This lion had beaten us twice and both times I had easy chances at him which I had not taken because he was Mary's. The last time Pop had made a mistake. He was so anxious for Mary to get the lion before he had to leave us that he made an error, as anyone can who is trying too hard.
Afterwards we had sat by the fire in the evening, Pop smoking his pipe while Mary wrote in her diary where she put in all the things she did not wish to say to us and her heartaches and disappointments and her new knowledge that she did not wish to parade in conversation and her triumphs that she did not wish to tarnish by talking of them. She was writing by the gaslight in the dining tent and Pop and I were sitting by the fire in our pajamas, dressing gowns and mosquito boots.
"He's a damned smart lion," Pop said. "We should have had him today if Mary had been a little taller. But it was my fault."
We avoided talking of the error which we both knew about.
"Mary will get him. But keep this in mind. I don't think he's too brave, mind you. He's too smart. But when he's hit he'll be brave enough when the time comes. Don't you let the time come."
"I'm shooting all right now."
Pop ignored that. He was thinking. Then he said, "Better than all right, actually. Don't get overconfident but stay as confident as you are. He'll make a mistake and you'll get him. If only some lioness would come into heat. Then he'd be money from home. But they're about ready to pup now."
"What sort of mistake will he make?"
"Oh he'll make one. You'll know. I wish I didn't have to go before Mary gets him. Take really good care of her. See she gets some sleep. She's been at this now for a long time. Rest her and rest the damn lion. Don't hunt too hard. Let him get some confidence."