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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