By: Henry C. Barkley (1837-1903)
This book is often described as an instruction manual on the subject of rat-catching. It does indeed contain a good deal about rats, ferrets and dogs, but it is much more than that. Barkley fills the book with humour, sharp observation, and his sheer joy of living in the countryside. The framework of the book is indeed a course by fictional rat-catcher Bob Joy, who suggests that rat-catching might be a suitable alternative career for boys at Eton, Harrow and the other major English public schools. We follow Bob as he takes us through some typical days working at both rat catching and rabbit catching using dogs and ferrets.
Barkley adds in more sly digs at the public school system, stories about dogs, stories about country folk, and more stories about dogs. A glorious hodge-podge of a book.