The Camp in the Snow; Or, Besieged by Danger

Produced by Georges T. Dodds and Roger Frank.

THE CAMP IN THE SNOW

By WILLIAM MURRAY GRAYDON

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Copyrighted, 1902, by STREET & SMITH

The Camp in the Snow

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CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. A MERCILESS ENEMY. 5 II. INTO THE WILDERNESS. 12 III. A DOUBLE PERIL. 19 IV. THE FIRST DEER. 27 V. THE FACE IN THE TREES. 34 VI. BESIEGED BY WOLVES. 42 VII. THROUGH THE ICE. 48 VIII. MR. RAIKES OF PORTLAND. 55 IX. THE GREAT STORM. 62 X. A GREAT DISASTER. 69 XI. UNDER THE SNOWDRIFT. 74 XII. DECOYED TO DANGER. 80 XIII. THE LAST OF THE CATAMOUNT. 86 XIV. A HERD OF DEER. 93 XV. A SUCCESSFUL BATTLE. 100 XVI. ON THE TRAIL. 106 XVII. FOUND AND LOST. 111 XVIII. HAMP'S PERIL. 119 XIX. BOGLE SHOWS HIS HAND. 126 XX. BRICK'S DEFENCE 134 XXI. PLUNGED UNDER GROUND. 141 XXII. AN UNEXPECTED ALLY. 148 XXIII. BACK TO FREEDOM. 155 XXIV. A STRUGGLE FOR LIFE. 161 XXV. TORTURED INTO SUBMISSION. 168 XXVI. AVAILABLE PRISONER. 174 XXVII. THROUGH THE WOODS. 182 XXVIII. SPARWICK LAYS DOWN THE LAW. 189 XXIX. A MIDNIGHT DISCOVERY. 195 XXX. DRIVEN TO DEATH. 202 XXXI. A FRIEND IN NEED. 209 XXXII. JERRY'S JOURNEY. 216 XXXIII. A TREACHEROUS PLOT. 222 XXXIV. A VIAL OF CHLOROFORM. 229 XXXV. A PERILOUS RIDE. 235 XXXVI. CONCLUSION. 240

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CHAPTER I.

A MERCILESS ENEMY.

”All tickets, please!”

The blue-uniformed conductor, with a lantern under his arm, and hispunch in hand, entered the smoking-car of the Boston express.

It was between seven and eight o'clock on the night of the tenth ofDecember. The train was speeding eastward through the wintry landscapeof the State of Maine.

Among the passengers in the smoking-car was a well-dressed lad ofeighteen, with a ruddy face, and gray eyes in which was a lurking gleamof humor.

Just across the aisle sat a middle-aged man with a clean-shaven,cadaverous face and rusty black clothes. He was reading a small book,and seemed to be absorbed in its pages.

As the conductor drew near, the lad fumbled hurriedly in his pockets. Heturned them inside out, one after another. He looked on the floor, onthe seat, in the folds of his clothing.

”Your ticket, sir.”

The conductor had been standing by the seat for a full minute.

”I--I must have lost it,” replied the lad. ”Just my beastly luck! Youknow that I had one, for you clipped it twice.”

The conductor stared coldly.

”Find it, or pay your fare,” he answered.

The lad put his hand into the breast pocket of his cape coat. He whippedout a handkerchief, and a bulky pocketbook. The latter flew across theaisle and under the next seat, where it burst open.

The clerical-looking man stooped and picked it up.

”Permit me,” he said, handing it back with a low bow.

”Much obliged,” answered the owner. ”Hello! there's a wad of billsmissing. It must have fallen out.”

The clerical-looking man pretended not to hear. He turned toward thewindow and went on reading. The conductor and the lad peered under theneighboring seats. They saw no trace of the money. The other passengerslooked on with interest.

”Lift your feet, sir,” said the conductor, sharply, as he tapped theclerical passenger's arm.

The man obeyed with an air of injured innocence, and the roll of banknotes was instantly seen.

”Quite an accident,” he protested. ”I was not aware that my foot was onthe money.”

”Of course not,” sneered the conductor.

”No insults, sir,” replied the other, in a dignified tone. ”Here is mycard. I am a missionary from the South Seas. My name is Pendergast.”

The conductor waved aside the proffered card.

”I see you are reading Hoyle's Games,” he remarked, sarcastically.”Is that the text-book you use among your heathen?”

The missionary looked discomfited for an instant.

”I have been perusing this evil work with horror,” he replied. ”Someworldly sinner left it on the seat. Perhaps it is yours, sir?”

The conductor reddened with anger, and some of the passengers laughedaloud. The missionary folded his hands with a smile of triumph, andlooked out of the window.

Meanwhile the lad had restored the roll of bills to his pocketbook, andin one of the compartments of the latter he found the missing ticket. Asthe conductor took it he leaned over and said:

”Keep an eye on that rascal yonder. He's no more a missionary than youor I.”

Then he hurried on to the next car.

A few moments later scattered lights appeared through the frostywindows, and finally the vague outlines of houses and streets.

”Bangor!” shrieked the brakeman.

The announcement created a stir and bustle among the passengers. Thetrain soon rolled into a lofty station. The lad gathered up his traps,hurriedly left the car, pressed through the crowd, and gained thelighted street.

Here he paused for a moment, remembering the conductor's warning. But hecould see nothing of the clerical-looking individual, though hecarefully scanned the passers.

”I've seen the last of that chap,” he muttered. ”Perhaps he was amissionary, after all. Well, I can't lose any more time here. Thanks toTom Fordham, I've got my bearings pretty straight. I'll bet Tom wisheshe was with me now. I fancy I can see him grinding away at old Herodotusby lamplight.”

With a smile that showed his white teeth, he strode down the street ofMaine's most thriving port and lumber town. He entered the PenobscotHouse, a block and a half from the depot.

He gave his luggage to a bellboy, and wrote his name on the register:

”Brick Larkins, New York City.”

The clerk looked at the inscription and smiled.

”Done it again, have I?” exclaimed the lad. ”Brick is only a nickname.Shall I write it James?”

”Let it stand,” replied the amused clerk. ”Will you have supper, Mr.Larkins?”

”Thanks, but I have dined on the train. Send the traps up to my room,please.”

Brick fastened a button or two of his cape-coat, and strolled out of thehotel.

He did not see the missionary standing across the street. If he had hewould probably have failed to recognize him, for Mr. Pendergast now worea tweed steamer-cap, gold glasses, and a short gray overcoat with thecollar turned up.

Brick little dreamed that he was being followed as he pushed steadilyacross town to the banks of the Penobscot River.

Turning parallel with the river, Brick went on until the lights of thetown were some distance behind. By the dim glow of the starlit sky hecould see that the beach sloped upward to a pretty steep bluff, and thattall stacks of lumber lay in all directions. The sullen slapping of thewaves drowned his crunching footsteps.

”It's all as Tom described it,” he said, half-aloud, as he paused tolook about him. ”The dug-out ought to be near by, but I can't see aglimmer of light. Hullo! what's that?”

A sharp sound had fallen on his ear, and he wheeled around in time tosee a dusky figure within ten feet of him.

”Hold on there,” cried a stern voice. ”Stop!”

Brick, having started forward, only ran the faster, and in the darknesshe collided with a tall stack of lumber. He grabbed the projecting slabsand climbed to the top.

He was now eight or ten feet from the ground, and looking down he sawhis pursuer standing directly beneath.

”No use, my lad,” whispered the man. ”I've got you safe. Pass down thatpocketbook.”

With a thrill of surprise, Brick recognized the voice.

”This is nice missionary work, Mr. Pendergast,” he replied. ”I'm willingto donate five dollars to the heathen if you'll be satisfied with that.”

”No chaffing, young feller,” growled the ruffian. ”I'm not in themissionary line now. If I don't get your pocketbook and watch and chainin about ten seconds, I'll fix you.”

Brick hesitated, and glanced toward the distant lights of the town.There seemed no chance of saving his money. An idea struck him, and hesaid, boldly:

”I've got friends at hand. You're making a big mistake to stay here.”

”That bluff won't work,” was the cool reply. ”There's not a soul withinhalf a mile. Fork it over, quick.”

Just then the pile of lumber began to tremble and sway, and down it camewith a crash.

Brick escaped injury by an agile leap that landed him on his enemy'sback. They went to the ground together, and rolled clear of theavalanche of planks and snow.

The lad was almost a match for his wiry antagonist, and by a desperateeffort he tore loose and ran. Pendergast overtook him, and snatched thecollar of the cape-coat. Brick twisted out of the heavy garment and spedon. He had the pocketbook buttoned safely under his jacket.

Threats rang behind him. A pistol cracked shrilly, and the ball whistledby his head. He dashed on through the gloom, panting hard for breath,and shouting hoarsely for aid. Nearer and nearer came the crunchingfootsteps of his enemy.

Unluckily a boat lay right in the path. Brick spied it at such closequarters that he had no time to swerve aside. He pitched roughly overthe gunwale and fell inside. The next instant Pendergast was kneeling onhim, and shaking him with savage anger.

”I'll fix you,” he snarled, as he lifted his shining weapon. ”I'll payyou for this.”

”Don't!” pleaded Brick.

He threw up his hands, and struggled to ward off the threatened blow.

”Take that,” cried the ruffian.

Brick felt a stunning pain, and immediately lost consciousness.