The last pack, from Long Lake to Linderman, was three miles, and the trail, if trail it could be called, rose up over a thousand-foot hogback, dropped down a scramble of slippery rocks, and crossed a wide stretch of swamp.
He was the first to run out of Linderman, but, disdaining the portage, piled his loaded boat on the rocks in the boiling rapids. Rasmunsen and the Yankee, who likewise had two passengers, portaged across on their backs and then lined their empty boats down through the bad water to Bennett.
Why, therefore, they had made no effort to hire her men away from her, especially as men were almost unobtainable here at Linderman, was something that baffled her.
"No, and we're not going to get them." "Um!... Paid for 'em, didn't I? Got a receipt?" "What's Linderman doing in this?" Mr. Linderman leaned forward a little. "I'm in a legitimate business transaction something quite foreign to you gentlemen's notions of doing business. I came into it to make a profit, but mostly to teach you fellows a lesson in decent business methods. I don't like you.
When Jack Kearns' scow, laden with the sawmill from Lake Linderman, tied up at Sixty Mile, Daylight bundled his outfit and dogs on board, turned his town-site application over to Elijah to be filed, and the same day was landed at the mouth of Indian River.
A mile portage connected Lake Bennett and Lake Linderman, and his last words he flung back after him as he resumed the trot. It was a very painful trot, but he clenched his teeth and kept on, forgetting his pain most of the time in the fervent heat with which he regarded the gripsack. It was a severe handicap. He swung it from one hand to the other, and back again. He tucked it under his arm.
Freight, by Indian-back, over Chilcoot to Lake Linderman, had jumped from sixteen to thirty cents a pound, which latter was a rate of six hundred dollars a ton. And the sub-arctic winter gloomed near at hand. All knew it, and all knew that of the twenty thousand of them very few would get across the passes, leaving the rest to winter and wait for the late spring thaw.
His employer favoured him with a hard look, and sulked several minutes longer. Then he surrendered. "Get out my bag, Smoke," he ordered, "and lend a hand with that fire. We won't get off till the morning now." Next day the gale still blew. Lake Linderman was no more than a narrow mountain gorge filled with water.
Stayed up in the country a week to look after it while I was dickerin' down here.... Like to buy that farm?" There was no answer. "Calculate to take a hint from Mr. Linderman. That farm's mine, and you can't haul a log acrost it. My price is fifteen thousand. Bought it for two. Price goes up hunderd dollars a minute. Cash deal."
With this unpledged word to go on, Rasmunsen hit the back trail to Crater Lake, where he fell in with two press correspondents whose tangled baggage was strewn from Stone House, over across the Pass, and as far as Happy Camp. "Yes," he said with consequence. "I've a thousand dozen eggs at Linderman, and my boat's just about got the last seam caulked. Consider myself in luck to get it.