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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:03:58
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It was perhaps well for these strangely-assorted hunters that the lion had made up his mind to quit the jungle. A few minutes later he was seen retreating towards the mountains, and the chase was renewed, with hounds and Hottentots in full cry. They came up with him in a short time at bay under a mimosa-tree by the side of a streamlet. He lashed his tail and growled fiercely as he glared at the dogs, which barked and yelped round him, though they took good care to keep out of reach of his claws. While they stirred up his wrath to the boiling point, they at the same time distracted his attention, so that a party of Hottentots, getting between him and the mountain side, took up a position on a precipice which overlooked the spot where he stood at bay. Suddenly the lion appeared to change his mind. Turning as before, and clearing all obstacles at a bound, he took refuge in a dense thicket, into which a heavy fire was poured without any effect. Again George Rennie lost patience. He descended from the height accompanied by a favourite little dog, and threw two large stones into the thicket. His challenge was accepted on the spot. The lion leaped out with a roar, and was on the point of making another bound, which would certainly have been fatal to the hunter, but the little dog ran boldly up and barked in his face. The momentary interruption saved Rennie, who leaped backward, but the dog was instantly killed with a flashing pat from the royal paw. At the same moment a volley was fired by the Hottentots from the heights. Unfortunately the position of Rennie rendered it impossible for the Mullers or any of the other expert shots to fire.

What’s that you’re after, boy?” asked George Dally, who was making some final arrangements at the fire, before lying down for the night.

His judgment in this respect was proved correct a week later, when he and Edwin Brook had occasion to visit the brothers, whom they found hard at work ploughing and sowing.

He spoke in quick, earnest tones. They soon entered the gorge and were greeted by the grunt of a baboon and the squalling of its young ones, which helped to increase the savage aspect of the towering cliffs on either side. They had not proceeded far when the lion gave another tremendous roar, which, echoing from cliff to cliff, gave the luckless hunters the feeling of having got into the very heart of a lion’s den. No suitable place to scramble up being found, they pushed madly on over a track of sand and bushes, expecting every instant to see the monster bound upon them. But the defile was shorter than Hans had supposed. On issuing from it they were cheered by the moon rising bright in the east, and found that their enemy had ceased to follow them at that point. Still, though weary, and with their tongues cleaving to the roofs of their mouths, they continued their march for several hours, and lying down at last, they scarcely knew how or there, they went to sleep with a prayer for protection and deliverance on their parched lips.


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