Puslapio vaizdai

that moment when an Arab, made up the street, doing a bearing a sack, insolently or hundred yards over the cobbles carelessly jostled my wife as in, I should say, ten dead. we were peering into the dim Richard laid at my wife's feet, recesses of a Jaffa carpet-shop, reassuringly, about a square with our backs to the street. yard of trouser. Before I had time to turn Escort 1 She might have there was a sound of ripping marched through the darkest cotton, a crash, and a howl. bazaar in Syria with Richard Dropping his sack, the Arab at her side; and, in fact, did.


It must not be thought that, singing a passionate solo to in his warlike youth, Richard their accompaniment. neglected the social arts. His The Indian bandmaster, not grace before meat was a model understanding the soul of a to Christians. I would appear bull - terrier, seemed grateful with a plate containing-oh! when I rode up and enticed a scrumptious meal. Unvaried the vocalist away. formalities followed.

Like many great fighters, What a lovely dinner for a Richard had a catholic but dog!”

erratic taste in the feminine. A jump.

There was, in any camp or “What a beautiful dinner!” station, no rival to approach A mad leap. A low growl. him. His looks, his debonair

“What would a dog say for carriage, his lineage stamped such a nice dinner ?

upon him in a world where Then Richard would lift his any mongrel was of the novoice and his lovely nose bility if he escaped a strain of

“pi ")-above all, his reputaIt really was song.

Some tion as a fighter for love or folk think a dog howls when he duty-marked him as the parti hears music; but Richard in any assembly. adored melody, and joined in So we grieved, more than with hearty baritone passages once, to see him marching after his kind. Later, in Kan- proudly along beside his innatara, when the band of an morata of the moment - the Indian marching regiment dowdiest, most misshapen creawould retire into the desert to ture in the district, her anwrestle with the (to the Eastern cestry obviously comprising as musician) queer eccentricities many varieties as the celeof London dance music, Rich- brated pickles,-glancing up at ard could always be found, us with his well-known disseated beside the bandmaster, obedient

obedient “I'm busy” look, his eyes half-shut in reverie, and plainly asking us, “There !

in song.

[ocr errors]

isn't she the loveliest thing and the post-bag buzzed with ever 1"

my fevered inquiries, till at Those who brought out fem- last à leave - bound gunner inine dogs of wondrous an- earned a sovereign by bringcestry and worth rued the day. ing him back. There was a Bedlington

Kantara was almost as happy No amount of chaperonage. a place for fighting as Sarona. Love laughs at chains and There was the canteen dogcollars, no less than at lock, a tough proposition, but not smiths.

quite tough enough. There Yet Richard, you brute, you was-it might have been unforgot her! Did not you, when fortunate for memy own colwe had settled in Kantara, onel's dog. He, a handsome board a troop-train and travel black-and-tan houndish sort of to Ludd, 200 miles away, in creature, once saw fit to intercompany with a terrier belong. vene when Richard and the ing to a north-bound battery canteen champion were having

Hearing of this, I rode at a set-to. Richard's jaws being six in the morning to the sta- occupied, the colonel's dog bit tion. The first train - and him neatly through the cheek Richard-had gone. More units - one fang beneath the upthan one had coveted Richard turned lip, and one just below and laid violent hands on him. his eye. The fangs met. RichHe came back times without ard, extricated before he could number strangely clean and exact vengeance, was confined minus collar, which he had to barracks for the usual ten left as a memento of his short days with a face swollen like stay in the lines of some pass- a melon. On the eleventh day ing battalion. Suspecting mala the colonel's dog strayed fides, therefore, I sought out through our compound. Richthe major of the battery and ard him.

They went emphasised, as far as due sub- through our rush wall with the ordination would allow, that speed of a telegram. Therethe white bull-terrier was my after, to get the colonel's dog dog; that he was known all into his house_indeed, beneath over Palestine ; that my many the bed—it was only necessary friends up-country would recog- to call “Dick ! ” nise him at once ;

that no

There was also Gizeh, the collar or cord would hold him R.O. padre's dog. As a rule, against his will; and that, in they were on good terms, for fine, I meant to have him back. Richard never but once while

As things turned out, a I knew him “went for " a dog policeman friend did recognise smaller or younger than himhim and captured him. Thrice self. Gizeh was a leggy Irish he slipped his collar and found setter. He visited us one day his way back to his flame of with his master.

Richard was the moment, while the line out-lost. My wife was ill in


bed, talking to us through the him off. Best of all, he loved open bedroom door. A failure the frolic on the beach afterof the camp electric plant (this wards—his bout of “mad-dogwas in civilised days) left us ging." First he would rush with only two candles-one for at the least wary, with a goather and one for us. As a duti. like butt in the small of the ful host, I offered Gizeh a meal back. Many times on the sand, from a huge bag of bones, and once in the road, my wife recently left by my company has been bowled over by this cook for Richard's consump- too hearty greeting. Then he tion. Gizeh was half-through would seize (when not circuma welcome meal when Richard vented) a towel-if it happened returned, hungry, to find him- to be a complete stranger's self supplanted, a stranger on towel, well, a pity ; but why the hearth, his very dinner make a fuss about trivialities ? being wolfed by an interloper. -toss it in the air, and rush Dog nature could stand no with it for a mile or so, finally more.

worrying it and returning it With a shout of rage he thoroughly impregnated with chased Gizeh through our bung- sand. alow, under the beds, knocking I grieve to say Richard was over my wife's candle, around intolerant of all sports save the dining-room, extinguishing the two-swimming and fightours, while the padre danced, ing-in which he excelled. He uttering ecclesiastical formulæ, loathed above all things being and I tried to separate them taken on a lead to a football with the only weapon to hand match or gymkhana. On such -the still weighty bag of re- an occasion he would invariserve bones. Crockery crashed, ably, having wormed his way chairs collapsed, the house to the front row-if possible, was a shambles until Gizeh, in the neighbourhood of the spying a newly-opened door, General's wife-be sick. He dashed out into the Egyptian did this with such regularity night.

(of course, it was always sucBathing in the Suez Canal cessful ; he was hurried away gave a new fillip to Richard's from the boresome spectacle) never - jaded life.

Swimming that we used to wonder if he out to whichever of us called put a paw down his throat on him, with sweeping strokes of purpose. his mighty forelegs, he would Nor could he abide hunting. greet us with transports of He would tackle any beast, joy and fierce blows upon the dog or jackal, that came his shoulders. This, in my wife's way, but hunt he would not, case, meant probable drown- nor let others. We managed ing; 80, when Richard was by great good luck to keep making for her, a spurt on him close confined on every my part was needed to head hunting day at Sarona ; but at Kantara a bobbery pack, Nor was he undutiful. My passing our doors on the way wife and I both had spells in to meet, was too much for the camp hospital near our him. Despite my imprecations compound. Daily, at an apand the huntsman's whip— pointed time, Richard would which I had begged him to use enter the open tent, greet us unsparingly - he would dash with a sniff-or, in my wife's into the midst of them with case, with the most delicate savage cry, and the whole attention a gentlemanly dog pack were not a match for can offer, by snapping gently him. Recapturing Richard along her arm to remove poscaused many delays on hunt- sible fleas,-lie beneath the bed ing mornings.

for the time appointed by etiFighter though he was, he quette, and stroll back for had many graces. Most fas- lunch in the lines. cinating of all was his ill- Richard came with us to feigned penitence and pleading Alexandria, and was, unobwhen found on a forbidden served, beneath the bed when sofa—his case conducted en- my little son was born. The tirely with one half-shut eye doctor, hastily summoned, trod and his eloquent tail.

on him, and my first bulletin, We would enter the room as I waited in the corridor, was, and fix him with an accusing “Take that infernal dog away!glance. No more.

as Richard was unceremoniously Flop, flop! (This particular handed out. When the prosofa isn't forbidden, is it?) cession of mother, nurse, and “ Richard !”

baby set out each morning to Flop, flop ! (Well, really, I the beach, Richard marched didn't know. Don't you think proudly beside the pram. Disyou could waive it) aster nearly befel one day. He

“Richard, what are you- lay asleep on the seashore in Flop, flop! (-for once ?) the pram's shade. A native “-doing on that sofa ?' selling some rubbish or other

And then, as if he had became unduly persistent. My perched himself there quite wife, seated reading on the somnambulistically, and had sand, murmured "Dick!" (It no idea of it until we awakened was “ Richard” for all formal him, he would descend with occasions, “ Dick " for emera world of reproach in his now gencies.) With one bound, alopened eye. Deck-chairs, how- most upsetting pram and baby, ever, were not forbidden ; and he was up, with his teeth in these he would stretch him- through the ever - attractive self on his back, forelegs planted trousers. on the arms, inelegant, but At Alexandria Richard, unalmost human in his apprecia- less on duty with the pram, tion of a really comfortable was almost permanently lost doze.

by day, though he was ever

[ocr errors]

faithful to us o' nights. We But in the evening, before lived for a while in a hotel. dinnerwhen the band enThe other inhabitants, being livened cocktail time, he would white, were rapidly admitted be at his post beneath the conas friends. Either he would ductor's seat, joining in the join them, quite uninvited, in more sympathique passages (he their bathes; or he would had learnt to modulate his accompany them, unasked and voice by now) with a not undespite the rules, to the Sport- tuneful moan. Long after we ing Club, where his exuberance had left the hotel and gone to gave “ginger to the trial live near by, Richard would gallop of a race-pony unused desert us for two hours a day to a bull-terrier at its heels; to listen to his beloved music. or he would press his company

Diners on the verandah made on them in motor or taxi-cab; much of him. His grace or (annoying and expensive was said with profit—when we affair) he would be arrested— were not quick enough to forhaving been found far from bid it-beside many a stranger. home, and, as often as not, The proprietor, a golden-hearted without a collar—by the police, Frenchman, would have cooked to be bailed out at great cost his entire staff en casserole, I from their remote dog-jail. believe, to make him a meal.

[ocr errors]


We had orders for home, and ing brakes and Arabic curses the problem arose what to do announced that they had seen with Richard. The little boy, him just in time. He had for whom he would have been never seen snow or felt real 80 secure a playmate, we left cold. Would he survive a sleeping beneath Egyptian skies. winter in England, or a week in

No four-footed friend we are the thronged streets of a town? ever likely to have could endear To take him seemed imhimself to us as Richard did. possible, to destroy him unBut would he live in England, thinkable. and in town !

The French patron provided He had no idea of traffic. the way. Time and again he The only time, in our company, told us how he would love a he met a tram-lighted, in a dog like that. Mon vieux,” dark suburban road-he fled he would say, “tu resteras ici, before it up the track, terror- chez moi 9" All the English ised by its headlamps, while in Alexandria would be his we waited with our hearts in friends. our mouths. As for motor- Parting was-well, could it cars, he lay asleep day after but be a wrench after all I day in the centre of the road have chronicled | But Richard they most frequented ; grind- seemed content.

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »