Jan eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about Jan.

XIII

SAPLING DAYS

At the age of six months, Jan, the son of Finn and Desdemona, weighed just ninety-eight and one-half pounds, and by reason of his well-furnished appearance might easily have been mistaken by many people for a grown hound.  He was not really anything like fully grown and furnished, of course, nor would be until his second year was far advanced.  But the free and healthy life he led, combined with a generous and correctly thought-out diet, had given him remarkably rapid development, and the strength to carry it without strain.

At this time Jan had, in outline, assumed his adult appearance.  As time went on he would increase greatly in weight, and to some extent in height and length.  His body would thicken, and his frame would harden and set; his coat would improve, and his muscles would develop to more than double their present growth.  But in his seventh month one knew what Jan’s appearance was to be; his type had declared itself, and so, to a considerable extent, had his personality.

There was not a brown hair in Jan’s coat; not one hair of any other color than black or iron-gray.  His saddle and haunches were jetty black, so was the crown of his head.  But his muzzle was the right wolfhound steel-gray.  So were his chest, belly, and legs, though the black hairs crept fairly low down on the outsides of his thighs and hocks, the inner sides being all hard gray.  The gray of his chest extended, like a ruff, right round the upper part of his neck, forming a break of three or four inches between the silky blackness of his head and saddle.  And all his coat was thicker, more dense, and longer in the hair than his sire’s coat, which, again, was of course much longer than Desdemona’s.

Thus, in color and texture of coat Jan was neither all wolfhound nor all bloodhound.  For the rest, his bodily appearance and build favored his mother’s race more than his father’s.  The depth and solidity of his head and muzzle, the length and shape of his ears, the rolling elasticity and plenitude of his skin and the deep wrinkles it had already formed about his face, were all features true to bloodhound type, as were also the thickness and solidity of his frame, the downward poise of his head, and his deep-pouched crimson-hawed eyes.

But when one saw Jan extended at the gallop, or in the act of leaping a gate or other obstruction, one was apt to forget the bloodhound in him, and to remember only his kinship with Finn, the fleetest son of a fleet race of hunters.  Jan had all the wonderfully springy elasticity of the wolfhound.  Already he leaped and ran as a greyhound leaps and runs.  Already, too, his accuracy of balance and his agility were remarkable.  He could trot quickly across the long drawing-room at Nuthill without sound, and without grazing anything.  Occasional tables and the like were perfectly safe in his path.  Despite his ninety-eight and a half pounds of weight (still rapidly increasing), he could, on occasion, tread lightly as a cat.

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Jan from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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