Then, as Mac made no sign, he sighed again, and held out two little shaky hands to the blaze.
Mac gave out a sound between a cough and a snort, and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand.
Kaviak had started nervously.
“You cold?” asked Mac.
He nodded again, and fell to coughing.
Mac got up and brought the newly purchased coat to the fire.
“It’s for you,” he said, as the child’s big eyes grew bigger with admiration.
“Me? Me own coat?” He stood up, and his bare feet fluttered up and down feebly, but with huge delight.
As the parki was held ready the child tumbled dizzily into it, and Mac held him fast an instant.
In less than five minutes Kaviak was once more seated on the cricket, but very magnificent now in his musk-rat coat, so close up to Mac that he could lean against his arm, and eating out of a plenty-bowl on his knees a discreet spoonful of mush drowned in golden syrup—a supper for a Sultan if only there had been more!
When he had finished, he set the bowl down, and, as a puppy might, he pushed at Mac’s arm till he found a way in, laid his head down on “Farva’s” knee with a contented sigh, and closed his heavy eyes.
Mac put his hand on the cropped head and began:
“About that empty syrup-can—”
Kaviak started up, shaking from head to foot. Was the obscure nightmare coming down to crush him again?
Mac tried to soothe him. But Kaviak, casting about for charms to disarm the awful fury of the white man—able to endure with dignity any reverse save that of having his syrup spilt—cried out:
“I solly—solly. Our Farva—”
“I’m sorry, too, Kaviak,” Mac interrupted, gathering the child up to him; “and we won’t either of us do it any more.”
“Himlen morkner, mens Jordens Trakt
Straaler lys som i Stjernedragt.
Himlen er bleven Jordens Gjaest
Snart er det Julens sode Fest.”
It had been moved, seconded, and carried by acclamation that they should celebrate Christmas, not so much by a feast of reason as by a flow of soul and a bang-up dinner, to be followed by speeches and some sort of cheerful entertainment.
“We’re goin’ to lay ourselves out on this entertainment,” said the Boy, with painful misgivings as to the “bang-up dinner.”
Every time the banquet was mentioned somebody was sure to say, “Well, anyhow, there’s Potts’s cake,” and that reflection never failed to raise the tone of expectation, for Potts’s cake was a beauty, evidently very rich and fruity, and fitted by Nature to play the noble part of plum-pudding. But, in making out the bill of fare, facts had to be faced. “We’ve got our everyday little rations of beans and bacon, and we’ve got Potts’s cake, and we’ve got one skinny ptarmigan to make a banquet for six hungry people!”