This section is from the book "All About Dogs - A Book For Doggy People", by Charles Henry Lane. Also available from Amazon: All About Dogs: A Book For Doggy People.
As he passed the kennel of the Mastiff in the Inn Yard, at Oxford, he could not help looking, with resentment, towards it, when to his surprise, instead of the Mastiff, which had been there many years, he saw quite another dog. "And so you have parted with that savage brute of a Mastiff that worried my setter the last time I was here," he said to the Ostler. "Ay," replied the Ostler, "there's a curious thing about that, sir, the dog was worried, dead on the spot, at the door of his own kennel, and if I am not mistaken, your setter helped to do it too." "My setter," said the Squire, "what do you mean?" "I mean, sir," said the man, "that about a week or so after you was here last, when your dog got so towsled by old
Sampson, the Mastiff, we heard all of a sudden a terrible noise of dogs fighting in the yard, and on running out, saw two great dogs fiercely at work with old Sampson. They had got him down, and seemed tearing him into very atoms. Our master made no more to do, but in he ran, snatched down the gun, and fired at the dogs, but it was too late, they were just going over the yard wall together, and I dare say, got off without the peppering master meant for them. But there, however, was old Sampson, as dead as the stones he lay upon!" "And you thought," said the Squire, "that one of the dogs resembled my setter?" "Nay," said the Ostler, "both of them. One was the very picture of the other, and if they were not your setters, they were no dogs at all!" "It is very wonderful," said the Squire, "but I have not a doubt but that you are quite right in your belief, and this accounts for what, till this moment, has very much puzzled me. My dog was so resentful of the injury and insult that he received from your Mastiff, that he without doubt communicated his grievances to his brother dog, and prevailed on him to set out on a pilgrimage of revenge. The dogs disappeared for a week or more together, they came back wounded, and in that miserable plight, that they never recovered it.
The dogs, let me tell you, are both dead, and I would not have taken a hundred pounds for them." The Ostler and all the people about the inn were wonderfully surprised at the story, and a wonderful circumstance it was, to be sure. My grandfather, who told the story, added, "It is just as true as you sit there, I had it word for word, nay, I have had it, word for word, twenty times, from Squire Mills himself".
Of course in a long career of dog showing and judging I have come into contact with all classes of exhibitors, and I am bound to say, as a general rule, have met with the greatest courtesy and had many a kind turn done me at different times, nor was I ever, but once, the subject of any of the practical jokes which used to be, more than they are now, so very frequent, and sometimes very rough, and unpleasant in their nature.
The one exception was when I was stopping at Sydenham, on the occasion of a Crystal Palace show, and when I rose in the morning to go up and see my dogs before breakfast, my boots could nowhere be found, but as I knew there was a very lively team stopping at the same hotel, I felt certain it was their doing, and resolved to checkmate them by going to see the dogs all the same and saying nothing about it, so as I always carried in my bag a pair of Indian leather moccasins, I put them on, and went over to the Palace, where I presently met one of the squad I suspected of "lifting my boots," he said, "What funny shoes you have on, Mr. Lane." I said, "Yes, they are a little out of the common, but, the fact is, some of the jokers at my hotel, have taken a fancy to my boots and probably supposed I should be kept a prisoner in the hotel all day, and so I put on these," he said, "You don't mean to say, your boots were taken. They've taken the wrong man's; no one had the slightest idea of playing any prank on you," and when I returned, I found my boots in my room.
I came across, in an old French work, the following curious, if true, method of fishing, in which the services of a Poodle, or Terrier were called into action. The enthusiastic sportsman who fears neither storms nor sunstroke (coup de soleil) makes his appearance at the Riverside without either fishing rod, lines, worms, flies or bait, of any description, but having under his left arm a double-barrelled gun, in his right hand, a large cabbage and following at his heels a clever Poodle or Terrier dog. The fisherman, or huntsman, I scarcely know which to call him, now duly reconnoitres the river, fixes upon some tree, the large and lower branches of which hang out over the water, ascends with his gun and cabbage, and having taken up his position upon one of the large projecting branches, closely examines the surface of the stream beneath him.
He has, usually, not been long on his perch, before he perceives a stately pike, or other member of the finny tribe, paddling up the river, he instantly breaks a leaf off the cabbage, and when the fish has approached sufficiently near, throws it into the water, the frightened fish immediately disappears, but shortly after rises, and grateful to the kind and unknown friend who has provided this admirable parasol, swims towards it, and after pushing it about for a while with his nose, finally places himself comfortably under its protecting and congenial shade.
The sportsman in the tree, watching the animated movements of the cabbage leaf, immediately fires, when the dog, whose sagacity is quite equal to that of his master, plunges into the water, and if the fish is either dead or severely wounded, seldom fails to bring the scaly morsel to land; thus as long as the heavens are bright and blue, the water keeps warm on the surface and the larger fish prefer to swim in the sun, the sport continues so long as the climbing and staying powers of the sportsman hold out. Sometimes the dog and fish have a very sharp struggle, and then the fun is great indeed unless, by chance, the sportsman should unfortunately miss his footing in the tree, in the midst of his amusement and drop head foremost into the water with his double-barrelled gun and what is left of his cabbage.