“Why, you beat him!” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” very stern.
“No fear!” the Master says, getting very red. “The party I bought him off taught him that. He never learnt that from me!” He picked me up in his arms, and to show “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” how well I loved the Master, I bit his chin and hands.
“Mr. Wyndham, sir,” turned over the letters the Master had given him. “Well, these references certainly are very strong,” he says. “I guess I’ll let the dog stay this time. Only see you keep him away from the kennels—or you’ll both go.”
“Thank you, sir,” says the Master, grinning like a cat when she’s safe behind the area-railing.
“He’s not a bad bull-terrier,” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” feeling my head. “Not that I know much about the smooth-coated breeds. My dogs are St. Bernards.” He stopped patting me and held up my nose. “What’s the matter with his ears?” he says. “They’re chewed to pieces. Is this a fighting dog?” he asks, quick and rough-like.
I could have laughed. If he hadn’t been holding my nose, I certainly would have had a good grin at him. Me, the best under thirty pounds in the Province of Quebec, and him asking if I was a fighting dog! I ran to the Master and hung down my head modest-like, waiting for him to tell my list of battles, but the Master he coughs in his cap most painful. “Fightin’ dog, sir,” he cries. “Lor’ bless you, sir, the Kid don’t know the word. ’Es just a puppy, sir, same as you see; a pet dog, so to speak. ’Es a regular old lady’s lap-dog, the Kid is.”
“Well, you keep him away from my St. Bernards,” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” “or they might make a mouthful of him.”
“Yes, sir, that they might,” says the Master. But when we gets outside he slaps his knee and laughs inside hisself, and winks at me most sociable.
The Master’s new home was in the country, in a province they called Long Island. There was a high stone wall about his home with big iron gates to it, same as Godfrey’s brewery; and there was a house with five red roofs, and the stables, where I lived, was cleaner than the aerated bakery-shop, and then there was the kennels, but they was like nothing else in this world that ever I see. For the first days I couldn’t sleep of nights for fear someone would catch me lying in such a cleaned-up place, and would chase me out of it, and when I did fall to sleep I’d dream I was back in the old Master’s attic, shivering under the rusty stove, which never had no coals in it, with the Master flat on his back on the cold floor with his clothes on. And I’d wake up, scared and whimpering, and find myself on the new Master’s cot with his hand on the quilt beside me; and I’d see the glow of the big stove, and hear the high-quality horses below-stairs stamping in their straw-lined boxes, and I’d snoop the sweet smell of hay and harness-soap, and go to sleep again.
The stables was my jail, so the Master said, but I don’t ask no better home than that jail.