The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 56

but she shook her head.

The lioness was overhauling us rapidly. She was swimming silently, her
chin just touching the water, but blood was streaming from between her
lips. It was evident that her lungs were pierced.

She was almost upon me. I saw that in a moment she would take me under
her forepaws, or seize me in those great jaws. I felt that my time had
come, but I meant to die fighting. And so I turned, and, treading
water, raised my rifle above my head and awaited her.

Victory, animated by a bravery no less ferocious than that of the dumb
beast assailing us, swam straight for me. It all happened so swiftly
that I cannot recall the details of the kaleidoscopic action which
ensued. I knew that I rose high out of the water, and, with clubbed
rifle, dealt the animal a terrific blow upon the skull, that I saw
Victory, her long blade flashing in her hand, close, striking, upon the
beast, that a great paw fell upon her shoulder, and that I was swept
beneath the surface of the water like a straw before the prow of a
freighter.

Still clinging to my rifle, I rose again, to see the lioness struggling
in her death throes but an arm's length from me. Scarcely had I risen
than the beast turned upon her side, struggled frantically for an
instant, and then sank.



6


Victory was nowhere in sight. Alone, I floated upon the bosom of the
Thames. In that brief instant I believe that I suffered more mental
anguish than I have crowded into all the balance of my life before or
since. A few hours before, I had been wishing that I might be rid of
her, and now that she was gone I would have given my life to have her
back again.

Wearily I turned to swim about the spot where she had disappeared,
hoping that she might rise once at least, and I would be given the
opportunity to save her, and, as I turned, the water boiled before my
face and her head shot up before me. I was on the point of striking
out to seize her, when a happy smile illumined her features.

"You are not dead!" she cried. "I have been searching the bottom for
you. I was sure that the blow she gave you must have disabled you,"
and she glanced about for the lioness.

"She has gone?" she asked.

"Dead," I replied.

"The blow you struck her with the

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