The report of a gun blasted the silence of a dead Devonport with startling abruptness.
It came from the direction of the launch, and in an instant we three were running for the
boat as fast as our legs would carry us. As we came in sight of it we saw Delcarte a
hundred yards inland from the launch, leaning over something which lay upon the
ground. As we called to him he waved his cap, and stooping, lifted a small deer for our
I was about to congratulate him on his trophy when we were startled by a horrid, half-
human, half-bestial scream a little ahead and to the right of us. It seemed to come from a
clump of rank and tangled bush not far from where Delcarte stood. It was a horrid,
fearsome sound, the like of which never had fallen upon my ears before.
We looked in the direction from which it came. The smile had died from Delcarte's lips.
Even at the distance we were from him I saw his face go suddenly white, and he quickly
threw his rifle to his shoulder. At the same moment the thing that had given tongue to the
cry moved from the concealing brushwood far enough for us, too, to see it.
Both Taylor and Snider gave little gasps of astonishment and dismay.
"What is it, sir?" asked the latter.
The creature stood about the height of a tall man's waist, and was long and gaunt and
sinuous, with a tawny coat striped with black, and with white throat and belly. In
conformation it was similar to a cat--a huge cat, exaggerated colossal cat, with fiendish
eyes and the most devilish cast of countenance, as it wrinkled its bristling snout and bared
its great yellow fangs.
It was pacing, or rather, slinking, straight for Delcarte, who had now leveled his rifle
"What is it, sir?" mumbled Snider again, and then a half- forgotten picture from an old
natural history sprang to my mind, and I recognized in the frightful beast the Felis tigris
of ancient Asia, specimens of which had, in former centuries, been exhibited in the
Snider and Taylor were armed with rifles and revolvers, while I carried only a revolver.
Seizing Snider's rifle from his trembling hands, I called to Taylor to follow me, and
together we ran 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.