Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/71

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55
BUYING THE OUTFITS.

face did not brighten up into anything like an encouraging look.

"No, Dobson, I can't take you," was his reply. "In the first place. Earl and Randy are all the companions I wish to take along, that is, and grub stake, as we term it in mining slang—pay their way, that means; and in the second place, it wouldn't be right. You are a minor and have run away from home, and, if anything, it is my duty to see that you go back. Besides this, you do not look strong, and, I believe, you have never done any real hard work, and that won't do for Alaska. Only those who know how to rough it stand any show whatever of getting along there. My advice to you is, to go back where you belong."

As may be surmised, this plain speech did not suit Fred Dobson at all, and he felt more than ill at ease for the remainder of the repast. As soon as he could do so gracefully he arose to go.

"I don't suppose I'll see you again for a long while," he said, as he held out his hand to Earl and to Randy. "Well, good luck to you, anyway."

Randy caught Earl by the arm and gave it a little pinch. "How are you off for cash, Fred?" he asked, in a low tone.

"Oh, I've got a little money with me," answered Fred, quietly, but did not add that the sum-total of his fortune amounted to exactly sixty-five cents.

"Perhaps we can help you a little," put in Earl,