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.
to him, and what did it all mean.  Alas!  We could not tell him; and none of us dare say to each other that our little comrade in the mystery of life was going to die.  But a silence fell over us all, and the beautiful grandmother took him into her care, and so well did her great and wise heart nurse him through the night that next morning it almost seemed as though we had been wrong; for a flash of his old spirit was in him again, and, though his little legs shook under him, it was plain that he wanted to try and be up at his day’s work on the veranda, warning off the passer-by, or in the garden carrying on his eternal investigations, or farther afield in the councils and expeditions of his fellows.  So we let him have his way, and for a while he seemed happier and stronger for the sunshine, and the old familiar scents and sounds.  But the one little tired husky bark he gave at his old enemy, the Italian workman, passing by, would have broken your heart; and the effort he made with a bone, as he visited the well-remembered neighbourhood of the ice-box for the last time, was piteous beyond telling.  Those sharp, strong teeth that once could bite and grind through anything could do nothing with it now.  To lick it sadly with tired lips, in a sort of hopeless way, was all that was left; and there was really a look in his face as though he accepted this mortal defeat, as he lay down, evidently exhausted with his exertions, on a bank nearby.  But once more his spirit seemed to revive, and he scrambled to his legs again and wearily crawled to the back of the house, where the beautiful grandmother loves to sit and look over the glittering salt-marsh in the summer afternoons.

* * * * *

Of course, he knew that she was there.  She had been his best friend in this strange world.  His last effort was naturally to be near her again.  Almost he reached that kind cave of her skirts.  Only another yard or two and he had been there.  But the energy that had seemed irrepressible and everlasting had come to its end, and the little body had to give in at last, and lie down wearily once more with no life left but the love in its fading eyes.

There are some, I suppose, who may wonder how one can write about the death of a mere dog like this; and cannot understand how the death of a little terrier can make the world seem a lonelier place.  But there are others, I know, who will scarce need telling, men and women with little ghosts of their own haunting their moonlit gardens; strange, appealing, faithful companions, kind little friendly beings that journeyed with them awhile the pilgrimage of the soul.

I often wonder if Teddy misses his little busy playfellow and disciple as we do; if, perhaps, as he barks over the marsh of a morning, he is sending him a message.  He goes about the place with nonchalant greatness as of old, and the Maltese cats still rub their sinuous smoke-grey bodies to and fro beneath his jaws at evening.  There is no sign of sorrow upon him.  But he is old and very wise, and keeps strange knowledge to himself.  So, who can say?

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