IN THE AMERICAN DESERT 127
In fact, had it not been for the presence of the peccaries, he would never have waited so long.
They had only one gun between them, and even Frank's bow and arrows were not to be counted on, as he had carelessly left them lying at the foot of the tree, and the peccaries had long since made them into chips. Eolfe therefore told the boy to change places, and get behind him, so that the first brunt of the cougar's attack might fall upon himself. This was done quietly, but with some difficulty, for it is not very easy to pass another person on the branch of a tree.
When they were settled in their places, Eolfe fired at the cougar's head, for the rest of the body was covered by the thick moss. For a moment the smoke prevented his seeing if the shot had taken effect, and he felt as if every instant he might feel the creature's claws in his throat. While it was still too thick for him to make out anything, he heard something falling heavily through the leaves; then a thud and a scream and a rush, and in a minute or two the peccaries trotted away.1
1 These anecdotes are not to be taken as historically true.