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have invariably best expressed themselves, not in original tales, neatly constructed and deftly dovetailed, but in rambling, irresponsible dissertations of a diffuse and elastic capacity, or in burlesque or parody or satire, or in sheer delineation of character, in verbal quips or quiddities, or in the exercise of their mother-wit upon the devising of new shapes and fashions for old thoughts and philosophies. Not one of these had Mr. Jacobs' faculty of inventing new anecdote; and not even the claims of the bare half-dozen humorists to whom most historic jests are attributed can be vouched for, on the lightest sense, as authentic,
One has only to reflect for a moment on this tremendous truth to realize that so long as we wait for humor at all closely akin to that which Mr. Jacobs furnishes forth in such overwhelming abundance, we are likely to starve to death. And the futility of the whole business is apparent in the fact that the real humorist must be, first and last, himself, and not an echo or a copy of another man. You cannot
The Fortnightly Review.
prune and train and lop and top humor. It must be left to grow and develop and fructify in its own wild, wilful way, and to find its own light and heat and sustenance where and when it can. It is in the natur of humor to make its own laws and, if it deems fit, to contravene them in the next mood. One man's humor is another man's boredom, and a third man's exasperation. No humorist (save Jacobs) has ever won his appointed audience but by a lucky fluke or in the face of the most disheartening opposition from the quidnuncs. To multiply instances of this would be to engage upon a work of supererogation. Therefore it is enough to lay down that until we rid ourselves of the Jacobs convention, and are content to accept another than the Jacobs standard, we cannot hope to see a revival of the humorous short story, which, after all-pomposity and affectation apart-contained the original germ, and is at once the first, as it will be the last, and must always remain the greatest, of all short stories.
THE ORIGIN OF THE DOG.
We moderns are not half so original In this last act of adoration we or so different from our ancestors as might, perhaps, claim to have taken a we pride ourselves on being. We step in advance of our ancestors, for smile pityingly at the days of totem they never worshipped the dog. They worship, or the adoration of the sacred let him worship them. He was too animal from which the tribe, or sept. friendly, too familiar, too faithfully dewas descended-but behold the Teddy voted to us,--poor fool-for that. All Bear and even the plush-covered the other animals which we pride ourMonkey! We no longer erect perma- selves upon having domesticated have nent temples, with a retinue of white- retained a touch of the wild, a trace robed priests for the horse that was of aloofness from us and our interests. shod with gold, or the milk-white buil They still stand upon their dignity and or the sacred cat. But still the old im- assert their independence. Give them pulse comes over us by spells, and we liberty, or cease to supply them with suddenly turn one of our most impos- food, and they will desert us at once. ing fanes into a temporary shrine for Their favor was to be cultivated, to be the adoration of the Horse, the Cat sought after. Therefore we and even the Dog.
shipped them. But the poor, devoted.
faithful dog, who could scarcely be ancestor of that date that we have driven away from us, even by ill-treat- any real reason for crediting him with. ment, who would fight to the death in In the vernacular, it took “the hardest defence of us and of our property, and kind of hustling” to kill game and dig who would starve by the side of our roots enough to keep himself and his dead bodies, or over our graves, we de. children from starvation. Why should spised accordingly, and made his name be share these for weeks and months a term of reproach and of contempt. at a stretch with a litter of useless
“Is thy servant a dog that he should puppies on the mere chance that they do this thing?” The thing in question might be useful to him next season? being an act that no self-respecting The man of the cave shelters was dog could be bribed or hired to do. very far from having reached the
It is only just lately, i.e., within the highly altruistic altitude of the Lanlast few centuries, that we are begin- cashire collier, who, on returning to ning to acknowledge the debt that civ- his home and going directly to the cupilization owes to this, its first friend, board for a bowl of that-in those day's outside the genus humanum. And it is expensive luxury, milk, discovered it one of the healthiest signs of the times. empty. He asked his better half what Talk of the position of women being she had done with it. On being inthe best index of the grade of a civili- formed that she had “gi'en it to t zation! The position of the dog is child," he wrathfully exploded, “Dang eren niore significant.
ť child! thou should ha' gi'en it to t A suitable subject for pious medita- bull-pup!" tion suggested by the annual celebra- While the method of capture and tion of the canine cult, whether in Is- rearing has played an important part lington or Madison Square, the four in the domestication of the dog, there sacred Days of the Dog, is, how did is a considerable and increasing body this ancient and honorable alliance be- of evidence which points in another tween Canis fidelis and the Homo and rather unexpected direction. This sapiens come into being?
is, to put it briefly, that instead of man throw some light upon its wide differ- adopting the dog into his family, the ence from all other animal alliances. dog adopted man into his pack! This Until comparatively recently it was sounds at first distinctly improbtaken for granted without any serious able, and may raise the cry question that it had originated in the of Nature Faker! Yet those who have same manner as the domestication of watched the ways of wild men and other animals, viz., by the capture of wild animals together most closely are the young and their rearing and train- the most inclined to regard it as not ing within the human camp, or by the merely possible, but probable. out-and-out capture and breaking in The mechanism of the process would and subduing by force of arms of full- appear to have been that a certain grown wolves or wild dogs. This cer- number of the more intelligent of the tainly seemed the easiest way, and the wolves or wild dogs of the region simplest and most natural explanation. found that it was more profitable to But the simplest and most self-evident follow man in his hunting expeditions solution of a problem doesn't always and let him do the killing, for their happen to be the true one.
share of the entrails and waste parts In the first place, it presupposes : of the animal, than it was to kill for rather higher grade of intelligence and themselves. From following him on self-control on the part of our remote his hunting expeditions, they gradu
ally came to following him home; and canyons or timber patches which lie finding that bones and offal, and oc- around the home ranch or the differcasionally human bodies, were to be ent corrals. In fact, in this very day, picked up around these encampments, the less thickly settled regions of the they became a sort of permanent hang- grazing and even of the agricultural ers-on of the tribe.
sections of the American Middle West In a little time, doubtless, man took actually being repopulated by the hint, and after he had wounded an wolves, who are increasing in numanimal found it was more profitable to bers, and live in a sort of partnership sit down (savages always have plenty with the farmer, which is anything of time) and let his canine followers but to the taste of the latter. His run in upon the quarry and chase it only protection against them lies in down, endeavoring to get in at the calling upon the services of their long death himself, than to track it on his domesticated cousin, the foxhound. own account.
Old scouts will tell you that the regIn fact, the story that Jack London ular autumn buffalo hunts and deer tells with such fascinating life-likeness drives of the Indians used to be atof the wolf-puppy who became a dog, tended by wolves in scores, and there first, it is true, by capture, but later are legends to the effect that at certain of his own free will, is probably a rep- natural canyon-traps into which deer etition in condensed form of a familiar used to be driven, the Indians actually and oft-repeated episode in the early relied upon the aid of this outer circle history of the race. The closer this of volunteer wolf-comrades for comrelationship became the more advan- pleting the success of the drive. Not tages did each side see to be derived only so, but old hunters tell stories of from it. If this be true, then the dog having been followed by individual is the most faithful servant that we wolves, or small groups of wolves, for have, because he deliberately volun- days, and even weeks at a time. At teered for the service.
first it made them uneasy, thinking Naturally this process would be so that the animals were lurking on their age-long in its perfection that, like trail in the hope of surprising and atany other step in the process of evo- tacking them unawares, or running in lution, it would be impossible for any and making an end of them if they one generation, or even any ten, to ac- should meet with an accident. But af. tually observe its occurrence. But ter a time they learned that their mothere are a score of interesting stories tive was a perfectly harmless one, viz., pointing in this direction.
a share of the naturally rich and abunFor instance, any old trapper will dant supplies whenever game tell you that not merely wolves and killed, as, of course, they took only foxes, but martens and wolverines, will the choicest cuts for their own use. follow his line of traps as industriously Nor are wolves found to be the only as he will, and a good deal more fre- animals which will take up this curiquently, often robbing him of his most ous relation. Observers of unimpeachvaluable pelts. Others will hang able veracity and intelligence have reabout his camp for the sake of the bod- lated to me instances of being followed ies of the animals he has killed or the day after day in their hunting excurrefuse and scraps from his table. Itsions by a panther, for apparently this is an open secret upon the cattle and same purpose.
One of them states sheep ranges that wolves will always that after he got over his first feeling be found thickest in the mountains, of uneasiness at this incessant "shad
owing," he would frequently, just for his illustrious co-partner, ourselves, we his own amusement, cross a glade, or hardly are sure whether he is oi single open space, or stream-valley toward or of multiple origin. Whether each the foot of a hill, and then make it particular race or tribe of man domesquick detour and, doubling back, strike ticated or entered into an alliance with the same opening again a few hundred their particular variey of Canis, woit. yards farther up, where he could have jackal, fox, dhole, which happened to an unobstructed view of his back trail.
range the same hunting grounds with Usually he hadn't long to wait to see them, and from this complex mixture his velvet-footed, silver-furred guar- grew up the modern dog in his innudian angel come stealing along, glide merable varieties; or whether some noiselessly across the opening and dis- single tribe happened to domesticate appear along the path that he had some now extinct form of wild canine taken. All who have any intimate which was so peculiarly adapted and knowledge of the panther, by the way, suited to the purposes of the chase and will proinptly acquit him of any sinis- of the sheepfold that he spread from ter motive in this trailing, for in spite hand to hand and gradually sup)of the many blood-and-thunder stories planted all other rival breeds. to the contrary, it is almost an
The latter supposition would known thing for him to attack man un- tainly appear on its face as far the less less first interfered with. Those who probable. But it is a curious fact that have their Æsop in mind will at once we are in exactly the same state of be reminded of the curious tradition doubt as regards the origin of two which represented a similar relation- other of our most invaluable domestiship as existing between another king cated living things, viz., our "staff of of beasts, the lion, and another "dog," life,” wheat, and its important auxilthe jackal. There may have been as iary, the potato. The most careful much truth as poetry in the legend. search has failed to discover any wild
If this theory of the origin of the form which botanists are willing to acpartnership between man and the dog ceptas the progenitor of either of should prove well-founded, it ought to these two world-diffused and invaluagive us an increased respect both for ble food plants. The so-called "wild" him and for ourselves. We are blood Batatas chiliensis is now gravely suscomrades, honorable allies and equals, pected of having escaped from cultivanot owner and slave or master and ser- tion. vant. If either party to the pact and On the other haud, there is much to treaty should be squeamish about be said for the theory of the multiple recognizing the equality of the other, origin of the breed, with a strong pre-it should not be man.
ponderance of wolf. First of all there It seems almost incredible that there is the outward and visible sign of this should be another mystery about any
inward descent from the wolf thing so familiar and so frankly open clearly shown in ears, color, markings and above board as the dog. But, like and disposition in breeds which have many other familiar things, all been either recently domesticated or have to do is to go far enough back to very slightly modified from the origstrike it. The precise origin and pedi- inal type, like the well-known Huskies gree of the dog is still “wrop up in
and Malamoots of the Eskimo sledge mystery." Long and keenly as it has teams, the “Chow" of Northern China, been studied, we are no nearer a con- the Pomeranian of Siberia and East. clusion than in Darwin's day. Like ern Europe, and the wolf-like dogs of
scores of our Indian and Tartar tribes, careful students of both dogs and who, as Darwin remarked forty years foxes that it is exceedingly doubtful ilgo, had not yet learned to bark, but whether any hybrid between a dog and still expressed themselves in the an- a fox ever actually occurred. There is cient and melodious wolf howl.
a ludicrous popular impression that We have also several highly civilized that widely-known and popular breed, and humanized breeds whose size and the fox terrier, is the product of such coloring have never been interfered a mixture of bloods; but this is a mere with for any peculiar, or indoor, pur- confusion of words, as in the first place pose, who have been kept out in the the ancestry of the breed is perfectly open and bred solely for their courage, well known, from the old English endurance and intelligence, a deifica- white terrier and the black-and-tan; tion, in other words, of the wolf qual- and the keen-eyed, clean-limbed, shortities. For instance, the collie, who in haired little chap hasn't the faintest intellect is most like man of any of trace of fox characteristics, either in the breeds, yet in face, nose, ears, hair, color or figure about him. While. wavy coat, frill on chest, “shawl” and in the second place, the origin of the saddle markings, full bushy tail, small name is equally well known, dating hairy feet, leg feathering and shows from the early days of fox hunting bebelly, a wolf of the wolves. He is also fore the earths or holes were all careapt to develop, regrettable to state, fully stopped in advance, when later in life, something of the wolf-like whipper-in used to carry one of these waspishness of disposition.
diminutive, but plucky, little fighters Further, there is the well-known upon his saddle-bow, so that when the and, to the biologist, most significant fox had been run to earth he could fact that almost every known breed of be sent in to drive or pull him out, and domestic dog will mate and reproduce allow the pack to finish him. freely with the wolf. And what is Oddly enough, this brave little house even more significant to those of us friend and bosom companion of ours, who have had the opportunity of ob- the best canine protector yet invented serving these hybrids to the third and against all our enemies, from rats and fourth generation, by which time, of burglars to head-hunters and wounderl course, the original wolf-cross has elephants, furnishes a most apropos ilbeen reduced to an eighth or a six- lustration of the way in which the teenth fraction, they still remain far primitive father of the domestic dog more wolf than dog. In other words, may have disappeared, in giving rise the old dominant, prepotent, ancestral to his wonderfully diversified progeny. blood wipes out and overwhelms the This old English white terrier, whose later acquirements of domestication, descendants by two definitely known It was at one time believed that a
number their hundreds of similar series of hybrids could be pro- thousands, viz., the bull terriers from duced with the fox. In fact, many the bulldog cross, and the fox terriers gamekeepers and poachers were in the from the black-and-tan, has almost uthabit of endeavoring to get
terly disappeared. Indeed, his continCross in their terriers and other rabbit ued existence was only revealed by enand vermin dogs, on account of its sup- thusiastic antiquarian research into posed “keenness” and hunting quali- the pedigree of his popular descendties. Few of these stories of hybrids ants a few years ago, and a class eswill, however, stand careful investiga- tablished for him in some of the Eng. tion. It is the opinion of the most lish dog shows, to endeavor to prevent