Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/101

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and anon the steamer would strike a miniature iceberg with a crash which was clearly heard by all on board.

After a few hours of gazing at the monotonous presentation of glaciers and snow-covered hills and mountains, the boys turned their attention to those on board. It was a motley collection of people. Most of the men were Americans, but there was also a fair sprinkling of Canadians, Germans, and half a dozen Indians. The latter were of the Chilkoot tribe, and interested Randy more than anything else. They were a round-faced, stalwart set of fellows, and several of them had bands of black painted across the upper parts of their faces.

"They paint the black around their eyes as a preventive of snow-blindness," explained Foster Portney. "As soon as either of you find your eyes hurting from the glare you had better put on a pair of the smoked goggles."

Dinner on the steamer was served under the rather scanty shelter on the upper deck. But fifteen could be accommodated at once, and as there were over sixty people on board, it took some time to satisfy them all. The fare was principally beef stew, bread, coffee, and rice pudding, but the cold air gave every one a good appetite, and the boys did full justice to all that was offered them.

At turning-in time there was more than one little row, for sleeping accommodations were limited. Berths were at a premium, and had been secured by