Stickeen Reading Notes Presentation. Noah Cahill. Quote #1.
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“But his master assured me that he would be no trouble at all; that he was a perfect wonder of a dog, could endure cold and hunger like a bear, swim like a seal, and was wondrous wise and cunning, etc., making out a list of virtues to show he might be the most interesting member of the party.”
Stickeen’s master tries to convince John Muir of how amazing Stickeen is, and John Muir seems amused at the argument.
“He would hush for a moment, look down again at the bridge, and shout his unshakable conviction that he could never, never come that way; then lie back in despair, as if howling, ‘O-o-oh! what a place! No-o-o, I can never go-o-o down there!’ His natural composure and courage had vanished utterly in a tumultuous storm of fear. Had the danger been less, his distress would have seemed ridiculous.”
I like how even through all of the terror the dog was going through, John Muir still had time to think about how ridiculous Stickeen looked.
“And now came a scene! ‘Well done, well done, little boy! Brave boy!’ I cried, trying to catch and caress him; but he would not be caught. Never before or since have I seen anything like so passionate a revulsion from the depths of despair to exultant, triumphant, uncontrollable joy.”
This is a wonderfully heartfelt scene. You can see the joy in both of them, and the description feels very real.