272 COLLIES, OR SHEEP DOGS
Though, as we have seen, Hector was not nearly as intelligent as his father Sirrah, about performing his duties, he would hold tight to what he had been bidden to do, with the stupid obedience of Casabianca. Nothing would turn his attention from his work, or make him lose temper; but he could never learn all sorts of little dodges by which Sirrah managed the sheep, so gave himself twice the trouble that he need have done.
Still, though he was not a practical dog, Hector was very wide awake in many ways, and at any mention of a cat, sheep, or himself, he would cock his ears, and sit bolt upright with the deepest interest. One evening Hogg told his mother he was going over to one of the hills on St. Mary's Loch, to spend a fortnight with a friend, but that he would not take Hector, as he would either disturb them with his singing, or quarrel with the other dogs.
Next morning the river had risen high and made so much extra work, that Hogg was prevented from setting out as soon as he had intended.
When he called Hector to tie him up, the dog was nowhere to be seen.
' Confound that beast!' he exclaimed. ' I'll wager that he has understood what we were saying last night, and has gone to Bowerhope.'
And so he had, though the river Yarrow, which he had to cross, had swollen into such a torrent that it seemed impossible for any dog to swim it. But there he was when Hogg arrived, sitting like a drowned hen at the end of the house, awaiting his master's arrival with impatience.