His sleepless suspicion of ulterior motives is no more, no less, than a feral trait, inherited from a long line of forebears whose isolated lives were preserved only by incessant vigilance against enemies that stalked by night and struck without warning.
Colonel Hamilton Smith, the able writer on dogs, does not acknowledge some of these wild races, but thinks they are what he calls feral, or domestic dogs which have regained their liberty, and have subsisted for many generations on their own intelligence.
Soon the feral current, dense and expressive of some illimitable pressure, crushed upon them, and they saw horses thrown down, trampled into unrecognizable mutilation, while others, thrown against trees or rocks with ribs and legs broken, writhed in mortal torments.
Nevertheless, I do not doubt that the simple fact of animals and plants becoming feral, does cause some tendency to reversion to the primitive state; though this tendency has been much exaggerated by some authors. I will briefly run through the recorded cases.
It has often been argued that no light is thrown on the changes which natural species are believed to undergo from the admitted changes of domestic races, as the latter are said to be mere temporary productions, always reverting, as soon as they become feral, to their pristine form.
In the cases hitherto considered, the reverting animals and plants have not been exposed to any great or abrupt change in their conditions of life which could have induced this tendency; but it is very different with animals and plants which have become feral or run wild.
From these several facts we see that with pigs when feral there is a strong tendency to revert to the wild type; but that this tendency is largely governed by the nature of the climate, amount of exercise, and other causes of change to which they have been subjected.
On the view that all the races are the product of variation, we can understand why they have not become feral, for the great amount of modification which they have undergone shows how long and how thoroughly they have been domesticated; and this would unfit them for a wild life.
There can be no doubt, from the facts given in the first chapter, that European dogs deteriorate in India, not only in their instincts but in structure; but the changes which they undergo are of such a nature, that they may be partly due to reversion to a primitive form, as in the case of feral animals.
They think it will be very fine to have photographs of themselves and their "cozy nooks" published in magazines, to illustrate the man's interviews, and the full horror of having this feral creature always about the house, and scarcely ever being able to do any little thing without his knowing it, is not brought properly home to them until escape is impossible.
A man has to come to middle age, and to suffer much, before he understands that the charms of women, those rare and magical perfections of eyes and teeth and hair, that softness of skin and delicacy of feature, have cost labor and care of many generations, and imply inevitably that life has been feral, that customs and conventions have been murderous and inhuman.
I have remarked in a former part of this volume that the great reduction in the size of the tusks in domestic boars probably stands in close relation with their diminished bristles, due to a certain amount of protection; and that the reappearance of the tusks in boars, which have become feral and are fully exposed to the weather, probably depends on the reappearance of the bristles.