LION-HUNTING AND LIONS 287
but they had headed in another direction and escaped ; while, as for a rhinoceros, the net had yet to be made that would stand up before his great carcass. Some days later, when Baker's share of the hunt had all been eaten by his men, he got leave to go with a few natives and shoot what was necessary to supply his camp. But the animals were still so wild after the fire that it was impossible to get near enough for a shot, and at last the owners of the land proposed that they .should fire the grass to windward, as before.
This time Baker took care to choose a position with some swampy ground in front, so that when the fire reached him it would be stopped, and he would no longer have the smoke blown into his eyes.
Again, antelopes were more numerous than anything else, but none of them came within reach of Baker's own gun. After waiting a little, however, he saw a fine specimen moving quietly towards him down a bank into a dip, and made ready for a shot. The antelope was just in the act of jumping down from the slope into the hollow when he almost tumbled against a huge lion, which had come up from the other side, and was flying before the fire. Both lion and antelope were so much startled by the shock that they bounded away in opposite directions, the lion taking a line through the tall grass, which would bring him straight in front of Baker.
For a few minutes all was silent, Baker leaning against the ant-hill, with one gun in readiness and another by his side, and the two black boys crouching on the ground at his feet.
Suddenly a rustling was heard in the grass, and all three waited breathlessly till the head of a lioness appeared, coming slowly but steadily towards the spot where the two boys were sitting.
A ball in her chest stopped her proceedings for a moment, and she rolled over three times, uttering terrific roars all the while. Then she got up, apparently none