The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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130 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
' On the contrary, let another come, and then there will be fourteen.'
Michel sighed.
' It's a regular kennel,' he murmured.
It was, in fact, a pack of hounds, though rather a mixed one. There was a Russian wolfhound, there was a poodle, a water spaniel, a spitz, a dachshund with crooked legs, a mongrel terrier, a mongrel King Charles, and a Turkish dog which had no hair on its body, only a tuft upon its head and a tassel at the end of its tail. Our next recruit was a little Maltese terrier, named Lisette, which raised the number to fourteen. After all, the ex­pense of these fourteen amounted to rather over two pounds a month. A single dinner given to five or six of my own species would have cost me three times as much, and they would have gone away dissatisfied; for, even if they had liked my wine, they would certainly have found fault with my books. Out of this pack of hounds, one became Pritchard's particular friend and Michel's favour­ite. This was a dachshund with short crooked legs, a long body, and, as Michel said, the finest voice in the department of Seine-et-Oise. Portugo—that was his name — had in truth a most magnificent bass voice. I used to hear it sometimes in the night when I was writing, and think how that deep-toned majestic bark would please St. Hubert if he heard it in his grave. But what was Portugo doing at that hour, and why was he awake while the other dogs slumbered? This mystery was revealed one clay, when a stewed rabbit was brought me for dinner. I inquired where the rabbit came from.
' You thought it good, sir ?' Michel asked me with a pleased face.
' Excellent.'
' Well, then, you can have one just the same every day, sir, if you like.'
4Every day, Michel? Surely that is almost too much
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