Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > The Golden Dream > Chapter Twenty.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Chapter Twenty.
 Grizzly-Bear-Catching in the Mountains—Ned and Tom dine in the midst of Romantic Scenery, and hold Sagacious Converse—The Strange Devices of Woodpeckers.  
Just as day began to peep on the following morning, the camp was roused by one of the bear-catchers, a Mexican, who had been away to visit the bear-trap during the night, and now came rushing in among the sleepers, shouting—
“Hoor-roo! boy, him cotch, him cotch! big as twinty mans! fact!”
At first Ned thought the camp was attacked by savages, and he and Tom sprang to their feet and grasped their rifles, while they sought to rub their eyes open hastily. A glance at the other members of the camp, however, shewed that they were unnecessarily alarmed. Croft leisurely stretched his limbs, and then gathered himself slowly into a sitting posture, while the others arose with various degrees of reluctance.
“Bin long in?” inquired Croft.
“No, jist cotched,” answered the Mexican, who sat down, lit his pipe, and smoked violently, to relieve his impatient feelings.
“Big ’un?” inquired Croft, again.
To this the Mexican answered by rolling his eyes and exclaiming “Hoh!” with a degree of vigour that left his hearers to imagine anything they pleased, and then settle it in their minds that the thing so imagined was out of all sight short of the mark.
The excitement of the man at last fully roused the sleepy crew, and Croft sprang up with the agility of a cat.
“Ho! boys,” he cried, proceeding to buckle his garments round him, “up with you. Ketch the hosses, an’ put to. Look alive, will you? grease your jints, do. Now, strangers, I’ll shew you how we ketch a bar in this lo-cation; bring yer rules, for sometimes he breaks his trap, an’ isn’t there a spree jist!”
We need scarcely remark, that the latter part of this speech was made to Sinton and his comrade, who were drawing the charges of their revolvers and reloading.
“Is the trap far off?” inquired Ned.
“Quarter of an hour, or so. Look sharp, lads.”
This exhortation was unnecessary, for the men had already caught three stout horses, all of which were attached to an enormous waggon or van, whose broad wheels accounted for the tracks discovered in the valley on the previous evening.
“That’s his cage,” said the bear-catcher, replying to Ned’s look of inquiry. “It’s all lined with sheet-iron, and would hold an ontamed streak o’ lightnin’, it would. Now, then, drive ahead.”
The lumbering machine jolted slowly down the hill as he spoke, and while several of the party remained with the horses, Croft and our travellers, with the remainder, pushed on ahead. In less than twenty minutes, they came to a ravine filled with thick underwood, from the recesses of which came forth sounds of fierce ursine wrath that would have deterred most men from entering; but Croft knew his game was secure, and led the way confidently through the bushes, until he reached a spot on which stood what appeared to be a small log-cabin without door or window. Inside of this cabin an enormous grizzly-bear raged about furiously, thrusting his snout and claws through the interstices of the logs, and causing splinters to fly all round him, while he growled in tones of the deepest indignation.
“Oh! ain’t he a bit o’ thunder?” cried Croft, as he walked round the trap, gazing in with glittering eyes at every opening between the logs.
“How in the world did you get him in there?” asked Ned Sinton, as soon as his astonishment had abated sufficiently to loosen his tongue.
“Easy enough,” replied Croft. “If ye obsarve the top o’ the trap, ye’ll see the rope that suspended it from the limb o’ that oak. Inside there was a bit o’ beef, so fixed up, that when Mister Caleb laid hold of it, he pulled a sort o’ trigger, an’ down came the trap, shuttin’ him in slick, as ye see.”
At this moment the powerful animal struggled so violently that he tilted his prison on one side, and well-nigh overturned it.
“Look out, lads,” shouted Croft, darting towards a tree, and cocking his rifle,—actions in which he was imitated by all the rest of the party, with surprising agility.
“Don’t fire till it turns over,” he cried, sternly, on observing that two of the more timid members of his band were about to fire at the animal’s legs, which appeared below the edge of the trap. Fortunately, the bear ceased its efforts just at that critical moment, and the trap fell heavily back to its original position.
“By good luck!” shouted Croft; “an’ here comes the cage. Range up on the left, boys, and out with the hosses, they won’t stand this.”
The terrified animals were removed from the scene, trembling violently from head to foot, and the whole band, applying their shoulders to the wheels, slowly pushed the vehicle alongside of the trap until the sides of the two met.
There was a strong door in the side of the trap, which was now removed by being pulled inwards, revealing to bruin an aperture which corresponded to another door opening into the iron-lined cage. There were stout iron bars ready to be shot home the instant he condescended to pass through this entrance; but Caleb, as Croft called him, shewed himself sadly destitute of an inquiring disposition. He knew that there was now a hole in his prison-wall, for he looked at it; he knew that a hole either conducted into a place or out of it, for life-long experience had taught him that; yet he refused to avail himself of the opportunity, and continued to rage round the trap, glaring between the logs at his foes outside. It is unreasonable to suppose that he was afraid to go into the hole because it was a dark one, for he was well accustomed to such dark dens; besides, no one who looked at him could for a moment suppose that he was, or could be, afraid of anything at all. We must, therefore, put his conduct down to sheer obstinacy.
The men poked him with sticks; shouted at him; roared in his face; threw water over him; and even tried the effect of a shot of powder at his flank; but all to no purpose, although their efforts were continued vigorously for full two hours. The bear would not enter that hole on any account whatever.
“Try another shot of powder at him,” cried Croft, whose patience was now almost exhausted.
The shot was fired at his flank, and was received with a ferocious growl, while the strong wood-work of the trap trembled under his efforts to escape.
“Ain’t it vexin’?” said Croft, sitting down on the stump of a tree and wiping the perspiration from his forehead. Ned Sinton and Tom, who had done their utmost to assist their new acquaintance, sat down beside him and admitted that it was vexing. As if by one impulse, the whole party then sat down to rest, and at that moment, having, as it were, valiantly asserted his right of independent action, th............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved