TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница

FINN THE WOLFHOUND

By A. J. DAWSON

TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY

Witchampton, 1908

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. The Mother of Heroes

CHAPTER II. In the Beginning

CHAPTER III. The Foster-mother

CHAPTER IV. First Steps

CHAPTER V. Youth beside the Downs

CHAPTER VI. The Ordeal of the Ring

CHAPTER VII. Revelations

CHAPTER VIII. Finn Walks Alone

CHAPTER IX. The Heart of Tara

CHAPTER X. A Transition Stage

CHAPTER XI. A Sea Change

CHAPTER XII. The Parting of the Ways

CHAPTER XIII. An Adventure by Night

CHAPTER XIV. The Southern Cross Circus

CHAPTER XV. The Making of a Wild Beast

CHAPTER XVI. Martyrdom

CHAPTER XVII. Freedom

CHAPTER XVIII. Too TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница Late

CHAPTER XIX. The Domestic Lure

CHAPTER XX. The Sunday Hunt

CHAPTER XXI. Three Dingoes went a-walking

CHAPTER XXII. A Break-up in Arcadia

CHAPTER XXIII. The Outcast

CHAPTER XXIV. A Lone Bachelor

CHAPTER XXV. Mated

CHAPTER XXVI. The Pack and its Masters

CHAPTER XXVII. Single Combat

CHAPTER XXVIII. Domestic Life in the Mountain Den

CHAPTER XXIX. Tragedy in the Mountain Den

CHAPTER XXX. The Exodus

CHAPTER XXXI. The Trail of Man

CHAPTER XXXII. In the Last Ditch

CHAPTER XXXIII. Back from the Wild

CHAPTER I

THE MOTHER OF HEROES

For a man whose thirtieth year was still not far behind him, the man's face was over careworn. It suggested that he felt life's TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница difficulties more keenly than a man should at that age. But it may have been that this was a necessary part of the keenness with which the whole of life appealed to him; its good things, as well as its worries.

He rose from his writing-table and straightened his back with a long sigh, clenching both hands tightly, and stretching both arms over his shoulders, as he moved across the little room to its window. The window gave him an extensive view of dully gleaming roofs and chimney-pots, seen through driving sleet, towards the end of a TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница raw forenoon in February. The roofs he saw were those of one of London's cheap suburbs; first, a block of "mansions" similar to those in which his own flat was situated; then a rather superior block, where the rents were much cheaper because they were called "dwellings"; and beyond that, the huddled small houses of a quarter with which no builder had interfered since early Victorian days.

The man turned away from the dripping window, and looked round this den in which he worked. Its walls were mostly covered by book-shelves, but in the gaps TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница between the shelves there were pictures; a rather odd mixture of pictures, of men and women and dogs. The men and women were mostly people who had written books, and the dogs were without exception Irish Wolfhounds; those fine animals which combine in themselves the fleetness of the greyhound, the strength of the boarhound, and the picturesque, wiry shaggyness of the deerhound; those animals whose history goes back to the beginning of the Christian era; through all the storied ages in which they were the friends and companions of kings and princes, great chieftains and mighty hunters.

For several TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница minutes the man paused before a picture, underneath which was written: "The Mistress of the Kennels." This picture showed a girl with wind-blown hair, happy face, and laughing eyes, standing, with a small puppy in her arms, in the midst of a wide kennel enclosure on the sloping rise of an upland meadow. In the background one saw a comfortable-looking house, half hidden by two huge walnut trees, and flanked by a row of aged elms. When the man had looked his fill at this picture, and at other pictures of various Irish Wolfhounds, each marked TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница with the name and age of the hound depicted, he sighed, and went to the window again. While he stood there, looking out through the February sleet, the door of the den opened, and the Mistress of the Kennels came in, wearing a big, loose overall, or pinafore, which covered her dress completely. Her face had not quite the colour which the picture made one feel it must have had when she stood in that wide, windy, kennel enclosure; but it was still a sunny face; the eyes were still laughing eyes; a loving, lovable face, one felt, even TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница though London had robbed it of some of its open-air freshness. She walked up to the man's side, and, seeing the expression on his face as he gazed out over the wet roofs, she said--



"Yes, it is, rather--isn't it?--after Croft."

"Oh, don't talk of Croft, child, or you'll bring my spring madness upon me before its time. I have had hints of it this morning, as it is. It seems almost incredible that we have only been two years and four months away from Croft, and the old open life. I was TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница looking at the picture of the Mistress of the Kennels just now. Do you remember that morning? Tara's first litter hadn't long been weaned. My goodness, the air was sweet in that meadow! That was the morning poor old crippled Eileen ran the rabbit down, you remember."

"Yes, and it was old Tara's third day out, after that awful illness. Well, well, it's a blessed thing to know that the old dear is happy, and has such a lovely home down in Devonshire, isn't it?"

"Yes, oh yes; I know it might have TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница been worse, and I'm a brute to be discontented, but--two and a half years! Why, it seems more like twenty, since we lived in a place where you could lean out of the window and drink the air; where I could go outside in my pyjamas before tubbing in the morning, and see the dogs, and set the rabbits flying in the orchard. Two years and four months. Do you know, if we give spring madness half a chance this year, it strikes me it will lead us out of this huddled, pent-in town, out to the open TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница again. I almost think we could manage it now. I hardly seem to have lifted my nose from that table since last summer; but it's true the bank book shows small results as yet."

"And four years was to be the minimum, wasn't it? We thought of five, at first."

"Yes, yes; I know. My idea was that we would not go back till it seemed sure we should be able really to stay; no more returns to town with our tails between our legs. But, all the same, when I look out of that window TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница--if we really lived cottage style, you know."

"But should we? Cottages don't have kennels, you know; not Wolfhound kennels, anyhow."

"I know. Oh, of course, it would be quite unjustifiable, quite mad; but--I thought I felt signs of spring madness when I looked out of that window this morning."

"Oh, well! Now do you know what I came in for? I came to tell you that this is the last day of the Dog Show at the Agricultural Hall. You remember that I have to go over to Mrs. Kenneth's this afternoon, and I think it TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница would be a good plan for you to take an afternoon off and go to the Show. If you don't, it will be the third year you have missed it. I really think you ought to go. It will do you good."

"H'm! I should hardly have thought a Dog Show was a good thing for spring madness and the change fever; rather dangerous, I should have thought," said the man, with a queer little twisted smile.

"Oh, yes; I think it is all right; quite bracing; a sort of trial of strength; and quite safe, because we TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница know that madness in that direction is simply and altogether impossible. You have been working too hard; and besides, it will do you good to meet the people. You will see a lot of the youngsters we reared; there are three champions among them now. Do go!"

A little more than an hour later he was on his way to the Dog Show, at which, in other days, he had been one of the principal exhibitors. A bout of ill-health, combined with consequent diminution of earnings, and a characteristic habit of doing things on a more generous scale TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница than his income justified, had led to a break-up of his country home, with its big kennels and stabling, and a descent upon London in pursuit of economical living and increased earnings. Parting with the kennels and their inhabitants had been the severest wrench of all; and it is probable that, even in the mean little town flat, room would have been found for Tara, the well-loved mother of Irish Wolfhound heroes, but for the special circumstance that an excellent home had been offered for her in Devonshire. The Devonshire lady to whom Tara TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница had, after long deliberations, been sold by the Master, had been extremely keen upon purchasing her, and, in addition to offering a splendid home, had faithfully promised that in no circumstances whatever would she think of parting with Tara unless to the Master himself. Here then was an opportunity which the man had felt that he could not afford to miss.

He had been very much concerned about other matters and other troubles at the time, but when the actual morning of Tara's departure had arrived, he had begun to feel very bad about it. The household gathered round TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница to bid good-bye to the beautiful hound, and her Master himself took her to the station. When Tara was in the guard's van she looked out through a barred window at her friend on the station platform, and he said afterwards that the situation exhausted every ounce of self-control he possessed. He had an overpowering impulse, even when the train was moving, to jump aboard and release old Tara.

"I would sooner face the Bankruptcy Court than have her mournful old eyes turned upon me again with just that wonderingly reproachful look," he said.

But glowing TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница reports were received of Tara's happiness in her new home, with its extensive grounds and generous management; and, though Tara was never forgotten--one does not forget such a mother of heroes, when one has bred her and nursed her through mortal illness--her Master had ceased to grieve about her or to feel self-reproachful about having parted with her.

Arrived in the great show building, he wandered up and down between the benches, pausing now and again to speak to an old acquaintance, human or canine, as the case might be. But this was the last TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница day of the show, and the majority of the exhibitors were away. The place had a half-dismantled air about it. The Show was virtually over. Presently the Master found himself in a kind of outbuilding, where an auction sale of dogs was being held. There he sat down on a chair at the edge of the ring in which the dogs for sale were being led to and fro by attendants for inspection.

After a while a young Irish Wolfhound was led into the ring for sale, and immediately monopolized the Master's attention, for it was a dog TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница of his own breeding, sold by him from the country home, Croft, soon after weaning time. He handled the dog with a deal of interest, and was expatiating upon its merits to a small group of possible buyers when he felt another dog nuzzling his arm and wrist from behind, where it was evidently held by a chain, or in some other way prevented from coming farther forward, for its muzzle was pressing hard under his cuff. But the Master was too much interested in examining the young hound then being offered for sale to pay any attention TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница to any other animal. In due course, however, the young Wolfhound was sold and led away, and the auctioneer was heard to say--

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, we come to lot number a hundred and twenty-seven, lot one-two-seven, the--er--the--er--er--yes, ladies and gentlemen, the dam of the fine young hound just sold--a remarkable good bargain, too--to my friend Mr. Scarr-Hislop. This magnificent bitch, whose show record I will read to you directly, is, most of you are probably aware, by the famous Champion O'Leary, ex--er--Come, come, man TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница; let's have that bitch in the ring, please. No one can see her there."

The auctioneer spoke sharply to an attendant who stood close to the Master's seat tugging at a chain. The Master, who had been busy in conversation up till that moment, turned now to respond to the pressingly affectionate advances of the unseen animal, whose cold muzzle he had felt at his wrist for some minutes past.

"Just push her out for me, sir, if you please," said the rebuked attendant, sulkily. "I can't get her to budge from your TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница chair. The brute's as strong as a mule."

"Let me have the chain a minute," said the Master, as he rose from his chair. "I expect you've frightened the---- Why--Great Caesar! Why--Tara! Tara--dear--old--lady. Who the devil put this hound in here?"

"Mrs. Forsyth, the owner, put her in; she's for sale, without reserve," said a groom, who forced his way forward through the crowd at this moment.

The Master wasted some moments, but not many, in wondering, disgusted expostulation, while fondling the head of poor Tara, who had stood erect with her fore-paws TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница on his shoulders the instant he recognized her, her noble face all alight with gladness and love. Through ten acutely unhappy minutes she had nuzzled her friend's hand, and gained never a hint of recognition or response. Then the Master walked up to the auctioneer's rostrum, followed by Tara, who, with no apparent effort, dragged the sulky, puzzled attendant after him, paying not the slightest heed to his angry jerks at her collar.

"I'm sorry," said the auctioneer, after a few moments' conversation; "but I cannot possibly postpone the sale, can I? I had TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница my instructions direct from the owner, and she should know. I am told the dog is positively to be sold, and---- No, there is no reserve at all. Yes, certainly, I will take your cheque as deposit, if you will get it endorsed by the Show Secretary. But---- Very well, sir; no need to blame me about it. I'll give you five minutes. Bring in lot 128, Johnson."

Five minutes was not much of a respite, but the Master meant to make the most of it. See old Tara put up and sold to a dealer in the ring, he TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница felt he could not. The bare idea of her being held there in the auction-room by a show attendant--Tara, the queen of Wolfhound mothers, the daughter of innumerable generations of Wolfhound queens, the noblest living dam of her noble race--was maddening to the man who had bred and reared her, seen her through her puppy's ills, and bred from her the most famous hounds of the day. The groom said Mrs. Forsyth was in the tea-room, and there the Master sought her, with anger and anxiety in his eye; sought her unavailingly and in a TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница frenzy of haste. To and fro he hurried through the huge, noisy show building. At one moment of his fruitless search he obtained a card from the Show Secretary stating that his cheque might be accepted; but even as he thanked the worried official for his confidence in an old exhibitor, he realized with bitterness that he could not by any stretch of fancy pretend that he was able to afford anything like the sort of price that Tara would bring. Not a sign did he see of Mrs. Forsyth, and at last a Kennel-man, whom TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница he remembered tipping years before for some slight service, informed him that he had seen Mrs. Forsyth leaving the building some time before. Almost despairing now, and conscious that the limit of time given him was passed, he hurried back to the auction-room, caught a glimpse of his beautiful Tara standing sorrowful and stately in the ring, head and tail both carried low, and heard a tall, clean-shaven man in a kennel-coat bid forty-eight guineas for her.

"Forty-eight!" echoed the auctioneer. "This magnificent Irish Wolfhound bitch, the dam of many winners and two champions TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница, is positively going for forty---- Why, gentlemen, she'd be worth that to the Natural History Museum!"

"Forty-nine!" cried the Master, with a tightening of his lips.

And then he saw the mean, ferrety face of a well-known low-class dealer thrust forward from among the crowd. This dealer was notorious for keeping a large number of big Danes and Newfoundlands in the miserable backyard of a cobbler's shop in the East End of London. He had been ordered out of show rings before that day for malpractices. He had never owned a Wolfhound, but he was a TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница shrewd business judge of the values of dogs. He nodded to the auctioneer, and that gentleman nodded responsively before taking up his tale afresh.

"Fifty guineas only is offered for the celebrated Irish Wolfhound Tara, by the famous Champion O'Leary. Fifty guineas only is offered, and the time is running merrily on, gentlemen, all the time. Fifty guineas only is offered--and one. Fifty-one guineas--Thank you, sir. Fifty and one guineas is my last bid for----"

The auctioneer babbled serenely on, and the Master followed his words, rather pale in the face now, for TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница fifty-one guineas was a great deal more than he could afford to pay at this time, for such a purpose.

The ferret-faced dealer raised the price to fifty-three guineas, and the Master bit his lip and made it fifty-four.

"May I say fifty-five for you, sir?" said the auctioneer to the clean-shaven man in the kennel-coat.

"If you'll just wait one moment, sir; I must just ask my----" The clean-shaven man was edging his way towards the back of the crowd, where several ladies and gentlemen were seated at TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница a table just out of sight of the ring.

"Time and tide and auctioneers wait for no man, sir," continued the auctioneer. "The hammer is very near to falling, gentlemen. The magnificent St. Bernard dog--um--er----The magnificent Irish Wolfhound Tara is going for fifty-four guineas only; for fifty-four guin--and one----Thank you, sir"--this to the ferret-faced dealer--"at fifty-five guineas only, this noble animal is going for fif----Why, gentlemen, what has come over us this afternoon? Her record alone is worth more than that. You must know that if this animal were sold TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница by private treaty, double the sum would not purchase her. What am I to say for the gentleman who appeared to be recognized by this fine animal? Surely, sir, civility demands a little recognition of such touching devotion!"

"We're not dealing in personalities, sir," snapped the Master. "Sixty guineas!"

And then he turned on his heel; this desperate bid being far more than he could afford. The auctioneer smiled amiably.

"As you say, sir, this is strict business, strict business; and all I am offered for this magnificent hound, gentlemen, is sixty guineas! But my TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница instructions are to sell, gentlemen; and sell I must, whatever the figure." He raised his hammer. "At sixty guineas, gent--and one. At sixty-one guineas, gentlemen; lot number 127 is going--a rare bargain for somebody--going! Will nobody try another guinea on this magnifi----Thank you, sir! That's a little better, gentlemen. Seventy guineas I think you said, sir?"--this to the man in the kennel-coat, who had returned from his visit to the back of the crowd.

The ferret-faced dealer who had bid sixty-one guineas now turned his back on the ring; and, as TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница he heard the cry of seventy guineas, the Master moved slowly forward among the crowd toward the door of the building. He dared not offer more, and he could not wait to see Tara led out of the ring by some stranger. He paused a moment, without looking up, and heard the auctioneer's "Going, going, gone!" Then he walked to the entrance of the main hall, to escape from the scene of so grievous a disappointment.

Outside, in the main building, while moodily filling a pipe, the Master decided that, whatever happened, he must find out who had purchased Tara TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница in order that he might put in a word for his dear old friend, and thereby, it might be, ensure more consideration for her in her new home. There were one or two little whims and peculiarities of hers which he must explain. He thought of pretty Mrs. Forsyth and her broken pledge regarding Tara. He looked along the dusty, littered hall, and, in the distance, saw an elderly lady leading an Irish Wolfhound. A moment later, and he recognized the hound as Tara, and the lady as a good friend of his own, a kindly, wealthy TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница Yorkshire woman who had bought two whelps of him before he left the country, and with whom he had corresponded since. He had visited this lady, too, to help her in the matter of some doggy trouble of hers. Now she was walking directly toward him, leading Tara, and smiling and nodding to him. Just then the lady leaned forward and unsnapped Tara's chain. In an instant, the great hound bounded forward to greet her well-loved friend, the Master, furiously nuzzling his hands, and finally standing erect to reach his face, a paw on either shoulder TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница, her soft eyes glistening, brimming over with canine love and delight. The man's eyes were not altogether dry, either, as he muttered and growled affectionate nonsense in Tara's silky ears. His heart swelled as he felt the tremulous excitement in the great hound's limbs.

"You see, dear old Tara cannot be deceived; she knows her real friends," said the lady from Yorkshire, as she shook hands with the Master. "Please take her chain, and never give any one else the right to handle it. You will allow me this pleasure, I am sure, if only because of the love TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница I bear Tara's son." (One of the whelps this lady had bought from him was a son of Tara.) "I know Mrs. Forsyth quite well--a whimsical, fanciful little person, who takes up a new fad every month, and is apt to change her pets as often as her gloves. I could not possibly let a stranger buy the beautiful mother of my Dhulert, and it gives me so much real pleasure to be the means of bringing her to your hands again."

This good woman bowed her silvery head when the Master took her hand TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница in his, because she had caught a glimpse of what glistened in his eyes, as he tried to give words to the gratitude that filled a heart already swelled by another emotion inspired by Tara.

They walked all the way home, the Master and Tara; and twice they made considerable detours (despite the distance still before them), for the sake of spending a few minutes in open spaces, where there was grass--smutty and soiled it is true, but grass--and comparative solitude. In these places they exchanged remarks, and Tara placed a little London mud on each of the TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница Master's shoulders, and he made curious noises in his throat, such as Tara had been wont to associate with early morning scampers in an upland orchard, after rabbits.

At last they came to the "mansions," and made great show of creeping along close to the railing, and dodging quickly in at the entrance to avoid being overlooked from the windows above. As a matter of fact tenants of the flats in these buildings were not supposed to keep dogs at all, while the idea of an Irish Wolfhound, thirty-two inches high the shoulder!---- But it TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница was little the Master cared that night. The meeting between Tara and the Mistress of the Kennels was a spectacle which afforded him real joy. The flat seemed ridiculously tiny when once Tara was inside it; but, like all her race, this mother of heroes was a marvel of deftness, and could walk in and out of the Mistress's little drawing-room without so much as brushing a chair-leg. There was great rejoicing in the little flat that night; and a deal of wonderful planning, too, I make no doubt.

And this was how Tara, the mother of heroes, returned TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница to the friends who had watched over her birth and early training, and later motherhood, with every sort of loving care.

CHAPTER II

IN THE BEGINNING

It was little that Tara, the Wolfhound, cared about lack of space, so that she could stretch her great length along a hearthrug, with her long, bearded muzzle resting on her friend's slippers, and gaze at him, while he sat at his work, through the forest of overhanging eyebrows which screened her soft, brown eyes. And in any case, the next four months of her life, after the happy meeting at the Show which TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница restored her to her old friend, were too full of changing happenings and variety of scene and occupation to leave time for much consideration about the size of quarters, and matters of that like.

For one thing, it was within a few days of the show that Tara was taken on a two days' visit to a farm in Oxfordshire, where she renewed her old acquaintance with one of the greatest aristocrats of her race, Champion Dermot Asthore, the father of those great young hounds she had given to the world during her life with the TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница Master; the children whose subsequently earned champion honours reflected glory upon herself as the most famous living mother of her breed, though not the most famous show dog. The qualities which win the greatest honour in the show ring are not always the qualities which make for famous motherhood. As a show hound merely, Tara might have been beaten by dames of her race who had not half her splendid width of flank and chest and general massiveness, though they might have a shade more than her height and raciness.

After that, something considerable seemed to happen pretty well every day. The TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница Master spoke laughingly of the spring madness that was as quicksilver to his heels, and of great profit to furniture removers. He laughed a good deal in those early spring days, and took Tara and the Mistress of the Kennels with him on quite a number of journeys from Victoria railway station. Tara heard much talk of Sussex Downs, and when she came to scamper over them, found herself in thorough agreement with every sort of joyous encomium she heard passed upon them. Then there came a day of extraordinary confusion at the little flat, when men with aprons TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница stamped about and turned furniture upside down, and made foolish remarks about Tara, as she sat beside the writing-table gravely watching them. That night Tara slept in a loose box in the stable of a country inn, and in the early morning went out for a glorious run on the Downs with the Master, who seemed to have grown younger since they left London.

Within a very few days from this time, Tara and her friends had settled down comfortably in a new home. An oddly-shaped little house it was, full of unexpected angles TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница and doors, and having a garden and orchard which straggled up the lower slope of one of the Downs. It had a stable, too, of a modest sort, and rather poky, but the coach-house was admirable, light, airy, facing south-east, and having a new concrete floor, which the Master helped to lay with his own hands. The back half of this coach-house consisted of a slightly raised wooden dais; a very pleasant place for a Wolfhound to lie, when spring sunshine was flooding the coach-house. But Tara did not spend much of her time there, for between TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница the stabling and the house there was a big wooden structure with a tiled roof, large as a good-sized barn, but with an entrance like an ordinary house-door, and comfortably matchboarded inside, like a wooden house. A pleasant old villager who was doing some work in the garden referred to this place as "th'old parish room," but the Master made it his own den, lined one of its sides with books, and pictures of dogs and men, and fields and kennels. He had his big writing-table established there, with a sufficiency of chairs, a few TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница rugs upon the forty-feet length of floor, and an old couch upon one side, manufactured by himself with the aid of an ancient spring mattress, a few blocks of wood, a big 'possum-skin rug which some friend had sent him from Australia, and a variety of cushions. The actual house, for all its rambling shape, was small, and possibly this was why the Master chose to utilize this outside place as his den, and to fix a big stove in it for heating. Here, too, at one end, and just beyond the big writing-table, was TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница a raised wooden dais or bed, like that in the coach-house, a good six feet square, with sides to it, perhaps six inches high. Tara watched the making of this dais, and saw the master cover its floor with a kind of sawdust that had a strong, pleasant smell, and then nail down a tightly stretched piece of old carpet over that, making altogether, as she thought, a very excellent bed. And as such Tara used it by night, but in the daytime she usually preferred to stretch herself beside the writing-table, or on the rug by TO "THE MISTRESS OF THE KENNELS" AND TO THE MEMORY OF TYNAGH MOTHER OF WOLFHOUND HEROES ITS WRITER DEDICATES THIS HISTORY 1 страница the door, where the sunshine formed a pool of light and warmth on a fine morning.

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