The match began. Of the first six shooters Jonathan Zane and Alfred Clarke scored the
best shots. Each placed a bullet in the half-inch circle round the nail.
"Alfred, very good, indeed," said Col. Zane. "You have made a decided improvement
since the last shooting-match."
Six other settlers took their turns. All were unsuccessful in getting a shot inside the little
circle. Thus a tie between Alfred and Jonathan had to be decided.
"Shoot close, Alfred," yelled Isaac. "I hope you beat him. He always won from me and
then crowed over it."
Alfred's second shot went wide of the mark, and as Jonathan placed another bullet in
the circle, this time nearer the center, Alfred had to acknowledge defeat.
"Here comes Miller," said Silas Zane. "Perhaps he will want a try."
Col. Zane looked round. Miller had joined the party. He carried his rifle and
accoutrements, and evidently had just returned to the settlement. He nodded pleasantly
"Miller, will you take a shot for the first prize, which I was about to award to Jonathan?"
said Col. Zane.
"No. I am a little late, and not entitled to a shot. I will take a try for the others," answered
At the arrival of Miller on the scene Wetzel had changed his position to one nearer the
crowd. The dog, Tige, trotted closely at his heels. No one heard Tige's low growl or
Wetzel's stern word to silence him. Throwing his arm over Betty's pony, Wetzel
apparently watched the shooters. In reality he studied intently Miller's every movement.
"I expect some good shooting for this prize," said Col. Zane, waving a beautifully
embroidered buckskin bullet pouch, which was one of Betty's donations.
Jonathan having won his prize was out of the lists and could compete no more. This
entitled Alfred to the first shot for second prize. He felt he would give anything he
possessed to win the dainty trifle which the Colonel had waved aloft. Twice he raised
his rifle in his exceeding earnestness to score a good shot and each time lowered the
barrel. When finally he did shoot the bullet embedded itself in the second circle. It was a
good shot, but he knew it would never win that prize.
"A little nervous, eh?" remarked Miller, with a half sneer on his swarthy face.