« PreviousContinue »
"GADZOOKS! "T's well!'T's swell!" exclaimed the king, and
smote his knee;
You know the Prince Schiedieux is due within a week or two,
His Highness (he was six feet six) had hair of auburn hue
With the object of His Majesty his subjects all agreed
The overture (scherzando largissimo ad lib
Sir Harold next performed upon the horizontal bar.
Of course, the ladies had their turns. The house went frantic, quite,
Sir Wibble slipped while juggling some potatoes and a pie,
Count Jiggle thought he'd do some magic tricks with fingers light.
When the program closed, His Highness, in a very flowery speech,
READERS of St. NICHOLAS who are dog- lovely things, the bits of true dog devotionlovers—and I feel certain that you all must were they true? be-will no doubt recall two stirring stories And so if you thought these things, just written by Albert Payson Terhune, one of as I must confess I did, you may save yourwhich appeared in April, 1918, and the other self further perplexity by answering the in December, 1919. Wolf, a big, loyal collie questions in the affirmative. Yes, there was dog was the hero of both these tales, one of a Lad and a Bruce, and there is now a Wolf, which, perhaps,-as with me,-made upon who is loved and returns the love of his masyou a deeper impression than the other. ter just as the story said he did. I know, Does the title “One Minute Longer" bring for I have made the journey to Sunnybank, it back to you? There was Wolf and the Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, the home of Boy of the place, who loved his red-gold-and- Lad and Bruce before they died, and the white companion as much as the dog, in his kingdom now of Wolf. I have seen the mute, appealing way, worshiped him. It grave where Lad lies buried, the cave under tells of a hunting expedition, enjoyed by the the piano where in his kingly days he reigned dog as much as by his inseparable friend the supreme, just as Mr. Terhune related in the Boy. While trudging across the frozen ST. NICHOLAS stories; and what is more, I lake, the Boy suddenly steps into a gaping have had the cold nose of Wolf tucked air-hole. It is needless to repeat all the in affectionately into the palm of my hand. cidents, but at the end when the dog, bleed For a morning, at least, I have lived, it seems, ing and exhausted, leads the rescuers to the within the very pages where youngsters spot where the Boy, half frozen, is mum have existed many times in fond imagination. bling as he clings to the crumbling ice, "Her However, I am getting ahead of my story. oism – consists-in-hanging - on -one So to begin at the beginning. As I swung minute—longer,” something queer and un through the wide-open gate and down the comfortable seems to stick in your throat. zigzagging road to the house, a stone's throw “Gee whiz!" you say to yourself as you close from the silver gleam of the lake, there was the magazine, “it must be great to have a no question that I had really reached the dog like that! Wonder if there was a real home of the Sunnybank collies. A chorus Wolf, or did Mr. Terhune just make him up.” of ear-piercing “yap, yaps," punctuated by
Later, you probably read the two books of an occasional youthful squeal, heralded my Mr. Terhune's, "Bruce" and "Lad-a Dog," coming. They apparently were not unthe latter a story of the father of Wolf. friendly barks, but merely of warning. The
Then you perhaps wondered again if there collies were leaping about in their screened was really a Wolf and a Bruce and a Lad, enclosure, telling those in the house below and if they really worshiped their master as that a stranger had entered the gates. To told in Mr. Terhune's stories. Of course, their master they left unconditionally the you realized that all the thrilling parts of decision as to what sort of welcome I should the various tales could not be true-but the receive.
And so I came to Wolf's kingdom; for it is a hundred a week, he has answered every one he who rules the clan now that Bruce and of them—that is, all but two which blew out Lad are no more. Then came the master. of his automobile one day. He was unable And here, perhaps against his will, I must to find them and has always had a guilty pause a moment to speak of the author of feeling in his heart about the incident. these charming tales. The one word which “There must be two youngsters in this describes Mr. Terhune is “immense"—im- big land of ours who must think me the worst mense in stature and in heart. He has a
kind of a piker,” he said, as he stroked Wolf's hand-shake that measures up to his size; and straight, pointed nose. “But it could n't be yet those vise-like hands, which had made helped. Along came the wind, out went the me wince, turned immediately to pat tenderly letters, and that 's all there was to it.” the well-formed collie head that rested against You might guess that a man who writes his knee. His eyes were just as kind as the with as much feeling as Mr. Terhune does caresses which he had been bestowing upon about dumb animals would be a lover of Wolf.
children. If so, you have guessed correctly. There are ten collies at Sunnybank now, But in Mr. Terhune's case it is like our relBob son of Bruce, Wolf son of Lad, who are atives "who are thrust upon us," as some house-dogs, and eight others who live a less one has said he can not get away from the palatial existence in the kennels adjoining young folks even if he would; for hundreds of the house. Hardly a day goes by that the them have made, and will continue to make, diary of these frolicsome, four-legged com their pilgrimage to the lakeside home of the panions is not crammed to the very margin Sunnybank collies. Yet he and the dogs are with interesting events. Perhaps it is a always glad to see them, and there is always wild chase after Tippy, the dreamy-eyed a welcoming hand-shake from the master Persian house-cat, or maybe the arrival of a and a sniff of approval from the collies. new family of fluffy, clownish-looking puppies. Of all the praise Mr. Terhune receives But be the event ever so humble, it is never about his stories and dogs (and he is far theless of great import to the Terhune house prouder of the latter), he cherishes most the hold and to the Sunnybank collies in par- kindly words from children. ticular.
“I'd rather get a letter of praise from a Mr. Terhune is, naturally, not without his youngster than from all the grown-ups in host of admirers. Few and far between are the world!” he exclaimed, as he laid down a the summer days that several motoring par packet of letters which he had just received; ties do not whizz through the open gate and "When they say that they love Wolf, they draw up, simply bubbling over with excited speak from the depths of their hearts. They youngsters, in front of the veranda. “Where are not ashamed to admit their fondness even is Laddie's cave?" "Show us where Lad is for so vague a thing as the dog character of buried.” “Which dog is Wolf?”
a story. And it is their sincerity, their The questions are fired like shots from a childish enthusiasm, which makes me machine-gun, and Mr. Terhune would have proud and happy in their praise.” to have at least a dozen tongues to keep up Many of the reminiscences which Mr. Terwith them. The great majority of Mr. Ter hune brought to mind were of children. For hune's visitors are those American boys and instance,-and he smiled broadly as his girls who have learned to love these story mind went back in retrospect to the occasion, dogs just as if they really knew them. Of —there are the youngsters who want to see the grown-ups who find their way along the with their own eyes and touch with their lake shore to Sunnybank, there are few mere own hands every spot and object of which curiosity-seekers. Most of them are true they have read in the dog-stories.
The spot dog-lovers who have either lost their own on the piazza where so and so happened to four-footed companions or have dogs at Lad, and the rug where Bruce as a puppy home who have earned as warm a place in curled up and went to sleep, and so on and so their hearts as the Sunnybank collies have on. Often Mr. Terhune is nearly stumped, in the affection of their master.
for the youngsters have learned these trivial And also to Mr. Terhune's mail-box every details by heart and evidently begin to doubt day come many letters from little admirers, the genuineness of the tales if he fails to some wanting to know if there honestly reply immediately. is a "Wolf"; others asking for pictures of One day last summer, a little shaver came the great dog. Though these letters average tramping down the dusty roadway, whistling
merrily. He rang the bell, and, upon Mr. waiting in his automobile at the railroad Terhune's appearance, graphically described station when Wolf suddenly reared himself himself as “the one who wrote him about his in the back seat of the car and began snarling dog stories in St. NICHOLAS.” Of course, angrily. Another car had just passed by, the mailman had brought Mr. Terhune about and in it-you have guessed-were the two
boys who had maltreated him.
Not by sight had Wolf recognized the little offenders, but by scent. And this is all the more remarkable, because he had been in contact with them for a very short time. But they had not treated him with the kindliness of other children, and he had put their scent among those which were odious to him; and in his life such scents were few, for he was a lover of children, just as they were of him. Thus as the unwelcome signal was carried to his nostrils, he immediately recognized it as something he did not like. And his growl of disapproval had been his answer. This is even more strange when one considers the many thousands and thousands of scents which fill
the air and earth. MR. TERHUNE HAVING A FROLIC WITH HIS DOGS
On one occasion a little girl ninety-nine other letters from boys and girls was the heroine and Wolf was the hero of an that very week; but in this little fellow's exciting drama played on the veranda at mind, his description of himself seemed Sunnybank. Like the countless other tots quite sufficient. For had n't he scrawled who had come before her, she was there for his letter all by himself, and had n't he told the sole purpose of becoming acquainted with Mr. Terhune in simple, but heartfelt, words the son of the dog hero that her mother had how much he should like to have a really so often read to her about. truly meat-and-bone dog like Wolf to play Barely had her father turned his back, with?
when a strange thing happened. Just as if But the simple introduction was all that Wolf had been a prancing steed and she a Mr. Terhune desired. What matter if this fairy princess, the girl clambered aboard little fellow were Pete or Jim or Charlie? He the dog's back, and with happy "giddaps," was a lover of the Sunnybank collies and she began digging her tiny heels into his he should have his reward.
soft flank. You can readily realize her Mr. Terhune related another interesting father's horror when he suddenly looked tale about Wolf. Two boys about four up and saw what was happening. More teen years old were the visitors on this oc quickly than I can write of it, he was out on casion. So anxious were they to pat and the porch and had snatched his daughter fondle the dogs which they had heard and from the back of her strange steed. But read so much about, that they let their this is the peculiar thing, the thing which affection become a bit rough for Wolf's makes you love the dog for his almost nervous collie temperament. He emitted human action: ambling slowly over to his a deep growl of warning. Of course he did little rider, he thrust his muzzle into her not mind having his ears pulled by some pink, chubby hand. And if a dog can toddling youngster who knew no better, mile, then there most certainly was a but by a full-grown youngster-well, that broad grin on Wolf's face. And besides the was stretching his good nature a bit too far. smile, there was a deep affection in the Almost a month later, Mr. Terhune was dog's soft brown eyes. For Wolf knew,