First Page Project Gutenberg Header Page 141 of 193 Next Page Last Page CHAPTER XXVIII - Michael, Brother of Jerry

"The dog was never born that'd learn that trick for the promise of a bit of meat," Collins went on. "Any more than was the dog ever born that'd walk on its forelegs without having its hind-legs rapped up in the air with the stick a thousand times. Yet you take that trick there. It's always a winner, especially with the women--so cunning, you know, so adorable cute, to be yanked out of its beloved master's pocket and to have such trust and confidence in him as to allow herself to be tossed around that way. Trust and confidence hell! He's put the fear of God into her, that's what."

"Just the same, to dig a dainty out of your pocket once in a while and give an animal a nibble, always makes a hit with the audience. That's about all it's good for, yet it's a good stunt. Audiences like to believe that the animals enjoy doing their tricks, and that they are treated like pampered darlings, and that they just love their masters to death. But God help all of us and our meal tickets if the audiences could see behind the scenes. Every trained-animal turn would be taken off the stage instanter, and we'd be all hunting for a job."

"Yes, and there's rough stuff no end pulled off on the stage right before the audience's eyes. The best fooler I ever saw was Lottie's. She had a bunch of trained cats. She loved them to death right before everybody, especially if a trick wasn't going good. What'd she do? She'd take that cat right up in her arms and kiss it. And when she put it down it'd perform the trick all right all right, while the audience applauded its silly head off for the kindness and humaneness she'd shown. Kiss it? Did she? I'll tell you what she did. She bit its nose."

"Eleanor Pavalo learned the trick from Lottie, and used it herself on her toy dogs. And many a dog works on the stage in a spiked collar, and a clever man can twist a dog's nose and nobody in the audience any the wiser. But it's the fear that counts. It's what the dog knows he'll get afterward when the turn's over that keeps most of them straight."

"Remember Captain Roberts and his great Danes. They weren't pure-breds, though. He must have had a dozen of them--toughest bunch of brutes I ever saw. He boarded them here twice. You couldn't go among them without a club in your hand. I had a Mexican lad laid up by them. He was a tough one, too. But they got him down and nearly ate him. The doctors took over forty stitches in him and shot him full of that Pasteur dope for hydrophobia. And he always will limp with his right leg from what the dogs did to him. I tell you, they were the limit. And yet, every time the curtain went up, Captain Roberts brought the house down with the first stunt. Those dogs just flocked all over him, loving him to death, from the looks of it. And were they loving him? They hated him. I've seen him, right here in the cage at Cedarwild, wade into them with a club and whale the stuffing impartially out of all of them. Sure, they loved him not. Just a bit of the same old aniseed was what he used. He'd soak small pieces of meat in aniseed oil and stick them in his pockets. But that stunt would only work with a bunch of giant dogs like his. It was their size that got it across. Had they been a lot of ordinary dogs it would have looked silly. And, besides, they didn't do their regular tricks for aniseed. They did it for Captain Roberts's club. He was a tough bird himself." Next Page

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The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton