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The Leopard Woman

by Stewart Edward White Et Al

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It was the close of the day. Over the baked veldt of Equatorial Africa a safari marched. The men, in single file, were reduced to the unimportance of moving black dots by the tremendous sweep of the dry country stretching away to a horizon infinitely remote, beyond which lay single mountains, like ships becalmed hull-down at sea. The immensities filled the world-the simple immensities of sky and land. Only by an effort, a wrench of the mind, would a bystander on the advantage, say, of one of the little rocky, outcropping hills have been able to narrow his vision to details. And yet details were interesting. The vast shallow cup to the horizon became a plain sparsely grown with flat-topped thorn trees. It was not a forest, yet neither was it open country. The eye penetrated the thin screen of tree trunks to the distance of half a mile or more, but was brought to a stop at last. Underfoot was hard-baked earth, covered by irregular patches of shale that tinkled when stepped on.

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Once well beyond the chance of a fire glimmer he arose to his feet and quickly regained his own camp. This was exactly on the opposite side of the circle. The four men with whom he shared his tiny cotton tent, askaris all as beseemed his dignity, were sound asleep. He squatted on his heels, pushed together the embers of his fire, staring into the coals. His ugly face was as though carved from ebony. Only his wild savage eyes glowed and flashed with a brooding lambent flame; and his wide nostrils slowly expanded and contracted as though with some inner heaving emotion.



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