Chapter 62144632

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Chapter NumberVIII.
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-08-30
Page Number6
Word Count3278
Last Corrected2020-07-16
Newspaper TitleClarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)
Trove TitleJohn Brown and His Dog Faithful
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About a month after what is related in the previous chapter, the following conversation took place be- tween John Brown and Commissioner Ugessergin.

"Well. that is capital about Pat and your dog. I have noticed him look around corners very askant, and change colour when I have ordered him on some special duty ; but he knows a command from me must be obeyed. He is a real Irishman. Only the other day he brought in three prisoners for some trivial offence. I asked him how he captured three men single-handed. ' Oh, bedad,' he said, ' I sur- rounded them,' and he drew himself up to his full height. I would like to test your dog further. Faithful v. policeman. I will call it. I know when we met the other day by appointment, as a test, he walked round, smelling me in a suspicious manner, and then gave you a wicked look ; but then I had on my official dress. You say you much question if he would save a trooper's life, under any circumstances. I am anxious to put this to the test by following madam's example to an extent. What say you ?"

John Brown—" It is a matter for which I will not be responsible. I have told you how he seized a Bow- street officer at home because the man unfortunately laid his hands rather roughly on my shoulders, mis- taking me for some person he was after. I saved the man's life, and could only curb the dog by begging the Bow-street runner to go into a shop, but of sight for a moment or two ; then I, in soothing tones, put a muzzle on the mouth of the old dog. The remainder of that day and all night he was locked up in a cell, and by bribes to the suffering policeman, got the dog free. Faithful has never forgotten this man's action to his master ; confinement in cell, and array of policemen around him in court."

But you tell me, Mr John Brown, that even you have to mind your P.'s and Q.'s at certain times. How is it? A Newfoundland dog is generally so docile !"

" Some years ago, in the old country, a burglar broke into my father's house. The man was putting on a coat of mine in the hull, when the dog sprang upon him. Hearing a noise, I rushed from my room with a light, and endeavoured to rescue the man. The dog gave one tearing shake of the burglar, and turned on me ; and if it had not been for my presence of mind in using a stout stick, I had picked up in the hall, and forcing it between his teeth as he came at me with open mouth. I don't know what would have been the end. I soothed the dog by words ; then he stretched himself at my feet, licking my hand, and whining in a most piteous manner, as if in great sorrow—sorrow that he had turned his anger on me. The burglar lived only three days to confess a long list of crimes, including arson and murder. I found by inquiry, in searching the dog's pedigree, that his grandfather was a pure bred bloodhound. So here was the explanation : the keen scent of the hound, and the docility of the Newfoundland—a war at time between the two natures. He is so docile that he would not hurt a child ; but when the blood- hound blood is up, look out. His sense of smell is so acute at times, and anger so great, that the New- foundland blood is entirely thrown into the back ground. I fully believe the taking my coat sealed the burglar's fate."

" Well, Mr John Brown I don't like such a dog against the force. I wish he were on our side. Against criminals, why such a dog would be of more worth to me than all my men."

" Mr Commissioner, you forget ; Faithful's mode of proceeding would be bloodhound law, and not at all times British justice."

" True ; a remark I would expect from your sense of justice. But to proceed. I don't boast ; but I can say I am not a coward (which was most true, for a braver man never walked on earth.) I want to test this dog, and see if he will let a policeman sink or swim. I want to test his memory and scent."

" On only two conditions, Mr Ugessergin. First, I hold myself unanswerable for the consequences. Second, my dog shall in no ways be harmed ; for, with all due respect, I would not have Faithful harmed for the best officer in the Victorian Govern- ment."

" Strong language, Mr John Brown, for Faithful is only a dog after all."

"Yes, only, a dog" stroking his beard. "How many dogs have proved themselves more faithful than professing friends ? Men talk in kind of sophistry of the love of man to man (women we will say noth- ing about). Bah ! What is such talk worth too often ? Money ! Cash—the lever, the motive power. After the bosom friend is served, the applicant is gratified ; becomes a blank, if there be no more golden coin. The giver has his day of brightness, followed too often by a night of the darkness of neglect. How many dogs have, in the lone bush, remained by their dead master's side, starving and pining away to death. A more faithful creature you cannot find if you search the world over than a dog. Call to mind St. Bernard's dogs. My own dog would pine away and die if anything happened to me to cause my death."

" Well, Mr John Brown, I quite agree with you, and accept your two conditions. Your noble animal shall in no way be harmed, and I will risk the re- sponsibility ; for when I have a hobby horse, I like to ride him to the end. But this is not put for- ward as a mere whim, but, if I may so say, an intel- lectual problem I want to work out. To-morrow will be a quiet day ; let us put the matter to test, and see if the sagacious animal remembers me, after the one interview we had."

Plans were duly arranged, and John Brown meet- ing Pat, told him to be in ambush to see the result.

"Will he remember the Commissioner, think you, sir?"

" I fully believe he will, Pat. The instinct of a Newfoundland dog is great. One of these dogs was provoked beyond endurance by the continual annoy- ance of a little dog ; it took the tormentor in its mouth, well out to sea, and left it there to drown. (Fact). Another was attacked by a small and pug- nacious bulldog, which sprung upon the unoffending canine giant, and after the manner of bulldogs, " pinned " him by the nose, and there hung in spite of all endeavours to shake him off. The Newfound- land finding things so, seeing a pot full of boiling tar, he deliberately lowered the bulldog into it." (A fact).

" I am glad, sir, you have told me that, for the baste might drop me into a pot or hole someday ; so I will keep away from the baste."

The next day the trial was put to the test. Only Achates and Pat were let into the secret of Com- missioner Ugessergin's test. Lyndhurst was left smoking his black pipe.

The Commissioner, on the diggings side of the creek, took off his coat and vest he usually wore (official dress), and placed them on the bank ; then wrapping a strong, thick comforter round his neck for the protection of his throat, walked the log. All was previously arranged to the moment by time.

John Brown and Achates, accompanied by Faith- ful, sauntered along the opposite bank. Splash went Ugessergin. The dog pricked up his ears, and off he went ; John Brown and Achates at his heels Pat looking from his hiding place, murmuring, " Will the baste find me ?"

Faithful plunged in, without a pause, and swam to the apparently drowning chief ; caught hold of him by the waistband of his trousers, swam a few strokes, then stopped, looking at the man of law and order's face ; dropped him with a kind of savage growl, and swam across the creek alone. Mount- ing the bank with flashing eyes, he stumbled on the coat and vest ; smelled them, seized them between his teeth, and disappeared up the bank, into some bushes, and there tore them into shreds, using his two hind feet as a parting sally, to kick up the earth on the once official garments—a sign of the utmost contempt ; then trotted home alone, (Lyndhurst said the dog looked very savage when he entered the hut.)

Half an hour afterwards, when the group of four (Pat having walked, ''promiscuously," he said, that way, joined the three) stood around the torn-up uniform, the chief roared with laughter.

When his mirth in a measure subsided, John Brown, looking very grave, brushing his beard, said,

"Be thankful it was not your body, instead of the clothes."

" No," replied the good-natured chief. " No, the scamp let me drown ; so, by intent, is guilty of police

slaughter. and considering I was as good as dead, he destroyed my clothes and would bury them, to re-

move all trace of his villainy. Come, I got the ducking, and am more than satisfied. No more tests for me. Come to my tent, and we will drink success in champagne to the old dog. Pat (with a twinkle in his eye), will you arrest that dog for me?"

"No, by jabbers, I would sooner surround the Red Blanket tent alone. The haythen baste ! You may


" All right. Now for the tent."

Achates nose went up and his chin came down, as they all walked to the Commissioner's tent.

About six weeks after the above occurrence took place, things were beginning to look gloomy at

Black wood.

The gold returns were falling off: John Brown's claim was not paying any too well.

Lyndhurst had kept at work, but in his own

mind he was restless. John Brown and Achates

were not his stump. No betting—billiards without cash—to give the game zest. Whist without stakes, no points. In short, the two friends were too straight-laced for Lyndhurst ; so he talked of going to Ballarat, and there commencing court work, etc.

So arrangements were made to dissolve partner- ship, on a Tuesday. This was done.

That same evening Lyndhurst went out. The two friends thought he had gone to one of the billiard saloons, as he intended they should ; but he wanted to learn if they would converse about him. He wanted to know what they thought of himself, so sat down on a log close to the hut, to play the eavesdropper, and at the following conversation he pricked up his ears.

" I got a letter from my man of business (or rather, one of his quill-drivers) to-day, regarding that lan. in Collingwood I gave two thousand pounds for. I know a good investment ; but the fool of a fellow sent me the deeds, in the face of what I distinctly told him—to place them in the bank. There was the risk by the deeds coming here, and now the equal risk of their transit back to the bank in Melbourne. The only thing I can do is to seal them up again, and post them by next week's mail, direct to the bank.

"You have done well by getting that land, no doubt, John. Lawyers sometimes make blunders like other men, it appears. I have some writing to do, so let us set to, while we are alone and qu et."

Scratch, scratch, scratch, went the quill pens for

some time.

" Done," cried Achates, with the joyfulness of a person who hates letter writing, when the hated

work is done.

" I have also finished the race. Last horse ; say second. Now, give me one of your official envelopes, Achates, my boy."

"I will get one." said Achates, rising from the rickety table.

"Look out, man, you have upset the only ink we have. Pick up your letters. Quick Just in time. Well, it cannot be helped. Give me the envelope, and I will seal the deeds and letter up, and, then they will be all ready to address, when we get some ink. Thanks; now for the seal."

With that Lyndhurst got up and walked away, muttering to himself—

" So, so, my boys. Two thousand pound's worth —a shake of the dice. Yes, will aid me to work my plans in England. Gold I have my share, for work- ing as a hor. y hand of the soil (looking at his hands by a lighted match he had struck to light his short, black clay pipe.) Yes ! blister upon blister ; and that John Brown told me, with a sneering smile, when I showed him my hands after the first day with the pick, that he looked at no man in an unkindly spirit ; but that he went deeper than the hand. He (forsooth.) said, ' The horny hand I value,

providing it be an honest hand, as much as the

downy palm and taper fingers,' and stretching out his hand, he went on, ' Don't talk of blue blood, for it only shows a deeper dye of blackness, when it dips

itself into iniquity.' Well, Master John Brown, you hit me there below the belt ; but my name is not Handslip if I don't hit you in return, to the tune of two thousand pounds."

Lyndhurst walked on.

" Well, Achates, do you think we should have a look at that claim to-morrow morning—the French- man's?"

Achates' nose went up and chin came down, in contemplation, and the poor moustache suffered.

At the end of ten minutes came the reply, " Yes ; but had we not better sleep on it."

The next morning, the two inseparables did go to view the Frenchman's claim, which was for sale, leaving Lyndhurst to pack up his swag.

But few diggers travelled on horseback those days ; on foot was almost the universal way.

Faithful was left in the hut. The hole and drive of Bacchus and De Wert had been filled up, the Commissioner insisting upon De Wert doing this ere he was transferred to the Melbourne penal establishment—Pentridge.

At 10 o'clock a.m., John Brown and Achates re- turned, and found their late mate all ready to start ; in fact, he was waiting for them, to bid farewell. His gold he had forwarded by the escort.

Farewells were taken ; then Lyndhurst started by the biased line to Daylesford.

" I don't like that man," said Achates, feeling his moustache. "He is a perfect enigma to me. He will smell hemp yet, if he does not take care.

" Well, he is puzzling—enigmatical ; beyond all question. Those deep-set eyes and mouth I don't fancy. Well, he is gone."

John Brown, looking up at the dog, continued. " What is the matter, old boy ? No, I cannot let you off the chain. I'll give you a run this evening, when we return."

The dog was whining and made very clear demon- stration to got off the chain.

The Commissioner came to the hut a short time afterwards, so John Brown concluded Faithful had smelled the approach of Mr Ugessergin, and so hence his uneasiness.

Soon after the three left the hut, and did not return until late in the afternoon.

The dog fawned upon his master on John Brown's return, and made such strong demonstration of want- ing to be loose that John Brown slipped the collar. The dog immediately left the hut.

That evening the dog could not be found.

Time passed. John Brown became uneasy. Brown went one way, and Achates went another, to inquire, to get, if possible, some trace of the dog.

Neither could fathom or understand the animal's movements. That he had gone after Lyndhurst, they both scouted the idea, for the dog never took to him.

The Newfoundland had never left his master before in like fashion. It was a mystery.

John Brown found Faithful had been seen crossing the creek, then running up and down on the opposite side, as if in search of something, with nose close to the ground.

When the two friends met at the hut, John Brown told Achates what he had heard, saying,

" What can the old scamp be about, think you ?"

" I cannot tell. Think you he is after Lyndhurst ?" " No, for I cannot see the why or wherefore. Nothing of mine has been taken from the hut. By Jupiter! My letters !" rising, and looking at the secret place he kept his letters for post. " No, they are all right ; signed, sealed, but not delivered. Yes, they are all safe."

That night Faithful did not return.

Next day passed till nearly dusk ; yet no further trace of the dog.

Just before dusk, Pat the policeman rode up to John Brown's hut, post haste, and rushed in, ex- claiming. " Be gorra ! then I saw that haythen baste of yours just now in the bushes the other side of the creek. He had something beside him, in the scrub, and when I came (promiscuously) upon him, he left the black object seeing it was me, and rushed at me. Be gorra ! I did not wait to spake to the beast, but put spurs to my horse, rushed across the whater,

falin' narvous.

" Could you not see what he had ?" said John Brown.

" No, by the soul of my mother. Be gorra, I did not wait, for I thought the baste would spring on the back of my horse. The baste will be the death of me yet."

" Don't be alarmed Pat, the Commissioner is going to transfer you to another district. He told me so yesterday, when I spoke to him about you."

" Thanks, thanks. Oh, thunder and nouns ! Here comes the baste. Protect me ; I am off."

And Pat was off, like a meteor.

Faithful entered the hut, carrying a swag—i.e. blankets rolled up and strapped. The dog was quite exhausted, for he no sooner carried the heavy swag to his master's feet than he threw himself down panting, by the side of the swag.

" What is the meaning of this, old boy? '' said John Brown. " More mystery ! What is in the wind? Have you killed any one ?"

Achates looked on in deep thought, adding the usual signs.