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Railway Dogs

[July 10, 1887.]

Your dog-loving readers may be interested to hear that there is (or was
till lately) in South Africa a rival to the well-known Travelling Jack,
of Brighton line fame, after whom, indeed, he has been nicknamed by his

I was introduced to him eighteen months ago, on board the Norham
Castle, on a voyage from Cape Town to England--a voyage which this
distinguished Colonial traveller was making much against his will. He
was a black-and-tan terrier with a white chest, whose intellect had
therefore probably been improved by a dash of mongrelism, and I was told
that he belonged to a gentleman connected with the railway department
living at Port Elizabeth. It appears that it was Mr. Jack's habit
frequently to embark all by himself on board the mail steamer leaving
that place on Saturday afternoon, and make the trip round the coast to
Cape Town, arriving there on Monday morning. Where he "put up" I do not
know, but he used to stay there until Wednesday evening, when he would
calmly walk into the station, take his place in the train, and return to
Port Elizabeth in that way, thus completing his "circular tour" by a
railway journey of about eight hundred miles.

He was well known by the officers and sailors of the Norham, and her
commander, Captain Alexander Winchester (who can vouch for these facts),
told me that, as the dog seemed fond of the sea, he had determined to
give him a long voyage for a change, and had kept him shut up on board
during the ship's stay at Cape Town.

Jack was evidently very uneasy at being taken on beyond his usual port,
and he was on the point of slipping into a boat for the shore at
Madeira, probably with a view of returning to the Cape by the next
steamer, when I called the captain's attention to him, and he was
promptly shut up again. I said good-bye to him at Plymouth, and hope he
found his way home safely on the return voyage.


[June 23, 1894.]

I have read with much interest the stories in the Spectator of the
sagacity of animals. The following, I think, is worth recording:--The
chief-engineer of the Midland and South-Western Junction Railway, Mr. J.
R. Shopland, C.E., has a spaniel that frequently accompanies him or his
sons to their office. On Saturday last this dog went to Marlborough from
Swindon by train with one of Mr. Shopland's clerks, and walked with him
to Savernake Forest. Suddenly the dog was missing. The creature had gone
back to the station at Marlborough and taken a seat in a second-class
compartment. The dog defied the efforts of the railway officials to
dislodge him. When the train reached Swindon he came out of the carriage
and walked quietly to his master's residence.


[March 30, 1895.]

I was witness the other day of what I had only heard of before--a dog
travelling by rail on his own account. I got into the train at Uxbridge
Road, and, the compartment being vacant, took up the seat which I now
prefer--the corner seat at the entrance with the back to the engine.
Presently a whole crowd of ladies got in, and with them a dog, which I
supposed to belong to them. All the ladies except one got out at Addison
Road, and then the dog slunk across the carriage to just under my seat.
I asked my remaining fellow-passenger whether the dog was hers; she said
"No." No one got in before she herself got out at South Kensington,
where the dog remained perfectly quiet, but at Sloane Square a man was
let in, and out rushed the dog, the door actually grazing his sides. Had
he not taken up the precise place he did, he must have been shut in or
crushed. "That dog is a stowaway," I observed to the porter who had
opened the door. "I suppose he is," the man answered. The dog was making
the best of his way to the stairs. Clearly the dog meant to get out at
that particular station (he had had ample opportunity of getting out
both at Addison Road and South Kensington), and had, as soon as he
could, taken up the best position for doing so. How did he recognise the
Sloane Square Station, for he had had only those two opportunities of
glancing out? It seems to me it could only have been by counting the
stations, in which case he must be able to reckon up to five. The dog
was a very ordinary London cur, white and tan, of a greatly mixed Scotch
terrier stock, the long muzzle showing a greyhound cross. He was thin,
and apparently conscious of breaking the law, hiding out of sight, and
slinking along with his tail between his legs, and altogether not worth
stealing. I suppose that he had been transferred to a new home which had
proved uncongenial, and was slipping away, in fear and trembling, to his
old quarters.

J. M. L.

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