102 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
much about Vatrin's pipes, for he only looked at me affectionately and beat upon the ground with his tail.
' I don't know what to do with him,' said Vatrin. ' If I keep him he'll eat holes in the house, I suppose; yet I don't like to give him up — he's only a dog. It's humiliating for a man, don't you know?'
' I'll tell you what, Vatrin,' said I. ' We will take him down to Vesinet, and go for a walk through your preserves, and then we shall see whether it is worth while to take any more trouble with this vagabond, as you call him.'
'I call him by his name. It oughtn't to be Pritchard; it should be Bluebeard, it should be Blunderbore, it should be Judas Iscariot!'
Vatrin enumerated all the greatest villains he could think of at the moment.
I called Michel.
' Michel, give me my shooting shoes and gaiters; we will go to Vesinet to see what Pritchard can do.'
' You will see, sir,' said Michel, ' that you will be better pleased than you think.' For Michel always had a liking for Pritchard.
We went down a steep hill to Ve'sinet, Michel following with Pritchard on a leash. At the steepest place I turned round. ' Look there upon the bridge in front of us, Michel,' I said, 'there is a dog very like Pritchard.' Michel looked behind him. There was nothing but the leather straps in his hand; Pritchard had cut it through with his teeth, and was now standing on the bridge amusing himself by looking at the water through the railing.
' He is a vagabond!' said Vatrin. ' Look! where is he off to now ? '
'He has gone,' said I, 'to see what my neighbour Correge has got for luncheon.' Sure enough, the next moment Pritchard was seen coming out of M. Correge's back door, pursued by a maid servant with a broom. He