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The Outdoor Chums in the Big Woods; Or, Rival Hunters of Lumber Run

Quincy Allen

  Produced by Roger Frank and Sue Clark



  The Rival Hunters of Lumber Run



  Author of "The Outdoor Chums," "The Outdoor Chums on a Houseboat," etc.


  The Goldsmith Publishing Company New York, N. Y. Made in USA

  Copyright, 1915, by GROSSET & DUNLAP


  I--The Snowball Battle II--A Broken Window, and Glorious News III--Getting Ready IV--Headed for the Big Woods V--Among the Lumberjacks VI--The Lone Cabin VII--Out for Game VIII--Fur and Feathers IX--The Wonderland of Maine X--The Flashlight Picture XI--Facing Trouble XII--Bluff Takes a Hand XIII--Another Hunt for Venison XIV--The Victim of the Bear Trap XV--A Cook Stampede XVI--Did Teddy Know? XVII--The Big Moose XVIII--On the Trail XIX--The Hour of Triumph XX--Robbed of the Spoils XXI--A Camp in the Snow XXII--The Gray-Coated Pirate from Canada XXIII--When Morning Came XXIV--The Triumphant Return XXV--Bluff Remembers--Conclusion




  "That looks like a challenge, Frank."

  "It was well fired, at any rate, Bluff!"

  "I should say yes, because it knocked my hat clear off my head. Do westand for that sort of thing, or shall we accept the dare?"

  "There are half a dozen and more of the enemy against four OutdoorChums, but what of that? This is the first snow of the fall, with areal tang in the air. Say yes, Frank, and let's get busy!"

  "Here are Bluff and Jerry ready to eat up that crowd in a snowballfight. What do you say, Will?"

  "Oh, count me in, because I can see they're just spoiling for it!"exclaimed the fourth boy in the party, who did not look quite so hardyas his comrades, although no weakling.

  "Well, I should think it'd be a shame to miss it, when the snow isjust soft enough to handle easily," and Jerry Wellington held up a biground ball he had quickly manipulated in his practiced hands.

  "That settles it. Everybody get busy making a supply of ammunition.Then we'll charge their line, and give them as good as they send!"

  The last speaker was Frank Langdon. His three comrades had always beenproud to look up to Frank as their leader. They had been through agreat many lively adventures together, and up to the present no onehad ever found cause to regret the fact that when it came to decidingon their plans Frank's word carried the greatest weight.

  While they are feverishly stocking up with a supply of such ammunitionas is required to win snowball battles, it might be well for the newreader to learn a few important facts concerning Frank and his chums,as narrated in previous volumes of this series.

  They lived in the thriving town of Centerville, which was situated inone of the Middle States. Coming together in order to encourage thespirit of outdoor life, to their mutual profit, the four lively ladshad called their little association the Rod, Gun, and Camera Club. Inthe initial story, under the name of "The Outdoor Chums; or, The FirstTour of the Rod, Gun, and Camera Club," were given numerous strangehappenings that befell them on the occasion of their first campingtrip together.

  Later on they ran upon a mystery connected with an island that had abad name in the neighborhood, and of course could not rest satisfieduntil they solved this puzzle to their satisfaction. In order tounderstand just what they did you must read the second volume, issuedunder the title of "The Outdoor Chums on the Lake; or, LivelyAdventures on Wildcat Island."

  With the coming of Easter, and another chance to get abroad, the boysformed a plan to visit a section of country some miles from the hometown. Here they found an opportunity to clear up a ghost scare thathad been giving the country people of the neighborhood the time oftheir lives. It is all told in the pages of "The Outdoor Chums in theForest; or, Laying the Ghost of Oak Ridge."

  Fortune was certainly kind to Frank and his chums. At Christmas timethey were given a chance to pay a visit to the Sunny South, and hadsome wonderful adventures on a Florida river that ran to the Gulf.Aboard a motorboat that belonged to a cousin of Frank's, and which wasfully stocked with supplies, with the owner ordered to Europe for hishealth, they had the time of their lives, as told of in "The OutdoorChums on the Gulf; or, Rescuing the Lost Balloonists."

  After this came another opportunity for a trip, this time to the FarWest, where among the mountains and valleys of that wonderful countrythey found occasion to call themselves the luckiest of boys. Every oneof them had a share in the exciting adventures that came their way,and it would be hard to tell which deserved the greatest credit fortrue manliness. You will be better able to decide that point foryourself after you have read "The Outdoor Chums after Big Game; or,Perilous Adventures in the Wilderness."

  Again it was summer, and the boys home from college planned a voyagedown the great Mississippi on a houseboat belonging to Will's UncleFelix, at the time in New Orleans. There was something very queerabout the conditions under which he proposed that they make this tripat his expense. The boys could not understand it at all when theystarted out, though anxious to accept the offer. Of course, during theprogress of their cruise, the mystery began to clear up. That Frankand his friends carried their plans through to a climax can be provedby reading the sixth volume, just preceding this, called "The OutdoorChums on a Houseboat; or, The Rivals of the Mississippi."

  And now we can return once more to the present conditions surroundingFrank and his three chums, Will Milton, Jerry Wallingford and BluffMasters.

  As they had been graduated a year and more previous to this time fromprivate school, and had had one season at college, their presence athome with the advent of early winter needs explanation.

  A fire had occurred, and part of the college buildings were in ruins.As the dormitory in which the four chums lodged had been burned to theground, they lost a good part of their clothing, besides other things.Fortunately no lives were sacrificed in the blaze.

  There being no suitable place at hand where their studies could becarried on until such time as hasty repairs were made, a portion ofthe pupils had to be sent to their homes for a month or two. It wasarranged that they keep in touch with their studies and later on extraspeed might push them up to their proper standing.

  So it came about that they were home and wondering what they should doto pass away the weeks that must elapse before the summons back mightbe expected. Various projects had been suggested, although they onlyarrived in Centerville on the previous night; but up to the presentnothing had been decided definitely.

  There was an old trapper they knew, and with whom they had spent somehappy days and nights on a previous occasion, and Frank was favoring areturn visit. At any rate, they could settle this later on.

  "All ready?" demanded Frank, when he had all the hard snowballs hecould conveniently carry. The jeering cries of the six or seven boysanticipating the attack grew more and more strenuous.

  "Wait till I make two more, and I'm with you!" begged Bluff, who hadeven filled his pockets with the hardest balls he could squeeze in hispowerful hands.

  "There's our old enemy, Andy Lasher, in that bunch over yonder,"announced Jerry, who from previous fights with the one-time town bullyhad occasion to know the contour
of Andy's knuckles, since they hadbeen printed on his face more than a few times.

  "I wonder when he came back to town?" ventured Frank. "The last weheard of him he had to skip out because of some trouble he got intoabout taking things that didn't belong to him."

  "Well, we've still an old score to settle with him," observed Bluff,"so every chance you get, give him your hardest ball. Ready now,Frank!"

  Frank led his forces to the attack.

  "Hold your fire till we get close up!" he advised.

  The consequence of this plan was that while they were greeted with ashower of missiles, some of which hit the mark, when the time came tocommence a fusillade on their own account they had a full supply ofammunition, while the other side had more than half exhausted theirstock.

  It looked lively enough just then, with almost a dozen lads hurlingthe snowballs with might and main. All sorts of shouts accompanied theencounter, for of course they were pretty well aroused by theexcitement of the battle.

  The big fellow whom Jerry had called Andy Lasher seemed to be the realleader of the opposing band. Perhaps he had even organized theambuscade so as to get even with Frank and his chums, because therewas a long-standing account between them.

  At any rate, it kept him busy dodging the cleverly aimed missiles thatflew from the hands of Bluff and Jerry. They had singled him out fortheir especial attention, and at close quarters their aim was so goodthat pretty soon Andy failed to move fast enough, so that he foundhimself struck in the cheek, and as he started to dodge it was only toget another whack fairly in the eye.

  Some people who had been passing stopped to watch the fight. Menremembered that they had once been boys themselves, and no doubt theirblood tingled with rekindled memories of days long since gone, as theysaw the hostile forces fiercely contending on the town street.

  For a short time the entrenched battalion held its own, though Frankknew from the way some of Andy's followers began to look over theirshoulders that they were getting ready to retreat.

  "Keep it going, boys!" he shouted to his three chums, as he scooped upmore of the soft snow and started making fresh balls; "hit hard allalong the line! We've got 'em wavering! Another rush, and the game isours! Send in your best licks, and make every shot count!"

  All of them were attacking Andy now. They realized that if he could beput to flight there must follow a complete collapse of his line;because these fellows were only held there by the fact that theyfeared Andy's anger if they deserted him.

  Andy had managed to make one last hard ball. He had even indesperation, as was afterward proven, snatched up a stone and hid itin the middle of the snowball he pressed between his half-frozenhands. This is reckoned a mean trick among most boys and frowned uponas much as hitting below the belt would be in a prize fight.

  Frank saw that he had been selected as the victim of the bully. Hemanaged to dodge in the nick of time, and the weighted missile,sailing across the street, smashed through the window of a house.

  With the jingling of broken glass Andy Lasher gave a shout, and thenwith jeers of derision he and his followers vanished from sight,leaving the four outdoor chums to bear the brunt of the householder'sanger.