An Edmonton Bulletin reporter, in quest of a “story” for his paper, had the good luck to corner the surgeon in his consulting-room. The result took the form of promotion for that reporter, following upon publication in the Bulletin of a many-headed three-column article which was quoted and reproduced all up and down America. Summaries of the “story” were cabled to Europe. Snap-shots of Dick and Jan were obtained by enterprising pressmen in Edmonton, and distributed quite profitably for their owners to the ends of all the earth. Many months afterward extracts and curiously garbled versions of this northland Odyssey cropped up in the news-sheets of Siam, the Philippines, Mauritius, Paraguay, and all manner of odd places.
Their London morning newspaper presented the matter at some length to the Nuthill household and to Dr. Vaughan in Sussex, while Dick and Jim Willis, five or six thousand miles away, were choosing a rifle to have Jan’s name inscribed upon it.
As a fact, the subject-matter of the story was sufficiently striking in character, for in a temperature of fifty below zero, with no other help than a little undersized husky bitch can give, it is no small matter for one man to drag a laden sled for twelve days while looking after a maniac who has come very near to killing him.
To this was added the romantic recovery of the famous “R.N.W.M.P. bloodhound,” as Jan was called; and that aspect of the business brought special joy to the newspaper writers. To some extent also, no doubt, it colored Dick’s addition to R.N.W.M.P. records, and caused that addition to figure more strikingly than it might otherwise have done in the archives of the corps.
A quaint thing about it all was the fact that every one else knew more about it than the two men most concerned, for it happened that neither Dick Vaughan nor Jim Willis had ever cultivated the newspaper habit. Willis was hugely startled and embarrassed, hundreds of miles away in Vancouver, to find himself suddenly famous.
In Edmonton Dick Vaughan presented a very stern front to the snap-shooters because he conceived the idea that he and Jan were being guyed in some way. By the reporters he was presently given up as hopeless, because he simply declined to tell them anything. Their inquiries touched his professional pride as a disciplined man, and they were told that Dick could have nothing whatever to say to them with regard to his official duties. But his innocence made surprisingly little difference in the long run. The surgeon’s story was real journalistic treasure-trove, the richest possible kind of mine for ingenious writers to delve in; and after all the most determined reticence in no way affects the working of cameras.
Withal, the welcome prepared for Dick and Jan at Regina station was hardly less than alarming for one of the two men in Canada and the United States who had not read the newspapers.