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interpose to save some tramp from the fate of the gentleman mentioned in Scripture, whose flesh was eaten by dogs. On these occasions Sher was true to himself; and while Gran rushed headlong on the enemy, he would suddenly bounce out from under a bush, or slip round through the fence, and make a diversion in the rear. My dogs were soon a terror to the neighborhood, and a much more effectual protection than patting the children on their heads. To be sure, there were a few drawbacks to set off these advantages. It was difficult to keep any work-people round the place; and I had to pay for a pair of pantaloons that my painter left principally in Gran's mouth ere he could escape up his ladder when a sudden attack caught him unprepared.
There was but one matter in which the kittens and pups all four agreed, and that was to steal whatever they had the slightest fancy for. Milk was the weakness of the kittens, and, provided they could discover any unguarded pan, a truce was declared, and friend and foe united in foraging upon their master. On such occasions they were content to drink together from the same dish in the most amicable way, although the moment the feast was exhausted the cats fled to their intrenchments, without so much as cleaning their whiskers, and hostilities were renewed. The pups preferred meat, and great was the genius exhibited by Sher in obtaining it surreptitiously. He would pretend he was asleep, waiting till the cook's back was turned; or he would ostentatiously go out of the door, and then, slipping back, hide and watch his opportunity. When he obtained it he always divided with Gran, and a bone would occasionally alternate half a dozen times between them ere it was
Their playful moods were their most destructive; digging holes was one of their chief pastimes. Why they dug holes I never could imagine; they neither buried nor discovered any hidden treasure; but they worked away with a zeal and patience that would have been most praiseworthy if properly applied. Some of my favorite "herbaceous” plants, as Bridgeman calls them, were rooted up, and my grass-plotone which I had laid out in a beautiful oval beneath our solitary cedar, and had planted with the most delicate lawn-grass—was fairly honeycombed with bur
At first I filled these holes and restored my plants, but the pups only seemed to regard this as a challenge to their industry, and immediately proceeded to dig them up again; so I was compelled to let them have their way, although it gave rather a strange appearance to the place, and left an impression that a family of prairie-dogs resided there.
The pups were particularly fond of roaming round the flower garden. When the seeds had pushed their delicate sprouts above ground, I used to walk through the neatly-boxed paths, and admire the thriving way in which every thing was growing. The pups invariably watched for such occasions, and rushed toward me in an apparent burst of affection, bounding up and down over the beds, and dancing with delight on my frailest seedlings. If I took no notice of them, , they seized one another by the ears, and, thus coupled, rushed about, sweeping away the flowers in their course; if I scolded them, Sher slipped into the nearest bush, and, lying down in the centre, watched my actions with a wary eye, while Gran, on the other hand, came directly to me, and, seating himself on a bed, looked me honestly and affectionately in the face, while his wagging tail swept away the sprouting plants by dozens.
Sher was particularly fond of a gilia ; its delicate leaves seemed to please him both as a bed and a hiding-place, and he soon rolled the life out of it; if I charged upon him, he fled, taking refuge in some other bushy plant; and when I did catch him, he would not walk, but insisted upon being dragged in a most destructive manner from off the bed. If I
took hold of Gran he retained his sitting posture,
which was almost equally injurious. I soon found my only plan was to match my cunning against theirs, and, the moment they appeared, to rush out of the garden, calling them “good dogs," which was a falsehood of the blackest dye, and pretending I was ready for a romp. By this means they would be induced to follow me with great hilarity, and occasionally forget to go back; but I lost much of my enjoyment of the garden.
When not busy with the flowers, they devoted themselves to the vegetables ; Gran was delighted with hunting “hop-toads," as children call them, and as these abounded in our five acres, and were particularly fond of hiding in the water-melon patch, he hunted it over and over again, fairly plowing it up with his nose, crushing the vines, tearing the leaves to pieces, and breaking off the fruit. If he had killed the toads his proceedings might have come to an end with the exhaustion of the game; but he was too tender-hearted for this, and only pushed them with his nose to make them jump. He pursued this exciting sport till the water-melons were almost ruined, while Sher devoted himself mainly to hiding under the okras or among the carrots, and darting out at any passers-by in a playful mood. In the course of his strategic movements he broke down most of the brittle okras, and trampled rows of string-beans into the earth.
They had seen Patrick chase the chickens from the garden, and, having constituted themselves his adjutants, proceeded to keep the sacred precincts clear of these unholy intruders. Never would a wandering pullet or youthful rooster step within the fatal bounds but the two dogs would dart out with loud yelps, and would frequently follow her or him, naturally bewildered, and not knowing which way to escape, several times round the garden, over the beds and through the vegetables, doing more harm in five minutes than an entire brood of chickens would do in a month. It was in vain that we endeavored to explain to them that zeal was dangerous; and their manner of self-congratulation, and of demanding approval when they had finally succeeded in ejecting the trespasser, disarmed blame or correction.
There was one idiosyncrasy in Patrick's mind-he never could punish an animal. If the pups destroyed an entire bed, or broke down a dozen plants, he would only utter an exclamation or two of horror and reproach, and then add, apologetically,“ Ah! the poor bastes do not know any better.” This threw the duty of correction upon my shoulders, and I never was a subscriber to that horrible doctrine that