Yum Yum, A Pug by John Strange Winter
For a pug Yum-Yum was perfect, and let me
tell you it takes a great many special sorts
of beauty to give you a pug which in any way
First, your true pug must be of a certain colour,
a warm fawn-colour; it must have a proper width
of chest and a bull-doggish bandiness about the legs;
it must have a dark streak from the top of its head
along its back towards the tail; it must have a
double twist to that same tail, and three rolls of fat
or loose skin, set like a collar about its throat; it
must have a square mouth, an ink-black--no, no, a
soot-black mask (that is, face) adorned with an
infinitesimal nose, a pair of large and lustrous
goggle-eyes, and five moles. I believe, too, that there is
something very important about the shape and
colouring of its toes; but I really don't know much
about pugs, and this list of perfections is only what
I have been able to gather from various friends who
do understand the subject.
So let me get on with my story, and say at once
that Yum-Yum possessed all these perfections. She
may have had others, for she was without doubt a
great beauty of her kind, and she certainly was
blessed with an admirable temper, an angelic temper,
mild as new milk, and as patient as Job's.
And Yum-Yum belonged to a little lady called
The Mackenzies, I must tell you, were not rich
people, or in any way persons of importance; they
had no relations, and apparently belonged to no
particular family; but they were very nice people,
and very good people, and lived in one of a large
row of houses on the Surrey side of the river Thames,
at that part which is called Putney.
Mr. Mackenzie was something in the city, and had
not apparently hit upon a good thing, for there was
not much money to spare in the house at Putney.
I rather fancy that he was managing clerk to a
tea-warehouse, but am not sure upon that point.
Mrs. Mackenzie had been a governess, but of course she
had not started life as a teacher of small children;
no, she had come into the world in an upper room
of a pretty country vicarage, where the olive branches
grew like stonecrop, and most visitors were in the
habit of reminding the vicar of certain lines in the
hundred and twenty-seventh Psalm.
In course of time this particular olive plant, like
her sisters, picked up a smattering of certain
branches of knowledge, and, armed thus, went out into
the wide world to make her own way. Her
knowledge was not extensive; it comprised a fluent power
of speaking her mother-tongue with a pleasant tone
and correct accent, but without any very
well-grounded idea of why and wherefore it was so.
She also knew a little French of doubtful quality,
and a little less German that was distinctly off colour.
She could copy a drawing in a woodenly accurate
kind of way, with stodgy skies made chiefly of
Chinese white, and exceedingly woolly trees largely
helped out with the same useful composition. At
that time there was no sham about Nora Browne's
pretensions to art--there they were, good, bad, or
indifferent, and you might take them for what they
were worth, which was not much. It was not until
she had been Mrs. Mackenzie for some years that
she took to "doing" the picture-galleries armed with
catalogue and pencil, and talked learnedly about
chiar-oscuro, about distance and atmosphere, about
this school and that, this method or the other
treatment. There were frequenters of the art-galleries of
London to whom Mrs. Mackenzie, née Nora Browne,
was a delightful study; but then, on the other hand,
there was a much larger number of persons than
these whom she impressed deeply, and who even
went so far as to speak of her with bated breath as
"a power" on the press, while, as a matter of fact,
Mrs. Mackenzie's little paragraphs were very
innocent, and not very remunerative, and generally won
for the more or less weekly society papers in which
they appeared a reputation for employing an
art-critic who knew a good deal more about the frames
than about the pictures within them.
However, all this is a little by the way! I really
only give these details of Mrs. Mackenzie's doings
to show that the family was, by virtue of their
mother being a dabbler in journalism, in touch with
the set which I saw the other day elegantly described
as "Upper Bohemia."
Now in the circles of "Upper Bohemia" nobody
is anybody unless they can do something--unless
they can paint pictures or umbrella vases and
milking-stools, unless they can sing attractively, or play
some instrument beyond the ordinary average of
skill, unless they can write novels or make
paragraphs for the newspapers, unless they can act or
give conjuring entertainments, or unless they can
compose pretty little songs with a distinct motif, or
pieces for the piano which nobody can make head
or tail of. It is very funny that there should be so
wide a difference necessary between the composition
of music for the voice and music for the piano. For
the first there must be a little something to catch the
ear, a little swing in the refrain, a something to make
the head wag to and fro; the words may be ever so
silly if they are only bordering on the pathetic, and
if the catch in the refrain is taking enough the rest
of the song may be as silly as the words, and still it
will be a success. But with a piece it is different.
For that the air must be resolutely turned inside out,
as it were, and apparently if the composer chances
to light on one or two pretty bits, he goes back again
and touches them up so as to make them match all
the rest. It seems odd this, but the world does not
stop to listen, but talks its hardest, and as at the end
it says "How lovely!" I suppose it is all right.
But all these people stand in the very middle of
"Upper Bohemia," and, as a pebble dropped into the
water makes circles and ever-widening circles on the
smooth surface, so do the circles which constitute
"Upper Bohemia" widen and widen until eventually
they merge into the world beyond! There are the
amateurs and the reciters, and the artists who put
"decorative" in front of the word which denotes their
calling, and then put a hyphen between the two!
And there are the thought-readers, and the palmists,
and the people who have invented a new religion!
All these are in the ever-widening circles of "Upper
Bohemia." And outside these again come the
fashionable lady-dressmakers and the art-milliners, the
trained nurses and the professors of cooking. After
these you may go on almost ad libitum, until the
circle melts into professional life on the one hand
and fashionable life on the other.
You have perhaps been wondering, my gentle
reader, what all this can possibly have to do with the
pug, Yum-Yum, which belonged to a little girl named
Nannie Mackenzie. Well, it really has something to
do with it, as I will show you. First, because it tells
you that this was the set of people to whom the
Mackenzies belonged and took a pride in belonging.
It is true that they had a stronger claim to belong to a
city set; but you see Mrs. Mackenzie had been brought
up in the bosom of the Church, and thought more of
the refined society in "Upper Bohemia" than she
did of all the money bags to be found east of Temple
Bar! In this I think she was right; in modern
London it does not do for the lion to lie down with
the lamb, or for earthenware pipkins to try sailing
down the stream with the iron pots. In "Upper
Bohemia," owing to the haziness of her right of
entry, Mrs. Mackenzie was quite an important person;
in the city, owing to various circumstances--shortness
of money, most of all--Mrs. Mackenzie
Mrs. Mackenzie had not followed the example of
her father and mother with regard to the size of her
family; she had only three children, two girls and a
boy--Rosalind, Wilfrid, and Nannie.
At this time Nannie was only ten years old, a
pretty, sweet, engaging child, with frank blue eyes
and her mother's pretty trick of manner, a child who
was never so happy as when she had a smart sash
on with a clean white frock in readiness for any
form of party that had happened to come in her way.
Wilf was different. He was a grave, quiet boy of
thirteen, already working for a scholarship at
St. Paul's School, and meaning to be a great man some
day, and meanwhile spending all his spare hours
collecting insects and gathering specimens of fern
Above Wilf was Rosalind, and Rosalind was sixteen,
a tall, willowy slip of a girl, with a pair of fine
eyes and a passion for art. I do not mean a passion
for making the woodenly accurate drawings with
stodgy clouds and woolly trees which had satisfied
her mother's soul and made her so eminently
competent to criticise the work of other folk--no, not
that, but a real passion for real art.
Now the two Mackenzie girls had had a governess
for several years, a mildly amiable young lady of
the same class, and possessed of about the same
amount of knowledge as Mrs. Mackenzie herself had
been. She too made wooden drawings with stodgy
clouds and woolly trees, and she painted flowers--such
flowers as made Rosalind's artistic soul rise
within her and loathe Miss Temple and all her works,
nay, sometimes loathe even those good qualities
which were her chiefest charm.
Rosalind wanted to go further a-field in the art
world than either her mother's paragraphs or Miss
Temple's copies; she wanted to join some well-known
art-class, and, giving up everything else, go
in for real hard, grinding work.
But it could not be done, for, as I have said, money
was not plentiful in the house at Putney, and there
was always the boy to be thought of, and also there
was Nannie's education to finish. To let Rosalind
join an expensive art-class would mean being
without Miss Temple, and Mrs. Mackenzie felt that to
do that would be to put a great wrong upon little
Nannie, for which she would justly be able to
reproach her all her life long.
"It would not do, my dear," she said to Rosalind,
when her elder daughter was one day holding forth
on the glories which might one day be hers if only
she could get her foot upon this, the lowest rung of
the ladder by which she would fain climb to fame
and fortune; "and really I don't see the sense or
reason of your being so anxious to follow art as a
profession. I am sure you paint very well. That
little sketch of wild roses you did last week was
exquisite; indeed, I showed it to Miss Dumerique
when I was looking over her new art-studio in Bond
Street. She said it would be charming painted on a
thrush's-egg ground for a milking-stool or a tall
table, or used for a whole suite of bedroom or
boudoir furniture. I'm sure, my dear, you might
make quite an income----"
"Did Miss Dumerique offer to do one--to let me
do any work of that kind for her?" Rosalind broke
"No, she did not," Mrs. Mackenzie admitted, "but----"
"But, depend upon it, she is at work on the idea
long before this," cried Rosalind. She knew Miss
Dumerique, and had but small faith in any income
from that quarter, several of her most cherished
designs having suggested ideas to that gifted lady.
"If I only had twenty pounds, twenty pounds,"
Rosalind went on, "it would give me such a help,
such a lift I should learn so much if I could spend
twenty pounds; and it's such a little, only the price
of the dress Mrs. Arlington had on the other day,
and she said it was so cheap--'Just a cheap little
gown, my dear, to wear in the morning.' Oh! if
only I had the price of that gown."
"Rosalind, my dear," cried Mrs. Mackenzie, "don't
say that--it sounds so like envy, and envy is a
"Yes, I know it is, but I do want twenty pounds
so badly," answered Rosalind in a hopeless tone.
Mrs. Mackenzie began to sob weakly. "If I
could give it to you, Rosalind, you know I would,"
she wailed, "but I haven't got it. I work and work
and work and strain every nerve to give you the
advantages; ay, and more than the advantages that
I had when I was your age. But I can't give you
what I haven't got--it's unreasonable to ask it or to
"I didn't either ask or expect it," said Rosalind;
but she said it under her breath, and felt that, after
all, her mother was right--she could not give what
she had not got.
It was hard on them both--on the girl that she
could not have, on the mother that she could not
give! Rosalind from this time forth kept silence
about her art, because she knew that it was useless
to hope for the impossible--kept silence, that is,
from all but one person. And yet she could not
keep her thoughts from flying ever and again to the
art-classes and the twenty pounds which would do
so much for her. So up in the room at the top of
the house, where she dabbled among her scanty
paints and sketched out pictures in any colours that
she happened to have, and even went so far in the
way of economy as to utilize the leavings of her
mother's decorative paints--hedge-sparrow's-egg-blue,
Arabian brown, eau de Nil, Gobelin, and others
equally unsuitable for her purpose,--Rosalind
Mackenzie dreamed dreams and saw visions--visions of
a great day when she would have paints in
profusion and art-teaching galore. There was not the
smallest prospect of her dreams and visions coming
true, any more than, without teaching and without
paints, there was of her daubs growing into pictures,
and finding places on the line at the Academy and
the New. It is always so with youth. It hopes
and hopes against hope, and when hope is dead,
there is no longer any youth; it is dead too.
"There are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways;
Of the Future what it cannot give them."
But there was one person to whom Rosalind
Mackenzie poured out all that was in her
mind,--that was her ten-year-old sister, Nannie. In
Nannie she found a ready and a sympathetic
listener; moreover, in Nannie's mind there was no
doubt, no hesitation in believing that if Rosalind
only had that twenty pounds there would be
nothing to keep her back, nothing to prevent her
sailing on right ahead into the roseate realms of fame
and glory! If only she had that twenty pounds!
Now Nannie undoubtedly had a very gay and
jovial disposition. She was always ready for fun
and excitement, and had no tendency or any
desire to carve out a line for herself, as her brother
and sister had both had before they had reached
her age. Yet she had what was better in many
people's eyes, a very tender heart and a very
affectionate nature; and her tender heart was
wrung and wrung again at the thought of her
sister's unsatisfied longings and the great future
that was being blighted, all for the want of twenty
Yet what could a little girl of ten years old do
towards getting such a sum as that together?
Just nothing! Why, if the sum was shillings
instead of pounds, she would still find it utterly
beyond her power and out of her grasp! She
thought and she thought, but thinking did not
help matters! She lay awake at night puzzling her
little brain, but that did no good, and Nannie's face
grew a good deal paler, and set her mother wondering
if the house was unhealthy, or thinking that perhaps
the air from the river was damp and injurious.
It was about this time that Yum-Yum, the pug
which had been given to Nannie by one of her
mother's friends two years before, suddenly
became the person of the most importance in the
household at Putney; for behold one fine morning
when Nannie came down to breakfast, Yum-Yum
presented her with three babies, three dear wee
pugs, which sent Nannie into ecstasies and made
her forget for a few days all about Rosalind's
unsatisfied longings, and her craving after higher
things than at present were attainable to her.
"You think they're real beauties, don't you,
Father?" said Nannie anxiously.
"Yes, they are great beauties," said Mr. Mackenzie,
holding one little snub-nosed pug up and
examining it closely.
"And what should you think that they are
worth, Father?" Nannie asked.
"Worth? Oh! that would depend a good deal
on how they turn out. Their pedigree is a very
fair one; and at the end of six weeks or two
months they might be worth three or four guineas
apiece--more, for that matter."
Nannie fairly gasped, and she clutched hold of
her father's arm. "Oh! daddy dear," she
exclaimed, "do you really, really think I might be
able to get any thing like that for them?"
"Oh! yes, I think so," he answered, smiling at
her earnestness. "But, Nannie, why do you want
this money so much? Have you set your mind
on a watch and chain?"
"Oh! no, dear daddy," she answered eagerly,
"it's not for myself at all; it's poor Rosalind I'm
thinking of"--and forthwith she poured into her
father's surprised but sympathetic ear all the story
of Rosalind's artistic longings, her craving for
better art-lessons, for all the good things that may
be had for the sum of twenty pounds.
Long before the story came to an end Mr. Mackenzie
had drawn his little daughter very closely
to him, and I fancy he was thinking, when she
came to the end of it, more of the goodness of
his Nannie's heart than of the greatness of
"My Nannie," he said tenderly, "my generous,
kind-hearted little woman! Rosalind ought to
love you dearly for----"
"Rosalind does love me dearly, daddy," Nannie
explained; "only she can't help wanting to be a
painter--it's in her, you know, and it's choking her.
And Rosalind doesn't know a word about it. She
wouldn't want me to sell Yummy's pups for her.
Only you know, daddy, we can't keep three dogs
besides Yummy; and we may just as well sell
them as give them away, and then Rosalind
would be able to have some of the lessons that
she wants so badly."
Mr. Mackenzie smiled at Nannie's voluble
information. "Well, well, you shall sell the pups and
make Rosalind happy," he said; then after a
moment added, "You know, Nannie, that I am not
rich--in fact, I am very poor, but I will make the
sum up to ten pounds, and Rosalind can go on
thus far, at all events."
Well, a few weeks passed over, and the secret
was rigidly kept between Mr. Mackenzie and
Nannie. More than once Mrs. Mackenzie grumbled
at the expense and the trouble Yummy's three
babies were in the kitchen, and one afternoon when
she came in from Town, she said--"Oh, Nannie,
Lady Gray would like to have one of Yummy's
puppies. I told her I thought you would let her
have first choice."
"Then her ladyship must pay five guineas for
it, my dear," said Mr. Mackenzie promptly. "Nannie
and I are going to sell the puppies this time."
Mrs. Mackenzie rather lifted her eyebrows. "Oh! if
that is so," she said, "of course Lady Gray
must stand on one side. But what are you going
to do with the money, Nannie? Buy yourself
"No, Mother, but----" and Nannie looked
anxiously at her father, who quickly came to the
rescue, and evaded the question--which at that
moment was an awkward one, for Rosalind was
It is probable that Mr. Mackenzie gave his wife
just a hint of what was a-foot, for she asked no
more questions about the puppies, and made no
further complaints of the extra food and milk
which Yummy required at this time.
And in due course, after a good deal of
correspondence through the columns of the Queen
and the Exchange and Mart, one by one the three
little pugs went away from the house at Putney
to homes of their own, and Nannie in return
became the proud possessor of no fewer than eight
To these Mr. Mackenzie added the two which
he had promised to make up the sum of ten pounds,
and then Nannie had the supreme joy of going
to Rosalind--who was hard at work in her studio
painting a sunset in tints so startling that her artist
soul was sick within her--and flinging her offering
in a shower into her lap.
"Why, what is this, Nannie?" Rosalind cried,
"It's your lessons, Rosie," Nannie cried, "or at
least as much of them as you can get for ten pounds;
and I'm so glad, dear, dear Rosie, to be able to
help you, you don't know," and happy Nannie flung
her arms round her sister, almost crying for joy.
"But where did you get it? Oh, the pugs! I
forgot them," Rosalind cried. "Oh! but Nannie,
my dear, darling, unselfish sister, I can't take your
money in this way----"
"You must," Nannie answered promptly.
"But your watch--you've longed so for a watch,
you know," said the elder girl.
"Well, I have, but I can long a bit more," returned
Nannie philosophically. "I shall like it all
the better when I do get it."
"I can't take it, darling," Rosalind urged.
"Oh! yes, you can, if you try," continued Nannie.
"And as for my watch, why, when you are a great
swell painter you can buy me one--a real beauty--and
I shall like it ever so much better than any
other one in all the world."
Rosalind clasped Nannie close to her heart.
"My Nannie, my Nannie," she cried, "I shall
never be as brave and helpful as you are. While I
have been grumbling, and growling, and railing at
fate, you have been putting your shoulder to the
wheel, and----. Oh! Nannie, Nannie, it is good
of you! It is good! I shall never forget it. The
first penny I earn, dear, shall be yours; and I will
never forget what my dear little sister has done for
me, never--never, as long as I live."
A few days after this Rosalind was hard at work
in the studio of the artist for whose teaching she
had longed for so many weary months. And how
she did work!
"I have one pupil who works," her maestro got
into the habit of saying. "Some of you have a
natural gift; you have a correct eye, and you have
firm touch. Every one of you might make progress
if you tried. But there is only one of you all who
works. That is Miss Mackenzie."
But, all too soon, Rosalind's ten pounds melted
away, until they had all gone. And, as there was
no more where they had come from, Rosalind's
lessons must also come to an end!
"Oh! Mother, can't you do anything to help
Rosie?" Nannie cried in piteously beseeching accents
the night before Rosalind was to go to the studio
for the last time.
"Nannie," answered Mrs. Mackenzie reproachfully,
"don't you think I would if I could?"
"Daddy, can you do nothing?" Nannie implored.
"My little one, I am so poor just now," he answered.
So poor Nannie went to bed in bitter disappointment
for her sister's trial. She felt that it was
very, very hard upon Rosalind, who had worked
almost day and night that she might profit by every
moment of the time she was at the studio. Yes,
it was very, very hard.
However, Rosalind was brave, and put a good
face upon the matter.
"Don't worry about it, my Nannie," she said just
before she got into bed. "After all, I've learnt a
great deal while I have been able to go to
Mr. Raymond, and perhaps, after a time, daddy may
be able to help me to go again, and I may do some
work that will sell, and then I shall be able to go
again. So don't worry yourself, my darling, for you
can't help me this time. You see, Yummy hasn't
got any more pups to sell."
But Nannie had got an idea, and all through the
hours of that long night it stayed with her with the
pertinacity of a nightmare. Still, whatever it was,
she did not say a word about it to Rosalind, and
when Rosalind looked round for her when she was
ready to start for the studio in the morning, she was
nowhere to be seen.
"Where is Nannie?" she asked.
"Oh! she's out in the garden," Mrs. Mackenzie
"Well, I haven't time to go down; but don't let
her worry about me, will you, Mother?" said
"No, no; I will look after her," Mrs. Mackenzie
So Rosalind went off fairly satisfied.
"I have come for my last lesson, Mr. Raymond,"
she said, with rather an uncertain smile, as she bade
the maestro good-morning.
"Oh! well, well; we must have a talk about
that," he answered good-naturedly.
Rosalind shook her head a little sadly, and took
her place without delay--to her every moment was
But, though this was her last lesson, she was
not destined to do much work that day, for, as
soon as she opened her little paint-box, which
she had taken home the previous day that she
might do some work in the early morning, she
saw lying on the top of the paints a little note,
addressed in Nannie's round child's hand to "Rosalind."
The next moment maestro and pupils were alike
startled by the sight of Rosalind Mackenzie with
her face hidden in her hands, sobbing as if her heart
"My dear child," cried the maestro, running to
her side, "how now! What is the matter? Pray
tell me, my dear, tell me."
"'My dear child, what is the matter?'"
Then little by little Rosalind sobbed out the
whole story--how she had longed and pined for
these lessons, how her little sister Nannie had
sacrificed herself to help her, and then at last she put
into the maestro's hand the little note which she
had brought from home in the paint-box.
"Darling Rosalind," the maestro read aloud, "I
thought of a way to help you last night, but I did
not tell you about it, because I know you would
stop it. You know that Mrs. Clarke, who bought
Yummy's little son, said she would give ten guineas
for her any day, so I'm going to get Father to take
her there this afternoon, and you shall have the
money. I don't think I shall mind parting with
Mr. Raymond took off his glasses and wiped them.
"Upon my word," he muttered in an uncertain
voice; "upon my word!"
"The darling!" cried one pupil.
"Is she fond of the dog?" asked another.
"Fond of her!" Rosalind echoed; "why, Yummy
is the very idol of her heart. She has had her
from a puppy; it would break the child's heart to
part with her. Why, I would die," she said
passionately, "before I would let her do it. I would go
out as a charwoman, and scrub floors for my living
all the days of my life, rather than do such a mean
thing. Mr. Raymond," she went on, "I must go
back at once, or I may be too late. I must lose
my lesson--I can't help that. But I must go back--for,
look at the poor little letter; all tears and----"
and there Rosalind broke down into tears and sobs
again; but, all the same, she gathered her brushes
together, and began to pack up all her belongings.
The maestro stood for a moment in deep thought,
but, as Rosalind put her hat on and resolutely dried
her eyes, he spoke to the others who were standing
"I should very much like to see this out," he
said, "and, if you will set me free this morning, I
will give you each an extra lesson to make up for
the interrupted one to-day. What do you say?"
"Yes! yes!" they all cried.
So the old painter and Rosalind went back to
the house at Putney together, and at the door
Rosalind put an eager question to the maid who opened
it for them.
"My mother?" she asked.
"Mrs. Mackenzie is dressing to go out, Miss
Rosalind," the maid answered.
"And Miss Nannie?"
"I believe Miss Nannie is in the garden," was the
So Rosalind led the maestro out into the garden,
where they soon espied Nannie curled up in a big
chair, with Yummy in her arms. She did not notice
their approach; indeed, she was almost asleep, worn
out by the violence of her grief at the coming parting
with Yummy, and was lying with her eyes closed,
her cheek resting against the dog's satin-smooth head.
Rosalind flung herself down upon her knees
before the chair, and took child and dog into her
"My own precious little sister, my unselfish
darling," she cried; "as if I would let you part with
the dear doggy for my sake! I couldn't, Nannie,
my dear, I couldn't--I couldn't part with Yummy
myself. But I shall never forget it, Nannie--my
dear, unselfish Nannie."
"My own precious little sister, my unselfish darling," she cried.
Nannie looked past her sister towards the tall
old painter standing behind her.
"Your lessons," she faltered, with quivering lips.
"My little heroine," said the old painter tenderly,
"your sister is my favourite among all my pupils.
I would rather," he went on, laying his hand on
Rosalind's shoulder--"I would rather teach one real
worker such as she is for love, than fifty of the
usual kind who come to me. She is just the real
worker one might expect with such a sister."
"You will go on teaching Rosalind," Nannie cried
in a bewildered way, "for nothing?"
"I will, gladly," the maestro answered; "and, in
return, you shall come one day, and bring the pug,
and let me paint a picture of you both."
And then the old man went away, leaving the
sisters, in the fulness of their joy, together.
For him this had been somewhat of a new
experience--a pleasant one. They were young, and
he was old; but he went back to his pictures with
a heart fresh and young as it had not been for
years, asking of himself a question out of the pages
of a favourite poet: "Shall I thank God for the
green summer, and the mild air, and the flowers,
and the stars, and all that makes the world so
beautiful, and not for the good and beautiful beings
I have known in it?"