« PreviousContinue »
house which its master and itself had entered together that morning.
A butcher in North Wales was drowned, in consequence of his horse having plunged and thrown him, whilst endeavouring to cross a river, which had been swollen by the rain. His faithful dog, who had accompanied him all the day, followed the body as it sank, and seizing the collar of the coat with his teeth, brought the body to the side of the stream. Raising the head above the water, he held it firmly there during the whole of an inclement night. When discovered in the morning, the faithful animal was half immersed in water, and shivering with cold, but still engaged in its affectionate endeavours to save the master it loved. How deeply it is to be regretted, that such noble and faithful creatures should be ever illused.
The following is another instance of the sense and fidelity of a dog. An officer, having dined out, was returning to his barracks rather late in the evening, and rested himself on a large stone near the sea shore, where he shortly fell asleep. He was attended, very fortunately, by a small dog. The tide came in very rapidly while he was in this situation, and the little animal appears to have been sensible of his master's danger. He set off to the mess-room of the regiment, which was about a mile distant. On arriving at it, he exhibited the greatest signs of eagerness and distress, and pulled several of the officers by their clothes. This behaviour of the dog caused two or three of them to get up, upon which the animal appeared quite delighted, and kept running before them, turning every now and then to see if they followed him. Their curiosity being raised, they allowed the faithful creature to lead them to the spot where the officer was still fast asleep, the tide having just reached his feet. Had they not arrived at the moment they did, their comrade must inevitably have been drowned. Another interesting anecdote of the sense and affec-, tion of a dog is mentioned by Mr. Backhouse, in his “ Visit to the Australian Colonies." The eldest son of a settler near Maitland, when between two and three years old, wandered into the bush and lost his way. The boy would probably have perished, but for a faithful spaniel that followed him. At midnight the dog came and scratched at the door of one of the servants huts, and when it was opened, ran back towards the place where the child was. A man followed the dog, which led him to a considerable distance through a thick brush by the side of the river, where he found the little boy, seated on the ground, but almost stiff from cold.
A waggoner, attended by his faithful dog, attempted, while driving his team, to get upon one of the shafts of the waggon, but fell, and the wheels went over his head and killed him. The dog swam across a river, as the quickest way of getting to the farm, where he used almost human means to prevail upon the workmen to go with him to render assistance to his unfortunate master.
These anecdotes may serve to prove, not only the sense and attachment of dogs, but that when they have been educated by man and become his companion, they may
almost be considered as rational animals. interested the other day in watching a flock of sheep, attended by a drover and his dog, as they were passing along a turnpike road. The man went into an alehouse by the road-side, leaving his dog to look after the sheep. They spread themselves over the road and foot-path, some lying down and others feeding, while the dog, faithful to his trust, watched them carefully. When any carriage passed along the road, or a person was seen on the foot-path, the dog gently drove the sheep on one side to make a passage, and then resumed his station near the ale-house door. Those, indeed, who have travelled much at the time of the great fair of Weyhill, must have observed the sagacity of the drovers' dogs on the approach of a carriage. A passage
is made for it through the most numerous flocks of sheep, in the readiest and most expert manner, without any signal from the drover. The fatigue that these dogs must undergo is very great, and yet one sees them sidle up to their master after each exertion, and look at him, as if asking for his approbation of what they had done.
That dogs are able to discover likenesses in pictures is undoubted. The following anecdote may serve to corroborate the fact :
Pearce, Bishop of Rochester, calling one day on Sir Godfrey Kneller at his country seat near Hounslow, was taken into his summer-house, where there was a whole-length picture of Lady Kneller. It was much damaged and scratched at the feet, and the bishop expressed a curiosity to know how it became so injured. Sir Godfrey said, it was owing to a favourite dog of Lady Kneller's, who, having been accustomed to lie in her lap, scratched the picture in that manner in order to be taken up. This
made the bishop mention, that Zeuxis painted a bunch of grapes upon a boy's head so naturally, that a bird pecked at them. “If the boy," said Sir Godfrey, “ had been painted as naturally as the grapes, the bird would not have ventured to come near them."
The sense of dogs is sometimes developed at an early age. A neighbour of mine had a spaniel puppy, about six months old, which two ladies of his acquaintance undertook the care of. The dog had his food given him in a cup, which was always kept in the corner of the room for that purpose, and was fed while the worthy ladies were having their breakfast and tea.
One day they forgot the dog, being engaged in conversation, but to their surprise they saw him standing by the side of the table with the cup held in his mouth, evidently for the purpose of having something put into it. This he now continues to do regularly at every meal, and it is evident that there is a connexion of ideas between his wants and the means of having them supplied. It is impossible, in this instance, not to give the little animal credit for reflection, if not for some approach to
The following anecdote, which is perfectly well known in the town in which the circumstance occurred, places the intelligence, kind feeling, and noble disposition of the dog in a strong light, and quite equal to what has been recorded of the elephant under nearly similar circumstances. A grocer in Worcester had a powerful Newfoundland dog, which was reposing on the step of his door, when a sort of brewer's sledge was going rapidly down the hill leading to the bridge. Just as the sledge was passing the house, a little boy in crossing the street fell down in the way of the sledge, and would have been killed, had not the dog seen the danger, and, rushing forward, seized the boy in his mouth just in time to save his life, and deposited him on the foot-way uninjured.
Nor are cats without strong feelings of affection. An old lady had a favourite cat, which was much petted by her. One day a young friend was staying with her, and, while sitting at the window of the drawing-room, she began playfully to pat the old lady. The cat seeing what was going on, and probably supposing that her mistress was being ill-treated, crouched down with glaring eyes and swelling tail, and was evidently preparing to fly at the young lady, when fortunately her mistress saw the cat just in time to prevent the assault, and it was with some difficulty driven from the room.
Instances of the local memory of dogs, and their attachment to places where they have lived, are not uncommon; but the cat is generally supposed to be an animal of an inferior development of instinct and feelings. We, however, can mention a very singular example both of its fondness for the house where it was bred, and of the means, apparently beyond its power, which it took, when removed to a distance, to regain it. A medical gentleman, residing at Saxmundham, in Suffolk, dined with a friend in the village of Grundisburgh, about twelve miles distant. Late in the evening he. returned home; a young cat had been given to him by his host, which was placed in a basket, and deposited in the boot of the phaeton. This shy, timid little animal, for such is the cat, and one quite unused to leave the precincts of its former habitation, three days subsequent to the journey was found, wet, tired, and covered with dirt, at the door of its former master's house at Grundisburgh; having by some instinctive power, unaccountable to us, found its way from one place to another; assuredly not being guided by the sense of vision, nor the recollection of places, for the former journey had been performed in confinement and utter darkness.
(From “Scenes and Occupations of Country Life.”
By permission of John Murray, Esq.)
Rev. Horatius BONAR, D.D.
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Whilst these hot breezes blow;
Upon earth's fever'd brow!
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Soft resting on Thy breast;
And bid my spirit rest.
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Let Thine outstretched wing
Beside her desert-spring.