Billeder på siden

Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust; thy friendship, all a cheat;
Thy smiles, hypocrisy; thy words, deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on—it honours none you wish to mour :
To mark a friend's remains, these stones arise;
I never knew but one-and here he lies.'


The attachment of the dog to his master becomes a ruling passion, and, united with a retentive memory, has led to some remarkable disclosures of crime. We are told by Plutarch of a certain Roman slave in the civil wars, whose head nobody durst cut off, for fear of the dog that guarded his body, and fought in his defence. It happened that King Pyrrhus, travelling that way, observed the animal watching over the body of the deceased; and hearing that he had been there three days without meat or drink, yet would not forsake his master, ordered the body to be buried, and the dog preserved and brought to him. A few days afterwards there was a muster of the soldiers, so that every man was forced to march in order before the king. The dog lay quietly by him for some time; but when he saw the murderers of his late owner pass by, he flew upon them with extraordinary fury, barking, and tearing their garments, and frequently turning about to the king; which both excited the king's suspicion, and the jealousy of all who stood about him. The men were in consequence apprehended, and though the circumstances which appeared in evidence against them were very slight, they confessed the crime, and were accordingly punished.

An old writer mentions a similar case of attachment and revenge which occurred in France in the reign of Charles V. The anecdote has been frequently related, and is as follows: A gentleman named Macaire, an officer of the king's body-guard, entertained, for some reason, a bitter hatred against another gentleman, named Aubry de Montdidier, his comrade in service. These two having met in the Forest of Bondy, near Paris, Macaire took an opportunity of treacherously murdering his brother-officer, and buried him in a ditch. Montdidier was unaccompanied at the moment, excepting by a greyhound, with which he had probably gone out to hunt. It is not known whether the dog was muzzled, or from what other cause it permitted the deed to be accomplished without its interference. Be this as it might, the hound lay down on the grave of its master, and there remained till hunger compelled it to rise. It then went to the kitchen of one of Aubry de Montdidier's dearest friends, where it was welcomed warmly, and fed. As soon as its hunger was appeased, the dog disappeared. For several days this coming and going was repeated, till at last the curiosity of those who saw its movements was excited, and it was resolved to follow the animal, and see if anything could be learned in explanation of Montdidier's sudden disappearance. The dog was accordingly followed, and was seen to come to a pause on some newly-turned-up earth, where it set up the most mournful wailings and howlings. These cries were so touching, that passengers were attracted ; and finally digging into the ground at the spot, they found there the body of Aubry de Montdidier. It was raised and conveyed to Paris, where it was soon afterwards interred in one of the city cemeteries.

The dog attached itself from this time forth to the friend, already mentioned, of its late master. While attending on him, it chanced several times to get a sight of Macaire, and on every occasion it sprang upon him, and would have strangled him, had it not been taken off by force. This intensity of hate on the part of the animal awakened a suspicion that Macaire had had some share in Montdidier's murder, for his body shewed him to have met a vioient death. Charles V., on being informed of the circumstances, wished to satisfy himself of their truth. He caused Macaire and the dog to be brought before him, and beheld the animal again spring upon the object of its hatred. The king interrogated Macaire closely, but the latter would not admit that he had been in any way connected with Montdidier's murder.

Being strongly impressed by a conviction that the conduct of the dog was based on some guilty act of Macaire, the king ordered a combat to take place between the officer and his dumb accuser, according to the practice, in those days, between human plaintiffs and defendants. This remarkable combat took place on the Isle of Notre-Dame at Paris, in presence of the whole court. The king allowed Macaire to have a strong club as a defensive weapon; while, on the other hand, the only self-preservative means allowed to the dog consisted of an empty cask, into which it could retreat, if hard pressed. The combatants appeared in the lists. The dog seemed perfectly aware of its situation and duty. For a short time it leaped actively around Macaire, and then, at one spring, it fastened itself upon his throat, in so firm a manner that he could not disentangle himself. He would inevitably have been strangled, had he not cried for mercy, and in his terror avowed his crime. The dog was pulled from off him ; but it availed him little ; he was only liberated from its fangs to perish by the hands of the law. The fidelity of this dog has been celebrated in many a drama and poem. The dog which attracted such celebrity has been usually called the Dog of Montargis, from the combat having taken place at the château of Montargis.

Washington Irving mentions that in the course of his reading he had fallen in with the following anecdotes, which illustrate, in a remarkable manner, the devoted attachment of dogs to their masters :

* An officer, named St Leger, who was imprisoned in Vincennes (near Paris] during the wars of St Bartholomew, wished to keep with him a greyhound that he had brought up, and which was much attached to him ; but they harshly refused him this innocent pleasure, and sent away the greyhound to his house in the Rue des Lions St Paul. The next day, the greyhound returned alone to Vincennes, and began to bark under the windows of the tower, towards the place where the officer was confined. St Leger approached, looked through the bars, and was delighted again to see his faithful hound, which began to jump and play a thousand gambols to shew her joy. Her master threw a piece of bread to the animal, which ate it with great good-will. St Leger did the same in his prison, and, in spite of the immense wall which separated them, they breakfasted together like two friends. This friendly visit was not the last. Abandoned by his relations, who believed him dead, the unfortunate prisoner received the visits of his greyhound only, during four years' confinement. Whatever weather it might be, in spite of rain or snow, the faithful animal did not fail a single day to pay her accustomed visit. Six months after his release from prison, St Leger died. The faithful greyhound would no longer remain in the house, but on the day after the funeral returned to the castle of Vincennes, and it is supposed she was actuated by a motive of gratitude. A jailer of the outer court had always shewn great kindness to this dog, which was as handsome as affectionate, Contrary to the custom of people of that class, this man had been touched by her attachment and beauty, so that he facilitated her approach to see her master, and also insured her a safe retreat. Penetrated with gratitude for this service, the greyhound remained the rest of her life near the benevolent jailer. It was remarked that even while testifying her zeal and gratitude for her second master, one could easily see that her heart was with the first. Like those who, having lost a parent, a brother, or a friend, come from afar to seek consolation by viewing the place which they inhabited, this affectionate animal repaired frequently to the tower where St Leger had been imprisoned, and would contemplate for hours together the gloomy window from which her dear master had so often smiled to her, and where they had so frequently breakfasted together.

'In January 1799, the cold was so intense that the Seine was frozen to the depth of fifteen or sixteen inches. Following the example of a number of thoughtless youths, who were determined to continue the amusement of skating, in spite of a thaw having commenced, a young student, called Beaumanoir, wished also to partake of this dangerous pleasure, near the quay of the Hôtel des Monnaies of Paris ; but he had scarcely gone twenty steps when the ice broke under his weight, and he disappeared. The young skater had carried a small spaniel with him, which, seeing his master sink under the ice, immediately gave the alarm by barking with all his might near the spot where the accident had happened. It will easily be believed that it was impossible to give any assistance to the unfortunate youth ; but the howlings of the animal warned others from approaching the fatal place. The poor spaniel sent forth the most frightful howls; he ran along the river as if he were mad ; and at last, not seeing his master return, he went to establish himself at the hole where he had seen him disappear, and there he passed the rest of the day and all the following night. The day after, people saw with surprise the poor animal sorrowfully at the same post. Struck with admiration of such constancy, some of them made him a little bed of straw, and brought him some food; but absorbed in the most profound grief, he would not even drink the milk which these kind-hearted people placed near him. Sometimes he would run about the ice or the borders of the river to seek his master, but he always returned to sleep in the same place. He bit a soldier who was attempting to make him leave his inhospitable retreat, who, fearing that he was mad, fired at and wounded him. This affecting example of grief and constancy was witnessed for many days, and people came in crowds to contemplate this

beautiful trait of attachment, which was not without its reward. The dog being only slightly wounded, was taken charge of by a woman, who, compassionating his suffering, and touched by the affection he shewed for his late master, carried him to her house, where his wound was dressed, and every effort that kindness could devise was practised, to console him for the loss of the


skater.' Anecdotes of this kind are exceedingly numerous. A Westmoreland newspaper relates one respecting the dog of a Scotchwoman, named Jenny, who followed the profession of a pedler. She had a young child which the dog was very fond of, being in the habit of lying with it in the cradle. It happened, however, that the child became ill

, and died. Jenny was at that time living at Hawkshead, but her infant was buried at Staveley. From the mother's distress of mind at the time, little notice was taken of the dog ; but soon after the funeral it was found to be missing, nor could any tidings be heard of it for a fortnight. But the poor mother, passing through Staveley, thought she would visit the churchyard where the infant was interred; when, behold! there was the little dog lying in a deep hole, which it had scratched over the child's grave! It was in a most emaciated state from hu er and privation.



Fidelity to the interests of his master is one of the most pleasing traits in the character of the dog, and could be exemplified by so many anecdotes, that the difficulty consists in making a proper selection. The following, however, is worthy of commemoration:

A French merchant having some money due from a correspondent, set out on horseback, accompanied by his dog, on purpose to receive it. Having settled the business to his satisfaction, he tied the bag of money before him, and began to return home. His faithful dog, as if he entered into his master's feelings, frisked round the horse, barked, and jumped, and seemed to participate in his joy.

The merchant, after riding some miles, alighted to repose himself under an agreeable shade, and taking the bag of money in his hand, laid it down by his side under a hedge, and on remounting, forgot it. The dog perceived his lapse of recollection, and wishing to rectify it, ran to fetch the bag ; but it was too heavy for him to drag along. He then ran to his master, and by crying, barking, and howling, seemed to remind him of his mistake. The merchant understood not his language; but the assiduous creature persevered in its efforts, and after trying to stop the horse in vain, at last began to bite his heels.

The merchant, absorbed in some reverie, wholly overlooked the real object of his affectionate attendant's importunity, but_entertained the alarming apprehension that he was gone mad. Full of this suspicion, in crossing a brook, he turned back to look if the dog would drink. The animal was too intent on his master's business to think of itself; it continued to bark and bite with greater violence than before,

'Mercy !! cried the afflicted merchant, it must be so; my poor dog is certainly mad : what must I do? I must kill him, lest some greater misfortune befall me; but with what regret ! O could I find any one to perform this cruel office for me ! But there is no time to lose; I myself may become the victim, if I

With these words, he drew a pistol from his pocket, and with a trembling hand, took aim at his faithful servant.” He turned away in agony as he fired; but his aim was too sure. The poor animal fell wounded, and, weltering in his blood, still endeavoured to crawl towards his master, as if to tax him with ingratitude. The merchant could not bear the sight; he spurred on his horse with a heart full of sorrow, and lamented he had taken a journey which had cost him so dear. Still, however, the money never entered his mind; he only thought of his poor dog, and tried to console himself with the reflection that he had prevented a greater evil by despatching a

spare him.'

« ForrigeFortsæt »