THE STORY OF A TERRIER.
[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPRCTATOR.1 Srs,—This is the story of a terrier. Pat' has lived all his ten and a half years, except the first six weeks, iathe middle of a large public school. Boys have always surrounded him, and seem to have imparted to him something of perpetual youth, though it must be admitted that his beard and moustache and the backs of his ears are very grey. He is the offspring of two highly bred parents, one a Yorkshire, the other a Skye terrier, and front the age of one and a half till now he has never failed to exhibit the pugnacious and virile spirit of his double lineage. Previously to that tender age his disposition was of the mildest ; he threatened to grow up a Hopley Porter among dogs, and when assailed by a stranger would meekly turn his head away so as to avoid injury, and make it difficult to retaliate. But for some inscrutable reason this sweet reasonableness very suddenly passed away. Something happened which made reprisals a necessity, and from that moment 'Pat' has been a dream compita pugnax, the terror of the neighbourhood, and the vanquisher of every canine foe not wholly disparate in size. His two chief enemies have passed away. The first, after losing all his teeth, found the recurrent conflicts with 'Pat' too much for his old age, especially as on one occasion he met his younger assailant without a muzzle, himself muzzled pursuant to law. The other one, though made much of at home, saw fit to decamp into the woods, and has been no more seen.
But before describing Pat's ' methods of compensating him- self for these losses, some salient points of character must be indicated. His love for his master, which is very firm, dates
from a deed of rapine which he committed at the age of tea months on the poultry _shed. His master detected him with a very young chicken - in his mouth, hanging indecisively from his jaws, and on' Pat's' speaking countenance there was a delicious expression of childlike geniality, and whimsical guilelessness. But this availed not to save him from a heavy visitation delivered on the spot, a switch of exactly the right size and weight being found close by. Since then his way of taking a licking has been a model for all terriers. Scarcely a sound escapes the door of his lips except a few most articulate maledictions, and immediately it is done he is brimming over with noisy ferocia, barking and jumping about and ready for any iniquity there and then. He is a person dramatic to the tip of his tail. He must know that his import- ance is not world-wide, but he always behaves as if it were. Again, he likes to pose as an absolute master of the ceremonies always, and yet be could be influenced, mostly for the bad, and by a female too,a half-sister of his own, poor little 'Cricket,' who was poisoned at three years of age. She, like many terriers, could stand anything except a small schoolboy running. The frequent spectacle of a lower boy late for lesson roused all the devihy in her, and 'Pat' was borne along by the impetus of her feelings till the two together, rushing unperceived behind, would, with sudden very loud yappings and snaps at the fleshy portion of the leg, reduce the poor urchin abruptly to a sense of the reality of life, and give him a signal lesson on punctuality. 'Pat' felt no animus whatever, but the part had to be played, and he played it to perfection. Again, when the squad of school recruits was being drilled on the terrace, Cricket' made up her mind, and told 'Pat' that the sharp words of command were so many insults directly hurled at her head, BO the twin black-haired, shaggy little furies laid on with their sharp white teeth to the lower end of the drill. sergeant's pantaloons. He, like the sentry at Pompeii, con- tinued at his post till the mischief was done, but afterwards bethought him of a way of compensation. He went to the dogs' master and pleaded that his unmentionables were in such a plight that he could no longer speak with his enemies in the gate. "Well, but the damage was not very great, I suppose ; the trousers are not new, are they ? "—" Beg pardon, Sir, but in a few days I am to be married, and these are the only pants I have in the world, 'and there is no time to get them mended." This was a closer. The man of war was given 16s. to purchase a ready-made pair at short notice, in flagrant disregard of the possibility of sweated labour.
But about the time that 'Cricket' died, 'Pat's' life was changed by the arrival of two beautiful golden collies, incredibly noisy animals and wholly without minds,—* 'Damon' and Daphne.' 'Damon' is a perfect embodiment of the charming picture drawn by William Watson. The "ancestral strenuous- ness" of the sheep-dog forbear has degenerated into mere noise and the silliest ballyra,gging. If he hears a cart a quarter. mile off, he rushes floundering through geranium beds and banging among the delphiniums, ramping ferociously with his mate. On these occasions he began by trying to make a fool of Pat.' He would allure him as if to a bear- fight, too silly to see that 'Pat' was thirsting for his life blood, and, conceive it, would rudely thrust his huge paw right into 'Pat's' face or shove him shamefully back among the lobelias, and only bark with inane delight at what he had done. But Pat,' with Billingsgate—horresco re/evens—pouring from his lips, used to fly after him, his short furry legs twinkling along the gravel, and hurl himself at the throat of this big, shameless buffoon. The only result was that he would grip hold of a lot of yellow hair, and 'Damon' would go dashing along roaring with laughter, hardly knowing that he was there. Could an elderly gentleman with an iron-grey beard and a name for prowess in battle be expected to stand this ? The end came in a strange fashion. Among Pat's' oddities is a habit he has of licking the chops of any friend or neighbour if haply there may be some rich remains of a stolen mutton bone. The spirit is that of the old woman with the jar of Falernian, but the gain seems more tangible. Anyhow, he often does it to Damon,' and on one occasion, the latter becoming restive, began to move away, when 'Pat' bit him sharply on the tender and hairless jowl. Damon,' formerly imperious, confessed this homethrust by a whimper, and from that day to this 'Pat' has known how to subdue him. No more boisterous gladness for poor Damon.' True, at the beginning of a walk he can still tark and scamper across the cricket-field, but that is only because 'Pat ' is too short in the leg to keep up. 'Damon' is a cowed and submissive beast now. Ofttimes he lies on the lawn nescio quid meditans nugarum et lotus in illis, when 'Pat,' thinking times are slow, conjures up a whole Iliad of fiction, and assumes that the unhappy collie is a dangerous character requiring repression. So he utters the moat sinister warnings to him from twenty yards away, and looking in the opposite direction, spurning the grass with his hind-legs with his tail cocked till it lies stiffly along his backbone. in genies animas an gusto in pectore versat. Or he will patrol round and round his victim, tyrannising disgracefully and glancing askance to see if human beings are observing him. Then in two minutes he will be perfectly friendly for the rest of the afternoon. It is all sham, but it adds a great zest to life, and that is the grand object of this fine actor and prince of bullies, as indeed it is to many another controversialist better known in the wider world.—I am, Sir, &c., E. LYTTELTON.