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 dog-musher exclaimed at supper one night.
Weedon Scott listened. Through the door came a low, anxious whine, like a sobbing under the breath that has 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 wolfs 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 can I do with a wolf in California? he demanded.
Thats what I say, Matt answered. What can you do with a wolf in California?
But this did not satisfy Weedon Scott. The other seemed to be judging him in a noncommittal sort of way.
White mans dogs would have no show against him, Scott went on. Hed kill them on sight. If he didnt bankrupt me with damage suits, the authorities would take him away from me and electrocute him.
Hes a downright murderer, I know, was the dog-mushers comment.
Weedon Scott looked at him suspiciously.
It would never do, he said decisively.
It would never do, Matt concurred. Why, youd have to hire a man specially to take care of m.
The others 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.
Theres no denyin he thinks a lot of you, Matt said.
The other glared at him in sudden wrath. Shut up! I know my own mind and whats best!
Im agreein with you, only
Only what? Scott snapped out.
Only the dog-musher began softly, then changed his mind and betrayed a rising anger of his own. Well, you neednt get so all-fired het up about it. Judgin by your actions oned think you didnt know your own mind.
Weedon Scott debated with himself for a while, and then said more gently: You are right, Matt. I dont know my own mind, and thats whats the trouble.
Why, it would be rank ridiculousness for me to take that dog along, he broke out after another pause.
Im agreein with you, was Matts answer, and again his employer was not quite satisfied with him.
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