Selected Passages from Bullmina the Courageous Bulldog
Lita Eitner-England's first novel, Bullmina the Courageous Bulldog, takes place in England during the 1830s, just before bull baiting and dog fighting were outlawed by Parliament. Written for older grade school, as well as adults who love Bulldogs, this heart-warming novel is about a beautiful red brindle Bulldog named Bullmina. She and her brothers were born on the Duke of Chathamworthshire's estate. She is adored by Duke Anthony Charleston Waverly III and the Duchess, Lady Evelyn, but unfortunately the Duke loses his beloved Bulldog to his rival, Fortie Billingsley, after a long night of gambling. While she fights for survival, Bullmina's life is enriched by memorable characters: Andrew Cameron, a dog trainer who saves her from a death sentence, Lisette St. Germaine, the daughter of a French baker, who rescues Bullmina from the back alleys of London, and Trevor Sheffield, who sacrifices his own career to save the feisty Bulldog.
From Chapter 1: The Duke's Estate
"Steady on, my girl," whispered the Duke softly to encourage Jasmine. "Once more. Gently now, sweatheart.” He stood there clenching and unclenching his hands, trying in his heart to absorb all the pain for her.
As the sack hit the soft shreddings in the whelping box, it broke, and out popped a dark brindle and white pup wriggling with life. Jasmine immediately began to lick the puppy, and Dr. Porter reached over to cut the umbilical cord and then proceeded very carefully to help message the fluid from the newborn pup's throat. After his breathing passages were clear, the pup hailed the world with his first little cries. Dr. Porter handed the pup to Sebastian, and he gently rubbed the newborn with a clean, warm rag to help him continue to breath and stay warm. Jasmine panted and then gobbled up the after-birth. She let out a long, deep sigh and waited, trying to regain her strength for the next birthing. In much the same manner, the next pup was born, a sturdy piebald. After several more minutes, a fawn brindle emerged. Shortly thereafter, a striking red brindle and white arrived. Sebastian and the Duke thought Jasmine had completed her birthing when she began to breathe and pant in the characteristic manner once again.
"Oh, I say!" exclaimed Dr. Porter just slightly above a whisper, "I believe our Jasmine is going to yield yet another pup."
True to the veterinarian's expectations, Jasmine birthed one last pup. He was quite small, fawn and white.
"Ahhhhh, such a little fellow," whispered Sebastian Phillips, brushing his blonde hair away from his light brown eyes, as he gravely marked the runt pup's slow, weak movements. "He might not make it, eh, doctor?"
From Chapter 3: Training for the Bullring
Cheswick wasn't quite quick enough today. He lunged to the right when he should have lunged to the left, and the bull, seeing the opportunity, gored Cheswick in the shoulder.
"Cheswick!!!" screamed the two boys in unison.
Despite the Duke's firm commands to heel, Bullmina immediately bolted from the Duke's grasp as soon as she saw the blood gushing from Cheswick's right shoulder. She frantically tried to climb into the arena and help her injured brother. That only seemed to infuriate the bull all the more. The bull strained at the collar and thick rope, trying to charge at Cheswick once again. Cheswick showed no sign of pain. He immediately got back up on his feet, limping only slightly, and kept up his routine. Bullmina's thunderous barks could be heard yards and yards away.
It took nearly all of Patrick's strength to pull Bullmina forcibly off the fenced ring so she wouldn't distract Cheswick and possibly cause him further injury. The two boys sobbed as they watched the blood drip down Cheswick's shoulder and fill the spaces between his toes. He left bloody paw prints all over the ring.
From Chapter 4: The Duke's Terrible Folly
"My heavens! What have we here?" exclaimed Fortie Billingsley as he saw Bullmina practically galloping over to Lady Evelyn and the Duke with little Funston trotting behind as fast as his little legs could carry him.
Fortie hardly gave Funston a glance. Noting his size and playfulness, it was obvious that he was just a family pet. But the other dog, the red brindle with the tiger striped marbling throughout her coat was exceptional. Fortie immediatley noted the width of her shoulders, the musculature of her hind legs, the strength of her jaw, and the alertness of her eyes. The Duke was aghast, totally white as a sheet. Lady Evelyn was about to faint.
"Shame on you and the Duchess for holding out on me," said Fortie, smacking his lips with a sharp glint in his eye. "Sit!" commanded Fortie. Thanks to her training sessions with Sebastian and Patrick, Bullmina immediately complied and sat like the princess she was. "What a fine girl," said Fortie, kneeling down and running his hands over the Bulldog. Bullmina didn't flinch at all over being thoroughly inspected by an unknown set of hands, as long as the Duke and Duchess were there.
"I say, your Lordship," remarked Fortie, probing Bullmina's jaws and checking her teeth. "This one's quite a stunning bitch. Has she whelped a litter yet?"
At this point, seeing the look on Lady Evelyn's pale face and the Duke's twitching brow and firmly set jaw was all it took. "Yes, indeed. I'll take the bitch," said Fortie with a leering smile of satisfaction in his beady blue eyes.
From Chapter 5: Bullmina's First Litter
Andrew was a very compassionate, patient man. He could sit there all night and well into the next day, waiting until Bullmina came out of the crate, if that's the way it had to be. He knew for certain that if he were to establish a good working relationship with the Bulldog, he'd have to win her confidence and trust first. Those were two things that could not be forced. He knew he'd be working with her almost exclusively, and, of course, he'd be there when she whelped her first litter of pups, so he'd better win her trust and friendship on her own terms, no matter how long it took.
Sitting beside her cage, he continued talking softly to her. Even though he pronounced his words with that clipped Cockney accent, his voice had a warm, soothing, velvety tone. "That's a girl. Just take ya'self a lit'le rest. Been quite a day, 'asn't it, love?"
Bullmina buried her chin on her front paws and sighed deeply.
"Whatta big sigh! I know ya miss yer family. I would too, but it's awright. You'll set'le in 'ere jus' fine. Yes ya will. It'll be the sweet life fer ya too, love. Not like one o' the boys. They go' it rough. Ol' Fortie takes 'em out and fights 'em, but there'll be none o' that fer ya, me princess. Ay! What a jolly thought! 'At's exactly what we'll call ya, Princess! Copper Penny Princess, 'cause ya looks just like a beautiful copper penny wi' that gorgeous brindle coat o' yours. 'Ow ya like the sound o' that, me Copper Penny Princess?"