Out with Gun and Camera
Part 4 out of 4
"It would seem so."
The boys lost no time in dressing. As it was warm, Shep did not
miss his shirt very much, nor did Giant miss his sock. Having no
belt, Snap used a piece of stout cord instead.
"The loss of the gun is bad," said the doctor's son as they were
finishing their toilet. "For if that crazy fellow has it, it will
be so much harder to tackle him."
"That's true," answered Snap. "Maybe he'll shoot himself with
it---if he's so very crazy."
"Oh, we'll not hope that," murmured Giant.
They took the dead foxes and hung them high up in a tree, intending,
if possible, to come for them later and turn the meat over to the
captured lion. Then they pushed forward in the direction of the
rocky waterway that connected the two lakes.
"You'll have to lead," said Snap to the doctor's son. "You've
been here before."
"I'll lead as well as I can," was the answer. "But there is no
regular trail---that is, on the other side of the river."
The walking now became very rough, and the three young hunters had
to proceed slowly. At times they were in sight of the water, but
often their course led them inland for a hundred yards or more.
"These rocks are something fierce!" exclaimed Giant at length, after
slipping and sliding several times.
"You beware that you don't twist an ankle," cautioned Snap.
Presently they reached a spot where further progress seemed impossible.
Giant and Snap halted and looked at Shep.
Before them was a little hollow, filled with small stones, and
beyond were some shelving rocks with large cracks between. Over
the shelving rocks grew heavy masses of vines.
"Don't drag," urged the doctor's son. "It is getting late. The
sun will be down in another hour."
"I can't go any faster," panted Giant. All three advanced and
tried to climb the shelving rocks by holding on to the vines.
Some of these gave way, and the three boys fell back. Then from
under the rocks came a strange, hissing sound, followed by a curious
"What's that?" cried Snap.
"Snakes!" roared the doctor's son. "Back for your lives, fellows!
We have struck a den of rattlesnakes!"
MORE OF A MYSTERY
There was a wild scrambling on the part of all the young hunters
to get out of the zone of danger. They leaped for the rocks behind
them, and Shep and Snap succeeded in mounting to spots of comparative
safety. But Giant was not so successful, and, slipping and sliding,
He rolled over and over, coming to a stop when flat on his back.
"Get up! get up!" screamed the doctor's son. "Hurry up, Giant!"
Shep and Snap had caught sight of three rattlesnakes, that had
glided from between the shelving rocks ahead. They were all of
good size. One had been caught in the torn-away vines and was
hissing viciously, and the other two were sounding their rattles,
preparatory to striking at the smaller youth.
Giant did not remain upon his back long. The instant he landed
he started to turn over. He saw one of the snakes draw near and
make a strike at his sockless ankle. Giant let out a yell like
an Indian on the warpath, and, on all fours, made a leap like a
frog a distance of several feet. Then he stood upright and made
another leap for the rocks. As he came close, Snap caught him
by the arm and pulled him still higher.
The doctor's son was the only person capable, just then, of using
a gun, and having no weapon of his own he grabbed Snap's and blazed
away. Whether he hit a snake or not he could not tell. There was
a hissing and rustling among the torn away vines, and when the smoke
of the discharge cleared away the snakes were no longer to be seen.
"Ugh! what---a---a thing t---to happen!" said Giant with a shiver.
His emotion was so deep he could scarcely speak.
"Where are the snakes now?" asked Snap, and drew himself up on the
highest rock he could find.
"I don't know---hiding, I suppose," answered the doctor's son as he
peered around sharply for a sight of the reptiles.
The three boys waited for fully two minutes, not daring to make a
move. The vines lay where they had been cast, and between them lay
Giant's gun, which he had dropped when trying to leap to safety.
"I guess we had better get out of this locality," said Snap at
length. "I have no desire to be bitten by a rattlesnake!"
"Indeed not!" answered Giant. "But my gun---I don't want to leave
"Do you want to go down for it?"
"Not for a thousand dollars!" answered the small youth vehemently.
"Why, a rattlesnake bite is deadly poisonous!"
"I know that as well as you do, Giant."
"You might make a cast with your fishing-line," suggested the
Giant always carried several lines, and selecting one of these, he
made a loop and to it fastened a small sinker for a weight. Then
he made a cast for the gun and secured it.
Slowly and cautiously, and keeping on the highest rocks they could
find, the three young hunters commenced to retreat. They moved back
at least fifty yards, and then made a wide detour along the hill
skirting the watercourse. All this took time, and when they thought
themselves safe it was growing dark.
"This doesn't look as if we were going to get to the cabin very
fast," remarked Snap. "How much farther have we to go?"
"A good half mile," answered Shep.
"Then we might as well go on, even if it is night," put in Giant.
"Perhaps we can catch that crazy fellow asleep and make him a
prisoner. He ought to be arrested for stealing our things."
Presently the doctor's son came to a spot that looked familiar, and
a minute later he pointed to a notch cut in a tree.
"That is my blaze," he said. "I made it so as to remember where
the cabin was located. We'll be there in a few minutes more.
Better keep quiet."
The others understood, and after that they advanced without speaking,
unless it seemed necessary, and then only in a whisper. The sun had
gone down, and it was as quiet as it was lonely.
The doctor's son was in the lead, and presently he halted and pointed
ahead. There was the dilapidated cabin, just as it had been when
visited by Shep and Whopper.
"See anybody?" asked Giant in a low voice.
"Not a soul."
"Supposing we walk around the place first?" suggested Snap.
The others agreed to this, and they circled the lonely structure at
a distance of twenty yards. Nobody appeared, nor did they hear any
sound from within.
"I may be mistaken, but it looks deserted to me," said Snap.
"Well, we thought it was deserted, too, until that fellow shied
things at us," answered the doctor's son.
At last, growing a bit bolder, the three lads walked slowly up to
the cabin, Snap and Giant with their guns ready for use and the
doctor's son with a stout stick he had cut. Thus they reached
the doorway, which was wide open. Shep looked in, shielding his
head with one arm, for he did not know but what he might become
the target for anything the strange creature living there should
have in hand.
The place was pitch dark inside, and for the moment the doctor's
son could see nothing. But as his eyes grew accustomed to the
gloom he saw a broken table and an old bench, and several discarded
articles of culinary ware.
"Do yo---you se---see him?" whispered Giant. He was so agitated he
could scarcely frame the words.
Shep shook his head, and, growing still bolder, stepped into the
lonely cabin. With added caution his two chums followed. They
tiptoed their way through the two rooms and back again.
"He must have gone out," said Snap at last.
"Shall I make a light?" And as the others assented he struck
a match and lit the pocket lantern he had brought along.
The rays of the small light revealed a curious scene to them. In a
corner, where it had been hurled, lay Shep's gun. It had been
discharged and the buckshot had gone through one sleeve of the
shirt that had been stolen and which likewise lay in the corner.
There was some blood on the shirt, and bloodstains led across
the floor to the doorway and outside.
"Must have shot himself," was Snap's comment.
"Yes; and ran away after he did it," returned Giant.
"See anything of my watch?" asked Shep.
"No; and I don't see my belt or my camera, either," answered Snap.
"Or my sock," put in Giant.
The inner room of the cabin was littered up with a variety of things,
the wings of birds, feathers of chickens, shells of eggs, bones,
bits of tree branches, an old iron chain, a tiny square looking-glass,
badly cracked, some stale bread and cake, cores of apples and pears,
and a great mass of other trash.
"He's a regular pig," was Snap's comment.
"Wonder if he'll come back to-night?" was Giant's question.
"Perhaps, unless he was fatally wounded," answered Shep.
They made a thorough search for the missing watch, camera, and
other things, but without success. Shep would not touch the shirt,
and left it where it was. But he took the gun, and after examining
it proceeded to load up the empty barrel.
"We'll go into camp near here," said the doctor's son. "And keep
watch for the missing person, whoever he is."
They got supper and went into camp close to the rear of the cabin.
They took turns at watching throughout the entire night, but
nothing came to disturb them. Early in the morning they visited
the cabin again, but found nothing new to interest them. Coming
out, Giant started up two rabbits and quickly shot the game.
"Say, that will bring him back, if he's in this vicinity," cried
Snap. "Perhaps it would have been better-----"
He stopped speaking, for as he spoke they heard another gunshot
from the woods between them and the river. Then came a call that
sounded somewhat familiar.
AN OLD FRIEND APPEARS
"That can't be the wild man, can it?" queried Giant.
"No," answered the doctor's son. "I think I know that voice."
"I think it's Jed Sanborn," came from Snap.
They waited for a few minutes and then saw a familiar figure emerge
from the woods. It was their old hunting friend, and in his hand
he carried six partridges.
"Hello, there!" he cried on coming closer. "Thought you fellers
was a-goin' up to the Windy Mountains?"
"We've been up---have our camp there," answered the doctor's son.
"We came down here for a purpose."
"Everything all right at home?" asked Giant.
"Yes. We had a scare day before yesterday, though. Hicks' barn got
afire, an' folks thought the town might burn down, account o' the
wind. But the bucket brigade an' the engine got the fire out before
anything else caught."
"Are our folks all well?" asked Snap.
"Yes; an' hopin' you are the same, as they write in letters,"
and the old hunter grinned. "Had much luck shootin' and
"We are well satisfied," answered Shep. "Got quite some partridge
and rabbits and some deer, and a lion-----"
"Oh, sure! A lion! Suppose ye got an ellerphant, and
"We did get a lion," said Giant. "We've got him in a pit."
"See here, son, lions don't roam these woods, an' never did. You
are mistook in the beast."
"It's the circus lion, Jed; the one that got away at Railings,"
"Oh! Do ye really mean it?" And now Jed Sanborn was tremendously
"Yes. We saw him on the mountain side and found a big pit and
made a trap of it with some wildcat meat, and we caught him."
"Is he alive an' well?"
"Glory to Washington! Do you know them circus folks has offered a
reward o' three hundred dollars fer that lion if caught alive?"
"Then the money is ours!" cried Shep. "Hurrah, boys, that suits
me down to the ground!"
"Are you sure about the reward?" asked Snap.
"O' course---I read the poster in the post-office. They'll give
three hundred dollars fer the lion an' five hundred fer the eddicated
chim---what-you-call-him. You know."
"The educated chimpanzee," said Shep.
"That's it. It looks as if that chimpanzee was wuth a lot to them.
He was a whole show in hisself."
"Well, we've got the lion right enough," said Snap. "We don't know
anything about the monkey."
They told the old hunter about many of their doings, and related
the story of the missing watch, camera, and other things.
"Why, I didn't know anybody lived in this cabin," said Jed Sanborn.
"It's been empty ever since old Sturgis died---about twelve years
ago. He had some awful disease---like smallpox---and folks got
scared to come here."
"Gracious! You don't suppose we'll get any disease?" cried Giant
"Not from him, son---it's too long ago. Why, say, I was at this
cabin less than a month ago---stopped here overnight account o'
Wasn't nobuddy here then. It can't be Peter Peterson, can it?"
"No; it didn't look like Peterson," answered the doctor's son.
"Besides, Peterson isn't so plumb crazy as this chap."
"I'll take a look around," answered Jed Sanborn.
He made the same investigation as had the boys. Then he got down
on his hands and knees and examined the soft ground in and around
"Say, did ye see anything o' a dog around here?" he asked.
"Yes," answered Giant. "That is, the circus boy we told you about
has his dog with him---a collie."
"Here's a trail looks something like a dog's, but not much. Plenty
o' other footmarks---but I reckon you made those."
What to do next the boys did not know. There was no telling what
had become of the strange occupant of the lonely cabin, or when
he would return.
"We'd like to let those circus folks know about the lion," said the
doctor's son. "I suppose one of us will have to go back to town to
send them word."
"I am going back to town to-morrow," answered the old hunter. "I
can take word, if ye want me to."
"That will do first-rate," answered Shep. "We can send word where
some of the men can meet us---and in the meantime we can watch the
lion, so that he doesn't get away, and doesn't die of hunger and
"Wild beasts can live a long time without food and drink," said
Jed Sanborn. "But the gittin' away is another story. Better
watch him putty closely."
After a good deal of talking the boys decided to return to their
camp. It was arranged that the old hunter should depart for town
at once, find out where the circus was, and inform the proprietor
that the lion was found. Then, when a circus representative appeared,
Sanborn was to meet him, arrange to cage the lion, and meet the boys
at their camp, the location of which they described in such a
manner that it could not be missed. Sanborn said the circus
manager had found out that the three discharged employees were
guilty of letting the animals escape, and the men were now in jail.
"Tell our folks that we are well and having a grand time," said
Snap, and Sanborn promised to do so.
After a hearty dinner, at which the old hunter ate his fill of
the things cooked by Giant, the boys and the old hunter separated,
and Shep and his chums struck out for the camp. It was still warm,
so the doctor's son did not mind the loss of his shirt. He had
more at the camp, so the loss did not matter much.
"I am glad we saw Jed," said Shep as they trudged along. "That will
save us the trip to town. I hope he gets the circus folks here soon."
"Tommy won't want to see them," said Giant. "He told me he never
wanted to see the inside of a circus tent again."
"And I don't blame him," returned Snap. "Well, he can easily keep
out of the way, and we needn't say anything about him."
"Wonder what he'll do after we go home?"
"I've got an idea," came from the doctor's son. "Let us take him
with us and do what we can to find his sister. If we can't find
her, let us see if we can't find a home for him and put him to
school. He ought to get an education."
"I'm willing to do what I can," said Snap readily. His eyes brightened.
"We might spend some of that reward for the lion on Tommy. I'd be
willing to put in my share."
"So would I," answered Shep.
In the middle of the afternoon they reached a beauwul spot in the
mountains, where a rocky stream formed a series of waterfalls. This
locality had been mentioned by Dr. Reed, and they spent some time
getting different pictures of it, Snap assisting the others, since
he had no camera of his own.
"I hope I get that camera back," he said.
"We all hope that," returned Giant. "The wild man can keep my
sock---I shouldn't want to touch it after he had it."
The water at the foot of the falls looked good for fishing, and
Giant pleaded for permission to fish for a quarter of an hour or
so. This was granted, and he promptly baited up and threw in.
As a consequence he soon caught a beautiful brook trout, and
several more followed.
"Wait; I'll take a snapshot of hauling in the next fish," said the
doctor's son, and he succeeded in getting a view that later on
turned out exceedingly well.
Not having anything else to do, Snap wandered down the brook for
a distance of a hundred yards. He was on the point of turning
back when he saw something at a distance, moving among the brushwood.
He looked sharply for a moment and then discovered that it was
a large black bear.
AFTER A BLACK BEAR
"Shep! Giant! Quick!"
"What's the matter, Snap?"
"A bear! Down the stream! Come on with the guns!" went on Snap
excitedly. He had returned hot-footed to where he had left his chums
and the firearms.
"Are you sure?" queried the doctor's son as he dropped his camera and
grabbed up his shotgun.
"Dead certain---but I don't know how long he will stay there. Oh,
if I had only had my gun with me!" groaned Snap. "I could have
brought him down as easy as pie!"
"Aren't you going to take your camera?" asked Giant as he drew in his
line and took both his photo outfit and his firearm.
"Yes, I forgot," said the doctor's son, and picked up his camera
again. "Don't shoot till we get a snapshot," he said to Snap, who,
gun in hand, was already off.
"All right; but we don't want to lose the bear," answered the other
"Of course not!"
With Snap in the lead, the three boys sneaked swiftly but silently
down the mountain brook until they came to the spot from which Snap
had discovered the bear. Here they halted, and the others looked
enquiringly at their leader.
"I saw him right over yonder," whispered Snap. "Go slow, now, or
you'll scare him."
With bated breath the three young hunters advanced down the tiny
stream. They gained the shelter of some dense brushwood and gazed
around eagerly. Not a sign of a bear was to be seen anywhere.
"Maybe you were dreaming, Snap," murmured Giant.
"No, I wasn't---I saw him just as plain as day."
"Then he must have seen you running back to the pool, and he must
have took out, too."
"Perhaps; but I was very careful to keep out of sight."
They advanced a little farther, and now saw ahead of them a slight
hollow, where there was another waterfall, sheltered on either side
by sharp rocks.
"There he is!" whispered the doctor's son excitedly, and pointed
down to the pool at the foot of the falls. The black bear was
there, getting a drink.
"We can't take a picture from here," said Giant disappointedly. "What
shall we do---fire?"
"Oh, we ought to have a picture of him," pleaded Shep. "It would
be just the thing for our collection."
"Let me suggest something," said Snap. "I haven't any camera, so
I'll stay here. You two can make a half circle and come up below
and kind of head the bear off. If he starts to run before you get
ready I'll fire at him."
So it was agreed, and Shep and Giant hurried off without delay,
making a wide detour through the woods and over the rocks. They
could not help making a little noise, but this was, as they rightfully
reasoned, drowned out by the falling of the waters.
In the meantime Snap kept careful watch of the bear. The animal took
his time drinking, raising his head several times to look around him.
But he did not turn his gaze upward, and consequently did not
discover the young hunter, who stood with weapon aimed, ready to fire
at a moment's warning.
Fully five minutes passed, and then the bear stretched himself and
commenced to sniff the air. Then, of a sudden, he arose on his hind
legs to get a better look at his surroundings.
"This is the time they ought to get their pictures," thought Snap.
An instant later he saw something fluttering in the bushes below
the pool. Shep and Giant were there and had their cameras in
action. The bear continued to stand upright, but presently he
dropped on all fours and began to lumber away from the brook at a
good rate of speed.
To have waited longer would have been foolish, and taking careful
aim, Snap fired his shotgun twice. Scarcely had the two reports rung
out than Giant also fired, followed, a few seconds later, by the
The aims of all three of the young hunters were true, and the bear
received such a peppering of buckshot that he was seriously if not
mortally wounded. He dropped down, dragged himself up again, and
roared with rage and pain.
"Give him another!" yelled Snap as he started to reload.
Giant was the first to run into the opening, and as the bear saw
the youth he snarled viciously and showed his teeth. He tried to
rush at the boy, but Giant discharged the second barrel of his
shotgun and the charge took the bear in the head. Then the doctor's
son fired again, and hit the animal in the side. This was too
much for bruin, and with a rocking motion he staggered forward a
few steps and then pitched on his head, dead.
"We've got him! We've got him!" yelled the small youth, dancing
around wildly and flinging his cap into the air. "Isn't this the
"Did you get the pictures?" questioned Snap, leaping down the rocks
to where the game lay.
"We sure did," answered the doctor's son. "And I've got one of you
aiming your gun right at the bear. I tilted the camera up a little
to get it."
"What a fine bear!" cried Giant.
"We never got a better," answered Snap. "Oh, this is certainly prime
"We'll have to take some more pictures---of our game," said Shep,
and without delay they took several plates and films---the two
cameras being of each kind. All the boys were in the pictures, and
of these photographs they were justly proud.
"Now, the question is, what are we going to do with the bear?"
said Snap. "We can't drag such a load to our camp."
"We'll have to skin the animal and take what meat we want," answered
the doctor's son. "It's too bad to leave so much behind, but it
can't be helped. It won't keep in this weather, anyway."
"If only Jed Sanborn was here---he might take some of it home."
"I'll tell you what we can do," said Giant. "Try to drag the
carcass---or a big part of it---up to the lion's pit. It will
help to feed that beast until the circus folks come."
"That's an idea," said Shep. "And if we keep the lion well fed he
won't try so hard to get away. Menagerie animals are always lazy
when well fed---one of the keepers told me that. They only get
restless when they are hungry."
It took the boys some time to skin the dead bear and cut away such
meat as they thought they could tote along. The rest of the meat
they hung in a tree, thinking they might possibly come back for it
later. Then they started once more for camp.
"I hope the Spink crowd hasn't been bothering Whopper and Tommy
since we have been away," said Snap. "If they have-----"
"Don't borrow trouble," interrupted the doctor's son. "Wait till
With their heavy loads, they made slow progress through the woods,
and they were glad when they reached the lion pit and could dispose
of some of the bear meat. The lion greeted them with a roar, but
that was all. He had not yet eaten the second wildcat; nevertheless,
they threw to him a chunk of the bear meat, the fresh blood of which
was very much to his satisfaction.
It was late when they reached camp, thoroughly tired out. Whopper
and Tommy were glad to see them, and immediately bustled about
to get them a good supper. Those left behind listened with interest
to the tale the others had to tell. When Shep told about the tracks
around the lonely cabin, tracks that had caused Jed Sanborn to ask
if they had seen a dog, Tommy looked greatly interested.
"Say!" he cried. "Do you suppose-----" And then he stopped short.
"Do we suppose what?" queried Shep.
"Oh, I suppose it couldn't be, but I was just thinking. Maybe that
isn't a crazy man at all."
"Well, what do you think it can be?" asked Giant.
"Maybe it's Abe, the runaway chimpanzee."
THE BOTTOM OF A MYSTERY
All the others listened to Tommy's words with interest. Then Whopper
spoke of the face he had seen as looking particularly impish.
"It was pretty dark, so we couldn't see very well," said he. "It
might have been the chimpanzee."
"Would that chimpanzee steal a watch, and a camera, and a gun?"
demanded the doctor's son.
"He'll take whatever happens to interest him," answered the boy from
the circus. "They are constantly trying to teach him new tricks.
If you'll remember, one of his tricks is to fire a gun into the air.
And another is to look at a watch and pretend to tell the time."
"That's so!" cried Snap. "I saw him do both at the show."
"Would he untie our boat?" asked Giant.
"If it is the chimpanzee we'll have a hard job of it catching him,"
said Shep slowly. "He won't stay at the cabin, but roam from place
to place---and there is no telling what he'll do with our things."
"Don't forget the reward that has been offered," said Giant. "If
we can find the chimpanzee we can get that as well as the reward
for the lion."
Whopper and Tommy had not been bothered by the Spink crowd, and
were of the opinion that the latter had shifted their camp to a
new locality, closer to the lake.
"Well, let them keep their distance, that's all I ask," said the
The next day Snap, Shep and Giant rested, while Whopper and Tommy
went on a short hunt, bringing in some partridges and several
squirrels. The boys took a few pictures, Snap using an extra
camera that had been brought along. They now had a fine collection,
of which they were exceedingly proud.
Sunday passed, and still they heard nothing from Jed Sanborn. The
boys went hunting several times and brought in a variety of small
game. They made a trip to the mountain-top and got several more
photographs of value. Films and plates were carefully stored away
in water-and-light-tight cases.
"I am sure my father will be greatly pleased when he sees what we
have accomplished," said Shep. "I don't believe he thought we
could do so well."
On Tuesday morning, just after breakfast, the young hunters heard
somebody coming through the woods toward them. Wags set up a
"Maybe it's Sanborn with the circus folks," said Whopper.
"Oh, what shall I do?" asked Tommy in alarm. "I don't want them
to see me."
"It's the Spink crowd!" cried Giant. "Say, something must be wrong!
Look how excited they are!"
"We ought to shoot 'em---that's what we ought to do!" they heard
Carl Dudder say loudly.
"We'll make 'em pay for the things, that's what we'll make 'em do,"
answered Ham Spink.
"Call off your dog, you rascals!" sang out Dick Bush, for Wags had
walked toward him, barking angrily.
"Come here, Wags!" cried Tommy, and the collie obeyed instantly. But
he evidently knew that the newcomers were enemies, for he continued
to eye them suspiciously.
"Think you're smart, don't you?" roared Ham Spink, striding into
the camp and facing Shep and Snap. "Well, I want you to know that
you have gone too far. You've got to pay damages, or we'll have
you all locked up."
"You've got to pay for my new suit of clothes," said Ike Akley.
"It is utterly ruined."
"And my sweater," said Dick Bush.
"And I want to know where my shoes are?" put in Carl Dudder. "And
my briar-root pipe and tobacco."
"Yes, and my silver matchcase, and a whole lot of other things,"
said Ham Spink.
"Yes; and what right had you to make a roughhouse of our camp?"
demanded another boy.
"All of our stores are ruined," put in still another.
"It was mean to scatter that coffee in the mud!"
"And the sugar and beans!"
"Yes; and put the salt in the flour!"
So the talk ran on, the newcomers getting more and more excited
every moment. They had their guns with them, and looked as if they
meant to do serious harm to our friends.
"See here, what are you talking about?" asked the doctor's son at
last. "I can't make head or tail of it." He realized that
something unusual had occurred.
This brought forth another volley of accusations from the Spink
crowd. Their camp had been "rough-housed" to the last degree, and
many things had been utterly ruined, while other articles were
missing. They were sure that Shep and his chums were guilty of
"You are all wrong," cried Snap. "We haven't been near your camp."
"That's the truth," added Shep.
"I don't believe it," cried Carl Dudder.
"But it is true---every word of it," came from Giant, and Whopper
and Tommy said the same.
"You've been there---and you have our things," said Ike Akley
"If you want to do so, you can search this camp," said Shep.
"But don't you harm any of our goods."
"Do you mean to say you didn't come to our camp last night?" demanded
"I certainly do say it," answered the doctor's son. "All we did was
to hide that boat, and we did that because we knew you wanted to
"Huh! How did you know that?"
"Because we heard you talking about it, on the way to the lake."
"Well, if you didn't come to our camp last night, who did?" asked
Dick Bush. He was commencing to realize that a mistake had been
"Don't ask me," answered Snap. "But, honor bright, we weren't near
your camp, Dick."
"Maybe it was the chimpanzee!" cried Tommy.
"Eh?" queried Ham.
In a few brief words the Spink crowd were told of what had happened
at the cabin, at the cliff, and at the lake shore. No mention
was made of the capture of the lion.
"We think it was the chimpanzee," said Snap. "But we may be
mistaken---it may be a crazy man."
More talk followed, and in the end Snap and his chums agreed to visit
the wrecked camp and take a look around. They left Tommy in charge
of their own camp and warned him to keep strict guard.
It was a walk of half a mile, and the boys covered it in less than
half an hour. Snap was in advance, with Ham by his side. Ham still
thought our friends guilty of what had occurred.
"Here's our camp---or what's left of it," said Ham as they came to
the clearing. "Now, if you-----"
He stopped short and gazed ahead, with eyes bulging from his head.
Snap gave a yell.
"Boys, here he is! The chimpanzee, and he's having a high old time!"
All of the others rushed forward, and saw a sight that filled some
with rage and others with laughter. Sure enough, Abe, the educated
chimpanzee, was there, and was evidently having the time of his
life. He had on a highly-colored dress shirt, a cap and one shoe,
and was amusing himself by tearing a hunting suit belonging to Ham
"The chimpanzee, sure enough!"
"Look what he is doing!"
"Shoot him! Shoot the rascal!"
So the cries rang out. The chimpanzee looked up in alarm. Then, as
several guns were raised, he leaped out of sight behind some bushes
and went off, chattering wildly as he disappeared.
GOOD-BY TO THE BOY HUNTERS
"I'll kill that monkey!" roared Ham as he ran into the camp and
picked up his ruined clothing. "Look at this!"
"And this!" added Carl Dudder, snatching up the remains of his
"It was the chimpanzee, sure enough," said Dick Bush.
"Come on after him!" exclaimed Shep. "Remember the reward," he
whispered to his chums.
All presently made off after the chimpanzee. They kept in a bunch
at first, but gradually separated, the Spink crowd going one way
and Snap and his chums in another.
"I'm glad we caught sight of him as we did," said Whopper. "Now
those fellows know we were not guilty of the rough-housing."
"It certainly was rough," was Giant's comment. "Three-quarters of
their things are ruined."
"Perhaps they can hold the circus proprietor responsible," said the
They moved forward for nearly a quarter of a mile, and were on
the point of giving up the search and returning to camp when Giant
caught sight of a small, cave-like opening on the mountain side.
"Let's look in there," he said. "See, there is a vest on the
ground in front of it!"
"Be careful---the chimpanzee may be dangerous!" warned Snap.
They hurried forward, with eyes and ears on the alert. Giant
looked into the opening.
"No monkey here," he announced. "But he has been here. Look!"
And much to Snap's delight he held up the missing camera. Then
he ran into the cave and came forth with Shep's watch, and a number
of trinkets taken from the Spink camp.
"He must have come here after he left the old cabin," said Snap.
"See, there is some food. He must have gotten that last night, when
he raided Spink's place."
They took with them all the things to be found, and then made
another search for the chimpanzee. But they could not locate the
marauding creature, and so turned their steps toward their camp.
"Well, we've got a few of those others fellows' things for them,"
said Whopper. "We can return them after dinner."
"The camera is O.K.," said Snap, after an examination.
"And so is the watch," came from the doctor's son.
"And to think it was only a chimpanzee, after all!" cried Giant.
"'Only' is good!" exclaimed Shep. "He's had enough for anybody,
As they came closer to their camp they heard Tommy talking in a
loud voice to somebody. Wags was barking gaily.
"Now you sit still and behave yourself," the circus boy was saying.
"Then you'll get a fine lump of sugar."
"Talking to the dog, I suppose," said Whopper. "He thinks Wags-----No,
he isn't, either. Well, I never! If this doesn't beat anything
I ever saw!"
All came into the clearing and gazed in amazement at the sight
presented. Chained to a tree was Abe, the chimpanzee, smiling and
chattering, and in front of him were Tommy and the dog, the former
with some sugar in his hand.
"Hullo!" cried Snap. "Did you catch him?"
"I certainly did!" answered the circus boy. "But I had the time
of my life doing it. He ran up a tree, and he wouldn't come down
until I offered him a handful of those nuts I found yesterday. They
were too much of a temptation, and while I fed him nuts with one
hand I took the kettle chain and tied him up as you see."
"Good for you!" said Whopper. "He must have known you, or I guess
he would have run away."
"Yes, he started to run away, but I whistled like his keeper used
to whistle, and that made him sit still."
"You want to make sure of that chain," said the doctor's son. "I see
he has Snap's belt on," he added with a grin.
"I'll tie him with a rope," answered Tommy, and later the chimpanzee
was firmly secured, so that escape was out of the question. As
the young hunters fed him well, he seemed quite content.
"Tommy, this is an important capture for you," said Shep. "It's
money in your pocket. The circus proprietor has offered five
hundred dollars reward for the capture of this chimpanzee."
"Five hundred dollars!" gasped the little fellow. "But they won't
pay it to me!" he added, as his face fell.
"We'll make them pay---if they want the animal," answered Snap.
"But I don't want them to see me," insisted Tommy.
"See here, Tommy, you leave this matter to us," said the doctor's
son. "I don't think they can compel you to go with the circus.
We'll take you to Fairview, and you can remain with us until we
hear from your sister."
"All right; but if they take me I'll run away again," answered
A little later the Spink crowd came into camp and were astonished
to learn of the capture of the chimpanzee. They were glad to get
back the things that had been found, but declared that so many
other articles had been ruined they would have to give up their
"Let's be generous to them," whispered Shep to his chums. "I
don't think we want to stay after the circus people come for the
lion and the chimpanzee." And after some talking the young hunters
offered the Spink crowd part of their food supplies and a few other
things. This surprised Ham, Carl and the rest. They accepted the
offer on the spot, and a better feeling prevailed between the boys
than had for many months.
"It's very nice of you to do this," said Dick Bush. "I shan't
"I'm sorry I accused you of ruining the camp," came from Ham.
"So am I," added Carl. "But---well, you know how it was."
"We'll let bygones be bygones," said the doctor's son. "It's
better to be friends than enemies."
"I---I suppose so," said Ham humbly, and then he and his cronies
took their departure.
The young hunters watched out for the reappearance of Jed Sanborn,
Snap and Shep going to Firefly Lake for that purpose. Two days
later they saw the old hunter coming to the shore with a big
flat-bottomed boat, containing four men. The men were from the
circus and said they had come for the captured lion.
"We want to make sure of that reward," said the doctor's son.
"All right, young man, turn the lion over to us and the money
is yours," said one of the men. "But we'll want a receipt from
all the boys who captured the beast."
"You'll get that," said Snap. "You offered a reward for the
chimpanzee, too, didn't you?"
"Certainly; five hundred dollars."
"Well, we've got him, too."
"You have? How did you do it?" asked the man, and very briefly Snap
related the tale, but did not give Tommy's name.
"That boy is in luck, for the half thousand is his," said the
circus man. "Glad you got Abe," he added. "He is a great drawing-card
and worth a dozen lions to us."
A visit was made to the lion pit, and after a good deal of trouble
the lion was brought to the surface of the ground and chained
and muzzled. One of the men knew the beast well and had little
trouble in walking the lion to the lake shore, where he was chained
to a tree, and left in charge of one of the party.
The circus men were vastly surprised when they learned that it was
Tommy who had captured the chimpanzee. At first they did not think
they ought to pay the lad the reward, but Shep told them they could
not have Abe unless they did so.
"A bargain is a bargain," said the doctor's son. "You'll not
touch the chimpanzee unless you pay up."
The matter was argued hotly, but in the end the circus men gave
in, and two checks were made out, both payable to Dr. Reed, and
the boys signed the receipts. Then the circus men took the chimpanzee,
and walked down to the lake shore.
"Guess you don't want Tommy any more," cried Shep after them.
"No; we've got another kid to take his place," answered one of
"They'll have their hands full getting that lion and the chimpanzee
to town," said Snap, and he was right. But the work was accomplished
by the next day, and the pair were shipped on to the circus by train.
The young hunters remained in camp forty-eight hours longer, and
then packed up and moved down to Firefly Lake. Just previous to
going they let the Spink crowd have some more of their things,
for which the other lads were extremely grateful.
"Guess we better be friends after this," said Ham Spink. "It doesn't
pay to be on the outs."
"It doesn't," answered Shep readily.
On the return to Fairview the boy hunters camped out three nights,
and shot a variety of small game and also a deer. They took the
latter home and also the skin of the bear, which was afterward cured
and is now on the floor of the Dodge parlor."
"You have done exceedingly well," said Dr. Reed, when he had heard
their story and gone over their films and plates and pictures.
"These will make a grand collection, and are just what we wanted
for advertising purposes."
The money obtained for the capture of the lion was divided among
the four boy hunters, and the amount received for the chimpanzee
was placed to Tommy's credit by the doctor, and the former circus
boy went to live with the Reed family for the time being. Several
letters were sent to Tommy's missing sister, and at last word came
back from her. She had married a storekeeper who was rich, and she
asked that Tommy come to live with her.
"My, but that's grand!" cried Tommy. "Now I'll have a good home."
"I'm mighty glad of it," said Shep, and the other lads said the
same. Later they received letters from Tommy stating that his
sister and his brother-in-law treated him well and were going to
give him a fine education.
"Well, it was a great outing," said Snap, one day, when the boy
hunters were talking it over.
"We'll have to go out again some day," said Whopper.
"School for ours!" cried the doctor's son.
"Right you are," came from Giant. "But, say, we had a dandy time,
"So we did!" cried all the others; and here we will leave the four
boy hunters and say good-by.
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