Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/160

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to climb the cliff. A profusion of brush grew among the rocks, and these afforded him a good hand-hold, and he was soon at the top.

Although hemmed in on three sides by mountains, the way to the lake was clear, and looking in that direction he saw, far to the opposite shore, the boat containing Dr. Barwaithe and their newly made friends. He watched the boat for a minute, when a clatter of sharp hoofs on the cliff made him whirl around, just in time to catch a second sight of the deer. His gun came up quick enough now, and the charge took the animal full in the breast.

Struck in this fashion, many an animal would have rolled over dead. But the deer of Alaska, which are growing more scarce every year, are a sturdy lot, and though terribly wounded, this specimen did not drop. Staggering for a brief moment, he turned and then fled in the direction from which he had come.

Earl was amazed, but, determined not to lose his game after such a shot, he hastily reloaded and made after the game Less than two score of steps brought him almost to the end of the cliff, and he discovered the deer crouched in the shelter of the rocks, its dark eyes glaring angrily. Up came his gun, and the weapon was discharged just as the animal sprang forward. The shot was a glancing one, doing little harm, and the next instant the wounded beast was upon the boy.