334 THIEVING DOGS AND HOUSES
treating its master as if he was a person whom it really was not respectable to know. While the spaniel was thus poking round the shop with its eyes apparently turned in another direction, the young man was turning over some articles at the counter. Suddenly he glanced at the dog, touching, as if without thinking, a small parcel that lay there. Soon after he left the shop.
The dog, who from first to last had given no sign that it and its master knew each other, sat down peacefully at the door, in a position where it could see all that was going on inside. At length the shopkeeper went for a moment to an inner room to fetch something he wanted. In an instant the spaniel had placed its fore-paws on the counter, seized the parcel, and crept out noiselessly to rejoin its master, bearing the stolen property triumphantly in its mouth.
We are not told whether in the long run the young man was ever caused any serious trouble by this magpie of a dog; but a gentleman who became famous as a lawyer at the end of the eighteenth century very nearly fell a victim to the too faithful memory of his horse.
In the days of his youth, somewhere between 1750 and 1760, the journey between Edinburgh and London was made on horseback. If a man was rich enough he hired horses to meet him and his servant at certain places on the road, but if he was poor, he bought a horse at the beginning of his journey, and sold him for what he could get at the end of it.
Now this gentleman had been brought up in the country, and nobody was a better judge of a horse, so when the business which had brought him to London was finished, he set out for Smithfield, where the great horse market then was, to buy a mount for his return journey next day. He instantly picked out a handsome creature with a beautiful head, and stopped to look at it, though he felt, with a sigh, that the sum asked would be certain to