As he came nearer she splashed him and he barked joyfully. He made for her, to paw and sprawl upon her. She evaded him.
Awhile girl and dog sported together in the deep, happy and laughing as two children.
Then they raced for the shore. He reached it first and, a caricature of his usual shaggy self, ran up toward her clothes, flinging off showers of drops.
“Keep off, creature!” she ordered, her big voice emerging strangely from her wisp of dripping figure, as she walked delicately up the shingle.
The Three J’s
Old Mat was fond of telling his intimates that Monkey Brand was fly.
“He do love his little bit o’ roguey-poguey,” he would say with a twinkle. And it was the old man’s opinion, often expressed, that weight for age Monkey would beat the crooks at their own game every time.
And when he set the little jockey to snout about and rout out the business of Joses, he knew he was setting his head-lad a task after his heart.
Monkey Brand had gone to work indeed with the tenacity and the tact that distinguished him. Once on a line, he hunted it with the ruthlessness of a stoat. But this time, it seemed, he had met his match. If Monkey was cunning as a fox, Joses was wary as a lynx.
The fat man watched the other’s manoeuvres with eyes that did not disguise their amusement. He was always ready for a chat in which Monkey liberally be-larded him with sirs, was obsequious and deferential; but he would never cross the door of a public-house, and never, as the little man reported, “let on.”
It was by a chance the seeker came on the clue at last.
One evening he marked his victim down in the Post Office and followed him quietly. Joses was at the counter sending a telegram. The postmistress, unable to read the code-address, had asked for enlightenment.
“Spavin,” Joses said; and the secret was out. For all the world knew that Spavin was the code-address of the shady and successful trainer at Dewhurst on the Arunvale side of the Downs.
“Who said Jaggers?” came a little voice at his elbow.
The fat man turned to find the jockey close behind him.
“I did,” he answered brazenly.
Monkey smiled the smile of a bottle-fed cherub.
“’Ow’s my ole pal Chukkers?” he piped.
“Just back,” he said.
“So I hears,” answered the other. “Been teachin’ ’em tricks in Horsetralia, ain’t he? Went there by way of God’s Country, same as per usual, huntin’ fer black diamonds. What’s he brought back this journey?—a pink-eyed broncho from the Prairees bought for ten cents from a Texas cow-puncher, and guaranteed to show the English plugs the way to move.”
Joses wagged a shaggy head. If to retain a sense of humour is still to possess something of a soul, then the fat man was not entirely lost.