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V. A Friend of Justice Henry van Dyke

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As for his brothers--was it fair that two of them should fall foul of him about the rabbit which he had tracked and caught and killed? He would have shared it with them, if they had asked him, for they ran behind him on the trail. But when they both set their teeth in his neck, there was nothing to do but to lay them both out: which he did. Afterward he was willing enough to make friends, but they bristled and cursed whenever he came near them.

It was the same with everybody. If he went out for a walk on the beach, Vigneau's dogs or Simard's dogs regarded it as an insult, and there was a fight. Men picked up sticks, or showed him the butt-end of their dog-whips, when he made friendly approaches. With the children it was different; they seemed to like him a little; but never did he follow one of them that a mother did not call from the house-door: "Pierre! Marie! come away quick! That bad dog will bite you!" Once when he ran down to the shore to watch the boat coming in from the mail-steamer, the purser had refused to let the boat go to land, and called out, "M'sieu' MacIntosh, you git no malle dis trip, eef you not call avay dat dam' dog."

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True, the Minganites seemed to take a certain kind of pride in his reputation. They had brought Chouart's big brown dog, Gripette, down from the Sheldrake to meet him; and after the meeting was over and Gripette had been revived with a bucket of water, everybody, except Chouart, appeared to be in good humour. The purser of the steamer had gone to the trouble of introducing a famous BOULE-DOGGE from Quebec, on the trip after that on which he had given such a hostile opinion of Pichon. The bulldog's intentions were unmistakable; he expressed them the moment he touched the beach; and when they carried him back to the boat on a fish-barrow many flattering words were spoken about Pichou. He was not insensible to them. But these tributes to his prowess were not what he really wanted. His secret desire was for tokens of affection. His position was honourable, but it was intolerably lonely and full of trouble. He sought peace and he found fights.

While he meditated dimly on these things, patiently trying to get the ashes of Dan Scott's pipe out of his nose, his heart was cast down and his spirit was disquieted within him. Was ever a decent dog so mishandled before? Kicked for nothing by a fat stranger, and then beaten by his own master!

In the dining-room of the Post, Grant was slowly and reluctantly allowing himself to be convinced that his injuries were not fatal. During this process considerable Scotch whiskey was consumed and there was much conversation about the viciousness of dogs. Grant insisted that Pichou was mad and had a devil. MacIntosh admitted the devil, but firmly denied the madness. The question was, whether the dog should be killed or not; and over this point there was like to be more bloodshed, until Dan Scott made his contribution to the argument: "If you shoot him, how can you tell whether he is mad or not? I'll give thirty dollars for him and take him home."

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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