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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"



When White Bob came to New York from France those who were responsible for his bringing across approved of him, but Van Tassel regarded him as a monstrosity, says the New York Commercial Advertiser.  White Bob’s protruding jaw, the wrinkles about his eyes, his bowed legs and large paws were oddities which caused Van Tassel to sniff distantly about him as if he were some sort of foreign spider.  That such a freak could be a dog was scarcely possible to the honest and somewhat narrow comprehension of Van Tassel.  As for Van, he had been born in a big barn just outside of Tarrytown, where he had chased chickens, swum in the Hudson river and trotted after the farmer’s buggy.  He knew and cared nothing about France, but he was immensely proud of the place and circumstances of his nativity.

Often, when in his cramped, palinged yard he dozed, and in a short dram smelt the farmer’s busy barn and felt the country road under his feet again; he would awake, twitching to hear the clatter of horses on the New York cobblestones; at such times he would recall his active-legged, snappy young brothers, and would toss his head up high to get a good breath of air that was not tainted with the smell of his short-haired dull companion.

A few weeks ago White Bob was taken out of the yard, after much preparation and bother.  A brushing of his coat, a new collar fastened around his neck, a red satin bow looped through it, a fine shiny chain attached.  Pshaw—Van Tassel had no patience to wait so long for an airing.  He pawed the earth, jumped against the palings, yapped, sat down and wagged his tail insinuatingly.

When the preparations were completed the unresponsive Bob was led out at the end of his chain and the gate was slammed in Van Tassel’s face, with the jeering comment:  “Oh, no, old boy, you ain’t in this.”

Van’s consolation as the days passed was that maybe the ill-favored creature would never come back.  He stuck up his tail at this cheering thought, for Van knew nothing about dog shows and blue ribbons and prizes.

In good time, after ten days, the gate opened and back came the white brute, just as he had gone out, on the end of a chain, new collar, red ribbon and all.  The youth who had him hung over him, smoothed his ears and fingered his ugly, wrinkled head.

“Didn’t I tell you?  I knew he had it in him,” he cried. “First prizer—that’s what you are sir,” with an admiring cuff on White Bob’s ear.  Van Tassel, seeing his mistress following, rushed forward to give her welcome.  She also hung over White Bob

.“Isn’t that the grandest thing?” she exclaimed.  “First prizer, really?”  Nobody thought of noticing poor, affectionate Van Tassel, pawing and rearing himself at their backs.  He sat down and insinuated that he would like some attention by moving his paw at her.

“Dear old Van,” she cried, squeezing his head.  “I’d rather have you after all.”

The youth glanced up from his treasure with a sneer.

“Pshaw! Van? He’s only a mongrel.”

His mistress beamed on Van and shook his friendly paw.  This was the only portion of the proceedings which Van comprehended.  So he was able to resume life in the narrow yard, in company with the misshapen foreigner, without any loss to his sel-respect.

Source: The Butte Weekly Miner Jan 11, 1900. 

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