ENCOUNTER WITH A LION.
The day was exceedingly pleasant, and not a cloud was to be seen. For a mile or two we travelled along the banks of the river, which in this part abounded in tall mat-rushes. The dogs seemed much to enjoy prowling about and examining every bushy place, and at last met with some object among the rushes, which caused them to set up a most vehement and determined barking. We explored the spot with caution, as wo suspected, from the peculiar tone of the bark, that it was what it proved to be, lions. Having encouraged the dogs to drive them out, a task which they performed with great willingness, we had a full view of an enormous black mained lion and lioness. The latter was seen only for a minute, as she made her escapo up the river, under concealment of the rushes; but the lion came steadily forward, and stood still to look at us. At this moment we felt our situation not free from danger, as the animal seemed preparing to spring upon us, and we were standing on the bank, at the distance of only a few yards from him, most of us being on foot and unarmed, without any visible possibility of escaping. I had given up my horse to the hunters, and was on foot myself; but there was no time for fear, and it was useless to attempt avoiding him. I stood well on my guard, holding my pistols in my hand, with my finger on the trigger, and those who had muskets, kept themselves, prepared in the same manner. But at this instant the dogs boldly flew in between us and the lion, and surrounding him, kept him at bay by their violent and resolute barking. The courage of these faithful animals was most admirable; they advanced up to the side of the huge beast, and stood making the greatest clamour in his face, without the least appearance of fear. The lion, conscious of his strength, remained unmoved at their noisy attempts, and kept his lead towards us. At one moment, the dogs, perceiving his eyes thus engaged, had advanced close to his feet, and seemed as if they would actually seize hold of him; but they paid dearly for their imprudence, for, without discomposing the majestie and steady attitude in which he stood fixed, he merely moved his paw, and at the next instant I beheld two lying dead. In doing this he made so little exertion, that it was scarcely perceptible by what means they had been killed. Of the time whch we gained by the interference of the dogs, not a moment was lost; we fired upon him; one of the balls went through his side just between the short ribs, and the blood immediately began to flow; but the animal still remained standing in the same position. We had no doubt that ho would spring upon us; every gun was instantly re-loaded; but happily we were mistaken, and were not sorry to see him move quietly away, though I had hoped in a few minutes to have beenenabled to tako hold of his paw without danger.
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