It was evident that day, to O’Malley and to all his friends, that Jan felt the temporary parting with his lord and master a deal more than Dick had seemed to feel it. And yet Jan could not possibly have known, any more than Dick knew, as to what the promised forty-eight hours of separation were to bring forth.
JAN GOES ON HIS TRAVELS
Jan spent that night beside O’Malley’s bunk, in the face of regulations to the contrary.
In the absence of Paddy from his stall, the good-hearted O’Malley had not liked to leave Jan to the solitude of his bench. And shortly after daylight next morning, with a new steel chain, purchased for this journey, attached to his collar, Jan was put on board the west-bound train consigned to Lambert’s Siding, for wagon carriage, with Dick’s kit, to Buck’s Crossing. Jan did not like this business at all. The chain humiliated him, and the train was an abomination in his eyes. But at the back of his mind was a dim consciousness that he was going to his sovereign, and by his sovereign’s will, and that was sufficient to prevent any sort of protest on his part.
Arrived at Lambert’s Siding, Jan’s chain was fastened to a post by a humorous person in greasy overalls, who said, as he noted the fine dignity of Jan’s appearance:
“Guess your kerridge will be along shortly, me lord.”
The man in the overalls was a new hand transferred from the East, and but lately settled in Canada, or he might probably have recognized Jan as “the R.N.W.M.P. bloodhound,” of newspaper celebrity.
A few minutes later a man in a fur cap drove up to the siding in a light buckboard wagon, with a lot of sacking in its tray.
“Has Sergeant Vaughan’s dog come from Regina?” asked the new-comer.
“Yep, I guess that’s him,” said Overalls.
“Well, I’m to pay his freight an’ take him, and a wagon will call for the other truck.”
“That so?” rejoined Overalls, with indifference. “Well, I told me lord his kerridge would be along shortly. Jest give us yer auto here, will yer? Third line down. Hold on. Ye’d better have a receipt for the money. Where’s that blame pen?”
The first light snow of the season began to flutter down from out a surprisingly clear sky, as Jan settled down in the buckboard, his chain passed down through a hole and secured to the step outside, an arrangement which struck Jan as highly unnecessary, since it kept his head so low that he could not stand up in the wagon. However, Overalls and the man in the fur cap (who had signed his name as Tom Smith) seemed to think it all right, and so friendly Jan, his mind full of thoughts of Dick Vaughan, accommodated himself docilely to the position, and was soon quite a number of miles away from Lambert’s Siding.
When the Buck’s Crossing wagon arrived there an hour or so later, its driver seemed surprised that there was no dog for him to carry with Sergeant Vaughan’s kit. But he was not a man given to speculation. He just grunted, expectorated, and said, shortly: