The Long Trail
It was in the air. White Fang sensed the coming calamity, even before there was tangible
evidence of it. In vague ways it was borne in upon him that a change was impending. He
knew not how nor why, yet he got his feel of the oncoming event from the gods
themselves. In ways subtler than they knew, they betrayed their intentions to the wolf-
dog that haunted the cabin-stoop, and that, though he never came inside the cabin, knew
what went on inside their brains.
"Listen to that, will you!" the dug-musher exclaimed at supper one night.
Weedon Scott listened. Through the door came a low, anxious whine, like a sobbing
under the breath that had just grown audible. Then came the long sniff, as White Fang
reassured himself that his god was still inside and had not yet taken himself off in
mysterious and solitary flight.
"I do believe that wolf's on to you," the dog-musher said.
Weedon Scott looked across at his companion with eyes that almost pleaded, though this
was given the lie by his words.
"What the devil can I do with a wolf in California?" he demanded.
"That's what I say," Matt answered. "What the devil can you do with a wolf in
But this did not satisfy Weedon Scott. The other seemed to be judging him in a non-
committal sort of way.
"White man's dogs would have no show against him," Scott went on. "He'd kill them on
sight. If he didn't bankrupt me with damaged suits, the authorities would take him away
from me and electrocute him."
"He's a downright murderer, I know," was the dog-musher's comment.
Weedon Scott looked at him suspiciously.
"It would never do," he said decisively.
"It would never do!" Matt concurred. "Why you'd have to hire a man 'specially to take
care of 'm."
The other suspicion was allayed. He nodded cheerfully. In the silence that followed, the
low, half-sobbing whine was heard at the door and then the long, questing sniff.