W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 156
leaving the waters edge and striking inland; it was probably a tiger, but the increasing darkness rendered identification impossible; and my attempts to ascertain the nature of its footprints when I shortly afterwards crossed its path were equally fruitless.
Save for the rippling of the stream perfect silence reigned around, a few stars twinkled overhead, and the dark line of the forest looked more gloomy than I had ever yet seen it. Doubtless my feelings painted the surroundings in unusually gloomy colours.
It was now half-past-six by my watch; and on making the next bend, I saw a light not very far ahead. It might of course belong to a party of the rebels out reconnoitring, in which event I should be between two fires. Stooping down and gliding inland from cover to cover, I approached cautiously; while, as I neared the place, other fires came in sight, and figures flitted past them. I crept closer and closer, resting for a few seconds behind each convenient bush ; the figures were in the a shadowed livery of the burnished sun,a though taller and slighter than the average Burmese. Still more cautious, and bent almost double, I traversed the remaining distance, soon making out every detail of the camp I had quitted the same afternoon. Not sorry to stand upright once more, I sauntered gaily into the place, whistling a tune, answered the challenge and proceeded straight to my tent.
The others were just sitting down to dinner, at which I soon joined them ; after which, in return for their consideration in allowing me to enjoy the meal undisturbed by questions, I gave them a full account of my adventures, and was heartily congratulated on my narrow escape.
Comparing notes with my fellow-sportsmen, I foundComparing notes with my fellow-sportsmen, I found