“Steady,” it said. “Steady, Comet!”
It called him to himself, it soothed him, it calmed him, and he turned and looked toward the crowd. With the roar of the shotgun the usual order observed in field trials was broken up. All rules seemed to have been suspended. Ordinarily, no one belonging to “the field” is allowed to speak to a dog. Yet the girl had spoken to him. Ordinarily, the spectators must remain in the rear of the judges. Yet one of the judges had himself wheeled his horse about and was galloping off, and Marian Devant had pushed through the crowd and was riding toward the bewildered dog.
He stood staunch where he was, though in his ears was still a throbbing pain, and though all about him was this growing confusion he could not understand. The man he feared was running across the field yonder, in the direction taken by the judge. He was blowing his whistle as he ran. Through the crowd, his face terrible to see, his own master was coming. Both the old man and the girl had dismounted now, and were running toward him.
“I heard,” old Swygert was saying to her. “I heard it! I might ‘a’ known! I might ‘a’ known!”
“He stood,” she panted, “like a rock—oh, the brave, beautiful thing!”
“Where is that——” Swygert suddenly checked himself and looked around.
A man in the crowd (they had all gathered about now), laughed.
“He’s gone after his dog,” he said. “Peerless has run away!”
By ELIZABETH ALEXANDER HEERMANN [ELIZABETH ALEXANDER in Saturday Evening Post, August 13,1921.]
It had been over two months since Freddy Le Fay’s bill had been paid, and Miss Nellie Blair was worried. She had written to Freddy’s mother repeatedly, but there had been no answer.
“It’s all your own fault, sister. You should never have taken Freddy,” Miss Eva said sharply. “I told you so at the time, when I saw his mother’s hair. And of course Le Fay is not her real name. It looks to me like a clear case of desertion.”
“I can’t believe it. She seemed so devoted,” faltered Miss Nellie.
“Oh, a girl like that!” Miss Eva sniffed. “You should never have consented.”
“Well, the poor thing was so worried, and if it meant saving a child from a dreadful life——”
“There are other schools more suitable.”
“But, sister, she seemed to have her heart set on ours. She begged me to make a little gentleman out of him.”
“As if you could ever do that!”
“Why not?” asked Mary, their niece.
“That dreadful child!”
“Freddy isn’t dreadful!” cried Mary hotly.
“With that atrocious slang! Won’t eat his oatmeal! And he’s such a queer child—queer! So pale, never laughs, doesn’t like any one. Why should you take up for him? He doesn’t even like you. Hates me, I suppose.”