At the time the story of the golden dog had so captivated Jewel’s imagination, the broker began his search for one in real life. He had already been thinking that a dog would be a good companion for the fearless child’s solitary hours in the woods. As soon as the collie was found, he directed that all the ordinary tricks should be taught it, and every day until he left New York he visited the creature, who remembered him so well that on the collie’s arrival late last evening, he had feared its joyous barking out at the barn would waken Jewel.
She rose to her knees now, and, putting her arms around the dog’s neck, pressed her radiant face against him.
Topaz pulled back, but Mr. Evringham patted him, and in an instant he was freed; for his little mistress jumped up and, climbing into her grandfather’s lap, rested her head against his breast.
“Grandpa,” she said, slowly and fervently, “I wonder if you do know how much I love you!”
Mr. Evringham patted the collie’s head, then took Jewel’s hand and placed it with his own on the sleek forehead. The golden eyes met his attentively.
“You’re to take care of her, Topaz. Do you understand?” he asked.
The feathery tail waved harder.
Jewel gazed at the dog. “If anything could be too good to be true, he’d be it,” she said slowly.
Mr. Evringham’s pleasure showed in his usually impassive face.
“Well, isn’t it a good thing then that nothing is?” he replied, and he kissed her.
When evening came and put a period to that memorable birthday, Topaz was a dog of experiences. If he was a happy discovery to Jewel, she was none the less one to him. He was delighted to romp in the fields, where his coat vied with the goldenrod; or to scamper up and down the beach, barking excitedly, while his friends jumped or swam through the cool waves.
Jewel was eager that her horse and dog should become acquainted; so, when late in the afternoon Essex Maid and Star were brought out at the customary hour, saddled and bridled, she performed an elaborate introduction between the jet-black picture pony and the prince among dogs. Star arched his neck and shook his wavy mane as he gazed down at the golden dog with his full bright eyes. He had seen Topaz before; for the collie had spent the night in the barn, making sunshine in a shady place as he romped about the man in the checked suit.
“Oh, grandpa!” laughed Jewel, as Star pawed the ground, “he looks at Topaz just the way Essex Maid used to look at him when he first came. Just as scornful!”
She knelt down on the grass by the pony, in her riding skirt, and Topaz instantly came near, hopefully. He had already learned that by sticking to her closely he was liable to have good sport; but this time business awaited him. Mr. Evringham watched the pony and dog, with the flaxen-haired child between them, and wished he had a kodak.