1 I__ ,~-"'c
11 I' ..r-
-L Ir- 'Y
~-"- '' 1"-
~h~~~ F: U~~ .~C~P~.
-ar. s ~-'~ ii.
-.~.1~ ,.'+ 1.~
r~Z-' .~'~;;- Lr;Tt~"Y.~-'---~ -~7
n rr'E" .
I~._~:~~~.- rZ.- c;-n."r~x"5'` i~ -)
~'~IA~~.,k;~~jl _~~.rbnt. -lr t r ~j PC' "' ~
L~-.,L" ~ ~ -,_~~ -.
a.V/i.L. 'rr~; j~~' t'~;9>~ :''~.
The Baldwm Lhrary
/R Rm lJ3'La .N
BOB, SON OF BATTLE
Snuffling at the door, Bob scratched and pleaded to get in. Only
two miserable wooden inches separated him from Red Wull.
~i .Y------- 1- I ---- -L__~jlUi.C~.~t~*;lI ~L
COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES AT
THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS
GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
THE COMING OF THE TAILLESS TYKE
I. THE GRAY DOG, ......... I
II. A SON OF HAGAR, . ... 9
III. RED WULL ......... 20
IV. FIRST BLOOD, . ... 29
THE LITTLE MAN
V. A MAN'S SON, .......... 41
VI. A LICKING OR A LIE, ; ..... 51
VII. THE WHITE WINTER, . .. 60
VIII. M'ADAM AND HIS COAT, .. 71
THE SHEPHERDS' TROPHY
IX. RIVALS, . . . 83
X. RED WULL WINS, . ... 93
XI. OOR BOB, . . .. 103
XII. How RED WULL HELD THE BRIDGE, 09
XIII. THE FACE IN THE FRAME,. 121
THE BLACK KILLER
A MAD MAN, . .
DEATH ON THE MARSHES,
THE BLACK KILLER, .
A MAD DOG, . .
How THE KILLER WAS SINGED,
LAD AND LASS, . .
THE SNAPPING OF THE STRING,
HORROR OF DARKNESS, .
OWD BOB o' KENMUIR
XXII. A MAN AND A MAID, .
XXIII. TH' OWD UN, . . .
XXIV. A SHOT IN THE NIGHT, . .
XXV. THE SHEPHERDS' TROPHY, . .
THE BLACK KILLER
XXVI. RED-HANDED, . . .
XXVII. FOR THE DEFENCE, . .
XXVIII. THE DEVIL'S BOWL, . .
XXIX. THE DEVIL'S BOWL, . .
XXX. THE TAILLESS TYKE AT BAY, ..
POSTSCRIPT .. . .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Bob scratched and pleaded to get in .. Frontispiece
He played and laughed and teased old Whitecap. 6
A gray figure seemed to spring from out the blue. 46
Sheep were buried and lost in their hundreds 62
The dog took his post fair and square in the centre of the
narrow way ........... 18
THE COMING OF THE
THE GRAY DOG
THE sun stared brazenly down on a gray farmhouse
lying long and low in the shadow of the Muir Pike;
on the ruins of peel-tower and barmkyn, relics of the time
of raids, it looked; on ranges of whitewashed outbuildings;
on a goodly array of dark-thatched ricks.
In the stack-yard, behind the lengthy range of stables,
two men were thatching. One lay sprawling on the crest
of the rick, the other stood perched on a ladder at a lower
The latter, small, old, with shrewd nutbrown counte-
nance, was Tammas Thornton, who had served the Moores
of Kenmuir for more than half a century. The other, on
top of the stack, wrapped apparently in gloomy medi-
tation, was Sam'l Todd. A solid Dalesman, he, with
huge hands and hairy arms; about his face an uncomely
aureole of stiff, red hair; and on his features, deep-
seated, an expression of resolute melancholy.
2 THE GRAY DOG
"Ay, the Gray Dogs, bless 'em!" the old man was
saying. "Yo' canna beat 'em not nohow. Known 'em
ony time this sixty year, I have, and niver knew a bad un
yet. Not as I say, mind ye, as any of 'em cooms up to
Rex son o' Rally. Ah, he was a one, was Rex! We's
never won Cup since his day."
"Nor niver shall agin, you' may depend," said the
Tammas clucked irritably.
"G'long, Sam'l Todd!" he cried. "Yo' niver happy
onless yo' making' yo'self miser'ble. I niver see sich a
chap. Niver win agin? Why, oor young Bob he'll
mak' a right un, I tell yo', and I should know. Not as
what he'll touch Rex son o' Rally, mark ye! I'm niver
saying' so, Sam'l Todd. Ah, he was a one, was Rex! I
could tell yo' a tale or two o' Rex. I mind me hoo---"
The big man interposed hurriedly.
"I've heard it afore, Tammas, I well 'ave," he said.
Tammas paused and looked angrily up.
"Yo've heard it afore, have yo', Sam'l Todd?" he
asked sharply. "And what have yo' heard afore?"
"Yo' stories, owd lad-yo' stories o' Rex son o' Rally."
"Which on' em?"
"All on 'em, Tammas, all on 'em-mony a time. I'm
fair sick on 'em, Tammas, I well am," he pleaded.
The old man gasped. He brought down his mallet with
a vicious smack.
"I'll niver tell yo' a tale again, Sam'l Todd, not if yo'
was to go on yo' bended knees for't. Nay; it bain't no
manner o' use talking Niver agin, says I."
"I niver askt yo'," declared honest Sam'l.
"Nor it wouldna ha' bin no manner o' use if yo' had "
THE GRAY DOG
said the other viciously. "I'll niver tell yo' a tale agin if
I was to live to be a hundred."
"Yo'll not live to be a hundred, Tammas Thornton,
nor near it," said Sam'l brutally.
"I'll live as long as some, I warrant," the old man
replied with spirit. "I'll live to see Cup back i' Kenmuir,
as I said afore."
"If yo' do," the other declared with emphasis, "Sam'l
Todd niver spake a true word. Nay, nay, lad; you're owd,
you're wambly, your time's near run or I'm the more
"For mussy's sake hold yo' tongue, Sam'l Todd!
It's clack-clack all day- The old man broke off
suddenly, and buckled to his work with suspicious vigour.
"Mak' a show yo' bin working lad," he whispered.
"Here's Master and oor Bob."
As he spoke, a tall gaitered man with weather-beaten
face, strong, lean, austere, and the blue-gray eyes of the
hill-country, came striding into the yard. And trotting
soberly at his heels, with the gravest, saddest eyes you ever
saw, a sheep-dog puppy.
A rare dark gray he was, his long coat, dashed here and
there with lighter touches, like a stormy sea moonlit.
Upon his chest an escutcheon of purest white, and the
dome of his head showered, as it were, with a sprinkling of
snow. Perfectly compact, utterly lithe, inimitably grace-
ful with his airy-fairy action; a gentleman every inch, you
could not help but stare at him-Owd Bob o' Kenmuir.
At the foot of the ladder the two stopped. And the
young dog, placing his forepaws on a lower rung, looked
up, slowly waving his silvery brush.
"A proper Gray Dog!" mused Tammas, gazing down.
4 THE GRAY DOG
into the dark face beneath him. "Small, yet big; light
to get about on backs o' his sheep, yet not too light. Wi' a
coat hard a-top to keep oot Daleland weather, soft as
sealskin beneath. And wi' them sorrerful eyes on him as
niver goes but wi' a good un. Amaist he minds me o'
Rex son o' Rally."
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" groaned Sam'l. But the old
man heard him not.
"Did 'Enry Farewether tell yo' hoo he acted this
morning Master ?" he inquired, addressing the man at the
foot of the ladder.
"Nay," said the other, his stern eyes lighting.
"Why, 'twas this way, it seems," Tammas continued.
"Young bull gets 'isself loose somegate and marches oot
into yard, o'erturns milkpail, and prods owd pigs i' ribs.'
And as he stands looking' about un, thinking' what he shall
be up to next, oor Bob sees un. 'An' what yo' doin' here,
Mr. Bull?' he seems to say, cockin' his ears and trottin&
up gaylike. Wi' that bull bloats fit to bust 'isself, lashes
wi's tail, waggles his head, and gets agate o' charging' 'im.
But Bob leaps oot o' way, quick as lightning' yet cool as
butter, and when he's done his foolin drives un back
"Who seed all this?" interposed Sam'l, sceptically.
"'Enry Farewether from the loft. So there, Fat'ead!"
Tammas replied, and continued his tale. "So they goes
on; bull charging' and Bob driving' un back and back,
hoppin' in and oot agin, quiet as a cowcumber, yet
determined. At last Mr. Bull sees it's no manner o' use
that gate, so he turns, rares up, and tries to jump wall.
Nary a bit. Young dog jumps in on un and nips him by
tail. Wi' that, bull tumbles down in a hurry, turns wi' a
THE GRAY DOG 5
kind o' groan, and marches back into stall, Bob after un.
And then, dang me!"-the old man beat the ladder as he
loosed off this last titbit,-"if he doesna sit' isself i' door
like a sentrynel till 'Enry Farewether coom up. Hoo's
that for a tyke not yet a year?"
Even Sam'l Todd was moved by the tale.
"Well done, oor Bob!" he cried.
"Good, lad!" said the Master, laying a hand on the
dark head at his knee.
"Yo' may well say that," cried Tammas in a kind of
ecstasy. "A proper Gray Dog, I tell yo'. Wi' the brains
of a man and the way of a woman. Ah, yo' canna beat 'em
nohow, the Gray Dogs o' Kenmuir!"
The patter of cheery feet rang out on the plank-bridge
over the stream below them. Tammas glanced round.
"Here's David," he said. "Late this morning' he be."
A fair-haired boy came spurring up the slope, his face
all aglow with the speed of his running. Straightway the
young dog dashed off to meet him with a fiery speed his
sober gait belied. The two raced back together into the
"Poor lad!" said Sam'l gloomily, regarding the new
"Poor heart!" muttered Tammas. While the Master's
face softened visibly. Yet there looked little to pity in
this jolly, rocking lad with the tousle of light hair and
fresh, rosy countenance.
"G'mornin', Mister Moore! Morn'n, Tammas!
Morn'n, Sam'l!" he panted as he passed; and ran on
through the hay-carpeted yard, round the corner of the
stable, and into the house.
In the kitchen, a long room with red-tiled floor and
6 THE GRAY DOG
latticed windows, a woman, white-aproned and frail-faced,
was bustling about her morning business. To her skirts
clung a sturdy, bare-legged boy; while at the oak table in
the centre of the room a girl with brown eyes and straggling
hair was seated before a basin of bread and milk.
"So yo've coom at last, David!" the woman cried, as
the boy entered; and, bending, greeted him with a tender,
motherly salutation, which he returned as affectionately.
"I well thowt yo'd forgot us this morning Noo sit you'
doon beside oor Maggie." And soon he, too, was engaged
in a task twin to the girl's.
The two children munched away in silence, the little
bare-legged boy watching them the while, critically.
Irritated by this prolonged stare, David at length turned
"Weel, little Andrew," he said, speaking in that
paternal fashion in which one small boy loves to address
another. "Weel, ma little lad, yo'm coming' along
gradely." He leant back in his chair the better to
criticise his subject. But Andrew, like all the Moores,
slow of speech, preserved a stolid silence, sucking a chubby
thumb, and regarding his patron a thought cynically.
David resented the expression on the boy's countenance,
and half rose to his feet.
"Yo' put another face on'yo', Andrew Moore," he cried
threateningly, "or I'll put it for yo'."
Maggie, however, interposed opportunely.
"Did yo' father beat yo' last night?" she inquired in ,a
low voice; and there was a shade of anxiety in the soft
"Nay," the boy answered; "he was a-goin' to, but he
never did. Drunk," he added in explanation.
Bob played and laughed, and teased old Whitecap, till that gray
gander all but expired of apoplexy and impotence.
THE GRAY DOG 7
"What was he goin' to beat yo' for, David?" asked
"What for? Why, for the fun o't-to see me squiggle,"
the boy replied, and laughed bitterly.
"Yo' shouldna speak so o' your dad, David," reproved
the other as severely as was in her nature.
"Dad! a fine dad! I'd dad him an I'd the chance,"
the boy muttered beneath his breath. Then, to turn the
"Us should be starting Maggie," he said, and going
to the door. "Bob! Owd Bob, lad! Ar't coomin'
along?" he called.
The gray dog came springing up like an antelope, and
the three started off for school together.
Mrs. Moore stood in the doorway, holding Andrew by
the hand, and watched the departing trio.
"'Tis a pretty pair, Master, surely," she said softly to
ner husband, who came up at the moment.
"Ay, he'll be a fine lad if his fether'll let him," the tall
"'Tis a shame Mr. M'Adam should lead him such a
life," the woman continued indignantly. She laid a hand
on her husband's arm, and looked up at him coaxingly.
"Could yo' not say summat to un, Master, think 'ee?
Happen he'd 'tend to you," she pleaded. For Mrs.
Moore imagined that there could be no one but would
gladly heed what James Moore,. Master of Kenmuir,
might say to him. "He's not a bad un at bottom, I do
believe," she continued. "He never took on so till his
missus died. Eh, but he was main fond o' her."
Her husband shook his head.
"Nay, mother," he said. "'Twould nob' but mak' it
8 THE GRAY DOG
worse for t' lad. M'Adam'd listen to no one, let alone
me." And, indeed, he was right; for the tenant of the
Grange made no secret of his animosity for his straight-
going, straight-speaking neighbour.
Owd Bob, in the meantime, had escorted the children
to the larch-copse bordering on the lane which leads to the
village. Now he crept stealthily back to the yard, and
established himself behind the water-butt.
How he played and how he laughed; how he teased old
Whitecap till that gray gander all but expired of apoplexy
and impotence; how he ran the roan bull-calf, and aroused
the bitter wrath of a portly sow, mother of many, is of no
At last, in the midst of his merry mischief-making, a
stern voice arrested him.
"Bob, lad, I see 'tis time we lamed you yo' letters."
So the business of life began for that dog of whom the
simple farmer-folk of the Daleland still love to talk-Bob,
son of Battle, last of the Gray Dogs of Kenmuir.
A SON OF HAGAR
IT IS a lonely country, that about the Wastrel-dale.
Parson Leggy Hornbut will tell you that his is the
smallest church in the biggest parish north of the Derwent,
and that his cure numbers more square miles than parish-
ioners. Of fells and ghylls it consists, of becks and
lakes; with here a scattered hamlet and there a solitary
hill sheep-farm. It is a country in which sheep are
paramount; and every other Dalesman is engaged in that
profession which is as old as Abel. And the talk of the
men of the land is of wethers and gimmers, of tup-hoggs,
ewe tegs in wool, and other things which are but fearsome
names to you and me; and always of the doings or mis-
doings, the intelligence or stupidity, of their adjutants, the
Of all the Daleland, the country from the Black Water
to Grammoch Pike is the wildest. Above the tiny stone-
built village of Wastrel-dale the Muir Pike nods its massive
Xo A SON OF HAGAR
head. Westward, the desolate Mere Marches, from
which the Sylvesters' great estate derives its name, reach
away in mile on mile of sheep-infested, windswept moor-
land. On the far side of the Marches is that twin dale
where flows the gentle Silver Lea. And it is there in the
paddocks at the back of the Dalesman's Daughter, that,
in the late summer months, the famous sheep-dog Trials
of the North are held. There that the battle for the
Dale Cup, the world-known Shepherds' Trophy, is fought
Past the little inn leads the turnpike road to the market-
centre of the district-Grammoch-town. At the bottom
of the paddocks at the back of the inn winds the Silver
Lea. Just there a plank bridge crosses the stream, and,
beyond, the Murk Muir Pass crawls up the sheer side of
the Scaur on to the Mere Marches.
At the head of the Pass, before it debouches on to those
lonely sheep-walks which divide the two dales, is that
hollow, shuddering with gloomy possibilities, aptly called
the Devil's Bowl. In its centre the Lone Tarn, weirdly
suggestive pool, lifts its still face to the sky. It was
beside that black, frozen water, across whose cold surface
the storm was swirling in white snow-wraiths, that, many,
many years ago (not in this century) old Andrew Moore
came upon the mother of the Gray Dogs of Kenmuir.
In the North, every one who has heard of the Muir Pike
-and who has not ?-has heard of the Gray Dogs of Ken-
muir, every one who has heard of the Shepherd's Trophy-
and who has not?-knows their fame. In that country
of good dogs and jealous masters the pride of place has
long been held unchallenged. Whatever line may claim
to follow the Gray Dogs always lead the van. And there
A SON OF HAGAR n
is a saying in the land: "Faithfu' as the Moores and their
On the top dresser to the right of the fireplace in the
kitchen of Kenmuir lies the family Bible. At the end you
will find a loose sheet-the pedigree of the Gray Dogs; at
the beginning, pasted on the inside, an almost similar
sheet, long since yellow with age-the family register of
the Moores of Kenmuir.
, Running your eye down the loose leaf, once, twice, and
again it will be caught by a small red cross beneath a name,
and under the cross the one word "Cup." Lastly,
opposite the name of Rex son of Rally, are two of those
proud, tell-tale marks. The cup referred to is the re-
nowned Dale Cup-Champion Challenge Dale Cup, open
to the world. Had Rex won it but once again the Shep-
herds' Trophy, which many men have lived to win, and
died still striving after, would have come to rest forever in
the little gray house below the Pike.
It was not to be, however. Comparing the two sheets,
you read beneath the dog's name a date and a pathetic
legend; and on the other sheet, written in his son's boyish
hand, beneath the name of Andrew Moore the same date
and the same legend.
From that day James Moore, then but a boy, was master
So past Grip and Rex and Rally, and a hundred others
until at the foot of the page you come to that last name-
Bob, son of Battle.
From the very first the young dog took to his work in a
manner to amaze even James Moore. For a while he
12 A SON OF HAGAR
watched his mother, Meg, at her business, and with that
seemed to have mastered the essentials of sheep tactics.
Rarely had such fiery elan been seen on the sides of the
Pike; and with it the young dog combined a strange
sobriety, an admirable patience, that justified, indeed, the
epithet "Owd." Silent he worked, and resolute; and
even in those days had that famous trick of coaxing the
sheep to do his wishes;-blending, in short, as Tammas
put it, the brains of a man with the way of a woman.
Parson Leggy, who was reckoned the best judge of a
sheep or sheep-dog twixtt Tyne and Tweed, summed him
up in the one word "Genius." And James Moore himself,
cautious man, was more than pleased.
In the village, the Dalesmen, who took a personal pride
in the Gray Dogs of Kenmuir, began to nod sage heads
when "oor" Bob was mentioned. Jim Mason, the post-
man, whose word went as far with the villagers as Parson
Leggy's with the gentry, reckoned he'd never seen a young
un as so took his fancy.
That winter it grew quite the recognized thing, when
they had gathered of a night round the fire in the Sylvester
Arms, with Tammas in the centre, old Jonas Maddox on
his right, Rob Saunderson of the Holt on the left, and the
others radiating away toward the sides, for some one to
"Well, and what o' oor Bob, Mr. Thornton?"
To which Tammas would always make reply:
"Oh, yo' ask Sam'l there. He'll tell yo' better'n me,"-
and would forthwith plunge, himself, into a yarn.
And the way in which, as the story proceeded, Tupper of
Swinsthwaite winked at Ned Hoppin of Fellsgarth, and
Long Kirby, the smith, poked Jem Burton, the publican,
A SON OF HAGAR 13
in the ribs, and Sexton Ross said, "Ma word, lad!" spoke
more eloquently than many words.
One man only never joined in the chorus of admiration.
Sitting always alone in the background, little M'Adam
would listen with an incredulous grin on his sallow face.
"Oh, ma certes! The devil's in the dog! It's no
cannie ava!" he would continually exclaim, as Tammas
told his tale.
In the Daleland you rarely see a stranger's face. Wan-
dering in the wild country about the twin dales at the time
of this story, you might have met Parson Leggy, striding
along with a couple of varmint terriers at his heels, and
young Cyril Gilbraith, whom he was teaching to tie flies
and fear God, beside him; or Jim Mason, postman by
profession, poacher by predilection, honest man and
sportsman by nature, hurrying along with the mail-bags
on his shoulder, a rabbit in his pocket, and the faithful
Betsy a yard behind. Besides these you might have hit
upon a quiet shepherd and a wise-faced dog; Squire
Sylvester, going his rounds upon a sturdy cob; or, had you
been lucky, sweet Lady Eleanor bent upon some errand
of mercy to one of the many tenants.
It was while the Squire's lady was driving through the
village on a visit* to Tammas's slobbering grandson-it
was shortly after Billy Thornton's advent into the world
-that little M'Adam, standing in the door of the Sylvester
*NoTE-It was this visit which figured in the Grammoch-town Argus (local and
radical) under the heading of "Alleged Wholesale Corruption by Tory Agents."
And that is why, on the following market day, Herbert Trotter, journalist,
erstwhile gentleman, and Secretary of the Dale Trials, found himself trying to
swim in the public horse-trough.
14 A SON OF HAGAR
Arms, with a twig in his mouth and a sneer fading from his
lips, made his ever-memorable remark:
"Sall!" he said, speaking in low, earnest voice; "'tis a
"What? What be sayin', mon?" cried old Jonas,
startled out of his usual apathy.
M'Adam turned sharply on the old man.
"I said the wumman wears a"-uckle hat!" he snapped.
Blotted out as it was, the observation still remains-a
tribute of honest admiration. Doubtless the Recording
Angel did not pass it by. That one statement anent the
gentle lady of the manor is the only personal remark ever
credited to little M'Adam not born of malice and all
uncharitableness. And that is why it is ever memorable.
The little Scotsman with the sardonic face had been the
tenant of the Grange these many years; yet he had never
grown acclimatized to the land of the Southron. With
his shrivelled body and weakly legs he looked among the
sturdy, straight-limbed sons of the hill-country like some
brown, wrinkled leaf holding its place midst a galaxy of
green. And as he differed from them physically, so he
He neither understood them nor attempted to. The
North-country character was an unsolved mystery to
him, and that after ten years' study. "One-half o' what
ye say they doot, and they let ye see it; t'ither half they
disbelieve, and they tell ye so," he once said. And that
explained his attitude toward them, and consequently
theirs toward him.
He stood entirely alone; a son of Hagar, mocking.
His sharp, ill tongue was rarely still, and always bitter.
There was hardly a man in the land, from Langholm How
A SON OF HAGAR
to the market-cross in Grammoch-town, but had at
one time known its sting, endured it in silence-for
they are slow of speech, these men of the fells and meres-
and was nursing his resentment till a day should bring
that chance which always comes. And when at the Syl-
vester Arms, on one of those rare occasions when M'Adam
was not present, Tammas summed up the little man in
that historic phrase of his, "When he's drunk he's wi'lent,
and when he bain't he's wicious," there was an applause
to gratify the blase heart of even Tammas Thornton.
Yet it had not been till his wife's death that the little
man had allowed loose rein to his ill-nature. With her
firmly gentle hand no longer on the tiller of his life, it
burst into fresh being. And alone in the world with
David, the whole venom of his vicious temperament was
ever directed against the boy's head. It was as though he
saw in his fair-haired son the unconscious cause of his
ever-living sorrow. All the more strange this, seeing
that, during her life, the boy had been to poor Flora
M'Adam as her heart's core. And the lad was growing
up the very antithesis of his father. Big and hearty, with
never an ache or ill in the whole of his sturdy young body;
of frank, open countenance; while even his speech was
slow and burring like any Dale-bred boy's. And the fact
of it all, and that the lad was palpably more Englishman
than Scot-ay, and gloried in it-exasperated the little
man, a patriot before everything, to blows. While, on
top of it, David evinced an amazing pertness fit to have
tried a better man than Adam M'Adam.
On the death of his wife, kindly Elizabeth Moore had,
more than once, offered such help to the lonely little man
as a woman only can give in a house that knows no
A SON OF HAGAR
mistress. On the last of these occasions, after crossing the
Stony Bottom, which divides the two farms, and toiling up
the hill to the Grange, she had met M'Adam in the door.
"Yo' maun let me put yo' bit things straight for yo',
mister," she had said shyly; for she feared the little man.
"Thank ye, Mrs. Moore," he had answered with the
sour smile the Dalesmen knew so well, "but ye maun
think I'm a waefu' cripple." And there he had stood,
grinning sardonically, opposing his small bulk in the very
centre of the door.
Mrs. Moore had turned down the hill, abashed and hurt
at the reception of her offer; and her husband, proud to a
fault, had forbidden her to repeat it. Nevertheless her
motherly heart went out in a great tenderness for the little
orphan David. She knew well the desolateness of his life;
his father's aversion from him, and its inevitable conse-
It became an institution for the boy to call every
morning at Kenmuir, and trot off to the village school with
Maggie Moore. And soon the lad came to look on Ken-
muir as his true home, and James and Elizabeth Moore as
his real parents. His greatest happiness was to be away
from the Grange. And the ferret-eyed little man there
noted the fact, bitterly resented it, and vented his ill-
It was this, as he deemed it, uncalled-for trespassing on
his authority which was the chief cause of his animosity
against James Moore. The Master of Kenmuir it was at
whom he was aiming when he remarked one day at the
Arms: "Masel', I aye prefaire the good man who does
no go to church, to the bad man who does. But then, as
ye say, Mr. Burton, I'm peculiar."
A SON OF HAGAR
The little man's treatment of David, exaggerated as it
was by eager credulity, became at length such a scandal
to the Dale that Parson Leggy determined to bring him to
task on the matter.
Now M'Adam was the parson's pet antipathy. The
bluff old minister, with his brusque manner and big heart,
would have no truck with the man who never went to
church, was perpetually in liquor, and never spoke good
of his neighbours. Yet he entered upon the interview
fully resolved not to be betrayed into an unworthy
expression of feeling; rather to appeal to the little man's
The conversation had not been in progress two minutes,
however, before he knew that, where he had meant to be
calmly persuasive, he was fast become hotly abusive.
"You, Mr. Hornbut, wi' James Moore to help ye, look
after the lad's soul, I'll see to his body," the little man
The parson's thick gray eyebrows lowered threateningly
over his eyes.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself to talk like that.
Which d'you think the more important, soul or body?
Oughtn't you, his father, to be the very first to care for
the boy's soul? If not, who should? Answer me, sir."
The little man stood smirking and sucking his eternal
twig, entirely unmoved by the other's heat.
"Ye're right, Mr. Hornbut, as ye aye are. But my
argument is this: that I get at his soul best through his
The honest parson brought down his stick with an angry
"M'Adam, you're a brute-a brute!" he shouted.
i8 A SON OF HAGAR
At which outburst the little man was seized with a spasm
of silent merriment.
"A fond dad first, a brute afterward, aiblins-he! he!
Ah, Mr. Hornbut! ye 'ford me vast diversion, ye do
indeed, 'my loved, my honoured, much-respected friend.'"
"If you paid as much heed to your boy's welfare as you
do to the bad poetry of that profligate ploughman--"
An angry gleam shot into the other's eyes.
"D'ye ken what blasphemy is, Mr. Hornbut?" he
asked, shouldering a pace forward.
For the first time in the dispute the parson thought he
was about to score a point, and was calm accordingly.
"I should do; I fancy I've a specimen of the breed
before me now. And d'you know what impertinence is ?*
"I should do; I fancy I've-I awd say it's what gentle
men aften are unless their mammies whipped 'em as lads."
For a moment the parson looked as if about to seize
his opponent and shake him.
"M'Adam," he roared, "I'll not stand your insolences!"
The little man turned, scuttled indoors, and came
running back with a chair.
"Permit me!" he said blandly, holding it before him
like a haircutter for a customer.
The parson turned away. At the gap in the hedge he
"I'll only say one thing more," he called slowly.
"When your wife, whom I think we all loved, lay dying in
that room above you, she said to you in my presence--"
It was M'Adam's turn to be angry. He made a step
forward with burning face.
"Aince and for a', Mr. Hornbut," he cried passionately,
understandd I'll not ha' you and yer likes lay yer tongues
A SON OF HAGAR I9
on ma wife's memory whenever it suits ye. You can say
what ye like aboot me-lies, sneers, snash-and I'll say
naethin'. I dinna ask ye to respect me; I think ye might
do sae muckle by her, puir lass. She never harmed ye.
Gin ye canna let her bide in peace where she lies doon
yonder"-he waved in the direction of the churchyard-
"ye'll no come on ma land. Though she is dead she's
Standing in front of his house, with flushed face and big
eyes, the little man looked almost noble in his indignation.
And the parson, striding away down the hill, was uneasily
conscious that with him was not the victory.
.T HE winter came and went; the lambing season was
Over, and spring already shyly kissing the land. And
the back of the year's work broken, and her master well
started on a fresh season, M'Adam's old collie, Cuttie
Sark, lay down one evening and passed quietly away.
The !:trle black-and-tan lady, Parson Leggy used to say,
had been the only thing on earth M'Adam cared for.
Certair.l.r the two had been wondrously devoted; and for
r:r.- a market-day the Dalesmen missed the shrill,
cLZULking cry which heralded the pair's approach: "Weel
Cc-ne. Cuttie Sark!"
The :i-tle man felt his loss acutely, and, according to his
wont, vented his ill-feeling on David and the Dalesmen.
In :r-urr. Tammas, whose forte lay in invective and
a ltr:,t.int c-l[tOd him behind his back, "A wenomous
crn'." and "A wiralent wiper!" to the applause of tinkling
RED WULL 2z
A shepherd without his dog is like a ship without a
rudder, and M'Adam felt his loss practically as well as
otherwise. Especially did he experience this on a day
when he had to take a batch of draft-ewes over to Gram-
moch-town. To help him Jem Burton had lent the
services of his herring-gutted, herring-hearted, greyhound
lurcher, Monkey. But before they had well topped
Braithwaite Brow, which leads from the village on to the
marches, M'Adam was standing in the track with a rock
in his hand, a smile on his face, and the tenderest blandish-
ments in his voice as he coaxed the dog to him. But
Master Monkey knew too much for that. However,
after gamboling a while longer in the middle of the flock,
a boulder, better aimed than its predecessors, smote him
on the hinder parts and sent him back to the Sylvester
Arms, with a sore tail and a subdued heart.
For the rest, M'Adam would never have won over the
sheep-infested marches alone with his convoy had it not
been for the help of old Saunderson and Shep, who caught
him on the way and aided him.
It was in a very wrathful mood that on his way
home he turned into the Dalesman's Daughter in Silver-
The only occupants of the tap-room, as he entered,
were Teddy Bolstock, the publican, Jim Mason, with the
faithful Betsy beneath his chair and the post-bags flung
into the corner, and one long-limbed, drover-like man-a
"And he coom up to Mr. Moore," Teddy was saying,
"and says he: 'I'll gie ye twal' pun for yon gray dog o'
yourn' 'Ah,' says Moore, 'yo' may gie me twal' hun-
ner'd and yet you'll not get ma Bob.'-Eh, Jim?"
22 RED WULL
"And he did thot," corroborated Jim. "'Twal' hun-
ner'd,' says he."
"James Moore and his dog agin,'" snapped M'Adam.
"There's others in the warld for bye them twa."
"Ay, but none like 'em," quoth loyal Jim.
"Na, thanks be. Gin there were there'd be no room for
Adam M'Adam in this 'melancholy vale.'"
There was silence a moment, and then-:
"You're wantin' a tyke, bain't you, Mr. M'Adam?"
The little man hopped round all in a hurry.
"What!" he cried in well-affected eagerness, scanning
the yellow mongrel beneath the chair. "Betsy for sale!
Guid life! Where's ma check-book!" Whereat Jim, most
easily snubbed of men, collapsed.
M'Adam took off his dripping coat and crossed the room
to hang it on a chair-back. The stranger drover followed
the meagre, shirt-clad figure with shifty eyes; then he
buried his face in his mug.
M'Adam reached out a hand for the chair; and as he
did so, a bomb in yellow leapt out from beneath it, and,
growling horribly, attacked his ankles.
"Curse ye!" cried M'Adam, starting back. "Ye devil,
let me alone!" Then turning fiercely on the drover,
"Yours, mister?" he asked. The man nodded. "Then
call him aff, can't ye? D-n ye!" At which Teddy
Bolstock withdrew, sniggering; and Jim Mason slung the
post-bags on to his shoulder and plunged out into the rain,
the faithful Betsy following, disconsolate.
The cause of the squall, having beaten off the attacking
force, had withdrawn again beneath its chair. M'Adam
stooped down, still cursing, his wet coat on his arm, and
RED WULL 23
beheld a tiny yellow puppy, crouching defiant in the dark,
and glaring out with fiery light eyes. Seeing itself
remarked, it bared its little teeth, raised its little bristles,
and growled a hideous menace.
A sense of humour is many a man's salvation, and was
M'Adam's one redeeming feature. The laughableness of
the thing-this ferocious atomy defying him-struck home
to the little man. Delighted at such a display of vice in so
tender a plant, he fell to chuckling.
"Ye leetle devil!" he laughed. "He! he! ye leetle
devil!" and flipped together finger and thumb in vain
endeavour to coax the puppy to him.
But it growled, and glared more terribly.
"Stop it, ye little snake, or I'll flatten you!" cried the
big drover, and shuffled his feet threateningly. Whereat
the puppy, gurgling like hot water in a kettle, made a
feint as though to advance and wipe them out, these two
M'Adam laughed again, and smote his leg.
"Keep a ceevil tongue and yer distance," says he,
"or I'll e'en ha' to mak' ye. Though he is but as big as a
man's thumb, a dog's a dog for a' that-he! he! the leetle
devil." And he fell to flipping finger and thumb afresh.
"Ye're maybe wantin' a dog?" inquired the stranger.
"Yer friend said as much."
"Ma friend lied; it's his way," M'Adam replied.
"I'm willing' to part wi' him," the other pursued.
The little man yawned. "Weel, I'll tak' him to oblige
ye," he said indifferently.
The drover rose to his feet.
"It's givin' 'im ye, fair givin' 'im ye, mind! But I'll do
it!"-he smacked a great fist into a hollow palm. "Ye
may have the dog for a pun'-I'll only ask you a pun'," and
he walked away to the window.
M'Adam drew back, the better to scan his would-be
benefactor; his lower jaw dropped, and he eyed the
stranger with a drolly sarcastic air.
"A poun', man! A poun'-for yon noble dorg!" he
pointed a crooked forefinger at the little creature, whose
scowling mask peered from beneath the chair. "Man, I
couldna do it. Na, na; ma conscience wadna permit me.
'Twad be fair robbin' ye. Ah, ye Englishmen!" he spoke
half to himself, and sadly, as if deploring the unhappy
accident of his nationality; "it's yer grand, open-hairted
generosity that grips a puir Scotsman by the throat.
A poun'! and for yon!" He wagged his head mournfully,
cocking it sideways the better to scan his subject.
"Take him or leave him," ordered the drover trucu-
lently, still gazing out of the window.
"Wi' yer permission I'll leave him," M'Adam answered
"I'm short o' the ready," the big man pursued, "or I
wouldna part with him. Could I bide me time there's
many'd beglad to give me a tenner for one o'that bree--"
he caught himself up hastily-"for a dog sic as that."
"And yet ye offer him me for a poun'! Noble indeed!"
Nevertheless the little man had pricked his ears at the
other's slip and quick correction. Again he approached
the puppy, dangling his coat before him to protect his
ankles; and again that wee wild beast sprang out, seized
the coat in its small jaw, and worried it savagely.
M'Adam stooped quickly and picked up his tiny
assailant; and the puppy, suspended by its neck, gurgled
and slobbered; then, wriggling desperately round, made its,
RED WULL 25
teeth meet in its adversary's shirt. At which M'Adam
shook it gently and laughed. Then he set to examining it.
Apparently some six weeks old; a tawny coat, fiery eyes,
a square head with small, cropped ears, and a com-
paratively immense jaw; the whole giving promise of
great strength, if little beauty. And this effect was
enhanced by the manner of its docking. For the
miserable relic of a tail, yet raw, looked little more than a
red button adhering to its wearer's stern.
M'Adam's inspection was as minute as it was apparently
absorbing; he omitted nothing from the square muzzle to
the lozenge-like scut. And every now and then he threw a
quick glance at the man at the window, who was watching
the careful scrutiny a thought uneasily.
"Ye've cut him short," he said at length, swinging
round on the drover.
"Ay; strengthens their backs," the big man answered
with averted gaze.
M'Adam's chin went up in the air; his mouth partly
opened and his eyelids partly closed as he eyed his in-
"Oh, ay," he said.
"Gie him back to me," ordered the drover surlily. He
took the puppy and set it on the floor; whereupon it
immediately resumed its former fortified position. "Ye're
no buyer; I knoo that all along by that face on ye," he
said in insulting tones.
"Ye wad ha' bought him yerself', nae doot?" M'Adam
"In course; if you says so."
"Or airblins ye bred him?"
"'Appen I did."
"Ye'll no be from these parts ?"
"Will I no?" answered the other.
A smile of genuine pleasure stole over M'Adam's face.
He laid his hand on the other's arm.
"Man," he said gently, "ye mind me o' hame." Then
almost in the same breath: "Ye said ye found him?"
It was the stranger's turn to laugh.
"Ha! ha! Ye teeckle me, little mon. Found 'im?
Nay; I was give 'im by a friend. But there's nowt amiss
wi' his breedin', ye may believe me."
The great fellow advanced to the chair under which the
puppy lay. It leapt out like a lion, and fastened on his
"A rare bred un, look 'ee! a rare game un. Ma word,
he's a big-hearted un! Look at the back on him; see the
jaws to him; mark the pluck of him!" He shook his
booted foot fiercely, tossing his leg to and fro like a tree in
a wind. But the little creature, now raised ceilingward,
now dashed to the ground, held on with incomparable
doggedness, till its small jaw was all bloody and muzzle
wrinkled with the effort.
"Ay, ay, that'll do," M'Adam interposed, irritably.
The drover ceased his efforts.
"Now, I'll mak' ye a last offer." He thrust his head
down to a level with the other's, shooting out his neck.
"It's throwing' him at ye, mind. 'Tain't buying' him ye'll
be-don't go for to deceive yourself. Ye may have him
for fifteen shillin'. Why do I do it, ye ask? Why,' cos 1
think ye'll be kind to him," as the puppy retreated to its
chair, leaving a spotted track of red along its route.
"Ay, ye wadna be happy gin ye thocht he'd no a
comfortable hame, conseederate man?" M'Adam answer-
RED WULL 27
ed, eyeing the dark track on the floor. Then he put on
"Na, na, he's no for me. Weel, I'll no detain ye.
Good-nicht to ye, mister!" and he made for the door.
"A gran' worker he'll be," called the drover after him.
"Ay; muckle wark he'll mak' amang the sheep wi' sic
a jaw and sic a temper. Weel, I maun be steppin'.
Good-nicht to ye."
"Ye'll niver have sich another chanst."
"Nor niver wush to. Na, na; he'll never mak' a sheep-
dog"; and the little man turned up the collar of his coat.
"Will he not?" cried the other scornfully. "There
niver yet was one o' that line---" he stopped abruptly.
The little man spun round.
"Iss?" he said, as innocent as any child; "ye were
The other turned to the window and watched the rain
"Ye'll be wantin' wet," he said adroitly.
"Ay, we could do wi' a drappin'. And he'll never mak'
a sheep-dog." He shoved his cap down on his head.
"Weel, good-nicht to ye!" and he stepped out into the
It was long after dark when the bargain was finally
Adam M'Adam's Red Wull became that little man's
property for the following realizable assets: ninepence in
cash-three coppers and a doubtful sixpence; a plug of sus-
picious tobacco in a well-worn pouch; and an old watch.
"It's clean givin' 'im ye," said the stranger bitterly,
at the end of the deal.
28 RED WULL
"It's mair the charity than aught else make's me sae
leeberal," the other answered gently. "I wad not like to
see ye pinched."
"Thank ye kindly," the big man replied with some
acerbity, and plunged out into the darkness and rain.
Nor was that long-limbed drover-man ever again seen in
the countryside. And the puppy's previous history-
whether he was honestly come by or no, whether he was,
indeed, of the famous Red McCulloch* strain, ever
remained a mystery in the Daleland.
*N.B.-You may know a Red McCulloch anywhere by the ring of white upon
his tail some two inches from the root.
u pr _._p~-~--
~C- C~CCI -5b~Zr
AFTER that first encounter in the Dalesman's
Daughter, Red Wull, for so M'Adam called him,
resigned himself complacently to his lot; recognizing,
perhaps, his destiny.
Thenceforward the sour little man and the vicious puppy
grew, as it were, together. The two were never apart.
Where M'Adam was, there was sure to be his tiny atten-
dant, bristling defiance as he kept ludicrous guard over his
The little man and his dog were inseparable. M'Adam
never left him even at the Grange.
"I couldna trust ma Wullie at hame alone wi' the dear
lad," was his explanation. "I ken weel I'd come back to
find a wee corpse on the floor, and David singin':
'My heart is sair, I daur na tell,
My heart is sair for somebody.'
30 FIRST BLOOD
Ay, and he'd be sair elsewhere by the time I'd done wi'
The sneer at David's expense was as characteristic as it
was unjust. For though the puppy and the boy were
already sworn enemies, yet the lad would have scorned to
harm so small a foe. And many a tale did David tell at
Kenmuir of Red Wull's viciousness, of his hatred of him
(David), and his devotion to his master; how, whether
immersed in the pig-bucket or chasing the fleeting rabbit,
he would desist at once, and bundle, panting, up at his
master's call; how he routed the tomcat and drove him
from the kitchen; and how he clambered on to David's
bed and pinned him murderously by the nose.
Of late the relations between M'Adam and James
Moore had been unusually strained. Though they were
neighbours, communications between the two were of the
rarest; and it was for the first time for many a long day
that, on an afternoon shortly after Red Wull had come into
his possession, M'Adam entered the yard of Kenmuir,
bent on girding at the master for an alleged trespass at the
"Wi' yer permission, Mr. Moore," said the little man,
"I'll wheestle ma dog," and, turning, he whistled a shrill,
peculiar note like the cry of a disturbed peewit.
Straightway there came scurrying desperately up, ears
back, head down, tongue out, as if the world depended on
his speed, a little tawny beetle of a thing, who placed his
forepaws against his master's ankles and looked up into
his face; then, catching sight of the strangers, hurriedly he
took up his position between them and M'Adam, assuming
his natural attitude of grisly defiance. Such a laughable
spectacle he made, that martial mite, standing at bay with
FIRST BLOOD 31
bristles up and teeth bared, that even James Moore smiled.
"Ma word! Ha' yo' brought his muzzle, man?" cried
old Tammas, the humourist; and, turning, climbed all in a
heat on to an upturned bucket that stood by. Whereat
the puppy, emboldened by his foe's retreat, advanced
savagely to the attack, buzzing round the slippery pail like
a wasp on a windowpane, in a vain attempt to reach the
Tammas stood on the top, hitching his trousers and
looking down on his assailant, the picture of mortal fear.
"'Elp! Oh, 'elp!" he bawled. "Send for the sogers!
Fetch the police! For lawk-a-mussy's sake call him off,
man!" Even Sam'l Todd, watching the scene from the
cart-shed, was tickled and burst into a loud guffaw,
heartily backed by 'Enry and oor Job. While M'Adam
remarked: "Ye're fitter for a stage than a stable-bucket,
"How didst come by him?" asked Tammas, nodding
at the puppy.
"Found him," the little man replied, sucking his twig.
"Found him in ma stockin' on ma birthday. A present
from ma leetle David for his auld dad, I doot."
"So do I," said Tammas, and was seized with sudden
spasm of seemingly causeless merriment. For looking up
as M'Adam was speaking, he had caught a glimpse of a
boy's fair head, peering cautiously round the cowshed, and,
behind, the flutter of short petticoats. They disappeared
as silently as they had come; and two small figures, just
returned from school, glided away and sought shelter in
the friendly darkness of a coal-hole.
"Coom awa', Maggie, coom awa'! 'Tis th' owd un,
isself," whispered a disrespectful voice.
32 FIRST BLOOD
M'Adam looked round suspiciously.
"What's that ?" he asked sharply.
At that moment, however, Mrs. Moore put her head out
of the kitchen window.
"Coom thy ways in, Mister M'Adam, and tak' a soop
o' tea," she called hospitably.
"Thank ye kindly, Mrs. Moore, I will," he answered,
politely for him. And this one good thing must be allowed
of Adam M'Adam: that, if there was only one woman of
whom he was ever known to speak well, there was also only
one, in the whole course of his life, against whom he ever
insinuated evil-and that was years afterward, when men
said his brain was sapped. Flouts and jeers he had for
every man, but a woman, good or bad, was sacred to him.
For the sex that had given him his mother and his wife he
had that sentiment of tender reverence which, if a man
still preserve, he cannot be altogether bad. As he turned
into the house he looked back at Red Wull.
"Ay, we may leave him," he said. "That is, gin ye're
no afraid, Mr. Thornton ?"
Of what happened while the men were within doors, it is
enough to tell two things. First, that Owd Bob was no
bully. Second, this: In the code of sheep-dog. honour
there is written a word in stark black letters; and opposite
it another word, writ large in the colour of blood. The
first is "Sheep-murder"; the second, "Death." It is the
one crime only to be wiped away in blood; and to accuse
of the crime is to offer the one unpardonable insult.
Every sheep-dog knows it, and every shepherd.
That afternoon, as the men still talked, the quiet
echoes of the farm rung with a furious animal cry, twice
repeated: "Shot for sheep-murder"--"Shot for sheep-
murder"; followed by a hollow stillness.
The two men finished their colloquy. The matter was
concluded peacefully, mainly owing to the pacifying in-
fluence of Mrs. Moore. Together the three went out into
the yard; Mrs. Moore seizing the opportunity to shyly
speak on David's behalf.
"He's such a good little lad, I do think," she was saying.
"Ye should ken, Mrs. Moore," the little man answered,
a thought bitterly; "ye see enough of him."
"Yo' mun be main proud of un, mester," the woman
continued, heedless of the sneer: "an' 'im growing' such a
M'Adam shrugged his shoulders.
"I barely ken the lad," he said. "By sight I know
him, of course, but barely to speak to. He's but seldom
"An' hoo proud his mother'd be if she could see him,"
the woman continued, well aware of his one tender place.
"Eh, but she was fond o' him, so she was."
An angry flush stole over the little man's face. Well he
understood the implied rebuke; and it hurt him like a
"Ay, ay, Mrs. Moore," he began. Then breaking off,
and looking about him-"Where's ma Wullie?" he cried
excitedly. "James Moore!" whipping round on the
Master, "ma Wullie's gone-gone, I say!"
Elizabeth Moore turned away indignantly.
"I do declar' he tak's more fash after yon little yaller
beastie than iver he does after his own flesh," she mut-
"Wullie, ma wee doggie! Wullie, where are ye? James
Moore, he's gone-ma Wullie's gone!" cried the little man,
running about the yard, searching everywhere.
"Cannot 'a' gotten far," said the Master, reassuringly,
looking about him.
"Niver no tellin'," said Sam'l, appearing on the scene,
pig-bucket in hand. "I misdoot yo'll iver see your dog
agin, mister." He turned sorrowfully to M'Adam.
That little man, all dishevelled, and with the per-
spiration standing on his face, came hurrying out of the
cow-shed and danced up to the Master.
"It's robbed I am-robbed, I tell ye!" he cried reck-
lessly. "Ma wee Wull's bin stolen while I was ben your
hoose, James Moore!"
"Yo' munna say that, ma mon. No robbin' at Ken-
muir," the Master answered sternly.
"Then where is he? It's for you to say."
"I've ma own idee, I 'ave," Sam'l announced op-
portunely, pig-bucket uplifted.
M'Adam turned on him.
"What, man? What is it?"
"I misdoot yo'll iver see your dog agin, mister," Sam'I
repeated, as if he was supplying the key to the mys-
"Noo, Sam'l, if yo' know owt tell it," ordered his
Sam'l grunted sulkily.
"Wheer's oor Bob, then?" he asked.
At that M'Adam turned on the Master.
"'Tis that, nae doot. It's yer gray dog, James Moore,
yer dog. I might ha' kent it,"-and he loosed off a
volley of foul words.
FIRST BLOOD 35
"Sweerin' will no find him," said the Master coldly.
The big man shifted his feet, and looked mournfully at
"'Twas happenn 'alf an hour agone, when I sees oor Bob
goin' oot o' yard wi' little yaller tyke in his mouth. In a
minnit I looks agin-and theer! little yaller 'un was gone,
and oor Bob a-sittin' a-lickin' his chops. Gone foriver,
I do reck'n. Ah, yo' may well take on, Tammas Thorn-
ton!" For the old man was rolling about the yard, bent
double with merriment.
M'Adam turned on the Master with the resignation of
"Man, Moore," he cried piteously, "it's yer gray dog
has murdered ma wee Wull! Ye have it from yer ain
"Nonsense," said the Master encouragingly. "'Tis but
yon girt oof."
Sam'l tossed his head and snorted.
"Coom, then, and I'll show yo'," he said, and led the
way out of the yard. And there below them on the slope
to the stream, sitting like Justice at the Courts of Law,
was Owd Bob.
Straightway Sam'l whose humour was something of the
calibre of old Ross's, the sexton, burst into horse-merri-
ment. "Why's he sitting' so still, think 'ee? Ho! ho! See
un lickin' his chops-ha! ha!"-and he roared afresh.
While from afar you could hear the distant rumbling of
'Enry and oor Job.
At the sight, M'Adam burst into a storm of passionate
invective, and would have rushed on the dog had not
James Moore forcibly restrained him.
36 FIRST BLOOD
"Bob, lad," called the Master, "coom here!"
But even as he spoke, the gray dog cocked his ears,
listened a moment, and then shot down the slope. At the
same moment Tammas hallooed: "Theer he be! yon's
yaller un coomin' oot o' drain! La, Sam'l!" And there,
indeed, on the slope below them, a little angry, smutty-
faced figure was crawling out of a rabbit-burrow.
"Ye murderin' devil, wad ye duar touch ma Wullie?"
yelled M'Adam, and, breaking away, pursued hotly down
the hill; for the gray dog had picked up the puppy, like a
lancer a tent-peg, and was sweeping on, his captive in his
mouth, toward the stream.
Behind, hurried James Moore and Sam'l, wondering
what the issue of the comedy would be. After them
toddled old Tammas, chuckling. While over the yard-
wall was now a little cluster of heads: 'Enry, oor Job,
Maggie and David, and Vi'let Thornton, the dairymaid.
Straight on to the plank-bridge galloped Owd Bob. In
the middle he halted, leant over, and dropped his prisoner;
who fell with a cool plop into the running water beneath.
Another moment and M'Adam had reached the bank
of the stream. In he plunged, splashing and cursing, and
seized the struggling puppy; then waded back, the waters
surging about his waist, and Red Wull, limp as a wet rag,
in his hand. The little man's hair was dripping, for his
cap was gone; his clothes clung to him, exposing the miser-
ableness of his figure; and his eyes blazed like hot ashes in
his wet face.
He sprang on to the bank, and, beside himself with
passion, rushed at Owd Bob.
"Curse ye for a- "
"Stan' back, or yo'll have him at your throat!" shouted
--- ----- -- - -.- -- r .---.-..-..-. .. x ,~.~ ~.~,,,-~. .,..... ,~~,~..... ..~_
FIRST BLOOD 37
the Master, thundering up. "Stan' back, I say, yo'
fule!" And, as the little man still came madly on, he
reached forth his hand and hurled him back; at the same
moment, bending, he buried the other hand deep in Owd
Bob's shaggy neck. It was but just in time; for if ever
the fierce desire of battle gleamed in gray eyes, it did in the
young dog's as M'Adam came down on him.
The little man staggered, tottered, and fell heavily.
At the shock, the blood gushed from his nose, and, mixing
with the water on his face, ran down in vague red streams,
dripping off his chin; while Red Wull, jerked from his
grasp, was thrown afar, and lay motionless.
"Curse ye!" M'Adam screamed, his face dead-white
save for the running red about his jaw. "Curse ye for a
cowardly Englishman!" and, struggling to his feet, he
made at the Master.
But Sam'1 interposed his great hulk between the two.
"Easy, little mon," he said leisurely, regarding the
small fury before him with mournful interest. "Eh, but
thee do be a little spit-cat, surely!"
James Moore stood, breathing deep, his hand still
buried in Owd Bob's coat.
"If yo'd touched him," he explained, "I couldna ha'
stopped him. He'd ha' mauled yo' afore iver I could ha"
had him off. They're bad to hold, the Gray Dogs, when
"Ay, ma word, that they are!" corroborated Tammas,.
speaking from the experience of sixty years. "Once on,
yo' canna get 'em off."
The little man turned away.
"Ye're all agin me," he said, and his voice shook. A
pitiful figure he made, standing there with the water
38 FIRST BLOOD
dripping from him. A red stream was running slowly
from his chin; his head was bare, and face working.
James Moore stood eyeing him with some pity and some
contempt. Behind was Tammas, enjoying the scene.
While Sam'l regarded them all with an impassive melan-
M'Adam turned and bent over Red Wull, who still lay
like a dead thing. As his master handled him, the button-
tail quivered feebly; he opened his eyes, looked about
him, snarled faintly, and glared with devilish hate at the
gray dog and the group with him.
The little man picked him up, stroking him tenderly.
Then he turned away and on to the bridge. Half-way,
across he stopped. It rattled feverishly beneath him, for
he still trembled like a palsied man.
"Man, Moore!" he called, striving to quell the agi-
tation in his voice--"I wad shoot yon dog."
Across the bridge he turned again.
"Man, Moore!" he called and paused. "Ye'll not
forget this day." And with that the blood flared up a dull
crimson into his white face.
THE LITTLE MAN
A MAN'S SON
THE storm, long threatened, having once burst,
M'Adam allowed, loose rein to his bitter animosity
against James Moore.
The two often met. For the little man frequently
returned home from the village by the footpath across
Kenmuir. It was out of his way, but he preferred it in
order to annoy his enemy and keep a watch upon his
He haunted Kenmuir like its evil genius. His sallow
face was perpetually turning up at inopportune moments.
When Kenmuir Queen, the prize short-horn heifer, calved
unexpectedly and unattended in the dip by the lane, Tam-
mas and the Master, summoned hurriedly by Owd Bob,
came running up to find the little man leaning against the
stile, and shaking with silent merriment. Again, poor old
Staggy, daring still in his dotage, took a fall while scram-
bling on the steep banks of the Stony Bottom. There he
A MAN'S SON
lay for hours, unnoticed and kicking, until James Moore
and Owd Bob came upon him at length, nearly exhausted.
But M'Adam was before them.
Standing on the far bank with Red Wull by his side, he
called across the gulf with apparent concern: "He's bin
so sin' yesternight." Often James Moore, with all his
great strength of character, could barely control himself.
There were two attempts to patch up the feud. Jim
Mason, who went about the world seeking to do good,
tried in his shy way to set things right. But M'Adam and
his Red Wull between them soon shut him and Betsy up.
"You mind yer letters and yer wires, Mr. Poacher-
Postman. Ay, I saw 'em baith: th' ain doon by the
Haughs, t'ither in the Bottom. And there's Wullie, the
humorsome chiel, havin' a rare game wi' Betsy." There,
indeed, lay the faithful Betsy, suppliant on her back, paws
up, throat exposed, while Red Wull, now a great-grown
puppy, stood over her, his habitually evil expression
intensified into a fiendish grin, as with wrinkled muzzle
and savage wheeze he waited for a movement as a pre-
text to pin: "Wullie, let the leddy be-ye've had yer din-
Parson Leggy was the other would-be mediator; for he
hated to see the two principal parishioners of his tiny
cure at enmity. First he tackled James Moore on the
subject; but that laconic person cut him short with, "I've
nowt agin the little mon," and would say no more. And,
indeed, the quarrel was none of his making.
Of the parson's interview with M'Adam, it is enough to
say here that, in the end, the angry old minister would of a
surety have assaulted his mocking adversary had not
Cyril Gilbraith forcibly withheld him,
A MAN'S SON 43
And after that the vendetta must take its course un-
David was now the only link between the two farms.
Despite his father's angry commands, the boy clung to his
intimacy with the Moores with a doggedness that no
thrashing could overcome. Not a minute of the day when
out of school, holidays and Sundays included, but was
passed at Kenmuir. It was not till late at night that he
would sneak back to the Grange, and creep quietly up to
his tiny bare room in the roof-not supperless, indeed,
motherly Mrs. Moore had seen to that. And there he
would lie awake and listen with a fierce contempt as his
father, hours later, lurched into the kitchen below, lilting
"We are na fou, we're nae that fou,
But just a drappie in our e'e;
The cock may craw, the day may daw',
And ay we'll taste the barely bree!"
And in the morning the boy would slip quietly out of the
house while his father still slept; only Red Wull would
thrust out his savage head as the lad passed, and snarl
Sometimes father and son would go thus for weeks with-
out sight of one another. And that was David's aim-to
escape attention. It was only his cunning at this game of
evasion that saved him a thrashing.
The little man seemed devoid of all natural affection for
his son. He lavished the whole fondness of which his
small nature appeared capable on the Tailless Tyke, for
so the Dalesmen called Red Wull. And the dog he
treated with a careful tenderness that made David smile
44 A MAN'S SON
The little man and his dog were as alike morally as
physically they were contrasted. Each owed a grudge
against the world and was determined to pay it. Each
was an Ishmael among his kind.
You saw them thus, standing apart, leper-like, in the
turmoil of life; and it came quite as a revelation to
happen upon them in some quiet spot of nights, playing
together, each wrapped in the game, innocent, tender,
forgetful of the hostile world.
The two were never separated except only when
M'Adam came home by the path across Kenmuir. After
that first misadventure he never allowed his friend to
accompany him on the journey through the enemy's
country; for well he knew that sheep-dogs have long
To the stile in the lane, then, Red Wull would follow
him. There he would stand, his great head poked through
the bars, watching his master out of sight; and then would
turn and trot, self-reliant and defiant, sturdy and surly,
down the very centre of the road through the village-
no playing, no enticing away, and woe to that man or
dog who tried to stay him in his course! And so on,
past Mother Ross's shop, past the Sylvester Arms, to
the right by Kirby's smithy, over the Wastrel by the
Haughs, to await his master at the edge of the Stony
The little man, when thus crossing Kenmuir, often met
Owd Bob, who had the free run of the farm. On these
occasions he passed discreetly by; for, though he was no
coward, yet it is bad, single-handed, to attack a Gray Dog
of Kenmuir; while the dog trotted soberly on his way,
only a steely glint in the big gray eyes betraying his knowl-
A MAN'S SON 45
edge of the presence of his foe. As surely, however, as the
little man, in his desire to spy out the nakedness of the
land, strayed off the public path, so surely a gray figure,
seeming to spring from out the blue, would come fiercely,
silently driving down on him; and he would turn and run
for his life, amid the uproarious jeers of any of the farm-
hands who were witness to the encounter.
On these occasions David vied with Tammas in face-
tiousness at his father's expense.
"Good on yo', little un!" he roared from behind a wall,
on one such occurrence.
"Bain't he a runner, neither?" yelled Tammas, not to
be outdone. "See un skip it-ho! ho!"
"Look to his knees a-wamblin'i" from the undutiful
son in ecstasy. "An' I'd knees like yon, I'd wear petti-
coats." As he spoke, a swinging box on the ear nearly
knocked the young reprobate down.
"D' yo' think God gave you a dad for you to jeer at?
Y' ought to be ashamed o' yo'self. Serve yo' right if he
does thrash yo' when yo' get home." And David, turn-
ing round, found James Moore close behind him, his
heavy eyebrows lowering over his eyes.
Luckily, M'Adam had not distinguished his son's voice
among the others. But David feared he had; for on the
following morning the little man said to him:
"David, ye'll come hame immediately after school
"Will I?" said David pertly.
"Because I tell ye to, ma lad"; and that was all the
reason he would give. Had he told the simple fact that
46 A MAN'S SON
he wanted help to drench a "husking" ewe, things might
have gone differently. As it was, David turned away
defiantly down the hill.
The afternoon wore on. Schooltime was long over;
still there was no David.
The little man waited at the door of the Grange, fuming,
hopping from one leg to the other, talking to Red Wull,
who lay at his feet, his head on his paws, like a tiger
waiting for his prey.
At length he could restrain himself no longer; and
started running down the hill, his heart burning with
"Wait till we lay hands on ye, ma lad," he muttered as
he ran. "We'll warm ye, we'll teach ye."
At the edge of the Stony Bottom, he, as always, left Red
Wull. Crossing it himself, and rounding Langholm How,
he espied James Moore, David, and Owd Bob walking
away from him and in the direction of Kenmuir. The
gray dog and David were playing together, wrestling,
racing, and rolling. The boy had never a thought for his
The little man ran up behind them, unseen and unheard,
his feet softly pattering on the grass. His hand had fallen
on David's shoulder before the boy had guessed his
"Did I bid ye come hame after school, David?" he
asked, concealing his heat beneath a suspicious suavity.
"Maybe. Did I say I would come?"
The pertness of tone and words, alike, fanned his father's
resentment into a blaze. In a burst of passion he lunged
forward at the boy with his stick. But as he smote, a gray
whirlwind struck him fair on the chest, and he fell like a
A gray figure, seeming to spring from out the blue, would come
fiercely, silently driving down on his foe.
A MAN'S SON 47
snapped stake, and lay, half stunned, with a dark muzzle
an inch from his throat.
"Git back, Bob!" shouted James Moore, hurrying up.
"Git back, I tell yo'!" He bent over the prostrate figure,
propping it up anxiously. "Are yo' hurt, M'Adam? Eh,
but I am sorry. He thought yo' were goin' for to strike
David had now run up, and he, too, bent over his father
with a very scared face.
"Are yo' hurt, feyther?" he asked, his voice trembling.
The little man rose unsteadily to his feet and shook off
his supporters. His face was twitching, and he stood, all
dust-begrimed, looking at his son.
"Ye're content, aiblins, noo ye've seen yer father's gray
head bowed in the dust," he said.
"'Twas an accident," pleaded James Moore. "But
I am sorry. He thought yo' were goin' to beat the lad."
"So I was-so I will."
"If ony's beat it should be ma Bob here tho' he nob'but
thought he was doin' right. An' yo' were aff the path."
The little man looked at his enemy, a sneer on his face.
"Ye canna thrash him for doin' what ye bid him. Set
yer dog on me, if ye will, but dinna beat him when he does
"I did not set him on yo', as you know," the Master
M'Adam shrugged his shoulders.
"I'll no argie wi' ye, James Moore," he said. "I'll
leave you and what ye call yer conscience to settle that.
My business is not wi' you.-David!" turning to his son.
A stranger might well have mistaken the identity of the
boy's father. For he stood now, holding the Master's
A MAN'S SON
arm; while a few paces above them was the little man
pale but determined, the expression on his face betraying
his consciousness of the irony of the situation.
"Will ye come hame wi' me and have it noo, or stop wi'
him and wait till ye get it ?" he asked the boy.
"M'Adam, I'd like yo' to--"
"None o' that, James Moore,-David, what d'ye say?"
David looked up into his protector's face.
"Yo'd best go wi' your feyther, lad," said the Master
at last, thickly. The boy hesitated, and clung tighter to
the shielding arm; then he walked slowly over to his
A bitter smile spread over the little man's face as he
marked this new test of the boy's obedience to the other.
"To obey his frien' he foregoes the pleasure o' disobeyin'
his father," he muttered. "Noble!" Then he turned
homeward, and the boy followed in his footsteps.
James Moore and the gray dog stood looking after them.
"I know yo'll not pay off yer spite agin me on the lad's
head, M'Adam," he called, almost appealingly.
"I'll do ma duty, thank ye, James Moore, wi'oot
respect o' persons," the little man cried back, never
Father and son walked away, one behind the other,
like a man and his dog, and there was no word said
between them. Across the Stony Bottom, Red Wull,
scowling with bared teeth at David, joined them. To-
gether the three went up the hill to the Grange.
In the kitchen M'Adam turned.
"Noo, I'm gaein' to gie ye the gran'est thrashin' ye iver
dreamed of. Tak' aff yer coat!"
The boy obeyed, and stood up in his thin shirt, his face
A MAN'S SON
white and set as a statue's. Red Wull seated himself on
his haunches close by, his ears pricked, licking his lips, all
The little man supplied the great ash-plant in his hands
and raised it. But the expression on the boy's face
arrested his arm.
"Say ye're sorry and I'll let yer aff easy."
"One mair chance-yer last! Say yer 'shamed o
The little man brandished his cruel white weapon, and
Red Wull shifted a little to obtain a better view.
"Git on wi' it," ordered David angrily.
The little man raised the stick again and-threw it intc
the farthest corner of the room.
It fell with a rattle on the floor, and M'Adam turned
"Ye're the pitifulest son iver a man had," he cried
brokenly. "Gin a man's son dinna haud to him, wha can
he expect to?-no one. Ye're ondootiful, ye're disrespect-
fu', ye're maist ilka thing ye shouldna be; there's but ae
thing I thocht ye were not-a coward. And as to that,
ye've no the pluck to say ye're sorry when, God knows,
ye might be. I canna thrash ye this day. But ye shall
gae nae mair to school. I send ye there to learn. Ye'll
not learn-ye've learnt naethin' except disobedience to
me-ye shall stop at hame and work."
His father's rare emotion, his broken voice and working
face, moved David as all the stripes and jeers had failed to
do. His conscience smote him. For the first time in his
life it dimly dawned on him that, perhaps, his father, too,,
50 A MAN'S SON
had some ground for complaint; that, perhaps, he was not
a good son.
He half turned.
"Git oot o' ma sight!" M'Adam cried.
And the boy turned and went.
.-- :*Ill... .-T a
/-^.-. ^^ ^ ^ -
A LICKING OR A LIE
THENCEFORWARD David buckled down to work
at home, and in one point only father and son re-
sembled-industry. A drunkard M'Adam was, but a
The boy worked at the Grange with tireless, indomitable
energy; yet he could never satisfy his father.
The little man would stand, a sneer on his face and his
thin lips contemptuously curled, and flout the lad's brave
"Is he no a gran' worker, Wullie? 'Tis a pleasure to
watch him, his hands in his pockets, his eyes turned
heavenward" as the boy snatched a hard-earned mo-
ment's rest. "You and I, Wullie, we'll brak' oorsel's
slavin' for him while he looks on and laffs."
And so on, the whole day through, week in, week out-;
till he sickened with weariness of it all.
In his darkest hours David thought sometimes to run
away. He was miserably alone on the cold bosom of the
world. The very fact that he was the son of his father
52 A LICKING OR A LIE
isolated him in the Daleland. Naturally of a reserved
disposition, he had no single friend outside Kenmuir.
And it was only the thought of his friends there that
withheld him. He could not bring himself to part from
them; they were all he had in the world.
So he worked on at the Grange, miserably, doggedly,
taking blows and abuse alike in burning silence. But
every evening, when work was ended, he stepped off to his
other home beyond the Stony Bottom. And on Sundays
and holidays-for of these latter he took, unasking, what
he knew to be his due-all day long, from cock-crowing to
the going down of the sun, he would pass at Kenmuir. In
this one matter the boy was invincibly stubborn. Noth-
ing his father could say or do sufficed to break him of the
habit. He endured everything with white-lipped, silent
doggedness, and still held on his way.
Once past the Stony Bottom, he threw his troubles
behind him with a courage that did him honour. Of all the
people at Kenmuir two only ever dreamed the whole depth
of his unhappiness, and that not through David. James
Moore suspected something of it all, for he knew more of
M'Adam than did the others. While Owd Bob knew it as
did no one else. He could tell it from the touch of the
boy's hand on his head; and the story was writ large upon
his face for a dog to read. And he would follow the lad
about with a compassion in his sad gray eyes greater than
David might well compare his gray friend at Kenmuir
with that other at the Grange.
The Tailless Tyke had now grown into an immense dog
heavy of muscle and huge of bone. A great bull head;
undershot jaw, square and lengthy and terrible; vicious,
A LICKING OR A LIE 53
yellow-gleaming eyes; cropped ears; and an expression
incomparably savage. His coat was a tawny, lion-like
yellow, short, harsh, dense; and his back, running up from
shoulder to loins, ended abruptly in the knob-like tail.
He looked like the devil of a dogs' hell. And his repu-
tation was as bad as his looks. He never attacked un-
provoked; but a challenge was never ignored, and he was
greedy of insults. Already he had nigh killed Rob
Saunderson's collie, Shep; Jem Burton's Monkey fled
incontinently at the sound of his approach; while he had
even fought a round with that redoubtable trio, the Vexer,
Venus, and Van Tromp.
Nor, in the matter of war, did he confine himself to his
own kind. His huge strength and indomitable courage
made him the match of almost anything that moved..
Long Kirby once threatened him with a broomstick; the.
smith never did it again. While in the Border Ram he
attacked Big Bell, the Squire's underkeeper, with such
murderous fury that it took all the men in the room to
pull him off.
More than once had he and Owd Bob essayed to wipe
out mutual memories, Red Wull, in this case only, the
aggressor. As yet, however, while they fenced a moment
for that deadly throat-grip, the value of which each knew
so well, James Moore had always seized the chance to
"That's right, hide him ahint yer petticoats," sneered
M'Adam on one of these occasions.
"Hide? It'll not be him I'll hide, I warn you, M'Adam,"
the Master answered grimly, as he stood, twirling his good
oak stick between the would-be duellists. Whereat there
was a loud laugh at the little man's expense.
54 A LICKING OR A LIE
It seemed as if there were to be other points of rivalry
between the two than memories. For, in the matter of
his own business-the handling of sheep-Red Wull bid
fair to be second only throughout the Daleland to the Gray
Dog of Kenmuir. And M'Adam was patient and pains-
taking in the training of his Wullie in a manner to astonish
David. It would have been touching, had it not been so
unnatural in view of his treatment of his own blood, to
watch the tender carefulness with which the little man
moulded the dog beneath his hands. After a promising
display he would stand, rubbing his palms together, as
near content as ever he was.
"Weel done, Wullie! Weel done. Bide a wee and we'll
show 'em a thing or two, you and I, Wullie.
"'The warld's wrack we share o't,
The warstle and the care o't.'
For it's you and I alane, lad." And the dog would trot
up to him, place his great forepaws on his shoulders, and
stand thus with his great head overtopping his master's,,
his ears back, and stump tail vibrating.
You saw them at their best when thus together, dis-
playing each his one soft side to the other.
From the very first David and Red Wull were open
enemies: under the circumstances, indeed, nothing else
was possible. Sometimes the great dog would follow on the
lad's heels with surly, greedy eyes, never leaving him from
sunrise to sundown, till David could hardly hold his hands.
So matters went on for a never-ending year. Then
there came a climax.
One evening, on a day throughout which Red Wull had
dogged him thus hungrily, David, his work finished, went
A LICKING OR A LIE 55
to pick up his coat, which he had left hard by. On it lay
"Git off ma coat!" the boy ordered angrily, marching
up. But the great dog never stirred: he lifted a lip to
show a fence of white, even teeth, and seemed to sink
lower in the ground; his head on his paws, his eyes in his
"Come and take it!" he seemed to say.
Now what, between master and dog, David had endured
almost more than he could bear that day.
"Yo' won't, won't yo', girt brute!" he shouted, and
bending, snatched a corner of the coat and attempted to
jerk it away. At that, Red Wull rose, shivering, to his
feet, and with a low gurgle sprang at the boy.
David, quick as a flash, dodged, bent, and picked up ar
ugly stake, lying at his feet. Swinging round, all in a
moment, he dealt his antagonist a mighty buffet on the
side of the head. Dazed with the blow, the great dog fell;
then, recovering himself, with a terrible, deep roar he
sprang again. Then it must have gone hard with the boy,
finef grown, muscular young giant though he was. For
Red Wull was now in the first bloom of that great strength
which earned him afterward an undying notoriety in the
As it chanced, however, M'Adam had watched the
scene from the kitchen. And now he came hurrying out
of the house, shrieking commands and curses at the
combatants. As Red Wull sprang, he interposed between
the two, head back and eyes flashing. His small person
received the full shock of the charge. He staggered, but
recovered, and in an imperative voice ordered the dog to
56 A LICKING OR A LIE
Then he turned on David, seized the stake from his
hand, and began furiously belabouring the boy.
"I'll teach ye to strike-a puir-dumb--harmless-
creetur, ye-cruel-cruel-lad!" he cried. "Hoo daur
ye strike-ma-Wullie? yer-father's-Wullie? Adam-
M'Adam's-Red Wull?" He was panting from his exer-
tions, and his eyes were blazing. "I pit up as best I can
wi' all manner o' disrespect to masel'; but when it comes
to takin' ma puir Wullie, I canna thole it. Ha' ye no
heart?" he asked, unconscious of the irony of the ques-
"As much as some, I reck'n," David muttered.
"Eh, what's that? What d'ye say?"
"Ye may thrash me till ye're blind; and it's nob'but yer
'duty; but if only one daurs so much as to look at yer
Wullie ye're mad," the boy answered bitterly. And with'
that he turned away defiantly and openly in the direction
M'Adam made a step forward, and then stopped.
"I'll see ye agin, ma lad, this evening, he cried with
"I doot but yo'll be too drunk to see owt-except,
happen your bottle," the boy shouted back; and swag-
gered down the hill.
At Kenmuir that night the marked and particular
kindness of Elizabeth Moore was too much for the over-
strung lad. Overcome by the contrast of her sweet
motherliness, he burst into a storm of invective against his
father, his home, his life-everything.
"Don't 'ee, Davie, don't 'ee, dearie!" cried Mrs. Moore,
much distressed. And taking him to her she talked to the
A LICKING OR A LIE 57
great, sobbing boy as though he were a chila. At length
he lifted his face and looked up; and, seeing the white, wan
countenance of his dear comforter, was struck with tender
remorse that he had given way and pained her, who looked
so frail and thin herself.
He mastered himself with an effort; and, for the rest of
the evening, was his usual cheery self. He teased Maggie
into tears; chaffed stolid little Andrew; and bantered
Sam'l Todd until that generally impassive man threatened
to bash his snout for him.
Yet it was with a great swallowing at his throat that,
later, he turned down the slope for home.
James Moore and Parson Leggy accompanied him to the
bridge over the Wastrel, and stood a while watching as
he disappeared into the summer night.
"Yon's a good lad," said the Master half to himself.
"Yes," the parson replied; "I always thought there
was good in the boy, if only his father'd give him a chance.
And look at the way Owd Bob there follows him. There'6
not another soul outside Kenmuir he'd do that for."
"Ay, sir," said the Master. "Bob knows a mon when
he sees one."
"He does," acquiesced the other. "And by the by,
James, the talk in the village is that you've settled not t%
run him for the Cup. Is that so?"
The Master nodded.
"It is, sir. They're all mad I should, but I mun cross
'em. They say he's reached his prime-and so he has o
his body, but not o' his brain. And a sheep-dog-unlike
other dogs-is not at his best till his brain is at its best-
and that takes a while developing same as in a mon, I
58 A LICKING OR A LIE
"Well, well," said the parson, pulling out a favourite
phrase, "waiting's winning-waiting's winning."
David slipped up into his room and into bed unseen, he
hoped. Alone with the darkness, he allowed himself the
rare relief of tears; and at length fell asleep. He awoke to
find his father standing at his bedside. The little man
held a feeble dip-candle in his hand, which lit his sallow
face in crude black and white. In the doorway, dimly
outlined, was the great figure of Red Wull.
"Whaur ha' ye been the day?" the little man asked.
Then, looking down on the white stained face beneath him,
he added hurriedly: "If ye like to lie, I'll believe ye."
David was out of bed and standing up in his night-shirt.
He looked at his father contemptuously.
"I ha' bin at Kenmuir. I'll not lie for yo' or your
likes," he said proudly.
The little man shrugged his shoulders.
"'Tell a lee and stick to it,' is my rule, and a good one
too, in honest England. I for one "11 no think ony the
worse o' ye if yer memory plays yer false."
"D'yo' think I care a kick what yo' think o' me?" the
boy asked brutally. "Nay; there's enoughh liars in this
family wi'oot me."
The candle trembled and was still again..
"A lickin' or a lie-tak' yer choice!"
The boy looked scornfully down on his father. Stand-
ing on his naked feet, he already towered half a head
above the other and was twice the man.
"D'yo' think I'm fear'd o' a thrashin' fra yo'? Goo'
gracious me!" he sneered. "Why, I'd as lief let owd
Grammer Maddox lick me, for all I care."
A LICKING OR A LIE 59
A reference to his physical insufficiencies fired the little
man as surely as a lighted match powder.
"Ye maun be cauld, standing' there so. Rin ye doon
and fetch oor little frien'"-a reference to a certain strap
hanging in the kitchen. "I'll see if I can warm ye."
David turned and stumbled down the unlit, narrow
stairs. The hard, cold boards struck like death against
his naked feet. At his heels followed Red Wull, his hot
breath fanning the boy's bare legs.
So into the kitchen and back up the stairs, and Red Wull
"I'll no despair yet o' teaching' ye the fifth command-
ment, though I kill masel' in doin' it!" cried the little
man, seizing the strap from the boy's numb grasp.
When it was over, M'Adam turned, breathless, away.
At the threshold of the room he stopped and looked round:
a little, dim-lit, devilish figure, framed in the door; while
from the blackness behind, Red Wull's eyes gleamed
Glancing back, the little man caught such an expression
on David's face that for once he was fairly afraid. He
banged the door and hobbled actively down the stairs.
THE WHITE WINTER
M 'ADAM-in his sober moments at least-never
touched David again; instead, he devoted himself
to the more congenial exercise of the whiplash of his tongue.
And he was wise; for David, who was already nigh a head
the taller of the two, and comely and strong in proportion,
could, if he would, have taken his father in the hollow of
his hand and crumpled him like a dry leaf. Moreover,
with his tongue, at least, the little man enjoyed the noble
pleasure of making the boy wince. And so the war was
carried on none the less vindictively.
Meanwhile another summer was passing away, and
every day brought fresh proofs of the prowess of Owd Bob.
Tammas, whose stock of yarns anent Rex son of Rally had
after forty years' hard wear begun to pall on the loyal
ears of even old Jonas, found no lack of new material now.
In the Dalesman's Daughter in Silverdale and in the
Border Ram at Grammoch-town, each succeeding market
THE WHITE WINTER
day brought some fresh tale. Men told how the gray dog
had outdone Gypsy Jack, the sheep-sneak; how he had
cut out a Kenmuir shearling from the very centre of
Londesley's pack; and a thousand like stories.
The Gray Dogs of Kenmuir have always been equally
heroes and favourites in the Daleland. And the confidence
of the Dalesmen in Owd Bob was now invincible. Some-
times on market days he would execute some unaccount-
able maneuver, and a strange shepherd would ask:
"What's the gray dog at?" To which the nearest Dales-
man would reply: "Nay, I canno tell ye! But he's reet
enough. Yon's Owd Bob o' Kenmuir."
Whereon the stranger would prick his ears and watch
with close attention.
"Yon's Owd Bob o' Kenmuir, is he?" he would say;
for already among the faculty the name was becoming
known. And never in such a case did the young dog fail
to justify the faith of his supporters.
It came, therefore, as a keen disappointment to every
Dalesman, from Herbert Trotter, Secretary of the Trials,
to little Billy Thornton, when the Master persisted in his
decision not to run the dog for the Cup in the approaching
Dale Trials; and that though parson, squire, and even
Lady Eleanour essayed to shake his purpose. It was
nigh fifty years since Rex son 0' Rally had won back the
Trophy for the land that gave it birth; it was time, they
thought, for a Daleland dog, a Gray Dog of Kenmuir-
the terms are practically synonymous-to bring it home
again. And Tammas, that polished phrase-maker, was
only expressing the feelings of every Dalesman in the room
when, one night at the Arms, he declared of Owd Bob that
"to ha' run was to ha' won." At which M'Adam snig-
62 THE WHITE WINTER
gered audibly and winked at Red Wull. "To ha' run was
to ha' one--lickin'; to rin next year'll be to-"
"Win next year," Tammas interposed dogmatically.
"Onless"--with shivering sarcasm-"you and yer Wullie
are thinking' o' winning. "
The little man rose from his solitary seat at the back of
the room and pattered across.
"Wullie and I are thinking' o' t," he whispered loudly
in the old man's ear. "And mair: what Adam M'Adam
and his Red Wull think o' doin', that, ye may remairk,
Mr. Thornton, they do. Next year we rin, and next
year-we win. Come, Wullie, we'll leave 'em to chew
that"; and he marched out of the room amid the jeers of
the assembled topers. When quiet was restored, it was
Jim Mason who declared: "One thing certain, win or no,
they'll not be far off."
Meanwhile the summer ended abruptly. Hard on the
heels of a sweltering autumn the winter came down. In
that year the Daleland assumed very early its white cloak.
The Silver Mere was soon ice-veiled; the Wastrel rolled
sullenly down below Kenmuir, its creeks and quiet places
tented with jagged sheets of ice; while the Scaur and
Muir Pike raised hoary heads against the frosty blue. It
was the season still remembered in the North as the
White Winter-the worst, they say, since the famous 1808.
For days together Jim Mason was stuck with his bags
in the Dalesman's Daughter, and there was no communi-
cation between the two Dales. On the Mere Marches the
snow massed deep and impassable in thick, billowy drifts.
In the Devil's Bowl men said it lay piled some score feet
During the terrible White Winter, sheep were buried and lost in
THE WHITE WINTER 63
deep. And sheep, seeking shelter in the ghylls and pro.
tected spots, were buried and lost in their hundreds.
That is the time to test the hearts of shepherds and
sheep-dogs, when the wind runs ice-cold across the waste
of white, and the low woods on the upland walks shiver
black through a veil of snow, and sheep must be found and
folded or lost: a trial of head as well as heart, of resource
as well as resolution.
In that winter more than one man and many a dog lost
his life in the quiet performance of his duty, gliding to
death over the slippery snow-shelves, or overwhelmed
beneath an avalanche of the warm, suffocating white:
"smoored," as they call it. Many a deed was done, many
a death died, recorded only in that Book which holds the
names of those-men or animals, souls or no souls-who
They found old Wrottesley, the squire's head shepherd,
lying one morning at Gill's foot, like a statue in its white
bed, the snow gently blowing about the venerable face,
calm and beautiful in death. And stretched upon his
bosom, her master's hands blue, and stiff, still clasped
about her neck, his old dog Jess. She had huddled there,
as a last hope, to keep the dear, dead master warm, her
great heart riven, hoping where there was no hope.
That night she followed him to herd sheep in a better
land. Death from exposure, Dingley, the vet., gave it;
but as little M'Adam, his eyes dimmer than their wont,
declared huskily; "We ken better, Wullie."
Cyril Gilbraith, a young man not overburdened with
emotions, told with a sob in his voice how, at the terrible
Rowan Rock, Jim Mason had stood, impotent, dumb,
big-eyed, watching Betsy-Betsy, the friend and partner
64 THE WHITE WINTER
of the last ten years-slipping over the ice-cold surface,
silently appealing to the hand that had never failed her
before-sliding to Eternity.
In the Daleland that winter the endurance of many a
shepherd and his dog was strained past breaking-point.
From the frozen Black Water to the white-peaked Gram-
moch Pike two men only, each always with his shaggy
adjutant, never owned defeat; never turned back; never
failed in a thing attempted.
In the following spring, Mr. Tinkerton, the squire's
agent, declared that James Moore and Adam M'Adam-'
Owd Bob, rather, and Red Wull-had lost between them
fewer sheep than any single farmer on the whole March
Mere Estate-a proud record.
Of the two, many a tale was told that winter. They
were invincible, incomparable; worthy antagonists.
It was Owd Bob who, when he could not drive the band
of Black Faces over the narrow Razorback which led to
safety, induced them to follow him across that ten-inch
death-track, one by one, like children behind their
mistress. It was Red Wull who was seen coming down the
precipitous Saddler's How, shouldering up that grand old
gentleman, King o' the Dale, whose leg was broken.
The gray dog it was who found Cyril Gilbraith by the
White Stones, with a cigarette and a sprained ankle, on
the night the whole village was out with lanterns searching
for the well-loved young scapegrace. It was the Tailless
Tyke and his master who one bitter evening came upon
little Mrs. Burton, lying in a huddle beneath the lea of the
fast-whitening Druid's Pillar with her latest baby on her
breast. It was little M'Adam who took off his coat and
wrapped the child in it; little M'Adam who unwound his
THE WHITE WINTER 65
plaid, threw it like a breastband across the dog's great
chest, and tied the ends round the weary woman's waist.
Red Wull it was who dragged her back to the Sylvester
Arms and life, straining like a giant through the snow,
while his master staggered behind with the babe in his
arms. When they reached the inn it was M'Adam who,
with a smile on his face, told the landlord what he thought
of him for sending his wife across the Marches on such a
day and on his errand. To which: "I'd a cauld,"
pleaded honest Jem.
For days together David could not cross the Stony
Bottom to Kenmuir. His enforced confinement to the
Grange led, however, to no more frequent collisions than
usual with his father. For M'Adam and Red Wull were
out at all hours, in all weathers, night and day, toiling at
their work of salvation.
At last, one afternoon, David managed to cross the
Bottom at a point where a fallen thorn-tree gave him a
bridge over the soft snow. He stayed but a little while at
Kenmuir, yet when he started for home it was snowing
By the time he had crossed the ice-draped bridge over
the Wastrel, a blizzard was raging. The wind roared
past him, smiting him so that he could barely stand; and
the snow leaped at him so that he could not see. But he
held on doggedly; slipping, sliding, tripping, down and up
again, with one arm shielding his face. On, on, into the
white darkness, blindly on sobbing, stumbling, dazed.
At length, nigh dead, he reached the brink of the
Stony Bottom. He looked up and he looked down, but
nowhere in that blinding mist could he see the fallen
thorn-tree. He took a step forward into the white morass,
66 THE WHITE WINTER
and sank up to his thigh. He struggled feebly to free
himself, and sank deeper. The snow wreathed, twisting,
round him like a white flame, and he collapsed, softly
crying on that soft bed.
"I canna-I canna!" he moaned.
Little Mrs. Moore, her face whiter and frailer than ever,
stood at the window, looking out into the storm.
"I canna rest for thinking' o' th' lad," she said. Then,
turning, she saw her husband, his fur cap down over his
ears, buttoning his pilot-coat about his throat, while Owd
Bob stood at his feet, waiting.
"Ye're no goin', James?" she asked, anxiously.
"But I am, lass," he answered; and she knew him too
well to say more.
So those two went quietly out to save life or lose it, nor
counted the cost.
Down a wind-shattered slope-over a spar of ice-up an
eternal hill-a forlorn hope.
In a whirlwind chaos of snow, the tempest storming at
them, the white earth lashing them, they fought a good
fight. In front, Owd Bob, the snow clogging his shaggy
coat, his hair cutting like lashes of steel across eyes, his
head lowered as he followed the finger of God; and close
behind, James Moore, his back stern against the storm,
stalwart still, yet swaying like a tree before the wind.
So they battled through to the brink of the Stony
Bottom-only to arrive too late.
For, just as the Master peering about him, had caught
sight of a shapeless lump lying motionless in front, there
loomed across the snow-choked gulf through the white
riot of the storm a gigantic figure forging, doggedly forward,
THE WHITE WINTER 67
his great head down to meet the hurricane. And close
behind, buffeted and bruised, stiff and staggering, a little
dauntless figure holding stubbornly on, clutching with one
hand at the gale; and a shrill voice, whirled away on the
trumpet tones of the wind, crying:
"Noo, Wullie, wi' me!
"'Scots wha' hae wi' Wallace bled!
Scots wham Bruce has often led!
Here he is, Wullie!
"'--or to victories "
The brave little voice died away. The quest was over;
the lost sheep found. And the last James Moore saw of
them was the same small, gallant form, half carrying, half
dragging the rescued boy out of the Valley of the Shadow
David was none the worse for his adventure, for on
reaching home M'Adam produced a familiar bottle.
"Here's something to warm yer inside, and"-making a
feint at the strap on the wall-"here's something to do the
same by yer- But, Wullie, oot again!"
And out they went-unreckoned heroes.
It was but a week later, in the very heart of the bitter
time, that there came a day when, from gray dawn to
grayer eve, neither James Moore nor Owd Bob stirred out
into the wintry white. And the Master's face was hard
and set as it always was in time of trouble.
Outside, the wind screamed down the Dale; while the
snow fell relentlessly; softly fingering the windows,
blocking the doors, and piling deep against the walls.
68 THE WHITE WINTER
Inside the house there was a strange quiet; no sound save
for hushed voices, and upstairs the shuffling of muffled feet.
Below, all day long, Owd Bob patrolled the passage like
some silent, gray spectre.
Once there came a low knocking at the door; and David,
his face and hair and cap smothered in the all-pervading
white, came in with an eddy of snow. He patted Owd
Bob, and moved on tiptoe into the kitchen. To him came
Maggie softly, shoes in hand, with white, frightened face.
The two whispered anxiously awhile like brother and
sister as they were; then the boy crept quietly away;
only a little pool of water on the floor and wet, treacherous
foot-dabs toward the door testifying to the visitor.
Toward evening the wind died down, but the mourning
flakes still fell.
With the darkening of night Owd Bob retreated to the
porch and lay down on his blanket. The light from the
lamp at the head of the stairs shone through the crack of
open door on his dark head and the eyes that never slept.
The hours passed, and the gray knight still kept his
vigil. Alone in the darkness-alone, it almost seemed,
in the house-he watched. His head lay motionless
along his paws, but the steady gray eyes never flinched
Time tramped on on leaden foot, and still he waited;
and ever the pain of hovering anxiety was stamped deeper
in the gray eyes.
At length it grew past bearing; the hollow stillness of
the house overcame him. He rose, pushed open the door,
and softly pattered across the passage.
At the foot of the stairs he halted, his forepaws on the
first step, his grave face and pleading eyes uplifted, as
THE WHITE WINTER 69
though he were praying. The dim light fell on the raised
head; and the white escutcheon on his breast shone out
like the snow on Salmon.
At length, with a sound like a sob, he dropped to the
ground, and stood listening, his tail dropping and head
raised. Then he turned and began softly pacing up and
down, like some velvet-footed sentinel at the gate of death.
Up and down, up and down, softly as the falling snow,
for a weary, weary while.
Again he stopped and stood, listening intently, at the
foot of the stairs; and his gray coat quivered as though
there were a draught.
Of a sudden, the deathly stillness of the house was
broken. Upstairs, feet were running hurriedly. There
was a cry, and again silence.
A life was coming in; a life was going out.
The minutes passed; hours passed; and, at the sunless
dawn, a life passed.
And all through that night of age-long agony the gray
figure stood, still as a statue, at the foot of the stairs.
Only, when, with the first chill breath of the morning, a
dry, quick-quenched sob of a strong man sorrowing for the
helpmeet of a score of years, and a tiny cry of a new-born
child wailing because its mother was not, came down to his
ears, the Gray Watchman dropped his head upon his
bosom, and, with a little whimpering note, crept back to
A little later the door above opened, and James Moore
tramped down the stairs. He looked taller and gaunter
than his wont, but there was no trace of emotion on his
At the foot of the stairs Owd Bob stole out to meet him.
70 THE WHITE WINTER
He came crouching up, head and tail down, in a manner
no man ever saw before or since. At his master's feet he
stopped and whined pitifully.
Then, for one short moment, James Moore's whole face
"Well, lad," he said, quite low, and his voice broke;
That was all; for they were an undemonstrative couple.
Then they turned and went out together into the bleak
,c 1 *:;; -j^^^y 'r~r^2^
MADAM AND HIS COAT
T O David M'Adam the loss of gentle Elizabeth Moore
was as real a grief as to her children. Yet he man-
fully smothered his own aching heart and devoted him-
self to comforting the mourners at Kenmuir.
In the days succeeding Mrs. Moore's death the boy
recklessly neglected his duties at the Grange. But little
M'Adam forbore to rebuke him. At times, indeed, he
essayed to be passively kind. David, however, was too
deeply sunk in his great sorrow to note the change.
The day of the funeral came. The earth was throwing
off its ice-fetters; and the Dale was lost in a mourning mist.
In the afternoon M'Adam was standing at the window
of the kitchen, contemplating the infinite weariness of the
scene, when the door of the house opened and shut
noiselessly. Red Wull raised himself on to the sill and
growled, and David hurried past the window making for
Kenmuir. M'Adam watched the passing figure indiffer-
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
ently; then with an angry oath sprang to the window.
"Bring me back that coat, ye thief!" he cried, tapping
fiercely on the pane. "Tak' it off at onst, ye muckle
gowk, or I'll come and tear it aff ye. D'ye see him,
Wullie? the great coof has ma coat-me black coat, new
last Michaelmas, and it rainin' enoughh to melt it."
He threw the window up with a bang and leaned out.
"Bring it back, I tell ye, ondootiful, or I'll summons ye.
Though ye've no respect for me, ye might have for ma
claithes. Ye're too big for yer ain boots, let alane ma
coat. D'ye think I had it cut for a elephant? It's
burstin', I tell ye. Tak' it aff! Fetch it here, or I'll
e'en send Wullie to bring it!"
David paid no heed except to begin running heavily
down the hill. The coat was stretched in wrinkled agony
across his back; his big, red wrists protruded like shank-(
,bones from the sleeves; and the little tails flapped wearily
in vain attempts to reach the wearer's legs.
M'Adam, bubbling over with indignation, scrambled
half through the open window. Then, tickled at the
amazing impudence of the thing, he paused, smiled,
dropped to the ground again, and watched the uncouth,
retreating figure with chuckling amusement.
"Did ye ever see the like o' that, Wullie ?" he muttered.
"Ma puir coat-puir wee coatie! it gars me greet to see
her in her pain. A man's coat, Wullie, is aften unco sma'
for his son's back; and David there is strainin' and
stretchin' her nigh to brakin', for a' the world as he does
ma forbearance. And what's he care aboot the one or
t'ither?-not a finger-flip."
As he stood watching the disappearing figure there began
the slow tolling of the minute-bell in the little Dale church.
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT 73
Now near, now far, now loud, now low, its dull chant rang
out through the mist like the slow-dropping tears of a
M'Adam listened, almost reverently, as the bell tolled
on, the only sound in the quiet Dale. Outside, a drizzling
rain was falling; the snow dribbled down the hill in muddy
tricklets and trees and roofs and windows dripped.
And still the bell tolled on, calling up relentlessly sad
memories of the long ago.
It was on just such another dreary day, in just such
another December, and not so many years gone by, that
the light had gone forever out of his life.
The whole picture rose as instant to his eyes as if it had
been but yesterday. That insistent bell brought the
scene surging back to him: the dismal day; the drizzle;
the few mourners; little David decked out in black, his
fair hair contrasting with his gloomy clothes, his face
swollen with weeping; the Dale hushed, it seemed in
death, save for the tolling of the bell; and his love had left
him and gone to the happy land the hymn-books talk of.
Red Wull, who had been watching him uneasily, now
came up and shoved his muzzle into his master's hand.
The cold touch brought the little man back to earth. He
shook himself, turned wearily away from the window, and
went to the door of the house.
He stood there looking out; and all round him was the
eternal drip, drip of the thaw. The wind lulled, and again
the minute-bell tolled out clear and inexorable, resolute to
recall what was and what had been.
With a choking gasp the little man turned into the
house, and ran up the stairs and into his room. He
dropped on his knees beside the great chest in the corner,
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
and unlocked the bottom drawer, the key turning noisily
in its socket.
In the drawer he searched with feverish fingers, and
produced at length a little paper packet wrapped about
with a stained yellow ribbon. It was the ribbon she had
used to weave on Sundays into her soft hair.
Inside the packet was a cheap, heart-shaped frame, and
in it a photograph.
Up there it was too dark to see. The little man ran
down the stairs, Red Wull jostling him as he went, and
hurried to the window in the kitchen.
It was a sweet, laughing face that looked up at him
.from frame, demure yet arch, shy yet roguish-a face to
look at and a face to love.
As he looked a wintry smile, wholly tender, half tearful,
stole over the little man's face.
"Lassie," he whispered, and his voice was infinitely
soft, "it's lang sin' I've daured look at ye. But it's no
that ye're forgotten, dearie."
Then he covered his eyes with his hand as though he
"Dinna look at me sae, lass!" he cried, and fell on his
knees, kissing the picture, hugging it to him and sobbing
Red Wull came up and pushed his face compassionately
into his master's; but the little man shoved him roughly
away, and the dog retreated into a corner, abashed and
Memories swarmed back on the little man.
It was more than a decade ago now, and yet he dared
barely think of that last evening when she had lain so
white and still in the little room above.
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT 75
"Pit the bairn on the bed, Adam man," she had said in
low tones. "I'll be gaein' in a wee while noo. It's the
lang good-by to you-and him."
He had done her bidding and lifted David up. The tiny
boy lay still a moment, looking at this white-faced mother
whom he hardly recognized.
"Minnie!" he called piteously. Then, thrusting a small,
dirty hand into his pocket, he pulled out a grubby sweet.
"Minnie, ha' a sweetie-ain o' Davie's sweeties!" and
he held it out anxiously in his warm plump palm, thinking
it a certain cure for any ill.
"Eat it for mither," she said, smiling tenderly; and
then: "Davie, ma heart, I'm leaving' ye."
The boy ceased sucking the sweet, and looked at her,
the corners of his mouth drooping pitifully.
"Ye're no gaein' awa', mither?" he asked, his face all
working. "Ye'll no leave yer wee laddie?"
"Ay, laddie, awa'-reet awa'. HE'S calling' me."
She tried to smile; but her mother's heart was near to
"Ye'll tak' yer wee Davie wi' ye mither!" the child
pleaded, crawling up toward her face.
The great tears rolled, unrestrained, down her wan
cheeks, and M'Adam, at the head of the bed, was sobbing
"Eh, ma bairn, ma bairn, I'm sair to leave ye!" she
cried brokenly. "Lift him for me, Adam."
He placed the child in her arms; but she was too weak to
hold him. So he laid him upon his mother's pillows; and
the boy wreathed his soft arms about her neck and sobbed
And the two lay thus together.
76 M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
Just before she died, Flora turned her head and whis.
"Adam, ma man, ye'll ha' to be mither and father
baith to the lad noo": and she looked at him with tender
confidence in her dying eyes.
"I wull! afore God as I stan' here I wull!" he declared
passionately. Then she died, and there was a look of
ineffable peace upon her face.
"Mither and father baith!"
The little man rose to his feet and flung the photograph
from him. Red Wull pounced upon it; but M'Adam
leapt at him as he mouthed it.
"Git awa', ye devil!" he screamed; and, picking it up,
stroked it lovingly with trembling fingers.
"Maither and father baith!"
How had he fulfilled his love's last wish? How!
"Oh God!"-and he fell upon his knees at the table-side,
hugging the picture, sobbing and praying.
Red Wull cowered in the far corner of the room, and
then crept whining up to where his master knelt. But
M'Adam heeded him not, and the great dog slunk away
There the little man knelt in the gloom of the winter's
afternoon, a miserable penitent. His gray-flecked head
was bowed upon his arms; his hands clutched the picture;
and he prayed aloud in gasping, halting tones.
"Gie me grace, O God! 'Father and mother baith,' ye
said, Flora-and I ha'na done it. But 'tis no too late-
say it's no, lass. Tell me there's time yet, and say ye
forgie me. I've tried to bear wi' him mony and mony a
time. But he's vexed me, and set himself agin me, and
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
stiffened my back, and ye ken hoo I was aye quick to tak'
offence. But I'll mak' it up to him-mak' it up to him,
and mair. I'll humble masel' afore him, and that'll be
bitter enough. And I'll be father and mither baith to
him. But there's bin none to help me; and it's bin sair
wi'oot ye. And-but, eh lassie, I'm wearyin' for ye!"
It was a dreary little procession that wound in the
drizzle from Kenmuir to the little Dale Church. At the
head stalked James Moore, and close behind David in
his meagre coat. While last of all, as if to guide the
stragglers in the weary road, came Owd Bob.
There was a full congregation in the tiny church now.
In the squire's pew were Cyril Gilbraith, Muriel Sylvester,
and, most conspicuous, Lady Eleanour. Her slender
figure was simply draped in gray, with gray fur about the
neck and gray fur edging sleeves and jacket; her veil was
lifted, and you could see the soft hair about her temples,
like waves breaking on white cliffs, and her eyes big with
tender sympathy as she glanced toward the pew upon her
For there were the mourners from Kenmuir: the Master,
tall, grim, and gaunt; and beside him Maggie, striving to
be calm, and little Andrew, the miniature of his father.
Alone, in the pew behind, David M'Adam in his father's
The back of the church was packed with farmers from
the whole March Mere Estate; friends from Silverdale and
Grammoch-town; and nearly every soul in Wastrel-dale,
come to show their sympathy for the living and reverence
for the dead.
78 M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
At last the end came in the wet dreariness of the little
churchyard, and slowly the mourners departed, until at
length were left only the parson, the Master, and Owd
The parson was speaking in rough, short accents,
digging nervously at the wet ground. The other, tall and
gaunt, his face drawn and half-averted, stood listening.
By his side was Owd Bob, scanning his master's coun-
tenance, a wistful compassion deep in the sad gray eyes;
while close by, one of the parson's terriers was nosing
inquisitively in the wet grass.
Of a sudden, James Moore, his face still turned away,
stretched out a hand. The parson broke off abruptly and
grasped it. Then the two men strode away in opposite
directions, the terrier hopping on three legs and shaking
the rain off his hard coat.
David's steps sounded outside. M'Adam rose from
his knees. The door of the house opened, and the boy's
feet shuffled in the passage.
"David!" the little man called in a tremulous voice.
He stood in the half-light, one hand on the table, the
other clasping the picture. His eyes were bleared, his thin
hair all tossed, and he was shaking.
"David," he called again; "I've something' I wush to
say to ye!"
The boy burst into the room. His face was stained with
tears and rain; and the new black coat was wet and slimy
all down the front, and on the elbows were green-brown,
muddy blots. For, on his way home, he had flung himself
down in the Stony Bottom just as he was, heedless of the
wet earth and his father's coat, and, lying on his face
M'ADAM AND HIS COAT 79
thinking of that second mother lost to him, had wept his
heart out in a storm of passionate grief.
Now he stood defiantly, his hand upon the door.
"What d'yo' want?"
The little man looked from him to the picture in his hand.
"Help me, Flora-he'll no," he prayed. Then raising
his eyes, he began: "I'd like to say-I've bin thinkin'-
I think I should tell ye-it's no an easy thing for a man to
He broke off short. The self-imposed task was almost
more than he could accomplish.
He looked appealingly at David. But there was no
glimmer of understanding in that white, set countenance.
"0 God, it's maist mair than I can do!" the little man
muttered; and the perspiration stood upon his forehead.
Again he began: "David, after I saw ye this afternoon
steppin' doon the hill- "
Again he paused. His glance rested unconsciously upon
the coat. David mistook the look; mistook the dimness
in his father's eyes; mistook the tremor in his voice.
"Here 'tis! tak' yo' coat!" he cried passionately; and
tearing it off, flung it down at his father's feet. "Tak' it-
He banged out of the room and ran upstairs; and,
locking himself in, threw himself on to his bed and sobbed.
Red Wull made a movement to fly at the retreating
figure; then turned to his master, his stump-tail vibrating
But little M'Adam was looking at the wet coat now
lying in a wet bundle at his feet.
"Curse ye," he repeated softly. "Curse ye-ye heard
80 M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
A bitter smile crept across his face. He looked again at
the picture now lying crushed in his hand.
"Ye canna say I didna try; ye canna ask me to agin,"
he muttered, and slipped it into his pocket. "Niver agin,
Wullie; not if the Queen were to ask it."
Then he went out into the gloom and drizzle, still
smiling the same bitter smile.
That night, when it came to closing-time at the Sylvester
Arms, Jem Burton found a little gray-haired figure lying
on the floor in the tap-room. At the little man's head
lay a great dog.
"Yo' beast!" said the righteous publican, regarding the
figure of his best customer with fine scorn. Then catching
sight of a photograph in the little man's hand:
"Oh, you're that sort, are yo', foxy?" he leered. "Gie us
a look at 'er," and he tried to disengage the picture from
the other's grasp. But at the attempt the great dog rose,
bared his teeth, and assumed such a diabolical expression
that the big landlord retreated hurriedly behind the bar.
"Two on ye!" he shouted viciously, rattling his heels;
THE SHEPHERDS' TROPHY
M 'ADAM never forgave his son. After the scene on
the evening of the funeral there could be no alter-
native but war for all time. The little man had attempted
to humble himself, and been rejected; and the bitterness
of defeat, when he had deserved victory, rankled like a
poisoned barb in his bosom.
Yet the heat of his indignation was directed not against
David, but against the Master of Kenmuir. To the
influence and agency of James Moore he attributed his
discomfiture, and bore himself accordingly. In public
or in private, in tap-room or market, he never wearied of
abusing his enemy.
"Feel the loss o' his wife, d'ye say?" he would cry.
"Ay, as muckle as I feel the loss o' my hair. James
Moore can feel naethin', I tell ye, except, aiblins, a
mischance to his meeserable dog."
When the two met, as they often must, it was always
M'Adam's endeavour to betray his enemy into an unworthy
expression of feeling. But James Moore, sorely tried as
he often was, never gave way. He met the little man's
sneers with a quelling silence, looking down on his asp-
tongued antagonist with such a contempt flashing from his
blue-gray eyes as hurt his adversary more than words.
Only once was he spurred into reply. It was in the
tap-room of the Dalesman's Daughter on the occasion of
the big spring fair in Grammoch-town, when there was a
goodly gathering of farmers and their dogs in the room.
M'Adam was standing at the fireplace with Red Wull at
"It's a noble pairt ye play, James Moore," he cried
loudly across the room, setting son against father, and
dividin' hoose against hoose. It's worthy o' ye we' yer
churchgoin', and yer psalm-singin', and yer godliness." -
The Master looked up from the far end of the room.
"Happen you're not aware, M'Adam," he said sternly,
"that, an' it had not bin for me, David'd ha' left you years
agone-and wouldd nob'but ha' served yo' right, I'm
The little man was beaten on his own ground, so he
"Dinna shout so, man-I have ears to hear. Forbye
ye irritate Wullie."
The Tailless Tyke, indeed, had advanced from the
fireplace, and now stood, huge and hideous, in the very
centre of the room. There was distant thunder in his
throat, a threat upon his face, a challenge in every wrinkle.
And the Gray Dog stole gladly out from behind his master
to take up the gage of battle.
Straightway there was silence; tongues ceased to wag,
tankards to clink. Every man and every dog was quietly
gathering about those two central figures. Not one of
them all but had his score to wipe off against the Tailless
Tyke; not one of them but was burning to join in, the
battle once begun. And the two gladiators stood looking
past one another, muzzle to muzzle, each with a tiny
flash of teeth glinting between his lips.
But the fight was not to be; for the twentieth time the
"Bob, lad, coom in!" he called, and, bending, grasped
his favourite by the neck.
M'Adam laughed softly.
"Wullie, Wullie, to me!" he cried. "The look o' you's
enough for that gentleman."
"If they get fighting' it'll no be Bob here I'll hit, I warn
yo', M'Adam," said the Master grimly.
"Gin ye sae muckle as touched Wullie d'ye ken what
I'd do, James Moore?" asked the little man very smoothly.
"Yes-sweer," the other replied, and strode out of the
room amid a roar of derisive laughter at M'Adam's
Owd Bob had now attained wellnigh the perfection of
his art. Parson Leggy declared roundly that his like had
not been seen since the days of Rex son of Rally. Among
the Dalesmen he was a heroic favourite, his prowess and
gentle ways winning him friends on every hand. But the
point that told most heavily for him was that in all things
he was the very antithesis of Red Wull.
Barely a man in the country-side but owed that ferocious
savage a grudge; not a man of them all who dared pay it.
Once Long Kirby. full of beer and valor, tried to settle his
account. Coming. onM'Adam and Red Wull as he was
driving into Grammoch-town, he leant over and with his
thong dealt the dog a terrible sword-like flash that raised
an angry ridge of red from hip to shoulder; and was
twenty yards down the road before the little man's shrill
curse reached his ear, drowned in a hideous bellow.
He stood up and lashed the colt, who, quick on his legs
for a young un, soon settled to his gallop. But, glancing
over his shoulder, he saw a hounding form behind, catching
him as though he were walking. His face turned sickly
white; he screamed; he flogged; he looked back. Right
beneath the tail-board was the red devil in the dust; while
racing a furlong behind on the turnpike road was the mad
figure of M'Adam.
The smith struck back and flogged forward. It was of no
avail. With a tiger-like bound the murderous brute leapt
on the flying trap. At the shock of the great body the colt
was thrown violently on his side; Kirby was tossed over
the hedge; and Red Wull pinned beneath the debris.
M'Adam had time to rush up and save a tragedy.
"I've a mind to knife ye, Kirby," he panted, as he
bandaged the smith's broken head.
After that you may be sure the Dalesmen preferred to
swallow insults rather than to risk their lives; and their
impotence only served to fan their hatred to white heat.
The working methods of the antagonists were as
contrasted as their appearances. In a word, the one
compelled where the other coaxed.
His enemies said the Tailless Tyke was rough; not even
Tammas denied he was ready. His brain was as big as
his body, and he used them both to some purpose. "As
quick as a cat, with the heart of a lion and the temper of
Nick's self," was Parson Leggy's description.