XXVIII. THE FEAST AND THE FASTER
XXX. REAL LEADERSHIP
XXXII. JAN OBEYS ORDERS AT THE GREAT DIVIDE
XXXIV. THE PEACE RIVER TRAIL
XXXVI. “So long, Jan!”
XXXVIII. THE FALL OF SOURDOUGH
HOW FINN CAME HOME
Rightly to appreciate Jan’s character and parts you must understand his origin. For this you must go back to the greatest of modern Irish wolfhounds, Finn; and to the Lady Desdemona, of whom it was said, by no less an authority than Major Carthwaite, that she was “the most perfectly typical bloodhound of her decade.” And that was in the fifteenth month of her age, just six weeks before Finn’s arrival at Nuthill.
When the Master was preparing to leave Australia with Finn he said, “It’s ‘Sussex by the sea’ for us, Finn, boy, in another month or so; and, God willing, that’s where you shall end your days.”
Just fourteen weeks after making that remark (and, too, after a deal more of land and sea travel for Finn than comes into the whole lives of most hounds) the Master bought Nuthill, the little estate on the lee of the most beautiful of the South Downs from the upper part of which one sees quite easily on a clear day the red chimneys and white gables of the cottage in which Finn was born. But at the time of that important purchase Finn was lying perdu in quarantine, down in Devonshire; a melancholy period for the wolfhound, that. The Master spent many shipboard hours in discussing this very matter with the Mistress of the Kennels on their passage home from Australia, and he tried hard to find a way out of the difficulty, for Finn’s sake. But there it was. You cannot hope to smuggle ashore, even in the most fashionably capacious of lady’s muffs, a hound standing thirty-six inches high at the shoulder and weighing nearer two hundred than one hundred pounds. It was a case of quarantine or perpetual exile, and so Finn went into quarantine. But, as you may guess, there were pretty careful arrangements made for his welfare.
The wolfhound had special quarters of his own in quarantine, and his enforced stay there had just this advantage about it, that when the great day of his release arrived there was no more travel and hotel life to be suffered, for by this time the Master was thoroughly settled down at Nuthill, the Mistress of the Kennels had made that snug place a real home, and her niece, Betty Murdoch, was already an established member of the household. So Finn went straight from quarantine at Plymouth to the best home he had ever known, and to one in which his honored place was absolutely assured to him.