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This and That
 page 2

C.E. Acland-Troyte's "From the Pyrenees to the Channel in a Dogcart"(Swan Sonnenschein, Lowry & Co., London, 1887)

(p164)".. the guardian of the flock...(the) shepherd-lad, whose life is spent almost entirely alone with his charge: with no companion, save that faithful one - his dog ...And having mentioned this latter noble animal, I may as well say here what I have to say about him. The real thorough-bred Pyrenean sheep-dog is perhaps one of the very finest specimens of his genus. In size, as large as the St.Bernard, his thick long coat of white hair, marked about the head and ears with tan-colour or brown and with occasionally a patch or two of the same hue on the back, makes him a conspicuous object far away on the hill-side where he lies watching his charge. And he can see you quite as well as you can see him - whether you have a white coat or not - and down he comes, like King James at Flodden, rushing from his mountain-home. Fortunately, most French horses are so well accustomed to have every cur by the road-side springing out at them, that they generally preserve their equanimity under the most trying circumstances. But one of these huge Pyrenean dogs is a formidable assaillant: and were it not that their bark is usually onlyfor show, and not accompanied by a bite, it might go ill with the unprepared victim of the assault. One such attack we saw very promptly met, this very afternoon on our drive here. As we came near the end of our day's march, we passed a cottage by the road-side, in the garden of which were two dogs, one a very fine sheep-dog, the other not so well-bred, and scarcely arrived at dog's estate. Both came rushing out at us, open mouthed, full voiced,"one mutual cry", and having said their say, retired to wait for the next passers-by. This happened to be two stalwart peasants, staff in hand; and as the dogs rushed out, one of the men dealt the younger one such a blow on the back with his powerful arm, that the poor brute dropped howling on the ground, and unable to rise again. He writhed about in pain, poor fellow, and his howls went to my heart, and I thought his last hour had come, for he seemed unable to get to his legs. It was quite touching to see the older dog standing over him and comforting him; perhaps receiving his last words and dying wishes; and couldn't help saying rather angrily to the man as he passed us (for we had pulled up to see the result of the blow), "Vous avez frappe trop fort, le chien va mourir." But with re- assuring laugh he passed on; and looking back I saw that the poor fellow had got to his feet again, and was crawling home." (p176)"At Luz I saw quite the finest specimen of the Pyrenean sheep- dog that I have yet come across, both as to size, length and thickness of his white coat, and brown-markings on his head and ears. He was a most perfectly handsome dog, and I quite longed to carry him off;especially as the price asked for him (120 francs) did not seem excessive. "Vic"[the author's small dog] admired him as much as I did, and, in fact, lost her heart to him- of which occurence he did not take much notice at first, probably because it was such avery little one. But, I am sorry to say she is a most unblushing little flirt, even in these early days, and so forced her passion for him upon his notice that he could no longer be blind to the state of affairs. After this they came to an understanding, resulting in a game of romps, which was very amusing in the contrast as to size between the playfellows."

   
© U. Hock-Henschke
Netherlands