The summer afternoon hush was split by the whirring chug of a motor-car; that turned in from the highroad, two hundred yards beyond the house, and started down through the oak grove, along the winding driveway. Immediately, Lady was not only awake, but on her feet, and in motion. A furry gold-white whirlwind, she flashed off of the vine-shaded veranda and tore at top speed up the hill to meet the coming car.
No, it was not the Mistress and the Master whose approach stirred the fiery little collie to lightning activity. Lad knew the purr of the Place's car and he could distinguish it from any other, as far as his sensitive ears could catch its sound. But to Lady, all cars were alike; and all were signals for wild excitement.
Like too many other collies, she had a mania for rushing at any motor vehicle, and for whizzing along beside it, perilously close to its fast-moving wheels, barking and screaming hysterically and bounding upward at its polished sides.
Nor had punishment and scolding cured her of the trait. She was an addict at car-chasing. She was wholly incurable. There are such dogs. Soon or late, many of them pay high for the habit.
In early days, Lad also had dashed after motors. But a single sharp lecture from the Master had taught him that this was one of the direst breaches of the Place's simple Law. And, thenceforth,--though he might tremble with eagerness,--he stood statue-still when an automobile spun temptingly past him.
More,--he had cured pup after pup, at the Place, of car-chasing. But Lady he could not cure; though he never gave up the useless attempt.
Down the drive came a delivery truck; driven fast and with none too great skill. Before it had covered half the distance between gate and house, Lady was alongside. A wheel grazed her shoulder fur as, deftly, she slipped from in front of the vehicle and sprang up at its tonneau. With a ceaseless fanfare of barks, --delirious in her excitement,--she circled the car; springing, dodging, wheeling.
The delivery boy checked speed and shouted futile warnings to the insane collie. As he slowed down a bit on the steep grade, Lady hurled herself in front of the machine, as though taunting it for cowardice in abating its hot pace on her account.