“Then I’m glad we came here to get our taste of big-game shooting, for it will not only be fun for us, but a benefit to civilization,” remarked Bluff, who, being in training to succeed his lawyer father, often liked to indulge in imposing sentences.
“Now look over yonder to where that cleft yawns,” said Reddy at this juncture.
“I see it; and is that the den?” asked Jerry.
“Sure as you live. You fellows be choosing your trees, and let me take a peek.”
“He isn’t going in, I hope!” exclaimed Will as the cowboy moved away.
“Well, hardly. Reddy doesn’t want to commit suicide just yet. He’s only going to make sure the old chap is at home, then he’ll make preparations to smoke him out.”
As Mr. Mabie said, Reddy was soon back, and from his actions it was positive the bear was at home. He began collecting dry wood and all manner of material calculated to make a big smoke. The boys knew something about such a scheme themselves, and were deeply interested.
Mr. Mabie insisted that each one seek an asylum in the branches of a tree that commanded the black cleft. Presently, Reddy had his pile of wood and brush ready, and he put a match to it, after which he beat a hasty retreat, climbing into the tree with Frank.
“Listen!” he said presently.
Frank could hear a sound like sneezing. This was followed by a scrambling noise that arose above the crackling of the fire. Then came a terrific roar, succeeded by a sudden scattering of the brands, and the enraged grizzly rushed into the open!
A STRANGE DISCLOSURE
“Hello, there, Charlie! How’s your health?”
Reddy swung himself down from the limb on which he had been perched, and kicked out with his feet in such a way that he attracted the attention of the beast.
“He’s coming! Look out, Frank!” shouted Will, who, secure in his perch, had, of course, been manipulating his camera with burning zeal.
It was Bluff who had fired, but if he hit the great beast at all, the latter minded the wound no more than he would a flea bite.
Jerry also took a turn as the grizzly passed the tree in which he was hidden.
“I hit him!” he whooped as the grizzly gave a snap backward at his flank.
But the enticement offered by Reddy’s swinging form proved too much for the enraged animal. Doubtless he imagined that all his troubles came from that biped or monkey hanging up yonder, just within reach of his claws if he arose on his hind legs. Hence his eagerness to make the attempt.
“Pull up, quick!” exclaimed Frank as the grizzly rushed under the tree and immediately started to rear up.
The daring cowboy had held out until the very last second, meaning that nothing should balk his design of enticing the enemy under their refuge, where Frank could get in his work.