ORIGINALLY POSTED 7-31-2008
Suddenly, and by sheer carelessness, I had stepped on a dead branch of a tree, and broke it. Of course, the breaking of that dry limb made a noise. Immediately I heard a tremendous rush in the jungle, and then saw an intensely black face peering through the leaves. The deep, gray, sunken eyes of the great beast seemed to emit fire when they got sight of me. Then he scattered the jungle with his two hands, raised himself (for he was on  all-fours) on his hind legs, gave from that huge chest one of his deep, terrific roars, which shook the whole adjacent forest, and rushed toward me, showing his immense teeth as he opened his mouth.
I had never before seen a gorilla come so quickly to the attack as did this one. He walked in a waddling manner, his two arms extended toward me, his body bent in the same direction, and it seemed to me that at any moment I might see him tumble down on his face. This feeling was caused by his peculiar walk.
I was calm, but it was the calm that precedes death—the feeling that in one minute more I might be a dead man. I am sure not a muscle moved in my face. I was steady, and said to myself, "Paul B. Du Chaillu, you will never go home if you do not kill that creature on the spot, and before he has a chance to get hold of your poor body."
As he approached nearer and nearer, I know that I was cool and determined, but felt that within a few seconds all might be over with me; for, if the diabolical creature once had me in his grasp, he would crush me to death.
Excerpt from LOST IN THE JUNGLE, an account of travels through African Gorilla country published in 1900 by Paul du Chaillu. The book was meant for young readers and followed up two previous tomes of adventuring through the wilds of the Dark Continent. The Baldwin Project is reproducing copyright free Children's books, most pre-dating 1923 for consumption and dissemination.
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