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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 life.
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.
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