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A Dog's Remorse

[Sept. 1, 1883.]

A remarkable instance of the effect that can be produced upon a dog by
the human voice was related to me yesterday. Some of your correspondents
would consider it confirmatory of their notion that dogs have mind
enough to understand words; but I myself rather believe that the sound
of the voice acts upon the feelings of dumb animals just as
instrumental music acts upon us. The story is as follows:--A clergyman
had for a long time a dog, and no other domestic animal. He and his
servant made a great pet of the dog. At last, however, the clergyman
took to keeping a few fowls, and the servant fed them. The dog showed
himself very jealous and out of humour at this, and when Sunday came
round, and he was left alone, he took the opportunity to kill and bury
two hens. A claw half-uncovered betrayed what he had done. His master
did not beat him, but took hold of him, and talked to him, most
bitterly, most severely. "You've been guilty of the sin of murder,
sir,--and on the Sabbath day, too; and you, a clergyman's dog, taking a
mean advantage of my absence!" &c. He talked on and on for a long time,
in the same serious and reproachful strain. Early the next morning the
master had to leave home for a day or so; and he did so without speaking
a word of kindness to the dog, because he said he wished him to feel
himself in disgrace. On his return, the first thing he was told was,
"The dog is dead. He never ate nor drank after you had spoken to him; he
just lay and pined away, and he died an hour ago."


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