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Chapter 5 (continued)
I waited for an instant, hoping that I might be mistaken, and 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.
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