Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 128.djvu/74

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64

PETS.

law can control him, cause his dog to be a nuisance and annoyance of the worst kind to all who live within hearing; yet it is apparently impossible to interfere with him. It may be right enough that a man should be free to make the lives of his wife, his children, and his servants as miserable as he pleases, but it does seem strange that he may extend his attention to his neighbours with equal impunity. The general public, and especially that considerable section of it which consists of helpless invalids, have no remedy against a crowing cock or a barking dog. In extreme cases it is possible that a physician may be able for a time to abate such a nuisance as being dangerous to his patient's life; but there seems to be no redress unless in cases of life and death. In London a sufferer from such a complaint as chronic neuralgia may be kept in torture all day by the barking of a dog in the mews behind the house, and may pass a wakeful night owing to the howling of the same animal when chained up. There is no choice but a change of residence, if the invalid cannot bear the noise of cabs and milk-carts at the other side of the house. An appeal to the police magistrate only elicits another and perhaps more dismal tale of suffering. His worship is but human, and he too has had days of illness prolonged into weeks owing to the zoological propensities of his neighbours. He can do nothing for himself, and nothing for the complainant. The law says nothing about such annoyances. It says that "every person who blows a horn or an unusual noise and disturbance in the night-time" is guilty of a nuisance; but it makes no provision for cases in which the noise is produced without the intervention of the horn, and apparently does not forbid even a "noise and disturbance," provided only it be usual. True, a civil action may be brought against the owner of the animal making the noise, if the sufferer has been injured in the pursuit of his lawful calling or occupation; but, as he probably carries on his occupation miles away in the quiet recesses of the city, and is chiefly employed at home in what appears to be the unlawful occupation of resting himself, he has no ground for action. We have some imperfect sort of protection against brass bands and barrel-organs; why not against singing-birds, which might, as in "Charles O'Malley," be interpreted to include fighting cocks? An extreme course alone is open to the sufferer at present. We are not concerned to point it out too plainly. But, short of this desperate and certainly objectionable remedy, there is no way, so far as we can see, of interfering with any development, however disagreeable, of the petting faculty. We may habitually wear cotton-wool in our ears, or, if we like it better, we may leave our house and take another, but it is not clear we have any power at present to prevent our next-door neighbour from confining a pack of hounds in his stable, suspending a row of macaws on his balcony, keeping choruses of cats on his leads, and a laughing hyena in his back kitchen.




The Russian correspondent of the Kölnische Zeitung states that letters have reached St. Petersburg from members of the exploring expedition which was recently sent to the Attrek territory by the imperial government. They had advanced to Krasnowodsk, in Tschikishlau, without misadventure, and after a week's rest had proceeded along the Attrek to Schot, where it was proposed to take in new supplies. It was expected that the expedition would reach the mouth of the Attrek on their homeward passage about the end of last or the beginning of the present month. In General Lomakin's official report of the expedition, which came to St. Petersburg at the same time, it was announced that, although hitherto the Turkomans had everywhere shown themselves friendly towards the Russians, there was reason to know that the Afghans were endeavouring to incite them to rise against the strangers and prevent their further advance. The Turkomans had on several occasions given information in regard to these attempts, which had enabled the general to seize two of the Afghan emissaries, who had been executed as spies. The Attrek expedition is regarded by the Russian government as especially important, from the information which it is anticipated it may supply in regard to the various degrees of practicability of the different routes leading to Merv, which is interesting as a central point of junction for many lines of way opening upon districts in which the British as well as the Russians are interested.