"Don’t, Mason, “entreated Malemute Kid; “the poor devil’s on its last legs. Wait and we’ll put my team on.”
Mason deliberately withheld the whip till the last word had fallen, then out flashed the long lash, completely curling about the offending creature’
s body. Carmen—for it was Carmen—cowered in the snow, cried
piteously, then rolled over on her side.
It was a tragic moment, a pitiful incident of the trail—a dying dog, two comrades in anger. Ruth glanced solicitously from man to man. But Malemute Kid restrained himself, though there was a world of reproach in his eyes, and bending over the dog, cut the traces. No word was spoken. The teams were double-spanned and the difficulty overcome; the sleds were under way again , the dying dog dragging herself along in the rear. As long as an animal can travel, it is not shot, and this last chance is accorded it—the crawling into camp, if it can, in the hope of a moose being killed.
Already penitent for his angry action, but too stubborn to make amends, Mason toiled on at the head of the cavalcade, little dreaming that danger hovered in the air. The timber clustered thick in the sheltered bottom, and through this they threaded their way. Fifty feet or more from the trail towered a lofty pine. For generations destiny had had this one end in view—perhaps the same had been decreed of Mason.