1oo MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
Lucullus, and finally, a cock called Caesar. Let us give honour where honour is due, and begin with the history of Pritchard.
I had an acquaintance named M. Lerat, who having heard me say I had no dog to take out shooting, said, ' Ah! how glad I am to be able to give you something you will really like! A friend of mine who lives in Scotland has sent me a pointer of the very best breed. I will give him to you. Bring Pritchard,' he added to his two little girls.
How could I refuse a present offered so cordially? Pritchard was brought in.
He was an odd-looking dog to be called a pointer! He was long-haired, grey and white, with ears nearly erect, mustard-coloured eyes, and a beautifully feathered tail. Except for the tail, he could scarcely be called a handsome dog.
M. Lerat seemed even more delighted to give the present than I was to receive it, which showed what a good heart he had.
'The children call the dog Pritchard,' he said; 'but if you don't like the name, call him what you please.'
I had no objection to the name; my opinion was that if anyone had cause to complain, it was the dog himself. Pritchard, therefore, continued to be called Pritchard. He was at this time about nine or ten months old, and ought to begin his education, so I sent him to a gamekeeper named Vatrin to learn his duties. But, two hours after I had sent Pritchard to Vatrin, he was back again at my house. He was not made welcome; on the contrary, he received a good beating from Michel, who was my gardener, porter, butler, and confidential servant all in one, and who took Pritchard back to Vatrin. Vatrin was astonished; Pritchard had been shut up with the other dogs in the kennel, and he must have jumped over the enclosure, which was a high one. Early the next morning, when the housemaid had opened my front door, there