"I shall be very pleased to do my best for you, certainly, if you can put me on the track of the pirates who robbed you," answered I. "Where did they go after they had cleared you out?"
"Saire," answered the Frenchman eagerly, "dhey did sail right into ze Congo river, where dhey are doubtless now shipping a cargo of esclaves. I know ze sheep well, for I have often see her when I have been waiting for my ivory to come down."
"Oh!" exclaimed I interestedly, "so she is a slaver as well as a pirate, is she?"
"Yais, yais, pirate and slavaire both, monsieur," answered the Frenchman. "She is a large—what you call, eh?—un—un—barque—oui, monsieur, a barque call ze Josefa, commande par un coquin——"
The Josefa?" interrupted I. "Are you quite sure of what you say, monsieur?"
"Oui, oui, monsieur," answered the fellow, "I am quite certaine; I have made no mistake; I know ze barque well as I know my own poor leetle Muette. I am not likely to make ze mistake when they have rob me of all my ivory and caoutchouc!"
"Very well, sir," responded I; "I will make a bargain with you. Guide us to where you suppose the Josefa to be; and should I find her with your assistance, I promise you that you shall have all the ivory and caoutchouc that we may find on board her."
The man clasped his hands rapturously. "Bon, mon cher monsieur; bon!" he exclaimed. "It is ze bargain; it is agreed!"
"Then that is all right," I remarked. "And now, monsieur, having made our bargain, I shall be very pleased if you will do me the honour to remain on board and dine with me; we can then talk over matters a little more in detail, and you can explain to me where the Josefa is to be found."