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The Ferry Of Unfulfilment
by [?]

Miss Colby looked once shrewdly at him in the dim light on the ferry-boat. No; he did not have the perfidious smirk or the brazen swagger of the lady-killer. Sincerity and modesty shone through his boreal tan. It seemed to her that it might be good to hear a little of what he had to say.

“You may sit down,” she said, laying her hand over a yawn with ostentatious politness; “and–mind–don’t get fresh or I’ll call the steward.”

The Man from Nome sat by her side. He admired her greatly. He more than admired her. She had exactly the looks he had tried so long in vain to find in a woman. Could she ever come to like him? Well, that was to be seen. He must do all in his power to stake his claim, anyhow.

“My name’s Blayden,” said he–“Henry Blayden.”

“Are you real sure it ain’t Jones?” asked the girl, leaning toward him, with delicious, knowing raillery.

“I’m down from Nome,” he went on with anxious seriousness. “I scraped together a pretty good lot of dust up there, and brought it down with me.”

“Oh, say!” she rippled, pursuing persiflage with engaging lightness, “then you must be on the White Wings force. I thought I’d seen you somewhere.”

“You didn’t see me on the street to-day when I saw you.”

“I never look at fellows on the street.”

“Well, I looked at you; and I never looked at anything before that I thought was half as pretty.”

“Shall I keep the change?”

“Yes, I reckon so. I reckon you could keep anything I’ve got. I reckon I’m what you would call a rough man, but I could be awful good to anybody I liked. I’ve had a rough time of it up yonder, but I beat the game. Nearly 5,000 ounces of dust was what I cleaned um while I was there.”

“Goodness!” exclaimed Miss Colby, obligingly sympathetic. “It must be an awful dirty place, wherever it is.”

And then her eyes closed. The voice of the Man from Nome had a monotony in its very earnestness. Besides, what dull talk was this of brooms and sweeping and dust? She leaned her head back against the wall.

“Miss,” said the Man from Nome, with deeper earnestness and monotony, “I never saw anybody I liked as well as I do you. I know you can’t think that way of me right yet; but can’t you give me a chance? Won’t you let me know you, and see if I can’t make you like me?”

The head of the Girl from Sieber-Mason’s slid over gently and rested upon his shoulder. Sweet sleep had won her, and she was dreaming rapturously of the Wholesale Fish Dealers’ Assistants’ ball.

The gentleman from Nome kept his arms to himself. He did not suspect sleep, and yet he was too wise to attribute the movement to surrender. He was greatly and blissfully thrilled, but he ended by regarding the head upon his shoulder as an encouraging preliminary, merely advanced as a harbinger of his success, and not to be taken advantage of.

One small speck of alloy discounted the gold of his satisfaction. Had he spoken too freely of his wealth? He wanted to be liked for himself.

“I want to say, Miss,” he said, “that you can count on me. They know me in the Klondike from Juneau to Circle City and down the whole length of the Yukon. Many a night I’ve laid in the snow up there where I worked like a slave for three years, and wondered if I’d ever have anybody to like me. I didn’t want all that dust just myself. I thought I’d meet just the right one some tine, and I done it to-day. Money’s a mighty good thing to have, but to have the love of the one you like best is better still. If you was ever to marry a man, Miss, which would you rather he’d have?”


The word came sharply and loudly from Miss Colby’s lips, giving evidence that in her dreams she was now behind her counter in the great department store of Sieber-Mason.

Her head suddenly bobbed over sideways. She awok
e, sat straight, and rubbed her eyes. The Man from Nome was gone.

“Gee! I believe I’ve been asleep,” said Miss Colby “Wonder what became of the White Wings!”