At the sound of my voice, Delcarte half raised his rifle in readiness for the attack of an
enemy, but a moment later he recognized me, and was coming rapidly to meet us. Behind
him was Snider. They both were astounded to see me upon the north bank of the river,
and much more so at the sight of my companion.
Then I introduced them to Victory, and told them that she was queen of England. They
thought, at first, that I was joking. But when I had recounted my adventures and they
realized that I was in earnest, they believed me.
They told me that they had followed me inshore when I had not returned from the hunt,
that they had met the men of the elephant country, and had had a short and one-sided
battle with the fellows. And that afterward they had returned to the launch with a
prisoner, from whom they had learned that I had probably been captured by the men of
the lion country.
With the prisoner as a guide they had set off up-river in search of me, but had been much
delayed by motor trouble, and had finally camped after dark a half mile above the spot
where Victory and I had spent the night. They must have passed us in the dark, and why I
did not hear the sound of the propeller I do not know, unless it passed me at a time when
the lions were making an unusually earsplitting din upon the opposite side.
Taking the antelope with us, we all returned to the launch, where we found Taylor as
delighted to see me alive again as Delcarte had been. I cannot say truthfully that Snider
evinced much enthusiasm at my rescue.
Taylor had found the ingredients for chemical fuel, and the distilling of them had, with
the motor trouble, accounted for their delay in setting out after me.
The prisoner that Delcarte and Snider had taken was a powerful young fellow from the
elephant country. Notwithstanding the fact that they had all assured him to the contrary,
he still could not believe that we would not kill him.
He assured us that his name was Thirty-six, and, as he could not count above ten, I am
sure that he had no conception of the correct meaning of the word, and that it may have
been handed down to him either from the military number of an ancestor who had served
in the English ranks during the Great War, or that originally it was the number of some
famous regiment with which a forbear fought.
Now that we were reunited, we held a council to determine what course we should pursue
in the immediate future. Snider was still for setting out to sea and returning to Pan-
America, but the better judgment of Delcarte and Taylor ridiculed the suggestion--we
should not have lived a fortnight.