“But Fisher is quite different from Jack. There was never anything petty about him. Even his hatred had something impressive about it, for he fought to kill, and was never snarling and underhanded. You always knew where you stood with him. While Fisher is not at all dangerous, he has many undesirable traits that are difficult to overcome. He shirked all the way up from town. That may have been the fault of his training, or possibly he is naturally lazy; that is what I want to find out. At any rate nagging does not seem to worry him in the least.”
The Woman came out of the house pulling on her fur gloves. “What do you say,” she asked Allan, “to a spin over to Mary’s Igloo? Father Bernard has all sorts of native curios there that I should like to see, and the day is right for a drive.”
“Fine idea,” agreed the Big Man. “And Ben and I will follow with as many of Pete’s huskies as we think we can manage without being slated for the hospital. We might try the Yellow Peril in the lead.”
“In that case,” the Woman responded rather grimly, “you will probably be slated for the cemetery instead. Why don’t you get a couple of reindeer from the camp just below? They may not be so fast, but they are surely safe, and one feels so picturesque behind them, with all their gay felt collars and trappings.”
“Scotty” whistled for the dogs, but Fisher was not to be seen. He had gone back into the stable to doze on the hay, his favorite pastime. Again and again the whistle failed to gain any response. The other dogs had all stepped into place before the sled; when at last Fisher, reluctant in coming, meditated a moment, and then, in open rebellion, darted down the steep banks into the overflow of the Springs. The water, a strange freak of nature in the Arctic, was very warm, and deep enough so that he had to swim; and he felt that he had selected an ideal place for his Declaration of Independence.
But “Scotty,” shouting directions to have the other dogs unhitched, immediately started in pursuit of the rebel.
Fisher left the hard, well-beaten track, and struck out for some small willows and alders where the snow had drifted in feathery masses. He broke through the crust frequently, but knew that a man would have more difficulty still in making any headway. Finally Allan turned back to the house, and Fisher sat down to think over his little victory. He was tired and panting, but he felt he had scored a point; when to his amazement he saw the man coming toward him, and now on snow-shoes. He plunged forward, and relentlessly “Scotty” followed. Hour after hour the chase continued, until Fisher realized, at length, the futility of it all; and thoroughly exhausted, crouched shivering in the snow, waiting for the punishment that lay in the coils of the long black whip in the man’s hand.
When some little distance from him, Allan paused and called to Fisher.
The dog listened. There was something compelling in the tone, something he could not resist; and so in spite of the temptation to make one more wild dash for liberty, the dog crawled to “Scotty’s” feet in fear and trembling. And instead of the sting of the lash he had expected, a kindly touch fell upon him, and a friendly voice said, “It’s a good thing, old fellow, you decided to come to me of your own free will.