130 THE STORY OF JACKO IL
On entering the studio Tony was pleased to find all in good order and Jacko peacefully asleep on his cushions. He went to bed and was soon fast asleep too.
Not long after midnight he was roused by such a rattling of old irons that anyone might have thought that all the ghosts in Mrs. Radcliffe's novels were dragging their chains about the room. Tony did not much believe in ghosts, but fearing some one might be breaking in to steal his wood he stretched out his hand towards an antique halberd which hung on the wall. But in an instant or two he discovered the cause of all this noise, and shouted to Jacko to lie down and be quiet.
Jacko obeyed, and Tony made all haste to fall asleep again. At the end of half an hour he was once more aroused by smothered groans and cries. As the house stood in an out-of-the-way part of the town Tony thought some one was being murdered under his very windows. He jumped out of bed, seized a pair of pistols, and ran to open the window. The night was still, the street quiet, not a sound disturbed the peace of the neighbourhood ; so he closed the window and realised that the groans came from inside the room. Now, as he and Jacko were its only occupants, and as he certainly had not uttered a sound himself, he went straight to Jacko, who, not knowing what to do, had amused himself running round and round the leg of the table till his chain shortened, and as he continued turning round he found himself suddenly pulled up short by the collar. It never occurred to him to run round the other way, so he only choked more and more with each attempt to free himself. Hence the groans which had disturbed his master.
Tony promptly unwound the chain from the leg of the table, and Jacko, happy to be able to breathe once more, retired humbly and quietly to bed. Tony also lay down hoping for a good sleep at last; but he reckoned without Jacko, who had been disturbed in his regular habits. He had slept his usual eight hours early in the