Hal Winters jumped a ditch and coming up close to Ray put his hands into his pockets and laughed.
As the form of Hal Winters disappeared in the dusk that lay over the road that led to Winesburg, he turned and walked slowly back across the fields to where he had left his torn overcoat.
Hal's theory, which he practised on others, was that one must get hardened.
The hair hung down, limp and draggled, or matted with dried blood where Hal's club had bruised him.
Hal had traded off his revolver, so he took the axe and knocked Billee on the head as he lay in the traces, then cut the carcass out of the harness and dragged it to one side.
With the dogs falling, Mercedes weeping and riding, Hal swearing innocuously, and Charles's eyes wistfully watering, they staggered into John Thornton's camp at the mouth of White River.
"They told us up above that the bottom was dropping out of the trail and that the best thing for us to do was to lay over," Hal said in response to Thornton's warning to take no more chances on the rotten ice.
"That's because you're not a fool, I suppose," said Hal. "All the same, we'll go on to Dawson." He uncoiled his whip.
This was the first time Buck had failed, in itself a sufficient reason to drive Hal into a rage.
Hal was hurled backward, as though struck by a failing tree.
"It's my dog," Hal replied, wiping the blood from his mouth as he came back.
Suddenly, they saw its back end drop down, as into a rut, and the gee-pole, with Hal clinging to it, jerk into the air.