Sitting on his haunches and lifting his pointed nose to the summer sky, he gave vent to a series of long-drawn wolf howls; horrible to hear. There was no hint of a housebred twentieth century dog in his lament. It was the death-howl of the primitive wolf;--a sound that sent an involuntary shiver through the two humans who listened aghast to their chum's awesome mourning for his lost mate.
The Master made as though to say something,--in comfort or in correction. The Mistress, wiser, motioned to him not to speak.
In a few seconds, Lad rose wearily to his feet; the spasm of primal grief having spent itself. Once more he was himself; sedate, wise, calm.
Limping over to where the car had halted so briefly, he cast about the ground, after the manner of a bloodhound.
Presently, he came to an abrupt halt. He had found what he sought. As motionless as a bird-dog at point, he stood there; nose to earth, sniffing.
"What in blazes--?" began the Master, perplexed.
The Mistress was keener of eye and of perception. She understood. She saw the Lad's inhalingly seeking muzzle was steady above a faint mark in the road-dust;--the mark of a buckskin shoe's print. Long and carefully the dog sniffed. Then, with heavy deliberation he moved on to the next footprint and the next. The runabout's driver had taken less than a half dozen steps in all; during his short descent to the ground. But Lad did not stop until he had found and identified each and every step.
"He knows!" marveled the Mistress. "He saw the brute jump down from his car. And he has found his footsteps. He'll remember them, too."