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August 14 2012 20:52:01.
Today Sunday 19 May 2013 02:18:42
In the meanwhile, the large stag-hound,
Wolf, which, dripping wet as he was, had followed his mistress into
the apartment, and had sat by the bedside, a patient and quiet
spectator of all the means used for resuscitation of the being whom he
had preserved, now became impatient of remaining any longer unnoticed,
and began to whine and fawn upon the Lady with his great rough paws.
"Yes," she said, "good Wolf, and you shall be remembered also for your
day's work; and I will think the more of you for having preserved the
life of a creature so beautiful."
But Wolf was not quite satisfied with the share of attention which he
thus attracted; he persisted in whining and pawing upon his mistress,
his caresses rendered still more troublesome by his long shaggy hair
being so much and thoroughly wetted, till she desired one of the
domestics, with whom he was familiar, to call the animal out of the
apartment. Wolf resisted every invitation to this purpose, until his
mistress positively commanded him to be gone, in an angry tone; when,
turning towards the bed on which the body still lay, half awake to
sensation, half drowned in the meanders of fluctuating delirium, he
uttered a deep and savage growl, curled up his nose and lips, showing
his full range of white and sharpened teeth, which might have matched
those of an actual wolf, and then, turning round, sullenly followed
the domestic out of the apartment.
"It is singular," said the Lady, addressing Warden; "the animal is not
only so good-natured to all, but so particularly fond of children.
What can ail him at the little fellow whose life he has saved?"
"Dogs," replied the preacher, "are but too like the human race in
their foibles, though their instinct be less erring than the reason of
poor mortal man when relying upon his own unassisted powers. Jealousy,
my good lady, is a passion not unknown to them, and they often evince
it, not only with respect to the preferences which they see given by
their masters to individuals of their own species, but even when their
rivals are children. You have caressed that child much and eagerly,
and the dog considers himself as a discarded favourite."
"It is a strange instinct," said the Lady; "and from the gravity with
which you mention it, my reverend friend, I would almost say that you
supposed this singular jealousy of my favourite Wolf, was not only
well founded, but justifiable. But perhaps you speak in jest?"
"I seldom jest," answered the preacher; "life was not lent to us to be
expended in that idle mirth which resembles the crackling of thorns
under the pot. I would only have you derive, if it so please you, this
lesson from what I have said, that the best of our feelings, when
indulged to excess, may give pain to others. There is but one in which
we may indulge to the utmost limit of vehemence of which our bosom is
capable, secure that excess cannot exist in the greatest intensity to
which it can be excited--I mean the love of our Maker."
"Surely," said the Lady of Avenel, "we are commanded by the same
authority to love our neighbour?"
"Ay, madam," said Warden, "but our love to God is to be unbounded--we
are to love him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole
strength. The love which the precept commands us to bear to our
neighbour, has affixed to it a direct limit and qualification--we are
to love our neighbour as ourself; as it is elsewhere explained by the
great commandment, that we must do unto him as we would that he should
do unto us. Here there is a limit, and a bound, even to the most
praiseworthy of our affections, so far as they are turned upon
sublunary and terrestrial objects. We are to render to our neighbour,
whatever be his rank or degree, that corresponding portion of
affection with which we could rationally expect we should ourselves be
regarded by those standing in the same relation to us. Hence, neither
husband nor wife, neither son nor daughter, neither friend nor
relation, are lawfully to be made the objects of our idolatry.