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A gentleman once possessed a mastiff which guarded the house and yard, but
had never met with the least particular attention from his master. One
night, as his master was retiring to his chamber, attended by his
faithful valet, an Italian, the mastiff silently followed him upstairs,
which he had never been known to do before, and, to his master's
astonishment, presented himself in his bedroom. He was instantly turned
out; but the poor animal began scratching violently at the door, and
howling loudly for admission. The servant was sent to drive him away;
still he returned again, and was more importunate than before to be let
in. The gentleman, weary of opposition, bade the servant open the door,
that they might see what he wanted to do. This done, the dog deliberately
walked up, and crawling under the bed, laid himself down as if desirous to
take up his night's lodging there. To save farther trouble, the indulgence
was allowed. About midnight the chamber door opened, and a person was
heard stepping across the room. The gentleman started from his sleep; the
dog sprung from his covert, and seizing the unwelcome disturber, fixed him
to the spot! All was dark; and the gentleman rang his bell in great
trepidation, in order to procure a light. The person who was pinned to the
floor by the courageous mastiff roared for assistance. It was found to be
the valet, who little expected such a reception. He endeavoured to
apologise for his intrusion, and to make the reasons which induced him to
take this step appear plausible; but the importunity of the dog, the time,
the place, the manner of the valet, all raised suspicions in his master's
mind, and he determined to refer the investigation of the business to a
magistrate. The perfidious Italian at length confessed that it was his
intention to murder his master, and then rob the house. This diabolical
design was frustrated only by the instinctive attachment of the dog to his
master, which seemed to have been directed on this occasion by the
interference of Providence.

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