Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/107
CONSCIENCE IN ANIMALS.
me in the night-time. Indeed, the scrupulous care with which he avoided making the least noise while I was asleep, or pretending to be asleep, was quite touching, even the sight of a cat outside, which at any other time rendered him frantic, only causing him to tremble violently with suppressed emotion when he had reason to suppose that I was not awake. If I overslept myself, however, he used to jump upon the bed and push my shoulder gently with his paw.
The following instance is likewise very instructive: I must premise that the terrier in question far surpassed any animal or human being I ever knew in the keen sensitiveness of his feelings, and that he was never beaten in his life. Well, one day he was shut up in a room by himself, while everybody, in the house where he was, went out. Seeing his friends from the window as they departed, the terrier appears to have been overcome by a paroxysm of rage; for when I returned I found that he had torn all the bottoms of the window-curtains to shreds. When I first opened the door he jumped about as dogs in general do under similar circumstances, having apparently forgotten, in his joy at seeing me, the damage he had done. But when, without speaking, I picked up one of the torn shreds of the curtains, the terrier gave a howl, and, rushing out of the room, ran up-stairs screaming as loudly as he was able. The only interpretation I can assign to this conduct is, that, his former fit of passion having subsided, the dog was sorry at having done what he knew would annoy me; and, not being able to endure in my presence the remorse of his smitten conscience, he ran to the farthest corner of the house crying peccavi in the language of his nature.I could give several other cases of conscientious action on the part of this terrier, but, as the present article is already too long, I shall confine myself to giving but one other case. This, however, is the
- A reproachful word or look from me, when it seemed to him that occasion required it, was enough to make this dog miserable for a whole day. I do not know what would have happened had I ventured to strike him; but once when I was away from home a friend used to take him out every day for a walk in the park. He always enjoyed his walks very much, and was now wholly dependent upon this gentleman for obtaining them. (He was once stolen in London through the complicity of my servants, and never after that would he go out by himself, or with any one he knew to be a servant.) Nevertheless, one day while he was amusing himself with another dog in the park, my friend, in order to persuade him to follow, struck him with a glove. The terrier looked up at his face with an astonished and indignant gaze, deliberately turned round, and trotted home. Next day he went out with my friend as before, but after he had gone a short distance he looked up at his face significantly, and again trotted home with a dignified air. After this my friend could never induce the terrier to go out with him again. It is remarkable, also, that this animal's sensitiveness was not only of a selfish kind, but extended itself in sympathy for others. Whenever he saw a man striking a dog, whether in the house or outside, near at hand or at a distance, he used to rush to the protection of his fellow, snarling and snapping in a most threatening way. Again, when driving with me in a dog-cart, he always used to seize the sleeve of my coat every time I touched the horse with the whip.