"No," laughed Maclay. "Neither of those things. I'm here, unprofessionally. I thought you people might like to know a few things, before you go to bed. In the first place, the doctor patched up Rhuburger's bites and took him home. He couldn't take him home in Rhuburger's own car. For some of the tennis crowd had gotten at that. What they did to that $6,000 runabout was a crime! They stripped it of everything. They threw the carburetor and the wheels and the steering gear and a lot of other parts into the lake."
"Then they left their cards pinned to the dismantled machine's cushions;--in case Rhuburger cares to go further into the matter. While they were doing all that, the club's Governors had a hurry-call meeting. And for once the Board was unanimous about something. It was unanimous--in expelling Rhuburger from the club. Then we--By the way, where's Laddie? Curled up by Lady's grave, as usual, I suppose? Poor old dog!"
"No," denied the Mistress. "He's asleep in his 'cave' under the piano. He went there, of his own accord. And he ate a perfectly tremendous supper, tonight. He's--he's CURED!"
CHAPTER VIII. In Strange Company
Lad was getting along in years.
Not yet had age begun to claw at him; blearing the wondrous deep-set dark eyes and silvering the classic muzzle and broadening the shapely skull and stiffening the sweepingly free gait; dulling the sharp ears or doing any of the other pitiably tragic things that nature does to the dog who is progressing in his teens. Those, humiliations were still waiting for Lad, one by one; beyond the next Turn of the Road.
Yet the romp and the spirit of bubbling fun and the lavishly needless exercise--these were merging into sobriety. True, at rare times, with the Mistress or the Master--especially with the Mistress, Lad would forget he was middle-aged and dignified; and would play like a crazy puppy. But, for the most part he had begun to carry his years a trifle seriously.
He was not yet in the winter or even the Indian Summer of his beautiful life. But, at least, he had strolled into its early autumn.