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"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 her "good-night."
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.