By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Finn The Wolfhound
Author: Dawson, A. J. (Alec John), 1872-1952
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Finn The Wolfhound" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

George Edgar Graham who first introduced me to Finn and
his son Jan.






[Frontispiece: The man had his back to the withered iron-bark

This etext prepared from a 1909 reprint of the first edition
published in 1908 by Grant Richards of London and printed by
William Brendon and Son Ltd of Plymouth.


Witchampton, 1908



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 XIX. The Domestic Lure

CHAPTER XX. The Sunday Hunt

CHAPTER XXI. Three Dingoes went a-walking

CHAPTER XXII. A Break-up in Arcadia


CHAPTER XXIV. A Lone Bachelor


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 XXXI. The Trail of Man

CHAPTER XXXII. In the Last Ditch

CHAPTER XXXIII. Back from the Wild





















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
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

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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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--if we _really_ lived cottage style, you

"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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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; 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 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

"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 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

"I'm sorry," said the auctioneer, after a few moments'
conversation; "but I cannot possibly postpone the sale, can I? I
had 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 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 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 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, 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 shrewd
business judge of the values of dogs. He nodded to the auctioneer,
and that gentleman nodded responsively before taking up his tale

"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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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

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 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
friends who had watched over her birth and early training, and
later motherhood, with every sort of loving care.




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 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

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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 the door, where the
sunshine formed a pool of light and warmth on a fine morning.

Here it was that Tara took her meals, a dish of milk in the
morning, with a little bread or biscuit, and the real meal of the
day, the dinner, which the Mistress of the Kennels always prepared
with her own hands, so that it was full of delightful surprises and
variety, though everything in it had the moisture and flavour of
meat, in the evening. At about this time it was that Tara noticed a
kind of white sediment, quite inoffensive and not at all bad to
eat, in her morning milk dish; and this she welcomed, because in
some dim way it was connected in her mind with happy old days that
came before her parting with the Master, when she had lived with
him in a place not unlike this clean, fragrant down-land, which
stretched now, far as one could see on either hand, outside the
garden and the orchard, all about this new home, which Tara found
so good. (At certain times and in certain circumstances, some
breeders of big hounds believe in mixing precipitated phosphate of
lime with ordinary food, for the sake of its bone-forming

To describe one half the many delightful incidents and occupations
which made the days pass quickly for Tara now, would require a
volume; but as time went the great hound tended to become less
active. There were any number of rabbits on the Downs beyond the
orchard, and at first, in her before-breakfast ramble with the
Master, Tara used greatly to enjoy running down one or two of
these. But after a little time the Master seemed to make a point of
discouraging this, even to the extent of resting a hand lightly
upon Tara's collar as she walked beside him; and, gradually, she
herself lost inclination for the sport, except where greatly
tempted, as by a rabbit's jumping suddenly for its burrow close
beside her. In the afternoon, when Tara generally went out with the
Mistress of the Kennels for a good long round, she wore a lead on
her collar now, so that even sudden inspirations to galloping were
checked in the bud, and a sedate gait was maintained always.
Without troubling her head to think much about it, Tara had a
generally contented feeling that these precautions were wise and
good. The same prudent feeling influenced her in the matter of
meals now. Though she frequently felt that she would much rather be
without her morning milk, she always lapped it carefully up, and
conscientiously swabbed the dish bright and dry with her great red
tongue. She could not have explained, even to herself, just why she
did these things; but sub-conscious understanding and fore-knowledge
 play a large part in a Wolfhound's life, and so does sub-conscious
memory and the inherited thing we call instinct. Without considering
prehistoric ancestry, there were fifteen hundred years of lineal
Irish Wolfhound ancestry behind Tara; her own family dated back so far.
For instance:--

In the year 391, seven centuries before the Conqueror landed in
England, there was a Roman Consul whose name was Quintus Aurelius
Symmachus. In a letter that he wrote to his brother Flavianus, he

"In order to win the favour of the Roman people for our Quaestor,
you have been a generous and diligent provider of novel
contributions to our solemn shows and games, as is proved by your
gift of seven Irish hounds. All Rome viewed them with wonder, and
fancied they must have been brought hither in iron cages. For such
a gift, I tender you the greatest possible thanks."


That these Irish Wolfhounds of fifteen hundred years ago were big
and fierce, and brave and strong, you may know from the conviction
of the Roman people that they must have been brought in iron cages.
Also, friend Symmachus writes in other letters of the boars, and
lions, and the armed Saxons provided to do battle with the Irish
Wolfhounds. Also, he shows the quaintest sort of annoyance over the
fact that some twenty-nine of these perverse Saxons, who were
obtained to fight the Irish Wolfhounds, cut their throats on the
night before the games--their own throats, I mean--and so spoiled
sport for the holiday-loving Romans. In the first century of our
era, Mesroida, the King of the Leinstermen, had an Irish Wolfhound
which was so mighty in battle that it was said to defend the whole
province, and to fill all Ireland with its fame. For this hound,
six thousand cows, besides other property, were offered by the King
of Connaught, and about the same price was offered by the King of
Ulster. Irish Wolfhounds fought regularly in battle, through the
early centuries of our era; and fearsome warriors they were. Right
down to the period of a couple of centuries ago, a leash of Irish
Wolfhounds was considered a fitting and acceptable present for one
monarch, or lord, to offer to another king or great noble; while
from the earliest times, down to the day of Buffon, and, in our own
time, "Stonehenge," the naturalists have written of the Irish
Wolfhound as the greatest, that is finest, and "tallest of all

But it was not alone in such matters as refraining from violent
exercise, and the taking of food whether inclined for it or not,
that a sort of prescience guided beautiful Tara at this time in her
new home beside the Sussex Downs. There came a morning when, as she
strolled about the strip of shrubbery and orchard which lay between
the stabling and the house, it occurred to her that it would be a
good thing to dig a hole somewhere in the ground; the sort of hole
or cave into which a great hound like herself could creep for
shelter if need be; a cave in which she could live for a while.
Tara did not know that the Master was watching her at this time;
but he was, and there was a sympathetic and understanding sort of
smile on his face, when Tara forced her way in between two large
shrubs, and began excavating. The earth was soft and moist there,
and Tara's powerful fore-feet scooped it out in regular shovelfuls,
for her hind feet to scatter in an earthy rain behind her. She made
a cavern as big as herself, and then divided the rest of the day
between the beautiful big dais in the coach-house, all dry, and
sweet, and clean, and her fragrant, carpeted great bed in "th'old
parish room." Lying there at her ease, with one eye on the Master's
shoulder, where it showed round the side of his high-topped
writing-table, Tara wondered vaguely why she had troubled to dig
that hole in the wet earth. But the Master knew all about it,
though he could not claim to have fifteen hundred years of
Wolfhound ancestry behind him, and he seemed quite satisfied.

On the following day Tara gravely inspected the hole she had dug,
and decided that it was not altogether good. So she went and dug
another in a rather more secluded spot; and then came back and
dozed comfortably at the Master's feet while he wrote. Later on in
the day she strolled round the whole premises, and inspected
carefully the various places in which, during the past week or so,
she had buried large bones. The next day found Tara extremely
restless and rather unhappy. She had an uncomfortable feeling that
she had forgotten some important matter which required attention.
In her effort to recall what the thing could be that she had
neglected, she dug two or three more holes, and finally, a thing
she had never thought of doing before, took one of the Master's
slippers--always a singularly dear and comforting piece of property
to Tara--and buried it about two feet deep in a little ditch. She
felt vaguely ashamed about this, though she had no idea that the
Master had watched her taking the slipper away; but she could not
bring herself to return the slipper, because of the hazy need she
felt for laying up treasure and taking every sort of precaution
against a rainy day.

During the afternoon, Tara's general uneasiness increased. She felt
thoroughly uncomfortable and worried; convinced that she had
forgotten some really important matter, and disinclined either to
go out or to stay in. Fifty times the Master opened and closed
doors to suit her changing whims, until poor Tara felt quite
ashamed of herself, though still quite unable to settle down. As a
sort of savoury after dinner, the Master gave her some silky, warm
olive oil; an odd thing to take, Tara thought, but upon the whole
pleasing and comforting. Then, suddenly, and as she woke from a
doze of about ten seconds' duration, Tara decided that it would be
a good thing to tear a hole in the middle of the tight-stretched
old carpet on her big bed. She got to work at once, pleased to
think that she had remembered this little matter in good time, and
was distinctly disappointed when the Master came and sat beside her
on the edge of the bed and playfully held her paws, after gently
lowering her into a lying position. Still, it was good to have him
sit there and chat, as he did for some little time, rubbing the
backs of her ears, and being generally sociable. He was the only
human creature, with the exception of the Mistress of the Kennels,
who had ever really chatted with Tara.

While Tara was gradually forgetting her desire to tear the bed
covering, a cart stopped outside the house, and a whiff, the hint
of an odour, drifted in through the open door of the den, and
caused the great hound's nose to wrinkle ominously. Next moment she
gave a savage bark, deep, threatening, and sonorous, and sprang to
her feet. She was not quite sure what ailed her, but she was
conscious of an access of great anger, of passionate hostility.
After soothing her, the Master carefully locked the door of the
den, and then went round through the gateway leading to the front
of the house, and took delivery of a large hamper from the station
carrier. Then the Mistress of the Kennels came and sat in the
Master's den for perhaps half an hour, while he was busy down at
the coach-house with the hamper, and a lantern, and a dish of dog's
dinner of a milky, sloppy sort.

That was a strange, eventful night in the den. All the country
round was silent as the grave, and the air of the June night was
soft and sweet as the petals of wild roses. The Mistress of the
Kennels was persuaded into going early to bed, but the Master sat
behind his big table, writing beneath a carefully shaded lamp, and
rising quietly every now and again, to peer over the top of the
high table in the direction of the big bed in the shadow, where
Tara lay. Many things happened in the meantime, but it was just
after the clock in the tower of the village church had struck the
hour of one, that the Master was thrilled by a cry from his beloved
Tara; the fifth he had heard during the past three and a half

He leaned forward on his elbows, waiting and listening. Tara had
never heard of duty or self-control. She was a pure child of
Nature. But the moment of that cry of hers was the only moment she
allowed for self-consideration, or the play of her own
inclinations. In the next moment she was busying herself, with the
most exquisite delicacy and precision, over the care of her latest
offspring; the last late-comer in her new family of five. In that
next instant, too, a weak, bleating little cry, a voice that was
not at all like Tara's, smote pleasantly upon the ears of the
Master, where he waited, peering watchfully from beside the deeply
shaded lamp on his table.

It was then, just after the Master heard that little bleating cry
which told of new life in the world, that Tara, with infinite care
and precaution, lowered her great bulk upon the bed in a coil--she
had been standing--the centre of which was occupied by four glossy
Irish Wolfhound puppies, who had arrived respectively at ten,
eleven, twelve, and half-past twelve that night. The four, then
blindly grovelling over the carpeted bed, were now perfectly
sheltered in the still heaving hollow of their mother's flank.
These comparatively world-worn pups had not arranged themselves
conveniently in a cluster to receive their loving mother's caress.
On the contrary, they were all groping in different directions at
the moment in which Tara's pain-racked body was lowered to rest,
and to shelter them. But, while yet that great body hung over them
in the act of descending, it had twisted and curved into the
required lines, and a soft muzzle had thrust this puppy that way,
and the other another way; the mother's soft, filmy eyes missing
nothing before her or behind. One inch of miscalculation, and the
life had been crushed out of one of those tiny creatures. But pain
brought no miscalculation for Tara.

One quick movement of her head satisfied the mother that her four
firstborn were safe and well disposed. Immediately then, with never
a thought of rest, her nose thrust the new-comer into position
between her fore-paws, and she proceeded to administer the
life-giving and stimulating tongue-wash. Over and over the little
shapeless grey form was turned, cheeping and bleating, until every
crevice of its soft anatomy had come under the vivifying sweep of
six inches of scarlet tongue, warm and tenderly rough. Then the
mother's sensitive nose thrust and coaxed the little creature to
its nesting-place under her flank, where three sisters and a
brother already nosed complainingly among milk-swollen dugs, quite
indifferent to the coming of an addition to their number, and
desiring they knew not what--desiring it lustily.

Then, and not till then, did the beautiful mother of these new-born
descendants of an ancient race permit herself to draw a long breath
of relief, and lower her massive head upon her fore-paws. A moment
later, and a desire which overcame weariness impelled Tara to part
her hot jaws, and glance in the direction of the shaded lamp. No
least movement of hers escaped the Master, and in the moment of her
glance, he came forward with a dish of fresh cold water in his
hand. The mother lapped, slowly, weakly, gratefully, thanking
whatever gods she knew, and the friend whose hand and eye were so
ready, for the balm of water. The man moved very gently and deftly
before her, and no anxiety came into her brown eyes when he leaned
forward to examine the now resting litter at her flank. But it had
gone hardly one fancied with the stranger, or even with the casual
acquaintance, who should have approached too inquisitively the
little family.

"There, there, pet; all right, my Tara girl," murmured the man, as
he stepped back softly to his table, to return a moment later with
a dish of warm milk and water, which the slightly rested mother
drank with forethoughtful eagerness, though the effort necessary
for lapping in that constrained position, and without disturbing
the little ones beside her, was far from pleasant, and far enough
from personal inclination.

Ten minutes later the dam very gently changed her position, all
idea of rest having left her now, and proceeded systematically to
lick, first her own swollen dugs, and then the little featureless
faces of her offspring, with many small encouraging muzzle-thrusts
and undulations of her sinuous frame; while the Master (ready to
give assistance if that were required, but too knowledgeable in
these matters to wish to hasten Nature, or botch the delicate
handiwork of the mother) stood in the shadow of his big table,
watching and waiting. Within another few minutes the five pups were
immersed in the most important affair of life (from their point of
view) and, with wriggling tails and tiny, heaving flanks, with
impatient, out-thrust, pink fore-feet, wet faces, and gaping little
jaws, were nursing in a row like clock-work.

The mother turned a proud, filmy eye in the direction of her
friend, the Master, and allowed her massive head to fall on its
side, her whole great form outstretched to reap the benefit of a
few more minutes of needed repose.

"Good girl!" whispered the Master; and stepping backward, he turned
yet lower than it was the wick of his shaded lamp. "Good!
Excellent! Five's a very good number. I should have been sorry to
see a big litter, for dear old Tara. And, anyhow, that last one,
the grey, is about equal to any two I ever saw; an immense whelp;
dog for sure, and a giant at that."

The Master lay down to sleep presently, on the couch with the
'possum-skin rug; and before many hours of the June daylight had
passed, he had verified his impressions of that last-born son of
Tara's as a grey-brindle, and the biggest whelp of its age that he
had ever seen. For purposes of registration in the books of the
Kennel Club--The Debrett of the dog world--the late-comer was
forthwith christened by the Mistress of the Kennels, under the name
of Finn, in honour of the memory of the fourth-century warrior
Finn, son of Cumall, lord of three hundred Irish Wolfhounds, whose
prowess in battle and in the chase were sung by Oisin in two
thousand, two hundred and seventy-two separate verses. Finn was
chief of King Cormac's household and master of his hounds; for the
most honoured counsellor that the ancient Kings of Ireland had were
masters of the hounds always.

And this was the way of the Irish Wolfhound Finn's entry into the
world, at the end of the first hour of a June day, in the Master's
den beside the Sussex Downs. You may see the embalmed body of his
great mother's sire, Champion O'Leary, if you care to look for it,
in the Natural History Museum at Kensington; woefully shorn of his
imposing beard and shaggy eyebrows, it is true, but yet only less
magnificent in death than he was always in life. Her mother was the
dam of the hound who marches to-day at the head of His Majesty's
Irish Guards. Between them, the sire and dam of Finn would have
scaled three hundred pounds, while either could easily have
stretched to a height above the shoulders of a six-foot man. Finn
rested easily in the palm of the Master's right hand when
christened by the Mistress of the Kennels, for he was little bigger
than a week-old kitten. But he was none the less Finn, the lineal
descendant of King Cormac's battle-hounds of fifteen hundred years
ago; and it was said he had the makings of the biggest Wolfhound
ever bred.




Finn's first adventure came to him when he was no more than about
thirty-seven hours old, and, of course, still blind as any bat.
That being so, it may be taken that the grey whelp was not
particularly interested. Still, the event was important, and
probably affected the whole of Finn's after life. This was the way
of it:--

Early on the second morning of his life in this beautiful world,
Finn was lying snugly asleep between his mother's hind-legs on the
great bed at the stove-end of the outside den. When a litter of
puppies are lying with their mother there is always one place which
is snugger, and in various ways rather better than any other place.
You would have said that the little more or less shapeless, blind
lump of gristle and skin that was Finn, at this stage, had no more
intelligence or reasoning power than a potato; but it is to be
noted that, from the very beginning, this best place had been
exclusively occupied by him; and if while he slept one of his
wakeful brothers or sisters crawled over him and momentarily
usurped his proud position, then, in the very moment of his
awakening, that other puppy would be rolled backward, full of
gurgling and futile protestation, and Finn would resume the picked
place. Whatever was best in the way of warmth, and food, and
comfort, that Finn obtained, even at this absurdly rudimentary
stage, by token of superior weight, energy, and vitality. Also,
though the last to be born, Finn was the first to approach the
achievement of standing, for an instant, upon his own little pink-padded
feet, and the first, by days, to dream of the impertinence
of blindly pawing his mother's wet satin nose, while that devoted
parent washed her family.

But Finn and the rest were sound asleep, and Tara was dozing with
one brown eye uncovered, when the Master came into the den on that
second morning and spoke invitingly to his beloved mother of
heroes. The great bitch rose slowly and with gentle care, and Finn,
with the other sucklings, rolled helplessly on his back, sleepily
cheeping a puny remonstrance, though he had no idea what he wanted.
Then, in his ridiculously masterful way, Finn grovellingly burrowed
under the other puppies, that he might have the benefit of all
their warmth, and was asleep again. Tara eyed the blind things for
a moment with maternal solicitude, and then, seeing that all was
well with them, followed the Master out into the bright, fresh
sunshine of the stable-yard. She did not think about it, but she
was perfectly well aware that it was desirable for her to take
fresh air, and move about a little to stretch her great limbs.

"Come and see the Mistress, old lady; come along and stretch
yourself," said her friend.

And so Tara strolled round the yard twice, and then across to the
back-kitchen door, where, inside the house, she had some warm bread
and milk with the Mistress of the Kennels. Tara lapped steadily and
conscientiously, but without much appetite. Suddenly, when the
basin was about three-quarters empty, she realised with a start
that the Master had left her. One quick look she gave to right and
left, and then, the mother anxiety shining in her brown eyes, she
reached the outer door in a bound.

"Look out for Tara!" cried the Mistress through the open window.
And: "All right! I'm clear now. Let her in, will you?" answered the
Master, from beyond the gate leading to the coach-house.

So the Mistress opened the house door, and in three cat-like bounds
Tara reached the door of the den, and stood erect, her fore-paws
against the door, more than six feet above the ground.

"There, there, pet; your children are all right, you see," said the
Mistress, as she let Tara into the den.

In a moment, lighter of foot than a terrier, for all that she
weighed as much as an average man, Tara was in the midst of the big
bed, where she saw her puppies bunched snugly and asleep. She
looked up gratefully at the Mistress, as the roused pups (she had
touched them with her nose) came mewing about her feet, and coiled
down at once to nurse them, apparently unconscious of the fact that
there were only four mouths to feed instead of five. One cannot say
for certain whether or not she missed Finn then. She licked the
four assiduously while they nursed; and, in any case, four gaping
little mouths, and four wriggling, helpless little bodies,
represent a considerable claim upon a Wolfhound mother's attention
and strength; also, it may be, that if she did notice that the big
grey whelp was missing, she was too wise and devoted a mother and
nurse to allow herself to injure the remaining four by fretting and
worrying over matters beyond her immediate control. One must
remember, too, that Tara lived in an atmosphere of the most
implicit confidence, in which she never even heard an unkind word.
On the other hand, if there had been no puppies at all on that bed,
when Tara returned from her brief excursion to the back-kitchen,
then it is likely that the big den would not have been strong
enough to have held her for long within its wooden walls. The room
had windows, and match-boarding and weather-board are not like

Having seen Tara comfortably settled down with her family of four,
the Mistress hurried back to the house in time to see the Master
unwrapping little Finn from a soft old blanket, and placing him
carefully in the midst of three puppies of perhaps half his size,
in a hamper near the kitchen stove. Finn bleated rather languidly
for two minutes in his new environment, and then, being very full
of milk, and very warm, forgot what the trouble was and fell
asleep. The Master closed the lid of the hamper then, and said:--

"I'll let them have a good two hours together there. Finn ought to
assimilate the smell of the others pretty well by then. What do you
think of the foster?"

"Oh, I like her," said the Mistress of the Kennels. "She seems a
nice affectionate little beast, and I think she has quite recovered
from the effects of that awful journey."

[Illustration: Finn and his foster-mother]

"Um! Yes, twelve or fourteen hours' travelling with three new-born
pups must be rather awful--poor little beast! Did she take her

"Yes; a first-rate meal. And I think she will be a good mother. She
seems to have any amount of milk--more than is comfortable for her,
poor little thing!"

"Yes; that's exactly what I want. I want her to be uncomfortably
heavy for the time, and then she will be the less likely to resent
my great big Finn's introduction. It's only discomfort, you know,
not pain; and we shall put it right in a couple of hours."

"Then you have decided to put Finn to the foster-mother?"

"Yes. You see, poor old Tara--well, she----"

"Yes, I know; she's poor old Tara--spoiled darling!"

The Master chuckled. "Well, perhaps it is partly that. And, any
way, she deserves it. The old girl has done a good share of prize-winning,
and nursing, and the rest of it. I think of her as a lady
who has earned repose, particularly after----"

"Yes, I know; the illness, you mean."

"Well, anyhow, I think four pups quite enough for her to nurse.
And, as a matter of fact, I am none too comfortable about that. You
know I have always believed that that awful bout of mammitis
permanently affected her; her heart, and----and other things, too.
Four days with a temperature of over a hundred and five, you know;
and, mind you, the vet. said she must die. It was, so to say, in
spite of Nature that we pulled her through. I am not at all sure
that we may not have to take them all from her. We shall see better
by to-night."

"Yes; I see." The Mistress of the Kennels was thoughtfully
balancing on the tip of her fore-finger a big wooden spoon, used in
the mixing of Tara's meals. "But why do you choose Finn for the

"Well, now, that's rather a nice point, and involves a conviction
of mine which I know you'll resent, because you rightly think Tara
the perfection of all that a Wolfhound should be. But the
conviction is right, all the same. A mongrel's milk is far
stronger, heartier food than the milk of so highly-bred a great
lady as dear old Tara. Tara gives the most aristocratic blood in
the world; but when you come to food, the nourishment that is to
build up bone and muscle, and hardy health--that's different. Also,
I only mean to give the foster this one pup, though I dare say she
is capable of rearing two or three. Therefore that one pup ought to
do exceedingly well with her. Now Finn, as you see him, is the
biggest pup I ever knew, and I want to give him every chance of
growing into the biggest Irish Wolfhound living. That's why he is
going to have this sheep-dog foster all to his little self, and,
unless I'm mistaken, you'll find him in a week the fattest little
tub of a pup in all England--the fatter the better at this stage,
so the food's wholesome and digestible."

In about one hour from that time, Finn woke among his strange
bedfellows, and trampled all over them, in a vain and wrathful
search for his mother's dugs. Then he bleated vigorously for three
minutes; and then the warmth of that snug corner of the kitchen
sent him off to sleep again.

Another hour passed, and when Finn woke this time one could tell
from the furious lunges he made over the little bodies of his
foster-brothers that he had arrived at a serious determination to
let nothing stand any longer between himself and a good square
meal. He would take one indignant step forward (as it might have
been a rather gouty and very choleric old gentleman, prepared to
tear down his bell-rope if dinner were not served that minute);
then his podgy little fore-legs would double up, and the next few
inches of progress would be made on blunt little pink nose, and
round little stomach, his hind-legs being flattened out behind him
in the exact position of a frog's while swimming. Several times
Finn quite thought he had at length found a teat, and, in its
infantile, impotent way, the blind fury he displayed was quite
terrible, when he discovered that he was merely chewing the muzzle
of one of the other pups. On one of these occasions, Finn
spluttered and swore so vehemently that the effort completely
robbed him of what rudimentary sense of balance he had, and he
rolled over on his back, leaving all his four pink feet wriggling
in the air in a passion of protest.

It was in this undignified position that the Master presently found
the grey whelp, and he chuckled as he picked up Finn, with two of
the other pups, and wrapped them together in a warm blanket. The
remaining puppy was handed over to the gardener and seen no more in
that place; so it is safe to assume that this little creature's
life embraced no sorrows or disillusions. The next thing Finn knew
was that his gaping mouth, held open by the Master's thumb and
forefinger, was being pressed against a soft surface from which
warm milk trickled. "At last!" one can imagine Finn muttering, if
he had been old enough to know how to talk. Immediately his little
hind-legs began to work like pistons, and his fore-paws to knead
and pound at the soft udder from which the milk was drawn. Finn,
with his two foster-brothers, was at the dugs of the foster-mother,
a soft-eyed little sheep-dog, then occupying a very comfortable
corner of the big bed in the coach-house.

The Master sat watchfully beside the sheep-dog. She was very glad
to be eased of some of her superabundance of milk, and curved her
elastic body forward to simplify matters for the pups. Then she
began to lick the back and flank of the pup nearest her head; one
of her own. The Master leaned forward. The foster's sensitive nose
passed over the back of the first pup to the wriggling tail of
Finn; and her big eyes hardened and looked queerly straight down
her muzzle at the fat grey back of the stranger; a back twice as
broad as those of her own pups. The black nostrils quivered and
expanded, expressing suspicious resentment. No warm tongue curled
out over Finn's fat back; but, instead, a nose made curiously harsh
and unsympathetic pushed him clear away from the place he had
selected, after spluttering hurried investigation, and out upon the
straw of the bed.

Immediately then, and almost before Finn's sticky mouth could open
in a bleat of protest, the Master's hand had returned him to the
warm dugs. Again came the harsh, suspicious nose of the foster
about Finn's tail, and this time a low growl followed the resentful
sniff, and blind, helpless, unformed little jelly that Finn was,
instinct made him wriggle fearfully from under that cold nose. The
language in which bitches speak to the very young among puppies is
simplicity itself. The Master, human though he was, had not failed
to catch the sense of this observation of the foster's, which was:--

"Get out of here, you lumping great whelp! You're not mine, and I
won't nurse you. Get out, or I'll bite. It's true you've somehow
got the smell of mine; but--you can't deceive me. Gr-r-r-! Get

But, though Finn instinctively wriggled his hind-quarters from
under that cold muzzle, his mouth and fore-feet vigorously pursued
their business; and, before the threatened bite came, the Master's
hand (a firm one, and soothing to dog people) had caressingly
pressed the foster's head back upon the straw, and held it there.

"There, there, little woman," he said, good-humouredly. "Let him
have his chance; he's a good pup, and will do you great credit

His hand continued to rest on the sheep-dog's neck or head, till
the three pups were comfortably full, and the foster herself was
comfortably eased of her bounteous milk-supply. Then, gently, he
removed his hand, and the foster proceeded to lick her own two pups
with exemplary diligence. Out of consideration for the Master, whom
she found an obviously well-meaning person, she refrained from
taking any active steps against the big grey pup, but she very
pointedly ignored him. And when, in due course, Finn came
galumphing about her neck, with all the doddering insolence of the
full-fed pup, she turned her head in the opposite direction with
cool superciliousness, and exhaled a long breath through her nose,
as though she found the air offensive. But the Master petted her,
and gave her a very little warm bread and milk. Then he took the
three puppies away in the warm blanket and handed one of them to
some one who waited outside the door of the back-kitchen. Finn,
with one sleepy foster-brother, was replaced in the hamper near the
kitchen stove.

A couple of hours later, the foster-mother began to worry, and to
wish that her puppies would come and take another meal. At about
the same time Finn and his diminutive companion in the hamper began
to worry, and to wish that they could have another meal. Ten
minutes after that they were carried down to the coach-house, and
put to nurse again. While they fed vigorously, the foster,
apparently by accident, touched Finn once or twice with her tongue,
in process of licking her own pup; and she did not growl.

"Good!" said the Master, and he sat down on a little barrel of
disinfectant powder to fill a pipe.

Then both puppies began to grovel and slide about the foster's legs
and body; this being the natural order of things for very young
puppies: to feed full, to grovel and wriggle, to sleep; and then to
begin again at the beginning. But for the complete comfort and
well-being of puppies at this age, certain maternal attentions,
apart from the provision of nourishment, are requisite. For several
minutes the foster-mother plied her own offspring with every good
office, and severely ignored the rotund and would-be playful Finn.
Then the sheep-dog lay flat on her side, and breathed out through
her nostrils a statement to the effect that:--

"That is really quite as far as I can be expected to go. This big
grey creature has fed beside mine, and I have suffered it, as a
matter of charity; but---no more. The great clumsy thing must shift
for itself now."

But Finn appeared to think otherwise. His mode of progression was
rather that of an intoxicated snake, or an over-fed turtle on dry
land; but he managed to stagger along as far as the foster's
muzzle, and swayed there on his little haunches within reach of her
warm breath. Instinct guided the pup so far, and left him waiting
vaguely uncomfortable.

The Master watched closely, but nothing happened, save that the
bitch ostentatiously closed her eyes. Then instinct moved again,
strongly, in shapeless little Finn, and he straddled the foster's
nose, so that his round stomach pressed on her nostrils. There he
wriggled helplessly. Then a curious thing happened, while the
Master leaned forward, prepared to snatch the pup from danger. The
sheep-dog emitted a low, angry growl, which filled Finn with
uncomprehending fear, and toppled him over on his fat back. But,
even while she growled, maternity asserted its claim strongly in
the kindly heart of this soft-eyed sheep-dog. Finn did not know in
the least what he wanted; but the wise little sheep-dog did; and,
her growl ended, she rolled Finn into the required position with
her nose, and gave him the licking and tongue-washing which his
bodily comfort demanded, with quiet, conscientious thoroughness.
When this was over, Finn, feeling ever so much more content, sidled
back to a place beside the other pup, and in a minute the pair of
them were fast asleep in the warm shelter of the foster's flank.
Then the Master laid down his pipe, and bent forward to stroke and
fondle the little sheep-dog for two or three minutes, chatting with
her, and establishing firmly the friendship already begun between
them. And then, feeling quite safe in the matter, now that the
foster had once licked Finn into comfort, he went away, and left
the three together while he paid a visit to Tara.

Next morning, while the foster-mother was being petted and fed in
the garden, some one removed her own little puppy from the bed, and
when she returned to the coach-house, full of the contentment
inspired by a good meal, a little exercise, and a deal of kindly
petting, it was to find her bed occupied only by the big grey
whelp. But she showed no more than momentary surprise and
uneasiness, and within the minute was busily engaged in giving Finn
his morning tubbing and polishing, after which she disposed herself
with great consideration in a position which made nursing an easy
delight for Finn, and enabled his assiduous foster-mother to watch
the undulations of his fat back, out of the tail of her left eye,
while apparently sleeping.




The sturdy, kindly, plebeian sheep-dog proved an admirable foster-mother,
diligent, thorough, and forgetful of nothing, not even of
her own needs and well-being, though it was evident that these were
served from quite unselfish motives, and obliged to take a
secondary place in all her thoughts. It was particularly well for
Finn that the sheep-dog proved so sterling a soul; for, though he
naturally knew and cared nothing about it all, Finn received less
attention during the next few days from the Master and the Mistress
than they were wont to give their canine families. Of course, the
foster was properly fed and given exercise and otherwise looked
after; but the Master did not smoke his pipe in the coach-house,
and the Mistress of the Kennels did not sit on the side of the bed
for half an hour at a time and stroke the foster's ears while
admiring her nursling, as certainly would have happened in normal

The Master's doubts about poor Tara's health had been fully
justified. Her puppies were thin and inclined to be ailing, and she
herself was only just saved, by means of scrupulous care and
attention, and the use of other drugs besides externally-applied
belladonna, from a severe illness. Meantime, another foster was
telegraphed for, and, an hour after this new-comer's arrival, one
of Tara's pups died. The Master had no time to be greatly concerned
about this, by reason of his anxiety regarding Tara herself. He
felt that another bout of the illness in which she had nearly lost
her life in the early days would almost certainly be fatal, and the
steps he took to stave this off kept him very busy. In addition to
this, a carpenter had to be set to work in a great hurry to put
together a suitable bed for the new foster-mother in a shed in the
orchard. Fortunately, the weather was very favourable, and the two
puppies taken from Tara soon picked up their lost ground when they
were established with their foster, an active, cross-bred

But Finn in the coach-house knew nothing of all this. Apart from
anything else, he was still perfectly blind; also, he had as much
of the best kind of nourishment as he was capable of absorbing, and
was watched over, and cared for, and ministered to by the loyal
little sheep-dog quite as scrupulously as a human baby is tended.
There never was a truer saying than that "Blood will tell." But,
not only is a mongrel mother's milk rich and strong (if she is a
healthy, well-cared for animal), but also her care of her young is
slavish and unremitting. Her nerves are never overstrained; she is
not unduly sensitive; she knows how to economize vital energy.
There is as much difference between her life and temperament and
that of a champion-bred aristocrat and winner of prizes at shows as
there is between the life and temperament of a society belle and a
Devonshire dairymaid. In the sheep-dog's case, a healthy appetite
waited always upon plentiful meals. She had but one whelp to care
for, and of that one she hardly ever lost sight, even when
sleeping. If the blind, foolish Finn wriggled from her side in mid-most
night, he ran no risk of taking cold, for if the sheep-dog did
not see him, then her instinct (keener in the plebeian than in the
dog of high degree, just as nerves and sentiment are keener in the
aristocrat) woke her within the minute, and up she got to nose her
erring infant back to sleep and warmth and safety.

On the evening of his tenth day in the world, Finn was still
perfectly blind. His eyes as yet showed no signs of opening. This
rather surprised the Master, when he looked in before shutting up
for the night. He was quite easy in his mind now about Tara, who
was almost well again, to all appearances, and lay contentedly in
the den all day, having apparently forgotten, not only her illness,
but its causes, and her puppies. She was rather listless and
lackadaisical, but seemed to be well content so that she could lie
within sight of the Master and dream. And now the Master was
chatting with the sheep-dog foster, after having had a good look at
Finn, and before shutting up for the night.

"But perhaps it is well he is still blind, for your sake, old
lady," said he to the foster. "He will be a bit of a handful for
you before you've done with him, I fancy; and the sooner he begins
to find his own way about, the longer he will torment you. Never
mind, little bitch; you must do your best for Finn; for he's a
great pup."

And a great pup he assuredly was, to be sprawling across that
little sheep-dog's sandy flank. He covered pretty nearly as much
space as a whole litter of her own kind would have occupied. His
pink pads looked monstrous now; his timbers were quite twice the
thickness you would have expected to find them; and his shapeless,
abundantly nourished body was very nearly as broad at the haunch as
it was long from neck to tail. His flat, black nose was remarkably
broad, in spite of the unusual length of the black-marked muzzle,
and the Master, who had studied Wolfhound puppies very closely,
seemed particularly pleased about this. Finn's corners, so to say,
were practically black. His body, as a whole, was of a steely,
brindle grey, but the centre of the back of his tail and its tip
were almost black, and so were his little podgy hocks, knees,
muzzle, brows (if he could be said to have any) and the hair over
his gristly shoulder bones. The Master swung his hurricane lamp
high for a last look at Finn and the foster.

"You certainly are a marvel of size, my son; but I wonder you don't
begin to open those eyes of yours, I must say. Let's hope they're
very dark. Good-night, little shepherd!"

The light of Finn's twelfth day on earth had already filled the
coach-house through its back windows when the sheep-dog stirred
next morning and yawned. The slight sound and movement woke Finn,
and automatically he burrowed vigorously after his breakfast
without an instant's hesitation. Presently he emerged with milky
nose from the foster's flanks, and meandered forth to be licked and
made comfortable. The licking ended, the foster rose, and stepped
off the bed to stretch her limbs. Finn rolled rollickingly over on
his back, and then staggered up and on to his absurdly large and
spreading feet. Then he backed sideways among the straw, like a
crab. Then he tried to rub one eye with one of his mushroom-like
fore-feet, and, failing abjectly in that, fell plump on his nose.
Staggering to his feet again, Finn turned his face once toward the
broad sunbeam that divided the coach-house in two parts from the
side window; and then, as though tried beyond endurance, opened
wide his jaws and bleated forth his fright and distress to the
world, so that the patient little foster-mother was obliged to cut
her constitutional short, and hop back to bed, lolling a solicitous
tongue and making queer comforting noises in her throat.

But for some several minutes the puppy absolutely refused to be
comforted; and when the Master came in an hour or so later he
understood at a glance what Finn's trouble was, though the casual
observer might well have thought there was no particular change in
his circumstances. The fact was Finn had sustained a real shock,
and his perturbation about it lasted for nearly half an hour, after
which it retired, overcome by youthful curiosity. Finn had suddenly
awakened to the fact that he was no longer blind; he had stepped,
at one uncertain stride, into a seeing life. It was like being born
again, and that with faculties matured and sharpened by nearly a
fortnight's life in the world. It really was no trifling adventure
for Finn, this discovery of a new and very wonderful sense, which
had come simply with the parting of the lids that covered his
black-brown eyes.

He spent practically the whole of that day testing this new sense
which had come to him with so great a shock. For instance, he found
that if he crawled a certain distance from the foster in one
direction, the air before him became whiter and whiter, until at
last he stubbed his toes and his nose against it. And that was his
first acquaintance with walls. Then, when he crawled in another
direction, he came presently to a ledge several inches in height,
and when, as the result of really herculean efforts, he had raised
his fat body upon that ledge, the floor beyond jumped up and hit
him very hard, and left him helpless as a turtle on its back, till
the foster came and lifted him back to bed in her jaws. That was
how he learned that it was not wise for very small pups to climb
over the edges of beds. Towards evening, when many useful lessons
had been learned, and the pup was beginning to swagger over the
advantage given him by his new-found sense, in the matter of
picking and choosing feeding-places, and demanding his foster-mother's
attention by planting one foot on her eye, and so forth,
Finn came to the conclusion that this new power he had was, upon
the whole, a remarkably fine thing, and a jolly gift, even if it
did keep one awake, and lead to considerable exhaustion, and---- And
then he shut up his little black-brown eyes, and, well
sheltered by the foster's right hind-leg and tail, went fast asleep
and dreamed of warm milk.

From this point onward, Finn's progress was rapid. Whereas till now
he had seemed little more than an appendage of the sheep-dog
foster-mother, he now rapidly developed a personality, and a very
masterful one, of his own. His eyes, which were quite as dark as
the Master had desired them to be, were idle only when he slept;
and the same might have been said of every part of him. He
grovelled most industriously during all his waking hours, until
such time as his podgy legs had hardened sufficiently to bear his
weight--with many falls, of course--and then he began to scurry
about on his feet. His usual style of progression at this period
was to take from two to four abrupt, jerky strides, rather with the
air of a fussy and corpulent old gentleman who had to catch a
train, and then to subside in a confused lump, on chest and nose,
with tail waggling angrily in mid-air. This was not so annoying to
the grey pup as one might suppose, because, though generally in a
hurry, he always forgot his intended destination by the time he had
taken three steps towards it, and therefore a sudden halt at the
fourth seemed reasonable enough, and quite an agreeable diversion.

During the third week of his life, the weather being very fine,
Finn, with the other pups, was treated to long sun-baths in a
little fenced-in square of gravel which was covered with deodorized
sawdust. These sun-baths were extremely good for the pups, and
provided pleasant periods of rest and relaxation for the foster-mothers,
who, though never allowed to see each other, were each
within smelling distance of the pups, one upon one side and one on
the other.

A huge dry bullock's shin-bone was put into the sun-bath, on a
piece of matting, and this was a source of great interest to the
pups, whose little white teeth were now as sharp as needles; a fact
known only too well to their respective foster-mothers. Finn's
favourite amusement was to lie straddled along this bone, and defy
the other pups to touch it. He would give hard-breathing little
snorts which he meant for growls, when one of the other pups began
to nuzzle the bone; and, at times, these snorts would be vehement
enough to make him lose his balance and roll helplessly off the
bone on to the ground. Then the other three pups would straddle
across his tubby body and snort defiance at him, each with a paw
planted victoriously in his protuberant stomach or on his broad

On Finn's twenty-first morning he spent the better part of half an
hour in the lap of the Mistress of the Kennels, learning to lap
warm milk and water. First of all he learned to suck the milky tip
of the Mistress's little finger. Then, gradually, his nose was made
to follow the little finger-tip into the milk; and, one way and
another, he consumed during that first lesson about a tablespoonful
of milk. In the afternoon he was kept for perhaps two and a half
hours from the foster-mother, and then he, with the other pups,
made great progress in the art of lapping; though they were all
glad to approach the feeding question in a more serious and
practical manner on being returned to their foster-mothers. Still,
they had learned something, and the succeeding lessons of each
following day brought quick familiarity and facility. In fact, the
trouble with Finn, after two or three days, was that, in his lusty
eagerness for nourishment, he generally risked the suicide's end by
stumbling forward and plunging his whole face in the milk. His one
notion of a safeguard against this danger was to plant one, or
both, of his tubby fore-legs in the dish, a course which always
brought him rebuke from the Mistress of the Kennels.

Toward the end of the fourth week these lessons in lapping became
real meals, and the milk so consumed was always fortified with a
thickening of some cereal rich in phosphates, besides minute doses
of precipitated phosphate of lime, intended to stiffen the gristly
leg-bones of these heavy pups, and increase bone development. The
foster-mothers had been taking this, and communicating it in their
milk, all along. This was the period in which the maternal feelings
of the foster-mothers were submitted to the most severe strain.
Finn's milk-white teeth, and his toe-nails, too, were sharp as
pins, and used with great strength and vigour. Naturally, he
entertained no unkind feelings for his loving little foster-mother;
but, from sheer ignorance and riotous good living, he gave her a
good deal of pain. Some dog-mothers would have warned him about
this pretty sharply; but not so the little sheep-dog. She never
even growled when, after feeding till he could feed no more, the
insolent grey whelp would pound and paw at her soft dugs, and tug
at them with his sharp teeth in sheer wantonness, till they were a
network of red scars and scratches. The most the gentle, plebeian
little mother would do would be to lie flat, after a while, to
protect her dugs--and that for the puppy's own sake--a movement
which always brought Finn galumphing over her shoulder to bite her
ears and paw her nose, and otherwise seek to provoke breaches of
the peace. A riotous, overbearing, disorderly rascal was Finn at
this stage.


On the morning which ended Finn's fifth week in the world, all the
pups were solemnly weighed in the kitchen scales, which were
brought into the coach-house for that purpose. The Master stood by
with a note-book, and these are the weights he recorded:--

  Fawn bitch  10 3/4 lbs.
  Grey bitch  11 1/4 lbs.
  Fawn dog  12 lbs. 3 oz.
  Finn  14 lbs. 4 oz.

In other words, at the age of five weeks, and while still a
suckling pup, Finn weighed as much as some prize-winning fox
terriers, and that breed when fully developed, in point of size,
though not, of course, shapely or set. After corresponding with
other breeders, the Master was confirmed in his already-expressed
conviction that, thus far, Finn was a maker and breaker of records.

During the week following this weighing Finn was only allowed to
visit his foster-mother once, for half an hour or so, in each day.
But the meals he lapped from a dish, in his own blundering way,
included broth now, as well as milky foods, and he still slept with
the foster at night. During the next week--in fine, dry July
weather--all four puppies were gambolling together in the orchard,
from six in the morning till six at night, and never saw the
foster-mothers till they were tired out with their day-long play
and ready for the night's sleep. The Master and the Mistress took
their own lunch and tea in the orchard at this time, and a table
and chairs were kept under a big oak tree for this purpose. In and
out among the legs of these chairs and the table the Wolfhound pups
played boisterously hour by hour, till fatigue overtook them, with
capricious suddenness, and they would fall asleep in the midst of
some absurd antic and in any odd position that came handy.

Then one of the pups, usually Finn, would open his eyes and yawn,
realize once more how good life was, and plunge forthwith upon his
still sleeping brothers and sisters, tumbling them triumphantly
into the midst of a new romp before they knew whether they were on
their heads or their heels. A twig, a leaf, or a stone would be
endowed with the attributes of some cunning and fierce quarry, to
be stalked, run down, and finally torn in sunder with marvellous
heroism, with reckless, noisy valour. The sun shone warm and
sweetly over all, there beside the immemorial Sussex Downs; life
and the dry old earth were very, very good--if only one's breath
did not give out so soon, and one's fore-legs had not so annoying a
trick of doubling up; and then---- What was that rascally fawn pup
rushing for? The Mistress, with the four little dishes and the big
basin? Another meal? Here goes! Bother! I should certainly have
reached her first, if I hadn't turned that somersault over the fawn

That was how it seemed to Finn, whose life was one long, happy play
and swagger at this time. But there were moments of a kind of
seriousness, too, in which Finn had glimpses of real life. That
very night, or rather late afternoon, Finn discovered that he could
bark, more or less as grown-up dogs bark. True, his first, second,
and third barks proved too much for his unstable equilibrium, and
he rolled over on his side in emitting the noble sounds. But the
fourth time he leaned against the table-leg under the oak tree, and
on that occasion was able to stand proudly to observe the
paralysing effect of his performance upon the others of his family,
who sat round him on their podgy haunches in a respectfully wide
circle, and marvelled fearfully at his robust prowess. They had all
yapped before, but this deep, resonant bark--fully one in three had
no crack in it--this was an achievement indeed. After a while the
grey bitch pup came and tentatively chewed Finn's backbone, with a
vague idea that the sound came from there.

When Finn was escorted--prancing drunkenly--to the coach-house that
evening after his supper, the little sheep-dog within was just
finishing her supper. Finn conceived the notion of showing his
foster-mother what he could do, and accordingly swaggered
unsteadily into the coach-house, delivering loud barks as he
advanced, all up and down the scale. The little sheep-dog (less
than twice Finn's size now) raised her nose from the dish and
barked angrily in good earnest. Finn rolled forward and sniffed in
casual fashion at her dish. Whereupon the foster growled at him
quite ferociously, and shouldered the great whelp out of her way.
The Master, who was looking on, nodded his head once or twice

"Yes," he said, as Finn sidled off to the bed rather crestfallen,
"I think you may take that as your notice to quit, my son; that's
weaning. You've been a good deal on your own lately, you know.
Well, I had meant this for your last night as a baby, anyhow. But
as it is--there, there, little shepherd, you've been a dear, good
little mother, haven't you? Six weeks now; and, as you say, he is a
great hulking chap, isn't he? Well, all right; make it up then, and
give him a good-bye lick. I don't think you've much else to give
now, anyway, but the warmth of your body."

But the good, patient little sheep-dog had already placed herself
at the grey whelp's voracious disposal, and he was pounding and
tugging away at her in his usual merciless style. Then, when she
went dutifully to lick the rascal, he thrust at her strongly with
his great strong legs, and the Master, who had been standing,
smoking and watching, said--

"Come along, little shepherd. That's good-bye."

And that was the last Finn saw of any foster-mother. That was the
end of babyhood, and the beginning of childhood for Finn. He slept
alone that night, and found it rather awesome during the few
minutes in which his eyes were open, between the last lapped meal
at ten o'clock and the first of the next day, when the Master came
to him at five-thirty. The Master held that if you would breed a
really exceptional hound, you must be prepared to take really
exceptional trouble over the task, since a chance lost in the first
half year of your hound's life, is lost for good and all.




Finn did not have more than one solitary night for the present. His
great bed in the coach-house, which was twelve feet long by six
feet broad, was shared the next night by the other three puppies,
who had seen the last of their foster-mother that morning. They
whimpered a little after the last night meal, when they found
themselves bereft of maternal attention, and this gave Finn an
opportunity for indulging in a certain amount of swagger on the
strength of his previous night's experience. He had already adopted
the air of a dog accustomed to go his own way and to sleep alone.
Also, he regarded the coach-house bed as his own, and the other
puppies as youngsters only admitted to that place by his courtesy.
Thus from the very outset, here as elsewhere, he gave his comrades
to understand that he was master, and that no one must presume to
trespass upon any quarter which he took up as his own. All day long
the four puppies had the run of the shed in the orchard, which was
kept wide open. If a shower of rain came, they were bustled into
this place by the Mistress of the Kennels, and there the most of
their nine daily meals were served to them.

Nine meals in a day seems a very large number, but this was part of
the Master's theory in the rearing of Irish Wolfhounds, or any
other dog in whom great size is aimed at. In the week after weaning
the meals began at half-past five in the morning and finished at
ten o'clock at night. In the next week they were cut down to eight
meals; the next week seven, the next week six; the next fortnight
five; and then, for a long time, the number of meals served to
these young princes of their breed each day was four. The object in
all this was threefold. First, the Master held it necessary that
these pups should have as much nourishment as they were capable of
assimilating with advantage; secondly, he was anxious never to
spoil their appetites by permitting them at any time to experience
surfeit; and, in the third place, he believed strongly in light
meals for young hounds, as distinguished from the sort of meal
often given, which leaves the puppy fit for nothing but the heavy
sleep of the overeaten. Tara's pups romped after their meals, and
slept before them. Their digestions were never overtaxed, and their
soft, unset legs were never overstrained by the extremely bulging
stomach which many breeders associate as a matter of course with
puppyhood. This the Master held to be a point of great importance
with hounds of this kind, whose limbs take just as long to harden
and set as those of any other breed, while their increase in weight
to be carried on those limbs is enormously rapid, at all events in
the case of such whelps as those of Tara's.

For instance, at the age of five weeks Finn weighed just over
fourteen pounds. Sixteen days later he weighed 22 lbs. 2 ozs.,
while the other three pups weighed respectively on the same day 20
lbs., 19 1/2 lbs., and 18 3/4 lbs. Growth at the rate of just half
a pound weight per day is growth which requires a good deal of wise
feeding and care. At the age of twenty weeks Finn weighed 91 [sic] 1/4
lbs. Puppies' legs are easily bowed and rarely straightened. Finn
and his brother and sisters were never allowed on damp ground at
this period. It was rarely that they were out of the sight of
either the Master or the Mistress of the Kennels for more than half
an hour at a time. As the Master said, breeding champion Irish
Wolfhounds is no light undertaking. The Mistress of the Kennels was
the more inclined to agree with him for the reason that it was her
province to see to it, even when the pups were having their nine
meals a day, that the same kind of meal was never served twice
consecutively. The dietary included four or five staple articles,
with as many as seven or eight different accessories. The bills of
fare at different successive periods were as studiously and exactly
drawn up by the Master as ever a human patient's diet is arranged
by doctors in a hospital.

But of all these things, which kept several people pretty busy--five
or six feeding dishes were scalded and washed nine times a
day; there was a puppy's kitchen and a puppy's larder--Finn and his
companions knew nothing. To them life was the most delightfully
haphazard affair, made up exclusively of playing, sleeping, and
eating, with a little occasional fighting and mock-fighting (over
the huge bones which were placed at their disposal to serve the
purpose of tooth-brushes and tooth-sharpeners) by way of diversion
and excitement. Their play was not at all unlike that of human
children. They loved to dig holes in the ground; to hide behind
tree-trunks and spring out upon one another with terrifying cries
and pretended fierceness; all kinds of make-believe appealed to
them greatly, and to none of them more keenly than to Finn, who
liked to come galloping down from the other end of the orchard to
the old oak tree, flying exaggerated danger signals, and making
believe that he was pursued by a savage and remorseless enemy.

[Illustration:  Tara smiled broadly, and stretched out her fore-legs
on the ground.]

One morning, very much to the amazement of the pups, the Master
came strolling into the orchard, followed by a huge creature of
their own species, who walked with the slow and gracious dignity of
a great queen. None of them guessed that this was Tara, their own
mother, and Tara herself gave no sign of being aware that these
were her own children. After some minutes of embarrassed, watchful
uncertainty, Finn, greatly daring, ventured to step out from among
his companions and approach Tara closely enough to sniff warily at
her legs and tail, his own tail hanging meekly on the ground the
while. Tara sniffed at him once with amiable indifference, and then
turned her head the other way. Two minutes later Finn had
discovered that this great hound was perfectly well-meaning and
kindly disposed, and that, his habit and nature being what they
were, was sufficient to place him at once upon terms of highly
presumptuous familiarity. Having watched their daring brother from
a distance so far, the other pups now took heart of grace, and were
soon sniffing respectfully about Tara's legs. For a moment the
mother of heroes felt, or pretended to feel, mere boredom; but as
the Master turned away to look at some distant object--a diplomatic
move upon his part this--Tara smiled broadly, stretched out her
fore-legs on the ground, exactly as a cat will when about to play,
and, again in cat-like fashion, began to spring about, around, and
over the half-fearful but wholly delighted puppies. When the Master
turned round again, the five of them, mother and four children,
were in the midst of the wildest sort of frolic, and impudent Finn
had actually reached the length of growling at his mother with
theatrical savagery, and leaping at the loose skin about her throat
with widely distended eyes and gaping jaws.

After this Tara spent most of her days in the orchard with the
pups. When tired of their frivolity, she would retire to the roots
of the oak tree and give them to understand that they were not to
bother her further, or she would leap the gate leading into the
garden, leaving her offspring gaping admiringly upon its orchard
side, and stroll into the Master's den for an hour or so. On one
occasion she opened a new vista of life before Finn and the others.
At the higher end of the orchard, nearest to the open downs, there
were a number of rabbit earths, and one morning, when the four pups
were frolicsomely following Tara in that direction, an unwary
rabbit allowed the dogs to get between himself and the earths. Too
late the rabbit started up from the leaf he had been nibbling, and
headed for his burrow. Tara bounded forward and cut off his
retreat. Wheeling then at a tangent, the rabbit flew toward the far
end of the orchard, where there was a gap in the fence. Tara was
after him like the wind, her puppies excitedly galloping in her
wake, yapping with delight. Half-way across the orchard Tara
overtook the bunny, and her great jaws closed upon the middle of
its body, smashing the spinal column and killing instantaneously. A
moment later and Finn was on the scene in a frenzy of excitement.
Tara drew back, eyeing the dead rabbit with lofty unconcern. Finn,
on the other hand, endowed the poor dead little beast with the
dangerous ferocity of a live tiger, and sprang upon it, snarling
and growling desperately. Round and round his head he whirled the
rabbit till his throat was half-choked with fur, and by that time
the other puppies butted in, each snatching a hold where it could,
and tugging valorously. Then it was that the Master arrived,
attracted by the noise of the youngsters' yapping, and the pups saw
no more of their victim.


But this brought a new interest into Finn's life, and much of his
time now was spent in the neighbourhood of the rabbit earths. Many
glorious runs Finn had after venturesome rabbits in that corner of
the orchard, but he was not fleet enough as yet to catch them, and
possibly his jaws could hardly have managed the killing in any
case. But even so, he experienced great joy in the matter of
stalking, hunting, and lying in wait.

On a glorious mellow afternoon in September, when the four pups,
captained as usual by Finn, were having great fun with a hammock
chair, from which they had managed to tear the canvas, they looked
up suddenly, and not without some sense of shame, to see three
people strolling into the orchard from the garden with Tara. There
was the Master and the Mistress of the Kennels and a stately,
white-haired lady, who fondled Tara's beautiful head as she walked.
Tara was walking with great care and delicacy to make the fondling
easy. She had no idea who the lady might be, but yet remembered
having met her before upon more than one occasion. This was the
lady from Yorkshire who had been the generous means of restoring
Tara to the Master. She was staying now in Sussex for a few days,
and had been asked to come to the little house beside the downs to
see Tara's children. Tara was perfectly aware that this was the
object of the walk in the orchard, and, though she may have
forgotten that these puppies were her own offspring, she certainly
had a distinctly proprietary feeling where they were concerned, as
one could see from the modest, deprecatory expression on her face
when the youngsters came gambolling about her, and were duly
admired by the visitor.

"You have not disposed of any of them yet, then?" said the lady to
the Master. "Oh, no; I should not have thought of doing that until
you had an opportunity of making your choice," he replied.

"I? Oh, but, really, I--I----"

The lady from Yorkshire paused. For one thing she was not quite
sure whether the Master meant that he wished her to buy one of the
puppies, or whether he wanted to give one of them to her. She was a
wealthy lady, so that the monetary aspect of it did not exercise
her mind much, but she would not for the world have hurt the
Master's feelings.

"But I am quite sure you will not deny me the real pleasure of
giving you one of Tara's children," said the Master. "That is a
small return for your gift of Tara herself; but I should like to
think of your having one of this family, and it would make me
unhappy if you were to deny me the opportunity of giving you your
real choice. That was why I asked you to come to-day. It is Tara's
thank-offering, and I can assure you she has excelled herself in
the making of it."

The three were seated now, so that they might observe and admire
the family at leisure.

"Yes, she really has excelled herself. That grey dog there is Finn.
When he was weighed yesterday he scaled nine pounds more than the
biggest of the other three, and they are as big as any whelps of
their age I have seen. That grey dog is going to be the biggest
Irish Wolfhound bred in our time, in my opinion; and if you choose
him he will do you credit. He should be a great champion one day.
You will always know, if you take Finn, that Tara was not
ungrateful to you. As for me, I know very well you will never
suspect me of ingratitude."

"It is very, very good of you, and I shall be delighted, delighted
to have one of Tara's children."

And then the visitor stopped, gazing thoughtfully at the puppies.
Her kind heart was a good deal moved in this matter, and she
guessed more than the Master gave her credit for guessing, in the
matter of how much hope and pride he had centred on the rearing of
Finn. When the visitor spoke again, it was to say, slowly--

"Finn is quite splendid, there is not a doubt of that, and I can
easily believe he will do all that you expect of him. But, if I may
be quite frank, what I should really most like would be to have a
female if I might. I should then feel that I not only had one of
Tara's children of this family, but also that I had a possible
future mother of heroes. But--perhaps you want to keep both
females, or to dispose of them otherwise?"

One would not like to suggest of this good lady that she was
anything but strictly truthful; but it is a fact that she never had
done any breeding of hounds, and that, up till that day at all
events, she had never thought to. But the Master did not know this,
and it was with an undeniable thrill of pleasure that he hailed the
unexpected chance of being able to keep Finn. He had made up his
mind that Finn would be chosen, and was quite prepared and glad to
make the sacrifice; but it was a notable sacrifice, and if the same
end could be served without losing Finn, why that was blithe news.
He was not sure of his intention to keep either of the bitch pups,
and in any case he would not have thought of keeping both of them.
But honesty and real gratitude made him, impelled him, to point out
to the visitor that she might never again have the opportunity of
obtaining the kind of hound that Finn would make. However, she
stuck to her preference for a daughter, and so it was decided.
Three days afterwards a large dog-box on little wheels, with grated
windows and a properly ventilated roof, arrived from Yorkshire, and
was placed outside the back-kitchen door. After a very light
breakfast next morning--it is bad for whelps, or grown dogs either,
to have a full meal before a journey, because the stress and
excitements of railway travelling, which are at least as great for
a dog as those of air-ship travelling would be for a man, arrest
the process of digestion--the fawn bitch puppy was coaxed into this
box, while Tara looked on with a good deal of interest; and that
was the last she saw of the cottage by the Downs. When the fawn
whelp left that travelling-box again, some nine hours later, she
was in the paved stable courtyard of a great house in Yorkshire.

A week later another visitor came, this time from Somerset, and his
choice fell upon a fawn dog, after half an hour spent in trying to
tempt the Master to part with Finn. When this visitor, who was a
famous breeder of Irish Wolfhounds, was leaving, with the fawn dog
whelp in a travelling hamper, he said--

"But, really, I think you are mistaken, you know, about the grey
whelp. He's a beauty, of course, or I shouldn't want him; but I
fancy you made a mistake not to accept that offer. Fifty guineas is
a longish figure for a three months' pup, with distemper to face
and all that. I'm not sure that I wasn't over rash to make such an

The Master laughed. "Well," he said, "be thankful that there's no
likelihood of my taking advantage of your rashness. As for
distemper, we don't deal in it at all; don't believe in it. If pups
are consistently nourished, and get no chills and no damp and no
infection, there's no earthly reason why they should ever have
distemper. At least, that's how we've found it."

So the fawn dog whelp went, and Finn stayed with the grey bitch
pup, and Tara's family was thus reduced to two. The Master said
that as he had sold only one puppy of the family so far, he really
could not afford to keep Finn's sister; but, however that might be,
he kept her for the present, and now that there were but two of the
youngsters, they began to live more after the fashion of grown
hounds. As autumn advanced the pair were gradually given more and
more in the way of grown-up privileges. They learned to come into
the den with Tara, and to behave themselves with discretion when
there. They never saw such a thing as a whip, but the Master spoke
to them with all the sharp emphasis of a growl when original canine
sin tempted them to the chewing of newspapers, or attempting to
tear rugs. Also, they learned very much from Tara in the matter of
the deportment and dignity which becomes a Wolfhound. In the latter
part of November their meals were reduced in number from four to
three a day, and they were presented with green leather collars
with the Master's name engraved in brass thereon. These were for
outdoor wear only, outside the doors of the home premises that is,
and with them came lessons in leading which required a good deal of
patience on the part of the Mistress of the Kennels, for, after the
first two lessons, which were given by the Master, much of teaching
work fell to her.

Early in the morning, as a general thing, the Master took Tara and
the two youngsters out on the Downs, and these were altogether
delightful experiences for Finn and his sister. It was on one of
these occasions, and just after entering his sixth month, that Finn
tasted the joy and pride of his first kill. He had started with
Tara after a rabbit which had scurried out from behind a little
hillock no more than ten distant paces. The rabbit wheeled at a
tangent from under Tara's nose, and, as it headed down the slope,
was bound to cross Finn's course. The grey whelp's heart swelled
within him; his jaws dripped hot desire as he galloped. The fateful
moment came, and the whelp seized his prey precisely as Tara would
have seized it, a little behind the shoulders. It was bad for the
rabbit, because Finn was neither practised nor powerful enough to
kill instantaneously as his mother would have done. But his
vehemence in shaking was such that before Tara reached his side the
quarry was dead. Tara sniffed at the dead rabbit with the air of an
official inspector of such matters, and then sat up on her haunches
to indicate that she had no wish to interfere with her son's prize.
As for Finn, he was uncertain what course to adopt. The rabbit was
very thoroughly killed; killed with a thoroughness which would have
sufficed for half a dozen rabbits. A number of obscure instincts
were at work in Finn's mind as he jerkily licked, and withdrew
from, and nosed again at his first kill. In the main his instincts
said, "Tear and eat!" But, as against that, he was not hungry. The
Master believed in giving the dogs a snack before the morning run,
and breakfast after it, because this prevents a dog being anxious
to pick up any more or less edible trifle of an undesirable kind
that he may meet with, and, then, there were other instincts. It
was long, very long, since Finn's kind had been killers for eating
purposes. Finn was undecided in the matter. He certainly would have
allowed no dog to take his quarry from him; but the matter was
decided for him when the Master arrived on the scene and picked up
the rabbit by its hind legs. Finn jumped to catch it in his jaws;
but the Master spoke with unmistakable decision when he bade Finn
drop it, and there the matter ended, except as a proud and
inspiring memory, and a ground for added swagger on Finn's part.

In the quiet corner of Sussex, where Finn was born, it was the
rarest thing for the Wolfhounds to meet another dog; but it did
occur at times, and then it was odd to see how strong the instincts
of their race was in the whelps. They seemed to take it as a matter
of course that other dogs must be lesser creatures, and that as
such they were to be treated with every sort of courtesy, patience,
and good humour. Finn and his sister never made advances, but they
would stand politely still while the stranger sniffed all round
them. For pups in their first half-year they were extraordinarily
dignified. Much of this, of course, they learned from gracious
Tara, one of the gentlest and sweetest-mannered hounds that ever
lived.  Also, they had that within, in the shape of truly
aristocratic lineage, which gave them great self-respect, a
tradition of courtesy, and a remarkable deal of _savoir-faire_. The
notion of snapping or snarling at a stranger, human or brute,
simply never occurred to either of them; never for an instant. That
there were certain creatures whose part it was to be chased and
killed seemed evident to Finn; but that there was any created thing
in the world to be feared, mistrusted, hated, or snapped at, he did
not believe. It may be that Finn was more of a gentleman and a
sportsman than many who have borne those titles in the world
without challenge or demur from any of their own kind.




Finn's first winter was a mild one, and it passed without his
noticing anything remarkable in climatic conditions. But he was
aware of change when spring came. The Downs round Finn's home never
seemed to get really wet. The drainage of their chalky soil was
such that their surface could not hold much moisture, and outside
the Downs the world was as yet a closed book to Finn. But spring
asserted itself notably in his veins, and appeared to enter into a
partnership with his lusty youth, and wholesome, generous scale of
living, to speed the young Wolfhound's growth in wonderful style.
Long, slow trots along the Sussex highways and by-ways, behind the
bicycle of the Master or the Mistress, hardened Finn's round feet
without overstraining his young legs, for the reason that the pace
was always set with special reference to his capabilities in this
direction. Even in the winter nine-tenths of his waking hours were
spent in the open; yet so wise and constant was the supervision of
his life that he never knew what chill meant, and never lay on damp
ground, never missed a meal, and never suffered from the penalties
which attend overtaxed canine digestion, as surely as they attend
the same state in human beings.


On the morning of his first birthday, Finn, with his sister
Kathleen and Tara and the Master, walked down to the little local
railway station and was weighed. He weighed 119 lbs., exactly 26
1/2 lbs. more than his sister, and thirteen pounds less than his
mother. With the standard pressed down upon his shoulder-bones he
stood within an eighth of an inch of thirty-five inches in height.
(The height of Wolfhounds is measured from the shoulder to the
ground, not from the head.) It must be remembered that although
some dogs reach their full development in one year from birth,
Irish Wolfhounds are not really fully developed before the end of
the second year, though they may be said to attain their full
height, and probably their full length, in about eighteen months.
After that, however, comes a good deal of what breeders call
"furnishing," which means filling out, general development of flesh
and muscle and coat, and an all-round hardening and "setting."
Chest and loin deepen and widen a good deal in the second year;
ribs, legs, jaws, tail, and neck all develop and strengthen greatly
during this period, under such favourable conditions as Finn
enjoyed. But he was a noble-looking young hound, even on this day
which, technically, saw the end of his whelphood.

And then came three more months of Sussex downland summer, the
hunting of innumerable rabbits, out-of-door days which were fifteen
hours long, and a steadily increasing amount of slow-road exercise,
for which Finn was still fortified by three good meals a day, and
those of the best that care and science could devise. In early
October the Master devised a new game, tolerably amusing in its
way, but rather lacking in point and excitement, Finn thought. A
ring was marked out in the orchard by means of a few faggots being
stuck into the ground at intervals, and in the centre of this ring
the Mistress of the Kennels would take up her stand as a sort of
director of ceremonies. Then, sometimes with the assistance of the
maidservant and the gardener, and sometimes a couple of village
lads, Tara and Kathleen and Finn would be led gravely round and
round, and to and fro, by the Master, while all their movements
were closely watched from the centre of the ring. At first Finn
found this a good deal of a nuisance, because he disliked having a
lead attached to his collar; his inclination was to pull against it
sideways. Before him always, however, he had the gracious example
of his beautiful mother, who never did more than keep the lead
nicely tight while she marched round, with her head well up, her
tail hanging in a graceful sweeping curve, and her whole body
radiantly expressive of alertness. Gradually it was borne in upon
Finn that these were matters which touched his reputation, his
pride, his belief in himself; that he, Finn, was being observed and
judged with regard to his appearance and deportment. Once possessed
of this idea, who so stately proud in all the Wolfhound world as
Finn? At the end of a week he could march as sedately as Tara
herself, or bound forward with the springy elasticity of a tiger-cat
at a touch on his flank from the Master's hand; stand erect on
his hind-feet, with one fore-paw on the Master's forefinger raised
shoulder high; or fall to attention with hind-quarters well set
out, fore-feet even and forward, head up, and tail correctly
curved, in the position of a thoroughbred hackney at rest. It was
great fun to find how easily commendation could be earned from the
Master in this simple manner, for Finn never realized that quite a
number of hours of patient instruction and practice had been
devoted to the attainment of this end.

Then there came a mid-October morning when, in place of the early
scamper on the Downs, Finn and Kathleen were given a light
breakfast a little before daylight arrived, and after that were
treated to an unusually elaborate grooming. Finn had an exciting
sense of impending change and adventure, and even Tara seemed moved
to a stately kind of restlessness which kept her pacing the den as
though performing a minuet, instead of sitting or lying at her
ease. Tara seemed to be a good deal moved and excited when two
bright nickel chains, with queer little tin medals attached to
them, were produced, and fitted on two new green collars for Finn
and Kathleen. She nosed these chains with great interest, for they
roused all kinds of vague memories in her, and anticipations, too,
which she could not define to herself. (Finn and Kathleen had never
seen dog chains before, and paid very little heed to them now.
Their necks and shoulders had never tasted the irk of the state
which is called being "tied up.") The Master drew the attention of
the Mistress of the Kennels to Tara's interest in the chains, and
then he stroked the great bitch's head as he said--

"Never any more, old lady. You have done your share, and shall
never be hustled about at shows again; so just lie down and go to
sleep. The Missis will be home to see you again this evening. Be a
good girl, and wish your son and daughter luck!"

Tara watched them wistfully as they all filed out of the stable-yard
gateway to the road, and then, with the philosophy born of
honoured age and matronhood, returned to the den and lay down with
her muzzle on the Master's slippers.

Finn was weighed on the station platform that morning, and turned
the scale at 139 lbs., with nine months still before him for

"Of course, one has to remember that not a single chance has been
missed with Finn," said the Master. "His development is probably
some months ahead of the average hound of his age, but it is pretty
good at that; yes, I think it is pretty good."

And then a train came roaring into the station, and Finn and
Kathleen, who up till now had only occasionally seen trains from a
distance, lowered their tails, and pulled back a little on their
chains. The Master had a pleasant way with people like railway
guards, and this particular train had not very many people in it.
Accordingly the two young hounds presently found themselves in a
passenger compartment, the door of which was locked. So chains were
removed, and while Finn stood with his nose against the glass of
one window, Kathleen, facing the other way, had her nose against
the opposite window. When the train started, with a jerk, Finn had
his first abrupt sensation of travel, and he did not like it at
all. It seemed to him that the ground was suddenly snatched from
under him, and then he saw trees and posts and houses flying bodily
past him. He barked loudly at one little flying house, which seemed
almost to brush the window against which his nose rested, and the
Mistress of the Kennels laughed at him as she placed a hand
caressingly on his neck. Now Finn detested being laughed at. He did
not know what it meant, and when the Master laughed _with_ him,
during a frolic of any kind, he liked the sound very much. But
being laughed at always made the hair stir uncomfortably on his
shoulder-blades.  As the culprit in this case was the Mistress of
the Kennels, he did not even look at her angrily; but when Tara
laughed at him, as she often had done in the past, he always
protested with a sort of throaty beginning of a growl, which was
not so much really a growl as an equivalent for the sound humans
make and describe as "Tut, tut!" or "Tsh, tsh!" Finn did not again
bark at a flying house or tree; but, though the whole experience
interested him very much, he was greatly puzzled by some of the
phenomena connected with this railway journey.

In due course, but not before Finn had become comparatively blasé
as a traveller, and more than a little weary of the whole thing,
the chains were put on again, and the hounds were led out from the
train into the midst of a crowd of strange people. Finn had no idea
that there were anything like so many people in the world as he
found pressing about him now, and many of them were leading dogs on
chains. Finn's attitude towards these strange dogs was one of
considerable reserve. He was very self-conscious; rather like a
young man from the country who suddenly and unexpectedly found
himself in the midst of some fashionable crush in London; an
exceedingly well-bred young man, of remarkably fine figure; a
sportsman of some prowess, too; but one who felt that he had not
been introduced to any of the members of the noisy, bustling
throng, and fancied that every one else was conscious of the fact.

New experiences were crowding thick and fast upon Finn and Kathleen
just now. After rubbing shoulders with this astonishing crowd for
some minutes, they found themselves face to face for the first time
in their lives with a flight of steps. True, they each felt a
soothing hand on their shoulders, a hand they knew and loved, but
the thing was disconcerting none the less. At first glance these
steps obviously called for small leaps and bounds as a mode of
progression. And yet, when one took ever so small a leap, one's
nose inevitably came into sharp contact with the legs of strange
humans who climbed in front; a distinctly unpleasant experience,
because undignified, and implying a desire for familiarity which
Finn by no means felt.

However, an end came to the steps at length, and then, after
walking some distance in the open road, and being allowed to run
loose for a few minutes in a quiet street, full of strange, strong
smells and a curious absence of air, Finn and Kathleen were led
into a large building, bigger than the orchard at home, and
containing, besides countless humans, all the dogs that ever were
in all the world, all talking incoherently, and together. At least,
that was how it struck Finn and Kathleen. As a matter of fact,
there were some thousands of dogs in the Crystal Palace that day,
for it was the opening day of the great annual Kennel Club Show;
the biggest society event of the year among dogs. It was a more
exclusive assembly than any of the purely human sort, because every
dog, among all the thousands there assembled, was an aristocrat
with a pedigree as long as his body. There was not a parvenu among
them all; and there are no human assemblies about which that may be

It is difficult to conceive precisely how great an ordeal it was
for Finn and Kathleen to face, when they were led down the length
of this great building to their own particular bench among the
other Irish Wolfhounds, of whom there were some thirty or forty
present. For fifty yards or more they walked down an aisle between
double rows of benches, every yard of which was occupied by
terriers of one sort and another, all yapping and barking at the
top of their respective registers. Be it remembered that Finn and
Kathleen, up till that morning, had never been at close quarters
with more than one dog at a time, and had never seen more than
about a dozen dogs outside their own breed altogether. The noise of
barking, the pungency and variety of smells, and the crowded
multiplicity of doggy personalities were at first overpowering, and
Finn and his sister walked with lowered tails, quick-shifting eyes,
raised hackles, and twitching skin. But pride of race, and the
self-confidence which goes with exceptional strength, soon came to
Finn's aid, and by the time he reached his own bench, his tail was
carried high and muzzle also, though he walked with unusual
rigidity, and at heart was far from comfortable.

Though the benches were continuous, the space allotted to each dog
was divided from that of the next dog by a strong galvanized iron
net-work, and each dog's chain was fastened to the back of his
bench. When the Wolfhounds were benched, Finn had his sister upon
his right, and (though he never suspected it) his redoubtable sire,
the great Champion Dermot Asthore, on his left. On Kathleen's right
was a big rebel of a dog with an angry eye, named Wolf Tone. Facing
them, on the other side of their aisle, was a long row of their
cousins, the Deerhound family; while behind them, and out of sight,
was an even longer row of their cousins on the other side: the
Great Dane family. Farther on, beyond Champion Dermot Asthore, who
sat in the rear of his bench wrapped in a cloak of kingly
isolation--he disliked shows very much, and now, late in his great
career, was thoroughly weary of them--was a row of five and twenty
distant connections of Finn's, belonging to the Russian Wolfhound
or Borzois family. Finn had noticed these white and lemon coloured
curled darlings as he was led along to his own bench, and his
nostrils had wrinkled with scorn as he noted their "prettiness,"
the snipey sharpness of their long muzzles, the extraordinary
slimness and delicacy of their legs, the effeminate narrowness of
their chests, and the toyish blue ribbons that decorated some of
their collars. Mentally, he granted these fashionable darlings
fleetness, but absolutely withheld from them the killing powers
they are credited with. "Bah!" one may imagine Finn muttering to
himself. "Foxy tails, weasel's faces, terrier's legs--you are
almost toys!"

Heavy-coated, massive old Dermot Asthore took no more notice of
Finn than of the rest of the show. He was supremely bored, and,
being perfectly aware that the show lasted three days, his
immediate prospect disgusted him. One fancied that on the few
occasions upon which he did open his mouth at all, his remark was
always the same--"Tcha! And at my time of life, too!" But Finn was
not otherwise neglected. The Mistress of the Kennels had a little
camp-stool, and on this she sat mid-way between Finn and Kathleen.
Finn also had the Master's hand-bag in his section of the bench;
and that was rather nice and companionable. Also, the Master
himself seemed seldom to be far away. He flitted to and fro,
generally in conversation with somebody, and always followed, for
so long as he was in sight, by the eyes of Finn and Kathleen. In
his hand he carried a yellow book which told him the names of every
dog in all that vast assemblage of canine princes and lordlings,
with details, too, as to their exalted ancestry.

The Mistress of the Kennels was studying a similar book, and if
Finn, whose muzzle at this time was just above her shoulder, could
have read, he would have seen that she was busy with the Irish
Wolfhound section of the catalogue. This showed her that there were
three separate classes for Irish Wolfhound dogs, and three for
bitches of the same breed--Open, Limit, and Novice; with first,
second, and third prizes to be won in each class. The Open classes
were for all and any Irish Wolfhounds of each sex; the Limit
classes were for such as had not previously won more than six first
prizes; and the Novice classes were for hounds that had never won a
first prize in any show. There was also a junior class for hounds
of both sexes under the age of eighteen months. In the Open dog
class there appeared the names of no fewer than two fully-fledged
champions, and two other fully developed hounds that were already
within measurable reach of championship honours; besides several
other Wolfhounds of high repute and proved prowess as prize-winners
at shows. In the Open bitch class there was one champion entered,
and four or five others of whom great things had been predicted. In
the other classes it was evident that competition would be brisk.
In the Limit class, for example, were several hounds well past
maturity who had already won at other shows as many as four and
five first prizes. The Novice classes included the names of some
extremely promising hounds, several of whom had already won second
and third prizes elsewhere. In the junior class there were four
other entries, besides those of Finn and Kathleen. But Finn and
Kathleen had been boldly entered right through, in all classes for
which they were eligible. Old breeders who had not seen them smiled
over the breeder's enthusiasm in entering fifteen months old
youngsters in Open classes, where they would meet old champions,
whose very names carried great weight, both with the judges and the

A young Irish Wolfhound, lying down among the straw of his bench,
is a very deceptive animal. When he is, say, three years old, his
beard and brows, massive shoulders, and set, assured expression
give one fair warning of the commanding presence he will display
when he rises. But when he is yet young he looks a much lesser
creature than he is when seen on a show bench, particularly if, as
so often happens, he makes a kind of nest for himself in the straw.
Most of the people specially interested in Wolfhounds paused
opposite Finn's place, and made some passing remark about: "Fine
head, that!" "Good muzzle that youngster has!" or if they noticed
one of his forelegs over the straw: "Wonderful heavy timbers,
those!" But they paid no very particular heed really to the hounds
from the cottage beside the Downs. Now and again, however, an old
breeder, passing leisurely along the benches, would pause when he
had passed Kathleen, and, after a quick glance back, return to
Finn's place, looking up his number in the catalogue, and gazing at
the young hound with a gravely calculating eye. "Fifteen months
old!" muttered one of these, glancing to and fro between his
catalogue and Finn. "H'm! By old Dermot--Tara. Yes. Finn. Ah!" And
so on down the benches. Finn had a notion that these men knew a
good deal; they had a knowledgeable way with them. Finn would have
obeyed them readily. That was how their manner impressed him.

By the time Finn had to some extent exhausted the first novelty of
his surroundings, and was contemplating the desirability of
sleeping off some of its effects--the number of new impressions he
had formed that morning was at least equal to those of a human's
first visit to a great picture gallery--the Master came along with
something of a rush, chains were unsnapped, and Finn and his sister
were taken down from the bench. A number of other Wolfhounds were
leaving the bench at the same time, and being led in the direction
of a fenced-in judging ring (square in shape, by the way) at one
end of the building. The dog classes for Irish Wolfhounds were
about to be judged, and the Mistress of the Kennels brought
Kathleen along, though her sex was not to be judged for some time,
because she knew the youngster would be unhappy if left alone on
the bench. The Master was leading Finn, and, before they entered
the ring, he passed his hand solicitously over the dog's immature
brows and beard once or twice, even as a very young man may be
noticed to tug at his moustache with a view, presumably, to making
the very most of it. The Mistress found a place for herself beside
the ring with Kathleen, which not only gave her a good view of the
judging, but also showed her plainly to all in the ring. This was
for Finn's especial benefit. And then the Master walked into the
ring with Finn, and took up his place next to the lady who led the
grand old hound who had sired Finn--Champion Dermot.

In the centre of the ring, accompanied by a busy steward with a
sheaf of notes in his hand, stood the Judge of Irish Wolfhounds; a
man grown grey, white-haired indeed, in the study of dog-folk, and
one of whom it might be said that, by his own single-hearted
efforts, he had saved the breed of Irish Wolfhounds from becoming
extinct in the middle of last century, and accomplished a great
deal of the spade work which has brought the modern breed to its
present flourishing state. No man living could claim to know more
of Irish Wolfhounds than this white-haired Judge, who stood in the
centre of a ring formed by all the greatest aristocrats of the
historic breed.

"Move them round, please," he said quietly. "Keep them moving as
freely as possible."

Finn was the only hound in that ring under two and a half years of
age, and Finn was just fifteen months old, a child among the
acknowledged leaders and chieftains of his race. One noticed it in
the comparative angularity and leggyness of his build. He carried
less flesh than the others, was far less set; in a word, they had
"furnished," and Finn had not. The Mistress of the Kennels, from
her place beside the ring, noticed these things, and sighed for the
soaring ambition which had led to the entering of this tyro in Open

"Finn, boy!" said she, in an impressive, long-drawn whisper, as
Finn passed her place. The youngster's ears lifted, and his fine
neck curved superbly as he looked round at the Mistress. And just
then the Master bent over him, whispering close beside his ear
certain nonsense words which were associated in Finn's mind with
certain events, like rabbit-hunting and racing on the Downs.

"Chu, chu, chu--u--u--, Finn!" whispered the Master. And that was a
nonsense word connected with two things only: the unexpected rising
of a rabbit ahead, and the new game in which Finn had been led
round a ring with Tara and Kathleen in the orchard at home. And, to
be sure, there was the Mistress of the Kennels looking on all the
time, and Finn and the Master walking round, and other dogs, and----

And it was thus that Finn passed a Judge at a dog show for the
first time. It was thus that he realized that it was a show; that
he, Finn, was being judged, compared with others of his kind. From
that moment Finn showed the best that was in him to show, with an
air as kingly as that of any of his warrior ancestors in the
ancient days when they were the friends and defenders of kings, the
companions in sport of great chieftains. When next Finn approached
the Judge in the march round, the Master touched his flank, and he
rose up to his full towering height, his fore-paws higher than a
man's head, and the Master pretended to rebuke him with: "Down,
Finn! Down, you rascal!" But Finn knew well, by his tone, that all
was well, and his own appearance most imposing. The Judge, in the
centre of the ring, chewed the end of his pencil reflectively, and
now and again he said, "That will do, thank you!" to some
exhibitor, and that exhibitor withdrew from the ring with his
hound, wearing an elaborately assumed air of indifference or
relief, and feeling much real chagrin. Occasionally the Judge would
merely wave his hand for the same purpose, with a nod to some
particular exhibitor.

During about the fifth or sixth march round the Judge waved his
hand and nodded to the Master with a murmured remark. The Master's
face fell, and, as he drew abreast of the opening in the side of
the ring, he moved out slowly with Finn. To him then came a
steward, fussily official. He was not to withdraw from the ring, it
appeared, but only to take up his stand in one corner of it with
Champion Dermot Asthore, Champion Munster, and a magnificent hound
named Cormac. The Judge was making notes on slips of paper now, and
in another minute or so the ring was empty, save for the three
hounds mentioned and Finn.

And now there came the most searching sort of examination of these
four Wolfhounds, who were drawn up in a row before the Judge.
Teeth, eyes, claws, all were in turn closely scrutinized by the man
who had weighed and studied such matters for the half of a century.
Muscles and joints were carefully felt, and all in a manner which
no self-respecting hound could take exception to; with the assured,
gentle, knowledgeable touch which soothes and inspires confidence
in all animal folk. Then the four hounds must walk round once more
in single file. Then they must run to and fro, singly. And, lastly,
they must stand together to have the measuring standard applied to
their shoulders. Young Finn was the last to come under the
standard; and the Judge measured him four times over before he
would admit himself correct in pronouncing Finn full 35 1/4 inches
at the shoulder: "And I may say, sir, the biggest hound I ever
measured. Fifteen and a half months, you say? Tcha! Remarkable;
_re_-markable, sir." And this Judge knew more about Irish
Wolfhounds than any other man living.

Cormac's master was told that he could stand aside, and a murmur
went round the ring of spectators to the effect that Cormac was the
winner. Then Champion Munster was told to stand aside, and the
crowd placed him second. And then the Judge spent five reflective
minutes in pondering over Champion Dermot Asthore, the most famous
Irish Wolfhound of his day, and young Finn, his son, and the son of
beautiful Tara. The crowd wondered which of these two was to have
third prize, the celebrated old champion or the tyro.

At last the Judge drew back, saying: "That will do, thank you!"

The crowd surged round the notice-board.  Excitement ran high now,
for this was the most important Wolfhound class of the whole show,
and the stewards were approaching the board to pin up the winning
numbers. The Master glanced across at the Mistress of the Kennels,
and stooped then to fondle Finn's ears, and murmur nonsense words
to him. Then he, too, pressed forward to the notice-board, and read
the awards, thus:--

  1st...No. 247.
  2nd...No. 248.
  3rd...No. 261.
  V.H.C...No. 256.
  H.C...No. 259.

Not daring to be quite certain, the Master drew out the little
medal from beside Finn's collar, and read again on it Finn's
number: 247.  By this single judgment, then, Finn was declared
winner of the Open class for Irish Wolfhound dogs, and that meant
that, unless a bitch could be found to beat him, Finn also won the
Challenge Shield for best Irish Wolfhound in the Show. Champion
Dermot Asthore, his sire, came second, Champion Munster third,
Cormac very highly commended, and a dog called Patrick highly

A moment later the Mistress of the Kennels was in possession of the
great news, and her arms were about Finn's neck, while Finn nosed
the momentarily neglected Kathleen's muzzle.

"You great, beautiful Finn, do you know you are first? Do you know
you've beaten all the champions?" she said. And Finn nuzzled her
shoulder and wondered why she was in any doubt about his
recognition of a thing so obvious. But it was a very great triumph
all the same; the greatest triumph that had ever fallen to a
breeder of Irish Wolfhounds, as some of those who hastened to
congratulate the Master now were careful to point out.

"For a fifteen months' novice, you know, against two champions, and
a hound like Cormac--wonderful!" they said. But all were agreed
that Finn justified the award. "He's the tallest hound in the
breed, now," said the Judge, as he passed that way, and lingered to
pass his hand over Finn's shoulder; "and he will be the biggest and
finest if he lives; distinctly the finest Irish Wolfhound I have
ever handled, and--I've handled most of them." Higher tribute from
such a Judge no dog could earn. The Master flushed with pleasure
and pride as he heard it, and turned to receive the congratulations
of the exhibitors of Champions Dermot Asthore, and Munster.

In the Limit and Novice classes Finn was awarded first place as a
matter of course. There was nothing there to beat him. And then
came the judging of the bitch classes, in which Kathleen did
extraordinarily well for so young a hound, and in such "good
company," as the saying goes. She won third prize in the Open
class, second in the Limit, and first in the Novice. And then four
other young hounds filed into the ring with Finn and Kathleen to be
judged in the junior class. The other four young hounds were of a
very good sort, but they had not the development, the bone, muscle,
and stature of Finn and Kathleen, and there was not much hesitation
in the decision which placed Finn first, Kathleen second, and a
youngster called Connemara third.

And then Finn had to be judged beside the winner in the Open class
for bitches, to decide who should be given the Challenge Shield for
the best Irish Wolfhound in the Show. And this was a task which
tried the white-haired Judge's patience for a long time. The female
was Champion Lady Iseult of Leinster, and one of the most beautiful
hounds of her sex ever seen. She was fully matured, and her
reputation was world-wide. Judged on "points," as breeders say, she
was very near to perfection. Technically, it was difficult to find
fault in her, unless that she was a shade too straight in her
hocks, a fault that often goes with great stature in a hound.
Finn's hocks were curved like an Arab stallion's, springy as a
cat's. The Judge tested the two hounds side by side, again and
again, and in every way he could think of, but without coming to a
decision between them. At last, after passing his hand down the
hocks of the Lady Iseult, he asked that they might both be run,
quickly as possible, while led. That seemed to guide him a good
deal. But it was clear that the conscientious old Judge and breeder
was not yet fully satisfied. Finally, he had the opening to the
rings closed, and a hurdle brought in. Then the Lady Iseult was
invited to run at and leap the hurdle. She did so, and with a good
grace, returning docilely enough to her master. Then the Master
loosed Finn, and the Mistress of the Kennels called him from the
far side of the ring. Finn bounded forward with the elasticity of a
cat, and cleared the hurdle with a perfect spring and fully two
feet to spare. The Judge stroked his imperial, laid a hand on the
shoulders of both hounds, and said--

"The young dog has it--the finest hound I ever saw!"




It is the custom at dog shows for the authorities to distribute
certificates on coloured cardboard of all the awards made by the
judges. At this show of Finn's great triumph, first prize cards
were all blue, second prize cards red, and third prize cards
yellow. The custom was for exhibitors proudly to affix these cards
to the wire net-work stretched above the bench of the winning dog.
So it fell out that soon after the judging of Wolfhounds was over,
two red cards and two blue cards were fixed over Kathleen's bench,
and the Mistress of the Kennels lavished considerable attention
upon her, lest she should be moved to jealousy of Finn. The
decoration of the wire-work over Finn's bench was most striking.

First, there were four blue first prize cards, for his sensational
win in Open, Limit, Novice, and Junior classes. Then there was a
very handsome card with ribbons attached, signifying that Finn had
won the Challenge Shield for the best Irish Wolfhound in the Show.
And then there were two other blue cards telling that Finn had won
two special prizes; one, a medal offered by a member of the Irish
Wolfhound Club for the best hound at the Show bred by its
exhibitor; and another, of two guineas, offered by a well-known
Irish sportsman for the biggest Irish Wolfhound in the Show. And so
Finn sat in state beneath a sort of dome consisting of no fewer
than seven trophies. It seemed a little hard on that magnificent
hound, his sire, who occupied the next bench, under the shelter of
but one solitary red card. But Dermot Asthore was a philosopher,
and, as has been said, weary of shows. He lay curled, like a great
cat, and slept stolidly, presenting nothing more conscious to the
passing throng than a small triangular section of one blood-shot

With Finn matters were otherwise. His numerous trophies won him
much attention, even from the large majority who were ignorant of
his great technical claims to fame. There was always a little group
in front of Finn's bench, and those of his admirers who had claims
upon the Master--besides many who had none--were continually begging
that he should be taken down from the bench, so that they might
admire his full stature. Then there were newspaper men with cameras
and note-books; and there were dealers with cheque-books, and a
ready hand and eye for deprecation. But these were given no sort of
encouragement by the Master. Finn received as much attention in the
evening papers that day as any leader of human society; and in the
papers devoted to doggy interests, a great deal more. He was
conscious of more of this than you might suppose, even though he
could not read newspapers: but the thing he was most keenly
conscious of was the fact that he had managed greatly to please the
Master and the Mistress of the Kennels. Finn felt happy and proud
about this, but, although he was taken down from the bench several
times and led into out-of-the-way corners where his chain could be
removed and he was able to stretch his limbs, still, he became
pretty thoroughly tired of the publicity and racket of the Dog Show
before he was led out of the building at ten o'clock that night,
with Kathleen, by the Master. The Mistress had gone home to Tara,
early in the evening; but the Master was sleeping in lodgings near
the Palace, which he had engaged on the clear understanding that he
was allowed to bring the Wolfhounds there with him. Finn had not
realized as yet that one of the penalties of the fame that he had
won lay in the fact that he was obliged to spend another two whole
days in the show building.

But though Finn and Kathleen knew it not, their lot was a far more
fortunate one than that of the great majority of their kind at the
Show. Knowing that they would be unhappy if left in the building at
night, that they probably would be too much wrought up to eat
there, and that they would feel being chained up for so long more
than most dogs, the Master had arranged to take them out at night,
in order that they might have half an hour's freedom before supper
and retirement to a sleeping place in the room he had taken for
himself. There were dogs in the Show whose masters did not come
near them after the judging on the first day, until the end of the
third day. These unfortunates were left to the rather chancy
attentions of the show attendants, who, with thousands of dogs to
care for, could hardly be expected to give any of them much
individual notice.

On the evening of the second day of the Show, while the Master was
engaged in conversation at some distance from Finn's bench, the
young hounds from the cottage by the Downs received a visit from a
man who showed the utmost admiration for them, and particularly, of
course, for Finn. This man, whose appearance rather reminded Finn
of one whom he had heard referred to as the gamekeeper, down in
Sussex, looked up Finn's name and ancestry in the show catalogue,
and gave particular heed to the fine display of prize cards over
his head. He fondled Finn for several minutes, and Finn knew by the
various smells which hung about the man that he was accustomed to
mixing a good deal with dog-folk. Before turning away, this
friendly and admiring man presented Finn with a small piece of meat
which he took from a paper-bag in one of his pockets; and, of all
the meat that Finn had ever tasted, this piece had the most
fascinating smell and the most provocatively exciting and pleasing
flavour. He meditated over this piece of meat for quite a long
time, and when, during the last afternoon of the Show, the friendly
stranger appeared before him again, Finn welcomed the man
effusively, and, with nose and paw, plainly asked for some more of
that fascinating meat. The man chuckled, and rubbed the backs of
Finn's ears in an affectionate manner for several minutes. What
Finn found more to the point was that, before leaving, the man did
present him with another small section of this delicious meat with
the fascinating smell. Finn wished there was more of it, but he
felt exceedingly grateful to the stranger for the one piece and for
the rest of his friendly attention.

By payment of a small fee the Master was enabled to take Finn and
Kathleen away from the Show much earlier on that evening than
before, and a few hours later they were all three being welcomed at
home by the Mistress of the Kennels and Tara. Tara, by the way, was
hardly able to spare time for a remark at first; she was so busy
sniffing all round Finn and Kathleen, and reading for herself the
sort of record of their recent adventures which their coats and her
delicate sense of smell provided. The three hounds dined
sumptuously, and in a row, while the Master and the Mistress sat
before them fighting their battles over again and discussing their
triumph in the show-ring. Then, the night being fine, the three
were allowed to wander out into the orchard for a quarter of an
hour or so before going to bed. The Master remained in his den

Directly Tara reached the orchard she barked out loud, "Who's
there?"--an unmistakable sort of bark one would have thought. But
the Master was pretty thoroughly tired, and, perhaps, the fact that
he was chatting with the Mistress prevented his understanding
Tara's bark. At all events, he paid no heed to it. Tara promptly
trotted across to the gate between the orchard and the open down,
followed closely by Finn and Kathleen. There, much to Finn's
delight, they found the friendly stranger of the Show. Tara eyed
the man with hauteur, as one whose acquaintance she had not made.
Kathleen remained modestly in the background. Finn, with lively
recollections of the peculiarly savoury meat which the stranger
dealt in, placed his fore-paws, on the top of the gate, and lolled
his tongue at the man in friendly greeting. The man gave Finn a
provokingly tiny fragment of the savoury meat, and rubbed the young
hound's ears in the coaxing way he had. Then he stepped back a pace
or two, and produced a large piece of the meat.

"Here, boy! Here, Finn! Jump, then, Finn!" The gate was less than
five feet high, and the seductive odour of this peculiar meat
floated just beyond it in the still night air. Finn drew back a
pace or two, and then, with a beautiful spring, cleared the gate
easily. While giving Finn the piece of meat he had been holding,
the man slipped a swivel on to the ring of the handsome green
collar, and attached to the swivel there was a strong leather lead.
The man moved on slowly, with another piece of meat in his hand,
and Finn paced with him, willingly enough. When Finn had finished
the next piece of meat he was a hundred yards away from the
orchard. He looked back then, and an uncomfortable thrill passed
through his young heart; a vague thrill it was, conveying no
definite fear or impression to his mind. Still, it was
uncomfortable. He had half a mind to go back and rejoin Tara and
Kathleen, and so, tentatively, he halted. If the friendly stranger
had tried to force Finn then, there would have been trouble. But he
did not. Instead, he bent down and played with Finn's ears, and
then brought another piece of meat out of his pocket. Holding this
out, he moved on again; and the dog followed, forgetful now of his
momentary thrill of discomfort. After all, he thought, vaguely,
very likely this unaccustomed night walk was all part of the Show
and its many novel experiences. There had been night walks at the
end of each show day. When Finn had had another morsel of the meat,
the friendly stranger put another collar on his neck, and removed
the green one. Then he began to trot, and Finn trotted with him,
quite contentedly. Finn was always glad to run.

So the two trotted for miles, through the mild, still October
night, the man breathing heavily. Once something made Finn pause
suddenly; and the pause let him into a secret. The collar he was
wearing now was different from any other he had known in his short
life. If you pulled against it, it slipped round your throat so
tightly as to stop your breathing instantly and absolutely. The
only thing to do was to go the way the collar and lead pulled;
then, immediately, the pressure relaxed. It was a collar that had
to be obeyed, that was evident. These "slip-collars" are well known
to some members of the Great Dane family, and particularly to those
who are owned by dealers; but their use came with rather a shock to
lordly young Finn, who, living the free and happy life he always
had lived, there beside the Sussex Downs, had rarely been asked to
wear a collar of any sort.

After a time, Finn and the stranger came to a little town, and
walked into the yard of an inn. There another man met them, to whom
Finn's friend said, hurriedly--

"I'll walk straight on. You drive on with the cart after me. Don't
stop till you're clear of the village."

"You've got him, then?" said the second man.

"Never you mind about that. Can't yer see I've got him? You get the
pony out."

And then Finn followed his leader out of the yard, and through the
quiet little village to the open country beyond. But by this time
Finn was beginning to feel that the night walk had been prolonged
far enough. There was no sign of any more of the aromatic meat
coming his way, and he had given up asking for it, and nosing the
man's pocket. He thought he would like to turn now, and get back to
Kathleen and Tara and the Master. The day, and its immediate
predecessors, had been tiring, and Finn thought with strong desire
of his fragrant wheaten straw bed in the coach-house at home. Yes,
it was certainly time to return.

Accordingly, Finn asked his leader to stop, and, finding that the
man took no notice, he asked again, through his nose, and urgently.
The man paid not the slightest heed to this, and that rather
angered Finn, who was not accustomed to being ignored; so he
planted his fore-feet firmly, and stopped dead. As the lead
tightened, the slip-collar pressed painfully on Finn's throat; but
he felt that the time had arrived to bring this excursion to an
end, and so steeled himself to ignore this pressure.

"None o' that, now!" said the man, with a new note in his voice, of
extreme harshness. "Come along now; d'ye hear!"

Finn's fore-legs remained rigid. He had made up his mind now, and
already he was beginning to regret having stayed so long with this

The man now gave a powerful tug at the leather lead, and at that
the pressure of the slip-collar forced Finn's tongue out between
his teeth. This was really painful, but it was clear in Finn's mind
that he must go home, so he remained straining backward.

"Come on 'ere, ye brute!" growled the man savagely, and, with a
vicious jerk at the lead, he took a step to one side, and then
kicked Finn on the hind-quarters as hard as he could. That was the
first real blow Finn had ever received, and it taught him quite a
lot. Up till this point it had not occurred to him for a moment
that the man entertained any other than kindly, friendly feelings
for him. In fact, he supposed that every one entertained kindly
feelings towards him. He had never experienced any other sort of
attitude. But this savage kick was a revelation to him. Also, it
hurt. Finn turned in his tracks and plunged forward in the
direction from which, they had come with such sudden strength that
he almost dragged the lead from the man's strong hand, and would
undoubtedly have freed himself, but for the slip-collar. As it was,
the sudden jerk nearly throttled Finn, and brought him rolling on
his back with all four feet in the air. Before he could rise again,
the man had planted two ferocious kicks on his ribs; and Finn was
thankful then to draw a free breath by moving towards his
persecutor, so as to slacken the pressure on the lead. But, the
moment he had drawn breath, the desire to escape possessed him once
more, and he repeated his leap for freedom. This time the man was
prepared, and, in addition to the pressure brought about by Finn's
reaching the end of his tether, there was the savage extra pressure
of a quick backward jerk at the lead, to bring the hound on his
back a second time. This time the man kicked him very severely,
and, in addition, smote him violently on the nose with clenched
fist, as he staggered to his feet, gasping for breath.

Just then the dim, smoky lights of a cart appeared at the bend in
the road, twenty yards away, in the direction of the village.

"That you, Bill?" cried the man who held Finn, and an affirmative
answer reached him from the cart. "Come on, then, and let's get
this stubborn beast into the cart." He gave a savage jerk at Finn's
slip-collar as he spoke, and once more his nailed boot crashed
against the bewildered Wolfhound's ribs. The man had an itch of
anger and brutality upon him by this time. Finn leaped sideways
with a quick gasp as the man's boot struck him and the cruel collar
tightened; and at this sharp movement of his great body, there in
the middle of the road, the pony shied violently, just as it was
being drawn in to a standstill; the cart swerved sharply into the
hedge, and a cracking sound betrayed the breaking of a shaft.

This was the finishing touch required to round off the naturally
vicious temper of the man who held Finn into a passion of sullen,
brutal anger. He cursed unceasingly while the man in the cart made
the necessary repairs with cord and a couple of sticks from the
hedge; and with every curse there was a kick, or a vicious blow, or
a savage jerk at the torturing slip-collar, and sometimes all three
together. Finn could have killed the man with ease; but, so far,
the thought of even biting him never occurred to the Wolfhound.
Every hour that he had spent in the world had taught him that
humans were his friends, his very kindly protectors, his guardians
and governors, so to say. Every hour of his mother's life, with but
very few exceptions, had borne the same belief in upon her, and her
nature was the sweetest and gentlest imaginable. With his father,
now, the case was somewhat otherwise. There were those who said
that the rather taciturn and shy Dermot owed some of his
wonderfully heavy coat to the mesalliance of a forbear of his with
a Tibetan Sheep Dog of a half-wild sort, with a temper far from
reliable. But, as yet at all events, Finn's temper was that of a
clean run, well-bred English boy; frank, open, trusting, and
kindly; and, sorely as he ached, sorely bewildered as he felt under
the rain of blows and kicks, curses and strangling tugs at his
collar, he had as yet no thought of vengeance. His only desire was
for escape, and a return to the sweet, free life he knew beside the

The man who held Finn instinctively recognised all this, and the
knowledge whetted the savagery of his temper, and withdrew all
restraint from its cruel indulgence. He had no conscious wish to
injure the hound; quite the contrary, since Finn represented money
to him, and money was what he desired more than anything else; but
he was tired, things seemed to be going ill with him, his temper
was thoroughly roused, and the innocent cause of all this, a
sensitive, living creature, was tethered and helpless beside him;
and so he kicked and cursed, and jerked at the lead, and found
relief in Finn's gasps of pain and want of breath.

When the shaft was mended, the tail-board of the little cart was
let down, and, with a savage kick at Finn's hind-quarters, the man
bade him "Get up, there, ---- ye! Get up, ye brute!" Another kick.
Poor Finn tried to squirm forward under the cart to escape the
heavy boot of his persecutor. Then he was furiously jerked backward
and half throttled.

"Steady with 'im, matey," said the other man. "Don't knock the
dollars off of 'im."

"Who asked you to shove your jaw in?" snarled the first man. "You
didn't get the brute, did ye--curse him!"

Another kick.

The other man was used to his friend's temper, and said nothing;
but he hated to see a valuable animal knocked about, just as he
would have hated to see money thrown in the gutter instead of into
a publican's till; so he stooped down and lifted Finn's fore-feet
from the ground, and placed them on the floor of the cart.

"My oath!" he said, "but 'e's a tidy weight, ain't he? Up ye go, my
bully boy!" And up Finn went, on the spur of another violent kick,
which broke the skin across one of his hocks. The lead was now
fastened close down to a staple in the floor of the cart, Finn
being forced down on his side by the simple process of being knelt
upon by his persecutor. To make doubly sure of him, his fore-legs
were then tightly lashed together with his own green collar; and
then the two men mounted the front of the cart and drove off.

The memory of that night's drive burnt itself deep into Finn's
young mind. He never really forgot it; that is to say, its effect
upon his attitude toward men and life was never completely lost.
His skin was broken in three or four places; every bone in his body
ached from the heavy kicks he had received; an intolerable thirst
kept him gasping for every breath he drew; the cramp set up in his
fore-legs by their being strapped tightly together, one across the
other, was an exquisite pain; and his muzzle was held hard down
against the grimy floor-boards of the cart, while his mind was full
of a black despairing fear of he knew not what. It was a severe
ordeal for one who, up till then, had never even known what it
meant to receive a severe verbal scolding; for one who had never
seen a man's hand lifted in anger.

An end came at last to this horrible drive.

"Thank Gawd, 'ere's 'orley!" said the man who drove; and after
another minute or two the little cart came to a standstill in a
walled-in yard. The pony was taken out and stabled, and then the
man addressed as "Matey," still sullen and sour, let down the tail-board
of the cart with a jerk, and dragged Finn out by the collar,
allowing him to fall with a thud from the cart to the ground,
rendered helpless by the strap round his fore-legs.

"'Ere, get up outa that!" growled the man, with a careless kick.
Then, seeing that Finn could not move, he bent down, unbuckled the
green enamelled strap, dragged it roughly away, and kicked the dog
again. Cramped and sore beyond belief, Finn staggered on to his
feet. A door was opened, and Finn was jerked and dragged into a
perfectly dark, evil-smelling hole, about four feet square, with an
earthen floor, from which horrible odours rose. The ground in this
place was filthy. It had no drainage and no ventilation, except a
few round holes in the door; which door was now slammed to and
locked on the outside.

"Ain't ye goin' to give 'im a drink, matey?" asked Bill, outside.

"Drink be blowed! Let 'im wait till mornin'. Come in an' 'ave one
yerself. I'm blessed glad this night's job's done; an' if I can't
make fifty quid out 've it, I shall want to know the reason why, I
can tell yer. Big, ugly brute, ain't 'e! Strong as a mule, too.
_I'd_ want to be paid pretty 'andsome fer the keepin' o' such a
brute; but the American gent's red 'ot ter get 'im, I can tell yer.
Biggest ever bred, they tell me. I think I shall 'ave to stick on
another tenner, eh, Bill? Come on!"

Their very voices were a misery to the shrinking, aching, choking
Finn, who stood shuddering in his fetid den, his sensitive nose
wrinkling with horror and disgust. His need of water was the thing
which hurt him the most cruelly; but the nature of his prison was a
good deal of a torture, too. Remember that his life so far had been
as cleanly and decent in detail as yours or mine. Certainly this
was a sad plight for the hero of the Kennel Club Show, and the
finest living descendant of a fifteen hundred year old line of
princes among dogs.




For a long while after the men had left the scene of Finn's
miserable captivity, he remained standing, and occupying as small a
space as possible in his prison. The fastidiousness bred in him by
careful rearing told severely against Finn just now. He had never,
until this night, been without water to slake his thirst; and
never, never had he smelt anything so horrible as the earth of the
little den in which he was now confined. Also, the place was
actually filthy, as well as apparently so. Finn could not bring
himself to move in it. He stood shrinking by the door, with his
nose near a crack beside its hinges. For long he reflected upon the
events of that night, without moving. Then, gradually, thoughts of
Kathleen and Tara, and the sweet cleanliness and freedom of his home
beside the Downs, came swimming into Finn's mind, and these
thoughts seemed to add intolerably to the aching of his bruised
bones and muscles, to the soreness of those spots in which his skin
had been broken, and to the misery of the thirst which kept his
tongue protruding at one side of his jaws.

Unable to bear these things any longer, Finn turned cautiously
toward the middle of his loathsome prison, and, though his feet
shrank from the task, scraped a hollow place in its midst of about
the bigness of a wash-hand basin. Then, treading as though upon hot
bricks, he squirmed his great body round to avoid touching the
walls of his prison, and sat on his haunches in the hollow he had
made. He was now filled with a desire to inform Tara and the
Master, and, it may be, the rest of the world, about his sorry
plight. But, particularly, he wanted to let the Master and Tara
know about it. And so, seated there in what he had endeavoured to
make the one approachably clean spot available, Finn pointed his
long muzzle toward the stars he could not see, and, opening his
jaws wide, expelled from them the true Irish Wolfhound howl, which
seemed to tear its way outward and upward from the very centre of
the hound's grief-smitten heart, to wind slowly through his lungs
and throat, and to reach the outer air with very much the effect of
a big steamship's syren in a dense fog. It is a very long-drawn
cry, beginning away down in the bass, dragging up slowly to an
anguished treble note in a very minor key, and subsiding,
despairingly, about half-way back to the bass. It is a sound that
carries a very long way--though not so far as from the place of
Finn's captivity to the Sussex Downs--and carries misery with it
just as far as ever it can reach. Upon the hearer who has any
bowels of compassion it falls with a weight of physical appeal
which may not be denied. Above all, it is a strange, mysterious,
uncanny cry, and not a sound which can be ignored. It is a sound to
fetch you hurriedly from your bed at midnight; and that though you
had been sunk in dreamless sleep when first it smote its
irresistible way into your consciousness.

Finn was beginning the bass rumble of his sixth howl when the door
of his prison was flung suddenly open, and he saw Matey, armed with
a hurricane lamp and a short, heavy stick. He was still so new to
the ways of Matey's kind of human, that he thought his howls had
brought him release, and, for an instant, he even had a vision of a
deep basin of cold water, a meal, and a sweet, clean bed, which his
innocent fancy told him Matey might have been engaged in preparing
for him. If he had not been so loath to risk touching the walls of
his prison, his powerful tail would have wagged as the door opened
and the clean night air came in to him. As it was, he leaned
forward to express his gratitude for the opening of the door. And
as he moved forward, delicately, Matey's stick descended on his
nose, with all the weight of Matey's arm and Matey's savage anger
behind it. There was no more sensitive or vulnerable spot in the
whole of Finn's anatomy, physically or morally. The blow was
hideously painful, hideously unexpected, hideously demoralizing. It
robbed Finn of sight, and sense, and self-respect, and forced a
bewildered cry from him which was part bark, part howl, part growl,
and part scream of pain. It planted fear and horror in a single
instant in a creature who had lived in the world for fifteen months
with no consciousness of either. The filth of his prison was
forgotten in this new anguish of pain, and fear, and humiliation,
compared with which the kicks and stranglings of the early part of
the night were as nothing at all. In a few seconds of time the
proudest of princes in the dog world was reduced to a shuddering,
cringing object, cowering in one corner of a filthy cupboard.

Matey was not only furiously angry, he was also a good deal afraid;
and that added cruelty to his anger. He had heard a number of
bedroom windows raised as he crossed the walled-in yard; he wanted
no enquiries about the source and reason of the weird, syren-like
howls that had brought him out in his shirt and trousers. It was
his business to see that there were no more howls; and the only
means that occurred to his brutal mind were those he now proceeded
to put into operation. He closed the door of the den behind him,
and he rained down blows upon Finn's shrinking body till his arm
ached, and the dog's cries subsided into a low, continuous whimper,
the very paralysis of shame, anguish, fear, and distress. Then,
when his arm was thoroughly tired, he flung the stick viciously
into Finn's face, went out, and locked the door.

Matey certainly could not be called a clever dog stealer, because
he had no notion of how to preserve that which he stole. Putting
aside their brutality, his methods were incredibly stupid; but
when, five minutes later, he lay listening in his bed, the only
reflection that his stupid mind brought him was that he had
succeeded admirably. No further sound came from the walled-in yard;
and it appeared that there was to be no further risk of neighbours
being disturbed by howls from Finn. Matey was too far away to hear
anything of the low, tremulous, nasal whimpering which trickled out
into the night through the holes in the door of Finn's prison; and,
in any case, there was no fear of that small sound disturbing any
one. So, after his own fashion--which one really hesitates to call
brutal, because brutes rarely, and probably never, indulge in
pointless, unnecessary ferocity--Matey had been successful.

But if Matey had had sense enough to be called a clever dog-stealer,
he would have recognised that, despite his huge bulk and
strength, Finn was one of the gentlest and most docile of created
things, whose silence and tractability a little child could and
would have brought about with the greatest ease, and without so
much as an angry word. And, so, one has to admit that Matey's
cruelty was like nine-tenths of the other cruelty in the world,
alike among the educated and the uneducated, in that it was due to
ignorance and stupidity.

For a long time Finn was conscious of nothing but fear, and pain,
and misery. He really had been very badly handled, and, though he
knew it not, one of his ribs was broken. After an hour or two, he
became perfectly silent, and began, tentatively and in a half-hearted
way, to lick some of his bruises and abrasions. Then, before
this task was half accomplished, wise Nature asserted her claims,
and the exhausted Wolfhound fell into a fitful sleep just before
daybreak. When he woke, fully a couple of hours later, much of
his pain and misery remained with him; but the fear had given
place to other feelings, chief among which came the determination
to escape from the dominion of Matey. His own short experience of
life gave Finn nothing to draw upon in coping with the situation in
which he now found himself. He was drawing now, not upon teaching
or experience, but upon what we call instinct: the store of
concentrated inherited experience with which Nature furnishes all
created things, and some more richly than others. Deep down in
Finn's share of this store there were faint stirrings in the
direction of hatred and vengeance; but of these, Finn was not
actually conscious as yet. What he was acutely conscious of was the
determination with which instinct supplied him to seize the very
first opportunity of getting clear away from his present
environment, and from Matey. So much, instinct taught him: that he
must get his freedom if he could, and that he must never, never
again, for one moment, trust Matey. This was only the surface of
the lesson instinct taught him. There was a lot more in the lesson
which would permanently affect Finn's attitude toward humans and
toward life itself. But the surface was the immediate thing; to win
to freedom, and never to trust Matey again.

The first result of Finn's lesson was that he examined the whole of
his prison very carefully, by the aid chiefly of his sense of smell
and touch. There was hardly any light in the place. His nose was
very sore, because Matey's stick had knocked a large piece of skin
from it and bruised it badly. Also, the smell of every part of
Finn's prison was revolting to him. But, though with sensitively
wrinkled nostrils, Finn made his examination very thoroughly. And
in the end he decided that he could do nothing for the present.
Three sides of his prison were brick-work, and the fourth, the
door, presented no edge or corner which his teeth could touch. So
Finn sat still, waiting, listening, and watching, with his tongue
hanging out a little on one side of his mouth, by reason of the
horrid dryness which afflicted his throat. And every hour that he
waited brought greater strength to his determination, besides
teaching him something in the way of patience and caution.

Presently, the waiting Finn heard heavy footsteps in the yard
outside, and the muscles of his body gathered themselves together
for action. The door opened, and Finn saw Matey standing there with
a stick and a chain in his hand. Instinct told Finn on the instant
that he must at all hazards avoid both the stick and the chain;
but, more than anything else, the chain.

"Come 'ere!" said Matey. And Finn came. But, whereas Matey had
reckoned on a slow movement, in the course of which his hand would
have fallen on Finn's slip-collar preparatory to fixing the chain
on that, the movement was actually very swift and low to the
ground, and resulted in Finn's passing out scathless into the
walled-in yard.

"Oho! So we don't like our new master, don't we? Haven't forgotten
our blooming gruellin', eh? Better take care we don't get some more
o' the same sort, Mister Wolfhound, if you arst me!"

The walled-in yard was quite safe. Matey was in nowise perturbed,
and, moreover, having slept soundly and breakfasted copiously, he
was, for him, in an amiable mood. Still, he had no wish to waste
time, and he wanted to overhaul his plunder, and groom Finn up a
little before the prospective purchaser arrived. So Matey turned
round, leaned forward with a hand resting on one knee, and tried to
twist his features into an ingratiating expression, as he said--

"Here, then, good dog! Come on, Finn! Here, boy!"

But instinct made Finn's intelligence upon the whole superior to
Matey's in this matter, and, having already satisfied himself by
means of hurried investigation that at present he could not escape
from the walled-in yard, the Wolfhound stood half a dozen paces
distant from the man, waiting, with every nerve and muscle at
concert pitch. The man moved forward, with hand outstretched
invitingly. The Wolfhound moved backward, with hackles slightly
raised. Thus they followed each other round the little yard perhaps
six times, the distance between them being maintained with nicety
and precision by Finn. Then Matey's mental inferiority appeared. He
was expecting very shortly now the man from whom he hoped to
receive his reward--the price of Finn. His intelligence, such as it
was, told him that strategy would now be necessary to enable him to
lay hands on the Wolfhound; but, even while recognising that, he
could not refrain from angrily flinging his chain in Finn's face,
after his sixth promenade of the yard, and cursing the dog
savagely, before retiring into the house to prepare a stratagem.

Finn did not snarl as the chain struck him. Instinct had not
carried him so far from education. But he barked angrily, and
bounded to one side. While the man was away Finn examined the gate
of the yard through which he had been driven on the previous night,
and, though it rattled hopefully when he plunged against it with
his fore-paws, raised high above its fastening, it remained solidly

As Finn turned away from the doors of the yard, Matey appeared from
the house, holding in one outstretched hand a piece of the same
kind of meat with which he had seduced Finn into accompanying him
on the previous evening, and calling the hound to him in a friendly
tone. But Finn had learned a good deal since his first taste of
that savoury meat; more a good deal than the man who offered the
meat had learned in the same time. Taking the middle of the yard,
so as to leave himself ample space for retreat, he remained
watchfully regarding Matey, and refused to advance a step. Matey's
spoken blandishments were now a dead letter to Finn. Having once
discovered the possibilities of human treachery, he would never
forget them. And here the folk who belong to what we call the brute
creation are apt to be a good deal wiser than their betters in the
scale of evolution. They do not forget the teaching of experience
so readily as do those of us who are farther removed from Nature.
To be sure, Matey's notion of strategy was puerile enough; but,
apart from that, it is safe to assume that Finn would never again
completely trust this man, who had been the first to introduce him
to fear and misery, to humiliation, and to knowledge of the
existence of treachery and cruelty in men folk.

Matey cursed the Wolfhound angrily, but that did not incline Finn
to trust him any the more. Then the man advanced a little in his
strategy, and tossed a piece of the meat on to the ground, before
Finn, to inspire confidence. But Finn's mistrust was too profound
to admit of his stooping to pick this up. He was not very specially
hungry, in any case; and if Matey had been an observant creature,
or even one who used his memory wisely, he would have known that
the offer of drinking-water would have been infinitely more
tempting to Finn than any quantity of savoury meat. But, as a fact,
Finn was too much possessed just now by his determination to escape
from Matey and all his works to be very clearly conscious of any
other need.

Then, his petty strategy exhausted, and his paltry measure of self-control
with it, Matey started to chase Finn with a stick. Now and
again he succeeded in getting a blow home, as Finn wheeled and
leapt before him within the narrow limits of the yard; and every
time the stick touched him Finn barked angrily. This performance
was extremely bad for Finn. It was calculated to break down some of
the most valuable among his acquired qualities; the characteristics
that he acquired with his blood through many generations of wisely-bred
and humanely-reared hounds. In one sense it was more harmful
than the merciless and unreasonable punishment of the previous
night, because there was no faintest hint of a punishment about it;
not even of the sort of punishment that had followed his howling.
That had had the bad qualities of cruelty and unreasonableness,
unjustifiableness. This was not punishment at all, it was sheer
savagery, the savagery of a running fight in which the man, though
he might hurt occasionally, could not conquer. And that is a most
demoralizing sort of a happening, as between dog and man. Its
demoralizing influence could have been detected by an observant
spectator in the notes of Finn's barks when the stick reached him.
They approached momentarily nearer the threatening nature of a
growl; a new, dangerous note to hear in Finn's speech with mankind.

Matey was rapidly becoming exhausted, and in another moment or two
would probably have flung his stick at Finn and given up his
senseless pursuit, when, just as the Wolfhound bounded forward from
under his stick at the house end of the yard, the gate leading into
that yard opened, and Bill appeared. In an instant Finn had sprung
for the opening, Bill's legs were thrust from under him, and as he
stumbled, with one hand on the ground and an oath on his lips, Finn
reached the open road outside. Behind him, for a moment, Finn heard
a hurried scrambling, and a deal of broken, breathless whistling,
and calling aloud of his name. And then he heard no more from the
place of his captivity and anguish, for the reason that he was
already nearing the limits of the little town, and galloping hard
for the open country, over the road by which he had travelled some
ten hours earlier in Matey's cart.

[Illustration:  The gate leading into the yard opened, and Bill

Finn galloped for about three miles, his heart swelling within him
for joy in his freedom. Then, gradually, his gait slackened to a
canter, and then to a trot, and, finally, the sight of a wayside
pond brought him to a standstill; and, after a mechanical look
behind him, he walked into the water and drank, and drank, and
drank till he could drink no more. Finn emerged from the pond with
heaving flanks and dripping muzzle, conscious now of some of his
hurts and bruises, but licking his wet chops with satisfaction, and
supremely glad of his freedom. He lay down on the grass near the
pond and proceeded to lick those of his wounds and bruises which
were within licking reach, and to pity himself regarding the sharp
pain in his side which his broken rib was causing. Presently a cart
came jolting along from the direction in which Finn had come, and
the Wolfhound shrank back as far as possible into the hedge behind
him. But the driver of the cart took no further notice of Finn than
to stare idly at him, possibly without even seeing him; at all
events with an absolutely incurious stare. With renewed confidence,
the young hound stretched himself out again on the cool grass and
presently began to doze, this being the wise manner of all his kind
in assisting Nature to cure them of their various ills.

While Finn dozed, another cart approached him from the little town
he had left behind, and in this second cart were two extremely
angry men, one of whom strongly desired Finn's recapture on
mercenary grounds, while the other desired it upon these grounds
and others also. Bill wanted his share of Finn's price; Matey
wanted his larger share of that price, and he also wanted badly to
have Finn securely tied up in a convenient position for being
soundly beaten. Matey would almost rather have foregone the money
than the satisfaction of administering the beating, the very
thorough beating which he pictured himself administering to Finn.
His heavy mouth twitched viciously as Matey thought about it.
Suddenly Bill pulled the pony on to its haunches with a jerk.

"I'm jiggered if that ain't 'im a-waitin' for us!" exclaimed Bill,
in a hoarse whisper.

Matey was out of the trap in an instant, and, with meat in his
hand, was already beginning a whining call, which was meant to be
extremely ingratiating. But Finn sprang to his feet at the sound of
the cart coming to a standstill, and, after one glance at Matey,
was off like a wolf down the empty country road.

This was yet another lesson learned. Finn would not be in a hurry
to rest by the wayside again. After two miles of galloping at the
rate of nearly twenty miles an hour, Finn steadied down to a fast
loping gait, which would have kept him abreast of any other road
vehicle than a motor-car, and maintained this for quite a long
while. Then, by reason of the pain in his side, and of other pains,
he decided to stop. But, with his last-learned lesson fresh in his
mind, he had no intention of resting by the roadside. With a twist
of pain that cut into his side like a knife, he leapt a field gate,
and crept along the inner side of the hedge for some distance
before finally curling up in a dry hollow beside a hayrick. Here,
sheltered by the rick and half buried in dry hay and straw, Finn
courted the sleep he needed, so that it came to him swiftly. In his
sleep the young Wolfhound whimpered occasionally, and once or twice
his whole great body shook to the sound of a growling bark, causing
two bloodshot eyes to be half opened, and then mechanically closed
again, with a small grunt, as Finn's muzzle drove a little deeper
into the dry hay under his hocks, and he allowed sleep to
strengthen its healing hold upon him.

It was a dream that caused Finn to give that growling bark, and it
was a dream of a kind that had been foreign to his breed for
generations. He dreamed that he was chasing Matey, in the form of a
huge rabbit, armed with a stick. Matey, the rabbit, bounded away
from him, just as ordinary rabbits did; but sounds came from
Matey's rabbit mouth, and they were the horrid, venomous sounds of
the curses with which Matey had followed him that morning in the
walled-in yard. In the dream Finn was always on the point of
leaping upon the back of rabbit-Matey's neck, with jaws stretched
wide for slaughter. But something always intervened to prevent Finn
taking the leap. The something was this: at the moment of the leap,
Matey always looked more like a man and less like a rabbit, and the
instinct which told Finn not to slay a man was a very strong one.
But, somehow, rabbit-Matey seemed an exception. Finn was very
anxious to feel the crunching of his shoulder and neck bones; and
altogether it was unfortunate that such a dream should have been
inspired in the brain of so nobly born a hound.

When Finn finally woke he gaped right in the eye of the setting
sun, and all about him was the solemn silence of a fine October
twilight. He yawned cavernously, and, raising his haunches,
stretched his huge trunk from fore-paws placed far out. But, in the
midst of the stretch, he gave a little smothered yelp of pain, and
came to earth again, solicitously licking at the ribs of his right
side. Matey's heavy boot had done great execution there. Slowly,
then, Finn rose, and walked out into the darkening twilight of the
field. Before he had covered a hundred yards, a rabbit started up
from behind a bush, and scurried hedgewards for its life. But the
distance was too great for bunny by three yards, and Finn's jaws
snapped his backbone in sunder within six feet of his own burrow.
This was hard on the rabbit; but it was no more than one tiny
instance of the outworking of Nature's most inexorable law. Finn
had killed many rabbits before this evening; but in the past he had
merely obeyed his hunting and killing instinct. Now this instinct
in him was sharpened by hunger, by having slept on the open earth,
and by being conscious of no human control or protection. Finn
proceeded to eat this particular rabbit, and that was distinctly a
new experience for him, and one that left him upon the whole
pleased with himself. He was not aware of the fact, of course, but
this simple act placed him more nearly on terms with his ancestors
than anything else he had ever done, unless, perhaps, one counts
the dream acts of that afternoon.

After his meal Finn strolled along the hedge-side till he came to a
gap, and then slipped through to the road. For a mile or two he
trotted along the silent road with no particular object in view,
and then, coming to a grassy lane, turned into that, and trotted
for another mile or two, leaping a gate and a stile which barred
his way at intervals, and coming presently to a group of three
large ricks. His side was aching dully, and Finn was rather unhappy
over finding no sign of the home beside the Downs where his friends
were, and his own comfortable bed. Having allowed his mind to dwell
upon this for several minutes, he sat down on his haunches near one
of the ricks, and howled to the stars about it all for quite a
while, and so effectively that a farmer, sitting in his comfortable
dining-room nearly half a mile away, made a remark to his daughter
about the new-fangled way these pesky motor-car people have of
blowing fog-horns like the ships at sea, and carrying on as if the
road belonged to them--drat 'un!

It was not active unhappiness, let alone misery like that of the
previous night, that moved Finn to this vocal display; but only a
kind of gentle melancholy such as we call home-sickness, and after
five minutes of it, he curled up beside one of the ricks, after
scratching and turning round and round sufficiently to make a kind
of burrow for himself, and was fast asleep in about two minutes.

In the morning, long before the dew was off the grass, Finn set out
to do what he had never done a before: he set out deliberately to
hunt and kill some creature for his breakfast. He very nearly
caught an unwary partridge, though the bird did not tempt him
nearly so strongly as a thing that ran upon the earth, and ran
fast. In the end his menu was that of the previous evening, and, as
he eyed its still warm and furry remains, Finn felt that life was
really a very good thing, even when one had a pain in one's side,
and a large assortment of bruises and sore places in various other
parts of one's body.

Towards midday Finn lounged into a rather large village, and did
not like it at all. It stirred up in him the recollection of Matey
and his horrible environment, and he began to hurry, impelled by a
nervous dread of some kind of treachery. Towards the end of the
village he passed a pretty, creeper-grown cottage, from the door of
which a policeman issued. The policeman stared at Finn, and smacked
his own leg. Then he bent his body in an insinuating manner and
called to the Wolfhound: "Here, boy! Here, good dog! Come along!"
But Finn only lengthened his stride, and presently broke into a
gallop. He was no longer the guileless, trustful Finn of a week
ago. The rural constable sighed as he resumed an erect position and
watched Finn's disappearing form.

"He must be the dog that's wanted, all right; reg'ler monster, I'm
blessed if he isn't. But, takin' one thing with another, I'd just
as soon they catched him somewhere else than here. Why, I reckon my
missis 'ud have a fit. I don't call it hardly right, myself; not
'avin' 'em that size."

Half an hour later, to his great delight, Finn found himself clear
of roads and houses, and on the warm, chalky slopes of the Sussex
Downs. These great, smooth, immemorial hills, with their blunt
crests, and close-cropped, springy turf, brought a rush of home-feeling
into Finn's heart, which made his eyes misty, so that he
had to sit down and give vent to two or three long-drawn howls by
way of expressing his gentle melancholy. But Finn's nose told him
plainly that he had never before been on these particular Downs.
And so, good and kindly as this ancient British soil was to him, it
brought him no sight of actual home.

Towards evening he coursed and killed another rabbit, eating half
of it, and providing, in the other half which he left, a
substantial repast for a prowling weasel who followed in his trail.

Something--it may have been merely the fact that the day had not
been in any way exhausting like its predecessors--prevented Finn
from being inclined to curl down and sleep, when he passed a
convenient wheat rick in a valley an hour after his supper. The
night was fine and clear, and night life in the open, with its many
mysterious rustlings, bird and animal calls, and other enticing
sounds and smells, was beginning to present considerable
attractions to Finn. The events of the past few days had aroused
all sorts of latent tendencies and inclinations in him; feelings
which resembled memories of bygone days in their effects upon him,
but yet were not memories of any life that he had known, though
they may have been blood memories of the experiences of his
forbears. Later on, however, the young Wolfhound began to tire of
the freedom of the night, and home-sick longings rose in his heart
as he thought of the coach-house and of Kathleen. It was at about
this time that Finn fell to walking along a narrow, white sheep-walk,
on the side of a big, billowy down, which seemed to him
pleasanter and more homely than any of the hills he had traversed
that evening. Gradually the track in the chalk deepened and widened
a little, until it became a path sunk in the hill-side to a depth
of fifteen or twenty feet, and ended in a five-barred gate beside a
road. Finn leaped the gate with a strange feeling of exultation in
his heart, which made him careless of the sharp pain the leap
brought to his side. Something rose in his throat as he reached the
road. His eyes became misty, his nose drooped eagerly to the
surface of the road, and he whimpered softly as he ran, with tail
swaying from side to side, and a great tenderness welling up within

Two minutes later he came to a white gate leading to a shrub-sheltered
garden before a small, low, rambling little house. He
leaped the little gate, and turned sharply to the right in the
garden. But then his way was blocked by high doors, set in masonry,
which could not possibly be climbed or jumped. Before these gates,
which evidently led to the stables and rear of the house, Finn sat
down on his haunches. Then he lifted his long muzzle heavenward and
howled lugubriously. He continued his howling steadily for about
one minute and a half, and at the end of that time a door opened
behind him in the front of the house, and a man clad in pyjamas
rushed out into the garden. Finn had studiously avoided men for
these two days past now; but, so far from avoiding this man, he
rose on his hind-legs to give greeting, and could hardly be induced
to lower his front paws, even when the man in pyjamas had removed
his caressing arms from about the Wolfhound's shoulders. The man,
you see, was the Master, and three minutes afterwards he was joined
by the Mistress of the Kennels. But they were all three in the
Master's outside den then with Tara.




The Mistress of the Kennels held on to one of Finn's fore-paws as
though she feared he might be spirited away from the den, even
while he was being welcomed home there. The fatted calf took the
form of a dish of new milk and some sardines on toast which had
been prepared for the next morning's breakfast. But this came
later, and was polished off by Finn more by reason of its rare
daintiness and his desire to live up to what the occasion seemed to
demand of him, than because he was hungry. At an early stage in
proceedings the Master noticed, and removed, the slip-collar.

"Well, that disposes of the theory that Finn wandered away of his
own accord," said the Master. "If the police know their business
this ought to help them." Then he turned to Finn again. "You didn't
know there was a twenty-five pound reward out for you, my son, did
you? It was to have been made fifty in another day or two; though,
if you did but know it, our solvency demands rather that you should
be sold, than paid for in that fashion."

The Mistress nodded thoughtfully.

"But that's quite impossible after this," she said; "selling Finn,
I mean."

The Master smiled. "I suppose it is. That seems to be rather our
way. It's a dead sure thing there can be no selling of Tara, and--I'm
inclined to think you're right about Finn, too. Heavens! If I
could lay my hands on the man who took that chip off his muzzle, I
think I'd run to the length of a ten pounds fine for assault. I'd
get my money's worth, too. The dog has been clubbed; he has been
man-handled; I could swear he has had to fight for his freedom.
Poor old Finn! What a dog! What a Finn it is!"

While the last of these remarks was being made the Master was
carefully examining Finn all over, parting the Wolfhound's dense
hard hair over places in which the skin beneath had been broken,
and pressing his fingers along the lines of different bones and
muscles solicitously. There was a half-spoken oath on the Master's
lips when Finn winced from him as his hand passed down the ribs of
the hound's right side.

"There is a rib broken here," he said to the Mistress, "unless I am
much mistaken. When the post office opens in the morning we must
wire for Turle, the vet. Thieving's bad enough, but--there are some
stupid brutes in this world!"

The Mistress stared.

"Oh, no, I don't mean Finn; nor any of his honest four-legged kind.
I meant two-legged brutes. Finn has been handled more roughly than
an understanding man would handle a tiger. And look at his face.
Look into his eyes. Notice his keenly watchful air, even while I am
handling him. Well, Finn, my son, you have said good-bye to
puppyhood with a vengeance now. Unless I am much mistaken he has
crowded more into the last three days than all the rest of his life
till now had taught him. That dog's years older than Kathleen to-night
in some ways. Do you get the effect I mean? The youth has
gone; there is a certain new hardness. Watch his eye now as I lift
my hand!"

The Master lifted his hand with a sudden jerk, and the two who were
watching Finn's eyes saw that in them which they had never seen in
Kathleen's, nor yet even in Tara's eyes; for neither Tara nor her
daughter had ever pitted their agility against man's brutality.
They had never been clubbed or kicked; they had never seen as far
into the ugly places of human nature as Finn; and you might
brandish your arms in any way you chose before old Tara or
Kathleen, and, while the one would have blinked at you with
courteous tolerance of your foolishness, the other would have
suspected you of inventing a new game, and gambolled before you
like a huge kitten.

It was not, of course, that Finn was foolish enough to distrust the
Master, or suspect him of any hostile intention. But certain
instincts had been awakened in the young Wolfhound, and, for a long
time, at all events, and probably for the rest of his life, those
instincts would not again become latent. In some respects he may
have been the better off; certainly he was better equipped to face
the world; but the Master, naturally enough, could not withhold a
sigh for the old utter trustfulness which had held even the
instincts of self-preservation in abeyance. But, as has been said,
Finn was better equipped to face the world than either his sister,
or that gentle great lady, his mother; all his instincts were more
alert, and his senses also. His eyes moved more rapidly than their
eyes; his attitude toward life and toward men-folk was more elastic
and less absolute. Men-folk remained his superiors in Finn's eyes,
his superiors in a hundred ways, and it might be his dearly loved
friends; but they were not any more the absolute, omnipotent, and
all-perfect gods that they had been, and still were to Kathleen,
for example, who would not have felt the slightest uneasiness if
the Master had placed his heel on her throat, or touched her head
with a club, as she lay on the ground before him.

To a great extent, however, the Master's sympathetic anger over
Finn's wounds, and twinges of regret regarding the subtle changes
which he recognised in the hound he affectionately called "son,"
were out-balanced by the joy he felt at seeing Finn safe in his den
again. The loss of Finn had been hard to bear, and not the less
hard because it came immediately after the great triumph of the
Show. There were the seven prize cards adorning the wall over
Tara's great bed in the den; but their presence had been something
of a mockery in the absence of their winner. When the Master and
the Mistress finally bade Finn good night, after making him
thoroughly comfortable in his own clean, big bed, the coach-house
door was carefully padlocked.

It could not have been said a month later that Finn was physically
the worse for his adventure in the hands of Matey. His ribs were
sound once more, and all his wounds and bruises were healed, though
a light-coloured scar remained, and would remain on his muzzle,
where the dog-stealer's stick had bitten into the bone. If it had
come nine months earlier, such an experience would have been bad
indeed, for sets-back in puppyhood are hard to make up. But at
fifteen months Finn had as perfect a physical foundation to go upon
as any living creature could have. He was fortified against
physical ills as few animals can be; his system lacked nothing that
makes for resisting power; he had attained his full growth without
having known a day's illness, and his reserve strength was

And now came a long and rather severe winter, in which no evil
thing befell Finn, and the process of "furnishing" went on in him
with never a hitch of any sort, and in circumstances that could not
possibly have been more favourable. All day long he drank in the
heartiest air in England; on every day he had ample exercise and
ample food, and when young summer of the next year brought him to
his second birthday, Finn scaled 149 lbs., and his shoulder bones
just skimmed the under side of the measuring standard at thirty-six
inches. Hard measurement brought him within an eighth of an inch of
the yard, and it was fair to say that, favourably measured,
standing well up, he did reach full thirty-six inches at the

Remember that, when his head was inclined upward, the tip of his
nose would be more than a foot higher than his shoulder. With all
four feet on the floor, he could rest his nose on a window-ledge
that was exactly four feet high. His eyes, and shaggy brows and
beard, like the tip of his tail, were dark as night; there were
some extra dark hairs at his hocks, fetlocks and shoulder blades;
and all the rest of Finn was of a hard, steely grey brindle colour;
the typical wolf colour of northern climes, very steely, and with
odd suggestions about it of ghostly fleetness, of great speed and
enduring strength. His fore-legs were straight as gun-barrels, his
knees flat as the palm of your hand; his feet hard, close, round,
and rather cat-like, save that his claws were more like chisels,
black, and hard, and strongly curved. His hind-legs, on the other
hand, were finely curved, with swelling rolls of muscle in the
upper thighs. The first or upper thighs were very long and strong,
curving sharply out to hocks that were well let down, and without a
hint of turn inward or outward. His loins were well arched, his
chest deep, like an Arab stallion's, his neck long, arched, and
very strong, like the massy muscles of his fore-arms. It was
difficult to say that he had grown much since his fifteenth month,
and yet he looked a very much bigger dog, and, above all, he looked
and was very much stronger. There was no longer anything immature
or unformed about Finn. During his next year he might possibly add
half a score of pounds to his already great weight; but on his
second birthday he was set and furnished, a superb specimen of pure
breeding and perfect rearing in Irish Wolfhounds.

For almost six months now Finn's only companion of his own kind had
been Tara. He had not seen Kathleen's departure from the cottage
beside the Downs, and for some days he was greatly puzzled by her
absence. He even stood by the orchard gate and growled fiercely,
with the hair on his shoulders standing almost erect, because the
thought was in his mind that Matey may have had something to do
with this disappearance. The Master saw him engaged in this way,
and was greatly puzzled by it. He said to the Mistress of the
Kennels afterwards--

"I really think old Finn must have gone mad for five minutes this
morning. I never saw a more fearsome-looking creature than he was
when he stood and growled beside the orchard gate. I assure you he
was terrible. He looked about six feet high, and as fierce as any
tiger. It made me think of his ancient godfather, or namesake, the
Finn of fifteen hundred years ago, who kept King Cormac's three
hundred Irish Wolfhounds in fighting trim, as the most awe-inspiring
and death-dealing portion of his master's army. I must
read over those 'Tales of the Cycle of Finn' again; they are fine,
stirring things. But in these worrying days I hardly seem to get
time for sleep, let alone for reading about old Finn. But I wish
you had seen Finn--our Finn--this morning. He was very terrible,
but I never saw a dog look more magnificent. Upon my word, I
believe there are very few living things that Finn could not
implant fear in, if he set his mind to it; yes, and pull down, to
boot--a hundred and fifty pounds of muscle and bone, and teeth and
fire and spirit!"

But Finn need not have worried for Kathleen's sake. She had gone to
a good home, and lives there to-day in honoured old age. Her owner
paid a hundred guineas for her, and would not sell her for ten
times the figure. But there was no way of telling Finn these
things, for though he could understand most things that the Master
said to him, and was able to tell the Master most things that he
wanted to tell; yet the matter of buying and selling and its causes
were naturally beyond him. He had no way of telling that the Master
was in sore straits financially, though he did know that his friend
was not over and above happy. Neither could he tell that the mere
keeping of a Wolfhound like Kathleen runs away with the better part
of twenty pounds a year. Things were not prospering with the
Master, and, feeling that he could not part with Finn or Tara, he
had been absolutely obliged to sell Kathleen.

But that was by no means the end of the Master's troubles, the root
of which lay in the fact that he loved the country, and hated the
town, but was unable to earn money enough in the country to meet
the various obligations with which he saddled himself, and was
saddled by circumstances. And so it fell out that soon after Finn's
second birthday the Master began to spend a good deal of time away
from the house by the Downs. Tara liked to pass the greater part of
her time in the Master's outside den with her muzzle on his
slippers, but Finn was not like that. Tara was a matron getting on
in years, and her matronhood had cost her dear in illness from
which it had been thought she could never recover. Finn, on the
other hand, was the very personification of lusty youth and
tireless virility. The Mistress of the Kennels would take him out
behind her bicycle, while Tara lay dreaming at home, and it may be
that the Mistress fancied her gentle ten and twelve mile runs tired
Finn. She never saw him when he would set off upon his hunting
expeditions, in the course of which he covered every foot of the
Downs for a dozen miles around. He was safe enough, too, for he
would have had nothing but angry growls for any man of Matey's ilk,
charmed he never so wisely with spiced meats and the like. The
weasels and the stoats, and a score of other wild things that
roamed that country-side, could have told the Mistress of the
Kennels just why Finn did not always clear his dinner dish in these
days, and thereby saved her an addition to her many worries of that
period. She did not like to depress the Master with tales of half-eaten
meals, and she had no knowledge of the half-eaten hares and
rabbits and other wild creatures which Finn left behind him on his
hunting trails.

From one point of view, Finn suffered at this stage from the
absence of the Master's eye and hand, and so did the rabbits; but,
from another point of view, Finn gained. He became harder, more
wily, and a far more expert hunter than he would have been under a
more disciplined regime. But certainly he also became less
domesticated, and vastly less fastidious than, for example, that
exquisite great lady, his mother.

There came a certain late summer's day, with more than a hint of
autumn in the air, when something happened which Finn never quite
forgot. The Master had been away for three weeks on end, and Tara
had missed him sadly. In the evening the great bitch would often
whimper quietly as she lay outstretched, with her long, grey muzzle
resting on the slippers which the Mistress never thought of taking
from her. Of late she had cared less and less for any kind of
activity, and seemed more and more to desire the presence of the
Master. Now, in the evening of the day which brought strong hints
of coming autumn with it, Finn lay beside Tara in the outside den,
thinking lazily of an upland meadow, with a copse at its far end,
which he meant to hunt presently. Suddenly there came a sound of a
man's footfall on the gravel beyond the gateway and in front of the
house. Tara's nostrils quivered as her head rose. With one mighty
bound she was outside the den. The gates stood open. The Master, at
the garden's far end, called--

"Tara! Tara, girl! Here, girl!"

Finn was by Tara's flank, and he saw her leap forward, hurtling
through the air like an arrow from a bow. Six great bounds she
gave, while fleet Finn galloped a good twenty paces behind her, and
then Tara stopped suddenly with a strange, moaning cry, staggered
for a moment, as the Master ran towards her, and then fell
sideways, against his knee, with glazing eyes turned up for a last
glimpse of the face she loved. The Master was kneeling on the
gravel, and Tara's shoulders were in his arms; but at the end of
two long-drawn sighs, Tara was dead.

Finn was sniffing at his mother's back. He did not know just what
had happened, but he was profoundly conscious that the happening
was tragic, and that his beautiful mother was the victim. The shock
to the Master was very great; for he was already unhappy, and he
had loved this mother of heroes of his very dearly. But the shock
to Finn, though far less complex, was scarcely less great. He had
killed many scores of times, but it seemed that he had never seen
death till now.  He recognized it clearly enough. He knew that Tara
was never going to move again; the instant his sensitive nostrils
touched her still, warm body he knew that. But there had been no
killing. That was what baffled Finn, and struck a kind of terror
into his heart, to lend poignancy to his sorrow. One more look he
gave at his mother's sightless face, this time where it rested on
the crook of the Master's arm, and then he sat down on his
haunches, and with muzzle raised high poured out his grief in the
long-drawn Irish Wolfhound howl; the most melancholy cry in nature.

The Master had looked careworn and weary before he called Tara to
him. It was a very grey, sad face he showed when he rose gently and
bade Finn go into the coach-house and be silent. He had known that
Tara's heart was weak, but this thing that had happened he had
never anticipated, and the nature and circumstances of Tara's death
were such as to move a man deeply. In a sense, her love of the
Master had killed this beautiful hound. Her great love had burst
her heart in sunder, and so she died, the very noble daughter of an
ancient, noble line.




To Finn it seemed that life was never the same after the evening of
Tara's death. He did not know, of course, that changes had been set
afoot during many months before his mother's end came. And in a way
he was right; life never was quite the same for him. Active
changes, toward which the Master's circumstances had been leading
for some time past, began immediately after that strange home-coming which
finally separated Finn from his own kin.

For instance, the Master seemed generally to be away from the house
beside the Downs; and the Mistress of the Kennels seemed always to
be busy, and never to be in playful mood. Days passed without even
one of those gentle runs behind a bicycle to which Finn had grown
accustomed; days during which no one ever spoke to Finn except at
meal-times, and the home seemed strangely silent and deserted. Finn
was always locked up at night, or he would have chosen that time
for hunting expeditions. As it was, however, the long days were his
own, and he grew to devote less and less time out of these days to
the home life. He was not inclined, as his mother had been, to lie
dozing and dreaming for hours together in the outside den. He would
slip through the orchard, and over its gate to the open Downs; and
there, roaming that country-side for hours at a stretch, he would
hunt; only occasionally killing to eat, and for the greater part of
his time hunting for the sheer pleasure of it. For so great a
hound, he became wonderfully adept and cunning in the pursuit of
the small creatures of the open; stalking them as silently,
cautiously, and surely as a cat, and acquiring, day by day, more
and more of that most distinguishing characteristic of the wild
creatures: indomitable patience. Great fleetness and great strength
were his by birth; tireless patience and cunning he learned in
these lonely days beside the Sussex Downs; and learned them so well
that his silent, shadowy great form became a very real terror to
all the wild things of that district. There was, of course, no
creature among them that could attempt for an instant to meet Finn
in open combat; and as time went on, there were few who could
successfully pit their cunning and their agility against those of
the great hound.

There was one wild creature, however, in this district, who grew to
know Finn well, and to fear him not at all; and this was a large
male fox, born and bred in a copse not half a mile from Finn's
home. To this strong and cunning fox, Finn appeared in the light of
a provider of good things, and for long he waxed fat and lazy upon
Finn's numerous kills, without the Wolfhound ever having suspected
his existence. Then, late one autumn afternoon, Finn saw Reynard
descend from a little wooded hillock and seize upon the half of a
rabbit which the Wolfhound had left lying there in the valley,
beside a little brook, where he had killed it. Like a flash, Finn
wheeled and gave chase; but the fox disdained even to drop his
prize, and, by reason rather of his superior woodcraft, and his
knowledge of every leaf and twig in that country-side, than of his
fleetness, Reynard was the winner of the long race that followed.

This interested Finn more than anything that had happened for a
long while. His trailing faculties, though they had been greatly
developed of late, were nothing like so keen as those of a
foxhound, or a pointer, or a setter; his race having always done
their hunting by sight and sheer fleetness. But, as against that,
the big fox had grown very lazy of late. He had done practically no
hunting at all, preferring to trail Finn on his hunting
expeditions, and fare sumptuously upon Finn's leavings. As it
happened, this particular fox had never been hunted, and during a
big slice of his life he had been wont to regard himself as the
unquestioned monarch of that country-side; so far as its wild life
went. He did not realize, even after Finn's first pursuit of him,
that he had made a powerful enemy, and one in whom the
determination to run him down had already taken firm root.

And now, for days, Finn's great interest in life was the pursuit of
the big fox. For the rest, he only killed rabbits and the like when
they came in his way; and, even so, he supplied ample food for the
cunning fox. At first, Finn spent his time largely in looking for
his new quarry, and then giving forthright chase. But gradually he
learned that the fox was his master in this work, if only by reason
of its comparative smallness, which enabled it to twist and double
through places which were impenetrable to the great hound who
followed. So Finn fell back upon his recently acquired cunning. He
killed a rabbit, and left three-quarters of its carcase in an
exposed, open place, while he himself crawled into a clump of brush
and lay waiting, with eager, watchful eyes peering through the
leaves. Presently, Reynard approached from some undergrowth a
hundred yards away on the other side of the kill. But he did not
approach very nearly. His sharp, sensitive nose wrinkled and
pointed skyward for a moment, and then, as the breeze gave him
Finn's scent, he turned promptly round and trotted back to covert.

Finn gave an immense amount of reflection to this, and two days
later, his cunning evolved a very much cleverer scheme. He killed
another rabbit, and placed it in a convenient run-way of the big
fox's. Then he trotted off on the lee side of the kill, and quietly
made towards his entrance to the orchard at home. But, instead of
entering the orchard, he circled again, and, keeping religiously to
leeward of his track, flew at great speed for the far end of the
run-way in which he had left his kill. When Reynard discovered the
rabbit, he merely glanced at it, and then quietly took up Finn's
trail, to make sure of the Wolfhound's whereabouts. This trail he
followed to a point that was as near as he cared to venture to the
orchard fence. Then, satisfied that Finn had gone home, he trotted
back to where the kill lay, being naturally to windward all the
while of Finn's second trail.

[Illustration:  Finn's teeth sank deep.]

Arrived in the run-way, Reynard picked up the dead rabbit and slung
it carelessly across his shoulder. Then he trotted leisurely down
the run-way toward his own earth, where he meant to feast in
security and comfort. At the end of the run-way came a wide, open
stretch of waste land, on the far side of which lay the track to
Reynard's cave. Well hidden by the bushes at the end of the run-way,
on its lee side, crouched Finn, every nerve tensely alert. He
waited till Reynard was well clear of the run-way and fairly
started across the open, and then he sprang out from the place of
his concealment, his leap carrying him to within a yard of
Reynard's flank. The insolence of good and easy living, and long
mastery over the creatures that dwelt about him, led the fox into
perhaps two seconds of indecision; and those two seconds cost him
dear. There was no indecision about his flight, of course, and
almost before Finn's feet touched the ground, the fox was stretched
to the full stride of his top gait. The indecision was in the
matter of relinquishing his booty; and that it was which cost the
fox dear by reducing his starting speed. At the end of his fourth
stride, he dropped the rabbit; but at the end of his fifth stride
the Wolfhound was abreast of him, with neck bent sideways, and jaws
stretched wide. Less than a second later, Finn's great jaws closed
upon the back of the fox's shoulders; and that was where Finn made
his first mistake. He was, for all his recent experience, quite new
to the killing of such a quarry as the fox, who himself was easily
able, and big and strong enough for the killing of such prey as
Finn had learned to hunt. The shoulders of a hare or a rabbit were
easily smashed between Finn's jaws; but the shoulders of the big
fox, with their mat of dense fur, were far otherwise. Finn's teeth
sank deep, but they broke no bones.

Nevertheless, his weight and the force of the impact between the
two, brought Reynard to earth, where he rolled smartly on his back,
slashing at Finn's fore-arm with his sharp white fangs, and
snarling ferociously. In the same instant almost, the fox was on
his feet, but before he could leap away, Finn's jaws descended on
the back of his neck, gripping him like a vice, and shaking him
almost as a terrier shakes a rat. With a desperate squirm the fox
wriggled earthward from this terrible grip, and, as Finn drew
breath, stabbing at the fox with one fore-paw, as he would have
stabbed at a still living rabbit, to hold it, Reynard's fangs cut
deeply into the loose skin of his chest. As he slashed, the fox,
after the manner of his kind, leaped clear. But he had no time to
run before Finn was upon him, with a roar of awakened fury. The fox
dodged and slashed again, drawing blood from the fleshy part of
Finn's fore-arm. Reynard fought like a wolf, or a light-weight
boxer; and after this last slash, he wheeled like lightning and
flew for cover. But the Wolfhound's fighting blood was boiling in
him now, and Finn swept down upon the fox, exactly as a greyhound
sweeps upon a hare. When his great jaws closed upon the fox's neck
this time, it was to kill. Reynard squirmed valiantly; but Finn
flung him on his back, and took new hold upon his throat. The fox's
two hind-feet, drawn well up, scored down Finn's belly like the
feet of a lynx; but it was Reynard's last movement, for, as he made
it, Finn's long fangs met in his jugular, and his warm blood
streamed upon the ground.

That was Finn's first big kill, and it marked an epoch in his
development, leaving active in him a newly-wakened instinct of
fierceness which had been foreign to his family for several
generations. If the big fox could have kept clear of Finn for but
two more days he would have saved his life; and, in any case, such
killings as Finn's had been during the past month or so could
hardly have continued much longer in that country-side without
attracting human attention, the result of which might have been
awkward for the Wolfhound. As it was, the superficial wounds the
fox had inflicted upon him were never noticed by the Master or the
Mistress of the Kennels, by reason of other happenings in which
Finn also was concerned. His wounds were not deep, his coat was
dense, and Finn doctored himself effectively with his own tongue.

Early on the morning after his successful hunting of the fox, Finn
found several strange men about the house and grounds. The Master
had arrived home late on the previous evening, unconscious, not
alone of Finn's fox-hunting, but of his foraging habits generally;
ignorant even of the fact that his one remaining Wolfhound ever
left the premises, unless with the Mistress of the Kennels. It was
a very large slice of Finn's life during the last few months that
was unknown to his human friends. All through this day Finn
pottered about the house and garden and the outside den, observing
with curiosity the behaviour of the strange men who wore green
aprons. It seemed to Finn that these men were bent upon turning the
whole place upside down. The game they played seemed to consist of
laboriously lifting heavy articles of furniture, carrying them
about, and putting them down again, in what seemed to Finn a
confused and pointless manner. Evening found the Wolfhound scarcely
more comfortable than his human friends, who were evidently in very
poor spirits. They were moved by conscious regret, and by conscious
anxiety regarding the future. Finn was moved by conscious
discomfort, and vague mental stirrings of impending trouble of some
sort. When he slept, he dreamed of Matey; this time in the form of
a huge fox, whose jaws slashed the air in the most fearsome manner.
(Up till the previous day, Finn had hunted and killed innumerable
wild creatures, but never fought with one.)

The next day was one of even less comfort and more bewilderment. In
addition to the men with green aprons and strongly vocal boots,
there was quite a large assemblage of other people, who strode
about through the rooms of the little house, and in its garden,
stable, and outside den, as though the place belonged to them, and
they were rather disgusted with it. Later on, however, these noisy
men-folk (there were women among them, too) drew together in one of
the front rooms of the house, and made all sorts of--to Finn--meaningless
noises, while one among them stood upon a kitchen-chair
and occasionally smote the top of a salt-box with a small white
hammer, before proceeding to call forth more meaningless noises
from the other people. Finn prowled about in a most unhappy mood,
and once, the Mistress of the Kennels led him into an empty
bedroom, and knelt down on the floor and cried over him, while he
endeavoured to lick her face, whimpering the while, to show his
sympathy. Later on, the people flocked out into the den, and made
more vain noises there; and then to the stable. Finally, they
streamed out into the orchard, and made stupid remarks about the
kennels there; and at long last they went away, leaving the green-aproned
men in undisputed possession, and free to throw furniture
about, and pile it on carts in the road, as they chose.

Then the Master and the Mistress and Finn went away together to the
station, saying nothing, and looking very unhappy. Finn carried his
tail so low that it dragged, and its black tip picked up mud from
the wet road, upon which a fine autumnal drizzle had begun to fall.
That night, and for two subsequent nights, Finn lived unhappily in
a poky London lodging with his friends; and on the third day, he
walked with the Master to a railway station, while the Mistress of
the Kennels drove in a cab with a mountain of baggage. Finn was not
allowed in the carriage with his friends, but had to travel in a
van full of boxes and bags, with a rough but amiable man whose coat
had shiny buttons, and whose attitude toward Finn was one of
respectful and distant deference.

Some time before this, Finn had come to the conclusion that they
were all going to a Dog Show; and, remembering vividly a Great Dane
who had snarled viciously at him in the last show he had visited
during the middle of the summer (when, as on each other occasion of
his being exhibited, he had been awarded first prize in each class
for which he was eligible), he decided that he would adopt a
killing demeanour and stand no nonsense at all. Four or five months
ago, at the time of this last show, the Dane's fang-bearing snarl
had made him shudder. To-day he would have rather welcomed it than
otherwise, and returned it with interest.

After walking some fifty or sixty yards from the train, among a
great crowd of people and baggage, Finn, with the Master, entered
what he supposed was the show building. The chief reason, by the
way, of his conviction that he was bound for a show, lay in the
fact that a long, bright steel chain was attached to his best green
collar, with its brass name-plate bearing Finn's name and the
Master's. The odd thing about this show building, however, was that
there appeared to be only two other dogs in it, besides Finn; one a
collie, and one an Irish terrier, whose head, so far as its shape
went, was a tiny miniature of Finn's own head. In colour, however,
the terrier reminded him rather of the big fox he had slain. Finn
found these two dogs--both, of course, unimportant small fry, from
his lofty standpoint--each chained to the front part of a barrel
half filled with straw; and that seemed to the Wolfhound an
extremely odd kind of show bench. But the bed to which Finn himself
was chained was a good deal more like the kind he had seen before
at shows, in that it was a flat bench, well strawed, and a good
foot above the floor level; but it had solid wooden sides and roof,
so that, while he lay on it, Finn could not see the other dogs,
unless by craning his head round the corner. And before he left,
the Master fixed up some wirework before the bench, so as to shut
Finn in, while on the inside of that network a notice was hung, for
the benefit of passers-by, most of whom read the notice aloud,
until Finn was thoroughly tired of hearing it. It ran like this:
"Warning! Do not touch!"

After arranging this matter of the network, the Master disappeared,
with a hurried wave of his hand in Finn's direction, and a "Wait
there, old man!" a rather unnecessary request Finn may have
thought, seeing that he was securely chained.

Upon the whole, Finn decided that this was the most curious show he
had visited. He heard no barking, beyond an occasional yap from the
Irish terrier, and among the innumerable people who passed the
front of his bench, the majority seemed to be carrying bags or
bundles, and none seemed to have come there to see dogs. After a
time Finn tired of the whole thing and, curling up on his bench,
went to sleep. He slept and waked, and slept and waked again, for
what seemed a very long time; and then the Master came to see him,
with the Mistress of the Kennels. He was taken down from his bench
and allowed to stroll to and fro for a few minutes, though not for
any distance. The Master knew that cleanly habits had long since
become second nature with all the Wolfhounds of his breeding, and
that it would have been cruel to have left Finn on his bench for
very long stretches of time. Supper was given Finn, on the floor
near his bench, and fresh water was placed in his dish in the front
corner of the bed. Then he was chained up again, and the Master
told him to be a good Finn boy, and go to sleep till the next

Days passed, all manner of odd things happened, and Finn saw many
strange sights before he actually realized that he was not at a Dog
Show at all, but a passenger aboard a great ocean liner. And even
then, when a good part of the ship had become quite familiar to
him, the Wolfhound did not know, of course, that they were all
bound to the other side of the world, that their passages were
booked for Australia, and that this great steamer, which had once
belonged to the Atlantic service, was now given over entirely to
passengers of one class, who were travelling at a uniform and cheap
rate to the Antipodes.




That long sea voyage was a strange, instructive experience for
Finn. The preceding few months had made for rapid development upon
his wilder side; they had taught him much as a hound and a hunter.
This voyage developed his personality, his character, the central
something that was Finn, and that differentiated him from other
Irish Wolfhounds. Above all, the voyage brought great development
in Finn in the matter of his relations with the Master and the
Mistress of the Kennels.

The first three or four days of the passage did, as an experience,
resemble a Dog Show, in that Finn spent almost the whole time on
his bench, and was only taken down for a few minutes at a time.
Later on, however, when things and people had settled down into
their places on board the big liner, the Master obtained permission
to give Finn a good deal more freedom, on the understanding that he
held himself responsible for the Wolfhound's good behaviour. This
meant that, by day and night, Finn was given his liberty for hours
together; but during the whole of that time he was never out of the
sight of one or other of his two friends, and, the Mistress not
being a good sailor, it meant that Finn was nearly always with the
Master. This, again, meant a marked change in Finn's ways of life,
and a change which affected his character materially. Here was no
orchard through which he could wander off to the open country,
there to roam and hunt alone, and out of touch with humans. Now,
whether moving about or at rest, Finn was continuously within
hearing and sight of the Master, and practically always within
touch of him.

One result of all this was that Finn became greatly humanised. He
grew to understand far more of the Master's speech than he had ever
understood before; he came to depend greatly upon the Master's
company and kindly intercourse with him. With this came the
development of an enduring and conscious love of the Master, which
filled Finn's mind and heart through all these warm and lazy days,
and entirely dominated his environment. With regard to other
people, he was a great deal more reserved than he had been in the
old days before he met Matey, and before he took to hunting. He
permitted their attentions courteously and, in the case of
children, he would lend himself to their desires readily enough.
But he never invited attention from any one, excepting the Master;
and, whereas he would settle down comfortably to doze on the
sun-bathed deck, with his muzzle resting on the Master's feet, he
never volunteered to touch other people, though he accepted their
caresses good-humouredly enough.

Hitherto, putting aside the exuberant demonstrativeness of early
puppyhood, this had been Finn's attitude toward all humans,
including even the Master. He had liked the Master and the
Mistress; he had trusted them, and he had been deeply thankful to
find them again after his escapade with Matey; but it could hardly
have been said that he had loved them, in the sense, for example,
that his mother had loved the Master, or that he himself loved the
Master now; now that he would lie for hours on his bench, waiting,
watching, and listening for the sound of the footfall which he
easily distinguished from among the many that he heard. In short,
what had been no more than friendly affection and confidence, grew
now to personal attachment, to a feeling which could fairly be
called love, seeing that it comprised intense and jealous devotion,
and a contentedness which approached rapture, in the touch and
presence and society of one person. When they sat on the deck
together at night, the Master and Finn, under the gorgeous sky
which so often favours Pacific travellers by sea, the Wolfhound's
intercourse with the man stopped only just short of articulation,
and went far beyond the normal companionship of man and dog.

For instance, the Master would sometimes growl out low remarks to
Finn about the Old Country, about Tara, and the house beside the
Sussex Downs; and Finn understood practically every word he said on
those occasions. And then the Master might wind up by stroking his
head in a heavy, lingering way that Finn loved, and saying--

"Ah, well, Finn boy; there's other good places in the world, too.
The Australian bush is a mighty big hunting ground, I can tell you.
We'll have some good times there, Finn boy; rabbits, and wallabies,
and kangaroos, Finn; great sport for my big Wolfhound and me. And
maybe we'll get a good home together out there before long, old
man; might even strike it rich, somehow, and go back to the Downs
again, and do the thing in real solid style, my Finn, with big
kennels and half a score of hounds for you to lord it over!"

And at such times, Finn's inability to speak after the human
fashion was no particular bar between them. Understanding was so
clearly voiced in his dark, glistening eyes, in the eager thrust of
his wet, cool muzzle, and sometimes, for emphasis, in the
compelling weight of his great arm, as he laid it, with a pulling
pressure, over the Master's shoulder. In addition to all this, he
would occasionally whimper, or make low growling noises, while he
pawed the Master's shoulder; and these sounds said as plainly as
any words could, and perhaps more emphatically: "I love you. I
understand; and I love you, Master. It's you and me, for always;
and nothing else matters, wherever we may be!"

And then the Master would say something about the Mistress of the
Kennels, and Finn would beat the deck with his thirty-inch tail,
which was as thick and strong at its roots as a man's arm. Or
perhaps, if the weather were calm as well as fine, the Mistress
herself would come along and join them, seated in a low deck chair;
and then, though Finn's eyes would take on a momentarily anxious
look if her hand touched the Master, he would yet be very happy,
stretched out between them, with the half of one dark eye to spare
for one of them, and his whole big heart shining out upon the
Master in the gaze which held his head always turned the one way.

Just as something always seems to strike a balance in the affairs
of men-folk, so the gods who watch over the affairs of Finn's kind
are wont to provide compensations. For months, before this sea
voyage, Finn's whole being had been absorbed by the interests of
the half-tame wild, in the country beside the Sussex Downs.
Dreaming and waking, the hunt had held his thoughts, and solitary
roaming had been his delight. Here aboard the great steamer he was
suddenly and completely cut off from all these things; but
something else had come to take possession of his active nature,
his busy mind, his growing heart; and the great love of the Master
which grew in him now effectually shut out anything like regret for
the old life, by making the new life all-sufficing and more compact
of interest, of satisfying fullness, than ever the home life had
been at its best.

If it had not been for this remarkable development of Finn's
character which was brought about by his confinement on board a
ship with the Master, he would never have played the part he did in
what was really the most important event of his life up till this
time; and one, too, which taught the Master a good deal, regarding
his own relationship to the great Wolfhound he had bred. It all
happened on a Sunday morning when, the weather being very hot, the
captain held service on the upper deck, under awnings, of course.
Half a dozen children were allowed, during the latter part of the
service, to withdraw, and play quietly by themselves, twenty yards
away from the last row of chairs occupied by the congregation. At
one end of this last row the Master sat, with Finn beside him on
the deck. Among the children, one, a curly-headed rascal of a boy
named Tim, aged eight, was everybody's favourite, and the leader of
the rest in most kinds of mischief. Exactly how he managed it was
never rightly understood, but when the piercing sound of a childish
scream smote upon the Master's ears, through the droning periods of
the captain's read sermon, Tim was in mid-air, half-way between the
ship's rail and the sea, and the other children were staring,
horror-stricken, at the place he had occupied a moment before, with
his chubby arms about the stem of a boat's davit, and his brown
legs astride the rail.

The Master was a man given to acting swiftly upon impulse. Finn had
leaped to his feet at sound of the scream. The Master followed on
the instant, and reached the ship's side within a second
or two of Finn's arrival there. Finn's muzzle was thrust out
between the white rails, and he saw the tiny figure of Tim in the
smoothly eddying water a little abaft of the ship's beam. The
Master saw it, too, and, turning, with one urgent hand on Finn's
neck, he shouted--

"Over and fetch him, Finn! Over boy! Over!"

There was no mistaking his meaning. Finn had instant understanding
of that. But Finn was no water dog. The sea was very far below. He
let out two short nasal whimpers. The Master swung one arm

"Over, boy! Fetch Tim! Over, then!"

Then the growing love of the past few weeks spoke strongly in Finn,
overriding instinct in him, and, with a whining sort of bark of
protest against the order his new love forced him to obey, he
leaped over the white rail, and down, down, down through
five-and-thirty feet of space into the smooth, blue sea, where it
swirled and rippled past the high steel walls of the ship.

This exhausted the Master's first impulse. Instantly then there
flashed through his mind knowledge of the fact that Finn was no
water dog; that he had never been trained to fetch from the water,
or to handle human beings gently with his teeth. The Master had
never even seen Finn swim. That was a great love, a wonderful trust
which had shone out from Finn's eyes, when, instinct protesting in
his whining bark, he had leaped the rail in obedience to orders
given on the impulse, and without thought. Would Finn be able to
help the child who had often played with him about the deck? And
how if that whining bark were a last good-bye?

In the next moment the Master acted on his second impulse,
regardless of the shouts he heard behind him. His shoes and coat
were shed from him in a moment, and he, too, leaped the rail,
reaching the warm, blue water feet first, and striking out at once
towards Finn and the child. As a swimmer his powers were not at all
above the average.

For all his inexperience of the water Finn was a quicker swimmer
than the Master, and he reached little Tim within a very few
seconds, and seized the youngster firmly between his great jaws,
while turning in the water towards the ship he had left. Finn was
careful enough to prevent his teeth from injuring the child; there
was no more fear of his doing that than of his biting the hand of a
man who caressed him. But he was no trained life-saver, and it did
not occur to him to notice which side up the child was held. Also,
a few seconds later, he caught sight of the Master in the water,
and that made him loose his hold of Tim, in his haste to reach one
whose claim upon him he regarded as infinitely greater. This was
only momentary, however. Some instinct told him he must not leave
undone the task he had been set, and with a swift movement he
plucked the child to him again, and exerted all his great strength
to reach the Master. This time little Tim's face was uppermost; but
his small arms hung limply and helplessly at right angles from his

It was only a matter of seconds now till Finn and the Master met in
the water. The Master seized little Tim, and Finn seized the
Master, by one arm.

"Down, boy! Get down, Finn!" shouted the Master; and Finn
obediently loosed his hold, and swam anxiously round and round his
friend in short circles, while the Master trod water, and held Tim
high above him, head down, and body bent in the middle.

It was less than three minutes later that the second officer of the
liner shouted, "Way enough!" and a big white lifeboat slid past the
Master's shoulder. The second officer leaned far out, and snatched
little curly-headed Tim from the Master's hands, passing him
straight to the waiting arms of another officer, the ship's

"Help the dog in!" shouted the Master, as two sailorly hands
reached out toward himself. But Finn was watchfully circling behind
him. It was rather an undertaking getting the great Wolfhound into
the lifeboat; but it was presently accomplished, the Master
thrusting behind, and two men in the boat tugging in front. Tim was
lying on his face on the doctor's knees, and gasping his way back
to life under a vigorous kneading treatment. Whatever it may have
been for the man and the Wolfhound, it had undoubtedly been a close
call for the child. There were great rejoicings on the big
Australian liner during the rest of that sunshiny Sunday, and you
may imagine that Finn came in for a good deal of flattering
attention. But he paid small heed to this. What did make his heart
swell within him, till his great chest seemed scarcely big enough
to hold it, was the little talk he had with the Master before they
boarded the ship from the lifeboat. The Master had one dripping arm
about Finn's wet shoulder, and held it there with a warm pressure,
while he muttered certain matters in Finn's right ear which sent
hot blood pumping into the Wolfhound's heart. The Master knew that
Finn had done a big thing for love of him that day, and he would
never forget it. Finn would have leaped overboard fifty times to
earn again that pressure about his shoulder, and that low murmur of
loving commendation in his ear. The half-hysterical caresses of
Tim's mother, and the admiring attention of the whole ship's
company were trifles indeed after this.

The voyage to Australia took Finn into a new world in more senses
than one. Nature and the Master had endowed him richly before. This
voyage endowed him with the gift of true love, which he had not
known before; and whereas he had come aboard that ship a very
magnificent Wolfhound, he would leave it, the richer by something
which would almost be called a soul, a personality developed by
these long weeks of close intercourse with a man, and the final
mental triumph which had ended in his successfully rebelling
against the dominion of instinct, by reason of the completeness of
his devotion to the Master.




If Finn had been transported on a magic carpet and in an instant of
time, from England to that part of Australia in which he did
eventually land, the first few months he spent in the land of the
Southern Cross would have been a desperately unhappy time. As it
was, he landed under the influence of six weeks of steady character
development, his whole being dominated by the warm personal
devotion to the Master which had taken the place with Finn of mere
friendly affection. And that made all the difference in the world,
in the matter of the great Wolfhound's first experience of the new

But it is a fact that it was not a very happy period for Finn. The
intimate understanding he had acquired regarding the Master's moods
and states of mind and spirits, gave him more than a dog's fair
share of the burdens of that curious period. It was a bad time for
the Master, and for that reason, quite apart from anything else, it
was not a good time for Finn. Some of the evil happenings of that
period Finn understood completely, and with regard to others again,
all that he could understand was their unhappy effect upon his
friends and himself. The first of them saluted Finn's friends
before they left the ship, in the shape of news of the death, one
week before this date, of the one man upon whom the Master had been
relying for help in establishing himself in Australia. So that,
instead of meeting with a warm welcome, Finn and his friends had to
find quarters for themselves, and to spend days in the country
without a friendly word from any one.

The man who had died, suddenly, was a bachelor, and a squatter on a
large scale. His spacious country home was now in the hands of the
representatives of the Crown, pending its disposal for the benefit
of relatives in remote parts of the world who had never seen the
man who made it. This meant that, instead of going up country on
their arrival in Australia, the Master and the Mistress and Finn
were obliged to find economical quarters for themselves in the
city. It was a pleasant, sunny city enough, but no city would ever
commend itself much to an Irish Wolfhound, and cheap town lodgings
formed a poor substitute for the Sussex Downs for one of Finn's
kind. And then, before the situation had ceased to be strange and
unfamiliar, the Master was smitten with an illness which confined
him to one room for several weeks, and kept the Mistress of the
Kennels pretty constantly employed in tending him. If it had not
been for his consciousness of the Master's trouble and weakness,
Finn would have had no great fault to find with this period, for he
was allowed to spend the greater part of his days and nights beside
the bed, and within sight of the man he loved.

But after the Master's recovery came many weeks of anxiety and
increasing depression, during which every sort of misfortune seemed
to pursue Finn's friends, and they were obliged at length to move
into a cheaper, smaller lodging, into which Finn was only admitted
by those in authority upon sufferance; in which he had hardly room
to turn and twist his great bulk. The Master's walks abroad at this
time took him principally into offices and places of that sort,
where Finn could not accompany him, and, if it had not been for the
Mistress's good care, the Wolfhound's life would have been dreary
indeed, and without any outdoor exercise. All these matters,
however, Finn could have endured cheerfully enough, by reason of
the content that filled his mind when the Master was by, and the
anticipations that possessed him while he waited for the Master's
return. But the thing that sapped Finn's spirits and vitality was
his consciousness of the growing weight of unhappiness and anxiety
and distress which possessed the Master. Finn knew by the manner in
which his friend sat down when he entered the poor little lodging
at night, that things had gone evilly during the day. The touch of
his friend's hand on his head, languid and inert, told the
Wolfhound much; and the nightly messages which reached his
understanding were increasingly depressing. He did not understand
the Master's explanations to the Mistress of how he had been
swindled here, turned away in the other place, and misled by such
and such a person. But he did realize very keenly the effects of
these things, and the distress they produced.

But this little party of strangers in a strange land had not
reached the end of the long train of misfortunes with which the new
world tested them before making them free of its bounty. The climax
of several long-drawn months of unhappiness came to them in the
form of serious illness for the Mistress of the Kennels, which, for
weeks, prevented the Master from seeking any further to better his
fortunes. At the end of a month, in which the Master and Finn
plumbed unsuspected deeps of misery, the Mistress, white and wan,
and desperately shaky, left her bedroom for the tiny sitting-room
which Finn could almost span when he stretched his mighty frame.
(He measured seven feet six and a quarter inches now, from nose-tip
to tail-tip; and when he stood absolutely erect he could just reach
the top of a door six feet six inches high with his fore-paws.) And
there the Mistress sat, and smiled weakly, as she bade the Master
go out to take the air and walk with Finn. By her way of it, she
was to be quite herself again within a few days, but a fortnight
found her practically no stronger; and the doctor spoke plainly,
almost angrily, of the necessity of change of air and scene. When
the Master hinted at his inability to provide this, the doctor
shrugged his well-clad shoulders.

"I can only tell you, my dear sir, that if the patient is to
recover she must leave this place. A month up in the mountains
would put her right, with a liberal diet, and comfortable quarters.
The expense need not be great. I should say that, with care, twenty
pounds might cover the whole thing."

It was then that, with a certain gruff abruptness, the Master
informed the doctor, outside the door of the sitting-room, that his
resources were reduced to less than half the amount mentioned, and
that there were bills owing. The doctor looked grave for a moment,
and then shrugged his shoulders again. As he was leaving he said--

"Why, you have a dog there that must eat as much as a man. I
imagine you could sell him for twenty pounds. Indeed, there is a
patient of my own who I am sure would pay that for so fine a

"I dare say," said the Master sadly, "seeing that I refused a
hundred guineas for him before he was fully grown. That is the
finest Irish Wolfhound living, a full champion, and the most
valuable dog of his breed in the world. But we could not part with
Finn. He---- No, we could not sell Finn."

Again the young doctor shrugged his shoulders.

"Ah, well, that's your business, of course; but I have told you the
patient will not recover in this place. If the dog is such a fine
one as all that, perhaps you could get more for him; enough to set
the patient on her feet, and establish yourself in some way. In
fact, I think my friend would give more, if I were to ask him; he
is one of the richest men in the city, and a great lover of

The rest of that day proved the most miserable time that the Master
and Finn had spent in Australia. But a pretence at cheerfulness had
to be maintained until the Mistress had retired for the night; and
then, for many hours, the Master sat before an empty fire-place,
with Finn's great head resting on his knees, and one of his hands
mechanically rubbing and stroking the Wolfhound's ears, while he
thought, and thought, and found only greater sadness in his
thinking. Finn felt plainly that a crisis had arrived, and he
tried to show his agreement and understanding, when at long last,
the Master rose from his comfortless wooden chair, saying sadly--

"I don't see what else a man can do, my Finn, boy; but--but it's

Early next morning, before the Mistress appeared, the Master took a
leash in his hand, and set out with Finn from the poor house that
sheltered them, in the dingy quarter of the town where they lived.
They walked for two miles through sunlit spacious streets, and then
they came to the house of the doctor. The Master waited in the
hall, and the doctor came to see him there, a finger napkin in his

"Doctor," said the Master; "I want the address of that rich patient
of yours who is fond of animals."

"Ah! Yes, I thought you would," answered the doctor. "Just step in
here a moment, and I will give you a note for Mr. Sandbrook. If you
are going there right away, you will certainly be sure of catching
him in."

It was nearly an hour later that the Master and Finn reached the
entrance to a beautiful garden, in the centre of which stood a big,
picturesque house, with windows overlooking the sparkling waters of
a great harbour. The house had only one storey above the ground
floor, and its walls rambled over a large expanse of ground. All
round the house, with its deep, shady verandahs, spread a host of
ever-diminishing satellites, in the form of outbuildings of one
kind and another; extensive stabling, coach-houses, wood and coal
lodges, laundry, tool-sheds, workmen's living-rooms, and so forth.

The Master and Finn were kept waiting for some time, and were
seated on the verandah when Mr. Sandbrook, the portly broker,
merchant, and shipping agent, came to them. Finn was lying
stretched at his full great length on the cedar-wood planks of the
verandah, fore-legs far out before him, head carried high, his big,
dark eyes fixed lovingly on the Master's face. Mr. Sandbrook was a
good-natured, kindly soul, very prosperous and very vain, and
little accustomed to deny himself anything which his quickly
roaming little grey eyes desired. As these eyes of his fell upon
Finn, they told him that this was the most magnificent dog he had
ever seen; the handsomest dog in Australia; as indeed Finn was,
easily, and without a doubt.

And then the merchant shook hands with the Master, and read the
note from the doctor.

"I don't know, I'm sure, what made the doctor think I wanted
another dog," he said; "but this is certainly a noble animal of
yours, Mr.----er."

And then the Master showed him Finn's printed pedigree, with one or
two newspaper descriptions of the Wolfhound, and a list of his
championship honours, and other papers showing the Master's own
connection with the Irish Wolfhound Club, and so forth. Mr.
Sandbrook had already made up his mind that this dog must belong to
him, however; he almost resented, in a good-humoured way, the fact
that Finn had not belonged to him before. It seemed to him only
right that the best should be his. But he was a business man, and
he said--

"Of course, in this country no dogs have the sort of market value
that you speak of this hound having in England. That would be
regarded as absurd here. You understand that, I am sure."

"No price you could name, sir, would tempt me into parting with
Finn; only dire necessity makes that possible. But, in this country
or any other, Finn's value, not to me, but to the dog-buyer, would
be a hundred guineas; and he would be very cheap at that. He would
bring double that in England. But I will sell Finn to you, sir, for
fifty guineas, because I am assured that he would have a good home
with you--on one condition; and that is that you will let me have
him again for, say, eighty guineas, if I can offer you that sum
within a couple of years."

Mr. Sandbrook stuck out his chin, pulled down his white waistcoat,
and said that he was afraid he could not make such an offer as

"You see, I am not a dealer in animals," he said. And the Master
answered him rather sharply with: "Neither am I. You know why I am
here, sir." "Yes, yes," said Mr. Sandbrook, stroking his whiskers
with one plump white hand; "but you see, I don't want to feel that
I have to give up a--er--a possession of my own whenever I may
happen to be called upon to do so. No; I could never do that. But,
I'll tell you what; I'll give you seventy guineas for the dog
outright, if you like; but I assure you there's not another man in
the country but would laugh at such a figure for a dog, for any
dog. But I can see he's a fine fellow, and--er--I'll do that, if
you like."

The Master shook his head.

Suddenly then, the Master turned upon the merchant, with a little
upward movement of both hands.

"Sir, I would ask you to reconsider that," he said. "I would ask
you please to try and think what this means to me. It is not a
business proposition to me at all. I have told you what the doctor
said. I cannot neglect that--dare not. But Finn--Finn is like a
child of my own to me; like a young brother. Take him from me for
thirty guineas, and promise to let me buy him back for sixty, if I
can do it, in two years, in one, then. It--it would be a great

The merchant measured the Master with his little grey eyes. He was
good-natured and very vain. He wanted to own that magnificent
hound. No one else in the colony (it was not a State then) owned
such a hound as that. He pictured Finn lying on a rug in the fine
hall of his fine house, which he was told was equal to that of one
of the stately homes of England. It had cost enough, he thought,
with its armour, and its dim old portraits of men and women whose
names he had never heard, though he was wont to refer to them
vaguely as "family portraits, you know--the old folk at Home." And
it was true enough they had come from the Old Country; through the
dealer who supplied the armour. But then to have some one come and
take his fine hound away from him--no, his dignity forbade the
thought of such a thing. He turned half round on his heels.

"No," he said decisively; "I'm sorry, but I couldn't think of it.
I'll make it seventy-five guineas for an outright sale, and that's
my last word."

While the Master pondered over this, he had a vision of the
Mistress of the Kennels, sitting, white and shaky, in the dismal
little room on the far side of the city, waiting for the change
which was to give her health again. He did hesitate for another
minute; but he knew all the time that there was no alternative for
him, and, watching the expression on his careworn face, the
merchant, good-natured creature though he was, told himself that he
had been a fool to offer that extra five guineas. It really was a
preposterous price for a dog, he thought.

Five minutes later the merchant was making out a cheque in his
study, and the Master was engaged in writing down a long list of
details regarding Finn's dietary, and the sort of methods and
system which should be followed to secure health and happiness to
an Irish Wolfhound. The Master used great care over the preparation
of these instructions. At least, he thought, Finn would be sure of
a luxuriously good home.

"You don't think he'll run away, do you?" asked the merchant.

"No; I don't think he'll run away," said the Master. "I'll tell him
he mustn't do that." The merchant stared. "But, for a week or two,
you should be careful with him, and not leave him quite at large."
The Master had already made it clear to the merchant that Finn was
an aristocrat in all his habits. And now the merchant was anxious
to get to his much-deferred breakfast, always a rather late
function in that house; and the Master had no wish to prolong a
situation of unmitigated wretchedness to himself.

They parted in the big hall, the Master and Finn, among the dim
portraits of somebody's ancestors and the armour which came from a
street near Regent's Park. Finn had been eyeing the Master with
desperate anxiety for some time past. At frequent intervals he had
nervously wagged his tail, and even made a pretence of gaiety, with
jaws parted, and red tongue lolling. Now he sat down on his
haunches on a big rug, because the Master told him to sit down. For
a moment the Master dropped on one knee beside him, one arm about
his shoulders. Finn gave an anxious little whine. His heart was
thudding against his ribs; the prescient anxiety stirring within
him affected him with a physical nausea.

"Good-bye, my old Finn, son! Good-bye, you--you Irish Hound! Now
mark me, Finn, you stay here; you stay here--stay here, Finn!"

Such episodes are always suspect when seen in print. I have no wish
to exaggerate by a hair's-breadth about Finn. His whole nature bade
the Wolfhound follow his friend. The Master said, "Stay there!" And
there was no mistaking his meaning. Finn crouched down. His body
did not touch the floor; his weight rested on his outstretched
legs, though his position appeared to be that of lying. There he
crouched; but, as though the thing were too much for him to see as
well as feel, he buried his muzzle, well over the eyes, between his
fore-legs, just as he might have done if a strong light had dazzled
him. It was obedience such as a great soldier could appreciate.
Finn stayed there, hiding his face; but as the house-door closed
behind the Master, a cry broke from Finn, a muffled cry, by reason
of the position of his head; a cry that was part bark, part whine,
and part groan; a cry that smote upon the Master's ears as he
stepped out upon the gravel drive in the sunlight, with the biting,
stinging pain, not of the parting, but of an accusation. There was
a twinge of shame as well as grief in the Master's heart that day,
though he knew well that what he had done was unavoidable. Still,
there was the sense of shame, of treachery. Finn had been
wonderfully human and close to him since they left England

Before noon of that day the Master was on his way to the mountains
with the Mistress of the Kennels.




For some thirty-six hours after his parting with the Master, Finn
mourned silently in the big house, which overlooked the harbour and
was filled with brand-new luxuries, including the brightly polished
suits of mail and the carefully matured family portraits in the
hall. If Finn had been a year younger the Sandbrook family would
have learned from him the exact nature of the Irish Wolfhound howl,
and they would not have liked it at all. But, though Finn would be
capable of the howl as long as he lived, he had no mind to indulge
in it now. His grief was too deep for that and too understanding;
so understanding, indeed, that he was perfectly well aware that no
howls of his would bring the Master back to him. It was true he had
not understood the nature of the transaction which made him the
property of the Australian merchant; but he had clearly understood
that some grievous necessity had forced the Master to hand him over
to Mr. Sandbrook, and that his, Finn's, duty to the Master involved
remaining there in the house by the harbour.

But, as he saw it, his duty did not make it incumbent upon him to
enter into communication with a whole pack of people who had
nothing to do with the Master. In some dim way he comprehended that
he owed deference and obedience to Mr. Sandbrook; that the Master
had undertaken so much on his behalf; but he had no wish to become
familiar with the Sandbrook household; and the consequence was that
the daughters, and the servants--there were no sons at home--and
the lady of the house, while they admitted the magnificence of the
new acquisition's appearance, agreed in pronouncing him a rather
sulky animal. They showered caresses and foolish remarks upon him,
and he lay with his grey-black muzzle resting on outstretched
fore-legs, staring through them all at the door by which the Master
had disappeared. The only sign he would give of consciousness of the
presence of these other people, was in turning his head away from
them when they touched his muzzle. Once, when the younger daughter
of the house went so far as to sit down beside Finn, and bend her
head close down to his, he submitted courteously, though his nose
wrinkled with annoyance, until the young lady raised her head; and
then, very gently, lie rose, walked away from her to the mat beside
the door, and lay down there, with his nose close to the spot on
which the Master's feet had last rested in that house.

Finn was taken out in the garden two or three times on a leash; but
he had no thought of escape. The Master had left him, and bade him
stay there; and his heart was empty and desolate within him. Now
and again his dark eyes filled with moisture, and the sadness of
his face was so wonderfully striking as to impress the Misses
Sandbrook, who, truth to tell, were not over and above intelligent,
nor even very kind-hearted. They had not half the kindly
good-nature of their vulgar parents, though they had much better
taste, and a great variety of accomplishments.

Through the night Finn did not sleep, though he dozed occasionally
for a few minutes at a time, dreaming fitfully, waking and dozing,
of the Master and the Mistress, and the lodging they had shared of
late. The whole of the next day he passed in the same employment,
except that, in the afternoon, he had to go through the wearisome
ceremony of being introduced to a number of strange ladies, not one
among whom seemed from the smell of her clothes to have anything to
do with the Master. He comported himself through this ordeal with
dignity and patience, but, as one of the ladies said--"The dear
darling, he does look so dreadfully sad and tired of everything,
doesn't he?" To which Mrs. Sandbrook replied that this was just his
"strangeness," and that he would soon get over it. She added that
she did not object to this look of Finn's herself, he being such a
regular a-_ri_stocrat. It seemed to her in keeping with his general
appearance, she said, and quite suggestive of the sort of ancient,
ivy-covered mansion he had come from in the Old Country. The good
lady drew upon her imagination, of course, in the matter of Finn's
home in England. But she meant well, and Finn suffered her
head-pattings more gladly than those of the rest of the household,
recognizing clearly in her just about what there was to recognize,
and rightly appreciating that simple character, as being of greater
worth than the frothily pretentious nature of her daughters.

That night the master of the house announced that he thought Finn
had quite settled in his new home, and that he would now take the
Wolfhound for a stroll in the grounds without the leash. He did so,
and when they had walked twice round a lawn and down an avenue,
they came to the green gate by which Finn had first entered that
place. Finn had been walking dejectedly, his head carried low and
close to Mr. Sandbrook's legs, his mind still too full of mournful
thoughts of his lost Master to permit of his inquiring closely into
those smells and other details of his immediate surroundings, which
would have interested him in ordinary circumstances.

Now, as his eyes fell upon the green gate, an overpowering desire
to see the Master swept through his mind. He had no intention of
running away from his new owner. His one thought was just to run
down to the old lodging and see the Master again. His hind-quarters
bent under him, and the next instant saw him neatly clearing the
top of the five-foot gate, with never a thought of the
consternation he left behind him in poor Mr. Sandbrook's mind.

Before the portly merchant had the gate fairly open, Finn had
trotted thirty or forty yards down the moonlit road in the
direction from which he had approached the house with the Master on
the morning of the previous day. He paused once, and looked back at
Mr. Sandbrook, in response to agitated cries and whistles; but, not
being able to explain his precise object in going out in a manner
that would have been comprehensible to the merchant, he decided
that it would be better to get on with the matter in hand without
delay. So he went forward again, and this time at an easy canter
which took him out of earshot of Mr. Sandbrook in less than one

When Finn arrived in the streets of the city he was more than a
little confused, and once or twice took a wrong turning. But he
always retraced his steps and found the right turning before going
far, and in due course he arrived at the house in which he had
lodged with his friends. Rising on his hind-feet, he pawed the
front door vigorously. A few moments later the door was opened by
the landlady, to whose utter astonishment Finn brushed hurriedly
into the little passage and up the stairs to the door of the room
the Master had used, where he paused, with one foot pressed against
the closed door.

"Here, Sam!" cried the startled landlady, "you talk about your
blessed menagerie, come an' look 'ere. My word, this'll surprise

The landlady's son, who had paid her a flying visit that day,
appeared in the passage in his shirt sleeves, holding a small lamp.
The landlady closed the front door, and together the two walked
upstairs to where Finn sat, whining softly, and pawing at the
closed door of what had been the Master's sitting-room.

"My bloomin' oath, what a dog!" exclaimed Sam, as his mother
reached forward and opened the sitting-room door, leaving Finn free
to plunge forward into the dark interior, which he did on the
instant. In the next instant he was out again, and pawing at the
opposite door, leading to the bedroom. This, too, was opened for
him, and in another moment he had satisfied himself that neither
room had been occupied by the Master or the Mistress for a
considerable time. This was a grievous blow to Finn, and as he
returned to the little landing between the two rooms, he sniffed
despairingly at the landlady's skirt, and even nuzzled her rough
hand, with a vague feeling that she might be able to produce his
friends. Not that he had any serious purpose in this, however, for
it was strongly borne in upon Finn now that he had lost his friends
for good and all.

"Well, what jer think of 'im?" the landlady asked of her son.

Sam was a tall, loosely built, rather slouching fellow; a typical
young Australian of a certain class; not unintelligent, rather
lazy, given to drawl in his speech, and extremely self-centred. He
had been eyeing Finn all this while with growing interest, and now
he said--

"Is he savage?"

"Wouldn't hurt a sheep," replied the mother. "Wouldn't yer like to
know where I got such a beauty?"

"No kid. He's not yours," said Sam.

"Well, I reckon he could be, if I wanted sech a great elephant. 'Is
Master lodged 'ere these two months an' more, but 'e went off to
the mountins yesterday with his sick Missis. Why, come to think of
it, er course, that's what it is. 'Is Master's sole him, that's
what 'e's done; and that's why 'e was able to pay me, an' the
doctor, an' go off to the mountins yesterday. An' now the bloomin'
dog's run away an' come back to look for 'im; that's what that is,
you can take yer oath."

Sam spat reflectively on the little coloured door-mat. "Well, the
dog's no use to you, mother," he said. "You can't do nothin' with

"I'm not so sure about that, Sam," replied the landlady
thoughtfully. As a matter of fact, the idea of keeping Finn had not
occurred to her for a moment, up till then. But hers was not an
easy life; she was always short of money, and found it extremely
difficult to worm anything out of this big son of hers during his
rare visits to her. In fact, of late she had given up the attempt,
so that his visits represented only an additional expense for her.
"I don' know about that, Sam. I might keep 'im, an' watch out fer
the reward. A dawg like that's worth money."

"Too bloomin' big an' clumsy to be worth much," said Sam
disparagingly. "Clumsy" was no more applicable to Finn than it
would be to a panther, and Sam was well aware of it. "Tell you
what," he said, "I've got to be makin' for the station in half an
hour, anyway. I'll take the dog out o' yer way, an' give you half a
quid for him, if yer like. I shall lose on it, fer it's not likely
the boss could make any use of 'im, anyway. But I'll chance the
ducks this time, if yer like. You can't keep a bloomin' camel like
that here."

But the landlady knew her son tolerably well, and he could not
deceive her very much. When he left the house half an hour later
he was leading Finn at the end of a rusty chain, and the poorer by
twenty-five shillings than he had been an hour before. So Finn
changed hands for the second time in forty-eight hours, once for
seventy-five guineas, and once for twenty-five shillings; and upon
this second occasion the transaction was a matter of complete
indifference to him. He thought vaguely of returning to Mr.
Sandbrook's house later on. In the meantime this young man seemed
to want him to take a walk in another direction, and all ways were
alike to Finn in his bitter disappointment over not finding the
Master. He did not know that he was treading exactly the path the
Master and the Mistress had trod on the previous clay, when leaving
their lodging for the mountains. He only felt that he had now
completely lost his friends, and that he was rather well-disposed
than otherwise toward long-legged Sam, for the reason that Sam came
from the house in which the Master had lodged.




The night which followed Finn's departure from his old lodging with
Sam was the most peculiar that he had ever spent in his life, and,
not even excepting the night in Matey's back-yard in Sussex, the
most unrestful. It was the second consecutive night during which he
went practically without sleep; but on this occasion it was not so
much grief over his loss of the Master that kept him awake as the
peculiar nature of the immediate surroundings.

In the first place, the greater part of the night was spent on a
moving railway train; and, secondly, Finn's particular resting-place
was a sort of wooden cage, sheathed in iron, and having
another similar cage upon either side of it. In the compartment
upon Finn's right were two native bears. These philosophical
animals slept solidly all the time, and made no noise beyond a
husky sort of snoring. But they had a pronounced odour which
penetrated Finn's compartment through a grating near its roof; and
this odour was peculiarly disturbing to the Wolfhound. In the cage
on Finn's left was a full-grown, elderly, and sour-tempered Bengal
tiger, who had sore places under his elbows, and other troubles
which made him excessively irritable, and a bad sleeper. The tiger
also had a pronounced odour; and it was much more disturbing to
Finn than that of the philosophical little native bears. In fact,
it kept the wiry hair over Finn's shoulders in a state of continual
agitation and his silky ears in a restlessly upright position, with
only their soft tips drooping. Sometimes, when the train jolted,
the tiger would roll heavily against the iron-sheathed partition
between his abode and Finn's, and then Finn would spring to his
feet, against the far side of the compartment, every hair on his
body erect, his lips drawn right back from the pearl-white fangs
they usually sheltered, his sensitive nostrils deeply serrated, and
all the forgotten fierceness of bygone generations of Wolfhound
warriors and killers concentrated in his long-drawn snarl of
resentment and of warning threat.

It may be imagined, then, that for Finn the night was even less
restful than the one he spent in Mr. Sandbrook's house. The smells
and sounds about him strained every nerve in the Wolfhound's body
to singing point, even as a prolonged gale strains the cordage of a
ship that flies before it through a heavy sea. They penetrated
farther into the pulsing entity that was Finn than even his
experience with Matey, or his hunting and killing of the fox beside
the Sussex Downs. They stirred latent instincts which came to him
from farther back in the long line of his ancestry; from just how
far back one could not say, but it may well be that they came from
a dim period, beyond all the generations of wolf-hunting and,
earlier, of man-fighting in Ireland, when forbears of Finn's had
been pitted against lions and tigers and bears, as well as Saxons,
in Roman arenas. Again, it might be that that reputed Thibetan
ancestor played his part in endowing Finn with the hitherto
unsuspected instincts which stirred within him now, changing his
aspect from its usual courtly dignity and grace to lip-dropping
ferocity, and fierce, forbidding wrath. It was curious, the manner
in which the play of these instincts affected Finn's very shape,
giving to his massive depth of chest a suggestion of the hyæna,
to his head a marked suggestion of the wolf, and to his drooping
hind-quarters more than a hint of the lion. The facts that the hair
along his spine stood erect like wire, and that his exposed fangs
and updrawn lips changed his whole facial aspect, had a good deal
to do with the alterations wrought in his shape by the curious
position in which he found himself this night. A wiser man than Sam
would have refrained from putting Finn in this predicament, and
that more especially while he was still a stranger to the great
hound. But Sam had been invited to join a party of his companions
who were supplied with euchre cards and a bottle of whisky, and, as
he told himself, he "couldn't be bothered with the bloomin' dawg!"

Sam rather regretted his carelessness when he came to release Finn
next morning. Since the small hours, the part of the train in which
Sam had travelled had been lying in a siding, close to a little
mountain station. And now the different wagons, including that
containing Finn and the tiger and the bears, with a lot of
paraphernalia, were being swung out upon the ground, preparatory to
being drawn by road to the neighbouring town. At this stage Sam had
intended to take Finn out to be inspected by his employer, and, if
fortune willed it, sold to that gentleman for what Sam considered a
handsome figure, say, fifteen or twenty pounds.

Sam was one of the underlings employed by Rutherford's famous
Southern Cross travelling circus; and his idea was that Finn would
be found a suitable and welcome addition to the menagerie of
performing animals attached to that popular institution. But when
Sam came to look at Finn by daylight, and to note the extreme
fierceness of the Wolfhound's mien--brought about entirely by his
own stupidity in locking the hound up beside a tiger and two
bears--his heart failed him in the matter of releasing his prize,
and he decided to wait until the camp had been formed, and things
had settled down a little. That cowardly decision of Sam's affected
the whole of Finn's future life.

The process of transferring his cage to the road, and travelling
along that road, which was in reality no better than a very rough
mountain track and exceedingly bumpy, worked old Killer, as the
tiger was ominously called, into a frenzy of wrath, the which was
by no means softened by the removal of the outer side of his cage,
in order that the casual passer-by might observe his ferocity
through the inner iron bars. Now the tiger's frenzy meant something
very like frenzy for Finn. When the tiger snarled, and thrashed the
inner side of his cage with his great tail, Finn's snarl became a
fierce, growling bark; his fore-legs stiffened, like the erect hair
along his backbone, his white fangs were all exposed, and his
aspect became truly terrifying. Saliva began to collect at the
corners of his long mouth; his great wrath and unreasoning,
instinctive fierceness and resentment made him look twice his
actual size; and altogether it may be admitted that when Sam came
to investigate, after the camp had been formed, Finn truly was, to
all appearances, a fearsome and terrifying creature. His snarls and
growls waked fury in the breast of the irritable old tiger, who was
not accustomed to hear threats or warnings from any of his
neighbours, he being the only large carnivorous animal in the show,
and, in consequence, he threw himself against the partition between
Finn's cage and his own, snarling ferociously. This put the
strength of centuries of hunting and fighting courage and
fierceness into Finn's replies, and left the Wolfhound, to all
outward seeming, a more formidable wild beast than the tiger

Sam marvelled at his own courage in having led this monster through
the streets, and told himself that nothing would induce him to be
such a fool as to take Finn out of the cage. His mother had given
him both Finn's name and the name of the breed, but Sam had never
before heard of an Irish Wolfhound, and, looking now at Finn's
gleaming fangs and foamy lips, all that he recalled of the name was
"Irish Wolf." It was thus that Finn was presented to the great John
L. Rutherford himself, the proprietor of the circus.

"He's the Giant Irish Wolf, boss," said Sam, "and the only one in
the world, as I'm told. I bought him cheap, an' I got him into that
cage single-handed, I did; an' now I'll sell him to you cheap,
boss, if you'll buy him. If you don't want him, he goes to Smart's
manager, who offered me twenty-five quid for him, as he stood last

"Smart's" was the opposition circus; but the rest of Sam's remarks
were imagination for the most part, based upon his desire to make a
good sale of Finn, his cowardly fear of handling the now infuriated
hound, his ignorance, and a natural wish to afford an explanation,
a plausible and creditable explanation, of the liberty he had taken
in appropriating the empty cage. As a matter of fact, the great
John L. Rutherford experienced quite a thrill of satisfaction when
his eyes lighted upon the raging Wolfhound. He had lost his one
lion from disease some weeks previously, and felt that the
menagerie lacked attractiveness in the way of fierce-looking and
bloodthirsty creatures. Like Sam, he had never even heard of an
Irish Wolfhound, or seen a dog of any breed who approached Finn in
the matter of height and length and lissom strength.

From the point of view of one who regarded him as a wild beast, and
was without knowledge of the tragic chance which had made so
gallant and docile a creature appear in the guise of a wild beast,
Finn did actually present both an awe-inspiring and a magnificent
spectacle at this moment. His cage was seven feet high, yet at one
moment Finn's fore-paws came within a few inches of touching its
roof, as he plunged erect and snarling against the partition which
separated him from the growling and spitting tiger. The next moment
saw him crouched in the far corner of the cage, as though for a
spring, his fore-legs extended, rigid as the iron bars that
enclosed him, his black eyes blazing fire and fury, his huge, naked
jaws parted to admit of a snarl of terrifying ferocity, his whole
great bulk twitching and trembling from the mixture of rage,
bewilderment, fear, and wild killing passion with which his
neighbours and his amazing situation filled him. It was an amazing
situation for such a creature, reared as Finn had been reared, and,
withal, having behind him the lordly fighting blood of fifteen
centuries of Irish Wolfhound history.

"Well, Sam, he sure is a dandy wolf," said the astonished Mr. John
L. Rutherford, who hailed, men said, from San Francisco. "I'd just
like to know who you got him from, and how you got him aboard the
train last night."

Sam began to feel that he really was a very fine fellow, and one
who had accomplished great things.

"Well, I'll tell ye, boss; I bought him from a wild Irishman named
O'Flaherty, who landed yesterday from the steamer, _Prince Rupert_,
yer know; and I brought him to the train in a zinc-lined
packin'-case with iron bars to it, which I sold to a bummer in the
goods-yard for a bob." Sam did not mention at the same time that he
had flung away the brand-new collar Finn had worn, with Mr. Sandbrook's
name upon it. "Yes, I got him into that cage single-handed, boss;
but I reckon it'll take the Professor all he knows to handle the
brute." "The Professor" was the world-renowned Professor Claude
Damarel, lion-tamer and performer with wild beasts, known sometimes
in private life as Clem Smith.

"Giant Irish Wolf, you say," mused John L. Rutherford, who knew the
world tolerably well between Chicago and San Francisco, and in the
continent of Australia, but nowhere else. He could both read and
write, but his favourite literature was the _Police Gazette_, and
for other writing than his signature he preferred where possible to
employ some one else, because it was work which made him perspire
copiously. It also made his lower lip droop, even when he signed
his name, and altogether was a laborious business. "Well, he's
certainly a giant right enough; big as any two wolves I ever see.
My! He must stand a yard at the shoulder." Which he did, and at
that moment his hackles were giving him another three inches, and
his rage was giving him the effect of another foot all round. "What
figure have you got the gall to ask for him, Sam?"

"Well, I'm only askin' a fiver for meself out've him, boss; so I'll
take twenty down."

"You will, eh? Why, what a generous son of a gun you are, Sam! I
should've thought twenty would've given you three fivers profit."

"What, an' him the only Irish Wolf in all the world, boss! Why he'll
be the draw of the show inside of a week. See him jump, now! Look
at the devil! Strike me! He is a dandy from way back, boss. How'll
the Giant Wolf figure on the bills, boss? Why I believe Smart's
man'd rise to thirty for him, sure."

"Well, Sam, we won't quarrel for a pound or two. It was smart of ye
to get the beast, an' you shall have fifteen for him, though ten's
his price; an' if the Professor makes a star of him, why you'll get
a rise, my boy. Say, touch him up with that stick there, an' see
how he takes it."

Sam thrust a stave in between the bars of Finn's cage, where they
adjoined those of the tiger's place, and prodded the Wolfhound's
side as he stood erect. The thing seemed to come from the tiger's
cage, and Finn was upon it like a whirlwind, his fangs sinking far
into the tough wood, till it cracked again.

"Well, say," said the boss, with warm admiration, "if he ain't two
ends an' the middle of a jim-dandy rustler from 'way back, you can
search me! Say, Sam, cut along an' find the Professor. Tell him I'd
like to see him right here."

The great barred cage, with its three divisions, was now enclosed,
with various other cages and properties of the circus, within a
high canvas wall in the centre of the camp. The circus was to open
that night, and much remained to be done in the way of preparing a
ring in the big main tent, and so forth. A number of piebald horses
stood in different parts of the enclosure, nosing idly at the dusty
ground, and paying not the slightest heed either to the scent of
the different wild creatures, or to the roaring snarls and growls
that issued continuously from Killer's cage. Familiarity had bred
indifference in them to things which would have sent a horse from
outside half crazy with fear.

The Professor arrived with Sam, after a few minutes. He wore knee
boots, a vivid red shirt, and a much soiled old leather coat which
reached almost to his boots. From his right wrist there dangled a
long quilt, or cutting whip, of rhinoceros-hide. Born in the
neighbourhood of Pretoria, the Professor had been through most
phases of the showman's business in South Africa and, during the
past half-dozen years, in Australia. In one sense he was a cruel
man; but in the worst possible sense of the word he was not cruel.
That is to say, it gave him no particular gratification to inflict
pain; but he would inflict it to any extent at all, in the pursuit
of his ends. He was not afflicted with the loathsome disease of
wanton cruelty, but there was no pity in his composition, and
practically no sentiment. He was reckoned an able tamer of wild
beasts. By stirring up the tiger, as the Professor approached, the
boss provoked a striking exhibition of savage strength and ferocity
in Finn.

"Say, Professor," he said, with a smile, "what d'ye think of the
latest? How does the Giant Irish Wolf strike you, as an addition to
the domestic fireside? Sweet thing, ain't he? Couldn't you make him
do some sentimental stunts with the Java love-birds, now?"

The Professor inspected the furiously raging Finn with considerable

"You'll not manage much taming with this fellow, Professor, will
ye?" asked the boss, craftily aiming at putting the lion-tamer on
his mettle. "You'll hardly manage the Professor among his pets act
in this cage, eh?"

"I'd like to know what's goin' to stop me, boss," said the
Professor doughtily. "I guess you've forgotten the fact that
Professor Claude Damarel was the man who tamed the Tasmanian Wolf,
Satan; and the Tasmanian Wolf is about the fiercest brute in the
world to tackle, next to the Tasmanian Devil; an' I had one o' them
pretty near beat in Auckland, till he went an' died on me. Tame
this Giant Irishman--you bet your sweet life I will; an' have him
cavortin' through a hoop inside of a month--or maybe a week--if I'm
not kept busy wastin' my time over groom's work."

"Right-ho, Professor!" said the boss, good-humouredly. "You shall
have a groom of your own, right here an' now. I'll promote Sam to
the job, with half-a-dollar rise. I'll find a feller in the town
here for your job, Sam. Enterprise goes with me every time, an'
brings its own reward--sure thing. But I'd like to be on hand when
you tackle the Giant Wolf, Professor. You might want help."

"Help! Me want help! You wait here two minutes, boss, an' I'll show

The boss grinned over the success of his tactics in rousing the
Professor's pride, and strolled round among the horses for five
minutes or so till the tamer returned with Sam, carrying a brazier
full of live coals, and an iron rod with a rough leather
handle at one end of it. The other end of the iron rod was buried
among the live coals. At sight of it the Killer crouched down in
the far corner of his cage with a snarling whine, half covering his
face with his huge paws.

"Now I'll show you how much help I need in taming, boss," said the

Grasping the leather handle of his now red-hot rod, the Professor
deftly opened the gate of Finn's cage, far enough to admit of his
own swift entrance; the gate being instantly slammed to behind him
by Sam, and bolted. Finn was lying crouched in the far corner of
the cage, and if the light there had been good, the tamer would
surely have seen by the expression on the Wolfhound's intelligent
face that he was no wild beast. On the other hand, froth still
clung to Finn's jaws, the hair on his shoulders was still more or
less erect, and a few minutes before this time he had been raging
like a whirlwind.

For a moment or two the Professor glared steadily at Finn. He
undoubtedly had pluck, seeing that he believed the Wolfhound to be
as ferocious and deadly a beast as any tiger. Then, slowly, Finn
rose from his crouching position, prepared to come forward and to
treat his visitor as a friend, even as a possible rescuer from that
place of horrid durance. The Professor's plan was all mapped out in
his mind, and he did not waver in its execution. Had he been given
to wavering he would long ago have been killed by some wild
creature. In the instant of Finn's move towards him the Professor
took a quick step forward and, with a growling shout of "Down,
Wolf!" smote Finn fairly across the head with the red-hot end of
his iron bar, so that pungent smoke arose. One portion of the
red-hot surface of the iron caught Finn's muzzle, causing him exquisite
pain; pain of a sort he had never known before. At the moment of
the blow, a terrific snarling roar came from the tiger's cage. Half
blinded, wholly maddened, dimly connecting this strange new agony
that bit into him with the tiger's roar, Finn sprang at the
Professor with a snarl that was itself almost a roar. The red-hot
bar met him in mid-air, biting deep into the soft skin of his lips,
furrowing his beautiful neck, and stinging the tip of one silken
ear. The pain was terrible; the smell of his own burnt flesh and
hair was maddening; the deadly implacability of the attack, coming
from a man, too, was baffling beyond description. Finn howled, and
sank abruptly upon his haunches, giving the Professor time for a
flying glance of pride in the direction of the admiring John L.

And now, had he been really a wild beast, Finn would probably have
remained cowering as far as possible from that terrible bar of
fire. Even as it was, he might have done this if the Professor had
not made the mistake of raising the bar again, with a suddenly
threatening motion. Finn had greater reasoning power, and greater
strength of will, than a wild beast. He was robbed of all restraint
by his surroundings and by the Professor's absolute and crushing
reversal of all his preconceived notions of the relations between
man and hound. The snarl of the tiger in his ears, the smell of his
own burnt flesh in his nostrils, the pitilessness of the
Professor's wholly unexpected attack, filled him with a tumultuous
fury of warring instincts which generations of inherited docility
were powerless to overcome. But, through it all, he was more
capable of thought than a really wild beast, and, as the hot iron
was lifted the third time, he leaped in under it like lightning,
and with a roar of defiance brought its wielder to the ground, and
planted both fore-feet upon his chest, while the iron bar fell
clattering from the man's hand between the bars of the cage.

Be it remembered that Finn stood a foot higher at the shoulder than
the average wolf, and weighed fully twice as much, being long and
strong in proportion to his height and weight. The Professor was
momentarily expecting to feel Finn's great jaws about his throat,
and his two arms were crossed below his chin for protection of that
most vulnerable spot. The tiger was now furiously clawing at the
partition a few inches from Finn's nose, and emitting a series of
the most blood-curdling snarls and roars.

"Draw him off with a stick!" shouted the Professor; who, even in
his present sorry plight, was concerned most with the injury to his
pride. Sam jabbed viciously at Finn's face with a long stake,
through the bars, and as Finn withdrew slightly, the Professor
wriggled cleverly to his feet, in a crouching posture, and reached
the gate of the cage. Finn growled threateningly, but made no move
forward, being thankful to see the retreat of his enemy. In another
instant the Professor was outside the cage, and the gate securely
bolted. He was bruised, but bore no mark of scratch or bite, and so
far was able to boast; having no knowledge of the fact that Finn
had not thought of biting him, but merely of overpowering him, as a
means of evading his hot iron. This the Wolfhound had done easily.
He could have killed the man with almost equal ease, had that been
his intention.

"Well, he sure is a rustler from 'way back, Professor, every single
time," remarked the boss.

"You'll see him hop through a hoop when I say so, inside of a
week," replied the tamer, sourly, as he brushed the dust from his
coat. "As it is, you'll notice that he didn't dare to bite or
scratch. Don't you fear but what I'll tame the beauty all right,
Giant Wolf or no Giant Wolf. I've handled worse'n him."

And a couple of days before this, the younger Miss Sandbrook had
been resting her carefully dressed curls against Finn's head.




The transformation begun in Finn by the night he had spent in a
rocking train, caged between a tiger and two bears, was enormously
accentuated and confirmed by his encounter with the Professor. If
zoologists had deliberately set themselves the task of converting
an Irish Wolfhound into a wild beast, they could hardly have taken
any more effective measures than those which had been adopted by
pure chance with Finn, from the time at which he reached Sam's
hands; and it is probable that no zoologist with any humanity in
him would have made progress so extraordinarily rapid. The mere
fact of being caged behind iron bars for the first time in his
life, and that between a roaring, snarling tiger and two grunting
little bears, strongly odoriferous of the wild, affected Finn in
somewhat the same manner that a highly excitable and nervous man of
quite untrained intellect might be affected by being flung into a
cell, surrounded by raving maniacs. If such a man, after a dozen
hours in his cell, were approached by some one whom he had every
reason to regard as a friend and a rescuer, and beaten cruelly with
a weapon possessed of strange and altogether horrible
qualities--supernatural qualities, so far as he could tell--it is
fair to suppose that he would be as much transformed by the ordeal
as Finn was by his ordeal.

Shortly after the episode of the red-hot iron, Finn's cage was
again visited by Sam and the Professor, the former being laden with
a big, blood-stained basket. From this basket the Professor took a
large chunk of raw flesh, and pushed it through the bars into
Finn's cage. A bone was also thrust through the bars, and a fixed
iron pan near the gate was filled from outside with water. The
Professor eyed Finn curiously while he performed these operations,
and was surprised that the Giant Wolf, as they called him, did not
spring forward upon the food.

"I've put the fear of God into him all right, Sam," said the
Professor. "He's not going to touch his grub while we're here. Like
all wolves, he's mighty frightened of traps; and I guess he reckons
there's a trap attaching to this meat. Watch how Killer tackles

Killer was already ravening furiously at the bars of his cage, his
yellow eyes ablaze as he watched the meat his soul desired being
thrust into Finn's cage. The tiger's roars kept Finn's hackles up,
and his fangs bared in a fierce snarl; so that the Professor was
struck afresh with the savageness of the latest addition to the
menagerie under his care. Killer's meat barely reached the floor of
his cage before he had snatched and carried it to the rear, where
he tore it savagely, while maintaining an incessant growling snarl.
But he dropped the meat as though it burned, and crouched fearfully
in the opposite corner of his den, when--by way of display for
Sam's benefit--the Professor picked up his iron bar and threatened
the tiger with it. Now Finn, on the other hand, when he saw the
cruel bar raised, sprang forward with a growling roar of defiance,
fore-feet outstretched, bristling back curved for the leap, and
white fangs flashing.

"Too sulky to eat it, but mighty concerned when he thought I was
goin' to take his meat from him," commented the Professor, in
explanation to Sam. As a matter of fact, Finn had not thought of
the meat. His present feeling was that he had fallen among a lot of
mad wild beasts, some of whom, by curious chance, had the
appearance of men folk. If one among them should lift an iron bar,
and more especially if the maddest and most hated among them, the
Professor, should lift the bar, why then, as Finn saw it, his one
chance for life was to fight; to strike hard and swiftly.

"We'll have to keep these two always caged together," said the
Professor, with a careless glance at Finn and the tiger. "Old
Killer works him up in great style. I guess he'll fetch the public
all the time, while he can hear old Killer at his antics. He
certainly is the finest-lookin' beast I ever saw in the wolf line,
and he's as strong and heavy as a horse. I guess your number would
'ave been up for sure, Sam, if you'd been in my shoes a while back,
when he got me down. What I don't like about the beggar is you
can't reckon on him; he don't seem to have the same ways as most of
'em. He don't fly at ye right away; he doesn't even jump for his
grub, you see. He seems to lie back an' consider. It's a bad thing
that, for he's hefty enough, anyway, without stopping to think out
his wickedness like a man. He's goin' to be a rough, hard case to
tame, Sam, that Giant Wolf of yours; but he's come to a hard-case
tamer, too, and don't you forget it. He's got to bend or break, and
you can gamble clear down to the butt of your sack on that, my son.
Come on now, and I'll show you how the others are fed. Just fill
old Killer's water-dish first."

It was now thirty hours since Finn had tasted food, and three days
since he had eaten a proper meal. If his experiences of the past
four-and-twenty hours had been in every other respect distressing,
they had at least robbed him of grief about the Master. His
outraged physical senses, and the tremendous strain placed upon his
nervous system, effectually shut grief out from his mind. Finn was
accustomed to have meals served to him in spotless enamelled
dishes, and it had always been food of which a man might have
partaken: well-cooked meats, bread, vegetables, and gravy, nicely
cut and mixed. Now for a long time the condition of passionate
protest and irritability produced in him by all that he had gone
through, and by Killer's continuous growling, prevented his
touching the meat which lay near the bars of his cage. But hunger
triumphed after a while, and with a quick, rather furtive movement,
but with lips drawn back and every sign exposed of readiness to
defend his action, Finn lifted the big chunk of meat from its place
by the bars, and carried it into a corner at the back of the cage,
where he tore it into fragments, and ate it, of necessity, very
much as a wolf eats, the blood of the raw meat trickling meanwhile
about his jaws. To drink, Finn had to place his head close to those
bars which most nearly adjoined the front of the tiger's cage. But
drink was necessary to him now, and so, with his nose all furrowed,
his fangs bared, and a formidable low snarl issuing from his
throat, he slowly approached the water-pan, and lapped his fill,
pausing to snarl aloud at the tiger between each three or four laps
of his tongue. But Killer had fed full, and crunched his bone to
splinters and eaten that; so now he was preparing himself to sleep.

If Finn could have followed Killer's example and slept it would
have helped him immensely, for his overwrought system needed rest
more badly than anything else just then. But this was impossible as
yet for the sensitive Wolfhound. The two bears in the next cage
were playing together fubsily, and the tiger's breathing while he
slept was a maddening kind of cross between a purr and a snore;
maddening, that is, to one who found the creature's mere proximity
incredibly distasteful. This hatred of the Killer's neighbourhood
was no whim, no personal fastidiousness on Finn's part. It went
much deeper than that. For example, so far, the hair on Finn's back
would not assume its natural position; it still stood half erect,
and harsh and stiff as fine wire; by which the tension of his
nerves may be imagined. No, Finn could not sleep.

The hours of the day dragged slowly by, and Finn began to suffer in
new ways. He had never been confined for any length of time before,
and strict cleanliness was an instinct with him.

At length, as the hot afternoon drew to its close, a number of men
came to the cages, and horses were hitched on to the heavy wagon
which supported them, at a level of less than three feet from the
ground. Killer woke with a start and, with his tail, angrily
flogged the partition which divided him from Finn, while delivering
himself of a snarling yawn. Finn leapt to his feet, answering the
tiger's snarl viciously, himself looking to the full as savage as
any of the wild kindred. The wagon moved with a jerk, Killer rolled
against his side of the partition and growled ferociously; Finn
sprang at the partition as though he thought his great weight would
carry him through it, and his jaws snapped at the air as he sprang.
The men roared with laughter at him, and this accentuated his
feeling that they were all mad wild beasts together. Presently,
Finn's cage, with others, was ranged along the side of a
canvas-covered passage way by which the public were to approach the
main tent, where that night's performance was to be given. This
double row of cages was arranged here with a view to impressing the
public; a kind of foretaste of the glories they were to behold
within. The Southern Cross circus had patent turnstiles fixed at
both ends of the main tent, those at one end admitting only of
ingress, those at the other end admitting only of egress.

It was shortly after this that Finn became conscious of a curious
grinding small sound at the back of his cage. Presently a sharp,
bright point of steel entered the cage from behind, just above the
level of Finn's head, as he sat on his haunches. The steel wormed
its way into the cage to a length of fully six inches, and then it
reached the side of Killer's cage, pointing diagonally, and bored
slowly through that. The auger was well greased, and made only a
very slight sound, so slight indeed that Killer was not aware of
it. He was not so highly strung as Finn at this time.

This auger-hole was an idea of Sam's, for which he hoped to derive
credit from the boss. He had noted carefully the remark of the
Professor about keeping the Giant Wolf close to the tiger, in order
to lend additional fierceness to his demeanour. And so, with the
thoughtlessly cruel cunning of a schoolboy, he had devised a means
of improving upon this. He took a thin iron rod, and covered the
end of it with soft, porous sacking, which he moistened with the
blood of raw meat. Then, by thrusting this between the bars of
Finn's cage, and jabbing violently at the Wolfhound with it for
several minutes, he endeavoured to impregnate the sacking on the
rod with a smell of Finn. Then he invited John L. Rutherford to
take up a stand in front of the cages, as though he were a member
of the general public, and to whistle, by way of signalling that he
was ready. Directly Sam heard the whistle, he being now behind the
cages, he thrust his sacking-covered rod through the auger-hole he
had made from Finn's cage into the tiger's, and there rattled it to
and fro to attract the Killer's attention. Killer not only heard
and saw the intruding object, but smelt it, and sprang at it
violently, with a rasping, savage snarl which challenged the Giant
Wolf to come forward or be for ever accursed for a coward. The rod
was withdrawn on the instant, and Finn's whole great bulk crashed
against the partition, as he answered Killer with a roar of
defiance. The great Wolfhound stood erect on his hind-feet,
snapping at the air with foaming jaws, and tearing impotently at
the iron-sheathed partition with his powerful claws. The boss
applauded vigorously, and gave Sam a shilling for beer.

"You keep that up while the people are coming in, Sam, an' by gosh
we'll have 'em in fits. The Giant's a sure star performer, every
time. He's worth two or three of the Killer, when he prances round
on his tail that way. It was quite a bright notion o' yours, Sam,
that auger-hole."

It must have been nearly two hours later, when the public was being
admitted in a regular stream to the big tent, and Sam had succeeded
in working the tiger and the Wolfhound into a perfect frenzy of
impotent rage, of snarling, foaming, roaring fury, that a faint
odour crossed Finn's nostrils, and a faint sound fell upon his
ears, through all the din and tumult of the conflict with his
unseen enemy. In that moment, and as though he had been shot, Finn
dropped from his erect position, and bounded to the front bars of
his cage, with a sudden, appealing whine, very unlike the
formidable cries with which he had been rending the pent air of his
prison for the last quarter of an hour. He had heard a few words
spoken in a woman's voice, and those words were:--

"I cannot bear to look at them; I never do. Let us hurry straight

In a passion of anxiety, and grief, and love, and remorse for not
having been on the look out, Finn poured out his very soul in a
succession of long-drawn whines, plaintive and insistent as a
'cello's wailings, while his powerful fore-paws tugged and
scratched ineffectually at the solid iron bars of his cage. The
woman whose voice he heard was the Mistress of the Kennels, and the
man to whom she spoke, who walked beside her, looking obstinately
at her and not at the cages, was the Master. Something seemed to
crack in poor Finn's breast, as the two humans whom he loved
disappeared from his view within the great tent. He did not know
that they would not pass that way again, because the audience left
the place by the opposite end of the tent. But he gave no thought
to the future. Here, in the midst of his uttermost misery and
humiliation, the Master, the light of his life, had passed within a
few feet of him, and passed without a glance, without a word. For
long, Finn gazed miserably out between the bars, sniffing
hopelessly at the air through which his friends had passed. Then,
slowly, he retired to the furthermost corner of his cage, and
curled down there, with his muzzle between his paws, and big drops
of bitter sadness trickling out from beneath his overhanging brows.
And not all the ferocity of Killer, nor all the ingenuity of Sam
with his sacking-covered rod, availed to draw Finn from his corner
again that night. It seemed as though his heart had cracked, and
every other emotion than grief trickled out from it in the form of
tears. It was the saddest moment of Finn's life till then; and it
was a bitter kind of sadness, too. Not one little look; not one
glance for Finn in the midst of his torment!




It may be that a good deal of the wisdom and philosophy of mankind
is born of grief and suffering. It is certain that a good deal of
philosophy came to Finn as the aftermath of that evening upon which
he retired, heart-broken, to the farthest corner of his cage, after
seeing the Master and the Mistress of the Kennels pass him without
a word or a glance. His mind did not deal in niceties. He did not
tell himself that if the Master had only guessed at his presence
there, all would have been different. He was conscious only of the
apparently brutal fact that the Master had walked past his cage and
ignored him; left him there in his horrible confinement. He bore no
malice, for there was not any malice in his nature; which is not at
all the same thing as saying that he was incapable of wreaking
vengeance or administering punishment. He simply was smitten to the
very heart with grief and sorrow. And so he lay, all through that
night, silent, sorrowful, and blind to his surroundings.

The natural result was that sleep came to him after a while, when
all was dark and silent, and the folk who had visited the circus,
like those who had entertained them, were in their beds. And this
sleep he badly needed. While he slept the burns on his muzzle and
ear were healing, the searing heat of his grief was subsiding, and
his body and nervous system were adapting themselves to his
situation, and recharging themselves after the great drain which
had been made upon them during the past couple of days.

When Killer's long, snarling yawn woke Finn in the morning he did
not fling himself against the partition which hid the tiger from
him. He did not even bark or snarl a defiant reply. He only bared
his white fangs in silence, and breathed somewhat harshly through
his nostrils, while the hair over his shoulders rose a little in
token of instinctive resentment. This comparatively mild
demonstration cost Finn a great deal less in the way of expenditure
of vitality than his previous day's reception of the tiger's
snarls; and left him by just so much the better fitted to cope with
other ordeals that lay before him.

If Finn had been a wild beast, his experience in the Southern Cross
Circus would have been a far less trying one for him than it was.
He would have learned early that the Professor was a practically
all-powerful tyrant, who had to be obeyed because he had the power
and the will to inflict great suffering upon those of the wild
kindred who refused him obedience. That he was a tyrant and an
enemy the wild creature would have accepted from the outset, as a
natural and an inevitable fact. In Finn's case the matter was far
otherwise. His instinct and inclination bade him regard a man as a
probable friend. Naturally, if the Professor had been aware of
this, he would never have approached Finn with a hot iron, and
their relations would have been quite different from the beginning.
As it was, or as Finn saw it, anyhow, the Professor had proved
himself a creature absolutely beyond the pale; a mad wild beast,
disguised as a man; a devil who met friendly advances with repeated
blows of a magic weapon, a stick made of fire, against which no
living thing might stand. Matey had seemed to Finn a mad man, and
one to be avoided. But Matey had not been a wild beast as well,
neither had he carried fire in his hand. The Professor was a far
more formidable and deadly creature. However he might disguise his
intentions, his purpose clearly was Finn's destruction. That was
how Finn saw it, and he acted accordingly; consistently, and not
from malice, but upon the dictates of common sense and
self-preservation, as he understood them.

Having said so much, it is hardly necessary to add that Finn
suffered greatly during the next few weeks of his life; for had not
the Professor sworn to make the Giant Wolf his obedient creature,
and a docile performer in the circus? That he never did. His boast
was never made good, though with a real wolf it might have been;
and again it almost certainly would have been, had he ever guessed
that Finn was not a wolf at all, but one of the most aristocratic
hounds and friends of man ever bred. But his failure cost Finn
dear, in pain, humiliation, fear, and suffering of diverse kinds.

The boss jeered at the Professor when the failure to tame Finn had
extended over a week; and that added greatly to the severity of
Finn's ordeal. The Professor was on his mettle; and now, while he
made no further spoken boasts, he swore to himself that he would
break the Giant Wolf's spirit or kill him. He never guessed that
his whole failure rested upon one initial mistake. To the wild
beast the red-hot iron bar was merely the terrible insignia of the
Professor's indubitable might and mastery; a very compelling
invitation to docility and respectful obedience. To Finn it
was not that at all; but merely terrible and unmistakable evidence
of basest treachery and malevolent madness. And it was largely with
the red-hot iron that the Professor sought to tame Finn, believing,
as he did, that this was necessary to his own, the Professor's,

Upon one occasion--one brilliantly sunny morning of Finn's
martyrdom--it did dimly occur to the Professor that it might be the
hot iron which somehow stood between himself and the mastery of
Finn. Accordingly, he twisted some wire round the end of his quilt,
or cutting whip, and entered the cage without the iron, while Sam
stood outside with the brazier, ready to pass in the iron if that
should prove necessary. Finn absolutely mistrusted the man, of
course--he had suffered what he believed to be the man's insane
lust of cruelty for a fortnight now--but yet he saw that the iron
was not in the cage, and so he made no hostile demonstration; and
that was a notable concession on his part, for, of late, the
Professor's tactics, so far from taming him, had taught the
naturally gracious and kindly Wolfhound to fly at the man with
snapping jaws the instant he came within reach. Now the man moved
slowly, very slowly, nearer and nearer to Finn's corner, using
ingratiating words. When it seemed that he meant to come near
enough for touch, Finn decided that he would slip across the cage
to its opposite far corner in order to avoid the hated contact. He
did not snarl; he did not even uncover his fangs, for the fiery
instrument of torture was not there. He rose from his crouching
position, and of necessity that brought him a few inches nearer to
the Professor, before he could move toward the far side of the

"Would yer? Down, ye brute!" snarled the man, in his best
awe-inspiring tone. And in that instant the wire-bound rhinoceros-hide
whistled down across Finn's face, cutting him almost as painfully
as the hot iron was wont to sear him. He snarled ferociously. Down
came the lash again, and this time a loose end of wire stabbed the
corner of one of his eyes. The next instant saw the Professor flung
back at length against the bars of the cage; and in his face he
felt Finn's breath, and heard and saw the flashing, clashing gleam
of Finn's white fangs. Sam thrust the white-hot bar in, stabbing
Finn's neck with its hissing end. The Professor seized the bar and
beat Finn off with it; not for protection now, but in sheer, savage
anger. Then he withdrew from the cage, and seizing a long pole beat
Finn crushingly with that, through the bars, till his arms ached.
Meantime, Finn fought the pole like a mad thing; and the Professor,
unable to think of any other way of inflicting punishment upon the
untameable Giant Wolf, took his food from the basket and gave it to
Killer before Finn's eyes, leaving the Wolfhound to go empty for
the day.

[Illustration:  The next instant saw the Professor flung back at
length against the bars of the cage.]

That was the result of the Professor's one attempt, according to
his lights, at humouring the Giant Wolf, by approaching him without
the iron. That also was a specimen of the kind of daily interviews
he had with Finn.

By this time the Wolfhound actually was a very fierce and savage
creature. But he was not at all like the magnificently raging
whirlwind of wrath which had aroused the boss's admiring wonder on
the day he first saw Finn. Killer might growl and snarl himself
hoarse now for all the notice Finn took of the great beast. Scarred
from nose to flank with burns, bruised and battered and aching in
every limb, Finn remained always curled in the darkest, farthest
corner of his cage now, roused only by the daily fight, the daily
torture, of his interviews with the Professor. At other times, as
the boss said bitterly, he might have been dead or a lap-dog, for
all the spectacle he offered to the curious who visited his cage.
All they saw was a coiled, iron-grey mass, and two burning black
eyes, with a glint of red in them, and a blood-coloured triangle in
their upper corners.

Now and again, in the midst of the night, Finn would rise and go
down to the bars of his cage and stand there, motionless, for an
hour at a stretch, his scarred muzzle protruding between two bars,
his aching nostrils, hot and dry, drinking in the night air, his
eyes robbed of their resentful fire, and pitiably softened by the
great tears that stood in them. At the end of such an hour he would
sometimes begin to walk softly to and fro, inside the bars, the
four paces that his cage allowed him. Thus he would pad back and
forth silently for another hour, with tail curled toward his belly
and nose on a level with his knees, almost brushing the bars as he
passed them. He made no sound at all, even when the moon's silvery
light flooded his cage, or when Killer snarled in his sleep. But
always, before returning to his corner, he would systematically
test every bar at its base with teeth and paws; and then sigh, like
a very weary man, as he slouched despairingly back to his corner.

But, for all the glowering misery that possessed him by day and the
despair to which he would give rein by night, it was always with
dauntless ferocity that the tortured Wolfhound faced his enemy, the
Professor. Short of starving him to death, or killing him outright
with the iron bar, the Professor could see no way of making the
Giant Wolf cringe to him; he could devise no method of breaking
that fierce spirit, though he exhausted every kind of severity and
every sort of cruelty that his wide experience in the handling of
fierce animals could furnish. For any one who could have
comprehended the true inwardness of that situation, its tragedy
would have lain in the reflection that, had he but known it, Finn
could without difficulty have earned not alone ease and good
treatment, but high honours in the Southern Cross Circus. But Finn
had no means of guessing that the Professor merely desired to
master him, and to teach him to stand erect, or leap through a hoop
at the word of command. No sign of any such desire, that Finn could
possibly read, had been furnished. But, on the contrary, the one
thing made evident to the Wolfhound's understanding was that here
was a bloodthirsty man in a leather coat who desired to burn him to
death, when not engaged in beating him with a pole, or thrusting at
him viciously through the bars of his cage with a stick, or
slashing at him with a whip that cut through hair and skin. And, be
it remembered, that the hound who was faced with these, to him,
utterly gratuitous and senseless atrocities, was one who, if we
except the single occasion of his night with the dog-thief in
Sussex, had never known what it meant to face an angry man, or to
receive a blow from a man, angry or otherwise. It was small wonder
that Finn had only snarls and snapping jaws for the Professor. The
pity of it was that he could have avoided as much suffering if he
had only known what it was desired of him. The wonder of it was
that he faced the Professor day after day with such unfailing
courage, with a spirit which remained absolutely uncowed, though
the body which sheltered it could not present a single patch of the
bigness of a man's hand which was neither burned, nor bruised, nor

There came a day when, other matters occupying his attention, the
Professor did not trouble to pay one of his futile visits to Finn's
cage. Sam fed him as usual, when Killer was fed. (One of the
features of Finn's captivity, which, while in his confinement it
helped to injure his physical condition, also helped to make him
the more fierce, was the fact that his diet consisted exclusively
of raw meat.) Finn waited through the long day for the Professor,
steeling himself for the daily struggle and the daily suffering.
His body free of new pains he rested that night more thoroughly
than he had rested for a long time; and there were faint stirrings
of hope in his mind. Next morning the boss happened to walk past
the cages with the Professor, and when they came to Finn's place
the Professor said--

"I reckon I'll give that brute best, unless you'd like him killed.
I'll tackle that job for you with pleasure; but your Giant Wolf's
no good for the show."

"No, the joke's on me about the Giant Wolf," admitted the boss,
crossly. "Sam had me for fair, over him. Fifteen quid for a useless
pig like that! Why, he won't even stand up to make a show. The
brute's not worth his tucker, is he?"

"He is not. And, if you ask me, you'd better let me feed him to the
others, while there's any meat left on his bones. He's no good for
aught else, as I can see. The Tasmanian Devil was a lap-dog to him,
and he died before I could get him trained, you remember."

"H'm! Well, we'll see. We might get some fool to buy him. Anyway,
you'd better tell Sam to pry him round a bit somehow when the
show's opening. He looks all right when he gets a move on him, but
he ain't worth a hill o' beans lyin' curled up there in a corner.
How'd it do to get a dingo, and put it in there with him!"

"You might as well give him a mouse. He'd swaller it whole. He's
twice the size of a dingo."

"He sure is twice as sulky as any beast I ever saw. An' that blame
book-writin' chap from the city the other night said he reckoned
the Giant was a dog, an' not a wolf at all! Nice sociable sort of a
dog for a family gathering, I _don't_ think!"

"You should have asked the gent to go in his cage an' try 'im with
a bit of sugar. My bloomin' Colonial! He wouldn't have written any
more books."

And now, whenever the boss met Sam, he would "jolly" the young man
a bit, as he said, regarding the Giant Wolf as a bargain, and ask
what Sam had done with the fifteen pounds, and whether he had any
other cheap freaks to sell. Also, Sam's half-crown was docked from
his wages; and Sam, after all, had never laid claim to any bigness
of heart or philosophy of mind. He had long since spent the fifteen
pounds. The twenty-five shillings he had paid for Finn loomed
larger in his recollection now than the fifteen pounds he had
received; particularly after a dose of the boss's chaff.

"Why the blazes can't yer learn, an' work fer yer livin', ye ugly
great brute?" Sam would growl, as he threw Finn his daily portion
of flesh. And, more often than not, he would pick up a stake, and
thrust viciously at the Wolfhound, or strike at him as he crept
forward to snatch his meat. Thus, as poor Finn saw it, another of
the strange man-like beasts had gone mad, and was to be treated as
a dangerous enemy.

If the Professor had continued his daily attempts to cow Finn, as a
preliminary to training, he would have been likely to succeed at
about this time; for the Wolfhound was losing strength daily, and
though the fire of wrath and fierceness burned strongly when he saw
the leather-coated man, it had little to feed on now, and must soon
have died down under the hot bar and the wired whip. But the
Professor could not be expected to know this. He had had as many as
sixty futile struggles with Finn, and, as he thought, had only
stopped short of killing the Giant outright. But idleness, or some
other cause, did lead him to make one other attempt, on a hot
afternoon, just before the hour of tea and of dressing for the
evening show. Finn's fighting blood, inherited through long
centuries of unsmirched descent, made him put his best foot
foremost, and meet the Professor with a mien of most formidable
ferocity as soon as the red iron appeared. The Professor did not
know how near to breaking-point Finn's despair had reached. There
was little sign of it in the roaring fierceness with which he faced
the iron and whip. A wolf in such a case, with the cunning of the
wild, and without the life's experience of humans which made the
Professor's part so incredibly base, so gratuitously cruel and
treacherous to Finn, would have given in long before. Finn fought
with the courage of a brave man who has reached the last ditch, and
with the ferocity that came to him out of the ancient days in which
his warrior ancestors were never known either to give or to receive

The Professor felt that this was a last attempt, and he did not
greatly care whether the great hound lived or died. The Giant Wolf
had defeated him as a trainer; but the Giant Wolf should never
forget the price paid for the defeat. It was a cruel onslaught. The
iron bit deep, and--it had been better for the Professor's
character development, better for his record as man, if he had left
Finn alone when he decided to make no further attempt at taming.
But men, too, have fierce, brutal passions, with less than the
simplicity of brutes, and more, far more, of the knowledge which
makes cruelty leave a permanent stain upon them. The Professor
himself was aching and sore when he flung passionately out from
Finn's cage and slammed the iron gate to; and as for Finn, I have
no words in which to explain how his poor body ached and was sore.
If the iron had been stone cold, Finn would still have been a
terribly badly beaten hound, when he staggered to his corner, after
this last visit from the mad beast-man in the leathern coat--so he
thought of the Professor, in that tumult of sinking flames which we
may call his mind. He lay in his corner, quivering and shuddering,
and did not even find the heart to lick his wounds till long hours
afterwards, when silence ruled in the field where the circus was
encamped that night.

This field was on the outskirts of a considerable township; the
twenty-second that Finn had visited with the Southern Cross Circus.
The authorities had refused to allow the boss to come closer in,
and so one side of his camping-place was walled by virgin bush; a
dense tract of blue-gum and iron-bark stretching, almost as far as
the eye could reach, to the foot-hills of a gaunt mountain range.
For a mile or so from the circus camp the trees had all been
ring-barked a couple of seasons or more before this time, with the
result that they were now the very haggard skeletons of mighty
trees, naked for the most part, their white bones open to all the
winds of heaven, but here and there sporting a ghastly kind of
drapery, remnants of their grave-clothes as it might be, in the
shape of long hanging streamers of dead bark, which moaned and
rustled eerily in the night breezes. High above the tattered
grave-clothes of their lifeless trunks, the knotted, tortured-looking
arms and fingers of the trees groped painfully after the life that
had fled their neighbourhood.

Finn could just see the ghostly extremities of these spectral trees
over the top of the main tent as he lay crouched in his corner,
after devoting an hour to the licking of his sores. Presently, an
almost full moon rose among the trees' fleshless limbs, and painted
their nakedness in more than ever ghostly guise. It was then that
Finn rose, painfully and slowly, to his feet, and moved, like an
old, old man, across the floor of his cage to the bars, the bars
that were of an inky blackness in that silvery light. For almost an
hour this great hound, this tortured prince of a kingly race, stood
sadly there, staring out at the moonlight between the bars of his
prison; and for almost an hour, big clear drops kept forming in his
black eyes and trickling along his scarred muzzle, till they
pattered down upon the floor of the cage. If he had ever heard of
such a thing as suicide, it may be that his soul would have known
the final humiliation of self-destruction that night. But there is
something that strikes a balance, as well in a Wolfhound's life as
a man's life.

Near as Finn was to the limit of his endurance, his brave spirit
lived within him yet, and he did not forego the nightly habit he
had formed long since of trying the bars that made him a prisoner.
It is possible that there never was a much more pathetically
forlorn hope than that which animated this sorely racked prisoner
when he felt his bars. But if the iron of them had entered into his
soul, then it had made for endurance. The process was not made
easier by the existence of Finn's latest wounds. Both his fore-legs
and his muzzle had suffered severely under the iron that day; and
it was with these that he now tested his bars, slowly,
conscientiously, and with painful thoroughness, from the bar
nearest Killer's cage to that at the end of the gate of his own,
which closed on to the partition of the native bears' division. It
was the bottom of the bars that Finn always tried, where they
entered the floor of the cage. He took each between his teeth and
pushed and pulled; sometimes pushing or pulling with his paws as
well. And the result, on this night of bright moonlight and great
pain, was as it had always been. The iron did not change.

[Illustration:  Was lost in the shadow of the main tent.]

Having reached the end of his task, Finn sat erect on his haunches
for it may have been a quarter of an hour, gazing out at the risen
moon, which sailed serenely now, high above the praying hands of
the skeleton trees. Certainly, Finn's spirit was near to
breaking-point. He rose, meaning to seek his corner again, as after so
many other futile testings of his bars; but something moved him first
to look out as far as he could, over the tent-top, to the great world
beyond. Sore though his body was, he rose erect upon his hind-feet,
placed his fore-feet against the upper half of the gate, and only
narrowly escaped falling forward through the gate to the ground
beneath. In his passion the Professor had slammed the barred gate
to as usual and, in flinging himself angrily off from the place,
had omitted to slip the two thick bolts which normally held it
secure. The gate fitted closely, and was rusty, besides; so that
Finn's jaws, tugging at its extreme foot, and upon this particular
occasion less strongly no doubt than usual, had not shifted it. But
his weight pressing against the upper half was quite another
matter; and now the gate stood wide open before him.

For an instant, Finn's heart swelled within him, so sharply, and so
greatly, that a little whine burst from him, and it seemed he was
unable to move. So the sight of the open gate, giving upon the
silent open night, affected the Wolfhound. In the next instant he
dropped quietly to the earth, and was lost in the inky shadow of
the main tent.




Very wonderful and wolf-like, cat-like, too, in some respects, was
Finn's progress through the circus encampment on that bright
moonlight night. The field was full of silvery moonlight you would
have said; but never a glint of all that liquid silver touched
Finn's outline for a moment. Just so, beside the northern mountains
of another continent, one has watched a leopard--mountain lions we
call them there--braving the strange terrible smells and dangers of
a man's camp, to stalk a sleeping fox-terrier; in absolute
ignorance of the rifle barrel that covered it, yet miraculously
successful in never giving the man behind the rifle the chance of a
moonlight shot. Finn was sore and aching from many wounds, and
stiff from long confinement. He knew that every one connected with
the circus was sleeping; but on this occasion he gave no hostages
to fortune, he took no risks. The stakes at issue, as he saw it,
were, upon the one side, life and freedom, freedom which was almost
unbearably sweet to think of, after the long-drawn agony of the
past couple of months; and upon the other side, slow death under
the torture of confinement, the iron, the lash, and the mad
man-beast in the leathern coat.

It is the greatest mistake in the world to suppose that an animal
like Finn has no imagination. Indeed, the animals which have no
imagination are comparatively few; while such an Irish Wolfhound as
Finn has, at the least, as much of it as some men the writer has

A fiery picture of the issues at stake was floating in Finn's mind
as he crept in and out among the tents and wagons of the enclosure:
and he was conscious neither of wounds, or weakness, or stiffness;
but only of his great resolve, based upon the wonderful chance that
had come to him. Once he came to a place where ten feet of
brilliant moonlight lay between the black shadow he occupied and
the next. He paused for a moment or two, looking about him upon
every side with all the cunning of the truly wild kindred; and
then, with a very good imitation of the lightness and elasticity of
other, happier days, he sprang clear from the one shadow to the
other, landing as delicately and silently as a cat, though the
impact jarred all his stiffened joints, and touched, as with living
fire, every one of his almost innumerable wounds.

Then he came to the outer canvas wall of the big enclosure. It was
too high to jump, a good twelve feet. An attempt to jump and
scramble over it might have led to noise. Finn approached it in the
deep shadow cast by a caravan wagon, and, thrusting his muzzle
underneath the canvas, midway between two stakes, easily forced it
up, and crawled under it into the open. When he was half-way out,
the boss's fox-terrier gave one sleepy half-bark, too languid and
indifferent a sound to be taken as a warning; and for the rest,
complete silence paid tribute to the extreme deftness of Finn's
passage through the sleeping camp. But that low, sleepy bark from
the fox-terrier who slept beside the boss's own caravan, served to
stop the beating of Finn's heart for one long moment. In the next
moment, almost as silently as a passing cloud shadow, the great
Wolfhound streaked across the thirty yards of moonlit paddock which
divided the camp from the ring-barked bush, and melted away among
that crowded assembly of tree ghosts. The barbed wire fence of the
paddock was no more than four feet high, and this Finn took in his
stride, without appreciable pause.

The ring-barking of trees admits sunlight and air to the earth, and
this means rich "feed" and a sturdy undergrowth. On the other hand,
the death of the trees introduces a kind of nakedness and publicity
to the bush which naturally is not favoured by wild folk during
daylight. But this does not detract from the merits of ring-barked
country as a night feeding-ground; and Finn was amazed by the
wealth and variety of wild life which he saw as he loped swiftly
through the few miles of bush lying between the circus camp and the
foothills of the mountains beyond. His immediate purpose, of
putting a considerable distance between himself and the place of
his captivity, was too urgent to admit of delays, no matter what
the temptation; and, accordingly, Finn made no pauses. But it added
greatly to the joy of his escape to find himself surrounded by so
great an abundance of creatures which instinct made him regard as
game for him. Upon every hand there were rustlings and whisperings,
tiny footfalls and scufflings among dead leaves and twigs; and here
and there, as the great grey, shadowy Wolfhound swept along between
the white tree-trunks, he had glimpses of rabbits, bandicoots,
kangaroo-rats, and many of the lesser marsupials, all busy about
their different night affairs, all half-paralysed by amazement at
his passage through their midst. Once he heard a venomous spitting
overhead and, as he hurried on, caught a flying glimpse of a native
cat, who had pinned an adventurous young 'possum on the lower limb
of a giant black-butt. Once, too, he was startled into momentary
horror of some human trap of the Professor's invention; and his
speed approached that of flying, under the spur of a laughing
jackass's raucous cachinnation.

The ring-barked country was soon left behind, and then Finn found
himself among dense living bush, climbing a steep ascent. Here his
speed was necessarily a great deal slower. There was a good deal of
undergrowth upon the mountain side, besides much heavy timber; and
hidden among this lush undergrowth were occasional boulders and
innumerable fallen tree-trunks, over which Finn stumbled heavily
again and again, he being without that curious bush-lore which
enables men-folk born in the bush, no less than its own wild folk,
to steer clear of these obstructions by means of a sort of sixth
sense, which tells them when they must leap, and helps them to know
when the leap must be an extra cautious one, because of the danger
of disturbing the deadly people of the wild. The Australian bush
has many varieties of snakes, and quite a good number of them are
deadly; though some of those most formidable in appearance are not.
Finn had never even seen a snake; so that, though his ignorance
made him run many risks that night, he was at least spared all
anxiety regarding the deadly folk, their quick tempers and swift
methods of attack.

Dawn was not far off when Finn emerged, with heaving flank and
lolling tongue, into the green but stony glade which formed the
ridge and crest of the Tinnaburra range. The last hundred yards of
his progress had been a good deal of a scramble, through thick
scrub and over lichen-covered boulders, on a very steep rise. And
now that he had reached the cool glade of topmost Tinnaburra, he
found that his arrival had caused considerable perturbation among a
small mob of brumbies, or wild horses, consisting of some seven or
eight mares and foals, led by a flea-bitten old grey stallion, who
snorted angrily as he saw Finn, and minced forward toward the
Wolfhound, his long chisel teeth bared, his four-foot tail
billowing out behind him like a flag, and his black hoofs (the feet
of mountain-bred brumbies are prodigiously hard and punishing in
the attack) rising and falling from the dewy earth like spring

Finn devoted the little breath he could spare to the rather whining
note of explanation which means: "Don't fear me! I pursue my own
affairs only, and they are harmless for you!" But the old stallion
was taking no chances. Age made him fussy, and his family included
two very recent additions. Also, Finn brought a baffling mixture of
scents with him, including those of men and of wild creatures such
as the stallion had never seen and did not wish to see. So he
continued his threateningly mincing progress toward Finn, and
whinnied out a declaration to the effect that this could be no
resting-place for dingoes, however huge and diversified in their
smells. Finn was not in the least like a dingo; but, on the other
hand, he was not like a kangaroo-hound. He was twice the size of a
dingo, very nearly, and a good seven inches taller than the biggest
kangaroo-hound the stallion had seen. Also, his coat was shaggy and
long, instead of close and short like that of a greyhound, or
kangaroo-hound. As against that, he carried with him more
suggestion of the fellowship of the wild kindred than of the tribe
of renegades who are men-folk's adherents; and therefore, for the
moment, dingo was a good enough name for him, so far as the old
stallion was concerned, the dingo being the only creature of the
wolf kind which he knew.

Finn was in no mood for disputes of any sort, and so, though
exceedingly weary now, he made a wide detour to satisfy the
nervousness of the flea-bitten grey stallion, and began a diagonal
descent upon the south side of Tinnaburra. Just as the sun cleared
the horizon over his right shoulder, Finn dropped wearily down from
a clump of wattle upon a broad, flat ledge of many-coloured rock
which caught the sun's first glinting rays upon its queer enamel of
red and brown and yellow lichen. From this point Finn looked down a
densely-wooded mountain side, and out across a tolerably
well-timbered plain to hills which stood nearly forty miles away. It
would have made an eyrie for a king eagle. Finn had already slaked
his thirst hurriedly a mile back, in a chattering, rock-bedded
mountain streamlet. And now he was weary beyond all further
endurance. He had been sick, and sore, and stiff, and sadly out of
condition when he started; and he had been travelling now for six
hours. A feeling of security had stolen over him since he reached
the topmost ridge of Tinnaburra. The very fragrance of the air told
him, as he drew it in through his nostrils, that he was far from
the works of men. Food he could not think of while every bone and
muscle in his great body ached from weariness. By the edge of the
rock was a sandy hollow, over which a feathery shrub drooped three
or four of its graceful branches at a height of three feet from the
ground. Finn eyed this inviting spot steadily for two or three
minutes, while his aching sides continued to heave, and his long
tongue to sway from one side of his jaws. Then he stepped
cautiously into the sheltered nook, turned completely round in it
three or four times, and finally sank to rest there in a compact
coil, and with a little grunt of contentment and relief.

Finn opened his eyes, and half-opened them, many times during the
day; once, to his utter amazement, when a huge wedge-tailed eagle
swept gloriously past with a lamb in its talons no more than ten
feet from his nose; but the day was practically done, and nightfall
approaching, when the Wolfhound finally rose from his sandy bed and
stretched his seven-foot length from nose to tail. The long stretch
drew a sharp whine from him towards its end, when the stiffness and
soreness of his limbs, and of some of his more recent burns and
bruises, found him out. But even in the pain there was a sense of
luxury and gladness for Finn. His sleep had not been devoid of
sudden starts, of shudderings and twitches, born of fearful
dreaming; but now that he was broad awake, and in the hushed grey
twilight looked out across forty miles of wild open land, with
never a sign of tent or house, or other work of man, his heart
swelled within him with satisfaction and content, and he drew deep
breaths of grateful pleasure and relief before setting out upon the
descent of Tinnaburra, and, if it might be, the capture of a

Before Finn had travelled half a mile along the hill-side, he made
his first acquaintance with the snake people. In descending at a
sharp angle from the side of a fallen tree, his fore-feet just
scraped the end of the tail of a nine-foot carpet snake, whose
colouring was vivid and fresh. Before Finn knew what had happened,
one coil of the sinuous reptile's body was about his left hind-leg,
and, as the startled Wolfhound wheeled in his tracks, the big
snake's head rose at him with a forbidding, long-drawn "Ps-s-s-s-t!"
of defiance. The rapidly tightening pressure about his muscular
lower thigh produced something like panic in Finn's breast; but,
luckily enough, his panic resulted in speeding him toward precisely
the right course of action. He feinted in the direction of his
hind-leg, and then, as the snake plunged for his neck, his jaws
flashed back and caught the reptile just behind the head. A single
bite was sufficient, for it smashed the snake's vertebrae and
almost divided it. A moment later Finn's teeth were at the coil
about his hind-leg, and in another instant he was free. But he was
too greatly shocked to make a meal upon the remains of his enemy,
which is what he should have done, and, after taking a good look at
its long, brilliantly-coloured body, he was glad to make off down
the hill, travelling now with a good deal more caution than he had
shown before. It was a merciful thing for Finn that his first
contact with the snake people should have brought him in touch only
with the powerful and courageous carpet snake, and not with one of
the many deadly venomous members of his tribe.

This experience rather shook Finn by reason of its utter
strangeness to him. He recalled the spitting venom of the native
cat, of whose kill he had caught a fleeting glimpse on the previous
night. That again was rather strange and outside his experience.
This great open wild world was certainly quite unlike the mild,
half-domesticated and cared-for little patch of wild that Finn had
claimed as his hunting-ground beside the Sussex Downs. Just then a
laughing jackass started a hoarse chuckle above Finn's head, and a
big white cockatoo, startled by the jackass, flew screaming out
from the branches of a grey gum, with the agonized note in its cry
which these birds seem to favour at all seasons, and quite
irrespective of the nature of their occupations at the moment. The
loose skin on Finn's shoulders moved uneasily, as he trotted along,
using the most extreme care.

But, with all his care, he was in strange surroundings, and his
bush-lore was all to learn; and because of his strangeness his most
careful gait seemed a noisy and clumsy one to the little wild folk
of that mountain side, and Finn saw none of them. By chance he saw
one of the larger kind, however, and the sight of it added to his
sense of strangeness, for it was unlike any other beast he had ever
seen. This was a large female rock wallaby, a big grey doe, with
her young one. The youngster was at the awkward age, free of the
teat, yet unable to travel alone. It was nibbling and playing some
distance from its big mother when she had her first warning of
Finn's approach, in the crackling of dead twigs under his powerful
feet. The youngster showed awkwardness in getting to its snug
retreat in the mother's pouch, and so, by these delays, Finn was
given his glimpse of a big marsupial in the act of taking a
fifteen-foot leap through the scrub. Finn almost sat down on his
haunches from astonishment. But, unlike the snake, the wallaby
inspired him with no sort of fear, possibly by reason of its
evident fear of him. It was, however, another item in the
strangeness, the complete unfamiliarity of Finn's present

It seems absurd to suggest that the great Wolfhound may have been
suffering from loneliness, seeing that he had never been so
thankful for anything else in his whole life as he was for his
escape from the circus, with its small army of men-folk and
animals. But it is a fact that as Finn plodded along through the
wild bush to the south of Tinnaburra, he began to be haunted by a
sense of isolation and friendlessness. It was now thirty hours
since he had tasted food, and it seemed that game shunned his
trail, for he saw none of the many small animals he had passed on
the previous night; and the sight he had had that day of the great
wedge-tailed eagle, of the carpet snake, and of the grey rock
wallaby, these only added to the uncanny strangeness of his
surroundings. In one sense, persecution, witting and unwitting, had
made a wild beast of him during his confinement in the circus; but,
by reason of the close confinement which had accompanied these
persecutions, increasing self-dependence and self-reliance had not
come with the access of fierceness and wildness. Finn inherited
fighting instincts and savage ferocity under persecution from a
long and noble line of hunting and fighting ancestors. But he
inherited few instincts which bore practically upon the matter of
picking up his own living, of walking alone, of depending
exclusively upon himself, and of leading the solitary life of the
really wild carnivora. But this would have troubled him very little
if the scene of his present wanderings had been, say, some part of
Sussex. As it was, the big snake, the huge eagle, the screaming
cockatoo, the nerve-shaking cachophony of the jackass, and the
half-flying progress of the big wallaby, all combined with the huge
wildness of the country and its vegetation to oppress Finn with the
sense of being a lone outcast, an outlier in a foreign land which
was full of sinister possibilities. The recollection of that
hissing nine-foot worm, of a thickness as great and greater than
that of his own legs, lingered unpleasantly with Finn. Also, he was
getting very hungry.

While these impressions were sinking into the Wolfhound's mind, the
country through which he was travelling was becoming more open,
more like a long-neglected park, in which many of the trees were
dead, and all had a gaunt and scraggy look, with their thin,
pointed grey-green leaves, their curiously tortured-looking limbs,
and their long, rustling streamers of decaying bark. But, however
Finn might feel in the matter of loneliness, it was with a pang of
something like horror that he came presently upon a barbed wire
fence, exactly like the one he had leaped on the previous night,
directly after leaving the circus. Could it be possible that the
circus had been moved during the day to this place, and the barbed
wire fence brought with it? Finn prowled cautiously up and down
that fence for a couple of hundred yards in each direction, peering
beyond it, and sniffing and listening with the extreme of
suspiciousness, before he finally leaped the wire and continued his
way in a south-easterly direction.

Five minutes later he saw a rabbit, and though he lost it, by
reason of the fact that it was sitting within a foot of its burrow
and disappeared with lightning-like rapidity at sight of Finn, yet
he was cheered by this homely sight, and pursued his way with
renewed hope in the matter of supper. A moment later and he stopped
dead in his tracks as though shot, and then crawled softly aside to
take cover behind a thicket of scrub.

In topping an abrupt little ridge, he had come suddenly into full
view of a bark gunyah or shanty, in the triangular opening of
which, beside a bright fire, sat a man and a big black hound. A
billy-can swung over the fire on a tripod of stakes, and the man
was engaged with his supper. Finn did not know, of course, that the
man was a boundary-rider, and his dog a not very well-bred
kangaroo-hound. The wind was north-west, or the kangaroo-hound
would surely have scented Finn's approach and given tongue.

For a long time Finn lay under the cover of his thicket, peering
through the darkness at the boundary-rider and his dog. And while
Finn gazed his thoughts were very busy, both with matters of his
own knowledge and experience, and with vague instinctive knowledge,
dream knowledge and dream experiences, which came to him from his
forbears of old, even as a setter's or a pointer's hunting
knowledge comes to him in the vanguard of experience. The thing
that most impressed Finn in the picture he saw was the figure of
the black hound, stretched at ease beside the fire, steadily eyeing
its master. Every once in a while the man would break a chunk from
his damper, or cut a morsel from his meat and toss it to the
kangaroo-hound, who opened and closed its jaws like a steel trap,
and gulped the gift with portentous solemnity, and absolutely
without visible sign of any emotion whatever. The hound showed only
watchfulness. Finn heard its jaws snap, and could almost hear the
gulp which disposed of each morsel. The sight and the sound gave an
edge to the Wolfhound's already keen appetite, and, almost
unconsciously, he drew nearer and yet nearer to the gunyah,
crouching low to the ground as he moved, his hind-quarters gathered
under him ready for springing, like a huge cat.

There was no suggestion of circuses, or cages, or cruelty about the
picture Finn saw; but his recent experiences had been far too
severe to admit of anything like the old simple trustfulness in his
attitude. That could never be again. Even hunger would never make
this Wolfhound trustful again. But for all that, there was
something in the picture of the camp-fire and the pair who sat
beside it which drew Finn strongly; tugging somehow at his
heart-strings; pulling at him strongly, softly; drawing him, as by
silken cords of instinct and immemorial association. So far as his own
life in the world went, this was the first camp-fire Finn had ever
seen. One could not say exactly how or why it should have been so,
but it is a fact that, while crouching Finn gazed upon and crept
closer to that camp-fire, his mind was full of affectionate
thoughts and memories of the Master, and of the old days of their
happy companionship. Up till this evening he had not thought of the
Master for many days.




It was doubtless the camp-fire picture which filled the lone
Wolfhound's mind with thoughts of the Master; but, while there is
no suggestion of telepathy about it, it was none the less an odd
coincidence that, at the very hour of Finn's approach to a
camp-fire in the bush, a dozen miles and more to the south-east of
Tinnaburra, the Master should have been approaching the big house
by the harbour outside the capital city, three hundred miles away,
with a mind full of Finn. Yet so it was. And at that moment the
Master's reminiscent thoughts of the Wolfhound were to the full as
affectionate as were Finn's thoughts of him.

The Mistress of the Kennels had more than justified the doctor's
prophecies. Less than a month of life in the mountains had given
her back her old energy and strength. The third week there had
given her also the acquaintance, soon to ripen into friendship, of
a certain squatter's wife, who was spending a few weeks in the
hills with her husband and three children. Before the acquaintance
was a week old the Mistress of the Kennels had been pressingly
invited to make her home with the squatter and his wife at their
station, for a time at all events, in order that she might
supervise the education of the three youngsters, and, also, give
the squatter's wife the benefit of some of her experience in the
rearing of dogs. The Master could have found a minor opening on the
same station, but decided that he could not afford to take up a
life which offered no particular prospect of advancement, and was
confirmed in his decision by an offer that was made to him at this
time to join, in a working capacity, a small prospecting party
which was setting out for a tract of back-block country said to be
extremely rich in gold, copper, and silver. And so, for a time, the
Master and the Mistress had parted company.

Now, while there are many prospectors in Australia who, during a
lifetime of adventurous toil, have never made much more than a
labourer's wage, there are others who have made and lost many
fortunes, to whose credit may be placed a score or more of rich
discoveries, and much wealth enjoyed by other people. The leader of
the Master's party was of this latter class, and less than three
weeks after the outsetting of this particular expedition, the party
had pegged out a considerable number of rich claims. Some of these
claims had been of a kind which admitted of good deal of highly
profitable alluvial working but the majority called for the use of
machinery and the outlay of capital. Accordingly, the party
gathered to themselves such surface gold as was obtainable--the
Master's share came to £260--and then, laden with samples of ore,
returned townward, with a view to selling their claims to mining
capitalists, before starting out upon a second and more protracted
journey. The fascination of the prospector's calling had gripped
the Master strongly, and he gladly agreed to remain a member of the
party. But, in the meantime, having reached the city, he had
determined to pay a visit to Mr. Sandbrook's house, first, that he
might have the satisfaction of seeing Finn again and, secondly, in
order that he might try the effect of a substantial money offer in
the matter of regaining possession of his Wolfhound. And so now
while Finn was thinking of him, in the heart of the wildest part of
the Tinnaburra country, three hundred miles away, the Master strode
up the hill overlooking the city and the harbour, strongly hopeful
that he might soon have the great hound he had bred trotting by his

Mr. and Mrs. Sandbrook were both away from home, but one of the
daughters of the house explained to the Master how, after "sulking
desperately for two whole days," the Wolfhound had basely deserted
his luxurious new home, and never been heard of since. She showed
the Master an advertisement offering a reward of five-and-twenty
pounds for Finn's recovery, and was at some pains to make clear the
indubitable fact that her father had paid very dearly indeed for
the doubtful privilege of possessing for two days a Wolfhound who
had "treated everybody as if they were dirt under his feet." The
Master expressed sympathy in sentences which were meant to be loyal
excuses for Finn; and then he turned and walked back to the city,
heavy at heart for the loss of the great Wolfhound whom he had
loved, and feeling vaguely that the money he had made was not such
a very precious thing after all. He placed the greater part of it
at the disposal of the Mistress of the Kennels, and went back to
his fellow-prospectors.




As Finn drew closer to the camp-fire, the savoury smell of the
stewed mutton the man by the gunyah was eating came sailing down
the breeze into his nostrils, emphasizing his hunger to him, and
reminding him strongly of the days in which carefully cooked foods
had been his portion every day. But the Wolfhound's desire for food
was nothing like so keen a thing as his dread of renewed captivity,
and his approach to the camp-fire was an illustration of the
extreme of animal caution. His powerful limbs were all the time
gathered well under him, prepared for instant flight.

Suddenly and simultaneously two things happened. A log on the fire
broke in half, allowing a long tongue of flame to leap up and light
the ground for fifty yards around, and the kangaroo-hound turned
its greyhound-like muzzle sharply to one side and saw Finn. In the
next instant three things happened together: the man's eyes
followed those of his dog and saw Finn; the dog leaped to its feet
and barked loudly; and Finn jumped sideways and backwards, a
distance of three yards. Then the man said, "By ghost!" and the
kangaroo-hound bounded forward towards Finn.

Now it was not in Finn's nature to run from a dog, and so, as the
boundary-rider did not move, he held his ground. But his recent
experiences had all made for hostility and the fighting attitude
toward other animals; and so, instead of standing upright and
awaiting the salutations of the lesser creature in a courteously
non-committal manner, as he would have done in the old days, Finn
held his hind-quarters bunched well under him ready for springing,
his fore-legs stretched well before him, his jaws slightly parted,
and the lips lifted considerably from his fangs, while eyes and
nostrils, and slightly raised hackles, though making no killing
threat, said very plainly, "Beware! I am not to be trifled with!"

But apparently the black kangaroo-hound was not very greatly
impressed. It is practically certain that this dog knew at a glance
that Finn was not really of the wild kindred; also, she was a brave
creature, a fearless hunter, and a hound who stood twenty-eight
inches at the shoulder; eight inches lower than the giant Wolfhound
it is true, but, even so, taller, bigger, and heavier than a
typical greyhound of her sex. It may be, too, that the
kangaroo-hound was already aware of Finn's sex before he knew hers.
Be that as it may, she showed not the slightest fear of the Wolfhound,
but flew right up to him, barking loudly, and with every sign of
readiness for fight. Finn growled warningly, and, as the stranger
snapped at him, he leaped aside and, turning then, prepared to
administer punishment. It was then, as his jaws parted in anger,
that consciousness of the black hound's sex came to him, in the
subtle way that his kind do acquire such facts, and his jaws
promptly closed upon space. When the kangaroo-hound snapped a
second time, Finn turned his shoulder to her meekly and gave a
little friendly whinny of a whine. This was repeated two or three
times, Finn evading the black hound's snapping jaws (one could see
that her bites no longer meant serious business; they were more
ceremonial than punishing), but showing not the slightest intention
to make reprisals. True, he growled low down his throat every time
the black hound's jaws came together, but the growl was almost
meek, certainly deprecatory, rather than in any sense threatening.
Finn was obeying the law of his kind where the weaker sex is

After a minute, the kangaroo-hound began to sniff curiously at Finn
instead of snapping at him, and at this, as though ordered to stand
to attention, the Wolfhound drew himself up proudly, and remained
perfectly still and very erect, his long tail curving grandly
behind him, legs well apart, and his magnificent head carried high,
save when, as opportunity offered, he took a passing sniff at any
portion of the kangaroo-hound's anatomy that happened to come near
his muzzle. He was a fine picture of alertness and masculine canine
pride at this time; but, though obviously prepared for any
emergency, the wiry hair on his shoulders lay flat now, and his
mouth was quite closed.

All this while--these elaborate formalities had occupied no more
than three minutes altogether--the boundary-rider, who was a
knowledgeable person with animals, had been standing quite still
beside his fire, watching Finn and his own dog with intent
curiosity. He had never seen a dog at all like Finn, but he felt
certain Finn was a dog, and not a creature of the wild, if only by
reason of his own black hound's attitude. Also, he was not looking
at the Wolfhound through iron bars. He pictured himself hunting
kangaroo with Finn and Jess (the black hound), and the prospect
pleased him mightily. So now he picked up a piece of mutton from
the dish beside the fire, and took a couple of steps in Finn's
direction, holding the meat out before him, and saying in a
friendly way--

"Come on in, then, good dog! Here, boy! Here then!"

Finn eyed the man hesitatingly for a moment. The meat was tempting.
But Finn's memories and fear were strong, and he moved slowly
backward as the man advanced. For a little distance they progressed
in this wise: the man slowly advancing and calling, Finn slowly
retiring backward, and the kangaroo-hound playing and sniffing
about him in a manner which said plainly that he was hereby invited
to make free of her fireside, and become acquainted with her man.

The man was the first to tire of this, as was natural, and, when he
came to a standstill, he tossed the meat from him to Finn, with a
"Here then, boy; eat it there, if you like." But Jess had no notion
of carrying hospitality as far as all this. She sprang upon the bit
of meat, and growled savagely as her nose grazed Finn's. She had
forestalled the Wolfhound, and was likely to continue to do so,
since the law of their kind prevented him from exerting his
superior strength against her.

Then the man walked slowly back to the shanty, calling both dogs
over his shoulder as he went. Jess obediently ran to him, and then
danced back, encouragingly, to Finn. Finn advanced with her till
the man reached the fire and resumed his seat on the ground. Then
Finn stopped dead, his hind-quarters well drawn up and ready for a
spring; and no blandishment that Jess could exercise proved
sufficient to draw him closer to the fire. Seeing this, the man
called Jess sharply, after a while, and ordered her to lie down
beside him, which she did. Then he cut off a good-sized chunk of
meat and tossed it to Finn, saying, "Here, good dog; come in and
feed then!" He carefully threw the meat to a point about three
yards nearer the fire than where Finn stood, but still a good six
or seven paces from it. Finn watched the meat fall and sniffed its
fragrance from the dry grass. The man, after all, was sitting down,
and humans always occupied quite a long time in rising to their
feet. Very slowly, very warily, and with eyes fixed steadily on the
man, Finn covered the three yards between himself and the meat,
and, as he seized it in his jaws, moved backward again at least one

The warm mutton was exceedingly grateful to Finn, and he showed
little hesitation about advancing the necessary four or five feet
to secure a second and larger piece thrown down for him by
the man. But again he withdrew about a yard, before swallowing it.
Then the man held another piece of meat out to him at arm's length,
and invited him to come and take it for himself. Finn advanced one
yard, and then definitely stopped, at, say, eight paces from the
man's hand, and waited, as one who would say: "Thus far, and no
farther; not an inch farther!" Still the man held the meat, and
would not throw it. Finn waited, head held a little on one side,
black eyes fixed intently on the man's face. Then, slowly, he
lowered his great length to the ground, without for an instant
removing his gaze from the boundary-rider's face, and lay with
fore-legs outstretched, watching and waiting, and resting at the
same time. Evidently the man regarded this as some sort of a step
forward, for he yielded now, and flung the piece of meat so that it
fell beside Finn's paws. The great Wolfhound half rose in gulping
down the meat, but resumed his lying position a moment later, still
watching and waiting. The man smiled.

"Well, sonny," he said, with a chuckle; "you play a mighty safe
game, don't you? You're not takin' any chances on the cards. I
believe you reckon I've got the joker up my sleeve, hey? But you're
wrong, 'cos me sleeves is rolled up. But you've got a tidy twist on
ye for mutton, all the same, an' I reckon it's lucky for you I
killed that staked ewe. Now, how d'ye like plain damper? Just see
how Wallaby Bill's tombstones strike ye!"

As he spoke, the man called Wallaby Bill flung Finn a solid chunk
of very indigestible damper, which the Wolfhound gratefully
disposed of with two bites and three gulps, before plainly asking
for more. This was Finn's first taste of food other than raw meat
for some months, and he enjoyed it.

"Well, say, Wolf, I suppose your belly has a bottom to it,
somewhere, what? Here; don't mind me; take the lot!"

With this, having first broken up a good large section of damper in
it, he pushed the dish along the dry grass as far as he could in
Finn's direction, with all that was left of the meat cooked that
evening, a fairly ample meal for a hound, apart from what had come
before. The boundary-rider lay on the ground to push the dish as
far toward Finn as he could, and then recovered his sitting
position, and pretended to become absorbed in the filling of a
pipe, while continuing to watch Finn out of the corner of his eyes.
The dish was now perhaps three yards from where Bill sat, and a
yard and a half from Finn. The man appeared to be wrapped up in his
own concerns, and Finn's hunger was far from being satisfied. Very
cautiously, then, he advanced till he could reach the lip of the
dish with his teeth; then, still moving with the most watchful
care, he gripped the tin dish and softly drew it back about a
couple of feet. Then he began to eat from it, the upper halves of
his eyes still fixed upon the half-recumbent figure of the man, who
was now contentedly smoking and pulling Jess's ears.

Finn polished the tin dish clean and bright, and then retired into
the shadows.

"There's gratitude for you!" growled Bill. But he did not move,
being the knowledgeable person with animals that he was. Finn had
only gone as far as the water-hole he had seen, some thirty or
forty yards from the shanty. There the Wolfhound drank his fill,
and drew back, licking his jaws with zest, and feeling happier and
better than he had felt since the day of his parting with the
Master, months before.

Slowly, and with only a little less caution than before, Finn now
approached the camp a second time, and heard Bill say to the
kangaroo-hound: "All right, Jess; go to him, then!" In another
moment, Jess came prancing out towards him, and Finn spread out his
fore-legs and lowered his great frame to the earth, while his
hind-quarters remained erect and ready for a pivoting movement. This
was the precise attitude that old Tara, the most gracious lady of her
race, had adopted toward Finn and his brothers and sisters, years
ago in the orchard beside the Sussex Downs, when Finn was still an
unweaned pup, and Tara came to play with him, without a notion that
she was his mother. (Finn's loving little foster-mother, it will be
remembered, had been safely shut up, out of hearing and scent of
the pups.) Jess now imitated Finn's attitude, and when his nose had
almost touched hers she bounded from him sideways and backwards,
sometimes wheeling completely round, and barking with pretended
ferocity, till she stooped again and repeated the process.

Wallaby Bill was pleasantly interested in watching this amiable
performance, but it would have impressed him vastly more if he
could have pictured to himself the sort of spectacle Finn had
presented a couple of days before, when, with foaming jaws,
gleaming fangs, raised hackles, and straining limbs, the great
Wolfhound had pitted himself, with roaring fury, against the
leather-coated man who wielded the hot iron. To an observer who had
known of this, there would have been something at once rather
pathetic and a good deal grotesque about Finn's present kittenish
play with Jess. To lend verisimilitude to the game Finn had to
growl low down in his throat at intervals, while Jess snarled and
barked; but when Finn laid one paw on the kangaroo-hound's curved
back, as he frequently did at different phases of the game, his
touch, for all his huge bulk and weight, was one that would not
have incommoded a new-born pup. The Wolfhound was deft and agile
enough, despite his want of practice in such occupations, but yet,
by reason of his great size, and the hard-bitten, fighting look
which the last few months had given him, and the extreme wariness
of his continuous observation of the reclining Bill; because of
these things, there was more than a hint of grotesqueness about his
gambols, such as one could not find in the antics of his playmate.
Her sex, her smoothness, her smaller size and greater slimness of
build, combined with her evidently complete domestication, made
Jess's foolery sit naturally upon her; and, indeed, her movements
were without exception graceful in the extreme.

Wallaby Bill's pipe had burned itself out before the hounds tired
of their play and stretched themselves upon the ground, Jess lying
a good yard and a half nearer to the fire than Finn ventured. But
Finn moved only very slightly now, when Bill rose slowly to his
feet and stretched his arms, while taking careful observations of
the new-comer. In the bright firelight, he was just able to make
out the bigger among Finn's scars, where the Professor's iron had
burned through the Wolfhound's wiry coat. Finn half rose, with ears
cocked, and muscles ready for the spring, when Bill yawned and

"Well, Wolf, you are the biggest thing in your line ever I did see.
But it seems to me you've been havin' a pretty rough house with
somebody. What township have you been paintin' red, Wolf, hey? Did
ye clear out the town? How many stiffs was there in the dead-house
when you struck the wallaby again, Wolf? I bet you jest made things
hum, old son--my oath--hey!" He took one slow step forward; and Finn
immediately took three backward, in one quick jump. "All right,
sonny; who wants to hurt ye? Keep your hair on now, do. I only want
to get the dish, an' wash up after your royal highness. Save me
soul alive! Can't I move, then? You're too suspicious, Wolf, my
son. I believe you're a bit of a Jew." And then, in a lower tone,
"My oath, but some one's handled you pretty damn meanly before
to-day, I reckon. All right, Wolf, you walk backwards, like a
Salvation Army captain, while I get the dish, an' then we'll both
be safe, an' the dish'll get washed."

Bill's notion of washing up was distinctly primitive. He took a
long drink of tea from the billy, and then used what was left to
rinse out the dish that Finn had polished. Then he wiped it
carefully on his towel, and hung it up inside the gunyah. Finn had
returned to his old place by this time, but hesitated to lie down
while Bill moved about.

"Now, just you take a rest, Wolf," said the boundary-rider,
satirically. "I'm goin' to turn in now, an' I don't attack
thunderin' great grey wolf-dogs while I'm undressin'; not on your
life I don't; so jest you take a rest, son. Look at fat Jess! You
couldn't shift her from that fire with a stock-whip! An' jest you
remember, my boy, that where I sleeps I breakfast--sure thing--an'
where I breakfasts there's apt to be oddments goin' for great big
grey wolf-dogs as well as black kangaroo bitches; so don't you
forget it, Wolf. I'm hopin' to see you in the mornin', mind; and
don't eat Jess by mistake in your sleep. I know she only weighs
about seventy pounds, but if you're careful, an' don't yawn too
sudden-like any time, you'll be able to avoid swallowing her. So
long, son!"

And with that the man retired to his bunk, which consisted of two
flour-sacks stretched on saplings, supported a few inches above the
ground by forked sticks; a very comfortable bed indeed. As for
Finn, the feeling inspired in him by Bill's talk, to say nothing of
Bill's supper, and Bill's fire, and the black hound, this was
something really not far removed from affection; but it was nothing
at all like complete trust. It was the friendliest sort of
gratitude and, while the man's kindly talk rang in his ears,
something very like affection. But it was not trust, and Finn did
not lie down again until his ears had satisfied him that the man
was lying down within the bark shanty. Yet it was not many months
since Finn had faced the whole world of men-folk with the most
complete and unquestioning confidence and trust. So much the
Professor had accomplished in his attempt at "taming" the "Giant
Wolf," you see. But, well fed, and cheered by companionship, Finn
rested more happily that night than he had rested since his parting
with the Master. It was very delightful to slide gradually off into
sleep, with the sound of Jess's regular breathing in his ears, and
the warm glow of the smouldering log fire in his half-closed eyes.




Finn's new friends were distinctly an odd couple. The type to which
Wallaby Bill belonged is not a very rare one in Australia. He was
one of those men of whom storekeepers and publicans, and country-folk
generally, say that they are nobody's enemies but their own.
Bill had been a small farmer, a "cockatoo," at one time, with land
of his own; but when he received a cheque for stock or for a crop,
it was his wont to leave the farm for days together while he "blew
in his cheque" in the township. After that, he would have to buy
flour on credit, eat kangaroo flesh and rabbit--even the despised
and accursed rabbit--and his stock would have to live upon what
they could pick up for themselves in the bush. So an end had come
to Bill's farming, naturally.

His present life could only be described as nomadic; and it seemed
to be the only life he cared for. He was an excellent boundary-rider,
shrewd, capable, and far-seeing. As such he would work for
weeks, and even, occasionally, for months at a stretch, utterly
alone, save for his dog, and apparently quite content. Then,
without apparent reason, and certainly without any kind of warning,
he would make tracks for the nearest township, and be seen no more
outside its "hotel" till every penny he could lay hands upon was
transferred to the publican's till. Then, if his employer cared to
allow him to resume work, he would go back to his boundary-riding
as contented and efficient as ever. If the employer had so much as
a word of criticism for his conduct, Bill would be off into the
bush like a wild creature, and that particular boss would see him
no more. He never argued. He simply fled. His life was as purely
nomadic as that of any Bedouin, and he had not spoken to a woman
for years. Outside public-houses, he never thought of drinking
anything but water and tea, generally tea, of which beverage he
consumed several quarts every day of his life. He was a keen
hunter, and at his worst had never been known to sell his horse or
his dog, both good of their kind; though there had been occasions
upon which he had sold everything else he possessed, and then
knocked a man down for refusing to purchase the ragged coat he was

This man had reared Jess by hand, with the aid of a cracked tea-pot;
and the kangaroo-hound bitch knew him better than any one else
did. For her, he was the only human being who counted, seriously;
and it was said that she had come near to killing a certain
publican who had attempted to "go through" Bill's pockets when he
was drunk. She accompanied Bill everywhere, and, whatever his
occupation or condition, was never far from his side. She was a big
strong hound, and her flanks bore many honourable scars attesting
to her experience of the marsupial at bay.

Bill had probably never been guilty of wilful meanness or cruelty
in his life; though, upon occasion, he could display a certain
rough brutality. His normal attitude of mind was one of careless,
kindly good-humour. From Finn's point of view, he was an extremely
good sort of fellow, of a type new and strange to the Wolfhound;
one of whom nothing could be predicted with any certainty. Six
months before, Bill's obvious good nature would have been ample
passport to Finn's confidence and friendship. But all that had been
changed, and everything and everybody strange was now suspect to

The Wolfhound was the first to wake in the very early morning of
the day following that of his arrival at the boundary-rider's
gunyah. His movement waked Jess, and together they stretched and
walked round the camp. Then Finn trotted off towards the denser
bush which lay some hundreds of yards eastward of the camp. Jess
ran with him for perhaps a score of yards, and then, determined not
to lose sight of her man's abode, she turned and trotted back to
camp. This surprised Finn, but did not affect his plans. He noted a
warm little ridge some distance ahead, which looked as though it
contained rabbit earths. This spot he approached by means of a
flanking movement which enabled him to reach it from the rear,
moving with the care and delicacy of a great cat. As he peered over
the edge of the little ridge, he saw three rabbits performing their
morning toilet, perhaps a score of paces beyond the bank. He eyed
the bunnies with interest for about a minute, and then, having
decided that the middle one carried the most flesh, he pursed
himself together and leaped. As he landed, ten or a dozen paces
from the rabbits, they separated, two flying diagonally for the
bank, and the middle one leaping off ahead, meaning to describe a
considerable curve before reaching its earth. But Finn was
something of an expert in the pursuit of rabbits and, besides being
very fleet, had learned to wheel swiftly, and to cut off corners.
Two seconds later that rabbit was dead and, holding it firmly
between his great jaws, Finn had started off at a leisurely trot
for the camp.

As Finn arrived beside the gunyah, Bill appeared at its entrance,
yawning and stretching his muscular arms.

"Hullo there, Wolf," he said lazily; "early bird catches the worm,
hey? Good on ye, my son."

Finn had stopped dead at sight of the man, and now Jess bounded
towards him, full of interest. Finn dropped the rabbit before her,
quite prepared to share his breakfast with the kangaroo-hound. That
had been his intention, in fact, in bringing his kill back to camp.
But to his surprise Jess snatched up the rabbit and wheeled away
from him.

"Come in here, Jess! Come in!" growled the man sharply. "Come in
here, an' drop it."

Whereupon, Jess trotted docilely up to the humpy, and laid her
stolen prize at Bill's feet. Bill whipped out his sheath-knife and,
with one or two deft cuts and tugs, skinned the rabbit. The pelt he
placed on a log beside the gunyah, and the carcase he cut in half
across the backbone. Then he tossed the head half to Jess, and the
other, and slightly larger portion, to Finn.

"Fair doos," he said explanatorily. "Wolf's the biggest; and it was
his kill, anyway; so he gets the quarters."

So the hounds fed, while Bill washed and prepared his own
breakfast. Jess ate beside the bark hut, but Finn withdrew to a
more respectful distance, and lay down with his portion of the
rabbit some twenty yards from the camp.

After breakfast, the man took a bridle in his hand and set out to
find his horse, who carried a bell but was never hobbled. Jess
walked sedately one yard behind her man's heels; Finn strolled
after them at a distance of fifteen or twenty yards. Occasionally
Jess would turn and trot back to the Wolfhound for a friendly
sniff; but, while receiving her advances amiably, Finn never
responded to her invitations to join her in close attendance upon
the man. Once Bill was mounted, Jess seemed satisfied to leave
twenty or thirty yards, or even more, between herself and her man;
and, this being so, the two hounds ran together and shared all
their little discoveries and interests. Bill rode a good many miles
that day, always beside a wire fence; and occasionally he would
stop, dismount, and busy himself in some small repair, where a
fence-post had sagged down, or the wire become twisted or slack.

At such times, while Bill was busy, Finn and Jess would cover quite
a good deal of ground, always within a half-mile radius of the man;
and in these small excursions Finn began to learn a good deal in
the way of bush-craft from the wily Jess. Once she snapped at his
shoulder suddenly, and thrust him aside from a log he was just
about to clamber upon. "'Ware! 'Ware!" said her short bark, with
unmistakable vehemence. As Finn drew back, wonderingly, a short
black snake rose between him and the log, hissed angrily at the
hounds once, and then darted away round the log's butt end. Jess
made some gruff remarks in her throat which could not well be
translated into our tongue; but they sufficed to teach Finn a good
deal. He had now seen a death-adder, the snake whose bite kills
inside of fifteen minutes; and, so much more apt are the dog kind
in some matters than ourselves, that Finn would never again require
reminding or instructing about this particular form of danger. Jess
had bitten his shoulder pretty hardly, by the way. Finn may or may
not have given this particularly deadly reptile a name in his own
mind; or Jess may have supplied him with one for it. The point is,
he knew it now for a deadly creature; he knew something of the sort
of resting-places it chooses for itself; and he would never, never
forget the knowledge thus acquired, nor the significance it had for
him and his like.

On the other hand, when a sudden pungent scent and a rustle among
the twigs set Finn leaping forward after the strangest-looking
beast his eyes had ever seen, Jess joined with him, in a
good-humoured, rather indifferent manner, and between them they
just missed a big "goanner," as Bill called the iguana, or Gould
Monitor. This particular 'guana had a tail rather more than twice
its own length, and the last foot of this paid forfeit in Finn's
jaws for the animal's lack of agility. Though, when one says lack
of agility, it is fair to add that only a very swiftly moving
creature could have escaped the two hounds at all; and, once it
reached a tree-trunk, this reptile showed simply wonderful
cleverness in climbing, running up fifty feet of iron-bark trunk as
quickly as it could cover the level ground, and keeping always on
the far side of the tree from the dogs, its long, ugly,
wedge-shaped head constantly turning from side to side, in keen,
listening observation. From Jess's contemptuous, half-hearted bark,
Finn gathered that this singularly ugly creature was not one of the
deadly people, but also, on the other hand, that it was not game
worthy of a hound's serious attention.

After four days of this sort of life, during practically every hour
of which Finn was learning bush-craft from Jess, and learning at a
great rate for the reason that his intelligence was of a higher
order than that of the kangaroo-hound, while his hunting instincts
came to him from an older and more direct line of inheritance, the
Wolfhound began to feel almost as thoroughly at home in the bush as
he had felt on his own hunting-ground in Sussex. But, rather
curiously perhaps, he advanced hardly at all in the intimacy of his
relations with Bill. In a sense, outwardly at all events, Bill was
more closely allied to Sam and the Professor, and to other people
of the Southern Cross Circus, than to the Master, or to humans Finn
had known at all intimately before. The Wolfhound was conscious
that the boundary-rider was friendly; but, on the other hand, he
had points in common with the circus people, whose doings had
burned right into Finn's very soul; and, in any case, Finn saw no
particular reason for taking further risks where this man was
concerned. It was extremely pleasant to lie near the camp-fire with
Jess of a night, and to run with Jess in the bush by day; but
nothing would induce Finn to approach the gunyah more nearly, or to
allow Bill's hand to come within a yard of him. The possibility,
however remote, of confinement, of torture behind iron bars, was
something he could not bring himself to trifle with.

As for Bill, he seemed content. Finn brought rabbits to the camp
every day, with occasional bandicoots, and in the evening,
sometimes, a kangaroo-rat. And, more than once, Bill took these
kills from him, through Jess, and boiled them before giving them to
the hounds to eat. In this he was doubtless moved by friendly
thought for the dogs' welfare, since these little creatures, and
more especially the rabbits, are often inhabited by parasites of a
kind most harmful to dogs. Bill never thought of making any use of
the over-plentiful supply of rabbits for the replenishment of his
own larder. He regarded rabbits as English people regard rats, and
would never have eaten them while any other kind of meat was
available. And, as Finn found later, the same pronounced distaste
for rabbit's flesh holds good, not alone among the men-folk of the
country, but with practically all its wild folk, also; even the
highly carnivorous and fierce native cat paying no heed to bunnies
as game.

The fifth day of Finn's acquaintance with Bill and Jess was a
Sunday, and the boundary-rider was a strict observer of the
Sabbath. His observation of it might not have particularly
commended itself to orthodox Sabbatarians, but, such as it was,
Bill never departed from it. Directly after breakfast he washed the
shirt and vest he had been wearing during the previous week, and
hung them out to dry. Then he brought in his horse and trifled with
it a while, examining its feet, and rubbing its ears, and giving it
a few handfuls of bread. Then he took a very early lunch and went
off hunting. He had no gun, but he had a formidable sheath-knife,
his horse, and Jess. And now, in a way, he had Finn as well. He had
been wondering all the week about Finn's quality as a hunter, and
looking forward to the opportunity of testing the Wolfhound. As for
Jess, she knew perfectly well when a Sunday had arrived. For her,
Sunday was quite the festival day of the week; and, indeed, by
reason of her anticipatory bustle, Finn himself was early given to
understand that this was a special day of some kind.

On the previous day, Bill had paid particular attention to some
tracks he had seen on the far side of a gully some three or four
miles from the gunyah; and Jess had shown herself amazingly anxious
to make further investigations at the time, until brought sternly
to heel by Bill, with the suggestion that--

"You've got mixed up in your almanack, old lady. This is Saturday."

Now, with a tomahawk stuck in the saddle-cleat he had made to hold
it, and a stock-whip dangling from one hand, the bushman ambled off
on his roan-coloured mare in the direction of this same gully.
Jess, full of suppressed excitement, circled about the horse's head
for some few minutes, till bidden to "Sober up, there, Jess!" when
she fell back and trotted beside Finn, a dozen yards from the
horse. Arrived at the gully, Bill reined in to a very slow walk,
and peered about him carefully upon the ground. He never walked a
yard on his own feet if a horse was available. This was so much a
matter of principle with Bill that he had been known to walk and
run three miles in pursuit of a horse with which to ride across a
paddock no more than a quarter of a mile from his original
starting-place. It was Jess who found what her man was questing:
the quite fresh tracks of a kangaroo; and Finn was keenly
interested in the discovery. He noted carefully every scratch in
the tracks as Jess nosed them, and noted also, as the result of
long strong breaths drawn through his nostrils, the exact scent
which hung about them. This scent alone proved the tracks quite
fresh. Finn was puzzled by the long, scraping marks, which looked
far more like the work of some garden tool than of the feet of any
animal he knew of. For the time he had forgotten the fifteen-foot
leap of the rock wallaby that he had witnessed on the day after his
escape from the circus. The hind-foot pressure required to start a
heavy animal upon such a leap as that is very considerable, and
well calculated to leave evidence of itself in soft ground.

In starting away from the gully, Bill rode at a walk, and with
extreme care, Jess going in front, and Finn, not as yet so clever
in tracking, following up the rear, and taking very careful
observations, not alone of the trail, but also of fallen timber and
likely places for snakes. They progressed in this way, in a curving
line, for between two and three miles, when Jess came to a
momentary halt, and gave one loud bark. Next instant they were all
travelling at the gallop for a thick clump of scrub which stood
alone in a comparatively clear patch. On the edge of this scrub
Finn had a momentary glimpse of their quarry, a big red old-man
kangaroo, sitting on his haunches, and delicately eating leaves.

The kangaroo covered over twenty feet of ground in his first leap,
and that with a suddenness which must have strained the tendons of
his wonderful hind-quarters pretty severely. But, by the time the
hunters had reached the scrub, the quarry was between two and three
hundred yards distant, travelling at a great rate in fairly open
country. Bill had urged his horse to the top of its gallop, and
Finn was close behind them. He could have passed them, but was not
as yet sufficiently familiar with the man to do so. He felt safer
with Bill in full view; and, in any case, the roan mare was a very
fast traveller and kept as close to Jess's flying feet as was safe.
The old-man seemed confident of his power to outrun his pursuers,
for he made no attempt at dodging, taking a straight-ahead course
over ground which left him clearly visible almost all the time.
That his confidence in his superior speed was misplaced became
quite evident at the end of the first mile, for by that time there
was not much more than a hundred yards between Jess and himself, in
spite of the enormous bounds he took, which made his progress
resemble flying. He could take a fallen log in his jump easily
enough, but whenever the course rose at all sharply the old-man
lost ground; his jumps appearing to fall very short then.

At the end of the third mile Jess, who was galloping in greyhound
style, was within twenty feet of the kangaroo; Bill and the roan
mare were twelve or fifteen feet behind her, and Finn, running a
little wide of the trail, was abreast of the mare's flanks with a
fierce, killing light in his eyes. In that order they entered a
steep gully which, if the old-man had been on thoroughly familiar
ground, he would have avoided. But, as to that, if he had been on
familiar ground, he would not have been alone, but the leader of a
mob, for which position his commanding size fitted him. Be this as
it may, the red old-man plunged straight down the steep gully, and
then, fearing to attempt the comparatively slow process of mounting
the other side, turned at a tangent and bounded along the bottom of
the gully. With a gasping bark, as of triumph, Jess wheeled after
him, and the roan mare, unable to turn quite so swiftly, left Finn
to shoot ahead for the first time, perhaps fifteen paces behind

But, unfortunately for the kangaroo, this was a blind gully, and
Jess knew it. Two minutes later the old-man found himself facing a
quite precipitous rocky ascent at the gully's end, and so, there
being no alternative that he could see, he turned at bay to face
his pursuers. Jess was tremendously excited by the three-mile
chase, and it may be that the sound of Finn's powerful strides
behind her gave the black hound more than ordinary recklessness. At
all events, with practically no perceptible slackening of speed,
she flew straight for the old-man's throat, and received the cruel
stroke of his hind-leg fairly upon her chest, being flung backwards
fully five yards, with blood spouting from her.

Now, although Finn had never seen a kangaroo before, and never
hunted bigger game than the fox he killed in Sussex, yet he had a
full view of poor Jess's terrible reception, and with him, as with
all his kind, action follows thought with electrical swiftness.
Finn saw in that instant exactly the old-man's method of defence:
the cow-like kick, with a leg strong enough to propel its weighty
owner five-and-twenty feet in a bound, and armed at its extremity
with claws like chisels. Seeing this, and acting upon the hint it
conveyed, were a single process with Finn. He swerved sharply from
his course, and then leaped with all his strength for the old-man's
throat from the slightly higher level of the gully's bank.

Now, the old-man weighed two hundred and forty pounds, and measured
nine feet from the tip of his snout to the tip of his long tail.
But, as against that, he was sitting still, while Finn came at him
with the tremendous momentum of a powerful spring from higher
ground than that occupied by the kangaroo. And Finn weighed one
hundred and forty pounds odd--not of fat and loose skin, but of
muscle and bone, without a pound of superfluous flesh. He lived
almost entirely on meat. The impact of Finn's landing on the old-man
was terrific; but, be it noted, the kangaroo was not bowled
over, though he did sway for a moment on his haunches. But it was a
terribly punishing hold upon his neck that Finn's jaws had taken,
and Finn's great claws were planted firmly in the old-man's side
and back. The kangaroo made a desperate effort to free one hind-leg
sufficiently from Finn's clinging weight to be able to take a
raking thrust at the Wolfhound, by shaking him sideways; and if he
had succeeded in this, the result for Finn would have been very
severe. Meantime, however, the whole strength of Finn's muscular
neck and jaws was concentrated upon dragging the kangaroo's head
back, upon breaking his neck, in fact. An old-man kangaroo, such as
this one, is generally able to give a pretty good account of
himself in the face of four or five hounds; but the hounds he meets
are of Jess's type and weight, and not of Finn's sort.

However, it was never known exactly whether or not Finn would have
succeeded in his task of breaking this old-man's neck; for, with a
suddenness which surprised the Wolfhound into suffering momentary
contact with Bill's arm, the boundary-rider slipped into the fight,
having first picked up the old-man's tail so that he could not kick
(a kangaroo knows that if he attempts a kick while his very
serviceable tail is being held up he always topples over on his
side, and is thus made helpless), and then leaned across Finn from
behind, and slit the marsupial's throat with his sheath-knife. Finn
growled fiercely as he felt the weight of the man's arm pressed
across his shoulders, and sprang clear at the same moment that the
kangaroo toppled over dead, Bill's practised hand having severed
its jugular vein. And so the fight ended, without a scratch for
Finn; which, seeing that this was his first kangaroo, and an
old-man, and that many an old-man has stretched as many as four and
five hounds bleeding on the ground before him in less than as many
minutes, must be regarded as a piece of exceptionally good fortune
for the Wolfhound.

With Jess, now, matters were far otherwise; the black hound could
do no more hunting for some time to come. Finn was already
sympathetically licking Jess when Bill turned away from the dead
kangaroo; but, as the man came forward, Finn retreated, his lips
lifted slightly, and his hackles rising. He was not quite sure of
Bill's intentions, and had been greatly disturbed by the pressure
of the boundary-rider's arm across his shoulders. It had brought
with it an instant flashlight picture of an iron-barred cage, and
other matters connected therewith. He did not realize that Bill,
and not he himself, had killed the old-man. However, Bill was not
paying any particular heed to Finn just now, though he had greatly
admired the Wolfhound's handling of the kangaroo, as showing more
strength than any other hound's attack that he had ever seen.

With a single blow the kangaroo had practically laid open the whole
of one side of Jess's body. The gash his terrible foot had made
extended from the front of the breast down to the inside of the
flank; and it was far from being simply a skin wound. Down the
chest it had reached the bone; in the belly it had carved a furrow
which suggested the wound of an axe. Bill sighed as he told himself
that poor Jess's chances were problematical. An Englishman in
Bill's position would almost certainly have put a bullet through
the black hound's heart or head, if he had had a gun. But Bill had
done a good deal of kangaroo hunting in his time, and had seen many
and many a hound ripped open, and even then preserved to hunt

A surgeon would have been vastly interested by Bill's operations
now. First, he walked along the gully to where he had seen a little
water and, bringing this back in his felt hat, proceeded carefully
to cleanse parts of the torn flesh as well as he could. Then he
unbuckled a big belt that he wore, and opening a pouch on it drew
out two or three needles and some strong white thread. Having
threaded one of the needles he began now, in as matter-of-course a
manner as though he were mending a shirt, to stitch up the whole
great wound so as to draw its sides together. During the whole
lengthy operation the black hound only moved her head twice, in a
faint, undecided manner, and almost as though from an intelligent
desire to watch Bill's progress; certainly with no hint of any wish
to interfere with it. It was far from being an easy or simple
operation, and doubtless Bill's performance of it differed a good
deal in detail from what a surgeon would have called the best
method; but the thing was done, and done thoroughly.

Then Bill filled a pipe and smoked it for a time, while watching
the filmy eyes of his hound. Presently he rose and brought more
water in his hat. This he held under Jess's muzzle in such a
position as to enable her to loll her tongue in it, and lap a
little. The gratitude which shone in her eyes was very touching and
unmistakable. Bill waited for another quarter of an hour, and then
he stooped over the black hound and raised her bodily in his arms
with great care, and much as a German nurse carries a baby. In this
position, and stopping occasionally for short rests, Bill carried
Jess the whole way back to the camp, a distance of about three and
a half miles. (The course taken by the kangaroo had been a curve
which ended rather nearer to the gunyah than it began.) Finn
followed, twenty paces behind the man, with head and tail carried
low. He was conscious that Jess was sorely smitten.

Arrived at the camp, Bill made a bed of leaves for Jess beside the
gunyah, and placed her down upon it very gently, with an old
blanket of his own folded round her body in such a way that she
could not reach the wound with her mouth. Then he mounted the horse
which he had driven before him, and galloped back to the blind
gully armed with a small coil of line.

When Bill returned with the old-man lashed on his horse's back, he
found Finn affectionately licking the black hound's muzzle. Jess
had not moved an inch.




Wallaby Bill showed himself a kind and shrewd nurse where Jess, his
one intimate friend, was concerned. He had no milk to give the
sorely wounded hound, but the thin broth he made for her that
Sunday night formed almost as suitable a food for her; and before
leaving her for the night the man was very careful to see that her
lacerated body was well covered. For her part, Jess was too weak
and ill to be likely to interfere with the wound; even the slight
lifting of her head to lap a little broth seemed to tax her
strength to the utmost. All night Finn lay within a couple of yards
of the kangaroo-hound; and in the morning, soon after dawn, he
brought her a fresh-killed rabbit and laid it at her feet. Finn
meant well, but Jess did not even lick the kill, and as soon as
Bill appeared he looked in a friendly way at Finn, and then removed
the rabbit. But he afterwards skinned and boiled it for Finn's own
delectation, and at the time he said--

"You're a mighty good sort, Wolf, and you can say I said so."

After making the black hound as comfortable as he could, Bill rode
off for his day's work. He had rigged a good shelter over Jess with
the help of a couple of sheets of stringy-bark and a few stakes. He
gave her a breakfast of broth, and left a dish of water within an
inch of her nose, where she could reach it without moving her body.
Lastly, as a precaution against the possibility of movement on
Jess's part, he stitched the old blanket behind her in such a way
as to prevent its leaving her wound exposed. He looked over his
shoulder several times after riding away, thinking that Finn would
be likely to follow him. But the Wolfhound remained standing, some
twenty paces from Jess's shelter, and, when the man was almost out
of sight, stepped forward and lay down within a yard or two of the

"Queer card, that Wolf!" muttered Bill, as he rode away. "But he's
pretty white, too; whiter'n some men, I reckon, for all he's so
mighty suspicious."

In some climates any dog would have succumbed to the injuries Jess
had sustained; and even in the beautiful air of the Tinnaburra, a
town-bred dog would probably have gone under. But Jess was of a
tough, bush-bred stock; she had lived in the open all her life, and
the air she breathed now, in her shelter beside the gunyah, was
aromatic with the scent of that useful antiseptic which in every
part of the world has done good service in the prevention of
fever--eucalyptus. Blue gum, red gum, grey gum, stringy-bark, iron-bark,
and black-butt; the trees which surrounded Jess for fifty miles on
every side were practically all of the eucalyptus family. Insects
bothered her a good deal it is true, but Finn did much in the way
of warding off their attacks, and the wound itself was well

It was an odd and very interesting and pleasant life that Finn led
now, his time divided pretty evenly between bearing the wounded
kangaroo-hound company and foraging on his own account in the bush
within a radius of two or three miles of the gunyah. He found that
countryside wonderfully full of different forms of wild life, and
wonderfully interesting to a born hunter and carnivorous creature
like himself. He did not know then that the country he traversed,
all within four miles of the camp, was but the fringe of a vastly
more interesting tract of bush; and in the meantime the range he
did learn to know thoroughly proved sufficiently absorbing and

Five miles from Bill's gunyah, in a direct southerly line, stood
the big, rambling station homestead, where Bill's bachelor employer
had lived for many years. He did not live there now, because six
months before this time he had died, and his station had reverted
to distant relatives in other countries. This was the man who was
to have met the Master and the Mistress of the Kennels on their
arrival in Australia. His executors had seen no reason to dispense
with Bill's services as yet; and, truth to tell, they had never
seen the man, nor heard of his doings. It was only during the last
few months that a manager had been placed in charge of the station,
and during his time Wallaby Bill had stuck closely to his work.

Jacob Wilton Hall, the man who had made Warrimoo station, had all
his life long been something of an eccentric; and yet, withal, a
man who generally accomplished what he had set out to do, and one
who had converted a modest competence into a handsome fortune. He
had been an indiscriminate admirer of animals, and an interested
student of the manners and customs of all the creatures of the
wild. When the rabbit pest first began to be severely felt in the
neighbourhood of his home-station, he had tried a variety of
methods of coping with it, and in the execution of some of these
methods he had met with a good deal of opposition and ridicule from
his neighbours. He had, for instance, imported fifty ferrets and
weasels of both sexes and turned them loose in pairs, in
rabbit-earths situated in different outlying portions of his land.
These fierce little creatures were a scourge to the countryside by
reason of their attacks upon poultry; but it was freely stated that
they adopted the curious attitude of nearly all the native-born
animals in ignoring the rabbits they had been expected to prey upon.

Jacob Hall had then imported two pairs of wild cats, and turned
these loose in the back-blocks of his land, besides encouraging a
number of cats of the domesticated variety to take to the bush life
and become wild, as they have been doing all over Australia for
many years. With great difficulty and considerable expenditure of
money, the eccentric squatter had succeeded in securing a pair of
Tasmanian Wolves and a pair of Tasmanian Devils, and, having
successfully evaded the customs and quarantine authorities, he
turned these exceptionally fierce and bloodthirsty creatures loose
in the wildest part of his land. Indeed, he took up an extra few
thousand acres of quite unprofitable "Church and School land,"
hilly, rocky, and heavily timbered on the flats, largely, it was
said, for the purpose of turning his Tasmanian importations into
it. The Wolves and the Tasmanian Devils killed a number of his
sheep; and it was stated among the neighbours that if Jacob Hall
had lived he would eventually have imported Bengal tigers and
African lions before trying the commonplace virtues of rabbit-proof
fencing. It was supposed that the persistent efforts of hunters and
boundary-riders had resulted in these wild creatures being driven
well into the back country; and it is certain that, despite an
occasional strange story from bushmen regarding the animals whose
tracks they had come upon in the back-blocks, nothing was ever
actually seen of Jacob Hall's more fantastic importations. It was
said, however, that there were already notable modifications in
certain of the wild kindred of that countryside. There was talk of
wild cats of hitherto unheard-of size and fierceness, and of
dingoes having suggestions about them of the untameably fierce
marsupial wolf of Tasmania. But such talk did not amount to much in
this district, for the rocky ranges of the Tinnaburra country, its
densely wooded gullies, and wild scrub-dotted flats, was almost
entirely in the hands of a few big squatters, who had long since
pre-empted the back-blocks in the hinterland of their stations for
very many miles up country.

Naturally, Finn and Jess knew nothing of these things. To the one
the native denizens of such small portions of the bush of that
neighbourhood as he had ranged were quite sufficiently numerous and
interesting to keep his mind occupied; while Jess, for her part,
was fully engaged in the task of regaining her hold upon mere life.
They lived for themselves, these two; but Jess was deeply
interested in the return of her man to the camp each night, and
Finn was equally keen and interested in his daily foragings and
explorations in the bush of that particular quarter. They neither
of them knew that they themselves were objects of the greatest
interest to a very large circle of the wild folk. But they were.

Within twenty-four hours of the fight with the old-man kangaroo in
the blind gully, the news had gone abroad among all the wild folk
in that strip of bush which surrounded the camp that a redoubtable
hunter had been laid low, and was lying near to death and quite
helpless beside the gunyah. Jess, having always been well fed by
her man, had never been a great hunter of small game; but she had
accounted for a goodly number of wallabies, and had played her part
in the pulling down of a respectable number of kangaroos. And,
though she had seldom troubled to run down the smaller fry, she was
as greatly feared by them as though she lived only for their
destruction; and innumerable small marsupials, from the tiny,
delicate little kangaroo-mouse, up to the fleet and muscular
wallaby-hare, with bandicoots, kangaroo-rats (bushy-tailed and
desperately furtive), 'possums, native cats, and even a couple of
amiable and sleepy-headed native bears, and a surly, solitary
wombat, all took an opportunity of peering out from the nearest
point of dense covert for the sake of having a glimpse of the
helpless kangaroo-hound. To the wild folk, an animal that cannot
rise and fend for itself is regarded as an animal practically dead,
and but one remove from carrion; which, of course, Jess would have
been, lacking the friendly attentions of her man, and, it may be,
lacking the protection of the great Wolfhound.

Be that as it may, it is a fact that news reached the rocky hills
behind Warrimoo of Jess's condition, and during the second night of
her helplessness three dingoes left their hunting range to come and
look into this matter for themselves. A dying hound might prove
well worth investigating, they thought. The movements of these
dingoes, once they reached within a couple of miles of Bill's
gunyah, would have interested any student of the wild. The caution
with which they advanced was extraordinary. Not a dry leaf nor a
dead twig on the trail but they scanned it shrewdly with an eye for
possible traps or pitfalls. They moved as noiselessly as shadows,
and poured in and out among the scrub like liquid vegetation of
some sort; a part of their environment, but volatile. When the
three dingoes from the hills reached the edge of the clear patch in
which the gunyah stood, they saw the almost black, smouldering
remains of a camp-fire, and, stretched within a couple of yards of
the ashes, Finn. His shaggy coat was not that of a kangaroo-hound,
and his place beside the man-made fire seemed to forbid the
possibility of his being a monster dingo. Vaguely, the dingoes told
themselves that Finn must be some kind of giant among wolves who
was connected in some mysterious way with men-folk. They had
learned something during the past few years with regard to the
possibilities of Nature in the matter of strange beasts; and they
remembered that the new-comers in their country had arrived with a
strange and persistent taint of man about them; were even brought
there by man, some said.

In the meantime, it was quite evident to the dingoes' sensitive
nostrils that man inhabited the gunyah at that moment; and that,
therefore, quite apart from the presence of the huge strange beast
near the fire, it would never do to investigate the shelter at the
gunyah's side just then. The dingoes ate where they made their
kills that night, within a couple of miles of the camp, thereby
spreading terror wide and deep throughout that range; for the
little folk feared these fiercely cunning killers far more than
they had learned to fear big ghostly Finn, who roamed their country
more in student fashion than as a serious hunter of meat, so far.

When the dawn came, the three dingoes were crouched in a favourable
watching-place opposite the gunyah, and saw Finn rise, stretch his
great length, and stroll off leisurely in the direction of the bush
on the shanty's far side. They looked meaningly one at the other,
with lips drawn back, as they noted Finn's massive bulk, great
height, long jaws, and springy tread. They decided that the
Wolfhound might, after all, be of the wild kindred, since he
evidently had no mind to face the owner of the gunyah by daylight.
Then, with hackles raised, and bodies shrinking backward among the
leaves, they saw Bill come out, and yawn, and stretch his arms, and
go to look at Jess, under her shelter. Now as it happened, Finn
stumbled upon a fresh wallaby trail that morning, a trail not many
minutes old; and he followed it with growing excitement for a
number of miles. To his nose it was more or less the same scent as
that of the old-man kangaroo; and there was hot desire in his heart
to pit his strength against such an one, without the sport-spoiling
assistance of Bill's knife. Finn's hunting of the wallaby took him
a good deal farther from the humpy than he had been before, since
his first arrival there; and so it fell out that Bill left upon his
day's round without having seen the Wolfhound that morning.

"I guess he's after an extra special breakfast of his own,"
muttered Bill, before he left; "but I'll leave him this half a
rabbit, in case." And he left the hinder part of a boiled rabbit on
the big log beside the fire, and rode away. The patient dingoes
watched the whole performance closely, licking their chops while
Bill ate his breakfast, and again when he placed the cooked
half-rabbit on the log. The whole proceeding was also watched by
several crows. It was largely as a protection against these, rather
than against the elements, that Bill had given Jess her substantial
bark shelter, under which the crows would be afraid to pass.
Otherwise, as Bill well knew, Jess would have been like to lose her
eyes before she had lain there very long.

After Bill's departure, the crows were the first to descend upon
the camp; and they soon had the meat left for Finn torn to shreds
and swallowed. Then they swaggered impudently about the fire,
picking up crumbs, a process they were in the habit of attending to
daily during Finn's absence. The presence of these wicked black
marauders gave courage to the waiting dingoes, and they determined
to proceed at once with the business in hand: the examination of
the dying kangaroo-hound of which they had heard. As for the huge
spectral wolf, it was evident that he had no real connection with
the camp. Indeed, the bigger of the three dingoes told himself,
with a regretful sigh, that this great grey wolf had in all
probability dispatched the kangaroo-hound at an early stage of the
night, and had been sleeping off the first effects of his orgy,
when they first saw him lying near the camp-fire. At all events,
the wolf had disappeared.

The three dingoes advanced, still exhibiting caution in every step,
but marching abreast, because neither would give any advantage to
the others in a case of this sort. When they got to within
five-and-twenty paces of the shelter, poor Jess winded them, and it
was borne in upon her that the hour of her last fight had arrived.
She knew herself unable to run a yard, probably unable to stand; and
the dingo scent, as she understood it, had no hint of mercy in it.
With an effort which racked her whole frame with burning pain, the
helpless bitch turned upon her chest and raised her head so that
she might see her doom approaching. She gave a little gulp when her
eyes fell upon the stalwart forms of no fewer than three full-grown
dingoes, stocky of build, massive in legs and shoulders,
plentifully coated, and fanged for the killing of meat. Their eyes
had the killing light in them too, Jess thought; and a snarl curled
her writhen lips as she pictured her end, stretched helpless there
under the bark shelter. Well she knew that even three such
well-grown dingoes as these would never have dared to attack her if
she had been in normal condition.

Very slowly the three dingoes approached a little nearer in
fan-shaped formation, and, with a brave effort, Jess succeeded in
bringing forth a bark which ended in something between growl and
howl, by reason of the cutting pain it caused her. The three
dingoes leaped backward, each three paces, like clockwork
machinery. Jess glared out at them from under her thatch of bark,
her fangs uncovered, her nose wrinkled, and her short close hair on
end. The dingoes watched her thoughtfully, pondering upon her
probable reserves of strength. Then, too, there was her shelter;
that was endowed with some of the mysterious atmosphere which
surrounds man. But the biggest of the dingoes had once stolen half
a sheep from a shepherd's humpy, and no disaster had overtaken him.
He advanced three feet before his companions, and that spurred them
to movement. Again Jess essayed a bark; and this time the
predominant note in her cry was so clearly one of anguish that the
three dingoes took it almost as an encouragement, for Nature had
not endowed them with a sense of what we call pity for weakness or
distress. They thought Jess's cry was an appeal for mercy, and
mercy was foreign to their blood. As a fact, poor Jess would rather
have died a dozen deaths than call once upon a dingo for mercy. It
was the pain in her lacerated body, resulting from the attempt to
bark, that had introduced that wailing note into her cry. And now,
as the dingoes drew nearer, inch by inch, the black kangaroo-hound
braced herself to die biting, and to sell her flesh as dearly as
might be.

As the snout of the foremost dingo, the largest of the three,
showed under the eave of Jess's shelter, she managed to hunch her
wounded body a little farther back against the side of the gunyah,
meaning thereby to draw the dingo a little farther in, and give
herself a better chance of catching some part of him between her
jaws. With a desperate effort she drew back her fore-legs a little,
raising herself almost into a sitting position against the side of
the gunyah. The faint groans that the pain of moving forced from
her were of real service to her in a way, for they made the
foremost dingo think she was in her death agony, and gave a sort of
recklessness to his plunge forward under the thatch. He meant to
end the business at once and slake his blood thirst at the hound's
throat. Well he knew that hounds do not groan before a dingo's
onslaught unless their plight is very desperate.

In the instant of the big dingo's plunge for Jess's throat, several
things happened. First, Jess's powerful jaws came together about
the thick part of the dingo's right fore-leg, and took firm hold
there, while the snarling and now terrified dingo snapped at the
back of her neck, the rough edge of the bark thatch on the middle
of his back producing in him a horrible sense of being trapped.
That was one thing that happened in that instant. Another thing was
that the two lesser dingoes between them produced a yelp of pure
terror, and, wheeling like lightning, streaked across the clear
patch to the scrub, bellies to earth, and tails flying in a
straight line from their spines. And the third thing that happened
in that instant was the arrival at the end of the gunyah of Finn.
The arrival of the Wolfhound was really a great event. There was
something elemental about it, and something, too, suggestive of
magic. The Wolfhound had caught his first glimpse of the two lesser
dingoes as he reached the far side of the clear patch, and, for an
instant he had stood still. He was dragging a young wallaby over
one shoulder. Then it came over him that these were enemies
attacking his crippled friend Jess. He made no sound, but, dropping
his burden, flew across the clearing with deadly swiftness. As he
reached the end of the gunyah, a kind of roar burst from his
swelling chest and, in that instant, the two dingoes flung
themselves forward in flight, Finn after them. Five huge strides he
took in their rear; and then the power of thought, or telepathy, or
something of the sort, stopped him dead in the middle of his
stride, and he almost turned a somersault in wheeling round to
Jess's assistance.

As Finn plunged forward again toward Jess, the big dingo succeeded
by means of a desperate wrench in freeing his leg from the
kangaroo-hound's jaws, and with a swift turning movement leaped
clear of the shelter. Then the big dingo of the back ranges found
himself facing Finn, and realized that he must fight for his life.

The dingo has been called a skunk, and a cur, and a coward, and by
most other names that are bad and contemptuous. But the dingo at
bay is as brave as a weasel; and no lion in all Africa is braver
than a weasel at bay. Finn had brought himself to a standstill with
an effort, a towering figure of blazing wrath. He had made one good
kill that morning, his blood was hot; the picture of these dogs of
the wild kindred attacking his helpless friend had roused to
fighting fury every last little drop of blood in his whole great
body. Rage almost blinded him. He flung himself upon the big dingo
as though he were a projectile of some sort. And then he learned
that the creatures born in the wild are swifter than the swiftest
of other creatures. He had learned it before, as a matter of fact;
he had seen a striking illustration of it only a few days before,
when the kangaroo stretched Jess helpless on the ground at a single
stroke. Finn only grazed the dingo's haunch, while the dingo
slashed a three-inch wound in his right shoulder as he passed. Even
while Finn was in the act of turning, the wild dog's fangs clashed
again about his flank, ripping his skin as though it were stretched

It may be imagined that Finn's wrath was not lessened, but his
blind rage was, and he pulled himself together with a jerk, a cold
determination to kill cooling his brain like water. This time he
allowed the dingo to rush him, which the beast did with admirable
dexterity, aiming low for the legs. Finn plunged for the back of
the dingo's neck, and missed by the breadth of two hairs. Then he
pivoted on his hind-legs and feinted low for the dingo's legs. The
dingo flashed by him, aiming a cutting snap at his lower thigh--for
the wild dog was a master of fighting, and worked deliberately to
cripple his big opponent and not to kill him outright--and that
gave Finn the chance for which he had played in his feint. Next
moment his great fangs were buried in the thickly furred coat of
the dingo's neck, and his whole weight was bearing the wild dog to

His legs lost to him, by reason of Finn's crushing weight, the
frenzy of despair filled the dingo, and he fought like ten dogs,
snarling, snapping, writhing, and scratching, all at the same time.
Despite Finn's vice-like hold, the dingo did considerable execution
with his razor-edged fangs in the lower part of the Wolfhound's
fore-legs. But his race was run. Finn gradually shifted his hold,
till his front teeth gripped the soft part of the dingo's throat,
and then he bit with all the mighty strength of his great jaws,
closer, closer, and closer, till the red blood poured out on the
ground and the struggles of the wild dog grew fainter and fainter.
Finally, Finn gave a great shake of his head, lifting the dingo
clear of the ground, and flinging him back upon it, limp and still.

For two whole minutes Finn glared down at the body of the dingo,
while licking the blood from his own lips, and working the torn
skin of his body backward and forward as though it tickled him.
Then he turned to look to Jess. And then an extraordinary thing
happened; the sort of thing which does not happen save in the life
of a dingo; the thing, in short, that couldn't happen, but that
just is, sometimes. That dingo's glazing eyes opened wide, and
looked at Finn's back. Then the slain dingo (Finn had almost torn
out its throat) dragged itself to its feet and staggered off like a
drunken man toward the bush. A feeble snarl escaped from Jess,
whose head faced this way. Finn, who had been licking her, wheeled
like a cat, and in that amazing moment saw the dingo he supposed he
had killed staggering towards the scrub thirty paces distant. Five
seconds later the still living dingo was on its back, and its
throat was being scattered over the surrounding ground. In his fury
Finn did actually tear out the beast's jugular vein, practically
severing the head from the trunk, smashing the vertebrae, and
tearing open the chest of the dead creature as well.

When Wallaby Bill came to look at that corpse some hours later he

"Well, by ghost! If I didn't tell that Wolf this very morning that
he was a mighty good sort. Wolf, you can say I said that John L.
Sullivan and Peter Jackson, and the Wild Man o' Borneo were suckin'
infants in arms to you. My colonial oath, but that blessed dingo
has been killed good an' plenty, and a steam-hammer couldn't kill
him no more!"

There was a wallaby lying beside the fire, Finn having been too
busy licking his own wounds and comforting Jess to think of
feeding, though common prudence had reminded him to bring in his
kill from the edge of the clear patch. Bill gave a deal of time and
attention to Jess that night, but Finn was fed royally on roughly
cooked wallaby steaks and damper. But even upon this special
occasion the Wolfhound, still mindful of his awful circus
experience, refused to come within touch of the man.




Jess's struggles on the day of the dingo fight naturally retarded
the healing of her wound; but, before the week was out, Bill was
able to remove his rude stitches, and the great gash showed every
sign of healing cleanly. Yet, in spite of the kangaroo-hound's
wonderful hardihood and her advantages in the matter of pure,
healing air, almost another week had passed before she was able to
move about round the camp, and a full ten days more were gone
before she cared to resume her old activities.

During all this while Finn played the part of very loyal and
watchful protector. He had much desired to follow up the trail of
the two dingoes that escaped him, but he would not leave Jess long
enough at a time to make this possible. The wild folk of the bush
situated within a mile of the camp, however, became as much
accustomed to his presence as though he were in truth one of
themselves, so thoroughly and constantly did he patrol their range
during his guardianship of the wounded hound. In this period he
learned to know every twig in that strip of country, and
practically every creature that lived or hunted there. The snake
folk, brown, tiger, carpet, diamond, black, and death adder--he
came to know them all, from a very respectful distance; and he
studied their habits and methods of progression, and of hunting,
with the deepest interest.

For instance, on one occasion, towards evening, Finn saw a
carpet-snake pin a big kangaroo-rat, close to a fallen log. With a
swiftness which Finn's sharp eyes were unable to follow exactly,
the snake twisted two coils of his shining body round the marsupial
and crushed the little beast to death. Then, slowly, and as though
the process gave him great satisfaction, the snake worked his coils
downward, from the head to the tail of the kangaroo-rat, crunching
its body flat and breaking all its joints. Then, very slowly, the
snake took its victim's head between its jaws and, advancing first
one jaw and then the other, an eighth of an inch at a time, very
gradually swallowed the whole animal, the operation occupying
altogether a full ten minutes. When the snake had quite finished,
Finn leaped upon it from his hiding-place, killing the creature
with one snap of his jaws immediately behind the head. Finn's front
teeth actually met in the tail of the kangaroo-rat, which had only
reached thus far in its progress. Indeed, the tip of the tail was
still in the snake's mouth at the time, and Finn was perfectly
aware that in this condition the big reptile was not very
dangerous. Bill was just dismounting beside the gunyah when Finn
arrived, trailing just upon twelve feet of gorged snake beside him.

But this was only one small incident among the daily, almost
hourly, adventures and lessons which came to the Wolfhound during
this period of Jess's convalescence. He actually caught a
half-grown koala, or native bear, one hot afternoon, when Jess was
beginning to stroll about the clear patch; and, finding that the
queer little creature offered no fight, but only swayed its tubby
body to and fro, moaning and wailing and generally behaving like a
distressed child, Finn made no attempt to kill it, but simply took
firm hold of the loose, furry skin about its thick neck, and
dragged it, complaining piteously, through the bush to the gunyah,
where he deposited it gingerly upon the ground for Jess's
inspection. Bill found the two hounds playing with the koala on his
return to camp that night. It was a one-sided kind of game, for the
bear only sat up on his haunches between the hounds, rocking to and
fro, and sobbing and moaning with grotesque appealing pathos, while
Finn and Jess gambolled about him, occasionally toppling him over
with a thrust of their muzzles, and growling angrily at him, till
he sat up again, when they appeared quite satisfied. Bill sat on
his horse and shook with laughter as he watched the game. He
thought of killing the bear, for there is a small bounty given on
bears' heads. But long laughter moved his good-nature to ignore the
bounty, and after a while he called Jess off, and drove the bear
away into the scrub. He did not call Finn, because that was
unnecessary. Finn withdrew immediately upon Bill's approach.

It was perhaps a week after the bear-baiting episode, when for
several days Jess had been following her man by day in the same
manner as before her hurt, that both hounds began to notice that
Bill was undergoing a change of some sort. He never talked to them
now. He took not the smallest notice of Finn, and but rarely looked
at Jess. When she approached him of an evening he would gruffly bid
her lie down, and once he thrust her from him with his foot when
she had nosed close up to him beside the fire. Jess had vague
recollections of similar changes in her man having occurred before
this time, and she had vague, uncomfortable stirrings which told
her that further change of some sort was imminent. This made the
kangaroo-hound restless and uneasy, and before long her uneasiness
communicated itself to Finn, who immediately began to think of the
worst things he knew of--men in leathern coats, iron-barred cages,
and the like. All this made the Wolfhound more shy than ever where
Bill was concerned, and more like a creature of the real wild in
all his movements and general demeanour. He slept a little farther
from the gunyah now, and relied almost entirely upon his own
hunting for food. Still, he had no wish to leave the camp, and
regarded Jess as his fast friend.

One evening the now definitely surly and irritable Bill devoted
half an hour to counting and recounting some money in the light of
the camp-fire. He had visited the station homestead that day and
drawn his pay from the manager.

"Ger-r-router that, damn ye!" he growled at poor Jess when she
crept towards him with watchful, affectionate eyes. So Jess got
out, to the extent of a dozen yards, with the mark of one of Bill's
heavy boots on her glossy flank. She bore not a trace of malice,
and would have cheerfully fought to the death for her man at that
moment; but she was full of vague distress and whimpering
uneasiness; of dim, unhappy presentiments. And in all this Finn
shared fully, though without the personal intensity which marked
Jess's feeling by reason of her great love of the man. But the
uneasiness and the presentiments were shared by the Wolfhound, and
he dreamed vividly that night of red-hot irons, the smell of
tigers, of wire-bound whip-lashes, and the panic sense of being

In the morning Bill would hardly take the trouble to prepare a
breakfast for himself, and the clothes he wore were not those that
Finn had always seen him in before. Bill presently tied up the
hanging door of the gunyah and mounted his horse. Jess and Finn
followed him as their wont was, but their hearts were sad, and
Bill's glowering looks gave them no encouragement. For almost seven
miles they followed Bill, and then, after leaping a low "dog-leg"
fence, they found themselves in the one wide street of Nargoola
township. Bill cantered slowly down the empty road till he came to
the "First Nugget Hotel," and there he drew rein and finally
hitched his horse's bridle to a verandah post. Then he strode
across the verandah and disappeared within the "hotel," and Jess
remembered--many things.

Finn remained with Jess, a few yards from the horse, waiting; but
whereas the experienced Jess lay down in the dust, Finn stood erect
and watchful beside her. He was already rather nearer to the house
than he cared about; and the air was heavy with the scent of man
and his works. Finn was acutely uncomfortable, and told Jess so as
plainly as he could, with a hint as to the advantages of returning
to the bush. But Jess urged patience, and tucked her nose under one
of her hind-legs.

Presently one or two men came straggling down the street and made
overtures to Finn, after standing and gazing upon him with admiring
astonishment, and slowly piecing together his connection with Bill
and Jess through the horse. Bush folk have a way of arriving at
their knowledge of people through horseflesh.

"My oath!" exclaimed one of the men. "He's got a touch of the
Tasmanian blood in him, all right. I guess old man Hall's pets have
been busy back in the hills there. Wonder how Bill got a-holt o'

And then, with every sign of deferential friendliness, the man
endeavoured to approach Finn. But though Jess lay still, showing
only pointed indifference where the men were concerned, Finn leaped
backward like a stag, and kept a good score of paces between the
men-folk and himself.

The man who made the remark about Finn and Tasmanian blood had
never seen the zebra wolf, as it is sometimes called, owing to the
stripes which often occur in its coat, or he would not have thought
of Finn in this connection. The Tasmanian wolf is a heavy, long
beast, with a truncated muzzle, short legs, a thin, taper tail, and
a very massive shoulder and neck. Wolves of this type have been
known to keep six hunting-dogs absolutely at bay, and finally to
escape from them. Their appearance is more suggestive of the
hyæna than of any such symmetrically beautiful lines as those of
Finn's graceful, racy build. But, by reason of his great height and
size, Finn was strange to the Nargoola man, and he, having heard of
old Jacob Hall's strange importations from Tasmania, at once linked
the two kinds of strangeness together in his mind, and saw only
further reason for so doing in the fact that he was quite unable to
get within a dozen paces of touching the Wolfhound.

Out of consideration for the patient Jess, Finn endured the
discomfort of waiting beside the "First Nugget" all through that
day, though he never ventured to sit down even for a moment; there
among the man-smells and the threatening shadows of the houses,
each one of which he regarded as the possible headquarters of a
circus, the possible home of a "Professor." But when evening set
in, and Jess still showed no sign of forsaking her post, Finn could
endure it no longer, and told his friend several times over that he
must go; that he would return to the camp in the bush and wait
there. The nuzzling touches of Jess's nose said plainly, "Wait a
bit, yet! What's your hurry?" But Finn was in deadly earnest now.
He refused to be restrained even by a little whimpering appeal, in
which Jess made every use she could of the craft of her sex,
showing exaggerated signs of weakness and distress. "Well, then,
why not come with me?" barked Finn in reply, fidgeting about her on
his toes. Jess pleaded for delay, and licked his nose most
persuasively. But Finn's mind was made up, and he turned his
shoulder coldly upon the bitch, while still waiting for some sign
of yielding on her part. But Jess was bound to her post by ties far
stronger than any consideration of her own comfort or well-being;
and, as a matter of fact, forty Wolfhounds would not have moved her
from that verandah--alive. Also, of course, she had not Finn's
violent distaste for the neighbourhood of man and his works. She
had never been in a circus. She had never been suddenly awakened
from complete trust in mankind to knowledge of the existence of mad
man-beasts with hot iron bars; so Finn would have told her.

In the end, Finn gave a cold bark of displeasure and trotted off
into the gathering twilight, leaping the fence and plunging into
the bush the moment he had passed the last house of the township.
Half an hour later he killed a fat bandicoot, who was engaged at
that moment in killing a tiny marsupial mouse. A quarter of an hour
after that, Finn lay down beside the ashes of the fire before the
gunyah, his kill between his fore-legs. He rested there for a few
minutes, and then, tearing off its furry skin in strips, devoured
the greater part of the bandicoot before settling down for the
night; as much, that is, as he ever did settle down, these days.
His eyes were not often completely closed; less often at night,
perhaps, than in the daytime. But he dozed now, out there in the
clear patch where the gunyah stood, free of all thoughts of men and
cages. And the bush air seemed sweeter than ever to him to-night
after his brief stay in the man-haunted township.




For nine consecutive days and nights Finn continued to regard the
empty gunyah in the clear patch as his home, to eat there, and to
rest there, beside the ashes of the fire, or in the shadow of the
shanty itself. And still Jess and her man came not, and the
Wolfhound was left in solitary possession. Once, when the heat of
the day was past, Finn trotted down the trail to the township, and
peered long and earnestly through the dog-leg fence in the
direction of the "First Nugget." But he saw no trace of Jess or her
man; and, for his part, he was glad to get back to the clear patch
again, and to take his ease beside the gunyah.

He had recently struck up a more than bowing acquaintance with the
koala that he had once dragged through a quarter of a mile of scrub
to the gunyah, and was now in the habit of meeting this quaint
little bear nearly every day. For his part, Koala never presumed to
make the slightest advance in Finn's direction, but he had come to
realize that the great Wolfhound wished him no harm, and, though
his conversation seldom went beyond plaintive complainings and
lugubrious assertions of his own complete in offensiveness, Finn
liked to sit near the little beast occasionally, and watch his
fubsy antics and listen to his plaint. Koala was rather like the
Mad Hatter that Alice met in Wonderland; he was "a very poor man,"
by his way of it; and, though in reality rather a contented
creature, seemed generally to be upon the extreme verge of shedding

Another of the wild folk that Finn met for the first time in his
life during these nine days, and continued to meet on a friendly
footing, was a large native porcupine, or echidna. Finn was
sniffing one afternoon at what he took to be the opening to a
rabbit's burrow, when, greatly to his surprise, Echidna showed up,
some three or four yards away, from one of the exits of the same
earth. The creature's shock of fretful quills was not inviting, and
Finn discovered no inclination to risk touching it with his nose;
but, having jumped forward in such a way as to shut Echidna off
from his home, they were left perforce face to face for a few
moments. During those moments, Finn decided that he had no wish to
slay the ant-eating porcupine, and Echidna, for his part, made up
his exceedingly rudimentary little mind that Finn was a fairly
harmless person. So they sat up looking at one another, and Finn
marvelled that the world should contain so curious a creature as
his new acquaintance; while Echidna doubtless wondered, in his
primitive, prickly fashion, how much larger dogs were likely to
grow in that part of the country. Then the flying tail of a
bandicoot caught Finn's attention, and the passing that way of an
unusually fat bull-dog ant drew Echidna from reflection to
business, and the oddly ill-matched couple parted after their first
meeting. After this, they frequently exchanged civil greeting when
their paths happened to cross in the bush.

But, unlike the large majority of Australia's wild folk, Finn was
exclusively a carnivorous animal, and this fact rather placed him
out of court in the matter of striking up acquaintances in the
bush, since meetings with the Wolfhound were apt, as a general
thing, to end in that very close form of intimacy which involves
the complete absorption of the lesser personality into the greater,
not merely figuratively, but physically. Finn might, and frequently
did, ask a stray bandicoot, or rabbit, or kangaroo-rat to dinner;
but by the time the meal was ended, the guest was no more; and so
the acquaintance could never be pursued further. Finn would have
been delighted, really, to make friends with creatures like the
bandicoot people, and to enjoy their society at intervals--when he
was well fed. But the bandicoots and their kind could never forget
that they were, after all, food in the Wolfhound's eyes, and it was
not possible to know for certain exactly when his appetite was
likely to rise within him and claim attention--and bandicoots.
Therefore, full or empty, hunting or lounging, Finn was a scourge
and an enemy in the eyes of these small folk, and, as such, a
person to be avoided at all cost, and at all seasons.

[Illustration: Spurring his horse forward.]

The hunting in the neighbourhood of the gunyah was still amply
sufficient for Finn's needs; and, as he continually expected the
return of Bill and Jess, he did not forage very far from the clear
patch. He generally dozed and rested beside the humpy during the
afternoon, preparatory to hunting in the dusk for the kill that
represented his night meal. It was on the evening of his tenth day
of solitude, and rather later than his usual hour for the evening
prowl, that Finn woke with a start in his place beside the gunyah
to hear the sound of horse's feet entering the clear patch from the
direction of the station homestead. There was no sign of Jess that
nose or eye or ear could detect, but Finn told himself as he moved
away from the gunyah that this was doubtless Bill, and that Jess
would be likely to follow. As his custom was, where Bill was
concerned, Finn took up his stand about five-and-twenty paces from
the humpy, prepared gravely to observe the boundary-rider's evening
tasks: the fire-lighting, and so forth. As the new-comer began to
dismount, or rather, as he began to think of dismounting, he caught
a dim glimpse of Finn's figure through the growing darkness. It was
only a dim glimpse the man caught, and he took Finn for a dingo,
made wondrous large in appearance, somehow, by the darkness. He was
both astonished and exceedingly indignant that a dingo should have
the brazen impudence to stand and stare at him, within thirty yards
of camp, too. In his hand he carried a stock-whip, with its
fifteen-foot fall neatly coiled about its taper end. Swinging this
by the head of its fall, he flung it with all his might at Finn, at
the same time rising erect in the saddle and spurring his horse
forward at the gallop to ride the supposed dingo down.

"G-r-r-r, you thieving swine! I'll teach ye!"

The voice was strange to Finn, and very hoarse and harsh. The
Wolfhound cantered lightly off, and the rider followed him right
into the scrub before wheeling his horse and turning back toward
the camp. Before he moved Finn gave one snarling growl; and the
reason of that was that the heavy butt-end of the stock-whip handle
had caught him fairly in the ribs and almost taken his breath away.

From the shelter of the bush, Finn peered for a long while at the
camp from which he had been driven; and as he peered his mind held
a tumult of conflicting emotions. He saw the man gather twigs and
light a fire, just as Bill had been wont to do. But he knew now
that the man was not Bill. He heard the man growling and swearing
to himself, just as a creature of the wild does sometimes over its
meals. As a matter of fact, this particular man had been removed
from a post that he liked and sent to this place, because Bill had
left the district; and he was irritable and annoyed about it.
Otherwise he probably would not have been so savage in driving Finn
off. But the Wolfhound had no means of knowing these things.

All his life long, up till the time of his separation from the
Master, Finn had been treated with uniform kindness and
consideration, save during one very brief interval in Sussex. Then,
for months, he had been treated with what seemed to him utterly
purposeless and reasonless cruelty and ferocity. From that
long-drawn-out martyrdom had sprung his deep-rooted mistrust of man.
But it had been reserved for Wallaby Bill's successor to implant in
Finn's mind the true spirit of the wild creature, by the simple
process of driving him forth from the neighbourhood of
civilization--such as it was--into the bush. Finn had been cruelly
beaten; he had been tortured in the past. He had never until this
evening been driven away from the haunts of men.

The writer of these lines remembers having once been driven
himself, under a shower of sticks and stones, from a village of
mountain-bred Moors who saw through his disguise. This being
driven, hunted, shooed out into the open with blows and curses and
scornful maledictions, is a singularly cowing sensation, at once
humiliating and embittering. It is unlike any other kind of hostile
treatment. It affected Finn more deeply and powerfully than any
punishment could have affected him. Though infinitely less painful
and terrible than the sort of interviews he had had with the
Professor in his circus prison, it yet bit deeper into his soul, in
a way; it produced an impression at least equally profound. He
desired none of man's society, and during all the time that he had
regarded the camp in that clearing as his home, he had never sought
anything at man's hands, nor approached man more nearly than a
distance of a dozen paces or so. But now he was savagely given to
understand that even the neighbourhood of the camp was no place for
him; that it was forbidden ground for him. He was driven out into
the wild with contumely, and with the contemptuous sting of the
blow of something flung at him. It was no longer a case of man
courting him, while he carefully maintained an attitude of reserve
and kept his distance. Man had set the distance, and definitely
pronounced him an alien; driven him off. Man was actively hostile
to him, would fling something at him on sight. Man declared war on
him, and drove him out into the wild. Well, and what of the wild?

The wild yielded him unlimited food and unlimited interest. The
wild was clean and free; it hampered him in no way; it had offered
no sort of hostile demonstration against him. Nay, in a sense, the
wild had paid court to him, shown him great deference, bowed down
before him, and granted him instant lordship. (If Finn thought at
all just now of the snake people, it was of the large non-venomous
kind, of which he had slain several.) Altogether, it was with a
curiously disturbed and divided mind, in which bitterness and
resentment were uppermost, that the Wolfhound gazed now at the man
sitting in the firelight by Bill's gunyah. And then, while he
gazed, there rose up in him kindly thoughts and feelings regarding
Jess, when she had played with him beside that fire; regarding
Bill, when he had talked at Finn in his own friendly admiring way,
and tossed the Wolfhound food, food which Finn had always eaten
with an appearance of zest and gratitude (even when not in the
least need of food) from an instinctive sense of _noblesse oblige_,
and of the courtesy which came to him with the blood of a long line
of kingly ancestors. Vague thoughts, too, of the Master drifted
through Finn's mind as he watched the stranger at his supper; and,
somehow, the circle of firelit grass attracted. Forgiveness came
natural to the Wolfhound and, for the moment, he forgot the
humiliation and the bitterness of being driven out as a creature of
the wild, having no right to trespass upon the human environment.

Slowly, not with any particular caution, but with stately, gracious
step, Finn moved forward toward the firelight, intending to take up
his old resting-place, perhaps a score of paces from the fire. No
sooner had Finn entered the outermost ring of dim firelight than
the man looked up and saw, not the whole of him, but the light
flickering on his legs.

"Well, I'll be teetotally damned if that ain't the limit!" gasped
the man, as he sprang to his feet. He snatched a three-foot length
of burning sapling from the fire and, rushing forward, flung it so
truly after the retreating Wolfhound that it fell athwart his neck,
singeing his coat and enveloping him from nose to tail in a cloud
of glowing sparks. A stone followed the burning wood, and the man
himself, shouting and cursing, followed the stone. But he had no
need to run. The flying sparks, the smell of burned hair, the
horrible suggestion of the red-hot iron bar--these were amply
sufficient for Finn, without the added humiliation of the stone,
and the curses, and the man's loud, blundering footfalls. The
Wolfhound broke into a gallop, shocked, amazed, alarmed, and beyond
words embittered. He snarled as he ran, and he ran till the camp
was a mile behind him, beyond scent and hearing.

There was no mistaking this for anything but what it was. This was
being driven out of the human world into the world of the wild with
a vengeance. The burning sapling made a most profound impression
upon Finn, and roused bitter hostility and resentment in him. The
stock-whip and the stone were as nothing beside this thing--this
fire that had been flung at him. From time immemorial men have
frightened and chased wolves from their chosen neighbourhood with
burning faggots. The thing is being done to-day in the world's far
places; it was being done thousands of years before our era began.
Finn had never before experienced it, and yet, in some vague way,
it seemed he had known of such a thing. His ancestors for fifteen
hundred years had been the admired companions and champions of the
leaders among men. But a thousand years before that--who knows? Our
domestic pet dogs of to-day adhere still to a few of the practices
(having no bearing upon their present lives) of their forbears of
many, many centuries back. Certain it is that nothing else in his
life had been quite so full of hostile significance for Finn as
this fact of his having been driven out from the camp in the clear
patch with a faggot of burning wood. This was man's message to him;
thus, then, he was sent to his place, and his place was the wild.

The wild folk of that particular section of the Tinnaburra country,
though they live to be older than the most aged cockatoo in all
Australia, will never, never forget the strange happenings of that
night, which they will always remember as the night of the madness
of the Giant Wolf--only they thought of him as the Giant Dingo. For
four mortal hours the Irish Wolfhound, who had been driven out from
the haunts of men, raged furiously up and down a five-mile belt of
Tinnaburra country, slaying and maiming wantonly, and implanting
desperate fear in the hearts of every living thing in that

Once, in the farthest of his gallops, he reached the fringe of the
wild, rocky hill country which lies behind this belt; and there, as
luck would have it, he met in full flight one of the two dingoes
that had escaped him on the day of the attack upon wounded Jess. It
was an evil chance for that dingo. A fanged whirlwind smote him,
and rended him limb from limb before he realized that the
devastating thing had come, scattering his vital parts among the
scrub and tearing wildly at his mangled remains. A mother kangaroo
was surprised by the ghostly grey fury, at some distance from the
rest of her small mob, and, though she fought with the fury of ten
males of her species (bitterly conscious of the young thing glued
to the teat in her pouch), she was left a torn and trampled mass of
scarcely recognizable fur and flesh, crushed among scrub-roots.
Lesser creatures succumbed under the blinding stabs of Finn's feet;
and once he leaped, like a cat, clear into the lower branches of a
bastard oak tree, and pinned a 'possum into instant death before
swinging back to earth on the limb's far side. He killed that night
from fury, and not to eat; and when he laid him down to rest at
length, on the rocky edge of a gully fully four miles from the
camp, there was not a living thing in that district but felt the
terror of his presence, and cowered from sight or sound of his
flying feet and rending, blood-stained fangs. It was as the night
of an earthquake or a bush fire to the wild folk of that range; and
the cause and meaning of it all was that Finn, the Irish Wolfhound,
had been hunted out of the men-folk's world into the world of the
wild people.




If Finn had deliberately thought out a bad way of beginning his
life as one of the wild folk, who have no concern at all with
humans, he could have devised nothing much worse, or more
disadvantageous to himself, than the indulgence of his wild burst
of Berserker-like fury, after being driven out of the clear patch.
And of this he was made aware when he set forth the next morning in
quest of a breakfast. Every one of his hunting trails in the
neighbourhood of the encampment he ranged with growing thoroughness
and care, without finding so much as a mouse with which to satisfy
his appetite. Even Koala and Echidna were nowhere to be found. It
was as though a blight had descended upon the countryside, and the
only living thing Finn saw that morning, besides the crows, was a
laughing jackass on the stump of a blasted stringy-bark tree, who
jeered at him hoarsely as he passed. Disconsolate and rather sore,
as the result of his frenzied exertions of the night, Finn curled
himself up in the sandy bed of a little gully and slept again,
without food. The many small scavengers of the bush had already
made away with the remains of the different creatures he had slain
during his madness.

Finn did not know it, but hundreds of small bright eyes had watched
him as he ranged the trails that morning; and the most of these
eyes had in them the light of resentment, as well as fear. Finn had
been guilty of real crime according to the standards of the wild;
and, had he been a lesser creature, swift punishment would have
descended upon him. As it was, he was left to work out his own
punishment by finding that his hunting was ruined. These wild folk,
who were judging Finn now, tacitly admitted the right of all
flesh-eating creatures to kill for food. But wilful slaughter,
particularly when accompanied by all the evidences of reckless
fury, was a crime not readily to be forgiven, for it struck at the
very roots of the wild folk's social system. It was not merely a
cruel affliction for those needlessly slain, and their relatives
(some of whom depended for life upon their exertions); but it was
an affliction for all the rest, in that it spoiled hunting for the
carnivorous, rendered feeding extremely difficult for the
non-carnivorous, and generally upset the ordered balance of things
which made life worth living for the wild people of that range. It
was as disturbing to them, and more lastingly so, by reason of the
comparative slenderness of their resources, as the passage through
a town of an armed giant, who was also a thief and a murderer,
would be to humans. Finn had been feared and respected in that
corner of the Tinnaburra; while, by some of the wild folk who, from
one cause or another, were able to afford the indulgence in such an
emotion, he had been admired. He was now feared and hated.

Now the hatred of some thousands of living creatures, even though
they may all of them be lesser creatures than oneself, is a
fearsome thing. Just as the wild people's methods of direct
communication are more limited than ours, so their indirect methods
are more perfect, more impressive, and swifter than ours. A
drawing-room full of men and women have before now shown themselves
tolerably capable in the matter of conveying a sense of their
dislike for some one person. But humans waste a lot of their
telepathic power in speech, and their most offensive method of
conveying unspoken hatred to its object and making him feel an
outcast, is as nothing by comparison with the wild folk's
achievements in this direction. If you have ever studied the life
of a kennel of hounds, for example, when the pack has made up its
corporate mind that one of its members is for some reason unworthy
of its traditions, you will remember what a masterly exposition you
saw of the art of freezing out. The offending animal, unless
removed in time, will positively wilt away and die under the
withering blast of unspoken hatred and scorn with which it is
encompassed. And hounds, from their long intercourse with talkative
humans, have lost half their skill in this respect. The wild
kindred have a way of making hatred tangible, perceptible in the
air, and in inanimate nature. They can almost bewitch the flesh
from off the hated creature's bones without ever looking at him, if
a sufficient number of them are in agreement in their hating.

When Finn rose from his day sleep it was to realization of the
uncomfortable fact that he was stark empty of food. (His first
ejection from the camp on the previous evening had occurred before
the evening kill, and, after the second ejection, Finn had been too
furious to think of eating.) The next thing he realized--and this
was before he had walked many hundred yards through the falling
light of late afternoon--was the solid atmosphere of hatred which
surrounded him in his own range of bush. He did not get the full
sting of it at first--that bit into him gradually during the night
but he was aware of its existence almost at once. And he found it
singularly daunting. True, he was the undisputed lord of that
range. No creature lived there that could think of meeting him in
single combat. But the concentrated and silent hatred of the entire
populace was none the less a thing to chill the heart even of a
giant Irish Wolfhound.

The silence of the ghostly bush, in that brief half-light which
preceded darkness, spoke loudly and eloquently of this hatred and
resentment. The empty run-ways of the little grass-eating animals
were full of it. The still trees thrust it upon Finn as he threaded
in and out among their hoary trunks. The sightless scrub glared
hatred at him till the skin twitched over his shoulders, and he
took to flinging swift glances to left and right as he
walked--glances but little in keeping with his character as hunter,
and more suggestive of the conduct of the lesser hunted peoples. When
a long streamer of hanging bark rustled suddenly behind Finn, he
wheeled upon it with a snarl; and the humiliation of his discovery
of what had startled him partook of the nature of fear, when his
gaze met the coldly glittering eyes of a bush-cat (whose body he
could not discern in that dim light) that glared down at him from
twenty feet above his head.

It was with a sense of genuine humility, and something like
gratitude, that Finn met Koala a few minutes later, passing
hurriedly--for him--between the trunks of the two trees in which he
made his home at that time. Koala stopped at once when Finn faced
him--not from any desire for conversation, but from fear to
move--and waved his queer little hands in an apparent ecstasy of
grief and perturbation, while protesting, as usual, what a lamentably
poor and wholly inoffensive person he was, and what a tragic and
dastardly act it would be if any one should hurt him. Finn
whispered through his nose a most friendly assurance that he had
too much respect and affection for Koala to think of harming him,
and the little bear sat up on his haunches to acknowledge this
condescension, tearfully, while reiterating the time-honoured
assertion that there was no more inoffensive or helpless creature
living than himself. With a view to establishing more confidence
Finn lay down on his chest, with fore-legs outstretched, and began
to pump Koala regarding the chilling attitude of all the people of
that range towards himself. In his own dolorous fashion Koala
succeeded in conveying to Finn what the Wolfhound already knew
quite well in his heart of hearts, that the attitude he complained
of was simply the penalty of his running amuck on the previous
night. Finn gathered that the native-born wild people would never
forgive him or relax their attitude of silently watchful hatred;
but that there were some rabbits who were feeding in the open a
little farther on, in the neighbourhood of the clear patch.

Finn thanked Koala for his information, with a little forward
movement of the muzzle, and walked off in a rather cheerless mood,
while the bear wrung his little hands and moaned, preparatory to
ascending the trunk of the giant red-gum upon whose younger leaves
he meant to sup before retiring for the night in one of its hollow
limbs. It was not for any pleasure in hunting, but because he was
very empty, that Finn proceeded in the direction indicated by the
bear. He had already developed the Australian taste in the matter
of rabbits, and regarded their flesh with the sort of cold
disfavour which humans reserve for cold mutton on its second
appearance at table. Still, he was hungry now, and when he had
stalked and killed the fattest of the bunch of rabbits he found
furtively grazing a quarter of a mile from the clear patch, he
carried it well away into the bush and devoured it steadily, from
the hind-quarters to the head, after the fashion of his kind, who
always begin at the tail-end of their meals. It was noticeable, by
the way, that Finn approached the neighbourhood of the clear patch
with reluctance, and got right away from it as quickly as possible.

During a good part of that night Finn strolled about the familiar
tract of bush, which he had ranged now for many weeks, observing
and taking note of all the many signs which, though plain reading
enough for him, would have been quite illegible to the average man.
And he decided that what he saw was not good, that it boded ill for
his future comfort and well-being. The simple fact was that he had
outraged all the proprieties of the wild in that quarter, and was
being severely ostracised in consequence. The lesser creatures were
still sharper of scent and hearing than he was, and their senses
all made more acute by their fear and indignation, they succeeded
in keeping absolutely out of the Wolfhound's sight. It was
shortly after midnight when a crow and a flying-fox saw Finn curl
down to sleep in his sandy gully, and, by making use of the curious
system of animal telepathy, of which even such ingenious humans as
Mr. Marconi know nothing, they soon had the news spread all over
the range. The lesser marsupials and other groundlings were glad to
have this intelligence, and the approach of dawn found them all
busily feeding, watchful only with regard to the ordinary enemies
among their own kind, the small carnivorous animals and the snake
people. Indeed, they fed so busily that a pair of wedge-tailed
eagles who descended among them with the first dim approach of the
new day, obtained fat breakfasts almost without looking for them, a
fact which, unreasonably enough, earned new hatred for Finn among
the circle upon which the eagles swooped.

"If that great brute had not obliged us to feed so hurriedly,
_this_ wouldn't have happened!" a mother bandicoot thought, as she
gazed out tremulously from her den under a rotten log upon the
specks of hair and blood which marked the spot where, a few moments
before, that fine strapping young fellow, her only son, had been
busily chewing grubs.

For another three days Finn continued in his old hunting-ground,
and during the whole of that time he had to content himself with a
diet consisting exclusively of rabbit meat. Indeed, during the last
couple of days he found that even the despised rabbit required a
good deal of careful stalking, so deeply had the fear and hatred of
the Wolfhound penetrated into the minds and hearts of that
particular wild community. If it had not been for the rabbits'
incorrigible habit of forgetting caution during the hours of
twilight and daybreak, Finn might have gone hungry altogether.
Apart from their hatred and resentment, the wild people of that
range felt that the giant's madness might return to him at any
moment, and that for this reason alone it would be unsafe to permit
of any relaxation in their attitude towards him.

On the fourth evening, with a rather sad heart, Finn turned his
back on the familiar trails, and hunted west and by south from the
little gully in which he slept, heading toward the back ranges and
the stony foot of Mount Desolation, that is. For a mile or more,
even in this direction, he found that his evil fame preceded him,
and no good hunting came his way. But presently a flanking movement
to the eastward was rewarded by a glimpse of a fat wallaby-hare,
which Finn stalked with the most exquisite patience, till he was
able to spring upon it with a snap of his great jaws that gave
instantaneous and everlasting sleep. Finn carried this fat kill
back to his den, and feasted right royally that night for the first
time since he was expelled from the purlieus of the gunyah and the
easy-going old life. These few days had changed the Wolfhound a
good deal. He walked the trails now with far less of gracious pride
and dignity, and more of eager, watchful stealth than he had been
wont to use. He walked more silently, he stalked more carefully,
and sprang more swiftly, and bit more fiercely. He was no longer
the amateur of the wild life, but an actual part of it, and subject
to all its laws and customs.

Thus it was that, in the afternoon of the day following that of his
first hunt outside his own range, he leaped in a single instant
from full sleep to fullest wakefulness in response to the sound of
a tiny twig rolling down the side of his little gully. There,
facing him from the western lip of the gully, with a rather eager,
curious, inviting sort of look upon her intelligent face, stood a
fine, upstanding, red-brown female dingo, or warrigal. The stranger
stood fully twenty-three inches high at the shoulder, and was
unusually long in the body for such a height--thirteen inches less
than Finn's shoulder height it is true, but yet about the same
measurement as a big foxhound and of greater proportionate length.
Her ruddy brown tail was bushy and handsome, and at this moment she
was carrying it high and flirtatiously curled. Also, she wagged it
encouragingly when Finn's eyes met her own, which were of a pale
greenish hue. Her hind feet were planted well apart; she stood
almost as a show cob stands, her tail twitching slightly, and her
nostrils contracting and expanding in eloquent inquiry. She had
heard of Finn some time since, this belle of the back ranges, but
it was only on that day, when Nature recommended her to find a
mate, that she had thought of coming in quest of the great
Wolfhound. Now she eyed him, from her vantage-point, fearlessly,
and with invitation in every line of her lissom form.

Finn sniffed hard, and began a conciliatory whine which terminated
in a friendly bark, as he scrambled up the gully side, his own
thirty-inch tail waving high above the level of his haunches.
Warrigal fled--for ten paces, wheeling round then, in kittenish
fashion, and stooping till her muzzle touched the ground between
her fore feet. But no sooner had Finn's nose touched hers than the
wild coquette was off again, and this time a little farther into
the bush. To and fro and back and forth the shining bushy-coated
dingo played the great Wolfhound with even more of coquettishness
than is ever displayed in human circles; and twilight had darkened
into night when, at length, she yielded herself utterly to his
masterful charms, and nominally surrendered to the suit she had
actually won. As is always the case with the wild folk, the
courtship was fiery and brief, but one would not say that it was
the less passionately earnest for that; and, at the time, Warrigal
seemed to Finn the most gloriously handsome and eminently desirable
of all her sex.

When their relations had grown temperately fond and familiar they
took to the western trail together, and presently Warrigal
"pointed" a big bandicoot for Finn, and Finn, delighted to exhibit
his prowess, stalked and slew the creature with a good deal of
style. Then the two fed together, Finn politely yielding the
hind-quarters to his inamorata. And then they lay and licked and
nosed, and chatted amicably for an hour. After this, Warrigal rose and
stretched her handsome figure to its full length--there was not a
white hair about her, nor any other trace of cross-breeding--her
nose pointing west and by south a little, for the back ranges,
whence she came. When she trotted sedately off in that direction
Finn followed her as a matter of course, though he had never been
this way before. There were no longer any ties which bound him to
his old hunting-ground. It was not in nature to spare a thought for
lugubrious Koala or prickly Echidna, when Warrigal waved her bushy
tail and trotted on before. Finn had never before been appealed to
by the scent of any of the wild people, but there was a subtle
atmosphere about Warrigal's thick red-brown coat which drew him to
her strongly.




Finn knew the life of his own range pretty well, and was more
familiar with the life of the wild generally than any other hound
of his race has been for very many generations. Yet, when he
contentedly took up the back-blocks trail with Warrigal, after
their supper together upon the bandicoot he had slain, Finn was
absolutely and entirely ignorant of the life of the world in which
the handsome dingo had spent her days and attained her high
position as the acknowledged belle and beauty of her range. One
hour afterwards, however, he knew quite a good deal about it.

Possibly from a sense of gallantry, or it may have been because the
trail was a new one to him, Finn trotted slightly behind his mate,
his muzzle about level with her flank. His great bulk was less
noticeable now in relation to the size of his companion, partly by
reason of the coquettish pride which puffed out Warrigal's fine
coat and the lofty way in which she pranced along, and partly
because Finn had now adopted his usual trailing deportment and
exaggerated it a little, owing to his being on a strange trail. He
went warily, with hind-quarters carried well under him ready for
springing, and that suggestion of tenseness about his whole body
which made it actually, as well as apparently, lower to the ground
than when he stood erect. As for Warrigal, she trod a home trail,
and one in which she was accustomed to meet with deferential
treatment from all and sundry. The law of her race prevented a male
dingo from attacking her, and no female in that countryside would
have cared to face Warrigal in single combat.

The country grew wilder and more rugged as the newly-mated pair
advanced, and as they drew near the foot-hills surrounding Mount
Desolation, the bush thinned out, and the ground became stony, with
here and there big lichen-covered boulders standing alone, like
huge bowls upon a giants' green. Then came a patch of thin,
starveling-looking trees, mere bones of trees, half of whose skin
was missing. Suddenly Warrigal gave a hard, long sniff, and then a
growl of warning to Finn. She would have barked if she had known
how, but her race do not bark, though they can growl and snarl with
the best, and, besides, have a peculiar cry of their own which is
not easy to describe other than as something midway between a howl
and a roar. Finn recognized the growl as warning clearly enough,
and all his muscles were gathered together for action on the
instant; but he had no idea what sort of danger to expect, or
whether it was danger or merely the need of hunting care that his
mate had in mind. He knew all about it some two seconds later,

The starveling trees, with the mean, wiry scrub that grew between
them, had served as cover for two lusty males of Warrigal's tribe--
cousins of hers they were, as a matter of fact, though she had
never known the kinship--both of whom had waked that day to the
fact that Warrigal was eminently desirable as a mate. Now, in one
instant, they both flew at Finn, one from either side of the trail
on which he trotted with Warrigal. Warrigal herself slid forward, a
swiftly-moving shadow, her brush to the earth, her hind-quarters
seeming to melt into nothingness, as the jaws of her cousins
flashed behind her on either side of Finn's throat. Then, when
there were a dozen paces between herself and her new mate, she
wheeled and stopped, sitting erect on her haunches, a well-behaved
and deeply interested spectator.

Finn suffered for his ignorance of what to expect, as in the wild
all folk must suffer for ignorance. It is only in our part of the
world that a series of protecting barriers has been erected between
the individual and the natural penalties attaching to ignorance and
wrong-doing. Some of these barriers are doubtless sources of
justifiable pride, but in the wild the confirmed loafer, for
example, the vicious and idle parasite, is an unknown institution.
The same practically holds good even of humans, when they live
close to Nature in a stern climate, as, for instance, on the
Canadian prairie; but never in great cities, or other places from
which Nature is largely shut out.

The penalty Finn paid was this, that he was cut to the bone upon
his right and his left shoulders by the flashing teeth of his
mate's stalwart young cousins. They had both aimed for the more
deadly mark, the throat, but were not accustomed to foes
of Finn's great height, and had not gauged his stature correctly as
he trotted down the trail. Their own shoulder-bones were a good
foot nearer the earth than Finn's, and his neck towered above the
point their jaws reached when they sprang. Wolf-like, they leaped
aside after the first blow, making no attempt to hold on to their
prey. And now, before the keenly watchful eyes of Warrigal, there
began the finest fight of her experience. Regarding her mate's good
looks she had more than satisfied herself; here was her opportunity
to judge of his prowess, in a world wherein all questions are
submitted to the arbitrament of tooth and claw in physical combat.
And keenly the handsome dingo judged; watchfully she weighed the
varying chances of the fray; not a single movement in all the
dazzling swiftness of that fight but received her studious and
calculating attention, her expert appraisement of its precise
value. As the fight progressed from its marvellously sudden
beginning, her unspoken comments ran somewhat after this fashion--

"He is not so quick as our kind--as yet. He is marvellously strong.
He is not smart enough in the retreat after biting. His jaws are
like the men-folk's steel traps, when they do get home. He misses
the leg-hold every time, and that is surely foolish, for he could
cripple them there in an instant. My teeth and claws! but what a
neck he must have! It is reckless the way he leaves his great legs
unguarded. Save me from traps and gins! Saw dingo ever such a
mighty leap!"

In the first moments of that fight the two dingoes were half drunk
from pride. It seemed certain to them that they would easily
overcome the giant stranger. Indeed, Black-tip, the bigger of the
two, who had a black bush at the end of his fine tail, actually
seized the opportunity of taking a lightning cut at one of the
fore-legs of his cousin in the confusion of a rush in upon the
Wolfhound, feeling that it was as well to get what start he could
in dealing with the remaining claimant for Warrigal's hand. He
counted the Wolfhound dead, and wanted to reduce his cousin's
chances in the subsequent fight that he knew would be waged to
secure possession of Warrigal. It was sharp practice, according to
our standards in such matters, but perfectly justifiable according
to the laws of the wild, where the one thing demanded is ultimate
success--survival. But, though morally justified, Black-tip was
actually at fault, and guilty of a grave error of judgment.

[Illustration:  He was backing gradually towards a boulder beside
the trail.]

Finn took much longer than one of Black-tip's kindred would have
taken to realize the exact nature of his situation and to act
accordingly; but, as against that, he was a terrible foe when once
he did settle down to work, and, further, his mighty muscles and
magnificent stature, though they could not justify either
recklessness or slackness--which nothing ever can justify in the
wild--did certainly enable him to take certain liberties in a fight
which would have meant death for a lesser creature. But Finn had
been learning a good deal lately, and now, once he had got into his
stride, so to say, he fought a good deal more in wolf fashion than
he would have done a few months earlier; and, in addition, he had
his own old fashion and powers the dingoes knew not of in reserve.

At first, he snapped savagely upon one side only, leaving his
unprotected side open to the swift lacerations of Black-tip's sharp
fangs. But even then he was backing gradually towards a boulder
beside the trail, and the moment he felt the friendly touch of the
lichen-covered stone behind him his onslaught became double-edged
and terrible as forked lightning.

He was kept too busy as yet to think of death-blows; both dingoes
saw to that for him, their jaws being never far from one side or
the other of his neck or his fore-legs. But though, as yet, he gave
them nothing of his great weight, he was slashing them cruelly
about the necks and shoulders, and once--when Warrigal swore by her
teeth and claws it was--he managed to pluck Black-tip's cousin
bodily from the earth and fling him by the neck clean over a low
bush. A piece of the dingo's neck, by the way, remained in Finn's
jaws, and spoiled half the effect of his next slash at Black-tip's
shoulder. But from that moment Black-tip lost for good and all his
illusion in the matter of the stranger being as good as dead.

When the sorely wounded dingo, who had been flung aside as if he
were a rat, returned to the fray his eyes were like red coals, and
his heart was as full of deadly venom as a death-adder's fangs. His
neck was tolerably red, too; it was from there that his eyes drew
their bloody glare. He crawled round the far side of the boulder,
close to the ground, like a weasel, and, despairing of the
throat-hold, fastened his fangs into one of Finn's thighs, with a view
to ham-stringing, while the Wolfhound was occupied in feinting for a
plunge at Black-tip's bristling neck. It was the death-hold that
Finn aimed at, but the sudden grip of fire in his thigh was a
matter claiming instant attention; and it was then that the
Wolfhound achieved the amazing leap that made Warrigal swear by
traps and gins. He leaped straight up into the air, with the sorely
wounded cousin hanging to his thigh, and Black-tip snapping at his
near fore-leg, and in mid-air he twisted his whole great body so
that he descended to earth again in a coil, with his mighty jaws
closed in the throat of Black-tip's cousin. His fangs met, he gave
one terrible shake of his massive neck and head, and when the dingo
fell from his jaws this time, two clear yards away, its throat was
open to the night air, and it had entered upon the sleep from which
there is no awakening.

Finn was bleeding now from a dozen notable wounds, but it was not
in nature that Black-tip single-handed should overcome him, and
Black-tip knew it. The big dingo ceased now to think of killing,
and concentrated his flagging energies solely upon two points--
getting away alive and putting up a fight which should not disgrace
him in Warrigal's watchful eyes. He achieved his end, partly by
virtue of his own pluck and dexterity, and partly because his smell
reminded Finn of Warrigal, and so softened the killing lust in the

Finn could handle the one dingo with great ease, even wounded as he
was, and, because of that smell, he had no particular desire to
kill. Indeed, he rolled Black-tip over once, and could have torn
the throat from him, but caught him by the loose skin and coat
instead and flung him aside with a ferocious, growling snarl, in
the tail-end of which there was a note which said plainly, "Begone,
while you may!"

And Black-tip, with life before him and desire in his heart where
Warrigal was concerned, was exceedingly glad of the chance to bound
off into the scrub with a long, fierce snarl, which he hoped would
place him well in Warrigal's esteem, though he was perfectly aware
that it could not deceive Finn.

Then, when it was quite clear that Black-tip had really gone,
having taken all the fight he could stand, Warrigal stepped forward
mincingly and fell to licking Finn's wounds, with strongly
approving tenderness and assiduity. Her mate had fought valiantly
and doughtily for Warrigal, and she was proud of him; proud, too,
of her own perspicacity and allurements in having drawn him to
herself. A savage creature was Warrigal and a brave and quite
relentless enemy, the marks of whose fangs more than one fighting
member of her race and more than one powerful kangaroo would carry
always. But she was very feminine with it all, and the remarks she
murmured to her great grey lord, while her solicitous tongue
smoothed down the edges of his wounds were sweetly flattering and
vastly stimulating to Finn's passion and his pride.

And then, when between the two busy tongues every wound had
received its share of healing attention and antiseptic dressing,
Warrigal moved slowly off down the trail, throwing a winsome look
of unqualified invitation over her right shoulder to Finn, so that
the Wolfhound stepped grandly after her, with assumed unconsciousness
of his many wounds, as who should say--

"It is nothing, my dear child; nothing at all, this trivial
incident by the way. If there are any more champions of your tribe
about, let them come on while I am in the vein for such sport."

But, as a matter of fact, though it was true he would cheerfully
have fought all night at his mate's bidding, Finn was none the less
glad now to have peace and rest, for the dingo champions' methods
of attack were marvellously swift and telling, and the wounds they
had inflicted, while not very serious, were certainly numerous and

Immediately below the crest of a sharply rising spur of the great
mountain they came upon the entrance to Warrigal's own den, which
was masked and roofed-in by the spreading roots of a fallen tree.
The mouth of the den was narrow and very low for one of Finn's
stature, but he bent his aching body gladly and followed his mate
in, to find that the den itself was comparatively roomy and capable
of accommodating half a dozen dingoes. As a matter of fact, it had
been the den of Warrigal's mother, but it was more than a year now
since that mother had fallen to a boundary-rider's gun. The father
had gone off to another range with a second wife, and Warrigal's
brothers and sisters had each been vanquished in turn and given to
understand that this den was now the sole and exclusive property of
their big sister.

Finn sniffed curiously all round the walls of the den and, finding
them permeated with the scent of Warrigal and with that scent only,
he lay down there restfully, stretching himself to the full extent
of his great length, and sighing out his pleasure in being at ease.
Warrigal sat gravely erect beside him, admiring the vast spread of
his limbs. From tip of nose to tip of tail he covered practically
the whole width of the den, which was a shade over seven and one
half feet. The dingo looked over her mate's wounds once more,
giving an occasional lick here and there, and then, with a little
grunt of gratified pride and content, she curled herself round,
after circling three or four times, and went to sleep under the lee
of Finn's mighty hind-quarters, her muzzle tucked under the
spreading hair of her tail, and one eye, half opened, resting upon
her lord.

Two hours later, Warrigal rose softly and went out to inspect the
night. She found the world bathed in a shining glory of silken
moonlight; bright as day, but infinitely more alluring and
mysteriously beautiful. After gazing out at this wonderful panorama
for a few minutes and drawing in information through her nostrils
of the doings of the wild, Warrigal sat down on her haunches and
raised her not very melodious voice in the curious dingo cry, which
is a sort of growling howl. Next instant Finn was beside her, with
lolling tongue and sensitively questioning nostrils. She gave him
one sidelong look which seemed to say, "You here? Why, what an odd
coincidence that you also should have waked and come out here! I
wonder why you came!" Not but what, of course, she knew perfectly
well what had brought the Wolfhound to her side. She had called of
good set purpose, but, in her feminine way, she preferred to let it
appear that Finn joined her of his own volition. It may be assumed
that the remark she made to him at this point was a comment upon
the fineness of the night and the undoubted beauty of that
glamorous silvern sheen through which the pair of them gazed out at

In the next minute the two began to play together like young cats,
there on the sandy ledge of moon-kissed stone that stretched for
yards on either side of the den's mouth. Perhaps it was then,
rather than in the afternoon hours which came earlier, that Finn
courted Warrigal. The stinging of his wounds, caused by the rapid,
sinuous movements with which he danced about his mate, seemed only
to add zest to his love-making. They were, after all, no more than
love-tokens, these fang-marks and scratches, and Finn rejoiced in
them as such. He had fought for Warrigal, and was ready and willing
to fight for her again. And this his mate was most sweet to him; so
deft, so agile, and so swift; so strong and supple, and withal so
instant in response to his gallantries. The night air was sweet,
too, to headiness, and the moonlight seemed to run like quicksilver
in Finn's veins. Certainly, he told himself, this new life in the
wild, this life of matehood, was a good thing.




When Finn took up his abode in the den of his mate, Warrigal, he
entered what was to him an entirely new world, and this new world
was in fact one of the most interesting corners of the wild in all
Australia. For example--

When Finn and Warrigal tired of their play on the flat ledge
outside their den, the moon had set, and in the eastern sky there
was visible the first grey hint of coming dawn. In that strange,
ghostly light, which gave a certain cloak of mystery even to such
common objects as tree-stumps and boulders of rock, Finn saw two
unfamiliar figures emerge from the scrub below the spur next that
of Warrigal's den, and begin slowly to climb toward Mount
Desolation itself. There was a deep, steep-sided gully between Finn
and these strange figures, but even at that distance the Wolfhound
was conscious of a strong sense of hostility toward the creatures
he watched. Their scent had not reached him, because the spur they
climbed was to leeward, yet his hackles rose as he gazed at the
ghostly figures, whose shapes loomed huge and threatening against
the violet-grey sky-line. The Wolfhound and his mate were just
about to enter their den, and Finn touched Warrigal with his
muzzle, "pointing" meaningly at the strangers. Warrigal looked, and
though her shoulder hairs did not rise at all, her lips curled
backward a little from white fangs as she indicated that these
figures were perfectly well known to her.

The foremost of them was of great length and bulk, low to the
ground, and a savage in every line of his massive frame. His tail,
carried without any curve in it, was smooth and tapering, like a
rat's tail; his chest was of immense depth, and his truncated
muzzle was carried high, jaws slightly parted, long, yellow tusks
exposed. In general outline he was not unlike a hyæna, but with
more of strength and fleetness in his general make-up, more,
perhaps, of the suggestion of a great wolf, with an unusually
savage-looking head, and an abnormally massive shoulder. From spine
to flank, on either side, the strange creature was striped like a
zebra, the ground colour of his coat being a light yellowish grey
and the stripes black.

This was old Tasman, the Zebra Wolf, who had been turned loose in
that countryside six years before with a mate of his species, who
had died during the first year of their life in the Tinnaburra.
Behind Tasman, burdened with the weight of a fat wallaby which he
dragged over one shoulder, marched Lupus, his son, now almost four
years old and the acknowledged master of Mount Desolation. Lupus
had none of his sire's stripes, and his tail, though not so bushy
as a dingo's, was well covered with hair. He was longer in the
muzzle and more shapely in the loin than his father. Lupus, in
fact, was a half-bred dingo, differing from other dingoes of the
Mount Desolation pack only inasmuch as that he was greater than the
rest, more massive in trunk and shoulder, more terrible in tooth
and claw. His feet were weapons almost as deadly as a bear's feet,
by which I mean the feet of the northern and western bear, and not
those of inoffensive Koala. His loins and thighs were those of a
fleet runner, and his fore-part, in every hair of it, was that of a
killer. Tasman was feared on that range rather as a tradition than
as a killer; Lupus was feared and obeyed as an actual, living

It was many months since Warrigal had seen the old wolf Tasman, but
Lupus was abroad every night of his life. Also, his eyes, unlike
those of his terrible old sire, could face the daylight. All the
wild folk knew that Tasman was like an owl by day; light actually
hurt him. Lupus was not fond of the light, but he could endure well
enough, and kill by it if need be, as was well known. He still
shared with his savage old sire the den in which he had been born,
deep in the heart of Mount Desolation, and it was stated among the
wild folk that he had killed his own mother towards the end of his
first year of life, and that he and Tasman had devoured her body
during a season of drought and poor hunting. Be that as it may, her
blood had given Lupus his rating in the Mount Desolation country as
a dingo, and his own prowess and ferocity had given him his
unquestioned rank as leader and master of the pack. He had never
openly preyed upon the pack, but he had killed a round half-dozen
of its members who dared to thwart him at different times, and the
manner of their killing had been such as to form material for
ghastly anecdotes with which the mothers of that range frightened
their offspring into good and careful behaviour. It was supposed
that Tasman did not hunt now, and that Lupus hunted for him, but
venturesome creatures of the wild, who had dared to climb the upper
slopes of Mount Desolation, claimed to have seen Tasman foraging
there after insects and grubs; and as for Lupus, his hunting was
sufficiently well known to all on the lower ground. And, in the
meantime, though Tasman was credited with very great age, there was
no creature in that countryside who would have dared to face the
old wolf alone.

It was not very much of all this that Warrigal managed to convey to
her mate, as they stared out through the grey mist at these strange
creatures, but Finn was profoundly and resentfully impressed by
what he did gather from her. The shuddering way in which she
wriggled her shoulders and shook her bushy coat before turning into
the den for rest after their long play in the moonlight, told Finn
a good deal, and it was information which he never forgot. It did
not seem fitting to the great Wolfhound that his brave, lissom mate
should be moved to precisely that shuddering kind of shoulder
movement by the sight of any living thing, and, now, before
following her into the den, he stepped well forward to the edge of
the flat rock and barked fierce defiance in the direction of old
Tasman and his redoubtable son. Lupus dropped his burden in sheer
amazement, and father and son both faced round in Finn's direction,
and glared at him across the intervening ravine. It was a fine
picture they saw through the ghostly, misty grey half-light, which
already was getting too strong for Tasman's eyes, over which the
nictitating membrane was being drawn nervously to and fro as a mark
of irritation.

[Illustration:  Finn was standing royally erect.]

Finn was standing, royally erect, at the extreme edge of his flat
table of rock, from which the side of the gully sloped
precipitately. His tail curved grandly out behind him, carried
high, like his massive head. That head was more than fourteen
inches long, and when, as now, its jaws were parted to the
expression of anger and defiance, and all its wealth of brows and
beard were bristling, like the hair of the grandly curving neck
behind it, and of the massive shoulders, thirty-six inches above
the ground, which supported that neck, the sight of it was
awe-inspiring, and a far more formidable picture than any dingo in
the world could possibly present. Tasman and Lupus glared at this
picture for fully two minutes, while themselves emitting a
continuous snarling growl of singular, concentrated intensity and
ferocity. This savage snarl was not the least among their weapons
of offence and defence. Its ferocity was very cowing in effect, and
had before now gone more than half-way towards deciding a combat.
It introduced something not unlike paralysis into the muscles and
limbs of the lesser creatures of the bush when they heard it; in
hunting, it might almost be said to have played the part of a first
blow, and a deadly one at that. On this occasion, it merely served
to add wrath, and fierceness, and volume to the roar of Finn's deep

As the light in the east strengthened, old Tasman's eyes blinked
furiously, and his snarl died down to a savagely irritable grunt,
as he turned again to the mountain. Lupus bent his head, still
snarling, to pick up his heavy kill, and together the two trailed
off up the mountain side to their den, full of angry bitterness.
They had not eaten since the small hours of the previous day, and
both were anxious to reach the twilit shelter of their stony
mountain den, where they would feed before sleeping, among the
whitened mouldering bones that told of six long years of hunting
and lordship, bones which probably included those of Lupus's own
dam. No creature of that range other than themselves had ever seen
the inside of this den and lived. No man had ever set his foot
there, for the climbing of Mount Desolation was a thankless task
for all save such as Tasman and Lupus, who liked its naked
ruggedness and its commanding inaccessibility, high above the
loftiest of the caves inhabited by other wild folk of the

Barking fiercely at intervals, Finn watched the savage lords of
Mount Desolation ascending, till their forms were lost among the
crevices and boulders of the hillside, and then, with a final,
far-reaching roar, he turned and entered the den, where Warrigal
sat waiting for him, and softly growling a response to his war-cries.
This defiance of the admitted lords of the range was not altogether
without its ground of alarm for Warrigal; its utter recklessness
made the skin over her shoulders twitch, but it was something to
have a mate who could dare so much, even in ignorance. Long after
Finn had closed his eyes in sleep, Warrigal lay watching him, with
a queer light of pride and admiring devotion in her wild yellow

The afternoon was well advanced when Finn and Warrigal finally
sallied forth from their den in quest of food, though in between
short sleeps they had lounged about in the vicinity of the den
several times during the morning, and Finn had accustomed himself
to the bearings of his new home, and taken in the general lie of
the land thereabouts. Now, before they crossed the patch of
starveling bush which skirted the foot of their particular ridge,
they were approached by Black-tip and two friends of his, who were
also preparing for the evening hunt. Warrigal growled warningly as
the three dingoes approached, but it seemed that Black-tip had
spread abroad news of the coming of the Wolfhound in such a manner
as to disarm hostility. It was with the most exaggerated
respectfulness that the dingoes circled, sniffing, about Finn's
legs, their bushy tails carried deferentially near the ground.
Seeing the friendliness of their intentions, Finn wagged his tail
at them, whereat they all leaped from him in sudden alarm as though
he had snapped. Finn's jaws parted in amusement, and his great tail
continued to wag, while he gave friendly greeting through his
nostrils, and made it quite clear that he entertained no hostile
feeling towards his mate's kindred.

After this the dingoes took heart of grace, and there was a general
all-round sniffing which occupied fully ten minutes. Finn stood
quite still, his magnificent body erect and stretched to its full
length. Occasionally he lowered his head condescendingly to take a
sniff at one or other of the dingoes, who were employed in gravely
circling about him, as though to familiarize themselves with every
aspect of his anatomy, with eyes and noses all busy. During this
time Warrigal sat a little to one side, her face wearing an
elaborately assumed expression of aloofness, of lofty unconsciousness,
and of some disdain. Finally, the whole five of them trotted off into the
bush, and then it was noticeable that Warrigal clung closely to Finn's
near side. If any small accident of the trail caused a change in the
position of the dingoes, Finn instantly dropped back a pace or two, and a
quick look from him was sufficient to send the straying dingo back to his
place on the Wolfhound's off side. There was no talk about it; but from
the beginning it was clearly understood, first, that Finn was absolutely
master there, and, secondly, that place on his near side was strictly
reserved for his mate, and for his mate only; that no creature might
approach her except through him. The manner in which Finn's will in this
matter was recognized and respected was very striking indeed; it meant
much, for, from the point of view of the three dingoes, Warrigal appeared
at that time in the light of an exceedingly desirable mate, and one for
whose favour the three of them would assuredly have fought to the last
gasp that night but for the dominating presence of the great Wolfhound.

Finn appeared to lead the hunting party, but its real leader that
evening was Warrigal, who had taken note on the previous day of the
exact whereabouts of a big mother kangaroo. She now desired two
things: a good supper and an opportunity of displaying before the
three dingoes the fighting prowess of her lord. Black-tip had had
his lesson, as various open wounds on his body then testified, but
it was as well that his friends should see something of Finn's
might for themselves, apart from the information they had clearly
received. That was how Warrigal thought of it, and she knew a good
deal about mother kangaroos as well as dingoes. She knew, for
instance, that they were more feared by dingoes than the "old men"
of their species, and that, even with the assistance of his two
friends and herself, Black-tip would not have thought of attacking
such prey while there were lesser creatures in plenty to be hunted.

In due course Warrigal winded the mother kangaroo, and conveyed
instant warning to Finn and the others by a sudden checking of her
pace. Silent as wraiths between the shadowy tree-trunks then, Finn
and the four dingoes stalked their prey, describing a considerable
circle in order to approach from good cover. To Warrigal's keen
disappointment, they found as they topped a little scrub-covered
ridge that the mother kangaroo was feeding with a mob of seven,
under the guidance of a big, red old-man. Then she conceived the
bold plan of "cutting out" the mother kangaroo from the mob, and
trusting to Finn to pull her down. This plan she conveyed to her
fellow-hunters by means of that telepathic method of communication
which is as yet little comprehended by men-folk. One quick look and
thrust of her muzzle asked Finn to play his independent part, and
another, flung with apparent carelessness across her right
shoulder, bade the three dingoes follow her in the work of cutting

It was a careful, silent stalk until the hunters were within ten
yards of the quarry, and then with a terrifying yowl of triumph, a
living rope of dingoes--four of them, nose to tail--was flung
between the big mother kangaroo and the rest of the mob. The red
old-man gave one panic-smitten look round his flock, and then they
were off like the wind, in big twenty-foot bounds. But the mother
could not bring herself to leap in their direction by reason of the
yowling streak of snapping dingoes which had flung itself between
them. She sprang off at a tangent and, as she made her seventh or
eighth bound, terror filled her heart almost to bursting, as a
roaring grey cloud swept upon her from her right quarter, and she
felt the burning thrust of Finn's fangs in her neck. She sat up
valiantly to fight for her life and the young life in her pouch,
and her left hind-leg, with its chisel claws, sawed the air like a
pump-handle. The dingoes knew that it would be death, for one or
two of them, at all events, to face those out-thrust chisels. They
surrounded the big beast in a snarling, yowling circle, and gnashed
their white fangs together with a view to establishing the
paralysis of terror. But they did not advance as yet. Finn slipped
once, when he tried to take fresh hold, and in that instant the
kangaroo slashed him deeply in the groin. But the wound was her own
death warrant, for it filled the Wolfhound with fighting rage, and
in another instant there was a broken neck between his mighty jaws
and warm blood was running over the red-brown fur of the kangaroo,
as her body fell sideways, with Finn upon it.

The three other dingoes approached the kill with Warrigal, but she
snarled at them, and a swift turn of Finn's head told them to
beware. In the end Warrigal settled down to make a meal at one side
of the kangaroo's hind-quarters, Finn took the other side, and the
three dingoes were given their will of the fore part. There was
more than enough for all, and though, when they left the kill to
the lesser carnivora of that quarter, Finn carried a good meal with
him between his jaws, it was not that he needed it for himself, but
that he wished to place it in the den at Warrigal's disposal; a
little attention which earned for him various marks of his mate's
cordial approval. She was extremely pleased to have this evidence
of Finn's forethoughtfulness as a bread-winner. Instinct told her
the value and importance of this quality in a mate. And while she
carefully dressed the wound in her lord's groin that night,
Black-tip and his friends, with much chop-licking, spread abroad the
story of their glorious hunting and of Finn's might as a killer.
They vowed that a more terrible fighter and a greater master than
Lupus, or than his even more terrible sire, whom few of them had
seen, had come to Mount Desolation, and old dingoes shook their
grey heads, feeling that they lived in strange and troublous times.
But as for Lupus, he was ranging the trails at that moment on an
empty stomach in savage quest of no other than this same stranger
who had dared to defy him, and challenge his hitherto unquestioned
mastery over the dingoes and lesser wild folk of that range.




Even while he hunted, the irritating thought of the creature who
had barked defiantly at him remained with Lupus, and was not
softened by the fact that he missed two kills and failed to find
other game. As a fact, he was in no real need of killing, for he
had fed during the afternoon on the remains of the wallaby he had
dragged up the hill early that morning. This was probably why he
missed two kills; when empty it was rare indeed for him to miss.

And, now, with irritation added to the anger of his recollection of
the Wolfhound, he happened by pure chance upon the warm trail of
Warrigal and the others who had accompanied Finn that night. This
led him to the remains of the mother kangaroo, where he disturbed
some lesser creatures who were supping at their ease. Lupus had no
mind to leave bones with good fresh meat on them, and when he
turned away again on Finn's trail, the unfamiliar scent of which
raised the stiff bristles on his back till he looked like a
hyæna, there was nothing much left for the ants or the
flesh-eating rats and mice of the bush.

Finn's home trail was still fresh, and Lupus followed it easily,
growling to himself as he noted its friendly proximity to the
trails he knew well, of Black-tip and Warrigal and the rest. Lupus
told himself these dingoes needed a lesson, and should have it. He
licked his chops, then, over a recollection of sundry whiffs and
glimpses which had interested him of late in Warrigal, and as his
nose dropped low over her trail on the near side of Finn's, it was
borne in upon Lupus that it would be well for him to have a mate,
and that Warrigal would be a pleasing occupant of that post. The
stranger must be removed, once and for all. Lupus growled low in
his throat. Black-tip and his friends must be cautioned severely.
And then Warrigal should receive high honours; high honours and
great favour. So Lupus pieced the matter out in his mind while
loping heavily along Finn's trail; while among the starveling trees
near the mountain's foot, Black-tip and his friends discussed the
new-comer's prowess; while in the den on the first spur Finn lay
dozing under the admiring eyes of his mate, who did not greatly
care for sleep at night. Regarded as a fighting animal, the thing
which really formed the keynote of Lupus's character was the fact
that he had never met a creature he could not overcome. He had
never tasted defeat, unless, conceivably, in his young days, from
old Tasman. It did not occur to him that any creature could face
him in serious combat and survive.

Before Lupus touched the first loose stone of the trail leading up
the hill to Warrigal's den, the people of the scrub below were all
aware of his passage, and Black-tip, with seven other dingoes who
did not happen to be away hunting, were following up the same
trail, in fan-shaped formation, and at a respectful distance behind
the master of the range. Half-way up the rugged side of the spur,
his unbeaten insolence betrayed Lupus into what the wild folk
considered an unsportsmanlike and stupid mistake. He paused for a
moment, and bellowed forth a threatening and peremptory
announcement of his coming in the form of a hoarse, grating howl of
challenge which could have been heard a mile away. Then he
proceeded on his upward way slowly, because he was fully fed,
carelessly, because he had never known defeat, but with
determination, because he was bent upon ridding the range of one
who had flung defiance at him across the gully, and because, the
more he thought of it, and recalled various small matters of recent
experience and connected with the trail he then followed, the more
ardent became his desire to possess Warrigal for a mate.

Warrigal's friendly warning to Finn was not needed. In the same
instant that Lupus's hoarse cry fell upon his ears he was awake and
alert, and perfectly conscious as to the source of the cry. He knew
that it came from the great wolf-dingo, whose passage he had
challenged in the dawning of that day. He recognized the voice, and
read clearly enough the meaning of the cry. He knew that this was a
more considerable enemy than any he had faced as yet, and there was
time in the moment of his waking for regret to flash through his
mind that the challenge should have come now, while his whole body
was scarred with unhealed wounds, and his left thigh was stiff from
the punishing slash of the kangaroo's mailed foot. In the next
moment he was outside the mouth of the den, his deep, fierce bark
rending the silence of the night. The eight dingoes who followed in
Lupus's trail heard the bark, and glanced one at another in meaning
comment thereon. Never was a leader of men or beasts more cordially
hated than Lupus. There was not a dingo who could call his
leadership into question; even the young and daring members of the
pack who pretended to scoff at the traditional awe in which Tasman
was held, admitted the tyrannical mastership of Lupus as something
ever-present and unavoidable; but that by no manner of means
lessened their cordial hatred of the fierce half-breed, with his
massive neck and shoulders that fangs seemed powerless to hurt, his
jaws which were as swift as they were mighty to rend, and his claws
which were as terrible as those of an old-man kangaroo, and more
deadly in action because he had four sets of them. Black-tip
experienced a generous sensation of sympathy and pity for Finn, and
so did the two friends of his who had fed that night upon good
fresh kangaroo flesh. But they, like all the others, were keen to
see the coming fight, and--to act accordingly. The question of what
was to become of Warrigal had occurred with interest to each one of
them, for she was eminently desirable just then to all her kind.

Fierce, savage, and justly feared though he was physically, Lupus
was mentally a sluggish beast, and not over and above intelligent.
In this he favoured his sire, who was slow-moving, sluggish, and,
withal, as fierce as any weasel, and immensely powerful. When Lupus
caught his first glimpse of the creature he had come to slay, he
had a momentary thrill of uneasiness, but it was no more than
momentary. Finn's towering form stood out clearly in the moonlight,
as he stood, with tail curved upward and hackles erect, on the
stone ledge outside the den. Lupus was scaling an extremely steep
section of the trail at the moment, and, seen against the sky-line,
Finn seemed monstrous. But, in justice, one should say that Lupus
knew nothing of fear. It was only that for a moment, as he dragged
his full-fed weight upward over the stones, the thought passed
through his dull mind that this was surely a strange sort of dingo
and extraordinarily tall. Finn was, as a matter of fact, ten inches
taller than any other dingo on that range except Lupus, and four
inches taller than he. Lupus was half as heavy again as any other
dingo on the range, but, though he knew it not, Finn was twenty
pounds heavier than he. But Lupus always had killed every animal
that he had met in combat, and it did not for an instant occur to
him that he might fail to kill this new-comer. And then there was
Warrigal--he got her scent now as she emerged, crouching, from the
den--he wanted Warrigal for his mate and he would have her.

[Illustration:  Finn's towering form stood out clearly in the

Finn was standing in the middle of the flat ledge outside the den,
and he neither advanced or retreated a single step as Lupus drew
nearer. He simply bayed, at intervals, like a minute-gun, and
scratched a little at the sandy rock beneath him with his right
fore-foot. Once, Warrigal, snarling savagely, ranged up alongside
him, but he sent her back to the mouth of the den with a peremptory
growl which admitted of no argument. "This is my affair," his growl
said. "Stay you back there in the doorway." And Warrigal, like the
good spouse she was, retreated to the mouth of the den. Just then
Lupus landed on the rock-ledge with a hectoring snarl which
betrayed extravagance in a commodity he could ill afford to
waste--breath. He plunged forward upon Finn with the clumsiness of
a buffalo, and, for his instruction, received a slashing bite
across one shoulder and a chest thrust which sent him rolling
backwards off the ledge to the trail below, on his back.

A dingo in Finn's place would have leaped upon him then, and, it
may be, the fight would have ended suddenly; for even so
redoubtable a foe as Lupus is of no very great account if he can be
seized when on his back, with all four feet in the air. Black-tip
and his companions in the rear drew in their breath sharply. They
had never before seen Lupus on his back, and if he had stayed there
another second he would have had their fangs to reckon with. But
his reception by the stranger taught Lupus something, and the enemy
that faced Finn for the second assault was a far more deadly one
than the Lupus of a few moments earlier. Finn had scorned to pursue
his fallen foe, but it would have been better for him if he had had
less pride. The fan-shaped line of watching dingoes closed in a
little as Lupus remounted the rocky ledge, with a blood-curdling
snarl and an awe-inspiring exposure of his gleaming fangs. In
another instant the two were at grips, and Finn realized that he
was engaged in a fight for life, and a far more serious combat than
any he had known before. The mere weight of impact with the
wolf-dingo was sufficient to tell Finn this, and for the
infinitesimal fraction of an instant he felt a sense of fatality and
doom when his opponent's tremendously powerful jaws closed over the
upper part of his right fore-leg.

In the next instant Finn had torn one of Lupus's ears in half, and
the terrible grip on his leg was relaxed. The Wolfhound sprang
completely over the wolf-dingo, and took a slashing bite at the
creature's haunches as he descended. Then they rose one at the
other, like bears standing erect, and meeting jaw to jaw in
mid-air, with a flashing and clashing of fangs which sent a thrill
of excitement along the line of watchful dingoes, who realized now
that they were looking on at the greatest spectacle of their lives.
Lupus missed his grip that time, but so did Finn, being unable to
withstand the violent sidelong wrench which snatched the enemy's
neck from his jaws. And, as they came to earth again, Lupus secured
firm hold upon Finn's leg in the same grip that he had obtained
before. The grip was so vice-like and punishing as to flash panic
into Finn's very soul, such as an animal knows when trapped by a
man's device in unyielding steel. It was only by a violent twist of
his neck that he could bring his jaws into action upon Lupus at
all. But panic drove, and the long, immensely powerful neck was
curved sufficiently. His jaws took the wolf-dingo at the back of
the head, and one of his lower canines actually penetrated Lupus's
lower jaw, causing him the most excruciating pain, so that he
emitted a sound more like a hoarse scream than a growl, and
snatched his head back swiftly from so terrible a punishment. That
was the last time in this fight that Finn's legs were in serious
danger. He had learned his lesson, and from that point onward, no
matter what punishment his shoulders might receive, his hanging
jaws, from which the blood dripped now, effectually guarded his

From this point, too, Lupus seemed to have centred all his desires
upon the Wolfhound's throat; an underhold was what he sought, and
in the pursuit of that he seemed prepared for, and capable of
standing, any amount of punishment. The line of watching dingoes
was still and silent as a line of statuary; it seemed they hardly
drew breath, so intent was their preoccupation. Warrigal, too,
stuck closely to her position, but she was not silent; a low,
continuous snarl issued from her parted jaws, and the updrawn line
of her lips showed white and glistening in the moonlight. She had
been ordered to the rear by her mate, but the waiting dingoes on
the trail below realized that if Finn were to be laid low, there
would still be fighting to be done on that ledge of rock, and
fighting of a deadly sort, at that, from which there would be no

In one sense the Wolfhound's great height was against him now,
since it placed Lupus in a more favourable position for securing
the underhold upon which he was intent. But, as against that, it
gave Finn readier access to the hold which in all his fights
hitherto he had made fatal: the hold which a terrier takes upon a
rat. But Lupus was no rat, and Finn had already found more than
once that even his mighty jaws were not powerful enough to give
killing pressure through all the mass of harsh bristles and thick
rolling skin and flesh which protected Lupus's spinal cord at the
neck. Three times during the later stages of the fight Lupus
managed to ward off attack with a lightning stroke of one
fore-foot, the claws of which scored deep into Finn's muzzle and
neck, in one case opening a lesser vein, and sending the red blood
rushing over his iron-grey coat. It seemed the long claws of the
wolf-dingo were almost more deadly than his snapping jaws.

The flow of his own blood seemed to madden Finn, and he made a
plunge for his enemy's neck. Lupus sat erect, and, like a boxer, or
a big bear, warded off the plunge with a violent, sweeping blow of
his right paw. There was a quick flash of bloody, foam-flecked
fangs, and the deadly paw was crushed between Finn's jaws. The pain
of the crushing drew a screeching howl from Lupus, and in that same
instant a powerful upward twist of Finn's neck threw him fairly on
his back, snarling despairingly. One could not measure the fraction
of time which elapsed between Finn's release of the crushed foot
and his seizure of the throat--the deadly underhold. The
wolf-dingo's bristles were thin there, and the skin comparatively
soft. The fight was for life, and it was the whole of the Wolfhound's
great strength that he put into his grip. Lupus's entire frame,
every inch of it, writhed and twisted convulsively, like the body
of a huge cat in torment. Finn's fangs sank half an inch deeper.
The wolf-dingo's claws tore impotently at space, and his body
squirmed almost into a ball. Finn's fangs sank half an inch deeper,
and hot blood gushed between them. Lupus's great body hunched
itself into an almost erect position from the shoulder-blades; he
was standing on his shoulders. Then, as in a convulsion, one of his
hind-legs was lowered in order that it might saw upward, scoring
three deep furrows down the side of the Wolfhound's neck. Finn's
fangs met in the red centre of his enemy's throat. There was a
faint grunt, a final spasm of muscular activity, and then Finn drew
back, and shook his dripping muzzle in the air. The fierce lord of
Mount Desolation had entered upon the long sleep; his lordship was

Finn sank back upon his haunches, gasping, with a length of
scarlet, foam-streaked tongue dangling from one side of his jaws.
The watching line of dingoes advanced two paces. Warrigal, stepping
forward to her mate's side, snarled warningly. But Finn pushed her
gently with his lacerated muzzle, and, turning then to the watchful
dingoes below, he emitted a little whinnying sound which said
plainly: "You are welcome here!" Acting upon this, Black-tip moved
slowly, deferentially forward, and climbed the flat ledge of rock,
his bushy tail respectfully curled between his legs. Long and
thoroughly he sniffed at the dead body of the terrible Lupus, and
then he looked round at his still waiting companions, and whined as
he walked back toward them. In twos and threes the dingoes followed
Black-tip's lead, and climbed the flat rock to sniff their dead
tyrant, and satisfy themselves that he had indeed entered upon the
long sleep.  And the gesture in Finn's direction, with which they
turned away from the rock, was as near to being a salutation, an
obeisance, as anything that mortal dingo has ever achieved. And
when the last of the band, reinforced now by half a dozen others
who had been hastily summoned from their hunting near by, had paid
his visit of inspection, Finn did a curious thing, which probably
no dingo would ever have done. He moved slowly forward on his
aching limbs, gripped the dead body firmly by the neck, and heaved
it down from the flat rock to the trail below. Then he barked
aloud, a message which said plainly--

"Here is your old lord and tyrant! Take him away, and leave me

Black-tip and half a dozen of his comrades seized upon the carcase
of the tyrant and dragged it away down the trail. I cannot say what
was done with the remains of Lupus, the terrible son of Tasman; but
Finn and Warrigal saw them no more, and for three days after that
night of the slaying of Lupus, the bush-folk saw nothing of the
Wolfhound. They saw Warrigal hunt alone each evening and, doubtless
with thoughts of Finn in their minds, they respected her trail, and
sought no speech of her, tempting though the sight of the Mount
Desolation belle was to the young bucks of the pack. These young
bloods, by the way, began to mutter now of the desirability of
banding together to beard old Tasman in his den, and rid themselves
of the shadow and tradition of tyranny, as well as its actuality.
But the counsel of the elders strongly favoured delay. "Let us wait
and see what the Great One will do when he is healed of his
wounds," was what they thought, and, after their own fashion, said
to the ambitious youngsters.




If a man succeeded in getting himself as much chopped about as Finn
had been since the evening of his departure from the boundary-rider's
gunyah and the severance of his connection with the world of men-folk, he
would require weeks of careful nursing and doctoring before he could be
said to have recovered. Fortunately for the people of the wild, who have
neither nurses nor doctors, and whose ways of life do not permit of
prolonged periods of rest, recovery from wounds is not so serious a
business with them as it is with us.

When the Wolfhound and his admiring mate between them had
thoroughly licked and cleansed his numerous wounds, he stretched
himself deliberately across the rear corner of the den, and there
lay, sleeping soundly, until the next morning was well advanced.
His body was lacerated by the wounds of three considerable fights:
the fight with Black-tip and his friend; the sufficiently violent
struggle with the mother-kangaroo; and lastly, the most serious
fight of the Wolfhound's life, which had ended in the death of
Lupus. But even the ten hours which Finn gave to sleep--he opened
his eyes two or three times during that period, but did not
move--brought a wonderful change in the aspect of these numerous
wounds. They had advanced some distance in the direction of healing
already. Now they were submitted to another thorough licking. Then
Finn crept out into the sunlight beside the cave's mouth, and slept
again, fitfully, till evening came. Then he sat up and licked all
his wounds over again with painstaking and scrupulous care. They
were healing nicely, and the healing process made Finn as stiff and
sore as though he had had rheumatics in every joint in his body. So
he crept painfully into the den again, and lay down to sleep once
more, while Warrigal, with a friendly, wifely look at her lord,
went out hunting.

In this way three full days and nights passed, and on the fourth
night Finn killed for himself--a small kill, and not far from home,
but a kill, none the less, that required a certain agility, of
which he already found himself quite capable. In the matter of
strength and vital energy the Wolfhound had immense reserves to
draw upon--greater reserves, really, than any of the wild folk
possessed; for, in his youth, he had never known scarcity of food,
or lack of warmth, or undue exposure; and, on the contrary, his
system had been deliberately built up and fortified by the best
sort of diet that the skill and science of man could devise. Finn
could not have stood as much killing as a dingo, and still have
lived; for the dingo is as hard an animal to kill as any that walks
upon four legs. But, as against that, the Wolfhound could have
stood a far greater living strain than any dingo. He had more to
feed upon in himself. For actual toughness under murderous assault
a dingo could have beaten Finn; yet in a test of staying power, an
ordeal of long endurance, the Wolfhound would have won easily, by
reason of his greater reserve of strength and vitality.

From this point onward, Finn's wounds troubled him but very little,
and in the healing air of that countryside they soon ceased to be
apparent to the eye. An ordinary dingo would assuredly have been
obliged to fight many fights before obtaining ascendancy over the
Mount Desolation pack; but the mastery fell naturally to Finn
without calling for any effort upon his part. He had slain the
redoubtable old leader and tyrant of the pack. He had soundly
trounced one of the strongest among the fully-grown young dingoes,
Black-tip, and killed another in single-handed fight against two.
Now, he administered condign punishment to two or three young bucks
who ventured to attempt familiarity with Warrigal, but for fighting
he was not called upon. Most of the pack had taken good measure of
his prowess on the night of the slaying of Lupus, and that was
enough for them, so far as mastery went. Further, the pack found
Finn a generous leader, a kingly sort of friend; slow to anger, and
merciful even in wrath; open as the day, and never, in any
circumstances, tyrannical or aggressive. Then in the matter of his
kills, Finn was generosity itself. As a hunter of big game he was
more formidable than any three dingoes, and, withal, never
rapacious. Three portions he would take from his kill; one to
satisfy his own hunger, one for Warrigal to satisfy her hunger
upon, and a third to be set aside and taken back to the den against
the time when Warrigal should care to dispose of it. For the rest,
be his kill what it might, Finn made the pack free of it.

But no sort of temptation seemed strong enough to take the
Wolfhound near to the haunts of men. It came to be understood that
Finn would not touch sheep, and, reasoning it out amongst
themselves, the rest of the pack accepted this as a prohibition
meant to apply to all of them; so that Finn's mastership was an
exceedingly good thing for the squatters and their flocks all
through the Tinnaburra. But a full-grown kangaroo, no matter how
heavy and strong in the leg, never seemed too much for Finn; and
so, all dingoes liking big game better than small, it came about
that every night saw the Mount Desolation dingoes hunting in pack
formation at the heels of the great Wolfhound. They scorned the
lesser creatures whose flesh had fed them hitherto, and expected to
taste wallaby or kangaroo flesh every night. Finn thoroughly
enjoyed the hunting, and did not care how many fed at his kill, so
that his mate and he had ample.

Once, the two youngest members of the pack, puppies quite new to
the trail, were attacked and driven from the remains of a big kill
the leader had made by an outlier, a strange dingo from some other
range. The youngsters, bleeding and yelping, carried their woes to
the scrub below the mountain, and within the hour Finn learned of
it. Followed by Black-tip and one or two others of the more
adventurous sort, he set out upon the trail of the outlier, now
full fed, ran it down at the end of four or five miles' hard
galloping, pinned the unfortunate creature to the earth and shook
it into the long sleep, almost before they had come to a standstill
together. This was true leadership the pack felt, a thing Lupus
would never have done; something to be placed to the great
Wolfhound's credit, and not forgotten. The mother of the whelps
that were attacked, a big, light-coloured dingo, with sharp, prick
ears, was particularly grateful to Finn.

During this time a subtle change crept over Finn's appearance. In
its details the change was so slight that the casual observer would
have said it did not exist at all; yet, in truth, it was radical.
It would be impossible to put this change precisely into words. An
Irish Wolfhound is never sleek; at least, that is never a
characteristic of the breed. Yet, as compared with the wild folk,
every sort of animal which lives with men has a certain kind of
sleekness or softness about it. It may be imagined that Finn did
not have much of this when he escaped from the Southern Cross
Circus. And in the period which followed that escape, although he
had, in a sense, associated with a man and a man's dog, yet there
had not been much in the life of the boundary-rider's camp to make
for sleekness. Nevertheless, when Finn first met his mate,
Warrigal, there had lingered about him still a kind of trimness, a
suggestion of softness, far different, indeed, from that of the
ordinary domesticated house-dog; but yet, in its own way, a sort of
sleekness. Not a vestige of this remained now. Though he fed well
and plentifully, and his life was not a hard one, since he only did
that which pleased him, yet Finn had acquired now the hard, spare
look of the creatures of the wild. In his alertness, in the blaze
of his eyes, and the gleam of his fangs when hunting, in his
extreme wariness and in the silence of his movements, and his
deadly swiftness in attack, Finn had become one of his mate's own
kindred. He differed from them in his great bulk, his essentially
commanding appearance, in his dignity, and in a certain lordly
generosity which always characterized him. He never disputed; he
never indulged in threats or recrimination. He gave warning, when
warning was needed; he punished, when punishment was needed; and he
killed, if killing was desirable; making no sort of fuss about
either process. Also, upon occasion, though not often, he barked.
Otherwise, he was thoroughly of the wild kindred, and the
unquestioned master of the Mount Desolation range.

Some six or seven weeks after his arrival upon that range, Finn
began to notice that Warrigal was changing in some way, and he did
not like the change. It seemed to him that his mate no longer cared
for him so much as she had cared. She spent more time in lying
about in or near the den, and showed no eagerness to accompany him
in his excursions, or to gambol with him, or even to lie with him
on the warm, flat ledge outside the den. She seemed to prefer her
own company, and Finn thought her temper was getting unaccountably
short, too. However, life was very full of independent interest
for the Wolfhound, and it was only in odd moments that he noticed
these things. One night he was thoroughly surprised when Warrigal
snarled at him in a surly manner, without any apparent cause at
all, unless because he had touched her with his nose in a friendly
way, by way of inviting her to accompany him, he being bound for
the killing trail in quest of that night's supper.

Finn walked out of the den, carrying his nose as high as he could,
in view of the stoop necessary at the entrance, and feeling rather
put out. A dingo in his place would have snarled back at Warrigal
and, it may be, have wrangled about it for half an hour. Finn's
dignity would not permit of this, but he was hurt, and decided that
his spouse needed a lesson in courtesy. Since she responded so
rudely to his invitation to join him in the hunt, she might go
supperless for him; he would eat where he killed, and bring home

Finn killed a half-grown kangaroo, a lusty red-coated youngster,
that night, and he, with Black-tip and two or three others of the
pack, fed full upon this before going down to the creek together to
drink. Finn even spent an hour in trifling with a pair of sister
dingoes who generally hunted together, and ranged the trails with
Black-tip, in more or less sportive mood, till long after midnight.
In the small hours the Wolfhound parted with Black-tip and the
sportive sisters among the scrub at the mountain's foot, and wended
his way alone to his den on the first spur, prepared, as many a
male human has been in like case, to seek his rest without taking
any notice of his mate, unless, perchance, he found her in a
repentant mood. At the mouth of the cave he stooped low, as he was
bound to do, to gain admittance, and in that moment he was brought
to a halt by a long, angry, threatening snarl from within. Warrigal
was very plainly telling her mate to remain outside, unless he was
looking for trouble. This was unprecedented, and he was a very
angry and outraged Wolfhound, who withdrew slowly with as much
dignity as might be in walking backward with lowered head and

"You will think better of this before morning, my dear!" was the
sort of thought that Finn had in his mind, as he selected a
comfortable sleeping-place in the shadow of a bush some half-dozen
paces away from the mouth of the den. And then, being well fed and
rather tired, he fell into a sound sleep until just after daybreak,
when he woke to the sound of an unfamiliar small cry. With head
slightly on one side and ears cocked sharply, Finn listened. The
small cry was repeated. It certainly was not Warrigal's voice,
though it came from the inside of the den. Also, there were a
number of other small sounds that were strange--weak, quaint,
gurgling sounds. Finn inclined his head a little farther to one
side. Yes, his mate was licking something. Could she have been out
and hunted alone? Even that would hardly account for the queer
little, weak, strange voices within the den. The dingo people are
not cats, and when they kill they kill outright. It was extremely
puzzling and interesting, and Finn decided to investigate. After
all, this was his own home and, however rude she may have been,
Warrigal was his own mate, for whom he had fought and bled in the
past; the mate who had lovingly dressed his wounds and shared his
kills for nine weeks now--nine long, eventful weeks, which were
more than equal to nine months in human folk's lives.

Finn stooped low in the entrance and Warrigal snarled. But this
time there was no note of aggression in her snarl. Indeed, to her
mate, there was a hint of appeal in the salutation, which said
clearly: "Be careful! Please be careful!" He advanced with extreme
caution into the den, and saw his spouse lying full at length on
her side, her bushy tail curled round to form a background for the
smallest of four sleek puppies, of a yellowish grey colour, whom
she was nursing assiduously. Moving with the utmost delicacy and
care, Finn sniffed all round his mate, refraining from touching the
puppies by way of humouring Warrigal, in whose throat a low growl
sounded whenever his nose approached the little strangers. Then
Finn stood and stared at the domestic group with hanging head and
parted jaws, his tongue lolling, and his eyes saying plainly--

"Well, well, well! Who'd have thought of this! They are really very
nice little creatures, in their insignificant way, though I don't
quite see why their presence should make you snarl at your own
lawful mate."

Seeing that her lord manifestly entertained no shadow of a hostile
intention toward the family (the history of the male dingo is not
altogether free from blame in the matter of infanticide), Warrigal
raised her nose in friendly fashion to the Wolfhound and permitted
him to lick her, which he did in the most affectionate manner, and
with no further thought of her previous harshness. Then she gave a
little whine and glanced round the walls of the den. Finn barked
quietly, bidding his mate rest assured that all would be well, and
ten minutes later he was descending upon a rabbit-earth that he
knew of, a moving shadow of death among young bunnies assembled to
welcome the dewy warmth of the new day. On the way home he dropped
his rabbit to stalk a half-grown bandicoot; and finally, after less
than an hour's absence, he returned to the den carrying a rabbit
and a bandicoot, so that Warrigal might have variety in her
breakfast. Being parched with thirst, Warrigal gratefully accepted
both kills, and without actually eating either drew some sustenance
from both. Then with an anxious look at the family she nudged Finn
out of the den with her nose, and, leaving him outside on the
ledge, turned and raced for the creek, like an arrow from a bow.
She was back again inside of two minutes with bright drops clinging
to her fur. Finn had sat patiently beside the mouth of the den
waiting, and for this Warrigal gave him a grateful glance of
appreciation before gliding into her puppies, who already were
beginning to whimper for warmth and nourishment.

Finn took very naturally to the part of father and bread-winner. He
lounged about the mouth of the den through the day, creeping in
occasionally to see how things went with his mate, and returning
then to keep guard outside. She allowed him now to touch the odd
little creatures who were his children; but they did not like the
feeling of his tongue, and wriggled away from it in their blind,
helpless way. "There, there!" said Finn low down in his throat, and
withdrew, marvelling afresh at the mysteries of life and the
cleverness of femininity. As for Warrigal, she seemed absurdly
happy and proud about it all now, and assumed considerable airs of
importance. She took her food in brief snatches a dozen times
during the day, and when Finn left her in the early night for the
trails, she looked at him in a meaning way which said plainly that
she attached importance to the matter of food supply, though she
could not take to the trails herself, being otherwise and fully
occupied. Finn licked her muzzle reassuringly and went out.

The pack had to forage for itself that night, for when Finn made
his kill--a fat rock wallaby--he announced in the most unmistakable
manner that there was nothing to spare for followers that night,
and marched off mountain-wards, trailing the whole heavy kill over
his right shoulder. In the course of the night it became known to
all the wild people of that range that the mate of the leader of
the pack had other mouths than her own to feed, and that for the
time Finn would do all the hunting for the den on the first spur.




When Warrigal's puppies were born, Finn, their father, had been in
the Tinnaburra for nearly five months, though he had only known the
Mount Desolation range for some nine or ten weeks. During the whole
of that five months of late winter and spring, not one single drop
of rain had fallen in the Tinnaburra, and with the coming of
Warrigal's children there came also the approach of summer. Finn,
for his part, gave no thought to this question of weather, because
he had quite forgotten that there was such a thing as rain. It had
not rained while he was in the city with the Master, after landing
in Australia. The little that fell during the period of his
imprisonment with the Southern Cross Circus had never touched the
caged Giant Wolf, and he had entirely forgotten what falling rain
felt like. He had slept on the earth ever since his escape from the
circus, and he accepted its dryness as a natural and agreeable

But both Finn and Warrigal were rather annoyed when, just as the
puppies began to open their eyes and become a little troublesome
and curious, the creek at the foot of Mount Desolation disappeared
through its shingly bed and was seen no more. This meant a tramp of
three and a half miles to the nearest drinking-place, a serious
matter for a nursing mother, whose tongue seemed always to be
lolling thirstily from the side of her mouth. Warrigal would make
the journey to the drinking-place as swiftly as she could, and
drink till she could drink no more. Then during the return journey
concern for her children would set the pace for her, and she would
arrive at the den panting and gasping, and more thirsty than when
she left it; for the weather was already hot, the air singularly
dry, and Warrigal herself in no condition for fast travelling, with
her heavy dugs and body, both amply fed and amply drawn upon in her
capacity of nurse-mother. Finn did his part well and thoroughly,
and there was no lack of good fresh meat in the den on the first
spur, but he could not carry water. Warrigal tried to slake her
mother-thirst by means of an extra heavy meat diet, but though she
knew it not, this only aggravated her continual desire for water,
which was Nature's demand for assistance in fitting her to
discharge adequately her duty to her children. And so, during all
this time, Finn's mate found herself obliged to run over hard,
parched ground at least fourteen miles a day, and often twenty-one,
when it would have suited her, and her puppies also, a good deal
better to have confined her exercise to strolls in the
neighbourhood of the den.

One result of this was that Warrigal's children began to eat meat
at an earlier stage of their existence than would have been the
case if water had been plentiful and near at hand for their mother.
There never were more carnivorous little creatures than these
puppies. At first, of course, their mother saw to it that the meat
they consumed was of a ready-masticated and even a half-digested
sort; but in an astonishingly short while they began to rend and
tear raw flesh for themselves, under the mother's watchful eye; and
from that time on Finn was a very busy hunter. It was probably
because of this unceasing demand for fresh meat in the den on the
first spur that the leader of the Mount Desolation pack was the
first member of it to notice that hunting was becoming increasingly
difficult in that region. Finn's quest was necessarily for large
meat; and at about this time he was discovering to his cost that he
had to go farther and farther afield to find it. It was well enough
for the bachelors and spinsters of the pack, the free-lances of
that clan. The district was still rich in its supply of the lesser
marsupials, rats, mice, and the like; not to mention all manner of
grubs, and insects, and creeping things, among which it was easy
for a single dingo to satisfy his appetite. But a giant Wolfhound,
with a very hungry mate and four ravening little pups, all waiting
eagerly upon his hunting, was quite differently situated.

Finn's hunting took him one evening far enough south and by east to
bring him within half a mile of the boundary-rider's encampment in
which he had lived with Jess. Here he happened upon Koala, who was
softly grumbling to himself while waddling from one tree to
another. Koala, of course, began the usual plaint about his poverty
and inoffensiveness. This was mechanical with him, and he must have
known very well that Finn would not hurt him. As a matter of fact,
the Wolfhound lay down beside the native bear, and they had quite a
long confab upon bush affairs, during which Finn referred in some
way to the growing scarcity of game in that district, and Koala
mournfully added that gum-leaves themselves were by no means what
they had been. But, for all his foolishness and helplessness, Koala
had lived a very long time, and actually was very well versed in
bush-lore, though he liked to describe himself as the most forlorn
and helpless of beasts. He knew all about the scarceness of big
game and its causes, just as he knew all about the dryness and want
of sap in his own vegetable food; and now, by means of the methods
of communication of which we know nothing, he managed to convey
some of his knowledge to Finn, so that when they separated, Finn
connected the drying up of the Mount Desolation creek with the
hardness of his recent hunting, and the heat and absence of rain
with both. The ordinary season for rain had passed now, and the
full length of Australian summer was before them; a fact of which
the learned Koala said nothing, probably because he did not know
it, or, possibly, because he did not greatly care, being a total
abstainer from drink himself.

It was at about this time that Warrigal herself returned to the
trails. Finn had in no sense failed her as bread-winner, but, game
being scarce, and her children still too young to do any foraging
for themselves worth talking about, Warrigal felt that she owed it
to her mate to share his burdens with him. The pups had already
reached the stage of grovelling about outside the den, and pursuing
the few live things of the insect type who affected that stony
spot. One of them, indeed, had already learned a lesson that would
last him for the rest of his life, regarding the habits, customs,
and general undesirability of the bull-dog ant as play-mate or

[Illustration:  He slung the wallaby over his shoulder and set out
for the mountain.]

It happened, about a week after his meeting with Koala, that Finn
had a stroke of luck in the matter of stumbling upon a badly
wounded wallaby within a couple of miles of the den. In some way
this unfortunate creature had managed to get its right hind-leg
caught in a dingo-trap, to which a heavy clog of wood was attached.
In the course of time the wallaby would have died very miserably,
and already it had begun to lose flesh. But Finn brought a
mercifully sudden death to the crippled creature, and then
proceeded to tear in sunder the limb which held the trap. Having
accomplished this, he slung the wallaby over his shoulder and set
out for the mountain, meaning to allow the family to feast upon
this early kill, while he took a further look round upon the

Just as Finn, heavily laden, scaled the rocky ledge immediately
below the one which flanked the entrance of the den, a shrill cry
of mortal anguish fell upon his ears, and thrilled him to the very
marrow. The cry came from the inside of the den above him, and he
knew it for the cry of one of his children in extremity. That gave
Finn the most piercing thrill of paternity he had felt up till this
time. He dropped his kill, and leaped with one mighty bound clear
over two boulders and a bare stretch of track to the ledge outside
the den. And, in the moment of his leap, a figure emerged from the
mouth of the den bearing between its uncovered, yellow tusks the
body of Warrigal's last-born son, limp and bleeding. This figure
which faced Finn now in the moonlight was the most terribly ugly
one that the countryside could have produced. Gaunt beyond
description, ragged, grey, bereft of hair in many places, aged and
desperate, old Tasman, the Zebra-Wolf, had his tusks sunk in warm,
juicy flesh for the first time in three months, and was prepared to
pay for the privilege with the remains of his life if need be.
Skin, bone, glittering eyes, and savage, despairing ferocity; that
was all there was left of Tasman, three months after the death of
his son Lupus. He had lived so long almost entirely upon insects,
grubs, scraps of carrion dropped by birds, and the like. Desperate
hunger, and the smell of young animal life, and of the proceeds of
daily kills, had drawn him to the den on the first spur that night;
and now, now he was face to face with the master of the range, and
the outraged father of Warrigal's pups.

The gaunt old wolf dropped his prey on the instant, realizing
clearly that his life was at stake. In his day he had slain many
dingoes, but that was in the distant past, and this iron-grey
monster which roared at him now was different from the dingoes
Tasman had known. With massive, bony skull held low, and saliva
dripping from his short, powerful jaws, the old wolf sent forth his
most terrible snarl of challenge and defiance; the cry which had
been used in bygone years to paralyse his victims into a condition
which made them easy prey for his tearing claws and lance-like
tusks. But the horrible sound was powerless so far as Finn was
concerned, and the Wolfhound gathered himself together now for the
administration of punishment which should be as swift as it would
be terrible and final. But in that moment he heard a scattering of
loose stones behind him which delayed his spring to allow time for
a flying glance over his right shoulder; and that glance changed
his whole tactics in the matter of the attack upon Tasman. For,
even as Finn glanced, an outstretched furry mass flew across his
range of vision, and landed like a projectile upon the gaunt old
wolf's neck. Warrigal also had returned; she also had dropped her
kill in the trail below the den, and now Tasman had to deal with
the dauntless fury of a bereaved mother. Warrigal was a whirlwind
of rage; a revelation to Finn of the fighting force which had given
her her unquestioned standing in the pack before ever she set eyes
on the Wolfhound.

Tasman had his back against the side of the den's mouth now, and he
flung Warrigal from him, with a slash of his jaws and a twist of
his still powerful neck. But, in the next moment, the under-side of
that scrawny neck was between the mightiest jaws in the Tinnaburra,
and, even as the life blood of old Tasman flowed out between Finn's
white fangs, the body of him was being literally torn in sunder by
the furiously busy teeth and claws of Warrigal. It was little she
cared for the thrusts of his hind-claws in the last muscular
contortions which sent his legs tearing at her neck. She was
possessed of the mother-madness, and so she fought like a wild cat
at bay. Old Tasman was not just killed; he was dispersed,
scattered, dissolved almost into the elements from which he sprang;
he was translated within a few minutes into shapeless carrion.

And then, gasping, bleeding, panting, her jaws streaming, Warrigal
wheeled about with a savage, moaning cry, and shot forward into the
den. One son she had seen dead upon the ledge without. Two
daughters she found dead within, and, while she licked at his
lacerated little body, the lingering life ebbed out finally from
the other male pup, her sole remaining son. But Warrigal licked the
still little form for almost an hour, though it lived for no more
than three or four minutes after she entered the den.

Then Warrigal went outside to where Finn sat, alternately licking
the one deep wound the old wolf had scored in his chest, and
looking out dismally across the Tinnaburra. Warrigal sat down on
her haunches about two yards from Finn, and, having pointed her
muzzle at the moon, where it sailed serenely above them in a
flawless dark blue sky, she began to pour out upon the night the
sound of the long, hoarse dingo howl of mourning. Finn listened for
some minutes without moving. By that time the melancholy of it all
had entered fairly into his soul, and he, too, lifted up his head
and delivered himself of the Irish Wolfhound howl, which carries
farther than the dingo howl, and is more purely mournful than any
other canine cry. Also, it has more volume than any other; there is
something uncanny and supernatural about its piercing melancholy.
So the sire and the dam sat and howled at the stars in their
unclouded courses. And if you were to visit that den to-day, on the
first south-eastern spur of Mount Desolation, you would probably
find the skeletons of three of Finn's and Warrigal's children; for
the Wolfhound and his mate never entered their old home again.




It was rather an odd thing, this fact that neither Finn or his mate
ever again entered the lair which had been such a happy home for
them since the day of their first meeting. But so it was, and one
is bound to assume, I think, that the reason of it was grief for
the loss of their children. In the early dawning of a blistering
hot day they paced slowly down the hill and into the rocky strip of
scrub which divided Mount Desolation from the bush itself.
Hereabouts it was that the rest of the pack lived; and, though Finn
and Warrigal conveyed no definite news of what had happened during
the night, the news must have spread somehow, because before the
sun had properly risen every single member of the pack had climbed
the spur and investigated for himself or herself the scattered
carrion which had been Tasman. Whether they looked into the den or
not, as well, I do not know; but I should say that some of the
adventurous youngsters did, while their elders and parents probably

These same elders and parents were beginning to feel considerable
distress over the absence of rain, the scarcity of water, and the
poor results which attended their hunting. The wild folk of the
Australian bush are, upon the whole, less dependent upon water than
the animals of most countries, and such people as Koala, the native
bear, seem to get along quite happily without ever drinking
anything at all. Even kangaroos and wallabies can go for a long
while without drinking, but there is a limit to the endurance of
most of the bush animals in the matter of thirst, while, as for the
dingoes, they want their water every day as much as they need their
food. There was no longer any disguising the fact that a very large
number of the wild folk, in whom Finn and Warrigal and the rest of
the pack were interested, had recently migrated in quest of homes
that should be better supplied with water than the Tinnaburra or
the Mount Desolation range. It was not that the pack felt the
absence of these folk as companions, but as food. They were also
beginning to feel keenly the burnt-up dryness of that whole
countryside and the extreme heat of the season.

Even Finn's prowess as a hunter and a killer was of no avail in the
absence of game to hunt, and during the few days which he and
Warrigal spent among the scrub at the mountain's foot, after
leaving their den, the Wolfhound sometimes travelled from thirty to
forty miles without a single kill, being reduced then, like the
rest of the pack, to eat rabbit flesh, and mice, and grubs.
Already some of the younger members of the pack had begun to prey
upon the flocks of squatters in the Tinnaburra, and this had
brought speedy retribution in the shape of one young female of
their kindred shot through the head, and two promising males
trapped and slain, so that the pack now consisted of no more than
fourteen adults and six whelps, who were hardly capable as yet of
fending for themselves. Men with guns had actually been seen within
a mile of Mount Desolation itself; and, owing to the attacks upon
their bark of half-starved small fry, the trees of the bush were
dying by hundreds, and thereby opening up in the most uncomfortable
manner ranges which had previously been excellent hunting-grounds.
The report about the men-folk with guns was most disturbing to
Finn, and he was conscious, in sitting down, of a degree of
boniness about his haunches such as he had never known since the
horrible period of his captivity in the circus. A Wolfhound whose
fighting weight is a hundred and fifty pounds requires a good deal
more food than a dingo, whose weight rarely exceeds half that
amount. Grubs and mice were not of much use to Finn; and when he
drank, his long tongue had been wont to scoop up more than twice
the amount of water which had served to satisfy any other member of
the pack.

The growing restlessness and discontent which had been mastering
the Mount Desolation pack for weeks now received an immense
addition, so far as Finn and Warrigal were concerned, in the events
which led them to forsake their den on the first spur. It
culminated, in Finn's eyes, in the actual passage through the scrub
beside the mountain's foot of a party of half a dozen mounted men
with guns and dogs. This occurred in the late afternoon of a
scorching hot day, when most of the pack were sleeping; and if the
dogs of the men-folk had not been incredibly stupid in the matter
of sticking closely to the trail, and making no attempt to range
the scrub on either side of it, the dingoes would actually have
been hunted like hares, and some of them, no doubt, would have
been killed. As it was, Finn felt as strongly, and perhaps more
strongly than any of the elders of the pack, that this event had
rendered the range finally uninhabitable. His nostrils twitched and
wrinkled for hours after the men had gone; and, as soon as darkness
fell, he rose in a determined manner, thrust his muzzle meaningly
against Warrigal's neck and took to the open trail. With
extraordinary unanimity the other members of the pack began to
gather behind Finn. It seemed to be clearly understood that this
was no ordinary hunting expedition, and the two mothers of the
pack, with their half-grown whelps, whined plaintively as they
gathered their small families about them for journeying. The
whelps, always eager for a new move of any kind, gambolled joyously
around their parents, but the mothers snarled at them, bidding them
go soberly, lest weariness and worse should overtake them before
their time.

One very old dog, who had always looked with grudging sullenness
upon the great Wolfhound and his doings, refused point-blank to be
a party to the exodus, and croakingly warned the others against
following a new-comer and an outlier such as Finn. He gave them to
understand that he had been born in the shadow of Mount Desolation,
like his sire and dam before him, and that he would live alone
rather than forsake that range at the bidding of a great grey
foreigner. The pack paid little heed to the old dingo, and he sat
erect on his haunches beside the trail, watching them file along
the flank of the mountain. When they were nearly a mile away, the
old dingo began to howl dismally; and when Finn made his first
kill, seven miles to the north-west of Mount Desolation, old
Tufter--he had a sort of mop at the end of a rather scraggy
tail--was on hand, and yowling eagerly for scraps. The kill was a
half-starved brush-tailed wallaby, and nobody got much out of it but
Warrigal and Finn, both of whom growled fiercely while they ate, in
a manner which said plainly that they were not entertaining that
night, at all events before the edge had been taken off their own
appetites. So old Tufter got nothing more nutritious than a few
scraps of scrubby fur.

The poor old fellow took great pains to communicate his own
discomfort and mistrust to all the other members of the pack,
except Finn and Warrigal, whom he ignored, and pointed out with
vehemence that they were heading in the wrong direction. He was
right in a way, for they certainly were leaving the better country
behind them, in travelling to the north-west. South and east of
Mount Desolation lay the fatter and comparatively well-watered
lands. Even Finn knew this, of course; but that way also lay the
habitations of men, and the Wolfhound's face was set firmly away
from men and all their works. Men had tortured him in a cage, the
memory of which their hot irons had burned right into his very
soul. And, after that, men, in the person of a certain sulky
boundary-rider, had driven him out from their neighbourhood with
burning faggots, with curses, and with execrations. All this had
been brought vaguely to Finn's mind by the passage through the
scrub that day of horses and men, and the north-west trail was the
only possible trail for him because of that.

From this point on, the pack moved slowly in scattered formation,
each individual member hunting as he went along, with nose to earth
and eyes a-glitter for possible prey of any kind, from a grub to an
old-man kangaroo. Towards morning, when they were a good thirty
miles distant from Mount Desolation, they topped a ridge, upon the
farther slope of which a small mob of nine kangaroos were browsing
among the scrub. Finn was after them like a shot, and Warrigal was
at his heels, the rest of the pack streaming behind in a ragged
line, the tail of which was formed by old Tufter and the whelps.
There was a stiff chase of between three and four miles, and only
five dingoes were within sight when Finn pinned the rearmost
kangaroo by the neck, and Warrigal darted in cautiously upon one of
its flanks. In an attack of this kind two things about Finn made
his onslaught most deadly: his great weight, and the length and
power of his massive jaws.

Even Tufter got a good meal from this kill, for the kangaroo was a
big fellow of well over five feet from nose to haunch, without
mention of his huge muscular tail, the meaty root of which kept the
whelps busy for hours afterwards. The whole pack fed full, and in
the neighbourhood of that range they scattered and slept; for in
the gully on the other side of it there was a little muddy water,
and round about there was pleasant cover which had sheltered the
kangaroos for a week or more. Old Tufter forbore to growl, and the
young members of the pack were enthusiastic regarding the
advantages of migration in the trail of such a hunter as Finn. They
did not know that, in a leisurely way, the mob of kangaroos they
had flushed were also migrating, as the result of drought--but in
the opposite direction to that chosen by Finn, who was heading now
towards the part of the country which the kangaroos had forsaken as
being burned and eaten bare, and devoid even of such food as bark.

When the dingoes had finished with the little chain of small pools
in the gully on the afternoon of that day, there was little left
but mud; one might have called it a creek bed, but it certainly was
no longer a creek. However, that night's travel brought fairly good
hunting, and always among game moving in the opposite direction to
that taken by the pack. Finn and Warrigal and Black-tip shared a
wallaby between them, and spared some portions of it for the
whelps; though Warrigal snarled angrily when the young things came
near her; the memory of her own family being still fresh within
her. And the rest of the pack fared quite tolerably well, sharing
between them a kangaroo-rat, two bandicoots, a wallaby-hare, and
quite a considerable number of marsupial mice, besides about half
of a big carpet-snake which Finn killed.

For a week now the little pack travelled on in a north-westerly
direction, and every day old Tufter growled a little more bitterly
and with a little better cause. Game was certainly becoming
lamentably scarce, and the country traversed was one which did not
at all commend itself to dingoes, being arid, shadeless, and dry as
a bleached bone. It was the sort of country which, in Australia, is
frequently covered by beautiful flowers and scrub during the
winter, though perfectly bare in the summer. But the winter which
had preceded this summer had been too dry to bring any growth here,
so that it had not even the remains of a previous season's
vegetation, and offered no trace of cover. A long and most
exhausting chase did enable Finn to pull down a solitary emu, and
of this the pack left nothing but beak and feathers when they
passed on, still hungry, in quest of other game.

But for all the shortness of food, which was thinning the flesh
over Finn's haunches now, it was another cause which led him to
swerve from the north-westerly course in a south-westerly
direction. He paid no particular heed to old Tufter's continuous
growls about the direction taken by the pack under his leadership;
but what he was forced to notice was the fact that for two whole
days no water had been seen, and the lolling tongues of the young
whelps were in consequence so swollen that they could not close
their jaws. Throughout one weary night, the pack loped along in
dogged silence in a south-westerly direction, their eyes blazing in
the keen look out for game; dry, dust-encrusted foam caked upon
their lips, and fierce anxiety in the heart of every one of them.

Then, in the brazen dawning of a day in which the sun seemed to
thrust out great heat upon the baked earth even before it appeared
above the horizon, the pack checked suddenly as Black-tip drew
Finn's attention to a pair of Native Companions seen in the act of
floating down to earth from the lower limbs of a shrivelled red-gum
tree. The bigger of these two great cranes had a stature of
something over five feet, and his fine blue-grey plumage covered an
amount of flesh which would have made a meal for quite a number of
dingoes. Yet it was not so much as food, but rather as a guide and
indication, that Black-tip regarded the cranes. He knew that they
would not be very far from water. The way in which the pack melted
into cover in the dim, misty light of the coming day was very
remarkable. For several miles now they had been travelling through
a country less arid than the plains they had traversed during the
previous two days, and now, while seeming to disappear into the
earth itself--even as Echidna actually could and would, though the
earth were baked hard--the members of the pack actually found cover
by slinking low amongst a sort of wiry scrub growth with which the
ground hereabouts was dotted.

It was thus that Finn saw for the first time the strange dance of
the Native Companion. To and fro, and up and down beneath their
scraggy gum-tree, the two great cranes footed it in a sort of
grotesque minuet. There was a strange sort of angularity about all
their movements, but, withal, a certain grace, bizarre and notable.
And while the Native Companions solemnly paced through what was
really a dance of death for them, Finn and Black-tip and Warrigal
stalked them as imperceptibly as shadows lengthen across a lawn in
evening time. The three hunters advanced through the scrub like
snakes moving in their sleep, and never a leaf or twig made comment
on their passage, as they slithered down the morning breeze, inch
by inch, apparently a part of the shadowy earth itself. The
prancing dance of the Native Companions--these birds mate for life
and are deeply and devotedly attached one to another--was drawing
to its close, when death came to them both like a bolt from the
heavens; such a death as one would have chosen for them, since it
left no time for fear or mourning, or grief at separation. Their
necks were torn in sunder before they realized that they had been
attacked, and within the minute their graceful feathered bodies
shared the same fate, as the rest of the pack joined Finn and
Warrigal and Black-tip. There was less of lordly generosity about
Finn's feeding upon this occasion than he had always shown before.
The great Wolfhound realized perhaps that his frame demanded more
of nutriment than was necessary for the support of a dingo, and he
ate with savage swiftness, growling angrily when any other muzzle
than Warrigal's approached his own too nearly.

Less than half an hour later the pack was scrambling and sliding
down the high banks of a river-bed, in the centre of which,
surrounded upon both sides by a quarter of a mile and more of
shingle and hard-baked mud, there was still a disconnected chain of
small, yellow pools of water. The water was of something like the
consistency of pea-soup, but no spring-fed mountain-rill ever
tasted sweeter or more grateful to a thirsty traveller than this
muddy fluid to the palates of the Mount Desolation pack. Finn chose
a good-sized pool, and Warrigal tackled it with him; but when two
youngsters of the pack ventured to approach the other side of that
pool, Warrigal snarled at them so fiercely, backed by a low,
gurgling growl from Finn, that the two slunk off, and tackled a
lesser pool by themselves.

[Illustration:  Scrambling and sliding down the high banks of a

Where the pack drank they rested. As yet their great thirst was
close to them, and the neighbourhood of water seemed too good to
leave. But, in such matters, the memory of the wild folk is apt to
be short. The banks of the river-bed ran due east and west here;
and, though the pack gave no thought to the question, it was a
matter of some importance to each one of them whether they should
eventually leave those banks to the northward or to the southward;
a matter of importance by reason of the difference in the country
to the northward and to the southward. But it was chance at last
that decided the question for them. They drank many times during
the day, and towards nightfall a small mob of kangaroos was sighted
to the northward, and that led the pack to head northward, a little
westerly, from the river-bank that night.




It was exactly a fortnight later when the pack turned despairingly
in its tracks, animated by a forlorn desire to reach again the high
ragged banks of that shingly river-bed, in which some trace of
moisture might be left still, where the muddy pools had been.

But in that fortnight much had happened, and the character and
constitution of the pack had undergone notable changes. The six
whelps had disappeared, old Tufter and the oldest of the mothers of
the pack were no more, and neither the carrion-crows nor the ants
had profited one atom by these deaths. The pack had not wittingly
hastened the end of these weaker ones, but it had left only their
bones behind upon the trail. And, now, when one or other of the
gaunt, dry-lipped survivors stumbled a dozen pairs of hungry eyes
glittered, a dozen pairs of lips were wrinkled backward from as
many sets of fangs, and consciousness of this had a sinister
meaning for the stumbler; a meaning which brought a savage snarl to
his throat as he regained his footing with quick, threatening looks
from side to side and hackles bristling.

The pack was starving. Many times during the past week the thought
of turning in his tracks and making back for the river-bed had come
to Finn, but he had pressed on, fearful of the arid stretch of
country which he had already placed between himself and that spot.
He had no means of knowing that he was in a country of vast and
waterless distances. But, acting without knowledge, Finn had turned
in his tracks at length, after a fortnight's travelling in which
food had been terribly scarce and water even more scarce. Such
liquid as they had found would never have been called water by
men-folk. Here and there had been a little liquid mud in old
water-holes and stream-beds, and in other places the pack had sucked
up moisture through hot sand, after burrowing with feet and nose to
a depth of as much as eighteen inches from the surface. Their food
had been almost entirely of the grub and insect kind, and Finn, for
the first time in his life, had spent long hours in trying to ease
the craving within him by gnawing at dry roots. The great Wolfhound
had more stamina than any of the dingoes; he had greater resources
within himself than they had, and was endowed, by Nature and
upbringing, with a superb constitution. But, as against that, he
needed far more food than was required by the others, and at a full
meal would have eaten twice as much as the biggest of them. Also,
he suffered, though his body was the stronger for it, for the fact
that he had never before known want.

In appearance, the members of the pack had suffered a wondrous
change in these two weeks. Even Warrigal's fine coat had lost every
trace of the gloss which had made it beautiful, and the iron-grey
hairs of Finn's dense, hard coat had taken on the character of dry
bristles, while his haunch-bones were two outstanding peaks, from
which his back fell away at an acute angle to the root of his tail,
where once a level pad of flesh had been. Now the tail seemed to
sprout from a kind of well in his body, and a bird might have
nested in the hollow between his shoulder-blades, which once had
been flat as the top of a table. His back, too, which had been
broad and flat, was like the ridge of a gunyah now, from one end of
which his neck rose gauntly, and appeared to be of prodigious
length. His ribs were plain to see on either side his hollow
barrel, and over them the loose skin rolled to and fro as he ran or
walked. The eyes of every member of the pack were deeply sunken and
ablaze with a dry light, half wistful and half fierce, and more
awe-inspiring than any form of full-fed rage could be. They ran in
open order now, and when one happened to run unusually close to
another, that other would snarl or growl, and, sometimes, even
snap, with bitter, furtive, half-fearful irritability.

To this rule there was one exception. Warrigal ran steadily in the
shadow cast by Finn's big, gaunt frame, her muzzle about level with
his elbow. Black-tip kept about the same level on Finn's other
side, but a good deal farther off, and the others straggled in
fan-shaped formation to the rear, scouting at times to one side or
the other in quest of insects and snakes, or any other living thing
that fangs could crush. As to digestion, the pack had no concern
regarding any such detail as this. Their one test of edibility was
swallowing. They even helped Finn to demolish a native porcupine,
than which one would have said no creature of a less edible sort
was ever created. Altogether, there was that about the survivors of
the Mount Desolation pack which would have made any single creature
sorry to cross their path, however powerful he might be. No animal
with flesh on its bones and blood in its veins would have been too
big or fierce for the pack to have attacked just now; for hunger
and thirst had made them quite desperate.

It was Black-tip, and not Finn, who, on the afternoon of the second
day of the pack's despairing return journey in quest of the
river-bank they had left a fortnight before, called a sudden halt.
(The dingo's sense of smell was always keener than the Wolfhound's.)
Black-tip sniffed hard and long at the ground between his fore-feet,
and then, raising his head, glared out into the afternoon sunlight
to the south-eastward of the track they were following--their own trail.
The whimper which escaped Black-tip when he began to sniff, brought the
rest of the pack about him, full of hungry eagerness to know what thing
it was that had been found. There was something uncanny and extraordinary
about the way in which they glanced one at another, after, as it were,
taking one sip of the scent which had brought Black-tip to a standstill.
Had the scent been of kangaroo or wallaby, rabbit, rat, or any other
thing that moves upon four legs, those curious glances would never have
been exchanged. The pack would have been off hot-foot upon the trail,
without pause for discussion. And there was the scent of a four-footed
creature here, too; but it was merged in, and subordinate to, the scent
over which most wild creatures cry a halt: the scent of man.

Now in ordinary circumstances the pack would not have hesitated a
moment over such a trail as this. They would have turned in their
tracks and made off in the opposite direction, or gone straight
ahead on their own trail and without reference to the man-trail,
save to get away from it as quickly as possible. But these were
very far from being ordinary circumstances. The pack was nearer to
starving than it had ever been before, and at such a time the rules
which ordinarily guide life are of precisely no account at all. The
man-trail was the trail of living flesh, of warm, animal life; it
was the trail of food. Also, there was merged in it the trail of a
dog; and as each member of the pack acquired that fact, his lips
wrinkled backward and a little moisture found its way into his dry

The pack desired food and drink so urgently that everything else in
the world became insignificant by comparison with food and drink in
their minds. The hatred and fear of man, as man, was blotted out of
sight by the craving for animal food in any shape whatsoever. Here
was a living trail, in the midst of a dead, burnt-up land of
starvation and emptiness. What Finn's thoughts on the subject may
have been I cannot say. But, of course, he had connected men with
food all his life long. And now he was starving. I do not think
Finn's thoughts could have been quite the same as those of the rest
of the pack; but they moved him in the same direction none the
less, and, without the smallest hesitation, the pack streamed after
him when he took up a new trail, and loped off to the south-east,
turning away diagonally from the old track.

As the new trail became fresher and warmer, the leader was
conscious of the warring within him of various conflicting feelings
and desires. In appearance Finn was now a gigantic wolf, and one
mastered by the fierce passion of hunger, at that. Apart from
appearance, there actually was more of the wolf than the dog in him
now. He belonged very completely to the wild kindred, and, over and
above the wild folk's natural inborn fear and mistrust of men-folk,
there was in Finn a resentment against man; a bitter memory of
torture endured, and of the humiliation of having been driven out
into the wild. But Finn's sense of smell was nothing like so acute
as that of the dingoes. Even a setter or a pointer cannot compare
with the wild folk in this respect, and Wolfhounds have nothing
like the educated sense of smell of the setters, or the pointers,
or the foxhounds. Their hunting from time immemorial has been done
by sight, and strength, and fleetness, not by tracking. Finn was
not so keenly conscious as his companions that he was on the trail
of man. He knew it; but it was not in his nostrils the assertive
fact that it was, for instance, in the nostrils of Warrigal and
Black-tip. There was in the trail for him a warm animal scent which
gave promise of food; of food near at hand, in that pitiless waste
which the pack had been traversing for a fortnight and more. But
every now and again, possibly in places at which the makers of the
trail had paused, Finn would get a distinct whiff of the man scent,
and that disturbed him a good deal. He wanted no dealings of any
kind with man. But there was nothing else in him just then which
was quite so strong or peremptory as the craving for food and
drink; and so, with ears pricked, and hackles uneasily lifting, he
padded along at the true wolf gait, which devours distance without
much suggestion of fleetness.

When night fell the trail was very warm and fresh, and a quarter of
an hour later a light breeze brought news to the pack of a fire not
far ahead. This, again, brought pictures to Finn's mind of the
encampment from which he had been driven with burning faggots. He
smelled again the singeing of his own coat, and that gave him
recollection of his time of torture and captivity in the circus.
The pack advanced at a foot-pace now, and with the extreme of
caution. A few minutes more brought them within full view of a
camp-fire, beside which there were stretched, in attitudes eloquent
of both dejection and fatigue, two men and a dog; the latter a
large, gaunt fox-terrier. For the last ten miles of their trailing
the pack had been passing through country which supported a certain
amount of timber, and of the curious Australian scrub which seems
to be capable of existence--a pale, bloodless sort of life, but yet
existence--in the most arid kind of soil, and where no moisture can
be discovered. The men had lighted their fire beneath a twisted,
tortured-looking tree, in which there certainly was no life, for
every vestige of its bark had gone from it, and its limbs were
naked as the bones of any skeleton.

The pack drew in as closely as their cover in the scrub permitted,
and crouched, watching the camp-fire. Suddenly, a movement on the
part of one of them attracted the attention of the fox-terrier, and
he flew out into the scrub, barking furiously. The pack, in
crescent formation, retreated perhaps a dozen paces, saliva
trickling from their curling lips. The terrier plunged valiantly
forward, hopping the first low bushes, as a terrier will when
rabbiting or ratting. It was Black-tip who pinned him to the earth,
and Warrigal whose fangs next closed upon his body. But Finn
smashed the terrier's body in half; and, in an instant, the
snarling pack surged over the remains. By the time one of the men
had risen and moved forward towards the line of scrub, there
positively was not a hair of the dog uneaten. His collar lay there
on the ground, between two bushes. For the rest, every particle of
him, including bones, had been swallowed, and was in process of
digestion. From beginning to end the whole operation occupied less
than four minutes.

One of the men had not troubled to rise at all. The pack withdrew
to a safe distance while the other man rummaged about among the
bushes for the better part of a quarter of an hour. The pack,
meanwhile, were hidden among the trees a quarter of a mile away.
Then the man found the terrier's collar, and walked back to his
fire with it. He walked slowly and stiffly. When he announced to
his companion that there were dingoes about, and that they had
carried Jock off, the other man only grunted wearily, and turned
over on his side. So the first man threw some more wood on the
fire, and lowered himself slowly to the ground, moving painfully,
and stretching himself out for sleep.

During the night the pack scoured every inch of the scrub within a
radius of one mile from the camp of the two men; and for their
reward they obtained precisely nothing at all, beyond a few, a very
few, grubs and insects, the eating of which served to temper as
with fire the keen edge of their hunger. The hours immediately
preceding daylight found most of them sitting on their haunches, in
a scattered semicircular line, in the scrub, glaring through the
darkness at the two sleeping men, and their now expiring fire. I
should like to be able to say exactly what they looked for, what
they hoped for, in connection with the men; but that is not
possible. In addition to connecting men-folk with guns and traps,
and fear of an instinctive and indescribable kind, most of the pack
also connected men with food, with sheep, and other domesticated
animals which dingoes can eat. Finn, more than any of them,
connected men-folk with food. But, as against that, Finn also
connected them with torture and suffering, with hostility and
abuse. Finn sat farther from the camp-fire than any of the others.

To your truly carnivorous animal, like the dingo, all things that
live, and have flesh on their bones and blood in their veins, are a
form of food, food at its best, living food. Therefore, the two men
must have appealed to the pack as food. But, for their kind, man is
generally speaking forbidden food, and unobtainable; so long, at
all events, as he can maintain his queer, erect attitude. But men
have lain down in the bush to die before to-day, again and again;
and of these the dingoes, as well as the crows, have given a sure
account. Further, there is no other such reckless law-breaker as
hunger. Rules and the teaching of experience--even inherited
experience--are as nothing at all to hunger. Also, these two men
beside the dying fire were not erect. But they moved uneasily in
their sleep now and again. The man-life was clearly astir in them
still; and so even the nearest and most venturesome among the
dingoes sat a good hundred yards distant from the camp. And when
daylight came, and one of the men stirred on his elbow, and looked
up at the sky, the pack retreated slowly, backward through the
scrub, till more than double that distance separated them from the
living food at which they had been wistfully glaring. There was no
anger, no savagery, no vestige of cruelty in their minds and
hearts. Finn, it is true, cherished some soreness and resentment
where men were concerned; but even in his case this brought only
the desire to keep out of man's way; while the rest of the pack
felt only instinctive dread and fear of man. But now the feeling
which ruled the whole pack, the light which shone in their eyes,
the eagerness which brought moisture continually to their
half-uncovered fangs while they watched--this was simply physical
desire for food, simply hunger.

The man who had been the first to stir, rose slowly, and stretched
his arms as though his frame ached, as indeed it did, from a
variety of causes. When the first slanting rays of the new-risen
sun reached him, they shed their light upon a man on whom physical
hardship had laid its searing fingers heavily. His face had a ten
days' growth of hair upon it, and was gaunt and haggard, like the
rest of him. His clothes hung about him loosely, and were torn and
soiled and ragged. Under the bronze tan of sunburn on his face and
neck there was the sort of pallor which comes from lack of food; in
his eyes--deep sunk in dark-rimmed hollows--was a curious glitter
which was not at all unlike the glitter in the eyes of the wild
folk who had been watching him during the night. This glitter was
of eagerness and want; the expression was wistful, longing, and
full of a desire which had become a pain. It was the same
expression that shone out from the eyes of the starved Mount
Desolation pack. And the causes behind it were the same.

Presently this man woke his companion, who growled at him, as
though he resented the attention.

"Time we were on the move, old chap," said the first man. "We can't
afford to wait."

The other man sat up, and blinked wearily at the daylight, showing
a face to the full as haggard and gaunt as that of his friend.

"By God, I don't know!" he said bitterly. "I don't know whether we
can afford to do anything else. Afford! And us carrying a fortune!
I said out there that I'd never had good luck before, and--it was
right, too. Good luck's not for the likes o' me."

"Oh, yes, it is," said the other man, with an obvious effort at
cheerfulness. "You wait till we get our legs under a dinner-table,
my boy; then you'll tell another tale about luck. And it will be a
dinner-table, too, mark you; no tin pannikins, but silver and glass
and linen and flowers, and food----Man, think of the juicy fillet,
done to a turn; the crisp _pomme rissolé_, and--yes, a little
spinach, I think, done delicately in the English way; none of your
Neapolitan messes. I'm not certain about the bread--whether little
crusty white rolls or toast. What? Oh, well, it's no use going the
other way, old man; cursing and growsing won't help us any. Come
on! Let's have breakfast and get on. I think you're perfectly right
about parting this morning. We can take that to be east, where the
scrub gets thick, and that to be south. We'll toss who takes which,
and one or other of us will strike something before nightfall, you
mark my words; and after that it will be easy to pick up the
other's trail. Better make the trail as plain as possible as we go
along. Come; buck up, Jeff, old man; this will be our last day
hungry. I'm going to take my breakfast now."

Imitating his companion, and with an attempt to look a little more
cheery over it, Jeff stood up now and carefully uncorked a
canvas-covered water-bottle. Each man filled his mouth full from
the gurgling contents of his water-bottle, and stood, swishing the
water in his mouth slowly, and allowing it to trickle little by
little down his parched throat. In this way several minutes were
devoted to the swallowing of a single mouthful of water, and that
was breakfast.

"If we hadn't have chucked the guns away we might have got a chance
at something to-day," growled Jeff, when his breakfast was done. "I
could make a roast dingo look foolish this morning, and I'm none so
sure I couldn't eat the brute raw if I got him. You said it was
dingoes got Jock last night, didn't you?"

"I suppose it must have been," said the other man. "I don't see
what else it could have been. And as to the guns; well, you know,
it was that or the stuff. We couldn't carry any more."

"I know. And I'm not sure it's much good carrying that any longer.
I reckon I'll dump mine somewhere to-day, before it dumps me.
Sixty-six pounds don't seem to ride very easy on an empty belly.
Sixty-six pounds--sixty-six solid pounds o' best pin-fire--and us
dyin' for want of a crust. Come on, then! One more try!"

"You've got your revolver still, haven't you?" asked Jeff, as he
fitted the straps of a big, heavy swag (which had served him for a
pillow) about his shoulders, while his companion did the same with
his swag.

"Yes," said the other man. "And I tell you what, Jeff; you shall
take it to-day. I've got a jolly good stick here, and I've no use
for the revolver, anyhow; couldn't hit a house at a dozen yards,
even if I was likely to see one. Yes, you take the shooting-iron,
my dear fellow; you might manage to pot something. I hope you

They gravely tossed a twig to decide the question of who should
head south and who east; and then as gravely shook hands and
parted, Jeff heading south and the other man due east.

"Well, if we've got a chance at all, I guess this ought to double
it, anyway," said Jeff.

"Why, yes; and one of us'll strike pay dirt to-day all right,
you'll find. So good-bye till then, Jeff," said the other man.

"So long, mate; so long!"

Away in the scrub to the northward of the two men a dozen pair of
eyes more hungry than their own were watching them; or, to be
exact, eleven pairs were watching them. Finn lay stretched still at
full length, beside a bush, at Warrigal's feet, while Warrigal
peered eagerly through the scrub. Black-tip, followed by three
strong young dogs and a bitch, loped off at once, without comment
or communication with the rest of the pack, in the direction of the
trail of the south-bound Jeff. Warrigal's eyes, as it happened,
were fixed upon the shoulders of the other man, and it was his
trail that she made for now, after rousing Finn with a touch of her
muzzle. And so the wild-folk divided, even as the men-folk had
done, five going south after Jeff, and five others, besides Finn
and Warrigal, going east after the other man. But it was broad
daylight, and none of them made any attempt to draw near the makers
of the trails they followed. They merely followed, muzzles carried
low, and nostrils and eager eyes questing as they went for any sign
of life in the scrub--anything, from an ant to an emu, that by any
possibility could represent food. Meanwhile the warm trail of the
man ahead kept hope and excitement alive in them, though that man
would have said that he was about as poor a source of hopefulness
as any creature in Australia. To be sure, he had never thought of
himself in the light of food. The dingoes had.




It was in the midst of the pitiless heat which comes a couple of
hours after midday, and is harder to bear than the blaze of high
noon, that the man who was heading due east abandoned his swag. He
had rested for the better part of an hour directly after noon, and
had two mouthfuls from his water-bottle, one before and one after
his rest. While he rested, the half-pack, headed by Finn and
Warrigal, had rested also, and more completely, hidden away in the
scrub, a quarter of a mile and more from the man whose trail they
followed. Two of them, Warrigal and another, watched with a good
deal of interest the burial of the swag beneath a drought-seared
solitary iron-bark. No sooner was the man out of sight--he walked
slowly and with a somewhat staggering gait now--than the pack
unearthed his swag with quick, vicious strokes of their feet, and
laid it bare to the full blaze of the afternoon sunlight. In a few
moments they had its canvas cover torn to ribbons, and bitter was
their disappointment when they came to turn over its jagged mineral
contents between their muzzles, and discovered that even they could
eat none of this rubbish.

It is fair to suppose that within a couple of hours of this time
the man finally lost the brave remnant of hope with which he had
set out that day. The pack did not reason about this, but they felt
it as plainly as any human observer could have done, and the
realization brought great satisfaction to each one of them. It was
not that they bore the faintest sort of malice against the man, or
cherished any cruel feeling for him whatever. He was food; they
were starving; and his evident loss of mastery of himself brought
food nearer to the pack.

The man's course was erratic now; he tacked like a vessel sailing
in the wind's eye; and his trail was altered by the fact that his
feet were dragged over the ground instead of being planted firmly
upon it with each stride he took. The pack were not alone in their
recognition of the man's sorry plight. He was followed now by no
fewer than seven carrion-crows; big, black, evil-looking birds, who
circled in the air behind and above him, swooping sometimes to
within twenty or thirty feet of his head, and cawing at him in a
half-threatening, half-pleading manner, while their bright, hard
eyes watched his eyes avidly, and their shiny beaks opened and shut
continually to admit of hoarse cries. The pack resented the
presence of the crows, but were well aware that, when the time
came, these harbingers of death could be put to flight in a moment.

When darkness fell, the man lighted no fire this evening. But
neither did he lie down. He sat with his back against a tree-trunk
and his legs outstretched; and now and again sounds came from his
lips, which, while not threatening, were certainly not cries for
mercy, and therefore in the pack's eyes not signals for an attack.
The man-life was apparently strong in him yet; for he sometimes
flung his arms about, and struck at the earth with the long, tough
stick which he had carried all day. The pack, when they had
unsuccessfully scoured every inch of the ground within a mile of
the man for food, drew in closer for the night's watch than they
had ventured on the previous night, when there had been two men and
a fire. But Finn showed a kind of reserve in this. He lay behind a
bush, and farther from the man than any of the rest of the pack. He
wanted food; he needed it more bitterly perhaps than any of the
others; but all his instincts went against regarding man himself as
food, though man's neighbourhood suggested the presence of food,
and, instinct aside, Finn hated the proximity of humans.

The man slept only in broken snatches during this night. While he
slept, Warrigal and the others, except Finn, crept in a little
closer; but when he turned, or waved one arm, or when sounds came
from his lips, as they frequently did, then the dingoes would slink
backward into the scrub, with lips updrawn, and silent snarls
wrinkling their nostrils. Towards dawn Warrigal set up a long howl,
and at that the man woke with a great start, to sleep no more.
Presently, others of the pack followed Warrigal's lead, and,
staggering to his feet, the man moved forward three steps and flung
a piece of rotten wood in the direction from which the howls came.
Warrigal and her mates retreated for the better part of a hundred
yards, snarling aloud; not from fierceness, but in a kind of
wistful disappointment at finding the man still capable of so much
action, and by so much the farther from reaching them as food.

The man's shout of anger and defiance reached Finn's ears, and
thrilled the Wolfhound to the marrow. The voice of man in anger; he
had not heard it since the night of his being driven out from the
boundary-rider's camp. The memories which it aroused in him were
all, without exception, of man's tyranny and cruelty, and of his
own suffering at man's hands. He growled low in his throat, but
very fiercely. And yet, with it all, what thrilled him so was not
mere anger, or bitterness, or resentment. It was more than all
that. It was the warring within him of inherited respect for man's
authority with acquired wildness; with his acquired freedom of the
wild folk. The conflict of instinct and emotions in Finn was so
ardent as almost to overcome consciousness of the great hunger
which was his real master at this time; the furious hunger which
had made him chew savagely at the tough fibre of a dry root held
between his two fore-paws.

But the man had taken only three steps, and when he sank down to
the earth again it was not in the place he had occupied before. He
lay down where he had stood when he threw the billet of wood, and
there was that in the manner of his lying down which boded ill for
his future activity. It was observed most carefully by three of the
crows, who had followed him all day; and upon the strength of it,
they settled within a dozen paces of his recumbent figure, with an
air which seemed to say plainly that they could afford a little
more patience now, since they would not have long to wait.

[Illustration:  They settled within a dozen paces of his recumbent

When full daylight came, Warrigal and her mates were closer in than
ever; hidden in the scrub within forty paces of the man. Finn
retained his old place, some five-and-thirty yards farther back,
behind a bush. The crows preened their funereal plumage and waited,
full of bright-eyed expectancy. Finn gnawed bitterly at his dry
fragment of scrub root. The splendid pitiless sun climbed slowly
clear of its bed on the horizon, thrusting up long, keen blades of
heat and light to herald the coming of another blazing day in the
long drought.

Presently, a long spear of the new day's light thrust its point
between the man's curved arm and his face. He turned on his side so
that he faced the sun, and evidently its message to him was that he
must be up and doing; that he must proceed with his journey.
Slowly, and with painful effort, he rose as far as his knees; and
then, with a groan, drooped down to earth again on his side. The
crows cocked their heads sideways at him. They seemed full of
brightness and life. But the sun himself was not more pitiless than
the question they seemed to be putting to the man, as they perked
their heads from side to side while considering his last move.
Warrigal and her mates saw clearly the conclusion the crows had
arrived at. They, also, held that the man was down for good at
last. At length, it seemed to them, he was practically nothing else
than food; the man-mastery, whose emblem is man's erectness, or
power to stand erect, was gone for ever, they thought. The crows
were safe guides, and one of them was hopping gravely towards the
back of the man. Warrigal, followed by five of her mates, crept
slowly forward through the scrub; and saliva was hanging like
icicles from their parted jaws.

Finn saw Warrigal's movement, and knew precisely what it portended
with as much certainty as though his mate had explained it all to
him. And now Finn was possessed by two opposing inclinations, both
terribly strong. Upon the one hand, instinctive respect for man's
authority and acquired dislike of man and all his works bade the
great Wolfhound remain where he was. Upon the other hand, two
forces impelled him to rise and join his mate, and those two forces
were the greatest hunger he had ever known, and the assertive pride
of his leadership of the pack. There before his eyes his section of
the pack was advancing, preparing for a kill for food, there in
that bitter desert of starvation. And he, the unquestioned master
and leader of the pack, master of all the wild kindred that he
knew; he, Finn, was----Three seconds later, and the Wolfhound had
bounded forward, his great shoulders thrusting angrily between
Warrigal and the big male dingo who had dared to usurp his, Finn's,
place there as leader in concerted action.

For an instant the pack paused, no more than a score of paces
distant from the man's shoulders, glaring uneasily. Then the man
moved, raising his body slightly upon one elbow. The dingoes drew
back a pace, even Warrigal moving back with them, though she
snarled savagely in doing so. Finn did not move. Warrigal's snarl
it was which told the man of his danger, and, with an effort, he
rose upon his knees, and grabbed at his long stick where it lay on
the ground. Again Warrigal snarled, less than a yard from Finn's
ears, and her snarl was the snarl which announces a kill. It was
not for others to kill where Finn led. And yet something--he could
not tell what, since he knew nothing of heredity--something held
the great Wolfhound's muscles relaxed; he could not take the leap
which was wont to precede killing with him. Again Warrigal snarled.
The man was rising to his feet. A great fear of being shamed was
upon Finn. With that snarl in his ears advance was a necessity. He
moved forward quickly, but without a spring. And in that instant
the man, having actually got upon his feet, swung round toward the
pack with his long stick uplifted, and Finn gathered his
hind-quarters under him for the leap which should end this
hunting--this long, strange hunting in a desert of starvation.

The Wolfhound actually did spring. His four feet left the ground.
But, with a shock which jarred every nerve and muscle in his great
frame, they returned to earth again, practically upon the exact
spots they had left. His sense of smell, never remarkable for its
acuteness in detail, had told Finn nothing, save that his quarry in
this strange hunting was man. But the Wolfhound's eyes could not
mislead him, and in the instant of his suddenly arrested
spring--the spring which it had taken every particle of strength in
his great body to check--he had known, with a sudden revulsion of
feeling which positively stopped the beating of his heart, that
this man the pack had trailed was none other than the Man of all
the world for him; the man whose person was as sacred as his will
to Finn; the Master, whose loss had been the beginning and the
cause of all the troubles the Wolfhound had ever known.

There had been the beginning of the killing snarl in Finn's throat
when he sprang, and as he came to earth again at the man's feet,
possessed and almost paralysed by his amazing discovery, that snarl
had ended in as curious a cry as ever left the throat of
four-footed folk since the world began. It was not a bark this cry,
still less a snarl or growl, and it could not have been called a
howl. It was more like human speech than that of the wild people;
and, human or animal, there was no mistaking it for anything less
than soul-speech. It welled up into the morning air from the very
centre of that in Finn which must be called his soul--the something
which differentiated him from every other living thing on earth,
and made him--Finn.

And in that same instant, too, recognition came to the Master, and
he knew his huge assailant to be no creature of the wild, no giant
wolf or dingo, but the beloved Wolfhound of his own breeding and
most careful, loving rearing. It was from some central recess of
his own personality that the Master's cry of "Finn, boy!" answered
the strange cry with which the Wolfhound came to earth at his feet.

But behind them was the pack, and in the pack's eyes what had
happened was that their leader had missed his kill; that fear had
broken his spring off short, and that now he was at the mercy of
the man who, a moment before, had been mere food. For a dingo, no
other task, not even the gnawing off of a limb caught in a trap,
could require quite so much sheer courage as the attacking of Man
in the open--man erect and unafraid. But Warrigal had never in her
life lacked courage, and now, behind her courage and her devotion
to her mate, there was hunger, red-toothed and slavering in her
ears; hunger burning like a live coal in her heart; hunger
stretching her jaws for killing, with an eagerness and a ferocity
which could not be denied. In the next instant Warrigal had flown
at the man's right shoulder with a fierce snarl which called those
of her kind who were not cowards to follow her or be for ever

Warrigal's white fangs slashed down the man's coat-sleeve, and left
lines of skin and blood where the cloth gave. For one moment Finn
hesitated. Warrigal was his good mate, the mother of his dead
children, his loving companion by day and night, during long months
past. She concentrated in her own person all the best of his
kinship with the wild. There was mateship and comradeship between
them. As against all this, Warrigal's fangs had fastened upon the
sacred flesh of the Master, of the Man of all the world, who stood
for everything that was best in Finn's two-thousand-years-old
inheritance of intercourse with and devotion to human friends.

Next instant, and even as the biggest male dingo of the pack flew
at the man's other side, Finn pinned his mate to earth, and, with
one tremendous crunch of his huge jaws, severed her jugular vein,
and set her life's blood running over the parched earth.

In that moment, the pack awoke to realization of the strange thing
that had befallen them. They had been seven, pitted against a
single man, and he apparently in the act of ceasing to be erect
man, and becoming mere food. Now they were five--for Warrigal's
life ebbed quickly from her--pitted against a man wakened to
erectness and hostility, and their own great leader; the great
Wolf, who had slain Lupus, their old fierce master, and even
Tasman, his terrible sire. It is certain that at another time the
pack would not have hesitated for one moment about turning tail and
fleeing that place of strange, unnatural happenings. But this was
no ordinary time. They were mad with hunger. Blood was flowing out
upon the earth before them. One of them had the taste of man's
blood on his foaming lips. This was not a tracking, or a killing in
prospect, but a fight in progress. The pack would never turn tail
alive from that fight.

The man had his back to the withered iron-bark now, and, besides
the long stick in his right hand, he held an open knife in his left
hand, as a long, fierce bitch found to her cost when she leaped for
his throat, fell short, and felt cold steel bite deep in her flank
as she sank to earth. And now the great Wolfhound warmed to his
work, with a fire of zeal which mere hunger itself could not have
lit within him. He was fighting now as never before since his fangs
met in his first kill in far-away Sussex. He was fighting for the
life of the Master, love of whom, long quiescent in him, welled up
in him now; a warm tide of new blood which gave strength to his
gaunt limbs and weight to his emaciated frame, such as they had
never known when he fought, full fed, with Lupus, or with Tasman,
on the rocky side of Mount Desolation. A tiger could hardly have
evaded him. His onslaught was at once terrible, and swift as
forked lightning. It seemed he slashed and tore in five separate
directions at one and the same time. But that was only because his
jaws flashed from one dingo's body to another with such rapidity
that the passage between could not be followed by the eye. This
meant that his fangs could not be driven deep enough for instant
killing. There was not time. But they went deep, none the less; and
blood streamed now from the necks and shoulders of the dingoes that
succeeded one another in springing at the man and the Wolfhound.

Two of the dingoes owed their deaths to the long knife-blade of the
man; but even as the second of them received the steel to the hilt
below his chest-bones, the man sank, utterly exhausted and bleeding
freely, on his knees, and from there to the ground itself. This
drew the attention of the three surviving dingoes from the leader,
who in some mysterious manner had become an enemy, to the fallen
man who was now, clearly, a kill. Mere hunger, desperate hunger,
was uppermost in the minds of the three. They quested flesh and
blood from the kill that lay helpless before them.

It was then that Finn outdid himself; it was then that he called
into sudden and violent action every particle of reserve strength
that was left in him. It was then that his magnificent upbringing
stood by him, and the gift of a thousand years of unstained lineage
lent him more than a Wolfhound's strength and quickness; so that,
almost within the passage of as many seconds, he slew three
full-grown dingoes, precisely as a game terrier will slay three rats,
with one crushing snap and one tremendous shake to each. Starved
though they were, these dingoes weighed over forty pounds apiece;
yet when they met with their death between Finn's mighty jaws,
their bodies were flung from him, in the killing shake, to a
distance of as much as five yards.

And then there fell a sudden and complete stillness in that desert
spot, which had seen the end of six lives in as many minutes;
besides the final falling of the Master, which implied, Finn knew
not what.

Finn fell to licking the Master's white, blood-flecked face where
it lay on the ground. And at that, the waiting crows settled down
upon the bodies of the outlying dingoes; so that their dead,
sightless eyes were made doubly sightless in a moment. After long
licking, or licking which seemed to him long, Finn pointed his nose
to the brazen sky, and lifted up his voice in the true Wolfhound
howl, which is perhaps the most penetratingly saddening cry in




Four men were riding together through the low, burnt-up scrub, and
in front of them, holding their horses at a smart amble to be even
with his jog trot, a naked aboriginal was leading the way on his
own bare feet.

[Illustration:  Four men were riding together through the low
burnt-up scrub]

"Blurry big warrigal 'e bin run here!" said the black-fellow
suddenly, as he stooped to examine a footprint in the trail they
were following. He counted the different footprints, and announced
to the horsemen that seven dingoes had followed the trail they were
following at that moment. "Five and two," the black-fellow called
it, ticking the number off on the fingers of one hand. He explained
that these dingoes, led by the "blurry big warrigal" aforesaid,
must have been terribly badly in want of food; and that he did not
think much of the chances of the man they had followed.

One of the riders--it was Jeff--nodded his head dolefully over

"I reckon all the plaguy warrigals in this country must 'a' gone
crazy," he said. "You know I told you there was half a dozen on my
track. But we're goin' right; you can be dead sure o' that, for
that was his swag we found all right, and you could see the dingoes
had been at that. My oath! To think o' them brutes scratching up a
fortune that way, an' leaving it there!"

"You wouldn't expect 'em to take it into town an' bank it, would
you?" said one of the other men, with a grin. "Hurry on,
Jacky!"--This to the black-fellow--"What time he make dem tracks,
eh? He's fresh, you think?"

The black-fellow snorted contemptuously, as he explained over one
shoulder that the tracks were of the previous day's making.
"Still," said the rider; "he may not have got far. He can't have
got very far."

And again Jeff nodded, with sombre meaning. He was always a
pessimistically inclined man; and, in his rough way, he had
conceived a good deal of affection and respect for his prospecting

Another three miles were covered, and then, suddenly, the
black-fellow halted, with one hand raised over his head, which was
turned sideways, in a listening attitude. He explained, a moment
later, that he could hear howling, such as a "blurry big warrigal"
might produce. The party pushed on, and two or three minutes later
they were all able to make out the sound the black-fellow had heard.
But the black-fellow shook his head now, and informed them that no
warrigal ever made a howl like that; that that must be "white
feller dog."

"Well, that's queer," said Jeff; "for Jock was killed the night
before we parted. But, say, whatever it is, that's a most ungodly
sort o' howl, sure enough!"

Five or six minutes later the black-fellow gave a whoop of
astonishment as he topped a little ridge and came into view of the
Master, lying prone upon the ground, with Finn sitting erect beside
his head. One of the riders pulled out a revolver when he caught
sight of Finn's shaggy head.

"Well, may I be teetotally jiggered!" he growled. "What sort of a
beast do ye call that?"

The riders galloped down the slope and flung themselves hurriedly
from their horses. The leading man waved his whip at Finn to drive
him off. And then it was seen that Finn's assiduous licking had
been sufficient to restore the man to consciousness. The Master
raised his head feebly, and said--

"For God's sake don't hurt the dog! He saved my life. Killed six
dingoes in front of me. God's sake don't touch the----"

And with that he lapsed again into unconsciousness, while Jeff
propped up his head and another man produced a spirit-flask, and
the black-fellow gazed admiringly round upon the dead dingoes, and
the huge Wolfhound who sat there, with hackles raised and lips a
little curled by reason of the proximity of the men-folk. But Finn
was perfectly conscious that the Master was being helped, and he
showed no inclination to interfere. He was watchful, however, and
would not retreat for more than a few paces.

The party had brandy, and water, and food in plenty with them; and
it was not long before the Master was sitting up and munching
soaked bread, and sipping brandy and water, while one of the men
cleansed and bandaged his arms where the dingoes had torn them.
Another of the men tossed a big crust of bread to Finn, and, seeing
the way the Wolfhound bolted this, realized that the hound was as
near to starving as the man. After that, Finn had food and drink in
modest quantities; and, presently, the Master called to him, and
placed one arm weakly over his bony shoulders, while telling the
men, in as few words as might be, something of the manner in which
Finn had fought for him, and the origin of their relationship.

Exactly a week later, Finn lay on the balcony of a country town
hotel, with his nose just resting lightly on the Master's knee. The
Master was still weak. He lay on a cane lounge, with one hand on
Firm's shoulder. Beside him, in a basket chair, was the Mistress of
the Kennels, and now and again her hand was passed caressingly over
Finn's head. There was still a good deal of gauntness about the
great Wolfhound; but he was strong as a lion now, and his dark eyes
gleamed as brightly as ever through their overhanging eaves of
iron-grey hair.

[Illustration: The Wolfhound raised his bearded muzzle, and softly
licked the Master's thin brown hand.]

"Well," said the Master, looking across at his companion, over
Finn's head. "I'm not very certain about most things. It takes some
time to get used to being rich, doesn't it? I suppose we may be
called rich. They say the claim is good enough for half a dozen
fortunes yet; and sixty odd pounds of gem opal is no trifle, of
itself." (As a matter of fact, the Master's swag brought him an
average price of just over £20 to the ounce, or £21,250 for the
lot, apart from his share in a very rich claim.)

"One thing I am dead sure about, however, and that is that, come
rain or shine, there isn't money enough in all Australia to tempt
us into parting with Finn boy again. Finn, boy!"

The Wolfhound raised his bearded muzzle, and softly licked the
Master's thin brown hand. It was his weakness, no doubt, that
produced a kind of wetness about the man's eyes.

"It's 'Sussex by the sea' for us, Finn, boy, in another month or
so; and, God willing, that's where you shall end your days!"

As he responded, after his own fashion, to the Master's assurance,
there was small trace in the great Wolfhound's eyes of his
relationship with the wild kindred of the bush.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Finn The Wolfhound" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.