The Phantom Ship
Captain Frederick Marryat
Part 8 out of 8
dissuade him from this project; but he would not be controlled, and,
the very next night he lay down in his clothes, and as soon as our
mother-in-law had left the cottage, he jumped up, took down my
father's gun, and followed her.
"You may imagine in what a state of suspense Marcella and I remained,
during his absence. After a few minutes, we heard the report of a gun.
It did not awaken my father, and we lay trembling with anxiety. In
a minute afterwards we saw our mother-in-law enter the cottage--her
dress was bloody. I put my hand to Marcella's mouth to prevent her
crying out, although I was myself in great alarm. Our mother-in-law
approached my father's bed, looked to see if he was asleep, and then
went to the chimney, and blew up the embers into a blaze.
"'Who is there?' said my father, waking up.
"'Lie still, dearest,' replied my mother-in-law, 'it is only me; I
have lighted the fire to warm some water; I am not quite well.'
"My father turned round and was soon asleep; but we watched our
mother-in-law. She changed her linen, and threw the garments she had
worn into the fire; and we then perceived that her right leg was
bleeding profusely, as if from a gun-shot wound. She bandaged it up,
and then dressing herself, remained before the fire until the break of
"Poor little Marcella, her heart beat quick as she pressed me to her
side--so indeed did mine. Where was our brother, Caesar? How did my
mother-in-law receive the wound unless from his gun? At last my father
rose, and then, for the first time I spoke, saying, 'Father, where is
my brother, Caesar?'
"'Your brother!' exclaimed he, 'why, where can he be?'
"'Merciful Heaven! I thought as I lay very restless last night,'
observed our mother-in-law, 'that I heard somebody open the latch of
the door; and, dear me, husband, what has become of your gun?'
"My father cast his eyes up above the chimney, and perceived that his
gun was missing. For a moment he looked perplexed, then seizing a
broad axe, he went out of the cottage without saying another word.
"He did not remain away from us long: in a few minutes he returned,
bearing in his arms the mangled body of my poor brother; he laid it
down, and covered up his face.
"My mother-in-law rose up, and looked at the body, while Marcella and
I threw ourselves by its side wailing and sobbing bitterly.
"'Go to bed again, children,' said she sharply. 'Husband,' continued
she, 'your boy must have taken the gun down to shoot a wolf, and the
animal has been too powerful for him. Poor boy! he has paid dearly for
"My father made no reply; I wished to speak--to tell all--but
Marcella, who perceived my intention, held me by the arm, and looked
at me so imploringly, that I desisted.
"My father, therefore, was left in his error; but Marcella and
I, although we could not comprehend it, were conscious that our
mother-in-law was in some way connected with my brother's death.
"That day my father went out and dug a grave, and when he laid the
body in the earth, he piled up stones over it, so that the wolves
should not be able to dig it up. The shock of this catastrophe was
to my poor father very severe; for several days he never went to the
chase, although at times he would utter bitter anathemas and vengeance
against the wolves.
"But during this time of mourning on his part, my mother-in-law's
nocturnal wanderings continued with the same regularity as before.
"At last, my father took down his gun, to repair to the forest; but he
soon returned, and appeared much annoyed.
"'Would you believe it, Christina, that the wolves--perdition to the
whole race--have actually contrived to dig up the body of my poor boy,
and now there is nothing left of him but his bones?'
"'Indeed!' replied my mother-in-law. Marcella looked at me, and I saw
in her intelligent eye all she would have uttered.
"'A wolf growls under our window every night, father,' said I.
"'Aye, indeed?--why did you not tell me, boy?--wake me the next time
you hear it.'
"I saw my mother-in-law turn away; her eyes flashed fire, and she
gnashed her teeth.
"My father went out again, and covered up with a larger pile of stones
the little remnants of my poor brother which the wolves had spared.
Such was the first act of the tragedy.
"The spring now came on: the snow disappeared, and we were permitted
to leave the cottage; but never would I quit, for one moment, my dear
little sister, to whom, since the death of my brother, I was more
ardently attached than ever; indeed I was afraid to leave her alone
with my mother-in-law, who appeared to have a particular pleasure in
ill-treating the child. My father was now employed upon his little
farm, and I was able to render him some assistance.
"Marcella used to sit by us while we were at work, leaving my
mother-in-law alone in the cottage. I ought to observe that, as the
spring advanced, so did my mother-in-law decrease her nocturnal
rambles, and that we never heard the growl of the wolf under the
window after I had spoken of it to my father.
"One day, when my father and I were in the field, Marcella being with
us, my mother-in-law came out, saying that she was going into the
forest, to collect some herbs my father wanted, and that Marcella
must go to the cottage and watch the dinner. Marcella went, and my
mother-in-law soon disappeared in the forest, taking a direction quite
contrary to that in which the cottage stood, and leaving my father and
I, as it were, between her and Marcella.
"About an hour afterwards we were startled by shrieks from the
cottage, evidently the shrieks of little Marcella. 'Marcella has burnt
herself, father,' said I, throwing down my spade. My father threw down
his, and we both hastened to the cottage. Before we could gain the
door, out darted a large white wolf, which fled with the utmost
celerity. My father had no weapon; he rushed into the cottage, and
there saw poor little Marcella expiring: her body was dreadfully
mangled, and the blood pouring from it had formed a large pool on the
cottage floor. My father's first intention had been to seize his gun
and pursue, but he was checked by this horrid spectacle; he knelt down
by his dying child, and burst into tears: Marcella could just look
kindly on us for a few seconds, and then her eyes were closed in
"My father and I were still hanging over my poor sister's body, when
my mother-in-law came in. At the dreadful sight she expressed much
concern, but she did not appear to recoil from the sight of blood, as
most women do.
"'Poor child!' said she, 'it must have been that great white wolf
which passed me just now, and frightened me so--she's quite dead,
"I know it--I know it!' cried my father in agony.
"I thought my father would never recover from the effects of this
second tragedy: he mourned bitterly over the body of his sweet child,
and for several days would not consign it to its grave, although
frequently requested by my mother-in-law to do so. At last he yielded,
and dug a grave for her close by that of my poor brother, and took
every precaution that the wolves should not violate her remains.
"I was now really miserable, as I lay alone in the bed which I had
formerly shared with my brother and sister. I could not help thinking
that my mother-in-law was implicated in both their deaths, although I
could not account for the manner; but I no longer felt afraid of her:
my little heart was full of hatred and revenge.
"The night after my sister had been buried, as I lay awake, I
perceived my mother-in-law get up and go out of the cottage. I waited
some time, then dressed myself, and looked out through the door, which
I half opened. The moon shone bright, and I could see the spot where
my brother and my sister had been buried; and what was my horror,
when I perceived my mother-in-law busily removing the stones from
"She was in her white night-dress, and the moon shone full upon her.
She was digging with her hands, and throwing away the stones behind
her with all the ferocity of a wild beast. It was some time before
I could collect my senses and decide what I should do. At last, I
perceived that she had arrived at the body, and raised it up to the
side of the grave. I could bear it no longer; I ran to my father and
"'Father! father!' cried I, 'dress yourself, and get your gun.'
"'What!' cried my father, 'the wolves are there, are they?'
"He jumped out of bed, threw on his clothes, and in his anxiety did
not appear to perceive the absence of his wife. As soon as he was
ready, I opened the door, he went out, and I followed him.
"Imagine his horror, when (unprepared as he was for such a sight) he
beheld, as he advanced towards the grave, not a wolf, but his wife, in
her night-dress, on her hands and knees, crouching by the body of my
sister, and tearing off large pieces of the flesh, and devouring them
with all the avidity of a wolf. She was too busy to be aware of our
approach. My father dropped his gun, his hair stood on end; so did
mine; he breathed heavily, and then his breath for a time stopped. I
picked up the gun and put it into his hand. Suddenly he appeared as if
concentrated rage had restored him to double vigour; he levelled his
piece, fired, and with a loud shriek, down fell the wretch whom he had
fostered in his bosom.
"'God of Heaven!' cried my father, sinking down upon the earth in a
swoon, as soon as he had discharged his gun.
"I remained some time by his side before he recovered. 'Where am I?'
said he, 'what has happened?--Oh!--yes, yes! I recollect now. Heaven
"He rose and we walked up to the grave; what again was our
astonishment and horror to find that instead of the dead body of my
mother-in-law, as we expected, there was lying over the remains of my
poor sister, a large, white she wolf.
"'The white wolf!' exclaimed my father, 'the white wolf which decoyed
me into the forest--I see it all now--I have dealt with the spirits of
the Hartz Mountains.'
"For some time my father remained in silence and deep thought. He then
carefully lifted up the body of my sister, replaced it in the grave,
and covered it over as before, having struck the head of the dead
animal with the heel of his boot, and raving like a madman. He walked
back to the cottage, shut the door, and threw himself on the bed; I
did the same, for I was in a stupor of amazement.
"Early in the morning we were both roused by a loud knocking at the
door, and in rushed the hunter Wilfred.
"'My daughter!--man--my daughter!--where is my daughter!' cried he in
"'Where the wretch, the fiend, should be, I trust,' replied my father,
starting up and displaying equal choler; 'where she should be--in
hell!--Leave this cottage or you may fare worse.'
"'Ha--ha!' replied the hunter, 'would you harm a potent spirit of the
Hartz Mountains. Poor mortal, who must needs wed a weir wolf.'
"'Out demon! I defy thee and thy power.'
"'Yet shall you feel it; remember your oath--your solemn oath--never
to raise your hand against her to harm her.'
"'I made no compact with evil spirits.'
"'You did; and if you failed in your vow, you were to meet the
vengeance of the spirits. Your children were to perish by the vulture,
"'Out, out, demon!'
"'And their bones blanch in the wilderness. Ha!--ha!'
"My father, frantic with rage, seized his axe, and raised it over
Wilfred's head to strike.
"'All this I swear,' continued the huntsman, mockingly.
"The axe descended; but it passed through the form of the hunter, and
my father lost his balance, and fell heavily on the floor.
"'Mortal!' said the hunter, striding over my father's body, 'we have
power over those only who have committed murder. You have been guilty
of a double murder--you shall pay the penalty attached to your
marriage vow. Two of your children are gone; the third is yet to
follow--and follow them he will, for your oath is registered. Go--it
were kindness to kill thee--your punishment is--that you live!'
"With these words the spirit disappeared. My father rose from the
floor, embraced me tenderly, and knelt down in prayer.
"The next morning he quitted the cottage for ever. He took me with him
and bent his steps to Holland, where we safely arrived. He had some
little money with him; but he had not been many days in Amsterdam
before he was seized with a brain fever, and died raving mad. I was
put into the Asylum, and afterwards was sent to sea before the mast.
You now know all my history. The question is, whether I am to pay the
penalty of my father's oath? I am myself perfectly convinced that, in
some way or another, I shall."
On the twenty-second day the high land of the south of Sumatra was in
view; as there were no vessels in sight, they resolved to keep their
course through the Straits, and run for Pulo Penang, which they
expected, as their vessel laid so close to the wind, to reach in seven
or eight days. By constant exposure, Philip and Krantz were now so
bronzed, that with their long beards and Mussulman dresses, they might
easily have passed off for natives. They had steered during the whole
of the days exposed to a burning sun; they had lain down and slept in
the dew of night, but their health had not suffered. But for several
days, since he had confided the history of his family to Philip,
Krantz had become silent and melancholy; his usual flow of spirits had
vanished, and Philip had often questioned him as to the cause. As they
entered the Straits, Philip talked of what they should do upon their
arrival at Goa. When Krantz gravely replied, "For some days, Philip, I
have had a presentiment that I shall never see that city."
"You are out of health, Krantz," replied Philip.
"No; I am in sound health, body and mind. I have endeavoured to shake
off the presentiment, but in vain; there is a warning voice that
continually tells me that I shall not be long with you. Philip, will
you oblige me by making me content on one point: I have gold about
my person which may be useful to you; oblige me by taking it, and
securing it on your own."
"What nonsense, Krantz."
"It is no nonsense, Philip. Have you not had your warnings? Why should
I not have mine? You know that I have little fear in my composition,
and that I care not about death; but I feel the presentiment which I
speak of more strongly every hour. It is some kind spirit who would
warn me to prepare for another world. Be it so. I have lived long
enough in this world to leave it without regret; although to part
with you and Amine, the only two now dear to me, is painful, I
"May not this arise from over-exertion and fatigue, Krantz? consider
how much excitement you have laboured under within these last four
months. Is not that enough to create a corresponding depression?
Depend upon it, my dear friend, such is the fact."
"I wish it were--but I feel otherwise, and there is a feeling of
gladness connected with the idea that I am to leave this world,
arising from another presentiment, which equally occupies my mind."
"I hardly can tell you; but Amine and you are connected with it. In my
dreams I have seen you meet again; but it has appeared to me, as if a
portion of your trial was purposely shut from my sight in dark clouds;
and I have asked, 'May not I see what is there concealed?'--and an
invisible has answered, 'No! 'twould make you wretched. Before these
trials take place, you will be summoned away'--and then I have thanked
Heaven, and felt resigned."
"These are the imaginings of a disturbed brain, Krantz; that I am
destined to suffering may be true; but why Amine should suffer, or why
you, young, in full health and vigour, should not pass your days in
peace, and live to a good old age, there is no cause for believing.
You will be better to-morrow."
"Perhaps so," replied Krantz;--"but still you must yield to my whim,
and take the gold. If I am wrong, and we do arrive safe, you know,
Philip, you can let me have it back," observed Krantz, with a faint
smile--"but you forget, our water is nearly out, and we must look out
for a rill on the coast to obtain a fresh supply."
"I was thinking of that when you commenced this unwelcome topic. We
had better look out for the water before dark, and as soon as we have
replenished our jars, we will make sail again."
At the time that this conversation took place, they were on the
eastern side of the Strait, about forty miles to the northward.
The interior of the coast was rocky and mountainous, but it slowly
descended to low land of alternate forest and jungles, which continued
to the beach: the country appeared to be uninhabited. Keeping close in
to the shore, they discovered, after two hours' run, a fresh stream
which burst in a cascade from the mountains, and swept its devious
course through the jungle, until it poured its tribute into the waters
of the Strait.
They ran close in to the mouth of the stream, lowered the sails, and
pulled the peroqua against the current, until they had advanced far
enough to assure them that the water was quite fresh. The jars were
soon filled, and they were again thinking of pushing off; when,
enticed by the beauty of the spot, the coolness of the fresh water,
and wearied with their long confinement on board of the peroqua, they
proposed to bathe--a luxury hardly to be appreciated by those who
have not been in a similar situation. They threw off their Mussulman
dresses, and plunged into the stream, where they remained for some
time. Krantz was the first to get out; he complained of feeling
chilled, and he walked on to the banks where their clothes had been
laid. Philip also approached nearer to the beach, intending to follow
"And now, Philip," said Krantz, "this will be a good opportunity for
me to give you the money. I will open my sash, and pour it out, and
you can put it into your own before you put it on."
Philip was standing in the water, which was about level with his
"Well, Krantz," said he, "I suppose if it must be so, it must; but it
appears to me an idea so ridiculous--however, you shall have your own
Philip quitted the run, and sat down by Krantz, who was already busy
in shaking the doubloons out of the folds of his sash; at last he
"I believe, Philip, you have got them all, now?--I feel satisfied."
"What danger there can be to you, which I am not equally exposed to, I
cannot conceive," replied Philip; "however--"
Hardly had he said these words, when there was a tremendous roar--a
rush like a mighty wind through the air--a blow which threw him on
his back--a loud cry--and a contention. Philip recovered himself, and
perceived the naked form of Krantz carried off with the speed of
an arrow by an enormous tiger through the jungle. He watched with
distended eyeballs; in a few seconds the animal and Krantz had
"God of Heaven! would that Thou hadst spared me this," cried Philip,
throwing himself down in agony on his face. "Oh! Krantz, my friend--my
brother--too sure was your presentiment. Merciful God! have pity--but
Thy will be done;" and Philip burst into a flood of tears.
For more than an hour did he remain fixed upon the spot, careless
and indifferent to the danger by which he was surrounded. At last,
somewhat recovered, he rose, dressed himself, and then again sat
down--his eyes fixed upon the clothes of Krantz, and the gold which
still lay on the sand.
"He would give me that gold. He foretold his doom. Yes! yes! it was
his destiny, and it has been fulfilled. _His bones will bleach in
the wilderness_, and the spirit-hunter and his wolfish daughter are
The shades of evening now set in, and the low growling of the beasts
of the forest recalled Philip to a sense of his own danger. He thought
of Amine; and hastily making the clothes of Krantz and the doubloons
into a package, he stepped into the peroqua, with difficulty shoved it
off, and with a melancholy heart, and in silence, hoisted the sail,
and pursued his course.
"Yes, Amine," thought Philip, as he watched the stars twinkling and
corruscating. "Yes, you are right, when you assert that the destinies
of men are foreknown, and may by some be read. My destiny is, alas!
that I should be severed from all I value upon earth, and die
friendless and alone. Then welcome death, if such is to be the case;
welcome a thousand welcomes! what a relief wilt thou be to me! what
joy to find myself summoned to where the weary are at rest! I have my
task to fulfil. God grant that it may soon be accomplished, and let
not my life be embittered by any more trials such as this."
Again did Philip weep, for Krantz had been his long-tried, valued
friend, his partner in all his dangers and privations, from the period
that they had met when the Dutch fleet attempted the passage round
After seven days of painful watching and brooding over bitter
thoughts, Philip arrived at Pulo Penang, where he found a vessel about
to sail for the city to which he was destined. He ran his peroqua
alongside of her, and found that she was a brig under the Portuguese
flag, having, however, but two Portuguese on board, the rest of the
crew being natives. Representing himself as an Englishman in the
Portuguese service, who had been wrecked, and offering to pay for
his passage, he was willingly received, and in a few days the vessel
Their voyage was prosperous; in six weeks they anchored in the roads
of Goa; the next day they went up the river. The Portuguese captain
informed Philip where he might obtain lodging; and passing him off as
one of his crew, there was no difficulty raised as to his landing.
Having located himself at his new lodging, Philip commenced some
inquiries of his host relative to Amine, designating her merely as a
young woman who had arrived there in a vessel some weeks before; but
he could obtain no information concerning her. "Signor," said the
host, "to-morrow is the grand _Auto da Fe_; we can do nothing until
that is over; afterwards, I will put you in the way to find out what
you wish. In the meantime, you can walk about the town; to-morrow I
will take you to where you can behold the grand procession, and then
we will try what we can do to assist you in your search."
Philip went out, procured a suit of clothes, removed his beard, and
then walked about the town, looking up at every window to see if he
could perceive Amine. At a corner of one of the streets, he thought he
recognised Father Mathias, and ran up to him; but the monk had drawn
his cowl over his head, and when addressed by that name, made no
"I was deceived," thought Philip; "but I really thought it was him."
And Philip was right; it was Father Mathias, who thus screened himself
from Philip's recognition.
Tired, at last he returned to his hotel, just before it was dark. The
company there were numerous; everybody for miles distant had come to
Goa to witness the _Auto da Fe_,--and everybody was discussing the
"I will see this grand procession," said Philip to himself, as he
threw himself on his bed. "It will drive thought from me for a time,
and God knows how painful my thoughts have now become. Amine, dear
Amine, may angels guard thee!"
Although to-morrow was to end all Amine's hopes and fears--all her
short happiness--her suspense and misery--yet Amine slept until
her last slumber in this world was disturbed by the unlocking and
unbarring of the doors of her cell, and the appearance of the head
jailor with a light. Amine started up--she had been dreaming of her
husband--of happiness! She awoke to the sad reality. There stood the
jailor, with a dress in his hand, which he desired she would put on.
He lighted a lamp for her, and left her alone. The dress was of black
serge, with white stripes.
Amine put on the dress, and threw herself down on the bed, trying if
possible to recall the dream from which she had been awakened, but
in vain. Two hours passed away, and the jailor again entered, and
summoned her to follow him. Perhaps one of the most appalling customs
of the Inquisition is, that after accusation, whether the accused
parties confess their guilt or not, they return to their dungeons,
without the least idea of what may have been their sentence, and when
summoned on the morning of the execution they are equally kept in
The prisoners were all summoned by the jailors, from the various
dungeons, and led into a large hall, where they found their
In this spacious, dimly lighted hall were to be seen about two hundred
men, standing up as if for support, against the walls, all dressed in
the same black and white serge; so motionless, so terrified were they,
that if it had not been for the rolling of their eyes, as they watched
the jailors, who passed and repassed, you might have imagined them to
be petrified. It was the agony of suspense, worse than the agony of
death. After a time, a wax candle, about five feet long, was put into
the hands of each prisoner, and then some were ordered to put on
over their dress the _Sanbenitos_--others the _Samarias_! Those who
received these dresses, with flames painted on them, gave themselves
up for lost; and it was dreadful to perceive the anguish of each
individual as the dresses were one by one brought forward, and with
the heavy drops of perspiration on his brows, he watched with terror
lest one should be presented to him. All was doubt, fear, and horror!
But the prisoners in this hall were not those who were to suffer
death. Those who wore the Sanbenitos had to walk in the procession and
receive but slight punishment; those who wore the Samarias had
been condemned, but had been saved from the consuming fire, by an
acknowledgment of their offence; the flames painted on their dresses
were _reversed_, and signified that they were not to suffer; but this
the unfortunate wretches did not know, and the horrors of a cruel
death stared them in the face!
Another hall, similar to the one in which the men had been
collected, was occupied by female culprits. The same ceremonies were
observed--the same doubt, fear, and agony were depicted upon every
countenance. But there was a third chamber, smaller than the other
two, and this chamber was reserved for those who had been sentenced,
and who were to suffer at the stake. It was into this chamber that
Amine was led, and there she found seven other prisoners dressed in
the same manner as herself: two only were Europeans, the other five
were negro slaves. Each of these had their confessor with them, and
were earnestly listening to his exhortation. A monk approached Amine,
but she waved him away with her hand: he looked at her, spat on the
floor, and cursed her. The head jailor now made his appearance with
the dresses for those who were in this chamber; these were Samarias,
only different from the others, inasmuch as the flames were painted on
them _upwards_ instead of down. These dresses were of grey stuff, and
loose, like a waggoner's frock; at the lower part of them, both before
and behind, was painted the likeness of the wearer, that is, the face
only, resting upon a burning faggot, and surrounded with flames and
demons. Under the portrait was written the crime for which the party
suffered. Sugar-loaf caps, with flames painted on them, were also
brought and put on their heads, and the long wax candles were placed
into their hands.
Amine and the others condemned being arrayed in these dresses,
remained in the chambers, for some hours before it was time for the
procession to commence, for they had been all summoned up by the
jailors at about two o'clock in the morning.
The sun rose brilliantly, much to the joy of the members of the Holy
Office, who would not have had the day obscured on which they were to
vindicate the honour of the church, and prove how well they acted up
to the mild doctrines of the Saviour--those of charity, good-will,
forbearing one another, forgiving one another. God of Heaven! And not
only did those of the Holy Inquisition rejoice, but thousands and
thousands more who had flocked from all parts to witness the dreadful
ceremony, and to hold a jubilee--many indeed actuated by fanaticism,
superstition, but more attended from thoughtlessness and the love of
pageantry. The streets and squares through which the procession was
to pass were filled at an early hour. Silks, tapestries, and cloth of
gold and silver were hung over the balconies, and out of the windows,
in honour of the procession. Every balcony and window was thronged
with ladies and cavaliers in their gayest attire, all waiting
anxiously to see the wretches paraded before they suffered; but the
world is fond of excitement, and where is anything so exciting to a
superstitious people as an _Auto da Fe_?
As the sun rose, the heavy bell of the Cathedral tolled, and all the
prisoners were led down to the Grand Hall, that the order of the
procession might be arranged. At the large entrance door, on a raised
throne, sat the Grand Inquisitor, encircled by many of the most
considerable nobility and gentry of Goa. By the Grand Inquisitor stood
his Secretary, and as the prisoners walked past the throne, and their
names were mentioned, the Secretary, after each, called out the names
of one of those gentlemen, who immediately stepped forward, and took
his station by the prisoner. These people are termed the godfathers;
their duty is to accompany and be answerable for the prisoner, who is
under their charge, until the ceremony is over. It is reckoned a high
honour conferred on those whom the Grand Inquisitor appoints to this
At last the procession commenced. First was raised on high the
standard of the Dominican Order of Monks, for the Dominican Order
were the founders of the Inquisition, and claimed this privilege, by
prescriptive right. After the banner the monks themselves followed,
in two lines. And what was the motto of their banner? "Justitia et
Misericordia!" Then followed the culprits, to the number of three
hundred, each with his godfather by his side, and his large wax candle
lighted in his hand. Those whose offences have been most venial walk
first; all are bareheaded, and barefooted. After this portion, who
wore only the dress of black and white serge, came those who carried
the Sanbenitos; then those who wore the Samarias, with the flames
reversed. Here there was a separation in the procession, caused by a
large cross, with the carved image of Our Saviour nailed to it, the
face of the image carried forward. This was intended to signify, that
those in advance of the Crucifix, and upon whom the Saviour looked
down, were not to suffer; and that those who were behind, and upon
whom his back was turned, were cast away, to perish for ever in this
world, and the next. Behind the Crucifix followed the seven condemned;
and, as the greatest criminal, Amine walked the last. But the
procession did not close here. Behind Amine were five effigies, raised
high on poles, clothed in the same dresses, painted with flames and
demons. Behind each effigy was borne a coffin, containing a skeleton;
the effigies were of those who had died in their dungeon, or expired
under the torture, and who had been tried and condemned after their
death, and sentenced to be burnt. These skeletons had been dug up,
and were to suffer the same sentence as, had they still been living
beings, they would have undergone. The effigies were to be tied to the
stakes, and the bones were to be consumed. Then followed the members
of the Inquisition; the familiars, monks, priests, and hundreds of
penitents, in black dresses, which concealed their faces, all with the
lighted tapers in their hands.
It was two hours before the procession, which had paraded through
almost every important street in Goa, arrived at the Cathedral in
which the further ceremonies were to be gone through. The barefooted
culprits could now scarcely walk, the small sharp flints having so
wounded their feet, that their tracks up the steps of the Cathedral
were marked with blood.
The grand altar of the Cathedral was hung with black cloth, and
lighted up with thousands of tapers. On one side of it was a throne
for the Grand Inquisitor, on the other, a raised platform for the
Viceroy of Goa, and his suite. The centre aisle had benches for the
prisoners, and their godfathers; the other portions of the procession
falling off to the right and left, to the side aisles, and mixing for
the time with the spectators. As the prisoners entered the Cathedral,
they were led into their seats, those least guilty sitting nearest to
the altar, and those who were condemned to suffer at the stake being
placed the farthest from it.
The bleeding Amine tottered to her seat, and longed for the hour which
was to sever her from a Christian world. She thought not of herself,
nor of what she was to suffer; she thought but of Philip; of his being
safe from these merciless creatures--of the happiness of dying first,
and of meeting him again in bliss.
Worn with long confinement, with suspense and anxiety, fatigued and
suffering from her painful walk, and the exposure to the burning sun,
after so many months' incarceration in a dungeon, she no longer shone
radiant with beauty; but still there was something even more touching
in her care-worn, yet still perfect features. The object of universal
gaze, she had walked with her eyes cast down, and nearly closed; but
occasionally, when she did look up, the fire that flashed from them
spoke the proud soul within, and many feared and wondered, while more
pitied that one so young, and still so lovely, should be doomed to
such an awful fate. Amine had not taken her seat in the Cathedral more
than a few seconds, when, overpowered by her feelings and by fatigue,
she fell back in a swoon.
Did no one step forward to assist her? to raise her up, and offer her
restoratives? No--not one. Hundreds would have done so, but they dared
not: she was an outcast, excommunicated, abandoned, and lost; and
should any one, moved by compassion for a suffering fellow-creature,
have ventured to raise her up, he would have been looked upon with
suspicion, and most probably have been arraigned, and have had to
settle the affair of conscience with the Holy Inquisition.
After a short time two of the officers of the Inquisition went to
Amine and raised her again in her seat, and she recovered sufficiently
to enable her to retain her posture.
A sermon was then preached by a Dominican monk, in which he pourtrayed
the tender mercies, the paternal love of the Holy Office. He compared
the Inquisition to the ark of Noah, out of which all the animals
walked after the deluge; but with this difference, highly in favour of
the Holy Office, that the animals went forth from the ark no better
than they went in, whereas those who had gone into the Inquisition
with all the cruelty of disposition, and with the hearts of wolves,
came out as mild and patient as lambs.
The public accuser then mounted the pulpit, and read from it all the
crimes of those who had been condemned, and the punishments which they
were to undergo. Each prisoner, as the sentence was read, was brought
forward to the pulpit by the officers, to hear their sentence,
standing up, with their wax candles lighted in their hands. As soon as
the sentences of all those whose lives had been spared were read, the
Grand Inquisitor put on his priestly robes and, followed by several
others, took off from them the ban of excommunication (which they were
supposed to have fallen under), by throwing holy water on them with a
As soon as this portion of the ceremony was over, those who were
condemned to suffer, and the effigies of those who had escaped by
death, were brought up one by one, and their sentences read; the
winding up of the condemnation of all was in the same words, "that the
Holy Inquisition found it impossible on account of the hardness of
their hearts and the magnitude of their crimes, to pardon them. With
great concern it handed them over to Secular Justice to undergo the
penalty of the laws; exhorting the authorities at the same time to
show clemency and mercy towards the unhappy wretches, and if they
_must_ suffer death, that at all events it might be without the
_spilling of blood_." What mockery was this apparent intercession, not
to shed blood, when to comply with their request, they substituted the
torment and the agony of the stake!
Amine was the last who was led forward to the pulpit, which was fixed
against one of the massive columns of the centre aisle, close to the
throne occupied by the Grand Inquisitor. "You, Amine Vanderdecken,"
cried the public accuser. At this moment an unusual bustle was heard
in the crowd under the pulpit, there was struggling and expostulation,
and the officers raised their wands for silence and decorum--but it
"You, Amine Vanderdecken, being accused--"
Another violent struggle; and from the crowd darted a young man, who
rushed to where Amine was standing, and caught her in his arms.
"Philip! Philip!" screamed Amine, falling on his bosom; as he caught
her, the cap of flames fell off her head and rolled along the marble
pavement. "My Amine--my wife--my adored one--is it thus we meet? My
lord, she is innocent. Stand off, men," continued he to the officers
of the Inquisition, who would have torn them asunder. "Stand off, or
your lives shall answer for it."
This threat to the officers, and the defiance of all rules, were not
to be borne; the whole Cathedral was in a state of commotion, and the
solemnity of the ceremony was about to be compromised. The Viceroy and
his followers had risen from their chairs to observe what was passing,
and the crowd was pressing on, when the Grand Inquisitor gave his
directions, and other officers hastened to the assistance of the
two who had led Amine forward, and proceeded to disengage her from
Philip's arms. The struggle was severe. Philip appeared to be endued
with the strength of twenty men; and it was some minutes before they
could succeed in separating him, and when they had so done, his
struggles were dreadful.
Amine, also, held by two of the familiars, shrieked, as she attempted
once more, but in vain, to rush into her husband's arms. At last, by
a tremendous effort, Philip released himself, but as soon as he was
released, he sank down helpless on the pavement; the exertion had
caused the bursting of a blood-vessel, and he lay without motion.
"Oh God! Oh God! they have killed him--monsters--murderers--let me
embrace him but once more," cried Amine, frantically.
A priest now stepped forward--it was Father Mathias--with sorrow in
his countenance; he desired some of the bystanders to carry out Philip
Vanderdecken, and Philip, in a state of insensibility, was borne away
from the sight of Amine, the blood streaming from his mouth.
Amine's sentence was read--she heard it not, her brain was bewildered.
She was led back to her seat, and then it was that all her courage,
all her constancy and fortitude gave way; and during the remainder
of the ceremony, she filled the Cathedral with her wild hysterical
sobbing; all entreaties or threats being wholly lost upon her.
All was now over, except the last and most tragical scene of the
drama. The culprits who had been spared were led back to the
Inquisition by their godfathers, and those who had been sentenced were
taken down to the banks of the river to suffer. It was on a large open
space, on the left of the Custom-house, that this ceremony was to be
gone through. As in the Cathedral, raised thrones were prepared for
the Grand Inquisitor and the Viceroy, who, in state, headed the
procession, followed by an immense concourse of people. Thirteen
stakes had been set up, eight for the living, five for the dead. The
executioners were sitting on, or standing by, the piles of wood and
faggots, waiting for their victims. Amine could not walk; she was at
first supported by the familiars, and then carried by them, to the
stake which had been assigned for her. When they put her on her feet
opposite to it, her courage appeared to revive, she walked boldly up,
folded her arms, and leant against it.
The executioners now commenced their office: the chains were passed
round Amine's body--the wood and faggots piled around her. The same
preparations had been made with all the other culprits, and the
confessors stood by the side of each victim. Amine waved her hand
indignantly to those who approached her, when Father Mathias, almost
breathless, made his appearance from the crowd, through which he had
forced his way.
"Amine Vanderdecken--unhappy woman! had you been counselled by me this
would not have been. Now it is too late, but not too late to save your
soul. Away then with this obstinacy--this hardness of heart; call upon
the blessed Saviour, that He may receive your spirit--call upon His
wounds for mercy. It is the eleventh hour, but not too late. Amine,"
continued the old man, with tears, "I implore, I conjure you. At
least, may this load of trouble be taken from my heart."
"'Unhappy woman!' you say?" replied she, "say rather, 'unhappy
priest:' for Amine's sufferings will soon be over, while you must
still endure the torments of the damned. Unhappy was the day when my
husband rescued you from death. Still more unhappy the compassion
which prompted him to offer you an asylum and a refuge. Unhappy the
knowledge of you from the _first_ day to the _last_. I leave you to
your conscience--if conscience you retain--nor would I change this
cruel death for the pangs which you in your future life will suffer.
Leave me--_I die in the faith of my forefathers_, and scorn a creed
that warrants such a scene as this."
"Amine Vanderdecken," cried the priest on his knees, clasping his
hands in agony.
"Leave me, Father."
"There is but a minute left--for the love of God--"
"I tell you then, leave me--that minute is my own."
Father Mathias turned away in despair, and the tears coursed down the
old man's cheeks. As Amine said, his misery was extreme.
The head executioner now inquired of the confessors whether the
culprits died in the _true_ faith? If answered in the affirmative, a
rope was passed round their necks and twisted to the stake, so that
they were strangled before the fire was kindled. All the other
culprits had died in this manner; and the head executioner inquired of
Father Mathias, whether Amine had a claim to so much mercy. The old
priest answered not, but shook his head.
The executioner turned away. After a moment's pause, Father Mathias
followed him, and seized him by the arm, saying, in a faltering voice,
"Let her not suffer long."
The Grand Inquisitor gave the signal, and the fires were all lighted
at the same moment. In compliance with the request of the priest, the
executioner had thrown a quantity of wet straw upon Amine's pile,
which threw up a dense smoke before it burnt into flames.
"Mother! mother! I come to thee!" were the last words heard from
The flames soon raged furiously, ascending high above the top of the
stake to which she had been chained. Gradually they sunk down; and
only when the burning embers covered the ground, a few fragments of
bones hanging on the chain were all that remained of the once peerless
and high-minded Amine.
Years have, passed away since we related Amine's sufferings and cruel
death; and now once more we bring Philip Vanderdecken on the scene.
And during this time, where has he been? A lunatic--at one time
frantic, chained, coerced with blows; at others, mild and peaceable.
Reason occasionally appeared to burst out again, as the sun on a
cloudy day, and then it was again obscured. For many years there was
one who watched him carefully, and lived in hope to witness his return
to a sane mind; he watched in sorrow and remorse,--he died without his
desires being gratified. This was Father Mathias!
The cottage at Terneuse had long fallen into ruin; for many years it
waited the return of its owners, and at last the heirs-at-law claimed
and recovered the substance of Philip Vanderdecken. Even the fate of
Amine had passed from the recollection of most people; although her
portrait, over burning coals, with her crime announced beneath it, still
hangs--as is the custom in the church of the Inquisition--attracting,
from its expressive beauty, the attention of the most careless
But many, many years have rolled away--Philip's hair is white--his
once-powerful frame is broken down--and he appears much older than he
really is. He is now sane; but his vigour is gone. Weary of life, all
he wishes for is to execute his mission--and then to welcome death.
The relic has never been taken from him: he has been discharged from
the lunatic asylum, and has been provided with the means of returning
to his country. Alas! he has now no country--no home--nothing in the
world to induce him to remain in it. All he asks is--to do his duty
and to die.
The ship was ready to sail for Europe; and Philip Vanderdecken went on
board--hardly caring whither he went. To return to Terneuse was not
his object; he could not bear the idea of revisiting the scene of so
much happiness and so much misery. Amine's form was engraven on his
heart, and he looked forward with impatience to the time when he
should be summoned to join her in the land of spirits.
He had awakened as from a dream, after so many years of aberration of
intellect. He was no longer the sincere Catholic that he had been;
for he never thought of religion without his Amine's cruel fate being
brought to his recollection. Still he clung on to the relic--he
believed in that--and that only. It was his god--his creed--his
everything--the passport for himself and for his father into the next
world--the means whereby he should join his Amine--and for hours would
he remain holding in his hand that object so valued--gazing upon
it--recalling every important event in his life, from the death of his
poor mother, and his first sight of Amine; to the last dreadful scene.
It was to him a journal of his existence, and on it were fixed all his
hopes for the future.
"When! oh when is it to be accomplished!" was the constant subject
of his reveries. "Blessed, indeed, will be the day when I leave this
world of hate, and seek that other in which 'the weary are at rest.'"
The vessel on board of which Philip was embarked as a passenger was
the _Nostra Senora da Monte_, a brig of three hundred tons, bound for
Lisbon. The captain was an old Portuguese, full of superstition, and
fond of arrack--a fondness rather unusual with the people of his
nation. They sailed from Goa, and Philip was standing abaft, and sadly
contemplating the spire of the Cathedral, in which he had last parted
with his wife, when his elbow was touched, and he turned round.
"Fellow-passenger, again!" said a well-known voice--it was that of the
There was no alteration in the man's appearance; he showed no marks of
declining years; his one eye glared as keenly as ever.
Philip started, not only at the sight of the man, but at the
reminiscences which his unexpected appearance brought to his mind. It
was but for a second, and he was again calm and pensive.
"You here again, Schriften?" observed Philip. "I trust your appearance
forebodes the accomplishment of my task."
"Perhaps it does," replied the pilot; "we both are weary."
Philip made no reply; he did not even ask Schriften in what manner he
had escaped from the fort; he was indifferent about it; for he felt
that the man had a charmed life.
"Many are the vessels that have been wrecked, Philip Vanderdecken, and
many the souls summoned to their account by meeting with your father's
ship, while you have been so long shut up," observed the pilot.
"May our next meeting with him be more fortunate--may it be the last!"
"No, no! rather may he fulfil his doom, and sail till the day of
judgment," replied the pilot with emphasis.
"Vile caitiff! I have a foreboding that you will not have your
detestable wish. Away!--leave me! or you shall find, that although
this head is blanched by misery, this arm has still some power."
Schriften scowled as he walked away; he appeared to have some fear
of Philip, although it was not equal to his hate. He now resumed his
former attempts of stirring up the ship's company against Philip,
declaring that he was a Jonas, who would occasion the loss of the
ship, and that he was connected with the _Flying Dutchman_.
Philip very soon observed that he was avoided; and he resorted to
counter-statements, equally injurious to Schriften, whom he declared
to be a demon. The appearance of Schriften was so much against him,
while that of Philip, on the contrary, was so prepossessing, that the
people on board hardly knew what to think. They were divided: some
were on the side of Philip--some on that of Schriften; the captain and
many others looking with equal horror upon both, and longing for the
time when they could be sent out of the vessel.
The captain, as we have before observed, was very superstitious, and
very fond of his bottle. In the morning he would be sober and pray; in
the afternoon he would be drunk, and swear at the very saints whose
protection he had invoked but a few hours before.
"May Holy Saint Antonio preserve us, and keep us from temptation,"
said he, on the morning after a conversation with the passengers about
the Phantom Ship. "All the saints protect us from harm," continued he,
taking off his hat reverentially, and crossing himself. "Let me but
rid myself of these two dangerous men without accident, and I will
offer up a hundred wax candles, of three ounces each, to the shrine
of the Virgin, upon my safe anchoring off the tower of Belem." In the
evening he changed his language.
"Now, if that Maldetto Saint Antonio don't help us, may he feel the
coals of hell yet; damn him and his pigs too; if he has the courage to
do his duty, all will be well; but he is a cowardly wretch, he cares
for nobody, and will not help those who call upon him in trouble.
Carambo! that for you," exclaimed the captain, looking at the small
shrine of the saint at the bittacle, and snapping his fingers at the
image--"that for you, you useless wretch, who never help us in our
trouble. The Pope must canonise some better saints for us, for all we
have now are worn out. They could do something formerly, but now I
would not give two ounces of gold for the whole calendar; as for you,
you lazy old scoundrel,"--continued the captain, shaking his fist at
poor Saint Antonio.
The ship had now gained off the southern coast of Africa, and was
about one hundred miles from the Lagullas coast; the morning was
beautiful, a slight ripple only turned over the waves, the breeze was
light and steady, and the vessel was standing on a wind, at the rate
of about four miles an hour.
"Blessed be the holy saints," said the captain, who had just gained
the deck; "another little slant in our favour, and we shall lay our
course.--Again I say, blessed be the holy saints, and particularly
our worthy patron Saint Antonio, who has taken under his peculiar
protection the _Nostra Senora da Monte_. We have a prospect of fine
weather; come, signors, let us down to breakfast, and after breakfast
we will enjoy our cigarros upon the deck."
But the scene was soon changed; a bank of clouds rose up from the
eastward, with a rapidity that, to the seamen's eyes, was unnatural,
and it soon covered the whole firmament; the sun was obscured, and all
was one deep and unnatural gloom; the wind subsided, and the ocean was
hushed. It was not exactly dark, but the heavens were covered with one
red haze, which gave an appearance as if the world was in a state of
In the cabin the increased darkness was first observed by Philip, who
went on deck; he was followed by the captain and passengers, who were
in a state of amazement. It was unnatural and incomprehensible. "Now,
holy Virgin, protect us--what can this be?" exclaimed the captain in a
fright. "Holy Saint Antonio, protect us--but this is awful."
"There! there!" shouted the sailors, pointing to the beam of the
vessel. Every eye looked over the gunnel to witness what had
occasioned such exclamations. Philip, Schriften, and the captain were
side by side. On the beam of the ship, not more than two cables'
length distant, they beheld, slowly rising out of the water, the
tapering mast-head and spars of another vessel. She rose, and rose
gradually; her topmasts and top-sail yards, with the sails set, next
made their appearance; higher and higher she rose up from the element.
Her lower masts and rigging, and, lastly, her hull showed itself above
the surface. Still she rose up till her ports, with her guns, and at
last the whole of her floatage was above water, and there she remained
close to them, with her main-yard squared, and hove-to.
"Holy Virgin!" exclaimed the captain, breathless; "I have known ships
to _go down_, but never to _come up_ before. Now will I give one
thousand candles, of ten ounces each, to the shrine of the Virgin to
save us in this trouble. One thousand wax candles! Hear me, blessed
lady; ten ounces each. Gentlemen," cried the captain to the
passengers, who stood aghast--"why don't you promise?--promise, I say;
_promise_, at all events."
"The Phantom Ship--_The Flying Dutchman_" shrieked Schriften; "I told
you so, Philip Vanderdecken; there is your father--He! he!"
Philip's eyes had remained fixed on the vessel; he perceived that they
were lowering down a boat from her quarter. "It is possible," thought
he, "I shall now be permitted!" and Philip put his hand into his bosom
and grasped the relic.
The gloom now increased, so that the strange vessel's hull could
but just be discovered through the murky atmosphere. The seamen and
passengers threw themselves down on their knees, and invoked their
saints. The captain ran down for a candle, to light before the image
of St Antonio, which he took out of its shrine, and kissed with much
apparent affection and devotion, and then replaced.
Shortly afterwards the splash of oars was heard alongside, and a voice
calling out, "I say, my good people, give us a rope from forward."
No one answered, or complied with the request. Schriften only went up
to the captain, and told him that if they offered to send letters they
must not be received or the vessel would be doomed, and all would
A man now made his appearance from over the gunnel, at the gangway.
"You might as well have let me had a side rope, my hearties," said he,
as he stepped on deck; "where is the captain?"
"Here," replied the captain, trembling from head to foot. The man who
accosted him appeared a weather-beaten seaman, dressed in a fur cap
and canvas petticoats; he held some letters in his hand.
"What do you want?" at last screamed the captain.
"Yes--what do you want?" continued Schriften. "He! he!"
"What, you here, pilot?" observed the man; "well--I thought you had
gone to Davy's locker, long enough ago."
"He! he!" replied Schriften, turning away.
"Why the fact is, captain, we have had very foul weather, and we wish
to send letters home; I do believe that we shall never get round this
"I can't take them," cried the captain.
"Can't take them! well, it's very odd--but every ship refuses to
take our letters; it's very unkind--seamen should have a feeling for
brother seamen, especially in distress. God knows, we wish to see our
wives and families again; and it would be a matter of comfort to them,
if they only could hear from us."
"I cannot take your letters--the saints preserve us;" replied the
"We have been a long while out," said the seaman, shaking his head.
"How long?" inquired the captain, not knowing what to say.
"We can't tell; our almanack was blown overboard, and we have lost our
reckoning. We never have our latitude exact now, for we cannot tell
the sun's declination for the right day."
"Let _me_ see your letters," said Philip, advancing, and taking them
out of the seaman's hands.
"They must not be touched," screamed Schriften.
"Out, monster!" replied Philip, "who dares interfere with me?"
"Doomed--doomed--doomed!" shrieked Schriften, running up and down the
deck, and then breaking into a wild fit of laughter.
"Touch not the letters," said the captain, trembling as if in an ague
Philip made no reply, but held his hand out for the letters.
"Here is one from our second mate, to his wife at Amsterdam, who lives
on Waser Quay."
"Waser Quay has long been gone, my good friend; there is now a large
dock for ships where it once was," replied Philip.
"Impossible!" replied the man; "here is another from the boatswain to
his father, who lives in the old market-place."
"The old market-place has long been pulled down, and there now stands
a church upon the spot."
"Impossible!" replied the seaman; "here is another from myself to my
sweetheart, Vrow Ketser--with money to buy her a new brooch."
Philip shook his head--"I remember seeing an old lady of that name
buried some thirty years ago."
"Impossible! I left her young and blooming. Here's one for the house
of Slutz & Co., to whom the ship belongs."
"There's no such house now," replied Philip; "but I have heard, that
many years ago there was a firm of that name."
"Impossible! you must be laughing at me. Here is a letter from our
captain to his son"
"Give it me," cried Philip, seizing the letter, he was about to break
the seal, when Schriften snatched it out of his hand, and threw it
over the lee gunnel.
"That's a scurvy trick for an old shipmate," observed the seaman.
Schriften made no reply, but catching up the other letters which
Philip had laid down on the capstan, he hurled them after the first.
The strange seaman shed tears, and walked again to the side:--"It is
very hard--very unkind," observed he, as he descended; "the time may
come when you may wish that your family should know your situation;"
so saying, he disappeared: in a few seconds was heard the sound of the
oars, retreating from the ship.
"Holy St Antonio!" exclaimed the captain, "I am lost in wonder and
fright. Steward, bring me up the arrack."
The steward ran down for the bottle; being as much alarmed as his
captain, he helped himself before he brought it up to his commander.
"Now," said the captain, after keeping his mouth for two minutes to
the bottle, and draining it to the bottom, "what is to be done next?"
"I'll tell you," said Schriften, going up to him. "That man there has
a charm hung round his neck; take it from him and throw it overboard,
and your ship will be saved; if not, it will be lost, with every soul
"Yes, yes, it's all right depend upon it;" cried the sailors.
"Fools," replied Philip, "do you believe that wretch? Did you not hear
the man who came on board recognise him, and call him shipmate? He is
the party whose presence on board will prove so unfortunate."
"Yes, yes," cried the sailors, "it's all right, the man did call him
"I tell you it's all wrong," cried Schriften; "that is the man, let
him give up the charm."
"Yes, yes; let him give up the charm," cried the sailors, and they
rushed upon Philip.
Philip started back to where the captain stood. "Mad-men, know ye what
ye are about? It is the holy cross that I wear round my neck. Throw it
overboard if you dare, and your souls are lost for ever;" and Philip
took the relic from his bosom and showed it to the captain.
"No, no, men;" exclaimed the captain, who was now more settled in his
nerves; "that won't do--the saints protect us."
The seamen, however, became clamorous; one portion were for throwing
Schriften overboard, the other for throwing Philip; at last, the point
was decided by the captain, who directed the small skiff, hanging
astern, to be lowered down, and ordered both Philip and Schriften to
get into it. The seamen approved of this arrangement, as it satisfied
both parties. Philip made no objection; Schriften screamed and fought,
but he was tossed into the boat. There he remained trembling in the
stern sheets, while Philip, who had seized the sculls, pulled away
from the vessel in the direction of the Phantom Ship.
In a few minutes the vessel which Philip and Schriften had left was no
longer to be discerned through the thick haze; the Phantom Ship was
still in sight, but at a much greater distance from them than she was
before. Philip pulled hard towards her, but although hove-to, she
appeared to increase her distance from the boat. For a short time he
paused on his oars, to regain his breath, when Schriften rose up and
took his seat in the stern sheets of the boat. "You may pull and pull,
Philip Vanderdecken," observed Schriften; "but you will not gain that
ship--no, no, that cannot be--we may have a long cruise together, but
you will be as far from your object at the end of it, as you are now
at the commencement.--Why don't you throw me overboard again? You
would be all the lighter--He! he!"
"I threw you overboard in a state of frenzy," replied Philip, "when
you attempted to force from me my relic."
"And have I not endeavoured to make others take it from you this very
day?--Have I not--He! he!"
"You have," rejoined Philip; "but I am now convinced, that you are
as unhappy as myself, and that in what you are doing, you are only
following your destiny, as I am mine. Why, and wherefore I cannot
tell, but we are both engaged in the same mystery;--if the success of
my endeavours depends upon guarding the relic, the success of yours
depends upon your obtaining it, and defeating my purpose by so doing.
In this matter we are both agents, and you have been, as far as my
mission is concerned, my most active enemy. But, Schriften, I have
not forgotten, and never will, that you kindlily _did advise_ my poor
Amine; that you prophesied to her what would be her fate, if she did
not listen to your counsel; that you were no enemy of hers, although
you have been, and are still mine. Although my enemy, for her sake _I
forgive you_, and will not attempt to harm you."
"You do then _forgive your enemy_, Philip Vanderdecken?" replied
Schriften, mournfully, "for such, I acknowledge myself to be."
"I do, with _all my heart, with all my soul_," replied Philip.
"Then have you conquered me, Philip Vanderdecken; you have now made me
your friend, and your wishes are about to be accomplished. You would
know who I am. Listen:--when your Father, defying the Almighty's will,
in his rage took my life, he was vouchsafed a chance of his doom being
cancelled, through the merits of his son. I had also my appeal, which
was for _vengeance_; it was granted that I should remain on earth,
and thwart your will. That as long as we were enemies, you should not
succeed; but that when you had conformed to the highest attribute
of Christianity, proved on the holy cross, that of _forgiving your
enemy_, your task should be fulfilled. Philip Vanderdecken, you have
forgiven your enemy, and both our destinies are now accomplished."
As Schriften spoke, Philip's eyes were fixed upon him. He extended his
hand to Philip--it was taken; and as it was pressed, the form of the
pilot wasted as it were into the air, and Philip found himself alone.
"Father of Mercy, I thank Thee," said Philip, "that my task is done,
and that I again may meet my Amine."
Philip then pulled towards the Phantom Ship, and found that she no
longer appeared to leave him; on the contrary, every minute he was
nearer and nearer, and at last he threw in his oars, climbed up her
sides, and gained her deck.
The crew of the vessel crowded round him.
"Your captain," said Philip; "I must speak with your captain."
"Who shall I say, sir?" demanded one, who appeared to be the first
"Who?" replied Philip; "tell him his son would speak to him, his son
Shouts of laughter from the crew, followed this answer of Philip's;
and the mate, as soon as they ceased, observed with a smile,
"You forget, sir, perhaps you would say his father."
"Tell him his son, if you please," replied Philip, "take no note of
"Well, sir, here he is coming forward," replied the mate, stepping
aside, and pointing to the captain.
"What is all this?" inquired the captain.
"Are you Philip Vanderdecken, the captain of this vessel?"
"I am, sir," replied the other.
"You appear not to know me! But how can you? you saw me but when I was
only three years old; yet may you remember a letter which you gave to
"Ha!" replied the captain; "and who then are you?"
"Time has stopped with you, but with those who live in the world he
stops not! and for those who pass a life of misery, he hurries on
still faster. In me, behold your son, Philip Vanderdecken, who has
obeyed your wishes; and after a life of such peril and misery as few
have passed, has at last fulfilled his vow, and now offers to his
father the precious relic that he required to kiss."
Philip drew out the relic, and held it towards his father. As if a
flash of lightning had passed through his mind, the captain of the
vessel started back, clasped his hands, fell on his knees, and wept.
"My son, my son!" exclaimed he, rising, and throwing himself into
Philip's arms, "my eyes are opened--the Almighty knows how long they
have been obscured." Embracing each other, they walked aft, away from
the men, who were still crowded at the gangway.
"My son, my noble son, before the charm is broken--before we resolve,
as we must, into the elements, oh! let me kneel in thanksgiving
and contrition: my son, my noble son, receive a father's thanks,"
exclaimed Vanderdecken. Then with tears of joy and penitence he humbly
addressed himself to that Being, whom he once so awfully defied.
The elder Vanderdecken knelt down: Philip did the same; still
embracing each other with one arm, while they raised on high the
other, and prayed.
For the last time the relic was taken from the bosom of Philip and
handed to his father--and his father raised his eyes to heaven and
kissed it. And as he kissed it, the long tapering upper spars of the
Phantom vessel, the yards and sails that were set, fell into dust,
fluttered in the air and sank upon the wave. Then mainmast, foremast,
bowsprit, everything above the deck, crumbled into atoms and
Again he raised the relic to his lips, and the work of destruction
continued, the heavy iron guns sank through the decks and disappeared;
the crew of the vessel (who were looking on) crumbled down into
skeletons, and dust, and fragments of ragged garments; and there were
none left on board the vessel in the semblance of life but the father
and the son.
Once more did he put the sacred emblem to his lips, and the beams
and timbers separated, the decks of the vessel slowly sank, and the
remnants of the hull floated upon, the water; and as the father and
son--the one young and vigorous, the other old and decrepit--still
kneeling, still embracing, with their hands raised to heaven, sank
slowly under the deep blue wave, the lurid sky was for a moment
illumined by a lightning cross.
Then did the clouds which obscured the heavens roll away swift as
thought--the sun again burst out in all his splendour--the rippling
waves appeared to dance with joy. The screaming sea-gull again whirled
in the air, and the scared albatross once more slumbered on the wing.
The porpoise tumbled and tossed in his sportive play, the albicore and
dolphin leaped from the sparkling sea.--All nature smiled as if it
rejoiced that the charm was dissolved for ever, and that "THE PHANTOM
SHIP" WAS NO MORE.
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