Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/87

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at the reason. He could have shifted the door easily with his pole, yet feared, because, if the old man were under, he would expose himself to two active enemies. He must get to close quarters with the dog, and chop him in two, or brain him with the axe.

He ripped off another sheet of bark, and smashed away a batten that broke his swing. Encircling a rafter with his hooked arm, he lay, flat, his feet pressing another just over the bunk, because only there would the dog hold his ground. One blow well directed got home. He planted his feet firmly, and made another with such tremendous force that his support snapped. He let go the axe and it fell on the door. He gripped with his hand the rafter nearest, but strain as he would he could not balance his body. He hung over the door, and the dog sprang at him and dragged him down. In bitten agony, he dropped on the door that instantly up-ended.

It was daylight, and in that light the power of those open eyes set in that bald head, fixed on the billy beside the dead fireplace, was mightier than the dog. His unmaimed hand had the strength of both. He lifted the door and shielded himself with it as he backed out.