MoboReader > Literature > The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats

   Chapter 16 TROUBLE

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9572

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02

The girls were stunned for a moment. After Amy's first frantic cry, and Betty's realization of the danger, and the way out, there came, as there often does following a shock, a period of lethargy.

Mollie and Grace, who had clung to each other spasmodically, now separated. Grace, even in this moment sought her sweater pocket, where, as might be supposed, she carried some of her seemingly never-failing chocolates.

"What-what must we do?" asked Mollie, who looked to Betty to answer this question. It was curious how even Mollie, used as she was to thinking for herself, turned to the Little Captain now.

"Get her out, of course. If we can't do it, we must go for help. But we must get her out!" Thus spoke Betty promptly.

"Is-is she really in there?" asked Grace, as though she hardly believed it. Grace had a habit of saying surprising things when least expected.

"Yes, I am in here! Oh, don't go away and leave me!" begged the imprisoned one, sobbing hysterically. "I shall die if you do!"

"That's all right, Amy dear," answered Betty soothingly. "We won't leave you. Or, at least some one will stay with you. But perhaps you can find a way out yourself. Look and see, dear."

But it was only too evident that the bear trap was made to hold whatever unfortunate animal or human being got into it. The affair was like a small log cabin, the whole front consisting of a heavy planked sliding door, dropping down from above in grooves.

The back of the trap was against a great slab of rock, and the sides and roofs were made of heavy logs, notched together at the ends, and spiked. While there were chinks and crevices between the logs they were not large enough for even a cat to get through. The girls, as far as they could see, could find no way for Amy to get out unless the heavy door was raised, and this they did not believe they could accomplish.

"Can you see a way out, Amy?" asked Betty. "Look carefully, my dear."

They could hear Amy moving about in the trap, and presently her voice came falteringly out through the chinks:

"No, there's no way out that I see. Can't you raise the door?"

"We'll try!" called Mollie. But the trouble was that there was no way of getting a hold on the smooth planks.

"We must go for help!" decided Betty after a few ineffectual attempts. "There is no use wasting time here."

"Oh, don't leave me!" cried Amy. "I can't stand it to be here alone!"

"Listen," said Betty. "Grace and I will go for help. It needs a man's strength to raise this door. Mollie will stay and keep you company, Amy. Grace and I will go to where the lumbermen are fishing. That is the nearest place, and the boys may be there also. We'll be as quick as we can."

"Please do!" urged Amy. "Oh, how silly of me to get caught like this!"

"You couldn't help it," said Betty. "Come on, Grace."

They started off over the snow, heading in as straight a line as possible for the river. They knew they were near the place where they had seen the fishing lumbermen, and they hoped to meet some of them there now. The boys had said they were going there to learn the trick of getting pickerel through the ice.

"Are you hurt, Amy?" asked Mollie, when she was left alone outside the trap.

"No, not a bit; only a little scared," replied Amy.

"Well, you'll get over that. How did it happen? Was the trap baited?"

As Mollie asked this she thought of the possibility of the bear, for which the trap evidently had been set, coming along. In that case her position would be worse than that of Amy's who was effectually protected.

"I'd be glad to be in the trap then myself," thought Mollie.

"No, I don't see any signs of bait," said Amy, looking about.

"Then what made the door fall down?"

"It seems to have been propped up with a stick," went on Amy. "When I walked in, so foolishly, I must have knocked the stick down, and the door fell. The prop is here. Oh, I'll never be so curious again!"

The two girls talked to each other to keep up their spirits, and wondered how long Betty and Grace would be.

Meanwhile the two latter were having no easy time. They got into deep drifts, and stumbled out again, tiring themselves greatly in the process. Then they got off the trail, and wandered into the back country. It was not until they got on a high bluff, and saw the river below them, that they realized their mistake.

Then came a hard scramble down a snowy hill, but at length they were on the frozen river, and headed for the place where the fishing was going on.

"We are surely living up to our reputation as outdoor girls," panted Betty as she walked along beside Grace.

"Yes-all but Amy. She is strictly in-doors now."

"Poor child! She does seem to have the most trouble!"

"Well, maybe it

will soon be happily over."

"I hope so!"

Neither of them realized how soon the fates were to be kind to Amy in a most peculiar manner.

"There are the fishermen!" exclaimed Betty a little later, as they made a turn in the river, and saw several men on the ice.

"Yes, and the boys are with them. Oh, let's hurry!"

"I can't go a bit faster," said Betty. "You're a better walker than I, Grace."

"Oh, no, only I'm not quite so stout-that's all."

"Stout is very kind of you to say. I'm afraid I'm getting positively-fleshy, Grace."

"Nonsense! You're fine!"

"What's the trouble?" cried Will, running forward as he saw his sister and Betty approaching. "Has anything happened?"

"Yes-yes," faltered Grace. "Poor Amy--"

"Is-is she--" began Allen, as he joined his chum.

"It's nothing at all!" said Betty, quickly, seeing that Grace, in her nervousness, might give them a scare. "She is caught in a bear trap, that's all, and we want you to help get her out."

"A bear trap!" cried Will. "One of those spring ones-with heavy jaws?"

"No, a sort of box trap," explained Betty. "We can't raise the door."

"By hemlock!" exclaimed one of the lumbermen who overheard the talk. "It must be the trap I set for that young fellow over at the Jallow cabin."

"Did you set one for him?" asked Will, quickly.

"Yes, and I told him at the time it was a piece of foolishness. There's no bears around now, anyhow, and I said some one might get in it by mistake and be caught. I only rigged it up temporary. The two young fellows wanted to see how it worked. They sprung it after I set it, but they must have set it again, after I left, to see how it worked."

"Well, it's worked all right-now," said Will, grimly. "Come on, we must get Amy out."

"That's what!" cried the lumberman. "Come on, Bill and Tom. Bring your axes."

The little party was soon under way, led by the lumberman who recalled the location of the old bear trap.

Betty and Grace, with the three boys, brought up in the rear.

"To think of poor Amy being in that trap!" mused Frank.

"Yes, and it was set by Jake Rossmore and Sam Batty," added Will. "I'll give 'em a piece of my mind when I see 'em!"

"Oh, please don't have trouble!" begged his sister.

"Trouble! The trouble will all be on their side," announced Will, grimly.

It was the matter of but a few moments for the lumbermen, expert as they were with the axes, to release Amy, and she fell sobbing into the arms of her friends.

"Oh, take me home! Take me home!" she begged.

"There, there!" soothed Betty, with her arms about the shrinking figure, "you'll be all right soon."

"I told those fellows it was foolish to set that bear trap," asserted the lumberman, "but they would have it."

"Well, there's one satisfaction," grimly spoke one of his companions, "it will need a lot of repairin' before it's fit for use again," for they had chopped the front away to more quickly release Amy.

Will was peering about, and, as the party made ready to start for the cabins, the lumbermen going back to their fishing, Grace's brother said:

"Unless I'm mistaken this trap is on dad's land, which means that that Jallow crowd must have trespassed here to set it. Take a look, Allen, and see if the boundary line doesn't bring the trap on this side."

"It certainly does," declared the young lawyer. "They were trespassers, all right."

"And I'll let 'em know it, too," said Will.

"Oh, please don't quarrel!" begged Grace.

Amy was fast recovering her composure, and she and her girl chums went on ahead, the boys coming more leisurely. Soon the girls were out of sight in a little valley.

The boys were talking about the recent happening, when, as they came from a little clump of trees, they saw Alice and Kittie, with the two boys who, according to the lumberman, had set the trap.

"Here's where I tackle 'em," said Will.

"Go easy, old man," advised Allen.

"Say, what do you fellows mean by setting that bear trap on our land?" cried Will, hotly, as he advanced toward the two lads. Alice and Kittie shrank back.

"What do you mean?" challenged Jake. "We had a right to set that trap!"

"You did not, and one of our friends was just caught in it. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. And you were on our property, too, not that we care so much about that, though."

"Who was caught?" asked Kittie, and she could not keep the sympathy out of her voice.

"Amy," replied Will.

Alice Jallow laughed.

"We didn't think we'd get game so soon; did we, Jake?" asked Sam, with a grin.

"I'll teach you to make game of us!" cried Will as he strode forward.

Probably the snowball was not meant for him, but one thrown at that moment by Jake struck Will full in the face.

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