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Title: Battling the Bighorn - or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies
Author: Sayler, H. L. (Harry Lincoln)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Battling the Bighorn - or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies" ***

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                         BATTLING THE BIGHORN

 Aeroplane Boys Series


  Or, Morey Marshall of the Signal Corps

  Or, How Bud Wilson Made Good

  Or, The Boy Aeronaut’s Grit

  Or, Flying for Fun

  Or, The Legend of the Great Pink Pearl

  Or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies

  Or, The Aeroplane Spy


_Price, 60 Cents_

 Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago


                         Battling the Bighorn

                     The Aeroplane in the Rockies

                             ASHTON LAMAR

              [Illustration: _The AEROPLANE BOYS SERIES_
                         REG. U. S. PAT. OFF.]

                 Illustrated by Joseph Pierre Nuyttens

                       The Reilly & Britton Co.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1911,
                       THE REILLY & BRITTON CO.
                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                         BATTLING THE BIGHORN


  CHAP.                                             PAGE
     I A FLIGHT BY NIGHT                               9
    II A NEWSPAPER SENSATION                          23
   III A UNIQUE PROPOSITION                           37
     V TWO INDUCEMENTS                                63
    VI A CHAPTER ON CLOTHES                           74
  VIII BOARDING THE TETON                            102
    IX A DISH OF TROUT                               115
     X KOOS-HA-NAX, THE HUNTER                       128
    XI A MIDNIGHT INTRUDER                           142
   XII THE END OF THE RAILROAD                       157
  XIII HUSHA THE BLACK RAM                           170
   XIV TUNING UP THE _Loon_                          188
   XVI LOST IN THE MOUNTAIN                          213
 XVIII A GOAT HUNT AT DAWN                           237
   XIX THE SIGN OF THE CROSS                         250
    XX A MONARCH TO THE DEATH                        263


 The Flight in the Storm      _Frontispiece_

 The Fire in the Hangar                  83

 The _Loon_ in the Mountains            205

 “Old Baldy”                            265

 Battling the Bighorn
 The Aeroplane in the Rockies



“Flash the light on the compass again, Frank. Let’s have another look!”

Instantly the ray of an electric hand-light shot over the shoulder of a
boy and centered itself on a curiously arranged compass fixed between
the lad’s feet.

“About a point off northwest――”

“But what good does that do?” exclaimed the one addressed as Frank. “It
was dark when we came about and we didn’t know our course then. By dead
reckonin’ I’d say we ought to head more to the north, Phil.”

“More to the north it is,” was the instant answer. At the same time
there was a creak as if the speaker had executed some movement; the
crouching Frank lurched forward and then fell back into a low chair
behind the other boy. “Keep a lookout below for any lights you can
recognize, but use the floor trap――don’t open that window again; the
rain comes in like a waterfall. I’ll keep watch ahead,” added Phil,
ignoring his companion’s tumble.

“You needn’t bother,” suggested Frank. “We’d ’a’ raised the town lights
if we were anywhere near ’em. I tell you, we’re way off our course!”

“Good enough,” chuckled Phil. “What do we care? We wanted a ride in the
dark and we’re gettin’ it, good and plenty.”

“The rain and clouds may be shuttin’ out sight o’ the town lights a
little,” conceded Frank. “I guess you’d better keep your eyes peeled
just the same. There are lights below, here and there,” he continued,
“but they don’t mean anything; that is, I can’t make anything out of
’em. I own up――I don’t know where we are.”

“What’s the difference?” asked Phil. “We’re here, snug as bugs in a

“Listen,” broke in Frank.

A vivid flash of lightning had plunged into the horizon; the heavens
seemed one long roaring roll of thunder and then――as if beginning
anew――torrents of rain dashed against what was apparently an enclosing
protection of glass.

“The rain’s comin’ from the east,” shouted Phil. “Open one of the ports
on the left; it’s in the lee of the storm and it’s gettin’ too hot in

Again the boy in the rear arose and, fumbling about in the dark as if
turning a catch, at last shoved upward a swinging section of glass.
As his companion had suggested, the new opening was in the lee of the
rain. There was a welcome inrush of fresh, moist air but the two boys
were completely protected from the downpour.

“You’re right,” said Frank as he left his chair and sank down by the
open window or port. “As long as the _Loon_ don’t mind it, what’s the

He leaned his head on his hands, his elbows braced in the open space,
and let the cool air fan his perspiring face. “Keep her goin’; go
anywhere; go as far as you like. I don’t care whether we――”

“Look at the barometer. How high are we?” interrupted the other boy

Frank crawled from the open window, flashed his electric light again
and turned its rays on an altitude barometer hanging at the right of
his companion, crawled closer to the instrument and then announced:
“Twenty-three hundred feet! Keep her to it,” he continued. “It’s great.
Everything is workin’ fine. The poundin’ of the rain on the glass with
us as dry as bones in here, makes me feel mighty comfortable.”

“Like rain on a tent campin’ out when you’re half asleep on your dry
balsam,” suggested his companion.

“All of that,” was Frank’s good-natured response. “Here, give me that
wheel. I’ll take a turn. Crawl over to the window and stick your head
out. It’s great.”

Without a protest Phil slipped from the low chair in which he had been
sitting rigidly and Frank skilfully took his place. In another moment
Phil was kneeling in the black darkness by the opening.

“It’s all right,” Phil exclaimed, “and I’m glad we did it. I suppose,”
he added a moment later, “that it’s the first time anyone ever did.
It may be a little risky, but it’s worth while. Yet,” he added after
several moments, “I guess we’ve gone far enough. There isn’t a sign
of a town light in sight and I don’t know where we are. Let’s make a
landing and camp out in the car till the storm is over.”

“If we do that,” suggested the boy in the chair, “we’ll stay all night.
We’ll never get up again out of a wet field――if we’re lucky enough not
to straddle a fence, jab a tree into us or find a perch on the comb of
a barn.”

There was a grunt from his companion.

“No use to figure on all those things,” was the answer. “We can’t keep
agoin’ till daylight and since we’ve got to stop sometime, we might as
well take chances――”

“Right now?” broke in Frank. “All right! Now it is, if you say so.”

There was a creak as of a straining wire and the boys braced themselves
against an immediate lurch forward. The glass windows or ports rattled
slightly as something above seemed to check the fast flight. Phil added:

“Stand by the barometer; it’s our only guide; I can’t see a thing.”

“Two thousand feet,” was the report almost instantly. Then, the two
boys yet braced toward the rear, came additional reports every few
moments until nine hundred feet was reached. “Ease her up, Phil,”
suggested the lad at the barometer, “we’re doin’ sixty-two miles by the

Before he could say more the creaking sound as of wires straining
came again. There was another check and once more the motion seemed

“That’s better,” added Phil. “Now I’ll open the bottom port and keep a
lookout for land.”

He threw himself on the floor, drew up a square door in front of the
second seat and, tossing his cap aside, stuck his head through the

“By gravy,” he sputtered as he pulled his head back, “that rain ain’t a
lettin’ up any to speak about.”

“Rapidly gettin’ dryer no faster,” laughed the boy in the forward chair.

“Right,” commented Phil as his head again disappeared through the
opening. For some moments neither boy spoke. In this silence, the rain
pelting the glass sides seemed to grow louder, but this sound was
dimmed by a constant whirr behind the glass compartment――a monotonous,
unvarying sound as of large wheels in motion. Mingled with this was
another tone――the unmistakable, delicate tremble of an engine or motor.

“Shut her down to half and hold your course,” suddenly came a muffled
call from the reinserted head of the lookout.

There was a quick snap; an instant diminution in the tremble and whirr
in the rear and Phil’s head was again far out of the trapdoor in
defiance of wind and rain. The forward motion was lessening somewhat.
When three or four minutes had passed, the boy on lookout drew his head
in again, dashed the rain out of his eyes and crawled to the barometer.

“Eight hundred feet,” he announced. “That’s good. I picked up a
light――some farmer’s kitchen, I guess――but nothin’ doin’; too dark.
Drop her a couple hundred feet.”

Without comment from the boy in the chair the same creaking noise
sounded once more and Phil, the electric flash centered on the altitude
register, kept his eyes on that instrument.

“Six hundred feet,” he called in a few moments. “Keep her there while I
have another look. We――”

Before he could finish, a flash of lightning turned the sky into the
inside of a phosphorescent sphere. But it was not the gorgeous display
of the wild tangle of silvered clouds that the two boys saw. Before
the flare ended their eyes were fixed on what was beneath them. There
was no need of an order from Phil. In the blaze of light it could be
seen that Frank’s feet rested on two lever stirrups. Even before the
light died, his right foot shot forward, there was another sound of a
straining wire and the glass enclosed car instantly shot to the right
and slightly downward. At the same time Frank’s right hand, already
clutching a wheel attached vertically to the side of his chair, drew
swiftly back and with it came a renewed jarring, checking motion above.
Almost instantly the car, while it continued its flight to the right,
became horizontal again.

“Got our bearin’s anyway,” was the operator’s gasping remark.

“If you can bank her and get down right away,” said the other boy as he
sprang to the open hatch again, “we can make it in one of those fields.
We’ve cleared the woods by this time,” he added with no little relief.
“The way we’re headed, it’s all clear forward for a mile――”

“Except fences,” interrupted Frank. “But we’ll try it. Look out.”

“Bank her and when you’re right, I’ll give the word,” was Phil’s
answer, his head disappearing through the floor opening.

The illumination had shown the two boys that they were directly above
a wide stretch of timber land. Where this disappeared in the distant
west was blacker low ground, which a winding stream told plainly enough
was a marsh. To the right lay a straight road and beyond this miles of
cultivated land in fenced fields.

Again the glass compartment lurched; this time on an angle that made
both boys brace themselves securely.

“Not too much,” yelled Phil over his shoulder and through the roar of
the storm. “Be sure you clear the trees.”

“She’s well over,” called the operator. “Look out for fences!”

The boy on the floor was apparently looking out as well as his two
straining eyes could pierce the gloom.

“Not too much,” he called again, warningly. “It’s black as your hat
down there. I can’t see a thing.” By this time his head was inside once
more. “You know we’ve had that wind behind us. You’re quarterin’ now,
but you’ve got to allow for the wind; she’s a stiff one; you’ve got an
awful drift and it’s right over the trees.”

“We’re clear of ’em by a mile,” persisted the boy at the wheel. “Get
back there and keep your eyes peeled,” he shouted. “We might as well
come down here.”

The compartment was now inclined forward and to the left. Phil, only
partly convinced, turned his head toward the opening in the floor
when, with a crash of thunder, the clouds opened again to release new
torrents of rain and the world below lay exposed beneath the flash of
more lightning.

“Up!” yelled Phil. “Up!”

The warning was not necessary. Both boys caught their breaths at the
sight below them. They were still skirting the edge of a pine forest
and now the jagged trunks and branches of dying trees just below seemed
reaching out to grasp them. Frank did not even think. As Phil’s alarmed
words reached him, both his feet and hands acted. There was a racking
tremor――a shock――and then the car righted. It seemed to pause and then,
like a relieved spring, shot forward. As it did so there was a new
shock; the car curved forward as if held by something; a cracking snap
below and then, as a new cry of alarm rose from Phil at the lookout
door, once more the car was in a new equilibrium and making new headway.

“The port landing wheel caught a dead tree top,” yelled Phil. “I told
you to look out for that drift.”

“Is the wheel gone?” was the only answer of the disgruntled Frank.

Phil dropped to the floor again and flashed the electric light below.

“Seems bent,” he answered, “but I guess she’ll work if we ever get a
chance to use it.”

“Well, don’t get sore,” was Frank’s answer. “We learn by experience.
I’ll land in the softest wheat or cornfield that happens to be below.
But we won’t try it till the lightning flashes again.”

For some moments after the car had again been headed northeast and
quartered on the gale once more, the boys waited anxiously for a new
flash. When it came they were well beyond the trees. Frank put the
car toward the widening fields beneath and Phil lay with open eyes,
apprehensive of the dreaded fence, trees or buildings.

“Now――!” yelled Phil excitedly, as the vague surface of a green
wheatfield caught his eye and he saw that they were clear of fences and
other obstructions. “Put her down.”

Frank’s work was guided by chance and Phil’s stream of instructions.
The tremor and whirr behind the boys had been stopped and at last, with
a plunge as of a body being dropped into a bed of mortar, the car came
to a jarring stop. The operator dropped his wheel, his face wet with
perspiration and his hands trembling. Phil sprang from the floor, his
hair water-soaked, but his electric flash light aglow.

“Well,” he began with a half laugh, “here we are. Where? I give it up.”

“Safe in a muddy wheatfield,” answered Frank. “But,” he went on,
“what’s the odds? It’s rainin’ cats and dogs; but the car seems all

“Almost afloat,” commented Phil, “and we couldn’t get out of this mud
to-night if we tried.”

“Therefore,” added his companion, regaining his composure and good
nature, “we’ll make the best of it. There’s no risk of an accident now
and we’re as dry as toast. It’s half past eight,” he went on looking at
his watch, “and as we can’t leave her here alone, let’s make a night of

“Talk about rain on the attic roof, and a dry bed beneath,” added Phil,
who had also regained his spirits, “I don’t believe it’s any better
than bunkin’ in the closed car of an airship.”

“Particularly when it’s anchored safe and tight in a wheatfield,”
suggested Frank, laughing.

Fifteen minutes later the two tired but happy boys, despite the still
heavily falling rain, were fast asleep on the hard floor of the
strange, glass enclosed car.



The two boys sleeping so soundly in the glass cabin were Frank Graham
and Phil Ewing. The car was a part of their novel monoplane airship,
the _Loon_. And Frank and Phil had just made what was perhaps the
first night flight in an aëroplane――certainly the first flight of a
heavier-than-air sky craft through a nighttime storm of wind and rain.

Both boys lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the suburbs of this town
they had their aërodrome from which, on an evening early in June,
they had ventured on this flight. The _Loon_ had already made many
successful flights by day; but Frank and Phil, not satisfied with
these, had at last carried out a flight by night.

“It’s goin’ to rain,” Phil had predicted that afternoon. “Hadn’t we
better wait? It’s bound to rain after such a muggy day.”

“Well,” conceded Frank, “we’ve figured out that rain can’t hurt us. The
plane is waterproof and curved so that it can’t hold water. We’ve put
holes in the flat planes on the rear. Water can’t collect there. And,
as far as personal comfort is concerned, our glass covered car ought to
give us plenty of that.”

“All right,” answered Phil laughing, “but if we do go up I’ll bet we
don’t get back home to-night.”

How his prediction was fulfilled has just been seen.

The boys met at their aërodrome, erected in a corner of a lumberyard
owned by Frank’s father, soon after seven o’clock in the evening.
Not until nearly eight o’clock was it wholly dark; then the sky grew
suddenly black. Phil was still somewhat skeptical but neither had ever
stopped when the other led the way and, a few minutes before eight
o’clock, the monoplane shot out of the shed and was instantly out of
sight――had there been spectators.

The yard watchman, Old Dick, fast friend and open admirer of the two
boys, stood shaking his head and lantern for some minutes. Finally,
when the rain began to fall and the wind broke into a half gale, he
hastened to his shanty ’phone and called up Mr. Graham.

“Misther Graham,” reported Dick, “thim byes is off ag’in in that flyin’
machane.” Evidently there was some excited comment or question at the
other end of the ’phone. “Yis,” Dick continued, “they’ll be not over
five minutes gone, but ’tis rainin’ somethin’ fierce an’ I’m seem’
nather hide nor hair o’ thim since.”

By the time Mr. Graham reached the aërodrome in his automobile, Frank
and Phil had arrived at the southern end of their flight and turned for
their return. They had not been running at top speed and were not over
twenty-five miles from home. This was partly due to the fact that they
had been climbing to the two thousand foot level.

When they came about, carelessly neglecting to note their precise
compass bearings, they were in a position to make a rapid glide. This
for a few moments they did, reaching a speed of sixty-two miles an hour
for a short time. Then they discovered that they were not sure of their

“The trouble was,” explained Phil later to his mother, “that you can’t
tell anything about your real movements in an airship when you are
flying in a heavy wind and have no landmarks. You’ve got to remember
that you don’t feel the wind at all――except that caused by your own
flight. In a heavy wind, you move with it; the airship vessel is buried
in the fluid of the wind, and moves with it, just as a submarine in a
deep river wouldn’t feel the current. It would be a part of it.”

“I’d think you’d tack just like you do in a sailboat,” suggested his

“That’s what every one seems to think,” Phil explained, “but you can’t.
You are carried away just as rapidly as if you were directly in the
teeth of the wind. The best way is to head right up in the wind. If
your engine is stronger than the wind, you’ll advance; if it isn’t,
you’ll go back.”

“I hope this cures you of your venturesome ideas,” commented his mother

“Not at all,” answered her son. “It gives us just the experience we
need. We were over the trees when Frank tried to tack. He drifted back
more than he moved sideways. But we know now.”

This conversation occurred the next day. That evening, Mrs. Ewing did
not become alarmed until a late hour. Then, in her concern over Phil’s
failure to return home, she telephoned to the Graham home. Mrs. Graham
could only tell her what Old Dick had reported; that Mr. Graham had
gone to the aërodrome and failed to get any information; that her
husband had hastened back and telegraphed to the authorities of several
towns on the probable course of the boys and was now, with two friends,
scouring the country roads to the south.

At two o’clock Mr. Graham returned assuring his wife and Phil’s mother
that the boys were undoubtedly all right. For the next two hours Mr.
Graham sat in the office of the _Herald_ and then, no word having been
received of the missing boys, he drove home for breakfast and a renewed

“Now,” he said with assumed confidence to his wife, “we’ll soon have
’em back. It’s daylight and they will soon reach some town and a
’phone. I’ll get the automobile out and be ready to go for them.”

Mr. Graham had just left the house on his way to the garage when his
wife called him excitedly.

“They’re at Osceola――they’ve been asleep in that thing all night,” she
screamed, bursting into tears; “but they’re all right.”

“Is he on the ’phone?” called back her husband in a peculiar tone.

“No,” she answered, “they’re coming in on the electric car.”

“There’s no car till six o’clock,” exclaimed Mr. Graham. “Osceola is
only twelve miles out. I’ll have ’em here in an hour,” and in a few
minutes his big roadster was humming south toward Osceola.

It was fortunate that Frank had walked two miles to Osceola in the
early dawn, for scarcely had Mr. Graham started on the rescue of the
castaways, before Mrs. Graham saw the result of her husband’s two
hours’ vigil in the newspaper office. The newspaper carrier even ran up
the walk to hand Mrs. Graham the _Herald_. Alert journalism had quickly
turned Mr. Graham’s apprehensions into an almost certain tragedy.

Under a two-column head the disappearance of the boys was narrated in
detail. The failure to hear from them; the violence of the wind and
rain, and the conceded risk of all aëroplane flights, were all used as
justification that the boys were undoubtedly dead.

Old Dick, the watchman, had been called by ’phone and his description
of the start was made the foundation of a graphic story. Then followed
an interview with Mr. Graham. Next came a promise from the _Herald_
that the bodies would be found if every river, lake and forest in
Michigan had to be searched.

“No cleverer, more intelligent or better liked boys were to be found
in Grand Rapids,” the article read. “And their reputations are not
confined to this city. The ill-fated airship on which they have
probably lost their lives, was the product of their own hands and
minds. It has been described in aëronautical journals, and the last
number of the English ‘_Flight_’ draws attention to its novel features.

“The airship was the outgrowth of an ordinary aëroplane built by the
two young aviators last summer, and its construction occupied the
entire winter. This ascent, which is probably the last and fatal flight
of the new monoplane, is the tenth ascent made by the _Loon_ this
spring. It is needless to say that Mr. Graham, the father of one of
the young aviators, is shocked beyond description. Former successes of
the two boys allayed his fears as to the dangers of their experiments.
The grief he expressed last night, over the fact that he had freely
and amply provided funds for the construction of the _Loon_, is easily

The article finally concluded with a description of the _Loon_ taken
from “_Flight_,” the English aëro-journal. This was:

“The Graham-Ewing monoplane adds to the efficiency of previously built
machines by development in accordance with the changeable factors
in the ‘law of the aëroplane.’ These are the speed and the angle of
incidence to the line of flight.

“In this machine the plane is mounted so that it may be moved to any
angle, adapting itself to speed and lifting at will, and offering
opportunity for use as a steady device. It avoids longitudinal
oscillation by means of a large nonlifting tail surface, and the front
of the fuselage is enclosed with glass to protect the aviator.

“When starting, a large angle of incidence is essential to get more
lift and rise. Then, one wants a small angle to fly fast enough to
dodge through the air eddies. With the Graham-Ewing monoplane this can
be done. If the machine tips, the main planes can be tilted to correct
the trouble. They also can be used as a brake.

“Putting the center of gravity below the center of lift has always
caused trouble in this manner: If a puff of wind hits the craft head-on
the wings were retarded, while the small weight below was not, and its
momentum carried the machine ahead, making the rear end of the plane
whip down. This has been corrected by putting on a long tail with large
tail-surfaces which check this movement. It adds to buoyancy, since the
unmovable tail causes wind puffs to raise the whole machine in the air.
The low center of gravity, at the same time, helps keep the machine
level from side to side.

“Here is a description in figures of the airship:

“Breadth of wing, 39 feet; length over-all, 44 feet; chord of wings,
8 feet; center of gravity, 7 feet below the center of pressure; wings
mounted on framework above front end of fuselage, which is enclosed
in glass and aluminum; enclosed car has room for pilot, passenger and
motor; two 8½ foot propellers driven from gearing at 800 revolutions
per minute; nonlifting tail surface of 50 square feet, in addition to
a plane lifting surface of 546 square feet; rudder, 25 square feet;
the car is 4 feet high, 30 inches wide and 14 feet long; beneath it an
aluminum boatshaped body is arranged to enable the operator to alight
in the water; two wheels in front and one in the rear form the running

Of the two boys, Frank was the son of J. R. Graham, a wealthy furniture
manufacturer. Phil Ewing, a few months older than Frank, was employed
in Mr. Graham’s factory. Frank, always a great reader, was of a
romantic turn. He had a love of adventure which ran to distant lands,
hunting and wild animals. This he had from books, the stories of Du
Chaillu, Stanley, Selous and other great hunters. His actual experience
extended little beyond books and he owned neither rod nor gun.

Phil was just the opposite. He was a fly fisherman, had shot his deer
in the northern Michigan woods, was familiar with camp life and was a
young naturalist. He owned his own gun, had made his own split bamboo
rod, could tie a trout fly and, with a talent for drawing and coloring,
could skin and mount birds and animals.

In the factory, Phil assisted in the machine carving department. His
familiarity with tools made him the chief worker on the airships, but
it was Frank’s digging into aviation history that produced many of the
advanced ideas of the monoplane.

The first rays of the sun pouring through the glass of their cabin
roused the boys to early activity. Apparently the monoplane was
uninjured, but its big pneumatic landing wheels were deep in the mud of
the field and the nearest house was a quarter of a mile away.

“Whatever we do,” said Frank, “I’m goin’ to get word to the folks.”

“Go to that house,” suggested Phil. “Maybe they have a telephone. You
can buy something to eat.”

When Frank reached the farmhouse he saw, around a bend in the road, a
village about half a mile ahead. This was Osceola and, from the biggest
house in the place, he called up his home. He did not care to tell of
his plight and, when he set out to rejoin Phil, he did so breakfastless.

Reaching the bend in the road at the farmhouse, he forgot his hunger.
An unmistakable sound had fallen on his ear――the engine of the _Loon_
working at half speed――and he hurried forward on a run. Phil wasn’t
thinking of breakfast. He was attempting to get the monoplane to the
edge of the field. Tugging at the car, he was using the engine at half
speed to pull the airship through the mud. That he was succeeding, was
shown by three deep tracks stretching out behind the _Loon_.

At Frank’s breathless approach Phil scarcely looked up. Much less did
he ask for food. The trousers of each boy were encased in black mud to
the knees. Phil had discarded his shoes and having fallen on the oozy
ground, he had an individual coating of mud.

“Gimme a hand here,” he ordered. “If we can get this thing to the road,
we’ll get home for breakfast.”

“Isn’t that landing wheel bent?” asked Frank.

“I’ve fixed her,” grunted Phil. “Get busy.”

The small addition of Frank’s energy seemed all that was needed, and
the _Loon_ was slowly forced toward the edge of the field.

“How you goin’ to get her over the fence?” panted Frank.

“It’s a stone fence,” was Phil’s answer. “The _Loon_ stands four feet
above the ground. All we got to do is to make two openin’s through the
fence――it ain’t four feet high――one for each wheel and run her through.
We can lift the tail over.”

At twenty-five minutes past five o’clock two bedraggled boys were
returning the last of the rocks to close up the openings in the fence.
The _Loon_, also bespattered, stood in the middle of the deserted

Phil took his turn at the wheel, and lowering the plane, started on
half speed with Frank crouching at his side. As the monoplane gave no
signs of weakness the pilot advanced his engine to full speed. There
was a bound or two on the smooth roadway and the _Loon_ began to lift.

Five hundred feet in the air, Osceola was passed. Frank, giving the
hamlet a parting glance saw, standing before the general store, a
well-known automobile. In it a man had arisen and was waving his arms
violently. As the monoplane sped on the man dropped to his seat,
started the car and hurried along the road in the wake of the airship.

“Say, Phil,” chuckled Frank, “father’s below us in his car. He can do
sixty miles. Hit her up――let’s beat him home!”



The aviators beat Mr. Graham, but no great exultation followed this
feat. While Frank and Phil were housing the airship Mr. Graham appeared
and entered the aërodrome. For fifteen minutes there were sounds of
earnest conversation; then Mr. Graham and the boys came out. Frank and
Phil, with sober faces, climbed into the car; Mr. Graham locked the
doors of the shed; put the key in his pocket and took the driver’s seat
in silence.

Each boy reached home in time for breakfast, but neither was quite
as hungry as he fancied himself an hour before. Mr. Graham had had
a sudden awakening as to his duties as a parent. Breakfast over and
Frank in fresh clothes, he was called to accompany his father to Mrs.
Ewing’s home where the two parents and the abashed aviators went into a

“Then it’s understood,” said Mr. Graham at its conclusion, “that
neither of you boys is to visit the airship shed, much less make
another flight, without my consent. _My_ consent, young man,” he added
addressing Phil, “not your mother’s. So far as this air business is
concerned, I’m now your guardian, Mr. Ewing. As for you, Frank,” he
concluded, “I think you understand.”

“Thank you, Mr. Graham,” broke in Mrs. Ewing. “If Phil only knew what a
night I put in he’d never think of doing such a thing again. Your lunch
is ready,” she added turning to the dejected Phil, “now hurry off to
the factory.”

Frank went to the office with his father prepared to take the machine
home. All the way he tried to think of something to say. Finally he
leaned forward and put his hand on his father’s shoulder.

“Say, pop,” he began, “why are you so put out?”

“If you knew what a night we passed you wouldn’t ask,” was the answer.

“I suppose you know we did something that has never been done before.
Don’t you think it a pretty fine thing to do something that they will
have to write about way over in London? Don’t you remember how pleased
you were when that New York art magazine said your new Davenport bed
was an inspiration?”

“That’s different,” growled Mr. Graham. “That means money.”

“No, sir,” protested Frank with a smile. “You just think so. What
pleased you was the fact that you had an idea; you thought of a good
thing before any of your competitors.”

“They do say it wasn’t a bad idea,” acknowledged Mr. Graham. “But this

“Is my idea,” exclaimed Frank. “It may not mean money, but I’m proud of
it. Other people praise it. Why shouldn’t my father? I’d rather make
one new thing of use to the world than have the highest paid job on
your pay roll, if I only copy some other person’s plans.”

Mr. Graham shrugged his shoulders.

“I’ll smash the _Loon_ to smithereens if you say so,” continued Frank,
“but I hope you’ll think about it a little before you ask me to do so.”

“You needn’t do any smashin’ yet,” conceded Mr. Graham with a smile,
“but――well, we’ll see.”

Frank felt sure that his airship days were not at an end. Reaching his
home a little later, he found reporters for both the evening papers
awaiting him. His and Phil’s safe return had already spread over town.
Inexperienced, as was his father, Frank talked freely to the young
journalists. The result was that one paper told how the boys, worn out
with the strain of their struggle in the vortex of the hurricane, had
fallen unconscious to the floor of the car and only revived when Mr.
Graham found the monoplane wrecked in the field. The other account told
how the _Loon_ had risen to the height of twenty-three thousand feet,
instead of twenty-three hundred, and how the aviators would certainly
have frozen to death had it not been for the glass enclosed cabin. Here
the reporter added a detail of his own, which was that the aviators
were already planning a stove to be heated by the exhaust gases of the
engine. With this, he suggested, there would be no limit to the height
of future ascents.

Both papers in their last editions had pictures of the boys. So fully
was the entire story told that nothing more remained to be said, and
in three or four days the sensation of Frank and Phil’s flight,
accident and escape, seemed at an end. But the story of the flight had
traveled far, and it soon attracted attention that was to mean much to
both boys.

In fact, within a week, a letter was on its way to Frank that carried
them in a short time into the far West and eventually set them
“Battling the Bighorn.” In the adventures that subsequently befell
them among yawning chasms, and while soaring over snow clad mountain
heights, even the gripping pleasure of the “dash in the dark” was

Six days later Frank was surprised to receive a letter postmarked New
York and written on the heavy stationery of the well-known sportsman’s
club of that city――the “Field and Forest.” It was from his uncle, Mr.
Guy Mackworth――his mother’s brother. Frank had never had a letter from
his uncle, although Mr. Mackworth visited the Grahams――sometimes twice
a year. Mr. Mackworth and Mr. Graham jointly maintained a trout camp on
the Little Manistee, and Frank’s uncle or some of his eastern friends
were pretty sure to be there in June of each year. Now and then Mr.
Mackworth came out in the fall for the partridge shooting.

Frank’s uncle was an unusual man and, as can be surmised from the
exclusive club he frequented (most of the members of which are big game
hunters in all parts of the world), he was an assiduous sportsman. A
man of extensive means and a seeker of big and rare game, he pursued
his hobby in all sections of the globe.

Being a bachelor and a great traveler he had become a gourmet. Next to
hunting tigers in India, lions in Africa or moose in Canada, the proper
and inviting preparation of food was his chief diversion. In this he
had trained Jake Green, a young colored man, until the latter was
almost as skilled and fastidious as his master.

“Your uncle,” explained Mr. Graham to Frank, “makes himself as much at
home in camp as he does at his club. Like a true sportsman he roughs it
uncomplainingly if necessary, but by choice he prefers comfort when it
can be had. His camp outfit and shooting and fishing equipment are most
elaborate. Nothing that contributes to comfort, convenience or even to
luxury is omitted. Yet there is nothing provided merely for show. Each
thing has a reason.”

“I didn’t know he could cook,” remarked Frank a little surprised.

“Cook!” repeated Mr. Graham. “When time and circumstances permitted
I’ve seen him dress his brook trout with a hollandaise sauce that few
chefs could provide. And then I’ve seen him go twenty-four hours on a
moose trail with nothing to eat but raw salt pork.”

This was the letter Frank received:

    “_My Dear Nephew:_

    “_I want to congratulate you on breaking away from the
    furniture business long enough to become a hero. (Show this
    to your father and ask him to send me any news of the Little
    Manistee.) I also congratulate you on being alive after what
    I suspect was really a dangerous adventure. You see by this
    that I am in New York and that I am taking the time to read the
    newspapers. Not having been in the west last fall I did not
    know you had gone in for aërial athletics. It interests me very
    much. I was afraid your father might try to make a furniture
    designer out of you. I believe you are sixteen. That’s quite
    old enough to begin to show your mettle. I have an idea that
    I shall conceal until I hear from you on this subject. Write
    to me at once and tell me all about this sky-ship which you
    and your friend have made. I tried to understand what it was
    by reading the newspapers, but I couldn’t make it out. If it
    is really practicable I want to know all about it. Especially
    am I interested in the enclosed cabin. Tell your mother I have
    been abroad since March and shall soon have as my guests, in
    this country, Captain Arthur Ludington of the English Army and
    Lord Pelton. I had a half formed plan to give them a taste of
    trout fishing up on the Little Manistee; but this is no part
    of my letter to you. You are to write me at once about your

    “_Very sincerely yours,_

    “_Guy Mackworth._”

When Frank showed this important communication to his father the
latter laughed, pronounced it characteristic, muttered something
about English swells and told the boy to do as his relative asked. As
a matter of fact the practical manufacturer was reminded by the note
that Frank was Mr. Mackworth’s probable heir. Frank enlisted Phil’s
assistance in the composition of the asked for description and found
it no easy task. It was made more difficult by the query that was
always in each boy’s head: what was Mr. Mackworth’s idea concerning the

The letter to Mr. Mackworth, after describing in detail the big
adjustable plane wings and the long flat tail of the monoplane,

    “_The novel pilot and passenger car has what is known as a
    ‘stream line’ body; resembles a long cartridge and is of
    aluminum and glass. Instead of a skeleton seat bolted to a
    flimsy lattice of bamboo, the forward or cabin space――the
    engine occupying the rear seven feet――contains two comfortable
    seats. One of these is for the pilot and within reach of it
    are the rudder stirrups for the aviator’s feet, the wheel to
    regulate the planes or wings above, and the rods connecting
    with the engine in the rear. Behind this seat is a duplicate
    for a passenger, so located that the addition or omission
    of a second person does not disturb the center of gravity.
    The aluminum bottom of this compartment is a flat-bottomed
    boat. This is the first wholly enclosed cabin or operating
    space used in an aëroplane. Movable panels of aluminum and
    glass are inserted between the boat body and the top of the
    car, affording a wind, rain and cold-proof space. In the low
    flights these sections may be omitted. In altitude flights
    their principal advantage is as a protection against the
    intense cold. We have also planned an electric motor for heat
    generating coils in the cabin and it is wholly possible, as
    soon as we get engine power strong enough to force us into
    the upper atmosphere, we will carry a supply of oxygen in the
    air-tight glass. In this way, with sufficient warmth and
    oxygen, the Loon may soon break the altitude record and double
    the present figures._”

The letter contained many other details and was forwarded at once. The
second day after it had been mailed came a telegram addressed to Frank.

    “_Will cabin hold four men safely? Answer, Rush. Mackworth._”

The reply was:

    “_Six or eight, four in comfort. Frank._”

In two more days came another letter. It was this that turned the
Graham household upside down, almost drove Mrs. Ewing into a panic and
threw Frank and Phil into what was little short of a delirium of joy.
The surprising communication was as follows:

    “_My Dear Nephew:_

    “_I am addressing this to you, but it is in reality written as
    much for your mother and father. I see no reason why the idea
    cannot be carried out. That is, I see no good reason although
    I suppose your parents will find a number of objections. It
    will be my business in a few days to debate those reasons in
    person, if they are presented, for I shall be in Grand Rapids
    within a week._

    “_It is my plan to utilize you and your chum and the monoplane
    on a hunting expedition. My English friends have arrived and
    I find they are set on an expedition after the rare Rocky
    Mountain sheep――the Bighorn. You know, I presume, how these
    animals are usually hunted. In the valleys and canyons, beneath
    their craggy haunts, hunters crawl from day to day, armed with
    binoculars, searching each rocky height, point and crag for
    some sign of the animal. If they are fortunate enough to get a
    glimpse of one, they then begin the real work of trailing it
    up the mountain sides, stalking the wary beast until on some
    almost unscalable bench or summit they can get a shot. That is
    what we used to do. Modern ideas, I have decided, make this
    method obsolete. You, your chum, my two friends and I are
    going to carry the Loon into the mountains and hunt the Bighorn
    with the airship. Prepare to dismount your machine, make cases
    for its parts and, after my talk with your parents, we’ll be
    off for the west. Tell your father to let you have what money
    you need and charge it to me. And, of course, if you have any
    ideas of changes to be made――any additions that will improve
    the monoplane for the work I’ve planned――don’t hesitate to make
    them. Spare no expense to help me give my friends a successful
    trip. Don’t bother about provisions or equipment as Jake will
    be with us and see to them. Sam Skinner, one of my old guides,
    will also be with us._

    “_Your uncle,_

    “_Guy Mackworth._”



Within a few hours after Frank received this astonishing communication,
he had collected five opinions concerning it. These were:

Frank: “Next to sailin’ away to a tropic island in the South Seas on an
old-fashioned three-masted brig in search of lost treasure, it’s the
greatest thing that could have happened.”

Phil: “I’ll go if I lose my job.”

Mrs. Graham: “It’s perfectly ridiculous. I can’t understand what
brother Guy means.”

Mrs. Ewing: “I always knew that flying machine would bring us bad luck.”

Mr. Graham: “Talk it over with me, eh? Well, meanwhile, you boys
needn’t bother with any preparations. You’re not goin’.”

Mr. Graham’s speech was made about noon. Frank expected that his father
would be against Mr. Mackworth’s plan. Therefore, after several futile
attempts to introduce reasons in favor of the expedition, he gave up
for the time. He had scarcely left the office when Mr. Graham received
a letter from Mr. Mackworth.

After repeating what he had written to Frank, Mr. Mackworth went on:

    “_You will, of course, object to this. In that you will be
    unreasonable. As there is no school, it cannot interfere with
    his education. From what I read, I know that he is capable
    of doing what I want. Because you are his guardian you will
    probably want to show your authority. This is the day of
    progress. Men no longer wait until they are thirty or forty to
    become famous. And the thing I propose may be the thing that is
    to make the boys famous. Having no son myself, Frank is almost
    my nearest relative. And I have not suggested this trip as a
    means of taking chances with his life. I am perhaps only less
    concerned in him than you are. Not even you, or his mother,
    could watch over him more carefully. But, after all, if you
    don’t want the boy to go with me, we’ll cut out the flying
    machine. However, I’d like to use both the machine and the boy
    and his friend. If you consent, I’ll stop with two English
    friends about the end of the week._”

During the noon hour Phil rushed home from the factory to get his
mother’s views, but he found little to give him hope. The two boys had
instantly agreed that it was the opportunity of a lifetime. They jumped
at the suggestion as if they had been nursing the idea all their lives.

“Scoopin’ the snow off the loftiest mountain peaks,” suggested Phil
smacking his lips, “lead me to it. Do you reckon he’ll pay me wages?”
he added, suddenly alarmed over the thought of this loss.

“Wages? Shucks,” answered Frank. “Father gives you two weeks each
summer for a vacation. Make this your vacation.”

“But your father says you can’t go,” said Phil. “So what’s the use of
getting all worked up?”

“But you don’t know Uncle Guy,” answered Frank. “He’s awful strong with

“I wish he was as strong with my mother,” Phil said at last.

No sooner had Mr. Graham reached home than he went into an immediate
conference with his wife. There was a new outburst of tears and
protests but, when the family reached the dinner table, Mr. Graham said:

“Frank, are you confident you and Phil can operate that airship as well
as professionals?”

“Better’n most of ’em.”

“Do you think, if we let you go on this foolish trip, that you can act
more like a sane person and less like a lunatic?”

“You mean flyin’ in the rain at night?” laughed Frank.

“I mean, will you cut out experiments?”

“That means you’re goin’ to let me go?” shouted Frank. “Wait till I
call up Phil.”

“I have decided to listen to your uncle’s request and I may consent. I
telegraphed to him this afternoon.”

“Whoop-e-e!” yelled Frank, springing from the table. “I’ll tell Phil――”

“I called up Mrs. Ewing,” explained Mrs. Graham. “I told her what your
father had decided――”

“Then it’s all settled,” shouted Frank. In another moment he was
kissing his mother. “As for you, father,” he cried with another shout,
“I’ll show how much I thank you by calling on you to carry out the rest
of Uncle Guy’s request.”

“The rest?” asked Mr. Graham.

“Yes. He asked you to let me have any money I needed to prepare the
_Loon_. There’s considerable we can do, you know.”

“I believe he did,” answered Mr. Graham with his first smile. “Well, go
ahead; don’t stint yourself. It’s nothing more than your uncle deserves
and you can be sure I’ll keep strict account of every penny.”

“Good for you, pop. Now I want a real favor. Can’t Phil have his
vacation at present, instead of in August?”

“I suppose so,” was his father’s answer.

“Then I wish you would let him off up to that time――to help me. And
don’t dock him.”

“Do you mean so that he can work on the flyin’ machine?”

“Yes. It takes two of us.”

“Then it’s one of the expenses you have been authorized to incur. I’ll
charge his absent time to your uncle. But remember,” he added quickly
as Frank laughed, “the thing isn’t finally settled yet. I must see your
uncle first and talk with him.”

The perilous flight of the boys in the storm had taken place on a
Monday night. Mr. Mackworth’s last letters reached the Grahams just a
week later. Therefore, Frank and Phil began work on the preparation of
the car Tuesday morning.

After a week’s idleness the _Loon_ was out of its hangar early Tuesday
morning. It was as efficient as ever. Having shot out over the
fields for a few miles the boys headed back to town, crossed the big
lumberyards and furniture factories until the Grand River was reached.
This was a favorite stunt of the boys; to follow the beautiful, winding
stream until a deep looking stretch was reached and then to dart down,
hit the water with their hydroplane boat and, like a flying duck,
scatter the spray in a cloud.

“That’s sport,” exclaimed Phil, “but wait till we hit the mountains;
hot as blazes one minute and scrapin’ the snow off the peaks the next.
Listen to me: that’s the real stuff.”

“I reckon, from uncle’s letter,” said Frank a little later when the
monoplane was again in the air, “that they are countin’ on us takin’
two passengers up with us――”

“Maybe three,” suggested Phil. “Both of us don’t have to go every time.”

“Well, three――and we’ll draw lots for turns,” answered Frank. “One of
these, of course, will be Sam Skinner. I can kind o’ figure out what
a mountain looks like, but I can’t get any notion of what a western
hunter looks like. I hope he’ll wear buckskin and a bowie-knife. After
we sight old Mr. Sheep I suppose we’ll take orders from Sam and I
reckon he’ll tell the Englishmen when to shoot.”

“By the way,” added Frank, “what’s your idea about uncle’s guests?”

“Easy,” answered Phil. “Captain Arthur Ludington is a young officer
with a little cheese-box cap; a sofa pillow stuffed in his chest; his
handkerchief up his sleeve; tight pants and a snappy little cane.
That is, at home when he is soldierin’. Out here I reckon he’ll be in
huntin’ tweeds with a Scotch cap and orange-yellow puttees――also a bad
smellin’ pipe.”

“And Lord Pelton?” asked Frank.

“Oh, he’s different. He’ll wear a monocle and his face’ll look as if
it had been shaved two or three times a day. It’ll be red and his hair
will be white. He’ll wear tweeds, too; but he’ll have a high, soft
Austrian hat with a rooster feather in it. I suppose he’ll wear yellow
puttees, too; and he’ll say ‘Ah! Thanks’ every time you go near him.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d want someone to carry his gun.”

“Kind o’ sounds like ’em,” commented Frank. “Which one do you choose?”

“Sam Skinner,” answered Phil, chuckling. “Say,” he continued, “do you
suppose we’ll eat with the quality?”

“Eat with ’em?” snorted Frank. “We’ll eat with ’em and so’ll Sam

Saturday morning a telegram announced that Mr. Mackworth would reach
Grand Rapids at four P. M. The _Loon_ was ready for dismounting but
the boys kept it standing that Mr. Mackworth might, if he desired, see
it in flight. Men from Mr. Graham’s factory had prepared packing cases
for each part.

The principal additions made to the monoplane were the warming coils,
small shaded incandescent lights at all the instruments――compass,
anemometer and altitude barometer, a powerful searchlight using either
acetylene gas or electricity, adjustable seats on each side of the car
and a light but strong rope ladder, hanging from the floor port of the
car so that one on the end of it could be landed by dropping off. And,
what was more important, the purchase and testing of a special supply
of gasoline and lubricating oil.

The town of Grand Rapids is known for the number of its men who are
sportsmen. This is probably because of the game possibilities in that
region. In addition to this, many of its business men are interested
in furniture and consequently in lumber. The present lumber country is
in Canada and the Grand Rapids men have acquired large holdings there.
A Michigan man will run up into Ontario for moose with as little
ceremony as if he were going to his country club over Sunday.

But, a day’s inquiry showed the boys that the only men who had shot
either the Rocky Mountain goat or Bighorn sheep were out of town, and
it was not until Friday evening that they were able to get a book
giving them the information for which they were thirsting. When they
received this book――a simple narrative with most graphic photographs
of the adventures of two men in the lower Canadian Rockies――even the
equipment of the _Loon_ was temporarily forgotten.

Although the book was a large one, Phil secured permission to spend the
night with Frank and, reading by turn, they finished the volume between
one and two o’clock.

“It seems to me,” said Phil, “that your uncle has solved the whole
problem. With the monoplane there’ll be no more perilous slides or
scaling of dizzy heights. Instead of stalking Mr. Goat or Mr. Sheep for
days through the snow, we can go to him like a telegram. I wonder why
no one else has thought of the safe and sane way to go about this kind
of hunting?”

Frank was laughing.

“Safe and sane, eh?” he chuckled. “Well, I reckon the aëroplane
business is spreadin’. But wait till you try to get old Sam Skinner to
go after the Bighorn in your ‘safe and sane’ way. He’ll probably prefer
the good old Alpine way.”

“In which case,” answered Phil, “it will be up to us to educate him.”

When Mr. Mackworth’s message arrived the following morning announcing
that he would be in Grand Rapids that afternoon, the boys rapidly
brought every preparation to a close. At four o’clock they and Mr.
Graham were at the depot with the six-cylinder. As the Eastern train
drew into the train shed Mr. Graham pressed through the gate to receive
his relative. The boys remained behind and in the background. Then they
made out――far down the train shed among the heaps of unloaded baggage
and express matter――Mr. Graham, Mr. Mackworth, two other men and Jake
Green, all busy with bags, cases and boxes.

“Say,” exclaimed Phil at once. “I wonder where the Englishmen are?”

“I reckon that’s them,” answered Frank, a little skeptically however.

“What, those――? They look like New Yorkers.”

“Maybe we didn’t guess right,” suggested Frank, rubbing his chin.

A moment later, with three or four porters in their wake and each laden
with bags and boxes, Mr. Mackworth and Mr. Graham piloted the strangers
through the gate. Mr. Mackworth greeted the boys jovially but with
no loss of time. Then the lads were presented to the strangers. This
formality over, Frank and Phil took charge of a portion of the hand
luggage and the men hurried forward in the big car to the hotel.

As the car sped away, the two boys faced each other and whistled――the
first chance they had had to compare notes.

“I guess we got our ideas from the funny papers,” said Phil at last.

“Or the newspapers,” added Frank. “Captain Ludington hasn’t got a cap
and a cane.”

“And Lord Pelton hasn’t a monocle,” added Phil. “Say,” he went on as if
he himself were amazed at the idea, “we’d better not be too previous
about these men――they don’t look like jokes at all.”

“But _I_ feel like one,” said Frank as he piled the baggage into a
taxicab. “Why, they don’t look at all like funny paper Englishmen;
they’re just regular folks.”



One of Mr. Mackworth’s peculiarities was a preference for hotels.
When he could avoid it he never stopped in private homes. Just now
his excuse was Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton. Mr. and Mrs. Graham
were insistent that the party should stop in their big and comfortable
house, but Frank’s uncle had his way about it.

By the time the boys had reached the hotel the English guests had gone
to their apartments, but Mr. Mackworth and Mr. Graham were yet in the
office surrounded by luggage. Mr. Mackworth at once clasped his hands
on the shoulder of each boy.

“Well, howdy do again?” he began with a cheery chuckle. “Everything
workin’ fine? All ready to be off?”

“I’m afraid you’ll have to see father and mother again,” laughed Frank.
“But the _Loon_ is all ready――”

“I’ll see your mother this evening,” Mr. Mackworth replied. “You ain’t
holdin’ out, are you, Graham?” he went on with a pretended scowl.

“Well,” answered Mr. Graham, “I can’t say that I’ll have the heart
to stop your excursion, crazy as it is. But the mothers of these two

“Say, Graham,” interrupted Mr. Mackworth with a sly wink, “in that mess
of stuff, somewhere, is a Greener shotgun. I had it made in London and
I’ve toted it all the way here for you,” striking Mr. Graham on the
back. “Now you don’t suppose I’m goin’ to turn it over to anyone who’s
ungenerous enough to stop our fun?”

Mr. Graham’s sporting blood was stirred. Next to trout fishing he loved
partridge shooting and this particular gun he had had in mind for years.

“Boys,” he said in turn, laughing, “you see how it is; I’ve been
bribed. Settle it with their mothers, Mackworth. I might as well
consent and have it over.”

This having been practically settled Frank made a suggestion:

“Uncle Guy,” he said, “we had an idea that you and your friends would
want to have a look at the _Loon_ when you got here. So we’ve kept her
in working form. I suppose the English gentlemen will be late sleepers
in the morning. It’s pretty late now but don’t you think you had better
run out now to the hangar and look over the machine? Then we can get
busy knocking the monoplane down in the morning.”

“Oh, we’re not in such a rush to get away, Frank. We’ll give you time
enough. Besides, my friends are quite likely in their tubs by this

Mr. Graham had stepped aside to speak to a passing friend and Frank
took advantage of the further delay.

“Have you time to tell us who they are, Uncle Guy?” he asked. “We had
our notions but we are all twisted.”

“Not disappointed, are you?” was Mr. Mackworth’s answer. “I know what
you mean. You were looking for stage Englishmen――cockney young bank
clerks or “H”-less old esquires. But you ought to know Lord Pelton or
his family――”

“That’s the young one?” asked Phil to be sure they were right.

Mr. Mackworth nodded his head.

“Lord Pelton has just left the university. The family estates are in
Staffordshire. Of course, he is rich; but that is neither here nor
there. He loves the outdoor life; is a yachtsman and especially fond
of shooting. He was after tigers in India when I met him, both of us
guests of Captain Ludington. The captain, as you can guess, is an army
man. He is in the India service and just home on leave. He’s really the
one that put us up to this trip. He has heads, horns and skins enough
to start a taxidermist shop. He still has two big hunts on his program,
he says. This summer he wants the head and black horns of one of our
mountain goats and the head and horns of a Bighorn ram. This winter, or
some other winter, he’s going for musk ox and moose.”

“Then I reckon he knows all about ’em,” put in Phil.

“Considerably more than I do, at least,” answered Mr. Mackworth.
“But I’ve got some books and maps in one of these bags,” he went on,
starting to pick out a bag.

“Not just now,” suggested Mr. Graham, rejoining the group. “No books
and maps now. Frank’ll call for you with the car at eight thirty, and
you’d better get your speech ready for your sister.”

When at the appointed hour Frank piloted the big machine up the
driveway, its passengers presented quite a formal appearance――Mr.
Mackworth and his two guests being in full evening dress. Mrs. Graham
received them on the big colonial porch or gallery where lights were
glowing behind the vines. East India chairs; taborets for cigars;
cooling drinks and oriental rugs made the place more comfortable than

The formalities over, Mrs. Graham good-naturedly took her brother to
task for his recent shortcomings. She had not heard from him for over
six months, in which time he had gone to England, drifted to India and
was just home.

“And now,” Mrs. Graham went on, shaking her head, “the chances are that
we shouldn’t have heard from you had you not taken a notion to steal
our boys. I’m sorry you want Frank and Phil,” she went on, “but I’m
glad you’re going to take the airship. It’s the first one of your crazy
ideas I ever approved.”

“And I can’t even take credit for this idea,” Mr. Mackworth roared, “it
is Captain Ludington’s notion, sister. Give him all the glory.”

Before the embarrassed Mrs. Graham could reply, Captain Ludington was
on his feet, his hands raised in protest.

“On my word, my dear madam, I must protest. I did have in mind a
possibility of big game shooting from an airship; I even suggested the
idea. But, as to using your son’s airship――or even your son――I must
protest; I knew of neither.”

“Quite so,” added Lord Pelton, laughing. “Mr. Mackworth mustn’t shift
the blame of this on my friend. I assure you, Mrs. Graham, your brother
is the guilty person.”

“I thought you gentlemen were going to stand with me in this,” retorted
Mr. Mackworth with mock seriousness, “and now you’ve deserted before
the fire has begun. Well, here goes, single-handed. How about it,
sister? Does Frank go with us, or do we give up the trip? You’re
willing, aren’t you, Graham?” he said, turning to that gentleman, who
was mixing a summer punch of ginger ale, mint and fruits.

“I think it would be all right,” answered Frank’s father
slowly――glancing apprehensively at his wife.

“How did you happen to come to a decision so quickly,” asked Mrs.
Graham at once and suspiciously. The sudden color in her husband’s face
and the peculiar smile on her brother’s made her laugh outright.

“Come,” she persisted, “I must know what sort of a bribe was used.”

“I haven’t received a thing,” Mr. Graham asserted positively.

“What are you _going_ to receive?” persisted his wife.

“Well,” explained Mr. Mackworth, maintaining his injured look, “I have
a present for him. But it isn’t a bribe. You couldn’t suspect me of
buying his consent?”

“I could suspect you of anything,” was his sister’s answer. “Let me see
the present!”

At a signal from Mr. Mackworth, Frank stepped to the automobile and
returned with a heavy leather case――the Greener shotgun from London. As
the raised lid revealed the beautifully engraved, blue-black barrel,
the eyes of each man――Frank’s included――snapped with envy.

“That?” protested Mrs. Graham with but little more than a glance.
“Well, Frank can just stay right at home. It’s a shame for you two
men to make light of such a serious thing. Just as if an old gun had
anything to do with your son and nephew risking his life in that flying
machine. I’m sure Captain Ludington approves of my sentiments. Don’t
you, Captain?”

“Quite so, quite so, to be sure,” exclaimed the captain, hastily
withdrawing his eyes from the beautiful new gun.

“And you, Lord Pelton?” the mischievous lady added quickly.

“I beg pardon, O,――er,――ah, yes, of course. Just as you say, Mrs.
Graham. I’m quite sure you are right.”

Mr. Mackworth laughed outright.

“All right, sister, if you say ‘no,’ why, ‘no’ it is,” he said. “But
just notice how seriously all these gentlemen, including your son, take
this important question. See how concerned they are?” All the men and
Frank were adjusting the parts of the gun.

“I suppose you think that is the way to bring me over,” Mrs. Graham
answered with a smile.

“By no means,” was Mr. Mackworth’s response. “I’m just going to ask you
to let him go because I tell you it is all right.”

“Well, then,” laughed his sister, “of course he can go. But you must
look after his chum Phil, too. His mother depends on him. You’d better
pay him for his time――”

“It’s a bargain, then?”

“Since you ask it――but you must write to us oftener.”

Mrs. Graham turned as if to renew her attention to her other guests
when Mr. Mackworth slipped something into her hand.

“I almost forgot it,” he explained and in an instant he, too, was busy
over the fowling piece.

Mrs. Graham had no need to look into the little leather case――she knew
it contained jewels. One glance revealed a birdlike hair ornament of
diamonds, amethysts and pearls. The glints in the half light hinted at
a cost of thousands of dollars. She was about to rush forward with a
cry of pleasure when the blood flushed her face and she snapped the lid
shut. In another moment she was by her brother’s side.

“Did you――you mean that――that was to get me to say ‘yes’?” she
whispered excitedly.

“By no means,” laughed Mr. Mackworth. “You agreed before I remembered
that I had it.”

“You’d better say that,” she retorted.

“How do you like it?” he asked as he took the case from Mrs. Graham,
opened it and removing the quivering ornament, snapped it in the coils
of her hair.

All on the gallery stepped forward to examine the jewel. Then the
heartless Mackworth had his revenge. While all were bubbling over with
admiration for the valuable ornament, Mrs. Graham’s brother exclaimed:

“O, by the way, gentlemen, Mrs. Graham has consented that Frank may go
with us.”

To escape further confusion, Mrs. Graham fled into the house. When
she had regained her composure and the gun and jewel had been partly
forgotten, Mr. Graham, Mr. Mackworth and Frank walked to Mrs. Ewing’s
home near by and in a short time the last contract had been made in
relation to the proposed expedition. When Mrs. Ewing understood that
Mrs. Graham had agreed to let Frank go; that Phil was to have his
vacation at the present time, she also relented and Phil returned with
the party.

As the evening air grew cooler the party withdrew to Mr. Graham’s
library where pipes and cigars began to glow and the talk to run on
events which were supreme joys to the boys. At last Mr. Graham served
the men a liquor. Captain Ludington raised his glass.

“Here,” he said with a smile, “is a toast: I propose the good luck,
safety and the success of our coming hunt.”

“And I,” added Lord Pelton, “suggest the health and happiness of
Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Ewing――the mothers of Frank and Phil――who have
graciously made our experiment possible.”



So far as the two boys were concerned, nothing now remained to be done
but to pack the aëroplane for shipment.

“I reckon your uncle can afford to send it by express,” said Phil. “But
it’ll cost a lot.”

“And even then we’ll beat it there, I suppose,” added Frank, “for, out
on those mountain railroads, nothing goes anywhere directly. I wish it
was on the way now.”

It was a beautiful day and “an awful waste” of good weather, as Phil
put it. “Think of it,” he suggested, “sittin’ around here just doin’
nothin’ when we might be out there where we’re goin’――”

“Makin’ camp on some tree covered plateau way up near the snow line, or
out lookin’ for bear tracks or a deer trail in the scrub――” broke in

“Or dozin’ in the same kind o’ sun on the pine needles and squintin’
at some big bald eagle lazyin’ through the clouds above you――”
interrupted Phil.

The boys were at the Graham house anxiously awaiting some word from Mr.
Mackworth. Early in the afternoon Mr. Mackworth and his two friends
suddenly appeared on foot, having walked from the hotel.

“Had your breakfast yet, Frank?” was Mr. Mackworth’s greeting.

“Breakfast?” snorted Frank. “Why we’ve had our dinner. Why didn’t you
call up? I’d have brought the car for you.”

“We wanted the walk,” exclaimed Captain Ludington who, in frock coat,
silk gloves and patent leathers, with a bunch of blossoms in his
buttonhole, looked as fresh and young as Lord Pelton who, by the way,
was similarly costumed, except that he wore gray instead of black. “And
we’re prepared to go further. If it isn’t too much trouble might we not
walk to the airship?”

“Naturally, we’re a bit curious about the airship,” added the younger

Mr. and Mrs. Graham having received the visitors, it was explained that
the airship house was a full mile distant. But, as the Englishmen
seemed determined to continue their walk the party, excepting Mrs.
Graham, set out on foot. Mr. Graham, Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton
led the way.

“Your friends certainly look swell,” said Frank, after a bit, to Mr.
Mackworth. “They’re dolled up like a weddin’.”

“Rather good taste, don’t you think?” answered Frank’s uncle with his
peculiar smile.

“O, I don’t like to see grown up men fixed so fancy,” answered Frank.
“But I guess they ain’t got much else to do.”

“You don’t object to _my_ costume, do you?” went on Mr. Mackworth with
the same smile.

“You look pretty comfortable and cool,” answered Phil as both boys
looked over their older companion who was wearing a Panama hat, a white
silk negligee shirt and lightweight suit with belt and tan shoes.

“And lazy,” went on Mr. Mackworth, his smile unchanged. Then his
smile faded and he gave each boy a straight look. “Young men,” he
said slowly, “the men before you who are so carefully dressed are not
‘dolls’ and each has considerable ‘else to do.’ They have seen fit
to make themselves comfortable in certain clothing as you boys have
seen fit to do the same thing in your own way. But you may be sure
than neither of them would have commented on that loose button on your
shirt, Frank, or that spot on your collar, Phil.”

“Why I didn’t mean anything, uncle,” broke in Frank instantly.

“We think they’re fine gentlemen,” added Phil guiltily.

Mr. Mackworth held up his hands and the little smile came back.

“And you both think they are what we used to call ‘dudes,’ young
gentlemen. That’s because you have a great deal to learn. I’m glad to
be taking you on your first trip. When you come back I hope you’ll have
begun to size up a man by his head and not by his clothes.”

“I’m sorry,” began Frank, “but I don’t think you understand.”

“I understand perfectly,” went on Mr. Mackworth, “because I’ve had the
same experience. And there’ll come a time when you’ll know better.”

“Gee,” whispered Phil to Frank a little later. “I’m glad he don’t know
what we expected his friends to look like.”

The boys soon had a lasting illustration that frock coats and silk
hats don’t necessarily make one less a man. When the party reached Mr.
Graham’s lumberyard and the airship shed, it was time for the boys to
take charge of the program. And from the moment that the big doors were
thrown open, the retired and quiet spot burst into a beelike murmur of
buzzing questions and answers.

The bronzelike planes of the stout monoplane stretched out like
the wings of a metallic beetle. The composition windows――clear and
dustless――were all in place. Each observation instrument and recorder
also hung in place. The grapnel lines and rope ladder lay in shipshape
coils on the floor. The exposed metal of the engine glowed like the
barrel of a Tommy Atkins’ rifle. The aluminum body and the aluminum
varnished struts and braces of the car resembled Chinese lacquer in

“Would you believe it, Captain?” exclaimed Lord Pelton at once in
enthusiastic admiration. “Quite a bit better than our dirty military
machines at home. What?”

“I not only will believe it,” was Captain Ludington’s rejoinder, “but
I do. Young gentlemen,” he continued, “am I to understand that you
actually made all of this marvelous craft except the engine?”

“Wherever we found a better mechanic in this town,” acknowledged Frank,
“we hired him to do parts――cabinet workers and metal workers. But they
worked on our plans and models.”

“Well,” continued the captain, “of course, I haven’t had the widest
acquaintance with such craft, although we already have a corps at work
in India and I have attended a few trials by the military squad at
home. But, I know enough to appreciate what is before me. I desire to
congratulate and compliment you. I must also again thank Mr. Mackworth.
I can see we are to get both pleasure and profit from your genius.”

As the distinguished appearing soldier spoke he removed his hat and
bowed as if saluting royalty. While both boys mumbled their thanks,
red in face and embarrassed, each had the same idea. Frank expressed
it later. “And it wouldn’t have sounded half as fine and good,” he
explained to Phil, “if he hadn’t been all ‘dolled’ up. I guess maybe
there’s a time to wear those togs.”

As soon as all had had a view of the natty machine, Frank and Phil
threw off their coats. The windows were dropped and each of the
visitors was assisted into the car to acquaint him with the cabin. The
instruments were explained and finally, the propellers disconnected,
the beautiful sixteen-cylinder engine was put in operation. Without
a break or a jar the sound of its opposed, balanced pistons blended
into each other until only the whirr of throttled power hummed its one
monotonous note through the long shed.

“Hook up the wheels,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth enthusiastically.

“Not in here,” explained Phil. “They’re made for pushing and they do
it. If the machine can’t respond something’s goin’ to give way.”

“You mean she’s got to be able to fly?” continued Mr. Mackworth.
“Well, why not? Haul her out and give us a flight.”

It was Sunday, a day on which the boys had never made flights.

“We haven’t been flying on Sunday――” began Frank.

Captain Ludington at once nodded in approval.

“I think Sunday should be play day for those who have no other,” he
commented. “As we are soon to have none but play days perhaps it would
be well to wait.”

“You’re right,” replied Mr. Mackworth. “In camp, I’ve always found it a
good thing to make Sunday a day of rest.”

As he finished his eyes appeared to notice for the first time a sign on
the wall:


He at once threw the cigar he was smoking out of the shed and again
gave his attention to the airship and its contents. He also expressed
a desire to re-enter the cabin and had just done so with Phil――Frank
being busy with the engine――when there was a rush and Lord Pelton
disappeared through the doors.

The act was unnoticed by Frank, who was bending over the engine; but
Phil, high in the car, gasped and turned cold. From his position he
could see the cause of Lord Pelton’s sudden flight. On the edge of
the wide runway and about five feet from the wide open doors Phil had
left an open can of gasoline from which Frank had just taken fluid
for priming. At this point the runway was only about a foot from the
ground. Mr. Mackworth’s burning cigar had fallen on the runway just
here and then dropped off the edge into a little pile of scraps and

Even as Phil saw thin smoke ascending above the platform and through
it made out the first tiny tongue of red flame, the flying form of
the young Englishman blotted all from view. Before Phil could sound
an alarm Lord Pelton had the can in both arms, its dusty and greasy
exterior smearing his immaculate coat and gloves and the slopping oil
splashing over his face and shirt.

[Illustration: THE FIRE IN THE HANGAR]

Nor was the younger of the guests alone in his quick thinking. Mr.
Graham, Mr. Mackworth and Frank were just trying to make out the
situation when Phil, throwing himself from the cabin of the car with
a cry of warning, grew tense with a new alarm. The smouldering blaze
beneath the runway had found the spilled gasoline on the boards above
and the little flames suddenly exploded into a puff of thick white
smoke. The dripping can had left enough gasoline to set the runway on

As those in the shed rushed forward, led by Phil, Captain Ludington,
well ahead of them, had already saved the day. With no hesitation, and
realizing that the safety of the airship depended on instant action, he
had thrown off his long frock coat, tossed it on the blazing runway and
was smothering the blaze beneath its folds.

It was only a few minutes’ work to control the blazing shavings and
once again the perspiring group drew natural breaths. Lord Pelton was
already laughing at his bedraggled appearance.

“Don’t come near me with cigars,” he shouted, “or I’ll explode.”

His silk hat had rolled aside into the sand and rubbish; his high
collar, light scarf, shirt front and cuffs were limp with gasoline and
the red tint of the can had ruined the front of his coat.

“You’ll need an overcoat or a barrel,” laughed Captain Ludington.

“How about you?” retorted Lord Pelton who, to Frank’s and Phil’s
amazement, seemed more amused than annoyed. At the same moment Lord
Pelton pushed Captain Ludington aside and picked up the latter’s coat.
Two large, charred holes exposed the lining within.

“It’ll be cooler,” laughed the captain. “Meanwhile,” he added more
seriously, “if we saved our airship from damage I think we may
congratulate ourselves. And as for you,” he went on with a great
pretense of indignation and facing Mr. Mackworth, “let this be a
warning to you and your endless black cigars. Now a decent pipe and
this would never――”

“Properly rebuked,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth. “I shall not smoke for an
hour as a penance. For your brilliant personal services I shall see
that each of you receives a hero’s medal. As to how you are to effect a
retreat, that too shall be arranged. The destruction of your clothes
need not annoy you. Where we are going I assure you there will be no
need for frock coats. If you ever return to London I shall do further
penance by ordering your tailors to make you new and whole.”

Mr. Graham could not so humorously dismiss the incident. He attempted
genuine apologies but the Englishmen persisted in turning the affair
about; declaring that the possible prevention of damage to the _Loon_
made the other damage not worth consideration. After Frank and Phil had
had their say the boys withdrew into the aërodrome.

“Phil,” whispered Frank, “I wish you’d give me a good swift kick.”

“That’s not necessary,” answered Phil, his face as scarlet as Frank’s.
“It’s a stand off.”

“Well, anyway,” mumbled Frank, wiping his perspiring face, “if ever you
hear me get smart about any man’s clothes again before I’ve seen him in
action, don’t you wait. Just let ’er come.”

At Mr. Graham’s suggestion the watchman’s shanty was broken open and a
telephone call made for the automobile. Waiting for the car, the plans
for the coming week were taken up and Mr. Mackworth ordered the boys to
begin the crating of the monoplane the following morning.

“Is she goin’ by express?” Frank asked.

Mr. Mackworth shook his head, looking longingly at another cigar which
he dared not light.

“I think we’ll have to wait quite awhile if she goes by freight,”
suggested Phil.

“Of course,” answered Mr. Mackworth. “It’ll be best to take it with us.
There’ll be room, I think.”

“With us?” echoed Phil.

“In our private car,” explained Mr. Mackworth. “It has a baggage
compartment. It’ll be here to-morrow or next day.”



The boys retired into a corner of the aërodrome and gazed at each other

“Special car!” whispered Frank, tiptoeing as if afraid something might
break the spell.

“Private,” added Phil, his lips apart.

“I thought only millionaires and railroad presidents rode in private
cars,” went on Frank.

“Well,” whispered Phil, “ain’t your uncle a millionaire?”

“Millionaire?” repeated Frank. “What? Uncle Guy? I never heard he was.
Is he?”

“The boys at the factory say he owns miles of pine timber all over the
south. Anyway, I reckon he can have a private car if he wants it.”

“Say,” whispered Frank crowding closer to his chum. “I wonder how you
do in ’em. It sounds as if it might be like livin’ in a parlor all the

“And that’s where you eat, too,” answered Phil.

Frank knit his brows.

“I kind o’ thought we could sit together and look out the windows and
get off at all the stations when we got out west.”

“Now,” went on Phil, “I suppose we’ll have to watch our p’s and q’s.
Say,” he added, “I’m kind o’ sore on this special car already.”

“What are you boys brooding over?” called out Mr. Mackworth at this
moment. “I thought you’d be anxious to hear about our car and the

“We’ve been waitin’ a week or more,” answered Frank. “And there are
a lot of things we’d like to know about, including the car. We are a
little surprised.”

“Surprised is the word,” interposed Captain Ludington. “Do you mean to
tell us, Mr. Mackworth, that we are about to be escorted to our hunting
grounds in state――in all the exclusiveness of a private car?”

“Cheapest way to travel if you want comfort,” answered his host
laughing. “I don’t like the food on trains. Then one usually gets
hungry at places where there are no eating houses.”

“Why, I never traveled in a private car in my life!” exclaimed Lord

“Don’t be alarmed,” answered Mr. Mackworth. “They’re really not half
bad. You’ll get used to it――”

“You don’t understand,” interrupted Lord Pelton, as if frightened. “Of
course, it will be a jolly lark. But, my word, Mr. Mackworth, roughing
it in your wild west in a private car and scaling ice and snow covered
peaks in a heated airship is quite too much.”

But, the automobile arriving just then, Mr. Mackworth only laughed and
the older members of the party were whisked off to their hotel. Frank
and Phil locked up the aërodrome and walked to Phil’s home where Frank
helped his chum sort over his outfit.

“I don’t know what I’ll be allowed to take――especially in a private
car,” Phil said significantly, glancing at his mother with a smile.

“A private car?” repeated Mrs. Ewing. “You’re not going in one of those
things, are you?”

“Certainly, mother. Why not?”

“If all’s true I’ve heard, those who ride in private cars don’t do
anything but drink champagne and carry on.”

“Don’t bother about that, Mrs. Ewing,” laughed Frank. “I’ve heard that
Uncle Guy never drinks anything of the kind. I know he won’t let Jake
Green drink whisky.”

“Well, I do hope it won’t be the ruination of you boys, making you so

“This don’t look much like it,” laughed Phil pointing to his fishing
clothes which he was packing in a suit case. “In spite of our luxurious
surroundings I’m fittin’ out just as if I were goin’ into the woods for

Phil’s outfit was not elaborate: extra suits of woolen underclothing;
two gray flannel shirts; an old Norfolk jacket with cartridge pockets;
laced waterproof boots that reached to the knees; buckskin mittens with
a trigger finger; a cap with ear tabs; a soft cloth hat; his shotgun
and a box of loaded shells; a rod and fish-box.

“I don’t think you’ll need the shotgun as much as you will a rifle,”
suggested Frank. “As for the trout rod and flies, what are you goin’
to do with them in the mountains?”

“Like as not you’re right. But the fact is, old man,” said Phil
puckering his lips, “I haven’t a rifle, except father’s old Long Tom
and that’s too heavy and big to be taken. As for the rod――you wait.
Those mountain streams are the real trout factories and I expect to
land many a breakfast with this old rod.”

“Well, I’ll take father’s old single shot rifle――I haven’t anything
of my own,” said Frank. “That’ll do for both of us. And you take the
fishin’ outfit.”

The same sorting of equipment took place at Frank’s home a little
later. Mrs. Graham offered many suggestions of needed additions, all of
which the boys rejected except a small medicine kit which they accepted
with a half protest. The boys, having finished the packing of Frank’s
bag and case, washed up and withdrew to the lawn to hold their last
council of war.

Can any boy, eager for travel and adventure, imagine a more pleasant
moment? To Frank especially the possibilities of the near future were
already unrolling a panorama of all that he had read and dreamed――the
great wonderland of America into which he and Phil were about to
plunge. Not all Europe, he explained to Phil, contained more awe
inspiring and sublime scenery.

“Uncle said we are going to Fernie, across the line in British
Columbia,” explained Frank as he and his chum made themselves
comfortable on the grass. “He can go two ways; by the United States or
through Canada. But, whichever way he goes, we’ll end up in a bunch of
scenery that’ll open your eyes.”

“If there are mountain goats and Bighorn sheep there I suppose there’ll
be a mountain,” suggested Phil.

“A mountain,” sneered Frank. “There ain’t anything but mountains
for hundreds of miles in all directions. We’ll be just west of the
continental divide where the big Rockies turn the rivers to the Pacific
and Atlantic. To the north of us you’ll see the Purcell range and west
of us the Selkirks. The only place you won’t find mountains you’ll find
snow-fed rivers and ice-bottomed lakes――”

“Sounds good, just now,” chuckled Phil drawing his handkerchief across
his face. “But how are you goin’ to take a private car out there?”

“By sneakin’ through the mountain passes and crawlin’ along the canyon
bottoms through snowsheds,” explained Frank. “There are little branch
roads that leave the big lines and climb up and up.”

“And when they can’t go any further,” exclaimed Phil, “it’s ‘presto,
change’ out comes the _Loon_ and we’re off through the air.”

When Mr. Mackworth and his friends reappeared the latter carried no
signs of the accident. After all had been made comfortable on the wide
porch there was general talk for awhile and then, previous to dinner,
the party began to separate into groups. Mrs. Graham carried her
brother into the house; Mr. Graham and Lord Pelton began to discuss
water plants, of which there was a fine collection in an artificial
pool in one corner of the big yard and, for the first time, the boys
found themselves alone with Captain Ludington.

“Mr. Mackworth says you’ve had all kinds of experiences with big
game,” began Phil at once. “Won’t you tell us some of your adventures?”

“He can’t mean all kinds of experiences,” laughed the Englishman.
“He means many kinds. That’s true. But I’m afraid they are a bit
monotonous. In fact,” he continued modestly, “I’m afraid he exaggerates
my hunting experiences. Really,” he went on, straightening up in his
chair, “I’m quite sure we have better adventures before us in your
airship than I have behind me. I’ve never gone in quest of any game
with quite the enthusiasm that I have for this sheep shoot.”

“More’n tigers?” exclaimed Frank.

Captain Ludington smiled.

“Shooting tigers from the back of an elephant, with a hundred natives
to beat the bush and drive the panic-stricken beast within range of a
half dozen express rifles is not my idea of the best sport.”

The two boys, somewhat surprised, listened intently.

“What makes the Bighorn sheep such fine sport?” asked Frank suddenly.
“I suppose it’s because they are rare and hard to get.”

Captain Ludington was looking silently across the sloping yard into the
deep blue of the gathering evening, as if thinking.

“Are they very much different from common sheep an’ goats?” added Phil,

The Englishman roused himself and laughed.

“It isn’t because they are so rare or so hard to kill,” he exclaimed
in answer. “And they are not at all like common sheep and goats. The
latter answers you partly. As for the rest, who can explain the charm
of the chase? In this case we must allow for the fascination of the
surroundings; the snow-tipped mountain peaks; the solitude of the
rugged mountain slopes; the baffling gorges that turn the hunters back;
the bottomless chasms, wherein the green glacier waters leap and roar
beyond the sound of human ear――”

“You must o’ been there, then?” ventured Frank, carried away by Captain
Ludington’s eloquence.

“Near enough to know what it means,” went on the speaker. “I’m afraid
you youngsters don’t know all about your own country.”

“I can see we’re goin’ to find out something if we stay near you,”
ventured Phil.

“I’m sure I can think of no more agreeable companions,” returned
Captain Ludington with a smile which fixed him fast in the hearts of
both boys.

“And where’d you see these glacier waters?” persisted Frank.

“I’ve been in America only once before,” explained the captain as he
helped himself to a thin little cigar from a gold case, “and that
was about four years ago, while on a quick mission home by way of
the Pacific. I traveled through Canada and stopped a few days in the
heart of the Canadian Rockies――at the foot of the Great Glacier of
the Selkirks. Here, surrounded by mountains towering eleven thousand
feet in the air; listening to the rush and play of the glacier streams
cooled by never melting snows, I heard the story of the Bighorn and the
snow white goat. I was led along dizzy heights and shown where, for
three hundred miles, this wilderness of peak and crag led to the south.
Between the snowy ranges, I was told, great streams and riverlike lakes
led to the distant United States. And in this land――one of Nature’s
solitudes――the Bighorn sheep and the ebon-horned goat have made their
last stand. In a few years the flag of the railway engineer will have
marked their end. Fortunately,” concluded the captain, “we shall
precede him.”

This was the sort of talk that pleased poetical Frank. More practical
Phil did not give way to sentiment so easily.

“Well, what are they like if they aren’t like common sheep and goats?”

“The Bighorn sheep,” answered Captain Ludington, “is known in the books
as Ovis Canadensis and the goat is called by zoölogists, Oreamnus
Montanus. The latter isn’t a goat at all. It is really an antelope and
is related, in a way, to the chamois.”

“Where the skins come from?” suggested Phil.

Neither Captain Ludington nor Frank seemed to think this especially
funny and the military man continued.

“There isn’t much question but what these animals reached this
continent from Asia by way of Bering strait, for we have animals much
like them in the Himalayas. In America they are most commonly found
in Alaska and British Columbia. But, according to old hunters, fifty
years ago they had penetrated the United States as far as Idaho. Old
horns are yet found in the mountains of that state and Montana, but now
the greatest herds of each seem to have collected in the Selkirk and
Purcell Mountains south of the Great Selkirk glacier, and along the
United States boundary line.”

“And that’s where we’re goin’!” exclaimed Frank.

“As I understand it,” answered the captain. “We can reach this region
through the Rockies by way of the Crow Nest Pass on a branch of the
Canadian Pacific, or we can come up from the States from Rexford in
Montana direct to Fernie.”

“Does a mountain goat look like a billy goat?” went on Phil.

“A mountain goat may stand between three and four feet high,” explained
the captain, “and its long, snow-white hair hangs straight down like
the fringe of a curtain. Its horns, never much more than six inches
long, are black as night, straight and pointed like stilettos. They
are inclined slightly to the rear and woe unto the man or beast that
meets the animal in contest――a lunge forward with lowered head; a brace
of its clinging hoofs; a thrust upward to impale its enemy, and then
the backward jerk that rends its victim with two long fatal gashes.”

“And the sheep?” continued Phil.

“Almost as large, with great, deep, oxlike eyes; close, short, brownish
to black hair; no tail, and heavy sweeping horns that are the envy
of every big game hunter. Where you find the sheep you do not find
the goat. But we shall find both. As for my own personal hunting
experiences you’ll have to excuse me to-day. If we find a dull hour
in camp out there in the mountains I may tell a story I heard on the
glacier――an Indian tale of a Bighorn sheep――the King of the Glacier.
But it is a story for the camp where the snow is in sight and deep
chasms echo the sound of buried waterfalls.”



The much discussed private car arrived the following evening, too late
to be loaded that day. But, as it was sidetracked near the Union Depot,
Mr. Mackworth and the two boys were soon on the ground to look it over.
When they came in sight of the long, heavy, maroon-tinted car, two
colored men were just leaving it.

“Yaas sah, Ah is Nelson and Ah am de potah ob de Teton. Leastways Ah
is gwine to be when she gits in commission. But Ah reckon yo’ kaint
count this bein’ really in commission, not havin’ carried no passenjahs
yit. Ah reckon yo’ all is de gemmen who is gwine gib de Teton her first

“We are,” said Mr. Mackworth. “Open the car and one of you stay in it
if the other has occasion to do any sight-seeing or shopping――”

“Yaas sah, yaas sah,” responded Nelson. “We all jes’ been gwine to
search yo’ out fo’ to gib yo’ dis letter from de supintendent. We’s
bound to do dat――”

“And this?” went on Mr. Mackworth, turning to the other man and
interrupting the talkative Nelson or “Nelse.”

“Dat, sah,” answered Nelse, “am Robert, sah. Mr. Robert Belknap. He’s
de chef.”

Robert, being really twice as old as Nelson and with a little stoop in
his shoulders, hair that had almost turned to white and the shiny look
that always suggests the range, bowed and smiled. “Ah don’ tole you,
boy, Ah better stay by dat cah――”

“It’s all right,” laughed Mr. Mackworth, “but remember, while you
are with me, my friends and I are taking a pleasure trip――you boys
are doin’ the work. I’ll arrange to let you play after you get back.
Robert,” he continued, “you look as if you knew your business. I
hope you do, for I’m particular. My butler is with me. His name is
Jake――Jake Green. He’ll see you in the morning about stocking up.
You’ll lay in provisions for not less than three weeks and Jake will
help you with your list.”

“Dat Jake, he ain’t gwine to fuss ’bout de kitchen, is he?” began
Robert at once.

Mr. Mackworth motioned to both Nelson and Robert to approach. Then he
said: “Listen, both of you. Jake is my own servant. He’s goin’ to fuss
around this car considerable and he’ll tell both of you boys what I
want. If you don’t care to work with him the time to quit is right now.”

“We been ’signed to the Teton,” began Nelse.

“Ah got to ’count to de supintendent fo’ mah kitchen,” added Robert.

“And I’m payin’ both of you,” said Mr. Mackworth. “The minute you and
Jake clash, something’s goin’ to happen. Jake’ll help both of you and,
when I’m not on the car, he’s boss. Don’t make any mistake about that.”

“Yaas sah, yaas sah,” said Nelse slowly, as he opened the car door.

The car won the hearts of the boys even before they were aboard it. It
was not an old-fashioned, private coach, resembling a sleeping car with
a few staterooms and a kitchen attached. The Teton was a new idea, one
of several cars then in construction to fill the demands of people of
wealth who not only want comfort, but who want to carry ease and luxury
into out-of-the-way places. The designers of the car called it a
“hunter’s car,” although the hunters who could afford it were evidently
not many.

The main feature of the car was that it was an entire train condensed
into one compact coach. A little longer than the average sleeping car,
it had a baggage compartment forward with doors wide enough to admit
an automobile. In the forward part of this compartment were upper
berths for two servants. There was also a ventilated kennel for dogs
and plenty of space for ordinary baggage. Beneath this compartment and
having access only from the outside of the car was a gasoline tank. In
this baggage section the _Loon_ was to be stored.

“It’s a good thing we saw it to-night,” exclaimed Frank as soon as they
entered the baggage room. “We were counting on the ordinary baggage
space. Now we’ll have to cut our plane sections down some more. But
that’s easy――we’ll be aboard by noon to-morrow.”

“You see where your gasoline goes?” said Mr. Mackworth, who seemed a
little proud of the beautiful car which was making its first trip.

“We’ll have five-gallon tanks of gasoline all over this car,” laughed
Phil. “And if Nelse and Robert are goin’ to use these berths they’ll
have to be searched each night for matches and pipes or something’ll

“That’ll be easy,” suggested Mr. Mackworth. “There are so few of us
that there’ll be other sleeping accommodations for them.”

The rear of the car was rounded out in an observation extension
resembling a room. Beyond the entrance steps adjustable curtains fell
from the top of the car to the floor so that the sun, smoke and wind
might be shut off on one side, leaving the other open for the view and
air. The floor of the extension was of thick, maroon-colored rubber on
which the chairs easily kept their position, even at the highest speed.

Just within the car was the real observation room. In a house it would
have been called the living room. Here, extending the full width of
the car, and about twelve feet long, was a room, decorated to please a
sportsman’s eye. Against the forward wall was fastened an upright piano
and in the center was an extension table. The decorations were western
mountain and hunting scenes. Above the piano was a painting of Glacier
Park, in Montana; and above this a mounted grizzly bear head.

“If dey’s ladies in de party,” explained Nelse, “dis is de place whar
dey is sposed to have fo’ to be alone whilst de men folks is playin’
cards in de dinin’ room or smokin’ out on de poach.”

“Where does the piano come in?” exclaimed Frank.

“Wait till you hear Lord Pelton sing his English coster songs,”
answered Mr. Mackworth. “I didn’t order it, but as it’s here don’t
worry about it. I’ve seen many a time in camp out on the plains when
a piano would have come in handy,” he concluded, laughing. “And, come
to think about it, you play yourself, don’t you?” he added, looking at

“O, only enough to start Phil on his coon songs.”

“Good,” chuckled Mr. Mackworth. “That’s it――Pelton and Ewing, coster
songs and ragtime――that’ll liven the evenings all right.”

Next to this compartment came three staterooms all located on the same
side of the car with an aisle opposite them. Each contained two berths
with space left for a steamer trunk, a table and washstand. The first
and second rooms were connected, and between the second and third rooms
was a bath. These rooms accommodated the party perfectly.

Next was the dining room, somewhat longer than the room containing the
piano. There was a heavy, fixed table in the center and on each side of
the room two upper berths. When not in use these berths could hardly be
detected. When made up, however, they dropped much lower than the usual
upper berth.

“Here,” explained Mr. Mackworth, “I think we’ll have to stow our
servants if you don’t want them forward with the gasoline.”

This was at once decided on.

In one corner of this room was a desk and, in addition to the table
chairs, there were other easy chairs. From each side of the room a
luxurious looking couch could be drawn from the wall for daylight
lounging or naps. The side panels in this room were photographs of
mountain peaks and waterfalls. On the table were two immense standard
lights shaded with a tint of maroon, in keeping with the tone of the

“With this,” suggested Phil, as Nelse snapped on the soft lights, “and
Robert in the kitchen and Jake as steward, I think we ought to be able
to make out.”

The dining and extra berth room ended in a narrow passage in the
center of the car. On one side of the passage was Robert’s domain――a
narrow and small but complete kitchen. Opposite was a lavatory for the
servants and a storeroom for provisions and range charcoal.

“Pretty small,” suggested Frank as he stuck his head in the provision

“Land sakes, yo’ all ought to see de ice box underneath de cah. Yo’ kin
shore carry enough food dar. If Mr. Green gwine fill up dat box he sho’
gwine do some buyin’.”

Beyond the kitchen was the baggage compartment. Every appliance in the
car was the latest; every detail of decoration the work of an artist;
and as Mr. Mackworth and the boys took their departure the latter kept
looking over their shoulders as if to make sure it was not all a dream.

Mr. Mackworth, always doing the unusual, furnished a pleasant surprise
for his friends the next day. While Frank and Phil were busy with the
dismembered _Loon_, Jake Green was also at work. The boys did not meet
Jake until nearly noon when they reached the car with a wagon load of
crates. Mr. Mackworth’s “butler” was what is known as a “smart” colored
boy. He arrived at the car at the same moment with a delivery wagon
load of groceries. There was no introduction. Jake had some of his
training abroad. He knew Frank and Phil and he assumed they knew him.

“I think, gentlemen,” he said at once, “that it would be better to put
these small supplies aboard first. Then we can fill up the baggage car
if you like.” Jake did not talk like a colored man and he did not wait
for orders. “Then I’ll give you a hand stowin’ that stuff.”

Throwing off his natty, dark-blue coat, Jake turned up his immaculate
shirt sleeves and in another moment, his fresh straw hat on the back
of his head, had the delivery wagon at the car door. He gave no orders
to Nelse――who was present sporting a stiff, white porter’s jacket――nor
to Robert who also wore his badge of office in a chef’s cap; but in
some manner, in a few moments, Nelse and Robert and the delivery clerk
were busy handling the supplies while Jake had taken up the new job of
assisting Frank and Phil to lay out the place for the airship crates.

The surprise was Mr. Mackworth’s change of plans as to a dinner party
he was to give that evening to Mr. and Mrs. Graham, Mrs. Ewing and the
boys. Instead of being at the hotel, it took place on the Teton. A
little after noon the _Loon_, its attachments and the gasoline and oil
had been compactly and snugly stored in the car. There was even room
left for other supplies.

Jake Green had removed his bag to the car and taken charge with no
signs of rebellion on the part of Nelse. This was partly due to
the fact that Jake never seemed to give an order. He represented
his employer in arranging the dinner and even before the boys were
through the stowing of the monoplane they could see that the meal
was to be no impromptu event. The car, new as it was, was swept and
dusted throughout and the shades drawn. Then the silver and china
and glassware were washed and polished――Jake carefully examining

The Teton was to be attached to the midnight train for Chicago. Mr.
Mackworth, Lord Pelton and Captain Ludington appeared on the scene of
activity as the last airship box was being unloaded. Work stopped while
all again examined the car. On the table in the end room stood a vase
of fresh roses; by their side were all the late magazines, including
several English ones; on a tray were Mr. Mackworth’s favorite cigars;
for all of which Nelse, very important in his white jacket and all
smiles, took entire credit.

Mr. Mackworth’s guests again protested at the luxurious surroundings;
but their host, smiling as usual――for he never seemed happier than when
giving others pleasure――dismissed their comments by saying:

“We’d better be comfortable while we can. You know we may be living
on beans and pork in a few days. You may find it rough enough in the

The boys smiled as they recalled the food that the experienced Jake had
been storing away all day. They knew, also, that even if Mr. Mackworth
left the car for a camping trip that he would provide just as liberally
for comfort. This was apparent from the character of Mr. Mackworth’s
camp equipage, which had just begun to arrive with the guns and other
sporting paraphernalia.

On this inspection Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton were assigned
stateroom number one; Mr. Mackworth took the adjoining room and the two
boys were located in the last one. The drawn blinds and the fresh linen
in each made the rooms most inviting. It was decided that the members
of the party should move into the car at their convenience. To Frank
and Phil this meant at once. As their parents were to dine with them
leave takings at home were unnecessary.

When the airship demanded no more attention its young owners hurried
home and secured the Graham automobile. For over an hour Frank and Phil
rushed over the city on the usual last, almost forgotten errands. There
were some farewells to be said; some small purchases of fishing tackle
to be made and, of course, the buying of certain boys’ literature that
Jake could not be expected to provide. Then home again, a hasty bath
and the lads were ready for stateroom number three.

Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton arrived about six o’clock with their
personal belongings. Mr. Mackworth came a little later, apparently
with no baggage. But, a few moments later, a dray arrived with a heap
of luggage that put Jake at his wits’ ends. Several telegrams were
written; the depot master was called down to the car for a conference,
and then Mr. Mackworth turned the affable host again.

Things were quickly getting in order in the car. Frank and Phil had
unpacked and hung up their clothes. Their camp and outdoor luggage
they had crowded into the baggage compartment. There, too, had gone
most of the boxes of Mr. Mackworth and his guests. In the dining room
Jake had assisted Nelse in arranging the table, on which was a bowl
of white roses glowing beneath the two maroon shaded lights, while in
the kitchen Robert left no doubt that he was busy. The subtle odor of
cooking that escaped through the ventilator stole in through the window
of the boys’ room.

“Some dinner to-night, I reckon,” suggested Phil.

At seven o’clock the guests arrived, Mr. Mackworth and his big cigar
greeting them in the observation extension.



Mr. Mackworth knew the restaurants of America and Europe as some people
know the capitals and museums. Because of this his tastes were simple
but precise. In the woods or in camp he never failed to superintend the
preparation of each meal offered his guests. Even in cities, on special
occasions, he frequently descended into club, restaurant and hotel
kitchens for a word with the chef or, like as not, added the last touch
by his own hand to the principal dish.

This evening he gave no sign of interfering with Chef Belknap beyond
general directions for the dinner. But, just before seven o’clock, he
spoke to Jake and the colored boy disappeared in the direction of the
depot not far distant. Soon after a dusty train from the north rattled
in. A few minutes later Jake reappeared carrying a basket from which
water was dripping.

As he passed along the side of the car Mr. Mackworth arose and
disappeared toward the kitchen where he remained some minutes. When he
returned it was quite dark. The lights had been turned on in the rear
room and the assembled guests presented a festive appearance. Captain
Ludington and Lord Pelton were in dinner coats, as was Mr. Graham.

“I am surprised you don’t invite us to travel with you!” exclaimed Mrs.
Graham as her brother made his appearance. “This is a great waste of
luxury on a party of unappreciative men.”

“Who are now appearing in state for the last time,” replied Mr.
Mackworth waving his hand toward his formally attired companions. “But
we’ll compromise by taking your husband,” he added, nodding toward Mr.

“Not for me,” exclaimed Frank’s father, laughing. “When I go into the
wilderness I don’t carry feather beds and chefs.”

The mystery of Jake’s basket came out when the party reached the dining
room. Aside from the two shaded lamps and the bowl of white roses, the
table was barren of decoration. Ten places were laid, but only the
plates, forks and heavy napkins were in sight. At a signal from Mr.
Mackworth Jake removed the roses from the center of the table, and at
the same moment Nelse deposited in their place a large white platter.

On this dish, devoid of decoration and wholly without sauce, were
ranged several dozen golden, smoking strips from which arose an incense
that was ample compensation for the removed roses. The two Englishmen
leaned forward with eager curiosity. All other recognized the dish

“Gentlemen,” began Mr. Mackworth soberly, “it affords me great pleasure
to present to you a delicacy that is, I take it, the daintiest edible
in the world. It is a dish that must be eaten alone, unprofaned by
association with other foods or drinks. Captain Ludington and Lord
Pelton, in honor of your first visit to this part of the world, and
with the assistance of Chef Robert, I offer you that which even
your own venerated Isaac Walton never enjoyed or saw――the glory of
Michigan’s woodland brooks――a dish of trout.”

With this speech Mr. Mackworth, pleased at the surprise of his guests,
explained how he had telegraphed to the north the day before and
ordered brook trout; how they had been caught early that morning in the
Manistee and been forwarded that afternoon by express. Then, dropping
his formality, their host exclaimed:

“And now, go to ’em. Remember, we may have nothing but pork and beans
in a few days. Help yourselves. I don’t know what else Robert has for

When the little golden brown fish had disappeared, held by the head and
eaten like a confection――for Mr. Mackworth would permit neither knife
nor fork――Captain Ludington sank back with a sigh.

“Mr. Mackworth,” he exclaimed, “of all the pleasures you have given
us and promised, none can take the place of this. It is the sweetest
morsel I ever ate.”

“And the cook who prepared that dish is to go with us?” asked Lord
Pelton eagerly.

Mr. Mackworth looked about and nodded his head toward Jake Green.

“Robert thinks he cooked ’em,” he answered laughing, “but he only
thinks so. It was Jake who gave them just the dash of salt; the
suspicion of pepper and a touch of flour. No railroad chef knows just
the temperature of the pure olive oil into which they were dropped for
a few moments. Jake,” continued Mr. Mackworth, “they were almost as
good as if they had been cooked on the Little Manistee.”

“Thank you, sir,” exclaimed Jake, “but trout ain’t trout away from the

“That’s right,” said his employer. “And if we’re lucky enough to find
some mountain rainbow trout where we are goin’, Jake’ll attempt his
masterpiece――a balsam bake. Then he’ll serve you what the chefs of
Europe can’t duplicate――a cooked trout on whose sides the gold and
carmine tints are yet glowing.”

“I suppose,” broke in Mr. Graham with a laugh and addressing the
Englishmen, “you’d like to know why the trout were served first and

The guests turned toward him curiously.

“My brother-in-law has created a beautiful little romance. But we don’t
talk that way in the woods. The fact is that, after one or two meals,
we get saturated with trout. Then, when we have guests, we give them
their trout first and alone. We don’t even go to the table until that
course is served. If you don’t believe me, when you get a chance, watch
Mackworth while he’s fishing. He don’t want to catch the trout――unless
it’s a whale. He’s fly casting. He’s only thinking about his skill with
the rod and the fly. When he can’t help hooking fish he sends them away
at once to his friends.”

While all were laughing over this, Mr. Mackworth alone excepted, Mr.
Graham continued:

“Why I once heard an old fisherman say that two meals of brook trout
were great. After that he preferred, of all fish, a nice stew of salt
cod with plenty of potatoes.”

In such manner the dinner in the Teton proceeded. At its conclusion
there was an hour or more of leave taking between the boys and their
parents and, sometime after ten o’clock, Mr. and Mrs. Graham and Mrs.
Ewing withdrew. Mr. Mackworth and his guests prepared for a last smoke
of the evening and after filing some telegrams for Mr. Mackworth, Frank
and Phil retired to their stateroom. They were not sleepy and for some
time the two boys rattled along in talk of the great events to come. At
last they heard their elders withdraw to their staterooms.

“I’m not goin’ to bed till we start,” announced Frank sleepily.

“We can go out and sit in the observation end after a bit,” suggested
Phil. But, each being in his pajamas and in bed, when Frank looked at
his watch later he was astounded to see that it was three o’clock. The
car was in motion. It had been attached to the midnight train and was
on its way to Chicago.

When Phil awoke his surprise was even greater, for it was after six
o’clock and the heavy Teton was hammering along over the hundreds of
railway intersections in the suburbs of Chicago. The two boys tumbled
out at once. But they were not the first to arise. The berths in the
dining room were made up; the rear observation room and platform had
been dusted and swept and Jake and Nelse were busy with dust rags on
the windows and woodwork.

“Can’t we do something?” began Frank, eager to be of service.

“Here, give me a rag,” added Phil.

Nelse seemed not averse to accommodating the boys but Jake suggested:

“Mr. Mackworth don’t get up very early and breakfast will be late. If
you young gentlemen will go into the end room, I’ll bring you some
coffee in a few minutes. And how would you like your eggs?”

It was apparent that Jake knew what he and Nelse were engaged to do.
While the boys were at their coffee the train drew out of the southern
suburbs and, after skirting the blue waters of Lake Michigan for
twenty minutes, came to a grinding stop in a big open train shed. Mr.
Mackworth, yet in his pajamas, appeared almost at once.

“Well, boys,” he exclaimed, “I see you have a good start on us. We’ll
be in Chicago until ten o’clock to-night. You can take the day to do as
you like. The car will be in this depot until six o’clock this evening
when it will be switched around the city to the Union Station. After
six thirty this evening you’ll find the car there. In the meantime you
can amuse yourselves. Captain Ludington, Lord Pelton and I will be at
the Blackstone Hotel all day and dine there to-night. If you want a
little shore fare you can join us at any time. Or, if you prefer, you
can have your meals on the car. By the way, is there anything you want?
That reminds me,” he went on, dismissing Jake under the pretext of
bringing him a cup of coffee, “I may as well advance you some money.
What are you young men going to charge me for your services?”

“I’m not going to charge anything,” exclaimed Phil. “I’m overpaid

“He wants a gun,” broke in Frank. “Father told me if I let you give me
a cent he’d lick me when I got back.”

“How much of a licking could you stand for, say, three hundred
dollars?” asked Mr. Mackworth chuckling, “for I think that’ll be about
the figure――one hundred dollars a week.”

“Well,” answered Frank with a grin. “I’ve stood a good many for nothin’
and I ought to stand a dandy for three hundred dollars, but I guess I
won’t take any pay. Say,” he added in a whisper, “give it all to Phil.
He can use it and I don’t need it.”

“Phil,” he said, “you’ll have to accept wages or leave us. I can’t let
you quit your work for nothing.”

“I get eighteen dollars a week when I’m at work,” answered Phil. “If I
have to take anything that’ll be enough.”

“But, my boy,” urged Mr. Mackworth, “I could never think of trusting
the safety of my friends to an eighteen-dollar-a-week aviator. It’s

“Well, call it seven days a week, twenty-one dollars,” conceded Phil.
“That’ll certainly be plenty.”

Mr. Mackworth laughed, stepped into his stateroom and returned in a
moment with a wallet. One after another he drew out ten yellow-backed
twenty-dollar bills, dropped them on the table and then said:

“There is something on account. We’ll settle the question of wages
later.” Jake having returned with his coffee, Mr. Mackworth refreshed
himself with a few swallows and then added: “Go out and buy what you
need. Get an automobile and take a ride around town. If you need any
more money, call me up at the Blackstone.”

Before the boys could protest he disappeared into his apartment.

“I can’t take it,” exclaimed Frank.

“Then I suppose I’ll have to act as trustee,” added Phil, “but I don’t
feel right about it.”

While he nervously gathered up the bills one of them fluttered to the

“You dropped a bill, Mr. Phil,” exclaimed Jake with alacrity, as he
picked it up.

“That’s all right, Jake,” exclaimed Phil, wetting his lips. “Divide it
up with the other boys――a little spending money while you’re in the

Jake hesitated and looked at Frank.

“It’s all right, Jake,” exclaimed Frank, “you’d better keep it.”

The boys had not often visited the great western city and they decided
at once to make a full day of it. With notice to Jake that they would
return to the car for luncheon――having previously agreed that they
would not join their elders at the hotel――they were soon on their way
to the heart of the city. With nearly two hundred dollars in their
pockets, and all a boy’s longing for dozens of little odds and ends
that they had never felt rich enough to buy, they began the day with a
shopping tour that left no time for automobile riding.

“Besides,” suggested Phil, “an automobile would cost ten dollars――and
ten dollars is ten dollars.”

They got in a few glimpses of the great skyscrapers, but their time
in the main was spent in examining shop windows. For a long time they
studied over the purchase of a light weight, high power sporting rifle,
with telescope sight, pistol grip, revolving magazine, .256 bore and
a range of eight hundred yards. But the cost was $75 (with cartridges
at $7 a hundred). They finally bought a 7¾ pound, five-shot
autoloading, repeating rifle for $25. This was for Phil. Frank had
$25 of his own. With $15 of this he bought an automatic, smokeless
revolver, thirty-two caliber, holding eight cartridges.

As this made quite an inroad in his own private funds he subsequently
permitted Phil to expend Mr. Mackworth’s money for things even of his
own selection although, to ease his conscience, he insisted everything
so purchased belonged to his chum. The list of their purchases included:

    Two Jersey cloth jackets, all wool, dead
      grass color                                     $12.00

    Two outing belts                                    2.00

    One-quart thermos bottle                            5.75

    One 2½ gallon water bag                             1.85

    Two waterproof match boxes                          1.00

    Two rubber drinking cups                             .40

    Two hunting knives, razor ground, with
      sheaths                                           4.00

    Two dozen imported Scotch eyed flies for
      trout                                             4.00

    One large fish tackle box                           2.50

    Two silk neckties, black                            3.00

    One five-pound box of chocolate candy               4.00

    One fountain pen                                    3.50

    One box stationery                                  1.50

    Four books postage stamps                           1.00

    One camera                                         18.00

    Six rolls of films                                  3.50

Counting the $1.00 for a cab used in carrying these articles to the
car, forty cents for two sundaes apiece and the $20 tip to Jake, Nelse
and Robert, the boys found that their $200 advance money had already
shrunk to $86.

“And that’s a whole lot to have left,” said Frank soberly.



A few minutes after ten o’clock that night the Teton, attached to the
Oriental Limited train, began its real westward journey toward the
mountains. The occupants of the car were tired, but for awhile all sat
on the observation platform. Then, as the suburbs of the city were
passed and a cool night breeze began to be felt, there was a general
movement toward retiring.

“I have a little news for you,” said Mr. Mackworth as the yawning boys
arose to turn in. “Our scout, Sam Skinner, has been in Winnipeg all
winter and he’ll meet us at six o’clock to-morrow evening at Moorhead,
North Dakota. Then you can begin to stock up on big game stories.”

“I thought scouts were a thing of the past!” exclaimed Frank.

“So they are,” said Mr. Mackworth, “the kind that used to guard the
emigrant trains and early railway surveyors. But Sam is a ‘game scout’
now. We’ll have Sam to smell out the sheep and goats.”

The next morning the travelers were in St. Paul and after a ride
through Minnesota the train reached Moorhead almost on time. The stop
here was only a few minutes but, although all the Teton’s passengers
were out and on the lookout, Sam Skinner was nowhere in sight.

“Don’t be alarmed,” said Mr. Mackworth, as the train started again.
“He’s on board. I’ll search the train.”

In ten minutes Mr. Mackworth reëntered the car, where dinner had just
been announced, with the much discussed Sam close behind. The new
arrival carried in one hand a rope tied fibre suit case, crushed and
worn. In the other was a short rifle and a cartridge belt. His teeth
were set on a short, nicked, black pipe. Frank and Phil were shocked.
Aside from the rifle and belt, nothing suggested the old time hunter.
And the man, although probably seventy years old, was in no sense
“grizzled.” He did not even wear the greasy old sombrero with which all
western veterans of fiction are crowned.

“Gentlemen, let me introduce Sam Skinner,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth.

“Pleased to meet you,” said Sam, who in the books should have grunted
or said “howdy.” Then, turning to Mr. Mackworth, Sam continued:
“Colonel, you’re goin’ to find a lot of snow up there in the Elk River
Valley Mountains. Did you bring your snowshoes?”

“Snow ain’t goin’ to bother us this time,” said Mr. Mackworth,
significantly. “We thought we’d come early and maybe scare up a few

“You’ll do that, I reckon,” exclaimed Sam, “but the best time to tackle
the timber line is September. There’s a power o’ snow in the gullies
just now.”

By this time Jake Green had relieved the westerner of his rifle and
box, and Sam had removed his hat and pipe.

“Here’s the same old hat, Colonel, you gave me four years ago and good
as new.”

He held out a limp, cloth traveling hat that had probably cost a pound
in London. Mr. Mackworth apparently did not recall the incident and Sam
continued: “Don’t you remember the day I lost my hat over on Avalanche
Creek, near Herchmer Mountain; the day we thought we had Old Indian
Chief at last?”

Mr. Mackworth’s eyes lit up.

“Sure,” he said, “and you nearly broke your neck at the same time. I
wonder if the ‘Chief’ has fallen a victim to anyone yet?”

“I ain’t been in the valley for four years,” responded Sam. “But I
reckon’ he ain’t and never will. I kind o’ believe he ain’t nothin’ but
a ghost anyway.”

Every one had pricked up his ears. Captain Ludington especially seemed
to be no less curious about Old Indian Chief than Frank and Phil.

“What’s that?” broke in Phil.

“Sam’ll tell you, sometime,” explained Mr. Mackworth, “but let’s have
dinner now. It’s sort of a myth of the mountains. Every one tells it
and each one a different way.”

“About goats?” persisted Phil.

“About a great Bighorn sheep,” added Mr. Mackworth.

“But where does the Indian part come in?” insisted Phil.

“Now I’m not going to try to piece together an old camp-fire tale,”
exclaimed Mr. Mackworth, “especially when I’m hungry. But here’s the
chapter heading of it, as you might say. For twenty-five years the
Indians and old-time hunters of the Selkirk Mountain and Kootenai River
region have circulated a picturesque tale of a hermit Indian, a kind of
a spirit savage who, with a monster Bighorn ram always at his heels, is
seen now and then by some hunter but never overtaken.”

“And who escapes up almost unscalable cliffs by hanging on to the ram’s
horns,” broke in Captain Ludington.

“Then you’ve read the legend,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth with awakening

“I heard it a few years ago at Glacier,” explained the captain. “Young
gentlemen,” he added wheeling toward Frank and Phil, “that’s the story
I meant to tell you sometime――‘The Monarch of the Mountains.’ Now I
give way to Mr. Skinner. Let’s hear the real story,” he suggested,
looking toward the new arrival.

“By no means,” ordered Mr. Mackworth instantly. “Not, at least, until
we reach our coffee. You have before you a saddle of roast mutton that
I personally selected yesterday in Chicago. It demands your exclusive
attention. I got it that you may be able to distinguish between the
flavor of it and the haunch of young mountain sheep that Mr. Skinner is
sure to provide for us in a few days.”

Frank was already smacking his lips in anticipation of that game dinner
in camp. Already he could see Jake Green at work over the camp fire
basting a roast of mountain sheep. By this time all were seated, Sam
Skinner included.

“Sam,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth, “as a special and honored guest this
evening, let me serve you a cut of this mutton. It’s English Southdown.”

“English or French,” replied Sam slowly and hesitatingly, “it don’t
make no difference. You’ll have to excuse me, Colonel. Young mountain
sheep is certainly eatable after a fellow’s been livin’ on salt
pork――and little of that――for two or three weeks. But, to speak right
out, I ain’t much for sheep if there’s anything else on hand and I see
there’s a plenty.”

“Then you don’t care for sheep roasted over a camp fire way up among
the pines where you’ve chased your game all day?” suggested Lord
Pelton, while all laughed.

“Sure,” was Sam’s quick response. “That’s regular and proper. But I’m
speakin’ o’ times when you can have your choice. Them goat steaks and
bear ribs is all O. K. when you’re in camp. But give me my choice and
I’ll say they ain’t nothin’ finer nor sweeter than a big, thick, round
steak fried on a cook stove with plenty o’ milk gravy to come.”

“Jake,” ordered Mr. Mackworth at once and without a trace of a smile,
“fry a porterhouse steak for Mr. Skinner and smother it with gravy.”

Being a Canadian Sam had another peculiarity. He cared nothing for
coffee. Therefore, with his fried steak, came a pot of black tea.
Dinner under way at last the story of Old Indian Chief, or the Monarch
of the Mountains, again became the center of conversation. Sam was
urged to give his version of the tale and he, in turn, was as eager
to hear Captain Ludington’s story. With many interruptions and cross
suggestions, each man told the legend as he had heard it. The “Monarch
of the Mountains,” as related by the English officer――and both stories
were unquestionably different versions of the same tale――had its origin
among the Kootenai Indians.

“The big Indian in the story, as it was told to me,” said Captain
Ludington referring to a little notebook, “was named Koos-ha-nax. He
was a Kootenai and his tribe, twenty years ago, was living in the
Selkirk Mountains northwest of Kootenai Lake. Koos-ha-nax was neither
chief nor medicine man but a mighty hunter in the mountains. In
addition he was a thief. Being a skilful hunter his stealing was for a
long time overlooked. But, at last, Koos-ha-nax’s thefts overbalancing
the food he supplied, the thieving hunter was summoned to trial. Being
found guilty he was condemned to die. Thereupon, he made a speech.

“It was then, and is now, a tradition of the Kootenais that the
mountain sheep is the king of all animals and that the mountain goat
is second in command. In the earliest days the Indians assert these
animals did not confine themselves to the peaks and highest ridges of
the mountains as now, but ranged the valleys and wooded foothills.
Then a war broke out between the sheep and goats and, led by Husha the
Black Ram and Neena the White Goat, they separated――the sheep to the
north and the goats to the south.

“‘Koos-ha-nax knows this well,’ spoke the hunter. ‘And so long as Husha
the Black Ram and Neena the White Goat lead the sheep and the goats, so
long will the hunting grounds of the Kootenai know them not. To follow
Husha the Black Ram and Neena the White Goat into the sky itself may
mean death. But I, Koos-ha-nax, the mighty hunter, have talked with
the sheep and the goats; Koos-ha-nax has seen Husha the Black Ram and
Neena the White Goat; Koos-ha-nax has seen the great horns of Husha the
Black Ram, and they are wide as the span of a man’s arms; Koos-ha-nax
has seen the black horns of Neena the White Goat, and they are keen and
sharp as the spear of the fisher; Koos-ha-nax asks for his life, not
that he fears death, but that he may travel far to the north and to the
south and bring to his people the horns of Husha the Black Ram, and of
Neena the White Goat.’

“This offer of the great hunter,” went on Captain Ludington, “was
gladly accepted on the theory that in the death of Husha and Neena,
the sheep and the goats might be reconciled and subsequently return
to the valleys――the more convenient hunting grounds of the Indians.
There seems to be some basis for this part of the legend,” explained
Captain Ludington, “for I am told that the Indians are, even to-day,
notoriously bad hunters of these animals and seldom pursue them further
than their ponies can ascend the mountains. Having been granted his
life on these terms, Koos-ha-nax, armed with his bow and arrows,
disappeared and never returned. Wandering Indians brought tales at
times of seeing the mighty hunter in the far north; others caught
sight of him in the south. When the ice cracked on the glaciers it
was Koos-ha-nax in pursuit of Husha; when the snow avalanches fell
in the south it was Koos-ha-nax chasing Neena. Children are taught
to-day that a loose boulder bounding down the mountain side is hurled
by Koos-ha-nax, the hunter. And, whenever a herd of sheep or goats is
sighted in full flight, close behind follows the ghostly form of the
ceaseless hunter.

“Since every legend has its variation,” continued Captain Ludington,
“so has that of Koos-ha-nax. Advanced thinkers among the Kootenais
will tell you that Koos-ha-nax never tried to find and kill Husha and
Neena. By these wiseacres Koos-ha-nax is credited with the power of
understanding and talking to the sheep and goats. They will tell you
that the great hunter left his people with no other intent than to live
with the sheep and goats. Some have had distant glimpses of the exiled
Indian lying with his animal friends on rocky heights, or rushing up
almost inaccessible slopes assisted by old Husha or Neena――as the
narrator lives in the north or south. But others say Koos-ha-nax will
again return and, when he does, that the hunting grounds will again be
thick with the now rapidly disappearing mountain sheep and goats. In
any event,” laughed Captain Ludington, “they tell me that if you are
hunting with Kootenai guides you will always be short of the big prize,
unless you can capture old Husha the Black Ram, or Neena the White

It was now old Sam Skinner’s turn, but the old man hesitated.

“I never heard no such tale as that,” he said at last being plentifully
urged to give his version. “All I ever heard was some Sioux Indians
chinnin’, but it wasn’t about no Koos-what-do-you-call-him. And I never
heard ’em have no names like what you said for the rams and goats. But
they was an Old Indian Chief that they used to talk about that had some
trouble and was kicked out o’ the tribe, and they make out as how he
took to the mountains and lived like a hermit. And they do say he got
on such good terms with the mountain animals that the sheep and goats
all followed him and that that’s why there ain’t no more sheep down
there in the buttes o’ Montana. But the stories are sort o’ like in
one way. Whenever a Sioux gets sight o’ a Bighorn ram with shiny black
horns they say it’s Old Indian Chief, and I reckon they is some o’ them
Indians yet livin’ who think Old Indian Chief that was kicked out o’
the tribe is a livin’ up in the Columbia Rockies.”

“Hold on there, Sam,” laughed Mr. Mackworth. “Didn’t you tell me, when
we were chasin’ sheep and a loose rock would come tumbling down the
mountain side: ‘look out――Old Indian Chief may be up there protecting
his friends!’”

“Well,” acknowledged Sam somewhat abashed, “the Indians are always
talkin’ that way. But that’s what they call all the big rams and goats,
too. If that Kootenai Kooshaynix and the Sioux is the same, I reckon
he’s froze stiff long ago and it’s his ghost that’s a heavin’ rocks and
glacier ice and startin’ avalanches――”

“But,” interrupted Frank, all aglow with interest and excitement, “do
you really believe there was such an Indian, really and truly? It’s
like Mowgli in the Jungle tales!”

“Of course not,” replied Mr. Mackworth. “The tale means only this:
Sheep and goats were once plentiful in all these mountains. They began
to disappear. The Indians must have an explanation for everything. They
imagined a cause and made it human――a man led them away. That’s all.”

“I’m sorry,” said Phil. “I mean I’m sorry there is no Husha the Black
Earn, or Neena the White Goat. I’m sure we could find one or the other.
And I always like things with a story to them.”

“Well,” laughed Lord Pelton, who was no less interested than all the
others, “why not follow the practice of the Indians――if you like a
story, believe it?”

“I’m goin’ to,” exclaimed Frank. “I’m goin’ to believe it and I’m goin’
to believe Koos-ha-nax is up there in the mountains, somewhere――a man
of real flesh and blood.”

“And we’ll find him!” added Phil, “the man king of the Bighorns.”

“I’d rather find old Husha,” put in Captain Ludington, smiling. “We
could take his horns home and I don’t know what we could do with a
decrepit old Indian. However,” he added, “in the language of Italy,
‘_si non e vero e bene travata_.’”

“What’s that mean?” asked the boys together.

“If it isn’t true it ought to be,” explained the Englishman.



When the boys turned out at seven o’clock in the morning they found Sam
Skinner already on the observation platform, his black pipe glowing and
his eyes busy with the landscape.

“We just passed Calais,” said Sam, “where the old Sioux reservation
used to begin. ’Tain’t like the old days though. They ain’t many of
the old braves about now――too many clothes, store beef and wagons,” he
explained. “But for about seventy-five miles――as far as Whately――ten
years ago, you could a seen plenty o’ the old blanket boys hangin’
around these stations.”

“Where are they?” asked Frank.

“Most of ’em dead, I reckon,” answered Sam sucking on his pipe. “Them
’at ain’t have houses and some of ’em plows and wheat binders. But
here’s some!” exclaimed the hunter springing suddenly to his feet.

At that moment, through the cloud of dust following the swiftly
moving train, could be seen moving along on a near-by road, a party
of Indians. Two men, their blankets drawn closely around them, walked
stoutly ahead of an unpainted wagon drawn by two ponies. In the wagon
a squaw, her blanket about her hips, held the reins and, clinging to
the sideboards and yelling as lustily at the passing train as white
urchins, three children were jumping about excitedly in the wagon bed

Old Sam jerked his pipe from his mouth and, his hands to his face,
emitted a cry that startled the boys. At the sound of it the two
braves paused and then――as Sam repeated the call――with astounded looks
they raised their right hands above their heads. “Injun for ‘howdy,’”
explained Sam with a laugh as the train left the Indians far behind.

“Where are they goin’, do you suppose?” asked Phil. “Huntin’?”

“Probably to the nearest town to attend the ten-cent picture show,”
said Sam. “Their huntin’ days are over. Them Injuns can buy beef.”

It was Frank’s and Phil’s first sight of Indian land.

“This is too flat and treeless for huntin’ along here, isn’t it?” was
Frank’s next question.

“The kind o’ huntin’ we do now ain’t the kind we used to do,” answered
Sam recharging his pipe. “This is old buffalo ground and the best
in the west in its day. My folks was English,” went on Skinner
reminiscently, “and they came out to the Assinniboine River Valley
in Canada when I was a baby. But from the time I was old enough to
help in camp I can remember the buffalo hunts each fall. All them
settlers――maybe several hundred――would trail for weeks to get down here
near the Missouri River. But it wasn’t huntin’――it was the kind o’ work
they do now in slaughter houses. We’d line up and march against them
buffaloes like soldiers; and we had officers, too, to see that every
one done his work. When the bugle blew, killin’ stopped for the day and
all hands turned in to take care o’ the meat and the hides. And that
went on sometimes for a month――the settlers followin’ the buffaloes
till our wagons were full.”

“Full of what?” asked Phil innocently.

“My boy,” went on Sam, “them buffaloes was our winter’s provisions.
Part of the meat was smoked or ‘jerked’ as we called it; the rest of
it was ground up with the fat to make pemmican――that’s the way we used
most of it――and the hides had to be cured. They was our profit, for
even then we shipped ’em by the thousand to England. When the hunt was
over we made the long march back to the Assinniboine. There’s buffalo
yet,” he continued thoughtfully, “but not around here. Up on the
Mackenzie River, nearer the Arctic Ocean than these prairies, there’s
a few hundred animals that you might call buffaloes, but they ain’t
the old prairie bull with a hump higher’n a man and wicked little eyes
snappin’ out from a head hangin’ most on the ground. But,” continued
Mr. Skinner, “buffaloes is buffaloes and I ain’t never goin’ to be
satisfied till I’ve taken Mr. Mackworth up there on the Mackenzie.
Huntin’ sheep with a spyglass may be sport all right but, for me, give
me a good pony and the trail of a buffalo and I’ll be ready to quit.”

And this was only a sample of Sam Skinner’s talk all day. At breakfast
and later as the train passed out of the Fort Peck reservation, he
reeled off tales of the wonders of the Bear Paw Mountains to the south;
the Sweet Grass big game country to the north. Lord Pelton and Captain
Ludington were as curious about this as the inexperienced boys. But,
at seven o’clock that evening, hunting and Indian tales came to a
temporary end; the train, as if approaching a stone wall, thundered
up to Midvale――the town at the foot of the main range of the Rocky

There were no gradually ascending foothills. From the almost flat but
flower-spotted grassy prairie――for the sage brush is almost unknown
here――the dusty travelers were whirled like the flash of a moving
picture into the wonders of the mountain world. Midvale marks the
southern boundary of the Glacier National Park――the old Lewis and Clark
reservation that extends into the heart of the mountains, and 135 miles
north to the Canadian boundary.

There was no thought of dinner. From seven o’clock until darkness
finally blotted out the view of peak and range; of chasm and
precipice; of matted and tangled forest; mountain streams and
veil-like falls, the entire party sat on the observation platform. It
was “Ah” and “Oh,” “Here, quick,” and “Look there,” until necks were
stiff and eyes ached.

“Wonderful!” exclaimed Captain Ludington.

“Them trees?” queried Sam Skinner. “You bet they are; all o’ that. You
couldn’t make five mile a day in ’em. And we got a good deal o’ that
down timber in the Elk River Valley. It’s easier to look at than to cut
a trail through.”

Then came dinner after one of the longest and fullest days the boys had
ever known. The branch line, on which the Teton was to be hauled to
Michel and across the Canadian border into Canada, left the main line
at Rexford――well up in the mountains. The limited was due there at a
little after midnight. There the special car would be sidetracked to
await the leaving of the branch road train at four o’clock the next day.

Mr. Mackworth suggested that every one turn in as there would be plenty
of time later for sight-seeing. But the boys, visiting the rear
platform after the evening meal, were so entranced with the scene that
they hastened to summon the others of the party. The laboring train
had crawled well up into the ruggeder mountain heights. And now, on a
higher level, it was whirling along on the shoulder of the mountains;
swinging around great cliffs on a roadbed cut in their face; now and
then shooting through a tunnel or over a spidery trestle, and then
getting new impetus on a tangent following the bed of some foaming

The moon had risen and all the world in sight was either the black of
the chasms or the silvery glisten of moonlit pines. But what interested
Frank and Phil was not so much this glory of nature’s panorama as the
song of the train as it sped in and out of narrow places; panted under
new grades or breathed full and deep under restful downward grades, and
then vied with the echo of its own engine noises as they were caught up
and hurled back by unseen precipices.

“There,” exclaimed Frank, grasping Captain Ludington’s arm, “you can
tell we’re goin’ up again even when you can’t see anything. Listen!”

“Chuc-a-chung, chuc-a-chung-chuc-a-chung,” rolled back from the engine.

Then the “chuc-a-chung” stopped for an instant, only to be heard off to
the left as if miles away.

“That means,” explained Frank, “we’re rounding a curve and gettin’ the
echo. It’s just as if the engine were talkin’. There, we’re behind the
engine again,” cried the enthusiastic boy as the “chuc-a-chung” rang
out again.

The dust of the prairie had now disappeared and as Nelse had swept and
wiped up the platform, the sleepiest of the delighted travelers could
not resist lingering to enjoy the mountain ride. The June-time heat
of the plains had also changed to a cool night breeze that suggested
sweaters. When, at last, a new and faster “chuc-a-chuck” of the big
mountain engine told of the rapidly increasing grades, and a sudden
curve of the train brought into view a distant summit glistening
silvery white in the moonlight, Mr. Mackworth exclaimed:

“There it is, gentlemen! That’s the snow that we’ll have in sight for
three weeks. Having saluted it, let’s go to bed.”

All arose, but Sam Skinner seemed a bit embarrassed.

“Colonel,” he said at last, addressing Mr. Mackworth, “you know I ain’t
much for these sleepin’ cars. I slept on a shelf last night. If you
don’t mind I’d like to draw these curtains and bring my blankets out
here to-night.”

“Why there’s a couch in the dining room, Sam,” replied Mr. Mackworth,
smiling. “Try that.”

“’Tain’t that, Colonel, exactly. But this air tastes good to me after
four years down Winnipeg way. And you know I like to light a pipe now
and then when I turn over.”

“We’ll stay with you,” exclaimed Phil at once.

“You’ll go to bed,” ordered Mr. Mackworth, “there’s plenty of outdoor
sleepin’ coming to you boys.”

Retiring to their stateroom, the two boys sat for some time observing
the beauties of the night scenery through the screens of the window.

“We’ll be at Rexford in an hour,” Frank urged, “and I want to be up and
see the limited cut us off and leave us. I like to see what’s doin’
when we get to places.”

“By rights,” added Phil, “we ought to be awake and walk up to the
engine and give old Bill――all engineers are named Bill so far as I’ve
read――and give ‘Old Bill’ $20.”

“You’re right,” exclaimed Frank. “That’s regulations. We’ll take one of
your $20 bills.”

Phil, carried away by the new idea, examined his dwindling roll of
money, picked out a clean bill and put it in his vest pocket. Then, for
an hour’s sleep, the boys threw themselves on their bunks. Sometime
later Frank roused himself, lay for a few moments as if trying to
figure out where he was and then sprang up excitedly. All was quiet.
The Teton stood as still as a rock. Snapping on the light the lad
glanced at his watch. Then he caught Phil by the shoulder.

“Hey there, wake up!” he called in a low voice. As Phil opened his eyes
Frank added: “You’ve saved that $20. It’s now two o’clock and ‘Old
Bill’ has left us.”

“Huh?” grunted Phil.

“Get up,” whispered Frank. “We’re at Rexford. Let’s get out and have a
look at things.”

“Not me,” drawled Phil. “Everything will be there in the morning.” In
another moment he was asleep again.

“All right,” thought Frank, “maybe I won’t ever be in a mountain town
again at two o’clock on a June mornin’ with the moon shinin’ all over
everything. So here goes for a little sight-seein’ of my own.”

Reaching the observation platform Frank found Sam Skinner apparently
asleep. But the boy had no sooner touched the drawn curtains than the
hunter spoke.

“I’m just goin’ out to look about,” explained Frank.

Without comment Sam threw off his blankets, filled his pipe and
followed the boy to the ground.

“Was you awake when we got here?” asked Frank.

“Yes,” answered Sam, “Mr. Mackworth was up. I got out with him. He saw
the conductor. And say,” added Sam, “he went up to the engine and gave
the engineer some money. He’s always generous with folks he likes.”

Frank was thinking hard. At last he said to himself:

“Well, anyway, it wasn’t any business of mine. It would have been
foolish for us to have done it. I’m glad we didn’t wake up.”

The moon, now behind a mountain range, left Rexford buried in the
shadows of the valley. There was not a light in sight except a feeble
glow in the near-by station and a few switch signals. Frank could form
no estimate of the size of the place, and as the gloom was not inviting
and the air was frostlike and snappy the boy gave up his plan for a
night excursion. He had just suggested a return to Sam when the old
hunter caught him by the arm, made a motion signifying silence and then
disappeared around the end of the car.

Frank kept at his heels. At first there was nothing to be seen or heard
and then the boy, catching his breath, pointed to the forward end of
the car where a faint glow seemed to come from the side door of the
baggage compartment. The boy darted forward ahead of Skinner. A glance
showed one section of the double doors shoved back and a light in the
car. On the ground beneath the door was an empty box.

As Frank came opposite the open door and caught sight of the interior
of the car his heart leaped. Crouched over an object of some kind was a
man on his knees. By his side was a spluttering candle. Surrounding the
intruder on all sides were dozens of cans of gasoline. The knowledge
that at any instant the Teton might be blown to pieces was the only
thought in the boy’s mind. There was no time to think of the peril of
encountering the intruder unarmed.

“Put that light out!” yelled Frank. “Put it out. You’ll blow up the
car,” he shouted as he leaped on the box beneath the door. Instantly
the light went out; there was a rush in the car and then the boy,
already half through the door, was thrust backwards as if by a kick,
and a form hurled itself over his head.

The intruder and Frank rolled down the slight embankment almost
together and both against Sam Skinner.

“Stop!” yelled Sam as the man scrambled to his feet and stumbled away
in the darkness. But the intruder did not stop and, with one quick
look to make sure that it was Frank at his feet, Sam’s revolver spit a
streak of fire toward the fugitive. Without waiting to ask questions
the old hunter, his fighting blood aroused, disappeared after the man.
Frank, now alarmed for the first time over the chance he had taken, got
to his feet. As he did so he felt an ache in his shoulder. It was not
enough to stop him, however, and he sprang on to the box again and into
the dark compartment of the car.

There were roof electric lights in the car with a switch at the rear
door. Stumbling toward it, the boy finally turned on the lights. A
glance showed that a thief had been at work.

“And we got him just in time,” chuckled Frank to himself. Standing by
the open door were all the gun cases of the party. In the middle of
the car was Mr. Mackworth’s English sole leather gun trunk. A sharp
knife had been passed completely around the top and still stuck in the
cut leather, which in another moment could have been lifted out like
a loose panel. The car door had been pried open with a railroad spike

Frank had hardly made this examination before there was a knock at
the compartment door and a call to open it. It was Mr. Mackworth,
breathless. Frank stuttered out the facts. Almost before he had
finished, his uncle in slippers and pajamas was out of the door and off
in the darkness in the direction Sam and the fugitive had taken. The
door lock was broken but, pulling the section in place, Frank turned
off the lights, hurried back through the car and――without arousing its
other occupants――started after the would-be thief and his pursuers.



Frank found Mr. Mackworth and Sam Skinner at the dimly lit depot in
consultation with the night telegraph operator. Rexford being a town of
a thousand or more inhabitants and a railroad junction point with many
switch tracks, freight cars and railway buildings, the escape of the
thief was not difficult. As the sloping sides of the mountains reached
down to the town on two sides, there were avenues for successful
flight over the rough and dark trails. Therefore, further pursuit was

“Anyway,” remarked Mr. Mackworth, “we haven’t lost anything. And if we
could catch the man we wouldn’t care to stay to prosecute him.”

“Why, what’s the matter, Frank?” he exclaimed as he caught sight of the
boy’s pale face and saw him tremble.

“I guess it’s where he kicked me,” explained Frank trying to make light
of his injury.

Instantly Mr. Mackworth had Frank’s coat and shirt off. On his chest
near the left shoulder was a dull red mark, something like a shoe heel
in shape and rapidly turning black.

“Why didn’t you tell me of this?” exclaimed Frank’s uncle with concern.
“Does it hurt you?”

“Not much,” answered the boy, “except when I touch it.”

Sam Skinner pushed Mr. Mackworth aside and began an examination of the
bruise with all the practical skill of an outdoor surgeon. As he ran
his hands over the boy’s chest Frank winced and turned paler.

“No bones broken,” reported Sam confidently, as he pressed on Frank’s
collar bone and shoulder joint while the boy gritted his teeth.

“Cough!” ordered Sam.

Frank did so, Sam holding his ear to the boy’s chest.

“Spit!” ordered Sam.

Frank laughed and complied as well as he could. Sam nodded his head.

“Only a bruise,” he explained. “Nothin’ hurt inside. A little liniment
and he’ll be all right in a day or two.”

“I certainly hope so,” said Mr. Mackworth as he helped Frank to get
into his shirt again. “I wouldn’t have you hurt, my boy, for all that’s
in the Teton. You certainly saved our shooting outfits and, like as
not, our lives as well. We’ve got both to thank you for.”

“There wasn’t anything else to do,” replied Frank. “And say,” he added,
“I reckon there ain’t any need to say anything about this is there? I
don’t want any hero business.”

“You’ll have to leave that to me,” responded his uncle as they made
their way back to the car. Frank got out the medicine kit his mother
had given him and Sam rubbed him with liniment. At three o’clock, Frank
crawled into his berth again. Lying still his bruise did not pain him,
but when Phil awoke him about seven o’clock the boy’s shoulder was
black and blue, and his arm was stiff.

The town by daylight was far from being as interesting as the boys had
hoped. The altitude was not great――not more than 4,000 feet――but the
distant view both east and west revealed mountain ranges, snow crowned
in places. North of the town and in a lower valley the Kootenai River
wound a bending course. Along this the party was now to make its way
into Canada.

Frank had not figured on the need of an explanation to account for Mr.
Mackworth’s ruined trunk and, therefore, the adventure of the boy and
Sam Skinner was fully known before breakfast. Then the excitement began
all over again. The Englishmen made the lad a hero in spite of himself.
It was doubtful if one man could have carried away any considerable
amount of the plunder that had been heaped up near the door of the car.
But each of Mr. Mackworth’s guests had a most elaborate and expensive
shooting outfit, and each seemed convinced that Frank had saved his own
particular property.

As Frank was a member of the party, the tactful Captain Ludington and
Lord Pelton recognized that they could not express their gratitude in
money. For that reason their verbal thanks were genuinely profuse.

“I don’t know why you select me for all this fine talk,” Frank said at
last. “Mr. Skinner heard the man. He did more than I did――”

“All right,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth. “We’ll have a special luncheon
to-day in honor of both.”

When this event came off it turned out to be a tribute to a third
person――Jake Green. Instead of a luncheon it was a banquet and a jolly
one. As Frank approached his chair he found by its side――leaning
against the table――a Lefever, sixteen gauge, hammerless shotgun,
automatic ejector, Damascus steel barrels, English walnut stock and
pistol grip.

At his plate was a card inscribed: “For value received,” and signed by
all the members of the party, including Phil, whose shotgun had not
been overlooked by the intruder.

“I won’t take it,” began Frank, red of face and embarrassed. “Give it
to Mr. Skinner.”

“O, I’ve got mine,” exclaimed Sam pointing to several folded bills on
his plate. “Better keep it. You’ll need it for grouse up on the Elk.”

Not knowing what else to do Frank sat down in confusion and thus
came into possession of the gun, which is yet one of his most prized
belongings. As soon as the attention of their friends had been
withdrawn Phil leaned over to his chum and whispered:

“I never did have any use for a sleepyhead. This is an awful warning to

From Rexford to Michel――the mountain town in Canada at the southern end
of Elk Valley where the Teton was to stop, and from which place Mr.
Mackworth and his friends were to enter the goat and sheep country by
wagon, horse and airship――was about eighty-five miles. The branch road
was a mining line and when, just after four o’clock in the afternoon,
the special car was attached to the daily “mixed train,” it was with no
great assurance that the hunting party heard the creaking and felt the
swaying of the big car on the lighter tracks.

The ride northward gradually lifted the train higher and higher. The
road followed the Kootenai’s east bank and, having left the less abrupt
region of Rexford behind them, the travelers soon had a panorama
rivaling that of the evening before. Immediately east lay the Mission
Mountains――the western boundary of the new National Glacier Park――and
slowly the laboring engine drew the train on to its higher pine
covered flanks. The Kootenai dropped below.

Undimmed by the shadows of night; clear and distinct beneath the
sapphire sky the whole world stood out until there seemed no distance.
There was not the speed of the transcontinental limited and the train
was a half hour in covering ten miles. This brought it to Gateway――the
boundary between the United States and Canada.

“The white mark over there on the station platform,” explained Mr.
Mackworth as the train came to a stop, “marks the boundary between the
two countries.”

Of course the boys had to alight and straddle the line.

“This is an event to me,” exclaimed Frank, “for it’s the first time
I’ve ever been out of the United States.”

“Me, too,” said Phil, who was yet standing in his own country. “And
that being true I think I’ll go abroad.” With a laugh he jumped across
the line. “But,” he added, “the United States is good enough for me. I
don’t see much difference. I think I’ll come home,” and he sprang back

At seven o’clock the train reached Fernie, a soft coal town and a
fitting-out post for hunters in this part of Canada. But there was no
time for shopping――much to Phil’s regret――for the $20 he had not given
“Old Bill” was looked upon as that much saved. A few minutes before
eight o’clock the Teton finished its outward journey at the end of the
railway in the little village of Michel.

So long as the train was in motion, revealing new vistas of grand and
picturesque scenery, the passengers in the Teton would not leave the
observation platform for supper. But, as it came to a stop in a narrow
and deep valley through which a cool wind was already drifting and
where, cast by the sunlit painted ranges, deep shadows were already on
the little hamlet, Jake’s dinner at last received its merited attention.

At Fernie the station agent had handed Mr. Mackworth a packet. As the
party had now reached the end of the long journey this first meal in
the cool, dark snowbound mountain valley was the liveliest of the
trip. Formality was put aside and, with the knowledge that the next
morning would see the first of their plans under way, all talked at
once. In the midst of this Mr. Mackworth produced his packet, opened
it and handed each one at the table――except Sam Skinner――a small but
formidable looking bit of paper.

“Now be happy, all of you,” he exclaimed. “Here’s a hunting license for
each. With it in your possession you may legally kill and take out of
the country five mountain goats. Let one of ’em be Neena and may they
all be Billies and big ones. You may also slay three mountain sheep
one of which, of course, will be Husha the Black Ram. Incidentally you
may capture all the grizzlies you see――if you can. Let us hope for one
twelve-foot skin at least. Of deer, shoot no more than six each. The
law don’t specify it, but we’ll take none but bucks. And remember,
don’t shoot a moose till you land a whopper, for one is all you are
allowed. As for elk,” concluded Mr. Mackworth, raising his hand in
warning, “none at all.”

“Sam,” whispered Frank aside to the hunter, “what are these licenses

“They ain’t worth much to most hunters,” answered Sam soberly, “but
they cost $50 each.”

“That’s $250,” exclaimed Frank taking a new glance at his license, “and
you haven’t one. What’ll you do?”

“O, I ain’t lookin’ for hides nor horns,” answered Sam. “If I shoot
anything it’ll be food.”

Michel, although a town of but a few hundred inhabitants, was a mile
and a quarter long. It stretched along the winding bottom of the valley
as a single street, the mountain slopes on each side rising so quickly
as to make a second street impossible. And as all the houses were small
and nearly all painted dark red, the new arrivals had not seen much of
the village in the fast gathering night. But the single street pointed
toward the jack-pine valley to the north through which lies the road
to the unsettled wilderness beyond――one of the great game preserves of
America――the Elk River Valley where as yet the pot hunter is unknown.

“We’ll take things easy this evening,” said Mr. Mackworth when the
excitement over the hunting licenses had subsided, “and to-morrow
we’ll leisurely perfect our plans. I suppose the first thing will be to
find a suitable ground for assembling the airship.”

“And that don’t look any too easy,” broke in Frank. “This is the
narrowest town I’ve ever seen.”

“Then,” continued Mr. Mackworth, “we’ve got to inventory our stuff. You
can never be sure you have what you’re going to need. What we’ve missed
we’ll have to go back to Fernie and buy.”

“First job for the _Loon_,” exclaimed Phil. “That’ll be pie. It’s only
twenty-three miles away.”

“Not improbable,” went on their host, “since we have only one train
a day. We’ll be in Michel all day to-morrow. Early the next morning
all our provisions and camping paraphernalia will go by wagons to
the only ranch in the valley――Charley Smith’s place up near Sulphur
Springs――twenty-five miles distant. We’ll follow on horses.”

“On horses?” cried out Frank. “Here’s two of us who won’t be on horses.
Phil and I’ll be in the _Loon_ and two more may as well be with us. We
can take Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton. Why not?”

“But we’ve got to have horses. We can’t count on your airship for

“That’s where you’re mistaken,” added Frank. “You can count on it
everywhere and at all times. We’ll take you all anywhere you want to
go. And when there are too many we’ll make double trips.”

“We’ll take horses for all,” insisted Mr. Mackworth. “They’re cheap.
Then if your aëroplane slips a cog we won’t have to walk home. We’ll
reach Smith’s ranch in the late afternoon. I suggest you wait here
until four or five o’clock with your flyin’ machine, and then I suppose
you can overtake us in an hour.”

“In thirty minutes,” said Phil proudly.

“So be it,” said Mr. Mackworth. “When we are all in camp near Smith’s
place we are going to stop two or three days to get acclimated. We’ll
also cross the ridge there and have a day’s sport at Josephine Falls on
the Fording, where I hope we’ll get enough trout to give Jake a chance
to give us a ‘balsam bake.’”

“It’ll be my first trout,” interrupted Lord Pelton.

“But not your last, I’ll bet,” went on Mr. Mackworth. “While we are
enjoying ourselves our guides will be sorting over our outfit for the
pack horses. The wagons will stop here. When we leave Smith’s we’ll
leave trails and civilization behind. We’ll make our way into the real
mountains by way of Goat Creek, and then in the Herchmer Range, Bird
Mountain and Goat Pass we ought to find our sport. We’ll always camp in
the timber and where the horses can climb. But we’ll hunt on foot.”

Captain Ludington smacked his lips and lit a fresh cigar.

“That sounds awfully good to me,” he chuckled.

At that moment Jake announced that Mr. Hosmer was outside.

“It’s one of our guides and teamsters,” explained Mr. Mackworth, “Cal
Hosmer, who was to report to me this evening. If the history of the
Elk River Valley is ever written Cal’s experiences will have to appear
on every page. If any of you want grizzlies, stick to Hosmer; he’s the
greatest bear hunter in Western Canada.”



Cal or “Grizzly” Hosmer was brought into the car, introduced and
persuaded to eat some dinner. He knew Mr. Mackworth and Sam Skinner and
he and his friends held a reunion. Then the talk passed to the plans
for the next day. When these had been discussed the bear hunter arose
to take his leave. Followed to the rear platform by Sam Skinner and the
boys, a final pipe was proposed by Skinner and the two old hunters took
possession of a couple of chairs.

It was decidedly cool for the boys but, anxious to miss no possible bit
of hunting or mountain lore, they hurried to their stateroom, donned
their new cloth Jersey jackets and, returning, perched themselves on
the rail near the men. The moon was just appearing above the Eastern

“So you youngsters air agoin’ huntin’ fur sheep an’ goats in a
airyplane?” began Hosmer at once.

“Yes, sir,” replied Frank. “What do you think about it?”

“Think about it?” repeated the bear hunter sucking hard on his pipe.
“What license hev I got to think about it? I ain’t never seen one o’
’em, nor never had no notion I would.”

“Well,” explained Frank, “we can go wherever we like in it――high or
low――and stay in the air practically as long as we like.”

“That ought to help some,” said Hosmer, “fur there is sure many a place
them critters’ll go whar they ain’t no man kin foller ’em.”

“That’s it,” exclaimed Phil. “Do you know any such places?”

“Do I know any such places?” laughed Hosmer. “Say, Sam,” chuckled
Grizzly, “do we know any places whar a goat kin go that a man can’t
foller ’em?”

“Well, some,” answered Skinner also laughing. “An’ comin’ down to
tacks,” added Sam, “I reckon there’s a sight more such places than
where you can go.”

“Show us the hardest,” exclaimed Frank. “That’s all we want to know.”

Hosmer, who had been relighting his pipe stopped suddenly as if struck
with an idea. His chuckle died out and his face became serious.

“There ain’t no grizzly in the Selkirk country ’at kin go whar I can’t
foller him, and hev,” he explained. “But as fur sheep an’ goats,
let ’em git the wind o’ ye an’, mainly, it’s all off. They’re the
tantalizinest critters ’at ever growed in these parts. But if that
airyplane kin fly anywhere, I almost wisht――”

“You wish what?” asked Phil sliding from his seat on the railing.

“I almost wisht I had the nerve to go in it and hev jist one look down
on Baldy’s Bench from the sky.”

“Baldy’s Bench?” exclaimed Frank. “What’s that and where?”

“How’d that be, Skinner?” went on Hosmer, turning to Sam.

“Baldy’s Bench?” repeated Sam. “I’ve heard of a lot of goat and sheep
benches, but I don’t know as I ever heard of that one.”

“Well,” went on Hosmer, “I calc’late mebbe that’s so. ’Tain’t very
handy and ’tain’t hunted much. Cause why? Cause ever’ one knows ’tain’t
no use. But onless I’m mistook, allowin’ that there’s kings o’ animals,
ef the king o’ all the sheep in these Rockies don’t live up on Baldy’s
Bench, I miss my guess.”

“What makes you think so?” asked Frank excitedly.

“What makes me think so? Well, for one thing,” replied Hosmer, “I’ve
seen him.”

“Oh,” interrupted Skinner arousing himself. “You mean Old Indian Chief?
I remember now.”

“Sure, some calls him that,” answered the bear hunter. “But ef ye ever
laid eyes on him he’ll always be Ol’ Baldy to ye. I reckon he’s the
biggest an’ oldest Bighorn in the world. I know he’s the curiousest
critter ’at ever clumb a precipice.”

“Maybe it’s Husha the Black Ram!” exclaimed Frank as he caught Phil’s

“Ye must ’a’ heerd that from some Kootenai Injun,” said Hosmer at once.
“That’s one o’ their pet names fur any Bighorn they can’t git.”

“Ever hear of Koos-ha-nax, the mighty Indian hunter who set out to kill
the king of all the mountain sheep?” continued Frank breathlessly.

“Sure,” answered Hosmer, “an’ in twenty yarns more or less. Ye mean
about Koos bein’ kind of a brother to the ol’ ram?”

“That’s it,” said Phil drawing nearer the speaker. “Did you ever see

Hosmer laughed, struck his old friend Sam on the knee and then
subsiding, slowly relit his bubbling pipe.

“I kin see that someone has been a stringin’ you lads. But ’tain’t
surprisin’. All Injuns kind o’ sing that story. But ye kin take it from
me――’tain’t no man a livin’, white ur red, ’at could ever ’a’ clumb
whar I’ve seen Ol’ Baldy go. There ain’t nothin’ to the Injun part o’
that yarn.”

“But you do think there may be a king of the sheep?” asked Frank.

“Like as not. An’ I reckon they is o’ the elks an’ moose, too.”

“And Old Baldy may be the king of the mountain sheep?”

“Why not? He sure looks the part――ur did. Like as not he’s dead now. I
ain’t been near the bench in――mebbe seven ur eight year.”

“Looks the part! What do you mean by that?” eagerly inquired Phil.

“Sam,” said Hosmer, “gimme a pipe o’ that smokin’ o’ yourn――it
smells like reg’lar tobacco. I see I got to tell these boys about
Baldy.” As he emptied his odorous pipe and refilled it with some of
Sam’s tobacco――which, by the way, came from Mr. Mackworth’s private
stock――the two boys sank on the floor at Grizzly’s feet.

“They ain’t agoin’ to be no start to it like a book story,” began
Hosmer between puffs, “because they wasn’t no special beginnin’ to
what I seen Ol’ Baldy do to a couple o’ lions――us only seein’ the end
o’ it. So long as ye don’t know the lay o’ the land, it’s hard to tell
ye whar the Bench is. Mr. Mackworth ain’t never been to it an’ he’s
hunted ’bout as fur as the next one ’round here. Most gin’rally we all
work up the Elk River Valley, huntin’ the hills right an’ left along
the river till we git to the Fordin’ an’ then foller up that stream ur
Goat Crick to head waters. Well, ef ye take Goat Crick trail to Norboe
Mountain, an’ that’s better’n sixty mile from here, an’ then turn north
ye kin git to the Bench by goin’ about forty mile furder north. An’
it’s some goin’ I’ll promise ye,” continued Hosmer. “That’s why we
customary turned south at Norboe an’ worked the Herchmer’s.”

“Pretty high mountains, eh?” asked Frank.

“Not so high in the way o’ peaks, but gin’rally high,” went on the
hunter inhaling the fragrance of his new tobacco like a perfume and
contentedly crossing his legs, one of which he swung back and forth
placidly. “It’s all good game country but a lot o’ folks don’t know
it. The only deestrict ’at’s at all like the Bench ’at I know of is
Old Crow’s Nest Mountain whar the C. P. cuts through the Rockies over
on the divide. It stands out on a knob o’ ground that’s kivered with
lodge pole pines. Them jack trees, seein’ ’em from a good ways off,
reaches out like a blanket. An’ the Bench is punched right up through
the middle o’ the blanket like a big choc’late drop, bare an’ brown.
When the snow’s on it, it’s a picter. Raisin’ above them green jack
pines, it’s so glarin’ white ye’d think it wuz sugar, but it ain’t;
ain’t nothing sweet about it either in the way o’ bus’ness sich as
mine. Ye’d think, lookin’ at the Bench over them long rollin’ stretches
o’ green pine from the next range, that ye could walk up one side o’
it an’ down the other like them Egyptian pyrimids, bein’ nothin’ but
big handy steps. Sich they air, but not fur men when ye come up to
’em; them steps is fifty an’ a hundred feet high. An’ they’s landin’s
back o’ each o’ ’em. But how air ye goin’ to git on ’em? They is sheep
trails up some o’ ’em but in most places not even them. They is places
on the bench ’at the sheep jist nacherly walks up the walls an’ I seen
’em do it. Ye can’t foller ’em,” asserted Hosmer, “an’ ye don’t need to
try. Therefore and hence,” he continued authoritatively, “ye kin rest
assured they is a plenty o’ sheep thar, ur was, eight year ago.”

The boys were brimming with happiness. Nothing could be better suited
to their desires.

“I suppose you call it the Bench because of those steps?” suggested
Phil. “The sheep live on these steps I suppose, movin’ around the
mountain to keep in the sun.”

“I call it the Bench,” continued Hosmer, “because it is――the top bein’
flattened off as I calc’late. It kind o’ looks like a dome an’ purty
nigh a peak from the foot o’ the mountain. But ef ye see it fur enough
off on a clear day, ye’ll see the top is a big bench slopin’ toward the
east, as I reckon, ’though they ain’t no range over east whar ye kin
git a look at it. My own idee is that there’s a sort o’ flat summit
there or mebbe a sort o’ purtected basin whar the real climbers o’ them
sheep go. Leastwise they don’t hang around much on the steps.”

“Couldn’t a man get up there if he was a good climber?” asked Phil, who
had Koos-ha-nax and Old Indian Chief in mind.

“Fur be it from me to say positive what any man kin do ur can’t. There
may be places whar a man could git his toes in here and there but I
ain’t never found ’em.”

“But there might have been a trail years ago that a man could use, even
if it’s gone now?” persisted Phil.

“Considerin’ what the snow an’ ice does to the rocks, that’s strickly
possible,” conceded “Grizzly.” “But, if I ever seen a mountain ’at
you’d say was nonassessible I reckon it’s the Bench.”

“But Old Baldy,” exclaimed Frank, “tell us about him.”

“I ain’t seen Baldy but once,” went on the talker, “but I’d heerd o’
him often from the Kootenai Injuns. They didn’t make no doubt about
him bein’ the king o’ the Bighorns an’ I kind o’ agreed with ’em when
I seen him. The biggest ram I ever killed stood 41 inches high an’
weighed 320 pounds. Ef Ol’ Baldy don’t weigh 500 pounds and stan’,
horns to hoofs, near five feet, I’m mistook bad.”

“But why is he called Baldy?” Phil asked quickly.

“Because he is,” replied Hosmer, “is, ur wuz, fur like enough he’s dead
now. Baldy is, ur wuz, the Black Ram all right; his horns when I seen
him wuz black as new coal――and big! I’ll never swear ’at I could span
’em with my two arms. Sheep as a rule is sort o’ brown-black lookin’;
one ur the other as depends. I reckon Baldy had been reg’lar black but
bein’ mighty old accordin’ to the rings on his horns he wuz gray like
mostly all over, makin’ him look sort o’ ghost like. That is exceptin’
his head where he wuz plum’ bald. From his horns to his muzzle he
hadn’t a speck o’ hair an’ the skin o’ his face, though it wuz flabby
and wrinkled, wuz kind o’ pinkish-cream like. That, him bein’ gray all
over, wouldn’t ’a’ looked so unusual like ef it hadn’t ’a’ been fur two
black marks on his face. I couldn’t never figger out whether it wuz
hair still a growin’ there ur disfiggerments o’ the skin. But the ol’
ram, an’ I never made no doubt but it was him the Kootenais call Husha,
has a mark ye’ll know if ye ever see him. From the crown o’ his horns
to his muzzle they is a black stripe jist like a streak o’ paint an’ as
reg’lar. Acrost from eye to eye is another stripe and them two makes
a black cross; ’at’s the first thing I saw――a black cross on his ol’
pinkish, wrinkled face.”

“And?” exclaimed Frank eagerly as Hosmer fondled his pipe a moment.

“Well,” resumed the story-teller, “to git to facks, I wuz lion huntin’
one winter with Jack Jaffray, havin’ a camp up back o’ Mt. Osborne.
We wuz workin’ on snowshoes an’ had been out o’ camp about twenty-four
hours down near Baldy’s Bench, the weather bein’ fine an’ the snow
hard. We had a notion about lions gittin’ out o’ the timber on to the
sheep trails fur food and the Bench seemed a likely place. This wuz in
April an’ they had been enough sun to start some o’ the snow up on the
Bench over on the east side. They wuz great clean patches o’ rock whar
the steps had been swept clean by slides.

“That meant the sheep trails might be clear in the sunniest part o’ the
east side. It was purty hard walkin’ in the timber so we got clost as
we could to the Bench an’ crawlin’ over the snow kivered rocks worked
around to east’ard. It wasn’t long before we come acrost lion signs an’
fresh ones, too. Out o’ the timber them lions had come, fur they wuz
two, jist ahead of us an’ on the same bus’ness. That looked good fur we
had the wind o’ ’em――”

“You mean mountain lions?” asked Frank edging still nearer.

“What’d you think? African?” retorted Hosmer. “But, no jokin’, don’t
think Rocky Mountain lions is pet Malteses. We knowed this all right.
So we kept our eyes open. Fin’ly we got up to the Bench and findin’
footin’ we took off our snowshoes an’ crawled up on the first ledge
ur step. We could see the lions had jist done the same thing. We wuz
trailin’ single file, me in front, an’ at the first bend I come on a
picter ’at’ll be hard to furgit. The point o’ the next shelf above us
had broke off, likely by snow ur ice, and they wuz a slice gone out o’
the face o’ the Bench. It made a precipice above us not less ’an fifty
feet high an’ the slice fallin’ out made a kind o’ plateau mebbe two
hundred feet long endin’ in a wall at the other end.

“Close to the wall wuz two as fine painters as I ever seen. We measured
’em later on――one o’ ’em nine feet from tip to tip. They wuz crouched
fur business all right, their long yellow winter hair on end an’ their
bellies on the rocks. Side by side, their long heavy tails beatin’ the
rocks, they wuz weavin’ for’ard like snakes. An’ at the fur end o’ the
plateau wuz what they wuz lookin’ fur――a herd o’ about twenty sheep a
lyin’ in the sun.

“The sheep must hev got there over the trail we wuz follerin’. They
had wind o’ no danger yit but they was trapped. O’ course it wasn’t as
bad as that ’cause there wuz me an’ Jack behind the big cats but the
sheep didn’t know that. I hadn’t no sooner give Jack the signal afore
he caught my arm an’ p’inted up’ard. Fur a minute them painters went
out o’ my mind. It was another picter ’at beat the first one. Right on
the edge o’ the cliff ur precipice and no less ’an fifty feet above
us, stood Ol’ Baldy. We seen him well an’ I’m tellin’ ye he looked as
big as a cow. What we seen Ol’ Baldy seen too. He was standin’, his
four feet in a p’int together, his big horns a reachin’ out like he was
agoin’ to fly and that black cross o’ his hangin’ over the aidge o’ the
rocks. An’ it was a warnin’ fur them crawlin’ lions, but they didn’t
know it no more’n we did.

“‘There he is,’ whispered Jack to me. ‘Ye can’t mistake him. That’s Ol’
Baldy that ye’ve heerd about.’

“‘An’ I reckon that’s his tribe,’ I whispered. ‘Ye kin bet he’s goin’
to hev a few less subjecks in about a minute.’

“‘He’s on guard,’ said Jack.

“‘I reckon so,’ I said. ‘But he’d better be down here whar the doin’s
is goin’ to come off.’

“Then we lost sight of Ol’ Baldy fur a minute. Them innocent, sleepin’
sheep had got wind ur warnin’ o’ the danger nigh ’em an’ in about two
seconds they wuz all on their feet, backed together in a bunch an’
facin’ the lions. But them lions wasn’t disturbed. I reckon they seen
they had ever’thing their own way. They jist laid their heads flatter
on the rocks an’ a cat sneakin’ a bird wasn’t no easier nor quieter
than they wuz.

“‘They’re a pickin’ ’em out,’ explained Jack, kind o’ excited and out
o’ breath. Now all the rams was in front o’ the bunch but they knowed
they had no chance; fur the herd was backin’ closter an’ closter to
the wall behind ’em. We had good shoulder shots on both them animals,”
explained Hosmer, “but, somehow, though we wuz a kneelin’ with our
rifles all ready, we didn’t shoot. We was kind o’ charmed I reckon,
watchin’ the big cats git closter an’ closter to their meat. They
wa’n’t a sound from the sheep and then we seen the lions git ready fur
business. Fur a minute they lay like logs an’ then you could see ’em
drawin’ together in a bunch fur to spring for’ard. Their tails was flat
on the rocks an’ I wuz just thinkin’ to myself, ‘now I’ll see how fur
a lion kin really jump,’ when somethin’ happened. I thought it was the
lions in the air. An’ it wuz one of ’em, but the other one, he never
made no jump.

“They was a streak acrost the face o’ that cliff; a rush like a rock
tore loose and then a heavy crunch ’at made my heart stop beatin’. Ol’
Baldy, straight as a arrer, had throwed hisself from that cliff. An’
them horns o’ his, like a railroad engine bumpin’ ag’in a loaded car,
had broke one o’ the lion’s backs so clean that the painter never moved
ag’in. An’ I couldn’t move. I jist kind o’ gasped. It seemed like a man
committin’ suicide. But don’t you believe it. Ol’ Baldy rolled over an’
lay still not more’n two seconds. Then he got on his feet, tremblin’
like, wabbled a little, shook his head and with a snort like an engine
whistle wuz on the other lion’s flank.

“The second lion had jumped an’ sunk his jaws in the neck o’ the
biggest ram. An’ that wuz his mistake. When Ol’ Baldy snorted the lion
dropped his victim an’ whirled about. A dozen trapped sheep wuz on him
hoof an’ horn. Once ag’in he tried to face the herd when Ol’ Baldy,
his head on the ground, shot under the painter. We couldn’t see what
happened but we heerd it――it was like the rippin’ up of an ol’ blanket.
With one sweep o’ his horn the old ram had killed the lion and the
fight was over.

“We could ’a’ potted Ol’ Baldy an’ his whole tribe ef we’d wanted to,
but we weren’t after sheep jist then. ‘An’ ef we ain’t goin’ to shoot,’
I says to Jack, ‘let’s give ’em plenty o’ room.’ We went back along the
trail, let out a few yells, an’ when we come back, ever’ sheep had come
out and gone wherever they belonged. Them two skins went to New York
fur to be mounted fur specimens. They brung us a good price.”

For a few moments the boys sat in rapt silence.

“Mr. Skinner,” exclaimed Frank at last, “was it at Baldy’s Bench where
you nearly lost your hat, the time you and Uncle Guy thought you saw
Old Indian Chief and almost got him?”

The old hunter shook his head.

“Me and Mr. Mackworth never went north o’ Mt. Osborne,” he answered.

“Then,” exclaimed Frank, jumping to his feet, “Uncle Guy never saw the
real king of the Bighorns. It’s Old Baldy, I’m sure. And I’m certain
he’s yet alive and doin’ business. If he is, we’ll have him within a



Knowing that Mr. Mackworth’s plans did not include a trip north of Mt.
Osborne, the boys laid out a program of their own. They knew that Lord
Pelton and Captain Ludington were extremely anxious to get unusual
trophies. Therefore, if they could put both in the way of bagging such
a prize as Husha the Black Ram they would be giving Mr. Mackworth
something approaching adequate return for his trouble.

At the first opportunity they meant, if possible, to get the English
guests in the _Loon_ and then visit “Baldy’s Bench.”

Long before breakfast the next morning the Teton was the center of
new activity. “Grizzly” Hosmer had one of his wagons at the car by
breakfast time and the camp equipage and provisions were stowed away
under his tarpaulin. Guns and ammunition followed. After breakfast the
second wagon arrived. In this, gasoline and aëroplane extra parts were
to be carried.

The _Loon_ sections were then hauled from the baggage compartment.
A few cans of gasoline were stored in a shed near the depot to be
available if it were found necessary to make a voyage back to Michel
during the hunt. Just after breakfast Frank, Phil and Mr. Mackworth
made an examination of Michel. Where the ground was level, switch
tracks make it impossible to use the places for setting up the airship
or for its running start.

“That’s one improvement that must be made in airships before they are
completely practical,” said Mr. Mackworth.

“I don’t see why you say that,” exclaimed Frank. “You might as well say
railroad engines are not perfect because you have to lay tracks for

“Well, I would,” replied Mr. Mackworth, “if engineers claimed they
could run engines anywhere.”

Disappointed over the situation the investigators turned back down the
one street of the town. The country round about was not more promising
than the town; the mountain slope began on each side and, at each end,
the little valley spread out at once in rough trails, rock covered
undulations and jack pines. Suddenly Phil stopped and began laughing.

“I think we’re like the old woman who couldn’t find her spectacles
because they were on her forehead. Here’s your startin’ place,” he
exclaimed sinking his heel in the street.

“This is the public street and the only one,” said the surprised Frank.

“That’s why it’s just the thing,” answered Phil. “Look at it!”

“It’d do if it wasn’t the street,” said Frank.

“You say you could set up and start flying in the road?” broke in Mr.

“Sure, if they’d let us,” answered Frank.

“Hurry back and unload your apparatus,” replied Mr. Mackworth. “I’ll
see to the rest.”

“It’ll be just the thing,” insisted Phil. “I’d think they’d be glad to
let us use it――just for the show.”

Mr. Mackworth waved the boys forward and, knowing that he usually got
what he wanted, they started on a run for the car.

The business of Michel related mainly to mining. The houses were small
and all faced the one street. Opposite the depot was the one hotel, two
or three stores and half a dozen saloons. Several yards north of the
hotel was a two-story frame building, the town hall. When Mr. Mackworth
reached this, he stopped. In a half hour he was back at the car with
the mayor of Michel, the hotelkeeper, and the principal storekeeper in
his company. The town marshal was already at the car. The marshal and
Mr. Mackworth’s other guests were ushered into the dining room of the
Teton and for a quarter of an hour Jake Green was busy. Within an hour
two ropes had been stretched across the street. On each hung this sign:
“Take the back trail or hitch. Airship goes up at four P. M. to-morrow.”

From the time the _Loon_ crates began to be unloaded, the vicinity of
the private car resembled a circus lot. More than once the town marshal
had to clear the place of crowding spectators. Frank and Phil, stripped
to their shirts, were busy and happy.

Loungers pulled down their hat brims or sought the shade of the
sidewalk awnings. But Frank and Phil seemed to mind neither heat nor
dust. Mr. Mackworth, Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton had put off
their smart traveling clothes and were in camp togs――flannel shirts,
khaki trousers and laced knee boots.

Hosmer and Sam Skinner worked over the wagon outfits until noon
and then announced all ready. After a hasty luncheon the entire
party, including Skinner and old “Grizzly,” gathered near the boys.
Mr. Mackworth had found nothing missing and there was no need of a
trip to Fernie. For a time this seemed fortunate for, much to their
surprise, the boys found a defect in the apparatus that slowed them up

The spruce upright holding the left landing wheel frame and its shock
absorbing spring was discovered to have a fracture. This was the wheel
that had caught in the tree the night the two boys made their perilous
flight through the thunderstorm. The strain of packing or unpacking
this part of the airship had developed a crack in the aluminum paint
covering the upright. This indicated an interior fracture and a new
upright had to be fashioned. The village carpenter was found and,
supplying him with extra spruce, Frank spent two hours in the old man’s
shop contriving a new support.

In spite of this, a little before six o’clock the monoplane had been
completely set up. Disconnected from its shaft the beautiful engine
responded immediately when started. Then a new problem arose. The boys
had no hesitation in leaving the airship out of doors at night――there
was nothing that dew or rain could harm――but they were apprehensive
as to what the curious townspeople might do. But this question was
quickly solved. Sam Skinner asking only for his blanket and permission
to smoke, offered to sleep in the airship, “which,” he remarked, “beats
any sleepin’ car shelf I ever saw.”

The boys were tired. Neither their condition nor Jake’s dinner could
restrain them, however, and before their elders had finished their
coffee the lads were back at the airship. The temptation was too great;
they meant to give the _Loon_ a short trip out in mountain land.

The marshal was busy as usual. At sight of him it occurred to Frank
that an invitation to this official to have a ride in the _Loon_ would
be a proper return for the courtesies extended. The marshal not only
refused but seemed afraid that he was about to be forced to accept the

Their own party finally appearing on the scene, each in turn was
invited to make a flight. One after another had some excuse, Sam and
“Grizzly” announcing simply that they were afraid.

Lord Pelton was the only one who had not been positive.

“My arm is pretty stiff,” explained Frank, “and I’m sure Phil wants
company. It’s as safe for two as for one.”

“That may be,” responded Lord Pelton with a weak smile, “as safe for
_two_ as for _one_. What say, Captain?” he asked turning to Captain
Ludington. The latter waved his hand as if in doubt. “I’ll go,”
exclaimed Lord Pelton. “We came for sport and I might as well get my
share of it.”

“I’ll be back in a few moments,” said Phil springing into the monoplane
cabin. “I’ll just take a turn to the north to warm up.”

With Phil in the car arranging for his start, Frank stationed men at
the rear and he and Jake Green took their places at the two propellers.
Turning the wheels off center Frank waited for Phil to start the engine
and, with its first “chug,” he and Jake threw the propellers over. The
engine responded to the cranking and the yellow blades flew into a

“Hold on, you fellows,” yelled Frank through his trumpeted hands to
the men at the rear who were already on the ground with their heels
set in the road, “and you fellows get to one side,” he called to the
spectators including Mr. Mackworth and his friends, “she’ll throw the

This they had already discovered. Dirt and rubbish were shooting
rearward like a sand blast. And it was a gale that had picked them up
for, as Phil opened up the engine and the propellers reached a greater
speed, the _Loon_ trembled and pulled like a frightened horse. Suddenly
Phil, in his seat, nodded his head.

“All back,” shouted Frank. “Let go,” he cried and the Michel men who
had been acting as anchors fell backwards in the dirt, choked with

The _Loon_ darted down the empty street, springing a few feet in the
air and then bumping the ground again, for about one hundred feet.
Then, springing upward it did not touch again but went skimming above
the street like the bird for which it was named. This only for a moment
when, checking herself slightly under Phil’s movement of her planes and
rudder, the monoplane began mounting.

“Certainly a beautiful sight,” exclaimed Captain Ludington.

As Phil drove the _Loon_ skyward and the rays of the setting sun
struck the monoplane high in the air, the yells gave place to “Oh’s”
and “Ah’s.” The planes of the ship were aluminum in color, while the
guiding rudders and the horizontal plane and tail were white. On each,
the sun rays cast a different tint and it seemed as if some powerful
golden searchlight had focussed itself to paint a picture on the deep
sapphire, cloudless sky.

As the _Loon_ grew smaller, Mr. Mackworth asked how high it was.

“About 3,000 feet,” answered Frank.

“Three thousand feet!” exclaimed Lord Pelton.

“You’ll like it,” said Frank. “It’s a nice, safe height.”

Just then several hundred spectators saw the _Loon_ veer off to the
west, dip its plane downward and an instant later dash earthward in a
series of spiral whirls. The men gasped and cried out but Frank only

“It’s only a quick descent,” he reassured his friends. “He’s all right.”

Almost as he spoke, a thousand feet above the earth Phil, with a wider
sweep, came on an even keel and then headed directly for the center
of the town. A moment later the sound of the whirring propellers came
within the hearing of the spellbound observers and then suddenly ceased.

“He’s gliding now without power,” exclaimed Frank, “stand back

Just as the _Loon_ seemed about to strike with a crash in the street
far beyond the crowd, there was a jump upward, a new glide earthward,
another tilt of the ship skyward and then, the speed of the monoplane
almost checked, a new drop earthward and Phil skilfully landed fifty
feet from where he started.

“Get out,” exclaimed Frank enthusiastically, “my arm feels better. All
aboard, Lord Pelton. I’ll initiate you.”

As Phil climbed out the Englishman hesitated.

“Don’t let her get cool,” called out Phil. “All aboard.”

And almost before he knew it the Englishman had been helped aboard and
into the seat just behind the new aviator.



The spectators saw the monoplane turn to the east, gradually rising,
until it disappeared over the mountains. Not until thirty minutes
later did the _Loon_ reappear far in the south. And then it was first
distinguished by its searchlight breaking through the evening mist, for
night had fallen.

As Lord Pelton sprang out he explained his sensation.

“Strangely enough,” he said, “my first feeling was one of safety. But
the peculiar sensation was that of wind all around me; a breeze that
seemed to come from nowhere. My face was in a strong breeze that never
ceased. In a balloon, you feel as if the earth is dropping below you.
In the aëroplane there was the sensation of climbing. The earth did
not take on the appearance of a hollow dish with the horizon reaching
up like the rim of a bowl. After a few hundred feet all the crudities
of the earth were lost. Like the broad effects of a fine painting the
land greeted the eye as a picture. I was not frightened.”

“What altitude did you reach?” asked Captain Ludington.

“I meant to stick to the five hundred foot level,” answered Frank, “but
Lord Pelton asked me to go higher. We reached the height of fifty-two
hundred feet.”

“The sun was sinking behind the next range of mountains,” explained
Lord Pelton, “and we kept on going up to keep it in sight. After it was
dark in the valley we could have read a newspaper. It was just like
stealing daylight――great.”

The boys were pleased because they could see that Lord Pelton’s
enthusiasm was having its influence on Mr. Mackworth and Captain
Ludington, and they hoped it would have a similar effect on “Grizzly”
Hosmer and Sam Skinner.

Hosmer was off with the wagons early the next morning. Sam Skinner, Mr.
Mackworth and his guests did not get away until eight o’clock. Jake
Green accompanied Hosmer that he might prepare luncheon on the trail.
With orders on the principal store of Michel, Nelse and Robert were
left in charge of the car. Frank and Phil also remained ready for their
flight about five o’clock――after the main party had reached Smith’s

All morning the boys tinkered on the airship. Into the shaded cabin
of the monoplane many visitors were admitted while levers, wheels,
instruments and engine parts were explained. At noon Nelse served
their luncheon in the airship cabin; cold meats, preserved fruits and
iced-tea. And then, succumbing to the drowsy heat, Phil stretched
himself on the floor and fell asleep.

An hour later the sleeping boy aroused himself with a start. The _Loon_
was in flight.

“What’s doin’?” he cried in alarm.

“Nothin’, only we’ve started,” was Frank’s rejoinder.

“Started?” exclaimed Phil. “’Tain’t time, is it?”

“No,” answered Frank bending to his work of adjusting the big plane as
the clattering monoplane left the ground, “but I got tired.”

“Who held her?” was Phil’s next question as he scrambled to his feet.

“No one,” replied Frank. “I just gave her a run. She made it all right.”

“You’re crazy,” roared Phil.

Frank laughed and lifted the ship a little higher.

“They ain’t ready for us,” persisted Phil glancing at the receding
village. “We can’t keep flyin’ around till night. It’s only a quarter
after one,” he exclaimed.

“We ain’t goin’ to fly around at all,” replied Frank as he set the
_Loon_ on a flight about four hundred feet from the ground. “We’re
goin’ fishin’.”

“Fishin’?” repeated Phil. “You _are_ crazy!”

“Sit down,” answered Frank with a smile, “and I’ll tell you where we
are goin’.”

“What’s that?” said Phil who was far from sitting down. “That?” he
repeated pointing to the forward end of the cabin.

“That,” answered Frank, “is a present I bought for you. It’s a Michel
trout rod, reel, line and a couple of May flies. I tell you we’re
goin’ fishin’. What’s the use o’ sleepin’ away an afternoon like this
when you know the trout will be fightin’ for flies about four o’clock?”

“Well,” said Phil at last in a dazed tone, “I give up.”

“Now,” said Frank, “you’re talkin’ sense. While you were asleep I
strolled over to the store. I began lookin’ over the trout tackle and
got to talkin’ ‘fish.’ The clerk was awful strong for Fording River,
which is up where we are goin’ to camp to-night. A few miles away the
Fording cuts through some hills and east o’ these it’s full o’ trout.
But the best fishin’, the clerk said, was beyond a little valley where
the Fording comes through a second range o’ hills and tumbles over the
rocks makin’ a fine waterfall.”

“And you’re goin’ up there and land on a hill or in a pine forest?”
interrupted Phil.

“We’re goin’ there and land in a meadow at the foot o’ the Falls where
the grass ain’t high enough to tangle us up and where you’re goin’ to
get us a string o’ Cutthroat trout which, accordin’ to the clerk, are
the finest fish in the world for looks, fight and flavor.”

“And what if that meadow ain’t flat and hard enough to land in?” asked
Phil, somewhat mollified.

“We’ll just turn around, come back to town, call it a little outing of
an hour and let it go at that.”

“You’re crazy,” repeated Phil in a last protest.

“Shall I turn back?” asked Frank suddenly.

“I reckon you might as well go ahead since you’ve started,” Phil
answered. “But it’s up to you. Besides,” he added contemptuously,
“that’s a rotten lookin’ rod.”

The _Loon_ now drifting as smoothly, silently and swiftly as a bird was
turning to the east.

“All right,” laughed Frank. “Then we’ll cross over the first range
before our friends sight us. There’s no use to excite them. After we’re
out o’ sight o’ them, we’ll turn north. I guess we’ll know the Fording
when we sight it.”

“Why didn’t you get the notion before the wagons left?” Phil asked. “I
could have had my own rod.”

[Illustration: THE _Loon_ IN THE MOUNTAINS]

Having crossed the Eastern range the young aviators dropped into the
parallel valley to be sure of being unobserved and then turned north
again. The anemometer showed a speed of 56 miles at three quarters
power. The _Loon_ had left Michel at 1:15 o’clock. At 1:35 P. M. the
boys figured that they were about 20 miles north. The proposed camping
place was reckoned about 25 miles from town. As the Fording entered the
Elk at this point it was clear that their destination was not over five
or six miles distant. A few minutes later a stream cut the valley and
the _Loon_ was brought to half speed.

Even at four hundred feet the view included endless mountain ranges;
near at hand and forming the Elk River Valley these were hardly more
than great hills. Then, each successive line of peaks rose higher both
east and west until on the distant horizon could be distinguished the
Columbian Rockies, the Selkirks and the Purcell ranges.

Between these were valleys of pines, cut now and then by silver
mountain streams, while each rocky wall was gashed by chasms and passes
in which, tumbling and crowned by spray, waterfalls dropped their
endless torrents. Off to the northwest, where the Selkirks died down in
the Herchmer range and Norboe and Osborne peaks, even in the June day
could be distinguished the glisten of chasm-protected snow. And with
it all no sound, no sight of a living object except, high above them a
motionless, soaring eagle.

Frank was yet at the wheel. Before the narrow, swift Fording was
reached he turned to follow its banks eastward. When he saw the falls
he also made out the grass valley. It looked a bit risky, but not
wholly dangerous and when Phil’s eye caught sight of the cottonlike
falls, Frank selected the smoothest ground and dropped to it. New
mountain grass and wild poppies made a soft and picturesque landing,
but it gave no great assurance as to starting again for, as the
monoplane wheels sank in the grass the car wobbled from side to side
and then came to a sudden stop.

“Anyway,” exclaimed Frank, “it’s better than being stuck in a

“Except that there is no hard road to drag her out to,” added Phil.

“Don’t borrow trouble,” suggested Frank, bravely. “There’s your stream.
Let’s see what a Cutthroat trout is like.”

Gathering up the trout outfit the two boys set out across the meadow.
A bit of pine woods crowning a rise of rocks lay between them and the
stream, but in a few minutes they were on the rocky margin of the
Fording. It was a trouty looking piece of water; not wide but too deep
for fishing in the stream. The blue-green current rippled over fallen
trees and protruding rocks, making foam flecked pools that were natural
haunts for fish.

“I always like to wade the stream and fish with the current,” said
Phil, busy winding his line and attaching his gut leader, “but these
backwaters look powerful good to me. Did they tell you this was the
fly?” he continued holding up what is known as the May.

“The clerk said it was a ‘killer,’” answered Frank.

After a good deal of grumbling over the defects of the cheap reel, Phil
finally announced that he meant to try the foot of the falls first. As
the boys made their way along the rocky bank Phil made a cast or two
to straighten out his line.

About a hundred yards below the falls the stream widened into a pool
and the bank rose into a tangle of berry bushes. At its foot the water
ran up to the little cliff. Frank began to climb the elevation. To his
surprise Phil walked directly into the shallow water of the creek’s

“Come up here and keep out o’ that,” called Frank. “What’s the use o’
wettin’ everything you have on?”

“I’m fishin’,” called back Phil. “You――”

Then he stopped. Frank leaned over the bushes. As he did so he saw
Phil out in the stream, the water nearly reaching his waist. His rod
at that moment was a semicircle and the tense figure of the fisherman,
the forward poise of his body, the left hand far extended and grasping
a turn of line, told enough. If there had been any doubt about the
situation, a flash of golden, yellow and pink in a cloud of spray told
it all.

“It’s a beaut, Phil,” yelled Frank and in another moment he ran down
the bank to his chum’s side. For ten minutes Phil, with all his
Michigan fishing skill, played his first strike. With no landing net,
the issue of the fight was problematical. But there was clear water in
all directions and the trout was well hooked. Thoroughly exhausted,
Frank at last got his thumb in the fish’s gill and the two boys waded

It was their first Salmo Clarkii and it weighed 3¼ pounds. The upper
part of its body was a pale golden yellow with black spots because of
which the trout is sometimes known as the Dolly Varden. The middle
part of its body was pink and the belly a pearl white. But the most
characteristic marks on it were two deep and wide carmine splashes just
back of its gills, which gave it another name――the “Cutthroat” trout.

“I don’t know what sort of a trout it is,” exclaimed Phil as he laid
the beautiful fish on the grass, “but it is worth coming two thousand
miles to get. Now we’ll go for the real ones up there at the foot of
the falls.”

When Frank realized that the hot sun was no longer in their faces and
looked at his watch it was five o’clock. In a natural pocket in the
rocks, filled with water from the falls’ spray, lay twelve fish――the
whole weighing twenty-six pounds.



Weighted with the still glittering spoils of their sport, Frank and
Phil hurried through the pines to the _Loon_. They had realized that a
new start would not be easy. Now they wondered if they could make it at
all. Frank shook his head.

“We ain’t goin’ to get up much speed runnin’ through this grass,” he
suggested as he kicked his foot into the luxuriant tangle.

“It’s gettin’ longer all the time,” laughed Phil depositing the fish in
the cabin. “Let’s get busy.”

Taking their places in the car the boys, after a careful examination,
turned on the power. The propellers fell to work and the trembling
ship, heaving like a chained monster, strove to free itself. But the
force of the propellers only pushed in the frame until, fearful of
breaking it, the engine was shut off.

“Let’s pull her forward a bit,” suggested Phil. “Maybe she’s worn a rut

The boys got out and pushed the ship forward a few yards. And before
doing it they beat down the grass as well as they could into three
paths for the wheels.

The _Loon_ this time ran forward a few yards and then, one of the
landing wheels sinking in softer ground the monoplane whirled in that
direction almost at right angles, Frank stopping his engine just in
time to prevent his right plane from turning plowshare.

“That’s the right idea,” insisted Frank, “only we didn’t go far enough.
Let’s tramp down a longer road.”

This was done with considerable effort and another trial made after
each irregularity had been smoothed to the best of the boys’ ability.
The monoplane sprang forward but again it touched in the grass at the
end of the improvised roadway and the strain on the plane truss became
alarmingly apparent. Twice more the start was attempted on an enlarged
runway, and each time the propellers were shut off just in time to
prevent an accident. At half past six the two boys, hot and dusty,
their shoes and clothing still wet and heavy from crawling on the dusty
ground, stopped for rest in half despair.

“I got it,” exclaimed Phil suddenly.

“We’ve both got it where we can’t get it out,” answered Frank, rubbing
his stiffened fingers.

“The camp ain’t far from here,” went on Phil. “We know that.”

“Somewhere over that hill,” answered Frank pointing to the western edge
of the grass meadow.

“And it’s at the mouth of the creek,” said Phil. “We could get to the
camp by following the Fording down to the Elk.”

“That’s exactly what we’d do if we could get a start,” was Frank’s

“It’s exactly what _I_ can do _without_ a start,” persisted Phil. “Get
aboard. You can get away like a top with a little help. I’ll give you
the shove that will do the trick at the right moment.”

“You――” began Frank.

“Then I’ll walk to camp. It can’t be far.”

“You’re crazy,” exclaimed Frank.

“We’re dumb-heads for not thinkin’ about it before,” went on Phil.
“It’s supper time and that mess of trout is spoilin’. I’ll see your
camp fire as soon as I get through the river channel, even if it is

“I’ll draw cuts to see who does it.”

“Gimme that flash light,” went on Phil. “If I ain’t there by dark, send
‘Grizzly’ Hosmer up the creek for me. I’ll flash a light every five
minutes after dark.”

“An’ stick to the river!” urged Frank.

“You’re off,” laughed Phil sticking the electric flash light in his
pocket. “But say,” he added, “let me take your automatic――I may meet a
grizzly on the hill.”

Handing Phil his new revolver Frank hesitatingly took his place in
the cabin. In another moment the _Loon_ made another spurt and Phil,
sprinting behind, successfully gave it the last push that cleared the
gluelike grass.

“Good-bye,” yelled Phil. There was a wave of Frank’s hand and the
silver planes of the airship tilted as the monoplane veered to the
west. Long before the birdlike craft had disappeared over the Hog Back
range, Phil was trudging stoutly toward the Fording.

Reaching the summit of the big hill, Frank expected to see a valley and
some sign of the camp. Instead, he saw only an expanse of lodge-pole
pine trees and a second and lower range about four miles distant. He
immediately turned north until he was over the river and then followed
its course until the stream made its way through a rift in the second
range. For a better view he had gone up to one thousand feet. From the
summit of the second range he easily made out the Elk River and then,
still following the Fording, was soon relieved to catch sight of their

Ten minutes after he started and having covered seven miles, as he
estimated, the _Loon_ shot southward to a landing much like the
deceitful one in Grass Meadow. There was much revolver firing and
yelling as the _Loon_ made a spiral drop. But Frank’s face and the
absence of Phil stopped the jollification. The four camp tents had been
pitched, the wagons parked and Mr. Mackworth and his guests were seated
in comfortable camp chairs watching Jake’s supper preparations when
Frank reached the camp. But the lone aviator gave these things little

It had seemed a simple enough thing for Phil to follow the river
to camp. But as Frank traced its winding course and saw its rocky
brier-lined shore up to the very edge of which the thick pine trees
crowded, he realized that his chum had no easy task before him.
Certainly it would be dark long before Phil could cover the seven
miles, and that meant feeling his way through a tangled forest without
even a trail.

Frank told his story in a frightened, excited manner.

“He can’t make two mile an hour follerin’ the river,” volunteered
“Grizzly” Hosmer.

“Why didn’t he come over the Hog Back?” asked Skinner. “He’d saved a

“Regrets won’t mend matters,” interrupted Mr. Mackworth soberly.
“‘Grizzly,’” he added, “you know the country best. Isn’t there a trail
from here through the woods to the hill?”

“A plain one,” was Hosmer’s response.

“Well, you start at once with an extra horse and hurry to Hog Back Cut.
You can probably get there before the boy does, as he has four miles to
cover in that valley over there. Bring him home by the trail.”

In a few minutes Hosmer had saddled and was off. Both Sam Skinner and
Frank wanted to join him but Mr. Mackworth thought the guide would
travel quicker alone. Frank made a perfunctory examination of the camp
and then remembered his fish.

The moment Mr. Mackworth saw them he demanded a detailed story of the
fishing experience.

“To-morrow,” said Mr. Mackworth at last, “we go trout fishing. And, if
we have luck like this, I think we’ll stop here a few days. It’s the
finest string of fish I ever saw.”

“Give me one of these boys,” exclaimed Captain Ludington, taking Phil’s
3¼ pound fish up to admire it once more, “and I won’t care very much
whether I get a sheep or not.”

It was too late for Jake to bake the fish that night but they were
prepared and salted for breakfast. The evening meal was a wonder as
a camp product but no great hilarity accompanied it. And when it was
over and the men had gone to their pipes and cigars Frank sat apart,
far from cheerful, straining his ears for returning hoof beats. Eight
o’clock and nine o’clock went by. Mr. Mackworth had long since begun to
show anxiety. Nor did Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton conceal their
solicitude. Jake kept his cook fire blazing brightly as a guide to the
returning wanderers.

At ten o’clock, the anxious and silent party were suddenly stirred
by the sound of a distant shot and then, on the edge of the forest
bordering the meadow, Frank caught the flash of a light. Followed
closely by Skinner he ran in the direction of the sound and light.

“Now you see what you did,” exclaimed Frank as he came up with two
horses hurrying forward in the moonlight and made out that Phil was on
the rear one.

“We’d have both been there,” answered Phil, “if I hadn’t. But say, it’s
a good thing Mr. Hosmer was there to stop me. I couldn’t follow the
river. I had to take to the meadow. And that hill! Whew! But say,” he
went on with a chuckle――“first blood for me. See what’s here.”

An animal lay across Phil’s saddle.

“You don’t need to tell me what that is,” sniffed Frank. “It’s a billy
goat. I can smell him.”

“A yearlin’ kid,” explained “Grizzly.” “Jist right fur brilin’ ur

Then it dawned on Frank.

“Why that’s what we’re here for, Rocky Mountain goats. Has it got

“Toothpicks,” laughed Phil. “But I saw some real ones.”

“Regular big ones?” asked Frank, his interest rising.

“Well, big enough to shoot, I reckon,” answered Phil. “Certainly big
enough to climb some. I wish I’d had my rifle. That’s what you did by
lettin’ me send my rifle in the wagon.”

At this point the little cavalcade encountered Mr. Mackworth who
had also come out to meet the party. At sight of the goat he asked
immediately for all details.

“You see,” he said turning to Captain Ludington and Lord Pelton
who were just behind him, “we don’t have to go far to find ’em. And
we’re just as likely to scare up a fine one right here as in the big

“These were pretty middlin’ big,” explained Phil, trying to be
conservative. “And there was a pile of ’em. I counted thirty anyway.”

“Why did you shoot such a little one?” interrupted Frank.

“I didn’t,” replied Phil. “That is I didn’t mean to. I aimed at the
biggest Billy there, but I hit the little one.”

In the laugh that followed the party reached camp. While Jake prepared
some supper for the late arrivals, Phil told his story.

“I got to the river,” he said, “and found that it was no place to
travel. Then I cut across the valley straight for the hills. But I
don’t think they _are_ hills. They are what _I_ call mountains. I saw
I couldn’t walk over them; it was a climb. Well, finally, I got up
but I was a wishin’ for the _Loon_ you can bet. And when I got where
I could get a peek on the other side and saw nothing but pine trees I
knew I was on the wrong track. I couldn’t get through them and keep any

“There wasn’t anything to do but to keep on the ridge and go north
hoping I could come to the Fording River Cut before it was black night.
It wasn’t easy walkin’ on the rocks. What made it worse was that it was
so awful still and so dark behind things. But there was a rim of sun
left and I was hittin’ up my best pace when something went bang like
a rock fallin’. Right in front of me something white jumped sideways;
there was a rattle of ‘ba’s’ and, while I stood gulpin’, a flock of
something went scamperin’ and circling around me and down the hill.

“The thing that jumped sideways was last. Once it stopped and then I
could see it was a big goat. I didn’t have the buck ague, or whatever
you call it out here, but I couldn’t get my bearings. When the old
Billy stopped the rest stopped, too, just long enough to take a peek
at me. A half dozen of ’em came back toward the big fellow and I did
my best to size ’em up. ‘They’ll all be gone in a second,’ I said to
myself and I let the big boy have the best I could give him with a
revolver. That settled it. They all went scamperin’, with rocks a
rolling down the mountain before ’em, and disappeared behind a bend.

“I couldn’t see that I’d hit anything but I climbed down where they had
been, hoping to see where they’d gone, thinkin’ you would be sure to
want to find ’em again. And I found this little fellow――dead enough.”

“And where did you meet Hosmer?” Mr. Mackworth asked.

“It was really dark, then,” went on Phil, “and I made up my mind to
follow the ridge until I came to where it broke into the river pass. It
was pretty hard work for I had the kid on my shoulders. Finally it got
so dark that I thought of stoppin’ till day. Then I remembered my flash
light and I used it to pick out the way along the mountain side. I’d
been doin’ that almost an hour, I guess, when I heard a shot. I was a
good deal nearer the river than I thought. Mr. Hosmer saw the light and
shot off his rifle.”

There were congratulations all around; many other questions and answers
and then Mr. Mackworth said:

“I suppose I ought really spank you boys, but I’ll forgive you since
everything has turned out all right. We have a fine mess of fish for
breakfast; you have located the Cutthroat trout for us and found the
first herd of goats. What more could we ask? We have a good camp site
here, plenty of spring water and we’ll stop long enough to have a good
fish and, if possible, to get that big Billy. Jake, give the boys a
good supper and then all turn in. We’ll be off for Josephine Falls in
the morning. Gentlemen,” he concluded addressing his English guests,
“you see we made no mistake in bringing our airship and aviators.
They’ve made a good beginning.”

“We ain’t started yet,” laughed Frank. “We were just warmin’ up



As soon as Jake knew that Mr. Mackworth planned to have a day’s fishing
at Josephine Falls he declined to cook Frank and Phil’s fish in a
“balsam bake.”

“I’ll put that over right at the Falls,” he insisted, “while the spots
are on the fish.”

The boys were up early to see the camp. There were four sleeping
tents, each with a second top which extended out at one end to make a
shaded entrance. Beneath this, the thick canvas floor of the tent also
extended to afford a lounging place outside the tent. Light netting,
weighted to keep it from blowing about, enclosed this entrance for
protection against mosquitoes although, so far, the valley breeze had
kept these away.

There were cots in each tent, except the one occupied by Jake, Hosmer
and Skinner. Mr. Mackworth was alone in his tent but, allowing for the
amount of extra equipment stored therein, he had less space than the
others. And, as soon as it was agreed that the party was to remain in
camp for a few days, it was surprising how many articles of comfort and
convenience he produced from his trunks and bags.

“Two things I insist on in camp,” Mr. Mackworth explained. “I’m willing
to eat out of the skillet, so long as the food is right; I’ll drink out
of my hat, if necessary, and I can sleep on the ground; but I want a
place to wash my face and a comfortable chair.”

The outfit included plenty of big, collapsible, canvas chairs with
backs and in each tent there was a washbasin, water bucket, a rack for
towels, wash rags, comb and brush and a mirror. Another idea of Mr.
Mackworth’s was a provision tent, insect proof, in which he insisted
that cooking utensils and dishes be stored between meals.

Jake Green had already improvised benches to hold his pans and plates,
and when breakfast was announced it was only necessary to draw the
chairs nearer the savory cook fire. Jake served all with ease and
despatch. On this particular morning the skilled colored boy had
coffee, bacon, scrambled eggs and fried trout.

“Jake,” exclaimed Lord Pelton, “that trout is a king’s dish. It’s even
better than the fish you served the night we started.”

“I had to sauté ’em,” Jake said deprecatingly. “They’re too big to fry
in oil.”

“Never any other way for me,” exclaimed Captain Ludington as he
conveyed a piece of the smoking fish to his mouth.

“But these eggs,” commented Lord Pelton, “they――”

“Eggs? I hadn’t anything to do with ’em,” exclaimed Jake. “Can’t anyone
scramble eggs for Mr. Mackworth but himself. Talk to him about the

“It’s so simple,” laughed their host, “that even Jake won’t do it.”

“What’s the secret?” asked Captain Ludington giving attention to the
golden dish.

“No secret. All you have to do is to take ’em off before they’re
cooked. In cookin’ eggs, you _don’t_. And then you ought to have real
black pepper for seasoning; not white dust. Beat the whites and the
yolks separately, just cover the bottom of the skillet with butter and
keep turning the eggs from the edge of the pan to the center with a
fork. When they are hot, take ’em off and they’ll finish cookin’ in
their own heat and you won’t have ’em hard and dry.”

Before the party broke camp the Englishmen insisted they were in a
fair way to get the gout and Captain Ludington had a notebook full of
directions how to prepare Mr. Mackworth’s famous spaghetti; his “camp
chicken;” coffee; steamed, sautéd, fried and baked trout and the sauce
for each.

“It’s a case of hindsight bein’ better than lookin’ ahead,” said Phil
at breakfast when Hosmer described the trail to Josephine Falls. As
there seemed no good landing place there for the _Loon_ it was decided
that Sam Skinner should stay in camp that day; and about nine o’clock
the rest of the party set out for a day’s fishing at the Falls. Hosmer
directed a pack horse to be loaded with Jake’s luncheon outfit and
the horsemen, at last on their way for real sport, were as lively as

When the first hill had been crossed and “Grizzly” picked up what he
called a “road” through the tall lodge-pole pines in the next valley,
even Mr. Mackworth laughed.

“Anything is a ‘road’ that you can keep goin’ on and where you don’t
have to stop to cut down timber,” explained “Grizzly.”

They did the former and while the others could not even make out a
trail, their guide went ahead without delay. Coming out of the woods at
last, the Hog Back rose before them.

“Where’s your road now?” exclaimed Phil. “I didn’t see any last night.”

“You don’t need a road in the open,” replied “Grizzly” contemptuously.
“It’s all road.”

Hosmer began a swift ascent of the almost mountainous slopes. Stopping
now and then to examine the rough ground ahead; turning and twisting
forward on new tacks; in less than twenty minutes the party came out on
the crest of the hill.

“There she is,” called out Frank, “the scene of our disaster.”

Apparently it was the last valley before the high ground beyond it
broke into the foothills of the real mountains. It lay green and
rolling, gay with flowers and spring-time verdure.

“Why wouldn’t that make a good ranch?” asked Captain Ludington. “I can
almost see the cattle and sheep gorging themselves. And over there on
the bank of the river would be just the place for a big home and barns.
Why there are thousands of acres here going to waste.”

“Come back in five years,” replied Mr. Mackworth soberly, “and you’ll
probably see just what you describe. What you see here, you can find in
thousands of places in this part of the world.”

“Could anyone come here?” broke in Phil, recalling his long days in the
factory and his eighteen dollars a week.

“My boy,” said Mr. Mackworth, “Canada is begging people to come.”

“And it wouldn’t cost you anything to get a farm here and have a house
over there by Josephine Falls and its trout; where you could see wild
goats on the hills and elk and moose and bears and deer in the woods
beyond, and where you have a pasture ready made for your cattle?”

“Almost nothing,” replied Mr. Mackworth.

Phil looked at Frank and unseen by the others winked slowly. In boy
language this meant: “Do you hear him? I’m on. I’m goin’ to come here
and own Meadow Grass Valley.”

“Grizzly” Hosmer called on all to dismount, as the east side of the
hill was too steep to descend mounted. Turning their horses loose the
party began sliding and scrambling down the slopes. At ten o’clock,
crossing the corner of Meadow Grass Valley at a smart pace, the
expedition reached the timber hiding Josephine Falls.

Mr. Mackworth’s trout rigging was not purchased in Michel. As rods,
creels, boots, hand nets and fly hooks were unpacked, the little camp
looked like a bargain sale in a sporting goods store. Everyone was
equipped (Phil with his own rod and outfit this time) and in a few
moments, Jake and “Grizzly” Hosmer sat alone in camp. Phil took the
stream above the Falls; Frank went a mile below; Mr. Mackworth and Lord
Pelton were assigned the pools at the foot of the Falls, and Captain
Ludington turned free lance.

All were to be in camp by two o’clock. Phil returned at one without a
fish. Evidently they did not get above the Falls. The others came in
soon after that time. Frank had eight beauties; Mr. Mackworth and Lord
Pelton had caught scores and retained sixteen――all over two pounds. But
Captain Ludington was the prize winner. He had nine fish and two of
them weighed nearly four pounds each. Each fisherman had put back more
fish than he had in his creel.

Jake’s “balsam bake” turned out to be, in reality, “steamed” trout. As
soon as the colored boy saw that the party was catching fish he began
digging rocks out of the bed of the stream. Two dozen of these, each as
big as his head, he heated in a rousing fire. After the trout had been
brought in he dressed them, leaving the heads on. Then he rolled the
hot rocks into a flat foundation, apart from the fire. On this he piled
a foot of the tips of new jack-pine boughs――tender, green fragrant
leaves――and on these he laid the fish yet brilliant with nature’s
coloring. Over these he piled another foot or more of boughs and then
covered the whole with a piece of wet cloth.

The thick white odorous vapor that rolled from the damp pine boughs
was ample forerunner of what was to come. In an hour and fifteen
minutes the steaming oven was uncovered. Each fish lay as it came
from the stream; the gold and pink tints and the “cutthroat” marks
of carmine all as vivid as when the trout were caught. The fish were
perfectly cooked. It did not seem much of an accomplishment but Captain
Ludington’s book on the “Canadian Rockies,” which he wrote later,
devotes an entire chapter to “Trout; Catching and Cooking Them.” And
in his narrative, Jake’s “pine-bough steam” receives enthusiastic

Fishing was over for the day and after luncheon, the party made its
way back to camp, reaching the ranch about five o’clock. The next day,
it was agreed, was to be given up to hunting goats along the Hog Back.
There was, therefore, a careful overhauling of the firearms. In the
midst of this Frank approached Mr. Mackworth and said:

“The _Loon_ is working perfectly. I’d like to make a little flight
with you as a passenger. We’ll follow the Hog Back for a few miles and
locate any stray goats loafing about there. It may help you in your
hunt to-morrow.”

“Captain Ludington,” said Mr. Mackworth, “I think this a fine idea.
I order you to go with Frank on a tour of investigation. Make a
sky-view chart of the hill and designate the location of the enemy if

Captain Ludington wrinkled his brows and laughed. He twisted his mouth
as if about to say something, probably a protest; then, to the surprise
of all, he sprang to his feet, clicked his heels together, saluted and

“Very good, sir.”

“Come along, Lord Pelton,” exclaimed Phil. “We’ll all go. Take your

Mr. Mackworth looked at Phil.

“I wouldn’t take a rifle if I were you. Don’t you think that would be
an unfair advantage of the goats? They won’t be looking for an enemy
from the sky. I don’t mind using the airship to get on an equal footing
with the goats; to get on their heights and meet ’em man to goat; but
I wouldn’t shoot them from where they haven’t any cause to expect an
enemy. I think shooting goats from an airship would be ‘pot hunting.’”

“I don’t agree with you,” retorted Phil instantly. “As for only doing
what the goats have a right to be looking for, there’s nothing in that
or we wouldn’t be able to shoot them at all. Goats don’t know anything
about guns. And as for the goats having no reason to be looking for an
enemy above them, their animal enemies are always above or below ’em.
And Sam Skinner says the golden eagle swoops down on them from above
whenever he wants a fresh kid.”

“It’s all a matter of taste,” rejoined Mr. Mackworth, smiling. “Do as
you like.”

“But I _wouldn’t_ shoot to kill unless I could recover the prize,”
added Phil. “And I wouldn’t shoot from the airship to leave an animal
dying on the rocks where I couldn’t get it.”

“We’ll just reconnoiter this evening,” suggested Frank.

“I agree with the young man,” spoke up Captain Ludington. “Most sport
is nothing but the old Anglo-Saxon lust for blood and killing. And,
so long as we hunt, I think the hunter may as well resort to the best
means to conquer his quarry. _I’m_ willing to shoot from the airship.”



Stationing the two passengers in the side seats and instructing them to
keep their places even if the monoplane should dip, Frank and Phil got
away without trouble. Captain Ludington was as pleased as Lord Pelton
had been with his first flight. In fact, he had to be reminded that he
was supposed to be making a survey of the Hog Back, topographically and
for goats. As Jake’s dinner would be late the boys reduced the speed
to the lowest possible point, and having reached the hill, the _Loon_
followed the high ground almost halfway to Michel.

Six different herds of goats were observed and located. So many deer
were seen that no attempt was made to count them. One big brown object,
thought to be a grizzly, was observed just entering the timber and a
bull moose and two cows were made out feeding in Meadow Grass Valley,
about five miles from camp. The nearest goats were not over a half
mile south of where the party had crossed the Hog Back on the fishing

These things did not cause any great rejoicing on the part of the boys.
They would have felt no regret if the Hog Back had been found devoid of
game. Their own desire was to get nearer to “Baldy’s Bench.”

“Goats are all right,” Frank had said the night before as he and Phil
talked over their hopes, “but what’s the use o’ foolin’ away time on
them as long as ‘Old Baldy’ may be alive an’ kickin’?”

“Let’s talk it over with your uncle,” suggested Phil. “Maybe he’ll
break camp.”

“You heard what he said,” answered Frank. “He’s after trout. And you
can see he’s kind o’ soft on goats, too. I wouldn’t wonder if he thinks
a big goat is as good as a big ram.”

Frank’s fears were soon confirmed. When the airship party returned and
made its report, both Mr. Mackworth and his guests seemed satisfied
with their present location. For six full days there was no talk of
moving on. The next day the party took horses to the hills after goats
and, when the rough ground became too difficult for the animals, all
dismounted and proceeded on foot.

It was a hard day’s work with only such luncheon as they carried.
Return was made after night had fallen with two good heads as
the result; one was Mr. Mackworth’s prize and the other Captain
Ludington’s. None but males were shot. Sam Skinner brought down a young
buck deer for fresh meat.

“That was pretty strenuous,” said Mr. Mackworth as the pipes came out
after dinner. “I suggest a rest to-morrow and another trip to Josephine
Falls the day after.”

In the afternoon of the next day the boys and Lord Pelton made a trip
to Michel in the _Loon_ to get more of the May trout flies which Phil
had found so successful. Some fresh venison was carried to Nelse and
Robert, and two hundred pounds of ice was brought back. This flight was
varied a little, the route being laid on the west side of the Elk River
near the mountains. Crossing the river four miles from camp five moose
were seen, half covered with water and fighting flies.

“That means more delay, I suppose,” grunted Phil to Frank. However,
the discovery was promptly reported. The result was an expedition
that evening as soon as the monoplane had returned. Captain Ludington
toppled the biggest bull of the group; Lord Pelton fired and missed and
Mr. Mackworth got the second largest animal after a chase of a half

“If we could only find a few mountain sheep around here, I don’t
see why we should trouble about a climb in the mountains,” said Mr.
Mackworth, smiling as usual, after returning. “We have trout, grouse,
deer, moose, goats and, undoubtedly, plenty of bear. And we are near
enough to get ice from Michel by our aërial express.”

“I think we could get some sheep,” remarked Frank significantly. “We
can take you as far into the mountains as you want to go.”

“O, we’ll move along in a day or two,” remarked Mr. Mackworth.
“There’s no hurry. We must do a little mountain climbing just for the
experience. This sort of camp life is too easy; a pack camp’ll be more
like the real thing.”

In the next four days there was one more trip for fish and two more
goat hunts. The first of these hunts was not highly successful, only
one kid being shot for the table. But, on the last one the _Loon_ was
called into use. With Mr. Mackworth’s approval Frank and Phil arose
at four o’clock on the day this hunt was planned, and boarded the
monoplane. Flying swiftly, they crossed the river to the western hills
and were already carefully scanning them when the sun appeared. For
seven or eight miles there was no sign of game. Then came the reward.

At the highest point of the hills the western side――for perhaps a
quarter of a mile――broke off in a gigantic precipice. On the eastern
side the hill dropped so abruptly as to be unscalable by man. This
left an almost knifelike edge of barren rock without growth of any
kind. To reach this narrow summit one must have traveled for a mile or
more either way along the rough top of the range. And here, apparently
asleep, was a bunch of two dozen goats.

Without disturbing the animals the _Loon_ was immediately put about and
headed for camp. Mr. Mackworth was aroused and the eager boys related
their discovery.

“If old ‘Neena the White Goat’ ain’t among ’em,” exclaimed Phil, “I’m
one of ’em myself.”

Mr. Mackworth hesitated. But his sporting blood was aroused. His guests
were yet asleep. Suddenly he hastened to his tent and immediately
returned with his rifle.

“I may as well be killed for a goat,” he said laughing, “as for a
sheep――and I’ve taken all kinds of chances for the latter. Captain
Ludington says it isn’t pot hunting, so come on.”

Elated over their employer’s determination to at last use the airship,
the boys enthusiastically helped Mr. Mackworth aboard. He was given
the port seat and Phil took the other with his rifle at his side. In
ten minutes the boys pointed out the narrowing summit on which Mr.
Mackworth already had his binoculars trained.

“They’re awake now,” he exclaimed, dropping his glasses. “Drop down a
bit and slow up all you can. I’m not used to shooting from an express

“Shoot as if it were a bird flying,” suggested Phil. “That’s what I’m
going to do.”

Before he had finished there was an exclamation from Mr. Mackworth.
Slowly ascending the highest point of the ridge, as if to greet the
rapidly rising sun, was a goat that made all those seen previously,
only pigmies.

“If I can get that fellow, it’ll be worth this trip,” exclaimed Mr.
Mackworth as he rested his elbow on the open window ledge. “He’s a
whopper.” Phil was too excited to think of his own rifle. Frank made
no reply. The big goat had already heard the noise of the propellers
but could not locate it. As he peered to all points of the compass
Frank dropped the machine and headed off a bit to give Mr. Mackworth
a side shot. The experienced hunter’s shot was perfect. As the crack
of it sounded the frame of the monster goat seemed to rise in the air;
there was a moment in which the watchers supposed the bullet had missed
and then――with mournful bleat――the goat sank in a heap without even a
spring forward.

With a long sweep out over the deep valley, while Mr. Mackworth caught
his breath and grasped the window ledge, the _Loon_ sped onward in a
spiral movement.

“That’s enough!” commanded the alarmed man.

“We’re goin’ back,” laughed Frank. “Get ready, both of you. They’re all
there yet. They can’t locate us.”

Phil’s side of the cabin now faced the flock. As the airship shot
nearer he strained his eyes to select a Billy worth his fire.

“There he goes,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth. “Take that one jumpin’ up the

All the goats were now moving toward the slain leader. But one was
in advance. To Phil it seemed as big as Mr. Mackworth’s prize. Lower
dropped the car until it was broadside on.

“It’s like a partridge just gettin’ up,” Phil muttered to himself, and
following the moving form as he would a tricky bird on the wing, the
anxious boy pulled the trigger.

“Missed!” groaned Phil as the goat stopped and threw its head from side
to side.

“You got him!” shouted Mr. Mackworth.

For a moment there was a doubt of the result. As the _Loon_ passed
on Phil’s quarry stood shaking its head; its sharp, jet black horns
almost parallel with the rocks. Then it leaped forward suddenly,
turned, fell on its knees, sprang up again and bounded toward the
eastern slope of the hill. Twenty other goats scrambled after it, but
they all stopped and crowded together as the flying animal again sprang
into the air, fell on the slope and went rolling like a stone down the
face of the hill.

“You’ll find him in the timber,” commented Mr. Mackworth, “and he’s a
fine one.”

After breakfast the entire camp proceeded on horseback to the bottom
of the hill where the morning adventure had taken place. The bodies
of the two goats were recovered after much trouble. Assisted by Phil,
Sam Skinner and “Grizzly” Hosmer worked on the heads and skins of
the animals until noon. Skinner pronounced the animals extraordinary
specimens. The skins, in good condition, were covered with long, white
hair, tinged with a little yellow on the belly, but promising snow
whiteness when cleaned. Mr. Mackworth’s prize carried rapierlike horns,
twenty-three inches long, while Phil had to be satisfied with nineteen
inches. Mr. Mackworth’s goat weighed 316 pounds and Phil’s 298; but
the latter was younger and would, when grown, have eclipsed the heavier

“Either one ought to satisfy any hunter,” exclaimed Captain Ludington
with admiration when the skins had been spread out.

“Then I’m glad to make you a present of mine,” answered Phil promptly.

“A present?” repeated the English officer. “To me? By no means. I
couldn’t think of it.”

“Then Mr. Mackworth will send the skin and head to your home,” went on
Phil with pride. “I hope you’ll take ’em. I’ll be glad if you will.”

The Captain eyed the prizes enviously, but he shook his head decisively.

“Take the head, Ludington,” suggested Mr. Mackworth. “I really don’t
believe Phil cares a great deal for it. His mother might like the skin.
He can keep that and I’ll have it cured and sent to her.”

Captain Ludington held out until evening and then made Phil happy by
accepting his present. Mr. Mackworth, having accepted Sam Skinner’s
positive assertion that the other goat was the biggest he had ever seen
or heard of, announced that he meant to mount it and send it to Frank’s
father with a label bearing the inscription: “Neena, the White Goat.”

As a week had now passed Mr. Mackworth announced that, after one more
day for arranging the packs, camp would be broken and the expedition
headed up Goat Creek toward Goat Pass and Mt. Osborne. The use of the
airship in that region was problematical. He suggested that a supply
of gasoline be carried with the pack train, and that the boys remain
at Smith’s ranch for two days. Then they were to follow up the trail
of the advance party. This party would camp, if possible, where a
landing might be made and would display a white flag if such a place
was found. If no such signal was displayed the _Loon_ was to return to
Smith’s ranch, and then proceed to Michel and await the return of the
mountain party. As this had been the plan in general all along, Frank
and Phil had no occasion to feel disappointed. Their one consolation
was “Grizzly” Hosmer’s belief that he could find a landing ground for
the airship even in the higher mountains.

Mr. Mackworth having secured his big goat trophy and Captain Ludington
having his through Phil’s generosity――to say nothing of the moose
horns and quite respectable goat head he had captured himself――Lord
Pelton facetiously complained that he supposed he would have to
content himself with the recollection of a specially fine trout he
had taken. That evening, after the boys had turned in, Frank aroused
Phil to submit a suggestion. A moment later both boys were on the
edges of their cots in earnest conference. It seemed to brighten each
considerably for, at the close, they turned in and slept like stuffed

The next morning, breakfast over, the two boys enticed Lord Pelton away
for a talk. At its close the young Englishman startled his companion
and his host by announcing that he meant to stick to Frank, Phil and
the airship.

“Come to think of it,” he explained, “I’m getting fond of sky riding.
I’m goin’ to take a chance on rejoining you in the mountains. That is,
if you don’t mind.”

It was a surprising caprice and Mr. Mackworth seemed puzzled. But,
after all, the young Englishman was not much older than Frank and Phil
and his host politely assented.

“If we can’t join you,” explained Lord Pelton, “I can have a few days’
fishing and hunting here, and I’m sure of some awfully sporty rides in
the airship.”

At eight o’clock the next morning Mr. Mackworth, Captain Ludington,
“Grizzly” Hosmer, Sam Skinner and Jake Green――all mounted and leading
five pack horses――set out on their mountain journey. One tent, ample
provisions, the empty wagons and the monoplane were left for the “base
party.” The extra horses, Hosmer turned loose to graze. That day was
spent by the boys and Lord Pelton in grouse shooting and working about
the _Loon_.

“And now,” said Frank, as the three washed their supper dishes, “here’s
for a fine day to-morrow and an early start for ‘Baldy’s Bench.’”



This was the program that had caused Lord Pelton to remain with
Frank and Phil. The Englishman was, of course, familiar with Captain
Ludington’s legend of the Kootenai Indians――Koos-ha-nax, and Husha
the Black Ram. He had also heard Sam Skinner’s account of Old Indian
Chief――or the Sioux Indian mythical mountain ram. When the boys
repeated to him the story told by “Grizzly” Hosmer――the account of
“Baldy’s Bench” and the great sheep that he had seen there――and
realized that this table-land was not more than seventy-five or eighty
miles from Smith’s ranch he eagerly entered into the boys’ project.

This was to be an attempt to discover “Baldy’s Bench” with the airship
in the hope that some of “Grizzly” Hosmer’s sheep were yet there. The
boys even dared to hope that “Old Baldy” himself might be alive. The
tinkering on the airship was wholly in preparation for this event.
Provisions, blankets, water, a camera and rifles were put aboard; extra
gasoline was shipped and all was made ready for an early flight.

At seven o’clock the next morning the _Loon_ was started on its unique
voyage. In order that a sight of the monoplane in flight might not make
Mr. Mackworth apprehensive, the course laid by Phil――who was at the
wheel――did not follow the Goat Creek trail.

Sweeping directly north for a few miles and flying low, the airship
was turned west when the hills north of Goat Creek rose high enough to
conceal the voyagers.

“All we’ve got to do,” explained Frank to Lord Pelton, “is to go west
now for thirty-five miles. When we’ve covered that distance we’ll be
near two mountains, Norboe and Osborne. Then we turn north again and
‘Baldy’s Bench’ is forty-five miles away, a little east of north.
Hosmer says we’ll know it because it stands all alone in a valley of

“And you’re goin’ to land on top of it?” asked Lord Pelton.

“If we can.”

“Then what?”

“Then?” repeated Phil, “we’ll have to get off. It may be much easier to
stop than to start.”

In a half hour the two mountain peaks were below the _Loon_, which was
now nearly two thousand feet in the air. Then, as the ship was headed
north again, Phil brought it rapidly down. The smaller mountains that
flanked the Elk River now gave way to rougher and loftier ranges in
the west. In the far northwest, snow clad peaks were already in sight.
No streams cut the region beneath the flying airship, but jumbled
hills――like the Hog Back Range――pressed into each other or opened in
dark, rocky chasms and passes.

At eight o’clock, with eyes only for their rough chart or the horizon
ahead, Phil shouted:

“Over there! ‘Grizzly’ told the truth. See! To the right.”

And, while his companions leaned forward eagerly, the _Loon_ was
brought into a direct course for a rocky point ahead about fifteen
miles away. As it grew larger the hills below dwindled into a flat
plain and then the pine wilderness basin took their place. It was
“Baldy’s Bench” in its setting of green――a barren island of whitish
brown rock in a sea of verdure.

“Bring her around the south side,” cried Frank. “Let’s see that shelf
where the big goat killed the lions.”

“And if the sheep are there to-day,” exclaimed the Englishman, “we’ll
have a jolly try at them.”

“Don’t shoot,” said Phil, “unless we find a place to land. We haven’t
Skinner and Hosmer with us to find our game.”

Phil was now driving not over five hundred feet in the air and directly
toward the southern exposure of the “Bench.” The lone peak was rising
in the air as if suddenly expanding. When the _Loon_ was almost beneath
the Gibraltar-like pile of rock, its steep sides rose to make the
highest peak the boys had yet seen. Later, they reckoned the pinnacle
not less than 1500 feet above the forest below.

Awed by the glowing wonder of the mountain’s mass, Frank and Lord
Pelton were bending their necks to follow its steep sides skyward when
Phil called out again.

“Down there, look! That must be it――the flat shelf.”

There was scarcely time to make out a formation such as Hosmer had told
about before the _Loon_ had passed it. But, in all respects, it was
such a place as the bear hunter had described. If sheep were there they
were not seen.

“Did you see it――the cliff where ‘Old Baldy’ stood when he threw
himself down on the lion?” shouted Frank.

“Did I?” answered Phil. “If it wasn’t a hundred feet above the shelf it
wasn’t a foot.”

In the next five minutes the _Loon_ made a complete circle of “Baldy’s
Bench.” All its faces resembled the southern exposure.

“Do you think a sheep could climb that hill?” asked Lord Pelton.

“You can’t tell,” said Frank. “Those flat cliffs are often pushed out
enough to give a footing――for a sheep at least. ‘Grizzly’ says he has
seen sheep scramble up sixty degree inclines. And sixty degrees to us
looks like a perpendicular wall.”

“There’s one anyway,” yelled Phil again when the _Loon_ had almost
completed its circuit. As he pointed to what seemed an absolutely
unscalable point several hundred feet above them, all clearly made out
the dark brown, almost black, shape of a statue-like mountain sheep.
With head lowered, its horns curved outward and backward and its long
wool reaching far down over its short legs, it suggested a musk ox.

“If that ram can get there,” shouted Frank, “he can go all the way.
Let’s get up higher. There may be a place on the top where they do
their loafin’. If we don’t see anything better, we’ll come back and try
for this boy.”

“Lift her,” shouted Frank. “Let’s get a look at the top of the hill.”

With a suddenness that almost threw Lord Pelton off the seat which
he had not left for an hour and a half――for it was now eight thirty
o’clock――Phil tilted the movable wings of the _Loon_ upward and, like
a train on a sudden grade, the propellers slowed up as they pushed the
enlarged plane surfaces against the air. When the monoplane at last
reached the top of the “Bench” it had passed around to the western
side. The peak seemed to end in a rocky ridge.

“Over the top,” Frank suggested as Phil dropped his planes and the
accelerated propellers shot the airship ahead once more. “Anyway,” he
said without much spirit, “we’re six thousand feet in the air. I reckon
the ‘Bench’ is about fifteen hundred feet above the valley. We――”

He did not finish. Just then the monoplane passed over the western edge
of the summit and the ridge was seen to be only a wall extending around
the western and northern sides of the top. A long whistle came from
Phil, and Frank thrust his body out of the side window in an excited
effort to see everything at once.

There was a half circle of descending, broken rock something like a
ruined amphitheater; a wide stretch of still sloping but comparatively
smooth surface, covered in places with peculiar heaps and mounds and,
on the eastern and part of the southern sides, a clean and abrupt
ending of the summit in sheer precipices. In the center of this
cliff-like margin a break occurred as if some Cyclopean ax had been
sunk sideways in the rock to form an opening leading to the lower

Altogether, the broken top, or Hosmer’s “Baldy’s Bench,” was much
larger than might have been expected. For the moment there was no sign
of life. Both boys had made an instant survey to discover this. Then
both gave all their thoughts to the possibility of landing. It seemed
a desperate chance, but Frank and Phil had so long dreamed of reaching
this spot in the _Loon_ that the apparent absence of life did not deter

“Try it,” panted Frank. “If we can get down I guess we can get up.”

Phil, who had been circling in an ascending spiral, now dropped his
planes and headed down.

“Beyond that middle thing,” he answered nodding toward a central heap
on the smoother surface. And, while all held their breath, the young
navigator slowly dropped the _Loon_ on the rocks. For a moment the
landing seemed perfect. Then, the left landing wheel running forward
struck an elevation. There was a straining crack, but Frank had already
dropped through the opening in the floor of the cabin and he stopped
the advancing car. At the same moment there were three exclamations:

“How still it is!” said Lord Pelton.

“It’s the sleeve on the wheel standard,” called Frank.

“There they are,” shouted Phil.

Catching up his rifle, Phil and the Englishman leaped from the car and
sprang across the rocks. From somewhere just beyond the center of the
“Bench” a flock of sheep had appeared. A few had started for the cut
on the edge of the cliff. The greater number, however, hung back and,
at the instant Phil and Lord Pelton started for the chasmlike cut, the
entire flock stopped stock still.

“Would you believe it?” whispered Frank.

“See ‘Old Baldy’?” was Phil’s only reply.

“No,” said Frank, as the three hunters made a quick examination in
all directions. “But I can see where they’ll all head for in about
a minute,” and he pointed to the opening in the precipice which was
apparently the only entrance to and egress from the summit.

Phil started for this point on a run. Before Lord Pelton could follow
Frank stopped him.

“Come back,” yelled Frank as he sprang after his chum. “I can stop that
gap with the automatic. You and Lord Pelton get busy and pick out a
good ram apiece. If a big enough one comes my way, I’ll put him by for

As Phil hesitated, the sheep in advance did as predicted――attempted to
escape down the cliff. They seemed to be ewes and lambs, but the rest
of the flock had now also begun to move forward and both boys renewed
the attempt to reach the cut, not ahead of the ewes but in advance of
the rams coming more slowly behind.

Three sheep had reached the opening and disappeared within it when
Frank attempted to stop the fourth one, a young ram. His bullet may
have hit the mark but the sheep did not stop. As Frank shot, Phil
excitedly dropped to one knee and sent a rifle bullet after the next
animal. He apparently missed and the ram, alarmed by the sight of the
boys or the sound of the shooting, whirled and headed into the flock
close behind him. At that all turned and fled to the rough rocks on the
other side of the plateau.

“We’ve got ’em caged now,” exclaimed Frank out of breath as Phil
signaled to Lord Pelton to join them and the two boys reached the cut.
“So long as one of us blocks their escape we can take our time and pick
out the big fellows.”

“This is the way they get here, anyway,” panted Phil pointing to the
cut. In it a narrow and worn pathway dropped precipitately through
the cut and then, where one side of the narrow defile widened back,
cave-like into the rocky sides of the mountain, the trail disappeared
on a narrow ledge around the corner of the opening.

“Not on your life,” exclaimed Frank as Phil started down the path.
“That may do for goats but not for you.”

“I just want to see where it goes,” argued Phil.

“Well, you may crawl up to the edge of the precipice and look over,”
exclaimed Frank. “But you’re not going down there.”

And yet a few minutes later they discovered that, at some time, on
that perilously narrow ledge from which a fall might mean a drop of a
thousand feet or more, a human being had made his way to the top of the

The boys and the Englishman now took time for a more careful survey of
the summit. It was mainly circular and, they estimated, as much as an
eighth of a mile in its longest diameter. Of this surface, over half
was covered by a chaos of broken rock on the western and northern sides.

“This must have been a pointed peak at one time,” suggested Lord
Pelton, “which some volcanic action has broken off. I’ve seen similar
formations in the lower Alps.”

Not far from the wall-like rock heaps and about the center of the more
level surface was a second line of fragments. A more careful view of it
showed that the north end of this fencelike heap was practically joined
to the ruggeder heaps beyond it. Out of the rocks Nature had fashioned
a sort of pen or enclosed space from which the frightened sheep, they
now saw, had emerged and into which some of them were now disappearing.

“Come on,” exclaimed Phil, “let’s follow ’em. If we can’t get a few big
ones now we deserve to lose ’em.”

Frank was inclined to stay at the cut to head off possible fugitives,
but finally he succumbed to the arguments of his friends.

“Mr. Mackworth wouldn’t do it,” urged Phil.

“It is a bit like potting a trapped beast,” added Lord Pelton.

Half running, they reached the open end of the enclosure. As they did
so, and before they could see within, it was plain that the place was a
sheep refuge. The odor was pungent even in the cool, clean air. As the
three hunters sprang into the opening and caught sight of its interior,
curiosity turned to speechless amazement. A narrow shelf of rock
surrounded a depression in which there were a few inches of stagnant
water. On the far side of the enclosure and on the widest part of the
shelf stood, massed together, perhaps thirty sheep. A foot above them,
in a half cave, lay a monster ram; gaunt and gray but with his head
erect. On his face, beneath a sweep of worn and corrugated horns, were
the outlines of a black cross.



For several moments none of the astounded hunters spoke. Frank was
trembling with excitement. Phil seemed to have lost his reason. The
latter boy turned as if to walk away. Lord Pelton was the first to
recover his senses.

“It’s the old ram,” he muttered.

“Yes, yes, the old ram,” repeated Phil in a dazed way.

Frank laughed hysterically.

“What’s the matter?” continued the Englishman. “Aren’t you goin’ to bag

“Yes,” mumbled Phil, “ain’t we goin’ to bag him?”

Then, to the surprise of his companions, Phil dropped down on a rock
and buried his face in his hands. That broke Frank’s spell.

“What’s the matter here? Wake up!” he cried grasping Phil by the
shoulder. “It’s ‘Old Baldy’ alive. Maybe not kickin’, but alive.”

“‘Old Baldy!’” shouted Phil springing to his feet. “What was I doin’?”

“You were having the rattles,” laughed Frank nervously. “And so was I.
I certainly never expected to really see him.”

So far as could be seen not an animal had moved. The flock, as if
panic-stricken, stood huddled at the bottom of the big ram’s shelf. The
strangely marked leader still lay with his head erect and alert. Phil,
not yet wholly himself, drew a long breath.

“He’s alive, I reckon, but he looks like a ghost,” said Phil. “And by
cracky, he _is_ a ghost to _me_.”

“He ain’t a ghost,” exclaimed Frank, moistening his lips, “and I
wouldn’t make him one for all the ram’s horns in the Rockies.”

“That would be potting, I fancy,” commented Lord Pelton. “I rather
believe your ‘Old Baldy’ is on his last legs.”

“It’s just like a king’s throne,” suggested Phil, “that cave o’ his
with the flock crowdin’ round about it.”

“I couldn’t shoot him,” exclaimed Frank. “I’d feel like an assassin.”

[Illustration: “OLD BALDY”]

“Do you happen to notice,” broke in the Englishman, “that all the sheep
are ewes and lambs?”

“That settles it,” exclaimed Frank. “I vote to spare the ‘Monarch of
the Mountains.’ ‘Old Baldy’ _must_ be Husha the Black Ram. And to me,
he’s kind o’ like a religion.”

“He’s a part of history at least,” added Lord Pelton.

“It seems tough to lose him,” said Phil, “but I think you’re both
right. Let’s take a snap shot of him and call it off.”

This suggestion meeting approval, Phil got the camera. He made a
picture of the enclosure and its contents which, when printed in a
prominent sporting magazine, created a sensation. It was then decided
to get a picture of “Old Baldy,” or “Husha.”

“Let ’em go,” exclaimed Frank when the ewes and kids suddenly fled to
the left around the shelf as the picture makers advanced on the right
side. “We don’t want ’em.”

As panic seized the flock and it retreated, the big ram on the shelf
drew himself on his haunches.

“Why don’t he follow them?” asked Lord Pelton.

“He can’t,” answered Frank. “He’s too old.”

But, as Phil trained his camera on the quarter century chief of the
sheep, “Old Baldy” faced the intruders with lowered head and eyes that
shot forth the fire of youth and rage. Twice he struggled to get on his
feet and each time he failed.

“You’re right,” said the Englishman, “it’s the old ram’s last stand.
But don’t get too close; he may have one more charge in him.”

Phil was too absorbed to give heed to this advice. A snap shot of such
a beast would be an achievement indeed. Therefore, he crept closer to
the shelf and the unmoving ram. Frank and Lord Pelton saw the fire in
“Old Baldy’s” eyes; then at last they saw him with a supreme effort
gather his legs beneath him.

“Look out!” shouted Frank.

“He’s coming,” cried the Englishman.

Before Phil, his eyes on the camera “finder,” could retreat there was a
snort and the ram threw himself from the shelf. He fell short on his
charge but, with another cry, sprang to his feet again. This time “Old
Baldy” expanded himself once more into the majestic creature he had
once been and again charged the boy. But once more he fell short, as
Phil sprang backwards.

Balked of his prey the ram fell on his knees and then on his belly.
His head was yet erect; on each side of the cross marking his face his
big dull eyes glared wickedly. Then the flash in them suddenly faded
to a dull gray like his thin, straggly coat, and the defiant head sank
slowly down.

“It’s his last fight,” exclaimed Frank.

Once more Phil advanced and “snapped” the prostrate “monarch of the
mountains.” Then the three approached to within a few feet of the
feeble animal. The old leader of the mountain sheep suddenly threw his
head up; the gray of his eyes turned to fire and, quivering in every
muscle, he rose in the air like a ball. In the same motion the ram
threw himself forward again, but the effort was his last. Half-way in
the spring the beast dropped to the rocks in collapse and, his eyes
closed, sank again and rolled on his side.

“Pelton,” said Frank, omitting in his excitement the young Englishman’s
title, “we’ve always planned, if we found ‘Old Baldy’ alive, that he
was to be yours. His day is over. End his suffering.”

“I don’t like to do it,” said Lord Pelton. “It don’t seem sportsmanlike.”

“You can see he’s dying,” argued Phil. “Isn’t it better that his head
and horns be carried away as a trophy than that the old sheep be left
here to be torn to pieces by eagles?”

Slowly Lord Pelton raised his rifle and, with a bullet in the center of
“Old Baldy’s” cross, Husha the Black Earn gave one convulsion and the
king was dead.

Before taking time to measure the dead ram, Frank and Phil hurriedly
turned for a further examination of old Husha’s home, for such
apparently the natural rock refuge had been for years. The shelf around
the pool was worn smooth by the bodies of its inhabitants. Rock edges
were covered with sheep hair and the scattered bones strewn about
indicated that many animals had died in the enclosure. More especially
interested in the old leader’s throne-like shelf the three hunters
hurried in that direction.

“Another skeleton,” said Frank as he reached Husha’s bench and half

“But not of a sheep!” exclaimed Lord Pelton breathlessly.

And then, their eyes wide, all saw, plainly enough in the full
sunlight, a brown and weather beaten human skull. It lay in the rear
of the big ram’s refuge and with it the half buried ribs, legs and arm
bones of a human skeleton. Speechless, all leaned forward. The rank
odor of the half cave was almost overpowering and the ledge was covered
inches deep with animal refuse. But, in spite of these, Frank and Phil
jumped on the bench.

The same thought was in the mind of each. Nervously they began an
examination of the bones. Not a vestige of clothing was to be found
but, behind the disjointed skeleton lay a long, decayed stick.

“An Indian bow,” whispered Frank.

From between the bones of the body Phil drew forth a bit of metal――the
silver bowl of a small pipe.

“And an Indian pipe!” he exclaimed.

Kneeling in the dust the boys eyed each other for a second and then
Frank turned to their companion.

“Lord Pelton,” he said with suppressed excitement, “you don’t need to
have any doubt that our big sheep is Husha the Black Ram. This skeleton
is that of the only man who could have followed him here.” Then he held
up the dry skull. “This is all that is left of Koos-ha-nax, the mighty

The discoveries made by the boys had driven all other ideas out of
their heads. For many minutes they searched Husha’s ledge and for as
many more they stood over the dead sheep. Then Lord Pelton reminded
them that “Old Baldy” was not the only ram on the summit and a start
was made to capture other trophies if possible. Contrary to their
expectations many of the sheep had not fled through the cut. From
ten o’clock until twelve, Lord Pelton and the boys scoured the rocky
heights bagging, in all, four magnificent heads.

They now had luncheon and then Phil began a three-hour task of
preparing the slain animals for curing and mounting. “Old Baldy”
himself stood forty-eight inches high; was seventy-six inches long and,
it was estimated, weighed four hundred and seventy-five pounds. His
heavy, semicircular horns measured forty-nine inches from tip to tip.
His pelt was in such bad condition that no attempt was made to save it.
The next largest specimen was a beautiful ram, his horns indicating
a growth of thirteen years. This sheep was shot by Phil and it was
almost black in color. It was forty-one inches across the shoulders;
sixty-nine inches long and weighed about three hundred and fifteen
pounds. The others were all smaller. One of the latter, Lord Pelton’s
prize, had by far the best formed and most perfect horns.

By four o’clock Frank had made temporary repairs on the landing
wheel and with the Englishman had cleared a stretch of summit of
all fragments. Frank also made another round of the summit snapping
pictures and then the souvenirs of the expedition were put aboard the
_Loon_; the skeleton of Koos-ha-nax, as the boys firmly believed; the
six heads and horns; the five pelts and the fragments of the Indian’s
bow and pipe bowl.

The ascent that followed was the quickest and most successful that the
_Loon_ made on its western trip. The rock floor was smooth and amply
long for the preliminary run. At six o’clock the monoplane was again at
Smith’s ranch.

“And so far as I am concerned,” exclaimed Frank, “I don’t care whether
we turn another trick. All I want is to see Skinner and Hosmer and show
’em these heads.”

“And Koos-ha-nax’s skull, pipe and bow,” added Lord Pelton.

“O, no!” said Phil, “these are for Captain Ludington. They’ll prove to
him that the Kootenais knew what they were talking about.”

By the light of the lanterns that night Phil sweat over the specimens,
in anticipation of which work the camp was liberally supplied with
arsenical soap, burnt alum and saltpeter. As the preparation of the
heads and skins was not completed that night it was agreed the next day
that Phil should remain in camp while Frank and Lord Pelton made an
attempt to join Mr. Mackworth’s party.

They made a beautiful flight along the course of tortuous Goat Creek
and reached Goat Pass in less than an hour. So far there was no sign of
the mountain party but――as the members of it were to turn south into
the Herchmer range, at the headwaters of the creek――Frank laid a course
along the ridge of these unmistakable heights. The entire country was
either abrupt mountain slopes or heavy, abutting pine forests.

Following a saw-tooth course to keep an eye on both sides of the range,
the _Loon_ had advanced along the Herchmers only a few miles when Mr.
Mackworth’s camp was suddenly made out far down the western mountain
side in the timber. Several hundred feet above it Mr. Mackworth,
Captain Ludington, Jake Green and the two guides were seen standing on
the barren slope violently waving their arms.

“There’s no white flag,” said Frank. “That means no landing. We’re to
go back. But I wish we could talk to ’em. Say,” he exclaimed. “Write
’em a note. Tell ’em where we’ve been and what we did.”

Lord Pelton grasped the opportunity and, while Frank began circling
about the upgazing persons, the Englishman filled a page of his
memorandum book with an account of the trip to “Baldy’s Bench.” Finding
no small weight in the cabin Lord Pelton tied the note and a silver
dollar in his handkerchief and, the next time the _Loon_ passed over
the group, dropped the message.

Anxious to see the effect of the note, Frank continued the eaglelike
swoops of the monoplane while his English companion lay on the floor
with his head in the open port. Before the message had been read the
latter reported that Skinner was on a run to the camp below. Then
Frank could see the old hunter returning with a package. Mr. Mackworth
read Lord Pelton’s few words and immediately threw his hat in the air.
“Grizzly” Hosmer expressed his feelings by rapidly discharging his
rifle. Then Mr. Mackworth was seen to grasp Skinner’s package and, in a
few seconds, its contents had turned into a long, jointed trout rod. He
waved it in the air.

“He means for us to return to the ranch and go fishing,” called out the

“I think not,” answered Frank. “He has an idea. Look!”

Captain Ludington with a bit of paper on his knee was writing something.

“It’s an answer,” exclaimed Frank. “They’re going to put it on the
pole. They want us to catch it. Can you do it?”

As the operator swung around again in a wide spiral this was seen to
be true, for the men below all seemed working to attach the paper to
the top of the pole. Two sweeping circles and the _Loon_ was near the
rocks. Their friends were shouting but, owing to the noise of the
propellers, not a word could be distinguished.

“Head for it――I’ll get it,” announced the Englishman as he thrust his
head and arm through the opening and, the monoplane sweeping swiftly
forward, Frank felt a light shock.

“Get it?” yelled the aviator.

“Rod and all,” was the excited answer and Lord Pelton drew into the
cabin Mr. Mackworth’s choicest fly rod.

The message read: “_Congratulations. No landing in the mountains.
Return to ranch; break camp and take wagons and outfit to Michel. Join
you in a week or less. Three good heads. One grizzly skin; ten feet._”

Before noon, the monoplane was again in camp. Plans for carrying out
Mr. Mackworth’s instructions were soon made. Early the next morning
Hosmer’s horses were to be caught, hitched to the two wagons and
camp broken. The boys had no fear that they could not find the trail
to town, since it followed the Elk River, but they preferred not to
separate. Therefore, the _Loon_ was dismounted and packed in one wagon.
This consumed nearly all afternoon.

At sundown the next evening the two wagons, one driven by Frank with
the Englishman by his side and the other trailing behind with Phil in
charge, creaked down the main street of Michel. So far as Frank and
Phil were concerned the “Battle with the Bighorn” was at an end.

Five days later the mountain party reached civilization laden with the
trophies of a successful hunt. Mr. Mackworth and Captain Ludington
reached Michel at two o’clock in the afternoon. When the heads, horns,
pelts and skins brought in by both parties had been laid in the shade
of the car, it was a satisfied group of hunters that sat in the Teton’s
easy-chairs to gloat over their treasures.

Nor were they alone in their admiration. Hosmer, Skinner and
experienced big game hunters of Michel pronounced the collection the
best that had ever come out of the mountains. “Grizzly” Skinner and
Phil worked until dark packing the hides and heads for shipment to
Spokane, where experienced taxidermists were to cure and mount them.
This over, Nelse and Robert served a celebration dinner. If there had
been enthusiasm before, this meal was a riot of jollification.

“And remember,” exclaimed Mr. Mackworth as the feast progressed,
“Captain Ludington and I have marvelous heads of both goats and sheep,
and Lord Pelton has a prize that will never be duplicated in the head
and horns of Husha the Black Ram. But we could not have had these
if it had not been for our young friends. Therefore,” he continued
enthusiastically, “I propose a toast: Here’s to Frank Graham and
Phil Ewing――may they be as successful in life as they have been in
‘Battling the Bighorn!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

             The next book in the Aeroplane Series will be

                      “The Boy Scouts of the Air”


                         “The Aeroplane Spy.”

                See complete list of titles on page 2.

The Boys’ Big Game Series


=THE GIANT MOOSE.= The monarch of the big Northwest; a story told over
camp fires in the reek of cedar smoke and the silence of the barrens.

=THE WHITE TIGER OF NEPAL.= The weird story of the man-killer of the
foothills. Tinged with the mysticism of India, dramatic and stirring.

=THE BLIND LION OF THE CONGO.= A story of the least known part of the
earth and its most feared beast. A gripping tale of the land of the
white pigmies.

=THE KING BEAR OF KADIAK ISLAND.= A tale of the bully of the Frozen
North and his mysterious guardian. A game-and-man-story that makes a
good boy-story.

_The topnotch of production in boys’ books. Remarkable covers and
four-color jackets. Illustrations and cover designs by Dan Sayre

Price, 60 cents each


The Boy Scouts of the Air Books



Are stirring stories of adventure in which real boys, clean-cut and
wide-awake, do the things other wide-awake boys like to read about.

_Four titles, per volume, 60 cents_


_Splendid Illustrations by Norman Hall_

  Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago

Bunty Prescott at Englishman’s Camp


Take a boy away from the stuffy schoolroom and turn him loose away up
in the jack pine country――the land of deer and bear and trout, and he
will grow “fat and saucy”――as did Bunty. And if he is a wide-awake
youngster he will find excitement aplenty――as did Bunty. Give him a
rifle, a rod and reel, and a desire to know things, and, well――you have
a story every boy will enjoy reading.


“Bunty Prescott at Englishman’s Camp” is a story full of boy interest,
written by a man who knows boys as he knows the woods and streams――a
story no youngster can read without learning something new of the lore
of out-of-doors――hunting, fishing, camping out.

_Snappy cover stamped in three colors, and three-color jacket.
Illustrated by Emile Nelson. Price $1.00_

  Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago

[Illustration: The Famous AIRSHIP BOYS SERIES]



  1. THE AIRSHIP BOYS Or, The Quest of the Aztec Treasure

  2. THE AIRSHIP BOYS ADRIFT Or, Saved by an Aeroplane

  3. THE AIRSHIP BOYS DUE NORTH Or, By Balloon to the Pole

  4. THE AIRSHIP BOYS IN THE BARREN LANDS Or, The Secret of the White

  5. THE AIRSHIP BOYS IN FINANCE Or, The Flight of the Flying Cow

  6. THE AIRSHIP BOYS’ OCEAN FLYER Or, New York to London In Twelve

  7. THE AIRSHIP BOYS AS DETECTIVES Or, On Secret Service in Cloudland

Fascinating stories of that wonderful region of invention where
imagination and reality so nearly meet. There is no more interesting
field for stories for wide-awake boys. Mr. Sayler combines a remarkable
narrative ability with a degree of technical knowledge that makes these
books correct in all airship details. Full of adventure without being

    _The make-up of these books is strictly up-to-date and
    fetching. The covers are emblematic, and the jackets are showy
    and in colors. The illustrations are full of dash and vim.
    Standard novel size, 12mo. Price $1.00 each._

  Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago

_Good Books for Boys_

The Boy Fortune Hunters Series


    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska_
    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama_
    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt_
    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in China_
    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan_
    _The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas_

Mr. Akers, in these new books, has at a single bound taken the front
rank as a writer for boys. The stories are full of adventure, yet
clean, bright and up-to-date. The first volume tells of the exciting
scenes in the early days of the Alaskan gold fields. The next book
takes “The Boy Fortune Hunters” to the “Canal Zone,” and the third
story is filled with stirring incidents in a trip through Egypt. The
fourth book relates exciting adventures in the Flowery Kingdom, and the
fifth and sixth stories detail further adventures in Yucatan and among
the South Sea Islands.

    _Illustrated 12mo. Uniform cloth binding, stamped in three
    colors. Stunning colored wrapper. Price 60 cents each_

  Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago

_=Books for Older Children by L. Frank Baum=_

The Daring Twins Series


In writing “The Daring Twins Series” Mr. Baum yielded to the hundreds
of requests that have been made of him by youngsters, both boys and
girls, who in their early childhood read and loved his famous “Oz”
books, to write a story for young folk of the ages between twelve and


    A story of the real life of real boys and girls in a real
    family under real conditions

_Two Titles:_

  The Daring Twins
  Phoebe Daring

While preparing these books Mr. Baum lived with his characters. They
have every element of the drama of life as it begins within the lives
of children. The two stories are a mixture of the sublime and the
ridiculous; the foibles and fancies of childhood, interspersed with
humor and pathos.

_Price, $1.00 each_

  Publishers      The Reilly & Britton Co.      Chicago

       *       *       *       *       *

 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_); text in
   bold by “equal” signs (=bold=).

 ――Printer’s, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently

 ――Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 ――Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

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