From his memorable struggle in the lane with Grip, Jan had learned much regarding general deportment toward other dogs. Under Finn’s influence, and his own inherited tracking powers, Jan became proficient as a hunter and confirmed as a sportsman. But experience had brought him none of those lessons which had given Finn his prudent reserve, his carefully non-committal attitude where human strangers were concerned.
For example, supposing Finn and Jan to be lying somewhere in the neighborhood of the porch at Nuthill when a strange man whom neither had ever seen before appeared in the garden, both dogs would immediately rise to their feet. Jan would probably give a jolly, welcoming sort of bark. Finn would make no sound. Jan would amble amiably forward, right up to the stranger’s feet, with head upheld for a caress. Finn would sooner die than do anything of the sort. He would keep his ground, motionless, showing neither friendliness nor hostility; nothing but grave unwinking watchfulness. If that stranger should pass the threshold without knocking and without invitation from any member of the household, Finn might safely be relied upon to bark and to follow closely the man’s every step. Jan would probably gambol about him with never a thought of suspicion.
If a tramp on the road carried a big stick, that fact would not deter Jan from trotting up to make the man’s acquaintance, whereas Finn, without introduction, never went within reach of any stranger with any amiable intent. Again, if any person at all, with the exception of Betty, the Master, or the Mistress, approached Finn when he was in a recumbent position, he would invariably rise to his feet. Jan would loll at full length right across a footpath when he felt like taking his ease, even to the point of allowing people to step across his body. On the strength of a ten minutes’ acquaintance he would go to sleep with his head under your foot, if it chanced that he was sleepy at the time.
Yet, for all his trustfulness, Jan probably growled a score of times or more for every one that Finn growled, and no doubt barked more often in a day than Finn barked in a month. Jan hunted with joyous bays; Finn in perfect silence. Jan trusted everybody and observed folk—when they interested him and he felt like observing. Finn, without necessarily mistrusting anybody, observed everybody watchfully and trusted only his proven friends. Jan, in his eagerness for praise and commendation, sought these from any one. Finn would not seek praise even from the Master, and was gratified by it only when it came from a real friend.
By the same token Finn was far more sensitive to spoken words than Jan. It was not once in three months that the Master so much as raised or sharpened his voice in speaking to Finn. If Finn were verbally reproached by a member of the household, one saw his head droop and his eyes cloud. Jan would wag his tail while being scolded, even vehemently, and five minutes later would require a second call, and in a sharp tone, before turning aside from an interesting scent or a twig in the path.