The Terror of Terriers

A scene from Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K. Jerome

Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are.

I remember being in the lobby of the Haymarket Stores one day, and all around me were dogs, waiting for the return of their owners who were shopping inside. There they sat, patient, good, and thoughtful. A solemn peacefulness seemed to reign in that lobby.

Then a sweet young lady entered, leading a meek-looking little fox terrier. She left him, chained by a long leash, between a bulldog and a poodle.

He sat and yawned. Then he looked around at the other dogs, all silent, grave, and dignified.

He looked at the bulldog, sleeping dreamlessly on his right. He looked at the poodle, erect and haughty, on his left. Then, without the shadow of a provocation, he bit that poodle's leg, and a yelp of agony echoed through the quiet lobby.

The result of his first experiment seemed highly satisfactory to him, so he decided to make things lively all around. He sprang over the poodle and vigorously attacked a collie, and the collie woke up, and immediately commenced a fierce and noisy contest with the poodle.

Then Foxey came back to his own place, caught the bulldog by the ear, and tried to throw him away. The bulldog, a curiously impartial animal, went for everything he could reach, including a market employee, which gave that dear little terrier the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted fight of his own with an equally willing Yorkshire tyke.

Anyone who knows canine nature knows that by this time all the other dogs in the place were fighting as if their lives and families depended on the result. The whole lobby was a perfect pandemonium, and the din was terrific. Men came with poles and ropes, and tried to separate the dogs, and the police were sent for.

In the midst of that riot, the sweet young lady returned, and snatched up that sweet little dog of hers and kissed him, and asked him what those nasty brutes of dogs had been doing to him. And he nestled up against her, and gazed up into her face with a look that seemed to say: "Oh, I'm so glad you've come to take me away from this disgraceful scene!"


Jerome K. Jerome