I must not forget to say that Billy was washed regularly—once a week with nice-smelling soap and once a month with strong-smelling, disagreeable, carbolic soap. He had his own towels and wash cloths, and after being rubbed and scrubbed, he was rolled in a blanket and put by the fire to dry. Miss Laura said that a little dog that has been petted and kept in the house, and has become tender, should never be washed and allowed to run about with a wet coat, unless the weather was very warm, for he would be sure to take cold.
Jim and I were more hardy than Billy, and we took our baths in the sea. Every few days the boys took us down to the shore and we went in swimming with them.
* * * * *
TRAINING A PUPPY
“Ned, dear,” said Miss Laura one day, “I wish you would train Billy to follow and retrieve. He is four months old now, and I shall soon want to take him out in the street.”
“Very well, sister,” said mischievous Ned; and catching up a stick, he said, “Come out into the garden, dogs.”
Though he was brandishing his stick very fiercely, I was not at all afraid of him; and as for Billy, he loved Ned.
The Morris garden was really not a garden but a large piece of ground with the grass worn bare in many places, a few trees scattered about, and some raspberry and currant bushes along the fence. A lady who knew that Mr. Morris had not a large salary, said one day when she was looking out of the dining-room window, “My dear Mrs. Morris, why don’t you have this garden dug up? You could raise your own vegetables. It would be so much cheaper than buying them.”
Mrs. Morris laughed in great amusement.
“Think of the hens, and cats, and dogs, and rabbits, and, above all, the boys that I have. What sort of a garden would there be, and do you think it would be fair to take their playground from them?”
The lady said, “No, she did not think it would be fair.”
I am sure I don’t know what the boys would have done without this strip of ground. Many a frolic and game they had there. In the present case, Ned walked around and around it, with his stick on his shoulder, Billy and I strolling after him. Presently Billy made a dash aside to get a bone. Ned turned around and said firmly, “To heel!”
Billy looked at him innocently, not knowing what he meant. “To heel!” exclaimed Ned again. Billy thought he wanted to play, and putting his head on his paws, he began to bark. Ned laughed; still he kept saying “To heel!” He would not say another word. He knew if he said “Come here,” or “Follow,” or “Go behind,” it would confuse Billy.
Finally, as Ned kept saying the words over and over, and pointing to me, it seemed to dawn upon Billy that he wanted him to follow him. So he came beside me, and together we followed Ned around the garden, again and again.