A Daughter of the Snows eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about A Daughter of the Snows.
inherited it, and through it all there ran an eternal equity.  To be honest was to be strong.  To sin was to weaken.  To bluff an honest man was to be dishonest.  To bluff a bluffer was to smite with the steel of justice.  The primitive strength was in the arm; the modern strength in the brain.  Though it had shifted ground, the struggle was the same old struggle.  As of old time, men still fought for the mastery of the earth and the delights thereof.  But the sword had given way to the ledger; the mail-clad baron to the soft-garbed industrial lord, and the centre of imperial political power to the seat of commercial exchanges.  The modern will had destroyed the ancient brute.  The stubborn earth yielded only to force.  Brain was greater than body.  The man with the brain could best conquer things primitive.

He did not have much education as education goes.  To the three R’s his mother taught him by camp-fire and candle-light, he had added a somewhat miscellaneous book-knowledge; but he was not burdened with what he had gathered.  Yet he read the facts of life understandingly, and the sobriety which comes of the soil was his, and the clear earth-vision.

And so it came about that Jacob Welse crossed over the Chilcoot in an early day, and disappeared into the vast unknown.  A year later he emerged at the Russian missions clustered about the mouth of the Yukon on Bering Sea.  He had journeyed down a river three thousand miles long, he had seen things, and dreamed a great dream.  But he held his tongue and went to work, and one day the defiant whistle of a crazy stern-wheel tub saluted the midnight sun on the dank river-stretch by Fort o’ Yukon.  It was a magnificent adventure.  How he achieved it only Jacob Welse can tell; but with the impossible to begin with, plus the impossible, he added steamer to steamer and heaped enterprise upon enterprise.  Along many a thousand miles of river and tributary he built trading-posts and warehouses.  He forced the white man’s axe into the hands of the aborigines, and in every village and between the villages rose the cords of four-foot firewood for his boilers.  On an island in Bering Sea, where the river and the ocean meet, he established a great distributing station, and on the North Pacific he put big ocean steamships; while in his offices in Seattle and San Francisco it took clerks by the score to keep the order and system of his business.

Men drifted into the land.  Hitherto famine had driven them out, but Jacob Welse was there now, and his grub-stores; so they wintered in the frost and groped in the frozen muck for gold.  He encouraged them, grub-staked them, carried them on the books of the company.  His steamers dragged them up the Koyokuk in the old days of Arctic City.  Wherever pay was struck he built a warehouse and a store.  The town followed.  He explored; he speculated; he developed.  Tireless, indomitable, with the steel-glitter in his dark eyes, he was everywhere

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A Daughter of the Snows from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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