Page:Yule Logs.djvu/77

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61
VENTURE OF THE "BERTHA" WHALER

liked the adventure also. The long-promised "lark" had appeared, had descended on the snow-clad berg, and had taken up its abode upon the derelict for the time being! Therefore the lads were delighted, and skipped down cheerfully. But when they had penetrated into the so-called cabin they paused and listened.

"Didn't you hear a noise, doctor?" asked Reggie.

"No; what kind of noise?" said Halbrake, coming up.

"I think I heard a grunt, or something like it," said Arthur, "a yawn, or like that."

"Perhaps some men are in the bunks there," suggested Reginald.

"Oh, no! the place seems to me too bad. Let us return; the look of the place is enough for me. We need not search far; the cabin would be quite unbearable in a warmer climate."

"I think I saw something," said Reginald. "Look! what are those? Cubs! Run, Arthur; get the guns. Here come the animals. Run, doctor!"

In the dim light two curious objects appeared, and though Halbrake did not think any bears could be there, he retreated on deck before the two animals, which walked upright and had come to meet him. They seemed to be a pair of fine bear-cubs, ragged and dirty. As the animals advanced up the ladder, the adventurers all retreated astern to pick up the guns. But the creatures took no notice of them, and in their turn retreated forward into the forecastle.

"Let's shoot them," suggested Reginald.

"Wait a while," said Mr. Halbrake. "I do not think they are bears at all. Suppose you and I go forward, Reginald, and investigate the matter. Arthur can remain here on watch, and if anything alarm him, he can fire his gun. That will suit you, Arthur; you will then be 'monarch of all you survey.'"