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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/30

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

of him from seeing the skill and sagacity with which he fished out crawfish, and welcomed him as an honest and genuine Koupara wolf of the kind called crab-eater.

As a beast of burden, Ursus preferred Homo to a donkey. He would have felt a repugnance to having his hut drawn by an ass; he thought too highly of the ass for that. Moreover, he had observed that the ass, a four-legged thinker little understood by men, has a habit of cocking his ears uneasily when philosophers talk nonsense. In life the ass counts as a third person between our thoughts and ourselves, and acts as a restraint. As a friend, Ursus preferred Homo to a dog, considering that the love of a wolf is more rare.

Hence it was that Homo sufficed for Ursus. Homo was for Ursus more than a companion, he was an analogue. Ursus used to pat the wolf's empty ribs, and say, "I have found the second volume of myself!" Again he said, "When I am dead, any one wishing to know me need only study Homo. I shall leave him as a true copy behind me."

The English law, which is not very lenient to beasts of the forest, might have picked a quarrel with the wolf, and punished him for his assurance in going freely about the towns; but Homo took advantage of the immunity granted by a statute of Edward IV. to servants: "Every servant in attendance on his master is free to come and go." Besides, a certain relaxation of the law had resulted with regard to wolves, in consequence of its being the fashion of the ladies of the Court under the later Stuarts to have, instead of dogs, little wolves, called "adives," about the size of cats, which were brought from Asia at great cost.

Ursus had taught Homo a portion of his accomplishments,—such as to stand upright, to restrain his rage into sulkiness, to growl instead of howl, etc.; and on