Long time the judge pondered over the honest, beautifully ugly head of the bulldog, while that animal’s leader did his well-meaning but quite futile best to distract attention from his charge’s hind quarters. He would jam the dog well between his own legs, and with a brisk lift under the chest, endeavor to widen the dog’s already splendid frontage. But, gaze as he might into Bully’s wrinkled mask, the judge never for an instant lost consciousness of the weak hind quarters, the sidelong drag of the club-foot.
Very nippily the clever little Welshman went through his nimble paces, dancing to the wave of his master’s handkerchief on toes as springily supple as those of any ballerina. For the admiration of the judge and his attendants, the Moorish hound performed miracles of sinuous agility. With the size of a deerhound the Moor combined the delicate graces of an Italian greyhound.
Jan offered no parlor tricks. Indeed, in these last minutes his young limbs wearied somewhat—the morning had been one of most exceptional stress and excitement for him—and while the other three were being passed in a final review, Jan lay down at full length on his belly in the ring, his muzzle outstretched upon his paws, neck slightly arched, crown high and nose very low—a pose he inherited from his distinguished mother, and in part, it may be, from his paternal grandam, old Tara, who loved to lie that way. The position was so beautiful, so characteristic, and so full of breeding that, rather to Betty’s consternation, the Master refrained from disturbing it, unorthodox though such behavior might be in a judging ring. The Master nodded reassuringly to anxious Betty, and, after all, he knew even when the judge paced slowly forward, pencil in mouth, Jan was not disturbed.
“I suppose he’s hardly done furnishing yet?” asked the judge.
“No, he still has, perhaps, half a year for that; four months, anyhow,” replied the Master. “He is only twenty months, and weighs just on a hundred and fifty pounds.”
“Does he indeed? A hundred and fifty. Now, I put him down as twenty pounds less than that.”
“A tribute to his symmetry, sir,” said the Master, with a smile.
“Ye—es, to be sure. May I see him on the scale?”
So Jan was carefully weighed by the judge himself, and scaled one hundred and forty-eight and one-half pounds. And then he was carefully measured for height—at the shoulder-bone—and touched the standard at a fraction over thirty-two and one-half inches.
“Re—markable,” said the judge; “especially in the weight. He certainly is finely proportioned. Would you mind just running him across the ring as quickly as you can?”
The owners of the other three dogs wore during this time an expression of inhuman selflessness of superhumanly kind interest in Jan and his doings.
“It’s a thousand pities he’s so very coarse,” murmured one disinterested admirer, the owner of the Welsh terrier. A moment later the Master had to hide a smile as he heard the owner of the bulldog whisper: “Nice beast. Pity he’s so weedy. A little less on the fine side and one could back him as a winner.”