The Bar Sinister by Richard Harding Davis
When this story first appeared, the writer received letters of two
kinds, one asking a question and the other making a statement. The
question was, whether there was any foundation of truth in the story;
the statement challenged him to say that there was. The letters seemed
to show that a large proportion of readers prefer their dose of fiction
with a sweetening of fact. This is written to furnish that condiment,
and to answer the question and the statement.
In the dog world, the original of the bull-terrier in the story is
known as Edgewood Cold Steel and to his intimates as “Kid.”
His father was Lord Minto, a thoroughbred bull-terrier, well known in
Canada, but the story of Kid’s life is that his mother was a
black-and-tan named Vic. She was a lady of doubtful pedigree. Among her
offspring by Lord Minto, so I have been often informed by many Canadian
dog-fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors, was the only white puppy, Kid,
in a litter of black-and-tans. He made his first appearance in the show
world in 1900 in Toronto, where, under the judging of Mr. Charles H.
Mason, he was easily first. During that year, when he came to our
kennels, and in the two years following, he carried off many blue
ribbons and cups at nearly every first-class show in the country. The
other dog, “Jimmy Jocks,” who in the book was his friend
and mentor, was in real life his friend and companion, Woodcote Jumbo,
or “Jaggers,” an aristocratic son of a long line of English
champions. He has gone to that place where some day all good dogs must
In this autobiography I have tried to describe Kid as he really is,
and this year, when he again strives for blue ribbons, I trust, should
the gentle reader see him at any of the bench-shows, he will give him a
friendly pat and make his acquaintance. He will find his advances met
with a polite and gentle courtesy.
The Master was walking most unsteady, his legs tripping each other.
After the fifth or sixth round, my legs often go the same way.
But even when the Master’s legs bend and twist a bit, you
mustn’t think he can’t reach you. Indeed, that is the time
he kicks most frequent. So I kept behind him in the shadow, or ran in
the middle of the street. He stopped at many public houses with
swinging doors, those doors that are cut so high from the sidewalk that
you can look in under them, and see if the Master is inside. At night,
when I peep beneath them, the man at the counter will see me first and
say, “Here’s the Kid, Jerry, come to take you home. Get a
move on you”; and the Master will stumble out and follow me.
It’s lucky for us I’m so white, for, no matter how dark the
night, he can always see me ahead, just out of reach of his boot. At
night the Master certainly does see most amazing. Sometimes he sees two
or four of me, and walks in a circle, so that I have to take him by the
leg of his trousers and lead him into the right road. One night, when
he was very nasty-tempered and I was coaxing him along, two men passed
us, and one of them says, “Look at that brute!” and the
other asks, “Which?” and they both laugh. The Master he
cursed them good and proper.
But this night, whenever we stopped at a public house, the
Master’s pals left it and went on with us to the next. They spoke
quite civil to me, and when the Master tried a flying kick, they gives
him a shove. “Do you want us to lose our money?” says the
I had had nothing to eat for a day and a night, and just before we
set out the Master gives me a wash under the hydrant. Whenever I am
locked up until all the slop-pans in our alley are empty, and made to
take a bath, and the Master’s pals speak civil and feel my ribs,
I know something is going to happen. And that night, when every time
they see a policeman under a lamp-post, they dodged across the street,
and when at the last one of them picked me up and hid me under his
jacket, I began to tremble; for I knew what it meant. It meant that I
was to fight again for the Master.
I don’t fight because I like fighting. I fight because if I
didn’t the other dog would find my throat, and the Master would
lose his stakes, and I would be very sorry for him, and ashamed. Dogs
can pass me and I can pass dogs, and I’d never pick a fight with
none of them. When I see two dogs standing on their hind legs in the
streets, clawing each other’s ears, and snapping for each
other’s wind-pipes, or howling and swearing and rolling in the
mud, I feel sorry they should act so, and pretend not to notice. If
he’d let me, I’d like to pass the time of day with every
dog I meet. But there’s something about me that no nice dog can
abide. When I trot up to nice dogs, nodding and grinning, to make
friends, they always tell me to be off. “Go to the devil!”
they bark at me. “Get out!” And when I walk away they shout
“Mongrel!” and “Gutter-dog!” and sometimes,
after my back is turned, they rush me. I could kill most of them with
three shakes, breaking the backbone of the little ones and squeezing
the throat of the big ones. But what’s the good? They are
nice dogs; that’s why I try to make up to them: and, though
it’s not for them to say it, I am a street-dog, and if I
try to push into the company of my betters, I suppose it’s their
right to teach me my place.
Of course they don’t know I’m the best fighting
bull-terrier of my weight in Montreal. That’s why it
wouldn’t be fair for me to take notice of what they shout. They
don’t know that if I once locked my jaws on them I’d carry
away whatever I touched. The night I fought Kelley’s White Rat, I
wouldn’t loosen up until the Master made a noose in my leash and
strangled me; and, as for that Ottawa dog, if the handlers hadn’t
thrown red pepper down my nose I never would have let go of him.
I don’t think the handlers treated me quite right that time, but
maybe they didn’t know the Ottawa dog was dead. I did.
I learned my fighting from my mother when I was very young. We slept
in a lumber-yard on the river-front, and by day hunted for food along
the wharves. When we got it, the other tramp-dogs would try to take it
off us, and then it was wonderful to see mother fly at them and drive
them away. All I know of fighting I learned from mother, watching her
picking the ash-heaps for me when I was too little to fight for myself.
No one ever was so good to me as mother. When it snowed and the ice was
in the St. Lawrence, she used to hunt alone, and bring me back new
bones, and she’d sit and laugh to see me trying to swallow
’em whole. I was just a puppy then; my teeth was falling out.
When I was able to fight we kept the whole river-range to ourselves. I
had the genuine long “punishing” jaw, so mother said, and
there wasn’t a man or a dog that dared worry us. Those were happy
days, those were; and we lived well, share and share alike, and when we
wanted a bit of fun, we chased the fat old wharf-rats! My, how they
Then the trouble came. It was no trouble to me. I was too young to
care then. But mother took it so to heart that she grew ailing, and
wouldn’t go abroad with me by day. It was the same old scandal
that they’re always bringing up against me. I was so young then
that I didn’t know. I couldn’t see any difference between
mother–and other mothers.
But one day a pack of curs we drove off snarled back some new names
at her, and mother dropped her head and ran, just as though they had
whipped us. After that she wouldn’t go out with me except in the
dark, and one day she went away and never came back, and, though I
hunted for her in every court and alley and back street of Montreal, I
never found her.
One night, a month after mother ran away, I asked Guardian, the old
blind mastiff, whose Master is the night watchman on our slip, what it
all meant. And he told me.
“Every dog in Montreal knows,” he says, “except
you; and every Master knows. So I think it’s time you
Then he tells me that my father, who had treated mother so bad, was
a great and noble gentleman from London. “Your father had
twenty-two registered ancestors, had your father,” old Guardian
says, “and in him was the best bull-terrier blood of England, the
most ancientest, the most royal; the winning ‘blue-ribbon’ blood,
that breeds champions. He had sleepy pink eyes and thin pink lips, and
he was as white all over as his own white teeth, and under his white
skin you could see his muscles, hard and smooth, like the links of a
steel chain. When your father stood still, and tipped his nose in the
air, it was just as though he was saying, ‘Oh, yes, you common dogs and
men, you may well stare. It must be a rare treat for you colonials to
see real English royalty.’ He certainly was pleased with hisself,
was your father. He looked just as proud and haughty as one of them
stone dogs in Victoria Park–them as is cut out of white marble.
And you’re like him,” says the old mastiff–“by
that, of course, meaning you’re white, same as him. That’s
the only likeness. But, you see, the trouble is, Kid–well, you
see, Kid, the trouble is–your mother―”
“That will do,” I said, for then I understood without
his telling me, and I got up and walked away, holding my head and tail
high in the air.
But I was, oh, so miserable, and I wanted to see mother that very
minute, and tell her that I didn’t care.
Mother is what I am, a street-dog; there’s no royal blood in
mother’s veins, nor is she like that father of mine,
nor–and that’s the worst–she’s not even like
me. For while I, when I’m washed for a fight, am as white as
clean snow, she–and this is our trouble–she, my mother, is
When mother hid herself from me, I was twelve months old and able to
take care of myself, and as, after mother left me, the wharves were
never the same, I moved uptown and met the Master. Before he came, lots
of other men-folks had tried to make up to me, and to whistle me home.
But they either tried patting me or coaxing me with a piece of meat; so
I didn’t take to ’em. But one day the Master pulled me out
of a street-fight by the hind legs, and kicked me good.
“You want to fight, do you?” says he. “I’ll
give you all the fighting you want!” he says, and he kicks
me again. So I knew he was my Master, and I followed him home. Since
that day I’ve pulled off many fights for him, and they’ve
brought dogs from all over the province to have a go at me; but up to
that night none, under thirty pounds, had ever downed me.
But that night, so soon as they carried me into the ring, I saw the
dog was overweight, and that I was no match for him. It was asking too
much of a puppy. The Master should have known I couldn’t do it.
Not that I mean to blame the Master, for when sober, which he sometimes
was–though not, as you might say, his habit–he was most
kind to me, and let me out to find food, if I could get it, and only
kicked me when I didn’t pick him up at night and lead him
But kicks will stiffen the muscles, and starving a dog so as to get
him ugly-tempered for a fight may make him nasty, but it’s
weakening to his insides, and it causes the legs to wobble.
The ring was in a hall back of a public house. There was a red-hot
whitewashed stove in one corner, and the ring in the other. I lay in
the Master’s lap, wrapped in my blanket, and, spite of the stove,
shivering awful; but I always shiver before a fight: I can’t help
gettin’ excited. While the men-folks were a-flashing their money
and taking their last drink at the bar, a little Irish groom in gaiters
came up to me and give me the back of his hand to smell, and scratched
me behind the ears.
“You poor little pup,” says he; “you haven’t
no show,” he says. “That brute in the tap-room he’ll
eat your heart out.”
“That’s what you think,” says the Master,
snarling. “I’ll lay you a quid the Kid chews him
The groom he shook his head, but kept looking at me so sorry-like
that I begun to get a bit sad myself. He seemed like he couldn’t
bear to leave off a-patting of me, and he says, speaking low just like
he would to a man-folk, “Well, good luck to you, little
pup,” which I thought so civil of him that I reached up and
licked his hand. I don’t do that to many men. And the Master he
knew I didn’t, and took on dreadful.
“What ’ave you got on the back of your hand?” says he,
“Soap!” says the groom, quick as a rat.
“That’s more than you’ve got on yours. Do you want to
smell of it?” and he sticks his fist under the Master’s
nose. But the pals pushed in between ’em.
“He tried to poison the Kid!” shouts the Master.
“Oh, one fight at a time,” says the referee. “Get
into the ring, Jerry. We’re waiting.” So we went into the
I never could just remember what did happen in that ring. He give me
no time to spring. He fell on me like a horse. I couldn’t keep my
feet against him, and though, as I saw, he could get his hold when he
liked, he wanted to chew me over a bit first. I was wondering if
they’d be able to pry him off me, when, in the third round, he
took his hold; and I begun to drown, just as I did when I fell into the
river off the Red C slip. He closed deeper and deeper on my throat, and
everything went black and red and bursting; and then, when I were sure
I were dead, the handlers pulled him off, and the Master give me a kick
that brought me to. But I couldn’t move none, or even wink, both
eyes being shut with lumps.
“He’s a cur!” yells the Master, “a sneaking,
cowardly cur! He lost the fight for me,” says he, “because
he’s a ― ― ― cowardly cur.” And he kicks
me again in the lower ribs, so that I go sliding across the sawdust.
“There’s gratitude fer yer,” yells the Master.
“I’ve fed that dog, and nussed that dog and housed him like
a prince; and now he puts his tail between his legs and sells me out,
he does. He’s a coward! I’ve done with him, I am. I’d
sell him for a pipeful of tobacco.” He picked me up by the tail,
and swung me for the men-folks to see. “Does any gentleman here
want to buy a dog,” he says, “to make into
sausage-meat?” he says. “That’s all he’s good
Then I heard the little Irish groom say, “I’ll give you
ten bob for the dog.”
And another voice says, “Ah, don’t you do it; the
dog’s same as dead–mebbe he is dead.”
“Ten shillings!” says the Master, and his voice sobers a
bit; “make it two pounds and he’s yours.”
But the pals rushed in again.
“Don’t you be a fool, Jerry,” they say.
“You’ll be sorry for this when you’re sober. The
Kid’s worth a fiver.”
One of my eyes was not so swelled up as the other, and as I hung by
my tail, I opened it, and saw one of the pals take the groom by the
“You ought to give ’im five pounds for that dog,
mate,” he says; “that’s no ordinary dog. That
dog’s got good blood in him, that dog has. Why, his
father–that very dog’s father―”
I thought he never would go on. He waited like he wanted to be sure
the groom was listening.
“That very dog’s father,” says the pal, “is
Regent Royal, son of Champion Regent Monarch, champion bull-terrier of
England for four years.”
“He’s a coward, I’ve
done with him.”
I was sore, and torn, and chewed most awful, but what the pal said
sounded so fine that I wanted to wag my tail, only couldn’t,
owing to my hanging from it.
But the Master calls out: “Yes, his father was Regent Royal;
who’s saying he wasn’t? but the pup’s a cowardly cur,
that’s what his pup is. And why? I’ll tell you why: because
his mother was a black-and-tan street-dog, that’s why!”
I don’t see how I got the strength, but, someway, I threw
myself out of the Master’s grip and fell at his feet, and turned
over and fastened all my teeth in his ankle, just across the bone.
When I woke, after the pals had kicked me off him, I was in the
smoking-car of a railroad-train, lying in the lap of the little groom,
and he was rubbing my open wounds with a greasy yellow stuff, exquisite
to the smell and most agreeable to lick off.
“Well, what’s your name–Nolan? Well, Nolan, these
references are satisfactory,” said the young gentleman my new
Master called “Mr. Wyndham, sir.” “I’ll take
you on as second man. You can begin to-day.”
My new Master shuffled his feet and put his finger to his forehead.
“Thank you, sir,” says he. Then he choked like he had
swallowed a fish-bone. “I have a little dawg, sir,” says
“You can’t keep him,” says “Mr. Wyndham,
sir,” very short.
“’E’s only a puppy, sir,” says my new Master;
“’e wouldn’t go outside the stables, sir.”
“It’s not that,” says “Mr. Wyndham,
sir.” “I have a large kennel of very fine dogs;
they’re the best of their breed in America. I don’t allow
strange dogs on the premises.”
The Master shakes his head, and motions me with his cap, and I crept
out from behind the door. “I’m sorry, sir,” says the
Master. “Then I can’t take the place. I can’t get
along without the dawg, sir.”
“Mr. Wyndham, sir,” looked at me that fierce that I
guessed he was going to whip me, so I turned over on my back and begged
with my legs and tail.
“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.
Only see you keep him away from the kennels–or you’ll both
“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’ dawg, sir!” he cries.
“Lor’ bless you, sir, the Kid don’t know the word.
’E’s just a puppy, sir, same as you see; a pet dog, so to speak.
’E’s 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
“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 aërated 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 some one 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
The stables was my jail, so the Master said, but I don’t ask
no better home than that jail.
“Now, Kid,” says he, sitting on the top of a bucket
upside down, “you’ve got to understand this. When I whistle
it means you’re not to go out of this ’ere yard. These
stables is your jail. If you leave ’em I’ll have to leave
’em too, and over the seas, in the County Mayo, an old mother
will ’ave to leave her bit of a cottage. For two pounds I must be
sending her every month, or she’ll have naught to eat, nor no
thatch over ’er head. I can’t lose my place, Kid, so see you
don’t lose it for me. You must keep away from the kennels,”
says he; “they’re not for the likes of you. The kennels are
for the quality. I wouldn’t take a litter of them woolly dogs for
one wag of your tail, Kid, but for all that they are your betters, same
as the gentry up in the big house are my betters. I know my place and
keep away from the gentry, and you keep away from the
So I never goes out of the stables. All day I just lay in the sun on
the stone flags, licking my jaws, and watching the grooms wash down the
carriages, and the only care I had was to see they didn’t get gay
and turn the hose on me. There wasn’t even a single rat to plague
me. Such stables I never did see.
“Nolan,” says the head groom, “some day that dog
of yours will give you the slip. You can’t keep a street-dog tied
up all his life. It’s against his natur’.” The head
groom is a nice old gentleman, but he doesn’t know everything.
Just as though I’d been a street-dog because I liked it! As if
I’d rather poke for my vittles in ash-heaps than have ’em
handed me in a wash-basin, and would sooner bite and fight than be
polite and sociable. If I’d had mother there I couldn’t
have asked for nothing more. But I’d think of her snooping in the
gutters, or freezing of nights under the bridges, or, what’s
worst of all, running through the hot streets with her tongue down, so
wild and crazy for a drink that the people would shout “mad
dog” at her and stone her. Water’s so good that I
don’t blame the men-folks for locking it up inside their houses;
but when the hot days come, I think they might remember that those are
the dog-days, and leave a little water outside in a trough, like they
do for the horses. Then we wouldn’t go mad, and the policemen
wouldn’t shoot us. I had so much of everything I wanted that it
made me think a lot of the days when I hadn’t nothing, and if I
could have given what I had to mother, as she used to share with me,
I’d have been the happiest dog in the land. Not that I
wasn’t happy then, and most grateful to the Master, too, and if
I’d only minded him, the trouble wouldn’t have come
But one day the coachman says that the little lady they called Miss
Dorothy had come back from school, and that same morning she runs over
to the stables to pat her ponies, and she sees me.
“Oh, what a nice little, white little dog!” said she.
“Whose little dog are you?” says she.
“That’s my dog, miss,” says the Master. “’Is
name is Kid.” And I ran up to her most polite, and licks her
fingers, for I never see so pretty and kind a lady.
“You must come with me and call on my new puppies,” says
she, picking me up in her arms and starting off with me.
“Oh, but please, miss,” cries Nolan, “Mr. Wyndham
give orders that the Kid’s not to go to the kennels.”
“That’ll be all right,” says the little lady;
“they’re my kennels too. And the puppies will like to play
You wouldn’t believe me if I was to tell you of the style of
them quality-dogs. If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t
have believed it neither. The Viceroy of Canada don’t live no
better. There was forty of them, but each one had his own house and a
yard–most exclusive–and a cot and a drinking-basin all to
hisself. They had servants standing round waiting to feed ’em
when they was hungry, and valets to wash ’em; and they had their
hair combed and brushed like the grooms must when they go out on the
box. Even the puppies had overcoats with their names on ’em in
blue letters, and the name of each of those they called champions was
painted up fine over his front door just like it was a public house or
a veterinary’s. They were the biggest St. Bernards I ever did
see. I could have walked under them if they’d have let me. But
they were very proud and haughty dogs, and looked only once at me, and
then sniffed in the air. The little lady’s own dog was an old
gentleman bull-dog. He’d come along with us, and when he notices
how taken aback I was with all I see, ’e turned quite kind and affable
and showed me about.
“Jimmy Jocks,” Miss Dorothy called him, but, owing to
his weight, he walked most dignified and slow, waddling like a duck, as
you might say, and looked much too proud and handsome for such a silly
“That’s the runway, and that’s the
trophy-house,” says he to me, “and that over there is the
hospital, where you have to go if you get distemper, and the vet gives
you beastly medicine.”
“And which of these is your ’ouse, sir?” asks I, wishing
to be respectful. But he looked that hurt and haughty. “I
don’t live in the kennels,” says he, most contemptuous.
“I am a house-dog. I sleep in Miss Dorothy’s room. And at
lunch I’m let in with the family, if the visitors don’t
mind. They ’most always do, but they’re too polite to say so.
Besides,” says he, smiling most condescending, “visitors
are always afraid of me. It’s because I’m so ugly,”
says he. “I suppose,” says he, screwing up his wrinkles and
speaking very slow and impressive, “I suppose I’m the
ugliest bull-dog in America”; and as he seemed to be so pleased
to think hisself so, I said, “Yes, sir; you certainly are the
ugliest ever I see,” at which he nodded his head most
“But I couldn’t hurt ’em, as you say,” he
goes on, though I hadn’t said nothing like that, being too
polite. “I’m too old,” he says; “I
haven’t any teeth. The last time one of those grizzly
bears,” said he, glaring at the big St. Bernards, “took a
hold of me, he nearly was my death,” says he. I thought his eyes
would pop out of his head, he seemed so wrought up about it. “He
rolled me around in the dirt, he did,” says Jimmy Jocks,
“an’ I couldn’t get up. It was low,” says Jimmy
Jocks, making a face like he had a bad taste in his mouth. “Low,
that’s what I call it–bad form, you understand, young man,
not done in my set–and–and low.” He growled ’way down
in his stomach, and puffed hisself out, panting and blowing like he had
been on a run.
“I’m not a street fighter,” he says, scowling at a
St. Bernard marked “Champion.” “And when my
rheumatism is not troubling me,” he says, “I endeavor to be
civil to all dogs, so long as they are gentlemen.”
“Yes, sir,” said I, for even to me he had been most
At this we had come to a little house off by itself, and Jimmy Jocks
invites me in. “This is their trophy-room,” he says,
“where they keep their prizes. Mine,” he says, rather
grand-like, “are on the sideboard.” Not knowing what a
sideboard might be, I said, “Indeed, sir, that must be very
gratifying.” But he only wrinkled up his chops as much as to say,
“It is my right.”
The trophy-room was as wonderful as any public house I ever see. On
the walls was pictures of nothing but beautiful St. Bernard dogs, and
rows and rows of blue and red and yellow ribbons; and when I asked
Jimmy Jocks why they was so many more of blue than of the others, he
laughs and says, “Because these kennels always win.” And
there was many shining cups on the shelves, which Jimmy Jocks told me
were prizes won by the champions.
“Now, sir, might I ask you, sir,” says I, “wot is
At that he panted and breathed so hard I thought he would bust
hisself. “My dear young friend!” says he, “wherever
have you been educated? A champion is a–a champion,” he
says. “He must win nine blue ribbons in the ‘open’ class.
You follow me–that is–against all comers. Then he has the
title before his name, and they put his photograph in the sporting
papers. You know, of course, that I am a champion,” says he.
“I am Champion Woodstock Wizard III, and the two other Woodstock
Wizards, my father and uncle, were both champions.”
“But I thought your name was Jimmy Jocks,” I said.
He laughs right out at that.
“That’s my kennel name, not my registered name,”
he says. “Why, certainly you know that every dog has two names.
Now, for instance, what’s your registered name and number?”
“I’ve got only one name,” I says. “Just
Woodstock Wizard puffs at that and wrinkles up his forehead and pops
out his eyes.
“Who are your people?” says he. “Where is your
“At the stable, sir,” I said. “My Master is the
At that Woodstock Wizard III looks at me for quite a bit without
winking, and stares all around the room over my head.
“Oh, well,” says he at last, “you’re a very
civil young dog,” says he, “and I blame no one for what he
can’t help,” which I thought most fair and liberal.
“And I have known many bull-terriers that were champions,”
says he, “though as a rule they mostly run with fire-engines and
to fighting. For me, I wouldn’t care to run through the streets
after a hose-cart, nor to fight,” says he; “but each to his
I could not help thinking that if Woodstock Wizard III tried to
follow a fire-engine he would die of apoplexy, and seeing he’d
lost his teeth, it was lucky he had no taste for fighting; but, after
his being so condescending, I didn’t say nothing.
“Anyway,” says he, “every smooth-coated dog is
better than any hairy old camel like those St. Bernards, and if ever
you’re hungry down at the stables, young man, come up to the
house and I’ll give you a bone. I can’t eat them myself,
but I bury them around the garden from force of habit and in case a
friend should drop in. Ah, I see my mistress coming,” he says,
“and I bid you good day. I regret,” he says, “that
our different social position prevents our meeting frequent, for
you’re a worthy young dog with a proper respect for your betters,
and in this country there’s precious few of them have
that.” Then he waddles off, leaving me alone and very sad, for he
was the first dog in many days that had spoke to me. But since he
showed, seeing that I was a stable-dog, he didn’t want my
company, I waited for him to get well away. It was not a cheerful place
to wait, the trophy-house. The pictures of the champions seemed to
scowl at me, and ask what right such as I had even to admire them, and
the blue and gold ribbons and the silver cups made me very miserable. I
had never won no blue ribbons or silver cups, only stakes for the old
Master to spend in the publics; and I hadn’t won them for being a
beautiful high-quality dog, but just for fighting–which, of
course, as Woodstock Wizard III says, is low. So I started for the
stables, with my head down and my tail between my legs, feeling sorry I
had ever left the Master. But I had more reason to be sorry before I
got back to him.
The trophy-house was quite a bit from the kennels, and as I left it
I see Miss Dorothy and Woodstock Wizard III walking back toward them,
and, also, that a big St. Bernard, his name was Champion Red Elfberg,
had broke his chain and was running their way. When he reaches old
Jimmy Jocks he lets out a roar like a grain-steamer in a fog, and he
makes three leaps for him. Old Jimmy Jocks was about a fourth his size;
but he plants his feet and curves his back, and his hair goes up around
his neck like a collar. But he never had no show at no time, for the
grizzly bear, as Jimmy Jocks had called him, lights on old
Jimmy’s back and tries to break it, and old Jimmy Jocks snaps his
gums and claws the grass, panting and groaning awful. But he
can’t do nothing, and the grizzly bear just rolls him under him,
biting and tearing cruel. The odds was all that Woodstock Wizard III
was going to be killed; I had fought enough to see that: but not
knowing the rules of the game among champions, I didn’t like to
interfere between two gentlemen who might be settling a private affair,
and, as it were, take it as presuming of me. So I stood by, though I
was shaking terrible, and holding myself in like I was on a leash. But
at that Woodstock Wizard III, who was underneath, sees me through the
dust, and calls very faint, “Help, you!” he says.
“Take him in the hind leg,” he says. “He’s
murdering me,” he says. And then the little Miss Dorothy, who was
crying, and calling to the kennel-men, catches at the Red
Elfberg’s hind legs to pull him off, and the brute, keeping his
front pats well in Jimmy’s stomach, turns his big head and snaps
at her. So that was all I asked for, thank you. I went up under him. It
was really nothing. He stood so high that I had only to take off about
three feet from him and come in from the side, and my long
“punishing jaw,” as mother was always talking about, locked
on his woolly throat, and my back teeth met. I couldn’t shake
him, but I shook myself, and every time I shook myself there was thirty
pounds of weight tore at his wind-pipes. I couldn’t see nothing
for his long hair, but I heard Jimmy Jocks puffing and blowing on one
side, and munching the brute’s leg with his old gums. Jimmy was
an old sport that day, was Jimmy, or Woodstock Wizard III, as I should
say. When the Red Elfberg was out and down I had to run, or those
kennel-men would have had my life. They chased me right into the
stables; and from under the hay I watched the head groom take down a
carriage-whip and order them to the right about. Luckily Master and the
young grooms were out, or that day there’d have been fighting for
Well, it nearly did for me and the Master. “Mr. Wyndham,
sir,” comes raging to the stables. I’d half killed his best
prize-winner, he says, and had oughter be shot, and he gives the Master
his notice. But Miss Dorothy she follows him, and says it was his Red
Elfberg what began the fight, and that I’d saved Jimmy’s
life, and that old Jimmy Jocks was worth more to her than all the St.
Bernards in the Swiss mountains–wherever they may be. And that I
was her champion, anyway. Then, she cried over me most beautiful, and
over Jimmy Jocks, too, who was that tied up in bandages he
couldn’t even waddle. So when he heard that side of it,
“Mr. Wyndham, sir,” told us that if Nolan put me on a chain
we could stay. So it came out all right for everybody but me. I was
glad the Master kept his place, but I’d never worn a chain
before, and it disheartened me. But that was the least of it. For the
quality-dogs couldn’t forgive my whipping their champion, and
they came to the fence between the kennels and the stables, and laughed
through the bars, barking most cruel words at me. I couldn’t
understand how they found it out, but they knew. After the fight Jimmy
Jocks was most condescending to me, and he said the grooms had boasted
to the kennel-men that I was a son of Regent Royal, and that when the
kennel-men asked who was my mother they had had to tell them that too.
Perhaps that was the way of it, but, however, the scandal got out, and
every one of the quality-dogs knew that I was a street-dog and the son
of a black-and-tan.
“These misalliances will occur,” said Jimmy Jocks, in
his old-fashioned way; “but no well-bred dog,” says he,
looking most scornful at the St. Bernards, who were howling behind the
palings, “would refer to your misfortune before you, certainly
not cast it in your face. I myself remember your father’s father,
when he made his début at the Crystal Palace. He took four blue ribbons
and three specials.”
But no sooner than Jimmy would leave me the St. Bernards would take
to howling again, insulting mother and insulting me. And when I tore at
my chain, they, seeing they were safe, would howl the more. It was
never the same after that; the laughs and the jeers cut into my heart,
and the chain bore heavy on my spirit. I was so sad that sometimes I
wished I was back in the gutter again, where no one was better than me,
and some nights I wished I was dead. If it hadn’t been for the
Master being so kind, and that it would have looked like I was blaming
mother, I would have twisted my leash and hanged myself.
About a month after my fight, the word was passed through the
kennels that the New York Show was coming, and such goings on as
followed I never did see. If each of them had been matched to fight for
a thousand pounds and the gate, they couldn’t have trained more
conscientious. But perhaps that’s just my envy. The kennel-men
rubbed ’em and scrubbed ’em, and trims their hair and curls
and combs it, and some dogs they fatted and some they starved. No one
talked of nothing but the Show, and the chances “our
kennels” had against the other kennels, and if this one of our
champions would win over that one, and whether them as hoped to be
champions had better show in the “open” or the
“limit” class, and whether this dog would beat his own dad,
or whether his little puppy sister couldn’t beat the two of
’em. Even the grooms had their money up, and day or night you
heard nothing but praises of “our” dogs, until I, being so
far out of it, couldn’t have felt meaner if I had been running
the streets with a can to my tail. I knew shows were not for such as
me, and so all day I lay stretched at the end of my chain, pretending I
was asleep, and only too glad that they had something so important to
think of that they could leave me alone.
But one day, before the Show opened, Miss Dorothy came to the
stables with “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” and seeing me chained up
and so miserable, she takes me in her arms.
“You poor little tyke!” says she. “It’s
cruel to tie him up so; he’s eating his heart out, Nolan,”
she says. “I don’t know nothing about bull-terriers,”
says she, “but I think Kid’s got good points,” says
she, “and you ought to show him. Jimmy Jocks has three legs on
the Rensselaer Cup now, and I’m going to show him this time, so
that he can get the fourth; and, if you wish, I’ll enter your dog
too. How would you like that, Kid?” says she. “How would
you like to see the most beautiful dogs in the world? Maybe you’d
meet a pal or two,” says she. “It would cheer you up,
wouldn’t it, Kid?” says she. But I was so upset I could
only wag my tail most violent. “He says it would!” says
she, though, being that excited, I hadn’t said nothing.
So “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” laughs, and takes out a piece of
blue paper and sits down at the head groom’s table.
“What’s the name of the father of your dog,
Nolan?” says he. And Nolan says: “The man I got him off
told me he was a son of Champion Regent Royal, sir. But it don’t
seem likely, does it?” says Nolan.
“It does not!” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,”
“Aren’t you sure, Nolan?” says Miss Dorothy.
“No, miss,” says the Master.
“Sire unknown,” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” and
writes it down.
“Date of birth?” asks “Mr. Wyndham,
“I–I–unknown, sir,” says Nolan. And
“Mr. Wyndham, sir,” writes it down.
“Breeder?” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir.”
“Unknown,” says Nolan, getting very red around the jaws,
and I drops my head and tail. And “Mr. Wyndham, sir,”
writes that down.
“Mother’s name?” says “Mr. Wyndham,
“She was a–unknown,” says the Master. And I licks
“Dam unknown,” says “Mr. Wyndham, sir,” and
writes it down. Then he takes the paper and reads out loud:
“’Sire unknown, dam unknown, breeder unknown, date of birth
unknown.’ You’d better call him the ‘Great
Unknown,’” says he. “Who’s paying his entrance
“I am,” says Miss Dorothy.
Two weeks after we all got on a train for New York, Jimmy Jocks and
me following Nolan in the smoking-car, and twenty-two of the St.
Bernards in boxes and crates and on chains and leashes. Such a barking
and howling I never did hear; and when they sees me going, too, they
laughs fit to kill.
“Wot is this–a circus?” says the railroad man.
But I had no heart in it. I hated to go. I knew I was no
“show” dog, even though Miss Dorothy and the Master did
their best to keep me from shaming them. For before we set out Miss
Dorothy brings a man from town who scrubbed and rubbed me, and
sandpapered my tail, which hurt most awful, and shaved my ears with the
Master’s razor, so you could ’most see clear through ’em,
and sprinkles me over with pipe-clay, till I shines like a
“Upon my word!” says Jimmy Jocks when he first sees me.
“Wot a swell you are! You’re the image of your grand-dad
when he made his début at the Crystal Palace. He took four firsts and
three specials.” But I knew he was only trying to throw heart
into me. They might scrub, and they might rub, and they might
pipe-clay, but they couldn’t pipe-clay the insides of me, and
they was black-and-tan.
Then we came to a garden, which it was not, but the biggest hall in
the world. Inside there was lines of benches a few miles long, and on
them sat every dog in America. If all the dog snatchers in Montreal had
worked night and day for a year, they couldn’t have caught so
many dogs. And they was all shouting and barking and howling so vicious
that my heart stopped beating. For at first I thought they was all
enraged at my presuming to intrude. But after I got in my place they
kept at it just the same, barking at every dog as he come in: daring
him to fight, and ordering him out, and asking him what breed of dog he
thought he was, anyway. Jimmy Jocks was chained just behind me, and he
said he never see so fine a show. “That’s a hot class
you’re in, my lad,” he says, looking over into my street,
where there were thirty bull terriers. They was all as white as cream,
and each so beautiful that if I could have broke my chain I would have
run all the way home and hid myself under the horse trough.
All night long they talked and sang, and passed greetings with old
pals, and the homesick puppies howled dismal. Them that couldn’t
sleep wouldn’t let no others sleep, and all the electric lights
burned in the roof, and in my eyes. I could hear Jimmy Jocks snoring
peaceful, but I could only doze by jerks, and when I dozed I dreamed
horrible. All the dogs in the hall seemed coming at me for daring to
intrude, with their jaws red and open, and their eyes blazing like the
lights in the roof. “You’re a street dog! Get out, you
street dog!” they yells. And as they drives me out, the pipe clay
drops off me, and they laugh and shriek; and when I looks down I see
that I have turned into a black-and-tan.
They was most awful dreams, and next morning, when Miss Dorothy
comes and gives me water in a pan, I begs and begs her to take me home;
but she can’t understand. “How well Kid is!” she
says. And when I jumps into the Master’s arms and pulls to break
my chain, he says, “If he knew all as he had against him, miss,
he wouldn’t be so gay.” And from a book they reads out the
names of the beautiful high-bred terriers which I have got to meet. And
I can’t make ’em understand that I only want to run away
and hide myself where no one will see me.
Then suddenly men comes hurrying down our street and begins to brush
the beautiful bull-terriers; and the Master rubs me with a towel so
excited that his hands trembles awful, and Miss Dorothy tweaks my ears
between her gloves, so that the blood runs to ’em, and they turn
pink and stand up straight and sharp.
“Now, then, Nolan,” says she, her voice shaking just
like his fingers, “keep his head up–and never let the judge
lose sight of him.” When I hears that my legs breaks under me,
for I knows all about judges. Twice the old Master goes up before the
judge for fighting me with other dogs, and the judge promises him if he
ever does it again he’ll chain him up in jail. I knew he’d
find me out. A judge can’t be fooled by no pipe-clay. He can see
right through you, and he reads your insides.
The judging-ring, which is where the judge holds out, was so like a
fighting-pit that when I come in it, and find six other dogs there, I
springs into position, so that when they lets us go I can defend
myself. But the Master smooths down my hair and whispers, “Hold
’ard, Kid, hold ’ard. This ain’t a fight,” says he.
“Look your prettiest,” he whispers. “Please, Kid,
look your prettiest”; and he pulls my leash so tight that I
can’t touch my pats to the sawdust, and my nose goes up in the
air. There was millions of people a-watching us from the railings, and
three of our kennel-men, too, making fun of the Master and me, and Miss
Dorothy with her chin just reaching to the rail, and her eyes so big
that I thought she was a-going to cry. It was awful to think that when
the judge stood up and exposed me, all those people, and Miss Dorothy,
would be there to see me driven from the Show.
The judge he was a fierce-looking man with specs on his nose, and a
red beard. When I first come in he didn’t see me, owing to my
being too quick for him and dodging behind the Master. But when the
Master drags me round and I pulls at the sawdust to keep back, the
judge looks at us careless-like, and then stops and glares through his
specs, and I knew it was all up with me.
“Are there any more?” asks the judge to the gentleman at
the gate, but never taking his specs from me.
The man at the gate looks in his book. “Seven in the novice
class,” says he. “They’re all here. You can go
ahead,” and he shuts the gate.
The judge he doesn’t hesitate a moment. He just waves his hand
toward the corner of the ring. “Take him away,” he says to
the Master, “over there, and keep him away”; and he turns
and looks most solemn at the six beautiful bull-terriers. I don’t
know how I crawled to that corner. I wanted to scratch under the
sawdust and dig myself a grave. The kennel-men they slapped the rail
with their hands and laughed at the Master like they would fall over.
They pointed at me in the corner, and their sides just shaked. But
little Miss Dorothy she presses her lips tight against the rail, and I
see tears rolling from her eyes. The Master he hangs his head like he
had been whipped. I felt most sorry for him than all. He was so red,
and he was letting on not to see the kennel-men, and blinking his eyes.
If the judge had ordered me right out it wouldn’t have disgraced
us so, but it was keeping me there while he was judging the high-bred
dogs that hurt so hard. With all those people staring, too. And his
doing it so quick, without no doubt nor questions. You can’t fool
the judges. They see inside you.
But he couldn’t make up his mind about them high-bred dogs. He
scowls at ’em, and he glares at ’em, first with his head on
the one side and then on the other. And he feels of ’em, and
orders ’em to run about. And Nolan leans against the rails, with
his head hung down, and pats me. And Miss Dorothy comes over beside
him, but don’t say nothing, only wipes her eye with her finger. A
man on the other side of the rail he says to the Master, “The
judge don’t like your dog?”
“No,” says the Master.
“Have you ever shown him before?” says the man.
“No,” says the Master, “and I’ll never show
him again. He’s my dog,” says the Master, “and he
suits me! And I don’t care what no judges think.” And when
he says them kind words, I licks his hand most grateful.
The judge had two of the six dogs on a little platform in the middle
of the ring, and he had chased the four other dogs into the corners,
where they was licking their chops, and letting on they didn’t
care, same as Nolan was.
The two dogs on the platform was so beautiful that the judge hisself
couldn’t tell which was the best of ’em, even when he
stoops down and holds their heads together. But at last he gives a
sigh, and brushes the sawdust off his knees, and goes to the table in
the ring, where there was a man keeping score, and heaps and heaps of
blue and gold and red and yellow ribbons. And the judge picks up a
bunch of ’em and walks to the two gentlemen who was holding the
beautiful dogs, and he says to each, “What’s his
number?” and he hands each gentleman a ribbon. And then he turned
sharp and comes straight at the Master.
“What’s his number?” says the judge. And Master
was so scared that he couldn’t make no answer.
But Miss Dorothy claps her hands and cries out like she was
laughing, “Three twenty-six,” and the judge writes it down
and shoves Master the blue ribbon.
I bit the Master, and I jumps and bit Miss Dorothy, and I waggled so
hard that the Master couldn’t hold me. When I get to the gate
Miss Dorothy snatches me up and kisses me between the ears, right
before millions of people, and they both hold me so tight that I
didn’t know which of them was carrying of me. But one thing I
knew, for I listened hard, as it was the judge hisself as said it.
“Did you see that puppy I gave first to?” says the judge
to the gentleman at the gate.
“I did. He was a bit out of his class,” says the gate
“He certainly was!” says the judge, and they both
But I didn’t care. They couldn’t hurt me then, not with
Nolan holding the blue ribbon and Miss Dorothy hugging my ears, and the
kennel-men sneaking away, each looking like he’d been caught with
his nose under the lid of the slop-can.
We sat down together, and we all three just talked as fast as we
could. They was so pleased that I couldn’t help feeling proud
myself, and I barked and leaped about so gay that all the bull-terriers
in our street stretched on their chains and howled at me.
“Just look at him!” says one of those I had beat.
“What’s he giving hisself airs about?”
“Because he’s got one blue ribbon!” says another
of ’em. “Why, when I was a puppy I used to eat ’em,
and if that judge could ever learn to know a toy from a mastiff,
I’d have had this one.”
But Jimmy Jocks he leaned over from his bench and says, “Well
done, Kid. Didn’t I tell you so?” What he ’ad told me was
that I might get a “commended,” but I didn’t remind
“Didn’t I tell you,” says Jimmy Jocks, “that
I saw your grandfather make his début at the Crystal–”
“Yes, sir, you did, sir,” says I, for I have no love for
the men of my family.
A gentleman with a showing-leash around his neck comes up just then
and looks at me very critical. “Nice dog you’ve got, Miss
Wyndham,” says he; “would you care to sell him?”
“He’s not my dog,” says Miss Dorothy, holding me
tight. “I wish he were.”
“He’s not for sale, sir,” says the Master, and I
was that glad.
“Oh, he’s yours, is he?” says the gentleman,
looking hard at Nolan. “Well, I’ll give you a hundred
dollars for him,” says he, careless-like.
“Thank you, sir; he’s not for sale,” says Nolan,
but his eyes get very big. The gentleman he walked away; but I watches
him, and he talks to a man in a golf-cap, and by and by the man comes
along our street, looking at all the dogs, and stops in front of
“This your dog?” says he to Nolan. “Pity
he’s so leggy,” says he. “If he had a good tail, and
a longer stop, and his ears were set higher, he’d be a good dog.
As he is, I’ll give you fifty dollars for him.”
But before the Master could speak, Miss Dorothy laughs and says:
“You’re Mr. Polk’s kennel-man, I believe. Well, you
tell Mr. Polk from me that the dog’s not for sale now any more
than he was five minutes ago, and that when he is, he’ll have to
bid against me for him.”
The man looks foolish at that, but he turns to Nolan quick-like.
“I’ll give you three hundred for him,” he says.
“Oh, indeed!” whispers Miss Dorothy, like she was
talking to herself. “That’s it, is it?” And she turns
and looks at me just as though she had never seen me before. Nolan he
was a-gaping, too, with his mouth open. But he holds me tight.
“He’s not for sale,” he growls, like he was
frightened; and the man looks black and walks away.
“Why, Nolan!” cries Miss Dorothy, “Mr. Polk knows
more about bull-terriers than any amateur in America. What can he mean?
Why, Kid is no more than a puppy! Three hundred dollars for a
“And he ain’t no thoroughbred, neither!” cries the
Master. “He’s ‘Unknown,’ ain’t he? Kid
can’t help it, of course, but his mother, miss–”
I dropped my head. I couldn’t bear he should tell Miss
Dorothy. I couldn’t bear she should know I had stolen my blue
But the Master never told, for at that a gentleman runs up, calling,
“Three twenty-six, three twenty-six!” And Miss Dorothy
says, “Here he is; what is it?”
“The Winners’ class,” says the gentleman.
“Hurry, please; the judge is waiting for him.”
Nolan tries to get me off the chain on to a showing-leash, but he
shakes so, he only chokes me. “What is it, miss?” he says.
“What is it?”
“The Winners’ class,” says Miss Dorothy.
“The judge wants him with the winners of the other
classes–to decide which is the best. It’s only a
form,” says she. “He has the champions against him
“Yes,” says the gentleman, as he hurries us to the ring.
“I’m afraid it’s only a form for your dog, but the
judge wants all the winners, puppy class even.”
We had got to the gate, and the gentleman there was writing down my
“Who won the open?” asks Miss Dorothy.
“Oh, who would?” laughs the gentleman. “The old
champion, of course. He’s won for three years now. There he is.
Isn’t he wonderful?” says he; and he points to a dog
that’s standing proud and haughty on the platform in the middle
of the ring.
I never see so beautiful a dog–so fine and clean and noble, so
white like he had rolled hisself in flour, holding his nose up and his
eyes shut, same as though no one was worth looking at. Aside of him we
other dogs, even though we had a blue ribbon apiece, seemed like lumps
of mud. He was a royal gentleman, a king, he was. His master
didn’t have to hold his head with no leash. He held it hisself,
standing as still as an iron dog on a lawn, like he knew all the people
was looking at him. And so they was, and no one around the ring pointed
at no other dog but him.
“Oh, what a picture!” cried Miss Dorothy.
“He’s like a marble figure by a great artist–one who
loved dogs. Who is he?” says she, looking in her book. “I
don’t keep up with terriers.”
“Oh, you know him,” says the gentleman. “He is the
champion of champions, Regent Royal.”
The Master’s face went red.
“And this is Regent Royal’s son,” cries he, and he
pulls me quick into the ring, and plants me on the platform next my
I trembled so that I near fell. My legs twisted like a leash. But my
father he never looked at me. He only smiled the same sleepy smile, and
he still kept his eyes half shut, like as no one, no, not even his own
son, was worth his lookin’ at.
The judge he didn’t let me stay beside my father, but, one by
one, he placed the other dogs next to him and measured and felt and
pulled at them. And each one he put down, but he never put my father
down. And then he comes over and picks up me and sets me back on the
platform, shoulder to shoulder with the Champion Regent Royal, and goes
down on his knees, and looks into our eyes.
The gentleman with my father he laughs, and says to the judge,
“Thinking of keeping us here all day, John?” But the judge
he doesn’t hear him, and goes behind us and runs his hand down my
side, and holds back my ears, and takes my jaws between his fingers.
The crowd around the ring is very deep now, and nobody says nothing.
The gentleman at the score-table, he is leaning forward, with his
elbows on his knees and his eyes very wide, and the gentleman at the
gate is whispering quick to Miss Dorothy, who has turned white. I stood
as stiff as stone. I didn’t even breathe. But out of the corner
of my eye I could see my father licking his pink chops, and yawning
just a little, like he was bored.
The judge he had stopped looking fierce and was looking solemn.
Something inside him seemed a-troubling him awful. The more he stares
at us now, the more solemn he gets, and when he touches us he does it
gentle, like he was patting us. For a long time he kneels in the
sawdust, looking at my father and at me, and no one around the ring
says nothing to nobody.
Then the judge takes a breath and touches me sudden.
“It’s his,” he says. But he lays his hand just as
quick on my father. “I’m sorry,” says he.
The gentleman holding my father cries:
“Do you mean to tell me–”
And the judge he answers, “I mean the other is the better
dog.” He takes my father’s head between his hands and looks
down at him most sorrowful. “The king is dead,” says he.
“Long live the king! Good-by, Regent,” he says.
The crowd around the railings clapped their hands, and some laughed
scornful, and every one talks fast, and I start for the gate, so dizzy
that I can’t see my way. But my father pushes in front of me,
walking very daintily, and smiling sleepy, same as he had just been
waked, with his head high and his eyes shut, looking at nobody.
So that is how I “came by my inheritance,” as Miss
Dorothy calls it; and just for that, though I couldn’t feel where
I was any different, the crowd follows me to my bench, and pats me, and
coos at me, like I was a baby in a baby-carriage. And the handlers have
to hold ’em back so that the gentlemen from the papers can make
pictures of me, and Nolan walks me up and down so proud, and the men
shake their heads and says, “He certainly is the true type, he
is!” And the pretty ladies ask Miss Dorothy, who sits beside me
letting me lick her gloves to show the crowd what friends we is,
“Aren’t you afraid he’ll bite you?” And Jimmy
Jocks calls to me, “Didn’t I tell you so? I always knew you
were one of us. Blood will out, Kid; blood will out. I saw your
grandfather,” says he, “make his début at the Crystal
Palace. But he was never the dog you are!”
For a long time he kneels in the sawdust.
After that, if I could have asked for it, there was nothing I
couldn’t get. You might have thought I was a snow-dog, and they
was afeard I’d melt. If I wet my pats, Nolan gave me a hot bath
and chained me to the stove; if I couldn’t eat my food, being
stuffed full by the cook–for I am a house-dog now, and let in to
lunch, whether there is visitors or not,–Nolan would run to bring
the vet. It was all tommy rot, as Jimmy says, but meant most kind. I
couldn’t scratch myself comfortable, without Nolan giving me
nasty drinks, and rubbing me outside till it burnt awful; and I
wasn’t let to eat bones for fear of spoiling my
“beautiful” mouth, what mother used to call my
“punishing jaw”; and my food was cooked special on a
gas-stove; and Miss Dorothy gives me an overcoat, cut very stylish like
the champions’, to wear when we goes out carriage-driving.
After the next Show, where I takes three blue ribbons, four silver
cups, two medals, and brings home forty-five dollars for Nolan, they
gives me a “registered” name, same as Jimmy’s. Miss
Dorothy wanted to call me “Regent Heir Apparent”; but I was
that glad when Nolan says, “No; Kid don’t owe
nothing to his father, only to you and hisself. So, if you please,
miss, we’ll call him Wyndham Kid.” And so they did, and you
can see it on my overcoat in blue letters, and painted top of my
kennel. It was all too hard to understand. For days I just sat and
wondered if I was really me, and how it all come about, and why
everybody was so kind. But oh, it was so good they was, for if they
hadn’t been I’d never have got the thing I most wished
after. But, because they was kind, and not liking to deny me nothing,
they gave it me, and it was more to me than anything in the world.
It came about one day when we was out driving. We was in the cart
they calls the dog-cart because it’s the one Miss Dorothy keeps
to take Jimmy and me for an airing. Nolan was up behind, and me, in my
new overcoat, was sitting beside Miss Dorothy. I was admiring the view,
and thinking how good it was to have a horse pull you about so that you
needn’t get yourself splashed and have to be washed, when I hears
a dog calling loud for help, and I pricks up my ears and looks over the
horse’s head. And I sees something that makes me tremble down to
my toes. In the road before us three big dogs was chasing a little old
lady-dog. She had a string to her tail, where some boys had tied a can,
and she was dirty with mud and ashes, and torn most awful. She was too
far done up to get away, and too old to help herself, but she was
making a fight for her life, snapping her old gums savage, and dying
game. All this I see in a wink, and then the three dogs pinned her
down, and I can’t stand it no longer, and clears the wheel and
lands in the road on my head. It was my stylish overcoat done that, and
I cursed it proper, but I gets my pats again quick, and makes a rush
for the fighting. Behind me I hear Miss Dorothy cry:
“They’ll kill that old dog. Wait, take my whip. Beat them
off her! The Kid can take care of himself”; and I hear Nolan fall
into the road, and the horse come to a stop. The old lady-dog was down,
and the three was eating her vicious; but as I come up, scattering the
pebbles, she hears, and thinking it’s one more of them, she lifts
her head, and my heart breaks open like some one had sunk his teeth in
it. For, under the ashes and the dirt and the blood, I can see who it
is, and I know that my mother has come back to me.
I gives a yell that throws them three dogs off their legs.
“Mother!” I cries. “I’m the Kid,” I
cries. “I’m coming to you. Mother, I’m
And I shoots over her at the throat of the big dog, and the other
two they sinks their teeth into that stylish overcoat and tears it off
me, and that sets me free, and I lets them have it. I never had so fine
a fight as that! What with mother being there to see, and not having
been let to mix up in no fights since I become a prize-winner, it just
naturally did me good, and it wasn’t three shakes before I had
’em yelping. Quick as a wink, mother she jumps in to help me, and
I just laughed to see her. It was so like old times. And Nolan he made
me laugh, too. He was like a hen on a bank, shaking the butt of his
whip, but not daring to cut in for fear of hitting me.
“Stop it, Kid,” he says, “stop it. Do you want to
be all torn up?” says he. “Think of the Boston Show,”
says he. “Think of Chicago. Think of Danbury. Don’t you
never want to be a champion?” How was I to think of all them
places when I had three dogs to cut up at the same time? But in a
minute two of ’em begs for mercy, and mother and me lets
’em run away. The big one he ain’t able to run away. Then
mother and me we dances and jumps, and barks and laughs, and bites each
other and rolls each other in the road. There never was two dogs so
happy as we. And Nolan he whistles and calls and begs me to come to
him; but I just laugh and play larks with mother.
“Now, you come with me,” says I, “to my new home,
and never try to run away again.” And I shows her our house with
the five red roofs, set on the top of the hill. But mother trembles
awful, and says: “They’d never let me in such a place. Does
the Viceroy live there, Kid?” says she. And I laugh at her.
“No; I do,” I says. “And if they won’t let you
live there, too, you and me will go back to the streets together, for
we must never be parted no more.” So we trots up the hill side by
side, with Nolan trying to catch me, and Miss Dorothy laughing at him
from the cart.
“The Kid’s made friends with the poor old dog,”
says she. “Maybe he knew her long ago when he ran the streets
himself. Put her in here beside me, and see if he doesn’t
So when I hears that I tells mother to go with Nolan and sit in the
cart; but she says no–that she’d soil the pretty
lady’s frock; but I tells her to do as I say, and so Nolan lifts
her, trembling still, into the cart, and I runs alongside, barking
When we drives into the stables I takes mother to my kennel, and
tells her to go inside it and make herself at home. “Oh, but he
won’t let me!” says she.
“Who won’t let you?” says I, keeping my eye on
Nolan, and growling a bit nasty, just to show I was meaning to have my
“Why, Wyndham Kid,” says she, looking up at the name on
“But I’m Wyndham Kid!” says I.
“You!” cries mother. “You! Is my little Kid the
great Wyndham Kid the dogs all talk about?” And at that, she
being very old, and sick, and nervous, as mothers are, just drops down
in the straw and weeps bitter.
Well, there ain’t much more than that to tell. Miss Dorothy
she settled it.
“If the Kid wants the poor old thing in the stables,”
says she, “let her stay.”
“You see,” says she, “she’s a black-and-tan,
and his mother was a black-and-tan, and maybe that’s what makes
Kid feel so friendly toward her,” says she.
“Indeed, for me,” says Nolan, “she can have the
best there is. I’d never drive out no dog that asks for a crust
nor a shelter,” he says. “But what will Mr. Wyndham
“He’ll do what I say,” says Miss Dorothy,
“and if I say she’s to stay, she will stay, and I
say–she’s to stay!”
And so mother and Nolan and me found a home. Mother was scared at
first–not being used to kind people; but she was so gentle and
loving that the grooms got fonder of her than of me, and tried to make
me jealous by patting of her and giving her the pick of the vittles.
But that was the wrong way to hurt my feelings. That’s all, I
think. Mother is so happy here that I tell her we ought to call it the
Happy Hunting Grounds, because no one hunts you, and there is nothing
to hunt; it just all comes to you. And so we live in peace, mother
sleeping all day in the sun, or behind the stove in the head
groom’s office, being fed twice a day regular by Nolan, and all
the day by the other grooms most irregular. And as for me, I go
hurrying around the country to the bench-shows, winning money and cups
for Nolan, and taking the blue ribbons away from father.