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Chapter 24: Lost Treasure
When the expedition returned, following their fruitless endeavor to succor D'Arnot, Captain Dufranne was anxious to steam away as quickly as possible, and all save Jane had acquiesced.
"No," she said, determinedly, "I shall not go, nor should you, for there are two friends in that jungle who will come out of it some day expecting to find us awaiting them.
"Your officer, Captain Dufranne, is one of them, and the forest man who has saved the lives of every member of my father's party is the other.
"He left me at the edge of the jungle two days ago to hasten to the aid of my father and Mr. Clayton, as he thought, and he has stayed to rescue Lieutenant D'Arnot; of that you may be sure.
"Had he been too late to be of service to the lieutenant he would have been back before now--the fact that he is not back is sufficient proof to me that he is delayed because Lieutenant D'Arnot is wounded, or he has had to follow his captors further than the village which your sailors attacked."
"But poor D'Arnot's uniform and all his belongings were found in that village, Miss Porter," argued the captain, "and the natives showed great excitement when questioned as to the white man's fate."
"Yes, Captain, but they did not admit that he was dead and as for his clothes and accouterments being in their possession--why more civilized peoples than these poor savage negroes strip their prisoners of every article of value whether they intend killing them or not.
"Even the soldiers of my own dear South looted not only the living but the dead. It is strong circumstantial evidence, I will admit, but it is not positive proof."
"Possibly your forest man, himself was captured or killed by the savages," suggested Captain Dufranne.
The girl laughed.
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