was hacking at my feet. It had already torn my boots and stockings
to shreds, now it was hacking
at the feet themselves. Again and again it struck at them, then circled several times restlessly
round me, then returned to continue its work. A gentleman
passed by, looked on for a
while, then asked me why I suffered the vulture.
," I said. "When it came and began to attack me, I of course tried to drive it away, even to strangle it, but these animals
are very strong, it was about to spring at my face, but I preferred to sacrifice
my feet. Now they are almost torn to bits."
"Fancy letting yourself be tortured
like this!" said the gentleman. "One shot and that's the end of the vulture."
"Really ?" I said. "And would you do that?"
," said the gentleman, "I've
only got to go home and get my gun
. Could you wait another half hour?"
"I'm not sure about that," said I, and stood for a moment rigid
with pain. Then I said: "Do try it in any case, please."
"Very well," said the gentleman, "I'll be as quick as I can."
During this conversation
the vulture had been
calmly listening, letting its eye rove between me and the gentleman. Now I realized that it had understood everything; it took wing, leaned far back to gain impetus, and then, like a javelin thrower, thrust its beak through
my mouth, deep into me. Falling back, I was relieved to feel him drowning irretrievably
in my blood
, which was filling every depth, flooding