The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 71

Delcarte, of Taylor I could not know;
nor did it seem likely that I should ever learn. I was most depressed.
But I whiled away my time in performing the duties given me to the best
of my ability and attempting to learn the language of my captors.

Who they were or where they came from was a mystery to me. That they
were the outpost of some powerful black nation seemed likely, yet where
the seat of that nation lay I could not guess.

They looked upon the whites as their inferiors, and treated us
accordingly. They had a literature of their own, and many of the men,
even the common soldiers, were omnivorous readers. Every two weeks a
dust-covered trooper would trot his jaded mount into the post and
deliver a bulging sack of mail at headquarters. The next day he would
be away again upon a fresh horse toward the south, carrying the
soldiers' letters to friends in the far off land of mystery from whence
they all had come.

Troops, sometimes mounted and sometimes afoot, left the post daily for
what I assumed to be patrol duty. I judged the little force of a
thousand men were detailed here to maintain the authority of a distant
government in a conquered country. Later, I learned that my surmise
was correct, and this was but one of a great chain of similar posts
that dotted the new frontier of the black nation into whose hands I had
fallen.

Slowly I learned their tongue, so that I could understand what was said
before me, and make myself understood. I had seen from the first that
I was being treated as a slave--that all whites that fell into the
hands of the blacks were thus treated.

Almost daily new prisoners were brought in, and about three weeks after
I was brought in to the post a troop of cavalry came from the south to
relieve one of the troops stationed there. There was great jubilation
in the encampment after the arrival of the newcomers, old friendships
were renewed and new ones made. But the happiest men were those of the
troop that was to be relieved.

The next morning they started away, and as they were forced upon the
parade ground we prisoners were marched from our quarters and lined up
before them. A couple of long chains were brought, with rings in the
links every few feet. At first I could not guess the purpose of these
chains. But I was soon

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