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When the train arrived at Glen Ellen, in the Valley of the Moon, it was Harley Kennan himself, at the side-door of the baggage-car, who caught hold of Michael and swung him to the ground. For the first time Michael had performed a railroad journey uncrated. Merely with collar and chain had he travelled up from Oakland. In the waiting automobile he found Villa Kennan, and, chain removed, sat beside her and between her and Harley
As the machine purred along the two miles of road that wound up the side of Sonoma Mountain, Michael scarcely looked at the forest-trees and vistas of wandering glades. He had been in the United States three years, during which time he had been kept a close prisoner. Cage and crate and chain had been his portion, and narrow rooms, baggage cars, and station platforms. The nearest he had come to the country was when chained to benches in the various parks while Jacob Henderson studied Swedenborg. So that trees and hills and fields had ceased to mean anything. They were something inaccessible, as inaccessible as the blue of the sky or the drifting cloud-fleeces. Thus did he regard the trees and hills and fields, if the negative act of not regarding a thing at all can be considered a state of mind.
"Don't seem to be enthusiastic over the ranch, eh, Michael?" Harley remarked.
He looked up at sound of his old name, and made acknowledgment by flattening his ears a quivering trifle and by touching his nose against Harley's shoulder.
"Nor does he seem demonstrative," was Villa's judgment. "At least, nothing like Jerry,"
"Wait till they meet," Harley smiled in anticipation. "Jerry will furnish enough excitement for both of them."
"If they remember each other after all this time," said Villa. "I wonder if they will."
"They did at Tulagi," he reminded her. "And they were full grown and hadn't seen each other since they were puppies. Remember how they barked and scampered all about the beach. Michael was the hurly-burly one. At least he made twice as much noise."
"But he seems dreadfully grown-up and subdued now."
"Three years ought to have subdued him," Harley insisted.
But Villa shook her head.
As the machine drew up at the house and Kennan first stepped out, a dog's whimperingly joyous bark of welcome struck Michael as not altogether unfamiliar. The joyous bark turned to a suspicious and jealous snarl as Jerry scented the other dog's presence from Harley's caressing hand. The next moment he had traced the original source of the scent into the limousine and sprung in after it. With snarl and forward leap Michael met the snarling rush less than half-way, and was rolled over on the bottom of the car.
The Irish terrier, under all circumstances amenable to the control of the master as are few breeds of dogs, was instantly manifest in Jerry and Michael an Harley Kennan's voice rang out. They separated, and, despite the rumbling of low growling in their throats, refrained from attacking each other as they plunged out to the ground. The little set-to had occurred in so few seconds, or fractions of seconds, that they had not begun to betray recognition of each other until they were out of the machine. They were still comically stiff-legged and bristly as they aloofly sniffed noses.