The Project Gutenberg eBook of Dogtown

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Title: Dogtown

Author: Mabel Osgood Wright

Release date: December 13, 2020 [eBook #64041]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by D A Alexander, David E. Brown, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by the Library of Congress)



After the Battle.

See page 99





New York

All rights reserved

Copyright, 1902,

Set up and electrotyped October, 1902.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith
Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

Such soft, warm bodies to cuddle,
Such queer little hearts to beat;
Such swift, round tongues to kiss,
Such sprawling, cushiony feet.
She could feel in her clasping fingers
The touch of the satiny skin,
And a cold, wet nose exploring
The dimples under her chin.”

This Book is for all those who love children and dogs



I. Enter Mrs. Waddles 1
II. Miss Letty and Hamlet 28
III. Trouble Begins 60
IV. Exit Lumberlegs 81
V. Jack and Jill Waddles 104
VI. Table Boarders 138
VII. Five O’clock Teas 171
VIII. A Hen Party 201
IX. The Herb Witch 220
X. Told by the Fire 247
XI. “Over the Hills and Far Away!” 274
XII. The Sixlets 300
XIII. Ben Uncas’s Last Hunt 331
XIV. The Barbed Wire Fence 367
XV. The Wedding 399



Angel Dogs.


After the Battle Frontispiece
Dinah, Lark, Phœbe, and Bobwhite vii
The Mayor of Dogtown 15
Happy’s First View of Waddles 22
Miss Letty 37
Tommy and Lumberlegs 61
He stood transfixed 79
Miss Muffet, Brother, and Lumberlegs 102
Toad Hunting 118
Anne drew back the curtain and looked out 134
Anne and Tommy 148
Waddles baying the Owls 163
Waddles drew back and eyed it ruefully 170
One lump or two, please? 182
The Herb Witch 239
Miss Letty feeding the Kennel Dogs 272
Pulling a branch down with her whip 278[xii]
He stood in the gateway holding his gun 285
Antonio and the Young Spaniels 292
The Sixlets 301
Naming the Pups 317
On Guard 326
The Reward 347
Ben Uncas 354
Jim (Seeley photo) 362
Miss Letty was waiting with a smile 378
Tommy walked on in Silence 380
Tommy meets the Rabbit 386
Mrs. Waddles 1
Aunt Prue and the Cat Basket 8
Waddles greeting Aunt Prue 12
Anne and Fox 30
Hamlet Begging (Pach Photo) 43
Hamlet Reading (Pach Photo) 46
Mr. Hugh’s Horse 54
His heavy curls were a mat of mud and burrs 58
The mail bag swinging from its gallows 64
Lily 68
The Game of Snatch Bone 71
Waddles Dethroned 74
Lumberlegs 81
Waddles sniffing the Morning Air 90
When Waddles was Ill 100
Jack and Jill Waddles 104
Curiosity 115
Wrestling 121
Jack watched her out of the corner of one eye 127
Jack Waddles 129
The Jay at Breakfast 154
An Owl Baby 156
Mamma Owl 160[xiii]
The Daytime Perch 165
Butter’s come! 178
They were heralded by much creaking of wheels 185
Waddles finds the Cake Basket 199
A Hen Party 201
At the Cross-roads 220
The Chicken Coop 227
The Herb Witch’s Home 228
Also geese that make good guide-posts 246
The Kennel Yard 256
A Boarder 258
The Puppies’ Bath-tub 262
In the Kennel Kitchen 263
Martin baking Bread 266
Ready for Travel 268
Flo Pointing 281
Silver-Tongue 296
Happy at Home 307
Big Brother 309
In Mischief 312
Leap-frog 322
Out of School 324
Drink, puppy, drink! 330
Watching out 335
Quick 338
Colin 344
A great owl with a smooth round head 383
The Bride 401
Tommy shouted ‘me!’ 402
He succeeded in sitting upright 404
Tip mounted guard until night came 405




Happy sat by the watering-trough, waiting for Baldy to come for the milking pails and go for the cows.

[2]Waddles, lying on the sunny side of the lilac hedge, was also waiting for this important evening happening; and though nothing in his appearance told that he was on the watch, for his back was toward the barn, yet he would know when Baldy crossed the yard to wash his hands at the pump, gauge the time he took to reach the house, and, without hurrying or looking round, be at his side the moment that the clashing of tin told that he had really come for the pails.

Seated on the stone wall, Anne and Miss Letty were also waiting, partly for Baldy, but chiefly to hear the evening music that would soon come from the wooded field edge and near-by garden, for it was a lovely May afternoon. In the morning there had been a warm rain that made worm pulling and bug hunting a pleasure instead of labour for the birds, and the air was full of scraps of song.

You have not met Happy before, or Miss Letty either. Happy was a beagle hound, with long, tan-coloured ears, the daintiest bit of a nose, a plump body marked and ticked with tan and black, and eyes of such beseeching softness that if she but looked at you when you were eating, you were impelled to give her the very last morsel, no matter what your hunger might be.

[3]Her legal name and pedigree was recorded in the Westminster Kennel Club register as “Cadence out of Melody, by Flute, breeder J. Sanford, Hilltop Kennels,” and really for two years of her life she had been merely a kennel dog. Now she was a lady of distinction, a real person beloved of Anne, Happy, of Happy Hall, mother of twin pups, Jack and Jill, and wife of no less honourable a person than Waddles, who, now past middle age, portly and sedate, was Mayor of Dogtown and an undisputed authority on all matters of dog law and etiquette.

If you should look for Dogtown on the map of the county where Happy Hall, Anne’s home, is located, you would not find it, for it is really concealed under the pretty name of Woodlands, and was discovered quite by accident by Anne’s Aunt Prue.

Now Aunt Prue was one of those ladies who prefer indoors to outdoors, and cats to dogs. The “Fireside Sphinx” has many virtues, and its rights should be respected, only it is a very strange thing that people who love cats cannot seem to fully appreciate dogs, which of course are the superior animals.

One day, a couple of years before this time, when Lumberlegs, the St. Bernard, then an awkward[4] pup, was a new arrival, and the Widow Dog Lily, who had been rescued from starving by Miss Jule, had been adopted by Tommy and become his guardian, Aunt Prue had come unexpectedly to pay her brother, Anne’s father, a visit.

She had not intended to arrive unannounced, for she liked to be met by the best go-to-meeting surrey and pair. But travelling and even planning for it always flustered her; and when she wrote to tell of her plans, after spoiling three sheets of paper, she directed the letter to another brother in Texas. Consequently, when she arrived at the Woodlands station at noon of a blazing July day,—she always took midday trains, it’s apt to thunder in the afternoon,—there was no one there to meet her. “No, marm, no hacks here to-day,” said the station master in answer to her request for one; “no use in ’phoning the stable either, all the teams here about have gone to the Sunday-school picnic, and I reckon the only folks to home is dogs.” So saying he banged down his office window and drifted across the road to dinner.

Aunt Prue paused and set down a stout wicker basket with an openwork top that she carried, straightened her bonnet, felt in her glove to be sure that her trunk check and return ticket were[5] safe. She always bought a return ticket as a sort of guarantee of safety, but usually lost it before it could be used.

She looked up the hill road. There was the store and post-office, then a quarter of a mile of open before the shade began, not a living thing was in sight; it was too hot for even the chickens to scratch up the dust.

The basket at her feet began to roll about uncannily, for in it was Miss Prue’s tortoise-shell tabby cat, which she always took visiting when she was going to stay more than two nights. In politics Miss Prue was a stanch monarchist of the old-time, “off-with-his-head” variety. The cat’s name was Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, and never, even in the most informal and playful moments, was she called either Gussie or Vic.

A violent scratching in the basket was followed by a long-drawn meow! Miss Prue took a small tin pan from her satchel and went toward the pump to give the pet a drink; but as she only pumped a couple of strokes, the water was tepid and not to her taste. She always gave the cat iced water, so she put up the tin. Poor K. A. V., smothering in the basket, would have been grateful for a lap of anything that was wet—even puddle water or sour milk; but she was not consulted,[6] and her temper waxed fierce. If people could only realize that the faults of their pets are chiefly of their own making, they would be more careful to look at those things that concern an animal from its point of view instead of their own.

With one more glance at the road, Miss Prue settled the basket firmly on her arm and trudged off. Augusta Victoria was not happy and, moreover, she was determined to get out of the basket.

For a few moments she sat in sullen silence making herself heavy, as only an animal being moved against its will knows how to do. The post-office was reached, and Miss Prue paused a few moments to rest on the steps. Happy thought! There was a late morning mail; perhaps the family had not yet called for it, as they were sure to do, for her brother being a literary man was very particular about his letters. She would inquire.

“Nope,” replied the girl who was tending office during the noon hour and preparing to hie to the picnic later by taking her hair out of curl papers and combing it into a mossy-looking bank above her freckled forehead, “your folks live beyond a mile, and the rural delivery fetches ’em their letters most times.”

Poor Miss Prue! She crossed over to “the leading grocer’s,” where “soft drinks” were conspicuously[7] advertised, and asked for a bottle of sarsaparilla.

“Sorry, madam,” said the solitary clerk, popping up in some confusion. He was finishing his toilet, preparatory to leaving, by shaving himself at a scrap of mirror resting on the cash register, and he came forward hurriedly with a billow of lather where his chin should have been. “I very much regret to say that all our liquid refreshments except molasses and vinegar are sold out on account of the picnic, but we still have a few Uneeda biscuits, madam, and a small wedge of superior extra mild cheese, if it would serve you for a luncheon. Ah, a drink! You don’t need a biscuit, not juicy enough. Ha! ha! I see,” and the chinless gentleman retired, laughing at his own wit.

Miss Prue merely gasped and walked on without answering. K. A. V. took a turn at scratching and lunging and then remained so passive that her mistress began to have qualms lest she should have fainted, yet did not dare open the basket. She leaned against the fence and listened, puss was breathing. The few cottages along the way were closed and silent; but as she got farther on where the larger places were scattered, her courage arose, for she remembered that the Burgess model[8] farm barns were on the way, and that there was a well close by the fence.

Yes, there it was surely, with a bright clean dipper hanging by it.

She put down the basket carefully, quenched her thirst, and then, after bathing her forehead with her handkerchief, was feeling in her bag for pussy’s dish, when a bumping sound made her drop it and turn hastily. K. A. V. had made a sudden spring, the basket was plunging down the bank, followed by an inquisitive fox terrier. Just as the basket stopped rolling the cat gave a terrified yowl, and the terrier started back, but only for a moment.

[9]Miss Prue seized the basket and looked about, calling in vain for help, but no one came, only more dogs, so she hurried back to the road, closing the gate behind her in frantic haste.

But what is a bar gate to dogs? Those that could neither get under or through, jumped over, for the dogs at the Burgess farm were always in fine condition. A second fox terrier sprang between the bars, a black-and-tan dachshund crawled under, while almost at the same time a collie and a greyhound cleared the top rail.

They were polite, gentlemanly dogs, fortunately, and accustomed to the best society. They never thought of touching Miss Prue; but in spite of her gestures turned their attention to the basket, sniffing and jostling it and saying things in a way to put Augusta Victoria into a frenzy.

As the strange party went up the hill, the pioneer terrier running ahead seemed to spread the news, for dogs of all degrees kept joining the procession: the great woolly St. Bernard, Rex, from the doctor’s piazza, the farrier’s mongrel black-and-tan, who happened to be coming across lots, two loping foxhounds who belonged to Squire Burley and had been taking a run on their own account, the minister’s water spaniel, the schoolmistress’s pug, a white bull terrier, a[10] comical-looking sheep dog from the milk farm, and lastly, a fantastically arrayed black poodle, with his wool trimmed into as many devices as the tattooing on a Fiji Islander, a silver bangle on one leg, and a crimson satin bow on his collar, joined the mob, in spite of the frantic calls of a maid on the steps of the select inn, who was striving to keep him clean while his owner was at luncheon; for this particular poodle had his teeth cleaned every day, could not roll in the dirt, and was not as other dogs, for which the others were doubtless thankful.

In a moment, however, he was in the middle of the fray, having the time of his life, enveloped in a cloud of dust, uttering the shrieking bark in which a thoroughbred poodle excels, while the farrier’s cur promptly pulled the satin bow into a string, and the dachshund, who had difficulty in keeping up with the rest, nipped the hairless parts of his hind legs.

Aunt Prue’s last hope lay in the sheriff; he surely would not be at the picnic. But he was, and his two dogs, Schnapps and Friday, dozing on a wagon seat before the stable door, suddenly waked and joined the procession.

Finding that gestures and threats were useless, Aunt Prue kept sturdily on, shifting the basket from one arm to the other as its weight increased;[11] for Augusta Victoria, weight fifteen pounds, springing lightly up a tree, and A. V., dashing about in the basket at the end of a hot walk, were two wholly different cats. Under such circumstances “a mile’s weight” should be an allowable term.

Just then she heard the rattle of a wagon coming up hill, and turned about, hoping for relief. In this wagon was an old man on his way home from the meadows, seated on an insecure load of salt hay, in which he was buried almost to the shoulders, while a strip of green cotton mosquito netting hanging from the edge of his wide hat, somewhat obscured his view of the scenery.

To beg a ride was, under the circumstances, out of the question; but Aunt Prue ventured to wave her satchel and to call out and ask him to drive the dogs away. But he was deaf to her entreaties, for the reason that he was stone deaf anyway; and as to the rest, he merely thought he saw a vigorous, stout, middle-aged woman on her return from market with an unusual lot of dogs, whose dinner she carried in her basket; and he drove on, trying to reckon how much it must cost to feed thirteen dogs, and set Aunt Prue down in his mind as “another fool woman.”

At last she saw in the distance the stone wall[12] that surrounded Happy Hall, and then a glimpse of the house through the trees revived her; but as she passed in the gateless entrance, two new and strange dogs greeted her,—Lily and Lumberlegs,—both rather objected to the visitors, and suddenly Lily fastened her wide jaws upon the basket.

Then at last poor Aunt Prue screamed loud and long, and Waddles, who had at first discreetly surveyed the proceedings from the porch, threw back his head and bayed. It was a very funny scene, though of course not nice for Aunt Prue; but it[13] often happens that funny things are disagreeable to somebody.

At the double noise, doors flew open, Baldy ran from the stable, Anne, her father, mother, and one of the maids from the house, while Waddles danced about and issued dog orders with such good effect that by the combined efforts the intruders were dispersed, Aunt Prue was ensconced in a piazza rocker and was being fanned by her gentle sister-in-law, Anne brought iced ginger ale, Baldy bore Augusta Victoria, basket and all, to a retired room in the barn, where she could be fed and calm her nerves, while the father by degrees unravelled the history of the walk.

At first Aunt Prue had cried, but now she sat bolt upright and severe in her chair, talking between sips of ginger ale that would get into her nose and give her a fuzziness of speech.

“Yes—a most unparalleled—experience for a lone woman—in a civilized land—Woodlands you—call the place—faugh!—I say it’s nothing more or less than Dogtown, and it’s lucky I bought my return ticket. Poor Augusta Victoria’s nerves are shattered, not to speak of mine, and home we go by evening train.”

She didn’t go, but stayed three weeks to a day, and had a very good time; when she felt[14] in her moist gloves for the ticket, it was gone as usual. But her story and name of Dogtown stayed with the region, and it tickled Miss Jule so, that the very next Christmas she gave Anne a large wooden box shaped like a doghouse, full of note-paper with a group of dogs’ heads and the words Happy Hall, Dogtown, stamped across the top in blue and gold, which Anne always used when writing invitations to picnics and other excursions of which she was so fond.

So in time it had come to be that Waddles was the acknowledged head of Dogtown and its people, these same being three times the number that had been the escort of Miss Prue and Augusta Victoria. For when people heard of the doings of the dogs at Happy Hall, and saw the beautiful setters, foxhounds, and field spaniels that Miss Jule raised in the Hilltop Kennels at the horse farm, every one wanted a dog of his or her own; and though Lily remained the only real bulldog in the community, there were several clever bull terriers, and Miss Letty brought back from her schooling abroad a wonderful black poodle, who understood three languages.


The Mayor of Dogtown.

Miss Jule’s dogs did not quite belong to Dogtown as citizens, because, being kennel dogs, they were not free to come and go and to express their[16] opinions like the others. They were as boarding-school children, having fixed times for exercise and play, in comparison to those who, after school, run free.

[17]There are some children who, though they may have good dispositions, can never be happy when cooped up and restrained. Tommy-Anne had been one of these, and so when, a year before, she had seen Cadence the beagle sitting looking mournfully through the slat door of her kennel, where she had been shut by her trainer for being heedless and unmanageable and not obeying his directions, her heart smote her and she felt so intimate a kinship with the little animal with the hopeless eyes, that she went to Miss Jule to ask the price of Cadence and if she might pay for her by instalments.

Miss Jule loved animals dearly, was tender-hearted, and had several pet dogs that were almost human; but the kennel dogs were raised for sale, and must be taught the various trades that, together with their pure breeding, made them valuable and able to earn their living.

No cruelty was allowed in the training-and-breaking-to-hunt process, but they simply must learn. Martin, Baldy’s brother, who not only broke colts under Miss Jule’s supervision, but[18] trained both fox and beagle hounds, had said of gentle Cadence: “She’s no mortal use for hunting rabbits, she won’t mind if you chide her, unless your very eyes are upon her, she bolts at sight of a gun, won’t heel or gather with the others. We don’t need her for breeding, and I think she’d be better out of the way.”

While Miss Jule was thinking over the matter, Anne had hurried home and counted the contents of her money box replete with the results of Christmas, a birthday, copying manuscript for her father, and various dealings in rags, bottles, and old iron. She had been saving seriously to buy a camera holding glass plates that she could develop herself, and so be able to take pictures of her dear woods and flowers, the dogs, and, best of all, of her father and mother as they walked out in the garden together in their everyday clothes.

Thirty-seven dollars the money had footed up. The camera that she had chosen, together with the trays, drying rack, red lantern, some plates, etc., would be thirty dollars. Was it possible that Miss Jule would sell a thoroughbred rabbit hound for seven dollars?

Anne knew that she had often received a hundred dollars for a well-broken young hound; but poor Cadence did not seem to be broken at all,[19] except in spirit, so that might make a difference; anyway, the camera could wait, for she kept seeing those appealing eyes, and had an instinctive feeling that Cadence’s fate was in her hands.

“Sell Cadence to you, so she needn’t be shut up so much? What will they say at home to another dog about? You know it was only last week that Tommy told me that Lumberlegs and Lily grinned at each other ‘awfully,’ and that Waddles would not let either of them go to walk with him. What will your mother say?”

Anne had not thought of this, to be sure; but no one at home had ever objected to any animals excepting white mice, and her mother had rebelled at having them kept in a bureau drawer, and finally put them under ban.

As Anne grew older she was more drawn toward those of her own race than when as Tommy-Anne she had played alone; but the birds and little beasts were still her friends and brothers, and ever would be. She would, if possible, get Cadence from behind the bars and risk the consequences.

“What do you want her for? She is either stupid or sullen, and will not even charge or come to heel; she will never learn anything.”

“Please, Miss Jule, I don’t think she is stupid or ugly, only somehow she doesn’t understand;[20] maybe she can’t think when she is shut up so much. You know that when I was little I could never learn lessons in school, but if I sat by father I couldn’t have helped learning if I had tried.”

Miss Jule did not smile at the simple earnestness of the tall slip of a girl with the great dark eyes that looked so pleadingly at her, for Anne at fifteen believed as thoroughly in the brotherhood and rights of all living things as had Tommy-Anne at five.

“Well, I’ll make a bargain with you,” she said at last; “you may have her on a week’s trial: if you like her, you shall have her at a reasonable price” (for Miss Jule knew that with Anne’s ideas it would never do to offer her as a gift something she had offered to purchase); “if you can’t manage her, you can bring her back. Perhaps Waddles may like her for a mate.”

“Here, take a leader,” called Miss Jule, as Anne darted off full of the new idea, “she’s as likely to bolt off to the next county as to go home with you.”

Anne took the leather leash and hurried to open the door of the compartment in the kennel yard where Cadence sat looking wistfully out. After fastening the snap in the collar she tried to lead her out; but Cadence flattened herself to[21] the floor in an agony of fear, no coaxing, no gentle calling of her name produced the least effect, she squatted there motionless as a stone.


Happy’s First View of Waddles.

[23]Anne crouched upon the door-sill quite in despair, then she saw that Cadence’s eyes were fastened upon her face, so she smiled, chirruped to her, and tried what patting her back and smoothing her long ears would do.

The effect was magical; the little hound stopped cowering, looked up, gave a spring, touching Anne’s finger-tips with her tongue, and walked off after her new mistress without further objection.

In fact, as they took the downhill path toward home, Cadence led as if she was quite well aware where she was going, and she tugged and strained so on the leash when she came in sight of the house as to make Anne fairly trot.

Then for the first time Anne thought of the objections that Waddles might make; for though he had chummed with Lumberlegs until recently, their relations were not wholly satisfactory, and as for Lily—well, he never interfered with her, but then also he never asked her to walk with him.

As it chanced Waddles was standing in the middle of the walk sniffing the air, with a very sentimental expression on his mobile face.

Anne slipped the leash, as it does not lead to[24] friendliness when strange dogs meet to have one run free and the other chained. Before Waddles fully realized what had happened, before he could give a sniff or a growl, Cadence evidently captivated by his looks had bounded up, given him the coyest lick on the nose and sprung back again, her tail wagging in a complete circle and an unmistakable smile on her face.

Thus taken by surprise Waddles surrendered, and by way of making the newcomer feel at home he raised his head, gave a bay, and then putting his nose to the ground found the trail he had been trying to locate, gave a short bark and started off in full cry, Cadence following and yelping madly.

“She knows how to pick up a trail if she is stupid,” said Anne to herself; “but I wonder if she will come back here or go up to the Kennels. I think I will just go in and explain about her to mother while she has her run.”

The explanation was fortunately satisfactory; but then Anne’s father and mother seldom objected to anything unless it was unkind, dangerous, or too expensive.

In a quarter of an hour or so back came the pair, evidently the best of friends, Waddles allowing Cadence not only to drink from his dish, but to take a nicely ripened beef bone that he had[25] partly buried under the big apple tree. This was a wonderful bit of condescension, as it is against the rules of Dogtown to dig up another’s bone, at least when the other is looking, and the offence is punishable with a ki-yi-ing and a real bite.

“Mistress,” said Waddles, behind his paw as it were, “that is a very beautiful young lady; I will gladly share my bones with her, and that is something that I have never done before,” which was perfectly true; for Waddles, besides being very strict about food etiquette, thought a good deal about what he ate.

The next morning when Anne came downstairs Cadence was lying on the steps with her back to the house. Anne called her and clapped her hands together, but she did not stir, yet the moment Anne’s footsteps jarred the boards Cadence turned and came to her side.

Then the truth flashed upon Anne, the little hound was neither stupid nor disobedient, but almost stone deaf. She could not hear the voice, but felt the sound as it were from the footstep.

“There, I told Miss Jule that you weren’t wicked, but that you couldn’t understand all that shouting and to-heeling, you dear little abused thing. Now I’ll know exactly how to treat you[26] and what to expect.” And Anne held the pretty, soft paws in one hand while she lifted the dog’s face so that it might see what she said.

Truly, then, Cadence understood once and for all, and when puzzled always looked in her mistress’s face.

When Miss Jule heard the story, she questioned all at the Horse Farm and about the Kennels closely, and found that once, when Cadence was a pup of less than a year, a gun had burst quite close to her head.

“Now,” said Anne, triumphantly, “you see why she was gun shy, and deaf, and everything. You know, Miss Jule, animals are hardly ever bad; it’s mostly something what we’ve done ourselves, and it’s being a kennel dog, too. You see you can never be really intimate with them, and know their troubles as I do Waddles.”

Miss Jule sighed, for she knew it was true.

From that day onward Cadence was a new dog, no longer sad eyed, though she knew mighty well how to plead for what she wanted with those golden brown eyes, but the most joyous thing alive.

She was pleased if she had a bone, or equally[27] pleased with a dog biscuit, happy to go to walk, happy to stay at home; her face wore a perpetual smile, and her tail a ceaseless wag.

“Let us call her something different from that old kennel name, even if she can’t hear it,” said Anne, one day six months later, as they stood watching Cadence tending her first children, the fascinating twins, Jack and Jill, and teaching them to lap milk.

“Yes,” assented Tommy, who stood by, pondering as to how soon the pups might be harnessed to a toy cart; “let’s call her Happy, she is always so glad.” And Happy it is—Mrs. Happy Waddles of Happy Hall.

“Now there’s something else between us besides not understanding things when we are shut up,” said Anne, making the hound stand up and put both paws in her lap. “We are both named one thing and called another; for you probably don’t know, my dear, unless Waddles has told you, that my true name is Diana, after the hunting lady, and really I think some night this fall I’ll live up to it and go out with you and Waddles to hunt rabbits.”

So this is the annal of the coming of Happy, wife of Waddles, Mayor of Dogtown.



Spring always brought many arrivals at Miss Jule’s farm, so that Anne and Tommy found some new animal at every visit: either an awkward, frolicsome colt, a fawn-eyed Jersey calf, or a litter of pups; for Miss Jule was so successful in rearing healthy animals that those she could not keep met with a ready sale everywhere.

The children went up nearly every afternoon in fine weather, riding their bicycles all but the steepest part of the way, and having a safe and easy coast back, for the road was broad, smooth as a floor, and there were no cross-roads the entire length of the slope, cross-roads being very bad things for coasters either on wheels or sleds.

Anne, however, did not care about wheeling as much as for riding horseback. During the past two years Miss Jule’s old brown horse Fox, though well on in his twenties, had been a safe mount for her, as well as an intelligent companion. Of[29] course she never rode very fast, and was always careful to walk him down hills; as old horses, no matter if they are thoroughbreds, sometimes kneel at the wrong time. But he was very clever at taking narrow paths through the woods, and keeping clear of the trees, walking up the little brook which was one of Anne’s favourite pastimes, without pawing the water and soaking her skirt.

Anne’s father had a beautiful young horse Tom, which he both rode and drove, but who did not like side-saddles, and did not intend wearing one. So one day when Anne had ridden him up through the orchard pasture to look for the cows that had gone astray, he first tried to scrape her off by squeezing against the tree trunk, and then, when she dismounted to see if the saddle or girths could possibly gall him, he took a roll in the spring, saddle and all, and galloped home, leaving Anne to walk.

So Fox remained her pet, and all she had to do to make him come when she wanted a ride was to go to the pasture, where he spent his days luxuriously shod with rubber tips, or to the barnyard, where he was watered, and say “Fox!” ever so softly, and he would come trotting up, to be either petted or saddled, eager to nibble the bit of sugar,[30] carrot, or bunch of clover that she always brought him, putting back his ears meanwhile in pure mischief, and pretending to bite her fingers, while his nostrils seemed to quiver with laughter at the joke.

In the middle days of this particular spring, the one that came before the summer when Waddles and Lumberlegs had their great fight, it was neither Fox nor the new calves that drew Anne so often to the Hilltop Farm, but Miss Letty and Hamlet: Miss Letty being neither calf, colt, nor puppy, but a very pretty girl, and Hamlet a worldly-wise French poodle.

Miss Letty was the orphan niece of Miss Jule, the child of her only brother who had lived abroad[31] for many years, married a French lady, and died there. Miss Letty had been sent to an English and then a French school by another aunt, her mother’s sister; now as her father had willed it, she had come on a visit to America, so that she might see his country and choose with which aunt she preferred to make her home.

When Anne heard that Miss Jule’s niece was coming to make a visit half a year long, and that she had a pet dog, she was very much excited, for Anne was beginning to long for a companion of her own age. She only hoped that Waddles would like the dog visitor, and then they four could take lovely excursions together afoot and on horseback, that is, if a girl from a French boarding-school knew how to manage horses; if she didn’t, of course she could ride Fox until she learned.

Anne did not know exactly how old Letty was, though of course Miss Jule did; but she always thought and spoke of her as a schoolgirl, and told Anne that it would be a fine chance to improve her French, and that in return she could teach Letty about wood things, for Letty had been brought up almost altogether in the city. So Anne wondered whether she knew enough French to make Letty understand, and went about talking[32] to herself and all the animals on the place in such words as she knew, much to the confusion and disgust of Waddles, who recognized something familiar in the invitation to aller à la poste, yet did not quite understand it as the usual invitation to “go to the post-office.”

At first Tommy had not been interested. “If it was a rather big boy with a real gun that was coming, we could go hunting together and have some fun next cold weather when the bunnies come out. Girls aren’t much good excepting Anne, and even she don’t seem to care for guns either,” he said.

Tommy’s latest treasure was a spring shot-gun that went off with an alarming pop, but for which he had no ammunition, so as yet he went about, cocking, aiming, and firing at imaginary big game,—real squirrels and crows,—quite content to see them scurry away in alarm; at the same time being careful, as his father had charged him, never to point it at people, for this is a “mustn’t be” of a real gun, which a boy must learn by heart before he can even dream of owning one.

When one Saturday morning Martin, who lived at the Hilltop Farm, came with a note saying that Miss Letty and Hamlet had arrived, and that Miss Jule would be happy to have Anne and[33] Tommy come up to dinner, Tommy forgot his poor opinion of girls in general and was as eager as Anne herself.

Miss Jule kept to the country habit of a one o’clock dinner, and had a hearty but movable tea at the end of day, when for six months of the year one begrudges spending much time indoors. As the note came before nine o’clock, it was too much to expect that the children should wait until nearly dinner time before accepting the invitation.

“Of course,” said Anne, in explanation of starting at ten o’clock, “at most places it doesn’t do to go until a few minutes before you are asked, because the people may be busy, or making the dessert, or not dressed; but Miss Jule is always busy, has fruit for dessert, and is never dressed, so she’s quite as ready one time as another,” which somewhat startling statement of Anne’s did not mean that Miss Jule was a clothesless savage, but simply that, without the useless state of fuss and feathers known as “being dressed,” she was always ready to have her friends come and take her as they found her, which was usually doing something interesting.

Waddles had an extra brushing in honour of going out to dine, for he also had several friends at[34] the Hilltop Kennels with whom he exchanged very pleasant calls. In fact, they belonged to his particular hunting-club, that admitted only the most discreet citizens of Dogtown, and had a limited membership.

With the regular kennel dogs Waddles had only a sniffing acquaintance, which is the same as a mere bowing acquaintance among house people. But besides these dogs that were bought and sold, trained for hunting and sent travelling about to shows and held trials, Miss Jule had four who were pets and house fourfoots, even though two were rather large for this purpose.

These were Mr. Wolf, whose registered name was Ben Uncas, a long-coated St. Bernard, with beautiful silky hair, and a very gentle face that belied the fact that he was a mighty hunter, who seemed to have a little wolf blood in his veins; Quick, the most agile and impertinent of fox terriers; Tip, a retrieving spaniel, in size between a field and a cocker, who wore a coat of wavy golden red hair, and rivalled even Waddles in wisdom; and Colin, an Irish setter, big for his breed, and as clumsy and affectionate as a well-bred dog could be.

Colin could boast a Dogtown record almost as free from fighting as Waddles, but for a different[35] reason. He was handsome, but not over valiant, and when some indiscretion of his aroused the ire of another dog, Colin would immediately roll over on his back and kick his four legs so fast that his confused opponent could get no grip whatever, and usually found that he had urgent business on the other side of the street.

Anne and Tommy rode up the long hill very slowly, partly because it was rather early, and partly because they had on fresh wash suits for the first time that season, and wash suits look best before they are withered. At least Anne thought of this, for she had heard that Miss Letty had money enough to buy all the pretty clothes she wished, and likely as not she might wear muslin shirt waists and lots of pretty ribbons. Though Anne did not bother much about her dresses, and had not worn her best frock, lest she might wish to play, she felt more comfortable to know that her cambric gown with its plain, turnover collar was clean, and that her cherry-coloured hair ribbons were new and had not been “retrieved” by the whole Waddles family in turn.

“I know it’s rather early,” said Anne, after greeting Miss Jule, who for a wonder was sitting in idleness amid an unusual number of vases that waited for flowers on the side porch that overlooked[36] the prim, old-fashioned garden; “but I thought we could see the new setter pups if Miss Letty was busy or tired or anything; and if she wasn’t, we could play hide-and-seek with her and Mr. Wolf and Waddles up in the corn-field. Some of the last year’s stacks are there yet, and we can creep into them finely. Her dog may not know how to play, and we can teach him.”

Miss Jule gave a queer little short laugh, started to say something, stopped with a very funny expression on her plain, jolly face, and said: “It’s not at all too early. Letty is over there in the garden beyond the hedge, getting me some flowers for these big jars. You can introduce yourselves, and ask her to play hide-and-seek, only I’m afraid that Waddles will not like Hamlet. Tip was so rude that I’ve had to tie him up.”

Anne called Waddles, who was talking to Mr. Wolf in his day retreat under the steps, and went down the path with Tommy, not noticing that Mr. Wolf, Quick, and Colin were following, or that Tip joined the trio as soon as they were past the lilac hedge, showing by his collarless condition that he had broken jail.


Miss Letty.

[38]As the children looked about they did not see any little girl. Ah, yes, there was a flutter of white the other side of the bulb beds, so they turned in that direction to find a young lady standing among the borders, dressed in such dainty, lovely, flower-coloured clothes as they had never seen before, at least, never in a garden. One slender white hand hung by her side, while the other grasped the iris stalks. They could not see her face because of the lace that drooped from her hat, but her hair was light brown, and as fluffy as thistle-down.

[39]Could this be the little girl companion that Anne had longed for? Her heart fell in disappointment. Yes, it must be, for there was no one else in the garden.

“She is a grown-up young lady, with gowns that wiggle on the ground, and all our fun is spoilt,” said Anne, softly, checking Tommy who was about to call out.

Tommy, however, was not so sure that he was disappointed; the pretty girl attracted him, and he walked directly toward her. At that moment Waddles, catching sight of a strange-looking dog, partly hidden in the grass, gave a bark, and the face under the broad hat turned toward them, opened its mouth and spoke, setting their doubts as to its being Miss Letty at rest.

“This is Anne I know,” said a delightful, laughing voice, that spoke every word distinctly, with[40] hardly a bit of accent, and yet had an intimate sound, “and Tommy, too. Ah, yes, I know you very well, and if you’d not come to see me this morning, I should have called upon you this afternoon. I suppose that dear dog with the long ears is Waddles, come to be introduced to Hamlet,” and she raised an odd silver whistle that hung from her belt by a chain and gave two short calls.

“Yes, we came as soon after Miss Jule sent the note as we could,” said Tommy, collecting himself more quickly than Anne, “though mother said dinner at one meant not to start before half-past twelve. But we didn’t know that you were so old or could talk our way, and Anne thought she must speak French, and she’s been muttering all the way up, though Waddles and I didn’t like it, for we think American is good enough for anybody. Besides, Anne said perhaps you’d like to play hide-and-seek up in the corn-field. You see, we didn’t know you were a kind of flower fairy.”

Then Miss Letty’s eyes met Anne’s, and they both burst into a merry laugh that made them fast friends, while she shook hands heartily with Tommy instead of kissing his little pug nose as she wished, which would have offended him as being babyish.

“Certainly, I will play hide-and-seek if you will[41] tell me precisely what you expected to find me, Miss Anne. I think that you look disappointed.”

“I’m not Miss, I’m only plain Anne, who used to be Tommy-Anne until six years ago, when Tommy came; at least I’m called Anne, because I don’t like my real name, Diana. You know so few people say it nicely, and Obi calls it Dinah, the same as the fat coloured woman’s name who lives up the road and launders our very best things.”

“Is your name really Diana?” cried Miss Letty, clapping her hands in delight. “It is the name of one of my dearest friends at school, whom I miss dreadfully, and who had dark hair and eyes like yours. I will call your name smoothly like this, Diane, the French way, for it is a pleasure to me, and then perhaps you will grow to like it; for a girl who loves horses and dogs could not be named better.”

“Yes, Miss Letty, I think I do like it already, and I might as well tell you that I thought you would be a girl like me, so that we could tramp about and do things together, and take pictures when I get my new camera, and I did think you might like to play hide-and-seek this morning with our dogs, and teach yours how, but of course—”

“Of course I shall be charmed to play hide-and-seek,[42] and be your companion, even if I am very old,—quite eighteen. Come, we will begin now as soon as I take these flowers to my aunt,” and she gathered the iris into the skirt of her dainty gown upon which tiny violets formed stripes that matched the iris in colour.

I shall call you ‘flower lady,’” said Tommy, decidedly, with a sturdy expression of face that quite settled the matter as far as he was concerned.

“Now I’m ready, but where is Hamlet?” said Letty, after she had given Miss Jule the flowers. “Ah, here he comes, and a chance also to try your French, Diane, for the only English word he knows is his name. Now for hide-and-seek.”

“But surely you aren’t going to wear your best gown and slippers to play hide-and-seek in the corn-field and woods for there are lots of old briers and prickly things,” expostulated Anne, glancing at Miss Jule; but as the latter went on arranging her flowers and said nothing, Anne feared she had been rude.

“This isn’t a best gown, only a muslin—see, I can hold it up so,” and Miss Letty threw the trailing skirt over her arm, showing an underskirt so frail that plainly clad Anne nearly gasped in spite of herself. “And I never wear thick shoes;[43] in fact, I haven’t any, though they might be useful here.”

Then she turned and began chatting gayly in French to Hamlet who came down the path, looking somewhat anxiously behind him. As a dog of his breed Hamlet was doubtless quite perfect; but to Anne, accustomed to the rough-and-ready citizens of Dogtown, to whom a bath and a brushing was full dress, his costume was rather startling. His long hair, which on his crown and shoulders hung in stringy curls like a mop, was shaved close on the lower part of his body, with the exception of a tuft on each hip and bands around his ankles. His clean-shaven face was decorated by a long mustache, he wore a silver bangle collar run with blue ribbon[44] that hardly showed amid his curls, and a bracelet on one ankle. At a signal from his mistress he sprang upon a low wicker stand that served as a porch tea table, sat erect, and saluted.

Tommy was delighted, of course, and Miss Letty made him do all his tricks, of which he knew as many as a circus dog. He waltzed, he said his prayers, he fetched a handkerchief from Miss Letty’s room, although he had only been in the house two days, and so on, ending by turning three somersaults and barking like mad when Miss Letty waved her handkerchief and cried, “Vive la Republique!”

“What do you think of Hamlet?” asked Miss Letty, throwing herself into a hammock to get her breath. “Can Waddles do as many tricks?” she added, rather piqued that Anne was not more enthusiastic, “and does he always mind when you speak to him?”

“I think Hamlet is very clever. No, Waddles does not do tricks; but he knows a great deal, and a great many things that take a great deal of thinking out. For one thing, he knows how to take care of himself, though I can’t say that he always minds so very well; but I am sure that he is a more durable country dog than Hamlet.”

“Minding is everything,” said Miss Letty,[45] decidedly; “Hamlet obeys every word I say, and so he never really has to think for himself. Sh! Tais-toi!” she cried, clapping her hands, for Hamlet having once started to bark in honour of the French Republic had no mind to stop; and as every one knows, who has either owned or lived next door to one, a poodle has a voice of such piercing and incessant shrillness that even a fence cat on a moonlight night cannot compete with it.

Hamlet would not listen, and kept on tearing round the house and barking, until not only all the dogs in the kennels were set agog, but the signal travelled over Dogtown and answering barks could be heard for a mile away, while Miss Jule put her fingers in her ears and Anne burst out laughing in spite of herself.

“He’s a little upset,” said his mistress when he was finally quiet; “he is not used to so much space, and it’s gone to his head.”—“Come,” she called, speaking French rapidly, “sit up and smoke your pipe to calm yourself, and read the paper.”

Hamlet meekly mounted the stand again, while his mistress produced a short clay pipe from her work-bag that hung by the hammock and stuck it in his mouth, perched Miss Jule’s eyeglasses upon his nose, and held the morning paper before him.

[46]“No, do not look at me—read!” she said, as his eyes rolled about in a helpless sort of fashion, “read until I stop counting.”

“Now,” she said, when the lesson was over, “we will all go and play hide-and-seek. Do you know the French for that, Anne? No? Well, it is câche-câche. Come, Tommy, I will race you to the wall;” tossing her skirt once more over her arm, Miss Letty whirled away,—muslin, lace, openwork stockings, high-heeled slippers, and all,—Anne[47] and Tommy padding along after in their broad-soled shoes.

Miss Jule stopped laughing and sighed, saying to herself: “She is sunny tempered and bright, but she has more need to learn American of Anne than Anne has to learn French. I was afraid this morning that the farm was too dull a place for such a dainty lady, but I believe this visit will be the making of her. If only something would happen to the poodle. He gets on my nerves, though I can’t tell why, and I’d quite forgotten that I had any.” This was a strange opinion to come from Miss Jule, who was the friend of every little cur in Dogtown, and had been known to pay the license for more than one poor body in danger of losing a seemingly worthless pet.

Once in the corn-field the difference in age between Anne and Miss Letty melted as if by magic, and they chatted away as merrily as if they had been life-long friends. Anne, looking up to the older girl as a beautiful and superior being, was further enthralled by finding that she knew a great deal about the pictures that she herself loved, and had actually once seen Rosa Bonheur, who[48] painted the wonderful “Horse Fair,” a coloured print of which was Anne’s chief treasure, and had really stood beside her once when she was painting a great white bull.

To Miss Letty, on the other hand, who had never before thought that the country was anything more than a place full of trees and grass that was very dull to stay in for more than a week, and a dreadful place to spoil one’s complexion, Anne’s friendship with wild things seemed like a living fairy tale, and Anne herself a veritable brownie.

Waddles, Mr. Wolf, Quick, Colin, and Tip played hide-and-seek beautifully; but Miss Letty would not let Hamlet join in the game, because she said that his hair was too long and needed clipping, and might get full of straws; then his feet were delicate, and the stubble might cut them, or the briers tear his ears or pull off his bracelet. Then, too, his hair had been freshly oiled to keep it black, after the manner of poodles, and it would be fatal to its lustre if dirt got upon it.

So poor Hamlet had to suffer the shame of being tied to a small tree, in full sight of the other dogs, by one of his mistress’s violet ribbons. He[49] was at heart a manly, brave dog, and in no way responsible for the caprice that makes so many of his tribe play the fool. Also the other dogs seemed to have a contempt for his forlorn and ladylike state, and Anne distinctly saw Tip kick dirt at him in passing, and dignified Waddles nipped his hind leg.

As it drew near noon the trio wandered toward the wooded edge of the field, where Anne said they would be sure to find yellow violets, wind flowers, and spring beauties, and Miss Letty filled her hat with them to take home to paint, and then sat down to rest with Tommy at her feet, while Anne went farther into the wood to look for wild sarsaparilla.

“I’m going to have you for my sweetheart,” said Tommy, suddenly, as he stepped back with his hands behind him, contentedly surveying a rickety-looking wreath of dogwood blossoms that he had put upon Miss Letty’s golden hair, but which would slip down over her eyes. “I think that you are much nicer than Pinkie Scott and Bess and Grace.”

“And who are they, pray?” said Miss Letty, peering through the wreath.

“Oh, they are the others I play with, little girls—all alike, but you are several kinds.”

[50]“You mustn’t say, ‘I’m going to have you,’ in such a way,” said Miss Letty, struggling to be serious; “you must go down on your knees in the dirt and ask me very politely.”

“No,” said Tommy, sturdily, “I won’t. I don’t mind the dirt; but if you ask, people mostly say you mustn’t; but if you say you’re going to, you oftener get it.”

Miss Letty looked up quite surprised at his reasoning and said: “Very well, play I’m your sweetheart. What next?”

“Why, then I must bring you up a present every Sunday just like Baldy does to Miss Jule’s Anna Maria. But, Miss Letty, how long will you be my sweetheart? For ever and ever?”

“That’s too long to promise, Tommy. How will until you want to give me to some one else do?”

“First rate; just listen! those dogs must have struck a good trail down below there; hear them yell. I guess I’ll go and see,” and he quickly disappeared around the hill.

“I can now untie Hamlet,” called Miss Letty to Anne, going to the tree where she had left him; but Hamlet was not there, neither was the sash ribbon.

Miss Letty whistled and called in vain, for the barking and yelping sounded farther and farther[51] away on the other side of the wood, and when she tried to follow its direction, sharp twigs and briers tore her lacy frills, and her high heels caught in the tangled roots, until Anne coming up grasped her arm just in time to prevent her from falling into an old spring hole.

“There is no use in trying to follow the dogs,” said Anne, taking in the situation at a glance; “they are across the river halfway over to Pine Ridge by this time. I think we had better go back to Miss Jule’s, for you look ever so warm, and you are all scratched and tattered.”

“But Hamlet, I must find him; he will be lost and never find his way back, for he does not know the place at all. Besides, it does not agree with him to run, and he may get himself muddy.”

“Of course he will be muddy and very likely tired, but he will be sure to come back with the others. I think they have taken him to show him the way about and introduce him to their friends. They are way up at Squire Burley’s now. I hear his foxhounds baying,” she added, after listening intently for a moment; for her keen ears knew the tones and distinguished between the various Dogtown voices as readily as if they belonged to human friends.

[52]Miss Letty looked ruefully at the shreds hanging from her pretty frock and then gave a little scream as she stretched out one foot and saw her stocking. “Look, Anne! there are bugs all going through the openwork and biting me.”

“They are not bugs” laughed Anne, kneeling to pick them off; “but about half a dozen kinds of last year’s ‘stick tights’ and hook-on seeds; they want your stocking to carry them off and plant them somewhere else. Please, Miss Letty, do girls in French schools wear dancing slippers and party gowns in the woods?”

“Schoolgirls never do. We always wore black frocks, white collars and cuffs, and pinafores, quite like housemaids, and very seldom went out of the big brick-walled garden except at vacation time. Then I travelled about with tante Marie and my uncle, who always wished me to have pretty clothes, and her maid repaired them. And when I was coming here tante Marie said all girls in America dressed like princesses, yes, even the children, and she bought me almost the trousseau of a bride, for I love frou-frous; the heavy English clothes my father used to buy quite choked me. I fear me I can never wear shoes even like yours, Diane, and my Aunt Julie’s—positively, the soles are like a ship’s deck.”

[53]“It is of no use telling her, she will have to find out for herself,” thought Anne; then looking across the field toward the house, she exclaimed, “Why, there is Mr. Hugh, and he has a new horse.”

“Who, pray, is Mr. Hugh?” said Miss Letty, struggling over or rather through her last fence, and leaving several yards of petticoat frill behind. “Whoever he may be he rides well.”

“Mr. Hugh?” hesitated Anne, scarcely realizing that he should be unknown to any one. “Why, Mr. Hugh is a very nice man, but quite old, almost thirty. He owns all the land between Miss Jule’s and Squire Burley’s; he’s big and dark brown, that is, his hair and eyes and mustache are, and mostly his clothes and gaiters; and he grows dogs and horses too, and writes books about the things that smell queer and poison you—chemistry, you know. He has a stone house that’s as strong as a castle, and all the furniture is plain and the chairs are leather, for he hates all kinds of rags hanging to chairs and things like that. He likes pictures and flowers, though, and he gave me my ‘Horse Fair’ print last birthday. He has strawberries in his cold-frame that are nearly ripe, I saw them last week. I do believe he is bringing some to Miss Jule now, for he has a[54] basket. Mr. Hugh doesn’t like young ladies, but only children and people like mother and Miss Jule. But he will be very polite, so you needn’t be afraid of him,” she added, as she saw Miss Letty hesitate and look as if she was going to run away.

As Anne said, Mr. Hugh had brought a basket of delicious strawberries, which Miss Jule handed over to Letty and Anne to arrange for the table, saying, “They are so big you must leave the hulls on and lay them on fresh leaves.”

“I will do it,” said Miss Letty, giving Anne a little push toward the door. “I know that you are longing to see the new horse.”

This was true, and Anne finally, after some difficulty, persuaded Mr. Hugh to accept Miss Jule’s invitation to luncheon, pleading to try the new horse over the little hedge afterward, as Mr. Hugh said he was broken to side-saddle, and a fine jumper.

The luncheon table looked very pretty with[55] Letty’s flower decorations and little vines laid on the cloth, and all went well, Mr. Hugh being less shy than usual. When the strawberries came, they certainly looked very tempting, lying on a bed of leaves, on green glass plates, with a mound of sugar on the side of each to dip them in.

Miss Jule, who was near-sighted, began eating hers, and Mr. Hugh followed in an absent-minded sort of way, for he was talking pasture and other interesting things to his hostess.

Suddenly Anne gave a loud exclamation and then stopped, flushing scarlet in embarrassment.

“What is it?” asked Mr. Hugh, “a bee in the berries?”

“No; but—but—the green leaves under the berries are poison ivy, and you know you poison dreadfully and so does Miss Jule. Oh, and the vines around the table edge are poison too. I didn’t notice at first, the leaves are so small and young.”

“Bless me!” cried Miss Jule, rubbing her lips and finger-tips with her handkerchief. “Run up to my medicine closet, Anne, and bring the bottle labelled ‘Lead water and alcohol,’ and a wad of cotton. Letty, child, you will be sure to be poisoned with all those brier scratches on your wrists.”

[56]“I saw the pretty, shining vine growing up those trees and over the stone fence by the stables and I thought it was American ivy,” stammered Miss Letty, looking ready to cry. “How can it poison us, Aunt Julie? we haven’t eaten any.”

“It’s the juice bites your skin,” interrupted Tommy, promptly, “and then it all blubbers up and gets wet and sticky, and you scratch and scratch, but it doesn’t do any good.”

After Anne, whom poison ivy never harmed, had brought the antidote, and fingers and lips were bathed, they went out under the trees, for no one cared for the berries except Tommy, who crept into the kitchen and washed his vigorously with soap and water, and devoured them with relish.

“Miss Letty is my pretty sweetheart; don’t you wish she was yours?” said Tommy to Mr. Hugh very abruptly, as he was being swung into the wonderful Mexican saddle to try the new horse around the lawn.

“No, I don’t, Tommy; pretty people are all very well, but useful ones with common sense are better,” was the answer.

Miss Letty, coming down the steps as the pair passed by, heard and said to Anne, who was behind her: “I hate your Mr. Hugh. I think[57] he is a bear,” which remark coming out of a seeming clear sky, Anne could not understand.

A diversion, however, was caused by the return of the dogs with much barking and orders of “down” and “to heel,” for they were wet, muddy, and did not smell like roses.

Mr. Wolf bore a muskrat, and Colin brought up the rear with something that had once been a shoe, which he laid at Miss Jule’s feet, with much tail-wagging, as if to say, “It’s merely a trifle, but better than nothing.”

“Hamlet—is—not—with—them,” said Miss Letty, slowly, with almost a sob in her voice.

“We will all walk up the river bank and look for him,” said Miss Jule, cheerfully; “the dogs came back that way.”

They had only gone a couple of hundred feet up the stream when Anne, who was ahead, called, “There he is, sitting on that rock; he must be tired and afraid to swim over alone.”

Then, as they drew nearer, the reason for his sitting still was plain. His heavy curls were a mat of mud, burrs, and briers that must have made either walking or swimming nearly impossible, while the tangle over his eyes was so dense that he could see nothing. His collar was gone, also his bracelet, and his fluffy wristlets hung limp.


At a call from his mistress, however, he half stumbled, half plunged into the shallow stream and threw himself into her lap, and she hugged him, thus completing the wreck of her gown, saying, “You poor, poor boy! we are a pair, you and I, because of our clothes, and not knowing the country.”

It was impossible to comb or pick the straws and burrs from Hamlet’s coat, so next day one of[59] the grooms clipped him close all over and gave him a bath. When he went, meek and shivering with mortification, to his mistress’s room, where she was sitting alone, as the poisoning was doing its work on the scratched wrists and shell-pink ears, she hardly recognized her pet in the lanky black dog with only a tail-tuft left of his curls. As she did not speak, he went over to a low stool, and putting his nose between his paws, “said his prayers,” as she had often made him do for punishment when he had disobeyed.

Then, in spite of her misery, she burst into a hearty laugh, and bade him go out and play with the other dogs, which he very readily did, feeling, if antics tell anything, like a little boy who has just put off petticoats. After his clipping Hamlet was cordially received in Dogtown, and considered one of the boys, and whether or not his hair was allowed to grow or if he ever again wore a scented mustache, remains to be seen.



During all these days Lumberlegs, the St. Bernard, grew mightily. When he was a year old, he looked like an awkward young calf; but when his second year was ended, he had the tawny head of a lioness, and his body, well rounded yet muscular, was in keeping with his huge paws.

When he sat and Tommy stood, their heads were on a level, and when they walked abroad together, Tommy tugging sturdily at his collar to keep pace, they usually had the roadway to themselves, for Lumberlegs was not only the largest inhabitant of Dogtown, but of the whole county, and people made so many remarks about his size that Tommy dubbed him Bigness.


Lumberlegs and Tommy.

[62]These same people predicted that some day there would be a dog fight at Happy Hall when Lumberlegs came to realize his strength, and the feeling of jealousy that comes to a dog with full growth. Surely there was material for both jealousy and a fight. Waddles loved Anne with the sort of love that thinks it owns the object of its devotion; Lumberlegs loved both Tommy and Anne in the same way; while Lily, the bulldog, was devoted to Tommy alone, and deeply resented the coming of Happy, who loved every one, as an infringement of her rights; so that at the time Happy became the mother of Jack and Jill, and consequently an object of much attention, there was a considerable strain upon dog tempers.

[63]At this point fate wisely stepped in as she often does, though tears came with her. Lily broke one of the most rigid of dog laws, the penalty for which is death—she defied an express train! In going with Tommy and Anne to the town she did not follow the road and cross the railway bridge with high safe sides, but lingered by the way, sniffing here and then there until she lost sight of her friends, and took a short cut across the fields that bordered the tracks, running between the rails until she should reach a gap in the guard fence that opened on the road the other side.

It was time for the morning express, the particular train that always whistles as it turns the curve, and thrusts out an iron arm to grab the mail bag, swinging from its gallows, while it drops another bag into a rack beneath.


It was always a puzzle to Tommy as to how the bag was seized without missing, and he often coaxed Anne to wait on the bridge until the train came, as there were little star-shaped openings in the iron work through which he could see.

This morning they had crossed, and then hearing the train turned back. Anne missing Lily looked up the hill for her, while Waddles, who, as a matter of course, was one of the party, trotted soberly along toward the village, where he would wait for his mistress upon the steps of either the market or grocery store, according as he understood her destination.

As the train reached the curve Tommy, whose eye was at the chink, gave a shriek and dashed[65] himself at the barrier, wailing: “Lily, Lily, my Lily! She’ll be killed! O Anne, come quick!”

In reality, by this time Lily had crossed the rails and was quite safe, but her master’s cry made her turn to locate him. Whether she thought he was in pain or danger no one knows, but at that moment the train rounded the curve, whistling furiously. To the bewildered dog it must have been associated with her master’s scream or else sounded like a challenge, for like a flash she turned and charged the monstrous engine face to face. Tommy cast himself face downward on the roadway, his tears making mud of the dust. Anne caught hold of the railing and closed her eyes while the train thundered by underneath. Lily lay quite still high up on the bank; the engine had been quickly merciful.

That afternoon Baldy buried Lily in the corner of the orchard pasture where there was quite a company of pet animals, ranging from canaries, with school slates for headstones, to Brownie, the dear old pony that had belonged to Anne’s mother when a girl, and lived out a happy old age in that very pasture. One thing about pet animals is that their lives at best are so short, that we should treat them very kindly to make up for it.

Some of the neighbours laughed at what they[66] called Unhappy Hall Cemetery, but Anne resented this with a good deal of spirit, saying, “I think that it is very mean to love an animal one day, when it is alive and can amuse you, and then throw it on the ash heap the next, just because it’s dead and can’t help itself.”

Tommy still crying, and remorseful at perhaps having caused Lily’s death by calling her at the wrong moment, insisted upon Miss Jule, and his father, and mother attending her funeral. Anne made a wreath of her best flowers, sacrificing four tea rosebuds and all of her mignonette and heliotrope, but Tommy would have none of it. Instead, he begged two beef bones from the cook, and tying them together crosswise with Anne’s best pink hair ribbon, which she had not the heart to deny him, put them on the middle of the mound, saying between sobs, “She—loved—bones—but—she didn’t like flowers—except to sleep on,” which was perfectly true, her favourite places for a siesta having been alternately the verbena, nasturtium, or lettuce bed.

Tommy’s father and mother were resigned, though they did not say much about it before the children. Complaints had begun to reach their ears that Lily not only felt it her duty to prevent strange people from coming near Tommy, but[67] declined to let them pass by on the road unchallenged; and though they cherished all animals, they never allowed them to become a nuisance or bore those who cared less for them.

Baldy was also resigned and spoke his mind freely, much to Tommy’s chagrin.

As for Dogtown, it was jubilant to the barking point, especially among the lower classes, consisting of those dogs who, being in reduced circumstances, had been used to come shrinking and timid between dusk and dawn for castaway bones or swill-pail dainties.

Waddles was liberal minded upon such matters—as liberal as the law allows. Dog law says that no dog shall dig up a bone that another has buried; but all bones that lie abandoned and uncovered are public property and fair eating.

Waddles, being affluent, never ate swill, and only buried special bones to ripen, casting others about at random, often with scraps of flesh ungnawed; for this he was regarded in Dogtown as the people’s friend.

Lily, in coming, stopped this patronage. She had known want herself, in the days when she tramped with gypsies, so she ranged about, industriously burying everything she found for possible future use, and kept such a strict watch on[68] all the outbuildings that the most ravenous cur dared not steal a lap of sour milk from the pig’s trough for fear of seeing those wide jaws gnashing in front of him; for Lily had the one bad trait of her race: she laid hold without warning.

So after all it was only Tommy who grieved for Lily. To him she stood for property rights, strength, and friendship, and for a time he was inconsolable.

“Let’s come home and see the twins have their supper; it won’t do any good for you to stay here and cry. Your eyes are swelled up like a frog’s,[69] now,” said Anne, trying to lead Tommy away after Baldy and his shovel had disappeared.

“Supposin’ it was Waddles was dead, would you stop cryin’—the very same day—even if you were frogs?”

“Waddles! why that is entirely different; he is a person. There is no other dog like him,” and then Anne sat down suddenly on the tumble-down stone fence in sheer amazement at the possibility of mischance overtaking her little friend.

A friend he was, and she was entirely right—there was no other quite like him among sturdy, self-reliant, gentlemen dogs. He had been so long the companion of the House People that, without being of the objectionable, pampered, perfumed, spoon-fed type of lap dog who demands the care that a child alone should have, he really seemed to be, as Anne said, a person.

Waddles did not know a single taught trick; he could not hold sugar on his nose, like Miss Letty’s poodle, Hamlet; he could not sit up and beg, though he had a language of his own, part gesture, part speech, by which he could ask for anything that he could not get without aid.

In his frisky youth even he scorned the mere idea of jumping through a hoop, or the poodle trick of “saying his prayers.”

[70]Yet there were few walls that he could not manage to get over or through, and he would put his paws upon his mistress’s knees and gaze into her face in unmistakable supplication.

“It’s a great responsibility having a dog like Waddles,” Anne had said one day, shortly after her brother was born, when she had given him half of her name, and stopped being Tommy-Anne, and there had been much talk about her new responsibility. “Do you know, mother, I believe Waddles thinks that I’m God, and it will be dreadful if I’m unkind and disappoint him.”

No, Waddles was untrained and untutored in the common sense of the words, but he “knew,” which was better; his method of treeing cats or coons in company with Miss Jule’s big Ben Uncas, and the fox terrier, Quick, though somewhat reprehensible, was a marvel of military tactics, and it was knowledge of this sort that made and kept him Mayor of Dogtown; for he was the one dog that no other had ever attacked or fought, so it was no wonder that Anne grew grave at the mere suggestion of losing him, though never dreaming that there was really trouble hovering about, and that, too, from a dog of the Happy Hall household and herself.

For a time after Lily’s departure everything[71] was peaceful. Jack and Jill were fast growing able to play and indulge in the wrestling matches that make puppies quick-witted and strengthen their muscles.

Happy often superintended these bouts herself, stirring up first one pup and then the other, often aiding and protecting the under dog if too roughly vanquished. Anne soon discovered that these affairs were not merely aimless play upon Happy’s part, but a way she took for teaching the twins how to protect themselves.

The next step was to teach them to protect their food, and when one day Happy dragged a ripe and well-cleaned beef bone from its hiding-place, and deliberately threw it down between Jack and Jill, and they began a struggle for its possession, Anne in amazement rushed into the house to call the family, crying: “Do come out and see the queerest thing—Happy is teaching[72] the pups to play ‘snatch bone’ exactly the same way as Waddles played it with Lumberlegs when he was a puppy. You’ll really have to see it to believe what I say.” It was more than true, for not only did they wrestle and snatch the bone from one another, seeking in turn to hide it in the grass under a few leaves, but when the frolic was fast turning to a pitched battle, and ludicrous baby growls mingled with flashing teeth from between drawn-up lips, then Happy gave a sharp “yap” that must have meant something very dreadful, for the pups instantly let go and drew apart with a most abject droop of the tail, while she seized the bone, and trotting off reburied it.

Though Waddles seldom forgot his dignity sufficiently to play with the twins, he allowed them to take morsels from his dish, and was always close at hand if their shrill cries told that they were in trouble, and the slightest look from Happy brought him to her aid.

Lumberlegs, on the contrary, delighted to gambol with them, and his clumsy bounds and imitations of their gestures usually ended in his overthrow, when he would lie on his back with a most idiotic grin upon his face, fanning the air with his paws, while the twins gnawed at his great tail with mock fierceness.

[73]Now the race law for puppies and grown dogs is quite different, even as are those laws that govern childhood and manhood among House People. Actions that are tolerated and even encouraged in puppyhood are read as insults when done by a dog of two years, and bear a penalty.

In spite of Waddles’s instructions and warnings, Lumberlegs was either heedless of the law, often deliberately breaking it, or else from his size and strength felt himself superior to it; which it was Anne could never tell. Perhaps it was because he was unevenly developed, for he had all a man dog’s jealousy and craving for the exclusive attention of his owners, while he kept his baby playfulness and total disregard of food rights. So trouble befell one fine day, like rain from sudden clouds that no one has noticed gathering.

After it had happened Anne was continually remembering little things that might have given her warning.

Waddles had a favourite afternoon station on the end of the porch that commanded the front and barn roads, the front door, and the garden also if he turned his head. Suddenly Lumberlegs regularly appropriated this watch-tower, and his length being so great that there was no view from a back[74] seat Waddles, after unavailing verbal remonstrance, was forced to lie upon the grass.

Waddles was the only dog that had been allowed in the dining room at meal times, when he sat quietly under the table at Anne’s feet. Soon Lumberlegs discovered a way of opening the door and he would hide under the table, lying at Tommy’s feet. As he was quiet, and Tommy declared that he made “a fine feet bench,” he was allowed to remain. Consequently Waddles was squeezed against the table’s claw legs and presently left his old place and lay disconsolately upon the door-mat.

When Lumberlegs came, a gift from Miss Jule, he was regarded as Tommy’s property; but when[75] the novelty wore off, and Jack and Jill became counter attractions, he turned wholly to Anne to supply his needs both of food and affection, and became devotedly attached to her as big dogs usually are to only one person; while Anne, though faithful to Waddles, returned his devotion, for he was in many ways a noble dog.

Anne had insisted almost from her babyhood that one of her ancestors must have been an Indian, so fond she was of wild ways and things, and this liking did not decrease as she grew of an age to crave friends of her own race.

She still tramped about the near-by woods, but Miss Letty was often her companion. Also Miss Letty was timorous and made a point of insisting that Lumberlegs go with them. This he often did, and would either follow close or sit quite still on guard for any length of time; while Waddles and Happy would perhaps strike a trail and dash off in full cry, thereby disturbing the very things that Anne had come to watch. One day, after they had in this way scattered a quail brood that Anne had hunted from the time that Bobwhite announced his arrival, until she found the dear little chicks huddled in a leafy hollow among wild blackberry canes on the orchard edge, she felt provoked, and did not allow Waddles to go to walk[76] with her for almost a week. “Mistress,” said he, his eyes growing deep and luminous with reproach, “I’ve always been with you until now; have you forgotten all those fine days before Tommy came, and there was only you and I? Don’t you remember I was with you when we met the miller’s bull, and he was so angry because, though he tolled the bell at Cock Robin’s funeral, they didn’t ask him to the feast, and how I followed you and Obi when you went for the wood-duck’s nest, though I was very sick, and that day when Ko-ko-ko-ho showed us the way to where the last rattlesnake was, and the night that we went up on the hill and I barked you awake just when you thought you were at the Forest Circus? What has happened, mistress? Are you tired of me, or can that Lumberlegs show you better paths than I do? Though you gave my tail and back legs half to Tommy when he was born, I’ve always used them to follow you and tell you I was glad just the same as ever, but now you love Lumberlegs best.”

“You dear, jealous old Waddlekins,” cried Anne, lifting his paws to her knee as of old so that he stood up and she could look in his face, “it’s nothing of the kind, only Miss Letty often comes with me, and she is used to the city, and she doesn’t[77] care for those long ‘go over everything’ walks that we take, and she has read in the papers about tramps, and thinks Lumberlegs makes a splendid policeman. Besides, you know that you chased all those lovely little quails off our land just when they were getting big enough to have their pictures taken, and father had spent a lot of money for rubber tubing so he could work his camera from behind the old green apple tree. Now they are as shy as loons, and pop down in those wild roses when we are a whole field away and there isn’t even a big bush to hide behind.

“But never mind; I’m sorry, anyway, so touch noses and be friends, and to-morrow we will do the brook walk all by ourselves; for even if I do love Lumberlegs, it’s quite different.”

Instead of the usual dainty lick Waddles gave a half-suppressed growl. Anne dropped his paws, exclaiming in surprise: “To think of it, you growled at me when I was apologizing, the very first time in your life, too. I think you had better go over and rest in your kennel and think it over.”

Then she led him to his little house, snapped the chain in his collar, and walked away without once looking back, Lumberlegs leaving his stolen seat on the porch to follow her.

The truth about the growl was this: Waddles,[78] dislodged by Lumberlegs from many of his nap nooks, had lately taken to lying in the grass or under bushes, which as he was elderly and the season very wet had given him rheumatism in his hind quarters. As Anne held up his paws the strain soon gave his back a miserable wrench. This caused the growl, and for thus being misunderstood to threaten his idol, Waddles was not only left behind, but dethroned and chained up in his rival’s presence, where he stood as if transfixed with a strange, drawn expression on his face, which when House People wear we know they are struggling to keep back tears.

If only Anne had then remembered what she had once said about disappointing him!


He stood transfixed.”—p. 79.




One morning the skirmishing that had been going on for several weeks between Waddles and Lumberlegs broke into open warfare, and it was the misguided interference of a would-be peacemaker that quickened the crisis.

[82]This was Mrs. Happy Waddles who, from poking her pretty little nose where it did not belong, and relying too much upon the indulgence accorded her sex, not only very nearly made herself a widow, but caused a household commotion as well.

As we have noticed before, Lumberlegs was very poorly instructed in dog law, in spite of having grown up side by side with Waddles, who was letter perfect in it. Not only did Lumberlegs ignore the “rights of age” and “buried bones law,” but he began breaking the “fresh food law” as well.

House People should make it as easy as possible for their fourfoots to keep this law by giving each one its rations separately, for it is only in early puppy days that dogs may be trusted to feed from the same dish, and even then the timid and weak fare poorly.

Waddles had the appetite of a dog who had been reared alone, and could therefore pick and choose. He ate deliberately and never ravenously, sniffing cautiously at each morsel; for once, when he was ill, Anne had made the mistake of giving him pills concealed in his food. Of course he[83] discovered them, spat them out with much sputtering, and never forgot the occurrence.

On the other hand, Lumberlegs and Happy were both gluttons; the first because he was so big that it seemed impossible to give him enough, while the little beagle was perhaps prompted to overeat by a haunting memory of the single daily meal of her kennel life.

In this particular case the bone of contention belonged to a ham, a dainty especially kept for Waddles. He had taken a few gnaws from it and hidden it under the flap of the cellar door, his favourite cache, while he went for his daily walk to the village with Anne; for whatever his faults he had always preferred her companionship to food, never swerving even for liver and bacon.

Along sauntered Lumberlegs, searching for something to add relish to his ample breakfast of dog bread. He tried to investigate the swill pail, but it not only had a tight zinc cover, after the fashion of all well-bred scrap pails, but for double protection there was a stone on top which he playfully knocked off with one sweep of his paw.

Straws show which way the wind blows, and this stone showed where the ham bone was by rolling directly against it.

Lumberlegs seized upon the bone with delight[84] and tossed it into the air gaily, preparing to have a good play before making a meal.

Happy, whose deafness seemed to sharpen her sense of smell, came from under a bush where she had been taking a nap in company with Jack and Jill, and sat where she could keep her eyes upon the bone, giving a little whine now and then, moistening her lips with the edge of her pink tongue, and casting appealing glances at Lumberlegs that only seemed to stimulate him to further antics.

It is almost always the soft-haired, mild-eyed, helpless looking sort of people like Happy that sit still and brew trouble, even in bigger places than Dogtown.

Waddles, coming home from market half an hour later, took in the situation at a glance. He had borne a great deal in silence, but this was too much. It was high time for his position as house fourfoot at Happy Hall to be upheld. He would try his authority as “oldest dog” first. So, going forward slowly with a contracted tiptoe gait and tail held erect, he made a series of noises that seemed graded between growls and real speech. Lumberlegs understood this language perfectly, and rolling on his back, he gave the bone a final, careless toss, as much as to say, “I was only playing, take your old bone.”

[85]Waddles advanced to seize his property, and all would have been well, at least for that time, if Happy had not interfered.

It had happened several times that when the two dogs had been playing with or contending for a bone, Happy had ended the matter by running between them, giving each a caressing lick on the nose, and making off with the bone herself, leaving them looking sheepish, but too polite to remonstrate. She now tried the same tactics, but in reaching up to Lumberlegs, who was rolling in the grass, she received an entirely unintentional blow from one of his paws, and ran away squealing in terror out of all proportion to her hurt.

Waddles, with a deep, short growl that must have been a wicked word in dog talk, sprang upon Lumberlegs; but before he could do more, the great jaws closed on his neck, and he was shaken as a cat shakes a rat.

Fortunately, Waddles wore a stout collar which broke the force of the grip, otherwise his neck might have been broken before Baldy, who heard Anne’s cry, came to stop the fray. But as it was, the sleek white neck was streaked with red, there was a rent in one of the beautiful ears, and for the first time in his life Waddles, the Mayor[86] of Dogtown, had been mauled and shaken like a common cur. And this, too, when he was growing old, and by a dog of the same household. True, in the old days, he often had differences with Tiger, the miller’s cat; but cat scratches on one’s nose are considered wounds of honour in dog etiquette, and are no disgrace.

Lumberlegs was shut in the yard beside his kennel, and Waddles retreated to the remotest corner of the cellar, from which he refused to come forth even when Anne, bringing warm water, a bit of sponge, and sticking plaster, called him in her most persuasive voice.

“He feels sulky,” said Baldy, “leave him alone a spell and he’ll come out all right. I reckon his feelings is hurt more’n his neck.”

“That is just it,” said Anne, sorrowfully, “and to a dog like Waddles hurt feelings are much worse to bear than a bitten neck.”

But when he failed to appear at dinner time, and Anne took a lantern to hunt for him among the coal-bin caverns, the poor neck was so swollen that the collar was sunken in the flesh like a ring on a fat finger. Even when the collar was taken off, the bite bathed and cooled with a soothing wash, and the rent in the ear drawn together with narrow strips of rubber plaster, he refused[87] either to respond to Anne’s petting, come upstairs, or in fact move at all, though after she reluctantly left, she heard him lapping water from the refrigerator pan after his usual hot weather habit.

“I wouldn’t trouble if I was you,” said Baldy, cheerfully; “they all hev their little scrapes. It’s accordin’ to natur’ for dogs to delight to bark and bite, like it says in the Sunday-school poetry, that everybody knows.”

“That’s one of the things that ‘everybody knows’ that isn’t true,” answered Anne, emphatically; “dogs’ real delight is to live with people and be understood and have their feelings respected. That’s why I’m afraid that Waddles will never forget to-day; he has been feeling hurt about Lumberlegs for a long while, and now he thinks he is in disgrace besides.”

“Feed the dogs separately, keep them apart for a time and the stray bones raked up, and I think the feud will blow over,” said Anne’s father. Her mother thought differently, for Lumberlegs, the boisterous puppy, and Bigness, the full-grown man dog, standing thirty-five inches at the shoulder, were entirely different beings. She had watched him at play with Tommy and noticed the way he eyed with resentment everything that[88] came near. She knew that when he followed Anne to the woods she had more than police protection. He was of the faithful, jealous disposition, that must be the only one of his kind in a home that gave wide range for wandering, not one of several house fourfoots that recognized a smaller dog as master, and lived literally in a town of numerous dogs.

The feeding separately matter was easily done, for Waddles persistently refused to leave the cellar except on stealthy trips toward evening, or when he was sure that his foe was out of range. How he knew this was a puzzle to Anne, for he could neither see nor hear from the depths of the coal-bin, into which fastness he crawled through the small, square door at the bottom made for the shovel. She soon realized, however, that his keen scent told him.

Lumberlegs also knew quite well when Waddles was in his retreat, for though he did not care to venture down the steep stone steps because his back legs were rather sprawly, he would walk past the door growling softly, with bristling hair, and then give a broken bark and, turning, kick grass into the air in the direction of the cellar with a gesture of contempt.

The two weeks that followed were ones of trial[89] for Anne. She was in perpetual fear that the dogs would meet, for she grew more sure every day that “making-up” was out of the question.

Even though Lumberlegs was in his yard, Waddles would not follow her to the village. He forsook his friends along the route upon whom he had never before failed to call daily, sturdily going the rounds alone if Anne omitted her walk.

It was not until he ceased to follow her that Anne fully realized what a friend she had lost, one who was self-reliant, faithful, and wise, giving no trouble, asking nothing beyond the trifling care his rare ailments needed, and the affection his intelligence won. For Waddles knew the speech of House People as well as Anne interpreted Heart of Nature’s language, and he and his mistress had a perfect, mutual understanding.

If Anne, wearing her common hat, said, “Do you want to go to the post-office?” he would give a cheer and start off down the hill before her, waiting on the office steps; while if she said store or market instead of post-office, he would wait by the respective doors.

If, on the contrary, she wore a different hat or said, “Not to-day, Waddlekins, I’m going to town,” he might sometimes go with her to the gate but never farther.

[90]His own voice, too, had different shades of meaning, even beyond the others of his vocal race, for if any dog has speech it is the beagle hound.

While he was on guard no one could enter the gate, two hundred yards from the house, unsignalled, either from his post on the porch corner or his summer night quarters in the wide window of the upper hall.

For a twofoot whom he did not at once recognize he had a bark of inquiry; for a total stranger a querulous gruff note of warning; for a friend the inquiring tone quickly broke into rapid barks, like voluble talk; while for animals his voice had a wholly different key, starting in a series of monotonous[91] yaps, until, if at liberty, he would sniff the air, catch the trail, and follow it in full cry.

At night when he harked every member of the household knew whether the intruder was man or beast. Oftentimes at dawn he would push open Anne’s door and lick her hand that was lying on the counterpane, to signify that he wanted the front door opened. Then when she, in dressing gown and slippers, or sometimes, I must confess, with bare toes and an airy nighty, would creep down the stairs and undo the bolts, cautioning silence, she was often lured out on to the porch by the expression of his face as he tiptoed about, unravelling the different trails that told him the story of the night.

Sometimes he would give a growl and his back bristled—that meant an intruder from Dogtown had left an unwelcome message or disagreeable news. Then his eyes would grow deep and luminous, and when Anne asked, “Squirrel?” he would give a short yap as if to say, “No good,” and gaze up in the trees. But when he began by wildly zig-zagging to and fro with head down, uttering discordant cries, then dashing off without waiting to answer questions, his mistress knew that he was following either a cat or rabbit, and that he would return late for breakfast and very tired.

[92]To think that the little animal that knew all this should be moping unkempt and forlorn in the coal-bin, gave affectionate Anne the heartache. Next she tried the experiment of having Baldy carry him upstairs and give him a good bath, for his wounds were now healed, and then invited him to “go to the post-office” in the old-time gay tone.

For a moment he rallied and gave an answering cry which was echoed by Bigness, who, as chance would have it, was lying in the shadow of the house front, Tommy having taken him from his yard and strolled away, forgetting to put him up again.

At the sound Waddles bristled and then shrank away, and Anne realized for the first time how thin and altered and spiritless he was. But the next day a change came over him: he forsook the cellar and boldly took his old seat under the apple tree in full sight of Bigness’s house, as if tempting fate; but as he did not come out Waddles returned again to the cellar.

Tommy sided with the St. Bernard, wailing that the fault was all Waddles’s, and passionately refused to part with his pet and have Jack and Jill for his very own, even though Bigness should go to a beautiful home to be the pet of his dear[93] friend, little Miss Muffet, who lived at a big farm far away and had no dog friend at all.

“The train killed Lily, and now you want to steal Bigness from me just because your silly Waddles is selfish and wants to fight and have everybody for himself. I don’t care if he was here first; he’s old and he’ll soon be dead, anyway—and I’m glad and—” but he didn’t finish, for Anne, sweet tempered and fifteen though she was, shook her little brother hard and then flew up the hill to her tree perch in tears. It was the first time that Tommy had ever been shaken, and he was as surprised and heartbroken as Waddles had been at his overthrow.

However, he did not cry but stood quite still, with a very red face and quivering lips, muttering to himself, “Anne’s as cross as Bigness—and she hardly never cries—and—it’s horrid to be shaken, and I guess I am sorry for Waddles—a—little bit.” And more days passed.

In the coal-bin crouched Waddles in dismal plight, his brain full of dark thoughts; for dogs do a deal of thinking when they seem to be only dozing in the sun or before the fire, and Waddles in hiding neither ate nor slept and did nothing[94] but think, for it was two days now since he had taken more than a drink of water. Anne did not know this, for the food she took him disappeared into the capacious stomachs of Jack and Jill, who amused themselves half the day by rolling and scrambling up and down the cellar steps.

Waddles, usually so spotless and neat, who often washed his face twice a day with a queer motion of his hind feet peculiar to himself, was now wholly unkempt, his hair rough and dry, and his nose smutty.

The truth was that he did not care for anything now that he thought his mistress misunderstood him, neither would he go among his friends,—he, the only resident of Dogtown who had never been taunted or fought by another dog, to be whipped and driven to cover in a cellar by a dog of his own house who had disobeyed all law and could not be reasoned with! This was a state of things not to be endured. No, he would try once more and give Bigness the punishment he deserved, or die in the attempt.

Then he set himself to wait a chance and time for meeting his enemy, for both dogs were closely watched to prevent the very battle that he was planning.

Bigness was now given a run morning and evening,[95] but was kept in his yard the rest of the day when Waddles was at liberty; but the time soon came when somebody forgot, and Bigness, hurrying home to early breakfast, met Waddles standing rigid and motionless by the corner of the house.

Anne, awakened suddenly from a late sleep, stood in the middle of her room half dazed, not knowing whether the sounds she heard belonged to a dream or to reality.

Then the sound came again, the awful choking, snarling struggle of fighting dogs, always a horrible sound, but doubly so when you know the dogs.

Anne ran to call her father, her heart pounding as if it would jump out of her mouth. Fortunately, he was already dressed and out, and as she almost fell downstairs, hardly touching the steps, the noise ceased and she heard her father’s voice say to Baldy: “Put him in the old hay barn until I decide what to do. I will attend to Waddles.” Then the door opened and her father entered with a distressed face, carrying the beagle in his arms.

“Is he killed?” she gasped.

“No, neither very badly hurt I hope; but[96] quite exhausted. I never shall forget the expression of his face as he clung to that great jaw that was dragging him to his death; it was like that of a man who was hopelessly fighting for his honour and home.

“This is no common dog-fight, little daughter, where both dogs should be punished and tied up until they come to their senses. Waddles has been with us so long that he has almost human feelings and reason; to thrust him out to be a mere dog again would be wicked. Lumberlegs must go!”

At these words Waddles, who was lying quite still on the door-mat where his master had laid him, opened his eyes and wagged his tail, with very significant if rather feeble thumps.

Though Waddles rallied very quickly, the bites on his neck, which had been this time collarless, had sunk in very deep, and though he was gradually growing less moody, he did not go far from the house or take up his old ways, and seemed quite conscious that Lumberlegs, though invisible, had not yet left the premises.

One warm night about a week after the fight, when doors and windows were left open, and the dogs roved about at will, Anne waked to find[97] that Waddles was sitting beside her bed in such a position that her hand that hung off the edge rested on his neck.

“What is the matter, old fellow, do you want a drink?” she asked, patting him; but as she did so she felt that one side of his neck was burning hot and swelled into a hard lump.

Next day the veterinary came and pronounced Waddles a very sick dog, said that he had been poisoned by the deepest bite, and must have his neck lanced and be carefully treated, or he would die.

“I’ll take him right along with me to my hospital now if your man will put him in my buggy. He’ll have the best of treatment, and it will be cheaper than keeping him here and having me running over. Besides, you couldn’t take care of him; it’s too much bother for you to dirty your fingers with,” said the doctor, kindly, for he saw the distress in Anne’s face.

“My fingers are quite used to dirt,” said Anne, quietly, “and I’ve got a ‘First Aid to the Injured’ box full of cotton and plaster and bandages, and such like, for I fix all the cut fingers and baseball noses hereabout; there are five boys between here and the cross-roads that play, besides a fat girl and a medium-old lady who are having trouble[98] in learning to ride wheels, so you see I’ve had experience.

“If you will lance Waddles’s neck here, I’m sure I can take care of him, and father will pay for the visits. Or, if he doesn’t want to, there is my camera money,” she added half to herself.

This same camera money was a family joke and seemed to be composed of magic coin, which, no matter how often it was spent, never seemed to grow less, but rather to increase.

“You’d best let me take him to the hospital. You see, I’ve nothing to fasten him with, and he’ll have to be well bound, or he may upset the whole business and perhaps bite me to boot.”

“I’m sure he will sit quite still, for he always has before; once the doctor took two stitches in his back because the milkman put barbed wire on his fence rails without Waddles’s knowing it. And then last spring when we were watching a man who didn’t know how to cast, splashing around the stream with a trout rod, he hooked poor Waddles, who was quite far up the bank behind him, and the hook had to be cut out, but Waddles never bit or squealed. He knows when he is ill, and that we want to help him; but if he went away from home to the hospital, he would be too sad to get well, even if you were good to him.”

[99]“She’s right,” said Baldy, taking a hand in the discussion. “You jes’ do the business. I’ll see you ain’t bit, and I’ll help Anne fix the little critter up as often as needs be ’til he’s cured. Ah, yes, he’ll pull through all right if he stays to home ’cause he’ll want ter; but if he’s fetched away, he jes’ won’t care.”

So the deed was done, Waddles neither struggling nor crying, and great relief followed the point of the shining lance.

“It’s different with medicines,” said Anne, as the sensitive nose quivered and sneezed when the doctor uncorked a bottle of pungent creolin to make a wash. “Waddles doesn’t understand about them, and he may not like the bandages, because it seems like being tied up; but if you’ll show me once, I know that Baldy and I can manage.”

So every morning for a week, precisely at eight, when Baldy’s chores were finished, you might have seen Anne bring her “First Aid” box to the back stoop, and change Waddles’s bandages, dressing his hurt as carefully as the doctor himself could have done. Baldy had to help by holding the patient when the creolin wash was used; for Waddles, the house fourfoot, could bear pain, but Waddles, the rabbit hound, could not endure a strong odour without choking and rolling in the grass.

[100]In another week the bandages came off for good, and he had a bath, though he did not yet take any of his old interest in making his toilet.

One day, however, a change came. He was lying on the decrepit old sofa in the upper hall, where Anne was used to curl up and read on rainy days. She had lent him her soft poppy chintz sofa pillow that she had made with great pains to match her bureau set, and Waddles, lying there luxuriously, his head on the pillow and his paws held in front of him like hands, gazed at Anne with a glance in which affection, comfort, and sleepiness were mingled.

Wheels crushed the gravel and Anne going to the window saw the runabout wagon with Baldy and a strange man in it driving out of the stable yard. Between them on the bottom sat Bigness,[101] his head almost on a level with theirs, while he strained at his collar and looked back longingly as he passed the house.


Miss Muffet, Brother, and Bigness.

[103]Anne knew that he was to go to his new home that day. She had gone all alone to give him a parting hug that morning, and she choked as she looked at him. Tommy, meantime, was up in the hayloft having his cry out, with no other company than a white brahma hen who had stolen her nest.

Waddles sniffed, and getting stiffly down from the sofa raised himself, paws on window sill, and looked out. He saw the wagon, the men, and the dog, and he understood. He had the courtesy not to bark, but his tail wagged furiously. Then he dropped to the floor and began washing his face vigorously with his hind leg. Waddles was himself again.

Bigness went to live with little Miss Muffet and her brother at the hill farm half a day’s drive away, where he had his liberty, good eating, was their “owniest,” and was hugged to his heart’s content; but he never forgot Anne, and when she visited him he had eyes only for her, and awoke the echoes baying long after she left.

Anne was his first love, and to be the first love of a big dog is a rather serious thing and not to be lightly undertaken.



This is a chronicle of the doings of Jack and Jill the twins, pups of Waddles and Happy of Happy Hall, who, from the age of twelve days when they completely opened their eyes on the world, thought for a time, until they met experience, that it was made exclusively for themselves, according to the thinking of many two-footed children.

After the going away of Lumberlegs, Waddles’s youth came back to him. He went off on long excursions with his neighbours, bayed a juicy tenor in the quartet that led the Dogtown chorus in its practise on moonlight nights, and actually threw bones into the air and played with them as of old.

[105]Not that he could turn as quickly, and his portliness got rather in the way as he tried to double on himself; but the spirit was there, which is the thing that counts.

Waddles, Mayor of Dogtown, had always been an important person, but Waddles, the married man, father of a family and master of a home consisting of three houses surrounded by a fine yard and equipped with porcelain-lined food dishes, hay pillows, and other luxuries, was of double dignity.

With the extra food supply necessary for more dogs, he was able to be a greater patron of the poor in the line of bones and left-over dog biscuit. Also it was not an unusual thing to see him piloting a tired and thirsty dog, who had been following a team bound for the market town, to the trough that caught the well drippings, and then to a particularly cool resting spot under the quince bushes; for this particular highway was a trying place for thirsty animals, as there was not a single spring or drinking-trough between the Hilltop Kennels and Happy Hall. Yet, in spite of all this outside notoriety, as far as his own particular family was concerned, he was tolerated, but that was about all.

Anne expected that he would be sad or resentful,[106] as when Lumberlegs claimed affection that Waddles considered his own exclusive property. He was neither the one nor the other. The proverb, “Every dog has its day,” is evidently one of the recognized family dog laws. It was Mrs. Happy Waddles’s day just then, for was she not the mother of the twins?

It was to her apartments in the big kennel once owned by Lumberlegs that visitors went and gave ohs and ahs of admiration. Her ladyship had new milk and all the tidbits, and did not have to submit to a bath for several weeks lest she should be chilled.

Waddles was polite but bored; he spent a great deal of time under the flap of the cellar door where he could keep an eye on his home from a distance. He also did a great deal of thinking in these days.

There are people who say that dogs have no family life, but that is either because these people do not really know dogs or have only seen them reared in great kennels, for kennel dogs are as different in their instincts and feelings from home dogs as orphan-asylum children are from home-cuddled babies.

Though Waddles kept rather aloof from his family, what else could he do? As they were not[107] living in a state of wild nature it was not necessary for him to hunt food for them.

If he asked Happy to take a walk, she would give him her usual little caress on the nose and trot beside him as far as the gate perhaps, then suddenly turn as if she had forgotten something, drop her body after a way she had when she put on speed, and dash back to her house as if it was the burrow of a rabbit whose fresh trail she had crossed.

Once or twice Waddles had gone into the nursery kennel and sniffed at the pups in an inquisitive sort of way, but Happy immediately nosed herself between them and their father, as much as to say, “Please be careful, men are so awkward,” when he quickly retired under the cellar door, to his watch tower on the porch corner, or to his bachelor kennel, the third and smallest house of the group. This he had always used as a retreat from sun and rain, or when he was too muddy from hunting to make him welcome in the house, only being chained there as a punishment or in emergencies.

When Jack and Jill were three weeks old, and might fairly be said to be on their legs, they were as pretty a pair of beagles as one could wish to see. Equally mated in size, build, and general[108] colouring, Jack, however, having the longer ears and rich brown head markings; yet in temper and general behaviour they were as different from one another as any two dogs could be.

Jack was affectionate and sedate, with a patient expression in his steel-blue eyes that one day would, doubtless, be deep brown like his father’s. Jill was impetuous, which often passes for affection, capricious as April sunshine, with an expression of pretty impertinence upon her face. She had dark lashes and a rim of dark brown around the edges of her eyelids which gave her a look of mingled wisdom, slyness, and determination to have her own way, that was at first captivating.

Happy was a model mother, and as soon as the pups had their breakfast she gave each a bath from head to foot, or rather tail tip, with much effort and many grunts.

These were the first puppies that Anne had ever been with so intimately that she could watch their growth from day to day, and it seemed as if she did little else but watch them when she was out of school; in addition she had all that she could manage in keeping Tommy from carrying them about, to the destruction of their digestions and the straining of their backs.

All Anne’s persuasion, however, did not have[109] as much effect as the peremptory bark and nip in the ankle that Happy administered one morning, when she surprised Tommy in waking the twins from their nap that he might take them to ride in his wheelbarrow, for Happy, usually so meek, was at that time a despot whom no one on the premises thought of disobeying, with the exception of her daughter.

It was very easy for Happy to give Jack his bath, but with Jill her patience was sorely tried. When it was time to do her back she would roll over and kick her legs in the air, chew her mother’s ear, or make a tug-of-war rope of her tail. Then, when the bath was completed all but her fat little stomach, she would grind it into the dirt and brace her paws, until her mother, quite out of patience, with a twist of one paw would lay Jill on her back with a growled rebuke and a curious threatening expression of face which she made by turning back her upper lip from her teeth, as both fighting dogs and wolves do when freeing their jaws to bite.

At three weeks old Jill had developed a shrill bark full ten days in advance of her brother. At four weeks she succeeded both in catching her own tail and in washing some mud from her hind paw very neatly.

[110]When Jack attempted to do the same he only tumbled backward out of the nursery door into the water dish, aided by a push from his sister, who then rolled frantically about the floor in glee, while his mother roused from her one-eye-open doze and seized the opportunity to give him an extra bath.

When the twins were six weeks old Happy began their education in earnest. Kennel puppies are usually weaned about this time and are separated from their mother, so that instead of being trained by her to act and think for themselves, they only learn, often through punishment, blind obedience to rules they do not understand. Of course this sort of puppyhood does not make as clever a dog as the other.

Waddles himself was an example of early training by his mother, who, being a poor widow with a large family and owned by a very unsuccessful truck farmer, had great difficulty in making both ends meet; consequently Waddles and his brothers and sisters were taught very early to shift for themselves.

It was owing to his patient cleverness in catching a small squirrel by the roadside that Waddles, when only four months old, had attracted the attention of Anne’s father, who bought him from[111] his owner for five dollars. As Anne once said, it seemed strange that five dollars could buy so much when often one got so little for it; and then as she grew to love him as a friend she did not like to think that he was bought at all, for it did not seem right to sell such as he without his own consent.

After learning to be clean, the second lesson that Happy taught the twins was how to keep cool. Anne knew very well that dogs do not perspire like people, but only by the moisture that drips from their mouths, so that they need plenty of cool water to drink and shady places to lie in if they are to be comfortable in hot weather. She also knew that Waddles and Lumberlegs dug themselves holes in the dirt, as she thought to keep off the flies; but why Happy should try to burrow under the foundation of the nursery puzzled her. It was not to bury bones, for the chosen spot for that was far away from home.

To help her, as well as to see what she would do, Anne loosened two or three stones from the foundation of the tool house that stood next to the kennel, much to Happy’s delight, who then began to burrow furiously, throwing the dirt behind her with her strong front paws.

[112]All day long she worked, while as soon as the dirt ceased coming out at the mouth of the burrow Anne could hear it flying up against the floor of the tool house, which, by the way, her father also used as a dark room for developing photographs. Late in the afternoon Anne heard Happy whining by the outside wall. She had kept at work all day, only leaving to feed the pups who at this time varied their milk diet with a dinner of puppy biscuit soaked in weak soup. Anne loosened a couple of stones at this side as well, and in a very few minutes Happy dug herself out and circled about, barking with every symptom of joy. But when Anne was about to replace the stones, the little beagle thrust herself between her mistress and the burrow in the same way as she had come between Waddles and the pups, when he came to look at them.

Anne saw that Happy was working out some plan of her own, so she waited and the next day discovered it.

In the morning when she went to look at the pups they were nowhere to be seen, the gate of the yard was closed, and for a moment Anne feared they might have been stolen, but baby barks from under the tool house reassured her. Going to the outside opening of the burrow and[113] lying flat in the grass she peered in. At first she could see nothing, but in a minute the light from between the stone chinks revealed Happy and the twins stretched flat on their stomachs in the fresh earth, Mamma dozing comfortably, the youngsters yap-yapping to themselves; for having a deaf parent they were quite safe in saying anything that they chose.

“It’s a cool house, a regular summer day-nursery, the dear clever mother to think of it!” exclaimed Anne in delight, quite forgetful of the fact that her own chin was resting in the dirt.

“Of course if it’s the earth cooling down at night that makes the dew collect, it must cool their fat little stomachs somehow the same way, and puppy stomachs always seem to be boiling warm. Here we’ve been and pounded the dirt in the kennel yard as hard as rock to keep it from being dug up, just as if digging was only mischief instead of a ‘must be.’ Of course all dogs aren’t as wise about it as Happy and it was rather mean of Lumberlegs last summer to make a cooler out of mother’s mignonette bed when it was in full bloom.”

It would never do for puppies to stay still all day even in so delightful a place as their mother[114] had made. Its best use was as a retreat after exercising, of which they had plenty.

If their food supply had been uncertain, “food burying” would have undoubtedly been their next lesson, and as it was, instinct whispered in Jill’s beautiful brown ears one day when she was eight weeks old, and when Jack was being vigorously flead by his mother she took his portion of puppy biscuit and laid it, piece by piece, in the deep hoof tracks of the barn road, where a few shoves from her nose quickly covered it.

Jack, on the other hand, did not begin to bury food until he was fully ten weeks old and had become quite accustomed to seeing his mother, father, and sister perform the task. Even then he did not use any judgment in the selection of a place or dig proper holes, but made very conspicuous mounds in the middle of the walks where the cache could be seen by the first passer-by.

It was at this time that Anne discovered that Happy had two different ways of burying extra food. Meat or bones she invariably put in the earth, digging deep and covering carefully that the morsel might keep cool and not ripen too fast. She usually chose soft spots in the vegetable garden for this. Often having more food in storage than she needed, it stayed so long that the Sexton[115] Beetles gut away with a good deal of it, much to Happy’s surprise; for as they bore it to their lairs underground, there was no surface trail to tell her keen nose whence it had been carried or by whom.

If the morsel she wished to hide was dog biscuit, oatmeal cake, or corn-bread, Happy worked quite differently. After finding a thick tuft of grass, she pushed the scrap well into the centre of it and then pulled the grass blades together over the top, weaving them loosely as if her nose and upper front teeth had been a crochet needle.

To “watch out” was one of the earliest lessons the puppies had to learn, and as it was taught partly in the cool house and partly on the road outside it afforded the children endless amusement. “Watching out” also included taking[116] notice of every strange thing that was brought to the premises, as well as of things neither new nor strange, and thoroughly investigating them. As may be supposed many mishaps came of this habit, as when Jack, sniffing at a basket containing live lobsters which the fishmonger’s boy had left on the step while he carried a parcel to the kitchen, carelessly thrust his nose in too far and was seized by a sturdy lobster claw. There was a yelp of pain, and pup and lobster went whirling around the big apple tree. The entire household came to the rescue, and Jack retired to the cooling house wiser not only by the experience of a nipped nose, but a pinched tail as well.

It was not the fault of his mother’s lessons—he simply had not put two and two together; in his eagerness to see what the lobster was doing he had entirely forgotten to “watch out” for danger.

[117]In the early morning, before the sun had crept around the apple tree, the twins usually sat on either side of the doorway to the burrow, with their mother lying on the grass near by. The two places were not equally good, as from one side the entire length of the path from the gate, as well as the garden and stables, could be seen at a glance, while from the other they could only see one way at a time without much neck twisting.


Toad Hunting.

[119]Jill nearly always managed to secure the best place and if Jack happened to get there in advance of her she resorted to various tactics to dislodge him. First she would amble down the walk with an eager expression on her face, and give a bark or two as if at an intruder. If this did not bring Jack out, she would sniff at the ground and then begin to dig frantically, giving the most ludicrous growls the while.

Jack’s curiosity usually overcame him at this point, for toad hunting was one of the twins’ favourite sports, and he was never tired of digging out a fat old patriarch with a spotted hide who lived under a stone by the pump, and making him hop-hop-hop until he refused to budge another step and flattened himself obstinately in the dirt, when he was allowed to go home and rest for the next day’s excursion, and, strange to say, the toad rather seemed to like the performance.

If both these lures failed, Jill would resort to force by sitting squarely on top of her brother. Soon he would move a little in order to breathe more freely or stretch his legs. As soon as he stirred, Jill settled more heavily until she was wedged between her brother and the stone side of the burrow, then one determined push settled the matter, and he would roll over, look at her[120] ruefully, stretch himself, and take the second best place.

Jack had a lovely disposition and never seemed to suspect any one of evil intentions; as often as Jill played tricks upon him he was always surprised. Jill was much more quick-witted and far better able to take care of herself, but not half so pleasant a companion, Anne thought.

Jack made friends very slowly and dodged into the burrow if a stranger came near; but when his confidence was won, he did not forget. Jill was all airs and graces; flatteringly friendly one minute and a little spitfire the next.

Happy took care that the pups should have plenty of exercise to develop their muscles, and when she thought they had dozed long enough in the cooling house, she would get them out and incite them to play by running round in a circle, keeping to the outside edge at each round so that the course gradually widened until it took in the whole lawn.

There were boxing and wrestling matches, also, in which Jill again usually had the advantage, for though Jack was the heaviest and had the longest reach, she was quick as a flash and invariably lost her temper and fought in earnest before the finish; then Happy interfered and began her endless task[121] of washing the pair and crushing the fleas with her searching front teeth.

At about four months the twins began to cut their grown-up teeth. This time was a period of disaster, for no one could predict what they would next choose for teething purposes.

One day the barn was the scene of action. Baldy’s new rubber boots, a carriage sponge, and a horse blanket that hung low enough to be pulled from the rack were the sufferers.

The next week, after rolling very thoroughly on some linen that was spread to bleach, they[122] turned their attention to what hung from the line. Jill discovered that swinging to and fro by fastening to a pyjama leg was good sport. Jack, trying to imitate her, unluckily chose for his swing the waitress’s best apron with an embroidered frill. Immediately there was a tearing sound, the slam of a door, and a much grieved pup assisted by a swinging slap from a wet towel disappeared in the burrow.

Jill immediately scented danger, and dropped the pyjama leg. The tears she had made were not discovered until the garment was ironed, and then it was laid to Jack’s account.

Anne, meanwhile, was obliged to make the waitress a new apron, because she had been in charge of the twins at the time the mischief was done, the rule now being that they must not play at large until they had learned how to behave. Anne had fully intended to watch them closely, but a strange bird song had floated over from the next field, and with a reassuring look at the pups who were pursuing the poor patient toad, she dashed off for only ten minutes, but that was quite enough.

Tommy, however, was the indirect cause of the worst disaster of all, after an interim of several weeks when the daily damage had been merely[123] the natural wear and tear of grass scratched up, an occasional roll in a flower-bed, or the mauling of a young chicken.

This happened a couple of months after Miss Letty’s arrival, when the most serious haying of the season was in progress and the last loads of long, firm timothy were to be taken in that afternoon.

Tommy took the pups from their yard soon after dinner and played with them for some time. Happy, who was rested from her motherly cares, the puppies now being weaned and quite independent, had taken up her old hunting trips, and this afternoon had gone off with Waddles, Mr. Wolf, Colin, Quick, and Tip after a vain effort to take the pups with her.

After a while Tommy, tired of play, lay down on the grass, and let the pups crawl over him. Presently he heard the rumbling of heavy wheels, and the great hay wagon carrying Baldy and a couple of extra hands went out of the barnyard the back way.

“I’m coming for the last load ride,” called Tommy.

“You’d best be quick then; this’ll be it, and it’ll be a full one, for Miss Letty and Miss Jule and Anne are all waiting up in the lot to get aboard.”

[124]“Wait, oh, wait a minute for me; it’s dreffle hot running so far,” wailed Tommy. But Baldy did not hear because the wagon creaked so.

Tommy knew that he ought to put up the puppies, but they seemed to be fast asleep, the wagon was already out of sight, he must go with his sweetheart, for it was Miss Letty’s first ride on a load of hay—in short, he turned and ran after the cart without looking back.

The children’s father often took photographs of birds and flowers to illustrate the magazine articles and books that he wrote, and that morning he had made a beautiful picture in the old mill glen of a wood-duck just leaving its nest in a hollow tree with its young. It was a very rare picture indeed, for these birds nest in deep woods, and he could not have taken it except that a bright streak of sun chanced to come through a gap and fell on the birds.

After dinner he had developed the negative very carefully in the dark house, and then put it to wash in running water.

There was no faucet in the dark house, but there was one at the head of the garden in a very shady place, and it was under this faucet that the[125] washing box was always set. This time, however, having but one negative, it was left in a flat tray.

The children did not know about this wonderful picture, for if they had even Tommy, anxious for a ride, would not have left the puppies to care for themselves.

The twins awoke and finding everybody gone, set out on a tour of investigation. If only a squirrel had scolded, or an apple fallen to attract them, but no, on they went, playing and scampering toward the garden. By this time they were thirsty, spied the running water, and amused themselves for a while by lapping it as it flowed.

Then Jill stepped on the edge of the dish and tipped it up and the glass negative fell out on the grass face upward. Sniffing at it, she found the surface cool and something sticky on it that resisted. Of course she began to lick and lick with extra persistency, stopping now and then to cough and spit out the result, which, being gelatine that had been washed in chemicals, including puckery alum, did not suit her ladyship’s taste.

A rapid step came round the house; there was an exclamation of dismay, for all that was left of the priceless duck picture was a small sheet of smeared glass.

[126]When Tommy came home from the hay-field he went to bed, and it was not because he was tired.

Anne pleaded for him, but it was of no use. Her father was quite stern, which was a rare thing.

“It is not the loss of the picture alone, it was because Tommy shirked a responsibility, just as you did the other day. Only, as it happened, by making a new apron you could undo your mischief, but Tommy cannot, so he must stay by himself and think. And, moreover, if either of you forget again, the twins must go and live at the Hilltop Kennels until they also can be held responsible for what they do.”

At this dire threat Anne had to blink to keep back her tears, and the worst of it was that Miss Jule and Miss Letty were coming to tea with Hamlet and Tip, also Mr. Hugh, and it was a moonlight night, and Anne and Tommy had expected to walk part way home with them.

Anne crept out to the dog nursery to see that all was safe and give the pups their supper, resolving that if there were more accidents it should be neither her fault nor Tommy’s; she would bear the responsibility for both.

Happy had come home quite tired out and very[127] muddy after her run, and with a wild look in her eyes that was unusual for this staid parent. She was lying on the floor flat as a pancake, while Jack, as if in return for her care of him, licked her face gently. There was something very beautiful in Jack’s love for his mother; he slept close by her at night and had the most tender way with her; and once, when he was only two months old and a strange dog came into the garden and accidentally trod on Happy’s foot so that she cried, Jack rushed out, ridged up his back hair for the very first time and flew at the stranger in real if baby wrath.

Happy did not lie still long, but paced up and down and sniffed eagerly, Jack watching her out of the corner of one eye.

“It’s the hunting’s comin’ on her,” said Baldy, looking over[128] Anne’s shoulder as he came up with the milk pails. “She’s larnt them pups most everythin’ but that, an’ some fine night she’ll get ’em out, no matter how fast you’ve shet ’em, for it’s natur. When she’s had ’em out a few times, then like as not she’ll be done with ’em and leave ’em to shift and take to her own ways agin.

“Watch out when the moon’s bright and the dew’s heavy; rabbit hounds most allus begins that time, for trailin’s dead easy, an’ you’ll hear even if you don’t see nothin’.”

After supper Anne took the twins out to show them to Mr. Hugh, who was a good judge of hunting dogs, and for the first time she noticed that not only was Jack growing larger than Jill, whom Mr. Hugh pronounced nearly perfect in the matter of points, but that he was of a different shape. His legs were longer and he leaped along and did not drop his body when he ran, as his mother and father did, so that the family name of Waddles seemed inappropriate.

“Yes; he’s a trifle weedy for a beagle; he is really a typical harrier hound,” said Mr. Hugh. “He gets that combination through his grandfather, who was a foxhound, and one of the truest dogs in the country.



“You see, Mistress Anne, Jack’s grandmother was a handsome, wild, headstrong young thing like Jill here, and she didn’t wait until her family arranged a match for her with one of her own class, but eloped with Squire Burley’s handsome hound, Meadowlark. Her family would not forgive her at first or recognize her husband, and the poor thing had a sad time of it; that is why your father was able to buy Waddles for five dollars. But never mind, for if Jack has his grandfather’s long legs he’ll make a good runner, and I think that he has his good temper and cleverness as well—we always take Meadowlark out with Leonora and Wildbrier when we are training the young hounds, for he keeps them together and we[130] seldom lose one, and that reminds me, we are going out to-night for the first time this season. Later on, you shall go, for on an autumn night there’s nothing like the music of hounds. Even with the mixed pack we have, one or two from half a dozen farms, every man can recognize the voice of his own dog.

“Where do we go to-night? Ah, this will be merely baby work; we lead Squire Burley’s pet fox around the brush lots for a couple of miles and then when he’s safely home and in bed, we put the youngsters and a couple of steady old dogs on the trail; then, when they come back, we give the babes something good to eat as a reward.

“Later we go out in earnest and follow the real trails on foot to locate the dens for the autumn and winter clearing. It’s good work; foxes are no joke to the farmers in the back country.”

“I’d love to go, that is, sometime when you aren’t killing the foxes. They seem too much like dogs to kill them. Don’t you think Miss Letty would like to go? I heard her ask Miss Jule the other day if she ‘rode to hounds’ in the fall, and said that she had done it in England, but Miss Jule said, ‘hereabouts some people ride and some run, for we shoot our foxes, which is more to the point than letting the dogs tear them to[131] bits;’ but Miss Letty thought she wouldn’t care to run.”

“No; nor ride far either,” said Mr. Hugh, dryly.

Hamlet, whose hair was now about an inch long and neatly trimmed, was quite a respectable citizen, and from having plenty of exercise and dog companionship he had lost the nervous habit of shrieking when he barked. He and Tip had formed a fast friendship with just a bit of jealousy to bind it, for they both adored Miss Letty, Miss Jule declaring that her own nose was out of joint, for Tip, who had always slept on his mistress’s hearth rug, had transferred himself to the hall by Miss Letty’s door where he lay nightly with his nose close to the crack so as to get in the minute she awoke. Then, too, from being a very independent individual, who came and went as he pleased, under the coaxing of what Miss Jule called “Letty’s squash talk,” he learned to fetch and carry and sit up in a queer, helpless way, holding her slipper in his mouth with the most adoringly silly expression on his face. He had to prop himself against something, it is true, for his hind legs were not constructed for this position, but his intentions were of the best.

[132]After supper the family at Happy Hall laughed until they were weak at his efforts, while poor Tommy, hearing the echo of their merriment, sobbed bitterly all alone in his little white bed. Anne had not forgotten him and instead of taking the moonlight walk that she so loved, with her father and mother, part way home with the guests, she called Waddles and slipped away upstairs to comfort Tommy, and tell him the news that Miss Letty had a new sailor hat and a plain white gown with no lace upon it that did not trail in the dirt, and yet that she looked even prettier in it than in her “flower lady” dresses. Also that she had put the cookies on his supper tray herself, and told Anne to take him a kiss and tell him that sometimes very big men forgot things that they ought to have done and did things they should be sorry for, and that Mr. Hugh got very red in the face when she sent this message.

Then Tommy stopped sobbing, took interest in his untouched supper, eating it cookie end first, while at that moment the baying of hounds was heard toward the river woods and Waddles, hurrying downstairs before Anne could catch him, pushed open the door and was off in full cry.



Anne drew aside the curtain and looked out.

[135]Anne must have been asleep some hours, though it only seemed a few minutes, when she was wakened by an unusual sound and sat up to listen. The moonlight was streaming into the room, and as she waited the clock in the hall below chimed and struck two. Again the sound came, the baying of one loud dog voice and two little bays. Anne drew aside the curtain by her bed and looked out. Everything was either in white light or black shadow. The cries came nearer, and four animals sped across the open tennis court. Anne could plainly see a rabbit pursued by three dogs.

“It’s Happy and the twins; she’s teaching them the hunting all of her own accord when Mr. Hugh has to arrange it for the kennel dogs. Isn’t it wonderful?” said Anne, aloud, presumedly to the moon as there was no one else awake.

“But how did she get the twins out, I wonder? It’s one of Pinkie Scott’s tame rabbits that live under her summer-house that they’re after though, and it’s sure to get back among the stones, and they’ll be disappointed. I must give them something to eat when they come back as a reward, just as Mr. Hugh does the little foxhounds,” and thrusting her feet into her moccasin slippers Anne stole lightly down the back stairs.

[136]How Happy got her pups out was an undiscovered secret until Baldy found that the cooling house had a sort of switch-off burrow that led backward under the stone fence, which the faithful mother could only have made with infinite labour.

Anne opened the kitchen door by the well and stepped into the moonlight, plate in hand. The baying and yelping had ceased, but she could tell by the swishing of grass and bushes that the dogs were returning. Soon they came in sight on the garden side; the twins seemed tired and their heads drooped, while their mother encouraged first one and then the other by little licks and caresses. Of course they were both hungry and thirsty, and while the plate was being licked a window above opened and Anne’s father looked out saying, “Anne! out in your nightgown feeding puppies, or are you walking in your sleep?”

“Feeding the twins, father dear,” she called softly. “You see Happy has been teaching them the hunting and as there wasn’t any catching, giving them supper is a ‘must be.’ Mr. Hugh said so.”

Then the Winds of Night whispered wood messages in Diana’s ears and drew her long hair through their fingers, and little Oo-oo, the screech[137] owl, laughed far off in the river woods, so that long after she was asleep the sounds turned into dreams.

As to Waddles, he stayed out all night and was discovered tired and muddy on the door-steps the next morning. When he was being brushed, Anne asked him, “Why he had not helped Happy teach the pups?” He gave her a reproachful look that said: “I’m surprised at you, mistress. I go with the men dogs; teaching pups the hunting is woman’s work.”



When Miss Letty had been two months at the Hilltop Farm everybody had fallen in love with her, twofoots and fourfoots alike. That is, everybody but Mr. Hugh; he was simply polite and tolerant, treating her new enthusiasm for dogs, horses, and outdoor things as merely the whim of a spoiled child.

Miss Letty had packed her Paris finery away in Miss Jule’s big garret, excepting a few pretty things for evening wear, and went about in white duck skirts and dainty white shirt waists, belts and ties, for as she said, “If you are much with dogs and horses, it isn’t enough to have gowns that will wash, you must have things that are boilable.”

So Tommy changed her name from Flower Lady to White Lady, and doubled his devotion, recklessly buying three cookie cutters at the ten-cent store in town,—a heart, a rabbit, and a rooster,—that[139] his offerings of ginger cakes and jumbles coaxed from cook might not lack variety. The heart and rooster cookies were sure to be in good condition when Miss Letty received them, but the rabbit offered greater temptation to Tommy in transit. It was a queerly built rabbit, and stood very high on its legs. Tommy discovered that if the legs were nibbled off carefully and evenly, bunny looked as if he was lying down, so if the cookie was particularly crisp, and temptation overcame him, he soothed his scruples by telling Miss Letty that “to-day the rabbit is tired.”

As for Anne, she had found a companion after her own heart, for Miss Letty was as happy in her newly found freedom as a young house-bred animal having its first taste of liberty. Anne offered to give up Fox, but it was not necessary, for Miss Letty could control Miss Jule’s own mount Kate by merely a pat on the neck, and together the two girls—for at this time Miss Letty was as young as Anne—explored every wood path in the vicinity, having an escort of Dogtown police in the shape of Mr. Wolf, Quick, Tip, and Waddles to protect them, with Colin as a sort of clown to amuse them when they rested.

At first Miss Letty spoke in French to Anne,[140] because her mother asked it and it was really her own tongue, but she soon stopped, saying frankly that it seemed as much out of place in New England wood and farm life as her lace frills or Hamlet’s long curls and bracelets, while Anne’s Indian names for beasts and birds caught her fancy, and Miss Letty was as quick as Anne in detecting an unusual bird note, even though she might not know the name of the bird.

In fact, she was rather slow in learning to name birds by sight, and came galloping down so often to tell Anne that there were some great strange birds in the meadow, with green and blue feathers, when they were only crows, or perhaps grackles seen in the bright sun, that it came to be quite a joke. But if she once learned a bird’s name from hearing its song, she never forgot it.

It was Miss Letty also who discovered that Tip and Colin had musical ears, and could be made to sing. Waddles had always been a musician of ability, being so sensitive to vocal sounds that Anne was obliged to shut him up in the farthest away barn if her mother had a musical evening.

Jolly piano music seemed to annoy him, and he would get up and walk away of his own accord, with an injured air; but if Anne in practising chanced upon a minor scale, then from under[141] sofa, bush, or remotest spot, where the sound carried, Waddles appeared tiptoeing along with tail erect and wonderful dilating eyes.

If he happened to be indoors, he would come within two or three feet of the piano; if outside, to the nearest door or window, and sitting down, throw back his head and let the sound well forth, high and in key with the scale, only dropping to a throaty gurgle when he had to take breath. On and on he would sing until the scale stopped, and then he crept away to seclusion, as if quite exhausted, and lying quite still, gave an occasional little bay that sounded like a sob.

This singing was entirely different from the baying and full cry of hunting hounds, and after a while Anne discovered that there were three other sounds than her minor scales that produced it,—the call of the whip-poor-will, the quavering of a screech owl, and a French horn that one of Mr. Hugh’s stable men played, which, in spite of the distance, sounded quite clear and true when the windows were open on summer nights.

Tip, Quick, and Colin’s singing was of a different order, but quite remarkable, for setters and spaniels are not credited with the voices that belong to all hounds, and when, during one of their lessons, as Miss Letty, with finger raised,[142] whistled the tune that started them, Mr. Wolf’s sombre, deep-barking St. Bernard voice suddenly joined, counteracting the fox terrier’s double high c. The effect was astounding. Mr. Hugh, who was riding up the wood road, stopped short in sheer amazement, muttering to himself, “It’s odd that such a little butterfly creature should have so much influence with dogs.” Then, as the lesson ended, and Quick, having scented him, came bounding across the lawn, showing that he had a paper frill round his neck and a small red cigar ribbon bow on his tail, he said something about “more circus tricks,” and gave his horse a quite unnecessary cut with his whip and galloped away, Quick following much to his chagrin. If he had looked back he would have seen Miss Jule standing at the road edge laughing until the tears ran down her cheeks, while Miss Letty danced along the piazza holding Hamlet’s paws, saying: “We’ve shocked the Great Bear again. I wonder what he will say when he sees you ride Fox, all dressed in your red jacket.”

Miss Letty had taken great pains to keep out of Mr. Hugh’s way ever since the day that she first met him, when she heard him tell Tommy that he did not care for people who were “not useful”; and she never spoke of him except as the Great[143] Bear, giving her aunt as her reason for the name, that when she looked out of her window at night at the stars, the constellation of the Great Bear (which is commonly called the Dipper) pointed its tail straight at Mr. Hugh’s house.

Everything had been quiet in Dogtown for some time. To the twins the novelty of the first hunting trips was wearing off, and Happy was resuming her usual habits,—going to walk with Anne and Waddles, sunning herself by the lilac bushes, and going nightly for the cows with Baldy. Now she had also her devoted son and servitor for a companion, Jill only going by fits and starts as suited her.

Monotony, however, is against the laws of Dogtown, and to prevent such a state of things, for nobody could see any other reason, one fine morning Miss Jill ran away.

At least Anne insisted that this was the case, though she could not prove it, and all that was really known was that when Baldy came for the milking pails at 6 A.M., he let Happy and the pups out of the nursery kennel; and that two hours later, when Anne went to feed them, Happy and Jack were waiting for her, but Jill[144] was nowhere to be found. Moreover, when Anne whistled to Jack and said: “Where’s Jill? Find Jill!” instead of running about and giving funny shrill barks as usual until she answered, he paid no attention whatever.

Tommy suggested dolefully that the train might have killed her the same as it had Lily, but a careful search proved the contrary. Anne’s father was inclined to believe that she had been stolen by some one going to the market town with a milk or vegetable wagon, as many such passed by, and Jill had always made friends rather too easily. Miss Jule scoffed at this, saying that the people about were all too fond of dogs to allow such a theft to pass unpunished, and had followed up all dog stealing so swiftly that it had become almost an unknown crime.

Nevertheless, Miss Jule called up the sheriff, who was a lover of animals, and if he once saw a dog could recognize it again anywhere, and sent him scouring the countryside over, with no result, for Jill had vanished as completely as if she had taken wing.

“Of course I’m sorry,” said Anne, rather doubtfully to Miss Letty, who came down to offer sympathy; “but it isn’t as if Waddles, or even Jack, had gone. It is horrid to lose anything, and not[145] to know what has become of poor Jill, for she may be hurt and lying somewhere sick and hungry, yet somehow I think that she didn’t care much for us, and that she has been planning to run away for some time.”

Miss Letty laughed at the notion, but Anne could not be shaken in her belief, and as there was nothing to do but wait, she waited. Meantime Happy Hall was quite a tranquil place, that is, on the rare days when neither Hamlet, Mr. Wolf, Quick, nor Tip came to visit Waddles, or Schnapps and Friday did not come to drink in the cow pond and meet Pinkie Scott’s fox terriers and Hans Sachs the dachshund on the war-path for rats behind the barn, Pinkie’s house being just above. When this happened, hard words were exchanged, for though Schnapps and Hans Sachs had been litter brothers, they were now in deadly feud, and of course Friday stood up for his chum.

The summer of this particular season that the children always remembered afterward as “the year when Miss Letty came,” was very warm indeed, and Anne established a midday retreat in her beloved old apple tree, or rather two retreats. One was high up in the broad branches where you[146] could look down into various birds’ nests. A few slats, placed long ago by Obi, the garden boy, had been added to by Baldy, so that the perch had places for three. The other was a sort of house below, furnished with chairs, a table, and hammocks. This gave shelter above and below even in rainy weather, and from it in different directions the lawn, garden, shrubbery, kennels, and distant hills could be seen with all their inhabitants of flowers, butterflies, birds, and fourfooted animals.

Anne called this place the “time eater,” because, as she said, “you go there to stay a minute, or you sit down to read, but you don’t come away and you don’t read; you simply look and listen, and before you know it is dinner time, and the morning is all eaten up.”

The things that Anne and Tommy heard there as they spent their vacation time together were Heart of Nature’s own stories, and it was his own voice that told them.

[147]It was also a good point of vantage from which to watch the play of the dogs, and Anne discovered one thing beyond question, that where dogs live and are fed there the birds gather. In fact, during the nesting season that year the doings of the birds and little beasts that fed from the dogs’ table would fill a whole book.


Anne and Tommy.

[149]At the north of the nursery kennel was a broad-topped stone fence. Being convenient and of exactly the right height, Anne used a wide hollow stone as a mortar for pounding the dog biscuit, taking a narrow stone for a pestle, for the Waddles family all preferred drinking their milk or soup, and having the biscuit in bits the size of small lumps of sugar so that it could be gnawed like a bone, to having it soaked into pulpy stew. Of course there was cracker dust left in the mortar, and little bits would fly about here and there. But no matter how much dust was left at evening, the next morning found this place as clean as if it had been scrubbed, so Anne began to watch.

There was a pair of song-sparrows that had their second nest in a great rose-bush by the walk, and though the parents gave their nestlings only insect food, they fed upon the biscuit crumbs. These two soon grew so tame that when they had cleaned the wall they hopped about the dog houses and helped themselves from the dishes, giving shy little flutters if the twins barked at them, but only going a few feet and returning very quickly.

Then there were the chipping sparrows, the dear little brown velvet-capped birds, who are so tame that the Latin word for sociable is part of the[150] name the wise men give them. They actually hopped on Waddles’s back and almost caught the moist bits that fell from his jaws.

The goldfinches came also, beginning in early spring when the males and females wear the same clothes of dull olive-brown and black, and making daily visits all through the season until the males after wearing a mottled costume put on their yellow wedding coats and black caps, and put them off again.

Black and white nuthatches took their dog food differently, picking up the larger bits and carrying them into the apple tree, where they hammered them to pieces exactly as they would crack beechnuts or corn kernels.

Anne was not surprised that birds like these should feed on dog biscuit, but when catbirds, robins, and phœbes—the air-living flycatchers—began to be the regular table boarders of the Waddles family, she began to wonder. These last birds were of course first attracted by the kettle of cooked meat scraps that was often hung in the tree to cool; but lacking meat, they were satisfied with the crumbs.

One morning a lame-winged crow appeared from the wood edge and walked solemnly up to the dish where Jack and Jill were eating, giving[151] a squawk that sent them in haste to the nursery, though Jill soon came back and attempted to flirt with his crowship, which so surprised him that he nearly choked to death by swallowing too quickly. This ended in Baldy’s catching the crow, who was not a welcome garden guest, as was proved by the chorus of alarm notes that arose at his appearance, and he actually had the destruction of many orchard homes written against him in the Birdland records.

One morning Bobwhite, who had been whistling and telling his name proudly from the protected meadows all the spring, appeared on the fence. Anne held her breath and Tommy watched, round eyed with eagerness. Bob threw back his head and proclaimed his name proudly; then no one disputing him he called more plaintively, poor-bobwhite! dropped from the wall to the grass, and then walked along the gravel path as unconcernedly as any barnyard fowl. Coming to where the pups had upset their dish, he gave a few scratches and began to pick up the smallest bits as if he was gleaning grain in the stubble.

At this moment Mrs. Waddles coming round the house corner flushed Bob, and he rose with the whirring of wings that is one of the eery sounds of the autumn lanes every year before grouse,[152] quail, and woodcock have grown too gun shy, and, going over the garden house, disappeared in the long grass. But he came again and took home a report of the good eating, for one summer morning a little after dawn, when Anne was sitting on the foot of her bed and looking out of her window, she saw what she at first took to be Tommy’s banty hen leading a large brood of chicks down the garden path. Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she leaned out of the window and saw that they were not the bantams, but Mamma Quail and the children out for a breakfast walk.

Anne hurried down as quickly as she could, but Waddles cheered so loudly, thinking that she was also going for a walk, that the party disappeared in the quince bushes before she could steal up to them. It had rained in the night, and their chicken-like footprints in the fine moist gravel by the empty dog dishes told her that they had breakfasted there.

In autumn the jays always came slyly to the oaks and beeches at Happy Hall and carried away nuts and acorns for winter use, storing some in a hollow chestnut in the pasture, and others under the shingles of the old cow barn.

When the resting season came, however, they usually stole away to the pine woods across the[153] river, as Anne’s father did not encourage them about the garden; for whether or not they are always unneighbourly egg thieves, it is certain they carry terror to the gentler hearts of Birdland, and at Happy Hall nothing might stay that could annoy the wood thrushes and brown thrashers that returned season after season.

What was Anne’s surprise then one June morning, to see in the orchard unmistakable flashes of “jay blue,” which is a colour by itself, and not to be mistaken by the owner of the Magic Spectacles for the colour of either bluebird, indigo-bird, king-fisher, or heron. Next she heard the jay’s bell note, not the harsh jeering “jay-jay” of alarm, but the spring call, like the striking together of well-tempered bits of metal. Then came a chorus of alarm cries from all the birds of the neighbourhood, and a commotion in the trees over the garden house.

As Anne was going out to see what was the matter, a flash of blue crossed the sunlight and landed on the walk, and there was Tchin-dees the blue jay himself, in flawless bravery of feathers.

He put his head on one side and peered here and there saucily, as much as to say: “Where is your old dog bread, anyway? Stingy this morning,[154] aren’t you? Yes, I’ve been here before, you can’t fool me. I know it’s after breakfast time.”

The dog dishes were not in sight, and there appeared to be no scraps upon the ground, but Tchin-dees was not daunted. In the nursery kennel slept Jack and Jill, stretched out as flat as if they were cookie dogs.

Their food dish stood by the doorway, well inside. It was full, for they had not yet breakfasted.

Tchin-dees spied it, took a survey of the situation, hopped into the dish, and began to stir up the bits with his feet in order to more easily choose the smallest.

He gave a start and flutter when he spied Anne, but making up his mind that a meal in[155] the stomach is worth several in the dish, returned to the charge, finally carrying an obstinate fragment to the stone wall where he beat it with his bill, keeping one eye on Anne meanwhile, and making a face at her she avers, as he flew away.

When Anne told Miss Jule about the “table boarders,” she laughed and said, “What have I always told you should be painted on boards and posted in every country town like the ‘keep-off-the-grass’ signs in parks?” Anne remembered that it was,—

“If you hate birds, keep cats.
If you love birds, keep dogs.”

Truly, who can say that they have seen wild birds feeding from a cat’s dish when its owner was at home, or pulling out pussy’s fur for a nest lining.

Among the fourfoots who shared the hospitality of the Waddles family table were coons, skunks, weasels, red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, and the various gnawers of meadow, wood, and wall, the least of these being the tawny-backed white-footed mice and tiny field mice, scarcely bigger than bumblebees.


There were few mornings that stories of one or more of these animals might not be read by the keen-eyed on or about the stone wall, or on near-by tree trunks, in footprints on the ground or damp stones, or by claw marks on bark, etc. As to the field mice, they made the wall their turnpike to which the various nooks between the stones were cross-roads, and all day long they came and feasted daintily upon the crumbs, sitting up and cleaning their whiskers and paws after each meal.

Of late Anne had found many “owl balls” about the wall and under the pine trees, but never an owl could she see; for though a few came about every winter, they generally went early to the deep woods, where they kept company with the jays. These balls, which, as the snow owl once told Tommy-Anne at his Xmas party, were the pieces of the things they ate but could not digest, and so rolled into little balls and spit out, seemed to be all made of the fur and bones of field mice; so really, as Anne told Tommy when they discovered them, “the Owls were the Waddles’s table boarders also, only in a sort of second-hand way because, you see, the mice eat the dog food, and then the owls wait until they are through and eat the mice.”

But where did the owls hide? Anne thought[157] that she knew every nook and cranny where they could nest, and Tommy usually managed to wriggle himself into the places she could not reach.

One night there was a commotion in the orchard; the evening song broke up early, and birds darted to and fro, giving alarm cries. Happy and Jack started off together and in a moment Waddles followed, but instead of crying and going nose to the ground, they sniffed the air and were silent, tiptoeing about among the ferns that grew under the pine trees.

After Tommy had gone to bed Anne heard a strange quavering noise close to the house. It was pale moonlight, and stepping out Anne found that her father was walking down the wild path toward the orchard, so she joined him. As she was telling about the unusual sound, it came again quite close. It was a sort of crooning, ending in “shay-shay-shay,” as if dried peas were sharply shaken in a sieve. A moment later a dark object flapped across, brushing Anne’s face.

“A screech-owl,” whispered her father. “Keep still a moment and I will see if I can call it.” He imitated the sound perfectly and again the bird swooped directly across his face, snapping its beak, while a second owl appeared a little farther on and began the same tactics with Anne.

[158]Anne tried to call and was so successful that she soon had to put her arms above her head to protect her face, the birds grew so bold.

“They must have a nest near by,” said her father; “they are teaching the young to fly, and we are interrupting their signalling.”

“Look, do look!” whispered Anne. “Oh, the dear little fluffy thing, it’s cuter than a kitten or a puppy,” and there among the pine branches in the moon path, directly on a line with her nose, perched a baby screech-owl, its little slant-wise eyes tightly closed.


Anne put up her hand to take it, but a screech-owl, like a weasel asleep, is a deceptive thing. Six claws fastened themselves in her flesh,—claws barbed like fish-hooks and of surprising strength. She tried to drop the baby, but it wouldn’t let go, and her father had to pry its grip off with a stick; but the pain was soon forgotten by the sight of another owl farther up, and then another, until they had counted six of the fuzzy balls in addition to the parents.

Anne, with her handkerchief tied about her hand, protested that it did not pain her, and so the pair stayed for an hour, and watched the play which consisted of signalling, flying, and then the feeding of the young birds as if by way of reward.

Presently Waddles, Happy, and Jack came back, following each other in a straight line through the orchard and across the wall. As they turned into the wild walk, Mamma Owl, at least it was reasonable to suppose it was she, as the females are the most alert when the young are flying, swooped at Waddles who was in the lead, flapped him in the face with a heavy wing, and gave an unearthly screech not a foot from his sensitive ears.

For once Waddles was daunted and sat down suddenly. Mrs. Waddles and Jack being close[160] behind did likewise. The owl gave another scream and a long-drawn shay-shay-shay; but this time instead of frightening Waddles, it seemed to strike the musical note in his soul, and settling firmly on his haunches he threw back his head and began to sing. His lips moved very little but the chords in his throat could be seen to vibrate even by the moonlight.

Jack, after a few squeaks and barks, joined in a queer trembling treble, and finally the noise penetrated Happy’s brain, deaf though she was, and she added to the din by a tune in a wholly different key.

[161]The effect was as bewildering to Anne and her father as to the soldiers in a procession when they are an equal distance between two bands playing different tunes. At first they laughed, then put their fingers in their ears, called to the dogs and tried to stop the din, for it was being taken up far and near, the shrieks and imitation bays of Pinkie Scott’s fox terriers, who didn’t know how to sing, being particularly piercing. In fact, Miss Jule afterward said that all her dogs responded, and that Mr. Hugh’s hounds and Squire Burley’s kept it up half the night.

Jack and Happy were easily quieted, but Waddles was irrepressible and continued to sing to himself after he went to his sleeping place on the rug outside of Anne’s door, so that long after the household had vainly tried to go to sleep, and Tommy half waking had an argument with his mother, and insisted upon being dressed, saying that he knew it was morning, because he “heard roosters,” Waddles was led out to his house and chained for the night, the severest punishment that he could have.

Anne tried to console him from her window, but as soon as he seemed about to lie down, he began again, and Anne retired in disgust; at her last glimpse of him he was standing motionless[162] with his head raised and facing the moon in musical ecstasy. She did not know, however, that Mamma Owl was mouse hunting in deep shadow along the wall back of the kennel, saying things that no self-respecting dog could hear and keep silence.

The next morning Anne’s first thought was of the owls, and that she must try to find where they had nested. She believed that she and Tommy had explored every tree in the neighbourhood since March when the ice melted. The nest must be somewhere in the orchard, for there was nothing in the owl boxes that were put in the pines several years before.

When she threw open the shutters toward the wooded side of the place, her eye rested on two unusual bumps on the reddish bark of a Scotch pine. She looked again, and even without the aid of her field-glass saw that two of the baby screech-owls had settled for their daytime sleep in the crotches of the pine, their young rusty gray feathers so blending with the bark that it would have been impossible to see them except from the slant of light and the fact that she was on a level with them.


Waddles Baying the Owls.

Hurrying down she walked under the tree, and though she knew exactly where they perched, it[164] was some time before she could find them again. Their eyes were tightly closed, yet as she walked around the tree the heads turned and followed her until it seemed as if they would twist them off altogether.


“I know where some of those words come from that you do not like us to say,” Anne said to her mother as she went in to breakfast. “To ‘rubber neck’ is a regular verb in pure owl, for I’ve just seen them do it.”

Before the morning was out, the children had discovered three of the baby owls in a hemlock, and one parent perched in a hackberry close to her stone-fence dining room, probably waiting for supper time, as the table was then occupied by the little day birds that hopped about fearlessly, as if relying[166] upon Anne and the bright sunlight for protection, for little Oo-oo is a true night owl.

After Anne had searched the orchard for the nest, and given it up in despair, Tommy found the owl’s home quite by accident. He was hunting for the sixth little owl, and thought he saw it in a pine near the house. Not being daunted by pine gum, he had nearly reached the top of the tree, which was bushy instead of pointed, as the leader had been snapped off in a sleet storm, and several branches were struggling to replace it. Suddenly he called to Anne in great excitement, for there, in the bushy place, resting on the thick stump of the broken tree-top, was the owl’s nest, not fifty feet from Anne’s window.

It was not much of a nest, to be sure, merely a collection of sticks and matted pine needles, but that the six owlets had spent the weeks between hatching and flying in it, was proved by the bits of bones, fur, and beetle shells with which it was littered.

Of course Anne had to go and look, and later on they coaxed Miss Letty up too, for it was quite easy climbing, if you didn’t mind the stickiness. As they all came down again, who should come in but Mr. Hugh to return a book. Miss Letty shook hands carelessly, without looking[167] at him, thereby mischievously transferring a goodly share of pine gum from her palm to his; but though he looked surprised, there was nothing for him to do but laugh, and it somewhat broke the stiffness that was always between them.


Just then a pitiful howl led the party toward the long grass below the pines. A strange noise indeed, nothing less than Waddles howling with pain. He had found, and tried to retrieve, the sixth little owl, that had dropped from its perch into the long grass, and the owlet had seized him by the nose with its six talons, using its beak in the meantime.

[169]Anne, remembering her last night’s experience, drew back. Tommy foolishly cried “sic-em” in anticipation of a fight. Miss Letty would have grasped the bird if Mr. Hugh had not been quicker, giving it a little rap above the beak that made it loosen its hold and flop down in the grass, where it sat with wings partly raised and snapping beak, the picture of baby rage, while Waddles drew back and eyed it ruefully, head on one side.

Anne’s father, seeing what was happening, ran for his camera and took a picture of the group before Waddles had recovered from his astonishment, and put himself to bed in his kennel both[170] wiser and sadder. Moreover the twins did not spoil this negative.

“I think your Magic Spectacles need cleaning, little daughter,” said Anne’s father, laughing, when she told him of the near-by nest and how no one had even suspected that an owl family was in the garden, after all their efforts to attract little Oo-oo with boxes and ready-made nooks.

Waddles drew back and eyed it ruefully.

“The moral of that is,” said Mr. Hugh, pausing as he was telling Miss Letty of a compound that would take pine gum off white duck skirts, “don’t try to manage wild birds. Keep dogs, be liberal with their table board, and watch out; the birds will do the rest.”



Pinkie Scott’s cousin Dorothy came to spend a week with her, and the two little girls planned to have an afternoon tea, not only for some friends, but for their friends’ dogs as well.

Pinkie’s mother looked dubious when first approached about the matter, but finally said that they might ask six people and six young dogs, thinking in this way to keep the festivities within handleable limits, as young dogs, like young children, are not so apt to have the fixed ideas and jealousies of their elders.

Pinkie Scott was Tommy’s nearest neighbour, though that does not mean that she lived near enough for them to grow tired of each other’s society, for the houses on the hillside of Dogtown were few and set amid plenty of land. Pinkie had three dogs,—a stout black and tan dachshund named Hans Sachs, and twin fox terriers called[172] Luck and Pluck, which names exactly describe their character.

Hans was an extremely amiable dog of the now fashionable “turnspit” variety, and possessed a keen sense of humour, which he expressed by a most wonderful scale of barks varying from a sub-cellar basso to high c. When a particular bit of fun tickled him, he would plant his bent fore feet, a joke in themselves, and whirl round and round like a pinwheel.

He was Pinkie’s constant companion, followed her wherever she went, and slept on a mat at her door. Luck and Pluck, though devoted by fits and starts, were not nearly so reliable, often taking runs a whole morning long quite by themselves; but then, unless fox terriers can run until they are tired, they jump about like four-legged electric batteries and make one nervous.

Wednesday would be Dorothy’s sixth birthday, so the tea-party was set for that afternoon, and the day before, the two cousins, each carrying her pet doll, walked up and down in the shade of the arbour playhouse, trying to make up their minds whom they would invite and what they should have to eat, for parties were very informal affairs among the little folks, an invitation given a day in advance being considered not only[173] quite sufficient, but particularly desirable by their parents. It takes a very grand affair indeed to withstand long anticipation.

“We’ll ask Sophie and Charlie Mayhew and Silvie their dog, of course; that’s two people and one dog,” said Pinkie, counting on her fingers.

“And Tommy and Anne and all their dogs,” added Dorothy.

“Tommy and Jack Waddles,” corrected Pinkie. “Anne is too old, and of course Mr. and Mrs. Waddles are.”

“But Waddles loves tea parties and things to eat, and cheers like anything when he even smells five-o’clock tea biscuit,” pleaded Dorothy; but Pinkie’s mind was made up; “He is too greedy,” she said. “At Miss Jule’s dog party he ate nearly a whole box of ‘five-o’clock teas,’ the lovely mixed ones, pink and chocolate and white, and mother has only given me two boxes for the whole party. Of course we shall ask Jessie and Jack Lane, and they’ve got two dogs, Toodles and Blackberry.”

“That only makes five people and five dogs,” said Dorothy, unable to deny Waddles’s greed, especially where the crisp tea biscuit, his pet delicacy, were concerned. “Who will be six?”

“Miss Letty and Hamlet of course,” replied[174] Pinkie, with the air of one announcing a star attraction.

“But she is very, very old,” objected Dorothy, “nearly as old as mamma, and Hamlet is just as old as Mrs. Waddles; I heard Miss Jule say so.”

“You disunderstand,” said Pinkie, looking annoyed at having to explain. “You see, if the people who come are nice, there is always somebody old at a party to shampoorone it and see that people don’t eat too much or do too many things they like. Mother is going to take Aunt May to the Golf Club to-morrow, and so Miss Letty is going to shampoorone my tea. She’s lovely for that, Tommy’s had her and Sophie, and she won’t do it a bit hard, and Hamlet is going to be the entertainer and do all his tricks, and Miss Letty says that if we put the samwiches and biscuits in a basket with a handle, he’ll take it in his mouth and pass them round to the other dogs.”

“My!” ejaculated Dorothy, opening her eyes very wide; “that’ll be better than Punch and Judy, besides we’ve been having them everywhere I’ve been all winter, and the man that unswallows the rabbit and the bowl of goldfish and paper flowers beside. But why mightn’t Hamlet run away with the basket and gobble the things himself?” added the practical young lady.

[175]“Because—because he’s twained—he wouldn’t think of such a thing,” stammered Pinkie, such an objection never before having entered her brain.

The guests being arranged, food was the next question. “There’ll be ice cream and sponge cake and chocolates, and real tea to pour out of a tea-pot for us,” said Pinkie, readily, “and five-o’clock teas, and samwiches with sausages between for the dogs, and buttermilk, and a bone each to take home with them. Mother told cook yesterday to collect nice strong bones that won’t chip up and hurt their insides. Then there’ll be cookies, too. You make dog cookies with lard. Miss Jule invented them, ’cause dogs love lard.”

The guests being duly invited before luncheon on Tuesday, all promptly accepted before dinner time of the same day, and Pinkie and Dorothy went to bed very early, intending to rise with the sun and begin their preparations, for Dogtown mothers were very sensible and insisted that when little entertainments were given, the children should do as much as possible of the preparation themselves, instead of casting the burden upon the servants, and then spending the intervening time in fault-finding.

Pinkie’s mother purposely darkened the room, however, so that they might have a good long[176] sleep, for after breakfast was quite soon enough to begin.

Pinkie discovered the very first thing that it wasn’t churning day, and was about to wail at the lack of buttermilk, which was a much esteemed beverage of at least five out of the six dog guests.

“Oi’ve crame enough for the shmall churn the day, and if ye’ll bate it for me I’ll make out to give ye the buttermilk, for wid the ice to freeze and cake and cookies I’ve me hands full,” said the good-natured Irish cook, wiping Pinkie’s tears away with the corner of her gingham apron, one of the peculiarities of the helpers in Dogtown being that were they native or foreign, black or white, they were as fond of children and dogs as their employers.

Dorothy wished to churn the butter, but as Pinkie said, “The first time you do it, you splatter it all about, and nobody gets any buttermilk but the floor,” adding, “but I’ve done it more’n seven times, and I know how.” So Dorothy was persuaded to cut out the cookies instead, and chose a plain round cutter, saying wisely, “I’d best not make cat and rooster cookies ’cause it might teach the doggies to eat what they shouldn’t.”

While Dorothy worked away at the table close[177] inside the kitchen window, enveloped in an all-over white apron, on the other side of the lattice, Pinkie, sitting on a small bench in the corner of the back porch, delved away at the churning, while they exchanged reports of progress that were rather discouraging to the butter maker.

It seemed to Pinkie that she had only fairly begun when Dorothy called out, “First pan gone in the oven.”

“Ker-chunk—ker-chunk, ker-chunk,” answered the dasher in the churn, saying by the tone of its voice as plainly as any words, “Only cream yet, and thin at that.”

Butter’s come!

Pinkie stopped for a moment and brought out Julia Minnehaha, her favourite doll, whom she stood close beside her for company.

“First panful baked, and they are lovely. Crisp and good if the butter in ’em is lard,” called Dorothy, in a mumbling voice that proclaimed that she was eating.

“You mustn’t eat them, they are for the dog company,” expostulated poor Pinkie.

“I’m only eating the broken ones,” said Dorothy.

“Was there more’n one?”

“Yes, three; you see when I help cook cut cookies at home I gener’ly make two or three[178] broken ones out of the edge pieces on purpose to eat, so that’s why there’s three now, and next pan there’ll be four.”

“Won’t you bring me one and put it in my mouth?” coaxed Pinkie. “‘Cause if I stop plunking this butter, it will what cook calls, ‘go back.’”

Presently Luck and Pluck appeared on the scene, drawn by the smell of the baking cookies and the sound of the churn, and stood licking their lips, looking alternately at their little mistress and backward toward the kitchen window with a wistful gaze.

“Ker-swish—ker-swash!” said the buttermilk, as it separated from the butter with a watery splash.

[179]“Butter’s come!” cried Pinkie. “Now listen, doggies, you are going to have company this afternoon, so now you can only have two drops of buttermilk apiece.”

“The cream is frozen and the dasher is ready for us to scrape, hurry up,” called Dorothy, coming to the window armed with a plate and two spoons, “and it’s all pink with fresh stwaberries, too, the very last in the garden.”

When this new excitement had subsided, and the frosting of the sponge cake hearts and rounds for the two-footed company had been closely inspected, with many remarks of regret that not one of these delicacies could, by any stretching of conscience, be called even damaged, it still lacked an hour of luncheon time, and the party was not to begin until half-past four.

“Let’s set the table and fix the seats, and have everything ready,” suggested Dorothy, who was the leading spirit of the two. “I’ll bring out the table and you get the cups and saucers.”

They put the little table under the arbour, close to the entrance where it would be shady in the afternoon, and covered it with Mrs. Scott’s best fringed tea-cloth, that she let them have only on the promise that they would be very careful, and not let the dogs put their paws upon it.

[180]They filled one little jug with flowers and left the other empty ready for the cream.

“This table won’t hold anything but the tea things,” said Pinkie, thoughtfully, “we will have to put the refweshments somewhere else and pass them.”

“Here, on the stone wall behind the arbour, is a nice place,” said Dorothy, “and no one can see the things. Let us play tea-party now, I’ll pour the tea and say ‘cream or lemon, one lump or two, please?’ And you can say ‘no tea, thank you, I never take anything between meals.’ Then I sha’n’t be ’barrassed ’cause there really isn’t any tea.”

“Yes, I will,” acquiesced Pinkie, readily, “only I think first I’ll get Julia Minnehaha and some bread and butter ’cause I’m really, truly hungry.”

Then the two sat down at either end of the table, while Hans Sachs and Pluck, believing it to be a real party, waited for their share, which proving to be only bread crumbs sent them off in a huff.

[181]Miss Letty came to take luncheon with the two mammas and brought a large box of mottoes for the party. “They have paper caps in them, I know,” whispered Pinkie in delight, “and we can put them on us and the dogs and have a fancy dwessed ball.”


One lump or two, please?

[183]“Be sure not to forget the basket with a handle for Hamlet to play waiter with,” said Miss Letty, as she went into the dining room. Pinkie meant to get it at once, but she stopped to count the mottoes and so forgot all about it.

When the mammas started for the Golf Club at four the little girls left the piazza where they had been told to sit still and keep their dresses clean, and took their station upon the gate posts, unseen by Miss Letty who was busy in the dining room making some sausage sandwiches about two inches square, so that each represented a dog mouthful, and disputes and untidy eating might be avoided.

Tommy was the first guest to arrive. He came on his wheel and looked very hot and tired, for it seemed that Waddles wished to come with him while Jack Waddles did not. The dispute ended in his bringing both, though when Waddles saw that he was not welcome, he obeyed the order “go home” as far as going out of the gate and disappearing, but before he went he raised his nose in the air and gave a long and searching sniff, which caused Tommy to say, “Now he knows all about the ’freshments.”

Jack Waddles, Luck, Pluck, and Hans Sachs had[184] a fine game of tag round and round the lawn, in which Hamlet refused to join, sitting sedate and silent on the very step of the porch where his mistress had left him.

This behaviour was probably owing to the fact that it was the first time that he had worn an ornamental collar with a large bow on it since the day of his disgrace and clipping, and he did not seem quite to know himself, or be sure who he really was, like the little old woman in the story who had her petticoats “cut all round about.”

His closely clipped hind quarters told of freedom and the life of his ancestors, who, as everybody knows, were one of the most ancient water-dog families of France, being wonderful retrievers and renowned swimmers. But the clanking collar and great bow of wide rose-pink satin ribbon tickled the back of his neck and made his head feel as if it was tied on. It also reminded him of the days in Paris when he went to a dog dancing-master to learn to waltz, and to the barber to have his wool clipped in as many useless devices as the tattoos of a savage, so that he might be sold for a great price to be the clown of some lady of fashion. Fortunately for him, however, the lady who bought him was Miss Letty’s aunt Marie.

[185]So there he sat and brooded and if Anne had been his mistress she would have understood and been on the watch for some sort of outbreak.

Sophie and Charlie Mayhew were the next to come. They were heralded by much squeaking and creaking of wheels, for Charlie played horse and brought his sister in state, sitting in her little canopy-top box wagon with dainty Miss Silvie, an aristocratic Yorkshire terrier, beside her. Miss Silvie wore a light blue satin bow, and her silver-blue locks had been brushed until they hung in a glistening fringe. She also seemed depressed by her[186] dressed-up condition, refused to give a paw to either Pinkie or Dorothy, and crawled on her stomach over to the porch, where she gave Hamlet an apologetic lick and crouched close beside him, the pair looking very much like bored human beings at an afternoon function where they were perfect strangers.

“Hurrah! here come Jessie and Jack Lane, now the party can begin,” cried Tommy, who had climbed a small tree the better to see down the road, and up dashed a pony-cart containing a boy of nine, a girl of seven, a lovely ruby spaniel, and the coloured groom Charles, while behind followed a half-grown English setter pup.

“Mr. Lane directed me, miss,” said the groom, addressing Miss Letty as evidently the one in command, “as how I’d better stay in the ’mediate vicinity, miss, in case of trouble or a scrimmage between these yere dogs, miss, it being not improbable they might, miss, ’specially ourn, Ruby being most polight, miss, but that there Blackberry the setter pup, miss, bein’ variegated in his disposition, miss, and uncertain where he’ll break out, but he would follow.”

Miss Letty told the man to stay by all means, such a possible complication not having occurred to her; so after taking the pony to the stable,[187] he discreetly lost himself in the shadow of the near-by shrubbery.

“Shall we have tea or make the dogs do their tricks first?” asked Miss Letty, to whom this free and easy sort of dog party was a novel affair, the only previous one she had attended having been at her Aunt Marie’s, upon her own birthday, when Hamlet had been presented to her.

At that party the ten dogs, all poodles, brown, white, or black, had a table to themselves, around which they sat upon high chairs, with napkins about their necks, while they were fed with chicken pâtés by the maids of their several owners, and afterward did their tricks for prizes of bonbons.

Only imagine Dogtown dogs eating bonbons! The very idea made Miss Letty smile, though she did not know why candy was a forbidden thing in the local dog law, the reason being this.

Long before, when Waddles was a half-grown pup, and Diana was Tommy-Anne, and Obi the garden boy, Waddles had one day lingered in the grocery store after his mistress had started for home. The clerk, either for mischief or because he thought the dog might like sweets, threw him a generous square of old-fashioned molasses candy in its wrapping of oiled paper.

[188]Waddles at first had played with it as a toy, not thinking it an eatable, knocking it about with his paw, and then throwing it into the air. During this performance he got a taste of the covering, and then holding the bit between his fore paws he proceeded to gnaw the paper off. The sweet taste pleased him, and he tried to nibble the candy, but it resisted his teeth. Being somewhat piqued, he did a fatal thing, he opened his mouth wide and threw the morsel backward, closing his chewing teeth upon it, after the manner of eating refractory bones.

Waddles chewed and chewed, but he could neither swallow the candy nor free his jaws from it. Sticky juice ran from the corners of his mouth, and his eyes began to look wild. He tried all the muscular methods of tongue and throat known to dogs that wish to uneat undesirable things, but to no avail. He tried howling, but could not utter a sound, for he was literally tongue-tied.

Suddenly he bolted from the store and tore up the road, the clerk following pale and frightened, for he feared the dog was choking, and no one in the whole village would have hurt a pet of Tommy-Anne’s for worlds. Meantime, missing Waddles when she reached the house, Tommy-Anne[189] turned back to look for him, and to her terror met him coming in the gate, yellow froth on his lips, the clerk following, panting and having only breath enough to say, “He—isn’t—mad—it’s—molasses candy!” Meantime Waddles had cast himself into his mistress’s arms, thereby knocking her over, while he rubbed his throat frantically in her dress. Anne, always prompt in an emergency, called for Obi to come and bring a blunt kitchen fork. In a trice the sticky mess was pried and twisted off and the dog freed, but he never forgot the experience, and later on, when as a fully grown dog he was admitted to the council of Dogtown, and made chairman of the committee for the revision of laws, he caused the eating of candy to be declared oban, or a “must not be,” which rule holds there to this day except among the degenerates.

The children agreed that the tricks had best come first, because, as Dorothy said, “You can’t tell but what the dogs will run away after they’ve got their motto caps on and had their tea.” So the children, under Miss Letty’s instruction, drew up in line on the lowest step of the long side piazza, each having his or her dog in charge.

[190]Jack Waddles’s only trick was wrestling, but as he would not do it except with his mother, now that Jill had gone, he was excused, and Pinkie stepped forward with Hans, who obediently did the routine taught by her elder brother,—made a pinwheel of himself, sat up, saluted with his right paw, cheered for the Kaiser, and died for the Vaterland in so realistic a manner as to cause Sophie to shed tears, which, however, she soon wiped away, using the top of Silvie’s head for a handkerchief. Luck and Pluck were less conventional and more animated in their performance. They played leap-frog beautifully, stood and sat erect on their hind legs, and caught a handkerchief made into a ball in a very graceful way.

Next Silvie tiptoed forward, and after two trials sat up in a most comical and tipsy manner, and held a stick as if it was a gun, thereby so delighting her dear little roly-poly mistress that every one applauded loudly.

Blackberry the setter, being young and timid, was also excused, but when Jessie and Jack Lane, who had disappeared for a minute, returned with Toodles the spaniel, dressed in a cocked hat, Toby frill and sash, and made him tumble about like a clown in the circus, finally walking up[191] between them to make his bow while they did jig steps, every one cheered.

Hamlet, of course, was the star performer, but then he was more like a professional appearing at amateur theatricals. This day he was extremely contrary, however, and his mistress had to give him two or three scoldings in rapid French, which sounded very mysterious to the others. But when it came to the dancing he threw himself into the spirit of it at once, and waltzed to Miss Letty’s whistling until she grew tired. Next he did his greatest feat, a sort of sailor’s hornpipe, in which he was obliged to stand erect and keep in motion, while he jerked his body forward continually as if he was pulling in rope.

This dance came to an abrupt ending because the tune which accompanied it struck Jack Waddles’s musical sensibilities, and caused him to bay in comic imitation of his father, thereby setting the others off in various keys, and causing such pandemonium that the Lanes’ groom rushed from the shrubbery, thinking “the scrimmage” had come.

Under cover of the noise Pinkie slipped into the house at a signal from Miss Letty to tell the waitress that it was high time to make the “real tea” and carry the eatables to the pantry on the[192] stone wall behind the arbour. Then she remembered that she had forgotten to ask her mother for a basket for Hamlet’s waiter trick. “It’s too bad,” she muttered to herself behind the pantry door. “Miss Letty says it’s his queerest trick, and now it’s all spoiled.” As she looked up, the crack of the door gave her a glimpse into the dining room, and her eye rested upon the mahogany sideboard at the exact spot where, safe and high and out of reach, rested a pair of openwork silver cake baskets with hoop handles that had belonged to her great-grandmother, and were consequently much treasured by the family.

“The very thing,” she said, dropping her voice unconsciously to a whisper, “and a silver basket is lots properer than a straw one for a tea-party.”

It was evident that at this moment Pinkie’s guardian angel and her conscience had taken a walk together to the farthest end of the garden.

She pushed one of the big arm-chairs toward the sideboard, climbed from the seat to the back, secured the nearest of the precious baskets, flew to the pantry, emptied a box of five-o’clock teas into it, and covering the whole with a napkin, ran and placed it on the fence with the cakes and sandwiches, then sauntered back to her friends with a suspicious air of unconcern.

[193]“It is of no use for us to have our tea until the dogs are served,” said Mistress Dorothy, picking her words, and speaking in manner and tone in perfect imitation of the way that some one of her elders might have said, “give the children their supper, and then we shall have ours in peace.”

The sausage sandwiches formed the first course; these were followed wisely by the saucers of buttermilk, for sausages are rich, thirsty things, and buttermilk both quenches thirst and is good for dog stomachs. The cookies were next in order, each one making four mouthfuls, though Jack Waddles and Silvie both tried to bolt theirs whole, and choked so that they had to have their saucers refilled.

“Now let us give them their mottoes,” said Pinkie, forgetting the basket for the time. “Will you please snap them and give each one their cap, Miss Letty?”

This caused a great deal of fun, for the snapping affected the dogs very differently, frightening some, and merely adding to the spirits of the others, while the paper caps changed the dogs’ entire expressions for the few moments that they consented to wear them; meanwhile Luck and Pluck, seizing on a motto that had been dropped, played tug-of-war with it to such good effect that the[194] snapper exploded in their very jaws, causing them to stampede in terror, while the children rolled on the grass in fits of laughter.

“Now for the basket of five-o’clock teas,” said Miss Letty, who saw that the dogs had about reached the end of their good behaviour, and the children were also growing restive, and needed the soothing influence of ice-cream. “Is it ready, Pinkie?”

Miss Letty then fastened Hamlet’s cap, which chanced to be a white Normandy bonnet with strings, firmly under his chin, pinned a napkin around his waist to imitate a waiter’s apron, and made him stand erect.

“Here’s the basket,” said Pinkie, coming forward and thrusting the quaint bit of silver suddenly at Miss Letty.

“But, Pinkie dear,” she protested, “I only wished a common straw basket; this is too good. Hamlet may bend or break it.”

“I couldn’t get anything worse,” answered Pinkie, jerking out her words half sulkily, “any way—it’s—only an—old thing—and—mother didn’t say I mustn’t take it.”

“Yes, but old things are often very precious; yet after all it will only take a moment, and I will wrap my handkerchief about the handle so that Hamlet’s teeth may not scratch it.”

[195]“Allons!” she cried to the patient dog, who came slowly forward, took the handle between his teeth, and walked dutifully down the line of waiting dogs. Each child gave a biscuit to its pet, because if the dogs had been allowed to help themselves, poor Hamlet would surely have been upset, for to walk in such a position, and carry a heavy basket, is a great strain for any dog, no matter how clever.

All went well until Hamlet reached the fox terriers, when Luck made a spring for the basket. This seemed to be a signal of revolt against good behaviour, for instantly Hamlet dropped on all fours and began careering wildly around, still holding the basket. Instantly all the dogs were running about in a circle, barking and yelping wildly, the little tea table was overturned, and cups, saucers, and cookies went rolling down the walk together.

The Lanes’ groom flew out from ambush and tried to restore order, or at least to catch his own dogs, but Hans Sachs ran between his feet and upset him in the midst of the china.

At first the children had added their shouts to the general mêlée; but when the table was overturned, Pinkie began to cry, and Ruby having growled at Silvie, little Sophie added her tears. For[196] a moment poor Miss Letty was completely bewildered, then she tried to capture Hamlet, who was evidently the ringleader; but Hamlet was no longer the polite and obedient house dog. He would not even listen, and after circling the lawn three or four times, the others following in a line like a troop of circus dogs, he led them through the open back gate, and across the fields, still holding the basket of five-o’clock teas aloft, until all disappeared from view like a whirlwind in the tall grass—Silvie, blue bow, and all.

“’Taint no mortial use followin’ on ’em that ways, miss,” said the Lanes’ man, making for the stable. “I’ll take the pony and head ’em off by the cross-road, or they’ll run to Pine Ridge shore.”

“Now I think we would better eat our ice-cream and sponge cake before they come back or anything else happens,” said Miss Letty, as she and the waitress rearranged the table, and the children agreed with her vociferously, that is, all but Pinkie. She had her great-grandmother’s silver cake basket weighing on her conscience, and even ice-cream seemed odious.

Suddenly Miss Letty realized that Hamlet had carried off the basket, and without knowing its[197] value, she spoke of it to the waitress, who grew pale with fright when she heard what Pinkie had done, saying that the mistress would never allow any one even to clean the baskets but herself. A man was hastily sent to follow the trail of the dogs carefully, and two helpings of ice-cream and unlimited cake and mottoes kept up the spirit of those who had clear consciences for more than half an hour, when a yelping from the direction of Happy Hall orchard told that the run was over and the runners returning.

This time they came in at the gate, Hamlet still in the lead, but without the basket. All were dripping wet, with water-weeds, and ooze clinging to their coats and tails, and Miss Silvie’s blue ribbon stringing out behind her was merely a long rag. Hamlet had found himself, however, he was once more the retrieving water dog of old France, and he had led his friends to the mill pond and challenged them to a swimming match. A water dog he remained, for from that day he refused to do his taught tricks, and wore his hair only long enough to clothe his skin, but he became a more intelligent companion than ever.

[198]Supper time came, and with it the return of Pinkie’s mother and aunt, but the cake basket could not be found.

“We will drag the pond for it to-morrow; it is probably as safe from burglars there at the bottom as if it was on the sideboard,” said Pinkie’s father, who hated a fuss. But then it was not his grandmother’s basket.

“What would dear grandma have said to this?” asked Pinkie’s mother of her sister. The idea was too appalling to admit of an answer, for Pinkie’s great-grandmother belonged to that particular puritanic time when children though seen were said to have never been heard, and dogs? Well, dogs were merely four-legged brutes, who were fed upon what nothing else would eat. One custom of the far-away period, however, happened to Pinkie that night—she was spanked.

Waddles, on returning from escorting Tommy to the party that afternoon, threw himself down under the lilac bushes for a nap. He was in a huff, as during his brief stay at Pinkie’s his keen nose had scented the presence of the five-o’clock tea biscuits, which his heart craved. No one had asked him to stay or given him a biscuit, and he[199] felt himself insulted both in his private capacity and as Mayor of Dogtown.

Toward sunset he awoke with a yawn; it was past the time to go for the cows, he had slept and missed a trick for once. Suddenly a howling and baying caused him to prick up his ears, and at the same moment the procession of dogs cut cornerwise from the orchard across the garden and away toward the woods and pond.

Waddles started to follow them, but as he had nearly reached the corner of the wall something glittering caught his eye, and a beloved smell seized on his nose at the same time. There at the edge of the cobbled gutter lying on its side was the precious cake basket with fully half of the box of five-o’clock teas beside it on the ground.

[200]Waddles’s eyes glistened. He sniffed with long sniffs of enjoyment, he licked his lips, and looking round cautiously from time to time ate up every biscuit and every crumb, then walked slowly off, head erect, and tail held gaily as much as to say, “Some poor dogs have to go to parties, others have the party brought to them.”

The next morning when Anne went out early to gather flowers for the breakfast table, she found the silver basket still lying on its side. Picking it up joyfully, for every one now knew of its loss, and finding that it was unharmed, she sent it at once to its owner. Waddles, who was with her, gave no sign of recognition, but tiptoed steadily along on the other side of the walk.

“I wonder which dog ate the five-o’clock teas?” said Anne to herself. “They were scattered through the fields, most likely.”

Only Waddles and Hamlet could answer this question, and—there is honour among dogs. Anne noticed, however, that from the day of the party Hamlet became an esteemed member of the Dogtown council—such is political influence!



One day a letter came to Miss Letty from her Aunt Marie in France, asking if she was homesick, and if she did not wish to come back and go to Switzerland with them, “for,” the letter translated said, “it will not be long, at most, before you will rejoin us. My gay little one could never remain in that strange country of wild dogs when the winter comes, she would be desolate for Paris. That word will not now mean the black dress, plain fare, and high brick wall of the school; but the opera, fêtes, bonbons, enchanting costumes, and a handsome husband,[202] for your uncle has already in thought two suitable alliances between which we are willing you should yourself choose. If, however, you remain still longer with the incomprehensible Aunt Julie, be careful, my angel, of your complexion, and never go out without the heavy brown veil above the white one, for I am told that the sun in America is most cruelly piercing.

“One word as to the beloved poodle, Hamlet. See that his coat is well oiled and preserved, and that he does not play with strange dogs or walk out in the morning before the dew has dried, and then only in the shade and with caution, for we intend to exhibit him at the Xmas fête that Madame de B—— is to hold to benefit the hospice for sick dogs. He shall do his tricks under your teaching and you two will have a success superb.”

Anne was sitting in the window of Miss Letty’s pretty room when the letter was brought, and she wondered why her friend grew so pale as she read it, and when she suddenly threw herself, face down, on the pretty white bed and began to sob, Anne, thoroughly frightened, for Miss Letty was always gay and smiling, put her arms around her, and begged to know if her aunt was sick.

“No, read it, it’s about going home; just when[203] I had almost forgotten that I had ever lived anywhere but here—it’s too bad—read it,” and she thrust the crumpled letter at Anne, burying her head in the pillow again.

Anne read it through very slowly, and then, as a bark from below caused her to look out of the window, she began to laugh so heartily that Miss Letty looked up, surprised at her lack of sympathy.

“I can’t help it,” Anne gasped, as she took another peep out of the window. “If your Aunt Marie could only see Hamlet, all shaven and shorn, digging out a mole with Quick and Tip, and looking like an anyhow dog, I’m sure she wouldn’t expect him to go to the show.

“Then, of course, she doesn’t know that you gave Tommy your two brown veils to make a butterfly net, and that you are—well—rather tanned.

“But,” continued Anne, suddenly growing sober, “of course you will be married some day; but surely it will not be to somebody you’ve never seen. It would be very nice to go to Switzerland, though. Oh, Miss Letty, are you really thinking of going, and does it make you sorry to leave us and the dogs—and everything? Miss Jule said that perhaps you might like it here well enough to stay with[204] her always, though it was almost too much to expect, and Mr. Hugh said that it most certainly was; yet I could not help hoping.”

Then two heads were buried in the same pillow, and fifteen and eighteen seemed, as often happened, to be about the same age.

“I can stay here if I wish. Father said that I could choose when I had tried this country for six months, but I think I’m crying because Aunt Marie hurries me so, before I’ve even thought of going. If only—bien, there are several ifs, Diane darling, that you do not understand. Why do you say of course I will marry some day?” asked Miss Letty, raising her head on one hand to peep out of the window at Hamlet, who was giving his “Vive la Republique” barking song.

“Why? Why, because I think it is so much nicer than not being; that is, when one has no mother to leave and is grown up and has to wear their hair up and their dresses down. There is mother, now, do you think that she could possibly be as happy without father and us? Of course I shall not marry, because I couldn’t leave her, but that is different,” said Anne, in a tone of deep conviction.

“Aunt Julie has never married, and I am sure that she is perfectly happy and free. No, I shall[205] be independent like Aunt Julie and keep horses and dogs.”

“Miss Jule is happy and lovely to everybody, but I know that she is often lonely, and as to being independent, as you call it, it was not her plan at all. He died, and he was Mr. Hugh’s oldest brother, ever so much older of course than Mr. Hugh. Mother told us about it once after Tommy asked Miss Jule why she was not married and lived up there all alone when she doesn’t like thunder, because mother always sits in father’s study and holds his hand when the big storms come; not that she’s afraid, oh, no, but you see she’d rather— That’s why, because of his brother (beside both liking dogs), Mr. Hugh is so nice to Miss Jule, exactly the same as if she really was his aunt,” and Anne stopped, quite out of breath; but as Miss Letty had dried her eyes and looked interested, she continued:—

“Dogs sometimes have a great deal to do with people’s marrying each other, that is, I mean beginning it. You see, one day, ever so long ago, father was in New York, and as he was going along the street he heard a dog yelp and cry dreadfully, and then a crowd collected. When he got near by he heard some one say, ‘It’s been run over but, it is only a cur, a policeman’ll soon come along and end it.’

[206]“Then the people went away, all but one young lady, and in the gutter he saw a little terrier lying; its front leg was broken, and though it was partly stunned, its eyes were full of pain and terror. Before he could reach the dog the lady had gone to it, tied her handkerchief around the hurt paw, and lifting it up very gently, and in spite of its being bloody and dirty, carried it away. When she had gone a little distance down a side street she stopped and hesitated. Then father overtook her and asked if he might help with the dog. She said that she had just remembered that she did not live in the city, and that as they would not let her carry the dog on the street cars, she was wondering how she could get it home.

“Father said that he would gladly carry it to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Hospital, and so, without even thinking they had never been introduced, they walked along together, and the poor little dog stopped moaning and licked father’s hand. When they got to the hospital the people said that they would chloroform the dog dead, or if it was a pet they could cure it, for they thought it must be a pet, otherwise two nicely dressed people would not be likely to get themselves all smeared up to bring it to the hospital. Of course it wasn’t a pet, only a yellow brown, wire-haired terrier with[207] back legs that didn’t exactly match the front. The lady was going to say ‘chloroform him,’ when he struggled up on three legs and licked her nose, so she changed the words to ‘cure him if you can, and I will pay,’ and she told her name and address.

“Then father found that she was the sister of one of his college chums, and so you see by and by they were married. She turned out to be mother, and we had that terrier for ever so long, though he always had one bent paw and limped. Father christened him Accident, and we called him Axy for short. And when he grew old and died, we began the dog cemetery beyond the orchard with him, and after that father bought Waddles for me.”

Anne told the story almost as if she was reading it from a book, for it was very real to her, and both she and Tommy were never tired of hearing their father repeat it.

She had barely ended when the door flew open and in bounced Quick, Tip, and Hamlet, followed by Miss Jule. With a rush and whirl the dogs pounced upon Miss Letty, and began to dig her out from among the pillows as if she had been a rabbit in its burrow, while Anne vainly tried to call them off and rescue the snowy bedspread.

[208]Miss Jule looked from one to the other with a question in her eyes as she saw her niece’s flushed face, but she received her answer when she read the letter that Letty handed her. She put it back in its envelope, saying dryly: “I claim you until the six months are up, after that we shall see. Meanwhile Mr. Hugh has asked you all to go to-morrow and picnic on the new land he has bought that lies between the river and Pine Ridge.

“His cousins, the Willoughby girls, are staying with him; but as their mother is an invalid, I am to keep you out of mischief and see that you do not get lost. I will take the brake with the luncheon, and you can either drive all the way or take your wheels and alternately drive with me or ride them.” So Anne went home to prepare for the next day and appease Tommy, who would be broken-hearted to hear that his White Lady was going to a picnic without him, while Miss Letty seated herself at the desk by her window to answer her letter, and this is the English of what she wrote:—

Dear Aunt Marie: My Aunt Julie makes it a point that I remain with her the six months for which I came. But believe me, I am very[209] well amused, even though I have no companions but Diane and the little Tommy, for this place is much more unusual than even Paris. The dogs are not wild, as you think, but most polite, with delightful manners. Two have now come to call upon Hamlet, and as I write are conversing with him below the window. He is well, but his costume is so altered that you would hardly know him. I also no longer wear a veil, it not being the custom here, neither is it to have an uncle choose one’s husband in advance of one’s wish to marry. I decidedly prefer all American customs in such matters. It is glorious summer now. Do not let us speak of winter, dear aunt, until the frost has browned the leaves at least.

“Your affec. niece

As she sealed the envelope she heard a horse galloping down the road, but why she smiled as she looked out the window, or felt somehow deceitful about the letter she had written, she could not have told. Perhaps it was because Hamlet was standing on his head and doing some of his old tricks, all the while looking very wise, and as if he knew that he was surprising Tip, who always tried to imitate him.

[210]The next morning was cool and delightful, but one of the sort of days that is not to be trusted at Woodlands, when it comes in early August; for it may grow very sultry at noon, thunder-clouds following the change, or the wind may turn to the east, and bring a cold storm with the incoming tide.

However, everything promised well when the long brake, with its four horses, a clothes-basket of good things, and Miss Jule and Letty, called for Anne.

When they arrived at Mr. Hugh’s home, they met a disappointment. The Willoughby girls were waiting, armed with sketch-books, plant boxes, and fishing-poles, but no Mr. Hugh. He had been called to town on business, but hoped to be back in time to join them at luncheon, and they were to do everything as he had first planned—fish for bass in the big pond, shoot at a target that he had arranged for his own use in the long meadow, and cook their luncheon gypsy fashion.

“Never mind,” said Miss Jule, “this is a hen picnic; but when I was a girl we seldom had any other kind hereabouts, and yet we always had plenty of fun. I think that you girls had better ride your wheels until we come to the long hill,[211] or else pack them into the other wagon; for with all these fishing-rods and things the brake will be full.”

The dogs had to be tied up and stay at home; for taking dogs who love to swim on a fishing excursion is a “mustn’t be.”

Mr. Hugh’s new land was a strip of several hundred acres of wild meadows, bordered by thick woods that joined his farm and followed the river quite to the Pine Ridge waterfall.

It had once been a farm; for in open places the hummocks under the rough grass told where cornfields had been. There were two tumble-down orchards (one of early and one of late apples), while raspberry vines, a ruined chimney, and tufts, here and there, of old-fashioned flowers told of a home that had gone.

The woods that bordered the river were very wild and fascinating, deep shade being made by oaks, beeches, and giant hemlocks. No trees had been cut for many years, though the dead wood had evidently been carefully cleared away.

There were great rocks covered with ferns that sloped to the river edge, where the water had whirled stone within stone and worn “pot-holes” and carved many strange devices.

The Willoughby girls were in ecstasies, for[212] most of their summers had been spent by the sea. Elsa, the eldest, soon chose a bit for a sketch; Martica, who was a junior at Vassar, discovered material for a thesis on ferns; Louise, the youngest, set about picking delicious looking blackberries, that though now growing wild must have been the grandchildren of the fruit of the old garden. Thus it came to be that Miss Jule, Letty, Anne, and May Willoughby formed the fishing party; for no one cared to shoot at a target without Mr. Hugh to keep score and praise or criticise their shots.

The pond was a little way up the stream, from which it was separated by a sloping stone dam that extended like a wall for fifty feet around the north side, and being overhung with trees made a fine place from which to fish.

The hooks were baited and dropped in the water, and then Anne began to look about as if to locate herself, saying: “I thought I knew every bit of woods within miles of home, but I’ve never been on this side of the river just here. When Obi was our garden boy he and I used to go a great deal to the old mill on the other side of the pond where the wood-ducks nested; but once when we came across the dam, close by where we are now, and dug some wild sarsaparilla,[213] an old woman with a crutch came out of the trees and chased us away.

“Obi said that she was called the Herb Witch, and that she lived in a hut somewhere in the woods, and gathered weeds and things, that she sold to make magic medicines, and that we had better not cross her, because she could poison people by even breathing at them.

“Of course I didn’t believe that; but she certainly looked rather weird, standing there among the trees wearing a cloak with a pointed hood, such as witches always wear in story-books, with her skirt, that was gathered into a sort of bag in front, full of roots and herbs.

“Do you know, Miss Jule, of whom Mr. Hugh bought this land? Somehow, I didn’t think that it belonged to anybody.”

“He bought it from the town,” answered Miss Jule, slowly. She was watching her line with interest, for the bobber would now and then give a dive and then whirl about.

“Years ago the place belonged to a farmer, a Scotchman of the thrifty old stock who could make a living anywhere; and I’ve heard my father say that it was a fine old farm, and yielded a good income when the town had only two market days a week—Wednesday and Saturday[214] —and depended upon the produce from the neighbourhood. When this farmer died, his son, who was a sailor, came ashore, married a pretty cousin from over seas against her people’s wish, and tried to work the farm. But he was a born rover, and the easy days for farming among these rocky hills had passed. In a few years he went to sea once more, and was never heard of again. Then his wife struggled along with her little boy, and for some time made a fair living from selling milk and poultry, renting pasture, working the fields on shares, and such like, hoping to keep things together until her boy could take charge. Of course he was lonely, and as he grew up craved companionship, and finally went off, I think to a cousin who did something in Australia.

“The mother stayed on alone, and for a while seemed to do well. I fancy the son sent her money. But the old house burned down, and she grew more and more crabbed, and of late years has had nothing to do with her neighbours, and would let no one into her house, she having moved into a small cottage on the north road when the farmhouse was burned. Different people have tried to help her; but she is proud and unmanageable, they say. The town finally took the farm for[215] unpaid taxes and—ah! I’ve lost that fish, and it was a good one, too,” ejaculated Miss Jule, stopping her story as the line tautened and hung loose again. “One thing, I’m quite sure by the way the small fish dodge about that there are some big pickerel here that keep them moving, and we shall not catch any pan fish for luncheon.”

“But, Miss Jule, what became of the old woman when her land was sold, and why did they call her a witch?” asked Anne, who was much interested.

“She will be taken care of at the town farm, and it’s not such a bad place, either. As to the name of Herb Witch, I think people gave it to her because she puzzled them by going about the woods at all times of day and night and gathering plants they thought only weeds. Then she always minded her own business, and never complained, which always aggravates people who do not do likewise.”

“How dreadful to be old and have to leave home and go and live in a poorhouse, when you’ve owned all this!” said Anne, stretching out her arms, and Miss Letty, looking up, suddenly saw a big tear roll off the end of Anne’s nose; for to her home was heaven, and the thought of any one’s being driven from theirs seemed unbearable.

[216]At that minute Miss Jule, with a flop, jumped quickly back from the edge of the pond, landing in some alder bushes, and with finger to her lips as a sign for silence, pointed to an object in the water. It was a monster pickerel, the dreaded ogre for whom all little bass, perch, and trout are taught to “watch out” as soon as they know enough to wiggle their tails and swim. Lazily it nosed along in the deep shadows, all unconscious of the excitement it was causing on shore.

“I wish I could grasp it,” whispered Miss Letty, the sporting spirit seizing her.

“Yes, and perhaps lose your fingers; Obi nearly did once,” said Anne.

“Bring me the little rifle from the brake. It’s not the right way to catch fish, but I’ll make an exception for this old cannibal,” said Miss Jule, while Anne needed no second telling, darted off and was quickly back again.

The rifle, a repeater, was soon in her hands, and as Miss Jule loaded it, she told the girls to stand back, and asked Anne to put the landing net they had brought for the bass that did not bite, close beside her. The pickerel crossed the sun streak once more. Bang! only one shot was needed. Miss Jule dropped the rifle, seized the net, and a pickerel weighing fully eight pounds lay upon the moss.

[217]The other girls came up upon hearing the noise, and the men who had charge of the horses, all being surprised at the size of the fish.

“We will have it for luncheon, if Martin will clean it for us. I only hope that Mr. Hugh will come in time to enjoy it,” said Miss Jule.

Martin was one of Baldy’s brothers; and he not only cleaned the fish nicely, but cutting it in quarters, spread it open for broiling with a clever arrangement of sweet birch twigs, and also made a grill between two rocks, filling it with charcoal, a bag of which he had brought for the gypsy fire Mr. Hugh had promised to build.

“Cousin Hugh says that he is going to put up some sort of a little lodge on this new land, with a big fireplace, so that people can come here and have tea, and see the birds and things, even in winter; and in summer it will be convenient to have it to go into if showers come up. He said, too, that he would have some one live in it to be a sort of game-keeper and prevent pot-hunters from killing the birds.”

“How lovely!” sighed Anne. “Won’t it be simply perfect, Miss Letty?”

“I shall probably be in France by the time it is built,” she replied; for one of her contrary fits had been hovering over Miss Letty all day.

[218]The cool morning disappeared in a sultry noon. They waited dinner as long as their hunger made it possible, but Mr. Hugh did not come. Then, as is usual at picnics, outdoors and dinner combined to bring sleep. Not that any one travelled all the way to dreamland, but they all sat about in blissful silence, watching the shadows among the trees and the silent molting birds flit shyly in and out, for only the locusts serenaded them. August is the voiceless summer month in the woods; the spring song is over, and the young of the year are not yet trying their throats, as they do in autumn.

“Four o’clock!” said Miss Jule, sitting up suddenly, and giving her ticking-covered hay pillow a vigorous punch—Miss Jule always had a dozen of such for piazza, hammock, and excursion purposes. “I think we had better make a start; for if I’m not mistaken, there are what Martin calls ‘dunderheads’ in the west, and we do not wish to end the day by running all the seven miles home, to escape a wetting.”

When the wagons were loaded, and they all gathered in the open preparatory to starting, the wind had veered, and the black clouds were hurrying off toward salt water again.

“Do you think we might ride our wheels home?” said Anne to Miss Jule. “See, the road is shady[219] for a mile farther up, and then it loops around the Ridge to the turnpike, and it is down grade all the rest of the way.”

“Yes; please do let us ride,” said Elsa Willoughby; “for I sat so long on that rock sketching that I need stretching all over.”

Miss Jule thought a minute, looked at the sky, and said: “The shower has gone round. It’s a lonely road, to be sure; but with six of you together no harm can happen, and even if you loiter, you will be at home before supper time.” So the brake and Miss Jule started off one way and the girls on their wheels the other.



Miles are always longer when you travel them than when you talk of them. For this reason, as well as for the fact that Anne had miscalculated the distance, the up-grade road to Pine Ridge seemed endless.

When they had travelled less than half the way, Anne’s cyclometer said two miles, and Miss Letty’s wheel began to bump and act badly. She stopped to find the cause, thinking that the front tire needed blowing up; but to her dismay she found that it was hopelessly punctured by a bent horse-shoe nail!

[221]Anne tried to mend it with some plaster from her tool kit; but it was old, dry, and would not stick. If they turned back, the road home would be even longer than to keep on; so, after a long consultation, held under a sign-post that offered no consolation, as the bridge on the cross-road to which it pointed was known to be up, they agreed that there was nothing to be done but to keep on and lead the wheel, Elsa Willoughby and Anne offering to walk to hear Miss Letty company; the others to ride ahead and explain the delay.

“Such a stupid accident!” said Miss Letty, who felt very badly at upsetting the plan of a swift downhill ride home, even though she was in no way to blame.

“I’ll tell you what we can do,” said Anne, brightening up, as the party was about to divide. “Instead of going up around the Ridge to the turnpike, we can cut straight across the fields. There is a little blacksmith’s shop at the mill corner where they do all sorts of tinkering for the farmers that go by to town, and I’m positive I’ve seen a sign ‘Bicycles repaired’ on the tree. There are bars that we can let down in crossing lots and that dead tree back on the hilltop will do for a guide-post, for I saw it from the other[222] side this morning as we came up. Then it stood about halfway between the roads.”

This seemed the most sensible thing to do; and though of course the country was strange both to Miss Letty and the Willoughbys, they had entire confidence in Anne. So the bars were dropped, and the party trooped through and crossed the field diagonally, keeping the dead tree on the hilltop well in front of them.

“I don’t see any bars in that fence yonder, but it’s old and tumble-down, and we can easily lift the wheels over,” said Anne, who was beginning to feel the responsibility of what she had undertaken.

When they reached the fence, however, a new difficulty presented itself—the old rails and posts were meshed in and out with barbed wire, rusty, and formidable as the quills of an angry porcupine.

“It is certain that we can neither crawl over, under, or through that,” said Elsa Willoughby, speaking decidedly, and evidently feeling rather bored.

“We must follow the fence south,” said Anne, cheerfully; “it ends somewhere, you know.”

For ten or fifteen minutes they went on without speaking. It is not easy to walk through uneven, briery fields, much less to lead bicycles.

[223]“The dead tree is behind us, now,” said Miss Letty, stopping suddenly; “and ought we not to come to the river? We must cross it before we reach the turnpike.”

“I wonder if there is any bridge here in the fields where there is no road?” said Martica, rather sarcastically.

“Oh, look at those black clouds!” cried Louise, “They have whirled about and are coming directly toward us.”

Then for the first time Anne realized that not only was she uncertain of her whereabouts, but that they were likely to be overtaken by the fury of a summer storm; for the clouds were followed by a yellow underscud whose meaning she well understood.

“At most we can only get a wetting,” said Miss Letty, putting her arm around Anne; her sunny disposition conquering her feeling of alarm, when she saw her friend’s distress. “I’m sure that I heard a dog bark, too; and if there is a dog near by, there must be a house.”

“Here is the end of the barbed wire fence,” called Anne, who had been hurrying ahead; “and a pent lane leads from it. As this is the inside end, if we follow it, we must get somewhere; for there are ever so many roads like these that run[224] from the turnpike into back lots and woodlands. I think we would all better keep in the middle of the lane away from the trees,” she added, as a flash of lightning almost dazzled her. “Father says it is always best to keep in the open if you are out in a storm.”

“Do you know where you are going, or are we lost?” asked Elsa Willoughby, shortly.

“If we had kept on the road, Miss Jule would find us, for she will surely send back for us when she sees the storm coming; but here no one will know where we are,” said Martica, wrenching herself free from a strong catbrier vine.

“I’m trying to go toward the turnpike,” replied Anne, in a shaking voice, “but—” Before she could finish they heard the bark again, this time close ahead; but it had a tired, discouraged sound, and was not at all aggressive.

“I see him,” said Miss Letty, joyfully; “it’s a collie, too. There must be a farm somewhere near.”

As they reached the dog it stopped its feeble barking, but did not move.

“Don’t go near him, he may bite,” cried Louise; and the four Willoughbys huddled close to a big chestnut tree in spite of Anne’s warning.

“Something is the matter with that dog. I wonder[225] what it can be,” said Anne, half to herself, as she walked slowly up to him, talking familiarly as she would to Waddles or any friendly fourfoot, Miss Letty following her closely.

“I see! One hind foot is caught in a fox trap, and—yes, he has broken the chain and tried to get away, only to have it caught on a stump again, and he is weak with hunger. Poor fellow, we will take the trap off, and perhaps you will be so good as to take us home with you.”

“Poor fellow,” seemed to have a bad opinion of people, and to doubt their intentions; for he drew back his upper lip, showing his teeth, and then seeming to be utterly exhausted, sank down upon the ground with a pitiful whine.

“I will hold his collar if you can unsnap the trap,” said Anne, turning a white, determined face to Miss Letty; while the others protested that if he was freed, they should all be bitten.

“Push down the spring and put your foot on the grip crosswise,” continued Anne, “and I will pull out the paw. What if poor little Jill was caught this way and starved to death.”

Miss Letty made two efforts before she succeeded. Fortunately the bone was not broken, though the flesh was cut and bruised. As the collie gave a sigh of relief, Anne ventured to rub[226] the paw gently with the tips of her fingers, to start the blood in circulation again. This eased the poor animal so much that he licked her fingers, and, scrambling to his feet, began to limp painfully away down the lane.

“Stack your wheels under that chestnut tree,” said Anne, in a tone of command that gave the others courage, “and we will follow this dog. We can easily send for the wheels, and no one will steal them here.”

The lane soon became wider and more open, which was encouraging; but this also gave them a better view of the lurid sky, and did not show the stream that they must cross before they reached the highroad.

“There is a hen and some chickens under that shed and where these are there are usually people near,” said Miss Letty, peering over the vine-tangled wall.

“There is a house,” cried Anne, at the very moment that the squall struck the bushes beyond and launched a shower of raindrops so squarely in her eyes that she was blinded for a moment.

A house it surely was, and doubtless at one time substantial, but now scarcely more than a house in name; for the tops of the tall chimney were crumbling, half the window-panes[227] were broken, and one side sash was wholly missing.

Still the jumble of red day-lilies, bluebells, and trumpet-vine in the pathless garden made it look cheerful, and any shelter was welcome.

“We must have been going round in a circle,” said Anne, as she fumbled with a rusty iron hoop that held the gate fast. “The dead tree is in front again, and this must be the old house that the Herb Witch lived in before she went to the town farm.”

As Anne opened the gate, the collie, who for the moment had been forgotten, slipped past, and hobbling across the yard scratched at the side door.

“There must be some one living here, then,” said Anne, and following the dog she knocked[228] twice, briskly. There was no answer, though she was sure that she heard footsteps, and a light puff of smoke from the least tumble-down chimney told that the house was inhabited.

Anne began to feel very uncomfortable, and Elsa Willoughby whispered, “Suppose this is a tramp’s camp?” A perfectly natural remark, but one that was not comforting.

The collie scratched again, and then gave two sharp barks. Instantly there was a quick tapping sound inside, as of a stick on the floor, the door opened in with a bang, a weak hinge giving way at the pull, while a gaunt female figure leaning on[229] a crutch clasped the dog in her arms, hugging him and crying: “My laddie, my laddie, and I thought they had taken ye, when ye stayed agone three nights, and when I heard the shot this noon I thought they had killed ye certy.”—It was the Herb Witch herself!

A flash and crash followed by a gust of rain made Anne step forward, and as quickly as possible ask for shelter. When the woman saw the party, her face grew rigid again and, for a moment, it seemed as if she would close the door; then she changed her mind, and opening it as wide as the broken hinge would allow, said, “Walk in, leddies.”

The door opened directly into a low, square room. At first it was so dark that the girls could distinguish nothing, then as their eyes became accustomed to the dimness, a few chairs, a table, and a small stove set in the wide, open fireplace, were outlined. The room was bare and poor, but very clean.

The old woman, after feeding the dog from a pot that was on the hearth, returned, and stood by the window, the dog behind her, after motioning her guests to be seated; but she did not speak,[230] or ask a question as to from whence they came, or whither they were bound. She might have been accustomed to have six girls come every day, for any surprise she showed. The silence became embarrassing, until Anne, partly to break it, and partly because the chairs fell short, sat down on the floor by the collie, and began to talk to him, and through him to his mistress, in her coaxing way that no one could withstand.

“Tell your missy where we found you, and how the wicked trap pinched your foot,” she crooned, scratching him under his chin until he rolled over on his back with a contentedly foolish expression.

“And did yer find him trapped, and loose him, little leddie? I didn’t mind his foot was hurt, my eyes are so poor and farsome.” Her speech was fascinating, wholly unlike the harsh country dialect; and yet only now and then did she use a Scotch phrase.

Thus encouraged, Anne told the story of the day’s adventures, punctuated now and then by promptings from the others, until she had said really more than she intended, and the old woman knew that her guests had heard at least one side of the tale of her misfortune.

Then the sight of young faces around her seemed to warm her lonely heart and loosen her tongue.

[231]“Yes,” she said presently, but with no trace of complaint in her voice, “the place was sold a month gone to pay the taxes. The same being law and justice, I’ll not complain. And I by rights would be gone as well, but for Laddie here; and as it is, I’m but a trespasser.

“I’d to deal with but the few chicks you saw out yonder, a sick pup, and an old cow that pastures behind on—the Lord forgive me!—what’s mine no longer; when the night before the day I was to go yonder,” pointing north to where the poor farm lay, “Laddie, he disappeared.

“I’d not paid his tax, and so the law was against him. Leastway, the bit I’d saved to pay it was made way with by the lad I sent it to the town clerk by, and I’d no way to earn more—the lameness being too hard for me to pick and peddle berries down the turnpike. What with that fear before me, and knowing he’d taken a chick a week agone from some one, being sore tempted to find meat, I was worried in deed and truth. If he’s dead, said I, his troubles be over; but if held in bond, and breaking loose he comes home, and me away, he’ll just pine away and starve, slow and pitiful.

“But noo,” she continued, trying to make her voice sound cheery, “he’s come, and to the favour[232] of your loosing him I’m minded to ask another. As you know dogs’ ways, little leddie, will ye take him with ye, and give him his keep his life out? It’ll not be long, for he’s turning ten, and has’na had a full stomach these last years. Will ye, leddie? I’m sorrowful not to gi’ him free o’ the tax, but it’s the first and last favour Jane Carr asks o’ any one. Ye will. God bless you, child! Now to-morrow the old ‘Herb Witch’ will move on.”

It was all Anne could do to keep from breaking down and crying aloud. Miss Letty did not even try, and Elsa Willoughby wiped her eyes hastily, forgetting that she had used her handkerchief that morning to cleanse her paint-brushes. So interested had they all been that an hour passed unnoticed, and with it the storm.

“But,”—stammered Anne, trying to steady her voice, “where is the sick puppy? Don’t you want us to take that too?”

“You’d best take it, certy; but it’s not mine, and you may likely seek out the owner, for it’s a well-favoured little hussy, and affectionsome, though flighty, if I make no mistake. Ten days back Laddie came in barking and making signs for me to follow, for he has speech, has Laddie, or I mistake.”

[233]“So has Waddles,” said Anne, sympathetically.

“Weel, I hobbled down the lane length to where the old fence lies that’s bound with that fearsome wire.”

“We know that fence,” said the girls, so completely in chorus that a smile actually wrinkled the old woman’s features.

“A rod farther down Laddie led me, and then stood still. Before him was a little animal meshed in the wire. I thought it a rabbit; next I saw it was a pup that like had been chased by a wild cat,—oh, yes, there’s a few here yet,—and held by the barbs. I unloosed the pup, Laddie a-givin’ me orders all the while.”

“Just like Waddles,” ejaculated Anne again.

“I took the wee thing home and washed its wounds with herbs I well know the worth of, and now it hardly shows a scar. I’ve kept it close, mostly in the bedroom yonder, for fear those who bear me ill might say I stole it, and lay hands on it and keep it from its lawful owners, and work me worse ill, for it’s as fine a little she beagle as ever my eyes lit on, and I’ve seen many in the old land.”

“Beagle,” said Anne and Miss Letty together, as Jane Carr threw open the door of a small room which was nearly filled by a large bed with a blue[234] and white spread. Upon this bed, with her head resting comfortably on the only pillow, lay Jill Waddles!

Anne fell upon Jill and hugged her, for it was a relief to feel that the little creature had not starved to death, in spite of her ungrateful behaviour. But Jill merely yawned, jumped down from the bed, ambled about prettily with her head on one side, but retired under the old woman’s skirt when Anne tried to take her up.

“She has adopted Mrs. Carr,” said Miss Letty, laughing, while the old woman stood amazed, saying, “Weel, weel, the ways and freaks o’ she animals is yet to be accounted.”

Explanations followed. “You see that I owe you two weeks’ board for her,” said Anne, gaily, “and that will pay Laddies’ license, so he will be a free gift.”

“But she sha’n’t leave, she sha’n’t lose the dog,” she added, under her breath, to Miss Letty, who answered, “Of course not, if we can only manage to keep her here a few days longer to gain time, so that we can tell Miss Jule.”

“I have it,” said Anne, and then turning she said: “Will you kindly stay here until day after to-morrow, to please me, Mrs. Carr? Then father and I will drive up in the morning and take Jill[235] home. I know Mr. Hugh, who has bought the land, he’s a very particular friend of mine and Waddles’s, and I’ll tell him that I asked you.”

Mrs. Carr was only too glad of an honourable day’s reprieve. Then, as the sun almost at setting, shone through the window, Anne opened the door and said that they must get their wheels and go on, for she had been so excited by what had passed that she was now doubly anxious lest those at home should worry.

“Leddies, would ye—” began Mrs. Carr, hesitating, “would ye drink a cup of tea with me before ye go? It’ll not take a minute, and it’s likely the last time I’ll be offer’n it to company,” she added with grim humour.

Anne accepted the invitation promptly with her fine breeding, not giving the Willoughbys a chance to demur. A brush fire was burning in the stove, and Anne saw by the heap of faggots outside how the woods had been kept clear of underbrush.

The Herb Witch opened a narrow cupboard by the chimney and, as she did so, they caught sight of a dozen or so bits of old Lowestoft china, a tea-pot, cream pitcher, caddy, and half a dozen cups and saucers.

“How beautiful!” exclaimed Martica Willoughby, who “collected.” “Do you know that[236] those are valuable? Why don’t you sell them?” she continued indiscreetly.

Miss Letty declared afterward that the Herb Witch suddenly grew so tall that she thought that her head would bump against the ceiling, as she answered: “Those same are my self-respect. When I’ve been tormented to beg and ask favours, I opened that door and looked at the bits that come from afar with me, and I minded those I came from, and whose will I crossed to my hurt. If ye sell your self-respect, leddy, that’s to be the real pauper,” and poor Martica forgot her college-bred sufficiency for once, and mumbled an apology.

Quickly the tea was drawn, only Anne noticing that it was the last in the caddy, and the sugar the last in the bowl, and Mrs. Carr taking a small loaf from a stone jar cut it in thin slices and spread them with wild plum jam, from the same closet where there still remained a few pots. “I’m out of butter, as it haps,” she said dryly.

The tea was delicious and every one enjoyed it heartily. Anne was standing by the door with a second “jamwich,” as she always called the combination, in her hand when wheels came up the lane, a horse stopped suddenly, and a figure sprang from the runabout, vaulted over the rickety gate that the rain had made still more difficult to open,[237] and strode up the walk. It was Mr. Hugh, and he wore what Anne had always called his “would-like-to-break-something” expression.

It flashed through her brain that he was either vexed at finding the Herb Witch still in the house, or that he blamed her in some way for their detention. She never knew exactly why she did it, but the moment he reached the door and opened his lips to speak she thrust the bit of bread and jam between his lips, calling gaily: “You are just in time, it’s perfectly delicious, and the very last piece, too. Please, Mrs. Carr, do you think that you could coax one more cup of tea from that duck of a pot? It’s Mr. Hugh, you know, and he’s come to look for us.”

Astonished as he was and gagged with bread and jam, Mr. Hugh’s anxiety and anger disappeared at the same moment, for both he and Miss Jule, who had driven completely around the circuit without finding the party, feared they might have tried to cross the river at the disabled bridge which had disappeared altogether at the rush of the suddenly swollen stream, and his turning into the lane at all had been quite an accident.

Instantly there was a confusion of tongues, and poor Mr. Hugh’s brain whirled as he heard the words: “punctured tire,” “across the fields,” “horrid[238] barbed wire fence,” “dead tree that kept moving,” “Laddie in trap,” “license money stolen,” “dear old china,” “such delicious tea,” “saved Jill Waddles from starving to death,” “thunder and lightning,” “chestnut tree,” etc., each sentence coming from a different person. Nor was his bewilderment lessened by the sight of the Witch herself, leaning on her crutch by the chimney closet, dignified and silent, the very reverse of the whining beggar, half lunatic, half tramp, that she had been represented.

His first idea was to relieve Miss Jule’s mind and get the girls safely home, his second was to apologize to Mrs. Carr for his evident misunderstanding and abrupt entrance.

“You can tell me all about it on the way home,” he said to the group at large. “Elsa, your mother is nearly frantic about you all; fortunately Miss Jule expected to keep Anne at the Hill Farm all night, so her mother knows nothing about the matter.


The Herb Witch.

[240]“The wheels are up under that chestnut? Very well, we will ask Mrs. Carr to keep the lame one until it can be called for to-morrow; its owner will have to drive with me, and the rest ride, at least, as far as the blacksmith’s on the turnpike, for it will be dark before I can send the horses back here. Whose wheel was disabled?”

[241]“Miss Letty’s,” said Martica Willoughby, “and I should think she would be thankful to drive home, for it was hard enough for us to lead our wheels through all that stubble; but her front tire was so flat she almost had to carry hers.”

Miss Letty got into the runabout without more ado, having the tact not to make a fuss, and offer to ride Martica’s wheel. Mr. Hugh bowed pleasantly to Mrs. Carr, who came to the gate, drawing her cloak about her,—the same one that Anne remembered,—and led the way down the lane, crossing the river, which was narrow and swift just there, a couple of hundred feet west of the house.

When they reached the highway they held a short consultation, and it was agreed the cyclists should lead home. As they were about to start Anne cried, “Look!” and waved her handkerchief toward the rising ground around which the lane had curved. There, upon the stubbly hillside, with her crutch before her and Laddie by her side, sat Mrs. Carr, watching them on their way, her witchlike hood pointing toward the sky, but a weary sort of smile upon her wan face, while behind her, against the distant horizon, was the dead tree still in front of them.

[242]“I wish you would have that old tree cut down, Mr. Hugh,” laughed Anne over her shoulder, as she shot ahead; “it’s in the middle of everywhere, and like Robin Hood’s barn, you go round and round it, but you never get there.”

Mr. Hugh and his companion drove along for a while in silence, then Miss Letty, forgetting herself, said half aloud, “I wonder what led you into that lane?”

“Geese,” said Mr. Hugh, at which astonishing remark they both laughed, and the ice began to melt as he explained it by saying that as he was hurrying along the highway, a flock of geese suddenly waddled across the road a few feet ahead with much hissing and flapping of wings, whereat Artful, his horse, being full of good spirits and oats, shied to the right, and made a bolt down the lane, which his driver had not even noticed. Being once there he recognized it as the north boundary of his new land, forgot that it did not run from road to road, remembered the old house which he thought empty, and took the stray chance of the girls having taken a short cut. “All of which proves that accidents are sometimes lucky things,” he added.

[243]“I wish my accident might bring some luck to Mrs. Carr,” said Miss Letty, simply, and then she told the story of the afternoon, her musical voice giving it pathos, and as she wholly forgot herself, a little foreign accent crept in her speech that made it more appealing.

“I certainly won’t turn her out, I give you my word for that,” said Mr. Hugh, earnestly, “I’ve tried time and again to see her. How can we handle her? Her pride and the old tea caddy will not feed and clothe her, and the house is only fit for bats.” Mr. Hugh had a warm heart, but he was very practical.

“I could manage the clothes, I think,” said Miss Letty, shyly. “I’ve got plenty of pocket money, for there is nothing to buy about here; the bonbons are atrocious—all made of glue. I could ask her to make me jam in exchange. You see she makes four kinds from wild fruit, and I adore jam.” In some things Letty was younger than Anne.

“But when you have finished your visit and gone back to France, what about her clothes then?” persisted Mr. Hugh, not realizing that he was teasing her.

“I forgot,” was all she said, but her head drooped, for Miss Letty was warm-hearted, but[244] not altogether practical; but few people are at eighteen.

In a moment, however, she redeemed herself by saying suddenly, looking ahead as if speaking of something she saw, “I have it, Miss Elsa said that you were going to build a small house somewhere on the new land, where you and your friends could build a fire in cold weather, and cook supper or have afternoon tea, and that you would keep a man in it to protect the game.”

“Yes, I’m going to build at once, for every bird and flower will be killed or carried away if I do not take care; but if the land is protected, I am more than willing to have the villagers use it for their outings, say two days a week in summer time.”

“The very thing,” continued Letty, growing more earnest, “cut through the lane from road to road, and make a new street in Dogtown, then put a gate in the middle; that will be by the Herb Witch’s old house. Make the house warm and snug, clear out the old garden paths, and then use it for a gate-house. Let the game protector man live there as company for Mrs. Carr, and make her the gate-keeper. In France the gate-keepers at many estates are the old women. Then such pay as you may give her can be eked[245] out by allowing her to sell tea and bread, jam and cookies to the picnickers, and she can always cook your supper when you wish. That kitchen with the wide chimney would make a charming room. I can see it now with blue and white paper and dark furniture. She would be independent too, poor soul. You know what Anne said about the dead tree and Robin Hood’s barn? Bien—let us call the house Robin Hood’s Inn, because it sheltered us when we were on the way to nowhere.”

“Good work,” cried Mr. Hugh, clapping his hands so enthusiastically that he nearly dropped the reins, and Artful took another skirmish. “If all is satisfactory when I go up there to-morrow I will begin work next Monday. Do you know, I’m awfully obliged to you, Miss Letty. I’m a slow fellow for thinking out things, and two heads are better than one, though this idea came from only one, and that’s yours. Hullo, where are we going?” For in their eagerness they had passed the Hill Farm and were spinning down hill.

When they had turned back, Miss Jule met them at the gate, saying, “All’s well that ends well; but I was afraid just now that Artful was running away.”

“Oh, no,” said Mr. Hugh, “we were having a[246] most interesting conversation, and if you will ask me in to tea you shall pass upon our scheme.”

“I’m sorry you had to ride home with the Great Bear,” said Anne, innocently, as they went upstairs to get ready for supper. “I love to drive with Mr. Hugh, he is teaching me the names of all the rocks.”

“There are bears and bears,” replied Miss Letty, smiling to herself in the mirror. “Also geese that make good guide-posts.”



Before flocking swallows and cool nights told that September had come in a-tiptoe, the Herb Witch’s house had been restored, and christened “Robin Hood’s Inn,” and even the thought of the poor-farm banished from the old woman’s mind.

It had been a very easy matter rearranging the house, which had a solid frame; new floors, shingles, window-glass, and pretty wall-papers, chosen by Miss Letty and Anne, working a wonderful transformation within, while a week’s well-directed efforts of a couple of men restored the garden to its quaintness without spoiling it.

Mrs. Carr herself was much more difficult to handle, so anxious was she not to accept anything for which she could not render service in return. Miss Jule and Mr. Hugh had planned very wisely, but, after all, it was Anne herself who broke through the crust of pride that held the old woman so close in its grip.

[248]The day after the thunder-storm, when Anne had gone with Mr. Hugh to bring Jill home, that contrary young beagle had absolutely declined to go with her mistress, and, after struggling, barking, and growling in puppy rage, slipped her head through her collar, jumped from Anne’s arms, and ran up and hid in the attic that was littered with rubbish and drying herbs.

Such a strong attachment from a capricious little animal like Jill argued well for Mrs. Carr’s influence over dogs, as did the nicely healed wounds made by the barbed wire for her medical skill and care, and a new idea came to both Mr. Hugh and Miss Jule. They frequently had dogs, both young and old, who needed some special attention or petting that it was impossible to give them in the kennels, or in the little house that stood apart and was called the hospital. One of the old orchards could be fenced, and a small building put in the corner near by Robin Hood’s Inn, the whole to be used as a sort of dog’s excursion resort, for those who needed a change, Mrs. Carr being in charge of it.

Anne begged leave to tell the news to the old woman. At first Mrs. Carr was about to exclaim in delight at the prospect of so much dog companionship, then her habitual distrust seemed[249] about to settle as she said, “I only hopes it’s for their own good and not mine they ha’ planned it; I wish I cauld be main sure.”

Then at last Anne rose up with almost a stamp of impatience, and folding her hands before her, looked the questioner straight in the face, saying: “Mrs. Carr, I’m disappointed in you, you are just as pernickerty as you can be, and stingy beside. Perhaps you don’t know what ‘pernickerty’ means, because it’s one of Baldy’s words for being show-off particular, like the woman father tells about, who was always so dreadfully good. When she went to heaven they gave her an extra beautiful gold crown to wear, with a soft lining, so that it couldn’t hurt, but she took it off and looked it all over, and said, ‘I can do with a cheaper one; beside, linings are heating!’ And you are stingy because you won’t let any of us have the pleasure of thinking we are making you comfortable;” so saying, Anne, with a red spot in the middle of each cheek, walked out of the cottage, mounted Fox, and rode away, without looking behind her.

Miss Jule, who a few moments later drew up from the opposite direction expecting to meet Mr. Hugh and advise with him about the new scheme, was astonished to find that Anne had gone, and to[250] see Mrs. Carr crouching in her arm-chair with her face in her apron.

Making no attempt to hide the fact that she had been crying, the old lady straightened herself, and said in a trembling voice: “Ye’ll be havin’ no more contrairy times with me, yerself and Master Hughie, for the little lassie hit out straight and fetched me between the eyes like the minister in the kirk used, and I see my error, that is, I like shall when I’m through blinkin’. Pride is a good life-buoy when a body’s drownin’ in the waters o’ trouble, but inconvenient and unseemly to wear juist for ornament on dry land.”

Miss Jule asked no questions at the time, but the truth leaked out, and Mrs. Carr herself was the first to tell the story, laughing as she did so, with the dry, harsh laugh that needed use to mellow it, and illustrating with her crutch the emphatic sound of Anne’s boots, as she walked out.

The result of this change of heart, or rather of manner, for at heart the old woman had always been good as gold, was that even when picnic days were over, and the good folks of Dogtown left the fields for the fireside, and children returned to school, Robin Hood’s Inn, remote as it was, became a meeting-place for autumn walks, and Saturday parties out to gather leaves or nuts.[251] Moreover, few people could decide which attracted them the most, the tea and seedcakes, the courtesy of Laddie the old collie, Jill’s coaxing antics, or Mrs. Carr’s fine hospitality.

“Herb Witch you shall still be called, for no one brews tea like you,” said Mr. Hugh, one afternoon as he sat by the wide fireplace, holding one of the precious Lowestoft cups that had been filled the second time.

Mrs. Carr, for some unknown reason, never served anyone but him she termed her “landlord,” and Miss Letty from these cups.

Miss Jule, her niece, Anne, and her mother had been driving together and had likewise stopped for a chat, also to inquire for a delicate little spaniel, one of an overlarge litter, that Mrs. Carr was mothering.

“Ah, but I’ve fostered a rival at the tea drawin’,” said the old lady with a smile. “Miss Lettice here betters me at it, ’twas she that drew that very potful as your foot was on the sill.”

“Why didn’t you put a few poison ivy leaves in it? I’m quite surprised,” laughed Mr. Hugh, never thinking how the jest might hurt the young girl with whom he had been on very friendly terms since the day of the storm. But that was Mr. Hugh’s chief fault; he often sharpened his little[252] jokes upon other people’s feelings, while Miss Letty never did. She said nothing, however, but going to the window picked up Jill, and resting her upon the sill laid her face against one of the long soft ears.

“Some day, Hugh,” said Miss Jule, rather sharply, “Letty and I will find a thin spot in your cuticle, and then we will always keep salt ready to rub in it!”

“Ah! but there’s a bonnie fortune here,” said Mrs. Carr, discerning something awry and lifting Letty’s empty cup she looked in the bottom; “but what’s this on tother side?” she muttered, “two horses travelling even, and then one ahead and riderless. I can’t read that—best wash the cup.”

No matter how warm the noontide sun might be, when September came Waddles liked to lie by a fire in the evening. If there was none in the hall chimney-corner he would nose open the door into the kitchen and stretch himself on the warm hearth before the range, for though he would not like to have had it mentioned, he was rheumatic, and his left hind leg often gave him trouble in crossing stone walls. As for rail fences, he had ceased even going through them, and always crawled under.

[253]Mrs. Waddles also enjoyed fireside evenings, and had coaxed her way until she shared the rug with her spouse as a matter of course, though he alone slept at Anne’s door, Happy going back to the nursery kennel for the night. Jack still slept there with her, for if ever there was a “mother boy” it was he. All day long he kept her in sight, and at night drew as close to her as in the days of his dependent puppyhood.

It was one of the first of these evenings. A log was smouldering lazily on the hearth in the hall, though doors and windows were open and the house was full of moonlight.

The family had all gone to Miss Jule’s for supper and to talk over a harvest festival with outdoor sports that Mr. Hugh proposed to hold at Robin Hood’s Inn.

Before Anne went out she ran to the hall table to take one more look at something very precious that had come that afternoon—her camera, so long wished for, had actually arrived, and she was all eagerness for daylight that she might use it, as she had watched her father at his work so often that she felt as if she really knew how. He had insisted that she begin with plates instead of films, that she might the more easily develop her pictures and thus discover her own mistakes, so the[254] camera was a substantial four by five instrument in a leather-covered case, with a light tripod for time work.

Waddles lay on the outer edge of the bearskin rug, Happy being next the fire, everything was quiet except her little whimpering snore and the crickets that chanted outside, led, it seemed, by one persistent individual in the wood-box.

Suddenly Happy gave a groan, and began to shiver and cry in her sleep. Up started Waddles, stumbled over her before he understood from where the noise came, and then gave her a little shake, saying, in a language that, deaf though she was, she understood: “Wake up. What is the matter? You were so greedy about that cold sausage at supper that I knew you’d have trouble.”

Happy gave a despairing kick or two, then rolled over, and, gaining her feet, sniffed once or twice, her back bristling, and then opened her eyes. “I thought that I was a kennel dog again,” she said with a little gasp, settling herself close by Waddles, as if craving protection from such a catastrophe, and scratching an ear to be sure that she was herself.

“I never lived in a kennel, though when I was very young I used to wish I did. The Hilltop[255] dogs got lots to eat and I didn’t.” “Why didn’t you like it?” asked Waddles, who, having thoroughly waked up, was in the mood for a lazy, comfortable chat.

“Ting, ting, ting, bur-r-r,” said the telephone bell by the door, Waddles jumped up bristling, and barked his yap, yap, “treed-cat” bark at it; he always regarded the telephone as a personal insult, and as he did not quite fathom its workings or understand a voice unattached to a person he was not a little afraid of it, a fact he managed to conceal by bluster.

Through it he heard his mistress’s voice when she was at Miss Jule’s and wanted to ask if she might stay to dinner or supper, but he could get no scent of her whereabouts. Also he could hear the master talking to the fishman, whose odour was oban and forbidden of good dogs, and was his chief enemy besides, having dared to flick his whip at him. Was it not aggravating to hear those rasping tones without having a chance to pretend to nip his heels or bark his bony horse into a gallop?

Now that there was no one at home to take down the magic tube that released the evil spirit, he could take his revenge and bark his mind, which he did until he was hoarse.

[256]“Why didn’t I like it?” asked Happy, now also quite awake, and with great energy. “There was enough to eat, I suppose, but how, and when, and where? I should like you to tell me that first.”

As Waddles didn’t know, he could not tell, so Happy took the floor, or rather the bearskin, and began her story, occasionally punctuating it by pauses caused by stopping to give her paws an extra washing.

“Melody, my mother, was not born in a kennel, though after she had great sport and hunted a few years, she came to live at Hilltop. I was born there, and the difference between living in a kennel and running free begins even before your eyes are open.

“Of course you’ve looked into the kennel yard four acres big, inside the tall wire fence and seen[257] the grass-run, and the swimming-pool, but have you ever been inside the long red house made into rooms with many windows and doors, and a little yard by each?”

“No,” said Waddles, “I’ve often tried, but some one always drove me away, though once, when I had stepped inside the door, I ran down a long hallway when a big black and white setter, who seemed to be all by himself in a small room, told me I’d best get out while I could, for maybe if I waited I couldn’t, and begged me to bring him a bone next time I came.”

“That was old Antonio, a boarder,” said Happy, looking into the fire as if she saw the past in it. “His master used to have a country house like this, and he raised Antonio from a pup, took him hunting every leaf fall, and let him lie on the hearth-rug winter nights, but when the master sold the house and went away, he sent Antonio to board at Hilltop until he should come back for him. He promised to come soon, but that was the summer that I was a pup, and Antonio is still waiting.

“Of course he is comfortable in a way; he and Rufus, the Irish setter with red hair, have a good room together, each with a boxed straw bed, and a private yard to lie in when they are not turned[258] into the great yard for running, but they are in chain when they sleep at night, and when they are fed, and that is a grievous thing to an old dog who has once run free, and owned his bones. My mother told me so then, but being born a kennel dog I did not understand.”

“What were the other rooms in that long house?” asked Waddles, now sitting up wide awake and interested. “I saw more doors than there are in this whole house or at Miss Jule’s, and though I was in a hurry, I sniffed good crisp brown smells.”

“Some rooms like Antonio’s are for the grown dogs that live there all the time except when they go away for hunting. Then there are others closer and warmer for the mother dogs with families; I was born in one of these, and stayed there with[259] my little brothers and sisters until I was six weeks old, and could stand firm upon my feet without resting on my stomach. Before this, for many days, when my mother was let out for her airing, she stayed away longer and longer, and when we were hungry they gave us milk to lap from a tin, which was tiresome and took much more trouble than to eat the way our mother taught us, lying close to her where we could knead her warm sides with our paws. Finally, one night she did not come back at all. Then we were taken from our little bedroom to a great square place, all wood dust on the floor and with a great black thing standing in the middle that frightened me terribly, but afterward I found that it was called a stove, and was warm inside and pleasant to lie by, though it could not feed us as our mother did.

“In this big room were many other pups of different kinds and sizes, who played or dozed in corners, but there were none as small as we, and we felt sad and lonely. I well remember how we squealed that night until Baldy’s brother brought Miss Jule and she had us put back into our little room, but our mother was not there. Once in the night she answered as from far away; but she couldn’t come for there were many doors[260] between. They called this weaning us, so that we should learn to care for ourselves; but if you are born free like our Jack and Jill it all happens of itself and there is no sorrow. Next day we went back to the big room with all the other puppies, and four times every day each one of us was put into a little box like a chicken-coop—there was a row of them all round the wall—and given a dish of food.”

“What was that for?” asked Waddles, “why did they shut you up? I like to walk about when I eat.”

“Because,” answered Happy, feeling proud and important at knowing something that wise Waddles did not, “if the food was given to us at once the biggest would gobble two or three shares and the small pups would get none. At the kennels grown dogs are tied when they eat, but pups wear no collars, for they are bad things for their soft necks.

“After a while we became used to the life and had good times playing in the puppy pasture. One day we saw our mother in the other enclosure with the grown dogs, and we ran close to the fence and tried to dig under it; but kennel fences are set deep with melted stone poured round the posts. When we found we could not get through[261] we barked and wagged our tails and then even our bodies when we saw her coming toward us; but she did not notice us at all—she had forgotten us!”

“Then who taught you to play snatch-bone and wrestle, who killed your fleas for you and washed you?” asked Waddles, with indignation.

“We learned to wrestle by tumbling about together. As to snatch-bone, how could we play it, we who have no bones?”

“No bones!” echoed Waddles, in amazement.

“None to keep, or to bury, or play with; such as we had must be gnawed at a meal or they were taken away. How could kennel dogs who are never alone bury bones without having them stolen and breeding a fight?

“One day after I had left the puppy yard old Antonio kept a round bone hidden in his mouth to gnaw on later. Forgetting himself he barked and dropped it. Oh, but there was a commotion that took three men, besides Miss Jule, to quell, and all the dogs were bristling and angry for three days.

“Waddles,” and there were almost tears in Happy’s eyes, “you don’t know what it was to be a well-fed kennel dog, and yet be so poor that you had not even a bone to bury! And if you[262] had one you could not hide it in a floor of melted stone.

“I noticed that as I grew bigger and stronger and hungrier I had fewer meals, until when I was grown and slept in a separate room with Flo, the English setter, we had but one a day; a great pan of warm stew with bread in it, every evening when we were chained up for the night beside our beds.”

“That stew sounds good,” said Waddles, licking his lips, “and what for breakfast?”

“No breakfast. No bits of toast from Tommy, or chop shank from the master. It’s always supper with a kennel dog. It isn’t Miss Jule’s fault, or anybody’s; there aren’t enough bits of toast or chop bones to feed a yard full of pups and dogs.

“As to the fleas and baths, when we were old enough Baldy’s brother Martin washed us every week. There is a room next to the nursery kennel that has a water-box in it like the one our[263] cows drink out of, and above it hang rows and rows of collars of all sizes, ready for dogs to wear who are to go away or come to the kennel without them.

“We little pups were washed in this box, and if we cried or jumped about Martin would put a collar on to hold us by. The washing wasn’t bad at first, but it was very wet and sometimes cold, and the big brush he used wasn’t as soft and warm as our mother’s tongue that washed and wiped at the same time.

“Sometimes if Martin was tired or in a hurry he did not dry us well, and often dogs grew sick and sneezed and shivered. Then the big doctor-man came hurrying out from over town with his quick horse, to see them, and said they had ‘distemper.’ When this happened Miss Jule would often sit up at night with them; and sometimes they got well, and sometimes they were taken away and never came back, then Miss Jule would say ‘This is an unlucky season.’ But we knew it most often happened when Martin forgot something, for Miss Jule could not feel each dog’s nose every day, and see if its eyes look bright, and ask us if we feel well, as our mistress does.

“The flea-killing was worse; our mother took them one by one, but Martin rubbed sneezy powder[264] in our hair, so if we tried to lick ourselves a bit we coughed and choked. Our Jack is nearly grown, and yet he has never had a bath from any one but me, and there’s not a flea upon him. See what it is to be born free and live a private life!”

Then Mrs. Waddles’s broad chest swelled with pride, as she yawned, stretched her feet toward the fire, and curved her back.

“Where did the good smells come from?” asked Waddles. “Part of them might be soup, but the others were too much like the village bakery where Mistress sometimes buys us broken cakes.”

“That smell came from the kennel kitchen, you must have been there on a baking day. There are four rooms together that dogs must never go in, but the day our Mistress bought me from Miss Jule and I walked home with her, she went out through those rooms, then I saw and knew. The littlest room was full of the soap they wash us with, and bottles of the stuff they give us when we are sick or sprinkle on the melted stone floors, that are through all the kennels, to sweeten them.

“The next room had boxes in it like those that hold the horse food in our stable, and they were full of the stuff Martin makes the dog-bread of. I saw him take some out, and in the corner was a[265] great cold box, and though I could not see inside I smelled that it held meat, and near by was the kettle they cooked our soup in. In the biggest room of all there was a great block like that our butcher chops the meat on while we wait to catch the bits, also a big can full of milk and rows of tin pans piled on more shelves.

“Just then I smelled something delicious and Mistress turned round, I following her; there I saw Martin standing by the open door of a great oven with a red fire below, and in it were pans and pans of crispy bread ready to take out, and more upon a table to go in, and Mistress broke off a crust that overhung, and threw it to me. I sha’n’t forget that crust; it was my first bite of liberty.”

“Did you never run free at all, or never go out alone to have any sport? I should have jumped that fence or dug out somehow.”

“No, you would not,” said Happy, decidedly.[266] “Silver Tongue, the biggest foxhound, could not. Ah, yes, we had good sport sometimes, all through the swamp woods trailing for rabbits though we never got any, and do you know, Silver Tongue told me once that they tied the smell up in a bag and dragged it on the ground just to make us run, and there was no rabbit!

“One day, though, they took me with some older dogs to track real rabbits, for I saw them and I had run one into a fence corner, and it turned round and looked at me, when such an awful noise came down upon my head I thought the sky had fallen. I forgot the rabbit and fell over for my head ached terribly. Martin picked me up and rubbed my head and wrapped me in[267] his coat, then everything was still. It has been so ever since, pleasant and quiet. When I felt better I saw Martin’s gun was broken and burst, and now I have to see with my eyes what people want of me, for my ears catch nothing.

“There was always sport, too, when new dogs came, either to live or board with us. They didn’t know the rules and so of course they made lots of mistakes. Sometimes they felt sulky and would not eat their supper because they didn’t know that there was no breakfast, and they would cry and beg, and if Miss Jule came by she would understand and give them some, but Martin only went by rule.

“You know the open shed up at Hilltop where the log-wood is kept, and the old grindstone? for we’ve often chased squirrels up the back of it. That shed is in the puppy yard, and the boxes that dogs travel in are kept there. We pups used to have great sport lying there in the shade to watch the boxes brought in and out, and see who came, who went away.

“We all thought it would be fun to go travelling and often scrambled in and out of them, but if Martin shut the door we were frightened, and glad enough to be loose again. The boxes were not tight but opened and latticed like hen-coops, and[268] they called them dog crates. It was a fine thing at the end of summer to see the crates brought out and cleaned, and the old dogs, setters, hounds, and spaniels, who had been away before for the hunting, go nearly wild with joy at sight of them, and clamour for the start.

“The youngsters who had never been, and thought the crate a punishment, trembled at first, but the others explained, and so all through the autumn there was coming, going, and excitement.

“Sometimes, on fine days, Miss Jule would come with an apronful of dog-bread, and throw the bits for us to catch, and that day was held a great festival. For the one who jumped the highest,[269] or caught the quickest, would get an extra bit, or be taken out to spend the day at the house, and have its dinner with Mr. Wolf, Miss Jule’s very own best dog, and Tip, the head retriever. When these dogs came back to the kennels, though, there was always a row, for they felt so very fine and big, and bragged so about what they had seen, and the dozens of bones they had gnawed or buried, that finally, we who were neither quick nor clever could not bear it, so we agreed that whenever a dog came back from running free we would all bark together so loud that not a word of what he said could be heard.

“Flo, the English setter, one of my best friends, who lives up there still, tells me that times are much better now, for Miss Letty takes a great interest in the dogs, and every morning, as soon as she has had breakfast, she comes to the fence of the front yard, bringing a basket of dog-bread. She gives a whistle, and when the dogs are all collected then she begins throwing them bread, bit by bit, aiming it so carefully that even the stupidest, slowest dog of them gets at least one piece. Then sometimes she will go inside the fence of the big field and throw a ball for the dogs to chase, and Flo says that when Miss Letty calls the dog who wins by name, or praises[270] him, he likes it better than a bone, and wags away like mad. So now the kennel dogs have two things a day to look forward to, supper at night, and Miss Letty in the morning.”

“I call that a very stupid life,” said Waddles, yawning and stretching in his turn; “isn’t there any real hunting or real fun?”

“Yes, in the autumn and once already this season there was a hunt, Flo says. It was Miss Letty who let the dogs out to go to it, and Silver Tongue, the foxhound, who showed them the way. My, but they had fine running and catching, only Flo says that their getting out was an accident, and that Mr. Hugh was very angry, but Squire Burley and Miss Jule only laughed and laughed, and it was a week before the dogs all got back.”

“Hurry up, and go on and tell about it,” said Waddles, sniffing uneasily. “Mistress will be at home soon, and then you will have to go out to bed, and I sha’n’t hear what they hunted.”

[271]“They are here now,” said Happy, holding her head on one side, for though she could not hear, she could feel the vibration of coming footsteps.

“Keep quiet,” said Waddles, “it is so dark that maybe mistress will go by and forget you.”


Miss Letty feeding the Kennel Dogs.

The master went through the hallway to the library, Tommy stumbled sleepily along toward[273] the stairs, holding his mother’s hand, while Anne went to the table where the moonlight showed her that the camera was safe and sound, and after giving it a caressing touch, called Waddles and went up to bed, but not to sleep.



That Waddles did not go up stairs the moment he was called was nothing unusual, for though Anne’s door-mat was his regular bed he was at liberty to roam about the house at will.

He sat quite still for a few minutes, listening until the footsteps overhead ceased, his eyes glowing through the dark like bits of green phosphorescence, then settled himself again with a sigh, for his back legs were extra stiff. Happy, having forgotten and gone to sleep, was again struggling with bad dreams, so he had to arouse her.

“Now that I’ve managed for you to stay indoors, the least that you can do is to tell me about the hunting the kennel dogs took out of season,” he said, as soon as she was fairly awake. Poor Happy was heavy with sleep, but her obliging disposition conquered, though she nodded two or three times before she remembered where she left her story.

[275]“It was way back in the beginning of flea time, when Miss Letty had not been up at Hilltop very long, that she gave the kennel dogs such a holiday as some of them had never had in their whole lives, though Flo does say that it happened quite by accident.

“All through the hill farms, Miss Jule’s, Squire Burley’s, and Mr. Hugh’s, there are trees that bear those big long-stemmed red berries that the birds love; cherries, I think House People call them. When I lived up there I used to watch out under the trees to see the robins and catbirds come to eat them, and laugh at poor Antonio, who used to get a stiff neck pointing at the birds up in the branches, never getting anything but the pits they dropped on his long nose.

“Flo says that Miss Letty loves these cherries, and that after picking all the ripe ones she could reach from the ground and fences, one day she came riding along to gather them on horseback. The best trees were in Squire Burley’s paddock where his foxhound kennels are, and as he had often asked Miss Letty to come and help herself, she opened the gate with her whip handle, rode through and thought she closed it after her, but it didn’t quite latch. Harkaway, one of the squire’s hounds, told me this. The squire has five[276] hounds but no one else in Dogtown, except Miss Jule and Mr. Hugh, keeps more than one each, and when they really go a-hunting in the fall the squire stands at his gate and fires his gun, then all the people know the signal and come bringing their dogs, and together they make as fine a pack as the Hilltop Kennels can show.

“Miss Letty rode slowly along under the trees, now and then pulling down a branch with her whip, but she didn’t stay very long before she went out again and turned into the brush lane that runs from the squire’s down behind Miss Jule’s kennel yard toward the rabbit wood.

[277]“Then Harkaway signalled to the other hounds with the silent signal for still hunting and no cry, and they slunk out of the high paddock gate after nosing it open a little wider. Keeping behind the fence they followed Miss Letty to the back gate of Miss Jule’s kennel yard where they lay low and waited. Now those high gates have a strange fastening; the latch falls between two iron paws that move and hold it, but sometimes though the gate stays shut one paw forgets to move, and a quick nose can shove the gate before the paw remembers. That is what happened when Miss Letty opened that back kennel gate; the outside paw was stiff and did not lay hold.


Pulling a branch down with her whip.

[279]“No sooner was she well inside and going to the swimming-pool to give her horse a drink, than Harkaway, lying outside in the long grass, gave Silver Tongue the silent signal. Then Silver Tongue, standing in his usual place, watching frogs by the pond sluiceway, gave his far-away cry that sounded as if it came from over by Mr. Hugh’s barn, and Miss Letty, hidden by low-hanging trees, did not notice that all the foxhounds understood it and sprang up, that the setters stood first at a point and then dashed toward the gate, one by one disappearing down the lane.

“Lucky for them that Mr. Wolf didn’t see, for he would have told Miss Jule and spoiled their sport, for of all the dogs within or out the kennel Mr. Wolf has the most ‘say so,’ and we almost know that he tells Miss Jule our secrets, and that they talk together. This much was told me; the rest I saw myself, for I was in the lane on rabbit business that morning.

“As it happened, it was our family, the Beagles, that gave warning, for the moment the first one, old Bramble, my grandmother, and my uncle Meadow Brook, got into that lane they fell on a fresh rabbit trail and gave tongue, and then the hounds answered with full cry, and throwing family pride[280] away, ran with the little hounds, barking, yelping, following every trail, fresh and stale, and dashing here and there, where there was no scent at all.

“Miss Letty turned, saw what she had done, and galloped toward the house, from which Martin and Miss Jule came running, speechless with astonishment, for all the dogs in the grow-ups’ exercise yard had gone, and the puppies were wild with excitement and dashing at the wires.

“At first Miss Letty was almost crying, but in a few minutes Miss Jule began to laugh until she shook all over, and you know that is a great deal of shake. Then Miss Letty laughed, too, and Martin closed the back gate and opened one to the barnyard, and sat down by the pump and waited.

“Soon Mr. Hugh came riding by, looking, oh, so cross, that I was afraid and hid. He went to where Miss Jule was standing by the puppy yard fence talking to Flo, and asking her how she came there. Flo had been shut in by mistake that day, and as she couldn’t get out to go with the others she was amusing herself catching meadow-mice and she told me what they said. Flo is such a hard-working dog, and she points, flushes, and retrieves as well as any two others, and even when she is shut up she keeps in practice on mice,[281] toads, and squirrels. I can always tell when it’s a meadow-mouse she is pointing, even when I watch her through the wires from far off, because she stands short and points down into the grass, but other times she spreads out more and points ahead. This day she quite forgot the mouse in listening to Mr. Hugh; for she said she never knew before that House People could growl.”

What Mr. Hugh said did not interest Waddles, who was eager for the hunting, so Happy did not tell it; but as twofoots may like to hear, it is recorded as it happened.

“Whose carelessness is this?” asked Mr. Hugh.

[282]“Mine,” said Miss Letty, with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, before Miss Jule could answer. “I didn’t latch the gate, but the dogs will all be back in a few days, Miss Jule says. What makes you look so fierce? Surely, your dogs are all safe at home?”

“That’s exactly what they all are not,” said Mr. Hugh, gnawing the ends of his brown mustache, while his gray eyes flashed green and yellow sparks, and he beat an angry tattoo with his whip on his leather gaiter.

“But I’ve not been on your land stealing cherries, or opened your gates,” said Miss Letty, looking puzzled.

“That was not necessary. I was walking below in the lane with a string of young, unbroken dogs on leaders—four hounds, and half a dozen setter pups—when a whirlwind of dogs came by, some yelping, some in full cry, with their noses to the ground, some looking in the air, some tumbling over each other on a single trail, and others dashing about between half a dozen. In the hubbub my dogs escaped and followed the others—”

“Over the hills and far away!” sang Miss Letty, before Mr. Hugh could finish his sentence, her laughing face breaking into dimples,—“but pray,[283] how could they get away if you had them in leash?”

“I let go—that is, the stringer slipped through my hand, and so, because Miss Heedless left that gate open, a fine lot of pups that I bred for exhibition and who have never before left the kennels, have gone goodness knows where, and, ten to one, I shall never see any of them again. I’m awfully annoyed,” and Mr. Hugh swung himself off his horse and fumbled with the bit to cool his heated temper.

It would have been better for him if he had stayed mounted, for Mr. Hugh on horseback had a commanding figure, while on the ground his legs seemed too short for his body, so that the sudden change was always something of a shock to the looker-on.

Miss Letty coloured a trifle and then said pleasantly, but in quite a firm voice, as if she had decided that she would not be treated like a child any longer: “I don’t wonder that you are annoyed at having been what Anne calls ‘rattled,’ and letting your dogs slip through your fingers, I sympathize with you. I should be if I were you; but I think you will see them again for they will probably kill all the ducks and geese and turkeys they meet. I’ve noticed it’s a way young dogs[284] have on their first outings. Then of course the owners will bring back the dogs and the bills for damages together. Oh, no, your dogs will return.”

After that day Mr. Hugh was quite careful how he crossed swords with Miss Letty, and she no longer stood in awe of him, which means that they then began to understand each other without knowing it.

Happy got up and turned her other side to the fire, before she continued. She felt uneasy, and thought perhaps she had eaten too much sausage; but it was so good and she always felt hungry.

“The hunting, where did the dogs go?” prompted Waddles.


He stood in his gateway holding his gun.

[286]“They ran down the lane together until they reached the low woods by the brook, and after trampling the trails into a snarl, they divided, the beagles keeping in the rabbit land. The others climbing up the rocks and following the ledge that goes on and on until it is Pine Ridge, where the fox lairs are and the best coon-trees. For of course the old hounds remembered the real hunting days when any autumn day might find the Squire’s hounds chained to the fence in readiness[287] while he stood in the gateway holding his gun waiting to fire the signal to tell the neighbours that a fox had been seen, when they would gather men and dogs to scramble afoot over rocks and briers. Of course as you are a house fourfoot, I suppose you never went fox-hunting; but I will tell you one thing, it is no work for beagles; our legs are too short, for the foxhounds lope like horses and we get nowhere.”

“I’ve been,” answered Waddles, putting on a worldly wise expression, such as Hamlet used to wear when he did tricks, and before he found himself, “I haven’t forgotten it. I was away two nights and a day and Missy thought me dead because it was at the time we had adventures and saw strange things and we had been to the far woods to see the Bad One die, only two days before.

“At first I followed the fox trail with the hounds. It’s a queer trail, and smells rank and raw, not ripe and delicious like a rabbit’s. Soon I fell back and stumbled, for they went over places I could only crawl through, and then I sprained a paw and drew into a corner where the moss was soft, to rest. When I waked up it was early morning, and I was stiff and hungry. I tried to surprise a rabbit for breakfast, but the wind[288] was the wrong way and they scented me first. I was too lame to walk much at a time, and I had to rest often. Toward afternoon I caught a mole and tried to eat it, but ugh! it had such a horrid flavour that it sickened me, and the fur was loose and gave me a cough. Just before night I caught a red squirrel that was trying to rob a nest and got pecked in the eye and fell out of the tree. The squirrel was an old fighter, with iron legs, a leather body, and wooden insides, not a bit juicy, and only good to chew. Next morning I limped home in time to breakfast on kidney stew. I tell you what it is, the hunting is fine for sport and killing, but living by it is quite another thing, and running with foxhounds is not good for beagles.”

“Well, as I was saying,” continued Happy, “the old foxhounds kept on up to Pine Ridge, the little ones following very well, but the setter pups turned off at the Mill cross-roads and got into trouble.

“Besides the Squire’s dogs and Miss Jule’s, all the idlers in Dogtown had gathered and straggled after when they heard the foxhounds call, and there are mischief-makers among fourfoots as well as with House People.

“Beyond the Mill is a big turkey pasture, you[289] know, the place we buy our turkeys from. Just as the setters were passing it a hairy yellow cur came up and said, ‘There’s fine hunting there and plenty of it—nice young birds.’ The moment those setters got under the bars their noses went down and their tails whirled around like buzz-saws, and they zigzagged across the pasture, charging on the first flock in a body. These were fine white turkeys. The hen who led them showed fight, but the yellow cur teased her off, and the setters, knowing nothing, bit and shook and scattered feathers, until of the fifteen young turkeys not one was left unhurt; then, wild with excitement and the taste of game, they dashed down the field to where some fine bronze birds were sunning themselves. Half a dozen fell before a great gobbler charged from the bushes and gave chase, while the cur picked out one of the killed and took it behind a stone fence, where he ate it at his leisure. Then men began to gather from the fields and two of the pups were caught and tied securely in the barn while the turkeys were collected.

“‘Some one will pay well for these,’ said the farmer, as he laid twenty-nine young turkeys in a row, ‘and the bill will read twenty-nine Thanksgiving turkeys at $2.00 each, for that’s what[290] they were on the road to. Now we’ll round up the dogs’ owner,’ and he went toward the stable to harness a team.

“The other two setters, Patty and Rory, disappointed in having to leave before they had tasted meat, went toward the mill-pond for a drink. ‘Quack, quack,’ said a covey of plump white ducks, sailing from the open into a little bushy cove.

“Quick as a lightning-bug, the pups splashed after them, Rory O’Moore leading, for he was a special pet of Mr. Hugh’s, and had taken swimming lessons from Hamlet in the kennel pool, once crossing the river. The ducks dove, and scattered, but the pups seized a long neck each, and, determined not to go hungry this time, took their game to the shelter of the very door-steps of the mill to make a luncheon. Poor pups! they knew no better, but they do now, for the big miller caught them and dropped them into an[291] empty feed bin, where it was nearly dark, and oh, so stuffy! Then the turkey farmer driving down the road pulled up, and after some talk the miller got in with him, and they drove off together, the turkeys and two ducks packed in the wagon box for witnesses.


Antonio and the Young Spaniels.

[293]“It was lonely that day up in the kennel yard, I can tell you. Flo said it made her feel like the leaf-fall time, when she had the distemper, and all the bird dogs had gone travelling in their crates but she; and she was glad to talk to a lame-winged crow that came to beg, for the only grown dog in the big lot was old Antonio, and with him the young spaniels Ruth, Dell, and Una, who plagued his wits out by chasing him round and round the pool, and daring him to swim.

“Meanwhile the beagles were all over the woods, and I—well, I went with them, just for old acquaintance sake, you know. There were plenty of young rabbits round about, but somehow we were confused, and let them slip; too many trails are worse than none, I find. But just before evening Clover-Dew, my litter brother, and Briar, my aunt, broke loose, going off together, and I following, for they ran well, and the trail lay straight.

“Up from the wood they went, across pastures and a truck farm, until they gave tongue that the scent was hot, and the quarry close in front, then I saw two big rabbits that were the poorest leapers of any I ever knew. Will you believe it, Waddles, they even sat up once or twice and looked back at us. We overtook them in a fence[294] corner that had a garden on the other side. We three charged together, and there was a great tussle, for if those rabbits were stupid about running, they were fine kickers. Just as I had the biggest well by the leg, a man and a little girl came to the fence, and when she saw what we were doing, she began to hop up and down and scream, and cry, ‘Oh, papa, save my poor bunnies!’ Then I saw that she was Tommy’s friend, Pinkie Scott, and those fool rabbits were the foreign Hare things her father gave her for her birthday, and that she keeps in a great big bird-cage,—that is, when she remembers to shut the door, which isn’t often. Of course, we were polite and let go, and went a little way back in the field and sat down to rest. The rabbits? Oh, one wasn’t hurt, but the other was—well—damaged; they mended him, for I saw him last week when I was down there to call on Luck and Pluck with Tommy. Pinkie had forgotten again, and those rabbits had broken loose and eaten all the late lettuce, and her father was chasing them, and he said, ‘I wish those little hounds had finished you last summer.’ Then I didn’t feel quite so ashamed of biting that hind leg as I had before, and, Waddles, do you know, that everywhere I go to visit, private rabbits seem to be a nuisance, and[295] a ‘better be dead’; so I’m sure they ought to be fair hunting, like the wild ones.”

“Humph!” said Waddles, “good running as usual, but poor catching. What did the foxhounds get, a mouthful of thistle-down?”

“Ah! but they had the best of it,” said Happy, her eyes sparkling; “they stayed out two whole days, and when they had tired out the stray dogs that followed and the young dogs that only wanted to play, they settled down to work. They knew their ground well for they’d just been on a spring run with the squire and Mr. Hugh to locate the dens for fall work. Late the next night, Flo says, the squire’s Harkaway and Meadow-Lark gave tongue so loudly that the squire and Mr. Hugh went out, and following the cry two miles found them just as they had killed an old gray fox, the biggest hen-roost robber of all the Pine Ridge pack, one they had tried to shoot and trap for years, as his scars quickly told them.


“Wasn’t the squire proud! He gave Miss Jule the brush, though it wasn’t good for much,—pelts are poor in summer,—and he made a meat feast for all the hounds, for after they had heard Meadow-Lark’s death bay they came limping back one by one. Next day when I went up to talk to Silver-Tongue he was standing as usual by the sluiceway of the swimming-pool catching frogs, but when I asked him to come over by the fence and lie down, and tell me about the great hunt, he said he’d rather stand up for he didn’t bend well. That is one of the hardest things about not running free, you don’t get your exercise every day when you want it, but when somebody else does, and then it comes all together in bunches, and between times you get rusty.”

[297]“What happened about Mr. Hugh’s pups, did he get them back, and the turkeys and ducks?” asked Waddles, who was beginning to grow sleepy.

“Bills happened and lots of talking, Hamlet told me about that and Mr. Wolf. The farmer and the miller wouldn’t give back the dogs until they got their money either, and Hamlet says if Mr. Hugh teases Miss Letty she only has to sing ‘Over the hills and far away!’ and he stops, but I don’t see what that has got to do with it, do you?”

“Hush!” signalled Waddles, knocking on the floor with his tail to attract Happy’s attention, “Missy is coming!”

Yes, Anne was coming downstairs, not barefoot this time, but dressed in a warm, red bath gown, her feet in moccasins, and looking in the dim light very like the Indian maidens she loved to call her kin. She had been planning what picture she would take first on the morrow, and she thought her camera might be safer in her room; at any rate if she put it on the chair beside her bed she would see it the moment she opened her eyes, for this camera was not merely a picture machine to her, but a magical live thing to help her keep the images of those she loved.

[298]She was just deciding that Waddles should have the honour of being the first to be photographed, as he would probably be ready sooner than her mother, when the burned-out log fell apart, and its parting glow showed her Happy, lying on the hearth-rug.

“You in here! This will never do; because, you see, when I bought you from Miss Jule, mother said that you might come here if I promised that I would never let you sleep inside the house, not even once; as, being a kennel dog so long, your manners are not quite those of a house fourfoot,—and I promised. Yes, I know it’s very nice in here; but your house is nice, too, for Baldy put in a new bed to-night, and you’ll be very comfy; and you know, my dear, you do snore horribly,—such loud, growling snores. Besides, Jack Waddles is out there alone waiting for you. Ah! do you mean to be spunky? Then I shall call father,—no, I forgot; he is busy in the study, and it’s a ‘mustn’t be’ to disturb him when he is there, you know,—only mother may do that. So don’t roll over on your back; you are far too heavy for me to carry.”

Anne gave a stamp and pointed to the door,—her way of telling the deaf little beagle that she meant business; and Happy got up slowly, and[299] crept, rather than walked, out, and made directly for the nursery kennel, which she still occupied, without more ado. Jack was, of course, delighted to see her; but, strange to say, she did not return his caresses, but growled and snapped at him, and refused to let him go near the bedroom end of the house, which was separated from the front part and was full of straw. Instead of lying down at once, she rummaged about in the straw restlessly, throwing it out on the floor and refusing to lie down. After two rebuffs, Jack left the kennel, and stood looking disconsolately at Anne, who was quite puzzled, and finally allowed Jack Waddles to go back to the house with her, saying as they went: “This is quite a new arrangement, and to-morrow Jackie shall have a place of his own, if mamma is going to be cross. To-night, and maybe always, he shall be a house fourfoot, like his papa, if he will mind his ways and keep on his own rug.”

Next morning there was a still newer order of things that quite settled the matter of Jack’s quarters, and also gave Anne an unlimited chance for photography as well.



Anne was unusually drowsy the next morning, because she had not gone to sleep until quite late. Every time she began to sail off to the pleasant island where the Land of Nod is located, the new camera bobbed up and pushed her ashore again, and finally when she really drifted beyond its reach, she had a dim idea that it was skipping after her, on its long thin legs, like a water spider.


The Sixlets.

[302]At any rate she stumbled about in a most unusual fashion, forgot that Jack Waddles had slept indoors for the first time and must be let out early, until Waddles came in and literally dug her out of bed as if she had been a woodchuck in its hole, and ran baying in front of her to the hall door. Next she almost overflowed the bath-tub by filling it so full that there was no room for the bather, and finally found herself sitting by the window wondering whether putting your stockings on wrong[303] side out was, as Mary Ann said, a sign of good luck, or merely stupidity on the part of the wearer. Just as she had decided that she would leave them on to see what happened, and securely tied her tan colored shoes, Tommy came running up and began to dance and shout under the window in a state of wild excitement.

Now Tommy was a confirmed “lie a-bed,” and to see him out before breakfast was a cause of wonder in itself; but when Anne heard the words, “Happy—tiny little puppies—bit Jack Waddles,” she simply jumped into her petticoats and nearly fell out of the window as she fastened her collar, calling, “Puppies! Where? Whose?”

“In the nursery kennel, ours and Happy’s, of course. Jackie Waddles wants to lick them and she won’t let him, and Baldy wouldn’t let me have but one look because he says light isn’t good for them and they’re ever so little and queer like Pinkie’s Guinea pigs.”

“How many are there, twins like Jack and Jill?” asked Anne, again nearly popping out of the window, while she tied a blue ribbon at the top of her hair, and a pink one at the end of her braid in her excitement.

Tommy darted off to consult Baldy who was bringing in the vegetables, and returned holding[304] up to his sister’s view one hand and the thumb of the other as he counted—“One—two—three—four—five—six—there’s sixlets, Anne, and Baldy says that three’s girls and three’s boys!”

“Then there are three pairs of twins,” said Anne, coming out of the side door. “Of course Jackie’s nose is broken, the poor dear! See him look in my face as if he didn’t understand why his mother should turn him off so. Never mind, when little brothers grow up you will have great sport playing with them, and seeing they don’t get in mischief, and meantime you shall be assistant house fourfoot, sleep on the front door-mat, and ‘watch out’ for your living with papa Waddles.”

After breakfast the entire family, augmented by Miss Jule, who had stopped in on her way to the village, went to see the pups, and though Happy was evidently pleased at the attention, she would not let any one but Anne come very near, and kept herself between the visitors and the precious “sixlets.”

“If you take my advice,” said Miss Jule to Anne, “you will have Baldy sweep all that loose straw out; it is hard for the pups to move about in, and by and by, when their eyes begin to open, the sharp ends will stick into them. I’ll send you down a barrel of prepared sawdust. If you sprinkle[305] it an inch thick on the floor of the bedroom part, and then lay a breadth of clean old straw matting on top, it will make the nicest sort of a bed, and if it grows cold of nights before they are old enough to live in the cow barn, I’ll lend you one of my little kennel stoves with a protector around it.

“Then until they are two weeks old, when their eyes will not only be opened, but they can really see with them, you must care for Happy entirely yourself, give her food and water, see that the door of her yard is open so that she can get in and out at will and keep herself clean, and do not let anybody handle the pups, for as soon as the news gets about, Pinkie, Jessie, Sophie, Charlie, and Jack will be here in a flock, and it’s as uncomfortable for pups to be loved to death as to die any other way.”

Miss Jule thoughtfully asked Tommy to ride on to the village with her, and then go home and help her pick crab-apples for jelly that Miss Letty had promised to make. It was almost impossible for him to keep his hands off the little creatures, and the chance of climbing and shaking the crab-apple trees and picking up the shining red fruit would hardly have been a counter attraction if it had not been capped with the idea of helping[306] Miss Letty with the jelly. The skimmings of a jelly pot are very good when spread thick on thin bread, and the idea flashed through Tommy’s head that as it was Miss Letty’s first jelly-making she would be very apt to skim deep, and the results would be plentiful.

Baldy arranged the house as Miss Jule suggested, that afternoon, also making a little window at the top of the bed corner for ventilation, and Anne established the “dining room,” as she called it, in the front half, where the food and water dishes could have a place clean and apart. Here for two weeks dwelt the “sixlets,” having no separate names or identity, except in the eyes of Anne, who knew them apart before they were anything but six insatiable mouths.

Middle September brought some very warm days with it, and with all the doors wide open Happy moved to the dining room, where the air was better, and was at home to any admiring friends who chose to call, though she did not yet care to have the puppies touched, and had much more confidence in grown people than in children.

The pups were a source of endless wonder to Anne, for though she had watched Jack and Jill grow up, she had not seen much of them during the first two or three weeks of their life, as they[307] had been born in the barn at a time when she was very busy with her lessons, and had not been brought to live in the nursery kennel until their eyes were open. The sixlets, moreover, were smaller, seemingly of a daintier build, and gave promise of being true beagles, and not taking after their unacknowledged grandfather, the foxhound.

At first their faces were blunt and heavy, and their rounded ears too thick to turn over and droop; but their fur was of exquisite softness,[308] and the prettily rounded paws and fore legs looked as if they were encased in silky mousquetaire gloves, while the pads on the soles were full and pink, and seemed by far too delicate to be used as shoes. Cleaner, sweeter little things it would be impossible to imagine, for as soon as Happy finished feeding and polishing number six, she would begin again with number one.

When they were two weeks old Happy gradually took more exercise. The pups gained their footing and began to shuffle about, so Baldy devised a day nursery where they might have a change and sunlight, as well as give the nursery kennel a chance to be aired and swept every day. This day nursery consisted of four wide boards, about four feet long, nailed together to form a bottomless box. It was light enough for Anne to move it about easily, according to whether a sunny or a shady spot was desirable; this also secured a fresh grass carpet at all times, when the ground was dry.

No sooner were the pups allowed to leave the kennel than Jack Waddles came from the south piazza, where he had been moping and showing all the symptoms of a severe case of that painful but not fatal disease called “nose out of joint,” and made himself not only their guardian, but[309] almost foster-mother. At first Happy seemed to suspect his motives, but they soon came to an understanding, and it was a regulation thing for her to go for her morning exercise as soon as he came from the house. Not only would Jack get into the pen and quiet the pups if they felt lonely, but he often gave them their morning bath as well; and Anne had both Miss Jule and Mr. Hugh as witnesses to the fact that he once washed the whole six, one by one, moving each into a different part of the enclosure as he finished it, then collected them, and cuddled them to sleep, when their mother had remained away over long, and they were yelping.

One pup, a serious looking little chap, with the longest ears of all, and a quaint, old-fashioned[310] hound face, was his favourite, and he would nose him out of the day nursery, take him to a sunny place, and there mount guard over him, lying nose to nose, with an expression of mingled love and pride, so that in these days Jack was always called Big Brother.

“I wonder if Happy will try to take them into the cooler the same as she did Jack and Jill?” said Anne to Miss Jule one day, when she was telling her of some newly discovered wonder in the pups.

“Not at this season of the year; she is more likely to search out an oven for them. Where are they? I see they are not in their day nursery.”

“Then Tommy must have taken them out and forgotten them, for they can’t climb over the board yet; at least I think not,” said Anne, running hither and thither. They were not in the kennel, or any of the piazzas, neither back of the lilac hedge, nor in any of the many places that the dogs choose for sunning themselves. Tommy stoutly denied that he had taken them out, but added, “I shouldn’t think they would have liked to stay where you put them this morning, for it was right under the edge of the big apple tree, and every minute apples fell down plunk.”

[311]A look in the day nursery proved this to be perfectly true, for it contained half a dozen sizable apples.

Anne was worried, for though it was now certain that the pups had gotten out by themselves, no one had seen either Happy or her family.

“They are safe enough somewhere, though it is hard to tell just where she has taken them,” said Miss Jule. “Happy evidently was not satisfied with the location of the nursery to-day, and she is teaching you a lesson. I don’t blame her, either; for you left them under a cannonade of apples, in a sharp draught, as well.”

Anne’s father and mother, Baldy, and also Mary Anne came out and joined the hunt, Anne even insisting that Baldy should pull out some of the stones where the entrance to Jack and Jill’s cooling house had been.

After a while the elders grew tired, and went into the garden-house where Anne’s mother often brewed tea these cool afternoons, for, as she said, Happy would soon come for her supper, and then they could trace the pups.

This was too inactive a method to suit Anne and Tommy, so they continued to rummage in every nook and corner that was big enough to hold a hen’s egg. Suddenly they set up a shout[312] at the same time, and the tea drinkers hurrying out beheld a funny sight. There were several hot-bed frames set against the stone wall. In the spring they were used for forcing early vegetables, and starting the flower seeds, while a few plants remained in them here and there. One part where the sun shone brightest had been cleared and sown with the fall planting of pansies, which were just above ground. In this, surrounded by the sixlets, sat Happy! The sixlets were also having afternoon tea, with their fat little stomachs resting on the hot earth that their mother had thoroughly scratched up to make it the softer for them.

“Well, I think what I said has come true,” said Miss Jule, leading the general laugh in which[313] Anne’s mother joined rather feebly, on account of the destruction of the pansies. “Happy seems to have chosen the nearest approach to an oven that she could find. See, Anne, there is one underneath all the others, the pup with the dark ear, and that poor thing always seems to be underneath. What is her name?”

“We haven’t named them yet, but we are going to to-morrow, because it will be their three weeks old birthday. Oh, do look quick at that one with the black and tan head, she is really scratching her ear with her hind paw, the darling!”

All this time Waddles was acting in a most strange manner. He had sometimes played with Jack and Jill, always came when they cried or seemed in trouble, and literally mounted guard over the nursery kennel, from out of his fastness under the cellar door. But now the sight of the sixlets seemed to fill him with terror, and he would not walk around that side of the house while they were in sight, though he continued to be very polite to Happy, and allow her to rob his food dish at her sweet will. He acted very much as a man might when his spouse is too busy with a large family to give him any attention—he went off with his men friends, Mr. Wolf, Quick, Tip, and Colin, and hunted sometimes until early[314] morning, much to Anne’s disgust and the spoiling of his well-kept appearance; for Waddles had always been a dandy in his bachelor days.

These were busy times for Anne’s camera; but, as her father told her, she was beginning with almost the most difficult things that can be photographed—living animals, which must be caught by snap-shots. And in order to succeed with these, one must have skill as well as experience to know what it is possible to take and what never can be caught at all.

Anne had succeeded in making a very good portrait of her mother sitting under the trees reading, also one of Waddles guarding his meat-dish; though she wasted enough developer upon them to have served a dozen plates. Thus encouraged, she began to snap wildly at the puppies, getting some very laughable results, and learning that if she was not going to spend her whole year’s pocket money in a single week, she must take better aim before she fired.

One plate had only two pairs of back legs on it, another a grotesque head of Happy, who had been facing the camera at such close range that she was all head and her body dwindled away to nothing. Another one, of the puppies gathered around their dish learning to drink, was[315] a hazy mass of wagging tails, and so on; but the oddest picture of all was of Mr. Hugh bowing to Miss Letty as they met him on the road. Why it was no one could tell, but it made him look so like a jumping-jack that no one could look at it without laughing; that is, no one but Mr. Hugh, who flushed up and said that Anne had been cheated in the lens.

“No, it’s a good eye; father says so,” put in matter-of-fact Tommy, who usually championed Anne and her possessions. “It just saw you that way and put it down.”

“If other people see me that way, I don’t wonder that they always make fun of me, and don’t like me,” said Mr. Hugh, looking unthinkingly toward where Miss Letty was playing tennis with Anne and a good-looking college fellow named Varley who was a chum of Pinkie Scott’s big brother; for Mr. Hugh was too practical and slow to take a joke quickly, which was the one defect that kept him from being altogether charming.

“I don’t think looks matters much. If you just like things, you see ’em all right. I loved Lily dog, but she was really ever so homely, Anne says, lots worse than your picture, and I kept Miss Letty for my sweetheart all that week the poison ivy made her eyes little and buried her nose,” he[316] added, swelling with boastful pride at his fidelity. Thus did Tommy manage to alternately warm and chill the friendship between his two friends.

At three weeks the pups were not only fascinating from their baby ways but for their intelligence as well; and in the matter of points, Squire Burley pronounced them quite remarkable for their age, Miss Jule adding that it was a well-known fact that beagles developed more quickly than almost any other breed of dog; while the fact that they could lap milk nicely was a great help to Happy in keeping her larder well filled, for catering for one pair of twins was wholly different from supplying three pairs.

They had just been frisking about their dish, rolling and playing, when Anne and Tommy came out from breakfast, bent upon the important business of naming them.

“Ouch! their teeth have come, and sharp as fishes’, too!” exclaimed Tommy, who had experience both with fish-teeth and fish-hooks, quickly withdrawing an inquisitive finger.


Naming the Pups.

[318]“Don’t tease them,” cautioned Anne; “if we are to name them, it must be done properly, so that they won’t feel sorry about it when they grow up. I want to give them real names we can call them, and not have them registered under one name, like Cadence, and always called another.”

[319]“Try to call them something that you can shorten,” said Anne’s father, stopping on his way to the dark house. He, too, had been lured from the study many times to take pictures of the puppies; but he refused to show the results until they were properly finished.

“We might call them after birds,” said Anne, who had been looking through the trees down to the distant meadows, where many birds were flocking before starting on their autumn travels.

“Yes, let’s,” agreed Tommy, quickly. “Jay’d be a first-rate name for one,” he added, as one of those bold-talking sneak-thieves called overhead.

Anne laughed, in spite of not knowing exactly why, saying, “I don’t think Jay will quite do; because when people are stupid and disagreeable at the same time, and do not know it, people often call them Jays.”

Just then a sweet note came from the field,—a real April voice,—saying, “Spring o’ the year.” “It’s a Meadow Lark,” said Anne, “and I will name this dear little fellow with the even white face mark and black tail spot after it, and call him[320] Lark for short, because I’m going to keep him for our very own.”

“Aren’t we going to keep them all?” pleaded Tommy, looking up with beseeching eyes, while his chin quivered.

“Not all, and perhaps only two, one for each of us; father said so last night. There are too many; but we may keep them all winter, so that they will be strong and well-grown before they go to the homes Miss Jule will find for them, or perhaps Mr. Hugh will keep them himself.”

“Let’s call another Bobwhite,—this boy with the very white face,” said Anne, a moment later, after each pup had been held up in turn to see if its face suggested anything.

“Yes, that’ll be fine; ’cause don’t you remember that one that used to come over here to feed, and brought the little ones one morning? Now it’s my turn,” said Tommy, picking up the prettiest of the three females, who had lovely even tan markings on the head, a white nose, and the manners of a finished coquette. “I’ll name her—I’ll name her—” he said, hesitating, and looking up into the trees, as no name occurred to him.

“Phœbe, Phœbe,” called that demure fly-catcher, balancing on the telephone wire.

[321]“Yes, I’ll call her Phœbe,” said Tommy, in a tone of relief; and Anne thought it the very thing.

“Now this one, Jack Waddles’s pet, and we will be through with the boys.”

“You name him,” said Tommy, having found the matter more of a puzzle than a pleasure.

“There is a lovely western sparrow, with a yellow vest and black cravat, that I’ve seen in the museum, and its name is Dickcissel. I’ll name him that, and we can call him Dick,” said Anne, after several more minutes spent in thinking. “That makes four after birds, so we might name the others for something else. This one that’s all white but one ear spot, we could call Blanche, only it’s hard to say.”

“Lily’s nicer. I’ll let you call it after my dear old doggie,” said Tommy, as if conferring a great favour.

“I don’t think she’s going to stay so very white,” replied Anne, after examining the pup’s coat critically. “I think she will have black and brown tick marks like her grandmother.”

“Then call her Tiger Lily, they are all spotted,” cried Tommy, triumphantly, which tickled Anne so that she hugged him for his wit; and Tiger Lily the pup was, and lived to be a great hunter.


“Now for the last, the soft, fat, dark one. Somehow she reminds me of a comfortable coloured person. I know, we’ll call her Dinah, the very thing! and Di will do for short.” So the last pup was duly named and put down, and Anne proposed that they should rest their heads by wheeling up to the Hilltop Kennels to tell Miss Jule about the names, when Tommy, who was looking after the pups who had scampered away on being released, grasped Anne’s arm and pointed after them. Wonder of wonders! Phœbe was holding Bob by the hind leg, while fat Dinah played leap-frog over his back in a clumsy but perfectly serious manner, doing it not once but many times, and she was only three weeks old!

[323]In the matter of training and education it makes a deal of difference to the mother as to whether her family consists of few or many, and Anne learned many new points in dog law during the next few weeks.

Happy continued to feed and wash the sixlets until they were about two months old, but she did not play with them, as she had with Jack and Jill, except upon rare occasions, but left them to teach each other and learn by experience, while she took a nap, near by enough to hear if anything went wrong, wearing when awake the expression of being good-naturedly bored.

It was Big Brother who threw bones in the air for them, and gave them their first taste of meat by bringing home a young woodchuck, and dragging it into their midst; when they sprang upon it with a fierceness that seemed almost to frighten gentle Jack, and a tug-of-war ensued in earnest, which ended in the woodchuck’s tail giving way and Dinah turning a back somersault, it was saucy Phœbe who dragged away the prize, and the others licked their lips with gusto.

“Never mind,” said Miss Jule, “when it comes time for the hunting Happy will let no one teach them but herself.”


[325]If Jack and Jill had been time eaters, what could be said of the sixlets? Not only did Anne and Tommy spend almost all their hours out of school playing with the pups on the sunny slope, but their father had cut his chin several times from watching them out of his dressing-room window when he was shaving; their mother sewed the buttons on the wrong side of Anne’s pinafore, and Mary Anne poured kerosene into her lap instead of into the lamp, from the same cause.


On Guard.

The Hilltop people also were interested, in spite of their many dogs; and Miss Jule, Miss[327] Letty, Mr. Hugh, and Squire Burley all happened in together the afternoon that Anne’s father had finished printing and mounting his puppy pictures, and they begged so hard for copies of them, that he said he should have to make them into an album and let them draw lots for it. While Anne begged for a pair to frame, one of the sixlets all together, four in a basket, and two on the garden bench, and the other of Dick, Bobwhite, Dinah, and Phœbe in a wheelbarrow, with Jack Waddles standing guard like a veritable policeman.

“I like this picture best,” said Mr. Hugh, picking up a small photograph of Miss Letty feeding Miss Jule’s kennel dogs; “it’s very lifelike.”

“Why, I took that,” said Anne, delighted; “and I’ve done a lot more pictures of the kennels beside.”

“I’ll tell you what to do,” said Miss Jule. “Take all the Dogtown pictures you can, no larger than this, mind, and we’ll make them into albums and give them to Mrs. Carr to sell, together with the knick-knacks she makes, up at Robin Hood’s Inn to help along her fund, and I’ll pay for the materials.”

“It will be great fun,” agreed Anne; “but what is her fund for? I haven’t heard of it.”

[328]Miss Jule waited for Mr. Hugh to speak; but he turned his back and stared out of the window, so she answered: “Mrs. Carr wants to have a little money every year to help what she calls ‘some decent puir bodies,’ who have dogs that they love, and can feed, but for whom the license money is a stumbling-block.

“You all know how near she came to losing Laddie, her collie; and really might have if Letty’s bicycle hadn’t providentially broken down, Anne lost her way in the back field, and the barbed wire fence been where it was. So Mr. Hugh lets her sell little things she knits to the picnic people who go to the Inn for tea, and he will see that she only pays for worthy dogs.”

Mr. Hugh expected to hear Miss Letty’s ringing laugh, but he didn’t.

“Oh, I hope I shall be able to make a great many albums,” said Anne, stretching wide her arms to express size, as she used to, when, as a little girl, she opened her arms to the sky and said she wished she could hug all outdoors.

“I’m sorry Lily’s dead. I’d have let you take her and me together, and you could have charged a lot,” said Tommy, innocently; and then added at random, in the polite silence that followed, “Say, Miss Letty, if you loved anything, would[329] you care if it looked ugly or like a jumping-jack in a picture?”

“Why, of course not,” said Miss Letty, innocently, not looking in Mr. Hugh’s direction, which was well, as she might have guessed, for he was as red as a beet, being the only one who understood at what Tommy was driving.

Miss Jule, scenting something, suggested that they go out and present the pups with the collars that Mr. Hugh had bought for them but had seemingly forgotten. This pulled him together again, and he handed Anne a parcel containing six dainty chamois-lined collars. Three were red for the girls, and three blue for the boys, and each was ornamented with a pair of small round nickel bells.

“How lovely of you!” said Anne, going up to give him a frank kiss of thanks, a hand on each shoulder.

“They’ll keep the dogs from straying away and getting lost. I always put bells on my hounds’ first collars,” he said, quite at his ease again.

“By the way,” he added, stooping, “what are those letters printed on the dish the pups are feeding from?”

“‘Drink, Puppy, Drink.’ They come made that way; and I think the pups understand, for they[330] do it all day long,” and this time Mr. Hugh joined in the laugh.

That evening when Anne went to put away the dog pictures, much to her vexation she could not find the one of Miss Letty feeding the kennel dogs, and she so wanted to give it to Mr. Hugh.



One Saturday Anne discovered that Waddles was very low in his mind. It was after a week when she had been busy at school, and had devoted her afternoons and evenings to taking and developing more or less successful dog pictures, to make the albums in aid of Mrs. Carr’s “fund,” so that she had paid less attention than usual to the house fourfoots.

At first Anne thought that Waddles felt neglected, and was a bit sulky; but as petting did not mend matters, she looked about for some other cause. It could not be that the sixlets bothered him, for they now lived in separate quarters, and had a garden to themselves; and Mr. Hugh had secured Tiger Lily, Dinah, and Bobwhite to add to the beagle pack he was forming, when they should be old enough, much to the relief of Anne’s parents; for the prospect of six puppies cutting their second teeth upon any[332] and everything they could seize was certainly rather appalling.

Fortunately, neither Anne nor Tommy objected to halving the pups with Mr. Hugh, for they could visit them at any time, and though his dogs were obliged to obey, and to be very tidy and good, they were allowed to spend their evenings lying in rows by the enormous fireplace in the hall, and always sat in a group about his chair when he dined or breakfasted alone.

Happy, having weaned the pups, had seemingly given them entirely into the guardianship of Jack Waddles, who was so watchful and motherly in his care of them that Miss Letty said his name should be changed to Jane, and that he should wear a nurse’s cap and apron. But Anne, who understood him, loved him for his gentleness, and was glad to have one stay-at-home dog, that, though he knew and liked the hunting in a way, did not run himself to a skeleton over it, for the cool weather had set in, and Happy’s voice could be heard far and wide, telling of her running ability; while upon more than one occasion she stayed out so late at night that she did not have to get up for breakfast.

Strange to say, Waddles suddenly stopped hunting with her; of course he was an old dog now,[333] but why he should run one week and then stop puzzled Anne. She felt his nose; it was moist and cool. She examined his paws; there were neither cuts or thorns visible. His coat was well-kept and flexible,—a rough, brittle coat tells its own tale of illness both in dogs and horses,—likewise, his eyes were bright, yet he ate but little, and lay all day silently guarding a large accumulation of ungnawed bones.

“Miss Jule says ‘if a horse seems all right, yet doesn’t eat, look at his teeth.’ Perhaps it may be the same with dogs; anyway, I will look,” said Anne to herself.

At the first attempt Waddles resisted and growled a little; then he changed his mind. Sure enough, the tooth back of the right canine was not only broken, but quite loose, and the gum red and swollen.

“You poor Waddlekins! Of course you can’t chew without getting a dreadful pain! Baldy shall pull the old thing out, and it will all be over in a minute,” said Anne, soothingly. Waddles sat perfectly still, looking out of the side of his eyes at his mistress. He suspected something, and yet he had no experience in tooth-drawing to give him a hint of what was coming.

Anne first found Baldy, then going to her father[334] borrowed a little pair of pincers that he had kept in a drawer by his desk, ever since they had done duty on her easy first teeth, and would soon do the same for Tommy. Then she called Waddles to come to the garden where Baldy was working. After thinking for a few minutes, he obeyed, walking very slowly on tiptoe, his gait when either suspicious or reluctant. When Baldy tried to hold him firmly between his knees, Waddles instantly freed himself from collar and all, with the single backward jerk of the head for which he was celebrated; but the next moment seated himself quietly by Anne, and without being held, allowed Baldy to pull out the tooth.

An expression of surprise, quickly followed by one of relief, crossed his mobile face. He choked and coughed a little, then straightway understood the whole affair, took a drink from the birds’ bath-tub under the big syringa bush, and walking straight back to what Tommy called “Waddles’s bone-garden” unearthed a particularly ripe and delicious beef rib and began to gnaw it with relish, his tooth and low spirits having disappeared together.

The next day Waddles had a long call from Mr. Wolf, Miss Jule’s old St. Bernard, and after[335] the usual pleasant exchange of sniffs and other greetings the two adjourned to the south side of the orchard wall, which, topping a slope, commanded a wide stretch of country. Here, lying back to back so that eye, ear, and nose might have as wide a range as possible, they proceeded to “watch out” for game.

Mr. Wolf, otherwise known as Ben Uncas, and Waddles were the leading members of a curious sort of club that hunted fur, and, as a usual thing, let feathers severely alone. This club now numbered six members of various sizes and breeds, and when the queerly assorted pack started off for a day or night outing, the House People of Dogtown, hearing the babel of cries, said, “Ben Uncas & Co. are on the war-path!”

[336]Until this particular season the club had consisted of the St. Bernard, its leader, Waddles, Colin, Tip, and Quick; now Hamlet had been initiated, and was one of the most daring members, especially in the matter of sometimes swimming down even the web-footed muskrats, who sought safety by taking to the water.

The animals that the club hunted ranged in size from meadow-mice, moles, chipmunks, muskrats, rabbits, skunks, woodchucks, foxes, coons, and occasionally a rare and wily opossum, while these native animals were liberally punctuated by an assortment of cats. Now this matter of cat hunting by Ben Uncas & Co. has a very dreadful sound, and requires a word of explanation.

It had its origin in what some shiftless sort of House People called “their tender feelings” in this way. Any number of people living in the farms and on the country edge of the village kept cats which they fed and housed after a fashion, but when kittens were born, instead of humanely destroying those for which they could not care, they simply shifted the responsibility to the poor kittens, allowing them to grow up as best they might and provide for themselves.

Those that did not starve to death soon formed[337] a roving band of feline bandits of every age, sex, and colour, that haunted deserted barns, remote haymows, and even hollow trees in the deep woods, living by preying upon song and game birds, rabbits, and barnyard fowls.

Waddles’s fierce old enemy, Tiger, the miller’s cat, had been adopted from this race, and so constantly had Waddles, as well as Mr. Wolf and the smaller dogs, heard the cry of “cats!” and been called to hunt the enemy from a chicken coop or an orchard full of nestlings, that they regarded wildcats as lawful hunting.

One thing, however, was a proof of the wonderful intelligence of the hunters; they knew perfectly well the difference between the pet cats of the neighbourhood and the wild tribe, and if, as happened but very rarely, in the heat of the run they made a mistake, after one experience and its punishment they never again bore the victim home as a trophy, as they would a woodchuck, muskrat, or weasel, but hid it carefully in bushes or tall grass, and pretended that the chase was a failure. But when the kill was satisfactory, no matter who was the catcher, Mr. Wolf always took it home to Miss Jule, who rewarded the hunters with petting and a plate of tidbits.

Their hunting methods were also peculiar to[338] themselves, and the labours were divided quite equally among the six.

Waddles and Tip, the little spaniel, had the keenest noses and the best minds for planning strategy. Quick, the fox terrier, who was all that his name implied, added to the endurance and bound of a collection of steel springs, was the explorer of small holes and the pioneer of attacks upon burrows that must be dug out or chinks between rocks that must be explored.

It was Quick, also, who spurred the flagging energy of the larger dogs in tiresome runs, though often to their hurt, as will be seen, and had generally managed to lead his friends into the few misdeeds of which they were guilty.[339] Though Mr. Wolf appeared to be the leader because of his size and heavy weight, he was really quite subject to Quick’s commands, and the most confiding and intimate relations existed between the pair. They shared both bed and board, and it was a study in dog love to see the expression of impertinence that Quick usually wore change to one of complete adoration as he gazed up in the face of his big friend, standing on tiptoe to lick his nose.

As to Colin, the big, blundering red setter, with the beautiful eyes and the silky hair, his use was as general encourager when the hunt flagged; for though in the course of a long life, and he lived into his fifteenth year, he never caught anything wilder than a frightened chicken or disabled rabbit, yet he was never discouraged, starting off each day with the joy of first experience, and if the party caught nothing, he would retrieve a stick of decayed wood, a bit of old leather, or even a spruce cone and carry it to Miss Jule on his own account.

Upon one occasion, being left in the rear by the others, he came upon a wood-duck that had lain dead for some time in the pond meadow. After rolling on it very thoroughly in the manner of dogs and wolves, to identify themselves with[340] their finds in the noses of other dogs, he succeeded, after much difficulty, in bearing it home and into the dining room during a company tea, where he laid it at Miss Jule’s feet. He had such an expression of bringing a gift worth having upon his face, that also wore a broad grin, that no one, even among the guests, had the heart to scold him, but politely held their breaths and noses while Miss Jule called Colin “a good fellow,” and escorted him out, accompanied by the duck in a dust-pan. She also allowed him the crowning joy of burying it, which he did as a matter of course, instead of casting it ignobly on the refuse heap, which would have not only hurt his feelings, but have given him the extra trouble of retrieving it a second time, and so prolonged the odour.

When Ben Uncas & Co. hunted ground beasts their methods were wholly different from their pursuit of tree climbers. Of ground beasts the woodchuck and muskrat seemed the most interesting quarry, and of climbers the breed of vagrant wildcats and the coons of Pine Ridge were the favourites. The native tailless bob-cat or red lynx was now so rare as to be, like the rattlesnake, almost a hearsay beast of imagination, seen only by the people who, carrying brown jugs, took a short cut through the Den woods on their way[341] home from the cider-mill, and paused to rest on the way.

There were many old fields and orchards between Happy Hall and the Hilltop Kennels, and when Ben Uncas & Co. organized for hunting, three years before this time, there was barely a five-acre lot without its woodchuck family, while Waddles’s old bugaboo, the skunk, called scent cat by its comrades through fearsome politeness, inhabited stone fences and tumble-down cellars at will. In fact, one pair were so bold as to raise a litter under the henhouse at Pinkie Scott’s, in order to be conveniently near a poultry and egg market, while Pinkie petted and fed the little things, mistaking them for queer black and white kittens, until one evening, when Hans Sachs was with her, their mother came back and objected. Then Pinkie’s illusion and the skunk family were dispelled together.

Of course people trapped skunks, and they were more or less hunted by other dogs, but to the method of Ben Uncas & Co. belonged the honour of having freed the entire hillside of the pests, even though as individuals they had often been obliged to retire to private life in consequence.

Anne and Tommy had never been able to follow a skunk hunt closely enough to see exactly[342] how it began, but one thing was certain, it was always Quick who, jumping upon the animal’s back, gave the sudden shake to the neck that settled the question just as he did with a rat, at the same time taking extra care not to be bitten; for to be bitten by a skunk is one of the “mustn’t be’s” of dog law, and a calamity they are careful to avoid, while they are quite reckless about the more powerful chisel teeth of both woodchuck and muskrat.

The woodchucks were less easily exterminated even though they are more abroad by day, for not only are their homes more difficult to reach, but when living in a colony they usually post sentinels at the entrances of their burrows. Several times, when the settlements in the old fields and orchards had been scattered, new families from other places seemed to move into the empty burrows. Then again woodchucks hole up in middle autumn and stay wholly out of reach until spring, so they are never driven to take the risks during the hard winter months that drive so many of the wood fourfoots recklessly into the open for food.

A wily old woodchuck is a hard animal to chase, clumsy though it is, it knows so many twists and turns and paths back to its burrow. It is a still harder one for a small dog to kill, owing[343] to the toughness of its skin, the layer of fat that covers its vital parts at most seasons, and the ferocity of its attack when at bay and thoroughly aroused, its nose being really its most vulnerable spot.

The tactics of Ben Uncas & Co. were these,—when the party started out at random the conditions of the day for sport were usually left for Waddles and Tip to decide, as they had the most discriminating noses of the lot. Mr. Wolf knew the scent of wild beasts on general principles, and Quick had cat on the brain to such an extent that if a trail ran anywhere near a tree he would jump at conclusions, and so often went astray.

A woodchuck chase belongs chiefly to still hunting, and requires waiting ability. After the dogs agreed together that the scent said, for instance, that in the upper orchard, where there was but a single family, the old folks were out foraging, they divided, Mr. Wolf and Quick following the trail of the elders, in a silent, leisurely way, while Waddles, Tip, and, during the last few months, Hamlet, would sit motionless and wait well back of the burrow openings, Waddles generally choosing the main entrance, while Colin roved about afield, sniffing here and there, chasing grasshoppers and playing the part of unconcerned idler to perfection,[344] because that was what he really was. To Colin the hunting meant play, but to the others it was as serious a business as if their food depended on it; hence it will be seen that they were true sportsmen.


If things combined rightly, after a time the more or less young cubs of the year in the burrow would wake from their nap, and after the manner of young things, finding their parents absent, would set about to explore, one by one cautious heads appearing above ground. Woodchucks are very clever about making the entrances to their homes. They are seldom in perfectly[345] level ground, but are protected on one side by a hillock, old corn hill, stone heap, or at least by the mound of earth thrown from the burrow itself, so that when the animal peers out it cannot at once be seen from the rear.

No sooner did the young woodchucks get their heads fairly above ground, than, spying Colin skirting the field in his gambols, their attention was riveted and their curiosity aroused, for with these, as with many wild things, it is difficult to say which is the stronger instinct, caution or curiosity. In a moment more two, three, or oftentimes four young woodchucks would be seen seated sometimes a foot away from the hole, all backed toward it as for protection, their eyes fastened upon the distant dog.

Often at this critical moment the old ones, sniffing danger in the wind, would start to return, only to be met by Mr. Wolf and Quick waiting in some likely nook, who, though they could not altogether conquer the experienced pair, would manage to hold them at bay and make them very late in getting home.

Meanwhile Waddles waited at his post, alert, one paw raised like his attitude before the spring and rapid digging in mole hunting. As soon[346] as the cubs were well clear of the burrow, he pounced upon the bunch, trying to land between them and the opening, giving a call to his comrades that evidently told them what to do, for sometimes they came tumbling up, and a general scrimmage ensued at close quarters, and at others the bunch would scatter over the field, followed by Waddles, while the other dogs did not come to the attack until the woodchucks had doubled and were on the home stretch. In such cases the results were usually two victims, one of which was generally either buried for future use or left on the field for a second trip, while the other was borne proudly home intact by Mr. Wolf, with head held high and important, ambling gate. In fact, no less strong a dog could carry even a two-months-old woodchuck, sometimes a full mile over stone fences and other obstruction, without at least partly dragging it along the ground.

After the kill Tip, Hamlet, and Colin often lost interest and skirmished about on their own account for a while before returning; but Waddles and Quick invariably followed Mr. Wolf, and shared Miss Jule’s praise, and the plate of tidbits that were a part of it.


The Reward.

[348]When, however, a tree animal was scented, the hunt was both noisy and rapid. Either Waddles or Quick would pick up the trail of one of the bandit cats, and give tongue according to their vocal abilities, Quick’s being a most piercing and unearthly scream. Then the oddly assorted pack would start off, noses to the ground, barking, baying, yelping as if Dogtown itself was hunting the great phantom cat of whom all naughty puppies live in dread, whose grin is sometimes seen on the full moon on foggy nights, and whose trail always either leads to water or rises in the air.

[349]If the cat thus pursued should happen to be at rest when the trail is discovered, it is soon on foot again, spurred by the approaching noise. If in the open, it makes for the nearest trees; for cats are poor long distance runners, their specialties being leaping and climbing.

A cat of experience and steady nerve, having gained a medium-sized tree, will retreat to the upper branches, secure a good perch, and there sit and wait indefinitely without looking down, for the cat who looks down upon a pack of jumping, yelping dogs is lost, being either confused into letting go her grip and dropping, or else startled into jumping squirrel-like for the branches of an[350] adjoining tree which may bend to the earth with her weight.

If the cat, when treed, does neither of these things, then the hunters divide forces and prepare to wait. Mr. Wolf, seating himself a few feet from the tree, where he can see well up into the branches (for in tree work sight supplements scent in a great degree) begins a monotonous and incessant barking. Quick going backward a couple of yards makes rapid runs at the tree-trunk, managing to scramble up six or eight feet before dropping back, or sometimes, if the branches are thick and low, landing securely upon one of them. Tip and Hamlet wait at a little distance in case the cat tries a long leap and run, while Waddles turns strategist and disappears, that is, as far as the cat is concerned. Really he is crouching close against the tree-trunk directly under the cat’s perch, silent, with glistening eyes, and, in spite of rheumatism, all his catapult force gathered in the muscles of his back like a bent bow, for in every chase Waddles lives over his youth and his feud with the miller’s cat.

On goes Mr. Wolf’s hypnotic chanting, echoed occasionally by Tip or carried into a banshee scream by Hamlet, who finds time hanging heavy to his impatient feet. At last the cat looks down,[351] hesitates whether to climb higher or risk a long jump; confused by the noise, it does half of each, and as a result drops directly at the root of the tree. Waddles’s back straightens,—there is one bandit cat the less. Then the good news is passed quickly on by the gossips of Birdland, all a-twitter in the neighbouring trees.

Such hunting was wearing to a heavy dog past middle age like Mr. Wolf, and after each run that season he rested longer, and felt less appetite for his good dinner and go-to-bed bone.

In dog friendships, like those of people, there should be a certain amount of physical as well as mental equality, or one will lead the other beyond his strength, and this is what Quick did to his dear friends, as both Mr. Wolf and Waddles would often have continued to doze under the stone wall, and let certain signs of game pass unnoticed if Quick had not literally burrowed them out and nagged them into action, saying, both Miss Jule and Anne suspected, many taunting things that no old dog likes to hear from his juniors.

Miss Jule noticed that Mr. Wolf was growing rather thin, and she tried to keep him more with her, coaxing him to lie in the hall of afternoons,[352] or by her desk, as he used to even in his youth, before Quick had come to win his friendship and urge him to the hunting for which he was not intended. But the nervous, tireless fox terrier was so persistent, crawling and fawning before the St. Bernard, or even pawing him awake when he slept, that the poor old fellow had little peace. Finally Miss Jule resolved to give Quick to some children living away in another county, who wanted exactly such an active pet, but, as it chanced, she had put it off over long.

Early in October a heavy rain flooded the low, river meadows, and turned the muskrat hunting-grounds of Ben Uncas and Co., that before had been merely wet here and there, into a wide pool, where the dogs shorter of leg than Mr. Wolf and Colin were obliged to paddle along. There were already one or two of the muskrats’ winter homes in these meadows. These huts looked like low stacks of coarse hay and reeds, and the odour of the builders was sufficient to provoke the dogs to attack them, even though the entrances ran under ground for some way before opening under water in the river bank, something after the manner of beaver runs, though the beaver’s house is in the water itself, not on partly submerged meadow land. Because the muskrat is a poor[353] runner, it trusts itself on dry land as little as possible, and the dogs hunted it either by digging it from its burrows, the only way in which they had real success, or by swimming after it. This last might do well enough as sport for water dogs on summer evenings, but it was poor work for elderly Mr. Wolf and Colin, with the autumn chill in the air. As for Waddles, he was wise in his own generation, and would no longer even cross a brook where he was obliged to wet more than the tips of his toes, and even did that with a very staccato tread. So when the others spent afternoons splashing about the muskrats’ huts, he, dry and comfortable, merely sat upon a low bridge close by, talked to himself, and occasionally bayed advice. But then, Waddles was a genius.


Ben Uncas.

[355]Miss Jule was away the first day of this unwise hunting. When she came home she found Mr. Wolf more tired still, and she was fairly shocked to see how lean his body was, now that the thick, long hair that had given it bulk was pasted close by mud and water.

She had him carefully dried by the kitchen fire, well brushed out, fed him herself with warm stew, and put him to bed in a box stall deep with straw covered with a horse blanket for a bed, thinking to keep him prisoner a few days for his[356] own good and give him the necessary exercise herself.

The next day was bright and warm for the season, and Miss Jule thought that a sun bath on the south piazza would do Ben worlds of good. When she went for him he whined with joy, licked her hands, and looked into her face with old-time fervour; but when they started together toward the house, he lagged behind, took a few steps, lay down, then struggled to his feet and seemed to force himself to cover the distance, sinking down on the mat his mistress placed in the porch corner with a sigh, and closed his eyes. Miss Jule plainly saw that Ben Uncas was very ill, and wishing to take no risks, she telephoned for a skilled veterinarian from the town half a dozen miles away. In another hour the quick trot of his horses’ hoofs sounded on the drive. A good veterinary surgeon who loves his work, always comes quickly, for he knows the sorrow of helplessly watching the pain of an animal who cannot put his needs into the words House People can understand.

He took temperature and pulse, felt here and listened there, and said poor Ben had distemper from wasted strength and drinking ditch water when on the run. He said Mr. Wolf was very ill, but not, he thought, past help. He must go[357] back to the box stall where he could have both air and shelter, and leaving medicine to be faithfully given, he went away, promising to come again at night.

For a time Ben seemed brighter and walked back to the stable without resting on the way, took a long drink of water, swallowed his medicine without a struggle, and fell into a doze.

In the afternoon he waked, tried to drink the soup Miss Jule brought him, and could not, neither could he swallow water, though he gratefully licked a bit of ice his mistress gave him. Then when pain seized him and his sunken eyes told of suffering, she put hot cloths upon his stomach and gently rubbed his head which laid in her lap.

The surgeon came at evening, looked sober, but said to keep on with the medicine, and that Ben would probably improve the next morning.

That night the horses in the stable saw an odd sight—fat, middle-aged Miss Jule, buttoned to the chin in an old ulster with a crimson wool Tam O’ Shanter cap of Letty’s fastened on askew, was sitting on an upturned pail in the box stall beside her sick friend, while for company, Martin, the reliable, slept on a heap of hay in a distant corner, wrapped in a carriage robe.

[358]Mr. Hugh had offered to stay with Ben in Miss Jule’s place and Letty to watch with her, but a grim “No” had been her answer.

In the middle of the night Ben grew worse, and in spite of his courage he groaned with pain, and stretched his paws to his mistress as if for help, but could not otherwise move. She roused Martin and sent him to telephone the doctor, but the answer came that he was out and might not return until morning.

Miss Jule had felt from the first that Ben was fatally ill; now she questioned herself as to how far she should allow him to suffer under the chance that he might recover for a time, and thus spare her pain.

More time passed, again he stretched out his paws and turned a pitiful look upon her that said, “Help me, mistress, I cannot bear the pain.”

“Yes, old fellow, missy will help you. Put your head down and I will rub it—so. Martin, go to my locked closet and bring me the bottle labelled chloroform. Yes, that is right; now that horse sponge there and the bit of newspaper.” She took the bottle with a hand that shook, poured some upon the sponge that she had thrust in a cone made of twisted paper. Then she raised the feverish nose resting upon her knee and gently[359] covered it saying softly, “Good-by my Ben, good-by dear Mr. Wolf.” That was all.

A healthy animal often struggles at the scent of chloroform, but to the very ill it brings swift peace. Ben Uncas was in the happy hunting-grounds which were not far away. Then brave Miss Jule broke down and laid her head upon the tawny one and sobbed aloud. She was sitting thus when the doctor, having received her summons on his tardy return home, crossed the floor with rapid tread.

At first the doctor said that she should have had patience and given the medicine a longer chance to work. But later, that she had done well in stopping useless pain, for the sickness was typhoid distemper, and nothing could have saved old Ben.

“I suppose that you are laughing to yourself, and thinking what an old fool I am to care so,” said Miss Jule, leaning wearily against the door post, a wild object with straws sticking in her hair, red-eyed and dishevelled in the dawning light.

“I laugh at grief for a dog?” answered the doctor. “Possibly once but not now, or ever again. Look at this,” and opening his watch he showed her the miniature of a dog painted on the inside cover. It was the head of a finely bred bull terrier with soft brown and white markings, and[360] a broad browed face, for the technical term muzzle could not be applied to one having all the thoughtful intelligence of a human being.

“That is Jim,” said the doctor, speaking slowly, and fixing his eyes upon the picture.

“Oh, yes, I remember him,” said Miss Jule; “he was rather small for his breed, and lame in his left hind leg, but compact and alert. He always used to ride about with you, and when you went indoors would sit and wait with an expression of patience in his eyes that seemed to say that he knew just what you were about, and that of course he expected you to take your time, do your work thoroughly, and not hurry; but you’ve not brought him this season, have you?”

The doctor shook his head, still keeping his eyes upon the miniature and continued: “I reared Jim from a pup, and it seems as if there never was a time that he was so young but what he understood what I said almost before I spoke the words; he travelled everywhere with me, and was a companion for work as well as play. If I went to a hotel, in a day he knew at which floor our room was, and where the elevator should stop. He knew my telephone call, and would bark at me when the bell rang it. If I was at the office, he at home, I could call him to come to me if some one lowered[361] the receiver to his range. He could carry numbers in his head, too, that is, as far as four; above that he was uncertain.


Jim (Seeley photo).

[363]“One day, three years or so ago, while I was waiting at a railway station not far from Boston, in some strange way a train struck Jim and hurled him upon a bank above. It may be that he refused the train right of way; however it was, the crowd that gathered said he was done for, and should be put out of misery. But bruised, his leg broken at the hip, and maimed though he was when I picked him up, Jim looked at me and I at him, and we agreed to make a fight for it. I took him into Boston to the hospital. We won; his leg was set, and for a time it did well, and we went about in company once more; but the fracture join was brittle, it soon broke again, and was united with silver wire. For a couple of years he went about, a cheerful cripple,—but at that, worth all the other dogs in Christendom to me, and seeming to grow keener witted as his body was more dependent.

“Then the leg began to bother him, and I tried every known expedient short of amputation. If I had done that in time he might have lived longer, but I hesitated, and Jim died, conscious and knowing me.

[364]“That was more than a year ago, but I have not forgotten. There never was but one Jim, and no other dog can be the same to me. One thing, though, Jim has done for his fellows,—he has made me think of and treat all dogs differently for his sake, and remembering him and what he was, knocking about as I do, I’m fast getting to believe that dogs are almost the only friends one has that can be quite trusted. If a man is old or young, rich or poor, a dog sees no fault in his master.”

A man seldom has the relief of tears that helps a woman, but instead, sorrow grasps his throat and chokes him, and there were tears in the doctor’s voice as he closed his watch on Jim’s portrait.

“Do have a cup of coffee, Miss Jule, dear. You must be done up,” said Anna Maria, who also looked awry and as if she had been up all night, as she bustled into the stable with coffee-pot and cups on a tray, which she set on top of the nearest feed-bin, while Martin emerged from below, where he had been ducking his head in a pail of water in order to appear fully awake. “And the doctor here, too; he must be faintin’, for he was the fore[365] half of the night at the Ridge with Squire Burley’s old mare, the drivin’ boy says,” she added, hurrying back to the house.

Miss Jule filled two cups, and handed one to the doctor. Anna Maria had forgotten the spoons, so they stirred the coffee with stout straws.

Miss Jule raised the cup to her lips, and then paused, saying, “To the friendship of two faithful dogs, Ben Uncas and Jim,” and they drank the coffee slowly and in silence.

Quick was to have gone to his youthful new owners that same day, and Mr. Hugh thoughtfully slipped over and took him away before Miss Jule awoke from her belated sleep, so that two members of the hunting club vanished at the same time, and it disbanded as if by mutual consent; for Waddles and Tip at least seemed to comprehend what had happened, and Colin, who was himself growing old, became more reliable, and seldom left his mistress.

“Let’s go up and hug Miss Jule and tell her how sorry we are, and lend her the sixlets for a week to ’muse her,” said tender-hearted Tommy, when he heard the news.

“Better not,” said Anne, who understood; “if[366] it was Waddles, I would rather be let alone.” And when she, turning quickly, asked Waddles the familiar question, “Where is Ben? where is Mr. Wolf?” instead of cheering and trotting off toward the gate as usual, to meet his friend, he never stirred, but gave her a reproachful look, and throwing back his head, bayed dismally.



Mr. Hugh’s promised field day with supper at Robin Hood’s Inn had, for various reasons, been postponed so often that, as Anne remarked, “first it was to have been a hazel-nut party, then a hunt for hickory and chestnuts, but now both are over, so if it doesn’t happen soon, it will have to be a skating party, which won’t be a bit of fun for the dogs.”

The delay was nobody’s fault, however, for it had taken some time to clear the old farm and woodlots of briers and thorny bushes, so that it was fit for people to explore either afoot or on horseback. Then Mr. Hugh had to go away to meet some other wise chemists who also spent their time, as Anne once said of her friend, “in mixing queer things together that were of no use to make something that was,” and tell them of a perfectly new smell he had discovered.

Next, Tommy had a bad sore throat, which, knowing they usually lasted a week, he concealed[368] for two days, though swallowing hurt him pitifully, lest he should be housed and so miss the festivity, and if Mr. Hugh himself had not discovered the state of the case, he might have been very ill indeed.

It was toward afternoon of the second day of the discomfort that Mr. Hugh, riding slowly up the road, was stopped by Tommy, who came out of the back gate, looking anxiously behind him, as if he was afraid of being followed. Mr. Hugh halted with a half amused, half questioning expression on his face, well knowing that Tommy wanted something of him, and called, “What’s up, little chap?” by way of greeting.

Tommy clung to a leather stirrup and rested his cheek against it, for his legs were beginning to feel tired to the bone, which is one of the many bad things that a sore throat does to people, and asked in a voice that was so hoarse that it instantly attracted Mr. Hugh’s attention, “Please, if Miss Letty is hurt or sick Saturday, will you have the riding and the clay pigeon shoot and all the rest of the party?”

“No, of course not. Has anything happened to her?” asked Mr. Hugh, anxiously.

“No, not yet; but there may, you see, ’cause this is only Tuesday.”

[369]“Nonsense!” ejaculated Mr. Hugh, feeling astonished at the sense of relief that came over him; for, without realizing it, he was depending more and more upon the companionship of Miss Jule’s pretty niece, in spite of the fact that as he ceased teasing her and treating her like a child, she was taking her revenge, and had turned tables by always laughing at him and never seeming serious for a moment.

“If—if Anne was sick, would you wait for her?” continued Tommy, more slowly.

“Of course I would.”

“Well, if I was sick, really, truly sick, with a lumpy sore throat, I suppose—you wouldn’t stop the party for only me?” There was a quaver to the last words, and though the child kept his face hidden, Mr. Hugh noticed for the first time that his cheeks were flushed, and the whole thing flashed across him.

“Of course I’ll wait,” he said heartily. “It would never do to have the party a man short; besides, what would your sweetheart, Miss Letty, do? You know you promised to show her how to shoot, and lend her your gun. Is the poor throat very sore? Come up here and we will have a ride home round through the front gate, and tell that nice mother of ours all about it, and have it cured.”

[370]“Yes, it’s sore, and it’s getting pretty tight, too, and I’m dreffle sleepy,” said Tommy, falling unconsciously into the trap, and leaning comfortably against Mr. Hugh, who had pulled him on to the saddle before him. But his anxiety had passed, so long as he did not miss the party; a sore throat, in the nice sunny room that had been the nursery and was now set apart for illness, with a big open fire to watch, picture books, mother to sit by and read, or father to make up stories, and a dog or two for company when they went away, was indeed luxury.

This, however, was the last delay, and the black frost kindly kept away, leaving the last week in October as beautiful and suitable as heart could desire.

Beside the Hilltop and Happy Hall people, who were all intimate friends, Mr. Hugh had invited some of his own and Squire Burley’s men friends, also a handful of the village young people. In addition there was a Miss Varley stopping at the Scotts’. Her brother was a college chum of Pinkie’s big brother, and they were all three invited, as they were fond of sport, and good riders.

The Varleys, who came from the south, where they hunt foxes altogether on horseback, suggested[371] to Mr. Hugh that he should put corn-stalk or brush hurdles in some of the gateless gaps in his tumble-down stone fences, and have a drag-hunt over the course to break in the young hounds, who all told numbered a pack of twenty.

Squire Burley was one of the few Hillside folk who owned a hunter, because in this section all the fox-hunting was a necessity, done in earnest, and afoot, with a swift death by bullet for the hen-roost robbers. The Squire opened his land for the drag-hunt, likewise Miss Jule and several small farmers, for all the crops were in but the stacks of corn stalks. A drag-hunt, as Anne explained to Miss Letty, “is when you put seeds that smell like a fox in a bag and drag it round early in the morning when the dew is heavy and holds the scent down. Then the dogs think it is a fox trail, and run like anything, and never find that there isn’t any fox until it’s too late to back out, and before the next time they forget all about how they were cheated.”

“You will be the only woman to follow,” Mr. Hugh had said to Miss Varley, when the arrangements were completed. “Only two or three of our girls ride, and they never take fences, though Diana here is beginning to train for a huntress.”

Anne had laughed softly at this, and glanced[372] slyly at Miss Letty, for Mr. Hugh had caught them one morning when Anne was trying to coax her father’s horse, Tom, over an improvised hurdle composed of a rake handle set upon two small boxes, which collapsed upon the slightest provocation; but he had not come in time to observe that Miss Letty, who was mounted on Miss Jule’s Brown Kate, could handle a horse very well, and already managed three of the four pasture bars; neither did he know that several years back, when at school in England, she had spent her holidays with the daughters of a farming squire to whom cross-country riding was as familiar a doing as eating breakfast.

When the time was finally set, it chanced to fall upon the very last day of October.

“Surely, the night is Hallowe’en, and so we can have apple and nut sports, and the like,” exclaimed Mrs. Carr, when Mr. Hugh went up to make the arrangements for the supper party which would fill two long tables, one in the dining room and another in the kitchen, making it necessary that one of Mr. Hugh’s maids as well as Mary Anne and Miss Jule’s Anna Maria should help the old lady.

Mr. Hugh’s brake and the bus from the village were to transport the people to and fro, and there[373] would be a picnic lunch on the rocks by the old mill-dam at noon; one of Mr. Hugh’s first improvements having been to repair the broken-down wall, so that the pond would be in good condition for skating, and he had, likewise, put up a small log shelter for the skaters.

Tommy was the only small child invited; but Mr. Hugh knew that he could be trusted to amuse himself and curl up in any corner and go to sleep if he grew weary before going-home time came. Likewise, as such a field day was almost as rare as Christmas that “comes but once a year,” his mother said that he might stay up with the others—that is, if he was able.

When the day came, it was one of those wonderful forerunners of Indian summer; cool in the morning, warm, with a light breeze at noon, and at night clear with a piercing electric brightness rayed from the north.

Most of the trees in the woods were bare, except a few oaks, the dead leaves were crisp to the tread, and witch hazel was in its strange yellow bloom in the hollows, but the leaves still clung in the orchards, and the honeysuckles on farmhouse porches were green and showed sprays of flowers.

Anne and Tommy went to Hilltop with the very first load, which was compounded partly[374] of dogs and partly of the “extras” that Mrs. Carr needed. Neither, of course, were to follow the drag-hunt, but they wanted to be on the spot, and Mr. Hugh had solemnly promised Tommy that if he followed a certain safe wood-path leading round about in a circle, that he should meet a rabbit face to face. While Anne, who delighted in Mrs. Carr’s kitchen, was to have the honour of making a batch of the celebrated seed cakes all by herself. Waddles, his wife, and his son Jack, leashed together for a wonder, rode up with their mistress, for it was not thought best to let them take their chances so early in the day with the rough-and-ready foxhounds; but as they were leaving the brake, Jack Waddles managed to slip loose and bolted off, much to Anne’s worriment.

Tommy shielded his pockets carefully that morning, for in them was concealed a secret that made him feel alternately important and then very guilty; for he had a bag full of shot in each pocket, the blacksmith’s boy not only having shown him how to use it, but supplied him with it as well, in return for two enormous pumpkins that he had coveted for lantern making.

When Anne went indoors, Mr. Hugh, who was riding about collecting forces and telling[375] Martin, who had volunteered, exactly where to trail the drag, passed down the road on his way to meet the Varleys and show them the cut to Squire Burley’s, for the hounds were gathered there, as the start was to be from his orchard.

Miss Varley certainly looked very well on a horse, and was perfectly aware of it. She wore a black skirt, a tight-fitting red coat and a small continental hat looped up with a cockade—a costume in which artists and illustrators had painted or sketched her; and she kept her horse continually curvetting and champing at the bit, as she made somewhat cutting remarks about what she termed “mere baby business,” and derided the local habit of shooting foxes, in contrast to the cross-country riding to which she was accustomed.

As Mr. Hugh was explaining that the animals were so plentiful in this country of rocky caves that the farmers must keep them down in the easiest way, by locating the runs with the hounds and following afoot,—he glanced a bit ahead and saw, to his astonishment, Miss Letty mounted upon Brown Kate, waiting quietly opposite Squire Burley’s, Jack Waddles standing sentinel beside her; and as he came near, she greeted him with an amused sort of smile, as if such things as following a drag were of daily occurrence.

[376]Mr. Hugh felt angry, and rather showed it; but it was really a form that worry takes with some quite nice men. He was at heart afraid that she did not know how to ride, and might come to grief. He cared a great deal, but merely said, as if she had been fifteen: “What! are you going? Was your aunt willing? I thought you and Anne would keep each other company until luncheon.”

“Certainly, I am going,” she answered, flushing painfully at having what both she and Miss Jule had meant for a surprise taken in such a way; and added quickly, and rather at random: “Have you had that old barbed wire fence taken down in the middle lot? You asked me to remind you of it, but I quite forgot until this morning; and it may cripple some of the dogs.”

[377]“It’s rather late now,” said Mr. Hugh, annoyed to realize that he too had forgotten. “But no one with common sense need go anywhere near it, and if they do, they must take their chances.”


Miss Letty was waiting with a smile.

At this moment the hounds were put on the trail, and the party started off, Miss Letty, who looked very girlish in the white cloth shirt waist and white felt sailor hat that replaced the linen and straw of summer, rode with Pinkie Scott’s brother, who admired her exceedingly. “Follow[379] me, and we will show them steel heels,” he said under his breath, cutting across the orchard, and Miss Letty, holding a firm rein and leaning slightly forward, followed.


Meanwhile Tommy and Waddles, whom, after much difficulty, he had coaxed to follow him, started from Robin Hood’s Inn to hunt on their own account, the way indicated by Mr. Hugh being very plain, and through the part of the land where the drag-hunt was not.

Tommy walked on in Silence.

[381]At first Waddles moved about here and there, treeing squirrels, digging spasmodically for ground mice, who were travelling in the burrows of moles, while Tommy wandered down the bed of a dried-up brook, his gun held in a sportsmanlike grip, and his eyes searching the trees for the big owl he promised himself that he would shoot, and ask Baldy to stuff as full as life to grace the top of Miss Letty’s desk.

[382]But it often happens, when one goes a-hunting, that the birds, beasts, and fishes have engagements elsewhere. A hawk soared over toward the river, and crows were quarrelling up in their roost in the cedars, but the only birds that came near were a downy woodpecker, a nuthatch, and a chickadee, and Anne’s brother would not think of even aiming at these.

Tommy walked on in silence, a state to which he was quite a stranger, until he began to feel that not to speak even to a dog gave one a queer, chilly feeling; then he noticed that he had wandered out of the beaten path, and he stopped to look about, and whistled for Waddles. He was not afraid, for he was quite accustomed to taking care of himself, but he was disappointed about the rabbit, and angry with Waddles because he had gone off without finding a trail. Then he spied a quantity of hickory nuts lying on the rocks where a squirrel had evidently collected them, and he began to crack them with a stone, and pick out the meats very deliberately, which showed that Tommy was tired.

Presently he heard a sound close behind that reminded him of the noise the mother screech-owl had made when she snapped her beak. Getting up cautiously he looked about. There, in deep shade, perched on the gnarled root of a hickory tree that overlapped the rock, was a great owl with a smooth, round head, blue-black eyes, and brown, barred feathers. The bird sat still without blinking, watching a small hole under the root. Tommy stood still, scarcely breathing, in his wonder at the bird, hoping that it would not see him and flap in his face as the screech-owl had in Anne’s.

[383]Suddenly a young chipmunk, with back and tail striped like a garter snake’s, ran out of the hole. One of the hooked claws made a grab, snap went the beak, the little animal was secured, and the owl, spreading its broad wings, flew into a hemlock, where it began to eat at its leisure. Then only did Tommy remember his gun, and about his promise to Miss Letty.

“Never mind,” he said to himself; “father says owls are usefuller than most things they eat, and that they oughtn’t to be killed, so I’m glad I let him go; but rabbits eat lots of our garden things every year. I must look for that bunny, because it’s here somewhere, for when Mr. Hugh says so, it always happens.”

Tommy found his way back to the path, and met Waddles hurrying along; he also had found poor hunting, and was now willing to follow. After walking some distance, and having several[384] false alarms (for when on the watch a couple of beech leaves or a tuft of wild grass take fanciful shapes), Tommy actually saw a pair of long ears held erect, and a pair of bright eyes glistening around the corner of a rock just before him. His first fear was that Waddles should see the prize and chase it away before he had a chance to aim and cock his trigger, which was quite a feat, the spring was so strong. For once, Waddles neither scented nor suspected anything, but kept close to Tommy’s heels, nosing about in the moss.

One step more, the child raised his gun, shut his eyes, and fired, and then a reaction came, and he didn’t like to open them again, so sure he was of having killed the pretty creature. Finally he peeped a little, then stared, for there sat the rabbit as round-eyed and placid as before; it had not even moved!

[385]Tommy’s impulse to fire again was stopped by the thought that it would be very mean to shoot such a tame animal, and that it must be some one’s pet, though it was not Pinkie Scott’s, for everybody in Dogtown knew her rabbits by heart, they had carried them home to her so many times, when they had strayed off gardening on their own hook.


Tommy meets the Rabbit.

Waddles sauntered slowly forward, saw the rabbit, and making a spring, knocked it over with[387] one blow of his paw; but still it did not move. Then Tommy saw that it was a stuffed beast mounted on a little wooden platform, to which moss and dead leaves were glued. When he had recovered from his astonishment he was ready to cry with rage. “It was too mean of Mr. Hugh,” he muttered. “He promised—he promised, and then he didn’t do it.” Then the exact words of the promise came to him; it was that he was to “meet a rabbit face to face.” “I s’pose I have,” he continued; “only he didn’t say its insides would be stuffing instead of real.” But when he picked up his gun, which he had dropped, and looked it over, and felt the bag which sagged his pocket, he remembered that he had forgotten to put any shot in the gun. Then he walked along, leaving the poor stuffed rabbit resting on one ear, wondering which was the worst, to have shot at a real rabbit with no shot, or to have been fooled by a stuffed one, and at the moment that he made up his mind that the first would be the most aggravating, he turned into the low meadow that was divided from its neighbour by the old barbed wire fence, and from which the lane led to Robin Hood’s Inn.

A yelping of dogs sounded afar off in the rear, with straggling cries on both sides of him and in front. Off started Waddles, quickly disappearing[388] in the bushes, and Tommy followed as fast as his legs could carry him, for he heard a voice and the trampling of hoofs, and if the run was over, it must be luncheon time.

All unknown to him the drag-hunt had split in two, deaf Mrs. Happy being the innocent first cause. She had gone to Robin Hood’s Inn with Anne, and had curled up contentedly in the sunny porch in company with old Laddie, when presently an odour reached her nose that caused her to spring up, sniff the air, and start headlong down the lane to the road, where, on crossing the stone fence, she struck the trail of a skunk, startled from his daytime lodging by the hounds who had recently passed close by. Nose to ground, she gave tongue and followed the skunk, who had zigzagged about the fences for a time before making off to another hiding-place he had by the river. Further down, the hounds in doubling crossed this new trail, and some of the young ones, hearing Happy’s cry, were drawn off upon it, part of the riders following, only to come upon impassable rocks by the river cut.

The barking came nearer, and Happy, Waddles, and Jack dashed past Tommy and up the lane;[389] at the same time he saw a riderless horse in the outer field, and something seemed to move near the barbed wire fence that ran between.

“It’s one of those poor hounds, and that wicked wire has caught him,” cried Tommy, running toward the spot with his eyes flashing and his little fists doubled up, for, like Anne, he could not bear to have animals suffer pain.

But when he got near he saw that it was not a hound that was caught by the wire, but Mr. Hugh! For an instant Tommy was frightened, but as soon as he saw that his friend was not hurt, but merely held fast by the clothes in a dozen places, the fun of the situation struck him, and he capered about shouting, and making comments, and asking questions, all in one breath.

“Ah, Mr. Hugh, you do look so funny! If only Anne were here with her camera to take a picture! If you’ll wait long enough, I’ll go fetch her, for you’re hooked up just like when Pinkie Scott reached after lilies and fell in the pond, and they pulled her out from behind with the hay-fork. Did the horse tumble you in like that?”

The truth was that Mr. Hugh had dismounted to let down some bars for the people who had gone astray, and his horse, feeling fresh, galloped off. In trying to head him off by a short[390] cut, Mr. Hugh had met the barbed wire fence, seen a gap between the strands, dashed at it, only to be caught by a couple of slack wires when halfway through, in such a position that if he let go the only hold he had upon a half rotten post, he must fall upon a rusty coil that guarded the tumble-down stone fence below. Barbed wire at best is cruel stuff, and when it is old and rusty every scratch it gives means danger.

“Stop bawling so, for pity’s sake, and see if you can help me out of this mess before the others come; try to pry the wire with a stick,” said Mr. Hugh, in so hoarse a whisper that Tommy instantly obeyed, or rather tried to, but the sticks at hand were either too small or rotten, and at every twist the poor man made the hooked wire seemed to take new hold.

At this moment the snapping of twigs and the padding sound of hoofs on grass made Mr. Hugh give a painful writhe to look over his shoulder; his discomfiture was complete, for there was Miss Letty.

She slipped quickly to the ground, and tethering Brown Kate to a branch, came forward, looking, as Tommy told Anne that night in the privacy of his little bed, “the colour you feel when you’ve waited too long for your breakfast.”

[391]Seeing that Mr. Hugh had not been thrown, but was merely snared, she pulled herself together and hesitated for a moment; while he, putting on an air of bravado which was very funny under the cramped circumstances, said: “Yes, here I am, and having parted with my common sense I’m taking the consequences, and you have your revenge. When all the party have had a good look at me, I suppose some one will help me out.”

Miss Letty did not answer though she was afraid he would hear her heart beat it was thumping so loudly, but looking about with a swift glance spied Tommy’s gun that had fallen unnoticed in the grass. Seizing it, she slipped it between the two furthest apart wires, managing to catch a barb in the muzzle, and pried, while with the handle of her riding crop she pulled back the two loose strands with all her strength. There was a sound of tearing cloth, a pocket burst open, throwing its contents in among the leaves, and Mr. Hugh crawled out on his hands and knees, literally at Miss Letty’s feet. Just as she stretched out her hand to help him, lest he slip backward, one of the papers that Tommy was cramming back into the letter-case caught her eye; it was the picture of herself that Anne had taken, and which had disappeared as if[392] by magic. Mr. Hugh, if it was possible, turned redder than he was before he was released; but Letty, with quiet tact, quickly unfastened Brown Kate and, scrambling into the saddle by the aid of a stone at the fence corner, cantered off in the opposite direction to where Mr. Hugh’s horse was now quietly grazing.

For a minute the big man and the little one stood eying each other curiously. Then Tommy broke the pause: “Now isn’t Miss Letty common sensible and useful enough to be your sweetheart, Mr. Hugh, even if she is pretty? And wouldn’t that red and black girl have shouted if she’d seen you in the fence?”

“Yes, Tommy,” said Mr. Hugh, quietly; “you are a better judge than I was; but Miss Letty does not wish to be the sweetheart of an old bear like me.”

“No,” said Tommy, candidly, “I guess not, for I’ve heard her say you were a bear, and so has Anne.” And though Tommy handed back the letter book containing the picture without further comment, he had seen, and when one has seen a thing, one can hardly unsee it again. Mr. Hugh secured his horse and regained the road, Tommy riding in front of him, before he overtook the others; and the beseeching look that the big man[393] gave the little one as he swung him to the ground kept him quiet concerning the barbed wire episode, at least for some hours.

At the end of an afternoon spent in archery, and shooting clay pigeons, winding up with a great game of hide and seek, in which old and young, men and women, joined, the last one to be found receiving a prize of the beautifully painted head of a foxhound, supper and the fire warmth made the party good-naturedly drowsy.

Miss Varley, who won the prize, had hidden herself beyond finding by dropping into the hollow trunk of an old chestnut tree; but the agility that took her in did not get her out again, which was only accomplished by a long, strong pull by two of the most muscular men of the party, engineered by Mr. Hugh. This, however, did not count, and being much elated and in high spirits, she gradually stirred the company into story-telling, camp-fire fashion, with the difference that no one was to talk for a longer time than the faggot he or she threw on the flames should burn. This caused more than one tale to break off before the climax, and the guessing and merriment that ensued soon made[394] every one wide awake again, with the exception of Tommy, who was destined to finish the evening under the blue and white curtains of Mrs. Carr’s ample four poster. So, as he said he had a story to tell, he was given the next turn. Liking quick results, he picked a handful of white pine cones from the basket instead of a stick, and as they flashed into a juicy flame began deliberately:—

“Once there was a barbed wire fence on top of a stone wall. It ought to have been taken down, ’cause it was rusty and wicked, but it wasn’t, ’cause somebody forgot.”—Seeing signs of agitated interest in at least two of his audience, Tommy spoke faster—“This old fence was very cruel indeed, and it caught things tighter than spiders and flies, but the things were bigger. First it caught a dear little dog named Jill, and Mrs. Carr, when she was the Herb Witch, pulled her out and mended her. The next thing that barbed wire fence caught was bigger and funnier—a—great—big—” “Time’s up,” called Mr. Hugh, before Tommy could say another word, at the moment that the blaze vanished in blackness, after the fashion of pine-cone fires; and if you said even a single word after time was called, you must pay a fine.

[395]However, as Anne led Tommy away, fairly stumbling with the sleep that was in his heels if not in his head, he turned, hung back, and said to Mr. Hugh, in a piping voice that could be heard above all the babble, “You needn’t have looked so scared, I wasn’t going to tell it just zackly the way it was—nor about that picture Anne took of Miss Letty—nor—” but the closing door kindly shut Tommy off, and though the entire party suspected a joke of some kind, only one beside the conscious pair saw through the whole affair. This was Miss Jule, who had seen Mr. Hugh slip the photograph into his pocket that afternoon long ago, before the sixlets were born. She had also chanced to see from a distance the barbed wire fence episode, and for some reason known to herself a motherly smile of content lighted her plain features, until Letty, glancing shyly at her aunt, wondered why she had never before thought her fine looking.

Mrs. Carr’s various combinations of apples, nuts, candles, rings, flour, and pails of water, that go to make up Hallowe’en tricks, produced more good-natured fun, especially when Miss Letty, after swinging it thrice over her head, threw the apple paring over her left shoulder, causing Anne to exclaim at the initial it made, which was promptly[396] eaten by Tip, who loved fruit, before any one else could decipher it.

Then the stage and brake came up, and there was a search for wraps, while Anne was astounded and mystified to find Miss Letty hugging poor Happy and stuffing her with cold chicken. She had been shut up supperless in a back passageway because she had been disobedient and spoiled the hunt, and had also gone too near the skunk.

Mr. Hugh’s horse had been put up in Miss Jule’s stable, so he rode that far in the brake with the others, and stopped off to get him. As there was no reason why he should wait outside in the cold, he went in with Miss Jule, who hurried off to make some coffee (Anna Maria having retired), as she said, to “settle their wits, after too much supper and too much laughter,” leaving the two standing before the hall fire, feeling equally awkward. Colin and Hamlet, who had stayed at home, hearing voices, came racing from the kitchen hall and greeted Letty with an unfeigned joy that tumbled her hair down on her shoulders, while Tip, not to be outdone, sprang upon the back of a near-by chair and, paws on her shoulder, gave her a kiss on the tip of the nose.

“Love me, love my dog,” quoted Miss Letty,[397] struggling with her pets, and, after the fashion of flustered people, meaning nothing in particular by her words.

“I do,” answered Mr. Hugh, promptly, having found himself at last.

“Ah!” was what Miss Jule said, when she returned with the coffee fifteen minutes later.

That night Miss Letty wrote a long letter to her Aunt Marie, telling her that she liked American customs so much that she had decided to remain in the country. The letter also said other things which prevented Aunt Marie from accusing Aunt Jule of unfair influence, which was quite fortunate.

Before the week was over everybody had heard the news, and everybody was glad, which was quite wonderful, and Tommy had the honour of being the messenger. This office he filled most thoroughly, adding details from time to time to entertain his hearers, that were certainly not a part of his commission.

Presently, one rainy day, Miss Letty herself came down, as Anne said, for a good talk, and before seating herself with the children and dogs on the hearth rug, she pulled a round bundle from her ulster pocket and tossed it to Anne, who exclaimed upon opening it, for out fell two beautiful silver[398] bands, lined with chamois, upon which letters were engraved.

“Why, they are dog collars! Who are they for?” she exclaimed, holding them toward the light to read the letters.

“For Mr. and Mrs. Waddles, and they are from us, because,—because, you see, we think that if Happy had not mixed up the drag-hunt we might have kept on misunderstanding and wandering around Robin Hood’s barn always.”

“They are perfectly lovely, and too good for every day,” said Anne, fastening one on Happy, but having to coax Waddles, who was always suspicious of new-fangled things. “But don’t you really, truly think, dear Miss Letty, that the poor old barbed wire fence deserves a silver collar, too?”



The wedding was in May, exactly a year from the day of the poison ivy luncheon. All Dogtown was invited, and filled the gray stone church on the hillside to overflowing, even though the dogs attended by proxy, except in a few rare cases. Laddie was one of these, for Mrs. Carr never went without him, and he sat quietly beside her like a little old man, with bent head and silvery locks.

Mrs. Carr herself was resplendent in a new black cloak, and a close silk bonnet of the bride’s making took the place of the old pointed hood. Her gift was her precious old Lowestoft teaset. “I’ve had my pride o’ it,” she said, when Miss Jule had remonstrated with her, “and when I gie a gift I like it o’ gude stuff.”

Anne was maid of honour, and Tommy wept bitterly because he could not be best man. However, he managed to be quite prominent as it was.

The day was perfect, and both the church and[400] the quaint, low-studded rooms at the Hilltop Farm were turned into gardens by the great sprays and wreaths of white lilacs and dogwood with which Miss Jule and the Happy Hall people had covered even the walls.

The dogs of all three families had been brushed, and their collars decorated with immense bows of white ribbon; but they were carefully locked up during the ceremony, to be ready to appear at the breakfast, for if Waddles had gone near enough to the church to have heard the organ play, his baying would have certainly brought the wedding march to an untimely end.

As it was, all promised well, and as Miss Letty crossed the vine-draped church porch, the people who watched thought that never had there been a sweeter girl bride. On the side nearest to Anne a dimple that would come and go, and threatened to end in a smile, broke the seriousness of her face, and the cause of it was at first hidden by the folds of her veil and train. It was Tip, the devoted spaniel, who, climbing out of the window of the room where he was prisoned, had dropped first to the porch and then the ground, and caught up with the procession just in time to slip into the church unnoticed, except by her he was following.


However, he behaved like a gentleman, and sat sedately on the top step during the ceremony. This, together with the white bow he wore, caused some of the village gossips, who were not invited, to say that the whole thing was planned, and was[402] a disgrace to the town; but wise people know that such remarks are as much a part of a wedding as the ring and veil.

Tommy, who with his mother and father occupied one of the front pews, crept out and drew gradually nearer to where stood the family lawyer and friend, on whose arm the bride had entered. In another moment he had climbed into a chancel chair that was partly concealed by a column; from this place he had an unimpeded view. It was the first time that the child had ever been to a wedding, and the doings had all the fascination of entire novelty.

So when the clergyman, looking up, asked distinctly, “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?” Tommy shouted “Me!” without the slightest suspicion that it was not what was expected of him, adding indignantly to an usher who made haste to lift him down, amid the natural ripple of laughter, “I had to, of course,[403] ’cause she’d rather, and now she isn’t my sweetheart any more.”

The wedding breakfast was very jolly, at least everybody said so, and all sorts of jokes were mingled with the congratulations. The minister, who was very bashful, astonished himself by saying that he was glad that they had finished with all the barbed wires of life before the wedding, and then suddenly kissed the bride, amid general applause.

The wedding cake boxes were white with initials, and a dog’s head, Miss Jule’s crest, in silver. And the gossips had a second spasm when they learned beyond dispute that there were souvenirs, of Miss Letty’s invention, for all who owned dogs—small-sized Bologna sausages wrapped in silver foil, and tied with white.

After it was all over,—and the bride had gone away, and the last shoe been thrown, while Miss Jule was removing rice from her neck, saying to a rather mournful relative, “Of course they will be happy, they can’t help it, for they not only like but dislike the same things,”—Tip appeared from upstairs with a crestfallen air, and in his mouth a white slipper, one that his idol had just discarded, which had dropped to the floor of her room.

[404]Coming out on the porch, after several efforts he succeeded in sitting upright, a trick Letty had taught him in imitation of Hamlet, supporting his unsteady spine against the post. Then, as no Miss Letty came to applaud him, he dropped the slipper on the step as a challenge, and mounted guard over it until night came, when he carried it with him to bed unchidden.

“Mistress,” said Waddles, as he sat watching her that night while she put away her trinkets, and brushed and braided her hair, “I wish that I hadn’t eaten so much of that round black lumpy cheese that Miss Letty cut with the great knife.”

“So do I,” said Anne, with a sigh; “but then, Waddlekins, you see Mr. Hugh and Miss Letty will never be married to each other again, and we[405] must be willing to bear a little pain inside for the sake of our friends!”

Then the Mayor of Dogtown and Diana his mistress slept the sleep of wedding cake, which is heavy with dreams!

Here end the Annals.

Four-Footed Americans and Their Kin


Edited by Frank M. Chapman. Illustrated by Ernest Seton-Thompson

Cloth. Crown 8vo. $1.50, net

“It deserves commendation for its fascinating style, and for the fund of information which it contains regarding the familiar and many unfamiliar animals of this country. It is an ideal book for children, and doubtless older folk will find in its pages much of interest.”—The Dial.

“Books like this are cups of delight to wide-awake and inquisitive girls and boys. Here is a gossipy history of American quadrupeds, bright, entertaining, and thoroughly instructive. The text, by Mrs. Wright, has all the fascination that distinguishes her other outdoor books.”—The Independent.

Citizen Bird

Scenes from Bird-life in Plain English for a Beginner


Profusely illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Cloth. Crown 8vo. $1.50, net

“When two writers of marked ability in both literature and natural history write to produce a work giving scope to their special talents, the public has reason to expect a masterpiece of its kind. In the ‘Citizen Bird,’ by Mabel O. Wright and Dr. Elliot Coues, this expectation is realized—seldom is the plan of a book so admirably conceived, and in every detail so excellently fulfilled.”—The Dial.

“There is no other book in existence so well fitted for arousing and directing the interest that all children feel toward the birds.”—Tribune, Chicago.


A Field-Book of Two Hundred Song, Game, and Water Birds


With eighty full-page plates by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“One of the best books that amateurs in the study of ornithology can find ... direct, forcible, plain, and pleasing.”—Chautauquan.

“Of books on birds there are many, all more or less valuable, but ‘Birdcraft,’ by Mabel O. Wright, has peculiar merits that will endear it to amateur ornithologists.... A large number of excellent illustrations throw light on the text and help to make a book that will arouse the delight and win the gratitude of every lover of birds.”—Saturday Evening Gazette, Boston.

Tommy-Anne and the Three Hearts


With many illustrations by Albert D. Blashfield

Cloth. Crown 8vo. $1.50

“This book is calculated to interest children in nature, and grown folks, too, will find themselves catching the author’s enthusiasm. As for Tommy-Anne herself, she is bound to make friends wherever she is known. The more of such books as these, the better for the children. One Tommy-Anne is worth a whole shelf of the average juvenile literature.”—The Critic.

Wabeno, the Magician

The Sequel to Tommy-Anne and the Three Hearts


Fully illustrated by Joseph M. Gleeson

Cloth. Crown 8vo. $1.50

“Mrs. Wright’s book teaches her young readers to use their eyes and ears, but it does more in that it cultivates in them a genuine love for nature and for every member of the animal kingdom. The best of the book is that it is never dull.”—Boston Budget.

The Dream Fox Story Book


With eighty drawings by Oliver Herford

Cloth. Small quarto. $1.50, net

Mrs. Wright’s new book for young people recounts the marvellous adventures of Billy Benton, his acquaintance with the Dream Fox and the Night Mare, and what came of it. It differs from the author’s previous stories, as it is purely imaginative and somewhat similar to “Alice in Wonderland.”

There are eight full-page illustrations, showing Billy at moments of greatest interest, and also seventy drawings scattered throughout the text. These illustrations are by Oliver Herford, who has entered thoroughly into the spirit of the text, so that the pictures seem an integral part of the story.

Flowers and Ferns in Their Haunts


With illustrations from photographs by the author and J. Horace McFarland

Cloth, 12mo. $2.50, net

“The reader of Mrs. Wright’s handsome volume will wend his way into a fairy world of loveliness, and find not only serious wildwood lore, but poetry also, and sentiment and pictures of the pen that will stay with him through winter days of snow and ice.... A careful and interesting companion, its many illustrations being particularly useful.”—New York Tribune.

“There is no question that this is a book in which you must be examined before you are fit to pass into the country.”—New York Sun.

“The illustrations are altogether worthy of the text ... a series of exquisite pictures of flowers and ferns.”—London Daily News.

The Friendship of Nature

A New England Chronicle of Birds and Flowers


18mo. Cloth, 75 cts. Large Paper, $3.00

“A dainty little volume, exhaling the perfume and radiating the hues of both cultivated and wild flowers, echoing the songs of birds, and illustrated with exquisite pen pictures of bits of garden, field, and woodland scenery. The author is an intimate of nature. She relishes its beauties with the keenest delight, and describes them with a musical flow of language that carries us along from a ‘May Day’ to a ‘Winter Mood’ in a thoroughly sustained effort; and as we drift with the current of her fancy and her tribute to nature, we gather much that is informatory, for she has made a close study of the habits of birds and the legendry of flowers.”—Richmond Dispatch.




Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

Several of the page numbers in the original list of illustrations are incorrect. Page numbers have been updated to reflect the correct page numbers for this eBook.