Lost Continent HTML version
Delcarte and Taylor were now in mid-stream, coming toward us, and I called to them to
keep aloof until I knew whether the intentions of my captors were friendly or otherwise.
My good men wanted to come on and annihilate the blacks. But there were upward of a
hundred of the latter, all well armed, and so I commanded Delcarte to keep out of harm's
way, and stay where he was till I needed him.
A young officer called and beckoned to them. But they refused to come, and so he gave
orders that resulted in my hands being secured at my back, after which the company
marched away, straight toward the east.
I noticed that the men wore spurs, which seemed strange to me. But when, late in the
afternoon, we arrived at their encampment, I discovered that my captors were
In the center of a plain stood a log fort, with a block- house at each of its four corners. As
we approached, I saw a herd of cavalry horses grazing under guard outside the walls of
the post. They were small, stocky horses, but the telltale saddle galls proclaimed their
calling. The flag flying from a tall staff inside the palisade was one which I had never
before seen nor heard of.
We marched directly into the compound, where the company was dismissed, with the
exception of a guard of four privates, who escorted me in the wake of the young officer.
The latter led us across a small parade ground, where a battery of light field guns was
parked, and toward a log building, in front of which rose the flagstaff.
I was escorted within the building into the presence of an old negro, a fine looking man,
with a dignified and military bearing. He was a colonel, I was to learn later, and to him I
owe the very humane treatment that was accorded me while I remained his prisoner.
He listened to the report of his junior, and then turned to question me, but with no better
results than the former had accomplished. Then he summoned an orderly, and gave some
instructions. The soldier saluted, and left the room, returning in about five minutes with a
hairy old white man-- just such a savage, primeval-looking fellow as I had discovered in
the woods the day that Snider had disappeared with the launch.
The colonel evidently expected to use the fellow as interpreter, but when the savage
addressed me it was in a language as foreign to me as was that of the blacks. At last the
old officer gave it up, and, shaking his head, gave instructions for my removal.
From his office I was led to a guardhouse, in which I found about fifty half-naked whites,
clad in the skins of wild beasts. I tried to converse with them, but not one of them could
understand Pan-American, nor could I make head or tail of their jargon.