Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Children's Novel > The Little White Bird > Chapter 20 David and Porthos Compared
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Chapter 20 David and Porthos Compared

But Mary spoilt it all, when I sent David back to her in the morning, by inquiring too curiously into his person and discovering that I had put his combinations on him with the buttons to the front. For this I wrote her the following insulting letter. When Mary does anything that specially annoys me I send her an insulting letter. I once had a photograph taken of David being hanged on a tree. I sent her that. You can’t think of all the subtle ways of grieving her I have. No woman with the spirit of a crow would stand it.

“Dear Madam [I wrote]: It has come to my knowledge that when you walk in the Gardens with the boy David you listen avidly for encomiums of him and of your fanciful dressing of him by passers-by, storing them in your heart the while you make vain pretence to regard them not: wherefore lest you be swollen by these very small things I, who now know David both by day and by night, an minded to compare him and Porthos the one with the other, both in this matter and in other matters of graver account. And touching this matter of outward show, they are both very lordly, and neither of them likes it to be referred to, but they endure in different ways. For David says ‘Oh, bother!’ and even at times hits out, but Porthos droops his tail and lets them have their say. yet is he extolled as beautiful and a darling ten times for the once that David is extolled.

“The manners of Porthos are therefore prettier than the manners of David, who when he has sent me to hide from him behind a tree sometimes comes not in search, and on emerging tamely from my concealment I find him playing other games entirely forgetful of my existence. Whereas Porthos always comes in search. Also if David wearies of you he scruples not to say so, but Porthos, in like circumstances, offers you his paw, meaning ‘Farewell,’ and t o bearded men he does this all the time (I think because of a hereditary distaste for goats), so that they conceive him to be enamoured of them when he is only begging them courteously to go. Thus while the manners of Porthos are more polite it may be argued that those of David are more efficacious.

“In gentleness David compares ill with Porthos. For whereas the one shoves and has been known to kick on slight provocation, the other, who is noisily hated of all small dogs by reason of his size, remonstrates not, even when they cling in froth and fury to his chest, but carries them along tolerantly until they drop off from fatigue. Again, David will not unbend when in the company of babies, expecting them unreasonably to rise to his level, but contrariwise Porthos, though terrible to tramps, suffers all things of babies, even to an exploration of his mouth in an attempt to discover what his tongue is like at the other end. The comings and goings of David are unnoticed by perambulators, which lie in wait for the advent of Porthos. The strong and wicked fear Porthos but no little creature fears him, not the hedgehogs he conveys from place to place in his mouth, nor the sparrows that steal his straw from under him.

“In proof of which gentleness I adduce his adventure with the rabbit. Having gone for a time to reside in a rabbit country Porthos was elated to discover at last something small that ran from him, and developing at once into an ecstatic sportsman he did pound hotly in pursuit, though always overshooting the mark by a hundred yards or so and wondering very much what had become of the rabbit. There was a steep path, from the top of which the rabbit suddenly came into view, and the practice of Porthos was to advance up it on tiptoe, turning near the summit to give me a knowing look and then bounding forward. The rabbit here did something tricky with a hole in the ground, but Porthos tore onwards in full faith that the game was being played fairly, and always returned panting and puzzling but glorious.

“I sometimes shuddered to think of his perplexity should he catch the rabbit, which however was extremely unlikely; nevertheless he did catch it, I know not how, but presume it to have been another than the one of which he was in chase. I found him with it, his brows furrowed in the deepest thought. The rabbit, terrified but uninjured, cowered beneath him. Porthos gave me a happy look and again dropped into a weighty frame of mind. ‘What is the next thing one does?’ was obviously the puzzle with him, and the position was scarcely less awkward for the rabbit, which several times made a move to end this intolerable suspense. Whereupon Porthos immediately gave it a warning tap with his foot, and again fell to pondering. The strain on me was very great.

“At last they seemed to hit upon a compromise. Porthos looked over his shoulder very self- consciously, and the rabbit at first slowly and then in a flash withdrew. Porthos pretended to make a search for it, but you cannot think how relieved he looked. He even tried to brazen out his disgrace before me and waved his tail appealingly. But he could not look me in the face, and when he saw that this was what I insisted on he collapsed at my feet and moaned. There were real tears in his eyes, and I was touched, and swore to him that he had done everything a dog could do, and though he knew I was lying he became happy again. For so long as I am pleased with him, ma’am, nothing else greatly matters to Porthos. I told this story to David, having first extracted a promise from him that he would not think the less of Porthos, and now I must demand the same promise of you. Also, an admission that in innocence of heart, for which David has been properly commended, he can nevertheless teach Porthos nothing, but on the contrary may learn much from him.

“And now to come to those qualities in which David excels over Porthos--the first is that he is no snob but esteems the girl Irene (pre............

Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved