There was that in Finn’s preliminary growl which told Betty serious things were toward. She dared not try to walk; but she shouted to the Master, and he very speedily was in the orchard upon Finn’s trail.
A Fellow of the Royal Society, with a score of letters after his name and a reputation in two hemispheres, stitched the worst of Jan’s wounds that morning, on the couch in the Master’s study. Even Dr. Vaughan could not replace the missing section of Jan’s right ear; but, short of that, he made a most masterly job of the repairs. And all the while wise, gray old Finn sat erect on his haunches beside the writing-table, looking on approvingly, and reflecting, no doubt, upon the prowess of the youngster who had caused all this pother.
GOOD-BY TO DICK
On a day in February, Dr. Vaughan and his son Dick ate their dinner at Nuthill, and spent most of the evening there, around the hall fire. On the flanks of the big recessed fireplace, one on either side, Finn and Jan lay stretched, dozing happily. Jan’s wounds were long since healed now, and the rapid growth of his thick coat had already gone far toward hiding the scars, though it could not quite mask the fact that a piece of his right ear was missing. Jan was more than eight months old now, and scaled just over a hundred and twenty pounds.
Late in the evening Dick Vaughan (who had honorably held to his pact with the Master where Betty Murdoch was concerned) had a little chat with Jan, whose ears he pulled affectionately, while the youngster sat with muzzle resting on Dick’s knee.
“Don’t much like saying good-by to you, Jan, boy,” said Dick Vaughan.
“Ah, well, there need not be any good-bys to-night, Dick,” said the Master. “We’ll all be at the station in the morning, Finn and Jan as well.”
“Ha! that’s good of you,” said Dick. “But you’ll never let that youngster run five miles behind a carriage, will you? Isn’t he too gristly in the legs yet, for the weight he carries?”
The Master smiled. “Trust me for that, Dick. I’ve reared too many big wolfhound pups to make that mistake. A few such road trips as that, and Master Jan would never again show a real gun-barrel fore leg. Why, he weighs a hundred and twenty pounds! No; old Finn will lope alongside of us, but Master Jan can have a seat inside. I have seen some of the best and biggest hounds ever bred spoiled for life by being allowed to follow horses on the road in their first year. There was Donovan, by Champion Kerry, you know. He might have beaten Finn, I believe, if they hadn’t ruined him in his sixth month, trying to harden his feet behind a dog-cart on the great north road. The result was, when he was shown at the Palace in his eleventh month, his fore legs had gone for ever—like a dachshund’s.”
“Ah! When I get back,” said Dick, musingly, you’ll be pretty nearly a two-year-old, Jan, boy.”