MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 151
Poor Michel, as soon as he saw Catinat, had been seized with a presentiment of evil.
' Sir,' he said, ' that dog will bring some misfortune upon us. I do not know yet what, but something will happen, I know it will!'
' In the meantime, Michel,' I said, ' you had better take Catinat back to the stable.' But Catinat had already left the room of his own accord and rushed downstairs to the dining-room, where I had left Pritchard. Now Pritchard never could endure Catinat from the first moment he saw him; the two dogs instantly flew at one another with so much fury that Michel was obliged to call me to his assistance before we could separate them. Catinat was once more shut up iu the stable, and Pritchard conducted to his kennel in the stable-yard, which, in the absence of carriages and horses, was now a poultry-yard, inhabited by my eleven hens and my cock Caesar. Pritchard's friendship with the hens continued to be as strong as ever, and the household suffered from a scarcity of eggs in consequence. That evening, while my daughter and I were walking in the garden, Michel came to meet us, twisting his straw hat between his fingers, a sure sign that he had something important to say.
' Well, what is it, Michel?' I asked.
' It came into my mind, sir,' he answered, ' while I was taking Pritchard to his kennel, that we never have any eggs because Pritchard eats them; and he eats them because he is in direct communication with the hens.'
' It is evident, Michel, that if Pritchard never went into the poultry-yard, he would not eat the eggs.'
' Then, do you not think, sir,' continued Michel,' that if we shut up Pritchard in the stable and put Catinat into the poultry-yard, it would be better? Catinat is an animal without education, so far as I know; but he is not such a thief as Pritchard.'
' Do you know what will happen if you do that,