"My watch, too, was an unfailing attraction: 'There's a man in it, 'It is Lubari; it is witch-craft, they would cry. He talks; he says, Teek, teek, teek, My nose they would compare to a spear; it struck them as so sharp and thin compared to the African production, and ofttimes one bolder than the rest would give my hair and my beard a sharp pull, imagining them to be wigs worn for ornament.
At the Rink Rapids two native huskies, Teek and Koona, were added; and the celerity with which Buck broke them in took away Francois's breath. "Nevaire such a dog as dat Buck!" he cried. "No, nevaire! Heem worth one t'ousan' dollair, by Gar! Eh? Wot you say, Perrault?" And Perrault nodded. He was ahead of the record then, and gaining day by day.
At the two sides of the mantel stood pedestals of Italian marble surmounted by urns of the most graceful and elegant proportions, and profusely ornamented with sculptured fruits and flowers. There was the old-fashioned square piano in its carven case, and cabinets from China or East India; also a lacquered Japanese screen, marble-topped tables of filigreed teek, brackets of inlaid ebony.
All was quiet the shaft appeared to be free a fresh corve or teek was procured a rope attached to the gin, to the shaft of which a party of men putting their shoulders worked it with the strength of horses. The corve descended with its adventurous crew down the shaft. The young woman with the little boy had been among those who had sought in vain for a husband and son.
Buck heard them go and raised his head to see, Pike was leading, Sol-leks was at the wheel, and between were Joe and Teek. They were limping and staggering. Mercedes was riding the loaded sled. Hal guided at the gee-pole, and Charles stumbled along in the rear. As Buck watched them, Thornton knelt beside him and with rough, kindly hands searched for broken bones.
And how strange the talk sounded! They seemed to speak all their u's as if they were e's, and their a's the same. Annas laughed when I said that "take up the mat" sounded in the South like "teek ep the met." It really did, to me. "I suppose," said Flora, "our words sound just as queer to these people." "O Flora, they can't!" I cried. Because we say the words right; and how can that sound queer?
Here she had not remained more than a minute or two, when, issuing from the cover of the thorns, and approaching her with something of a stage strut, our friend, Buck English, made his appearance. "Miss Joolia," he exclaimed, with what was intended for a polite bow, "I hope you will pardon me for this third liberty I teek in offering to spake to you.
It had long since passed into the stage where blows were required to rouse it. The whip flashed out, here and there, on its merciless errands. John Thornton compressed his lips. Sol-leks was the first to crawl to his feet. Teek followed. Joe came next, yelping with pain. Pike made painful efforts. Twice he fell over, when half up, and on the third attempt managed to rise. Buck made no effort.
These, added to the six of the original team, and Teek and Koona, the huskies obtained at the Rink Rapids on the record trip, brought the team up to fourteen. But the Outside dogs, though practically broken in since their landing, did not amount to much. Three were short-haired pointers, one was a Newfoundland, and the other two were mongrels of indeterminate breed.
On the next day Koona went, and but five of them remained: Joe, too far gone to be malignant; Pike, crippled and limping, only half conscious and not conscious enough longer to malinger; Sol-leks, the one-eyed, still faithful to the toil of trace and trail, and mournful in that he had so little strength with which to pull; Teek, who had not travelled so far that winter and who was now beaten more than the others because he was fresher; and Buck, still at the head of the team, but no longer enforcing discipline or striving to enforce it, blind with weakness half the time and keeping the trail by the loom of it and by the dim feel of his feet.