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. cock sleeve
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.