• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The story of a humble life
 Jim
 A great glutton
 Dick
 Pop
 Monsieur Robert
 "Melanthe"
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Stories from lowly life
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087269/00001
 Material Information
Title: Stories from lowly life
Physical Description: xii, 95, 5 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Duppa, C. M
Wain, Louis, 1860-1939 ( Illustrator )
Macmillan & Co ( Publisher )
Macmillan Company ( Publisher )
Richard Clay and Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: Macmillan and Co., Limited
Macmillan Company
Place of Publication: London
New York
Manufacturer: Richard Clay and Sons, Limited
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mice -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animal behavior -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dogs -- Behavior -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Flight -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Thoroughbred horse -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Horses -- Folklore -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories -- 1898   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Folk tales -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Folk tales   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
England -- Bungay
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by C.M. Duppa ; illustrated by Louis Wain.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087269
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225579
notis - ALG5854
oclc - 26879498

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Front Matter
        Page iii
    Half Title
        Page iv
        Page v
    Frontispiece
        Page vi
    Title Page
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Dedication
        Page ix
    Table of Contents
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
    The story of a humble life
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Jim
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    A great glutton
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Dick
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Pop
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Monsieur Robert
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    "Melanthe"
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Advertising
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Back Cover
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Spine
        Page 103
Full Text


























1
The Baldwin Library
SUnivers





t-&4klL-Q


2 UO


LUop.AdSeuH:,"-BoT o,.~


L2 u


S ~--L4;C-~Zu-



~- Cc~


~cc,


"L




















STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE















































































RUNNING ACROSS THE ORCHARD.


[Page i.







STORIES


FROM LOWLY







BY .
C. M. DUPPA


LIFE


WITH ILLUSTRA TIONS BY LOUIS WAIN









iLoution
MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1898
All rights reserved


1'-`~'""`~'~-:~ L'';^'~ ~-` ~-~~--''~-`c"~- '--'---- -- --- -- -;;--- "--- ------ *- --- ------













































RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED,
LONDON AND BUNGAY.

























AS A SMALL TOKEN OF GRATITUDE

TOWARDS THE ONE WHOSE TEACHING

AND LOVE OF NATURE

HAVE BEEN AN UNENDING SOURCE OF HAPPINESS,

THESE LITTLE STORIES ARE LOVINGLY

ebicateb

BY THE WRITER



September zoth, 1897


























CONTENTS


THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


JIM . .


A GREAT GLUTTON .. ...


DICK .. .


POP . .


MONSIEUR ROBERT .. ...


" MELANTHE .. ....


L"~: '































LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE
RUNNING ACROSS THE ORCHARD. ... . . Frontispiece

COMPELLED TO CALL IN THE AID OF THE COMMON TRAP AND TOASTED
CHEESE. . . . .. . . . .. 3

WHEN SEARCHING ON THE TABLE HE DISCOVERED A TINY MODEL RABBIT 12

PRETTY SAT QUITE STILL FOR HALF A MINUTE, WITH HIS BACK HUMPED
UP .. . . . . . 14

SUCCESSFULLY INTERVIEWED BOTH FOX AND BADGER . ... I. 8

THE PLUCKY LITTLE FELLOW, WHO WOULD UNHESITATINGLY ATTACK A
FIERCE BULL-DOG DOUBLE HIS OWN SIZE . . .... 21

JIMMY CHARGED THE ENEMY, AND BIT HER IN THE HIND LEG . 25

HE HAD RATHER A PRETTY TRICK OF UNTYING, BY BITING ASUNDER, THE
BANDS OF THE HAY AND STRAW TRUSSES . . ... .28

JIM AND BOGLES ON AN EXPEDITION. ..... . . .31

DON TOOK PITY ON THE NEGLECTED VIANDS . . ... 36

A LARCH PLANTATION . . . . ... ..... 42

ATTACKED BIGGER GAME IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE STOAT ...... 55

POP HAD THE BAD LUCK TO COMMENCE OPERATIONS ON WHAT HE
FONDLY BELIEVED TO BE A MOUSE-HOLE . . .. 56

THE STRIPED AND BUZZING ENEMY, AFTER ALL, SUCCEEDED IN PLANTING
ONLY ONE STING .. . . . . ... 57

HE CAME INTO THE HOUSE, ALL SWOLLEN ABOUT THE HEAD AND NECK,
LOOKING VERY QUEER AND ILL . . . . 58










xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


PAGE

FELL OUT OF AN ATTIC WINDOW, AND WAS PICKED UP, STUNNED, IN
THE GARDEN BELOW ................. . 61

EVERY DAY HE WALKED SEDATELY DOWN TO THE OLD COTTAGE WHERE
HE WAS BORN .................. ...... 65

THE OLD BEECH TREE WHICH BEARS ON ITS TRUNK THE NAMES OF ALL
THE FAMILY . . .. . . .. 66

LATER IN THE YEAR YOU MAY ENCOUNTER YOUR FRIEND IN THE
KITCHEN GARDEN ................ .... 70

A NARROW STRIP OF ROUGH GROUND, COVERED WITH COARSE GRASS, HEATHER,
GORSE, SWEET BRIAR AND BRAMBLES . . . .. 73

IF ASKED TO TAKE A DITCH SHE WOULD BLUNDER THROUGH IT BY
CHOICE . . . . . ........ 86

MELANTHE CALMLY SEIZED HIM WITH HER TEETH BY HIS BELT, LIFTED
HIM UP, SHOOK HIM ................. .... 90

MELANTHE AND HER TWO CHILDREN CAREERING ROUND THE PADDOCK 92

BEN FULL TILT AFTER THE FAT AYLESBURY DUCKS . ... 94
















STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE

IN the first place he was a waif.
His mother, a large old wood-mouse, was running
across the sunny orchard with him in her mouth
when she was seen and pursued by the stable-boy and
the fox-terrier. In the hurry and scuffle the mother,
by some fortunate chance, escaped, and the little one
was picked up from amongst the long grass and ox-
daisies where he had fallen, and brought into the
house, it being well known on the place that any
" queer beastis" was pretty sure to meet with a warm
welcome there.
But at first he seemed likely to prove an exception
to the rule. If you come to consider it carefully, an
inch and a half of pinky flesh, over which the faintest
suspicion of grey fur is beginning to dawn, and to






2 STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE

which are attached four little pink paws, and at one
end of which shapeless mass two unpleasant dark
lumps suggest the possibility of future eyes, and a
slit of a mouth, continually agape, proclaims a per-
petual hunger within ; the total, though interesting,
is not fascinating : and when you further consider
that you are expected to rear the helpless little
creature by hand, you will, if at all experienced in
such matters, feel it is a job you would rather
decline.
However, after many persuasions and entreaties,
he was received into the family, and a nest was forth-
with made ready for him.
It was early in May, and the nights were still
chilly, so especial care was necessary to guard against
cold. First of all, a small, strongly woven Madeira
basket was lined with flannel ; then a nest of cotton-
wool and wadding was made inside it, and warmed
and shaped by a hot egg being rolled in it. Then
the infant mouse was lifted in, and covered up with
more wool and flannel; the whole basket was then
wrapped in house-flannel, and placed on the top of
a hot-water tin, and finally, the whole, with the
exception of a small space at the top to admit fresh
air, was enveloped in a large fleecy bath towel,






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


Lodging was thus satisfactorily arranged; board
was a far more difficult matter. He was too young
to lap milk from a saucer, too small to take it from a
bottle after the fashion of pet lambs, and apparently
too fastidious to relish it from a camel's hair brush.
We were reduced to letting the milk fall drop by
drop on to his mouth from the brush ; about half
would be swallowed, and the rest trickled down his
chin and paws.
He had been brought into the house at four p.m.,
and by eight we began to despair of feeding him,
particularly as he was evidently growing weaker,
when, fortunately, he discovered how to feed
himself.
He was held in the hand whilst having his meals,
and during the struggles which went on some of the
milk ran down into the cracks of the palm of the
hand, and probably became considerably warmed
there ; and he, feeling about in his blind way, came
upon it, and managed half to lick and half to suck
it out of each crack.
From that time forward feeding was easy though
slow ; the milk was allowed to run along the cracks
of the hand, and he licked it up.
Naturally, this process was a very messy one ; and
B 2






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


the fur as it grew became very sticky, to the great
annoyance of its owner, who, blind and helpless as
he was, did his utmost to keep clean.
It was touching, and yet ludicrous, to see that
pink and grey morsel, still blind, sitting bolt upright,
and trying with might and main to wash his back!
Ears, paws, and tail, were quickly managed ; but
the middle of the back gave him a deal of trouble,
and every now and then, in the midst of the per-
formance, he would collapse and roll over, then,
recovering his balance, start afresh.
So things went on for two days, but on the third
morning, when his first meal was to be given, at 5.30,
it was almost too late. Five was the hour at which
his two previous breakfasts had been served. The
night had been unusually chilly, and what with cold
and hunger, the little thing was so weak that he could
not feed himself: it was all he could do to swallow
the milk when it was dropped on his mouth ; but
warmth and food gradually brought him round, and
on that day his eyes opened, to the great excitement
and delight of the family.
Feeding was now an easy matter ; in a few more
days he learnt to lap from a spoon, and then to eat
solid, or semi-solid, food.







THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


Each morning, at breakfast, a bit of bread was
scalded, then soaked in cold milk, and some sugar
was sprinkled over the whole : this constituted his
staple article of diet for some weeks; then, by degrees,
he was introduced to corn, fruit, and potatoes, and
soon exhibited marked partialities and dislikes towards
different kinds of food.
At that time the household numbered among its
members four white, or rather piebald, mice, as well
as a pair of handsome well-to-do dormice, each of
whom rejoiced in a name, so it was felt that one must
also be found for the new comer. After much debate
it was settled that he should be called Pretty, and surely
no pet ever better deserved the epithet.
Imagine a sleek, plump personage, of about two
inches long (he was only half-grown at this time),
with a tail of about the same length, clad in a coat of
the softest and most velvety grey, and a vest of pure
white shading off into a bluish slate-colour, beneath
which peeped out four little paws, most delicately
formed, with tiny claws ending in minute, though
needle-pointed nails, and all of a more tender shade of
pink than the most delicate coral. The head was,
perhaps, rather a weak point, having still a babyish,
unfinished look about it, and being much rounder






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


than is the case in adult specimens. But the eyes
were beautiful, large, dark, and liquid, like those of
the dormouse, which animal, indeed, this pet of ours,
the Mus sylvaticus, resembled in several points, rather
than the field-mouse or house-mouse.
As he grew older his colour changed, and he
assumed a coat of rich dark brown, with a suspicion
of orange here and there ; the under line of slaty-blue
became more pronounced ; and the teeth from a
pale shade turned to bright orange, with an edge like
that of the best steel chisel for keenness. His ears
became very large, round in shape, and of transparent
delicacy, showing clearly the course of each vein,
though covered on the outside with the silkiest of
hair.
The exercise of his teeth was to him a constant
source of amusement at all hours of the day and
night; and to his owners it was an equally constant
source of worry and vexation, as no cage could
be found strong enough to withstand his ceaseless
gnawing.
Of course, the old basket, his nursery, had long
since been bitten through, and was found empty and
cold one fine morning, the little rascal himself, after
a prolonged search, being discovered in an empty ash






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


pan at the back of a grate-a cold one, luckily for
him.
Then a substantial, well-built dormouse cage was
tried. In some mysterious way he forced open the
door of this new residence, departed, and was found
next morning in another room, down a flight of
stairs, rolled up asleep in the folds of a heavy
curtain.
His wanderings at this period of his career were
all but endless. He made himself a perfect nuisance;
and on one occasion, when we had, most reluctantly,
been compelled to call in the aid of the common trap
and toasted cheese, it was nearly decided that he
should be carried back to his native orchard, and
there set free.
Then occurred the brilliant idea-destructive birds,
like parrots, live in cages made entirely of metal,
why not a mouse? So a cage was built of tin,
enamelled ; but the back, front, and roof, in order to
admit light and air abundantly, and yet not allow his
slippery body to squeeze through, were of perforated
zinc, of a large, open pattern.
This answered capitally, and a little division being
placed across the cage at one end, he had a dining-
room and bed-room. The bed itself was an extra-






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


ordinary sight, a miscellaneous collection of every
.scrap and shred he could lay his paws on, mixed up
with hay and grass.
He was always most gentle and sweet-tempered,


COMPELLED TO CALL IN THE AID OF THE COMMON TRAP AND TOASTED CHEESE

but to interfere with his nest evidently annoyed him
greatly, and of course periodically his bed-room had
to be turned out," and the various odds and ends con-
tained therein, from an old bent and battered thimble
down to a bit of potato, got rid of.






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


Jackdaws and magpies are said to be great
thieves, and Pretty's" character was no better ;
specially fascinating to him was anything that
glittered or sparkled.
It was a favourite family amusement in the evening
to let him out of his cage, and see how many things
he would carry off. On one occasion he actually
succeeded in dragging into his cage a dessert fork
(though the sill of the doorway over which he had to
raise it was quite two inches high), a thimble, a ring,
and finally a sovereign. The latter bothered him
more than all the other things put together, as it was
laid perfectly flat on the table, and he could not get
a good grip of it ; but at last he managed to tilt it,
then, seizing the edge in his mouth, ran triumphantly
to bed with his prey. Sometimes, after sleeping
quietly, he would suddenly get up, run restlessly
about the cage, uttering a curious little chuckling sort
of sound, and commence piling all his food together
in a heap. Acorns, nuts, bread-and-milk pan, water-
dish, corn, on they all went, pell-mell-after which
he proceeded to scrape the sand together with his
paws, and cover the heap with it, till, apparently
disgusted at such slow progress, he would turn his
back upon the pile, and with his hind feet kick up






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


the sand all over it; having done this, he immediately
retired to bed, chuckling loudly.
After observing him carefully for some months, it
was found that he only behaved in this manner before
very bad weather, or, in the winter, before a hard
frost.
In fact, to hear that Pretty had made a granary,"
as we called it, served as a regular storm-warning,
nor did he ever prove a false prophet.
There are instances recorded of animals of different
species forming warm and apparently disinterested
friendships for each other; and of this sort was
Pretty's affection for a small and sickly dormouse,
which for some weeks he took under his especial
care and protection, sharing his food and nest
with it, and licking and washing it as a cat does
her kitten.
But the best friends must part, and Pretty was
too wakeful a creature for the dormouse, who in
the winter likes to sleep for several days together,.
becoming, when in a healthy state, absolutely cold.
The wood-mouse, on the other hand, appears to
require but little sleep, and, so far as we could learn,
always remains warm. Consequently, whilst they
shared the same quarters, the dormouse never settled






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


down into sound slumber ; if he tried, his companion
promptly licked him till he was wide awake.
Perhaps it was in a fit of nervous irritability,
caused by want of sleep, that the invalid one day bit
two joints off Pretty's tail, apparently without reprisals
on the part of the victim ; but we thought it better
that there should be two establishments after this.
For some little time after this episode our friend
seemed dull, till one day, when searching on the
table for fresh acquisitions, he discovered a tiny model
rabbit, in grey biscuit" china, about an inch long.
Can he have imagined it to be some sort of young
mouse ? Be that as it might, he instantly seized the
rabbit, and carried it off to bed, and for many days
licked and tended it, as he had the dormouse, bringing
food to it into his nest. Probably he came gradually
to the melancholy conclusion that it was only a fraud
after all, for at last he kicked it out of bed, and buried
it in the granary," though he strongly objected to its
being removed from the cage.
He was exceedingly attached to his owner, whom
he never attempted to bite, even when his ill-gotten
gains were taken out of his very mouth; though on
occasions he would kick and squeak with passion.
Once, when he was very ill, and a swelling on his







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


side had to be bathed, though each touch must have
caused great pain, and he must have known the
power of his strong sharp teeth, he lay quite patiently,


UC


WHEN SEARCHING ON THE TABLE HE DISCOVERED A TINY MODEL RABBIT.

hardly needing to be held, only now and again gently
licking the kind fingers, with whose sympathetic touch
he had been familiar all his life.






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


It was amusing to watch his behaviour to Bobby,"
the handsome powerful old dormouse, who suffered
from a perpetual pain in his temper, and who was
known on one occasion to have devoured half the tail
of a fellow lodger during the hours of darkness.
Bobby and Pretty lived in a state of armed
neutrality ; "you leave me alone, and I'll leave you
alone," was written in every line of their long, curved
whiskers, pricked ears, bright eyes, and uplifted fore-
paws. Only twice did they actually come to blows,
Pretty securing the victory; and as the details were
practically the same each time, one description will
serve for both battles. They were accustomed to
creep into the wide sleeve of their owner's flannel
jacket, and by long custom it was more Pretty's place
than Robert's; however, one night the latter took
possession first, curled himself round, tail over nose,
till he looked like a large yellow apricot, shut his
wicked little eyes, and dozed. Up came Pretty and
crept in, meaning to go shares, mild and peaceable.
Not so Bobby, who woke and sat up, eyes wide open,
ears pricked, tail held out stiff and distended (he had
lost part of it in some ancient fray, and wore a tuft
at the end), every hair of his white frill standing up
rigid and separate; he turned over very slightly on






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


his side, raised one fore-paw, and showed his yellow
old teeth. Pretty sat quite still for half a minute,
with his back humped up, and a look of blank amaze-
ment on his face; clearly, a fellow creature in such
an awful rage was a new light to him. As he gazed,
Bobby sidled up a little nearer, darted out his paw,
which severely clawed his adversary's nose, and then,













PRETTY SAT QUITE STILL FOR HALF A MINUTE, WITH HIS BACK HUMPED UP.

sad to relate, spat most viciously at the latter. Next
second he was in full retreat up the jacket-sleeve,
having received two tremendous boxes on the ear, and
Pretty calmly occupied the position vacated by the
enemy.
The older Pretty grew, the more varied became
his diet; all sorts of grain he enjoyed, with green






THE STORY OF A HUMBLE LIFE


peas and strawberries in the season. Animal food
he relished keenly, from mutton-chop bones down to
dead bumble-bees, beetles, and earwigs. If by any
chance he spied on the window-ledge a daddy-long-
legs, he made short work of it, gobbling up the body
and leaving the legs. Perhaps in a state of nature
these mice may do good service in waging war
against this most destructive pest.
But the food he preferred to anything else was
house-flies. In the autumn, when the latter became
drowsy, and collected in horrible masses behind the
shutters, Pretty was taken to the windows and set
free. His face, at all other times so gentle, became
then absolutely ferocious ; his eyes, instead of round
balls, looked like mere slits ; his ears and whiskers
were laid flat back against his head, and he ran swiftly
from place to place, devouring and chuckling as he
went, till, unable to eat any more, he retired to bed.
His death occurred from over-indulgence in
cherry-stone kernels. Latterly he had again taken
to sharpen his teeth on his cage door to such an
extent that he literally bit through the perforated
zinc in several places ; so the cherry-stones were
given him to turn his energies into a more profitable
channel. Unfortunately the supply was practically






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


unlimited; and for once, doubtless through long
captivity, his natural instinct failed to guide him.
He ate very largely of the kernels, was very drowsy
for some hours, and next morning was found, quite
quiet and cold, at rest, with his nose upon his paws,
in the same position in which, from a tiny thing, he
had been used to await his owner's coming.










5"g
















JIM


EVERY one said he would be the beauty of the
family, and that his mission in life was to go from
show to show, receiving prize after prize from the
hands of the judges. Shape, size, markings, alike
were perfect, one thing only he lacked, a black nose ;
and Jim's, alas was of the most pronounced choco-
late colour-a fatal disqualification ; so, compelled to
relinquish all hope of a triumphant career on the
show-bench, he came to us to follow the humbler,
though perhaps no less happy, calling, of rat-catcher
to the establishment.
When our acquaintance began, Jim was just
eighteen months old, and had already greatly distin-
guished himself as regarded sport, having successfully
interviewed both fox and badger in their earths,
and demolished numberless rats.






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


He was not a house dog, his manners were not
polished, and his usual entry into a room was, to use
his mistress's expression, "like a young cannon-ball."
Woe betide the rickety three-legged table or similar
gimcrack that stood in Jim's path In fact it is very
doubtful whether the heaviest brass standard-lamp


SUCCESSFULLY INTERVIEWED BOTH FOX AND BADGER.


yet invented would have withstood one of his on-
slaughts.
After perpetrating a piece of mischief he would lie
down, fold his paws, and look up in your face quite
calmly, with an expression which clearly said, "Yes
-now there'll be a nice row-please hurry up and






JIM


get it over ;" nor during our eight years' ac-
quaintanceship did I ever but once see him look
ashamed.
His eyes, the colour of which no one could ever
exactly tell, were singularly expressive. Some days
they would look quite yellow, bright, and clear, like
cairngorms; and then, if excitement, in the shape of
a rabbit or strange dog, crossed his path, they would
darken and look almost blue. Put him thoroughly
out of temper and you might see him going about
with a sort of fox-like sneer on his lips and a green
light in his eyes ; and yet again, yellow, blue, and
green, seemed all to be present simultaneously in a
sort of harmonious jumble.
His body was white, with a lemon-coloured spot
on the right side, and another on the short, sturdy,.
bottle-brush of a tail. Both ears were lemon-coloured
(chestnut really better describes the rich warm tint),.
and he wore a patch of the same over his right eye ;
on the left side the patch stopped short just above the
eyebrow.
Add to all these personal attractions a set of strong
keen teeth, which glistened like the best ivory, and
four of the cleanest, soundest paws on which dog ever
ran, and you have a very fair picture of the smooth-
c 2






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


haired fox-terrier, Chocolate Jim, to give him his
full title.
Being so young a dog when he came to us, his
,education was still incomplete; but he had already
imbibed one conviction to which he firmly held
through life,-that children, especially boys, were de-
testable and to be avoided on every possible occasion.
In common with his brothers and sisters, Jim had,
at an early age, been put out "to walk" at a cottage,
and had doubtless suffered many things from the
" hands of strange children." It was rather piteous
to see the plucky little fellow, who would unhesitat-
ingly attack a fierce bull-dog double his own size
shrink and cower when passing a group of small
:school-boys aged from six to ten. If we were walk-
ing he did not so much mind, as at our heels he was
:safe ; but if he were following the dog-cart he would
pause, take in the situation, and if possible make a
detour through the hedge and the next field. Failing
this means of escape, with ears laid back and tail
tucked down, he fled before his enemies for all he
was worth. In early days he was very ignorant as to
the uses and inhabitants of bee-pots or skeps,"
and always eager to investigate the latter, which
stood on a bench in a narrow flower border,


20







JIM


sheltered by a sunny, mossy bank of the kitchen
garden.
When admitted to the garden, Jim's orders were
to remain strictly on the paths, and not presume to


THE PLUCKY LITTLE FELLOW, WHO WOULD UNHESITATINGLY ATTACK A FIERCE.
BULL-DOG DOUBLE HIS OWN SIZE.

tread upon the neatly-raked beds. But thirst for
knowledge overcame obedience. James raised himself
on his hind legs, placed his fore-paws on the bench,
and snuffed inquiringly at the entrance to a skep. Out
came a bee to answer the door," and finding Jim's






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


nose upon the threshold, promptly perched upon it.
With a howl of pain and fear, Jim tore down the
:garden, working fearful havoc among a row of most
promising young potatoes; nor to the last day of his
life could he ever be induced, except by sheer force,
to come within a radius of several yards of a
bee-pot.
Another thing of which he stood in exceeding awe
was the harmless, necessary stable-bucket. The reason
for this terror I could never discover, though I studied
the matter for at least six years. However great his
thirst might be, at home or abroad, Jim would not go
near water if contained in a bucket, unless he believed
himself to be alone, and then only with great pre-
caution as though it might bite. We concluded that
when he was a puppy he had had some painful ex-
perience with the utensil; perhaps he had fallen or
been dropped into one, or had felt the weight of it on
paw or tail.
Endowed with much natural ability, he turned it
to account in appropriating to his sole use every hen's
egg about the place, on which he could lay a paw.
The hens, silver-pencilled Hamburgs, and great
wanderers, persisted in laying their eggs in the
garden, in the thorn hedge, under the cow's manger,






JIM


in any out-of-the-way place, in fact; but, for choice,
under the hay-stack, among the faggots forming its
foundation. We clumsy mortals were at infinite
pains to extract the eggs from these dark recesses by
means of a small rake, the operator meantime being
extended flat on the ground. Jim would stand by,
wearing his most placid, self-satisfied air, and when
the eggs were. brought to light would not vouchsafe
them so much as a glance. This would take place
in the evening; but at noon on the morrow, when
the men were away at dinner, Jim might be seen to
emerge from under the stack, walk delicately into the
adjoining orchard, lie down among the high grass, and
devour something. The charitably disposed suggested
bones, rats, mice; those who were cynically inclined
said, eggs. So it was one day put to the proof. Jim's
lips were streaked with gold. A painful though
animated scene followed. Moral: always wipe your
mouth after eating, especially after eggs !
We tried many ways of breaking him of the trick,
but without permanent success. The hens continued
to stray, and he found all the nests ; and in the winter,
when eggs were scarce, it became a serious incon-
venience.
On one occasion I placed for him in his bed an






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


ancient egg of the "highest" quality, and, having
hidden myself, had the opportunity of observing his
expression "before and after." It merited a snap-
shot. Another time we treated him to a- savoury egg
filled with pepper and mustard: he reformed for a
while, but soon relapsed.
He had an intense dislike to toads, and in spite of
repeated thrashings, delighted to bite off the poor
creatures' heads and leave their mangled bodies on the
lawn, though the operation seemed to be attended-by
much personal inconvenience to himself, as he always
foamed tremendously at the mouth after it.
One of his greatest chums was Brisk, a very
handsome, curly-coated, cream-coloured retriever,
who, even at the outset of their acquaintance, was
beginning to show signs of age. Jim and his friend
always went out together; and one day an enormous
old black pig, wandering at large in the lanes, attacked
poor Brisk, knocked him down, and knocked most of
the breath out of his body. No sooner did Jimmy
see this than he charged the enemy, and bit her in
the hind leg till she ran off squealing. On another
occasion he did battle, singly and successfully, on
behalf of a retriever puppy who accompanied him
on his walks, and who had been most causelessly






JIM 25

set on by a half-bred and very quarrelsome bull-
dog.
There were very few creatures which Jimmy, in
his prime, would not face. At the first rat-hunt
he attended in an official capacity after coming to us,


S-,lp



JIMMY CHARGED THE ENEMY, AND BIT HER IN THE HIND LEG.

he "went for" and nearly slew, an unfortunate
ferret. As the luckless animal happened to be
an unusually handsome and valuable one, as well as
a loan, Jim soon found he had committed rather a
serious blunder.







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


What could have been the feeling which prompted
the dog to advance as he often did, with a sancti-
monious air, into the middle of the high road when
a cart was approaching, and deliberately sit down and
wait for it to come up to him, never springing aside
till the horse's hoofs were almost on him ? We put
it down at last to sheer love of mischief; it really
seemed as though the dog enjoyed seeing great animals
and vehicles move out of the way of a little shrimp
like himself.
In vain we remonstrated, rebuked, and even
resorted to drastic remedies, fully realising the danger
and vexation caused to horse and driver, as well as the
risk run by the perpetrator of this foolish trick.
Dogs certainly copy each other, and Jim taught
this pastime to his two companions.
Never shall I forget the shame and horror of the
moment when, after having turned my back on the
dogs to speak to a friend, I looked round to find Jim,
the retriever puppy, and a clever little rough-haired
terrier known as Bogles, seated in the very middle of
the road, one behind the other, and about four feet
apart, looking as demure as choir-boys when the
master's eye is on them, while a drag, drawn by a
team of high-spirited young horses, was rapidly ap-






JIM


preaching, in fact, was almost on the dogs. In the
very nick of time, thanks no less to the kindliness and
courtesy than to the skill of the driver, the horses were
pulled up, and all concerned saved from what might
have been a nasty smash; while with some difficulty
I dragged Jim, to his intense disgust, into the ditch.
This occurred in the days of the muzzling order,
and undoubtedly that order produced in Jim a con-
tinued fit of the sulks. He simply loathed the
muzzle, which, though inconvenient, was certainly
not uncomfortable.
The ingenuity he displayed in getting rid of it was
remarkable. There was a certain old nail which pro-
jected from a fence which we passed daily; against
this nail Jim always rubbed his muzzle, and not in-
frequently succeeded in dragging off the latter, and
leaving it suspended.
He had rather a pretty trick of untying, by biting
.asunder at the word of command, the bands of the
hay and straw truses ; but when displeased with his
friend and great ally the groom, he more than once
meanly revenged himself by biting to pieces the latter's
braces, which he had discovered lying about, to the
exceeding inconvenience of their owner. And almost
every quarter the saddler's bill contained such an item





























tclh


K <


HE HAD RATHER A PRETTY TRICK OF UNTYING, BY BITING ASUNDER, THE
BANDS OF THE HAY AND STRAW TRUSSES.


Y;~AI~~

~c~ "
_li;~SCg;'






JIM


as "to repairing pillar-reins so much, Jim, in a fit of
pique, having gnawed them asunder.
We lived near a very large common, on which
Jimmy delighted to wander, which partiality he once
nearly paid for with his life. He was stolen, taken
off some six miles, and put down a badger's earth, his
pluck being well known. As he was very handsome,
besides being a great favourite with us all, a reward
was offered for him; but days dragged on, and we
heard no more of our pet. At last one evening, when
we had given up all hope of ever seeing him again,
a man came to the back door carrying a large basket
with a lid, which he raised, and then enquired whether
the dark lump within were the dog for which the
reward was out. It was; but oh, how changed!
grimed and blackened with peat earth from head to
foot ; so thin that the bones almost pierced his skin ;
and so weak that his head when we raised it fell
down again-such was James when restored to his
disconsolate family.
His kind friend, the groom, made him up a bed
by the fire and fed him with beef-tea every half-hour
all through the night; next morning he could stand,
and after several weeks recovered completely, and
became stronger and handsomer than ever before.






30 STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE

He had stuck in some hole, remained there till thin
enough to crawl out, and had just avoided absolute
starvation by gnawing furze-roots. The man who.
found him had seen him crawling feebly under some
gorse bushes, and, thinking it might be the lost dog, at
once brought him over to our house on the chance,
and took back the reward and thanks of the family.
Though his spirits were somewhat damped by
this adventure, Jim still dearly loved an occasional
expedition on his own account, especially if the
disreputable, jolly little Bogles would accompany
him.
Their idea of fun was to spend a night with the
rabbits in the woods, after which they would be
found, at 6 a.m., meekly seated on the door-mat,
awaiting the appearance of the housemaid. Then
Jimmy would just see his chum safely into the house
and depart to the stables, climb into his own manger,
assume his habitual virtuous air, and try to look as
though he weren't unchained, and hadn't had a
night out. No one could have had a more faithful,
devoted companion than he was, though far too
dignified ever to make any great demonstration;
besides, we understood each other too well for that.
On an outing we always went shares, whether of






JIM


a refreshing bit of shade in summer, or of shelter
from the storms in winter, or in such trifles as raisins,


AL.- L E' iL-**
F .i -


biscuits, stra\v-
.. berries ; and last,
by non means least in Jim'n
eyes, we always went halves
in juicy pears and apples.
It never made any difference to him whether you
went for a long tramp of many miles, or could only





STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


potter round the garden,-he was always eager to be
with you. The only occasions on which he ever
made the least display of his affection was when he
imagined you to be in any trouble. Then, after lying
at your feet, looking most beseechingly at you with
his large clear eyes, which seemed to say-" I would
so gladly help you if I only could," he would crawl
up into your lap, and lick your face, sigh piteously,
and then, if allowed, lie down with his nose in your
hand or on your foot.
We had been constant companions for eight long
years, then we had to part. Various circumstances
made residence in London a necessity, and the great
city is not a happy place for dogs, at any rate not for
one already growing old, and so addicted to entering
every shop, as Jim was. To get him through our
little market-town was next to impossible; what
else could he expect but to be lost, when, instead of
following his master, he was seeking in each shop
what he might devour ?
So, with pain and grief, arrangements for his board
and lodging were made in the village, and one after-
noon we took him and his belongings down to his
new home. Of course it poured on the way, and
Jim sat like an injured victim under the drip of our






JIM


umbrellas as we tried to shelter; he seemed to feel
something was wrong. When we had formally
handed him over to the kind old lady who was to
take care of him, and turned to say good-bye, Jim
looked us full in the face, with an expression of
reproach which I shall never forget, stood still for
half a minute, rigid all over, then slowly turned his
back on us, and walked away to his new master
and mistress, not one look, or wag of the tail did
he vouchsafe us; he hung his head, and looked
wretched.
Five years later we met again. He had been
well cared for, and greatly petted, and was sleek, and,
alas very fat-indeed, besides being rather deaf. He
looked at me gravely, gave no sign of recognition,
not even a wink; but turning to the friend who was
with me, and with whom in former days he had been
well acquainted, made a great fuss over her, jumping
up and licking her hand. I firmly believe he did
remember me, but considered my conduct in deserting
him had been so utterly base that he renounced me
for ever.
Some months after this he seemed poorly, and
refused his food for a day or two. Towards evening
he retired to bed in his box, as usual, and when his
D






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


kind friends came to look at him before supper, they
found him quite dead,-independent to the end.
So they lamented, and buried him under the
green grass and Lent lilies, in the shade of the old
pear-tree.


*`
~-

















A GREAT GLUTTON


IF a prize were offered for a dog possessing the
largest appetite on record, Don, the old pointer,
would have won it easily. It would be less
difficult to say what he didn't rather than what
he did eat.
He was commonly reported and believed to have
once devoured about two feet of rope which had been
lying about by some old salt fish and had acquired a
fine flavour thereby. He didn't belong to us, but to
a great friend who lived some miles off, with whom
he often came over to us, and who said that he
believed the dog knew every back door for ten miles
round. He was considered a very handsome speci-
men of the old English pointer, and a more gentle,
affectionate old fellow never breathed, his temper
D 2






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


could not be ruffled ; but he was an inveterate thief,
and a bit of a coward.
It was enough for our cook to hear that Don was
in the yard; forthwith she flew to close the door


DON TOOK PITY ON THE NEGLECTED VIANDS.


of kitchen, dairy, and scullery. One day, before she
knew his tricks, Don wandered into the scullery, and
after eating up the dinner which was waiting for two
dogs and four cats, calmly proceeded to empty the
small bucket of wash which had been put aside for






A GREAT GLUTTON


the pigs. Another day, prowling round the yard, he
perceived a dish of food standing by a kennel; the
owner being absent, Don took pity on the neglected
viands ; and having disposed of them, was giving his
lips one final lick, when to his dismay, Brisk, the
rightful owner, appeared upon the scene.
Don, big fellow though he was, yelled, (Brisk's
teeth were lovely, certainly,) and in his terror bolted
straight into the kennel. Having got there, he turned
round, and wondered how on earth he was going to
get out; and there he sat, a trembling, tooth-chatter-
ing wretch, with literally the tears in his eyes, and in
his voice, too-a warning against gluttony and theft
-while Brisk, crouching like an old lion, a yard or
two from the doorway, serenely waited to give the
intruder a piece of his mind when the former should
see fit to come forth.
At length we had to drag Brisk off, and shut him
up; but Don was too thoroughly cowed to budge, so
in desperation we turned the kennel upside down, and
shot him gently out.
With a howl he fled through the yard and down
the road, and was seen no more on our premises for
many weeks.







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


Another time, though amply fed at home, he took
up his residence with us for ten days, and neither force
nor persuasion could tear him away. He would watch
his master come into the yard, and ride away again,
go with him for a mile or two, and then come back
to us.
We understood the reason when we learnt that a
dead horse had been recently buried within a quarter
of a mile of the place. At his own home, Don slept
in a barrel partly filled with straw. A hen took a
fancy to this abode, as a convenient nest wherein to
lay her eggs; so, daily, when she arrived, Don, if
within, arose, walked out, and lay down on the
ground. When she departed he returned, and
devoured the egg, shell and all. His voice was
almost as remarkable as his appetite. Many dogs
give utterance to loud and most prolonged howls, but
Don really sounded as though he were practising scales
when he howled ; you could clearly distinguish tones
and semitones in his voice. This peculiarity he retained
to the last. He lived to a good old age, and was
promoted from the barrel to a nice roomy shed, with
a raised bench at one end for his bed, and iron
railings in front.







A GREAT GLUTTON 39

The last time we ever saw him he was sitting
bolt upright on this bench, howling in the most
dismal manner, because, having finished his own
supper, he was feeling greatly depressed at witnessing,
without being able to assist at, the evening meal of
the stable cat.
























DICK


WE had long wished to possess a bullfinch, a
really tame, friendly pet,-not one of your highly
educated, piping birds, delightful though the tune of
the latter may be to listen to now and then. What
we wanted was a bird who would sing his own song
in his own way, as he learnt it from Nature, without
any assistance from art ; and who would become per-
fectly at home with us, and fit into the family life.
With this end in view, we spoke, early in the
spring, to a gardener cunning in the ways of rearing






DICK


young birds from the nest, with the result that one
day, late in the summer, a cage containing four fine
young bullfinches arrived at home.
It may be remarked here that, owing to their
destructive propensity for nipping off the young buds
and shoots of apple, fir, and other trees, bullfinches
are not protected, like many wild birds, by Act
of Parliament. Consequently, we felt no qualms of
conscience on beholding this quartet, though filled
with dismay at the vision of extra cages to clean
which it called up.
It is all very well to undertake to feed one mouth,
or bill, rather ; but it is no joke to find you are
expected to provide for four! However, a friend
took a great fancy to the birds, and begged for a pair,
though unable at the time to see to them.
In a weak moment I promised to look after them
for a little while," a delightfully vague, elastic period
of time, and one which, in this instance, extended
over the space of six months.
The young birds had not yet moulted, but were
still in baby costume, a sort of dull, brownish-ash
colour, all over, except for dark markings on the
wings, and black caps; but two had a faint tinge,
just a suggestion of pink, on the breast, so we







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


concluded they were cocks, and accordingly put the
birds, by pairs, into two cages.


/
Dr. Watts declared that "birds in their little
nests agree," I am humbly of opinion that he never
had the care of young birds, for neither in nor out of






DICK


their nest do they ever dwell together in brotherly
love, except they be asleep. Their whole existence
seems to be one continual struggle to secure the
biggest bit, and the most comfortable place, and
language during these family disputes waxes violent
and unseemly.
It is a curious fact that the hen bullfinch's temper
is frequently vile. Take this nestful of birds for
example. The hens quarrelled desperately all the
autumn and winter through, and no amount of
changing cages and companions had the least effect
on them. Their brothers, on the contrary, evinced
the most saintly disposition; in fact, they carried
their meekness and forbearance so far, that they ran
some risk of being starved by their tyrants, who
would establish themselves by the feeding-boxes, and
then drive away their gentler brethren each time the
latter attempted to feed.
Things became so bad at last, and Dick and his
brother looked so thin and miserable, that we put the
two termagants into a cage by themselves (where
they had a very lively time, fighting fiercely), and, as
soon as the spring weather came, let them loose in a
larch plantation.
Freed from persecution, Dick's character developed
rapidly, and from having been a shy, uninteresting






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


bird, he became decidedly bold and familiar, and very
intelligent. He had also passed successfully through
his first autumn's moult, and now appeared in a
bright pink vest, bluish-grey coat, with black tail,
black cap, and a black patch under his chin, all kept
scrupulously neat and clean.
Early rising is a great virtue, but Dick carried it
to such a pitch that it degenerated into a vice; at any
rate it made me very vicious to be woke daily at 2.30
or 3 a.m., by his shrill, incessant whistle ; nor, unless
his cage were wrapped in thick flannel (which was out
of the question in summer) was there any means of
stopping the annoyance, save by getting up and
opening his cage door. Then he would change his
irritating call for a satisfied and subdued gurgling
warble, and play about in the room till a reasonable
hour for getting up arrived.
He had been well trained as a young bird to take
his bath whilst his cage was being cleaned. Most
birds delight in washing directly their house has been
tidied for the day, and who that has kept them, and
taken a pride in their appearance, has not felt disgusted
at the sodden, bedraggled spectacle usually presented
by the cage within ten minutes at most, after being
swept and garnished ?
No-Dick was a bird of a well-regulated mind,





DICK


on this subject, at any rate; each morning at eight
was his bath blanket-(a sheet of thick brown paper)
-spread on the floor, and a large oval earthenware
dish, about two inches deep, full of water, set thereon;
and in and around this for a quarter of an hour he
disported himself gaily. After this, all damp and
dripping, he sat out to dry on the towel-horse, or
looking-glass, and watched me dress.
He took a fancy to the look of the large saucer
bath, and having spent several mornings in recon-
noitring its depth from the edge, one day plunged
boldly in. After this, he always bathed in it when I
had finished, and after a preliminary dip in his own
tub; and very absurd he looked, splashing and
fluttering in the middle of that large bath.
As regarded individuals, Dick had pronounced
likes and dislikes. To some of us he was very
partial, recognizing our footstep even, and calling to
us long before he could see us. Others, again, he
never could endure the sight of, beating wildly about
the cage like a mad thing whenever they approached;
it may have been that he disliked the look, or the
rustling, of their clothes. Animals are keenly alive
to any change of dress in those who come in daily
contact with them; see how critically a favourite cat
ocr dog will investigate a new suit; and Dick was






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


always a trifle stand-offish, if I came before him in
new clothes, until he had taken them in, as it were,
and got used to them.
The dog he regarded with a good deal of suspicion,
not unmixed with jealousy, generally from an elevated,
commanding position on the top of the book-case.
With the dormice his relations were slightly strained,
they having nipped his toes when he one day perched
on the roof of their cage.
So far Dick's life had been rather solitary, princi-
pally spent up stairs in my room; but about two years
after he came to us, we moved to London, and there
he shared our sitting-room and meals.
The first morning after our arrival he commenced
his melancholy whistle with much vigour, at break-
fast, to relieve his outraged feelings at not having
been cleaned; to soothe them, as well as our own, he
was let out, and from that day forward came as
regularly to breakfast as the tea-pot.
The first -discovery he made after this promotion,
was that butter formed a most desirable adjunct to his
diet. As I had been told that butter was bad for
birds, and tended to make them lose their feathers,
my breakfast became one long skirmish with Dick, in
defence of the butter-dish. Very soon he found out
that if I would not let him take what he wanted,





DICK


he had another friend who would; so he used to
remain, still as a stone, on the table, or chair-back,
till I turned away to get the kettle, then down he flew
to the pat, crammed his beak till the butter oozed
out on either side, when, with an impudent whisk of
the tail, he retired to choke down his spoil on the
chimney piece, invariably winding up by carefully
wiping his well-buttered bill on the little morocco
clock case which stood there. It wasn't my clock,
so I felt avenged Bacon Master Dick tried, and did
not care for ; jam and marmalade met with approval;
the loaf received a good deal of attention, so, too, did
the milk-jug.
It may be remarked that Dick was admitted to
table in the first place on condition that he did not
pick the dishes. For the sake of peace we bore with
his perching on the tea-cup, and drinking therefrom,
but when he presumed so far as to attempt to wash
in it, we felt such familiarity must be checked,
and Dick retired, discomfited, but only for a
moment, after which he resumed his ablutions in
the slop-basin.
He received a little extra petting and indulgence
at this time, on the plea of weak health, for he had
moulted very badly, and for a long time went about





STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


in a tailless coat, besides rather disliking his new
quarters at first.
London is apt to be the least bit dreary on foggy
mornings in November, specially if one's previous
acquaintance with it has been formed only in
summer days-and how much we owed to Dick for
enlivening and cheering us in that dark sad time we
never knew till he had left us.
When the Christmas holidays came, Dick and
we flew from the fog and mist of town, to the south
of England, to a place where not infrequently the
entire winter passes without the snow having lain on
the ground for a whole day, and where the frosts are
very slight. A beautiful, warm sunny coast it is,
mrytles flourish in the open air all the year round,
and the old-fashioned graceful fuchsias grow into
hedges. But on this occasion the weather chose to
be exceptional. Frequent and heavy snowstorms,
and twenty degrees of frost each night ushered in the
new year, and Dick didn't like it at all, though living
in warm rooms. He had never known such weather
before in his short life.
Whether it was owing to the cold, or to fright
caused by seeing some jackdaws, pets of a neighbour,
just outside the window, we never knew, but one







DICK 49

morning poor Dick had a fit, and though he re-
covered from it, seemed weak and ill all day. That:
afternoon on returning from a walk, I went to see
him, and he began to whistle; suddenly he fell off his
perch on to the floor of the cage, and in another
minute, without a struggle, was lying dead in my
hand.
There were some lovely Christmas roses in the-
garden, and we buried him at the foot of a large
clump, but we left the empty cage behind when we
returned to London, for we could not bear to look at
it.


... ,
,.'*-"


8-11---1--








'111F . .


POP

THERE were three of them, Snap, Lucky, and
Pop, as fat, sleek, jolly little black and tan terrier
puppies as you could wish to see. Snap was decidedly
the most elegant and aristocratic member of the
family, as he was also the smallest, but he was
rather a timid dog; though with such a splendid set
of teeth as he possessed, he looked more than able to
take care of himself and to justify his name. He
went to London later on, and we lost sight of him;
whilst as to Lucky, placid, good-natured, happy-go-
lucky creature that he was, his contented- mind
provided him with such a continual feast, as, aided
by an excellent digestion, soon proved the ruin of his







POP


beauty, and having become, so far as make and shape
were concerned, a disgrace to his family, he was given
away, and not often referred to.
Pop, as the medium-sized one, was from an early
age destined to be a house-dog, and, as soon as he was
old enough, he left his native place-the coachman's
cottage-and came to live with us in the house, under
the immediate eye and supervision of his father, Frisk.
Not that the latter circumstance added in any way to
Pop's happiness ; quite the reverse, for the senior was
violently jealous of his son, and snubbed him on all
possible occasions, for the space of two whole years
at least.
At the time of which I am writing Pop was about
nine months old, slim and well-proportioned, though
always a trifle large. He had beautiful tan paws,
delicately pencilled with black, but a steady course of
digging in rabbit holes soon spoiled their beauty. His
head was considered very well shaped. He had large
intelligent dark eyes, a rich tan muzzle, and a black
coat of satin-like gloss except just in the middle of the
back, where its sheen was marred by a tiny bare patch
caused by the descent of a hot cinder on to it, when
Pop, still a puppy, but already afflicted by the gnaw-
ings of a perpetual hunger, was endeavouring to crawl
E 2







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


under the kitchen grate in search of some tempting
morsel.
This huge appetite was a positive misfortune to the
dog ; for he found a friend, or rather many friends,
who were only too willing to feed him at all times of
the day-a practice destructive alike of his health and
good looks, for it brought on fits, besides causing his
figure to approach more nearly to that of a prize pig
than to that of an active, well-conditioned dog.
But this failing was about the only one he had,
and is mentioned rather as a protest against the real
cruelty of overfeeding pet dogs than with any desire to
detract from a character which, in all other respects,
was most admirable. It is rather curious to note the
keen recognition of ownership displayed by dogs. A
good dog, one worthy of the name, will always look
to and obey the master, whom he loves, before those
on whom his mere comfort depends; though perhaps
the former takes but a small direct share in giving
him two of the chief pleasures of canine existence-
food and walks, although he will be very grateful to,
and friendly with, the others.
A time-serving dog is rare, and I have not yet met
one who attempted to serve two masters at the same
time, however advantageous the process might be.







POP


No, to the one whom he owns as lord and master, a
good dog is loyal to the uttermost, through bright and
dark days alike ; and there is something worth having
in the affection of even a dog.
Pop was devotedly attached to his mistress, and
remained so to the end of his thirteen years, in spite
of long and frequent separations from her; though as
time went on, and he found that though she came to
see him, she seldom stayed more than a few weeks in
the old home; I think he became rather depressed,
and took refuge in his basket and slumber more
frequently than was good for him. For the first eight
or nine years of his life, however, they were nearly
always together, indoors and out. Until he had at-
tained the age of two, people said Pop was a stupid
sort of dog with no intellect, and his behaviour did
give some cause for the observation.
In the first place, Frisk entertained strong views
on parental authority, and agreed with Solomon as to
the management of children, enforcing his theories on
the subject with original and biting remarks. Secondly,
Pop's crude and youthful intellect suffered by imme-
diate and constant comparison with that of his father,
which was matured, and, to do that venerable party
justice, decidedly brilliant.







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


It's no joke to be the child of a shining light;
people first of all expect the son to eclipse his
father, and when he doesn't they turn round and
declare he will never be able to hold a candle to
him.
At any rate, poor Pop found it so to his cost for
many weary months, till at last he distinguished him-
self by catching mice-Frisk was a famous mouser-
and when the corn was threshed at the farm the
house-dogs always attended and did great execution
upon the rats and mice, with which, unfortunately,
the stacks generally abounded.
On this particular occasion the supply was even
greater than usual, and Frisk set to work in his
customary business-like way and killed about two
dozen, Pop standing quietly by and doing nothing
except watching. Suddenly he joined in, without
any fuss, caught the mice and shook them as though
he had done it all his life, and from thenceforward
was a first-rate mouser, though as far as we knew he
had never previously killed one. We always con-
sidered that he had been taking a regular lesson.
After this he, in company with his father, attacked
bigger game in the shape of a large stoat, which
inhabited a rhododendron clump on the lawn, and







POP


carried on a murderous warfare against some very
handsome game-fowls we then possessed. When
tackled he fought desperately, but in the end the
two little dogs defeated and slew him, and bore for

















ATTACKED BIGGER GAME IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE STOAT.

some time reminders of the conflict in the shape of
honourable scars.
These sporting instincts led Pop to devote a good
deal of his time to rabbiting both above and under
ground; perhaps the large amount of digging he
indulged in when exploring the burrows tended
more than anything else to the development of his







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


muscles and the broadening of his chest, for which
latter quality he, with advancing years, became con-
spicuous.
Digging up the nest of field-mice was a pet
pastime of his and one he often enjoyed, as there
was a large grass field, in which these little creatures















POP HAD THE BAD LUCK TO COMMENCE OPERATIONS ON WHAT HE FONDLY
BELIEVED TO BE A MOUSE-HOLE.

were very plentiful, close to the house. On one of
these occasions Pop had the bad luck to commence
operations on what he fondly believed to be a mouse-
hole, but which speedily proved to be the entrance to a
wasp's nest, and a fine healthy one too. Out came the
inhabitants by dozens, to the horror of quadrupeds and







POP


bipeds, who fled, as hard as legs could carry them,
before the striped and buzzing enemy. The latter,
after all, succeeded in planting only one sting ; but
that was in a carefully-selected spot, even in the very
midst of poor Pop's fat back, on the site of the








i .






THE STRIPED AND BUZZING ENEMY, AFTER ALL, SUCCEEDED IN PLANTING
ONLY ONE STING.

ancient burn, where the wool ought to have
grown," but hadn't.
Another time he had a very painful and dangerous
encounter with a viper, which bit him on the back of
the neck. Vipers are numerous in that part of the
country, and Pop, out by himself in the meadow, must
have disturbed one.







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


He came into the house, all swollen about the
head and neck, looking very queer and ill, every now
and then rubbing at his head with his paws. At first
we thought he had been stung by nettles, never
having seen an animal suffering from a snake-bite


HE CAME INTO THE HOUSE, ALL SWOLLEN ABOUT THE HEAD AND NECK,
LOOKING VERY QUEER AND ILL.


before; but as he grew rapidly worse, and his body
began to swell, the coachman was summoned, an old
soldier who had seen service in India and the Crimea.
He at once pronounced the dog to have been bitten
by a viper, and carried him off to the stables to be
doctored. This happened many years ago, before the







POP


scientific treatment of snake-bites, which is now doing
such splendid work in India and elsewhere, was
known. Pop, therefore, was dosed with oil, pure and
simple, being given I'm afraid to say how much castor
oil as a drink, and placed in a bath of olive oil.
Whether it was owing to this rough and ready prac-
tice, or to a naturally healthy and vigorous consti-
tution, or to a combination of both circumstances, is
uncertain; but the result was, that Pop recovered
after a day or two; though every now and then,
during the remainder of his life, particularly in the
spring and summer, the place where he was bitten
swelled very much ; he then became dull, poorly, and
inclined-a thing with him almost unknown-to
snarl, then he would retire to his basket and sleep,
and after about a day or so the attack would pass off,
and he be just as usual again.
A little while after this adventure one of Pop's
hind legs was trodden on by a pony, and broken.
He was accordingly sent to the veterinary in the
nearest town, and remained there some time. When
he came' home, his leg was still in plaster of
Paris, and when he slowly raised it and endeavoured
to scratch his ear with the injured foot, all encased as
it was in a sort of cardboard box, the sight was too






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


much for us ; it was too comic, and we fairly roared
with laughter, to the intense disgust of the invalid,
who, after casting upon us one most reproachful
glance, slowly turned, left the garden, and hobbled
into the house. His father, Frisk, had just previously
been on the sick list, having overbalanced off a table
on to the tip of his tail; the latter, unequal to the
strain suddenly imposed upon it, snapped, close to the
root; but, thanks to most skilful treatment, reunited,
and wagged as well as ever.
Frisk was indeed quite a veteran, and had received
injuries enough to have killed an ordinary dog ; but
in spite of them all, he flourished, and lived to the
ripe old age of seventeen years. Each of his paws
had been trapped at least once, and when he was no
longer a young dog he fell out of an attic window,
and was picked up, stunned, in the garden below.
When examined, he was found to have fractured a
rib. That was set, and soon became perfectly sound;
but not until too late was it discovered that he had
also broken one of his forelegs, just above the paw,
and that it had joined again, crookedly of course. To
straighten it would have necessitated breaking and
resetting the limb, so it was left alone, and by
degrees rheumatism settled in the joint, and a swelling







POP


formed at the side of it; nevertheless, Frisk got about
pretty briskly whenever he thought fit to do so, and
apparently without much inconvenience.
In the winter both he and Pop wore coats, made


FELL OUT OF AN ATTIC WINDOW, AND WAS PICKED UP, STUNNED, IN THE
GARDEN BELOW.

of thick dark blue cloth, and bound with scarlet braid.
Though they were such near relatives, they by no
means acted upon the principle of having all things in
common, and it appeared to cause them keen annoy-
ance did either happen by chance to be arrayed






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


in the other's garment. The canine language used
on these occasions was shocking, and so much ill-
feeling was aroused, that we adopted the plan of
marking each coat with its rightful owner's initial;
after this, mistakes but seldom occurred.
Pop always accompanied us on our walks what-
ever the weather might be, but he did decidedly object
to waiting about for us in the winter on the ice, if
the ponds happened to bear ; not that his patience
was very often tried in this manner, for, as a general
rule, no sooner was the ice sufficiently thick to afford
some fun, than the thaw came.
Few people in that part of the world to which
this story refers will have forgotten January, I881-
rendered memorable as it was by an unusually severe
frost, followed by such a snowfall as had not been
known in those parts for eighty years, according to
the testimony of one of the oldest inhabitants of our
village,-a storm which began quite quietly, as
though the air were full of falling sifted sugar, which,
by the time it was over, many hours later, had blocked
all the roads (so that people walked on the tops of
the hedges), and in some of the lanes had drifted to
a depth of sixteen feet, and had not all melted in
March.






POP


The afternoon preceding this fall we spent upon
the ice, determined to make the most of our oppor-
tunities before the snow came. Pop voted our
proceedings exceedingly slow, and soon took himself
off in search of amusement among the rabbit-holes in
the fir wood skirting the pond. His coat was an
extra thick one, new on that day.
About half an hour afterwards, a shivering, shame-
faced, coatless dog appeared at the edge of the pond,
and on being reviled, picked his way gingerly over the
tacky ice, like the cat in walnut-shells, a thing he
hated doing, to his mistress, and sitting down at her
feet, looked up imploringly into her face, and made
the tears come into his eyes.
It was beginning to get dark, and was, moreover,
horribly cold; besides, the coat had given a deal of
trouble in making, so. Pop's mistress, though sorry for
his discomfort, felt for once slightly vexed with him ;
at the same time, knowing his intelligence, the idea
occurred to her that it was just possible Pop might be
able to conduct her to the spot where the missing
article was. So she told him to "go back, to go and
find his coat, and show her where it was." Pop forth-
with set off with her, and after a few minutes of rough
walking, through the deep heather and dead bracken,







STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


brought her to the mouth of a rabbit-hole, where lay
his coat. It had caught against a tree-root, and, being
a very loose fit, had been dragged over his head.
Most people will exclaim, What a fool the dog
was not to have brought the coat in his mouth but
both Pop and his father were devoid of any aptitude
for fetching and carrying, and unfortunately education
had not supplemented nature's deficiency.
Frisk indeed, when quite a young dog, did once
attempt to pick up a strange looking object which was
reposing muffled up, on a bed where he had formerly
been allowed to lie. It was pulpy, red and black, very
ugly, done up in quantities of soft, white stuff, and
he couldn't make it out at all ; but there was a sort of
wide band round the middle of the bundle, so Frisk
got a firm grip of this, and endeavoured to lift the
lump up. No use, too heavy Frisk was a person of
much determination and resource, and, resolved not to
be "done," he walked all round the thing, examining
it carefully as he went, and presently saw that some-
thing pink was sticking out at one end of the wrapping.
Thinking that at last he should be able to come to
business, Frisk gently mumbled this pink curiosity,
merely to ascertain whether it were some new sort of
rabbit.


____ __~~






POP


The bed was a very high one, and the drop from
it considerable for such a little dog, but two seconds
hadn't elapsed before Frisk was flying down the
passage, scared by the awful yells of the first and only
baby he ever had the misfortune to hear; towards


EVERY DAY HE WALKED SEDATELY DOWN TO THE OLD COTTAGE WHERE
HE WAS BORN.

whom, for several years, till it was old enough to be of
use to him in the way of opening doors, etc., he
cherished a feeling of deadly hatred and jealousy.
Poor Pop had the misfortune to lose one of his
eyes in the spring following the great snow. He was


_I






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


attacked by a dog much larger than himself, and in
the fight which followed, his left eye was so severely
bitten that it gradually shrivelled up, and became quite
useless. All the same, he found his way about every-


THE OLD BEECH TREE WHICH BEARS ON ITS TRUNK THE NAMES OF ALL
THE FAMILY.

where, though at first he sometimes came into collision
with the furniture, and when out of doors with tree-
trunks.
Every day regularly, at the same hour, he walked
sedately down to the old cottage where he was born,







POP


looked in on the coachman and his wife, and then as
solemnly walked home again.
One cold March night he was accidentally shut
out of the house when the servants went to bed,
they believing him to have come in, and his coat was
hanging on its peg. His mistress was away. Early
next morning, the carpenter, coming to work, found
poor Pop's body, quite stiff and frozen, in the field,
midway between the old cottage and home, in which
latter direction the head was pointing. Pop lies under
the mossy turf in the sunshine, at the foot of the old
beech tree which bears on its trunk the names of all
the family carved in tiny letters. His name, too, is
there ; and it closes the list.


F2
















MONSIEUR ROBERT

ONE day in the middle of January we decided to
go on a dormouse hunt ; not that we entertained much
hope of finding one of the creatures, but because,
in the first place, it provided us with an object for
the afternoon, and, secondly, it would take us through
some beautiful woods.
As it was the season when dormice spend most, if
not all, their time in slumber, we did not expect to
see any of them on the move, though the weather
just then was very mild, but devoted our energies to
searching for their nests, which look, to the unin-
itiated, like mere lumps of the coarse, long grass
which grows so freely in damp woods and bogs, and
which is locally known as tussock-grass. It forms
dense tufts, and in summer is of a bright green
colour, the long leaves being stiff and very sharp at






MONSIEUR ROBERT


the edges, which, perhaps, is one reason why cattle
and horses seem to care but little for it. In autumn
it fades into a pale yellowish tint, and the once
defiant-looking, lance-like leaves bend over in graceful
curves. When left undisturbed this dead grass ac-
cumulates from year to year in layers, and proves a
veritable bedding and general-furnishing warehouse
to many inhabitants of the woods, one of its numerous
patrons being the badger.
In the spring-time you may meet the dormouse
rambling in the woods, or, as we once did, seated in
a bird's nest That particular nest belonged to a fly-
catcher, and was built among the branches of a fine
old Banksia rose which covered one side of our house.
There were two whole eggs, and a third, of which
only the shell remained, in the nest; and the fat dor-
mouse in possession was of a sleek, self-satisfied
aspect. Later in the year you may encounter your
friend in the kitchen garden; and, though pretty
impartial where fruit is concerned, if he have a par-
ticular weakness, it is for apricots and strawberries.
When the hazel-nuts ripen he will be back in the
woods once more, this time not only to feast, but to
lay up stores, and prepare winter quarters, to which
he may retire when the leaves are well off the trees.






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


On this particular afternoon we had hunted
carefully all through a copse adjoining an apple-
orchard, but without finding anything more interesting
than old chestnut and acorn shells. This sort of thing


LATER IN THE YEAR


YOU MAY ENCOUNTER YOUR FRIEND IN THE
KITCHEN GARDEN.


becoming rather monotonous, not to say damping,
physically as well as mentally, for every place was
soaked by the heavy rains of a two days' down-
pour, we resolved to try a fresh hunting-ground.


~tE;_






MONSIEUR ROBERT 7r

Here were numerous oaks, interspersed with fine
old Spanish chestnuts, and a somewhat dense under-
growth of laurels. On one side of this shrubbery,
and only separated from it by a gravel path and a
narrow border, lay the old, brick-walled kitchen-
garden; on the other was a narrow strip of rough
ground, covered with coarse grass, heather, gorse,
sweet briar, and brambles innumerable; here and
there a slender young oak or mountain ash struggled
bravely and none too successfully for existence.
Beyond this waste ground was a narrow cart track,
crossing which you entered a pine wood, and after
wading knee-deep through the heather and moss
with which it was carpeted, found yourself at last on
a common.
We decided to rout about under the laurels and
amongst the thorns and briars on the waste ground
for a while; and, in the event of this covert also
being drawn blank, to strike work for the day. Some
people talk of trees, shrubs, and plants generally,
as though they were senseless, unobservant, unin-
telligent sticks and stocks, and perhaps they are
right as regards the prim, proper, respectable-looking
vegetation which inhabits the parks and gardens of
great cities, spending its existence behind iron-






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


fencing, and under the supervision of police and
park-keepers.
But as to these country plants and their behaviour,
all I can say is, that if they had been previously
warned of our coming and its object, and told at the
same time to do their utmost to thwart it and us,
they could not have offered a better organised or
more combined resistance.
If we groped among the bushes, one long laurel
spray would smack us across the eyes, whilst another
emptied all the rain it had collected down our necks.
When we emerged into the open, and began to
examine the tufts of grass, a bramble, which was
lying in ambush, first of all scratched us most
maliciously, and then tripped us up, to the delight of
a sweet-briar, which fixed its thorny fingers firmly in
coats and other garments, and nearly tore them off
before releasing us, delivering us over to the tender
mercies of the gorse; the latter, as though it had
been a hedgehog, at once set up all its old dry brown
prickles, and, after inflicting numerous wounds there-
with, more generously broke them off and left them
in us.
By this time we were rabid, and secretly longing
to cut the whole thing and go home, only neither of







MONSIEUR ROBERT


us cared to be the first to admit defeat. I was
extended, caterpillar-fashion, on the ground, grovelling
at the foot of a wild-rose bush among some thick


., li.' j' j _i1I- ' I" *i A ''': l L I L ,
WITH COARSE GRASS, HEATHER, GORSE, SWEET
BRIAR, AND BRAMBLES.


grass, where I had come upon an undoubted dor-
mouse granary-a sort of grassy tunnel, stocked with
chestnuts and wild rose "hips," the latter partially





STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


eaten-when a shout of triumph rang out behind me,
and hastening to the spot from whence it arose, a
round, sodden ball of tussock grass was held up before
me. It had been found lying among the dead leaves,
under a laurel bush, on the very edge of the waste
ground. Another second, and we were both on our
knees, tenderly dissecting the wet mass, in the heart
of which lay, fast asleep, and stone cold, a large, very
handsome dormouse, a young one, too, as we saw at
once by his greyish-yellow coat, the beautiful reddish
chestnut tint not being assumed till the animal has
passed through its first winter.
Our prize was deposited in a pocket, and taken
home at top speed. On arriving there we placed our
friend, till a cage could be prepared, on a shelf in a
cupboard, under a glass case-to wit, a large strong
tumbler, which we tilted up slightly at one side, so as
not to stifle the new specimen, should it wake. In
about half an hour after its introduction to the warm
house, the soft round ball of fur began to heave
violently, and gradually to uncurl. The delicate
round ears, which had been flattened against the head,
gently came forward, and then stood erect, and the
nose appeared from behind the shelter of the long
slender tail. Then the eyes partially opened (that






MONSIEUR ROBERT


seemed to be a terrific effort), disclosing a pair of slits,
and the long black whiskers began to move and vibrate
like the antenna of a butterfly. The tiny pink hands
opened and shut after the fashion of a baby's, and
presently the whole sleepy, lukewarm creature began
to crawl and totter and fumble in a helpless inane sort
of way along the shelf. ".A fellow feeling makes us
wondrous kind," and concluding that the dormouse
hated the waking-up process as much as we did
on winter mornings, we lifted him up gently and laid
him in his new clean dry nest, to finish his nap in
peace. Two hours later the sluggard was wide-awake,
and busily employed in the investigation of his new
quarters and in the observation of his fellow-lodger,
an elderly, very yellow dormouse, who was named
Yasimeen (jasmine), on account of the sweetness of his
disposition.
It is interesting to note the facility with which
dormice, even when adult, accommodate themselves
to captivity. You may try for weeks to tame a house
or field mouse, though it be but half grown, feeling all
the time tolerably certain that on the first favourable
opportunity which presents itself your would-be pet
will depart with all possible speed, so that even the
daily task of cleaning the cage becomes a labour






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


which demands a considerable amount of skill and
precaution. But the dormouse, on the contrary, unless
captured in the spring-at which time there is some
risk of its pining away-quickly settles down, appears
quite contented with its new surroundings, feeds freely,
and by the end of a week will sit quietly in your
hand and allow itself to be stroked. At any rate,
such was the way in which Bobby behaved, his
conduct, in fact, during the whole of his residence with
us was most practical.
For a time all went smoothly, and the two mice
dwelt together in harmony. M. Robert (as we called
him, on account of his dandified appearance) was
very handsome, very tame, and apparently endowed
with a temper of angelic sweetness. He came
to dessert with Yasimeen, learnt his way about
thoroughly, and was generally regarded as a most
estimable character.
The season of strawberries and green-peas was now
in full swing, and our pets were nightly supplied with
both fruit and vegetables. Somehow they seemed to
be getting a trifle distant in their manner to each
other, and rather eager, not to say grabby, over their
meals. They took to sitting at opposite corners of
their dining-room, glaring at each other from behind






MONSIEUR ROBERT


a strawberry or through a tattered pea-pod. But
beyond increasing the food supply, so as to remove
all legitimate cause for jealousy and envy, we took no
notice.
The dawn breaks early in July, and it seemed to
me that I had but just fallen asleep, when through the
still grey chilly air-all laden as it was with that
peculiar sweet fresh scent, the unmistakable, mysteri-
ous herald of sunrise-arose the sounds and cries of
battle. Some evil spirit seemed to have possessed the
whole menagerie. The four piebald mice, who usually
lived together in unruffled peace, were at it. tooth and
nail, whisking in and out of their nest, kicking up
the sand in a sort of war-dance, and biting each
and every unfortunate ear or tail that came within
reach.
The wood-mouse, who lived next door, was
sitting, ears pricked and paws clasped, at the entrance
to his nest, using the strongest of mouse language,
to judge from the loud chirps, in a very high key,
which he kept uttering. But on reaching the
dwelling of Robert and Yasimeen, what a sight
was there!
The water dish was upset, the middle of the dining-
room was bare of sand (the feet and tails of the com-






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


batants had swept it all away), strawberries were
reduced to dusty pulp, and--oh shame and horror to
relate !-the wires of the cage were stained all over with
gore, and in the food tin lay a large tuft of soft brown
fur. The animals had retired to the deepest depths of
the sleeping box, where they were fighting it out to the
bitter end, for every now and then a short smothered
squeak was heard. Feeling that such disgraceful
conduct must be stopped, I cautiously raised the lid of
the box. Out bounced M. Robert, dashed to the
edge of the table, and, before he could be stopped,
alighted with a loud splash in the bath which stood
beneath. He swam in great style to the big sponge in
the middle of the bath, climbed up, sat on the top, and
then began his toilet, to which occupation I left him,
and proceeded to search for Yasimeen.
Underneath all the hay and moss in the sleeping
box, crouching on the bare sand, crumpled up in a
corner, was a little shivering, trembling, panting,
bleeding mass of fur. Ears, nose, and eyelids were
torn, and where, a few hours previously, had waved a
long silky tail, was now a mangled stump. To bathe
the wretched object's wounds and put it into a separate
cage was the work of a very few minutes, after which
I investigated the old nest most thoroughly in search






MONSIEUR ROBERT


of the missing inch and a half of tail. In vain. Not a
fragment of bedding but was pulled apart, shaken, and
spread out on the table, but the tail was not there so
most reluctantly I came to the conclusion that M.
Robert had devoured it, being strengthened in this
opinion by his extremely fat and bloated appearance.
He had been sitting calmly on the sponge all this
while, surveying me and my movements with an air of
mingled indifference and contempt. The bath was a
very large specimen of the saucer type, so without
a second swim he could not reach the side, and even
if he had got so far, he would have been unable to
gain a foothold on the convex rim, thus he was
really a prisoner, and dependent on me for release.
When I took him in my hand to return him to his
cage, he with great presence of mind bit me through
the thumb, and, taking instantaneous advantage of
the involuntary relaxation of grasp which followed his
attack, bolted up my arm to the shoulder, from whence
a bold spring landed him on the curtain, up which he
scrambled with the agility of a squirrel, ensconced
himself on the end of the curtain pole, and from that
strong position looked down on me with a most
malevolent and vulpine grin. To leave him there was
impossible, as a dormouse at large in the house is a






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


most mischievous creature, with a knack of gnawing
through blind-cord, eating holes in curtains, and doing
sundry jobs of a like nature ; but to re-capture him was
no easy task. By the aid of chair and stool I succeeded
in reaching the curtain pole. Bobby, on the alert, no
sooner saw the outstretched hand advance to take him
than he fled swiftly down the curtain, scampered, tail
extended, across the floor, and, after dodging me under
several heavy pieces of furniture, retreated to the
furthest recess of the fireplace.
Fortunately the grate had a register, and that
being at once shut, M. Robert's access to the chimney
was cut off. At length he was ignominiously over-
whelmed in the folds of a bath towel, in which his
claws became entangled, and, after a deal of biting and
wriggling on his part, he was once more replaced in
his cage and securely shut in. After such a revelation
of his bloodthirsty propensities as that night had
afforded, it was out of the question to let
him and his old companion continue to share the
same house, so from that time forth M. Robert in-
habited the large cage in solitary state, without any
rival to disturb his equanimity at feeding times. He
was very gentle with us as a rule, and came regularly
to dessert, sitting generally on the table in a sort of






MONSIEUR ROBERT


cloth basket which we contrived for him, and quite
contented so long as he was supplied with preserved
apricot, cherry, or any sort of fruit or sweetmeat.
Though he never attempted to cross the table and help
himself, he always made us understand when he wanted
more, coming to the entrance of his basket, and
sitting up with hands clasped, now and then twisting
his head and long lithe neck from side to side with a
snake-like grace of movement, his long whiskers all
the time moving backwards and forwards with great
rapidity.
Like many other wild creatures, Bobby displayed
a strong taste for alcohol, licking greedily off one's
finger any sort of sweet wine, port and elder-flower
being special favourites. This fancy of his continued
for about eighteen months, when, having one evening
partaken more freely than usual of elder-flower wine,
and been exceedingly poorly in consequence, he could
never from that time be induced to touch wine of any
description, except in trifle, for which dish, on account
of the cream, he had a great weakness.
M. Robert had now been with us nearly four years,
but showed no signs of advancing age, except in his
coat, which had turned a very bright yellow. It was
therefore a painful surprise to me one morning, when
G





82 STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE

away from home, to receive a letter announcing his
unexpected decease, and enclosing a little sketch of
him. If looks could be relied on as an index to the
disposition, you would have said that M. Robert was
a saint among mice, so serene was his expression.
He had died quietly in his sleep-a sleep which that
little sketch makes it difficult for one to realise as
perpetual, so lifelike is it, though the last resting-place
of M. Robert is under the great beech-tree, where
the moss is always green, and where the crisp brown
leaves of autumn linger on the ground, to welcome
their successors in the spring.


























MELANTHE"

THERE are some people for whom one's affection is:
always tempered with awe-mine was for Melanthe,
the old black thoroughbred, who entered the service
of the family in the capacity of carriage-horse a few
years before I was born. Melanthe's master, an
enthusiastic admirer of Greek literature and a fine
Classical scholar, was sometimes tempted to bestow
upon his horses names too hard for pronunciation by
their attendants. Thus it came to pass that the name
of Melanthe's stable companion, lone, was quickly
modified by the coachman into I.O.U.
G 2


-






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


Something soon went wrong with the latter animal,
so she was sold, and Melanthe, who had never been
very satisfactory in harness, owing to a disposition to
rear at the least provocation, was tried and found perfect
as a lady's hack. Her mouth was excellent, but a tight
curb or heavy hands she neither could nor would
endure, therefore, it may be imagined how she resented
being driven with a bearing-rein, according to the
fashion of the day ; if checked suddenly, she simply
reared straight up on end. How an animal so unsuited
to harness in build as well as disposition ever came to
be sold for such work is a puzzle, but we heard
afterwards that she had been ridden in a London
riding school by a lady, and was reputed to have a queer
temper ; when we knew her, though her spirit was
proud and impatient, she was absolutely free from
vice. At any rate she had fallen into right hands at
last : during the next dozen years she was frequently
ridden by a kind mistress, without the slightest shadow
of a misunderstanding ever arising between them.
Her colour was really brown, but of so deep a shade
as always to be spoken of as black; it was in conse-
quence of this that she was called Melanthe," i.e.,
the Dark One." Her height was above sixteen
hands, and she was said by experts to be beautifully






"MELANTHE"


shaped. Her head was rather large and plain, but
there was a look of great intelligence about it, and it
was well set on to a lean wiry neck. Rumour said
there was a dash of the Flying Dutchman blood
in her, but we were never able to verify this assertion.
When I first remember her she was already getting
old ; but her trot, on the rare occasions on which she
chose to really exert herself, was still a swinging one,
so that the pony which carried me (he was by no
means a slug) had to canter his hardest to keep along-
side of her. Ordinarily she went at a good round
pace, but when aroused it was astonishing to see how
she got over the ground. Jumping was not in
Melanthe's line; if asked to take a ditch she would
blunder through it by choice. Bogs she abhorred, we
had good reason to believe that she had been bogged
soon after coming to us. On reaching a "soft," i.e.,
boggy spot, she would, if possible, stop short, paw
the ground tentatively with her forefoot, snorting the
while, and utterly decline to trust herself to any place
which she did not consider strong enough to bear her.
Though very high spirited, she was not given to
tricks, the only one I can recall being that of shying
habitually at a certain tumble-down cottage, to which
she had taken a dislike, and at another cottage, where






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


she had once been startled by some white garments
flapping in the wind. Quite quietly she would walk
along the road, her ears flopping gently now and then,
till we approached the objectionable cottage. Then
her ears would go up, and she would gaze about her,


IF ASKED TO TAKE A DITCH SHE WOULD BLUNDER THROUGH IT BY CHOICE.

,evidently on the look out for something to shy at.
More often than not, there was nothing, and no one
was better aware of this fact than Melanthe; neverthe-
less, she would have her shy, and be half across the
road in a second. Her rider had a capital seat, and
was moreover anticipating this performance; so that it
,didn't matter, though with a novice the results might






"MELANTHE"


have been unpleasant. I doubt whether any amount
of correction would ever have broken the animal of
this trick, and certainly her mistress had no wish to
punish as a vice that which was meant as play.
Frightened at the cottage Melanthe undoubtedly was
not when I can remember her pranking there, though
she might have been when the trick first began.
Naturally, the perky little pony, and the sedate fat
chestnut, who generally accompanied Melanthe, imi-
tated her evil example. A strong friendship subsisted
between Melanthe and her mistress, at whose call the
former would at any time leave her food and come
across the yard or field. Melanthe's loose box com-
manded a view of her mistress's bedroom window. Each
morning when the faithful creature heard the window
opened and her name uttered, she would come to the
door of her box and whinny ; nor did she forget the
voice she loved, though months passed without her
hearing it. On one occasion her mistress had been
abroad for a year; but the next morning after her
return, directly she opened the window and called,
Melanthe recognized the voice, and answered as of
old.
I never rode Melanthe, though as a child I used
to be put on her back in the box as a treat, the old






STORIES FROM LOWLY LIFE


lady turning round her head to have a look at the
unwonted object perched up there. Our intercourse
in those days was limited to the giving and receiving
of carrots, bread, sugar, etc., which she always took
in the most gentle manner. Later on, when she had
retired altogether from work into the field, I saw a
good deal of her and her children ; in fact, she grew
quite fond of me, and would have continued so to the
end, but for a most silly act on my part, which she
never forgave, though it certainly was not intended
for mischief. We used to boil up all the small
potatoes, a copperful at a time, for the pigs ; the
potatoes, after cooking, being placed in an old tub.
I had often seen some of them given, whilst still
quite warm, to the pigs, who ate them up with much
enjoyment, and never seemed to mind their not being
cold. So I thought Melanthe would like some too,
and, meaning to give her a treat, picked out a nice
one, the largest I could see, and handed it to her over
the gate. It must have been hot within, though it
didn't feel so without, for the old mare no sooner got
it well between her teeth than she rejected it violently,
and "went for" me, open-mouthed and ears tucked
into her poll. The gate was a nice strong one, five-
barred, and I was on the right side of it, so no harm




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs