They had made a long study of collie nature in all its million queer and half-human phases. They knew, too, that a grieving dog is upheld by none of the supports of Faith nor of Philosophy; and that he lacks the wisdom which teaches the wondrous anaesthetic powers of Time. A sorrowing dog sorrows without hope.
Nor did Lad's misery seem ridiculous to the Place's many kindly neighbors; with whom the great dog was a favorite and who were righteously indignant over the killing of Lady.
Then in a single minute came the cure.
On Labor Day afternoon, the finals in a local tennis tournament were to be played at the mile distant country club. The Mistress and the Master went across to the tournament; taking Lad along. Not that there could be anything of the remotest interest to a dog in the sight of flanneled young people swatting a ball back and forth. But Lad was a privileged guest at all outdoor functions; and he enjoyed being with his two deities.
Thus, when the two climbed the clubhouse veranda, Lad was at their heels; pacing along in majestic unhappiness and not turning his beautiful head in response to any of a dozen greetings flung at him. The Mistress found a seat among a bevy of neighbors. Lad lay down, decorously, at her feet; and refused to display the faintest interest in anything that went on around him.
The playing had not yet begun. New arrivals were drifting up the steps of the clubhouse. Car after car disgorged women in sport clothes and men in knickerbockers or flannels. There was plenty of chatter and bustle and motion. Lad paid no heed to any of it.
Then, up to the foot of the veranda steps jarred a flashy runabout; driven by a flashier youth. At word from the policeman in charge he parked his car at the rear of the clubhouse among fifty others, and returned on foot to the steps.
"That's young Rhuburger," someone was confiding to the Mistress. "You must have read about him. He was arrested as a Conscientious Objector, during the war. Since then, his father has died, and left him all sorts of money. And he is burning it; in double handfuls. No one seems to know just how he got into the club, here. And no one seems to--"