfilling
the purpose for which he was there, little notice was taken of him by
any of the inmates of the house. His meals were supplied to him with
unfailing regularity, for his services as insuring the safety of the
house were fully recognised; but as Sir Harry had not shown him any
signs of favour, the servants did not think fit to bestow unnecessary
attention on him. So he lived his solitary neglected life, in summer
and winter, by night and day, zealous in his master's interests, but
earning little reward in the way of notice or affection.

    [9] More about this gentleman and his dog may be read in
    _Woodstock_, by Sir Walter Scott.

One night, however, something occurred that suddenly altered the
mastiff's position in the household, and from being a faithful slave,
he all at once became the beloved friend and constant companion of Sir
Harry Lee. It was in winter, and Sir Harry was going up to his bedroom
as usual, about eleven o'clock. Great was his astonishment on opening
the library door, to find the mastiff stretched in front of it. At
sight of his master Leo rose, and, wagging his tail and rubbing his
great head against Sir Harry's hand, he looked up at him as if anxious
to attract his attention. With an impatient word Sir Harry turned
away, and went up the oak-panelled staircase, Leo following closely
behind him. When he reached his bedroom door, the dog tried to follow
him into the room, and if Sir Harry had been a more observant man, he
must have noticed a curious look of appeal in the dog's eyes, as he
slammed the door in his face, ordering him in commanding tones to 'Go
away!' an order which Leo did not obey. Curling himself up on the mat
outside the door, he lay with his small deep-sunk eyes in eager
watchfulness, fixed on the door, while his heavy tail from time to
time beat an impatient tattoo upon the stone floor of the passage.

Antonio, the Italian valet, whom Sir Harry had brought home with him
from his travels, and whom he trusted absolutely, was waiting for his
master, and was engaged in spreading out his things on the toilet
table.

'That dog is getting troublesome, Antonio,' said Sir Harry. 'I must
speak to the keeper to-morrow, and tell him to chain him up at night
outside the hall. I cannot have him disturbing me, prowling about the
corridors and passages all night. See that you drive him away, when
you go downstairs.'

'Yes, signor,' replied Antonio, and began to help his master to
undress. Then, having put fresh logs of wood on the fire, he wished
Sir Harry good-night, and left the room. Finding Leo outside the door,
the valet whistled and called gently to him to follow him; and, as the
dog took no notice, he put out his hand to take hold of him by the
collar. But a low growl and a sudden flash of the mastiff's teeth,
warned the Italian of the danger of resorting to force. With a
muttered curse he turned away, determined to try bribery where threats
had failed. He thought that if he could secure a piece of raw meat
from the kitchen, he would have no difficulty in inducing the dog to
follow him to the lower regions of the house, where he could shut him
up, and prevent him from further importuning his master.

Scarcely had Antonio's figure disappeared down the passage, when the
mastiff began to whine in an uneasy manner, and to scratch against his
master's door. Disturbed by the noise, and astonished that his
faithful valet had disregarded his injunctions, Sir Harry got up and
opened the door, on which the mastiff pushed past him into the room,
with so resolute a movement that his master could not prevent his
entrance. The instant he got into the room, the dog's uneasiness
seemed to disappear. Ceasing to whine, he made for the corner of the
room where the bed stood in a deep alcove, and, crouching down, he
slunk beneath it, with an evident determination to pass the night
there. Much astonished, Sir Harry was too sleepy to contest the point
with the dog, and allowed him to remain under the bed, without making
any further attempt to dislodge him from the strange and unfamiliar
resting-place he had chosen.

When the valet returned shortly after with the piece of meat with
which he hoped to tempt the mastiff downstairs, he found the mat
deserted. He assumed that the dog had abandoned his caprice of being
outside his master's door, and had betaken himself to his usual haunts
in the basement rooms and passages of the house.

Whether from the unaccustomed presence of the dog in his room, or from
some other cause, Sir Harry Lee was a long time in going to sleep that
night. He heard the different clocks in the house strike midnight, and
then one o'clock; and as he lay awake watching the flickering light of
the fire playing on the old furniture and on the dark panels of the
wainscot, he felt an increasing sense of irritation against the dog,
whose low, regular breathing showed that he, at any rate, was sleeping
soundly. Towards two in the morning Sir Harry must have fallen into a
deep sleep, for he was quite unconscious of the sound of stealthy
steps creeping along the stone corridor and pausing a moment on the
mat outside his room. Then the handle of the door was softly turned,
and the door itself, moving on its well-oiled hinges, was gently
pushed inward. In another moment there was a tremendous scuffle
beneath the bed, and with a great bound the mastiff flung himself on
the intruder, and pinned him to the floor. Startled by the unexpected
sounds, and thoroughly aroused, Sir Harry jumped up, and hastily lit a
candle. Before him on the floor lay Antonio, with the mastiff standing
over him, uttering his fierce growls, and showing his teeth in a
dangerous manner. Stealthily the Italian stole out his hand along the
floor, to conceal something sharp and gleaming that had fallen from
him, on the dog's unexpected onslaught, but a savage snarl from Leo
warned him to keep perfectly still. Calling off the mastiff, who
instantly obeyed the sound of his master's voice, though with
bristling hair and stiffened tail he still kept his eyes fixed on the
Italian, Sir Harry demanded from the valet the cause of his unexpected
intrusion into his bedroom at that hour, and in that way. There was so
much embarrassment and hesitation in Antonio's reply, that Sir Harry's
suspicions were aroused. In the meantime the unusual sounds at that
hour of the night had awakened the household. Servants came hurrying
along the passage to their master's room. Confronted by so many
witnesses, the Italian became terrified and abject, and stammered out
such contradictory statements, that it was impossible to get at the
truth of his story, and Sir Harry saw that the only course open to him
was to have the man examined and tried by the magistrate.

  [Illustration: 'AND PINNED HIM TO THE GROUND']

At the examination the wretched valet confessed that he had entered
his master's room with the intention of murdering and robbing him, and
had only been prevented by the unexpected attack of the mastiff.

Among the family pictures in the possession of the family of the Earls
of Lichfield, the descendants of Sir Harry Lee, there is a full-length
portrait of the knight with his hand on the head of the mastiff, and
beneath this legend, 'More faithful than favoured.'



_DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND COD_

Stories from Audubon

From _Audubon's Life_, by Robert Buchanan. Sampson Low & Co.


In the excellent life of Mr. Audubon, the American naturalist
(published in 1868 by Sampson Low, Marston & Co.), some curious
stories are to be found respecting the kinds of fish that he met with
in his voyages both through the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
Audubon's remarks about the habits of dolphins are especially
interesting, and will be read with pleasure by everybody who cares for
'the sea and all that in them is.'

Dolphins abound in the Gulf of Mexico and the neighbouring seas, and
are constantly to be seen chasing flying fish, which are their food.
Flying fish can swim more rapidly than the dolphins, which of course
are far larger creatures; but if they find themselves much
outnumbered, and in danger of being surrounded, they spread the fins
that serve them for wings, and fly through the air for a short
distance. At first this movement throws out the dolphins, who are
unable to follow the example of their prey, but they soon contrive to
keep up with the flying fish by giving great bounds into the air; and
as the flying fish's powers are soon exhausted, it is not long before
the hunt comes to an end and the dolphins seize the fish as they
tumble into the sea.

Sailors are fond of catching dolphins, and generally bait their hooks
with a piece of shark's flesh. When the fish is taken, its friends
stay round it till the last moment, only swimming away as the dolphin
is hauled on board. For its size, which is generally about three feet
long and has rarely been known to exceed four feet, the dolphin has a
remarkably good appetite, and sometimes he eats so much that he is
unable to escape from his enemy, the bottle-nosed porpoise. A dolphin
that was caught in the Gulf of Mexico was opened by the sailors, and
inside him were counted twenty-two flying fish, each one six or seven
inches long, and all arranged quite neatly with their tails foremost.
Before they have their dinner they are full of fun, and their
beautiful blue and gold bodies may often be seen leaping and bounding
and diving about the ship--a sight which the sailors always declare
portends a gale. Indeed, the stories to which dolphins give rise are
many and strange. The negroes believe that a silver coin, fried or
boiled in the same water as the fish, will turn into copper if the
dolphin is in a state unfit for food; but as no one can swear that he
has ever seen the transmutation of the metal, it may be suspected that
the tale was invented by the cook for the sake of getting an extra
dollar.

       *       *       *       *       *

About eighty miles from the Peninsula of Florida are a set of low,
sandy banks known as the _Tortuga_ or _Turtle Islands_, from the
swarms of turtles which lay their eggs in the sand, and are eagerly
sought for by traders.

Turtles are of many sorts, but the green turtle is considered the
best, and is boiled down into soup, which is both rich and
strengthening. They are cautious creatures, and never approach the
shore in the daylight, or without watching carefully for some time to
see if the coast is indeed clear. They may be seen on quiet moonlight
nights in the months of May and June, lying thirty or forty yards from
the beach, listening intently, and every now and then making a loud
hissing noise intended to frighten any enemies that may be lurking
near. If their quick ears detect any sound, however faint, they
instantly dive and swim to some other place; but if nothing is
stirring, they land on the shore, and crawl slowly about with the aid
of their flappers, until they find a spot that seems suitable for the
hatching of their eggs, which often number two hundred, laid at one
time. The operations are begun by the turtle scooping out a hole in
the burning sand by means of her hind flappers, using them each by
turns, and throwing up the sand into a kind of rampart behind her.
This is done so quickly that in less than ten minutes she will often
have dug a hole varying from eighteen inches to two feet. When the
eggs are carefully placed in separate layers, the loose sand is laid
over them, and the hole not only completely hidden but made to look
exactly like the rest of the beach, so that no one could ever tell
that the surface had been disturbed at all. Then the turtle goes away
and leaves the hot sand to do the rest.

In course of time the young turtles, hardly bigger than a
five-shilling piece, leave their shells, and make their way to the
water, unless, before they are hatched, their nest has been discovered
by men, or by the cougars and other wild animals, who feed greedily on
them. If they belong to the tribe of the green turtles, they will at
once begin to seek for sea plants, and especially a kind of grass,
which they bite off near the roots, so as to get the tenderest parts.
If they are young hawk-bills, they will nibble the seaweed, and soon
go on to crabs and shell-fish, and even little fishes. The loggerheads
grow a sharp beak, which enables them to crack the great conch shells,
and dig out the fish that lives inside, while the trunk turtle, which
is often of an immense size but with a very soft body, loves
sea-urchins and shell-fish. All of them can swim so fast that they
often seem to be flying, and it needs much quickness of eye and hand
to spear them in the water. Even to catch them on shore is a matter of
great difficulty, and in general more than one man is required for the
service. The turtle is raised up from behind by a man on his knee,
pushing with all his might against her shoulder; but this has to be
done with great caution, or else the hunter may get badly bitten. When
the turtle is fully raised up, she is thrown over on her back, and,
like a sheep in a similar position, can seldom recover herself without
help. The turtles, when caught, are put into an enclosure of logs with
a sandy or muddy bottom through which the tide flows, and here they
are kept and fed by their captors till they are ready for the market.
Unlike most creatures, their price is out of all proportion to their
weight, and a loggerhead turtle weighing seven hundred pounds has been
known to cost no more than a green turtle of thirty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in May, and well into June, the seas extending northwards from
Maine to Labrador are alive with ships just starting for the cod
fishing. Their vessels are mostly small but well stocked, and a large
part of the space below is filled with casks, some full of salt and
others empty. These empty ones are reserved for the oil that is
procured from the cod.

Every morning, as soon as it is light, some of the crew of each ship
enters a small boat, which can be sailed or rowed as is found
necessary. When they reach the cod banks every man boards up part of
his boat for the fish when caught, and then takes his stand at the end
with two lines, baited at the opening of the season with salted
mussels, and later with gannets or capelings. These lines are dropped
into the sea on either side of the boat, and when the gunwale is
almost touching the water and it is dangerous to put in any more fish,
they give up work for the morning and return to the harbour. In
general, fishing is a silent occupation, but cod fishers are rather a
talkative race, and have bets with each other as to the amount of the
'takes' of the respective crews. When they get back to their vessels,
often anchored eight or ten miles away, they find that the men who
have been left behind have set up long tables on deck, carried the
salt barrels on shore, placed all ready the casks for the livers, and
cleared the hold of everything but a huge wedge of salt for the
salting. Then, after dinner, some of the men row back to the cod
banks, while the others set about cleaning, salting, and packing the
fish, so as to be quite finished when the men return from their second
journey. It is almost always midnight before the work is done, and the
men can turn in for their three hours' sleep.

If, as often happens, the hauls have been very large, the supply soon
threatens to become exhausted, so on Sunday the captain sails off for
a fresh bank. Then, the men who are the laziest or most unskilful in
the matter of fishing take out the cargo that has been already salted,
and lay it out on scaffolds which have been set up on the rocks. When
the sun has dried the fish for some time, they are turned over; and
this process is repeated several times in the day. In the evening they
are piled up into large stacks, and protected from the rain and wind.
In July the men's work is in one way less hard than before, for this
is the season when the capelings arrive to spawn upon the shores, and
where capelings are, cod are sure to follow. Now great nets are used,
with one end fastened to the land, and these nets will sometimes
produce twenty or thirty thousand fish at a haul.

With so many men engaged in the cod fishing, and considering the
number of diseases to which cod are subject, it is perhaps quite as
well that each fish should lay such a vast supply of eggs, though out
of the eight million laid by one fish which have been counted, it is
calculated that, from various causes, only about a hundred thousand
come to maturity.



_MORE ABOUT ELEPHANTS_

From _The Wild Elephant_. Sir J. Emerson Tennent.


Long, long ago, when the moon was still young, and some of the stars
that we know best were only gradually coming into sight, the earth was
covered all over with a tangle of huge trees and gigantic ferns, which
formed the homes of all sorts of enormous beasts. There were no men,
only great animals and immense lizards, whose skeletons may still be
found embedded in rocks or frozen deep down among the Siberian
marshes; for, after the period of fearful heat, when everything grew
rampant, even in the very north, there came a time of equally intense
cold, when every living creature perished in many parts of the world.

When the ice which crushed down life on the earth began to melt, and
the sun once more had power to pierce the thick cold mists that had
shrouded the world, animals might have been seen slowly creeping about
the young trees and fresh green pastures, but their forms were no
longer the same as they once were. The enormous frames of all sorts of
huge monsters, and the great lizard called the ichthyosaurus, had been
replaced by smaller and more graceful creatures, who could move
lightly and easily through this new world. But changed though it
seemed to be, one beast still remained to tell the story of those
strange old times, and that was the elephant.

Now anybody who has ever stood behind a big, clumsy cart-horse going
up a hill cannot fail to have been struck with its likeness to an
elephant; and it is quite true that elephants and horses are nearly
related. Of course in the East, where countries are so big and marches
are so long, it is necessary to have an animal to ride of more
strength and endurance than a horse, and so elephants, who are, when
well treated, as gentle as they are strong, were very early trained as
beasts of burden, or even as 'men-of-war.'

In their wild condition they have a great many curious habits. They
roam about the forests of India or Africa in herds, and each herd is a
real family, who have had a common grandfather. The elephants are very
particular as to the number of their herd; it is never less than ten,
or more than twenty-one, but being very sociable they easily get on
terms of civility with other herds, and several of these groups may be
seen moving together towards some special pond or feeding ground. But
friendly as they often are, each clan keeps itself as proudly distinct
from the rest as if they were all Highlanders. Any unlucky elephant
who has lost his own herd, and tries to attach himself to a new one,
is scouted and beaten away by every member of the tribe, till, like a
man who is punished and scorned for misfortunes he cannot help, the
poor animal grows desperate, and takes to evil courses, and is hunted
down under the name of 'a rogue.'

Elephants have a great idea of law and order, and carefully choose a
leader who is either strong enough or clever enough to protect the
herd against its enemies. Even a female has sometimes been chosen, if
her wisdom has been superior to that of the rest; but male or female,
the leader once fixed upon, the herd never fails to give him absolute
obedience, and will suffer themselves to be killed in their efforts to
save his life.

  [Illustration: 'LONG, LONG AGO.' THE ELEPHANT DREAMS OF HIS OLD
    COMPANIONS]

As everyone knows, during the dry season in India water becomes very
scarce, and even the artificial tanks that have been built for
reservoirs are very soon empty. About the middle of this century, an
English officer, Major Skinner by name, had drawn up to rest on the
embankment of a small Indian tank, which, low though it was,
contained the only water to be found for a great distance. On three
sides of the tank there was a clearing, but on the fourth lay a very
thick wood, where the herd lay encamped all day, waiting for darkness
to fall, so that they might all go to drink. Major Skinner knew the
habits of elephants well, and what to expect of them, so he sent all
his natives to sleep, and climbed himself into a large tree that
sheltered the tank at one corner. However, it appeared that the
elephants were unusually cautious that night, for he sat in his tree
for two hours before a sound was heard, though they had been lively
enough as long as the sun was shining.

Suddenly a huge elephant forced his way through the thickest part of
the forest, and advanced slowly to the tank, his ears at full cock,
and his eyes glancing stealthily round. He gazed longingly at the
water for some minutes, but did not attempt to drink--perhaps he felt
it would be a mean advantage to take of his comrades--and then he
quietly retraced his steps backwards till he had put about a hundred
yards between himself and the water, when five elephants came out of
the jungle and joined him. These he led forward, listening carefully
as before, and placed them at certain spots where they could command a
view both of the open country and the forest. This done, and the
safety of the others provided for, he went to fetch the main body of
the herd, which happened to be four or five times as large as usual.
Silently, as if preparing for an assault, the whole of this immense
body marched up to where the scouts were standing, when a halt was
signalled, so that the leader might for the last time make sure that
no hidden danger, in the shape of man, lion, or tiger, awaited them.
Then permission was given, and with a joyful toss of their trunks in
the air, in they dashed, drinking, wallowing, and rolling over with
delight, till one would have thought it had been years since they had
tasted a drop of water, or known the pleasures of a bath.

From his perch in the tree Major Skinner had been watching with
interest the movements of the herd, and when he saw that they had
really had their fill, he gently broke a little twig and threw it on
the ground. It seemed hardly possible that such a tiny sound could
reach the ears of those great tumbling, sucking bodies, but in one
instant they were all out of the tank, and tearing towards the forest,
almost carrying the little ones between them.

Of course it is not always that elephants can find tanks without
travelling many hundreds of miles after them, and on these occasions
their wonderful sagacity comes to their aid. They will pause on the
banks of some dried-up river, now nothing but a sandy tract, and feel
instinctively that underneath that sand is the water for which they
thirst. But then, how to get at it? The elephants know as well as any
engineer that if they tried to dig a hole straight down, the weight of
their bodies would pull down the whole side of the pit with them, so
that is of no use. In order to get round this difficulty, long
experience has taught them that they must make one side to their well
a gentle slope, and when this is done they can wait with perfect
comfort for the water, whose appearance on the surface is only a
question of time.

  [Illustration: THE ELEPHANT FALLS ON HIS KNEES BEFORE THE LITTLE
    SCOTCH TERRIER]

Much might be written about the likes and dislikes of elephants, which
seem as a rule to be as motiveless as the likes and dislikes of human
beings. Till they are tamed and treated kindly by some particular
person, elephants show a decided objection to human beings, and in
Ceylon have a greater repugnance to a white skin than to a brown one.
In fact, they are shy of anything new or strange, but will put up with
any animal to which they are accustomed. Elks, pigs, deer, and
buffaloes are their feeding companions, and the elephants take no more
notice of their presence than if they were so many canaries. Indeed,
as far as can be gathered, the elephant is much more afraid of the
little domestic animals with which it is quite unacquainted than of
the huge vegetable-eating beasts with which both it and its
forefathers were on intimate terms. Goats and sheep it eyes with
annoyance; they are new creatures, and were never seen in jungles or
forests; but, bad as they might be, dogs, the shadows of men, were
worse still. They were so quick, so lively, and had such hideous high
voices, which they were always using, not keeping them for special
occasions like any self-respecting quadruped. Really they might almost
as well be parrots with their incessant chatter. But of all kinds of
dogs, surely the one called a Scotch terrier was the most alarming and
detestable. One day an animal of this species actually seized the
trunk of an elephant in its teeth, and the elephant was so surprised
and frightened that it fell on its knees at once. At this the dog was
a little frightened too, and let go, but recovered itself again as the
elephant rose slowly to its feet, and prepared to charge afresh. The
elephant, not knowing what to make of it, backed in alarm, hitting out
at the dog with its front paws, but taking care to keep his wounded
trunk well beyond its reach. At last, between fright and annoyance he
lost his head completely, and would have fairly run away if the keeper
had not come in and put a stop to the dog's fun.

If Æsop had known elephants--or Scotch terriers--he might have made a
fable out of this; but they had not visited Greece in his day.



_BUNGEY_

From Jesse's _British Dogs_.


During the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James, there lived a brave
and accomplished knight called Sir John Harington, who had been
knighted on the field of battle by the famous Earl of Essex, and had
translated into English a long poem, by an Italian called Ariosto. But
busy though he was in so many ways, Sir John still had time to spare
for his 'raw dogge' Bungey, and in the year 1608 he writes a long
letter to Prince Henry, elder brother of Charles I., full of the
strange doings of his favourite. Bungey seems to have been used by Sir
John as a sort of carrier pigeon, and he tells how he would go from
Bath to Greenwich Palace, to 'deliver up to the cowrte there such
matters as were entrusted to his care.' The nobles of the court made
much of him, and sometimes gave him errands of their own, and it was
never told to their 'Ladie Queen, that this messenger did ever blab
ought concerning his highe truste, as others have done in more special
matters.' More wonderful even than this was his behaviour concerning
two sacks of wheat which Bungey had been commissioned by Sir John's
servant Combe, to carry from Bath to his own house at Kelston, a few
miles distant. The sacks were tied round the dog's body by cords, but
on the way the cords got loose, and Bungey, clever though he was,
could not tie them up again. However he was not to be beaten, and
hiding one 'flasket' in some bushes that grew near by, he bore the
other in his teeth to Kelston, and then returning, fetched the hidden
one out of the rushes and arrived with it in good time for dinner.
Sir John is plainly rather afraid that Prince Henry may not quite
believe this instance of sagacity, for he adds, 'Hereat your Highnesse
may perchance marvell and doubte; but we have living testimonie of
those who wroughte in the fields, and espied his work, and now live to
tell they did muche long to plaie the dogge, and give stowage to the
wine themselves, but they did refraine, and watchede the passinge of
this whole business.'

As may be well guessed, the fame of Bungey's talents soon spread, and
then, as now, there were many dog stealers in the country. On one
occasion, as Sir John was riding from Bath to London, Bungey was
tempted to leave his side by the sight of a pond swarming with wild
duck or mallard. Unluckily other people besides Bungey thought it good
sport to hunt wild fowl, and did not mind seizing valuable dogs, so
poor Bungey was caught and bound, till it could be settled who would
give the highest price for him.

At last his captors decided that they would take him to London, which
was not very far off, and trust to chance for finding a buyer. As it
happened, the Spanish Ambassador was on the look out for a dog of that
very kind, and he was so pleased with Bungey, that he readily agreed
to give the large sum asked by the men who brought him. Now Bungey was
a dog who always made the best of things, and as Sir John tells the
Prince, 'suche was the courte he did pay to the Don, that he was no
lesse in good likinge there than at home.' In fact, everybody grew so
fond of him, that when after six weeks Sir John discovered where he
was and laid claim to him, no one in the house could be prevailed on
to give him up. Poor Sir John, who, as we know, was very much attached
to Bungey, was at his wit's end what to do, when it suddenly occurred
to him to let the dog himself prove who was his real master. So,
having the Ambassador's leave to what he wished in the matter, he
called all the company together at dinner-time and bade Bungey go
into the hall where dinner was already served, and bring a pheasant
from the dish. This, as Sir John says, 'created much mirthe; but much
more, when he returned at my commandment to the table, and put it
again in the same cover.' After such a proof there was no more to be
said, and Sir John was allowed to be the dog's master. But Bungey's
life was not destined to be a very long one, and his death was strange
and sudden. As he and his master were once more on the road from
London to Bath on their return journey, he began jumping up on the
horse's neck, and 'was more earneste in fawninge and courtinge my
notice, than what I had observed for time backe; and after my chidinge
his disturbing my passinge forwardes, he gave me some glances of such
affection as moved me to cajole him; but alas! he crept suddenly into
a thorny brake, and died in a short time.'

  [Illustration: BUNGEY AT THE SPANISH AMBASSADOR'S HOUSE]

It is impossible to guess what kind of illness caused the death of
poor Bungey, but it is pleasant to think that Sir John never forgot
him, and also loved to talk of him to his friends. 'Now let Ulysses
praise his dogge Argus,' he writes to Prince Henry, 'or Tobit be led
by that dogge whose name doth not appear; yet could I say such things
of my Bungey as might shame them both, either for good faith, clear
wit, or wonderful deedes; to say no more than I have said of his
bearing letters to London and Greenwich, more than a hundred miles. As
I doubt not but your Highness would love my dogge, if not myselfe, I
have been thus tedious in his storie; and again saie, that of all the
dogges near your father's courte, not one hathe more love, more
diligence to please, or less paye for pleasinge, than him I write of.'



_LIONS AND THEIR WAYS_

Bingley's _Animal Biography_.


Although it would not be safe to put one's self into the power of a
lion, trusting to its generosity to make friends, there are a great
many stories of the kindness of lions to other creatures which are
perfectly true. One day, more than a hundred years ago, a lion cub
only three months old was caught in one of the great forests near the
river Senegal, and brought to a Frenchman as a gift. The Frenchman,
who was fond of animals, undertook to train it, and as the cub was
very gentle and quiet this was easily done. He soon grew very fond of
his master, and enjoyed being petted both by him and his friends, and
what was more strange in a beast whose forefathers had passed all
their lives in solitude, the lion hated being by himself. The more the
merrier was clearly _his_ motto, and whether the company consisted of
dogs, cats, ducks, sheep, geese, or monkeys (which were his
bedfellows), or men and women, did not matter to him; and you may
imagine his joy, when one night as he went to bed he found two little
new-born pups in his straw. He was quite as pleased as if he had been
their mother; indeed he would hardly let the mother go near them, and
when one of them died, he showed his grief in every possible way, and
became still more attached to its brother.

After six months the lion, now more than a year old, was sent off to
France, still with the little pup for company. At first his keepers
thought that the strangeness of everything would make him frightened
and savage, but he took it quite calmly and was soon allowed to roam
about the ship as he pleased. Even when he landed at Havre, he only
had a rope attached to his collar, and so he was brought to
Versailles, the pup trotting happily by his side. Unfortunately,
however, the climate of Europe did not agree with the dog as with the
lion, for he gradually wasted away and died, to the terrible grief of
his friend. Indeed he was so unhappy that another dog was put into the
cage to make up for the lost one, but this dog was not used to lions,
and only knew that they were said to be savage beasts, so he tried to
hide himself. The lion, whose sorrow, as often happens, only made him
irritable and cross, was provoked by the dog's want of confidence in
his kindness, and just gave him one pat with his paw which killed him
on the spot. But he still continued so sad, that the keepers made
another effort, and this time the dog behaved with more sense, and
coaxed the lion into making friends. The two lived happily together
for many years, and the lion recovered some of his spirits, but he
never forgot his first companion, or was quite the same lion again.

  [Illustration: 'THE HOTTENTOT NOTICED A HUGE LION LYING IN THE
    WATER']

Many hundreds of miles south of Senegal a Hottentot who lived in
Namaqualand was one evening driving down a herd of his master's
cattle, to drink in a pool of water, which was fenced in by two steep
walls of rock. It had been a particularly hot summer, and water was
scarce, so the pool was lower than usual, and it was not until the
whole herd got close to the brink, that the Hottentot noticed a huge
lion, lying right in the water, preparing to spring. The Hottentot,
thinking as well as his fright would let him think at all, that
anything would serve as supper for the lion, dashed straight through
the herd, and made as fast as he could for some trees at a little
distance. But a low roar behind him told him that he had been wrong in
his calculations, and that the lion was of opinion that man was nicer
than bull. So he fled along as quickly as his trembling legs would let
him, and just reached one of the tree aloes in which some steps had
been cut by the natives, as the lion bounded into the air. However the
man swung himself out of his enemy's range, and the lion fell flat
upon the ground. Now the branches of the tree were covered with
hundreds of nests of a kind of bird called the Sociable Grosbeak, and
it was to get these nests that the natives had cut in the smooth trunk
the steps which had proved the salvation of the Hottentot. Behind the
shelter of the nests the Hottentot cowered, hoping that when he was no
longer seen, the lion would forget him and go in search of other prey.
But the lion seemed inclined to do nothing of the sort. For a long
while he walked round and round the tree, and when he got tired of
that he lay down, resolved to tire the man out. The Hottentot hearing
no sound, peeped cautiously out, to see if his foe was still there,
and almost tumbled down in terror to meet the eyes of the lion glaring
into his. So the two remained all through the night and through the
next day, but when sunset came again the lion could bear his dreadful
thirst no longer, and trotted off to the nearest spring to drink. Then
the Hottentot saw his chance, and leaving his hiding place he ran like
lightning to his home, which was only a mile distant. But the lion did
not yield without a struggle; and traces were afterwards found of his
having returned to the tree, and then scented the man to within three
hundred yards of his hut.



_THE HISTORY OF JACKO I._


The ship 'Roxalana' of Marseilles lay anchored in the Bay of Loando,
which as we all know is situated in South Guinea. The 'Roxalana' was a
merchant vessel, and a brisk traffic had been going on for some time
with the exchange of the European goods with which the ship had been
laden, for ivory and other native produce. All hands were very busy
getting on board the various provisions and other stores needed for a
long voyage, for it was in the days of sailing vessels only, and it
would be some time before they could hope to return to Marseilles.

Now the captain of the 'Roxalana' was a mighty hunter, and seeing that
all was going on well under the first officer's direction, he took his
gun and a holiday and went up country for one more day's sport.

He was as successful as he was brave, and he had the great good luck
to meet a tiger, a young hippopotamus, and a boa constrictor. All
these terrible creatures fell before the unerring aim of the Provençal
Nimrod, and after so adventurous a morning's work the captain
naturally began to feel tired and hungry, so he sat down under the
shade of some trees to rest and have some lunch.

He drew a flask of rum out of one pocket, and having uncorked it
placed it on his right side; from his other pocket he produced a huge
guava, which he laid on his left side, and finally he drew a great
wedge of ship biscuit from his game bag and put it between his knees.
Then he took out his tobacco pouch and began to fill his pipe so as
to have it ready at hand when he had finished his meal.

  [Illustration: ANNOYANCE OF THE CAPTAIN ON FINDING HIS FLASK OF RUM
    UPSET]

Imagine his surprise when, having filled his pipe, he found the flask
had been upset and the guava had disappeared!

I am afraid the captain made use of some very strong language, but
there was nothing for it but to make the best of the biscuit, the sole
relic of his feast. As he munched it he warily turned his head from
side to side, watching for the thief, when all of a sudden something
fell upon his head. The captain put up his hand and found--the skin of
his guava. Then he raised his eyes and saw a monkey dancing for joy at
his own pranks in the tree just above him.

As I have already shown the captain was an excellent shot. Without
stirring from his seat, he took up his gun and with a shot snapped the
end of the branch on which his persecutor was sitting.

Down came branch and monkey, and the captain at once captured the
latter before it had time to recover from the surprise of its rapid
fall.

He was small and quite young, only half grown, but of a rather rare
kind, as the captain, who had an ever-ready eye to the main chance, at
once perceived.

'Ah ha!' said he, 'this little fellow will be worth fifty francs if
he's worth a farthing by the time we get back to Marseilles.'

So saying he popped the monkey into his game-bag and buttoned it
carefully up. Then, feeling that a piece of biscuit was not quite a
sufficient lunch after the fatigues of his morning's sports, he
retraced his steps and returned to his ship in company with his
monkey, whom he named 'Jacko.'

Before leaving Loando the captain, who was fond of pets, bought a
beautiful white cockatoo with a saffron crest and jet black beak.
'Cataqua' (that was his harmonious name) was indeed a lovely creature
and extremely accomplished into the bargain. He spoke French,
English, and Spanish equally well, and sang 'God save the King,' the
'Marseillaise,' and the Spanish National Anthem with great perfection.

The aptitude for languages made him a ready pupil, and his vocabulary
was largely increased by daily association with the crew of the
'Roxalana,' so that before they had been very long at sea Cataqua
swore freely in the purest Provençal, to the delight and admiration of
his captain.

The captain was very fond of his two pets, and every morning, after
inspecting the crew and giving each man his orders for the day, he
would go up to Cataqua's cage, followed by Jacko, and give the
cockatoo a lesson. When this was well said he would reward his pupil
by sticking a lump of sugar between the wires of the cage, a reward
which delighted Cataqua whilst it filled Jacko with jealousy.

He too loved sugar, and the moment the captain's back was turned he
would draw near the cage and pull and pinch till the lump of sugar
generally changed its destination, to the despair of Cataqua, who,
crest erect and with brandished claw, rent the air with shrieks of
rage mingled with angry oaths.

Jacko meanwhile stood by affecting an innocent air and gently sucking
the sugar which he had stowed away in one of his pouches. Unluckily
none of Cataqua's owners had taught him to cry 'stop thief' and he
soon realised that if Jacko were to be punished he must see to it
himself.

So one day, when the monkey after safely abstracting the sugar pushed
a paw between the bars of the cage to gather up some remaining crumbs,
Cataqua, who was gently swinging, head down, and apparently
unconscious of what was going on, suddenly caught Jacko's thumb in his
beak and bit it to the bone.

Jacko uttered a piercing shriek, rushed to the rigging and climbed as
far as he could, when he paused, clinging on by three paws and
piteously brandishing the fourth in the air.

Dinner-time came, and the captain whistled for Jacko, but contrary to
all customs no Jacko came. The captain whistled again, and this time
he thought he heard an answering sound which seemed to come from the
sky. He raised his eyes and beheld Jacko still waving his injured paw.
Then began an exchange of signals, with the result that Jacko firmly
refused to come down. Now the captain had trained his crew to habits
of implicit obedience and had no notion of having his orders resisted
by a monkey, so he took his speaking trumpet and called for Double
Mouth.

Double Mouth was the cook's boy, and he had well earned his nickname
by the manner in which he took advantage of his culinary position to
make one meal before the usual dinner hour without its interfering in
the least with his enjoyment of a second at the proper time. At the
captain's call Double Mouth climbed on deck from the cook's galley and
timidly approached his chief.

The captain, who never wasted words on his subordinates, pointed to
Jacko, and Double Mouth at once began to give chase with an activity
which proved that the captain had chosen well. As a matter of fact
Jacko and Double Mouth were dear friends, the bond of sympathy which
united them being one of greediness, for many a nice morsel Jacko had
to thank the cook's boy for. So when the monkey saw who was coming,
instead of trying to escape him he ran to meet him, and in a few
minutes the two friends, one in the other's arms, returned to the deck
where the captain awaited them.

The captain's one treatment for wounds of all kinds consisted of a
_compress_ steeped in some spirit, so he at once dipped a piece of rag
in rum and bandaged the patient's thumb with it. The sting of the
alcohol on the wound made Jacko dance with pain, but noticing that
the moment the captain's back was turned Double Mouth rapidly
swallowed the remains of the liquid in which the rag had been dipped,
he realised that however painful as a dressing it might possibly be
agreeable to the palate. He stretched out his tongue and very
delicately touched the bandage with its tip. It was certainly rather
nice, and he licked more boldly. By degrees the taste grew on him, and
he ended by putting his thumb, bandage and all, into his mouth and
sucking it bodily.

The result was that (the captain having ordered the bandage to be
wetted every ten minutes) by the end of a couple of hours Jacko began
to blink and to roll his head, and as the treatment continued he had
at length to be carried off by Double Mouth, who laid him on his own
bed.

Jacko slept without stirring for some hours. When he woke the first
thing which met his eyes was Double Mouth busy plucking a fowl. This
was a new sight, but Jacko seemed to be particularly struck by it on
this occasion. He got up from the bed and came near, his eyes steadily
fixed on the fowl, and carefully watched how the whole operation
proceeded. When it was ended, feeling his head a little heavy still,
he went on deck to take the air.

The weather was so settled and the wind so favourable that the captain
thought it only a waste to keep the poultry on board alive too long,
so he gave orders that a bird should be served daily for his dinner in
addition to his usual rations. Soon after a great cackling was heard
amongst the hencoops and Jacko climbed down from the yard where he was
perched at such a rate that one might have thought he was hastening to
the rescue. He tore into the kitchen, where he found Double Mouth
already plucking a newly killed fowl, till not an atom of down was
left on it.

Jacko showed the deepest interest in the process, and on returning to
deck he, for the first time since his accident, approached Cataqua's
cage, carefully keeping beyond range of his beak however. After
strolling several times round, he at last seized a favourable moment
and clutching hold of one of Cataqua's tail feathers, pulled hard till
it came out regardless of the cockatoo's screams and flappings. This
trifling experiment caused Jacko the greatest delight, and he fell to
dancing on all fours, jumping up and falling back on the same spot
which all his life was the way in which he showed his supreme content
about anything.

Meantime the ship had long lost sight of land and was in full sail in
mid ocean. It appeared unnecessary to the captain, therefore, to keep
his cockatoo shut up in a cage, so he opened the door and released the
prisoner, there being no means of escaping beyond the ship. Cataqua
instantly took advantage of his freedom to climb to the top of one of
the masts, where, with every appearance of rapture, he proceeded to
regale the ship's company with his entire large and varied vocabulary,
making quite as much noise by himself as all the five-and-twenty
sailors who formed his audience.

Whilst this exhibition was taking place on deck a different scene was
being enacted below. Jacko had as usual approached Double Mouth at
plucking time, but this time the lad, who had noticed the extreme
attention with which the monkey watched him, thought that possibly
there might be some latent talent in him which it was a pity not to
develop.

Double Mouth was one of those prompt and energetic persons who waste
no time between an idea and its execution. Accordingly he quietly
closed the door, put a whip into his pocket in case of need, and
handed Jacko the duck he was about to pluck, adding a significant
touch to the handle of the whip as a hint.

But Jacko needed neither hint nor urging. Without more ado he took the
duck, placed it between his knees as he had seen his tutor do, and
fell to with a will. As he found the feathers giving place to down
and the down to skin, he became quite enthusiastic, so much so that
when his task was done he fell to dancing for joy exactly as he had
done the day before by Cataqua's cage.

Double Mouth was overjoyed for his part. He only regretted not having
utilised Jacko's talents sooner, but he determined to do so regularly
in the future. Next day the same operation took place, and on the
third day, Double Mouth, recognising Jacko's genius, took off his own
apron and tied it round his pupil, to whom from that moment he
resigned the charge of preparing the poultry for the spit. Jacko
showed himself worthy of the confidence placed in him, and by the end
of a week he had quite distanced his teacher in skill and quickness.

Meantime the ship was nearing the Equator. It was a peculiarly sultry
day, when the very sky seemed to sink beneath its own weight; not a
creature was on deck but the man at the helm and Cataqua in the
shrouds. The captain had flung himself into his hammock and was
smoking his pipe whilst Double Mouth fanned him with a peacock's tail.
Even Jacko seemed overcome by the heat, and instead of plucking his
fowl as usual, he had placed it on a chair, taken off his apron, and
appeared lost in slumber or meditation.

His reverie, however, did not last long. He opened his eyes, glanced
round him, picked up a feather which he first stuck carelessly in his
mouth and then dropped, and at length began to slowly climb the ladder
leading on deck, pausing and loitering at each step. He found the deck
deserted, which apparently pleased him, as he gave two or three little
jumps whilst he glanced about to look for Cataqua, who with much
gesticulation was singing 'God save the King' at the top of his voice.

Then Jacko seemed to forget his rival's existence altogether, and
began lazily to climb the rigging on the opposite side, where he
indulged in various exercises, swinging by his tail head down, and
generally appearing to have only come with a view to gymnastics. At
length, seeing that Cataqua took no notice of him, he quietly sidled
that way, and at the very moment that the performance of the English
National Anthem was at its height, he seized the singer firmly with
his left hand just where the wings join the body.

Cataqua uttered a wild note of terror, but no one was sufficiently
awake to hear it.

'By all the winds of heaven!' exclaimed the captain suddenly. 'Here's
a phenomenon--snow under the Equator!'

'No,' said Double Mouth, 'that's not snow, that's--ah, you rascal!'
and he rushed towards the companion.

'Well, what is it then?' asked the captain, rising in his hammock.

'What is it?' cried Double Mouth from the top of the ladder. 'It's
Jacko plucking Cataqua!'

The captain was on deck in two bounds, and with a shout of rage roused
the whole crew from their slumbers.

'Well!' he roared to Double Mouth, 'what are you about, standing
there? Come, be quick!'

Double Mouth did not wait to be told twice, but was up the rigging
like a squirrel, only the faster he climbed the faster Jacko plucked,
until when the rescuer reached the spot it was a sadly bare bird which
he tore from Jacko's vindictive hands and carried back to his master.

Needless to say that Jacko was in dire disgrace after this exploit.
However, in time he was forgiven and often amused the captain and crew
with his pranks.

When the 'Roxalana' reached Marseilles after a quick and prosperous
voyage, he was sold for seventy-five francs to Eugène Isabey the
painter, who gave him to Flero for a Turkish hookah, who in his turn
exchanged him for a Greek gun with Décamps.



_SIGNORA AND LORI_

Translated from _Deutsche Blätter_, 1867. No. 10.


A gentleman living at Güstrow, in Mecklenburg, who was very fond of
animals, possessed a fine parrot, which had beautiful plumage, and
could talk better than most of his kind. Besides the parrot, he had a
poodle, called Signora Patti, after the great singer, whom the
gentleman had once heard when he was upon a visit to Rostock; after
his return home he bestowed the name upon his dear poodle.

Under the tuition of her master, the poodle began to be an artist in
her way. There was no trick performed by dogs too difficult for her to
learn. The parrot, whose name was Lori, paid the greatest attention
whilst the Signora's lessons were going on, and he soon had all the
vocabulary, which the Signora carried in her head, not only in his
memory, but on his tongue.

When the dog was told by her master to 'go to the baker,' then Lori
could croak out the words also. Signora Patti would hasten to fetch
the little basket, seat herself before her master, and, looking up at
him with her wise eyes, scrape gently upon the floor with her paw,
which signified: 'Please put in the money.' Her master dropped in a
few coins, the Signora ran quickly to the baker with the basket, and
brought it back filled with little cakes; placing it before her
master, she awaited her reward, a good share of the dainties.

Often, for a variety in the lessons, she had to go to the baker
without money; then her master simply gave the order, 'on tick!' and
the Signora, who knew that the cakes would be sent, obeyed the command
at once.

  [Illustration: LORI REFUSES TO SHARE WITH THE SIGNORA]

The parrot made a droll use of these practisings, turning to account
his knowledge of speech in the slyest way. If he found himself alone
with the poodle, who was perhaps comfortably stretched on her cushion,
Lori would cry--imitating his master's voice--as if he quite
understood the joke: 'Go out!' Poor Patti would get up in obedience to
the order and slink out of the door with her ears drooping. And
immediately Lori would whistle, just in the tone used by his master,
and the Signora then returned joyfully into the room.

But it was not only for pastime that Lori exercised his gift; the
cunning bird used it for the benefit of his greedy beak. It began to
happen often to the master to find that his private account-book,
carefully kept in the smallest details, did not agree well with that
of his neighbour the baker. The Signora, declared the baker, had
become most accomplished in the art of running up a long bill, and
always, of course, at her master's orders. Only he, the master, when
he looked over the reckoning, growled to himself: 'My neighbour is a
rogue; he chalks up the amount double.'

How very much was he astonished, then, and how quickly were his
suspicions turned into laughter, when he beheld, through a half-open
door, the following absurd scene.

It was one fine morning, and Lori sat upon the top of his cage,
calling out in his shrillest tones: 'Signora, Signora!' The poodle
hastened to present herself before him, wagging her tail, and Lori
continued, 'Go to the baker.' The Signora fetched the little basket
from its place, and put it before her tyrant, scratching her paw on
the floor to ask for money.

'On tick!' was Lori's prompt and brief remark; the Signora seized the
basket, and rushed out of the door. Before long she returned, laid the
basket, full of the little cakes, before the parrot, and looked with a
beseeching air for the reward of her toil.

But the wicked Lori received her with a sharp 'get out,' putting her
to flight, and proceeded to enjoy his ill-gotten gains in solitude.



_OF THE LINNET, POPINJAY, OR PARROT, AND OTHER BIRDS THAT CAN SPEAK_


The linnets be in manner the best birds of all others, howbeit, they
be very docible. Do they will whatsoever they are taught and bidden,
not only with their voice, but also with their feet and bills, as if
they were hands. In the territory about Arelate (Arles) there is a
bird called Taurus (because it loweth like a bull or cow, for
otherwise a small bird it is). There is another also named Anthus,
which likewise resembleth the neighing of horses; and if haply by the
approach of horses they be driven from their grass whereof they feed,
they will seem to neigh, and flying unto them, chase them away, and to
be revenged of them again. But above all other birds of the air, the
parrots pass for counterfeiting a man's voice, insomuch as they will
seem to parle and prate our very speech. This fowl cometh out of the
Indies; it is all the body over green, only it hath a collar about the
neck of vermilion red, different from the rest of her feathers. The
parrot can skill to salute emperors, and bid good-morrow: yea, and to
pronounce what words she heareth. She loveth wine well, and when she
hath drunk freely, is very pleasant and playful. She hath an head as
hard as is her beak. When she learns to speak, she must be beaten
about the head with a rod of iron; for otherwise she careth for no
blows. When she taketh her flight down from any place, she lighteth
upon her bill, and resteth thereupon, and by that means saveth her
feet, which by nature are but weak and feeble, and so carrieth her
own weight more lightly.

There is a certain pie, of nothing so great reckoning and account as
the parrot, because she is not far set, but here by near at hand:
howbeit, she pronounces that which is taught her more plainly and
distinctly than the other. These take a love to the words that they
speak; for they not only learn them as a lesson, but they learn them
with a delight and pleasure, insomuch that a man shall find them
studying thereupon, and conning the said lesson; and by their careful
thinking upon that which they learn they show plainly how mindful and
intentive they be thereto. It is for certain known that they have died
for very anger and grief that they could not learn to pronounce some
hard words; as also unless they hear the same words repeated often
unto them, their memory is so shittle, they will soon forget the same
again. If they miss a word and have lost it, they will seek to call it
again to remembrance; and if they fortune to hear the same word in the
meantime, they will wonderfully joy thereat. As for their beauty, it
is not ordinary, although it be not very lovely. But surely amiable
enough are they in this, that they can so well resemble man's speech.
It is said that none of their kind are good to be made scholars, but
such only as feed upon mast; and among them, those that have five toes
to their feet. But even these also are not fit for that purpose, after
the first two years of their age. And their tongue is broader than
ordinary; like as they be all that counterfeit man's voice, each one
in their kind, although it be in manner general to birds whatsoever to
be broad-tongued.

Agrippina the Empress, wife to Claudius Cæsar, had a black-bird or a
throstle at what time I compiled this book, which could counterfeit
man's speech; a thing never seen or known before. The two Cæsars also,
the young princes (to wit, Germanicus and Drusus,) had one stare, and
sundry nightingales, taught to parle Greek and Latin. Moreover, they
would study upon their lessons, and meditate all day long; and from
day to day come out with new words still, yea, and are now able to
continue a long speech and discourse. Now for to teach them the
better, these birds must be in a secret place apart by themselves,
when they can hear no other voice; and one is to sit over them, who
must repeat often that which he would have them to learn; yea, and
please them also with giving them such meat as they best love.



_PATCH AND THE CHICKENS_


On a farm up in Durham, there were six little chickens who were
deserted by the mother hen as soon as they were hatched. So the
farmer's wife put them in a basket and carried them into the cottage
to keep them warm by the fire.

There they were discovered by a smooth-coated terrier, named Patch,
who was at that time very sad because her little puppy had just died,
and she began to look after the chickens as if they were her own
children. The little chicks also turned to her quite naturally for
care and protection.

She used to treat them very gently, and would sit and watch them feed
with the greatest interest. She would curl herself up, and then let
them climb about her, and go to sleep between her paws. Sometimes she
did not seem to consider the floor comfortable enough for her adopted
family, and would jump on to a wooden settle which stood in the
kitchen, and then with her feet she would pat the cushions into a cosy
bed, and very carefully would take one chicken after another in her
mouth, and place them on the softest part.

Soon the time came for the chickens to be sent out into the world.

One day when Patch was out for a walk they were taken to the farmyard.

When the poor little dog returned she was quite broken-hearted, and
ran whining about the cottage. Then, as if seized with a sudden
thought, she walked out of the door, and in a very short time she
reappeared, followed by her feathered family, and again they took up
their abode in the cottage. Every morning Patch used to take them out
for a walk, and it was a most amusing sight to see the little terrier
followed by a procession of six stately hens.

At last their living in the house became such an inconvenience to the
farmer's wife that poor Patch's children had to be killed.

For some time Patch was very unhappy, and would still go into the
farmyard to look for her six chickens.



_THE FIERCE FALCON_

From _Wild Sports of the Highlands_. By C. St. John.


There are not nearly so many stories about birds as about dogs and
cats, because birds can fly away, and it is more difficult to know
what becomes of them. Perhaps, properly speaking, stories about birds
have no business in a 'Beast Book,' but as long as the story is
interesting, it does not do to be too particular.

A good many years ago, a gentleman named St. John was exploring the
high hills near the source of the Findhorn, in Inverness-shire, when
he found a young falcon which was being reared as a pet by a shepherd
boy, who gave her trout to eat. There was not much beauty about the
falcon when Mr. St. John first saw her, for her plumage was
dark-brown, with long-shaped spots on the breast, but in spite of that
he took a fancy to her, and persuaded her master to sell her to him.
When, however, she had passed her second birthday, and might be
considered grown up, she put on all her finest feathers, and was very
much admired by everyone. Her throat became a lovely soft cream
colour, and the brown on her back changed into a lovely dark grey,
while on her bosom, each little feather was crossed by a bar. But
lovely though she was, Mr. St. John felt her to be a great care, for
she was very strong as well as very brave, and would never think twice
about attacking dogs or even people, if they offended her. As for the
fowls, she soon made such short work of _them_, that her master was
obliged to chain her up in the kitchen garden, which had hitherto
formed the property of a tame owl. Luckily for the owl, the falcon at
once made friends with him, and he was even allowed to finish up any
of the falcon's dinner which she did not want herself.

Matters went quite smoothly for some weeks, and Mr. St. John was
beginning to flatter himself that his pet was quieting down, and
becoming quite a home bird, when one day a duck, tempted by the sight
of the garden, whose gate had been carelessly left open, advanced a
few steps along the path. Seeing nothing and nobody (for being
daylight, the owl was asleep and the falcon too cunning to move) the
duck became bolder, and walked merrily on, pecking at anything that
took her fancy, and making funny little noises of satisfaction,
unconscious of a pair of bright eyes that were watching her from
behind a bush. Indeed, so absorbed was the duck in her afternoon tea,
that she never even saw the falcon steal softly out and soar a little
way up into the air, and suddenly swoop down with great force, and
before the victim had time to be frightened she was dead, and her body
was carried away in the falcon's claws, to serve for her supper.

Now the duck was the mother of a large family, all newly hatched, and
it would have fared very badly with them in their babyhood, had it not
been for the kindness of a guinea-fowl, who adopted them as her own,
directly she heard that they were left orphans and helpless. The
guinea-fowl, indeed, was quite glad of the chance, because she had a
warm heart, and had mourned sadly for her husband, who had been lately
condemned to death on account of a series of horrible murders he had
committed among the young chickens. So the good creature thought the
duck's sad accident quite providential, and at once set about filling
her place. Like many other mothers, instead of making the little
ducklings fall into _her_ ways, _she_ fell into theirs, and never left
their sides, except on urgent business. And they had, even then, only
to call to her if they saw great clumsy animals such as dogs or
children coming their way, and down she would rush in a frightful
hurry, half scrambling, half flying over bushes and palings, and
making furious pecks at the children's legs, if they ventured too
close to her little ones.

Still, not all her love nor all her courage would have prevented the
guinea-fowl falling a victim to the falcon, if once the bird had got
loose, and as it was, the falcon continued to do a good deal of damage
to the creatures about the farmyard. A cock, who had hitherto crowed
very loudly and declared himself king of the birds, was foolish enough
to give battle to our falcon. An hour after, a few feathers were all
that remained of _him_, and as to the pigeons, if they ever happened
to get within the length of her chain, their doom was certain. At last
the gaps in the poultry yard became so serious that Mr. St. John made
up his mind that the falcon must be fastened up in a still more
out-of-the-way place, and while he was altering her chain away she
flew. Of course he thought she was gone for ever, and he watched her
circling about the house with a very sad heart, for he still was fond
of her, though she was such a very bad bird, and gave him so much
trouble; but as it was getting dark, he had to go in, and stealing a
last look at her as he entered the house, he saw her settling down for
the night, in the top of a tall tree.

For five days no more was seen or heard of the wanderer, and it was
not until the fifth morning that Mr. St. John observed her, high in
the air, fighting fiercely with some hooded crows. He stood out on the
grass, where there was nothing to hide him, and whistled loudly. In an
instant the falcon heard him, busily engaged though she was, and
wheeled down to her old master, perching on his arm, and rubbing her
beak against him. She did not seem to have been softened or improved
by her taste of liberty, for she showed herself quite as ready as of
old to attack everything within reach of her chain, first killing
them, and then pulling off their hair or plucking out their feathers,
before she began her meal. The only animal which she could not
swallow was a mole, and one day she swooped down on a Skye terrier,
and it would certainly not have escaped alive, had not its master come
to the rescue. But it is time we thought of something nicer than this
dreadful bird.



_MR. BOLT, THE SCOTCH TERRIER_

Jesse's _British Dogs_.


All children who know anything of dogs or cats will have found out
very soon that the ugly ones are generally far cleverer and more
sensible than the pretty ones, who are very apt to think too much of
themselves, and will spend a long time admiring themselves in the
glass, just as if they were vain men and women. Perhaps it is not
altogether their fault if they are stupid, for when they are shaped
well, and have fine glossy coats, their masters and mistresses spoil
them, and give them too much to eat, so they grow lazy and greedy and
disobedient, and like better to lie on the hearth-rug than to do
tricks or jump over fences.

Now, luckily for himself, Mr. Bolt, the hero of this story, was quite
a plain dog. There could be no doubt about it; and those who loved him
did so because he was useful and good company, and not because he was
elegant or graceful. Bolt was a large Scotch terrier, rough and hairy,
with a thick sort of grey fringe, and great dark eyes looking out from
underneath the fringe. His tail and his legs were very short, and his
back was very long, so long that he reminded one of a furniture van
more than anything else.

But, clever though he was, Bolt had his faults, and the worst of them
was that he was very apt to take offence when none was intended, and
was far too ready to pick a quarrel, and to hit out with all his
might. He probably owed some of this love of fighting to the country
in which he was born; for, although a Scotch dog by descent, he was
Irish by birth, and his earliest home was near Dublin. As everybody
knows, the happiest moment of an Irishman's life is when he is
fighting something or somebody, and Bolt in his youth was as reckless
as any Irishman of them all. He was hardly a year old when he turned
upon his own mother, who had done something to displease him when they
were chained together in a stable, and never let her throat go until
she was stone dead. Cats, too, were his natural enemies, whom he
fought and conquered when no dogs were at hand, and sometimes he would
steal out at night from his master's bed, where he always slept, and
go for a chase by the light of the moon. Early one morning a fearful
noise was heard in the house, and when his master, unable to bear it
any longer, got out of bed to see what had happened, he found a
strange cat lying on the stairs quite dead, and the house-cat, with
which Bolt was barely on speaking terms, sitting in a friendly manner
by the side of the conqueror. It is supposed that the strange cat had
been led either by motives of curiosity or robbery to enter by some
open window, and that the house-cat, unable to drive him out, had
welcomed Bolt's ready help for the purpose. Fighter though he was by
nature, Bolt had inherited enough Scotch caution not to begin a
quarrel unless he had a fair chance of victory; but he was generous,
and seldom attacked dogs smaller than himself, unless he was forced
into it, or really had nothing better to do. He always began by
seizing his enemy's hind leg, which no other dog had been known to do
before, and he had such a dislike to dogs whose skins were yellow,
that not even the company of ladies, and the responsibility weighing
upon him as their escort, would stop Bolt's wild rush at his yellow
foe. He hated being shut up too, and showed amazing cleverness in
escaping from prison. If that was _quite_ impossible, he did the next
best thing, which was to gnaw and destroy every article he could in
any way reach. One day when he had behaved so oddly that his family
feared he must be going mad (children have been known to frighten
their parents in a similar way), he was chained up in a little room,
and, feeling too angry to sleep, he amused himself all night with
tearing a Bible, several shoes, and a rug, while he gnawed a hole
through the door, and bit through the leg of a table. In the morning,
when his master came to look at him, he seemed quite recovered, and
very well pleased with himself.

As you will see, Bolt had plenty of faults, but he also had some very
good qualities, and when he did not think himself insulted by
somebody's behaviour, he could show a great deal of sense. One night
the cook had been sitting up very late, baking bread for the next day,
and being very tired, she fell asleep by the kitchen fire, and a spark
fell out on her woollen dress. As there was no blaze, and the girl was
a heavy sleeper, she would most likely never have waked at all till it
was too late, only luckily for her, the smell reached Bolt's nose as
he was lying curled up on his master's bed, near the door which always
stood open. Before rousing the house, and giving them all a great
fright, he thought he had better make sure exactly what was wrong, so
he ran first down to the kitchen from which the smell seemed to come,
and finding the cook half stupefied by the smoke, he rushed back to
call his master. This he managed to do by tearing up and down the
room, leaping on the bed, and pulling off all the clothes, so that the
poor man was quite cold. His master was much astonished at the state
of excitement Bolt was in, and feared at first that he had gone mad,
but after a few minutes he decided that he would get up and see what
was the matter. Bolt went carefully before him into the kitchen and
sat down by the side of the sleeping girl, turning his face anxiously
to the door, to make sure that his master should make no mistake. So
in a few seconds the fire was put out, and the girl escaped with
nothing worse than a slight scorching.

I might tell you many stories of Bolt and his funny ways, but I have
only room for one now. After some time his mistress and her daughter
left the house in which Bolt had spent so many years, and took
lodgings in Dublin. Bolt went with them, but when they all arrived,
the landlady declared she did not like dogs, and Bolt must be placed
elsewhere. Now this was very awkward; of course it was out of the
question that Bolt could be left behind, yet it was too late to make
other arrangements, so after some consideration he was sent back to
some lodgings near by, where his master had formerly lived, and where
they promised to take great care of him. His young mistress called
every day to carry him off for a walk, and she often tried to get him
to enter the house she herself was living in, but nothing would
persuade the offended Bolt to go inside the door. He would sit on the
step for some time, hoping she would be persuaded to return with
_him_, but when he found _that_ was hopeless, he walked proudly back
to his own rooms. His mistresses stayed in that house for nearly a
year, and in all that time Bolt never forgot or forgave the slight put
upon him, or could be induced to enter the house. Indeed, his feelings
were so bitterly hurt, that even when they all set up house again, it
was months before Bolt could be got to do anything more than pay his
family a call now and then, and sometimes dine with them. So you see
it is a serious thing to offend a dog, and he needs to be as
delicately handled as a human being.



_A RAVEN'S FUNERAL_


In the days of Tiberius the Emperor, there was a young raven hatched
in a nest upon the church of Castor and Pollux; which to make a trial
how he could fly, took his first flight into a shoemaker's shop just
over against the said church. The master of the shop was well enough
content to receive this bird, as commended to him from so sacred a
place, and in that regard set great store by it. This raven in short
time being acquainted to man's speech, began to speak, and every
morning would fly up to the top of the Rostra, or public pulpit for
orations, when, turning to the open Forum or market place, he would
salute and bid good-morrow to Tiberius Cæsar, and after him to
Germanicus and Drusus, the young princes, every one by their names:
and anon the people of Rome also that passed by. And when he had so
done, afterwards would fly again to the shoemaker's shop aforesaid.
This duty practised, yea and continued for many years together, to the
great wonder and admiration of all men.

Now it fell out so, that another shoemaker who had taken the next shop
unto him, either upon a malicious envy or some sudden spleen and
passion of anger, killed the raven. Whereat the people took such
indignation, that they, rising in an uproar, first drove him out of
that street, and made that quarter of the city too hot for him; and
not long after murdered him for it. But contrariwise, the carcase of
this raven was solemnly interred, and the funeral performed with all
the ceremonial obsequies that could be devised. For the corpse of this
bird was bestowed in a coffin, couch, or bed, and the same bedecked
with chaplets of fresh flowers of all sorts, carried upon the
shoulders of two blackamoors, with minstrels before, sounding the
haut-boys, and playing on the fife, as far as the funeral fire, which
was piled and made in the right hand of the causey Appia, in a certain
plain or open field.

  [Illustration: A RAVEN'S FUNERAL]

So highly reputed the people of Rome that ready wit and apt
disposition in a bird, as they thought it a sufficient cause to ordain
a sumptuous burial therefore.



_A STRANGE TIGER_

Bingley's _Animal Biography_.


In the year 1790, a baby tiger only six weeks old, whose skin was most
beautifully marked in black and yellow, and whose figure was as
perfectly modelled as the figure of any tiger could be, was put on
board a large East India Company's ship called the 'Pitt,' to be
brought to London as a present to George III. Of course, in those
days, no one ever thought of coming through the Red Sea, but all
vessels sailed all the way round by the Atlantic, so the voyage
naturally took many months, especially if the winds were unfavourable.
Under these circumstances it was as well to choose your
fellow-passengers carefully, as you had to live such a long time with
them.

  [Illustration: THE TIGER AND HIS FRIEND]

Unlike most of its tribe, the little tiger soon made itself at home on
board ship, and as it was too small to do much harm, it was allowed to
run about loose and played with anybody who had time for a game. It
generally liked to sleep with the sailors in their hammocks, and they
would often pretend to use it for a pillow, as it lay at full length
on the deck. Partly out of fun, and partly because it was its nature
so to do, the tiger would every now and then steal a piece of meat, if
it found one handy. One day it was caught red-handed by the carpenter,
who took the beef right out of its mouth, and gave it a good beating,
but instead of the man getting bitten for his pains, as he might have
expected, the tiger took his punishment quite meekly, and bore the
carpenter no grudge after. One of its favourite tricks was to run out
to the very end of the bowsprit, and stand there looking over the sea,
and there was no place in the whole ship to which it would not climb
when the fancy took it. But on the whole, the little tiger preferred
to have company in its gambols, and was especially fond of dogs, of
which there were several on board. They would chase each other and
roll over together just like two puppies, and during the ten months or
so that the voyage from China lasted, they had time enough to become
fast friends. When the vessel reached London, the tiger was at once
taken to the Tower, which was the Zoological Gardens of those days.
The little fellow did not mind, for he was always ready to take what
came and make the best of it, and all the keepers grew as fond of him
as the sailors had been.

No more is known about him for eleven months, when he was quite grown
up, and then one day, just after he had had his dinner, a black
rough-haired terrier pup was put into his cage. Most tigers would have
eaten it at once, but not this one, who still remembered his early
friends on board ship. He used to watch for the pup every day, and
lick it all over, taking care never to hurt it with his rough tongue.
In general, the terrier had its food outside the cage, but sometimes
it was forgotten, and then it would try to snatch a bit of the tiger's
meat; but this the tiger thought impertinent, and made the dog
understand that it was the one thing he would not stand.

After several months of close companionship, the terrier was for some
reason taken away, and one day, when the tiger awakened from his
after-dinner nap, he found the terrier gone, and a tiny Dutch mastiff
in its place. He was surprised, but as usual made no fuss, and
proceeded to give it a good lick, much to the alarm of the little
mastiff. However, its fright soon wore off, and in a day or two it
might be seen barking round him and even biting his feet, which the
tiger never objected to, perhaps because he could hardly have felt it.

Two years after the tiger had been settled in the Tower, the very same
carpenter who had beaten him for stealing the beef came back to
England and at once paid a visit to his old friend. The tiger was
enchanted to see him, and rushing to the grating, began rubbing
himself against it with delight. The carpenter begged to be let into
the cage, and though the keepers did not like it, he declared there
was no danger, and at last they opened the door. In a moment the tiger
was by his side, nearly knocking him down with joy and affection,
licking his hands and rubbing his head on his shoulders, and when,
after two or three hours, the carpenter got up to go, the tiger would
hardly let him leave the den, for he wanted to keep him there for
ever.

But all tigers cannot be judged by this tiger.



_HALCYONS AND THEIR BIOGRAPHERS_


Some of the old writers, such as Pliny, Plutarch, Ovid, and Aristotle,
tell a pretty story about a bird called the halcyon, which flew
sporting over the seas, and in midwinter, when the days were shortest,
sat on its nest and brooded over its eggs. And Neptune, who loved
these small, gay-plumaged creatures, took pity on them, and kept the
waves still during the time of their sitting, so that by-and-bye the
days in a man's life that were free from storm and tempest became
known as his 'halcyon days,' by which name you will still hear them
called.

Now after a careful comparison of the descriptions of the ancient
writers, modern naturalists have come to the conclusion that the
'halcyon' of Pliny and the rest was no other than our beautiful
kingfisher, which flashes its lovely green and blue along the rivers
and cascades both of the Old World and the New. It is now known that
the kingfisher is one of the burrowing birds, and that it scoops out
in the sand or soft earth of the river banks a passage which is often
as much as four feet long and grows wider as it recedes from the
water. It feeds upon fish, and fish bones may be found in large
numbers on the floor of the kingfisher's house, which, either from
laziness or a dislike to change, he inhabits for years together. His
eyes are wonderfully quick, and he can detect a fish even in turbulent
waters from the bough of a tree. Then he makes a rapid dart, and
rarely misses his prey. No bird has been the subject of so many
superstitions and false stories as the kingfisher, which attracted
much attention from its great beauty. Ovid changes the king of
Magnesia and his wife Alcyone into kingfishers, Pliny talks of the
bird's sweet voice (whereas its note is particularly harsh and ugly),
and Plutarch mistakes the sea-urchin's shell for that of the halcyon.
Even the Tartars have a story to tell of this bird, and assure us that
a feather plucked from a kingfisher and then cast into the water will
gain the love of every woman it afterwards touches, while the Ostiacs
held that the possession of the skin, bill, and claws of the
kingfisher will ensure the owner a life made up of 'halcyon days.'



_THE STORY OF A FROG_


PART I

Everyone knows what excitement the approach of the shooting season
causes to a certain class of people in Paris. One is perpetually
meeting some of them on their way back from the canal where they have
been 'getting their hands in' by popping at larks and sparrows,
dragging a dog after them, and stopping each acquaintance to ask: 'Do
you like quails and partridges?' 'Certainly.' 'Ah, well, I'll send you
some about the second or third of next month.' 'Many thanks.' 'By the
way I hit five sparrows out of eight shots just now. Not bad, was it?'
'First rate indeed!'

Well, towards the end of August, 1830, one of these sportsmen called
at No. 109, in the Faubourg St.-Denis, and on being told that Décamps
was at home, climbed to the fifth floor, dragging his dog up step by
step, and knocking his gun against every corner till he reached the
studio of that eminent painter. However, he only found his brother
Alexandre, one of those brilliant and original persons whose inherent
laziness alone prevented his bringing his great natural gifts to
perfection.

He was universally voted a very good fellow, for his easy good nature
made him ready to do or give whatever anyone asked. It was not
surprising, therefore, that the new comer soon managed to persuade
Alexandre that nothing could be more delightful than to attend the
opening of the shooting season on the plains of St.-Denis, where,
according to general report, there were swarms of quails, clouds of
partridges, and troops of hares.

As a result of this visit, Alexandre Décamps ordered a shooting coat
from his tailor, a gun from the first gun-maker's in Paris, and a pair
of gaiters from an equally celebrated firm; all of which cost him 660
francs, not to mention the price of his licence.

On August 31 Alexandre discovered that one important item was still
wanting to his outfit--a dog. He went at once to a man who had
supplied various models to his brother Eugène's well-known picture of
'performing dogs,' and asked if he happened to have any sporting dogs.

The man declared he had the very thing, and going to the kennel
promptly whipped off the three-cornered hat and little coat worn by a
black and white mongrel whom he hastened to present to his customer as
a dog of the purest breed. Alexandre hinted that it was not usual for
a pointer to have such sharp-pointed ears, but the dealer replied that
'Love' was an English dog, and that it was considered the very best
form for English dogs to have pointed ears. As this statement _might_
be true, Alexandre made no further objections, but paid for the dog
and took Love home with him.

At five o'clock next morning Alexandre was roused up by his sporting
friend, who, scolding him well for not being ready earlier, hurried
him off as fast as possible, declaring the whole plain would be shot
before they could get there.

It was certainly a curious sight; not a swallow, not even the meanest
little sparrow, could rise without a volley of shots after it, and
everyone was anxiously on the look-out for any and every sort of bird
that could possibly be called game.

Alexandre's friend was soon bitten by the general fever and threw
himself energetically amidst the excited crowd, whilst Alexandre
strolled along more calmly, dutifully followed by Love. Now everyone
knows that the first duty of any sporting dog is to scour the field
and _not_ to count the nails in his master's boots. This thought
naturally occurred to Alexandre, and he accordingly made a sign to
Love and said: 'Seek!'

  [Illustration: LOVE'S DISGRACEFUL BEHAVIOUR OUT SHOOTING]

Love promptly stood up on his hind legs and began to dance.

'Dear me,' said Alexandre, as he lowered his gun and contemplated his
dog: 'It appears that Love unites the lighter accomplishments to his
more serious education. I seem to have made rather a good bargain.'
However, having bought Love to point and not to dance, he waited till
the dance was over and repeated in firm tones: 'Seek!'

Love stretched himself out at full length and appeared to be dead.

Alexandre put his glass into his eye and inspected Love. The
intelligent creature was perfectly immovable; not a hair on his body
stirred, he might have been dead for twenty-four hours.

'This is all very pretty,' said Alexandre, 'but, my friend, this is
not the time for these jokes. We are here to shoot--let us shoot.
Come! get up.'

Love did not stir an inch.

'Wait a bit,' remarked Alexandre, as he picked up a stick from the
ground and took a step towards Love, intending to stir him up with it:
'Wait a bit.' But no sooner did Love see the stick in his master's
hand than he sprang to his feet and eagerly watched his movements.
Alexandre thinking the dog was at last going to obey, held the stick
towards him, and for the third time ordered him to 'seek.'

Love took a run and sprang gracefully over the stick.

Love could do three things to perfection--dance on his hind legs, sham
dead, and jump for the king!

Alexandre, however, who did not appreciate the third accomplishment
any more than he had done the two others, broke the stick over Love's
back, which sent him off howling to his master's friend.

As fate would have it the friend fired at that very moment, and an
unfortunate lark fell right into Love's jaws. Love thankfully accepted
this windfall, and made but one mouthful of the lark. The infuriated
sportsman threw himself on the dog, and seizing him by the throat to
force open his jaws, thrust in his hand and drew out--three tail
feathers: the bird itself was not to be thought of.

Bestowing a vicious kick on the unhappy Love, he turned on Alexandre,
exclaiming: 'Never again do you catch me shooting with you. Your brute
of a dog has just devoured a superb quail. Ah! come here if you dare,
you rascal!'

Poor Love had not the least wish to go near him. He ran as fast as he
could to his master, a sure proof that he preferred blows to kicks.

However, the lark seemed to have whetted Love's appetite: and
perceiving creatures of apparently the same kind rise now and then
from the ground, he took to scampering about in hopes of some second
piece of good luck.

Alexandre had some difficulty in keeping up with him, for Love hunted
his game after a fashion of his own, that is to say with his head up
and his tail down. This would seem to prove that his sight was better
than his scent, but it was particularly objectionable to his master,
for he put up the birds before they were within reach, and then ran
barking after them. This went on nearly all day.

Towards five o'clock Alexandre had walked about fifteen miles and Love
at least fifty; the former was exhausted with calling and the latter
with barking, when, all of a sudden Love began to point, so firmly and
steadily that he seemed changed to stone.

At this surprising sight Alexandre, forgetful of all his fatigues and
disappointments, hurried up, trembling lest Love should break off
before he could get within reach. No fear; Love might have been glued
to the spot. Alexandre came up to him, noted the direction of his eyes
and saw that they were fixed on a tuft of grass, and that under this
grass there appeared to be some greyish object. Thinking it must be a
young bird which had strayed from its covey, he laid down his gun,
took his cap in his hand, and cautiously creeping near, like a child
about to catch a butterfly, he flung the cap over the unknown object,
put in his hand and drew out--a frog!

Anyone else would have flung the frog away, but Alexandre
philosophically reflected that there must certainly be some great
future in store for this, the sole result of his day's sport; so he
accordingly put the frog carefully into his game bag and brought it
home, where he transferred it to an empty glass jam jar and poured the
contents of his water-bottle on its head.

  [Illustration: THE SOLE RESULT OF HIS DAY'S SPORT]

So much care and trouble for a frog may appear excessive; but
Alexandre knew what this particular frog had cost him, and he treated
it accordingly.

It had cost him 660 francs, without counting his licence.


PART II

'Ah, ah!' cried Dr. Thierry as he entered the studio next day, 'so
you've got a new inmate.' And without paying any attention to Tom's
friendly growls or to Jacko's engaging grimaces, he walked straight up
to the jar which contained Mademoiselle Camargo--as she had already
been named.[10]

    [10] A fashionable dancer in Paris.

Mademoiselle Camargo, unaware that Thierry was not only a learned
doctor, but also a most intellectual and delightful person, fell to
swimming round and round her jar as fast as she could go, which
however did not prevent her being seized by one of her hind legs.

  [Illustration: MADEMOISELLE CAMARGO BECOMES A BAROMETER]

'Dear me,' said Thierry, as he turned the little creature about, 'a
specimen of the _Rana temporaria_. See, there are the two black spots
near the eyes which give it the name. Now if you only had a few dozens
of this species, I should advise you to have a fricassée made of their
hind legs, to send for a couple of bottles of good claret, and to ask
me to dinner. But as you only happen to have one, we will, with your
leave, content ourselves with making a barometer.

'Now,' said Thierry, opening a drawer, 'let us attend to the
prisoner's furniture.' Saying which he took out two cartridges, a
gimlet, a penknife, two paint-brushes, and four matches. Décamps
watched him without in the least understanding the object of all these
preparations, which the doctor was making with as much care as though
for some surgical operation.

First he emptied the powder out of the cartridges into a tray and kept
the bullets. Then he threw the brushes and ties to Jacko and kept the
handles.

'What the deuce are you about?' cried Décamps, snatching his two best
paint-brushes from Jacko. 'Why you're ruining my establishment!'

'I'm making a ladder,' gravely replied Thierry.

And true enough, having bored holes in the bullets, he fixed the brush
handles into them so as to form the sides of the ladder, using the
matches to make the rungs. Five minutes later the ladder was completed
and placed in the jar, where the weight of the bullets kept it firmly
down.

No sooner did Mademoiselle Camargo find herself the owner of this
article of furniture than she prepared to test it by climbing up to
the top rung.

'We shall have rain,' said Thierry.

'You don't say so,' replied Décamps, 'and there's my brother who
wanted to go out shooting again to-day.'

'Mademoiselle Camargo does not advise his doing so,' remarked the
doctor.

'How so?'

'My dear friend, I have been providing you with an inexpensive but
reliable barometer. Each time you see Mademoiselle Camargo climb to
the top of her ladder it's a sure sign of rain; when she remains at
the bottom you may count on fine weather, and if she goes up
half-way, don't venture out without your umbrella; changeable,
changeable.'

'Dear me, dear me,' said Décamps.

During the next six months Mademoiselle Camargo continued to foretell
the weather with perfect and unerring regularity. But for painful
reasons into which we need not inquire too closely, Mademoiselle's
useful career soon closed, and she left a blank in the ménagerie.



_THE WOODPECKER TAPPING ON THE HOLLOW OAK TREE_


Most children who were taught music forty or fifty years ago, learnt
as one of their first tunes an air called 'The Woodpecker Tapping on
the Hollow Oak Tree.' Oak trees are not the only ones that
woodpeckers, and especially American woodpeckers, 'tap' on. There is
hardly any old tree which they disdain to work upon, sometimes for
food, sometimes for nesting purposes, sometimes it would seem merely
for the sake of employment and of keeping their bills in order.

For the woodpecker's bill is a very powerful instrument, and can get
through a great deal of work. In the case of the 'ivory-billed
woodpecker,' it is not only white, and hard, and strong, but it has a
ribbed surface, which tends to prevent its breaking, and even if he
does not form one of this class, the woodpecker is as clever in his
own line as any carpenter, and more industrious than many. The moment
that he notices symptoms of decay in any tree, he flies off to make a
careful examination of it, and when he has decided on the best mode of
attack, he loses no time, and has even been known to strip all the
bark off a dead pine tree of thirty feet long in less than twenty
minutes. And this not in little bits, but in sheets five or six feet
long, and as whole as the fleece of a sheep when it is sheared.

Of course different varieties of woodpeckers have little differences
in their habits, in the same way that habits differ in different
families; but certain customs and ways of digging are common to them
all. Every woodpecker, for instance, when placed in a wooden cage,
will instantly set to work to dig himself out of it, and to keep him
safe, he needs to be surrounded by wire, against which his bill is
utterly useless. In general the male and female work by turns at the
hole, which is always begun by the male, and is as perfectly round as
if it had been measured and drawn from one point to another. For a
while the boring is quite straight, and then it takes a sloping
direction, so as to provide a partial shelter against the rain.
Sometimes the bird will begin by a slope, and end in a direct line,
but the hole is never straight all through, and the depth varies from
two to five feet, according to the kind of woodpecker that is digging.
The inside of the nest and the passage to it are as smooth as if they
had been polished with a plane, and the chips of wood are often thrown
down in a careless manner, at some distance, in order that attention
may not be attracted to the spot. Often the bird's labours have to
begin, especially in orchards, which are favourite nesting places with
them, with having to turn out swarms of insects, nestling comfortably
between the bark and the tree. These he either kills or eats; anyhow
he never rests until they are safely got rid of.

The woodpecker is never still, and, in many respects, is like a
mischievous boy; so, as can be imagined, he is not very easy to make a
pet of. One adventurous person, however, captured a woodpecker in
America, and has left us a history of its performances during the
three days it lived in captivity. The poor bird was very miserable in
its prison, and cried so like a child that many persons were
completely taken in. Left alone for a short time in the room while his
captor had gone to look after his horse, he examined the room
carefully to see where lay his best chance of escape. His quick eye
soon detected the plaster between the window and the ceiling, and he
began at once to attack the weak place. He worked so hard that when
his master returned he had laid bare the laths, and had bored a hole
bigger than his own head, while the bed was strewn with big fragments
of plaster. A very little while longer and he would have been free,
and what a pity that he was disturbed in his work! But his master was
most anxious to keep him a little longer, to observe his ways, so he
tied him to the leg of the table, and went off to get him some food.
By the time the man came back the mahogany table was lying in bits
about the floor, and the woodpecker was looking eagerly round to see
what other mischief he could do. He would not eat food of any kind,
and died in three days, to the great regret of his captor.



_DOGS OVER THE WATER_


No animal, not even the horse, has made itself so many friends as the
dog. A whole library might be filled with stories about what dogs have
done, and men could learn a great deal from the sufferings dogs have
gone through for masters that they love.

Whatever differences there may be between foreigners and Englishmen,
there is at any rate none in the behaviour of British and foreign
dogs. 'Love me, love my dog,' the proverb runs, but in general it
would be much more to the point to say 'love my dog, love me.' We do
not know anything of the Austrian officer of whose death I am going to
tell you, but after hearing what his dog did, we should all have been
pleased to make the master's acquaintance.

In the early years of this century, when nearly every country in
Europe was turned into a battlefield by Napoleon, there was a
tremendous fight between the French and the Austrians at Castiglione
in Lombardy, which was then under the Austrian yoke. The battle was
hard fought and lasted several hours, but at length the Austrian ranks
were broken and they had to retreat, after frightful losses on both
sides. After the field had been won, Napoleon, as his custom was,
walked round among the dead and dying, to see for himself how the day
had gone. Not often had he performed this duty amidst a greater scene
of blood and horror, and as he came to a spot where the dead were
lying thickest, he saw to his surprise a small long-eared spaniel
standing with his feet on the breast of an Austrian officer, and his
eyes fixed on his face, waiting to detect the slightest movement.
Absorbed in his watch, the dog never heard the approach of the Emperor
and his staff, but Napoleon called to one of his attendants and
pointed out the spaniel. At the sound of his voice the spaniel turned
round, and looked at the Emperor, as if he knew that to him only he
must appeal for help. And the prayer was not in vain, for Napoleon was
very seldom needlessly cruel. The officer was dead and beyond any aid
from him, but the Emperor did what he could, and gave orders that the
dog should be looked after by one of his own men, and the wounded
Austrians carefully tended. _He_ knew what it was to be loved as
blindly by men as that officer was loved by his dog.

Nearly two years before this time, France was trembling in the power
of a set of bloody ruffians, and in Paris especially no man felt his
head to be safe from one hour to the other. Hundreds of harmless
people were clapped into prison on the most paltry charges, and if
they were not torn to pieces by infuriated crowds, they ended their
lives on the guillotine.

  [Illustration: {THE FAITHFUL SPANIEL}]

Among the last of the victims before the fall of Robespierre, which
finished the Reign of Terror, was a magistrate in one of the
departments in the North of France whom everyone looked up to and
respected. It may be thought that it would not have been easy to find
a pretext for throwing into prison a man of such an open and
honourable life, but when other things failed, a vague accusation of
conspiracy against the Government was always possible, and accordingly
the magistrate was arrested in his own house. No one was there to help
him or to share his confinement. He had long sent away his children to
places of safety; some of his relations were in gaol like himself, and
his friends dared not come forward. They could have done him no good,
and would only have shared his fate. In those dark days every man had
to suffer alone, and nobly they did it. Only one friend the magistrate
had who ventured openly to show his affection, and even _he_ might
go no farther than the prison doors, namely, his spaniel, who for
twelve years had scarcely left his side; but though dogs were not yet
proscribed, the spaniel's whinings availed nothing, and the gates were
shut against him. At first he refused to believe that his master would
never come back, and returned again and again with the hopes of
meeting the magistrate on his way home. At last the dog's spirits gave
way, and he went to the house of a friend of the family who knew him
well, and received him kindly. Even here, however, he had to be
carefully hidden lest his protector should be charged with sheltering
the dog of an accused person, and have to pay the penalty on the
guillotine. The animal seemed to know what was expected of him, and
never barked or growled as dogs love to do; and indeed he was too sad
to take any interest in what was going on around him. The only bright
spot in his day was towards evening when he was secretly let out, and
he made straight for the gate of the prison. The gate was never
opened, but he always hoped that _this_ time it would be, and sat on
and on till he felt that his chance was gone for that day. All the
prison officials knew him by sight, and were sorry for him, and one
day the gaoler's heart was softened, and he opened the doors, and led
him to his master's cell. It would be difficult to say which of the
two was the happier, and when the time came for the prisoners to be
locked up for the night, the man could scarcely tear away the dog, so
closely did he cling to his master. However, there was no help for it,
he had to be put outside, lest it should occur to some one in
authority to make a visit of inspection to the prison. Next evening
the dog returned at the same hour and was again admitted, and when his
time was up, he went home with a light heart, sure that by sunset next
day he would be with his beloved master.

This went on for several weeks, and the dog, at any rate, would have
been quite satisfied if it had gone on for ever. But one morning the
magistrate was told that he was to be brought before his judges to
make answer to his charge and receive his sentence. In the midst of a
vast crowd, which dared not show sympathy even if it felt it, the
magistrate pleaded for the last time, without a friend to give him
courage except his dog, which had somehow forced himself through
guards and crowd, and lay crouched between his legs, happy at this
unexpected chance of seeing his master.

Sentence of death was pronounced, as was inevitable, and the hour of
execution was not long delayed. In the wonderful way that animals
always _do_ know when something out of the common is passing, the
spaniel was sitting outside the door when his master walked out for
the last time, although it was long before the hour of his daily
visit. Alone, of all the friends that he had known and loved, his dog
went with him, and stood beside him on the steps of the guillotine,
and sat at his feet when his head fell. Vaguely the spaniel was aware
that something terrible had happened; his master, who had never failed
him before, would not speak to him now. It was in vain to lick his
hand: he got no pat in answer. But if his master was asleep, and his
bed was underground, then he too must sleep by his side till the
morning came and the world awoke again.

So two nights passed, and three. Then his friend, who had sheltered
him during these long weeks, came to look for him, and, after much
coaxing and caressing, persuaded him to return to his old
hiding-place. With great difficulty he was induced to swallow some
food, but the moment his protector's back was turned, he rushed out
and fought his way to his master's grave.

This lasted for three months, and every day the dog looked sadder and
thinner than the day before. At length his friend thought he would try
a new plan with him, and tied him firmly up. But in the morning he
found that the dog had, like Samson, broken through his bonds, and was
lying on the grave, which he never left again. Food was brought to
him--he never came to seek it himself, and in time he refused even
what was lying there before him. One day his friends found him trying
to scratch up the earth where his master lay; and all at once his
strength gave way, and with one howl he died, showing the two men who
stood around of love that was stronger than death, and fidelity that
lasted beyond the grave.[11]

    [11] From _Observations in Natural History_.

One more story of a little dog--this time an English one--and I have
done.

It was on February 8, 1587, that Mary Queen of Scots ended her
eighteen years of weary captivity upon a scaffold at Fotheringay.
Carefully dressed in a robe of black velvet, with a long mantle of
satin floating above it, and her head covered with a white crape veil,
Mary ascended the platform, where the executioner was awaiting her.
Some English nobles, sent by Queen Elizabeth to see that her orders
were carried out, were standing by, and some of Queen Mary's faithful
women. But besides these was one whose love for her was hardly
less--the Queen's little dog, who had been her constant companion in
the prison. 'He was sitting there the whole time,' says an
eye-witness, 'keeping very quiet, and never stirring from her side;
but as soon as the head was stricken off and placed upon the seat, he
began to bestir himself and cry out; afterwards he took up a position
between the body and the head, which he kept until some one came and
removed him, and this had to be done by violence.' We are not told who
took him away and tenderly washed off the blood of Mary which was
staining his coat, but we may be sure that it was one of the Queen's
ladies who cherished everything that belonged to her, and in memory of
her mistress would care for her little dog to the end of its days.



_THE CAPOCIER AND HIS MATE_


When Vaillant the traveller was in Africa, he made the acquaintance of
a bird to which he gave the name of capocier. It was a small creature,
which was in the habit of coming with its mate several times a day
into Vaillant's tent; a proceeding which he thought arose from pure
friendship, but which he soon found sprang from interested motives.
Vaillant was making a collection of birds, and his table was strewn
about with moss, wool, and such things as he used for stuffing. The
capocier, with more sense than might have been expected of him, found
out very soon that it was much easier to steal Vaillant's soft
material than to collect it laboriously for himself, and the
naturalist used to shut his eyes with amusement while the birds flew
off with a parcel of stuffing as big as themselves.

He followed them, and tracked them to a bush which grew by a spring in
the corner of a deserted garden. Here they had placed a thick layer of
moss, in a fork of one of the branches, and were now engaged in
weaving in grass, cotton, and flax. The whole of the second day the
little pair worked hard, the male making in all forty-six journeys to
Vaillant's room, for thieving purposes. The spoil was always laid
either on the nest itself, or within the reach of the female, and when
enough had been collected, they both trampled it in, and pressed it
down with their bodies.

At last the male got tired, and tried to prevail on his wife to play a
game. She declined, and said she had no time for such things; so, to
revenge himself, the male proceeded to pull to pieces her work. Seeing
that he would have his own way, the female at length consented to play
for a little, and fluttered from bush to bush, while her mate flew
after her, but she always managed to keep just out of his reach. When
he had had enough, he let her go back to her work, while he sang a
song for a little, and then made ready to help build the nest. He
found, or stole, the materials necessary, and carried them back to his
wife, who packed them firmly in and made all tidy. But her husband was
much more idle than she, and he soon tired of steady labour. He
complained of the heat, and laughed at her for being in such a hurry,
and said there was plenty of time before them, and he wanted a little
fun. So eight times during that one morning the poor wife had to leave
off her building, and hide her impatience, and pretend to play, when
she would much rather have been doing something else, and it was three
days before the bottom was finished and the sides begun.

Certainly the making of the bottom _was_ rather a troublesome
business; for the birds had to roll over every part of it, so as to
get it firm and hard. Then, when all was right, they made a border,
which they first trimmed round, and next overlaid with cotton,
pressing it all together with their breasts and shoulders. The twigs
of the bush in which the nest was built were interlaced into the sides
to prevent the whole structure being blown down, and particular care
was taken that none of them should stick out in the inside of the
nest, which was absolutely smooth and solid. After seven days it was
done, and very pretty it was. It was perfectly white in colour, and
about nine inches high on the outside where it had been made very
thick, and not more than five inches within. However that was quite
big enough for two such little people.



_OWLS AND MARMOTS_


It is curious, when we come to think of it, how very few of the
creatures that live upon the earth ever take the trouble to build any
kind of house to live in. For the most part, they are contented to
find out some cave or hole or convenient place where they can be
hidden, and from which they can steal forth to get their food, but as
for collecting materials from the outside to make their dwelling place
stronger or more beautiful, as do the beavers, for instance, why, we
might all look for many years before we should find a horse or a tiger
employing himself like that!

Yet we all know that all the birds that live (the cuckoo excepted)
manage to build some kind of a nest, and so do some fishes and many
insects. It would take too long to write about them all, but we will
just see how some of the cleverest among them go to work.

One of the first things that struck Europeans travelling sixty or
seventy years ago in the wild country beyond the great Mississippi,
was the fact that whole districts, sometimes several acres in extent
and sometimes several miles, were covered with little mounds of the
shape of a pyramid, about two feet wide at the bottom, and at the most
eighteen inches high. These are the houses of the marmots or prairie
dogs, and when deserted as they often are by their original
inhabitants, they become the homes of burrowing owls.

Now a neat, comfortable, well-built house is really quite necessary
for the marmot, as he goes fast to sleep when the weather begins to
get cold, and does not wake up till the sun is shining warmly again on
the earth above him. Then he sets to work, either to repair the walls
of his house which have been damaged by the heavy rains and hard
frosts, or if that seems useless labour, to dig a fresh one somewhere
else. But industrious as he is, the hard work does not make the marmot
at all a 'dull boy,' and he can still spare time for a good game now
and then.

Of course, as we are talking about birds, perhaps we ought not to be
describing marmots, which are naturally not birds at all; but as they
build for the burrowing owls to inhabit, a description of the houses
may not be out of place.

The entrance to the marmot's house is either at the top or on the side
of the little mound above ground. Then he hollows out a passage
straight down for one, or sometimes two feet, and this passage is
continued in a sloping direction for some distance further, when it
leads, like a story in the 'Arabian Nights,' into a large warm room,
built of soft dry grass, which has been packed into a tight, firm
mass. In general the outside of the little mounds is covered with
small plants and grasses, so that the marmot always has his food near
at hand, but occasionally they prefer to make their villages in barren
spots, as being safer from enemies. Still, wherever they are, the
sociable little colony of marmots are said to be haunted by at least
one burrowing owl, a bird about nine inches long, and from a distance
not very unlike the marmot itself, when it is sitting up, listening
for the approach of danger. If no burrow seems likely to be vacant at
the time he wants one, the owl does not scruple to turn out the owner,
who has to begin all his labour over again. Sometimes, when affairs
above ground are more than usually disturbed, and foes of all kinds
are prowling about, seeking whom they may devour, owls and marmots and
rattlesnakes, and lizards rush helter-skelter into the underground
city, taking refuge from the dangers of the upper world. It would be a
strange sight if we could see it, and it would be stranger still if
the fugitives manage to separate without some of the party having gone
to make the dinners of the rest.



_EAGLES' NESTS_


Eagles, as a rule, build their nests on the shelves of rocks, high out
of reach of any but the boldest climbers. There are, however, some
species among them who prefer the tops of trees, at a height varying
from fifteen to fifty feet. These nests are constructed of long
sticks, grass, and even reeds, and are often as much as five or six
feet high, and at least four broad. Soft pine tops form the lining,
and a bed for the young. Many eagles are clever divers, and like the
excitement of catching their own fish, instead of merely forcing the
fish-hawks to give up their prey, and an American naturalist gives an
interesting account of the sporting proceedings of two eagles on the
Green River in Kentucky. The naturalist had been lying hidden among
the rocks on the bank of the river for about two hours, when suddenly
far above his head where the eagle had built his nest, he heard a loud
hissing, and on looking up, saw that the little eaglets had crawled to
the edge of the nest, and were dancing with hope and excitement at the
idea of a good dinner. In a few moments the parent eagle reached the
rock and balancing himself on the edge by the help of his wings and
tail, handed over his spoil to the young ones. The little eagles
seemed in luck that day, for soon their mother appeared in sight
carrying in her claws a perch. But either the watcher below made some
movement, or else her eyes were far sharper than her mate's, for with
a loud cry she dropped her fish, and hovered over the nest to protect
it in case of an attack. When all was quiet again, the naturalist went
out cautiously to examine the perch, which he found to weigh as much
as 5½ lbs. You do not catch such big perch in England.


THE END.



Transcriber's Note

Some stories have a source provided, which appeared as footnotes in
the original book. The transcriber has instead presented them as
subtitles below the main chapter title.

Archaic and variant spelling is preserved as printed.

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

Hyphenation has been made consistent.

The following typographic errors have been repaired:

    Page 7--wrapt amended to rapt--"The waiters, remarking his
    rapt attention, ..."

    Page 77--be amended to he--"Then, having made a huge fire in
    front of the entrance, which, moreover, he barricaded ..."

    Page 144--by-and-by amended to by-and-bye, for
    consistency--"And by-and-bye he came back, dragging Pritchard
    by his stake."

    Page 250--Then amended to The--"The Ababde chief's advice
    was--and always had been--to send out ..."

    Page 255--Northumbriam amended to Northumbrian--"A
    Northumbrian pointer showed a still more wonderful instance
    ..."

    Page 287--idemnity amended to indemnity--"... and was quite
    satisfied with five francs as an indemnity."

    Page 290--quiet amended to quite--"His parents never quite
    knew what occurred, ..."

    Page 301--coupe amended to coup--"... before the latter gives
    him the _coup de grâce_."

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in
the middle of a paragraph.





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