The Sea Wolf
"It will smell," I said, "but it will keep in the heat and keep out the rain and snow."
We were surveying the completed seal-skin roof.
"It is clumsy, but it will serve the purpose, and that is the main thing," I went on,
yearning for her praise.
And she clapped her hands and declared that she was hugely pleased.
"But it is dark in here," she said the next moment, her shoulders shrinking with a little
"You might have suggested a window when the walls were going up," I said. "It was for
you, and you should have seen the need of a window."
"But I never do see the obvious, you know," she laughed back. "And besides, you can
knock a hole in the wall at any time.'
"Quite true; I had not thought of it," I replied, wagging my head sagely. "But have you
thought of ordering the window-glass? Just call up the firm, - Red, 4451, I think it is, -
and tell them what size and kind of glass you wish."
"That means - " she began.
It was a dark and evil-appearing thing, that hut, not fit for aught better than swine in a
civilized land; but for us, who had known the misery of the open boat, it was a snug little
habitation. Following the housewarming, which was accomplished by means of seal-oil
and a wick made from cotton calking, came the hunting for our winter's meat and the
building of the second hut. It was a simple affair, now, to go forth in the morning and
return by noon with a boatload of seals. And then, while I worked at building the hut,
Maud tried out the oil from the blubber and kept a slow fire under the frames of meat. I
had heard of jerking beef on the plains, and our seal-meat, cut in thin strips and hung in
the smoke, cured excellently.
The second hut was easier to erect, for I built it against the first, and only three walls
were required. But it was work, hard work, all of it. Maud and I worked from dawn till
dark, to the limit of our strength, so that when night came we crawled stiffly to bed and
slept the animal-like sleep exhaustion. And yet Maud declared that she had never felt
better or stronger in her life. I knew this was true of myself, but hers was such a lily
strength that I feared she would break down. Often and often, her last- reserve force gone,