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bear lumbering off slowly through the woods. They went forward a short distance, then came to a halt.
« We'll have to give it up ent,” said Theodore Roosevelt. “But I am going to have him, sooner or later, if the thing is possible.”
Early the next morning both of the hunters sallied forth and discovered that the bear had been at the carcasses of some game left in the forest. The tracks were fresh.
“He has been here, no doubt of it,” said Merrifield. 66 Shall we wait for him to come
“We might as well," was the answer. “He'll get hungry again, sooner later.”
So the pair sat down to watch. But the bear was shy, and kept his distance. Then it grew dark once more, so that but little could be seen under the trees.
“He knows enough to keep away,” said Roosevelt's companion.
“ Hark!” was the reply and both strained their ears. There was a faint crackling of twigs, and they felt certain it was the bear. But it was too dark to see anything; so
both shouldered their rifles and walked back
Here was another illustration of Theodore Roosevelt's method of sticking at a thing. Two days had been spent in trying to get that bear, and yet he did not give up. On the following morning he sallied forth once more, as full of hope as before.
The bear had been at the carcass again, and the trail was now one to be followed with ease.
“ I'm going to hunt him down to his lair," said Theodore Roosevelt, and stalked off with his companion beside him. Soon they were again deep in the woods, walking perhaps where the foot of white man had never before trod. Fallen trees were everywhere, and over these they often had to climb.
“Getting closer," whispered Roosevelt's companion, and pointed to some fresh claw scratches on the bark of fallen trees.
They now moved forward as silently as Indians, sure that the bear could not be far off. Suddenly Merrifield dropped on his knee as if to take aim. Roosevelt sprang to the front, with rifle raised. The bear was there, standing upright, only a few
paces away. Without hesitation Theodore Roosevelt fired. His aim was true, and the great beast fell with a bullet straight between the eyes. The leaden messenger had entered his brain, and he died with scarcely a struggle.
6 The whole thing was over in twenty seconds from the time I caught sight of the game," writes Mr. Roosevelt, in his book “ Hunting Trips on the Prairies” (Part II of “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman”). “Indeed it was over so quickly that the grizzly did not have time to show fight at all or come a step toward me. It was the first I had ever seen, and I felt not a little proud as I stood over the great brindled bulk which lay stretched out at length in the cool shade of the evergreens. He was a monstrous fellow, much larger than any I have seen since, whether alive or brought in dead by hunters. As near as we could estimate he must have weighed about twelve hundred pounds.”
There is a bear story for you, boys. And the best of it is, it is every word true. In later years Theodore Roosevelt brought down many more grizzlies, but I doubt if
he was as proud of them as he was of that first capture.
While Theodore Roosevelt was spending a large part of his time in hunting and in literary work, and in studying political economy, Grover Cleveland's first term as President came to an end, and Benjamin Harrison was inaugurated to fill the office of Chief Magistrate.
At that time the question of Civil Service was again being agitated. Theodore Roosevelt was a warm advocate of the merit system, and knowing this, President Harrison appointed him, in 1889, a Civil Service Commissioner, and this office he held for six years, until his resignation in 1895. When Benjamin Harrison's term of office was up, and Grover Cleveland was reëlected to the Presidency, it was thought that Roosevelt would have to go, but his friend, the newly elected President, wished him to remain as a commissioner, and he did so for two years longer, thus serving both under a Republican and a Democratic administration.
To some of my young readers the term Civil Service, as applied here, may be a bit perplexing. For the benefit of such let me
state that civil service here applies to the thousands of persons who work for the government, such as post-office clerks, letter carriers, clerks in the various departments at Washington, like the Treasury, the Congressional Library, the Government Printing Office, the War Department, and the hundred and one other branches in which Uncle Sam needs assistance.
For seventy or eighty years these various positions had been under what is commonly called the “spoils system.” “To the victor belong the spoils,” had been the old motto, which generally meant that the party happening to be in power could do as it pleased about dealing out employment to those under it. A worker might have been ever so faithful in the discharge of his duties, but if the administration was changed, he ran the risk of losing his position without any notice.
Statesmen of both great political parties had long seen the injustice of the spoils system, but few cared to take the matter up for fear of offending their political friends. But as matters grew worse, those who were honest said they would stand such a system no longer, and they began to advocate the