338 THIEVING DOGS AND HOUSES
able to get him under way again, a blunderbuss was aimed at the poor man's innocent head, and he was informed that the occupants of the coach would sell their lives dearly ! And, as if this was not enough, it appeared that the horse was well known all along that very road, and when he had escaped from the firearms of passengers, it was only to be stopped by the officers of the peace, hoping at last to capture the notorious highwayman who had so many times contrived to slip through their fingers.
It can easily be imagined that by the time York was reached the poor young man had had quite enough. He parted with his prize for a mere trifle, less even than what he had paid, and was glad to buy for a much larger sum a horse that was not indeed so handsome to look at, but had been better brought up.
Yet it would be unjust to think that an animal's misdoing is always the fault of its master and mistress. Here and there we find a creature who is naughty or tiresome just because it likes it, and who will not suffer itself to be taught better ways. Not long ago a dog was living at the mouth of a short street in London which was open only at one end, and was the home of a great many children. If any child tried to pass him he would run at it and snap, and if he did not actually bite them, the nurses always thought that he had done so. At length every one became so frightened that the father of one of the little girls had to go before a magistrate and beg that the owners of this terrible animal might be forced to get rid of him, as it was not fair that the whole street should be kept in a state of siege, only for the amusement of one dog. The magistrate agreed that it certainly was unreasonable, and from that day the children could come and go as they chose, without any fear of suddenly being sent sprawling on the pavement.