|About the Book|
But he knew there must be some such place, and he continued his flight along the side of the chasm, hunting for a spot that would permit him to reach the other bank.He did not stop to think how this could benefit him, for it was to be supposed thatMoreBut he knew there must be some such place, and he continued his flight along the side of the chasm, hunting for a spot that would permit him to reach the other bank.He did not stop to think how this could benefit him, for it was to be supposed that if the grizzly could outrun he could also outleap him, and the moment the fugitive landed on the further bank the brute would do the same, without losing an inch of the advantage already gained. In fact, JT Williamson had no time to think of anything except to run with all the vigor which naturehad given him.All at once he saw a spot where the feat looked possible. There was no time for him to turn off to gain the momentum, but, measuring the interval with his eye, he gathered his muscles and leaped outward. The jump was diagonal, and made under most difficult circumstances.Who shall describe the awful thrill that shot through JT Williamson when, at the moment of leaving the rocky edge of the rocky wall, he was sure he was about to fail in his last effort? The other margin of the canyon wall appeared to recede, and he uttered a despairing cry, certain that the next instant he would go spinning down the frightful abyss.It is at such critical times that the question of life and death is often decided by incidents so trifling that they are unnoticed. Had JT Williamson retained his Winchester in his grasp he would have been lost. It would not have been alone the weight of the weapon, but its interference with the free use of his hands. As it was, the latter were untrammeled, and, though his feet missed a firm hold, he instinctively clutched the craggy projections, and, with a supreme effort, drew himself over the margin and beyond all danger of falling back into the canyon.And where, all this time, was old Ephraim?The remark just made concerning the effect of trifles was shown as strikingly in his case as in that of the fugitive. Despite his enormous weight and awkwardness of action, the grizzly without special exertion could have made the leap that had just been exhibited before his eyes had he been in his usual condition, but it has been shown that he had been struck by several bullets. Though most of these inflicted little more than flesh wounds, which under the circumstances were trifling, yet others did effective work. This was especially the case with those that found a lodgment in his head, which, big and tough as it was, lacked the power of turning aside a rifle-ball, as the indurated back of an alligator often does.It is to be supposed that the enraged grizzly did not comprehend the possible weakening of his colossal power through the effect of these pellets, and it is quite likely that even with such weakening he would have accomplished the leap of the canyon, but for the interference of an incident which cannot be considered in any other light than providential.Fred Greenwoods anguish was for his companion, whom it seemed impossible to help, despite the desperate effort he was making to do so. He saw the grizzly lumbering after JT, giving no heed to the shots he sent after him, but steadily gaining upon the fugitive, whose fate hung in the passing of the seconds. Fred knew what it meant when his friend abruptly changed his course and began skirting the canyon in his frantic hunt for a narrower place. The bear was so close upon him for several paces that the terrified Fred stopped short, ceased shooting, and held his breath, expecting the great beast to strike down his comrade. The younger lad could do no more, and, staring at the two, he asked in agony that heaven would not desert his friend.Suddenly JT Williamson rose like a bird in air. At the instant the monster was upon him he made the leap, landing on the further edge, as has been told, and quickly scrambling upon solid foundation.