In the tent Thorpe was saying:
“I’m sorry old Jackpine wouldn’t go back with us, Issy. He drove me down, but for love or money I couldn’t get him to return. He’s a Mission Indian, and I’d give a month’s salary to have you see him handle the dogs. I’m not sure about this man McCready. He’s a queer chap, the Company’s agent here tells me, and knows the woods like a book. But dogs don’t like a stranger. Kazan isn’t going to take to him worth a cent!”
Kazan heard the girl’s voice, and stood rigid and motionless listening to it. He did not hear or see McCready when he came up stealthily behind him. The man’s voice came as suddenly as a shot at his heels.
In an instant Kazan cringed as if touched by a lash.
“Got you that time—didn’t I, you old devil!” whispered McCready, his face strangely pale in the firelight. “Changed your name, eh? But I got you—didn’t I?”
McCREADY PAYS THE DEBT
For a long time after he had uttered those words McCready sat in silence beside the fire. Only for a moment or two at a time did his eyes leave Kazan. After a little, when he was sure that Thorpe and Isobel had retired for the night, he went into his own tent and returned with a flask of whisky. During the next half-hour he drank frequently. Then he went over and sat on the end of the sledge, just beyond the reach of Kazan’s chain.
“Got you, didn’t I?” he repeated, the effect of the liquor beginning to show in the glitter of his eyes. “Wonder who changed your name, Pedro. And how the devil did he come by you? Ho, ho, if you could only talk—”
They heard Thorpe’s voice inside the tent. It was followed by a low girlish peal of laughter, and McCready jerked himself erect. His face blazed suddenly red, and he rose to his feet, dropping the flask in his coat pocket. Walking around the fire, he tiptoed cautiously to the shadow of a tree close to the tent and stood there for many minutes listening. His eyes burned with a fiery madness when he returned to the sledge and Kazan. It was midnight before he went into his own tent.