First Page Project Gutenberg Header Page 111 of 193 Next Page Last Page CHAPTER XXII - Michael, Brother of Jerry

And Michael came. Being a thoroughbred, despite that he knew he was beaten by this two-legged thing which was not warm human but was so alien and hard that he might as well attack the wall of a room with his teeth, or a tree-trunk, or a cliff of rock, Michael leapt bare-fanged for the throat. And all that he leapt against was training, formula. The experience was repeated. His throat was gripped, the thumbs shut off the blood from his brain, and darkness smote him. Had he been more than a normal thoroughbred dog, he would have continued to assail his impregnable enemy until he burst his heart or fell in a fit. But he was normal. Here was something unassailable, adamantine. As little might he win victory from it, as from the cement-paved sidewalk of a city. The thing was a devil, with the hardness and coldness, the wickedness and wisdom, of a devil. It was as bad as Steward was good. Both were two- legged. Both were gods. But this one was an evil god.

He did not reason all this, nor any of it. Yet, transmuted into human terms of thought and understanding, it adequately describes the fulness of his state of mind toward Del Mar. Had Michael been entangled in a fight with a warm god, he could have raged and battled blindly, inflicting and receiving hurt in the chaos of conflict, as such a god, being warm, would have likewise received and given hurt, being only a flesh-and-blood, living, breathing entity after all. But this two-legged god-devil did not rage blindly and was incapable of passional heat. He was like so much cunning, massive steel machinery, and he did what Michael could never dream he did--and, for that matter, which few humans do and which all animal trainers do: _he kept one thought ahead of Michael's thought all the time_, and therefore, was able to have ready one action always in anticipation of Michael's next action. This was the training he had received from Harris Collins, who, withal he was a sentimental and doting husband and father, was the arch-devil when it came to animals other than human ones, and who reigned in an animal hell which he had created and made lucrative.

* * * * *

Michael went ashore in Seattle all eagerness, straining at his leash until he choked and coughed and was coldly cursed by Del Mar. For Michael was mastered by his expectation that he would meet Steward, and he looked for him around the first corner, and around all corners with undiminished zeal. But amongst the multitudes of men there was no Steward. Instead, down in the basement of the New Washington Hotel, where electric lights burned always, under the care of the baggage porter, he was tied securely by the neck in the midst of Alpine ranges of trunks which were for ever being heaped up, sought over, taken down, carried away, or added to.

Three days of this dolorous existence he passed. The porters made friends with him and offered him prodigious quantities of cooked meats from the leavings of the dining-room. Michael was too disappointed and grief-stricken over Steward to overeat himself, while Del Mar, accompanied by the manager of the hotel, raised a great row with the porters for violating the feeding instructions. Next Page

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