300 LION-HUNTING AND LIONS
It is not often that a dog which has been carried off by a lion comes back to tell the tale, yet that is what happened to Blucher when he went hunting in South Africa with Mr. Selous in the year 1882.'
One night his master was lying awake, reading, in his camp in Mashonaland, when he heard Blucher and the rest of the dogs set up a furious barking lower down the valley. Selous sat up and listened, and as the noise seemed always coming nearer, he called one of his men and asked him what was the matter.
' It must be a lion,' he said; ' Blucher would never retreat like that before a hyena'-—for hyenas are great cowards and easily frightened.
As he spoke Selous jumped down from his bed on the waggon, and, followed by Norris, walked to the edge of the camp. It was pitch dark, and they could see nothing ; but suddenly the barking ceased, and some large animals came tearing past, while the puppies dashed in for shelter between the men's legs, almost upsetting them. Then one of the natives rushed up from their camp a little further off, shouting ' Lion ! lion ! Lion has caught big dog.'
Selous felt very sorry for the loss of his old friend, but he took comfort in thinking he must have been killed in a moment, or some yelps of pain would have been heard.
However, the hunter armed himself with his rifle and went back with the native to his camp, where all the men were sitting up, talking softly round big fires. One or two declared they were sure some animal was creeping about in the dead leaves outside the camp ; but as, after a search, nothing could be found, Selous got tired of standing about in the cold, and went back to his own waggon. He was just dropping off to sleep when the puppies again set up a furious yapping, and a Kaffir shouted out, ' Here's the
1 Travel and Adventure in Africa. By F. C. Selous.