Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/92

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said, when he felt strong enough to talk. "I spent that four dollars you two gave me in buying provisions, crackers, cheese, and the like, but on the second day out the rats got at the crackers and cheese and ate nearly the whole of them. Then one of my bottles of water was smashed during that storm, and though it was as close as pepper down there I hadn't a mouthful to drink. I thought I was going to die just before they opened the hold and began to remove the cargo."

"But, Fred, what made you do it?" asked Earl, reproachfully. "It was the height of foolishness."

"I'm bound to go to the gold fields. Earl. You two are going there to make a fortune, and why can't I make a fortune, too?"

"Because you are not fit for life out there, that's why. You suffered a good deal in coming this far, but let me tell you that I expect to suffer a good deal more than that before the Klondike River is reached and we have endured the hardships of an Alaskan winter. Supposing you succeed in getting away up in Alaska and are taken sick, who is going to care for you, and how are you going to get back home? Now I don't want to preach, but my advice is, to go back to Basco at once."

"And that's my advice, too, Fred," broke in Randy. "I know you are as old as I am, but you know you never did such work as Earl and I are used to, and some of the experienced miners even laugh at us. If