“Oh, I think she’ll do; when you know Queen an’ like her she ain’t so bad; an’ besides not bein’ able t’ take any o’ the real racers don’t leave us much choice.”
“Do you—don’t you think you could use Baldy?” suggested Ben eagerly. “He’s no locomotive like McMillan, ner a flyin’ machine like them Tolman dogs an’ Irish an’ Rover; but you’ve no idea how powerful an’ willin’ he is till you’ve tried him. Just give him a show, George. I’m ’most sure he’d make good. Moose Jones allers said he would.”
There was a moment of serious consideration on the part of George, while Danny eyed Baldy critically, and remarked with discrimination, “Better take him; some o’ these common lookin’ dogs has the right stuff in ’em. If looks was everythin’ I guess you an’ me ‘ud be scrappin’ over Oolik Lomen or Margaret Winston, that new fox-hound Russ Downing just got from Kentucky. But you an’ me know too much t’ get took in by just good looks, George.”
“All right, Ben. I’ll take Baldy for the other wheel dog,” said George as he ran his hand over Baldy’s sturdy, muscular body. “He’ll be able to show somethin’ o’ what’s in him in this dash. Now we’d better see about Danny’s team.”
The Woman’s observation that she thought Jemima, being black, would make a more artistic wheel-mate for Queen from the standpoint of color harmony, than would white-faced sable Baldy, was silently ignored, as was merited.
And so, in defiance of Art, and in spite of her evident prejudice against him, Baldy made one of George Allan’s Racing Team.
Danny, after much discussion and deep thought, selected Judge for his leader, and Jimmie and Pete as wheelers. They were all steady and reliable, and made up a more dependable team than George’s uncertain combination of youthful Spot, fiery Queen, and untried Baldy.
Ben was elated that the latter had been accepted by such experts as being worthy a place in the coming event. And as he left the Kennel to rush home to tell his mother the great news, he pictured Baldy in his coming role of wheeler in so distinguished a company. “I’m mighty glad I give him up when I did,” he thought cheerfully. “Baldy is sure gettin’ his chanct now.”
The last two weeks before the Alaska Juvenile Race, as the Nome Kennel Club had announced it, were busy ones, not only for the boys who were to actually take part in it, but for all of their friends as well. For those who had not teams for the event had more than likely loaned a dog, a sled or a harness to one of the contestants, and consequently felt a deep personal interest in all incidents connected with the various entries.
To Ben Edwards the time was full of diversions, for every afternoon on his way home from school he stopped at the Kennel to curry and brush Baldy or help George and Danny in the care of the other dogs whose condition was of such moment now.