MY publisher writes to say that he, and he thinks others too, would like to know how I ever came to write such a book as this! It came about in this way. Some two years ago, I was about to leave England for a considerable time, and a few days before starting, I went to stay in a country house, full of lads and lassies, to say good-bye. One evening, while sitting over the study fire, the subject of rat-catching came up, and, as the aged are somewhat wont to do, I babbled on about past days and various rat-catching experiences, till one of the boys exclaimed, "I say, what sport it would be if they would only teach rat-catching at school! Wouldn't I just work hard then, that's all!"
The stories came to an end. at bed-time, and I was then pressed by my hearers to write from foreign lands some more of my old reminiscences, and I readily gave a promise to do so. In this way most of the following stories were written; and in writing them, I endeavoured to carry out the idea that they were exercises to be used in schools.
I don't anticipate that head-masters will very generally adopt the book in their schools; but I hope it may, in some few instances, give boys a taste for a wholesome country pastime.
The characters and incidents are rough, very rough, pen and ink sketches of real people and scenes, and the dogs are all dear friends of past days.