The Golden Canyon
G. A. Henty
Part 3 out of 3
here in the water and taken root in the ice. Even Captain Sumner can't
understand that part of it."
On the following day the _Dart_ again set sail for the coast of Siberia.
They were well into the sea of Kamtchatka, and felt that they must soon
strike the spot mentioned in Ruel Gross' memorandums, if the old sailor
had taken his observations correctly.
"If only we were sure father was alive!" Bob murmured more than once.
Three days passed, and Bob was one morning in the foretop when suddenly
he gave a wild shout.
"Where away?" asked Captain Sumner quickly.
For from the deck nothing but icebergs were to be seen.
"To the northwest, sir. Will you let me have the glass?"
The glass was quickly brought and adjusted. The captain gave one glance.
"Ah! Bob, look!"
The boy did so, and then gave a shout that brought everyone on board on
Chapter XI.--Among A Strange Foe.
It was true.
Far off to the northwest they could see the shore of a land that was
covered with ice and snow.
The snow was of a reddish color, and the ice a deep blue.
But this was not all, nor by far the strangest part of the picture.
On the top of a hill, amid the snow, there stood a large cedar tree.
Its heavy branches swayed in the breeze mournfully; for though standing
as if planted, the tree was dead.
For several minutes those on the _Dart_ viewed the scene.
Then Bob broke the spell.
"Do you know what I think?" he said.
"I think that dead cedar was stuck up on the hill for a guide."
"Perhaps you are right," returned Captain Sumner. "One thing is
certain--we have reached Cedar Island, as Gross called it. Probably the
ground has a Russian name a yard long."
"Let us waste no time in getting ashore," cried Bob. "My father may be
waiting for us!"
At this the captain said nothing, not wishing to hurt the boy's
feelings. But the _Dart_ continued on her course, and soon they dropped
anchor in deep water but a few rods from the edge of the land.
Bob was the first to enter the small boat. He was followed by the
captain and Jack and two sailors.
The shore of the land reached, they gazed around curiously.
"Looks deserted," said Bob, in a disappointed tone of voice. "But come
on up to the cedar. We may be able to discover something from the top of
the hill." The ascent was quickly made by Bob, but scarcely was the top
gained than a shout was heard from below.
Bob was right. The sight that met his eyes startled him as he had never
been startled before.
Rushing forward, they perceived the yacht surrounded by a half-score of
Two others were drawn up on the beach, and half a dozen or more
copper-colored savages were standing round the dingy.
"We must save our boat at any cost!" cried Captain Sumner.
As they dashed down the hill the savages turned, armed with clubs, to
One was bending a bow, but a shot from Bob's gun broke his arm.
Jack also fired, and the aborigines, all save one, took to flight,
jumping into one of the canoes.
This brave chief, for such he looked, wielding a heavy club with both
hands, rushed at our hero.
Bob threw up his gun to parry the blow.
The weapon was struck from his hand, but the blow fell harmless.
Before the tall savage could regain his balance Bob bounded on him,
clasping him round the body.
But if our hero was strong, the native was stronger.
Dropping his club, he seized his adversary's throat, and, forcing back
his head, made him relinquish his hold.
Then, seizing him round the waist, he flung him at the captain, whom he
upset, at the same instant springing into the sea and swimming after his
The whole affair did not last a minute.
Jack, who had reloaded, fired upon the overcrowded canoe.
Two paddles fell into the water and drifted away.
No sooner did they clamber on board than they were saluted with a score
of spears, which stuck in the masts and deck, one passing through the
fleshy part of a sailor's arm.
"Here, man, go below and bathe it in brandy," cried the captain. "Drink
some, too. The rest of you get under shelter of the bulwarks.
"I have heard that these fellows poison their spears and arrowheads," he
continued to our hero.
"Will they come back, do you think?" questioned Bob.
"Perhaps--we must remain on guard."
The next few hours were very anxious ones on board of the _Dart_.
Chapter XII.--Bob's Discovery.
Night came, and the hostile natives showed no sign of returning.
A strict watch was kept until morning, but nothing out of the ordinary
In the meantime Captain Sumner and Bob examined the map with great care
and also read and reread the papers Ruel Gross had left behind him.
"Let us go on another tour of exploration," said the captain, on the
following day. "If those natives come back Bok can fire a gun to warn
The boy readily agreed and they set off without delay.
Once under the dead cedar tree they looked around them curiously.
A short distance further inland they saw a hollow, which had evidently
at one time been a camp.
Tin cans were strewn around, along with a number of fish and animal
"I wonder if father and Ruel Gross once encamped here?" thought Bob.
Hardly had the idea occurred to him than Captain Sumner set up a shout.
He was pointing to a post set up in the ice. To the top of the post was
attached a rude sign, which read:
"To the Svlachkys' Camp--One Mile."
"Hurrah! here's a discovery!" cried Bob. "Shall we go on?"
"Yes; but let us advance with extreme caution. These Svlachkys may be
very bad people."
"Undoubtedly there are, or they wouldn't keep my father a prisoner,"
"That signpost must be the work of Ruel Gross," went on the captain.
"The savages haven't dared to touch it, thinking there was something
supernatural attached to it--something to injure them."
On went the captain and Bob, down one hill of ice and up another. It was
extremely cold, but neither minded that.
At last they reached a portion of the island that was very uneven. Great
chasms yawned to the right and left of them. It was with difficulty that
they pushed forward.
But they were bound to go on, and go they did, until at the mouth of
what looked like a cave of ice the captain called a halt.
"Listen!" he whispered. "I hear voices."
Bob listened. Captain Sumner was right. From the cavern came the sounds
of several human tongues.
"They are not speaking Russian," said the captain. "Perhaps we have
stumbled upon more savages."
Hardly had he spoken when three human beings came into view.
They were bundled up in furs, in strong contrast to the other natives,
who had scarcely any body-covering.
The new-comers were jabbering among themselves at a great rate.
Presently they came to a halt before a large slab of ice.
They tugged and pounded on this until the slab fell to one side,
revealing a strange-looking opening.
"What are they up to now?" whispered Bob.
"I don't know--wait."
They waited. Presently the three men disappeared within the opening.
Soon a smoke came out, and they saw that firebrands had been lit to
light up the scene.
"That may be the place where the stone chest is kept," said Bob.
"More likely it is a burial place," replied Captain Sumner. "I've seen
such spots before. Maybe they're preparing for a funeral."
"Can't we get a little closer to them?"
"It would not be safe. Hark!"
From a distance they heard the mournful toot of a large horn.
"That's a funeral horn, I'm sure," said the captain. "If they are coming
this way we had better--Hullo! look!"
The captain pointed to an opening to their left.
A band of men were advancing.
They were guarding a prisoner--a white man, who walked in their midst.
Bob gave the white man one swift look, and then shrieked out at the top
of his voice:
"It's my father!"
Chapter XIII.--The Big Polar Bear.
"Your father!" cried Captain Sumner.
"Yes, my father," repeated Bob, in high excitement. "What shall we do?"
He felt like rushing forward, but the captain restrained him.
"We can do nothing against such a force of men," he said. "Wait--or--"
"You or I might go back to the _Dart_ for help. Every man on board can
come heavily armed. When these people see our number they may be willing
to talk reasonably to us."
"That's so, but I hate to leave," returned Bob. "They may do some harm
to my father in the meantime."
"Then I will go, Bob. But mind, keep shady, unless they do something
Bob promised, and without delay Captain Sumner started on the return to
With a wildly beating heart Bob watched the people who held his father a
They were marching along silently now and did not stop until the center
of the cave of ice was reached.
Here the party assembled in a circle at a point where there was a slight
Two of the men had axes, and with these they began to chop at the
elevation, causing the pieces of ice to fly in all directions.
"Now what are they going to do?" thought our hero.
Presently he heard a slight noise behind him. Somewhat startled, he
turned around to find himself face to face with a monstrous polar bear!
The beast had just discovered Bob. For a moment he stood still.
Then with a growl he leaped directly for the astonished youth.
Had Bob not sprung out of the way the bear would have landed on his
But Bob moved with the quickness of lightning, and this saved his life.
The bear, however, came down so close to the boy's side that our hero
had no time left to fire at him.
He struck the bear one hasty blow with his gun stock and then ran for
Recovering, the huge beast came after him.
Although a heavyweight, the bear managed to cover the ground with
Down the side of the icy hill went Bob, with the bear less than a dozen
feet in the rear.
The plain below reached, Bob scarcely knew which way to turn.
The bear uttered growl after growl, showing that he was working himself
up to a perfect fury.
"I must get to the yacht, if possible," thought Bob, and headed in the
direction without delay.
On and on came the polar bear.
He did not seem to gain, neither did he lose.
So far the race had been about even, but Bob felt he could not keep up
that terrific strain much longer.
As he ran he fingered his gun nervously.
Should he risk a shot?
"I must do something," he said to himself desperately.
And wheeling about he took hasty aim and blazed away.
The shot was not a bad one. The bullet struck the polar bear in the side
of the head, causing him to stagger back and halt.
On went Bob again, and by the time the bear recovered sufficiently to
continue the pursuit he was nearly fifty yards in advance.
But the bear was undaunted, and on he came as swiftly as before.
Once Bob stumbled and almost gave himself up for lost.
But he scrambled up quickly, and was relieved to see the bear stop, not
being able to make out what was about to happen.
Then on went again, until, with a cry of terror, Bob leaped back.
He had reached the edge of a swiftly flowing stream, which ran between
smooth banks of ice.
To attempt to leap that body of water would be highly dangerous, and to
enter it might cost him his life.
And now the polar bear was at his very heels.
Chapter XIV.--The Finding Of The Stone Chest.
Why he uttered the cry Bob could scarcely tell.
He did not imagine that any human beings were within sound of his voice.
Yet it is natural for a person in mortal peril to cry for assistance.
Luckily his cries were heard.
Captain Sumner was returning from the _Dart_, having hastily summoned
Bok, Leeks, and the others.
Glancing in the direction, he saw the polar bear and then Bob.
He did not stop to think, but, taking hasty aim, fired.
Bok also discharged his weapon, and, hit twice in the neck, the beast
Bob now saw his friends, and, running up the stream, joined them.
With so many against him the bear tried to flee, but a second bullet
from the captain's gun finished him.
"Oh, how thankful I am that you have come," cried Bob gratefully. "I
thought I was a goner."
"Don't waste time here," exclaimed Captain Sumner. "These shots will
alarm those people we left at the ice cave."
"That is true," said Bob. "Come on--we must rescue my father!"
And he led the way, with the captain at his side.
It was a rough journey up the side of the hill again, and more than once
they had to stop to catch their breath.
At the top a surprise awaited them.
The band of strange people had disappeared!
At first Bob could scarcely believe his eyes.
"Where are they?"
"But to where? I can't see them anywhere."
Captain Sumner shook his head.
A telescope was brought into play, but it did no good.
Captors and captive had alike gone, no one could tell where.
A consultation was held, and it was decided to explore the cave before
going back to the _Dart_.
The descent into the cold spot was not easy, and more than once a member
of the party was in danger of breaking a leg.
The bottom reached they made their way to the place where the men had
been at work with their axes.
They had cut out a square hole two by three feet and six feet deep.
Gazing down into the bottom of the hole, Bob gave a shout:
"The stone chest, as sure as I live!"
"What!" cried the captain.
He too looked into the opening.
There rested what at first looked to the a square stone of a
But a closer examination proved that it was really a stone chest, having
two immense hinges of iron. How had the object come there?
"I believe those people were going to dig it out when our firing
frightened them off," said Captain Sumner.
"Let us see what the chest contains," returned Bob, in high curiosity.
The others were willing, and by the united efforts of the sailors the
top of the chest was pried back.
A murmur of astonishment went up.
The chest contained three iron pots, one filled with silver and the
others filled with gold!
"The treasure, sure enough!" ejaculated Jack, who had come along with
"There are thousands of dollars there!" said Captain Sumner.
"We ought to take the stuff on board of the _Dart_," put in Bok. "'Taint
no use to leave it out here."
The others agreed with him.
In the chest were two fur-covered sacks, and these the party used,
filling them up to the top.
In the midst of the work a far-away shot was heard. Two more followed in
"'Tis an alarm from the yacht," cried the captain. "I told my daughter
and Mrs. Cromwell to fire in case anything turned up."
Without delay the sailors were sent off in advance.
Captain Sumner, Bob, and Jack started to follow with the treasure sacks,
when a shout went up and a band of the hostile savages appeared at the
far end of the ice cave.
"We must run for it!" yelled Bob. "Come on--for the ship!"
"Give them a volley first!" shouted the captain.
Six shots, poured into the advancing troop, threw them into confusion.
As the treasure-seekers turned to run a spear glanced over our hero's
shoulder and stuck quivering in the ground a dozen yards beyond.
At the top of their speed they rushed toward the shore.
At first they fancied they were not pursued.
After going a hundred yards, however, a wild yell and the patter of feet
told them they would have to do their best.
Encumbered as they were, with both the lads partly disabled and the
captain no speedy runner, the savages soon gained on them.
"We must give them another volley!" panted the captain.
Though the guns chosen were breech-loaders, it took some little time to
reload them whilst at a run.
Suddenly Bob felt a shock, which nearly made him fall.
However, he recovered himself with a stagger.
"The sack saved you," gasped Captain Sumner. "But for that the spear
would have pierced your back. Now wheel round and fire!"
As they fronted the natives they found that not thirty yards divided
At that short range every bullet told.
Three men fell dead, and as many were wounded.
The captain gave them a couple of shots from his revolver before he once
more turned and ran for his life.
"That accounts for about half them," exclaimed our hero.
As they gained the head of the beach Jack stopped short.
"Go on!" he gasped. "My side! I am stuck!"
Bob put his arm through that of his friend, who had dropped his gun, and
dragged him onward.
The captain turned and fired the remaining chambers of his revolver
among the crowd, now within a score of yards.
The small boat was in waiting, and into it they tumbled, amid a storm of
Both the captain and Bok, who rowed, were stuck.
Our hero seized the oars from the hands of the latter and pulled with
all his strength for the yacht.
The gunwale of the little boat was almost level with the water.
It was slow work.
Luckily, nearly all the enemies' spears were exhausted.
An arrow pierced Bob's cap, and the last spear which was thrown again
wounded the captain, piercing his leg.
Fortunately the distance was so far that it only entered about an inch
and fell out from its own weight.
Our hero and the captain clambered on board the schooner.
Jack was exhausted, but still clung to his bag of silver.
Scarcely had they gained the deck when a yell broke from the dark waters
around them, and spears and arrows fell on all sides.
Every gun on board was now fired at the savages.
Yet they came on as if determined to kill every white person in sight.
Chapter XV.--Bob Rescues His Father--Conclusion.
The savages were pressing close upon the _Dart_. Something must be done.
"Slip the cable!" shouted the captain. "Up with the jib, topgallant
sails, and gaff!"
"We must trust to weathering the point," he added to the mate. "If we
do, we are safe. The current will carry us to sea."
His orders were executed.
The wind fortunately blew from the southward, and, filling the light
sails, carried the _Dart_ off the shore.
The yacht's head paid off, and, answering her helm, she, with the tide
in her favor, bore seaward.
A few parting shots, and the _Dart_, now feeling the full force of the
wind, left the fleet of canoes far behind.
The next few hours were employed in the dressing of wounds and making
things a little ship-shape.
It had been a hard-fought fight, and everyone was tired out.
Fortunately, neither Mrs. Cromwell nor Viola had suffered from the
Long before the crew were able to do anything more darkness set in.
Bob was very impatient to trace up his father, but just now that was
Anxiously the boy waited for dawn, while his mother wept in silence,
thinking of her beloved husband.
Would they save him?
At the first signs of morning Bob was up and ready for the search.
Captain Sumner and Jack were not far behind.
The _Dart_ proceeded slowly toward land.
Satisfied that the savages had left the vicinity, the party went ashore,
and once more proceeded toward the cave of ice.
A light snow had fallen, and all former tracks had been obliterated.
In vain they looked about for some trace of the Svlachkys.
"Let us go on an exploring tour," suggested the captain, seeing how
badly Bob felt.
They started off first for the far end of the cavern.
They had gone scarcely a dozen rods when the captain called a halt.
"Someone is coming!" he whispered.
A crunching of snow and ice was now plainly to be heard.
The party ran for shelter behind a series of ice humps and waited.
Suddenly a man clad in furs dashed by them, running at top speed.
At that strange cry the man stopped as though shot.
"Who calls?" he asked, but instead of replying, Bob rushed from his
"My son! What does this mean? How came you here?"
"We came in search of you, father," replied Bob. Father and son embraced
warmly. Then Captain Cromwell turned swiftly.
"We must fly! The Svlachkys are coming! I just escaped from them."
He had just uttered the words when the crowd of strange people came down
The leader started to throw a sharp spear at Captain Cromwell, when Bob
rushed in and, with one well-directed blow of his gun, laid the man on
A fierce shout went up and a struggle ensued.
But the fall of their leader had demoralized the Svlachkys, and
when half a dozen guns and pistols had been fired at them they
fled in dismay.
After this the party from the _Dart_ lost no time in returning to the
Bob and his father walked side by side, and never were parent and child
When Mrs. Cromwell saw her husband alive and well, she cried for joy and
threw herself into his arms. It was a happy time all around.
Captain Cromwell's story was a long one. In brief, it was as follows:
When the _Bluebell_ went down, he and Ruel Gross escaped on a raft, and
after several days of suffering, reached the coast of Siberia.
From there they set out for Cedar Island.
The island gained, they found the stone chest, and then Captain Cromwell
For a long while the Svlachkys held him, thinking he knew of more
treasures than those already discovered.
At last, however, they grew weary of waiting, and had resolved to put
him to death, when deliverance came as recorded.
That there was more treasures was proven later on.
The stone chest was taken up, and beneath was found a cross of gold that
was valued at fifteen thousand dollars.
With the treasure on board, the _Dart_ started southeastward for the
In due course of time San Francisco was reached, and here the treasure
was disposed of.
Each of the sailors belonging to the party was given five hundred
dollars, besides his pay.
Jack received five hundred dollars also.
The remainder of the money was divided equally between Captain Sumner
and Captain Cromwell.
With his portion of the treasure Captain Cromwell purchased an interest
in another ship, and to-day is fast regaining his lost financial
Bob is with his father and Jack Larmore sticks to the pair.
Captain Sumner has given up his roving life and has settled down with
Viola as his housekeeper. His residence is but a short distance from
that occupied by Mrs. Cromwell, so the latter does not want for company
when her husband and son are on the ocean.
And here let us leave, satisfied that in the future all will be well
with those who have figured in the story of The Stone Chest.
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