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Tinker.

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Miss Daisy had gone away to stay with her cousins in London, and she had taken Trap with her. Why she should have taken him instead of me is a matter on which I can offer no opinion. If my opinion had been asked, I should have said that I thought it more suitable for her to have a heavy middle-aged dog of good manners than a harum-scarum young stripling like Trap. Trap told me afterwards that he thought the reason he was taken was because Miss Daisy would have had more to pay for the dog-ticket of such a heavy dog as I am; but I can't believe that dogs are charged for by the weight, like butter. As I was saying, Miss Daisy took Trap with her, and also her father and mother; and Tinker and I were left to take care of the servants. We had a very agreeable time, though I confess that I missed Miss Daisy more than I would have believed possible. But there was more to eat in the kitchen than usual, and the servants often left things on the table when they went out to take in the milk or to chat with the gardeners; and if people leave things on tables, they have only themselves to thank for whatever happens. There was a young man who wore a fur cap, and who used to call with fish; and I was more surprised than I care to own when I met him walking out with cook one Sunday afternoon, for I thought she had a soul above fish; yet when the servants began to ask this young man to tea in the kitchen, I thought, of course, it must be all right, but Tinker would do nothing but growl the whole time the young man was there; so that at last cook had to lock us up in the butler's pantry till the young man was gone. _I_ had not growled, but I was locked in too. The world is full of injustice and ingratitude.



Now one night, when the servants went to bed, Tinker and I lay down in our baskets under the hall table as usual; but Tinker was dreadfully restless, which must have been only an accident, because he said himself he didn't know what was the matter with him; and he would not go to sleep, but kept walking up and down as if he were going to hide a bone and couldn't find a good place for it. "Do lie down, for goodness' sake, Tinker," I said, "and go to sleep. Any one can see you have not been brought up in a house where regular hours are kept." "I can't go to sleep; I don't know what's the matter with me," he said gloomily. Well, I tried to go to sleep myself, and I think I must almost have dropped off, when I heard a scrape-scraping from the butler's pantry. I wasn't going to bark. It wasn't my business. I have often heard Miss Daisy's relations say that I was no house-dog. Still, I think Tinker ought to have barked then, but he didn't: only just pricked his ears and his tail; and he waited, and the scraping went on. Then Tinker said to me--"Don't you make a noise, for your life; I am going to see what it is;" and he trotted softly into the butler's pantry. It was rather dark, but you know we dogs can see as well as cats in the dark, although they do make such a fuss about it, and declare that they are the only creatures who can.



There was a man outside the window, and I tapped Tinker with my tail to show him that he ought to bark, but he never moved. The man had been scraping and scraping till he had got out one of the window-panes. It was a very little window-pane, only just big enough for his hand to go through; and the man took out the window-pane and put his hand through, making a long arm to get at the fastening of the window; and just as he was going to undo the hasp, Tinker made a spring on to the window-ledge, and he caught the man's hand in his mouth, and the man gave a push, and Tinker fell off the window-ledge, but he took the man's hand with him; and there was the man's arm dragged through the window-pane, and Tinker hanging on to his fingers. The man broke some more panes and tried to get his other hand through, and if he had he would have done for Tinker, but he could not manage it; and now I thought "This is the time to bark," and I barked. I barked my best, I barked nobly, though I am not a house-dog, and I don't think it's my business. In less than a minute down came the gardener and the under-gardener: and Tinker was still holding on, and they took the man, and he was marched off to prison, and it turned out to be the man in the fur cap. But though they made fuss enough about Tinker's share in the business, you may be sure it didn't make me think much more of him.



I should never have had anything to say to him but for one thing. Early one morning we three dogs--it's all over long ago, and I hope I can be generous and let bygones be bygones; he is one of _us_ now--went out for a run in the paddock by the wood, and while Trap and I were trotting up and down chatting about the weather, that Tinker dog bolted into the wood, and in less than a minute came out with a rabbit. I saw at once that he could never get it eaten before Miss Daisy came out, and I knew that, if he were found with it, his sufferings would be awful. So I helped him to eat it. I know my duty to a fellow-creature, I trust. It was a very young rabbit, and tender. Not too much fur. Fur gets in your throat, and spoils your teeth, besides. We had just finished it when my mistress came out. Trap would not eat a bit, even to help Tinker out of his scrape, but _I_ have a kind heart. Well, after that I thought I might as well consent to be friends with Tinker, in spite of his low breeding. You see, I had helped him out of a dreadful scrape, and one always feels kindly to people one has helped. He has caught several more rabbits since then, and I have always stood by him on those occasions, and I always mean to. I am not one to turn my back on a friend, I believe. So now he has a collar like ours, and I hardly feel degraded at all when I sit opposite to him at the doll's tea-parties.

       



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