"TOPSY" AND THE SCHOOL KEYS
Published in "Harper's
Weekly" June 17, 1871.
One of the most sagacious little dogs in London belongs to Mr. Nice, the
keeper of Highbury Chapel.
"Topsy" is not an idle dog; she is busy from Monday morning
until Saturday night; for what with keys to watch, doors to attend to, and
so many other things besides her time is fully occupied. Sunday, is "Topsy's"
rest day, and right glad she seems not to be expected to bark, nor do any
work on Sunday, for animals as well as men require, and are entitled to,
one day of rest in the week. "Topsy's" master has trained her to
distinguish the difference between Sunday and weekday, and if a stranger
were to see her on Sunday, he would imagine that she was ill, for she lies
down quietly in her bed, quite indifferent as to who comes in or who goes
out. She knows that she must not make a noise, or bark at people who come
to the chapel or the school on that day.
Mr. Nice has a fine cat which lives in the same rooms with "Topsy,"
and she pays all due respect to Pussy. When the cat has her milk, "Topsy"
sits quietly by to watch her drink it, and when Pussy has finished, "Topsy"
expects the saucer filled for herself. If she is kept waiting for her milk
longer than she thinks right, she rings the bell-that is, she taps the
saucer; and if the first tapping is not attended to, she taps again and
again until she has due attention! "Topsy" is so polite that she
cannot be persuaded to touch her milk until the cat has had hers!
About 8 o'clock in the morning she may be seen sitting in the window
watching for the boy who calls for the keys of the day schools. These keys
are "Topsy's" particular charge. She will not allow them to be
taken from their place on the wall unless it be by her master, or by the
person accustomed to give them up at night; and if brought in and not hung
up in their place at once, "Topsy" gets them, if they are left
anywhere within reach, and hides them underneath the carpet. She then sits
beside them, and cries very pitifully until Mr. or Mrs. Nice steps forward
and hangs them up in their usual place.
"Topsy" however has no objection to the keys being taken from
their place on the Lord's Day morning. On that morning she will allow any
of the teachers to take them off the nail without the slightest hindrance,
or without even looking after them.
"Topsy" is very affectionate and sympathizing; if at any time
her master or mistress be unwell or in trouble, she tries her best to
comfort them by licking their face and hands; and if at any time she has
offended, and is spoken to crossly, she holds out her paw, and looks into
their face so pitifully, as much to say "Please do shake hands with
me and be friends." It is no wonder that "Topsy" has many
friends who call in to see her and shake hands with her. The affectionate
little creature never seems content to lie down in her bed at night
without first putting out her paw and shaking hands with her master; it is
The high training of this beautiful dog reflects the greatest credit on
her kind hearted master.
Many thanks to Mrs. JoAnn Emrick, Wilane
Manchester Terriers, for submitting this lovely piece.