This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
BOX was a mixture of every possible race of dog.
His head was pointed, but his ears, nevertheless, long and drooping, resembling those of a Gordon setter. His short, thick, bulldog neck was joined to a retriever body, from beneath which shot out four long, thin greyhound legs, and behind which dangled a long, thin, mop-ended tail.
His eyes were wolf-like and shifty, and blinked treacherously when he looked at one. Any attempt to pat him was repulsed with a growl and an evil suspicious glance.
His coat was doubtful; but his mind was definite enough: quarrelsome, ferocious, and snappish—ready to attack anyone or anything upon the slightest provocation!
He had never been able to stand cats, a trait doubtless inherited from some aristocratic, sensitive-nosed ancestor. . . . From his very earliest days he had found it impossible to be on friendly terms with such musky beasts.
In addition he hated sheep, and loathed the odour of cows and the stink of swine; but however much his aristocratic instincts were offended, he was always conscious at the back of his mind of a certain agreeable, meaty smell about them. The cat's scent, however, was sour and old; it smelled of mouse, which he despised from his birth.
Besides, they were always wanting to share his food with him—a habit to which he objected strongly. They thought him asleep when—as occasionally happened—he dozed over a bone at noon outside his kennel; but he was wide awake enough, and knew exactly what their game was!
He really belonged to the farmer's wife, and was always released at her request. He then tore round doing his amiable best to exterminate the farm's feline inhabitants.
The foreman is sitting milking in the stall, when he is suddenly overturned and kicked into the gutter. The cows roar frenziedly.
. . . Box has just rushed by in pursuit of a cat!
As soon as the foreman has picked himself up, a clog comes hurtling at Box—and just as he is disappearing crestfallen through the door, a milk-stool catches him in the rear.
After this exploit he seldom ventured inside the stall-door; but the foreman knew well enough when the ruffian stood outside peering through the chink, for the stall-cat's tail always swelled and stood to attention immediately.
One day he surprised the good wife's favourite kitten, a little white he-cat, as it lay sleeping in the barn; it was too slow in waking, and was captured. The farmer chased him with a shovel, and succeeded in recovering the kitten, but it was dead. There was nothing to do except break the news to his wife, and bury the corpse.
After that outrage Box was chained up for a very long time indeed. But gradually his madness subsided so much that he learned to recognize the "musk animals" attached to the farm; and although he could not of course regard them as friends, he yet respected them for the sake of the general peace.
But beyond the bounds of the farm, out on the road and in the fields, he showed no mercy. Every cat he met there was his sworn enemy—and he was master-hand at running them down and killing them.