Humor in St. George and St. Michael: Daniel Koehn

In the excerpt below from St. George and St. Michael, vol. 1, George MacDonald presents a humorous situation.  For protection during the danger of brewing war, Dorothy Vaughn, because of family relations, goes to live in a castle with the Marquis and his family, attendants, and servants.  Shortly after Dorothy’s arrival, her dog, who had not come with her in the move, finds a way into the castle in search of her.  The humor comes in the fact that the dog’s name is Marquis, so when Dorothy calls the dog, the Marquis of the castle thinks she is calling him.  Seeing the humor in the situation, the Marquis, “with a twinkle in his eye,” teases Dorothy, to her distress, about the awkwardness of having two marquises in the castle.
By this time Dorothy was half-way down the stair: the moment she caught sight of the dog she had flown to the rescue. When she issued from the porch at the foot of the grand staircase, Henry was up again, and running for the house with the rabbit yet safe in his arms, pursued by the mastiff. Evidently the dog had not harmed him--but he might get angry. The next moment she saw, to her joy and dismay both at once, that it was her own dog.
'Marquis! Marquis!' she cried, calling him by his name.
He abandoned the pursuit at once, and went bounding to her. She took him by the back of the neck, and the displeasure manifest upon the countenance of his mistress made him cower at her feet, and wince from the open hand that threatened him. The same instant a lattice window over the gateway was flung open, and a voice said—
'Here I am. Who called me?'
Dorothy looked up. The children had vanished with their rescued darling. There was not a creature in the court but herself, and there was the marquis, leaning half out of the window, and looking about.
'Who called me?' he repeated--angrily, Dorothy thought.
All at once the meaning of it flashed upon her, and she was confounded--ready to sink with annoyance. But she was not one to hesitate when a thing HAD to be done. Keeping her hold of the dog's neck, for his collar was gone, she dragged him half-way towards the gate, then turning up to the marquis a face like a peony, replied—
'I am the culprit, my lord.'
'By St. George! you are a brave damsel, and there is no culpa that I know of, except on the part of that intruding cur.'
'And the cur's mistress, my lord. But, indeed, he is no cur, but a true mastiff.'
'What! is the animal thy property, fair cousin? He is more than I bargained for.'
'He is mine, my lord, but I left him chained when I set out from Wyfern this morning. That he got loose I confess I am not astonished, neither that he tracked me hither, for he has the eyes of a gaze-hound, and the nose of a bloodhound; but it amazes me to find him in the castle.'
'That must be inquired into,' said the marquis.
'I am very sorry he has carried himself so ill, my lord. He has put me to great shame. But he hath more in him than mere brute, and understands when I beg you to pardon him. He misbehaved himself on purpose to be taken to me, for at home no one ever dares punish him but myself.'
The marquis laughed.
'If you are so completely his mistress then, why did you call on me for help?'
'Pardon me, my lord; I did not so.'
'Why, I heard thee call me two or three times!'
'Alas, my lord! I called him Marquis when he was a pup. Everybody about Redware knows Marquis.'
The animal cocked his ears and started each time his name was uttered, and yet seemed to understand well enough that ALL the talk was about him and his misdeeds.
'Ah! ha!' said his lordship, with a twinkle in his eye, 'that begets complications. Two marquises in Raglan? Two kings in England! The thing cannot be. What is to be done?'
'I must take him back, my lord! I cannot send him, for he would not go. I dread they will not be able to hold him chained; in which evil case I fear me I shall have to go, my lord, and take the perils of the time as they come.'
'Not of necessity so, cousin, while you can choose between us;--although I freely grant that a marquis with four legs is to be preferred before a marquis with only two.--But what if you changed his name?'
'I fear it could not be done, my lord. He has been Marquis all his life.'
'And I have been marquis only six months! Clearly he hath the better right--. But there would be constant mistakes between us, for I cannot bring myself to lay aside the honour his majesty hath conferred upon me, "which would be worn now in its newest gloss, not cast aside so soon," as master Shakspere says. Besides, it would be a slight to his majesty, and that must not be thought of--not for all the dogs in parliament or out of it. No--it would breed factions in the castle too. No; one of us two must die.'
'Then, indeed, I must go,' said Dorothy, her voice trembling as she spoke; for although the words of the marquis were merry, she yet feared for her friend.
'Tut! tut! let the older marquis die: he has enjoyed the title; I have not. Give him to Tom Fool: he will drown him in the moat. He shall be buried with honour--under his rival's favourite apple-tree in the orchard. What more could dog desire?'
'No, my lord,' answered Dorothy. 'Will you allow me to take my leave? If I only knew where to find my horse!'
'What! would you saddle him yourself, cousin Vaughan?'
'As well as e'er a knave in your lordship's stables. I am very sorry to displease you, but to my dog's death I cannot and will not consent. Pardon me, my lord.'
The last words brought with them a stifled sob, for she scarcely doubted any more that he was in earnest.
'It is assuredly not gratifying to a marquis of the king's making to have one of a damsel's dubbing take the precedence of him. I fear you are a roundhead and hold by the parliament. But no--that cannot be, for you are willing to forsake your new cousin for your old dog. Nay, alas! it is your old cousin for your young dog. Puritan! puritan! Well, it cannot be helped. But what! you would ride home alone! Evil men are swarming, child. This sultry weather brings them out like flies.'
'I shall not be alone, my lord. Marquis will take good care of me.'
'Indeed, my lord marquis will pledge himself to nothing outside his own walls.'
'I meant the dog, my lord.'
'Ah! you see how awkward it is. However, as you will not choose between us--and to tell the truth, I am not yet quite prepared to die--we must needs encounter what is inevitable. I will send for one of the keepers to take him to the smithy, and get him a proper collar--one he can't slip like that he left at home--and a chain.'
'I must go with him myself, my lord. They will never manage him else.'
'What a demon you have brought into my peaceable house! Go with him, by all means. And mind you choose him a kennel yourself.--You do not desire him in your chamber, do you, mistress?'
Dorothy secretly thought it would be the best place for him, but she was only too glad to have his life spared.
'No, my lord, I thank you,' she said. '--I thank your lordship with all my heart.'