The Silk Vendetta
    “We didn’t know them. They ran off when we appeared.”
    ” He thought the world of that dog.” That is why they did what they did,” I said. “I wish we could find them. I think they should be severely punished.”
    ” If it was any of my stable lads I’d see that they heard from me. None of them, I hope, would do such a thing.”
    ” Willie will have to be gently treated.”
    ” The Missus will see to that. We’ll have to get rid of the dog. I fancy he might want to keep it. He’s very simple in lots of
    ways. ”
    We left him and went sadly home. We were all deeply shocked and Julia did not mention her coming out for a whole day.
    I knew enough of Willie to realize that he would not want to give up the dog. He would rather have it dead than not at all.
    It would soon be forcibly taken from him, and I decided to see what I could do. I found a little box of stiff cardboard and some twine and went in search of him. I did not think he would be by the lake but he was. He was seated beside that tree to which they had tied the dog and he was holding the animal in his arms.
    I said: “Willie, we shall have to give him a burial. He can’t be happy like that.”
    “They’ll take him away from me.”
    “Yes,” I said. “So let us give him a proper burial and then they won’t.” I held out the box to him. “He wants to rest,” I went on. “He’s tired. He must be left in peace to sleep.”
    To my surprise he put the dog in the box.
    I said: “We’ll bury him and I’ll make a little cross. Here are these sticks, see? If I cross them like that and bind them up with twine they make a cross and that gives him a Christian burial.”
    He watched me and at any moment I thought he was going to snatch the box away.
    I said gently: “Everyone has to die at some time. And when they die they must be treated with respect. They must be given an honourable grave. They want to rest in peace.”
    He was silent listening to me with a kind of wonder.
    I said: “I know what we’ll do. There’s the mausoleum.”
    He looked at me not understanding.
    “It’s the house of the dead. You know it. It’s not far from here. It is where the Sallongers go when they die. It’s a beautiful place. You have seen the angels there. They are guarding it. We’ll take him there and bury him, shall we?”
    He continued to look at me in wonder and I put my arm round him and held him closely. He was trembling.
    I said: “It is best. He will be at peace and you can come to visit him. You’ll know he is there under the ground. You can siT by his grave and talk to him. It will seem as though he is there with you. The only difference will be that you cannot see him.”
    He went on studying me. It seemed a good plan. The dog had to be buried and I did not want it to be forcibly taken from him. We could dig a hole by the side of the mausoleum; that would give a certain dignity to the burial.
    He was clutching the box tightly.
    I stood up and said: “Come on, Willie. We’ll do it now. Then you can stay and talk to him and you will know that he is at rest. He will be happier in his box. It is there he wants to be now.”
    I started to walk away, half expecting him not to follow, but he did. So I led the way to the family vault of the Sallongers.
    It had always fascinated me since the first time I had seen it and Grand’mere had explained to me what it was.
    “When a member of the family dies he or she is put in the mausoleum. In those coffins lie the bones of long dead Sallongers,” said Grand’mere. “They were together in life and they remain so in death. Great families have these vaults.”
    I used to go and look at it—always trying to persuade Julia or Cassie to come with me. I was fascinated by the two angels with flaming swords—like those in the garden of Eden in my bible-guarding the place from intruders.
    The iron gates were beautifully wrought and in the stone work of the walls figures had been carved. When I was

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