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He drew a careful bead

But the next minute he was destined to get another surprise. Something was coming toward him from another direction, from his right. He could hear its footsteps as it advanced somewhat heavily, cracking branches and twigs.

Then among the tree trunks and underbrush he saw something move. A brown object it appeared to be.

A deer!” flashed through Ralph’s mind. I’m in luck to-day.”

With eager eyes riveted on the spot where he had last seen the brown object, Ralph raised his rifle. His hands trembled but he steadied them with an effort, fighting off the attack of buck fever,” as a hunter’s excitement at the prospect of big game is termed.

Suddenly the brown object appeared again, bobbing about behind a clump of brambles.

It’s a deer’s head, sure!” breathed Ralph.

He drew a careful bead on the object, devoutly hoping that his sights were adjusted right for the range, which was about a hundred yards hk company registry.

Now for it,” he said to himself, as he prepared to press the trigger.

But the shot was never fired, for just as Ralph was about to send a bullet crashing from his weapon there stepped into view from behind the brush, the figure of a man!

Ralph shook as if from a fever. Another instant and he might have been a murderer! The man had revealed himself in the nick of time. But hardly had Ralph discovered his mistake when the man saw him. Without a word he dashed off like a wild animal, crouching and diving as he went, and in a flash was out of sight dermes .

In the brief interval that Ralph had had to scrutinize the man he had so nearly shot, he had not received more than a general impression as to what he looked like. But this impression was startling enough. It was of a creature bearded[123] with a hairy growth that reached almost to his waist, half naked and with long, unkempt hair and wild eyes.

But even so, he had a queer intuition that this half wild creature and the silent watcher on the rock were one and the same individual.
CHAPTER XIII.  BOYS AND A GRIZZLY.
Hardware and Persimmons found pretty much the same traveling as Ralph. But not as experienced as he in following a trail, they did not advance so fast. Luckily, as it so fell out for them, the pony that they were trailing was one known as White-eye. He was a harum-scarum sort of a brute, and for that reason Mountain Jim had fastened round his neck, the night before, a lariat with a heavy stone attached to it. The stone had left a plainly swept path through the woods, and except in one or two baffling places the boys had followed it without much difficulty dermes
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