First came Uncle Jim and myself in the two-wheeled cart as scouts and guides.
Followed the General in his surrey. The surrey had originally been intended for idle dalliance along country lanes. In the days of its glory it had been upholstered right merrily, and around its flat top had dangled a blithesome fringe. Both the upholstery and fringe were still somewhat there. Of the glory that was past no other reminder had persisted. The General sat squarely in the middle of the front seat, very large, erect, and imposing, driving with a fine military disregard of hummocks or the laws of equilibrium. In or near the back seat hovered a tiny Japanese boy to whom the General occasionally issued short, sharp, military comments or commands.
Then came Mrs. Kitty and the ponies with Carrie beside her. Immediately astern of the pony cart followed a three-seated carry-all with assorted guests. This was flanked by the Captain and Charley as outriders. The rear was closed by the Invigorator rilled with dachshunds. Their pointed noses poked busily through the slats of the cage, and sniffed up over the edge of the wagon box.
The rear, did I say? I had forgotten Mithradates Antikamia Briggs. The latter polysyllabic person was a despised, apologetic, rangy, black-and-white mongrel hound said to have belonged somewhere to a man named Briggs. I think the rest of his name was intended as an insult. Ordinarily Mithradates hung around the men’s quarters where he was liked. Never had he dared seek either solace or sympathy at the doors of the great house; and never, never had he remotely dreamed of following any of the numerous hunting expeditions. That would have been lese-majesty, high treason, sublime impudence, and intolerable nuisance to be punished by banishment or death. Mithradates realized this perfectly; and never did he presume to raise his eyes to such high and shining affairs.
But to-day he followed. Nobody was subsequently able to explain why Mithradates Antikamia should on this one occasion so have plucked up heart. My private opinion is that he saw the dachshunds being taken, and, in his uncultivated manner, communed with himself as follows:
“Well, will you gaze on that! I don’t pretend to be in the same class with Old Ben or Young Ben, or even of the fox terriers; but if I’m not more of a dog than that lot of splay-footed freaks, I’ll go bite myself! If they’re that hard up for dogs, I’ll be cornswizzled if I don’t go myself!”
Which he did. We did not want him; this was distinctly the dachshunds’ party, and we did not care to have any one messing in. The Captain tried to drive him back. Mithradates Antikamia would not go. The Captain dismounted and tried force. Mithradates shut both eyes, crouched to the ground, and immediately weighed a half ton. When punished he rolled over and held all four paws in the air. The minute the Captain turned his back, after stern admonitions to “go home!” and “down, charge!” and the like, Mithradates crawled slowly forward to the waiting line, ducking his head, wrinkling his upper lips ingratiatingly, and sneezing in the most apologetic tones. Finally we gave it up.