The wolfhound had been gravely watching the weighing operation, and now nuzzled the Master’s hand, his invariable method of answering unimportant inquiries of this sort. Then he walked forward and good-humoredly sniffed round the puppy’s head; whereupon Jan impudently bit at his wolfhound father’s gray beard, and had to be rolled over on his back under one of Finn’s massive fore feet. There followed upon this a few minutes of romping that was most amusing to watch. Little Jan would rush forward at Finn, growling ferociously. Finn would spread out his fore legs widely, and lower his great frame till his muzzle almost reached the ground, while his tail waved high astern. Just as the bellicose pup reached his muzzle, Finn would spring forward or sideways, often clean over Jan, alighting at some little distance, and wheeling round upon the still growling pup with a grin that said, plainly:
“Missed me again! You’re not half quick enough, young man!”
And then, by way of encouraging the youngster, Finn would lower himself to the ground, head well out, and, covering his eyes and muzzle with his two fore legs, would allow Jan to plunge like a little battering-ram upon the top of his head, furiously digging into the wolfhound’s wiry coat in futile pursuit of flesh-hold for his teeth, and still exhausting fifty per cent. of his energies in maintaining a warlike growl.
Hardly a day passed now that did not bring the introduction of some new interest for the black-and-gray pup. Novel experiences crowded upon him at such a rate that he was always in some way absorbed. Meals were frequent, and, of course, a matter of unfailing interest. Sleep also was frequent, as it is with all healthy young things. Given, as he was, plentiful liberty and abundance of fresh air and sunshine, Jan exhausted himself about once an hour, and took a nap, from which he would awake within five, ten, fifteen, or thirty minutes, as the case might be, once more charged to the throat with high spirits, energy, and puppyish abandon.
More by luck than good management, it happened in his seventh week that he killed a mouse in the stable. For some time he mounted guard over his kill, solemnly parading round and about it, emitting from time to time blood-curdling growls and snarls intended to warn the dead mouse of the frightful penalties it would incur as the result of any attempt to come to life again.
Then, the stable door having been left ajar, Jan valorously gripped the small corpse between his jaws and went swaggering off toward the house with it, questing kudos. In the garden he met Finn, who with careless good humor strolled toward him, offering a game. Jan tried his best to growl and to turn up his nose at the same time, indicating serious preoccupation with matters more weighty than play. But finding that his hold upon the mouse was gravely endangered by this process, he gave up the attempt, and swaggered on toward the front entrance, followed quizzingly by the wolfhound. Finding nobody in the porch, Jan fell over the step, dropped his mouse, growled fiercely, and then with a plunge regained his prize, and so, past the place where the caps and coats hung, over the mats into the hall.