Adventures in Science by B.C. Brookes (editor)

By B.C. Brookes (editor)

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Soon…but a body can’t be too caring. Bendigo, I count on you. I cut little ice with those men down yonder, but neither do I pay it much mind. But if there’s trouble comes I figure you’ll stand. ” “Webb will fight. I have a feeling you can count on him, too. ” “You are right, I am thinking. You keep shy of that man, Bendigo. ” He rode away then, and as I worked I gave thought to what he had said and began to gather the sense of it. There was a temper in Webb that flared sudden and often. At first I had thought him only a sullen, disagreeable man, but as the days passed on the westward way I saw him change.

There would be no chinking in this cabin, for I worked each log smooth with a broadaxe and adze, and laid them face to face. Eighteen inches thick at bottom was each wall, tapering to twelve under the eaves, and the fireplace was built of stones artfully chosen. On the fourth day Ethan Sackett came down from the hill and took up an axe and worked beside me. He was a strong, lithe man, easy with his strength, and he handled an axe well. He worked with me an hour or more, then went down the hill and worked with John Sampson, who was the oldest among us.

Ethan killed an elk while Webb and I each accounted for an antelope. We came across the tracks of a bear…a mighty big bear. Evidently that bear hadn’t fattened up enough before hibernation, so he had awakened and gone on the prowl for food. It was on that trip that I first saw Webb shoot. He brought down a running antelope with as neat a neck shot as I ever saw, and that antelope was just picking up speed. It gave me pleasure to see it, for I admired good shooting, and such shooting might be the saving of us all.

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