xt78gt5fbt4s https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt78gt5fbt4s/data/mets.xml Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916. 19  books b92-211-30910132 English M.A. Donohue & Co., : Chicago : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Boy hunters of Kentucky  / Edward S. Ellis ; with illustrations by J. Finnemore. text Boy hunters of Kentucky  / Edward S. Ellis ; with illustrations by J. Finnemore. 19 2002 true xt78gt5fbt4s section xt78gt5fbt4s 






Author of "Rcd Feather," "Blazing Arrow," "River and Jungle,"
             etc., etc.


     M. A. DONOHUE  CO.



      Made in U. S. A



            CHAPTER 1.


             CHAPTER II.





             CHAPTER III.



             CHAPTER IV.

THE HOME OF JACK.   .  .  .   .  .  . 24

             CHAPTER V.

. 32



. 40



. 48


             CHAPTER VIII.

. 55



             CHAPTER IX.


             CIAPTER X.

             CHAPTER XI.

             CiAPT-ER XII.


             CTIAPTER XIII.


             CHAPTER XIV.


             CHAPTER XV.



. 63

. 73


  . 87

. .  91

   .  191

. 110

             CHAPTER XVI.

             CHAPTER XVII.



. 126



. .

. 135



             CHAPTER I

           A YOUNG PIONEER
 There was no happier boy in all Kentucky
 than Jack Gedney on the morning that coni-
 pleted the first twelve years of his life, for on
 that day his father presented him with a fine
 Now, you must know that some of the best
 riflemen in the world have been born and
 reared in Kentucky, where the early settlers
 had to fight not only the wild beasts, but tile
fierce red men. The battles between the In-
dians and pioneers were so many that Ken-
tucky came to be known as the Dark and
Bloody Ground.
Some of you may have heard that the most
famous pioneer in American history was
Daniel Boone, who entered all alone the vast



wilderness south of the Ohio, and spent
many months there before the Revolution
broke out. The emigrants began flocking
thither as soon as it became known that the
soil of Kentucky was rich, and that the woods
abounded with game.
  Among those who went thither, towards the
close of the last century, were Thomas Gedney
and his wife Abigail. With a dozen other
families, they floated down the Ohio in a flat
boat, until a short distance below the mouth
of the Licking, when they landed, and, taking
the boat apart, used the material in building
their cablins.
  It happened at that period that there was
less trouble than usual -,.th the red men.
Some of the settlers believed that the Indians,
finding themselves unable to stay the tide of
immigration that was pouring over the west,
would move deeper into the solitudes which
stretched beyond the Mississippi. Instead of
putting up their cabins close together, a part
of the pioneers pushed farther into the woods,
and began their houses where they found Let-
ter sites. Most of them were near natural
"clearings," where the fertile soil was easily
made ready for the corn and vegetables,
without the hard work of cutting down the
tree3s and clearing out the stumps.



  Thomas Gedney and his wife were amon-
those who went farther thaln the spot whe-
they landed from the flat boat. Indeed, they
pushed deeper into the woods thaa any on-ez
else who helped to found the little settlemetIt
that was planted a hundred years ago on the
southern bank of the Ohio. Their nearest
neighbors were the members of the Burton
family, who lived a mile to the eastward,
while a mile farther in that direction we-re
the little group of cabins that marked the.
beginning of one of the most prosperous
towns of today in Kentucky.
  Mr. Gedney was fortunate enough to find
a clearing of an acre in extent, with a smafl
stream running near. Since he had helped
his neighbors to put up their cabins, they in
return gave him such aid that in a few days
he had a strong, comfortable structure Go
logs, into which he moved with his wife and
only child, Jack, then but six years old.
  The sturdy men who built their homes in
the depths of the wilderness a century ag..;
were never in such haste that they forgot to
make them strong and secure. The red mean
might be peaceful, and might make promises
to molest the white people no more, but the
pioneers knew better than to trust to such
promises. There are no more treacherous




people in the whole world than the American
Indians, and no man is wise who places much
faith in their pledges.
  But I have not started to tell you the his-
tory of the pioneers who came down the
Ohio in the flat boat, but to give an account
of some strange adventures that befell Jack
Cedney, shortly after his rifle was given to
him by his father. Jack had been trained
in sighting and firing a gun as soon as he
could learn to close his left eye while he kept
the other open. His father's rifle was too
heavy for him to aim off-hand, but kmeel-
il'g behind a fallen tree, or a stump, or rock,
his keen vision was able to direct the little
bullet with such precision, that Daniel Boone
himse lf, w ho one day watched the little
fellow, gave him much praise.
  In those days there was nothing in which
a Kentuckian took more pride than in his
skill with his rifle. Thomas Gedney had
ne-vcer met his superior, and he meant that
if his boy Jack lived, the same should be
said of him. And so, while the mother
gave the boy instruction in reading and writ-
ing, the father took many long tramps with
him through the woods, and taught him how
to become a great hunter. He showed him
the difference between the tracks of the



various game, and told him of the peculiar
habits of the wild animals and the best
method of outwitting them. More thanall,
he did his best to teach Jack how to guard
against his most dangerous of all foes-man
  Mr. Gedney was a man who took great
precautions when constructing his cabin. He
built it just as strongly as it was possible to
make it. The windows were tso narrow that
no grown person could force his body through,
the roof was so steep that the miost agile
red man could not clinb it, and the heavyr
door, when closed and Larred inside, was
really as stout as the scfid wia-lls of logs them-
  I have not time to -tell you about several
incidents that proved his wisdom in taking
so much pains to guard hituself and family
against their dusky foes the Indians, but
the timne came when the woodcraft thlus
taught to the boy proved of the greatest value
to him.
  Armong the important rules laid down
by the father for the son's guidance was
that the very first thing to be done after
fifing his rifle was to re-load it; that in tramp-
ing through the woods he should bear in mind
that he was always in danger, and that he




must look not only in front but beside and
behind him; that he must take all pains to
hide his trail whenever there was the least
cause to fear the red men; that he must
use the utmost precaution when lying down
to sleep for the night; that in communicat-
ing with his friends he must do so by means
of signals that a foe could not understand;
that he must always be on the watch for
signs of an enemy's presence, and that,
when brought face to face with a foe, he must
remember that a second's forgetfulness or
mpatience was almost certain to give the
other the decisive advantage over him.
  These were but a few of the rules that were
impressed upon Jack by his father, who,
as I have already told you, spent many hours
with him in the woods, the two afterwards
coming back to the cabin laden with game
that kept the family well provided with food
for many days.
  Mr. Gedney had sent eastward for the
gun which he gave to his son on his birth-
day. It was a fine make and somewhat
lighter than his own, for several years must
pass before Jack would be strong enough
to handle a man's weap n. The piece would
not have been looked upon in these days ag
of much account, for it was a muzzle-loader



with a flint-lock. When Jack wished to
load it, he emptied the charge from his
powder-horn into the palm of his hand; this
was carefully poured into the muzzle of his
gun, and then the round bullet, enclosed in a
piece of greased cloth or a damp bit of paper,
was rammed down upon it. The ramrod
was afterwards pushed back in place on the
under-side of the barrel, and, raising the
clumsy hammer, which clasped the piece of
yellow flint, the pan beneath was filled with
powder, connecting by means of a touch-
hole with the powder in the barrel behind the
  The hammer was let down so as to hold
the powder in place. When the owner wished
to fire the gun he drew back the hammer,
sighted, and pulled the trigger. The flint
nipped against a piece of steel, giving out a
spark of fire which set off the grains in the
pan, the latter also touching off the powder
In the breech of the barrel, which drove out
the bullet.





  I really think that if Jack Gedney had not
knlown of the present his father meant to make
him he would have been too delighted to act
like a sensible boy. As it was, he could hardly
keep from hugging the handsome little gun
when his father placed it in his hands, and
told him that it wias his so long as he proved
that he knew how to use it, and that he had
enough sense to be trusted alone in the woods.
  Unwilling to accept Jack's promises, his
father took down his own weapon from the
deer's antlers over the broad fireplace, and
went a short distance with him to test the new
piece. On the edge of the clearing he paused
until the lad loaded the weapon with powder
and ball (for, of course, the cow's horn and
bullet pouch went with the present), and then,
looking amiong the branches overhead, where
several grey squirrels were w hisking along the
limbs, he told Jack he might take his choice.
During the few seconds that the boy is as dart-
inig his quick glances at the lively creatures his
father quietly cut a piece of hickory as thick



as his thumb, and three or four feet long.
Jack looked askance at him; he knew awell
what it meant.
  Since the youth had not yet fired his new
gun, he decided to make his task as light as
he could. He raised his piece and sighted at a
squirrel less than a hundred feet away, but
before he could make his aim sure his father
spoke sharply-
  "Take the black one on the tree beyond."
  It was a long and difficult shot, but Jack's
nerves were steady, and a few seconds after
he raised his rifle he pressed the trigger.
The gun "hung fire" scarcely a moment, when
a jet of flame shot from the muzzle, and Mr.
Gedney, who had his eyes fixed on the squir-
rel, saw it vanish over the limb, and then come
tumbling and overturning through the
branches to the ground.
  "Fetch it here," commanded his father.
  WVithout moving a step, Jack deliberately
began re-loading his piece, never pausing until
the powder was poured in the panl and the
hanmunr let down in place. The father half
smiled, for he had expected his boy to forget in
his natural excitement the rule about re-char-
ing his gun.
  Having finished, Jack walked forward to
the foot of the tree, picked up the small furry




body where it lay among the leaves, and
brought it to his parent. The latter took it
from his hand, glanced down, and then flung
it aside, tossing the hickory after it.
  Shall I tell you why he cut that stick just
before his boy fired at the squirrel When he
looked at the little animal he saw that its
head had been shot off. Had the bullet
missed the head and struck any other part
of the body he would have plied that stick
about the legs and back of his boy until he
yelled for mercy. He had done it more than
once, and he, like many another Kentuckian,
considered that that was the right way to
train his child how to shoot.
  "Bark that one up there," said Mr. Gedney,
pointing at another of the creatures that was
skurrying aiong one of the upper limbs, its
bushy tail spread out like an angry cat.
  As the sharp report rang out among the
trees the squirrel at which the boy fired flew
up nearly a foot above the limb along which
it was running, as though thrown aloft by a
steel spring, and then it dropped through the
limbs and leaves to the ground, where it lay
stone dead.
  An examination showed no wound upon it.
The bullet had been sent directly beneath the



body so as to chip off some of the bark, which
flew against the squirrel with such force as to
knock the life out of it. This is called "bark-
ing," and is sometimes practiced for the fun
of the thing by skillful marksmen.
  Having viewed the work of his boy, Mr.
Gedney could find no fault. Indeed, he did
not expect him to do so well, knowing his agi-
tation over his present. He did not seem to
think it worth while to praise Jack, but, with
a twinkle of his eye, he merely said-
  "You'll do; off with you!"
  And without another word, Mr. Gedney,
with his heavy rifle slung over his shoulder,
strode off to his cabin, leaving his boy to spend
the day as he chose, well knowing how he
would pass it.
  As I have told you, the nearest neighbors
to Mr. Gedney were the Burton family, who
lived about a mile to the eastward. Mr.
Burton was more fortunate than M\Ir. Gedney
in the way of children, for he had two boys,
William and George, the one a year younger
and the other a year older than Jack, while
Ruth, the daughter, was a sweet girl of seven
  It was natural that the two families should
become fond of each other, and that there
should be much visiting on the part d the




parents as well as by the children. There
was hardly a night that Jack was not at the
Burton cabin, or his friends were not at his
own home. They did a good deal of hunting
together, and the Burton boys were skillful
with their guns, each one owning a weapon
light enough to be handled by its youthful
owner. I must add, however, that neither
of them was the equal of Jack, as was proven
in many contests between them.
  Now hill and George Burton had known for
several weeks of the present that was to be
made to Jack, and they were as pleased as
they could be over his coming good fortune.
What could be more natural, therefore, than
that Jack should set out for the home of his
yotung friends, that they might rejoice with
him over the prize that had fallen to his lot
  It was a bright sunshiny day in October
when the proud boy set out over the winding
but well-worn path that led to the cabin of
the Burtons a mile away. The leaves on the
trees were beginning to turn yellow and red
before, aflame, with the beauties of autumn,
they fluttered to the ground. It was a royal
time for hunting, for the deer, bears, buffaloes,
and indeed all kinds of game, were in prime
condition. The heart of the boy beat high
with the thought that many of these prizes



roiust fall before that splendid weapon of which
he had just become the owner.
  I am sure you would have said that Jack
Gedney was a fine fellow, could you have seen
him as he strode along the path through the
Kentucky forest a hundred years ago. In the
first place, he was rather large for his years,
and erect, sturdy, and strong. His brown
eyes sparkled with high health, and his round
cheeks glowed like the pulpy fullness of a red
apple. The life that the young pioneers led
was one that was sure to make them strong,
rugged, and vigorous.
  If you had met Jack in the streets of London
or New York you would have been struck
by his dress. His cap was formed by the deft
.fingers of his mother. It was of brown thick
cloth without any forepiece, soft, warm, and
able to stand a great deal of wear. Its mnake
and pattern were such that no matter how it
was put on its head, it was in place.
  His coat was of the same material, and it
was intended to last a good long time. In
some respects it resembled the suits often worn
by bicyclists of the present day, having a
band that enclosed the body just below the
waist, while the skirt was only a few inches
in length. The coat was buttoned down the
front, and contained several pockets within.




Underneath the coat was the homespun shirt,
made by the spinning-wheel, under the guid-
ance of his mother.
  The resemblance of the dress to the bicycle
suit of today was made more striking by the
trousers ending at the knee, below which were
the thick woolen stockings and heavy shoes.
During very cold weather the stockings were
protected by leggings, reaching from the knee
to the shoes. I suppose you know that the
fashion of the trousers worn by you was al-
together unknown during the days of your
  Now, I am sure that none of us can blame
Jack if, on this beautiful October morning,
when he slung his pretty rifle over his shoulder,
he threw his head a little farther back than
usual, and stepped off with a prouder step than
he had ever shown when carrying the heavy
gun of his father.
  "Ain't she a beauty" he asked himself,
stopping short and bringing the weapon
round in front, so that he could admire it.
"Father thought when I aimed at that first
squirrel that I couldn't knock his head off,
and," he added, with a smile, "I had some doubt
myself, but I noticed that he cut a bigger stick
than usual, and I didn't want it swinging
round my legs. I never clipped off a squirrel's



head more neatly, though I barked the next
one just as well. I wouldn't mind now if I
should meet a bear or a deer."
  He had resumed his walk, and he looked
sharply to the right and left among the trees
but no game worthy of drawing his fire was to
be seen, and he kept on along the path, as
alert and vigilant as ever.
  About half-way between Jack's home and
the cabin of his friends the path descended into
a slight hollow, through the bottom of which
wound a brook or small creek. It was soire
ten feet in width, and hardly half as deep.
For a short time after a violent rainfall this
stream was swollen to three or four times its
ordinary volume, but for a number of years
it had not risen high enough to carry away the
bridge by which people crossed the stream.
  This bridge was simply the trunk of a tree
which had been felled so as to lie with the
stump across the stream. While this could
not give as secure a footing as you would like
in passing over it, yet it was all that was
wanted by those who had to use it. Had the
means and all the necessary materials been at
their command, they would probably not have
taken the trouble to put up a better one.





  Jack Gedney walked down the slight do-
scent, and stepping upon the fallen tree,
moved to the other bank. As he came up
again to the general level, he still looked
aro-und for some game, but nothing met his
  "There's one thing certain" he added:
"I'm not going any farther without shooting
off this gun."
  A hundred yards ahead he saw the whitish
trunk of a spreading beech which grew near
the path. A patch of the bark about as big
as his hand was stained a darker color than the
rest, as though some object had rubbed against
and soiled it. The target was a good one, and
he took a quick aim and fired.
  "That makes three times that I have tried
her," he said, with a glow of pleasure, as he
examined the tree and saw the bullet embedded
in the center of the spot, "and she hit the eye
every time."
  He now walked at a more rapid pace than
before, and it was not long before he reached
the log cabin of the Burton family. The two



or three acres of natural and artificial clearing
had been well cultivated, and Mr. Burton and
his two boys were busy gathering corn and
the produce that yet were left out of doors.
Mrs. Burton and Ruth were busy within.
  As soon as Jack appeared, Mr. Burton and
his boys gathered around him to examine
and praise the present, which, it may be said,
they saw the moment the owner came in
  "Tomorrow," said Mr. Burton, "you must
come over and go with the boys on a hunt;
that will be the best test for your gun."
  "I had hopes that Will and George could go
with me today," remarked Jack, reading
aright the wistful looks of his friends.
  "No," was the kind but decisive reply of
the father; "there is enough work to keep them
busy until dark."
  The boys knew better than to plead with
their father after he had once given his de-
cision, so, like the manly fellow that he was,
Jack leaned his rifle against a tree, and fell to
work with the boys to help in the task.
  The work was finished just as the sun was
setting, and Jack, declining to stay to supper,
once more slung his gun over his shoulder
and set out for home, promising his young
friends that he would be ready at daylight




the next morning to join them in a big hunt.
  "It's a pity I didn't get a chance to use her
today," thought Jack, as he turned his face
homeward, little dreaming how soon he would
be forced to call upon the weapon to help him
out of a peril that threatened his very life.
  It was the season of the year whenthe days
were quite short, and Jack knew that the night
would be fully come before he could reach
his home. He cared nothing, however, for
that. He had gone over the trail (or path)
many a time when the hour was much later,
and it may be said that he knew it so well that
he could have walked the entire length with his
eyes shut.
  The youth had advanced only a little way
when he noticed that the darkness had closed
in, and, though the moon was shining above
the thick branches, the gloom was so deep in
most portions of the forest that he could see
only a short distance along the path, even
when it took a straight course; which was not
often the case.
  You must not think that our young friend
had any such emotion as fear. Most boys
who have spent their lives in the city would
shrink from such a journey after nightfall,
for it was a fact that Jack Gedney was walk-
ing through a stretch of woods in which not



only wild animals abounded, but through
which the fierce red men hunted, and hex w-as
li-ble to meet both the former and the hitter,
but he had no more hesitation than he would
hav e felt in climbing from the lower floor of
his cabin home to the loft where he slept every
  You must not forget, too, that he carried
his new rifle, and that made him feel secure.
  A youngster in the situation of Jack may
do a good deal of thinking as he walks briskly
along, but, if he has been rightly trained he
always keeps his wits about him. So it was
that his eyes and ears were always open. He
stepped as lightly as an Indian, peering as far
ahead as he could in the gloom, glancing from
side to side and behind-him, and now and
then halting for a moment to catch any sound
that might fall on his ear.
  In this manner he had gone a third of tf
distance when he became sure that somethinL
was following him. He stopped several times
and looked back, but could see nothing. His
quick ear, however, had caught the soft foot-
fall in the trail, which left no doubt that either
a man or an animal was dogging his footsteps.
  It is hard to think of a more trying situation
than that of Jack Gedney, for, aware as he was
that some danger threatened, he did not know
its nature.




  His first belief was that it was an Indian
who was trying to steal upon him. The
stealth which marked its movements led him
to think so, for few would have been as quick
as the lad to learn its presence.
  But, whatever it might be, the voung hunter
determined that it should not find him unpre-
pared. He brought his gun around in front
where he could grasp it with both hands,
softly raised the hammer, and then stood for a
full minute as rigid as the trunk of one of the
trees beside him. His head was turned side-
ways, so that he could look in both directions.
He neither saw nor heard anything.
  Then he ran lightly and rapidly for full a
hundred feet, stopping short again, and using
his eyes and ears to the utmost. This time
he not only heard, but saw something.
  The same soft "pit-a-pat" struck his ear,
but to his amazement it came from a point
in front. While he was looking he caught the
shadowy glimpse of some animal as it whisked
over a part of the trail where a few rays of
moonlight struck its body.
  It was as large as a big dog, with a longer
body avid a sweeping tail. It was trotting not
towards, but away from Jack, who decided
at once that it was the wild beast known in
the American forests as a panther, but called
on the frontier a "painter."



  There could be no doubt that he meant to
make a supper off the young Kentuckian, for
there are not many meals more tempting to
such a creature than a plump boy about a
dozen years old.
  "If you capture me you've got to have a
fight," munttered sturdy Jack Gedney, press-
ing his lips together and shaking his head;
"but 1 wish the sun was shining, so that I
could have a fair chance at you."
  The panther was circling around the lad,
gradually drawing nearer, and on the watch
to leap upon him as soon as he dared to ap-
proach close enough to make the spring. The
boy knew all about the treacherous animals,
for he hadi been with his father when they were
killed, and he had shot one within the preced-
ing three months. But on all those occasions
they had the daylight to help make their aim
  "He may get pretty close to me before i
know it," thought Jack, "though he will have
hard work to do it; but I don't think he can
land on my shoulders at the first jurmp."
  The boy now walked as lightly and as faU
as lie could. He varied his gait, for if he ad-
vanced at a regular pace the panther would
have less trouble in securing his intended
victim. Jack therefore advanced slowly, then




stopped, and then ran with all the speed he
could for fiFty or sixty steps.
  When he paused the third time after such
a spurt, he had reached the log lying across
the stream in the little hollow of which I have
already spoken. Here the trees were so soant
that the whole space was lit up by the moon-
light, and a small object could be seen quite
  You may be sure that before stepping upon
the rude bridge Jack peered long and earnestly
in every direction. The tall columns of trees
rose to view on each side of the strcam, whose
soft murnmur mingled with the deep moaning
of the woods, which comes to us in the night
like the hollow roar of the distant ocean.
  "Well, I don't mean to wait here all night,"
concluded Jack, stepping on the smaller
end of the trunk, and beginning to pick his
way to the other side; "I am ready to meet the
painter whenever he wants to see me, but-"
  The boy had advanced only three steps
when the beast trotted rapidly from the gloom
on the other shore, sprang upon the trunk of
the tree which supported Jack Gedney, and
lashing his tail and growling savagely, came
straight towards him.
  The panther did not trot after landing on the
trunk, but crouched low, and moved slowly
like a cat when about to spring on it prey.



  instead of retreating, as Jack was inclined at
first to do, in order to get a more secure footing
he brought his gun to his shoulder, and aiming
at a point midway between the glaring eye
balls, let fly at the instant the panther
gathered his muscles for the leap meant to
land him on the shoulders of the lad.
  As it was, the beast did leave the log, but
ins' Lead of bounding forward, he went straight
up in the air, to a height as it seemed of six
or eight feet, with a resounding screech, falling
aci oss the trunk, from which, after scratching,
and clawing, and snarling for a few seconds,
he rolled with a splash into the water, still
striuggling furiously, and scattering the spray
upon both shores.
  "I don't think you'll try to stop any more
pe1-;..-eable Kentucky boys on their way home
at night "
  The lad had no more than spoken these
words when a warning growl caused him to
turn his head. There, no more than a dozen
fee t distant, and stealthily approaching, was a
second panther-no doubt the mate of the
first. And poor Jack Gedney's new rifle
was empty!




           THE HOME OF JACK

  While Jack Gedney stood on the fallen tree
which spanned the stream, watching the pan-
ther's dying struggles in the water below, he
suddenly learned that its mate was creeping
upon him from the rear.
  Jack did not stand still, but the next in-
stant ran acrooss the log to the solid ground
on the other side. There he faced about, and
began re-loading his rifle with the utmost
haste, for you will admit that he had no time
to lose.
  The young hunter did not lose sight of the
brute for a moment while hurrying the chage
into the barrel of his weapon. He expected to
be attacked before he could rain the bullet
home, and he meant in such an event to club
his gun, and uising the butt once on the Ar.-ull
Of his foe, draw his hunting knife from his
inner pocket, and then have it out with him.
  You will conclude that this was a big con-
tract for a boy only twelve years old. So it
was indeed, but, like a young pioneer, he had
learned to depend on Heaven and himself,



and he awaited the trial with as much coolness
as his father could have done, even though
he knew that the chances were ten to one
against winning in a fight against such a
muscular and ferocious beast.
  The panther came forward on its slow, soft
wvalk, until one paw rested on the log along
which the lad had run only a moment before.
  The animal formed an interesting figure as,
placiiig the second paw beside the other on the
log, he pushed his head forward, so as to peer
over at the dark body drifting down stream.
The action of the beast lifted his front so that
his back sloped down toward his tail, which for
a moment was motionless. The shoulder-
blades were shoved in two lumps above the
line of the neck, which, because of the nose
thrust forward, looked unusually long.
  Jack Gedrney poured the powder from his
horn into the palm of his left hand at the mo-
ment the panther rested both paws on the log.
He noted the pause of the beast, and his heart
leaped with hope that there was a possibility
of getting his gun loaded in time. Leaning
his rifle far over, so as to make an inclined
plane, he rapidly brought it up to the per-
pendicular as the black, sand-like particles
streamed down the barrel.
  Next he whipped out a bullet and the little




square piece of greased cloth, shoving both
into the muzzle of the weapon. Still the pan-
ther peered over the log at his lifeless mate.
  As the loading of the weapon progressed
Jack could hardly control his excitement. He
snatched out the ramrod with suchviolence
that it fell from his hand. Like a flash he
stooped, caught it up, and began shoving the
bullet down the tight-fitting bore of his gun.
  He saw the panther move. With a fierce
jamb the bullet was stopped by the thimble-
ful of powder nestling at the bottom of the
barrel. Jack made sure the ball was pressed
home when he snatched out the ramrod and
let it fall to the ground; no time now to put
it back in its place.
  Only one more step-to p