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After the report, we heard a bustle; but could not exactly make out what it meant.

5. I reloaded my gun, resumed my torch, and Konwell now took his place in front. But, as those flaming eyes were no longer to be seen, we felt obliged to go farther. Our guns ready loaded, we believed ourselves to be prepared for any thing. We proceeded carefully, as men are likely to do when suspecting danger, when, instantly, the panther started up from a hollow, in which he was lying, quite close to our feet.

6. It was a fearful sight to look upon him as he stood with ears laid back, his white teeth set together, as if in intense anger, and those wide open eyes glowing and sparkling as they rested upon us, his assailants. I can never forget his appearance. In a moment our guns were discharged, and the cave returned the thundering echo. We had both fired so precisely at the same moment, that neither of us could believe the other had discharged his gun.

7. We were certain that our enemy had been struck, but we knew not whether killed or only disabled. Quick as thought, we dropped our guns and drew our knives from the sheath. And haste was necessary; for the echo had not relapsed into silence, before we felt the weight of the panther against us; and we began cutting at him with our knives, and, at the same moment, in consequence of our hurried movements, our torches died out, and we were left in utter darkness.

8. Deafened by the noise and utterly bewildered, I turned to fly from the now raging enemy, and only became perfectly aware of what I was doing, when I found myself standing beside Konwell outside the cave in the open air. I only know now, that, enveloped in thick darkness, and almost suffocated with the smoke of gunpowder, I groped about,

not knowing what I wished or intended; and that Konwell, at last, drew me forcibly to the mouth of the cave.

9. There we stood, each one brandishing his huntingknife in his right hand, and holding the extinguished torch in the left; as we looked on each other, we scarcely knew whether to laugh or to be frightened at the strange figures we made. We were black with powder-smoke, covered with sweat and blood, and our clothing torn to rags.

10. Konwell complained of a pain in his breast. I opened the bosom of his shirt, and found two deep gashes made by the panther's claws, extending from the left shoulder to the pit of the stomach. I also received a few scratches, but our stout hunting-shirts were torn to shreds.

11. Until this moment, neither of us had felt that he was wounded; and even now, before we began to think of dressing those wounds, we made a large fire at the mouth of the cavern, in order to prevent the panther from coming forth. This done, we sat down beside the genial blaze to wash and bind up our scratches, and consult on what plan it was now best to proceed.

12. That the panther was still in the cave we were certain; but, whether living or dead, we did not know; at all events, he was wounded; for our hunting-knives were covered with blood quite up to the hilt. But we had no choice left; we must return; for our guns and Konwell's powder-flask, which the animal dragged off with him, still lay within the cavern. We therefore plucked up new courage; and, having relighted our torches, we brandished our knives, and prepared, though not without some heart throbbings, once more to enter the panther's den.

13. With light and cautious steps, lest we might be as unpleasantly surprised as we had been when we made our hasty retreat, we advanced, holding our torches before us,

to the spot where we had dropped our guns, and without meeting with any hinderance from our enemy. Once more in possession of our trusty weapons, we reloaded them, and stepped forward with lighter hearts, yet still with great caution, when Konwell exclaimed, as he raised the flaming pine high above his head, and pointed with it in a certain direction, "See! there he is !"

14. This was the first word that had been spoken since we reëntered the cavern. I looked in the indicated direction, and there, indeed, lay the panther, stretched out at full length, but no longer dangerous. His eyes were set, his limbs were rigid,-the last agony was over. We skinned and cut him up as he lay. All three bullets had struck him, and both knives penetrated his body; and it must have been in the death-struggle that he leaped upon us.

15. When our work was ended, and we again came to the open air, the sun was low in the horizon, and all haste was necessary that we should set out on our forest-path without further delay. Our wounds smarted not a little, and, although we took time once more to wash them, they became so stiff that our progress was both toilsome and tedious. We soon became convinced that we should not succeed in reaching our companions while daylight remained, and we determined to bivouac for the night, at the foot of a rocky declivity, which promised a good shelter from the cutting wind.

16. To add to our discomfort, hunger began to make itself painfully felt; but this was soon overpowered by weariness, and, having gathered up the dry pine branches, we kindled up a good fire, and, without troubling ourselves to prepare any thing for supper, we stretched ourselves on the grass before it, and found the warmth most grateful.

17. Worn out by the toils of the day, in a few minutes

Konwell was fast asleep; but, although much inclined to follow his example, I was prevented by the restlessness of my dog, which seemed to wish to warn me of the presence of danger. The faithful animal, cringing closely to me, laid his nose on my shoulder, raising his head from time to time, and whined, as though he wished to communicate something and then, for a few moments, would remain quiet. Ther, suddenly, he would rise up as in the attitude of listening, occasionally uttering a low growl.

18. Completely awakened by this strange behavior on the part of my faithful dog, it seemed to me as if I heard a slight rustling among the dry bushes; and, rising up to a half-sitting posture, I looked toward the rock behind me, and, to my great astonishment, became aware of a pair of glaring eyes fastened upon me. As my head was between the fire and those fearful eyes, I could plainly distinguish the fiery balls as, reflected on by the red light, they peered above the naked rocks.

19. It was a panther, and evidently, from the position in which I saw it, was ready for a spring. Happily on this, as on every other night, my trusty gun lay close beside me. I seized it, and, half rising, so that the fire behind me afforded light for a steady aim, I leveled it exactly between the eyes. I fired, the bullet sped on its deadly errand, and the crack of the noble rifle, thundering against the steep rocks, returned with loud and prolonged echo.

20. Konwell, to whom the report of a gun was ever the sweetest music, now started up, as if roused by an electric shock, and grasped his gun. The dog continued his barking, smelling all around, and looking in my face as if to inquire in what direction he should go. There was no rustling movement on the rock, and the bullet must have taken effect.

21. Konwell shook his head as he inquired, "Why I had shot?" Without answering, I began to reload my gun: this finished, I took up a blazing pine brand from the fire, and proceeded to climb the steep wall of rock, that raised itself like a barrier, about twenty steps distant from the spot upon which we rested. Here I found an old panther, the largest I had ever seen, lying dead-my well-directed bullet had finished him. I flung the body over the rock, and my old comrade dragged him to the fire.

22. The ball had struck him directly in the right eye, passing through the brain. He was a fearful-looking animal, with terrible teeth and claws, and the more to be dreaded, as, when we cut him up, his stomach was found entirely empty. I believed that hunger had driven him so close to the fire; but Konwell thought he had scented the fresh venison we had with us. Be that as it may, there was little doubt but that he would have made a leap, as soon as the intervening fire had burned down; to its friendly presence, therefore, on this occasion, as a means of Providence, we owed our lives.

QUESTIONS.-1. What had Konwell driven into a den? 2. What preparation did he make, before entering into the cavern? 3. How far had the men proceeded before they saw the panther? 4. Describe the appearance of the panther, as they came near him after the first shot. 5. What did the panther do after the men both fired at him? 6. Did they finally succeed in killing the panther? 7. Describe the manner in which they killed another panther.


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