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Title: Pep: The Story of a Brave Dog
Author: Hawkes, Clarence
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: “Pep sniffed at his master’s face eagerly.”

                                                 _Page 96_]



[Illustration]


  PEP

  The Story of a
  Brave Dog

  [Illustration]

  _By_
  CLARENCE HAWKES

  _ILLUSTRATED By_
  WILLIAM VAN DRESSER


  MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY
  SPRINGFIELD · MASSACHUSETTS

[Illustration]



  Copyright, 1922
  BY MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY
  Springfield, Massachusetts

  All Rights Reserved


  Bradley Quality Books

  Printed in United States of America



  _To Dog-Lovers,
  the whole world over,
  this book is fraternally
  dedicated_



INTRODUCTION

A FRIEND TO MAN

By CLARENCE HAWKES


It is almost like a stern irony of fate, that man’s faithful, gentle
friend, the dog, should have sprung from one of the most thoroughly
hated and despised brutes in the animal kingdom, the wolf.

Yet this is a scientific fact. The wolf, with all his meanness and
skulking cunning, is the progenitor of man’s friend, the dog.

They belong to the same family, their breeding habits are alike, and
the wolf is as surely the father of the dog, as was brute man, the cave
dweller, the ancestor of the highly civilized creature we now know.

In the case of the man it has taken untold ages to bring about the
change, and so it has in the case of the dog. When in the dark ages
the brute man crouched over his campfire, gazing fearfully into the
darkness about him, encompassed by superstition and ignorance, the gray
wolf hung upon the outskirts of his campfire.

This man creature, that ran upon two legs instead of four, who had such
strange power over fire and water, and over the forces of nature and
the wild kindred, fascinated and drew him with a terrible power.

Try as he would he could not keep away from him. Often this man
creature wounded him with his sharp stick. He also poisoned the wolf
pack, but still they could not be driven away, for it was an unwritten
law of nature that some day they should be inseparable.

So the wolf skulked upon the trail of the primitive man, until the
famine, or the cold, or some other stern necessity brought them
together.

Indians, even now in the far north, often take the wolf whelps from the
den and play with them, and they refer to the wolf as “Grandfather’s
dog,” showing that they understand the gradual evolution of the dog.
You can better understand this if you visit any of their villages where
the dogs even now are little more than partly domesticated wolves,
wolfish in habits, and looks. Such is the Husky, the famous team dog
of the frozen north, without whose help the wealth of the Klondyke and
other remote places could hardly have been brought to the outside world.

The collie, which is one of the most faithful and lovable of the dog
kind, is not so far removed from a wolf, and it is very easy for him
to slip back to his wolf ancestry. There are many instances on record
where collies have gone back to the wild and mated and run with the
gray pack. Put a collie pup into a wolf den with a litter of wolf
whelps and the old wolf will suckle him as her own. He will be brought
up as a young wolf; will learn to hunt in the pack, and to stalk his
game like a veritable wolf. Of course he will not be as fierce as his
wolf brother, and he will still retain certain dog characteristics,
but he will pass for a wolf in most particulars, while in two or three
generations he will be a veritable wolf.

When we consider all the varieties of dogs ranging from the great Dane
of nearly two hundred pounds weight, to the smallest toy dog coming
from Japan, this statement that all dogs are descended from wolves
seems almost incredible, but all this change has been wrought by man
himself. Breeding and selection for certain qualities have been the
method by means of which he has attained such varied results.

Climate, and the use to which the dog has been put has also played its
part. Nature always adapts her creatures to their surroundings, and
the dog is no exception to this rule. He has been molded like all of
nature’s other creatures. Where he needed long hair to shield him from
the cold he has been given a long, thick coat, and where he could not
bear a coat because of the heat it has been left off.

Certain types of dogs there are that have become famous all over the
world, some for their beauty and others for their usefulness, but
usually for both qualities.

Every child is familiar with the St. Bernard dogs and their work in the
Alpine passes, saving lost travelers in the terrible storms of those
great heights. Perhaps the most famous of all those great dogs was
Barry, whose record as a life saver covered a long period of years, and
who is credited with saving forty lives.

This is a record that any man might well be proud of, and one that few
men have attained.

Equally famous, and perhaps even more useful as a helper of man are
the Scotch collies and the sheep and cattle dogs of England and
Scotland. In countries where wolves are numerous these fine dogs are
indispensable, and in some sections it would be impossible to guard
the flock without them. The training of a fine sheep dog has become a
science, and something that the shepherds take a deal of pride in. In
order to encourage the breeding of finely trained dogs, each year in
many parts of England and Scotland contests of sheep herding dogs are
held. Then great crowds of people from far and near gather and all the
fine sheep dogs are brought hither and put through their paces. Finally
when all have contested, the judges award the cup or other trophy to
the shepherd whose dog has made the best showing. Such an event is
finely described in that famous dog story, “Bob, Son of Battle.”

The wolfhounds of Russia, which are taught to run in packs and pull
down their wild kindred, and hold them until the men come up are
equally famous, if not so useful. But wolves in Russia are considered
vermin so these dogs do a good work in helping to exterminate the pest.

The Czar of all the Russias was himself interested in wolf coursing and
is reported to have owned the finest pack of wolf dogs in the world.

The Alaskan dog teams are famous throughout the world; not only for the
very material service that they render man in traveling over the frozen
lands where not even a burrow could travel, but also because of the
famous races that are held each year in Alaska.

Then the fastest teams in the North are brought together, a course of
perhaps four hundred miles is selected, and at a crack of the pistol
the teams are off to run the course, in competition for a sweep stake
of ten thousand dollars.

Two men constitute the drivers. One rides for a ways upon the back of
the sled, guiding it by what is called gee-pole, while the other runs
behind. When the man who is running is tired he takes his turn upon the
sled, while the other man runs. By alternating in this way, and only
one riding at a time, fifty and sixty miles can be covered in a single
day, and in their races even more.

These Husky dogs with their thick coats and tough constitutions are
wonderfully adapted to such strenuous work. They are fed but once a day
and then only a pound of dry fish. After they have eaten this slight
meal, they will bury themselves in the snow, putting their noses and
their paws into their shaggy tails for warmth, and sleep soundly with
the thermometer at fifty and sixty below zero.

Their masters in the meantime are sleeping in their rabbit skin
sleeping bags, which weigh from six to twelve pounds.

Hard as the work is yet these faithful sled dogs are eager for each
day’s work and are nearly heartbroken if they are unable to take their
places in the traces.

The teams driven by white men are driven tandem, while Indian teams are
fan shaped, each dog being hitched to the sled by a separate thong.

Of hunting dogs there are many varieties which are always of the utmost
importance to frontier peoples, where they guard the flocks and the
premises from all kinds of four-footed marauders. Upon the frontier
these dogs also assist in the chase and thus furnish meat for the table
and help rid the country of vermin, such beasts as the wolf that have
to go before civilization is secure.

These hunting dogs also serve a less important use among the leisure
class. Field trials of pointers and setters have become important
events in the annals of dogs, while the running of greyhounds and
wolfhounds is a national sport in some countries.

But what shall we say of the house dog, who is one of the family?
The sharer of all our joys and sorrows: the one from whom we have no
secrets: the social intimate whose tail is a perfect barometer of
sunshine and storm in the family: the custodian of the premises, who
always sleeps with one eye open, and one ear cocked for the sound of
prowlers: the friend of the children who follows them about like a
shadow, watchful lest any danger threaten them, often sharing in their
romps with all the zest of a boy.

This dumb creature worships you, to him you are a sort of God--often a
rather sorry God, hardly worthy of his worship; yet a God to him, one
whom he can look up to, can serve and love.

How empty the door mat would be without him. How silent the premises
without his occasional cheerful bark.

Do cares oppress you and is the burden of life heavy, are you cast
down and unable to see a sunbeam through the shadows? Look over in the
corner. Your own anxious mood is reflected upon the face of your dog.
He is the very picture of misery, uneasy and longing to comfort you.

Presently he will come over to you unable to stand it any longer and
put his nose into your hand, or fall to licking it frantically. He is
not forward or aggressive, but full of humility and abasement. He
knows he is only a dog, while you are a dog’s God, but he wants to
comfort you, to take your load upon his own shoulders and help you bear
it.

Soon his paws are planted upon your knees and he looks up into your
face beseechingly. He wags his tail and tries to smile, suggesting that
you laugh it off. Then he jumps down and runs about the room to attract
your attention by his funny pranks, or perhaps he even barks once in a
deprecating way, but he is soon back again licking your face.

If you are perfectly impassive and silent, he becomes almost frantic
and will run about the room whining, often returning to look up into
your face as though to pry out the trouble. Then he is down again. His
tail droops and his face is a picture of despair.

Now he is whining softly to himself. If you do not speak to him soon
and reassure him that the trouble is not past mending he will lift up
his voice and howl, just as his ancestors, the wolves, howled ages ago
upon the desolate plains.

The great Ibsen in “The Pretenders” epitomizes this fidelity of the
dog when he causes King Skule to say: “I must have some one by me who
sinks his own will utterly in mine, who believes in me unflinchingly,
who will cling close to me in good-hap and ill, who lives only to shed
warmth and light over my life, and must die if I fall.” And Jatgeir
replies, “Buy yourself a dog, My Lord.”

Many other great men have understood and appreciated this faithful
creature. Pope said, “Histories are more full of the examples of the
fidelity of dogs than of friends.” Josh Billings exclaims in his
humorous way, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more
than he loves himself.” Tennyson in a simple but truthful couplet sings,

  “Faithful and true will be found upon four short legs,
  Ten times for one upon two.”

It was Eugene Field who said that a little rough dog can awaken a joy
that enters eternity.

The small boy who ties a can to the dog’s tail and then laughs as
the frantic creature runs yelping down the street, or perhaps shies
a stone at him, knows not that this same despised canine may drag
him from a watery grave, or from a burning building on the morrow.
A hundred to one the dog would remember neither the tin can nor the
stone, if he saw the boy in peril.

Forgiveness is the dog’s long suit. So if to err is human and to
forgive is divine, then the dog must have a spark of that great love in
his brute heart that knows how to forgive.

Even more culpable than the boy with his thoughtless cruelty is the man
with his deliberate cruelty, the brute who makes this faithful creature
the butt for his ill will. There is a deal of truth in the statement
of Roland Hill that every man’s dog or his horse knows whether he be a
Christian or not.

Where in the annals of mere humans, is there a story as touching in its
absolute fidelity as that of “Gray Friar’s Bobby?” Lest this wonderful
true story may not be familiar to you I give it here very briefly, the
account being taken from our Four Footed Friends:

During the fifties there lived in Midlothian a farmer named Grey. This
man, like others of his calling, was generally to be found in Edinburgh
every Wednesday, attending the market, accompanied always by his shaggy
terrier, Bobby. It was Grey’s custom, as the time-gun announced the
hour of one from the Castle heights, to repair to a small restaurant
in the neighborhood of Greyfriars’ Churchyard, known by the name of
Traill’s Dining Rooms. Here Bobby and his master had their midday meal,
which in the case of the doggie consisted regularly of a bun.

In 1858 Grey died, and was laid to rest near the historic church
of Greyfriars, aptly named by Sir Walter Scott “the Westminster of
Scotland.” On the third day following the funeral, and just as the
echoes of the time-gun were dying away, the occupants of Traill’s rooms
were surprised to see a dog, the picture of woe and hunger, enter the
doorway and approach the proprietor, upon whom he gazed with a most
beseeching expression.

Traill immediately recognized in this visitor the once happy and
well-cared-for Bobby. Stirred with compassion, he gave a bun to the
silent pleader, who then, without waiting to eat it, ran out of the
shop carrying his newly-found meal in his mouth. Next day at the
same hour Bobby again appeared, and repetition of events followed;
but on the third day, Traill, whose curiosity and interest were now
thoroughly aroused, determined to follow the dog, and thus discover
his destination. This was soon reached, for Bobby, bun in mouth, made
straight for Greyfriars’ Churchyard where, approaching the grave of
his master, he lay down and began to eat his scanty meal. It was now
evident that the chief, if not the only mourner of the kind-hearted
farmer, had been his four-footed friend Bobby, who, after following
his late master’s funeral procession, had then refused to leave the
humble mound which marked his grave, until forced to do so by the pangs
of hunger. Bobby’s plight and the locality of his new domicile having
come to the knowledge of the occupants of his former home, he was
brought back, it is said, three times. However, all efforts to make
him relinquish his chosen post proved unavailing and each attempt was
followed by a speedy return to the same spot in Greyfriars. Here Bobby
continued to spend both days and nights, taking refuge only in rough
weather under a tombstone hard by, and stoutly resisting all friendly
advances made by the compassionate strangers desirous of providing
a home for him. In course of time a shelter was erected for his
protection near his master’s grave. He continued his daily visits to
the restaurant, arriving punctually at the same hour, and never failing
to receive his bun from the kind-hearted proprietor. This went on for
nine years when, owing to a more rigorous enforcement of the seven
shillings yearly dog license, Bobby was arrested as a “vagrant,” and
appeared in court accompanied by his humane sympathizer and defender,
the restaurant keeper, who was accused of harboring the dog. They were
tried before three magistrates who, after hearing the story, tempered
the law with mercy and forgave him for not paying his rates, thus
saving Bobby from an untimely end.

This remarkable dog, who, by an irony of fate, had great length of days
granted to him, lived until 1872, and then, like his master, was buried
in Greyfriars’ Churchyard, where his grave, now marked by a rose bush,
is often pointed out to visitors. A short time before Bobby’s death
the Baroness Burdett-Coutts visited Greyfriars, and the sight of the
Highland mourner so interested her, that when his demise occurred, she
obtained permission to erect at the street corner, near the churchyard
gate, a granite fountain with an effigy of the inconsolable dog sitting
on guard.

How can I better close this unworthy monograph upon man’s faithful
friend, than by quoting Senator Vest’s immortal tribute to the dog
delivered before a Missouri jury. He certainly epitomizes the subject
as no one else has.

“Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in this world may
turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he has
reared with loving care may become ungrateful. Those who are nearest
and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good
name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has
he may lose. It flies away from him when he may need it most. Man’s
reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action.
The people who are prone to fall on their knees and do us honor when
success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when
failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish
friend a man may have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts
him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog.

“Gentlemen of the Jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and
poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground,
when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may
be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to
offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with
the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as
if he were a prince.

“When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and
reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun
in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth
an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog
asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him
against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene
of all comes and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is
laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue
their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head
between his paws and his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness,
faithful and true even to death.”



PEP

The Story of a Brave Dog

[Illustration]



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                     PAGE

    I  A BLUE RIBBON DOG      25

   II  THE RUNAWAY            38

  III  THE CROSSING           56

   IV  THE HOSPITAL           73

    V  THE BATTLEFIELD        90

   VI  THE RESCUE            105

  VII  HOMEWARD BOUND        116



PEP: THE STORY OF A BRAVE DOG



CHAPTER I

A BLUE RIBBON DOG


Pep sat up very straight at his end of the car seat and looked hard out
of the window. This was his usual amusement when he and his master were
traveling. But he did not travel often, as his master was a very busy
man, so he appreciated every trip that they made.

His full name was Pepsin. His master was a doctor so that accounted for
the name. With the boys, however, who all loved him, the name stood for
pep or grit.

Pep was an English bull terrier, sleek and clean cut. His white coat
shone like satin and it was as soft as velvet. Well it might have
shone, for the doctor’s man had been washing and brushing the dog for
weeks.

Pep knew that the trip was momentous, but just where they were going,
or what was up he could not have told.

His master was usually calm and collected, but this morning, he was
excited. The dog could feel it plainly. In fact he felt all the changes
of temperament in his beloved master. If he was sad or glad the dog
changed his own feelings to keep pace with his god.

Pep was not as democratic as most terriers. He was quite particular
about his friendships. There was but one person in the whole world whom
he devotedly loved and that was the doctor. You could see this by the
way he looked sideways at his master when he tired of the landscape.
Also by the manner in which he met the advances of strangers on the
train.

Their destination was the New York Bench Show where Pep was to be
entered. This was the momentous errand on which they were bent.

Pep was the usual type of bull terrier, about sixteen inches at the
shoulders and weighing nearly forty pounds.

His ears were cocked and pointed. Their backs had been shaved that very
morning, and the pink blood coursed through them freely.

The doctor was reading a newspaper and occasionally the dog would give
it a poke with his nose, to intimate that the man ought to stop and
talk to him.

The doctor and his wife had no children and they always referred to Pep
as “the boy.”

Arrived at the New York Central, Pep and his master took a taxi for
Madison Square. Once they were fairly within this great arena, Pep
thought it the most exciting place he had ever even dreamed of.

Such a host of dogs he had not thought the world contained. There were
large dogs and small dogs, short-haired dogs and long-haired dogs,
excited dogs and complacent dogs, but most all were excited. A dog
had to have a pretty good opinion of himself to keep his head in such
a place as this. Such a chorus of yelping and barking, growling and
whining greeted them as they walked down the main street that Pep did
not know whether to be joyous or angry. For the life of him he could
not tell whether it was only just play, or the preliminary to a great
fight.

If the men did really loose all these dogs and they should fly at one
another’s throats, he made up his mind that he would get a good hold on
the throat of a bulldog who had growled at him as he passed, and not
let go until the cross fellow had apologized.

Presently they stopped before a man in a small booth, who asked a lot
of tiresome questions about Pep. He wanted his age, weight, breeding
and many more facts, which the master patiently gave him.

Finally Pep was given a number, 223, and they passed along.

They passed by St. Bernard street, Newfoundland street, Collie street
and finally down to the smaller dogs, until they came to the terriers,
where they located permanently in Bull Terrier street. There were about
forty dogs here, tied in a double row, with a broad walk between the
rows. Here the master tied Pep in his own stall and told him to be a
good dog, and went to look for some friends.

For the first five minutes the dogs in Bull Terrier street were very
disrespectful to Pep and called him all the bad names in the dog
dictionary, but seeing how goodnatured he was, they soon ceased their
jollying and asked him where he came from, what his master’s name was,
and what his name was. Presently he was on speaking terms with the dogs
on either side of him.

“It is a very fast class, Pep old boy,” said a sleek terrier across the
street. “If the judge so much as looks at you you will be lucky.”

“My master says I am a sure winner, but I am not saying anything about
it.”

“You’ve told each newcomer for the past two hours,” growled a savage
looking bull terrier next to him. “If I could only slip my collar, I
would fix you so that the judge would kick you out of the ring. You
have got too many airs, my fine fellow.” At this harsh threat the dandy
slunk back in his corner and finally lay down and pretended he was
asleep, but Pep knew he was just shamming.

It seemed an eternity before his master reappeared, but he was not
really gone more than an hour. When he came back he had another doctor
with him, whom Pep knew well. He was the master of Pep’s friend, Larry,
a clever Irish terrier, who had also come to the show.

Presently there was great commotion in Bull Terrier street. Men came
from every direction and unchained their dogs. Some put them on fancy
show leashes, and they were led away to the show ring.

Here there was another inquisitive man, who entered their names and
numbers. Finally the ring was nearly full of bull terriers, all excited
and straining at their leashes. Each master was trying to make his dog
hold up his head and look his prettiest.

Pep’s master had been giving him lessons to stand for inspection on the
leash so he stood like a drum major, with head up and his tail carried
properly. The judge spotted him almost as soon as he came into the ring.

He stopped short in his tracks at the sight of Pep and stood very
still. The other dogs were straining at their leashes, but the judge
did not see them. His eyes were all for Pep. Finally he lifted his
eyes to the doctor’s face and winked at him knowingly. The doctor
looked down quickly, but he gave Pep a confidential shove with his leg.

Pep did not just understand this, but thought it a good omen.

After that, the judge did not even glance at him, but went methodically
about his work. One by one the dogs were led from the ring. Each one
took his cue from the dejected manner of his master, so all went with
tails drooping. Finally, there were only two left besides Pep. Then the
judge stood these two dogs upon a little platform at the center of the
ring and examined them carefully. Occasionally he would stop and glance
across at Pep.

Pep saw that his master was watching the judge intently so he did the
same. When the judge looked his way he wagged his tail, for he felt
sure that this was a man to be cultivated.

Finally the judge got up with a deep sigh. “Take them both away,” he
said shortly. “They are good dogs, but they are not in the class with
this one,” and he came over and stroked Pep’s head. “Here’s his blue
ribbon. Take him up to the free for all. It may not do any good, but
I want to see him lined up against the old champion, Lord Lansdale.
Somehow I can’t keep my eyes off him, but I presume he will look small
enough beside the champion.”

The doctor stooped down and hugged Pep and he was very happy. He felt
sure that the man had liked him and that pleased his master. He loved
to please his master above all else.

So they went back to Bull Terrier street, Pep with his blue ribbon and
his master looking very happy. There they received the congratulations
of the surly dog who had threatened to chew the dandy’s throat if he
could get at him, while the dandy sulked in his corner.

“I liked you the first minute I saw you,” said the surly terrier,
mellowing up and fairly smiling. “You don’t put on airs. I can’t stand
airs in a dog. That is, unless he is a champion.”

“Wait till he goes up to meet the champion,” whimpered the dandy.
“He’ll come back with his tail between his legs, or I am a liar.”

“You are a liar all right,” growled Pep’s new friend, “but he won’t
come back with his tail between his legs. If he’s licked he’ll take it
like a thoroughbred. If the other dog’s better than you are, admit it
and don’t sulk as you are doing.”

Here the conversation was interrupted by a call for the winners in each
class to go up to the ring for the finals, so Pep went with his master
and both were much excited.

The judge did not so much as look at him when he entered the ring and
poor Pep thought it was all up. He felt sorry for his master, who, he
at once saw, felt the slight.

“Keep your head up, old chap,” whispered the master, and Pep looked as
haughty as he could, copying the manner of the old champion who stood
at the center of the platform, his eyes half shut, gazing off into
space, just as though the whole show bored him to death and he would be
glad when it was over.

One by one the winners were placed on the platform by the champion but
it needed only a glance at most of them and the judge said, “Take ’em
away.” Then master and dog would slink out of the ring. The last dog
who went on before Pep lasted much longer than his predecessors had.
The judge looked him over for several minutes and even held his head
beside the champion’s before pronouncing his doom.

Then he turned about quickly. “Where’s the doctor’s dog?” he said. “He
is the only dog in the show that can give the old champion anything
like a go. Bring him on.”

Pep mounted to the platform much excited, although he tried hard not to
show it. The champion looked at him sleepily out of the corner of his
eye. Pep thought his manner said, “So here’s another. Well, they will
soon take him away.”

The judge stepped back several feet and looked at them very hard,
without saying a word. Then he scratched his head and said, “Well, I’ll
be darned. I never expected to be up against it like this.”

[Illustration: “The judge examined them carefully.”]

Then he went up and began feeling the two dogs over very carefully. He
passed his hand along their backs, and legs. He let their ears slip
gently through his fingers. He lifted up their paws. Then put them down.

Pep watched him from the corner of one eye. He could see that the judge
was more and more worried.

Then he stood off and looked at them again. He scratched his head and
pulled his mustache, then came back and went all over the handling
process once more.

Finally he held a muzzle in either palm and laid their heads side by
side. His hand trembled and Pep felt that he was much excited.

At last he stood up and heaved a deep sigh. “I am very sorry,” he said,
and stooped down and stroked the old champion’s head.

Poor Pep’s heart stood still. He felt as though the judge had struck
him. He wanted to yelp with pain. He knew it would disappoint his
master so, but the judge’s next words fairly stunned him.

“Take away the old champion,” he said. “He is outclassed. This,” and he
laid his hand caressingly on Pep’s head, “is the better dog. I never
dreamed that I would live to see Lord Lansdale dethroned.”

Then a great shouting went up around the ring.

“Hurrah for Pepsin. Congratulations, doctor. Let me stroke him. Let me
get inside and feel him over. Bring him out, doctor, we want to take
some photos of him for the press.”

Pepsin was so astonished at all this fuss that at first he thought he
had done something bad and was to be punished, but when his master
caught him up in his arms and hugged him joyously his happiness was
complete.

From that time on, as long as they stayed at the show, he was a much
petted and flattered dog.

If he had been a silly, vain dog, it would have turned his head, but he
was a sensible fellow and he took it as a matter of course.

The following day, when Pep and the doctor were having a fine time,
walking about the great hall, along the main street, looking at the
dogs, a boy in uniform with a blue cap came up to his master and gave
him an envelope.

Pep sat on his haunches and watched the doctor very closely while he
looked at the piece of paper. Somehow he did not like these messengers
with their pieces of paper. They always upset things. This one seemed
to be even more disturbing than usual, for the doctor put the telegram
hurriedly into his pocket and they started out of the building not
stopping to speak to any one.

“It’s my call, Pep,” he said as they took a taxi for the Grand
Central. “I’m off for the war, old chap.”



CHAPTER II

THE RUNAWAY


Pep’s master was very quiet all the way home and the wise dog knew
intuitively that he was disturbed about something. He tried several
times by rubbing against him, to get him to notice his “blue ribbon
dog,” but after several futile attempts he settled down at his end of
the seat and went to sleep with his muzzle on his master’s knee. He had
often seen the doctor like this, when studying on some perplexing case,
so he wisely left him to his thoughts.

Occasionally he would wake up and look at him out of the corner of one
eye, when he would find him studying the disturbing letter that the
messenger boy had given him. It was not until they were almost home
that the doctor aroused himself and took the dog into his confidence.

“Pep, old boy,” he said, stroking his sleek sides, rubbing his nose,
and pulling his ears gently in a way he loved, “we have got a hard task
ahead of us. I don’t know what the mistress will say. We have expected
it for weeks, but it will be a shock just the same.”

The motor was waiting for them at the station as the doctor had
telegraphed ahead and they were soon whizzing through the darkness
towards Pep’s kennel, which he considered the best spot on earth.

“How did the mistress take it, Thompson?” asked the physician as they
bowled along. “I did not say what was up, but I imagined she would
guess. You know I had intended to stay the rest of the week.”

“She knew right off. She is bearing up well, sir, but it is a great
blow to us all. She’s a brave little woman, doctor, and won’t show the
white feather.”

The little woman referred to met them at the door. She had a warm
embrace for the doctor, and a pat on the head for Pep, but she did not
even notice the blue ribbon, which showed how disturbed they were.

“It’s come at last, Betty,” said the doctor briefly as he removed his
overcoat. He handed her the hateful telegram and stood watching as she
read it.

Pep watched both his mistress and master narrowly and his dog heart
was troubled. For he noticed that his mistress shivered as she took
the telegram. The little cry that escaped her as she read it, made him
whimper and go to her, standing on his hind legs and putting his paws
on her knees.

She reached down and stroked his glossy head and a tear fell on his
upturned muzzle.

“I wouldn’t have you miss it for the world, John,” she finally managed
to say. “It’s a man’s part and you are every inch a man, but it has
come so suddenly.”

“You are a brave woman, Betty,” the doctor returned chokingly. “I thank
you for making it so easy for me. It is just as hard for me to go as it
is for you to have me. There is little danger to a surgeon. I will come
back all right.

“Look at Pep, Betty. He wants you to see his blue ribbon. He is a blue
ribbon dog now. He’ll take care of you while I am gone. Won’t you, old
sport?”

The mistress admired the trophy as much as Pep could have wished, but
somehow it did not satisfy him. He knew instinctively the house was
filled with tragedy and what was a blue ribbon more or less when such
things were happening.

For the next two hours every one hurried frantically to and fro; such
confusion Pep had never seen in the well-ordered house. The mistress
would suffer no hands but her own to finally pack the doctor’s suit
case.

Others might hand things to her, but her hands must tuck them away for
him.

Pep followed disconsolately from room to room, keeping out of the way
as well as he could. He finally took up his position by the front door
and waited. This was the door through which his master always left when
he went on important missions. He determined not to be left behind.
If it made his mistress feel so badly to have master go away he would
go with him, then she would know he would be safe. Of course all this
packing meant his master was going away. He had seen it many times
before, but why they hurried so, and why every one’s heart ached, he
could not imagine.

At last, everything was ready and Thompson and the motor were at the
door. The doctor came into the office. Pep saw that his face was very
white. The mistress came in also and stood close to him. Her face also
was white and she was trembling. Neither spoke for several seconds.
Then the doctor took her in his arms and held her tight for at least
a minute. Then still without speaking, he set her gently down in the
large easy chair and with a sudden motion, slipped out of the front
door with his suit case.

He went so suddenly that the cry of the mistress and the bang of the
door sounded almost together.

The closing door missed Pep’s muzzle by barely an inch. He leaped at
it and whined frantically and whimpered as the motor rolled away. Then
like the faithful companion and sympathetic friend that he was, leaped
into his mistress’ lap to kiss away her tears and comfort her.

She hugged him to her heart and poured out her grief in his
sympathetic ears. Of course he did not know just what made her feel so
badly, but he snuffled in unison with her and told her as plainly as
a dog could that he felt just as badly as she did and that they were
fellow sufferers.

Finally, the mistress dried her eyes and went to straighten out the
house. Pep lay down upon his favorite rug to think. He did not intend
to submit tamely to being left behind in this unceremonious manner.

He thought to such good advantage that when Thompson came back with the
motor, he had fully made up his mind. When the chauffeur at last came
in after putting up the car, Pep was waiting for him at the front door.

He had his muzzle close to the crack so as to be ready. Thompson had
barely opened the door and squeezed partly through, for he had been
warned to look out for Pep, when the terrier shot between his legs and
with a scurry of feet along the walk, he was gone into the darkness.
A second later, he was out on the street running frantically for the
depot. Thompson and the mistress whistled and shouted but he paid no
attention to them, and they saw him disappear twenty rods away around a
corner, running like the wind.

“He’s gone after the doctor. The little cuss has gone to war,” cried
Thompson. “What shall we do? The doctor told me half a dozen times
to-night to keep an eye on him.”

“Take the motor and follow to the station. He can’t go further than
that.” So for the second time that night, the doctor’s machine whizzed
away to the depot.

Thompson had to put some gasoline in the car before he could follow,
so Pep reached the depot five minutes ahead of the machine. Instead
of finding the train puffing away on the tracks as he had expected,
the rails were clear. His master had gone. He was too late. He sniffed
frantically up and down the platform to find the scent but there was
none that he could recognize. Then he remembered the track. The two
shining sticks that the train always ran upon.

He knew which way his master had gone, the one way to New York. He
looked up at the station platform and away into the darkness. Then
Thompson and the motor whizzed up: That decided him. He turned his nose
towards New York and galloped frantically down the track.

Meanwhile the doctor sat in the smoking car chewing savagely on the end
of his cigar, and looking gloomily out of the window. His home and his
wife had hitherto been all and all to him.

Now his country had called him. He found to his surprise that there had
been all the time a deep sense of love of country lying dormant in his
nature. A newsboy on the train was selling small silk flags. The doctor
purchased one and placed it in his buttonhole. His fingers now fondled
it lovingly as he mused.

All that he loved here in the homeland was dropping further and further
behind. This new strange passion for country was taking him far from
home, wife, and friends, to what hardships and struggles he knew not.
It did not matter though as long as he came through safe and sound.

At this point in his reflections, a shiver ran through the train. At
first it was only a tremor, but immediately it grew into a crashing,
grating, grinding sound. The train buckled in the middle, raising three
cars fairly from the track. Others swayed this way and that.

There was the sound of breaking car floors, of shattered glass, and
grinding car-frames. Together with the more frightful sound of the
ripping of rails and the breaking of ties, but shot through all these
mighty sounds of destruction, was the frantic screams of women, and the
hoarse cries of men, who fought and struggled as they felt themselves
hurled to doom.

It was only a broken axle that had caused all this destruction of life
and property. So the superintendent’s report said a few days later.

The car in which the doctor was riding fared better than many of the
others and merely toppled on its side after being butted off the track.

The physician was thrown across the isle, but not injured. Almost
before the rest of the passengers knew what had happened he was on his
feet and breaking his way out through a window. Five minutes later, he
was going from point to point attending the injured, organizing relief
and giving what aid he could with the limited means at hand.

Meanwhile, Pep was galloping frantically after the express train. He
had not dreamed it was such a long way to New York. It had always
seemed like a very short ride to him while sitting on a car seat
looking out of the window. Surely the great snorting thing which drew
the train had long legs and ran very fast.

For an hour the terrier galloped at his best pace, but the straight
and level way stretched on just as straight and unending as it had
been when he started. By this time he was getting tired, so he slowed
down and began to wonder if he should ever reach the great city where
he had been so recently to the dog show. Perhaps he had not done right
to come. He knew well that Thompson and his mistress had called him.
He had heard them plainly. Perhaps his master would not even be glad
to see him. Maybe he would rather he had remained at home to guard
the place while he was gone. His thoughts were not probably quite as
definite as this, but he began to have misgivings about running away.

Now a bright light loomed up in the distance. It was the train. No, it
could not be. It was coming towards him. On it came like a terrible
demon, rushing straight at him. He bolted down the embankment to safety
just as the train swept by. It was on one of the other tracks and would
not have harmed him, but it was just as well not to take any chances.
He had seen a careless dog cut in two once at his home town station.

Again Pep took to the rails and galloped on for another fifteen
minutes. Then his patience was rewarded for he saw a light ahead. Not
one but several. There were men running hurriedly about. The train had
stopped.

It must be the doctor’s train for it was on the right track. He would
find his beloved master soon.

Almost the first person that Pep saw as he galloped up to the wreck
was the doctor. He was kneeling beside a man lying on the ground.
The man was groaning and the physician was doing something for him.
Pep was a doctor’s dog and quite well versed in the ways of doctors.
He had often sat on his favorite rug in the office during a serious
consultation. He did not notice that his master was trying to replace
a dislocated shoulder, or he never would have jumped and pulled his
coat tail as he did. To the doctor at this critical time, all dogs were
alike. So without even looking around, he kicked at the intruder who
was disturbing his work.

The kick though slight, caught Pep under the jaw and made him yelp, but
it hurt his feelings mightily. Here he had nearly run his legs off to
catch up with the train and his master did not even look around when he
barked. Also an unheard of thing had happened, he had kicked him. So he
retired to the edge of the circle of light that surrounded the wreck
and sat on his haunches watching the doctor work.

Presently the shoulder snapped back into place and the surgeon passed
on to other unfortunates. Pep followed at a distance, always keeping
on the rim of light at the edge of the darkness. For half an hour he
dodged about, keeping himself half in the shadow watching, then a
wrecking train came up and a score of doctors and nurses descended.

At about the same time, the forward part of the wrecked train, which
had not left the rails, was made ready for completing the run to New
York.

The conductor went up and down calling for every one to get aboard.
With genuine alarm, Pep saw his master climb into the car nearest the
engine, but he did not dare to follow him. He was probably very angry
and would not like to see him at all.

He saw the conductor wave his arm at the engineer who was leaning out
of the cab window, then the locomotive began to puff and the train to
move.

While two cars went past him Pep stood uncertain, then with a scramble
and a glad bark he sprang upon the rear platform of the third and last
car. He went with such a rush that he nearly slid off on the other
side, but he finally gained his footing, and crouched down beside the
door.

Presently the train got up speed. The car swayed from side to side and
he slipped and slid on the smooth floor. The train also made a great
noise, which terrified him.

He was lonesome also, as there was no one to notice him out there alone
in the dark. There certainly was a difference between traveling in a
warm coach with one’s master, and slipping and sliding about on the
rear platform, stealing a ride like an ordinary tramp.

After about half an hour, which seemed much longer to Pep, the train
entered the long, dark underground passage which he had always noticed
just before they reached the great city. They were almost there.

When the train at last stopped, Pep slid down from his platform and ran
along towards the engine, but his master was too quick for him. When
he reached the car where he had seen him enter, he was walking rapidly
down the platform, almost running in fact. A taxi driver was carrying
his master’s suit case and they seemed much excited.

The official at the gate saw they were in a great hurry so did not
detain them and Pep slipped through between his legs, while he was
looking at the ticket of a passenger who was just entering.

Pep had all he could do to keep his master’s legs in sight and not
confuse them with some other man’s legs. To him the place was all
legs; legs and skirts hurrying this way and that. Electric gongs were
ringing, men and women were calling to one another, the megaphone man
was shouting out the trains, and engines were thundering in the train
sheds.

“We’ve got just forty minutes to make the boat,” said Pep’s master as
he scrambled into the taxi and the driver hurled the suit case in after
him.

“Can you make it?”

The man’s reply was lost by the slamming of the door, but he sprang
into the driver’s seat and the motor started.

Pep had not been allowed to follow the doctor’s car at home, but this
was different. His master had gone off and left him. He had not dared
even make himself known. For a second he hesitated, then fell in behind
the motor and began a wild race for the wharf.

Such a bedlam he had not even dreamed of as that which filled his ears,
once they were fairly out on Broadway. Machines whizzed by at every
rod. He kept close to the taxi so as not be run down by some passing
machine. Several times the taxi almost stopped and once the doctor
shouted to the driver that they must hurry. Out and in they twisted,
breaking many traffic rules, but always making sure and steady progress
towards the wharf. At last they whizzed down into the great noisy
thoroughfare leading to the waterway. Finally, the machine stopped.
The driver snatched the suitcase and the doctor fairly ran after him
as they hurried towards a strong gate that was constantly opening and
closing with a loud bang.

Even before they reached it, Pep made up his mind that if his master
got through without seeing him, he would lose him. So as the gate
opened, he sprang upon the physician with a glad bark. The doctor
turned and looked down at him.

Then Pep leaped full in his arms and planted a dog kiss on his cheek.

“For Heaven’s sake, Pep,” exclaimed the astonished physician. “Is that
you? Where in the world did you drop from? I must find some one to take
you back home.”

“You’ll have to hurry, mister,” shouted the taxi driver.

“What can I do with this dog?” cried the perplexed physician. “I don’t
know how he ever got here, but I can’t leave him alone.”

“You are going to miss the boat. You can’t wait another minute.”

“Take him along. You can ship him back on the boat, or find some one to
take care of him on the other side.”

Pep stood on his hind legs looking up into his master’s face. The
doctor was dazed and uncertain. The taxi man shouted again.

“I tell you the boat will sail in just one minute. Take him along, or
miss the boat.”

“All right, old pal. It’s us for Europe.” With these words, the doctor
stooped down and gathered Pep up in his arms partially covering him
with his overcoat to shield him from fussy officials, and followed the
excited taxi driver into the elevator. Up they shot, and then along the
gangplanks to the great floating palace which was to be Pep’s home for
the next ten days.

About ten seconds later the tug began straining at the hawser working
the great boat out of her slip. The adventure had fairly begun. Dog
and master were upon their way across the Atlantic to take part in the
great struggle against the Hun.



CHAPTER III

THE CROSSING


Noticing that several of the ship’s officers whom they passed eyed Pep
askance, the doctor singled out the most affable looking one and went
straight to the point.

“What about dogs?” he asked. “My dog followed me to the very gangplank
and I had to bring him along or miss the boat. He is a very valuable
dog. I wouldn’t have anything happen to him for the world. He is a blue
ribbon dog.”

The officer looked at the dog doubtfully. “If you really value him,” he
said, “you had better not let the first mate see him. He is death on
dogs. Why, the last trip across he had four thrown overboard. They were
pets of wounded soldiers, too. It made the crew as mad as March hares.
There wasn’t any sense in it, either.”

At this the doctor looked troubled, but he was a diplomat and a man
of quick action. He knew there was many a way of circumventing unjust
regulations like this.

“Here is a five-dollar bill,” he said, slipping the greenback into the
hand of the officer. “You introduce me to the official who is the most
of a dog lover.”

“That’s the old man,” said the official doubtfully. “I wouldn’t dare
to approach him, but you might appeal to him if the worst came. He is
the captain of the ship, but we call him the old man. The head steward
keeps a little dog in his cabin. Perhaps he might accommodate you.”

So they went to the chief steward’s cabin, where they found that
necessary official swearing at his associates.

“Another dog,” he snorted, when the proposition had been put up to him.
“Well, I guess not. Ginger worries me nearly to death.”

“He is a blue ribbon dog,” explained the doctor. “They would keep each
other company. Take a look at him.” He held Pep up for inspection.

The steward gave Pep a hurried glance, then came nearer to get a better
view. He stroked his sleek head and tweaked his ears fondly.

“The very picture of my old Sally. Why I sailed fifteen years with
that dog. She was better company than half the folks. Why, yes, I can
make a place for him. Here, Ginger, come here and take a sniff at your
shipmate.”

The doctor set Pep down on the floor and the small black and tan dog
approached gingerly as suited his name, but Pep gave him just one
disdainful glance then looked the other way.

“They’ll be all right when they get acquainted,” said the doctor. “You
see Pep is rather exclusive.”

Finally the dogs touched noses and were friends. Pep was given an old
souwester to lie upon and the steward promised to keep an eye on him
while the doctor went to look for his cabin.

Although the doctor visited Pep twice that evening and he seemed snug
and comfortable, yet he could not forget the horrible picture of the
first mate’s having the pets of the wounded soldiers thrown overboard,
so he determined to have it out with the old man as they called him the
very next day.

All that night the great ship plowed her way through the darkness. Her
lights were all out, but half a mile to the north and half a mile to
the south a long rakish torpedo boat ran parallel with her. These were
her escort. No one knew at what moment a submarine might appear, so
every precaution was taken against those devils of the deep.

The following morning was bright and beautiful, with a stiff wind
blowing at the ship’s bow. Every one was in the best of spirits and all
danger was forgotten.

In the middle of the forenoon the doctor discovered the ship’s captain
standing near the wheel. He had been talking with the man at the wheel,
but he was not busy then. The moment seemed auspicious and the doctor
approached him without delay.

“Sir,” he said, saluting. “I understand you like dogs.”

The captain was a man of sixty, but he looked much older. His face
was wrinkled and weatherbeaten, but a smile shone through his
weatherstained visage.

“Who told you that?” he asked. “It wasn’t the first mate.”

“No, sir,” returned the doctor. “It wasn’t the first mate, but you do
like dogs.”

“Rather,” said the captain, looking off across the broad expanse of
blue rolling sea.

“Would you like to see the champion of the recent New York dog show? He
is a gentleman. An English bull terrier.”

“There isn’t any such animal aboard,” returned the captain.

“Yes, there is,” replied the doctor. “If you have a few minutes, come
with me and I will show him to you.”

The captain followed, incredulous and excited. If there really was a
blue ribbon English bull terrier aboard, he wanted to know it. It would
never do to risk such a prize with his present mate, the dog hater.

They found Pep waiting for them and straining at his leash. The doctor
picked him up that the captain might better admire him. For several
seconds he looked him over in silence, then put out his hand and
stroked his sleek head.

“He’s a blue ribbon dog sure enough,” he said at last. “I’ll speak to
the mate about him. We don’t want him swimming for his life in the
Atlantic. That mate is a strange man. There is something wrong about
him, but he is a good officer. Pep is to be a regular passenger with
all the privileges of the ship, sir.”

Pep became a prime favorite with several of the passengers, once he was
permitted to come out of hiding. Although the first mate glowered at
him and muttered ominously, he did not dare lay hands on him since the
old man had said he was a regular passenger, with all the privileges of
the ship.

One little girl in particular, Hilda Converse, the daughter of an
importer who was going across in the interests of his firm, fairly
worshiped Pep. Hilda had just lost her mother and that was why her
father was taking her with him under such dangerous circumstances.

Hilda and Pep were inseparable, once she had found her way to his warm
dog heart.

The morning of the fifth day out dawned dark and stormy. The wind had
kicked up a great sea and the mighty swells rolled mountain high.

Finally the wind increased to the dimensions of a hurricane, and all
but the most hardy sought their cabins. The doctor, however, liked to
stay out in the open where he could watch the storm. The winds fairly
shrieked in the rigging and about the tall smokestacks. The sea hissed
and seethed, and the winds whipped it and beat upon it, until the air
was filled with flying spray. Finally such a yeast was kicked up that
one could gather hands full of the feathery foam from the air. Sky and
water seemed to meet, and the mighty ship and its human freight were
at the very heart of this terrible storm. So far as they could see or
feel this was all there was to the world--a world of wind and foam, all
turbulence and frightfulness. One of the ship’s boats was broken loose
by a mighty sea and swept away. It rose upon the top of a great swell,
then sank into the trough and was seen no more.

The doctor watched the ship’s crew narrowly as they worked. They worked
like soldiers, each doing his part with dispatch and decision. The
captain stood on the bridge, the master mind. The ship, the crew, all
obeyed him implicitly. He was the will of the ship, and an iron will at
that.

Finally the fury of the storm spent itself and the skies cleared,
but the effect of the hurricane was still manifest in the sea. Great
foam-covered swells rolled by, many of them breaking over the lower
deck. But they were rhythmic and one always knew when to expect the
next one. This was all right as long as the waves ran at the regulation
height, but the combers were quite different. In them is an element of
danger that no seamanship can guard against, no matter how skillful it
may be.

A comber is a wave twice or three times as high as its fellows. It is
the king of waves, riding head and shoulders above its fellows, and
often carrying death and destruction in its wake. Combers sixty feet
high have been observed by trustworthy witnesses.

The ship had experienced several combers about five o’clock, none of
which did any damage, although they drenched the lower deck and sent
hogsheads of water into the cabin. The sun had come out and many of the
passengers had reappeared on deck. Little Hilda had gone down into the
steerage to visit another girl with whom she had become acquainted.
They were standing by the rail chattering away excitedly about the
storm, when the father of all combers reared its foam-covered crest
close to the ship. The ship’s officers had seen it coming, but had not
appreciated how tall it was, because the seas were running so high.
It struck the side of the ship with a noise like heaviest thunder and
submerged the lower deck three feet deep with hissing water. It fairly
covered the two little girls, but would have done no special harm had
not the return impulse of the wave picked Hilda up and carried her over
the rail into the boiling sea.

The doctor and the second mate, who were standing on the hurricane
deck, saw the frightful accident and gave the alarm. Although the sea
was still running mountains high, and it was doubtful if a boat could
live in it, yet a crew sprang to the nearest lifeboat and began slowly
lowering it.

The doctor strained his eyes to see if Hilda came up on the crest of
the next wave, for she had immediately disappeared in the trough. To
his great joy the red dress appeared on the very crest.

“My God!” cried the mate, “there she is.” If there was only something
or somebody to keep her afloat until the boat could reach her, but no
man could swim in that sea.

Pep was whimpering at his master’s legs, trying to climb up that he
might see over the rail. He knew instinctively that something terrible
had happened, he read his master’s thought like an open book.

His sharp yelp of excitement called the doctor’s attention to him. The
surgeon stooped down and lifted him to the rail and in that moment a
sudden inspiration came to him. “Pep, see Hilda. Bring Hilda.”

One of the tricks the doctor had taught him was to retrieve and now the
accomplishment stood them all in good stead.

Could he reach the girl? Should he send him? The chance looked slim,
but in his profession human life was always set above animal life. So
he repeated, “Look, Pep. Hilda, bring.” With these words, he raised the
dog above the rail and pitched him into the raging sea.

It was a good fifty feet down to the water, but the dog landed right
side up and did not seem to mind the plunge, for he began swimming
directly towards the girl whom he had recognized from his perch on the
rail.

The minute following was a tense one for all concerned. There was the
raging sea on one hand, trying to suck up the little human life, and
there was the brave dog and the boat battling for her life.

A great shout went up from the ship as Pep reached his playmate and
fastened his teeth firmly in her dress. The first part of the battle
against the elements had been won. Could the faithful dog hold on till
the boat reached them?

[Illustration: “Pep reached his playmate and fastened his teeth firmly
in her dress.”]

All held their breath as the dog struggled to keep his place above the
wave while the lifeboat fought its way toward them. Could they hold
out? Would the boat be able to reach them? These were the questions
on all lips. The minute seemed like an hour, so tense it was. But all
minutes come to an end, and this one did, with glorious victory.

Not victory for the sea, but victory for the dog and the boat. For
at last the watchers saw the boat reach them and the strong arm of a
sailor reach out and drag them both to safety. Then they fought their
way back to the ship while the passengers cheered themselves hoarse.

Hilda was unconscious when they placed her in her father’s arms, and
Pep was so weak he could hardly stand, but his eye was full of fight
and he could still wag his tail in appreciation of the petting he
received.

A warm bed and a restorative soon set Hilda right, and Pep only needed
rest. But he had gained his place among the crew and the passengers as
a hero. If he had not been a sensible dog, they would have spoiled him
with petting during the remainder of the trip.

Four days later the ship came close to the Irish coast and precautions
were redoubled. This was the submarine zone and no one knew at what
moment those devils of the deep might appear.

It was nearly midnight. The ship was creeping along through the
darkness with all lights out, closely guarded by two torpedo boats. The
doctor was sleeping soundly in his bunk and Pep was dreaming of home in
the cook’s cabin, when there came a mighty explosion which shook the
great ship from bow to stern. There had been no warning. It had come
like a sudden clap of thunder, but every one knew instinctively that
they had been struck by a torpedo.

Immediately all was confusion. Passengers came hurriedly on deck,
dressing as they came. For a few seconds two powerful searchlights
played upon the water about the ship to discover the submarine if
possible, and the guns at the bow and the stern were made ready for
instant action, but the murderous devilfish had departed as suddenly as
it had appeared.

The ship was listing badly and the hole was fast filling, so the boats
were made ready. The doctor did not know whether he would be allowed to
take Pep with him or not, but he went to the cook’s cabin for the dog.

The crew worked silently and like soldiers. So rapidly they performed
their tasks that when the doctor reappeared with Pep the first boat
load was pulling away from the ship. Soon the doctor’s unit was called
and he went around to the other side of the ship where a boat was
already nearly loaded.

“Can I take the dog with me?” asked the doctor doubtfully as he reached
the rail. A ship’s officer stood at the rail with drawn revolver.

“Not by a damnsight,” he growled. “Look at that boat.”

The doctor looked. The lifeboat was crowded to the gunwale.

“Hurry,” commanded the officer. “The boat is waiting.”

“But what shall I do with my dog?” pleaded the doctor, though he saw
that Pep’s case was hopeless.

“Hurry, I tell you. It’s no time to be haggling about the life of a
dog. Get in or I will give the signal for the boat to pull off.”

“All right,” said the doctor. “Give it. I can’t leave Pep.”

“Here, here, doctor,” growled a stern visaged colonel coming up behind
them. “You are under military orders. Get into that boat. Give the dog
to me.” He snatched the growling dog from his master’s arms and threw
him upon the deck and then fairly shoved the doctor over the rail and
down into the boat.

The doctor heard a dismal howl from Pep as he was left behind and then
he felt the boat lowering towards the water.

“Officer,” he called to the man at the rail, “Shoot the dog. I can’t
leave him in that way.” But instead of shooting him, the officer kicked
at Pep who was trying desperately to climb over the rail.

The doctor sat huddled in the corner of the lifeboat, his head in his
hands as they pulled away from the ship.

It seemed strange to the other passengers that with death all around
them a strong man should feel so deeply the loss of a dog, but only
dog lovers understand these things. No one but a dog lover knows the
comfort of that soft tongue on your cheek, or the muzzle in your hand.

Presently the doctor was aroused from his grief by a wild yelp. He
looked back towards the ship and in the darkness he could just see Pep
balancing himself on the rail, and a second later he sprang into the
sea.

At the sight, hope welled up in the physician’s heart. If it was not
more than five miles to the shore, perhaps the dog could swim. Soon the
white head appeared close to the boat and the dog whimpered to be taken
aboard, but his master could not even do that much for him. The law of
the ship was like the laws of the Persians, irrevocable, but he talked
to Pep and encouraged him as he swam behind.

Half an hour passed and the dog swam steadily. They must have covered
two miles. Another half hour went by and Pep began to weaken and to lag
behind. Occasionally he stopped to tread water.

The doctor’s heart sank within him, it was going to be a losing
fight for brave Pep after all. But at this point the boat stopped to
determine if possible their direction and by a mighty effort Pep
regained the gunwale. Then a bright idea came to the doctor and he
cursed his stupidity for not having thought of it before. He unlaced
his shoes and tied the strings together. Then he coaxed Pep close to
the boat and tied the shoestring in his collar. With that done he
breathed a great sigh of relief. The dog was now as safe as the rest of
them. If the boat made shore, he would.

Two hours later the lifeboat grounded on the beach and the physician
dragged his nearly senseless bull terrier after him to the shore.

He was quite spent, but could still wag his tail and lick his master’s
hands, and the doctor knew that rest was all he needed.

“Good stuff, old pal,” he said, tweaking the dog’s ears as he set him
down on the beach. “It takes more than a submarine to put you and me
out of commission. We will get even with the Boche for this.”

To which Pep responded with a sigh of deep satisfaction.



CHAPTER IV

THE HOSPITAL


Pep and his master were finally assigned to duty in the great hospital
at Brest and life went on there quite to the dog’s liking.

The hospital was composed of a number of long, low buildings, all cool,
clean, and quiet. There were so many buildings and wards for different
ailments that Pep wondered how his master could ever remember where all
his patients were. When the doctor was too busy to have him around,
Pep spent his time in the dispensary, where he was a prime favorite
with Captain Everts, who had charge of this important portion of the
hospital. The captain was also a doctor, so sometimes his friends
called him “Doc” and sometimes “Cap,” but all were very respectful.

There was a fine soft rug under a great table and here Pep would lie
for hours watching the doctors and nurses come and go. Some of them
spoke to him and some did not. For some of them he would grin and wag
his tail, but the majority he hardly deigned to notice.

He usually went with the doctor for his morning rounds through the
wards. He would follow sedately at his master’s heels from ward to ward.

When his master stopped to examine a patient, Pep stopped and watched
proceedings narrowly. There were several things that he noticed his
master always did. First he would say “Good morning” and “How are you
this fine day?” The doctor always said that no matter if it was raining
buckets full, and it was either raining or cloudy most of the time.

Then the doctor would go to the paper which they called a chart at the
head of the bed and study it intently. Pep could usually tell whether
or not his master was pleased with what he saw on the chart.

When he was not pleased, the doctor would take out his watch and hold
the man’s wrist. He would also sometimes look at the patient’s tongue,
but usually the surgeon spent his time putting on bandages, changing
dressings, and doing other needful things for the poor wounded soldiers.

Some of the men would speak to Pep and for some of them he would stand
on his hind legs and let them stroke his head. If he liked the soldier,
he would lick his hand. So it happened that many of the soldiers came
to look for Pep’s morning visit as much as they did for the doctor’s.

He would often visit at the convalescents’ ward on his own account.
There the men were up walking around, or sitting in chairs. Usually
they would be playing cards, reading, or writing letters home.

They often took Pep into their confidence and told him about their
sweethearts at home, or that he reminded them of a dog they once knew.
Several of the soldiers in this ward became very fond of Pep and he of
them. He would allow himself to be stroked and petted a great deal by
his favorites. He felt in some way that it helped the soldiers to pet
him. He knew that he and his master were here to help the soldiers, so
he would gladly sacrifice his dignity in the good cause.

He would sit gravely listening for half an hour at a time while the
soldiers talked excitedly about the battles they had been in. He noted
that their faces always grew grave or angry when they mentioned the
word Boche. So he finally decided in his dog way, which was not quite
clear as to the reasons why, that Boche meant something bad. It was
probably the enemy, the thing that they were all out here to fight.

Finally one of the men who was fond of dogs and had a trick dog
at home taught Pep to growl at the mention of the Boche, and this
accomplishment greatly pleased the soldiers.

Every two or three days the activities at the hospital would be doubled
and then Pep would often hear the word battle. That meant that the
number of ambulances arriving that day would be greatly increased. At
such times he was always out in the great quadrangle before the main
building watching the ambulances come and go, and the nurses and
doctors unload the wounded men. It was a serious time. No one laughed
or joked here as they did in the dispensary. At such times his master
would not even notice him when he rubbed against his leg to attract his
attention.

Pep slept on his fine rug under the table in the dispensary. Some one
was always on duty, and nurses were coming and going all night. In
fact, the hospital was almost as busy during the night as it was in the
day time.

One night when he had been there about three weeks he was awakened by
the most terrible thunderstorm that he had ever heard, or at least that
was what he thought it. The thunder claps came one after another in
quick succession. Only they were much more staccato than thunder, more
like giant firecrackers. Nurses and doctors were hurrying to and fro,
and the orderly hospital was turned into pandemonium.

Pep came hurriedly out of his place of hiding under the table to
discover what was the matter, and soon heard the word Boche. Every one
was so angry that he decided the Boche must have something to do with
the thunderstorm, but just what he could not imagine.

He was trotting about after the captain growling softly to himself when
a thunderbolt much louder than the rest exploded right in their midst.
Pep heard the sound of breaking glass all about him. Some of the pieces
stuck in his skin and the air was filled with a pungent liquid that
drenched Pep’s back.

He growled savagely, but his growls changed to yelps when the liquid
began eating into his skin. With yelps of pain he fled from the
dispensary, out into the open air. This did not help much, however,
as the liquid still burned fiercely. All was excitement outside. The
thunder had ceased but broken glass was everywhere, while in many
places there were bricks and timbers and splintered boards thrown about
in every direction.

Finally an orderly noticed Pep’s distress and examined him. He brought
ointment and rubbed the dog’s back till the burning almost ceased. But
in the morning it was seen that he had lost a large patch of hair just
back of his shoulders. This was his first wound at the hands of the
Boche, but not his last.

The terrible thunderstorm which Pep had been through was a Boche
bombing expedition which had the base hospital as its mark.

So Pep learned that there were devils in the deep and devils in the
sky, and he knew from what was said about them that they were all
Boches.

After that night he growled louder than ever at the word Boche.

One day about a week after the night bombing expedition Pep’s master
came into the dispensary. Pep was lying under the table on his favorite
rug, asleep, but he aroused himself at the familiar step.

“Hello, old sport,” said the physician, tossing a stick of cinnamon
candy under the table to the dog.

Pep was very fond of candy, especially of cinnamon. His master, who
was something of a joker, said it was because of the bark in it. The
terrier wagged his tail in appreciation, swallowed the candy after two
or three crunches and came out to greet his master.

The doctor sat down heavily in the easy chair by the table and motioned
for Pep to come up into his lap. This was a privilege for special
occasions and the dog complied with alacrity.

The doctor looked about the room wearily. He had just come off
duty after eighteen hours, and was very tired. The large room was
nearly empty, the only other occupant being a young man who sat at a
typewriter clicking away for dear life at the other end of the room.

“It’s just you and I, Pep,” said the man, running the dog’s silky ears
through his fingers in a way the terrier loved. “We can have a good
visit, Pep. I’m lonesome, old chap. I want you to comfort me. I am
thinking of the dear old home and the mistress. What do you suppose
the little woman is doing to-day? I’ll bet you another stick of candy
against three wags of your tail that she is thinking of us. I am sure
of that, old sport.”

The dog took the proffered candy gingerly in his teeth and then dropped
it disdainfully on the floor. His master was incredulous, so stooped
and picked up the candy and offered it again. Pep was usually ravenous
for candy but he again dropped it on the floor, then sat up very
straight and looked hard into his master’s face. His ears were cocked.
His expression was inquiring. There was something afoot, something
in the wind that he did not like. No candy for him until his master
smiled, or looked more cheerful.

The look that the dog fastened on his face was so intent that the
master’s gaze fell before that of his inquisitor. He pulled the dog’s
ear to distract him. But he would not be distracted. Instead, he put
his paws on the man’s shoulders, and looked fairly into his face. The
man stooped down and kissed him on the top of the head.

“You are all I have to kiss now, Pep,” he said. “I’d rather kiss you
than some folks. I’m thinking of home, old chap.”

The dog heaved a deep sigh. He knew that his master was sad and he was
a sort of æolian harp that always responded to his master’s moods with
sympathetic chords.

“Pep,” said the doctor sternly, “sit down in my lap and listen. I want
to talk to you. I am going away.”

The dog sat on his haunches in the man’s lap and listened intently, his
head on one side as though to catch each word, a sad, wistful look on
his face.

The doctor had sometimes used that tone to him before when he was going
away to New York for several days. Then it had meant loneliness and dog
heartache, so Pep was rightfully depressed.

“I’m going away, Pep. It is to the front. I am going where the wounded
men come from and you must be a good dog and stay here and not run
away. Do you understand? You must be a good dog.”

Pep knew the tone was that of reproof and admonishment, so he dropped
his ears and looked very meek.

“The last time I left you, you ran away and made me lots of trouble.
This time you must be good.”

The dog wagged his tail and whimpered. He would be good.

The doctor felt of his collar. It was very heavy and studded with
brass rivets. “It’s strong enough,” he said. “You can’t break that.”
Then he tried it to see if he could slip it over Pep’s head. It was
rather loose, so for luck he took it up a hole. “There, now I’ll get a
good strong chain and I guess you’ll be all right. Of course you’ll be
lonesome and make a great fuss, but these are hard times for us all,
and you will have to be a good soldier like the rest of us.”

Pep had seen the doctor try his collar before when he was to be tied
up. His freedom was very dear to him. He loved to roam about the
hospital. They were going to tie him up. He crawled up and licked his
master’s face eagerly and pleaded in his dog way.

“It isn’t any use, old chap. You have got to be tied up.”

Sadly the terrier sank down in his master’s lap, a look of utter
dejection on his face.

The doctor laughed. “It isn’t as bad as that, old sport. If I come
back we’ll have good times yet. If I don’t, I’ll tell them to send you
home to the mistress. If I don’t come back, you take good care of the
mistress.

“Here come my orders, old chum,” said the physician, giving Pep a final
hug as an orderly came in and put a telegram in the surgeon’s hand. The
doctor read the letter hurriedly and put it into his pocket.

He then brought a heavy dog chain and snapped it into Pep’s collar and
led him out of the dispensary to a storeroom where he sometimes slept
at night. He fastened the chain securely to a staple in the wall and
after giving Pep a parting hug, departed hurriedly, unmindful of his
whimpers and angry barks. Half an hour later the doctor was on a train
speeding away to the front, while Pep sulked dolefully in the storeroom.

Pep seemed to know instinctively that his master had gone for a long
time. The doctor had left him several times before for half a day
since they had been in France, but now it was different. That long
confidential talk in the dispensary and the affectionate hugs and
lavish petting foretold to his dog mind a long separation.

That night Pep howled so persistently that his friend, the Captain,
finally came into the storeroom and gave him a sound thrashing. After
this he was silent except for occasional half stifled whimpers and sobs
of grief. But though he seemed to take his hard fate stoically, he was
not reconciled.

The Captain led him each day on the leash into the dispensary and
chained him to the leg of the table. He watched the movements of every
one who came in and if any one spoke to him he at once told them in as
plain language as a dog could use to unsnap his chain and let him go.
But the Captain warned each newcomer that Pep was to be kept strictly
on the chain until his master’s return.

In the daytime he was not so lonesome or unconsolable, but in the night
he often lay awake whimpering for his master or working at his chain
and collar trying to get loose. He would spend hours tugging at the
chain, pulling at the staple with his teeth, or trying to get at his
collar, until he lay down utterly exhausted.

So it fared with Pep for two weeks, until finally one night when he had
tugged and strained even more violently than usual, one of the links in
his chain which had been only partly welded broke and he was free.

Free from the chain, but not free from the hospital. He knew well that
if any one discovered that he was loose, he would be tied up again, so
he crouched in a corner of the room behind a packing box and awaited
his chance.

Nurses often came to this storeroom in the night for supplies.

After about half an hour, the door opened quickly and some one came
in hurriedly. The door was left half ajar, so Pep slipped out and ran
into the main corridor leading to the great quadrangle in front of the
hospital. Here he slipped behind a door and waited for the next door to
open.

Luck was with him. The telephone was constantly ringing, and soon
nurses and doctors were hurrying to and fro. Presently he learned the
reason why, for they began bringing in an endless procession of wounded
men. The quadrangle was filled with ambulances.

He could hear the motors puffing away from his hiding place. When
wounded and dying men are arriving faster than they can be cared for,
men do not think much about dogs, so it was easy enough for Pep to slip
out through the quadrangle and into the boulevard. He brushed against
the leg of his friend the Captain, who did not even notice him.

Once out on the broad street he turned his nose northward and galloped
away like the wind.

Something away to the northeast was calling, calling, calling. A mind
and a soul that was stronger than his own dog mind was pulling him,
pulling, pulling, pulling, so why should he not know which way to go?

This sense or instinct which some of the dumb animals have is called
orientation. Dogs and horses have it to a marked degree and homing
pigeons and seals even more. Thompson Seton tells of how when
hopelessly lost in the Rocky Mountains a dozen miles from home his
horse carried him straight to camp, when he gave him his head.

My own small dog, a clever beagle, has an almost uncanny sense of my
whereabouts, a sense that transcends mind.

When I arise in the morning and go from my bedroom to the bathroom he
may be playing with some other dogs twenty rods away, but as soon as I
open my bedroom door, as though I had touched a hidden spring in his
dog intellect, he will turn and gallop for the house and be whining at
the front door to be let in when I come down stairs.

These lesser minds are to our stronger minds as filings to the magnet.
We call and they come though no word is spoken and our command may only
be expressed in a great longing.

So Pep galloped and galloped and knew not why, only something was
calling and calling and he could but obey. He did not need a map or a
compass. His dog instinct supplied both.

The reason for his galloping was this. His master, who was also his
god, lay in a narrow gulch at the edge of the Argonne forest, close to
a little brook in a poplar thicket, shot through the hips and nearly
dead from thirst and loss of blood.



CHAPTER V

THE BATTLEFIELD


So fast do events move at the front, with the wonderfully organized war
machine, that six hours after the doctor’s unit finally detrained at a
little station somewhere in France, near the Argonne forest, they found
themselves closely following up an American regiment. The regiment was
engaged in that most nerve-racking and hazardous undertaking of routing
out machine-gun nests in a heavily wooded sector.

Even before they left the train they could hear the continuous
cannonading away to the northeast. It was like the constant rolling of
heaviest thunder dotted with many quick staccato explosions. The fire
from the heavy artillery was also visible along the horizon.

At first they went forward through open country, undulating and
broken, but soon entered intermittent woods, with deep ravines and
sharp ridges, just the sort of country for hard fighting.

Much of this region was so rough that the ambulances could not
penetrate it, and the wounded had to be brought out for leagues on
stretchers; but most of them lay where they fell and the surgeons and
Red Cross men gave them first aid there, and trusted to luck to get
them out later.

The region had been the scene of heavy fighting for two days, and the
signs of war’s horrible devastation were on every hand. Shrapnel had
stripped the trees of much of their foliage. Many of them were down
while others were torn and broken, with limbs hanging or strewed on the
ground. The whole face of nature was scarred and furrowed, seamed and
made hideous by the passing of the hurricane of battle.

How beautiful was the fair face of France in peace, yet how terrible in
war.

But now the heaviest fighting had rolled away to the north and the
immediate work was that of the regiment in front of them which was
clearing out the hornet’s nest of machine-guns that the Boche had left
behind.

But the doctor was a man of courage, deeply absorbed in his profession,
and he soon found himself cutting out proud flesh and bandaging up
gaping wounds, with the bullets whistling through the treetops above
him, just as unconcerned as though he were still in the hospital at
Brest. From point to point these brave men followed in the wake of
battle, here and there snatching a desperately wounded man from the
very mouth of hell. No bands played to divert them. There was no
glitter of uniforms, or bright flag to inspire them, only the call of
duty and the pathetic gratitude of the poor fellows whom they succored.

Just at dusk the doctor found himself alone in a narrow gulch. Deep
shade was overhead, and a little brook babbled softly through the
gulch, but now its cool waters were red with blood and roiled with the
passing of many feet. In this gulch the surgeon found several dead and
wounded men, and it was while binding up the wounds of a Tennessee
mountaineer who had been shot through the hip that a stray bullet found
the surgeon and stretched him beside the man whom he was trying to save.

At first he was not in great pain, only paralyzed, but as the hours
passed and the stars appeared up among the tops of the trees, fever
mounted in his veins and finally delirium seized him and he talked
incoherently to a dead man beside him of home and friends far away.

Meanwhile faithful Pep still galloped on to the northeast, obedient to
the strong magnet that pulled him, the call of his master’s heart to
his own loving dog heart, which knew but this one strong passion.

All through that night he galloped, only occasionally slowing down for
a few kilometers to rest. He did not know to what place he was going,
or what it would be like when he arrived, but he did know that at the
end of the long road his master was calling for him. By noon of the day
following his escape from the hospital he was so foot-sore he sometimes
had to stop to lick his paws. They were stone bruised and bleeding at
the roots of the nails. But he did not pause for long, he could not
with his master calling.

By evening he had reached the small station where his master had
deployed with his unit at noon the day before. He immediately struck
into the partly wooded undulating country. The sight of trees and
woods pleased Pep. All the way he had been fearful that some one would
catch him and carry him back to the hospital before he should find
his master. In the woods he felt more secure for here he could hide,
besides something told him that somewhere here in the forest he would
find the doctor.

It was now ten o’clock at night, and the Boche had decided that they
did not want the enemy to bring up fresh troops and occupy the woods,
so they were sweeping the thickets and gulches with shrapnel and
shells. Pep was terrified with the deafening noise and the bright
flashes all about him. Occasionally he would stop and whimper and
crouch close to the ground. The earth was friendly. It would not let
these fierce bolts of lightning or the terrible thunder get him.
Occasionally he would stand uncertain for several seconds and whimper
softly.

Instinctively he knew that these sounds were full of danger to himself.
He had seen what desolation such sounds could make the night the Boche
bombed the hospital. He wanted to go back, but he could not for his
master was still calling. To him there was but one law, and that was
obedience to the voice which he loved. So after a short time he would
again creep forward.

At last after a more fearful explosion than usual, which rained small
particles all about him, he found himself in the narrow gulch, by
the little stream near which his master lay. He stopped for a moment
to cool his burning feet in the water and to lick up some of the
refreshing liquid, then, joy of joys, he discovered the doctor’s
footprints in the sand close to the brook. He sniffed excitedly and
then with a glad yelp sprang forward eagerly keeping his nose close
to the ground in order not to miss the trail. It wound in and out
for several rods. Once it stopped by the side of a dead soldier. Pep
sniffed at the man’s cold face, then hurried on. Would his master be
like that when he found him? He missed the trail for a few feet where
the doctor had stepped on some stones, but he soon recovered it again.
Then joy unyelpable, he took the body scent and abandoned the trail.
Three or four bounds carried him to the spot where the surgeon lay,
prone upon the ground and very still.

Pep sniffed at his master’s face eagerly. It was not cold like the
soldier’s. He licked the face frantically and whimpered pitifully. He
sought the hand and thrust his muzzle into it. That, too, was warm, but
very limp.

Again Pep began washing the dear face and something in the familiar
touch penetrated to the surgeon’s slumbering consciousness, bringing
him partly out of his swoon.

Pep noted with delight that the limp fingers closed gently over his
muzzle and he registered his joy with a glad bark. Had his master been
fully possessed of his senses he would have warned him that it was very
dangerous to bark in the enemy’s country, but the doctor was only
partly conscious. The gentle pressure did not mean as much as the dog
imagined.

It was partly an involuntary movement. He was so used to squeezing the
dog’s muzzle that it was something that he did instinctively. Then the
hand lay still for a long time and the faithful watcher became very
anxious. He returned to the face and showered it with dog kisses. But
his master did not respond, so he went back to the hand.

Here, after a long time, he was again rewarded, for the fingers tweaked
his ears gently. This was an old love token of his master’s and the dog
was delighted. From this time on he went from hand to face licking and
encouraging his master.

It is quite possible that these gentle ministrations did much to revive
the fainting man. They at least gave him something to hold on to. They
formed an objective, something towards which he might struggle, just as
a gleam of light affords the needed clew in the darkness.

At last the physician came to himself enough to speak the dog’s name
in a thick, strange voice, but it was unmistakable and the frantic
terrier was overjoyed. Then the man lapsed into silence and was very
still for another long time.

Finally to the great relief of the agonized dog the hand began fumbling
about and the man to talk incoherently.

“I’m shot through the hips. It is dark. I was lost, and faithful Pep
came and found me. He’s a good dog, faithful old Pep.”

At the sound of his name Pep renewed his frantic kissing of his
master’s face.

“Pep he sticks by me. He is a good dog. God, how weak I am! I am
burning up. If I only had a drop of water.”

His hand went instinctively to his canteen. With a great effort after
many trials he found it, but the hand was too weak to carry it to his
lips. Pep watched these feeble efforts with dismay, his master was
usually so strong and decided in his movements. He had seen men in the
hospital act just like this. His master must be sick, indeed.

Again the doctor rested and Pep waited, not knowing what to do.

Finally, with a deep sigh, the physician raised the canteen slowly to
his lips. He was at least a minute in performing this simple act, but
when his fevered, parched lips closed over the nozzle, the canteen was
found to be entirely empty. With a groan he let it fall and sank back
discouraged. Pep was quick to notice the distress in his master’s voice
when he again addressed him.

“Pep, old comrade, I am dying for the want of a little water. Water,
Pep, I want some water.”

The dog listened intently, but could not catch the man’s meaning, so he
gave him another score of dog kisses.

The doctor reached down and lifted up the empty canteen. “See here,
Pep, old comrade, I want water. I am dying for water.”

Pep whimpered softly, echoing his master’s agonized tones. Then the
gleam of a wonderful idea shot through the doctor’s brain. It was an
inspiration, a thought the good God who watched over all his children
had given him. He laughed as he considered it dazedly. It seemed
feasible. Anyhow it was his only hope. He would try it.

“Pep,” he said, lifting the canteen feebly and tossing it a few feet
away.

“Bring, Pep. Bring.”

The dog at once sprang to the canteen and brought it in his mouth to
his master.

“Good dog, we’ll try again. This time he tossed it towards the brook,
which was about twenty feet away. Again Pep retrieved the canteen. Then
the doctor threw the canteen as far towards the brook as he could,
having first removed the top. It fell just a little short, but Pep
brought it to him, thinking it a fine game.

The next time the physician had the satisfaction of hearing it drop in
the water. Pep was after it in a flash. This was great fun.

To the doctor’s disgust there were only a few drops of water in the
canteen when the dog returned with it as he had held it on its side.
But even these few drops were most grateful to the parched tongue. The
next time they had much better luck. Pep by accident held it by the
nozzle and the doctor found the canteen half full of water. He seized
it with delight and drank long and deep. Then he petted and praised
Pep generously and with a deep sigh of satisfaction lay down to rest.

“You stay here, old comrade, and watch while I sleep. I’m just about
all in. When I have rested we will see if we can get out of this.”

Soon his beloved master was so quiet that Pep was once more alarmed
lest he become like the dead soldier he had seen beside the brook
a few rods back. For a long time he sat on his haunches watching.
Occasionally he would steal close to the man and lick his hand or face.
Then he would return to his silent vigil.

In the bushes near by he could hear a wounded soldier groaning and
moaning, talking in his delirium. In another direction he could hear
some one breathing deeply. The doctor could have told him that this
man was dying, but Pep did not know this. All about them in the woods
shells were bursting. Shrapnel was making the woods hideous, stripping
the foliage and green branches from the already partly denuded trees.

Through open places Pep could see strange lights to the north. These
were signal rockets.

Pep was very tired and foot-sore. He did not feel sleepy, but very wide
awake. There was a glad joy in his faithful dog heart for he had found
his master, but all was not well with them yet. His master wanted to
sleep and sleep. It was not like him. They were far from the hospital.
These frightful noises were not good for either men or dogs, but he
could do nothing else but just watch and wait. Again his master awoke
and began talking to him strangely. He first threw the canteen and
drank from it twice, but he did not seem to get relief. The truth was
his fever was mounting and he was even weaker than he had been before.
Both of these facts finally filtered into his consciousness. Something
must be done at once.

He must have medical aid immediately. Somebody or something must
come to them shortly or it would be too late. Again he drowsed and
considered the facts in the case vaguely.

Once more he had a bright idea, which was another inspiration. He must
manage in some way to get Pep to go for help. This was his only chance.
He could not tell the dog what he wanted, but he could send him away.
Perhaps he would find a Red Cross man somewhere in this inferno of a
woods and bring him back, so he summoned all his remaining strength for
this attempt.

“Here, Pep, old comrade. Come up close and listen.” Pep crowded a
little closer and cocked his ears, alert and eager to do his master’s
bidding.

“You must go for help. I can’t tell you so you will understand, but go
home. Go home.” He struck the dog feebly on the shoulder and repeated
the words, “Go home.”

The blow, slight as it was, hurt Pep keenly, but he listened. The
doctor repeated the blow and the admonition.

The dog knew well what those words meant. They were the most hateful
words in his dog vocabulary, which was not large. How many times
his master had turned, when Pep wanted so much to follow, and said
sternly, “Go home.”

He waited. Surely his master could not mean it this time. Here he was
alone and sick away in the dark woods. Surely he wanted his dog to stay
with him. But again the master struck him, and said, sternly, “Go home.”

Sadly, reluctantly, he turned, whimpering as he went and trotted off
into the darkness occasionally looking back over his shoulder to see if
his master had not repented.

The doctor heard him splash into the brook to cross it, then he sank
down wearily, a great drowsiness creeping over him. For awhile he
fought it, but finally yielded and sank into deep oblivion.



CHAPTER VI

THE RESCUE


As Pep trotted away into the shell-raked woods he was probably the
most heartbroken dog that ever slunk away to do his master’s bidding.
He had traveled so far to find his beloved master, his feet had been
sore and his tongue parched with the long journey and he had watched so
faithfully by the doctor’s side all through the long night. And now his
master had sent him away. He knew that his master needed him also, for
he was so weak he could not even bring his canteen with water, or hold
up his head to drink.

The blow on his shoulder had been a very light one, but it had wounded
Pep more than any blow he had ever received before.

Why did his master send him away? He had been a faithful dog. What
should he do? Where should he go? He was not quite sure of the way
back to the hospital. The woods were full of frightful sounds, full of
lightning and thunder, the kind that tore the limbs from great trees,
stripped the leaves from their branches and plowed holes in the ground,
holes so deep that if he ever fell into one of them he might not be
able to get out again.

For several seconds he stood whimpering under a bush, uncertain, but
his terrier fighting blood soon asserted itself and he began picking
his way slowly forward in the direction which he thought would take him
back to the road that led to the hospital.

For fifteen minutes he went forward managing by his clever dog instinct
to keep going in the same direction, where a human being might have
gone round and round in a circle. Then something happened that quite
changed his course. It came so suddenly that he did not know where it
came from. He only realized in a dim way that it was a part of this
terrible night, more of the frightfulness that was all about him, only
this time it nearly got him.

Suddenly, and without any warning, there was a bright flash of light
over among the bushes. The air was filled with broken limbs and flying
leaves and dust, and hundreds of small missiles, and one of these which
was really a fragment of shrapnel, caught Pep in his hind leg, and left
that member limp and broken, as useless as a stick.

He was so stunned and shaken and the breath was so knocked out of him
that he lay still for several minutes, but finally he dragged himself
up on three legs and tried to discover what had happened to him, and
where he was. There was such a tangle of brush about him that it was
difficult to extricate himself, but finally he dug his way out. Then
it was that he discovered the accident to his leg. It pained him
frightfully and the blow had partially paralyzed his back, so it was
many minutes before he could even drag himself forward, a few feet at a
time.

Soon his tongue came out and he was panting and lolling as though it
had been noonday in summer, instead of the cool of the morning. It was
now so hard to travel that he did not think he could even reach the
smooth road, for he had to lie down and rest every few rods.

Once he found a cool, green spot under a great tree where war had not
devastated nature. Here he lay for half an hour resting and then,
feeling better, he went forward faster.

He had come almost to the edge of the woods when he heard men’s voices.
He listened eagerly. Perhaps they were friends. If they were, he would
go to them. Soon he made out the voices plainly. They were not far
away, so he crept forward eagerly.

At last he made them out. They were friends. They wore uniforms like
the men at the hospital. He wagged his tail frantically and crept still
closer. He would make sure. There were so many things to be afraid of
here in this strange land to which he and his master had come.

Presently the men came so close that he could see them plainly. They
were talking in low voices. They were two Red Cross men carrying a
wounded soldier on a litter. He was very sure they were good men, for
their dress was just like that of the men who unloaded the ambulances
at the hospital. With a glad yelp Pep limped forward. He felt very sure
they would be good to him. The Red Cross men had often petted him at
the hospital.

The men were so busy with the wounded soldier that they did not notice
him until he rubbed against the leg of one of them. That made the man
stop and cry out.

His companion laughed. “’E won’t ’urt you, Bill,” he heard the other
man say. “’E is just a poor wounded bull terrier. ’E just came out of
the bush.” The two men laid down the stretcher to rest and one of them
called Pep to him.

“Poor Perp,” he said. “You ’ev got it in your ’ind leg. War is ’ell all
right, eh old dog?”

Pep assented and licked the man’s hand. There was something he wanted
the man to do. He could not think what it was, but the man’s next words
reminded him.

“Where’s your master, old sport? You air lost. Whose dog are you, Perp,
any how?”

It was not so much the words as the way the man said them and the way
he rubbed Pep’s muzzle that really reminded him of his master, wounded
and weak, away off in the terrible woods.

Pep whimpered and sniffed and the man who loved dogs saw that he had
struck a sympathetic chord.

“W’at’s your name, Perp? You looks like a good fighting English bull
terrier all right. You are a thoroughbred or I ain’t no judge of dorgs.”

Pep whimpered again and turned and licked his flank.

“Yes, I see you air hit. So is this poor devil in this air stretcher.
Come, Bill, we must get him out of this.”

Together they took up the stretcher and started forward. Pep was
frantic. He caught at the man’s pant leg and pulled backward. They must
not leave his master in the woods. They must go for him, too.

The man kicked at him. “What’s the cur want, Bill?” he growled.

“I guess ’e don’t know what he does want. He is lonesome and hurt and
afraid, an’ sick uf the whole durned war, just like you and me.”

When they stopped to rest again, Pep went up to the friendly man and
nuzzled his hand and licked it. Then he turned and trotted a few rods
away and stopped and looked back at them, whimpering and whining for
them to follow.

“What do you make of ’im, Bill, anyway?” asked the surly man.

“By gun,” cried Bill, springing up, “I ’ev it. He wants us to follow
’im, ’e has found some one off yonder who is wounded an’ he wants us to
go with ’im. Perhaps it is his master.”

Pep barked and wagged his tail. When the man got up to follow him, he
was delighted.

“See ’ere, Bill, you can’t leave this ’ere one. We ’ev got to get him
out first.” But luck was with Pep, for another Red Cross man came along
and took Bill’s place at the stretcher and his new friend was free to
follow him.

“Now, Perp,” said Bill comfortingly. “You just lead the way an’ if
there is anything in this ’ere woods you want me to know about, I’m
your man.”

Pep went forward eagerly, absolutely sure of the way. He no longer
thought of his broken leg, or the terrors of the woods. He was bringing
aid to his master. Twenty minutes later he led the way into the ravine
and there they found the doctor. He was lying very still with one hand
across his face. The Red Cross man thought that he was dead, but Pep
smelled the beloved hand and saw that it was warm. The Red Cross man
felt for the pulse. It was fairly strong.

“All right, old Perp,” he said in a whisper. “’E’s still alive. Perhaps
we’ll save him yet. You just watch here and I will go after another
hand and a stretcher.”

So for the second time that night Pep took up his vigil by his master’s
side on the edge of the Argonne forest.

It greatly worried Pep to have his master lie so still. He covered his
face with dog kisses, and nuzzled his hand, but the hand would not move.

He seized the canteen in his mouth hoping that the doctor would throw
it that he might bring it to him as he had done earlier in the night,
but his master made no sign. So finally the faithful dog lay down to
watch. He felt sure that the good man would come back. Something in his
voice had reassured Pep.

At last after about half an hour he heard footsteps and soon to his
great delight two men appeared with an empty stretcher. Silently they
laid the wounded physician on the stretcher, then lifted their burden
and began slowly carrying it through the thick woods. Pep limped after
them, overjoyed that help had come at last.

For half an hour they crept forward, often stopping to rest. At such
times Pep would crowd up close and put a kiss on his master’s cheek.

Now that the responsibility had been partly taken from him, Pep noticed
his own wound more and more. His broken leg was swelling badly, and
once when he caught it in the underbrush it made him yelp with pain.

Finally, when they had been traveling slowly for about an hour, he sank
down with a doleful howl and could go no further.

“What’s the matter with the dog, Bill?” asked the man ahead. “He seems
to have gone limp.”

“I guess he’s all in,” returned Bill. “Just set down this stretcher
and I will go back for him.” So Bill went back for Pep and took him up
tenderly in his arms.

“What are you going to do with him now you have rescued him?” asked the
other.

“He’s going in the stretcher,” returned Bill decidedly. His companion
grumbled and expostulated against carrying a dog, but Bill was
determined and as usual he had his own way.

“Why, if it had not been for ’im we would not have found the doctor at
all.”

So it came about that Pep had the honor of riding in a stretcher just
like any other wounded soldier, and that with his beloved master. He
snuggled down under the man’s arm, and watched the boughs above brush
by. He was so tired and exhausted that for once he forgot he was a
little soldier on guard and fell asleep, and did not awake until they
reached the road.

“It’s all right, old Pup,” said his friend Bill. “We’ve got to the
ambulance. You was the last straw that nearly broke our backs. But I am
glad we took you. You are well worth saving.”

Bill took his seat in the ambulance close to Pep’s master’s head, the
motor began purring and they were off for the long run to Brest.

Bill did what he could for the doctor, wetting his parched lips and
forcing brandy between his teeth and at last, to the delight of both
man and dog, they saw the surgeon slowly come to himself.

“Where am I?” he whispered.

“You are all right, safe and sound here in the ambulance. We will be at
the hospital in an hour or two. The dog showed us where you were.”

The doctor smiled and whispered Pep’s name. He drew the dog close to
him and his hand held one of the terrier’s ears gently. Thus with a
deep sigh of satisfaction Pep again dozed and did not awake until they
reached their journey’s end.



CHAPTER VII

HOMEWARD BOUND


Thanks to the restoratives given him and the nursing he received while
on the journey, the doctor recovered consciousness before they reached
the hospital. He did not seem to care about himself, but gave very
minute directions regarding Pep.

“He stuck by me like a brother and saved my life, and I want him to
have every care that any wounded soldier would get. I want his leg put
in splints, and the best surgeon in the hospital to dress it every day.
You may think he is nothing but a dog, but I tell you he is a soldier
and deserves a soldier’s care.”

After that the doctor lapsed into silence and let things take their
course. He knew instinctively that everything would be done for him,
but he was not so sure about Pep. Some people appreciated dogs and
some didn’t. He did not want any slight put on his little chum, now
they had been through so much together.

So it was finally arranged that they should occupy the same ward; or,
rather, Pep was given a rug to lie on under a small table at the head
of the doctor’s bed. He was very comfortable here so near his beloved
master.

The doctor, as he lay drowsing, would often hear the dog give deep
sighs of content as he settled down in a more comfortable position on
his rug.

The slightest movement on the part of the doctor would set the dog’s
tail wagging. Every hour or so he would go to the bedside and reach his
head up for a little petting. Then he would kiss his master’s hand, and
they would tell each other in dog and man language, which was half sign
and half speech, how much they loved each other.

Every morning when the surgeon made his rounds, he would speak to Pep
and attend to his splints in the presence of his master. If Pep was
feeling especially good, he would consent to follow the surgeon on
his visit down the ward, stopping critically at the bedside of each
patient, and watching proceedings narrowly. But he always returned
quickly to his master’s bedside once the surgeon had made his rounds.
Pep seemed to think that it was a part of his duty to look out for the
poor soldiers now that his master could not.

It was a joyous day for Pep when his master could finally hobble about
the hospital on two canes. They went from ward to ward talking and
joking with the men. Everywhere they were greeted as heroes. The doctor
always had to tell the story of Pep’s long, faithful vigil in the woods
on that hideous night. This would make the soldiers look hard at Pep
and stroke his head and tell him that he was a good old sport and that
they were proud of him.

One day about three weeks after they had returned to the hospital, the
doctor received a letter from home and he and Pep retired to a quiet
room to read it together.

“Here, old pal, you climb up into my lap. Be careful and don’t hurt my
leg. I’ve got a letter. It’s from the little woman.”

When he had opened the missive and spread it out, the doctor let Pep
smell it and from the delighted wags of his tail and a glad bark that
he gave, the physician was sure that he recognized the scent of his
mistress’s hand on the paper.

“It nearly broke her heart,” explained the doctor, “to know that both
her soldiers were wounded. It has taken a great load from her to
receive the second cable, saying that I am out of danger. She doesn’t
mind if we are lame and crippled, if she can only get us back, Pep.”

The dog was so excited about the letter that he constantly nosed and
sniffed at it, so that it was difficult for his master to read it, but
finally the end with worlds of love for them both was reached.

It was strange, thought the doctor, as he folded the letter and put it
away, how this bit of paper had moved him. He had been through so much
since coming to France, that he was not quite himself, but there was
another consideration also. He had come so near to losing everything
there in the Argonne Forest that life and home and loved ones had
become doubly dear. He had often seen strong men weep like babies when
they received letters from home. It had seemed strange to him that they
should be so moved, but now he understood.

Two weeks more at the hospital went by and both master and dog improved
rapidly. Finally the doctor was able to give up one cane, while Pep had
his splint removed and his master declared that he would soon be as
good as new.

It was about that time the division general visited the hospital.
He brought with him the government’s reward for bravery. In the
presence of the superintendent of the hospital, he pinned a cross for
distinguished service on Pep’s master’s coat.

“I wouldn’t be here at all to receive the cross, general,” said the
delighted surgeon, “if it had not been for that dog.” The general asked
for Pep’s story and the doctor told it.

“Wish I had a handful of crosses for dogs,” said the general at the
conclusion of the story. “I would certainly give him one. Here is some
money. Get him the finest collar that money can buy and mark it from
General Blank, as a mark of his appreciation of distinguished service.”

With these words the general shook the doctor’s hand, and after
stroking Pep’s head went on his way, carrying cheer to the deserving
soldiers in the hospital. As he went from ward to ward, he felt that
all were deserving of the little crosses, but some were luckier than
others.

The next day the doctor and Pep went out shopping and bought the best
collar to be found in the city and had it engraved as the General had
directed. When they returned, Pep went through the wards exhibiting his
collar. He was a very proud dog. Of course he did not just know what it
was all about, but he felt quite sure that he had done something fine,
and that these good men all knew it. So if wagging of his tail would
show his appreciation, he certainly expressed his own feeling on the
whole matter.

After two more pleasant weeks at the hospital they were discharged and
the doctor packed up his earthly belongings, which were few, and made
ready to sail. The great ship on which they had come across was loading
in the harbor and they did not intend to get left.

So one evening they made a final round of the wards and said good-by
to all their friends. Then they were spirited away to the wharf in a
taxicab.

They should have gone like heroes, with bands playing and flags flying,
but the exigencies of war forbade such publicity. Instead they went in
the dead of night, with lights all out so that they could not even see
Old Glory at the masthead. Thus they slipped out of the harbor into the
broad Atlantic.

When the sun came up the following morning, the great ship was far out
at sea. It was a wonderful morning of blue sky and rolling billows and
fresh wind. The entire scene suggested nothing but peace.

And best of all, the ship was homeward bound. Home, home, home, sang
the waves as they slipped under the bow, and the winds sang home in the
rigging. But the weary hearts of the passengers sang home louder than
the winds or the waves.

Probably the two most entirely happy passengers on the ship were Pep
and the doctor as they walked on the hurricane deck and watched the
waves and the sky.

There were no other passengers on the deck and the doctor talked to Pep
as was his wont when they were alone, and the dog, delighted with this
confidence, cocked his ears and listened intently to catch every word.

“It’s a great thing, Pep, old sport, to be alive after what we have
gone through.”

“That’s so,” wagged Pep.

“Those Boches nearly got us both, old Pal, but we finally gave them the
slip.”

“So we did,” sniffed the dog.

“Do you know we are going home to the little woman, Pep? Home, Pep,
home. We are going home.”

The dog saw that a climax in their joy had been reached so he barked
gladly, at which the doctor laughed like a boy.

It was just at this point in their confidential conversation that
Hilda and her father came on deck. The doctor, who had not known that
they were aboard, greeted them joyously, while Pep fairly wagged his
tail off at the sight of his little playmate. Soon the two were racing
up and down the deck in the finest kind of a romp. This was after Hilda
had heard the story of Pep’s bravery and spelled out the inscription on
his new collar.

“Come, Pep,” said Hilda. “Let’s you and I sit here on this steamer rug
and visit while our fathers talk and smoke. I mean while my father and
your master visit. I haven’t hurt your feelings by saying he was not
your father, have I?” inquired Hilda. “I wouldn’t hurt the feelings of
such a brave dog for the whole world.”

Pep assured her with several warm dog kisses fairly upon the lips that
his feelings were not hurt and she once more read the inscription on
the collar.

“I’m awfully proud of you, Pep,” said Hilda. “You are as brave as
a soldier. Do you know I always remember you in my prayers? That is
because you saved my life. I say, ‘Please, God, keep Pep and give him
lots of bones to eat.’”

The terrier wagged his appreciation. Of course he did not know what she
was saying, but he knew it was something good, and he must remember his
manners and be appreciative. So he wagged and kissed and rubbed his
cheek against hers.

“I think this is the very best morning I ever saw,” said Hilda with a
sigh of perfect rapture.

“So do I,” agreed Pep with a short, glad bark.

“Let’s be friends always,” said Hilda, hugging the dog to her breast.

“All right,” sniffed Pep, showering her face with dog kisses, “forever
and forever.”


THE END



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.





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