The Phantom Ship
Captain Frederick Marryat
Part 5 out of 8
to him that this is no time for us to war with, but to assist each
other with all our energies. We are here, ship-wrecked on a barren
coast, with provisions insufficient for any lengthened stay, no
prospect of succour, and little of escape. As the Commodore truly
prophesied, many more are likely to perish as well as him--and even
the Admiral himself may be of the number. I shall wait his answer;
if he choose to lay aside all animosity, and refer our conduct to
a higher tribunal, I am willing to join with him in rendering that
assistance to each other which our situation requires--if not, you
must perceive, and of course will tell him, that I have those with me
who will defend me against any attempt at force. You have my answer,
sir, and may go on board."
The officer went to the gangway, but found that none of his crew,
except the bowman, were in the boat; they had gone up to gain from the
men of the _Dort_ the true history of what they had but imperfectly
heard: and, before they were summoned to return, had received full
intelligence. They coincided with the seamen of the _Dort_, that the
appearance of the Phantom Ship, which had occasioned their present
disaster, was a judgment upon the Admiral, for his conduct in having
so cruelly _deserted_ the poor Commodore.
Upon the return of the officer with Philip's answer, the rage of the
Admiral was beyond all bounds. He ordered the guns aft, which would
bear upon the _Dort_, to be double-shotted, and fired into her; but
Krantz pointed out to him that they could not bring more guns to bear
upon the _Dort_, in their present situation, than the _Dort_
could bring to bear upon them; that their superior force was thus
neutralised, and that no advantage could result from taking such a
step. The Admiral immediately put Krantz under arrest, and proceeded
to put into execution his insane intentions. In this he was, however,
prevented by the seamen of the _Lion_, who neither wished to fire upon
their consort, nor to be fired at in return. The report of the boat's
crew had been circulated through the ship, and the men felt too much
ill-will against the Admiral, and perceived at the same time the
extreme difficulty of their situation, to wish to make it worse. They
did not proceed to open mutiny, but they went down below, and when
the officers ordered them up, they refused to go upon deck; and the
officers, who were equally disgusted with the Admiral's conduct,
merely informed him of the state of the ship's company, without
naming individuals, so as to excite his resentment against any one
in particular. Such was the state of affairs when the sun went down.
Nothing had been done on board the Admiral's ship, for Krantz was
under arrest, and the Admiral had retired in a state of fury to his
In the meantime Philip and the ship's company had not been idle--they
had laid an anchor out astern, and hove taut: they had started all
the water, and were pumping it out, when a boat pulled alongside, and
Krantz made his appearance on deck.
"Captain Vanderdecken, I have come to put myself under your orders, if
you will receive me--if not, render me your protection; for, as
sure as fate, I should have been hanged to-morrow morning, if I had
remained in my own ship. The men in the boat have come with the same
intention--that of joining you, if you will permit them."
Although Philip would have wished it had been otherwise, he could not
well refuse to receive Krantz, under the circumstances of the case. He
was very partial to him, and to save his life, which certainly was in
danger, he would have done much more. He desired that the boat's crew
should return; but when Krantz had stated to him what had occurred on
board the _Lion_, and the crew earnestly begged him not to send them
back to almost certain death, which their having effected the escape
of Krantz would have assured, Philip reluctantly allowed them to
The night was tempestuous, but the wind being now off shore, the water
was not rough. The crew of the _Dort_, under the directions of Philip
and Krantz, succeeded in lightening the vessel so much during the
night that the next morning they were able to haul her off, and found
that her bottom had received no serious injury. It was fortunate for
them that they had not discontinued their exertions, for the wind
shifted a few hours before sunrise, and by the time that they had
shipped their rudder, it came on to blow fresh down the Straits, the
wind being accompanied with a heavy swell.
The Admiral's ship still lay aground, and apparently no exertions were
used to get her off. Philip was much puzzled how to act: leave the
crew of the _Lion_ he could not; nor indeed could he refuse, or did he
wish to refuse the Admiral, if he proposed coming on board; but he now
made up his mind that it should only be as a passenger, and that he
would himself retain the command. At present he contented himself with
dropping his anchor outside, clear of the reef, where he was sheltered
by a bluff cape, under which the water was smooth, about a mile
distant from where the Admiral's ship lay on shore; and he employed
his crew in replenishing his water-casks from a rivulet close to where
the ship was anchored. He waited to see if the other vessel got off,
being convinced that if she did not some communication must soon take
place. As soon as the water was complete, he sent one of the boats to
the place where the Commodore had been landed, having resolved to take
him on board, if they could find him; but the boat returned without
having seen anything of him, although the men had clambered over the
hills to a considerable distance.
On the second morning after Philip had hauled his vessel off, they
observed that the boats of the Admiral's ship were passing and
repassing from the shore, landing her stores and provisions; and the
next day, from the tents pitched on shore, it was evident that she was
abandoned, although the boats were still employed in taking articles
out of her. That night it blew fresh, and the sea was heavy; the next
morning her masts were gone, and she turned on her broadside; she was
evidently a wreck, and Philip now consulted with Krantz how to act. To
leave the crew of the _Lion_ on shore was impossible: they must all
perish when the winter set in upon such a desolate coast. On the
whole, it was considered advisable that the first communication should
come from the other party, and Philip resolved to remain quietly at
It was very plain that there was no longer any subordination among the
crew of the _Lion_, who were to be seen, in the day-time, climbing
over the rocks in every direction, and at night, when their large
fires were lighted, carousing and drinking. This waste of provisions
was a subject of much vexation to Philip. He had not more than
sufficient for his own crew, and he took it for granted that, so soon
as what they had taken on shore should be expended, the crew of the
_Lion_ would ask to be received on board of the _Dort_.
For more than a week did affairs continue in this state, when, one
morning, a boat was seen pulling towards the ship, and, in the
stern-sheets Philip recognised the officer who had been sent on board
to put him under arrest. When the officer came on deck, he took off
his hat to Philip.
"You do, then, acknowledge me as in command," observed Philip.
"Yes, sir, most certainly; you were second in command, but now you are
first--for the Admiral is dead."
"Dead!" exclaimed Philip; "and how?"
"He was found dead on the beach, under a high cliff, and the body
of the Commodore was in his arms; indeed, they were both grappled
together. It is supposed, that in his walk up to the top of the hill,
which he used to take every day, to see if any vessels might be in
the Straits, he fell in with the Commodore--that they had come to
contention, and had both fallen over the precipice together. No one
saw the meeting, but they must have fallen over the rocks, as the
bodies are dreadfully mangled."
On inquiry, Philip ascertained that all chance of saving the _Lion_
had been lost after the second night, when she had beat in her
larboard streak, and had six feet of water in the hold--that the crew
had been very insubordinate, and had consumed almost all the spirits;
and that not only all the sick had already perished, but also
many others who had either fallen over the rocks when they were
intoxicated, or had been found dead in the morning, from their
exposure during the night.
"Then the poor Commodore's prophecy has been fulfilled!" observed
Philip to Krantz. "Many others, and even the Admiral himself, have
perished with him--peace be with them! And now let us get away from
this horrible place as soon as possible."
Philip then gave orders to the officer to collect his men, and the
provisions that remained, for immediate embarkation. Krantz followed
soon after with all the boats, and before night everything was on
board. The bodies of the Admiral and Commodore were buried where they
lay, and the next morning the _Dort_ was under weigh, and, with a
slanting wind, was laying a fair course through the Straits.
It appeared as if their misfortunes were to cease, after the tragical
death of the two commanders. In a few days, the _Dort_ had passed
through the Straits of Magellan, and was sailing in the Pacific Ocean,
with a blue sky and quiet sea. The ship's company recovered their
health and spirits, and the vessel being now well manned, the duty was
carried on with cheerfulness.
In about a fortnight, they had gained well up on the Spanish coast,
but although they had seen many of the inhabitants on the beach, they
had not fallen in with any vessels belonging to the Spaniards. Aware
that if he met with a Spanish ship of superior force it would attack
him, Philip had made every preparation, and had trained his men to the
guns. He had now, with the joint crews of the vessels, a well-manned
ship, and the anticipation of prize-money had made his men very eager
to fall in with some Spaniard, which they knew that Philip would
capture if he could. Light winds and calms detained them for a month
on the coast, when Philip determined upon running for the Isle St
Marie, where, though he knew it was in possession of the Spaniards, he
yet hoped to be able to procure refreshments for the ship's company,
either by fair means or by force. The _Dort_ was, by their reckoning,
about thirty miles from the island, and having run in until after
dark, they had hove-to till the next morning. Krantz was on deck;
he leant over the side, and as the sails flapped to the masts, he
attempted to define the line of the horizon. It was very dark, but as
he watched, he thought that he perceived a light for a moment, and
which then disappeared. Fixing his eyes on the spot, he soon made out
a vessel, hove-to, and not two cables' length distant. He hastened
down to apprise Philip, and procure a glass. By the time Philip was
on deck, the vessel had been distinctly made out to be a three-masted
xebeque, very low in the water. After a short consultation, it was
agreed that the boats on the quarter should be lowered down, and
manned and armed without noise, and that they should steal gently
alongside and surprise her. The men were called up, silence enjoined,
and in a few minutes the boats' crew had possession of the vessel;
having boarded her and secured the hatches before the alarm could be
given by the few who were on deck. More men were then taken on board
by Krantz, who, as agreed upon, lay to under the lee of the _Dort_
until the daylight made its appearance. The hatches were then taken
off, and the prisoners sent on board of the _Dort_. There were sixty
people on board, a large number for a vessel of that description.
On being interrogated, two of the prisoners, who were well-dressed and
gentlemanlike persons, stepped forward and stated that the vessel was
from St Mary's, bound to Lima, with a cargo of flour and passengers;
that the crew and captain consisted of twenty-five men, and all the
rest who were on board, had taken that opportunity of going to Lima.
That they themselves were among the passengers, and trusted that the
vessel and cargo would be immediately released, as the two nations
were not at war.
"Not at war at home, I grant," replied Philip, "but in these seas, the
constant aggressions of your armed ships compel me to retaliate, and
I shall therefore make a prize of your vessel and cargo. At the same
time, as I have no wish to molest private individuals, I will land all
the passengers and crew at St Mary's, to which place I am bound in
order to obtain refreshments, which now I shall expect will be given
cheerfully as your ransom, so as to relieve me from resorting to
force." The prisoners protested strongly against this, but without
avail. They then requested leave to ransom the vessel and cargo,
offering a larger sum than they both appeared to be worth; but Philip,
being short of provisions, refused to part with the cargo, and the
Spaniards appeared much disappointed at the unsuccessful issue of
their request. Finding that nothing would induce him to part with the
provisions, they then begged hard to ransom the vessel; and to this,
after a consultation with Krantz, Philip gave his assent. The two
vessels then made sail, and steered on for the island, then about four
leagues distant. Although Philip had not wished to retain the vessel,
yet, as they stood in together, her superior speed became so manifest
that he almost repented that he had agreed to ransom her.
At noon, the _Dort_ was anchored in the roads, out of gunshot, and a
portion of the passengers allowed to go on shore and make arrangements
for the ransom of the remainder, while the prize was hauled alongside,
and her cargo hoisted into the ship. Towards evening, three large
boats with live stock and vegetables and the sum agreed upon for the
ransom of the xebeque, came alongside; and as soon as one of the boats
was cleared, the prisoners were permitted to go on shore in it, with
the exception of the Spanish pilot, who, at the suggestion of Krantz,
was retained, with a promise of being released directly the _Dort_ was
clear of the Spanish seas. A negro slave was also, at his own
request, allowed to remain on board, much to the annoyance of the two
passengers before mentioned, who claimed the man as their property,
and insisted that it was an infraction of the agreement which had been
entered into. "You prove my right by your own words," replied Philip;
"I agreed to deliver up all the passengers, but no _property_; the
slave will remain on board."
Finding their endeavours ineffectual, the Spaniards took a haughty
leave. The _Dort_ remained at anchor that night to examine her
rigging, and the next morning they discovered that the xebeque had
disappeared, having sailed unperceived by them during the night.
As soon as the anchor was up and sail made on the ship, Philip went
down to his cabin with Krantz, to consult as to their best course.
They were followed by the negro slave, who, shutting the door and
looking watchfully round, said that he wished to speak with them. His
information was most important, but given rather too late. The vessel
which had been ransomed was a government advice-boat, the fastest
sailer the Spaniards possessed. The two pretended passengers were
officers of the Spanish navy, and the others were the crew of the
vessel. She had been sent down to collect the bullion and take it
to Lima, and at the same time to watch for the arrival of the Dutch
fleet, intelligence of whose sailing had been some time before
received overland. When the Dutch fleet made its appearance, she
was to return to Lima with the news, and a Spanish force would be
despatched against it. They further learnt that some of the supposed
casks of flour contained 2000 gold doubloons each, others bars of
silver; this precaution having been taken in case of capture. That the
vessel had now sailed for Lima there was no doubt. The reason why
the Spaniards were so anxious not to leave the negro on board of the
_Dort_, was, that they knew that he would disclose what he now had
done. As for the pilot, he was a man whom the Spaniards knew they
could trust, and for that reason they had better be careful of him, or
he would lead the _Dort_ into some difficulty.
Philip now repented that he had ransomed the vessel, as he would, in
all probability, have to meet and cope with a superior force, before
he could make his way clear out of these seas; but there was no help
for it. He consulted with Krantz, and it was agreed that they should
send for the ship's company and make them acquainted with these facts;
arguing that a knowledge of the valuable capture which they had made,
would induce the men to fight well, and stimulate them with the hopes
of further success. The ship's company heard the intelligence with
delight, professed themselves ready to meet double their force, and
then, by the directions of Philip, the casks were brought up on the
quarter-deck, opened, and the bullion taken out. The whole, when
collected, amounted to about half a million of dollars, as near as
they could estimate it, and a distribution of the coined money was
made from the capstan the very next day; the bars of metal being
reserved until they could be sold, and their value ascertained.
For six weeks Philip worked his vessel up the coast, without
falling in with any vessel under sail. Notice had been given by the
advice-boat, as it appeared, and every craft, large and small, was at
anchor under the batteries. They had nearly run up the whole coast,
and Philip had determined that the next day he would stretch across to
Batavia, when a ship was seen in-shore under a press of sail, running
towards Lima. Chase was immediately given, but the water shoaled,
and the pilot was asked if they could stand on. He replied in the
affirmative, stating that they were now in the shallowest water, and
that it was deeper within. The leadsman was ordered into the chains,
but at the first heave the lead-line broke; another was sent for, and
the _Dort_ still carried on under a heavy press of sail. Just then,
the negro slave went up to Philip, and told him that he had seen the
pilot with his knife in the chains, and that he thought he must have
cut the lead-line so far through as to occasion it being carried away,
and told Philip not to trust him. The helm was immediately put down;
but as the ship went round she touched on the bank, dragged, and was
again clear.--"Scoundrel!" cried Philip. "So you cut the lead-line?
The negro saw you, and has saved us."
The Spaniard leaped down from off the gun, and, before he could be
prevented, had buried his knife in the heart of the negro. "Maldetto,
take that for your pains!" cried he, in a fury, grinding his teeth and
flourishing his knife.
The negro fell dead. The pilot was seized and disarmed by the crew
of the _Dort_, who were partial to the negro, as it was from his
information that they had become rich.
"Let them do with him as they please," said Krantz to Philip.
"Yes," replied Philip; "summary justice."
The crew debated a few minutes, and then lashed the pilot to the
negro, and carried him off to the taffrail. There was a heavy plunge,
and he disappeared under the eddying waters in the wake of the vessel.
Philip now determined to shape his course for Batavia. He was within a
few days' sail of Lima, and had every reason to believe that vessels
had been sent out to intercept him. With a favourable wind he now
stood away from the coast, and for three days made a rapid passage.
On the fourth, at daylight, two vessels appeared to windward, bearing
down upon him. That they were large armed vessels was evident; and the
display of Spanish ensigns and pennants, as they rounded to, about a
mile to windward, soon showed that they were enemies. They proved
to be a frigate of a larger size than the _Dort_, and a corvette of
The crew of the _Dort_ showed no alarm at this disparity of force:
they clinked their doubloons in their pockets; vowed not to return
them to their lawful owners, if they could help it; and flew with
alacrity to their guns. The Dutch ensign was displayed in defiance,
and the two Spanish vessels, again putting their heads towards the
_Dort_, that they might lessen their distance, received some raking
shot, which somewhat discomposed them; but they rounded to at a
cable's length, and commenced the action with great spirit, the
frigate lying on the beam, and the corvette on the bow of Philip's
vessel. After half an hour's determined exchange of broadsides, the
foremast of the Spanish frigate fell, carrying away with it the
maintop-mast; and this accident impeded her firing. The _Dort_
immediately made sail, stood on to the corvette, which she crippled
with three or four broadsides, then tacked, and fetched alongside of
the frigate, whose lee-guns were still impeded with the wreck of the
foremast. The two vessels now lay head and stern, within ten feet of
each other, and the action recommenced to the disadvantage of the
Spaniard. In a quarter of an hour the canvas, hanging overside, caught
fire from the discharge of the guns, and very soon communicated to the
ship, the _Dort_ still pouring in a most destructive broadside, which
could not be effectually returned. After every attempt to extinguish
the flames, the captain of the Spanish vessel resolved that both
vessels should share the same fate. He put his helm up, and, running
her on to the _Dort_, grappled with her, and attempted to secure
the two vessels together. Then raged the conflict; the Spaniards
attempting to pass their grappling-chains so as to prevent the escape
of their enemy, and the Dutch endeavouring to frustrate their attempt.
The chains and sides of both vessels were crowded with men fighting
desperately; those struck down falling between the two vessels, which
the wreck of the foremast still prevented from coming into actual
collision. During this conflict, Philip and Krantz were not idle.
By squaring the after-yards, and putting all sail on forward they
contrived that the _Dort_ should pay off before the wind with her
antagonist, and by this manoeuvre they cleared themselves of the smoke
which so incommoded them; and, having good way on the two vessels,
they then rounded to so as to get on the other tack, and bring the
Spaniard to leeward. This gave them a manifest advantage, and soon
terminated the conflict. The smoke and flames were beat back on the
Spanish vessel--the fire which had communicated to the _Dort_ was
extinguished--the Spaniards were no longer able to prosecute their
endeavours to fasten the two vessels together, and retreated to within
the bulwarks of their own vessel; and, after great exertions, the
_Dort_ was disengaged, and forged ahead of her opponent, who was soon
enveloped in a sheet of flame. The corvette remained a few cables'
length to windward, occasionally firing a gun. Philip poured in a
broadside, and she hauled down her colours. The action might now be
considered at an end, and the object was to save the crew of the
burning frigate. The boats of the _Dort_ were hoisted out, but only
two of them could swim. One of them was immediately despatched to the
corvette, with orders for her to send all her boats to the assistance
of the frigate, which was done, and the major part of the surviving
crew were saved. For two hours the guns of the frigate, as they were
heated by the flames, discharged themselves; and then, the fire having
communicated to the magazine, she blew up, and the remainder of her
hull sank slowly and disappeared. Among the prisoners in the uniform
of the Spanish service Philip perceived the two pretended passengers,
this proving the correctness of the negro's statement. The two
men-of-war had been sent out of Lima on purpose to intercept him,
anticipating, with such a preponderating force, an easy victory. After
some consultation with Krantz, Philip agreed that, as the corvette was
in such a crippled state, and the nations were not actually at war,
it would be advisable to release her with all the prisoners. This was
done, and the _Dort_ again made sail for Batavia, and anchored in
the roads three weeks after the combat had taken place. He found the
remainder of the fleet, which had been despatched before them, and had
arrived there some weeks, had taken in their cargoes, and were
ready to sail for Holland. Philip wrote his despatches, in which he
communicated to the directors the events of the voyage; and then went
on shore, to reside at the house of the merchant who had formerly
received him, until the _Dort_ could be freighted for her voyage home.
We must return to Amine, who is seated on the mossy bank where she and
Philip conversed when they were interrupted by Schriften the pilot.
She is in deep thought, with her eyes cast down, as if trying to
recall the past. "Alas! for my mother's power," exclaimed she; "but it
is gone--gone for ever! This torment and suspense I cannot bear--those
foolish priests too!" And Amine rose from the bank and walked towards
Father Mathias had not returned to Lisbon. At first he had not found
an opportunity, and afterwards, his debt of gratitude towards Philip
induced him to remain by Amine, who appeared each day to hold more in
aversion the tenets of the Christian faith. Many and many were the
consultations with Father Seysen, many were the exhortations of both
the good old men to Amine, who, at times, would listen without reply,
and at others, argue boldly against them. It appeared to them that she
rejected their religion with an obstinacy as unpardonable as it was
incomprehensible. But to her the case was more simple: she refused to
believe, she said, that which she could not understand. She went so
far as to acknowledge the beauty of the principles, the purity of the
doctrine; but when the good priests would enter into the articles of
their faith, Amine would either shake her head or attempt to turn
the conversation. This only increased the anxiety of the good Father
Mathias to convert and save the soul of one so young and beautiful;
and he now no longer thought of returning to Lisbon, but devoted his
whole time to the instruction of Amine, who, wearied by his incessant
importunities, almost loathed his presence.
Upon reflection, it will not appear surprising that Amine rejected a
creed so dissonant to her wishes and intentions. The human mind is of
that proud nature, that it requires all its humility to be called into
action before it will bow, even to the Deity.
Amine knew that her mother had possessed superior knowledge, and an
intimacy with unearthly intelligences. She had seen her practise her
art with success, although so young at the time that she could not now
call to mind the mystic preparations by which her mother had succeeded
in her wishes; and it was now that her thoughts were wholly bent upon
recovering what she had forgotten, that Father Mathias was exhorting
her to a creed which positively forbade even the attempt. The peculiar
and awful mission of her husband strengthened her opinion in the
lawfulness of calling in the aid of supernatural agencies; and the
arguments brought forward by these worthy, but not over-talented,
professors of the Christian creed, had but little effect upon a mind
so strong and so decided as that of Amine--a mind which, bent as it
was upon one object, rejected with scorn tenets, in proof of which
they could offer no visible manifestation, and which would have bound
her blindly to believe what appeared to her contrary to common sense.
That her mother's art could bring evidence of _its_ truth she had
already shown, and satisfied herself in the effect of the dream
which she had proved upon Philip;--but what proof could they bring
forward?--Records--_which they would not permit her to read_!
"Oh! that I had my mother's art," repeated Amine once more, as she
entered the cottage; "then would I know where my Philip was at this
moment. Oh! for the black mirror in which I used to peer at her
command, and tell her what passed in array before me. How well do I
remember that time--the time of my father's absence, when I looked
into the liquid on the palm of my hand, and told her of the Bedouin
camp--of the skirmish--the horse without a rider--and the turban on
the sand!" And again Amine fell into deep thought. "Yes," cried she,
after a time, "thou canst assist me, mother! Give me in a dream thy
knowledge; thy daughter begs it as a boon. Let me think again. The
word--what was the word? what was the name of the spirit--Turshoon?
Yes, methinks it was Turshoon. Mother! mother! help your daughter."
"Dost thou call upon the Blessed Virgin, my child?" said Father
Mathias, who had entered the room as she pronounced the last words.
"If so, thou dost well, for she may appear to thee in thy dreams, and
strengthen thee in the true faith."
"I called upon my own mother, who is in the land of spirits, good
father," replied Amine.
"Yes; but, as an infidel; not, I fear, in the land of the blessed
spirits, my child."
"She hardly will be punished for following the creed of her fathers,
living where she did, where no other creed was known?" replied Amine,
indignantly. "If the good on earth are blessed in the next world--if
she had, as you assert she had, a soul to be saved--an immortal
spirit--He who made that spirit will not destroy it because she
worshipped as her fathers did.--Her life was good: why should she
be punished for ignorance of that creed which she never had an
opportunity of rejecting?"
"Who shall dispute the will of Heaven, my child? Be thankful that you
are permitted to be instructed, and to be received into the bosom of
the holy church."
"I am thankful for many things, father; but I am weary, and must wish
you a good-night."
Amine retired to her room--but not to sleep. Once more did she attempt
the ceremonies used by her mother, changing them each time, as
doubtful of her success. Again the censer was lighted--the charm
essayed; again the room was filled with smoke as she threw in the
various herbs which she had knowledge of, for all the papers thrown
aside at her father's death had been carefully collected, and on many
were directions found as to the use of those herbs. "The word! the
word! I have the first--the second word! Help me, mother!" cried
Amine, as she sat by the side of the bed, in the room, which was now
so full of smoke that nothing could be distinguished. "It is of no
use," thought she at last, letting her hands fall at her side; "I have
forgotten the art. Mother! mother! help me in my dreams this night."
The smoke gradually cleared away, and, when Amine lifted up her eyes,
she perceived a figure standing before her. At first she thought she
had been successful in her charm; but, as the figure became more
distinct, she perceived that it was Father Mathias, who was looking at
her with a severe frown and contracted brow, his arms folded before
"Unholy child! what dost thou?"
Amine had roused the suspicions of the priests, not only by her
conversation, but by several attempts which she had before made to
recover her lost art; and on one occasion, in which she had defended
it, both Father Mathias and Father Seysen had poured out the bitterest
anathemas upon her, or anyone who had resort to such practices. The
smell of the fragrant herbs thrown into the censer, and the smoke,
which afterwards had escaped through the door and ascended the stairs,
had awakened the suspicions of Father Mathias, and he had crept up
silently, and entered the room without her perceiving it. Amine at
once perceived her danger. Had she been single, she would have dared
the priest; but, for Philip's sake, she determined to mislead him.
"I do no wrong, father," replied she, calmly; "but it appears to me
not seemly that you should enter the chamber of a young woman during
her husband's absence. I might have been in my bed. It is a strange
"Thou canst not mean this, woman! My age--my profession--are a
sufficient warranty," replied Father Mathias, somewhat confused at
this unexpected attack.
"Not always, Father, if what I have been told of monks and priests
be true," replied Amine. "I ask again, why comest thou here into an
unprotected woman's chamber?"
"Because I felt convinced that she was practising unholy arts."
"Unholy arts!--what mean you? Is the leech's skill unholy? is it
unholy to administer relief to those who suffer?--to charm the
fever and the ague which rack the limbs of those who live in this
"All charms are most unholy."
"When I said charms, Father, I meant not what you mean; I simply would
have said a remedy. If a knowledge of certain wonderful herbs,
which, properly combined will form a specific to ease the suffering
wretch--an art well known unto my mother, and which I now would fain
recall--if that knowledge, or a wish to regain that knowledge, be
unholy, then are you correct."
"I heard thee call upon thy mother for her help."
"I did, for she well knew the ingredients; but I, I fear have not the
knowledge that she had. Is that sinful, good Father?"
"'Tis, then, a remedy that you would find?" replied the priest; "I
thought that thou didst practise that which is most unlawful."
"Can the burning of a few weeds be then unlawful? What did you expect
to find? Look you, Father, at these ashes--they may, with oil, be
rubbed into the pores and give relief--but can they do more? What do
you expect from them--a ghost?--a spirit?--like the prophet raised for
the King of Israel?" And Amine laughed aloud.
"I am perplexed, but not convinced," replied the priest.
"I, too, am perplexed and not convinced," responded Amine, scornfully.
"I cannot satisfy myself that a man of your discretion could really
suppose that there was mischief in burning weeds; nor am I convinced
that such was the occasion of your visit at this hour of the night to
a lone woman's chamber. There may be natural charms more powerful than
those you call supernatural. I pray you, Father, leave this chamber.
It is not seemly. Should you again presume, you leave the house. I
thought better of you. In future, I will not be left at any time
This attack of Amine's upon the reputation of the old priest was too
severe. Father Mathias immediately quitted the room, saying, as he
went out, "May God forgive you for your false suspicions and great
injustice! I came here for the cause I have stated, and no more."
"Yes!" soliloquised Amine, as the door closed, "I know you did; but I
must rid myself of your unwelcome company. I will have no spy upon my
actions--no meddler to thwart me in my will. In your zeal you have
committed yourself, and I will take the advantage you have given me.
Is not the privacy of a woman's chamber to be held sacred by you
sacred men? In return for assistance in distress--for food and
shelter--you would become a spy. How grateful, and how worthy of the
creed which you profess!" Amine opened her door as soon as she had
removed the censer, and summoned one of the women of the house to
stay that night in her room, stating that the priest had entered her
chamber, and she did not like the intrusion.
"Holy father! is it possible?" replied the woman.
Amine made no reply, but went to bed; but Father Mathias heard all
that passed as he paced the room below. The next day he called upon
Father Seysen, and communicated to him what had occurred, and the
false suspicions of Amine.
"You have acted hastily," replied Father Seysen, "to visit a woman's
chamber at such an hour of the night."
"I had my suspicions, good Father Seysen."
"And she will have hers. She is young and beautiful."
"Now, by the Blessed Virgin--"
"I absolve you, good Mathias," replied Father Seysen; "but still, if
known, it would occasion much scandal to our church."
And known it soon was; for the woman who had been summoned by Amine
did not fail to mention the circumstance; and Father Mathias found
himself everywhere so coldly received, and, besides, so ill at ease
with himself, that he very soon afterwards quitted the country, and
returned to Lisbon; angry with himself for his imprudence, but still
more angry with Amine for her unjust suspicions.
The cargo of the _Dort_ was soon ready, and Philip sailed and arrived
at Amsterdam without any further adventure. That he reached his
cottage, and was received with delight by Amine, need hardly be said.
She had been expecting him; for the two ships of the squadron, which
had sailed on his arrival at Batavia, and which had charge of his
despatches, had, of course, carried letters to her from Philip, the
first letters she had ever received from him during his voyages. Six
weeks after the letters Philip himself made his appearance, and Amine
was happy. The directors were, of course, highly satisfied with
Philip's conduct, and he was appointed to the command of a large armed
ship, which was to proceed to India in the spring, and one-third of
which, according to agreement, was purchased by Philip out of the
funds which he had in the hands of the Company. He had now five months
of quiet and repose to pass away, previous to his once more trusting
to the elements; and this time, as it was agreed, he had to make
arrangements on board for the reception of Amine.
Amine narrated to Philip what had occurred between her and the priest
Mathias, and by what means she had rid herself of his unwished-for
"And were you practising your mother's arts, Amine?"
"Nay, not practising them, for I could not recall them, but I was
trying to recover them."
"Why so, Amine? this must not be. It is, as the good father said,
'unholy.' Promise me you will abandon them, now and for ever."
"If that act be unholy, Philip, so is your mission. You would deal
and co-operate with the spirits of another world--I would do no more.
Abandon your terrific mission--abandon your seeking after disembodied
spirits--stay at home with your Amine, and she will cheerfully comply
with your request."
"Mine is an awful summons from the Most High."
"Then the Most High permits your communion with those who are not of
"He does; you know even the priests do not gainsay it, although they
shudder at the very thought."
"If then He permits to one, He will to another; nay, aught that I can
do is but with His permission."
"Yes, Amine, so does He permit evil to stalk on the earth, but He
countenances it not."
"He countenances your seeking after your doomed father, your attempts
to meet him; nay, more, He commands it. If you are thus permitted, why
may not I be? I am your wife, a portion of yourself; and when I am
left over a desolate hearth, while you pursue your course of danger,
may not I appeal also to the immaterial world to give me that
intelligence which will soothe my sorrow, lighten my burden, and
which, at the same time, can hurt no living creature? Did I attempt to
practise these arts for evil purposes, it were just to deny them me,
and wrong to continue them; but I would but follow in the steps of my
husband, and seek as he seeks, with a good intent."
"But it is contrary to our faith."
"Have the priests declared your mission contrary to their faith? or,
if they have, have they not been convinced to the contrary, and been
awed to silence? But why argue, my dear Philip? Shall I not now be
with you? and while with you I will attempt no more. You have my
promise; but if separated, I will not say, but I shall then require of
the invisible a knowledge of my husband's motions, when in search of
the invisible also."
The winter passed rapidly away, for it was passed by Philip in quiet
and happiness; the spring came on, the vessel was to be fitted out,
and Philip and Amine repaired to Amsterdam.
The _Utrecht_ was the name of the vessel to which he had been
appointed, a ship of 400 tons, newly launched, and pierced for
twenty-four guns. Two more months passed away, during which Philip
superintended the fitting and loading of the vessel, assisted by his
favourite Krantz, who served in her as first mate. Every convenience
and comfort that Philip could think of was prepared for Amine; and
in the month of May he started, with orders to stop at Gambroon and
Ceylon, run down the Straits of Sumatra, and from thence to force his
way into the China seas, the Company having every reason to expect
from the Portuguese the most determined opposition to the attempt. His
ship's company was numerous, and he had a small detachment of soldiers
on board to assist the supercargo, who carried out many thousand
dollars to make purchases at ports in China, where their goods might
not be appreciated. Every care had been taken in the equipment of the
vessel, which was perhaps the finest, the best manned, and freighted
with the most valuable cargo, which had been sent out by the India
The _Utrecht_ sailed with a flowing sheet, and was soon clear of the
English Channel; the voyage promised to be auspicious, favouring gales
bore them without accident to within a few hundred miles of the Cape
of Good Hope, when, for the first time, they were becalmed. Amine was
delighted: in the evenings she would pace the deck with Philip; then
all was silent, except the splash of the wave as it washed against
the side of the vessel--all was in repose and beauty, as the bright
southern constellations sparkled over their heads.
"Whose destinies can be in these stars, which appear not to those who
inhabit the northern regions?" said Amine, as she cast her eyes above,
and watched them in their brightness; "and what does that falling
meteor portend? what causes its rapid descent from heaven?"
"Do you, then, put faith in stars, Amine?"
"In Araby we do; and why not? They were not spread over the sky to
give light--for what then?"
"To beautify the world. They have their uses, too."
"Then you agree with me--they have their uses, and the destinies of
men are there concealed. My mother was one of those who could read
them well. Alas! for me they are a sealed book."
"Is it not better so, Amine?"
"Better!--say better to grovel on this earth with our selfish,
humbled race, wandering in mystery, and awe, and doubt, when we can
communicate with the intelligences above! Does not the soul leap at
her admission to confer with superior powers? Does not the proud heart
bound at the feeling that its owner is one of those more gifted than
the usual race of mortals? Is it not a noble ambition?"
"A dangerous one--most dangerous."
"And therefore most noble. They seem as if they would speak to me:
look at yon bright star--it beckons to me."
For some time Amine's eyes were raised aloft; she spoke not, and
Philip remained at her side. She walked to the gangway of the vessel,
and looked down upon the placid wave, pierced by the moonbeams far
below the surface.
"And does your imagination, Amine, conjure up a race of beings gifted
to live beneath that deep blue wave, who sport amid the coral rocks,
and braid their hair with pearls?" said Philip, smiling.
"I know not, but it appears to me that it would be sweet to live
there. You may call to mind your dream, Philip; I was then, according
to your description, one of those same beings."
"You were," replied Philip, thoughtfully.
"And yet I feel as if water would reject me, even if the vessel were
to sink. In what manner this mortal frame of mine may be resolved
into its elements, I know not; but this I do feel, that it never will
become the sport of, or be tossed by, the mocking waves. But come in,
Philip, dearest; it is late, and the decks are wet with dew."
When the day dawned, the look-out man at the mast-head reported that
he perceived something floating on the still surface of the water, on
the beam of the vessel. Krantz went up with his glass to examine, and
made it out to be a small boat, probably cut adrift from some vessel.
As there was no appearance of wind, Philip permitted a boat to be sent
to examine it, and after a long pull, the seamen returned on board,
towing the small boat astern.
"There is a body of a man in it, sir," said the second mate to Krantz,
as he gained the gangway; "but whether he is quite dead, or not, I
Krantz reported this to Philip, who was, at that time, sitting at
breakfast with Amine in the cabin, and then proceeded to the gangway,
to where the body of the man had been already handed up by the seamen.
The surgeon, who had been summoned, declared that life was not yet
extinct, and was ordering him to be taken below for recovery, when, to
their astonishment, the man turned as he lay, sat up, and ultimately
rose upon his feet and staggered to a gun, when, after a time, he
appeared to be fully recovered. In reply to questions put to him, he
said that he was in a vessel which had been upset in a squall, that he
had time to cut away the small boat astern, and that all the rest of
the crew had perished. He had hardly made this answer, when Philip
with Amine came out of the cabin, and walked up to where the seamen
were crowded round the man; the seamen retreated so as to make an
opening, when Philip and Amine, to their astonishment and horror,
recognised their old acquaintance, the one-eyed pilot Schriften.
"He! he! Captain Vanderdecken, I believe--glad to see you in command,
and you too, fair lady."
Philip turned away with a chill at his heart; Amine's eye flashed as
she surveyed the wasted form of the wretched creature. After a few
seconds, she turned round and followed Philip into the cabin, where
she found him with his face buried in his hands.
"Courage, Philip, courage!" said Amine; "it was indeed a heavy shock,
and I fear me forbodes evil--but what then; it is our destiny."
"It is--it ought perhaps to be mine," replied Philip, raising his
head; "but you, Amine, why should you be a partner--"
"I am your partner, Philip, in life and in death. I would not die
first, Philip, because it would grieve you; but your death will be the
signal for mine, and I will join you quickly."
"Surely, Amine, you would not hasten your own?"
"Yes! and require but one moment for this little steel to do its
"Nay! Amine, that is not lawful--our religion forbids it."
"It may do so, but I cannot tell why. I came into this world without
my own consent--surely I may leave it without asking the leave of
priests! But let that pass for the present: what will you do with that
"Put him on shore at the Cape; I cannot bear the odious wretch's
presence. Did you not feel the chill, as before, when you approached
"I did--I knew that he was there before I saw him; but still, I know
not why, I feel as if I would not send him away."
"I believe it is because I am inclined to brave destiny, not to quail
at it. The wretch can do no harm."
"Yes, he can--much: he can render the ship's company mutinous and
disaffected;--besides, he attempted to deprive me of my relic."
"I almost wish he had done so; then must you have discontinued this
"Nay, Amine, say not so; it is my duty, and I have taken my solemn
"But this Schriften--you cannot well put him ashore at the Cape; being
a Company's officer, you might send him home if you found a ship there
homeward-bound; still, were I you, I would let destiny work. He is
woven in with ours, that is certain. Courage, Philip, and let him
"Perhaps you are right, Amine; I may retard, but cannot escape,
whatever may be my intended fate."
"Let him remain, then, and let him do his worst. Treat him with
kindness--who knows what we may gain from him?"
"True, true, Amine; he has been my enemy without cause. Who can
tell?--perhaps he may become my friend."
"And if not, you will have done your duty. Send for him now."
"No, not now--to-morrow; in the meantime, I will order him every
"We are talking as if he were one of us, which I feel that he is not,"
replied Amine; "but still, mundane or not, we cannot but offer mundane
kindness, and what this world, or rather what this ship affords. I
long now to talk with him, to see if I can produce any effect upon his
ice-like frame. Shall I make love to the ghoul?" and Amine burst into
a bitter laugh.
Here the conversation dropped, but its substance was not disregarded.
The next morning, the surgeon having reported that Schriften was
apparently quite recovered, he was summoned into the cabin. His frame
was wasted away to a skeleton, but his motions and his language were
as sharp and petulant as ever.
"I have sent for you, Schriften, to know if there is anything that I
can do to make you more comfortable. Is there anything that you want?"
"Want?" replied Schriften, eyeing first Philip and then Amine.--"He!
he! I think I want filling out a little."
"That you will, I trust, in good time; my steward has my orders to
take care of you."
"Poor man," said Amine, with a look of pity, "how much he must have
suffered! Is not this the man who brought you the letter from the
"He! he! yes! Not very welcome, was it, lady?"
"No, my good fellow, it's never a welcome message to a wife, that
sends her husband away from her. But that was not your fault."
"If a husband will go to sea and leave a handsome wife, when he has,
as they say, plenty of money to live upon on shore, he! he!"
"Yes, indeed, you may well say that," replied Amine.
"Better give it up. All folly, all madness--eh, captain?"
"I must finish this voyage, at all events," replied Philip to Amine,
"whatever I may do afterwards. I have suffered much, and so have you,
Schriften. You have been twice wrecked; now tell me what do you wish
to do? Go home in the first ship, or go ashore at the Cape--or--"
"Or do anything, so I get out of this ship--he! he!"
"Not so. If you prefer sailing with me, as I know you are a good
seaman, you shall have your rating and pay of pilot--that is, if you
choose to follow my fortunes."
"Follow?--Must follow. Yes! I'll sail with you, Mynheer Vanderdecken,
I wish to be always near you--he! he!"
"Be it so, then: as soon as you are strong again, you will go to your
duty; till then, I will see that you want for nothing."
"Nor I, my good fellow. Come to me if you do, and I will be your
help," said Amine. "You have suffered much, but we will do what we can
to make you forget it."
"Very good! very kind!" replied Schriften, surveying the lovely face
and figure of Amine. After a time, shrugging up his shoulders, he
added--"A pity! Yes it is!--Must be, though."
"Farewell," continued Amine, holding out her hand to Schriften.
The man took it, and a cold shudder went to her heart; but she,
expecting such a result, would not appear to feel it. Schriften held
her hand for a second or two in his own, looking at it earnestly, and
then at Amine's face.--"So fair, so good! Mynheer Vanderdecken, I
thank you. Lady, may Heaven preserve you!"--Then, squeezing the hand
of Amine which he had not released, Schriften hastened out of the
So great was the sudden icy shock which passed through Amine's frame
when Schriften pressed her hand, that when with difficulty she gained
the sofa she fell upon it. After remaining with her hand pressed
against her heart for some time, during which Philip bent over her,
she said in a breathless voice, "That creature must be supernatural,
I am sure of it, I am now convinced.--Well," continued she, after a
pause of some little while, "all the better, if we can make him a
friend; and if I can I will."
"But think you, Amine, that those who are not of this world have
feelings of kindness, gratitude, and ill-will, as we have? Can they be
"Most surely so. If they have ill-will, as we know they have, they
must also be endowed with the better feelings. Why are there good and
evil intelligences? They may have disencumbered themselves of their
mortal clay, but the soul must be the same. A soul without feeling
were no soul at all. The soul is active in this world and must be so
in the next. If angels can pity, they must feel like us. If demons can
vex, they must feel like us. Our feelings change, then why not theirs?
Without feelings, there were no heaven, no hell. Here our souls are
confined, cribbed, and overladen, borne down by the heavy flesh by
which they are, for the time, polluted; but the soul that has winged
its flight from clay is, I think, not one jot more pure, more bright,
or more perfect than those within ourselves. Can they be made
subservient, say you! Yes! they can; they can be forced, when mortals
possess the means and power. The evil-inclined may be forced to good,
as well as to evil. It is not the good and perfect spirits that we
subject by art, but those that are inclined to wrong. It is over them
that mortals have the power. Our arts have no power over the perfect
spirits, but over those which are ever working evil, and which are
bound to obey and do good, if those who master them require it."
"You still resort to forbidden arts, Amine. Is that right?"
"Right! If we have power given to us, it is right to use it."
"Yes, most certainly, for good--but not for evil."
"Mortals in power, possessing nothing but what is mundane, are
answerable for the use of that power; so those gifted by superior
means, are answerable as they employ those means. Does the God above
make a flower to grow, intending that it should not be gathered? No!
neither does He allow supernatural aid to be given, if He did not
intend that mortals should avail themselves of it."
As Amine's eyes beamed upon Philip's, he could not for the moment
subdue the idea rising in his mind, that she was not like other
mortals, and he calmly observed, "Am I sure, Amine, that I am wedded
to one mortal as myself?"
"Yes! yes! Philip, compose yourself, I am but mortal; would to Heaven
I were not. Would to Heaven I were one of those who could hover over
you, watch you in all your perils, save and protect you in this your
mad career; but I am but a poor weak woman, whose heart beats fondly,
devotedly for you--who, for you, would dare all and everything--who,
changed in her nature, has become courageous and daring from her love;
and who rejects all creeds which would prevent her from calling upon
heaven, or earth, or hell, to assist her in retaining with her her
"Nay! nay! Amine, say not you reject the creed. Does not this,"--and
Philip pulled from his bosom the holy relic, "does not this, and the
message sent by it, prove our creed is true?"
"I have thought much of it, Philip. At first it startled me almost
into a belief, but even your own priests helped to undeceive me. They
would not answer you; they would have left you to guide yourself; the
message and the holy word, and the wonderful signs given were not in
unison with their creed, and they halted. May I not halt, if they
did? The relic may be as mystic, as powerful as you describe; but
the agencies may be false and wicked, the power given to it may have
fallen into wrong hands--the power remains the same, but it is applied
to uses not intended."
"The power, Amine, can only be exercised by those who are friends to
Him who died upon it."
"Then is it no power at all; or if a power, not half so great as that
of the arch-fiend; for his can work for good and evil both. But on
this point, dear Philip, we do not well agree, nor can we convince
each other. You have been taught in one way, I another. That which
our childhood has imbibed, which has grown up with our growth, and
strengthened with our years, is not to be eradicated. I have seen my
mother work great charms, and succeed. You have knelt to priests: I
blame not you!--blame not then your Amine. We both mean well--I trust,
"If a life of innocence and purity were all that were required, my
Amine would be sure of future bliss."
"I think it is; and thinking so, it is my creed. There are many
creeds: who shall say which is the true one? And what matters it? they
all have the same end in view--a future Heaven."
"True, Amine, true," replied Philip, pacing the cabin thoughtfully;
"and yet our priests say otherwise."
"What is the basis of their creed, Philip?"
"Charity, and good-will."
"Does charity condemn to eternal misery those who have never heard
this creed, who have lived and died worshipping the Great Being after
their best endeavours, and little knowledge?"
Amine made no further observations; and Philip, after pacing for a few
minutes in deep thought, walked out of the cabin.
The _Utrecht_ arrived at the Cape, watered, and proceeded on her
voyage and, after two months of difficult navigation, cast anchor off
Gambroon. During this time, Amine had been unceasing in her attempts
to gain the good-will of Schriften. She had often conversed with him
on deck, and had done him every kindness, and had overcome that fear
which his near approach had generally occasioned. Schriften gradually
appeared mindful of this kindness, and at last to be pleased with
Amine's company. To Philip he was at times civil and courteous, but
not always; but to Amine he was always deferent. His language was
mystical, she could not prevent his chuckling laugh, his occasional
"He! he!" from breaking forth. But when they anchored at Gambroon, he
was on such terms with her, that he would occasionally come into the
cabin; and, although he would not sit down, would talk to Amine for
a few minutes, and then depart. While the vessel lay at anchor at
Gambroon, Schriften one evening walked up to Amine, who was sitting on
the poop. "Lady," said he, after a pause, "yon ship sails for your own
country in a few days."
"So I am told," replied Amine.
"Will you take the advice of one who wishes you well? Return in that
vessel, go back to your own cottage, and stay there till your husband
comes to you once more."
"Why is this advice given?"
"Because I forbode danger, nay, perhaps death, a cruel death, to one I
would not harm."
"To me!" replied Amine, fixing her eyes upon Schriften, and meeting
his piercing gaze.
"Yes, to you. Some people can see into futurity farther than others."
"Not if they are mortal," replied Amine.
"Yes, if they are mortal. But mortal or not, I do see that which I
would avert. Tempt not destiny farther."
"Who can avert it? If I take your counsel, still was it my destiny to
take your counsel. If I take it not, still it was my destiny."
"Well, then, avoid what threatens you."
"I fear not, yet do I thank you. Tell me, Schriften, hast thou not
thy fate someway interwoven with that of my husband? I feel that thou
"Why think you so, lady?"
"For many reasons: twice you have summoned him, twice have you been
wrecked, and miraculously reappeared and recovered. You know, too, of
his mission, that is evident."
"But proves nothing."
"Yes! it proves much; for it proves that you knew what was supposed to
be known but to him alone."
"It was known to you, and holy men debated on it," replied Schriften
with a sneer.
"How knew you that, again?"
"He! he!" replied Schriften; "forgive me, lady, I meant not to affront
"You cannot deny that you are connected mysteriously and
incomprehensibly with this mission of my husband's. Tell me, is it as
he believes, true and holy?"
"If he thinks that it is true and holy, it becomes so."
"Why then do you appear his enemy?"
"I am not _his_ enemy, fair lady."
"You are not his enemy--why then did you once attempt to deprive him
of the mystic relic by which the mission is to be accomplished?"
"I would prevent his further search, for reasons which must not be
told. Does that prove that I am his enemy? Would it not be better that
he should remain on shore with competence and you, than be crossing
the wild seas on this mad search? Without the relic it is not to be
accomplished. It were a kindness, then, to take it from him."
Amine answered not, for she was lost in thought.
"Lady," continued Schriften, after a time; "I wish you well. For your
husband I care not, yet do I wish him no harm. Now hear me; if you
wish for your future life to be one of ease and peace--if you wish to
remain long in this world with the husband of your choice--of your
first and warmest love--if you wish that he should die in his bed at a
good old age, and that you should close his eyes with children's tears
lamenting, and their smiles reserved to cheer their mother--all this I
see and can promise is in futurity, if you will take that relic from
his bosom and give it up to me. But if you would that he should
suffer more than man has ever suffered, pass his whole life in doubt,
anxiety, and pain, until the deep wave receive his corpse, then let
him keep it--If you would that your own days be shortened, and yet
those remaining be long in human sufferings, if you would be separated
from him and die a cruel death, then let him keep it. I can read
futurity, and such must be the destiny of both. Lady, consider well, I
must leave you now. To-morrow I will have your answer."
Schriften walked away and left Amine to her own reflections. For a
long while she repeated to herself the conversation and denunciations
of the man, whom she was now convinced was not of this world, and was
in some way or another deeply connected with her husband's fate.
"To me he wishes well, no harm to my husband, and would prevent his
search. Why would he?--that he will not tell. He has tempted me,
tempted me most strangely. How easy 'twere to take the relic whilst
Philip sleeps upon my bosom--but how treacherous! And yet a life of
competence and ease, a smiling family, a good old age; what offers to
a fond and doting wife! And if not, toil, anxiety, and a watery grave;
and for me! Pshaw! that's nothing. And yet to die separated from
Philip, is that nothing? Oh, no, the thought is dreadful.--I do
believe him. Yes, he has foretold the future, and told it truly. Could
I persuade Philip? No! I know him well; he has vowed, and is not to be
changed. And yet, if the relic were taken without his knowledge, he
would not have to blame himself. Who then would he blame? Could I
deceive him? I, the wife of his bosom tell a lie. No! no! it must not
be. Come what will, it is our destiny, and I am resigned. I would that
Schriften had not spoken. Alas! we search into futurity, and then
would fain retrace our steps, and wish we had remained in ignorance."
"What makes you so pensive, Amine?" said Philip, who some time
afterwards walked up to where she was seated.
Amine replied not at first. "Shall I tell him all?" thought she. "It
is my only chance--I will." Amine repeated the conversation between
her and Schriften. Philip made no reply; he sat down by Amine and took
her hand. Amine dropped her head upon her husband's shoulder. "What
think you, Amine?" said Philip, after a time.
"I could not steal your relic, Philip; perhaps you'll give it to me."
"And my father, Amine, my poor father--his dreadful doom to be
eternal! He who appealed, was permitted to appeal to his son, that
that dreadful doom might be averted. Does not the conversation of this
man prove to you that my mission is not false? Does not his knowledge
of it strengthen all? Yet, why would he prevent it?" continued Philip,
"Why, I cannot tell, Philip, but I would fain prevent it. I feel that
he has power to read the future, and has read aright."
"Be it so; he has spoken, but not plainly. He has promised me what I
have long been prepared for--what I vowed to Heaven to suffer. Already
have I suffered much, and am prepared to suffer more. I have long
looked upon this world as a pilgrimage, and (selected as I have been)
trust that my reward will be in the other. But, Amine, you are not
bound by oath to Heaven, you have made no compact. He advised you to
go home. He talked of a cruel death. Follow his advice and avoid it."
"I am not bound by oath, Philip; but hear me; as I hope for future
bliss, I now bind myself--"
"Nay, Philip, you cannot prevent me; for if you do now, I will repeat
it when you are absent. A cruel death were a charity to me, for I
shall not see you suffer. Then may I never expect future bliss, may
eternal misery be my portion, if I leave you as long as fate permits
us to be together. I am yours--your wife; my fortunes, my present, my
future, my all are embarked with you, and destiny may do its worst,
for Amine will not quail. I have no recreant heart to turn aside from
danger or from suffering. In that one point, Philip, at least, you
chose, you wedded well."
Philip raised her hand to his lips in silence, and the conversation
was not resumed. The next evening, Schriften came up again to Amine.
"Well, lady?" said he.
"Schriften, it cannot be," replied Amine; "yet do I thank you much."
"Lady, if he must follow up his mission, why should you?"
"Schriften, I am his wife--his for ever, in this world, and the next.
You cannot blame me."
"No," replied Schriften, "I do not blame, I admire you. I feel sorry.
But, after all, what is death? Nothing. He! he!" and Schriften
hastened away, and left Amine to herself.
The _Utrecht_ sailed from Gambroon, touched at Ceylon, and proceeded
on her voyage in the Eastern Seas. Schriften still remained on board,
but since his last conversation with Amine he had kept aloof, and
appeared to avoid both her and Philip; still there was not, as before,
any attempt to make the ship's company disaffected, nor did he indulge
in his usual taunts and sneers. The communication he had made to Amine
had also its effect upon her and Philip; they were more pensive and
thoughtful; each attempted to conceal their gloom from the other; and
when they embraced, it was with the mournful feeling that perhaps it
was an indulgence they would soon be deprived of: at the same time,
they steeled their hearts to endurance and prepared to meet the worst.
Krantz wondered at the change, but of course could not account for it.
The _Utrecht_ was not far from the Andaman Isles, when Krantz, who had
watched the barometer, came in early one morning and called Philip.
"We have every prospect of a typhoon, sir," said Krantz; "the glass
and the weather are both threatening."
"Then we must make all snug. Send down top-gallant yards and small
sails directly. We will strike top-gallant masts. I will be out in a
Philip hastened on deck. The sea was smooth, but already the moaning
of the wind gave notice of the approaching storm. The vacuum in the
air was about to be filled up, and the convulsion would be terrible; a
white haze gathered fast, thicker and thicker; the men were turned up,
everything of weight was sent below, and the guns were secured. Now
came a blast of wind which careened the ship, passed over, and in a
minute she righted as before; then another and another, fiercer and
fiercer still. The sea, although smooth, at last appeared white as a
sheet with foam, as the typhoon swept along in its impetuous career;
it burst upon the vessel, which bowed down to her gunwale and there
remained; in a quarter of an hour the hurricane had passed over, and
the vessel was relieved; but the sea had risen, and the wind was
strong. In another hour the blast again came, more wild, more furious
than the first, the waves were dashed into their faces, torrents
of rain descended, the ship was thrown on her beam ends, and thus
remained till the wild blast had passed away, to sweep destruction far
beyond them, leaving behind it a tumultuous angry sea.
"It is nearly over I believe, sir," said Krantz. "It is clearing up a
little to windward."
"We have had the worst of it, I believe," said Philip.
"No! there is worse to come," said a low voice near to Philip. It was
Schriften who spoke.
"A vessel to windward scudding before the gale," cried Krantz.
Philip looked to windward, and in the spot where the horizon was
clearest, he saw a vessel under topsails and foresail, standing right
down. "She is a large vessel; bring me my glass." The telescope was
brought from the cabin, but before Philip could use it, a haze had
again gathered up to windward, and the vessel was not to be seen.
"Thick again," observed Philip, as he shut in his telescope; "we must
look out for that vessel, that she does not run too close to us."
"She has seen us, no doubt, sir," said Krantz.
After a few minutes the typhoon again raged, and the atmosphere was of
a murky gloom. It seemed as if some heavy fog had been hurled along
by the furious wind; nothing was to be distinguished except the white
foam of the sea, and that not the distance of half a cable's length,
where it was lost in one dark gray mist. The storm-staysail yielding
to the force of the wind, was rent into strips, and flogged and
cracked with a noise even louder than the gale. The furious blast
again blew over, and the mist cleared up a little.
"Ship on the weather beam close aboard of us," cried one of the men.
Krantz and Philip sprung upon the gunwale, and beheld the large ship
bearing right down upon them, not three cables' length distant.
"Helm up! she does not see us, and she will be aboard of us!" cried
Philip. "Helm up, I say, hard up, quick!"
The helm was put up, as the men, perceiving their imminent danger,
climbed upon the guns to look if the vessel altered her course; but
no--down she came, and the head-sails of the _Utrecht_ having been
carried away, to their horror they perceived that she would not answer
her helm and pay off as they required.
"Ship, ahoy!" roared Philip through his trumpet--but the gale drove
the sound back.
"Ship, ahoy!" cried Krantz on the gunwale, waving his hat. It was
useless--down she came, with the waters foaming under her bows, and
was now within pistol-shot of the _Utrecht_.
"Ship, ahoy!" roared all the sailors, with a shout that must have been
heard: it was not attended to; down came the vessel upon them, and now
her cutwater was within ten yards of the _Utrecht_. The men of the
_Utrecht_, who expected that their vessel would be severed in half by
the concussion, climbed upon the weather gunwale, all ready to catch
at the ropes of the other vessel and climb on board of her. Amine who
had been surprised at the noise on deck, had come out and had taken
Philip by the arm.
"Trust to me--the shock"--said Philip. He said no more; the cutwater
of the stranger touched their sides; one general cry was raised by the
sailors of the _Utrecht_, they sprang to catch at the rigging of
the other vessel's bowsprit which was now pointed between their
masts--they caught at nothing--nothing--there was no shock--no
concussion of the two vessels--the stranger appeared to cleave through
them--her hull passed along in silence--no cracking of timbers--no
falling of masts--the foreyard passed through their mainsail, yet
the canvas was unrent--the whole vessel appeared to cut through the
_Utrecht_, yet left no trace of injury--not fast, but slowly, as if
she were really sawing through her by the heaving and tossing of the
sea with her sharp prow. The stranger's forechains had passed their
gunwale before Philip could recover himself. "Amine," cried he, at
last, "the Phantom Ship! my father!"
The seamen of the _Utrecht_, more astounded by the marvellous result
than by their former danger, threw themselves down upon deck; some
hastened below, some prayed, others were dumb with astonishment and
fear. Amine appeared more calm than any, not excepting Philip; she
surveyed the vessel as it slowly forced its way through; she beheld
the seamen on board of her coolly leaning over her gunwale, as
if deriding the destruction they had occasioned; she looked for
Vanderdecken himself, and on the poop of the vessel, with his trumpet
under his arm, she beheld the image of her Philip--the same hardy,
strong build--the same features--about the same age apparently--there
could be no doubt it was the _doomed_ Vanderdecken!
"See, Philip," said she, "see!--your father!"
"Even so--Merciful Heaven! It is--it is"--and Philip, overpowered by
his feelings, sank upon deck.
The vessel had now passed over the _Utrecht_; the form of the elder
Vanderdecken was seen to walk aft and look over the taffrail; Amine
perceived it to start and turn away suddenly--she looked down, and
saw Schriften shaking his fist in defiance at the supernatural being!
Again the Phantom Ship flew to leeward before the gale, and was soon
lost in the mist; but before that, Amine had turned and perceived the
situation of Philip. No one but herself and Schriften appeared able to
actor move. She caught the pilot's eye, beckoned to him, and with his
assistance Philip was led into the cabin.
"I have then seen him," said Philip, after he had lain down on the
sofa in the cabin for some minutes to recover himself, while Amine
bent over him. "I have at last seen him, Amine! Can you doubt now?"
"No, Philip, I have now no doubt," replied Amine, mournfully; "but
take courage, Philip."
"For myself, I want not courage--but for you, Amine--you know that his
appearance portends a mischief that will surely come."
"Let it come," replied Amine, calmly; "I have long been prepared for
it, and so have you."
"Yes, for myself; but not for you."
"You have been wrecked often, and have been saved--then why should not
"But the sufferings!"
"Those suffer least, who have most courage to bear up against them. I
am but a woman, weak and frail in body, but I trust I have that within
me which will not make you feel ashamed of Amine. No, Philip, you will
have no wailing, no expression of despair from Amine's lips; if she
can console you, she will; if she can assist you, she will; but, come
what may, if she cannot serve you, at least, she will prove no burden
"Your presence in misfortune would un-nerve me, Amine."
"It shall not; it shall add to your resolution. Let fate do its
"Depend upon it, Amine, that will be ere long."
"Be it so," replied Amine; "but, Philip, it were as well you showed
yourself on deck--the men are frightened, and your absence will be
"You are right," said Philip; and rising and embracing her, he left
"It is but too true, then," thought Amine. "Now to prepare for
disaster and death--the warning has come. I would I could know more.
Oh! mother, mother, look down upon thy child, and in a dream reveal
the mystic arts which I have forgotten, then should I know more; but I
have promised Philip, that unless separated--yes, that idea is worse
than death, and I have a sad foreboding; my courage fails me only when
I think of that!"
Philip, on his return to the deck, found the crew of the vessel in
great consternation. Krantz himself appeared bewildered--he had not
forgotten the appearance of the Phantom Ship off Desolation Harbour,
and the vessels following her to their destruction. This second
appearance, more awful than the former, quite unmanned him; and when
Philip came out of the cabin, he was leaning in gloomy silence against
the weather bulkhead.
"We shall never reach port again, sir," said he to Philip, as he came
up to him.
"Silence, silence; the men may hear you."
"It matters not--they think the same," replied Krantz.
"But they are wrong," replied Philip, turning to the seamen. "My lads!
that some disaster may happen to us, after the appearance of this
vessel, is most probable; I have seen her before more than once, and
disasters did then happen; but here I am alive and well, therefore it
does not prove that we cannot escape as I have before done. We must do
our best, and trust in Heaven. The gale is breaking fast, and in a few
hours we shall have fine weather. I have met this Phantom Ship
before, and care not how often I meet it again. Mr Krantz, get up the
spirits--the men have had hard work, and must be fatigued."
The very prospect of obtaining liquor, appeared to give courage to the
men; they hastened to obey the order, and the quantity served out was
sufficient to give courage to the most fearful, and induce others to
defy old Vanderdecken and his whole crew of imps. The next morning the
weather was fine, the sea smooth, and the _Utrecht_ went gaily on her
Many days of gentle breezes and favouring winds gradually wore off the
panic occasioned by the supernatural appearance, and if not forgotten,
it was referred to either in jest or with indifference. They now
had run through the Straits of Malacca, and entered the Polynesian
Archipelago. Philip's orders were to refresh and call for instructions
at the small island of Boton, then in possession of the Dutch. They
arrived there in safety, and after remaining two days, again sailed on
their voyage, intending to make their passage between the Celebes and
the island of Galago. The weather was still clear and the wind light:
they proceeded cautiously, on account of the reefs and currents,
and with a careful watch for the piratical vessels, which have for
centuries infested those seas; but they were not molested, and had
gained well up among the islands to the north of Galago, when it fell
calm, and the vessel was borne to the eastward of it by the current.
The calm lasted several days, and they could procure no anchorage; at
last they found themselves among the cluster of islands near to the
northern coast of New Guinea.
The anchor was dropped, and the sails furled for the night; a
drizzling small rain came on, the weather was thick, and watches were
stationed in every part of the ship, that they might not be surprised
by the pirate proas, for the current ran past the ship, at the rate
of eight or nine miles per hour, and these vessels, if hid among the
islands, might sweep down upon them unperceived.
It was twelve o'clock at night when Philip, who was in bed, was
awakened by a shock; he thought it might be a proa running alongside,
and he started from his bed and ran out. He found Krantz, who had
been awakened by the same cause, running up undressed--another shock
succeeded, and the ship careened to port. Philip then knew that the
ship was on shore.
The thickness of the night prevented them from ascertaining where they
were, but the lead was thrown over the side, and they found that they
were lying on shore on a sand bank, with not more than fourteen feet
water on the deepest side, and that they were broadside on, with
a strong current pressing them further up on the bank; indeed the
current ran like a mill-race, and each minute they were swept into
On examination they found that the ship had dragged her anchor, which,
with the cable, was still taut from the starboard bow, but this did
not appear to prevent the vessel from being swept further up on the
bank. It was supposed that the anchor had parted at the shank, and
another anchor was let go.
Nothing more could be done till daybreak, and impatiently did they
wait till the next morning. As the sun rose, the mist cleared away,
and they discovered that they were on shore on a sand bank, a small
portion of which was above water, and round which the current ran with
great impetuosity. About three miles from them was a cluster of small
islands with cocoa-trees growing on them, but with no appearance of
"I fear we have little chance," observed Krantz to Philip. "If we
lighten the vessel the anchor may not hold, and we shall be swept
further on, and it is impossible to lay out an anchor against the
force of this current."
"At all events we must try; but I grant that our situation is anything
but satisfactory. Send all the hands aft."
The men came aft, gloomy and dispirited.
"My lads!" said Philip, "why are you disheartened?"
"We are doomed, sir; we knew it would be so."
"I thought it probable that the ship would be lost--I told you so; but
the loss of the ship does not involve that of the ship's company--nay,
it does not follow that the ship is to be lost, although she may be in
great difficulty, as she is at present. What fear is there for us, my
men?--the water is smooth--we have plenty of time before us--we can
make a raft and take to our boats--it never blows among these islands,
and we have land close under our lee. Let us first try what we can do
with the ship; if we fail, we must then take care of ourselves."
The men caught at the idea and went to work willingly; the water casks
were started, the pumps set going, and everything that could be spared
was thrown over to lighten the ship; but the anchor still dragged from
the strength of the current and bad holding-ground; and Philip and
Krantz perceived that they were swept further on the bank.
Night came on before they quitted their toil, and then a fresh breeze
sprung up and created a swell, which occasioned the vessel to beat
on the hard sand; thus did they continue until the next morning. At
daylight the men resumed their labours, and the pumps were again
manned to clear the vessel of the water which had been started, but
after a time they pumped up sand. This told them that a plank had
started, and that their labours were useless; the men left their work,
but Philip again encouraged them, and pointed out that they could
easily save themselves, and all that they had to do was to construct a
raft, which would hold provisions for them, and receive that portion
of the crew who could not be taken into the boats.
After some repose the men again set to work; the topsails were struck,
the yards lowered down, and the raft was commenced under the lee of
the vessel, where the strong current was checked. Philip, recollecting
his former disaster, took great pains in the construction of this
raft, and aware that as the water and provisions were expended there
would be no occasion to tow so heavy a mass, he constructed it in two
parts, which might easily be severed, and thus the boats would have
less to tow, as soon as circumstances would enable them to part with
one of them.
Night again terminated their labours, and the men retired to rest, the
weather continuing fine, with very little wind. By noon the next day
the raft was complete; water and provisions were safely stowed on
board; a secure and dry place was fitted up for Amine in the centre
of one portion; spare ropes, sails, and everything which could prove
useful, in case of their being forced on shore, were put in. Muskets
and ammunition were also provided, and everything was ready, when the
men came aft and pointed out to Philip that there was plenty of money
on board, which it was folly to leave, and that they wished to carry
as much as they could away with them. As this intimation was given in
a way that made it evident they intended that it should be complied
with, Philip did not refuse; but resolved, in his own mind, that when
they arrived at a place where he could exercise his authority, the
money should be reclaimed for the Company to whom it belonged. The men
went down below, and while Philip was making arrangements with Amine,
handed the casks of dollars out of the hold, broke them open and
helped themselves--quarrelling with each other for the first
possession, as each cask was opened. At last every man had obtained as
much as he could carry, and had placed his spoil on the raft with his
baggage, or in the boat to which he had been appointed. All was now
ready--Amine was lowered down, and took her station--the boats took in
tow the raft, which was cast off from the vessel, and away they went
with the current, pulling with all their strength, to avoid being
stranded upon that part of the sand bank which appeared above water.
This was the great danger which they had to encounter, and which they
very narrowly escaped.
They numbered eighty-six souls in all: in the boats there were
thirty-two; the rest were on the raft, which being well-built and full
of timber, floated high out of the water, now that the sea was so
smooth. It had been agreed upon by Philip and Krantz, that one of them
should remain on the raft and the other in one of the boats; but, at
the time the raft quitted the ship, they were both on the raft, as
they wished to consult, as soon as they discovered the direction of
the current, which would be the most advisable course for them to
pursue. It appeared that as soon as the current had passed the bank,
it took a more southerly direction towards New Guinea. It was then
debated between them whether they should or should not land on that
island, the natives of which were known to be pusillanimous, yet
treacherous. A long debate ensued, which ended, however, in their
resolving not to decide as yet, but wait and see what might occur. In
the meantime, the boats pulled to the westward, while the current set
them fast down in a southerly direction.
Night came on, and the boats dropped the grapnels, with which they had
been provided; and Philip was glad to find that the current was not
near so strong, and the grapnels held both boats and raft. Covering
themselves up with the spare sails with which they had provided
themselves, and setting a watch, the tired seamen were soon fast
"Had I not better remain in one of the boats?" observed Krantz.
"Suppose, to save themselves, the boats were to leave the raft."
"I have thought of that," replied Philip, "and have, therefore, not
allowed any provisions or water in the boats; they will not leave us
for that reason."
"True, I had forgotten that."
Krantz remained on watch, and Philip retired to the repose which he so
much needed. Amine met him with open arms.
"I have no fear, Philip," said she, "I rather like this wild
adventurous change. We will go on shore and build our hut beneath
the cocoa-trees, and I shall repine when the day comes which brings
succour, and releases us from our desert isle. What do I require but
"We are in the hands of One above, dear, who will act with us as He
pleases. We have to be thankful that it is no worse," replied Philip.
"But now to rest, for I shall soon be obliged to watch."
The morning dawned, with a smooth sea and a bright blue sky; the raft
had been borne to leeward of the cluster of uninhabited islands of
which we spoke, and was now without hopes of reaching them; but to the
westward were to be seen on the horizon the refracted heads and trunks
of cocoa-nut trees, and in that direction it was resolved that they
should tow the raft. The breakfast had been served out, and the men
had taken to the oars, when they discovered a proa, full of men,
sweeping after them from one of the islands to windward. That it was
a pirate vessel there could be no doubt; but Philip and Krantz
considered that their force was more than sufficient to repel them,
should an attack be made. This was pointed out to the men; arms were
distributed to all in the boats, as well as to those on the raft; and
that the seamen might not be fatigued, they were ordered to lie on
their oars, and await the coming up of the vessel.
As soon as the pirate was within range, having reconnoitred her
antagonists, she ceased pulling and commenced firing from a small
piece of cannon, which was mounted on her bows. The grape and
langridge which she poured upon them wounded several of the men,
although Philip had ordered them to lie down flat on the raft and
in the boats. The pirate advanced nearer, and her fire became
more destructive, without any opportunity of returning it by the
_Utrecht's_ people. At last it was proposed, as the only chance of
escape, that the boats should attack the pirate. This was agreed to by
Philip--more men were sent in the boats--Krantz took the command--the
raft was cast off, and the boats pulled away. But scarcely had they
cleared the raft, when, as by one sudden thought, they turned round
and pulled away in the opposite direction. Krantz's voice was heard
by Philip, and his sword was seen to flash through the air--a moment
afterwards he plunged into the sea, and swam to the raft. It appeared
that the people in the boats, anxious to preserve the money which they
had possession of, had agreed among themselves to pull away and leave
the raft to its fate. The proposal for attacking the pirate had been
suggested with that view, and as soon as they were clear of the
raft, they put their intentions into execution. In vain had Krantz
expostulated and threatened; they would have taken his life; and when
he found that his efforts were of no avail, he leaped from the boat.
"Then are we lost, I fear," said Philip. "Our numbers are so reduced,
that we cannot hope to hold out long. What think you, Schriften?"
ventured Philip, addressing the pilot who stood near to him.
"Lost--but not lost by the pirates--no harm there. He! he!"
The remark of Schriften was correct. The pirates, imagining that in
taking to their boat, the people had carried with them everything that
was valuable, instead of firing at the raft, immediately gave chase to
the boats. The sweeps were now out, and the proa flew over the smooth
water like a sea-bird, passed the raft, and was at first evidently
gaining on the boats; but their speed soon slackened, and as the day
passed, the boats, and then the pirate vessel disappeared in the
southward; the distance between them being apparently much the same as
at the commencement of the chase.
The raft being now at the mercy of the winds and waves, Philip and
Krantz collected the carpenter's tools which had been brought from
the ship, and selecting two spars from the raft, they made every
preparation for stepping a mast and setting sail by the next morning.
The morning dawned, and the first objects that met their view, were
the boats pulling back towards the raft, followed closely by the
pirate. The men had pulled the whole night, and were worn out with
fatigue. It was presumed that a consultation had been held, in which
it was agreed that they should make a sweep, so as to return to the
raft; as, if they gained it, they would be able to defend themselves,
and moreover, obtain provisions and water, which they had not on board
at the time of their desertion. But it was fated otherwise; gradually
the men dropped from their oars, exhausted, into the bottom of the
boat, and the pirate vessel followed them with renewed ardour. The
boats were captured one by one; the booty found was more than the
pirates anticipated, and it hardly need be said that not one man was
spared. All this took place within three miles of the raft, and Philip
anticipated that the next movement of the vessel would be towards
them, but he was mistaken. Satisfied with their booty, and imagining
that there could be no more on the raft, the pirate pulled away to the
eastward, towards the islands from amongst which she had first made
her appearance. Thus were those who expected to escape and who had
deserted their companions, deservedly punished, whilst those who
anticipated every disaster from this desertion, discovered that it was
the cause of their being saved.
The remaining people on board the raft amounted to about forty-five;
Philip, Krantz, Schriften, Amine, the two mates, sixteen seamen,
and twenty-four soldiers, who had been embarked at Amsterdam. Of
provisions they had sufficient for three or four weeks, but of water
they were very short, already not having sufficient for more than
three days at the usual allowance. As soon as the mast had been
stepped and rigged, and the sails set (although there was hardly a
breath of wind), Philip explained to the men the necessity of reducing
the quantity of water, and it was agreed that it should be served out
so as to extend the supply to twelve days, the allowance being reduced
to half a pint per day.
There was a debate at this time, as the raft was in two parts, whether
it would not be better to cast off the smaller one and put all the
people on board the other; but this proposal was overruled, as in the
first place, although the boats had deserted them, the number on the
raft had not much diminished, and moreover, the raft would steer much
better under sail, now that it had length, than it would do if they
reduced its dimensions and altered its shape to a square mass of
For three days it was a calm, the sun poured down his hot beams upon
them, and the want of water was severely felt; those who continued to
drink spirits suffered the most.
On the fourth day the breeze sprung up favourably, and the sail was
filled; it was a relief to their burning brows and blistered backs;
and as the raft sailed on at the rate of four miles an hour, the men
were gay and full of hope. The land below the cocoa-nut trees was now
distinguishable, and they anticipated that the next day they could
land and procure the water, which they now so craved for. All night
they carried sail, but the next morning they discovered that the
current was strong against them, and that what they gained when the
breeze was fresh, they lost from the adverse current as soon as it
went down; the breeze was always fresh in the morning, but it fell
calm in the evening. Thus did they continue for four days more, every
noon being not ten miles from the land but the next morning swept away
to a distance, and having their ground to retrace. Eight days had now
passed, and the men, worn out with exposure to the burning sun, became
discontented and mutinous. At one time they insisted that the raft
should be divided, that they might gain the land with the other half;
at another, that the provisions which they could no longer eat should
be thrown overboard to lighten the raft. The difficulty under which
they lay, was the having no anchor or grapnel to the raft, the boats
having carried away with them all that had been taken from the ship.
Philip then proposed to the men, that, as every one of them had such a
quantity of dollars, the money should be sewed up in canvas bags, each
man's property separate; and that with this weight to the ropes they
would probably be enabled to hold the raft against the current for one
night, when they would be able the next day to gain the shore; but
this was refused--they would not risk their money. No, no--fools!
they would sooner part with their lives by the most miserable of
all deaths. Again and again was this proposed to them by Philip and
Krantz, but without success.
In the meantime, Amine had kept up her courage and her spirits;
proving to Philip a valuable adviser and a comforter in his
misfortunes. "Cheer up, Philip," would she say; "we shall yet build
our cottage under the shade of those cocoa-nut trees, and pass a
portion, if not the remainder of our lives in peace; for who indeed
is there who would think to find us in these desolate and untrodden
Schriften was quiet and well-behaved; talked much with Amine, but with
nobody else. Indeed he appeared to have a stronger feeling in favour
of Amine than he had ever shown before. He watched over her and
attended her; and Amine would often look up after being silent, and
perceived Schriften's face wear an air of pity and melancholy, which
she had believed it impossible that he could have exhibited.
Another day passed; again they neared the land, and again did the
breeze die away, and they were swept back by the current. The men now
rose, and in spite of the endeavours of Philip and Krantz, they rolled
into the sea all the provisions and stores, everything but one cask of
spirits and the remaining stock of water; they then sat down at the
upper end of the raft with gloomy, threatening looks, and in close
Another night closed in: Philip was full of anxiety. Again he urged
them to anchor with their money, but in vain; they ordered him away,
and he returned to the after part of the raft, upon which Amine's
secure retreat had been erected; he leant on it in deep thought and
melancholy, for he imagined that Amine was asleep.
"What disturbs you, Philip?"
"What disturbs me? The avarice and folly of these men. They will die,
rather than risk their hateful money. They have the means of saving
themselves and us, and they will not. There is weight enough in
bullion on the fore part of the raft to hold a dozen floating masses
such as this, yet they will not risk it. Cursed love of gold! it makes
men fools, madmen, villains. We have now but two days' water--doled
out as it is drop by drop. Look at their emaciated, broken down,
wasted forms, and yet see how they cling to money, which probably
they will never have occasion for, even if they gain the land. I am
"You suffer, Philip, you suffer from privation; but I have been
careful, I thought that this would come; I have saved both water and
biscuit--I have here four bottles;--drink, Philip, and it will relieve
Philip drank; it did relieve him, for the excitement of the day had
pressed heavily on him.
"Thanks, Amine--thanks, dearest! I feel better now.--Good Heaven! are
there such fools as to value the dross of metal above one drop of
water in a time of suffering and privation such as this?"
The night closed in as before; the stars shone bright but there was no
moon, Philip had risen at midnight to relieve Krantz from the steerage
of the raft. Usually the men had lain about in every part of the raft,
but this night the majority of them remained forward. Philip was
communing with his own bitter thoughts, when he heard a scuffle
forward, and the voice of Krantz crying out to him for help. He
quitted the helm, and seizing his cutlass ran forward, where he found
Krantz down, and the men securing him. He fought his way to him, but
was himself seized and disarmed. "Cut away--cut away," was called out
by those who held him; and, in a few seconds, Philip had the misery to
behold the after part of the raft, with Amine upon it, drifted apart
from the one on which he stood. "For mercy's sake! my wife--my
Amine--for Heaven's sake save her!" cried Philip, struggling in vain
to disengage himself. Amine also, who had run to the side of the raft,
held out her arms--it was in vain--they were separated more than a
cable's length. Philip made one more desperate struggle, and then fell
down deprived of sense and motion.
It was not until the day had dawned that Philip opened his eyes, and
discovered Krantz kneeling at his side; at first his thoughts were
scattered and confused; he felt that some dreadful calamity had
happened to him, but he could not recall to mind what it was. At last
it rushed upon him, and he buried his face in his hands.
"Take comfort," said Krantz; "we shall probably gain the shore to-day,
and we will go in search of her as soon as we can."
"This, then, is the separation and the cruel death to her which that
wretch Schriften prophesied to us," thought Philip; "cruel indeed to
waste away to a skeleton, under a burning sun, without one drop of
water left to cool her parched tongue; at the mercy of the winds and
waves; drifting about--alone--all alone--separated from her husband,
in whose arms she would have died without regret; maddened with
suspense and with the thoughts of what I may be suffering, or what may
have been my fate. Pilot, you are right; there can be no more cruel
death to a fond and doting wife. Oh! my head reels. What has Philip
Vanderdecken to live for now?"
Krantz offered such consolation as his friendship could suggest, but
in vain. He then talked of revenge, and Philip raised his head.
After a few minutes' thought, he rose up. "Yes," replied he,
"revenge!--revenge upon those dastards and traitors! Tell me, Krantz,
how many can we trust?"
"Half of the men, I should think, at least. It was a surprise." A spar
had been fitted as a rudder, and the raft had now gained nearer the
shore than it ever had done before. The men were in high spirits at
the prospect, and every man was sitting on his own store of dollars,
which, in their eyes, increased in value, in proportion as did their
prospect of escape.
Philip discovered from Krantz, that it was the soldiers and the most
indifferent seamen who had mutinied on the night before, and cut away
the other raft; and that all the best men had remained neuter.
"And so they will be now, I imagine," continued Krantz; "the prospect
of gaining the shore has, in a manner, reconciled them to the
treachery of their companions."
"Probably," replied Philip, with a bitter laugh; "but I know what will
rouse them. Send them here to me."
Philip talked to the seamen, whom Krantz had sent over to him. He
pointed out to them that the other men were traitors, not to be relied
upon; that they would sacrifice everything and everybody for their
own gain; that they had already done so for money, and that they
themselves would have no security, either on the raft or on shore,
with such people; that they dare not sleep for fear of having their
throats cut, and that it were better at once to get rid of those
who could not be true to each other; that it would facilitate their
escape, and that they could divide between themselves the money which
the others had secured, and by which they would double their own
shares. That it had been his intention, although he had said nothing,
to enforce the restoration of the money for the benefit of the
Company, as soon as they had gained a civilised port, where the
authorities could interfere; but that, if they consented to join and
aid him, he would now give them the whole of it for their own use.
What will not the desire of gain effect? Is it, therefore, to be
wondered at, that these men, who were indeed but little better than
those who were thus, in his desire of retaliation, denounced by
Philip, consented to his proposal? It was agreed, that if they did not
gain the shore, the others should be attacked that very night, and
tossed into the sea.
But the consultation with Philip had put the other party on the alert;
they, too, held council, and kept their arms by their sides. As the
breeze died away, they were not two miles from the land, and once more
they drifted back into the ocean. Philip's mind was borne down with
grief at the loss of Amine; but it recovered to a certain degree when
he thought of revenge: that feeling stayed him up, and he often felt
the edge of his cutlass, impatient for the moment of retribution.
It was a lovely night; the sea was now smooth as glass, and not a
breath of air moved in the heavens; the sail of the raft hung listless
down the mast, and was reflected upon the calm surface by
the brilliancy of the starry night alone. It was a night for
contemplation--for examination of oneself, and adoration of the Deity;
and here, on a frail raft, were huddled together more than forty
beings ready for combat, for murder, and for spoil. Each party
pretended to repose; yet each were quietly watching the motions of the
other, with their hands upon their weapons. The signal was to be given
by Philip: it was, to let go the halyards of the yard, so that the
sail should fall down upon a portion of the other party, and entangle
them. By Philip's directions, Schriften had taken the helm, and Krantz
remained by his side.
The yard and sail fell clattering down, and then the work of death
commenced; there was no parley, no suspense; each man started upon his
feet and raised his sword. The voices of Philip and of Krantz alone
were heard, and Philip's sword did its work. He was nerved to his
revenge, and never could be satiated as long as one remained who had
sacrificed his Amine. As Philip had expected, many had been covered up
and entangled by the falling of the sail, and their work was thereby
Some fell where they stood; others reeled back, and sunk down under
the smooth water; others were pierced as they floundered under the
canvas. In a few minutes, the work of carnage was complete. Schriften
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