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The Voice of the Pack   By: (1894-1967)

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THE VOICE OF THE PACK

By EDISON MARSHALL

A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers New York

Published by arrangement with Little, Brown, and Company

Copyright, 1920 , By Little, Brown, and Company.

All rights reserved

Published, April, 1920 Reprinted, May, 1920

TO MY FATHER GEORGE EDWARD MARSHALL OF MEDFORD, OREGON HIMSELF A SON OF FRONTIERSMEN

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE

BOOK ONE REPATRIATION

BOOK TWO THE DEBT

BOOK THREE THE PAYMENT

THE VOICE OF THE PACK

PROLOGUE

If one can just lie close enough to the breast of the wilderness, he can't help but be imbued with some of the life that pulses therein. From a Frontiersman's Diary .

Long ago, when the great city of Gitcheapolis was a rather small, untidy hamlet in the middle of a plain, it used to be that a pool of water, possibly two hundred feet square, gathered every spring immediately back of the courthouse. The snow falls thick and heavy in Gitcheapolis in winter; and the pond was nothing more than snow water that the inefficient drainage system of the city did not quite absorb. Now snow water is occasionally the most limpid, melted crystal thing in the world. There are places just two thousand miles west of Gitcheapolis where you can see it pouring pure and fresh off of the snow fields, scouring out a ravine from the great rock wall of a mountain side, leaping faster than a deer leaps and when you speak of the speed of a descending deer you speak of something the usual mortal eye can scarcely follow from cataract to cataract; and the sight is always a pleasing one to behold. Incidentally, these same snow streams are quite often simply swarming with trout, brook and cutthroat, steelhead and even those speckled fellows that fishermen call Dolly Vardens for some reason that no one has ever quite been able to make out. They are to be found in every ripple, and they bite at a fly as if they were going to crush the steel hook into dust between their teeth, and the cold water gives them spirit to fight until the last breath of strength is gone from their beautiful bodies. How they came there, and what their purpose is in ever climbing up the river that leads nowhere but to a snow bank, no one exactly knows.

The snow water back of the courthouse was not like this at all. Besides being the despair of the plumbers and the city engineer, it was a severe strain on the beauty loving instincts of every inhabitant in the town who had any such instincts. It was muddy and murky and generally distasteful; and lastly, there were no trout in it. Neither were there any mud cat such as were occasionally to be caught in the Gitcheapolis River.

A little boy played at the edge of the water, this spring day of long ago. Except for his interest in the pond, it would have been scarcely worth while to go to the trouble of explaining that it contained no fish. He, however, bitterly regretted the fact. In truth, he sometimes liked to believe that it did contain fish, very sleepy fish that never made a ripple, and as he had an uncommon imagination he was sometimes able to convince himself that this was so. But he never took hook and line and played at fishing. He was too much afraid of the laughter of his boy friends. His mother probably wouldn't object if he fished here, he thought, particularly if he were careful not to get his shoes covered with mud. But she wouldn't let him go down to Gitcheapolis Creek to fish with the other boys for mud cat. He was not very strong, she thought, and it was a rough sport anyway, and besides, she didn't think he wanted to go very badly. As mothers are usually particularly understanding, this was a curious thing.

The truth was that little Dan Failing wanted to fish almost as much as he wanted to live. He would dream about it of nights... Continue reading book >>




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