Hurricane-the man patched up a harness. The needle has difficulty going through the leather. From time to time, Hurricane-dog, which is roasting its paws in front of the fire, stands up and comes to realize the strange work that his new master is doing.
– This is for you, old brother. You are going to be as handsome as the dogs of the rich that stewards walk in Golden Gate Park in Frisco. A financial dog, my word! Wait, I’ll hang this bell.
The bell rings. Hurricane-dog comes to sniff him. It doesn’t mean much to him, this thing that makes noise, these intertwining thongs, this buckle … No, it’s definitely not worth disturbing. Let’s take our place by the fireside.
And the dog turns his back on his master; soon he stretches his muzzle in his paws and growls, happy.
Alas! There is no perfect happiness on this earth.
Hurricane, having given the last point, crouched down, stroked the beast with his hand, and tried to put on the odd outfit.
Hurricane-dog, taken as a traitor, leaps to the side; man did not have time to come full circle. With rage, he shakes the harness; the bell tinkles, tinkles, which drives the dog mad.
With his paws, he tries to remove this object that bothers him. Come on, it’s a game, take that away from me …
But the man does not want to know anything, he approaches, grasps the strap, passes it under his stomach and wants to hang the clip …
Furious, Hurricane-dog struggles and suddenly grabs the hand that held him.
– Damned dog! …
And, with his good hand, he grabs him by the skin of the neck and throws him into the yard.
The dog, courageous, makes head, he is about to pounce.
Then Hurricane takes his whip and, as the beast soars, he lashes it.
The rage, more than the pain, endiles the dog who, with bloodshot eyes and slobbering mouth, comes forward growling. Another blow stops him, then another, and yet another.
Hurricane hit, hit, hit. The dog collapses, a tear hesitates at the corner of his eye.
Then the man approaches. Hurricane-dog tries to lift his head, a growl rolling that ripples the skin of his stomach, but the sight of the terrible instrument makes him feel weak.
The Master takes the opportunity to tighten the loop. Hurricane-dog is standing, astonished; its four legs tremble, the hairs around its neck stand on end, its tail drags and the bell jingles softly.
He who dreamed in front of the fire! It is not possible! What happened to him? It’s crazy! He will wake up in front of the flames which waltz… It’s good the fire after we have run freely in the snow.
Damn it! He is embarrassed by this affair that has been thrust into him and, with his paw, he scratches himself, he scratches himself furiously and the bell tinkles, tinkles, to remind him of his enslavement.
So, a philosopher, he sits down, definitely doubting the good things of the earth.
Hurricane takes the opportunity to grab it.
Instinctively, the lip curls up and uncovers the fangs. What’s the point? The other is the strongest.
He loosely took the opportunity to secure a double canvas pocket to the harnesses: in these pockets, the man stuffed boxes and tools.
Ah! this is how we will see! The man has his back turned. Hurricane-dog rolls on the ground, sending the preserves, the files, the hammers for a walk.
Calmly, Hurricane-the man returns, whip in hand and the dance begins …
A dance? Ah! Messeigneurs, what a tour! Hurricane-dog lived sixteen years than he would remember.
But everything comes to an end, even the worst things.
When the distribution was finished, the man put the items back in the bags, then left without turning his head.
Suddenly he whistles. The dog pricks up its ears. Then, sadly, with small steps, the muzzle touching the ground, Hurricane-dog follows in the footsteps of Hurricane-the man.
– Are you going back down to Dawson, Master Gregory?
– On Dawson? No, comrade, I’m heading straight north, I’m going to Yankee Alaska, near Eagle-City . I will go down the Yukon to the Tanana River . If you feel like it?
– I don’t mind, sir, I’m tired of pecking the earth like a hen. Jim Parry offers me five hundred dollars from my concession.
– Five hundred dollars is a bargain, especially since it should not be heavy scratching on your claim .
– Pooh! two dollars of “pay” costs one dollar.
– Sell, boy, sell, and if you like, tomorrow at six o’clock my sleigh will be outside the door.
– All right!
With that, Gregory Land wraps himself in an Indian blanket and falls asleep in front of the fire.
Hurricane puts on his snowshoes, gets out, pulls up his woolen collar and goes to meet Jim Parry at the Merry Boys , the Cariboo Kid saloon .
A shabby violin squeaks a one-step . Jim is dancing with a girl .
– Hello, boy!
Jim stops, the dancer passes into the arms of another rider.
– How are you?
The two miners, elbows on the table, discuss. Ten minutes later Hurricane sold his Cariboo Kid dealership to Jim Parry for five hundred dollars. The thing is registered before the Government Commissioner and the rights paid.
Hurricane squeezes the gold dust, amounting to the purchase price, into his leather belt.
The music stops, the dancers scatter and lean on the counter. The girl who was dancing with Jim approaches.
The business is good. Hurricane offers to drink.
Without ceremony, the young girl sits down on the table, throwing back the shawl which wraps her.
The light shines right on her laughing face, which the charcoal of the eyes and the bleeding line of the lips cannot make it ugly.
She slips a cocktail straw down the neck of Hurricane who, tickled, makes the gesture of hunting an insect.
– It is not often that we see you here.
It is Jim speaking after having emptied his glass of whiskey in one gulp.
– You don’t like dancing?
Hurricane does not answer, the girl insists:
The young man pouted.
– I believe that in the past, yes, I danced.
Curious, the girl asks:
– Over there, somewhere, in the South. I danced, I played, I drank… but that no longer interests me.
And Hurricane is silent. In his eyes pass distant visions.
Jim Parry bangs his pipe on the wood of the table and says:
– Flossie, you’re bothering that boy …
– It’s not a boy, Jim, it’s a girl.
And his sonorous laughter breaks out, revealing a double row of small, clean teeth.
At this moment, Frank Lippmann, a Bavarian miner, approaches, the mocking face, the pipe in the mouth, shaggy, dirty, magnificent.
He goes straight to Flossie, throws him, in a manner of politeness, a puff of tobacco in the face:
– Do you trample with me?
The smoke makes the girl cough.
It greatly amuses the bully who pushes the nods! hoch! frantic.
– Peace, please.
It was said in such a tone that Frank Lippmann cautiously retreats:
– It’s pon, it’s pon … we leave it in your ball …
He goes to the stove, the hearth of which he opens; with a piece of paper he lights his pipe again.
The flame amuses the drunkard for a moment; a stupid idea crosses his mind.
He returns to the group and, taking advantage of Jim and Hurricane’s inattention, he sets the fringes of the scarf on fire. In ten seconds, Flossie is surrounded by flames.
Jim rushes forward, but Hurricane is ahead of him. He tears off the garment. With a bound he is outside. The shawl, which has finished burning, puts a red stain on the snow.
Hurricane pushed back the door. He is standing with his hands behind his back. His gaze seeks and falls on Lippmann who, finding his action very funny, chokes on laughing.
Hurricane walks towards him and, before the other is back from his amazement, he grabs him by the collar, bends him at Flossie’s feet and orders:
– Request forgiveness.
Half strangled, the brute groundhog:
– Bardon… bar… don…
It’s so funny that all the miners and Hurricane himself burst out laughing. The other, stupid, not understanding this hilarity any more than this anger, remains squatting, bewildered, still stammering:
– Bardon… bar… don…
So Hurricane goes behind him and gives him a fantastic kick to the lower back.
The man flattens himself. Hurricane snares him, drags him on the floor, opens the door and, with a nudge, throws him into the snow where he collapses with a hog growl.
Johan C. Clear, who presides over the destinies of the Merry Boys , orders the music to attack the most frenzied of foxtrots.
The effect is immediate; couples reform.
Alone, Flossie stayed with Hurricane.
She takes his hand simply:
– Thank you.
She keeps the boy’s hand in hers, and it’s hers that shakes a little when she asks him:
– You wouldn’t want to dance with me?
Hurricane looks up at him with those eyes. It’s funny, just now, he would have sworn they were black; now they appear green to him with bright brown spots.
There is, at the bottom of this gaze, a secret admiration and something imploring. So the young boy does not have the strength to say “No”.
Without a word, he puts his arm around the waist of his date and carries her in a whirlwind.
Then he invites her. It has to, doesn’t it? But she’s the one who bears the brunt of the conversation. Hurricane only responds in monosyllables, just enough to be correct.
Now Flossie is lamenting. Such a beautiful shawl, the only one she had. The Cariboo-Kid “ store ” does have another one, but it’s too good for her and too expensive …
Then Hurricane unties his leather belt and empties the gold dust he received from Jim Parry; he makes two equal piles, puts one back in his pocket and pushes the other in front of the girl :
– For you, Flossie, in memory of our dance.
The girl hesitates, she dares not accept.
– Yes, yes, Hurricane insists, for you, my friend, for you …
The gold makes a red spot on the table, a spot that the girl’s eyes are staring at… She stays like that for a long time, hypnotized. What is going on in the narrow cage of this female brain? What thoughts are agitated there? What resolutions are born and die there?
Flossie sighed, and with a gesture she scooped up the gold.
Hurricane stood up.
– You go?
– We’ll see you… I’ll see you tomorrow?
Hurricane waves his hand.
– Tomorrow? Tomorrow, I’m leaving with Gregory Land and the mail-stage .
– For a long time?
Flossie, right, leaning against the table, does:
Then, chasing away an unwelcome idea, she runs her hand over her forehead and spins on her heel. A shrill laughter rises, rises, rises, which breaks off …
She is in front of the table where minors are playing pharo. A glass of whiskey is offered to her, she swallows it in one gulp.
His laughter resumes. Jim Parry passes, she grabs him and carries him in a dance …
Hurricane walked out without a glance.