FIREBRANDS AND JAGUARS.
“Wow! are they coming in on us?” shouted Andy, suddenly aroused by the sharp report of the repeating rifle.
He bounded to his feet, and from his manner of action it was plain to be seen that he remembered exactly the condition of affairs at the time of his taking passage for the Land of Dreams.
Frank had aimed straight between those glowing eyes at the time he fired. And as he was perfectly calm at the time, it stood to reason that his bullet went direct to the mark he meant it should.
He saw a yellow object threshing about under the dense growth, and realized that he had given the adventurous jaguar something that was apt to wind up his career as a terror to the monkey hosts of the forest.
But this was not all Frank saw. Another figure had appeared just ten paces farther along, and he realized that a second jaguar had crept out of the copse, evidently bent on charging the camp.
“There’s two more, Frank! Oh! my, it’s a dozen I guess!” whooped Andy, who had found a better opportunity to see in other quarters.
“Grab a firebrand, quick!” shouted Frank, trying to get a bead on the second slinking figure; and yet hesitating about firing, because of the great risk that must ensue should he only wound the fierce monster.
He saw out of the corner of his eye that Andy made a plunge toward the fire and was snatching a brand out in each hand.
“Wave them around your head, and shout like thunder!” he cried, at the same time starting in to do this latter himself.
Perhaps it was a comical thing in some respects. Andy often laughed over it afterwards; but just then it seemed serious enough. The way both of them let loose with their strong young voices would have made a football cheer captain turn green with envy. They fairly awoke the echoes slumbering in the depths of the forest.
And Andy waved those two torches like a good fellow, back and forth, in and out, weaving them as an expert Indian club athlete might do with his heavy weights, until the rushing flames roared again and again because of their rapid passage through the air.
“They’re licked already, Frank!” whooped Andy, as he daringly began to advance with his flaming beacons swinging around and around. “Look at the coward moving back, would you? Talk to me about your guns, they ain’t in it with these things, when it comes to scaring off a pack of wild beasts. Scat! you terror, or I’ll just swat you one alongside your jaw. Growl at me, will you? There, take that, hang you!”
To the astonishment of Frank, Andy, who had rushed straight at one of the retreating animals, suddenly hurled a blazing brand straight at the jaguar. In his palmy baseball days Andy had never amounted to a great deal as a pitcher; but all the same he made a beautiful throw right then and there.