You know what a terrible thing the bite of a mad dog is. The wound may be so small as hardly to leave a scar, and it may heal, and be forgotten, perhaps for weeks and months; still, the deadly poison is in the person’s blood, and when it breaks out, a most fearful death follows, after such sufferings as nobody, who has not seen them, can have an idea of. But, perhaps, you do not know that the angry bite of a dog, when teased or hurt, has often produced the same awful madness. I remember a neighbour’s son dying most horribly of it, who had only had his finger wounded, as if by a pin’s point, by the tooth of a little dog which he was teasing and provoking in play. This shows us how very dangerous it is to irritate an animal; for you never know what peril you may run into. These things do not fall out by chance. The Lord God orders them all; and sometimes he does very terrible things, in judgment on those who knowingly transgress, and for an example to others. May you, dear young readers, be loving, and merciful, and kind; and never stand for a moment in the hateful character of oppressors, where it is alike your duty and your happiness to help the defenceless and to protect the weak!
The cat—the cow—the sheep—the ass.
Poor Puss! I have not so much to say for her as for the noble dog. The cat is more selfish, and not so trustful; neither does she often show so much affection for us. The cat’s habits are more like those of a wild animal, than are the habits of any other of our domestic creatures. It is hardly possible to keep her from straying about, or to teach her to do no mischief. I have had a cat that would not steal, and a dog that would: both proving that every rule has an exception. I often think, when I see Puss watching for mice and birds, and choosing them rather than meat, what a wonderful thing it is that God should have taught a beast of prey to attach itself to man, so far as to rid him of other creatures which, by increasing too fast, would eat up what he wants to live upon. At the same time, I grieve to remember that this war between us and the smaller animals, and between them and each other, comes from our rebellion against God; and I dare not set one creature to destroy another, any farther than is necessary for my own safety, and the support of my family.
Still the cat is an interesting animal, beautiful, cleanly, graceful, and often very loving. A kitten is even more engaging than a puppy. Its fun and frolic are more diverting because of its light, active movements. A grave old cat, sitting in the sunshine, with her eyes half shut, and a merry little kitten, playing with her tail, bounding over her back, and comically boxing her ears, is a sight that I cannot help stopping to admire. But how much to be pitied is a kitten in the hands of children too young to