Mother Grizzly heard the strange sound, which was unlike anything of which she knew the meaning, and cuffing the whining cubs into instant silence, she started cautiously up the barrier to see what was going on or what danger menaced. Her frequent attempts to get out of the hole had made an inclined trench, which came to the surface a few yards from the protruding tree roots, and when she reached the upper end and put her head above the crust she saw a man rushing down the mountain straight toward her with the speed of a falling stone.
The green glint came into the grizzly’s eyes, her teeth clashed together in quick, sharp strokes, like the chattering of a chilled bather, and she lunged forward and upward to meet the charge. If the man saw her at all, it was too late to swerve from his course or swing his staff forward for a weapon. His right ski passed under the bear’s foreleg and he flew headlong over her, hurtled through the air and crashed through the snow crust a dozen yards beyond her. One of the skis was broken and torn from his foot, and even if his leg had not been broken he would have been helpless where he fell.
[Illustration: She Lunged Forward to Meet the Charge.]
Mother Grizzly and the starving cubs broke their fast, and two or three days later they went away over the frozen snow to the foothills. The men who went out in search of the missing carrier, and followed his trail to the fallen pine, brought back the mail pouch and something in a grain sack. They told me what they found, but it was not a pleasing tale and it is best that it be not retold.
Boston’s big bear fight.
A small party of hunters sat by a campfire in a tamarack grove in the high Sierra. Their guide was William Larkin, Esq., alias “Old Bill,” a man who had lived in the mountains for forty years and learned many things worth telling about. A new Winchester rifle that was being cleaned was the immediate provocation of some reminiscent remarks on the subject of pump-guns.
“We old mossbacks are slow to see anything good in new contraptions,” said Mr. Larkin, after begging a Turkish cigarette from the Dude and lighting it with the Dude’s patent pocket lamp, “but I’m just beginning to get it socked home into my feeble old intellect that things ain’t naturally no account just because I never seen ’em afore. I stuck to it for a good many years that an old muzzle-loading rifle was the best shooting tool that ever was or ever could be made, but an old she-bear with one of my bullets through her lungs taught me different by clawing all the clothes and half the meat off my back. I’m learning’ slowly, and I ain’t too old to learn some more. If I live long enough I’ll know consid’able yit.