The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 55

that she
would turn off in some other direction. But no--she increased her trot
to a gallop, and then I fired at her, but the bullet, though it struck
her full in the breast, didn't stop her.

Screaming with pain and rage, the creature fairly flew toward us.
Behind her came other lions. Our case looked hopeless. We were upon
the brink of the river. There seemed no avenue of escape, and I knew
that even my modern automatic rifle was inadequate in the face of so
many of these fierce beasts.

To remain where we were would have been suicidal. We were both
standing now, Victory keeping her place bravely at my side, when I
reached the only decision open to me.

Seizing the girl's hand, I turned, just as the lioness crashed into the
opposite side of the bushes, and, dragging Victory after me, leaped
over the edge of the bank into the river.

I did not know that lions are not fond of water, nor did I know if
Victory could swim, but death, immediate and terrible, stared us in the
face if we remained, and so I took the chance.

At this point the current ran close to the shore, so that we were
immediately in deep water, and, to my intense satisfaction, Victory
struck out with a strong, overhand stroke and set all my fears on her
account at rest.

But my relief was short-lived. That lioness, as I have said before,
was a veritable devil. She stood for a moment glaring at us, then like
a shot she sprang into the river and swam swiftly after us.

Victory was a length ahead of me.

"Swim for the other shore!" I called to her.

I was much impeded by my rifle, having to swim with one hand while I
clung to my precious weapon with the other. The girl had seen the
lioness take to the water, and she had also seen that I was swimming
much more slowly than she, and what did she do? She started to drop
back to my side.

"Go on!" I cried. "Make for the other shore, and then follow down
until you find my friends. Tell them that I sent you, and with orders
that they are to protect you. Go on! Go on!"

But she only waited until we were again swimming side by side, and I
saw that she had drawn her long knife, and was holding it between her
teeth.

"Do as I tell you!" I said to her sharply,

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