126 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
arrangements for the proper lodging of all my animals, for he was much more occupied about their comfort than he was about mine or even his own. They had all plenty of room, particularly the dogs, who were not confined by any sort of enclosure, and Pritchard, who was naturally generous, kept open house with a truly Scottish hospitality. It was his custom to sit in the middle of the road and salute every dog that passed with a little not unfriendly growl; smelling him, and permitting himself to be smelt in a ceremonious manner. When a mutual sympathy had been produced by this means, a conversation something like this would begin :
' Have you a good master ? ' asked the strange dog.
' Not bad,' Pritchard would reply.
' Does your master feed you well ? '
' Well, one has porridge twice a day, bones at breakfast and dinner, and anything one can pick up in the kitchen besides.'
The stranger licked his lips.
' You are not badly off,' said he.
' I do not complain,' replied Pritchard. Then, seeing the strange dog look pensive, he added, ' Would you like to dine with us ?'
The invitation was accepted at once, for dogs do not wait to be pressed, like some foolish human beings.
At dinner-time Pritchard came in, followed by an unknown dog, who, like Pritchard, placed himself beside my chair, and scratched my knee with his paw in such a confiding way that I felt sure that Pritchard must have been commending my benevolence. The dog, after spending a pleasant evening, found that it was rather too late to return home, so slept comfortably on the grass after his good supper. Next morning he took two or three steps as if to go away, then changing his mind, he inquired of Pritchard, ' Should I be much in the way if I stayed on here ?'
Pritchard replied, ' You could quite well, with manage-