My Doggie and I Ebook
Title: My Doggie and I
Chapter One. Explains Itself.
I possess a doggie - not a dog, observe, but a doggie. If he had been a dog I would not have presumed to intrude him on your notice. A dog is all very well in his way - one of the noblest of animals, I admit, and pre−eminently fitted to be the companion of man, for he has an affectionate nature, which man demands, and a forgiving disposition, which man needs - but a dog, with all his noble qualities, is not to be compared to a doggie.
My doggie is unquestionably the most charming, and, in every way, delightful doggie that ever was born. My sister has a baby, about which she raves in somewhat similar terms, but of course that is ridiculous, for her baby differs in no particular from ordinary babies, except, perhaps, in the matter of violent weeping, of which it is fond; whereas my doggie is unique, a perfectly beautiful and singular specimen of - of well, I won't say what, because my friends usually laugh at me when I say it, and I don't like to be laughed at.
Freely admit that you don't at once perceive the finer qualities, either mental or physical, of my doggie, partly owing to the circumstance that he is shapeless and hairy. The former quality is not prepossessing, while the latter tends to veil the amiable expression of his countenance and the lustre of his speaking eyes. But as you come to know him he grows upon you; your feelings are touched, your affections stirred, and your love is finally evoked. As he resembles a door−mat, or rather a scrap of very ragged door−mat, and has an amiable spirit, I have called him "Dumps." I should not be surprised if you did not perceive any connection here. You are not the first who has failed to see it; I never saw it myself.
When I first met Dumps he was scurrying towards me along a sequestered country lane. It was in the Dog Days. Dust lay thick on the road; the creature's legs were remarkably short though active, and his hair being long he swept up the dust in clouds as he ran. He was yelping, and I observed that one or two stones appeared to be racing with, or after, him. The voice of an angry man also seemed to chase him, but the owner of the voice was at the moment concealed by a turn in the lane, which was bordered by high stone−walls.
Hydrophobia, of course, flashed into my mind. I grasped my stick and drew close to the wall. The hairy whirlwind, if I may so call it, came wildly on, but instead of passing me, or snapping at my legs as I had expected, it stopped and crawled towards me in a piteous; supplicating manner that at once disarmed me. If the creature had lain still, I should have been unable to distinguish its head from its tail; but as one end of him whined, and the other wagged, I had no difficulty.
Stooping down with caution, I patted the end that whined, whereupon the end that wagged became violently demonstrative. Just then the owner of the voice came round the corner. He was a big, rough fellow, in ragged garments, and armed with a thick stick, which he seemed about to fling at the little dog, when I checked him with a shout-
"You'd better not, my man, unless you want your own head broken!"
You see I am a pretty well−sized man myself, and, as I felt confidence in my strength, my stick, and the goodness of my cause, I was bold.
"What d'you mean by ill−treating the little dog?" I demanded sternly, as I stepped up to the man.
"A cove may do as he likes with his own, mayn't he?" answered the man, with a sulky scowl.
"A 'cove' may do nothing of the sort," said I indignantly, for cruelty to dumb animals always has the effect of inclining me to fight, though I am naturally of a peaceable disposition. "There is an Act of Parliament," I continued, "which goes by the honoured name of Martin, and if you venture to infringe that Act I'll have you taken up and prosecuted."
While I was speaking I observed a peculiar leer on the man's face, which I could not account for. He appeared, however, to have been affected by my threats, for he ceased to scowl, and assumed a deferential air as he replied, "Vell, sir, it do seem raither 'ard that a cove should be blowed up for kindness."
"Kindness!" I exclaimed, in surprise.
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