❝ Paden, March 18, 1905.
My Dear Hains:
I went out for a stroll this morning in the low-lying hills just east of Paden in answer to the call of the wild. I said to myself as I sauntered forth, I’m tired of the gloom in a four-walled room; heart-weary, I sigh for the open sky and the solitude of the greening wood. It was a bright beautiful morning, though the night had been dark and stormy—thrust by lightning and rent by thunder. The rosy arrows of dawn were flying in the east and a wooing zephyr was blowing over the horizon from the south. On the outskirts of town I was joined by a small bench-legged dog with a long body like a weasel. I discovered at once that he was not of low sofky or cur extraction common hereabouts, but a well-bred and good mannered canine whose company a Fifth Avenue lady might desire. He scampered ahead of me, stopping and looking back ever and anon lest he get out of my sight. We came at length to a little brook which was up. I ran and jumped across it, landing somewhat in the mud. My strange bench-legged friend attempted to do likewise and fell in out of sight. He scrambled out dripping at every hair and looking at me as if he expected me to laugh at his plight. But I maintained my composure and he came to me wagging his tail and seeking sympathy. I patted him on the head and he—shook water all over me. When we reached the out-skirts of the town on our return, we separated as unceremoniously as we had met, he going one way and I the other. It was a pleasant and laughable incident in my morning’s ramble. I have always liked a dog’s company in the woods. With a dog for a guide and philosopher the sense of loneliness is dispelled and Nature brought closer. Then a dog is always sure to do something ludicrous, as my bench-legged companion did this morning, encouraging the development of the sense of humor.
This is a sort of strange land out here. ❞