Pierrot, Dog of Belgium

by Walter A. Dyer

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Chapter VII

Every night and every morning Mère Marie said her prayers to the Virgin, and at last help came. A strange man who spoke English visited the shack, took their names, and made a note of their condition. Mère Marie had learned a few words of English from some of her customers in the Avenue Louise, and she gathered that he was to bring them something that had been sent in a big ship by kind people from away across the sea who had in some way heard of the plight of Gran’père and Mère Marie and Henri and wee Lisa. So they all waited anxiously for his return.

In a few days he came again in a motor car and brought them a big box. He bade them be of good courage and said that he might bring more later. He was a very brisk, businesslike sort of person, but not unkindly. Then he hurried off again.

The family gathered closely around as Gran’père opened the box, and very excitedly they watched him take out flour, tea, sugar, and clothing. Then Mère Marie fell on her knees beside her bunk and buried her head in her arms, and they all waited with bowed heads while she sent up her thanks.

Then they began examining the clothing. There was a gray fur coat for Mère Marie, worn bare at the collar and wrists, but very warm. There were shoes and stockings and underclothes, a red jacket that could be cut down for Lisa, and some cloth that could be made into a coat for Henri. For Gran’père there was a strange garment that he afterward learned was a sweater. It was thick and black and had a big green D on the front of it. Gran’père did not understand the meaning of the letter, but he found the garment very warm.

Down in the bottom of the box there was a child’s book with the most wonderful pictures of fairies and queer people all in bright colours, and verses in a strange tongue; and there was a roll of cotton bandages and some medicines in bottles.

They were all quite overjoyed until Henri said, “Now if only Père Jean would come back.”

Mère Marie grew sober at that, and wee Lisa added, “And big, shaggy old Pierrot.”

It was night by this time, and as they had no lights Mère Marie said they must all go to bed. But suddenly Henri’s sharp ears caught a strange sound of sniffing and scratching at the door. Then came a short, sharp bark.

Henri ran and opened the door, and there stood good old Pierrot himself, very gaunt and thin, but Pierrot!

Little Lisa ran and fell squarely upon him, as she had been wont to do in the old, happy days, and a little yelp of pain escaped him. Gran’père pulled her gently away, and poor old Pierrot did his best to leap gayly upon them with little whines of delight, to show how glad he was.

Yes, he was home again, back among the loved faces and caressing hands that he had dreamed about so long. He could hardly contain himself for joy and nearly wagged his stump tail off in his exuberance. Oh, if he could only speak and tell them everything!

True, this was a strange little house; all the surroundings were strange. But it was home at last! For here were his people, his dear people, and it is folks, after all, that count.

Gran’père understood dogs and knew that Pierrot was hurt, so as soon as he could get the dog and children quiet he brought Pierrot out into the moonlight and examined him.

“Pierrot has been a good soldier,” said he.

Then he sent Henri for the roll of bandages and the bottles. So you see the kind people across the sea must have heard of Pierrot, too.

“I fear he will always be lame,” said Gran’père. But the children did not seem to be greatly depressed by that. Neither did Pierrot, for that matter, for after he had eaten the crust of bread Mère Marie gave him, and had kissed them again all around, he stretched himself out on the edge of Henri’s worn, scorched quilt with a great happy sigh, and fell asleep, snoring loudly.



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