An 1879 edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle reports the story of a little fox terrier named Wasp and his owner who, at the time, was a student at a college in London. Wasp was devoted to his master and would follow him wherever he went—including on the train to school each morning. While his master attended classes, Wasp would remain in the courtyard of the college, dozing in a patch of sun and “to all appearances asleep.” Despite appearances, however, Wasp was always watching anxiously for his master’s return and those passing through the courtyard would often observe “one watchful eye unclose gently to spy if his master were soon coming.”
When his master arrived, Wasp would immediately spring up “with great delight.” He would then accompany him home on the train. According to the Huddersfield Chronicle:
“The young student generally left King’s Cross Station at twenty minutes to five, and, as Wasp accompanied him, they took their seats in the guard’s van, and travelled every day with the same guard.”
Sometimes, Wasp’s young master was unable to leave school at the appointed time. On these occasions, he would give Wasp “a pat on the head” and send him home on his own. It was a great distance on foot, but somehow Wasp always managed to reach home safely. His master was never certain of the route which the little dog traveled until, one day, while waiting for the train, he began talking to the guard. The Huddersfield Chronicle reports the following exchange:
“Oh, sir, we often have your dog, but not you, by this train.”
“My dog?” asked Wasp’s master, astonished.
“Yes, sir; he comes here punctually, finds me out, jumps up and gives me a friendly greeting, and then proceeds to take his place in my van. He goes comfortably to sleep till we reach H— tunnel, when he gets up, shakes himself, and then, as the train stops at H— Station, gives a farewell wag of his tail and jumps out.”
Thus concludes another of my (now twice monthly) Friday features on Animals in Literature and History. If you would like to learn more about Fox Terriers like Wasp or if you would like to adopt a Fox Terrier of your own, the following links may be useful as resources:
American Fox Terrier Club (United States)
The Fox Terrier Club (United Kingdom)
Huddersfield Chronicle (West Yorkshire, England), 03 March 1879. ©The British Library Board.
Illustrated London News (London, England), 08 February 1868. ©The British Library Board.
Praise for The Matrimonial Advertisement
“For this impressive Victorian romance, Matthews crafts a tale that sparkles with chemistry and impresses with strong character development… an excellent series launch that will appeal to fans of Loretta Chase and Stephanie Laurens.” -Publishers Weekly
“Matthews’ series opener is a guilty pleasure, brimming with beautiful people, damsels in distress, and an abundance of testosterone…It’s a well-written and engaging story that’s more than just a romance.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Matthews has a knack for creating slow-building chemistry and an intriguing plot with a social history twist.” -Library Journal
“An intriguing plot and a haunting setting leaves the reader immersed in this impressive series launch.” -Barnes & Noble (20 Favorite Indie Books of 2018)
“I savored every word of this wonderful historical romance and didn’t want it to end.” -Jane Porter, NYT and USA Today bestselling author
“A heart-rending Gothic love story…The hero has the dark past of Mr. Rochester and the tightly leashed emotion of Mr. Darcy, but is a true romantic hero in every sense of the word. The historical atmosphere is top-notch, as is the writing. I loved it!” -Caroline Linden, USA Today bestselling author
“A highly enjoyable Victorian-sensation style romance…I enjoyed every minute of this warm, charming book.” -KJ Charles, editor and RITA-nominated author
© 2015-2021 Mimi Matthews
For exclusive information on upcoming book releases, giveaways, and other special treats, subscribe to Mimi’s newsletter THE PENNY NOT SO DREADFUL.