34 DOGS AND ALL ABOUT THEM
that they succumbed under the weight and perished. On that account they were discarded by the monks.
In connection with the origin of the St. Bernard, M. Schumacher wrote in a letter to Mr. J. C. Macdona, who was the first to introduce the breed into Great Britain in any numbers " According to the tradition of the Holy Fathers of the Great Saint Bernard, their race descends from the crossing of a bitch (a Bulldog species) of Denmark and a Mastiff (Shepherd's Dog) of the Pyrenees. The descendants of the crossing, who have inherited from the Danish dog its extraordinary size and bodily strength, and from the Pyrenean Mastiff the intelligence, the exquisite sense of smell, and, at the same time, the faithfulness and sagacity which characterise them, have acquired in the space of five centuries so glorious a notoriety throughout Europe that they well merit the name of a distinct race for themselves."
From the same authority we learn that it is something like six hundred years since the St. Bernard came into existence. It was not, however, till competitive exhibitions for dogs had been for some years established that the St. Bernard gained a footing in Great Britain. A few specimens had been imported from the Hospice before Mr. Cumming Macdona (then the Rev. Cumming Macdona) introduced us to the celebrated Tell, who, with others of the breed brought from Switzerland, formed the foundation of his magnificent kennel at West Kirby, in Cheshire. Albert Smith, whom some few that are now alive will remember as an amusing lecturer, brought a pair from the Hospice when returning from a visit to the Continent and made them take a part in his attractive entertainment ; but the associations of the St. Bernard with the noble deeds recorded in history were not then so widely known, and these two dogs passed away without having created any particular enthusiasm.
Later on, at a dog show at Cremorne held in 1863, two St. Bernards were exhibited, each of whom rejoiced in the name