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Title: "Boy" the Wandering Dog - Adventures of a Fox-Terrier
Author: Saunders, Marshall
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WANDERING DOG

MARSHALL SAUNDERS

[Illustration: I AM AN OPEN-FACED, WIRE-HAIRED FOX-TERRIER]



“BOY” THE WANDERING DOG


  ADVENTURES OF A FOX-TERRIER

  BY MARSHALL SAUNDERS

  AUTHOR OF Beautiful Joe, Etc.

  [Illustration]

  NEW YORK
  GROSSET & DUNLAP
  PUBLISHERS

       *       *       *       *       *

  COPYRIGHT, 1916,
  BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

       *       *       *       *       *

_This story is dedicated to my fellow-members of_

THE AMERICAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION,

_which has its headquarters in Albany, New York--an association with
which I have been connected for many years, and which is carrying on a
noble work for children and animals_.



CONTENTS


          BOOK ONE: MY LIFE IN THE CITY

  CHAPTER                                   PAGE

       I I SEEK AND FIND A FRIEND             13

      II I LOSE MY FRIEND                     23

     III I FIND A SECOND FRIEND               37

      IV MY NEW MASTER                        47

       V AN OLD FRIEND, AND AN ADVENTURE      57

      VI BEANIE LOSES HIS HOME                63

     VII THE WOMAN BY THE RIVER               76

    VIII STANNA AND NAPOLEON                  80

      IX I MEET GRINGO AGAIN                  90

       X MASTER GETS TWO SHOCKS               97

      XI NAPOLEON AND THE WASP               107

     XII THE GREAT SECRET                    127

    XIII THE LADY GAY CAT                    147

     XIV HIS MOTHER’S BOY                    157

      XV POOR AMARILLA                       168

     XVI TO LOVE OR NOT TO LOVE THE COUNTRY  184

          BOOK TWO: MY LIFE IN THE COUNTRY

    XVII THE ARRIVAL OF THE TWINS            191

   XVIII THE SHOWMAN’S DOGS                  202

     XIX GOOD KING HARRY                     214

      XX THE REFORMED SHOWMAN                221

     XXI MASTER CARTY’S BOTTLE               235

    XXII MRS. WAVERLEE’S SCHOOL              254

   XXIII MASTER’S BROTHER-BOYS               262

    XXIV SIR EDWARD MEDLINGTON               275

     XXV THE BOY MONTMORENCY                 294

    XXVI THE MOST PAINFUL EVENT OF MY LIFE   308

   XXVII WEARY DAYS AND A RESCUE             318

  XXVIII THE HAPPIEST TIME OF MY LIFE        339

    XXIX MY OWN DEAR HOME                    348



ILLUSTRATIONS


  I AM AN OPEN-FACED, WIRE-HAIRED FOX-TERRIER        _Frontispiece_

                                                        FACING PAGE

  “YOU MUST HAVE A DRINK FIRST,” SAID GRINGO HOSPITABLY          24

  BEANIE WAS QUITE HANDSOME NOW                                 100

  THE LADY GAY CAT                                              148

  IN THE HOUSE NEXT TO ME WAS A FINE LITTLE TOY SPANIEL CALLED
    AMARILLA                                                    178

  KING HARRY, THE BEST SPECIMEN OF A BLOODHOUND I EVER SAW      216

  “I HEARD SIX YELPS FROM THAT IMP YEGGIE”                      268

  REDDY O’MARE CAME TROTTING ROUND THE CORNER OF THE BARN       310

       *       *       *       *       *

BOOK ONE: MY LIFE IN THE CITY

       *       *       *       *       *

  I claim that we dogs are better friends to men than men are to
  themselves.... You, doubting man, say “No.”

  Well then, give me offhand and quickly, the name of a single friend
  of yours who never criticises you, who lives for you only, labors
  for you, fights for you, would die for you, and all as a matter of
  course, and without thought of reward.... I note you are silent....
  Well, I can name you a million dogs who, if they loved you, would
  live, labor, fight and die for you cheerfully and bravely, and
  without knowing or caring whether they were doing anything unusual or
  singular, or at all out of the ordinary.

    BOY, The Wandering Dog.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE WANDERING DOG

BOOK ONE: MY LIFE IN THE CITY

CHAPTER I

I SEEK AND FIND A FRIEND


A few months ago, I came in the course of my wanderings, to the city
of New York. My! My! how the big city has grown since I was here a few
years ago.

I entered it by way of a ferry-boat from Jersey City. Then I scampered
up past City Hall, the Hotel de Gink, and the Tombs to the Bowery.

Of course, the first thing was to make a friend. I chose a
solemn-looking bulldog, sitting round the corner from a saloon whose
huge, bulging window looked like a big eye staring down the street. The
dog, who was brindle in colour, and had a tremendous head, sat tight up
against the wall, and was keeping a wary eye out for something, I know
not what.

“Good afternoon,” I said politely, and not going too close to him.

“How d’ye do,” he said morosely. Then he looked up at the elevated.

That’s the worst of a big city. No dog that’s worth knowing cares a rap
about you, unless you force yourself on his attention.

“Oh! Come off the L,” I said brusquely.

You see, I recognised at once, that he was a bluff, matter-of-fact dog
who would not appreciate frills.

He did come off, and gave me a glance.

“You’re no fairy,” he said hoarsely.

“No, and I’m no crazy cur, either,” I replied. “If I were, you New York
dogs would fall all over each other to entertain me. You’ve got to be
either a beauty, a crank or a millionaire, to get on in this city.”

“How did you like Virginia?” he asked, with a twist of his under-jaw.

I’m a pretty self-possessed dog, but I could not help starting a bit.
“How did you know I have been in Virginia?” I asked sharply.

He gave a snicker. “I know you’re from the South, for you’re shivering
on this mild day, and Virginia is the nearest state south that has the
exact shade of that lovely red mud sticking to your hind leg.”

“I’m not a Southern dog,” I said hastily.

“You needn’t go out of your way to get hot telling me that,” he
retorted. “You haven’t the slick repose of manner of the Southern dog.”

“Well, I’m glad I’ve struck a four-legged Sherlock Holmes,” I remarked
good-naturedly. “You’re just the fellow to tell me where to go to get a
square meal.”

“Why don’t you trot uptown for your first feed?” he asked with a
relaxing of his sour expression, for he liked being compared to the
famous detective.

I smiled. There was no need to say anything, yet I said it. “Uptown’s
fine, after you have an introduction. Downtown doesn’t ask so many
questions.”

“Ha! Ha!” he laughed gruffly. “I like you. Come right in--I’ll share
bones and tit-bits with you for a night. Follow me,” and he shuffled
round the corner toward the family entrance of the saloon. There he
pushed his flat skull against a door in the wall, and entered a yard
about as big as a pocket handkerchief.

“Not many yards in the Bowery now,” he said hoarsely. “Happened to be a
fire next door that burnt a building to the ground, and fencing in the
vacant lot, gives us a place to stretch our legs.”

“Good gracious!” I said. “The city is getting darker and darker.”

“Yes,” he replied gloomily, “what with burrowing for the subways, and
sky-rocketing for the elevateds, and tunnelling for the tubes, the city
is getting to be as black as----”

“Yes, yes,” I said hastily. “I know--it’s a habitation not mentioned in
polite dog circles.”

“What’s the matter with you?” he asked in his choked voice. “If you’re
too good for your company, get out.”

“I’m not,” I said hurriedly. “I like you. You’re a regular sport.”

“I used to be,” he said, settling down on the straw with a groan, “but
my joints--the rheumatiz has got me. I’m not like I used to be--Come on
now, reel off your life yarn. I’ve got an hour to spare. What’s your
name, and where were you born, and where are you going?”

“With your powers of observation, you ought to be able to answer all
those questions for yourself,” I said demurely.

He looked me all over, with his fine dark eyes. “You haven’t got a
name,” he said with a snort, “or rather you have many names. You’re a
travelling dog. You were born anywhere, and you don’t know where you’re
going.”

I burst into such a delighted yell of laughter that he told me to shut
up, or some one might hear us.

“What’s the matter with you?” I asked wonderingly. “And what’s the
matter with all the dogs here? I never saw such a cowed looking set.”

“We’re listening for the cops,” he said angrily. “We’ve got a new
health commissioner and he’s a----”

“Yes, yes,” I interjected hurriedly, “a dear fellow. He doesn’t
understand dogs probably.”

“Understand them--he’s a fool. He says it’s the citizens first, if
every dog has to go. He’s muzzled every one of us, even when led on a
leash. He wants to make little old New York a dogless city.”

“I suppose it’s the old rabies scare,” I said.

“Sure--that’s it. A poor dog loses his master. He runs wild and howls.
A crowd chases him, and he foams at the mouth. Then they kill him.
Rabies!--rats!”

“Come, come,” I said, “we’re dogs of course, but let us look at the
human point of view. There is such a disease.”

“Of course there is, but it’s as rare as a summer’s day in winter.
You’ve as much chance of being struck by lightning, as of being bit by
a mad dog.”

“Yet there are people killed by lightning,” I said.

He was grumbling on to himself. “The Lord made dogs--Man can’t improve
’em. He gave us our mouths free to chew grass and pick a little earth
for stomach troubles. You muzzle a dog, and he gets sick and makes his
master sick. The fool commissioner hurts the humans more than he helps
them.”

“But he’s trying to wipe out the disease,” I said. “There isn’t much
of it, and if the dogs are muzzled for a few years, it will be stamped
out.”

“Yes, and we’ll have a dozen other worse diseases by that time. A
muzzled dog is a menace to his master, I tell you. Let ’em supervise
our health in some way. Let the government do as much for us as they
do for pigs. Then we wouldn’t hear of rabies. The commissioner’s a
fool--New York’s rotten anyway.”

I didn’t dare to disagree with him, for he probably would have nabbed
me. “Well,” I said humbly, “I suppose we must let them come first.”

“Who come first?” he growled.

“Human beings--we’re second.”

“That’s all right,” he assented.

“Now for the sake of human beings,” I went on, “who are as closely
packed together as they are in New York, there shouldn’t be many
animals in with them.”

“Sure,” he said, “I’m with you there. High license to keep dogs down.
They’re not happy themselves if they’re cramped.”

“But high license is against the poor man,” I said. “He could not
afford to keep a dog for his children.”

“Let him go without,” said the bulldog.

“No, sir, not in these days of equality. How about having public
playgrounds in crowded districts, with bird and animal pets, and a
house with a caretaker to supervise the play of the children.”

“They have such playgrounds now,” he said.

“But, they haven’t any dogs, and cats and birds.”

“All right,” he said, “let ’em have ’em, if you can get the dough.”

“And furthermore,” I continued, “let the city give the superintendence
of animals and birds to a person who understands them.”

The old dog was pleased now. “That’s right,” he said, “I’m with you
there. Don’t boss a job you don’t understand.”

“From what you say,” I went on, “it sounds as if your commissioner was
very hygienic, but he has got the bull by the tail instead of by the
horns.”

The old dog roared with delight. This was something along his own line,
and seeing him so good-natured, I was emboldened to say: “You spoke in
quite a religious way just now, yet you keep a saloon.”

He turned on me quite fiercely. “Do you suppose there’s no
religion in a saloon? I tell you there’s more good-nature and
help-your-neighbourliness down here in the Bowery than there is up
on Fifth Avenue. What told you to come down here for a free feed,
hey?--You, a classy dog.”

“But is that religion?” I asked hesitatingly, for I didn’t want to
ruffle the old fellow and lose my dinner.

“It’s the new theology,” he said more agreeably. “We don’t go to
church, and sing hymns, and make roly-poly eyes, but we buck each other
up. Why my mister sells the best of the Little Hell Gate Distillery
stuff, yet if a fellow has too many drinks in him, he doesn’t get
another one from us.”

“Well,” I said easily, “I try to be an up-to-date dog, and the latest
theory is that drink takes strength away. First thing I noticed
arriving here was the procession of saloons. First thing I noticed in
the South was their absence. It had a kind of too-good-to-be-true look.”

“I see Russia gets on better without the sale of vodka,” said my new
friend agreeably. “I guess we’d do just as well on the water-wagon, but
you don’t want to be too quick in hopping on it. I often think that
some of these fellows who come in here so dry and grabbing for their
drinks, would be just as well off if they had a lot of good old hot
coffee, the kind mother used to make; but you’d have to go slow with
’em, about putting the coffee-pot in the place of the bottle.”

“I never can understand,” I said, “why men don’t like grape-juice, and
ginger ale, and beer, and all kinds of nice, cool, sloppy drinks better
than fiery stuff, but that’s been tried and they hate it.”

A cunning gleam came in the old dog’s eyes. “Temperance folk don’t
understand. They make their health places too clean and shiny, and a
man in overalls don’t want to get in the eye of the public to take his
drink and swap yarns with another pair of overalls. I’ll tell you what
my mister’s doing, if you won’t let on to the dogs round here. They’re
a tonguey bunch.”

“Certainly not,” I replied.

The old dog thrust his head out of his kennel, to see if any one was
listening, then he went on. “It’s this way. Mister goes up town or
down town to some saloon--say Jones’. Says he, ‘How much do you clean
up _per annum_, Jones?’ Jones says, ‘A thousand dollars.’ Mister asks,
‘How much will you sell for?’ Jones tells him. Mister either buys him
out, or goes in as a partner. Same old business goes on, same old
stand, same old boss. Coffee runs in, liquor runs out, and before
Jones’ pack know where they are, naughty drinks are out, and pious ones
are in--and mister makes more dough.”

“Good thought,” I exclaimed. “I suppose if he’d shut up the old place,
and put up a temperance sign at first, the men would have run like
deer.”

“Sure,” said the old dog, “drive folks, and they run from you; coax
’em, and they feed out of your hand.”

“Is your master going to make this saloon into a good one?” I asked
curiously.

“Mebbe, in time. This gives him his title of saloon-keeper.”

“Your master must be a queer man,” I said. “I’d like to see him.”

“You never saw his match,” chuckled the old dog. “He could make money
out of the cobble stones.”

“Is he rich?” I enquired.

“I should smile.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m glad to hear he’s a semi-philanthropist.”

“Say--just spell that word, will you?” said my friend with mock
politeness. I spelt it for him, then he said, “Were you ever a
preacher’s dog?”

“Yes,” I said, “and he was a fine fellow.”

“Were you ever a saloon-keeper’s dog?” he went on with a twinkle in his
dark eyes.

“Yes,” I said with a laugh, for I rejoiced to see how keen he was.

Before I left the South, I had to associate with coloured dogs for a
time, and while they were kindness itself, they were not quick-witted
like the white dogs.

“I guess you were an actor’s dog too, weren’t you?” continued old
Gringo, for I had seen his name over his kennel.

“Yes, sir, I was.”

“And a grocer’s dog, and a milkman’s dog, and a doctor’s dog, and
a postman’s dog, and a thousand ladies’ dog, and in short you’re a
very----”

“Yes, yes,” I said hastily, “I’ve boxed the compass, as far as owners
go.”

He burst into a hoarse laugh. “I guess the human race ain’t got any
string on you.”

“Well,” I said modestly, “I know considerable about men and women.”

“And children?” he said.

“No,” I returned. “It isn’t so easy to follow them. They’re so clever,
so very much more unexpectedly clever than the grown-ups.”

“It’s a doll-fashion now to kow-tow to young ones,” he said crossly. “I
don’t like ’em myself, except a few.”

I suppressed a yawn. I was powerfully hungry, and so far, not a word
had been said about dinner.

Suddenly my new friend trembled. “Down on your knees,” he whispered.
“Waller in the straw. Keep cool----” then he filled up the kennel door
with the stout, muscular breadth of his body.



CHAPTER II

I LOSE MY FRIEND


“Here, dog-catcher,” shrilled an impish young voice. “Here’s the kennel
where the strange dog ran in. I saw him. He hadn’t a collar on.”

I scarcely dared breathe. Some Bowery imp had seen me, and reported me
to the police.

“Gringo,” said an unusually resonant man’s voice, “come out. We’re
going to raid your kennel.”

Gringo told me afterward he gave his master a wink. Anyway, when the
deep voice sounded again, it was to a different tune.

“Officer,” it said carelessly, “do you think a strange dog would get by
that face?”

“No I don’t,” said a policeman’s voice. “Run home, young one, and when
you dream again, don’t call me.”

“What are you givin’ me?” asked the imp’s voice, and I knew by the
twang it was a girl imp. “Gringo’s foolin’ you. He’s the soft dog in
the heart spot. See me ram my fist down his throat.”

Gringo told me afterward it was as good as a play to see the cop’s face
when impie ran her thin young arm in between his rat-trap jaws. Of
course he had to bite her gently. There was nothing else to do.

The young one in a rage, smashed him in the face. “There’s one for
you, you old bluffer. You never bit me before. Keep your old dog--I
don’t care, but I’m on to him when he makes his exit.”

Gringo was shaking with laughter, when they all went away. “There’s a
long feather in your cap,” he said.

“A feather I could have done without,” I replied ruefully. “It means I
must skedaddle.”

“Not without your dinner,” he said kindly, and he started to shuffle
toward the back door of the red brick house. “Bark twice, if the angel
re-appears,” he said over his shoulder.

Thank fortune she did not, and soon Gringo returned, carrying his food
dish between his huge jaws. He set the dish in front of the kennel.

“I often feed here,” he said under his breath. “Take what I chuck you.
The angel has her eye at a crack in the fence.”

As he ate, he carelessly tossed into the kennel, toast scraps soaked in
nice chicken gravy, and some delicious steak bones with the tenderest
part of the meat clinging to them. What a good dinner I had! But I was
nearly choked with thirst.

I told him about my parched throat, when he finished his dinner, and
came into the kennel.

“You’ll have to wait,” he said, “till the angel folds her wings. She’s
the cleverest young one on the Bowery. Usually I like her, but to-night
I wish she was in----”

“Yes, yes,” I said, “in bed. Well, she’ll have to go soon.”

“Poor kid. She has no mother,” said the old dog, “and her aunt spoils
her.”

That young one stayed at the fence crack for exactly one hour. She was
determined to prove she was right. Before she went away, she called
viciously, “I’ve got to beat it, Gringo, so tell your friend to take a
starlight saunter to some other place in this burg. I’m goin’ to make
this place too hot to hold him to-morrow.”

He said nothing, and I observed irritably, “Usually girls like dogs.”

“She’s wild for them,” observed Gringo. “Don’t you catch on? She’s mad
because she didn’t get her own way, and because I went back on her.”

“But why did she report me, in the first place?” I asked.

“Because she was hanging round here, hoping to get a glimpse of you.
I gave her a black look when she came too near, and it crossed her
temper. She was bound to get even with me. I should have let her see
you. Then she’d have helped you. She treats dogs like Christians.”

“Pagans for me then,” I said. “I think I’ll be going.”

“You must have a drink first,” said Gringo hospitably. “Follow me.”

He led the way to the saloon--to the tub where they washed the glasses.
The water was rather fiery, but I didn’t care, for I was exceedingly
thirsty. He invited me to stay till later, but I said, “No.” I wanted
to get away, while there were still plenty of people in the streets.

[Illustration: “YOU MUST HAVE A DRINK FIRST,” SAID GRINGO HOSPITABLY]

“You’re leaner than I am, you can slip between folks,” he said. “I
never could hide my bulk. Still you’re white--that’s dead against you.
How do you get over that in your travels?”

“It’s a great handicap,” I replied, “except when I’m hiding against
something light. But it’s wonderful how one can overcome disadvantages.”

“You’re smart,” he said with a snort. “I guess you’d get on anyway.
Call again, some time.”

I thanked him warmly for his hospitality, scurried down the side
street, then round by another winding one to the Bowery! Oh! those
narrow streets! Rich people have the ugly things at the backs of their
houses. These poor people had the fire-escapes and clothes lines in
front. No room at the back. Poor wretches--they even hadn’t air enough.
I could smell the foulness of it. No wonder they get tuberculosis of
the brain.

I dashed back to the Bowery which was airy and comfortable compared
with these side streets. Then I mingled with the crowd on the sidewalk.

For weeks I had been living in a small town, and this seemed like old
times, for I am a city dog born and bred. I love the fields and the
forests for a time, but for week in and week out, give me the pavements
and lots of excitement.

  “In town let me live then,
   In town let me die.
   For in truth I can’t bear the country, not I.
   If one must have a villa in summer to dwell,
   Oh! give me the sweet, shady side of Pall Mall.”

An English greyhound taught me that, one summer when I was in London,
with a dearly loved mistress who afterward married a man who hated dogs.

Well, to come back to the Bowery. It was a fine night, and everybody
was out but the cripples. Oh, what a forest of little feet and big
feet, and pretty feet and ugly feet, and good feet and wicked feet. I
trotted among them, moralising just as hard as I could.

Feet have as much character as faces. Show me a pair of shoes with the
ankles in them, and I’ll tell you what kind of a headpiece crowns the
structure.

For a while, I ran beside a nice little pair of stout, black, walking
shoes. They had been patched, but the blacking on them shone over the
patch. There were neat, darned stockings in the shoes, above them the
trim circle of a serge skirt, then, on account of the crowd, I could
see no more. But I knew a tidy young girl walked in those shoes, and
her brother must have approved of her, for if a boy goes walking with
his sister at night, she must be a pretty nice girl. They were going to
a moving picture show, and were debating what they should buy for their
sick mother with the ten cents that would be left. Finally they decided
on grape fruit.

The boy had stocky feet encased in heavy boots that had not been bought
this side of the Atlantic. I listened to the rich brogue of the boots,
and found it was Irish. When the great yellow and red mouth of a moving
picture palace swallowed up shoes and owners, I sidled up to another
pair in the throng.

Oh! what a little witch this girl was--dirty, light-topped,
French-heeled shoes, wiggly, frayed skirt edge, silly walk--she kept
lopping over against her partner, a lad who was parading the damp
streets in thin-soled, shoddy shoes about as substantial as paper.
I couldn’t stand their idiotic talk. I left them, paddled up to
Forty-second Street, and ran across it to Broadway.

I noted that many more electric lights have been put up since I was
here last. The Great White Way has more than a thousand eyes now, and
the pavements were rather lighter than I liked them.

I lifted my paws daintily, feeling as if I were walking on mirrors.
However, the mirrors were mostly obscured--what crowds of hurrying,
restless human beings surging to and fro, meeting, clashing, avoiding,
closing, opening--just like waves of the sea.

I had no need to keep out of sight of the policemen here. They were
fully occupied with the human waves which sometimes leaped over and
by them, in spite of the warning hand that would keep them from being
dashed to pieces by the street traffic.

I paused to take breath round the corner of a street.

“Say, those policemen have a hard time,” I remarked to a black cat who
had come out to take the air, and was blotted against a dark spot in a
wall. She wasn’t a bit afraid of me.

“Everybody has a hard time in New York,” she said gloomily, “and if one
human goes under the wheels, the rest show their teeth at the cop.”

“That’s mean,” I observed.

“Everything’s mean here,” she said. “It’s a hideous place for cats.”

“I didn’t know there were any cats on Broadway,” I said.

“There aren’t many,” she replied. “I come from Sixth Avenue,” and she
gave a backward tilt to her head.

I sat and panted, and she went on bitterly, “You dogs don’t know what
life is for us cats. You are led out for exercise, and you get it, even
if your head is in a muzzle. They take you to the parks. If we crawl
out, we can’t get beyond the curbstone. Just think of life without the
touch of earth and grass to your paws. Everything paved and stony. I
wish I was dead.”

“Some cats go on the roofs,” I said. “I’ve seen them.”

“A roof is glary and there’s no earth there,” she said, “and no one
to play with. Cats shouldn’t be allowed in big cities. Look at my
face--all broke out with mange.”

“Do you get enough to eat?” I enquired.

“Too much,” she said gloomily. “I belong to an eating-house. I’m
supposed to catch mice, but I don’t. I just dream.”

“What do you dream about?” I asked.

Her face grew quite handsome. “I dream of a little cottage with a
garden and a kind old woman.”

“Are you a stolen cat?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said miserably. “I come from Mount Vernon way. These folks
here were automobiling a few weeks ago, and wanting a cat, stole me.”

“Why don’t you run home?” I asked.

“All that way--up toward Harlem and the Bronx--I’m scared.”

“Look here,” I said, “tell me your address. Maybe some day I can do
something for you.”

“The Lady Gay eating-house,” she said, “but there’s precious little
gaiety about it.”

“Cheer up,” I said, “I haven’t a home myself, and I’ve had lots of
trouble, and I’m going to have more, but I never give up.”

“Where do you live?” she asked curiously.

I began to laugh. “I wish I knew. I’m looking for a home.”

“You’re quite a nobby dog,” she said looking me over. “I suppose our
eating-house wouldn’t suit you.”

“Now mind,” I said warningly, “I’m not stuck-up. I love all kinds of
people, but for choice give me the rich. They’re so clean, and have so
many comforts.”

“I guess you’re right,” she said bitterly. “I wish I had your pluck.
I’d like to go home-seeking too.”

“Come along,” I said with a laugh. “I’ll take you.”

She shrank back against the wall, till she looked like a pancake, and
drew in her breath. “I’d never dare.”

“If you never dare, you never accomplish anything,” I said.

“But even if I dared,” she said persistently, “how could a cat get
through these crowded streets, away up to Mount Vernon?”

“Oh! I don’t know,” I said, “but in your case, I’d do something.
There’s always a way out of trouble.”

“Well now, just suppose you’re a cat, and in my place, what would you
do?”

“Do those people who stole you, ever motor back in that same direction?”

“Often--it makes me crazy to hear them talk about the lovely times they
have spinning along from village to village, and town to town.”

“Why don’t you sneak into the automobile some day when they’re going
out, and hide till they get somewhere near your old home. They’d be
sure to go in somewhere for a drink, then you could steal out, and make
a bolt for your old woman and the cottage.”

“There’s no place to hide in the car,” she said. “They’d discover me.”

“Well then, start out some night, and take the journey in relays. A
strong young cat could run miles in a night. By morning, you’d be away
from the crowded district.”

“But where would I get my breakfast?” she asked.

“Oh fudge!” I replied. “I see you’re one of those cautious cats that
want every step of the way checked out. You’ve got to rely a little on
your own initiative, to get on in this world.”

She showed some temper at this, and said snappishly, “I can’t change
myself. I’m made timid.”

“Then you’ve got to trust to luck or to a friend.”

“Will you help me?” she said pitifully.

She was a perfect goose of a cat, still I couldn’t help feeling sorry
for her. “I’ll give you some advice,” I said. “Stop eating meat, and
take more exercise. You’re too young a cat to have mange.”

“I do take exercise,” she said. “I come here every night, and watch the
folks.”

“Do you call that exercise?” I said disdainfully. “Why, that’s nothing.
You should run back and forth for hours. Come in here through this door
into this courtyard. I’ll show you how.”

My paws were beginning to get pretty sore by this time, for I had
run far that day. However, I notice I always have bad luck, if I
don’t stop to help some lame dog or cat over a stile. So I leaped and
gambolled round that dark courtyard, and made her do likewise, till her
lugubriousness had all faded away.

“I declare I feel like ten cats all rolled in one,” she said holding
her head up, and mewing gratefully.

“Now you just come here every night and do this,” I said, “and cut the
meat out of your bill-of-fare. Hope on, and if you can’t do anything
for yourself, and if I get a good billet, I’ll do something for you.”

“Oh! what will you do?” she mewed anxiously, as she followed me back to
Broadway.

“How can I tell, my friend,” I replied. “I’m a dog that acts on
impulse. Good-bye, and good luck to you.”

“So long,” she said sweetly. “You’ve brought me hope and cheer. Oh! do
come soon again.”

I laughed, and tossed my head as I left her. Who could tell when we
should meet again? “You spruce up, and do something for yourself,” I
called back. “You’re the best friend you’ve got. Remember that.”

I travelled up Broadway for a while, in a brown study. What a pity
that so many of us like the city. The country is certainly better for
us. Why didn’t I stay in lovely old Virginia?

Ah! why didn’t I? And I snickered to myself, as I dashed out into the
street for a run. We like crowds, and music, and excitement. We like
to be pushed, and hurried, and worried; and have funny things and
adventurous things, and dreadful things happen. There’s nothing in the
world that some human beings and some dogs hate as much as being bored,
and that’s what takes us to the cities, and keeps us there till we’re
exhausted, and go to the country to recuperate.

But wouldn’t it be possible to have the country made more attractive,
I wondered. I’ve heard human beings talk about good roads, and more
telephones, and theatres, and moving pictures and churches open all
the time, like some of these New York churches where you can go in and
rest. More city in the country and more country in the city--that would
suit everybody.

I opened my eyes wide when I got to Seventy-second Street. Why, I
thought I was down town. How the traffic has moved up!

Broadway got quieter, and cleaner, and broader, as I ran like a fox
along the wide pavement. Here was more danger of being seen by a
policeman. Two did see me, and one gave chase and threw his club; but I
laughed between my paws, and ran on. Let him catch me if he could.

Old Broadway looked fine. There are huge apartment houses where there
used to be nothing at all, or else contingents of fair-sized houses
squatting along the way, waiting for something to turn up. Now
these sky-scraping apartment houses have come in battalions, rearing
their lofty heads with their rob-my-neighbour air. There’s something
powerfully mean about them, in spite of their good looks. The health
commissioner had better get after them, for they steal air and light
from all the little houses, and do more harm than we dogs do.

At last I turned toward Riverside Drive. Ah! here was something I
liked best of all--plenty of air and light, and the grand old Hudson
as sparkling and handsome as ever. I had to jump up on one of the iron
seats to look at it, on account of the stone wall. I think a city
river, flowing smoothly between houses full of pleasure or trouble, and
flashing back their myriad lights, is one of the most soothing sights
in the world.

I love the Hudson, and the Thames, and the Seine and many other rivers,
and next to them I love the bays, but they are mostly too big to love.
It’s the little things that creep next us.

Well, the Hudson looked all right outside, but I hear the fishes are
giving it an awful name inside. In fact, no respectable fish comes now
within miles of New York.

Riverside Drive is grand with its fine houses, and its breadth and open
park spaces. I began to sing a little song to myself as I ran past the
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument, “Who’ll take poor doggie in for the
night?”

I had struck the regular dog and baby district by this time. Both
kinds of pets flourish on Riverside Drive. The babies had all gone to
bed, but lots of little boy and girl dogs were taking the air. The most
of them were led by maids or men-servants, and a few by their fond
owners. Here and there one scampered about, trying to look gay and
careless in spite of his sobering muzzle, which made me think of Gringo
and his health commissioner.

I often think what a lot of trouble human beings take for us dogs.
I’ve seen men and women yawning with fatigue, exercising their dogs
at night. They know we love them--that is, some of them do. There’s a
powerful lot of dog affection wasted on owners who don’t understand
dogs, and never take them out with them. Upon my word, my heart has
ached to see the pitiful, beseeching glances some dogs give their
masters and mistresses, as if saying, “Do like us a little--we just
adore you.”

A sudden thought came to me, as I stared at the various dogs disporting
themselves on the Drive. I must get a collar off one of them. I fixed
my eye on a young but horribly bloated Boston terrier with a white face
who was wearing a collar too large for him. He hadn’t any neck worth
speaking of. Now, I am an open-faced, wire-haired fox terrier, and my
neck was not nearly as large as this bloated fellow’s. I stalked him
for three blocks, till he got skittish, and throwing up his head, left
the maid he had been following so closely, and started out by himself
for a run in the bushes.

She stood holding his muzzle in her hand, and keeping a keen look-out
for policemen.

I stole after him, grabbed his collar with my teeth, slipped my own
head in it, and ran like a purse-snatcher with a policeman after him.

Mr. Boston gave an angry roar, but I knew the maid would take care of
him, so I loped easily along and forgot about them.



CHAPTER III

I FIND A SECOND FRIEND


I still kept to the Drive, and trotted along well up into the hundredth
streets. My plan was to have some one find me with the collar on,
which undoubtedly had an address on it--but I must not be found near
enough to Mr. Boston’s home to be returned that night, for I might be
ignominiously turned out into the darkness of the street.

Now for another poor person. If a rich one found me, into an automobile
or a taxi would I go, and presto!--the house of the indignant dog I had
robbed.

I am not defending my action. I was a naughty, mischievous dog to steal
another dog’s collar. I might even be called a thief, but for the fact
that I intended to return the collar with me inside it, when I trusted
to my native wit to do the rest.

I had better leave the west side, and turn toward the east. I dashed
up the hill past the Home for Incurables, made for the big College of
New York that I remembered from my former visit, slipped down the slope
behind it, and found myself in the kind of district I wanted.

Here was a nice unfashionable avenue--New York certainly has a great
number of wide streets--plenty of noise, and many people walking
about, lots of well-lighted shops with everything under the sun in
them, and a good many persons with kind faces.

I avoided the very young, the very old--there weren’t many of these,
anybody that was too gay or too dull, or too dirty and poor-looking.
I wouldn’t mind poor people so much, if they would keep clean. The
most of them are so careless in their personal habits, that no
self-respecting dog wants to live with them.

I chose a respectable-looking coloured woman who was coming out of a
nice-looking meat shop. Her shoes were bright and neat, and by the look
of her hands, I judged she was a washerwoman. She had been out working
by the day, and she was going to have a good hot meat supper in which I
would join her.

Sidling close up to her, I whined gently and held up a beseeching paw.

She gazed down at me with a lovely benevolent expression. “Why,
doggie,” she said, “what’s the matter?”

I squeezed a little closer, and licked her clean, cotton dress.

I am not considered really beautiful, but I am a very well-bred dog,
and most women say I have a nice way with me when I choose.

“Poor little fellow,” she said, “I believe you’re lost, and I just
happened to see you.”

I didn’t say anything to this, though I might have told her that most
things are arranged. They don’t happen.

“But perhaps you knew me,” she went on. “Maybe I’ve worked for the lady
that owns you.”

Maybe she had. I didn’t know.

“And you smelt my tracks and followed me,” she continued. “I’ve heard
that some dogs are mighty clever. Bless your little heart. You want
me to take you to your home. Come right along with Ellen, and we’ll
telephone to the address I see on your collar. I’ve just got a nickel
left.”

I felt badly to have her spend money on me, still it does us all good
to be benevolent--dogs and human beings too--so I said nothing, and
followed her to the telephone booth in a drug store.

I thought I would die laughing to hear her telephoning. “Is this
Riverside twenty twenty?” she asked.

Yes, it was.

“Oh! ma’am, I’ve found your dog.”

Of course I couldn’t hear the other side of the conversation, but I
guessed what it was. When she said, “But your name is on the collar,” I
listened anxiously for the next.

“But,” said my nice coloured woman, “doesn’t the collar go with the
dog?”

Something else followed, then my Ellen said, “I did notice it was too
big for him. It’s way down over his shoulders. What do you say?”

A long silence came after this. Ellen was listening intently. Finally
she hung up the receiver, and looked down at me with a mystified air.
“Poor lady--she seems all upset. She said something about a dog
thief’s dog, and a collar being stolen. Perhaps she has two dogs.”

Perhaps she is going to have, I thought, but of course I said nothing.

“We’ll go see her in the morning,” said Ellen. “I have to work near
there, and now we’ll go home, and have some supper.”

I was not too tired to jump up, and lick her kind, old fingers. Then
she led the way to her home, which was in an apartment-house on this
same broad avenue. We tugged up six flights of stairs, and while we
were going up she said, “I s’pose you’ve been accustomed to elevators,
little dog. Poor folks can’t have all the nice things the rich have.”
There was nothing to be said to this, except to give her silent
sympathy, and stand back while she unlocked her door, and let herself
into a neat little set of rooms. She had two bed-rooms and a kitchen,
and her son, who was a sidewalk usher in a fashionable hotel, lived
with her.

The tiny kitchen was cute. It had a gas stove, a table, two
rocking-chairs and two windows. It was just big enough to turn round
in. The son, Robert Lee, came up the stairs just after we did, and she
hastened to tell him my story.

He laughed heartily, throwing back his head, and showing every tooth he
possessed--those teeth of negroes aren’t as white as they look. It’s
the contrast of their dark skin that makes them seem to have whiter
teeth than white people.

He slipped the collar off my neck, and laid it on a shelf. “It’s a
bull-terrier’s collar,” he said, “and this fellow is a fox-terrier,
and ought to have a narrower one. I know, ’cause I see the rich folks’
dogs at the hotel. Some one has slipped the wrong collar on this
fellow. Yes, take him to that address in the morning. Maybe there’ll be
a reward.”

This pleased me, and I licked his nice, dark hands. Then we had a
dandy supper, and I had a good long drink of fresh water--my favourite
beverage. I don’t care much for milk. While Ellen washed the dishes,
Robert Lee sat in one of the rocking-chairs and played on his banjo
while he sang to her about “Mighty Lak a Rose,” and “I Want to Go to
Tokio,” and “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier.”

After a while, he put away his banjo, and we all went to bed.

I slept on the old coloured woman’s couch. She started me on a piece of
carpet by the gas stove, but as soon as she was asleep, I sneaked up
and lay beside her feet. I saw no earthly reason why I should not do
so. I had licked my paws quite clean, and I had no fleas, and I loved a
comfortable bed high up, and hated a draughty floor.

In the morning very early, for charwomen must work, while ladies sleep,
my nice Ellen got up, roused her son who was sleeping the pig sleep of
all healthy young males, and prepared a nice, smelly breakfast--bacon
and warmed-over sausage, and two fried eggs, and hot rolls and
perfectly scrumptious coffee with real cream from a bottle outside the
window.

Rich people say that working people don’t live well. Poor people that
have brains enough to work, can live well if they choose, and they
mostly do choose. I think they have lots more fun than rich people.
They don’t whine and snarl so much, and they laugh harder and oftener,
and cry louder and longer.

Ellen would have been frightfully bored on Riverside Drive, or Fifth or
Park Avenues. She was one of the happiest women I ever saw, and Robert
Lee, her son, whistled all the time. He had a good mother, and a nice
molasses shade of girl whose picture he carried in his heart pocket,
and he had good wages and plenty to eat, and no enemies, and he didn’t
drink, and he had no heavy social duties.

Well, Ellen had her three cups of coffee, and I had a perfectly
stunning feed; then Robert Lee went to do his sidewalk posing in front
of his hotel, and finally, about eight o’clock, we took a cross-town
street and walked toward Riverside Drive.

I love interesting situations, and it nearly tickled me to death to
imagine what was going to happen. Poor old Ellen was so pleased in
what she called my pleasure in going home. Some dogs would have run
away before they would have faced the lady who thought me the dog of a
thief, but I trusted to luck and pressed on.

Ellen had too much sense to put a string on me. I jumped and frisked
about her, and that young Boston bull’s collar swung and twisted about
my neck. By the way, it was a very valuable collar, with fine imitation
turquoises in it.

Finally we emerged upon the Drive. The Hudson was more glorious in the
morning sunlight than it had been in the starlight of the night before.

Poor Ellen, I thought to myself, here is a chance to whine. These rich
people have everything--the big houses, the fine river, the view of the
hills and trees over in New Jersey, but will she complain?--Not a bit
of it. Ellen doesn’t care for scenery, and she finds the Drive windy.
She likes her snug, warm rooms, and the neighbours of her own position
in life.

We entered a specially grand apartment-house with a marble entrance,
and plenty of mirrors and palms, and we went up in the elevator to the
seventh story. Ellen pressed a bell, and a maid with her cap over one
ear opened the door.

She stared at us, and said no one was up.

Ellen wasn’t surprised. She knew the ways of well-to-do white folks.

“I’ll wait,” she said patiently.

We sat down, and waited and waited. The first to appear was the Boston
bull. He came yawning out of a bed-room, turned stiff-legged when he
smelt me, hipped four times round the swell reception room where we
were, then emboldened by my detached air, came up, smelt his collar on
my neck, bristled, and closed with me.

As he had too much fat and too little wind, I easily floored him, and
such a gurgling--I thought he’d choke to death with rage and fright.

A lovely stout lady in a pretty dressing-gown came flying from one
room, and a lean, hard-looking athlete of a man from another.

“Oh! my precious Beanie,” wailed the lady. Really, the New York women
do give their dogs sickening names. This fellow, I learned, was Baked
Beans, and he had just about as much waist as a bean.

“Oh! you idiot,” growled the man.

Baked Beans was pretending I had nearly killed him. I sized up my
audience, then I walked up to the man, crouched humbly before him, and
put a protesting paw on one of his bed-room slippers.

He must have stood six feet four in his pajamas. I threw him one upward
glance. He understood.

We dogs divide man and womankind into two classes. Those who understand
us, and those who don’t.

He bent over me, slipped the silly collar from my neck, and twisted it
thoughtfully round and round in his fingers. Then he began to laugh,
and I thought he would never stop.

“Rudolph,” said the lady, who was hugging the bull, “Rudolph, do stop.
You get on my nerves. And what do you see to laugh about? A nasty,
fighting, street dog bursts into our apartment, bullies poor Beanie,
and you admire him for it. I call it brute force. Now, woman, tell me
your business.”

Ellen was smiling indulgently. She was a Southern negress, and had
infinite indulgence for the whims of fine ladies. She told her story in
an honest, straightforward manner, and the man believed her; but the
woman didn’t.

“How much do you want?” she asked coldly, when Ellen had finished.

“You needn’t give me anything, ma’am,” said Ellen sweetly. “It’s a nice
morning, and I’ve had a walk before I goes to my work.”

“My dear,” said the gentleman turning to his wife, “you will get cold,
go back to bed, and I will arrange this affair.”

“Come, Beanie darling,” said the lady, and she tugged Beanie off in her
arms, he looking over her shoulder as if anxious to be in at the death.

The gentleman sat down and asked Ellen to repeat her story. He
cross-examined her, then he cross-examined me, asking me questions
exactly as if I were a human being.

“This is the crux of the whole matter,” he remarked, “How did that
collar get off our dog’s neck to the neck of this strange dog--who, by
the way, is a thoroughbred. Our maid said that there seemed to be no
man about, only a white dog running.”

The collar had fallen to the floor. I gambolled up to it, ran my head
through it, pawed it off, and went back to the man.

“Come up here,” he said patting his knee, and I sprang up, gave him one
of my most intelligent glances, and we were friends.

“You rogue,” he said, “you’re a dog of character, and probably a
Bohemian.”

“I reckon he’s American, sir,” said Ellen kindly. “He knows all we say
to him. I’ll take him, if you don’t want him. I’d like a nice dog.”

The gentleman smiled, and said, “Let him choose. I’ll give him a
week’s trial. Now, dog, is it go or stay?”

It was stay, of course. I ran to Ellen, licked her hands and even the
face that she bent over me, but I kept looking backward at my new owner.

“You must have something for your trouble,” he murmured, and he went to
his room for his purse, and coming back, slipped a bill in her hand. It
must have been a big one, for she sneaked a glance at it, then turned
back as if to protest.

He waved her toward the door, then he glanced toward his wife’s room,
as if he were about to go to it.

“Why anticipate trouble,” he muttered, and signing to me to follow, he
entered his own quarters.



CHAPTER IV

MY NEW MASTER


I jumped up on the window-seat and looked about me. Some men have
comforts, some don’t. This man had a beautiful room overlooking the
river, with a nice, white bath-room off it. He splashed and tumbled
about in the water, then he dressed himself, and all the while he
examined me.

I licked a few stray hairs in place, and took some mud off my paws with
my tongue, to let him see I was as clean in my ways as he was. I knew
he would not associate with me if I was a dirty dog.

“Boy,” he said at last, “I like you; do you like me?”

I stood up straight, and put my two front paws as far up on his chest
as they would go. I loved him. He was handsome, intellectual and
unhappy.

Not that he looked unhappy. He had rather an amused face, but we dogs
see below the surface.

“Suppose you stay here till breakfast is over,” he remarked. “No use in
bringing on scenes. You’re not hungry, are you?”

I shook my head, and curled up on the window seat. He went away, and
stayed a short time. I smelt coffee and steak somewhere near, but I
never budged, and after a while he came back.

“Suppose you go down town with me, dog,” he said. “The probability is
that you would not spend a very interesting morning with Madame and
Beanie.”

He grinned and I grinned, then at last he walked boldly out with me at
his heels.

We met the lady in the hall, looking perfectly stunning in some kind
of a light coloured morning-gown. Dogs don’t have much of an eye for
colour. In fact, most of us are colour blind.

“Rudolph,” she screamed, “didn’t you turn that ugly dog out?”

He looked over his shoulder. “Oh! he’s still there, is he? Likely
he’ll leave me down town, and run home. _Au revoir_, dearie. Don’t
over-exert.”

She bent her cheek and he pecked at it, then he went downstairs, and
there at the door was such a jolly, seven-seated motor car. Not a
limousine, thank fortune. I hate to drive in a glass box.

The man ran his own car, and I sat between him and the chauffeur. Oh!
what fun. We went flying down Riverside Drive, till we couldn’t fly any
longer, and we had to turn into Seventy-Second Street and go soberly.
Finally we got away down town. So my new master was a business man.

“What will you do?” he said when we at last pulled up before a
sky-scraper. “Go to the garage with Louis, or come with me?”

As if there was any comparison between him and Louis! I snuggled
close to his smart-looking shoes and silk socks, and together we went
in and up, up to a suite of offices where young men, elderly men,
stenographers and messengers hummed, and buzzed, and worked, and
talked till one o’clock.

I lay under the swivel chair in my new master’s inner office, and
enjoyed it all. I love to see human beings working hard.

At one o’clock my master rose, and leaving this hive of industry behind
him, went out for lunch.

I have had training enough for ten dogs, and my new master guessed it.
He never looked behind, and I never looked before. I kept my muzzle at
his shoe heels, and we passed leisurely through the swarms of bees from
other hives that were buzzing through halls and in elevators. All were
after honey, and we found a particularly agreeable place for ours.

To my astonishment, when our turn came to enter an elevator, we did not
go down to the street, but up to the top of the high building we were
in. What a surprise awaited me there. I knew there were restaurants and
roof gardens in New York, but I had never been in one. I had been in
a nice restaurant in San Francisco at the top of a big building, and
I was there on the day of a slight earthquake when the whole body of
waiters, who wore mustaches, rushed down to the street, shaved their
mustaches off, and went back to a famous club from which they had been
discharged because they would wear those same mustaches.

Well, something very fine awaited us at the top of this New York
building. We stepped out of the elevator, went through a door, and
there we were on top of the enormous sky-scraper, and spread out
before us was a view of wonderful New York, less wonderful Brooklyn,
the Jersey coast, and the magnificent bay and islands.

Master had allowed me to jump on a chair so I could look about me, for
dogs, unless they stand high, often lose a view that a human being can
enjoy.

I was enchanted, but the wind blew so hard that I was glad to jump
down, and follow my new master into a protected place. Here were
tables, chairs, mirrors--a regular, attractive and pretty restaurant,
better than any we would find on the street in this down town district.
It was enclosed by glass, and from nearly all the seats, one could
enjoy the same magnificent view that one had outside.

My master did not stay in this eating-place, which I learned afterward
was for all the people in the building. He passed through a long
corridor, went down some steps, along a covered walk--all this was
glassed in--and to the top of a lower building. Indeed, it seemed to
me that we were passing over the tops of many buildings and I found
out afterward that this was correct. Mr. Granton--for this was my
master’s name--and some other men had acquired the right to build on
the tops of the sky-scrapers, and here they had an agreeable promenade
in fresh air, and away from the dust of the street. At last we entered
a pretty little café, furnished in Louis something-or-other style.
Well, attached to this dainty little café with its mirrors, and
spindle-legged tables and chairs, was a tiny, formal rose garden with
real flowers and gravel walks.

The whole thing reminded me of Paris, and I soon found out that it was
a French restaurant, and that my master, who had been partly educated
in France, loved the French people.

He had his lunch at a small table by himself, drawn up close to the
entrance of the garden, and I sat under his chair, and inhaled the
perfume of the roses, and gazed at the pretty thing with ecstasy. It
was enclosed by lattice work entwined with green leaves, and all round
the lattice work ran a deep bed of flowering roses. On looking closely,
I found that they were in pots sunk in trenches. However, the effect
was of a regular out-of-door flowering garden. In the middle was a
round bed with a pink rambler climbing round a sun-dial. In one corner
was a baby pergola with another climber embracing it, and at the top of
the pergola a tiny little bird-box, out of which frequently stepped a
wee yellow canary. He had a box of seeds fastened to the pergola, and
when he wanted a drink, he went to a tiny fountain in one corner of the
garden.

While my master was eating, this little bird sang to him, but did
not offer to come near him. It was not afraid of him, for Mr. Canary
regarded the garden as his home. Neither was he afraid of me, knowing
he had wings, and then, though he was only a mite of a creature, he
knew my attitude was not threatening.

He had a little mate among the roses, but she did not come out--merely
peeped at us.

Master had rather a dainty lunch for such a big man. Mine was dainty
too--a little too dainty for a medium-sized dog--for Monsieur Canovel,
who ran the café, had a Frenchman’s frugal ways. However, the _garçon_
sneaked me a few extras. These foreigners that come round, smirking and
bowing, and hoping that everything is to monsieur’s liking, are really
not as satisfactory as Americans, who apparently scarcely glance at
their patrons, yet if a prominent one brings in a dog, say, “Waiter,
give him a plateful.”

I love to run over the names of things to eat. Even the sound is
appetising, so I will say that master had _bouillon_ and vegetables
served separately, and then French stew, and a dish which smelt like
those delicious things made of hard crusts of bread, which poor
children pick out of the gutters in Paris and sell to the restaurants,
where they are washed and ground and made into little pies.

Nobody saves crusts in this country. We Americans, dogs and human
beings, are too extravagant. A French dog could live on the discards
from my table.

After master had his lunch, he strolled about the gravelled walks of
the tiny garden that was not much bigger than Gringo’s yard, for only
twenty-five men use this pretty place. He did not smoke, he whistled to
the canary, who knew him, and got angry when master picked a rose from
his pergola and put it in his buttonhole.

After a while, a gentleman who had been lunching at a table near us
came over to my master, and began to talk about his arcade scheme,
which I soon found out was a plan to lessen the crowds on the streets
of New York, by building arcades like those on the Rue de Rivoli in
Paris, except that the top would be flat, so the people could walk on
them too.

“It would give a double row of store-fronts,” said my master’s friend,
“and increase the value of second story property. How much will you put
in, Granton?”

Master said he would consider it.

“In addition,” went on his friend, “I have a plan to force the owners
of apartment-houses to build kennels and runways on the tops of their
houses, so that dogs owned by tenants, can be exercised there, instead
of in the street, where they have to wear muzzles.”

Master smiled, and said, “That’s more in my line. Let me know when you
want to get that law passed,” then he nodded good-bye to his friend,
and we sauntered back along the roofs to the elevator, and descended to
our hive.

He worked with the other bees till five, when we swarmed to the street.
There was Louis with the car. I jumped up beside master, and we wended
our way uptown to Madame.

I gathered from Mr. Granton’s remarks that he took her out nearly every
day. On arriving before the apartment-house, he murmured, “Suppose you
get under Louis’ lap-robe.” Then he added, “No--we might as well have
it out first as last.”

When Madame came out with Beanie toddling after her, she stopped, and
gave a squeal at sight of me.

“Rudolph, didn’t that ugly thing leave you?”

I bridled--I’m doggy in appearance, still I’m not ugly--I’m
distinguished. One of the _garçons_ at the French restaurant said I
looked like a _chien de race_ and he was more right than he knew.
“Clossie,” said my master, “I like this dog.”

“I can’t help that,” she said in her trailing voice. “I know he’ll kill
my darling boy.”

At sight of his wife, my master had jumped from the car and stood on
the sidewalk.

“Permit me,” he said, and leaning across her he took young Fatty Beans
and put him on the seat beside me.

The lady gave a shriek, and covered her eyes with her little white
gloves.

When she looked up, young Beans sat beside me, straight as a major. I
had hissed in his ear, “If you don’t pretend to like me, I’ll knock the
stuffing out of you, first chance I get.”

The young fellow didn’t want to get unstuffed, so he turned to his
mistress with a sickly grin.

“Why, darling,” she said slowly, “I believe you like him. Was he lonely
doggie by his own seffies?”

He hadn’t been a lonely doggie by his own “seffies,” but he was too
frightened to tell her so, and if he had, she didn’t possess enough
knowledge of dogs to understand him.

With a wondering face, Madame stepped in beside her husband who had
taken his old place.

“Now what about the dogs?” she asked. “I was planning to take Beanie in
here with me as usual, but perhaps he’d rather sit with his new friend.”

“By all means,” said her husband hastily. “Let them both go with Louis.”

Louis was a splendidly trained servant. When Madame talked dog-talk
he was convulsed with inward laughter, but he showed no outward
trace except by a tremor of the eyelid. But when he got with other
chauffeurs--_ma foi_! You’d die laughing to hear him imitate her--but
he liked Mrs. Granton all the time. I found out that later.

After a time, we set out. Madame and Monsieur in front, Louis and dogs
behind.

Louis liked me, but he used to pinch Beans slyly. Poor Beanie, he
didn’t enjoy that first drive.

I was dying to know some friends of my new family. Fortunately we met
one who was walking down the Drive with a collie dog at her heels. Oh!
what a keen, intelligent Scottish face he had, and hers was just as
keen and intelligent an American face.

My master stopped the car, and his wife called out, “Why, how do you
do, Stanna--want to have a spin with us?”

Miss Stanna, all laughing and rosy in her black furs, pointed to
her dog. “Sir Walter Scott wouldn’t like that. He’s out for his
constitutional.”

“See our new dog?” continued Madame. “He’s absolutely forced himself on
us.”

Miss Stanna gave me a sharp glance. I gave her one. She understood dogs
too. I got up and stretched my neck toward her.

“Later on, dog,” she said, and she waved her hand toward me, “I’ll
be charmed to have a talk with you.” Then she called out, “Good-bye,
Clossie and Rudolph; good-bye, dogs,” and she strolled on.

We went on our way twisting and turning, but always gliding so
smoothly about this wonderful city. Is it because it is so big that one
doesn’t get tired of New York?

We had gone away out to Van Cortlandt Park, and were thumping along a
bit of bad road between the sad trees with their scant covering of dry
leaves, when, to my dismay, we came suddenly abreast of another car in
which sat one of my former owners whom I had not treated very well.



CHAPTER V

AN OLD FRIEND, AND AN ADVENTURE


Before I had time to dodge under the lap-robe, Miss Bright-Eyes caught
sight of me.

That was what I always called her, because she had such piercing
shoe buttons of eyes. Her real name was Pursell, and she was a
native daughter of the Golden State. Her grandfather had been an old
forty-niner who had made a fortune in land.

“Why, Mrs. Granton,” she giggled, “I think I see an old friend with
you. Where did you get him?”

Mrs. Granton did not at first understand her, then she said, “Oh! you
mean the dog. Louis, make him stand up, so Miss Pursell can see him. Do
tell us something about him.”

“See him wiggle and fawn,” said Miss Bright-Eyes. “Oh! he is a rogue. I
had him for a whole year, and gave him the best time a dog ever had. We
never could make out why he ran away from us.”

Mr. Granton spoke up. “Do you mean to say you had this dog out in
California?”

“Yes,” she replied, “in Los Angeles. We used to have such fun.
We’d motor to Santa Monica, and go in bathing, and doggie had such
good times. What made you leave me, pup?” and she surveyed me
good-naturedly.

How I longed for the power of speech! She was a fresh air and fresh
water fiend. She used to take me in bathing with her and make me dive
under the breakers, and she put cotton wool in her own ears but never
a spear in mine, and I got deaf; and then her old man-servant used to
bathe me in the garage and get soap in my eyes with his wobbly old
hands, and I got angry, and cleared out. I am a clean dog, but I don’t
want the hide scoured off me.

Mr. Granton gave me one of his penetrating glances, then he said to
Miss Bright-Eyes, “Do you think the dog was happy with you?”

“Happy, certainly,” she replied. “Everything was done for him.”

I barked protestingly.

“Tell us how you treated him,” said Mr. Granton.

“Well, as soon as I had my breakfast, he was with me till lunch
time, walking or driving, then he spent the rest of the day with the
servants.”

“Interesting servants?” pursued Mr. Granton.

“Well, not particularly. All old ones--they belonged to my grandmother.”

“H’m,” murmured Mr. Granton thoughtfully, “and he would be younger then
than he is now, and he’s lively yet. Where did you get him?”

“Bought him from a man in the street,” said Miss Pursell. “He said he
found him running about without a collar. He has lots of tricks. Jump
out, dog, and let me put you through some of your stunts.”

I was quite stiff from sitting so long, but I wanted to please Mr.
Granton, so I sprang out to a bit of level ground and danced on my
hind legs, rolled over, did dead dog, howled an operatic air with one
paw on my chest, and wound up with double somersaults.

The Grantons laughed heartily, but Beanie was nearly suffocated with
jealousy, and when I got back beside him and Louis, he bit me.

What a nip he got in return! Mrs. Granton screamed at his loud howl,
and turning round, reproached Louis for not taking better care of him.

Louis pressed his gloved hand to his mouth and said in a choked voice,
“Beg pardon, ma’am. I accidentally squeezed his ear with my arm.” Then
he gave me a poke with his elbow and said, “No more of that, you young
Spitfire.”

We went spinning toward Yonkers after we left Miss Pursell, and just
after getting beyond it, had an adventure.

We were on a fine piece of road--what magnificent roads they are
building, and so quickly too, outside most American cities--when we
came to a big, powerfully ugly, red brick house, standing in its own
grounds.

“Oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Granton, “Suppose we call on the Johnsons. It’s
just about afternoon tea time.”

Mr. Granton didn’t want to, but she made him do it. We rolled up to the
_porte-cochère_, but master was going to have his own way in something,
and when she wanted to take Beanie in, he wouldn’t let her.

So Louis and I and Beanie were instructed to take a little spin down
the road, and come back in twenty minutes.

Just after we left the red brick house, we came to a long, level bit
of road, and Louis was speeding up a bit when I pulled his sleeve. Off
on our right was a sheet of water, with a man in it, yelling his head
off for help.

Louis was out of the machine like a shot, and I after him. Beanie sat
blinking. I can see him now, the silly ass.

The little French chauffeur danced about at the edge of the water,
like a monkey on hot bricks. Before I came to New York, there had been
quite a time of sharp weather, and ice had formed. This foolish fellow
in the water had taken his skates and gone off to have a little fun by
himself. Now he was splashing about, postponing his final going under
as long as possible.

“Hold on, hold on,” called Louis; “I’m coming,” but instead of coming,
he went smashing through the thin ice just as often as he stepped on it.

I learned afterward, that he was a fine swimmer, and quite an athlete,
but what could he do when he couldn’t get to the man?

He had thrown his cap and coat on the ground, and seizing his hair by
both hands, he whirled round and round in the road, in his uncertainty.
Not a soul was in sight. Fortunately his desperate eyes fell on the
extra tire at the back of the car.

In a twinkling, he had it off, and lashed to it a rope that Mr. Granton
always has him carry in the car. The marvellous thing was, that he
hadn’t thought of the rope at first. Master would have, if he’d been
there. Well, it wasn’t too late now, and didn’t he hurl that tire at
the poor drowning man who had just enough strength left to cling to it.
Then Louis, playing the man as one would a salmon, tried to haul him in.

He is as slight as a girl, and couldn’t do it. He tugged and panted,
and groaned, and called out, but no one came, and I suppose we had
passed thousands of cars that afternoon.

Finally, Louis had another bright idea. He tied the rope to the car,
sprang to his seat, and off he started, looking frequently over his
shoulder.

He easily motored the man to land, then springing from the car, took
hold of him to support his half-fainting body to the car.

It isn’t necessary to report what he said when he found the man was an
enormously fat lady with bloomers on. However, with some help from her,
he tugged her into the car and laid her on the floor of it, under the
surprised Beanie who sat on the seat looking as if he had seen a ghost.

Then didn’t we fly to the brick house. I ran after the car, and hadn’t
a bit of breath left when we got there.

The people came running out, and lifted the fat lady in, who, it seems,
was a very important person--an English suffragette who had come to
this country because she wouldn’t stop throwing bricks at shop windows
in England. She was a guest in the house and her name was Lady Serena
Glandison. She was also to give a lecture that night in New York. I
heard the Grantons talking about it afterward, and master said she was
a dead-game sport, for she persisted in giving the lecture.

She wanted to reduce her flesh, and had gone off to have a quiet
little skate by herself, not being particularly beautiful in bloomers.
Wasn’t she grateful to Louis! She said most undoubtedly she would have
drowned, but for him. She sent him a cheque for a thousand dollars,
and he is to get more later on, when women get the vote in England and
she doesn’t have to spend so much in fines for her pastime of window
smashing.

“If they ever do,” said my master.

I may add that Lady Serena is an ultra who wouldn’t stop her militant
work on account of the war. She says she can see lots of reasons for
smashing windows, but none for smashing men’s ribs. So she came to
America to wait for the fighting to be over in Europe.



CHAPTER VI

BEANIE LOSES HIS HOME


A week or two went by, and I was as happy as a king--maybe I’d better
say a president, as kings don’t seem to be getting much fun out of life
at present.

I had had many homes, many masters and mistresses, but never a master
like this one. He just suited me. I often used to wonder what it
was about him that made me like him so much. I had seen men just as
handsome, just as amiable, just as lovable--there was something I could
not explain about it. When he looked at me with his deep-set grey eyes,
I felt that I could die for him. He was my man affinity. He understood
me, and he never believed anything against me unless it was very fully
proved, and then--he always forgave me.

His confidence in me made me want to be a better dog, and I stopped
nipping Beanie on the sly, and gave up stealing Mrs. Granton’s gloves
and chewing them up.

I didn’t like her, and she didn’t like me. What could you make of a
woman who insisted upon being called “Clossie” instead of Claudia,
which was her real name. Claudia has some dignity to it, but
Clossie--it didn’t sound to me like a lady, and master just hated it,
but he had to say it.

They didn’t get on very well together. I often heard the servants
talking about it. Louis was for mistress, and the cook and the waitress
and the girl who came to do mistress’s hair and finger-nails were for
master.

“She’s a fraud,” said cook emphatically. “A woman her age ain’t got no
business lazing in bed till all hours of the morning, and when she gets
up, what does she do? Fools round, putting in time, and then travels
down town and wastes money shopping, or goes to the theatre.”

“She don’t do nothing for nobody all day long,” the waitress would
break in. “It’s self, self, self--do I look pretty--is my skin all
right--am I getting old--bah! I’d like to give her a job scouring
brasses.”

Then Louis would stand up for her. “The old man’s clever (I regret
to say they usually called master the old man, and mistress Mrs.
Putty-Face). Why don’t he make more of her? If she was my wife, I’d
teach her things. Why don’t he point out things on the river when we’re
motoring, and do he ever read to her of an evening?”

He never did, but the maids wouldn’t tell him this, so Louis, who was
a French-American, speaking fairly good English with here and there
a funny mistake, went on. “When I comes in for orders, there he sits
glooming one side of the fire, she the other--the table a-tween them.
Man and wife should be close up, and speaking by-times.”

“She ain’t got no language,” said cook. “She never does talk but of
fooleries.”

“She stands for her dog,” said Louis feebly, for the women always
out-talked him.

Here the young girl who did her hair and nails, and who used to come
out to the kitchen for a cup of tea, made a very dismal prophecy about
Beanie that unfortunately came true.

“Just listen to me,” she said wrinkling her dark eyebrows, “that
woman ain’t got no thought for anything but herself. Husband, help,
dog--she’d see you all in the Hudson, and never lift a finger to save
you. Why, when that fat dog comes between her and a table or a chair in
the bed-room, that she’s making for, he gets a push that lands him most
into the next room. If she took it into her head to get rid of him, out
he’d go.”

Louis was sweet on this girl, and he smiled at her. “I never saw no
kicking from her,” he remarked amiably. “Mrs. Putty-Face has been kind
along to me. I often gets a tip. Maybe she’ll make good yet. She’s
young, ain’t she?”

This brought on a long, tiresome argument. When the maids got on
mistress’s clothes or her age, I always left the kitchen. Why don’t
they talk about the war or politics, instead of that eternal drivel
about master and mistress?

The two people at the head of the establishment never mentioned them,
nor looked at them, except to ask for something. I wonder whether that
was not one reason why there was not more sympathy between the working
end and the commanding end of the house. I had been in several homes
before this, where there was criticism between employer and employed,
but a criticism softened by sympathy and mutual interest.

I blamed mistress. Down at the café, the servants were never familiar
with the gentlemen patrons, but there was a good spirit prevailing,
and I heard no hateful remarks there. The gentlemen were kind to the
_garçons_, in a quiet way, and the _garçons_ were respectful to the
gentlemen, and they got their reward, for once when one of them fell
ill, the gentlemen clubbed together, and sent him to a beautiful place
in the country.

To come back to Beanie, I had noticed for several days that mistress
hadn’t been talking silly talk to him, and usually left him home, when
she went out in the car. He wasn’t apprehensive about it. His too solid
flesh made him a stupid dog. He was simply annoyed to miss his outing.
However, to give him credit, he never said a word against his mistress.
He just plodded round the apartment after her, never doubting that she
adored him as much as she said she did.

One evening, when she was sitting with her two pretty, light
slippers stretched out toward the wood fire in the fire-place, she
said suddenly, “Rudolph, I’m going to change Beanie and get a toy
Pomeranian.”

Mr. Granton turned round and said, “What!” He was sitting, as he
usually did, beside a little table which had a shaded electric light on
it. He was reading a book about the war, and sometimes stopped to gaze
thoughtfully in the fire. Mrs. Granton wouldn’t talk about it to him.
All she knew about the fighting in Europe was, that it would stop, for
a time, her yearly visits to Paris to buy gowns.

He was staring at her. Finally he said, “I thought you were fond of
Beanie.”

“I thought I was,” she said carelessly, “but Poms are more fashionable,
and smaller. Beanie’s too fat to carry, and I think a small dog under
the arm looks smart.”

“What will you do with Beanie?” asked Mr. Granton.

“Sell him of course--I’ll get a good price. I gave two hundred for him.
I’ll send him to a vet to be starved for a while. He’s too fat now.”

Upon my word, I was sorry for Beanie. He sat listening to her, as if he
could scarcely believe his ears. The poor simpleton had so presumed on
the fact of her loving him. I could have told him long ago, he was in a
dog-fool paradise.

Mr. Granton opened his mouth, as if to say something, then he shut it
again. He took up his book, and went on reading about the war till Mrs.
Granton’s smacking of her lips over her chocolates and novel got on his
nerves. It usually did about eleven o’clock.

He got up, looked out the window, said, “I think I’ll take a walk.”
Then he said carelessly, “Have you quite made up your mind to sell your
dog?”

“Quite,” she said, smiling and showing her pretty teeth. She was really
very pinky sweet and lovely. If she had only had a mind in her doll
body.

“And you would be satisfied with two hundred dollars?”

“I’d be satisfied with a hundred and fifty,” she said, “he’s no longer
quite young, according to looks. His amount of flesh ages him.”

Beanie gasped and panted by the fire, and finally went to hide his
shamed head in the corner.

“I suppose you know he understands all this,” said Mr. Granton.

“I don’t believe it,” she said, “he’s only a dog.”

This roused poor young Beans. He waddled up to her, rose on his hind
legs, and laid his two forepaws on her lap. His mouth was wide open,
and he was panting heavily, trying to look engaging and fascinating,
and succeeding only in looking silly.

“Go away, you little fool,” she said pushing him aside. “I’ve taken a
dislike to you.”

Beanie went to hide his diminished head under the sofa.

Mr. Granton was drawing a fountain pen from his pocket, and a little
book. He wrote out a cheque for one hundred and fifty dollars, and gave
it to her.

“You might have made it two hundred,” she said peevishly.

He smiled. He was too good a man of business to pay more for a thing
than he had to, even to his own wife.

“Your dog is mine now,” he said.

“Very well,” she replied carelessly, “and mind, I don’t want that fat
awkward thing round this apartment. We’ve too many dogs now,” and she
glared at me.

She had never forgiven me for staying with her husband, and I knew, and
he knew, that she was jealous of me.

“I’ll find a home for him,” said Mr. Granton. “Come on, Beans, since
you’re my dog now, come out and take a walk with Boy and me.”

He always called me Boy or Boy-Dog. He said I was too clever to be just
plain dog.

I hate sorrow and suffering and ugly things. With my tail between my
legs, I slunk after my master. I didn’t like to look at Beanie. He
was behind me. Poor, poor young dog--prematurely aged on account of
the over feeding, over-petting and the over-everything of a foolish
mistress, and now shaken out of his paradise.

He looked frightfully, but he made an effort to hold himself up, and
waddled toward the elevator with us.

When we got in the street, Mr. Granton said kindly, “I’ll carry you a
while, old man. You’re rather knocked in a heap,” and he actually took
that fat young dog under his arm, and walked block after block with
him, till Beanie got back some of his usual complacent self-possession.

Then he put him down, and walked slower than usual, in order to
accommodate his new acquisition. I walked close to Beanie, and from
time to time touched his head with my muzzle.

“Cheer up, young fellow,” I said, “you’re lucky to have changed hands.
You would have been dead in a few months. You’re all out of condition.
Master will get you a good home.”

“I don’t want another home,” he said miserably. “I want my old one, and
I love my mistress.”

“In spite of the way she’s treated you?” I asked.

“That doesn’t make any difference with a dog,” he replied.

“It would with me,” I said.

“You’re not an ordinary dog,” he said. “You’re an exception.”

“I believe that’s true,” I said. “I wonder where we’re going.”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” he said wretchedly, and he plodded
along like a machine.

Master had left Riverside Drive, and was going slowly up One Hundred
and Thirty-ninth Street. Soon we were in the shadow of Great Hall of
the College of New York. Some one was playing the organ, and through an
open door, we could catch the solemn strains of some dirge-like music.

Master stood still for a while, either to listen, or to breathe the
panting Beanie, whose eyes were dim with tears, as he looked not up
at the white-picked stone mass of the building, but down at the cold,
stone pavement.

Presently we went on with our faces to the east. Now it dawned upon me
where we were going. I jumped and frisked about my master. How clever
he was. He had remembered old Ellen’s address. She was just the one to
soothe and comfort poor Beanie.

“See what a nice wide avenue you’re going to live on,” I said to Beanie.

“There’s no view of the River,” he muttered.

I sighed. There’s no comforting a dog with a broken heart.

He did cheer up a bit, when we got into Ellen’s flat. How glad she
was to see my master. Not cringingly glad, but glad in the nice,
affectionate way coloured people have toward those they like.

She was sitting in one of the big rocking-chairs in her tiny kitchen,
and had evidently been looking out the window at the crowds of people
sauntering to and fro on the brightly lighted avenue. This was a great
place for the coloured persons employed among whites to come to see
their friends and families, and on a fine evening they did a good deal
of their talking in the street.

Master motioned her back to her chair, and he took Robert Lee’s rocker
at the other little window.

“I have brought you a present,” he said, and he glanced at Beanie and
me as we lay at his feet.

Old Ellen’s face glowed. “A present--for me, sir? May the Lord bless
you.”

“It’s alive,” said my master, and he pointed to Beanie.

Ellen almost screamed. “Sir! not that lovely, fat dog!”

Master nodded, and she swooped down on Beanie, and took him, troubles
and all, right up in her ample lap. It reminded me of the song she sang
me when I was here before. “Take up de young lambs, tote ’em in your
bosom, an’ let de ole sheep go.”

Beanie’s whole soul was shrinking from her, but he put a steady face on
his troubles, and even curled his short lip gratefully at her.

She began to sway to and fro, rubbing her bleached old hand over his
tired head.

“Don’t let him out alone,” said my master, “he might run home.”

Ellen’s face was almost silly with happiness. “There ain’t no little
pickaninny in New York, that’ll have the ’tention this little master
dog will have,” she said earnestly.

She always began to talk in a southern way when she saw master. I think
he recalled her old employers down South.

“How will you feed him?” asked my master. “He has quite a good
appetite.”

Ellen looked master all over with the good-natured cunning of her race.
“Sir,” she said, “you looks like the gen’l’men down South--you wouldn’t
let your little dog suffer nohow, even if it was Ellen’s.”

Master laughed heartily. He loved frankness, and hated deceit. “Ellen,”
he said, “that dog will have a limited income as long as he lives. It
will be paid weekly, and you will have to go to an address I will give
you to get it. As he enjoys driving, I will have a carriage call for
you once a week, and you can take Beans with you to report for himself.”

Old Ellen didn’t know what to say. She looked everywhere--all round the
room, out the window, down at the dog in her lap, and hard at me, as I
sat staring at her.

Finally she got up, put Beanie down, and said quietly, “Sir, would you
like a cup of coffee?”

“Very much,” he replied.

Ellen lighted her gas stove, got out the big pot, made the coffee, and
handed him a cup and saucer that she took from a cupboard in the wall.

Master handled it in surprise. “This is Sèvres,” he said, “and costly.”

“Sir,” she said solemnly, “that was a present from my old mistress
whose heart was broke by de war.”

Master held the cup out from him, as if he dreaded to touch his lips to
it.

“But,” said old Ellen in the queer, mysterious voice negroes can
assume, “happiness come afore she died--Sir, is you happy?”

The big, old negress suddenly towered over my master, and laid a hand
on his head.

“No, Ellen,” he said quite simply, “God knows I’m not happy.”

The old woman stared up at the ceiling, and her eyes became quite
glassy. “Oh! Lord,” she said with a frightful fervour--“drive away de
clouds from poor Mister’s heart. Bring him light--It’s comin’. Oh!
Lord--I see it--comin’ like de wings of an eagle. I see it a-swoopin’
right down on Mister, dear, good man,” and suddenly turning her back on
him, she began to clap her hands.

Master drank his coffee, and never said a word. I had been with him
long enough to know, that he was a very unemotional man, and yet he
was all alive with tenderness inside.

He had a little superstition too, for he was watching Ellen from the
corner of his eye, and was pleased by her interest in him.

Finally he got up, and went over to poor young Beans who lay in the
chair, taking no stock in all this sentiment.

“Good-bye, my dog,” he said. “You’re young--you’ll get over this.”

Beans, of course, tried to follow us from the room. Our last sight of
him, was at the head of the staircase, struggling in old Ellen’s arms.

“Dog, dog,” she said rebukingly, “old Ellen knows. There’s a cloud
going to burst over you all. Mister an’ dog--an’ it’s full o’
blessings.”

My master smiled at intervals all the way home. He always made for
Riverside Drive, and never stayed any longer than he could help in the
blocks and blocks of streets between it and East River. This night
there were heavy masses of clouds over the river, but just before we
got home, the moon broke through, and showed a superb, smiling face.

My master paused, and leaning both elbows on the stone parapet,
stared at the moon. “Suppose it should come,” he murmured--“perfect
happiness--in the right way--the only way it could come now, is a wrong
way.”

His voice was frightfully sad and perplexed. How I longed to comfort
him, but I was only a dog--and moreover, I didn’t know all his
troubles. I was pretty sure they weren’t money troubles.

I did all I could. I jumped up, and licked his hand.

“Boy,” he said, withdrawing his gaze from the moon to look at me,
“you’re the greatest comfort I have.”

Wasn’t I proud and happy! I almost wriggled myself out of my body.

With a beautiful smile, but a heavy sigh, he turned, and we started
toward home which we did not reach without a further adventure.



CHAPTER VII

THE WOMAN BY THE RIVER


As all travelled dogs know, Riverside Drive, which I claim is the
loveliest stretch of avenue in New York, has, at intervals, a sunburst
of a park. Those strips of park are delicious for my race. Did you ever
notice a sober, city dog trotting behind his master till an open square
is reached? If he is a normal dog, his legs begin to dance, and he begs
permission to have a scamper.

Some of these little fool-dog creations that have been inbred till they
are nothing but a stomach with a little skin wrapped round it, have,
of course, no natural impulse left, but I insist that any dog with a
remnant of real dog left in him, adores the open. We get this love of
liberty from our wolf and dingo ancestors.

Well, as I trotted behind and before, and encircled and interwove
master, better than any skirt dancer could have done, I heard presently
a wailing in front of us.

We soon came up with the wailer--a dirty, pretty child about four years
of age, dragged by the arm by a sullen, slatternly woman who looked
about as much out of place on Riverside Drive as master would have
looked in Gringo’s saloon.

The woman was tired and ugly, and the child was discouraged and weary.
Poor little imp--I can see his bare legs now, looking cold and fiery in
the nipping night air.

Master followed behind the woman, biting his lip, and trying to hold
himself back, but he couldn’t.

At last, when a jerk more forcible than any before made the little
wanderer burst into heartsore weeping, something gave way in master,
and he strode after the woman.

He held his hat in his hand, and I could see the perspiration
glistening on his forehead.

The child turned his poor, little, tear-stained face over his shoulder.

Master held out both his hands, “Oh! give him to me!” he said in a
dreadful voice.

Now I knew one reason at least, why he was not happy. He wanted a
little child of his own.

The awful looking woman turned, and confronted him like an angry,
hissing snake.

“Not much,” she just spat at him, and taking the child in her arms, she
kissed it and comforted it, and went on her weary way.

“Would you kidnap all I’ve got left?” she said savagely over her
shoulder.

Master’s hands dropped to his sides. His face looked like the moon when
it burst through the clouds.

“So you love it,” he said in a delicious voice.

“Love it,” she croaked, then she said some emphatic words that didn’t
hurt me nor my master, and which are not necessary to repeat.

“I’m drug out,” she said, after we’d followed her for a few steps.

“Stop,” said my master, and he took the child from her and swung it up
to the stone wall, and stood staring into his little face, so happy now
because his mother had comforted him.

“What are you doing up here?” he asked the woman, without looking at
her.

She sank down on the ground, just like a dog.

“I came up to see a janitor in one of those big houses,” she said, “he
used to be a pal of mine, but he’s moved. If he’d been there, I’d got a
car fare and some grub.”

Master didn’t ask her story. It was written all over her. “Would you
work in a laundry?” he asked presently.

“Who’d take me?” she said sneeringly. “Look at that, for dirt,” and she
held up a bit of her horrible dress.

“My laundry would,” he said dryly.

“You ain’t got a laundry,” she said quickly, and she shot a glance up
at him from her bleared eyes.

“Yes I have--here’s the address,” and he thrust a card in her hand.

“Read it,” she said drearily. “I ain’t got my specks.”

“Good Heaven,” muttered my master, casting her a reluctant glance. “Not
much over twenty, and senile decay.”

As if understanding him, she murmured, “You had good feed when you was
a kid. I was stuffed from swill cans, and treated to tasty bits from
the dumps.”

A shudder ran over my master. “Don’t you write no country name,” she
said with feeble wrath. “I’ll not leave this little old New York agin.”

“It’s ’way down town,” he said shortly, as he handed her the card, “and
here’s car fare. Mind, no drink on the way.”

“I’m too beat out,” she said, struggling to her feet. “I’ve heard of
you. You’re the odd fellow that runs that place for the likes of us,
an’ ain’t too partickler about rules. I’ll go in, for I’ve wanted to
get in, but didn’t know how, and I’ll stay till I die, and go to nobody
knows where. That’ll be soon, an’ you kin have him”--and she nodded
toward the child.

Master turned to leave her. “Stop,” she said in her husky voice, “I’m
goin’ to wish somethin’ on you.” Then she looked up at the moon. “He
ain’t got a kid of his own,” she said softly, “I know by the look in
his eyes. Send him one, Mrs. Moon, you’re the only mother I know.”

As if afraid he would thank her, she held her child tight to her, and
shuffled off toward Broadway.

Master stared after her for a long time, then he muttered, “That’s the
second time I’ve been blessed to-night. Queer, isn’t it, dog?--Now, as
that child must have a warm welcome at the laundry, let’s go telephone
before we get home. We don’t want our right hand to know too much about
the left hand.”



CHAPTER VIII

STANNA AND NAPOLEON


Some very interesting things happened right straight along after that
night. I found out lots of things about my master. He was a regular
public benefactor and he had the name of being one of the stingiest men
on the Drive.

He did everything anonymously. Rich people are horribly preyed upon in
New York. Some of his friends who were known to be generous used to
get a mail that staggered the postman. They were stung and bothered by
their benefactions as if they had been noxious insects.

Master’s beneficiaries couldn’t sting him, for they didn’t know who he
was. He found many of them on the Drive, and at night. For such a quiet
man, it was wonderful to see him make friends.

He would saunter along the Drive, stop to lean on the stone walls or
bridge railings, or sit on one of the seats, and some other man would
be pretty sure to engage him in conversation. It’s mostly always the
sad who loiter. The happy walk quickly. Master always wore an old coat,
and a cap pulled pretty well over his face. Many a man did he save
from despair, either by a word of comfort, or by some assistance in
business. He had no home for men, but he had had his Bluebird Laundry
for women, for some time.

All his reports from it he received at night. The director would join
him on the Drive, usually at midnight, and they would walk to and fro
and talk of more things they could do for the benefit of girls and
women who were out of employment, and who hated restraint.

Master never visited the place, for he didn’t want to be recognised. He
was astonishingly keen, however, in knowing all about it. One night, I
heard him ask the director if a certain room didn’t want repapering.

The man looked at him in surprise. “It does, but how do you know?”

Master’s face glowed. “I see it all in my mind’s eye.” Then he added,
“Refurnish the room too, and have the bluebirds larger than ever. Women
need more and more happiness.”

One evening, as we were setting out earlier than usual, we walked down
by the collie dog’s house, and met Miss Stanna coming out to exercise
him.

I had got to love this young girl who often visited the Grantons. She
was not so very young--twenty-two or thereabout. She had a brave, fine
face, and it never grew weary, no matter how worried she was inside.

By things the servants said, I knew that Stanna and her brother lived
with a grandmother, that they had been very rich, but the war had made
them poor, and the grandmother was trying to find a rich husband for
Stanna, and the girl wouldn’t help her.

“Hello! Wasp,” said my master, quite like a jolly young boy. His face
always lighted up when he saw this pretty girl, and in common with all
the persons in her set, he called her by her nickname.

I asked Walter Scott one day why his young mistress was called the
Wasp, and he said it was on account of a costume she wore at a fancy
ball, a short time ago. The dress was black and gold and had gauzy
wings, and ever since that time her intimate friends had called her
“Wasp” or “Waspie.”

Miss Stanna had very pretty manners, for much pains had been taken
with her education. Naturally, she was very frank and mischievous, but
she was always covering up this native gush and frolicsomeness by an
assumed conventionality.

To-night she looked merry, and full of fun. She bowed very prettily,
and gave a little skip as she held out her hand to my master.

“Grandmother is terribly shocked,” she said laughing all over her face,
“but Walter Scott was pining for a run, and the maids are out, and
brother Carty too. I promised to stay fifteen minutes only, and to walk
up and down in sight of the house. I’m so glad you’ve come--scamper
now, Sir Walter and Boy Dog.”

I didn’t want to scamper, I wanted to hear her talk, for I was very
much interested in her. So I kept close to my master, and Sir Walter,
after finding out that I did not care to accompany him, ran off alone.
That dog always had such perfect manners--acquired abroad, for he had
been born in a castle in Scotland, and rather looked down on everybody
on the Drive, human beings and dogs too, because so few of us were
perfectly aristocratic.

He claimed that it was impossible to acquire finish of manner and
conventional elegance in a country as new as America. We used to have
heated arguments about it, and his known opinions on the subject kept
him from becoming a favourite among the dogs in our set.

He said I was an aristocro-democrat dog, while he was pure
aristocrat. I said I was a good, American dog, and believed in our
own institutions, George Washington and all that sort of thing; and I
claimed that if one worked hard enough at it, one could obtain ease of
manner and polish in this country as well as in any other.

Walter was never convinced. I used to say to him, “Don’t you call your
own owner a perfect lady?”

“Yes,” he would say uneasily, “yet her manners in repose, haven’t the
perfect repose that characterises the pose of women abroad.”

By abroad he meant “Europe,” which he never would say. Europe was “the
continent” to him. England, Scotland and Ireland were “home.”

“But you never were in Ireland,” I used to say to him, “how can you
call it ‘home’?”

“It is in the old country,” he would reply seriously.

To come back to the ladies. Walter or Sir Walter, as he preferred
being called, liked a dull, dead stillness of manner--a kind of
“I’ve-just-been-to-a-funeral,” or “I’m-just-going-to-one,” air.

Now I like liveliness in women. I’ve been abroad, and though I admire
Englishwomen and Scotchwomen, you can’t have as much fun with them, nor
can you tell what they’re thinking about as quickly as you can read an
American or a Frenchwoman. However, every dog to his liking. Give me
gaiety and fun--Sir Walter can keep his goddesses and statues.

Miss Stanna just suited me to-night. Her eyes were dancing, and her
little black pumps could scarcely keep on the sidewalk.

“What is the matter with you?” asked my master uneasily.

He was one of the executors of her father’s estate, and took a
business, as well as a friendly interest in the family.

She didn’t say “Nothing,” as most girls would have. She said,
“Everything.”

Master gave her a queer, sidelong look and said, “I heard my wife
remark to-day, that it is a long time since you have been to see her.”

“I’ve been busy,” said Stanna with a ripple of a laugh.

She had stopped, and was staring hard at a big, old-fashioned mansion
standing on one corner of the street we were passing. It was gloomier
than ever to-night in the electric lights. Even by daylight it looked
forbidding, except in front where it faced the Drive, for it was
surrounded by a semi-circle of huge apartment houses.

“Who has bought that old Sweeney house?” asked my Master, as he
followed her glance. “I see workmen there every day.”

“A queer man,” she said with an odd little smile, “a saloon-keeper from
the Bowery.”

Didn’t I prick up my ears! Something told me that was Gringo’s master.
You know dogs are very quick at understanding. I can’t explain why it
is, but something inside me tells me when to jump to a conclusion, and
I jump, and nearly always land on my feet.

“The Bowery,” said my master wonderingly.

“You never saw such an odd man,” she went on in a musing way, and with
her eyes fixed on the dark house standing so solemnly among its lighted
neighbours. “He’s not like any one I ever saw.”

“He isn’t that fellow who is being lionised because he made the fortune
out of the soft drink places, is he?” asked my master.

“The same--did you ever see him?”

“Haven’t had that pleasure,” said my master dryly.

“Mrs. van der Spyten took him up, and Grandmother followed suit. He’s
handsome in a cold, quiet way and, wonderful to relate--the dead image
of Napoleon.”

“Napoleon and the Bowery!” said my master disdainfully.

“Grandmother can make him talk more than any one,” continued Miss
Stanna. “She’s unearthed the fact that his father belonged to a good,
old English family, that he married a barmaid and ran away to America,
that he lived in Chicago, and had this son who seems to have lived
everywhere from Chicago to Rio Janeiro.”

“Is he a gentleman?” asked my master.

The girl turned on him quickly. “Now what do you mean by a gentleman?”

“You know,” he said doggedly.

“Well, he isn’t then. He knows how to read and write, and make money,
but a drawing-room throws him into a bored agony, and a dinner table is
an extended nightmare to his unaccustomed spirit.”

Master shook his head, and frowned terribly.

“But fancy the sensation, Rudolph,” continued Miss Stanna, “of
meeting some one to whom our tiresome conventionalities are blank and
unwished-for novelties. I sat beside him the other night at dinner.
Something told me he didn’t know what to do with his forks and spoons.”

“‘I dare you to eat with your knife,’ I whispered.”

“And did he?” asked my master breathlessly.

“Every morsel. Oh! the sensation. How was Grandmother going to cover
that up? She had excuses for everything. ‘Ah! the poor fellow,’ she
said, ‘deprived of his father at an early age, cast on the cold world,
obliged to eat when and where he could, then his noble qualities
asserting themselves, and bringing him back to the sphere in which he
was born, where he is amply prepared to shine as one of the leading
philanthropists of the day.’”

“So--that’s his pose, is it?” asked my master.

“His pose,” said the girl bursting into a laugh, “his pose--my dear
Rudolph--he affirms over and over again, ‘I didn’t sell temperance
drinks to reform men, I did it to make money,’ and no one believes
him. He’s a hero despite himself.”

“I believe you’re going to marry him,” said my master irritably.

“That’s what Grandmother says,” remarked Miss Stanna with an angelic
smile.

“I shall look into this,” said my master firmly. “We are your oldest
friends. Your Grandmother and Carty are coercing you, I believe.”

Stanna didn’t speak. “There he is,” she said softly.

We all looked across the street and there--I was going to say plodding,
but that is too heavy a word--walking steadfastly along the pavement,
was a man of medium-height, with a sour-looking bull-dog at his heels.

“Gringo, by all that’s wonderful,” I muttered.

“We didn’t know he was going to call this evening,” murmured Stanna.
“Grandmother will be distracted. She will have to go to the door.”

“You would better go home,” said my master dryly.

“No hurry,” said the girl mischievously, and she watched the man
go up the steps to her house which was another one of those big,
old-fashioned, detached ones, which peer out from between sky-scraping
apartment houses on the Drive, like Daniels in dens of lions.

Gringo did not follow his master, but went under the steps.

“Poor Grandmother,” said Stanna a few minutes later. “He is in the
library. She has run the shade away up--a storm signal. But I’m not
going in yet,” and she laughed as merrily as a child.

“Yes, you will, Stanna,” said my master decidedly, “and I’m going with
you. Come along.”

She shrugged her shoulders, said something in French that I did not
catch, and went across the street with him.

I ran first, and looked under the steps. “Hello! Gringo, old boy--a
thousand welcomes to Riverside Drive.”

The old dog’s pleasure was lovely to see. He came out, wagged his short
tail, even licked me. “I feel like a cat in a strange garret up here,”
he growled. “It’s fine to meet a friend. How have you been? Why didn’t
you call?”

“I was planning to come to-morrow,” I said. “I’ve been in attendance on
the best master a dog ever had. He keeps me with him all the time.”

“He’s no better than mine,” said Gringo shortly.

“I’m dying to see your master,” I replied. “Come in to this house. This
is a place where dogs are welcome.”

Gringo was just preparing to follow me up the steps, when Sir Walter
Scott stood before us--his tail rigid with disapproval.

“Good land!” muttered Gringo in my ear, “another one of these fool
’ristocrats. Mister’s gone batty on the subject of swells. I wish he’d
stayed on the Bowery.”

“I beg your pardon,” said Walter Scott in his mellifluous voice. “I
have not the pleasure of your acquaintance.”

“This dog is a friend of mine, Scott,” I said bluntly, “and I believe I
have the _entrée_ of your house. In insulting him, you insult me.”

Gringo was getting mad. “You high-toned dogs palaver too much. See the
teeth in those jaws,” and he opened his gaping cavern of a mouth at Sir
Walter Scott. “They’re my cards. I’m going in--I want to see master’s
girl.”

Walter Scott stepped back with a sneer on his handsome face, and was
going for a walk in a somewhat stiff-legged fashion, when Miss Stanna
called, “Come in, Walter darling.”

Walter darling was in a rage, but still he remembered his manners, and
stood back for Gringo and me to follow Miss Stanna into the library.



CHAPTER IX

I MEET GRINGO AGAIN


It was a very pleasant room. Old Mrs. Resterton hadn’t expected
callers, so the fire was very low in order to save the coal. However,
she was poking it, and it soon would be cheerful. There were plenty of
books in long, low cases, and a nice old-rose carpet on the floor, and
big easy chairs. And standing before one of those chairs was a very
remarkable-looking man.

He did look like Napoleon. He was proud, and quiet and
determined-looking, and his hair lay in a little wave on his forehead,
just the way Napoleon’s does in his pictures. When he spoke, his voice
was beautiful--low and resonant like a bell. My! my! what a look he
had--like a man that had seen everything. I saw that no matter what his
position in life had been, he was enormously clever.

Miss Stanna was very cool, and yet gracious with him, but her
grandmother, worldly old stager as she was, could not conceal her
satisfaction at his unexpected visit.

She gushed when she saw my master. “Oh! Rudolph, how opportune. I have
been hoping you would drop in. How are you, and how is dear Clossie?”

He assured her that Clossie was well, and then she said, “Mr. Bonstone,
this is our friend of whom I was speaking the other day--Mr. Granton.”

The two men shook hands, and looked at each other with sizing-up
glances, like two dogs that may fight and may not, just as the fancy
strikes them.

Gringo went under the sofa with me, and Walter Scott lay by the fire.

My! what a gossip we had. “Ain’t master the curly-headed boy,” said
Gringo admiringly. “Just up and leaves the Bowery, and comes in among
the swells, as cool as a cucumber. Picks the downiest peach of the lot.”

“But, Gringo,” I said uneasily. “You’ll not be at home in these higher
circles. You don’t understand.”

“Don’t understand,” he growled. “Don’t I understand? Can you spring at
a bull’s head, hold him, and pin him down without sweating? That’s what
my ancestors used to do. I’m thoroughbred--I am. But what they went
through is nothing to what I’ve gone through with these upper-crust
dogs. It’s enough to break your heart. At first I took their nonsense;
then I got my ginger up and just squared up to them. I don’t see any
use in their darned old politeness--forever scraping and bowing, and
doing the pretty. Yah! it makes me sick.”

“How does your master get on?” I asked curiously.

“Never turns a hair outside, but he’s hot under the collar--wears four
a day. This indoor life wilts him, and makes him sweat like a butcher.”

“But, Gringo, I thought your master was a saloon-keeper?”

“So he is, or was. He’s given up all his saloons, and gone into real
estate. He never stood behind a bar himself. He hired other men for it.
He was always running the streets, making or dropping money.”

“He looks interesting,” I said, poking my nose further out from under
the sofa to look at him.

“Interesting,” said Gringo scornfully, “he’s a whole bag full of men in
one. Watch that eyelid of his.”

Mr. Bonstone had very fine eyes. They seemed to talk without the aid of
his lips. I noticed that though he appeared to be taking his part in
the conversation, he scarcely opened his mouth.

“He’s a most intelligent listener,” I said, “but why doesn’t he talk
himself? Can’t he?”

“He’s afraid of making a break,” said Gringo with a sigh. “Used to
gabbing with men. If he kept his mouth open, something might slip out
that would frighten those two fashion-plates.”

“Does he really like Miss Stanna, or is he marrying for social
position?”

“He wants her,” said Gringo emphatically, “and he wishes she was a
barmaid.”

“Oh! I see--he’s a man that doesn’t want to shine in society.”

“If sassiety had one head, and master had a gun, I wouldn’t leave him
alone in the room with it,” remarked Gringo shortly.

“Don’t say ‘sassiety,’ Gringo,” I corrected. “Say ‘society.’”

He growled it over in his throat several times, and at last got it
right.

I was intensely interested in this affair, so I pushed my enquiries
further. “Does Miss Stanna know that your master likes her for herself
alone, and not because she belongs to a good old New York family?”

“Can you fool a woman?” said Gringo scornfully. “She knows all about
it, and more too--but poor mister, he’s in the dark. He thinks she’s
marrying him for his money, and he’s wondering whether she’ll ever be
willing to leave her gang for him.”

“Why doesn’t she tell him?”

“He wouldn’t believe her now. You just hold on, she’ll work that out
for herself--I wish they’d get married. I’m having the dickens of a
time in an uptown hotel. The dogs are enough to make you sick.”

“Are you coming to live in this Sweeney house after the wedding?”

“You bet, and I’ll be glad to get up where it’s open, but I say, old
fellow, give us a helping hand with these dogs up here, will you? Are
they very stuck-up?”

“Some of them--I’ll get you good introductions.”

“You’re a nobby fellow,” said poor Gringo with a roll of his eyes at
me. “You know the ropes, and I don’t. Mister’s got to be in society for
a while, and I’d like to get one paw in anyway.”

“You’ll get your four feet in,” I said, rising, for I saw master
bending over Mrs. Resterton’s hand. “I’ll run you as an eccentric dog
of distinguished lineage.”

“You might tell them my record,” said Gringo anxiously. “I licked
Blangney Boy in 1912, and Handsome Nick in 1913 and----”

“I don’t believe the fighting will count much up here,” I replied.
“It will be more your manners, and how much you are worth. You’ve got
to run on your master’s philanthropy, and his English ancestry. Don’t
mention his barmaid mother though.”

“Barmaids and barmen are just as good as anybody,” said Gringo stoutly.

“Yes, yes, I know, but there’s a lot of temperance sentiment up here,
and if you just have to talk along drinking lines, the wholesale
brewery or distillery act would take better than your retail trade.
Just you wait for your cue from me.”

Gringo’s eyes watered. “’Pon my word, I’m glad I met you,” he said. “If
ever you want a friend just reckon on my jaws.”

“Try to make it up with Sir Walter Scott,” I said anxiously. “He’s
a leader in dog society about here, though not a great favourite
personally. It wasn’t really etiquette for me to force you in, but I
just had to see your master.”

“I’ll not knuckle under to any dog,” said Gringo decidedly. “Take every
blow like a thoroughbred is my motto, but when you once tackle, never
give up till they come in and pick you up.”

“But you haven’t had any quarrel with him. Come now, go over to him and
say you’ve had a pleasant call, and hope he may come to see you some
day.”

Gringo hesitated, then he shuffled over to the hearth-rug.

Walter got up as he saw him approaching and presently I saw him lifting
his upper lip in a dog smile. He was satisfied.

“He will be a splendid friend to you,” I whispered in Gringo’s ear, as
they both approached me. “Cultivate him, cultivate him.”

For a wonder, and to my disappointment, master didn’t want to go for a
further walk that evening. I was a little troubled about him, as I ran
home after him. He was talking to himself, and sometimes he smiled, and
sometimes he frowned.

Arrived in our apartment, where his wife received him with uplifted
eyebrows, he did what he rarely did--sat down beside her for a talk.
There they were each side of the little table, the electric light
between them.

“Clossie,” he said, “I believe Stanna is going to be married.”

Phlegmatic as she was, the news of an engagement always excited Mrs.
Granton.

“To be married,” she repeated, “to whom?”

“To a fellow called Penny Nap--he used to keep a saloon.”

“Penny Nap--is that all the name he has?”

“That is his nickname, his whole name is Norman Bonstone.”

“Stanna--Penny Nap,” echoed Mrs. Granton in a bewildered way.

“I don’t like it,” said my master crossly. “I believe the girl is
being coerced. I can’t make her out; perhaps you could. Clossie, will
you go to see her?”

Mrs. Clossie’s eyelids narrowed, as she stared at her husband. “Oh!
certainly. You think I can find out whether she is happy about it? It’s
a great thing to have Stanna happy.”

Master didn’t say anything. He was dreaming, and gazing into the fire.

The matter must have made an impression on Mrs. Granton, for the next
afternoon she announced her intention of going to see the Restertons.
Master telephoned, found that they would be at home, then he set out
with his wife to walk the short distance to their house.

Something was the matter with the car, and it had been sent to the
repair shop, unfortunately, oh! most unfortunately.



CHAPTER X

MASTER GETS TWO SHOCKS


Master was very much pleased with his wife for gratifying him, and he
kept looking kindly down at her as she waddled along the sidewalk.

She was all in fur--coat, muff and cap. Several little baby seals must
have starved to death, and several mother seals must have died in agony
to fit her out.

She didn’t care, for one day I saw her read a story about the cruel
seal traffic, and throw it in the fire. I knew what it was, for master
told her about it, and then handed it to her.

Well, just as we got opposite Stanna’s house, she started to “jay-walk”
across the street, as Gringo says--that is, to cross it in the middle
of a block.

Master caught her arm, and said, “Wait a minute--there are too many
cars passing.”

“They’ll stop when they see us,” she said impatiently, and she pulled
her arm away from him. He tried to catch her again, but she was
slippery in her furs, then he got behind her, and literally tried to
run her across the street.

If she had only done as he wished her to do, but she stopped short, as
she saw a car bearing swiftly down upon her, and screamed.

Now I do think automobiles are driven too fast in many cases, but I
have seen Louis get wild with excitement, and say that he thinks he
will lose his mind over those persons who won’t use the crossings, and
who get right in front of his machine in the middle of blocks.

Poor mistress, she didn’t know anything about the trials of chauffeurs,
and, in a flash, right there before my eyes as I hesitated in the
background, for something told me what was coming--I saw her and my
dear master struck by a little coupé, rolled over and over in the dust,
and finally lying quite still.

I shrieked in agony, and a silly doglet who was gazing from a window
told me afterward that she nearly died laughing to see me standing with
one paw uplifted as if I could help them.

The people in the coupé were nearly crazy. They jumped out, lifted my
master who was merely dazed, then took up my poor mistress who was
bleeding from wounds on her pretty face, hurried her into a powerful
limousine that had stopped at sight of the accident, and rushed her to
a hospital.

I dashed after it, and kept it in sight till we got near the hospital,
where I sank on the ground, more dead than alive.

After a long, long time my master came out. A doctor took him in his
car, I got in beside them, and we drove sadly home.

That was the beginning of a terribly unhappy time for my master, and
a mildly unhappy one for me. The apartment was lonely without its
mistress. She had been selfish and disagreeable the most of the time
when she was there, but we missed her.

My master would sit and look at her empty chair, his books and papers
unheeded, then he would go to the telephone.

She got over her wounds and bruises, but she didn’t want to see my
master. The doctors said her mind seemed slightly affected--she had
better go away off in the country for treatment.

When this happened, there was a long silence from her, broken only
occasionally by a report from a physician. Weeks and weeks went by.
Miss Stanna got married, and went to live in the big stone house, but
master never went near her, and his only recreation was his long walks
at night.

We got very near to each other in those days, and Miss Stanna, or
rather Mrs. Bonstone, meeting me in the street one morning, stooped
down and patted me, saying, “You are a dear Boy-Dog; I don’t know what
poor Rudolph would do without you.”

This pleased me immensely, and I stuck to my dear master closer than
ever. Some of his friends were losing money by the war, but his
business had improved, and the more money he made, the more he gave
away.

Many a poor man blessed him for the help he rendered. The unemployment
was dreadful, and the ones master helped were just the ones that the
agencies for poor men did not touch. One night he kept a poor fellow
from drowning himself in the Hudson. Master argued with him for an
hour, and finally brought him home and had him sleep in his own bed.
The poor lad was a gentleman and a foreigner, and was too proud to let
his people know the plight he was in.

Some nights we cut across the city to Ellen’s avenue. It did us both
good to go there. That Ellen was the dearest old soul I ever saw, and
I loved to talk to Beanie now. I never saw such a changed dog. We used
to tramp up the six flights of stairs to her flat, and when Beanie felt
that we were coming, he would fly out of Ellen’s soft lap, and stand
whining at the door, so we always found them waiting for us.

Beanie was quite handsome now. He had lost much of his flesh, and had
quite a slender dog figure. Some one had told Ellen how valuable he
was, and she was just eaten up with pride to think that she had such a
well-bred dog.

[Illustration: BEANIE WAS QUITE HANDSOME NOW]

There were a good many coloured people on the avenue, and they all
petted Beanie, but instead of getting more stuck-up and proud, he had
become quite a humble dog.

He used to talk to me by the hour, and tell me how kind Ellen and
Robert Lee were to him. While master was talking to old Ellen, and
despite himself, letting her know what some of his troubles were,
Beanie would ask me questions about his dear mistress.

On this particular evening he had been talking as he often did about
her accident.

“Beanie,” I said, “she wasn’t a true friend to you; why are you so
sorry?”

“She brought me up,” he said. “She owned me. I can’t help loving her
better than any one in the world.”

“But she is a very poor sort of a tool--now you know she is.”

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said, shaking his head, “she was
my mistress.”

“I believe you’re right,” I said, “but I’m not that kind of a dog. I
can’t love persons unless I respect them.”

“Then you don’t know yet what true dog love is,” said Beanie. “I’d
rather be unhappy with my dear Mrs. Granton than to be happy here with
Ellen.”

“Is it because she is rich, and you like luxury?” I asked in a puzzled
way.

“No, no. If Mrs. Granton were Ellen, and Ellen were Mrs. Granton, it
would be all the same.”

“Well,” I said stoutly, “I’m glad you can’t live with her, for she
would have killed you by this time with over-rich food.”

“I wouldn’t have minded dying for her,” said Beanie simply.

“Well,” I said, “it takes all kinds of dogs to fit the different kinds
of owners,” and I ran to my own dear friend who was saying good-bye to
Ellen in a depressed fashion.

Evidently he had been telling her that the blessing she had promised
him had been changed into something else, for she was saying earnestly,
“Sometimes the wheels of the Lord’s chariot run slow, dear Sir,
sometimes fast, but dey always roll. Dey never stand still. You jes’
wait an’ hope. I feel as if somethin’ great was jes’ a-hangin’ over you
now.”

Master raised his hand, and a soft light fell on his handsome face from
Ellen’s single, dim gas jet--That’s another thing poor people don’t
have enough of--good light.

“Ellen,” he said, “if it ever does come, I’ll remember you.”

He talked to himself a good deal, when we started on our way home. We
were taking our usual route now--that is, through Morningside Park
which we climbed just under Cathedral Heights. We were getting home
much earlier than usual, and there was an evening service just closing
in the huge church which dominates this part of the city.

As we took the path which winds round the back of it, where the workmen
chip the stone all day, and will for many days to come (for it will
take years to finish the structure) an exquisite sound floated out on
the night air.

Through some unfinished part of the building, this boy’s voice reached
us--so clear, and sweet and promising. It soared by us, and right up to
the stars.

Master started, looked at first disturbed, then comforted. He stopped
short, gave one backward glance at the vast tract of brightly lighted
city seen from this eminence, then walked quickly toward a side door of
the cathedral, near one of the exquisite little chapels.

I had often been here before with him, but always in the daytime, and
he had made me wait for him outside, hidden behind some of the big
blocks of stone.

However, to-night I pressed in after him, and he did not rebuke me. I
knew a church was no place for dogs, but I was uneasy about my dear
master, and did not want to leave him alone.

As he pushed open the swing door, such a blast of music met us.
The whole thing was going now--organ and men’s voices, and it was
magnificent.

Dogs like music as well as human beings do. Nothing entertains me more
when I am tired than to have some lady sing and play the piano, and
even a victrola is better than dead quiet.

Well, my master walked heavily in through the little door, and skirting
the small chapels, went away down to the end of the church and took one
of the last seats near the big doors.

There he sat down--poor, weary man, and laid his head on the back of
the chair in front of him.

His soft hat rolled away in a corner, and I picked it up and put it on
the seat next him. Then I sneaked in close to his feet.

He was making the low, soft noise that some people make in churches,
for I have often stolen into them. This seemed to comfort him. The
music rose and fell, and the boy’s voice soared and soared till in that
evening hour, it seemed to be full of unnatural beauty and appeal.

It was almost dark where we were. A few of the lights high up in the
cathedral were going, but we were far away, and they scarcely reached
us. The organ went on after the human voices stopped--oh! the lovely
music--sometimes soft and low, then high, and clear and sweet, and
sometimes grumbling, like the waves of the sea in a storm.

I am only a dog, but the music told a story to me. I ran over all my
past life, my ups and downs, my sorrows and delights--and I thought,
if this means so much to me, when I understand it only on the surface,
what must it mean to the weary, clever human being beside me.

After a time, the organ stopped. I think the organist had been having
a good time to himself after the choir-boys had gone. Then a very
strange thing happened. A voice sounded through the cathedral--a warm,
persuasive voice, addressing all that army of vacant chairs.

My master started, and raised his head for a minute. Then it sank
again. Afterward, I heard the explanation. A preacher who had come from
a long way off, had heard of the teasing echo in the cathedral, and he
was testing his voice. Every word he said seemed to be repeated. The
immense building now looks as if it were cut in two, for it is only
half finished. When it is quite done in years to come, the echo, it is
said, will disappear.

I did not understand the words, but my master did. He listened
intently, and I, who had got to know him so well, knew that a change
was coming over his spirit. He was being comforted.

After a while the preacher followed the organist, and left the
cathedral, but still my master did not go home. I might have pulled
his coat and reminded him of the passage of time, but I judged that
this was not a case for my interference. I kept curled up on his feet,
so they would not get chilled from the stone pavement, and there we
sat, hour after hour, till I fell asleep.

After a time I felt his feet stirring, then he got up, found his hat,
and groping his way to the big doors, began to walk up and down, up
and down, very slowly and thoughtfully. I went to a corner and lay
down, and it did not seem very long before the doors were opened for an
early service. We were free. I gave him a long, searching glance, as we
emerged from the cathedral grounds to broad Amsterdam Avenue. He was a
different man. Something had happened in the church.

With a firm, free stride, he struck across the avenue, past Columbia
University and Broadway to the Drive. He was in a terrible hurry to get
home.

“Boy,” he said looking down at me with a light on his face I had
not seen there since the accident to my mistress, “it’s all right
now--happiness or sorrow. I shall not repine, but I feel as if we were
going to receive good news.”

I was so glad he said “we” and not “I.” It made me feel a part of his
family. I had to run to keep up with him at last. It seemed as if he
could not go fast enough. When we got to the apartment house, and he
entered the elevator which was always too speedy a one for my comfort,
he acted as if he thought it was going slowly.

He whipped out his latch-key, and stepped very quickly to the parlour,
and there on the table that always stood between him and his wife, lay
a telegram.



CHAPTER XI

NAPOLEON AND THE WASP


He tore open the telegram, exclaimed “Thank God,” clapped his hat on,
slammed the door in my face, and was gone--all inside a minute.

What had happened, that he had forgotten me? I screamed with rage and
disappointment, and scratched at the door, a thing I rarely do, for
nothing makes human beings so annoyed as to have their doors marked by
dogs.

The cook and the waitress came running from the kitchen. They were very
good friends of mine, for I took care to treat them with the respect
and consideration that every well-bred dog should show to servants. I
always wiped my feet on muddy days, and I never went into the kitchen
without an invitation.

“Bless the beast--what’s up with him?” exclaimed cook.

“Something, you may be sure,” said the waitress. “He’s got sense, that
dog has. I guess the old man has gone and left him.”

I pulled cook’s cotton dress with my teeth. I led her to the telegram,
and nosed it over to her. Alas! I could not read it. That bit of paper
had driven master from his home.

Cook caught it up, and then gave a screech. “She’s gone and done
it--doesn’t that jostle you!”

What had who done--mistress I supposed--why didn’t she tell me, and I
whined and howled; but they paid no attention to me till Louis came
in for his orders, as he usually did at this time in the morning,
not sauntering, but hurrying and breathing heavily as if he too were
excited.

There was a queer smirk on his face, and he opened his mouth to speak,
but he had no chance to say anything for the two women just yelled at
him, “We’ve got a baby--we’re just like other folks--read that--ain’t
it the superfine!”

Now I thought I would go crazy. I barked, and jumped, and screamed, and
no one rebuked me.

Cook sat down in mistress’s chair and fanned herself with her apron,
Annie the waitress took master’s chair and drummed her fingers on the
table, and Louis sat on the fender-stool with his cap on and whistled.

“Let’s have our coffee in here,” said cook, so they had a lovely time
by the fire, and talked about the coming of the baby, and how it would
turn the family topsy-turvy.

“The old man wasn’t in last night, was he?” remarked Louis.

“No,” said cook, “he wasn’t--something new for him.”

“That kid elevator boy gave me some mouth about it,” said Louis
sheepishly.

“What did he say?” asked Annie.

“Grinned like a fool, and asked me where my old man got that dust on
his coat and hat.”

I whined eagerly. Oh, if I could only speak, and tell them it was
cathedral dust. Rich people don’t know what sharp-eyed critics they
have in their dogs, and cats and servants.

“I hope you gave him a smack,” said Annie.

“Bet yer life, didn’t I,” said Louis. “Says I, ‘Young feller, if my
old man was out all night, he in no mischief were--he ain’t that
colour--see!’ and I digged him under the ribs.”

Cook and Annie shrieked with laughter, and said they’d have their dig
at the elevator boy too, then finally they all went to their work.
Cook invited me politely to sit in the kitchen, but after my breakfast
I ran to master’s room and sat on the window seat looking up and down
the Drive. I waited for him till late in the afternoon. Then I knew he
would be better pleased to have me taking the air, so I ran to the hall
door, and barked till Annie opened it. The elevator boy took me down
below, and the door-man let me out on the sidewalk.

It was a pleasant day with a brisk wind sweeping in off the Hudson.
Many nurses and children were out, and many dogs. I knew all the
canines in this neighbourhood by sight now, and had a speaking
acquaintance with all those worth knowing. I ran into one of the little
parks, and there saw a group of dogs without leashes who were standing
talking together, and gazing at a Dachshund who was conceitedly staring
in what he thought was the direction of Germany, but what was really
Hoboken.

“Good afternoon, boys,” I said, “what’s the news?”

“We’re just deciding which of us shall have the pleasure of licking
that hyphenated-American dog,” said a handsome, black French bulldog.
“For days he’s been pushing that griffon Bruxelles about, and some of
us think it’s time for us to stand up for the Belgian dog. To-day, the
news of the war has been very good for the Germans, and the Dachshund
has been positively unbearable.”

“I’d like to have the honour of settling him,” said an Irish wolfhound,
“but the odds wouldn’t be even.”

A Scotch terrier bristled up, “I maunna, canna, winna yield the
privilege to none. I hae it.”

“It’s mine,” said a Welsh terrier angrily.

I burst out laughing. “Fight him if you like. You’ll fight me after.”

They stared at me, and the Dachshund threw me a grateful glance.

“This is a free country for dogs as well as men,” I said. “Let him
talk. Don’t listen, if you don’t like what he says.”

“Are you a pro-German?” enquired an English bulldog furiously.

“If you are, I’ll chew you up,” an Irish terrier seconded him.

In reality, I am a dog that is for the Allies, but I wouldn’t give them
the satisfaction of telling them.

“Gentlemen dogs,” I said, “I’m not talking about who I’m for, or who
I’m against----”

“You should say ‘whom,’” interjected an English setter who was a great
purist as regards dog language.

“Thank you,” I said bowing to him, “I’m for free speech. Say what you
like, as long as you’re not insulting.”

“He was insulting,” said the whole group of dogs. “He said that
Riverside Drive would soon be German.”

“That’s not insulting,” I replied, “why, that’s flattering. Think what
a nice place it must be, if the Germans want it.”

Every dog showed his teeth--I don’t know what the upshot would have
been, if their various owners had not called them and put their muzzles
on. While we had been gossiping, the ladies had been talking together.
They were very nice ladies, and law-abiding in general, but they did so
hate the muzzle law, and were so sorry to see their poor dogs pawing
their noses in misery, that they had the habit of carrying the muzzles
in their hands, and slipping them on the dogs when they saw a policeman
coming. It certainly was absurd to see baby spaniels, and toy dogs of
all kinds with muzzles on their tiny noses. They couldn’t have bitten
hard if they had tried.

As the dogs who had been growling about the Dachshund left, they threw
furious backward glances at the conceited little scamp who ran up to
me, and licked gratefully a little piece of mud off my back.

“_Danke schön_,” he murmured.

“Can’t you control yourself a bit?” I asked, “and not be so
indiscreet? There wasn’t a German dog in that crowd. You’d have had a
bite or two, if I hadn’t come along.”

“It was for the Fatherland,” he exclaimed, “and the sacred domestic
hearth prized by dogs as well as men.”

“You say that like a little parrot,” I remarked, “and I don’t believe
you bullied that griffon on your own responsibility. You’ve always been
a good dog up to within a week. Who’s been coaching you?”

The little dog instead of answering, looked mad, and nipped me quite
quickly on the hind leg.

“Oh! you saucy hyphen,” I said--his name was Grosvater-Leinchen, and
I rolled him over and over a few times in the dust, like a little
four-legged worm.

He got up, looking very dusty, and shook himself.

“Who’s been debauching you?” I said fiercely. “Come on now--I can bite
as well as any dog,” and I showed him two rows of strong teeth.

“If I make new friends, it’s no business of yours,” he said sulkily.

“Oho!” I said. “I know now. It’s that new German police dog that has
come to the Drive. So he told you the patter about the domestic hearth.
Now I’ll tell you something more. He’s a stranger, he doesn’t fit in
here. You’re a New Yorker, and subject to the law of the Drive, which
is that a dog must function.”

“I don’t know what that is,” he said irritably.

“Why, you’ve got to fit in here, and play the game. You must respect
the rights of other dogs, and not impose your little Dachshund will on
us. Did you ever hear of liberty, equality, fraternity?”

“No,” he said in an ugly little voice, that told me the spell of the
police dog was still upon him.

“Well,” I said, “for you, that means that if the griffon gets here
first, and wants the warmest patch of sunlight, you’ve got to let him
have it. You’ve no business to drive him out.”

“But I’m a bigger dog,” he said in surprise, “and I’m German. He’s only
a Belgian.”

“Oho! that’s it, is it?” I replied. “You think German dogs lead the
universe.”

“Of course they do.”

“Well then, if they do, they ought to be perfect.”

“They are perfect,” he said in astonishment. “Didn’t you know that?”

“No,” I said, “I didn’t. I believed American dogs, and English dogs,
and even coloured dogs, are just as good as German dogs, if they behave
themselves.”

“You’re a socialist,” he said, “a dangerous dog.”

I stared at his ridiculous, little, short-legged swagger, as he swung
up and down before me.

“Now I’m going to tell you something,” I said, “as force alone appeals
to you. That little griffon belongs, as you probably know, to Mrs.
Warrington whose sister married an Englishman--Lord Alstone. Now I
happen to know that Lady Alstone is to arrive here to-morrow on a visit
to her sister, and with her ladyship comes her English mastiff. You’re
probably going to get the greatest licking a dog ever got, for the
griffon and the mastiff are always very chummy, and he will be sure to
tell of the treatment he has been receiving from you. A family dog will
fight you far harder than outsiders like the Drive dogs.”

The Dachshund looked alarmed.

“I’m sorry for you,” I said, “_auf wiedersehen_.”

“I say,” he exclaimed hopping after me, “I don’t want to be torn to
pieces.”

“How can you be,” I retorted, “you’re perfect--being a super-dog,
you’ll find a way out.”

“If that mastiff hurts me, the police dog will kill him,” he said
angrily.

“Ah! perhaps,” I observed. “Of course the police dog is a good size,
but an English mastiff----”

The Dachshund looked still more thoughtful. “I believe I’ll let the
griffon have the sunny corner in future,” he said. “After all, I’m not
living in Germany. I’ll tell the police dog I’ve got to be American, as
long as I’m here. If I go back to Germany, I can be German.”

“All right,” I said heartily. “That’s a wise dog. Now why don’t you run
right on to the griffon’s house, and tell him that? Get your story in
before the mastiff arrives.”

Off hopped Mr. Dachshund across the Drive, keeping a bright look-out
for policemen, and I felt that in future he would be friendly with the
griffon.

I chuckled to myself, as I ran on to the Bonstones, for that was my
objective point. Evil communications corrupt good manners even in dogs.

The air was delicious. I had no muzzle on, so I went slowly, and with a
wary eye for those nice men the police, who would be our best friends
if it weren’t for the health commissioner. It is a great fashion with
some persons to run down policemen. I always like them and firemen, and
have no admiration whatever for soldiers. I hate to see things torn
and mangled. Policemen and firemen try to keep things together, and I
believe if every policeman in every big city had a good police dog,
there would be less killing and wounding of human beings.

The New York policemen are sharp, so I had to do a good deal of dodging
behind pillars and in shrubbery, and twice I had to run away down to
the river bank to elude them. It was close on dinner time, when I
reached the Bonstone mansion.

I ran round to the back to get in. Fortunately the chauffeur, who was
a friend of Louis, knew me, and when I whined, he left the car he was
cleaning in the garage, and opening a side door of the house, said,
“Run in, purp--I’ll bet you’ve come to call on the bride.”

I had, and I ran through back halls and passages right up to her
bed-room. She was dressing, not for her own dinner only, but for a
fancy dress ball to be held in the house of a friend afterward. She
looked like the most beautiful picture I ever saw. Most women don’t
look like pictures, but she nearly always does. She was putting on
the costume Sir Walter had told me about--the wasp creation, with the
gauzy wings and fluffy flounces. The skirt was rather short, and showed
pretty striped stockings--yellow and black, Sir Walter said they were.
Then there were tiny little satin shoes--oh! she certainly was very
gauzy, and waspy and pretty.

Miss Stanna, or perhaps I should now say Mrs. Bonstone, had a French
maid dressing her--a well-trained one, for her mistress had scarcely to
open her lips to give directions.

Once she murmured, “_Trop serrée_;” and another time she said, “_Les
gants jaunes_.”

Her flowers were lovely--orchids that nodded like big insects, and
looked the shade of her gown.

When she glided from the room, the maid, who was a merry-looking
creature herself, stared after her, and said with quite an English
accent, “She knows how to get herself up--the monkey.”

Her voice was kind when she said it. We dogs don’t take much stock in
words; it’s the tone that counts with us.

I don’t believe Mrs. Bonstone would ever be unkind to any one, unless
they deserved a good scolding, in which case I think she could give it.

Well, I travelled on behind the wasp gown down to the drawing-room.
Mrs. Bonstone had greeted me politely, when I went in, but very
dreamily. Her alert mind was not at present on dogs.

Sir Walter stood under the statue of a Grecian boy in the lower hall,
and as usual was the essence of courtesy. He came forward to greet me,
bowing his noble head politely, and never saying a word about my not
having called sooner, escorted me into the fine, big room, which had
been done over with furnishings in which a lot of gold glittered.

“Must have cost thousands and thousands,” I observed.

Sir Walter, who did not think it good manners to mention prices of
things, and yet who felt it incumbent on him to say something, murmured
merely, “The new man is princely in his generosity.”

“Where’s Gringo?” I inquired anxiously.

“Never leaves his master--look behind Mr. Bonstone’s patent leather
shoes.”

Sure enough, there was old Gringo, resplendent in a new collar which
seemed to worry his neck, and panting happily beside a big fire.
He looked like a big, ugly, brindled splotch on the white velvet
hearth rug, but attractive, so very attractive, and just brimful of
originality. He wasn’t going to turn into a conventional dog, just
because he had come to live on Riverside Drive.

He pricked his rose ears when he saw me, and scuffed over to nose, or
rather to lip me a welcome, for his old nose had such a lay-back that
it wasn’t the use to him that mine was, for example. Mr. Bonstone and
his wife didn’t pay any attention to us. They were staring at each
other, as if they were at some kind of new and agreeable entertainment.
However, the man’s keen glance soon fell on us.

“Dog-show?” he asked agreeably. “I heard there was one going on.”

Mrs. Bonstone laughed in a healthy, happy way, as if she hadn’t a
care in the world. Something about us--we three dogs standing in the
middle of the room, politely greeting each other, seemed to excite
her risibles, till she almost lost control of herself. Or was there
something back of us in her mind? I guessed the latter by the way she
looked at her husband when she caught his arm and said, “Norman, let’s
go in to dinner.”

The butler, who stood in the doorway, was just announcing this, the
most agreeable time of the day. He was a new man, and gave me a
frightful stare. I placed him as a dog-hater.

Mr. Bonstone and his wife took their dinner in almost profound silence.
Whether it was the presence of the servants in the room or not, I don’t
know, but they seemed to be quite happy without talking.

After dinner they went, not back to the drawing-room, but to the
smoking-room, which was furnished in quiet, dull colours. There were
some big, leather-covered chairs by the fire, and Mr. Bonstone sat down
in one, and resting his head on the back of it, stared at the ceiling,
while his wife wandered about the room.

Neither Mr. Bonstone nor my master smoked, and for that I was very
thankful, for though I can stand the smell of tobacco I, like most
normal dogs, do not care for the smell of anything burning. I love
strong odours, but not when they are on fire.

We dogs were ordered to go to the kitchen to get some dinner, and
when we came back, the Bonstones were talking, but not about anything
interesting to me, so I had a little conversation with Gringo.

We were going under the table which was covered with books and
magazines. Underneath was a fine Turkish rug which made the floor very
comfy, and I was just going to lie down on it, when Mrs. Bonstone said
politely, “Lie by the fire, Boy, you are an honoured guest.”

I had begged Sir Walter to leave us for a while. He was thoroughly
exhausted, having had a twenty-mile tramp with Mr. Bonstone that
afternoon, and though he urged that his duties as host demanded that
he stay till my call was over, I freed him from all obligations of a
social nature, and told him to run off for forty winks, and come back
refreshed.

Gringo and I were not sorry to be alone. “If I could tell you, old
fellow,” I whispered in his soft, well set-up ear, “how sorry I’ve been
not to take you about a bit and introduce you, but my master needed me,
and I was consoled by hearing that Walter Scott was doing the handsome
thing by you.”

“That dog’s right on the level,” said Gringo heartily. “He’s not used
to my sort. In that castle in Scotland, where he was born, there was
a set of dog-nobs. He never ran with common dogs till I came, but as
he said himself, ‘My dear mistress sets the pace in this house--if she
accepts you, it is my duty to accept you, too.’”

“He has introduced you properly to our set, hasn’t he?” I asked eagerly.

“He has done it fine. I know the whole bunch from those babies in arms,
the toy spaniels, up to the biggest mastiff that stalks the Drive.”

“And what do you think of them?”

“I hate most of them,” said Gringo stoutly, “can’t make ’em out. On the
Bowery, we’re honest--if a dog likes you, you’re made aware of it. If
he hates you, he lies low for you.”

“Then you think we’re deceitful up here,” I said with a troubled air.

“Deceitful ain’t the name for it. They smile and scrape, and give a
polite look in the eye, but I’m dead sure they’re grinning behind my
back. I’ll never like these up-town dogs. Me for the simple life and
honesty.”

I said nothing. What he affirmed was partly true, but he was
over-suspicious. The trouble was, his manners weren’t right, and his
sub-conscious self told him he was not in his proper _milieu_.

“By the way,” he said, “I note you’re as well-known as the cops. How
did you fix that with so many dogs about? You’ve not been here long.”

“I don’t know,” I said with a smile. “It’s easy for me to make friends.
I don’t usually stay long in a place, and it’s get acquainted in a
hurry, or not at all--a sort of ‘dogs-that-pass-in-the-night’ fashion.”

“Some day I want to swap experiences with you,” he said.

“With pleasure,” I replied.

“You like your present crib, don’t you?” he inquired.

“Rather, but I’m worried about my master just now.”

Gringo wasn’t listening to me. “Hush up, old man, for a bit,” he said
anxiously. “I believe that girl is wasping master again.”

I looked over my shoulder. Mrs. Bonstone had wiggled on to the arm of
the huge chair her husband was sitting in.

“Odd, isn’t it, Norman,” she was saying, “that you so love this
conventional life after all your Bohemianism.”

Mr. Norman gave her a queer look from his expressive eyes, and said
nothing.

“I should think you would hate evening dress and tight shoes and
dinners and dances, after the prairies and South America and--the
Bowery.”

“Master’s in a cold perspiration; he don’t like those things--he hates
’em as much as I do,” said Gringo indignantly, “but he thinks she likes
’em, so he keeps his mouth shut.”

In listening to him, I lost Mr. Bonstone’s reply, and Gringo went on
wrathfully, “Ain’t she the limit! She sits there night after night and
sticks pins in my poor boss, and he thinks she’s cute and clever.”

“I guess you don’t understand her any more than you do the Riverside
dogs,” I said. “Looks to me as if she liked him.”

“Then,” replied Gringo, “why don’t she tell him so, instead of wasping
his life out?”

“Gringo,” I said, “some ladies often wrap truth all round with
affectations, till it’s like a little lost soul in the centre of a big
ball.”

“Then give me just plain women,” said the old dog sulkily.

“Norman,” Mrs. Bonstone was saying, “how would you like to give a ball.
We’ve got to return some of the hospitality that’s been showered on
us.”

“Poor kid master,” groaned Gringo, “he goes to those fool shows, and
watches her dancing, and buttons and unbuttons his gloves, and chokes
his yawns, and thinks he’s having a good time.”

Mr. Bonstone was speaking. “Stanna--you may give a ball, or a funeral,
or anything you choose. I’ll foot the bill.”

She struck her gaudy heels together, and said nothing for a long time.

Her maid came in, laid a wonderful evening cloak on the back of a
chair, and withdrew.

The sight of it seemed to irritate Mrs. Bonstone, for she frowned at
it, and after a time, stretched out her hand, pulled the lovely cloak
from the back of the chair near her, threw it over Gringo and me, and
disdainfully tucked it round us with her foot.

Gringo was nearly dead with the heat of the fire, and as he wriggled
out of the cloak, he muttered wrathfully, “Why don’t the boss give her
a hauling over the coals? Down on the Bowery, she’d get it, and be
the better for it. The way men fetch and carry for the ladies in the
‘aileet of the bowe mond,’ makes me sick!”

I snickered at his French, then turned my attention to Mr. Bonstone who
was saying quietly, “You’ve changed your mind about going to that fancy
dress affair to-night, haven’t you?”

“I believe I have,” she said dreamily, and she slipped from the arm of
his chair to another big one, and sinking back in it, fixed her eyes on
the fire.

“Haven’t you a farm somewhere near here?” she asked presently.

An eager look came into Mr. Bonstone’s eyes. “Yes,” he said shortly. “I
have.”

“Let’s pretend we’re the farmer and his wife,” she said coaxingly.
“I’ve just been out to the stable, and put the hens to bed.”

Mr. Bonstone smiled. “Suppose we say hen-house,” he remarked. “Hens, as
a rule, don’t sleep in the stable.”

“Well--the hen-house,” she said. “You’ve just been milking the cows.”

“I can milk,” said Mr. Bonstone, “but I don’t count on ever doing it
myself.”

“Why not?” asked Mrs. Bonstone.

“Wouldn’t pay--I’d better do the head-work, and have a man attend to
the cows.”

Mrs. Bonstone pressed her pretty lips together, and went on, “The
horses, the cows and the hens are all asleep. What would the farmer and
his wife do to amuse themselves for the evening?”

“I know what the farmer would do,” said Mr. Bonstone, “he’d tot up his
accounts, read the paper, and go to bed. He’d be dead tired.”

“And what would I do?” she asked.

“You’d do likewise, if you were a real farmer’s wife,” said Mr.
Bonstone. “Your feet would be so sore, you couldn’t stand on them.”

“How lovely!” she exclaimed, “to be really tired.”

“What set you out to talk about this?” he inquired curiously. “You’d
never live on a farm.”

“Yes, I would,” she replied earnestly, “I’m tired of balls, I’m tired
of the opera, I’m tired of dances, I’m tired of dinners, I’m tired of
fine dresses--I’m tired of everything I’ve had. I want something new.”

“If you want novelty,” he said breathlessly, “I’ve got that farm--I
never thought you’d go on it.”

“I want to go there,” she said. “I want to leave here. I want chickens
and cows and more dogs.”

“You’d miss this life,” he said curtly.

“No, no, I would not. I long for the country--the real country--let
Grandmother have this house.”

“Well, ain’t she the ice-chest,” observed Gringo severely.

Mr. Bonstone’s eyes were going round the room. I felt what he was
thinking of. Worldly-wise old Mrs. Resterton would be enchanted to
preside over this mansion.

“If she comes here,” he said at last, “you must come, too, when you
like. You are a city girl, the country will bore you after a time.”

She made an impatient gesture. “You don’t understand. I like what you
like. You despise bricks and mortar, I despise them.”

“Suppose I haven’t money enough to run two houses,” he said.

“I don’t care--I can work,” and she opened out her two tiny hands.

Mr. Bonstone said nothing, and looked down at Gringo.

“Believe me, he’s happy,” muttered the old dog in my ear. “I see it in
his eyes. He thinks the Wasp is beginning to like him.”

“I thought you liked money,” said Mr. Bonstone after a long time.

“I love it,” said the Wasp promptly, “heaps of it, but I like you
better.”

“He’ll have to do something now,” said Gringo anxiously. “He’s very
chilly in his ways.”

A red-hot spark just then flew out of the fire on my coat, and I was
very much occupied with my little burn for a few seconds. When I again
turned my attention to the room, Gringo was on his feet ejaculating
excitedly, “Mister’s left his chair--he’s walking, fast round the
room--he’s powerfully pleased--come on, let’s join the procession,” and
he gambolled to the other side of the table.

I love to see human beings happy, and I trotted after Gringo. Mrs.
Bonstone’s face shone like a fairy’s, and she was softly beating her
hands on the arms of her chair.

“Never again tell me your master has cold eyes,” I said to Walter
Scott, who had just come to the room, and stood in the doorway gazing
in an amazed and disapproving manner at the cloak on the floor, his
master’s excited face, and Mrs. Bonstone’s resplendent eyes.

“My dear lady is not going to the ball,” faltered Sir Walter--“she’s
lost her repose of manner, and she’s singing, ‘Tum Tum,’ and beating
her hands on the chair--what would Grandmother say, if she were here?”

“Fortunately, Grandmother is in Palm Beach,” I muttered.

Gringo was in high feather. As he trailed round the room after his
master, and I trailed after him, he said gleefully, “Thank goodness,
young missie has quit her fooling. She’s let mister know she wants to
do whatever he wants to do. Now he won’t be so bothered. He can get to
work to carry out his schemes for improving country life without having
to gloom round after her all the time.”

A thought came flashing into my mind. “Oh! if my poor master only had
his sick wife home again--I believe he would look just as blissful as
Mr. Bonstone does.”



CHAPTER XII

THE GREAT SECRET


Just as I thought this, wonderful to relate, the door was pushed wholly
open, and there stood master. His face was on fire--all lit up by his
blazing eyes.

Mrs. Wasp rose pretty quickly to her feet, although master had seemed
to take no note of her excitement.

“I’ve got such news,” he said, “I couldn’t wait to be announced.
Stanna, I’ve got a son--a little son.”

“A baby,” she screamed--“impossible--you’re dreaming,” and she went up
to him, and shook him.

“It’s true, true,” he said, and he stared at Mr. Bonstone who had
grasped his hand and was shaking it heartily.

“Take your hat off, take your hat off,” ejaculated Mrs. Bonstone, and
her husband helping her, they pushed my dear master into the middle
chair by the fire, and sat down each side of him.

Here he was at home in the heart of his friends, and one of them he had
seen only once before. But that made no difference. If Mr. Bonstone had
had a brother, he could not have surveyed him more affectionately than
he was surveying my dear master.

I was licking his shoes, his hands--I was nearly crazy with delight,
and even Gringo and Walter Scott were grinning.

“Now, tell us all about it,” said Mrs. Wasp, clapping her hands, “but
first, are you hungry? You look as pale as a ghost. When did you last
have something to eat?”

“I don’t know,” said master faintly.

“The bell, Norman,” she said. “Quick now, Jeannie,” she said to the
maid who appeared almost instantaneously; “a tray right here--soup, tea
and toast, for the present. In two hours we will have supper in the
dining-room--chicken salad, cold meats, hot rolls, anything else nice
that cook can get us.”

Master, who was listening, murmured, “How very kind you are, Stanna.”

“No, Rudolph, not kind,” she said sweetly. “Just returning some of your
many attentions to a tiresome girl. Now, tell us about it--tell us.
You’re quite sure about the baby, you’re not deluded--that would be too
cruel.”

“I’ve seen it, handled it,” said master starting up in his chair and
pushing his hair back from his forehead with both hands--a trick he had
when he was greatly excited. “It’s a beauty.”

“Boy or girl?” cried Stanna.

“Boy.”

“And Clossie--tell us about her. I thought she was so very ill.”

“She has been. She is worn to a shadow. Her flesh is gone----”

“Clossie thin!” ejaculated Mrs. Bonstone.

“As a wraith. I scarcely knew her. She hid her face from me, the poor
child. She cried--she thinks she is disfigured for life. She, the
mother of my child. I tell you, she’s glorious--absolutely glorious. I
never saw a more beautiful woman.”

Mrs. Bonstone exchanged a glance with her husband. Master was
frightfully excited. Then she passed a hand over her forehead.

That was a hint to her husband not to excite their friend, and the poor
man had never opened his lips. Ladies are queer, even the best of them.

To cap the climax, she said, “Norman, you mustn’t stimulate Rudolph.
You two are to be good friends, and will have plenty of time to talk
bye and bye.”

Mr. Bonstone gave her one of his speaking glances, then as master was
breaking again into animated speech, he said, briefly, “You’re done
out. Rest for a bit. I’m going to get you a drop of stimulant,” and he
with his wife vanished from the room.

Left alone with me, for Gringo and Walter Scott with exquisite dog
propriety had followed their owners, master gave me the whole story.

“Come up, Boy,” he said patting his knees, and I jumped up.

It seems he had rushed to a train in the morning, reached the country
place where the hospital is situated, and driven rapidly there.

A smiling nurse had led him to a room where there were ever so many
baby cots all tagged and numbered. She showed him one lovely, weeny
child tagged Granton. Master nearly went crazy. He couldn’t, and
wouldn’t, believe at first that it was his, and the head physician
explained, that after consultation with master’s own physician in New
York, they had decided to gratify Mrs. Granton, who had wished to
surprise her husband, and not let him know that a baby was coming to
her. It was unusual, the doctor said, but it had to be done, as they
feared for her reason, if they deceived her.

“Take me to her, take me to her,” said my master. “I forgive the
deception. The mother of my child can do no wrong.”

At first he had great trouble. She longed to see him, yet did not
want to. There was a great change in her appearance. Finally, after
sending message after message, he prevailed upon her to let him pay a
five-minute call.

He did not tell me everything just here, but I knew by what he did say,
that dear mistress had lost all her pretty looks, and yet now she was
more attractive than ever in his eyes.

“It’s the soul shining through, Boy, that counts,” he said with tears
in his eyes. “She is a madonna now.”

When was the baby coming home, that is what I wanted to know, but I did
not find out till the Bonstones came back in the room.

Mistress and young master were to return home in three weeks.

“And the baby’s name?” asked Mrs. Bonstone, when master was taking his
soup and looking much refreshed.

Master dropped his spoon. “There’s only one name in this country good
enough for my boy,” he said intensely.

“Oh! George Washington, of course,” she replied. “I might have known.”

After master took his soup and crackers, or “biscuits,” as Walter Scott
calls them, he simply collapsed with fatigue. He couldn’t wait for
supper.

You see he had been up all the night before in the cathedral, but he
did not tell them this. Even with one’s best friends, I notice, human
beings have reticences.

“I tell you everything, Boy,” said master to me afterward, “for you
can’t repeat. If dogs could talk, they would not be such valuable
friends to us.”

Mr. Bonstone was just going to take master upstairs, and put him to
bed, when to the amazement of the men, Mrs. Bonstone began to cry.

“Stanna,” said her husband in a frightened way.

“I want a baby,” she said in a choked voice.

They stared at her, and so did we three dogs.

“Perhaps, if you wait,” said master kindly.

“I want one to-night,” she said mopping her eyes. “There are so many
poor little babies without a home--unhappy little creatures, crying in
the night. I want to adopt one.”

Mr. Bonstone, as if he were telling her he would go down town and buy
her a present, said, “Wait till I come downstairs. I’ll get you one.”

She threw herself in a big chair, and cried harder than ever. I think
she was overwrought, and was having a spell of nerves. I followed my
master and Mr. Bonstone upstairs.

“Look here, Bonstone,” said my master, “it isn’t so easy to pick up a
baby at a minute’s notice. You’d better put her off till to-morrow.”

“She’s got to have it to-night,” said he, pressing his thin lips
together in his inflexible way.

“There are all kinds of difficulties,” continued my master, “signing
contracts, proving life support and legacy after your death, giving
references and so on.”

“There are babies ready to jump into a home,” said Mr. Bonstone.

“I have it,” exclaimed master as he sat on the edge of the bed, in a
magnificent guest room. “Go to old Ellen, I’ll give you her address,
and take my dog. He’ll lead you to her apartment.”

This just suited me. I hadn’t been out all day, except for my little
walk before dinner, and I jumped and fawned round Mr. Bonstone.

“Who is she?” he inquired in his short way.

Master explained how much he thought of her, and even wrote her a note,
introducing Mr. Bonstone.

“Does she know?” inquired Mr. Bonstone.

“About the baby?” said my master with a heavenly smile. “She was the
first one to get a telegram.”

Mr. Bonstone didn’t understand this, but I did. Old Ellen would be in
the seventh heaven, and Robert Lee and Beanie would be half way there.

I danced downstairs, and danced up to Mrs. Bonstone, and she let her
handkerchief fall on the floor like a little damp cobweb. Then she
sniffed, and asked her husband to lend her his.

He took out his big one for her, then he telephoned for a taxi-cab.

“If you let the baby get cold, I’ll never forgive you,” said Mrs.
Bonstone.

“It won’t get cold,” he said, and seizing her satin, fur-trimmed cloak,
he doubled it all up, and put it under his arm.

Gringo wanted to come too, but Mr. Bonstone said, “Go back, your face
might frighten it.”

Gringo wasn’t very well pleased, though he saw the wisdom of this
remark. I often had long arguments with him about the bulldog visage.
I claimed that bulldogs, Boston terriers, any dogs with lay-back
noses and undershot jaws, were displeasing and terrifying to timid
human beings. Give me a dog with a good facial expression, and a head
not running all to jaws. Of course, I loved Gringo because he was my
friend, but I would rather have had him a long-headed, amiable-looking
fellow, if I’d been making him.

I scampered down the steps and out-of-doors like the wind, and was
waiting by the taxi when Mr. Bonstone came. One would have thought
that his wife would have accompanied him on so important a quest, but
strange to say she did not seem to want to come, and Gringo, who heard
her talking to herself after we left, said that her staying behind was
a bit of feminine mother-wit. She wanted a little poor child to make
it happy. There was no doubt of her loving it, but she wasn’t so sure
of her husband. If he chose it, he would be more interested, and if
at any time he found fault with the child, she could say, “Why, it was
your choice.”

It didn’t take us very long to get to old Ellen’s avenue, which was
quite bright and lively, but her flat was dark and quiet, when we
mounted the long stairs. She had evidently gone to bed.

Mr. Bonstone had a hard time to find the bell, for, as he was not a
smoker, he did not carry matches. After a long time of ringing, Robert
Lee appeared and asked drowsily what was wanted.

As Mr. Bonstone spoke to him, he flashed me a glance of recognition,
then went to his mother’s bed-room, where Beanie was barking lustily.

Mr. Bonstone and I entered, and he sat in Ellen’s rocker while I ran to
greet Beanie, and talk over the joyful news with him. The dog was, as I
thought he would be, wild with delight.

“I want to see it--I want to see it,” he said over and over, and I
promised that by hook or by crook, I would manage so that he might see
this little baby of his dearly loved mistress.

“I should think you’d be jealous,” I said. “Mistress will never want
you home again, if she has a baby to play with.”

He looked thoughtful, but he said bravely, “I can’t help that. The main
thing is to have her happy.”

“Beanie,” I said, “you are a much better dog than I thought you were,
when I first knew you.”

“I guess troubles improve one,” he said, “and I feel better since I
lost my flesh.”

“Too much fat is bad for dog or man,” I said, then I ran to old Ellen
who was coming in dressed in her neat cotton wrapper, and looking as
calm as if she was used to being routed out of her bed every night of
her life.

Mr. Bonstone explained his errand, and her face lighted up. “If you’se
a friend of my dear Mister Granton,” she said, “old Ellen will do
anything she can for you.” Then she wrinkled her brow. She was doing
some thinking.

“Would your lady take a little dark child?” she asked.

“Do you mean a coloured child?” he said.

“Oh, no, sir,” and she smiled; “no, no--I mean dark like Sicilian or
Syrian. I know a Syrian baby--”

“Good healthy child?” asked Mr. Bonstone.

“Yes, sir--a monstrous fine child, and not so very dark complected--but
considerable darker than you.”

“I’ll go telephone,” said Mr. Bonstone, with what for him, was quite an
amount of eagerness.

He got out of the room so quickly, that I could not follow him. In a
few minutes he came back smiling. “My wife says she doesn’t care what
the shade is--to bring it quickly.”

“I’ll go first, sir,” said Ellen, “it’s close by,” and she stepped out
into the hall, and crossing to a near by flat, knocked on a door and
went in.

After some time she came back, and asked Mr. Bonstone to follow her. I
pushed after him, for this was wildly interesting to me. I took good
care, though, to keep in the background, lest I should be driven out.

This other flat reminded me of the nests of boxes ladies buy--one box
inside another, and another inside that, till you get to the tiniest
box. It seems a Syrian family renting it, took boarders, and at first
it was quite an effort to single out the various members of the various
families.

They all looked respectable and fairly clean, but they were certainly
very crowded. I think they were all peddlers of fruit and vegetables
or trinkets. There was a roaring coal fire in a kitchen stove, and
they all sat round it. One man was playing on a queer-looking musical
instrument, and the others were listening to him. One big girl had a
baby in her arms. This probably was the baby Ellen had spoken of, and I
looked at it anxiously.

It was a healthy, happy-looking little object in a ragged, but not too
dirty frock.

Ellen motioned to this girl, and she followed us into an inner room, or
rather a closet, where a young woman with a dark, eager face lay on a
tiny bed. It was a poor place, and smelt stuffy, but not unclean.

I knew by the girl’s face she was the baby’s mother. Oh! what a
devouring glance she gave Mr. Bonstone.

He said never a word, but opening his coat, took a picture from his
pocket and laid it before her. That was Mrs. Bonstone, I knew. I could
imagine how the picture of this pretty, rich young woman impressed this
sick, poor young woman.

The young woman’s eye just burnt into the photograph. That probably was
what she would like to be, and here she was laid up with an injured
back, Ellen told us, suffering untold torture most of the time, and
likely to die any hour.

She was not related to the other persons in the house. She was merely
boarding with them. Her young husband had died while on the way to this
country, and she had been struck by a trolley car a few days before,
and knew she must die and leave her baby.

Her anxiety was frightful, yet there was a kind of comfort in it for
her, for she gazed from Ellen, whom she knew, to Mr. Bonstone whom she
did not know, as if to say, “You are all right, if she recommends you.”

“Ask her if she has any relatives here or in her own country,” said Mr.
Bonstone to Ellen.

Ellen, making use of a lingo I did not understand, put the question to
her.

The woman made vehement gestures, “No, no, the baby is free.”

“Her father was well off,” said old Ellen in a low voice. “He had
cattle and sheep, but he was cruel. He beat her, when she said she
would not marry a rich, old man. She hated them both, and ran away with
a poor young man who helped with her father’s flocks. Then he died.”

“Did she tell you this?” asked Mr. Bonstone.

“No, sir, the other Syrians. She asked them to take her baby after she
died, not to let the old grandfather know. He likely would not have it,
anyway.”

“But these people are poor,” said Mr. Bonstone, “and that room seems
half full of children.”

“They are very good to each other,” said Ellen simply, “but they would
be very glad to get rid of it. She wants you to have it, too. See her
face.”

The poor young woman, brushing back her long, thick, black hair from
her clammy-looking forehead, motioned to the girl to give her the baby.

She could not hold it properly, on account of the pain in her back. Her
groans were dreadful, but she steadied herself, and pulled a cross out
of the breast of her gown--the poor creature had no nice white nightie
like rich ladies. She was in bed with her street dress on.

She wanted Mr. Bonstone to swear on the crucifix that he would be good
to her child.

The scene was pitiful, and Mr. Bonstone, strong man as he was, almost
broke down. Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he bit his lip painfully.
He took the cross in his hands--he promised solemnly to provide for the
child, and if he could not keep it himself, to find a good home for it.

The poor creature could not understand a word he said, but she knew
just as well what he was saying, as if she had been born in America.
Her child was safe, and something told me that her mother-soul was
deeply gratified that a person evidently rich and of good position
would stand between the cold world and her little, helpless, brown baby.

She took the baby on one arm, and began to kiss and caress it for the
last time, for Ellen had told her that the gentleman wished to take it
away. Her moans of pain, and her broken exclamations of mother-love
were too heart-rending. I could not stand it, and ran out into the
hall.

Mr. Bonstone came out presently with the baby in his arms. “This is
awful,” he said to Ellen. “Why did they not send her to the hospital?”

“You don’t understand these people, sir. They don’t know what hospitals
are. If they do, they are frightened of them. She begged to stay with
her child. She has had good attention, sir. You see she wasn’t brought
up like you.”

Mr. Bonstone’s lip drooped. Ellen didn’t know what an adventurous,
strange career he had had.

How carefully he went down the steps with the baby, after he had
thanked Ellen for her interest, and had slipped something into her
hand. He held it quite nicely to him all the way home. I think he liked
it.

Mrs. Bonstone must have been listening for the taxi, for she met us in
the doorway.

She never said a word, just held out her arms. Her husband put the baby
in them, and she ran to the smoking-room.

There she was, unwrapping it when Mr. Bonstone came in.

“Oh, Norman, Norman, Norman,” she said over and over again, “what a
dear little brown baby!”

She kissed it, and squeezed it, and asked how old it was, and where he
had got it.

He said it was a year old.

“Ah!” she said profoundly, “then I am twelve months ahead of Clossie.
Isn’t it a darling,” she went on, “such liquid eyes, and such lovely
hair, and it isn’t a bit frightened.”

“It’s been used to living in a crowd,” he said dryly.

“But its clothes,” she said, “they’re old, and faded, and just a little
smelly. Norman, we shall dress her like a princess--what’s her name?”

Alas! he had forgotten to inquire.

“Never mind, dear,” she said consolingly. “It doesn’t matter. I’d like
to name her myself. You say she’s Syrian. She shall be Cyria, spelt
with a ‘C’ instead of an ‘S’--C-y-r-i-a--isn’t that pretty?”

He acknowledged that it was.

“Now, tell me all about the mother,” she said, “but first drag that
little rocking-chair near the fire, so I can rock her.”

It was hard for Mr. Bonstone to describe the intensely painful scene
with the mother, but he did so manfully.

“Norman,” she screamed, “you didn’t take this baby from a dying woman!”

“You said you wanted it to-night,” he replied bluntly.

“Isn’t that like a man,” she said tragically. “Take it back,” and she
held it out to him.

“You don’t understand,” he replied. “I offered to leave it. The mother
kissed your face in the photograph, and refused to have me keep the
baby from you. I think she was afraid something might happen after she
died to prevent your getting it.”

“I shall go right to her,” said Mrs. Bonstone. “Call another taxi.”

The dear, patient man got another taxi, and with him, Mrs. Bonstone
flew off to the mother. I did not go this time, but I heard her telling
my master the next morning all about it.

It seems the Syrian mother was frightfully ill when they got there.
Mrs. Bonstone stayed with her, and sent her husband to get a nurse for
the mother, and one for the baby. He spent a part of the night in this
agreeable pursuit, and by breakfast time the Bonstones, nurse and baby
were comfortably settled on Riverside Drive.

Money does certainly oil the wheels of life. How long it would have
taken a person on foot to accomplish what the Bonstones did that night!
I could not help thinking of some further lines the English greyhound
taught me--

  “As I sat in my café, I said to myself,
   They may talk as they please about what they call pelf.
   But help it, I can not, I can not help thinking,
   How pleasant it is to have money, heigh ho!
   How pleasant it is to have money!”

A little while before lunch, Mrs. Bonstone called us dogs to go to the
nursery with her. It was a room that had been quickly fitted up for the
brown baby. What a transformation in the little creature! Some one had
been up bright and early, shopping for Miss Cyria. She looked a little
aristocrat in lace and muslin, and how deliciously she smelt--just like
a faint lily of the valley. What an up-bringing that child would have!

Mrs. Bonstone, or that good little Wasp, as Gringo called her now,
paid two long visits every day to the baby’s mother as long as the poor
thing lived.

Sometimes Mr. Bonstone went with her. As I have said before, the man
was no talker, but I heard him one day in the smoking-room, which both
men haunted, though neither smoked. (I have forgotten to say that we
had been invited to spend a week at the Bonstones, and the two men got
to be great friends.) Well, this day Mr. Bonstone was telling my master
of the Syrian woman’s actions when her beautiful child was brought in
to her tiny room that first night.

“I never saw anything like it,” he said, “that poor wretch racked by
pain. She draws herself up--stares at that old Ellen, at the child--at
my wife’s picture--then she gets out that cross. ’Pon my word I nearly
broke down--she’s a living martyr, but the awful joy of her face. I
say, Granton--there’s something about mothers, men can’t comprehend.”

“There’s nothing like it,” my master said softly, then he went on to
tell about his wife and his baby.

“Queer, isn’t it, more of the well-to-do don’t adopt these youngsters,”
said Mr. Bonstone. “Cyria is going to be a beauty.”

“You’ll bring her up as your own child, I suppose,” said master.

“I guess so--after that mother.”

“You’re not afraid of heredity?” said master.

“Fudge, no--it’s up to us to shape her.”

“Frightens one, doesn’t it,” said master.

Mr. Bonstone smiled one of his rare, peculiar smiles.

“Yes, and leads you on, too, like a beacon. If Stanna and I have no
children, that child may be the light of our old age.”

At that moment, she came in the room with the brown baby in her arms.

“I just wanted you to see her this morning, Norman,” she said, “she’s
so unusually sweet.”

Her adopted father chuckled to her, and clucked quite like a real one.

Master examined her with the eye of a connoisseur, then as he could
never help dragging in his own young one, he said, “She seems like a
giantess compared to my small son.”

“Just look at her dimples, Norman,” continued Mrs. Bonstone. “Aren’t
they fetching this morning, and that cute little way her hair curls
round her forehead? Seems to me, it’s more curly than usual.”

“And her lovely dark skin,” said Mr. Bonstone grimly. “Say,
Stanna--you’re not planning any nonsense about keeping the knowledge of
her people from her?”

“Do you suppose I would ever allow a child of mine to be ashamed of its
origin?” said Mrs. Bonstone. “I have taken her several times to see
those good creatures who were willing to adopt her. They are not a bit
envious, and finger her pretty clothes with the utmost satisfaction.
It reminds me of the first day her poor mother saw her dressed up. Oh!
Norman, if you could have seen her face. Cyria did look like an angel
in her white silk cloak and bonnet.”

“That’s fine,” said her husband, then he nudged master to listen to the
song his wife had begun to sing.

She had dropped into her little rocker that she kept in the
smoking-room among the men’s big chairs, and she was going over
something of her own composition in a low voice, holding the baby’s
face against her own as she sang--

  “I never had a baby, but I know a little song,
   And I sing it to my baby that does to me belong,
   She’s the sweetest little baby that ever I did see,
   The brownest, sweetest baby and she’s all the world to me!”

Now, I didn’t think this was so very clever, and I don’t think master
did, but Mr. Bonstone was so enraptured that he paid a young man a
handsome sum to round out this song about the brown baby and set it
to music, and strange to say, the simple words and the air became so
popular that I even heard boys whistling it in the streets of New York.

After a time, the poor mother died, and was buried at Mr. Bonstone’s
expense.

“My! my! what a funeral they gave her,” said old Ellen. “If ever the
Bonstones want anything from the Syrians on this avenue, all they’ve
got to do is to say it.”

I was greatly excited about our own baby, and oh! how I longed to see
it, but my turn did not come for several weeks.

Master used to motor out every afternoon to see how mother and child
were getting on, but I was always left in the car, till one day, when
I squealed wildly for permission to go in, master took me into the big
hospital, and a nurse wiped me all over with a damp cloth which had
something on it that smelled queer. I think she was afraid of germs.

When I was ushered into the sunny, lovely room where sat my mistress, I
felt all broken up. She was as thin as a scarecrow, and just about as
good-looking.

“See, Rudolph,” cried the poor thing, “even the dog scarcely knows me.”

After that, there was nothing to do but to run up to her, wag my tail,
twist my body, and pretend that I was charmed to see her. Perhaps I
should not say pretend. I really, by this time, had gotten to be so
sorry for my poor mistress, that I pitied her--and when a dog pities
any one, it is only a step to love. Then I was sincerely and truly
delighted about the baby, because it had made my master happy, quite
happy. Of course, I should be jealous of it, but truly, when master
held it down for me to look at it, and I saw how gentle, and harmless
and helpless it was, with nothing but those two balled-up fists to
defend itself against the big, powerful world, something swelled up
inside me, and I vowed a good dog vow, that if any other dog started to
molest that little lump of flesh, I’d tear him limb from limb.

I licked its little dress, and the nurse ran to get a dish with some
solution in it to wash the place I’d touched. Really, these nurses
and doctors carry things too far with their germ theories. Why wasn’t
master just as likely to have germs as I. We had both come through
the same parts of the city. Besides, I’m as clean as a whistle. Every
day Louis brushes me, and cleans my ears, and occasionally I have a
bath. Not too often, for it is not natural for dogs to be kept in soak.
Well--to come back to the day of my first visit to the baby. Master
was so pleased to think I liked the baby, that I got an extra share of
petting on the way home.

We were alone in the car, and I was sitting close up beside him. As we
were passing through Mount Vernon I began to think of the Lady Gay cat.
That cat had been on my mind for a long time, and one evening I had
scampered down to her eating-house on Sixth Avenue to see how she was
getting along.

She was not there. She had left some time ago, another cat told me,
after I had persuaded him to stand long enough for me to question him.
I wondered what had become of her. Had she found her way back to this
pretty place to her own good mistress, or was she dead or perhaps
stolen again?

[Illustration: THE LADY GAY CAT]



CHAPTER XIII

THE LADY GAY CAT


Just here something extraordinary happened, and I must say in
connection with it, that I have marvellous luck in remeeting persons
and animals.

My master suddenly exclaimed, “I am frightfully thirsty, Boy. Let us
stop at this nice little cottage, and see if that old lady in the
window will give me a drink.”

Master drew up the car by the side of the road, got out, and I jumped
after him, and whom do you think I saw rolling on a bed of cat-nip
under the kitchen window--my acquaintance of a night some time ago--the
Lady Gay cat.

She knew me at once, and with a surprised purr sprang toward me. “How
do you do, dog, I am glad to see you. I believe you saved my life by
getting me to stop stuffing myself. It was my only pleasure in that
dreadful place, and it cost some effort to give it up.”

“Do tell me about yourself,” I begged her, “and hurry up. Master won’t
wait long, I’m sure.”

She smiled the smile of superior knowledge. “Yes, he will, when Granny
gets talking to him. She’s the most crackajack old woman you ever saw.”

“Her face looked fine,” I said, “as I saw it through the window.”

“Ah! she’s the woman for me,” said the cat fervently, “but you want to
know how I got back to her. Just after that evening I saw you, things
began to go badly at the eating-place. The help broke the dishes, and
got saucy, the people off the street didn’t patronise us, the man broke
his leg, and the woman got melancholy. One day when she sat staring at
the floor, I happened to pass in front of her.

“‘I believe it’s that black cat,’ she said, springing up and running to
the room where her husband lay in bed. ‘We’ve had bad luck ever since
we picked her up.’

“‘Don’t be a fool,’ he said roughly.

“But he couldn’t stop her. ‘It’s true,’ she said, ‘I’ve heard bad luck
always follows stolen animals, and your luck don’t change till you take
’em back.’

“The man was quite angry, but he couldn’t change her. Didn’t she, the
next Sunday, in spite of their lack of money, take the train and bring
me out here.

“She brought the basket in which she had confined me right in here
to Granny. ‘Look here,’ she said (she is a great, fat woman and very
outspoken), ‘I did an awful thing a few weeks ago. I stole the cat I
saw sitting near this house. I don’t know whether it’s yours or not,
but I want you to help me get it back to its rightful owner. I believe
it brought a kind of spell on me.’

“Granny opened the basket, and oh! how gently she took me out and
stroked my fur. ‘It’s my cat,’ she said, ‘and I thank you for bringing
her back. Sit down, and I’ll make you a cup of tea.’

“The woman was very glad to sit down, and have some tea and talk, after
her ride in the train, and while I licked my fur into shape, I listened
to what my dear old Granny said to her. Now, I want to tell you this,
just to convince you what a good mistress I had, for you seemed to
think I was a little soft to mourn so much.

“Said Granny, ‘Why did you steal my cat?’

“‘To hunt mice,’ said the woman. ‘An eating-house always draws them.’

“‘But, you could have got one in the city. Why take my little friend,
who loves the country?’

“‘City cats ain’t no good,’ said the woman. ‘They’re all sick, except
the rich cats that have a nice place to play.’

“‘Stealing is always wrong,’ said Granny.

“‘You bet it is,’ said the woman. ‘I ain’t goin’ to steal nothin’
again. I was brought up right. I had a good mother.’

“‘How is your business getting on?’ then asked Granny, for she likes to
know all about any one she sees.

“‘Rank,’ said the woman, ‘the place needs a new fit-out, and the
landlord won’t do it.’

“‘By fit-out, what do you mean?’ asked Granny.

“‘I mean new paper, new linoleum, some mirrors--folks love to stare at
themselves, and I want a little closet fitted up with a looking-glass
and a wash basin, so the shop-girls can fix their hair, and powder
their faces when they comes in to eat.’

“‘How much would it cost?’ asked Granny.

“‘Two hundred dollars at the least,’ said the woman in a dreary way.
‘It’s a big place.’

“Granny went to her grandmother’s soup-tureen in the closet, and took
out her stocking. She has a stocking, you know, but you must not tell
any one. She doesn’t believe much in banks.”

“She wasn’t going to give the woman money, was she?” I inquired.

“Wait and see,” said the cat, who spoke quite slowly and mouthed her
words, as if she did not often have a listener.

I find that longing to talk with cats and dogs and human beings too. So
many are ready to talk--so few want to listen.

Well, the black cat went on to tell me that the woman looked as amazed
as if she had seen a ghost, when good old Granny began counting out the
five dollar bills.

“‘You don’t mean to say you’re going to lend me the money,’ she
exclaimed.

“‘Just what I’m going to do,’ said Granny. ‘I’ve two good sons. I
brought ’em up right, and they slip me in a five-dollar bill every time
they write. I’m going to lend you what I’ve got.’

“‘You’re going to lend me money,’ cried the woman, ‘when I stole your
cat?’

“‘You’re going to be a better woman in the future, than you have been
in the past,’ said Granny. ‘I can see it in your eye.’

“Then the woman broke down and cried, but recovered herself when Granny
began to count the money. They went over it together, and made out one
hundred and ninety-five dollars.

“‘Take it,’ said Granny, holding out the stocking, ‘and bring it back
when you get good and ready. There’s no hurry.’

“The woman held tight on the stocking, but she said quite anxiously,
‘How much interest will you charge?’

“‘No interest,’ said Granny.

“This broke the fat woman all up. She cried and sobbed, and when she
found in addition that Granny didn’t want even an I. O. U., she hugged
and kissed her, as if she had been her daughter. She told Granny all
that had ever happened to her, and they became great friends on the
spot.”

“Hurry up,” I said to the cat, “I see master drawing on his gloves.”

We had moved into the cute little hallway of the cottage, and I could
look in through the kitchen door and see master talking to the old lady
who had made him a cup of tea just as she had done for the fat woman. I
think he was telling her about the baby, for she had a photograph album
on the table between them, and had been pointing out pictures of little
children to him.

“That’s a fine story,” I said--“what’s the end?”

“There isn’t any end,” said the black cat triumphantly. “It’s still
going on. The woman comes out here every Sunday evening when trade is
low, and she brings goodies to Granny, and Granny goes in to see her
once a week, and goes to a show with her, and tells me all about it
when she comes home.”

“And the restaurant,” I said, “did they make it over?”

“Granny says it’s a dream now, with bright yellow and red and purple
flowers on the wall, and a fine mirror, and lots of water and towels,
and there’s a big crowd all the time.”

“And the money?” I went on.

“Granny’s getting it all back--ten dollars a week, and the woman loves
her like a daughter. Granny never had a girl, just boys.”

I pushed my inquiries a little further, “And how does the woman treat
you?”

“Like a Christian. She says, ‘No one need ever say nothin’ agin’ black
cats to me. There’s more in animals than most folks reckon.’”

“Good-bye,” I said running after my master who had shaken hands with
the old woman, and was jumping into the machine. “That’s a fine story.
I’m mighty glad you had a safe exit from your troubles.”

“Call again,” said the cat to me, and “Call again,” called Granny to
master, as we sped away.

The next interesting thing that happened to me was the home-coming of
the baby. My! my! what a fuss--the apartment refurnished, renovated,
fumigated, aired and reaired. Master, whistling as cheerfully as a
school-boy, gave up his lovely front room and bath to his little
pickaninny.

“You and I won’t mind the view of the backs of apartment-houses, will
we, Boy?” he said to me.

Of course I didn’t mind. Anything to make him happy, and to keep with
him. I was mortally afraid he would get like those silly nurses, and
send me out of the house.

At last, the great day came, and master and I took the car out to the
hospital. Mistress all wrapped up and veiled, and baby and nurse got
into it, and we tooted back to the city.

Master had warned the maids that mistress had got very thin and
nervous, and they must be extra gentle and quiet in their manner with
her. They were lovely to her face, but they almost cried in the kitchen
over her changed looks.

“Oh! dear,” whimpered cook, “ain’t she the holy fright--the darlin’
thing,” and Annie said something even worse. However, from that day on,
they never criticised her as sharply as they had before. The baby had
brought a new spirit into the house.

My dear master still thought his wife was beautiful, and I could see
that he was perfectly terrified, lest she should eat too many sweets
and get fat again. He offered her a diamond necklace, if she would stop
eating chocolates, and he watched her at the table, and coaxed her not
to touch any puddings that had a rich sauce.

One day, he found a little bit of brown paste on her upper lip.
“Dearest,” he said anxiously, “have you been eating chocolates?”

She blushed like a naughty child. “Just one,” she said; “nurse had
some. But I won’t do it again,” she went on shaking her head, “I’m
really anxious to please you, Rudolph.”

He kissed her quite warmly for him, and pushing the table away, sat
down quite close beside her, and began to read.

I was delighted that she liked to have him read to her now, but it made
a great difference to me. She used to watch the clock with cunning
eyes, and get more and more interested in what he was reading, the
later the evening grew. Sometimes, she asked a question which did not
exactly fit in, for example when he was declaiming about the war in
Poland, and she said, “I always did dislike Spaniards.”

He laid down his book. “I said nothing about Spaniards, my dear.”

Her thoughts had been wandering, and she couldn’t speak till he gave
her a clue. “I was reading of the woes of the Poles.”

“That is what I meant,” she said, “Poles of course, I never did care
for them.”

“I didn’t know you had ever met any,” he said dreamily, then he plunged
again into his book.

She was nearly dead with sleep that night, and soon she said, “Rudolph,
would you just read me something about children, before I go to bed?”

He put down the war-book, and took up one of poetry. I was sleepy too,
but I caught a phrase, “The cry of the children,” and later in the
night, this phrase came back to me.

We had no walk--it was too late to go when mistress went to the baby,
and master said to me, “Let us turn in too, Boy-Dog.”

It was good we got a little sleep early in the night, for we had rather
a disturbed time later.

While master was undressing, he talked to me about children. “Poor
little wretches,” he said. “How much they have to cry about. So many
troubles that they outgrow with age.”

I listened to him with interest. I used not to know much about
children, for I had never been thrown much with them, my owners being
mostly childless or unmarried persons. However, as I told Gringo when
I first met him, I had a great respect for the very young of the human
kind, and I thought them remarkably clever.

Since the baby came, I had been observing him closely. His little
face looked to me very wise, and sometimes his expression was almost
painful, as if he were trying to tell us something of a wonderful place
he had come from. But the poor little soul had no words to express
his thoughts. He just waved his little fists, and rolled his head in
despair.

Master had gone quite daffy on the subject of babies. Dating from the
day that he had heard of the arrival of the baby, he stared at every
child he met in the street. He gave pennies to poor children, and
watched them with delight when they ran to a candy shop. He stopped the
perambulators of rich babies, and begged permission of the nurses to
look at them. All babies were dear to him, because he had one of his
own.

To come back to this night, I slept for a while, then I woke up
with a feeling of great distress. Some one was in trouble near me. I
could hear nothing, smell nothing, but I knew it was so, and I sprang
uneasily from the big chair where I slept, and went to my master’s bed.



CHAPTER XIV

HIS MOTHER’S BOY


He was sleeping like a boy. I hated to disturb him, and I ran to the
door leading to the hall, and smelt hard under it. Nothing there--I
went back to bed, but my uneasiness increased so terribly, that, at
last, if I had not aroused my master, I should have burst into terrible
howling which would have disturbed the household and waked the baby.

I pulled hard at the sleeve of his pajamas. “Master, master, wake up.”

He turned on me eyes unseeing at first, then intelligent. “What’s the
matter, Boy-Dog--burglars?”

I didn’t know what was the matter, so I pulled hard to show he was to
come and investigate.

He rolled quickly out of bed, snatched his bath-robe and followed me.
He knew that I would not rouse him for a trifle.

We stole out into the hall like two cats. There I was puzzled. Which
way did the uneasiness lead me? Master, of course, went right toward
the door of the precious baby’s room, but I turned my back on it, and
led him to the door leading out of the apartment into the general hall.

Master, with a greatly relieved face, softly unlocked it, and we
stood together outside. There were several other apartments on this
floor--the trouble was in one of them.

Ah! at last I caught it, the faint sound of sobbing. I rushed to the
door of a pretty delicate little English woman whose husband had gone
to the war. I laid my ear to the crack underneath--yes, it was there,
the sound of a child crying in the night.

I scratched, and whined, and looked up at master. He listened and heard
nothing, but he had such confidence in my judgment, that he pressed the
electric button.

No reply, and the sobbing stopped suddenly. The trouble was still
there, however, and I redoubled my scratching at the door.

Master rang again, then tried the door softly.

Finally he called in a low voice, “Mrs. Waverlee!”

She did not reply, then he said, “Egbert, Egbert, are you awake? It is
Mr. Granton.”

There was a dead silence. I thought it was pretty good in master to
stand there so patiently. He could hear nothing, see nothing, but he
relied on me.

Suddenly there was a noise inside, like a chair falling over. A little
voice cried, “Oh!” then a trembling hand began to fuss with the lock of
the door, and at last it was thrown silently open.

We stepped inside. Confronting us was young Egbert Waverlee in his
little nightie, his face swollen and disfigured from much weeping. He
was trembling with the cold, for all the windows were open.

He held out his little hand. “Mr. Granton, I can’t wake muvver,” he
said with quivering lip, “and she’s getting cold.”

He was a dear little lad, and often came to call with his mother on
my mistress, but lately we had not seen much of them. I knew that her
husband had gone to England, and she was feeling very sad about it.

My master strode quickly past the child to his mother’s room. She was
not in bed, she lay all in a heap on the floor, beneath a large picture
of her husband.

As my master lifted her in his strong arms, and laid her on her bed, a
pencil fell from her cold fingers to the floor. He saw it, also a piece
of notepaper with a crest on it, and presently he picked them both up
and put them in his pocket.

Then he ran his hand rapidly over Mrs. Waverlee’s face, put it on her
heart, and turned gravely to small Egbert: “How long has your mother
been asleep, my boy?”

The little fellow ran to a table, and picked up a telegram. “I think
this made muvver sleepy. She read it, then she walked about and acted
like a naughty boy, for she scribbled on the walls with a pencil, then
she kissed me, and lay down there and went to sleep. Please wake her
up, Mr. Granton.”

Master read the telegram, put it in his pocket, then he said, “Come,
boy, let us telephone for the doctor.”

“And leave muvver all alone?” said the child.

“She won’t wake, my boy,” said master hoarsely. “She is sleeping a
sound sleep.”

“Come, then, let us telephone quick,” said the child. He seized
master’s hand, pulled him from the room, and stood trembling with
excitement while master called up his family physician.

“Will you come in my bed, and get warm till he comes?” asked master of
the child.

“Oh, no, no,” said the little boy in an agony, “not while muvver is so
cold. Come, now, let us do something to make her warm.”

Master didn’t know what to do. He cast an appealing look at his wife’s
door. Oh! if he could only ask her to help him. He didn’t quite like to
disturb her. Finally he sighed, and allowed the boy to drag him to the
bed-room.

The little fellow ran to the bath-room. His face was more cheerful,
now that he was doing something. He let the hot water run, and to my
master’s astonishment, seized a rubber bag and filled it.

“Often and often I’ve done this for muvver after Sarah went away,” he
said with a pitiful smile.

While staring at him, it came to my mind that I had heard some
servants’ gossip about Mrs. Waverlee turning economical, so she could
send money home for the war. Instead of keeping two maids, she had one
only, who came in the morning, and went away at night.

The child was wagging his dark head at my master in a confidential
fashion. “Muvver’s not very strong, you know. Father said when he went
away, ‘Take good care of her, boysie, till I come back.’”

Master groaned so pitifully, that I knew the telegram had said that the
child’s father had been killed in a battle.

“Now, Mr. Granton,” said the little boy, “please heap your hannies
with boysie’s bed-clothes, while I slip this in by muvver’s poor cold
feet.”

The unhappy man did as he was told, and together they covered the poor
lady warmly, and then Mr. Granton said gravely, “Your mother would not
like it, if she saw you standing here shivering with the cold.”

“No, she wouldn’t,” said the boy smiling bravely. “She’d say, ‘Boysie,
you are going to have another sore throat.’ Mr. Granton, boysie will
get in beside muvver. She always puts her arm round me, and makes me so
comfy.”

I am only a dog, but my heart ached for that child. His little manner
was sweet and coaxing, his cunning eyes were fixed on his grown-up
friend. He knew what had happened, but he wouldn’t let his little self
believe it. He was putting up the bravest fight I ever saw any one put
up, and the man didn’t know what to do with him.

Finally master got desperate. He had closed the windows, and turned
on the heat, but the child was shivering horribly, and his face was
swollen and disfigured with much weeping, and every little while he
gave a great gasping sob. Seizing the boy in his arms, master carried
him to his own room, put him in bed, and ordered me to jump in, and lie
close beside him.

Egbert did not dare disobey him. He cast one frightened look after him,
then he threw his little arms so tight round my neck, that he almost
strangled me. “Muvver, muvver,” he muttered over and over, “oh! muvver,
muvver.”

He was a nervous, high-strung child, and I knew my master was
terrified lest he should go the way of his parents. I heard him
telephone to Mrs. Bonstone to come quickly. He knew the child ought to
have a woman to take care of him.

It was the middle of the night, but Mrs. Stanna got there almost as
quickly as the doctor did. From the time she entered the apartment
till five hours later, I knew only the boy’s side of the story. Master
disappeared, for he had many things to do.

Stanna was lovely with the little orphan. She put her arms round him,
hugged and kissed him, and told him a beautiful story about Walter
Scott.

Just as she got to the most thrilling part of her tale, Egbert said
gravely, “What was on that piece of paper that upsetted muvver?”

Mrs. Bonstone grew pale. The child was not blinded by her attentions.

“Egbert,” she said trying to smile, and not succeeding very well, “you
know your dear father went to the war.”

“Yes,” he said shortly, “to fight the Germans--the devils.”

“Egbert,” she said sharply.

“That’s what Louis calls them,” he said in a matter-of-fact voice.

“Of course, Louis is half French,” said Mrs. Bonstone in a slow voice,
and trying to gain time.

“Louis says he’d like to unjoint the Kaiser,” pursued Egbert and he
cracked his little finger joints as though he would separate them--“All
over,” he went on, “limb by limb--Louis would enjoy doing it.”

Mrs. Bonstone gave a nervous laugh, then tears came in her eyes.
“Darling,” she said coaxingly, “your father was a splendid man. He
would never hate any one. All nations have good and bad people in them.”

“Did the Germans kill him?” asked Egbert quietly.

“Well, suppose they had,” asked Mrs. Bonstone, “wouldn’t he be in that
lovely place called heaven, with the angels and the beautiful meadows,
and watercourses, and all the happy people who are through with this
wicked world?”

“And happy birds that fly about the altar,” added Egbert, his little
face lighting up. “Favver would love that, but he’d rather be with me
and muvver.”

This was a poser for Mrs. Bonstone. However, she caught her breath, and
was launching forth on a brave description of the glories of heaven
when the door opened softly, and Mrs. Granton came in.

Naturally she didn’t like to see another woman in her house in the
middle of the night, but the terrible circumstances blotted that
occurrence almost out of her mind. She narrowed her eyelids, and
visualised her boy in the place of Egbert. She was a real mother now.

Of course, Mrs. Bonstone was on the whole a much better woman, and she
had been perfectly lovely to her little brown baby. I don’t suppose,
indeed, that one could find a better counterfeit mother than she was,
but mistress was the real thing.

Something told her what the child was going through, something told
her what to do. She didn’t try to tell him stories, she didn’t try to
appeal to his intelligence, she just smiled a triumphant mother smile,
held out her arms to the stricken child, and he went into them.

She sat down on the bed, rocking herself to and fro, and saying,
“There, there,” and patting him gently on the back while listening to
his wild weeping.

His father and mother were dead, and his heart was broken. That was the
whole thing. All the clever men and women in the world could not blind
his eyes to his own intuition. He didn’t reason, he knew.

Presently she turned to Mrs. Bonstone. The child had whispered
something in her ear. “Stanna,” she said gently, “he wants to know if
you will please go to his play corner and bring all his toys here.”

With a somewhat mystified face, Mrs. Bonstone hurried away and
presently returned with the skirt of her dress held up.

As she unloaded animals, toy guns, whistles, Noah’s arks and every sort
of game on the floor, I caught a glimpse of her face.

Of course at mistress’ advent, I had jumped off the bed. Mrs. Bonstone
now looked strangely--almost frightened, as if she had seen something
that startled her. With all my intuition, I was far from guessing the
truth, but I ran to the door and heard footsteps in the hall, and smelt
mystery. Well! it would wait. I was more interested in the child than
in anything else.

“Has--has she got them all?” he gulped in mistress’s ear.

“Yes, yes, my boy.”

“Then let me go,” and he clambered off the bed, and dashing away the
tears from his poor red eyes, he went over all his heap of toys,
selecting about two-thirds of them, and putting them in a heap, while
he threw the others under the bed.

The two women sat looking at each other, and at him, with mystified
glances. Finally, the child had the toys all assorted, and with his
little face disturbed with rage, he jumped up and down on the heap,
smashing and demolishing animals, birds and games, and toy-carts and
engines.

When they were all in a disfigured, ugly mass, he sprang back into the
bed, and nestled against mistress’s breast.

Mrs. Bonstone wonderingly picked up a section of a box. Something was
stamped on it, and she read it aloud, “Made in Germany.”

Her face grew scarlet. “The whole war isn’t worth the flame of rage in
this one childish breast,” she said furiously. Then almost in the same
breath, she calmed down, “But oh! my child--forgive, forgive. They are
your enemies, but only more war can come from vengeful feelings. Don’t
let us have the hate-song in this country.”

I don’t know whether the child was listening. His head was buried
in mistress’s shoulder. Mrs. Bonstone went on, “Your darling mother
forgave, for the words she wrote in her anguish all about the room, and
on that piece of paper, were: ‘I do not want my boy to be a soldier.’”

Egbert still made no reply, and Mrs. Bonstone, getting up, went to the
hearth-rug, rolled it back, and busied herself in making a fire. When
it was blazing nicely, she spread an eider-down puff over a big chair,
and said to mistress, “Your back must be aching, Clossie. You would
better sit here.”

Mistress smiled in a grateful way, and sitting down in the big chair,
took Egbert on her lap.

Presently the door opened, and in came master. He looked tremendously
excited in a quiet way, but still he took time to flash a glance of
appreciation at his wife.

Behind him stood a nurse--a strange nurse, not the baby’s.

“Will you let me have the boy, please,” she said to mistress, “and
quickly. The doctor is waiting.”

Mistress let him go, then she turned inquiringly to her husband.

He dropped down beside her, and laid his hand on her lap. “A miracle,
Claudia. The child’s mother has come back to him. It was a case of
suspended animation. He probably saved her life by the application
of heat. I never heard of a similar occurrence. I shall question the
doctor later.”

“Oh! thank God, thank God,” cried Mrs. Bonstone, and she sank on her
knees at the other side of the fireplace.

Mistress didn’t say anything, but she stared at me, at her husband,
and at Mrs. Bonstone. Finally she murmured, “’Twas the dog that did
it.” Then she got up, and went quickly to her baby’s room. Taking his
little soft hand between her own, and very gently lest she should wake
him, she dropped loving mother kisses on it.

I had followed her, and stood touching her gown softly with my muzzle.
She stooped down and patted me, and from that day to this mistress and
I have been good friends.

When I told Walter Scott about this the next day, he said: “It isn’t
safe to judge any human being, or any animal till they have lived their
lives out. You used to be too hard on your mistress.”



CHAPTER XV

POOR AMARILLA


Mrs. Waverlee had no relapse, and she went to recuperate in the lovely
hospital where my mistress had been.

Master was questioned very much about her case by his men friends, who
said it was one of the most extraordinary they had ever heard of.

Oh! the petting I got. I had really done nothing, but follow out my dog
instinct, but these human beings seemed to think that there never had
been, and never would be such another dog.

Mrs. Waverlee was a rich woman, and many persons said, “She will be
sure to give the dog a jewelled collar when she gets well.”

Master and I were very uneasy about this, and he said one day, “If she
does, I shall not allow Boy to wear it. Sometimes, jewelled collars
have cost dogs their lives.”

Fortunately Mrs. Waverlee was something beyond the ordinary run of
women. When she came back from the hospital, pale, but strong and
beautiful, she took my head between her two hands.

I never saw such a look in the eyes of a mortal person before. (You
know we dogs sometimes see ghosts.) She was like a woman that had
died, and come to life again. If there had been any nonsense about her,
it was all purged away.

“Boy,” she said in her lovely English voice, “to commemorate your
sagacity, I am going to give a year’s income to aid the various
societies in New York that exist for the purpose of helping lost and
starving animals.”

Oh! how this pleased me. The sufferings of animals affect me so
strongly, that merely to think of them makes me miserable. I try in
vain sometimes to forget the horrible sights I have seen, the dreadful
sounds I have heard.

I wagged my tail, I licked her hands, I prostrated myself before this
beautiful Englishwoman with the other-world look in her eyes. She could
do nothing for me, but make other dogs happy, whose sufferings made me
so unhappy.

I adored her, I worshipped her. There was something in her spirit that
understood my dog spirit better, far better, than any other person in
the world could comprehend me. What was it? I did not know. I merely
understood that I reverenced her more than I reverenced my dear master,
though of course I loved him more.

The Bonstones and my master and mistress were intensely interested
in this lovely woman, for she affected them somewhat as she affected
me. For a long time, after she came from the hospital, she and Egbert
visited the Bonstones, and Gringo told me that every one in the
household looked upon her with a kind of awe.

“She don’t care for things other women do,” said old Gringo with a
mystified air, “and I hear her whispering to herself, ‘What shall I do
with my life?’”

“Then she isn’t going back to England?” I said.

“No,” replied Gringo, “she grows quite cold and white, when any one
asks her that. I think it’s because they’re still fighting over there,
and she hates war.”

One day, he came over to our house on his most excited double shuffle.
“My boss has fixed the English lily,” he said. “Out near his farm in
the country, is a village where the brown baby will have to go to
school bye and bye. He’s offered to build a school-house, if Mrs.
Waverlee will teach in it.”

“And will she?” I asked eagerly.

“She’s tickled to death. Says to train children will be just the ticket
for her.”

Soon after this, Mrs. Waverlee came back to her apartment in our house.
I heard a very indiscreet lady one day ask her if she didn’t dread
going back to the rooms where she had heard the news of her husband’s
death. Mrs. Waverlee gave the lady a strange smile and said, “He isn’t
dead to me. I feel him near me all the time.”

Both Egbert and his mother visited us quite frequently. They both loved
the baby, and sometimes the Bonstones came over with little Cyria, and
we had quite a party.

Little Cyria was a darling, and she was not at all afraid of dogs.
Every fine day her nurse took her, out on the Drive, and she stretched
out her little hand to every dog she met. On windy days, and rainy
days, the nurses all took their perambulators up to Broadway where it
was more sheltered. If you notice the New York babies in the vicinity
of the Drive, you will find that they all look very prosperous, for
they are kept out-of-doors so much.

Mrs. Bonstone fussed over Cyria, and mistress fussed over George
Washington, and the baby-interest drawing the two ladies together so
much, threw the two men together.

Both Mr. Bonstone and my dear master were quiet men, disliking society,
loving business, and enjoying nothing as much as a long walk together
after their day’s work was over.

Mrs. Granton was not strong enough now to go into society, but Mrs.
Bonstone was, and one day I heard her husband talking to her very
seriously, and telling her that as long as she lived in the city, she
ought to keep up a certain amount of social life.

She adored him still, and never hesitated to tell him so, and in the
long run, she usually did as he requested.

“But I won’t go out in the evening,” she said wagging her saucy head at
him.

“All right,” he replied, “but mind you’ve promised not to drop all the
women you know. You’ll get warped and selfish, if you do.”

“What a wise man you are,” she said teasingly. “Do hurry and get your
old farm ready, so I can be a farmer’s wife.”

I was in the Bonstone house nearly every day, and if I was not, Gringo
told me all that went on. He never ran out on the Drive without his
master. He was afraid of the policemen. On the Bowery where everybody
knew him, he had often gone out alone.

I was anxious to know what he thought of the baby Cyria, and the farm,
and one day I asked him to tell me his real feelings.

“Cross-your-heart feelings,” I said. “I know you don’t wear your heart
on your sleeve.”

“Both things I hate,” he said grumpily, “but I’m going to make myself
like ’em.”

“Oh, Gringo,” I said, “how can you hate Cyria.”

“She sticks her fingers in my eyes when no one’s looking,” he said.

“Doesn’t that prove what I say, that children are enormously clever,” I
exclaimed, “but why don’t you get up, and move away?”

“She’s master’s baby, she’s got to be amused.”

“But your master wouldn’t like her to do that.”

“She’ll get over it, when she’s older,” he said patiently. “A dog has
got to have some worries, or life would be too sweet.”

“And you don’t like the idea of the farm?”

“A Bowery dog on a farm!” said Gringo. “Me for the pavements.”

“Were you ever on a farm?” I asked.

“No, and never want to be. I’ve heard tell what they’re like. Nothing
doing from morning till night.”

“Well, I don’t like the country half as well as the city,” I said,
“but I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a really interesting country
place--I’ll tell you a great bit of news.”

“You don’t mean to say you’re going, too,” interrupted Gringo.

“Yes I do,” I said, “master is going to move to the country.”

“Well, I vow,” said the old dog. Then he added, “I thought I smelt that
rat one day when your boss was talking to mine.”

“Yes,” I went on, “your master is looking for a place for mine.”

“I’m mighty glad about having you near by,” said Gringo, but he added
shrewdly, “what does your missis say?”

“She started it,” I exclaimed. “It began this way. The other night she
and master were talking before they went to bed. Said she, ‘Rudolph,
there is much sickness in New York among children.’

“Said he anxiously, ‘Yes, I notice in the papers!’

“‘I’m worried about Baby,’ said she.

“‘So am I,’ said he.

“‘Country life is better for babies,’ said she, ‘but I suppose you
wouldn’t like to go so far from your business.’

“Said he quite quietly, ‘I’ve always loved the country better than the
city, but I thought you couldn’t abide it.’

“‘I used to dislike it,’ she said hanging her head, ‘but we had no baby
then, Rudolph.’”

“And what did he say to that?” asked Gringo.

“He didn’t say anything. He got up and kissed her. They understand
each other pretty well now, and the next day, which was yesterday, he
spoke to your master, and asked him to look for a place near yours. So
you’ll probably have us for neighbours, old boy. Isn’t that great?” and
I gave him a playful nip in his big shoulder.

Gringo was deeply pleased, but he’s like his master, he doesn’t say
much.

“We’re both no longer quite young,” I went on, “and we’ve just got
to make up our minds to like what our owners do. I prophesy that
two clever men like your master and mine can make even country life
interesting.”

“Wait till they deliver the goods,” said the old dog; then he added,
“They’ll be missed in this little old city.”

“But they won’t leave it finally,” I said. “They’re planning to come in
and out.”

I knew what he referred to. Mr. Bonstone and my master had been placing
more and more of their business in the hands of their employees, and
together they went about the city doing good. They had found out that
a lot of harm results in many cases, from rich people putting all of
their charitable work in the care of hirelings.

“Man to man,” master used to say, “I want to know those I’m privileged
to help,” so often he left his office early, and he visited such poor
places, that usually I was not allowed to go with him. I heard him
telling his wife about the terrible suffering he found.

“We’ll have a war,” he used to say often, “unless there’s more contact
between class and class.”

“Don’t despoil yourself of all you have, Rudolph,” mistress would say
anxiously. “There’s Baby to be provided for.”

“I don’t want to leave him a fortune, Clossie,” he said one day. “A
good education is all I wish to do for him.”

“Just a little something to start on,” she said with mother anxiety,
then she went on, “I wish you wouldn’t call me Clossie any more; say
Claudia.”

Master was so pleased, that he went out and bought her a beautiful
ring, to commemorate the occasion of dropping her doll name.

While master was doing a little missionary work among human beings, I
did a little among dogs, and had an adventure in the bargain.

Of all animals in the world, I pity most the performing animals. It is
unspeakably pathetic to me to see those poor four-legged creatures on
a stage, trying to do things they were never meant to do. Why should a
monkey ride a bicycle, or pretend he’s a fireman, when he just hates
it? I’ve seen human beings in a theatre, shrieking with laughter at
the antics of poor animals on the stage, whose eyes were eloquent with
fright.

Once I had as owner a lady who used to take me to the theatre. She
always had a box, and concealed by the flowing laces of her gown I
would watch everything that took place on the stage. Some things I
liked. I think men and women enjoy strutting round, pretending they’re
some one else. But the dogs who appear in vaudeville--it nearly used to
break my heart to see them.

Once I saw roosters--poor, thin, half-starved looking creatures, who
flapped their wings, and crowed, and stretched themselves when they
came on the stage, showing that they had been confined in little cages,
instead of leading a free, open-air life as roosters should.

Well, on the day, or rather the evening when I played missionary, I had
tried in vain to get Gringo to take a stroll with me.

No, he would not, and lay down on a seat arranged for him in a window,
so he could watch the passers-by in the Drive. Summer was coming, and
it was too late for fires, so he could not lie on the hearth-rug.
Master had gone off with Mr. Bonstone somewhere on the East Side. By
the way, I must not forget to say that Mr. Bonstone had given up his
last naughty saloon. They were all good ones now.

He had a great scene with his wife, one evening when I was present. He
still clung to the Bowery drinking-place, and she had found out about
it. She drew the most dreadful picture of Cyria growing up and becoming
a drunkard. Mr. Bonstone didn’t know whether to laugh or get cross with
her, for as Gringo says, “My boss’s heart isn’t on the water-waggon.”
He believes in drink in moderation.

Well, Mrs. Bonstone cried, and at last her husband comforted her, and
said he would never sell another drop of liquor as long as he lived.

“Nor drink it,” she sobbed.

“Well,” he said, “I never have touched it--don’t think it wrong, but
hated the taste.”

He had to promise, of course. A nice woman can do anything with a man,
so now the Bonstones’ house, like ours, was strictly teetotal, and if
any persons fainted, they were revived pretty quick with some hot stuff
that I think was mostly cayenne pepper, by the way it made persons jump.

To come back to the evening of my adventure. I slipped down Broadway,
running close to the stores and keeping the people between me and the
gutter. One seldom meets a policeman near shop windows. It was a lovely
evening, with a warm spring-like feeling in the air, and this nice,
wide, clean Broadway fascinated me more than ever, and everybody looked
so happy and pleasant and well-dressed that I concluded all the people
with troubles had stayed at home. Nearly every person had on new spring
shoes. I really think that nowhere in the world, except in Paris, does
one see such pretty, well-shod feet as in New York. I danced along,
meeting quite a number of dogs, some of whom I spoke to, some of whom
I did not notice. The most of them were led, and of course all had
muzzles on.

I had passed several moving picture places and a few vaudeville houses,
when it suddenly dawned on me that I was getting too far down Broadway,
and had better return home. I cut down a side street, but did not get
far, for just as I had gone a few steps, I smelt a smell, that took me
back to Boston, and several years ago.

I was living then on Beacon Hill, and in the house next to me was a
fine little toy spaniel called Amarilla. She was a little darling,
and had a way of tossing her long ears as if they were curls. One day
she disappeared most mysteriously. No one could ever find out what
had become of the lost Amarilla, though it was suspected she had been
stolen.

[Illustration: IN THE HOUSE NEXT TO ME WAS A FINE LITTLE TOY SPANIEL
CALLED AMARILLA]

Amarilla had a very gentle, clinging sort of an odour. She was
an exquisitely clean little dog, but no matter how clean dogs or
human beings may be, they cannot get rid of what Gringo calls their
odoriferosity. He vows he can track his master if he touches a thing.

Well, I was very much excited when I scented Amarilla. The poor old
lady who owned her was quite childish, and she actually died of grief
over the disappearance of her dog. It would be a great feather in
my cap to track her. Yes, and get caught myself, my native caution
whispered to me.

I surveyed the scene--a vaudeville house on a quiet, narrow street,
enormously high buildings each side--a fine place for a getaway as
Gringo calls a scamper from danger--well, I would risk something for
Amarilla.

The show had been going on for a little time, for it was quite a
bit after eight, and very often the door opened and persons came
out--presumably those who had played their part for the last time and
were going home. So, if I ran in the door, and was cautious, I would
stand a good chance of getting out again.

I seized my opportunity and bolted in when an enormously fat lady in
a light evening cloak came out, and entered a taxi-cab that had been
standing by the curbstone.

Now I was inside the door, and what did I see--a bare, narrow hallway,
and some steps. I crept cautiously up the steps, nosing and smelling
various odours, animals, sawdust, straw, stale food, and waves of heat
from some badly ventilated hall.

Ah! here my suggestion of Amarilla stopped--it was a medium-sized,
untidy kind of basement room, with boxes littered about--travelling
boxes of animals. All were empty. The animals must be on the stage with
their trainer, but if Amarilla was on the stage, why was the room so
strongly reminiscent of her?

Amarilla was not on the stage. I followed my nose to a corner, and
there was the dear little thing, crouching low, her pretty open face,
like a child’s, all distorted by fear.

“Amarilla,” I said softly.

Oh what a jump she gave. “Beauty,” she said, “why, Beauty, is that you?”

Beauty had been my name in Boston, given me by a too fond mistress who
really thought me beautiful.

“Tell me quick,” I said, “what’s the matter with you?”

“I didn’t do my tricks right,” she said, “and the trainer beat me, and
I was too frightened to go on the stage.”

“Then you’re not happy with him.”

“Happy, Beauty--if you knew,” and she began, to moan and cry softly.

There was blood on her pretty coat, and I said sharply, “Brace up, now,
and get out of this. Follow me, I’ll lead you to a good home.”

“I’m afraid,” she said shrinking back. “I never had much spirit, and
all I had has been whipped out of me. I don’t believe I could run a
block.”

“Oh, Amarilla,” I said earnestly, “do come with me. If you don’t, I
shall go home and dream of your misery, and cry in my sleep.”

That touched her a little, for she always was an unselfish little
doggie. “Do come,” I begged.

For a few minutes she held out, and I was in an agony. Any minute, her
master might come and find me there, and I should be trapped, too.

“Oh, Beauty,” she said despairingly, “I’d love to go, but he would run
after me, and then he would nearly kill me.”

“Well, I’ll lie down, and let him catch me, too.”

“No, no,” she said wildly. “You wouldn’t last any time--a dog of your
spirit.”

My threat decided her, and she consented to follow me to the door.

Waiting there in wild anxiety, I thought it would never open. We had to
hide in a corner, and the trainer was actually marshalling the other
dogs down from the stage to their travelling boxes, before a stage hand
came along and, opening the door, stepped out in the street to get a
breath of air.

I thought he would never move away from the open door. Finally a
German band struck up on Broadway, and he moved a few steps toward the
corner.

I gave Amarilla a push, and didn’t we fly out! Most unfortunately, as
we scuttled along toward Riverside Drive, he turned and saw us. He
stepped back quickly into the doorway, and I knew he had gone to give
the alarm.

“Run, Amarilla, run,” I whispered. “They’re after us, and if they catch
us, your trainer will tear me limb from limb.”

Poor little soul, she was too wise to use her breath for speaking. She
just tore on behind me, and nearly panted her little life out. I knew
by her breathing that she hadn’t been used to having much exercise.
I had told her to run behind me, and not to think of automobiles or
anything, but just to keep close to my hind paws.

Of course, I led her right back to Broadway. It would have been foolish
to keep on toward the Drive, when the man had seen us going in that
direction, and would likely get a taxi and follow us. I chose the front
of another moving picture place, and made her creep in behind the
billboards.

“This is horrible,” she gasped, “right in the jaws of danger.”

“Yes,” I said, “just where they’ll never think of looking for you,” and
didn’t we, later on, have the satisfaction of hearing one man say to
another, “Hear about Fifeson’s dogs down at the other house?--they’ve
lost one--saw her running off with another dog--a white fox-terrier,
and can’t find her.”

“How much was she worth to Fifeson?” asked the man addressed.

“He reckons her at five hundred dollars, but I guess he’s romancing.”

Amarilla trembled frightfully, but I reassured her by licking her
wounded head, and after a long time, when the crowd was coming out of
the theatre, I guided her among ladies’ dresses, and creeping out, we
rushed down to the Drive again. Taking advantage of every bit of shadow
we could find, we made short runs for home.

It was about eleven when we arrived in front of our apartment-house,
and Amarilla was nearly dead.

“Bear up a little longer,” I said to her. “Imagine you’re one of your
big ancestors taught to keep within a short distance of a gun--and
listen to a word of advice. The lady of the house is your friend. Pay
no attention to the man.”

“I’m glad,” she said faintly. “I’m terrified of all men, since that one
has beaten me so much with his cruel whip.”

Oh, how angry I felt. That terrible whip is in evidence even on the
stage, for did any one ever see a show of trained animals, without the
presence of the scourge in the hands of the master? He doesn’t dare
to use it in public, but he shakes it, and the poor dog knows what is
coming afterward.

Oh! what a long breath I drew when we passed the floor-to-ceiling
mirrors of our hallway--safe at last, and a sorry looking sight.
Amarilla’s curls were muddy and torn, for I had had her in vacant
lots, among shrubbery, everywhere, to escape the sharp eyes of the
policemen. Then her own troubles made her look terribly.

“What a wreck,” she murmured, then she shut her eyes in pain and
fatigue, as she dropped to the floor of the elevator.

“So you’ve got a friend,” said the elevator boy with a grin. “You’re a
great dog. Never saw your beat.”

When I barked once at the door of our apartment, which was my signal
for getting in, I hoped fervently that my master was at home.

Thank fortune, he was. I ran up to him, threw myself across his feet,
and panted, for even I, strong as I was, felt rather worn out, but not
so much with exertion as with excitement of rescuing my former little
friend.

Amarilla, according to instructions, crept timidly to Mrs. Granton’s
feet. I never saw anything look more humble than that little dog. She
doubled up her little legs so that she seemed to be crawling on her
stomach. Her air was humility, sad appeal, and restrained suffering. It
was inimitable.



CHAPTER XVI

TO LOVE OR NOT TO LOVE THE COUNTRY


Mistress laid down her work--she was always making things for the baby
now--and gave a little shriek--“Rudolph, look here, what is this?”

“A dog on its last legs apparently,” he said, then he gave me a shrewd
look. “Something Boy has brought in.”

“There’s blood on it and mud,” cried poor mistress, shrinking away.
“Take it, Rudolph. Ring for Annie. Why, it’s been abused.”

Why, mistress was progressing. She actually could make out something
from a dog’s appearance.

However, it was one thing for her to tell her husband to take it, and
another thing for Amarilla to allow him to take it. She yelled with
fright, whenever he came near her, and clung to Mrs. Granton.

“Some man has whipped that dog,” he said angrily. “The brute! Poor
doggie; I would not hurt you for a kingdom.”

Protestations didn’t count with Amarilla. She didn’t like men, and Mrs.
Granton half flattered, half annoyed, at last retired with her to the
kitchen.

When she came back, a half hour later, Amarilla had been washed and
brushed, and was wrapped snugly in one of Master Baby’s white blankets.

Annie put her in a chair near Mrs. Granton who sat ruefully surveying
her.

“Rudolph,” she said, “what do you think this means?”

“From my knowledge of Boy,” he said, “I should judge that this is
either a lost dog, or some poor creature he has coaxed from some kind
of slavery.”

“Do you think he is as intelligent as that?” she asked surveying me
kindly.

“As that, and much more so,” said my master. “I think there is a whole
world of dog psychology open to those who will run and read.”

“I used to think dogs were stupid,” she said.

“In that you are not different from many persons,” said my master.
“Cultivate an animal, and you find out how clever he is.”

“And human beings,” she said softly, “if you cultivate them, you find
out that they are not as stupid as they appear.”

Master winced a little. He knew that in times past, he had allowed her
to think that she was not clever enough to be cultivated.

“Claudia,” he said, “you are a very clever woman,” then he burst out
laughing, and she laughed with him.

“Poor little frightened thing,” she said at last, stroking Amarilla as
she lay beside her. “She was so hungry and thirsty, Rudolph. And her
poor bones are almost sticking through her skin.”

My blood boiled in my veins, when I thought of dainty Amarilla’s
previous life, and the cosseting she had had from the old lady in
Boston, but I must listen to what mistress was saying about Beanie.

“Rudolph,” she said hesitatingly, “I was thinking of asking you if I
could get Beanie back. I don’t think I treated him just right.”

Master stopped to think a minute, then he said, “Claudia, if I had
given your dog to Mrs. van der Spyten, would you have asked for him
back?”

“Oh, no, no,” she said quite shocked at the idea.

“Then why take him from a charwoman?”

“I suppose it would be mean,” said mistress slowly.

“And here you have a beautiful and valuable dog right at hand,” said my
master, pointing to Amarilla.

“As valuable as Beanie?” enquired mistress.

“Twice as valuable. Her points look to me about perfect.”

“But she may belong to some one.”

“I’ll find that out,” said master, and he did, for he put a
dog-detective on Amarilla’s track. The man found out all about her. She
had been stolen by a tramp, who sold her to the dog-show man.

Master visited the show, and was struck with horror at the appearance
of the animals. Sitting near the stage, he saw that they were all
terrified of their master. He threatened the man with prosecution,
took all his dogs from him, allowing him a good sum; and best of
all, finding out that he hated the show business and wanted to be a
chauffeur, but couldn’t afford the training, he put him in a garage and
paid his way handsomely.

That was master all over--to make a good thing out of an apparently bad
one. He and Mr. Bonstone were always doing it. Mr. Bonstone had more
practical knowledge of the ways of evil-doers than master had. Master
belonged to a fine old New York family, and had never lived with all
sorts and conditions of men, as Mr. Bonstone had.

Mr. Bonstone was as ardent a dog-lover as master was, and he bundled
the whole dog show out to his farm, where they were months in
recuperating. They had been starved, beaten, not exercised, and two
of them had to be mercifully put out of the way. There were left two
white poodles, they called the Frenchmen, a mongrel, Yeggie by name, a
miniature bull-dog called Weary Winnie, Czarina, a Russian wolf-hound,
a Dandie Dinmont terrier called Cannie, and a bloodhound, King Harry,
and after a while we all got acquainted with them. That was after the
great change came in our lives--the moving from the city to the country.

I must not forget to say that Amarilla proved a great success as a pet
dog for mistress. She did not care for very much exercise. She followed
mistress from one room to another of the apartment--in fact, she was
like a little shadow, and oh! how she loved the baby. She would sit by
his perambulator for hours, and if any stranger came near, she barked
in her little, shrill voice.

Now, I get very fond of certain human beings, and no dog could love a
master better than I love Mr. Granton, but I never could keep at his
heels all the time.

However, Mrs. Granton didn’t seem to mind being shadowed, and Amarilla
adored doing it, so there was no reason why they should not both be
satisfied. Every man and every dog to his liking, and that reminds me,
how, oh! how am I going to like the country? The time is drawing near
for our removal. Mr. Bonstone has found a beautiful estate for master.
The change in my life is going to be positive. I don’t want to run away
again. I want to stay with this nice man, but can I, if he leaves my
beloved New York?

       *       *       *       *       *

BOOK TWO: MY LIFE IN THE COUNTRY

       *       *       *       *       *



BOOK TWO: MY LIFE IN THE COUNTRY

CHAPTER XVII

THE ARRIVAL OF THE TWINS


Two years have passed away since I wrote the first part of the story
of my life--two whole years, but they seem like ten, for so much has
happened in them, and so many changes have taken place in me, that I
feel like a different dog.

I have changed, human beings have changed, the whole world has changed,
for that terrible blasting war in Europe is over. I thought when it was
done, that master would stop looking grave when he read the papers, and
mistress would stop crying over the woes of the suffering babies and
children, but they look and act worse than ever.

It’s the readjustment master often says--the horrible setting in order
of countries disordered by crimes of the worst species.

Sometimes he takes his little boy in his arms, and says, “George
Washington, I had rather have you die now, than see you live to grow up
and shed the blood of a fellow-man.”

I don’t think there is any danger of George Washington ever killing
any one. He is the fattest, sweetest, dearest specimen of a boy baby
I ever saw. He has no temper, as cute little Cyria has. He jabbers
baby-talk, and plays with us dogs, and never hurts one of us.

I heard master say the other day that he had no liking for a man who
never changes his opinion, and I believe that saying is true with
regard to dogs as well as men. I never used to like babies. Why? I
never cultivated them. I love them now, because I study them, and it is
one of the pleasures of my life to note the astonishing developments
and differences, between the rapidly growing and changing Cyria, and
little George.

Sometimes they bother me, but who has not trouble? A dog that dreams
through life, lives in a back yard away out of sight, nobody notices or
cares for. You’re bound to have a scrap occasionally, if you come out
to the light.

I never liked living in a back yard, but I used to run like a greyhound
from disagreeable things, and seek pleasant ones, and it kept me always
on the jump. Now I have made up my mind to stay by this family, no
matter what happens to them. There is great happiness in an accepted
family. I notice some human beings are always trying to get away from
their home environment, and many times it is with them as it is with
me--it keeps them on the trot all the time.

I don’t want any one to think that I imagine I have become a perfect
dog. Good gracious, no! I am just a good, plain, American every-day
sort of a dog. I have no illusions about myself, or my owners. I
want to do my duty in the dog walk of life to which I am called. I’ll
go round a block to attend to my business and avoid a fight, but if
trouble meets me the other side of the block, I’ll not dodge it, but
I’ll grip it by the throat and try to down it. If it downs me, I’ll get
up and shake myself, and hope for better luck next time. To keep myself
humble, I often say, “Great Cerberus! what a fool I am, but still not
half so much of a fool as I used to be.”

Another most important opinion I’ve changed, is that the city is a
better place to live in than the country. How could I ever have made
such a mistake? I’m a country dog, now and forevermore, and all my dog
set has gone over with me. The country to live in--the city to visit.

You ought to hear old Gringo on the subject. “’Pon my word, Boy,” he
often says when we gossip together, “I never dreamed that an old Bowery
dog would get so stuck on green grass and blue sky.”

The Bonstones live right under a long and beautiful eminence called
Green Hill. Their big, bare house spreads out like a barn under the
hill slope. They haven’t one thing in that house they could do without.
They have no carpets nor stuffed furniture, no draperies at windows,
just plain shades, and their floors are of some smooth, shiny tiles
that can be flooded with a hose, and the water runs down and waters
window boxes on the floor below. They haven’t a table cloth in the
house, but they have lovely things to eat on tables of finely polished
wood, and they have plenty of big, soft cushions and comfortable
wicker chairs, and many floor rugs that can be lifted easily and taken
out-of-doors.

It’s the most sanitary house I ever saw, and Mrs. Bonstone says it
reminds her of a hospital. However, she does not complain. She says
that a little while after she was married, when she found her husband
wanted to come to the country, she said, “It’s the man’s right to
choose the place of domicile, and here’s one woman that will let her
man go further than that, for he may build the house, and furnish it
too.”

Everybody says it is an ugly house, and yet I notice everybody likes
to visit it, and sit by the big jolly fires in winter, or loll on the
spacious verandas in summer, and partake of the fine meals that are
served in the dining-room.

All the jewelry and silver were banished from the house long ago--they
were sold for the benefit of the unemployed, and Mr. and Mrs. Bonstone
wear a sporting sort of clothes, and a handsome couple they are. He has
got quite brown, and she has a magnificent colour from being so much in
the open air. She hasn’t any bric-a-brac to look after, nor fol-de-rols
such as most women have, and even the servants are out a great deal,
for the Bonstones install in their house every labour-saving device
that is put on the market.

Cyria is a little beauty, and browner than ever, but not
foreign-looking. Strangers always think she is the Bonstones’ own
child. Six months ago, every one said her nose would be put out of
joint but it wasn’t. It is straighter than ever.

I shall never forget that wonderful event. Good old Gringo, who has
matured wonderfully since coming here, and who has also seemed to grow
younger, for he has lost his rheumatism because he takes more exercise,
came over to our house one drowsy summer day just gasping and panting
with excitement. He is always going about here with his double shuffle
gait. He has no health commissioner, and no policeman nor muzzle to
worry him.

“What’s up?” I asked, blinking at him sleepily.

“We’re ahead of you,” the good old dog snorted--“you’ve got one baby
only. We have three.”

“Not triplets,” I gasped.

The old dog gave me a look. “Of course not, though if it had been
triplets, it would have been all right. We’ve got twins, Boy, but Cyria
counts in. She’s our baby, too. Come on over--come on over and see
them. We’ve all got rats in the garret over them. We’re crazy, crazy,
crazy--just think--two babies.”

“Boys or girls?”

“One of each, of course,” he exclaimed, his square face alight with
pride. “Come on, double quick.”

I capered back with him--it almost kills me to see him run--bull-dogs
weren’t built for grace. Of course, I saw nothing of the babies, but we
listened under the window, and occasionally heard little faint peeps
like young birds.

“Look at mister walking in the blue garden,” gurgled Gringo. “Wouldn’t
you think he was tramping on wool?”

The blue garden was full of blue flowers of different shades, and
rocks, and rills, and rustic seats and arbours. It was a delicious
spot, and very æsthetic.

Mr. Bonstone certainly didn’t look blue. He was walking to and fro
quite quickly, in spite of the heat, and occasionally he lifted his
eyes to the sky.

“Doesn’t know whether he’s on his head or his heels,” whispered Gringo.

Suddenly the man stooped down, and picked a bachelor’s button to put in
his coat. Then with a broad smile, he picked another, and put beside it.

“Remembers he’s got to run double,” said Gringo gleefully. “Believe me,
I’m happy for mister.”

“What are you going to call your babies?” I enquired. “You’ll never get
such a good name as George Washington.”

“We had only one ready,” said Gringo, “that was John. I guess mister
will settle on Mary for the girl, if missis don’t object.”

“Well,” I said, “you’re pretty close to us. John and Mary are two of
the oldest and best of names. Nothing fancy about them.”

“Mister wants them to be good,” said Gringo. “He says nothing else
counts, if you haven’t got that rock-bottom character. My! what a
training they’ll have. If they don’t want to serve their fellow-men,
they’ll have a fight with the missis. She has gone batty on the
subject.”

“I hear she even believes in women voting,” I said cautiously.

“She believes in letting men, and women, and children, and animals do
everything they blank please, provided they don’t bang into any other
men’s, women’s, children’s or animals’ rights. Liberty for her. None of
your coop-me-up rules.”

“It’s a good thing she’s got out of that old society,
sleep-eat-and-play life,” I said.

“A mighty good thing,” observed Gringo. “She was most dotty.”

“Hist!” I cried, “who’s crying?”

“Little Cyria,” said Gringo, “she’s a regular baby--temper too--but our
own.”

Poor little brown girlie--she trotted toward the blue garden, ran up
to the abstracted Mr. Bonstone and clasped both his knees. “Oh! Daddy,
Daddy, Cyria’s mos’ dead.”

“What’s the matter, baby?” he asked kindly, and sitting down on a
rustic bench, he took the child on his lap.

“Thomas’ little boy has been teasin’ me. I wented up to the stable with
nurse. The boy said, ‘Feel your nose, little girl----’” and she went
on, to choke out her story of despair. The bad boy had said she was
only a “’dopted” child, and now there were two babies who were real
babies, and she would either be sent away or put in a corner.

She spoke very plainly for a child of little more than three years, for
she had been brought up with grown people.

“Oh, Daddy, won’t you love me any more?” she cried. “Won’t you let
Cyria sit on your knee?”

“Of course, I will,” he said. “Don’t believe any of this nonsense.”

“But the bad boy said you had only two knees, and where would I go?”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” said Mr. Bonstone gravely, “we’ll strap
an artificial knee on Daddy for one of the babies--the boy for example.
My right knee belongs to you, my first little girl.”

“Daddy, what’s a ’dopted baby?” she asked pitifully.

“A ’dopted baby is something a little better than your own baby,” said
Mr. Bonstone.

The child suddenly threw her arms round his neck. “Daddy, you is
sweeter than the roses.”

Mr. Bonstone kissed her very affectionately, then he said, “Come, see
the new babies. You must choose one for your own, and I will choose
one.”

“I want the girlie,” said Cyria.

“Very well, you shall have Mary.”

“An’ she must go seepie in my beddie.”

“Possibly later, but not just now,” said her adopted father; then he
took her away in the house.

“Nice man, that,” I said.

“Rather,” observed Gringo wisely, and with an eloquent shake of his
square head.

“Gringo,” I said, “I hear that old Mrs. Resterton is coming out here.”

“She arrived to-day,” replied Gringo. “She stood that big house in New
York as long as she could. She thought she was in heaven when the boss
let her run it, and she had what she’s been, longing for--that is, lots
of dough. But she isn’t as smart as little missie, her granddaughter,
and she found that though her place was just as firm in sassiety----”

“Society, Gringo,” I said. “You never do pronounce that right.”

“So-ciety then,” continued the old dog. “She was as strong in it as
Grant’s tomb, but the butterfly world fluttered by, when she no longer
had her gamesome wasp. So she wrote mister. I thought he’d smother
laughing. He took the letter out to the orchard, for the old lady
didn’t want missis to know. She said in it everything she didn’t mean,
but mister read between the lines. She missed her granddaughter Stanna,
and her great-granddaughter Cyria----”

“I like that,” I said, “when she fought so against the child’s
adoption.”

“Oh! forget that,” said Gringo, “anyway, she wanted to come live here,
and he let her come, and he’s going to sell the house, and make a big
figure on it for an apartment-house site, and he’s going to get a coupé
for her to run about in, and have all the old ladies she wants.”

“She’ll be agreeable, won’t she?” I asked anxiously, for I hated to
hear of anything clouding the Bonstones’ lovely home life.

“Agreeable, yes. She’s a comely old dear. Everybody likes her. She
minces round in her black silk, poking her aristocratic old nose into
everything, but who cares? The servants favour her, and the missis pets
her like a baby.”

“But Master Carty,” I said, “I do hope he isn’t coming.”

“He’s got to,” said Gringo uneasily, “as his home with his grandmother
is broken up.”

“There’s your snag,” I said.

Gringo looked gloomy. “You bet--the young rap tipples all the time. The
women can’t stop him.”

“Maybe country life will.”

“Maybe,” said the good old dog, “but I’ve seen many lads going Carty’s
way. I’ll tell you what mister will do. He’ll give him a good fair
showing, then if he doesn’t make good, he’ll kick him out.”

“But what about the women?” I said.

“The women,” exclaimed Gringo with suppressed rage, “I’m tired of this
drink-martyr’s business. The men have all the fun, the women all the
pain. Every time that young rapscallion comes out here, missis sneaks
up to his room to feel his coat pockets, and search his suit-case, to
find out if he’s brought any of the powerful, and if she finds it, she
cries, and pours out half and puts water in, and if a caller comes,
down she goes, smiling as if she hadn’t a trouble in the world. I’d
like to chuck all the drunkards in New York Bay with a rock on their
necks.”

“Come, come, Gringo,” I said, “that doesn’t sound like you. Can’t you
think of a way to reform the poor wretches?”

“Nothing but shut off the liquor,” said Gringo.

I burst out laughing. “How you have changed, old fellow. You used to be
for high license, drink in moderation, self-restraint, etc.”

“It doesn’t work with sap-heads,” said Gringo. “I’m for drowning now.
Do you know what missis did--had that fellow put over her head.”

“You mean his bed-room--when he comes out to visit?”

“Yes--so she could listen for his step. When it’s steady, she is gay.
When he stumbles, and pushes the furniture round, she is sad.”

“I shouldn’t think your master would have allowed that,” I said
angrily. “It’s a shame for Mrs. Bonstone to be so bothered.”

“Mister,” exclaimed Gringo, “do you suppose he knows? Not a word of it.
Women keep little tricks like that to themselves.”

“Well, I hope he won’t kill her,” I said. “I wish we could do something
to help her.”

“Maybe we can,” said Gringo with a knowing air. “Our owners don’t know
how much help they get from dogs.”

Old Gringo’s prophecy came true, and in rather a funny way, later on.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE SHOWMAN’S DOGS


It was six months ago that the twins came, and now they are fine
healthy young babies, being pushed round in their perambulator all over
the place by their nurse, who is so well-trained and so up-to-date that
she is over-trained or “fine” as Gringo says.

Gringo and I were watching them one day a few weeks ago, as we sat side
by side up in the orchard at the Bonstones’. This orchard is a little
one containing very old trees, and is never ploughed. It is a lovely
shady place to rest, for the grass is kept short and is soft as a
carpet. It has become quite a social meeting-place for the dogs of the
neighbourhood, and we often discuss things there.

“Fine babies, those,” I remarked.

“Yes,” assented Gringo, “I suppose you wouldn’t find a finer pair in
the whole state of New York.”

“Do you like them better than the little girl, Cyria?” I asked.

Old Gringo wrinkled his forehead. “I never think about that,” he said.
“They’re all ours, and I guess the mister and missis don’t think of it
either.”

“That’s good,” I replied. “I’d hate to see the little brown baby made
uncomfortable.”

Gringo chuckled. “Those were great times back in New York, but I’m glad
I’m in this army.”

“There’s no doubt about it, you are firmly wedded to country life now,”
I said.

“Wedded, I guess so, and I often snicker to think how I’d have fought
to a finish any dog in the Bowery that told me I’d get to praise the
country and run down the city.”

“And you thought you’d get bored here,” I said with a sly laugh.

“Bored,” and he grunted happily, “what chance have I? It’s up at
daylight with mister, and out to the stables and barn, laying out the
day’s work for the men, examining the stock to see they’re all first
class--by the way, mister’s going to make a fortune raising colts,
’cause the war cleaned out all the horses--then in the house for
breakfast--I say, Boy, things do taste good out here in this clear
air--then in town in the car, out again, and pottering around after
missis and little Cyria, out in the gardens and after the hens till
lunch time, then a drive in for mister, and a stop in the village with
him.”

“I say, Gringo,” I interrupted, “I believe of all the things your
master and mine have done out here, that automobile school is the best.”

“Right you are,” said the old dog. “These lads that my boss picks up
out of prisons, and in the streets, won’t settle down to anything that
isn’t pretty lively. They’ll break colts or hustle round a machine
shop, but they’ll not stick to indoor work.”

“That breaking colts is new business to me,” I said. “How can you take
a pale, weak, city lad and make him successful? I thought you had to
have strong men.”

“Oh, that’s the old brute way,” said Gringo. “You begin now when coltie
is young and tender. Hitch him up with a little bit of something
dangling after him. Break him in gradually to something bigger. Lots of
these city yaps haven’t ever had anything to like--anything decent, you
know.”

“I understand,” I replied. “They’ve had nothing to love.”

“There’s one rogue,” said Gringo, “who sleeps in the boxstall with his
pet colt, and ’pon my word, I’ve seen him with his arm round its neck.
He’s a guttersnipe, and my boss will soon rout him out and make him
sleep in a bed, but he ain’t too hasty with these low-life chaps.”

“What’s this new talk about jitney cars?” I asked.

“Our bosses have got a lot of second-hand cars, and are doctoring them
for some of our lads who can run them about New York like a taxi-man
does.”

“But a jitney is a five-cent fare thing, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but it pays. Catch my boss in anything that doesn’t speak up when
it’s spoken to.”

“That will be fine,” I said, “for then the boys will be
self-supporting.”

“I didn’t finish my day, Boy,” said the old dog, “after we tot up
things down at the village, we have our supper, and don’t the food
taste first-class, then a short evening on the veranda, and then bed. I
tell you it’s a full day, as full as a Bowery day.”

I laughed, and he laughed too; then I said, “I’m mighty glad, old man,
that the intimacy between our two families has kept up.”

“So am I,” said he, “but do you know what I overheard when we first
came out? Says my missie to your missie, ‘Claudia, we are only a mile
apart. If we see too much of each other, we shall fight. We ’most did
the other day--and our husbands shouldn’t be too much together. They’ll
fall out, sure as rats.’”

“Did she says ‘rats’?” I asked.

“Oh! that, or something like it,” said the old dog so impatiently that
I resolved not to interrupt him again.

“Well,” he went on, “says she, says my missie to yours, ‘I’d hate
to have a break,’ and your missie said so would she, then they said
they wouldn’t call for a week, and next morning your missie was over
to borrow a pattern for a pair of knitted reins for Georgie to play
horsie, and my missie was back in the afternoon to take her some sweet
pickles she had been making. So there you are--and I must not forget to
say that the two families were all over on your veranda in the evening.”

“Good joke,” I said laughing heartily, “and we dogs are just as
friendly as the human beings.”

“Thick as thieves,” said Gringo, “and I must say we’re a pretty good
gang.”

As Gringo was speaking, two of the dogs in the performing troupe that
Amarilla belonged to, came round the corner of the house. They are two
beautiful snow-white French poodles, and have exquisite manners. When
they first came out, they were thin and frightened. That was before we
arrived. By the time we came, they were fat and prosperous and happy
looking dogs. On the stage, they had worn their hair clipped in the
approved fashion for poodles, and their forelocks were tied up with
ribbon.

Mrs. Bonstone took the ribbons off, for she wanted them to be real
dogs, she said, and they are only clipped now when warm weather comes,
and then all over.

It does Gringo and me all the good in the world to see the quiet
delight these two handsome dogs take in their well-ordered life here.
They are full of interest in American life. They were born in Paris,
and at first they thought the whole world was bounded by the Seine
where they used to be taken to be washed. Then they were sold to this
dreadful man, Fifeson, who beat them sometimes, but not nearly as often
as he beat Amarilla, for poodles are naturally splendid trick dogs, and
learn things easily.

“Gringo,” I said, “do you think these dogs are any different from other
dogs who have never been treated cruelly?”

“’Course I do,” he growled. “Don’t you see they ain’t like you and me?”

“Yes, I see it,” I replied, “but I wanted to know whether you did.”

“Their spirit’s broken,” he said. “The Frenchmen are happy, but there’s
a look in their eye, as if they wouldn’t be surprised any minute, if
some one up and struck them.”

“Weary Winnie doesn’t show it as much as they do,” I said.

Gringo grinned. Weary Winnie was his pet among the showman’s dogs. She
was a fat, lazy, young miniature bull-dog with a wrinkled muzzle that
looked as if she were always smelling something disagreeable and one
white tooth that stuck out beyond the others. She came of grand stock,
but was rather stupid, and had played an old woman on the stage, being
dressed up in a shawl and bonnet. Amarilla says her beatings were
awful, for she couldn’t seem to learn the simplest thing. The showman
made her hold things in her mouth, and at last he had to give up the
pipe, for she always let it fall out. Finally he tied a basket to her
lips, and the string hurt her.

When we came out here, she was taken over to our house to be a playmate
for me, but she used to run away and howl about this place till at last
master asked Mr. Bonstone to keep her. When she isn’t sleeping, she is
paddling about after Gringo, and looking just about as graceful as he
does.

She sleeps in a box-stall in one of the stables, with the Frenchmen.
Mr. Bonstone likes to have plenty of dogs about his horses, for they
are such good guardians. No stranger can get near the horses when the
dogs are at their post, and some of them are always in or near the
stables.

Gringo, of course, always sleeps in his master’s dressing-room. He
saved Mr. Bonstone’s life once, out west, when a bad man who was his
enemy crawled in a window at night, and was just about to shoot at
that head on the pillow so dear to Gringo.

“How did you stop him?” I often ask Gringo, for he loves to tell the
story.

“Just took a playful leap at his throat,” the old dog always says.

“And what did your master do?”

“Heard the rumpus, got up, and took the man’s gun away.”

“And what did the man do?”

“Broke down, and wanted to shake hands with the boss.”

“And what did your master do?”

“Shook, and told him to go home, and get another gun.”

Gringo, of course, can leap like a cat, that being one of the
characteristics of a thoroughbred bull-dog. He, however, can jump
higher than most bull-dogs, for the man from whom Mr. Bonstone bought
him had given him special training. He was a famous boxer, and Gringo
says he used to put on gloves and have many a go with him. Gringo would
spring at the boxer’s chest--he was a six-footer--and try to bite a
button from his vest. The boxer would give him good blows with his
gloves, and drive him away, but Gringo always came back. It was rough
training, but it made the young dog hardy.

Besides the Frenchmen and Weary Winnie, the Bonstones have Yeggie, a
mongrel, another one of the showman’s lot. Oh! what an eloquent looking
little fellow he is. His eyes seem to be pleading with you to make up
some message, that he is unable to deliver.

Amarilla says he is another one that got plenty of whacks from the
showman. She says that look of tears in his eyes, means that he is
trying to tell you of his troubles, so that you will sympathise with
him.

All these show dogs have nightmare most horribly. That is one reason
why Gringo won’t allow Weary Winnie to sleep in the house with him.
He had her in one night, and he said that though he was fond of the
creature, he couldn’t have her yelling blue murder every hour in his
ear.

Yeggie is young and dashing, and hasn’t very good manners. He was a
tramp dog when the showman got him, and sometimes he annoys me by
saying that I, too, led a tramp’s life. I explain to him over and over
again, that a wandering dog isn’t necessarily a tramp dog, but he can’t
make the distinction. Poor fellow, he hadn’t early advantages, and is
rather inelegant in his ways. We older dogs are always correcting him,
but he forgets easily and is still very heedless. However, he has a
very happy time, and that is the main thing. He loves the men and the
horses, and always sleeps on the foot of Joe’s bed in his room over the
larger of the two stables.

Thomas sleeps in the other stable, and Czarina is always his companion.
She is a magnificent Russian wolfhound, and is Mrs. Bonstone’s special
pet, next to Sir Walter, who is the favourite-in-chief, though he is
not very much with his mistress now on account of his devotion to the
hens.

I should have mentioned sooner this aristocratic dog. From the start,
Sir Walter liked the idea of moving to the country, for it suggested
his former life in Scotland.

Gringo and I imagined he would be the show-dog of the place--always
in evidence on the avenue, in the drawing-room, on the verandas, or
hanging about the automobiles.

To our amazement, that dog’s one idea when he got to the country was to
have something to boss. He would have preferred sheep, but Mr. Bonstone
could not keep any, as we are too near the city. Sir Walter could do
nothing with the horses, for the men were with them all the time, and
told them what to do.

“He wants to run a show of his own,” Gringo used to say, “and though I
like the dog, he ain’t going to boss me!”

He couldn’t boss me, either, and not one of the showman’s dogs minded
a word he said. He did fuss round the Jersey cows a bit, but the lad
that drove them to and from the pasture wouldn’t have Sir Walter
interfering, so he took to following Mrs. Bonstone about when she took
care of her large flock of hens.

They were beautiful white Wyandottes, and were kind and sensible. It is
wonderful what intelligence hens have when one treats them well. Sir
Walter got interested in them, found he could order them about to his
heart’s content, and when seeding-time came, he had made himself so
useful that kind-hearted Mrs. Bonstone was delighted to be able to give
them their liberty, under his superintendence.

Those hens knew just as well as Christians that it was naughty to
scratch up the seeds in the vegetable and flower gardens, but they had
a pleasant little way of yielding to temptation till Sir Walter took
them in hand.

“Bow, wow! chickies,” he would say, running round and round them, and
carefully steering them away from danger points to the orchard or the
meadow, or the new land that was being broken up by a plough.

Those hens minded him beautifully, and he was as happy as the day was
long.

At first, the other dogs would roar with laughter to see him rush out
to the hen-houses in the morning, wait for his charges to be let out,
and wander about with them all day.

One day he caught Yeggie making faces at him, and gave him a great
walloping, and that taught all of us to be more respectful. If he liked
hens, he had a right to associate with them.

“A gentleman can perform any kind of menial labour without degrading
himself,” Sir Walter said to Yeggie, and emphasised it by a bite on the
ear.

As time went on, the hens became more and more of a passion with Sir
Walter, and by the time the twins came he was sleeping out in a kennel
by the hen-houses, and had a pet white chicken roosting on his back.
Its name is Betsy, and it is not to be killed, but kept for him, as he
is so fond of it.

Many of the Bonstones’ neighbours have hens stolen, but no one now ever
braves the army of dogs at Green Hill.

One man tried it--a stranger who did not know about the dogs. He had
tramped out from New York, and seeing the flock of Wyandottes on the
farm as he passed by on the road, he decided it would be a good place
to steal a few chickens. He lay hidden in some bushes till night, then
he crept cautiously to the barn. Sir Walter met him, and growlingly
escorted him to his kennel. The other dogs scented a stranger, and the
unhappy tramp found himself confronted by Weary Winnie, Yeggie, the
Frenchmen and Czarina. They did not bite him. Mr. Bonstone’s dogs, and
ours too, are trained never to put their teeth in a man unless he is
trying to kill them, or some human being. We can nose, and push, and
knock over, and grip, if necessary, but not bite.

The poor tramp was in a dilemma, and finally he crawled into Sir
Walter’s kennel, and covered himself with straw.

Cook was the first one up at the hen-houses in the morning. She wanted
fresh eggs for breakfast.

Seeing Sir Walter watching the kennel door with a peculiar air, she
went up and looked in, and screamed when she saw a man’s head in the
straw.

Thomas and Joe came running from the barn, and ordered the man to come
out.

“Sure and I can’t,” he said, “those gentlemanly dogs have peeled every
stitch of clothing off me.”

Sir Walter says his clothes were thin and old, and they literally
dropped off him, when the dogs pushed him about.

Thomas howled with delight, and telling the man to shake off the straw
in which he was buried, he sent Joe up to the house for a suit of old
clothes of Mr. Bonstone’s. That tramp had the greatest admiration for
the dogs, and sat about the place for days smoking and staring at them.

Mr. Bonstone at last ordered him to get out. He absolutely wouldn’t
work, and busy Mr. Bonstone was not the kind of man to have an idle
person about.



CHAPTER XIX

GOOD KING HARRY


So much for the Bonstones--now for my own dear family. We are not as
high up among the hills as they are. My master bought, not a regular
farm like the Bonstones, but what they call a gentleman’s estate.
It has eighty acres of ground, some woodland, some meadow, a big
old-fashioned flower garden, a fine strip of land for vegetables, and a
stately old colonial mansion.

The house is situated on a bit of rising ground overlooking the
Pleasant River Valley--just a tiny, baby valley with a slender thread
of a river picking its way among meadows of the greenest grass I ever
saw.

The house is beautifully, even luxuriously, furnished, but without a
foolish expenditure of money. The drawing-room is a dream. We dogs are
allowed to go in, if we are quite clean, and if we lie down quietly on
the big hearth-rug, and do not romp about and shake ourselves.

Even if a dog does live in the country, there is no need for him to be
careless in his habits. I often tell that to Cannie the Dandie Dinmont
terrier, who fell to our lot in the division of the showman’s dogs.

His coat is dense, hard and wiry, and it is some trouble for him
to keep himself clean. Sometimes he neglects himself a bit between
his washings by Louis, and then I scold him. He is a grey brindle in
colour, and a fine, sensible little chap, but inclined to reminisce too
much about his trials with the showman.

“Look ahead, little dog,” I often say to him, “and not over your
shoulder.”

He never resents my criticism. He is a very docile, courageous and
affectionate dog, and a great favourite with every one here.

Beside Cannie, we have King Harry, the best specimen of a bloodhound I
ever saw. His magnificent domed head, and wrinkled forehead give him
an appearance of great wisdom. His eyes are small and deep-set, with a
third eyelid. His ears are long and fine in “leather,” and hang close
to his kind old cheeks. His muzzle is long, deep and blunt at the tip,
and he has a dewlap in the front of his throat.

[Illustration: KING HARRY, THE BEST SPECIMEN OF A BLOODHOUND I EVER SAW]

Oh! what good talks I have had with this noble dog. He has told me the
whole history of his race. I never knew before that they are called
bloodhounds because they were used first of all to track wounded
animals. They were known in ancient Gaul, and there is distinct mention
of them in England during the reign of Henry the Third. De Soto in his
expedition from Spain to Cuba brought a pack of bloodhounds with him
to subdue the natives. Some of these same hounds were brought to our
Southern States, and now there are plenty of them there, and they are
known as “man trailers.”

So the present American bloodhound is a descendant of the old Spanish
kind. King Harry is of English stock. He says his grandmother, old Lady
Gray, had the longest list of cases to her credit of any dog in America.

When I asked him, one day after we first came here, what he meant by
that, he said that she had captured thirty criminals--men and women who
had burnt houses or killed some one.

“How would she do it?” I asked him.

He said he had asked his grandmother many times to tell him about the
way she was trained, and she said that she was one of a litter of five
puppies. Now her owner wished to know which of the puppies had the best
nose, so he used to approach the tightly boarded side of their yard on
tiptoe, and put his eye at a knot-hole.

“Oh! I see,” I exclaimed, “that was to find out which pup discovered
him first.”

“Yes,” replied King Harry. “My grandmother was always the first to wind
him, so he gave her special training. When she was four months old, he
taught her to lead quietly, neither pressing forward, nor holding back
on the chain. Next, she was taught to follow, and to come at a whistle.”

“All this was for obedience, I suppose,” I remarked.

“Yes, and to form her character,” said King Harry. “Next she had to
learn to jump in and out of a buggy--there were no automobiles then--to
climb fences, to swim creeks, to get accustomed to the noise of a town,
and to become used to strangers, but never familiar with them. She was
not allowed to play with children, nor with other dogs--just with
her owner, Tim Dobson.

“When she was eight months old, Dobson took her to the woods. A
stranger held her by the collar, and Dobson started off with an old
towel in his hand. He kept shaking it at my grandmother, who strained
at her collar, and was finally released by this assistant.”

“Why the towel?” I asked.

“To make her anxious to play with it, and to reach her master. This was
the overtaking lesson, and it was repeated several times, then came the
lesson in trailing. Dobson hid behind a tree, and when he was out of
sight, the assistant released grandmother. As soon as she reached the
place where she last saw Dobson, she dropped her nose to the ground.
She never had much trouble in owning a trail----”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Recognising the scent of the person she was following--she had a
grand nose, and Dobson used to keep bits of meat in his pocket to
reward her for quick work. She was taught to bark on trail, and bay at
hiding-places. Then when she was well educated along this line, Dobson
changed places with his assistant.”

“You mean Dobson ran with your grandmother, and together they trailed
the assistant.”

“Yes. Dobson kept changing his assistant, so she wouldn’t get familiar
with him. He would make him strip off his coat, and run. Then
grandmother would smell his coat, the older the coat the higher the
smell, and Dobson would run with her, and encourage her to trail him.
The assistant used to have other men cross his trail, he would wade in
creeks, and walk along fences, but grandmother nearly always got him,
even when she had to work out a cold scent.”

“I would like to have seen that fine Lady Gray,” I said
enthusiastically.

“I am said to look exactly like her,” said King Harry with a melancholy
smile, “but alas! I was stolen when a puppy, and I can do only amateur
work at trailing. However, if you just want to see my grandmother, look
at me.”

I smiled, and he went on. “Next thing came the taking up of a trail
with which grandmother was unacquainted. Dobson had the man who was to
be trailed go to an old stable with an earth floor. He would walk about
a few minutes, throw down his hat, and leave the place. In ten minutes,
Dobson would take grandmother there, keeping every one else out, let
her smell the hat, then hunt up the owner.”

“How interesting all this is,” I exclaimed. “I had no idea such pains
was taken with the training of bloodhound puppies. I thought the
trailing gift came by instinct.”

“Everything that’s worth anything costs trouble,” said King Harry.
“Grandmother said as soon as she learned how to take a trail freely and
eagerly, she was entered to horse and man trailing.”

“How do they do that?” I enquired.

“The assistant led the horse thirty yards, being right out in front of
him, so the horse would be on his trail, then he mounted, rode thirty
feet, dismounted, led the horse fifty feet, mounted, rode one hundred
feet, dismounted and led.”

“Well,” I said, “no wonder your grandmother became so clever.”

“Clever,” repeated King Harry, “she was a marvel. She once followed a
trail that was thirty hours cold.”

“Whose trail was that?”

“A poor, crazy, coloured woman. She had set fire to her house, tried
to kill her husband, and then ran like a fox to a swamp. Grandmother
followed her from seven o’clock one evening till two the next morning,
and the poor creature was found more dead than alive, and put in a
hospital where she subsequently recovered.”

“I have heard that bloodhounds are very fierce in disposition, but I
don’t find you so,” I said.

“Some of them used to be made so,” said King Harry, “but they are
really just like other dogs. Treat them kindly, and they will treat you
kindly, and a bloodhound can be trained not to lay hold of a fugitive.”

“I say, King Harry,” I remarked, “dogs are wonderful creatures. It’s a
pity men don’t understand better how to utilise them.”

“What gets me most of all,” said the dog in his melancholy voice, “is
the unappreciated devotion of dogs. I heard your master telling the
other day of a friend of his who was in Belgium during the late war.
He said that no human beings were more faithful than dogs; that the
red-cross animals were simply magnificent, and even the poor house-dogs
who were left in the Belgian villages, when their owners fled for
their lives, were so devoted that they sat by their kennels till they
dropped dead. Even when food was offered them, they turned their heads
away. The poor starving brutes thought it was right for them to stay by
their ruined homes, and not to take food from strangers.”

“Don’t talk about that war,” I cried, “don’t talk about that awful
war--I’m trying to forget it. Come on down to the village. There’s to
be a feast in Neighbourhood Hall.”

Good King Harry pricked his drooping ears, and ran along with me. This
Neighbourhood Hall was one of the grandest institutions I ever heard
of, but I will tell of it later on, for I want to give an account now
of something King Harry did to help along the work master and Mr.
Bonstone were engaged in.



CHAPTER XX

THE REFORMED SHOWMAN


King Harry, as he said, had never been trained as his grandmother was,
for he had been stolen when he was a puppy, but he inherited enough
trailing instinct to do pretty good amateur work, and we dogs were
always setting him tasks, and were surprised at his cleverness in
picking up a trail.

One night, shortly after my conversation with him about his
grandmother, we gave him something to do for our owners. We thought at
first that there was going to be a serious case, but in the long run it
turned out more happily than we thought it would.

It was about ten o’clock on a fine spring evening. There had been a lot
of cold weather, when suddenly this glorious day burst upon us, like a
harbinger of summer. Everybody had been out-of-doors all day long, and
master and mistress sat on the front veranda, too contented to go to
bed.

Little stars peeped timidly from a somewhat misty sky, and the river
babbled happily of even warmer days to come, and summer delights of
flower and song, for the birds were beginning to return from King
Harry’s sunny South.

Master sat in a big chair, mistress was swinging in a hammock,
Amarilla was cuddled in her arms. I lay under the hammock, King Harry
was sprawled on the gravel walk below, and Cannie, the Dandie Dinmont
terrier, had gone down to the river to get a drink.

We had steps down to the pond near the house where the goldfishes were,
but he never would drink from the place where those yellow things
lived, as he called mistress’s Japanese beauties.

The night was very still, and presently I heard Cannie’s soft paddies
coming back, pit-a-pat with excitement.

King Harry didn’t notice this. The good dog depended more on his nose
than his ears and eyes. Perhaps from having been with human beings so
much, I see and hear more quickly than most dogs. Something was the
matter with Cannie, that was one thing sure.

I ran down the veranda steps, and put my muzzle close to his. “Lie
down, and out with it,” I said.

He flopped on the gravel beside King Harry. Now our heads were all
together--the bloodhound’s dome, my sloping head and strong, muscular
jaws, and Cannie’s hairy nose.

“Something’s gone wrong,” he said with his strong, Scottish accent.
“I was wandering down yon by the alders near the river, when I heard
a furious noise of something being driven hard. It was an automobile
coming from New York way. It stopped short when it got near me, and
turned in among the alders. I scampered out of the way, and a man hid
it in off the road. Then he sprang out, and tore up across the turnip
field toward Gringo’s house. I was too far off to smell him, but I got
a verra uneasy impression.”

He stopped, and both dogs looked at me. I had been with the Grantons
longer than they had, and they were waiting for my advice.

I was puzzled. “If it were an ordinary case of big country-houses and
rich people,” I said, “I would imagine it an attempt at burglary. But
you say the man was alone.”

“Stark alone,” said Cannie.

“And he left his car there?”

“Yes, down yon,” said the little dog, nodding toward Pleasant River.

“You see,” I went on, “master and mistress and the Bonstones haven’t
anything worth stealing, but grandfathers’ clocks, and pianos, and old
furniture. They’ve given away jewelry and silver, and anything that
would tempt their fellow-men. However, it’s our duty to investigate.
Lead on, Cannie.”

He galloped ahead with King Harry, and I paused an instant and listened.

“Rudolph,” my mistress was just saying, “I’m sleepy. I think I will go
to bed.”

“Very well, darling,” he replied, and he got up and helped her out of
the hammock, and opened the screen door for her.

“I think I will sit a while longer,” he said as he kissed her. “I have
a little business to plan out.”

“And I have been keeping you from it by my chattering,” she said. “Why
did you not ask me to keep still?”

“Because I preferred pleasure to business,” he said gallantly, and she
laughed, and went to bed.

That just suited me. She would be out of the way if we wanted master,
and he was sure to sit for a while, for he was a most scrupulous man
about keeping his word, even to himself.

I raced after my dog-brothers. The night did not seem as dark as to
human beings. Cannie was on his hind legs peering into the car, and
King Harry was up on the seat, snuffing and blowing over a pair of
driving gloves.

I stood and listened for a minute. What an exquisite night! The lovely
misty sky spread above us was serene and comforting, the great dark
earth was warm and palpitating--one could hear things growing. Talk
about the quiet of the country--this country just talked, when a
dog had ears to hear. The tiny growing leaves of the trees had one
language, the grass had another, there was no mistake about the joy of
the frogs--they were simply yelling with delight to think that summer
was coming.

Just here King Harry jumped down. “I needn’t have stayed so long,” he
said, “but I wanted to do some fine work.”

“What have you found out?” I asked. “Your eyes are blazing.”

“It’s that demon Fifeson,” he said. “No trouble to find his scent, but
I wished to know whether he’s after good or evil.”

“I hear he’s reformed,” I said, “and is doing well in a garage on
Broadway.”

“I hate him,” said King Harry. “I suppose it’s wrong, but it will take
years for me to get over my resentment toward him. He never hurt me
much. I had simply to draw a wagon on the stage, but it used to make my
blood boil to see him flog that small Amarilla.”

“Never mind that now, old man,” I said, “tell us what you’ve
discovered.”

“When a man is in a furious rage, and about to commit a crime,” said
the hound, “a strong acrid smell emanates from him. Those gloves are
damp and excited as to scent, but not criminal. I guess Fifeson is here
on business.”

“Maybe it’s good business,” I said.

“We canna tell,” said the little Scotch dog cautiously. “For what did
he hide his car? I suspicioned who it was, but didna care to tell till
I was sure.”

“Come on,” I said, “let’s follow him.”

King Harry put his old muzzle to the ground, but before he did so, he
said, “Of course, I’ll follow mute.”

I nodded my head, and we started off up the road, going not very fast,
as King Harry was not an expert trailer. He nosed to and fro, and
Cannie said impatiently, “I tell ye, man, he crossed the turnip field.”

“I’m not going to be ‘lifted,’” said King Harry stubbornly. “You never
indicate to a hound the direction in which his quarry has gone. I’m
doing this, anyway. Kindly hold your tongue.”

The abashed Cannie slunk behind me, and we went up across the turnip
field in King Harry’s good time, down to the hollow where the long
meadow grass grew, across it through the pinewood belonging to us, and
into the pasture belonging to Mr. Bonstone.

The sweet wild grass was soft to our paws, and we skipped over the many
rocks sticking their ribs up through the ground. We cantered easily
along, and King Harry took us to a path leading to the young orchard
at Green Hill, then to an asphalt walk that ran from the house down to
the electric car track in the road. This walk was for the convenience
of the farm hands when they wanted to take the car to the city. The men
would start out from their rooms over the stables with nicely blacked
shoes, and Mrs. Bonstone had suggested that this walk be made, so they
could arrive in the city with smart looking feet.

Well, King Harry soon had us in the vicinity of the stables. This meant
that all the Bonstone tribe of dogs had to have a muzzle in the affair,
though we would just as soon have worked the thing alone.

Sir Walter Scott was the first to challenge us. “Woo, woo,” we heard in
his deep growl, as he lay crouched behind an apple tree.

As quick as a flash, his tone changed. Our scent had been borne on the
night air. He ran to meet us, nosing hurriedly, to find out what this
late visit meant.

“Wow, wow,” came from the stables in Yeggie’s sharp voice, and without
waiting for Joe to wake and let him out, he took a flying leap through
the open window to the roof of the harness-room, and came limping to
greet us.

“Shut up,” I said irritably. “Why don’t you wait and think, before you
bark?”

“Yeggie always barks first, and thinks afterward,” said the little dog,
and he licked my ear so humbly, that I had to forgive him.

Czarina came among us like a silent shadow, and poked her long muzzle
at me. “What’s the matter?” she said.

“Good London, he’s off,” I replied inelegantly; “all the king’s horses
and all the king’s men can’t turn King Harry from his trail.”

“Now we’ve got to trail him,” said Czarina, “for he’s out of sight,”
and she put her muzzle to the ground.

“I think I’ll stay with the hens,” said Sir Walter, sitting down
outside his kennel. “Betsy’s in there, and she’s fussing, for she can’t
see well at night. Bark, if you want me.”

“What’s up?” asked Weary Winnie sleepily. She was always the last to
arrive, and now she stood blinking drowsily at us, and wrinkling her
nose more than ever.

“We’re man-trailing,” I said; “come on, youngster,” and off I started.

By this time, every dog had caught the scent of Fifeson, and they were
a mad-looking lot. If they had followed the natural impulses of their
plain dog hearts, I think they would have liked to tear that man to
pieces that quiet summer night, but they were trained animals, and each
one knew if they dared hurt so much as a hair of his wicked head, they
would be severely called to account by Mr. Bonstone. So merely growling
unutterable things, they all pressed on.

Suddenly, we brought up short near the house. There had been an old
well on the place for a long time. It was, strange to say, close to
the front door of the present house, which was built in a slightly
different place from the old farm-house. The well had been built over,
and a bird’s bath tub was on the top of it, surrounded by a clump of
syringa bushes, so the pretty feathered things could bathe in the
privacy that they love as much as human beings.

“The brute’s in there,” hissed Cannie between the two broken-off teeth,
knocked out by the amiable Fifeson.

At that instant, I felt a soft impact against my throat, and mighty
glad I was that I stood on good terms with Gringo.

The old fellow had slipped down from his master’s bedroom by the
winding staircase that led from an upper to a lower veranda. Mr.
Bonstone never shut up, by night or by day, the best friend he had. He
was at liberty to roam all over the farm if he wished.

Gringo’s old lay-back nose wasn’t as good as mine, but he felt that
friends were abroad, and he was right on the spot to help us if
necessary.

“It’s Fifeson,” I said. “I might have known he was near, for Amarilla
has been trembling all day. She’s as sensitive as a baby.”

“What’s up with Fifeson?” asked Gringo.

“I guess he’s all right,” I said, “but we’re watching. He’s in that
syringa bush.”

Well, there we sat for a short time--King Harry, Gringo, Czarina,
Cannie, Yeggie, Weary Winnie and myself. The Frenchmen didn’t turn out.

The air was so clear that we could hear every word spoken on the
veranda. Though it was late, a neighbour and his wife were calling on
the Bonstones, and we could hear the clink of glass, as bottles and
glasses touched each other.

A shudder ran through the Fifeson dogs. They all hated the sight and
sound of a bottle, for it was when their master was drunk that he beat
them most.

A thought came to me. I whispered to Cannie, “Come on home with me,”
and followed by him, and taking the shortest cut known to us dogs, we
just galloped back to the Pleasant River house.

Master was still dreaming on the veranda. “Stay here and watch the
house,” I said to Cannie, “I’m going to take him back with me.”

It was the work of an instant, to spring at master’s arm and look at
him with my most burning glance.

“All right, old fellow,” he said; “I’ll go with you.”

He turned round, glanced at Cannie who was sitting close to the door,
not very well pleased at being left out of the fun, then ran, actually
ran, to the garage with me, for he saw the occasion required haste, and
got out his new French racing car. I sprang to the seat, barked in the
direction of Green Hill, and in a few minutes, we streaked up in front
of the Bonstones’ house.

The callers departed, when master arrived. Gringo said they had been
there for an age. Master sat down, and the Bonstones began talking to
him, but he didn’t say much.

He kept looking at me, and presently I led the way to the syringa
bushes. He saw the dogs sitting round, and said in a low voice, “Hello!
there--come out, whoever you are.”

I thought to myself: master is a clever man, the Bonstones are clever
people, but not one of them knows what we dogs have sensed--namely that
there is a man in the bushes, and we know all about him, except his
business here, which, however, we are sure is of a pacific nature, and
not criminal. And some people say, dogs are not clever!

The bushes parted, and Fifeson came out, looking very hot and sticky.
He is a weasel-faced little man. With that appearance, I don’t see how
he can be a decent chap, but he’s making a brave fight for it. I hated
him almost as much as the other dogs, and with a growl, I stepped aside
for him to pass me. I did not want the brute to touch me.

Keeping close at master’s heels, I listened to hear what Fifeson had to
say for himself.

“I say, sir,” he said in a low, almost agonised voice, “for heaven’s
sake send Mr. Bonstone down here, and don’t tell his wife who it is--it
might cost me my life, sir--it might.”

“All right,” said my master, “don’t be scared. Only the dogs know, and
they won’t peach.”

Fifeson had seen us. He knew that though the dogs hated him, they
would not hurt him. He had been their master. Even in the midst of his
perturbation, he clicked his dry tongue, and snapped his fingers at
his old victims. Not one of them would go near him. Weary Winnie made
a kind of shuffle toward him, but Gringo growled at her, and kept her
from carrying out her impulse. The dogs wouldn’t hurt him, but they
wouldn’t forgive him.

I ran after master to the veranda. “Norman,” he said carelessly to his
friend, “a man has come from New York to see you on special business.
He doesn’t want his presence known. Just step down to the syringas, and
speak to him.”

Mrs. Bonstone is a very clever woman. She gave master a quick look, and
catching up her little silk wrap said, “Good night, I’m going to bed.”

As soon as she was gone, Mr. Bonstone brought Fifeson up on the
veranda, and gave him something to drink. He gulped down his ginger ale
in a flash, and said a few hasty words.

His breath was nearly all gone, for the night was warm, and he had
rushed uphill part of the way. However, he had had time to recover
himself in the bushes. I think perhaps it was fear that made him hot.

“You know Jones’ big jewelry store down town,” he said to Mr. Bonstone
in a low voice.

Mr. Bonstone nodded.

Fifeson pulled his chair further in the shadow of the wall. “I say,
turn out some of the lights, won’t you?”

Master jumped up, and turned out every one, while the man went on
whispering to Mr. Bonstone.

“It’s going to be broken into at two o’clock to-night. I believe you
set Jones up after he failed.”

Mr. Bonstone nodded again.

“I knew you had big money in it,” Fifeson gasped. “Get to town quick.
Get a friend to make the police wise. Don’t go to headquarters
yourself. You did me a good turn. I thought I’d stand by you.”

“Thanks,” said Mr. Bonstone briefly. “Shall I go back in your car?”

“Oh! Lord, no,” said the poor wretch in an agony. “I may get shot for
this, anyway.”

He was breaking away, when Mr. Bonstone caught him. “How did you find
out?”

“Was in the garage under a car--two gangsters came in to hire an
auto--I caught a clue and followed it up.”

He paused in some embarrassment, and Mr. Bonstone said, “All right, go.
I’m obliged.”

Fifeson shot out into the night, and not a dog followed him this time.

Mr. Bonstone turned to my master, “Fifeson has had some dealings with
the underworld that he doesn’t want to reveal. Now, how am I to get to
town?”

“I’ll take you in the racer,” said master pointing to his French car.

“I’ll say a word to Stanna,” said Mr. Bonstone, and he leaped upstairs
calling over his shoulder, “Czarina.”

Czarina told me afterward that Mr. Bonstone shot into his wife’s
bed-room, exclaimed, “I’m going to town--will explain later. Keep the
hound with you for company. Everything’s all right, but dress yourself
and telephone Thomas to take you over to Claudia. Tell her Rudolph is
with me. We’ll be back in a few hours. Not a word to a soul about the
man who was here.”

Czarina says Mrs. Bonstone smiled brightly, never asked a question,
motored over to my dear mistress’s house, told her the two men had gone
off to the city, probably on one of their errands of mercy.

I think mistress was a little worried, for Czarina says she called
for Cannie, King Harry and myself to watch in the house till master
returned. She got King Harry and Cannie, but not your humble servant,
for I had sprung first in the car, and was flying to New York on the
wings of the wind.

The car is a beauty, and as there were few machines on the road, master
didn’t trouble about the speed limit. We didn’t go quite into the city.
We stopped at the Johnsons’, where Louis and I had had the adventure in
saving Lady Serena Glandison from drowning. Mr. Johnson, fortunately,
was just getting home from his club in his own car. A few words to him
from master, and back he went to the city, to put detectives on the
track of the wicked young burglars who were going to steal Mr. Jones’
diamonds.

The burglary didn’t come off, two men were caught, and sent to Sing
Sing, though one escaped, and best of all, Fifeson’s connection with
the affair was never suspected, as it had been managed in such a
roundabout way.

Fifeson went on from better to best, and now he is chauffeur for a
millionaire, and we dogs often see him driving about in a smart maroon
livery, and with a smile of smug respectability on his weasel face. I
hear he has just married a very respectable Norwegian girl. I don’t
believe he told her his past. The millionaire’s dog told Gringo that
if any woman could keep a man straight, it would be that light-haired
Norwegian Anna.

Women seem to have a great deal of influence over men. I suppose if all
the women in the world were good, there would be no bad men.

I heard mistress talking to master about his hurried trip that night,
and she was gently trying to find out what it had all been about.

“I can’t tell you names, dearest,” he said. “It might cost a man his
life. I will merely say that a man whom I began to help, and who was
taken hold of by Bonstone later, did him a good turn, and saved him
some money.”

“Everybody seems to be half good and half bad,” said Mrs. Granton with
a puzzled face.

“Every one,” said master emphatically, “and it goes to prove that
we should all go through life with an infinite pity for every one,
including ourselves.”



CHAPTER XXI

MASTER CARTY’S BOTTLE


Now I must hark back to Master Carty.

He couldn’t seem to get over his tippling for a long time after he came
to Green Hill--not until something happened.

I have referred before to my conversation with Gringo about Master
Carty’s troublesome habit. The good old dog never mentioned the
tiresome young man, till three months after that, when one day, as
he and I were taking a stroll in the young orchard to get some of a
new kind of young grass that was springing up about the baby trees,
and that was very good for our stomachs, we saw Master Carty taking a
short cut across to the house. There was a gentle hill in the orchard,
and just as our naughty young man got near it, out came a flask from
his pocket. He was just going to take a long pull out of it, when old
Gringo pretended to see a mouse in the earth, gave chase, and stumbled
in front of the self-indulgent young man.

Ordinarily Gringo doesn’t worry about the mice. He’s not that kind of
a dog. One of my duties is to hunt them, so they won’t hide under the
snow in winter, and girdle the fruit trees.

Well, away went the flask. I sprang to pick it up, grabbed it, held it
carefully neck down, and laid it at Master Carty’s feet.

He praised me, and aimed a kick at Gringo. The old dog stared at him
thoughtfully, and didn’t say anything, but the next day he played a
fine trick on him.

It was a pouring wet day, but still Mrs. Granton and George Washington
had gone over in the limousine to spend the day with Mrs. Bonstone,
Cyria and the twins.

The air was so warm that they were all sitting out on the partly
covered-in veranda. The rain beat against the glass, but Cyria and our
baby were snug inside, playing with a Noah’s ark and a box of blocks.
The two little tots sat on a rug, and the twin babies lay asleep in a
pretty swinging cot. Mrs. Bonstone lounged in a reclining chair beside
them, and my mistress rocked and talked and knitted a sock for George
Washington.

I was in a corner, having an after-lunch nap. Human beings would do
well if they could imitate dogs, and throw themselves down for a rest
after eating. Usually, they get up from the table and fly at their work
harder than ever.

After a while, I thought I would go up to the barn and see what the
other dogs were doing, for no one was in sight but Amarilla, who never
ventured far from Mrs. Granton.

On rainy days, it was the custom for the dogs to assemble on the barn
floor to have a gossip.

I found the whole bunch up there, every one with lip curled, and
indulging in a hearty fit of dog laughter. Even Gringo, who was not too
old to enjoy a joke, was just shaking with dog amusement. The polite
Frenchmen were giggling, while the nervous Yeggie ran up and down,
squealing and yapping with delight. Czarina’s aristocratic lip was
curled high in enjoyment, and Weary Winnie, forgetting her laziness,
was rolling over and over in the hay ki-yiing with glee.

Sir Walter Scott was missing; probably he was huddled in one of the
hen-houses and letting the chicken Betsy roost on his back to keep her
feet from getting damp.

“What’s the joke, boys?” I asked.

“Let me speak, oh! let me speak,” said the dancing Yeggie. “Mr. Carty
comes home by the train, he has to walk from the station, ’cause
there’s nobody’s car there to give him a lift. Yeggie happens to be
down there calling on a friend, Yeggie follows him home.”

This dog always speaks of himself by his name, instead of using
a pronoun. He is a silly little fellow, yet lovable, and he has
occasional strains of sense.

“Well,” I said. “I don’t see any joke yet, but go on, and don’t jump up
and down the whole time you’re talking.”

Yeggie continued, “Master Carty’s rubber stuck in the mud, Master
Carty said a naughty word, and stooped down to pull it on. Yeggie saw
something wicked in his pocket.”

“A flask, I suppose,” I said.

“No, not a flask; that wasn’t big enough for to-day. It was a bottle
with strong stuff in it--Yeggie smelt it.”

“Well, what did Yeggie do?” I asked impatiently.

“Yeggie did nothing. He just watched. Master Carty was talking to
himself. ‘If I take this brandy in the house, those blessed’--only
Yeggie didn’t hear blessed--‘women will be watering it, and I’m wet
enough without any more diluting. I’ll hide it.’”

“And you marked the hiding place, and came and told Gringo.”

“Yes, Yeggie did,” and the little Jack-in-the-box almost danced his
legs off.

“And what did you do, Gringo?” I asked, turning to him.

“I thought about that kick he gave me yesterday,” said the old dog. “A
man who starts kicking animals, winds up by kicking human beings. If I
should ever see Master Carty kick Mrs. Bonstone, or the brown baby, I’d
bite him. So I thought we’d better extract the kick right now.”

“Isn’t this terrible,” I exclaimed. “He’s bringing far too many bottles
from the city lately. It’s amazing how many drinks a day a man can
take.”

“He’s a scamp,” said Gringo, “but he’ll get nothing out of his bottle
this time. I ran up here, when Yeggie told me, and what do you think
we’ve done to the bottle?”

“Hidden it of course, but where?”

“No, not hidden it,” said Gringo, “we’ve smashed it.”

“Let me finish, oh! let me finish,” squealed Yeggie, and he went on.
“Master Carty didn’t hide his bottle in the bushes the way he does
sometimes. Yeggie saw him bring it here to the barn. He climbed the
ladder to the hay-mow, he tucked it somewhere and came down.”

“You see,” said Gringo to me, “he wanted to have it in some place easy
to get at in this storm, and where he could have some good excuse
for calling on it. He’d run out here to see the horses in the stable
beyond, then he’d have a swig at his old bottle.”

“The rogue!” I said irritably.

“Smell! smell! smell!” cried Yeggie, dancing up and down, “it’s right
here.”

I had noticed a heavy smell of brandy when I came in the barn, and now
I trotted to the other end near the big open doors, and there on the
floor, lay the remains of a bottle on a bed of wet oats.

One of the men had spilt the horses’ feed, and hay and oats were all
mixed up with the nasty drink.

“But how did you get the bottle down from the hay-mow?” I asked.

Old Czarina began to laugh, and licked the ear of the poodle next her.
“Frenchmen are clever,” she murmured.

I stared at the poodles. In the days of their captivity, they had
learned how to climb ladders. They were now never asked to perform any
tricks. One day, when we first came out here, Mrs. Bonstone had shown a
neighbour’s boy what odd things they could do, and his mother told Mrs.
Bonstone afterwards that he went home and tried to teach his dog, and
beat him cruelly when he would not learn until she interfered and took
his stick from him.

“That settles it,” said Mrs. Bonstone, “no more clown tricks for our
dogs. They may be as intelligent as they please along their own lines,
but they shall not be asked to imitate human beings. They may do it on
their own initiative, if they wish.”

The Frenchmen, however, really liked to climb, and Mrs. Bonstone smiled
when she saw those two white dogs going, paw over paw, up the ladders
that led to the hay-mows. The barn loft was a great place for them to
retire to when they wanted a nap.

The stableman, however, did not smile. One day I heard Thomas talking
severely to the two Frenchmen who stood before him like two culprits.
“If I ever ketch you two young limbs messing up the hay for my horses
again, I’ll lather you,” he said, and he shook a strap at them. “Horses
hate to have dogs, and cats, and any critters lying on their feed. How
would you like a horse to lie on your breakfus, hey?” and he hung the
strap up where they could see it.

The Frenchmen trembled, and went away with hanging heads, and from that
day to this, I had never heard of their climbing to the mows. So I said
to Czarina, “Weren’t they afraid to go up there?”

“Ask them,” she said with a motion of her noble head toward them.

The Frenchmen bowed politely--they always did everything together, and
each one lifting a forepaw, curled it slightly, to signify that they
had mounted to the mow and found the bottle.

“And pushed it down?” I asked.

“Yes! yes!” said all the dogs.

“My! what a smash it made,” cried Yeggie. “Yeggie jumped, and then the
smell--wow!” and he twisted his muzzle all up in a knot.

“Brave dogs,” I exclaimed, “especially brave, since you so hate a
bottle, but weren’t you afraid Thomas would catch you?”

“Yeggie watched,” cried the little dog. “If Yeggie barked once, it
meant some one was coming, and the Frenchmen must drop on the hay, and
be dead dogs. Two barks from Yeggie meant that they had time to skip
down the ladder. But no one came.”

I congratulated the two poodles on their cleverness, and asked whether
the men had found the bottle.

“No. We found out after we’d had the trouble of watching for them, that
they’d fed the stock for the night, and had gone to the city on a half
holiday. The chauffeur is to shut the barn doors in an hour.”

“Master Carty will be out before then to call on the bottle,” I said.

“He’s coming, boys, he’s coming,” said Weary Winnie suddenly. She had
been staring out the barn door in the direction of the house. We dogs
all scattered, except Yeggie who crept behind a grain measure.

Later on Yeggie, with wicked glee, related Master Carty’s
disappointment and anger on not finding the bottle. He climbed to the
mow, groped about in the hay, came down, smelt his lost treasure, raged
at the men who he thought had stolen it, and flung himself back to the
house in a passion, telling what he was going to do to be revenged on
the thieves.

That was not the last of the bottle. The next scene in its history came
the next morning. A terrible thunderstorm coming on at dinner time this
same day, prevented my master and mistress from taking the baby home.
They often stayed all night at the Bonstones’, who had plenty of guest
rooms.

Everybody was late for breakfast the next morning. The dear human
beings had sat up late talking the night before, over the library fire
that Mrs. Bonstone had had lighted to make things look cheerful.

Gringo and I were the first downstairs. We ran out-of-doors, and to
our surprise, were met on the front veranda by Czarina, Yeggie, the
Frenchmen, and even Weary Winnie, all in the most extraordinary state
of excitement.

“Come up to the barn,” they cried, “come up to the barn,” and not a
word more would they say.

We ran up like foxes, and there in front of the barn a most peculiar
thing was taking place.

Sir Walter stood with his aristocratic face in a snarl of worry. He
was staring at his big flock of Wyandottes who were behaving in a most
erratic manner.

“If those hens weren’t so steady,” I said, “I would guess that they are
trying to do a cake walk.”

Yeggie could keep still no longer, and just burst out, “They’re doing
the Carty walk--they got at the bottle. Yeggie saw ’em.”

“What!” I barked wildly.

“Shut up,” said Gringo giving him a nip, “you’re making Scott feel
sore,” and he threw a compassionate glance at Sir Walter.

“I will explain,” said Czarina in her slow, solemn way, and she began,
“You remember the oats that got soaked with the brandy yesterday
afternoon?”

“Perfectly,” I replied.

“This morning,” she continued, “when Thomas threw open the barn doors,
Sir Walter, who had just got the hens roused, drove them in here to get
some nice dry hayseed. They said it would have been better for them to
get out early, and pick up the fat worms that had come up on the soil
loosened by the rain. However, Sir Walter didn’t know that. I think he
thought the wet ground would be bad for the chickens’ feet. Be that as
it may, the hens obeyed him, came in here, and he calmly watched them
while they crowded about the spilled oats. He has a good vein of Scotch
thrift, and he thought it was a good thing to save the oats.

“However, they were affected immediately. You know any kind of a bird
has a short digestive tract. When they began to stagger, he withdrew
to that spot, and he will not allow any of us to explain the affair to
him.”

“Well, some one’s got to put him wise about it,” said Gringo decidedly,
“and right away. I believe I’ll do it,” and he set out in his sturdy
fashion to have a talk with Sir Walter. For a long time, they stood
with their heads close together, then Sir Walter, with a furious face,
bolted toward the house.

He had never liked Master Carty very much, for the young man used to
tease him unmercifully, and no dog likes persecution any more than a
human being does. I knew what he was going to do, and I whispered to
Gringo, “If I’m not greatly mistaken, we shall soon see Mrs. Bonstone
in the arena.”

Sure enough, as we heard later, Sir Walter burst into the bed-room of
the lady he loved so dearly, and served so well in his devotion to
her hens, and pulling at her gown, until she hurriedly finished her
dressing, induced her to come up to the barn with him.

I shall never forget her face, as she stood staring at us, at the hens,
and at Thomas and Joe, who by this time had appeared, and were yelling
with glee at the sight of the tipsy hens.

They quieted down when they saw Mrs. Bonstone, and one of them
beginning to sniff, followed his nose, till he walked straight to the
spot where the bottle still lay in the midst of the few oats left.

“Some one’s been having a spree here,” said Joe.

Mrs. Bonstone swooped down, caught up the broken neck of the bottle,
and despite herself, could not help flashing him a suspicious glance.

“I’m a teetotaller, ma’am,” he said shortly. “Joe and me never brings
nothin’ from the city.”

She winced as if he had struck her. She knew she had done wrong to
suspect him, but I have noticed that wherever drink goes, it breeds
suspicion and mistrust even in the good.

“Forgive me, Thomas,” she said softly, and there were tears in her
eyes. “I know it wasn’t you, nor Joe.”

Then the tears began to roll down her cheeks, and she went swiftly
back to the house. She did not like to see her pretty hens staggering
against each other, and leaning up against the trees in the orchard,
and she knew very well who was responsible for their condition.

She sent her husband and Mr. Granton out, and I thought they would kill
themselves laughing at the plight of her hens. They were powerfully
ridiculous, and to see Sir Walter trying to bunch them, and get them
into their hen-houses to hide their shame, was as good as a play. He
ran round and round them with his tongue out, and panted for all he was
worth. The poor creatures tried to obey him, but they had little use of
their legs, and finally he flopped down on the grass, and made up his
mind just to wait till they got over it.

Only Betsy was sober, and she walked curiously all round her
companions, lifting one claw high in the air, then the other, and
saying softly, “Ka! Ka!” She was too dainty to eat oats, and had been
holding herself in, to share in Sir Walter’s nice breakfast down at the
house, as she usually did.

“That’s right, Walter,” said Mr. Bonstone mopping his eyes, “let them
sleep it off. Good dog,” and he patted him.

I ran behind the two men as they went to the house. I wanted to hear
what they said.

“There’s a serious side to this, Granton,” said Mr. Bonstone, “and my
wife will be worried to death. Some one has brought forbidden fruit
here. It’s between the men and that scamp Carty.”

My master was very careful about meddling with his friend’s private
affairs; however he said softly, “No tramp could pass your dogs. I
believe your men are beyond suspicion, but it’s always safe to give the
suspected person the benefit of the doubt.”

“All right,” said Mr. Bonstone briskly. “We’ll go on the supposition
that the offender is unknown.”

The ladies were at breakfast when we entered, and very sweet and pretty
they looked, as they sat at a well-spread table, drawn up close to some
windows overlooking the rose-garden.

My dear mistress had got a little more flesh, and I thought her quite
handsome now, but she never ceased inwardly bemoaning the fact that her
beauty had fled, though she said little about it.

“Let it stay fled,” Gringo often growled. “She’s a better woman without
it.”

“No, Rudolph, I don’t want to look at drunken hens, or drunken
anything,” she said, when my master invited her to go up to the
orchard, and see how amusing the hens were. “Suppose George Washington
should drink when he grows up,” and she shuddered.

“The drink will all be banished by that time,” said her husband
good-naturedly. “You women are getting so decided on the subject.”

“I don’t see how you men can jest,” she went on. “I think it’s a very
sad subject--a very sad one,” and she pursed up her lips.

Her husband didn’t answer, but he was pleased with her attitude, for
he gave her enough fried chicken for two women, and usually he tried to
scrimp her about her food, for he was so afraid of the dreadful flesh
coming back.

I think Mr. Bonstone was in misery till breakfast was over. He had
put Carty out of his mind, and I knew that there floated continually
before his eyes the vision of those white beauties who were no longer
mistresses of themselves. He choked once or twice over his coffee, and
finally he went off by himself in the rose-garden, and indulged in what
Sir Walter calls a burst of Homeric laughter.

“I don’t see why he wants to laugh that way,” Sir Walter often says
to me. “It’s so underbred. I like the way Mrs. Bonstone laughs much
better.”

“He’s having a good time,” Gringo always growls, if he hears this
criticism, “and he’s hurting no one. Let him alone.”

Master Carty came in very late for breakfast that morning, and only the
two ladies were left. He had slept off his ill-temper over the loss of
his bottle, and was in his usual waggish, teasing mood.

He pulled his sister’s hair as he passed her, and made an amusing face
at Mrs. Granton.

His sister began to whimper a bit, and I knew a scene was coming.

“What’s the matter, Sis?” he asked kindly. “Has Bonstone been beating
you--don’t cry in my coffee, if he has. It will only weaken me, when I
punish him.”

“The h-h-hens are all drunk,” she said as she passed him his cup.

“Drunk!” he exclaimed, “and what do they find to get drunk on in this
double-distilled temperance household? Spring water, eh?”

“Some one brought this bottle to the place,” said Mrs. Bonstone,
dramatically withdrawing from under the table the broken neck that she
had picked up in the barn.

Master Carty started, and said, “Ye gods! Have I found the murderer of
my long-lost brother?”

Mrs. Granton chipped in here. She was hand and glove with Mrs. Bonstone
in trying to reform her old friend Carty.

“Perhaps some of your men have been drinking,” she said airily, “and
let some of the nasty stuff fall on the barn floor, and the hens ate
the hayseed.”

This was not quite correct, but it served her purpose.

“Jerusalem!” said poor Master Carty.

Gringo gave me a push. We were both lying on the floor in a big patch
of sunlight, apparently observing nothing, yet taking note of all that
went on.

Mrs. Bonstone worked herself, or seemed to work herself into a sudden
passion. “I shall ask Norman to discharge both those men, if they are
guilty. I shall not have drunkards about the place. They might set the
barn on fire.”

Now this touched Master Carty in a tender spot. He was mischievous and
self-indulgent, but he was no coward.

“Let me see that neck,” he said miserably.

His sister handed him the bit of broken bottle, and both women
surveyed him narrowly from under their eyelids.

Gringo and I were close to his place at the table, and we heard him
mutter, “Well, I’ve got it in the neck this time--like the chickens.”

“What are you muttering, Carty?” asked his sister.

“Nothing, nothing,” and he pushed his chair away from his untasted
coffee--Oh! how good it smelt, with lots of lovely cream from the
Bonstones’ own cows in it, and a sugary sweet smell, for he liked six
lumps.

“Stanna,” he said presently, “where’s your husband?”

“Gone,” she said, “some time ago. He was in a hurry to get to town. We
were late.”

“Then I’ll have to tell you,” he went on with hanging head. “Don’t
blame the men. This bottle was mine,” and he hurled the neck through
the open window. “I--I’m very sorry. I don’t see how your hens got at
it. They must have vicious tastes.”

Now just here, instead of falling on his neck, and extracting from him
promises of reform, as she had done so many, oh! so many, times, his
sister did what seemed to me a queer thing, at first.

She put her arms on the table, dropped her head on them, and said, “Oh!
oh! oh!” a great many times.

Gringo had been licking his paw thoughtfully, while he listened to the
conversation at the table. Now he stopped, and pondered. He had struck
a snag in his thoughts. He was trying to catch on to Mrs. Bonstone’s
wasping, as he told me when I whispered to him.

Presently he went on licking, and I knew he had got the clue.

“What is it?” I whispered.

“She’s going to make fun of him, poor soul!” he responded. “She’s tried
everything else.”

Master Carty was striding up and down the room. “Stanna,” he said
stopping short, “what’s the matter with you? One would think you’d
never seen a bottle before.”

“It’s not that, brother,” she cried, lifting her head, and beating the
table with both her little hands. “It’s the ridicule that will be made
of you. Norman was just roaring with laughter. He thought it was the
best drink joke he ever heard, and you know he is full of them. He will
tell it to the men at the club at lunch. It will be all over the city,
that Carty Resterton has sunk so low, that he drinks with the hens.
You know what a picture Dicky Grey, and Mark Jones and all that set
will draw--Carty Resterton having a carousal in the barn, because his
sister’s house isn’t open for that sort of thing. He took a pull at the
bottle, then the hens had their turn--oh! oh! oh! I can’t stand it,”
and she went off into an admirable fit of hysterics.

Mrs. Granton threw water on her face, and rang for Annie and they
slapped and pinched her, and put her on the sofa, and Master Carty
stared and glowered, till she recovered enough for him to ask her a
furious question, “Do you mean to say that Bonstone is deliberately
going to make game of me?”

Mrs. Granton flashed out at him, “Carty Resterton, what do you mean?
Your brother-in-law is the soul of honour, and he has had infinite
patience with your weakness. Do you suppose any one told him it was
your bottle?”

Master Carty rammed his hands down deep in his pockets. Annie came
in the room with a glass of something for Mrs. Bonstone, and he had
to wait till the door closed behind her. Then he shouted, “I wish to
heaven I knew what you two women mean.”

“Hush, hush,” said Mrs. Granton patting Mrs. Bonstone as if she were a
child. “I will speak for you,” and speak she did, and with an eloquence
that astonished Gringo and me, too, though I understand how much she
had developed since the baby came.

“She hits out from the shoulder,” muttered Gringo admiringly.

Mistress gave Master Carty about the plainest talk he’d ever had. She
told him how he was killing his poor grandmother and sister, and if
she’d been in their places, she would have turned him out to die in the
gutter.

“She wouldn’t, you know,” I said anxiously to Gringo.

“I track her,” said the good old dog. “She’s fighting for her friend.
It’ll do him good.”

“And your brother-in-law,” said mistress furiously. “How many men would
put up with your actions? It’s common talk, that you come home here
staggering, night after night.”

The discomfited Carty at last got a word in. “But what has all this
got to do with Bonstone’s going to town and making game of me?”

“He hasn’t gone to make fun of you,” cried mistress, “he’ll tell the
story, and your boon companions will put their own interpretation on
it. They’ll know it was you that debauched the hens. They know you
bring bottles home.”

“Debauched the hens,” cried Master Carty, putting both hands to his
head, and acting as if he were trying to lift himself up by his hair,
“Good London! have I sunk as low as that?”

Mrs. Granton’s voice suddenly became compassionate. “Run to the
telephone, dear Carty,” she said, “we can’t help loving you, in spite
of your faults. Telephone Norman, telephone my husband--beg them to say
nothing of the occurrence. Beg them to keep quiet. Tell them it was
your bottle, that your friends will put their own construction on the
story, no matter how innocently it is told. Fly to the telephone, like
a good boy.”

Mistress glanced at the sofa. Her friend was with her. She was doing
right. She urged Master Carty to the hall, she put the receiver in his
hand, he called up Mr. Bonstone and my dear master. He faltered and
stammered, and she supplied words. Finally, the campaign was over, and
he came back to the table where Mrs. Bonstone, having revived by this
time, was sitting ringing for fresh coffee.

Then didn’t the two women pet him! He was their own dear boy, no one
should make fun of him, while they could protect him. No one must tell
Grandmother, she would be so shocked, and Master Carty alternately
beamed and glowered, and cast puzzled glances at us, as if he didn’t
quite know whether to be flattered or disgruntled.

They begged him not to go in town that morning, to take them for
a drive, and presently the two women with the children, Gringo
and myself, were spinning over the beautiful country in our big
touring-car, with Louis grinning happily as he conducted us.

The roads were grand after the rain, and the country was a dream,
everything being washed and clean from the heavy rain.

Mistress took Carty to our house to lunch, and Gringo says when he went
home late that afternoon, he walked up to the hen-houses and stared at
the Wyandottes for a long time, with the most curious expression on his
face.

Then, Gringo says, he muttered, “A companion to hens--by Jove! I must
look higher.” He sauntered back to the house, mounted the staircase to
his lovely room overlooking the beautiful, blue garden with its rocks
and rills, and after enjoying the view from the window for a while, got
out a little book from a locked drawer, and wrote something that Gringo
heard him read aloud, “Sworn off again, and by the hens, I mean to keep
my vow this time.”

He has kept it so far, though Gringo says Mrs. Bonstone often looks at
him very anxiously. That’s the worst of tipplers. You never know when
they’re going to break out again.



CHAPTER XXII

MRS. WAVERLEE’S SCHOOL


Old Czarina, who came from Russia, says the most wonderful thing
to her in this Green Hill district, is the school for children in
Neighbourhood Hall.

This is the building that master and Mr. Bonstone put up on the village
square. It is a big white erection with colonial pillars and plenty of
verandas, and it has a garden round it, and a playground for little
children, and inside is a library, a restaurant, a swimming pool, a
pretty parlour where young people can dance and play games, and a big
hall where moving pictures are given.

The country people just pour into it in the evening. Every one pays
five cents, and after a certain length of time, the village will own
the whole place, for Mr. Bonstone and my master believe in public
ownership of public amusements.

One rule of the moving picture hall delights us dogs greatly. No
trainer of animals can ever exhibit his creatures there. That is in the
charter.

One good-sized room in the hall was reserved for a school for the
children of the village, and Mrs. Waverlee is their teacher.

To come back to Czarina. She says that if all children in Russia could
have such a teacher as Mrs. Waverlee, there would not be so much misery
among them. She says that in her country, great pains is taken with
the education of the children of the rich. They are made to speak
French, and if a child forgets and addresses the mother in Russian,
he or she is made to say the sentence over again in French, and
sometimes in English, for they have governesses and nurses of different
nationalities.

“In this wonderful country of America,” says Czarina, “you educate
everybody. I was amazed to see a little Russian Jewess with her arms
round Mrs. Waverlee’s neck the other day. In her own country, the child
would be kept down, and if she had a teacher, would not dare to embrace
her. Imagine the delight of her parents, at having a rich, cultured
woman like Mrs. Waverlee devoting herself to the education of their
child.”

All the dogs love Mrs. Waverlee, but Gringo is her stoutest admirer,
partly on account of the English blood in his veins, and he often
runs down to her school and calls on her, or visits her in the pretty
cottage in which she lives with Egbert.

She welcomes any well-behaved dog to her school, and the other day
Gringo and I sauntered down to the village and approached Neighbourhood
Hall.

It was a lovely day, and the doors were all wide open. We trotted
across the tennis court, and the place where the boys and girls play
basket-ball, to the garden at the back of the hall.

There is a big patch of greensward there, with a pond in the middle,
where some white ducks, pets of the children, are always paddling about.

The children were all out on the grass, the most of them with bare feet.

When Mrs. Waverlee caught sight of us, she called with her pretty
English accent, “Good morning, dogs, come to me.”

We walked toward her, Gringo with his queer sidewise gait like that of
a racking horse. He never picks up his paws, the way a fox-terrier does.

“How fortunate,” exclaimed Mrs. Waverlee, as we lay down on the grass
beside her. “Our lesson this morning is on the dog, and I had not a
single dog caller. Now, children, do these two friends of mine suggest
anything?”

“Tell us about bulldogs, please,” the most of them cried. Two little
girls were for fox-terriers, but they were in the minority.

Some people blame Mrs. Waverlee because she allows the children to
follow their own bent so much. One day, before the war closed, I heard
her say to a lady, “Would it not be cruel when these little creatures
come to school, bursting with questions about affairs in Europe that
they hear you older ones discussing, for me to pin them down to a
lesson in grammar, for example? No, I find out which way their minds
lead me, and I follow it. Mornings when they want to know how the
Germans and the Allies are getting on, I spread out a map on the grass
and give them a united geography, history and peace lesson.”

Mrs. Waverlee shut her eyes, as she spoke. No one knew what agony it
cost her to discuss the war, but she was not a woman to dodge her duty.
She met it squarely in the face.

The lady who was criticising her, said with reluctant admiration, “My
boy certainly does display an unusual knowledge of current events, but
I am conservative in my ideas, and would like him brought up along old
lines.”

“Then you must take him from here,” said Mrs. Waverlee sweetly. “The
best and newest in an educational way is what Mr. Bonstone and Mr.
Granton insist on.”

The lady didn’t take her son away, and a little later I heard her
gushing to Mrs. Bonstone over the school.

“I never heard of anything like it,” she said. “The other day my
husband brought home to dinner a distinguished Swiss scholar. When my
Frankie heard our guest was from Switzerland, he ran to him, climbed
on his knee, and asked him the most intelligent questions about his
own country. He knew about the different cantons, the fine system of
military service, the high mountains, the villages in the cup-like
valleys, the big hotels, the peasants, the German-Swiss and the
French-Swiss, and the coolness between them that the war has brought
to a close, and he even yodelled for Monsieur de la Bontaine who is
French-Swiss. The man was in an ecstasy. He pressed my child to his
heart; he exclaimed, ‘Madame, I have not heard any grown man or woman
talk in so picturesque a way about my country, since I came to America.
It is a marvel. When did you have him in Switzerland?’

“I never had him there, I told him, and at first he could scarcely
believe me. Frankie came to my assistance. ‘Mrs. Waverlee makes a
country out in the garden,’ he said. ‘We have sand, and toy trees,
and houses, and men and women, and stones, and we build mountains and
make villages and forests, and then we go in the big hall, and see the
moving pictures of it. Oh! it is great fun.’

“Monsieur de la Bontaine asked permission to visit the school, and he
quite fell in love with Mrs. Waverlee. No, I shall not take Frankie
away. I am going to give Mrs. Waverlee five hundred dollars to spend on
further equipment for the school.”

Mrs. Bonstone was enchanted, and told her husband and my master how
well their scheme was working out.

Master sighed. He was never satisfied with what he had done. He was
always looking ahead. “Oh! for such a school for every young child in
New York,” he said.

Now, to stop wandering, and go back to the day of our call--Gringo
often says, “Boy, you are an A number one dog, but you reminisce too
much”--Mrs. Waverlee put him up on the top of a box, then didn’t she
exhaust the bulldog subject. She went away back to the days in old
England, when cruel sports flourished. She told how men can take breeds
of animals and birds and change them. The bulldog was inbred, until
they got an animal perfectly adapted to the sport of bull-baiting.

She had some of the boys wheel out-of-doors an almost life-sized cow
that is part of the school plant. She opened Gringo’s mouth, and the
old fellow rolled his eyes kindly, while she showed the vise-like
construction of his jaws. Then she asked him if he would make a spring
at the cow, to show the children how the ancient bulldog used to leap
at the bull’s head, and hold on by his teeth.

Gringo crooked his hind legs, gave one of his cat leaps, and landed
on the cow’s upper lip. I don’t know what that old cow was made of,
but there Gringo hung, and Mrs. Waverlee showed the children how his
lay-back nose enabled him to breathe, while he retained his grip.

Bye and bye, the lip broke off, and then some of the children cried.

“This is too realistic,” said Mrs. Waverlee, “but the cow is not hurt,
and the wicked sport of bull-baiting is all over.”

I may say, in passing, that some people blame Mrs. Waverlee because she
does not keep everything painful from the children.

“I do not wish to make them soft,” she says with flashing eyes. “Evil
and suffering are all about them. They must have some acquaintance
with them in order to be able to overcome them. I make my own boy sit
in school beside a beautiful and innocent German lad, to teach him to
overcome his hatred for the nation.”

After the cow had been wheeled away, and her broken nose hidden in a
young lilac bush, Mrs. Waverlee said, “Now, let us examine doggie’s
points.”

I opened my eyes. I didn’t know she knew so much about dogs. She made
Gringo walk away from her, and toward her, and she felt his back and
his head, and had him sit down and get up, and she turned over his rose
ears to show the children the pink lining, and pinched his brisket,
and lifted his feet to see if they were sound, showed the children the
set-out of the shoulders that enabled a bulldog to crouch low between
the horns of an angry bull who tried to gore him. Then she explained
that sometimes twenty or thirty dogs would be killed before the bull
could be thrown.

That was news to me, and I whispered to Gringo, “I didn’t know you
actually had to throw the bull.”

“Certainly,” he replied, “a heavy dog with a good grip could do it
easily, if he knew how.”

After Mrs. Waverlee penalised Gringo slightly, because the wheel of his
back wasn’t quite perfect, he stepped off the box, and everybody went
home to lunch.

Mrs. Waverlee invited Gringo and me to accompany her and Egbert
to their cottage, and we had a fine lunch with Patsie, Egbert’s
fox-terrier who had been confined to the house with a sore paw. They
had a lovely little cottage, but it had a small garden only. One day I
heard Mrs. Bonstone, who has become very intimate with Mrs. Waverlee,
say to her, “Bretwalda, you are a rich woman. Why do you not buy a
larger place than this?”

“Why should I?” said Mrs. Waverlee indifferently. “I have Neighbourhood
Hall close by, and the river and the meadows are open to me, and the
lanes and high-road, and the pretty winding village street. It is all
mine.”

“You queer creature,” said Mrs. Bonstone, but her tone was admiring.

Mrs. Waverlee glanced up at the sky with her strange other-world look.
I don’t believe anything in this world counts much with her, except
getting human beings ready to go to the next one.

Shall I be there, oh! shall I be there with my dear master? just burst
from my dog-heart, one day when I was sitting watching her as she gazed
up at the sky.

We were all alone, and that clairvoyante, beautiful woman understood me.

“Dog,” she said with exquisite gentleness, as she laid her hand on my
head, “do you think the Creator of this marvellous universe, would ever
destroy anything utterly, in which he had placed the spark of life?
No--we shall all live again--purified, immortalised, made perfect.”

I licked all the dust off her pretty feet. In her own garden, she wore
sandals and no stockings. I wished there was something hard I could do
for her--I adore her.



CHAPTER XXIII

MASTER’S BROTHER-BOYS


Living out here in the country as we do, I see a great many poor
people, either coming here to beg, tramping by on the high road, or
sitting on the rustic benches that master has had placed all along the
sidewalks that bound his property.

I am amazed at the topsy-turviness of their ideas. Now, rich people
are not perfect, but on the whole, they seem to have more common sense
than the idle poor. These shabbily dressed persons perch round on the
benches, stare at master’s big white house showing among the trees,
and these are their sentiments: “I wish I had been born rich--I wish
some one would die, and leave me some money--I wish I didn’t have to
work”--one man only, in the whole course of my eavesdropping under
hedges, have I heard say, “That’s a wise guy in that big house. He’s
slaved for what he got. Let him keep it.”

However, this kind of lazy talk does not affect master and Mr.
Bonstone. I have heard them say again and again, that there are
frightful inequalities in the human lot, that every man does not get a
living wage, and there should be more brotherhood and sympathy between
class and class. Perhaps that is why they never get disgusted or
offended or suspicious. Some of the rich people about here say that
they are bothered to death with squealing, envious poor persons, who
hang round them, begging for money for this scheme and that scheme,
which has always at bottom the everlasting endeavour to get something
for nothing.

Master and Mr. Bonstone smile, and never worry, nor argue, nor
fuss--they just keep on helping everybody that applies to them.

One day, the first summer we came out here, I was up on the balcony
outside master’s bed-room with him. He had come home from the city very
hot and tired, and he was having a lovely time lounging in a big chair
with a glass of lemonade at his elbow.

The parlour-maid came up and said that a young man wished to see him.

Master got up patiently, put on his coat, and went down-stairs with me
at his heels.

An unprepossessing looking young fellow awaited him in the hall. He had
a loose mouth, and he talked out of one side of it, and his jaw was
undershot and one-sided, like that of a badly put together dog.

Master sat down on the monks’ bench beside him. “What can I do for you,
sir?”

The lad twisted his rag of a cap in his hands. “I thought you might
give me some money.”

“What do you want money for?” asked master.

“To get a job.”

Master smiled. “You don’t wish money to get a job--you wish a job to
get money.”

“I had work,” the fellow said with a twist of his mouth, as if he
tasted something bad, “but it didn’t bring me in enough to keep body
and soul together.”

“Now, what kind of a job do you want?” asked master.

“Somethin’ easy that will bring in lots of coin,” he said audaciously.

“Come, now--you know easy things don’t bring in lots of coin,” said
master.

The young fellow swept his eyes about the handsome entrance hall, and
said, “I bet you got this easy.”

Master shook his head, and stifled a yawn. It was a hot day, and he
does not believe in arguing. However, he said shortly, “I did work for
it.”

“Go on,” said the fellow jeeringly, “I don’t swallow that.”

“Poor chap,” said master kindly, “no power of digestion. Not your own
fault, likely.”

“What are you givin’ me,” said the young man wonderingly.

Master looked him all over. I knew what he was thinking, “Poor
weak-backed, gutter-boy, fished out of the troubled waters of New York,
and sent here to be reformed”--but it was master’s duty to undertake
the job. Likely he’d fail, but it was up to him to try.

“Come on, boy,” he said suddenly, clapping the lad’s greasy shoulder.
“Let’s go look for something for you.”

The lad put his old weed of a cap on his head, but master strolled out
bareheaded. The sun was getting low, and it was not as hot as it had
been.

First he went to the gardens, and tried them on the lad. Roses and
cabbages did not appeal to him, and he surveyed them with a dull eye.
He didn’t care to dig in the ground.

Master took him to the garage. No, motor-cars did not strike his fancy,
either. He hadn’t courage, nor skill enough to manage any kind of a
machine.

The tiny stable was the next place to visit. Here lived Moonstone, a
Shetland pony, nominally George Washington’s, but he was too young to
ride it yet, and young Egbert had the sole use of it.

Neither did the pony appeal to the poor city boy. I could have told
master he didn’t care for animals, for he had successively passed by
me, Amarilla, King Harry, and Cannie, without a word for one of us.

“Let’s stroll down to the village,” said master. “Perhaps we’ll find
something there.” So down we went along the high road, then fragrant
with flowering rosebushes.

First, there were cottages and villas standing back from the road in
gardens and on lawns. The boy was not interested in them. When we
got to the stores, his eye brightened. Master, who was watching him
shrewdly, saw his hungry gaze go toward the grocer’s.

It was a store with a fine display. Behind big windows--for the village
women had a health association and would allow no food to be displayed
on the street--were stacks of fruit and vegetables, and everything a
first-class grocer should keep. All the neighbourhood patronised the
man, and it enabled him to keep an excellent stock.

“Would you like to stand behind a counter?” asked master.

“I might,” said the lad.

“You think it would be an easy job?” said master slyly. Then he smiled.

The lad grinned. He had some sense of humour.

“Mr. Washburn!” exclaimed my master, “may I speak to you?”

The grocer came running from his office where he was making up his
accounts.

“Will you take a friend of mine for a few days’ trial?” asked master.

The grocer was immaculately clean, and his eye ran over the
greasy-looking boy.

“We’ll have to fix him up a bit,” said master.

“I’ll take him,” said Mr. Washburn, “on your recommendation.”

“Don’t work him too hard at first,” said master. “You’re a hustler, I
know.”

The lad opened his dull eyes, and looked so dismayed, that the two men
burst out laughing. Finally the young fellow laughed too. He felt that
he would not be imposed on.

Master then took him to the village shoemaker whose wife kept a
boarding-house for young men. Here were a number of city lads who were
working in Mr. Bonstone’s automobile school. It was now close on six
o’clock, and they were all sitting on the front veranda, with their
feet on the railing. Master introduced the newcomer, and asked one of
the lads to take him to the dry goods store, and buy a ready-made suit,
and have it charged to him; also to take him to Neighbourhood Hall,
and introduce him, and give him a good time.

The newcomer, whose name was Walt Dixon, took everything as a matter
of course. He showed neither surprise nor gratitude. Master nodded his
head slightly to the lad who was to take him in charge. That meant,
“Watch him--find out what his morals are. If there’s anything that
would endanger village life, let me know, and I’ll ship him elsewhere.”

Now all this happened some time ago, and as Gringo says, “It’s up to
Walt Dixon to make good.” But he can’t. He’s merely a putty sort of
lad. He does his work spasmodically, he tries the grocer’s patience, he
has always to be watched and guarded. Nobody likes him, nobody dislikes
him. He’s not immoral, and not strictly moral. He’s a kind of grown-up
baby, master says, but he’s supporting himself, and he’s out of New
York, where he loafed and lived off the earnings of his mother and
sister.

The only good thing about him is that he is faintly grateful, and
slightly attached to my master, and I should not wonder if some day he
would be brought to our house to work in some capacity or other.

The most of master’s “brother-boys,” as he calls them, are bright,
smart lads who have gone wrong, usually through no fault of their own,
and when their feet are set on a right track, they run like hounds
toward a definite goal.

They have brains. Walt Dixon is almost foolish. Master dreads mentally
defective lads and degenerate ones, but he never hesitates to tackle
them. Nor does Mr. Bonstone. He had what might have been a very serious
case of a defective lad in this neighbourhood a fortnight ago.

Gringo told me about it. He came over one morning in great haste, and
flopped down beside me, as I stood on the kitchen veranda, lapping my
bread and milk breakfast.

“Well, old boy,” I said, “what’s up with you?”

“Come on out under the grapevine,” he said.

We walked over to a little arbour where cook sits to prepare vegetables
for dinner, and lay down in the shade.

“It’s that McGrailey brat,” said Gringo.

The McGrailey brat is a half foolish boy, the only son of a very
respectable, Scotch-American gardener down in the village.

“He tried to burn us up,” said Gringo.

“Good gracious! tell me about it,” I said.

The old boy licked his lips and began. “Last night at twelve, I got up
to lap a little water from my basin in my boss’s bath-room. I was just
saying to myself, says I, ‘If I’m dry out here, the Bowery dogs must be
on fire,’ when I heard six yelps from that imp Yeggie.”

[Illustration: “I HEARD SIX YELPS FROM THAT IMP YEGGIE”]

“Six yelps,” I repeated, “that means trouble in the hen-houses.”

“Sure,” continued Gringo. “They were pretty sharp yelps, so up I goes
to master’s bed, and nips his foot sticking out for coolness.”

“He’s always alive, so out he tumbled, and said, ‘Go ahead, pup.’”

“You like to have him call you pup,” I interjected. “It makes you feel
young.”

Gringo’s fine eyes grew soft. “It makes me hark back to the west, and
lively days when we both acted like kids.”

“How old are you, Gringo?” I asked curiously.

“Never you mind that, young dog,” he said. “I’m as old as I look, and I
look younger than I am, so let me go on with my story. You’re an awful
interrupter. The boss and I tumbled over each other to get to young Yeg
who was waiting out on the gravel. He pointed for the hen-houses, and
there was the grand Sir Walter sparring, dodging, pushing and barking
at foolish young Willie who had a box of matches in his hand. The young
rap had set fire to every dry patch of grass in the orchard, and neat
little blazes were leaping up to greet us--too friendly by a long shot.”

“Dear me!” I said, “this is thrilling--and everything so dry from the
hot weather--what did you do?”

“I brushed Sir Walter and his eticut aside.”

“It’s etiquette, Gringo,” I reminded him.

“It wasn’t anything when I butted in,” said the old dog stubbornly.
“Little Willie struck my fancy as a naughty bull, and I pinned him to
mother earth. Mister put his two fingers in his mouth and let a whistle
screech that brought the men and other dogs rolling out over and over,
and in two minutes they’d stamped out the blazes.”

“What about Willie,” I asked.

Gringo burst into a hearty dog laugh. “I let him rise to the occasion,
and he trotted to master, and held out his box of matches, and said:
‘Little Willie couldn’t sleep, so he thought he’d come and burn the bad
weeds out of Mr. Bonstone’s orchard, ’cause Mr. Bonstone is a kind man
to Willie.’”

I laughed too. “That sounds like Yeggie’s talk.”

“The boy has just about as much sense as Yeg,” said Gringo. “Mister
threw a bag over Sir Walter, who was smoking and smelt to heaven, for
he too had been set on fire by the thoughtful Willie. Then he takes
Master Willie by his shirt collar--he was in a long-tailed garment that
looked as if his mother had brought it from the old country, and down
to the village, he marches the boy.”

“Didn’t Mr. Bonstone dress?” I inquired, in what, I suppose, was rather
a shocked voice, for Gringo said disdainfully, “What’d he dress for? He
had on a pair of decent pajamas--best outfit for a hot night, and no
one was abroad but the moon. However, if you must know, Thomas brought
him a cloak, and he threw it on when we went to the village.

“At first, Willie didn’t want to go home. You know what a time we have
to keep him off our place. Only by telling him that we were going down
to the ballroom, which is his name for Neighbourhood Hall, could we get
him started. We trundled down to McGrailey’s house, and mister pounded
on the door.”

I made an exclamation of pity, and Gringo said, “My heart was sore
for them too. They’ve good Scotch heads, and the boy’s an awful drag
on their peace of mind. They stood in the doorway after my boss had
pounded a while--white-faced, and with eyebrows up.

“Mister was cool but firm as a rock--he’s often told them the boy would
do some damage. He walked the boy before him into the stuffy parlour,
and sat down on one side of the big family Bible, and the McGraileys
sat on the other.

“‘How soon can you get your lad out of this?’ asked mister in his short
way.

“Mrs. McGrailey began to cry, and old man McGrailey looked black.

“‘Sir,’ said the woman presently lifting her head. ‘S’pose ’twas your
boy.’

“Father McGrailey took up the cry. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘s’pose ’twas your
boy. Would you take him out of his warm bed, where you can look at him
every night, and send him where he’d be beaten, and driven and scared
and he--oh! great heavens--an idiot boy.’

“‘He isn’t an idiot,’ said mister. ‘I’ve told you dozens of times he’s
a moron. He comes first in the class of mental defectives. Imbeciles
and idiots are below him--and he does not stay in his warm bed.’

“‘I couldn’t send him away,’ wailed Mrs. McGrailey with her arms round
Willie. ‘I couldn’t give him up. He’s all I have.’

“‘I told you,’ said mister striking his hand on the table, ‘that
there’s a good institution up state, and I saw boys in your Willie’s
class, and their faces were fine. They were feeding lads weaker than
themselves. He’d be taught a trade too. I’m speaking for his good. He’s
a plague to this neighbourhood.’

“Father McGrailey looked madder. ‘I’ve heard you, sir, a hundred
times, say you didn’t believe in no herding of people or animals
together--that you wouldn’t even bring up a pup in kennels, if you
could find a home for him.’

“‘That’s so,’ said my boss coolly, ‘but I make one exception. Persons
whose minds are affected cut the very bottom out of society. They’re
our criminals. I’d doctor them. What are you doing for your boy; come
now.’

“The man and the woman looked at each other with quite cunning faces.
The boss had finished strong, I was lying beside his chair, and thinks
I to myself, ‘What’ll they do now?’ I knew they’d win out, for I tell
you, Boy, a pair of parents at bay is a worse team than a pair of
tigers.”

“Stop, Gringo, a minute,” I said. “Let me get my wits to work. Two good
citizens with a dangerous fool of a boy have got the richest man in the
community cornered at midnight. He’s got a good heart. They’ll overcome
him, but how?--I give it up.”

“So did I,” said Gringo triumphantly, “but they didn’t. ‘Sir,’ said
McGrailey in a voice that made my skin creep--it had the Scotch
burr, and an awful agony twisted up with it--‘may you never know the
heart-scald that we’ve known. I tell you, sir, I’ve visited the police
courts in New York--I’ve seen young men and women that were nothing but
grown-up babies judged as if they were you or me--God pity the weak in
brain--and I vowed a vow that I’d kill my son before I’d trust him to
the stone heart of the unfeeling public!’

“This was pretty stiff, and mister began to waver.

“The woman came back with her old cry--‘S’pose it was your boy--s’pose
it was your boy.’

“My boss’s face softened. I knew his thoughts ran back to the room
where young John lay in his baby sleep, so soft, so happy, so coddled.
Could anything tear that boy from his arms?--not the whole world.

“‘My friends,’ he said softly, ‘I’m pleading for your boy. You don’t
understand. You’re doing him an injustice to keep him here. There are
institutions, I tell you, where he will be treated kindly.’

“Mrs. McGrailey began to cry so horribly at this, that mister said in
a hurry, ‘Well, then, in the name of common sense, suggest a way out.
Your boy is not going to run loose about this place. That’s the very
way to tear him from you.’

“‘Mr. Bonstone,’ said McGrailey, ‘you own two hundred acres of wild
land out Torbellon way.’

“Yes, mister said he did.

“‘Start a cottage colony, sir. Give me the post of head gardener.
I’ll build a house with my savings, and I’ll give you the names of a
score of persons like myself who have children that are not like other
children. They’ll put some money in--but they won’t send their boys and
girls to a big institution.’

“‘I think you’re wrong,’ said mister shaking his head. ‘Your boy would
be better away from you--and you’d have to hire experts to train him
and others like him.’

“‘Hire them,’ said McGrailey commandingly.

“‘Look here,’ said my boss, ‘you fellows rate my bank account too
high. I’m sailing close to the wind just now.’

“‘Trust you to raise money,’ said the man almost contemptuously.
‘Haven’t you and Rudolph Granton got the name for good sense in
business, and wisdom in philanthropy--ask your fellow rich men. They’d
give you funds, when they’d turn a deaf ear to the likes of me.’

“My boss got up. ‘Then I’m to start a private institution for Willie?’

“‘That’s it, sir,’ said McGrailey grimly. ‘You’ll do that, and more too
for a neighbour.’

“‘Maybe I’m a fool,’ said mister calmly, ‘but I’ll think it over.
Meanwhile, keep the boy close.’

“‘That we’ll do, sir,’ said the man respectfully, then he broke down,
for he was all cut up. The boy had nearly killed him and his wife. He
cried, and she cried; and they caught the boss’s hand, and God-blessed
him; and he fled, and left his cloak with them; and he’s coming up this
evening to talk the affair over with your boss.”

“Don’t those two men beat the Dutch for doing good?” I exclaimed. “They
even get up in the night to do it.”



CHAPTER XXIV

SIR EDWARD MEDLINGTON


One cool, sharp afternoon, when the second summer of our stay in the
country was drawing to a close, I found myself all alone over at
Gringo’s house. All the dogs were away somewhere, so finding no one in
the orchard to gossip with me, I made up my mind to run down to the
village and call on Mrs. Waverlee.

It was just about five o’clock, and she had a nice English fashion of
always having afternoon tea. When the maid brought in the tea things,
there was always a blue bowl for Patsie’s tea, and a pink one for any
caller he might have. There was quite a nipping wind that afternoon,
and the thought of that pink bowl nearly full of weak tea, with four
lumps of sugar, and plenty of cream in it, just warmed the cockles of
my heart, so off I trotted for the village.

Mrs. Waverlee was at home sitting by the fire, and looking very sweet
and pretty but rather tired, for she taught away a good deal of
strength every morning. Her whole soul was in her work for the children.

She patted me very kindly, when I ran into her dainty drawing-room, and
invited me to lie down on the rug before the fire.

Then she leaned back--not in her rocking-chair, for she hadn’t one in
her house--but in a big chintz-covered arm-chair that fairly swallowed
up her slender figure. She was gazing intently at a large oil painting
that stood in the almost loving embrace of another big chair, placed in
a good light from a window. Paper and wrapping stuff lay on the floor,
and I guessed that the picture had just arrived.

While she sat staring at it, her little maid ushered in another caller.
This time it was Mr. Bonstone. He spoke nicely to her in his short
manner, said “Hello! Boy,” to me, then stood leaning against the
mantel, watching her pour out a cup of tea for him. As he approached
the little table to take it from her, his eye fell on the painting.

He didn’t say anything, but his look said, “Ah! she has been getting a
family picture from England.”

I have already remarked that Mrs. Waverlee was a bit of a clairvoyante.
She saw he was interested, and she said in her distinct, delicate way,
“It is my father, taken with my boy when we were last in England.”

Mr. Bonstone was slowly wiggling his spoon back and forth in his cup
to dissolve the sugar. As she spoke, his eye kindled. Something in the
portrait aroused his attention. Then his hand stopped moving the spoon.

“Your father,” he said slowly.

“Yes,” she repeated simply, “my dear father.”

Most American women would have vouchsafed some more information, seeing
that his curiosity was aroused, but she was a regular Englishwoman, and
could talk sweetly for hours, and tell you nothing.

At last, Mr. Bonstone took the initiative, and said, “May I ask his
name?”

“Medlington,” she said, “Sir Edward Medlington.”

He said nothing. He was as reticent as she was, but both their eyes
spoke. I saw there was something underneath his interest.

He drank his tea, ate an English muffin, drew some papers from his
pocket, and talked over some business with her about Neighbourhood
Hall; then he took up his hat. Before he said good-bye, he went over
and stood silently before the big picture.

Mrs. Waverlee began to speak. She had become very friendly with him
and his wife, and she did not wish to appear ungracious. Then I think
underneath it all, was a feminine desire to know why he was interested
in this picture.

“My father was in the army,” she said, “as a young man. During an
Egyptian campaign, he lost a leg. A change came over him during
hospital life, and he left the army and entered the church.”

Mr. Bonstone looked spellbound, and murmured something about noticing
that the tall man in the painting, holding the little boy by the hand,
had on clerical dress.

“My mother died when I was a baby,” Mrs. Waverlee continued, “and my
father brought me up, and has always been very, very dear to me. I
expect him here shortly to visit me.”

“Your father was not an only son, was he?” asked Mr. Bonstone.

“No, he had a younger brother who came to America.”

“He is not living, is he?” asked Mr. Bonstone in an almost inaudible
voice.

“No,” she said with a side glance at him. “He died some years ago. We
don’t know whether he left any children.”

“Good-bye,” said Mr. Bonstone, and he held out his hand.

“Good-bye,” she said calmly, but their eyes met, and he grew a furious
red.

“My love to Stanna,” she said, following him as he hurried to the door.
“Thank you for all your kindness to me. If you had belonged to my own
family, you could not have been kinder.”

He made some sort of an inarticulate reply, and she came back to the
painting. Then she repeated Mr. Bonstone’s questions. “Your father is
not an only son,” and “He is not living, is he?”

“Why negatively,” she said, “unless he knew the answers? He is the son
of my uncle who quarrelled with his father, and ran away to America
with his barmaid wife. I feel the relationship, and I also recognise
family traits.” Her face grew a beautiful pink. “A good man, and my own
cousin. Now I am not without relatives in this new country. Thank God!
It will be a good thing for my boy. But I must not acknowledge this
relationship, until it will be welcome to this odd man.”

All this was intensely interesting to me, and I too turned a fresh
attention to the painting. It was not difficult to recognise little
Egbert as he had appeared a few years ago. The tall old man was
handsome and commanding in appearance, and yet his face was the essence
of gentleness as he held the boy’s two small hands. “Won’t Gringo be
excited,” I thought, and I was just about to whine for the door to be
opened so I could run away to him, when my dear mistress appeared.

“Well, Boy, you too are here,” she said kindly as she came in, then
she began talking to Mrs. Waverlee about the latest news, which was
something that affected me deeply and painfully.

“There is to be a new kind of a dog-show in New York,” she said, “a
dog-hero show. All dogs exhibited must have done something noteworthy,
or they cannot be entered. You, Boy, are to go on account of the
service you rendered our hostess. Gringo will be there, also King Harry
and Walter Scott.”

“Is it to be a show for thoroughbreds alone?” asked Mrs. Waverlee.

“No, breeding has nothing to do with it. It is all inner worth--dogs
who have saved persons from burning or carried messages, or who
have shown great intelligence. In fact, I believe the mongrels will
predominate.”

“When does it begin?” enquired Mrs. Waverlee.

“Next week.”

My heart sank within me. Oh! how I dreaded a dog-show. When I was
a young dog, I had been exhibited several times, and every time I
suffered tortures. It was not so bad in the day time, when my owners
were about, and everybody was watching the men who took care of the
dogs; but at night it was terrible. All the dog-owners went home,
and the men who were left in charge, invariably drank and either
quarrelled, played cards or slept, and dogs would get caught in their
chains and nearly strangle. Oh! that wretched drink--how much misery it
causes. Then the men would tell lies about watering and feeding us, and
many a dog suffered the tortures of hunger and thirst. There were a few
conscientious attendants, but very few.

I dreaded intensely going through this again--indeed my sufferings at a
dog-show were responsible for my wandering life, for it was after being
exhibited seven times in one spring, that I ran away from my first home
with a dog-fancier.

Another thing I dreaded in connection with the forthcoming dog-show
was, that everybody would find out how valuable I was, and attention
would be drawn to me as a desirable dog to steal. Mr. Granton knew that
my points were good, but he had never chanced to meet any one who could
tell him just how good they were. He didn’t know a very doggy set of
men.

Well, the day came, and I was entered at the show, and the thing itself
was not half as bad as I thought it would be. These dogs were all very
much beloved by their owners, and were not held on account of their
value as dogs, but as heroes and dog friends to mankind. I was uneasy,
for I hated being taken from my nice home and being deprived of my
liberty, but I underwent no actual suffering. For there was no drink
there, and Louis, who was very fond of King Harry, slept both nights
the show lasted, curled up in the straw in the big box-place our good
bloodhound occupied. So we did not suffer.

Gringo was furious at having to go. He hated notoriety, and he hated
being taken away from Mr. Bonstone; and Mr. Bonstone was just as upset
as he was, but there was no help for it. The show was for charity, and
to acquaint New York with the actual value of the dog heroes of the
country--dogs who had risked their lives to save human beings from harm.

The dog who took first prize was a little mongrel who had so little
thoroughbred in him, that nobody could tell in which class of dogs his
ancestors had started. He had saved five hundred hotel guests from
death by fire. The hotel was a regular fire-trap, and he had barked and
raged when he smelt the smoke, till he drew attention to the dreadful
danger, and every one got out while the hotel burnt to the ground.

Gringo got third prize. I was surprised to hear how many events the
modest old dog had been in. He was chained next to me, and his remarks
on the show were killing. He loathed vain dogs--these fellows who
adore shows, and when the travelling boxes are brought out, bark with
excitement, and on arriving, bask all day long in popular approval.

I had honourable mention. Gringo thought I would get a prize, but when
I looked round the show, I said, “Some of these fellows here will ride
rough-shod over me. It’s amazing what a sum of fidelity to the human
race they represent.”

The event of the show to me was, as I had anticipated, the finding
out of my value. I was adjudged the best dog of all breeds shown, and
my value was placed at seven thousand dollars. How I regretted this.
Coarse, sporty looking men, who bestowed not a glance on the noble
animals who had saved precious lives, came and stood before me with
their beefy faces alight with interest. Most unfortunately, however,
it was not the sporting class that took the keenest interest in me.
Those men were rough but honest. Two young men of the white-faced,
putty-looking class that master and Mr. Bonstone dread so much to
handle, made me tremble.

They did not come up and stand before me, to admire me and ask
questions. They stood a long way off, and they got a boy to go and ask
an attendant particularly where I lived. I knew I should have trouble
with them some time in the future, and I vowed that they would be
pretty clever to catch me napping. Both days I was at the show, they
came several times to stare at me surreptitiously, and the second day,
they brought another fellow of their own class with them.

I tried not to worry, and repeated to myself something that master
often murmurs when he is putting on his shoes to go down town. “Where
are the worries I had this time last year? Gone with the snows of
winter, and the roses of summer. Therefore, why worry over the worries
of to-day?”

The pleasantest thing about the show was, of course, the twice-a-day
visits of our owners. The second day, Mr. Bonstone approached our bench
accompanied by Mrs. Waverlee, Egbert and a tall old gentleman who
limped quite a bit.

“Wooden leg,” muttered Gringo. “It’s the boy’s grandfather.”

I had told Gringo of his master’s interest in the portrait of the old
baronet. He was as keenly interested as I was, and with me, concluded
that Mrs. Waverlee was correct. Mr. Bonstone was her cousin.

“Why don’t they out with it?” said the old dog--“I hate secrets.”

Well, they did out with it this day. A dog-show seemed a strange place
for a recognition between a noble Englishman and his long-lost nephew,
but stranger things than that have happened.

Sir Edward had arrived two days before, and Mr. Bonstone had not seen
him until he met him coming into the show with Mrs. Waverlee and Egbert.

Gringo and I stared at them. “My poor boss,” said the old dog, “his
eyes are eager. He’d like to have relatives like other folks.”

Mrs. Waverlee was sweetly self-possessed. No one would have guessed
that she was very much excited, and was watching her father and Mr.
Bonstone surreptitiously.

I have forgotten to say that Walter Scott was chained the other side of
Gringo and King Harry, and the three grown-up persons and the boy were
fondling us alternately.

Mr. Bonstone was delighted that he would be able to take Gringo away
that evening. “Only a few hours more, kid,” he said in a low voice as
he softly rubbed his hand over Gringo’s rose ears. A seal ring, his
only ornament, for he hated even a breast pin, caught the old baronet’s
eye. Now he had evidently noticed no familiar resemblance in this man,
but he could not help recognising the ring on which was engraved the
family crest.

He didn’t say anything. He was a very well set-up, self-possessed old
gentleman, and very English. He simply turned a little pale, and said,
“May I look at that ring?”

Mr. Bonstone nodded, and taking it off, handed it to him.

“This old man’s father was a tartar,” Gringo whispered to me. “It’s
rough on him to remember how he and the young brother who had pluck
enough to run away were bullyragged.”

Mr. Bonstone stood fondling Gringo’s head, and looking calmly at his
relative.

“Good blood,” muttered Gringo. “Do you notice, Boy, that the quality
don’t shriek and tear their hair over great events. They’re quiet as
the grave.”

I didn’t say anything, but I imagined the panorama passing before the
eyes of the fine-looking old man turning the ring round and round in
his hand. Having been in England, I could call up a picture of the old
country house, the pleasant life, the gentle mother, the domineering
old father, the submission of the elder son, the rebellion of the
younger--and now the younger son was dead, but his son lived and would
slip into the place of his father in this old man’s heart.

“Your Christian names?” asked Sir Edward in a low voice as he returned
the ring.

“Edward Norman Mannering.”

Sir Edward’s eyes clouded. He dropped his head on his breast for a few
seconds. His dead brother had given his own dear brother’s name to his
son.

Then he spoke again, “Why Bonstone?”

“My mother’s name,” said Mr. Bonstone shortly.

Sir Edward glanced at Mrs. Waverlee who had moved away a few paces,
while the two men were talking. She smiled brightly. She understood.

Then he said in a low but a beautiful, affectionate voice, “You have
your father’s eyes. Give me your arm, my boy.”

“Gringo,” I said, “isn’t that a perfectly touching sight, to see that
dear old man going about leaning on those two young people?”

Gringo spoke very gruffly. He pretended he didn’t care, but I could see
he was deeply moved.

“Now my kind master’s got some folks,” he said. “There’s not a line of
worry about him. We’ll see something very fancy in his life now.”

And we did, for it appeared that the possession of relatives of his own
had been the one thing lacking to round out Mr. Bonstone’s beautiful
life.

His devotion to his uncle was superb. He was down at Mrs. Waverlee’s
constantly, and when he was not there Sir Edward was at Green Hill.

There was a great excitement all over this place, and in New York
too, when it was announced that Mr. Bonstone was related to the
distinguished English army officer and present clergyman--Sir Edward
Medlington, and was a cousin of the aristocratic Mrs. Waverlee. Nobody
seemed jealous. Everybody was glad.

Mrs. Resterton basked in reflected light. She dragged in the title
whenever she could with propriety, and the way she mouthed the “Sir
Edward” was lovely to hear.

Gringo grinned whenever he heard her. “Never before heard of two words
giving a woman such satisfaction,” he said.

The nice old lady’s only regret was that the title passed to Egbert as
the son of the eldest son, rather than to Mr. Bonstone as the son of
the younger.

I heard Mrs. Bonstone one day enlightening her. “Grandmamma,” she
said, “don’t you understand Norman well enough to know that if he had
inherited a whole bushel of titles, he would reject them all? As it is,
he often shocks his uncle by his democratic ways. No--Norman is a plain
American. He has thrown off his English traditions.”

“Sir Norman has a very pleasant sound,” said the old lady plaintively.

How Mrs. Bonstone laughed. “And Lady Bonstone or Lady Medlington,”
she said--“wouldn’t that be charming!--imagine a milkmaid and a
poultry-woman with a title. That is all I aspire to be.”

The dogs, too, were very fond of talking about the baronet, and great
discussions took place up in the orchard about his title, and his
artificial leg, and his nice simple ways, and his clear manner of
speaking.

Some of the dogs held that it was a great pity that a baronet should
have a wooden or a cork leg--we couldn’t find out which it was, for his
man-servant never talked, and Patsie, the fox-terrier, was no gossip.

“Why not a baronet?” said Gringo. “He’s just the one to afford time to
go limping about.”

The dogs also could not understand his being a clergyman and rector of
a church.

“Yeggie thought he’d wear a pink coat, and go round looking for foxes
to hunt,” said the little cur, jumping up and down, “but he never kills
anything but fish, and he bangs them on the head as soon as they’re
caught so they won’t suffer--I heard him say so the other day.”

“I thought he’d get drunk every night,” said King Harry. “I once knew
an English earl down in Virginia, and his valet had to sit up till one
o’clock to undress him.”

This put the old country dogs on their mettle. Gringo, Walter Scott,
and Cannie snapped at good King Harry, and told him that the English
aristocracy were as sober as any class of people.

“And if our people had any faults,” added Walter Scott, “the war has
taken them all away.”

“Where is the nobleman to-day?” I asked one chill November afternoon of
the assembled dogs.

“Down the river,” said Yeggie. “I saw him going Walt Dixon’s way.”

It seemed strange that there should be any connection between this fine
old English gentleman and a poor miserable lad from New York, but there
was one strong bond of union. They were both ardent fishermen.

Now last spring my master had taken great pains to interest Walt in
some form of out-door exercise. He was so lazy that fishing was the
only sport he could be induced to undertake, but as time went on, he
became an enthusiast, and no one in the whole country round about knew
as well as he just which fishing pools to visit to get a bite.

There were several small rivers near us, and Walt knew them all. Sir
Edward, finding out that Walt would be of more use to him than any
one in the neighbourhood, cultivated him assiduously. My master was
delighted. This association was of inestimable benefit to the boy he
was trying to befriend.

Yeggie came dancing up to Gringo one day and asked why the
distinguished stranger was finding out about fishing in this cold
autumn weather.

“Don’t you know, pup?” said Gringo with a wink at me, “that folks hang
round what their mouths water for? Give me the name of the dog that
lingers long round the kitchen windows, when the good, hot smell of
meat is wafted out.”

Yeggie hung his little head.

“The noble baronet is laying out the land for next spring, when he’s
coming back to see us all,” Gringo continued. “He’s got to get home
soon to his church. He’s a good man--he works. Some folks and some dogs
are lazy--they don’t earn their salt.”

“Good-bye,” said Yeggie abruptly. “Yeggie’s going to call on the hens,”
and he diddled away.

Gringo laughed heartily, as he disappeared round the corner of the
barn. “I like that little fool kid dog,” he said.

“Sir Edward has been gone ever since lunch,” I remarked. “I know,
because he lunched at our house to-day, and soon afterward went for a
walk up the Lalabee River road.”

“He ought to be back soon,” said Gringo, “the dark is coming on.”

How well I remember that afternoon. Nobody was anxious about Sir
Edward, but in half an hour, when it had become quite dark and he had
not returned, there was great excitement. A man with an artificial leg
who takes long walks is something of a marvel, but he cannot go on
indefinitely, and he never had stayed out as long as this before. There
was really painful anxiety at last. I, suspecting nothing wrong, had
gone home, and was playing with George Washington in the nursery when
Bessie the nurse came in, and called Mrs. Granton to the telephone.

I followed her, and heard enough to assure me that everybody was out
looking for Sir Edward, and they had decided to ask for King Harry to
trail him.

Mrs. Granton was in great trouble. “Oh! Norman,” she said to Mr.
Bonstone who was telephoning, “there was a child lost in Torbellon this
morning, and an hour ago some men came in a car and got King Harry to
track her--Have you tried Walt Dixon?”

I couldn’t hear Mr. Bonstone’s reply, but I knew by what Mrs. Granton
said, he had thought the hound would be quicker. However, failing the
hound, he would try Walt.

I tore out through the front hall, and ran over to Green Hill. On the
way I met Mr. Bonstone in an automobile hurrying down to the village
for Walt. Afterward, we all heard the story of the rescue from Gringo
who went with his master.

Walt told Mr. Bonstone which road Sir Edward had taken, and the two
followed it in the car, and occasionally leaving it to plunge into the
bushes by the river bank at places Walt thought might be visited by Sir
Edward.

They had a lantern with them, for by this time it was quite dark. Mr.
Bonstone at last became frightfully nervous, not outside, for he was
not that kind, but internally nervous.

“Walt,” he said, “think hard. I heard you talking to Sir Edward
yesterday. Did he say anything to make you think he might take some new
road you’d never been over?”

Walt thought a moment; then he said, “I did tell him of a new pool high
up in the river, that no one but me knows about. I got a dozen trout
there one early morning last spring; but he couldn’t get there alone, I
told him. It’s a rough road.”

“Just the one he’d try,” said Mr. Bonstone. “Jump in, and lead me to
it.”

This time, when they left the car, they took a rocky path to the little
river. “There’s a tiny islet in the middle of the river,” said Walt,
“with stepping stones to it, but I guess he couldn’t make it.”

“I’ll wager he’s there,” Mr. Bonstone muttered. Then he lifted up his
voice, and yelled, “Hello! Hello!” till Gringo says the woods by the
river rang with the sound.

Then he listened, and at once came a husky peeping like a bird with a
cold in its throat.

They were close to the islet, and Mr. Bonstone, swinging the lantern
for the boy behind him, skipped over the stepping stones to it. There
was a solitary tree rooted among the rocks, and there, hanging to a
low-growing limb, was the poor baronet. His keen angler’s instinct had
caused him to mount the limb to see if it would be a good place from
which to throw a line; his wooden leg had caught in the crook of the
limb, and there he hung, almost head down, until his strength had been
exhausted.

Mr. Bonstone and Walt soon got him down, carried him to the car, and
gave him a drink from a flask that Mrs. Bonstone had provided. Then
they rushed him to the Green Hill house which was nearer than Mrs.
Waverlee’s, and put him to bed.

All the family came to enquire about him. Mrs. Waverlee was very much
troubled in her quiet way, and poor Egbert was trying hard not to cry.
Master, who was almost as upset as Sir Edward’s own family, said to
Mrs. Resterton, “Why in the name of common sense did that old man with
a wooden leg try to climb a tree on a dark night?”

Mrs. Resterton was dreadfully flushed, and was fanning herself
violently. “You have just come from town,” she said, “you don’t know
that it was quite light when Sir Edward started, and you don’t
understand how crazy he is about fishing. He is always studying those
books on angling in the library.”

“I’m not fond of fishing,” said master, “so I don’t share his
enthusiasm, but what I do like about the affair is the part my poor boy
Walt has played.”

“He certainly tracked Sir Edward,” said Mrs. Resterton, “but for him,
Sir Edward might have died before Norman found him.”

“She got the baronet’s title in twice that time,” snickered Gringo who
was lying beside me at Mrs. Resterton’s feet. Then he began to pant
nervously, for the old dog’s sympathies had been aroused, and he had
tramped fast all through the woods with his master and Walt.

“Well,” I said to him, “isn’t this a queer world? Seems as if when a
dog or a man does a kind deed, he always gets his pay for it.”

Gringo stopped panting long enough to say, “Sure, and it’s my wonder
that when folks are so keen for rewards, they don’t do more good.
There’s big interest on being decent.”

“They’ll do something handsome for Walt,” I said

“You bet,” returned Gringo. “His nest won’t want for no feathers from
this out.”

“Any feathers, Gringo,” I said gently.

“Oh, shut up,” he growled. “You know what I mean.”

“I don’t wish other dogs to make game of you,” I said firmly.

“Bah! what’s grammar,” he said contemptuously.

“It isn’t grammar,” I said, “it’s good English.”

“I’m American now,” he growled. “I’ll talk as I like.”

“All right,” I replied, “I’ll never correct you again.”

“Yes, you will,” he said crossly. “You just dare to stop correcting me.”

“But you resent it,” I said.

“You make me mad, the way you rub it in,” he flared up. “Just correct
me, and don’t gab.”

I couldn’t help laughing, and soon the good old fellow joined me.
“Gringo,” I said, “we’re good friends--always and forever.”

“You bet!” he said.

I was going to correct him, then I reflected that “You bet” though
slangy is decidedly English, and I ran away home after my master, who
went to take the good news of Sir Edward’s return to his wife.



CHAPTER XXV

THE BOY MONTMORENCY


A few days after Sir Edward’s adventure, and when he was quite restored
to health, and ready for more experiences (for he was a most daring,
plucky old man) there was a strange arrival in our home.

I had been to New York with my dear mistress. She wished to call on
some friends on Riverside Drive and had invited me to go with Amarilla,
for she knew I loved motoring. Fortunately it was not a very cold
day, and she took the touring car. I detested the limousine. She was
all wrapped up in a big cloak, and Amarilla sat on her lap and kept
her warm. I thought that of all the ladies we passed in handsome
automobiles, not one had such a dear face as my own mistress. I sat on
the seat beside her, and she tucked the rug all round my neck to keep
me comfortable.

Well, we had a very pleasant afternoon in the city. Amarilla and I did
not go into any of the houses, but one lady sent us out some sweet
cakes which were very acceptable, for the cool air had, sharpened our
appetites.

“Amarilla,” I whispered in the little dog’s ear, “where is the charm of
the Drive, of Fifth Avenue, of Broadway? Gone--gone, except as lovely,
lively places to visit. No more New York for me.”

Amarilla trembled, and nestled closer against Mrs. Granton. She had
always hated a city. How her little face brightened when we were well
on the broad road leading to Pleasant River. How much we both loved
that big house, and the dear people who lived in it.

“Amarilla,” I said, “if our family moved back to New York, would you
come too?”

She gave a pitiful little squeal, but it was a decided “Yes.”

“Suppose they lost their money, and had to live down town, would you
stick to them?”

At this she struggled to her feet, wagged her bushy little tail, and
barked sharply.

“Hush, Boy,” said our mistress, tucking her up again. “You are exciting
Amarilla.”

I persisted and whispered again, “Suppose your missie (that was what
she always called Mrs. Granton) was poor, and had nothing to eat: would
you go on the stage again, to earn some money for her?”

Amarilla hesitated one instant, then she began to howl very gently,
very resignedly, but with great determination. She would be willing to
make any sacrifices for the woman who had been so good to her.

Mrs. Granton was annoyed with me. She knew that we dogs communicated
with each other. “Boy,” she said irritably, “if you make Amarilla
uncomfortable once more, you shall go in with Louis.”

This quieted me. I cuddled up to her, wiggled my body by way of
apology, and did not say another word till we got home.

I am a great talker, and often keep on when I know I should stop. When
Gringo first knew me, he called me “The Wandering Dog” because I had
travelled so much, but after a time he called me “The Wandering Dog”
because I told so many stories that hinged on each other.

When the car pulled up in our own _porte cochère_ I followed Amarilla
as she ran after her dear missie to the library. Such a big fire leaped
in the chimney, and before it stood master with George Washington all
dressed up in his white velvet dinner clothes, for he was allowed to
come to the table and sit in a high chair with toys before him. He got
nothing to eat, of course. He had had his bread and butter supper at
five.

Well, in addition to George Washington, there stood on the rug a boy
about a year older than George, and master’s face as he surveyed him
was a study.

He was a kind of a caricature of a petted darling. I understood at
once that he was a poor child, masquerading as a rich one. I know the
poor smell. Somebody had taken great pains with his toilet. He had on
a little plush cap with a gilt tassel, his coat was green with gold
buttons, his shoes were a pale blue, his little hands were dirty,
but his gloves sticking out from his tiny pocket, were quite clean.
That was so like poor people--to have clean gloves and dirty hands.
He seemed to have no handkerchief, and was sniffing violently at
intervals.

Master was grinning. “Read this, Claudia,” he said, handing a slip of
paper to mistress who had sunk into a chair, and was examining the
child with wondering eyes.

“Mr. Granton and Lady,” she read aloud, “Dear Friends, raise the boy as
your own--he is good blood. His name is Montmorency.”

Mistress looked amazed. “Where did he come from?” she asked.

Master shook his head. “I don’t know. Bessie says when she was bringing
our boy in a short time ago, this child came strolling up the avenue
toward them, clutching this piece of paper in his hand. Bessie read it,
then ran down the avenue as fast as she could, but there was no one
there.”

“Little boy,” said mistress, “where do you come from?”

He turned his small, pale, rather intelligent face toward her, and said
something that sounded like “Gnorrish!”

Mistress looked despairingly at her husband. “What is your mother’s
name?” she asked.

This time he uttered a single syllable that sounded like “Granch!”

“Da, Da, Da has come home,” interrupted little George gleefully.

“Why, he doesn’t speak as well as our baby,” said mistress. “What shall
we do about him?”

“He’s a present, evidently,” said master.

“George, come here,” said mistress, and she took her own child on her
lap. Then she went on. “We don’t know what sort of a place he’s come
from.”

Master pressed the electric button beside the mantel, said something
in French to mistress, and when the parlour-maid came she received
instructions to take the little stranger away, have him thoroughly
washed, his head included, his clothes folded up and put away, and
other ones put on him.

“I wonder what the mystery is about him,” said master. “Why should any
one try to foist a child on us anonymously, when we are so ready to
help any one? I can’t understand it.”

“I understand it,” said mistress softly, and as she spoke she stroked
George’s fair head. “It’s some poor creature who cannot provide for
her child. She looks at our child with envious eyes. She thinks if she
gives up her boy, we may do for him what Stanna has done for Cyria.”

“Do you think that is the explanation?” said master. “But in Stanna’s
case everything was open and above board. I don’t like this mystery,
and I don’t care to be dictated to with regard to the size of my
family.”

“Let’s find out the mother,” said mistress. “It will probably be an
easy matter.”

It wasn’t an easy matter. Master put several detectives on the case,
but the affair had been arranged by some unknown person with infinite
skill, and they could not find out one thing about it. No one thought
of appealing to me, though I had guessed immediately where the boy came
from.

Master of course thought of King Harry; but he was useless, for the
child’s tracks led right to the station, and the station meant New
York city, and the hound would be of no use there. He had found the
lost child in the country that he had been searching for when Sir
Edward was missing, but a city with its multitude of tracks bewilders
any bloodhound.

The evening the child arrived, there had been about him a strong smell
of a place I did not know, but also a faint suggestion of a place I did
know, especially about his face, his hands, and the piece of paper he
carried, and that place was the Blue-Bird Laundry.

We dogs have every person, every locality, listed in our world of
smell. I had been to the laundry several times with my master, and the
mingled odour of soap-suds, cooking, and the personal scent of the
women there, could not be mistaken by me.

These detectives that master employed had no highly developed sense of
smell. They were following trails suggested by their eyes and ears.

Master was a long time figuring out my interest in the child, but
finally it dawned upon him.

I was always sniffing about the little stranger, for I wanted to help
my dear mistress. She was such a good mother, and I hated to see her
troubled. Her loving heart, so warm toward all mothers, since she had
had a child of her own, had prompted her to take young Montmorency
right into her own nursery, but she did not enjoy doing so.

One day when I was following her about the house, she came suddenly
into the nursery, and stopped short, gazing at the two children.

There stood Montmorency, dressed in a dainty suit of pale blue,
uttering a succession of queer, uncouth sounds which all seemed to
begin with “G,” and teaching a vulgar little trick to her beloved
George. The trick wasn’t very bad, but George was so much cleverer than
Montmorency that he added some details of his own, that made me grin,
but which brought a frown to her face.

She caught George to her, and sat staring at the little stranger. After
a while, master strolled into the nursery.

“That child belongs most decidedly to a different stratum in society,”
she exclaimed, “a much lower one,” and she told him about the trick,
which was a spitting one.

“I believe you’re right, Claudia,” said master thoughtfully, and he too
stared and stared at young Montmorency, who was polishing off his funny
little nose on his clean tunic.

I ran toward master, and pushed my paw against his knee--a habit I
have when I wish to attract his attention, or have a conversation with
him. Of course, this is not good manners for a well-trained dog. All
dogs should keep their paws on the ground where they belong, but I was
allowed this liberty by my kind master, and I took care never to abuse
it.

“By Jupiter!” he cried, which is the nearest he ever comes to a
swear-word. “I believe Boy has nosed out something about that child.
Claudia, please keep George quiet for a few minutes.”

Master fixed a steady gaze on me, and I stared full into his eyes. We
were concentrating. “Boy,” he said at last, “that child comes from New
York, doesn’t he?”

I barked once, sharp and clear.

“You smell a New York smell on him?” said master.

I barked twice. “Yes, sir,” that meant, “I certainly do.”

“Riverside Drive smell?” asked master.

I looked disappointed, and turned my head away.

“Smell of Ellen’s home?” pursued master.

No, this child had never been near Ellen, so I said nothing.

“No up-town suggestion,” said master. “Down town, then?”

I was tremendously excited. I was leading him on. I barked wildly, and
danced about the room.

“Getting warmer,” said master, who was becoming excited too. “Now,
where have we been down town together? In my office, Boy?”

No, no, he was on the wrong track, and my face fell.

“No office clue,” he went on. “French café, then--perhaps a waiter’s
child.”

Wrong, wrong, and I said nothing.

“The settlement house, or the day nursery?”

No, no, poor master--why could he not guess. He mentioned ever so many
places down town that we had visited together, and he was so slow at
getting to the right spot, that I, in despair, lay down on the floor,
put my nose between my paws, and pretended to go to sleep.

“He finds you very stupid, my poor Rudolph,” said mistress slyly. She
loves to tease him occasionally, and she was following his questions
and my answers with intense interest.

“Let me make a suggestion,” she said at last. “There is one place you
never used to visit, but that you go to quite frequently now--Is it the
Blue-Bird Laundry, Boy?”

I barked, I screamed with excitement, I ran to her, and licked her
slippers and her hands. Oh! the clever woman.

“By Jupiter,” said master again, “this looks like magic. Now, let us
find the woman. Is it Perky Moll, Boy?”

The matron in the laundry is a lady who is the widow of a former friend
of the Grantons. She is full of fun, and has nick-names for the girls
which she uses sometimes with master, but which the girls themselves
never hear.

Well, it wasn’t Perky Moll, and my excitement passed away, and I looked
cast down.

“Is it Jumping Jenny, Troublesome Doll, Mrs. Willie Nillie?” and on
master went, over a long list. At last he had mentioned every woman in
the laundry except the right one. (And just here, I may wander long
enough to say that the dreadful woman with the child that we met one
night on Riverside Drive was not there. She had died, and her child was
in the country with a farmer’s wife.)

Now at this point, when master was puzzled, my clever mistress
interposed again. She had a scent as keen as old King Harry’s, about
matters where women and children were concerned.

“Is it old Jane, the cook, Boy?” she asked softly.

Now I was in an ecstasy. I couldn’t stop to lick any one. I yelled with
glee, and tore round and round the nursery.

“Upon my word,” said master slowly, when at last I pulled up. “Boy has
jumped at the Jane suggestion--but she is too old to have a child.
Maybe it’s her grandchild.”

Mistress didn’t say anything, and he went on affectionately, “My clever
little dog--my clever brother-dog. You are worth your weight in gold.”

This made me feel and act foolish and modest, and I calmed down, and
went to lie at his feet.

“Old Jane,” he repeated soberly. “Poor old Jane--what’s the matter,
Claudia?”

Mistress was crying softly, but at his question she flared up. “Can’t
you see?” she said wildly, “oh! can’t you see, you obtuse man? That
nightmare of a woman--she has no teeth--her eyes are all red--she looks
clean, but so thin and starved----”

“She is a cook,” said master.

“She has nearly killed herself working for her child,” said mistress.
“I remember the dreadful hunger in her eyes one day when you took me
to the laundry. She stared at me in the kitchen; she slipped upstairs,
and watched me from a doorway. She tore the child from her arms to give
me to bring up--oh! poor soul, and cruel, cruel society to so wound a
mother heart.”

“We pay her well,” said master.

“But the money has gone to her child. She has been boarding it
somewhere. Oh! Rudolph, go buy her some teeth.”

Mistress laughed and cried in the same breath, and finally she had to
go and lie down. She kept on chattering hysterically about the woman
who went without teeth to buy clothes for her child, until master
became quite anxious.

“You are making a mountain out of a molehill, Claudia,” he said. “I
cannot think that your suspicions are correct.”

“They’re not suspicions,” she said excitedly, “they’re verities. Go to
town--you’ll see.”

Master thought he was done with New York for the day, but after dinner
he had to post off to the laundry, where he found that everything
mistress had said was correct.

Poor old Jane was not half as old as she looked. She acknowledged
that no one in the laundry knew that she had a child; that she had
been boarding him ever since he was a baby; that she wanted him to be
brought up a gentleman; that she had sneaked him out to Pleasant River,
taking infinite precautions not to be discovered; and that she had
actually spent nearly every cent of her wages on this beloved child.

I went to town with master, and I shall never forget the sight of that
poor, thin woman as she sat in the matron’s office answering master’s
questions. Her indifference, almost stupidity about her own welfare,
her quick mother-wit and shrewdness about her child, excited my most
intense admiration.

When master finished questioning her, he said, “Jane, I have a plan to
propose. I hope you will agree to it. You should have left here long
ago, but we kept you because you begged to stay. Now you will remain in
New York, only long enough to get a set of teeth.”

Here he stopped and smiled a very pained sort of smile, and looked
hastily from the nice plump matron whose big blue eyes were full of
tears.

“After you get your teeth,” he went on, “you will come to Pleasant
River. I have a cottage to let there, you shall have it, and
Montmorency may live with you. Your skill in cooking will support you.
I will see to that.”

Jane began to mope in a dull sort of way. She did not cry. Her red eyes
looked as if she had shed all the tears she had to shed. She said she
would rather his wife would keep Montmorency, and she would stay in New
York.

“That I cannot consent to,” said master, and he got up to show his
decision was final.

Jane wasn’t a bit grateful. Her mania for her boy’s advancement
socially made her fight against coming to the country, and kick hard
at living in the pretty cottage master fitted up for her. Master and
mistress paid no attention to her tempers. They went on, and coaxed and
petted her, till finally she began to get her health back, and then she
became more reasonable. All this happened a few months ago, and now
she is the leading caterer of the countryside, and is a comfortable,
decent mother, bringing up her idolised boy in a very sensible way. He
goes to Mrs. Waverlee’s school, and I think will make a very decent man.

Jane never gushes to the two persons who have so befriended her, but I
heard her one day tell the woman next door to her that she would walk
over red-hot kitchen stoves if it would benefit Mr. and Mrs. Granton.

I seldom hear any one thank master for anything he does, but it makes
no difference to him. He just keeps on doing good, thanks or no thanks.

I may say in closing Jane’s story, that she got the finest set of
artificial teeth that New York could afford, and for a while the
dentist had her wear things called “plumpers” to make her thin cheeks
stick out. Now I hear from Montmorency’s dog, who is one of Weary
Winnie’s pups, that Jane threw the plumpers in the trash can, and we
can all see that she is visibly better, and has some colour in her
cheeks.

The tailor’s dog, Beauty Beagle, says that her master is getting sweet
on Jane, because she is such a good cook.

The tailor is a cute little man, about as fat as a lead pencil, and
not much to look at, but he has a good heart and would make a fine
step-father for the redoubtable Montmorency who is learning to talk
quite well.

Beside that, he has true views of life. One evening when I was passing
by Jane’s cottage, I heard him say to her, “You ain’t on the right
track.”

I stopped to listen, for I am interested in Jane.

“Yes I be,” she said. “I want my boy to be a good dresser.”

“It ain’t the outside alone that counts, Jane,” said the tailor. “It’s
the inside, too.”

“And you a tailor,” she said contemptuously.

The little tailor was pretty decided, and he went on, “You can make
Montmorency a gentleman as well as Mr. Granton can.”

“Now, tell me how,” she said anxiously.

“Learn him to be meek,” said the tailor, “learn him to act like a man,
learn him to be bossed so he can boss--to treat very merciful any poor
folk and dumb critters that are under him, to be clean inside and out,
to get a first-class education, and to wear a tidy suit of clothes.”

Jane didn’t say anything for a long time, then she remarked, “That’s
like a pictur of Mr. Granton. If my boy could be like him, I’d be
suited.”



CHAPTER XXVI

THE MOST PAINFUL EVENT OF MY LIFE


Three weeks ago, I was just about to bring this partial story of
my life to a close, when something very tragic, yet not altogether
unexpected, happened to me.

It began with a lie. I was sitting one sharp, cool afternoon all alone
up in the Bonstone orchard, thinking what pleasant homes Gringo and
I had, and how few worries we experienced--a dangerous thing for dog
or man to do, for something is sure to happen--when Reddy O’Mare came
trotting round the corner of the barn.

Reddy is a bright-red, cocky Irish-American terrier who lives on the
next place to the Bonstones--a magnificent estate called Greenlands.

“Hello! Boy,” he said gaily.

“Hello!” I said soberly. “This is the second time you’ve been here
to-day.”

“Twice for me, means twice for you,” he said, in his impudent way.

“Look here, Reddy,” I said, “I’m Gringo’s best friend. He doesn’t like
you, and he’s laying for you. He says if you come over here once more
and sneak Weary Winnie over to Greenlands, he’ll wallop you.”

[Illustration: REDDY O’MARE CAME TROTTING ROUND THE CORNER OF THE BARN]

Reddy laughed. “Gringo’s an old fool,” he said gaily. “Sure Winnie
likes a frolic with a dog her own age.”

“She has dogs of her own age here in her own home,” I said.

“But all the dog-world likes to wander,” he said with a wink, for he
knew the story of my career.

I smiled. I couldn’t help it. He is so merry, so full of tricks.
However, I thought it my duty to warn him again. “Look out for Gringo,”
I said.

“Gringo is an old soldier dog,” he said, “he bosses too much.”

This was true, but Gringo is my best friend always and forevermore, and
I was not going to discuss him with this care-free wag.

“Sure you ought to pity me,” he said, “shut up in that big house with
forty thousand servants, but never a dog to play with.”

“I do pity you, Reddy,” I said. “I think it is very hard for your
master to go to the city, and leave you all alone with the servants who
don’t pet you. You know you are always welcome in our home.”

“But it’s the forbidden game I always want to play,” he said, with a
spring in the air at a passing fly.

“Here comes Gringo,” I said, looking toward the house.

“Let him come,” said Reddy, who was no coward, and he flopped down on
the grass.

The old dog came sagging along. Weary Winnie was some paces behind him,
and when she saw Reddy she dashed ahead, crouched to the ground, and
got all ready for a frolic with him.

Gringo went right up to Reddy. “Stand up,” he said.

Reddy stood up, and Gringo took him by the throat.

I thought he would kill him. I was first in terror, then in agony.
Reddy was very valuable, and if he were killed by one of the Bonstone
dogs, it would make bad blood between Greenlands and Green Hill. I was
also irritated with Gringo. He was too severe with the young dogs.

I ran up and down. Would no one come? Not a soul was in sight. I
galloped toward the house, then I had a sudden thought, and ran back.

Gringo still had Reddy pinned to the earth in that awful silence.
“Gringo,” I whispered, after I had leaped close to his ear, “your boss
is having a fit in the dining-room.”

Gringo never uttered a sound. He just let go, and raced to the house.
His private vengeance was thrown to the wind, when it was a question of
his dear master.

“Skedaddle, Reddy,” I said as he floundered to his feet, and staggered
against Weary Winnie who had sat watching the attack in her quiet
bull-doggy way.

Reddy skedaddled, and this time Winnie did not go with him.

I might have skedaddled too, but something told me I should not mend
matters by doing this. I had better stand my ground.

Presently Gringo came waddling back from the house. He was in a most
furious bulldog rage. I had told him a lie, and he was telling himself
that he had been a fool to believe me. Mr. Bonstone was never in the
dining-room at this time of day.

Beside that, I had given him an awful fright, and he was no longer
quite young.

“Gringo,” I said, “I thought you were going to kill that dog.”

He said never a word, but I knew what he was thinking--couldn’t I
trust him to know better than to kill a neighbour’s dog? He was merely
punishing him.

“I couldn’t stand it,” I went on, “I was thinking of your reputation.”

Still he didn’t answer me, and I got angry. “You are too cross with the
young dogs,” I said. “Everybody says so.”

This cut him to the quick, and he gave me an awful look. Then, for his
anger was still burning in him, he had to give me a dig. “I’ll never
trust you again,” he said.

Now I was in a rage. I had done the thing for the best. I was trying to
keep peace, and preserve the good name of our circle of dogs.

“You are wilfully misunderstanding me,” I exclaimed.

“A lie is a lie,” he said, with a sullen fire in his dark eyes. “You
never lied before.”

“And I never will again,” I yelped at him, “unless I see you trying to
kill some one.”

“I wasn’t trying to kill him,” he retorted.

“You looked like it,” I said, and we went on arguing and abusing each
other for half an hour. We finally got down to the question, is it
right to lie under any circumstances? All the dogs heard us yapping and
snarling at each other, and they came running, and took a tongue in the
argument. They were tremendously excited. A row between two old friends
like Gringo and myself was a most startling event in our dog circle.

Some were for lies, some against. Yeggie said a lie was a mighty
convenient thing when a dog got in a corner. Sir Walter Scott said
it was underbred to lie. Czarina said to lie with discretion was
diplomatic. Weary Winnie said she’d rather lie than speak the truth,
whereupon she got a nip from Gringo, and was sent to bed.

Finally Gringo turned to me in a passion, and said, “Get home with
you--you make yourself cheap coming here so much.”

Imagine my feelings--I am a dog of spirit, and I raced out of that
orchard pretty quick. Gringo and I had never had words before, and I
was so broken-hearted that I yelped with pain as I ran home.

Now, being so taken up with myself, and listening to the animated barks
behind me, for every dog was remonstrating with Gringo for his severity
toward me, I did not notice properly the way I was going.

Usually, I am what is called an alert dog. I observe what is before,
and behind, and all round me, and ever since the dog-show, I had been
more than ever on the watch, for I remembered the evil looks of the
two youths who had stared at me.

This afternoon I forgot them. I had told a lie and lost a friend, and
this melancholy happening chased everything else out of my mind. So I
ran blindly, and evil fell upon me.

I was on what we called the rock walk, a long lane between our property
and the Bonstones’. Thick-growing alders were each side of it, and I
leaped from stone to stone, and ran occasionally along grassy places,
till I was near the Osage orange hedge that surrounded our rose-garden.

If I had been on my guard, I would have sensed the presence of
strangers, and would have noticed a rustling in the bushes. As it was,
I pulled up too late.

Something had just said to me, “Danger ahead, Boy: stop short, and go
back.”

I whirled in my tracks, but it was too late. A stranger had stepped out
of the bushes, a rope had curled through the air--I was lassoed for the
first time in my life.

Half-choking, I was hurled to the ground. Something gave me a whack
on the head, and I was stunned. Only partly, for I have been stolen
several times, and I pretended to be more unconscious than I was.

I knew better than to cry out. I just saw that the two men bending over
me were not the ones who had been at the dog-show. They were too clever
to come here themselves. These were older men. I knew I was being
carried to a motor car, that I was put in a box and run under the
seat, and that we sped toward New York.

I was terribly unhappy, of course, but not despairing. No one had been
able to keep me in a place that I wanted to get out of. I came to
myself fully after a bit, and lay still and watched events.

These fellows were pretending to be electric light or telephone men.
Quite often, when other automobiles were passing, they got out, and
tapped poles in a knowing way. They wore big leather belts, and they
dragged about ropes and coils of wire. I could look out of a crack in
the box, and I heard sounds that I pieced together.

I did not know by which road we were going toward the city, but
something told me after the lapse of an hour or two, that we were in
the Mount Vernon or Pelham Manor district.

I lay low, and went on saying nothing; and after a time I felt the car
stop, and my box was taken up and carried into some kind of a shed, a
door was banged together, the box was opened, and four young men faces
confronted me.

Two of them were the ones I had noticed at the dog-show. They had paid,
or were going to pay, the others for stealing me. I was ordered to get
out, and in a way that was not too feeble, nor too lively, I crawled
out on the earth floor.

They had stolen me to sell. I knew that, and I knew also this was not
the time to see about escaping. I was really exhausted, for mental
worry is as fatiguing to animals as to human beings, and I just
dropped down on a heap of straw.

“Ain’t much to look at,” said one of the men who had stolen me.

“It’s points,” said one of the white-faced youths. “I don’t understand
the gab about it, but he’s worth seven thousand all right.”

Their talk was dreadful--all tarnished with oaths and strange slang
that of course I shall translate, for it is not fit to repeat.

Poor fools--poor young fools, I thought as I looked at them. If master
could only get at you--but you belong to the class he dreads, that
pale-faced, anemic lot without morals, and with absolutely nothing to
work on. It seems as if ill-health, and crowding and poverty, make a
criminal class that is the most desperate, for you can’t do much with
it. These two poor wretches should have been locked up and carefully
watched. All the time I was with them I did not hear one decent word
uttered by them, I did not see one decent action performed. They were
rotten through and through.

I tried not to be revengeful as I listened to them. The two fellows
who had stolen me were more decent than the two others. They were
clamouring for their money, but they were assured none would be
forthcoming till I was sold. They detailed with disgusting glee how
they had hung about Pleasant River all day, pretending to be telephone
men.

“He’s cute,” they said in describing me. “He gives strangers a wide
berth. We most got him twice, but he veered off and ran down the road,
not minding us in particular, but just ’cause he’s cute.”

I groaned inwardly. I remembered these two fellows who had even had the
audacity to come up near the house and examine our poles.

Finally they went away, and my two jockeys went to a rough table in the
corner of the shed, took up a black bottle and shook it.

I had no fear of their injuring me. I was too valuable for that. In a
minute, it flashed upon me what they were going to do. I was to be dyed.

I smiled sardonically. My dear master would raise heaven and earth to
find me. A little dye would not turn him off the track. I hoped they
would be careful about my eyes, and they were, for one man rebuked the
other sharply, for letting the brush come too near an eyelid. Nothing
was to be done to me that would take anything off my market value.

I felt like a fool though, as they set me on the rough table and went
all over my hair with a brush. How the other dogs would laugh if they
saw me. A white wire-haired fox-terrier has some style--an all black
one, none whatever.

However, I just made up my mind to submit. There was absolutely no use
in worrying, and for to-night, I need not fatigue my brain by thoughts
of escape. When I had been stolen before, I had learned to take my
capture easily, till my captors were off their guard which they never
were at first. I must wait some days.

One thing I had done before when trapped, was to pretend to like my
captors. That rôle would not take here. These two fellows had no more
comprehension of the dog world than if they had been wooden men. They
loved no one, feared no one; they seemed to hate everybody, even each
other. It was of no use to try to cajole them, so I just pretended to
submit, without looking too happy or appearing to be ill, for then they
would have dosed me.

So I let them dye me and tie me, or rather chain me to a stout iron bar
run down into the earth. They pried off my collar, made a hole in the
ground, and buried it, and put a new, very strong metal one on me. They
acted as if they knew I was a dog with brains, but I fancy their motive
was simply one inspired by native cunning and skill in stealing. They
must take every precaution to ensure the success of their scheme.

Well, at last I was free to lie down on my bed of straw. One of them
stayed with me while the other went into the shabby house attached to
the shed and brought me out a plate of meat. Then they set a pan of
water beside me and went into the house, leaving the door open. I could
not make a movement without their hearing me.



CHAPTER XXVII

WEARY DAYS AND A RESCUE


There is no use in recounting the weary days and nights that passed. I
soon figured out the whole story. These two scamps, after finding out
my value at the dog-show, had set enquiries on foot in the underworld,
and had found out that there was a demand for wire-haired fox-terriers
on the Pacific Coast. If they could ship me out there, they would get
even a little more than the seven thousand dollars. The question was,
to raise the money for a railway ticket. Some one must accompany me.

Day after day I heard them arguing. They brought out men, and women
too, from New York. They would say that it was a sure thing, any one
who went in with them would be well rewarded, but everybody seemed
shy of advancing money enough for my ticket, and one of theirs, to
California.

All these difficulties pleased me. I, of course, viewed with dismay a
trip to California. Unfortunately for me, a day came when a middle-aged
man who was the leader of a gang of forgers seemed to fall in with
their scheme. He had succeeded in passing a worthless cheque on a trust
company and was feeling very rich. He told my young men that he would
advance them one hundred and fifty dollars, if they would give him a
thousand when I was sold.

They were in a fury with him, and vowed they’d see him somewhere first.
However, I heard them talking the thing over after he left, and I
trembled as they seemed to come to a decision in his favour.

I knew from their talk that my dear master was advertising me much
more extensively than they had ever imagined he would, and that there
were a great many uncertainties connected with selling me, even in so
far-away a place as California. It was only by a quick sale that they
could hope to get rid of me anywhere. Then they were afraid that some
of their gang, in spite of the danger to themselves on account of their
criminal record, would notify the police of my whereabouts, and claim
the reward. They had no confidence in any one. On their blue days,
they sometimes went far enough to regret ever having meddled with me,
and I was in torture lest some treachery on the part of their gangster
friends would make them kill me, and run away to hide themselves.

Finally, however, they promised to let the forger have the thousand
dollars when I was sold, though they assured him that recent
developments made it impossible for them to ask the full price for me.

They were not sure that the forger would keep his promise about letting
them have the hundred and fifty dollars. Talk about honour among
thieves--the criminal world, as I heard about it from my corner in the
shed, is dishonourable, untrue, frightfully selfish--there is no such
thing as honour in it.

I must confess that I had had an idea that there is something
fascinating about crime. The night master and Mr. Bonstone went to New
York to warn the police about the planned burglary of the jeweller’s
store, I had been secretly disappointed when they let Mr. Johnson
follow the affair up, and we went home.

I didn’t want a burglary to take place, or rogues to be apprehended,
but if the thing just had to be done, I wanted to see how burglars and
police went about it.

But now--my dog soul was filled with the most awful and secret disgust
and dread of this criminal life. It was nauseating. I wished to sweep
it from the earth. At first I listened to the talk, then I buried my
head in the straw. Such things were not fit for even a dog to hear.

I concentrated my attention on myself. I must escape--but how? There
seemed not one single avenue open to me. I had always had a theory,
that no man and no dog can be put in any place so tight that he can’t
get out of it, but I seemed to be in such a place now. I could think of
absolutely nothing to do.

The scheme of these young villains was a very simple, but a very
cunning one. By instinct and habit, they were natives of the very
downest part of New York. They had brought me to the country to escape
the keen eyes of the New York police, who, as I have said before, are,
in spite of the criticism they receive, a pretty fine body of men.

The paler of the villains posed as a victim of tuberculosis. His
brother, who was not his brother at all, had hired this tumble-down
cottage as a place for him to breathe fresh air and recover in.
Whenever they heard any one coming this Dud, as he was called, would
flop down on a rickety old sofa drawn up close to an open window. I was
his devoted black dog, kept for company, while his brother, who was a
hard-working baker, was away in New York. He had to be a baker, for his
flabby hands never could have belonged to a man who worked out-of-doors.

This pose was very clever, for it brought them in lots of food. A good,
kind clergyman told some of the ladies in his congregation about the
poor, sick, young New Yorker who had such a bad cough, and they came
often and brought nourishing things to eat.

How my blood boiled when I saw these nice women driving up in their
cars, and sending their servants in with dainty dishes for these two
rapscallions, who ate them and grumbled because there was not more wine
in the jellies.

To add to my misery, the dear old widow who owned the Lady Gay cat
found out about her needy neighbours, and came quite often with little
bowls of custard.

My first impulse when I saw her was to spring to my feet and bark
wildly. However, I lay down again. She would not recognise me. I was
a black dog now. The cat would know me, but then the cat never came
with her, and even if she had, at a hint of recognition from any one, I
would be spirited away. So I had to content myself with wagging my tail
violently whenever she appeared, and I always got a kind pat on the
head.

One day, when I was terribly weary from my long confinement, and was
quite a bit downcast, for I did not see how I was ever going to get
away, I became desperate.

A beautiful old lady with a high-bred manner, was standing in the
cottage which was a one-roomed affair, talking to Dud who was prone on
the sofa coughing in a hollow way.

I began to wail softly, and she turned round, and looking out in the
shed at me, said, “I should think you would have your dog in here for
company. The room is cold, for you have only a feeble fire. He could
lie on the sofa, and keep you warm.”

The lady had been there before, and I knew she liked dogs, for she wore
a little button with “Be Kind to Animals” on it.

Dud was too cunning to be caught. “I often have him in here, ma’am,” he
said. “I just put him out there before you came.”

“Let him loose,” she said. “I would like to see him run about.”

“He’s tired,” said Dud, “he was running all the morning.”

He was watching her face as he spoke, and he must have noticed a flash
of suspicion, for he added hastily, “Perhaps he does want to come in.
I’ll try him for a while. He likes to lie behind my back,” and getting
up, he limped out to the shed.

I was trembling with anger at his lies. He unfastened my chain, and
took me in his arms. His face was hateful as he bent over me. I would
have to pay up for this. He was holding me apparently in a loose
grasp, yet his left hand gripped one of my hind legs till it felt as if
it were caught in the jaws of a trap.

I might have known better than to do what I did, but I didn’t. I made
an effort to get to the kind lady. Her face made me wildly homesick,
for it reminded me of my dear mistress and Mrs. Bonstone. Then, I was
unutterably tired and heartsick. Three weeks had passed since I had
been shut up with this vermin of manhood.

I tried to spring toward her, but my leg caught in the trap. I gave a
yell of pain. I thought my jailer had broken it.

Dud was mighty clever. He let me go at once. He knew I could not run
far with that aching leg. “Poor dog,” he said as I limped to a corner
and began to lick it. “Did the rheumatiz come back? I’ll get you a
bone,” and he went to a shelf and took down a piece of beef that he had
reserved for himself.

What a fool I am! I thought, and I lay down by the stove, and ripped
the meat off the bone, for they kept me pretty hungry.

The lady was reassured, for Dud in a skilful manner that amazed me,
petted me as if he worshipped the ground I walked on. I would not wag
my tail, and pretend I liked him, but I tore at the meat, for I knew I
should lose my bone, and probably get a beating when the lady was gone.

I never looked at her as her chauffeur, who had been standing outside,
opened the door for her. Dud was very careful to keep between me and
the door, but he did not need to trouble. I felt that the time to
escape had not come.

Of course I got my beating. He snatched the bone from me, and caught
up an old broom. I shall carry the mark of that beating to the end of
my life in a most ungraceful limp, for my poor sore leg seemed to be
always next the broom. I tried to keep my head out of range of the
blows. I had a terror of being blind.

Fortunately, his companion vermin came in while he was belabouring
me, and I, poor dog, was flying from corner to corner, from under the
stove, to the rickety sofa, and the shaky bedstead, to escape the
terrible broom handle.

His companion, who was fresh from some nest of evil things in the
city, called him a whole trainload of dreadful names. They lost their
tempers, and fought. Was I sorry? I crouched under the bed and tried to
discipline myself.

I murmured, “I am a respectable dog. I should grieve to see two young
men so depraved. I should be sorry to see them giving each other
blows--now Dud is down--his eye is laid open. I am terribly pained.”

I turned my head away, and thought I looked intensely sorry, but alas!
an old tin pan that still had some shine on it stood leaning against
the baseboard, and I saw reflected in it a distorted dog grin.

Well, Dud yelled so loudly, that Tike, as his chum is called, had to
desist. The postman often passed about this time in the afternoon.
They sat down, and glared at each other like two young tigers--no, not
tigers, tigers are too noble. I can’t think of any animal bad enough
to compare them with. Hyenas would have looked like gentlemen if set
beside them.

Anyway, they sat and glowered, while Dud tied a wet towel to his
injured eye, then they got more composed and Tike told his good news. I
and Dud were to set off for California the following week. He had got
the money.

Dud wanted to handle it, but Tike shook his head and exhibited just the
corners of some bills sticking out of an inner pocket.

From composure, they passed to contentment. They were both frightfully
tired of their long sojourn in the country. Listening to them, and
consulting my own feelings, as I looked back on three weeks of being
chained up, I concluded that the worst torture in the world for man or
beast, is to be torn away from home and family and a happy active life,
and to have nothing to do but think about yourself and your misery.

Finally Tike picked me up almost tenderly, told Dud, for the fiftieth
time, what kind of a fool he was to beat a seven-thousand-dollar dog,
and re-chained me to my iron bar.

Then they sat down again, and confronted each other. They were in
high glee. They thought they saw several thousand dollars glittering
alluringly ahead of them in far-off California. One thousand they
would have to give to their friend--no, not their friend, they hadn’t
any--to their fellow-plotter.

They just had to do something to celebrate. In New York, a dozen ways
of jollification of their own sort would have been open to them--in
this country place, there were but two things.

Tike went out and got some bottles somewhere. Then they pulled down all
the blinds, locked the house door, and the outer shed door, lighted an
old lamp, and sat down at a table with some cards between them.

They hadn’t a suspicion that I would try to escape. Apparently, I was
beaten almost to a jelly, but I am a very strong dog, and I wasn’t half
as done out as I appeared to be.

Tike cast a glance at me occasionally, as I lay on my straw bed, but
soon he got interested in the cards and the bottles and forgot all
about me.

As I lay there, I was doing some pretty hard thinking. Never before
in my whole life had I felt as I was now feeling. I was on fire with
anger, and I felt the strength of ten dogs in my body. I had had all
the worries and trials of an average dog in the course of my life,
but this rage of resentment was an absolutely new experience. A most
profound sympathy for all tortured things came over me. I pitied all
the suffering men and women in the world, the children, and poor dumb
animals. Then I arranged my little plan of escape. In the morning, I
would either be away from this place, or so done out that I didn’t care
what happened to me.

First thing I must get some rest. Nothing could be done till the two
young brutes inside had been put to sleep by the stuff in the bottles.

I am a pretty determined dog, and I made myself drop into a heavy
slumber. About one o’clock, I woke up. The most extraordinary snoring
duet I ever heard in my life was going on in the room beyond me, and I
could see where the two poor wretches had thrown themselves, undressed,
across the bed. They were safe for some hours.

The lamp was just smoking out. It would soon be dark, but I knew every
inch of the ground about me, and the darkness would not interfere with
what I had to do.

For the thousandth time since my captivity, I smelt round the iron bar
to which I was chained. That bar had to come out of the ground. There
was no other way of escape, for it was impossible for me to detach my
metal collar from the steel chain that fastened me to the bar.

I must dig my way out. Fortunately, my legs are very muscular, for I
have been a dog that has taken a great deal of exercise, and back of me
are generations of fox-terriers trained to unearth foxes in old England.

The hind leg that Dud had pinched was terribly sore and wobbly, and at
first seemed almost useless.

“None of that nonsense,” I said sternly to it. “You’ve got to be stood
on.” So I propped myself on it as best I could, and began to clear the
earth from that uncompromising bar.

It was a hard task. I can not deny that. All over the shed, the earth
had been trodden on till it was apparently as firm as marble. But
even marble can be penetrated, and I scratched and clawed, till I had
a small hole dug. After that it was easier, the earth underneath was
softer, but ah! me, how my paws began to ache.

I found the best way to manage was to dig till I dropped exhausted to
the ground. Then I would close my eyes and rest my aching limbs for
a few minutes. Just as soon as possible, I would get up, prop myself
firmly on my one sound hind leg, rest the tender one gingerly on the
earth, and start digging again.

When the first faint streaks of daylight came filtering through the
broken boards of the roof, I had got the bar uprooted, and had begun
to tunnel under the boards of the shed wall. My strength was almost
gone. I had to take long times of resting, and short ones of digging.
My claws were all worn off, and my paws were bleeding. I had to set my
teeth, and think of master and mistress and all my beloved friend dogs,
to enable me to keep to work.

Once I thought I was done for. One of the sleeping beauties in the room
got off the bed, floundered about, and acted as if he were coming out
to call on me.

My first thought was to spring up and try to cover the hole I had made
with straw, but that would have been an impossibility, and I lay still,
and wondered what was going to happen next.

Tike, for it was he that was stirring, had the will, but not the power
to get to the shed, and falling in a heap on the floor, he went to
snoring.

I tried to get up, and go on with my work, but it seemed as if I were
paralysed. “Oh! for a stimulus,” I muttered, “my limbs are dead,” and
just here something happened that was little short of miraculous.

It seems a far cry from that shed to a little black cat in New York,
more than two years before, but it wasn’t.

The Lady Gay cat that I had befriended, and who belonged to the good
old widow Gorman, was named Mollie. In common with all pussies, she had
a habit of night-prowling. She was a cautious cat, and after her New
York experience never went far from home, but on this particular night,
she told me afterward, something had prompted her to wander further
than usual.

She was just getting home, for it was near morning, when in crossing
the field near the cottage, she heard the sound of my digging. It
aroused her curiosity, and she came smelling round the shed. She soon
caught a suggestion of me, and she mewed excitedly, for she had heard
the widow tell about my being stolen from the kind gentleman who used
to come sometimes to the cottage. Her voice was the stimulus I needed.
I put my muzzle close to a crack in the board wall, and squealed
gently, “Here I am, Mollie.”

“Are you with the black dog of the sick man?” she mewed.

“I _am_ the black dog, Mollie,” I said. “I’m trying to dig myself out.
I’m most dead.”

“Oh! Boy,” she said, “how I wish I could help you.”

“You can,” I replied, “run and get your German police dog. I heard your
Granny tell the two young men that her sons had sent her one to guard
her, for they were afraid something might happen to her in your lonely
cottage.”

“Of course,” she said, “good Oscar, he’s very intelligent.”

“Fly,” I begged her. “They may wake any time.”

The little cat scampered away, and soon I heard a few stealthy sounds
outside, and then a long indrawn sniff from Oscar, and a stifled
“Woof!” He was locating me.

The cat had explained the circumstances to him, as they ran along
together. He signalled to me to begin at my end of the tunnel. I
started digging like a wild dog, and he began tunnelling to meet me.

His paws are magnificent--so big and strong, and he had the acute
hearing of a healthy dog. He could even hear my heart beating as I
worked. In a very few minutes, I was down on the earth, crawling on my
stomach out through my tunnel into his.

I fell on the grass in a heap. Oscar gave me one rapid lick, then ran
his nose over the bar and chain.

“Come, come,” urged Mollie who was trembling with excitement. “It’s
getting quite light.”

It seemed still dark to me, for I was almost blind from fatigue.

That sagacious dog picked up the bar in his strong, white teeth,
walked slowly ahead, and I dragged myself after him.

That walk to the widow’s house was a nightmare of pain. I was tormented
in every limb. Mollie ran ahead, and mewed at the back door, and
the widow, who was half dressed only, opened it and stared at us in
amazement.

“The black dog,” she said, “and Mollie with him, and Oscar carrying his
bar. Goodness gracious! What does this mean?”

In the midst of my pain and confusion, I remembered that I must
identify myself. I crawled to the corner of the fireplace where she
always set my saucer of milk, when master was having his cup of tea,
for we often called here when out automobiling. I squealed and tried to
jump in the air, but tumbled forward instead.

Good old Granny was very sharp. She gave me a perfectly amazed look,
then she screamed, “Good London--it’s the Granton dog--but black, so
black,” she added.

She dashed to the water bucket, seized a towel, wet it, and began to
rub my coat.

“It’s dye,” she screamed again. “My goodness! my goodness! my goodness!”

The dear old soul caught me up, bar and chain, dirty and bedraggled,
ran to her own bed, and put me on it, then she flew to the telephone
that her boys had given her, and called up central.

The girl who answered was called Minnie, and was a particular friend of
the old woman’s.

“Minnie,” she gasped, “the police, quick, it’s Granny Gorman speaking.
I’ve found the Granton dog that’s been so much advertised. He was over
in the cottage by the grove with the sick young man. A man that’s bad
enough to steal a dog, would hurt a helpless old woman--quick, Minnie.”

Mrs. Gorman let the receiver drop, flew to the back door, and locked
it, flew to the front door, and locked that. Then she put down all the
windows, and locked them. Then she got a bottle of milk, and put some
in my mouth with a teaspoon.

Never again will anything taste to me as that milk did. My body was
frightfully tired, but my mind followed acutely what went on.

Oscar, who had pushed his head under a window shade, and was staring in
the direction of the other cottage, gave a warning bark.

Mrs. Gorman stepped to the window, then she joined her hands, cast a
pleading look toward the ceiling and said, “Oh, Lord--they’re coming.”

Oscar told me afterward that the sight of those two confused,
staggering young fellows zig-zagging across the field made him grin.
They had not recovered from the effects of their rejoicing, but
something in their poor brains had warned them to set out in chase of
their lost property.

They were following the tracks of the chain that had dragged on the
earth, and every time they stopped to look, they would fall down. Oscar
said afterward that it was a dreadful thing to laugh at drunken men,
but he couldn’t help shaking his sides over their antics.

Soon they got up to the house, and after cutting the telephone wire,
staggered through the garden to the front door. After they had pounded
a short time, Mrs. Gorman went to the little hall window, and without
raising it, looked out at them.

They called her some very fancy names, and ordered her to let them in.

“What for?” she screamed through the glass. “You’re not in a state to
make calls. Go home.”

“Give us our dog,” they yelled, pounding on the door with their fists.

“I haven’t got your dog,” the widow called back to them. Then she
realised she had made a mistake. She didn’t want them to know she had
discovered I was the Granton dog.

“That good dog doesn’t want to live with you,” she shouted. “He
scratched his way out. You’d better let me keep him.”

This excited the two young scamps, and they began throwing themselves
against the door and kicking at it.

“You mustn’t do that,” she exclaimed, “breaking into a house is a
penitentiary offence.”

Dud and Tike were pretty well worked up now. They knew their case was
desperate. They must get hold of me, and rush off to New York. The
shock had sobered them, and one of them smashed the hall window with
his fist, and ran his hand in to unlock the door.

“Don’t do that,” said the widow much more calmly, “don’t do that,” and
she threw the door wide open. “Come in.”

They were a very cunning pair. Dud stood outside, while Tike entered.
He came right to the bed, snatched a key from his pocket, and unlocking
my collar, released me from the bar and chain, and took me in his arms.

“Come, come, young man,” said the widow coaxingly, “that dog is afraid
of you. Leave him with me.”

I felt Tike give a kind of jerk. He had sense enough to know that he
should not leave a suspicious person behind him. He wanted to find out
what she had in her mind.

“I hope in future you’ll mind your own business,” he said roughly, “and
not take in a runaway dog.”

“But I like dogs,” she said gently, and as she spoke, she laid a hand
on Oscar’s collar. The intelligent dog stood watching her. At a word,
he would have leaped on Tike, and Tike knew it.

“Don’t play any tricks with me, doggie,” he said in a hateful way, and
he half pulled a neat little revolver from his pocket.

“Please put that back,” said Granny Gorman, “I hate guns.”

“I’ll not hurt you,” said Tike, “if you don’t hurt me.”

“Why should I hurt you?” asked the widow mildly.

“I don’t know,” said Tike sullenly, then he went on, “I’m off for home.”

The widow detained him. “Promise me you’ll be kind to the dog in
future,” she said.

Tike made this promise readily enough, then he tried to escape. He was
reassured in his own mind. The widow knew nothing of the value of the
dog in his arms.

He found it hard to get away. Mrs. Gorman took him by the sleeve.
She poured out a perfect volume of talk about dumb animals, and the
importance of being kind to them.

At last Tike said rudely, “Lemme go,” and he pulled away from her.

Just as quickly as he pulled away, he shrank back. The milkman, who was
a big husky countryman, had just drawn his wagon up before the little
garden, and was coming up the walk to the front door with two bottles
of milk in his hand.

From my place of vantage in Tike’s arms, I saw a surprised look flit
over the widow’s face. Evidently, the man came usually to the back door.

Then, through the half open door, we all listened to what he was saying
to Dud who stood part way up the walk.

“Hello,” said the milkman, “how’s your cough? You’re out early for a
sick man.”

“Better,” said Dud in a stifled voice. “I was upset about my dog--came
to get him. He ran away.”

“Did he,” said the milkman indifferently. Then his eye fell on the
broken glass.

“Hi!” he said in a drawling voice, “looks as if the widder had been
getting gay.”

“She’s all right,” said Dud gruffly. “I guess my dog did it. He often
rampages round, and breaks things.”

“That medium-sized black feller,” said the milkman--“always looks mild
as milk to me.”

“He’s awful when he gets started,” said Dud--“a regular spitfire.
That’s why we keep him chained--I say, you’re not going near the
station, are you?”

“Yes I am,” said the milkman in a careless way, “within a hundred
feet--want a lift?”

“You bet,” said Dud. “I’m beginning to feel bad. I guess I’ll go to
town, and see my doctor.”

“Jump in, then,” said the milkman hospitably, and setting down his
bottles, he went toward the back of the waggon, and appeared to be
moving something inside.

Dud looked over his shoulder, and called out, “Come on, Tike,” then he
started toward the waggon.

Oscar and I both sensed the presence of strangers. The milkman was
fooling the two young men. I watched the hair rising and falling on
Oscar’s back, and wondered at his self-control, for he sat quietly near
the widow, waiting for orders.

The waggon was a big one, drawn by two powerful horses. We saw Dud
approach the front of it. He was going to take the seat with the
milkman, and let Tike crawl in behind with me. The first one always
took the best thing.

He climbed to the seat, was just about to sit down, when he stopped
short, and gazed into the back of the waggon.

The milkman gave a great roar of laughter. “They’re only bottles--go in
and look at them,” and he gave the slender Dud a push that sent him
disappearing from view.

Tike had seen his companion’s start, and I knew from the tremor of his
body that he was vaguely suspicious of something, he knew not what. He
didn’t know what to do, and his eyes were glued to the milkman’s face
as he came again toward the house and seized his bottles.

“Come on, Tike,” called Dud suddenly from the waggon.

Now Tike was reassured. He clutched me closer, stepped out in quite a
steady manner, but he did not get far--the milkman, grinning in a most
alarming way, raised his bottles, jerked their contents in Tike’s face,
wetting me more than my captor, and in no wise discommoding me, for my
body was on fire.

Tike, in his astonishment, struck out at the milkman, and I was
slipping to the ground, when the milkman caught me and stood jeering at
the confounded Tike who went staggering into the arms of two policemen
who had sprung from the waggon.

Dud was inside with handcuffs on. The policemen had got the milkman to
bring them to the cottage. They didn’t want any shooting, and when they
drew Dud into the back part of the waggon, he, to curry favour with
them, called his companion.

Well, that was the last of my two enemies for me. I never expect to
see them again. They were never accused of stealing me. It was found
that they belonged to a gang that had swindled big New York concerns,
and they will probably serve a long term in prison for their previous
crimes.

My dear master was asked to interfere on their behalf, but he said,
“They will be with a good warden. Years ago, I might have done
something. Now it is too late for any mild measures. They have sinned
deeply, and they need the discipline of punishment.”



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE HAPPIEST TIME OF MY LIFE


The milkman laid me back on Mrs. Gorman’s bed, and in a very short
time, the best physician in the neighbourhood was bending over me.

He didn’t think it beneath his dignity to be of service to a dog. He
put some cool dressing on my wounded paws, bound them up, and told Mrs.
Gorman not to disturb them. Then he went away, and said he would call
later in the day.

By that time, my dear master had arrived, and was sitting beside me.

Shall I ever forget that meeting! Master broke down. “My poor Boy--my
poor Boy,” he said, and he took my head between his hands.

I was almost delirious with joy. I couldn’t stand up, so I just rolled
over and over on the bed, and kicked in ecstasy.

“Lie still, lie still, Boy,” he said with tears in his eyes, and he
gently pushed me back to my proper position. “My poor little lad--a
regular sapper, engineer dog--dug yourself out of prison. Well, there’s
one thing sure. You’ll never be in one again. I’ve bought a pair of
police dogs, and they patrol the place day and night. You are a brave
little doggie, but you have a good heart, and you don’t always know
evil characters.”

As he spoke about German dogs, Oscar came pushing his muzzle toward him.

“You grand young animal,” said master, fondling him. “I can not be
grateful enough to you. Granny Gorman,” and master called over his
shoulder to the dear old woman who as of old was making him a cup of
tea, “you must do something for your dog when you get your reward.”

Granny came toward the bed with her brown tea-pot in her hand. “What
reward, sir?”

“The reward for finding my Boy. The cheque is all ready whenever you
are.”

She made big round eyes at him, inside her widow’s cap. “Why, sir, the
police caught those men.”

“You and your dog found my dog,” said master decidedly. “The money is
yours.”

She dropped the tea-pot in her amazement. “Not two thousand dollars.”

“Yes, two thousand dollars,” he said.

She stood deliberating a long time. Her eyes went to the picture of
her deceased husband on the wall, to the framed wreath taken from his
coffin, to the photograph of her two boys standing clasping each other
in an almost death grip. Then she said very slowly, “You’re a rich man,
and I s’pose it don’t seem anything to you, but to me it’s a fortune.”

“I wish it were ten thousand,” he said heartily. “However, one can’t
measure gratitude by money. I’m your friend for life.”

“Sir, that’s better than the money,” she said with a smile running all
over her wrinkled old face. “If you’ll bring that lovely dog of yours
to see me sometimes, it’ll be better than bags of gold to me.”

Master didn’t say any more, and she didn’t. They understood each other.
He made her sit down, while he picked up the pieces of broken tea-pot
from the rag mat, then he came back to me.

“You little rascal,” he said lovingly, “I believe I’ll be a beggar
soon, if you keep on. Exhibiting you in that show has dragged me
into endless litigation. The pictures and descriptions of you in the
newspapers have brought former owners buzzing about my ears like angry
bees. I’ve had to buy you over and over again, and your kidnapping cost
me a heap more.”

I licked his strong hands. My dear master--he would sell his house,
before he would part with me. Then I looked anxiously in his face. He
knew what I wanted, and he began to tell me about home affairs. “Young
George has mourned you like a brother,” he said smilingly. “He has gone
about the house wailing, ‘I want my Borsie--I want my Borsie,’ and when
night came, and you did not appear for your frolic in the nursery, he
has often cried with disappointment.”

“And mistress,” I wondered as I gazed at him.

“She has been perfectly upset about you,” he said, “and Amarilla. The
little dog is pining away, and looks like a skeleton. We did not know
that she was so fond of you. The veterinary says that if you do not
return soon, she will die. As soon as I had the telephone message from
police headquarters here, I shouted the news of your recovery through
the house, and Amarilla acted like a wild creature. Afterward, for she
has little strength, she fell down exhausted.”

I was terribly excited at this news. I tried to stagger to my feet. I
whined, and begged him to take me home.

“I don’t believe it would hurt you,” he said good-humouredly, “though
I forgot to ask your physician.” He laughed at me as he said this, and
went to the telephone.

“It hasn’t been mended, sir, since those young rascals cut it,” said
Granny.

“Then I’ll run over and see him in my car,” said master, and he went to
the door.

Pretty soon he came back. “It’s all right, Boy. Come along, we’ll go
home.”

Granny Gorman carried out pillows and coverlets, and put a hot water
bottle beside me, for the afternoon was cold. Wasn’t I a happy
dog!--Master whistled like a boy, as we sped on our way home.

I lay as snug as possible on the floor of the racing-car, but it seemed
a long time before we got on the Pleasant River Road, although we were
going like the wind.

However, we came at last within sight of the lights of the avenue. I
heard master say, “Hello! Baron Ledgar, jump right in. We’re open to
inspection,” and he stopped suddenly.

A powerful German police dog stepped in cautiously beside me, and nosed
my bundle of wraps.

“So,” he said in a deep foreign voice, “you are the dogling there has
been such a stir about. If you want to get stolen again, it won’t be at
night. I’m on guard then.”

“_Danke_,” I murmured, “you are a good fellow; I can tell by the sound
of your voice.”

“No compliments,” he said gruffly, “just work, work--Boo, hoo! boo
hoo!” and he howled like a siren.

Master burst out laughing, and stopped to let him out. “I never saw
such zeal,” he exclaimed. “You want to be on guard all the time. A
short drive would not take up too much time.”

Baron Ledgar, with an exceedingly intense manner, leaped out before the
machine stood still, and went on with his work of examining every inch
of ground about the estate.

“He’s a treasure,” said master enthusiastically; “doesn’t hurt any
one but keeps every stranger under surveillance. You other dogs can
sleep o’ nights now. If any wanderers come, the Baron and his brother
policeman dog will take care of them.”

I whined to let him know I was listening, and he went on gaily,
“There’s a great fashion of giving double sir-names and handles to dogs
and horses’ names. You’re Boy of Pleasant River now, if it please you.
You’re too distinguished for just plebeian Boy.”

I gave a kind of dog chuckle. How little I cared what I was called, as
long as I was permitted to live with him.

It seemed to me my heart would burst with joy when the car drew up
before the big hall door and dogs and human beings rushed out to greet
me.

Good King Harry was there, and Cannie and Czarina, all barking and
jumping with excitement and pleasure.

“Make way there, make way there for the distinguished hero--Boy of
Pleasant River,” called master, and taking me in his arms, he carried
me into the hall and laid me on the settle.

Mistress was about to lay hold of me, but drew back at the sight of my
blackness.

“Oh! Rudolph,” she said, “I didn’t realise what the dark colour would
be. It isn’t our Boy.”

“Yes, it is your Boy,” I squealed, and I reached my tongue far out and
licked her hands.

“You poor, poor doggie,” she said, “how you have suffered,” and she
patted and caressed me, and then examined her hands to see if the black
came off.

“We’ll have it all washed off in a few days,” said master. “He’s a sick
dog yet.”

Just here, I gave a sharp bark of excitement. Master had hinted at a
surprise waiting for me, and now I knew what it was. The surprise was
Beanie.

That dear dog was on his hind legs beside the settle, licking me,
nosing me, assuring me that he loved me as well as he did the mournful
day two years ago, when he had to go down South with Ellen.

I should, perhaps, have explained before, that the reason why Beanie
never saw young George, and never came to Pleasant River, was on
account of Ellen receiving sudden news of the illness of her only
sister down in Virginia.

She had started off for that state in a great hurry, taking Beanie
with her. The sister had died leaving her some money, and she had come
back to New York to see her son Robert Lee, who was now married, and
master had invited her to come out to Pleasant River.

“Beanie, Beanie,” I gasped, “how handsome you look--and if I’m not glad
to see you. Where’s old Ellen?”

“There,” he exclaimed, looking over his shoulder, and lifting my head
a little more, I saw Ellen coming down the staircase, leading young
George. Bessie had gone away to care for a sick mother, and Ellen was
taking care of our baby.

Wasn’t that good old woman glad to see me! “Why didn’t you run to old
Ellen,” she said lovingly, “the way you did when you was lost before?”

My mind harked back to the time I first saw her, but I could not very
well explain that this affair had been different from my voluntary
running away.

Young George’s face was a study. He had heard that his playmate had
come back, and he had his fresh young mouth wide open, as if he were
going to swallow something nice.

At first, I felt sorry that they had allowed him to see me in my
present state. He was only a baby. My colour would frighten him, and he
would think I was a strange dog.

That is where I miscalculated. I might have known how he would take the
thing, and I might have remembered how often I have said, that children
are cleverer than grown people.

His dear mother was shrinking a little bit from me. George, after
getting off the staircase, trotted up to me, and threw his arms round
my neck. He didn’t hesitate an instant. He knew I was his own Borsie.

“Bad man,” he said after he had nearly hugged me to death, “bad
man--make Dordie’s Borsie brack!” and seizing a corner of his little
pajama jacket, he spat on it, and tried to rub some of my dye off.

His mother exclaimed, “How primitive--George, my darling, don’t spit on
things.”

“’Pittin’s easy,” he said, and he started to polish me off again, when
his father interfered, and promising him the pleasure of properly
washing some of the colour off the next day, sent him back to bed.

As he climbed upstairs, holding tight to Ellen’s hand, I heard a gentle
noise such as a cat might make, and leaning my head over the settle,
saw Amarilla toddling toward me.

What a little skeleton!--I was terribly shocked.

“Poor girlie,” said mistress, “now you will get fat,” and she lifted
her up beside me.

Amarilla never said a word. She gave me a perfectly heart-rending
glance from her big frightened eyes, and cuddled up close to me. She
lay there till they carried me up to master’s room, when she followed
behind like a little mourner.

“Amarilla!” called mistress later on, when I had been placed on my own
bed which was a big French _bergère_ in master’s dressing-room, “aren’t
you coming to sleep in my room?”

I heard a little stirring beside my chair, but she did not go to
mistress.

“Claudia,” said master, “I advise you to leave her in the same room
with Boy for a day or two. She has had a great fright about him. She
will go back to you later.”

“Very well,” said mistress in her pretty voice, and master bending down
took the trembling Amarilla, and put her on a cushioned bench close to
my chair. “You mustn’t touch his bandaged feet, doggie,” he said to
her, but there was no need of warning her. The anxious little dog just
wished to be near me. She was dazed from suffering, and was afraid that
I would go away again. What a faithful little heart!

“Amarilla,” I said, “I missed you and Gringo more than any other of the
dogs.”

She still said nothing, but she stretched out her tiny pink tongue, and
licked my bandages very softly.

“Go to sleep,” I said, “we shall have some fine romps on the lawn when
my feet get better.”

She drew a long, pitiful sigh, and closed her eyes. How could any one
ever ill-treat a timid shrinking thing like that. I can understand how
a man can beat a fox-terrier but a toy-spaniel--never!

I did not go to sleep for some time, for there was something on my
mind. I wanted to see Gringo. I wondered that the dear old fellow had
not been over to welcome me. Surely he knew that I had come home. I
thought he would be the first to greet me. Surely that lie would not be
bothering him yet.



CHAPTER XXIX

MY OWN DEAR HOME


Bright and early the next morning, I heard a sniffling at master’s
dressing-room door, followed by a knock.

Master opened the door, and there stood Mr. Bonstone and Gringo.

They both came toward me, and Mr. Bonstone fondled my head. “Fine Boy,”
he said, “you did some good foot-work.”

Then he began talking to master who was brushing his hair vigorously
with his military brushes. The two men were like brothers.

Gringo came close to my chair.

“Hello, old boy,” I said, then we stared at each other.

There was a most beautiful expression in his dark eyes. “Gringo,” I
said in a low voice, “you missed me.”

“I’ve not had a minute’s peace since you left,” he said. “I’ve suffered
more than you did.”

“Forget it,” I returned hastily.

“I can’t,” he said. “I was a brute. The morning after you disappeared,
I went over to Greenlands and got Reddy O’Mare. ‘Make yourself at
home,’ I said, and he’s been over to our place every day since, and I
don’t boss the youngsters so much. I have to a bit, seems as if it’s in
my blood.”

“You’re a great old dog,” I said admiringly, “but don’t think of the
past. We’re going to have lots of good times in the future.”

“So long,” he said abruptly. “My boss has to get to town.”

I watched him rocking out of the room. How the old dog had aged. I was
quite shocked.

My convalescence was rapid. Not many days later, I had my bandages off,
and was able to limp about the place.

The first day I was strong enough to get up to the orchard, I received
what the newspapers call an “ovation.” It was a lovely day, and not
too cold. The dogs formed a circle about me on the snow, and I had to
relate the story of my capture.

I looked round on their faces--our Pleasant River dogs, the Green Hill
dogs, Reddy O’Mare and many other neighbour dogs, and a sudden shyness
fell upon me.

Gringo was chairman, and to give me a chance to recover, he began to
tell how I was caught, and purposely related it in a wrong way.

“No, it wasn’t like that,” I interrupted, and the old dog, with a
smile, told me to go on, and finish the story properly.

I got excited, and talked for an hour. Then we had a jubilation. The
dogs all ran round and round, and frisked and barked, and watching
them, I shouted suddenly, “Hurrah for American dogs--we beat the
world!”

They all barked a chorus of approval, then we separated. Gringo and I
kept together, and had one of our old-time walks and talks.

“Let’s go over to your place,” I said. “I don’t believe it would be too
much for me.”

“Lean on me, if it hurts you to walk,” he said affectionately.

I pressed close to the dear old fellow, and as we sauntered along, we
gossiped.

“I can’t tell you,” I said, “what a pleasure it is to have Beanie here.”

“He had a great time down South,” said Gringo, “but he was glad to get
back to little old New York.”

“Strange to say, I’ve been on that big estate he visited,” I said,
“used to be an old plantation that belonged to one of the F. F. V.’s.”

“Who are they?” asked Gringo.

“First Families of Virginia--Ellen’s sister was a mammy on the place.”

“Ellen’s going to stay with you, I guess,” said Gringo.

“Is that so?” I said. “Why, she’s only supposed to be visiting.”

“I know, but I heard your master tell my boss that he is pleased to
have a Southern mammy for young George. She has ideas about flowers and
animals that your boss likes.”

“Won’t that be splendid,” I said. “Beanie is frightfully worried about
leaving Mrs. Granton.”

“He is a regular steady and true dog,” said Gringo. “When he came, he
didn’t know which to follow, old Ellen, or your mistress, so he settled
it, by tracking one of them for half a day, and the other for the next
half.”

I laughed at this, and Gringo went on. “The other day, I saw your boss
watching Ellen with joy on his face. It was in your greenhouse, and
young George had yanked a hyacinth from a pot. Ellen half cried, and
said the poor mother hyacinth had been in prison in the black earth,
and finally she worked her way out, and shook her curls at the sun, and
then George came along, and tore her all to bits. The youngster sniffed
too, and helped Ellen tie mother hyacinth up with a bit of string. Your
boss liked that. He hates to see his boy destroy life.”

“Good,” I said, “I hope she’ll stay. Do you suppose, Gringo, if those
two young scamps that stole me had had the same chance that George has,
they would be so bad?”

“’Course not,” said the old dog.

“Then why in heaven’s name,” I said, “don’t human beings give all the
boys and girls an equal chance?”

“Give it up,” said Gringo.

“I believe it’s selfishness,” I said, blinking my eyes in the bright
sunlight on the snow, for my sight had got weak in my prison.

“There’s Sir Walter,” said Gringo, “giving his hens a last run before
sundown. He keeps them in fine shape. See him nose them along. He’s a
wise dog.”

As he waited to speak to Sir Walter, Arnulf the police dog trotted by.
He did not stop--just gave us a rapid wag of his tail.

Walter Scott gazed after him. “It fatigues me to watch him,” he said.
“He’s never still.”

“No matter about that,” said Gringo, “he’s here to keep strangers off
the place, and he does it. They used to be always poking about, when
us other dogs ruled. We were too polite by a long way. We never drove
strangers away, unless they were rampageous.”

Sir Walter smiled, and said, “I daresay you are right. I saw him the
other day get in front of a woman who persisted in coming up through
the open gates. She thought he looked kind, and began to tear ivy from
the wall. Arnulf growled at her, but she went on. Then he took her
skirt between his teeth, and tore it. She was in a rage, and started
throwing some ivy in his face. He opened his mouth, and bellowed so
angrily, that she hurried away, looking over her shoulder--Pardon me, I
must keep my hens moving.”

“Come on,” said Gringo, “the sun will soon be going down.”

We went on, via the rock walk, and Gringo hung his head as we passed
the place where the two men had lassoed me.

“Boy,” he said hoarsely, “do you see that spot there, all pressed down?”

I stuck my head in the alders, and saw a matted place in the grass
quite free from snow.

“I always keep it clean,” he said. “I used to sit there when you were
gone and think what a good dog you are, and what an old crosspatch I
am.”

I began to laugh. I was so happy I couldn’t help it. “Don’t be too
humble,” I said, “we may have another falling out.”

Gringo was quite shocked, and stopped short.

“Why not,” I said gaily. “Fight, and forgive, and make up--fight, and
forgive, and make up. That’s life.”

“I don’t believe in fighting,” said Gringo soberly.

“Nor do I,” said I, “but if fights come, don’t dodge them. Dogs aren’t
perfect, nor are human beings.”

“My boss don’t fight his wife,” said Gringo.

“Nor does mine,” I retorted, “but sometimes they are just a little
sharp with each other. Then they kiss and make up. You and I have
kissed, and made up. I don’t want you to go mourning all your days,
because you once snapped at me. It was partly my fault. I got on your
dog nerves.”

Gringo grinned at me. Then he said, “You’re a comic dog--trouble runs
off you like water off a duck’s back--Good land! how I’ve missed you.
Come on, let’s trot a bit. It won’t hurt you.”

“Cows first,” I said when we struck Green Hill, and I limped into the
stable. I loved Mr. Bonstone’s Jerseys, and the big fragrant creatures,
chewing their cud, boo-hooed at me, for they knew I liked them, and
they had heard of my adventures.

I went from stall to stall and greeted them, then rejoined Gringo, who
was fussing about the stable door because I was so long.

“Come on up to see the horses,” he said. “I see my boss just going up
with an S. P. C. A. man he brought out from the city to-day.”

I limped gleefully after him. The Green Hill stables always reminded me
of the Leland Stanford stables in California, which are kept so quiet
for the horses, and where they have the same intelligent care as they
do here.

The S. P. C. A. gentleman was quite old, and he was standing beside Mr.
Bonstone, and staring about him with great interest.

The stable doors were wide open. Each horse or colt had a good-sized
box-stall to himself, and every one of them was turned head toward
the door, watching Thomas who was repairing a cement combination
drinking-fountain in the middle of the stable yard. It was for human
beings, horses, birds and dogs. Something had gone wrong in the
foundation, and Thomas was on his knees on the ground, with a pail of
cement beside him, and a hammer and chisel.

“Thomas,” said Mr. Bonstone, “talk a bit to the horses, will you?”

Thomas touched his cap, and was about to get up but Mr. Bonstone said,
“Keep on with your work, and call them about you as I have seen you do.”

Thomas, who is a very quiet, but a very intelligent, man of English
ancestry, said, “All right, sir,” and seizing the hammer, he threw it
to one side and called out, “Fernbrook Deputy, bring me the big hammer
from the tool-box.”

The old gentleman in the big fur coat turned his spectacles in the
direction of the stable.

Fernbrook, who is a powerful bay horse, was lifting up the bar of his
stall with his teeth. Afterward, he pounded the whole length of the
stable with his heavy hoofs, bent over a tool-box, took out a large
hammer, and dropped it beside Thomas.

Mr. Bonstone smiled proudly, and the old gentleman said, “Magnificent!”

“Dollie Whitehead, bring me my coat,” called Thomas, going on with his
pounding.

A dapper little white mare let herself out of her stall, went up to a
hook where an overcoat was hanging, and carried it out to the yard,
holding it high so it would not drag on the snow.

As she stood dangling it from her mouth, Thomas jumped up and said
rebukingly, “Why don’t you help her put it on me, Fernbrook?”

To the old gentleman’s surprise--Mr. Bonstone, Gringo and I had, of
course, seen these performances many times before--the two sagacious
animals held the coat by the back of the neck, while Thomas slipped his
arms in it.

“Major Golderay,” called Thomas, “I want you.”

A roan horse--a perfect beauty--came stepping daintily out.

“Also Duchess of Normandy,” said Thomas, “Lady Jane Grey, and Poor
Polly.”

The animals all came out, and formed a line-up before him.

“Lady Jane,” said Thomas, “where is your friend Joe?”

Lady Jane whinnied several times, and shook her head in the direction
of the barn.

“I know he’s bedding the cows,” said Thomas, “but you go tell him I
want him.”

Lady Jane galloped away, and presently returned with her teeth in the
shoulder of the woolen sweater worn by the grinning Joe, who bobbed his
head at his employer and guest.

The old gentleman began to speak. “This is almost equal to the thinking
horses of Elberfeld.”

“Can you state to me,” asked Mr. Bonstone, “any reason why an American
horse should not have as much brains as a German horse?”

“None whatever,” said the old gentleman. “Horses, like men, are created
equal. Tell me, stableman, what is your system?”

“Haven’t any, sir,” said Thomas. “I treat ’em as if they had horse
sense, and I find they’ve got it.”

“Cultivation, cultivation,” said the old gentleman several times, as he
nodded his head. Then he asked, “Can they count?”

“Duchess of Normandy,” said Thomas, “when is Dicky Bill coming from
town?”

“Dicky Bill is one of the stable boys,” explained Mr. Bonstone.

The Duchess was scratching ten times in the snow with her hoof.

“Hille ho, hille ho, hille ho,” sounded a sudden ringing voice.

We all turned, and there was Dicky Bill tearing up the asphalt path
from the electric car line.

He didn’t see us, and he rushed into the stable yard, and threw his arm
round the glossy neck of the Duchess--“Hello! old girl.”

“Just look at that boy’s colour,” whispered Gringo, “and six months
ago, he was a washed-out rag.”

Dicky Bill was pulling at his cap in confusion. He had just discovered
Mr. Bonstone.

“You’ve made the Duchess tell a lie,” said Thomas.

“I told her I was coming back at ten,” said Dicky Bill, “but I changed
my mind. There’s nothin’ doin’ in town.”

Mr. Bonstone put up his hand to his face, to conceal a smile. His plan
was to make country life so interesting, that town life seemed dull.

The old gentleman was speaking to Thomas. “You gave that mare some
sign, didn’t you?”

“If I did, I didn’t know it,” said Thomas. “They may get something I
don’t get myself, for they watch me closely. If I walk down by those
stalls, and say to myself, ‘That black mare is off her feed, I’ll give
her an extra ration of oats,’ she’ll whinny, and look toward the oat
bin.”

“My wife says,” remarked Mr. Bonstone, “that when she gives a special
feed of hemp to her hens, in order to catch one, they’ll all eat out of
her hand but the one she has her mind on.”

“Wonderful,” said the old gentleman, “looks as if we were the
brutes, and the animals the reasoning beings--I’ll have to catch my
train--Thank you, my man. I’m going to send you a book about the
Elberfeld horses.”

Gringo and I travelled slowly along after Mr. Bonstone and his friends
on their way to the house, but stopped on the way to speak to Czarina,
Yeggie, Weary Winnie and the Frenchmen who had had their early dinner,
and were coming up to the stables for the night.

As we were talking, the old gentleman and Mr. Bonstone retraced their
steps. They wanted to ask something further about the horses from
Thomas.

The gentleman paused to look at us. “What a jolly lot of dogs,” he
said--“they’re talking just as we are. I wonder what they’re saying.
Just look at those intelligent faces. They understand us, but we can’t
understand them.”

We dogs all gave each other knowing glances.

“’Pon my word,” growled Gringo, “it seems as if more human beings were
beginning to find out that we’re something more than lumps of flesh.”

“Gringo,” I said, “my leg is beginning to ache. I must get home, but
first I want to look in on your family.”

“Good night, dogs,” we said to the stable bunch, and we went on the way
to the Bonstones’ big living-room, where everybody gathered at this
time of day.

Old Mrs. Resterton sat in a corner by the fireplace, knitting and
talking to an old lady friend who had her chair close beside hers. A
nurse-maid was bringing in Cyria and the twins from a frolic on the
lawn, and Master Carty, who had just arrived from town straight as a
major, was helping his young nephew and nieces to take off their wraps.

Mrs. Bonstone had just got out of her coupé at the door. She had been
calling on a neighbour, and pretty soon she came in, smiling and
holding out her hands to the blaze. She greeted all her family in a
loving way, and did not forget to congratulate me on my restoration to
health.

“They’re all happy,” I said to Gringo, “now I must skip home.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Gringo. “We dogs have all sworn that you’re to
go nowhere without an escort.”

This amused me, and I tried to toss up my head and show off a bit, as
we ran out into the hall and down the avenue. I could not, and had to
go soberly.

“Will you come in, Gringo?” I said when I got home.

“Certainty,” he said. “I’ll stay to dinner with you.”

I wasn’t taken aback. My kind mistress never objects when I bring home
a dog friend. Some women are very fussy about entertaining.

We went into the library, where mistress was alone, looking over the
mail that lay on the big table. She had been out walking, and still had
on her warm coat and cloth hat. She never wore furs now.

“Good dogs,” she said absently, “come close to the fire,” and she went
on reading a letter.

Gringo and I lay down on my hearth-stone, and presently in came master
from town.

He kissed his wife--“How rosy you look,” he said.

She let the letter slip to the table.

“Do I?” she said slowly.

“Yes--this life in the country is a thousand times better for you than
the city.”

“Oh, Rudolph,” she said, “I met Stanna just now in her coupé. Really,
that woman is resplendent. She looked like a tropical flower in a glass
box. I wish I were half as handsome.”

“Half as handsome,” repeated master in a kind of innocent, wondering
way. “Do you really think you are not as good-looking as Stanna?”

“I don’t think it,” said mistress almost impatiently, “I know it.”

Master stared at her in amazement.

Mistress burst out laughing. “I really believe, you dear, foolish man,
that you think I eclipse Stanna.”

“I don’t think it, I know it,” he said decidedly.

“The boys in the street don’t stare after me as they do after Stanna,”
she said.

“That rejoices me,” he said gravely. “I shouldn’t care to have them
staring at you.”

Mistress broke into a delighted peal of laughter, and I think was about
to embrace him, but she wheeled round and held out her arms to young
George who was entering the room, followed by Ellen and Beanie.

Beanie, in spite of a warm dog sweater he had on, was shivering with
cold and held his breast-bone so close to the fire, that Gringo said
gravely, “I smell you scorching, Beans.”

He moved back a bit, and I said, “How you do feel the cold.”

“Too much F. F. V.,” said Gringo soberly.

“It does seem cold up here,” said Beanie, “after that southern winter
air.”

“Have you been to see Mrs. Waverlee?” asked Gringo.

“Yes, she’s fine,” said Beanie enthusiastically, “and I love Patsie.
Oh! dogs, we’re going to stay here. I’m crazy with pleasure. I didn’t
want to go back to New York.”

We both congratulated him, then Ellen called him to go upstairs, to
have his sweater off.

Master and mistress went back to the topic of the looks of ladies and
gentlemen.

“Claudia,” master was saying, “if you were to tell me that I wasn’t as
handsome as Norman, I would understand you.”

Mistress turned her back on him, and began to gather up her mail from
the table.

“No one would look at me twice, if Norman were in the room,” said
master. “He’s what I call a really handsome man.”

“Look at Mrs. Granton’s shoulders shaking,” muttered Gringo. “She
thinks that’s a joke on my boss.”

Mistress turned round--her face perfectly convulsed with amusement.
“Rudolph,” she said, “you old goose.”

“Gander,” corrected master. “Do the animal kingdom justice.”

“Gander then,” said mistress. “Norman Bonstone can’t be compared with
you. You are the handsomest man I ever saw.”

Master gave her a quizzical smile. “It looks as if we were both
satisfied, doesn’t it?” he said.

“I am a very happy woman,” she said with emphasis. “I used not to be. I
am now.”

“Isn’t much more to be added to that,” said Gringo, as the two went arm
in arm from the room. “It’s fine to have all the bosses happy. Makes
things easier for us dogs--but who comes here?”

“Our unhappy ghost,” I said as Amarilla sneaked into the room.

“How de do, dogsie,” said Gringo amiably. “Do you think I am handsome?”

Amarilla hesitated, and looked at me in her timid way.

“Weary Winnie and Reddy think I’m a beauty,” said Gringo encouragingly,
and with a hoarse laugh.

“I don’t think you’re exactly pretty,” began Amarilla shyly, then she
stopped.

Gringo rolled over and over on the hearth-rug, in his amusement. “Oh!
Amarilla! Oh!” he said chokingly.

“Feel any happier to-day, girlie?” I asked as she stretched herself out
on the fender stool.

“Yes,” she said cheerfully, “missie weighed me to-day and I’m back to
normal. Now you’re home, I’ve nothing to fret about.”

“Human beings happy, dogs happy,” said Gringo, “looks as if there was
a green old age getting ripe for us. Boy, I wish every animal in the
world had as good homes as we have.”

“Gringo,” I said enthusiastically, “that goes to my heart. Happiness
for everybody, say I.”

“Write it down,” said the good old dog. “You know dog hearts pretty
well. Say your say to the human beings. Maybe you’ll make it easier for
some of the unhappy dogs.”

I took his remark to heart. I had already written part of the story of
my life, and for the other dogs’ sake, I, Boy of Pleasant River, give
the rest of this little sketch to the world.

THE END

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NOVELS OF MARY ROBERTS RINEHART

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap’s list.

_“K.”_ Illustrated.

K. LeMoyne, famous surgeon, drops out of the world that has known him,
and goes to live in a little town where beautiful Sidney Page lives.
She is in training to become a nurse. The joys and troubles of their
young love are told with that keen and sympathetic appreciation which
has made the author famous.

_THE MAN IN LOWER TEN._

Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy.

An absorbing detective story woven around the mysterious death of the
“Man in Lower Ten.” The strongest elements of Mrs. Rinehart’s success
are found in this book.

_WHEN A MAN MARRIES._

Illustrated by Harrison Fisher and Mayo Bunker.

A young artist, whose wife had recently divorced him, finds that his
aunt is soon to visit him. The aunt, who contributes to the family
income and who has never seen the wife, knows nothing of the domestic
upheaval. How the young man met the situation is humorously and most
entertainingly told.

_THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE._ Illus. by Lester Ralph.

The summer occupants of “Sunnyside” find the dead body of Arnold
Armstrong, the son of the owner, on the circular staircase. Following
the murder a bank failure is announced. Around these two events is
woven a plot of absorbing interest.

_THE STREET OF SEVEN STARS._

Illustrated (Photo Play Edition.)

Harmony Wells, studying in Vienna to be a great violinist, suddenly
realizes that her money is almost gone. She meets a young ambitious
doctor who offers her chivalry and sympathy, and together with
world-worn Dr. Anna and Jimmie, the waif, they share their love and
slender means.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *

BOOTH TARKINGTON’S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap’s list.

_SEVENTEEN._ Illustrated by Arthur William Brown.

No one but the creator of Penrod could have portrayed the immortal
young people of this story. Its humor is irresistible and reminiscent
of the time when the reader was Seventeen.

_PENROD._ Illustrated by Gordon Grant.

This is a picture of a boy’s heart, full of the lovable, humorous,
tragic things which are locked secrets to most older folks. It is a
finished, exquisite work.

_PENROD AND SAM._ Illustrated by Worth Brehm.

Like “Penrod” and “Seventeen,” this book contains some remarkable
phases of real boyhood and some of the best stories of juvenile
prankishness that have ever been written.

_THE TURMOIL._ Illustrated by C. E. Chambers.

Bibbs Sheridan is a dreamy, imaginative youth, who revolts against his
father’s plans for him to be a servitor of big business. The love of a
fine girl turns Bibb’s life from failure to success.

_THE GENTLEMAN FROM INDIANA._ Frontispiece.

A story of love and politics,--more especially a picture of a country
editor’s life in Indiana, but the charm of the book lies in the love
interest.

_THE FLIRT._ Illustrated by Clarence F. Underwood.

The “Flirt,” the younger of two sisters, breaks one girl’s engagement,
drives one man to suicide, causes the murder of another, leads another
to lose his fortune, and in the end marries a stupid and unpromising
suitor, leaving the really worthy one to marry her sister.

_Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NOVELS OF GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL LUTZ

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap’s list.

_THE BEST MAN_

Through a strange series of adventures a young man finds himself
propelled up the aisle of a church and married to a strange girl.

_A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS_

On her way West the heroine steps off by mistake at a lonely watertank
into a maze of thrilling events.

_THE ENCHANTED BARN_

Every member of the family will enjoy this spirited chronicle of
a young girl’s resourcefulness and pluck, and the secret of the
“enchanted” barn.

_THE WITNESS_

The fascinating story of the enormous change an incident wrought in a
man’s life.

_MARCIA SCHUYLER_

A picture of ideal girlhood set in the time of full skirts and poke
bonnets.

_LO, MICHAEL!_

A story of unfailing appeal to all who love and understand boys.

_THE MAN OF THE DESERT_

An intensely moving love story of a man of the desert and a girl of the
East pictured against the background of the Far West.

_PHOEBE DEANE_

A tense and charming love story, told with a grace and a fervor with
which only Mrs. Lutz could tell it.

_DAWN OF THE MORNING_

A romance of the last century with all of its old-fashioned charm. A
companion volume to “Marcia Schuyler” and “Phoebe Deane.”

_Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *

B. M. BOWER’S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset and Dunlap’s list.

_CHIP OF THE FLYING U._ Wherein the love affairs of Chip and Della
Whitman are charmingly and humorously told.

_THE HAPPY FAMILY._ A lively and amusing story, dealing with the
adventures of eighteen jovial, big hearted Montana cowboys.

_HER PRAIRIE KNIGHT._ Describing a gay party of Easterners who exchange
a cottage at Newport for a Montana ranch-house.

_THE RANGE DWELLERS._ Spirited action, a range feud by two families,
and a Romeo and Juliet courtship make this a bright, jolly story.

_THE LURE OF THE DIM TRAILS._ A vivid portrayal of the experience of an
Eastern author among the cowboys.

_THE LONESOME TRAIL._ A little branch of sage brush and the
recollection of a pair of large brown eyes upset “Weary” Davidson’s
plans.

_THE LONG SHADOW._ A vigorous Western story, sparkling with the free
outdoor life of a mountain ranch. It is a fine love story.

_GOOD INDIAN._ A stirring romance of life on an Idaho ranch.

_FLYING U RANCH._ Another delightful story about Chip and his pals.

_THE FLYING U’S LAST STAND._ An amusing account of Chip and the other
boys opposing a party of school teachers.

_THE UPHILL CLIMB._ A story of a mountain ranch and of a man’s hard
fight on the uphill road to manliness.

_THE PHANTOM HERD._ The title of a moving-picture staged in New Mexico
by the “Flying U” boys.

_THE HERITAGE OF THE SIOUX._ The “Flying U” boys stage a fake bank
robbery for film purposes which precedes a real one for lust of gold.

_THE GRINGOS._ A story of love and adventure on a ranch in California.

_STARR OF THE DESERT._ A New Mexico ranch story of mystery and
adventure.

_THE LOOKOUT MAN._ A Northern California story full of action,
excitement and love.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

The author of this book is Margaret Marshall Saunders.

Illustrations have been moved to paragraph breaks near where they are
mentioned.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in
the original publication, except that obvious typos have been corrected.

The dog breed name Dachshund is capitalized in this book, while other
breed names are not capitalized.





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