Chapter 7: The Lion and the Lamb
When the boys were gone a lull fell upon Plumfield, and the family scattered to
various places for brief outings, as August had come and all felt the need of
change. The Professor took Mrs Jo to the mountains. The Laurences were at the
seashore, and there Meg's family and the Bhaer boys took turns to visit, as
someone must always be at home to keep things in order.
Mrs Meg, with Daisy, was in office when the events occurred which we are about
to relate. Rob and Ted were just up from Rocky Nook, and Nan was passing a
week with her friend as the only relaxation she allowed herself. Demi was off on
a run with Tom, so Rob was man of the house, with old Silas as general
overseer. The sea air seemed to have gone to Ted's head, for he was unusually
freakish, and led his gentle aunt and poor Rob a life of it with his pranks. Octoo
was worn out with the wild rides he took, and Don openly rebelled when ordered
to leap and show off his accomplishments; while the girls at college were both
amused and worried by the ghosts who haunted the grounds at night, the
unearthly melodies that disturbed their studious hours, and the hairbreadth
escapes of this restless boy by flood and field and fire. Something happened at
length which effectually sobered Ted and made a lasting impression on both the
boys; for sudden danger and a haunting fear turned the Lion into a lamb and the
Lamb into a lion, as far as courage went.
On the first of September--the boys never forgot the date--after a pleasant tramp
and good luck with their fishing, the brothers were lounging in the barn; for Daisy
had company, and the lads kept out of the way.
'I tell you what it is, Bobby, that dog is sick. He won't play, nor eat, nor drink, and
acts queerly. Dan will kill us if anything happens to him,' said Ted, looking at Don,
who lay near his kennel resting a moment after one of the restless wanderings
which kept him vibrating between the door of Dan's room and the shady corner of
the yard, where his master had settled him with an old cap to guard till he came
'It's the hot weather, perhaps. But I sometimes think he's pining for Dan. Dogs
do, you know, and the poor fellow has been low in his mind ever since the boys
went. Maybe something has happened to Dan. Don howled last night and can't
rest. I've heard of such things,' answered Rob thoughtfully.
'Pooh! he can't know. He's cross. I'll stir him up and take him for a run. Always
makes me feel better. Hi, boy! wake up and be jolly'; and Ted snapped his fingers
at the dog, who only looked at him with grim indifference.
'Better let him alone. If he isn't right tomorrow, we'll take him to Dr Watkins and
see what he says.' And Rob went on watching the swallows as he lay in the hay
polishing up some Latin verses he had made.
The spirit of perversity entered into Ted, and merely because he was told not to
tease Don he went on doing it, pretending that it was for the dog's good. Don
took no heed of his pats, commands, reproaches, or insults, till Ted's patience
gave out; and seeing a convenient switch near by he could not resist the
temptation to conquer the great hound by force, since gentleness failed to win