A DAY'S LODGING BY JACK LONDON
(Copyrighted, 1913, by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.)
"It was the gosh-dangdest stam
pede I ever seen. A thousand dog
teams hittin' the ice. Two white men
and a Swede froze to death--that
night and there was, a dozen busted
their lungs. But didn't I see with my
own eyes the bottom of the water
hole? It was yellow with gold like a
mustard plaster. That's what made
th stampede. An' then there was
nothin'to it. . . . NOTHlN'to it."
Narrative of Shorty.
John Messner clung with mittened
hand to the bucking gee-pole and
held the sled in the trail. With the
other mittened hand he rubbed his
cheeks and nose. He rubbed his
cheeks and nose every little while.
In point of fact, he rarely ceased
from rubbing them, and sometimes,
as their numbness increased, he rub
Behind him churned a heavily load
ed Yukon sled, and before him toiled
a string of five dogs. The rope by
which they dragged the sled rubbed
against the side of Messner's leg.
When the dogs swung on a bend in
the trail, he stepped over the rope.
There were many bends, and he was
compelled to step over it often.
Sometimes he tripped on the rope,
of stumbled, and at all times he was
awkward, betraying a weariness so
great that the sled now and again
ran upon his heels.
"It's too cold to travel, anyway,"
he said. He spoke aloud, after the
manner of men who are much by
themselves. "Only a fool would travel
at such a temperature. If it isn't 80
below it's because it's 79."
He plodded on silently for a few
minutes, and thenf as though there
had been no lapse in his speech, he
"And no ground covered, and it's
too cold to travel."
Suddenly he yelled "Whoa!" at the
and stopped. He seemed in a
mild panic over his right hand, and
proceeded to hammer it furiously
against the gee-pole.
"You poor devils!" he addressed
the dogs, which had dropped down
heavily on the ice to rest. His was a
broken, jerky utterance, caused by
the violence with which he hammer
ed his numb hand upon the wood.
"What have you done, anyway, that
a two-legged other animal should
come along, break you to harness,
curb all your natural proclivities and
make slave-beasts out of you?"
He rubbed his nose, not reflectively
but savagely, in order to drive the
blood into it, and urged the dogs to
do their work again. He traveled on
the frozen surface of a great river.
John Messner seemed succumbing
to the apathy of it all. The frost
was benumbing his spirit
But the dogs were observant, and
suddenly they stopped turning their
heads and looking back at their mas
ter out of eyes that wercwistful and
The man was about to urge them
on, when he checked himself, roused
up with an effort and' looked around.
The dogs had stopped beside a. water
hole, hot a fissure but a hole man
made, chopped laboriously with an
axe through three and a half feet
"All right, you sore-footed brutes,"
he said. "I'll investigate. You're not
a bit more anxious to quit than I am."
He climbed the bank and disap
peared. The dogs did not he -down,
but on their feet eagerly waited his
return. He came back to them, took
a hauling rope from the front of the
sled and put it round his shoulders.
Then he gee'd the dogs to the right
and put them at the bank on the run.
They cleared" the bank with a rush,
swung to the left and dashed up to
a small lob cabin. It was a deserted
cabin of a single room. Messner un
harnessed the animals, unloaded his
xml | txt