Vanishing Roads and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Vanishing Roads and Other Essays.
but never brutal.  Usually all that is necessary is for him to look at them steadfastly for a few moments in a peculiar way.  This seems to convince them that, after all, discretion is the better part, and slowly and sadly they turn around in a curious cowed way, and walk off, apparently too scared to run, with Teddy, like Fate, grimly at their heels, steadily “pointing” them off the premises.  We were a little anxious, therefore, as to how Teddy would take our little terrier, with his fussy, youthful self-importance, and eternal restless poking into other folks’ affairs.  But Teddy, as we might have told ourselves, had had a long and varied experience of terriers, and had nothing to learn from us.  Yet I have no doubt that, with his instinctive courtesy, he divined the wishes of the family in regard to the newcomer, and was, therefore, predisposed in his favour.  This, however, did not save the evidently much overawed youngster from a stern and searching examination, the most trying part of which seemed to be that long, silent, hypnotizing contemplation of him, which is Teddy’s way of asserting his dignity.  The little dog visibly trembled beneath the great one’s gaze, his tongue hanging out of his mouth, and his eyes wandering helplessly from side to side; and he seemed to be saying, in his dog way:  “O yes!  I know you are a very great and important personage—­and I am only a poor little puppy of no importance.  Only please let me go on living—­and you will see how well I will behave.”  Teddy seemed to be satisfied that some such recognition and submission had been tendered him; so presently he wagged his tail, that had up till then been rigid as a ramrod, and not only the little terrier, but all of us, breathed again.  Yet it was some time before Teddy would admit him into anything like what one might call intimacy, and premature attempts at gamesome familiarity were checked by the gathering thunder of a lazy growl that unmistakably bade the youngster keep his place.  But real friendship eventually grew between them, on Teddy’s side a sort of big-brother affectionate tutelage and guardianship, and on Puppy’s—­for, though we tried many, we never found any other satisfactory name for him but “Puppy”—­a reverent admiration and watchful worshipping imitation.  No great man was ever more anxiously copied by some slavish flatterer than that old sleepy carelessly-great setter by that eager, ambitious little terrier.  The occasions when to bark and when not to bark, for example.  One could actually see Puppy studying the old dog’s face on doubtful occasions of the kind.  Boiling over, as he visibly was, with the desire to bark his soul out, yet he could be seen unmistakably restraining himself, till Teddy, after some preliminary soliloquizing in deep undertones, had made up his mind that the suspicious shuffling-by of probably some inoffensive Italian workman demanded investigation, and lumberingly risen to his feet and made for the door.  Then, like a bunch of firecrackers, Puppy was at the heels, all officious assistance, and the two would disappear like an old and a young thunderbolt into the resounding distance.

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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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