"Have that dog removed--no, let him alone--no, adjutant, bring him here!"
So the adjutant, biting his lip, motioned Muldoon to fall out.
Tough old Muldoon tucked Scrap, struggling, squirming, glittering like a hardware shop, under his arm, and saluted his commander, while the review waited.
The colonel was blinking through his glass and trying not to grin.
"Sergeant, how many collars has that dog got on?"
"Thirteen, sor," said Muldoon.
"What for?" said the colonel, severely.
"Wan for each company, sor, an' wan for the band."
A FIRE-FIGHTER'S DOG
By Arthur Quiller-Couch
This is the story of a very distinguished member of the London Fire Brigade--the dog Chance. It proves that the fascinations of fires (and who that has witnessed a fire cannot own this fascination?) extends even to the brute creation. In old Egypt, Herodotus tells us, the cats used on the occasion of a conflagration to rush forth from their burning homes, and then madly attempt to return again; and the Egyptians, who worshipped the animals, had to form a ring round to prevent their dashing past and sacrificing themselves to the flames. This may, however, be due to the cat's notorious love for home. In the case of the dog Chance another hypothesis has to be searched for.
The animal formed his first acquaintance with the brigade by following a fireman from a conflagration in Shoreditch to the central station at Watling Street. Here, after he had been petted for some time by the men, his master came for him and took him home. But the dog quickly escaped and returned to the central station on the very first opportunity. He was carried back, returned, was carried back again, and again returned.
At this point his master--"like a mother whose son _will_ go to sea"--abandoned the struggle and allowed him to follow his own course. Henceforth for years he invariably went with the engine, sometimes upon the carriage itself, sometimes under the horses'
legs; and always, when going uphill, running in advance, and announcing by his bark the welcome news that the fire-engine was at hand.
Arrived at the fire, he would amuse himself with pulling burning logs of wood out of the flames with his mouth, firmly impressed that he was rendering the greatest service, and clearly anxious to show the laymen that he understood all about the business. Although he had his legs broken half a dozen times, he remained faithful to the profession he had so obstinately chosen. At last, having taken a more serious hurt than usual, he was being nursed by the firemen beside the hearth, when a "call" came. At the well-known sound of the engine turning out, the poor old dog made a last effort to climb upon it, and fell back--dead.
He was stuffed, and preserved at the station for some time. But even in death he was destined to prove the friend of the brigade.
For, one of the engineers having committed suicide, the firemen determined to raffle him for the benefit of the widow, and such was his fame that he realized 123 pounds 10 shillings, 9 pence, or over $615 in American money!
PLATO: THE STORY OF A CAT
By A. S. Downs
One day last summer a large handsome black cat walked gravely up one side of Main street, crossed, and went half-way down the other.
He stopped at a house called The Den, went up the piazza steps, and paused by an open window.
A lady sitting inside saw and spoke to him; but without taking any notice, he put his paws on the sill, looked around the room as if wondering if it would suit him, and finally gazed into her face.
After thinking a minute he went in, and from that hour took his place as an important member of the family. Civil to all, he gives his love only to the lady whom he first saw; and it is odd to see, as he lies by the fire, how he listens to all conversation, but raises his head only when she speaks, and drops it again when she has finished, with a pleased air.
No other person in the house is so wise, for he alone never makes a mistake. The hours he selects for his exercise are the sunniest; the carpets he lies upon the softest, and he knows the moment he enters the room whether his friend will let him lie in her lap, or whether because of her best gown she will have none of him. No one at The Den can tell how he came to be called Plato. It is a fact that he answers to the name, and when asked if so known before he came there, smiles wisely. "What matters it," the smile says, "how I was called, or where I came from, since I am Plato, and am here?"
He dislikes noise, and entirely disapproves sweeping. A broom and dustpan fill him with anxiety, and he seeks the soft cushions of the big lounge; but when these in their turn are beaten and tossed about, he retreats to the study-table. However, as soon as he learned that once a week his favorite room was turned into chaos, he sought another refuge, and refuses to get up that day until noon.
Many were the speculations as to Plato's Christmas present. All were satisfied with a rattan basket just large enough for him to lie in, with a light open canopy, cushions of cardinal chintz, and a cardinal satin bow to which was fastened a lovely card.
It was set down before Plato, and although it is probable it was the first he had ever seen, he showed neither surprise nor curiosity, but looked at it loftily as if such a retreat should have been given him long ago, for could not any discerning person see he was accustomed to luxury? He stepped in carefully and curled himself gracefully upon the soft cushions, the glowing tints of which were very becoming to his sable beauty.
It was soon seen that Plato was very fond of his basket, and was unwilling to share it in the smallest degree. When little Bessie put her doll in, "just to see if cardinal was becoming to her," he looked so stern and walked so fiercely toward them that dolly's heart sank within her, and Bessie said, "Please excuse us, Plato."
If balls and toys were carelessly dropped there he would push them out without delay, and if visitors took up the basket to examine it, he would fix his eyes upon them, thinking, "O yes, you would pick pockets or steal the spoons if I did not watch you."
As his conduct can never be predicted, great was the curiosity when one cold afternoon he was noticed walking up the avenue while a miserable yellow kitten dragged herself after him. She was so thin you could count her bones, and she had been so pulled and kicked that there seemed to be nothing of her but length and--dirt.
When Lord Plato chooses, he enters the front doors, but as he waits no man's pleasure, unless it pleases him first, he has a way of getting in on his own account. Upon one of the shed doors is an old-fashioned latch, which by jumping he can reach and lift with his paw. Having opened the door, he pushed his poor yellow straggler in and followed himself. She laid down at once on the floor, and Plato began washing her with his rough tongue, while the lookers-on assisted his hospitality by bringing a saucer of milk.
While she ate Plato rested, looking as pleased as if he were her mother at her enjoyment. The luncheon finished, the washing was resumed, and as the waif was now able to help, she soon looked more respectable. But Plato had not finished his work of mercy. He looked at the door leading to the parlor, then at her; and finally bent down tenderly to her little torn ears, as if whispering, but she would not move. Perhaps in all her wretched life she had never been so comfortable, and believed in letting well enough alone.
Reason and persuasion alike useless, Plato concluded to try force and, taking her by the back of the neck, carried her through the house and dropped her close to his dainty cherished basket.
Then he appeared a little uncertain what to do. The basket was nice and warm; he was tired and cold; it had been a present to him; the street wanderer was dirty still; and the rug would be a softer bed than she had ever known. Were these his thoughts, and was it selfishness he conquered when at last he lifted the shivering homeless creature into his own beautiful nest?
PETER: A CAT O' ONE TAIL
By Charles Morley
Peter, the admirable cat whose brief history I am about to relate, appeared in the world on a terrible winter's night. A fierce snowstorm was raging, the sleet was driving at a terrific rate through the air, and the streets were banked up with snow-drifts.
All traffic had been stopped, the roar of London was hushed, and every one who had the merest pretence of a fireside sought it on this memorable occasion. It was a wild night in the city, a wild night in the country, a wild night at sea, and certainly a most unpropitious night for the birth of a cat, an animal which is always associated with home and hearth. The fact remains that Peter was born on the night of one of the most terrible storms on record.
Our chairs were drawn up to the fire, the tea-things were on the table, and my mother was just about to try the strength of the brew, when Ann Tibbits, our faithful and well-tried maid-of-all-work, bounced into the room without knocking at the door. Her cap was all awry, her hair was dishevelled, and she gasped for breath as she addressed herself to my mother thus, in spasms:
"Please--ma'am--the cat has put her kittens--in--your--bonnet!"
Such a breach of discipline had never been known before in our prim household, where there was a place for everything, and everything had a place.
My mother pushed her spectacles on to her forehead, and, looking severely at Ann, said: "_Which_ one, Ann? My summer bonnet, or--my winter bonnet?"
"The one with the fur lining, ma'am."
"And a most comfortable bonnet to live in, I'm sure!" replied my mother sarcastically, as much as to say that she wished all cats had such a choice under the circumstances. "Another cat would have chosen the one with the lace and the violets, out of sheer perverseness. But there--I _knew_ I could depend on a cat which had been trained in _my_ house."
My mother poured out a cup of tea, betraying no agitation as she dropped two lumps of sugar into the cup--her customary allowance--and helped herself to cream. In a minute or two, however, she took up her knitting, and I noticed that two stitches in succession were dropped, a sure sign that she was perturbed in spirit. Suddenly my mother turned her eyes to the fire.
"_How many_, Ann?" she continued, addressing our faithful servant, who still remained standing at the table awaiting her orders.
"_Seven!_" cried my mother. "Seven--it's outrageous. Why, my bonnet wouldn't hold 'em!"
"Three in the bonnet, ma'am, and two in your new m-u-f-f!"
"My new muff!" cried my mother. "I _knew_ you were keeping something back." And the stitches dropped fast and furious. "That's only _five_, Ann," she continued, looking up from her work.
"Where are the other two? I insist upon knowing."