The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 72

to learn.

A couple of soldiers snapped the first ring around the neck of a
powerful white slave, and one by one the rest of us were herded to our
places, and the work of shackling us neck to neck commenced.

The colonel stood watching the procedure. Presently his eyes fell upon
me, and he spoke to a young officer at his side. The latter stepped
toward me and motioned me to follow him. I did so, and was led back to
the colonel.

By this time I could understand a few words of their strange language,
and when the colonel asked me if I would prefer to remain at the post
as his body servant, I signified my willingness as emphatically as
possible, for I had seen enough of the brutality of the common soldiers
toward their white slaves to have no desire to start out upon a march
of unknown length, chained by the neck, and driven on by the great
whips that a score of the soldiers carried to accelerate the speed of
their charges.

About three hundred prisoners who had been housed in six prisons at the
post marched out of the gates that morning, toward what fate and what
future I could not guess. Neither had the poor devils themselves more
than the most vague conception of what lay in store for them, except
that they were going elsewhere to continue in the slavery that they had
known since their capture by their black conquerors--a slavery that was
to continue until death released them.

My position was altered at the post. From working about the
headquarters office, I was transferred to the colonel's living
quarters. I had greater freedom, and no longer slept in one of the
prisons, but had a little room to myself off the kitchen of the
colonel's log house.

My master was always kind to me, and under him I rapidly learned the
language of my captors, and much concerning them that had been a
mystery to me before. His name was Abu Belik. He was a colonel in the
cavalry of Abyssinia, a country of which I do not remember ever
hearing, but which Colonel Belik assured me is the oldest civilized
country in the world.

Colonel Belik was born in Adis Abeba, the capital of the empire, and
until recently had been in command of the emperor's palace guard.
Jealousy and the ambition and intrigue of another officer had lost him
the favor of his emperor, and he had been detailed to this frontier
post as a mark of

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