In the course of that journey poor little Floppart lay on its back in the bottom of its captor's pocket, with a finger and thumb gently pressing her windpipe. Whenever she became restive, the finger and thumb tightened, and this with such unvarying regularity that she soon came to understand the advantage of lying still.
Floppart at this moment turned the flow of his meditations by making a final and desperate struggle to be free. She shot out of his pocket and dropped with a bursting yell on the pavement. Recovering her feet before Bones recovered from his surprise she fled. Thought is quick as the lightning-flash. Bones knew that dogs find their way home mysteriously from any distance.
Meanwhile the policeman took the remains of poor Floppart by the tail, holding it at arm's-length for fear of the deadly poison supposed to be on its lips; and left the kitchen by a long passage. The men of the Post-Office returned to their food and their duties. Those who manage the details of her Majesty's mails cannot afford to waste time when on duty.
"Not a bit of it, he's too much of a gentleman to object come," said the policeman encouragingly. The stoker held up the shovel. The body of Floppart was put thereon, after the removal of its collar. There was one good swing of the shovel, followed by a heave, and the little dog fell into the heart of the fiery furnace.
"D'you think, now, that Floppart would let you put it on 'er, Tot?" Tot was sure she would, and soon had the muzzle on. "That's right; now, hold 'er fast a moment just a there !" He sprang at and caught the dog by the throat, choked a snarling yelp in the bud, and held it fast. "Dear, dear, how wild it has got all of a sudden! W'y, it must be ill p'r'aps mad.
There's a dear little dog too, she keeps, I'm told. Is that the only one she owns?" "Yes, it's the only one, and such a darlin' it is, and so fond of me!" exclaimed Tottie. "Ah, yes, wery small, but wery noisy an' vicious," remarked Mr Bones, with a sudden scowl, which fortunately his daughter did not see. "O no, father; little Floppart ain't vicious, though it is awful noisy w'en it chooses."
He knew himself to be unable to run down Floppart. He saw his schemes thwarted. He adopted a mean device, shouted "Mad dog!" and rushed after it. A small errand-boy shrieked with glee, flung his basket at it, and followed up the chase. Floppart took round by St. Paul's Churchyard. However sane she might have been at starting, it is certain that she was mad with terror in five minutes.
The passage was cut short by a glass door, but a narrow staircase descended to the left. "Any port in a storm" is a proverb as well known among dogs as men. Down went Floppart to the basement of the building, invading the sanctity of the letter-carriers' kitchen or salle-a-manger. A dozen stalwart postmen leaped from their meals to rush at the intruder.
Bones did not wish to recapture her. He wished her dead, and for that end loudly reiterated the calumny as to madness. Floppart circled round the grand cathedral erected by Wren and got into Cheapside. Here, doubling like a hare, she careered round the statue of Peel and went blindly back to St.
"Well, Tot, I'd give a good deal to see that dear little Floppart, and make friends with it. D'you think you could manage to get it to follow you here?" "Oh, easily. I'll run an' fetch it; but p'r'aps you had better come to the house. I know they'd like to see you, for they're so kind to me." Mr Bones laughed sarcastically, and expressed his belief that they wouldn't like to see him at all.