MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 147
But we are going to try to cure Pritchard of hunting. When he is cured of hunting, he will be cured of stealing.'
' Never, sir! You will never cure Pritchard of his vices.'
Still I pursued my plan, which was to put Pritchard's fore-leg through his collar. By this means, his right forefoot being fastened to his neck, and his left hind-foot being cut off, he had only two to run with, the left forefoot and the right hind-foot.
' Well, indeed,' said Michel, ' if he can hunt now, the devil is in it.'
He loosed Pritchard, who stood for a moment as if astonished, but once he had balanced himself he began to walk, then to trot; then, as he found his balance better, he succeeded in running quicker on his two legs than many dogs would have done on four.
' Where are we now, sir? ' said Michel.
' It's that beast of a stake that balances him! ' I replied, a little disappointed. ' We ought to teach him to dance upon the tight-rope — he would make our fortunes as an acrobat.'
' You are joking again, sir. But listen! do you hear that?'
The most terrible imprecations against Pritchard were resounding on all sides. The imprecations were followed by a shot, then by a howl of pain.
' That is Pritchard's voice,' said Michel. ' Well, it is no more than he deserves.'
Pritchard reappeared the next moment with a hare in his mouth.
' Michel, you said that was Pritchard that howled.'
' I would swear to it, sir.'
' But how could he howl with a hare in his mouth ? '
Michel scratched his head. ' It was he all the same,' he said, and he went to look at Pritchard.
'Oh, sir!' he said, 'I was right. The gentleman he took the hare from has shot him. His hind-leg is all over