The Danger Trail

James Oliver Curwood
The Danger Trail, by James
Oliver Curwood

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Title: The Danger Trail
Author: James Oliver Curwood
Release Date: January 12, 2004 [eBook #10696]
Language: English
Character set encoding: US-ASCII
E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell, Charlie Kirschner, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team



* CHAPTER I. The Girl of the Snows
* CHAPTER II. Lips That Speak Not
* CHAPTER III. The Mysterious Attack
* CHAPTER IV. The Warning
* CHAPTER V. Howland's Midnight Visitor
* CHAPTER VI. The Love of a Man
* CHAPTER VII. The Blowing of the Coyote
* CHAPTER VIII. The Hour of Death
* CHAPTER IX. The Tryst
* CHAPTER X. A Race Into the North
* CHAPTER XI. The House of the Red Death
* CHAPTER XII. The Fight
* CHAPTER XIII. The Pursuit
* CHAPTER XIV. The Gleam of the Light
* CHAPTER XV. In the Bedroom Chamber

* CHAPTER XVI. Jean's Story

For perhaps the first time in his life Howland felt the spirit of romance,
of adventure, of sympathy for the picturesque and the unknown surging
through his veins. A billion stars glowed like yellow, passionless eyes
in the polar cold of the skies. Behind him, white in its sinuous twisting
through the snow-smothered wilderness, lay the icy Saskatchewan,
with a few scattered lights visible where Prince Albert, the last outpost
of civilization, came down to the river half a mile away.
But it was into the North that Howland looked. From the top of the
great ridge which he had climbed he gazed steadily into the white
gloom which reached for a thousand miles from where he stood to the
Arctic Sea. Faintly in the grim silence of the winter night there came to
his ears the soft hissing sound of the aurora borealis as it played in its
age-old song over the dome of the earth, and as he watched the cold
flashes shooting like pale arrows through the distant sky and listened to
its whispering music of unending loneliness and mystery, there came
on him a strange feeling that it was beckoning to him and calling to
him--telling him that up there very near to the end of the earth lay all
that he had dreamed of and hoped for since he had grown old enough to
begin the shaping of a destiny of his own.
He shivered as the cold nipped at his blood, and lighted a fresh cigar,
half-turning to shield himself from a wind that was growing out of the
east. As the match flared in the cup of his hands for an instant there
came from the black gloom of the balsam and spruce at his feet a
wailing, hungerful cry that brought a startled breath from his lips. It

was a cry such as Indian dogs make about the tepees of masters who
are newly dead. He had never heard such a cry before, and yet he knew
that it was a wolf's. It impressed him with an awe which was new to
him and he stood as motionless as the trees about him until, from out
the gray night-gloom to the west, there came an answering cry, and
then, from far to the north, still another.
"Sounds as though I'd better go back to town," he said to himself,
speaking aloud. "By George, but it's lonely!"
He descended the ridge, walked rapidly over the hard crust of the snow
across the Saskatchewan, and assured himself that he felt considerably
easier when the lights of Prince Albert gleamed a few hundred yards
ahead of him.
Jack Howland was a Chicago man, which means that he was a hustler,
and not overburdened with sentiment. For fifteen of his thirty-one years
he had been hustling. Since he could easily remember, he had
possessed to a large measure but one ambition and one hope. With a
persistence which had left him peculiarly a stranger to the more
frivolous and human sides of life he had worked toward the
achievement of this ambition, and to-night, because that achievement
was very near at hand, he was happy. He had never been happier. There
flashed across his mental vision a swiftly moving picture of the fight he
had made for success. It had been a magnificent fight. Without vanity
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