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Title: Pep: The Story of a Brave Dog

Author: Clarence Hawkes

Release Date: July 13, 2019 [EBook #59909]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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“Pep sniffed at his master’s face eagerly.”
Page 96



PEP

The Story of a
Brave Dog

By
CLARENCE HAWKES

ILLUSTRATED By
WILLIAM VAN DRESSER

MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY
SPRINGFIELD · MASSACHUSETTS


Copyright, 1922
By MILTON BRADLEY COMPANY
Springfield, Massachusetts

All Rights Reserved


Bradley Quality Books

Printed in United States of America


To Dog-Lovers,
the whole world over,
this book is fraternally
dedicated


[5]

INTRODUCTION
A FRIEND TO MAN

By Clarence Hawkes

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

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

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

In the case of the man it has taken untold ages to bring about the change, and so it has in the case of the dog. When in the dark[6] ages the brute man crouched over his campfire, gazing fearfully into the darkness about him, encompassed by superstition and ignorance, the gray wolf hung upon the outskirts of his campfire.

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

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

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

Indians, even now in the far north, often take the wolf whelps from the den and play with them, and they refer to the wolf as “Grandfather’s dog,” showing that they understand the gradual evolution of the dog.[7] You can better understand this if you visit any of their villages where the dogs even now are little more than partly domesticated wolves, wolfish in habits, and looks. Such is the Husky, the famous team dog of the frozen north, without whose help the wealth of the Klondyke and other remote places could hardly have been brought to the outside world.

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

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

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

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

Every child is familiar with the St. Bernard dogs and their work in the Alpine[9] passes, saving lost travelers in the terrible storms of those great heights. Perhaps the most famous of all those great dogs was Barry, whose record as a life saver covered a long period of years, and who is credited with saving forty lives.

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

Equally famous, and perhaps even more useful as a helper of man are the Scotch collies and the sheep and cattle dogs of England and Scotland. In countries where wolves are numerous these fine dogs are indispensable, and in some sections it would be impossible to guard the flock without them. The training of a fine sheep dog has become a science, and something that the shepherds take a deal of pride in. In order to encourage the breeding of finely trained dogs, each year in many parts of England and Scotland contests of sheep herding dogs are held. Then great crowds of people from far and near gather and all the fine sheep dogs are brought hither and put through their paces. Finally when all have contested, the judges[10] award the cup or other trophy to the shepherd whose dog has made the best showing. Such an event is finely described in that famous dog story, “Bob, Son of Battle.”

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

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

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

Then the fastest teams in the North are brought together, a course of perhaps four hundred miles is selected, and at a crack of the pistol the teams are off to run the course,[11] in competition for a sweep stake of ten thousand dollars.

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

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

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

Hard as the work is yet these faithful sled dogs are eager for each day’s work and are[12] nearly heartbroken if they are unable to take their places in the traces.

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

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

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

But what shall we say of the house dog, who is one of the family? The sharer of all our joys and sorrows: the one from whom we have no secrets: the social intimate whose tail is a perfect barometer of sunshine and[13] storm in the family: the custodian of the premises, who always sleeps with one eye open, and one ear cocked for the sound of prowlers: the friend of the children who follows them about like a shadow, watchful lest any danger threaten them, often sharing in their romps with all the zest of a boy.

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

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

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

Presently he will come over to you unable to stand it any longer and put his nose into your hand, or fall to licking it frantically. He is not forward or aggressive, but full of[14] humility and abasement. He knows he is only a dog, while you are a dog’s God, but he wants to comfort you, to take your load upon his own shoulders and help you bear it.

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

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

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

The great Ibsen in “The Pretenders”[15] epitomizes this fidelity of the dog when he causes King Skule to say: “I must have some one by me who sinks his own will utterly in mine, who believes in me unflinchingly, who will cling close to me in good-hap and ill, who lives only to shed warmth and light over my life, and must die if I fall.” And Jatgeir replies, “Buy yourself a dog, My Lord.”

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

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

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

The small boy who ties a can to the dog’s tail and then laughs as the frantic creature[16] runs yelping down the street, or perhaps shies a stone at him, knows not that this same despised canine may drag him from a watery grave, or from a burning building on the morrow. A hundred to one the dog would remember neither the tin can nor the stone, if he saw the boy in peril.

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

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

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

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

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

Traill immediately recognized in this visitor[18] the once happy and well-cared-for Bobby. Stirred with compassion, he gave a bun to the silent pleader, who then, without waiting to eat it, ran out of the shop carrying his newly-found meal in his mouth. Next day at the same hour Bobby again appeared, and repetition of events followed; but on the third day, Traill, whose curiosity and interest were now thoroughly aroused, determined to follow the dog, and thus discover his destination. This was soon reached, for Bobby, bun in mouth, made straight for Greyfriars’ Churchyard where, approaching the grave of his master, he lay down and began to eat his scanty meal. It was now evident that the chief, if not the only mourner of the kind-hearted farmer, had been his four-footed friend Bobby, who, after following his late master’s funeral procession, had then refused to leave the humble mound which marked his grave, until forced to do so by the pangs of hunger. Bobby’s plight and the locality of his new domicile having come to the knowledge of the occupants of his former home, he was brought back, it is said, three times. However, all[19] efforts to make him relinquish his chosen post proved unavailing and each attempt was followed by a speedy return to the same spot in Greyfriars. Here Bobby continued to spend both days and nights, taking refuge only in rough weather under a tombstone hard by, and stoutly resisting all friendly advances made by the compassionate strangers desirous of providing a home for him. In course of time a shelter was erected for his protection near his master’s grave. He continued his daily visits to the restaurant, arriving punctually at the same hour, and never failing to receive his bun from the kind-hearted proprietor. This went on for nine years when, owing to a more rigorous enforcement of the seven shillings yearly dog license, Bobby was arrested as a “vagrant,” and appeared in court accompanied by his humane sympathizer and defender, the restaurant keeper, who was accused of harboring the dog. They were tried before three magistrates who, after hearing the story, tempered the law with mercy and forgave him for not paying his rates, thus saving Bobby from an untimely end.

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

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

“Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he has reared with loving care may become ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we[21] trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies away from him when he may need it most. Man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees and do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend a man may have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog.

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

“When all other friends desert, he remains.[22] When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws and his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”


[23]

PEP
The Story of a
Brave Dog


[24]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I A Blue Ribbon Dog 25
II The Runaway 38
III The Crossing 56
IV The Hospital 73
V The Battlefield 90
VI The Rescue 105
VII Homeward Bound 116

[25]

PEP: THE STORY OF A BRAVE DOG

CHAPTER I
A BLUE RIBBON DOG

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

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

Pep was an English bull terrier, sleek and clean cut. His white coat shone like satin and it was as soft as velvet. Well it might have shone, for the doctor’s man had been[26] washing and brushing the dog for weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such a host of dogs he had not thought the world contained. There were large dogs and small dogs, short-haired dogs and long-haired dogs, excited dogs and complacent dogs, but most all were excited. A dog had to have a pretty good opinion of himself to keep his head in such a place as this. Such a chorus of yelping and barking, growling and whining greeted them as they walked down the main street that Pep did not know[28] whether to be joyous or angry. For the life of him he could not tell whether it was only just play, or the preliminary to a great fight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seemed an eternity before his master[30] reappeared, but he was not really gone more than an hour. When he came back he had another doctor with him, whom Pep knew well. He was the master of Pep’s friend, Larry, a clever Irish terrier, who had also come to the show.

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

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

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

He stopped short in his tracks at the sight of Pep and stood very still. The other dogs were straining at their leashes, but the judge did not see them. His eyes were all for Pep.[31] Finally he lifted his eyes to the doctor’s face and winked at him knowingly. The doctor looked down quickly, but he gave Pep a confidential shove with his leg.

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

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

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

Finally the judge got up with a deep sigh. “Take them both away,” he said shortly. “They are good dogs, but they are not in the class with this one,” and he came over and[32] stroked Pep’s head. “Here’s his blue ribbon. Take him up to the free for all. It may not do any good, but I want to see him lined up against the old champion, Lord Lansdale. Somehow I can’t keep my eyes off him, but I presume he will look small enough beside the champion.”

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

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

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

“Wait till he goes up to meet the champion,” whimpered the dandy. “He’ll come[33] back with his tail between his legs, or I am a liar.”

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

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

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

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

One by one the winners were placed on the platform by the champion but it needed only[34] a glance at most of them and the judge said, “Take ’em away.” Then master and dog would slink out of the ring. The last dog who went on before Pep lasted much longer than his predecessors had. The judge looked him over for several minutes and even held his head beside the champion’s before pronouncing his doom.

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

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

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

The judge examined them carefully

“The judge examined them carefully.”

Then he went up and began feeling the two dogs over very carefully. He passed his[35] hand along their backs, and legs. He let their ears slip gently through his fingers. He lifted up their paws. Then put them down.

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

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

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

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

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

“Take away the old champion,” he said. “He is outclassed. This,” and he laid his[36] hand caressingly on Pep’s head, “is the better dog. I never dreamed that I would live to see Lord Lansdale dethroned.”

Then a great shouting went up around the ring.

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

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

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

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

The following day, when Pep and the doctor were having a fine time, walking about the great hall, along the main street, looking at the dogs, a boy in uniform with a blue cap[37] came up to his master and gave him an envelope.

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

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


[38]

CHAPTER II
THE RUNAWAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Look at Pep, Betty. He wants you to see his blue ribbon. He is a blue ribbon dog[41] now. He’ll take care of you while I am gone. Won’t you, old sport?”

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

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

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

Pep followed disconsolately from room to room, keeping out of the way as well as he could. He finally took up his position by the front door and waited. This was the door through which his master always left when he went on important missions. He determined not to be left behind. If it made his mistress feel so badly to have master go away he would go with him, then she would know he would be safe. Of course all this packing meant his master was going away.[42] He had seen it many times before, but why they hurried so, and why every one’s heart ached, he could not imagine.

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

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

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

She hugged him to her heart and poured[43] out her grief in his sympathetic ears. Of course he did not know just what made her feel so badly, but he snuffled in unison with her and told her as plainly as a dog could that he felt just as badly as she did and that they were fellow sufferers.

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

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

He had his muzzle close to the crack so as to be ready. Thompson had barely opened the door and squeezed partly through, for he had been warned to look out for Pep, when the terrier shot between his legs and with a scurry of feet along the walk, he was gone into the darkness. A second later, he was out on the street running frantically for the depot. Thompson and the mistress whistled[44] and shouted but he paid no attention to them, and they saw him disappear twenty rods away around a corner, running like the wind.

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

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

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

He knew which way his master had gone, the one way to New York. He looked up at[45] the station platform and away into the darkness. Then Thompson and the motor whizzed up: That decided him. He turned his nose towards New York and galloped frantically down the track.

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

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

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

At this point in his reflections, a shiver[46] ran through the train. At first it was only a tremor, but immediately it grew into a crashing, grating, grinding sound. The train buckled in the middle, raising three cars fairly from the track. Others swayed this way and that.

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

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

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

The physician was thrown across the isle, but not injured. Almost before the rest of the passengers knew what had happened[47] he was on his feet and breaking his way out through a window. Five minutes later, he was going from point to point attending the injured, organizing relief and giving what aid he could with the limited means at hand.

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

For an hour the terrier galloped at his best pace, but the straight and level way stretched on just as straight and unending as it had been when he started. By this time he was getting tired, so he slowed down and began to wonder if he should ever reach the great city where he had been so recently to the dog show. Perhaps he had not done right to come. He knew well that Thompson and his mistress had called him. He had heard them plainly. Perhaps his master would not even be glad to see him. Maybe he would rather he had remained at home[48] to guard the place while he was gone. His thoughts were not probably quite as definite as this, but he began to have misgivings about running away.

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

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

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

Almost the first person that Pep saw as he galloped up to the wreck was the doctor.[49] He was kneeling beside a man lying on the ground. The man was groaning and the physician was doing something for him. Pep was a doctor’s dog and quite well versed in the ways of doctors. He had often sat on his favorite rug in the office during a serious consultation. He did not notice that his master was trying to replace a dislocated shoulder, or he never would have jumped and pulled his coat tail as he did. To the doctor at this critical time, all dogs were alike. So without even looking around, he kicked at the intruder who was disturbing his work.

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

Presently the shoulder snapped back into place and the surgeon passed on to other unfortunates.[50] Pep followed at a distance, always keeping on the rim of light at the edge of the darkness. For half an hour he dodged about, keeping himself half in the shadow watching, then a wrecking train came up and a score of doctors and nurses descended.

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

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

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

While two cars went past him Pep stood uncertain, then with a scramble and a glad bark he sprang upon the rear platform of the third and last car. He went with such a rush that he nearly slid off on the other[51] side, but he finally gained his footing, and crouched down beside the door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Can you make it?”

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

Pep had not been allowed to follow the doctor’s car at home, but this was different. His master had gone off and left him. He[53] had not dared even make himself known. For a second he hesitated, then fell in behind the motor and began a wild race for the wharf.

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

Even before they reached it, Pep made up his mind that if his master got through without seeing him, he would lose him. So as[54] the gate opened, he sprang upon the physician with a glad bark. The doctor turned and looked down at him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All right, old pal. It’s us for Europe.”[55] With these words, the doctor stooped down and gathered Pep up in his arms partially covering him with his overcoat to shield him from fussy officials, and followed the excited taxi driver into the elevator. Up they shot, and then along the gangplanks to the great floating palace which was to be Pep’s home for the next ten days.

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


[56]

CHAPTER III
THE CROSSING

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

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

The officer looked at the dog doubtfully. “If you really value him,” he said, “you had better not let the first mate see him. He is death on dogs. Why, the last trip across he had four thrown overboard. They were pets of wounded soldiers, too. It made the[57] crew as mad as March hares. There wasn’t any sense in it, either.”

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

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

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

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

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

“He is a blue ribbon dog,” explained the doctor. “They would keep each other company.[58] Take a look at him.” He held Pep up for inspection.

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

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

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

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

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

Although the doctor visited Pep twice[59] that evening and he seemed snug and comfortable, yet he could not forget the horrible picture of the first mate’s having the pets of the wounded soldiers thrown overboard, so he determined to have it out with the old man as they called him the very next day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They found Pep waiting for them and straining at his leash. The doctor picked him up that the captain might better admire[61] him. For several seconds he looked him over in silence, then put out his hand and stroked his sleek head.

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

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

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

Hilda and Pep were inseparable, once she[62] had found her way to his warm dog heart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The doctor and the second mate, who were standing on the hurricane deck, saw the frightful accident and gave the alarm. Although the sea was still running mountains[65] high, and it was doubtful if a boat could live in it, yet a crew sprang to the nearest lifeboat and began slowly lowering it.

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

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

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

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

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

Could he reach the girl? Should he send[66] him? The chance looked slim, but in his profession human life was always set above animal life. So he repeated, “Look, Pep. Hilda, bring.” With these words, he raised the dog above the rail and pitched him into the raging sea.

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

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

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

“Pep reached his playmate and fastened his teeth firmly in her dress.”

All held their breath as the dog struggled to keep his place above the wave while the lifeboat fought its way toward them. Could they hold out? Would the boat be able to[67] reach them? These were the questions on all lips. The minute seemed like an hour, so tense it was. But all minutes come to an end, and this one did, with glorious victory.

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

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

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

Four days later the ship came close to the Irish coast and precautions were redoubled. This was the submarine zone and no one[68] knew at what moment those devils of the deep might appear.

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

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

The ship was listing badly and the hole was fast filling, so the boats were made ready. The doctor did not know whether he would be allowed to take Pep with him or[69] not, but he went to the cook’s cabin for the dog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seemed strange to the other passengers that with death all around them a strong man should feel so deeply the loss of a dog, but only dog lovers understand these things. No one but a dog lover knows the comfort of[71] that soft tongue on your cheek, or the muzzle in your hand.

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

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

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

The doctor’s heart sank within him, it was going to be a losing fight for brave Pep after all. But at this point the boat stopped to determine if possible their direction and by[72] a mighty effort Pep regained the gunwale. Then a bright idea came to the doctor and he cursed his stupidity for not having thought of it before. He unlaced his shoes and tied the strings together. Then he coaxed Pep close to the boat and tied the shoestring in his collar. With that done he breathed a great sigh of relief. The dog was now as safe as the rest of them. If the boat made shore, he would.

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

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

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

To which Pep responded with a sigh of deep satisfaction.


[73]

CHAPTER IV
THE HOSPITAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

When he was not pleased, the doctor[75] would take out his watch and hold the man’s wrist. He would also sometimes look at the patient’s tongue, but usually the surgeon spent his time putting on bandages, changing dressings, and doing other needful things for the poor wounded soldiers.

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

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

They often took Pep into their confidence and told him about their sweethearts at home, or that he reminded them of a dog they once knew. Several of the soldiers in this ward became very fond of Pep and he of them. He would allow himself to be stroked and petted a great deal by his favorites. He felt in some way that it helped the[76] soldiers to pet him. He knew that he and his master were here to help the soldiers, so he would gladly sacrifice his dignity in the good cause.

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

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

Every two or three days the activities at the hospital would be doubled and then Pep would often hear the word battle. That meant that the number of ambulances arriving that day would be greatly increased. At such times he was always out in the great quadrangle before the main building watching[77] the ambulances come and go, and the nurses and doctors unload the wounded men. It was a serious time. No one laughed or joked here as they did in the dispensary. At such times his master would not even notice him when he rubbed against his leg to attract his attention.

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

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

Pep came hurriedly out of his place of hiding under the table to discover what was the matter, and soon heard the word Boche.[78] Every one was so angry that he decided the Boche must have something to do with the thunderstorm, but just what he could not imagine.

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

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

Finally an orderly noticed Pep’s distress and examined him. He brought ointment and rubbed the dog’s back till the burning[79] almost ceased. But in the morning it was seen that he had lost a large patch of hair just back of his shoulders. This was his first wound at the hands of the Boche, but not his last.

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

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

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

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

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

Pep was very fond of candy, especially of cinnamon. His master, who was something of a joker, said it was because of the bark in it. The terrier wagged his tail in appreciation,[80] swallowed the candy after two or three crunches and came out to greet his master.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dog heaved a deep sigh. He knew that his master was sad and he was a sort of[82] Šolian harp that always responded to his master’s moods with sympathetic chords.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pep seemed to know instinctively that his master had gone for a long time. The doctor had left him several times before for half a day since they had been in France, but now it was different. That long confidential[85] talk in the dispensary and the affectionate hugs and lavish petting foretold to his dog mind a long separation.

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

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

In the daytime he was not so lonesome or unconsolable, but in the night he often lay awake whimpering for his master or working at his chain and collar trying to get loose. He would spend hours tugging at the chain,[86] pulling at the staple with his teeth, or trying to get at his collar, until he lay down utterly exhausted.

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

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

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

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

Luck was with him. The telephone was constantly ringing, and soon nurses and doctors were hurrying to and fro. Presently[87] he learned the reason why, for they began bringing in an endless procession of wounded men. The quadrangle was filled with ambulances.

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

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

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

This sense or instinct which some of the dumb animals have is called orientation. Dogs and horses have it to a marked degree and homing pigeons and seals even more. Thompson Seton tells of how when hopelessly[88] lost in the Rocky Mountains a dozen miles from home his horse carried him straight to camp, when he gave him his head.

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

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

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

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

The reason for his galloping was this.[89] His master, who was also his god, lay in a narrow gulch at the edge of the Argonne forest, close to a little brook in a poplar thicket, shot through the hips and nearly dead from thirst and loss of blood.


[90]

CHAPTER V
THE BATTLEFIELD

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

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

At first they went forward through open[91] country, undulating and broken, but soon entered intermittent woods, with deep ravines and sharp ridges, just the sort of country for hard fighting.

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

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

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

But now the heaviest fighting had rolled away to the north and the immediate work was that of the regiment in front of them[92] which was clearing out the hornet’s nest of machine-guns that the Boche had left behind.

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

Just at dusk the doctor found himself alone in a narrow gulch. Deep shade was overhead, and a little brook babbled softly through the gulch, but now its cool waters were red with blood and roiled with the passing of many feet. In this gulch the surgeon found several dead and wounded men, and it was while binding up the wounds[93] of a Tennessee mountaineer who had been shot through the hip that a stray bullet found the surgeon and stretched him beside the man whom he was trying to save.

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

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

All through that night he galloped, only occasionally slowing down for a few kilometers to rest. He did not know to what place he was going, or what it would be like when he arrived, but he did know that at the end of the long road his master was calling for him. By noon of the day following his escape from the hospital he was so foot-sore he sometimes had to stop to lick his paws. They were stone bruised and bleeding at the[94] roots of the nails. But he did not pause for long, he could not with his master calling.

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

It was now ten o’clock at night, and the Boche had decided that they did not want the enemy to bring up fresh troops and occupy the woods, so they were sweeping the thickets and gulches with shrapnel and shells. Pep was terrified with the deafening noise and the bright flashes all about him. Occasionally he would stop and whimper and crouch close to the ground. The earth was friendly. It would not let these fierce bolts of lightning or the terrible thunder get him.[95] Occasionally he would stand uncertain for several seconds and whimper softly.

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

At last after a more fearful explosion than usual, which rained small particles all about him, he found himself in the narrow gulch, by the little stream near which his master lay. He stopped for a moment to cool his burning feet in the water and to lick up some of the refreshing liquid, then, joy of joys, he discovered the doctor’s footprints in the sand close to the brook. He sniffed excitedly and then with a glad yelp sprang forward eagerly keeping his nose close to the ground in order not to miss the trail. It wound in and out for several rods. Once it stopped by the side of a dead soldier. Pep sniffed at the man’s cold face, then hurried[96] on. Would his master be like that when he found him? He missed the trail for a few feet where the doctor had stepped on some stones, but he soon recovered it again. Then joy unyelpable, he took the body scent and abandoned the trail. Three or four bounds carried him to the spot where the surgeon lay, prone upon the ground and very still.

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

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

Pep noted with delight that the limp fingers closed gently over his muzzle and he registered his joy with a glad bark. Had his master been fully possessed of his senses he would have warned him that it was very dangerous to bark in the enemy’s country,[97] but the doctor was only partly conscious. The gentle pressure did not mean as much as the dog imagined.

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

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

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

At last the physician came to himself enough to speak the dog’s name in a thick,[98] strange voice, but it was unmistakable and the frantic terrier was overjoyed. Then the man lapsed into silence and was very still for another long time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, with a deep sigh, the physician[99] raised the canteen slowly to his lips. He was at least a minute in performing this simple act, but when his fevered, parched lips closed over the nozzle, the canteen was found to be entirely empty. With a groan he let it fall and sank back discouraged. Pep was quick to notice the distress in his master’s voice when he again addressed him.

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

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

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

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

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

“Bring, Pep. Bring.”

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

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

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

To the doctor’s disgust there were only a few drops of water in the canteen when the dog returned with it as he had held it on its side. But even these few drops were most grateful to the parched tongue. The next time they had much better luck. Pep by accident held it by the nozzle and the doctor found the canteen half full of water. He seized it with delight and drank long and[101] deep. Then he petted and praised Pep generously and with a deep sigh of satisfaction lay down to rest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once more he had a bright idea, which was[103] another inspiration. He must manage in some way to get Pep to go for help. This was his only chance. He could not tell the dog what he wanted, but he could send him away. Perhaps he would find a Red Cross man somewhere in this inferno of a woods and bring him back, so he summoned all his remaining strength for this attempt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[105]

CHAPTER VI
THE RESCUE

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

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

Why did his master send him away? He had been a faithful dog. What should he[106] do? Where should he go? He was not quite sure of the way back to the hospital. The woods were full of frightful sounds, full of lightning and thunder, the kind that tore the limbs from great trees, stripped the leaves from their branches and plowed holes in the ground, holes so deep that if he ever fell into one of them he might not be able to get out again.

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

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

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

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

Soon his tongue came out and he was panting and lolling as though it had been noonday in summer, instead of the cool of the morning. It was now so hard to travel that[108] he did not think he could even reach the smooth road, for he had to lie down and rest every few rods.

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

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

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

Presently the men came so close that he could see them plainly. They were talking in low voices. They were two Red Cross men carrying a wounded soldier on a litter. He was very sure they were good men, for[109] their dress was just like that of the men who unloaded the ambulances at the hospital. With a glad yelp Pep limped forward. He felt very sure they would be good to him. The Red Cross men had often petted him at the hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pep whimpered again and turned and licked his flank.

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

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

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

“I guess ’e don’t know what he does want. He is lonesome and hurt and afraid, an’[111] sick uf the whole durned war, just like you and me.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Now, Perp,” said Bill comfortingly. “You just lead the way an’ if there is anything[112] in this ’ere woods you want me to know about, I’m your man.”

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

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

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

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

He seized the canteen in his mouth hoping that the doctor would throw it that he might[113] bring it to him as he had done earlier in the night, but his master made no sign. So finally the faithful dog lay down to watch. He felt sure that the good man would come back. Something in his voice had reassured Pep.

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

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

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

Finally, when they had been traveling slowly for about an hour, he sank down with[114] a doleful howl and could go no further.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where am I?” he whispered.

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

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


[116]

CHAPTER VII
HOMEWARD BOUND

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

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

After that the doctor lapsed into silence and let things take their course. He knew instinctively that everything would be done for him, but he was not so sure about Pep.[117] Some people appreciated dogs and some didn’t. He did not want any slight put on his little chum, now they had been through so much together.

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

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

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

Every morning when the surgeon made his rounds, he would speak to Pep and attend to his splints in the presence of his master. If Pep was feeling especially good, he would consent to follow the surgeon on[118] his visit down the ward, stopping critically at the bedside of each patient, and watching proceedings narrowly. But he always returned quickly to his master’s bedside once the surgeon had made his rounds. Pep seemed to think that it was a part of his duty to look out for the poor soldiers now that his master could not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was strange, thought the doctor, as he folded the letter and put it away, how this bit of paper had moved him. He had been through so much since coming to France, that he was not quite himself, but there was another consideration also. He had come so near to losing everything there in the Argonne Forest that life and home and loved[120] ones had become doubly dear. He had often seen strong men weep like babies when they received letters from home. It had seemed strange to him that they should be so moved, but now he understood.

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

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

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

“Wish I had a handful of crosses for dogs,” said the general at the conclusion of the story. “I would certainly give him one. Here is some money. Get him the finest[121] collar that money can buy and mark it from General Blank, as a mark of his appreciation of distinguished service.”

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

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

After two more pleasant weeks at the hospital they were discharged and the doctor packed up his earthly belongings, which[122] were few, and made ready to sail. The great ship on which they had come across was loading in the harbor and they did not intend to get left.

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

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

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

And best of all, the ship was homeward bound. Home, home, home, sang the waves as they slipped under the bow, and the winds sang home in the rigging. But the weary[123] hearts of the passengers sang home louder than the winds or the waves.

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

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

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

“That’s so,” wagged Pep.

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

“So we did,” sniffed the dog.

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

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

It was just at this point in their confidential[124] conversation that Hilda and her father came on deck. The doctor, who had not known that they were aboard, greeted them joyously, while Pep fairly wagged his tail off at the sight of his little playmate. Soon the two were racing up and down the deck in the finest kind of a romp. This was after Hilda had heard the story of Pep’s bravery and spelled out the inscription on his new collar.

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

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

“I’m awfully proud of you, Pep,” said Hilda. “You are as brave as a soldier. Do you know I always remember you in my prayers? That is because you saved my[125] life. I say, ‘Please, God, keep Pep and give him lots of bones to eat.’”

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

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

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

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

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

THE END


TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.






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