150 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
being of a less sociable turn, and not in a humour to be trifled with, dealt poor Pritchard such a blow with his beak as to deprive him of one of his mustard-coloured eyes. Pritchard's courage was unabated; he might be compared to that brave field marshal of whom it was said that Mars had left nothing of him whole except his heart. But it was difficult, you see, to make much use of a dog with so many infirmities. If I had wished to sell him I could not have found a purchaser, nor would he have been considered a handsome present had I desired to give him away. I had no choice, then, but to make this old servant, badly as he had sometimes served me, a pensioner, a companion, in fact a friend. Some people told me that I might have tied a stone round his neck and flung him into the river; others, that it was easy enough to replace him by buying a good retriever from Vatrin; but although I was not yet poor enough to drown Pritchard, neither was I rich enough to buy another dog. However, later in that very year, I made an unexpected success in literature, and one of my plays brought me in a sufficient sum to take a shooting in the department of Yonne. I went to look at this shooting, taking Pritchard with me. In the meantime my daughter wrote to tell me that she had bought an excellent retriever for five pounds, named Catinat, and that she was keeping him in the stable until my return. As soon as I arrived, my first care was to make Catinat's acquaintance. He was a rough, vigorous dog of three or four years old, thoughtless, violent, and quarrelsome. He jumped upon me till he nearly knocked me down, upset my daughter's work-table, and dashed about the room to the great danger of my china vases and ornaments. I therefore called Michel and informed him that the superficial acquaintance which I had made with Catinat would suffice for the time, and that I would defer the pleasure of his further intimacy until the shooting season began at Auxerre.