Gateway to the Classics: The Golden Ladder Book by E. Hershey Sneath
The Golden Ladder Book by  E. Hershey Sneath

A Four-Footed Gentleman

"Open the door quickly, Sybil. Don't you see that my hands are full? What a stupid you are! Yes, that'll do. Now you can shut it after me."

And Archie came forward to the table where his aunt was sitting, with specimens of seaweed that he had been drying and arranging, in his hands.

"Since when have 'if you please' and 'thank you' gone out of fashion, Archie?" said his aunt.

The boy grew very red, but he laughed good-humoredly. "I didn't mean to be rude," he said, "but Sybil doesn't mind. Do you, Sybil?"

"No," replied the little girl. "Still I think it is nice when people say 'thank you' and speak politely to one another."

"I know I should,"  replied Archie, "but you see, Auntie, I forget, or else it doesn't seem worth while."

"That reminds me of a little adventure of mine," said his aunt. "I was going to a friend's the other day when my attention was caught by a little dog wandering along in an uneasy, aimless manner. He was very pretty and well cared for, but he was clearly in trouble. He trotted up to me, gave a little friendly bark, and then, wagging his tail, looked up at me appealingly, ran on a few steps, and then came back to see if I were following him. It was as plain as any spoken words: he was asking me to help him.

"And thus he led me down the street, round a corner, and finally stopped in front of a door, looking up and wagging his tail. Nobody could have failed to understand him.

" 'Here is my home, kind lady. I have been shut out; please ring the bell for me.'


"I rang, of course; the door was opened quickly, and in he rushed. I was turning away, when I heard a bustle just inside the closing door, my friend's bark, and a voice saying, 'What can he want?' Then the door opened and out he sprang again. As soon as he saw me he gave a quick, cheerful little bark, wagging his tail with the greatest energy, and with still another 'bow-wow' turned round and ran in quietly.

"It was the plainest 'Thank you for being so kind' that was ever spoken in dog language or any other. Now don't you call that behaving like a gentleman?"

"Yes, indeed," said the children, and Archie turned to Sybil with deference.

"Please, Sybil, will you kindly open the door?" She did so, and he disappeared, but in a moment his voice was again heard.

"I beg your pardon," he said, "I have come back again to say 'thank you.' "

Mrs. Molesworth. Abridged.

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