The Clinging Death

BeautySmithslippedthechainfromhisneckandsteppedback.

ForonceWhiteFangdidnotmakeanimmediateattack.Hestoodstill,earsprickedforward,alertandcurious,surveyingthestrangeanimalthatfacedhim.Hehadneverseensuchadogbefore.TimKeenanshovedthebull-dogforwardwithamuttered“Gotoit.”Theanimalwaddledtowardthecentreofthecircle,shortandsquatandungainly.HecametoastopandblinkedacrossatWhiteFang.

Therewerecriesfromthecrowdof,“Gotohim,Cherokee!Sick‘m,Cherokee!Eat‘mup!”

ButCherokeedidnotseemanxioustofight.Heturnedhisheadandblinkedatthemenwhoshouted,atthesametimewagginghisstumpofatailgood-naturedly.Hewasnotafraid,butmerelylazy.Besides,itdidnotseemtohimthatitwasintendedheshouldfightwiththedoghesawbeforehim.Hewasnotusedtofightingwiththatkindofdog,andhewaswaitingforthemtobringontherealdog.

TimKeenansteppedinandbentoverCherokee,fondlinghimonbothsidesoftheshoulderswithhandsthatrubbedagainstthegrainofthehairandthatmadeslight,pushing-forwardmovements.Theseweresomanysuggestions.Also,theireffectwasirritating,forCherokeebegantogrowl,verysoftly,deepdowninhisthroat.Therewasacorrespondenceinrhythmbetweenthegrowlsandthemovementsoftheman’shands.Thegrowlroseinthethroatwiththeculminationofeachforward-pushingmovement,andebbeddowntostartupafreshwiththebeginningofthenextmovement.Theendofeachmovementwastheaccentoftherhythm,themovementendingabruptlyandthegrowlingrisingwithajerk.

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