Then, again, at Colonel Trethaway’s there was something to be found besides weak tea and small talk; and the correspondents, engineers, and gentlemen rovers kept the trail well packed in that direction, though it was the Kings, to a man, who first broke the way. So the Trethaway cabin became the centre of things, and, backed commercially, financially, and officially, it could not fail to succeed socially.
The only bad effect of all this was to make the lives of Mrs. Schoville and divers others of her sex more monotonous, and to cause them to lose faith in certain hoary and inconsequent maxims. Furthermore, Captain Alexander, as highest official, was a power in the land, and Jacob Welse was the Company, and there was a superstition extant concerning the unwisdom of being on indifferent terms with the Company. And the time was not long till probably a bare half-dozen remained in outer cold, and they were considered a warped lot, anyway.
Quite an exodus took place in Dawson in the spring. Men, because they had made stakes, and other men, because they had made none, bought up the available dogs and rushed out for Dyea over the last ice. Incidentally, it was discovered that Dave Harney possessed most of these dogs.
“Going out?” Jacob Welse asked him on a day when the meridian sun for the first time felt faintly warm to the naked skin.
“Well, I calkilate not. I’m clearin’ three dollars a pair on the moccasins I cornered, to say nothing but saw wood on the boots. Say, Welse, not that my nose is out of joint, but you jest cinched me everlastin’ on sugar, didn’t you?”
Jacob Welse smiled.
“And by the Jimcracky I’m squared! Got any rubber boots?”
“No; went out of stock early in the winter.” Dave snickered slowly. “And I’m the pertickler party that hocus-pocused ’em.”
“Not you. I gave special orders to the clerks. They weren’t sold in lots.”
“No more they wa’n’t. One man to the pair and one pair to the man, and a couple of hundred of them; but it was my dust they chucked into the scales an nobody else’s. Drink? Don’t mind. Easy! Put up your sack. Call it rebate, for I kin afford it. . . Goin’ out? Not this year, I guess. Wash-up’s comin’.”
A strike on Henderson the middle of April, which promised to be sensational, drew St. Vincent to Stewart River. And a little later, Jacob Welse, interested on Gallagher Gulch and with an eye riveted on the copper mines of White River, went up into the same district, and with him went Frona, for it was more vacation than business. In the mean time, Corliss and Bishop, who had been on trail for a month or more running over the Mayo and McQuestion Country, rounded up on the left fork of Henderson, where a block of claims waited to be surveyed.