The Danger Trail eBook

James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 154 pages of information about The Danger Trail.

CHAPTER II

LIPS THAT SPEAK NOT

Howland was not a man easily susceptible to a pair of eyes and a pretty face.  The practical side of his nature was too much absorbed in its devices and schemes for the building of material things to allow the breaking in of romance.  At least Howland had always complimented himself on this fact, and he laughed a little nervously as he went back to his seat near the window.  He was conscious that a flush of unusual excitement had leaped into his cheeks and already the practical side of him was ashamed of that to which the romantic side had surrendered.

“The deuce, but she was pretty!” he excused himself.  “And those eyes—­”

Suddenly he checked himself.  There had been more than the eyes; more than the pretty face!  Why had the girl paused in front of the window?  Why had she looked at him so intently, as though on the point of speech?  The smile and the flush left his face as these questions came to him and he wondered if he had failed to comprehend something which she had meant him to understand.  After all, might it not have been a case of mistaken identity?  For a moment she had believed that she recognized him—­then, seeing her mistake, had passed swiftly down the street.  Under ordinary circumstances Howland would have accepted this solution of the incident.  But to-night he was in an unusual mood, and it quickly occurred to him that even if his supposition were true it did not explain the pallor in the girl’s face and the strange entreaty which had glowed for an instant in her eyes.

Anyway it was none of his business, and he walked casually to the door.  At the end of the street, a quarter of a mile distant, a red light burned feebly over the front of a Chinese restaurant, and in a mechanical fashion his footsteps led him in that direction.

“I’ll drop in and have a cup of tea,” he assured himself, throwing away the stub of his cigar and filling his lungs with great breaths of the cold, dry air.  “Lord, but it’s a glorious night!  I wish Van Horn could see it.”

He stopped and turned his eyes again into the North.  Its myriad stars, white and unshivering, the elusive play of the mysterious lights hovering over the pole, and the black edge of the wilderness beyond the river were holding a greater and greater fascination for him.  Since morning, when he had looked on that wilderness for the first time in his life, new blood had entered into him, and he rejoiced that it was this wonderful world which was to hold for him success and fortune.  Never had he dreamed that the mere joy of living would appeal to him as it did now; that the act of breathing, of seeing, of looking on wonders in which his hands had taken no part in the making, would fill him with the indefinable pleasure which had suddenly become his experience.  He wondered, as he still stood gazing into the infinity of that

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Project Gutenberg
The Danger Trail from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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