“If I did,” she replied, “I know he’d just love to do it with me—”
“Which would make it a very unusual turn,” Harley caught her up.
“You mean . . .?”
“That in about one turn in a hundred does the animal love its work or is the animal loved by its trainer.”
“I thought all the cruelty had been done away with long ago,” she contended.
“So the audience thinks, and the audience is ninety-nine times wrong.”
Villa heaved a great sigh of renunciation as she said, “Then I suppose I must abandon such promising and lucrative career right now in the very moment you have discovered it for me. Just the same the billboards would look splendid with my name in the hugest letters—”
“Villa Kennan the Thrush-throated Songstress, and Sing Song Silly the Irish-Terrier Tenor,” her husband pictured the head-lines for her.
And with dancing eyes and lolling tongue Jerry joined in the laughter, not because he knew what it was about, but because it tokened they were happy and his love prompted him to be happy with them.
For Jerry had found, and in the uttermost, what his nature craved—the love of a god. Recognizing the duality of their lordship over the Ariel, he loved the pair of them; yet, somehow, perhaps because she had penetrated deepest into his heart with her magic voice that transported him to the land of Otherwhere, he loved the lady-god beyond all love he had ever known, not even excluding his love for Skipper.
One thing Jerry learned early on the Ariel, namely, that nigger-chasing was not permitted. Eager to please and serve his new gods, he took advantage of the first opportunity to worry a canoe-load of blacks who came visiting on board. The quick chiding of Villa and the command of Harley made him pause in amazement. Fully believing he had been mistaken, he resumed his ragging of the particular black he had picked upon. This time Harley’s voice was peremptory, and Jerry came to him, his wagging tail and wriggling body all eagerness of apology, as was his rose-strip of tongue that kissed the hand of forgiveness with which Harley patted him.
Next, Villa called him to her. Holding him close to her with her hands on his jowls, eye to eye and nose to nose, she talked to him earnestly about the sin of nigger-chasing. She told him that he was no common bush-dog, but a blooded Irish gentleman, and that no dog that was a gentleman ever did such things as chase unoffending black men. To all of which he listened with unblinking serious eyes, understanding little of what she said, yet comprehending all. “Naughty” was a word in the Ariel language he had already learned, and she used it several times. “Naughty,” to him, meant “must not,” and was by way of expressing a taboo.
Since it was their way and their will, who was he, he might well have asked himself, to disobey their rule or question it? If niggers were not to be chased, then chase them he would not, despite the fact that Skipper had encouraged him to chase them. Not in such set terms did Jerry consider the matter; but in his own way he accepted the conclusions.