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BILL, THE FIRE ESCAPE DOG.
THERE is a fine band of men in London who have charge of the fire-escapes : which are immense movable laddermachines, by which people descend of themselves, or are conveyed, from the windows of a house on fire. Samuel Wood, one of the bravest of these men, has saved more than one hundred men, women and children, from the flames ! Much of Wood's success, however, is justly due to his wonderful little dog “Bill.” Around his neck the parishioners of Whitechapel have placed a silver collar, in token of his valuable services, during the nine years that he has filled the important post of “Fire-escape Dog."
“Bill,” like his master, has to be very wakeful, and at his post of duty during the whole of the night, and therefore he sleeps during the day close to his master's bed. He never attempts to run out of doors until the hour approaches at which they must go to the “ Station.”
Bill does not allow his master to sleep too long. He is sure to wake him if he is likely to be late ! How the dog knows the time is a puzzle, but know it he does! When the fire-escape is wheeled out of the Whitechapel Churchyard, at nine o'clock, Bill is promptly at his post. When an alarm of fire is heard, Bill, who is at other times very quiet, now begins to bark most furiously. Wood has no occasion to spring his rattle, for the policemen all around know Bill's bark so well that they at once come up to render help.
If the alarm of fire takes place when but few people are in the streets, Bill runs round to the coffee-houses near, and pushing open the doors, gives his well-known bark, as much as to say,
“ Come and help, men ! come and help.” Bill has not to bark in vain. His call is cheerfully obeyed.
In dark nights the lantern has to be lit, when“ Bill at once seizes hold of it, and like a “herald,” runs on before his master. When the ladder is erected “ Bill” is at the top before his active master has reached half way! He jumps into the rooms, and amid thick smoke and the approaching flames, runs from room to room, helping his master to find and bring out the poor inmates.
On one occasion, the fire burned so rapidly, and the smoke in the room became so thick that Wood and another man were unable to find their way out. They feared that escape was now hopeless. “ Bill" seemed at once to understand the danger in which his kind master was placed, and he began to bark. Half suffocated, Wood and his comrade, knowing this to be the signal “ FOLLOW ME," at once crawled after “ Bill," and in a few moments they were led to the window, and thus their lives were saved.
Richly does “Bill” deserve his silver collar. It bears this inscription :
“I am the Fire-escape-man's dog. My name is Bill.
To bring the ‘escape,' man's life for to save." Poor “ Bill,” like human beings, has had his trials and sufferings, as well as honors. At one fire, he fell through a hole burnt in the floor, into a tub of scalding water, from which he suffered dreadfully, and narrowly escaped a painful death. On three other occasions he had the misfortune to be run over ; but, with careful doctoring, he was soon able to return to his duties.
Band of Hope.
FIDELE. The famous Swedish dog, Fidele, was in 1825 in the prime of youth and strength, when his owner died. Fidele silently followed his master's funeral to the churchyard of Saint Mary in Stockholm ; and when the grave was filled up,
hc laid himself down upon it for the rest of his life. It was in vain that a number of persons tried to entice him away : he resisted all their efforts, and seemed to take an interest in nothing save his master's tomb.
A lady, touched by this faithful affection, brought him food every day; and during the winter, she sent him carpets and blankets. The dog, constant in his grief, remained several years on the grave, summer and winter, day and night, with his eyes constantly fixed on the restingplace of him whom neither absence nor time could efface from his memory.
Neither the cries, nor games of children, nor any other noise could attract his attention or amuse him. The snow fell in large flakes, the air was bitterly cold, and the wind howled : he heeded them not, but remained at his post. One day, his benefactress t being prevented by illness from paying the dog her usual attentions, some wretched beggars carried off his food. Fidele lay down without murmuring, and peacefully fell asleep. The following day, the theft was repeated. Fidele rose, under the last instinct of self-preservation ; but, from sheer exhaustion, he presently laid himself down again ; closed his eyes, and breathed his last.
* Fidele (pron. fee-dell), faithful.
t Benefactress (masc. benefactor), one who shows kindness to ano ther.
A SCIENTIFIC DOG.
Among the many surprising stories that are told of the intelligence of the dog, the following one is given as a fact. A large dog was playing in a road near a country village, and a carriage went over one of his paws; he howled most piteously, and some farriers* who were at work in a shop close by came out to see what was the matter. One of them, noticing that the poor animal was much hurt, took him up, dressed his paw and wrapped it up, and then let him
go. The dog went home, where he remained for some days. At length, his paw becoming painful, he returned to the farrier's, and holding it up, moaned, to show that it pained him. The farrier dressed it again ; and the dog, after licking his hand as a sign of gratitude, returned home, and in a few days was well.
Some months afterwards the same dog was frolicking with another not far from the spot, and a similar accident happened to the latter ; upon which he took him by the
and with much difficulty led him to the farrier's shop, where he himself had been so well doctored. The workmen were much amused at the sagacity of the animal, and paid as much attention to the new patient as they had to the former
* Farriers, smiths, who make horse-shoes, &c.
A REVENGEFUL TERRIER.
Every one knows the little terrier dog. He is by nature fitted for burrowing in the ground after rats and other vermin. The English terrier has a smooth glossy coat, but the Scotch or Skye terrier is remarkable for his shaggy coat and rough independence of character. At the same time, like every one who is truly conscious of his
he is quiet and inoffensive, excepting when his personal liberties are interfered with. He is also a prudent animal, as the following story, related by an excellent authority, Mr. Bingley, clearly shows:
A gentleman of Whitmore, in Staffordshire, used to go twice a year to London, and being fond of exercise, generally performed the journey on horseback. He was in the habit of being accompanied by a faithful little terrier dog. Fearing, however, to lose it in London, he always left it in the care of Mrs. Langford of the Inn at St. Albans; and on his return he was sure to find his little companion well taken care of.
The gentleman once calling as usual for his dog, Mrs. Langford appeared before him with a woeful countenance : “Alas ! sir, your terrier is lost. Our great house-dog and yours had a quarrel, and the poor terrier was so bitten before we could part them, that I thought it could never get the better of it. But, crawling out of the yard, no one saw it for about a week. The terrier then returned, accompanied by another dog far bigger than ours, and they both together fell on our great one and bit him unmercifully. Your dog and its companion then disappeared and have never since been seen or heard of."
But, lo ! on the gentleman's arrival at Whitmore he found his terrier; and was told, that it had been to Whitmore, and had evidently coaxed away the great dog to avenge its injury.