They made quite a notable picture. The Lady Desdemona stood now, tense, rigid, immobile as any rock, though instinct with life in every hair. Finn became the very personification of action, eager movement, alert interest. Inside of one minute he had examined the motionless Desdemona (by means of the most searchingly concentrated application of his senses of sight and smell) at least as thoroughly as your Harley Street expert examines a patient in half an hour. Finn needed no stethoscope to assure him of Desdemona’s soundness. But, having seen her in the inclosure, and been interested so far, he now examined her with his keen eyes and nostrils at close quarters, in order that he might know her. And so superior to our own faculties are some of a hound’s senses, that at the end of this examination Finn the wolfhound actually did know Lady Desdemona the bloodhound quite as thoroughly as humans know anybody after a dozen or so of meetings and much beating of the air in speech.
This process ended, the two hounds turned and, with many friendly nudges and shoulder-rubbings, proceeded up the meadow together in the wake of the Nuthill party, toward the house of Shaws. One cannot translate precisely Finn’s remark to Desdemona at the end of the examination, but the sense of it was probably something of this sort:
“Yes, you are all right. I like you. Let’s be friends.”
THE OPEN-AIR CALL
That meeting with Desdemona in the walled inclosure at Shaws was the beginning of many jolly days for Finn. Colonel Forde and his family were both interested and amused by the warm friendship struck up between their beautiful young bloodhound and the famous Finn, with his long record of unique experiences on both sides of the world. Neither hound found any meaning whatever, of course, in the laughing remark made to the Master by Colonel Forde that afternoon, as they strolled round the kennels, followed by the now inseparable Finn and Desdemona. The Colonel paused to lay a hand affectionately on Finn’s head, and, with a smile in the Master’s direction, he said:
“I suppose it’s the old Shakespearian story over again, eh, Finn? Desdemona loves you for the dangers you have passed—is that it? Well, your friendship will have to be strictly platonic, my son, for this particular Desdemona is pledged to no less puissant a prince than Champion Windle Hercules, the greatest bloodhound sire of this age. ’A marriage has been arranged,’ as the papers say, Finn; and I hope it won’t put your long muzzle too badly out of joint—what?”