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YOURS FAITHFULLY, JOCK.
UNDER THE DOG-STAR:
FROM THE DOG-LATIN OF JOCK.
BOYS AND GIRLS.
By MARGARET VANDEGRIFT,
AUTHOR OF CLOVERR BEACH."
PORTER & COATES,
PORTER & COATES.
EARLY RECOLLECTIONS. ... ...
My\I NEw MISTRESS..........
S. ...... .. ..
MR RO(B IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY .....
I MAKE A FRIEND
I DEFEND THE FAMILY, AND HEAR AN UNPLEAS-
IN WHICH I TELL OF MY DISGRACE, AND OF THE
OUTLAW CAT ............. . . . 149
THE WELL IS DUG, AND I AM CRUELLY MISUN-
. . . . .
..... . .. 174
. .... .. 118
I VISIT THE OUTLAW CAT, AND LEARN AN IM-
PORTANT LESSON ....................... 201
MADAME'S BIRTHDAY, AND A STORY.... .. 221
MY FIRST AND LAST PUBLIC APPEARANCE...... 246
HELEN'S BIRTHDAY, AND ANOTHER OF THOSE
STORIES ....... ......... ..... 267
THE HAPPY CONCLUSION OF THE OUTLAW'S His-
TORY; A HAPPY CHRISTMAS; A HAPPY CHANGE
Nd- FOR MY MISTRESS; AND-THE END........ 291
W"- ea --- ,c
r --- I LO d im
CROSSING ON THE STEPPING-STONES......................... 13
"I FOUND JET HOLDING THE WHITE KITTEN "......... 17
"BIDDY WAS SITTING WITH LITTLE MIKE IN HER
LAP ............................................................ 23
"HONORA MADE THAT CAKE ................................ 29
"I COULD SEE AN OLD BROKEN SORT OF BUILDING "... 41
" I SAW A SWEET PALE FACE LYING ON THE PILLOW ".. 47
"SNOWBALL DASHED AFTER IT".......................... 55
" THE LITTLE BOY STOOD THERE LEANING AGAINST THE
POST ................................ ............... ..... ....... 63
"SHE SAW HERSELF PICKING BUTTERCUPS".............. 71
"IN THE PLAY-ROOM, BRISK AS A BEE, WHIPPING HER
D OLL" ....................................... ............ .. .. 83
"THE MOUSE WAS STEALING BY SNOWBALL'S HEAD".. 91
"A PRETTY SNOWY FIELD'.................................. 95
"THE KIND, STEADY GAZE OF GERTRUDE".............. 103
"THIS IS A VERY SICK BABY." ............................ 113
ROLAND HAD GONE FISHING ".............................. 121
"THEY HAD FILLED THE BUCKET"......................... 125
"MR. ROB THREW HIMSELF BESIDE HER ON THE
GRASS ........... ...... .......................... ...... .... 129
"MAY TOOK HER SEAT BY THE OPEN WINDOW"...... 135
"HE WAS LOOKING WITH THREATENING EYES "......... 143
ILL USTRA TIONS.
WE ALL WENT FISHING.................................... 150
THE HAYMAKERS WERE STACKING HAY................ 155
"A LARGE FIERCE-LOOKING CAT"........................... 159
"I STOOD LISTENING FOR A MOMENT "..................... 169
"JET RACING HOME IN FRONT OF THE WAGON "........ 177
HE PULLED OUT A LUMP OF SUGAR, AND OFFERED IT
TO H ER" ........................... ............ ................ I83
AN OLD BLACK RAM CAME FORWARD "................. 189
"A BOY AND GIRL SITTING BEFORE THE ('IIMNEY "... 195
THE SWEET SISTER STOPPED SMELLING HIER FLOWERS". 203
A PLATFORM WHERE WE COULD STAND TO FEED
TH EM .................. .......... .. ..................... 207
"GATHERING FLOWERS.".......... ............................. 223.
"' RATS, JOCK! RATS!"'........................................ 227
RUTH WAS RETURNING FROM AFTERNOON SERVICE".. 233
W OOD-CUTTING ............................................... 249
"WE ASKED THE LUMBERMEN FOR THEIR TENT "...... 255
"THEt SWEET SISTER WENT TO THE PASTURE AT DUSK ". 263
"THEY ALWAYS LET ME GO WITH THEM AS FAR AS
THE CHURCH PORCH "..... ............................... 269
A GOOD LIKENESS OF MYSELF".......................... 275
"ASLEEP ON THE VERY BRINK OF THE PRECIPICE."... 287
"I SAW THE OLD WOMAN GOING HOME WITH A BUN-
DLE OF STICKS ON HER BACK". ....................... 295
"MAY AND ROLAND PUT THE CHIRISTMAS GREENS
WHEREVER THEY WOULD GO" ............. ........ 299
SPRING CAM E................... ................................. 303
"THEY WERE PLOUGHING UP AN OLD PASTURE-FIELD
DOWN BY THE CREEK-BRIDGE."........................ 307
"'IT'S AS WARM AS TOAST,' HE SHOUTED."............. 311
S tAVE heard a great
rl many books and sto-
be is in the course of
_- m life; and the more
SI hear the more I am
convinced that nothing should be
written without an object. For this reason,
although my head is quite full of the most inter-
esting recollections and reflections, and although I have
been urged in the most flattering manner to write these
down before it is too late, I have always declined to do so.
But I have no respect for a dog who cannot be made to change
his mind when there is a good reason for doing so: firmness is
one thing, obstinacy is quite another. My mind has been changed
by two things. The first half was changed by a book which
Madame some time ago was reading to the children; the second
UNDER 7HE DOG-STAR.
by a remark which I heard made yesterday for about the one
thousandth time. The book was written-or rather dictated-by a
little dog whose ignorance, self-conceit, unfaithfulness, and selfish-
ness made me blush for my kind. Was this little creature, so
full of himself, so low in the scale of dog-morality, to be allowed
to represent our race? His was only the second book by a dog
which I had ever seen. The other, written many years ago, was
a beautiful story of a dog whose honesty and courage carried him
through great difficulties; but it was about dogs only: there was
hardly a human person in the whole book.
The remark was that foolish old saying about "a dog's life." A
poor woman who often comes to Madame for help was telling how
she had to work at anything she could find to do-berry-picking,
weeding, even hoeing corn sometimes, and gathering the stones out
of the farmers' fields. "It's a dog's life, ma'am," she said, "but
what can I do? The children go hungry half the time as it is."
Now, that was too much. In all my dog's life I had never but
once known what it was to be more than pleasantly hungry, and
that once was quite my own fault, as you will hear when I come to
it. And, as for work, my work had always been mere play. I tried
to make that woman understand how foolishly she was talking: I
stood on my hind legs and put my paw on her arm, giving a sort
of gentle bark, but wagging my tail hard all the time, that she might
know it was all friendly. And what do you think she did? She
gave a great scream, and nearly fell down. But that was not the
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
worst: Madame-my dear Madame, who so often understands what
I mean by my different barks and by my eyes-looked reproachfully
at me, opened the door and said sternly, "Go out, Jock! I am
ashamed of you!" I went. It comforted me a little to hear
Madame say to the woman as I passed under the window, "In-
deed, he would not hurt you, or any one. The children do all
sorts of things to him, and I have never known him even to snap
at them. He was wagging his tail all the time; so he could not
have been angry. I often think he is trying to talk."
How well Madame understood me! I did not care any more
what that poor silly woman thought; still, I was a little pleased to
hear her say very meekly, Indeed, I beg your pardon, ma'am, I'm
sure, for being so foolish: I might have known he would not hurt
me, for it was only yesterday he drove off that cross little Short-
Horn, when I do believe she meant to hook me; and last week,
when the children persuaded my little Tim to cross the brook on
the stepping-stones, and he fell in-as they might have known he
would-it was your little dog, ma'am, that pulled him out, and then
barked till he made some one come from the kitchen." I did not
wait to hear any more: I was quite satisfied; but I had a great
deal to think about, and so I went into the hay-loft. Perhaps you
will wonder how I got there, and will say to yourself, "Dogs do
not climb ladders. He is telling a story." I know quite well that
dogs do not, as a general rule, climb ladders: they have not all had
my great advantages; but I could tell you of three dogs besides
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
myself who can do it. Their masters and mine all wished to have
a circus, and they taught us a number of difficult tricks, among
which was going up a ladder forward and coming down back-
ward. You will have a full description of this circus in its proper
Whenever anything worries me, or I want to have a good quiet
think, or I feel in danger of being cross, I just go to the hay-loft.
It is very quiet there; and when I have sat quite still for half an
hour or so watching the pretty purple and white pigeons flying
about in the gable cooing to each other,,and the long dusty rays
of sunlight which look almost strong enough for me to walk up
them, and smelling the sweet-scented hay, which sometimes makes
me sneeze a little-but I don't mind that at all: I rather like'a good
sneeze, for it seems to clear my head up,-somehow, everything
begins to seem different. If I have been worried, the worries
seem too small and foolish to keep any longer; if I have been
feeling cross, I seem to remember all the kind, lovely things that
have made my life so pleasant, until I am heartily ashamed of
And, as for thinking, there is no place like a hay-loft for a real
think. The more I thought that day, the more it seemed to me that
I really ought to write a book which would set the world straight
about dogs. I should not be obliged, as was that ignorant little
animal whose book so offended me, to ask for any help, for I had
learned to write when I was quite young: a very intelligent old cat
CKOSI~G N TE STPP~U'G-~I'(N ES SeepV5
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
had taught me, and she never would let me pay her so much as a
rat or a mouse for my lessons. A great many dogs laughed at and
made fun of me for being willing to take lessons of a cat, but I did
not care much for their laughing: she was the only animal at that
time in the whole neighborhood who could write, and I had been
obliged to ask her to write me a letter. She did it very kindly,
but she noticed how hard it was for me to say what I wished to;
and when she had finished, she looked at me over her spectacles and
said, "Why don't you learn to write for yourself? You would find
that your thoughts would come out of a pen much more easily than
out of your mouth." I told her I knew of no one who would take
the trouble to teach me. She washed her ear thoughtfully for
a minute or two, and then she said suddenly, "I'll do it myself.
You don't look like a fool." You may be sure that made me very
anxious not to act like one.
I had already learned to read from the children's letter-blocks
and primers and from hearing them spell to Madame, and in two
months from my first lesson Mrs. Tabitha--that was this good old
cat's name-said to me in her very kindest manner, "I can teach
you no more, my dear Jock: you write quite as well as I do
myself." You may think that I was a proud and happy dog as
I trotted home with my copy-book and pen in my mouth that
And this makes me think of something else: there is another
of those foolish old sayings which I wish to contradict. When
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
people are quarrelsome and rude to each other, they are often said
to lead "a cat-and-dog life." Now, my very first lesson from a
dog was about kindness to cats. I can only say in excuse for
myself that I was very young indeed that day when I barked and
growled because I found Jet holding the white kitten, Snowball,
between his paws, and now and then gently licking her head. I
behaved dreadfully: I set up my ears and showed my teeth, and I
do believe I should have given that cat a little pinch if I had not
been afraid of Jet. You see, Jet was my friend, and I did not like
to see him petting that foolish kitten so. He gave me a steady
look out of his beautiful brown eyes, and said severely, You have
a great deal to learn, little puppy; no gentlemanly dog will ever be
rude to a cat, or to any animal, in fact, but particularly not to any
one smaller than himself." I felt so ashamed that I went behind
the door and whined for five minutes, for that was before I had
learned to climb into the hay-loft. But I have often since then
thanked Jet for that speech; for among my many friends some
of the very best and truest have been, and are, cats.
But I did not mean to begin my story in this rambling sort of
way. I am going to begin right at the beginning, and then go
straight on without skipping anything, it is all so interesting.
The fact is, I had a few general remarks to make, and I intended
to have a Preface, but, fortunately, I heard Master say this very
morning, "Oh, nine people out of ten are sure to skip the
preface !" He was not talking to me, but I always try to listen to
II ,, "!
"I FOUND JET HOLDING THE WHITE KITTEN."
See page 16.
R!II1 iiii I
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
what Madame and he say to anybody, for it is nearly sure to be
something worth while. I am not so careful about the children;
for, although I love them all dearly, I must confess that they say
a great many foolish things.
This remark about prefaces came just in time. Of course, if I
take the trouble, with my stiff paw and dim eyes, to write an
instructive and amusing book, I do not wish any of it to be
skipped; so I have just written the preface part as if it were the
beginning of a chapter, and nobody will dream of its being a
preface until it is safely read. It is just-like taking a pill in jelly:
not that I have ever done that myself, but I have often seen the
children do it.
But I really am going to begin now, and in telling my story I
shall try to put things in as they come, without always stopping to
explain how, very often, I did not really understand about them
until long afterward. Of course I was very ignorant and foolish
when I was young, and especially before I knew how to read and
write. And even now I meet with many things which I cannot
understand at all, and the more earnestly I beg for an explanation
the more they all laugh at me, and say, "Jock really behaves more
like a puppy now than he did when he was young." So little do
they understand me. Only Madame and my Helen of them all
seem often to guess what I mean, and so, of course, I love them
best of anybody. Ah! there is nothing that I would not do to
please my dear, dear Helen and Madame.
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
I was a little doubtful as to which of two beginnings to take.
Some of the people whose lives I have heard read begin right in
the middle of things, then go backward to the real beginning
and catch up with themselves before they go on. I never liked
that way, it seems to mix things up so; and so I am going to
begin the other way-with the very first thing I can recollect.
You may think, from some little things which I have already
said, that I have always been a country dog; and so I have-
almost, but not quite. I was born in a large city, in the very top
room of a five-story house. My mother, whom I can barely
recollect, belonged to the janitor of this great building-that is,
the man who took care of all the fires and with the help of his
wife and daughters kept the rooms and passages clean. They
lived at the top of the house, because nobody wanted those rooms
for offices, it was such a long climb up all those stairs; and then
the ceiling was lower than it was on the other floors. But the
rooms were cheerful and sunny; there was a nice large "flat"
for drying clothes, and in summer the daughters used to put
boxes with flowering plants in them all along the edges by the
railing; it was really beautiful. The janitor's name was Jimmy,
and his wife was called Mrs. Jimmy. All my people now have at
least two names apiece, but perhaps when people are very poor
they can only afford to have one.
I used to wonder what made Jimmy keep so many dogs. There
were so many that Mrs. Jimmy, who moved very quickly, used to
be treading on their poor little toes and tails all the time, -and
then, when the unfortunate things would howl, as it was quite
natural and right that they should, she would say angrily, "Sure,
Jimmy, your dogs will be the death of me yet." And Jimmy
would laugh and say, "It seems to me more like you'll be the
death of the dogs, my dear."
However, she never did kill any of them, though I think that
was merely because she happened always to step on a paw or a
tail; and she only stepped on me once: I took good care never
to give her a second chance. And I soon found that of all the
dogs she liked me best; she would point me out to Jimmy and
say, "Of them all, he's the only wan with any sinse: ke's never
under foot, but sits up in the corners, like the gentleman he is."
. People kept coming and choosing dogs and taking them away,
and everybody who took a dog left some money in Jimmy's hands,
which he always divided with Mrs. Jimmy, because, he said, she
had "full half the bother of them." My mother kept telling me
that my turn to be sold would come some day, and she taught me
all the tricks she knew, because, she said, if I turned out well
Jimmy would be more particular as to whom he sold me, and I
should probably have a better home. I have never been sorry
that I began to learn things so early, for it made it easier for
me to learn all my life; but the way it turned out taught me that
there is no use in our thinking we know what is going to happen,
for we never do. I was not sold at all; I was given away!
2 2 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
Now, you must not think that Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy gave me away
because they thought me worthless. Not at all! They gave me
away because at that time I was the very best thing they had. I
do not say this out of vanity, but merely to show you how gen-
erous they were. I was still quite small, but I had learned a
number of things; one of these was to help my mother watch
the two smallest children while Mrs. Jimmy and the girls were
hanging out clothes on the flat: they took in washing, and had a
great many clothes to hang out. The very smallest was a baby,
and the next smallest was a nice little thing about five years old,
who thought she helped her mother a great deal. I found that
what my mother and I had to do was to watch these two little
things closely, and bark as loudly as we could if they went near
the fire or the tubs of water.
The day before I was given away little Biddy was sitting before
the fire, in her own chair, with little Mike in her lap: she had
begged so hard to hold him on her lap that their mother had put
him there for a few minutes. All the rest were out on the flat,
when Jimmy suddenly came in, and with him a gentleman who
wished to buy a dog. I was one of five brothers and sisters, and
Jimmy took the gentleman into the lumber-room, where we were
all supposed to live, though we really lived in the kitchen more
than anywhere else. I never before knew Biddy to do such a
thing. She had been sitting there, as good as gold, singing to
Mike and feeling for his new tooth, when she saw a piece of
- t L 7
"BIDDY WAS SITTING WITH LITTLE MIKE IN HER LAP."
- .. ',J i
-: _. __ '
-. V y-r --
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r ~ ~&&
See page 22.
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
twisted paper lying on the floor. She picked it up and lighted
it at the fire, and held it close to Mike's face, saying, "Pretty!
pretty!" to make him laugh. But the lighted paper soon burned
her fingers, and she let it fall on her old cotton dress; and then,
in a minute, the dress was on fire. I was all alone with them, for
my mother had followed Jimmy and the gentleman into the lumber-
room to see if any of her children would be chosen. I would not
have known that fire was dangerous if I had not burned my paw
dreadfully one day not long before that trying to play with a pretty
red coal which fell into the ashes. The way my paw felt when I
touched that coal made me know that a great deal of fire must
be more than any one could bear; so when I saw Biddy's little
cotton frock beginning to blaze, I barked with all my might; and
when nobody came-for I often barked at different things, and no
one paid much attention to it-I rushed into the lumber-room and
howled, and ran back and howled some more, until I made Jimmy
come; and the gentleman came with him. They were just in
time, and no more; and it was the gentleman who saved little
Biddy: he rolled a piece of rag carpet around her, and the blaze
went out in a minute, and then in rushed Mrs. Jimmy and the girls;
and such a time as there was! Biddy was kissed and scolded and
cried over and spanked, and the baby was nearly hugged to
The gentleman stood quiet with a queer sort of smile on his
face, and then he stooped down and picked me up. "If every-
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
body had his deserts," said he, "the kisses and hugs would all go
to Jock here, and the spanks to the naughty little girl who played
"And what would go to you, Mr. Rob?" said Mrs. Jimmy, her
face shining with happiness as she looked at him. "Sure, if you
hadn't put the carpet on her, with us all too far out of our sinses
to throw so much as a tub of water at her, she'd have been a
black coal by now."
"No," said this beautiful gentleman, firmly; "you must thank
Jock for it all.-His name is Jock, isn't it?-If he had not raised
such a row, the child would have been 'a black coal' before any
one knew she was on fire; so I say, Long life to him !" and he gave
me a sort of wave in the air; but, somehow, I did not feel one bit
afraid, although I had never been so high up before; and as I came
down I managed to give his face a good, wide kiss with most of
my tongue. I don't know why they all laughed at this, but they
did. "I suppose I ought to ask you to let my friend have Jock,"
said Mr. Rob when they had finished laughing, "but I don't sup-
pose you would, if I were to."
"I'm afraid not, sir," said Jimmy; "I'd not like to part with him
"Well, then I'll take that one you called Pete.-I think he's
more like Jock than any of them."
Very well, sir; if you'll leave me the address, I'll send him this
very day, when the boy comes from school. And wouldn't you
like to have one for yourself, sir ?-I'd let you have Jock, and be
Mr. Rob laughed. "That's very good of you, Jimmy," he said;
" but where should I keep him ? I've barely room for myself and
my furniture down below here."
"Oh, if that's all, sir," said Mrs. Jimmy, eagerly, "you could
entertain yourself here with him for a few days longer, and then
you could take him to that sweet young lady, your sister, that was
here taking care of you when you were sick, and you'd have the
benefit of him whenever you went home to spend a Sunday."
I hope it was not ungrateful to Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy, but I did
hope Mr. Rob would take me. Nobody had ever picked me up.
before except little Biddy, and she had always .done it by taking,
hold of either my head or my tail. Besides, I wanted to see the-
sweet young lady; so I was a good deal disappointed when Mr..
Rob said, pleasantly but quite firmly, "No, no, Jimmy! I've too)
many other uses for what little money I have than buying Skye
terriers. You send Pete-here's the address: I've written it down
for you-and sometimes of an evening, when I'm not busy, you
can lend me Jock for a while, and I'll teach him some new tricks..
I must go now. Good-afternoon to you all." He ran down stairs
before they could say anything more, and they all looked very
He never could have thought we meant him to buy Jock,"
exclaimed Mrs. Jimmy.
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
"Faith, I'm afraid that he did, then," said Mr. Jimmy, mourn-
"Then it's we that'll show him he's wrong," said Mrs. Jimmy,
excitedly, "and more, by token, we'll throw in a little extra by
way of convincing him. Does he think we don't value our little
Biddy above the best dog that ever was or will be, I wonder
Be aisy, old woman, be aisy!" said Jimmy, soothingly. "Is it
the baby ye'll be throwing in to convince him, or what?"
That made Mrs. Jimmy laugh. "But you're the foolish man!"
she said. "No, my dear. I happened to hear him say he couldn't
get off home till the very day before Christmas; so it's all fixed
in me head. Honora there shall make him a cake out of that old
resate-book the mistress gave me, that's always been too rich
for the like of us-a real ladies' and gentlemen's cake, with all
that's good, and plenty of fruit in it-and we'll take him that and
Jock, all in one, the night before he goes."
"You'd never bake the poor dog in a cake?" said Jimmy,
looking so grave that Mrs. Jimmy thought he was quite in
"A body must explain to you word by word!" she said,
impatiently. "It was all in one present I meant, as you might
I was very much interested watching Honora make that cake,
partly because it was to go with me-and I could not help hoping
'''Ii II.i I i ir
;i:li/I( ji 1 'ii
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"HONORA MADE THAT CAKE."
ii i I;\ r i i 1
I/ I,i i -
See page 31.
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
that I might have a small piece given to me-and partly because
of all the little Jimmys I liked Honora best. My mother had
warned me that I had better not get fond of any of them,
because, she said, Jimmy kept us only to sell, and it would just
make it harder when we had to go; but I really was obliged to
love Honora. The other girls were sometimes untidy, and did
not always keep their hands and faces clean, but Honora liked to
be neat just as much at home, when no one beside her family was
to see her, as she did when she was going out in the street. Her
collar was always fastened with a little bow of ribbon, and her
hair-she had very pretty hair-tied neatly back off her face with
a piece of ribbon like the bow; and she put on a clean apron
every morning before she went to school, and sometimes another
when she came home in the evening; and, as she washed and
ironed them herself before school-hours in the morning, her
mother never objected.
She made that cake the next Saturday after little Biddy came
so near being burnt, and such pains as she took to weigh and
measure everything and go exactly by the recipe! I can't begin
to tell you all the good things that went into it. Her mother
helped her bake it; and when it came out of the oven a beautiful
rich brown, the smell of it nearly made me cry, I wanted some
so badly. Mrs. Jimmy had made Honora bake a little of it in a
saucer, that they might taste it and make quite sure that it was
good, for they had never tried the recipe before; and, though
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
each of them, of course, had only a very little taste, that dear
Honora gave me half of hers. Perhaps I should not have taken
it, but I was such a little puppy then, you know, and it did smell
so very, very good! Everybody said it was the best cake that
ever was made, and they praised Honora so much that she blushed
and smiled and looked prettier than ever.
The evening but one before Christmas all the Jimmys made a
procession. Mr. Jimmy carried me, and Mrs. Jimmy carried the
cake, with a beautiful bough of holly, full of berries, sticking right
out of the top of it, as if it grew there. Then I found that Mr.
Rob lived on the fourth floor, right under the lumber-room. Mr.
Jimmy knocked, and he said Come in !" so we all went in. He
was sitting by a little table writing, and he looked pale and tired.
There was an ugly wrinkle in the middle of his forehead, too:
it had not been there when I saw him before. But he smiled
very pleasantly when he saw Mr. Jimmy, and then, when he saw
me and the cake and all the rest of us, he looked so astonished
that we could not help laughing. "Why, here's a torchlight
procession without the torches!" he said. "To what am I
indebted for the honor conferred on me by this deputation?"
and he stood up and made a beautiful bow.
"To saving little Biddy," said Mr. Jimmy solemnly.
"To bringing me the grapes and the jelly and the flowers
when I had the fever, as if I was a lady," said Mrs. Jimmy,
almost crying as she spoke.
EARL Y RECOLLECTIONS.
"To helping me up the stairs the day I sprained me ankle,"
said the oldest girl.
"To speaking for me and getting me a place with the best
-mistress ever was," said the next girl.
"To the parcel of school-books you gave me," said the oldest
"To many's the time you've helped me when I was breaking
me head with me sums," said the next boy.
"To the flower-roots and seeds you brought me when you
were home last," said Honora.
"To the grand doll you gave me," said little Biddy.
I suppose the baby must have been, like me, unable to talk.
I have noticed that all babies are that way for a while, and, as
they always learn how to do it afterward, I can't help hoping that
some day we dogs shall. But this is what my master would call
a "digression;" it is rather a hard word, I know, but it sounds
well, and it means leaving one thing for another, like stopping
to dig for a mole when one is chasing a rabbit.
The baby did the best he could: he made a noise very like one
of the noises that I make when I am pleased, and it sounded quite
"He's thanking you for his new red shoes," said Mrs. Jimmy;
and, sure enough, he did kick up his heels when he made that
noise, so that the girl who was carrying him nearly dropped
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
Mr. Rob had been looking more and more astonished all the
time they were talking. It was very silly in me, of course, to
fancy that he was going to cry, for as soon as they all stopped
he burst out laughing. "It takes kind hearts like yours to make
so much of so little," he said.
"(But, sure, it's not been little to us, sir," said Mr. Jimmy,
earnestly: "the knowing your kind heart was in the house has
cheered us all up many a time and oft; and I hope you'll accept
of Jock, sir; and a very happy Christmas to you, sir;" and he
held me out to Mr. Rob, so that he could not help taking
Then Mrs. Jimmy came forward with that cake and set it on the
table with a flourish. "And here's a thrifle of a cake for Christmas,
sir," she said; "and it's proud I'll be, and Honora that made it
here, if you'll not think it too great trouble to carry it home and
ask that sweet young lady, your sister, to cut it for you."
"I don't know what to say," said Mr. Rob; "you overwhelm
me with your goodness. I will be a great deal prouder than you
and Honora when I give my sister that cake.-But you oughtn't
to give me that dog, Jimmy-you really ought not. I heard you
refusing twenty-five dollars for him on the stairs this morning;
and, besides, a full-blooded Skye is much too swell a dog for a
poor clerk and scribbler like me. I ought to have a fast horse
and good clothes and a gold-headed cane before I sport a dog
"You'll take the dog to begin with, sir," said Mr. Jimmy
severely, "and you'll see that the rest will coom."
Mr. Rob saw that this family was not to be trifled with: it had
made up its mind before it came down stairs as to what it was
going to do; so he laid me down on the foot of his bed, and then
he insisted on shaking hands with every one of them, and on
kissing the baby. When he kissed that baby-which he did, I
noticed, very much as if he were afraid it would bite him-Mrs.
Jimmy's face shone like a new tin pan, and I heard her murmur
to herself, "To think of that, now! and he the ilegant young man
that he is!"
Then they all wished him "A Merry Christmas, and many of
them," and "Good-night," and trooped off up stairs; and Mr.
Rob and I were left quite alone. He took me in his arms,
sat down by the fire, and said softly, "Jock! little Jock!"
Nobody had ever spoken to me like that before. I felt that I
must kiss him again, and put up my nose to do it; and-what do
you think?-a great tear rolled down his nose and fell right on
mine; he really was crying this time. I comforted him until I
made him laugh, and then we went to bed, he under the blankets
and things, and I on the outside about where his feet were, with
a large tidy spread over me to keep me warm. He took it off
the back of his chair on purpose, and did not seem to care a
bit that taking it off showed a great hole in the cover of the chair
where its stuffing, or whatever you call it, was all coming out.
MY NEW MISTRESS.
F I had not made a sort of promise
to keep straight on without skipping
Anything, I think I should skip the next
day, for I am a little ashamed of it.
We left Richmond-just as I was leav-
ing it I heard that I had been living in
Richmond all this while-early the next
morning, and travelled all day, first in
thout ithe cars, then in a stage, and last of all
in a funny old carriage, which was more comfortable, however, than
Before I tell on myself I must beg you to remember that until
that eventful day I had never been anywhere at all. I had a sort
of feeling that the only safe places were high up in the air, and my
first panic was when Mr. Rob carried me down all those stairs. I
thought, if he should fall with me in his arms, we would certainly
both be killed, and before I knew what I was doing I gave a little
howl. Mr. Rob laughed, and called back to Mrs. Jimmy, "He's
MY NEW MISTRESS.
saying good-bye!" and then he stopped on those dreadful stairs
and dropped me into the great pocket of his ulster. It was soft
and warm, and so deep that I could not see over the top of it; and
so, although I felt that we were still going down, I managed to
keep still, and every few minutes Mr. Rob's nice big hand would
drop into his pocket and give me a pat, and his kind voice would
say, "Jock! poor little Jock! Don't be frightened. I will take
good care of you."
It seemed to me that the noise in the street would split my
head, and I began almost to wish that I could go back to Mrs.
Jimmy and the baby and all of them. I was not worrying much
about my mother, for, to tell the painful truth, she had not been
very kind to me since that day when Mr. Rob and I saved little
Biddy and the baby from burning: she had got into a way of
growling a good deal, and saying they "made too much fuss"
But if I was frightened in the street, I really can't describe
my feelings when we came to the place where we were to get
into the car. I thought the locomotive was some horrible new
sort of dog, and when, just after we started, it gave one of
those awful shrieks which only a locomotive can give, I was
quite sure of it; and I did not see any reason why he should
not turn round and eat us all up, for I had taken a good look
at him, in spite of my fear, and he was quite large enough.
Of course I know now that he is not really alive, but I wish I
38 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
felt a little more certain about it, and I do wish he would not
scream in that dreadful manner. Why, if I were to make only
half as much noise at a time, everybody would think I had gone
mad and run away from me; and I should not blame them at
all. But this is another digression.
How I ever stood that railroad-journey I don't know. I did
give one more howl, but Mr. Rob looked so worried when I did
it that I made up my mind to keep still if it "killed me entirely,"
as Mrs. Jimmy used to say; and I was nearly sure that it would,
too. And if it didn't, I was quite sure that locomotive would;
only I did not call it a locomotive then: I called it a dog, you
know; and I have often thought since how Mr. Rob would
have laughed if he had known it.
Everything must come to an end some time, and so at last
that dreadful railway-journey did; but just as I was congrat-
ulating myself that we had escaped with our lives, and was
beginning not to shiver and tremble quite so much, I found
that the worst was still to come. By the platform of the rail-
way-station stood four great creatures-you will, of course,
guess at once that they were only horses-fastened to a large
coach, and I saw that they really were alive. They were
prancing and jumping so that the driver could hardly make
them keep still long enough for Mr. Rob and me to get into
the coach, and then they went tearing off, jolting us over the
frozen road until I thought we should be shaken to pieces.
MY NEW MISTRESS.
We were the only passengers, and Mr. Rob seemed to grow
happier and happier every minute. First he began to whistle, and
then he began to sing. When he did that, I thought perhaps
I might cry a little without being noticed; but, although I did
it very softly indeed, he heard me, and took me out of his
pocket at once. "You poor little Jock!" he said, holding me
up close to his face, "I know just how you feel: you feel as I
did when I first left my lovely home here among the fields and
went to that great, noisy, uncomfortable city. But you ought
not to cry if you could only understand, for you are going to
stay all the time in that dear home, while I must go back in
two days. But I'm not going to bother about that now," he
added; "I'm going to enjoy my two days."
SI did not understand all that he said at that time, but his kind
face and voice made me feel better somehow, and then I found
that nothing happened here, any more than on the railway-
train, and so I began to think that maybe nothing would
happen; and when the stage stopped I gave a pleasant little
bark, for I thought we must certainly be at the home now, and
that I should see the sweet sister directly. So you may judge
of my disappointment when I found that we were only going
from one stage to another. At least, I thought it was another
stage then; I found out afterward that it was our own carriage.
However, there were only two horses to this one; and, though
I felt very much alarmed when I saw that the driver was per-
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
fectly black, yet when I saw that Mr.
Rob clid not seem to
notice it, and even shook hands with him, I made up
that I would try not to care about it either.
that this good man-who is
I found afterward
one of my best friends, by the way-
was not perfectly
but was the color of
just a little cream in it.
And the color never rubs off:
that, for I looked at Mr. Rob's hand to see, not
ing, but once or twice afterward.
He seemed so delighted to see
Mr. Rob! He only said,
Howd'ye?" but he
and grinned and bowed
as if he would never stop.
Mr. Rob said,
"First rate, thank you, Uncle
body well at home ?"
"Well as kin be, Mars' Robert, and all
"I don't believe the
with a joyful laugh;
half as crazy as
and then he began
I am," s
;aid Mr. Rob
top of his voice,
"Home, home, can I forget thee?
Dear, dear, dearly-loved home !"
but he stopped
and held me up
to the carriage-
we had started.
It was nearly
but I could
old, broken sort of building with snow all
it: I thought the snow was flour, and I did so wish
..g' ~ -~
"I COULD SEE AN OLD, BROKEN SORT OF BUILDING."
See page 40.
s LL-r/r, I-
MY NEWV MISTRESS.
Jimmy had been there to scoop up all she wanted. I had often
heard her complain because flour cost so much money.
", Look there, Jock!" said Mr. Rob; "that's the old mill where
I used to spend half my holidays. You'll have many a good
time there next summer, old boy!" and I thought he sighed,
but perhaps I was mistaken.
What he said then must have been what is called a prophecy-
that means telling of something before it has happened-for, of
all my many, many good times, some of the very best have been
at that old mill.
Very soon after Mr. Rob held me up to see the mill the carriage
stopped at a gate, and when Uncle Jake had opened this gate we
drove into a long lane; and presently Mr. Rob held me up again,
and I saw a great brick house, with lights shining in nearly all the
windows. The front door was wide open, the hall was full of light,
and the doorway seemed to me to be full of heads.
Mr. Rob could hardly wait for the carriage to stop; he dropped
me into his pocket again, sprang out and dashed up the steps,
jolting me so that I came near howling again. I could not see
anything yet, the pocket was so deep and dark, but I heard the
sweetest voice-it was my dear Madame's voice, as I found after-
ward-say, My own dear boy!" And then Mr. Rob said, My
precious little mother!" And then nobody said anything for a
minute. But it was a very short minute. Such shouting and
laughing and talking as I heard presently! Mr. Rob seemed to
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
be dragged into the hall, and the door was shut; and now, at last,
my turn had come, and I was too glad for anything that I had not
howled: it would have quite spoiled the fun.
They all seemed trying to take off Mr. Rob's coat, but he said,
"Wait a minute. I defy you all to guess what I have in my
I can't remember all the things they guessed, but not one of
them thought of a twenty-five-dollar Skye terrier; and when Mr.
Rob at last took me out and held me up to view, there was a
perfect shout, and I really was afraid I should be pulled to pieces.
Somebody whom I guessed at once to be the sweet sister made
them behave. "Gently, gently, little chicks !" she said. I'll sit
down on this stool, and Rob shall put him in my lap, and then you
shall all pat him nicely, one at a time, so as not to frighten him."
I did not mind being put in her lap at all, and she managed those
children, somehow, so that they really did come quietly, one at a
time, and pat my head gently, instead of all falling upon me and
killing me, as I was at first afraid they would. The sweet sister
said, "We will go by ages-oldest first."
A bright, handsome boy about fourteen years old stepped up and
gave me a loving pat; then came a girl with pretty rosy cheeks
and dark eyes, and then a little boy, and then a little girl who
looked about as old as Biddy, and then a baby about as large
They were so quiet that I heard Mr. Rob say to his mother,
MY NEW MISTRESS.
" But where is Helen ? Uncle Jake said you were all well, so I
hoped to find her on the sofa, at least."
She is no worse, dear," said Madame, "and I suppose Uncle Jake
meant we were all as well as usual. She is 'saving up,' so as to be
bright to-morrow, and I persuaded her to stay in bed, but she is
quite ready to see you. Come, we will go up.-No; only Rob,"
she added as she saw the whole troop making ready to follow.
Rob caught me up from the sweet sister's lap. Children," he
said, I have been thinking all day how pleased Helen would be
to have Jock. I am going to give him to her, out and out, but
of course she will often lend him to you."
I expected to see them all frown or make some of the faces
which I had seen the Jimmy children-all except Honora and the
baby-make when things did not please them; but instead of that
they shouted, "Oh yes! That will be lovely! Poor Helen, who
can't have any fun at all! it'll be such fun for her to have a dog
all her own !"
So Mr. Rob and I went up stairs alone, and he knocked gently
at a door. Somebody said Come in !" and he opened it. I had
never been in so pretty a place before. I don't know much about
colors, but everything looked warm and soft and like a nice fire on
a cold day. A pleasant-faced woman got up from a chair by the
bed; she had a book in her hand. But I did not look at her long;
I saw a sweet pale face lying on the pillow, two little thin hands
clasped together, and two mournful dark eyes looking up at the
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
woman. I knew the sick one must be Helen. "I am afraid he is
not coming." she said; "he ought to be here by this time."
"And here he is !" said Mr. Rob joyfully; and I really thought
they would never stop hugging and kissing each other. He had
put me back in his pocket, and I kept very still, for I once heard
Mrs. Jimmy say that sick people liked to be quiet. He remem-
bered me at last, but he did not make Helen guess: he just put
me on the bed beside her, and said "There!"
Oh, the dear little thing !" said Helen rapturously; and I knew
in a minute that I should love her dearly. "Oh, Rob, where did
you find him? Are you to keep him? Is he yours ?"
"I did not find him-he found me; and I am not to keep him,
but you are; and he is not mine, but yours," said Mr. Rob gayly.
Mine ?" answered Helen, as if she could hardly believe it.
"Then I shall always have him to be company for me when
mamma is busy and the children are out of doors. But no," she
said suddenly; "that would be too selfish. He will like to run
about and play with the children, and he shall, as much as ever he
wants to; only, when he is tired, he must always come here and lie
on my bed: he will be so nice to keep my feet warm;" and she
How I did love her, right away! I wanted to tell her so, and I
licked her hand and talked a little, but in a low voice, for I did not
wish to disturb her. Then I licked her hand again; I did not dare
to lick her pretty face, but I wanted to, dreadfully.
Iii Za p
"I SAW A SWEET PALE FACE LYING ON THE PILLOW."
See page 45.
>1 it i,
1 Ir! ci
MY NEW MISTRESS.
"The dear little thing !" she said again.-" Just see, Rob, how he
is kissing my hand! and I do believe he tried to say something just
now. Has he a name ?"
"Yes; his name is Jock," answered Mr. Rob; "and he seems
to know it so well that I think we had better not give him another.
Besides, it's a pretty good name, I think."
Yes, it's a very good name indeed," said Helen; "and I'm so
glad he knows it! I should not have liked to wait for him to learn
one.-Jock! little Jock!"
I really had never known before how pleasant my name was.
I kissed Helen's hand again, and talked a little more, and just
then a great bell rang somewhere, and Mr. Rob jumped up at
once. "There's the tea-bell," he said joyfully, "and I'm as
hungry as a hawk. Good-bye, darling; I'll come up and say
good-night. Shall I take Jock down stairs, or leave him with
"You'd better take him down, I think," replied Helen: "he
must be hungry too. Did he 'eat anything on the way?"
"No; he seemed too frightened," said Mr. Rob. "'So I'll
leave him in the kitchen to Uncle Jake's tender mercies, and
then I'll go wash my face and hands, and eat my supper-two
or three, several suppers: one will not satisfy me."
He picked me up and carried me down a back stairway to
the kitchen; and it was a good thing that. I had made up my
mind not to be afraid of Uncle Jake because he was black, for
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
every one here-and the kitchen seemed quite full-was as black
as he was, at least.
But they were all so good and kind that it would really have
been foolish to be afraid of them. Uncle Jake held me on his
lap, and stroked me and talked to me, while Aunt Nancy, the
fat cook, made me up the loveliest plateful of bones and pieces
of meat that I had ever seen. There was enough there for a
dozen hungry dogs, and I could not help wishing that my
mother and brothers and sisters might have had all that I
could not eat. But this did not keep me from making a hearty
supper, for I really had been too frightened to eat at dinne'r-
time; it was while we were on that dreadful railway and I was
expecting every moment to be eaten myself. I did not know
what a hawk was then, but I felt that" I was as hungry as it
could possibly be.
But when I heard Aunt Nancy say, with a great laugh, He
will mos' certainly bust hisse'f if he eats another mou'ful," I
thought perhaps I had better stop. I did not wish to "bust"
myself just as I had found a home where more kind things
were said and done to me in an hour than had been said and
done in all my life before. Besides, I was thirsty as well as
hungry, and I knew that if I ate any more I could not possibly
take a drink. So I stopped eating, and looked all around for
the spigot. There was none, but I saw a bucket standing in
the corner; and I went to it, hoping to find water in it. It was
MY NEW MISTRESS. 51
half full, and I was just going to drink, when Aunt Nancy
pulled me away. "No, honey !" she said; "he mustn't drink
outen aunty's clean pail. Wait till I fetches de basin."
I was a little provoked at this, for at Mrs. Jimmy's they did
not care what we drank out of; but when she brought a
beautiful bright basin, that looked much cleaner than the
wooden pail, and poured me out a nice drink in that, I forgot
to be provoked any longer. Although my supper had tasted so
very good, it seemed to me that that drink of water was the
best thing I had ever had in all my life. And then all at once
I was so tired and sleepy that I almost fell down; I just heard
Aunt Nancy say, "Poor little thing! he's all done out," and
felt her lay me on a soft rug; and I never knew another thing
till she came to light the fire in the morning.
That was the beginning of my happy life at Ladysmede,
and from that time to this I have never known a trouble that
was not caused by some foolishness or naughtiness of my
own-never but once; and, although that once was the very
saddest one of all my life, they did so much to make up to me
for it that if I could only forget that one day I should not be
sorry that it happened. But, somehow, I cannot forget it, and
so I am sorry. However, it is not time to tell this just yet: it
will come in the right place.
The next morning Aunt Nancy gave me my breakfast as
soon as she had made the fire, and I licked her hand when she
.INDER THE DOG-STAR.
set the plate down. Perhaps you will think was a beautiful
thing for me to do. It was not: it was one of those mean
things which always make me feel hot and uncomfortable when
I think of them. I had seen that the black did not rub off
these people, but still I thought perhaps it would wash off, and
I wanted to see. It did not, of course; and Aunt Nancy turned
to Uncle Jake, saying, Now, if he isn't de gratefullest little
dog! Kissin' my black hand for his breakfus' as ef I was de
You may think how ashamed I felt. Many a time since then
have I kissed Aunt Nancy's hand in earnest to make up for that
false kiss, and many a time have I tried to make her understand
about that one, but I never could. It comforts me to know that if
this work ever finds a translator-and I am nearly sure that it
will-she may hear the truth, and about my repentance, through
it. She has been my firm friend from that hour, and I have tried
in every way of which I could think to be worthy of her friendship,
but I can never forget that mean action. And that is the worst of
doing anything mean: it is like the ink-spots that the children get
on their school-aprons; the rest of the apron washes nice and clean,
but that only make the spot show the more. It fades a little,
perhaps, after a good many washes, but it never quite goes away
until the apron is worn out and put in the rag-bag; and then it is
only gone because the whole apron is. I do hope nobody skip-
MY NEW MISTRESS.
When I had had my breakfast, Uncle Jake took an old piece of
a comb out of his pocket, set me on his lap, and combed my hair
smooth from the tip of my nose to the end of my tail. I had
never had my hair combed before, and at first I was a little fright-
ened, but when I found it did not hurt I held quite still, and before
he was done I rather liked it: it was like scratching myself very
gently all over-with this difference: he scratched just as easily
and as well as he did the rest of me that one place on my back
which I never can quite reach. I don't think I have ever gone a
day since then without having my hair combed by somebody; and
sometimes it is done two or three times a day, for it is the sort of
hair which never stays smooth very long. When Uncle Jake set
me down I gave myself a good shake, and it all flew up in a
minute, but I knew, from what they said, that I looked much
better for it.
Just then I heard ever so many voices somewhere, and then the
children came rushing in. They were all talking at once, so that
I could not hear everything that was said, but I heard, "Merry
Christmas, Aunt Nancy !-Merry Christmas, Uncle Jake !"' a great
many times; and every time Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jake would
say, Christmas-box, little missy," or Christmas-box, little mars';"
and they all seemed so happy that I was really obliged to bark;
and they laughed and seemed to like it. I found they had not yet
had their breakfasts, and when they all called me to go with them
to the breakfast-room, I was very glad I had had mine, and so
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
could go with them with an easy mind. It was on our way to the
breakfast-room that I first met Snowball, the white cat of whom I
spoke in my first chapter.
We were obliged to go through a great many doors and
passages, which surprised me a good deal, for I supposed all
rooms which were on one floor must come one right after the other,
as they did in my Richmond home. When I had thoroughly
explored that house I discovered that the kitchen was quite in
a separate building, but, for the sake of convenience, passages
had been built connecting it with the house and the cellars.
We had gone some distance, when one of the boys suddenly
called out, "A rat! a rat! S'ketch him, Jock! s'ketch him!"
Now, how was I to understand all this ? I had never even seen
a rat; I did not in the least know what "S'ketch him!" meant;
and so I stood still looking all around to see what was the matter,
and, as I saw something was expected of me, I barked. They all
burst out laughing at this, and one of the boys exclaimed, "He
doesn't know a rat when he sees one, and he a terrier! Call
Snowball! Quick! She knows what to do with a rat."
They all began to call, "Puss! Snowball! Kitty! Pussy !"
and presently I heard a little "Meow!"' which seemed to come
from right under my feet; and up from the cellar trotted a beautiful
white cat with a large bow of red ribbon tied around her neck.
All this time the boys had been trying to keep the rat in a corner
with sticks and their feet, and I had been pitying the poor thing,
MY NEW MISTRESS.
he had such a wild, unhappy look in his eyes, which were really very
pretty. I did not know until afterward how much mischief these
rats do, and that it is every terrier's duty to catch them. It was
painful to me at first, but I must confess that it has not been for a
good while, and, old as I am now, I can be waked from the deepest
sleep by any one who just whispers Rats !"
,,//4 l 7A r I
---- -l-t --/ii)!ill-"
precisely! She flew at him like a tiger-I have never actually
seen any tigers, but I have heard so much about them that I know
a hole in the ground, which I have no doubt he had dug himself,
for he seemed to know just where to look Snowball dashed
after him, but by this time a very queer feeling, for which I have
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
never been able to account, had come over me. I am afraid I
cannot explain it clearly: it was something as if I had at one
time in my life, long, long ago, known all about catching rats,
and liked it very much. I could not remember when it was, nor
where-and of course, as you all know, it never was at all-but
the feeling was so strong that with one bound I pushed Snow-
ball aside and caught that rat by the hind legs just as he was
disappearing into the hole. I got him by the neck, gave him one
little shake, and threw him away: I didn't want him. He was
quite dead, and Snowball, who had been growling dreadfully,
picked him up and carried him off to the cellar, where, I am
afraid, she ate him, for she was quite ill that afternoon. The
children had shouted and cheered at a great rate when I had
accomplished the feat of killing the rat, and they talked so much
about me after we were in the breakfast-room that I was quite
Everybody whom I had seen the night before was there,
excepting poor little Helen; and there was one more person,
whom nearly all the children called "Papa," and whom Madame
called "Dear." I liked his face-he looked a good deal like
Mr. Rob-but I had a sort of feeling that if I ever did anything
bad I should not wish him to look at me. I soon made out, from
the talk, that he was a doctor-though I did not know then exactly
what that was-and that he had been obliged the evening before,
just at the time when Mr. Rob was expected, to go and see
MY NE VW MISTRESS.
some one who was very ill. I suppose he got home after I had
had my supper and gone to sleep.
When they sat down to breakfast I went to the pretty bright
rug before the fire and stretched myself out in great content-
ment. I- had had a good supper, a good breakfast, a good
bed; I had suddenly made a host of warm friends; and,
instead of being only one dog of a dozen or so, I was, or
thought I was, the only dog "entirely," as Mrs. Jimmy would
have said. I am sometimes afraid that I shall never get rid of
some of the expressions I learned of the Jimmys: it is so very
hard to break one's self of one's first tricks and manners. I found
after breakfast that there really was a number of other dogs on
the place, but I was not at all sorry for this: it would have been
stupid to have no dog-companions; and, besides, they were all
large hunting- or watch- dogs: not one of them would have
dared to lie at the foot of Helen's bed, as I did whenever L
Perhaps you will think that, as I was only a dog, I could not
have any Christmas presents? If you think this, you were
never more mistaken in your life. Madame gave me a very
nice basket for my bed; Master, a house in the yard which was
to be all my own, and which I might sleep in, if I liked, when
the warm weather came; the sweet sister, a beautiful bow of
ribbon for my neck, of which I was very proud, for I must con-
fess that Snowball's red bow had made me feel a little jealous.
58 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
Mine was dark blue, which they said would be more becoming
to my complexion than red. May gave me a whole pound of
sweet crackers. I am very fond of sweet crackers, but I was
not allowed to eat them all at once, for fear they would make
me ill. Roland gave me half his candy, which was put away
for me with the crackers, and while it lasted I had a small piece
every day after dinner. The three little ones also gave me a
share of their candy; so, as you may imagine, I had a sweet
cracker and a piece of candy for dessert every day for
Mr. Rob waited till all the rest had given me their presents;
and then he pulled out of his pocket a most beautiful red collar
with a bright place on one side, and said, I'll read you what it
says on your collar, Jock, and you must never forget it;" and
he read aloud:
The property of Helen Laurence,
Did I ever forget it? Oh my little mistress-my dear little
mistress!-if, as I earnestly hope you may, you some day trans-
late these pages, you will surely say that I did not.
"Now," said Mr. Rob, when he had fastened the collar on my
neck with a little key, "we will take him up to Helen; no doubt
she too has a Christmas present for him."
MY NEW MISTRESS.
So up we all went, and, sure enough, she had the loveliest
feather cushion to put in my basket-bed.
Mr. Rob put me on her lap that she might see my new collar,
and then he gave her the key. Her pretty pale face grew quite
pink with pleasure, and she hugged Mr. Rob all over again, as
if she had not done it at all the night before; but he did not
seem to mind it in the least. And sometimes, since I have been
older and gone about more, when I have seen brothers who did
not like to wait on their sisters, and thought it was unmanly
to kiss them, and said "Oh, botheration!" whenever they were
asked to do anything for them, I have longed to say, Do you
call this manly? Oh, if I could show you all my master and
my Mr. Rob, two big, brave men, afraid of nothing but of
doing wrong, and just as gentle with women and little children
as the gentlest woman could be !"
They were all going to church excepting my dear new mis-
tress; she was sitting in a large chair this morning, dressed in
a pretty soft white wrapper, and I thought she looked well
enough to go anywhere, but I soon saw that no one even
thought of her going. It has always puzzled me, this church,
to which all my people go every Sunday when they possibly
can, but, as they have never once taken me with them, in spite
of all my begging and entreating, I cannot tell you what it is
like. This has made Sunday the saddest day of the week to
me, and, though they sometimes laugh at me for my mournful
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
looks, yet I notice that whenever Master is obliged to visit his
patients on Sunday he always takes me with him; and this has
comforted me a good deal.
However, this time, before I knew anything about it, I was
very glad to stay with Helen; and I had so very much to think
about that I did not mind lying still in her lap while she read.
It seemed to me at least a year since I had left all the Jimmys,
and then there were so many things that I was trying to puzzle
out. She stopped reading after a while, and began to play with
me and pet me. No one else ever had such soft, white little
hands as hers. I wanted to kiss them all the time. "We will-
see if you can learn a little new trick while they are gone, Jock,"
she said; and then she took my right paw in her right hand, and,
looking into my eyes, she said, "Jock, whose dog are you ?"
I knew perfectly well that I was hers, but how was I to tell
her? She showed me: she put my paw on her arm. I soon
saw what she meant, and after she had shown me two or three
times I did it by myself. How pleased she was! She made me
do it several times, to be sure I understood; and just then they
all came back from church, and I had to do it five or six times
more, to let them all see. They so praised and petted me that
I was growing very vain and self-conceited; and it was a good
thing that Jet, the oldest of the hunting-dogs, who saw how my
head was being turned, had a plain talk with me that afternoon,
and made me see how foolish I was. That was after dinner,
MY NEW MIIS TRESS. 61
and was the time of which I told you when my head was so
full of myself that I did not like to see him holding Snowball
between his paws.
But first we all went down to dinner. Helen rode in a lady-
chair made by Mr. Rob and Roland, and the rest all sang,
"Give me a pin to stick in my cushion,
To carry my lady to London."
I could not think what this meant, and I was forced to conclude
that it did not mean anything.
We were very merry at dinner. I had a plate, and Jet and:
Snowball each had one, on a large newspaper spread out oni
the hearth-rug, and everybody gave us something. I had!
never, in all my life, enjoyed a dinner as I did that one; and'
I have often thought since that, if people only knew it, it is the
laughing and joking and saying pleasant things to each other
that really make a happy dinner, even if the things to eat are
quite common and plain. Not that they were common and
plain that day: Madame and Aunt Nancy had seen to that. I
had once before seen a roasted turkey, but it was a mere nothing
compared with the one Master carved that day. We had Honora's
cake with the dessert. The sweet sister cut it, everybody praised
it, I had quite a large piece, and Mr. Rob told about the pro-
cession. Dinner was over at last, and we were all saying how
crood it was that no one had sent for Master all day, when the
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
office-bell rang and we ran to the window. It was snowing fast,
but the little boy who stood there leaning against the post of
the porch, as if he felt afraid of falling down, looked pale even.
in the snow. He had not stopped to fasten his ulster all the
way, nor to put on his gloves, cold as it was.
Master himself opened the door. "Well, my little man, what's
the matter ?" he said kindly.
"Oh, sir," answered the boy, so out of breath that he could
hardly speak, "Nelly is very ill indeed, and mamma says will you
please to come at once?"
"Yes, I'll come, if it's as bad as all that," said Master, "though
I did hope nobody would need me to-day. Step inside a minute
and get warm while Jake harnesses the horse, and then you can
ride back in the sulky with me."
The little boy thanked him and stepped in, but to all the doctor's
questions about Nelly he only answered, "I don't know, sir, but
mamma said to tell you she was very ill indeed."
So they went off together, and we were left to spend our
Christmas evening without Master, which made us all feel very
See page 6
"THE LITTLE BOY STOOD THERE LEANING AGAINST THE POST."
---- --- ----II--~
_ -L- __ _
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY.
S-7E did not know what to do at first; we were
Going to have a game of "Snap-Dragon," but
that was not to be till after dark, and we wished to
wait till Master came home, too. I don't know what
we should have done if he had stayed at home, but
we somehow felt as if we could not do it, now that
he was gone.
Mi\r. Rob put Madame in Master's chair, and then
sat down in hers with Helen in his lap. It was
already beginning to grow dark, for we had been a
long time at the dinner-table.
"It's a great, great while since you told us a story, Rob," said
Helen, stroking his face.
That was enough The children all shouted at once, "A story!
a story! He's got to tell us a story!"
"' If you please,'" said Mr. Rob, half laughing; and then they
all shouted, If you please."
"I have a rather good story in stock just at present," said Mr.
UNDER 7HE DOG-STAR.
Rob musingly. "I've been for some weeks intending to. write it,
but I really have not had time. If I tell you all this story, I shall
expect you to tell me in return how clever it is, and that the first
editor to whom I send it will fairly jump at it."
"Is it a true story?" said Helen.
"I hardly know," said Mr. Rob, "but I am inclined to think it is.
At any rate, it is the result of a remarkably vivid imagination
working with equally remarkable powers of observation."
He's making poetry without even knowing it!" cried Roland.
S"That's genius," said Mr. Rob, nodding solemnly at them all:
"the very highest grade of genius is often unconscious."
But what we want at present, you know, is the story," said the
sweet sister; "you may let your genius fly about as much as it
pleases after you've told us this-possibly-true story."
"Cruel creature !" said Mr. Rob, making Helen's little hand pull
out the sweet sister's comb and let her hair fall down to the floor.
It rolled down so that I thought it was coming quite off, until I saw
that it was fastened on at one end, just as mine is.
"Has your story a name?" asked the sweet sister, pretending
not to notice about her hair.
"Indeed it has," replied Mr. Rob--" a first-rate name. I am
going to begin now.-Take your head out of my mouth, Helen,
and put it on-my shoulder;, so.-I would remark, by way of
introduction, that if there is one thing above all others which I
cannot endure, it is being interrupted. So I give fair warning
MR. ROB IS IN'D'CED TO TELL A STORY
that when any one interrupts me I shall go straight back to the
beginning and tell my story over again, in as nearly as possible
the identical words which I used before. Now I really am going
to begin. My story is called THE ONION THAT SPROUTED.'"
Madame and the children all looked at one another, as if they
thought that a very queer name for a story, but nobody dared to
say anything, and Mr. Rob kept on:
"It happened in this way. There was a large basketful of them
sitting in front of the green-grocer's store. The day was a warm
one in February-one of those days that make you begin to think
about your spring bonnet, just as some of the days in March make
you sure that you never will live to want one.
"A sunbeam crept in through a little hole in the awning and fell
right upon the top of a large red onion. The onion liked it at
first, and took a good deal of credit to itself because the sunbeam
had picked it out of the whole basketful to shine on: it never
noticed the hole in the awning. But in a little while it began to
feel very uncomfortable, and whispered to. the onion which sat
next to it, 'Do you see any signs of a sprout on top' of my
"l No,' said the other, looking it over carefully. 'Or-wait a
minute : yes, it's all but through.'
"' Oh, my goodness gracious me !' said the first onion, in dreadful
consternation. 'I heard the grocer say only yesterday that we
were good for nothing after we were "growed," and he threw
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
away out into the street two poor fellows who had the loveliest
green topknots you ever saw, and one of those dreadful goats ate
them up in a minute.'
"'( Well,' said the other, briskly, 'your topknot isn't quite through
yet, and perhaps you can stop it. You can butt up against my
hard side if you like. I wouldn't mention it to every one, but I
don't mind telling you, that I'm going a little soft on one side;
and the grocer knows it, for he felt me this morning-gave me
an awful pinch. But you just lean your head against me-here-
and I'll push against the basket. It's lucky I'm so near the
"'Oh, thank you!' said the first onion gratefully; and it put the
place where it felt the sprout coming against the hard side of its
friendly neighbor, and pushed with all its might and main. It had
to crowd the other onions a little to do this, but when they heard
what was the matter they were very good-natured about it; for,
although they were too polite to say so, they felt that the case was
But it was noon, the sun shone hotly through the hole in the
awning, and presently the friendly onion said uneasily, 'I don't
wish to alarm you, but I'm sure I felt something tickle my side!'
"'I'm afraid to pull my head away and look,' the poor onion that
was sprouting said in a smothered voice; and just as it spoke it
gave a sort of spring and rolled across the basket. The sprout
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY. 69
"At that very moment a sharp-eyed woman with a long thin
nose came into the shop, glancing at the basket of onions as she
passed. How much'll you let me have that basket of onions at
the door for?' she said to the grocer, in a voice which seemed to
come through her thin nose.
"' Onions are going up, ma'am,' said the grocer, rubbing his
hands together; but before he could say any more she interrupted
"'I don't know how it is about onions in general-I haven't
heard that they were-but yours are, that's certain, for they're
"The grocer looked a little nervous, and went out to the basket..
He gathered up five or six of the onions in his hands. 'There's
only one that's sprouted, ma'am,' he said soothingly, 'and you can,
see for yourself that it's but just begun.'
The woman picked one up to satisfy herself, and, unfortunately,.
it was the one with the soft side. She pinched it until it fairly
winced, and a tear rolled out of its eye-it only had one eye-
and stained her old cotton glove. 'There!' she said angrily;
'look at that for an onion! They're as soft as mush, those that
haven't sprouted. I'll give you fifty cents for what's left in the
basket. 'Tain't full; I can see some have been taken out.'
"'I give you my word, ma'am,' said the grocer solemnly, 'that
it's just as I bought it; and I should be robbing my family if I said
a cent less than seventy cents for that basket of onions. Why,
when spring's this
near, before the new ones come, they're
worth their weight in gold.'
The onions all swelled with pride until they nearly burst their
"' Come, now,' said the woman, 'I'll split the
since it's you, ma'am, and
pay cash, take
boy shall carry the
basket home for you."
subsided, and their skins
"The boy carried them home
on a flat,'
up four flights
of stairs; and when
a little girl
into a tub.
nose took the onions from him and emptied
so she saw the one which had sprouted, and seized
'It's growing,' she murmured; 'it's all lovely and green.
if it is going
to be a tree ?
Oh, I wish she would let
me have it for my own!
knew what I
It's alive, and I could make believe
and I could watch it grow a little every
she box my ears if
I will ask her.'
And just then
name was Mary
the woman came back,
as if she
her courage would fail,
' Please, ma'am,
\\ i \\,
"SHE SAW HERSELF PICKING BUTTERCUPS."
See page 73.
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY. 73
boy brought some onions; and might I have just this one ? It's
almost the littlest one there.'
"'I wonder what you'll ask for next?' said the woman in a tone
of voice which would have led anybody to believe that the last
thing that Mary Ann had asked for had been a. pair of diamond
ear-rings. 'What do you want with it? Dear knows, you eat
enough at your meals, without eating between-times! I little
knew what I undertook when I said I'd board and clothe you.'
"' No indeed, ma'am!' said Mary Ann very eagerly. 'You give
me a plenty to eat, and I never had butter on my bread for
breakfast till I came to live with you; and, besides, I can't bear
onions nor anything that's got 'em in. But-don't you see?-
it's growing, ma'am, and I thought perhaps it would turn out to
be a tree.'
"The woman laughed a harsh, ugly laugh, that was not pleasant
to hear; but whether the compliment about the butter had pleased
her, or whether it could have been that her rusty old memory
worked for a minute, and she saw herself, a little child about the
size of Mary Ann, in the country with her sisters, pickirig butter-
cups in a field so full of them that she might have picked all day
and the field wouldn't have known it, I do not know; but, at any
rate, she said, not very gruffly, 'Well, you may take it, since
you're so crazy for it.' And then, as Mary Ann said joyfully,
'Oh, thank you, ma'am, you're very kind.!' she began to think
that perhaps she had been too indulgent, for Mary Ann was
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
only a 'taken girl,' who worked for her 'victuals and clothes;'
so her mistress added, severely, 'But don't go asking for any-
thing else, and don't go cluttering your onions and things about
my kitchen, for I won't have it.'
"'No, ma'am, I won't, neither,' said Mary Ann humbly; 'I'll
take it right to my room.' And she went away with the onion
which had sprouted, and set it in the sunshine on the window-sill
in what she called her room.
"It was only a large closet with a cot bedstead in it, and a
cracked wash-basin and pitcher on a three-legged stand which
was obliged to lean against the wall or else fall over, and a chair-
with only half a back, and a little looking-glass with two corners
gone hung by a string over the wash-stand; but to Mary Ann,
who before she came to live with Mrs. Diggles had owned an
uncertain third of a bed on the floor in a room of which she
was entitled to a small seventh, it left nothing to be desired.
So long as she kept this stately apartment perfectly clean, she
was welcome to decorate it with picture-cards-when she could
find any-or pictures from illustrated newspapers; and here,
when her hard day's work was at last done, she tucked her
aching little legs into the 'bed all to herself,' which no amount
of sleeping in could rob of its sweetness.
"When the onion found that the sprout which it had so much
dreaded had actually saved its life, it began to grow as hard as
ever it could, and soon had a fine green topknot waving on its
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY.
head. For, looking through the door-which Mary Ann always
left open now, when she was not in her room, that the heat from
the kitchen might make the onion grow faster-it saw, to its
horror, one after another of its mates skinned, cut up, or
dropped whole into boiling water.
"It did not occur to Mary Ann that there was any connection
between her telling Mrs. Diggles that she couldn't bear onions
and the fact that while the basketful lasted nearly all the meat
that came into the house was cooked with them, any more than
it occurred to her that bread, even with a thin scrape of butter
on it, was cheaper than meat. I don't know that she would
have been any happier if it had occurred to her.
Mrs. Diggles took a few boarders-'just to fill up the flat,' she
told Mary Ann-and they seemed to enjoy the meat quite as much
with the onions as without them-rather more, perhaps; and Mary
Ann was always pleased when they 'liked their victuals,' as she
put it, for then one or other of them would sometimes give her
There was only one thing now that worried her. The hole in
her shoe ? The big patch, of a different color, on the front of
her Sunday frock? The way in which her hands cracked and
bled when she had been scrubbing or washing?
No. These trifles annoyed her when she thought of them,
but the time had been when she had no shoes, with or without
holes, no Sunday frock, patched or not patched, and when her feet
UNDERR THE DOG-STAR.
as well as her hands had been cracked and bleeding with the
"It was this: the onion would roll over. She never left the
room without feeling afraid that when she came back she would
find it lying on the floor, on its head, of course, with all its lovely
leaves-in the midst of which a tall stem with a sort of mysterious-
looking white flower was now appearing-hopelessly mashed on
the bare boards.
"She at last summoned courage to confide her trouble to the
boarder who had given her pennies oftener than all the rest put
together. His name was Dennis O'Dowd, and he always had.a
kind word and a smile for her; 'Because,' he told her once, 'you
are the size of a little slip of a daughter I once had.'
"' And where is she now?' Mary Ann had asked.
"'With the holy angels, my dear,' Dennis had answered; and
Mary Ann had been a little frightened: she thought that perhaps
looking that way meant that she was going to die. She did not
wish to die just as she had found such a nice place, and Mrs.
Diggles was saying that she might possibly give her-Mary Ann-
fifty cents a week next year.
It was on a Sunday afternoon that she asked advice of Dennis
about the onion, and, as she found that he seemed interested, she
took him to her room to see it. If he laughed, he did it quite
inside of him; he was perfectly grave, so far as his face and
voice went, while she explained things to him and showed him
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY. 77
how, on account of the narrowness of the window-sill and the
roundness of the onion, she was always afraid of its tumbling off.
"'We'll soon fix that, my dear,' said Dennis cheerfully, 'and
improve its looks besides. Get me a small bit of a kindling-stick
and a paper to catch the shavings. I think it no harm to whittle
a bit on Sunday by way of pleasuring a girl that's as good as you
are, but the old lady might not agree with me entirely; so we'll
keep on the safe side.'
Mrs. Diggles had gone to afternoon meeting, and Dennis had
promised to stay at home till she came back, for she was always
sure that Mary Ann had lurking tendencies to mischief which
were only waiting for a good chance to develop themselves.
"The little girl brought the stick and paper, and Dennis sat
down on the foot of the cot and whittled out three small pegs,
each about two inches long and pointed at one end. These he
carefully stuck into the under side of the onion, far enough apart
to make it stand steadily, and then he set it on the window-sill with
a triumphant 'There!' And it was no wonder he said it, for the
onion stood up now like a little man, waving his greei plumes
"'Oh, thank you, dear Mr. O'Dowd!' cried Mary Ann raptu-
rously; and then they heard Mrs. Diggles coming up the stairs,
and gathered up the chips in a hurry.
", The onion had not enjoyed having the sharp sticks thrust into
it, but when it found how steadily it stood, and how now it could
78 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
shake its green top at the sparrows and see out over the roofs, it
was more than resigned, especially as the unpleasant feeling had
lasted only a few minutes.
Fairly up in the sunlight which daily streamed into the south
window, it soon burst the funny-looking pointed nightcap which
held its blossom, bloomed a few days, and went to seed.
While the bloom was in its glory Mary Ann could not find it
in her heart to object that it smelt oniony, but when it began to
look seedy she began to think how very unpleasant it was, when
she bent over it to look at it, to be obliged to smell it also.
"Mrs. Diggles had on her bureau a bottle labelled 'Bay Rum.'
Mary Ann had once taken a sniff in trembling haste, and thought
that it did not smell at all like the rum for which her father used to
send her. If she might but have a teaspoonful of this to pour
upon her onion, surely it would be sweetened for the rest of its
life, and perhaps the seeds -she meant to save the seed of
course-would all come up sweet-scented onions!
"So Mary Ann laid a deep plot. She worked for one whole
week as if she had two heads and four hands, and when Mrs.
Diggles, who was not altogether unpleasant-is anybody, I
wonder?-offered her bond-slave not exactly the half of her
kingdom, but a three-cent piece with a hole in it, she timidly
said, 'Please, ma'am, you're very good, but would you as lieve
give me, instead, a little teaspoonful of that sweet-smelling stuff
on your bureau?'
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY.
"Mrs. Diggles had just secured a new boarder, and she was in
a good humor; so she laughed, put the three-cent piece back into
her purse with alacrity, and poured into a dingy little old bottle
which she hunted out of a miscellaneous closet a generous tea-
spoonful of her bay rum.
"Was ever such liberality? A bottle, so that she might keep
a little drop for future refreshment, besides scenting the onion!
Mary Ann would have kissed Mrs. Diggles had she dared, but she
only said, 'I'm very much obliged, ma'am,' and hastened with her
new treasure to her old one.
"Very carefully she dropped some bay rum over the seed-stalk
first, then over the leaves, until all were wet. She did not hear
the poor onion shrieking, 'Don't! for pity's sake, don't! It
will be the death of me!' But when Mary Ann came out of her
room to light the fire the next morning, her eyes were red with
crying. Onions have made a great many people cry, but I doubt
if anybody ever cried quite so much over one before.
Dennis lingered a minute after breakfast to ask what was the
"' I've killed him,' said Mary Ann in a quivering voice. 'I
tried to make him smell sweet, and it must be poison, for his
beautiful tall head's all flopped down, and all his green leaves
"'Then that's a great pity,' said Dennis; 'and in the country
where I came from they've a notion to leave well enough alone.
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
You had a grand little man with a plume to his hat, and you'd
no call to keep smelling him; it was enough for you to look at
him. But take comfort, my dear; there's more onions than one
in the wide world.'
"I don't think this comforted Mary Ann very much, because,
you know, they Cvere not her onions.
"But the next Sunday afternoon Dennis stayed at home again,
and when Mrs. Diggles was fairly off he drew from his coat-
pocket a small flower-pot very new and red. "'Would you
oblige me, my dear,' he said to Mary Ann, 'by going down to
the ground-floor and asking the old gentleman for the full of
this out of his flower-bed? I'm loath to ask him, for it will
take near half of it; but, as it's Sunday, belike he'll be in a
giving humor.' And Mary Ann went, wondering.
"The old gentleman generously heaped the flower-pot with the
precious earth. You never thought, perhaps, that some people
can't even have a little earth when they want it until they get
the 'six feet' which is coming to everybody-or, to speak more
correctly, to which everybody is coming.
"When Mary Ann brought back the flower-pot, Dennis took
a little parcel from another pocket and carefully unwrapped it.
"'Oh, it's another onion-a great big, beautiful one-and it'll
grow ever so much better in earth!' cried Mary Ann, dancing
around Dennis while he carefully planted it, leaving its little
green nose just sticking up out of the earth.
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY. 8I
"'This is a kind,' said Dennis, handing her the flower-pot,
'which is warranted not to have the scent of the one you
killed with kindness. It must have nothing whatever poured
on it but a taste of water every morning.'
"Day after day the little green nose pushed its way up, warmed
by the April sunshine, for it was April by this time. But, although
Mary Ann would not for the world have said so to Dennis, she
was disappointed. The leaves were different; the stalk was
thick and clumsy-looking.
"Dennis said nothing, but his eyes would twinkle as he watched
the child's puzzled face bent over the flower-pot.
"I cannot tell you what Mary Ann's thoughts were when, this:
strange onion at last bloomed. A stalk of pure white bells
dazzled her eyes; a fragrance which filled her little room andi
floated out into the kitchen made her think she must dreaming,.
until Dennis's chuckle convinced her that she was awake.
When she went to bed that night the moon was shining on her
fairy-flower; but, bless you! she didn't call it a fairy-flower: she
called it an onion! And she whispered softly to it-foolish little
thing that she was-'You are very sweet! you are perfectly
lovely !' and she touched her lips gently to the snowy bells. Then,
as she turned away, she whispered to herself, But I wish-I wish-
I had not been so faultfinding, and killed my dear old first onion.'"
Nobody said anything for several minutes after Mr. Rob stopped
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
speaking. I suppose they were afraid he had not finished and
would begin all over again; and, although I liked the story very
well, it seemed to me that it was rather long. You see, I had
never heard a story before, and I kept thinking the end was
coming all the time; and, instead of that, there would be another
beginning. I know better now. A full stop does not always
means that one has got to the end.
Master had come in just where the onion was killed; but, as he
had taken off his hat and coat and boots and put on a nice soft
pair of slippers, he did not make any more noise than I do when,
for any reason, I wish to come in quietly. He had rolled the
lounge near the fire and spread himself out over it without saying
a word, for all the children, the minute he came in, had begged
him, by putting their fingers on their lips and making very curious
faces, to be perfectly still; and, as he did not know why, I suppose
he just did it to please them: I very often do things in that way
Mr. Rob waited a few minutes, and then he said, "That's all !"
"It seems to have been very affecting," said Master; "I wish
I had come in sooner. Were your feelings too deep for words ?"
Then Madame explained to him why every one had been afraid
to speak; and he laughed, and said that on those terms an interrup-
tion would have been the highest possible compliment, and if he
had only known the situation when he came in he would have made
one, and so got a chance to hear the first of the story.
MR. ROB IS INDUCED
TO TELL A STORY.
"The first part of it was the funniest, uncle," said May, "but
I liked the last part best; only I wish she hadn't killed the poor
. < \
"Was the little girl really very ill, dear?" said M\adame. Rob's
imaginary onion had nearly driven her out of our minds.
Master began to laugh.
" I found her in the play-room brisk as
" She was administering a severe whipping to that
a bee," he said.
UNDER THE DOG- S TAR.
long-suffering wooden doll you gave her, and when I asked her
what her poor child had done, she said, 'Her eated too much
dinner.' I guessed what had been the matter then, for the little
thing was looking rather pale and weak, but I had to cross-
question her mother a good deal to get at the truth. It seems
the child nearly had. a convulsion, but her mother did have sense
enough to give her a hot drink; and, though it had a rather
unexpected effect-made the poor little soul very sea-sick-it
brought her nearly right again. What do you think she had had
for dinner? Besides the usual 'fixin's,' mince-pie, ice-cream, wine-
jelly, lobster-salad, a 'taste' of wine, and a doll's cup of black
coffee to wind up with,' because it was Christmas.'"
"And they made you go out in all this storm, papa," said the
sweet sister indignantly, "all because of such dreadful foolishness
Never mind, dear," said Master soothingly; "I've been waiting
for a first-rate chance to read that misguided woman a lecture, and
I had it to-night, and improved it. Those children all three look
as if they had grown in the shade, but I think I have frightened
her thoroughly at last.-Come, my blossom," he said, stooping
over Helen, who was still on Mr. Rob's lap, "I must practise
what I preach: it's high time you were in bed. Do you feel
any worse for your dissipation?"
"Oh no, papa," Helen answered; I have not felt so well for a
long time: nothing rests me like having Rob hold me;" and she
MR. ROB IS INDUCED TO TELL A STORY. 85
nestled her cheek against Mr. Rob's. He seemed to like it, and
I'm sure I don't wonder he did.
Can't she stay just five minutes longer, papa ?" asked the sweet
sister; we want to sing While shepherds watched their flocks
by night,' and you know her voice comes in so nicely with
"Very well," said Master; but she needn't ask to stay down to
tea. I feel like a stern and cruel tyrant, and shall act like one if I
have the opportunity."
They all sang some beautiful thing which began with the words
the sweet sister had said. She played for them on an organ
which stood in one corner. I thought it was something alive,
and that she was pinching it, and that, and a sort of miserable,
lonely feeling that it all gave me, made me cry. I knew I ought
not to make a noise. Jet was lying there with Snowball on his
back, and they both kept as still as mice. I stood it as long as
I possibly could, and then, when they all stopped, and I thought
it was done, she kept making more noises with her hands, and
I could not help it. What I wished to say was, Oh, do stop!
Don't you hear how it hurts him ?" and I stood on my hind legs
and put my hand on hers, and tried to say it. I don't know,
to this day, why they all laughed so, and I did not care, for I
stopped her, and that was what I wanted.
Master and Mr. Rob carried Helen up on a new lady-chair,
and Roland brought up my basket and May my new feather-bed,
86 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
for we all had our presents spread out in the parlor; and I could
not help thinking that mine looked as well as anybody's, and
wishing the Jimmys could see them. I understood by this that
I was to go too, so I went, and was in bed before Helen was.
I, often pity these human people for the trouble their clothes
and hair and teeth give them. One shake, and I am ready for
bed; another shake in the morning, and I am dressed for the
day. It is true I have my hair combed, but then I always have
my breakfast first, which I think is much the best way.
Helen made the young girl who helped her with all these
troublesome things put my bed close by hers, and I found
from their talk that I was to have slept in her room the night
before, but that when she heard I was so sound asleep in the
kitchen she would not have me disturbed. That was just like
my Helen. She always wanted people to be pleased in their
way, instead of in her way. The last thing I thought of was
that child that ate too much dinner; I wondered if she knew
about busting." and I felt so glad I had not busted" myself the
night before that I had hard work not to bark a little. I'm
afraid I should have done it, but somehow I went to sleep
instead, and never remembered till the next morning that I had
not had any supper. I am afraid I did eat a good deal of dinner
that first Christmas Day!
I MAKE A FRIEND.
WAS exceedingly provoked with myself, when I woke up,
to remember that I had missed the game of "Snap-
Dragon" by going up stairs. I was very curious to
know what it was, and of course I could not make any one
understand and tell- me. And then I began to think why I
had rushed up after Helen without even being called. At first
I ".told myself," as Mr. Trollope says-I have heard several of
his books, and all the people he tells about do that,-I told
myself that it was because I was her dog and I loved her.
And then I seemed to hear another dog saying, "What a dreadful
story! Tell the truth, Jock !" and I looked .round, quite expecting
to see Jet, but he was not there; and I knew the other 'dog was
myself, too. So I said, very much ashamed, "It was because I
wanted Helen and all of them to see how clever I was, and that
I knew I was her dog." The other dog seemed to say, "Then
it served you quite right to miss the 'Snap-Dragon,'
no one will tell you about it until next Christmas."
will believe it, no one did.
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
You will wonder, perhaps, how I can remember all these little
things that happened so many years ago. You know I mentioned
in my first chapter that I learned to write when I was quite young;
it was early in the spring of this my first year at Ladysmede.
As soon as I knew how, it occurred to me that before I forgot
about my youth and all the first things I could remember it
would be a good plan to write them down, and that when I
grew old I should like to read what I had written. I did not dream
then of ever making a book of it, and I am only taking pieces of it
now: there is too much of it, considering that it is all about one
dog, to make a book of it just as it is; and besides, my ideas as
to what is interesting and what is not have changed a good deal
since I first began to keep my journal.
This is a good place in which to explain, too, how it is that I
can tell Mr. Rob's stories word for word. We have them all in
papers and books, and, by great good luck, the children keep
leaving them where I can get at them, and so I have copied the
ones I thought would be liked best. I have taken those that the
children asked him to tell them a good many times over; for he
always "tried them on" the children, as he said, before they
We had such a good time the next day that I don't think I
should ever have forgotten it even if I had not written it down.
In the first place, I made up my mind to be friends with Snowball.
I had never seen any cats before: I don't know why the Jimmys
I MAKE A FRIEND.
did not keep them, but they certainly did not. But when I saw
how much more Snowball knew about mice, and the way about the
house, and singing, and various other things, than I did, I thought
she would be a friend worth having; and we agreed to be friends,
and have been ever since. My friendship was put to a severe test
that very day, but I am glad to be able to say that it stood it. Aunt
Nancy found a mouse in her pantry, so she set the door open and
called Snowball. It was just as we were having our little talk, so
I came too. The mouse ran behind the flour-barrel, and Aunt
Nancy said to Snowball, "Set right down in front of de do',. honey,
and don't you stir till Mr. Mouse comes out again."
Snowball understood her business, but she had grown so used to
it that perhaps she was a little careless. She said to me, "It may
be hours before that mouse comes out, but he will come out-he
has no hole in the pantry-and I sh lbe obliged to stay here till
he does; but don't wait for me if you've any engagement." I
said that I had not, and that I should like, if she did not object,
to stay and see how it was done. She said, Not at all, if you'll
excuse my taking a nap: the slightest noise wakes me." She
curled herself up close by the doorway, and was fast asleep in a
minute. I went under the table, but I was too excited to sleep.
Aunt Nancy had scattered a few crumbs about to entice the
mouse out, and then she had gone into the kitchen: the pantry
opened out of a little sort of store-room among the passages.
Everything was very quiet, and presently a little head with two
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
very bright eyes stuck out from behind the barrel. I had never
seen a mouse, but I had been ashamed to say so to Snowball, and
I was expecting to see quite a large creature, from the fuss that
had been made. It took me some time to learn that small things
can do as much mischief as large ones. But, as it came from
behind the flour-barrel, I concluded this must be the mouse; and
when it crept softly out, and was stealing by Snowball's head, I
was just on the point of springing at it, when I remembered my
rudeness of the day before, and instead I gave a loud bark.
Snowball was on her feet in a second, and had "Mr. Mouse" off
his in another; and when he was disposed of she asked me so
many questions that I was obliged to tell her why I did not catch
him myself; and she declared that even Jet could not have acted
more chivalrously, which made me very happy, for I was beginning
to have a great respect for Jet. She said that after this proof of
my friendship, and of what she was pleased to call my gentlemanly
conduct, she should consider me as an intimate friend, and no
longer as a new-comer; and I cannot tell you all the kind things
she did from that time to make me feel completely at home.
This mouse-business took place quite early in the morning, and
the good feeling it gave us both lasted all day.
Snowball had rather a dislike to staying long in one place, but
when she saw that I was hesitating about going to the hill with Mr.
Rob and the children, because I was afraid Helen would be lone-
some if we all left her, and for the whole morning too, she offered,
"THE MOUSE WAS STEALING BY SNOWBALL'S HEAD."
See page 90.
I MAKE A FRIEND. 93
in the kindest manner, to sit with Helen herself, assuring me that
she had been up so late mousing the night before that she should
be perfectly contented to lie on the foot of Helen's bed and sleep
till we came back. As I really did want very badly to go with the
children, and as I knew she did not care for coasting-she told me
she did not when she explained to me what it was-I took her at
her word; and she assured me afterward that she would never
again object to sitting with Helen. "She does not jerk me about
by the legs, as the children do," said Snowball, "and she knows
the little places under my chin and behind my ears where it is so.
delightful to be rubbed. Besides, she talks to me quite as if she
knew I can understand her."
With my mind so much at ease that I really could not help
barking, I set off with the children for the hill. I dislike to tell
you how foolish I was at first; but if I do not mention that sort
of things, it will not be fair to tell about my compliments and
successes; so I will just narrate both impartially.
You know I had never been anywhere but in the Jimmys' fifth-
story rooms, and at first everything out of doors frightened me.
When a puff of wind came, I expected to see the great creature
which had blown so hard coming after it-and me! When the
trees waved and beckoned, I thought they were great people with
their hands full of dreadful switches, and would all begin to switch
me presently. The snow made my feet ache, and I wished I had
stayed with Helen. I suppose I must have looked rather dismal,
UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
for Mr. Rob stooped to lift me over a fence at the edge of a pretty
snowy field which looked like the top of Madame's Christmas-cake.
Jock," he whispered, "you must not be a cowardly little dog.
Nothing is going to hurt you: we are all your friends. Your toes
will keep warm if you'll scamper about, instead of standing still
and shivering; and remember you are Helen's dog now. You
surely don't want the children to go home and laugh at you to
I rather thought I didn't. I barked close to Mr. Rob's ear to
make him know that I understood him, and then he laughed and
put me down. I found it was just as he said: nothing was really"
going to. hurt me; and when I was running about and barking
I forgot that the snow was cold. It was great fun to try to get
to the bottom of the hill before the sled; and whenever I did it
the children shouted and hurrahed, and I barked; and they taught
me to pull the sled up for them by taking the rope in my teeth;
and I really got so full of fun that I could not help jumping away
just as they would go to take the rope from me, and then they
all laughed; and whenever I dropped the rope to bark a little,
they would get hold of it again.
If Mr. Rob had not been so tall, I should have thought he was
the very youngest of them all, except, perhaps, myself. I have
never met with anybody who knew how to play and whistle and
sing and talk as Mr. Rob can. In fact, he can do everything.
I have often wondered that I did not take cold that winter, for
" A PRETTY SNOWY FIELD."
See page 94.
I MAKE A PWFRIEND.
my coat was not long and thick, as it is now; but I suppose it
was taking so much exercise which kept me warm: there was
a sort of kinky feeling in my legs if I kept still long, which
would oblige me to get up and tear about after something, if it
was only my own tail. This feeling is nearly gone now, but it
still comes over me at times.
We went home so hungry that we were almost ready to eat one
another, Mr. Rob told Madame; and although the dinner was not
half so grand as it had been the day before, it somehow tasted
After dinner we all went up to Helen's room. She was lying
on the lounge in her pretty soft white dress, and Mr. Rob pushed
the lounge up to the window and wrapped a shawl around her,
and then he took us all down to make a snow-man right under
her window, where she could see it. I helped all I could, and
before dark we had a snow-man as tall as Mr. Rob, and with
much thicker legs than his, standing there with a pipe in his
mouth-not a real pipe, but a piece of corn-cob with a stick in
it-and a flag in his hand, which he held out toward .Helen's
window. Madame gave him an old hat of Master's, and he
looked so fierce that I felt a little afraid of him. I was never
quite sure that he was not alive until he melted away several
weeks afterward, and even then I thought he might have been.
Helen laughed, and clapped her hands, and bowed to the snow-
man when he was done; and then we all came in again, and Mr.
98 UNDER THE DOG-STAR.
Rob and Roland put on their slippers and carried Helen down,
and we sat down around the fire to wait for Master, who was
out seeing sick people, as usual.
Helen and May and Roland all begged Mr. Rob for another
story; only they said that this time they must be allowed to
interrupt, for they thought of so many questions while the story
was going on which they forgot by the time it was done. So
Mr. Rob said that as it was his last evening, he would indulge
them, for this time he would tell them a story which he had
written down, but which was not printed yet. So he settled
Helen comfortably in Master's chair, and then he lay down
by me on the hearth-rug, with his head in Madame's lap, and
began, in a very lazy voice, to tell this story. I am not going
to give the interruptions, because they were foolish, and I liked
his other way of telling a story best.
"Must it have a name?" he asked before he began.
"Of course it must !" said three or four of them at once; and
May added, Now you know it has a name already, Rob, if it's
"Astute creature!" said Mr. Rob. Its name is
"Part of my audience has been in New York; and the part
that has not can imagine, from pictures and descriptions, how it
looks to-day with its crowded and hustling wharves and markets,