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AND THEIR STORIES
AUTHOR OF "PAPERS FOR THOUGHTFUL GIRLS," CHILDHOOD A HUNDRED
YEARS AGO," &C., &C.
With $ix (hronmgraphs
AFTER PAINTINGS BY SIR EDWIN LANDSEER
MARCUS WARD & CO., 67 & 68, CHANDOS STREET, STRAND
AND ROYAL ULSTER WORKS, BELFAST
INTRODUCTORY .. 7
I.-" Low LIFE" (Chromograph) 13
II.-" HIGH LIFE" ditto 40
III.-" SUSPENSE" ditto 66
IV.-" THE HUMBLE FRIEND" ditto 88
V.-" THE CAVALIER'S PETS" ditto 95
VI.-" DIGNITY AND IMPUDENCE". ditto 115
VII.-MY EARLY FRIENDS 131
^ ^ ^ -77 ~- ~, *^ i- 1P-,01,
LANDSEER'S DOGS AND THEIR STORIES.
PORTION of Sir Edwin Landseer's strength
and of his weakness lay in the human element
which he introduced into his pictures of animals.
Each of his pictures tells a story-not only of
animal characteristics, but of those characteristics
as they approach most closely to men's qualities,
and as they are blended most inseparably, with men's lives.
The dog is the humble friend of man, and man has been
called the god of the dog; a sorry god at the best-often a
perverse and cruel divinity. In very many of Landseer's
pictures it is impossible to dissolve the relationship. You
cannot look at the animal without thinking of the absent
master and mistress. The hero or the heroine of the scene
is strongly influenced by the man or the woman in the back-
ground. It is a little drama of blended human and animal
life, as well as the spirited and faithful likeness of an animal
which you gaze upon.
A good deal of what is unique in Landseer belongs to this
peculiarity, and much of his great popularity is due to it.
Men are charmed not only by contemplating the representa-
tions of their four-footed favourites, but by having a genius
to interpret to them the beautiful and gracious ties which bind
together God's higher and humbler creatures. After all, God
put man at the head of His creatures in this world, and perhaps
man is not so far wrong as he has sometimes been said to
show himself, in seeing in the lower animals a reflection of his
own hopes, aims, and destiny.
The selfish and sympathetic instincts are strong in us; and
neither grown man nor child will, unless- in very exceptional
cases, feel either long or deep concern in a kingdom from
which he himself is banished. Our familiarity, our fellow-
feeling, is to a large extent the measure of our interest in any
subject. If we cannot put ourselves in the place of our neigh-
bour, let him have two feet or four, we will not continue long
to care for him; and, vice versa, if we have not imagination
enough to endow our neighbour with some of our own attri-
butes, so that he may stand, in a way, in our place, our regard
for him will be but partial and fleeting.
People speak of the charm in unlikeness and the attraction
in reverses; but there must be a more profound underlying
harmony for such a charm and attraction to exist. The fact
is, we can only appreciate what we understand in a degree at
least, and there is no understanding without some points of
union. If I may venture reverently to employ such an analogy,
though man was made in the image of his Maker, when he
INTROD UCTOR Y. 9
had done all he could to deface that image, he became so
incapable of having God in all his thoughts, that God, in His
divine mercy, had compassion upon man's miserable incapa-
city, and, taking upon Him the form of a man, restored the
lost link in the chain which binds the whole universe to the
throne of God.
Children have no difficulty in mentally putting themselves
in the place of animals, or in putting animals in their place.
Some of my readers may be inclined to say this is because the
child is itself a little animal, with its higher faculties unde-
veloped; but none will refuse to admit that the moral and
intellectual faculties are there, however much in abeyance. For
my part, I believe that it is rather from the essential gifts of a
child, its immense power of believing beyond what it sees, its
ready sympathy and boundless trust, than from its defects of
ignorance, that it has the happy capacity of identifying itself
with its pets, and even its toys, either by transferring to them
its own possessions, or by appropriating their experience.
Curious instances of such application occur to me. A little
child was heard gravely rebuking her dog. "If you are so
naughty, Floss, your Uncle Tom and your Aunt Anne"
(bestowing in all simplicity of heart her own relations on
the dog) "will be vexed; you know they will."
The second instance is given by an accomplished writer in
a recent story, but I am persuaded it is from real life. I
quote from memory.
"Why are you'crying, Emily? What is the matter?" a
mother asked her little daughter in tears.
"Oh, mamma! I am not Emily just now," the child
explained through her sobs; "I am the parrot the cat has
been after, and I cannot get over the loss of my best tail
A little child lisping its evening prayers startled its human
hearers by adding an impromptu petition :-" God bless
Ducky-daidles;" referring to an ugly little wooden duck which
the child had received into the inmost circle of its affections.
It is a well-known fact that there is sometimes developed
in men and women from childhood an extraordinary relation
to animals, a capability of communicating with them, and
exerting influence over them which does not commonly exist.
With this abnormal alliance is doubtless connected the old
myth of Orpheus gathering a brute audience to listen to the
music of his lyre, and the more modern stories of bird and
snake charmers and horse-tamers. I imagine this is only an
extreme and abiding manifestation of an ordinary characteristic
of childhood; and I believe it to be the inheritance, more or
less, of all great animal painters.
But Sir Edwin Landseer possessed his animals in another
sense from that in which the expression is used of other
eminent animal painters, and especially with regard to the
animal painters of the French and Belgian schools. He
possessed them not merely as an artist, but as a man-I had
almost said a brother-certainly in the light in which Robert
Burns employed, with perfect manly tenderness, the term
"fellow-mortal" to the field-mouse whose nest his plough-
share had turned up; and in the meaning which Sir Walter
Scott intended to convey, when, on the day of the death of his
dog, he wrote an apology to a host who expected Sir Walter's
company at dinner, on the plea of the loss of an old friend."
Sir Edwin Landseer possessed animals-not simply in an
accurate knowledge of their bodily traits, their hoofs, horns,
and tails, the red fire or the luminous brown discs of their
eyes, the symmetry of their loins, the glassy texture of their
coats, or the soft sheen of their feathers-but in the chivalrous
insight into those instincts in animals which in their sagacity
and devotion sometimes put to shame the boasted wisdom
and constancy of man.
SI cannot help thinking that the wide-spread popularity of
Sir Edwin Landseer in England is not only a credit to that
manliness of national character which expresses itself in a
love of out-of-door sports, and of the animals which share in
these sports, but is also honourable as an evidence of the
kindly satisfaction with which a matter of fact and plain-
spoken race recognize in their four-footed allies attributes
,which constitute them far more than useful dependants-
privileged and cherished comrades.
I should like to say a word on the other side of the
question-I mean with regard to the sense in which Sir
Edwin Landseer's lively interpretation of the characters of
animals-dogs in particular-has been an element of weakness
in his power.
It has been alleged by those critics least affected by his
second sight into the motives of animals, and most enamoured
of the painters of brutes in their entirety-brutes as apart from
men, while each specimen is distinct and individual in itself,
and while it has a relation to the nature, if not the human
nature, around it-that Sir Edwin sacrificed truth to sentiment
till it became fantastic, and that in the pursuit he lost, not any
grain of his popularity among his multitude of admirers, but
something of his technical skill. It would be presumption in
12 INTRODUCTOR Y.
me to defend Sir Edwin; neither, in truth, am I inclined to
write that he was never guilty of an exaggeration or fantasti-
calness-that he never failed in effect. But I am quite clear
in the statement that it was the truth of his interpretation-
not subtle, but; transparent-of the dumb speech of animals
which caused it to be accepted with unqualified delight by
their masters, high and low; and that nothing short of the
most exquisite perception of propriety on Sir Edwin's part
could have enabled him to give innumerable versions of the
inner life of animals, with so little of the exaggeration and
fantasticalness which would have easily become repugnant to
the common sense of Englishmen.
The great English animal painter was a marvellous poet
in his.own department, and it ought to be simply a source of
thankfulness to us that he painted poetry which those who
run can read.
SYret I am about to attempt to tell- again the stories which
some of his animals tell me, since it may well be they have
other tales for other admirers, and that, therefore, my experi-
ence may not be quite uncalled for and too much. But if in
any respect I cumber with words or mar by false rendering
the suggestive text which I am seeking to illustrate lovingly,
I can only hope that my blunder may be forgiven,
SP-' ' ;L; -"-
y i .^ -i
I DARE not say that the bull-terrier, my hero, was pure
bred. I am strongly disposed to think that he was
mongrel-of the hardy, self-reliant, incorrigible type which
some mongrel races assume, until their very mongrelness, like
their ugliness, becomes almost respectable by its manly inde-
pendence and stoical indifference.
He was not by any means a dog of fine feelings, though
no doubt he had his weak side, which had nothing to do with
the question of his personal appearance. He was a democrat
to the backbone, with so little pretension to be what he was
not, that if it had not been for a large stock of coarse stolidity,
and of self-confidence amounting to impudence, a total inca-
pacity to comprehend a higher range of character than he
himself possessed, and a certain scurrilous tongue of his own,
he would have been, in his unvarnished low life, still tolerably
free from vulgarity.
If you will examine him narrowly, you will find clear
indications of the qualities I have referred to in his general
14 "LOW LIFE."
aspect. I do not say anything of the shortness of his ears, as
I suspect they have been cropped, and he is certainly not
accountable for an operation performed against his will.
But remark and admire his small piggish eyes, the broad
brevity of his nose, and the equal brevity of his tail, the width
of hlis jowl, the thickness of his neck-even in his clumsy con-
formation, and the peculiar dogmatic obstinacy with which
his substantial paws are turned inwards. I am afraid I cannot
call him anything except a plain-looking dog, with no nonsense
But he is not destitute of solid advantages, on which he
justly piques himself, in that big body scarred with the traces
of many a combat in which he has come off the victor.
He may be little to boast of where speed, agility, keenness
of scent, quickness and sureness of sight, discipline, docility,
and splendid sagacity are desired, but he has always his vigour
and endurance to fall back upon, and they are a tower of
strength in themselves.
That bullet-head and those close-shut jaws can thrust like
a battering-ram and grip like a vice. His capacious chest and
hind quarters, and his posts of legs, offer a great field of resist-
ance, and are as hard to uproot as a stout young sapling. His
hide is well-nigh as thick as that of a rhinoceros, and can
stand a perfect hail-storm of blows without flinching. Many
a rival dog he has throttled, many a man and boy he has
threatened successfully to pin." His scowl and his growl
are enough to repel all, save the boldest and most dauntless of
If he is not a dog of brilliant parts, he knows a thing or
two where self-preservation is concerned. He is perfectly
"LOW LIFE." 15
capable of looking after number one-the only number which
he feels himself called upon to reckon; in fact, poor fellow,
he has been accustomed to that reckoning, and to dwelling
upon it with dull, degrading reiteration from his earliest years.
If you could ask himself, he would tell you decidedly that
he has no relations, and he would imply with an inarticulate
murmur, between a grunt and a growl, that the question is
one of perfect indifference to him; he does not mind the priva-
tion in the least-he is sufficient for himself.
"He cares for nobody, no, not he,
If nobody cares for him."
For that matter, ancestors, contemporaries, descendants
would have been a considerable incumbrance to him in his
circumstances, which he will not hesitate to admit have been
for the most part precarious, and in what has usually been his
hand-to-mouth mode of picking up a living.
Not that he is a dog of no calling, or that he merely works
on the job principle. You may notice that he has a collar
round his neck, and is therefore of sufficient consequence to
own a master. Indeed, he has nothing of the shirking, hang-
dog air, alternating with the savage expression of the dog-
tramp or pauper. His very heavy assurance and thorough
mastery of the situation altogether contradict his belonging to
He may be low-one of the rudest and surliest of working
dogs, but he is still a working dog, a trusty watch in the
absence of his master from his place of work, a ratter of some
renown. He is, to do him justice, removed from the deepest
gulf into which dogs and men can sink.
But he is in error on that point of his relations without
16 "LOW LIFE."
knowing it; for his truth and honesty, unless under over-
whelming temptations, are among his best claims on our
regard. Dog of the people as he is, he is not without distin-
guished kindred. We need not mention his unfortunate great-
grand-uncle, who was the avenging shadow over the garret
roofs of a certain ruffianly Bill Sykes, and who met the fate
which is generally the portion of avenging shadows. He has
other claims to a much more distant connection, certainly, but
as they are to carry him into the upper regions of society,
let them be counted. He has an ancestor in a dog named
Trump, who was altogether in a superior position in life,
and on his death received the honour of having a monument
erected to his memory in the garden of the house at Chiswick
which belonged to his attached master, the great painter.
Our friend had also a canny Scotch cousin, who bore a
part in a famous dialogue delivered in the district of Kyle,
in the county of Ayr, and preserved and handed down to
It is time that we recorded our hero's name, and began to
give some particulars of his not uneventful plebeian history.
I dare say my readers conjecture that his name was plebeian
too, like all the rest about him-that it was "Jim," or Ned,"
or Crab," or Pickles," or Seize 'em," or Tear 'em."
Not at all. In spite of his democratic antecedents and pro-
clivities, he had an aristocratic, nay, a royal designation. My
own observation tends to prove that this inconsistent appel-
lation was according to a law of human nature. In the
various households belonging to the humblest ranks with
which he had any acquaintance, there were to be found
specimens of the finest, most sonorous titles in the English
"LOW LIFE." 17
nomenclature. There was generally a Gussy or a Louie, and
there were twice Fredericks and once a Marmaduke. The
dog's first master styled the waif, either in high-reaching
ambition or in smouldering satire, "Prince;" and Prince, not
President, he is likely to continue till the day of his death.
It is no reproach to Prince's powers of memory-which,
at the same time, were only remarkable in what were to him
the parallel lines of meals and feuds-that they could not carry
him back beyond that era in puppyhood when he was found,
in one of the back slums of London, doing brave battle with a
dog twice his size and age for a gnawed crust.
Unquestionably, Prince had not first seen the light in
such a dainty kennel as might have impressed his juvenile
imagination, and the loss of which would have made a crisis
in his early history. The probability was that he was the
puppy of some poor working dog, such as he himself became
in after-life; and that the dog's proprietor, after having toler-
"ated him for a few weeks-during which he showed no signs
of growing up of any particular value, and when no fellow-
"workman fancied the pup "-had either separated him from
his parent, and cast him adrift on the world, or had suffered
him to be lost in the street, and thrown on the tender mercies
of the police, as the easiest solution of the difficulty-happily
less insurmountable than that of Ginx's spare baby.
But the finder of Prince was not a policeman. He was
a little boy named Jack, who was almost as audacious and
reckless as the puppy, with the delight of a child in a young
dog-especially in a young dog which is treasure-trove, and
when there is the fraction of a chance he may be permitted
to retain it as his own property. He decoyed Prince, still a
18 "LOW LIFE."
nameless little cur, from the fray in which he was engaged,
christened him Prince, with a splendid disregard of the pro-
prieties, on the spot, and prepared to convey him home, tucked
tightly within Jack's ragged jacket.
Poor little Prince! pugilistic as he had already shown him-
self, and as he was doomed to prove throughout his career,
he responded then, as he always did, in his gruff fashion, to
the scant kindness which was shown him. He did not nestle
to Jack's heart or lick his dirty hand, for he was never a
demonstrative dog, but he cocked the ears-short even then,
before they had undergone the hideous process of cropping-
looked up with his small beads of eyes in his captor's face, as
if acknowledging his master, and then gave one short, stiff
wag of his stump of a tail, as if appending his signature-the
signature of the puppy-father to the dog whose word was
his bond-to the bargain.
That slightly ungracious, yet expressive wag of the tail
did Jack's business, and rendered him ten times more bent on
retaining the puppy, in spite of sundry obstacles which he
saw looming ahead of the connection, in the prejudices which
might be entertained by his father and mother regarding
their small means-of which Jack, boy as he was, did not fail
to be aware-their limited house accommodation, and the
number of his little brothers and sisters.
But if Prince the puppy was father to Prince the dog, so
Jack the boy was father to Jack the man. A certain jolly self-
indulgence and ignoring of consequences, so long as they
could be shelved, were from first to last marked features in his
character. When Jack, with his captive, reached the small,
swarming, reeking family-room, in which there was always a
"LOW LIFE." 19
washing going on, at some stage of the process, his mother
did say that they had already as many dogs as there was bran
for. And his father, coming in from his last odd job, told the
boy to get along, and asked him reproachfully if his father's
tdog, Bully, a lame, cantankerous old bull-terrier of dubious
origin, and his mother's birds-canaries and goldfinches,
which were her "fad "-were not, together with his numerous
little brothers and sisters, pets enough for him ?
But Jack was his father and mother's own boy, and, as it
was rather a prosperous time with them, they could not find it
in their hearts to baulk him in an inclination with which they
had really so much sympathy. So Prince was suffered to
become a member of the happy-go-lucky family. The only
serious opposition he met with came from his dog-brother,
Bully, who assumed a hostile attitude of tooth and claw.
However, Bully was old and incapable, so that a tolerably
active young dog could manage to escape from the execution
of his menaces. Besides, a street accident soon afterwards
disposed of the canine patriarch, to the unaffected grief of his
Prince grew to dog's estate in the household, sharing its
very fluctuating, but inevitably downward-tending, fortunes,
scrambling with it for a livelihood-feasting the one day,
fasting the next-receiving a cuff, or a spendthrift dole, as
Shumour and the family purse inclined.
Prince acquired stores of knowledge and experience of a
mixed sort at this stage of his existence. He was accustomed
to go everywhere with Jack in his spare time-above all, on his
half-holidays. Prince enlarged his acquaintance with London;
he was not only a regular attendant on all the bird sales and
20 "LOW LIFE."
rat-pits in the neighbourhood, but travelled into tne suburbs
and to the verge of the country. He followed Punch and
Judys, and joined in the festivities of Guy Fawkes' and
chimney-sweeps' days. He went a-palming on the Saturday
before Palm Sunday; he was on Hampstead Heath, in Green-
wich Park, and Epping Forest, and saw the coloured paper-
streamers, and the brilliant crimson and green false beards on
successive Easter and Whit Mondays. The wide open spaces,
the green grass, the shady trees puzzled him a good deal, but
not nearly so much as did the sea, which he once saw in a
cheap trip to Brighton, when Jack's family were in exceptional
funds, and spending them like princes.
Prince was never absent from the Boat Race. Year after
year, as the day came round, he was to be found stationed by
Jack's side on the Hammersmith Bridge, not half so much
incommoded, on account of the pressure-which, indeed, he
could keep off by the use of natural weapons-as he had
been startled by the wide world of waters, on the edge of
which he had stood, with his tail uncertain whether to droop
or to curl, at Brighton.
I question whether any dog belonging to the two univer-
sities took a greater interest in the race, even though he had
been rowed for hours by his attentive master on the Isis or
the Cam, than did Prince, in all impartiality; for, though he
had a rag of ribbon tied duly round his neck by Jack, Prince
at least had no bet either on the light or the dark blue. No
more had he any, save the simplest friendly interest, in the
winner of the Derby, when he accompanied Jack in an over-
flowing costermonger's cart to Epsom Downs. His temper
was sorely tried on the way, not merely by the traffic and the
"LOW LIFE." 21
clouds of dust, but by the flour warfare, which powdered him
white like a miller's dog. As Prince could not wear a veil,
his small eyes were filled till he could hardly blink at the
flying hedges, or, after his arrival, at the grand stand, the
starting-point, the negro serenaders, and the gipsy fortune-
On the whole, Prince had a tolerably happy youth, for a
dog of his condition, under Jack's auspices. It might not
have been so improving as one could wish, but he learnt
some proficiency in shifting for himself, and being philosophi-
cal when nothing better offered-a valuable lesson for more
Everything comes to an end, and few things sooner, alas!
than the hand-to-mouth drifting with the tide of careless,
improvident working people. There came a time, at no dis-
tant date in Jack's and Prince's household, in which there
were no longer treats and dainties going. Bacon, buttered
toast, and saveloys vanished from the board.. Meals became
intermittent. Bit after bit of furniture, and every scrap of
clothing that could be spared, were put in pawn at one
of the shops with the three golden balls above the doorway.
The mother of the family was laid down with typhus, and
removed to the nearest hospital. Young Gussy and Fred
shared the same fate.
Poor Jack, hanging his head, began to speak of parting
with Prince. He had often wished he could put him in
pawn with the rest of the pledged goods, and borrow a little
money on Prince's capabilities of keeping guard and ratting.
Jack had joked in his half-rueful, half-rough fashion on the
dog's not eating his head off, since he could hardly tell on
22 "LOW LIFE."
what Prince, together with his master's family, had fed for
the last fortnight. Jack knew very well how he and Prince
had gone out, in company and separately, after nightfall and
in broad day, on the hunt; how they had constituted them-
selves amateur chiffonniers, and burrowed in the dust heaps
for cast-away fragments; how they had hung about the doors
of eating-houses and bakers' shops for chance crumbs; how
they had picked up garbage and been thankful.
But it was one thing to joke and another to dispose, for
good and all, of the old dog-he was an old dog now in Jack's
eyes-and that to a customer who was hard-fisted and cross-
grained, whose bite and sup Prince would not share, and who
could no more be trusted to let old friends meet than he could
be expected to redeem the forfeited articles and restore the
fallen fortunes of the family gone to the wall.
But Jack, who had been, in his humble way, self-willed
and extravagant from his cradle, had already parted with more
precious possessions than Prince, and it is to be feared would
part with still more before his history was ended. Anyhow,
he sold Prince for the merest trifle to a hard buyer; and as
tears were in Jack's dull eyes when he closed the bargain,
we will dismiss him with the reluctant reflection that, if he or
his progenitors had only owned a single germ of noble self-
denial, manly, womanly forethought, plucky, cheery diligence,
he might not merely have kept the dog-he and his might
have been as independent and well-to-do, and risen as far
above want, with its terrible temptations, as any of the
gentlefolks in the land.
The inducement which Prince's new master, Mr. Jerry
Noakes, had for the purchase, was that he had enjoyed some
"LOW LIFE." 23
opportunity of remarking Prince's tenacity of purpose and
literal discharge of a commission, which he was convinced
would render the dog a good watch; while Mr. Jerry was
satisfied, from Prince present appearance, that he could be
put off with as shabby quarters and meagre fare as will suffice
to keep a dog in life. In fact, Mr. Jerry Noakes' principle,
which he found to work well for his ends, was-don't pamper
"your dependants on any consideration, if you wish them to be
of use to you-on the contrary, grind them down to the last
extremity, and all that is in them will be stimulated to do
battle with the world on their and your account.
Mr. Jerry Noakes owned a small coal-yard-very small and
very little frequented, though its possessor was a man of some
substance-but he drew his means from other sources. Still
he was not inclined that these slatey-looking, dusty, crumb-
ling piles of coals which were his property should disappear
'under the predatory attacks of the loafers in a low neighbour-
hood. Therefore he procured Prince at a cheap rate, inducted
him into a couch-which, as it had been knocked together by
Mr. Jerry Noakes' own hands from some rickety deals, was
as poor an affair and as wretched a shelter from the weather
as could well be imagined-and put him in charge of the yard.
It might be promotion, but it was also a great reverse
for Prince. True, he had now a regular meal once a-day, a
moderate mess of bran and food for poultry, with the parings
of cats' meat, administered by Mr. Jerry, in place of Prince's
being called upon to forage for himself, with the not un-
common conclusion of finding himself both breakfastless and
dinnerless, as had been the case lately in Jack's family circle.
But not only was the gain not large, there was the sentiment
24 "LOW LIFE."
of the thing. I hope none of my readers suppose that Prince,
though a coarse brute, thicl-skinned and obtuse, was destitute
In Jack's home the dog was one of the family; indeed
from his very doghood he had rather the best of it. For if
men and women, responsible beings, will live, like animals,
along with animals, the last-the real Simon Pures-have
generally the advantage. Jack's race, reckless as they were,
must surely have been visited with some doubts, some anxie-
ties, some pricking sense that they were wasting their capital
of time and capacity for work as well as of wages. But of
course Prince was never harassed by such a reminder that he
had a conscience, and was at once mortal and immortal. He
had his little work to do, and did it to the best of his ability.
He was occasionally left to keep house, and did not fail in his
trust. He sat beside the tools of Jack's trade many a day,
never offering to stir till Jack released him. He entered with
pride and zest into his calling as a rat-catcher whenever he
had the chance. But all the time he was largely his own
master, for he could hardly call it servitude to roam the world
of London at Jack's heels.
It was another matter for Prince to be a prisoner himself,
while prepared to take others prisoners, in this dreary yard-
to spend day and night there-to have no change of scene, no
comradeship, though it might result in scuffles and single
combats with other dogs-to see nobody for a stretch of
twenty-four hours, perhaps, except Mr. Jerry Noakes. He
always spoke gruffly, never encouragingly, to Prince; and the
dog, though he was gruff himself, with little tenderness or
humour, so that he was impatient of fondling, and had no
"LOW LIFE." 25
great aptitude for fun, yet knew and appreciated what fidelity
and good-fellowship meant.
That parting from his first master, Jack, had been a great
wrench to Prince's whole nature; and while the strain of the
pull, and the ache of the void, were still in full force, the dog
was condemned for his sins to solitary confinement, on the
lowest diet, and with no satisfaction of his social instincts,
except the brief interview with Mr. Jerry Noakes, his gaoler,
who never said, "Hie old dog," or "What are you arter
to-day, you duffer?" or "Shan't we have a rove to-night, my
"Sometimes Prince was so depressed in his spirits that he
could not find it in his heart to make a spring, worry, and
have done with a cat which, from scrambling idly down on
.the wall, ventured imprudently to descend into his territory.
He contented himself with growling at her, just that she might
escape to the wall again, and stand there raising her back and
spitting at him, which was an approach to company.
It was a positive relief when the sun was right overhead,
blazing down into the little black hole, threatening to produce
-spontaneous combustion among the materials for fuel which
seemed then so unnecessary, and to grill the bones of Prince,
lying panting with his tongue out in that couch of his, which
neither kept out heat nor cold, and was very far from water-
tight-that he could divert his mind from sad thoughts by
watching the blue-bottle flies which, for some reason Prince
could not divine-if he had got his choice, he would not
have selected such quarters-congregated and buzzed lazily
about the enclosure. Prince only watched the flies; he was
by far too practical and mature a dog to descend-even in his
26 "LOW LIFE."
dulness, and although he had not been weak from deficiency
of food and overcome by the heat-to anything so childish as
I think it was Sir Edwin Landseer himself who said that
no dog could endure being kept strictly on the chain for a
longer period than three years; that his heart would break, or
his reason give way in the interval.
I believe Prince was nearly three years Mr. Jerry Noakes
property without either dying or going mad; but then he was
a dog of singular powers of endurance, as I have signified;
besides, after the first few months of his joint experience of
being a gaoler and gaoled, there were modifications introduced
into the system which rendered it more bearable to him.
Mr. Jerry Noakes discovered that by the sheer force of
habit, and of that defective imagination which prevents some
men and dogs, though driven to extremity, from breaking out
into independent enterprise, Prince, if let loose for a season,
would return doggedly, of his own accord, to his durance on
the expiry of a reasonable time. Therefore, when Mr. Jerry
was himself on duty at the yard, he would free the dog, and
send him out of the gates for a scamper, reflecting with a
grin that he saved Prince's feed that morning-since the dog
was sure to nose out some booty in his outing-as well as
preserved him in good health.
Even if Prince had, with keen canine sagacity and a
yearning heart, sought out his former home, he would still
have missed his old protector, for, in sinking lower and lower,
the humble street where Jack and his family had dwelt in
Prince's day now knew them no more. The seniors and the
younger children had gravitated without fail to the House;
"LOW LIFE." 27
while Jack had become peripatetic in his vocation, and moved
rapidly from one wretched lodging-house to another.
But, truth to tell, Prince did not attempt to make the
discovery. He was too stupid, and too prostrated by slow
starvation, to do more than prowl about the immediate neigh-
bourhood of his yard, and stump-for Prince no more slank,
not even when he was greatly in the wrong, than he stalked-
back to his den when he was weary, or when some occult
instinct told him that his leave was up.
Prince was not in some important respects the dog he looks
in his picture when he was living with Mr. Jerry Noakes. He
is a fairly well-fed dog, and in excellent condition, as we see
him; but in those hard times he was reduced to skin and
bone, his ribs could be counted, his mongrel disproportions
were exposed in all their ugliness, and there was a wild look-
that of a creature at bay, and which struck people as unsafe
-about the dog.
Yet the lamentable change on the outer dog was not the
worst result of Prince's residence with Mr. Jerry Noakes; the
inner dog was undergoing as sure a deterioration. Any good
that had been in Prince was being stamped out of him. He
was hardening back into the original savage wolf or jackal.
His truth and honesty, which had heen his best domestic
qualities, were being corrupted and sapped to the foundation.
With Jack's family Prince had been-well, free and easy
in his practices; but the whole family had been free and easy
in their ways, and anything like deliberate, premeditated
larceny was unknown to the dog. There was all the difference
that there is between manslaughter and murder in Prince's
helping himself occasionally when the opportunity came unex-
28 "LOW LIFE."
pectedly in his way, and when he knew that there was no great
offence in the deed, and in his craftily planning and brazenly
carrying out, in utter impenitence, the series of roll-liftings from
the baskets on bakers' counters, and trotter-snatchings from
behind butchers' doors, in spite of the butchers' dogs, whose
vigilance he managed to evade-by which Prince signalised his
absences from the shed.
Mr. Jerry Noakes was right, that Prince needed no regular
meal on the day of his temporary release. Indeed, if Mr.
Jerry had known how liberally the dog fared on these occasions,
the man might have sought covertly to share in the spoil, and
might have been tempted, though he had no need, to run the
risk of constituting Prince a professional thief and a permanent
provider, in a dishonest manner, for the material wants of both
But Prince's diabolical cunning, that new and alarming
feature in the dog's character, was too much for his master.
Prince took care to despatch every crumb and hair, and get
rid of all traces of his unlawful proceedings, before he returned
sullenly to his master.
It is all very well to laugh; but the dog, with all his craft,
would have been caught red-handed some day and made a
public example of, perishing miserably by a violent death, had
not Mr. Jerry Noakes' own death suddenly dissolved the
connection between him and Prince. Mr. Jerry Noakes was
removed at a moment's notice from all his grubbing and
grinding, and Prince, after narrowly escaping being forgotten
and starved to death in the yard, fell into the hands of Mr. Miles
Noakes, Mr. Jerry's nephew and nearest surviving relation;
Mr. Miles was a family man settled in the country, and
was called on to sustain the trouble and expense of a journey
"LOW LIFE." 29
to London in order to discharge the last duties to Mr. Jerry,
and possibly to be rewarded by entering on his inheritance.
Those who had known Mr. Jerry said possibly" advisedly,
while they were aware that Mr. Miles was the nearest sur-
viving relation; and the cautious wording of the phrase was
vindicated by the sequel. Mr. Jerry had left a will, and
bequeathed his gains in two parts-to a more distant relation
than Mr. Miles, and who was comparatively rich and in no
want of money, and to a charitable institution.
It was just after Mr. Miles had been made acquainted with
the disposal of the funds that he, still acting in the character
of the representative of the dead man, seeing that the favoured
kinsman had not put himself about to attend the funeral,
looked into the yard and remarked Prince.
The dog, faithful to the single principle of duty that was
left in him, threatened the intruder as furiously as if Prince
himself were not an arrant rogue, or as if he were acting out
the adage, Set a thief to catch a thief."
The dog looked such a miserable object, there was so little
to steal, the idea of his revenging himself for being deprived
of the succession by pilfering these mouldy coals-if coals can
ever be called mouldy-tickled the stranger's fancy, though
this was no laughing occasion, neither was he in any laughing
Mr. Miles, while he had stood in the relation of nephew to Mr.
Jerry, was nearly as old a man as his uncle, and, as he lounged
there in his rusty black, he bore a certain resemblance to his
late father's brother. He appeared crusty, if not grim, but he
possessed what Mr. Jerry had certainly been devoid of-an
imagination to take in the ludicrousness of the situation ; and
30 "LOW LIFE."
he was not altogether selfish and inhuman, for even, while
smarting under the injury which had been inflicted on him,
and as Prince was flying at him as far as his chain would
permit, Mr. Miles said to himself, I must see that beast put
out of pain before I go."
Then the humour of the man, which had been stirred in
him, took a new direction. I should not care, just for the
fun of the thing, to take him down with me to Westbarns
and show him to Nanse as our share of Uncle Jerry's goods.
I heard the landlord of the Hare and Hounds say he wanted
a serviceable dog to replace his young Newfoundland which
he had been induced to sell. I'll go bail that Uncle Jerry's
dog is serviceable."
The whim found favour with a whimsical poor man, anc
so Prince, not without difficulty and danger, was removed t<
the railway station and consigned to a dog-box. There h
was so dazed and confounded by the darkness and the rap:
motion-which he had only once experienced before, and tha
was on that far-away trip to Brighton, when he had beer
smuggled in Jack's arms among a hilarious company into an
open van-that he came out, in the course of an hour and c:
half, comparatively subdued, and condescended, without extreme
pressure, to accompany Mr. Miles Noakes to his cottage.
It was evening when the two arrived, jaded by travel,
excitement, and disappointment. A much younger looking
woman than Mr. Miles was a man, was gazing eagerly along
the road in expectation of their arrival. She stood at the
gate of a well-kept little garden, sweet with spring flowers-
blue hyacinths, primroses, polyanthuses. She had lively hazel
eyes and smooth dark hair, and wore a neat cap and clean
"LOW LIFE." 31
pron. She might have been a capable, prized maid-servant in
er day; she was still an active, tidy matron in her early prime.
You are come at last, Miles; you must be clean done up,
but the children are a-bed, and your supper is ready," she
said hurriedly, while she kissed her husband, as if feeling it
a relief to welcome him first before she asked the question
with which her heart was beating, her breath coming fast and
her lips quivering, while she had no attention to spare for his
All right, Nanse," said Mr. Miles, entering the cottage
before he vouchsafed any explanation.
Perhaps his mind misgave him, or his heart smote him
vith regard to the jest he was about to make, as he looked
found on the familiar dwelling-small, not without evidence
narrow means, but scrupulously clean and well ordered,
I om the gay patched quilt on the crib, in which the two
,ildren slept, to the well-scoured pewter mug with his beer
flanking the plate of cold bacon, the better part of the dinner
aved for his supper.
It would be no jesting matter to Nanse to hear that the
property of which he had been summoned to take possession
ad gone past them. When they had parted, she had not
een able to help building on it, in her impulsive woman's
fashion, as what should render them easy in their worldly
affairs, lighten the load on their backs, provide a welcome
substitute when his strength must fail, and, above all, supply
better schooling for the children, and raise them above all
ear of want when she alone was left to labour for them.
But Mr. Miles Noakes was not a man easily turned from
a purpose, and, it might be, he thought the quip would break
32 "LOW LIFE."
the weight of the fall. He said at last, as he took off his hat
and placed it carefully beyond the reach of damage, while he
gave a jerk of his elbow in the direction of Prince, standing
uncertain on the threshold, a most unattractive object in his
skeleton leanness, his unthrifty coat, and the greed which the
glimpse of the victuals called up-in spite of his clumsy efforts.
to conceal his feelings-in his winking eyes and sniffing nose
-" Well, Nanse, there is our legacy."
The woman stood bewildered; her colour went and came.
" Oh, Miles you cannot mean it?" she cried at last; Uncle
Jerry and you could not be so cruel ?"
Woman, I had nothing to do with it," he said, flinging
himself heavily into the chair set for him; "and was it not
better than to come back empty-handed ?"
She understood now that he was in earnest-that he and
she had been defrauded, as she called it in her hot heart, of
the time, trouble, and expense of his journey, as well as of
their justifiable expectations, and that there was nothing left
for .Miles but to be grimly merry at her expense.
She hesitated, for she was a quick-tempered woman, prone
to resent fun of which she was the butt, and any advantage
taken of her ignorance. Yet she had loved her husband for
the very oddity which expressed itself in this shape. She had
been proud of her conquest of him when she had been a
pretty, smart, popular servant-girl, and he had enjoyed the
reputation of being the most humoursome," no less than the
most long-headed, steady, middle-aged bachelor in the place.
His humour, even in company with his long-headedness and
steadiness, had not brought him great worldly prosperity, yet
she had never regretted her choice. There must have been
"LOW LIFE." 33
a strain of something uncommon in Nanse herself, which had
enabled her, in the first instance, to appreciate what was
remarkable in her future husband and to triumph in astonishing
the world by accepting him from her host of wooers, and, in
the second, to remain content with her bargain.
But it is one thing to relish a queer fish's cranky wit
played c.. .r- other people and on things in general, and quite
another to value the same rare quality turned against one's
self in a supreme moment of mortification and vexation.
Nanse stood motionless for an instant, and was on the
verge of getting into a white heat and saying something she
would have regretted afterwards, when the corner of her eye
caught sight of her husband's grey hairs, while her ears
seemed to take in the echo of a break in his voice. Her heart
was as warm as her temper was quick. With a flash of
sympathy she realized all his fatigue and chagrin, and pain for
her pain, which he was seeking to carry off by his poor joke.
She was at his side in a moment, entering into his humour,
though with a lump in her throat and a dimness before her
Dear heart alive I she exclaimed, borrowing one of her
old mother's expressions; "it must be a rare monster, Miles;
I should have said it was not worth the carriage, but Uncle
Jerry and you must know best. In the meantime, let it be,
and eat your supper like a good man. I'm right down
thankful to have you safe home again, and the children are
both pretty well, and fell asleep an hour ago wearying for
You're a good soul, Nanse," muttered Mr. Miles down
in his throat in the pauses between bolting mouthfuls of
34 "LOW LIFE."
bacon. Come and have your supper with me, lass, and I'll
kiss you again as soon as I have finished."
Mr. and Mrs. Miles had no thought save of disposing of
Prince to the landlord of the Hare and Hounds the first
thing next morning, though they gave him, as a matter of
course also, the scraps of their supper and leave to sleep at
But the new day brought new ideas. Little Freddy-named
proudly for Nanse's little master in the last situation she had
filled-fell sick in the night, and was still ill and cross in the
morning when Nanse rose to light the fire and prepare the
breakfast. Mr. Miles, who kept the child while the mother
was thus engaged, thought to divert the boy, and partly
succeeded, by drawing his attention to the strange bow-wow
which daddy had brought home while Freddy was asleep last
You had better leave the brute all the morning, Miles,
since Freddy is so taken with him," suggested the anxious
mother. Pretty dear! he has left off crying to watch the
dog. I suppose the creature will be quiet enough if nobody
meddles with him, and I shall take care that neither Freddy
nor Louie teases him. You will be in and out, and you can
take the dog away at dinner-time quite as well as now.
Perhaps the child will be better then."
When the dinner hour came the child was not better, but
worse, lying listlessly with flushed face and heavy eyes, which,
however, still lightened a little as they followed the entrancing
apparition of the dog. Mr. and Mrs. Miles could not bear to
remove the solace of their sick child, and hour by hour and
day by day the departure of Prince was deferred.
"LOW LIFE." 35
In this period of probation I am glad to say that Prince's
conduct was irreproachable. As Nanse fed the dog regularly,
that the child, who could not eat himself, might have the
pleasure of seeing the dog eat, and with a faint hope that
Freddy might be induced to follow the "doggie's" example,
Prince was not exposed to the temptation of hunger, which
had already proved too much for his virtue. For that matter
he had not stolen in private houses, his depredations had been
committed in shops, and his dulness was in his favour at this
epoch, as it did not suggest an analogy between Nanse's little
larder and the regions from which he had been wont to pick
Then it was found true here, as elsewhere, that if there is
any lingering remnant of good in the rudest, most brutalised
man or dog, a helpless little child will call it forth. Prince, as
a rule, hated fondling, but he had some experience of children.
Though Jack had been twice Freddy's age when he appropri-
ated the dog-a strong puppy in the street, Jack had always
possessed, more or less, small brothers and sisters, with whom
Prince had been on friendly, familiar terms. Prince knew,
therefore, that fondlings and sundry other liberties-such as
clutching him round the neck, or pulling him by the tail-
must be put up with from senseless little children, although
no dog of spirit would stand them for a moment from grown-
up, rational people.
Prince sat like patience on a monument, and permitted
Freddy to stroke his bristly hair backwards with hot little
hands, or to hold on by his ears, without uttering one note
of protest, till Mrs. Miles cried out of her full heart to her
husband, Miles, let us keep the dog ourselves; we're not
36 "LOW LIFE."
so hard up or so near that we'll miss his bite. We've had no
cat since poor Kitty was took in the rabbit warren. He may
earn something for his living if he can be got to go out and
do a turn at ratting for a neighbour at a time. Anyway, he
can always watch your dinner till you're ready, when you carry
it with you to your place of work; and he is good to the child.
I feel as if dear little Freddy will get well again, and that the
dog may bring luck to the house, though he came to it at an
Of course, and very properly, Mr. Miles laughed and
scouted at Prince's bringing luck; and it was not in conse-
quence of any such vain womanish superstition, but because
families like Mr. Miles' are tolerably sure on the whole, and
in spite of troubles, to rise in the social scale-just as families
like poor Jack's are as certain to decline, that the occupants of
the cottage did begin to prosper from the hour that Prince
crossed their threshold.
Prince himself knew when he was in good quarters, and
showed the knowledge satisfactorily, by continuing to be on
his best behaviour, till he commenced to forget his worst, and
to be good as if goodness were a second nature to him. He
thawed manifestly in his surliness to more than the children,
whose trusty play-fellow he was. He showed himself faithful,
obedient, attentive, as far as his understanding went, and
decently civil and discreet.
I wish I could state that Prince became in all respects
a superior dog, or at least that he lost his overweening
opinion of himself, and became capable of reverencing, at a
humble distance, really great dogs-instead of cracking vulgar
jokes at their expense, and seeking to drag them down to his
"LOW LIFE." 37
own level-or that he even altogether got rid of that lowered
moral standard and grave deterioration which he suffered
during his stay in Mr. Jerry Noakes' yard.
I am sorry to say I can make no such assertion. On the
contrary, it was a great shock to Mrs. Miles, who was pre-
eminently an honest woman, to discover that Prince-fairly to
be relied upon at home-could not come within a hundred
yards of the baker's and butcher's shops in the village without
undergoing a distressing transformation. He would slip
away from his mistress' side, if he happened to be out
marketing with her, dodge about with an evident disreputable
assumption of an incognito, for he was but a fifth-rate actor
after all, till he saw his opportunity, then improve it by dart-
ing to the scene of action, seizing the coveted twopenny loaf
or sheep's liver, though he had made an excellent breakfast
that very morning, and making off with it like the wind.
It was to no purpose that he was pursued, convicted,
punished; the next time temptation met him, he fell without
fail, repeating the offence. It was as if the temptation, once
habitually indulged in, had become irresistible to poor stupid
Mrs. Miles had a struggle whether she ought to keep
a dog with such a disgraceful propensity, and one day she was
very nearly giving him up, when by his gross self-indulgence
he covered not only her but his master with ridicule and shame.
It was on a Sunday at noon, of all times, but Mrs. Miles
had not been to church-she had sat up, the night before,
with a sick neighbour. She had carried the younger child
with her on her errand of mercy, while Mr. Miles had taken
care of the elder, and been at church with him, leaving Prince
38 "LOW LIFE."
to keep house, which he did with sufficient uprightness, in the
Mr. Miles had gone home when the service was over, and
liberated the dog, permitting him to join the little party, in
their Sunday clothes, that set out to meet and greet the wife
and mother on her expected return.
Mrs. Miles had appeared duly, and been gratified by her
husband's attention. The group were proceeding in the
most exemplary and agreeable fashion along the village street,
when the heads of the household were startled by the nudges
and sniggles, rising into roars of laughter, which their progress
drew forth-not only from the loiterers about the ale-house
door, but from the more decorous passers-by, carrying home
their Sunday's dinner from the baker's oven.
Mrs. Miles glanced round indignantly at her husband and
two children, and could discover nothing-unless a pleasing
picture of domestic felicity, which ought to have excited
admiration or envy, not contempt-to account for the derision
with which even some of her own particular friends were
regarding the family, till she looked behind her, and then
Mrs. Miles saw it all.
To her horror, Mrs. Miles found that Prince was scouring
along close to heel, bearing a whole roast duck by his teeth in
its back. He had been unable to pass the baker's door,
though the shutter was on the window: having entered, his
nose had beguiled him into a more daring and serious crime
than the petty pilfering which was the usual extent of his
delinquencies. And Mrs. Miles could not create the scandal
on the Sunday, with the parson coming out of the rectory at
her back, of having the dog pursued and deprived of his prey.
"LOW LIFE." 39
That night, while Mr. Miles-though he had not liked the
laugh when it was sounding in his ears any better because he
had often raised such himself-after he had escaped the cackle,
took the matter easily, like a philosopher, Mrs. Miles was, as
she would have described it, in a sad way; she felt as if her
own and her husband's good name were at stake, and that
they might be unjustly accused of sharing in the toothsome
dainty, basely come by, and for which some Sunday dinner
had waited in vain. She renounced Prince with a groan.
But next morning, when the dog stood letting Freddy har-
ness him with pack-thread, Nanse thought better of it. She
judged correctly that Prince was only a dumb brute; when the
worst came to the worst, she was not certain whether Uncle
Jerry were not accountable for Prince's bad tricks, and whether
she and Miles, as Uncle Jerry's representatives, did not owe
the dog some reparation for the cruel wrong done him.
At the same time, she was careful to relieve her conscience
and clear her credit by solemnly warning the baker and
butcher, and going so far as to offer to pay for any amount
of plunder with regard to which it could be proved that it
had not been left carelessly, after her caution, in the dog's way.
The tradesmen, to whom Mrs. Miles always paid her bills
to a day, took her communication in good part, and even
generously tossed to Prince an occasional crust or bone, which,
nevertheless, had not the effect of curing him of his culpable
weakness. But Mrs. Miles left him as few chances as pos-
sible of lapsing into his one inveterate vice.
With this, alas flagrant exception, Prince ended by being
a tolerably respectable character, in the favourable circum-
stances to which he was so fortunate as to attain at last.
SIR EDWIN LANDSEER intended to produce a broad
contrast when he painted two dogs, and ticketed them
respectively Low Life" and High Life." I need hardly
say he succeeded in his attempt. Never were dog nature and
dog surroundings more widely opposed than those which are
to be found in the two pictures.
I have already described Prince's appearance, and sketched
his history, while I have left my readers to study for them-
selves the copy which the painter has supplied of the dog's
primitive abode. But I must turn back and call attention to
it at this point, in order to mark the gulf between it and
Carlo's home. First, look at Prince's lodging, with its rude
block for a table, the red-handled knife on the block, the
pewter pot which has contained his master's beer and still
holds his pipe standing behind the dog, and, lying at his feet,
a well-polished bone.
Next, contemplate Carlo sitting in an elegant, pensive
attitude in his master's study; was there ever a deeper gulf
alike between dogs and their quarters ?
"HIGH LIFE." 41
Carlo belongs as unmistakably to the castle-one turret
of which, with its fluttering flag when the family are at home,
we see through the study window in the picture-as the castle
belongs to Carlo. Both dog and scene-the table littered
with books and writing materials, the riding-gloves, the fine
old bell glass and flask of rare old wine, the foils, together
with that glimpse through the window of the castle turret-are
products of centuries of civilisation and generations of culture.
Now look at the dog himself, as refined as any fine lady, for
no fine gentleman was ever so absolutely removed from the
faintest trace of rude nature-not to say from caddishness or
snobbishness. Carlo is positively burdened with refinement.
Measure him from the tip of his long nose to the point of his
long tail, from his small head and slender throat to his
delicate haunches and fine legs, and do not forget his large
soft eyes and exquisite skin. Is he not grace personified ?-
grace, not dignity, for dignity implies power. Indeed there
are critics who would limit Carlo's dominant attribute to
superlative elegance, since they allege that perfect grace
demands natural vigour, and vigour or power is exactly the
quality which the dog lacks. Being a high-bred hound, he
may be fleet as a bird-fleet as Master Magrath of racing
renown; but stamina, endurance (apart from fleetness), simple
force of constitution and character, are not in him.
"I have said Carlo is positively burdened with refinement.
You cannot look at him without suspecting what a weight the
vulgar world is on his mind. It does not enrage him; he
is too mildly superior for that. Rage is more or less of a
brutal quality, and Carlo is as little of a savage brute as any
four-footed creature ever was. The wilful low life and rude
42 "HIGH LIFE."
practices of the mass of living beings simply depress his not
very strong spirits, and torture his keen sensibilities. He is
often rendered wretched by the mere coarseness of the world
in general; and this wretchedness bulks so largely in his
excited imagination that his peculiar trial shuts out from him
every other dog's trial. Carlo has fared delicately all his
days. He has never known what it is to want food and
shelter; the best and most suitable of everything has been
provided sedulously for his use by the men whose business it
is to wait upon him, instead of his having had to hunt hard
to satisfy his most pressing wants, and to submit to being
hunted in turn, kicked and abused for presuming to have
wants, and for seeking to satisfy them. He has hardly ever
heard a rough word addressed to him, so that he will mope
for hours if he is merely overlooked-if his master has not
smiled upon him, stroked his head, taken in his hand one fine
paw after the other. Naturally, Carlo has little sympathy
to spare from his own sentimental woes, which he plaintively
airs and nurses, for the matter-of-fact miseries of homeless
dogs, starved, beaten, done to death for the idle amusement
of the spectators.
Yet Carlo is a gentle, generous dog, by natural tempera-
ment, and, so far from having no feelings, his feelings are only
of too fine a description. The truth is, there is a subtle-all
the more serious-danger to moral character in exquisitely
fine feelings, especially when they accompany a morbidly
fastidious taste and effeminate habits.
When I say effeminate habits, I wish not to be mistaken.
I do not mean that Carlo was a larger lap-dog, utterly idle
and useless-that he sat and lay all day and all night in that
"HIGH LIFE." 43
luxurious study, or in a still more luxurious drawing-room, or
in a kennel very little behind the two rooms in comfort and
beauty. On the contrary, he saw plenty of sun and wind.
He had been trained, like his master, to count as the best part
of his time those hours which were spent in the open air, and
in active exercise. Coursing was exactly to Carlo what stalk-
ing deer, riding to hounds, and rowing a boat were to his
master. When the dog's blood and breeding were up, he
could make a good fight in his doggish sport.
What I do intend to convey is, that in Carlo, and, for that
matter, in his master also, the instincts of self-preservation,
self-resource, and independence were sensibly and uncon-
sciously weakened. The two could not have earned a dinner
for themselves to save their lives, and if they had earned it they
would not have known what to do with it, unless some foreign
aid had happily come to them. Even after they had been
initiated into the necessary process, they would have been so
revolted by all the plain details inevitable to preparing a
dinner, that they would have left it to be devoured by hardier
applicants, till hunger urged them on to the stifling of their
over-trained and stimulated susceptibilities.
Carlo first saw the light in a perfectly appointed kennel,
built in the shape of a pagoda, one of the show-places in a
noble ancestral park. His birth was attended with all the
9clat of the coming into the world of a great and important
personage, and his pedigree was as proudly and hotly upheld
as that of many a prince whose inheritance depends on his
family tree. The young heir up at the castle had scarcely
been welcomed with greater exultation, or had more unremit-
ting care and attention bestowed on him than was lavished by
44 "HIGH LIFE."
the kennel staff on the puppy, the finest of the litter, the
progeny of a valuable and favourite dog. Neither were the
kennel men and boys the only or the principal persons who
waited on the levees of Carlo. My lord and my lady visited
him almost daily; the most cherished visitors at the castle
were taken to inspect his points, and admire his promise;
indeed it was regarded as a mark of favour, on the part of the earl
and the countess, when some comparatively humble visitor-
parson, lawyer, or doctor, with his wife or daughters-was
invited to go to the kennel and have a look at the special
puppy. The kennel was the first place the young lord ran to
when he was home from Eton.
Carlo was led through all the trying stages of puppyhood
with the most tender anxiety for his welfare. His weaning
and teething were carefully seen to. I am almost sure that
he was inoculated for distemper, either in the ear or under a
front leg, at a spot which could not be reached by tooth or
claw; and that the operation was performed by a distinguished
veterinary surgeon, who came from the next large town for
If I am right, by this means the dog was enabled to escape
altogether the common scourge of the young of the dog race.
And I believe the most distant suspicion of mange, imported by
some extraordinary means to Carlo, would have been enough
to have driven the head kennel-man into a fit, would have
covered with gloom the countenance of the young lord, and
would even have brought a cloud over the brow of his father
the earl, who was a famous statesman, and was understood to
have the destinies of nations at his beck.
That was a great day to more than the dog-on which he
"HIGH LIFE." 45
was emancipated from kennel thraldom, and was brought to
the castle, where he was destined to be the companion and
friend of the future earl when he was at home, though by this
decision a sacrifice was made, of what would probably have
been Carlo's laurels as a regular coursing dog. Carlo might
course occasionally, stirred by his master's presence and
encouragement, but no study or drawing-room dog, whatever
his pedigree, could go in with a hope of winning the great
matches equal to that of the dog who was kept up to the mark,
by being maintained solely for that end.
It was an evidence of the degree to which social claims are
permitted to prevail in every circle. De Vaux wishes to
have the dog constantly with him," said De Vaux's mother, as
if the desire of the heir settled the question; and Carlo is
such a nice gentlemanly dog. I have been so frightened for
De Vaux's taking a fancy to a hideous turnspit, or a rough
German boar-hound, or a fighting bull-terrier, with a beauty
spot over one eye, or even to some wretched cur. Young
men are so odd now-a-days," she finished with a sigh of relief.
Not a footman or a housemaid was not respectful to Carlo,
well-nigh as to my lord and my lady-tolerant of the trouble
he gave the servants, flattered if he took any notice of them.
Like all aristocratic dogs, he was inclined to keep his distance
from the domestics, even from his old friends of the kennel,
so soon as he saw that they were not his masters-that his
master, who was also his familiar friend, proved to be their
master, and stopped short with being so. Carlo was disposed
to keep up an almost unbroken reserve towards the worthy
persons, in their own way, who used the back stairs. He
would no more have thought of visiting the kitchen, or even
46 "HIGH LIFE."
the housekeeper's room or the butler's pantry, on terms of
equality, than I daresay you and I, my reader, would dream
of doing, if we were, like Carlo, not so much the servant
as the privileged member of an earl's family. But Carlo
was such a gentlemanly dog, as my lady had said, that he was
incapable of arrogance, far less insolence. His manner was,
like that of Queen Charlotte when she curtseyed to her
humblest maid-servant, or of King George when he took off
his hat to the gentlemen of his band, always gracious and
My lord and my lady had a great partiality for Carlo. My
lord would take him for a walk when the dog's master was not
at home. My lady would encourage him to sit with her in her
morning-room, where she conducted her correspondence, and
to glide after her in her conservatory and flower-garden, where
she gathered flowers, and played at being a gardener in a big
apron and gauntlet gloves, wielding shears for the destruction
of dead leaves and twigs.
Carlo was introduced into the family picture which a great
artist from London came down to the castle to paint. The
dog had been painted several times before, and photographed
on occasions without number-with De Vaux on his pony,
with my lady standing on the terrace, or entering the family's
almshouses; but it was the first time that Carlo had been put
on the same canvas with the head of the house, and in a
picture which was destined to be one of the great works of
the generation, secured for the castle. My lord, who himself
dabbled in art, likened the introduction of Carlo into the piece
to the use made of the white greyhound by Rubens in the
" Arundel Family," and to the similar employment of a dog,
"HIGH LIFE." 47
with the best effect, in Van Dyck's Wilton Family." One
cannot wonder that Carlo felt perfectly justified in regarding
himself as a member of the earl's family.
But Carlo was De Vaux's special property, and the relation
between them continued unbroken, in spite of the young
man's frequent absences on his travels, during the first period
of the connection. These absences were trying to Carlo, who
had little else to do save to miss his friend, and pine for his
return; and the more he pined, the more he was praised and
petted for his fidelity and devotion, till-as the dog had
naturally no dislike, but, on the contrary, a great yearning for
praise and petting, provided they were administered with the
delicacy which he demanded in all the dealings with him-he
ran a great risk either of falling into a normal condition of
pining, or of becoming guilty of the most abominable affecta-
tion, passing by insensible degrees into hardened hypocrisy.
Carlo was saved from these pitfalls by De Vaux's return
from his travels, which had of course extended from Europe
to Asia, including Palestine and Damascus; Africa, as far as
has been -made out of the course of the Nile; and America,
across the continent to the Rocky Mountains.
After the celebration of De Vaux coming of age-which,
to tell the truth, was in its exuberant rejoicings a considerable
infliction both on him and Carlo-the heir settled down as far
as he was likely to do in his ancestral home, and took Carlo
into his constant society, until the dog had nothing more left
to wish for.
Ah I there was the rub; it was the having nothing more
left to wish for that threatened to be Carlo's bane-to weigh
him down with satiety, and oppress him with a sense of life
48 "HIGH LIFE."
accomplished. De Vaux laboured under a touch of the same
complaint, only it took a higher form in the man than in the
dog, and De Vaux and all his friends gave it another name.
They made out that De Vaux, with his gifts and prospects,
was rendered so difficult to satisfy, while he had such a crav-
ing after perfection, that the whole machinery of history and
society disheartened and distressed him, until he could not
make up his mind-and it did not really seem worth while to
make it up-to join any political party, conservative or reform-
ing, or take up any calling or work in life, beyond dreaming
over what might have been, and deploring what was.
De Vaux was not unlike Carlo in body and mind, if you
make allowance for the fact that the man was royally endowed
compared to the dog. The young lord was a fine handsome
young fellow, more elegant than muscular, in spite of the
muscular education he had received both at his public school
and his university, yet quite manly enough to despise sybarite
indulgences and face hardships when they came in the way of
his sport or travels. What was enervated in him had to do
with his excessive fastidiousness and his want of hopefulness,
his mental and moral languor. He was sufficiently thoughtful
always, and courteously considerate when one came across
him personally-so kindly that he would not have harmed a
fly-always unless in the way of sport.
De Vaux was grieved to disappoint his noble parents, who
would have liked him, with his rank and talents, to enter the
world and do his devoir, and win his spurs gallantly. But
to him the game was not worth the candle; and when he
regarded his fellow-players and the weapons he must use, he
shrank unconquerably from the contest. Altogether, he was
"HIGH LIFE." 49
of as little use in the toiling, struggling world-except it might
be in affording an example of refraining from the indulgence
of gross appetites which he did not possess, and of pursuing
cultivation for its own sake-as one can well imagine in the
case of a highly responsible man.
Perhaps, as a consequence, De Vaux suffered greatly, like
Carlo, from that sickening of a vague disease, that inexplicable,
unbearable depression, that weight of sympathy thrown back
on itself, which will always beset such men. I do not know
how he could have stood it, without breaking out into some
abnormal eccentricity, or seeking a miserable refuge from
himself and his weakness in excess or vice, if it had not been
for the intellectual and muscular sides of him, both of which
had been carefully developed. They afforded him the relief of
a variety of interests in study, art, science, in long walks and
rides-wherein not only his nerves and muscle were braced,
but a wholesome love of natural history was farther fostered,
in fishing, shooting, deer-stalking, hunting, each in its proper
season. Neither was he, in his father's house, at liberty to
neglect intercourse with his neighbours, though they afforded
him much less solace, and frequently grated painfully on his
fine perceptions, so that they drove him to give tokens of
sinking, with all his advantages, into the life of a confirmed
recluse before he was thirty years of age.
Withal, it was rather a melancholy spectacle to see De
Vaux and Carlo sitting listlessly together on a glad spring
morning, or a serene summer evening, by the bank of a trout
stream, or at the man's study window-De Vaux's long legs
crossed, his long hand supporting his drooping head, his eyes
gazing wistfully and moodily into the distance; while the dog,
50 "HIGH LIFE."
reflecting closely his master's expression, if not his attitude,
sat with his head declined also, and his nose sniffing the air
in a kind of tender despondency-both so weary and sad, with
wonderfully treacherous fascination for them in the energy-
sapping sadness-and yet both so goodly in their respective
fashions; De Vaux not yet twenty-three, Carlo not turned ten
There was only one element of light to be thankful for in
this, among the many mysteries of existence. When you
thought of the low life of Prince and his friend Jack, with all
their shortcomings and deprivations, and, in the middle of it,
how courageously-though it might be with a stolid courage-
the dog and the lad endured misfortunes unmerited as well
as merited, and what an absolute hearty relish remained to
them wherewith to seize and enjoy every scrap of pleasure that
came in their way in the course of the day's difficulties; how
they were not weary of life, in spite of the troubles they had
known, but were always looking forward, in the teeth of their
experience, to happier to-morrows-even when Prince was
dragging out his dreary days in Mr. Jerry Noakes' yard-then
you could not help seeing there was compensation in life both
for men and dogs. At least, where men's blundering arrange-
ments are concerned, it is the tendency of riches to produce
surfeit, and of polish to sharpen the blade to an impracticable
fineness, till it not only wears out the scabbard, but bends and
breaks in the hand of him who uses it.
But, for my part, I think the man and dog here were far
too much alike for their good. If they could have been
parted, and De Vaux fitted with a rollicking, though gruff
young mastiff or Newfoundland, and Carlo with a light-
"HIGH LIFE." 51
hearted, if empty-headed young squire, it would have been
better for both of them.
In course of time the earl became superannuated, and more
responsibilities were heaped on De Vaux's shoulders, bending,
notwithstanding their developed muscularity, under their pre-
sent load, which the bearer was growing more and more fain
My lady, plied with representations by friends and relatives
of the family, became alarmed at the supineness of her son,
with the waste of all his youthful promise, and his increasing
inclination to let the active current of life sweep by him, while
he buried himself in a remote retreat, taking with him his
unemployed talent to rust there.
One winter evening at the castle the curtains were drawn,
and tea had been brought in and carried out. Mother and
son were alone together in their several corners, behind their
respective screens, and having their private little tables, laden
with books, drawing materials, ladies' work, and flowers,
between them and the blazing fire. Carlo was stretched
decorously on the white bear skin which served as a hearth-
rug. Then the countess spoke out, and urged on De Vaux all
the arguments which could stir his principles or rouse his
ambition. But he had always the same answer.
Was it his father's wishes that were pled? Ah I it was too
late, so far as affording his father gratification went; besides,
De Vaux had been persuaded from the first that, since he must
have followed his own convictions, he would have run counter
to his father's opinions, and only contrived to vex and dis-
appoint him in a public career.
Was it the good of his country he was bidden mind ? De
52 "HIGH LIFE."
Vaux laughed softly, but with more pensive sadness than
cynical bitterness in the laugh, at the idea of his being of any
service to speak of to the nation. There were better qualified
men than he to do the country's work-men who could stick to
a party, and have all the consistency and combined strength
which such resolute adhesion gave; men not too scrupulous-
not cumbered with a double sight, which saw both sides of a
question, or with a vague, hazy farsightedness-he did not
count it a gain, he was not meaning to praise himself in
reckoning the defects which prevented him from observing
clearly and concisely-which was always anticipating dim
consequences, magnified to giants in their dimness. At the
same time, he really felt he could not work-he could not do
himself or any other body justice in union with fellows who
were tools of a faction, or slaves to a theory; and he was not
such a Don Quixote as to propose to fight the battles of the
country and Parliament single-handed.
Was it a suggestion of authorship ? He had been a prize-
man at Oxford; he had been fond of making researches in
various fields of intellect; his style, as shown in his letters
when he had been on his travels, had been commended by
distinguished literary men and diners out as the juste milieu
between simplicity and brilliance. The family papers alone
might supply him with delightful subjects for essays.
De Vaux laughed again, and protested that the world was
too full of books; that the making of books in his generation,
much more than in that of Solomon, was vanity," and he
was not fool enough to add without any distinct calling to
those toppling monster heaps, which, however evanescent,
threatened to crush for the present, by the mere force of num-
"HIGH LIFE." 53
bers, the half-dozen books capable of surviving the catastrophe.
As for the records of the house, he was not disposed to turn
them out for daws to peck at, neither had he any desire to
wash his dirty linen in public, if she would forgive him the
coarseness of the simile.
Was it a proposal of giving more personal attention to the
management of the estate, now that his father was no longer
able to take any part in it, or even to consult with the agent, in
near prospect of the time when De Vaux should be sole master ?
Here the poor lady began to cry, half at being forced to
allude to the approaching death of her old husband, half at
the recollection that he had always told her that to be an earl
and a great landed proprietor were not the sinecures that
ignorant people imagined they were. Yet De Vaux, who
might have known better from what he had seen of his father's
cares and worries, and with his own cleverness, was taking his
future position with unbecoming indifference, and declining to
serve any apprenticeship to it since the time when he had been
a bright boy, proud to accompany his father to the offices and
the home farm.
De Vaux's affectionate heart was touched. He assured
his mother that he hoped his father would still be spared, and
trusted he might rally and resume some of his former habits.
" In such a case, my dear mother," he said, do you think he
would like to find me prematurely interfering with his plans,
and overturning his arrangements, particularly when Anwell
is the briskest, most trustworthy old fellow out. He has a
greater knowledge of the capabilities of the estate, and of
country interests, than even my father had-don't be angry;
I have often heard him say so-or, I need not add, than I am
54 "HIGH LIFE."
likely to acquire, though I live to the age. of Methusaleh,
which God forbid. It must have been a heavy task for the
oldest of the antediluvians to get along without the comfort
of so much as a contemporary to share his penalties. No,
no; 'sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.' We have
Scripture authority for that, and I shall recommend the vicar
to take the text for his homily next Sunday if you will fret
about my future troubles. I shall think I am in your way if
you are so anxious to get rid of me and my spare time. In
order to bring about that, there ought to be a new crusade-
quite enough in the unaccountable laziness of your son to
justify that. Eh, mum ?" He ended with a flash of youthful
fun, which was some consolation to his mother for her failure.
But she was more puzzled than ever. It was all De
Vaux's superior cultivation, ability, and good feeling which
stood in the way, of course. There was a great deal of good
taste, good sense, and good feeling in what he had said,
especially in his reluctance to grasp the sceptre falling from
his poor father's hands. It was so different with Lady
Netherby's son, who was little better than an amateur coach-
man-in those days, too, when coaches had almost ceased to
exist; or Lord Dorchester, who was a learned prig as well as
a marquis; or young Ascham of Ryelands, who, as everybody
knew, had sold himself to the Jews, and was eagerly anticipat-
ing his father's death for his release. She recognized the
difference thankfully. On the other hand, though she and
her lord had been fairly polished, intelligent, well-disposed
persons, she had not been, so to speak,
"Too wise and good
For human nature's daily food;"
"HIGH LIFE." 55
and it was a little hard to have a son whose genius and virtue
took this turn. But De Vaux was the product of the age.
The countess hit on a new device. She would have young
people about the house. It might be that De Vaux, though
he was too kind and long-suffering to own it, even to himself,
found his home a little slow, shut up, as he was, with a couple
of elderly people, one of the two growing more and more
infirm every day. No doubt the unequal association told on
the boy's spirits-even his dog Carlo looked dull. A dis-
advantage like that was enough to confirm De Vaux in those
mooning, moping habits-his one fault, and which somebody
had frightened her by foreboding might end in valetudinarian-
ism; citing Lord Paulet, who had not been beyond his own
park for years, though he was not over forty, and Sir Charles
Ridley, who could not face a stranger to save his life.
She would begin by having girls, since it would be rather
a delicate matter, and have the air of an act of interference on
her part, if she were to bring young men about the place who
were not even of De Vaux's old quad or college, and were
certainly not of his selection and invitation.
It showed the extent of the countess's secret alarm on her
son's account, and of her unselfish devotion to his welfare,
when she fixed upon getting girls to the castle to entertain
him. Good woman as she was, she had not loved to con-
template her successor, and she had been tempted to keep her
boy to herself as long as she could. But she would encounter
the danger, and even bring herself to make the sacrifice
cheerfully, because of the true mother's love which she bore
De Vaux had an utter aversion to loud, fast girls, and two
56 "HIGHI LIFE."
or three even nice girls, with their incessant claims on his
attention, might be too much for him and Carlo-might serve
to bore rather than enliven him. But there was one quiet
little girl, the daughter of a favourite cousin of her ladyship
and of a brother peer, held in especial esteem by her husband,
and who my lady thought would be the very material for a
first experiment. Accordingly, Lady Margaret was invited
to spend a little time at the castle, and the invitation was
De Vaux had made no objection when he heard of the
probable guest. He thought a young woman's company for a
few weeks might be a boon to his mother, and though he was
becoming every day more of a hermit, and more averse to the
slightest exertion out of the ordinary routine, he would not
interfere with his mother's pleasure, and he too would bear a
little on his mother's account.
When Lady Margaret arrived she did not look like a person
who would be in anybody's way, and even Carlo did not
insist on sitting at attention, and refusing in a melancholy
manner to be at home in her company. She was a very quiet,
very shy, very young girl-on first acquaintance almost too
quiet, shy, and young for the countess's purpose, she feared.
Lady Margaret required to be drawn out herself in place of
drawing out De Vaux; and she was hardly even pretty, for
her fair hair had been cut out on account of an illness, and
was only half-grown and thin; while she was as thin as her
hair, and so pale, that she resembled a wan, washed-out little
ghost. My lady felt disappointed.
If the countess and De Vaux had known it, poor Lady
Margaret was undergoing a severe ordeal, and was suffering,
"HIGH LIFE." 57
without any sign, agonies of mauvais honte and of incipient
home sickness. It was the first time that she had been away
among strangers without either her mother or her governess.
She was naturally timid, and she had only recently recovered
from a bad illness which had shaken her nerves. Everything
was strange and overwhelming to her; even the sound of her
own titled name startled her, seeing that she was accustomed
to be called Peggy at home.
The countess was very kind, and De Vaux looked a freux
chevalier; but Lady Margaret did not know them, and they
did not know her. She could not tell in the least how they
should ever become acquainted, or how she should get over the
weeks she must spend at the castle. But mamma had wished
her to come. Berry had said the change would be good for
her, and she knew she was a silly, spoilt girl. No doubt the
trial was beneficial, and she ought to make the best of it.
The best was within the reach of a creature so humble, so
full of good-will and generous enthusiasm, in spite of her
bashfulness and nervousness. In a marvellously short time
Lady Margaret began to be reconciled to her situation, and to
get the better of its disadvantages. Every day she was a
fresh surprise to my lady and De Vaux-she opened up into
such brightness and bonniness, as well as sweetness, before
their admiring eyes.
The girl's health was profiting by the change, combined
with the friendliness of her entertainers. She was coming out
in her natural colours of innocent trustfulness and happiness.
My lady was getting as fond of her as if Lady Margaret had
been the countess's daughter.
Lady Margaret was a perpetual wonder to De Vaux, after
58 "HIGH LIFE."
she was at ease with him, and he could remark how constantly
she was occupied, and how fresh and unflagging was her
interest in whatever she was engaged with, whether it was
reading a new book, or drawing an original design for the
countess's work, or borrowing a hint from the castle schools
for her own schools, or learning from Mrs. Woods the hen-
wife, or Forbes the gardener, the last plans for prairie chickens
and orchises. She was as ardent as a child, and her ardour
knew no decrease. She carried about with her a perennial
spring of gladness, which was not impaired by her earnestness
and seriousness; for she could be very earnest and serious on
grave topics, and she was not an ignorant girl-I mean, not
ignorant of the sorrowful, terrible verities of life. She had
been brought up in a family that took a deep interest in
humanity at large, and were early accustomed to see the world
as it is, and not to fear to soil their raiment by coming in
contact with the draggled garments of others. These people
were possessed with a passion of humanity, the fervent
conviction that to the pure all things are pure, while to the
strong and the good is appointed, under God's grace, the task
of supporting and bringing back the weak and the bad.
De Vaux believed that Lady Margaret's mind had been
too great for her body-not that she was exceptionally clever,
only unboundedly sympathetic, unweariedly helpful. But all
the drain of the sympathy and help she afforded, in addition to
the delicate health she had suffered, did not suffice to take the
girlish lightheartedness and mirth out of her, after it was no
longer checked by her first reserve.
He was amused watching her in the park one day, when
she thought she was alone with Carlo. She had a bit of stick
"HIGH LIFE." 59
in her hand, which she was throwing away from her with a great
show of empressement, to encourage the dog to follow and pick
it up. He could guess she was saying, I should like to see
you run for a bit of fun. Good dog. Oh dear! is there no
fun in you ?-I know there is very little left in your master.
I wonder if you can run, except after a hare. If you only
would, I think it might shake you up, and put a little spirit in
you. Of course I should not expect you to run like my Buz-
fuz or Berry's Reiver; but if you would just try a little bit
to please me."
All that she got Carlo to do was to wag his tail as if he
were shaking his head. I believe the brute thinks it would
lower his dignity and mine if he were to run," said De Vaux
to himself, impatiently. He could have found it in his heart
to rise up from under the tree where he lay, and go and run
for her delectation, and to show her that he could run, though
he had not exerted his long legs, save at cricket, since they
were short legs, and had done their best at football.
"Do you never whistle, Lord De Vaux?" she asked
curiously one day. My brother Berry is a great whistler,
and I miss the music. I know it is very homely music, but
none seems to me so blythe or so straight from the heart. I
wish girls might whistle if they could. I will confess to you
I have tried and failed. Berry said it was the feeblest attempt
at the magnificent-like a mouse squeaking."
He did not answer her that he had no heart-hilarity from
which to whistle, and that he had sometimes been moved to
envy a ploughboy who went whistling joyously past him, only
pausing to take off his cap to the young lord on his walk or ride.
The next time De Vaux was in his room, with the door
60 "HIGH LIFE."
ajar, and was aware that Lady Margaret was going along the
corridor, he whistled with all his might, though it took away
his breath, so unwonted was the performance; and involun-
tarily he fell into a solemn and stately measure, like the
*" Dead March in Saul." Still, he responded to her suggestion
better than Carlo had done, and he made her laugh-though
he was happily unconscious of it-at his doleful strain. She
called him to herself "the melancholy Jaques," and said,
though he was a product of the age, a specimen of the kind
existed in the time of Queen Elizabeth.
But I don't know that Lady Margaret thought the worse
of him, or liked him the less, because of her private wit at his
expense; though he-being, like other young men, stupid where
young girls are concerned-might have been at that date hurt
and offended, and even imagined that she despised him
because she made game of him.
One morning, as an excuse for his elegant idleness-of
which he began to feel slightly ashamed, when he was forced
to see how busy this delicate little girl was, and generally on
the behalf of others-he repeated to her the speech he had
addressed to his mother, of his wanting a modern crusade to
induce him to put on his armour.
But there is a crusade going on all around us, for every
one of us, always," she said, opening her eyes wide. "We
have never been without one since"--she stopped, but he
knew what she meant.
I quite envy those fellows who have their own way to make
in the world," he observed on another occasion, still with an
underlying motive of self-defence, and speaking in allusion to
her younger brothers' work in their military and naval schools.
"HIGH LIFE." 61
Oh but Berry does most of all," she explained promptly;
"and he is an eldest son-like you, I had almost said, but
you are an only son and child. I pity you, if you will forgive
me for pitying you."
"Not forgive, but thank you, and I pity myself," he
answered quickly, for it had at that moment struck him that,
if he had possessed an admiring sister to quote him as she
quoted Berry," or to look up to and depend upon him as
she described her schoolboy brothers looking up to and
depending on their elder brother, he might have had more
faith in himself, and more inducement for exertion.
Lord Beresford is going into Parliament,"-she continued
the conversation, always delighted to speak about Berry,-
" and, do you know, Berry will never make a great speaker ?"
she confided to him, as if it were a matter of extreme surprise,
no less than regret, to more than herself. Berry acts, he
does not speak. He has few words, except on rare occasions.
He says he could not be eloquent to save his life. But
that is nonsense; at least I have heard him what I call
eloquent-to save other people's lives, when he had to argue
against the bad water and worse drainage in Friarton, the
town next us. He hopes to be a useful member; and he says
though he hates to be in town, and it makes him shiver to
think there is the most distant chance of his having to speak
within earshot of the reporters and the strangers' gallery, and
ironical cheers from the opposition benches, yet he ought to
make himself acquainted with the working of the House of
Commons, and to put himself in training, since, if he live,
he must sit in the other House one day."
He is very good," said De Vaux, abstractedly.
62 "HIGH LIFE."
"Oh yes," said Lady Margaret warmly, without any
affectation of contradicting him. I must not tell you what
I think, because Berry says, if I go about praising him or any
of the others, we shall be set down as the Mutual Admiration
Society; only I may be permitted to mention that he does not
need to go into Parliament for occupation. Our vicar-with
whom, by-the-bye, Berry has some differences-always main-
tains that my eldest brother, what with his clubs, societies,
and night-schools, his allotment schemes and co-operative
experiments, is the hardest-worked man in the parish."
For a member of the bloated aristocracy," commented
De Vaux, with somewhat grim humour.
Yes; is it not an odd order for Berry, as well as yourself,
to belong to ?" she asked, laughing merrily; and then she
added seriously-" But it is no laughing matter. Berry says he
does not wonder at that, or indeed at any term of opprobrium,
after the awful gulf which has been permitted to yawn and
deepen between the ranks."
Lord Beresford will never fill it," said Lord De Vaux
dogmatically, and with a suspicion of irritation. Not above
a tithe of the people for whom he is spending himself will
even understand him-far less be a bit the better for his waste
of life and energy."
Berry says a man's life would be well spent in helping a
handful of his fellow-creatures, especially his countrymen-
not to say our own people down at Southfolds," said Lady
Did I say a tithe ? Probably not more than one will
follow your brother's lead."
Berry says he would not grudge his work if one man,
"HIGH LIFE." 63
woman, or child were the gainer by it," said Lady Margaret
What manner of man, woman, or child ought he or she
to be who is to cost so much," protested De Vaux ironically.
"A beer-drinking clown, a long-tongued slattern, a dirty-
faced imp of mischief-one and all of them dropping their
r's and revelling in their h's."
Lord De Vaux!" said Lady Margaret, taken in by his
tone, and getting red and indignant. "Berry says he has
heard as good sense and as poetic thoughts from men and
women who abused their r's and h's, as he ever listened to
from their neighbours who respected these important letters.
He is tempted to hold that it is a prejudice to be so particular
about their disposal. More than that, he protests that, if the
use of a tooth-brush would cause him to have a profound
aversion to and contempt for the multitude who do not
employ such an aid to their toilet, he would rather renounce
tooth-brushes for ever, and continue to care for his brother."
Lady Margaret had recovered her good-humour by this
time, and saw he was trying her; so she added waggishly,
"I must tell you, Lord De Vaux, that I have the greatest
respect for an honest old woman who commits the enormity
of taking snuff, as papa remembers your great-grandmother
and mine doing freely, and that Berry's model boy has red
hair and a face covered with freckles."
"What will you do without Berry?" he questioned her
I don't know," she answered, her face falling, and her-
self dropping forthwith into the new trap laid for her. We'll
miss him dreadfully, and we are only to go to town after
64 "HIGH LIFE."
Easter for a few weeks, just that I may be presented, as
mamma does not think that I am strong enough to stand the
season. Berry will have nobody from home with him for the
rest of the time, except Reiver, to make him feel less lonely,
poor dear fellow."
"You might take Carlo and me in exchange for Reiver
and Berry. I think you could make something of us-get us
to run unprofessionally, and do a little work in time."
She looked up quickly to see how much he was in jest,
and how much in earnest. She looked down again, and said
hastily, Carlo and you do not need me or any one to make
you run and work, when it is in you both to run faster and
work better than the rest of the world, if you choose."
She did not intend to flatter him by any means, but he
was not displeased with her answer-not though she put aside
The conviction had been growing upon De Vaux, till it
was like an inspiration, that Lady Margaret and her brother
held the right standard which he had missed-the one bracing
and ennobling view of life-in which a man can live and die,
serve God and man, and cast behind him self with all its
weakness and waywardness.
He cpuld do it as he was a Christian man, Heaven help-
ing him. He had known what she had meant by a crusade
all around us, for every man and woman, always. He had
remembered who had first bidden man take up the cross, and
condemned the servant who had hidden his talent in the earth.
It made De Vaux thoughtful and sorrowful; but in spite of
his sorrow, and the humility which was at its root, he was
more hopeful than he had been since boyhood in taking these
"HIGH LIFE." 65
reflections to heart, and in seeing in the light of Lady
Margaret's conception of duty what an egotist he had been,
and how near he had got to making shipwreck of his life, by
yielding to scruples and whims, and forgetting the great call
which is on him and every man.
My lady never had reason to regret having summoned
Lady Margaret to stimulate De Vaux. Lady Margaret did
finally take both man and brute in hand; but De Vaux had
learned to work to purpose long before then, having, as she
had said, the power to work in him, while it was his own
fault if it lay dormant and shrivelled away. She never could
or would accept the credit of his working, but she was ready
to allow that she had helped to make Carlo a more cheerful
dog than she had found him. She had not done everything,
for Carlo had always reflected his master's mood, and when
De Vaux looked alive, and stepped out briskly to keep some
engagement which went against the grain with him, but the
obligation of which he had come to recognize, Carlo looked
alive also, and accommodated himself to his master's quickened
pace, and even to the spring which had entered into the
young man's tread with the light in his eye. But Carlo
could not go everywhere with his master-could not even
be so much with him as formerly, after De Vaux grew a
busy man with ever-increasing engagements; so that it was
all the better for the dog that he had a brave little lady by
whose side he could trot on her numberless errands, until
he had no time left to fall back into his old painful con-
sideration of the stumbles, the blunders, the coarseness and
vulgarity of his neighbours, or to indulge in morbid moping
FLORA was a species of dog that had a dash of the blood-
hound in her. She was a great, somewhat gaunt creature,
standing high on the legs, and with a broad sagacious jowl, as
different as possible from Carlo's fine, supercilious, pensive
mouth. Flora, like many of her sex-especially those of them
whose personal qualities are not their great distinction, and
who have not, therefore, been followed and fawned upon by
a crowd of fools-was a dog of strong affections. It was for
her capacity in this respect, together with her admirable
patience and a kind of broad good sense, that she was valued.
In the picture, Flora is sitting waiting, as she so often sat,
expectation and longing in every bristling hair, but without a
single demonstration of violence or obstreperous appeal. The
door is closed, and it is not for her to batter it, as Flora
knows right well, neither will she disturb her friends and
owners by intruding her wishes on them in barking and
yelping. It is not that she has tried the artillery and found
it fail; it is that she is too reasonable, too long-suffering, too
7f VP .
unexacting and unselfish to practice with the weapons of a
smaller dog in every way.
There she is, a great, not over-comely, and somewhat
uncouth dog, but loyal and loving to the heart's core-as
considerate as a dog can be-full of a great trust in and an
absolute submission to her master, who is her lord and king,
and in her master's absence to his family and representatives.
She is so strong that she can afford to dispense with bullying,
and is meek in her strength and mild in her power.
She sits to the artist, full of the anxiety and desire which
you can read in a thousand signs-by her wide-apart legs, the
one foot slightly raised, as on tiptoe-by the head bent in the
attitude of intent listening-by the fixed eyes, a little mourn-
ful, as deeply-loving eyes are apt to be-by the hair rising on
the crest of the back-by the very squat of the haunches, and
the utterly flat and flaccid condition of the great tail laid at rest
on the floor; for you will please to observe that Flora, though
hearkening with all her ears, does not catch the faintest murmur
of sound. It is the dog's instinct and affection-whatever she
has for a mind-that is on the rack, and not her nerves or her
senses. She remains perfectly still and silent-a monument
of watching and hope, which are not undashed with fear and
doubt, almost despair; for the dog is capable of very keen and
constant attachment, and she has little knowledge wherewith
to lighten the apprehensions and solace the pangs of devotion
put on its hardest trial. But should Flora's hope deferred
sink in the end into fathomless despondency, the dog will
still contain herself. She will be no burden to anybody. She
will not add to the grief of others, who have a better right
than she has to mourn. She will wear a decent veil of reserve
over her anguish. What is she that she should cry out
against destiny ? She will go about her usual avocations, and
even faintly wag her tail and make a formal show of joy at
her friends' advances, or on any occasion of hilarity. There
will be no idle baying at the moon, or wild howling in the
dead of night, causing the blood of other watchers to curdle,
in Flora's case; she knows how to suffer and be silent, nay, to
put the best face on suffering. Only the old dog's tread will
grow heavier and heavier, in proportion to the increasing
heaviness of her heart, as she stalks about her business. She
will get ever gaunter, without attracting much notice to her
spectral condition, until one day she will be found stretched
stark and still on some spot, hallowed by association, where
her master was wont to whistle her to his side to start for the
day's sport-where he cleaned his gun on their return, and she,
after lapping the cold tea which his care provided for her
refreshment, sat and looked on, not too tired to enter with
interest and admiration into the operation. Or she will be
discovered on the mat by the closed door-opening no more
-of his room; dying without complaint, and seeking to cause
no trouble in her death, as she had tried to give as little as
possible in her life.
Flora was brought up in a middle station of life to that of
Prince or of Carlo. She was not the next thing to an outcast,
neither was she a pampered dog of high degree. She was
one of a litter of puppies that arrived at a country parsonage,
when there was no great need of such an addition to the
family.. Neither was she, nor her mother before her, par-
ticularly precious for purity or excellence of breed, though
they were members of a race of stout serviceable dogs which
could be turned to account in various ways, and could be
trained to prove of considerable use, both as set ters and
retrievers, among the turnips and clover, and in the young
plantations. But the perpetual curate who was master of the
parsonage was an elderly man, and no great sportsman, and
one dog was quite enough for him and his friends.
Flora was sentenced to death along with her brothers and
sisters, and if it had not been for Master Harry her history
would have been of the briefest. He was not the sole hope of
the house, like De Vaux; neither had he any honours beyond
an honest name to succeed to. But he was the youngest born
of his family. He was growing up in a healthy, hardy, happy
boyhood, after the elder members had gone out into the world,
and were married and settled in households of their own.
Master Harry was the last young bird that kept the parent
nest tenanted by more than the old pair. He was the
Benjamin of their mature years, and therefore it was difficult
to deny him a small request-not that Harry's father and
mother did not strive to do their duty by him, in contradicting
and correcting him, as they had dealt by their elder children,
in order to bring him up in the way he should go. His
mother, who was a tall gaunt woman, as gaunt as Flora
became in later days, and yet as active and managing as if
she had been one of your little boneless, tireless women, and
the apple of whose eye Harry was, especially laboured con-
scientiously to mortify her own inclinations and hold her
youngest son in check. Even in the matter of Flora, though
she yielded to let the dog be reared, it was always under
protest and with reservations-if the dog proved a thoroughly
good dog, and was in every respect well conducted from her
puppyhood; if Mrs. Bloomfield saw no reason to change her
mind at any point of Flora's career, and cause the dog to be
consigned, after all, to the water-hole in the furze quarry, by
common consent-the grave of all the criminal, mangy, for-
saken dogs in the parish of Rushbrook.
As the best of dogs, like the best of men, are fallible,
Flora may be said to have grown up under a sentence of
death, and was only spared by a succession of reprieves from
the execution of the warrant. Once or twice she made very
narrow escapes, and perhaps her rescue was due to more than
Harry's powers of piteous pleading. She had been gradually,
by the pertinacious efforts of her master, introduced into the
house, instead of living at the stables with her mother,
according to Mrs. Bloomfield's original decree, and so had
established a claim of familiarity on the regard of the stern
Two marked instances of Flora's rubbing shoulders with
that eminence above the water-hole in the quarry, which may
be compared to the Tarpeian Rock, are on record.
Mrs. Bloomfield, who prided herself on her success in her
poultry yard, had to listen at one period to various mysterious
and doleful accounts from her cook and boy-of-all-work on
the inexplicable disappearance of new-laid eggs and newly-
fledged chickens. As there were no disreputable characters
about, and neither fox nor hawk in the vicinity, and as the
innocence of Flora's mother was as well established as the
incorruptibility of the parsonage servants who brought the
reports, a grave suspicion attached from the beginning to
Flora as the depredator. But in the absence of positive
proof, and in the face of Harry's indignant denial, the dark
suggestion only hovered in the light of a suspicion, and did
not settle in the form of a conviction in people's minds.
As good or ill luck would have it, Harry had a half-holiday,
and proposed gallantly to escort his mother round the offices,
offering her his arm for the purpose. The two proceeded,
chatting easily, the best of friends, past the kitchen garden,
the paddock where the Guernsey cow and her calf fed, the
shed where the pony phaeton stood, and the stable which held
the curate's cob, and his wife and Harry's ponies. The pair
came in course of time opposite the door of the well-ordered
hen-house, or the hennery, as some ladies of Mrs. Bloomfield's
acquaintance, ambitious of euphemism, preferred to term it.
There was an unusual commotion about the place; the door,
with its crescent hole for hens to enter or issue at pleasure,
had been forced ajar, and at the very moment when Mrs.
Bloomfield and her son appeared on the scene it was driven
still more violently open. There rushed out a loudly protest-
ing, terrified hen-mother, with all her black feathers ruffled, and
some of them half pulled out, hanging by the tips of the pens.
Behind her tore along Flora, not subdued and decorous, as
we have seen her, but inflamed with riot and in hot pursuit.
Her jaws were dripping yellow with the yolks of eggs, to
which was added, in horrid significance, a fringe of the fluffy
down which is the covering of recently hatched chickens.
The sight struck Mrs. Bloomfield and Harry dumb. She
had too much feeling for her son, as the master of Flora, to
say a word to him at first. He could not bring forward a
syllable in defence of the dog, caught red-handed, or yellow
and feathery jawed-which came to the same thing-in this
Though Mrs. Bloomfield said nothing, she let her hand,
which had been resting lightly on Harry's jacket sleeve,
tighten its grasp. Thus she marched the boy to the house.
Flora, who had taken guilt to herself, stopped short in her
headlong career, let the plundered and insulted hen go, and
slunk at a safe distance after the mother and son to the
Now, Harry, what have you to say for yourself and that
brute of yours?" asked Mrs. Bloomfield, in the tone of a
righteous and relentless judge.
I had nothing to do with it, mother," cried Harry in
desperation; and Flo is only a dog."
Flo is only a dog," echoed his mother severely; and
those who should know better, and keep her to the injury of
poor helpless fowls, and the destruction of as fine a brood of
chickens as cook ever set, have the more to answer for.
Harry, Flora goes this very night."
Mother, it is the first time," pled Harry faintly.
The first and the last," said his mother. I have heard
that a taste for eggs, not to say chickens, is never eradicated
in a dog."
Oh no, mother, you are wrong there," cried Harry
eagerly. Tom Cartright's Juno was as destructive a beast
to turkeys and geese, even to lambs, when he was half-
Hold your tongue, Harry, and don't contradict your
Harry was cut short in his argument, and submitted more
unresistingly than usual.
"I cannot have the dog about the place for another night,"
went on Mrs. Bloomfield, in a high authoritative key.
" Hoppus," naming the gardener, will take her away quietly,
and put an end to her without any unnecessary pain. It
must be done, Harry; there is no help for it, and you must
bear it like a man. You know I have often told you, when
you would insist on keeping pets, that you must be prepared
for their coming to grief, and causing you to suffer in your
"I don't mind my own sufferings," muttered Harry in-
dignantly; "but I'll tell you what, mother, if Flo is to be
killed, I-I'll kill her myself," he said, with quivering lips
and a husky voice, but making a manful fight to keep down
his feelings. "I have a right to be let do it. Nobody will
care so much that she shall not suffer as I will. And Flo
will do anything for me. She will even jump over the quarry
when I tell her, and not believe her senses that it can hurt
her, because it is I who bid her do it," he ended, unable to
restrain a sob.
Mrs. Bloomfield hesitated, while she was conscious of some
troublesome moisture in her eyes. It was true what Harry
urged, that he had a right-and she was the last woman to
deny a right, if he claimed it-to save Flora from pain, and
make her death as inconceivable to her to the last moment as
was possible. But could she condemn her boy to such a
task ? She would consult his father.
The curate, like his wife, shrank from making Harry his
dog's executioner. Harry stood firm. The matter was argued,
and the fulfilment of the sentence delayed, till at last it was
commuted to a sound whipping, and that Harry consented to
relegate to the hands of the gardener. So faithfully did
Hoppus discharge his mission, and so susceptible was Flora,
from these early days, to reason-whether it was conveyed in
kind careful instruction or wholesome chastisement-that
from that hour she respected the poultry yard, and always
looked another way when she had to pass a nest, or when
a chicken crossed her path. So magnanimous did she become
in her age, that she has been known to allow a daring young
cock, or stolid middle-aged hen, to advance and peck at the
bone beside which she lay reposing.
The next perilous crisis through which Flora passed
occurred later in time, and in Harry's absence from home-
which proved, nevertheless, a fortunate circumstance. Flora
was grown, and had her first litter of puppies, which were
taken from her and destroyed. Ill, sad-missing Harry as
well as her puppies-the ordinarily quiet, well-behaved dog
fretted herself into a very frenzy of destructiveness, under the
influence of which she roamed in secret all over the house,
gratifying her gnawing and tearing propensities. She got
possession of a visitor's ermine boa, and rent it in fragments.
She was found ensconced in a spare bedroom, and established
in the bed, the Marseilles quilt of which she had chewed till
it was riddled with holes. Finally, she managed to secure a
bandbox, containing two maid-servants' Sunday bonnets, and
made short work with the pink ribbons and the artificial
Mrs. Bloomfield replaced the wholesale wreck; but she
could stand such conduct no longer, though she was too well-
informed a woman to fall into a panic, under the impression
that the dog was mad. In reference to the right in Flora
stringently asserted by Harry when he was a mere boy, she
could not-now that her son was a big lad-do more than
order the dog to be tied up, while she waited word from
Harry in answer to her inquiry as to how his protege was to
be disposed of. It happened to be the end of the week, when
Harry frequently returned home from his public school to
remain over the Sunday. And it had been noticed before that
the dog was cognizant of these stated visits, and looked eagerly
out for the arrival of her master.
In the season allowed to Flora for cooling down and con-
trition, while she had the knowledge forced upon her that she
could no longer rush to greet Harry with an open face and a
clear conscience, but must be sought out by the lad, smarting
under a fellow-feeling with her disgrace, Flora became so over-
powered by the consequences of her previous self-indulgence
of restless grief and longing, that she cast to the winds the
silent endurance which had been from her youth a marked
feature in the big, brave dog's character. She refused to eat
and sleep, and expressed her poignant regret and repentance,
in a mode most unlike herself, by filling the air with her
howls and moans.
At the end of two days and nights Flora had howled
herself perfectly hoarse, until Mrs. Bloomfield's-not to say the
curate's-ears and hearts ached with the dog's husky distress.
In sheer self-defence they sent instructions to loose her, but
to detain her a prisoner on parole, banished from their
But Flora did not understand anything about parole, or
reservations in pardon. With a succession of joyous bounds
at her release, she spurned all efforts to detain her, and never
stopped till she had pushed her way, worn and dishevelled as
she was with unrest, hunger, and the constant agitation of
eight-and-forty hours, into her offended judge's august pre-
sence, leaping upon her and the curate-up to their very
shoulders and heads-in her fond gladness, licking the
hem of Mrs. Bloomfield's garment, falling grovelling at her
feet, whining in a very passion of gratitude and delight.
What was to be done ? It was not in hearts which were
not steel to resist such unbounded dependence on their regard
and their goodness. Mrs. Bloomfield professed to frown and
pull away her gown from the dog's touch; Mr. Bloomfield
pshawed and read on at his paper; but I believe both secretly
caressed the confiding culprit. Certainly no more notice was
taken of her misdemeanours. As for Master Harry, on his
return he had the coolness to take high ground, and maintain
that the accidents were all owing to the ignorance and careless-
ness of the dog's keepers, and that if he had been at home,
and had Flora in charge, not a single misadventure would
Soon after this escapade, changes occurred in the curate's
family which established Flora's position there so firmly that
nothing short of a capital crime could have dislodged her.
Flora's character was far removed from a capital crime; she
was an honest, worthy dog, noble and sterling in her unaffected
humility and steadfast attachment. She had laid aside her
youthful indiscretions-whether the probations and penalties
of these days had anything to do with the peculiar staidness
and propriety which ultimately, except on rare and exceptional
occasions, distinguished her bearing. The dog, that was at
first permitted to live as a favour, and brought up under pro-
test, reached at last to as high honour as ever dog attained.
However, it was long previous to this climax that Flora
had many happy days with Harry, attending him sedulously,
and assisting him with all her ability in his raids on rabbits,
hares, pheasants, wild ducks, or rats in the barn. Flora was
not particular; any game came right to her, which was one
advantage of her mixed descent. Harry averred that she
would have gone at a deer had she got the chance of deer-
stalking. He was proud of her skill in pointing and in bringing
him the game, though he was free to admit that she was not
probably just such a dog as that which the poet Earl of Surrey
-with the true poetic insight into animal nature, and power of
drawing forth and tutoring animal gifts-first taught to point.
I don't know whether Harry or Flora enjoyed most those
early autumn mornings, when the silvery white mist drew a
bridal veil over the orange and tawny woodlands, when the
young man's foot crushed out the aromatic fragrance from the
thyme and mint in the pasture; or those winter and spring
afternoons, when the sunset reddened the prevailing gray, and
the two crouched, stiff but staunch, among the frozen sedges
by the silent brook, and trudged home content-although
they had got but a single green-necked duck, or were empty-
handed-in the gathering darkness, with the stars coming out
and twinkling over their heads. The two were excellent
company, and in room of speech Harry whistled-oh! with
what untiring wind, and how cheerily-in a way that it
would have done Lady Margaret's heart good to hear, leaving
echoes which rang pathetically in other hearts throughout the
The first great change which made good Flora's footing
in the curate's family, was Harry's ultimate choice of the
navy for a profession. He had delayed his resolve out of a
regard to his father and mother's reluctance to grant their
consent. They were quite elderly people, and were loath to
agree to the son of their old age following a rough and
dangerous vocation, which, at the best, would take him far
from those who had not much time left to spend on earth.
But Harry's bent was too strong, and his father and mother
were too wise and kind long to resist the clear inclination, or
to call on their son to sacrifice it, with its inspiration of hearty
liking, to the growing timidity of their years, and the very
clinging love they bore him.
It was not the less a trial, which so broke down even the
younger and stronger of the two, that Mrs. Bloomfield, who
had been known as a highly practical woman, actually took
to discoursing to Flora on the subject, doubtless since she
could not trust herself to speak to more responsive auditors-
least of all to her equally interested old husband. We'll
miss him, Flora. Ay, you need not wag your tail; there will
be few waggings of the tail in the dull days that are coming.
I thought you had more sense, old dog. But perhaps you
mean that he'll serve his Maker and his fellow-men as well
in a ship as in an office, even as in a church, where I would
fain have seen my Harry-only Providence has settled it
otherwise, and Providence knows best. We are following
unerring guidance; that is one thing to be thankful for. Some
old sailor-I daresay Harry could tell me his name and all
about him-said he was as near heaven on sea as on land,
and so it will be with my boy."
It was after the wrench of Harry's departure, for many
months, that Flora was first seen to assume that attitude of
supreme watching and expectation in which she has been
painted. She had been shut up to keep her from running off
to the railway station-just as I have known another faithful
dog go regularly and take up his position at a particular hour,
in order to be present on the arrival of a coach by which his
master had been wont to return home. The dog was under
the impression that the man would make his appearance in
the old accustomed fashion, and, although he was doomed to
disappointment night after night, he kept up the bootless
practice for weeks.
The attitude expressive of suspense became frequent,
almost habitual, with Flora. In the early days of Harry's
service, he happened to have tolerably frequent opportunities
of coming home, so that his dog grew familiar with arrivals
and departures. And Harry's father and mother, now cherish-
ing Flora as a relic of their absent son, were fain to allege
that she showed marvellous, certainly superhuman, if not
supernatural, discrimination in detecting the most distant
signs of her master's approach; and that they were often
made aware of Harry's unexpected nearness, before they could
otherwise have known it, simply by the actions of the dog.
In addition, Flora had her susceptibilities keenly alive to
any trace of Harry, or any association with him, so that on
the sight of some article which had belonged to him, such as
his cap or his old overcoat, or even on her catching the distant
sound of the sportsmen's dropping shots on the first of Sep-
tember, Flora would fall into an expectant position, and sit
motionless and listening for hours. The last expression of
her remembrance unquestionably detracted from the correct-
ness of her premonitions of Harry's reappearance; but his
father and mother argued that there was a perceptible difference
between Flora's air when she sat thus waiting for her master,
without any hope of seeing him, and her whole gait and
manner when she flung up her bent head triumphantly before
she made a bolt at the door or the open window, crying as
plainly as if she had made the remark in so many words-
" Ah! don't you know Master Harry is at the gate?" Either
expression was clear to Harry's father and mother, who had a
sympathy with the dog, and whose own dim eyes showed a
reflection of the aimless wistfulness which was creeping into
Flora's brighter orbs.
A sore test was in store for all Harry's friends, human and
canine. In the course of honourable promotion he became a
person of importance, and his absences were much longer, his
returns briefer and less unfailing. At last there came a day
when he had the pride of showing a lieutenant's uniform; but
as a qualification to the satisfaction, where his friends were
concerned, he sailed for a distant station, from which he could
not return for a period of years.
Slowly the days passed in the quiet parsonage, where the
snows of winter had gathered thickly on the old curate's head,
and he was seldom fit to totter up the stairs to his pulpit, and
where Mrs. Bloomfield had at last to avail herself of spectacles;
and to own to a touch of rheumatism, so that she had to
employ young deputies to do the entire decorations of the
church at Christmas, and even to teach in the Sunday school,
and undertake, under the old lady's superintendence, her
district visiting. Flora herself, by far the youngest of the
household, was neither so young nor so active as she had been.
But whatever powers of seeing, hearing, and discharging
professional duties were passing away from the members of the
little party, there was one thing they were still fit for-to count
the hours and look out for the appointed time of Harry's return.
Alas the hours were counted in vain. Although the
long-desired season came duly round, it did not herald the
event which was to have rendered it illustrious in one remote
spot in Great Britain. Harry did not walk into the old house
and rouse its slumberous inmates. His cutter was not even
heard of; it had not been reported for many months.
Gradually misgivings and apprehensions, the sickness of
hope deferred, the agony of the worst forebodings, gathered
and darkened over the parsonage.
Everybody in the parish shook his or her head, and com-
miserated the bereaved parents : surely they were bereaved,
though it was natural in them to cling to the last chance, and
refuse to give up hope. Still, it would be better for them if
they could resign their son, with his messmates, to an un-
known death and a nameless grave.
Harry had been a favourite in the parish, and there was
sincere mourning for his untimely fate, as well as real sympathy
with his aged father and mother, even when their grief took
a trying phase, and they shut themselves up-not to say
refusing to be comforted, but declining to believe in their loss.
"We won't give him up so soon, old dog," Mrs. Bloomfield
was heard to say to Flora. "You still look out for him;
don't you ? You would teach people, who ought to know
better, greater confidence in God and His mercy, and more
fidelity to their friends, instead of calling us afflicted, whom
God has not afflicted." And she refused to put on mourning.
Then people began to say it was a bad example from those
who should be the first to show resignation to the Divine
will, and that Mrs. Bloomfield was guilty of lamentable
weakness and superstitious folly in paying heed to Harry's
dog and its ways. It was the grossest absurdity to suppose
that a dumb animal could be aware whether its master had
perished, or was sailing in strange waters, or had been cast
away on a virgin island. It was well known that the Ad-
miralty had given up the cutter. The speakers would not
have expected such inconsistency in poor old Mrs. Bloomfield,
who had been a clever, sensible woman in her day, though she
was breaking up fast.
Harry's mother got all the blame with reason, since the
curate had grown so feeble in mind, as well as in body, that he
was only able to take in what his wife told him; and if she
had assured him that Harry had never been away at all, but
had been all this while in the cricket-ground, or off with his
gun and Flora, he would have called for his hat and stick, and
claimed her arm, to go out and chide the boy for his thought-
The elder sons and daughters of the family, middle-aged
people, with growing-up children of their own, put themselves
about to come from various distances to condole and remon-
strate gently with their mother, until poor Mrs. Bloomfield's
forlorn hope was at its last tremulous gasp. Even Flora
threatened to fail her, for the old dog began, not so much to
sit listening, as to crouch down, it seemed in despair.
But one April day, when the country air was full of the
scent of blossoming furze bushes and the songs of birds,
awakening to the knowledge that summer was at hand, Flora
pricked her ears, started up, and pawed eagerly at the door.
"There! I told you; there is Harry at last," cried a shrill
quavering voice, and then Mrs. Bloomfield fell back in a dead
faint; for, even as she had spoken, she had recognized that
it was only the postman who was advancing to give his
accustomed rap, and her strained nerves and breaking heart
could not stand the bitter disappointment.
"This delusion will kill my mother," said one of the
daughters, hurrying to attend to Mrs. Bloomfield, while one
of the sons received the letters. That wretched dog of poor
Harry's must be taken away from the place."
Yes, Conty," said her brother hastily; "but this is very
like-it cannot be-good Heavens! it is Harry's handwriting,
and see"-pointing to the end of a letter he had torn open-
" here is his signature. Could the brute have scented it a
hundred yards off?"
Oh! never mind, if dear Harry be only alive and well.
Find out all about it, that we may tell mamma the first thing
after she knows what we are saying. There, the red is coming
into her poor lips again; but I am sure nothing will bring her
back like such good news. No, Jem, I have no fear for the
shock; it is sorrow and not joy which drains the blood from
the heart; and the knowledge that she and Flora have been
proved right, and all the rest of us wrong, will help to steady
her. Don't you know so much of human nature?" demanded
the half-laughing, half-crying, middle-aged daughter.
Harry's story was one not altogether strange to men s
experience, and which occurs once and again in a generation,
but when it happens is always regarded as a marvel with the
attributes of a romance.
The cutter had been lost in a stormy night on a coral reef
in the southern seas; but a boat's-load of the crew, among
whom was the junior lieutenant, had managed to land on an
uninhabited island, and make good a living there for four
dreary months. If I had only got Flora with me," Harry
wrote in the letter-in which he was at last able to announce
his rescue, and in which he sought to make light of the hard-
ships he and his companions had undergone-to his father and
mother, the old lass would have found plenty to do among
the rabbits and a kind of partridge. She would have been
invaluable, if her very value had not proved the ruin of her,
and if she had not fallen a victim to her general gaminess, as
other poor beggars were like to do; but that is all over now."
When the castaway men were at last taken off the island,
it was by a foreign ship that carried them thousands of miles
out of their track; but the sufferers had been treated with
every attention and kindness by good Samaritans in the
guise of Brazilian sailors, and by the time Harry's letter
should reach the parsonage, to disperse any little anxiety that
might be entertained there, the writer would be far on his
Mrs. Bloomfield had enough spirit to undertake a journey
to Portsmouth, in order to be the first of all the friends
who accompanied her to greet her son. Her husband was
not able to escort her; he waited placidly with Flora, satisfied
to be taken to the railway station to meet the appointed train.
I need not say that the old dog was an object of great
interest, while she comported herself with her own exemplary
sobriety. If she had an intuition that her master was on the
road, she did not betray it on this occasion. She had no call
to announce to the idle world of Rushbrook-and it was
rather an idle holiday world, with a marked inclination to
congregate at the railway station on another fine spring
morning-that Master Harry was coming. Withal, Flora's
sagacity and devotion could hardly be expected to compass
the fact that late events had intensified the importance of
such information. She submitted to have a sailor's blue
ribbon tied round her neck, in honour of the day and her
master; but she wore the decoration rather with imper-
turbability than with conscious pride, and she took no notice
of the flags and evergreens which were displayed with kindly
When the train steamed into the station, and a brown face
appeared at the window of a carriage, crowded with brothers
and sisters, in addition to an old mother, Flora did strain
violently at the chain by which Hoppus, for greater precaution,
held her, and it was with difficulty that she was induced to
have the grace to permit Harry to pay his respects first to his
father-who, as by an involuntary motion, uncovered his white
head to receive his lost son-before she sprang upon her
master in a rapture of welcome, which Harry's Hold on, old
dog; don't worry me outright !" only raised to a higher pitch
But Flora was not naturally a demonstrative, far less a
forward dog. She soon controlled herself, and recalled the
superior claims of others, falling respectfully, and with a
shadow of shamefacedness for her late unwonted ebullition, to
heel, and following decorously, for the rest of the way, in the
Only one trouble occurred with the dog. It had been
arranged that the reunited family, with their friends and the
parishioners present, should proceed first to the church, in
order to join together in a solemn service of thanksgiving for
a great act of mercy vouchsafed by Almighty God to some of
His children-a ceremony which is touching in proportion to
its rarity in this world of care and discontent.
Flora, who had never been to church before, and who was,
as I said, walking in her place in the procession just behind
Harry, who was between his father and mother, showed no
sign of stopping short in the porch.
There was considerable hesitation in the breasts of the
brothers and sisters, who noticed the dog's proceedings, and
in the mind of Hoppus, who considered that he had her
particularly in charge. Indeed, that consequential functionary
had been giving himself sundry airs on account of the guar-
dianship, seeing that if Master Harry were the hero of the
day, Master Harry's dog, which had never ceased to look out
for him, might surely be regarded as playing second fiddle
to her master, reflecting glory on her keeper for the next
twelve hours at least. But what would become of the glory
if Flora were let get into a scrape ? The official spirits of the
clerk, beadle, and pew-opener were also sensibly stirred by
Was the harmony to be broken, and a disturbance to be
created, by the forcible arrest and expulsion of the dog ?-no
easy task if Flora made up her mind to stick closely to her
newly-found master. Would a scandal be created if a dog
were suffered to make one of the congregation in a thanks-
giving service ?
The matter settled itself. As the principals concerned
walked unconsciously within the sacred walls, and Harry took
the old place he had occupied when a boy in the family pew,
Flora did not wait till the objectors had formed a resolution;
she advanced steadily in her line of march in the rear of her
master, and lay down in her festival blue ribbon at his feet,
with the coolness of unchallengeable right. It would have
been impossible to dislodge her then. As it was, she soon
stilled the alarm she had raised, by remaining perfectly quiet,
and behaving as if she had attended church every Sunday
from her puppyhood ; like Scotch collies that wait discreetly
on the diets of worship in pastoral Presbyterian kirks. But
I am bound to confess that was the first and last occasion on
N which Flora went to church.
"THE HUMBLE FRIEND."
" /ESAR will be the death of Dash some day, Tot," said
Nelly Pollard to her favourite brother-not a little boy
in petticoats, as his name might imply, but a young man
upwards of six feet, and bearded like the pard." The origin
of his inappropriate name was capable of easy explanation,
when it came to be investigated. He had been christened
Reginald-an imposing and euphonious title which his numer-
ous brothers and sisters in the nursery abbreviated uncere-
moniously to Wretch." The child naturally objecting to
this corruption, an indulgent mother substituted the neutral
epithet Tot," which was in keeping with a mite in a white
frock and blue shoes; but "Tot," in spite of the glaring
discrepancy, stuck to the man after he had attained his full
stature, and the frock and the shoes had been exchanged for a
frock-coat and Blicher boots.
"I am afraid that will be about it," said Tot, with all a
man's barbarous sang-froid, in marked contrast to the accent
of trepidation and terror with which Nelly had spoken.
"THE HUMBLE FRIEND." 89
" Serve him right. Why need he play Boswell unasked to
Caesar's Johnson ?"
But if father would only see that Casar is a dreadful
brute, and have him put away in time to save Dash," she said
"Why, you cannot complain of our father's predilection,
when it is shared to so great an extent by your silly favourite,"
remonstrated Tot. "It is on the principle of Carlyle's ad-
miration of Frederick the Great, and of the present furor for
Bismarck," added Tot, who was fond of historical parallels.
"What do you mean by putting away?" he pressed Nelly
with pitiless directness. I have no patience with euphem-
isms, Nell. Say at once that you would have Caesar shot or
hanged, in order to protect Dash from the natural consequences
of his folly. Well, though I must say that is a queer kind of
justice, by way of mercy, too--"
Oh not shot or hanged, Tot. You know I did not mean
that," exclaimed Nelly piteously, interrupting her brother;
" and you do not like Caesar yourself."
I am perfectly aware that he is a truculent ruffian," said
Tot, composedly. He has grossly imposed on the governor.
I would see him despatched with all the pleasure in life- "
I don't believe you," Nelly interrupted him again with
Wait till I have finished my sentence," complained Tot.
" I was going to say that while I should have no objection to
Caesar's meeting his deserts, I really cannot recognize the pro-
priety of his falling a sacrifice to the stubborn idiotcy of Dash."
Caesar was a truculent ruffian, with hardly a redeeming
trait; though, from his life as a chained-up watch-dog-which,
90 "THE HUMBLE FRIEND."
to give the beast his due, might have helped to brutalise his
disposition-he was removed from the opportunity of doing
much mischief, and though he was able with all his stupidity-
and he was as stupid as he was savage-to throw dust in his
master's eyes. He ought not to have been named for a
brave Roman soldier, granting he did overthrow a republic.
Timour or Tippoo was too good a name for the dog.
You may see him in the illustration-a huge, half-bred
brute, without any of the nobility or magnanimity of the true
mastiff. There he lies sprawling, half out of his den, with his
muzzle and his unwieldy paws guarding a piece of meat,
while he glares at you with a jealous scowl. There is no
harmony in his bulk, which, in place of being imposing, is
simply repulsive. The girth of his neck is tremendous, while
his bull head is furnished with comparatively short, thick
ears. His broad, flat, black and red nose is stolid in the
extreme, and destitute of speculation apart from its animal
Yet Caesar is not without his admirers; not only does his
master, worthy gentleman, refuse to believe that the dog is
coarser, more insensate and vicious than other dogs-there is
a poor little weak-minded spaniel Dash, that hankers after
the ugly, hard, selfish tyrant, haunts his den, and makes timid
advances to him.
Dash also is to be seen in the illustration, bowing and
begging to Caesar. Dash's silky, wavy hair, prominent eye-
brows, pendant ears, the abject inclination of his head, the
slobbering of his tongue in sneaking kindness-half for
Casar, half for his piece of meat-are all keenly characteristic
of the spaniel, with his fawning, frightened ways; and alas!
"THE HUMBLE FRIEND" 91
alas! there are in him, along with his gentleness and surface
amiability, the elements of a liar and a traitor.
There cannot be a wider distinction in dog-life, and in the
human life of which, in Landseer's hands, the first was the
type, than that which exists between the despicable, precarious
relations of Caesar and Dash, and the chivalrous enduring
connection that knit together two such dogs as figure in the
group, Dignity and Impudence."
I do not mean that poor Dash's infatuated penchant for
Caesar-at the best always surly to him, and whose rude
tolerance was bought by the relish which Caesar, with
other tyrants, had for low flattery-was entirely a cake and
pudding, or, I should say more fitly here, a beef and bone
attachment. I do not wish to imply more than that, in such
an unreasonable, unreasoning passion as that which not un-
frequently links a Dash to a Caesar, I have generally found
beneath the weak creature's softness, silliness, flagrant impru-
dence, and apparent self-abnegation, a very considerable leaven
of self-will and selfishness, with a lively appreciation of what
are to the victim the good things of this life. Still I am
willing to admit these are not the only motives for such a
perverse, well-nigh degrading subjection, and that even the
spaniel Dash entertained an incomprehensible tenderness for
the brute Caesar, apart from the hope of the reversion of
Caesar's bones, which, when thoroughly sated himself, he
permitted sometimes to his visitor.
I know there exists an odd fascination in outward in-
equality, when the foundations of character are tolerably
balanced. It was the brusque manner and slightly hectoring
tones of Tot-who was in the main a thoroughly kind-hearted
92 "THE HUMBLE FRIEND."
fellow, and quite a different character from Casar-that
rendered him the favourite brother of his gentlest sister Nelly.
But Nelly, again, was not like Dash; she was, with all her
delicate womanliness, not merely transparent as crystal and
true as steel, but firm as a rock on questions of moment to
her; and it is to cowardly, vacillating natures that I am
inclined to ascribe-in addition to the attraction which bold-
ness has for softness-double motives, and a constitutional
tendency to artful manceuvring and secret defiance.
It was in secret defiance that Dash waited on Casar.
Dog as he was, Dash knew perfectly well that he was warned
away from the precincts of the watch-dog's couch, and that
every effort was made to show him it was not in accordance
with his own welfare, any more than with his owners' wishes,
that he should expose himself to Caesar's coarse companion-
ship and often grisly humour. And Dash had not even the
excuse of the fly for yielding to the wiles of the spider.
Caesar certainly did not invite the spaniel into his chamber."
He was neither complacent nor cunning enough to solicit his
satellite's company; he did no more than permit it, with a
sort of insolent indifference. Dash chose to risk himself in a
combination of credulous vanity, lurking-not open-naughti-
ness, misplaced affection, and greed.
The intimacy, if so it could be called, continued in spite of
Nelly Pollard's prohibitions, and the barriers raised by her-
notwithstanding Tot's rougher reminders of his duty to the
spaniel, and attempts at coercing Casar-till a prolonged howl
of terror and anguish arose one morning, and caused the
brother and sister to rush simultaneously-Tot from his
chemical experiments, Nell from her gardening-to the back
"THE HUMBLE FRIEND." 93
court where the watch-dog's couch stood, and from which the
Sure enough, Dash had been a little too importunate, and
a shade indiscreet in his greeting, when Casar was engaged
with his morning meal; and the tyrant had leaped upon his
slave, rolled him over, and though Caesar had thought fit to
spare life and limb, he had planted with his fangs more than
one terrible love-token in Dash's quivering flesh.
When Tot and Nelly ran into the court, the criminal
retired growling to his fastness, and Dash, who had actually
fainted, lay prostrate and mangled-a miserable warning to all
foolish, wayward dogs and men. He was loudly bemoaned,
tenderly borne off the field, and succoured to the best of his
doctor's and nurse's powers-even Tot forgot for the moment
to remark it was Dash's own blame.
With great care and trouble the spaniel's wounds were
healed; and where do you think he limped the first time he
could drag his shattered little carcase abroad once more ?
Not to Tot's room-though Tot had expended on the dog
every particle of his skill as a medical student; not to Nelly's
room-though Nelly had prayed to be allowed to have his
basket by her fire, in order to see to his wants during the
night-as a mother watches her baby-and had lost not a few
hours of beauty sleep in consequence. Dash had licked the
hands of his doctor and nurse most impartially all the time
they were in attendance on him. He had whined and wagged
his tail, and absolutely grovelled to them, as if they were the
objects of his profoundest gratitude, his lowliest adoration.
Doubtless the dog was grateful, and did love his young
friends; but his own will was more to him than his gratitude,
94 "THE HUMBLE FRIEND."
and his fitful inclinations than his allegiance. It does not'
sound well in a dog; yet I have heard and read of such
conduct in a man, above all in a woman, when it was narrated
coolly without a word of censure-nay, with strongly expressed
notes of admiration !
The first moment Dash could hobble out by himself, he
covertly disowned Tot and Nelly's authority, and put to scorn
their opinion, by stealthily seeking the abode of the dog that
had all but slain him. Dash was detected begging forgiveness
of Casar for having so nearly proved his victim, instead of
awarding forgiveness on his own account. He was at his old
trick of toad-eating, with pauses between times, to recover
his lapsed strength, and to peer round so as to avoid
observation. If any one calls such an action pathetic, so
cannot I. If any one admires such fickleness and faithless-
ness where true and tried friendship was concerned, such
annihilation of right principle and self-respect before the idle
fancy of a day, I do not, and never will.
Tot and Nelly had no resource but to keep Dash a close
prisoner, in order to save him from the worst death a dog can
die, till Caesar was guilty of another fierce outbreak, and this
time, as it had a man and not a dog for its victim, he was
summarily sentenced to the death which he richly deserved.
Dash was released, went on the sly to Casar's empty couch,
and sniffed once all round it wonderingly. But his moan
was soon made; he did not raise a single useless lamentation,
for such weak dogs have often a curious counter-vein of ex-
treme rationality and worldly wisdom. He at once transferred
his homage to a lazy, phlegmatic sheep-dog, and, for any sign
that could be seen, completely forgot his late savage crony.