Three Elephant Power and Other Stories HTML version

Concerning a Dog-fight
Dog-fighting as a sport is not much in vogue now-a-days. To begin with it is illegal. Not
that THAT matters much, for Sunday drinking is also illegal. But dog-fighting is one of
the cruel sports which the community has decided to put down with all the force of public
opinion. Nevertheless, a certain amount of it is still carried on near Sydney, and very
neatly and scientifically carried on, too -- principally by gentlemen who live out Botany
way and do not care for public opinion.
The grey dawn was just breaking over Botany when we got to the meeting-place. Away
to the East the stars were paling in the faint flush of coming dawn, and over the sandhills
came the boom of breakers. It was Sunday morning, and all the respectable, non-dog-
fighting population of that odoriferous suburb were sleeping their heavy, Sunday-
morning sleep. Some few people, however, were astir. In the dim light hurried
pedestrians plodded along the heavy road towards the sandhills. Now and then a van,
laden with ten or eleven of "the talent", and drawn by a horse that cost fifteen shillings at
auction, rolled softly along in the same direction. These were dog-fighters who had got
"the office", and knew exactly where the match was to take place.
The "meet" was on a main road, about half-a-mile from town; here some two hundred
people had assembled, and hung up their horses and vehicles to the fence without the
slightest concealment. They said the police would not interfere with them -- and they did
not seem a nice crowd to interfere with.
One dog was on the ground when we arrived, having come out in a hansom cab with his
trainer. He was a white bull-terrier, weighing about forty pounds, "trained to the hour",
with the muscles standing out all over him. He waited in the cab, licking his trainer's face
at intervals to reassure that individual of his protection and support; the rest of the time he
glowered out of the cab and eyed the public scornfully. He knew as well as any human
being that there was sport afoot, and looked about eagerly and wickedly to see what he
could get his teeth into.
Soon a messenger came running up to know whether they meant to sit in the cab till the
police came; the other dog, he said, had arrived and all was ready. The trainer and dog
got out of the cab; we followed them through a fence and over a rise -- and there, about
twenty yards from the main road, was a neatly-pitched enclosure like a prize-ring, a
thirty-foot-square enclosure formed with stakes and ropes. About a hundred people were
at the ringside, and in the far corner, in the arms of his trainer, was the other dog -- a
It was wonderful to see the two dogs when they caught sight of each other. The white dog
came up to the ring straining at his leash, nearly dragging his trainer off his feet in his
efforts to get at the enemy. At intervals he emitted a hoarse roar of challenge and