Introduction

The themes of will, status, resentment, control, power, rebellion, and transformation run through A.G. Gardiner’s story ‘All About a Dog’. Gardiner speaks with the conductor towards the end of the story, explaining that he took his guidelines too strictly and so became a part of the issue himself. The narrator has a different perspective on what should have happened, and it’s intriguing that the conductor does not really disagree with him.

About The Author

Alfred George Gardiner was an English journalist, editor, and novelist who lived from 2 June 1865 until 3 March 1946. Alfred George Gardiner (1865–1946), often known as Alpha of the Plough, was a well-known British journalist too.  From 1902 until 1919, he was the editor of the New York Daily News, where he expanded news and literary coverage while also boosting awareness for social problems, including a minimum wage for industrial employees. He gained a following for his graceful and humorous delivery of life’s facts.

“Rules!”

It was a chilly winter night. The passengers were all eager to go home as soon as possible. The bus was boarded by a young lady with a little dog. The conductor gestured for the lady to take the dog to the bare top part of the bus. However, given the weather, the other passengers were empathetic towards the lady with the dog. Furthermore, the lady was sick with a cough and a cold. As a result, they had no objection to the dog being carried inside the bus. The bus conductor, on the other hand, was not ready to simply break the regulation. The conductor asked the bus driver to hit the brakes until the lady went to the top. Many people protested, demanding that their money be refunded, but the conductor refused.

The conductor refused to give up after much negotiation, so the lady was forced to compromise. On a freezing night, he forced the lady to climb to the top of the bus. The lady was initially hesitant to do so and preferred to remain inside. She also had a disagreement with the conductor. When the lady and her dog climbed to the top, the conductor rang the bell, signalling the driver to begin moving. He stood victorious, unconcerned about what the passengers had to say about him.

When the bus encountered engine issues after a while, the passengers were forced to wait. The lady sat down again after making her way back down the stairwell. The conductor returned and rang the bell once the engine had been repaired. He did, however, see the lady and the dog again. He was determined to follow his rules once more and sent the lady to the upper deck. It was just the narrator and the conductor when everyone got off the bus. However, the conductor refused to budge. The lady had to travel on the top of the bus the entire way.

Finally, the narrator tried to persuade the conductor that rules should be adjusted according to the circumstances and balanced with benevolence (compassion). Rules should be obeyed with goodwill and high spirits, he urged. He told the conductor that he had followed the regulations to the letter, but that he had breached the spirit. The conductor did not seem to deny what the narrator explained to him. Both of them bid good night to each other and parted ways.