Page:Yule Logs.djvu/376

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The Frenchman—who, by the way, now introduced himself to me as "Capitan St. Croix"—at once accepted my invitation; having done which, he sent his boat back to the felucca, with instructions to his mate to make sail and keep close in our wake, whereupon we filled upon the schooner and resumed our course to the southward.

By the time that dinner was served in our hot, stuffy little cabin that evening, I had succeeded in extracting from M. St. Croix the information that the Josefa would be found concealed in a certain creek of the Congo, which had been so thoroughly fortified as to be practically impregnable. This was bad news; moreover, I found it a little difficult to clearly follow some of St. Croix' descriptions; but by the time that he left me that night to return to his felucca, I had learned enough to clearly understand that I must depend upon stratagem rather than force for success.

All this threw me into a perfect fever of impatience to get back to the river, which was not lessened when I discovered that the wretched little felucca seemed incapable of doing anything better than five knots under the most favourable conditions that we were likely to meet with on our voyage. I stood it for twenty-four hours, during which we in the schooner jogged along under nothing but a double-reefed mainsail, fore staysail, and jib, in order that we might not run away from our slow-moving consort; and then my impatience so far mastered me that I proposed to St. Croix that he should take up his quarters aboard the Curlew—as we had renamed the Don Cristoval—and leave the felucca to follow at her leisure. For two whole days the Frenchman obdurately rejected my proposal; but on the third my perseverance triumphed, and late in the afternoon we parted company with the Muette, having St. Croix on board the schooner, and with him one of his Krumen—who, he assured me, knew every creek on the river, from Shark Point up to Boma—and a small