« PreviousContinue »
puppies that had been, similarly distributed, deserted its master to seek quarters in the merchants' houses. Mr. Hinde said, that these dogs would even know an Englishman in the street, and join company, when walking, to the annoyance of their masters. It certainly was the case that, when I arrived at Truxillo, the mother spaniel thought proper to acknowledge me as a countryman, in a manner that was not agveeable, inasmuch as, from her lying constantly at my feet, numerous fleas, with which the coast of Peru naturally abounds, migrated from her fur to my clothes.
'A peculiarity of the South American, at least the Peruvian dogs, is, that they generally attack in packs of two or three together. Their manner of biting also is different from other dogs. If an unfortunate stranger (dog) makes his appearance, the packs of two or three neighbouring ranchos will unite, and the visitor comes badly off. Individually they are not powerful, but, from their offensive alliances, it is not altogether agreeable going near the ranchos unarmed after dark. Mr. Hinde was nearly suffering on one occasion. The Toulea dogs were so poor that their bones might almost be counted through their skins. Yet their tastes and appetites were so accommodating that there were few things they would not eat.; for instance, beans, such as are given to horses.'
Dogs, of all animals, are not only most attached to man, but surpass all others in attaching men to them. This reciprocity of feeling is honourable to human nature; for it shows that we are naturally inclined to acknowledge a service. How kindly do those who have put the dog's fidelity to the trial speak of his good qualities! Captain Frankland, for the last seven years, has been travelling over the old and new world with no companion but his dog; and in his travels in Syria he thus speaks of his four-footed friend. 'It is surprising what pleasure a person, circumstanced as I was, without a companion, derived from the society of this dog, who always shared my humble meal, and slept at my feet upon the same carpet, covered up with the 'same cloak
'I observed,' he says, 'during the heat of the day, in my journeys in Syria, that Ponto suffered most extremely from it. He had however always the sagacity to run on a little before me, and place himself beneath the shade of some busli or stone, and here, as he lay panting for breath, and apparently quite exhausted, he would cover himself all over with the mould or sand, and thus enjoy a kind of earth hath.'
'The poor brute suffered also severely from thirst; but as we' always carried large earthen jars (of a porous nature, made at Bairout,) full of water for ourselves, we could generally spare him some to moisten his mouth and throat. In the mornings and evenings, which were always delightfully cool, he used to enjoy himself amazingly in hunting a stray jackal, gazelle, or 8ock of small birds.
'He suffered also extremely from leeches (the ova; of which, I suppose, he lapped up at the stagnant pools), and from ticks which adhered to his skin in great numbers. Indeed, I remember to have found one of these last half buried in my own light arm, near the shoulder.
'His vigilance at night, notwithstanding his fatigues by day, was extraordinary: he never suffered a mule or horse to move at his picket without getting np to see what was the matter. The Bedouins, with whom I fell in from time to time, took a great fancy to him, and often offered to buy him. When Jacoub related anecdotes of the dog, the ignorant Bedouins, staring with amazement, vowed he was a magician.
'At Baalbeck the Turks seemed to be much scandalized by my familiarity with him, and inquired the reason of my affection for an unclean animal. I replied to them in the words of Dr. Johnson, that the dog had been for four thousand years the intimate companion of man, but had learnt none of his vices; and, I added, that this animal, at all events, possessed a virtue unknown almost to man, namely, fidelity. They seemed struck by my answer, and said " God is great."
'It is easy to conceive how much I became attached to this animal: to him I could speak in English, and he alone appeared to understand me; of his fidelity l felt assured, and I knew that he would sacrifice his life to save mine. His care of my little convoy was quite remarkable; for if by chance Jacoub or the muleteer should lag behind, or if a mule or horse strayed for a moment out of the path, Ponto would turn hack to find him; and when he had brought him up to the main body, then he would come forward to me, and, by his gambols and harking, show the pride he felt in having successfully performed what he conceived to be his duty.'
The power of affection is particularly strong in dogs. Lieutenant Oxley, in his expedition into the interior of New South Wales, says,'A singular instance of affection in one of the brute creation was this day witnessed. About a week ago we killed a native dog, and threw his body into a small bush: in returning past the same spot to-day, we found the body removed three or four yards from the bush, and the female, in a dying state, lying close beside it. She had apparently been there fiom the day the dog was killed, being so weakened and emaciated as to be unable to move on our approach. It was deemed mercy to despatch her.'
On Tuesday, the 20th of August, 1828, Lachlan Maclean, a shepherd, in the service of Mr. M'Millan, commissary, Isle of Skye, left his home to visit his flocks, but not returning in the course of the day, his family became alarmed for his safety, and this alarm was increased by the return of one of the dogs which he had taken along with him. A search was begun by several persons in the neighbourhood, but without success, till Sunday afternoon, the 24th, when the body was found in a sequestered place. It appeared from the position in which it was lying, and from one of his arms being bruised, that he had expired in a fit of epilepsy, and that the arm kad received its injuries from his struggles in the paroxysm of the disease. One of his dogs remained with the body for three days, during which it was manifest that he had tasled no food.
The fate of Mr. Wood, as related by M'Gill in his 'Travels in Turkey, ' is one of those events of frequent occurrence in those countries, but attended in this case with considerable interest on account of the fidelity of a dog. Mr. Wood was travelling with despatches from Constantinople, and on account of the handitti who infested the road, he was advised by the consul to take a strong guard along with him. He, however, unhappily disregarded this advice, and in proceeding upon his journey, along with his Greek servant and guide, a Tartar, they were attacked by eight men about two days' journey from Constantinople, and robbed, after which Mr. Wood and his guide were murdered. The servant made a wonderful escape, by plunging into a river near at hand; he was several times fired at, when the ruffians, thinking they had killed him, retired.
When he returned with a party to remove and bury his master, a spaniel, which had been presented to him a short time before his departure to Constantinople, was found lying howling beside the dead body. Three times they brought this faithful animal to the village, and as often did he return to the grave: on going in search of him once more, for the last time, they found he had made a hole in the ground, to rest himself by the side of his master. The young Greek, on returning wfth bis friends to Constantinople, passed near the spot to pay a parting visit to the spaniel; he found him still there, and threw him a few loaves to keep him alive. This dog afterwards appeared at the door of his master's former habitation in Constantinople, worn almost to a shadow.
The game keeper of the Rev. Mr. Corsellis had reared a spaniel, which was his constant attendant both night and day: whenever old Daniel appeared, Dash was close beside him, and the dog was of infinite use in his nocturnal excursions. He never regarded the game during the night, although in the daytime no spaniel could find it in a better style or in greater quantity; but in the dark, if a strange foot had entered any of the coverts, Dash, by a significant whine, informed his master that the enemy was abroad; and many poachers have been detected and caught from this singular intelligence. After many years' friendly connexion, old Dauiel was seized with a pulmonary disease, which terminated in his death. As long as the slow but fatal progress of his disorder allowed him to crawl about, Dash, as usual, followed his footsteps: and when, still further exhausted try nature, he took to his bed, the faithful animal unwearily attended upon him ; and when he died, the dog would not quit the body.butlay upon the bed by its side. It was with difficulty he was tempted to eat any food; and although after the burial he was taken to the hall and caressed with all the tenderness which so fond an attachment naturally called forth, he took every opportunity to steal hack to the room in the cottage where his old master had breathed his last: there he would remain for hours, thence he daily visited his grave, and at the end of fourteen days, notwithstanding every kindness and attention shown him, he died literally broken-hearted.
I'll ' cast a thought on thee,' for ' pleasure's throng'
Has ceased to charm so lorn a heart as mine, Roam there thyself—But yet I do thee wrong.
Thou say'st, that grief sits heavy too on thine, And would'stnot have me know the hopes, the fears,
That thou hast foudly cherish'd—Yet, alas! I too have had my feelings and my tears,
Too great to be reveal'd—But let them pass Into oblivion's gulf—I would not bruise
A reed already breaking—rather bind
The voice of sympathy in accents kind.
July 4, 18*9. L,.