Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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“Aren’t you going to dine, Pendyce?”

Dumb brutes tell no one of their pains; the law is silence.  So with George.  And as each Stoic came up, he only set his teeth and said: 

“Presently, old chap.”

CHAPTER VII

TOUR WITH THE SPANIEL JOHN

Now the spaniel John—­whose habit was to smell of heather and baked biscuits when he rose from a night’s sleep—­was in disgrace that Thursday.  Into his long and narrow head it took time for any new idea to enter, and not till forty hours after Mrs. Pendyce had gone did he recognise fully that something definite had happened to his master.  During the agitated minutes that this conviction took in forming, he worked hard.  Taking two and a half brace of his master’s shoes and slippers, and placing them in unaccustomed spots, he lay on them one by one till they were warm, then left them for some bird or other to hatch out, and returned to Mr. Pendyce’s door.  It was for all this that the Squire said, “John!” several times, and threatened him with a razorstrop.  And partly because he could not bear to leave his master for a single second—­the scolding had made him love him so—­and partly because of that new idea, which let him have no peace, he lay in the hall waiting.

Having once in his hot youth inadvertently followed the Squire’s horse, he could never be induced to follow it again.  He both personally disliked this needlessly large and swift form of animal, and suspected it of designs upon his master; for when the creature had taken his master up, there was not a smell of him left anywhere—­not a whiff of that pleasant scent that so endeared him to the heart.  As soon, therefore, as the horse appeared, the spaniel John would. lie down on his stomach with his forepaws close to his nose, and his nose close to the ground; nor until the animal vanished could he be induced to abandon an attitude in which he resembled a couching Sphinx.

But this afternoon, with his tail down, his lips pouting, his shoulders making heavy work of it, his nose lifted in deprecation of that ridiculous and unnecessary plane on which his master sat, he followed at a measured distance.  In such-wise, aforetime, the village had followed the Squire and Mr. Barter when they introduced into it its one and only drain.

Mr. Pendyce rode slowly; his feet, in their well-blacked boots, his nervous legs in Bedford cord and mahogany-coloured leggings, moved in rhyme to the horse’s trot.  A long-tailed coat fell clean and full over his thighs; his back and shoulders were a wee bit bent to lessen motion, and above his neat white stock under a grey bowler hat his lean, grey-whiskered and moustachioed face, with harassed eyes, was preoccupied and sad.  His horse, a brown blood mare, ambled lazily, head raking forward, and bang tail floating outward from her hocks.  And so, in the June sunshine, they went, all three, along the leafy lane to Worsted Scotton....

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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