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The yukon trail


TheProjectGutenbergeBook,TheYukonTrail,byWilliamMacLeodRaine,
IllustratedbyGeorgeEllisWolfe
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Title:TheYukonTrail
ATaleoftheNorth
Author:WilliamMacLeodRaine
ReleaseDate:October11,2006[eBook#19527]
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE YUKON
TRAIL***

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THEYUKONTRAIL

NOWHECAUGHTHERBYTHESHOULDERS(SEEPAGE108)
NOWHECAUGHTHERBYTHESHOULDERS(SEEPAGE108)


THE
YUKONTRAIL
ATALEOFTHENORTH


BY
WILLIAMMACLEODRAINE
AUTHOROF
WYOMING,BUCKYO'CONNOR,ETC.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSBY
GEORGEELLISWOLFE


NEWYORK
GROSSET&DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT,1917,BYWILLIAMMACLEODRAINE
ALLRIGHTSRESERVED
PublishedMay1917

TO
MYBROTHER
EDGARC.RAINE
whoknewtheLightsofDawsonwhentheywereamagnettothefeetofthoseansweringthe
callofAdventure,whomushedtheYukonTrailfromitsheadwaterstoBeringSea,whostill
findsintheFrozenNorththeRomanceoftheLastFrontier.


Contents
I.


II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.

GOING"IN"
ENTERAMAN
THEGIRLFROMDROGHEDA
THECREVASSE
ACROSSTHETRAVERSE
SHEBASINGS—ANDTWOMENLISTEN
WALLYGETSORDERS
THEENDOFTHEPASSAGE
GIDHOLTGOESPROSPECTING
THERAH-RAHBOYFUNCTIONS
GORDONINVITESHIMSELFTODINNER—ANDDOESNOTENJOYIT
SHEBASAYS"PERHAPS"
DIANEANDGORDONDIFFER
GENEVIEVEMALLORYTAKESAHAND
GORDONBUYSAREVOLVER
AMBUSHED
"GODSAVEYOUKINDLY"
GORDONSPENDSABUSYEVENING
SHEBADOESNOTTHINKSO
GORDONFINDSHIMSELFUNPOPULAR
ANEWWAYOFLEAVINGAHOUSE
GIDHOLTCOMESTOKUSIAK
INTHEDEADOFNIGHT
MACDONALDFOLLOWSACLUE
INTHEBLIZZARD
HARDMUSHING
TWOONTHETRAIL
AMESSAGEFROMTHEDEAD
"DON'TTOUCHHIM!DON'TYOUDARETOUCHHIM!"

1
10
23
34
49
58
71
82
93
109
125
137
144
156
170
181
193
201
210
217
227
232
241
247
256
268
275
286
292


XXX. HOLTFREESHISMIND
XXXI. SHEBADIGS
XXXII. DIANECHANGESHERMIND

301
308
318


Illustrations
NOWHECAUGHTHERBYTHESHOULDERS
"SOYOUTHINKI'MA'FRAID-CAT,MR.ELLIOT?"
THESITUATIONWASPIQUANT,EVENTHOUGHITWASATHEREXPENSE
FORHIMTHEBEAUTYOFTHENIGHTLAYLARGELYINHERPRESENCE

Frontispiece
44
236
322


TheYukonTrail


CHAPTERI
GOING"IN"
The midnight sun had set, but in a crotch between two snow-peaks it had
kindled a vast caldron from which rose a mist of jewels, garnet and turquoise,
topazandamethystandopal,allswimminginaseaofmoltengold.Theglowof
itstillclungtothefaceofthebroadYukon,asaflushdoestothesoft,wrinkled
cheekofagirljustrousedfromdeepsleep.
Exceptforafaintmurkinessintheairitwasstillday.Therewaslightenough
forthefourmenplayingpinochleontheupperdeck,thoughthewomenoftheir
party, gossiping in chairs grouped near at hand, had at last put aside their
embroidery.Thegirlwhosatbyherselfatalittledistanceheldamagazinestill
open on her lap. If she were not reading, her attitude suggested it was less
because of the dusk than that she had surrendered herself to the spell of the
mysterious beauty which for this hour at least had transfigured the North to a
landalllightandatmosphereandcolor.
GordonElliothadtakentheboatatPierre'sPortage,fiftymilesfartherdown
theriver.Hehadcomedirectfromthecreeks,andhisimpressionsofthemotley
pioneer life at the gold-diggings were so vivid that he had found an isolated
cornerofthedeckwherehecouldscribbletheminanotebookwhilestillfresh.
But he had not been too busy to see that the girl in the wicker chair was as
muchofanoutsiderashewas.Plainlythiswasherfirsttripin.Gordonwasa
stranger in the Yukon country, one not likely to be over-welcome when it
becameknownwhathismissionwas.Itmayhavebeenbecausehewasoutof
the picture himself that he resented a little the exclusion of the young woman
with the magazine. Certainly she herself gave no evidence of feeling about it.
Her long-lashed eyes looked dreamily across the river to the glowing hills
beyond. Not once did they turn with any show of interest to the lively party
undertheawning.
FromwherehewasleaningagainstthedeckhouseElliotcouldseeonlyafine,
chiseledprofileshadingintoamassofcrisp,blackhair,butsomequalityinthe
detachment of her personality stimulated gently his imagination. He wondered


whoshecouldbe.Hisworkhadtakenhimtofrontiercampsbefore,buthecould
notplaceherasatype.Thebesthecoulddowastoguessthatshemightbethe
daughterofsometerritorialofficialonherwayintojoinhim.
A short, thick-set man who had ridden down on the stage with Elliot to
Pierre'sPortagedriftedalongthedecktowardhim.Heworethecarelessgarbof
aminingmaninacountrywhichlooksfirsttocomfort.
"BoundforKusiak?"heasked,bywayofopeningconversation.
"Yes,"answeredGordon.
The miner nodded toward the group under the awning. "That bunch lives at
Kusiak. They've got on at different places the last two or three days—except
Selfridgeandhiswife,they'vebeenout.Guessyoucantellthatfromhearingher
talk—thelittlewomaninredwiththesnappyblackeyes.She'sspillin'overwith
talkaboutthestylesinNewYorkandthecabaretsandthenewshows.Thatpotbellied little fellow in the checked suit is Selfridge. He is Colby Macdonald's
manFriday."
ElliottookinwithaquickenedinterestthegroupboundforKusiak.Hehad
noticedthattheymonopolizedasamatterofcoursethebestplacesonthedeck
and in the dining-room. They were civil enough to outsiders, but their manner
hadtheunconsciousselfishnessthatoftenregulatessocialactivities.Itexcluded
fromtheirgayetyeverybodythatdidnotbelongtotheproperset.
"That sort of thing gets my goat," the miner went on sourly. "Those women
overtherehaveelectedthemselvesSocietywithacapitalS.Theyputonallthe
airstheFourHundreddoinNewYork.Andwhothehellaretheyanyhow?—
wivestoabunchofgraftingpoliticiansmostly."
From the casual talk that had floated to him, with its many little allusions
punctuating the jolly give-and-take of their repartee, Elliot guessed that their
lives had the same background of tennis, dinners, hops, official gossip, and
business.Theyevidentlyknewoneanotherwiththeintimacythatcomesonlyto
the segment of a small community shut off largely from the world and forced
into close social relations. No doubt they had loaned each other money
occasionally, stood by in trouble, and gossiped back and forth about their
shortcomingsandfamilyskeletonsevenassocietyontheoutsidedoes.
"That's the way of the world, isn't it? Our civilization is built on the group


system,"suggestedElliot.
"Maybeso,"grumbledtheminer."ButIhatetoseeAlaskacometoit.Me,I
sawthiscountryfirstin'97—packedanoutfitinoverthePass.Everymanstood
on his own hind legs then. He got there if he was strong—mebbe; he bogged
down on the trail good and plenty if he was weak. We didn't have any of the
artificialstuffthen.Amanhadtohavethegutstostandthegaff."
"Isupposeitwasawildcountry,Mr.Strong."
The little miner's eyes gleamed. "Best country in the world. We didn't stand
foranythingthatwasn'tonthelevel.Itwasapoorman'scountry—wagesfifteen
dollarsadayandplentyofwork.Everybodyhadachance.Anybodycouldstake
aclaimandgambleonhisluck.Nowthebigcorporationshaveslippedinand
grabbed the best. It ain't a prospector's proposition any more. Instead of faro
banks we've got savings banks. The wide-open dance hall has quit business in
favorofmovingpictures.And,asIsaidbefore,we'vegotSociety."
"Allfrontiercountrieshavetocometoit."
"Hmp!InthedaysI'mtellingyouaboutthatcrowdtherecouldn't'a'hustled
meattofilltheirbelliesthreemeals.Parasites,that'swhattheyare.They'reliving
offthatbunchofroughnecksdownthereandfolkslike'em."
WithawaveofhishandStrongpointedtoagroupofminerswhohadboarded
theboatwiththematPierre'sPortage.Therewereaboutadozenofthemen,for
themostparthusky,heavy-setforeigners.Theyhadbeendrinking,andwereina
sullenhumor.Elliotgatheredfromtheirtalkthattheyhadlosttheirjobsbecause
theyhadtriedtoorganizeanincipientstrikeintheFrozenGulchdistrict.
"Roughnecksandbooze-fighters—that'salltheyare.Buttheyearntheirway.
NotthatIblameMacdonaldforfiringthem,mindyou,"continuedtheminer.
"WeretheyworkingforMacdonald?"
"Yep. His superintendent up there was too soft. These here Swedes got gay.
Mac hit the trail for Frozen Gulch. He hammered his big fist into the breadbasketoftheringleaderandsaid,'Git!'Thatfellow'srunningyet,I'llbet.Then
Maccalledthementogetherandreadtheriotacttothem.Hefiredthisbunchon
theboatandwasoutofthecampbeforeyoucouldbataneye.Itwasthecleanest
hurry-upjobIeverdidsee."


"FromwhatI'veheardabouthimhemustbearemarkableman."
"He'sthebiggestmaninAlaska,barnone."
ThiswasasubjectthatinterestedGordonElliotverymuch.ColbyMacdonald
andhisactivitieshadbroughthimtothecountry.
"Doyoumeanpersonally—orbecauseherepresentsthebigcorporations?"
"Both. His word comes pretty near being law up here, not only because he
standsfortheConsolidated,butbecausehe'sonemanfromthegroundup.Iain't
anytoostrongforthatNewYorkbunchofcapitalistsbackofMac,butI'vegot
togiveittohimthathe'salltherewithoutleaningonanybody."
"I'veheardthathe'sadomineeringman—ridesroughshodoverothers.Isthat
right,Mr.Strong?"
"He'sabearforgettinghisownway,"grinnedthelittleminer."Ifyouwon't
getoutofhisroadhepeelsyourhideoffandhangsituptodry.ButIcan'thelp
likinghim.He'sbigeverywayyoutakehim.He'llstandtheacid,Macwill."
"Doyoumeanthathe'ssquare—honest?"
"You'vesaidtwothings,myfriend,"answeredStrongdryly."He'ssquare.If
hetellsyouanything,don'tworrybecauseheain'tputdownhisJohnHancock
beforeanotary.He'llseeitthroughtoafinish—toafightingfinishifhehasto.
Don'twasteanytimelookingforfatoryellowstreaksinMac.Theyain'tthere.
Nobodyeverheardhimsquealyetandwhat'smorenobodyeverwill."
"Nowondermenlikehim."
"Butwhenyousayhonest—Hell,no!Notthewayyoudefinehonestydown
intheStates.He'sagrabber,Macis.Betternotleaveanythingvaluablearound
unlessyou'vegotitspikedtothefloor.Hetakeswhathewants."
"Whatdoeshelooklike?"askedGordon.
"Oh,Idon'tknow."Stronghesitated,whilehesearchedforwordstoshowthe
pictureinhismind."Bigasahouse—stepsoutlikeabuckinthespring—bluegrayeyesthatborerightthroughyou."
"Howold?"
"Search me. You never think of age when you're looking at him. Forty-five,


mebbe—orfifty—Idon'tknow."
"Married?"
"No-o." Hanford Strong nodded in the direction of the Kusiak circle. "They
sayhe'sgoingtomarryMrs.Mallory.She'stheonewiththeredhair."
It struck young Elliot that the miner was dismissing Mrs. Mallory in too
cavalierafashion.Shewasthesortofwomanatwhommenlooktwice,andthen
continuetolookwhilesheappearsmagnificentlyunawareofit.Herhairwasnot
red,butofalustrousbronze,amazinglyabundant,anddressedinwaveswiththe
carefulskillofacoiffeur.Half-shut,smoulderingeyeshadmethisforaninstant
atdinneracrossthetableandhadtoldhimshewasawomansubtleandcomplex.
Slightest shades of meaning she could convey with a lift of the eyebrow or an
intonationofthemusicalvoice.Ifshewasalreadyfencingwiththeencroaching
years there was little evidence of it in her opulent good looks. She had
manifestlyspecializedingracefulidlenessandwaspreparedtomeetwithsuperb
confidencethecompetitionofdébutantes.Theelusiveshadowoflostillusions,
ofknowledgebornofexperience,wastheonlybetrayalofvanishedyouthinher
equipment.


CHAPTERII
ENTERAMAN
ThewhistleoftheHannahblewfortheTatlahCachelandingwhileStrongand
Elliotweretalking.WallySelfridgehadjustbidthreehundredseventyandfound
nohelpinthewidow.Hepushedtowardeachoftheotherplayersoneredchip
andtwowhiteones.
"Can'tmakeit,"heannounced."Ineededajackofclubs."
Themencountedtheirchipsandsettledupintimetoreachthedeckrailjust
as the gangplank was thrown out to the wharf. The crew transferred to the
landingapouchofmail,halfatonofsackedpotatoes,someminingmachinery,
andseveralboxescontainingprovisionsanddrygoods.
Amancametotheendofthewharfcarryingasuitcase.Hewaswell-set,thick
inthechest,andbroad-shouldered.Hecameupthegangplankwiththestrong,
firm tread of a man in his prime. Looking down from above, Gordon Elliot
guessedhimtobeintheearlythirties.
Mrs. Mallory was the first to recognize him, which she did with a drawling
littleshoutofwelcome."Ohyou,Mr.Man.Iknewyoufirst.Ispeakforyou,"
shecried.
Themanonthegangplanklookedup,smiled,andliftedtoherhisbroadgray
Stetsoninawaveofgreeting.
"Howdoyoudo,Mrs.Mallory?Gladtoseeyou."
TheminersfromFrozenGulchweregroupedtogetheronthelowerdeck.At
sightofthemanwiththesuitcaseasullenmurmurroseamongthem.Thosein
the rear pushed forward and closed the lane leading to the cabins. One of the
miners was flung roughly against the new passenger. With a wide, powerful
sweep of his arm the man who had just come aboard hurled the miner back
amonghiscompanions.
"Gangway!"hesaidbrusquely,andashestrodeforwarddidnotevenglance
inthedirectionoftheangrymenpressingtowardhim.


"Here.Keepbackthere,youfellows.Noneofthatroughstuffgoes,"ordered
thematesharply.
The big Cornishman who had been tossed aside crouched for a spring. He
launched himself forward with the awkward force of a bear. The suitcase
describedawhirlingarcofacirclewiththearmofitsownerastheradius.The
bagandtheheadoftheminercameintoswiftimpact.Likeabullockwhichhas
beenpole-axedthemanwenttothefloor.Heturnedoverwithagroanandlay
still.
The new passenger looked across the huge, sprawling body at the group of
minersfacinghim.Theyglaredinsavagehate.Alltheyneededwasaleaderto
sendthemdrivingathimwiththeforceofanavalanche.Themanatwhomthey
rageddidnotgiveaninch.Heleanedforwardslightly,hisweightrestingonthe
balls of his feet, alert to the finger tips. But in his eyes a grim little smile of
derisiveamusementrested.
"Next,"hetaunted.
Then the mate got busy. He hustled his stevedores forward in front of the
miners and shook his fist in their faces as he stormed up and down. If they
wantedtrouble,byGod!itwaswaitingfor'em,hesworeinapoplecticfury.The
Hannahwasariverboatandnotadiveforwharfrats.Nobunchofroughnecks
couldcomeaboardaboatwherehewasmateandstartanything.Theycouldnot
assaultanypassengersofhisandmakeitstick.
Themanwiththesuitcasedidnotwaittohearouthistirade.Hefollowedthe
purser to his stateroom, dropped his baggage beside the berth, and joined the
Kusiakgroupontheupperdeck.
Theygreetedhimeagerly,alittleeffusively,asiftheywereanxioustoprove
themselves on good terms with him. The deference they paid and his assured
acceptance of it showed him to be a man of importance. But apart from other
considerations,hedominatedbymentalandphysicalvirilitythecircleofwhich
heinstantlybecamethecenter.OnlyMrs.Malloryheldherown,andevenshe
showed a quickened interest. Her indolent, half-disdainful manner sheathed a
softsensuousnessthatheldtheprovocationofsexappeal.
"Whatwasthematter?"askedSelfridge."Howdidthetroublestart?"
Thebigmanshruggedhisshoulders."Itdidn'tstart.Someoftheoutfitthought


theywerelookingforarow,buttheybalkedonthejobwhenTrelawneygothis."
TurningtoMrs.Mallory,hechangedthesubjectabruptly."Didyouhaveagood
timedowntheriver?"
Gordon, as he watched from a little distance, corrected earlier impressions.
This man had passed the thirties. Salt and pepper sprinkled the temples of his
strong, lean head. He had the thick neck and solid trunk of middle life, but he
carriedhimselfsosuperblythathiswholebearingdeniedthatyearscouldtouch
hissplendidphysique.Thesuithe worewasawrinkledcorduroy,withtrouser
legsthrustintohigh-lacedboots.Anoutdoortanhadbeenpainteduponhisface
andneck,fromthepointwherethesoftflannelshirtfellawaytoshowthefine
slopeofthethroatlinetotheshoulders.
Stronghadsteppedtothewharftotalkwithanoldacquaintance,butwhenthe
boatthrewoutawarningsignalhemadeahurriedgood-byeandcameonboard.
HerejoinedElliot.
"Well,whatd'youthinkofhim?WasIright?"
Theyoungmanhadalreadyguessedwhothisimperiousstrangerwas."Inever
sawanybodygetawaywithahardjobaseasilyashedidthatone.Youcouldsee
withhalfaneyethatthosefellowsmeantfight.Theywereallprimedforit—and
hebluffedthemout."
"Bluffedthem—huh!Ifthat'swhatyoucallbluffing.IwaswhereIcouldsee
just what happened. Colby Macdonald wasn't even looking at Trelawney, but
youbethesawhimstart.Thatsuitcasetraveledlikeastreakoflight.You'd'a'
thoughtitweighedabouttwopounds.Thatain'talleither.Macusedhisbrains.
Guesswhatwasinthatgrip."
"Theusualthing,Isuppose."
"You've got another guess—packed in among his socks and underwear was
abouttwentypoundsoforesamples.Thepursertoldme.Itwasthatquartzput
Trelawneytosleepsothoroughthathe'djustbeguntowakeupwhenIpasseda
minuteago."
TheyoungmanturnedhiseyesagainuponthebigCanadianScotchman.He
wastalkingwithMrs.Mallory,whowasleaningbackluxuriouslyinasteamer
chair she had brought aboard at St. Michael's. It would have been hard to
conceive a contrast greater than the one between this pampered heiress of the


agesandthemodernbusinessberserkwholookeddownintohermockingeyes.
Hewastheembodimentofthedominantmale,—efficienttothelastinchofhis
straightsixfeet.Whathewantedhehadalwaystaken,bythesheerstrengththat
wasinhim.Backofhersmilinginsolencelayasilkenforcetomatchhisown.
Shetoohadtakenwhatshewantedfromlife,butshehadwonitbyindirection.
Manifestly she was of those women who conceive that charm and beauty are
toolstobendmentotheirwills.Wasittheverywidthofthegulfbetweenthem
thatmadetheappealoftheclashinthesexdueluponwhichtheyhadengaged?
The dusky young woman with the magazine was the first of those on the
upper deck to retire for the night. She flitted so quietly that Gordon did not
noticeuntilshehadgone.Mrs.Selfridgeandherfriendsdisappearedwiththeir
menfolks,callinggaygood-nightstooneanotherastheyleft.
MacdonaldandMrs.Mallorystilltalked.Afteratimeshetoovanished.
The big promoter leaned against the deck rail, where he was joined by
Selfridge.Foralongtimetheytalkedinlowvoices.Thelittlemanhadmostto
say. His chief listened, but occasionally interrupted to ask a sharp, incisive
question.
Elliot,sittingfartherforwardwithStrong,judgedthatSelfridgewasmakinga
reportofhistrip.Oncehecaughtafragmentoftheirtalk,enoughtoconfirmthis
impression.
"DidWintontellyouthathimself?"demandedtheScotchman.
The answer of his employee came in a murmur so low that the words were
lost. But the name used told Gordon a good deal. The Commissioner of the
GeneralLandOfficeatWashingtonsignedhislettersHaroldB.Winton.
Strong tossed the stub of his cigarette overboard and nodded good-night. A
glance at his watch told Elliot that it was past two o'clock. He rose, stretched,
andsaunteredbacktohisstateroom.
Theyoungmanhadjusttakenoffhiscoatwhentherecamethehurriedrushof
tramplingfeetuponthehurricanedeckabove.Almostinstantlyheheardacryof
alarm. Low voices, quick with suppressed excitement, drifted back to him. He
couldheartheshufflingoffootstepsandthesoundofheavybodiesmoving.
Some one lifted a frightened shout. "Help! Help!" The call had come, he
thought,fromSelfridge.


Gordonflungopenthedoorofhisroom,racedalongthedeck,andtookthe
stairs three at a time. A huddle of men swayed and shifted heavily in front of
him. So close was the pack that the motion resembled the writhing of some
prehistoric monster rather than the movements of individual human beings. In
thathalf-lighttossingarmsandlegslookedliketentaclesflungoutinagonyby
themammothreptile.Itsprogresswasjerkyandconvulsive,sometimestortuous,
but it traveled slowly toward the rail as if by the impulsion of an irresistible
pressure.
Even as he ran toward the mass, Elliot noticed that the only sounds were
grunts,stertorousbreathings,andthescrapingoffeet.Theattackerswantedno
publicity. The attacked was too busy to waste breath in futile cries. He was
fightingforhislifewithallthestarkenergynatureandhisancestorshadgiven
him.
Twomen,separatedfromthecrowd,layonthedeckfartheraft.Onewason
top of the other, his fingers clutching the gullet of his helpless opponent. The
agonyofthemanunderneathfoundexpressiononlyinthedrummingheelsthat
beat a tattoo on the floor. The spasmodic feet were shod in Oxford tans of an
ultra-fashionablecut.Nodoubttheownerofthesmartfootwearhadbeenpulled
downashewasescapingtoshoutthealarm.
Therunnerhurdledthetwoinhisstrideandplungedstraightatthestruggling
tangle.Hecaughtonemanbytheshouldersfrombehindandflunghimback.He
struck hard, smashing blows as he fought his way to the heart of the mêlée.
Heavy-fisted miners with corded muscles landed upon his face and head and
neck.Thestrangeexcitementofthebattlelustsurgedthroughhisveins.Hedid
notcareastrawfortheodds.
ThesuddenattackofElliothadopenedthepack.Themanbattlingagainsta
dozenwasColbyMacdonald.Theverynumberofhisfoeshadsavedhimsofar
frombeingrushedoverboardortrampleddown.Intheirdesiretogetathimthey
hinderedeachother,struckblowsthatfoundthewrongmark.Hiscoatandshirt
wereinrags.Hewasbruisedandbatteredandbleedingfromthechestup.Buthe
wasstillslogginghard.
They had him pressed to the rail. A huge miner, head down, had his arms
around the waist of the Scotchman and was trying to throw him overboard.
Macdonaldlashedoutandlandedflushuponthecheekofamanattemptingto
brainhimwithabilletofwood.Hehammeredhomeashort-armjoltagainstthe


earofthegiantwhowasgivinghimthebeargrip.
The big miner grunted, but hung on like a football tackler. With a jerk he
raised Macdonald from the floor just as three or four others rushed him again.
Therailgaveway,splinteredlikekindlingwood.TheScotchmanandthemanat
gripswithhimwentoverthesidetogether.
ClearandloudrangthevoiceofElliot."Manoverboard!"
Thewheelsmanhadknownforsomeminutesthattherewastroubleafoot.He
signaledtotheengineroomtoreverseandblewshort,sharpshrieksofwarning.
Alreadydeckhandsandofficers,scantilyclad,wereappearingfromforeandaft.
"Men overboard—two of 'em!" explained Elliot in a shout from the boat
whichhewastryingtolower.
The first mate and another man ran to help him. The three of them lowered
andmannedtheboat.Gordonsatinthebowandgavedirectionswhiletheother
twoputtheirbacksintothestroke.QuitecasuallyElliotnoticedthatthemanin
thewaisthadapurplebruiseonhisleftcheekbone.Theyoungmanhimselfhad
putittherenotthreeminutessince.
Acrossthewatercameacallforhelp."I'msinking—hurry!"
Theothermanintheriverwasadozenyardsfromtheoneindistress.With
strong,swift,overhandstrokesheshotthroughthewater.
"Allright,"hecalledpresently."I'vegothim."
Theoarsmendrewalongsidetheswimmer.WithonehandMacdonaldcaught
holdoftheedgeoftheboat.Theotherclutchedtherescuedmanbythehairof
hishead.
"Lookout.You'redrowninghim,"thematewarned.
"AmI?"Macdonaldglancedwithmildinterestattheheadthathadbeenuntil
thatmomentsubmerged."Showshowabsent-mindedamangets.Iwasthinking
abouthowhetriedtodrownme,Iexpect."
Theydraggedthemineraboard.
"Goahead.I'llswimdown,"Macdonaldordered.
"Bettercomeaboard,"advisedthemate.


"No.I'mallright."
The Scotchman pushed himself back from the boat and fell into an easy
stroke.Nevertheless,therewaspowerinit,forhereachedtheHannahbeforethe
rescuedminerhadbeenhelpedtothedeck.
A dozen passengers, crowded on the lower deck, pushed forward eagerly to
see.AmongthemwasSelfridge,hisshirtandcollartornlooseattheneckand
hisimmaculatecheckedsuitdustyanddisheveled.Hewaswearingapairofupto-dateOxfordtans.
The Scotch-Canadian shook himself like a Newfoundland dog. He looked
aroundwithsardonicamusement,agrinonhisswollenanddisfiguredface.
"Quiteapleasantwelcomehome,"hesaidironically,hiscoldeyesfixedona
face that looked as if it might have been kicked by a healthy mule. "Eh,
Trelawney?"
TheCornishmanglaredathim,andturnedawaywithalow,savageoath.
"Areyouhurt,Mr.Macdonald?"askedthecaptain.
"Hurt!Notatall,Captain.IcutmyselfwhileIwasshavingthismorning—just
ascratch,"wastheironicanswer.
"There'sbeensomedirtyworkgoingon.I'llseethemenarepunished,sir."
"Forgetit,Captain.I'llattendtothatlittlematter."Hisjaunty,almostinsolent
glance made the half-circle again. "Sorry you were too late for the party,
gentlemen,—most of you. I see three or four of you who were 'among those
present.' It was a strictly exclusive affair. And now, if you don't mind, I'll say
good-night."
He turned on his heel, went up the stairway to the deck above, and
disappearedintohisstateroom.
Therescuedminer,proppedagainstthecabinwallwherehehadbeenplaced,
brokeintosuddenexcitedprotest."Ach!Hetriedtodrownme.Meinhead—he
holditunderthewater."
"Ain'tthatjustlikeaSwede?"retortedthemateindisgust."Macsaveshislife.
ThentheroughneckkicksbecausehegotabellyfullofYukon.SureMacsoused


himsome.Whyshouldn'the?"
"Iain'tnoSwede,"explainedthebigminersullenly.
Thematedidnotthinkitworthhiswhiletoexplainthat"Swede"wasmerely
hisgenerictermofcontemptforallforeigners.


CHAPTERIII
THEGIRLFROMDROGHEDA
Gordon Elliot was too much of a night owl to be an early riser, but next
morning he was awakened by the tramp of hurried feet along the deck to the
accompaniment of brusque orders, together with frequent angry puffing and
snorting of the boat. From the quiver of the walls he guessed that the Hannah
was stuck on a sandbar. The mate's language gave backing to this surmise.
Dividedinmindbetweenhisobligationtothesleepingpassengersandhisduty
togettheboatonherway,thatofficerspilledagooddealofsubduedsulphurous
languageuponthesituation.
"Alltogethernow.Getyourbackintoit.Whyareyourunningaroundlikea
chickenwithoutahead,Reeves?"hesnapped.
EvidentlythedeckhandswereworkingtogettheHannahoffbypoling.
Elliot tried to settle back to sleep, but after two or three ineffectual efforts
gaveitup.Heroseanddidoneortwosetting-upexercisestolimberhisjoints.
Thefirstoftheseflashedthesignaltohisbrainthathewasstiffandsore.This
brought to mind the fight on the hurricane deck, and he smiled. His face was
about asmobileas ifitwereinaplastercast.Ithurteverytimehetwitcheda
muscle.
Theyoungmansteppedtothelooking-glass.Botheyeswereblacked,hislip
hadbeencut,andtherewasapurplewealwelluponhisleftcheek.Hestopped
himselffromgrinningonlyjustintimetosaveanothertwingeofpain.
"Some party while it lasted. I never saw more willing mixers. Everybody
seemed anxious to sit in except Mr. Wally Selfridge," he explained to his
reflection."ButMacdonaldistheclass.He'stherewithbothrightandleft.That
uppercut of his is vicious. Don't ever get in the way of it, Gordon Elliot." He
examined his injuries more closely in the glass. "Some one landed a peach on
myrightlampandtheotherisinmourningoutofsympathy.Oh,well,Iain'tthe
only prize beauty on board this morning." The young man forgot and smiled.
"Ouch!Don'tdothat,Gordon.Yes,son.'There'smanyablack,blackeye,they
say,butnonesobrightasmine.'Nowisn'tthatthetruth?"


Hebathed,dressed,andwentoutonthedeck.
Early though he was, one passenger at least was up before him. The young
woman he had noticed last evening with the magazine was doing a
constitutional.Aslightbreezewasstirring,andasshemovedagainstitthewhite
skirtclungfirsttoonekneeandthentheother,mouldingitselftothelonglines
ofherlimbswithexquisitegraceofmotion.Itwasasthoughherwalkwerethe
expressionofagallantandbuoyantpersonality.
Irish he guessed her when the deep-blue eyes rested on his for an instant as
shepassed,andfortifiedhisconjecturebythecoloringoftheclear-skinnedface
andthemarksoftheCelticracedelicatelystampeduponit.
ThepursercameoutofhisroomandjoinedElliot.Hesmiledatsightofthe
youngman'sface.
"Yourmap'salittleoutofplumbthismorning,sir,"heventured.
"Butyououghttoseetheotherfellow,"camebackGordonboyishly.
"I've seen him—several of him. We've got the best collection of bruises on
boardIeverclappedeyeson.I'vegottogiveittoyouandMr.Macdonald.You
knowhowtohit."
"Oh,I'mnotinhisclass."
GordonElliotmeantwhathesaid.Hewashimselfanathlete,hadplayedfor
threeyearslefttackleonhiscollegeeleven.Morethanonecritichadpickedhim
fortheAll-Americateam.Hecoulddohishundredinjustalittleworsethanten
seconds. But after all he was a product of training and of the gymnasiums.
MacdonaldwaswhatnatureandalonglineoffightingHighlandancestorshad
made him. His sinewy, knotted strength, his massive build, the breadth of
shoulderanddepthofchest—mushingonlongsnowtrailswasthegymnasium
thathadcontributedtothese.
The purser chuckled. "He's a good un, Mac is. They say he liked to have
drownedNorthrupafterhehadsavedhim."
Elliot was again following with his eyes the lilt of the girl's movements.
Apparentlyhehadnotheardwhattheofficersaid.Atleasthegavenoanswer.
With a grin the purser opened another attack. "Don't blame you a bit, Mr.


Elliot.She'stheprettiestcolleenthateversailedfromDublinBay."
Theyoungmanbroughthiseyeshome.Theyansweredengaginglythesmile
ofthepurser.
"Whoisshe?"
"ThenameonthebooksisShebaO'Neill."
"FromDublin,yousay."
"Oh,ifyouwanttobeliteral,herbaggagesaysDrogheda.IrelandisIrelandto
me."
"Whereissheboundfor?"
"Kusiak."
The young woman passed them with a little nod of morning greeting to the
purser. Fine and dainty though she was, Miss O'Neill gave an impression of
radiantstrength.
"Beenwithyouallthewayuptheriver?"askedElliotaftershehadpassed.
"Yep.ShecameupontheSkagitfromSeattle."
"WhatisshegoingtodoatKusiak?"
Againthepursergrinned."Whatdotheyalldo—thegood-lookingones?"
"Getmarried,youmean?"
"Surest thing you know. Girls coming up ask me what to bring by way of
outfit.Iusedtomakeoutalonglist.NowItellthemtobringclothesenoughfor
sixweeksandtheirfavoriteweddingmarch."
"Isthisgirlengaged?"
"Can't prove it by me," said the officer lightly. "But she'll never get out of
Alaska a spinster—not that girl. She may be going in to teach, or to run a
millinerystore,ortokeepbooksforatradingcompany.She'llstaytobringup
kiddiesofherown.Theyalldo."
Threechildrencameupthestairway,caughtsightofMissO'Neill,andraced
pell-mellacrossthedecktoher.


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