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As they trudged on the sound of rushing water was borne to their ears. Then they came out on a broad stream, a torrent that came from the top of three lofty, ice-covered mountains. "Let's work up toward that pass," suggested Tad, wishing to see the gulch from which the stream was flowing. They had worked their way upstream for half a mile when Chunky yelled: "Look there! What's that?"

An American who had married a Mexican girl gave me work sawing and chopping wood. I stayed with him long enough to earn a second-hand suit of clothes he owned, which was too small for him, but almost fitted me ... civilian clothes ... my soldier clothes were worn to tatters. I picked up another pal. A chunky, beefy nondescript. I was meditating a jump across "the desert."

I've got him!" came the sudden and startling yell from the bushes, accompanied by a series of resounding whacks and a great threshing about in the thick undergrowth. The boys paused, not realizing, at first, to whom the excited voice belonged. "Come help me! I've got him!" "Chunky!" they groaned. "He's at it again!"

"I guess I'm not so much of a scout as I thought I was," he muttered. "Chunky could have done no worse and for a blundering idiot he's always held the cup up to the present time. I'm glad no one saw me make such an exhibition of myself. But what if that fellow heard me? No, he couldn't. He is too far away." In this Ned was wrong. The "man" was not so far away as the Pony Rider Boy thought.

It was like pulling on a dead weight, the pack mule being too weary to hasten its lagging footsteps. Chunky turned around and taking firm grip on the rope with both hands began to pull with all his might. The mule braced himself. He resented this sort of treatment. The halter suddenly slipped over the animal's head, and the pack mule sat down heavily. So did the fat boy.

"They're not good to eat, Chunky," advised Walter. "Huh!" grunted Ned Rector. "Anybody would think he was going into battle. Why, a soldier doesn't carry any more bullets than that. And what's more, Mr. Chunky Brown, if you intend to shoot off a belt full of those shells, it's me for a rocky cave where the bullets can't reach. Eh, Tad?" Tad nodded and grinned. "I'm with you in that."

On reentering the adjoining apartment Pascal beheld a very corpulent man, with a very red face, a straggling beard, a flat nose, small, beadlike eyes, and sensual lips. He was clad in a black frock-coat, buttoned tight to the throat, and he wore a fez. This costume gave him the appearance of a chunky bottle, sealed with red wax.

"That way, I guess," replied Chunky, pointing. By this time the men had lighted the fire. "Give that boy something to eat right now," commanded the leader the moment he set eyes on Stacy. "He's half starved. He can hardly stand." They opened the package of food at once, giving the once fat boy a little at a time at first and compelling him to eat slowly.

The boys in their surprise were unable to do more than stand and stare for the moment. That Chunky Brown had had the courage to attack a bob-cat, even though it already had been seriously wounded, passed all comprehension. "Stop!" commanded the Professor, finding his voice at last. Whack! Stacy landed a blow fairly on the top of the brute's skull, causing the animal to sway dizzily.

"What do you want us to do?" asked Ned. "Hold on to the rope, that's all." "In other words, we are to be a sort of 'tug-of-war' team, eh? Is that it?" "I suppose it is, Ned." "Then I hope we win." "I sincerely hope you do, too," laughed Tad. "If I win, I'll lose. That sounds funny, doesn't it?" "What do you mean?" demanded Chunky, pushing his way forward.

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