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The Broken Heart

AnimalAnecdotes Home

During the French Revolution M. des R----, an ancient magistrate and most
estimable man, was condemned to death on the charge of conspiracy and
thrown into prison. M. des R---- had a water spaniel, which had been
brought up by him, and had never quitted him. Refused admission to the
prison, he returned to his master's house, and found it shut; he took
refuge with a neighbour. Every day at the same hour the dog left the
house, and went to the door of the prison. He was refused admittance, but
he constantly passed an hour before it, and then returned. His fidelity at
length won over the porter, and he was one day allowed to enter. The dog
saw his master and clung to him. The gaoler with difficulty forced him
away. He came back the next morning, and every day; once each day he was
admitted. He licked the hand of his friend, looked him in the face, again
licked his hand, and went away of himself.

After the execution, at which the dog was present, he walked by the side
of the corpse to its burial-place, and after the ceremony laid himself
upon the grave. There he passed the first night, the next day, and the
second night. The neighbour in the meantime, unhappy at not seeing him,
goes in search of his friend, finds him by his master's grave, caresses
him, and makes him eat. An hour afterwards the dog escaped, and regained
his favourite place. Three months passed away, each morning of which he
came to seek his food, and then returned to the grave of his master; but
each day he was more sad, more meagre, more languishing. He was chained
up, but broke his fetters; escaped; returned to the grave, and never
quitted it more. It was in vain that they tried to bring him back. They
carried him food, but he ate no longer. For hours he was seen employing
his weakened limbs in digging up the earth that separated him from his
master. Passion gave him strength, and he gradually approached the body;
at last his faithful heart gave way, and he breathed out his last gasp, as
if he knew that he had found his master.

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