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 thing you call rifle stunned her," she explained, "and
then I swam in close enough to get my knife into her heart."
Ah, such a girl! I could not but wonder what one of our own Pan-American women
would have done under like circumstances. But then, of course, they have not been
trained by stern necessity to cope with the emergencies and dangers of savage primeval
Along the bank we had just quitted, a score of lions paced to and fro, growling
menacingly. We could not return, and we struck out for the opposite shore. I am a strong
swimmer, and had no doubt as to my ability to cross the river, but I was not so sure about
Victory, so I swam close behind her, to be ready to give her assistance should she need it.
She did not, however, reaching the opposite bank as fresh, apparently, as when she
entered the water. Victory is a wonder. Each day that we were together brought new
proofs of it. Nor was it her courage or vitality only which amazed me. She had a head on
those shapely shoulders of hers, and dignity! My, but she could be regal when she chose!
She told me that the lions were fewer upon this side of the river, but that there were many
wolves, running in great packs later in the year. Now they were north somewhere, and we
should have little to fear from them, though we might meet with a few.
My first concern was to take my weapons apart and dry them, which was rather difficult
in the face of the fact that every rag about me was drenched. But finally, thanks to the sun
and much rubbing, I succeeded, though I had no oil to lubricate them.