“What’s the matter with you?”
“Oh, nothin’ to howl about. But see here, Mac.”
“Soon’s I can walk I’ll go and get you the rest o’ that elephant.”
There was no more said till they got up to the others, who had waited for the Indians to come back, and had unpacked Kaviak to spare him the jolting uphill.
O’Flynn was screaming with excitement as he saw that the bundle Nicholas was carrying had a head and two round eyes.
“The saints in glory be among us! What’s that? Man alive, what is it, be the Siven?”
“That,” answered Mac with a proprietary air, “is a little Esquimaux boy, and I’m bringing him in to doctor his cold.”
“Glory be! An Esquimer! And wid a cowld! Sure, he can have some o’ my linnyeemint. Well, y’arre a boss collector, Mac! Faith, ye bang the Jews! And me thinkin’ ye’d be satisfied wid yer elephunt. Not him, be the Siven! It’s an Esquimer he must have to finish off his collection, wan wid the rale Arctic cowld in his head, and two eyes that goes snappin’ through ye like black torpeders. Two spissimens in wan day! Yer growin’ exthravagant, Mac. Why, musha, child, if I don’t think yer the dandy Spissimen o’ the lot!”
“How good it is to invite men to the pleasant feast.”
Comfortable as rock fireplace and stockade made the cabin now, the Colonel had been feeling all that morning that the official House-Warming was fore-doomed to failure. Nevertheless, as he was cook that week, he could not bring himself to treat altogether lightly his office of Master of the Feast. There would probably be no guests. Even their own little company would likely be incomplete, but t here was to be a spread that afternoon, “anyways.”
Even had the Colonel needed any keeping up to the mark, the office would have been cheerfully undertaken by O’Flynn or by Potts, for whom interest in the gustatory aspect of the occasion was wholly undimmed by the threatened absence of Mac and the “little divvle.”
“There’ll be the more for us,” said Potts enthusiastically.
O’Flynn’s argument seemed to halt upon a reservation. He looked over the various contributions to the feast, set out on a board in front of the water-bucket, and, “It’s mate I’m wishin’ fur,” says he.
“We’ve got fish.”
“That’s only mate on Fridays. We’ve had fish fur five days stiddy, an’ befure that, bacon three times a day wid sivin days to the week, an’ not enough bacon ayther, begob, whin all’s said and done! Not enough to be fillin’, and plenty to give us the scurrvy. May the divil dance on shorrt rations!”
“No scurvy in this camp for a while yet,” said the Colonel, throwing some heavy objects into a pan and washing them vigorously round and round.
“Pitaties!” O’Flynn’s eyes dwelt lovingly on the rare food. “Ye’ve hoarded ’em too long, man, they’ve sprouted.”