Curran And The Mastiff

Curran used to relate with infinite humor an adventure between him and a

mastiff, when he was a boy. He had heard somebody say that any person

throwing the skirts of his coat over his head, stooping low, holding out

his arms, and creeping along backwards, might frighten the fiercest dog,

and put him to flight. He accordingly made the attempt on a miller's

animal in the neighborhood, who would never let the boys rob the

orchard; but found to his sorrow that he had a dog to deal with which

did not care what end of a boy went foremost, so that he could get a

good bite out of it. I pursued the instructions, said Curran, and as

I had no eyes save those in front, fancied the mastiff was in full

retreat; but I was confoundedly mistaken; for at the very moment I

thought myself victorious, the enemy attacked my rear, and having got a

reasonably good mouthful out of it, was fully prepared to take another

before I was rescued. Egad, I thought for a time the beast had devoured

my entire centre of gravity, and that I should never go on a steady

perpendicular again. Upon my word, said Sir Jonah Barrington, to whom

Curran related this story, the mastiff may have left you your centre,

but he could not have left much gravity behind him, among the