Newspaper Page Text
man peered at him with quick cur
iousness. Removing his utensils from the
stove, so as to give the. newcomers a
chance to cook, he proceeded to take
his meal from the top 4f his grub
box, himself sitting on his bedroll.
Between mouthfuls he talked trail
and dogs to the man, who, with head
over the stove, was thawing the ice
from his mustache. There were two
bunks in the cabin, and into one of
them, when he had cleared his lip,
the stranger tossed his bed-roll.
"We'll sleep here," he said, "un
less you prefer this bunk. You're the
first comer and you have first choice,
"That's all right," Messner answer
ed. "One bunk's just as good as the
other." He spread his own bedding
in the second bunk, and sat down on
the edge. The stranger thrust a phy
sician's small traveling case under his
blankets at one end to serve for a
"Doctor?" Messner asked.
"Yes," came the answer, "but I as
sure you I didn't come into the Klon
dike to practice."
The woman busied herself with
cooking, while the man sliced bacon
and fired the stove.
"Oh, it's a great life," the doctor
proclaimed enthusiastically, pausing
from sharpening his knife on the
stove pipe. "What I like about it is
the struggle, the endeavor with one's
own hands, the primitiveness of it,
"I say, Tess," he said the next mo
ment, "don't you think that coffee's
boiled long enough?"
At the sound of the woman's given
name John Messner became suddenly
alert. He looked at her quickly,
while across his face shot a haunting
expression, the ghost of some buried
misery achieving swift resurrection.
But the next moment, and by an ef
fort of will, the ghost was laid again.
"What part of the states do you
come from?" Messner asked.
"San Francisco," answered the
doctor. "I've been in here two years,
"I hail from California myself,"
was Messner's announcement.
The woman looked at him appeal
ingly, but he smiled and went on:
"Berkeley, you know."
The other man was becoming in
terested. "U. C.?" he asked.
"Yes, class of '86."
"I meant faculty," the doctor ex
plained. "You remind me of the type."
"Sorry to hear you say so," Mess
ner smiled back. "I'd prefer being
taken for a prospector or a dog
"I don't think he looks any more
like a professor than you do a doc
tor," the woman broke in.
"Thank you," said Messner, then
turning to her companion: "By the
way, doctor, what is your name, if I
"Haythorne, if you'll take my word
for it. I gave up cards with civiliza
tion." "And Mrs. Haythorne." Messner
smiled and bowed.
She flashed a look at him that was
more anger than appeal.
Haythorne was about to ask the
other's name. His mouth had opened
to form the question when Messner
cut him off.
"Come to think of it, doctor, you
may possibly be able to satisfy my
curiosity. There was a sort of scan
dal in faculty circles some two or
three years ago. The wife of one of
the English professors er, if you
will pardon me, Mrs. Haythorne dis
appeared with some San Francisco
doctor, I understand, though his
name does not just now come to my
lips. Do you remember the incident?"
Haythorne nodded his head. "Made
quite a stir at the time. His name
was Womble Graham Womble. He
had a magnificent practice. I knew
"Well, what I was trying to get at
was what had become of them. I
1 was wondering if you had heard.
' -- -? "- - ' ! s- .. -- . . - Jj