The two doors slammed at the same moment, and Weedon Scott waited for Matt to come around to the front. From inside the door came a low whining and sobbing. Then there were long, deep–drawn sniffs.
"You must take good care of him, Matt," Scott said, as they started down the hill. "Write and let me know how he gets along."
"Sure," the dog–musher answered. "But listen to that, will you!"
Both men stopped. White Fang was howling as dogs howl when their masters lie dead. He was voicing an utter woe, his cry bursting upward in great heart–breaking rushes, dying down into quavering misery, and bursting upward again with a rush upon rush of grief.
The Aurora was the first steamboat of the year for the Outside, and her decks were jammed with prosperous adventurers and broken gold seekers, all equally as mad to get to the Outside as they had been originally to get to the Inside. Near the gang–plank, Scott was shaking hands with Matt, who was preparing to go ashore. But Matt's hand went limp in the other's grasp as his gaze shot past and remained fixed on something behind him. Scott turned to see. Sitting on the deck several feet away and watching wistfully was White Fang.
The dog–musher swore softly, in awe–stricken accents. Scott could only look in wonder.
"Did you lock the front door?" Matt demanded. The other nodded, and asked, "How about the back?"
"You just bet I did," was the fervent reply.
White Fang flattened his ears ingratiatingly, but remained where he was, making no attempt to approach.