Thy Servant, A Dog, by Rudyard Kipling

‘Thy Servant a Dog’

PLEASE may I come in? I am Boots. I am son of Kildonan Brogue — Champion Reserve — V.H.C. — very fine dog; and no-dash-parlour-tricks, Master says, except I can sit-up, and put paws over nose. It is called ‘Making Beseech.’ Look! I do it out of own head. Not for telling . . . This is Flat-in-Town. I live here with Own God. I tell:

I

There is walk-in-Park-on-lead. There is off-lead-when-we-come-to-the-grass. There is ‘nother dog, like me, off-lead. I say: ‘Name?’ He says: ‘Slippers.’ He says: ‘Name?’ I say: ‘Boots.’ He says: ‘I am fine dog. I have Own God called Miss.’ I say: ‘I am very-fine dog. I have Own God called Master.’ There is walk-round-on-toes. There is Scrap. There is Proper Whacking. Master says ‘Sorry! Awfully sorry! All my fault.’ Slippers’s Miss says: ‘Sorry! My fault too.’ Master says: ‘So glad it is both our faults. Nice little dog, Slippers.’ Slippers’s Miss says ‘Do you really think so?’ Then I made ‘Beseech.’ Slippers’s Miss says: ‘Darling little dog, Boots.’ There is on-lead, again, and walking with Slippers behind both Own Gods, long times . . . Slippers is not-half-bad dog. Very like me. ‘Make-fine-pair, Master says . . . There is more walkings in Park. There is Slippers and his Miss in that place, too. Own Gods walk together — like on-lead. We walk behind. We are tired. We yawn. Own Gods do not look. Own Gods do not hear . . . They have put white bows on our collars. We do not like. We have pulled off. They are bad to eat . . .

II

Now we live at Place-in-Country, next to Park, and plenty good smells. We are all here. Please look! I count paws. There is me, and own God–Master. There is Slippers, and Slippers’s Own God–Missus. That is all my paws. There is Adar. There is Cookey. There is James-with-Kennel-that-Moves. There is Harry-with-Spade. That is all Slippers’s paws. I cannot count more; but there is Maids, and Odd-man, and Postey, and Telegrams, and Pleasm-butcher and People. And there is Kitchen Cat which runs up Wall. Bad! Bad! Bad!

At morning-time Adar unties and brushes. There is going quick upstairs past Cookey and asking Gods to come to brekker. There is lie-down-under-the-table-at-each-end, and heads-on-feets of Gods. Sometimes there is things-gived-under-table. But ‘must never beg.’

After brekker, there is hunting Kitchen Cat all over garden to Wall. She climbs. We sit under and sing. There is waiting for Gods going walks. If it is nothing-on-their-tops, it is only round the garden, and ‘get-off-the-flower-bedsyou-two!’ If it is wet, it is hearth-rugs by fire, or ‘who-said-you-could-sit-on-chairs-Little–Men?’ It is always being-with Own Gods — Own Master and Own Missus. We are most fine dogs . . . There is Tall far-off dog, which comes through laurels, and looks. We have found him by own dust-bin. We said: ‘Come back, and play!’ But he wented off. His legs are all bendy. And wavy ears. But bigger than Me!

III

AUGUST 1923

Please sit up! I will tell you by Times and Long Times — each time at a time. I tell good things and dretful things.

Beginning of Times. There was walk with Own Gods, and ‘basket-of-things-to-eat-when-wesit-down — piggies.’ It were long walks. We ate lots. After, there was rabbits which would not stay. We hunted. We heard sorrowful singing in woods. We went look-see. There was that far-off Tall dog, singing to hole in bank. He said: ‘I have been here dretful long whiles, and I do not know where here is.’ We said ‘Follow tails!’ He followed back to Own Gods. Missus said: ‘Oh, you poor big baby!’ Master said: ‘What on earth is Kent’s puppy doing here?’ Tall dog went on tum plenty, and said small. There was ‘give-him-what’s-left.’ He kissed hands. We all wented home across fields. He said he were playing with washing-on-line, which waved like tails. He said little old dog with black teeth came, and said he would make him grow-into-a-hound, if he went with. So he wented with, and found beautiful Smell. Old dog said him to put his dash-nose-upon-the-ground and puzzle. He puzzled long ways with old dog. There was field full of ‘ware-sheep and beautiful Smell stopped. Old dog was angry and said him to cast-forward. But Peoples came saying loud. He ran into woods. Old dog said if he waited long enough there he would grow-into-a-hound, and it would do-him-good to have to find his way home, because he would have to do it most of his life if he was so-dash-stoopid-as-all-that. Old dog went away and Tall dog waited for more beautiful Smell, and it was night-times, and he did not know where home was, and he singed what we heard. He were very sorry. He is quite new dog. He says he is called ‘DamPuppy.’ After long whiles there was smells which he knew. So he went through hedge and ran to his home. He said he was infor-Proper–Whacking.

One Time after That. Kitchen Cat sits on Wall. We sing. She says: ‘Own Gods are going away.’ Slippers says: ‘They come back at Biscuit-time.’ Kitchen Cat says: ‘This time they will go and never come back.’ Slippers says: ‘That is not real rat.’ Kitchen Cat says: ‘Go to top of House, and see what Adar is doing with kennels-that-shut.’

We go to top of House. There is Adar and kennels-that-shut. She fills with things off Gods’ feets and tops and middles. We go downstairs. We do not understand . . .

Kitchen Cat sits on Wall and says: ‘Now you have seen that Own Gods are going. Wait till kennels-that-shut are put behind kennel-that-moves, and Own Gods get in. Then you will know.’ Slippers says: ‘How do you know where that rat will run?’ Kitchen Cat says ‘Because I am Cat. You are Dog. When you have done things, you ask Own Gods if it is Whack or Pat. You crawl on turn. You say “Please, I will be good.” What will you do when Own Gods go and never come back?’ Slippers said: ‘I will bite you when I catch you.’ Kitchen Cat said: ‘Grow legs!’

She ran down Wall and went to Kitchen. We came after. There was Cookey and broom. Kitchen Cat sat in window and said: ‘Look at this Cookey. Sometimes this is thick Cookey; sometimes this is thin Cookey. But it is always my Cookey. I am never Cookey’s Cat. But you must always have Own Gods with. Else you go bad. What will you do when Own Gods go away?’ We were not comfy. We went inside House. We asked Own Gods not to go away and never come back. They did not understand . . .

IV

Time After. Own Gods have gone away in kennel-that-moves, with kennels-that-shut behind! Kennel came back at Biscuit-time, but no Gods. We went over House looking. Kitchen Cat said: ‘Now you see!’ We went to look everywhere. There was nothing . . . There is Peoples called Carpenters come. They are making a little House inside Big House. There is Postey talking to Adar. There is Pleasm-butcher talking to Cookey. There is everybody talking. Everybody says: ‘Poor little chaps.’ And goes away.

Some more Time. This night-time, Shiny Plate shined into our kennels, and made sing. We sang: ‘When will Own Gods come back?’ Adar looked out from high-up-above, and said ‘Stop that, or I’ll come down to you.’ We were quiet, but Shiny Plate shined more. We singed ‘We will be good when the Gods come back.’ Adar came down. There was Whackings. We are poor little small dogs. We live in Outside Places. Nobody cares for.

V

Other more times. I have met that Tall far-off dog with large feet. He is not called ‘DamPuppy.’ He is called Ravager-son-of-Regan. He has no Own God because he will pass-the-bottle-round-and-grow-into-a-Hound. He lives across Park, at Walk, with dretful Peoples called Mister–Kent. I have wented to Walk. There were fine smells and pig-pups, and a bucket full of old things. Ravager said: ‘Eat hearty!’ He is nice dog. I ate lots. Ravager put his head through handle of bucket. It would not go away from him. He went back-first, singing. He sang: ‘I am afraid.’ Peoples came running. I went away. I wented into dark place called Dairy. There was butters and creams. People came. I went out of a little window. I sicked-up two times before I could run quick. I went to own kennel and lay down. That Peoples called Mister–Kent came afterwards. He said to Adar ‘That little black beast is dam — thief.’ Adar said ‘Nonsense! He is asleep.’ Slippers came and said: ‘Come and play Rats.’ I said: ‘Go to Walk and play with Ravager.’ Slippers wented. People thought Slippers was me. Slippers came home quick. I am very fine dog — but Master has not come back!

VI

After that Time. I am Bad Dog. I am Very Bad Dog. I am ‘G’way-you-dirty-little-devil!’ I found a Badness on the road. I liked it! I rolled in it! It were nice! I came home. There was Cookey and Adar. There was ‘Don’t;-you-come-anigh-me.’ There was James-with-kennel-that-moves. There was: ‘Come ’ere, you young pole-cat!’ He picked up, and washed with soap, and sticky water out of kennel-that-moves rubbed into all my hairs. There was tieup. I smelled very bad to myself. Kitchen Cat came. I said: ‘G’way! I am Filfy Bad Dog! I am Proper Stink-pot!’ Kitchen Cat said ‘That is not your own rat. You are bad because Own Gods do not come back. You are like Peoples who can not be good without Own Gods to pat.’

VII

Other Fresh Times. Now I am great friend of Ravager. Slippers and me have wented to hunt Hen at Walk. She were angry Hen-lady with pups. She bit Slippers, two times, with her nose, under his eye. We all went one way. There was Pig-lady with pups that way. We went other way. There was Mister–Kent-Peoples with whack-stick that way. We wented more ways, quick. We found a fish-head on a heap of nice old things. There was Ravager. We all went for play. There was cow-pups in field. They ran after. We went under gate and said. They ran away. W e ran after till they stopped. They turned round. We went away again. They ran after. We played a long while. It were fun. Mister–Kent-People and more Peoples came calling dretful names. We said to Ravager: ‘We will go home.’ Ravager said: ‘Me too.’ He ran across field. We went home by small ditches. We played Rat-sticks on the lawn.

Cowman Peoples came and said to Adar ‘Those two little devils have been chasing pounds off the calves!‘Adar said: ‘Be ashamed of yourself! Look at ’em! Good as gold!’ We waited till Peoples were gone. We asked for sugar. Adar gave. Ravager came through laurels — all little. He said: ‘I have had Proper Whacking. What did you get?’ We said ‘Sugar.’ He said: ‘You are very fine dogs. I am hungry.’ I said: ‘I will give you my store-bone in the border. Eat hearty.’ He digged. We helped. Harry-with-Spade came. Ravager went through laurels like Kitchen Cat. We got Proper Whacking and tie-up for digging in borders . . . When we are bad, there is Sugar. When we are good, there is Whack-whack. That is same rat going two wrong ways . . .

VIII

Harry-with-Spade has brought a Rat . . . Look, please! Please look! I am Rrreal Dog! I have killed a Rat. I have slew a Rat! He bit me on the nose. I bit him again. I bit him till he died. I shookened him dead! Harry said ‘Go-ood boy! ‘Born ratter!’ I am very-fine-dog-indeed! Kitchen Cat sat on the Wall and said: ‘That is not your own Rat. You killed it to please a God.’ When my legs are grown, I will kill Kitchen Cat like Rats. Bad! Bad! Bad!

IX

Time soon After. I wented to Walk to tell my friend Ravagerabout my Rat, and find more things to kill. Ravager said: ‘There is ‘ware-sheep for me, and there is ‘ware-chicken for me, but there is no ‘ware-Bull for me. Come into Park and play with Bull-in-yard.’ We went under Bull’s gate in his yard. Ravager said ‘He is too fat to run. Say!’ I said. Bull said. Ravager said. Slippers said. I got under watertrough and said dretful things. Bull blew with nose. I went out through fence, and came back through another hole. Ravager said from other side of yard. Bull spun. He blew. He was too fat. It were fun. We heard Mister–Kent saying loud. We went home across Park. Ravager says I am True Sporting Dog, only except because of my little legs.

X

OCTOBER 1923

Bad Times dead. Sit up! Sit up now! I tell! I tell! There has been washings and Sunday collars. Carpenter Peoples has gone away, and left new Small House inside Big House. There is very small kennel-that-rocks inside Small House. Adar showed. We went to James’s house. He were gone away with kennel-that-moves. We went to front-gate. We heard! We saw! Own Gods — very Own Gods — Master — Missus — came back! We said. We danced. We rolled. We ran round. We went to tea, heads-on-feets of Own Gods! There were buttered toasts gived under table, and two sugars each . . .

We heard New Peoples talking in Big House. One Peoples said: ‘Angh! Angh!’ very small like cat-pups. Other Peoples said: ‘Bye-loe! Bye-loe! ‘We asked Own Gods to show. We went upstairs to Small House. Adar was giving cup-o’-tea to New Peoples, more thick than Adar, which was called ‘Nurse.’ There was very-small-talk inside kennel-that-rocks. It said ‘Aie! Aie!’ We looked in. Adar held collars. It were very Small Peoples. It opened its own mouth. But there was no teeth. It waved paw. I kissed. Slippers kissed. New Thick, which is that Nurse, said: ‘Well–Mum-I-never!’ Both Own Gods sat down by Smallest Peoples and said and said and kissed paw. Smallest Peoples said very loud. New Thick gave biscuit in a bottle. We tail-thumped on floor, but ‘not-for-you-greedies.’ We went down to hunt Kitchen Cat. She ran up apple — tree. We said ‘Own Gods have come back, with one Smallest New Peoples, in smallest-kennel!’ Kitchen Cat said: ‘That is not Peoples. That is Own Gods’ Very Own Smallest. Now you are only dirty little dogs. If you say too loud to me or Cookey, you will wake that Smallest, and there will be Proper Whackings. If you scratch, New Thick will say: “Fleas! Fleas!” and there will be more Proper Whackings. If you come in wet, you will give Smallest sneezes. So you will be pushed Outside, and you will scratch at doors that shut-in-your-eye. You will belong with Yards and Brooms and Cold Passages and all the Empty Places.’ Slippers said: ‘Let us go to Own Kennel and lie down.’ We wented.

We heard Own Gods walking in garden. They said: ‘‘Nice to be home again, but where are the Little Men?’ Slippers said: ‘Lie still, or they will push us into the Empty Places.’ We lay still. Missus called: ‘Where is Slippers?’ Master called: ‘Boots, you ruffian! Hi Boots!’ We lay still. Own Gods came into yard and found. They said: ‘Oh, there you are! Did you think we would forget you? Come-for-walks.’ We came. We said soft. We rolled before feets, asking not to be pushed into Empty Places. I made a Beseech, because I were not comfy. Missus said: ‘Who’d have thought they’d take it this way, poor Little Men?’ Master threw plenty sticks. I picked up and brought back. Slippers went inside with Missus. He came out quick. He said: ‘Hurry! Smallest is being washed.’ I went like rabbits. Smallest was all no-things on top or feets or middle. Nurse, which is Thick, washed and rubbed, and put things on-all-over afterwards. I kissed hind-feet. Slippers too. Both Gods said ‘Look — it tickles him! He laughs. He knows they’re all right!’ Then they said and they said and they kissed and they kissed it, and it was bye-loe — same as ‘kennel-up’— and then dinner, and heads-on-feets under table, and lots things-passed-down. One were kidney, and two was cheeses. We are most fine dogs!

XI

MARCH 1924.

Very many Long Times after those Times. Both Gods have gone-week-ends in kennel-that-moves. But we are not afraid. They will come back. Slippers went up to talk to that Smallest and Nurse. I went to see my great friend Ravager at Walk, because I see him very often. There was new, old, small, white dog outside Barn. There was only one eye. He was dretful bitted all over. His teeth was black. He walked slow. He said: ‘I am Pensioned Hunt Terrier! Behave, you lap-dog!’ I was afraid of his oldness and his crossness. I went paws-up. I told about me and Slippers and Ravager. He said: ‘I know that puppy. I taught him to grow-into-a-hound. I am more dash-old than Royal, his grandfather.’ I said: ‘Is it good Rat? He is my friend. Will he grow-into-a-Hound?’ Hunt Terrier said: ‘That depends.’ He scratched his dretful-bitted neck and looked me out of his eye. I did not feel comfy. I wented into Barn. There was Ravager on Barn floor and two Peoples. One was all white, except his black ends, which was called Moore. One was long, proper man, and nice, which was called m’Lord. Moore-man lifted Ravager’s head and opened his mouth. Proper Man looked. Moore said ‘Look, m’lord. He’s swine-chopped.’ Proper Man said: ‘‘Pity! He’s by Romeo and Regan.’ Moore-man said: ‘Yes, and she’s the wisest, worst-tempered bitch ever was.’ Proper Man gave Ravager biscuit. Ravager stood up stiff on toes-very fine dog. Moore said: ‘Romeo’s shoulders. Regan’s feet. It’s a pity, m’lord.’ Proper Man said: ‘And Royal’s depth. ‘Great pity. I see. I’ll give you the order about him tomorrow.’

They wented away. Ravager said: ‘Now they will make me grow-into-a-Hound. I will be sent into Kennels, and schooled for cubbing-in September.’ He went after. Hunt Terrier came and showed black teeth. I said: ‘What is “swine-chopped “?’ He said: ‘Being snipey-about-the nose, stoopid.’ Then Moore came and put Hunt Terrier up on neck, same as Cookey carries Kitchen Cat. Hunt Terrier said: ‘Never walk when you can ride at my time of life.’ They wented away. Me too. But I were not comfy.

When I got home, Nurse and Adar and Cookey were in scullery, all saying loud about Slippers and Kitchen Cat and Smallest. Slippers were sitting in sink — bleedy. Adar turned sink-tap-water on his head. Slippers jumped down and ran. We hid in boot-house. Slippers said: ‘I wented up to see that Smallest. He was bye-loe. I lay under Nurse’s bed. She went down for cup-o’-tea. Kitchen Cat came and jumped into kennel-that-rocks, beside Smallest. I said: “G’out of this!” She said: “I will sleep here. It is warm.” I said very loud. Kitchen Cat jumped out on floor. I bit her going to the door. She hit. I shook. We fell downstairs into Nurse. Kitchen Cat hit across face. I let go because I did not see. Kitchen Cat said, and Cookey picked up. I said, and Adar picked up, and put me on sink and poured water on bleedy eye. Then they all said. But I am quite well-dog, and it is not washing-day for me.’ I said: ‘Slippers, you are fine dog! I am afraid of Kitchen Cat.’ Slippers said: ‘Me too. But that time I was new dog inside-me. I were ‘normous f’rocious big Hound! Now I am Slippers.’

I told about Ravager and Moore and Proper Man and Hunt Terrier and swine-chopped. Slippers said: ‘I cannot see where that Rat will run. I smell it is bad rat. But I must watch my Smallest. It is your Rat to kill.’

XII

Next Time after Not–Comfy. Kitchen Cat is gone away and not come back. Kitchen is not nice to go in. I have went to see my friend Ravager at Walk. He were tied up. He sang sorrowful. He told dretful things. He said: ‘When I were asleep last night, I grew-into-a-Hound — very fine Hound. I went sleep-hunting with ‘nother Hound — lemon-and-white Hound. We sleep-hunted ‘normous big Fox–Things all through Dark Covers. Then I fell in a pond. There was a heavy thing tied to my neck. I went down and down into pond till it was all dark. I were frightened and I unsleeped. Now I am not comfy.’ I said: ‘Why are you tied-up?’ He said: ‘Mister–Kent has tied me up to wait for Moore.’ I said: ‘That is not my Rat. I will ask Hunt Terrier.’

So I went back into Park. I were uncomfy in all my hairs because of my true friend Ravager. There were hedgehog in ditch. He rounded up. I said loud. Hunt Terrier came out of bushes and pushed him into a wetness. He unrounded. Hunt Terrier killed. I said: ‘You are most wonderful, wise, strong, fine dog.’ He said ‘What bone do you want now, Snipey?’ I said ‘Tell me, what is “snipey-about-the-nose”?’ He said: ‘It is what they kill Hound puppies for, because they cannot eat fast or bite hard. It is being like your nose.’ I said: ‘I can eat and bite hard. I am son of Champion Kildonan Brogue — Reserve — V.H.C. — very-fine-dog.’ Hunt Terrier said: ‘I know that pack. They hunt fleas. What flea is biting you?’ I said ‘Ravager is uncomfy, and I am uncomfy of my friend Ravager.’ He said: ‘You are not so lap-dog as you look. Show me that puppy on the flags.’ So I said about Ravager sleep-hunting and falling in pond, which he had told me when he were tied up. Hunt Terrier said ‘Did he sleep-hunt with a lemon-and-white-bitch with a scar on her left jowl?’ I said ‘He said he hunted with ‘nother Hound — lemon-and-white — but he did not say Lady–Hound or jowels. How did you know?’ Hunt Terrier said: ‘I knew last night. It will be dash-near-squeak for Ravager.’

Then we saw Moore on Tall Horse in Park. Hunt Terrier said: ‘He is going to the Master for orders about Ravager. Run!’ I were runnier than Hunt Terrier. He was rude. There was Big House in Park. There was garden and door at side. Moore went in. Hunt Terrier stayed to mind Horse, which was his Tall Friend. I saw Proper Man inside, which had been kind to Ravager at Walk. So I wented in, too. Proper Man said: ‘What’s this, Moore? ‘Nother Hunt Terrier?’ Moore said ‘No, m’lord. It’s that little black devil from The Place, that’s always coming over to Kent’s and misleading Ravager.’ Proper Man said ‘No getting away from Ravager this morning, it seems.’ Moore said: ‘No — nor last night either, m’lord.’ Proper Man said: ‘Yes, I heard her.’ Moore said: ‘I’ve come for orders about Ravager, m’lord.’ Proper Man sat look-not-see — same as Master with pipe. I were not comfy. So I sat up on my end, and put paws over nose, and made a big Beseech. That is all I can. Proper Man looked and said: ‘What? Are you in it too, you little oddity?’ Hunt Terrier said outside: ‘No dash-parlour-tricks in there! Come on out of it!’ So I came out and helped mind Tall Horse.

After whiles, Moore came out, and picked up Hunt Terrier, and put him on front-saddle, and hurried. Hunt Terrier said rudenesses about my short legs. When we got to Walk, Moore said loud to Mister–Kent: ‘It is all right.’ Mister–Kent said: ‘‘Glad of it. How did it come about?’ Moore said: ‘Regan saved him. She was howling cruel last night; and when his Lordship looked in this morning, she was all over him, playing the kitten and featherin’ and pleadin’. She knew! He didn’t say anything then, but he said to me just now: ‘Ravager will be sent to Kennels with the young entry, and we’ll hope his defect ain’t-too-heredity.’

Mister–Kent untied. Ravager rolled and said and said and played with me. We played I were Fox-at-his-home-among-the-rocks, all round Pig-ladies-houses. I went to ground under hen-house. Hen-ladies said plenty. Hunt Terrier said if he had me for two seasons, he would make me earn-my-keep. But I would not like. I am afraid I would be put-in-ponds and sunk, because I am snipey-about-the-nose. But now I am comfy in all my hairs. I have ate grass and sicked up. I am happy dog.

XIII

EARLY APRIL 1924.

Most wonderful Times. We are fine dogs. There was Bell–Day, when Master comes black-all-over, and walks slow with shiny box on top and ‘don’t-you-play-with-my-brolly.’ That is always Bell–Day Rat. Nurse put Smallest into push-kennel, and went for walk-in-Park. We went with, and ran, and said lots. We went by Walk all along railings of Park. Ravager heard. He said: ‘I will come. My collar is too big.’ He slipped collar and came with. That Smallest said loud and nice, and waved paw. Ravager looked into push-kennel and kissed Smallest on its face. Nurse shooed and wiped with hanky. Ravager said: ‘Why am I “slobberybeast”? It is not ‘ware-Smallest for me.’

We all walked across Park beside push-kennel. There was noise behind bushes. Bull-which-we-played-with-in-yard came out, and digged with paws and waved tail. Nurse said ‘Oh, what shall I do — I do? My legs are wobbly.’ She took Smallest out of push-kennel and ran to railings. Bull walked quick after. We ran in front. Slippers and I said lots. Ravager jumped at his nose and ran. Bull spun. Ravager ran behind push-kennel. Bull hit push-kennel on one side, and kneeled-down-on. Ravager jumped at his nose, and Slippers bit behind. Me too. Bull spun. Ravager ran a little in front. Bull came after to shrubbery. Ravager said: ‘Chop him in cover!’ We chopped, running in and out. Then Ravager bited and jumped back-with-barks before nose. It was fun. Bull got bleedy. Slippers and me said dretful things. Bull ran away into Park and stopped. We said from three places, so he could not choose which. It were great fun.

Peoples called out from railings round Walk. There was Nursey paws-up on ground, kicking feet. There was that Smallest and Own Gods holding tight. There was Mister–Kent-Peoples. Bull said, quite small — like cow-pup. Mister–Kent came and put stick at Bull’s nose and took away on-lead. All the Peoples on the railing said most loud at us. We were frightened, because of chasing-pounds-off-those-calves. We went home other ways. Ravager came with, because he had slipped his collar and was in for Proper–Whack-Whack. I opened dust-bin with my nose-like I can do. There were porridge and herring-tails and outsides of cheeses. It was nice. Then Ravager stuck up his back-hairs most dretful, and said: ‘If I am for Proper Whackings, I will chop Mister–Kent.’ We went with to see.

There was plenty Peoples there, all Bell–Day-black all over. We saw Moore. We saw Mister–Kent. He was bleedy one side his blacks. He blew. He said ‘Ravager’s made a proper hash of him. Look at me Sunday-best!’ Moore said: ‘That shows he ain’t swine-chopped to matter.’ Mister–Kent said: ‘Dam-all-how-it-shows! What about my Bull?’ Moore said ‘Put him down to the Poultry Fund; for if ever Bull cried dung-hill, he did with Ravager.’ Mister–Kent said plenty-lots.

Ravager walked slow round barn and stopped stiff. His back-hairs was like angry Gentlemen-pigs. Mister–Kent began to say dretful. Moore said: ‘Keep away. He has his mother’s temper, and it’s dash-awkward.’ Then Moore said nice small things and patted. Ravager put his head on Moore’s feets, and all his back-hairs lay down and was proper coat again. Moore took him to kennel, and filled water-trough, and turned straw on sleeping-bench. Ravager curled up like small puppy, and kissed hands. Moore said: ‘Let him be till he sees fit to come out. Else there’ll be more hurt than your Bull.’

Slippers and me ran away. We was afraid. We were dretful dirty. My nice frilly drawers was full of sticky burrs, and our front-shirts were bleedy off Bull. So we went to our Adar, but Own Gods and Smallest and Nurse Thick came, and they all said and said and petted, except Cookey because Kitchen Cat is not come back. There was wonderful things-under-table at dinner. One was liver. One was cheese-straw and one was sardine. Afterwards, was coffee-sugar. We wcnted up to see Smallest bye-loed. He is quite well. We are most fine dogs. Own Gods keep saying so. It are fun!

Just after that Times. There is no more Ravager at Walk. I have wented to see him. Moore came with Tall Horse and cracky-whip and took. Ravager showed very proud dog inside (he said), but outside frightened puppy. He said I were his true friend in spite of my little legs. He said he will come again when he is grown-into-a-Hound, and I will always be his True Small Friend. He went looking back, but Moore cracked whip. Ravager sung dretful. I heard him all down the lane after I could see. I am sorrowful dog, but I am always friend of my friend Ravager. Slippers came to meet me at Rabbit Holes. We got muddy on tum, because we have low clearances. So we went to our Adar for clean.

Kitchen Cat was on Wall again. Slippers said: ‘Give her cold-dead-rat.’ We wented-past-under quite still. She said: ‘I am Kitchen Cat come back, silly little pups!’ We did not say or look. We went to Adar. Slippers said me: ‘Now we hunt Bulls in Parks, do not ever say to Kitchen Cat — ever!’ I said: ‘Good rat! You are wise dog.’ Cookey picked up and said: ‘Mee own precious Pussums!’ Kitchen Cat said: ‘I am Cat, not Dog, drat you!’ Cookey kept on petting. Then she tied up by basket in kitchen, and said: ‘Now you’ve had your lesson about going up to the nursery, you’ll stay with me in future and behave!’ Kitchen Cat spitted. Cookey took broom in case we hunted; but we went past quite still. This is finish to Kitchen Cat. We are fine dogs. We hunt Bulls. She does not hunt real rats. She is Bad! Bad! Bad!

XIV

LATE APRIL 1925

Most Wonderful Times. This is me — Boots. Three years old. I am ‘sponsible dog (Slippers, too), Master says. We are ‘sponsible for that Smallest. He can get out of push-kennel. He walks puppy-way between Slippers and me. He holds by ears and noses. When he sits down, he pulls up same way. He says: ‘Boo-boo!’ That is me. He says: ‘See-see!’ That is Slippers. He has bitted both our tails to make his teeth grow strong, because he has no bone at night. We did not say. He has come into both our kennels, and tried to eat our biscuit. Nurse found. There was smallest Whack–Whacks. He did not say. He is finest Smallest that is.

He had washings and new collar and extra brush. It was not Bell–Day. It was after last-run-of-season. He walked on lawn. We came, one each side. He held. There was horns in Park. I were tingly in all my hairs. But I did not say. (‘Too old to make-fool-of-myself, my time of life, Master says.) There was Hounds and Pinks coming on grass. There was Moore — but he was Pinks. There was Mister–Kent. But he was like rat-catcher, Hunt Terrier said. There was nice Proper Man which was kind to Ravager in barn about being swine-chopped. There was some more Pinks, but not friends. Moore took all Hounds to gate by lawn. They sat down quiet. They was beautiful muddy, and seeds in coats and tails, and ears bleedy. Hunt Terrier sat in own basket on Tall Horse. When Moore put him down he said dretful things to Hounds. They did not say back. Proper Man said to Master and Missus: ‘We have come to call with brush for that Smallest.’

Smallest liked because it tickled; but Nurse Thick washed off with hanky quick. Master-an’-Missus said: ‘How did Ravager do?’ Proper Man said: ‘As usual. ‘Led from end to end. He wants to talk to you.’ Ravager stood up tall at the gate and put nose through. Smallest stretched out and Ravager kissed. Then Moore said: ‘Over, lad!’ Ravager overed in one jump, and said to Smallest, two times most loud, like Bell–Day, and played puppy very careful, and let Smallest hold by ears. His ears was all made round.

He spoke me. I went paws-up, because he were so big and dretful and strong. He said ‘Drop it, Stoopid! ‘Member me bein’ lost? ‘Member Bucket and Fishheads? ‘Member Bull? ‘Member Cow-pups and Lady-pigs and Mister–Kent and Proper Whackings and all those things at Walk? You are True Sporting Dog, except only because of your little legs, and always true friend of Ravager.’ He rolled me over, and held down with paws, and play-bit in my neck. I play-bitted him too, right on jowels! All the Hounds saw! I walked round stiff-on-toes, most proud.

Then Hunt Terrier wiggled under gate without leave. Proper Man said to Missus: ‘He is pensioned now, but it would break his heart not to turn out with the rest. He can’t hurt your dogs, poor fellow.’ Hunt Terrier walked-on-toes round me and showed black teeth. I went paws-up, because he were old and dretful about knowing Uncomfy things. He said: ‘I will let you off this time, Snipey, because you knew about Ravager sleep-hunting in Dark Covers. ‘Dash narrow shave, that! Now I must go and look after the young entry. Not one-dash-Hound among ’em!’

He went away and bitted at an old Lady–Hound, lemon-and-white, with black bites on jowels. She said, and wrinkled nose dretful, but she did not chop. She sat and looked at Ravager through gate, and said to him — like Bell–Day, but more loud. Proper Man said: ‘Old Regan wants her tea. ‘Fraid we must be going.’ They wented away. There was horns and Horses and Pinks, and Hounds jumping up, and Moore saying names loud, and Ravager overed gate most beautiful. They wented all away — all — all. I were very small little dog.

Then Smallest said: ‘Boo-boo!’ ‘See-see!’ He took necks by collars. He said to Own Gods: ‘Look! Look! Own ‘ounds! Own ‘ounds! Turn on tea, ‘ounds.’ . . .

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38