A roar burst from the crowd—a roar of anger, of demand, of threat. In his rage Harker drew a revolver and leveled it at the Dane. Above the tumult of the crowd a single voice stopped him.
“Hold!” it demanded. “Hold—in the name of the law!”
For a moment there was silence. Every face turned in the direction of the voice. Two men stood on chairs behind the last row. One was Sergeant Brokaw, of the Royal Northwest Mounted. It was he who had spoken. He was holding up a hand, commanding silence and attention. On the chair beside him stood another man. He was thin, with drooping shoulders, and a pale smooth face—a little man, whose physique and hollow cheeks told nothing of the years he had spent close up along the raw edge of the Arctic. It was he who spoke now, while the sergeant held up his hand. His voice was low and quiet:
“I’ll give the owners five hundred dollars for those dogs,” he said.
Every man in the room heard the offer. Harker looked at Sandy. For an instant their heads were close together.
“They won’t fight, and they’ll make good team-mates,” the little man went on. “I’ll give the owners five hundred dollars.”
Harker raised a hand.
“Make it six,” he said. “Make it six and they’re yours.”
The little man hesitated. Then he nodded.
“I’ll give you six hundred,” he agreed.
Murmurs of discontent rose throughout the crowd. Harker climbed to the edge of the platform.
“We ain’t to blame because they wouldn’t fight,” he shouted, “but if there’s any of you small enough to want your money back you can git it as you go out. The dogs laid down on us, that’s all. We ain’t to blame.”
The little man was edging his way between the chairs, accompanied by the sergeant of police. With his pale face close to the sapling bars of the cage he looked at Kazan and the big Dane.