Blink was silent, gnawing at her string. The smile deepened on Joe’s face, his head fell a little one side his mouth fell open a fly flew into it.
“Ah!” he thought, spitting it out; “dog’s quiet now.” He slept.
MR. LAVENDER ADDRESSES A CROWD OF HUNS
“‘Give them ginger!’” thought
Mr. Lavender, approaching the first houses.
“My first task, however, will be to collect them.”
“Can you tell me,” he said to a dustman, “where the market-place is?”
“The Town Hall, then?”
“What place is there, then,” said Mr. Lavender, “where people congregate?”
“Do they never hold public meetings here?”
“Ah!” said the dustman mysteriously.
“I wish to address them on the subject of babies.”
“Bill! Gent abaht babies. Where’d he better go?”
The man addressed, however, who carried a bag of tools, did not stop.
“You,’ear?” said the dustman, and urging his horse, passed on.
“How rude!” thought Mr. Lavender. Something cold and wet was pressed against his hand, he felt a turmoil, and saw Blink moving round and round him, curved like a horseshoe, with a bit of string dangling from her white neck. At that moment of discouragement the sight of one who believed in him gave Mr. Lavender nothing but pleasure. “How wonderful dogs are!” he murmured. The sheep-dog responded by bounds and ear-splitting barks, so that two boys and a little girl wheeling a perambulator stopped to look and listen.
“She is like Mercury,” thought Mr. Lavender; and taking advantage of her interest in his hat, which she had knocked off in her effusions, he placed his hand on her head and crumpled her ear. The dog passed into an hypnotic trance, broken by soft grumblings of pleasure. “The most beautiful eyes in the world!” thought Mr. Lavender, replacing his hat; “the innocence and goodness of her face are entrancing.”
In his long holland coat, with his wide-brimmed felt hat all dusty, and the crutch-handled stick in his hand, he had already arrested the attention of five boys, the little girl with the perambulator, a postman, a maid-servant, and three old ladies.
“What a beautiful dog yours is!” said one of the old ladies; “dear creature! Are you a shepherd?”
Mr. Lavender removed his hat.
“No, madam,” he said; “a public speaker.”
“How foolish of me!” replied the old lady.
“Not at all, madam; the folly is mine.” And Mr. Lavender bowed. “I have come here to give an address on babies.”
The old lady looked at him shrewdly, and, saying something in a low voice to her companions, passed on, to halt again a little way off.