“Then I thought of sending a message by Jan,” said Betty, in explaining matters to the Master, after she had been given a sip from his flask, which brought some color back to her pale lips. “I told him again and again to go home, waving my arm and trying hard to drive him off on the way. But he would only go backward a few yards, and then return to me. I had almost given it up when the thought came into my head that I ought to have had pencil and paper, and been able to tie a note to his collar. But I thought my handkerchief would do just as well, without any writing. I was on the point of calling Jan to me again, so that I could tie my handkerchief to his collar, when, quite suddenly, he also had a brilliant idea. You could see it plainly in his face. He had suddenly realized what I wanted. He gave one bark, blundered up against my shoulder, tore my hair-net by the hurried lick he gave me, and was off like the wind for Nuthill. It really was most odd the way the inspiration came to him.”
The Master nodded agreement. “It was extraordinarily intelligent for an untrained pup of six months. I doubt if either his father or his mother would have had wit enough for that at the same age. Very few dogs would.”
After another little sip of brandy Betty was lifted carefully into the saddle and, Jan and the Master pacing beside him, Punch began the homeward journey. Jan was quite sedate again now, but he had fussed about a good deal, upon first arrival at the hollow, in his capacity as guide and messenger. An hour later and Betty was comfortably settled on the big couch beside the hall fire at Nuthill, and very shortly after that Dr. Vaughan was in attendance, so that when tea came to be handed round everybody’s mind was at ease again. The doctor was for giving Jan a share of his plum cake as a reward for meritorious conduct. But Betty would have none of this.
“I’m surprised at you, Doctor,” said Betty. “Bad habits and an impaired digestion as a reward for heroism! Never! Extra meat, and an extra-choice bone at supper-time, if you like; but no plum cake for my Jan boy, if I know it.”
But this sensible decision did not prevent Jan being made much of by the whole household that evening; and partly by way of compliment, and in part because Betty could not go to the stable, he was promoted to grown-up privileges and allowed to take his supper in the porch that night beside his father. Upon showing a casual inclination to investigate his sire’s supper-dish, he was firmly but good-humoredly put into his place by the wolfhound. Upon the whole, Jan bore his new honors well during this his first evening spent in a house. No doubt he received useful hints from Finn. In any case, it was decided next morning, by the Master’s full consent, that from this time on, subject to his proper behavior, Jan need not again be sent to his bench in the stable.