Yes, I was saved, and by the merciful instinct
of ingratitude which nature had planted in the breast
of that treacherous beast.
The grace which eloquence
had failed to work in those men's hearts, had been wrought
by a laugh. The ram was set free and my life was spared.
We lived to find out that that guide had deserted us as soon
as he had placed a half-mile between himself and us.
To avert suspicion, he had judged it best that the line
should continue to move; so he caught that ram, and at
the time that he was sitting on it making the rope fast
to it, we were imagining that he was lying in a swoon,
overcome by fatigue and distress. When he allowed the ram
to get up it fell to plunging around, trying to rid itself
of the rope, and this was the signal which we had risen
up with glad shouts to obey. We had followed this ram
round and round in a circle all day - a thing which was
proven by the discovery that we had watered the Expedition
seven times at one and same spring in seven hours.
As expert a woodman as I am, I had somehow failed to notice
this until my attention was called to it by a hog.
This hog was always wallowing there, and as he was the
only hog we saw, his frequent repetition, together with
his unvarying similarity to himself, finally caused me
to reflect that he must be the same hog, and this led
me to the deduction that this must be the same spring,
also - which indeed it was.
Enter page number
Page 360 of 558
Words from 100633 to 100912