The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 20

forward, shouting,
to attract the beast's attention from Delcarte until we should all be
quite close enough to attack with the greatest assurance of success.

I cried to Delcarte not to fire until we reached his side, for I was
fearful lest our small caliber, steel-jacketed bullets should, far from
killing the beast, tend merely to enrage it still further. But he
misunderstood me, thinking that I had ordered him to fire.

With the report of his rifle the tiger stopped short in apparent
surprise, then turned and bit savagely at its shoulder for an instant,
after which it wheeled again toward Delcarte, issuing the most terrific
roars and screams, and launched itself, with incredible speed, toward
the brave fellow, who now stood his ground pumping bullets from his
automatic rifle as rapidly as the weapon would fire.

Taylor and I also opened up on the creature, and as it was broadside to
us it offered a splendid target, though for all the impression we
appeared to make upon the great cat we might as well have been
launching soap bubbles at it.

Straight as a torpedo it rushed for Delcarte, and, as Taylor and I
stumbled on through the tall grass toward our unfortunate comrade, we
saw the tiger rear upon him and crush him to the earth.

Not a backward step had the noble Delcarte taken. Two hundred years of
peace had not sapped the red blood from his courageous line. He went
down beneath that avalanche of bestial savagery still working his gun
and with his face toward his antagonist. Even in the instant that I
thought him dead I could not help but feel a thrill of pride that he
was one of my men, one of my class, a Pan-American gentleman of birth.
And that he had demonstrated one of the principal contentions of the
army-and-navy adherents--that military training was necessary for the
salvation of personal courage in the Pan-American race which for
generations had had to face no dangers more grave than those incident
to ordinary life in a highly civilized community, safeguarded by every
means at the disposal of a perfectly organized and all-powerful
government utilizing the best that advanced science could suggest.

As we ran toward Delcarte, both Taylor and I were struck by the fact
that the beast upon him appeared not to be mauling him, but lay quiet
and motionless upon its prey, and when we were quite close, and the
muzzles of our guns were at the animal's head, I saw the explanation of
this sudden cessation of hostilities--Felis tigris was dead.


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