XX. IN WHICH THREE GO TO THE SIGN OF THE SLED AND BUT TWO RETURN
XXI. THE HAMMER-LOCK
XXII. THE PROMISE OF DREAMS
Glenister gazed out over the harbor, agleam with the lights of
anchored ships, then up at the crenelated mountains, black against
the sky. He drank the cool air burdened with its taints of the
sea, while the blood of his boyhood leaped within him.
"Oh, it's fine--fine," he murmured, "and this is my country--my
country, after all, Dex. It's in my veins, this hunger for the
North. I grow. I expand."
"Careful you don't bust," warned Dextry. "I've seen men get plumb
drunk on mountain air. Don't expand too strong in one spot." He
went back abruptly to his pipe, its villanous fumes promptly
averting any danger of the air's too tonic quality.
"Gad! What a smudge!" sniffed the younger man. "You ought to be in
"I'd ruther smell like a man than talk like a kid. You desecrate
the hour of meditation with rhapsodies on nature when your
aesthetics ain't honed up to the beauties of good tobacco."
The other laughed, inflating his deep chest. In the gloom he
stretched his muscles restlessly, as though an excess of vigor
They were lounging upon the dock, while before them lay the Santa
Maria ready for her midnight sailing. Behind slept Unalaska,
quaint, antique, and Russian, rusting amid the fogs of Bering Sea.
Where, a week before, mild-eyed natives had dried their cod among
the old bronze cannon, now a frenzied horde of gold-seekers paused
in their rush to the new El Dorado. They had come like a locust
cloud, thousands strong, settling on the edge of the Smoky Sea,
waiting the going of the ice that barred them from their Golden
Fleece--from Nome the new, where men found fortune in a night.
The mossy hills back of the village were ridged with graves of
those who had died on the out-trip the fall before, when a plague
had gripped the land--but what of that? Gold glittered in the
sands, so said the survivors; therefore men came in armies.
Glenister and Dextry had left Nome the autumn previous, the young
man raving with fever. Now they returned to their own land.