GERARD, THE LION HUNTER 83
It was almost dark ; the wood was thick with shrubs and undei'growth, and one had almost to crawl along.
My three Arabs followed me, and the men from the settlement came behind them. It took us nearly a quarter of an hour to walk fifty steps, and even that we did with much difficultv.
After fifty steps more it was quite dark, and we had lost the track.
There was a clearing close at hand, and we made for it so as to reconnoitre.
Whilst we were scattered about in the clearing, trying to make out some vestige of the track, either by accident or by awkwardness a gun suddenly went off.
Instantly a hoarse roar was heard, and the lion fell amongst us as though he had literally dropped from the clouds.
There was an instant of intense terror. Every gun except mine went off at the same moment, and it was only a wonder that we did not all kill each other. Needless to say that not a ball touched the lion.
Through the fire and smoke I saw all the men round me except Arnar Ben-Sarah. Then from the other side of the clearing I heard a piercing cry.
I ran towards the spot from where the sound came, and in the dusk only saw the man and the lion when I was actually upon them.
Amar Ben-Sarah was lying on the ground, and the lion standing over him.
I felt giddy, and thought my legs were going to bend under me, but the weakness passed like a flash of lightning.
The lion, seeing the muzzle of my gun so near his head, turned to rne with a savage look. In another second he would have been upon me ; but I was too near to miss the fatal spot. I pulled the trigger, he staggered a few paces to one side, and then dropped down dead beside the man he was about to kill.