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[he Baldin Libran
ANECDOTES OF OUR FOUR-LEGGED
AND OTHER PETS.
IBUEBFXRD, THE S}LETLAND PONY.
ANECDOTES OF OUR FOUR-LEGGED
AND OTHER PETS.
Authoress of 'Our Birthdays,' Fickle Flora,' etc.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HARRISON WEIR.
GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
(succanou, "r, IWrw ar 0o0 CakIs,)
CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
PIhntdy, R. & CARKK, Edlinrgh
LITTLE VOLUME IS DEDICATED,
CONTAINING TRUE ANECDOTES OF THE VARIOUS ANIMALS
THAT WERE IN THE POSSESION OF A LITTLE BOY
AND GIRL, IN WHOM SHE HAS ALWAYS
SHOWN A KIND INTEREST.
MOPPY, THE WHITE RABBIT ..
THE Two BIRDs, GOLDIE AND BROWNIE 5
POLL PARROT 12
NEDDY AND THE RIFLE DONKEY .22
BUNNY, THE WILD RABBIT .36
THE JACKDAW .44
PRICKER, THE HEDGEHOG 58
DRAKE, THE RETRIEVER 63
TAWNEY, THE TERRIER 69
PUFFER, THE PIGEON 8
DR. BATTIUS, THE BAT 87
THE CHOUGH 92
THE KITTENS, BLACK AND SNOWDROP 96
BLUEBEARD, THE SHETLAND PONY 99
JOE, THE GERMAN DOG 112
Anecdotes of our Four-legged & other Pets.
MOPPY, THE WHITE RABBIT.
*HE first Pet that we ever remember possess-
ing was a large white rabbit We were
then very little children; and, being at the
sea-side, we spent the greater part of the
day on the shore, or rather on the broad esplanade,
that stretched for full half a mile round the pretty bay.
When we were quite tired of running there, or of
picking up stones and weeds on the shingle below the
esplanade wall, we were enabled to prolong our stay
out of doors by means of the pretty little goat-carriages
that were kept in readiness on the esplanade. Some
of them were made with two seats; some were drawn
by one goat, and some with two. There were reins
2 Livr Toys.
and regular harness to these little goats, and we were
indeed pleased, when our nurse allowed us to drive in
one of the double-seated carriages. We took turns to
sit in front and drive, and we tried hard to persuade
our Mamma to let us have a goat, and a goat-carriage
for ourselves. What a nice Pet that would have been 1
But Mamma said she could not take it about, as we
travelled much, and also that a goat would butt at us
and knock us down. Therefore we were obliged to
be content with patting and coaxing the goats on the
During one of our drives in the goat-carriage, we
met with a boy carrying a beautiful white creature
with pink eyes; "Look I look I nurse," we cried, "what
is that?" "It is a rabbit," she said, "would you like
to stroke it and she took it out of the boy's hands,
and held it close to us; we kissed it and stroked it,
and buried our faces in its long white hair, felt its
curious long ears, and wondered at the strange colour
of its eyes. The boy said that a sailor gave it to him;
but that his mother wished him to sell it, as it was
troublesome in her small cottage, and they had no yard
to keep it in, and he asked nurse if she would buy it
from him. We earnestly begged that we might have
it; "Do buy it, Mary," we cried; "please buy it"
And, after some talking, Mary gave sixpence to the
boy for the rabbit, and my sister, giving up her front
Moppy, the Whit RaWiil. 3
seat and her reins to me, went home with the pretty
creature in her lap.
We called the rabbit Moppy; it was a source of
great amusement to us. Mary contrived a bed for it
in a large packing-box in an empty garret at the top of
the house, and when we wished to play with it, it was
brought down to the nursery. We always fed it from
our hands It became extremely tame, and would
follow us about the room, and allow us to lift it and
carry it in all sorts of strange ways; for we could not
manage lifting it by the ears in the proper way. When
it began to be tired of us, it used to get under the sofa,
and when we dragged it out again it appeared angry,
and would kick with its hind legs, and make quite a
loud knocking on the floor, with what we called its
hind elbows. When this commenced, nurse usually
carried it off to its box, fearing that it might bite, or
else she covered it up in her lap, when it would remain
asleep for some time.
Now and then we took it with us when we drove
in the little carriage, and it lay so snugly on our knees
and kept us so warm. Before we had become at all
weary of our plaything, or indifferent to its welfare, we
removed to Ireland; and going first to visit grand-
mamma, it was thought impossible to take Moppy, so
after much consultation, nurse spoke to one of the little
boys who kept the goats, and seemed to be a gentle
4 Live Toys.
good-natured lad, and with many instructions and re-
quests that he would be most kind and careful to the
poor little animal, we kissed and stroked our pet, and,
burying our faces in its long white hair for the last time,
we made him a present of beautiful soft Moppy.
THE TWO BIRDS, GOLDIE AND BROWNIE.
OULD you like to buy a bird, sir?" said a
poor woman to me one day when we were
just setting out for our walk. She held in her
hand a small cige with a beautiful goldfinch.
I have one shilling and sixpence," I said;
"will you give it to me for that ?"
"I hoped to be able to sell it for half-a-
crown," the woman said, "for I am very poor;
I am leaving this place and want money for my journey,
or I should not part with my bird."
"But I have a shilling," said my sister, "and that
added to your money will make half-a-crown, and so
we can buy it between us, and it will belong to us both."
We gave our money to the poor woman, and she
put the cage into my hand. The little bird was quite
a beauty, his colours so bright, his plumage so glossy
and thick, and his chirp so merry. After displaying
him to Mamma, and to everybody we met, we carried
him to the nursery, and placed him on the broad
6 Live Toys.
window-seat; Mamma said she was afraid we should
soon get tired of him, and neglect to feed him and to
clean his cage. This, we thought, was quite unlikely.
However, we promised very faithfully; and we com-
menced with feeding and petting him so much that he
soon became extremely tame, would take seeds and
crumbs from our fingers, chirp to us when we came near
his cage, and sing without the least sign of fear.
One day we had carried him into the drawing-room;
and, on opening the door of the cage to put in some
sugar, he darted out. "Oh dear I oh dear I Goldie is
out," we exclaimed; "what shall we do t We shall
lose him." But Mamma quickly got up, and shut both
the windows, and begged us to be quiet, and not to
frighten him by rushing after him and attempting to
seize him. "If you leave him alone," said Mamma,
"he will perhaps allow you quietly to take him in your
hand when he has flown about as much as he wishes;
but he will lose all his tameness if you terrify him."
So we sat down to watch the little fellow; he darted
abdut the room for some time, and presently alighted
on the table, where the breakfast things remained.
First he pecked at the bread, then tried the sugar,
peeped into the cups, and seemed highly amused at the
different articles which he was now examining for the
first time. Then he flew on the top of the picture
frames that hung on the wall, then on the curtain rods,
The Two Birds, Goldie and Brownie. 7
and at last perched on Mamma's head, peeped at her
hair, and looked as proud and happy as possible. And
after he had looked at everything in the room and well
stretched his wings, he quietly returned to his cage,
chirping at us, as if to say," I have seen enough for one
day, I'll come out again to-morrow." So afterwards we
used to give him a fly every morning, taking care to
shut all the windows before his door was opened. We
paid so much attention to our bird, that he did not
seem to find his life at all dull; but he obtained a com-
panion in an unexpected manner.
Our nursery window was standing open, Goldie was
in his cage on the table, and we were playing on the
floor; suddenly my sister exclaimed, pointing to the
window, "Goldie is out I Goldie is out 1" and there in-
deed, perched on the window-sill, was a little bird, which
for a moment we believed to be our own little pet We
gently approached the window. "Oh that is a brown
bird," said I, "and look I Goldie is safe in his cage."
Nurse now advised us to draw back from the window,
for that if not frightened, the little stranger might
possibly be attracted by the bird in the cage, and might
come inside the window; so we retreated to the opposite
side of the room, and watched the little fellow. In he
hopped very cautiously, now and then making a little
chirrup, and twisting his head in all directions, as if to
discover with his sharp black eyes, whether there was
8 Live Toys.
anything or anybody likely to hurt him; now he came
on a chair-back, and then becoming bolder, ventured
on the table. When Goldie saw him, he left his seed-
box, at which he had been very busy, and hopping about
his cage in a most excited manner, began to chirrup as
loudly as he could, and shaking his tail up and down,
he seemed to express his great joy at the sight of the
little brown visitor. Nurse quietly passed round the
room and shut the window, "Now we have him safe,"
we cried, dancing about. "Pray be still, my dears,"
said nurse, "until we get him into the cage." So we
again became immovable, and there was the brown
stranger peeping at Goldie through the bars, perhaps
wishing to partake of the seed and sugar and fresh
groundsel that Goldie had been enjoying. He was a
delicately-shaped thin little bird, all his feathers of a
pretty dark brown; he did not appear to be much
frightened when nurse approached, nor did he leave the
table when she opened the door of the cage; but on
the contrary, he peeped in, and receiving a very civil
chirp of invitation from Goldie, he actually hopped in,
to our extreme delight.
We ran to display our treasure to Mamma. She
was quite amused at our having caught him in so strange
a manner, and said that she thought he was a linnet, or
some such kind of bird. He was evidently a tame
bird that had been much petted. He soon accommo-
The Two Birds, Goldie and Brownie. 9
dated himself to all Goldie's habits, came regularly to
breakfast, and took his fly afterwards, all about the
room, resting occasionally on our heads or shoulders.
Brownie would now hop on our fingers, when we wished
to take him up from the floor; and this we had never
been able to teach to Goldie.
The two birds were very good friends, excepting
when an unusually nice bit of groundsel or plantain
excited a quarrel between them; then they scolded,
fluttered, and pecked at each other in a very savage
manner. We had a sliding partition made to the cage,
and when they began to dispute, we punished them by
sliding in this partition and separating them for a short
time. They used to look quite unhappy, moping in
their solitude, until we made them happy again, by
withdrawing the partition.
These little birds went many journeys with us,
even crossed to England, and back again to Ireland,
and lived with us for a long time; and I suppose we
became rather careless about open windows and doors,
knowing that the birds were so very tame, and had no
wish to fly away.
We were the following summer in another place.
There our rooms were confined and small; so we used
to allow the birds to fly about on the staircase every
morning, in order to give them a larger range for using
o1 Live Toys.
One bright summer morning, Goldie flew out on the
landing; and as he had invariably come back again to
his cage, we were not noticing him much, and never
perceived that the servant had gone down stairs, leaving
open the door at the bottom of the flight, just outside
of which door was an open window. Presently we
went to seek for him, and it was some moments before
we spied him sitting on the ledge of this open window.
If we had made no exclamation, and placed the cage
on the stairs, most probably he would have returned;
but perhaps we startled him by running down the stairs
towards him. Out he went so rapidly, and yet so
gently, in the bright fresh air, as if he would say,
"Liberty and sunshine, and freedom of flight in the
summer sky, is too delightful to refuse, even for you,
my dear little master and mistress." He perched on a
high tree and looked at us for a while. In vain we
strewed crumbs about the window, and called and
whistled. In vain we set his cage on the ledge with his
deserted companion in it, hoping that hearing Brownie's
chirp would entice him to return. He never came back
again, and Brownie occupied the cage for many months ;
our care of him being greater than ever, since we lost
our other favourite.
But Brownie's end was much more tragic We
were going away on a visit for some weeks; and it was
decided that Brownie was not to go, but that he should
The Two Birds, Goldie and Brownie. I
live in the kitchen until we returned. There was a
huge cat living in the barracks. We always had been
in dread of her, and had tried to make her afraid of
entering our door; but whilst we were away, she one
day found all the doors open, and peeping into the
kitchen, and seeing no protecting servant there, she
seized our dear little pet, and soon destroyed him.
When we returned home, there was nothing but the
E were staying for some months at a seaport
town in France; many vessels used to come
in from different parts of the world ; and I
suppose the sailors brought with them all sorts of
animals and birds, for the houses looking on the quay
where the vessels were moored were almost entirely
shops of birds, monkeys, etc. etc. It was most
amusing to walk along the quay, and look at all
the live creatures that were there exposed for sale.
Such a chattering of monkeys of all shapes and sizes,
such a twittering and singing from every imaginable
species of small birds, such a screaming and chattering
from the parrots and macaws, and such fun in peeping
into the cages of white mice and ferrets. We often
wished very much to buy a monkey; but mamma did
not fancy it, and said they were uncertain ill-tempered
beasts, and that we should be constantly bitten if we
had one. First, we longed for this bird, then for that
squirrel, then for a cage of white mice, and so on;
indeed I believe we quite tormented mamma with
requests to walk along the quay of animals, as we
called it. At last we set our affections upon a grey
parrot, the smoothest and handsomest among the large
number exposed for sale. We never heard her say
anything, it is true; but we thought that an advantage,
as she would not have learnt to swear and talk like the
sailors, and we should teach her to say just what we
The price of the parrot was rather high, because of
her size and beauty, and we longed for her many weeks
before we were her masters; but at last she was placed
in our possession as a new year's gift, and, in addition,
a nice cage with a swing, and tin dishes for her food,
all the wood-work being carefully bound with tin, to
secure it from her formidable beak.
Cage and parrot were carried with us on our return
to England, and she soon became a great pet. She
was not at first very tame ; but by much petting, and
by leaving the door of her cage constantly open, so
that she did not feel herself a prisoner, she gradu-
ally became more friendly. The first sign of love to
any of us was after my sister's short absence of a few
days at a friend's house. When she returned, we
were talking together in the hall, and Poll's cage being
in an adjoining room, she heard her voice, and recog-
nising it, she came down from her cage, and gave
notice of her arrival at my sister's feet by her usual
14 Live Toys.
croak; she flapped her wings, and gave every sign of
pleasure at seeing her again. She did not, however,
extend her amiability to any one but myself, sister,
and Mamma; she was still savage to strangers, and
would bite fiercely if touched, but if we offered our
wrists, she would step soberly on, allow us to scratch
her head, stroke her back, push back her feathers to
look at her curious little ears, and in return, she would
lay her beak against our cheeks, and make a clucking
noise as if she meant to kiss us. She used to waddle
all about the room with her turned-in toes, and climbed
up tables and chairs just as she pleased. She would
get upon Mamma's knee by scrambling up her dress,
holding it tight in her beak. When we were writing
or drawing, she enjoyed sitting on the table, though
she meddled sadly with our things, biting our pencils
in pieces, tearing paper, and so on; and once in parti-
cular, she terrified us for her own safety by opening
every blade of a sharp pen-knife, and flourishing it
about in her claws as if in triumph. We had some
difficulty in getting it from her grasp without cutting
ourselires or hurting her. She was a famous talker,
called us all by name, whistled and barked when the
dog came into the room; called "Puss, puss !" and
mewed when the cat shewed itself; sang several bits of
songs, and asked for fruit and food of different sorts.
We never could teach her to sing through a whole
tune. I never heard a parrot get beyond a few bars;
Poll Parrot. 15
and I wonder what is the reason that they will learn
the commencement of half-a-dozen different songs, but
still cannot remember any whole. I do think a parrot's
voice and utterance is one of the most extraordinary of
things, for it always repeats a word in the peculiar
voice of the person who taught it; and, instead of
closing its beak or touching the roof of its mouth with
its tongue, in order to articulate, it invariably opens its
mouth wide when it speaks, and its tongue is never
used at all; yet it will pronounce m's, b's, p's, and t's
as plainly as any human being. We could always tell
who had taught our Poll any word or song, from the
similarity of voice that she adopted. Her sleeping-
place was for some time on the top of a chair-back in
my sister's bedroom. When we were leaving the
sitting-room to go upstairs at night, Poll used to
waddle down from the cage and come to my sister,
who held her wrist down for her to mount, and having
been conveyed up stairs and placed on the floor, she
mounted of her own accord to her sleeping perch, gave
all her feathers a good shake, and settled her head for
Very early in the morning, she used to commence
her toilet Such scratching and smoothing of her
feathers, such picking and cleaning of her feet and legs;
and having arranged her dress for the day, she would
come down, take a turn or two about the room, and
then look at my sister to see if she were awake If
16 Live Toys.
not stirring, Poll used to clamber up on the bed by
means of the curtain or counterpane, get quietly on
the pillow, and examine her eyes closely. If no wink
was perceptible, Poll would gently and cautiously lift
up an eyelid, pinching it softly in her beak, then go to
the other eye and do the same ; then she would wait a
little bit, saying Hey I hey 1" as if to ask whether her
mistress was not yet properly roused. Then she
would again work away at the eyelids, till my sister
could no longer refrain from laughing. She used to
feign being asleep every morning, in order to amuse
herself with Poll's proceedings.
I wished to try having my eyelids opened by Poll
in the same manner, and one night took the bird into
my own room; but she did not approve of this change
of quarters, and instead of going quietly to sleep, made
such a croaking and grinding of teeth on her chair-back,
that I was glad to carry her back to my sister's room.
Indeed, although she was very friendly with me, she
did not manifest the same attachment as towards my
sister and mother, apparently preferring ladies' society.
While Poll was with us, we went another journey
into France, and took the parrot with us in a basket.
It was a stormy night when we crossed from South-
ampton, and Poll in her basket was placed at the foot
of my sister's berth, and no further attention was paid
her. The cabin was very full of people, and numbers
had to lie on the floor, there not being sufficient berths
Poll Parrot. 7
or sofas. In the middle of the night, the inmates of
the ladies' cabin were all startled by a scream from an
old lady who was stretched on the floor.
"Stewardess I Here I here! Some dreadful thing
is biting me. I have received a shocking bite on the
leg. Do search for the creature, whatever it is."
So the stewardess came and looked, and could find
My sister, who had looked out of her shelf at the
old lady's cry, immediately divined what it was, seeing
that Poll's basket had rolled off the berth to the floor,
and she having gnawed a hole in the basket, had put
out her beak and bitten the first thing with which it
came in contact
When the stewardess came to look for the monster,
the basket had rolled, with the motion of the ship, to
the other side of the cabin, and not finding a sea voy-
age pleasant, she put forth her beak again.
"Oh, bless me! What can that bet" cried another
passenger. Something bit me. Do find it, stewardess."
Then came another lurch, and away rolled Poll in
her basket; and no one suspected a rather shabby
old basket of containing anything but perhaps a pair
of slippers, or a brush and comb, or some such articles.
So poor Poll rolled about in her prison, inflicting bites
on several legs and arms-my sister meanwhile in
agonies of laughter on her shelf, and not daring to say
18 Live Toys.
who was the real offender, lest Poll should be turned
out of the cabin.
At last the stewardess said that she supposed it
must be rats, and she ran away at the entreaties of the
poor victims on the floor to fetch the steward to search
for the rats. Whilst she was gone, my sister slipped
down from her berth, and took possession of Poll's
basket. She had scarcely retreated with it in safety,
when the stewardess returned with the steward; and
rather an angry altercation ensued, the man insisting
that there was not a rat in the ship, and the injured
passengers insisting that sharp bites could not be made
by nothing at all However, after a long dispute, he
begged them all to move from the floor, and made a
My sister was all the time in the greatest alarm,
lest Poll should think proper to croak or sing "Nix
my dolly," or otherwise to make known her presence.
As luck would have it, however, Poll was either too
sea-sick or too angry to say anything, and the steward
announced that no live thing was in the cabin, and that
the ladies had been dreaming.
"But bites in a dream don't bleed," retorted an
angry old lady, holding up to view a pocket handker-
chief which indeed wore a murderous appearance.
This being unanswerable, the steward could only
shrug his shoulders and retreat from the Babel of
voices in the ladies' cabin; and soon after, my sister
Poll Parrot. 19
had the pleasure of landing, with Poll undiscovered and
safe in her old basket, and we are ignorant whether
the old lady ever found out what it was that had
During our journey, Poll often caused great amuse-
ment, by suddenly shouting or singing as we were
jogging along in a diligence or slowly steaming on a
river, thereby astonishing and alarming our fellow pas-
sengers; nor did she forget, when occasion offered, to
make good use of her strong beak.
At one place we were entering a town late at
night, and the place being-a frontier town, our luggage
was all strictly examined by the custom-house officers
before we were permitted to enter the gates. All hav-
ing been passed and paid for, we remounted the
diligence; my sister was the last She had her foot
on the step, when one of the men rudely pulled her
back, asking why she had not shown her basket She
said there was nothing in it but a bird, but the man
declared he must look; and seeing that my sister was
unwilling to open it, he imagined there was something
valuable and contraband in it, so roughly dragging it
out of her hands, he tore open the lid, and thrust in
his hand. Poll gave a loud croak, and the man rather
quickly withdrew his hand, with a thousand vocifera-
tions at the bird and the basket and my sister. I must
confess I was delighted to see that Poll had made her
beak nearly meet in the surly fellow's finger.
20 Liw Toys.
When my sister had regained her basket, and we
had left the gate, we lavished much praise on Poll for
her discriminating conduct on this occasion. She
would not have bitten my hand had I put it into the
basket; how did she know that the hand was a
When we arrived at our destination in the south of
France, Poll enjoyed the novelty as much as any one.
Now she revelled in the abundance of oranges and
other fruits, eating just the best part, and flinging
away the rest with lavish epicurism. And how she
basked in the hot sun, and climbed about the cypress
and olive trees in the garden, biting the bark and leaves,
and almost I think believing that she was again in her
wild birth-place, wherever that may have been I She
accompanied us in safety on our homeward journey,
went to Ireland with us; and whenever we travelled,
Poll went too.
At one time she took an erroneous notion into her
head that she could fly; now this was an impossibility,
for her wings were very short and small, and her body
very large and heavy. Whether this had chanced from
her unnatural life in a house, or from early cutting of
her wings, I do not know, but she could not support
herself in the air, even from the table to the ground.
However, she thought she could, and on one occasion
she tried to fly, when perched on the top bannister of a
large well staircase of four flights. Down she came like
Poll Parro. 21
a lump of lead on the floor below, and when we ran to
pick her up, poor Poll was gasping, lying on her back,
with her eyes rolling about in a fearful manner. We
thought she would die, but we put some water in her
mouth, blew in her face, and did what we could to revive
her, and gradually she recovered.
But this lesson was lost upon her. A few days
after, she tried to fly out of a window on the first floor,
and came down in the same heavy way, on the flagged
pavement before the door. This time her head was
wounded, and bled, and she seemed stupid for some
days after; but she recovered and lived long after that.
Probably these falls had injured her brain, for at last
she began to tumble off her perch, as if giddy, and then
her head swelled very much, and she died in a sort of fit.
I have seen other parrots who were better talkers
than ours; but I never saw one so tame, and so fond
of her own master and mistress. She used to come to
meet us like a dog, when we came into the house, after
being absent for walks or rides, knew our times for
rising and going to bed, called us separately by our
names, and really showed much intelligence.
Birds in general are, I think, rather stupid, and do
not understand anything but what their own instinct
tells them; but parrots seem to know the meaning of
the words they learn : and if others do not, I am sure
that our Poll did.
NEDDY, AND THE RIFLE DONKEY.
UR next pet was a very different creature.
One of our aunts had sent us some money
as a present; and I and my sister had
many consultations as to what we should
do with it At last we hit upon an idea that charmed
us both, and we ran to our Mamma. "0 Mamma,"
we cried, "do you think our money will buy a donkey I
We saw, the other day, a little boy and girl both riding
upon a donkey; it trotted along so nicely with them,
and the little boy at the other side of the square has a
donkey, and we should like it so very much." Then
Mamma said that a donkey would be of no use unless
we could also buy a saddle and bridle; and besides
that, she must enquire where he could graze, or whether
there was any spare stall in which he could live. These
things had not occurred to us; but we went to Papa,
and begged him to find out where our donkey could
live in case we had one.
Now there was a large sort of waste field adjoining
the Barrack Square; a few sheep and some old worn-
Neddy, aud thu Rife Domy. 23
out horses were kept in it, but I believe it was not used
for anything else. We sometimes ran and played there,
and there was a pond in it, into which we were very
fond of flinging large cobble stones. Papa found that
he could easily obtain leave for our donkey to graze
there, and it was of such extent, that it could find there
quite sufficient food; so that difficulty was done away
Then we made enquiry about the price of donkeys.
We talked one day to the nurse of the little boy and
girl who rode together. She did not know what their
donkey cost, but told us that she knew a little boy who
bought a young donkey, when it was scarcely able to
stand, and so small, that he had it in his nursery, where
it lay on the rug before the fire, and was quite a play-
fellow to him.
We thought we should like a tiny donkey to play
with in the house; but Mamma persuaded us that it
would be much pleasanter to have one that we could
ride. Papa heard of a donkey we could buy for one
pound; it came to be looked at, and we liked its appear-
ance much; it was in very good condition, its coat thick
and smooth, and not rubbed in any place. Our other
pound supplied us with a sort of soft padded saddle and
bridle; the pommels took off, so that either of us could
use the saddle, and happy indeed was the morning, when
Neddy was brought to the door for us.
24 Live Toys.
I had the first ride, and, owing to a peculiarity in
Neddy's manners, I soon had my first tumble. We
proceeded across the square very nicely, and were about
to cross a large gutter, along which a good deal of water
was rushing. I had no idea that Neddy would not
quietly step over it; but he had an aversion to water,
and coming close to the gutter, he made a great spring
and leapt over it; the sudden jerk tossed me off his
back, and Papa catching me by the collar of my dress,
just prevented me from going headlong into the water.
And we found that Neddy always jumped over a puddle,
or any appearance of water; sometimes a damp swampy
place in the road was enough to set him springing.
But when we knew that this was his custom, we were
prepared for it, and had no more falls; we rode in
turns, and sometimes I got on behind my sister, and
many nice long rides we had all about the fields and
lanes. When we returned home, we took off the saddle
and bridle at the door, and gave Neddy a pat; away
he scampered through the open gateway into the field,
flinging up his heels with pleasure. We could see all
over the field and the square from our windows, and
soon found it extremely amusing to watch the proceed-
ings of our Neddy and another donkey.
This donkey belonged to a little boy, who also lived
in the square; he did not often ride upon it, but it
followed him about more in the manner of a large dog.
Neddy, and te Rif Dokey. 25
It had learned how to open the latches of the doors,
and could go up and down stairs quite well
SOur Mamma went one day to see the little boy's
Mamma, and when she opened the door of their house
she was much surprised to find the donkey's face close
to hers, and she was obliged to give him a good push
to get past him. When we heard this, we used to
watch for the donkey going in and out, and soon we
saw him go into the field and make friends with Neddy.
They held their heads near together and seemed to be
whispering; then they would trot about a little while,
then whisper again. We supposed that the strange
donkey was telling Neddy what fun he had in going
into the different houses and getting bits to eat from
the inhabitants, and instructing him how to bray under
such and such windows when cooking was going on.
For Neddy soon began to follow his friend about, and
to imitate everything that he did. We did not know
the name of the other donkey, so we called him the
Rifle donkey, because his little master's Papa belonged
to a rifle regiment Neddy was an apt pupil, for soon
after the conversations between the two donkeys had
begun, we were seated one evening at tea, when we
heard an extraordinary clattering upon the staircase ; we
listened and wondered, as it became louder. The
staircase came up to the end of a long passage, which
led to our doors, and when the clattering reached the
26 Live Toys.
passage I exclaimed, "I do believe it is the donkey
coming up stairs."
We rushed to the door, and looked out Yes,
indeed, the Rifle donkey and Neddy were quietly
pacing along the passage. We were thoroughly
charmed at Neddy's cleverness in mounting two long
flights of stairs, and when we had given them each a
piece of bread, and patted and coaxed them, they
turned away to go down again, the Rifle donkey
leading the way. He managed very well indeed, but
Neddy made rather awkward work with his hind legs;
however, he managed to reach the bottom without
throwing himself down. Next they went under the
windows of the adjoining house, and the Rifle donkey
began to bray loudly. Neddy copied him in his most
sonorous tones, and presently a window was opened
and a variety of little bits of food were thrown out,
which they ran to pick up. They came every morning
to this window, and the officer who lived there always
answered their call, by throwing something out to them.
When he shut his window, they quietly went away; and
about the middle of the day, when luncheons and
dinners were going on, they would go to other windows
about the square, and bray for food. Neddy always
walked behind the other, and did not bray till he began.
Sometimes there were clothes laid out to dry by the
washerwomen on a piece of grass behind the houses.
~-4" r--- -"
NEDDY, AND THE RIFLE DONKEY.
Nddy, and ihe Rsft DoSkey. 27
This supplied great amusement to the donkeys, for as
soon as the women went away they would run to the
grass, take up the clothes in their mouths, fling them up
in the air, tread upon them, tear them, and even used
to eat some of the smallest things, such as frills and
pocket-handkerchiefs. But this was really too mis-
chievous, as the poor women suffered for their fun.
No one would believe them, when they said that
such a missing handkerchief had been eaten by
donkeys, or that such a piece of lace qr a collar had
been bitten and torn by the same tiresome creatures..
I well remember some of our shirts coming home half
eaten, and our Mamma then advised the washerwomen
to have a boy, with a good thick stick, to watch the
drying-ground, and to desire him to belabour them well
if they attempted to touch any of the clothes. This
advice was followed, so that piece of fun was in future
denied to the donkeys. But I and my sister highly
disapproved of this system; we thought that we would
much rather have our shirts eaten, or indeed all our
clothes torn, than allow Neddy to be beaten with a
stick, to say nothing of the great amusement it gave
us, to see the two queer animals rushing about among
the wet things, entangling their feet in them, and
sometimes trotting off into the square with a night-cap
or a stocking sticking on their noses. However, we
still took great interest in their proceedings, even
28 Liw Toys.
without the poor washer-women's clothes; for being
deprived of that game, they began to plague the
soldiers at the guard room. It had a sort of colonnade
in front, supported by pillars, and the Rifle donkey
found that it was very diverting to rush head first at
the men who were standing under the colonnade. If
they tried to strike him, he used to dodge round a
pillar, and then rush at them again from the other side.
Often he singled out one man for his attacks, and then
Neddy assisted his friend, by biting at the same man
from behind, but he was not nearly so active in evading
punishment as the Rifle donkey, and received many a
buffet and kick during these encounters. Sometimes the
soldiers punished them by getting on their backs. This,
however, was not to be borne, and cling as tightly as they
could, the donkeys never failed to fling them off, when
they would return to the charge with renewed vigour.
These games of bo-peep, and so forth, apparently
amused the men quite as much as ourselves, and many
a half-hour have we sat in our staircase window-seat,
watching the antics of the donkeys and the soldiers.
Their play'usually ended by the Rifle donkey receiving
a harder rap on the nose than he deemed pleasant; then
he would fling up his heels, and with a most unearthly
yell, gallop off'to the field, closely followed by the
sympathising Neddy, who imitated in his best fashion
both the yell and the fling of his heels.
Neddy, and the Rfle Donuy. 29
We were going to leave the barracks, and move to
another part of Ireland; and just before we went, the
two donkeys got into a terrible scrape. Indeed, it was
very well that we did go away; for they were becoming
so extremely mischievous and so cunning, that they
would soon have become too tiresome; and although
we were charmed with every trick they played, almost
all the grown-up people thought them a great torment;
and the Rifle donkey had become a great deal more
active and monkey-like since Neddy had followed and
copied him. I suppose he felt proud of being able to
lead the other wherever he chose.
It was extremely hot weather, and all doors and
windows were generally left standing open. Not that
it would have made much difference to the Rifle donkey
had they been shut; for there was not a door in the
place that he could not open. But very likely they
were tempted to this work of destruction by the sight
of the open door. Whilst the officers were dining, the
two donkeys walked into the ante-room. The table
there was covered with newspapers, magazines, and
books; and perhaps the donkeys thought that these
papers were some of their old friends the clothes, from
the drying green; so they pulled them off the table; tore
the newspapers into little bits; munched the backs of
some bound books; scattered the magazines about the
room; upset an ink-bottle that stood on the table;
30 Live Toys.
dabbled their noses in the pond of ink, and having
done their best to destroy and spoil everything there,
our Neddy, I suppose, was so delighted at the mischief
they had done, that he could not refrain from setting up
a loud and prolonged bray of pleasure and exultation.
This brought in some of the officers, and there they
found the Rifle donkey trampling a heap of torn papers
and books, with the remains of a blotted "Punch" in
his mouth, and Neddy was looking on and expressing
So they were ignominiously turned out with kicks
and blows; and some of the officers were very angry,
and said that both of the donkeys ought to be shot
immediately; and the others said that, at any rate,
they should be shut up, and not allowed to run at
large about the barracks. But, luckily for Neddy,
we went away in a day or two, and we never heard
how they managed to keep the Rifle donkey in order.
Perhaps he was not so mischievous when he had lost
his companion, having then no one to admire his pro-
ceedings. We only heard that when his regiment left,
some months later, the donkey marched out with them
just in front of the band.
As soon as we arrived at our new abode, our first
thought was to find a field for Neddy. The fort in
which we were to live was quite small; there was a
street on one side, and the river close up to the wall
Neddy, and the Rifle Douky. 31
on the other; the square, or rather the small space
within the wall, was gravelled: nowhere could we see
a blade of grass for our poor donkey, and there
appeared to be nothing but brown bog anywhere
round. Poor Neddy was put in a stall at the inn for
the night; he must have been much surprised at the
hay, and the luxurious bed of straw; for a bare field
had hitherto been his only resting-place, and green
grass the very best thing he had had to eat
But the stall could not be continued; and as soon
as our Papa had leisure, he looked about for a suitable
place for Neddy.
There was another small fort about half-a-mile
down the river: it consisted of a moat, and a low wall
with a few guns. There was one little cottage inside
for the gunner in charge; and the whole space inside
the wall, consisting of a flat terrace, with sloping banks,
and a good space in the middle, was covered with
beautiful thick green grass. This was just the place
for Neddy; he would not be able to get out, and there
was nothing inside that he could hurt; for, of course,
the gunner would soon teach him that he was not to
poke his nose inside his neat little cottage; and there
was plenty of space for him to run about, and fresh
moist grass to eat, which I should think he would like
better than dry hay in a hot stall So Papa asked,
and obtained leave, to keep our donkey there ; and we
32 Live Toys.
rode upon him from the inn, and put him in possession
of the little fort. He pricked up his ears, and seemed
not quite to like the clatter of his hoofs, as he crossed
the planks which formed a rude bridge over the moat.
We thought nothing of this at the time, but we had to
think a great deal about it the next day, when we came
to take our ride-in happy ignorance that this would be
the very last ride we should ever take on Neddy's back.
We kept our saddle and our bridle in our kitchen, and
had to carry it with us to the fort; so I put it on my
head and the bridle round my waist, and my sister drove
me, and pretended I was a donkey. So we came very
merrily to the fort, and having saddled and bridled Mas-
ter Neddy, I was mounted, and we proceeded towards
the plank bridge. But just at the edge, Neddy stopped
short, laid back his ears, tried to turn round, and, in fact,
refused to cross. In vain we patted and coaxed, tried to
tempt him across with a biscuit, then tied a pocket hand-
kerchief over his eyes, and attempted to cheat him into
crossing without his seeing where he stepped.
In no way could we induce him to put his foot
upon the plank. The gunner came to our aid; and
we all worried ourselves to no purpose. There was na
other way out of the fort, and we were ready to cry
with vexation. At last, Nurse suggested that it would
be best to return home, and ask Papa what we could
do; and being at our wit's end, we took her advice and
Neddy, and the Rife Dorkey. 33
scampered back to the other fort Papa, having heard
our story, sent four of the men with us, telling them
they were to bring Neddy out in the best way they
could; but that come out he must. When we returned,
there stood Neddy, just where we had left him, staring
stupidly at the bridge. At first, they wanted to whip
him, only leaving open to him the way to the bridge;
but we declared he should not be beaten; and the
gunner agreed with us, that blows would only make him
still more obstinate.
"Well, then," they said, as he is to come out at
all hazards, the only thing we can do is to carry him,
one to each leg."
So they began to hoist up poor Neddy, who did
not in the least approve of this mode of conveyance.
He tried to bite and kick, and twisted himself about in
all directions. How we did laugh, to be sure I For
when two of them had got his fore-legs over their
shoulders, he made darts at their hair and their faces
with his mouth, so that they had to hold his nose with
one hand and his leg with the other. Then getting up
his hind-legs was worse still ; for he jerked and kicked
so, as almost to throw down the men; and we quite
expected to see the whole four and the donkey roll
into the moat together. At last, he was raised entirely
on their shoulders, and they ran across the bridge and
set him down on the other side.
34 Live Toys.
"Are we to have this piece of fun every morning,
sir asked one of the soldiers, as they stood panting
I hope not," I said; "I dare say he will be glad to
go in to the grass when we come back from our ride;
and if he once crosses it, perhaps he will not be afraid
So we took our ride; Neddy behaved quite as well
as usual; his fright did not appear at all to have dis-
turbed his placidity; and in about two hours we again
stood before the terrible bridge. The gunner came out
to see how we should manage. We took off the saddle
and bridle, and invited Neddy to enter. There was
the nice fresh grass, and banks to roll upon, and to run
up and down, looking very tempting through the gate;
and on the other side of the road, there was nothing
but heaps of stones and a great brown bog, stretching
away as far as we could see, with nothing at all to eat
upon it. But for all that, Neddy looked at the bridge;
smelt it; and, resolutely turning his back to it, stared
dismally at the bog, as if he were thinking,
"I don't see anything that I can eat there."
However, it was evident that although the fear of
starvation was before him, he could not make up his
mind to cross the ditch; and, in fact, had absolutely
determined not to do so.
We were in despair; but feeling sure that it would
Neddy, and the R1,i Doxky. 35
not do to have him carried in and out every day, we
disconsolately led him back to our home, and told our
troubles to Papa, who ordered him back to the stall at
the inn for the night.
Next day, we tried in all directions to find a field
where Neddy could graze; but no such place tould be
found. So we had a grand consultation as to what
must be done for him; and Papa said that he could not
keep him in a stall, feeding with hay, for, perhaps, half
a year or more, as he expected to remain where we
were for a long time. So we made up our minds to
part with our donkey; and we did not regret it quite
so much at this time of year, as winter would soon come
on, when, probably, we should not be able to ride much.
We sent Neddy to the nearest town, about ten
miles off; and a little boy there became his master.
And we kept his saddle and bridle, in hopes of supply-
ing his place some day.
BUNNY, THE WILD RABBIT.
E were now living in England, in a country
place-fields and woods and lanes all around.
We took great pleasure in all the amusements
of country life.
Our Papa had some ferrets, which he used
to take out for rat-hunting in the corn stacks,
with a terrier we had, named Tawney, and
other dogs; and now and then he went to a
rabbit warren at some little distance. A boy one day
brought from this warren a hat-full of young rabbits for
the ferrets to eat They were all supposed to be dead;
but when Papa was looking at them, he saw that one
of the poor little things was alive, so he brought it into
the house, and gave it to me and my sister, saying that
if we thought we could feed it we might keep it.
The poor little thing was so young, that it was a
great chance whether we could bring it up; but we had
a cook who was very fond of all animals, and she helped
us to nurse it She fed it with milk for a few days,
and then it soon began to nibble at bran and vegetables,
Busny, te Wild Rabbit. 37
and in a week or two could eat quite as well as a full-
The gardener made us a nice little house for it, by
nailing some bars across the open side of an old box,
and it slept in this by the side of the kitchen fire; but
we never fastened it up so that it could not get out, and
in the day-time it was seldom in its box, but running
about the kitchen, and it soon found its way along the
passage into the sitting-room, and then upstairs to the
nursery, and into all the bed-rooms. It went up and
down stairs quite easily, and seemed perfectly happy
running about the house.
It was a very strange thing that our terrier Tawney,
of whom I have much to tell afterwards, never thought
of touching Bunny, for when out of doors he was most
eager after any sort of animal, would run for miles after
a rabbit or a hare, went perfectly crazy at the sight of
a cat, and was famous for rat-hunting and all such
things; but as soon as he entered the house, even if the
saucy little Bunny bounded about just before his nose,
he would quietly pass by, apparently without an idea
that it was a thing to be hunted. In the evenings,
when Tawney would lie asleep on the rug, Bunny used
to run over him, sometimes nestling itself against his
back or legs; then would pat his face with its fore-
paws, and take all manner of liberties with him. He
never so much as growled or snapped at it, and seemed
38 Live Toys.
really to like the companionship of the poor little
One very favourite hiding.place of Bunny's was
behind the books on the dining-room shelves. These
were quite low down to the floor, and if he could find
a gap where a book was taken out, he squeezed himself
in, and as the shelves were very wide, there was plenty
of room for him to run about behind the books. I
suppose he liked the darkness, and thought it was
something like one of his native burrows, and if he
could not remember them, it was his natural propensity
to live in narrow dark passages, and therefore he pre-
ferred such places to the open daylight It was very
funny to see his little brown face peeping out between
the books. Sometimes it happened that a book was
replaced whilst Bunny was snugly hidden behind, and
then we missed him when we went to put him to bed
in his box for the night First we went to look for him
in all the rooms, and about the passages; and if he was
not in the bookcase he would always come when we
called; so when we saw nothing of the little animal, we
went and took a book out of each shelf, and we were
sure to see his bright eyes glistening in the dark, and
then out came little Bunny with a bound. He did not
seem to care for running into the garden or yard, which
was odd ; but as he grew older his taste for burrowing
showed itself strongly.
Bunny, the Wild Rabbit. 39
As he used to follow the cook about everywhere, he
had of course been often down to the cellar and larder.
These were paved with small round stones, and there
was an inner cellar, or rather a sort of receptacle for
lumber of all sorts, which was not paved at all; it had
a floor of earth. Old hampers and boxes were put
away there; sometimes potatoes and carrots, etc., were
spread on the floor there; and altogether the place had
a very damp, earthy sort of smell, perhaps very like the
inside of a rabbit burrow; and one day the cook came
to ask Mamma to come and look at the litter Bunny
had made in the cellar. We all ran down, and saw
that Bunny had scratched up a quantity of earth from
between the little stones with which the cellar was
paved ; in fact the cellar floor looked almost like a
flower-bed, all earth. The door into the inner cellar
happened to be shut, or most probably he would have
commenced his operations where there were no stones
to hinder him.
Mamma said that the gardener should press down
the earth again between the stones, and tighten any
that were loose, and that Bunny must not be allowed
at any time to go down into the cellar. But it was
very difficult to prevent his doing so. In summer, the
meat and the milk were kept down there, as being the
coolest place, and the beer barrels were there, and the
coals, in different compartments; and to fetch all these
40 Live Toys.
different things somebody or other was perpetually
opening the door at the top of the stairs. So Bunny
frequently found opportunities for slipping in at the
open door, and he came every day less and less into
the sitting-rooms. One evening he had the cunning to
hide himself behind some of the empty hampers in the
inner cellar, and when we called him, and looked about
for him in the evening, no Bunny appeared. In vain
we took books out of all the shelves, hunted behind the
curtains, under the sofas, and in all his usual hiding-
places; we were obliged to give it up, and go to bed
without finding him.
The next morning, we renewed our search, and
seeing no sign of his work in the outer cellar, we
determined to have a regular rummage in the inner
one. After moving a great many bottles, baskets,
boxes, and barrels, we found a great hole. The earth
had evidently been just scratched out; for it was quite
moist and fresh. The busy little fellow had made a
long burrow during the night in the floor of the cellar.
When he heard our voices, he came out of his newly-
made retreat, and we took him up stairs and gave him
some food; for he was quite ravenous after his hard
work. Then we consulted with his friend the cook,
how to manage about him in future. It would
certainly never do to let him go on burrowing under
the house; in time we should have all the walls under-
Bunny, the Wild Raii. 41
mined, and the house would come tumbling down upon
us, burying us in the ruins. Terrible, indeed, was the
catastrophe that we created in our imagination from
the small foundation of Bunny's having scratched a
hole in the cellar! And now that he had once tried
and enjoyed the pleasures of burrowing, we could
scarcely expect that he would relinquish it again.
We went to talk about it to Mamma; and we
proposed that Bunny should live in the garden.
"But," said Mamma, "I shall have all my nice
borders scratched into holes; and the roots of my
beautiful rose-trees laid bare; and, in short, the whole
flower-garden destroyed, to say nothing of the kitchen-
garden, which would, of course, become a mere burrow."
"Well, then, Mamma," we said, "we must make
him a much larger house, and keep him in it altogether.
We will not let him have his liberty at all; and then
it will be impossible for him to do any mischief."
But Mamma said, that although that plan would
certainly prevent Bunny from burrowing; she thought
that it would not be a very happy life for the poor
little animal, who had been accustomed all his life to
perfect liberty, and had never been confined to one
We could think of no other plan; so begged
Mamma to tell us what she thought we had better do.
"Do you remember," said Mamma, "seeing a
42 Live Toys.
number of little brown rabbits, running about and
darting in and out of their holes, in the wild part of the
fir-woods, where we sometimes drive 1 There is a great
deal of fern and grass about there, and nothing at all
to prevent the rabbits from burrowing and enjoying
their lives without any one to molest them. I advise
you to take Bunny there, and to turn him loose in the
fir-wood; he will very soon find some companion and
make himself a home; and do you not think he will be
far happier when leading that life of freedom, than if
kept in a wooden house, or even if allowed to burrow
in a cellar ?"
After some deliberation, we agreed to follow
Mamma's advice; and the next day we drove to the
fir-wood, taking Bunny with us in a basket
We drove slowly along the skirts of the wood,
looking for a nice place to turn him out. At last, we
came to an open space among the fir-trees; the ground
was there thickly covered with long grass, ferns, and
wild-flowers, and the banks beneath the firs were full
of rabbit-holes; we saw many little heads popping in
"This is just the place," we cried. "What a
beautiful sweet fresh place to live in;" and we got down
and went a little way into the grass; then we placed
the basket on the ground and opened it Bunny soon
put up his head, snuffed the sunny sweet air, and
Busny, tl/ Wild Rabit. 43
glanced about him in all directions. No doubt he was
filled with wonder at the change from our kitchen or
dark cellars, to this lovely wood; with a bright blue
sky, instead of a ceiling; waving green trees, instead
of white walls; and on the ground, in place of a bare
stone floor; inexhaustible delights in the way of food;
and soft earth for burrowing. Having admired all this,
he jumped out of the basket; first he nibbled a little
bit of grass, then ran a little way among the ferns.
"Do let us watch him till he runs into a rabbit
hole," we said to Mamma.
And Mamma said she would drive up and down
the road that skirted the firs, for about half-an-hour,
and we might watch Bunny.
He wandered about for a long time among the
grass and plants; and at last we lost sight of him in a
thick mass of broom and ferns.
Mamma thought it was useless to search for him;
there was no doubt that he would thoroughly appreciate
the advantages of the fir-wood. So we gathered a
large bunch of wild flowers, jumped into the carriage,
and left Bunny in his beautiful new home.
NE morning, my sister was sitting with Mamma
at the dining-room window, when they saw me
coming down the garden walk, with my head
bent down, and something perched on my
"Look said Mamma, "What has your
brother got on his back ?"
Up started my sister.
"Oh!" cried she, "It is something alive; it is
black : what can it be 1"
And she darted out to look at my prize.
It was a fine glossy fully-fledged jackdaw. The
gardener, knowing my love for pets of all kinds, had
rescued it from the hands of some boys, who had found
a nest of jackdaws, and had presented it to me.
Although it was quite young, it looked like a
solemn old man; the crown of its head was becoming
very grey; and it put its head on one side, and
examined us in such a funny manner, listening with a
The ackdaw. 45
wise look when we spoke, as if considering what we
The gardener had cut one of his wings pretty
close, and the remaining wing was not very large.
We set him down in the garden, and watched him
for some time, in order to be certain that he could
not fly over the low wall that separated our garden
from the road. And we soon saw that he could only
flutter a few inches from the ground, and hop in a
very awkward sidelong manner; there was no fear of
Luckily, there was a large wicker cage, that had
once been used for a thrush, in the coach-house. We
fetched this out, cleaned it, and placed Jacky in it on
the ground near some shady bushes. We left the door
open, that he might hop in and out, and always kept a
saucer of food for him in the cage.
He soon became very tame; would hop on our
wrists and let us carry him about, and liked sitting on
our shoulders, as we went about the garden. Near his
cage was a large lilac bush, and he found that he could
hop nearly to the top by means of its branches; and
he picked out for himself a nice perch there, in a sort
of bower of lilac leaves and flowers.
Finding this much pleasanter than the cage, he soon
deserted that entirely; and at night, and whenever he
was not hopping about the garden, or playing with us,
46 Live Toys.
he was to be found always on the same twig in the
We used to place his saucer of sopped bread, and
his saucer of water at the foot of the bush.
When we passed, he used to shout "Jacky!" and
soon began to try other words; and tried to imitate all
sorts of sounds and noises.
In the heat of summer, when the bed-room windows
were all opened at daylight, we used to hear him prac.
tising talking in his bush. He barked like the dogs;
utterly failed in his attempt to sing like the canaries;
mewed like pussy very well, indeed; and then kept up
an indescribable kind of chattering, which we called
saying his lessons; for we supposed that he intended
it to imitate our repeating of lessons, which he heard
every morning through the dining-room window.
Sometimes we heard more noise than he could
possibly make alone; and we softly got out of our
beds, and peeped through the window to discover what
it was about There must have been six or seven
other jackdaws, running round and about his bush,
hopping up and down into it; apparently trying how
they liked his house, and having all sorts of fun and
conversation with our Jacky.
Within a few fields of our garden walls stood the
old ruin of a hall or manor-house; it had once, doubt-
less, been large and handsome; nothing now remained
The Jackdaw. 47
of it but the outer wall, a few mullioned windows, and
some remnants of stone-staircases. The walls being
very thick and much broken, afforded excellent holes
and corners for jackdaws' nests; for owls and such
things. Indeed, it was from one of these holes in the
ruined hall that Jacky had been taken. And the
numerous feathered inhabitants of the "Old Hall," as it
was called, having spied our pet sitting in lonely state
in his bower among the lilac leaves, doubtless thought
he would be grateful for a little company, and the
society of his equals; so kindly used to pay him a
visit in the early morning, before children or gardener
were likely to interfere.
We were rather afraid that the wild jackdaws might
entice away our Jacky, by describing to him their own
free life, and the mode of existence in the crumbling
walls of their home. But when Mamma made us
observe how very awkwardly he hopped about with
his cropped wing, and how utterly impossible it was for
him to fly across two or three fields, and to the top
of the ruin, we were satisfied that his stay in our garden
was compulsory; and we agreed that the "Old Hall"
jackdaws might visit him as much as they pleased.
But they never once came at any other time than very
early in the morning.
I suppose Jacky thought that he had kept these
visits a profound secret from us.
48 Live Toys.
As he grew older, he became extremely mischievous.
When Mamma was busy in the garden, he used to come
down from his tree and follow her about from one
border to another, watching earnestly whatever she was
doing; and whilst she tied up the plants, or gathered
away the dead leaves and flowers, he used to put his
head on one side, and seemed to be considering for
what purpose this or that was done.
Mamma was planting a quantity of sweet peas, in
order to have a second and late crop, after the first had
begun to fade. She planted them in circles, twelve
peas in each, and a white marker was stuck in the
centre of each patch. As it was fine warm weather,
Mamma expected.that these peas would very soon
appear; but in a few days, when she went to look at
them, she saw that all the white markers had been
pulled up and thrown on one side.
So she called to us, "Children! I am afraid you
have meddled with my seed-markers; for they have all
been taken out, and I stuck them firmly in the ground;
some one must have touched them."
We assured Mamma that we were not the delin-
quents.; indeed, we were too fond of all the beautiful
flowers to injure them in any way.
When we.looked closer, we saw that there was an
empty hole in each place where Mamma had planted a
pea. They had every one been picked out
TA~ yacdaw. 49
Whilst we were wondering who could have done
this, the gardener passed, and Mamma shewed him the
empty holes, and the markers pulled up; and asked
him who he thought likely to have done such a piece
"I shouldn't wonder if it war he," said the gardener,
pointing to Jacky, who, as usual, was close to Mamma,
listening attentively to all we said.
"Jacky, Jackyl" shouted he, making some of his
awkward jumps at the same time; and going close to
the ring of little holes, he peeped down them, with his
head on one side, as if to make sure that he had left
nothing at the bottom.
We could not help laughing at the queer old-
fashioned manner of the creature; but, at the same
time, it was very annoying for Mamma to lose all the
pretty and sweet flowers through Jacky's greediness.
She said she would plant some more immediately;
and she sent my sister, with Jacky on her wrist, to the
front of the house, with orders to stay there till the
planting was finished, so that the mischievous bird might
not watch the whole process, and would not know where
the seeds were planted.
I stayed to help Mamma; we planted rings of sweet
peas in different places from the old ones; and instead
of white markers, which might attract Jacky's notice,
we stuck in a great many bramble-sticks, all round every
50 Lim Toys.
patch, so closely that a much smaller bird than Jacky
would have found it difficult to squeeze himself in
between the rough prickly twigs. Then we thought
that all was safe, and we let Jacky come back to his
The next day he had not touched the brambles;
but I suppose he had thought it necessary to do some-
thing in the way of gardening; so he had fetched up,
from the farthest end of the kitchen garden, a roll of
bass, or strips of old matting, that was used for tying
plants and flowers to sticks. This he had pulled into
little shreds, all about the lawn and the flower-beds,
and a great deal of time and trouble he must have
spent upon his work. 'How the gardener did scold!
saying, that it would take the whole afternoon to clear
away the litter, and that Jacky did more mischief than
he was worth; and so on.
But Jacky was a privileged person, and did pretty
much as he liked; so it was of no use to complain
It"was most amusing to see how he teased the
gardener when mowing was going on; he would watch
his opportunity, and when no one chanced to be looking,
he would run away with a bit of carpet or piece of old
flannel, that the gardener used to wipe his scythe; or
else he would drag away the hone, or sharpening-stone,
and hide it under his lilac-bush.
TA# acAaw. 51
So gardener, finding him a great nuisance on mowing
days, told us that he should certainly mow off Jacky's
head or legs some day; for he would come hopping
about among the cut grass; and if taken up and landed
in his tree, he would immediately come down again,
and thrust himself just in the way.
So for the future, we took care on mowing days to
shut up Jacky in the nursery, or in the dining-room,
where he used with a rueful countenance to watch all
proceedings through the window, pecking now and then
in a spiteful way at the glass.
Whilst Jacky was in our possession, we had a
sparrow-hawk for a short time. Papa brought him
home one evening in a paper bag; he was a very
handsome fellow, with such brilliant eyes, and such a
beak I He was perfectly wild, and bit furiously at any
hand that approached him; so we covered up his head
in a pocket-handkerchief, whilst gardener fastened a
small chain round his leg. Then we fixed a short
stump in the grass, not far from Jacky's lilac, and
fastened the end of the chain to the stump. So he
could run and hop about for a yard or two round the
stump; we intended to keep him there until he became
a little tamer, and hoped that the example of his
neighbour would teach him good manners. But instead
of taking Jacky as a pattern, the new comer bullied
him in a most dreadful way. We might have saved
52 Liw Toys.
ourselves the trouble of chaining him, for he snapped
the chain in two with his strong beak, and came down
from his stump quite at liberty to roam about. Strange
to say, he did not go away altogether, but walked in at
the dining-room window. We were seated at tea, and
not knowing that the hawk had liberated himself, we
were quite startled at hearing a curious flapping in the
corer of the room, but we soon saw the two brilliant
eyes, and there sat Mr. Sparrow-hawk, on the top of
the bookcase. We took him out and confined him to
his stump again. There he stayed quietly all night; but
next day we heard Jacky pitying himself in his bush,
and we found him fidgetting about in the top of the
lilac, and fearing to come down, because Mr. Sparrow-
hawk was walking about at the bottom, and whenever
poor Jacky ventured down, he was darted at by the
new comer, and hastily scrambled up the bush again.
This was done out of pure love of teasing, for the hawk
would not condescend to touch Jacky's food, consisting
of sopped bread; but yet he would not let the poor old
grey-head come down to eat his own breakfast Jacky
was quite crest-fallen, and we procured a stronger chain
which held Mr. Sparrow-hawk fast on his stump for
several days, during which time Jacky regained his
But then the chain was burst again, and this time
the hawk took to chasing the cats as well as tormenting
THE, .SPIAINOW II \WI AND) CA V
The 7acdaw. 53
Jacky. We had two cats; they were very good friends
with Jacky, and used to wander about the garden a
good deal; quite unconscious of what was in store for
them, they commenced playing about Mr. Sparrow-
hawk's stump, when down stepped the gentleman and
nipped the tail of the nearest cat quite tightly in his
sharp beak. Poor pussy shrieked and mewed, and we
had to go to her rescue. At last we left off chaining
the hawk, as we found that he did not try to escape,
but sat on his stump or else came into the house; and
we often were startled by finding him perched on a
table, or on the banniiters; but at the same time he
would not become tame, and he so terrified and annoyed
poor Jacky, that we soon sent him away; and certainly
the cats and Jacky must have rejoiced, when they found
the savage owner of the stump had disappeared. The
only sign of civilization which Mr. Sparrow-hawk had
shewn, was one evening when a gentleman who visited
us happened to be playing the flute in the drawing-
room. The hawk never came into the room when any
one was there, and had very often heard the piano and
singing; but probably the peculiar sound of the flute
had something very pleasing to the bird's ear, for
although this room was full of people, he came to the
open window, hopped in, and gradually approached the
flute-player, till he perched himself on the end of the
flute. When the music ceased, the hawk quietly took
54 Live Toys.
himself out of the window again, and next day was as
wild as ever.
One of Jacky's great pleasures during the summer,
was bathing or washing at the sink in the back kitchen.
We always took care that he was provided with a large
saucer of water which stood beneath his lilac bush, but
this did not appear to be sufficient One day when the
cook was pumping water out of the sink-pump, Jacky
jumped up, and put his head under the stream, shouting
and fluttering, with expressions of the greatest delight;
and after this he generally came every day into the
back kitchen, and called and hopped about until cook
came and pumped over him. Such a miserable half
drowned creature as he looked, with all his feathers
sticking close to his body; then he used to repair to
the kitchen and sit before the fire, till he became dry.
Sometimes he got upon the fender, and when the fire
was large, it made his feathers appear quite to smoke,
by so rapidly drawing out the water. Once he was
actually singeing, when the cook snatched him up and
put him out of the window, and it was strange that he
seemed to like the roasting at the fire quite as well as
the cold water.
He soon discovered the time that tea was prepared
in the kitchen, and regularly came to the window to
ask for tea and bread and butter; so a saucer of tea
and a piece of bread and butter were placed on the
The Yackdaw. 55
window-sill for him, as punctually as the cook's own tea
was prepared; and Jacky sipped his tea, and ate his
bread and butter like any old washerwoman. But
whilst sitting at the kitchen window he spied all sorts
of things on cook's little work-table that strongly
tempted his thieving propensities, and coming cautiously
one morning, when the cook was absent, he pretty well
cleared the table; very many journeys in and out must
it have cost him, for when the poor cook returned to
her kitchen, she began exclaiming, "Who has been
meddling with my work and all my things 1" and she
called to me and my sister, and asked if we had hidden
her work materials to plague her. "No indeed," we
said; "we have not been here this morning at all."
"Well then," said she, "what has become of my
thimble, my scissors, and reels of cotton, my work that
I laid upon the table ? and there was also an account-
book of your Mamma's, and a pen; I don't see one of
them!" We hunted about for the missing articles.
The kitchen window looked out on a plantation, not far
from Jacky's bush. My sister looked out Oh I"
cried she, "there is one leaf of your account-book on
the border." "And I declare," exclaimed cook, who
had run to the window, "there is one of my new reels
twisted round and round yon rose tree; I do believe
it's that mischievous bird." We were delighted. We
both sprang out of the window-"There's your thimble,"
56 Lioe Toys.
I shouted, "full of wet mould l" "And here are your
scissors," cried my sister, "in Jacky's drinking saucer
And there is your half-made shirt, hanging on the rose
bush beneath the window Poor cook could not
forbear laughing. "Well," said she, "he must have
been right-down busy to take off all these things in
about five minutes. Gather up my things for me, like
good bairns." So we ran about picking up the things;
the cotton reels were restored with about half their
supply of cotton, as he had twisted them all round
about the stems of different plants; the pen was stuck
into the earth, and as for the account-book, the leaves
were all about the garden-some he had even carried
down to the cucumber-frame, quite at the other end.
But he was such a favourite, that even this sort of trick
was allowed to pass unpunished. He furnished us with
much amusement; and I am now coming to his sad end.
The wall which separated our garden from the road
was very rough and old, full of holes and crumbling
mortar. Once or twice, when sitting at the windows,
we had seen a small animal run across the gravel walk;
we could not discern whether it was most like a rat
or a weasel, and probably it came in through one of
the holes in the wall. We did think of Jacky;
but knowing that he always roosted at the top of the
lilac bush, we supposed that he was quite out of the
reach of rat or weasel One morning quite early, our
The achdatw. 57
Papa whose window was open, heard a very strange
sort of chattering from poor Jacky, so unlike his usual
language, that he got up and looked out of his window.
Seeing nothing, and hearing no more, he went to bed
again; but when Mamma went as usual to give Jacky
his breakfast, no call of pleasure came from the bush;
no Jacky was there, and he was nowhere to be seen.
"Then a weasel has taken him," said Papa, when
we told lim; "the singular cry he made this morning,
was doubtless when the weasel seized him." And when
we searched about the garden, there we found on a
grass bank, at some distance the remains of our poor
pet The weasel had bitten him behind the ear, and
sucked the blood; his feathers were a good deal ruffled,
but no other bite had been made. We blamed our-
selves much, for not having safely fastened him in a
cage every night in the house. But now we could
do nothing but bury the body of poor Jacky.
PRICKER, THE HEDGEHOG.
HORTLY after poor Jacky's death, Papa
called us into the garden.
"Childrenl" he said, "Here is some-
thing for you in my handkerchief. Guess
what it is; but don't touch."
The handkerchief looked as if something very
heavy was in it; and we guessed all sorts of
things, but in vain.
At last Papa let us feel, and my sister grasped it
rather roughly; but withdrew her hand quickly, with
five or six sharp pricks.
"Oh it is a nasty hedgehog," cried she; "look
how my fingers are bleeding 1"
." Not a narty hedgehog," I said, "but a curious nice
creature; where did you get it, Papa l"
"It was given to me this morning for you," he
replied; "it will live in the garden; and you must
sometimes give it a little milk, and it will do very well;
and perhaps become quite tame."
Pricker, te Hedgeog. 59
The little creature, when placed on the grass, did
not curl itself up and appear affrighted, but looked
about him, and ran quickly to and fro. We brought
some milk out in a saucer, but he could not manage to
get his nose over the side; so we made a little pond of
the milk on the grass, and he dipped his black snout
into it, and then sucked it up greedily.
This hedgehog soon became very tame; when we
took him up in our hands, he did not curl up in affright,
but let us look at his feet, and touch and pat his curi-
ous little pig's face He helped himself to what he
liked best in the garden; and we never found that he
rooted up anything, or did the slightest damage; he
liked the milk which we gave him daily; and when we
were playing on the grass, he used to run about us, as
if he liked our company.
We had been told that we should never be able to
keep a hedgehog; that they always climbed over the
walls, and escaped to the fields and hedges
But although we did not in any way confine
Pricker, he never attempted to leave us, being ap-
parently quite content with his run of the kitchen-
garden, flower-garden, and house; for we sometimes
carried him into the kitchen, and upstairs into the
nursery, where he would roll himself up into some
snug corer, and remain apparently asleep for an hour
6o Live Toys.
When we had had Pricker for some weeks, we re-
ceived a present of a second hedgehog. He was larger,
but never became so tame as our first friend; he did not
like to be taken up in our hands, and we never could
obtain a good look at his black face and legs, as he
rolled up on the slightest touch; and when Pricker
was running about on the grass, his shy companion
used to remain hidden beneath the leaves and plants.
We had, at this time, a very favourite dog; and at
the first coming of the hedgehogs, we were in some
fear that Tawney would kill them, for he was a most
eager hunter of rats, weasels, rabbits, cats; in short, of
anything that would run from him.
But every one assured us that a dog would not
kill a hedgehog, on account of his sharp prickles; and
the first time that we showed Pricker to Tawney, he
mode a sort of dart at him, and received, of course, a
violent prick on the nose; at this he retreated, barking
and licking his lips, and dancing round poor Pricker,
with every desire to attack again; but hoping to find
a spot unprotected by the formidable spikes.
Pricker, however, having tightly rolled himself up,
such a spot was not to be found; and, after a great
deal of noise and excitement, Tawney retired, and we
never observed him to venture again.
When Pricker was running on the grass, or when
we were feeding him with milk, Tawney used to play
Prichr, tel Hdgkog. 61
about without condescending to take the slightest
notice of the little animal; in short, he pretended not
,to see him. So that we felt quite easy about the
safety of Pricker and his comrade.
What it was that induced Tawney not only to see
Pricker, but to attack him again, we do not know, as
nobody was witness of the catastrophe.
On going into the garden one brilliant morning,
Tawney made his appearance in a very excited state,
bounding about our feet with a short delighted bark,
that was not usually his morning salutation; and on
looking more closely at him, we saw that his nose was
bleeding; indeed, his whole head and ears were much
ruffled and marked.
We did not at first think of Pricker; but on wiping
Tawney's face with a wet towel, we found that he was
bleeding from many wounds.
"The hedgehog we exclaimed; "he must have
killed poor Pricker."
So we commenced a grand hunt through the garden,
looking under all the cabbage-plants, and in all the
Behind the cucumber-frame we found our hedgehog;
but as he curled up the moment we looked at him, we
knew that it was not Pricker; and on further search
we discovered the mangled remains of the poor animal,
whose natural armour had not been sufficient to protect
62 Ler Toys.
him from so brave and plucky a little dog as our
Tawney, who must really have suffered greatly from
the deep thrusts into his face and head before he could
have inflicted a mortal bite.
Now, we thought, what shall we do with the other?
as, doubtless, Tawney would not allow him to live,
having found himself the conqueror in the present
Papa said that a gentleman, one of our neighbours,
had been telling him that his kitchen was infested with
black-beetles; and that he had tried beetle-traps, and
all sorts of methods of getting rid of them in vain.
Papa had told him that the surest way was to keep a
hedgehog in the kitchen, as they devour black-beetles
"Now," said Papa, "as you cannot keep the little
creature in safety here, you had better make a present
of it to Mr. D-; and I advise you to carry it to
him at once."
Accordingly, we took the hedgehog to our neigh-
bour, and it was duly installed in the kitchen.
In a day or two, we went to enquire whether the
beetles were decreasing.
Alas I the poor hedgehog had fallen a victim to his
own greediness; for, having eaten too many beetles, he
was found dead amidst a heap of the slain.
DRAKE, THE RETRIEVER.
T happened at this time that we passed another
winter in Ireland; and missing our garden, and
other occupations, my father made us a present
of a dog.
Drake was a large handsome retriever, of a
dark brown colour, with very short curly hair;
I believe that sort of dog is called the "Irish
Retriever;" they are certainly very common in that
country. I remember to have seen many of them;
but our Drake, we thought, was handsomer than the
generality ; his coat was more curly and of a
better colour, and he was taller-for they often have
rather short legs in proportion to their body. He was
a very rough bouncing creature, full of life and activity;
many a tumble and many a hard knock we received
in our games with him; he used to bound at us, and
putting both paws on our shoulders, roll us over like
It was winter when he came to us-a very hard
64 Live Toys.
winter, almost constant frost, and now and then heavy
falls of snow. We were at that time in a small fort on
the bank of the Shannon; and although that is a very
broad, deep, and rapid river, it was once, during the
winter, quite frozen over for more than a week; and
after that, when the strongest current remained unfrozen,
there was still a great deal of ice on the sides, and all
among the sedges and rushes that grew among the flat
Drake liked the cold very much, and liked rolling
in the snow, and being pelted with snowballs, which
was our chief amusement out of doors during the
In the house we had fine games of hide and seek;
we hid a glove or pocket-handkerchief under the sofa-
cushion, or in the curtain, or in Mamma's pocket, and
telling Drake to find it, he would rush frantically
about the room, snuffing in every hole and corner, until
he brought to light the hidden article. Then we had
races, in and out the bed-rooms and sitting-rooms, up
and down the stairs, and round the tables; but these
races generally ended by something being thrown down,
or, at least, by our clothes being torn in Drake's exul-
tation at catching us.
Whilst the hard frosts lasted, Papa had Drake out
with him a great deal.
Wild geese and wild ducks abounded on the river;
Draok, the Reriwer. 65
but they were extremely difficult to shoot; they gene-
rally flew in great numbers, and seemed to keep a
sentinel, or one to look out; for it was almost
impossible to approach them near enough to have them
within the reach of a shot
It was now that Drake's fetching and carrying pro-
pensities became most valuable.
Papa had a flat punt constructed; it was a most
curious-looking boat, so flat that it scarcely stood out
of the water at all; inside was fixed a large duck-gun
on a swivel, and then there was just room for Papa and
one man to lie down at the bottom, with Drake; it
was rowed by one paddle at the stem.
The geese and ducks used to come to feed on the
river's banks very early indeed in the morning; and so
watchful and shy were they, that even in the flat punt,
Papa found that he could not come at all near them
unperceived. Off they would all go again, making
such a flapping with their great wings, and quacking as
So Papa, having noticed a flat swampy sort of
place, some way down the river, set out late at night
in the punt; and, reaching this feeding-ground, waited
there till the flock came flying over them. They made
themselves heard some time before they arrived; and
then Papa, the man, and Drake, all crouched down and
remained immovable until the birds were right over-
66 Lie Toys.
head; and then, bang went the great duck-gun, and
down tumbled at least half a dozen great fat geese.
Now was Drake's time; and but for him no geese
would have been brought home, although many might
have been shot
Out of the punt sprang Drake, and soon carried
back one or two that had fallen into the open water;
then he would carefully get upon the thin ice, between
the rushes and the coarse grass, and bring to light any
wounded bird that had sought to find a shelter there.
Then again into the water where great thick reeds pre-
vented the boat from going; if the birds dived, he
dived after them; and, in short, none escaped him; he
swam after them, scrambled along the ice after them,
rummaged in the weeds all stiff with frozen snow, and
having seized one and hurried back to the boat with
it, off he would start for another.
But when the flock had once received a shot, they
came no more to the same place that night; so no
more was to be done, unless a chance bird or two on
the Way home. Sometimes they flew one or two to-
gether; we have seen them from the windows of the
fort, fly quite dose to the bridge in the daytime; but
only great hunger could have driven them to this.
When the party reached home, and the birds were
spread out on the floor to be looked at, how pleased Drake
was, and how proudly he snuffed from one to the other.
DRAKE, THE RETRIEVER.
Drah, the Rerievr. 67
The wild geese were very handsome birds, not so
large as common geese, but very plump, and with a
beautiful dark brown plumage. They were very good
to eat, for they do not live on fish, as some suppose,
but eat only the weeds and grass that they find in
certain spots along the river's bank. But the ducks
were handsomer still, very nearly as large as the geese;
less tough when cooked, and having brilliant blue
feathers in each wing. Then there was a smaller kind
of duck, with green feathers instead of blue, in the
wings; this green was. like the humming bird's green,
as bright as emerald.
Beside these, there were teals-very pretty-looking
things with silvery-looking feathers on the breast-and
a variety of small ducks, and curlews. All pretty, and
all good to eat; we had to thank Drake for every one
of them, as without his help very few would have been
picked up; there was so much thin ice along the
river, that would not have borne a greater weight than
Drake, so when they fell upon this, they were quite out
of man's reach, to say nothing of the difficulty of grop-
ing out a wounded bird from a wilderness of long grass
and rushes, growing in pretty deep water. Drake
highly enjoyed the night expeditions, and when the
punt was getting ready, or the gun cleaning, he would
jump about and bark, as if to say "I know what is in
68 Liw Toys.
When the winter was nearly passed, we went back
to England, leaving Drake in the fort. Being much
played with and sometimes teased by the soldiers, he
became very rough, and rather inclined to snap and
bite. Shortly afterwards he was sent to us in England,
and on his arrival we brought him in, to have a game
with us in the house. We had a large ball, and were
making Drake fetch it, when we rolled it to the end of
room. This went on very well for some time, excepting
that Drake did not give the ball up without a growl,
which he had never done formerly; and at last, he lay
down with it between his fore-feet, and I desired him
to bring it in vain, so I went to him and took it in my
hand, when he flew at me with a growl, and bit my
cheek. It was not a very severe bite, but Mamma said
she would not keep the best dog in the world after he
had bitten one of us, and that Drake must immediately
be sent away. Then Papa wrote to a gentleman who
knew what a clever dog at finding game Drake was,
and he agreed to buy him. So he was sent off without
our seeing him again.
TAWNEY, THE TERRIER.
E now come to the very chief of our favourites,
our dear dog Tawney. Before he arrived, we
only had a setter who lived in his kennel in
the yard, and we never petted him much;
and once when papa went away for several
months, he took the dog with him, so we were
without any guard.
At this time a great many robberies had
taken place, and houses had been broken into in the
neighboring town. There appeared to be a gang of
house-breakers going about And when Mamma was
writing to our Grandmamma, she said that she quite
expected a visit from this gang, some night, as Papa
was away, and no man in the house. Grandmamma
replied that the best safeguard was a little terrier,
sleeping inside the house, and that she would send her
one; and in a few days we received a beautiful terrier,
close haired and compact, with such brilliant dark eyes,
and of a yellowish colour, more the colour of a lion than
anything else, so we named him "Tawney." A bed
70 Lir Toys.
was arranged for him in a flat basket, which was placed
every evening near the back door, and we soon found
what sharp ears he had, and what a good watch-dog he
would prove. If Mamma got up after every one had
gone. to bed, and opened her own door as softly as
possible, Tawney heard the lock turn, and barked
instantly. He always gave notice when anybody
entered the front gate, or came into the yard; and we
felt sure that no house-breaker could approach the
house unheard at least
Tawney became our constant companion. He took
his meals with us, sat under the table during our lessons,
walked out with us, joined in all.our romps and games;
and was really almost as companionable as another
child could have been. At hide and seek, running
races, leaping over a pole, and blind man's buff, he
played as well as any boy, and when we drove in the
pony carriage he amused us excessively. He darted
into every door or gate he found open, and in passing
through the town he behaved so badly with respect to
the cats, that we were obliged to take him into the
carriage, until we had quite left the streets. If he saw
a poor quiet cat sitting at a door he flew at her; and
if the cat took refuge in the house, Tawney followed,
barking and yelping and doing all he could to worry
poor puss. Of course this was not at all pleasing to
the inmates, and generally Tawney emerged, as quickly
Tanwy, Me Trrier. 71
as he entered, followed by a flying broom-stick, some-
times by the contents of a pail of dirty water; and
often by an angry scolding woman, whom we had to
appease as we best could. Then, if he saw a little
child with a piece of bread, or a mug of milk, he would
seize upon the food, knocking down the child by the
roughness of his spring; and then we had again to
apologise and explain, and regret, and so on; and
although all these pranks were done in the joy and
delight of his heart, at starting for a good run in the
country, that was no .comfort to the aggrieved cats and
children; and he became so unbearable when in the
town, that we used to make a circuit to avoid the
streets, or else as I said before, take him inside the
Then when we reached the lanes and roads, we
gave him his liberty, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
How he raced before us, how he sprang over the
hedges and walls, sometimes disappearing entirely for a
field or two, and then suddenly darting out from some
wood or garden I Once or twice he returned to the
carriage with his nose bloody; we could not discover
what he had been worrying. But it must be confessed
that he was a fierce little animal, and had no idea of
Sometimes he disappeared altogether when running
after the carriage, and more than once stayed out all
72 Lim Toys.
night and even two nights; but always returned safely
and in good plight, as if he had not been starved.
We used to wish that he had the power of telling
us his adventures on these occasions: where he had
slept; what pranks he had played; and in how many
scrapes and difficulties he had found himself.
His greatest delight was when Papa took him with
us to hunt a stack for rats. Oh I what a wonderful
state of excitement was Tawney in; he used to sit
staring at a hole in the stack as if his eyes would
spring from his head, and shaking in every limb with
delightful expectation. Then, when the rat bolted from
his concealment, what a sharp spring did the little
fellow make; and having despatched his victim, would
peer up to the top of the stack, and seem to examine
so carefully all up the side, to discover another hole
that looked promising. If none offered, he would run
off to another stack, and snuffing all round it, search
most carefully for signs of rat holes.
One of Tawney's most annoying tricks was his love
of fighting; he scarcely ever met with another dog,
without flying at him and provoking him to a severe
contest, in which torn ears were his usual reward; but
this sort of hurt was perfectly disregarded by him.
On one occasion, we went a journey to the sea-
shore, and Tawney was put into a dog-box, with several
Tawey, 116 Terrier. 73
While the train was in motion the rattle and noise
prevented us from hearing them; but at the first
station a most tremendous'yelping, snarling, and shriek-
ing arose from the dog-box; and on opening the door,
the whole number of dogs were tearing and biting each
other; no doubt having been invited to the contest by
our naughty Tawney. The combatants having been
separated by dint of dragging at their tails, legs, and
bodies, Tawney, with damaged mouth and ears, though
wagging his tail and wriggling about with pleasure, was
consigned to a solitary prison for the rest of the
journey; and the remaining dogs were left to lick their
wounds in peace
We were anxious to see what Tawney would think
of the sea; we had neither river, pond, or lake, near
our home in the country, so had never had an oppor-
tunity of trying his powers of swimming.
The first day that we went down to the shingle, the
sea was very rough; great tops of white foam rolling
over on the beach; and we had no idea that the little
fellow would venture into the midst of such a very
However, we flung a stick in. "Fetch it, Tawney I
Fetch it I"
And in plunged the bold little animal; the first
wave threw him up on the beach again, looking rather
astonished: but he did not hesitate to try again. The
74 Live Toys.
water being so rough, we did not urge his going in any
further, fearing that he might be washed away; but on
smooth days, he would swim out a long way, and bring
back any floating thing that was thrown in; and he
enjoyed. his swims as much as any regular water-dog
He had a habit of paying visits by himself, when
we were at home; he used regularly to go down the
road to a farmer, at some little distance, every morning
about eight o'clock, and quietly return, trotting along
the footpath at nine, which, doubtless, he knew to be
the breakfast hour.
Whilst we were at the sea-side, he used to visit a
family with whom we were intimate. Running to
their gate, he waited till some one rang, and entered
with them; if their business was not in the drawing-
room, he again waited till some other person opened
the door, and then he settled himself on the hearth-rug
for about half an hour; after which, he took leave by
wagging his tail, and came home again.
The lodging in which we were was one on a long
terrace, the front looking on the sea, and the back
having a long strip of yard opening into a lane. The
kitchen being in front, Tawney found that he was not
heard when he barked to be let in at the back of the
But the servant did not approve of coming up the
Tawey, the Terier. 75
steep kitchen stairs to let in Mr. Tawney, when the
back door was level with the kitchen, and only a step
for her; and, in some way, Tawney comprehended
this; for he used to come to the front of the house;
and the area of the kitchen-window being close to the
front door, he was sure that his bark was heard. Then
he raced round the end of the terrace, and through the
lane, to the back door; and by the time cook had gone
to open it, there was Mr. Tawney ready to enter.
There being no fear of housebreakers or thieves
here, the dog was allowed to sleep in Mamma's bed-
room; we provided him with a box and some folds of
carpeting at the bottom, and made him, we thought, a
soft comfortable bed.
But Tawney much preferred sheets and blankets,
and, my sister sleeping in a little bed in the corner of
Mamma's room, he used to wait till she was fast asleep,
and then slip himself on to the bed so quietly as not to
wake her; and, getting down to the foot of the bed,
would remain there till morning.
But Mamma said he must stay in his box; and
forbade my sister to allow him to get on the bed.
As, however, he never tried to do so until she was
asleep, she could not prevent it So Mamma listened,
and when she heard Tawney very softly leave his box
and go to the bed, she got up and whipped him, and
put him back in his box, ordering him to stay there.
76 Live Toys.
Several nights this took place; till Tawney had the
cunning to wait till Mamma also was asleep, when he
crept into the warm resting-place, and stayed there in
peace till the morning.
When daylight appeared, he returned to his own
bed, in order to avoid the morning whipping, which he
knew would come, were he discovered in the forbidden
When we were returning home, we were to make
some visits in London; so, thinking it best not to take
Tawney, we entrusted him to a man who was going to
our own town, with many charges as to feeding and
And when we had left London and arrived at home,
there was poor Tawney safe and well, and extravagantly
delighted to see us.
When we enquired about his behaviour on the road,
of the man who had brought him, he told us that he
had been in a terrible fright at the London station,
thinking that he had lost Tawney entirely.
He had to cross London from one station to
another; and there was an hour or two to spare before
the starting of the train from the second station ; so,
wishing to leave the station for that time, and fearing
to risk Tawney in the street, he tied him up, as he
thought, safely in a shed belonging to the station. He
was also taking with him some luggage belonging to
Tawnmy, the Tenrier. 77
us, among which was a large round packing-case, that
usually stood in Mamma's room; these were shut up in a
storehouse at the other end of the station.
At the appointed hour our friend returned to the
station, and went to claim the dog; but no Tawney
was in the shed, only the end of the broken rope which
had fastened him. In great anxiety he ran about
enquiring of all he met. No one knew anything of
the dog, no one had seen him pass out of the station;
and after fruitless search in all the waiting and refresh-
ment rooms, and in short through the whole station,
he was reluctantly obliged to go for the luggage in
order to pursue his journey, when, on opening the door
of the store-house, what was his joy on beholding the
missing Tawney, seated on the top of the round pack-
ing case, that he well knew to belong to his mistress
How he found out that the luggage was in the store-
house, and how he got in, we could not, of course, dis-
cover; and it only confirmed us in our opinion of
Tawney's intense wisdom. We and Tawney enjoyed
ourselves much for some weeks, taking long walks,
long drives, and hunting rats in all the neighbours' stacks
We had some fine games in our own field, and a great
deal of basking in the sun, as it was a beautiful summer,
with constant sunshine.
I mentioned that Tawney used to enrage the
people in the cottages by trying to worry their cats.
78 Liw Toys.
On one of these occasions, when he had made a dread-
ful confusion at the door of a cottage containing
children-upsetting a tub of soap-suds, dirtying the
clean sanded floor, and frightening an old woman
nearly out of her wits, by his reckless endeavour to
seize on the cat-a man had come angrily out of the
cottage, and coming close up to the carriage, declared
with a clenched fist, and a furious countenance, that if
Tawney ever approached his door again, he would
kill him. Papa, who happened to be with us, said that
if he would give Tawney a good beating, it would
punish the dog without punishing us; and as he was a
great favourite, he begged that he would not think of
killing him. Then we drove on, leaving the man
standing sulkily in the road.
Whether Tawney had gone alone to this cottage
for the purpose of worrying the cat, or whether the
man had taken his revenge for the first offence, or
whether he had done anything in the matter, we shall
never know; but we could not help suspecting him
when the following sad affair happened.
It was a very sultry day, too much so to run or to
do anything but lie on the grass, which we did during
the whole morning. Papa sat reading on a bench
placed in the shady side of the house, and we were on
the grass beside him; Tawney lay roasting in the sun,
and, now and then, panting with heat, came to us in
Taw'y, the Terier. 79
the shade, or even went into the dining-room window
and flung himself down under the table; some steps
led into the garden from the window, and as the
window-sill was not level with the dining-room floor,
but raised about two feet above it, we had a stool or
sort of step inside the window, as well as outside;
Tawney generally sprang through, without troubling
himself about the steps.
Soon after Tawney had entered the house, apparently
for the purpose of cooling himself, we heard a tumble,
then another, and Igot up to see what he was doing.
"Why, Papa," I cried, "what can be the matter with
Tawney 1 he is trying to jump out of the window and
cannot reach the sill, and falls back again." Papa came
to see, and again the dog made an ineffectual spring at
the low window-sill. Papa lifted him out into the
garden, saying he supposed he had half blinded himself
with lying so long in the hot sunshine. But we con-
tinued to watch him, and presently we saw his limbs
twitching in a sort of fit, and he ran wildly about us.
Papa called to the gardener, and they took him into the
stable, forbidding us to approach him, as they feared he
was going mad; they dashed water over him as he lay
exhausted on the straw in the stable; but soon the fits
became more and more violent, and our poor dog in a
few hours was dead.
A man that examined him by Papa's desire, said
8o Lior Toys.
there was no doubt that he had been poisoned by
strychnine. He might have picked up something so
poisoned while running in the roads, or it might have
been purposely done by the angry man to whom I
alluded. We never found out the manner in which it
had been administered, and could only regret most
heartily the loss of our dear play-fellow. We had not
another dog for a very long time, and never shall love
one so well as Tawney.
PUFFER, THE PIGEON.
HAT pretty things are pigeons; how happy
and nice they look sitting on the house-top,
and walking up and down the sloping roof
with their pretty pink feet and slender legs; and then
how they flutter up into the air, making circles round
the house, and now and then darting off on a straight
flight across the fields. Soon after we came to live at
our country-house, my sister had a present of a pair of
fantail pigeons, quite white. They were beauties, not
the slightest speck of any colour was on their feathers;
and when they walked about with their tails spread out
in a fan, and their necks pulled up so proudly, we
thought them the prettiest creatures we had ever seen.
Our Papa allowed us to have a nice place made for
them in the roof of the stables, with some holes for
them to go in at, and a board before the holes for them
to alight on; inside there were some niches for nests,
and as the fantails were quite young, we soon ventured
to put them in there At first we spread a net over
their holes, so that they could only walk about on the
82 Live Toys.
board outside; and when we thought they knew the
look of the place well, we let them have their entire
liberty, and they never left us.
Next we obtained a pair of tumblers. These were
small dumpy little birds, of a burnished sort of copper
colour, and such queer short little bills; when they were
flying, they turned head over heels in the air, without
in the least interrupting their flight. Then we had some
capuchins. They were very curious-looking creatures,
white and pale reddish brown, with a sort of a frill
sticking up round their necks, and the back of their
heads. We called them our Queen Elizabeths, for their
ruffs were much more like hers than like a monk's
hood, from which resemblance they are named. Besides
these, we had several common pigeons, some pretty
bluish and white. We fed them regularly in the yard,
and when they saw us run out of the house, with our
wooden bowl full of grain, they came fluttering down
and took it out of our hands, and strutted about close
to us so tamely and nicely; and then they would whirl
up again in the air.
We lived quite close to a railway station, and at one
time of the autumn, a great number of sacks of grain
were brought there for carriage to distant parts of the
country; for the corn-fields were very numerous about
us. In the process of unloading these sacks from the
carts, and again packing them on the railway trucks, a
Pufer, the PgoA. 83
quantity of corn was spilt about, and our pigeons were
not slow to find this out; we noticed they were con-
stantly flying over into the station-yards; and sometimes
when we went to feed them in the morning, they did
not come for our breakfast at all, having already made
a great meal at the station. There was an old pigeon-
house in the roof of the luggage store, which formed
part of the station buildings; and our ungrateful pigeons
actually went and built some of their nests in this
pigeon-house in preference to our own. At least, they
laid their eggs there; as for building a nest they never
did; they trod an untidy sort of hollow in the straw and
wool we placed for them, and there laid their eggs.
We often wondered why it was they did not build
beautiful compact and smooth nests like the little hedge
birds. That was the only thing about the pigeons that
we did not like-their dirty untidy nests, and the fright-
ful ugliness of the newly-hatched pigeons. The first
nest they had was made by the white fantails, and we
had anxiously watched for the hatching, expecting that
we should have two beautiful little soft white downy
pigeons, something like young chickens, or, still better,
young goslings. And how disappointed we were when
we saw the little frights, with their bare great heads
and lumps of eyes, and their ugly red-skinned bodies,
stuck full of bluish quills. After that we did not much
trouble'ourselves about the young pigeons, until they
84 Live Toys.
came out with some feathers, and tried to fly; but for
all that, it was very provoking to see them go off to
Our favourite of all was a large handsome pouter
or cropper. He was of a kind of dove colour, mixed
with green and bluish feathers, and when he stood up-
right, and swelled out his breast, he was quite beautiful.
He became tamer than any one of the pigeons; he
would come to the window when we were breakfasting,
and take crumbs of bread from our fingers; he would
perch on our shoulders when we called to him in the
yard, and liked to strut about at the back door, and to
come into the kitchen and to peck about beneath the
table. We called him Puffer. But he too was very
fond of going to the station, and sitting on the store-
house roof; and at last, really half our pigeons had
their nests in the station-house instead of in ours. We
went and fetched them out, nests and eggs altogether,
several times; and then we persuaded the station men
to block up the door of the old pigeon-house, which
prevented them from laying their eggs there, but they
still greedily preferred that yard to our own. Then
came the harvest time. There were many fields of
corn within sight of our house, and we perceived that
our naughty pigeons took to flying out to these fields,
instead of going so much to the station. How beauti-
ful they looked, with Puffer at their head darting along
Pufer, the Pigsp 85
in the sunshine, till they were almost out of sight; and
in about an hour they would come back again, spread-
ing themselves all over the house-top, and lying down
to bask in the sun, and to rest after their long flight
and the good meal they had made in the corn-fields.
Puffer would always come down to us, however tired,
and let us stroke him and kiss his glossy head and
One day after they had all flown far out all over
the fields, we heard a shot at a distance; we were not
noticing it much, beyond saying to each other, "There
is some one shooting ;" but the gardener who was with
us observed, "I wish it may not be some one firing at
your pigeons. The farmers can't bear their coming
after the grain; I am sorry they have taken to flying
away to them corn-fields." This alarmed us, and we
watched eagerly for the return of the pigeons. Here
they come," I exclaimed, and presently they were all
settling as usual about the house-top, Puffer in the
midst quite safe. "Count them, sir," said the gardener.
So we set to work to number the fantails, tumblers,
Queen Elizabeths, and dear old Puffer; all right, but
surely there were not so many of the common pigeons;
no, two were missing I "They've been shot then, sure
as fate," said the gardener; "we shall lose them all I
fear." Next morning we gave them a double break-
fast, hoping that not feeling hungry, they would not
86 Live Toys.
again go to the fields; but off they went as usual
about mid-day, and very anxiously we watched for
their returning flight; we could always see Puffer a
long way off, he was so much larger than the others,
and we longed for the time when all the corn would
be reaped and carried away, out of the reach of oar
One by one our pigeons diminished. We begged
the gardener to speak to the farmers about, and ask
them not to shoot our pigeons; but he said that it
must be very annoying to the farmers to see a tribe of
birds devouring the produce of their hard labour and
anxiety; and that he did not wonder at their endeav-
ouring to destroy the thieves. He said that if he spoke
about it, the farmer would say, "Shut up your birds,
and if they don't meddle with us, we shan't meddle
with them." Then we consulted whether we could cage
our pigeons; but they had always had their liberty,
and we were sure that they would not thrive if shut up.
So.we must take our chance, and the naughty things
persisted in flying over the fields to the distant corn.
One day, no Puffer returned to us; and in despair we
gave away all our remaining pigeons.
DR. BATTIUS, THE BAT.
NOW come to rather a singular pet Every
one-or rather every child-has a dog, or a
cat, or rabbits, or thrushes; little birds in
cages are dreadfully common, and so are
parrots; so are jackdaws; and as for ponies
and donkeys, what country-house is without
But I think that many people have not had a tame
bat It is not generally a tempting-looking creature;
and I should never have thought of taking any trouble
to procure one with the intention of petting it.
Our bat put itself into my possession by coming or
falling down the chimney of my bedroom.
The room was dark; and I heard a scratching and
fluttering in the chimney for some time. Then I heard
the flapping of wings about the room; and thought
that a robin or a martin had perhaps fallen into the
chimney and had been unable to make its way again
to the top.
I got up, and was seeking a match to light my
88 Liv toys.
candle, when the little creature came against me, and
I caught it with both hands spread over it
I felt directly that it was not a bird; there is
something so peculiarly soft and strange in the feel of
a bat; and I was nearly throwing it down with a sort
Second thoughts, which are generally best, came in
time to prevent my hurting the poor little creature;
and I lighted the candle, and took a good look at my
It was about the size of a small mouse; it kept its
wings closely folded, and I placed it in a drawer, and
shut it up till morning, when I and my sister had a
long inspection of my prize.
I do not know of what variety it was; for there
are, I believe, a great many different kinds. He had
not long ears; his eyes were very small indeed, though
We had never handled a bat before, and were not
soon weary of examining his curious blackish wings;
the little hooks, where his fore-feet, apparently, should
have been; his strangely-deformed hind-feet; and his
mouse-like body and fur.
We wrapped him up and shut him in a basket, and
during the day, I caught a handful of flies, of all sizes,
and put them into the basket
When it grew dusk, we opened the basket, and he
Dr. Battius, the Bat. 89
soon came out and fluttered about the room for a time;
we found that he had eaten all the flies, but not the
wings of the larger ones.
When he had been at liberty for some time, we
easily caught him again, and shut him up; and when
he became a little more used to me, I left him out all
night, being careful to close the opening into the
chimney; and he used to have the range of mine and
the adjoining room during the night
We tried him with a variety of food. I had
fancied that bats ate leaves and fruit; but he never
touched anything of that kind. He would eat meat,
preferring raw to cooked; and would drink milk, suck-
ing it up, more than lapping.
He evidently did not like the light; but sometimes
would make flights about the room when candles were
burning; and, occasionally, I took him about in my
jacket pocket in the day-time. If I took him.out to
show him to any one in the broad daylight, he never
unfolded his wings to fly, but remained quietly in my
hand with his wings folded.
We had been reading a book in which one of the
characters, a strange old man, was named Dr. Battius;
so we called our bat after him; and I do think the
little creature learnt to know me. He never fluttered
or tried to get away from me; and would always let
me take hold of him without manifesting any fear.