E-text prepared by Al Haines
BEARS I HAVE MET—AND OTHERS
Illustrations by Ernest Thompson Seton, W. H. Loomis, Homer Davenport, Walt. McDougall, Charles Nelan, W. Hofacker, Will. Chapin and the Author
Philadelphia Drexel Biddle, Publisher
[Frontispiece: Photograph of Allen Kelly]
I. The California Grizzly II. The Story of Monarch III. Chronicles of Clubfoot IV. Mountain Charley V. In the Valley of the Shadow VI. When Grizzlies Ran in Droves VII. The Adventures of Pike VIII. In the Big Snow IX. Boston's Big Bear Fight X. Yosemite XI. The Right of Way XII. Well Heeled XIII. Smoked Out XIV. A Cry in the Night XV. A Campfire Symposium XVI. Brainy Bears of the Pecos XVII. When Monarch was Free XVIII. How Old Pinto Died XIX. Three in a Boat XX. A Providential Prospect Hole XXI. Killed with a Bowie XXII. A Denful of Grizzlies
Portrait of the Author.
Sketch of Monarch.——ERNEST THOMPSON SETON.
The Largest Captive Grizzly.——From a Photograph.
Feasting Upon a Big Steer.——A. K.
Chained to Trees Every Night.
Prepared to Pluck Foster.——W. H. LOOMIS.
Long Brown Moved Just in Time.——W. H. LOOMIS.
The Bear Swung Trap, Chain and Clog.——W. H. L. and A. K.
She Lunged Forward to Meet the Charge.——W. HOFACKER.
A Bully Saddle Bear.——HOMER DAVENPORT.
The Bears Inspected the Pigs in Clover.——CHAS. NELAN.
Pinto Looked Down on the Platform.——WILL CHAPIN.
Watching the Man in the Tree.——WILL CHAPIN.
The Grizzly Chewed His Arm.——A. K.
He Had Seen the Bears.——WALT McDOUGALL.
These bear stories were accumulated and written during a quarter of a century of intermittent wanderings and hunting on the Pacific Slope, and are here printed in a book because they may serve to entertain and amuse. Most of them are true, and the others—well, every hunter and fisherman has a certain weakness, which is harmless, readily detected and sympathetically tolerated by others of the guild. The reader will not be deceived by the whimsical romances of the bear-slayers, and he may rest assured that these tales illustrate many traits of the bear and at least one trait of the men who hunt him.
One of the most amiable and well-behaved denizens of the forest, Bruin has ever been an outlaw and a fugitive with a price on his pelt and no rights which any man is bound to respect.
Like most outlawed men, he has been supplied with a reputation much worse than he deserves as an excuse for his persecution and a justification to his murderers. His character has been traduced in tales of the fireside and his disposition has been maligned ever since the female of his species came out of the woods to rebuke irreverence to smooth-pated age. Every man's hand has been against him, but seldom has his paw been raised against man except in self-defense.
A vegetarian by choice and usually by necessity, Bruin is accused of anthropophagy, and every child is taught that the depths of the woodland are infested by ravening bears with a morbid taste for tender youth. Poor, harried, timid Ursus, nosing among the fallen leaves for acorns and beechnuts, and ready to flee like a startled hare at the sound of a foot-fall, is represented in story and picture as raging through the forest with slavering jaws seeking whom he may devour. Yet the man does not live who can say truthfully that he ever was eaten by a bear.
Possibly there have been bears of abnormal or vitiated tastes who have indulged in human flesh, just as there are men who eat decayed cheese and "high" game, but the gustatory sins of such perverts may not be visited justly on the species. There are few animals so depraved in taste as to dine off man except under stress of famine, and Bruin is not one of the few. He is no epicure, but he draws the line at the lord of creation flavored with tobacco.
I have a suspicion that some of the tales told around campfires and here set down might be told differently if the bears could talk. It is a pity they can't talk, for they are very human in other ways and have a sense of humor that would make their versions of some "true bear stories" vastly amusing. What delightful reading, for example, would be the impressions made by a poet of the Sierra upon the bears he has met! Perhaps no bear ever met a poet of the Sierra, but mere unacquaintance with the subject should be no more of a disadvantage to a bear than to a man of letters.
BEARS I HAVE MET—AND OTHERS.
THE CALIFORNIA GRIZZLY.
The California Grizzly made his reputation as a man-killer in the days of the muzzle-loading rifle, when failure to stop him with one shot deprived the hunter of all advantage in respect of weapons and reversed their positions instantly, the bear becoming the hunter and the man the game. In early days, also the Grizzly had no fear of man and took no pains to keep out of his way, and bears were so numerous that chance meetings at close quarters were frequent.
But with all of his ferocity when attacked and his formidable strength, the Grizzly's resentment was often transitory, and many men owe their lives to his singular lack of persistency in wreaking his wrath upon a fallen foe. Generalizations on the conduct of animals, other than in the matter of habits of life governed by what we call instinct, are likely to be misleading, and when applied to animals of high intelligence and well-developed individuality, are utterly valueless. I have found the Grizzly more intelligent than other American bears and his individual characteristics more marked and varied, and therefore am disinclined to formulate or accept any rules of conduct for him under given circumstances. No man can say what a Grizzly will or will not do, when molested or encountered, any more than he can lay down a general rule for dogs or men. One bear may display extreme timidity and run away bawling when wounded, and another may be aggressive enough to begin hostilities at sight and fight to the death. It can be said safely, however, that the Grizzly is a far more dangerous animal than the Black Bear and much more likely to accept a challenge than to run away.
Want of persistent vindictiveness may not be a general trait of the species, but it has been shown in so many cases that it is at least a quite common characteristic. Possibly it is a trait of all bears and the basis of the almost universal belief that a bear will not molest a dead man, and that by "playing 'possum" a person attacked by a bear may evade further injury. That belief or theory has been held from the earliest times, and it is by no means certain that it is a mere idle tale or bit of nursery lore. Aesop uses it in one of his fables. Two men are assailed by a bear, and one climbs a tree while the other throws himself upon the ground and feigns death. The bear sniffs at the man on the ground, who holds his breath, concludes that the man is dead, and goes away. The man who climbed the tree rejoins his companion, and having seen the bear sniffing at his head, asks him facetiously what the bear said to him. The man who played 'possum replies that the bear told him to beware of keeping company with those who in time of danger leave their friends in the lurch.
This I do know, that bears often invade camps in search of food and refrain from molesting men asleep or pretending to be asleep. Upon one occasion a Grizzly of very bad reputation and much feared by residents in his district, came into my camp on a pitch dark night, and as it would have been futile to attempt to draw a bead on him and a fight would have endangered two members of the party who were incapable of defending themselves, I cautioned everyone to feign sleep and not to show signs of life if the bear sniffed in their faces. The injunction was obeyed, the bear satisfied his curiosity, helped himself to food and went away without molesting anybody.
And that is not an isolated instance. One night a Grizzly invaded a bivouac, undeterred by the still blazing fire, and tried to reach a haunch of venison hung upon a limb directly over one of the party. The man—Saml Snedden, the first settler in Lockwood Valley, Cal.—awoke and saw the great beast towering over him and stretching up in a vain effort to reach the venison, and he greatly feared that in coming down to all fours again the bear might forget his presence and step upon him. Snedden tried furtively to draw his rifle out from the blankets in which he had enveloped it, but found that he could not get the weapon, without attracting the bear's attention and probably provoking immediate attack. So he abandoned the attempt, kept perfectly still and watched the bear with half-closed eyes. The Grizzly realized that the meat was beyond his reach, and with a sighing grunt came down to all fours, stepping upon and crushing flat a tin cup filled with water within a foot of the man's head. The bear inquisitively turned the crushed cup over, smelt of it, sniffed at Snedden's ear and slouched slowly away into the darkness as noiselessly as a phantom, and only one man in the camp knew he had been there except by the sign of his footprints and the flattened cup.
Many hunters have told me of similar experiences, and never have I heard of one instance of unprovoked attack upon a sleeping person by a bear, or for that matter by any other of the large carnivorae of this country. Only one authentic instance of a bear feeding on human flesh have I known, and that was under unusual circumstances.
Two things will be noted by the reader of these accounts of California bear fights: First, that the Grizzly's point of attack is usually the face or head, and second, that, except in the case of she-bears protecting or avenging their cubs, the Grizzly ceased his attack when satisfied that his enemy was no longer capable of continuing the fight, and showed no disposition to wantonly mangle an apparently dead man. Since the forty she-bears came out of the wilderness and ate up a drove of small boys for guying a holy man, who was unduly sensitive about his personal dignity, the female of the ursine species, however, has been notorious for ill-temper and vindictive pertinacity, and she maintains that reputation to this day.
In the summer of 1850, G. W. Applegate and his brother John were mining at Horse Shoe Bar on the American River. The nearest base of supplies at that time was Georgetown, eighteen miles distant by trail. One evening in early summer, having run short of provisions, George and his brother started to walk to that camp to make purchases. Darkness soon overtook them and while descending into Canyon Creek they heard a bear snort at some distance behind. In a few moments they heard it again, louder than before, and John rather anxiously remarked that he thought the bear was following them. George thought not, but in a few seconds after crossing the stream and beginning the ascent upon the other side, both distinctly heard him come—splash, splash, splash—through the water directly upon their trail.
It was as dark as Erebus, and they were without weapons larger than pocket knives—a serious position with an angry Grizzly dogging their steps. Their first thought was to climb a tree, but knowing they were not far from the cabin of a man named Work, they took to their heels and did their best running to reach that haven of refuge ahead of their formidable follower. They reached the cabin, rushed in, slammed and fastened the door behind them, and with breathless intervals gasped out their tale. Work kept a bar for the sale of whiskey, and he and his son, a stout young man, with two or three miners, were sitting on rude seats around a whiskey barrel playing cards when the two frightened men rushed in.
The cabin was built by planting posts firmly in the ground at a distance of some three feet apart, and in the form of a parallelogram, then nailing shakes upon these posts and on the roof. The sides were held together by cross beams, connecting the tops of the opposite posts. There was one rude window, made by cutting a hole in the side of the wall about four feet from the ground and covering this with greased paper, glass being an unattainable luxury. Notwithstanding the belief that there was not a man in those days but wore a red shirt and a big revolver, there was not a firearm in the place.
In a few seconds the bear was heard angrily sniffing at the door, and an instant later his powerful paw came tearing through the frail shakes and he poked his head and neck through the opening and gravely surveyed the terrified party. Every man sprang upon the bar and thence to the cross beam with the alacrity given only by terror. After sniffing a moment and calmly gazing around the room and up at the frightened men, the bear quietly withdrew his head and retired.
After an interval of quiet, the men ventured down and were eagerly discussing the event, when the bear again made its presence known by rearing up and thrusting its head through the paper of the window. Upon this occasion some of the men stood their ground, and young Work, seizing an iron-pointed Jacob's staff, ran full tilt at the bear, and thrust it deeply into its chest. The bear again disappeared, taking the Jacob's staff, and appeared no more that night.
The following morning, search being made, the bear was found dead some yards from the cabin, with the staff thrust through the heart. It proved to be a female and was severely wounded in several places with rifle balls.
Subsequent inquiries elicited the fact that on the previous day a party of hunters from Georgetown had captured two cubs and wounded the mother, which had escaped. This was evidently the same bear in search of her cubs.
* * * * *
In the spring of the year, somewhere early in the fifties, a party of five left the mining camp of Coloma for the purpose of hunting deer for the market in the locality of Mosquito Canyon. On the morning of the second day in camp the party separated, each going his own way to hunt, and at night it was found that one of their members named Broadus failed to appear. The others started out in different directions to search for him the next morning, and after a day spent in fruitless searching, they returned to camp only to find that another of their number, named William Jabine, was this night missing.
After an anxious night, chiefly spent in discussing the probable fate of their missing companions, the remaining three started out on the trail of Jabine, he having told them the previous morning what part of the country he was going to travel. Slowly following his tracks left in the soft soil and broken down herbage, they found him about noon, terribly mangled and unconscious, but alive. The flesh on his face was torn and lacerated in a frightful manner, and he was otherwise injured in his chest and body.
Further search revealed, near by, the dead body of their other missing comrade, seated on a bowlder by the side of a small stream with his head on his folded arms, which were supported by a shelf of rock in front of him. His whole under jaw had been bitten off and torn away, and a large pool of clotted blood at his feet showed that he had slowly bled to death after having been attacked and wounded by a bear. The ground showed evidences of a fearful struggle, being torn up and liberally sprinkled with blood for yards around.
The men carried Jabine to the nearest mining camp, whence others went to bring in the body of Broadus.
Jabine finally recovered, but he was shockingly disfigured for life. He afterwards told how he came upon the tracks of Broadus, and on reaching the spot where Broadus had received his death wound, he was suddenly attacked by a huge she-bear that was followed by two small cubs. The bear had evidently been severely wounded by Broadus and was in a terrible rage. She seized Jabine before he could turn to flee, and falling with her whole weight upon his body and chest, began biting his face. He soon lost consciousness from the pressure upon his chest, and remembered no more.
The poor fellow became a misanthrope, owing to his terrible disfigurement, and was finally found drowned in the river near Coloma.
In 1850 a number of miners were camped upon the spot where the little town of Todd's Valley now stands. Among them were three brothers named Gaylord, who had just arrived from Illinois. These young men used to help out the proceeds of their claim by an occasional hunt, taking their venison down to the river when killed, where a carcass was readily disposed of for two ounces.
One evening when the sun was about an hour high, one of the brothers took his rifle and went out upon the hills and did not return that night. The following morning his two brothers set out in search and soon found him dead, bitten through the spine in the neck, evidently by a bear. His rifle was unloaded and the tracks showed where he had fled, pursued by the angry animal, been overtaken, and killed.
On the succeeding day a hunt was organized and some twenty men turned out to seek revenge. The bears, for there were two of them, were tracked into a deep rocky canyon running from Forest Hill to Big Bar. Large rocks were rolled down its sides, and the bears were routed out and both killed.
In 1851, three men armed with Kentucky rifles, which were not only muzzle-loaders, but of small calibre and less effective than the ordinary .32 calibre rifle of to-day, were hunting deer on the divide between Volcano and Shirttail Canyons in Placer county. In the heavy timber on the slope they encountered a large Grizzly coming up out of Volcano Canyon. The bear was a hundred yards distant when they saw him and evinced no desire for trouble, and two of the hunters were more than willing to give him the trail and let him go about his business in peace. The other, a man named Wright, who had killed small bears, but knew nothing about the Grizzly, insisted on attacking, and prepared to shoot. The others assured him that a bullet from a Kentucky rifle at that distance would only provoke the bear to rush them, and begged him not to fire. But Wright laughed at them and pulled trigger with a bead on the bear's side, where even a heavy ball would be wasted.
The Grizzly reared upon his haunches, bit at the place where the ball stung him, and after waving his paws in the air two or three times, came directly for Wright with a fierce growl. The party all took to their heels and separated, but the bear soon overtook Wright and with one blow of his paw struck the man, face downward, upon the snow and began biting him about the head, back and arms. The other hunters, seeing the desperate case of their companion, rushed up and fired at the bear at close range, fortunately killing him with a bullet in the base of the brain.
Wright, on being relieved of the weight of his antagonist, sat up in a dazed condition, with the blood pouring in streams down his face. He had received several severe bites in the back and arms, but the worst wound was on the head, where the bear had struck him with his claws. His scalp was almost torn from his head, and a large piece of skull some three inches in diameter was broken out and lifted from the brain as cleanly as if done by the surgeon's trephine.
Strange to say, Wright complained of but little pain, excepting from a bite in the arm, and soon recovered his senses. His comrades replaced the mangled scalp, and bleeding soon ceased. A fire was built to keep him warm and while one watched with the wounded man the other returned to the trail to intercept a pack train. On the arrival of the mules, Wright was helped upon one of their backs, and rode unaided to the Baker ranch.
A surgeon was sent for from Greenwood Valley, who, on his arrival, removed the loose piece of bone from the skull and dressed the wounds. The membranes of the brain were uninjured, and the man quickly recovered, but of course had a dangerous hole in his skull that incapacitated him for work. One Sunday, some weeks afterward, the miners held a meeting, subscribed several hundred dollars and sent Wright home to his friends in Boston.
* * * * *
Mike Brannan was a miner on the Piru River in Southern California. The river, or creek, runs through a rough mountain district, and Brannan's claim was in the wildest part of it. He and his partner met a Grizzly on the trail, and Brannan had no better judgment than to fire his revolver at the bear instead of getting out of the way. The Grizzly charged, smashed the partner's skull with a blow and tumbled Brannan over a bank.
Brannan was stunned by the fall, and when consciousness returned he saw the bear standing across his body, watching him intently for signs of life. He tried to keep perfectly still and hold his breath, but the suspense was too great a strain and involuntarily he moved the fingers of his right hand. The bear did not see the movement, and when Brannan realized that his fingers had just touched his revolver, he conceived the desperate idea that he could reach the weapon and use it quickly enough to blow a hole through the bear's head and save himself from the attack which he felt he could not avert much longer by shamming.
To grasp the revolver it was necessary to stretch his arm full length, and he tried to do that slowly and imperceptibly, but his anxiety overcame his prudence and he made a movement that the watchful Grizzly detected. Instantly the bear pinned the arm with one paw, placed the other upon Brannan's breast and with his teeth tore out the biceps muscle. Brannan had the good luck to faint at that moment, and when his senses again returned he was alone. The Grizzly had watched him until satisfied that there was no more harm in him, and then left him.
Brannan managed to get to his cabin and eventually recovered, only to be murdered some years later for the gold dust he had stored away.
NOTE.—For many of the facts in this chapter of adventures with grizzlies in Placer and El Dorado counties in 1850 and 1851, I am indebted to Dr. R. F. Rooney, of Auburn, Cal., who obtained the details at first hand from pioneers.—A. K.
THE STORY OF MONARCH.
Early in 1889, the editor of a San Francisco newspaper sent me out to catch a Grizzly. He wanted to present to the city a good specimen of the big California bear, partly because he believed the species was almost extinct, and mainly because the exploit would be unique in journalism and attract attention to his paper. Efforts to obtain a Grizzly by purchase and "fake" a story of his capture had proved fruitless for the sufficient reason that no captive Grizzly of the true California type could be found, and the enterprising journal was constrained to resort to the prosaic expedient of laying a foundation of fact and veritable achievement for its self-advertising.
The assignment was given to me because I was the only man on the paper who was supposed to know anything about bears. Such knowledge as I had, and it was not very extensive, had been acquired on hunting trips, some successful and more otherwise, in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. I had had no experience in trapping, but I accepted the assignment with entire confidence and great joy over the chance to get into the mountains for a long outing. The outing proved to be much longer than the editor expected, and trapping a bear quite a different matter from killing one.
From Santa Paula, I struck into the mountains of Ventura county with an outfit largely composed of information, advice and over-paid assistance. The first two months of the trip were consumed in developing the inaccuracy of most of the information and the utter worthlessness of all the advice and costly assistance, and in acquiring some rudimentary knowledge of the habits of bears and the art of trapping them. Traps were built, under advice, where there was not one chance in a thousand of catching anything, and bogus bear-tracks, made with a neatly-executed model by an ingenious guide, who preferred loafing about camp to moving it, kept the expedition from seeking more promising country.
The editor became tired of waiting for his big sensation and ordered me home. I respectfully but firmly refused to go home bearless, and the editor fired me by wire. I fired the ingenious but sedentary assistant, discarded all the advice that had been unloaded upon me by the able bear-liars of Ventura, reduced my impedimenta to what one lone, lorn burro could pack, broke camp and struck for a better Grizzly pasture, determined to play the string out alone and in my own way. The place I selected for further operations was the regular beat of old Pinto, a Grizzly that had been killing cattle on Gen. Beale's range in the mountains west of Tehachepi and above Antelope Valley.
Old Pinto was no myth, and he didn't make tracks with a whittled pine foot. His lair was a dense manzanita thicket upon the slope of a limestone ridge about a mile from the spring by which I camped, and he roamed all over the neighborhood. In soft ground he made a track fourteen inches long and nine inches wide, but although at the time I took that for the size of his foot, I am now inclined to think that it was the combined track of front and hind foot, the hind foot "over-tracking" a few inches, obliterating the claw marks of the front foot and increasing the size of the imprint both in length and width. Nevertheless he was a very large bear, and he loomed up formidably in the dusk of an evening when I saw him feasting, forty yards away, upon a big steer he had killed.
Pinto had the reputation of being not only dangerous but malevolent, and there were oft told tales of domiciliary visits paid by him at the cabins of settlers, and of aggressive advances upon mounted vaqueros, who were saved by the speed of their horses. Doubtless the bear was audacious in foraging and indifferent to the presence of man, but he was not malevolent. Indeed, I have yet to hear on any credible authority of a malevolent bear, or, for that matter, any other wild animal in North America whose disposition and habit is to seek trouble with man and go out of its way with the deliberate purpose of attacking him. For many weeks I camped by that spring, much of the time alone, and without even a dog, with only a blanket for covering and the heavens for a roof, and my sleep never was disturbed by anything larger than a wood rat. My camp was on one of Pinto's beaten trails, but he abandoned it and passed fifty yards to one side or the other whenever his business took him down that way, and he never meddled with me or mine. One night, as his tracks showed, he came to within twenty feet of my bivouac, sniffed around inquiringly and passed on.
I built two stout traps for Pinto's benefit, and day after day I dragged bait around and through the manzanita thickets on the ridge and over all his trails, and sometimes I found tracks so fresh that I was satisfied he had heard me coming and had turned aside. There were cougar and lynx tracks all over the mountains, but I seldom saw the animals and then only got fleeting glimpses of them as they fled out of my way.
Many of my prejudices and all my story-book notions about the behavior of the carnivorae were discredited by experience, and I was forced to recognize the plain truth that the only mischievous animal, the only creature meditating and planning evil on that mountain—excepting of course the evil incident to the procurement of food—was a man with a gun. I was the only really dangerous and unnecessarily destructive animal in the woods, and all the rest were afraid of me.
After a time, because I had no intention of killing Pinto if I should meet him, I quit carrying a rifle, except when I wanted venison, and tramped all over the mountain in daylight or in darkness without giving much thought to possible encounters. True, I carried a revolver, but that was force of habit mainly, and a six-shooter is company of a sort to a man in the wilderness even if he does not expect to need it. When one has "packed a gun" for years, he feels uncomfortable without it; not because he thinks he has any use for it, but because it has become a part of his attire and its absence unconsciously frets him and sets him wondering vaguely if he has lost his suspenders or forgotten to put on a tie.
That the big Grizzly was not quite so audacious and adventurous as he was reputed to be was demonstrated by his suspicious avoidance of the traps while they were new to him, and it became evident that he could not be inveigled into them even by meat and honey until they should become familiar objects to him and he should get accustomed to my scent upon his trails. That I would have caught old Pinto in time there is no doubt, for eventually he was caught in each of the traps, although he escaped through the carelessness of the man who baited and set them.
The traps were tight pens, built of large oak logs notched and pinned, roofed and floored with heavy logs and fitted with falling doors of four-inch plank. They were stout enough, and when I saw them ten years later they were sound and fit to hold anything that wears fur, although old Pinto had clawed all the bark off the logs and left deep furrows in them.
As a matter of course, all the hunters and mountain men for fifty miles around knew that I was trying to catch a Grizzly, and some of them built traps on their own hook, hoping to catch a bear and make a few dollars. I had encouraged them by promising to pay well for his trouble anybody who should get a bear in his own trap, or find one in any of the numerous traps I had built and send me word.
Late in October, I heard that a bear had got into a trap on Gleason Mountain, and leaving Pinto to his own devices, I went over to look at the captive. The Mexican acting as jailor did not know me, and I discovered that Allen Kelly was supposed to be the agent of a millionaire and an "easy mark," who would pay a fabulous sum for a bear. The Mexican assured me that he was about to get wealth beyond the dreams of avarice for that bear from a San Francisco man, meaning said Kelly, whereupon I congratulated him, disparaged the bear and turned to go. The Mexican followed me down the trail and began complaining that the alleged purchaser of the bear was dilatory in closing the deal with cash. He, Mateo, was aggrieved by this unbusinesslike behavior, and it would be no more than proper for him to resent it and teach the man a lesson in commercial manners by selling the bear to somebody else, even to me, for instance. Mateo's haste to get that bear off his hands was evident, but the reason for it was not apparent. Later I understood.
Monarch had the bad luck to get into a trap built by a little syndicate of which Mateo was a member. Mateo watched the trap, while the others supplied beef for bait. They were to divide the large sum which they expected to get from me in case they caught a bear before I did, and very likely my fired assistant had a contingent interest in the enterprise. Mateo was the only member of the syndicate on deck when I arrived, and deeming a bird in his hand worth a whole flock in the syndicate bush, he made the best bargain he could and left the others to whistle for dividends. Ten years afterward I met the cattleman who furnished the capital and the beef, and from his strenuous remarks about his Mexican partner I inferred that the syndicate had been deeply disappointed. I also learned for the first time why Mateo was so anxious for me to take the bear off his hands when the evident original purpose was to held me up for a good round sum. The hold-up would have failed, however, because I had spent more than $1,200 and lost five months' time, was nearly broke, did not represent anybody but myself at that stage of my bear-catching career, and for all I knew the editor might have changed his mind about wanting a Grizzly at any price.
Finally I consented to take the bear and struck a bargain, and not until money had passed and a receipt was to be signed did Mateo know with whom he was dealing. He paid me the dubious compliment of muttering that I was "un coyote," and as that animal is the B'rer Rabbit of Mexican folk lore, I inferred that the excellent Mateo intended to express admiration for the only evidence of business capacity to be found in my entire career. That dicker for a bear stands out as the sole trade I ever made in which I was not unmistakably and comprehensively "stuck." Mateo was more than repaid for his trouble, however. He helped me build a box, and get the bear into it, and I took Monarch to San Francisco and sold him to the editor of the enterprising paper, who eventually gave him to Golden Gate Park.
The newspaper account of the capture of Monarch was elaborated to suit the exigencies of enterprising journalism, picturesque features were introduced where the editorial judgment dictated, and mere facts, such as the name of the county in which the bear was caught, fell under the ban of a careless blue pencil and were distorted beyond recognition.
More than one-fourth of Joaquin Miller's "True Bear Stories"' consists of that newspaper yarn, copied verbatim and without amendment, revision or verification. The other three-fourths of the book, it is to be hoped, is at least equally true.
Considering all the frills of fiction that were put into the story to make it readable, the careless inaccuracies that were edited into it, and the fact that many persons knew of the preliminary attempts to buy any old bear and fake a capture, it is not strange that people who always know the "inside history" of everything that happens, wag their heads wisely and declare that Monarch was obtained from a bankrupt circus, or is an ex-dancer of the streets sold to the newspaper by a hard-up Italian.
But it is incredible that any one who knows a bear from a Berkshire hog could for an instant mistake Monarch for any variety of tamable bear or imagine that any man ever had the hardihood to give him dancing lessons.
When Monarch found himself caught in the syndicate trap on Gleason Mountain, he made furious efforts to escape. He bit and tore at the logs, hurled his great bulk against the sides and tried to enlarge every chink that admitted light. He required unremitting attention with a sharpened stake to prevent him from breaking out.
For a full week the Grizzly raged and refused to touch food that was thrown to him. Then he became exhausted and the task of securing him and removing him from the trap was begun. The first thing necessary was to make a chain fast to one of his fore-legs. That job was begun at eight o'clock in the morning and finished at six o'clock in the afternoon. Much time was wasted in trying to work with the chain between two of the side logs. Whenever the bear stepped into the loop as it lay upon the floor and the chain was drawn tight around his fore-leg just above the foot, he pulled it off easily with the other paw, letting the men who held the chain fall over backward. The feat was finally accomplished by letting the looped chain down between the roof logs, so that when the bear stepped into it and it was drawn sharply upward, it caught him well up toward the shoulder.
Having one leg well anchored, it was comparatively easy to introduce chains and ropes between the side logs and secure his other legs. He fought furiously during the whole operation, and chewed the chains until he splintered his canine teeth to the stubs and spattered the floor of the trap with bloody froth. It was painful to see the plucky brute hurting himself uselessly, but it could not be helped, as he would not give up while he could move limb or jaw.
The next operation was gagging the bear so that he could not bite. The door of the trap was raised and a billet of wood was held where he could seize it, which he promptly did. A cord made fast to the stick was quickly wound around his jaws, with turns around the stick on each side, and passed back of his ears and around his neck like a bridle. By that means his jaws were firmly bound to the stick in such a manner that he could not move them, while his mouth was left open for breathing.
While one man held the bear's head down by pressing with his whole weight upon the ends of the gag, another went into the trap and put a chain collar around the Grizzly's neck, securing it in place with a light chain attached to the collar at the back, passing down under his armpits and up to his throat, where it was again made fast. The collar passed through a ring attached by a swivel to the end of a heavy chain of Norwegian iron. A stout rope was fastened around the bear's loins also, and to this another strong chain was attached. This done, the gag was removed and the Grizzly was ready for his journey down the mountain.
In the morning he was hauled out of the trap and bound down on a rough skeleton sled made from a forked limb, very much like the contrivance called by lumbermen a "go-devil." Great difficulty was encountered in securing a team of horses that could be induced to haul the bear. The first two teams were so terrified that but little progress could be made, but the third team was tractable and the trip down the mountain to the nearest wagon road was finished in four days.
The bear was released from the "go-devil" and chained to trees every night; and so long as the camp fire burned brightly he would lie still and watch it attentively, but when the fire burned low he would get up and restlessly pace to and fro and tug at the chains, stopping now and then to seize in his arms the tree to which he was anchored and test its strength by shaking it. Every morning the same old fight had to be fought before he could be tied to his sled. He became very expert in dodging ropes and seizing them when the loops fell over his legs, and considerable strategic skill was required to lasso his paws and stretch him out. In the beginning of these contests the Grizzly uttered angry growls, but soon became silent and fought with dogged persistency, watching every movement of his foes with alert attention and wasting no energy in aimless struggles. He soon learned to keep his hind feet well under him and his body close to the ground, which left only his head and fore-legs to be defended from the ropes. So adroit and quick was the bear in the use of his paws that a dozen men could not get a rope on him while he remained in that posture of defence. But when two or three men grasped the chain that was around his body and suddenly threw him on his back, all four of his legs were in the air at once, the riatas flew from all directions and he was vanquished.
Monarch was pretty well worn out when the wagon road was reached, and doubtless enjoyed the few days of rest and quiet that were allowed him while a cage was being built for his further transportation. He made the remainder of the journey to San Francisco by wagon and railroad, confined in a box constructed of inch-and-a-half Oregon pine that had an iron grating at one end. The box was not strong enough to have held him for five minutes had he attacked it as he attacked the trap and as he subsequently demolished an iron-lined den, but I put my trust in the moral influence of the chain around his neck. The Grizzly accepted the situation resignedly and behaved admirably during the whole trip.
Monarch is the largest bear in captivity and a thoroughbred Californian Grizzly. No naturalist needs a second glance at him to classify him as Ursus Horribilis. He stands four feet high at the shoulder, measures three feet across the chest, 12 inches between the ears and 18 inches from ear to nose, and his weight is estimated by the best judges at from 1200 to 1600 pounds. He never has been weighed. In disposition he is independent and militant. He will fight anything from a crowbar to a powder magazine, and permit no man to handle him while he can move a muscle. And yet when he and I were acquainted—I have not seen him since he was taken to Golden Gate Park—he was not unreasonably quarrelsome, but preserved an attitude of armed neutrality. He would accept peace offerings from my hand, taking bits of sugar with care not to include my fingers, but would tolerate no petting. Within certain limits he would acknowledge an authority which had been made real to him by chains and imprisonment, and reluctantly suspend an intended blow and retreat to a corner when insistently commanded, yet the fires of rebellion never were extinguished and it would have been foolhardy to get within effective reach of his paw. To strangers he was irreconcilable and unapproachable.
Monarch passed three or four years in a steel cell before he was taken to the Park. He devoted a week or so to trying to get out and testing every bar and joint of his prison, and when he realized that his strength was over-matched, he broke down and sobbed. That was the critical point, and had he not been treated tactfully by Louis Ohnimus, doubtless the big Grizzly would have died of nervous collapse. A live fowl was put before him after he had refused food and disdained to notice efforts to attract his attention, and the old instinct to kill was aroused in him. His dulled eyes gleamed green, a swift clutching stroke of the paw secured the fowl. Monarch bolted the dainty morsel, feathers and all, and his interest in life was renewed with the revival of his savage propensity to slay.
From that moment he accepted the situation and made the best of it. He was provided with a bed of shavings, and he soon learned the routine of his keeper's work in removing the bed. Monarch would not permit the keeper to remove a single shaving from the cage if a fresh supply was not in sight. He would gather all the bedding in a pile, lie upon it and guard every shred jealously, striking and smashing any implement of wood or iron thrust into the cage to filch his treasure. But when a sackful of fresh shavings was placed where he could see it, Monarch voluntarily left his bed, went to another part of the cage and watched the removal of the pile without interfering.
In intelligence and quickness of comprehension, the Grizzly was superior to other animals in the zoological garden and compared not unfavorably with a bright dog. It could not be said of him, as of most other animals, that man's mastery of him was due to his failure to realize his own power. He knew his own strength and how to apply it, and only the superior strength of iron and steel kept him from doing all the damage of which he was capable.
The lions, for example, were safely kept in cages which they could have broken with a blow rightly placed. Monarch discovered the weak places of such a cage within a few hours and wrecked it with swift skill. When inveigled into a movable cage with a falling door, he turned the instant the door fell, seized the lower edge and tried to raise it. When placed in a barred enclosure in the park, he began digging under the stone foundation of the fence, necessitating the excavation of a deep trench and the emplacement therein of large boulders to prevent his escape. Then he tried the aerial route, climbed the twelve foot iron palings, bent the tops of inch and a half bars and was nearly over when detected and pushed back.
He remains captive only because it is physically impossible for him to escape, not because he is in the least unaware of his power or inept in using it. Apparently he has no illusions concerning man and no respect for him as a superior being. He has been beaten by superior cunning, but never conquered, and he gives no parole to refrain from renewing the contest when opportunity offers.
Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton saw Monarch and sketched him in 1901, and he said: "I consider him the finest Grizzly I have seen in captivity."
NOTE.—Without doubt the largest captive grizzly bear in the world, may be seen in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. As to his exact weight, there is much conjecture. That has not been determined, as the bear has never been placed on a scale. Good judges estimate it at not far from twelve hundred pounds. The bear's appearance justifies that conclusion. Monarch enjoys the enviable distinction of being the largest captive bear in the world.—N. Y. Tribune, March 8, 1903.
CHRONICLES OF CLUBFOOT.
The most famous bear in the world was, is and will continue to be the gigantic Grizzly known variously on the Pacific Slope as "Old Brin," "Clubfoot," and "Reelfoot." He was first introduced to the public by a mining-camp editor named Townsend, who was nicknamed "Truthful James" in a spirit of playful irony. That was in the seventies. Old Erin was described as a bear of monstrous size, brindled coat, ferocious disposition and evil fame among the hunters of the Sierra. He had been caught in a steel trap and partly crippled by the loss of a toe and other mutilation of a front paw, and his clubfooted track was readily recognizable and served to identify him. Old Brin stood at least five feet high at the shoulder, weighed a ton or more and found no difficulty in carrying away a cow. He seemed to be impervious to bullets, and many hunters who took his trail never returned. A few who met him and had the luck to escape furnished the formidable details of his description and spread his fame, with the able assistance of Truthful James and other veracious historians of the California and Nevada press.
For several years the clubfooted Grizzly ranged the Sierra Nevada from Lassen county to Mono, invulnerable, invincible and mysterious, and every old hunter in the mountains had an awesome story to tell of the ferocity and uncanny craft of the beast and of his own miraculous escape from the jaws of the bear after shooting enough lead at him to start a smelter. Old Brin was a never-failing recourse of the country editor when the foreman was insistent for copy, and those who undertook to preserve the fame of his exploits in their files scrupulously respected the rights of his discoverer and never permitted any vain-glorious bear hunter to kill him. As one of the early guardians of this incomparable monster, I can bear witness that it was the unwritten law of the journalistic profession that no serious harm should come to the clubfoot bear and he should invariably triumph over his enemies. It was also understood that a specially interesting episode in the career of Old Brin constituted a pre-emption claim to guardianship, and, if acknowledged by the preceding guardian, the claim could not be jumped so long as it was worked with reasonable diligence.
While Old Brin infested Sierra Valley and vicinity he was my ward, and I regret to say that his conduct was tumultuous and sanguinary in the extreme. I can remember as if it were but yesterday how, one afternoon when Virginia City was deplorably peaceful and local news simply did not exist, Old Brin went on a rampage over toward Sierra Valley and slaughtered two Italian woodchoppers in the most wanton and sensational manner. More than ten years later I met in Truckee an old settler who remembered the painful occurrence well, because the Italians were working for him at the time, and he told me the story to prove that Old Brin had once roamed that part of the mountains. Naturally I was so pleased to learn that my humble effort to keep the local columns of the Virginia Chronicle up to the high standard of frozen truth had not been in vain, that it was with the greatest difficulty I dropped a sympathetic tear when the old settler of Truckee mourned the sad fate of his Italian friends.
If memory be not at fault, it was the episode of the woodchoppers that precipitated the long-cherished design of Virginia City's most noted sportsmen to make a combined effort to secure the pelt of Old Brin and undying glory. About a score of them, heavily armed and provisioned for a month, sallied forth from the Comstock to find and camp upon the trail of the clubfoot bear. They returned without his pelt, but they brought back some picturesque and lurid explanations of their failure and added several chapters to the history of Old Brin.
One of the party was Ned Foster, who never stood to lose on any proposition and never was known to play any game on the square. Being lame, Foster did not have any ambition to meet the big bear, but contented himself with shooting birds for the pot and helping the camp cook. One morning, after all the mighty hunters had gone out on their quest, Foster picked up his shot-gun, jocularly remarked that he guessed he would fetch in a bear, and limped away toward a brushy ridge. Presently the cook heard a shot, followed by yells of alarm, and peering from the tent he saw Foster coming down the slope on a gallop, followed by a monstrous bear. The cook seized a rifle, tried to load it with shot cartridges, and realizing that his agitation made him hopelessly futile, abandoned the attempt to help Foster and scrambled up a tree. From his perch the cook watched with solicitude the progress of Foster and the bear, shouting to Foster excited advice to increase his pace and informing him of gains made by the pursuer.
"Run, Ned! Good Lord, why don't you let yourself out?" yelled the frantic cook, as Foster lost a length on the turn into the home-stretch. "You're not running a lick on God's green earth. The bear's gaining on you every jump, Ned. Turn yourself loose! Ned, you've just got to run to beat that bear!"
Ned went by the tree in a hitch-and-kick gallop, and as he passed he gasped in scornful tones: "You yapping coyote, do you think I'm selling this race!" Perhaps he wasn't, but it looked that way to the man up the tree.
That was the end of the tale as it was told by the Comstockers, who refused to spoil a good climax by gratifying mere idle curiosity about the finish of the race. But Foster was not eaten up by Old Brin—of course his pursuer was the clubfooted bear—and something extraordinary must have happened to save him. An indefinite prolongation of the situation is unthinkable. Wherefore things happened in this wise: Foster's hat fell off, and while the bear was investigating it the man gained a few yards and time enough to climb a stout sapling, growing upon the brink of a cleft in the country rock about a dozen feet wide and twice as deep. The tree was as thick as a man's leg at the base and very tall. Foster climbed well out of reach of the bear, and, perched in a crotch twenty feet above the ground, he felt safe. Old Brin sat down at the foot of the tree, and with head cocked sidewise thoughtfully eyed the man who had affronted him with a charge of small shot. Presently he arose and with his paws grasped the tree ten or twelve feet from the ground, and Foster laughed derisively at the notion of that clumsy beast trying to climb. But Brin had no notion of climbing. Holding his grip, he backed away, and as the tree bent toward him he took a fresh hold higher up, and so, hand over hand, pulled the top of it downward and prepared to pluck Foster or shake him down like a ripe persimmon.
A part of Foster's habitual attire under all circumstances in warm weather was a long linen duster, and it is a defect of ursine perception to confound a man with his clothes. When the napping skirt of Foster's duster seemed to be within reach, the over-eager bear made a grab for it, and released his grasp of the tree. The backward spring of the tough sapling nearly dislodged the clinging man, but it also gave him an idea, and when the grizzly began a repetition of the manoeuvre, he shifted his position a little higher and to the other side.
Old Brin was not appeased by the shred of linen he had secured, and again began bending the sapling over. This time he had to bend it further to get Foster within reach, but the flapping coat-tail again tempted him too soon, and although he secured most of the skirt, he let go his hold and the tree sprang back like a bended bow. Foster let go his hold too in mid-arc and went sailing through the air and across the ravine, landing in a thicket with a jar that loosened his teeth but broke no bones. He said the Grizzly sat bolt upright and looked at the tree, the ravine and him for five minutes, then cuffed himself soundly on both ears and slunk away in evident humiliation and disgust.
* * * * *
Nothing but Joe Stewart's flawless reputation for veracity could have induced the Comstock to accept the account of Old Erin's visit to camp, which broke up the trip, as it was given by the hunters when they returned. Mr. Stewart made his living at cards and knew no other profession or trade, but his word was as good as a secured note at the bank, his views on ethical questions were considered superior to a bishop's, and all around he was conceded to be a better citizen and an honester man than Nevada had been able to send to the United States Senate. Therefore, as Joe Stewart was one of the party and did not deny that events happened as described by Col. Orndorff, the Comstock never doubted the story of the Blazing Bear.
This section of the expedition had a large wall tent and all camp conveniences, including lamps and a five-gallon can of kerosene. They pitched their tent upon the bank of a stream near a deep pool such as trout love in warm weather, and they played the national game every night.
Col. Orndorff had opened an opulent jackpot, and Long Brown was thinking about raising before the draw when he felt a nudge at his elbow as if some one had stumbled against him. He was annoyed and he drove his arm backward violently against the canvas, encountering something solid and eliciting a loud and angry snort. Long Brown moved just in time to escape the sweep of a huge paw, armed with claws like sickles, which rent a great gap in the back of the tent and revealed a gigantic bear still sneezing from the blow on the end of his nose and obviously in a nasty temper.
The poker party went out at the front just as Old Brin came in at the back, and Long Brown thoughtfully took the front pole with him, letting the canvas down over the bear and impeding pursuit. The lamps were broken in the fall, and the oil blazed up under the canvas. Col. Orndorff, Mr. Stewart, Bill Gibson, Doughnut Bill and the cook, Noisy Smith, climbed trees before taking time to see how matters were getting arranged in the tent, and Long Brown stopped at the brink of the pool and turned around to see if the bear was following him.
There was complicated trouble in the tent. The bear had tangled himself in the canvas and was blindly tossing it about, rolling himself up in the slack, and audibly complaining of the fire and smoke. The rifles, shot-guns and all but one revolver had been left in the tent, and presently they began to pop. Doughnut Bill, safe in a sycamore, hitched around to the lee side of the trunk and said: "Mr. Brown, I seriously advise that you emulate the judicious example of the other gentlemen in this game and avoid exposing yourself unnecessarily to such promiscuous and irresponsible shooting as that bear is doing."
"That's dead straight," added Col. Orndorff. "Shin up a tree, Brown, or you'll get plunked."
"Think I'll mix in a little," replied Brown, drawing his gun and opening fire upon the center of the disturbance. A bursting shot gun answered his first shot, and the charge plowed a furrow near Long Brown and threw dirt in his face. Then the cartridge boxes began exploding as the fire reached them, exciting the bear to more tumultuous struggles with the enfolding canvas and louder roars of pain and rage. The five-gallon oil can, probably punctured by Long Brown's bullets, furnished the climax to the volcanic display by blowing up and filling the air with burning canvas, blankets and hardware, and out of the fire and smoke rushed the blazing bear straight toward Long Brown and the creek. Even Long Brown's nerve was not equal to facing a ton of Grizzly headed toward him in a whirlwind of flame. He turned and dove into the pool. That was Old Brin's destination also, and he followed Long Brown with a great splash and a distinct sizzle. Brown swam under water down stream, and the bear went straight across, up the opposite bank and into the brush, howling blue murder.
In the morning, when the fire had burned out, the sportsmen raked over the ruins and recovered the larger part of the jackpot, consisting of gold and silver coins partly fused and much blackened. "Here, gentlemen," said Doughnut Bill, "we have convincing proof of the wisdom of our Pacific Coast statesmen and financiers in retaining metal as a circulating medium during the late lamentable unpleasantness. Had we succumbed to the vicious habit of using paper substitutes for money, we should now be weeping over the ashes of a departed jackpot. Therefore, I suggest that this is an auspicious occasion for passing suitable resolutions reaffirming Nevada's invincible repugnance to a debased currency, her unalterable fidelity to hard money and her distinguished approval of the resumption of specie payment."
"Get in a whack at the Greenbackers," said Col. Orndorff.
"I surely approves the suggestion," said Mr. Stewart. "As a Jacksonian Democrat, I views with alarm the play the Greenbackers make for fusion, which the same is a brace game."
Mr. Gibson also allowed that fusion should be coppered by Nevada, and Noisy Smith whispered his assent, and the resolutions were adopted unanimously.
The disposition of the jackpot was then considered. Col. Orndorff was willing to divide it, but he allowed that if the bear had not butted into the game he would have raked it down to a dead moral certainty.
"I don't know about that," said Doughnut Bill. "The intrusion of our combustible friend was unwarrantable and ungentlemanly, not to say rude, but as the holder of three aces before the draw I claim an interest in the pot. Of course I can't show the cards, but that is the fact. On your honor as the opener of the pot, Colonel, what did you have?"
"Seven full on eights."
"That's good," whispered Noisy Smith. "I had a four flush."
Long Brown put his hand into his pocket, drew forth five water-soaked cards, laid them down and said: "Had 'em in my hand when I dove."
Col. Orndorff looked at them and silently shoved the melted jackpot over to Long Brown. Long Brown's hand was an eight full on sevens.
* * * * *
So long as Old Brin was under the guardianship of his early friends, it was certain that no serious harm would come to him and that no hunter would be permitted to boast of having conquered him. But a later breed of journalistic historians, having no reverence for the traditions of the craft and no regard for the truth, sprang up, and the slaughter of the club-footed Grizzly began. His range was extended "from Siskiyou to San Diego, from the Sierra to the sea," and he was encountered by mighty hunters in every county in California and killed in most of them.
Old Clubfoot's first fatal misadventure was in Siskiyou, where he was caught in a trap and shot by two intrepid men, who stuffed his skin and sent it to San Francisco for exhibition at a fair. He had degenerated to a mangy, yellow beast of about 500 pounds weight, with a coat like a wornout doormat, and but for a card labelling him as "Old Reelfoot," and exploiting the prowess of his slayers, his old friends never would have known him.
Clubfoot's first reincarnation took place in Ventura, about 600 miles from the scene of his death. He appeared in a sheep camp at night, sending the herders up the tallest trees in terror, and scattered the flock all over a wide-spreading mountain. The herders spent the best part of a week in gathering the lost sheep, but after the most thorough search of which they were capable, some fifty odd were still missing. When the superintendent came around on his monthly tour of inspection, the herders told him the story of the lost sheep, and he did not know whether to believe it or suspect the herders of illicit traffic in mutton.
Knowing the mountain well, however, and having in mind some places which might easily be overlooked by the herders, the superintendent concluded to make an attempt to clear up the mystery for his own satisfaction. For two or three days he sought in vain for the trail of the missing sheep, visiting several likely places unknown to the herders, and he was about to give up the search when his mind pulled out of a dusty pigeon-hole of memory a faded picture of a queer nook in the mountain, into which he had stumbled many years before in chase of a wounded deer. More for the sake of seeing if he could find the place again than in hope of solving the sheep mystery, he renewed his search, and, at the end of a day's riding over the spurs of the mountain and up and down ravines, he recognized the slope down which he had chased the wounded deer, and saw upon it the hoof prints of sheep not quite obliterated by wind and rain.
At the bottom of the slope was a small flat seemingly hemmed in on three sides by steep walls. At the upper end, however, behind a thick grove of pines, was a break in one of the side walls leading to an enclosed cienega, an emerald gem set deep in the mountain, as though a few acres of ground had sunk bodily some fifty feet, forming a pit in which water had collected and remained impounded until it broke an outlet through the lower wall.
When the superintendent reached the entrance to this sunken meadow, an opening perhaps thirty yards wide, he noticed a well worn path across it from wall to wall, and a glance told him that the path had been beaten by a bear pacing to and fro. Looking closely at this beaten trail, he saw that the footprints were large and that one paw of the bear was malformed. Old Clubfoot without doubt.
Huddled in silent terror close to the farther wall of the little valley were about forty sheep, and near the beaten path were the remains of ten or a dozen carcases. A little study of the situation and the sign told the story to the old mountaineer. The frightened band of sheep, fleeing blindly before the bear, had been driven by chance or by design into this natural trap, and the wily old bear had mounted guard at the entrance and paced his beat until the sheep were thoroughly cured of any tendency to wander down toward the lower end of the meadow. When he wanted mutton, he caught a fat sheep, carried it to his sentry beat and killed and ate it there, leaving the remains as a warning to the rest not to cross the dead line. The grass in the cienega was thick and green, and there was enough seepage of water to furnish drink for the flock. So the provident bear had several months' supply of mutton on the hoof, penned up and growing fat in his private storehouse, and his trail across the entrance was as good as a five-barred gate.
A man less wise than the superintendent would have undertaken to drive the sheep out and back to camp, but the superintendent knew the ways of sheep and foresaw that an attempt to rescue them without the aid of dogs and herders would result only in an endless surging to and fro in the basin. Besides it was almost dusk, the bear might come home to supper at any moment and a revolver was of little use in a bear fight in the dark. Moreover the looting of Old Clubfoot's larder would only ensure more midnight raids on the flocks upon the mountain. Therefore the superintendent rode away.
The next day he returned with an old muzzle-loading Belgian musket of about 75 calibre, a piece of fresh pork and some twine, and he busied himself awhile among some trees near the bear's sentry beat. When he left, the old musket was tied firmly to the tree in such a position that the muzzle could be reached only from in front and in line with the barrel. In the breech of the barrel were ten drams of quick rifle powder, and upon the powder rested a brass 12-gauge shot shell, which had been filled with molten lead. Upon the muzzle was tied the fresh pork, attached to a string tied to the trigger and passing through a screw eye back of the guard. The superintendent knew that pork would be tempting to a mutton-sated bear, and he chuckled as he rode away.
At midnight in the camp upon the mountain the superintendent heard a muffled roar echoing far away, and he laughed softly, turned over and went to sleep. In the morning, with two herders and their collies, he went back to the cienega. There was not much left of the musket, but in front of where it had been was a pool of blood, and a crimson-splashed trail led away from that spot across the flat and down a brushy gulch.
Cautiously, rifle in hand, the superintendent followed the blood sign, urging the unwilling dogs ahead and leading the more unwilling Basque shepherds, who had no stomach for meetings with a wounded grizzly in the brush. Half a mile from the cienega the dogs stopped before a thicket, bristled their backs and growled impatient remonstrance to the superintendent's efforts to shove them into the brush with his foot. In response to urgent encouragement, the collies, bracing back, barked furiously at the thicket, while the herders edged away to climbable trees, and the superintendent waited with tense nerves for the rush of a wounded bear.
But nothing stirred in the thicket, no growl answered the dogs. Five minutes, perhaps—it seemed like half an hour—the superintendent stood there with rifle ready and cold drops beading his forehead. Then he backed away, picked up a stone, and heaved it into the brush. Another and still others he threw until he had thoroughly "shelled the woods" without eliciting a sound or a movement. The silence gave the dogs courage and slowly they pushed into the thicket with many haltings and backward starts, and presently their barking changed in tone and told the man that they had found something of which they were not afraid. Then the superintendent pushed his way through the bushes and found the bear dead. The big slug from the musket had entered his throat and traversed him from stem, to stern, and spouting his life blood in quarts he had gone half a mile before his amazing vitality ebbed clean away and left him a huge heap of carrion.
It is the tradition of the mountain that the ursine shepherd was none other than Old Clubfoot, and it is not worth while to dispute with the faith of a man who follows sheep in the solitudes.
* * * * *
Like Phra the Phoenician, Old Clubfoot could not stay dead, and when there was trouble afoot in the world, with tumult and fighting, no grave was deep enough, no tomb massive enough to hold him. His next recrudescence was in Old Tuolumne, where he forgot former experiences with steel traps and set his foot into the jaws of one placed in his way by vindictive cattlemen. Attached to the chain of the trap was a heavy pine chunk, and Old Clubfoot dragged the clog for many miles, leaving through the brush a trail easily followed, and lay down to rest in a thicket growing among a huddle of rocks.
Hot upon the trail came two hunters, Wesley Wood and a Sclavonian whose name was something like Sakarovitch, and had been simplified to Joe Screech. Wood was certain that the bear had stopped in the thicket, which was almost on the verge of one of the walls of Hetch-Hetchy Valley, a replica of Yosemite on half scale, and he was too old a hand at the game to follow the trail in. One experience with a bear in the brush is enough to teach the greatest fool in the world, if he survives, that wild animals do not lie down to rest without taking precautions against surprise by possible pursuers. They do not stop short in their tracks and go to sleep where any chance comer may walk over them, but make a half circle loop or letter U in the trail and lie where they can watch the route by which they came.
Joe Screech had not learned this, and he jeered at Wood for halting at the thicket. Wood admitted that he was afraid to follow the trail another foot and tried to hold Joe back, but Joe had killed black bears and knew nothing of Grizzlies, and he had a contemptuous opinion of the courage of bears and a correspondingly exalted belief in his own. At least he was afraid somebody might suspect him of being afraid, and he confounded caution with cowardice in others.
So Joe Screech laughed offensively at Wood as he strode into the thicket. "If you're afraid," he said, "you stay there and I'll run the bear out. Maybe you'd better climb a tree."
"That's just what we both would do if we had any sense. Joe Screech, you are the damnedest fool in Tuolumne. That bear'll teach you something if he don't kill you."
"Oh, climb a tree and watch my smoke," and Joe passed out of sight.
Presently Joe's head appeared again as he climbed upon a boulder close to the edge of the cliff and peered around him. A sudden rattling of iron upon stone, a deep growl and a castanet clashing of teeth, and the Grizzly arose behind Joe Screech, towering far above him and swinging the trap from his paw. Joe Screech had time for but one glance of terror, and as he jumped the bear swung trap, chain and clog in the air and reached for him with a mighty blow. It was the fifty-pound steel trap that landed upon Joe's head and sent him plunging over the cliff just as Wood's Winchester began to bark. As fast as the lever could be worked the bullets thudded into the Grizzly's back even while Joe was pitching forward.
Old Clubfoot had ignored the trap and the clog in his eagerness to reach the man with his nearest paw, and the impetus of the stroke, aided by the momentum of the circling clog, threw him from his balance. Probably a bullet in the back of the head had its effect also, for the huge bulk of the bear toppled forward and followed Joe Screech over the cliff.
Wood scrambled desperately through the thicket to the cliff and looked down into Hetch-Hetchey. A thousand feet below, where the talus began to slope from the sheer cliff, dust was still floating, and stones were sliding down a fresh scar in the loose soil of the steep incline toward the forest at the foot.
* * * * *
In his old age, the big brindled bear grew weary of being killed and resurrected and longed for a quiet life. Little, ordinary, no-account bears had personated him and got themselves killed under false pretenses from one end of the Sierra to the other, and some of them had been impudent enough to carry their imposture to the extent of placing step-ladders against his sign-board trees and recording their alleged height a yard or two above his mark. That made him tired. Moreover the gout in his bad foot troubled him more and more, and he ceased to get much satisfaction from rolling around on a "flat wheel" and scaring people with his tracks. Wherefore Clubfoot deserted his old haunts and went down into a green valley, inhabited by bee-keepers and other peaceable folk, where he lived on locusts and honey and forgot the strenuous life.
All went well with the retired terror of the mountains for a long time. The only fly in the ointment of his content was Jerky Johnson, who kept dogs and went pirooting around the hills with a gun, making much noise and scaring the wits out of coyotes and jack rabbits. Old Clubfoot realized that his eyes were dimming and his hearing becoming impaired, and it annoyed him to be always on the alert, lest he should come across Jerky in the brush and step on him inadvertently.
Jerky's ostensible occupation, from which his front name was derived, was killing deer and selling jerked venison, but if the greater part of his stock was not plain jerked beef, the cattle-men in that section were victims of strange hallucinations and harborers of nefarious suspicions. Although Clubfoot was credited with large numbers of dead steers found on the ranges, he was conscious of his own innocence, due to some extent to the loss of most of his teeth, and he had better reason than the cow-men had for putting it up to Jerky.
These particulars concerning Mr. Johnson's vocation enable the reader to appreciate the emotions aroused in the breast of Old Clubfoot when he found a newspaper blowing about a bee ranch and saw a thrilling account of his own death at the hands of the redoubtable Jerky Johnson. He had just tipped over a hive and was about to fill up with luscious white sage honey when that deplorably sensational newspaper fluttered under his eye and the scandalous fabrication of Jerky stared him in the face. "This is the limit," he moaned, and his great heart broke.
Slowly and painfully the poor old bear staggered down the valley. His eyes were glazed and he could not tell where the trees and barb-wire fences were until he butted his nose against them. The gout in his maimed foot throbbed horribly, and all the loose bullets in his system seemed to have assembled in his chest and taken the place of his once stout heart. But he had a fixed purpose in his mind, and on he went to its fulfillment, grimly determined to make a fitting finish to a romantic life.
At the lower end of the valley lived the country doctor. To his house came the club-footed bear at midnight, worn and nearly spent with the pitiful journey. There was a dim light in the back office, but it was unoccupied. Clubfoot heaved his bulk against the door and broke the lock, softly entered the room and sniffed anxiously of the rows of jars and bottles upon a shelf. His eyes were dim and he could not read the labels, but his nose was still keen and he knew he should find what he was seeking. He found it. Taking down a two-gallon jar, Clubfoot tucked it under his arm tenderly and walked out erect, just as in the old days he was wont to walk away from a farmyard with a calf or a pig under each arm. It has been said of him that he could carry off a steer in that fashion, but probably that is an exaggeration or even a fable.
Behind the doctor's stable was a bucket containing the sponge used in washing the doctor's carriage. Clubfoot found the bucket, broke the two-gallon jar upon the sharp edge and spilled the contents upon the sponge. Taking one last look at the stars and the distant mountain peaks, he plunged his muzzle into the sponge, jammed his head tightly into the bucket and took one long, deep breath.
In the morning "Doc." Chismore found a gigantic dead bear behind the barn, with the stable bucket firmly fixed upon his head and covering his nose and mouth. Scattered about were the fragments of a chloroform jar, and between the claws of the bear's maimed foot was a crumpled Sunday supplement of a yellow journal, containing an account of the slaying of Old Brin, the Club-footed Grizzly, by Jerky Johnson. Being a past master of woodcraft, Doctor Chismore read the signs like a printed page, and applying the method of Zadig he reconstructed the whole story of the dolorous passing of the greatest bear in the world.
Charles McKiernan was a well-known lumber merchant of San Jose, Cal. To old timers he was "Mountain Charlie," having spent most of his life in the Santa Cruz mountains, where he owned timber land and saw mills. McKiernan's face was strangely disfigured. His left eye was missing and his forehead was so badly scarred that he wore his hair in a bang falling to his eyebrows to conceal the marks. From his own lips I heard the story of those scars.
This was also in the days of the muzzle-loading rifle. McKiernan and a partner were holding down timber claims in the mountains and living in a cabin overlooking a wide canyon. One morning they saw a Grizzly turning over rocks at the foot of a spur jutting from the main ridge into the canyon, and taking their rifles they followed the ridge around to the spur to get a shot at him from that point. It so happened that the bear also fancied that he had business on the top of the spur, and began climbing soon after the men lost sight of him.
The bear and the men met unexpectedly at the top, and the bear halted hesitatingly with his head and breast just showing above the rocks at the brink of the steep slope. McKiernan did not want to begin the fight at such close quarters, and he was confident that the bear would back down and attempt to return to the brush at the foot of the spur if given time. Then he would have the advantage of the up-hill position and plenty of time to reload if the bear should attempt to return after the first shot.
But McKiernan's partner lost his nerve, turned tail and ran away, and that encouraged the bear to take the offensive, just as it would invite attack from a hesitating dog. The Grizzly sprang up over the edge of the steep and charged McKiernan, who threw up his rifle and fired at the bear's chest. It was a Yeager rifle carrying an ounce ball, and it checked the charge for a moment by bringing the bear to his knees. As the bear gathered himself for another rush, McKiernan swung the heavy rifle and struck the bear over the head with the barrel. He was a powerful man, accustomed to swinging an axe, and the blow knocked the bear down and stunned him. The stock of the rifle broke in McKiernan's hands and the barrel fell close by the bear, which had fallen upon the very edge of a steep slope at the side of the spur or knob.
McKiernan stooped to recover the rifle barrel with which to beat the bear to death, and in doing so his head came close to the bear's. The Grizzly had partly recovered, and throwing his head upward he closed his jaws upon McKiernan's forehead, with a snap like a steel trap. One lower tusk entered the left eye socket, and an upper canine tooth sunk into the skull. McKiernan fell face downward, his arms under his face, and the bear slid over the edge and rolled down the almost vertical wall into the canyon, having dislodged himself by the effort to seize the man.
McKiernan did not lose consciousness, but he was unable to move. He knew his left eye was gone, and he feared that he was bleeding to death. He heard the bear rolling down the slope, heard the crash of bushes as he struck the bottom, and knew because of his bawling that the Grizzly was mortally hurt. Then he wondered why his partner did not come to him, and sense of pain and fear of death were submerged under a wave of indignation at the man's cowardice and flight. Presently he heard faintly a voice calling him across the canyon, but could not distinguish the words, and after a time he realized that his partner had fled back to the cabin, and was shouting to him. He could not answer, nor could he raise his head, but he managed to free one arm and wave it feebly. The partner finally saw the movement and plucked up enough courage to come back, and with his help McKiernan somehow got to the cabin.
A young doctor from San Jose attempted to patch up the broken skull after removing a large piece and leaving the envelope of the brain exposed. He had read something about trephining and inserting silver plates, and he hammered out a silver dollar and set it like a piece of mosaic into McKiernan's forehead, where it resisted the efforts of nature to repair damages and caused McKiernan a thousand times more agony than he had suffered from the Grizzly's tusks. Only the marvelous vitality of the man saved him from the consequences of such surgery. For days and weeks he sat in his cabin dripping his life away out of a wound that closed, swelled with fierce pain and broke out afresh, and the drain upon his system gave him an incredible appetite for meat, which he devoured in Gargantuan quantities.
Then old Doctor Spencer went up to "Mountain Charlie's" cabin, took out the silver dollar, removed a wad of eyebrow that had been pushed into the hole made by the bear's lower tooth in the eye socket, and McKiernan recovered.
And the first thing he did when he was able to travel was to load up a shotgun and hunt San Jose from one end to the other for the man who had set a silver dollar in his skull.
IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW.
Over-confidence and some contempt for bears, born of easy victories cheaply won, led one noted Californian hunter into The Valley of the Shadow, from which he emerged content to let his fame rest wholly upon his past record and without ardor for further distinction as a slayer of Grizzlies. As mementoes of a fight that has become a classic in the ursine annals of California, John W. Searles, the borax miner of San Bernardino, kept for many years in his office a two-ounce bottle filled with bits of bone and teeth from his own jaw, and a Spencer rifle dented in stock and barrel by the teeth of a Grizzly.
On a hunting trip in Kern county, Mr. Searles had a remarkable run of luck and piled three bears in a heap without moving out of his tracks or getting the least sign of fight. It was so easy that he insisted upon going right through the Tehachepi range and killing all the Grizzlies infesting the mountains. He and his party made camp in March, 1870, not far from the headquarters of General Beale's Liebra ranch in the northern part of Los Angeles county. Romulo Pico was then in charge at the Liebra, and nearly thirty years later, while hunting a notorious bear on the scene of Searles's adventure, he told me the story of the fight.
Searles was armed with a Spencer repeater but had shot away the ammunition adapted to the rifle and had been able to procure only some cartridges which fitted the chamber so badly that two blows of the hammer were generally required to explode one of them. Notwithstanding this serious defect of his weapon, Searles had so poor an opinion of the Grizzly that he went out alone after the bear several miles from camp. There was some snow on the ground and on the brush, and finding bear tracks, Searles tied his horse and took the trail afoot. He found a bear lying asleep under the brush and killed it, and while he was standing over the body he heard another bear breaking brush in a thicket not far away.
Leaving the dead bear, he took up the trail of its mate and followed until his clothing was soaked with melting snow and the daylight was almost gone. The bear halted in a dense thicket and Searles began working his way through the chaparral to stir him up. Of course the bear was not where his tracks seemed to indicate him to be, and the meeting was sudden and unexpected. The bear rose within two feet of the hunter and almost behind him. There was neither time nor room to put rifle to shoulder, and Searles swung it around, pointed it by guess and fired. The ball did little damage, but the powder flash partly blinded the bear and it came down to all-fours and began pawing at its eyes, giving Searles an opportunity to throw in another cartridge and take fair aim at the head.
If Searles had not forgotten in his excitement the defect of his weapon, the bear fight would have been ended right there. He pulled trigger with deadly aim, but the rifle missed fire. Instead of re-cocking the piece and trying a second snap, he worked the lever, threw in a new cartridge and pulled the trigger. Again no explosion. Again he failed to remember the trick of the rifle, and tried a third cartridge, which also missed fire.
Then the bear became interested in the affair and turned upon the hunter at close quarters. Seizing the barrel of the rifle in his jaws, the Grizzly wrenched it from Searles's grasp, threw it aside and hurled himself bodily upon his foe. Searles went down beneath the bear. Placing one paw upon his breast the bear crunched the hunter's lower jaw between his teeth, tore a mouthful of flesh from his throat and took a third bite out of his shoulder. Then he rolled the man over, bit into his back and went away.
The cold Californian night saved the man's life by freezing the blood that flowed from his wounds and sealing up the torn veins. He was a robust, hardy man, and he pulled himself together and refused to die out there in the brush. With his jaw hanging by shreds, his wind-pipe severed and his left arm dangling useless, he crawled to his horse, got into the saddle and rode to camp, whence his companions took him to the Liebra ranch house. Romulo Pico was sure Searles would die before morning, but he dressed the wounds with the simple skill of the mountaineer who learns some things not taught in books, and tried to make death as little painful as possible. Finding Searles not only alive in the morning but obstinately determined not to submit to the indignity of being killed by a bear, Pico hitched up a team to a ranch wagon and sent him to Los Angeles, a two-days' journey, where the surgeons consulted over him and proposed all sorts of interesting operations by way of experiment upon a man who was sure to die anyway.
Searles was unable to tell the surgeons what he thought of their schemes for wiring him together, but he indicated his dissent by kicking one of them in the stomach. Then they called in a dentist as an expert on broken jaws, after they had attended to the other damages, and the dentist showed them how to remove the debris and where to patch and sew, and they managed to get the shattered piece of human machinery tinkered up in fairly good shape. The vitality and obstinacy of Searles did the rest, and in a few weeks he was on his feet again and planning prospecting trips to Death Valley, not The Valley of the Shadow through which he had passed, but the grewsome desert of Southern California where he found his fortune in borax.
WHEN GRIZZLIES RAN IN DROVES.
William Thurman, who owned a lumber mill on the Chowchilla mountain, not far from the Mariposa grove of Big Trees, told this plain, unadorned tale of an old-fashioned Grizzly bear hunt.
He was moved thereto by inspection of a Winchester express rifle, carrying a half-inch ball, backed by 110 grains of powder, that was shown to him by a hunter.
"If we had been armed with such rifles in early days," said Mr. Thurman, "the Grizzly wouldn't have achieved his reputation for vitality and staying powers in a fight. There is no doubt that he is a very tough animal and a game fighter, but in the days when he made a terrible name for himself he had to face no such weapons as that.
"I assisted in killing, in 1850, the first Grizzlies that were brought into the town of Sonora. I had heard a great deal about the Grizzly, and coming across the plains I talked to my comrade, Green, about what I should do if I should get a chance at a bear. I was a pretty good shot, and thought it would be no trick at all to kill a bear with the Mississippi rifle that I brought home from the Mexican war.
"One day I went out with a man named Willis, who was a good hunter, and in the hills back of Sonora we found plenty of bear sign. In fact we could get through the thick brush and chaparral only on the trails made by bears, and we had to go carefully for fear of running upon a Grizzly at close quarters. Although it was evident that we were in a bear country, we hadn't seen anything to shoot at when we emerged from the brush into an open space about fifty yards in diameter.
"Willis said that he was sure bears were close around us, if we could only see them, and I proposed to climb a tree on the other side of the clearing and get a good view of the surrounding thickets. If I should see bears I was to make a noise and try to scare them out of their hiding places.
"I started across the opening, but before I reached the tree I saw a huge Grizzly coming toward me through the brush. He looked much larger and uglier than I had expected, and it struck me that the proper thing for me was to get into that tree before shooting. I got to the tree all right enough, but found that I couldn't climb it and take my rifle up with me. Willis saw my difficulty and shouted to me that I couldn't make it, and so I abandoned the attempt and ran back toward him.
"The bear was following me, and Willis started back into the brush. I called to him not to do that, but to stand in the open and wait for me. He halted, and when I got alongside we both turned and raised our rifles. When the bear saw that we were standing our ground, he stopped, looked at us a moment and then turned and shuffled back into the brush. He was so big and looked so formidable that we concluded to let him go unmolested, rather relieved, in fact, that we were let out of the scrape so easily.
"We made our way back to camp with some caution and decided that we would get up a crowd and go bear hunting the next day. When we told our adventure, Green was very hilarious at my expense and kept reminding me of the brave things I had said coming across the plains. He was so everlastingly tickled with his joke that he sat up all that night to guy me about my running away from a bear. I told him I would show him all the bears he wanted to see the next day, and give him a chance to try his own nerves.
"The next day five of us went out to look for bears, and we struck them thick before we got to the place where we had found so much sign. Willis and I took the upper side of a patch of brush, and Green and the other two skirted the lower edge. An old Grizzly and two cubs, startled by some noise made by the other fellows, jumped out of the brush on our side, and we fired at them. My bullet struck one near the shoulder, and Willis hit the dam in the belly. They all turned and ran down through the brush toward the rest of the crowd, and got out of our range.
"The noise made by them in running through the brush stirred up another squad, and when the shooting began down below five bears came tearing out on our side to get out of the way. Willis raised his rifle and pulled the trigger, but luckily the cap failed to explode. The five turned as soon as they saw us and ran in another direction. I was going to shoot one in the rump, but Willis stopped me, saying that we had our hands full without inviting any more bears to join the scrimmage. Before those five bears, got out of sight three more broke cover and joined them, and for a moment there were eleven Grizzly bears, young and old, in sight from where I stood. Eight of them ran away and the original three kept us all busy for the best part of the afternoon.
"For some time the other three men had all the fun, while Willis and I stood guard on our side of the thicket and watched the performance. The old bear would stand up and look over a patch of brush to locate her enemy, and somebody would give her a shot. She would drop to all fours and gallop around to where she saw the man last, and he would run around the other side and reload. The cubs were half grown—big enough to be dangerous—and the boys had to watch for them while dodging about.
"I got even on Green that afternoon. He had forgotten to bring any caps, and after his first shot he could do nothing but dodge around the brush and keep out of the way. One of the bears was after him, and he had to step lively. While he was waiting to see which way the bear was coming next, he made motions with his hand, pointing to the nipple of his rifle, to indicate that he wanted caps. I saw what he meant, but instead of going to him to supply him with caps I stood still and laughed at him and applauded his running when the bear chased him. That made him furious and he yelled that if he had a cap he'd take a shot at me.
"After two or three hours of dodging about, every man taking a shot whenever he got a chance, one of the cubs keeled over and the dam and the other cub retreated into the thickest part of the brush patch.
"We consulted and decided that if we killed the other cub next the dam might quit and get away, whereas if we killed the dam the cub probably wouldn't leave her and we'd bag the whole outfit. One of the party crawled cautiously into the thicket and presently he fired. Then he called to me to come in, and when I crawled up to him he said: 'I've killed the cub by mistake, but the old one is lying badly wounded on the other side of a little open spot, and you can get a splendid shot at the butt of her ear while I back out and reload."
"He backed out, and I crawled up and took his place. There was the old bear about ten yards away, lying down and bleeding from a great many wounds. She seemed to be nearly exhausted and out of breath. I was in the act of raising my rifle to take aim at her head, when she caught sight of me and suddenly sprang up and rushed at me. She was almost upon me in two jumps, and I thought I was in for a bad time of it. I had no time to aim, but pushed out my rifle instinctively and fired in her face. The bullet struck her in the mouth, and the pain caused her to stop, wheel around and make a rush through the chaparral in the opposite direction. Such a shot as that from a Winchester express would have blown off the whole roof of her head, but my bullet, as I found later, tore through her tongue, splitting the root, and stopped when it struck bone.
"When she broke out of the brush on the other side three of the boys fired into her and she fell dead. We looked her over and found more than thirty bullets in her. We had been shooting at her and dodging her in the brush from 11 o'clock in the forenoon; until after 3 o'clock, and she had caved in from sheer exhaustion and loss of blood, not from the effects of any single bullet.
"We packed the three carcases into Sonora that night and a butcher named Dodge offered to cut them up and sell the meat without charge to us if we would let him have the bears at his shop. That was the first bear meat ever taken into Sonora, and everybody in the camp wanted a piece. In the morning there was a line of men at Dodge's shop like the crowd waiting at a theatre for Patti tickets. Men far down the line shouted to Dodge not to sell the meat in big pieces, but to save slices for them. The meat sold for $1 a pound. Everybody got a slice, and we got $500 for our three bears.
"One of our crowd was so elated over the profits of bear-hunting that he started out alone the next day to get more Grizzly meat. He didn't come back, and the boys who went out to look for him found his body, covered up with leaves and dirt, in the edge of a clump of brush. His skull had been smashed by a blow from a Grizzly's paw."
THE ADVENTURES OF PIKE.
Pike was one of the oldest of Yosemite guides and altogether the quaintest of the many queer old fellows who drifted into the valley in early days and there were stranded for life. He had another name, no doubt, but nobody knew or cared what it might be, and he seemed to have forgotten it himself. "Pike" fitted him, served all the purposes for which names were invented, was easy to pronounce, and therefore was all the name he needed. Pike was tall, round-shouldered, lop-sided, slouchy, good-natured, illiterate, garrulous, frankly vain of the little scraps of botanical nomenclature he had picked up and as lazy and unacquainted with soap as an Indian.