PART II. The Country of the Saints.
5. CHAPTER V. THE AVENGING ANGELS.
About the middle of the second day of their flight their
scanty store of provisions began to run out. This gave the
hunter little uneasiness, however, for there was game to be
had among the mountains, and he had frequently before had to
depend upon his rifle for the needs of life. Choosing a
sheltered nook, he piled together a few dried branches and
made a blazing fire, at which his companions might warm
themselves, for they were now nearly five thousand feet above
the sea level, and the air was bitter and keen. Having
tethered the horses, and bade Lucy adieu, he threw his gun
over his shoulder, and set out in search of whatever chance
might throw in his way. Looking back he saw the old man and
the young girl crouching over the blazing fire, while the
three animals stood motionless in the back-ground. Then the
intervening rocks hid them from his view.
He walked for a couple of miles through one ravine after
another without success, though from the marks upon the bark
of the trees, and other indications, he judged that there
were numerous bears in the vicinity. At last, after two or
three hours' fruitless search, he was thinking of turning
back in despair, when casting his eyes upwards he saw a sight
which sent a thrill of pleasure through his heart. On the
edge of a jutting pinnacle, three or four hundred feet above
him, there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in
appearance, but armed with a pair of gigantic horns.
The big-horn -- for so it is called -- was acting, probably,
as a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the hunter;
but fortunately it was heading in the opposite direction,
and had not perceived him. Lying on his face, he rested his
rifle upon a rock, and took a long and steady aim before drawing
the trigger. The animal sprang into the air, tottered for a
moment upon the edge of the precipice, and then came crashing
down into the valley beneath.