MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 101
was Pritchard sitting outside. Michel again beat the dog, and again took him back to Vatrin, who this time put a collar round his neck and chained him up. Michel came back and informed me of this severe but necessary measure. Vatrin sent a message to say that I should not see Pritchard again until his education was finished. The next day, while I was writing in a little summer-house in my garden, I heard a furious barking. It was Pritchard fighting with a great Pyrenean sheepdog which another of my friends had just given me. This dog was named Mouton, because of his white woolly hair like a sheep's, not on account of his disposition, which was remarkably savage. Pritchard was rescued by Michel from Mouton's enormous jaws, once more beaten, and for the third time taken back to Vatrin. Pritchard, it appears, had eaten his collar, though how he managed it Vatrin never knew. He was now shut up in a shed, and unless he ate the walls or the door, he could not possibly get out. He tried both, and finding the door the more digestible, he ate the door; and the next day at dinnertime, Pritchard walked into the dining-room wagging his plumy tail, his yellow eyes shining with satisfaction. This time Pritchard was neither beaten nor taken back; we waited till Vatrin should come to hold a council of war as to what was to be done with him. The next day Vatrin appeared.
'Did you ever see such a rascal?' he began. Vatrin was so excited that he had forgotten to say ' Good morning ' or ' How do you do ? '
' I tell you,' said he, ' that rascal Pritchard puts me in such a rage that I have crunched the stem of my pipe three times between my teeth and broken it, and my wife has had to tie it up with string. He'll ruin me in pipes, that brute — that vagabond!'
' Pritchard, do you hear what is said about you ?' said I.
Pritchard heard, but perhaps did not think it mattered