AN EXCITING CHASEby@julesverne


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To say the truth, it was the very vaguest of hopes to which Mrs. Weldon had been clinging, yet it was not without some thrill of disappointment that she heard from the lips of old Alvez himself that Dr. Livingstone had died at a little village on Lake Bangweolo. There had appeared to be a sort of a link binding her to the civilized world, but it was now abruptly snapped, and nothing remained for her but to make what terms she could with the base and heartless Negoro. On the 14th, the day appointed for the interview, he made his appearance at the hut, firmly resolved to make no abatement in the terms that he had proposed, Mrs. Weldon, on her part, being equally determined not to yield to the demand. "There is only one condition," she avowed, "upon which I will acquiesce. My husband shall not be required to come up the country here." Negoro hesitated; at length he said that he would agree to her husband being taken by ship to Mossamedes, a small port in the south of Angola, much frequented by slavers, whither also, at a date hereafter to be fixed, Alvez should send herself with Jack and Benedict; the stipulation was confirmed that the ransom should be 100,000 dollars, and it was further made part of the contract that Negoro should be allowed to depart as an honest man. Mrs. Weldon felt she had gained an important point in thus sparing her husband the necessity of a journey to Kazonndé, and had no apprehensions about herself on her way to Mossamedes, knowing that it was to the interest of Alvez and Negoro alike to attend carefully to her wants. Upon the terms of the covenant being thus arranged, Mrs. Weldon wrote such a letter to her husband as she knew would bring him with all speed to Mossamedes, but she left it entirely to Negoro to represent himself in whatever light he chose. Once in possession of the document, Negoro lost no time in starting on his errand. The very next morning, taking with him about twenty negroes, he set off towards the north, alleging to Alvez as his motive for taking that direction, that he was not only going to embark somewhere at the mouth of the Congo, but that he was anxious to keep as far as possible from the prison-houses of the Portuguese, with which already he had been involuntarily only too familiar.
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Jules Verne

French novelist, poet and playwright.

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