His first appraising glance of the double row of collies caused the furrow between his eyes to vanish and brought a grin of complacent satisfaction to his thin lips. For he did not see a single entrant that, in his eyes, seemed to have a ghost of a chance against his idolized pet--not a dog as handsome or with half the look of intelligence or with the proudly gay bearing of Chum.
Of the sixteen other collies the majority were sables of divers shades. There were three tricolors and two mist-hued merles. Over nearly all the section's occupants a swarm of owners and handlers were just now busy with brush and cloth. For word had come that collies were to be the second breed judged that day. The first breed was to be the Great Danes. As there were but three Danes in the show, their judging would be brief. And it behooved the collies' attendants to have their entries ready.
Link, following the example of those around him, took from his pocket the molting dandy brush and set to work once more on Chum's coat. He observed that the rest were brushing their dogs' fur against the grain, to make it fluff up. And he reversed his own former process in imitation of them. He had supposed until now that a collie's hair, like a man's, ought to be slicked down smooth for state occasions. And it troubled him to find that Chum's coat rebelled against such treatment. Now, under the reverse process, it stood out in wavy freedom.
At the adjoining stall to the left a decidedly pretty girl was watching a groom put the finishing touches to the toilet of her tricolor collie. Link heard her exclaim in protest as the groom removed from the dog's collar a huge cerise bow she had just affixed there.
"Sorry, Miss," Ferris heard the groom explain, "but it's agin rules for a dog to go in the ring with a ribbon on. If the judge thinks he's good enough for a ribbon he'll award him one. But--"
"Oh, he simply can't help awarding one to Morven, here!" broke in the girl. "CAN he, Stokes?"
"Hard to say, Miss," answered the groom imperturbably, as he wrought with brush and cloth. "Judges has their own ideas. We'll have to hope for the best for him and not be too sick if he gets gated."
"Gated?" echoed the girl--an evident newcomer to the realm of showdom.