A groan went up at this, but the man with the bearskin coat approved. Twenty-four of the frozen eggs went rattling in his capacious pockets, and he didn’t care whether the rest of the town ate or not. Besides, he could see Rasmunsen was on his last legs.
“There’s a cabin right around the second corner from the Monte Carlo,” he told him—“the one with the sody-bottle window. It ain’t mine, but I’ve got charge of it. Rents for ten a day and cheap for the money. You move right in, and I’ll see you later. Don’t forget the sody-bottle window.”
“Tra-la-loo!” he called back a moment later. “I’m goin’ up the hill to eat eggs and dream of home.”
On his way to the cabin, Rasmunsen recollected he was hungry and bought a small supply of provisions at the N. A. T. & T. store—also a beefsteak at the butcher shop and dried salmon for the dogs. He found the cabin without difficulty, and left the dogs in the harness while he started the fire and got the coffee under way.
“A dollar ’n a half apiece—one thousand dozen—eighteen thousand dollars!” he kept muttering it to himself, over and over, as he went about his work.
As he flopped the steak into the frying-pan the door opened. He turned. It was the man with the bearskin coat. He seemed to come in with determination, as though bound on some explicit errand, but as he looked at Rasmunsen an expression of perplexity came into his face.
“I say—now I say—” he began, then halted.
Rasmunsen wondered if he wanted the rent.
“I say, damn it, you know, them eggs is bad.”
Rasmunsen staggered. He felt as though some one had struck him an astounding blow between the eyes. The walls of the cabin reeled and tilted up. He put out his hand to steady himself and rested it on the stove. The sharp pain and the smell of the burning flesh brought him back to himself.
“I see,” he said slowly, fumbling in his pocket for the sack. “You want your money back.”
“It ain’t the money,” the man said, “but hain’t you got any eggs—good?”
Rasmunsen shook his head. “You’d better take the money.”
But the man refused and backed away. “I’ll come back,” he said, “when you’ve taken stock, and get what’s comin’.”