THIS story really consists of two parts. The first part
might be left out, but it gives us a few particulars, and
these are useful
We were staying in the country at a gentleman's seat,
where it happened that the master was absent for a few days.
In the meantime, there arrived from the next town a lady; she
had a pug dog with her, and came, she said, to dispose of
shares in her tan-yard. She had her papers with her, and we
advised her to put them in an envelope, and to write thereon
the address of the proprietor of the estate, 'General
War-Commissary Knight,' &c.
She listened to us attentively, seized the pen, paused,
and begged us to repeat the direction slowly. We complied, and
she wrote; but in the midst of the 'General War-' she struck
fast, sighed deeply, and said, 'I am only a woman!' Her Puggie
had seated itself on the ground while she wrote, and growled;
for the dog had come with her for amusement and for the sake
of its health; and then the bare floor ought not to be offered
to a visitor. His outward appearance was characterized by a
snub nose and a very fat back.
'He doesn't bite,' said the lady; 'he has no teeth. He is
like one of the family, faithful and grumpy; but the latter is
my grandchildren's fault, for they have teased him; they play
at wedding, and want to give him the part of the bridesmaid,
and that's too much for him, poor old fellow.'
And she delivered her papers, and took Puggie upon her
arm. And this is the first part of the story which might have
been left out.
PUGGIE DIED!! That's the second part.
It was about a week afterwards we arrived in the town, and
put up at the inn. Our windows looked into the tan-yard, which
was divided into two parts by a partition of planks; in one
half were many skins and hides, raw and tanned. Here was all
the apparatus necessary to carry on a tannery, and it belonged
to the widow. Puggie had died in the morning, and was to be
buried in this part of the yard; the grandchildren of the
widow (that is, of the tanner's widow, for Puggie had never
been married) filled up the grave, and it was a beautiful
grave- it must have been quite pleasant to lie there.
The grave was bordered with pieces of flower-pots and
strewn over with sand; quite at the top they had stuck up half
a beer bottle, with the neck upwards, and that was not at all
The children danced round the grave, and the eldest of the
boys among them, a practical youngster of seven years, made
the proposition that there should be an exhibition of Puggie's
burial-place for all who lived in the lane; the price of
admission was to be a trouser button, for every boy would be
sure to have one, and each might also give one for a little
girl. This proposal was adopted by acclamation.
And all the children out of the lane- yes, even out of the
little lane at the back- flocked to the place, and each gave a
button. Many were noticed to go about on that afternoon with
only one suspender; but then they had seen Puggie's grave, and
the sight was worth much more.
But in front of the tan-yard, close to the entrance, stood
a little girl clothed in rags, very pretty to look at, with
curly hair, and eyes so blue and clear that it was a pleasure
to look into them. The child said not a word, nor did she cry;
but each time the little door was opened she gave a long, long
look into the yard. She had not a button- that she knew right
well, and therefore she remained standing sorrowfully outside,
till all the others had seen the grave and had gone away; then
she sat down, held her little brown hands before her eyes, and
burst into tears; this girl alone had not seen Puggie's grave.
It was a grief as great to her as any grown person can
We saw this from above; and looked at from above, how many
a grief of our own and of others can make us smile! That is
the story, and whoever does not understand it may go and
purchase a share in the tan-yard from the window.