True Stories About Cats and Dogs Page 1

True Stories About Cats and DogsbyMrs. Eliza Lee Follen

In a pretty, quiet village in New England lived Mary Chilton. Shewas a widow. She had two sons; and it was the occupation and thehappiness of her life to do all she could to make her boys good andhappy. I should say to help and teach them to be good and happy; forboys and girls must make themselves good; and then, of course, theywill be happy; and no one can be made good or happy against hiswill.

I hear some boy or girl who reads this say, “How old were they, andwhat were their names?” No boy can get along with another boy tillhe knows his name and age, and so, that you may be sure that theywere real, live boys, I will tell you these important facts. Theeldest was called Frank, and was nine years old. His brother wascalled Harry, and was seven. They were very much like other boys,somewhat disposed to have their own way in every thing, and a littlevexed when they could not do as they pleased; sometimes reallywishing to do right, and be obedient, and make their mother happy.

The little fellows were fond of saying to their mother that whenthey grew bigger they should take care of her; and the idea that shedepended upon them for her happiness often made them stop and thinkwhen they were disposed to do a wrong thing.

When Harry said to Frank, “Mother will be so sorry if we do it,”Frank would stop and think, and that was enough.

Stop and think. Grand words, and worth attending to. I believe that,if boys and girls would only keep these words well in mind, therewould be only a small number of really naughty children.

It was a custom with this good and faithful mother to have a littletalk with her boys, every night before their bed time, of what hadpassed during the day. Sometimes she told them stories, sometimesthey repeated poetry.

The hours they passed in this way were the happiest in the wholeday. Some of their twilight talks and stories Mrs. Chilton wrotedown, thinking they might amuse some little cousins, who lived at adistance. Perhaps some other little boys and girls may like to hearthem too.

One evening, early in November, when tea was over, and the teathings were removed; when the nice hearth was swept clean, and thegreat wood fire was blazing brightly, and sending forth its cheeringlight and heat through the whole room, Frank and Harry had takentheir accustomed places, one on each side of their mother who wassitting on the old-fashioned sofa. Each one appropriated a hand tohimself, when they both, almost in the same breath, said to her,”You promised us, Mother, if we were good boys, to tell us a storythis evening. Now, have we not been good boys all day?”

“Yes, you have,” she replied; “you have not quarrelled, and you havegot your lessons well; and I will gladly perform my promise. But Ihardly know whether I can remember or make up any story to tell you.However, I will do my best. What sort of a story will you have?”

“I,” said Frank, “should like a real good true story about a dog, orany other animal.”

“And I like a made-up story best,” said Harry.

“I have an anecdote of a dog for you, Frank, which a friend relatedto me the other day, and which I determined to remember to tell you,as I recollected your love for dogs. The lady who told me the storyis an English woman. She was in the place where the thing happened,at the very time, and knew the dog and his master.

An English gentleman had a small dog, I think a terrier; he took itwith him across the English Channel to Calais which, you know, is inFrance. He had business there, and remained some time. One day hispoor little dog was severely treated by a French dog, much largerthan himself.

The little terrier knew that he could not punish the big French dog.For some days you might see him with his head hanging down as wellas his tail, and a most melancholy expression in his face. At last,he disappeared. His master, who was very fond of him, made everyinquiry after him. In vain–his little four-footed friend wasnowhere to be found.

One day, not long after, in walked the terrier, bringing with him adog much larger than himself. He and his big friend looked very busyand important, as if they had on hand some weighty affair totransact. They showed how seriously they were cogitating, by curlingup their tails even more than common.

The terrier, after receiving gratefully his master’s caresses, andtaking care that his great friend should receive his full share ofthe food which was given them, led the way, through the court yard,to the front of the house. There they took their place, and sat fora long time, looking as solemn as two judges hearing a cause, or twodeacons at church watching some troublesome boys.

It seems the little terrier had been to England, and told of the badtreatment he had received from the large French dog, and had broughtover a great dog friend to avenge the insult.

Patiently they sat for some time, looking up street.

At length, the terrier began to prick up his ears, and, in doglanguage, he told his big friend that the enemy was approaching.They waited quietly till he was near them, and then they both sprangupon the cowardly fellow, gave him a good drubbing, and sent him offwith his tail between his legs.

After this, the big English dog, without looking round to see whatthey did, and said, and how they looked in France, wagging his tailwith great satisfaction, and perhaps saying to the little dog thathe could not understand French, and pitied him for having a masterwho could endure living in a foreign land, especially France, hisdogship walked aboard a packet, and, with a solemn face and self-satisfied, triumphant air, without paying his passage, and with histail turned towards France and the ship’s company, placed himself inthe forward part of the vessel, and so returned to his native land.

“Hurrah for dogs!” cried Harry, clapping his hands. “I say they areas good as men any day. They say, Mother, that the Indians believetheir dogs will go to heaven with them. Will they, Mother?”

“We know nothing of the future state of animals, Harry. We only know that they are more gentle and intelligent the more kind we are to them. The most savage animals are tamed by constant kindness. Who does not remember Sir Walter Scott’s pet pig? The reason why the pigwas so fond of his master was that Sir Walter had not treated him piggishly, but humanely.

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You have been told of Baron Trenck’s spider. Men have had pet lionsand tigers. When I see a fine, gentle horse, or an intelligent,loving dog, I find myself repeating Miss Barrett’s beautiful words,–

“Be my benediction said With my hand upon thy head, Gentle fellow-creature.”

Now I have a funny story for you of a dog and a hen which a friendtold me that she knew to be true.

A small dog had a litter of puppies in a barn close by a hen who wassitting on her eggs, waiting patiently, as hens do, for the timewhen her chickens should pop their pretty heads out of their shellsinto this pleasant world.

The puppies, however, came first, and, as soon as they were born,she left her nest, and insisted upon brooding them.

The little dog, no doubt, thought her very impertinent, and barkedat her, and tried to drive her away; but she would not go. They had always been good friends, and the dog was unwilling to hurt her; and so Mrs. Dog, after showing, in every way, her desire to get rid of her troublesome acquaintance, and finding that Madame Hen would not budge one inch, let her alone.

From that time, the hen brooded the puppies. She let their mothersuckle them, but the rest of the time took charge of them. The poordog mother felt cheated, but she went off and amused herself as wellas she could.

The poor chickens never showed their heads outside of their littleoval prison, for they missed the gentle warmth of their unnaturalmother’s wings.”

“She was a real funny hen,” said Frank; “but she could not have hadmuch brains, not even so much as common hens, and that’s littleenough; but, as for the dog, she must be as lazy as Dick Doolittle,to be willing to have such a stupid nursery woman as a hen take careof her own puppies. Dick lets Tom Jones do all his sums for him, butthen he never hides it, so we only laugh at him. He says, What’s theuse of being named Doolittle and yet have to do much?

But, Mother, it is not bed time yet. Have you not some more storiesof animals”

“Yes, Frank; but Harry wants his story now. It is his turn tochoose.’

“I can wait till to-morrow evening,” said Harry; “and I like the dogand hen stories very much.”

“Harry shall have his turn, then, to-morrow,” said Mrs. Chilton;”and I will tell you some more stories of dogs, for I now remembersome more that are perfectly true.

You never know how intelligent an animal is till you treat it withkindness. All animals are easily frightened by human beings, andfear makes them stupid. Children naturally love animals, butsometimes a foolish boy loves to show his power over them, and solearns to be cruel.

A little boy of my acquaintance, when he was told that he might asksome friends to pass his birthday with him, and was asked who shouldbe invited, named over all the dogs in the neighborhood, and wasmuch grieved when his choice was greeted with laughter.

I have seen a little fellow of three years of age with his hand inthe mouth of a large, hungry dog, trying to get a piece of bread outof it, and the dog not resenting the liberty at all, but merelytrying to retain his share of the bread, and allowing the child totake a part.

We all know that dogs have chosen to die upon the graves of theirmasters, refusing food even when it was brought to them. We look atsuch animals as if we saw in them an angel in prison. We feel as ifsuch a nature could not die.

There is no doubt that dogs understand language. My friend, Mr. S.P. Miles, who was remarkable for his tender love for animals, aswell as for many other noble and lovely qualities, told me someremarkable facts which came under his own personal observation, andwhich I am, therefore, sure are true, showing that intelligent dogsunderstand language.

He said that in his father’s house was an old dog, to whom they weremuch attached, who however became liable to fits. The dog was veryfond of hunting, and the moment he saw any one take the gun, to gointo the woods, he would show his ecstasy by leaping about.

Mr. Miles’s mother one day, when caressing the dog and lamentingthat he was subject to these fits, told her son that he had bettershoot him the next time that he went out hunting with him. A fewdays after, Mr. Miles went hunting; but the moment he reached up forhis gun, which was laid up on hooks in the wall, the dog, instead ofshowing joy by jumping about, ran directly to the good lady who hadcondemned him to death, got under the table at which she wassitting, looked up in her face, and would not move from that place.Never after could the poor fellow be induced to go out with any onewho had a gun in his hand.

The same friend told me of a still more remarkable instance ofintelligence in a dog, though I confess it does not prove that thisdog had much conscience.

Mr. Miles said that he knew the man who owned the dog, and knew thetruth of the whole story. He said that a neighbor had an uncommonlyfine dog, well trained, and, as it seemed, perfect in all things.

One day, a man came and complained that the dog killed his sheep.The owner said he was sure that it was impossible. Hero was so welltrained, he was always in his kennel at the right hour, and he knewthat he must not kill sheep. After a while, the neighbor came againwith the accusation. The dog was then tied in the barn. The man cameagain with the same charge against the dog.

Hero’s master now told the accuser that the dog was tied in the barnon the very night when the sheep were killed. He now made much ofhis dumb favorite from the feeling that he was unjustly suspected.

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He was, however, much surprised when the owner of the sheep cameagain and declared that he had seen his dog kill a sheep that verynight; that he knew the dog, and was sure of the fact. He, ofcourse, thought he must be mistaken; but said he would watch thedog. He did so.

At a certain hour of the night, when the dog supposed no one sawhim, the cunning fellow put up his two fore paws, pushed off thecollar to which a chain was attached, darted through the open windowclose by, and made for the sheep pasture. He returned in goodseason, put his nose into his collar, pushed it down into its placewith his paws, and lay down to sleep.

The master returned to his bed with the painful conviction that hemust kill his intelligent but unprincipled four-footed friend. It issaid nothing will cure a dog of the habit of sheep killing.

In the morning the sorrowful master went to the stable. As heapproached, he said, “O, Hero, how could you do so wrong? I musthave you killed.” Quick as thought, the dog pushed his collar overhis ears, darted through the window, and flew like lightning away.No one in that town ever saw him again.

Mr. Miles told me also that he knew a dog that would carry lettersto persons when told their names; and that no one dared touch theletter but the person to whom it was directed. No bribe, no coaxingwould induce him to stop when going on these errands. If other dogsannoyed him, he would not notice them, but run the faster, and takecare to chastise them at another time.

Creatures that show such intelligence, who can understand ourlanguage, and are capable of what is best in our nature, that is, ofself-forgetting love, should be treated with the greatesttenderness. We know not what they may be capable of till we havetried the influence of constant justice and kindness. It isquestionable whether poor Hero could have been cured of his fault.But I would give all a chance.”

“I should like to have Hero for my dog,” said Frank, “and live withhim in a place where there were no sheep; and then, after manyyears, he might forget his bad tricks.”

“I must say something in favor of the much-abused cat. Doubtless shewould be a much better member of society, if she were bettertreated, if she had a better example set before her.

Sportsmen are very angry because she catches birds, and because sheis sly. They will themselves lie down in the grass so that the birdsmay not see them, and be as sly as the very slyest old puss, and yetthey cannot forgive her for watching noiselessly for birds. Has notshe as good a right as any sportsman to a little game? She takesonly what she wants to eat. She does not kill them in order to boastto another cat of how many she has bagged.

They say she must be bad, for she kills singing birds. Do notsportsmen kill larks and thrushes? Were you once to see a larkrising up into the blue sky higher and higher, and hear him singingas he rises louder and louder, as if he saw heaven opening, andwanted to tell you how beautiful it was, and call you up there; andthen to think of killing and eating him, you would say, What cat canbe so unfeeling as a man? Who, with any music in his soul, could doso? Yet men do eat larks for dinner, and then scold at the poor catwho treats herself with only one perhaps. Why should she not be alittle dainty? Men, women, and hoys and girls are often cruel andunreasonable, not merely cats. The cat is as good as she knows howto be.”

“So you are, pussy,” said Harry, taking up his pet cat in his lap,and stroking her. “You never do any harm, but catch the mice in ourmother’s barn. But you are a little sly, and, if you should catchbirds, right or wrong, I’m afraid I should box your ears. You mustlearn to do without birds for your dinner.”

“When I was in England,” said Mrs. Chilton, “I saw, exhibited in acage about five feet square, rats, mice, cats and dogs, a hawk, aguinea pig, a rabbit, some pigeons, an owl and some little birds,all together, as amiable and merry as possible. Miss Puss sat in themidst, purring. The others ran over her, or flew upon her head. Shehad no thought of hurting them, and they were not afraid of her.

I found, on inquiring, that the way the keeper establishes suchpeace and harmony is by systematic and constant gentleness, and bykeeping the animals all well fed. They are called the happy family.

The cage was always surrounded by a crowd of people curious to seesuch natural enemies so happy together. Nothing but the law ofkindness could make all those creatures so civil and well behaved toeach other. But I must not forget my anecdotes of that respectableanimal, the cat.

You need not smile; I mean to make you respect, as well as lovecats. There are some men, and many boys who say they are domestictigers, that they are sly, that they steal, that you cannot trustthem; that the cat heart is bad, and that there is no harm in boys’teasing them, since it is no more than cats deserve; that they weremade for us to plague; and that the only good thing they do is tocatch rats and mice.

Now, if this were true, and they were really ever so bad, they oughtnever to be treated cruelly, never teased and tormented. None butthe meanest boy will ever torment any animal.

He who created us created also the little fly that crawls upon thewindow pane. I am not now thinking of those boys who do notremember, or have never learned this truth, but of those who have acruel prejudice against cats, of those who are kind to dogs andhorses, but unkind to cats. I shall speak to you of the poor catwith almost as much respect and seriousness as if I were talkingabout any of my fellow- creatures who were injured and ill treated.

We take it for granted that cats have no love in them, and so wenever act towards them as if they had any; now I believe they have,on the whole, pretty good hearts, and, if they were treated withjustice and kindness, would be far more respectable members ofsociety than they are. To show this I will mention some facts ofwhich I have heard, and, some which I have witnessed.

In the first place, the cat is accused of never caring for theinhabitants of a house, but only for the house itself. Now I knew anaffectionate cat who manifested much disturbance when the familywere making preparations for moving; at last, all was gone from thehouse except herself and the cook. The cook, in order to make surethat the cat should not escape from the carriage on the way, put herinto a cage and fastened her in.

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When they arrived, the cat walked quietly out of her cage, looked ather old friend the cook, went into another room where she metanother friend, and began forthwith to purr her satisfaction.

Two years afterwards, this family moved again. As soon as the catsaw the preparations making for moving, she showed great uneasiness,and went down into the cellar, where she remained during all theconfusion.

When all else was gone, the cook went to the cellar stairs, andcalled her. The cat came up directly. The cook stroked her, andshowed her a basket just big enough to hold her, and said, “Get in,get in, pussy, and take a pretty ride!” The cat got in, and, withoutthe least resistance, allowed herself to be shut into the basket bya cloth tied over it. As soon as she saw the different members ofthe family in the new house, she manifested her contentment.

In six months the family moved again. The cat again submittedherself, and showed her preference to her friends over their house.

A cat has been known to nurse and bring up a rat with her ownkittens. I once took a little rabbit who was starving to death fromthe neglect of its own mother, and placed it before the same cat whopreferred the people to the house. She had just come from nursingher kittens, and when she saw the little trembling rabbit beforeher, her first thought was, evidently to make a good meal of it. Itook up the little thing and caressed it, and then put it downagain. She now approached it in a motherly way, and looked at it;its ears seemed evidently to puzzle her. After a while, she tried totake it up as she did her kittens, but saw she could not safely;then she went to her nest and mewed, and then came to me and rubbedherself against me; and then went to the rabbit and licked ittenderly; I now ventured to put the rabbit in with her kittens, andshe nursed, and took the best care of it.

A friend of mine who killed a squirrel not knowing that she hadyoung ones, took all the little squirrels, brought them into thehouse, and put them before his pet cat who had lost all her kittensbut one. Pussy looked at them for a while; probably her cattishnature thought a little of eating them; but her better nature soonprevailed, for she took them, one after another, and carried themall to her nest, and proved a faithful nursing mother to them, andere long there was no part of the house in which the old cat and herroguish adopted children were not to be found.

What will not cats submit to from a loving child? I have seen achild lie down with a cat for its pillow, and the cat merely moveherself a little, so as to bear the weight as easily as possible.

A cat can be taught to stand and walk on her hind legs, which seemsat first very disagreeable to her.

I remember, when I was a child, seeing a Maltese cat come in everymorning and wait till my father had finished his breakfast, then, ata certain signal, rise up on her hind legs, and beg for herbreakfast, and take just what was given her with the utmostpropriety, asking for nothing more.

I will tell you a well-authenticated anecdote which I read the otherday. A cat had been brought up in close friendship with a bird. Nowbirds, you know, are the favorite food of cats. One day she was seensuddenly to seize and hold in her claws her feathered companion whohappened to be out of the cage.

The first thought of those who saw her was that, at last, her tigernature had come out, and that she was going to make a meal of herlittle trusting friend; but all the cat did was to hold thetrembling bird still, and, on looking around the room, it wasdiscovered that another cat had come in, and that catching the birdwas only the means the friendly cat used to keep it safe till theintruder should leave the room. As soon as the other cat was gone,she let go the bird, who it was found was not in the least hurt.

A cat who had been petted and always kindly treated by a family ofchildren, was present one day when the mother thought it necessaryto strike one of them for some bad action; the cat flew violently atthe mother and tried to scratch her, and from that time she nevercould strike one of the children with impunity in the presence oftheir faithful, loving friend.

A friend related to me that they had a cat in her father’s familywho was a great favorite, and who was particularly fond of the baby;that one day this child was very fretful, and sat for a long time onthe floor crying, and that nothing would pacify her.

The cat was by her side on the floor, and finding herself notnoticed, and perhaps wearied at the noise, she suddenly stood up onher hind legs and boxed the child’s ears in exactly the same way inwhich she was in the habit of boxing her kitten’s.

It seems that this cat was not so amiable as the other, and did notobject to giving a box on the ear to a naughty child.

I have another story from a good authority which is still more infavor of poor pussy, and puts her upon a par with the most faithfuldog.

During a hard snow storm last winter, a kitten with a broken leg andalmost frozen hopped into the hall door of a gentleman’s house inBrooklyn, New York, and set up a most piteous mewing.

The master of the house ordered the servants to throw the kitteninto the street, when his little daughter, a child eight years ofage, caught up the poor little creature, and begged to be allowed tokeep and nurse it. The father, at first, refused. The child,however, begged so earnestly that he at last allowed her to keep thekitten.

The little girl, whom we will call Emma, nursed her pet until it gotquite well. The kitten returned, in full measure, all the love ofher gentle nurse, and was never quite happy away from little Emma.

Some time afterwards, the loving child was taken severely ill, andwas confined to her bed. Kitty had grown into a cat. It was foundimpossible to keep her away from the bed of her suffering friend.The cat would watch at the door when turned out of the room, dart inagain, and mew, and jump upon the bed where little Emma lay. ThereKitty was quiet.

As the child grew more ill, it was impossible to get the cat out ofthe room; until, at last, when little Emma was dying, pussystretched herself out near the bed, and seemed to be dying too.

The cat was taken into the next room, and put gently upon a rug.

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“Take care of my poor kitten!” said the kind little Emma, as she sawthem take it away; and her loving spirit went to the land of lovingspirits.

When the sorrowing friends went into the adjoining room, the life ofher “poor kitten” had departed too.

Does not the fact that love and kindness can make such an irritableanimal as the cat so loving and grateful, teach us all theirheavenly power? Ought we not to do all which we can to bring outthis better nature?

We have made cats our slaves. We have taken them from the woods,that we may have them to catch our rats and mice. We make them dojust as we please, and ought we not to make them as comfortable andhappy as we can?

Can we not be patient with their bad or disagreeable qualities, andencourage all their good dispositions? We never know the truecharacter of any living being till we treat that creature withentire justice and kindness. I therefore am the friend of the poor,despised, abused, neglected, suspected, calumniated cat. I confessshe is sometimes a little disposed to thieving, that there arestrong reasons for supposing that she is somewhat addicted toselfishness, that she may justly be suspected of occasionalhypocrisy, and that she is to blame for too readily using her claws.

These are, all of them, human as well as cattish faults; but, ifpussy has in her the capacity for something better, for self-forgetting and devoted affection, we must treat her with suchpatient, enduring kindness and perfect justice as may cherish allthat is good in her nature. In short, can we not overcome her evilby our good? Let us try, boys!

One thing I have not yet told you in relation to cats, and that iswhat pets they are made in France. No drawing room seems completewithout a beautiful cat. The cats are well trained and are verygentle.

The Angora cat is most prized. She is fed with the greatest care,and, in all respects, is treated like a respected member of thefamily; and noticed, of course, by visitors. I have seen a beautifulcat go from one guest to another to be caressed like a little child.

These pet cats are playthings. They are not expected to catch ratsand mice, but are idle creatures, and only amuse themselves andothers. It is considered a special attention for any gentleman orlady to make a present of a pet cat.”

“What’s the use of cats who can’t catch rats and mice?” said Frank.”Do the French pet the mice, too? I wonder what comes of the breadand cheese?”

“O, the people have another set of cats, whom they call gutter cats,who catch rats and mice. The gutter cats never come into the drawingroom; but they are treated well in the kitchen, and made as happy aspossible.

I was told that these working cats were far more intelligent thanthe pets of the drawing room.

I knew a French seamstress who had a gutter cat, of which she wasvery fond. One day the cat fell from the roof of the house. Sheseemed dead, but her faithful friend put her upon a soft bed, gaveher homoeopathic medicine, and watched all night by her to put adrop of something into her mouth if she moved. At last the cat gavesigns of life, and by good nursing her life was saved.

I saw once in Paris a man carrying about a splendid large mouse-colored cat, dressed up with ribbons.

The creature was twice the common size, and gentle as a lamb. He wasfor sale; the price, sixty francs, which is twelve dollars. Everybody who was not too busy, stopped to stroke Master Puss.”

“He would have done to wear boots,” cried Harry. “I should like himright well. Such a big cat would be worth having.”

“The French are very humane to animals, and never inflictunnecessary pain upon the meanest. In the street in which I lived inParis, there was a hospital for cats and dogs.”

“Is not a hospital a place where sick folks go to be cured, Mother;and do they like to have dogs and cats there?”

“This was a hospital devoted to sick cats and dogs.”

“Do they have cats and dogs for nurses?” said Harry, giggling as hespoke.

“I never heard they did, you little goose. But I could not helpbeing pleased with such an evidence of the kind-heartedness of apeople in their treatment of animals.”

“Mother,” said Frank, “where did dogs and cats come from? Have menalways had them living with them? Did Adam and Eve have a dog andcat, do you suppose? Was there an Adam and Eve cat and dog?”

“It would take more knowledge than I can boast of, Frank, to answerthese questions. I will tell you all I have been able to learn. Itis supposed by some persons that the domestic dog is the descendant,that is, the great great great grandchild of a wolf.”

A man who wanted to see if a wolf could be gentle, and faithful, andloving as a dog, took a baby wolf, treated him with the greatestkindness, and fed him on food that would not make him savage.

The wolf was always gentle, and much attached to his master. If thesons and sons’ sons of the wolf were always treated in the samemanner, you may suppose it possible that, in time, they would be asloving and good as our dogs.

There seems, however, to be more reason to think that our domesticdog is descended from a wild dog; as there are wild dogs in variousparts of the world; in Africa, Australia, and in India. The dog ofthe Esquimaux was a wolf. There is a distinct kind of dog for almostevery part of the world, each sort differing in some things from thewolf.

The earliest history of man speaks of his faithful companion, thedog. Every schoolboy has read of the dog of Ulysses; and how, whenUlysses returned, after a very long absence, so changed as not to berecognized in his own house, his dog knew him immediately.

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Cuvier, the great French naturalist, says that the “dog is the mostcomplete, the most remarkable, and the most useful conquest evermade by man.”

“Every species has become our property. Each individual isaltogether devoted to his master, assumes his manners, knows anddefends his goods, and remains attached to him until death; and allthis proceeds neither from want nor constraint, but solely from truegratitude and real friendship.”

“The swiftness, the strength, and the scent of the dog have enabledhim to conquer other animals; and, without the dog, man perhapscould not have formed a society. The dog is the only animal whichhas followed man into every part of the earth.”

“The Exquimaux employ their dogs as we do horses. The dogs are madeslaves; but are docile and faithful, particularly to the women, whomanage them by kindness and gentleness. In Germany you often seedogs drawing carts; and in London dogs are harnessed into littlecarts to carry round meat for the cats.”

Here Harry expressed his opinion that this was abusing the dogs.

“I am told,” continued Mrs. Chilton, “that when the driver of thesedog carts cries ‘Cats’ Meat,’ all the cats look out from their holesand hiding-places for their accustomed piece.”

“We,” said Harry, “give pussy something out of our plates all cookedand nice, and so I suppose she is a better cat, and less cattish.”

I dare say you know that there are a great variety of dogs. TheNewfoundland dog not only drags carts and sledges, but has a sort ofweb foot that makes him a particularly good swimmer. He often savesthe lives of his human friends.

The Lapland dog looks after the reindeer, and drives them with thegreatest gentleness to their homes or away from any danger.

The shepherd’s dog does the same for the flock. He runs after anystray sheep, and just says, with a very amiable little bark, “Friendsheep,” or “My little lamb, that’s not the way.”

Then there is the terrier to catch our rats; the mastiff and spanielto guard our houses; the lapdog for ladies to play with; the poodlesto laugh at; and once there was the turnspit to roast our meat forus.

Besides these and many I have not mentioned there are all thedifferent hunting dogs; the pointers and setters for birds; thehounds for hares, rabbits, foxes, and deer.

When I was in England, I saw the start for a deer hunt. The hunters,with their red jackets, were assembled on horses longing to start.The dogs were all fastened together and held still by the keepers. Alarge open heath was before us.

Presently a covered cart was driven up. One end was opened, and astag leaped out.

He stood still, and looked up and all around him, as much as to say,”What are we all about?” He had, apparently, no thought of runningany where.

At last, they sent a little dog to bark at him, and soon away hescampered over fences and through fields; like the wind, he flew.

When he was out of sight, the keeper let his dogs loose. They didnot run at first, but smelt all around, one dog leading the others.At last, he pricked up his ears, and they all set up a race afterhim, like a streak of lightning, as our Jem would say.

Now the huntsmen started, and they followed as near as they could.The dogs leaped over a hedge, a pretty high one. Away went thehuntsmen after them.

I saw one man thrown as he tried to leap the hedge, and away wenthis horse and left him.

I saw two, three, four go over as if they were flying. O, howbeautiful it was to see them!

Then I saw a rider and his horse both fall into a ditch they weretrying to leap. Then came another, and over he went, all clear, as acat might jump.

The hunter in the ditch scrambled out, but his horse was hurt andcould not move.

Some men from the farm house, before which I was sitting, looking atthe hunt, took ropes and went to help the maimed horse.

By this time, we heard but faintly the huntsmen’s horn and merryshouts; and soon they were all out of sight, save the four or fivemen who were aiding the poor horse to get out of the ditch.

I returned home, thinking that, after all, hunting tame deer was apoor amusement. But I am an American lady; and were I an Englishgentleman, I might feel very differently.

“I think I should like hunting right well. It would be real goodfun,” said Harry.

“And so should I,” said Frank.

The dog of the St. Bernard, who is called the Alpine spaniel, youhave heard and read of; and you have that pretty picture of one ofthose dogs with a boy on his back.

I have, as you know, been among the Swiss mountains; and the thoughtof the good monks living in those awful solitudes through the stormsof winter, with the avalanches for their music, and only anoccasional traveller for society, and with these gentle, loving dogsfor companions, gave me a new love for these excellent animals.

I thought, too, of the poor traveller who had lost his way, andfound his strength failing. I imagined his joy at the sight of oneof these dogs with a cloak on his back, and a bottle of cordial tiedto his neck.

I saw, in my mind, the good “fellow-creature” showing the way to theshelter which his truly Christian masters are so glad to afford.

These monks, it is said, keep a bell ringing during storms. It seemsto me I can see one of the old monks sitting over his fire, puttingon more wood, and making his tight chalet as warm as he can, in case

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a traveller should come.

Presently he hears a cheerful bark from one of the dogs. He openshis door; the poor, frozen, half-starved traveller enters.

The monk takes off the wet garments; he rubs the stiff, cold hands;he speaks kind words to the stranger, and gives him something warmto drink.

Meanwhile, the good dog lies down on the floor, looking with hisbig, kind eyes at the wayfarer, and seems to say, “I’m glad I foundyou and brought you here to my master. Eat and drink, and becomfortable; don’t be shy; there’s enough here always for a poortraveller.”

It is a sad thing to turn from this pleasant picture to the historyof the bloodhounds in the West Indies. Who would believe that thegood and great Columbus employed bloodhounds to destroy the Indianswho made war against the Spaniards?

“When the Indians were conquered, the bloodhounds were turned intothe woods and became wild, so that there are now many of these wilddogs on the islands. I grieve to say that, here in this civilizedland, bloodhounds are sometimes used to catch runaway slaves.”

“Runaway slaves, Mother? Do you mean men, like Anthony Burns,” askedFrank. “He was a slave, was he not?”

“Yes, Frank, men like Anthony Burns, when they try to get theirfreedom, if they are known to be hiding in a wood, are often huntedwith dogs.”

“O, it is very wicked, Mother!”

“So I think, Frank; let us hope that the time will come when everyman and woman and child in our land will think so, and then therewill be no more slaves.”

“And now, let us turn away from the history of bloodhounds to somepleasant thoughts before we finish our twilight talk.”

“The poet Cowper was a great friend to animals. Many of his mostbeautiful letters to his friends have very pleasant passages abouthis pretty tortoise shell kitten, and his distress that she wouldgrow up into a cat, do what he would.”

“He was a lover of tame rabbits and hares, and speaks of all theseanimals as if they were his friends and fellow-creatures. In one ofhis little poems he tells a pretty story of his spaniel Beau. I wasso pleased with it that I learned it by heart unconsciously, fromreading it over so often.”

“Do repeat it, Mother,” cried both the boys.

Mrs. Chilton then repeated the poem; and, as some of my youngreaders may not be familiar with it, they shall have a copy, too.

“This, also, boys, is a true story,” said their mother.



The noon was shady, and soft airs Swept Ouse’s silent tide, When, ‘scaped from literary cares, I wandered on his side.

My spaniel–prettiest of his race, And high in pedigree– (Two nymphs adorned with every grace, That spaniel found for me–)

Now wantoned, lost in flowery reeds, Now, starting into sight, Pursued the swallow o’er the meads, With scarce a slower flight.

It was the time when Ouse displayed His lilies newly blown. Their beauties I intent surveyed, And one I wished my own.

With cane extended far, I sought To steer it close to land; But still the prize, though nearly caught, Escaped my eager hand.

Beau marked my unsuccessful pains, With fixed, considerate face; And, puzzling, set his puppy brains To comprehend the case.

But, with a chirrup clear and strong Dispersing all his dream, I thence withdrew, and followed long The windings of the stream.

My ramble finished, I returned; Beau, trotting far before, The floating wreath again discerned, And, plunging, left the shore.

I saw him with that lily cropped Impatient swim to meet My quick approach; and soon he dropped The treasure at my feet.

Charmed with the sight, “The world,” I cried, “Shall hear of this thy deed. My dog shall mortify the pride Of man’s superior breed.”

But, chief, myself I will enjoin, Awake at duty’s call, To show a love as prompt as thine To Him who gives me all.

“I think that’s a right pretty story, Mother,” said Frank, when hismother had finished reciting it; “but will you tell me what ‘high inpedigree’ means; for I’m sure I don’t know. I never heard the wordbefore; and who are nymphs, who found the spaniel for Cowper?”

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“‘High in pedigree,’ Frank, means nothing but that he had a veryrespectable grandfather and mother.”

“Then, Mother, we are high in pedigree; for I’m sure thatgrandfather and grandmother–, at the farm, are the very best andmost respectable people in the world, and send us the best butterand cheese. But what are nymphs?”

“There was, in olden times, Frank, before the birth of Christ, andamong many people since there is a belief in a sort of fairies, orfanciful existences. They thought that in each stream, and wood, andgrotto lived a beautiful young woman, invisible to common eyes, andthese lovely fairies were called nymphs. So it became common to callany beautiful young woman a nymph.”

“The best line in it,” said Harry, “is, ‘And, puzzling, set hispuppy brains.’ That I can quite understand.”

“Now,” said Mrs. Chilton, “it is time to light the candles, and forlittle boys to go to bed.”

“I have still a little more to say to you about animals,” said Mrs.Chilton, one evening, to her two boys, “as you seemed pleased withwhat I told you, some time ago, about dogs and cats.”

A friend told me, the other day, that, when she was at Hopkinton,where she went for the benefit of the baths, the mistress of thehotel told her that their cat understood language; for that agentleman, who was there and was going fishing, told the cat to goand catch him a frog. The cat disappeared, and, a little whileafter, brought in a frog. She added, that the next day he told thecat again to go and catch him a frog. The cat again set off on thesame errand, and brought in two frogs; but she had bitten off thehead of one of them, as if to pay for her labor.”

“Do you believe that story, Puss?” said Harry. “See, Puss shakes herhead. Do you believe it, Mother?”

The authority was very good. I could not easily disbelieve it. Themore we notice animals the more we shall be astonished at them, andinterested in their history; the more we shall see in them evidencesof the wisdom and the goodness of the Power that created them.

I knew a good, great man who would never tread upon the meanestflower he met in his walks; who would not wantonly destroy a shellupon the sea shore.

When I was very young, I was walking in a garden with one of thetrue lovers of God in His works: suddenly he bent his head very low,and bade me bend mine also. “See,” he said, “that beautiful web: donot break it; the little creature who made it has worked very hard;let us not destroy it.”

This lesson was given many years ago. I have forgotten many thingssince then; but this will last me through life, let it be ever solong.

Who does not love good Uncle Toby who, when a troublesome flytormented and tickled his nose and sipped his wine, put him tenderlyout of the window, saying to him, “Go: there is room enough in thisworld for thee and me”? But to my stories. One is a sad one, but itis true, as are also all the others.

A gentleman was once travelling in France, on horseback, followed byhis dog; presently the dog began to show great uneasiness, and runand jump up at him and bark violently. The man saw no one near, andcould not understand what was the matter.

The dog persisted in barking. At last, the man scolded him. This didno good. The dog still barked and jumped up trying to get hold ofhis master’s legs; the man scolded the animal repeatedly, but all invain. The dog barked louder and louder. At last, the man struck himwith the butt-end of the whip harder than he intended; for he onlywished to silence the dog.

The thoughtless man went on satisfied. After a while, he found thathe had lost his purse. He went back some miles, till, at last, hesaw his dog lying dead in the road with one paw over a purse.

The poor creature had staggered back to the place where he had seenit fall, and, faithful to the last in spite of his master’s cruelty,even in death, guarded his property.

A knowledge of character, comprehension of language, or some otherfaculty, beyond what we can explain, is often discovered in dogs.

There was a family who had given leave to two poor men to come andsaw wood, do chores, &c. One of these was very honest; the otheroften took what did not belong to him.

The family dog took no especial notice of the honest man, andtreated him in a friendly way, but the thief he watched all thetime, to guard the property of the family.

Another dog was on board a vessel bound to some place in Europe. Thevessel was driven in a storm against a rocky coast, and struck undera steep, perpendicular cliff perfectly inaccessible. It was evidentthat if relief was not soon given, the vessel must go to pieces, andthe men all perish.

The dog leaped into the angry sea, and with some difficulty swamashore. He ran on till he came to the dwelling of a poor man, andthen barked loudly, till the owner was roused and came out.

The dog showed great joy at seeing him, ran towards the shore andthen back to him, and leaped upon him and licked his hands; this hedid repeatedly till the man followed him.

It was some distance to the shore; and, after a while, the man wastired, thought it was foolish to go after the dog, and turned to gohome. The dog immediately showed great distress, and tried the samearts to entice him on; but the man seemed resolved to go home.

At last, the dog stood upon his hind legs, put his paws upon theman’s shoulders and looked him in the face, with such a humanmeaning, such a piteous expression, that the man determined tofollow him.

The dog led him, not to the cliff under which the vessel was lying,as there she could not be seen, but to a distant place on a pointwhere she was visible.

Ropes were immediately obtained, the crew were all hoisted up. andevery life saved; and this was by the intelligent love of thisfaithful fellow-creature–we cannot call him a brute.

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These true stories were told me by Mr. W. R. of New Bedford, whogave the name of the captain of the wrecked vessel, and said he wassure they were true.

A fact of this kind fell once under my own observation. One night,our dog Caesar made a barking at the door, till, at last, he broughtsome one out. The dog then ran towards the road, and when he foundhe was not followed, came back and barked, and then ran to the roadand back again, and so on till we understood he wanted to befollowed, and some one went with him.

Caesar immediately led the way to a ditch over which there was abridge without any guard. There a horse and wagon had been upset.The wagon had fallen upon the driver in such a way that he could notmove. The men came immediately to the aid of the poor man, took himout, put him in his wagon and new harnessed his horse, and set himoff comfortably on his way again. The dog sat by and saw it all. Whoshall say how much of the compassionate love of the good Samaritanwas in his canine heart? Who shall exactly measure and justlyestimate the joy of the other faithful, intelligent animal who savedthe crew of the wrecked vessel?

One more story of a dog I remember which is too good to beforgotten; as it shows, not only the sagacity, but the love andself-denial of one of these faithful creatures.

A shepherd, whose flocks were in the high pastures on the GrampianHills, took with him one day his little boy who was about threeyears of age. They had gone some distance, when he found itnecessary, for some reason or other, to ascend the summit of one ofthe hills. He thought it would be too fatiguing for the child to goup; so he left him below with the dog, telling the little fellow tostay there till he returned, and charging the good and faithful dogto watch over the boy.

Scarcely had the shepherd reached the summit, before there came upone of those very thick fogs which are common among these mountains.These heavy mists often come up so suddenly and so thick that it islike a dark night–you can see absolutely nothing.

The unhappy father hurried down the mountain to his little boy; but,from fright and from the utter darkness, lost the way.

The poor shepherd for many hours sought his child among thetreacherous swamps, the roaring cataracts and the steep precipices.

No little boy, no faithful dog could he see or hear. At length,night came on, and the wretched father had to return to his cottage,and to the mother of his child, and say the sad words, “He is lost.My faithful dog is gone too, or he might help me find the boy.”

That was a sad night for the poor cottagers. At break of day, theshepherd, with his wife and his neighbors, set out to look for thechild. They searched all day long, in every place where it seemedpossible that lie could be, but all in vain. No little boy couldthey find. The night came on, and again the poor shepherd and hiswife came home without their child.

On their return home, they found that the dog had been there; and,on receiving a piece of oatmeal cake, had instantly gone off withit. The next day and the day after, the shepherd renewed the searchfor his child. On each day when they returned, they heard that thedog had been to the house, taken his piece of cake, and immediatelydisappeared. The shepherd determined to stay at home the next dayand watch his dog. He had a hope in his heart that the dog wouldlead him to his child.

The dog came the next day, at the same hour, took his piece of cake,and ran off. The shepherd followed him. He led the way to a cataractat some distance from the place where the father had left the child.

The bank of the cataract was steep and high, and the abyss downwhich the water rushed was terrific. Down the rugged and almostperpendicular descent, the dog, without any hesitation, began tomake his way. At last, he disappeared into a cave, the mouth ofwhich was almost on a level with the cataract.

The shepherd, with great difficulty, followed. What were hisemotions, who can tell his joy, when he beheld his little boyeating, with much satisfaction, the piece of cake which the faithfulanimal had just brought? The dog stood by, eying his young chargewith the utmost complacence.

The child had doubtless wandered from the place where he was left byhis father; had fallen over the precipice; had been caught by thebushes near the cave, and scrambled into it. The dog had eitherfollowed or found him by the scent, and had since prevented him fromstarving by giving to him every day his own food.

The faithful, loving creature had never left the child day or night,except to get the piece of oaten cake; and then the dog went at fullspeed, neither stopping by the way, or apparently reserving any ofthe cake for himself.

Shall we not, all of us, learn love, fidelity and self-forgetfulnessfrom such an affectionate and faithful creature?

“I don’t believe I could be as good as that dog,” said Frank.

“I know I could not,” said Harry. “How the shepherd and his wifemust have loved him! If I had been in their place, I should havetreated him like the little boy’s brother, and kept him always inthe parlor.”

“I dare say they did,” said Mrs. Chilton.

There is an anecdote I have lately read, which shows that dogs havecompassion for other dogs, and will help a fellow in distress.

When the ice suddenly melted on a river in Germany, a little dog wasseen on a small piece of ice in the middle of the river. It was notknown how he got into that situation. He set up the most piteouscries. A large dog who saw him dashed into the river, soon reachedthe poor spaniel, seized him by the neck, and brought him safe toshore, amidst the shouts and praises of the spectators.

Animals, when treated kindly, attach themselves to human beings.Birds build their nests near the habitations of men. In the wild,distant woods all is still. One hears no song of birds. In England,where the robin is courted and made much of, he comes into the houseand takes his food from the table.

In many parts of Europe storks build their nests on the roofs.Swallows, martins, sparrows and wrens often make their nests under

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our roofs. They confide in us, and trust in our friendship and care.Let us never, my boys, betray or abuse their confidence.

There is a kind of birds who travel all over the United States. Theygo from South to North, from North to South. They have not, like themartins, the bob-o’-links, and some others, regular times for goingand coming; but travel more to obtain food than to escape thewinter, and, when once settled in a place with enough suitable foodand water, remain there till it is exhausted, and then take flightto some other place.

“Are you telling us a made-up story, Mother?” said Harry.

“No, Harry, it is really and truly the wild pigeon of America ofwhich I am speaking. Indeed, if it were not for their great power offlight, they must, many of them, starve to death. A proof of theirswiftness is the fact that a pigeon has been killed in theneighborhood of New York, with rice in his crop that he must haveswallowed in the fields of Georgia or Carolina.”

“How could any one know that?” asked Harry.

“By remembering the fact that in one of those states is the nearestspot at which the bird could have found rice growing. It is a wellascertained fact that their power of digestion is so great, thattheir food is in the course of twelve hours so entirely changed,that one cannot know what it was. Now the distance of the ricefields from New York–that is, the number of miles travelled intwelve hours–is such that the pigeon must have flown at the rate ofabout a mile in a minute; so that if he pleased he might go toEngland in two days; but, Frank, if you will give me that pamphletthat lies on the table, I will read the account of the wild pigeonof America from the book itself.”

“It was written by the celebrated Audubon, who resided a great manyyears in America, and who most faithfully watched the birds hedescribed.”

After giving an account of the speed of the pigeon, he goes on tosay, “This great power of flight is seconded by as great a power ofvision, which enables them, as they travel at that great rate, toview objects below, and so discover their food with facility. This Ihave proved to be the case by observing the pigeons, as they werepassing over a barren part of the country, keep high in the air, andpresent such an extensive front as to enable them to observehundreds of acres at once.”

“If, on the contrary, the land is richly covered with food, or thetrees with mast, (the fruit of the oak and beech trees,) the birdsfly low, in order to discover the portion of woods most plentifullysupplied, and there they alight. The form of body of these swifttravellers is an elongated (lengthened) oval steered by a long,well-plumed tail,”–just as you know, Harry, you steer your boat bythe rudder in the great tub of water; “they are furnished withextremely well set muscular wings. If a single bird is seen glidingthrough the woods and close by, it passes apparently like a thought,and the eye, on trying to see it again, searches in vain–the birdis gone.”

The multitudes of pigeons in our woods are astonishing; and, indeed,after having for years viewed them so often, under so manycircumstances, and I may add in many different climates, I even nowfeel inclined to pause and assure myself that what I am going torelate is fact.

In the autumn of 1813, I left my house in Henderson, on the banks ofthe Ohio, on my way to Louisville. Having met the pigeons flyingfrom north-east to south-west in the barrens or natural wastes, afew miles beyond Hardensburgh, in greater apparent numbers than Ihad ever seen them before, I felt an inclination to count the flocksthat would pass within the reach of my eye in one hour. Idismounted, and, seating myself on a little eminence, took my pencilto mark down what I saw going by and over me; and I made a dot forevery flock which passed. Finding, however, that this was next toimpossible, and feeling unable to record the flocks as theymultiplied constantly, I arose, and counting the dots already putdown, discovered that one hundred and sixty-three had been made intwenty-one minutes.

I travelled on, and still met more flocks the farther I went. Theair was literally filled with pigeons. The light of noonday becamedim as during an eclipse. The continued buzz of wings over me had atendency to incline my senses to repose.

Whilst waiting for my dinner at Young’s Inn, at the confluence ofSalt River with the Ohio, I saw, at my leisure, immense legionsstill going by, with a front reaching far beyond the Ohio on thewest, and the beech wood forest directly on the east of me. Yet nota single bird would alight, for not a nut or acorn was that year tobe seen in the neighborhood.

The pigeons flew so high that different trials to reach them with acapital rifle proved ineffectual, and not even the report disturbedthem in the least. A black hawk now appeared in their rear. At oncelike a torrent, and with a thunder-like noise, they formedthemselves into almost a solid, compact mass, all pressing towardsthe centre.

In such a solid body, they zigzagged to escape the murderous falcon,now down close over the earth sweeping with inconceivable velocity,then ascending perpendicularly like a vast monument, and, when highup, wheeling and twisting within their continuous lines, resemblingthe coils of a gigantic serpent.

Before sunset, I reached Louisville, fifty-five miles distant fromHardensburgh. The pigeons were still passing, and continued forthree days. The banks of the river were crowded with men andchildren, for here the pigeons flew rather low passing the Ohio.

The whole atmosphere, during the time, was full of the smellbelonging to the pigeon species. It is extremely curious to seeflocks after flocks follow exactly the same evolutions when theyarrive at the same place. If a hawk, for instance, has chanced tocharge a portion of the army at a certain spot, no matter what thezigzags, curved lines, or undulations might have been during theaffray, all the following birds keep the same track; so that if atraveller happens to see one of these attacks, and feels a wish tohave it repeated, he may do so by waiting a short time.

It may not perhaps be out of place to attempt an estimate of thenumber of pigeons contained in one flock, and of the quantity offood they daily consume.

We shall take, for example, a column, one mile in breadth, which isfar below the average size, and suppose the birds to pass over us,