To run well while on the lead is an accomplishment rare among large dogs, and one which demands careful training. So the Master took chances. He signaled Betty to call Jan to her, and then loosed Jan’s lead. This was a signal of delight for Jan. He was tired of the judging now and thought this ended it. Not only did he canter very springily across the ring, but he cleared the four-foot barricade as though it had not been there and greeted Betty with effusion. A moment later, at her urgent behest, and in response to the Master’s call, he returned as easily to the ring. Then the judge, thoughtfully tapping his note-book with his pencil, bowed to the exhibitors, and said:
“Thank you, gentlemen; I think that will do.”
The order of the awards was:
No. 214 1
No. 23 2
No. 97 3
No. 116 H.C.
which meant that the Welshman was highly commended—and deserved it—the Moor took third prize, the bulldog second prize, and Jan, the son of Finn and Desdemona, first prize. And so, in the only show-ring test to which he had been submitted, Jan did every credit to both the noble strains represented in his ancestry. Finn was never beaten. The Lady Desdemona had never lowered her flag to any bloodhound. Jan had passed his first test at the head of the list, among twenty-seven competitors, and despite his judge’s special predilection for terriers and bulldogs.
“Wouldn’t Dick Vaughan have been proud of him!” said the Master. And when Betty nodded her excited assent, he added: “I’ll tell you what, we’ll send him a cable.”
And so it was that, a few hours later, a trooper in the Regina Barracks of the R.N.W.M. Police, five thousand miles away, read, with keen delight, this message:
Greeting from Nuthill.
Jan won first prize any variety class
FIT AS A TWO-YEAR-OLD
Outside the highly beneficial advantages of very healthy surroundings and a generous, well-chosen dietary, Jan’s development during all this time was largely influenced by two factors—the constant companionship of Finn, and the fact that all the human folk with whom he came into contact, barring a largely negligible under-gardener, loved him.
His mistress, fortunately for Jan, was not alone a cheery, wise little woman, but also a confirmed lover of out of doors. But all the same, if it had not been for Finn’s influence, Jan would probably have been somewhat lacking in hardihood, and too great a lover of comfort. The circumstances of his birth had all favored the development of alert hardiness; but his translation to the well-ordered Nuthill home had come at a very early stage. The influence of Finn, with his mastery of hunting and knowledge of wild life, formed a constant and most wholesome tonic in Jan’s upbringing; a splendid corrective to the smooth comforts of Nuthill life.