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sight is then useless, and a man who has thoroughly trained his hearing can distinguish sounds which are inaudible and unintelligible to the mere tyro. To the ears of Hans the tread of an animal with a hoof would have been recognized from that of a soft-footed animal, such as a lion or leopard, and the footsteps of a man could have been distinguished from those of a quadruped. It is almost impossible for the civilized man to realize the acuteness of the senses of one accustomed to trust his life to his senses, the sight, hearing, and even scent seem to become added to in power, and in fact to have an additional sense given to each. We all know how we can readily distinguish the footstep of some particular friend from that of a stranger, though how we do so it would puzzle us to explain; but thus it is that the trained hunter can instantly decide that a hyæna or antelope is walking past him, that a man is near, or that some other animal is moving in his vicinity.
It was with mingled feelings of surprise and half-doubt that Hans heard what he was confident was the footstep of a man soon after he had taken his position near Katrine. For several minutes not a sound disturbed the stillness of the night except the somewhat heavy breathing of the sleepers; this, however, was a source of great danger. To the acute ears of a lion, or even of a Kaffir, this heavy breathing could have been heard at a distance of several yards, and could thus serve as a guide to either dangerous enemy. Hans, however, did not like to disturb the sleepers until the last moment, or unless he found he
alone was unable to deal with the foe. It was evident to Hans that whoever or whatever was the foe who approached, it was one who used the greatest caution : but two or three steps at a time were taken, and then all was quiet. From this fact Hans was convinced that a man was the enemy who was near him, for no other creature could act with so much caution. He was also aware of the peculiar individual daring of members of the Kaffir
Many men are brave in a crowd, and when led on by example or enthusiasm, but the Kaffir is an epicure in excitement. He likes to venture upon feats of daring alone, and the night is to him the most suitable time for such deeds. It matters not how great is the risk, the greater the risk the greater seems to be the excitement. Knowing this, Hans believed it possible that one single Kaffir might have followed on their spoor, have watched him as he halted for the night, and was now desirous of capturing his guns or assagying some of the sleepers, and then retreating, boast at his kraal of his deeds. Believing this, Hans had an additional reason for remaining silent, for he knew that should he awake his companions, the Kaffir would readily escape, or wait for a more favourable opportunity for attack.
Grasping his hunting-knife firmly, Hans crouched close to the ground and waited anxiously for the nearer approach of his foe. The slow, stealthy tread of the man was evidently guided by the sound of the sleepers, for no eyes could distinguish forms amidst the darkness, and Hans soon found that light as was the breathing of Katrine and her sister, yet this sound was guiding the man towards them.
For several minutes Hans could hear no sound, and he began to fancy the man feared to approach nearer, but at length to his surprise and almost fear, he could distinguish within ten feet of him the figure of a man with arm erect, and in his hand a spear ready to cast.
The figure seemed to have risen out of the earth, so silently had it gained its position in the midst of the party; and had not a man as well trained and as keenly sensed as Hans been on watch, a complete surprise could have been effected.
With a movement as slow and cautious as that of the Kaffir, Hans gathered himself together for a spring on his enemy, who stood listening to the sleepers' longdrawn breaths, then with a sudden bound he dashed forward, and stabbed with his long knife at where he believed he would reach the Kaffir. He had however either miscalculated his distance, or his enemy was too quick for him, for nothing resisted his stabs, and he fell headlong to the ground, having stumbled over the underwood before him. In an instant he was on his feet again, and crouched down to catch sight if possible of his foe, but nothing was to be seen, and had it not been for a slight rustling of the leaves and the crushing of a few sticks, he would have doubted whether his eyes had not been deceived. These sounds, however, would have convinced him, had he been in doubt, that no vision had crossed his sight, but a substantial and quick-witted