The Project Gutenberg eBook of Battling the Bighorn; or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies

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Title: Battling the Bighorn; or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies

Author: H. L. Sayler

Illustrator: Josef Pierre Nuyttens

Release date: November 30, 2018 [eBook #58381]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Donald Cummings and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at




Aeroplane Boys Series



Price, 60 Cents

Publishers    The Reilly & Britton Co.    Chicago

The Flight in the Storm

Battling the Bighorn


The Aeroplane in the Rockies




Illustrated by Joseph Pierre Nuyttens


The Reilly & Britton Co.








I A Flight by Night 9
II A Newspaper Sensation 23
III A Unique Proposition 37
IV Preparations for the Expedition Under Way 50
V Two Inducements 63
VI A Chapter on Clothes 74
VII Captain Ludington Talks of Big Game 89
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
XV Salmo Clarkii or Cutthroat Trout 199
XVI Lost in the Mountain 213
XVII Tracking Mountain Goats in an Airship 226
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[10] 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.[11] “We’re here, snug as bugs in a rug—”

“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 here.”

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 difference?”

He leaned his head on his hands, his elbows[12] 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 sharply.

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[13] 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 anemometer—”

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

“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 opening.


“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[17] 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[18] 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[20] 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 right.”

“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 it.”


“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[24] 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 course.

“The trouble was,” explained Phil later to his mother, “that you can’t tell anything about[26] 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 mother.

“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 earnestly.

“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 search.

“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[30] 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 appreciated.”

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[31] 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 gear.”

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[33] 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 highway.

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[36] 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 conference.

“Then it’s understood,” said Mr. Graham at its conclusion, “that neither of you boys is to[38] 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?[39] 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 airship—”

“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[41] 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 forgotten.

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[42] 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[44] 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 aëroplane.

Very sincerely yours,

Guy Mackworth.

When Frank showed this important communication to his father the latter laughed,[45] 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 monoplane?

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

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[46] 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 [47]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[48] 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, [49]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[51] 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[52] 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 father.”

“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[57] 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 Skinner.”

Saturday morning a telegram announced that Mr. Mackworth would reach Grand Rapids at four P. M. The Loon was ready for dismounting[58] 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[59] 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[62] 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 boys—”

“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 time.”

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 indoors.

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[68] 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[69] 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[70] 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’[71] 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[72] 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 Frank.

“Or dozin’ in the same kind o’ sun on the pine needles and squintin’ at some big bald[75] 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 Englishman.

Mr. and Mrs. Graham having received the visitors, it was explained that the airship[76] 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[77] 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 smoothness.

“Would you believe it, Captain?” exclaimed Lord Pelton at once in enthusiastic admiration.[79] “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[80] 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?”[81] 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 shavings.

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.


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 fire.

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[86] 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[87] 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,[88] 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 open-mouthed.

“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 time.”


“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 plans.”

“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[91] hungry at places where there are no eating houses.”

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

“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 important.”

“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 deer.”

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.[93] “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[94] 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[96] 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[97] 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, innocently.

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.[99] 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[100] 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[101] 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 trip—”

“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[103] 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[105] 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[106] 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 happen.”

“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[107] 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 Frank.

“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[108] 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 car.


“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 room.

“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[110] 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[111] 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 everything.


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 mountains.”

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.[113] 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. Graham.

“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[117] 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 instantly.

“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 dinner.”

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[119] 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 stream.”

“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 alone?”

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[120] 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[121] 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[123] 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 already.”

“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[124] 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 preposterous.”

“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 floor.

“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 city.”

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 7-3/4 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[127]
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[129] 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 grizzlies.”

“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[131] 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 interest.

“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[133] 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[134] 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[135] 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[136] 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,[138] 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 Goat.”


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.[140] “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[141] 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[143] 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 behind.

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[146] 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 Mountains.

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;[147] 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[148] 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 stream.

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[151] 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[152] 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[154] 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[155] 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 bar.


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 abandoned.

“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[160] 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[162] 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 me.”

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[163] 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 again.


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[165] 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 worth?”

“They ain’t worth much to most hunters,”[166] 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[167] 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[168] 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 everything.”

“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 range.

“So you youngsters air agoin’ huntin’ fur[171] 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 arm.

“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 him?”

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[176] 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.[177] 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[178] 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[180] 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[181] 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[182] 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[185] 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[186] 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 week.”



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[189] 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 them.”

“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[190] 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. Mackworth.

“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[192] 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 considerably.

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[193] 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[194] 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 invitation.

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 whirr.

“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 dust.”

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 dust.


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 laughed.

“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 everybody.”

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[200] 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[201] 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 ranch.

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[203] 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.”


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[208] 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 wheatfield.”

“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[210] 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 edge.

“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[211] 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 ashore.

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[212] 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 here.”

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[215] 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 reply.

“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 dark.”

“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[217] 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 junction.

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[218] preparations when Frank reached the camp. But the lone aviator gave these things little attention.

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 lot.”

“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[220] 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[221] 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 roastin’.”

Then it dawned on Frank.

“Why that’s what we’re here for, Rocky Mountain goats. Has it got horns?”

“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[222] 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 mountains.”

“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 bearings.


“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[224] 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,[225] 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 to-day.”



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[227] 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 eggs.”

“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[229] 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 schoolboys.

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?”[231] 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[232] 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[233] 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[234] 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 commendation.

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 discovered.”

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 said:

“Very good, sir.”

“Come along, Lord Pelton,” exclaimed Phil. “We’ll all go. Take your rifle.”

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.[236] “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.[238] The nearest goats were not over a half mile south of where the party had crossed the Hog Back on the fishing expedition.

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[239] 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 mile.

“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 train.”

“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 rocks.”

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[245] 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[246] 316 pounds and Phil’s 298; but the latter was younger and would, when grown, have eclipsed the heavier animal.

“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[247] 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 puppies.

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[249] 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[251] 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 jack-pines.”

“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[253] 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[255] 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[256] 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[257] in the rock to form an opening leading to the lower heights.

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 them.

“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[258] 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 myself.”

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[261] a thousand feet or more, a human being had made his way to the top of the mountain.

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 him?”

“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.”


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[269] 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[270] 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[271] 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 cave.

“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[272] 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 hunter.”

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[274] 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 Englishman.


“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[278] 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[279] 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[280] 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 Grosbeck.

Price, 60 cents each


The Boy Scouts of the Air Books

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




  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 Eskimos
  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 Hours
  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 sensational.

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


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


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 eighteen.

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:

Printer’s, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.