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Burning Daylight

Burning Daylight

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Published by: EyesTapedOpen on Jul 03, 2011
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07/03/2011

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Burning
Daylight
by Jack London
Language: English
 
 2
PART ICHAPTER IIt was a quiet night in the Shovel. At the bar, which rangedalong one side of the large chinked-log room, leaned half a dozenmen, two of whom were discussing the relative merits of spruce-tea and lime-juice as remedies for scurvy. They arguedwith an air of depression and with intervals of morose silence.The other men scarcely heeded them. In a row, against theopposite wall, were the gambling games. The crap-table wasdeserted. One lone man was playing at the faro-table. Theroulette-ball was not even spinning, and the gamekeeper stood bythe roaring, red-hot stove, talking with the young, dark-eyedwoman, comely of face and figure, who was known from Juneau toFort Yukon as the Virgin. Three men sat in at stud-poker, butthey played with small chips and without enthusiasm, while therewere no onlookers. On the floor of the dancing-room, whichopened out at the rear, three couples were waltzing drearily tothe strains of a violin and a piano.Circle City was not deserted, nor was money tight. The minerswere in from Moseyed Creek and the other diggings to the west,the summer washing had been good, and the men's pouches wereheavy with dust and nuggets. The Klondike had not yet beendiscovered, nor had the miners of the Yukon learned the
 
 3
possibilities of deep digging and wood-firing. No work was donein the winter, and they made a practice of hibernating in thelarge camps like Circle City during the long Arctic night. Timewas heavy on their hands, their pouches were well filled, and theonly social diversion to be found was in the saloons. Yet theShovel was practically deserted, and the Virgin, standing by thestove, yawned with uncovered mouth and said to Charley Bates:-"If something don't happen soon, I'm gin' to bed. What's thematter with the camp, anyway? Everybody dead?"Bates did not even trouble to reply, but went on moodily rollinga cigarette. Dan MacDonald, pioneer saloonman and gambler on theupper Yukon, owner and proprietor of the Tivoli and all itsgames, wandered forlornly across the great vacant space of floorand joined the two at the stove."Anybody dead?" the Virgin asked him."Looks like it," was the answer."Then it must be the whole camp," she said with an air of finality and with another yawn.MacDonald grinned and nodded, and opened his mouth to speak, whenthe front door swung wide and a man appeared in the light. A

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