By Lucia Chamberlain
At the gray end of the afternoon the regiment of twelve companies
went through Monterey on its way to the summer camp, a mile out on
the salt-meadows; and it was here that Scrap joined it.
He did not tag at the heels of the boys who tagged the last
company, or rush out with the other dogs who barked at the band;
but he appeared somehow independent of any surroundings, and
marched, ears alert, stump tail erect, one foot in front of the
tall first lieutenant who walked on the wing of Company A.
The lieutenant was self-conscious and so fresh to the service that
his shoulder-straps hurt him. He failed to see Scrap, who was very
small and very yellow, until, in quickening step, he stumbled over
him and all but measured his long length. He aimed an accurate kick
that sent Scrap flying, surprised but not vindictive, to the side
lines, where he considered, his head cocked. With the scratched ear
pricked and the bitten ear flat, he passed the regiment in review
until Company K, with old Muldoon, sergeant on the flank, came by.
As lean, as mongrel, as tough, and as scarred as Scrap, he carried
his wiry body with a devil-may-care assurance, in which Scrap may
have recognized a kindred spirit. He decided in a flash. He made a
dart and fell in abreast the sergeant of Company K. Muldoon saw and
growled at him.
"Gr-r-r-r!" said Scrap, not ill-naturedly, and fell back a pace.
But he did not slink. He had the secret of success. He kept as
close as he could and yet escape Muldoon's boot. With his head
high, ears stiff, tail up, he stepped out to the music.
Muldoon looked back with a threat that sent Scrap retreating, heels
over ears. The sergeant was satisfied that the dog had gone; but
when camp was reached and ranks were broken he found himself
confronted by a disreputable yellow cur with a ragged ear cocked
over his nose.
"Well, I'm domned!" said Muldoon. His heart, probably the toughest
thing about him, was touched by this fearless persistence.
"Ar-ren't ye afraid o' nothin', ye little scrap?" he said. Scrap,
answering the first name he had ever known, barked shrilly.
"What's that dog doing here?" said the tall lieutenant of Company
"I'm afther kickin' him out, sor," explained Muldoon, and, upon the
lieutenant's departure, was seen retreating in the direction of the
cook-tent, with the meager and expectant Scrap inconspicuously at
He went to sleep at taps in Muldoon's tent, curled up inside
Muldoon's cartridge-belt; but at reveille the next morning the
sergeant missed him. Between drill and drill Muldoon sought
diligently, with insinuations as to the character of dog-stealers
that were near to precipitating personal conflict. He found the
stray finally, in Company B street, leaping for bones amid the
applause of the habitants.
Arraigned collectively as thieves, Company B declared that the dog
had strayed in and remained only because he could not be kicked
out. But their pride in the height of his leaps was too evidently
the pride of possession; and Muldoon, after vain attempts to catch
the excited Scrap, who was eager only for bones, retired with
threats of some vague disaster to befall Company B the next day if
his dog were not returned.
The responsibility, with its consequences, was taken out of Company
B's hands by Scrap's departure from their lines immediately after
supper. He was not seen to go. He slid away silently, among the
broken shadows of the tents. Company B reviled Muldoon. Scrap spent
the night in a bugler's cape, among a wilderness of brasses, and
reappeared the next morning at guard mount, deftly following the
stately maneuvers of the band.
"Talk about a dorg's gratitude!" said the sergeant of Company B,
bitterly, remembering Scrap's entertainment of the previous
"I'm on to his game!" muttered old Muldoon. "Don't ye see, ye
fool, he don't belong to any wan of us. He belongs to the
crowd—to the regiment. That's what he's tryin' to show us. He's
what that Frinchman down in F calls a—a mascot; and, be jabers, he
moves like a soldier!"
The regiment's enthusiasm for Scrap, as voiced by Muldoon,
was not extended to the commanding officer, who felt that the
impressiveness of guard mount was detracted from by Scrap's
deployments. Also the tall lieutenant of Company A disliked the
sensation of being accompanied in his social excursions among
ladies who had driven out to band practise by a lawless yellow pup
with a bitten ear. The lieutenant, good fellow at bottom, was yet a
bit of a snob, and he would have preferred the colonel's foolish
Newfoundland to the spirited but unregenerate Scrap.
But the privates and "non-coms" judged by the spirit, and bid for
the favor of their favorite, and lost money at canteen on the next
company to be distinguished as Scrap's temporary entertainers. He
was cordial, even demonstrative, but royally impartial, devoting a
day to a company with a method that was military. He had personal
friends,—Muldoon for one, the cook for another,—but there was no
man in the regiment who could expect Scrap to run to his whistle.
Yet independent as he was of individuals, he obeyed regimental
regulations like a soldier. He learned the guns and the bugles,
what actions were signified by certain sounds. He was up in the
morning with the roll of the drums. He was with every drill that
was informal enough not to require the presence of the commanding
officer, and during dress parade languished, lamenting, in
Muldoon's tent. Barking furiously, he was the most enthusiastic
spectator of target practise. He learned to find the straying balls
when the regimental nine practised during "release," and betrayed a
frantic desire to "retrieve" the shot that went crashing seaward
from the sullen-mouthed cannon on the shore. More than once he made
one of the company that crossed the lines at an unlawful hour to
spend a night among the crooked ways of Monterey.
The regiment was tiresome with tales of his tricks. The height of
his highest leap was registered in the mess, and the number of rats
that had died in his teeth were an ever increasing score in the
canteen. He was fairly aquiver with the mere excitement and
curiosity of living. There was no spot in the camp too secure or
too sacred for Scrap to penetrate. His invasions were without
impertinence; but the regiment was his, and he deposited dead rats
in the lieutenant's shoes as casually as he concealed bones in the
French horn; and slumbered in the major's hat-box with the same
equanimity with which he slept in Muldoon's jacket.
The major evicted Scrap violently, but, being a good-natured man,
said nothing to the colonel, who was not. But it happened, only a
day after the episode of the hat-box, that the colonel entered his
quarters to find the yellow mascot, fresh from a plunge in the surf
and a roll in the dirt, reposing on his overcoat.
To say that the colonel was angry would be weak; but, overwhelmed
as he was, he managed to find words and deeds. Scrap fled with a
sharp yelp as a boot-tree caught him just above the tail.
His exit did not fail to attract attention in the company street.
The men were uneasy, for the colonel was noticeably a man of action
as well as of temper. Their premonitions were fulfilled when at
assembly the next morning, an official announcement was read to the
attentive regiment. The colonel, who was a strategist as well as a
fighter, had considered the matter more calmly overnight. He was
annoyed by the multiplicity of Scrap's appearances at times and
places where he was officially a nuisance. He was more than annoyed
by the local paper's recent reference to "our crack yellow-dog
regiment." But he knew the strength of regimental sentiment
concerning Scrap and the military superstition of the mascot, and
he did not want to harrow the feelings of the "summer camp" by
detailing a firing squad. Therefore he left a loop-hole for Scrap's
escape alive. The announcement read: "All dogs found in camp not
wearing collars will be shot, by order of the commanding officer."
Now there were but two dogs in camp, and the colonel's wore a
collar. The regiment heard the order with consternation.
"That'll fix it," said the colonel, comfortably.
"Suppose some one gets a collar?" suggested the major, with a hint
of hopefulness in his voice.
"I know my regiment," said the colonel. "There isn't enough money
in it three days before pay day to buy a button. They'll send him
Immediately after drill there was a council of war in Muldoon's
tent, Muldoon holding Scrap between his knees. Scrap's scratched
ear, which habitually stood cocked, flopped forlornly; his stump
tail drooped dismally. The atmosphere of anxiety oppressed his
sensitive spirit. He desired to play, and Muldoon only sat and
rolled his argumentative tongue. From this conference those who
had been present went about the business of the day with a
preternatural gloom that gradually permeated the regiment. The
business of the day was varied, since the next day was to be a
field day, with a review in the morning and cavalry maneuvers in
All day Scrap was conspicuous in every quarter of the camp, but at
supper-time the lieutenant of Company A noted his absence from his
habitual place at the left of Muldoon in the men's mess-tent. The
lieutenant was annoyed by his own anxiety.
"Of course they'll get him out, sir?" he said to the major.
"Of course," the major assented, with more confidence than he felt.
The colonel was fairly irritable in his uncertainty over it.
Next morning the sentries, who had been most strictly enjoined to
vigilant observation, reported that no one had left camp that
night, though a man on beat four must have failed in an
extraordinary way to see a private crossing his line six feet in
front of him.
The muster failed to produce any rag-eared, stub-tailed,
eager-eyed, collarless yellow cub. Nor did the mess-call raise his
shrill bark in the vicinity of the cook's tent. The lieutenant felt
He thought that the regiment should at least have made some sort of
demonstration in Scrap's defense. It seemed a poor return for such
confidence and loyalty to be hustled out of the way on an official
It seemed to him the regiment was infernally light-hearted, as,
pipe-clay white and nickel bright in the morning sun, it swung out
of camp for the parade-ground, where the dog-carts and runabouts
and automobiles were gathering from Del Monte and the cottages
along the shore.
The sight of the twelve companies moving across the field with the
step of one warmed the cockles of the colonel's pride. The regiment
came to parade rest, and the band went swinging past their front,
past the reviewing-stand. As it wheeled into place, the colonel,
who had been speaking to the adjutant, who was the lieutenant of
Company A, bit his sentence in the middle, and glared at something
that moved, glittering, at the heels of the drum-major.
The colonel turned bright red. His glass fell out of his
"What the devil is the matter with that dog?" he whispered softly.
And the adjutant, who had also seen and was suffocating, managed to
The colonel put his glass back in his eye. His shoulders shook. He
coughed violently as he addressed the adjutant:
"Have that dog removed—no, let him alone—no, adjutant, bring him
So the adjutant, biting his lip, motioned Muldoon to fall out.
Tough old Muldoon tucked Scrap, struggling, squirming, glittering
like a hardware shop, under his arm, and saluted his commander,
while the review waited.
The colonel was blinking through his glass and trying not to grin.
"Sergeant, how many collars has that dog got on?"
"Thirteen, sor," said Muldoon.
"What for?" said the colonel, severely.
"Wan for each company, sor, an' wan for the band."