2o SAI THE PANTHER
only been on the sea instead of in it. At last he was roused from his sad condition by hearing the lady's voice. He raised his head and cocked his ears, first a little, then more; and when she came up to the cage he rolled over and over with delight, and howled and cried and tried to reach her. When he got a little calmer she told him to put his paws through the bars and shake hands, and from that moment Sai was himself again.
Now it was a very strange taste on the part of a panther whose fathers and grandfathers had lived and died in the heart of African forests, but Sai loved nothing so much as lavender water, which white people use a great deal in hot countries. If anyone took out a handkerchief which had been sprinkled with lavender water, Sai would instantly snatch it away, and in his delight would handle it so roughly that it was soon torn to atoms. His friend in charge knew of this odd fancy, and on the voyage she amused herself regularly twice a week with making a little cup of paper, which she filled with the scent and passed through the bars, taking care never to give it him till he had drawn back his claws into theii sheaths. Directly he got hold of the cup Sai would roll over and over it, and would pay no attention to anyone as (ong as the smell lasted. It almost seemed as if he liked it better than his food!
For some reason or other the vessel lay at anchor for nearly two months in the river Gaboon, and Sai might have been allowed to leave his cage if he had not been an animal of such very strong prejudices. Black people he could not endure, and, of course, they came daily in swarms with food for the ship. Pigs, too, he hated, and they ran constantly past his cage, while as for an orang-outang monkey about three feet high, which a black trader once tried to sell to the sailors, Sai showed such mad symptoms at the very sight of it that the poor beast rushed in terror to the other end of the vessel, knocking down everything that came in its way. If the monkey took some time to