A Visit to Dogland

"There's a house, away there to the left," said Sylvie, after we had walked what seemed to me about fifty miles. "Let's go and ask for a night's lodging."

"It looks a very comfable house," Bruno said, as we turned into the road leading up to it. "I doos hope the Dogs will be kind to us, I is so tired and hungry!"

A Mastiff, dressed in a scarlet collar, and carrying a musket, was pacing up and down, like a sentinel, in front of the entrance. He started, on catching sight of the children, and came forwards to meet them, keeping his musket pointed straight at Bruno, who stood quite still, though he turned pale and kept tight hold of Sylvie's hand, while the Sentinel walked solemnly round and round them, and looked at them from all points of view.

  • Illustration:The mastiff-sentinel
  • "Oobooh, hooh boohooyah!" He growled at last. "Woobah yahwah oobooh! Bow wahbah woobooyah? Bow wow?" he asked Bruno, severely.

    Of course Bruno understood all this, easily enough. All Fairies understand Doggee---that is, Dog-language. But, as you may find it a little difficult, just at first, I had better put it into English for you. "Humans, I verily believe! A couple of stray Humans! What Dog do you belong to? What do you want?"

    "We don't belong to a Dog!" Bruno began, in Doggee. ("Peoples never belongs to Dogs!" he whispered to Sylvie.)

    But Sylvie hastily checked him, for fear of hurting the Mastiff's feelings. "Please, we want a little food, and a night's lodging----if there's room in the house," she added timidly. Sylvie spoke Doggee very prettily: but I think it's almost better, for you, to give the conversation in English.

    "The house, indeed!" growled the Sentinel. "Have you never seen a Palace in your life?

    Come along with me! His Majesty must settle what's to be done with you."

    They followed him through the entrance-hall, down a long passage, and into a magnificent Saloon, around which were grouped dogs of all sorts and sizes. Two splendid Blood-hounds were solemnly sitting up, one on each side of the crown-bearer. Two or three Bull-dogs---whom I guessed to be the Body-Guard of the King----were waiting in grim silence: in fact the only voices at all plainly audible were those of two little dogs, who had mounted a settee, and were holding a lively discussion that looked very like a quarrel.

    "Lords and Ladies in Waiting, and various Court Officials," our guide gruffly remarked, as he led us in. Of me the Courtiers took no notice whatever: but Sylvie and Bruno were the subject of many inquisitive looks, and many whispered remarks, of which I only distinctly caught one----made by a sly-looking Dachshund to his friend "Bah wooh wahyah hoobah Oobooh, hah bah?" ("She's not such a bad-looking Human, is she?")

    Leaving the new arrivals in the centre of the Saloon, the Sentinel advanced to a door, at the further end of it, which bore an inscription, painted on it in Doggee, "Royal Kennel----scratch and Yell."

    Before doing this, the Sentinel turned to the children, and said "Give me your names."

    "We'd rather not!" Bruno exclaimed, pulling' Sylvie away from the door. "We want them ourselves. Come back, Sylvie! Come quick!"

    "Nonsense!', said Sylvie very decidedly: and gave their names in Doggee.

    Then the Sentinel scratched violently at the door, and gave a yell that made Bruno shiver from head to foot.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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