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GAINSBOROUGH AND HIS WIFE AND THEIR DOGS.
Thomas Gainsborough, the rival of Sir Joshua in portraiture, wanted that evenness of temper which the President of the Royal Academy so abundantly possessed. He was easily angered, but as soon appeased, and says his biographer, "If he was the first to offend, he was the first to atone. Whenever he spoke crossly to his wife, a remarkably sweet-tempered woman, he would write a note of repentance, sign it with the name of his favourite dog 'Fox' and address it to his Margaret's pet spaniel, 'Tristram.' Fox would take the note in his mouth, and duly deliver it to Tristram. Margaret would then answer 'My own dear Fox, you are always loving and good, and I am a naughty little female ever to worry you, as I too often do, so we will kiss and say no more about it; your own affectionate Tris.'" The writers of such a correspondence could not have led what is called "a cat and dog life." Husbands and wives might derive a hint from this anecdote; for we know, from the old ballad, that they will be sulky and quarrel at times even about getting "Up to bar the door!"
From a collection of animal anecdotes with a name I find pretty funny:White, Adam, 1817-1879. Heads And Tales, Or, Anecdotes And Stories of Quadrupeds And Other Beasts Chiefly Connected With Incidents In the Histories of More Or Less Distinguished Men. London: J. Nisbet, 1870. pp. 100-101.