TAMMAS is on his feet in the tap-room of the Arms, brandishing a pewter mug.
"Gen'lemen!" he cries, his old face flushed; "I gie you a toast. Stan' oop!"
The knot of Dalesmen round the fire rises like one. The old man waves his mug before him, reckless of the good ale that drips on to the floor.
"The best sheep-dog i' th' North--Owd Bob o' Kenmuir!" he cries. In an instant there is uproar: the merry applause of clinking pewters; the stamping of feet; the rattle of sticks. Rob Saunderson and old Jonas are cheering with the best; Tupper and Ned Hoppin are bellowing in one another's ears; Long Kirby and Jem Burton are thumping each other on the back; even Sam'l Todd and Sexton Ross are roused from their habitual melancholy.
"Here's to Th' Owd Un! Here's to oor Bob!" yell stentorian voices; while Rob Saunderson has jumped on to a chair.
"Wi' the best sheep-dog i' th' North I gie yo' the Shepherd's Trophy!--won outreet as will be!" he cries. Instantly the clamor redoubles.
"The Dale Cup and Th' Owd Un! The Trophy and oor Bob! 'Ip, 'ip, for the gray dogs! 'Ip, 'ip, for the best sheep-dog as ever was or will be! 'Ooray, 'ooray!"
It is some minutes before the noise subsides; and slowly the enthusiasts resume their seats with hoarse throats and red faces.