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"Under Entirely New Management"
by [?]

I know a fool of a dog who pretends that he is a Cocker Spaniel, and is convinced that the world revolves round him wonderingly. The sun rises so it may shine on his glossy morning coat; it sets so his master may know that it is time for the evening biscuit; if the rain falls it is that a fool of a dog may wipe on his mistress’s skirt his muddy boots. His day is always exciting, always full of the same good things; his night a repetition of his day, more gloriously developed. If there be a sacred moment before the dawn when he lies awake and ponders on life, he tells himself confidently that it will go on for ever like this–a life planned nobly for himself, but one in which the master and mistress whom he protects must always find a place. And I think perhaps he would want a place for me, too, in that life, who am not his real master but yet one of the house. I hope he would.

What Chum doesn’t know is this: his master and mistress are leaving him. They are going to a part of the world where a fool of a dog with no manners is a nuisance. If Chum could see all the good little London dogs, who at home sit languidly on their mistress’s lap, and abroad take their view of life through a muff much bigger than themselves; if he could see the big obedient dogs who walk solemnly through the Park carrying their master’s stick, never pausing in their impressive march unless it be to plunge into the Serpentine and rescue a drowning child, he would know what I mean. He would admit that a dog who cannot answer to his own name and pays but little more attention to “Down, idiot,” and “Come here, fool,” is not every place’s dog. He would admit it, if he had time. But before I could have called his attention to half the good dogs I had marked out he would have sat down beaming in front of a motor-car … and then he would never have known what now he will know so soon–that his master and mistress are leaving him.

It has been my business to find a new home for him. This is harder than you think. I can make him sound lovable, but I cannot make him sound good. Of course, I might leave out his doubtful qualities, and describe him merely as beautiful and affectionate; I might … but I couldn’t. I think Chum’s habitual smile would get larger, he would wriggle the end of himself more ecstatically than ever if he heard himself summed up as beautiful and affectionate. Anyway, I couldn’t do it, for I get carried away when I speak of him and I reveal all his bad qualities.

“I am afraid he is a snob,” I confessed to one woman of whom I had hopes. “He doesn’t much care for what he calls the lower classes.”

“Oh?” she said.

“Yes, he hates badly dressed people. Corduroy trousers tied up at the knee always excite him. I don’t know if any of your family–no, I suppose not. But if he ever sees a man with his trousers tied up at the knee he goes for him. And he can’t bear tradespeople; at least not the men. Washerwomen he loves. He rather likes the washing-basket too. Once, when he was left alone with it for a moment, he appeared shortly afterwards on the lawn with a pair of–well, I mean he had no business with them at all. We got them away after a bit of a chase, and then they had to go to the wash again. It seemed rather a pity when they’d only just come back. Of course, I smacked his head for him; but he looks so surprised and reproachful when he’s done wrong that you never feel it’s quite his fault.”