About Bitters by F. E. S.

Bitters being chased by a rooster

CHARLEY and Jimmie D. were playing near the barn one day, when along came the forlornest looking cur you ever did see. The children commenced calling him, and laughed loudly as the animal came towards them, he was such an ill-looking thing.

“Good fellow! nice fellow!” said Charley, patting him. “Jim, you run in, and get him something to eat—won’t you? and don’t tell mother yet; you know she dislikes dogs so. We’ll tie him up to-night, and tell her to-morrow, if no one comes for him.”

Such another looking dog I think I never saw—scrawny and poor, as though he had never been more than half fed; a slit in one ear, tail not much to speak of, and color a dirty black and white.

Jimmie soon came back from a successful forage, and gave him a good supper. At least doggie seemed to think so, for he gobbled it up in about a minute, and then wagged the stump of his tail for more.

“No, sir,” said Charley, “no more to-night.”

Then they shut him up in a little room in a corner of the barn, and ran to find their father, and tell him, well knowing he would not care, if their mother was willing.

They found their father, who went with them to see him, and laughed long and loud as they led out the ugly beast.

Then all went in to supper; the great secret almost revealing itself in their tell-tale looks and occasional whisperings, neither of which attracted their mother’s attention.

Supper over, they made a final visit to their pet, and then left him for the night.

“What shall we name him?” said Jimmie, when they were alone in their room at night.

“O, we must have a funny name, he’s such a sorry looking feller! Wouldn’t you call him ‘Bitters’?” said Charley.

“Bitters!” said Jim, with a laugh.

“Yes, that’s bad enough.”

So Bitters he was named; and next morning they won their mother’s reluctant consent to keep the dog, provided he was kept at the barn, or away from the house, at all events.

Then they fed and played with him till school time, and shut him up till noon.

Bitters seemed to take to his new admirers, and appeared quite satisfied with his quarters, and was getting to look a little more like a respectable dog, when one morning, as he was running round a corner of the barn, he came suddenly upon the old rooster, who bristled up and showed fight. Bitters turned, and ran for dear life, as hard as he could go, and never has been seen or heard from, from that day to this, much to the boys’ regret.