Imágenes de páginas

And, as he saw his darling money fail,
Blew his last breath, to sink the lighter scale.
He who so long was current, 'twould be strange,
If he should now be cried down since his change.

The sexton shall green sods on thee bestow;
Alas, the sexton is thy banker now!
A dismal banker must that banker be,
Who gives no bills but of mortality.


1. A Few years ago the public were amused with an account given in the newspapers of a dog which possessed the strange fancy of attending all the fires that occurred in the metropolis. The discovery of this predilection was made by a gentleman residing a few miles from London, who was called up in the middle of the night by the intelligence that the premises adjoin. ing his house of business were on fire. “ The removal of

my books and papers," said he, in telling the story, "of course claimed my attention ; yet, notwithstanding this, and the bustle which prevailed, my eye every now and then rested on a dog, whom, during the hottest progress of the conflagration, I could not help noticing running about, and apparently taking a deep interest in what was going on, contriving to keep himself out of everybody's way, and yet always present amidst the thickest of the stir.

2. “When the fire was got under, and I had leisure to look about me, I again observed the dog, which, with the firemen, appeared to be resting from the fatigues of duty, and was led to make some inquiries respecting him. “Is this your dog, my friend ? said I to a fireman. “No, sir,' answered he; "he does not belong to me, or to any one in particular. We call him the firemen's dog. The firemen's dog,' I replied. Why so ? Has he no master? No, sir,' rejoined the fireman; "he calls none of us master, though we are all of us willing enough to give him a night's lodging and a pennyworth of meat.

But he won't stay long with any of us; his delight is to be at all the fires in London; and, far or near, we generally find him on the road as we are going along, and sometimes, if it is out of town, we give him a lift. I don't think there has been a fire for these two or three years past which he has not been at.'

3. “The communication was so extraordinary, that I found it difficult to believe the story, until it was confirmed by the concurrent testimony of several other firemen. None of them, however, were able to give any account of the early habits of the dog, or to offer any explanation of the circumstances which led to this singular propensity.

4. “Some time afterwards, I was again called up in the night to a fire in the village in which I resided (Camberwell, in Surrey), and to my surprise here I again met with the firemen's dog,' still alive and well, pursuing, with the same apparent interest and satisfaction, the exhibition of that which seldom fails to bring with it disaster and misfortune, oftentimes loss of life and ruin. Still, he called no man master, disdained to receive bed or board from the same hand more than a night or two at a time, nor could the firemen trace out his resting-place.”

5. Such was the account of this interesting animal as it appeared in the newspapers, to which were shortly afterwards appended several circumstances communicated by a fireman at one of the police offices. A magistrate having asked him whether it was a fact that the dog was present at most of the fires that occurred in the metropolis, the fireman replied that he never knew “Tyke," as he was called, to be absent from a fire upon any occasion that he [the fireman) attended himself.

6. The magistrate said the dog must have an extraordinary predilection for fires. He then asked what length of time he had been known to possess that propensity. The fireman replied that he knew Tyke for the last nine years; and although he was getting old, yet the moment the engines were about, Tyke was to be seen as active as ever, running off in the di. rection of the fire.

7. The magistrate inquired whether the dog lived with any particular fireman. The fireman replied that Tyke liked one fireman as well as another; he had no particular favorites, but passed his time amongst them, sometimes going to the house of one, and then to another, and off to a third when he was tired. Day or night, it was all the same to him; if a fire broke out, there he was in the midst of the bustle, running from one engine to another, anxiously looking after the firemen; and although pressed upon by crowds, yet, from his dexterity, he always escaped accidents, only now and then getting a ducking from the engines, which he rather liked than otherwise.

8. The magistrate said that Tyke was a most extraordinary animal, and having expressed a wish to see him, he was shortly after exhibited at the office, and some other peculiarities respecting him were related. There was nothing at all particular in the appearance of the dog; he was a rough-looking small animal, of the terrier breed, and seemed to be in excellent condition, no doubt from the care taken of him by the firemen belonging to the different companies.

9. There was some difficulty experienced in bringing him to the office, as he did not much relish going any distance from where the firemen are usually to be found, except in cases of attending with them at a conflagration, and then distance was of no consequence. It was found necessary to use stratagem for the purpose. A fireman commenced running : Tyke, accustomed to follow upon such occasions, set out after him; but this person having slackened his pace on the way, the sagacious animal, knowing there was no fire, turned back, and it was necessary to carry him to the office.


1. THERE are several objections to one-horse vehicles. With two wheels, they are dangerous; with four, generally cruel inventions, tasking one animal with the labor of two. And, in either case, should your horse think proper to die on the road, you have no survivor to drag your carriage through the rest of the stage; or to be sent off galloping with the coachman on his back for a coadjutor.

2. That was precisely Miss Norman's dilemma. If a horse could be supposed to harbor so deadly a spite against his

proprietor, I should believe that the one in question chose to vent his animosity by breathing his last just at the spot, where it would cause most annoyance and inconvenience.

3. It was just at this moment that I came up with my gig; and knowing something of the lady's character, I halted, in expectation of a scene. Leaving my own bay, I proceeded to assist Humphrey, the coachman, in extricating his horse; but the nag of royal line was stone dead.

4. “ If you please, Ma'am, said Humphrey, Planty-ginit be dead.” The lady acquiesced with the smallest nod ever made.

“I've took off the collar, and the bitt out, and got un out o' harness entirely; but he be as unanimate as his own shoes ;" and the informant looked earnestly at the lady to observe the effect of the communication. But she never moved a muscle; and honest Humphrey was just shutting the coach-door,

and finish the laying out of the corpse, when he was recalled.

“Humphrey !"
“What's your pleasure, Ma'am ?”
“Remember, another time-
“Yes, Ma'am."
66 When a horse of mine is deceased-
“Yes, Ma'am."
66 Touch

hat.” The abashed coachman instantly paid up the salute in ar


to go

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

rear. Unblest by birthright with self-possession, he had not even the advantage of experience in the first families, where he might have learned a little from good example: he was a raw, uncouth country servant, with the great merit of being cheap, whom Miss Norman had undertaken to educate ; but he was still so far from proficient, that in the importance of announcing the death to his mistress, he had omitted one of those minor tokens of respect which she always rigorously exacted.

6. It was now my own turn to come forward, and as deferentially as if she had been indeed the last of the Conqueror's Normandy pippins, I tendered a seat in my chaise, which she tacitly declined, with a gracious gesture of head and hand.

7. “ If you please, Ma'am,” said Humphrey, taking care to touch his hat, and shutting his head into the carriage so that I might not overhear him, “ he's a respectable kind of gentleman enough, and connected with some of the first houses."

“ The gentleman's name?"

8. “To be sure, Ma'am, the gentleman can't help his name," answered Humphrey, fully aware of the peculiar prejudices of his mistress ; " but it be Huggins.”

6. Shut the door.”

9. It appeared, on explanation with the coachman, that he had mistaken me for a person in the employ of the opulent firm of Naylor and Co., whose province it was to travel throughout Britain with samples of hardware in the box-seat of his gig. I did not take the trouble to undeceive him.

10. After a tolerably long pause on all sides, my expectation was excited by the appearance of the Wing through the Binn Gate, the only public vehicle that used the road. At sight of the dead horse, the driver (the noted Jem Wade) reined up-alighted—and standing at the carriage-door with his hat off, as if he knew his customer, made an offer of his services.

11. But Miss Norman, more dignified than ever, waved him off with her hand. Jem became more pressing, and the

coach com

« AnteriorContinuar »