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Trifles light as air are brought to his door as great offences, and often is he accused of things of which he is entirely innocent. Rarely, indeed, does he experience either justice or kindness from anybody but yourself. The very neighbours are in a conspiracy against him. If he but howls a little in the courtyard or street by night-merely following his poetical propensity for baying the moon then have you civil-angry messages sent in next morning on all hands, remonstrating against what they spitefully call the annoyance.
If, in the merest good-nature, he leaps up upon a nurse-maid, as she parades the street with her interesting charge in the forenoon, then, as soon as papa comes home to dinner, may you look for a peremptory note from that gentleman, representing the fact in the most alarming light (the maid having exaggerated it to mamma, and mamma having, in her turn, exaggerated it to papa), and demanding no less than that your innocent favourite shall be chained up a prisoner for life, as, otherwise, the complainant will feel it necessary, for the sake of his family,' to take legal steps. The police authorities, too, are serious enemies to dogs. Every summer they take it into their heads that the creatures are on the point of turning mad, and out comes an order commanding that every one of them shall be muzzled, under pain of being apprehended and poisoned. This is nothing, of course, but an emanation of that spite which all men bear towards all dogs which do not belong to themselves.
The inconveniences entailed upon you by your affection are particularly felt when you and your dog take a walk. In the course of your stroll, you come to a pleasant garden or park open to the public, and which you therefore enter; but, lo! immediately within the gate, you behold the malicious placard : No Dogs Admitted-All found
within the enclosures will be shot.' You have therefore either to deny yourself the pleasure of walking over the grounds, on which you had set your heart, or to resolve upon having it under the risk of the destruction of your dumb friend. Choosing the safer course, you pursue your walk, and your dog being young and excursive, he is every moment over the enclosures at one side of the road or the other, and scouring through the adjacent fields, where, should he find a flock of sheep, he is instantly in the midst of them, barking like mad. The sheep disperse in consternation; the dog pursues; and the shepherd, after a frenzied endeavour to protect his charge, comes up breathing fire and darts at you, as if you were to blame. Some cursory remarks are made on both sides, and you are glad in the end if you can get yourself and dog away without a bodily collision of some kind with the incensed barbarian. As you go along, Roger meets many others of his own species, belonging to other gentlemen who are taking walks. With some, he is very friendly, and all passes off agreeably. In other cases, he and the other quadruped, being much about a size, and feeling some instinctive mutual hatred, draw up opposite to each other two yards off, look suspiciously and angrily for a minute, then declining a little each to a different side, go stiffly past each other, keeping their bodies as straight onward as possible, each murmuring exactly the same amount of wrath and defiance, each looking by the tail of his eye at the other with exactly the same glare of deadly enmity, and then pass on at an exactly corresponding pace, till, reaching two hillocks about a hundred yards apart, they let each other know, by a subdued bark and an intense scraping of the earth, that, if it had not been pre for one thing than another, each would have
respectively put an end to his opponent for ever. It is
'Your dog began, sir !'
These and such like phrases are exchanged ; and it is well if the affair ends by your passing each other much in the same growling, but mutually respectful way, as the
dogs in the former case. Do not be surprised, however, if you should find yourself, two mornings after, planted once more opposite to the military-looking man, with a pistol in your hand, he having the like weapon in his; while a friend, far more concerned for your honour than you are yourself, stands a little aside, prepared to say: 'Make ready--present-fire !'
The attendance of your affectionate Roger is apt to be not less troublesome when you go to make a call. Perhaps, with this intention, you leave him at home, or think you are doing so ; but the good faithful creature is so attached, and so fond of a walk, that ten to one he is at your heels before you have got to the end of the street. Poor fellow ! what can you do but take him with you?
The Dorlings are kind friendly people, particularly Mrs Dorling : they will not take it amiss if I bring in honest Roger. So to the door of the Dorlings you go, and finding Mrs D. at home, you are ushered into the drawing-room. To do you justice, you would not have allowed Roger to come in with you if the day had been wet, and the streets dirty ; but the day being dry, and the streets clean, you can see no harm he can do. You have altogether forgotten that Mrs Dorling keeps a catma favourite Tom, almost as large as Roger himself, and who always sits on the hearth-rug, an object of great veneration to the family, and the wonder of visitors. The moment, then, that you enter the room, Roger and Tom become mutually aware of each other's presence. Tom gets up his back and his tail, jumps upon the sofa, and spits and screams like one possessed. Roger, good innocent creature, makes no manifestation of hostility whatever ; but Mrs Dorling is, nevertheless, alarmed in the extremest degree, and, in her frenzied fear, gets upon the sofa also, and making an adroit use of her nether-garments, smothers up Tom under a shield more manifold than that of Ajax, deliriously shouting and crying at the same time to you to take away that frightful monster. You instantly seize Roger, and, taking him down stairs-poor fellow, he goes as meekly as a lamb !—you put him gently out at the door, and return by yourself to apologise for the disturbance. Mrs Dorling, a really kind and friendly woman, receives your apologies with a rueful suavity, which marks only too truly how much she has been discomposed, and for some minutes Tom gets much more of her conversation than you. At length, all irritation is smoothed away, and the conversation begins to get into a pleasant strain, when you begin, through the subsiding storm, to hear an impetuous scratching at the outer door, accompanied by a short impatient yelp and whine, such being the mode which worthy Roger has adopted of making the inmates aware that he regrets being separated from his master.
Mrs Dorling evidently has heard it too, and a shade of anxiety passes over her face, which you have no difficulty in tracing to a freshly-laid coat of mahogany colour, which you remember observing on the door between the ringing of the bell and the coming of the servant, and which you thought remarkably well executed. You instantly, of course, descend again, and getting Roger confined in an outhouse or cellar, think you have at length secured peace. But scarcely has the conversation been well resumed, when you hear such a burst of yelping and howling as might awake the dead; this being the remonstrance which the affectionate creature thinks proper to make against your cruelty in locking him up. You