The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 76

Gondar, talking
with the inhabitants, and exploring the city of black men.

As I had been given a semi-military uniform which bore insignia
indicating that I was an officer's body servant, even the blacks
treated me with a species of respect, though I could see by their
manner that I was really as the dirt beneath their feet. They answered
my questions civilly enough, but they would not enter into conversation
with me. It was from other slaves that I learned the gossip of the
city.

Troops were pouring in from the west and south, and pouring out toward
the east. I asked an old slave who was sweeping the dirt into little
piles in the gutters of the street where the soldiers were going. He
looked at me in surprise.

"Why, to fight the yellow men, of course," he said. "They have crossed
the border, and are marching toward New Gondar."

"Who will win?" I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows?" he said. "I hope it will be
the yellow men, but Menelek is powerful--it will take many yellow men
to defeat him."

Crowds were gathering along the sidewalks to view the emperor's entry
into the city. I took my place among them, although I hate crowds, and
I am glad that I did, for I witnessed such a spectacle of barbaric
splendor as no other Pan-American has ever looked upon.

Down the broad main thoroughfare, which may once have been the historic
Unter den Linden, came a brilliant cortege. At the head rode a
regiment of red-coated hussars--enormous men, black as night. There
were troops of riflemen mounted on camels. The emperor rode in a
golden howdah upon the back of a huge elephant so covered with rich
hangings and embellished with scintillating gems that scarce more than
the beast's eyes and feet were visible.

Menelek was a rather gross-looking man, well past middle age, but he
carried himself with an air of dignity befitting one descended in
unbroken line from the Prophet--as was his claim.

His eyes were bright but crafty, and his features denoted both
sensuality and cruelness. In his youth he may have been a rather fine
looking black, but when I saw him his appearance was revolting--to me,
at least.

Following the emperor came regiment after regiment from the various
branches of the service, among them batteries of field guns mounted on
elephants.

In the center of the troops following the imperial elephant marched a
great caravan of slaves. The old street sweeper at my elbow told me
that these were the

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