Has finished Descent, which charmed but did not convert him.
Sends examples of dogs' reasoning.
Has given up his farm.
Milton Brodie | Forres | N. B.
26 May 1871—
I have today finished reading your charming book, for so in truth I have
found it, as all that have come from your pen, full of the most interesting
facts of natural history. I am not a convert to the theory you found on
them I hold to the old belief that a man was made a man though
developed into niggurs who must be made to work and better men able to make
them, if those radicals did not interfere with the salutary chastisment
needful, neglectng the lesson taught by the black ants slaves to the white.
Also that a horse was made a horse though perhaps my old cart mare who is
peacefully grazing before my windows and the Zephyr colt may have had a
common ancestor in the dim distance. What a dolt you must think me! If you
ever succeed in tracing our pedigrees back a few years further than we go,
even in Scotland, I hope you will be merciful to our prejudices. I heard
that Sir B Burke offered, for a consideration, to give L
In the mean time one or two little notions crossed me as I read. I have heard
the story of the retriever and wounded birds, and am quite convinced of its
accuracy. Here is another for you. My Mother, at her house at Hythe, had as
a pet a very wise old setter, who had been long my companion, crossed the
Atlantic with me, and held a certificate for having been to Termination rock
under Niagara— A hundred yards or so from our house was another,
occupied by M
I see you state that pigeons of other colours are not liked by the blue ones I do not find it to be so here. I have a dove cot of domesticated blue rocks; there are hundreds of them, and among them a few white and occasionally a brown one, but they live in perfect peace. Probably the white would become more numerous but that when a hawk takes one it is almost always a white one.
I think I told you I had an albino partridge two years ago. I had it very carefully watched, it paired with a brown one, and there were four white birds and six brown ones in the covey. One got away and was killed on the next property, but four survived the season; I allowed no shooting on the farm where they lived, and I saw at least three of them paired, each with a brown mate; but whether they changed their plumage, or were all killed in some way I cannot tell, for not a white one old or young was about last autumn.
To my great sorrow I have given up and let my home farm. I have got it into capital order and had a little herd of fine beasts, but the wretched farm servants drove me to the verge of insanity. After some worse specimens, I had a grieve for two years, with more than the average amounts of honesty; but the most sulky pigheaded man in Europe; however I would have kept him if he had pleased, but he chose to go, and of others I heard of, this one was always drunk, that one a thief &c &c— They all shift about, every half year, or year at most, for no reason but folly, and are a thorough bad lot and ignorant to an extent you can hardly fancy. The schools rate-supported where they ought to be taught are given up to Latin & Greek for the Minister & others' children, and the poor chew porridge, sit and are not taught. I wonder what they will develope into. I am in a state of despair when I think of all my four footed and feathered two footed friends which were sold last Wednesday, and am only consoled by thinking I have no more trouble with the unfeathered bipeds.—
Another dog story of a still earlier date occurs to me. I had a favorite white terrier at Hythe, bred at home which had never lived elsewhere. I went in my Father's carriage to a tutor's some 25 miles. Tartar jumped in and went with me returning the same afternoon in the carriage. He had never been more than five miles from home in his life. He stayed at home a week, and then ran away and came to me, preceding my Mother's letter to tell me how distressed they were that Tartar was lost. He must have waited some days to see if I came back, then it passed through his little head that my luggage and general look indicated I should stay where he left me and he would cut off and see about it.
I think on consideration I had almost rather have a dog for an ancestor than even a ring tailed monkey, at any rate they have more attachment, more sense, and nearly as much morality as a good many of our labourers—
With our kindest regards to M