Breakfast eaten and the slim camp-outfit lashed to the sled, the men turned their backs on
the cheery fire and launched out into the darkness. At once began to rise the cries that
were fiercely sad - cries that called through the darkness and cold to one another and
answered back. Conversation ceased. Daylight came at nine o'clock. At midday the sky to
the south warmed to rose-colour, and marked where the bulge of the earth intervened
between the meridian sun and the northern world. But the rose-colour swiftly faded. The
grey light of day that remained lasted until three o'clock, when it, too, faded, and the pall
of the Arctic night descended upon the lone and silent land.
As darkness came on, the hunting-cries to right and left and rear drew closer - so close
that more than once they sent surges of fear through the toiling dogs, throwing them into
At the conclusion of one such panic, when he and Henry had got the dogs back in the
traces, Bill said:
"I wisht they'd strike game somewheres, an' go away an' leave us alone."
"They do get on the nerves horrible," Henry sympathised.
They spoke no more until camp was made.
Henry was bending over and adding ice to the babbling pot of beans when he was startled
by the sound of a blow, an exclamation from Bill, and a sharp snarling cry of pain from
among the dogs. He straightened up in time to see a dim form disappearing across the
snow into the shelter of the dark. Then he saw Bill, standing amid the dogs, half
triumphant, half crestfallen, in one hand a stout club, in the other the tail and part of the
body of a sun-cured salmon.
"It got half of it," he announced; "but I got a whack at it jes' the same. D'ye hear it
"What'd it look like?" Henry asked.
"Couldn't see. But it had four legs an' a mouth an' hair an' looked like any dog."
"Must be a tame wolf, I reckon."
"It's damned tame, whatever it is, comin' in here at feedin' time an' gettin' its whack of
That night, when supper was finished and they sat on the oblong box and pulled at their
pipes, the circle of gleaming eyes drew in even closer than before.