Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/215

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203
CANINE SAGACITY.

of the animal passion for revenge. The jetty which stretched along the small harbor was at that time used as a promenade by the élite among the sojourners on the coast, where, after the heat of the long summer days, they regaled themselves with the fresh evening breezes wafted in from the sea. Among the frequenters of this fashionable resort was a gentleman of some position, who was the owner of a fine Newfoundland dog, which inherited the time-honored possessions of that noble breed—very great power and facility in swimming; and, at the period of the evening when the jetty was most crowded with promenaders, his master delighted to put this animal through a series of aquatic performances for the entertainment of the assembled spectators. Amusement being at a premium on the coast, these nightly performances grew into something like an "institution," and the brave "Captain"—for such was his name—speedily became a universal favorite on the jetty. It happened, however, that among the new arrivals on the coast there came a certain major in her majesty's army, accompanied by two bull-dogs of unusual size and strength, and of great value; but, value in a bull-dog being inversely proportionate to its beauty, the appearance of the major and his dogs excited no very enthusiastic pleasure among the aesthetic strollers on the jetty. On the first night on which the major presented himself, nothing unusual occurred; and Captain dived and swam as before. But on the second evening the brave old favorite was walking quietly behind his master down the jetty, when, as they were passing by the major and his dogs, one of these ugly brutes flew at Captain, and caught him by the neck in such a way as to render his great size utterly useless for his defense. A violent struggle ensued, but the bull-dog came off the victor, for he stuck to his foe like a leech, and could only be forced to release his hold by the insertion of a bar of iron between his teeth. The indignation of the by-standers against the major was, of course, very great; and its fervor was not a little increased when they saw the poor Captain wending his way homeward, bleeding, and bearing all the marks of defeat. Some two or three evenings after this occurrence, when Captain again made his appearance on the jetty, he looked quite crestfallen, bore his tail between his legs, and stuck closely to the heels of his master. That evening passed away quietly, and the next, and the next, and so on for about a week—Captain still bearing the aspect of mourning. But one evening about eight or ten days after the above encounter, as the major was inarching in his usual pompous manner along the jetty, accompanied by his dogs, something attracted his attention in the water, and, walking to the very edge of the jetty, he stood for a moment looking down into the sea. Scarcely had the two bull-dogs taken up their stand beside their master when Captain, seizing the opportunity for which he had so long looked, rushed at his former conqueror, and, catching him by the back of the neck, jumped off the jetty, with his foe in his mouth, down some twen-