COLLIES, OB SHEEP DOGS 271
the food he could bear it no longer, and began to lap madly, though he never failed to keep to his own side of the dish, and let her pick up anything she could get.
Another of Hector's tricks, and one of which he could never be cured, was to tear round the room like a wild thing, a few seconds before old Hogg finished his daily family prayer; and this was all the more strange as the old man prayed out of his own head, and the length of the prayer varied. It never seems to have occurred to any of the family to shut the dog up, and they all puzzled in vain over the reason for his conduct, when suddenly the true explanation darted into the head of the shepherd himself. ' Hector is all day long pointing the cat; now, when he sees us kneeling with our heads on our hands, exactly as he does, he takes for granted that wre are pointing her too, and the moment that he can tell from our father's voice that the prayer is coming to an end, he springs to his feet, saying to himself: " It is no good for them to try, I am the first in the field."
Like many Scotch dogs, Hector was fond of going to church, when his friends would have preferred him to remain at home, and he also enjoyed taking part in the music. The church at Ettrick, where the Hoggs lived, was small, and the singing very bad, which vexed the shepherd, who determined to try to improve it. This he would very likely have managed to do if it had not been for Hector, who, however carefully he had been shut up at home, always contrived to escape, and would be seen stalking up the aisle to the terror of his master, who knew what he had to expect. The moment the first notes sounded, in struck Hector ; higher and higher rose the man's voice, louder and louder became the dog's, while the rest of the congregation hid their faces in their plaids, and laughed till they nearly fell off their seats. For some time Hogg stuck to it from sheer obstinacy, but at length Hector proved too much for him, and he gave up the singing to some one who owned a less musical dog !