302 LION-HUNTING AND LIONS
carried off the last remaining one and threw it for safety on the waggon where he himself slept. As the dawn was not now very far off, he lit a candle and took up his book.
Not an hour later he was aroused by a great rattling in the direction of a large packing case outside the camp, where some tools had been left lying. He sprang up, with Norris after him, and in the dim light he saw the white case being shoved about, though it was still too dark for him to make out the lion. However, Selous aimed straight at the case, and absolute quiet followed his shot; but only for a moment, then the case began to move more wildly than ever, till a second shot caused its dancing to cease.
Everybody felt by this time that they never wished to see a lion again, and dogs and men alike stretched themselves out wearily. But it was barely half an hour later when all the noises began afresh, and the waggon itself was shaken. The Hon had positively returned to the charge, and not finding any more new antelope skins on the ground had been obliged to put up with an old one, which-was hanging to dry on a platform between two poles. When he got on to that platform, which he probably did with a spring, he was within six feet of Norris and another boy.
Except for the sound of the lions crunching the leg bones of the antelopes (which had been left in the skins) in the open ground by the river, nothing further happened that night. With the first streaks of dawn Selous got up and peered about him ; in the faint light he made out something which he took to be an ant-heap, but it turned out to be a lion, and nearer the river was the lioness and two or three little dots of cubs.
Thinking that they had gone to drink, and would soon be seen climbing up the steep bank which overhung the stream, Selous crept after them in order to get a better shot. But when he reached the place where they had