Bob Son of Battle
Part 2 out of 5
as heart, of resource as well as resolution.
In that winter more than one man and many a dog lost his life in
the quiet performance of his duty, gliding to death over the
slippery snow-shelves, or overwhelmed beneath an avalanche of
the warm, suffocating white: "smoored," as they call it. Many a
deed was done, many a death died, recorded only in that Book
which holds the names of those--men or animals, souls or no
They found old Wrottesley, the squire's head shepherd, lying one
morning at Gill's foot, like a statue in its white bed, the snow
gently blowing about the venerable face, calm and beautiful in
death. And stretched upon his bosom, her master's hands blue, and
stiff, still clasped about her neck, his old dog Jess. She had
huddled there, as a last hope, to keep the dear, dead master warm,
her great heart riven, hoping where there was no hope.
That night she followed him to herd sheep in a better land. Death
from exposure, Dingley, the vet., gave it; but as little M'Adam, his
eyes dimmer than their wont, declared huskily; "We ken better,
Cyril Gilbraith, a young man not overburdened with emotions, told
with a sob in his voice how, at the terrible Rowan Rock, Jim
Mason had stood, impotent, dumb, big-eyed, watching
Betsy--Betsy, the friend and partner of the last ten years--slipping
over the ice-cold surface, silently appealing to the hand that had
never failed her before--sliding to Eternity.
In the Daleland that winter the endurance o( many a shepherd and
his dog was strained past breaking-point. From the frozen Black
Water to the white-peaked Grammoch Pike two men only, each
always with his shaggy adjutant, never owned defeat; never turned
back; never failed in a thing attempted.
In the following spring, Mr. Tinkerton, the squire's agent, declared
that James Moore and Adam M'Adam--Owd Bob, rather, and Red
Wull--had lost between them fewer sheep than any single farmer
on the whole March Mere Estate-a proud record.
Of the two, many a tale was told that winter. They were invincible,
incomparable; worthy antagonists.
It was Owd Bob who, when he could not drive the band of Black
Faces over the narrow Razorback which led to safety, induced
them to follow him across that ten-inch death-track, one by one,
like children behind their mistress. It was Red Wull who was seen
coming down the precipitous Saddler's How, shouldering up that
grand old gentleman, King o' the Dale, whose leg was broken.
The gray dog it was who found Cyril Gilbraith by the White
Stones, with a cigarette and a sprained ankle, on the night the
whole village was out with lanterns searching for the well-loved
young scapegrace. It was the Tailless Tyke and his master who one
bitter evening came upon little Mrs. Burton, lying in a huddle
beneath the lea of the fast-whitening Druid's Pillar with her latest
baby on her breast. It was little M'Adam who took off his coat and
wrapped the child in it; little M'Adam who unwound his plaid,
threw it like a breastband across the dog's great chest, and tied the
ends round the weary woman's waist. Red Wull it was who
dragged her back to the Sylvester Arms and life, straining like a
giant through the snow, while his master staggered behind with the
babe in his arms. When they reached the inn it was M'Adam who,
with a smile on his face, told the landlord what he thought of him
for sending his wife across the Marches on such a day and on his
errand. To which:
"I'd a cauld," pleaded honest Jem.
For days together David could not cross the Stony Bottom to
Kenmuir. His enforced confinement to the Grange led, however, to
no more frequent collisions than usual with his. father. For
M'Adam and Red Wull were out, at all hours, in all weathers, night
and day, toiling at their work of salvation.
At last, one afternoon, David managed to cross the Bottom at a
point where a fallen thorn-tree gave him a bridge over the soft
snow. He stayed but a little while at Kenmuir, yet when he started
for home it was snowing again.
By the time he had crossed the ice-draped bridge over the Wastrel,
a blizzard was raging. The wind roared past him, smiting him so
that. he could barely stand; and the snow leaped at him so that he
could not see. But he held on doggedly; slipping, sliding, tripping,
down and up again, with one arm shielding his face. On, on, into
the white darkness, blindly on sobbing, stumbling, dazed.
At length, nigh dead, he reached the brink of the Stony Bottom. He
looked up and he looked down, but nowhere in that blinding mist
could he see the fallen thorn-tree. He took a step forward into the
white morass, and 'sank up to his thigh. He struggled feebly to free
himself, and sank deeper. The snow wreathed, twisting, round him
like a white flame, and he collapsed, softly crying, on that soft bed.
"I canna--I canna!" he moaned.
Little Mrs. Moore, her face whiter and frailer than ever, stood at
the window, lookiing out into the storm.
"I canna rest for thinkin' o' th' lad," she said. Then, turning, she saw
ber husband, his fur cap down over his ears, buttoning his
pilot-coat about his throat, while Owd Bob stood at his feet,
"Ye're no goin', James?" she asked, anx-. iously.
"But I am, lass," he answered; and she knew him too well to say
So those two went quietly out to save life or lose it, nor counted
Down a wind-shattered slope--over a spar of ice--up an eternal
hill--a forlorn hope.
In a whirlwind chaos of snow, the tempest storming at them, the
white earth lashing them, they fought a good fight. In front, Owd
Bob, the snow clogging his shaggy coat, his hair cutting like lashes
of steel across eyes, his head lowered as he followed the finger of
God; and close behind, James Moore, his back stern against the
storm, stalwart still, yet swaying like a tree before the wind.
So they battled through to the brink of the Stony Bottom--only to
arrive too late.
For, just as the Master peering about him, had caught sight of a
shapeless lump lying motionless in front, there loomed across the
snow-choked gulf through the white riot of the storm a gigantic
figure forging, doggedly forward, his great head down to meet the
hurricane. And close behind, buffeted and bruised, stiff and
staggering, a little dauntless figure holding stubbornly on,
clutching with one hand at the gale; and a shrill voice, whirled
away on the trumpet tones of the wind, crying:
"Noo, Wullie, wi' me!
Scots wha' hae wi' Wallace bled!
Scots wham Bruce has often led!
Here he is, Wullie!
"'--or to victorie !"
The brave little voice died away. The quest; was over; the lost
sheep found. And the last; James Moore saw of them was the same
small, gallant form, half carrying, half dragging the rescued boy
out of the Valley of the Shadow and away.
David was none the worse for his adventure, for on reaching home
M'Adam produced a. familiar bottle.
"Here's something to warm yer inside, and'" --making a feint at the
strap on the wails--' "here's something to do the same by yer--.-----
But, Wullie, oot again!"
And out they went--unreckoned heroes.
It was but a week later, in the very heart of the bitter time, that
there came a day when, from gray dawn to grayer eve, neither
James Moore nor Owd Bob stirred out into the wintry white. And
the Master's face was hard and set as it always was in time of
Outside, the wind screamed down the Dale; while the snow fell
relentlessly; softly fingering the windows, blocking the doors, and
piling deep against the walls. Inside the house there was a strange
quiet; no sound save for hushed voices, and upstairs the shuffling
of muffled feet.
Below, all day long, Owd Bob patrolled the passage like some
silent, gray spectre.
Once there came a low knocking at the door; and David, his face
and hair and cap smothered in the all-pervading white, came in
with an eddy of snow. He patted Owd Bob, and moved on tiptoe
into the kitchen. To him came Maggie softly, shoes in hand, with
white, frightened face. The two whispered anxiously awhile like
brother and sister as they were; then the boy crept quietly away;
only a little pool of water on the floor and wet, treacherous
foot-dabs toward the door testifying to the visitor.
Toward evening the wind died down, but the mourning flakes still
With the darkening of night Owd Bob retreated to the porch and
lay down on his blanket. The light from the lamp at the head of the
stairs shone through the crack of open door on his dark head and
the eyes that never slept.
The hours passed, and the gray knight still kept his vigil. Alone in
the darkness--alone, it almost seemed, in the house--he watched.
His head lay motionless along his paws, but. the steady gray eyes
never flinched or drooped.
Time tramped on on leaden foot, and still he waited; and ever the
pain of hovering anxiety was stamped deeper in the gray eyes.
At length it grew past bearing; the hollow stillness of the house
overcame him. He rose, pushed open the door, and softly pattered
across the passage.
At the foot of the stairs he halted, his fore-. paws on the first step,
his grave face and pleading eyes uplifted, as though he were
praying. The dim light fell on the raised head; and the white
escutcheon on his breast shone out like the snow on Salmon.
At length, with a sound like a sob, he dropped to the ground, and
stood listening, his tail dropping and head raised. Then he turned
and began softly pacing up and down, like some velvet-footed
sentinel at the gate of death.
Up and down, up and down, softly as the falling snow, for a weary,
Again he stopped and stood, listening intently, at the foot of the
stairs; and his gray coat quivered as though there were a draught.
Of a sudden, the deathly stillness of the house was broken.
Upstairs, feet were running hurriedly. There was a cry, and again
A life was coming in; a life was going out. The minutes passed;
hours passed; and, at-the sunless dawn, a life passed.
And all through that night of age-long agony the gray figure stood,
still as a statue, at the foot of the stairs. Only, when, with the first
chill breath of the morning, a dry, quick-quenched sob of a strong
man sorrowing for the helpmeet of a score of years, and a tiny cry
of a new-born child wailing because its mother was not, came
down to his ears, the Gray Watchman dropped his head upon his
bosom, and, with a little whimpering note, crept back to his
A little later the door above opened, and James Moore tramped
down the stairs. He looked taller and gaunter than his wont, but
there was no trace of emotion on his face.
At the foot of the stairs Owd Bob stole out to meet him. He came
crouching up, head
-and tail down, in a manner no man ever saw before or since. At
his master's feet he stopped
Then, for one short moment, James Moore's whole face quivered.
"Well, lad," he said, quite low, and his voice broke; "she's awa'!"
That was all; for they were an undemonstrative couple.
Then they turned and went out together into the bleak morning.
Chapter VIII. M'ADAM AND HIS COAT
To David M'Adam. the loss of gentle Elizabeth Moore was as
real a grief as to her children. Yet he manfully smothered his own
aching heart and devoted himself to comforting the mourners at
In the days succeeding Mrs. Moore's death the boy recklessly
neglected his duties at the Grange. But little M'Adam forbore to
rebuke him. At times, indeed, he essayed to be passively kind.
David, however, was too deeply sunk in his great sorrow to note
The day of the funeral came. The earth was throwing off its
ice-fetters; and the Dale was lost in a mourning mist.
In the afternoon M'Adam was standing at the window of the
kitchen, contemplating the infinite weariness of the scene, when
the door of the house opened and shut noiselessly. Red Wull
raised himself on to the sill and growled, and David hurried past
the window making for Kenmuir. M'Adam watched the passing
figure indifferently; then with an angry oath sprang to the window.
"Bring me back that coat, ye thief!" he cried, tapping fiercely on
the pane. "Tax' it aff at onst, ye muckle gowk, or I'll come and tear
it aff ye. D'ye see him, Wullie? the great coof has ma coat--me
black coat, new last Michaelmas, and it rainin' 'nough to melt it."
He threw the window up with a bang and leaned out.
"Bring it back, I tell ye, ondootiful, or I'll summons ye. Though
ye've no respect for me, ye might have for ma claithes. Ye're too
big for yer am boots, let alane ma coat. D'ye think I had it cut for a
elephant? It's burst-in', I tell ye. Tak' it aff! Fetch it here, or I'll e'en
send Wullie to bring it!"
David paid no heed except to begin running heavily down the hill.
The coat was stretched in wrinkled agony across his back; his big,
red wrists protruded like shank-bones from the sleeves; and the
little tails flapped wearily in vain attempts to reach the wearer's
M'Adam, bubbling over with indignation, scrambled half through
the open window. Then, tickled at the amazing impudence of the
thing, he paused, smiled, dropped to the ground again, and
watched the uncouth, retreating figure with chuckling amusement.
"Did ye ever see the like o' that, Wullie?" he muttered. "Ma puir
coat--puir wee coatie! it gars me greet to see her in her pain. A
man's coat, Wullie, is aften unco sma' for his son's back; and David
there is strainin' and stretchin' her nigh to brakin', for a' the world
as he does ma forbearance. And what's he care aboot the one or
t'ither?--not a finger-flip."
As he stood watching the disappearing figure there began the slow
tolling of the minute-bell in the little Dale church. Now near, now
far, now loud, now low, its dull chant rang out through the mist
like the slow-dropping tears of a mourning world.
M'Adam listened, almost reverently, as the bell tolled on, the only
sound in the quiet Dale. Outside, a drizzling rain was falling; the
snow dribbled down the hill in muddy tricklets; and trees and roofs
and windows dripped.
And still the bell tolled on, calling up relentlessly sad memories of
the long ago.
It was on just such another dreary day, in just such another
December, and not so many years gone by, that the light had gone
forever out of his life.
The whole picture rose as instant to his eyes as if it had been but
yesterday. That insistent bell brought the scene surging back to
him:the dismal day; the drizzle; the few mourners; little David
decked out in black, his fair hair contrasting with his gloomy
clothes, his face swollen with weeping; the Dale hushed, it seemed
in death, save for the tolling of the bell; and his love had left him
and gone to the happy land the hymn-books talk of.
Red Wull, who had been watching him uneasily, now came up and
shoved his muzzle into his master's hand. The cold touch brought
the little man back to earth. He shook himself, turned wearily away
from the window, and went to the door of the house.
He stood there looking out; and all round him was the eternal drip,
drip of the thaw. The wind lulled, and again the minute-bell tolled
out clear and inexorable, resolute to recall what was and what had
With a choking gasp the little man turned into the house, and ran
up the stairs and into his room. He dropped on his knees beside the
great chest in the corner, and unlocked the bottom drawer, the key
turning noisily in its socket.
In the drawer he searched with feverish fingers, and produced at
length a little paper packet wrapped about with a stained yellow
ribbon. It was the ribbon she haa used to weave on Sundays into
her soft hair.
Inside the packet was a cheap, heart-shaped frame, and in it a
Up there it was too dark to see. The little man ran down the stairs,
Red Wull jostling him as he went, and hurried to the window in
It was a sweet, laughing face that looked up at him from the frame,
demure yet arch, shy yet roguish--a face to look at and a face to
As he looked a wintry smile, wholly tender, half tearful, stole over
the little man's face.
"Lassie," he whispered, and his voice was infinitely soft, "it's lang
sin' I've daured look at ye. But it's no that ye're forgotten, deane."
Then he covered his eyes with his hand as though he were blinded.
"Dinna look at me sae, lass!" he cried, and fell on his knees,
kissing the picture, hugging it to him and sobbing passionately.
Red Wull came up and pushed his face compassionately into his
master's; but the little man shoved him roughly away, and the dog
retreated into a corner, abashed and reproachful.
Memories swarmed back on the little man.
It was more than a decade ago now, and yet he dared barely think
of that last evening when she had lain so white and still in the little
"Pit the bairn on the bed, Adam man," she had said in low tones.
"I'll be gaein' in a wee while noo. It's the lang good-by to you--and
He had done her bidding and lifted David up. The tiny boy lay still
a moment, looking at this white-faced mother whom he hardly
"Minnie!" he called piteously. Then, thrusting a small, dirty hand
into his pocket, he pulled out a grubby sweet.
"Minnie, ha' a sweetie--ain o' Davie's sweeties!" and he held it out
anxiously in his warm plump palm, thinking it a certain cure for
"Eat it for mither," she said, smiling tenderly; and then: "Davie, ma
heart, I'm leavin' ye."
The boy ceased sucking the sweet, and looked at her, the corners
of his mouth drooping pitifully.
"Ye're no gaein' awa', mither?" he asked, his face all working.
"Ye'll no leave yen wee laddie?"
"Ay, laddie, awa'--reet awa'. Ha's callin' me." She tried to smile;
but her mother's heart was near to bursting.
"Ye'll tak' yen wee Davie wi' ye mither!" the child pleaded,
crawling up toward her face.
The great tears rolled, unrestrained, down her wan cheeks, and
M'Adam, at the head of the bed, was sobbing openly.
"Eh, ma bairn, ma bairn, I'm sam to leave ye!" she cried brokenly.
"Lift him for me, Adam."
He placed the child in her arms; but she was too weak to hold him.
So he laid him upon his mother's pillows; and the boy wreathed his
soft arms about her neck and sobbed tempestuously.
And the two lay thus together.
Just before she died, Flora turned her head and whispered:
"Adam, ma man, ye'll ha' to be mither and father baith to the lad
noo"; and she looked at him with tender confidence in her dying
"I wull! afore God as I stan' here I wull!" he declared passionately.
Then she died, and there was a look of ineffable peace upon her
"Mither and father baith!"
The little man rose to his feet and flung the photograph from him.
Red Wull pounced upon it; but M'Adam leapt at him as he
"Git awa', ye devil!" he screamed; and, picking it up, stroked it
lovingly with trembling fingers.
"Maither and father baith!"
How had he fulfilled his love's last wish? How!
"Oh God! "--and he fell upon his knees at the table-side, hugging
the picture, sobbing and praying.
Red Wull cowered in the far corner of the room, and then crept
whining up to where his master knelt. But M'Adam heeded him
not, and the great dog slunk away again.
There the little man knelt in the gloom of the winter's afternoon, a
miserable penitent. His gray-flecked head was bowed upon his
arms; his hands clutched the picture; and he prayed aloud in
gasping, halting tones.
"Gie me grace, O God! 'Father and mither baith,' ye said, Flora--
and I ha'na done it.
But 'tis no too late--say it's no, lass. Tell me there's time yet, and
say ye forgie me. I've tried to bear wi' him mony and mony a time.
But he's vexed me, and set himself agin me, and stiffened my back,
and ye ken hoo I was aye quick to tak' offence. But I'll mak' it up to
him--mak' it up to him, and mair. I'll humble masel' afore him, and
that'll be bitter enough. And I'll be father and mither baith to him.
But there's bin none to help me; and it's bin sair wi'oot ye. And--.
but, eh, lassie, I'm wearyin' for ye!"
It was a dreary little procession that wound in the drizzle from
Kenmuir to the little Dale Church. At the head stalked James
Moore, and close behind David in his meagre coat. While last of
all, as if to guide the stragglers in the weary road, come Owd Bob.
There was a full congregation in the tiny church now. In the
squire's pew were Cyril Gilbraith, Muriel Sylvester, and, most
conspicuous, Lady Eleanour. Her slender figure was simply draped
in gray, with gray fur about the neck and gray fur edging sleeves
and jacket; her veil was lifted, and you could see the soft kair
about her temples, like waves breaking on white cliffs, and her
eyes big with tender sympathy as she glanced toward the pew upon
For there were the mourners from Kenmuir: the Master, tall, grim,
and gaunt; and beside him Maggie, striving to be calm, and little
Andrew, the miniature of his father.
Alone, in the pew behind, David M'Adam in his father's coat.
The back of the church was packed with farmers from the whole
March Mere Estate; friends from Silverdale and Grammoch-town;
and nearly every soul in Wastrel-dale, come to show their
sympathy for the living and reverence for the dead.
At last the end came in the wet dreariness of the little churchyard,
and slowly the mourners departed, until at length were left only the
parson, the Master, and Owd Bob.
The parson was speaking in rough, short accents, digging
nervously at the wet ground. The other, tall and gaunt, his face
drawn and half-averted, stood listening. By his side was Owd Bob,
scanning his master's countenance, a wistful compassion deep in
the sad gray eyes; while close by, one of the parson's terriers was
nosing inquisitively in the wet grass.
Of a sudden, James Moore, his face still turned away, stretched out
a hand. The parson, broke off abruptly and grasped it. Then the
two men strode away in opposite directions, the terrier hopping on
three legs and shaking the rain off his hard coat.
David's steps sounded outside. M'Adam rose from his knees. The
door of the house opened, and the boy's feet shuffled in the
"David!" the little man called in a tremulous voice.
He stood in the half-light, one hand on the table, the other clasping
the picture. His eyes were bleared, his thin hair all tossed, and he
"David," he called again; "I've somethin' I wush to say to ye!"
The boy burst into the room. His face was stained with tears and
rain; and the new black coat was wet and slimy all down the front,
and on the elbows were green-brown, muddy blots. For, on his way
home, he had flung himself down in the Stony Bottom just as he
was, heedless of the wet earth and his father's coat, and, lying on
his face thinking of that second mother lost to him, had wept his
heart out in a storm of passionate grief.
Now he stood defiantly, his hand upon the door.
"What d'yo' want?"
The little man looked from him to the picture in his hand.
"Help me, Flora--he'll no," he prayed. Then raising his eyes, he
began: "I'd like to say--I've bin thinkin'--I think I should tell ye--it's
no an easy thing for a man to say--"
He broke off short. The self-imposed task was almost more than he
He looked appealingly at David. But there was no glimmer of
understanding in that white, set countenance.
"O God, it's maist mair than I can do!" the little man muttered; and
the perspiration stood upon his forehead. Again he began:
David, after I saw ye this afternoon steppin' doon the hill--"
Again he paused. His glance rested unconsciously upon the coat.
David mistook the look; mistook the dimness in his father's eyes;
mistook the tremor in his voice.
"Here 'tis! tak' yo' coat!" he cried passionately; and, tearing it off,
flung it down at his father's feet. "Tak' it--and---and----curse yo'/"
He banged out of the room and ran upstairs; and, locking himself
in, threw himself on to his bed and sobbed.
Red Wull made a movement to fly at the retreating figure; then
turned to his master, his stump-tail vibrating with pleasure.
But little M'Adam was looking at the wet coat now lying in a wet
bundle at his feet.
"Curse ye," he repeated softly. "Curse ye --ye heard him. Wullie?"
A bitter smile crept across his face. He looked again at the picture
now lying crushed in his hand.
"Ye canna say I didna try; ye canna ask me to agin," he muttered,
and slipped it into his pocket. "Niver agin, Wullie; not if the
Queen were to ask it."
Then he went out into the gloom and drizzle, still smiling the same
That night, when it came to closing-time at the Sylvester Arms,
Jem Burton found a little gray-haired figure lying on the floor in
the tap-room. At the little man's head lay a great dog.
"Yo' beast!" said the righteous publican, regarding the figure of his
best customer with fine scorn. Then catching sight of a photograph
in the little man's hand:
"Oh, yo're that sort, are yo', foxy?" he leered. "Gie us a look at 'er,"
and he tried to disengage the picture from the other's grasp. But at
the attempt the great dog rose, bared his teeth, and assumed such a
diabolical expression that the big landlord retreated hurriedly
behind the bar.
"Two on ye!" he shouted viciously, rattling his heels; "beasts
PART III THE SHEPHERDS' TROPHY
Chapter IX. RIVALS
M'ADAM never forgave his son. After the scene on the evening of
the funeral there could be no alternative but war for all time. The
little man had attempted to humble himself, and been rejected; and
the bitterness of defeat, when he had deserved victory, rankled like
a poisoned barb in his bosom.
Yet the heat of his indignation was directed not against David, but
against the Master of Kenmuir. To the influence and agency of
James Moore he attributed his discomfiture, and bore himself
accordingly. In public or in private, in tap-room or market, he
never wearied of abusing his enemy.
"Feel the loss o' his wife, d'ye say?" he would cry. "Ay, as muckle
as I feel the loss o' my hair. James Moore can feel naethin', I tell
ye, except, aiblins, a mischance to his meeserable dog."
When the two met, as they often must, it was always M'Adam's
endeavor to betray his enemy into an unworthy expression of
feeling. But James Moore, sorely tried as he often was, never gave
way. He met the little man's sneers with a quelling silence, looking
down on his asp-tongued antagonist with such a contempt flashing
from his blue-gray eyes as hurt his adversary more than words.
Only once was he spurred into reply. It was in the tap-room of the
Dalesman's Daughter on the occasion of the big spring fair in
Grammoch-town, when there was a goodly gathering of farmers
and their dogs in the room.
M'Adam was standing at the fireplace with Red Wull at his side.
"It's a noble pairt ye play, James Moore," he cried loudly across the
room, "settin' son against father, and dividin' hoose against hoose.
It's worthy o' ye we' yer churchgoin', and yer psalm-singin', and yer
The Master looked up from the far end of the room.
"Happen yo're not aware, M'Adam," he said sternly, "that, an' it had
not bin for me, David'd ha' left you years agone--and 'twould
nob'but ha' served yo' right, I'm thinkin'.
The little man was beaten on his own ground, so he changed front.
"Dinna shout so, man--I have ears to hear, Forbye ye irritate
The Tailless Tyke, indeed, had advanced from the fireplace, and
now stood, huge and hideous, in the very centre of the room. There
was distant thunder in his throat, a threat upon his face, a
challenge in every wrinkle. And the Gray Dog stole gladly out
from behnind his master to take up the gage of battle.
Straightway there was silence; tongues ceased to wag, tankards to
clink. Every man and every dog was quietly gathering about those
two central figures. Not one of them all but had his score to wipe
off against the Tailless Tyke; not one of them but was burning to
join in, the battle once begun. And the two gladiators stood
looking past one another, muzzle to muzzle, each with a tiny flash
of teeth glinting between his lips.
But the fight was not to be; for the twentieth time the Master
"Bob, lad, coom in!" he called, and, bending, grasped his favorite
by the neck.
M'Adam laughed softly.
"Wullie, Wullie, to me!" he cried. "The look o' you's enough for
"If they get fightin' it'll no be Bob here I'll hit, I warn yo',
M'Adam," said the Master grimly.
"Gin ye sac muckle as touched Wullie d'ye ken what I'd do, James
Moore?" asked the little man very smoothly.
"Yes--sweer," the other replied, and strode out of the room amid a
roar of derisive laughter at M'Adam's expense.
Owd Bob had now attained wellnigh the perfection of his art.
Parson Leggy declared roundly that his like had not been seen
since the days of Rex son of Rally. Among the Dalesmen he was a
heroic favorite, his prowess and gentle ways winning him friends
on every hand. But the point that told most heavily for him was
that in all things he was the very antithesis of Red Wull.
Barely a man in the country-side but owed that ferocious savage a
grudge; not a man of them all who dared pay it. Once Long Kirby,
full of beer and valor, tried to settle his account. Coming on
M'Adam and Red Wull as he was driving into Grammoch-town, he
lent over and with his thong dealt the dog a terrible sword-like
slash that raised an angry ridge of red from hip to shoulder; and
was twenty yards down the road before the little man's shrill curse
reached his ear, drowned in a hideous bellow.
He stood up and lashed the colt, who, quick on his legs for a young
un, soon settled to his gallop. But, glancing over his shoulder, he
saw a hounding form behind, catching him as though he were
walking. His face turned sickly white; he screamed; he flogged; he
looked back. Right beneath the tail-board was the red devil in the
dust; while racing a furlong behind on the turnpike road was the
mad figure of M'Adam.
The smith struck back and flogged forward. It was of no avail.
With a tiger-like bound the murderous brute leapt on the flying
trap. At the shock of the great body the colt was thrown violently
on his side; Kirby was tossed over the hedge; and Red Wull
pinned beneath the debris.
M'Adam had time to rush up and save a tragedy.
"I've a mind to knife ye, Kirby," he panted, as he bandaged the
smith's broken head.
After that you may be sure the Dalesmen preferred to swallow
insults rather than to risk their lives; and their impotence only
served to fan their hatred to white heat.
The working methods of the antagonists were as contrasted as their
appearances. In a word, the one compelled where the other coaxed.
His enemies said the Tailless Tyke was rough; not even Tammas
denied he was ready. His brain was as big as his body, and he used
them both to some purpose. "As quick as a cat, with the heart of a
lion and the temper of Nick's self," was Parson Leggy's description.
What determination could effect, that could Red Wall; but
achievement by inaction--supremest of all strategies--was not for
him. In matters of the subtlest handling, where to act anything
except indifference was to lose, with sheep restless, fearful
forebodings hymned to them by the wind, panic hovering unseen
above them, when an ill-considered movement spelt
catastrophe--then was Owd Bob o' Kenmuir incomparable.
Men still tell how, when the squire's new thrashing-machine ran
amuck in Grammochtown, and for some minutes the market
square was a turbulent sea of blaspheming men, yelping dogs,
and stampeding sheep, only one flock stood calm as a mill-pond by
the bull-ring, watching the riot with almost indifference. And in
front, sitting between them and the storm, was a quiet gray dog, his
mouth stretched in a capacious yawn: to yawn was to win, and he
When the worst of the uproar was over, many a glance of triumph
was shot first at that one still pack, and then at M'Adam, as he
waded through the disorder of huddling sheep.
"And wheer's your Wullie noo?" asked Tapper scornfully.
"Weel," the little man answered with a quiet smile, "at this minute
he's killin' your Rasper doon by the pump." Which was indeed the
case; for big blue Rasper had interfered with the great dog in the
performance of his duty, and suffered accordingly.
Spring passed into summer; and the excitement as to the event of
the approaching Trials, when at length the rivals would be pitted
against one another, reached such a height as old Jonas Maddox,
the octogenarian, could hardly recall.
Down in the Sylvester Arms there was almost nightly a conflict
between M'Adam and Tammas Thornton, spokesman of the Dales
men. Many a long-drawn bout of words had the two anent the
respective merits and Cup chances of red and gray. In these duels
Tammas was usually worsted. His temper would get the better of
his discretion; and the cynical debater would be lost in the
During these encounters the others would, as a rule, maintain a
rigid silence. Only when their champion was being beaten, and it
was time for strength of voice to vanquish strength of argument,
they joined in right lustily and roared the little man down, for all
the world like the gentlemen who rule the Empire at Westminster.
Tammas was an easy subject for M'Adam to draw, but David was
an easier. Insults directed at himself the boy bore with a stolidity
born of long use. But a poisonous dart shot against his friends at
Kenmuir never failed to achieve its object. And the little man
evinced an amazing talent for the concoction of deft lies respecting
"I'm hearin'," said he, one evening, sitting in the kitchen, sucking
his twig; "I'm hearin' James Moore is gaein' to git married agin."
"Yo're hearin' lies--or mair-like tellin' 'em," David answered
shortly. For he treated his father now with contemptuous
"Seven months sin' his wife died," the little man continued
meditatively. "Weel, I'm on'y 'stonished he's waited sae lang. Am
buried, anither come on--that's James Moore."
David burst angrily out of the room.
"Gaein' to ask him if it's true?" called his father after him. "Gude
luck to ye--and him."
David had now a new interest at Kenmuir. In Maggie he found an
endless source of study. On the death of her mother the girl had
taken up the reins of government at Kenmuir; and gallantly she
played her part, whether in tenderly mothering the baby, wee
Anne, or in the sterner matters of household work. She did her
duty, young though she was, with a surprising, old-fashioned
womanliness that won many a smile of approval from her father,
and caused David's eyes to open with astonishment.
And he soon discovered that Maggie, mistress of Kenmuir, was
another person from his erstwhile playfellow and servant.
The happy days when might ruled right were gone, never to be
recalled. David often regretted them, especially when in a conflict
of tongues, Maggie, with her quick answers and teasing eyes, was
driving him sulky and vanquished from the field. The two were
perpetually squabbling now. In the good old days, he remembered
bitterly, squabbles between them were unknown. He had never
permitted them; any attempt at independent thought or action was
as sternly quelled as in the Middle Ages. She must follow where
he led on--"Ma word!"
Now she was mistress where he had been master; hers was to
command, his to obey. In consequence they were perpetually at
war. And yet he would sit for hours in the kitchen and watch her,
as she went about her business, with solemn, interested eyes, half
of admiration, half of amusement. In the end Maggie always
turned on him with a little laugh touched with irritation.
"Han't yo' got nothin' better'n that to do, nor lookin' at me?" she
asked one Saturday about a month before Cup Day.
"No, I han't," the pert fellow rejoined.
"Then I wish yo' had. It mak's me fair jumpety yo' watchin' me so
like ony cat a mouse."
"Niver yo' fash yo'sel' account o' me, ma wench," he answered
"Yo' wench, indeed!" she cried, tossing her head.
"Ay, or will be," he muttered.
"What's that?" she cried, springing round, a flush of color on her
"Nowt, my dear. Yo'll know so soon as I want yo' to, yo' may be
sure, and no sooner."
The girl resumed her baking, half angry, half suspicious.
"I dunno' what yo' mean, Mr. M'Adam," she said.
"Don't yo', Mrs. M'A--
The rest was lost in the crash of a falling plate; whereat David
laughed quietly, and asked if he should help pick up the bits.
On the same evening at the Sylvester Arms an announcement was
made that knocked the breath out of its hearers.
In the debate that night on the fast-approaching Dale Trials and the
relative abilities of red and gray, M'Adam on the one side, and
Tammas, backed by Long Kirby and the rest, on the other, had
cudgelled each other with more than usual vigor. The controversy
rose to fever-heat; abuse succeeded argument; and the little man
again and again was hooted into silence.
"It's easy laffin'," he cried at last, "but ye'll laff t'ither side o' yer
ugly faces on Cup Day."
"Will us, indeed? lJs'll see," came the derisive chorus.
"We'll whip ye till ye're deaf, dumb, and blind, Wullie and I."
The voices were rising like the east wind in March.
"Yo'll not, and for a very good reason too," asseverated Tammas
"Gie us yer reason, ye muckle liar," cried the little man, turning on
"Becos--" began Jim Mason and stopped to rub his nose.
"Yo' 'old yo' noise, Jim," recommended Rob Saunderson.
"Becos--" it was Tammas this time who paused.
"Git on wi' it, ye stammerin' stirk!" cried M'Adam. "Why?"
"Becos--Owd Bob'll not rin."
Tammas sat back in his chair.
"What!" screamed the little man, thrusting forward.
"What's that!" yelled Long Kirby, leaping to his feet.
"Mon, say it agin!" shouted Rob.
"What's owd addled egg tellin'?" cried Liz Burton.
"Dang his 'ead for him!" shouts Tupper. "Fill his eye!" says Ned
They jostled round the old man's chair:
M'Adam in front; Jem Burton and Long Kirby leaning over his
shoulder; Liz behind her father; Saunderson and Tupper tackling
him on either side; while the rest peered and elbowed in the rear.
The announcement had fallen like a thunderbolt among them.
Tammas looked slowly up at the little mob of eager faces above
him. Pride at the sensation caused by his news struggled in his
countenance with genuine sorrow for the matter of it.
"Ay, yo' may well 'earken all on yo'. Tis enough to mak' the deadies
listen. I says agin: We's'll no rin oor Bob fot' Cup. And yo' may
guess why. Bain't every mon, Mr. M'Adam, as'd pit aside his chanst
o' the Cup, and that 'maist a gift for him"--M'Adam's tongue was in
his cheek--" and it a certainty," the old man continued warmly,
"oot o' respect for his wife's memory."
The news was received in utter silence. The shock of the surprise,
coupled with the bitterness of the disappointment, froze the slow
tongues of his listeners.
Only one small voice broke the stillness.
"Oh, the feelin' man! He should git a reduction o' rent for sic a
display o' proper speerit. I'll mind Mr. Hornbut to let auld Sylvester
Which he did, and would have got a thrashing for his pains had not
Cyril Gilbraith thrown him out of the parsonage before the angry
cleric could lay hands upon him.
Chapter X. RED WULL WINS
TAMMAS had but told the melancholy truth. Owd Bob was not to
run for the cup. And this self-denying ordinance speaks more for
James Moore s love of his lost wife than many a lordly cenotaph.
To the people of the Daleland, from the Black Water to the
market-cross in Grammoch-town, the news came with the shock
of a sudden blow. They had set their hearts on the Gray Dog s
success; and had felt serenely confident of his victory. But the
sting of the matter lay in this: that now the Tailless Tyke might
M'Adam, on the other hand, was plunged into a fervor of delight at
the news. For to win the Shepherds' Trophy was the goal of his
ambition. David was now less than nothing to the lonely little man,
Red Wull everything to him. And to have that name handed down
to posterity, gallantly holding its place among those of the most
famous sheep-dogs of all time, was his heart's desire.
As Cup Day drew near, the little man, his fine-drawn temperament
strung to the highest pitch of nervousness, was tossed on a sea of
apprehension. His hopes and fears ebbed and flowed on the tide of
the moment. His moods were as uncertain as the winds in March;
and there was no dependence on his humor for a unit of time. At
one minute he paced up and down the kitchen, his face already
flushed with the glow of victory, chanting:
"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled !"
At the next he was down at the table, his head buried in his hands,
his whole figure shaking, as he cried in choking voice: "Eh,
Wullie, Wullie, they're all agin us."
David found that life with his father now was life with an
unamiable hornet. Careless as he affected to be of his father's
vagaries, he was tried almost to madness, and fled away at every
moment to Kenmuir; for, as he told Maggie, "I'd sooner put up wi'
your h'airs and h'imperences, miss, than wi' him, the wemon that
At length the great day came. Fears, hopes, doubts, dismays, all
dispersed in the presence of the reality.
Cup Day is always a general holiday in the Daleland, and every
soul crowds over to Silverdale. Shops were shut; special trains ran
in to Grammoch-town; and the road from the little town was dazed
with char-a-bancs, brakes, wagonettes, carriages, carts,
foot-passengers, wending toward the Dalesman's Daughter.
And soon the paddock below that little inn was humming with the
crowd of sportsmen and spectators come to see the battle for the
There, very noticeable with its red body and yellow wheels, was
the great Kenmuir wagon. Many an eye was directed on the
handsome young pair who stood in it, conspicuous and
unconscious, above the crowd: Maggie, looking in her simple print
frock as sweet and fresh as any mountain flower; while David's
fair face was all gloomy and his brows knit.
In front of the wagon was a black cluster of Dalesmen, discussing
M'Adam's chances. In the centre was Tammas holding forth. Had
you passed close to the group you might have heard: "A man, d'yo
say, Mr. Maddox? A h'ape, I call him"; or: "A dog? more like an
'og, I tell yo'." Round the old orator were Jonas, 'Enry, and oor Job,
Jem Burton, Rob Saunderson, Tupper, Jim Mason, Hoppin, and
others; while on the outskirts stood Sam'l Todd prophesying rain
and M'Adam's victory. Close at hand Bessie Bolstock, who was
reputed to have designs on David, was giggling spitefully at the
pair in the Kenmuir wagon, and singing:
"Let a lad aloan, lass,
Let a lad a-be."
While her father, Teddy, dodged in and out among the crowd with
tray and glasses: for Cup Day was the great day of the year for him.
Past the group of Dalesmen and on all sides was a mass of bobbing
heads--Scots, Northerners, Yorkshiremen, Taffies. To right and
left a long array of carriages and carts, ranging from the squire's
quiet landau and Viscount Birdsaye's gorgeous barouche to Liz
Burton's three-legged moke-cart with little Mrs. Burton, the twins,
young Jake (who should have walked), and Monkey (ditto) packed
away inside. Beyond the Silver Lea -the gaunt Scaur raised its
craggy peak, and the Pass, trending along its side, shone white in
At the back of the carriages were booths, cocoanut-shies, Aunt
Sallies, shows, bookmakers' stools, and all the panoply of such a
meeting. Here Master Launcelot Bilks and Jacky Sylvester were
fighting; Cyril Gilbraith was offering to take on the boxing man;
Long Kirby was snapping up the odds against Red Wull; and Liz
Burton and young Ned Hoppin were being photographed together,
while Melia Ross in the background was pretending she didn't
On the far bank of the stream was a little bevy of men and dogs,
observed of all.
The Juvenile Stakes had been run and won; Londesley's Lassie had
carried off the Locals; and the fight for the Shepherds' Trophy was
about to begin.
"Yo're not lookin' at me noo," whispered Maggie to the silent boy
by her side.
"Nay; nor niver don't wush to agin." David answered roughly. His
gaze was directed over the array of heads in front to where, beyond
the Silver Lea, a group of shepherds and their dogs was clustered.
While standing apart from the rest, in characteristic isolation, was
the bent figure of his father, and beside him the Tailless Tyke.
"Doest'o not want yo' feyther to win?" asked Maggie softly,
following his gaze.
"I'm prayin' he'll be beat," the boy answered moodily.
"Eh, Davie, hoo can ye?" cried the girl, shocked.
"It's easy to say, 'Eh, David,' "he snapped. "But if yo' lived along o'
them two "--he nodded toward the stream--" 'appen yo'd understand
a bit. . . . 'Eh, David,' indeed! I never did!"
"I know it, lad," she said tenderly; and he was appeased.
"He'd give his right hand for his bless'd Wullie to win; I'd give me
right arm to see him beat. . . . And oor Bob there all the while,--he
nodded to the far left of the line, where stood James Moore and
Owd Bob, with Parson Leggy and the Squire.
When at length Red Wull came out to run his course, he worked
with the savage dash that always characterized him. His method
was his own; but the work was admirably done.
"Keeps right on the back of his sheep," said the parson, watching
intently. "Strange thing they don't break!" But they didn't. There
was no waiting, no coaxing; it was drive and devilry all through.
He brought his sheep along at a terrific rate, never missing a turn,
never faltering, never running out. And the crowd applauded, for
the crowd loves a dashing display. While little M'Adam, hopping
agilely about, his face ablaze with excitement, handled dog and
sheep with a masterly precision that compelled the admiration
even of his enemies.
"M'Adam wins!" roared a bookmaker. "Twelve to one agin the
"He wins, dang him!" said David, low.
"Wull wins!" said the parson, shutting his lips.
"And deserves too!" said James Moore.
"Wull wins!" softly cried the crowd.
"We don't!" said Sam'l gloomily.
And in the end Red Wull did Win; and there were none save
Tammas, the bigot, and Long Kirby, who had lost a good deal of
his wife's money and a little of his own, to challenge the justice of
The win had but a chilling reception. At first there was faint
cheering; but it sounded like the echo of an echo, and soon died of
inanition. To get up an ovation, there must be money at the back,
or a few roaring fanatics to lead the dance. Here there was neither;
ugly stories, disparaging remarks, on every hand. And the hundreds
who did not know took their tone, as always, from those who said
M'Adam could but remark the absence of enthusiasm as he pushed
up through the throng toward the committee tent. No single voice
hailed him victor; no friendly hand smote its congratulations.
Broad backs were turned; contemptuous glances levelled; spiteful
remarks shot. Only the foreign element looked curiously at the
little bent figure with the glowing face, and shrank back at the size
and savage aspect of the great dog at his heels.
But what cared he? His Wullie was acknowledged champion, the
best sheep-dog of
the year; and the lit Lie man was happy. They could turn their
backs on him; but they could not alter that; and he could afford to
be indifferent. "They dinna like it, lad--he! he! But they'll e'en ha'
to thole it. Ye've won it, Wullie--won it fair."
He elbowed through the press, making for the rope-guarded
inclosure in front of the committee tent, round which the people
were now packing. In the door of the tent stood the secretary,
various stewards, and members of the committee. In front, alone in
the roped-off space, was Lady Elenour, fragile, dainty, graceful,
waiting with a smile upon her face to receive the winner. And on a
table beside her, naked and dignified, the Shepherd's Trophy.
There it stood, kingly and impressive; its fair white sides inscribed
with many names; cradled in three shepherds' crooks; and on the
top, as if to guard the Cup's contents, an exquistely carved collie's
head. The Shepherds' Trophy, the goal of his life's race, and many
He climbed over the rope, followed by Red Wull, and took off his
hat with almost courtly deference to the fair lady before him.
As he walked tip to the table on which the Cup stood, a shrill
voice, easily recognizable, broke the silence.
"You'd like it better if 'twas full and yo' could swim in it, you and
yer Wullie," it called. Whereat the crowd giggled, and Lady
Eleanour looked indignant.
The little man turned.
"I'll mind drink yer health, Mr. Thornton, never fear, though I ken
ye'd prefaire to drink yer am," he said. At which the crowd giggled
afresh; and a gray head at the back, which had hoped itself
unrecognized, disappeared suddenly.
The little man stood there in the stillness, sourly smiling, his face
still wet from his exertions; while the Tailless Tyke at his side
fronted defiantly the serried ring of onlookers, a white fence of
teeth faintly visible between his lips.
Lady Eleanour looked uneasy. Usually the lucky winner was
unable to hear her little speech, as she gave the Cup away, so
deafening was the applause. Now there was utter silence. She
glanced up at the crowd, but there was no response to her
unspoken appeal in that forest of hostile faces. And her gentle
heart bled for the forlorn little man before her. To make it up she
smiled on him so sweetly as to more than compensate him.
"I'm sure you deserve your success, Mr. M'Adam," she said. "You
and Red Wull there worked splendidly--everybody says so."
"I've heard naethin' o't," the little man answered dryly. At which
some one in the crowd sniggered.
"And we all know what a grand dog he is; though"--with a
reproving smile as she glanced at Red Wull's square, truncated
stern--" he's not very polite."
"His heart is good, your Leddyship, if his manners are not,"
M'Adam answered, smiling.
"Liar!" came a loud voice in the silence. Lady Eleanour looked up,
hot with indignation, and half rose from her seat. But M'Adam
"Wullie, turn and mak' yer bow to the leddy," he said. "They'll no
hurt us noo we're up; it's when we're doon they'll flock like corbies
to the carrion."
At that Red Wull walked up to Lady Eleanour, faintly wagging his
tail; and she put her hand on his huge bull head and said, "Dear old
Ugly!" at which the crowd cheered in earnest.
After that, for some moments, the only sound was the gentle ripple
of the good lady's voice and the little man's caustic replies.
"Why, last winter the country was full of Red Wull's doings and
yours. It was always M'Adam and his Red Wull have done this and
that and the other. I declare I got quite tired of you both, I heard
such a lot about you."
The little man, cap in hand, smiled, blushed and looked genuinely
"And when it wasn't you it was Mr. Moore and Owd Bob."
"Owd Bob, bless him!" called a stentorian voice. "There cheers for
'Ip! 'ip! 'ooray!" It was taken up gallantly, and cast from mouth to
mouth; and strangers, though they did not understand, caught the
contagion and cheered too; and the uproar continued for some
When it was ended Lady Eleanour was standing up, a faint flush
on her cheeks and her eyes flashing dangerously, like a queen at
"Yes," she cried, and her clear voice thrilled through the air like a
trumpet. "Yes; and now three cheers for Mr. M'Adam and his Red
Wull! Hip! hip--"
"Hooray!" A little knowt of stalwarts at the back--James Moore,
Parson Leggy, Jim Mason, and you may be sure in heart, at least,
Owd Bob--responded to the call right lustily. The crowd joined in;
and, once off, cheered and cheered again.
"Three cheers more for Mr. M'Adam!"
But the little man waved to them.
"Dinna be bigger heepocrites than ye can help," he said. "Ye've
done enough for one day, and thank ye for it."
Then Lady Eleanour handed him the Cup.
"Mr. M'Adam, I present you with the Champion Challenge Dale
Cup, open to all corners. Keep it, guard it, love it as your own, and
win it again if you can. Twice more and it's yours, you know, and it
will stop forever beneath the shadow of the Pike. And the right
place for it, say I--the Dale Cup for Dalesmen."
The little man took the Cup tenderly.
"It shall no leave the Estate or ma hoose, yer Leddyship, gin
Wullie and I can help it," he said emphatically.
Lady Eleanour retreated into the tent, and the crowd swarmed over
the ropes and round the little man, who held the Cup beneath his
Long Kirby laid irreverent hands upon it.
"Dinna finger it!" ordered M'Adam.
"Shan't! Wullie, keep him aff." Which the great dog proceeded to
do amid the laughter of the onlookers.
Among the last, James Moore was borne past the little man. At
sight of him, M'Adam's face assumed an expression of intense
"Man, Moore!" he cried, peering forward as though in alarm;
"man, Moore, ye're green--positeevely verdant. Are ye in pain?"
Then, catching sight of Owd Bob, he started back in affected
"And, ma certes! so's yer dog! Yer dog as was gray is green. Oh,
guid life! "--and he made as though about to fall fainting to the
Then, in bantering tones: "Ah, but ye shouldna covet--
"He'll ha' no need to covet it long, I can tell yo'," interposed
Tammas's shrill accents.
"And why for no?"
"Becos next year he'll win it fra yo'. Oor Bob'll win it, little mon.
Why? thot's why."
The retort was greeted with a yell of applause from the sprinkling
of Dalesmen in the crowd.
But M'Adam swaggered away into the tent, his head up, the Cup
beneath his arm, and Red Wull guarding his rear.
"First of a' ye'll ha' to beat Adam M'Adam and his Red Wull!" he
cried back proudly.
Chapter XI. OOR BOB
M'ADAM'S pride in the great Cup that now graced his kitchen was
supreme. It stood alone in the very centre of the mantelpiece, just
below the old bell-mouthed blunderbuss that hung upon the wall.
The only ornament in the bare room, it shone out in its silvery
chastity like the moon in a gloomy sky.
Por once the little man was content. Since his mother's death
David had never known such peace. It was not that his father
became actively kind; rather that he forgot to be actively unkind.
"Not as I care a brazen button one way or t'ither," the boy informed
"Then yo' should," that proper little person replied.
M'Adam was, indeed, a changed being. He forgot to curse James
Moore; he forgot to sneer at Owd Bob; he rarely visited the
Sylvester Arms, to the detriment of Jem Burton's pocket and
temper; and he was never drunk.
"Soaks 'isseif at home, instead," suggested Tammas, the
prejudiced. But the accusation was untrue.
"Too drunk to git so far," said Long Kirby, kindly man.
"I reck'n the Cup is kind o' company to him," said Jim Mason.
"Happen it's lonesomeness as drives him here so much." And
happen you were right, charitable Jim.
"Best mak' maist on it while he has it, 'cos he'll not have it for
long," Tammas remarked amid applause.
Even Parson Leggy allowed--rather reluctantly, indeed, for he was
but human--that the little man was changed wonderfully for the
"But I am afraid it may not last," he said. "We shall see what
happens when Owd Bob beats him for the Cup, as he certainly
will. That'll be the critical moment."
As things were, the little man spent all his spare moments with the
Cup between his knees, burnishing it and crooning to Wullie:
"I never saw a fairer,
I never lo'ed a dearer,
And neist my heart I'll wear her,
For fear my jewel tine."
There, Wullie! look at her! is she no bonthe? She shines like a
twinkle--twinkle in the sky." And he would hold it out at arm's
length, his head cocked sideways the better to scan its bright
The little man was very jealous for his treasure. David might not
touch it; might not smoke in the kitchen lest the fumes should
tarnish its glory; while if he approached too closely he was ordered
"As if I wanted to touch his nasty Cup!" he complained to Maggie.
"I'd sooner ony day--"
"Hands aff, Mr. David, immediate! ' she cried indignantly.
"'Pertinence, indeed!" as she tossed her head clear of the big
fingers that were fondling her pretty hair.
So it was that M'Adam, on coming quietly-into the kitchen one
day, was consumed with angry resentment to find David actually
handling the object of his reverence; and the manner of his doing it
added a thousandfold to the offence.
The boy was lolling indolently against the mantelpiece, his fair
head shoved right into the Cup, his breath dimming its lustre, and
his two hands, big and dirty, slowly revolving it before his eyes.
Bursting with indignation, the little man crept up behind the boy.
David was reading through the long list of winners.
"Theer's the first on 'em," he muttered, shooting out his tongue to
indicate the locality: "'Andrew Moore's Rough, 178--.' And theer
agin --' James Moore's Pinch, 179--.' And agin--'Beck, 182--.' Ah,
and theer's 'im Tammas tells on! 'Rex, 183--,' and Rex, 183--.' Ay,
but he was a rare un by all tell-in's! If he'd nob'but won but onst
Ah, and theer's none like the Gray Dogs--they all says that, and I
say so masel'; none like the Gray Dogs o' Kenmuir, bless 'em! And
we'll win agin too--" he broke off short; his eye had travelled down
to the last name on the list.
"'M'Adam's Wull'!" he read with unspeakable contempt, and put his
great thumb across the name as though to wipe it out. "'M'-Adam's
Wull'! Goo' gracious sakes! P-hg-h-r-r! "--and he made a motion as
though to spit upon the ground.
But a little shoulder was into his side, two small fists were beating
at his chest, and a shrill voice was yelling: "Devil! devil! stan' awa'
! "--and he was tumbled precipitately away from the mantelpiece,
and brought up abruptly against the side-wall.
The precious Cup swayed on its ebony stand, the boy's hands,
rudely withdrawn, almost overthrowing it. But the little man's first
impulse, cursing and screaming though he was, was to steady it.
"'M'Adam's Wull'! I wish he was here to teach ye, ye snod-faced,
ox-limbed profleegit!" he cried, standing in front of the Cup, his
"Ay, 'WAdam's Wull'! And why not 'M'Adam's Wull'? Ha' ye ony
objection to the name?"
"I didn't know yo' was theer," said David, a thought sheepishly.
"Na; or ye'd not ha' said it."
"I'd ha' thought it, though," muttered the boy.
Luckily, however, his father did not hear. He stretched his hands
up tenderly for the Cup, lifted it down, and began reverently to
polish the dimmed sides with his handkerchief.
"Ye're thinkin', nae doot," he cried, casting up a vicious glance at
David, "that Wullie's no gude enough to ha' his name alangside o'
they cursed Gray Dogs. Are ye no? Let's ha' the truth for aince--for
" Reck'n he's good enough if there's none better," David replied
"And wha should there be better? Tell me that, ye mucide gowk."
"Eh, but that'd be long tellin', he said.
"And what wad ye mean by that?" his father cried.
"Nay; I was but thinkin' that Mr. Moore's Bob'll look gradely writ
under yon." He pointed to the vacant space below Red Wull's
The little man put the Cup back on its pedestal with hurried hands.
The handkerchief dropped unconsidered to the floor; he turned and
sprang furiously at the boy, who stood against the wall, still
smiling; and, seizing him by the collar of his coat, shook him to
and fro with fiery energy.
"So ye're hopin', prayin', nae doot, that James Moore--curse him
!--will win ma Cup awa' from me, yer am dad. I wonder ye're no
'shamed to crass ma door! Ye live on me; ye suck ma blood, ye
foul-mouthed leech. Wullie and me brak' oorsel's to keep ye in
.iioose and hame--and what's yer gratitude? 'Ye plot to rob us of
He dropped the boy's coat and stood back. No rights about it," said
David, still keeping his temper.
"If I win is it no ma right as muckle as ony Englishman's?"
Red Wull, who had heard the rising voices, came trotting in,
scowled at David, and took his stand beside his master.
"Ah, if yo' win it," said David, with signfficant emphasis on the
"And wha's to beat us?"
David looked at his father in well-affected surprise.
"I tell yo' Owd Bob's mm'," he answered.
"And what if he is?" the other cried.
"Why, even yo' should know so much," the boy sneered.
The little man could not fail to understand.
"So that's it!" he said. Then, in a scream, with one finger pointing
to the great dog:
"And what o' him? What'll ma Wullie be doin' the while? Tell me
that, and ha' a care! Mind ye, he stan's here hearkenin'!" And,
indeed, the Tailless Tyke was bristling for battle.
David did not like the look of things; and edged away toward the
"What'll Wullie be doin', ye chicken-hearted brock?" his father
'Im?" said the boy, now close on the door! 'Im?" he said, with a
slow contempt that made the red bristles quiver on the dog's neck.
"Lookin' on, I should think--lookin' on.
What else is he fit for? I tell yo' oor Bob--"
"--'Oor Bob'!" screamed the little man darting forward. " 'Oor Bob'!
Hark to him. I'll 'oor--' At him, Wullie! at him!"
But the Tailless Tyke needed no encouragement. With a harsh roar
he sprang through the air, only to crash against the closing door!
The outer door banged, and in another second a mocking finger
tapped on the windowpane.
"Better luck to the two on yo' next time! laughed a scornful voice;
and David ran down the hill toward Kenmuir.
Chapter XII. HOW RED WULL HELD THE BRIDGE
FROM that hour the fire of M'Adam's jealousy blazed into a
mighty flame. The winnling of the Dale Cup had become a
mania with him. He had won it once, and would again despite all
the Moores, all the Gray Dogs, all the undutiful sons in existence;
on that point he was resolved. The fact of his having tasted the joys
of victory served to whet his desire. And now he felt he could
never be happy till the Cup was his own--won outright.
At home David might barely enter the room There the trophy
"I'll not ha' ye touch ma Cup, ye dirty fingered, ill-begotten
wastrel. Wullie and me won it--you'd naught to do wi' it. Go you to
James Moore and James Moore's dog."
"Ay, and shall I tak' Cup wi' me? or will ye bide till it's took from
So the two went on; and every day the tension approached nearer
In the Dale the little man met with no sympathy. The hearts of the
Dalesmen were to a man with Owd Bob and his master.
Whereas once at the Sylvester Arms his shrill, ill tongue had been
rarely still, now he maintained a sullen silence; Jem Burton, at
least, had no cause of. complaint. Crouched away in a corner, with
Red Wull beside him, the little man would sit watching and
listening as the Dalesmen talked of Owd Bob's doings, his
staunchness, sagacity, and coming victory.
Sometimes he could restrain himself no longer. Then he would
spring to his feet, and stand, a little swaying figure, and denounce
them passionately in almost pathetic eloquence. These orations
always concluded in set fashion.
"Ye're all agin us!" the little man would cry in quivering voice.
"We are that," Tammas would answer complacently.
"Fair means or foul, ye're content sae lang as Wullie and me are
beat. I wonder ye dinna poison him--a little arsenic, and the way's
clear for your Bob."
'The way is clear enough wi'oot that," from Tammas caustically.
Then a lengthy silence, only broken by that exceeding bitter cry:
"Eh, Wullie, Wullie, they're all agin us!"
And always the rivals--red and gray--went about seeking their
opportunity. But the Master, with his commanding presence and
stern eyes, was ever ready for them. Toward the end, M'Adam,
silent and sneering, would secretly urge on Red Wull to the attack;
until, one day in Grammoch-town, James Moore turned on him,
his blue eyes glittering. "D'yo' think, yo' little fule," he cried in that
hard voice of his,"that onst they got set we should iver git either of
them off alive?" It seemed to strike the little man as a novel idea;
for, from that moment, he was ever the first in his feverish
endeavors to oppose his small form, buffer-like, between the
Curse as M'Adam might, threaten as he niight, when the time came
Owd Bob won.
The styles of the rivals were well contrasted: the patience, the
insinuating eloquence, combined with the splendid dash, of the
one; and the fierce, driving fury of the other.
The issue was never in doubt. It may have been that the temper of
the Tailless Tyke gave in the time of trial; it may have been that
his sheep were wild, as M'Adam declared; certainly not, as the
little man alleged in choking voice, that they had been chosen and
purposely set aside to ruin his chance. Certain it is that his tactics
scared them hopelessly: ay)d he never had them in hand.
Act for Owd Bob, his dropping, his driving, his penning, aroused
the loud-tongued admiration of crowd and competitors alike. He
was patient yet persistent, quiet yet firm, and seemed to coax his
charges in the right way in that inimitable manner of his own.
When, at length, the verdict was given, and it was known that,
after an interval of half a century, the Shepherds' Trophy was won
again by a Gray Dog of Kenmuir, there was such a scene as has
been rarely witnessed on the slope behind the Dalesman's
Great fists were slapped on mighty backs; great feet were stamped
on the sun-dried banks of the Silver Lea; stalwart lungs were
strained to their uttermost capacity; and roars of "Moore!" "Owd
Bob o' Kenmuir!" "The Gray Dogs!" thundered up the hillside, and
were flung, thundering, back.
Even James Moore was visibly moved as he worked his way
through the cheering mob; and Owd Bob, trotting alongside him in
quiet dignity, seemed to wave his silvery brush in
Master Jacky Sylvester alternately turned cart-wheels and felled
the Hon. Launcelot Bilks to the ground. Lady Eleanour, her cheeks
flushed with pleasure, waved her parasol, and attempted to restrain
her son's exuberance. Parson Leggy danced an unclerical jig, and
shook hands with the squire till both those fine old gentlemen were
purple in the face. Long Kirby selected a small man in the crowd,
and bashed his hat down over his eyes. While Tammas, Rob
Saunderson, Tupper, Hoppin, Londesley, and the rest joined hands
and went raving round like so many giddy girls.
ous in the mad heat of his enthusiasm as David M'Adam. He stood
in the Kenmuir wagon beside Maggie, a conspicuous figure above
the crowd, as he roared in hoarse ecstasy:
"Weel done, oor Bob! Weel done, Mr. Moore! Yo've knocked him!
Knock him agin! Owd Bob o' Kenmuir! Moore! Moore o'
Kenmuir! Hip! Hip!" until the noisy young giant attracted such
attention in his boisterous delight that Maggie had to lay a hand
upon his arm to restrain his violence.
Alone, on the far bank of the stream, stood the vanquished pair.
The little man was trembling slightly; his face was still hot from
his exertions; and as he listened to the ovation accorded to his
conqueror, there was a piteous set grin upon his face. In front
stood the defeated dog, his lips wrinkling and hackles rising, as he,
too, saw and heard and understood.
"It's a gran' thing to ha' a dutiful son. Wullie," the little man
whispered, watching David's waving figure. "He's happy--and so
are they a'--not sae much that James Moore has won, as that you
and I are beat."
Then, breaking down for a moment:
"Eh, Wullie, Wullie! they're all agin us. It's you and I alane,
Again, seeing the squire followed by Parson Leggy, Viscount
Birdsaye, and others of the gentry, forcing their way through the
press to shake hands with the victor, he continued:
"It's good to be in wi' the quality, Wullie. Niver mak' a friend of a
man beneath ye in rank, nor an enemy of a man aboon ye: that's a
soond principle, Wullie, if ye'd get on in honest England."
He stood there, alone with his dog, watching the crowd on the far
slope as it surged upward in the direction of the committee tent.
Only when the black mass had packed itself in solid phalanges
about that ring, inside which, just a year ago, he had stood in very
different circumstances, and was at length still, a wintry smile
played for a moment about his lips. He laughed a mirthless laugh.
"Bide a wee, Wullie -- he! he! Bide a wee.
'The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft agley.'
As he spoke, there came down to him, above the tumult, a faint cry
of mingled surprise and anger. The cheering ceased abruptly.
There was silence; then there burst on the stillness a hurricane of
The crowd surged forward, then turned. Every eye was directed
across the stream. A hundred damning fingers pointed at the
solitary figure there. There were hoarse yells of: "There he b&
Yon's him! What's he done wi' it? Thief! Throttle him!"
The mob came lumbering down the slope like one man, thundering
their imprecations on a thousand throats. They looked dangerous,
and their wrath was stimulated by the knot of angry Dalesmen who
led the van. There was more than one white face among the
women at the top of the slope as they watched the crowd
blundering blindly down the hill. There were more men than
Parson Leggy, the squire, James Moore, and the local constables in
the thick of it all, striving frantically with voice and gesture, ay,
and stick too, to stem the advance.
It was useless; on the dark wave rolled, irresistible.
On the far bank stood the little man, motionless, awaiting them
with a grin upon his face. And a little farther in front was the
Tailless Tyke, his back and neck like a new-shorn wheat-field, as
he rumbled a vast challenge.
"Come on, gentlemen!" the little man cried. "Come on! I'll hide for
ye, never fear. Ye're a thousand to one and a dog. It's the odds ye
like, Englishmen a'."
And the mob, with murder in its throat, accepted the invitation and
At the moment, however, from the slope above, clear above the
tramp of the mulitude, a great voice bellowed: "Way! Way! Way
for Mr. Trotter!" The advancing host checked and opened out; and
the secretary of the meeting bundled through.
He was a small, fat man, fussy at any time, and perpetually
perspiring. Now his face was crimson with rage and running; he
gesticulated wildly; vague words bubbled forth, as his short legs
twinkled down the slope.
The crowd paused to admire. Some one shouted a witticism, and
the crowd laughed. For the moment the situation was saved.
The fat secretary hurried on down the slope, unheeding of any
insult but the one. He bounced over the plank-bridge: and as he
came closer, M'Adam saw that in each hand brandished a brick.
"Hoots, man! dinna throw!" he cried, making a feint as though to
turn in sudden terror.
"What's this? What's this?" gasped the secretary, waving his arms.
"Bricks, 'twad seem," the other answered, staying his flight.
The secretary puffed up like a pudding in a hurry.
"Where's the Cup? Champion, Challenge, etc.," he jerked out.
"Mind, sir, you're responsible! wholly responsible! Dents,
damages, delays! What's it all mean, sir? These--these monstrous
creations "--he brandished the bricks, and M'Adam started back--
"wrapped, as I live, in straw, sir, in the Cup case, sir! the Cup case!
No Cup! Infamous! Disgraceful! Insult me--meeting--committee--
every one! What's it mean, sir?" He paused to pant, his body filling
and emptying like a bladder.
M'Adam approached him with one eye on the crowd, which was
heaving forward again, threatening still, but sullen and silent.
"I pit 'em there," he whispered; and drew back to watch the effect
of his disclosure.
The secretary gasped.
"You--you not only do this--amazing thing--these monstrosities"--
he hurled the bricks furiously on the unoff ending ground--" but
you dare to tell me so!"
The little man smiled.
"'Do wrang and conceal it, do right and confess it,' that's
Englishmen's motto, and mine, as a rule; but this time I had ma
"Reasons, sir! No reasons can justify such an extraordinary breach
of all the--the decencies. Reasons? the reasons of a maniac. Not to
say more, sir. Fraudulent detention--fraudulent, I say, sir! What
were your precious reasons?"
The mob with Tammas and Long Kirby at their head had now
welinigh reached the plank-bridge. They still looked dangerous,
and there were isolated cries of:
"Chuck him in!"
"An' the dog!"
"Wi' one o' they bricks about their necks!"
"There are my reasons!" said M'Adam, pointing to the forest of
menacing faces. "Ye see I'm no beloved amang yonder gentlemen,
and"--in a stage whisper in the other's ear --"I thocht maybe I'd be
'tacked on the road."
Tammas foremost of the crowd, had now his foot upon the first
"Ye robber! ye thief! Wait till we set hands on ye, you and yer
gorilla!" he called.
M'Adam half turned.
"Wullie," he said quietly, "keep the bridge."
At the order the Tailless Tyke shot gladly forward, and the leaders
on the bridge as hastily back. The dog galloped on to the rattling
plank, took his post fair and square in the centre of the narrow
way, and stood facing the hostile crew like Cerberus guarding the
gates of hell: his bull-head was thrust forward, hackles up, teeth
glinting, and a distant rumbling in his throat, as though daring
them to come on.
"Yo' first, ole lad!" said Tammas, hopping agilely behind Long
"Nay; the old uns lead!" cried the big smith, his face gray-white.
He wrenched round, pinned the old man by the arms, and held him
forcibly before him as a covering shield. There ensued an
unseemly struggle betwixt the two valiants, Tammas bellowing
and kicking in the throes of mortal fear.
"Jim Mason'll show us," he suggested at last.
"Nay," said honest Jim; "I'm fear'd." He could say it with impunity;
for the pluck of Postie Jim was a matter long past dispute.
Then Jem Burton'd go first?
Nay; Jem had a lovin' wife and dear little kids at 'ome.
Then Big Bell?
Big Bell'd see 'isseif further first.
A tall figure came forcing through the crowd, his face a little paler
than its wont, and a formidable knob-kerry in his hand.
"I'm goin'!" said David.
"But yo're not," answered burly Sam'l, gripping the boy from
behind with arms like the roots of an oak. "Your time'll coom soon
enough by the look on yo' wi' niver no hurry.
And the sense of the Dalesmen was with the big man; for, as old
Rob Saunderson said:
"I reck'n he'd liefer claw on to your throat,. lad, nor ony o' oors."
As there was no one forthcoming to claim the honor of the lead,
Tammas came forward with cunning counsel.
"Tell yo' what, lads, we'd best let 'em as don't know nowt at all
aboot him go first. And onst they're on, mind, we winna let 'em off;
but keep a-shovin' and a-boviri 'on 'em forra'd. Then us'll foller.
By this time there was a little naked space of green round the
bridge-head, like a fairy circle, into which the uninitiated might
not penetrate. Round this the mob hedged: the Dalesmen in front,
striving knavishly back and bawling to those behind to leggo that
shovin'; and these latter urging valorously forward, yelling jeers
and contumely at the front rank. "Come on! '0's afraid? Lerrus.
through to 'em, then, ye Royal Stan'-backs!"--for well they knew
the impossibility of their demand.
And as they wedged and jostled thus, there stole out from their
midst as gallant a champion as ever trod the grass. He trotted out
into the ring, the observed of all, and paused to gaze at the gaunt
figure on the bridge. The sun lit the sprinkling of snow on the
dome of his head; one forepaw was off the ground ;.. and he stood
there, royally alert, scanning his antagonist.
"Th' Owd Un!" went up in a roar fit to split the air as the hero of
the day was recognized. And the Dalesmen gave a pace forward,,
spontaneously as the gray knight-errant stole across the green.
"Oor Bob'll fetch him!" they roared, their blood leaping to fever
heat, and gripped their sticks, determined in stern reality to follow
The gray champion trotted up on to the
bridge, and paused again, the long hair about his neck rising like a
ruff, and a strange glint in his eyes; and the holder of the bridge
never moved. Red and Gray stood thus, face to. face: the one gay
yet resolute, the other motionless, his great head slowly sinking
between his forelegs, seemingly petrified.
There was no shouting now: it was time for--deeds, not words.
Only, above the stillness, came a sound from the bridge like the
snore of a giant in his sleep, and blending, with it, a low, deep,
purring thunder like some monster cat well pleased.
"Wullie," came a solitary voice from the far side, "keep the
One ear went back, one ear was still for-'ward; the great head was
low and lower between his forelegs and the glowing eyes rolled
upward so that the watchers could see the murderous white.
Forward the gray dog stepped.
Then, for the second time that afternoon, a -voice, stern and hard,
came ringing down from the slope above over the heads of the
"Bob, lad, coom back!"
"He! he! I thocht that was comin'," sneered the small voice over the
The gray dog heard, and checked.
"Bob, lad, coom in, I say!"
At that he swung round and marched slowly back, gallant as he
had come, dignified still in his mortification.
And Red Wull threw back his head and bellowed a paean of
victory--challenge, triumph, 'scorn, all blended in that bull-like,
In the mean time, M'Adam and the secretary had concluded their
business. It had been settled that the Cup was to be delivered over
to James Moore not later than the following Saturday.
"Saturday, see! at the latest!" the secretary cried as he turned and
"Mr. Trotter," M'Adam called after him. "I'm sorry, but ye maun
bide this side the Lea till I've reached the foot o' the Pass. Gin they
gentlemen "--nodding toward the crowd
--"should set hands on me, why--" and he shrugged his shoulders
significantly. "Forbye, Wullie's keepin' the bridge."
With that the little man strolled off leis-. urely; now dallying to
pick a flower, now to wave a mocking hand at the furious mob,
and so slowly on to the foot of the Muirk Muir Pass.
There he turned and whistled that shrill peculiar note.
"Wullie, Wullie, to me!" he called.
At that, with one last threat thrown at the' thousand souls he had
held at bay for thirty minutes, the Tailless Tyke swung about and
galloped after his lord.
Chapter XIII. THE FACE IN THE FRAME
ALL Friday M'Adarn never left the kitchen. He sat opposite the
Cup, in a coma, as it were; and Red Wull lay motionless at his
Saturday came, and still the two never budged. Toward the
evening the little man rose, all in a tremble, and took the Cup
down from the mantelpiece; then he sat down again with it in his
"Eh, Wullie, Wullie, is it a dream? Ha' they took her fra us? Eh,
but it's you and I alane, lad."
He hugged it to him, crying silently, and rocking to and I ro like a
mother with a dying child. And Red Wull sat up on his haunches,
and weaved from side to side in sympathy.
As the dark was falling, David looked in.
At the sound of the opening door the little man swung round
noiselessly, the Cup nursed in his arms, and glared, sullen and
suspicious, at the boy; yet seemed not to recognize him. In the
half-light David could see the tears coursing down the little
'Pon ma life, he's gaein' daft!" was his comment as he turned away
to Kenmuir. And again the mourners were left alone.
"A few hours noo, Wullie," the little man wailed, "and she'll be
gane. We won her, Wullie, you and I, won her fair: she's lit the
hoose for us; she's softened a' for us--and God kens we needed it;
she was the ae thing we had to look to and love. And noo they're
takin' her awa', and 'twill be night agin. We've cherished her, we've
garnished her, we've loved her like oor am; and noo she maun gang
to strangers who know her not."
He rose to his feet, and the great dog rose with him. His voice
heightened to a scream, and he swayed with the Cup in his arms
till it seemed he must fall.
"Did they win her fair, Wullie? Na; they plotted, they conspired,
they worked ilka am o' them agin us, and they beat us. Ay, and noo
they're robbin' us--robbin' us! But they shallna ha' her. Oor's or
naebody's, Wullie! We'll finish her sooner nor that."
He banged the Cup down on the table and rushed madly out of the
room, Red Wull at his heels. In a moment he came running back,
brandishing a great axe about his head.
"Come on, Wullie!" he cried. "'Scots wha hae'! Noo's the day and
noo's the hour! Come on!"
On. the table before him, serene and beautiful, stood the target of
his madness. The little man ran at it, swinging his murderous
weapon like a flail.
"Oor's or naebody's Wulliel Come on.
'Lay the proud usurpers low'!" He aimed a mighty buffet; and the
Shepherds' Trophy-- the Shepherds' Trophy which had won
through the hardships of a hundred years--was almost gone. It
seemed to quiver as the blow fell. But the cruel steel missed, and
the axe-head sank into the wood, clean and deep, like a spade in
Red Wull had leapt on to the table, and in his cavernous voice was
grumbling a chorus to his master's yells. The little man danced up
and down, tugging and straining at the axe-handle,
"You and I, Wullie!
'Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!'
The axe-head was as immoveable as the Muir Pike.
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