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 +<p class="center half-title">THE DEATH SHIP</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<div class="center">NEW AND POPULAR NOVELS<br />
 +<p>THE YOUNGEST MISS GREEN. By <span class="smcap">F. W. Robinson</span>,
 +author of 'Grandmother's Money,' &amp;c. 3 vols.</p>
 +<p>A DAUGHTER OF DIVES. By <span class="smcap">Leith Derwent</span>,
 +author of 'Circe's Lovers,' 'King Lazarus,' &amp;c. 3 vols.</p>
 +<p>THE DUCHESS. By the Author of 'Molly Bawn,'
 +'Phyllis,' 'Airy Fairy Lilian,' &amp;c.  1 vol.</p>
 +<p>A CREATURE OF CIRCUMSTANCES. By <span class="smcap">Harry
 +Lander</span>. 3 vols.</p>
 +<p>A MODERN DELILAH. By <span class="smcap">Vere Clavering</span>. 3 vols.</p>
 +<div class="center">HURST &amp; BLACKETT, 13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.</div>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p class="space-above center"><small>
 +<p class="space-above center">
 +<small>BY</small><br />
 +AUTHOR OF<br />
 +ETC., ETC.<br />
 +<p class="space-above spaced center">
 +VOL. I<br />
 +<br />
 +LONDON<br />
 +1888<br />
 +<br />
 +<i>All Rights Reserved</i><br />
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<div class="center">
 +PRINTED BY<br />
 +BOLTON<br />
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<h2>CONTENTS<br />
 +<small>OF</small><br />
 +<div class="center">
 +<table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" summary="">
 +<tr><td align="right">CHAPTER</td><td align="left">&nbsp;</td><td align="right">PAGE</td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">I.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I SAIL AS SECOND MATE IN THE SARACEN</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_1">1</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">II.&mdash;</td><td align="left">WE MEET AND SPEAK THE LOVELY NANCY, SNOW</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_7">7</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">III.&mdash;</td><td align="left">THE CAPTAIN AND I TALK OF THE DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_18">18</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">IV.&mdash;</td><td align="left">WE ARE CHASED AND NEARLY CAPTURED</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_33">33</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">V.&mdash;</td><td align="left">WE ARRIVE AT TABLE BAY AND PROCEED THENCE</td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">&nbsp;</td><td align="left">&nbsp;&nbsp;ON OUR VOYAGE</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_50">50</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">VI.&mdash;</td><td align="left">THE CAPTAIN SPEAKS AGAIN OF THE DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_62">62</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">VII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I CONVERSE WITH THE SHIP'S CARPENTER ABOUT</td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">&nbsp;</td><td align="left">&nbsp;&nbsp;THE DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_75">75</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">VIII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">A TRAGICAL DEATH</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_88">88</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">IX.&mdash;</td><td align="left">MR. HALL HARANGUES THE CREW</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_98">98</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">X.&mdash;</td><td align="left">WE DRAW CLOSE TO A STRANGE AND LUMINOUS SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_110">110</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XI.&mdash;</td><td align="left">A CRUEL DISASTER BEFALLS ME</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_122">122</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I AM RESCUED BY THE DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_136">136</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XIII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">WY ZYN AL VERDOMD</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_147">147</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XIV.&mdash;</td><td align="left">MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_168">168</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XV.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I INSPECT THE FLYING DUTCHMAN</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_177">177</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XVI.&mdash;</td><td align="left">VANDERDECKEN SHOWS ME HIS PRESENT FOR</td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">&nbsp;</td><td align="left">&nbsp;&nbsp;LITTLE MARGARETHA</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_194">194</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XVII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I TALK WITH MISS IMOGENE DUDLEY ABOUT THE</td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">&nbsp;</td><td align="left">&nbsp;&nbsp;DEATH SHIP</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_211">211</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XVIII.&mdash;</td><td align="left">THE DEATH SHIP MUST BE SLOW AT PLYING</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_245">245</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XIX.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I WITNESS THE CAPTAIN'S ENTRANCEMENT</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_259">259</a></td></tr>
 +<tr><td align="right">XX.&mdash;</td><td align="left">I HOLD A CONVERSATION WITH THE CREW</td><td align="right"><a href="#Page_270">270</a></td></tr>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_1" id="Page_1">[1]</a></span></p>
 +<div class="center"><big>THE DEATH SHIP.</big><br /></div>
 +<h2>CHAPTER I.<br />
 +<p>I will pass by all the explanations concerning
 +the reasons of my going to sea, as I do
 +not desire to forfeit your kind patience by
 +letting this story stand. Enough if I say
 +that after I had been fairly well grounded in
 +English, arithmetic and the like, which plain
 +education I have never wearied of improving
 +by reading everything good that came in my
 +way, I was bound apprentice to a respectable
 +man named Joshua Cox, of Whitby, and<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_2" id="Page_2">[2]</a></span>
 +served my time in his vessel, the Laughing
 +Susan&mdash;a brave, nimble brigantine.</p>
 +<p>We traded to Riga, Stockholm, and Baltic
 +ports, and often to Rotterdam, where, having
 +a quick ear, which has sometimes served me
 +for playing upon the fiddle for my mates to
 +dance or sing to, I picked up enough of
 +Dutch to enable me to hold my own in conversing
 +with a Hollander, or Hans Butterbox,
 +as those people used to be called; that is
 +to say, I had sufficient words at command to
 +qualify me to follow what was said and to
 +answer so as to be intelligible; the easier,
 +since, uncouth as that language is, there is so
 +much of it resembling ours in sound that
 +many words in it might easily pass for portions
 +of our tongue grossly and ludicrously
 +articulated. Why I mention this will hereafter
 +<p>When my apprenticeship term had expired,
 +I made two voyages as second mate,
 +and then obtained an appointment to that<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_3" id="Page_3">[3]</a></span>
 +post in a ship named the Saracen, for a
 +voyage to the East Indies. This was <i>anno</i>
 +1796. I was then two-and-twenty years of
 +age, a tall, well-built young fellow, with
 +tawny hair, of the mariner's complexion
 +from the high suns I had sailed under and
 +the hardening gales I had stared into, with
 +dark blue eyes filled with the light of an
 +easy and naturally merry heart, white teeth,
 +very regular, and a glad expression as
 +though, forsooth, I found something gay
 +and to like in all that I looked at. Indeed it
 +was a saying with my mother that "Geff,"&mdash;meaning
 +Geoffrey&mdash;that "Geff's appearance
 +was as though a very little joke would set
 +the full measure of his spirits overflowing."
 +But now, it is as an old poet finely wrote:</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +My golden locks time hath to silver turn'd,<br />
 +(O time, too swift, and swiftness never ceasing!)<br />
 +My youth, 'gainst age, and age at youth have spurn'd,<br />
 +But spurn'd in vain!<br />
 +<p>And here it is but right to myself that I
 +should say, though as a sailor I am but an<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_4" id="Page_4">[4]</a></span>
 +obscure person, yet as a man I may claim
 +some pride and lustre of descent, an ancestor
 +being no less a worthy than one of
 +the boldest of Queen Elizabeth's sea-captains
 +and generals&mdash;Edward Fenton, I mean, who
 +was himself of a sound and ancient Nottingham
 +stock; illustrious for his behaviour
 +against the Spaniards in 1588, and for his explorations
 +of the hidden passage of the North
 +Sea, mentioned with other notable matters in
 +the Latin inscription upon his monument by
 +Richard, Earl of Cork, who married his
 +<p>But enough of such parish talk.</p>
 +<p>The master of the Saracen was one Jacob
 +Skevington, and the mate's name Christopher
 +Hall. We sailed from Gravesend&mdash;for with
 +Whitby I was now done&mdash;in the month of
 +April, 1796. We were told to look to ourselves
 +when we should arrive in the neighbourhood
 +of the Cape of Good Hope, for it
 +was rumoured that the Dutch, with the help<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_5" id="Page_5">[5]</a></span>
 +of the French, were likely to send a squadron
 +to recover Cape Town, that had fallen into
 +the hands of the British in the previous
 +September. However, at the time of our
 +lifting our anchor off Gravesend, the Cape
 +Settlement lay on the other side of the globe;
 +whatever danger there might be there, was
 +too remote to cast the least faint shadow upon
 +us; besides, the sailor was so used to the
 +perils of the enemy and the chase, that nothing
 +could put an element of uneasiness into his
 +plain, shipboard life, short of the assurance
 +of his own or his captain's eyes that the sail
 +that had hauled his wind and was fast growing
 +upon the sea-line, was undeniably an
 +enemy's ship, heavily armed, and big enough
 +to cannonade him into staves.</p>
 +<p>So with resolved spirits, which many of us
 +had cheered and heartened by a few farewell
 +drams&mdash;for of all parts of the seafaring life
 +the saying good-bye to those we love, and
 +whom the God of Heaven alone knows<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_6" id="Page_6">[6]</a></span>
 +whether we shall ever clasp to our breasts
 +again, is the hardest&mdash;we plied the capstan
 +with a will, raising the anchor to a chorus
 +that fetched an echo from the river's banks
 +up and down the Reach; and then sheeting
 +home our topsails, dragging upon the halliards
 +with piercing, far-sounding songs, we
 +gathered the weight of the pleasant sunny
 +wind into those spacious hollows, and in a
 +few minutes had started upon our long
 +<p>Yet, though my parting with my friends
 +had not been of a nature to affect my spirits,
 +and though I was accounted to be, and indeed
 +was, a merry, careless fellow, I was sensible of
 +an unaccountable depression as, amidst the
 +duties which occupied me, I would cast
 +glances at the houses of Gravesend and the
 +shore sliding by, and hear, in momentary
 +hushes, tremulous tinkling sounds raised by
 +the water wrinkling, current-like under our
 +round and pushing bows.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_7" id="Page_7">[7]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER II.<br />
 +<p>For days and days after we had cleared the
 +Channel and entered upon those deep waters,
 +which, off soundings sway in brilliant blue
 +billows, sometimes paling into faint azure
 +or weltering in dyes as purely dark as the
 +violet, according as the mood of the sky is,
 +nothing whatever of consequence befell. We
 +were forty of a company. Captain Skevington
 +was a stout but sedate sailor, who had used
 +the sea for many years, and had confronted
 +so many perils there was scarce an ocean-danger
 +you could name about which he could
 +not talk from personal experience. He was,
 +likewise, a man of education and intelligence,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_8" id="Page_8">[8]</a></span>
 +with a manner about him at times not very
 +intelligible, though his temper was always
 +excellent and his skill as a seaman equal
 +to every call made upon it. We carried
 +six twelve-pounders and four brass swivels
 +and a plentiful store of small-arms and ammunition.
 +Our ship was five years old, a
 +good sailer, handsomely found in all respects
 +of sails and tackling, so that any prospect
 +we might contemplate of falling in with
 +privateers and such gentry troubled us little;
 +since with a brave ship and nimble heels,
 +high hot hearts, English cannon and jolly
 +British beef for the working of them, the
 +mariner need never doubt that the Lord will
 +own him wherever he may go and whatever
 +he may do.</p>
 +<p>We crossed the Equator in longitude thirty
 +degrees west, then braced up to the Trade
 +Wind that heeled us with a brisk gale in five
 +degrees south latitude, and so skirted the
 +sea in that great African bight 'twixt Cape<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_9" id="Page_9">[9]</a></span>
 +Palmas and the Cape of Good Hope,
 +formerly called, and very properly, I think,
 +the Ethiopic Ocean; for, though to be sure
 +it is all Atlantic Ocean, yet, methinks, it is
 +as fully entitled to a distinctive appellation
 +as is the Bay of Biscay, that is equally one
 +sea with that which rolls into it.</p>
 +<p>One morning in July, we being then somewhat
 +south of the latitude of the island of
 +St. Helena, a seaman who was on the topsail-yard
 +hailed the deck, and cried out that
 +there was a sail right ahead. It was an
 +inexpressibly bright morning; the sun had
 +been risen two hours, and he stood&mdash;a white
 +flame of the blinding and burning brilliance
 +he seems to catch up from the dazzling sands
 +of Africa as he soars over them&mdash;in a sky
 +of the most dainty sapphire fairness; not a
 +cloud&mdash;no, not so big as a fading wreath of
 +tobacco smoke anywhere visible, so that the
 +ends of the sea went round with the clearness
 +of the circle of a glass table, only that a small<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_10" id="Page_10">[10]</a></span>
 +wind, very sweet and pleasant to every
 +sense, blowing a little off our starboard bow,
 +fluttered the ocean into a sort of hovering
 +look, and its trembling caused the wake of
 +the sun to resemble the leaping and frolicking
 +of shoals of wet and sparkling mackerel.</p>
 +<p>We waited with much expectation and
 +some anxiety for the stranger to approach
 +near enough to enable us to gather her
 +character, or even her nationality; for the
 +experienced eye will always observe a something
 +in the ships of the Dutch and French
 +nations to distinguish the flags they belong
 +to. It was soon evident that she was standing
 +directly for us, shown by the speed with
 +which her sails rose; but when her hull was
 +fairly exposed, Captain Skevington, after a
 +careful examination of her, declared her to be
 +a vessel of about one hundred tons, probably
 +a snow&mdash;her mainmast being in one with her
 +foremast&mdash;and so we stood on, leaving it to
 +her to be wary if she chose.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_11" id="Page_11">[11]</a></span></p>
 +<p>Whether she had at once made sure of us
 +as an honest trader, I cannot say; she never
 +budged her helm by so much as the turn of a
 +spoke, but came smoothly along, a very
 +pretty shining object, rolling on the soft, long-drawn
 +swell in such a way as to dart shadows
 +across the moonlike gleaming of her canvas
 +with the breathings of their full bosoms&mdash;so
 +that the sight reminded me of the planet
 +Venus as I once beheld her after she had
 +passed from the tincture of the ruby into the
 +quick light of the diamond, lightly troubled
 +by the swift passage of a kind of gossamer
 +scud, as though the winds on high sought
 +to clothe her naked beauty with a delicate
 +raiment of their own wearing, from which she
 +was forever escaping into the liquid indigo
 +she loves to float in.</p>
 +<p>After a little the English ensign was seen
 +to flutter at her fore-topgallant-masthead. To
 +this signal we instantly replied by hoisting
 +our colour; and shortly after midday, arriving<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_12" id="Page_12">[12]</a></span>
 +abreast of each other, we backed our topsail-yard,
 +she doing the like, and so we lay
 +steady upon the calm sea, and so close, that
 +we could see the faces of her people over the
 +rail, and hear the sound, though not the
 +words, of the voice of the master giving his
 +<p>It was Captain Skevington's intention to
 +board her, as he suspected she was from the
 +Indies, and capable therefore of giving us
 +some hints concerning the Dutch, into whose
 +waters, in a manner of speaking, we were
 +now entering; accordingly the jolly boat was
 +lowered and pulled away for the stranger,
 +that proved to be the snow, Lovely Nancy,
 +of Plymouth&mdash;name of cruel omen as I shall
 +always deem it, though I must ever love the
 +name of Nancy as being that of a fair-haired
 +sister who died in her fifteenth year.</p>
 +<p>As many of my readers may not be acquainted
 +with sea terms, it may be fit to say
 +here, that a snow is nothing more than a<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_13" id="Page_13">[13]</a></span>
 +brig, with the trifling addition of a thin mast
 +abaft her mainmast, upon which her trysail
 +or boom mainsail sets. I guess these vessels
 +will always bear this name until their trysail-masts
 +go out of fashion.</p>
 +<p>But to return.</p>
 +<p>I know not why I should have stood looking
 +very longingly at that Plymouth ship
 +whilst our captain was on board her; for
 +though to be sure we had now been at sea
 +since April, whilst she was homeward bound,
 +yet I was well satisfied with the Saracen and
 +all on board. I was glad to be getting a
 +living and earning in wages money enough
 +to put away; my dream being to save so
 +much as would procure me an interest in a
 +ship, for out of such slender beginnings have
 +sprung many renowned merchant princes in
 +this country. But so it was. My heart
 +yearned for that snow as though I had a
 +sweetheart on board. Even Mr. Hall, the
 +mate, a plain, literal, practical seaman, with<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_14" id="Page_14">[14]</a></span>
 +as much sentiment in him as you may find in
 +the first Dutchman you meet in the Amsterdam
 +fish-market, even he noticed my wistful
 +eyes, and clapping me on the back, cries
 +<p>"Why, Fenton, my lad, I believe you'd be
 +glad to go home in that little wagon yonder
 +if the captain would let ye."</p>
 +<p>"I believe I would, sir," I replied; "and
 +yet if I could, I don't know that I would,
 +<p>He laughed and turned away, ridiculing
 +what he reckoned a piece of lady-like sentiment;
 +and that it was no more, I daresay I
 +was as sure as he, though I wished the
 +depression at the devil, for it caused me to
 +feel, whilst it was on me, as though a considerable
 +slice of my manhood had slipped
 +away overboard.</p>
 +<p>It is one of the few pleasures time permits
 +to old men to recall the sweet, or gay, or fair
 +pictures which charmed them when young.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_15" id="Page_15">[15]</a></span>
 +And which of all our faculties is more wonderful
 +as a piece of mechanism, and more Divine
 +in its life-giving properties, than Memory,
 +which enables the Spirit to quicken dust that
 +has lain for many years in the womb of time;
 +to attire it and to return to it its passions,
 +emotions, and all other qualities; to put back
 +the cycles the sun has run and oblige him to
 +shine on forms which were then infants, but
 +are now grass-hidden ridges; on houses then
 +stately but now long since swept away; on
 +meadows and orchards then bright with
 +daisies, ruddy with fruit, but now covered
 +with houses and busy streets whose sidewalks
 +echo to the tread of generations more
 +dream-like in that past to which the aged
 +eye turns than ever can be the dead who
 +then lived.</p>
 +<p>'Tis thus when I think of that Plymouth
 +snow; for leaning back in my chair and
 +closing these eyes, that morning shines all
 +around me; the tremulous sea of blue, of a<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_16" id="Page_16">[16]</a></span>
 +satin sheen in its tiny ripplings, shot with
 +milder tints where the currents run as though
 +they were the thin fingers of the wind toying
 +with the bosom of the deep, bends to the
 +distant sky upon whose lowermost reaches it
 +flings the same opal lustre it gathers at its
 +horizon; the air blows fitfully, like the warm
 +breathings from a woman's sweet lips, and
 +sometimes stills our sails and sometimes
 +suffers them to flutter in sounds soothing as
 +the murmurs of a midsummer night breeze
 +amid the high branches of a sleeping oak.
 +The snow had black sides but was painted
 +white from her water-line; and though there
 +was no lack of draining weeds and clustered
 +shells upon her bilge and run, yet, with every
 +slow roll from us, the wet whiteness, taking
 +the meridian effulgence, broke out in a glory
 +as of virgin silver, enriched by the marine
 +adhesions, into the very likeness of a resplendent
 +mosaic of precious metal and green
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_17" id="Page_17">[17]</a></span></p>
 +<p>Such magic has the sea to beautify whatever
 +it is permitted to possess long enough
 +for its powers of enrichment to work their
 +<p>Her canvas flashed out of shadow into
 +brightness with every lift of the swell; the
 +ripples ran a dissolving tracery along her
 +bends, as dainty to see as the choicest lace;
 +the weather-clouded faces of her men looked
 +at us over the stout bulwark-rail that was
 +broken by a few open ports through which
 +you spied the mouths of little cannon; and it
 +was laughable to mark her figurehead, that
 +represented an admiral in a cocked hat&mdash;a
 +cheap dockyard purchase, no doubt, for the
 +effigy was ridiculously out of character and
 +foolishly too big for the vessel&mdash;bowing to
 +the blue surface that flowed in lines of
 +azure light to the cutwater, as though there
 +were some mermaid there to whom he would
 +be glad to "make a leg," as the old saying
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_18" id="Page_18">[18]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER III.<br />
 +DEATH SHIP.</h2>
 +<p>After three-quarters-of-an-hour, or thereabouts,
 +Captain Skevington returned. We
 +then trimmed to our course again, and, ere
 +long, the Plymouth snow was astern of us,
 +rolling her spread of canvas in a saluting
 +way that was like a flourish of farewell.</p>
 +<p>Whilst the jolly boat was being hoisted,
 +the captain stood gazing at the snow with a
 +very thoughtful face, and then burying his
 +hands in his pockets, he took several turns
 +up and down the deck with his head bowed,
 +and his whole manner not a little grave. He
 +presently went to the mate, and talked with
 +him, but it looked as though Mr. Hall found<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_19" id="Page_19">[19]</a></span>
 +little to raise concern in what the captain
 +said, as he often smiled, and once or twice
 +broke into a laugh that seemed to provoke a
 +kind of remonstrance from the master, who
 +yet acted as though he were but half in
 +earnest too; but they stood too far away
 +for me to catch a syllable of their talk.</p>
 +<p>It was my watch below at eight o'clock
 +that evening. I was sitting alone in the
 +cabin, sipping a glass of rum and water,
 +ready to go to bed when I had swallowed
 +the dose. There was but one lamp, hanging
 +from a midship beam, and the cabin was
 +somewhat darksome. The general gloom
 +was deepened by the bulkhead being of a
 +sombre, walnut colour, without any relief&mdash;such
 +as probably would have been furnished
 +had we carried passengers&mdash;from table-glass
 +or silver, or such furniture. I mention these
 +matters because they gave their complexion
 +to the talk I am now to repeat.</p>
 +<p>Presently, down into this interior through<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_20" id="Page_20">[20]</a></span>
 +the companion hatch comes Captain Skevington.
 +I drained my glass and rose to
 +<p>"Stop a minute, Fenton," says he; "what
 +have you been drinking there?"</p>
 +<p>I told him.</p>
 +<p>"Another drop can't hurt you," said he;
 +"you have four hours to sleep it off in."
 +With which he called to the boy to bring him
 +a bottle of brandy from his cabin. He bid
 +me help myself whilst he lighted a pipe of
 +tobacco, and then said: "The master of the
 +snow we met to-day warns us to keep a
 +bright look-out for the Dutch. He told me
 +that yesterday he spoke an American ship
 +that was short of flour, and learnt from the
 +Yankee&mdash;though how Jonathan got the news
 +I don't know&mdash;that there's a Dutch squadron
 +making for the Cape, in charge of Admiral
 +Lucas, and that among the ships is the Dordrecht
 +of sixty-six guns and two forty-gun
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_21" id="Page_21">[21]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"But should we fall in with them will they
 +meddle with us, do you think, sir?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"Beyond question," he answered.</p>
 +<p>"Then," said I, "there is nothing for it
 +but to keep a sharp look-out. We have
 +heels, anyway."</p>
 +<p>He smoked his pipe with a serious face,
 +as though not heeding me; then looking at
 +me steadfastly, he exclaimed, "Fenton, you've
 +been a bit of a reader in your time, I believe.
 +Did your appetite that way ever bring you to
 +dip into magic, necromancy, the Black Art,
 +and the like of such stuff?"</p>
 +<p>He asked me this with a certain strangeness
 +of expression in his eyes, and I thought
 +it proper to fall into his humour. So I replied
 +that in the course of my reading I
 +might have come across hints of such things,
 +but that I had given them too little attention
 +to qualify me to reason about them or to
 +form an opinion.</p>
 +<p>"I recollect when I was a lad," said he,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_22" id="Page_22">[22]</a></span>
 +passing my answer by, so to speak, "hearing
 +an old lady that was related to my mother,
 +tell of a trick that was formerly practised and
 +credited, too; a person stood at a grave and
 +invoked the dead, who made answer."</p>
 +<p>I smiled, thinking that only an old woman
 +would talk thus.</p>
 +<p>"Stop!" cried he, but without temper.
 +"She said it was common for a necromancer
 +to invoke and obtain replies; but that though
 +answers were returned, they were not spoken
 +by the dead, but by the Devil. The proof
 +being that death is a separation of the soul
 +from the body, that the immortal soul cannot
 +inhabit the corpse that is mere dust, that
 +therefore the dead cannot speak, themselves,
 +but that the voices which seem to proceed
 +from them are uttered by the Evil One."</p>
 +<p>"Why the Evil One?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"Because he delights in whatever is out of
 +nature, and in doing violence to the harmonious
 +fabric of the universe."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_23" id="Page_23">[23]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"That sounds like a good argument, sir,"
 +said I, still smiling.</p>
 +<p>"But," continued he, "suppose the case
 +of men now living, though by the laws of
 +Nature they should have died long since.
 +Would you say that they exist as a corpse
 +does when invoked&mdash;that is, by the possession
 +and voice of the Devil, or that they
 +are informed by the same souls which were
 +in them when they uttered their first cry in
 +this life."</p>
 +<p>"Why, sir," I answered, "seeing that the
 +soul is immortal, there is no reason why it
 +should not go on inhabiting the clay it
 +belongs to, so long as that clay continues
 +to possess the physical power to be moved
 +and controlled by it."</p>
 +<p>"That's a shrewd view," said he, seemingly
 +well-pleased. "But see here, my lad! our
 +bodies are built to last three score and ten
 +years. Some linger to an hundred; but so
 +few beyond, that every month of continued<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_24" id="Page_24">[24]</a></span>
 +being renders them more and more a sort of
 +prodigies. As the end of a long life approaches&mdash;say
 +a life of ninety years&mdash;there
 +is such decay, such dry-rot, that the whole
 +frame is but one remove from ashes. Now,
 +suppose there should be men living who are
 +known to be at least a hundred and fifty
 +years old&mdash;nay, add an average of forty to
 +each man and call them one hundred and
 +ninety years old&mdash;but who yet exhibit no
 +signs of mortality; would not you say that
 +the bounds of Nature having been long since
 +passed, their bodies are virtually corpses,
 +imitating life by a semblance of soul that
 +is properly the voice and possession of the
 +<p>"How about Methusaleh, and others of
 +those ancient times?"</p>
 +<p>"I'm talking of to-day," he answered.
 +"'Tis like turning up the soil to work back
 +into ancient history; you come across things
 +which there's no making anything of."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_25" id="Page_25">[25]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"But what man is there now living who
 +has reached to a hundred-and-ninety?" cried
 +I, still struck by his look, yet, in spite of that,
 +wondering at his gravity, for there was a
 +determination in his manner of reasoning
 +that made me see he was in earnest.</p>
 +<p>"Well," said he, smoking very slowly,
 +"the master of that snow, one Samuel
 +Bullock, of Rotherhithe, whom I recollect
 +as mate of a privateer some time since, told
 +me that when he was off the Agulhas Bank,
 +he made out a sail upon his starboard bow,
 +braced up, and standing west-sou'-west.
 +There was something so unusual and surprising
 +about her rig that the probability of
 +her being an enemy went clean out of his
 +mind, and he held on, influenced by the sort
 +of curiosity a man might feel who follows a
 +sheeted figure at night, not liking the job,
 +yet constrained to it by sheer force of unnatural
 +relish. 'Twas the first dogwatch;
 +the sun drawing down; but daylight was<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_26" id="Page_26">[26]</a></span>
 +yet abroad, when the stranger was within
 +hail upon their starboard quarter, keeping
 +a close luff, yet points off, on account of the
 +antique fit of her canvas. Bullock, as he
 +talked, fell a-trembling, though no stouter-hearted
 +man sails the ocean, and I could see
 +the memory of the thing working in him like
 +a bloody conscience. He cried out, 'May
 +the bountiful God grant that my ship reaches
 +home in safety!' I said, 'What vessel was
 +she, think you?'  'Why, captain,' says he,
 +'what but the vessel which 'tis God's will
 +should continue sailing about these seas?' I
 +started to hear this, and asked if he saw
 +any of the crew. He replied that only two
 +men were to be seen&mdash;one steering at a
 +long tiller on the poop deck, and the other
 +pacing near him on the weather side. 'I
 +seized the glass,' said he, 'and knelt down,
 +that those I viewed should not observe me,
 +and plainly catched the face of him who
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_27" id="Page_27">[27]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"How did Bullock describe him, sir?"
 +said I.</p>
 +<p>"He said he wore a great beard and was
 +very tall, and that he was like a man that
 +had died and that when dug up preserved
 +his death-bed aspect; he was like such a
 +corpse artificially animated, and most terrible
 +to behold from his suggestions of death-in-life.
 +I pressed him to tell me more, but he
 +is a person scanty of words for the want
 +of learning. However, his fears were the
 +clearest relation he could give me of what
 +he had seen."</p>
 +<p>"It was the Phantom Ship he saw, you
 +think, sir?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"I am sure. He bid me dread the sight
 +of it more than the combined navies of the
 +French and the Dutch. The apparition was
 +encountered in latitude twenty miles south
 +of thirty-six degrees. 'Tis a spectre to be
 +shunned, Fenton, though it cost us every
 +rag of sail we own to keep clear."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_28" id="Page_28">[28]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Then what you would say, captain,"
 +said I, "is, that the people who work that
 +ship have ceased to be living men by reason
 +of their great age, which exceeds by many
 +years our bodies' capacity of wear and tear;
 +and that they are actually corpses influenced
 +by the Devil&mdash;who is warranted by the same
 +Divine permission we find recorded in the
 +Book of Job, to pursue frightful and unholy
 +<p>"It is the only rational view," he answered.
 +"If the Phantom Ship be still afloat, and
 +navigated by a crew, they cannot be men
 +in the sense that this ship's company are
 +<p>"Well, sir," said I, cheerfully, "I reckon
 +it will be all one whether they be fiends,
 +or flesh and blood miraculously wrought to
 +last unto the world's end, for it is a million
 +to nothing that we don't meet her. The
 +Southern Ocean is a mighty sea, a ship is
 +but a little speck, and once we get the Madagascar<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_29" id="Page_29">[29]</a></span>
 +coast on our bow we shall be out of the
 +Death Ship's preserves."</p>
 +<p>However, to my surprise, I found that he
 +maintained a very earnest posture of mind in
 +this matter. To begin with, he did not in
 +the least question the existence of the Dutch
 +craft; he had never beheld her, but he knew
 +those who had, and related tales of dismal
 +issues of such encounters. The notion that
 +the crew were corpses, animated into a mocking
 +similitude of life, was strongly infixed in
 +his mind; and he obliged me to tell him all
 +that I could remember of magical, ghostly,
 +supernatural circumstances I had read about
 +or heard of, until I noticed it was half-an-hour
 +after nine, and that, at this rate, my watch on
 +deck would come round before I had had a
 +wink of sleep.</p>
 +<p>However, though I went to my cabin, it
 +was not to rest. I lay for nearly two hours
 +wide awake. No doubt the depression I had
 +marked in myself had exactly fitted my mind<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_30" id="Page_30">[30]</a></span>
 +for such fancies as the captain had talked
 +about. It was indeed impossible that I
 +should soberly accept his extraordinary view
 +touching the endevilment of the crew of the
 +Death Ship. Moreover, I hope I am too
 +good a Christian to believe in that Satyr
 +which was the coinage of crazy, fanatical heads
 +in the Dark Ages, that cheaply-imagined
 +Foul Fiend created to terrify the weak-minded
 +with a vision of split-hoofs, legs like
 +a beast's, a barbed tail, flaming eyes, and
 +nostrils discharging the sickening fumes of
 +<p>But concerning the Phantom Ship herself&mdash;the
 +Flying Dutchman as she has been styled&mdash;'tis
 +a spectre that has too often crossed the
 +path of the mariner to admit of its existence
 +being questioned. If there be spirits on land,
 +why not at sea, too? There are scores who
 +believe in apparitions, not on the evidence of
 +their own eyes&mdash;they may never have beheld
 +such a sight&mdash;but on the testimony of witnesses<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_31" id="Page_31">[31]</a></span>
 +sound in their religion and of unassailable
 +integrity; and why should we not accept
 +the assurance of plain, honest sailors, that
 +there may be occasionally encountered off the
 +Agulhas Bank, and upon the southern and
 +eastern coast of the African extremity, a wild
 +and ancient fabric, rigged after a fashion long
 +fallen into disuse, and manned by a crew
 +figured as presenting something of the aspect
 +of death in their unholy and monstrous
 +<p>I turned this matter freely over in my
 +mind as I lay in my little cabin, my thoughts
 +finding a melancholy musical setting in the
 +melodious sobbing of water washing past
 +under the open port, and snatching distressful
 +impulses from the gloom about me, that was
 +rendered cloud-like by the moon who was
 +climbing above our mastheads, and clothing
 +the vast placid scene outside with the beauty
 +of her icy light; and then at seven bells
 +fell asleep, but was called half-an-hour<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_32" id="Page_32">[32]</a></span>
 +later, at midnight, to relieve Mr. Hall,
 +whose four hours' spell below had come
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_33" id="Page_33">[33]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER IV.<br />
 +<p>We talked occasionally of the Phantom Ship
 +after this for a few days, the captain on one
 +occasion, to my surprise, producing an old
 +volume on magic and sorcery which it seems
 +he had, along with an odd collection of books,
 +in his cabin, and arguing and reasoning out
 +of it. But he never spoke of this thing in
 +the presence of the mate who, to be sure, was
 +a simple, downright man, without the least
 +imaginable flavour of imagination to render
 +sapid the lean austerity of his thoughts, and
 +who, therefore, as you may suppose, as little
 +credited the stories told of the Dutchman's
 +ship as the Ebrew Jew believes in our Lord.</p>
 +<p>Hence, as there were but the captain and<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_34" id="Page_34">[34]</a></span>
 +me to keep this shuttlecock of a fancy flying,
 +it fluttered before long to the ground;
 +perhaps the quicker, because on the Sunday
 +following our speaking with the Plymouth
 +snow, there happened a piece of work, sharp
 +and real enough to drive all ideas of visions
 +and phantasms out of our heads.</p>
 +<p>It was ten o'clock in the morning when a
 +sail was descried broad on the larboard beam.
 +We gave her no heed at first. It being the
 +Sabbath, and a warm sweet morning, the
 +men having nothing to do, hung about the
 +decks, smoking, telling stories and the like;
 +and being cleanly attired in jackets and white
 +trousers, they contributed a choice detail to
 +the general structure of well-kept decks,
 +shining brass work, massive shrouds soaring
 +from the black dead-eyes to the great round
 +tops, with further rigging of a similar kind
 +ruling the topmasts to the cross-trees, and
 +on yet to the topgallant heights, ropes crossing
 +ropes and ratline following ratline, till the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_35" id="Page_35">[35]</a></span>
 +tracery, both in its substance aloft and its
 +shadows below and in the inclined hollows of
 +the sails, puzzled the eye with the complexity
 +of a spider's web; whilst from the water-ways
 +to the lower yard-arms and thence to the
 +ends of the yards above, mounted the vast
 +sheets of canvas, each central surface arching
 +in snow to the raining light of the sun, like
 +the fair full breasts of a virgin, passed the
 +taut bolt-ropes, narrowing as they rose till,
 +the royal-yards being reached, the sails there
 +swelled yearning skywards as though they
 +were portions of the prismatic ribbed and
 +pearly beds of cloud directly over the ship,
 +rent from them by the sweep of our trucks
 +and knitted by our seamen to those lofty
 +<p>It was not long, however, before we made
 +out that the vessel down in the eastern
 +quarter was steering large, and at the time
 +the appearance of her canvas assured us of
 +this, she slackened away her larboard braces<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_36" id="Page_36">[36]</a></span>
 +to head up for us, hauling upon a bowline
 +with a suddenness that left her intention to
 +parley with us questionless.</p>
 +<p>We hoisted the English ensign and held
 +on a bit, viewing her with an intentness that
 +brought many of our eyes to a squint; then
 +the captain, observing that she showed no
 +colours and was a big ship, put his helm up
 +for a run.</p>
 +<p>No sooner had we braced in our yards,
 +when the fellow behind us squared away
 +too, and threw out lower and topmast studding-sails
 +with a rapidity that satisfied us she
 +was a man-of-war, apparently a liner. This
 +notion, joined to the belief that she was a
 +Dutchman, was start enough for us all. Our
 +small company were not likely to hold their
 +own against the disciplined masses of a two
 +or three decker, even though she should
 +prove a Spaniard. Our guns were too few
 +to do anything with tiers of batteries heavy
 +enough to blow us out of water. So as there<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_37" id="Page_37">[37]</a></span>
 +was nothing for it but a fair trial of speed, we
 +sprung to our work like hounds newly unleashed,
 +got her dead before it, ran out studding-sail
 +booms on both sides and sent the
 +sails aloft soaking wet for the serviceableness
 +of the weight the wetness would give, and
 +stationing men in the tops and cross-trees
 +we whipped up buckets of water to them,
 +with which they drenched the canvas, till
 +our cloths must have looked as dark as a
 +collier's to the ship astern of us.</p>
 +<p>It was very slow work at first, and we were
 +thankful for that; for every hour carried us
 +nearer to the night into which the moon now
 +entered so late and glowed with such little
 +power, even when she had floated high, that
 +we could count, after sundown, upon several
 +hours of darkness; but it was not long before
 +it became evident to us all that, spite of the
 +ceaseless wetting of our sails, the ship in our
 +wake was growing. Then, satisfied of her
 +superiority, and convinced of our nationality,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_38" id="Page_38">[38]</a></span>
 +she let fly a forecastle gun at us, of the ball
 +of which we saw nothing, and hoisted the
 +Dutch colours at her fore-royal masthead,
 +where, at all events, we could not fail to
 +distinguish the flag.</p>
 +<p>"Confound such luck!" cries Skevington
 +at this. "How can our apple-bows contend
 +with those pyramids of sails there? What's
 +to be done?" he says, as if thinking aloud.
 +"It's clear she's our master in running, and
 +I fear she'll be more than our match on
 +a bowline&mdash;with the weather gage too!
 +And yet, by the thunder of Heaven, Mr.
 +Hall, it does go against the current of any
 +sort of English blood to haul down that
 +piece of bunting there," says he, casting his
 +eyes at the peak where our flag was blowing,
 +"to the command of a Dutchman's cannon!"</p>
 +<p>"The wind's coming away more easterly,"
 +said the mate, with a slow turning of his gaze
 +into the quarter he mentioned, "and it'll be
 +breezing up presently, if there's any signification<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_39" id="Page_39">[39]</a></span>
 +in the darker blue of the sea that
 +<p>It happened as he said; but the Dutchman
 +got the first slant of it, and you saw the
 +harder pulling of his canvas in the rounded
 +rigidity of light upon the cloths, whilst the
 +dusky line of the wind, followed by the flashings
 +of the small seas, whose leaping heads
 +it showered into spray, was yet approaching
 +our languid ship, whose lower and heavy
 +canvas often flapped in the weak air.</p>
 +<p>A couple of shot came flying after us from
 +the man-of-war's bowchasers ere the breeze
 +swept to our spars; and now the silvery line
 +of the white water that her stem was hewing
 +up and sending in a brilliant whirl past her
 +was easy to be seen; aye, 'twas even possible
 +to make out the very lines of her reef-points
 +upon the fore-course and topsail, whilst
 +through the glass you could discern groups
 +of men stationed upon her forecastle, and
 +mark some quarter-deck figure now and again<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_40" id="Page_40">[40]</a></span>
 +impatiently bound on to the rail and overhang
 +it like a davit, with an arm round a
 +backstay, in his eagerness to see how fast
 +they were coming up with us.</p>
 +<p>With all element of terror in it extinguished
 +by time, it is a sight to recall with a sailor's
 +fondness; for indeed the Dutchman was a
 +fine ship, very tall, with port-lids painted red
 +inside, so that with the guns projecting from
 +them, in two tiers, the aspect was that of
 +rows of crimson, wolfish jaws, every beast
 +with his tongue out; her yards were immensely
 +square, and her studding-sail booms
 +extending great spaces of canvas far over the
 +side, she showed upon the dark blue frothing
 +ocean like some Heaven-seeking hill, fleecily
 +clad with snow to twenty feet above the
 +water-line, where it was black rock down to
 +the wash of the froth. In the freshening
 +wind, as it came up to us, I seemed to catch
 +an echo of the drum-like roll of the briskening
 +gale in those airy heights, and to hear the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_41" id="Page_41">[41]</a></span>
 +seething of the boiling stuff at her forefoot.
 +But, thanks be to Heaven, there was now a
 +swift racing of foam from under our counter,
 +whence it streamed away with a noise delicious
 +to hearken to, as though it was the
 +singing of the rain of a thunder-cloud upon
 +hard land; for whenever the breeze gathered
 +its weight in our canvas the Saracen sprang
 +from it meteor-fashion, and away we sped
 +with helm right amidships, and the wind
 +flashing fair over the taffrail.</p>
 +<p>The excitement of this chase was deep in
 +us when the captain gave orders to train a
 +couple of guns aft and to continue firing at
 +the pursuing craft; which was done, the
 +powder-smoke blowing like prodigious glistening
 +cobwebs into our canvas forward.
 +Meanwhile, the English colours flew hardily
 +at our peak, whilst preventer guys were
 +clapped on the swinging-booms and other
 +gear added to give strength aloft; for the
 +wind was increasing as if by magic, the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_42" id="Page_42">[42]</a></span>
 +ribbed clouds had broken up and large bodies
 +of vapour were sailing overhead with many
 +ivory-white shoulders crowding upon the
 +horizon, and the strain upon the studding-sail
 +tacks was extremely heavy. But you saw
 +that it was Captain Skevington's intention to
 +make the Saracen drag what she could not
 +carry, and to let what chose blow away before
 +he started a rope-yarn, whilst we had that
 +monster astern there sticking to our skirts;
 +and by this time it was manifest that with
 +real weight in the wind our heels were pretty
 +nearly as keen as hers, which made us hope
 +that should the breeze freshen yet we might
 +eventually get away.</p>
 +<p>Well, at three o'clock it was blowing downright
 +hard, though the weather was fine, the
 +heavens mottled, the clouds being compacted
 +and sailing higher, stormy in complexion
 +and moving slowly; the sea had grown
 +hollow and was most gloriously violet in
 +colour, with plumes of snow, which curled<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_43" id="Page_43">[43]</a></span>
 +to the gale on the head of each liquid
 +courser; the sun was over our fore-topgallant
 +yard-arm and showered down his glory so
 +as to form a golden weltering road for
 +us to steer beside. The ship behind catched
 +his light and looked to be chasing us on
 +wings of yellow silk. But never since her
 +keel had been laid had the Saracen been so
 +driven. The waters boiled up to the blackfaced
 +turbaned figure under the bowsprit,
 +and from aft I could sometimes observe the
 +glassy curve of the bow sea, arching away for
 +fathoms forward, showing plain through the
 +headrails. A couple of hands hung grinding
 +upon the wheel with set teeth, and the sinews
 +in their naked arms stood out like cords;
 +others were at the relieving-tackles; and
 +through it we pelted, raising about us a
 +bubbled, spuming and hissing surface that
 +might have answered to the passage of a
 +whirlwind, repeatedly firing at the Dutch
 +man-of-war when the heave of the surge gave<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_44" id="Page_44">[44]</a></span>
 +us the chance, and noticing the constant flash
 +in his bows and the white smother that blew
 +along with him, though the balls of neither
 +appeared to touch the other of us.</p>
 +<p>Yet, that we should have been ultimately
 +overhauled and brought to a stand I fully
 +believe but for a providential disaster. For
 +no matter how dark the dusk may have
 +drawn around at sundown, the Dutchman
 +was too close to us to miss the loom of the
 +great press of canvas we should be forced to
 +carry: at least, so I hold; and then, again,
 +there was the consideration of the wind failing
 +us with the coming of the stars, for we were
 +still in the gentle parallels. But let all have
 +been as it might, I had just noted the
 +lightning-like wink of one of the enemy's
 +fore-chasers, when to my exceeding amazement,
 +ere the ball of smoke could be
 +shredded into lengths by the gale, I observed
 +the whole fabric of the Dutchman's towering
 +foremast, with the great course, swelling<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_45" id="Page_45">[45]</a></span>
 +topsail, topgallant-sail and royal, and the
 +fore-topmast staysail and jibs melt away as
 +an icicle approached by flame; and in a
 +breath, it seemed, the huge ship swung
 +round, pitching and foaming after the manner
 +of a harpooned whale, with her broadside
 +to us, exhibiting the whole fore-part of her
 +most grievously and astonishingly wrecked.</p>
 +<p>A mighty cheer went up from our decks at
 +the sight, and there was a deal of clapping of
 +hands and laughter. Captain Skevington
 +seized the telescope, and talked as he worked
 +away with it.</p>
 +<p>"A rotten foremast, by the thunder of
 +Heaven!" he cried, using his favourite adjuration;
 +"it could be nothing else. No shot
 +our guns throw could work such havoc. By
 +the height that's left standing the spar has
 +fetched away close under the top. And the
 +mess! the mess!"</p>
 +<p>With the naked eye one could see that.
 +The foremast had broken in twain; its fall<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_46" id="Page_46">[46]</a></span>
 +had snapped off the jibbooms to the bowsprit
 +cap, and I do not doubt a nearer view would
 +have shown us the bowsprit itself severely
 +wrenched. I could not imagine the like of
 +that picture of confusion&mdash;her studding-sails,
 +having been set on both sides, drowned all
 +her forward part in canvas, a goodly portion
 +of which had been torn into rags by the fall;
 +immense stretches of sail lay in the water,
 +sinking and rising with the rolling of the
 +ship, and dragging her head to the wind; her
 +main topmast studding-sails, and all the
 +canvas on that mast and the mizzen&mdash;the
 +yards lying square&mdash;were shaking furiously,
 +owing to the posture in which she had fallen;
 +every moment this terrible slatting threatened
 +her other spars; and it needed not a sailor's
 +imagination to conceive how fearfully all that
 +thunderous commotion aloft must heighten
 +the distracting tumult on deck, the passionate
 +volleys of commands, the hollow shocks of
 +seas smiting the inert hull, the shouting of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_47" id="Page_47">[47]</a></span>
 +the seamen, and, as we might be sure, the
 +cries and groans of the many upon whom
 +that soaring fabric of yards, sails, and rigging
 +had fallen with the suddenness of an electric
 +bolt from the clouds.</p>
 +<p>For a whole hour after this we touched
 +not a rope, leaving our ship to rush from the
 +Dutchman straight as an arrow from a bow.
 +But, Lord!&mdash;the storming aloft!&mdash;the fierce
 +straining of our canvas till tacks and guys,
 +sheets and braces rang out upon the wind
 +like the clanking of bells, to a strain upon
 +them tauter than that of harp-strings; the
 +boiling noises of the seas all about our bow
 +and under our counter, where the great bodies
 +of foam roared away into our wake, as the
 +white torrent raves along its bed from the foot
 +of a high cataract! There was an excitement
 +in this speed and triumph of escape from what
 +must have proved a heavy and inglorious
 +disaster to us all which put fire into the
 +blood, and never could I have imagined how<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_48" id="Page_48">[48]</a></span>
 +sentient a ship is, how participant of what
 +stirs the minds of those she carries, until I
 +marked the magnificent eagerness of our
 +vessel's flight&mdash;her headlong domination of
 +the large billows which underran her, and the
 +marble-hard distention of her sails, reminding
 +you of the tense cheeks of one who holds his
 +breath in a run for his life.</p>
 +<p>Distance and the sinking of the sun, and
 +the shadows which throng sharply upon his
 +heels in these climes, left the horizon in
 +course bare to our most searching gaze. We
 +then shortened sail, and under easy canvas,
 +we put our helm a-lee, and stood northwards
 +on a bowline until midnight, when we
 +rounded in upon our weather-braces and
 +steered easterly, Captain Skevington suspecting
 +that the Dutchman would make all haste
 +to refit and head south under some jury contrivance,
 +in the expectation that as we were
 +bound that way when he fell in with us so
 +we should haul to our course afresh when we<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_49" id="Page_49">[49]</a></span>
 +lost sight of him. Yet in the end we saw
 +him no more, and what ship he was I never
 +contrived to learn; but certainly it was an
 +extraordinary escape, though whether due to
 +our shot, or to his foremast being rotten, or
 +to its having been sprung and badly fished,
 +or to some earlier wound during an engagement,
 +must be left to conjecture.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_50" id="Page_50">[50]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER V.<br />
 +<p>But though, after this piece of severe reality,
 +Captain Skevington had very little to say
 +about such elusive and visionary matters as
 +had before engaged us, it was clear from
 +some words which he let fall that he regarded
 +our meeting with the Dutch battleship
 +as a sort of reflected ill-luck from the
 +snow that had passed the Phantom Dutchman,
 +and the idea possessing him&mdash;as
 +indeed it had seized upon me&mdash;that the
 +Lovely Nancy was sure to meet with misadventure,
 +and might have the power of
 +injuring the fortune of any vessel that spoke
 +with her intimately, as we had, caused him<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_51" id="Page_51">[51]</a></span>
 +to navigate the ship with extraordinary
 +wariness. A man was constantly kept aloft
 +to watch the horizon, and repeatedly hailed
 +from the deck that we might know he
 +was awake to his work; other sharp-eyed
 +seamen were stationed on the forecastle; at
 +night every light was screened, so that we
 +moved along like a blot of liquid pitch upon
 +the darkness. On several occasions I heard
 +Captain Skevington say that he would sooner
 +have parted with twenty guineas than have
 +boarded, or had anything to do with, the
 +snow. Happily, the adventure with the
 +Dutchman led the seamen to suppose that
 +the master's anxiety wholly concerned the
 +ships of the enemy; for had it got forward
 +that the Lovely Nancy had sighted Vanderdecken's
 +craft off the Agulhas, I don't
 +question that they would have concluded our
 +meeting with the snow boded no good to us,
 +that we were likely ourselves to encounter the
 +spectral ship&mdash;if indeed she were a phantasm,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_52" id="Page_52">[52]</a></span>
 +and not a substantial fabric, as I myself
 +deemed&mdash;and so perhaps have refused to
 +work the Saracen beyond Table Bay.</p>
 +<p>At that Settlement it was necessary we
 +should call for water, fresh provisions and
 +the like; and on the sixth of July, in the year
 +1796, we safely entered the Bay and let go
 +our anchor, nothing of the least consequence
 +to us having happened since we were chased,
 +the weather being fine with light winds ever
 +since the strong breeze before which we had
 +run, died away.</p>
 +<p>After eighty-one days of sea and sky
 +the meanest land would have offered a noble
 +refreshment to our gaze; judge then of the
 +delight we found in beholding the royal and
 +ample scenery of as fair and spacious a haven
 +as this globe has to offer. But as Captain
 +George Shelvocke, in the capital account he
 +wrote of his voyage round the world in 1718,
 +there points out, the Cape of Good Hope, by
 +which he must intend Table Bay, has been so<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_53" id="Page_53">[53]</a></span>
 +often described, that, says he, "I can say
 +nothing of it that has not been said by most
 +who have been here before."</p>
 +<p>We lay very quietly for a fortnight, feeling
 +perfectly secure, as you may conclude when
 +I tell you that just round the corner, that is
 +to say, in Simon's Bay, there were anchored
 +no less than fourteen British ships of war,
 +in command of Vice-Admiral Sir George
 +Elphinstone, of which two were seventy-fours,
 +whilst five mounted sixty-four guns
 +each. Meeting one of the captains of this
 +squadron, Captain Skevington told him how
 +we had been chased by a Dutch liner, and he
 +replied he did not doubt it was one of the
 +vessels who were coming to retake&mdash;if they
 +could&mdash;the settlement we had captured from
 +the nation that had established the place.
 +But I do not think the notion probable, as
 +the Dutch ships did not show themselves off
 +Saldanha Bay for some weeks after we had
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_54" id="Page_54">[54]</a></span></p>
 +<p>This, however, is a matter of no moment
 +<p>We filled our water casks, laid in a plentiful
 +stock of tobacco, vegetables, hogs, poultry,
 +and such produce as the country yielded,
 +and on the morning of the eighteenth of July
 +hove short, with a crew diminished by the
 +loss of one man only, a boatswain's mate,
 +named Turner, who, because we suffered
 +none of the men to go ashore for dread of
 +their deserting the ship, slipped down the
 +cable on the night of our departure, and
 +swam to the beach naked with some silver
 +pieces tied round him in a handkerchief.
 +Behold the character of the sailor! For a
 +few hours of such drunken jollity as he may
 +obtain in the tavern and amid low company,
 +he will be content to forfeit all he has in the
 +world. It was known that this man Turner
 +had a wife and two children at home dependent
 +upon his earnings; yet no thoughts of
 +them could suppress his deplorable, restless<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_55" id="Page_55">[55]</a></span>
 +spirit. But I afterwards heard he was
 +punished even beyond his deserts; for being
 +pretty near spent by his swim, he lay down
 +to sleep, but was presently awakened by
 +something crawling over him that proved a
 +venomous snake called a puff-adder, which,
 +on his moving, stung him, whereof he died.</p>
 +<p>It was the stormy season of the year off
 +South Africa; but, then, a few days of
 +westerly winds would blow us into mild and
 +quiet zones, and, come what might, the ship
 +we stood on was stout and honest, all things
 +right and true aloft, the provision-space
 +hospitably stocked, and the health of the
 +crew of the best.</p>
 +<p>'Twas a perfectly quiet, cheerful morning
 +when we manned the capstan; the waters of
 +the bay stretched in an exquisite blue calm
 +to the sandy wastes on the Blaawberg side,
 +and thence to where the town stands; the
 +atmosphere had the purity of the object-lens
 +of a perspective glass, and the far distant<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_56" id="Page_56">[56]</a></span>
 +Hottentot Holland Mountains, with summits
 +so mighty that the sky appeared to rest upon
 +them, gathered to their giant slopes such a
 +mellowness and richness of blue, that they
 +showed as a dark atmospheric dye which had
 +run and stained before being stanched, that
 +part of the heavens, rather than as prodigious
 +masses of land of the usual complexion of
 +mountains when viewed closely. That imperial
 +height called Table Mountain, guarded
 +by the amber-tinted couchant lion, reared a
 +marvellously clear sky-line, and there the
 +firmament appeared as a flowing sea of blue,
 +flushing its full cerulean bosom to the flat
 +altitude as though it would overflow it. But
 +I noticed a shred of crawling vapour gather
 +up there whilst the crew were chorussing at
 +the capstan, and by the time our topsails
 +were sheeted home there was a mass of
 +white vapour some hundred feet in depth,
 +foaming and churning atop, with delicate
 +wings of it circling out into the blue, where<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_57" id="Page_57">[57]</a></span>
 +they gyrated like butterflies and melted.
 +The air was full of the moaning noises of
 +the south-east wind flying out of that cloud
 +down the steep abrupt full of gorges, scars,
 +and ravines; and what was just now a picture
 +of May-day peace became, on a sudden, a
 +scene of whipped and creaming ripples; and
 +the flashing on shore of the glass of shaken
 +window-casements through spiral spirtings of
 +reddish dust; hands aloft on the various
 +ships at anchor, hastily furling the canvas
 +that had been loosed to hang idly to the
 +sun; flags, quite recently languid as streaks
 +of paint, now pulling fiercely at their
 +halliards; and Malay fishing-boats, darting
 +across the bay in a gem-like glittering of
 +water sliced out by their sharp stems and
 +slung to the strong wind.</p>
 +<p>Under small sail we stormed out toward
 +the ocean, with a desperate screaming of
 +wind in the rigging; but there was no sea,
 +for the gale was off the land; and after<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_58" id="Page_58">[58]</a></span>
 +passing some noble and enchanting bays on
 +whose shores the breakers as tall as our ship
 +flung their resounding Atlantic thunder, whilst
 +behind stood ranges of mountains putting a
 +quality of solemn magnificence into the cheerful
 +yellow clothing of the sunshine, with here
 +and there a small house of an almond whiteness
 +against the leaves of the silver trees and
 +sundry rich growths thereabouts, in a moment
 +we ran sheer out of the gale into a light wind,
 +blowing from the north-west.</p>
 +<p>I don't say we were astonished, since some-while
 +before reaching the calm part we could
 +see it clearly defined by the line where the
 +froth and angry blueness and the fiery
 +agitation of the wind ended. Still, it was
 +impossible not to feel surprised as the ship
 +slipped out of the enraged and yelling belt
 +into a peaceful sea and a weak new wind
 +which obliged us to handle the braces and
 +make sail.</p>
 +<p>Here happened an extraordinary thing.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_59" id="Page_59">[59]</a></span>
 +As we passed Green Point, where the
 +weather was placid and the strife waged in
 +the bay no longer to be seen, a large ship of
 +six hundred tons, that we supposed was to
 +call at Cape Town, passed us, her yards
 +braced up and all plain sail set. She had
 +some soldiers aboard, showed several guns,
 +had the English colours flying and offered
 +a very brave and handsome show, being
 +sheathed with copper that glowed ruddy to
 +the soft laving of the glass-bright swell, and
 +her canvas had the hue of the cotton cloths
 +which the Spaniards of the South American
 +main used to spread, and which in these days
 +form a distinguishing mark of the Yankee
 +ships. Having not the least suspicion of the
 +turmoil that awaited her round Mouille Point,
 +she slipped along jauntily, ready to make
 +a free wind of the breeze then blowing. But
 +all on a sudden, on opening the bay, she met
 +the whole strength of the fierce south-easter.
 +Down she lay to it, all aback&mdash;stopped dead.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_60" id="Page_60">[60]</a></span>
 +Her ports being open, I feared if she were
 +not promptly recovered, she must founder.
 +They might let go the halliards, but the yards
 +being jammed would not travel. It swept
 +the heart into the throat to witness this
 +thing! We brought our ship to the wind
 +to render help with our boats; but happily
 +her mizzen topmast broke, and immediately
 +after, her main topgallant-mast snapped short
 +off, close to the cross-trees; then&mdash;though it
 +must have been wild work on those sloping
 +decks&mdash;they managed to bring the main and
 +topsail yards square; whereupon she paid
 +off, righting as her head swung from the
 +gale, and with lightened hearts, as may be
 +supposed, they went to work to let go and
 +clew up and haul down, whilst you saw how
 +severe was the need of the pumps they had
 +manned, by the bright streams of water
 +which sluiced from her sides.</p>
 +<p>It was a cruel thing to witness, this sudden
 +wrecking of the beauty of a truly stately ship,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_61" id="Page_61">[61]</a></span>
 +quietly swinging along over the mild heave
 +of the swell, like a full-robed, handsome
 +princess seized and torn by some loathsome
 +monster, as we read of such matters in old
 +romances. It was like the blighting breath
 +of pestilence upon some fair form, converting
 +into little better than a carcase what was just
 +now a proud and regal shape, made beauteous
 +by all that art could give her of apparel, and
 +all that nature could impart of colour and
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_62" id="Page_62">[62]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER VI.<br />
 +DEATH SHIP.</h2>
 +<p>I had the first watch on the night of the day
 +on which we left Table Bay: that is, from
 +eight till midnight; and at two bells&mdash;nine
 +o'clock&mdash;I was quietly pacing the deck, full of
 +fancies struck into me by the beauty of the
 +stars, among which, over the starboard yard-arms,
 +hung the Southern Cross, shining
 +purely, and by the mild glory of the moon
 +that, though short of a day or two of being
 +full, rained down a keen light that had a hint
 +of rosiness in it, when Captain Skevington
 +came out of the cabin, and stepping up to me
 +stood a minute without speaking, gazing
 +earnestly right around the sea-circle.</p>
 +<p>There was a small wind blowing and the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_63" id="Page_63">[63]</a></span>
 +ship, under full sail, was softly pushing
 +southwards with a pleasant noise as of
 +the playing of fountains coming from the
 +direction of her bows.</p>
 +<p>"A quiet night, Fenton," said the captain,
 +<p>"Aye, sir; quiet indeed. There's been a
 +small show of lightning away down in the
 +south-west. The wind hangs steady but a
 +little faint."</p>
 +<p>"The sort of night for meeting with
 +the Demon Ship, eh, Fenton?" cried he,
 +with a laugh that did not sound perfectly
 +<p>"There's no chance of such a meeting, I
 +fear, sir."</p>
 +<p>"You fear?"</p>
 +<p>"Well," I exclaimed, struck by his quick
 +catching up of me, "I mean that as the
 +Demon Ship, as you term her, is one of the
 +wonders of the world, the seeing of her
 +would be a mighty experience&mdash;something<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_64" id="Page_64">[64]</a></span>
 +big enough in that way to keep a man
 +talking about it all his life."</p>
 +<p>"God avert such a meeting!" said he,
 +lifting his hat, and turning up his face to the
 +<p>I suppose, thought I, that our drawing
 +close to the seas in which the Phantom
 +cruises has stirred up his superstitious fears
 +<p>"Did you speak to any one at Cape Town
 +about Vanderdecken, sir?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"No," he answered. "I had got my bellyfull
 +from the master of the snow. What is
 +there to ask?"</p>
 +<p>"Whether others have lately sighted the
 +<p>"Why, yes, I might have inquired, certainly,
 +but it didn't enter my head. Tell ye
 +what, though, Fenton, do you remember our
 +chat t'other day about bodies being endevilled
 +after they pass an age when by the laws of
 +great Nature they should die?"</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_65" id="Page_65">[65]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Perfectly well, sir."</p>
 +<p>"Now," continued he, "I was in company
 +a few nights since where there was one
 +Cornelius Meyer present, a person ninety-one
 +years old, but surprisingly sound in all
 +his faculties, his sight piercing, his hearing
 +keen, memory tenacious, and so forth. He
 +was a Dutch Jew, but his patriotism was
 +coloured by the hue of the flag flying at
 +Cape Castle: I mean he would take the
 +King of Great Britain and the States-General
 +as they came. When he left we
 +talked of him, and this led us to argue
 +about old age. One gentleman said he did
 +not know but that it was possible for a man
 +to live to a hundred-and-fifty, and said there
 +were instances of it. I replied, 'Not out of
 +the Bible,' where the reckoning was not
 +ours. He answered, 'Yes, out of the Bible;'
 +and going to a bookshelf, pulled down a
 +volume, and read a score of names of men
 +with their ages attached. I looked at the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_66" id="Page_66">[66]</a></span>
 +book and saw it was honestly written, and
 +being struck by this collection of extraordinary
 +examples, begged the gentleman's
 +son, who was present, to copy the list out
 +for me, which he was so obliging as to do. I
 +have it in my pocket," said he, and he
 +pulled out a sheet of paper, and then going
 +to the hatch called to the boy to bring a
 +lamp on deck.</p>
 +<p>This was done, the lamp put on the skylight,
 +and putting the paper close to it, the
 +captain read as follows: "Thomas Parr, of
 +Shropshire, died Nov. 16, 1635, aged one
 +hundred and fifty-two; Henry Jenkins, of
 +Yorkshire, died Dec. 8,  1670, aged one
 +hundred and sixty-nine; James Sands, of
 +Staffordshire, died 1770, aged one hundred
 +and forty; Louisa Truxo, a negress in South
 +America, was living in 1780, and her age
 +was then one hundred and seventy-five."</p>
 +<p>I burst into a laugh. He smiled too, and
 +said, "Here in this list are thirty-one names,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_67" id="Page_67">[67]</a></span>
 +the highest being that negress, and the
 +lowest one, Susannah Hilliar, of Piddington,
 +Northamptonshire, who died February 19th,
 +1781, aged one hundred. The young gentleman
 +who copied them said they were all
 +honestly vouched for, and wrote down a list
 +of the authorities, which," said he, peering
 +and bringing the paper closer to his eyes,
 +"consist of 'Fuller's Worthies,' 'Philosophical
 +Transactions,' 'Derham's Physico-Theology,'
 +several newspapers, such as the 'Morning
 +Post,' 'Daily Advertiser,' 'London Chronicle,'
 +and a number of inscriptions."</p>
 +<p>I could have been tolerably sarcastic, I
 +daresay, when he mentioned the authority
 +of the newspapers, always understanding that
 +those sheets flourish mainly on lies, and I
 +should have laughed again had I not been restrained
 +by the sense that Captain Skevington
 +was clearly "bitten" on this subject, actually
 +worried by it, indeed, to such lengths, that
 +if he did not mind his eye it might presently<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_68" id="Page_68">[68]</a></span>
 +push into a delusion, and earn him the disconcerting
 +reputation of being a madman; so
 +I thought I would talk gravely, and said,
 +"May I ask, sir, why you should have been
 +at the pains to collect that evidence in your
 +hand about old age?"</p>
 +<p>"A mere humour," said he, lightly, putting
 +the paper away, "though I don't mind owning
 +it would prodigiously gratify me if I
 +could be the instrument of proving that men
 +can overstep the bounds of natural life by as
 +many years again, and yet possess their own
 +souls and be as true to their original as they
 +were when hearty young fellows flushed with
 +the summer colours of life."</p>
 +<p>Some fine rhymes coming into my head, I
 +exclaimed, "Cowley has settled that point, I
 +think, when he says:&mdash;</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +'To things immortal time can do no wrong,<br />
 +And that which never is to die for ever must be young.'"<br />
 +<p>"A noble fancy indeed!" cried the captain.
 +He reflected a little, and said, "It would<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_69" id="Page_69">[69]</a></span>
 +make a great noise among sailors, and perhaps
 +all men, to prove that the mariners who
 +man the Death Ship are not ghosts and
 +phantoms as has been surmised, but survivors
 +of a crew, men who have outlived their
 +fellows, and are now extremely ancient, as
 +these and scores of others who have passed
 +away unnoticed have been," said he, touching
 +his pocket where the paper was.</p>
 +<p>"When, sir, did Vanderdecken sail from
 +Batavia?" I asked.</p>
 +<p>"I have always understood about the year
 +1650," he replied.</p>
 +<p>"Then," said I, calculating, "suppose the
 +average age of the crew to have been thirty
 +when the Curse was uttered&mdash;we'll name that
 +figure for the sake of argument&mdash;in the
 +present year of our Lord they will have
 +attained the age of hard upon one hundred
 +and eighty."</p>
 +<p>"Well?" said he, inquiringly, as though
 +there was yet food for argument.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_70" id="Page_70">[70]</a></span></p>
 +<p>I shook my head.</p>
 +<p>"Then," he cried, with heat, "they are
 +endevilled, for it must be one of two things.
 +They can't be dead men as the corpse in the
 +grave is dead."</p>
 +<p>"One could only judge by seeing with
 +one's eyes," said I.</p>
 +<p>"I hope that won't happen," he exclaimed,
 +taking a hasty turn; "though I don't know&mdash;I
 +don't know! A something here," pressing
 +his brow, "weighs down upon me like a
 +warning. I have struggled to get rid of the
 +fancy; but our being chased by the Dutchman
 +shows that we did not meet that
 +Plymouth snow for nothing; and, by the
 +thunder of Heaven, Fenton, I fear&mdash;I fear
 +our next bout will be with the Spectre."</p>
 +<p>His manner, his words, a gleam in his eye,
 +to which the lantern lent no sparkle, sent
 +a tremor through me. He caused me to fear
 +him for a minute as one that talked with
 +certainty of futurity through stress of prophetic<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_71" id="Page_71">[71]</a></span>
 +craze. The yellow beams of the
 +lantern dispersed a narrow circle of lustre,
 +and in it our figures showed black, each with
 +two shadows swaying at his feet from the
 +commingling of the lamplight and the
 +moonshine.  The soft  air  stirred in the
 +rigging like the rustle of the pinions of
 +invisible night-birds on the wing; all was
 +silent and in darkness along the decks, save
 +where stood  the figure of the helmsman
 +just before the little round-house, outlined by
 +the flames of the binnacle lamp; the stillness,
 +unbroken to the farthest corners of the
 +mighty plain of ocean, seemed as though
 +it were some mysterious spell wrought by the
 +stars, so high it went, even&mdash;so one might
 +say&mdash;as a sensible presence to the busy,
 +trembling faces of those silver worlds.</p>
 +<p>In all men, even in the dullest, there is a
 +vein of imagination; whilst, like an artery, it
 +holds sound, all is well. But sometimes it
 +breaks, God knows how, for the most part,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_72" id="Page_72">[72]</a></span>
 +and then what is in it floods the intelligence
 +often to the drowning of it, as the bursting of
 +a vessel of the body within sickens or kills
 +with hemorrhage. I considered some such
 +idea as this to be applicable to Captain
 +Skevington. Here was apparently a plain,
 +sturdy sailor, qualified to the life for such talk
 +as concerns ships, weather, ladings and the
 +like; yet it was certain he was exceedingly
 +superstitious, believing in such a Devil as the
 +ancient monks figured forth, also in the possession
 +of dead bodies by demons who caused
 +them to move and act as though operated
 +upon by the souls they came from their
 +mothers with, with a vast deal of other pitiful
 +fancies; and now, through our unhappy
 +meeting with that miserable snow, he had
 +let his mind run on the Phantom Ship so
 +vehemently that he was not only cocksure
 +we should meet the Spectre, but had reasoned
 +the whole fabric and manning of her out on
 +two issues; either that her hands were survivors<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_73" id="Page_73">[73]</a></span>
 +of her original crew, persons who had
 +cheated Nature by living to an age the like
 +of which had not been heard of since the
 +days of Moses and the prophets, beings who,</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +Like a lamp would live to the last wink<br />
 +And crawl upon the utmost verge of life;<br />
 +<p>or that they were mariners who, having
 +arrived at the years when they would have
 +died but for being cursed, had been seized
 +upon by the Devil, quickened by him, and
 +set a-going with their death-hour aspects
 +upon them.</p>
 +<p>These reflections occupied my mind after
 +he had left me, and I don't mind confessing
 +that what with my own belief in the Death
 +Ship, coupled with the captain's notions and
 +the fancies they raised in me, along with the
 +melancholy vagueness of the deep, hazy with
 +moonshine, the stillness, and the sense of our
 +drawing near to where the Spectre was
 +chiefly to be met, I became so uneasy that I
 +contrived to spend the rest of my watch on<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_74" id="Page_74">[74]</a></span>
 +deck within a few paces of the wheel, often
 +addressing the helmsman for the sake of
 +hearing his voice; and I tell you I was mighty
 +pleased when midnight came round at last,
 +so that I could go below and dispatch the
 +mate to a scene in which his heavy mind
 +would witness nothing but water and sky,
 +and a breeze much too faint to be profitable.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_75" id="Page_75">[75]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER VII.<br />
 +<p>And now for six days it veritably seemed as
 +if we were to be transformed into the marine
 +phantom that, unsubstantial as she might
 +be, yet lay with the heaviness of lead upon
 +Captain Skevington; for, being on the parallel
 +of Agulhas, a little to the south of that latitude,
 +and in about sixteen degrees west
 +longitude, it came on to blow fresh from
 +the south-east, hardening after twenty-four
 +hours into a whole gale with frequent and
 +violent guns, and a veering of it easterly;
 +and this continued, with a lull of an hour or
 +two's duration, for six days, as I have said.
 +'Twas a taste of Cape weather strong enough<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_76" id="Page_76">[76]</a></span>
 +to last a man a lifetime. The sea lay
 +shrouded to within a musket-shot by a
 +vapour of slatish hue that looked to stand
 +motionless, and past the walls and along
 +the roof of this wild, dismal, cloud-formed
 +chamber, with its floor of vaults and frothing
 +brows, the wind swept raving, raising a
 +terrible lead-coloured sea, with heads which
 +seemed to rear to the height of our maintop,
 +where they broke, and boiled like a cauldron
 +with foam, great masses of which the hands
 +of the gale caught up and hurled, so that the
 +lashing of the spray was often like a blinding
 +snowstorm, but so smarting that the wind
 +was as if charged with javelins.</p>
 +<p>Look upon the chart and you will see that
 +for measureless leagues there is in these
 +waters no land to hinder the run of the
 +surges. Hence, when a fierce gale comes on
 +from the east, south or west, the seas which
 +rise are prodigious beyond such language as
 +I have at command to express. We lay-to<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_77" id="Page_77">[77]</a></span>
 +under a storm staysail with topgallant-masts
 +struck, yards on deck and the lower yards
 +stowed on the rail, the hatches battened
 +down and everything as snug as good seamanship
 +could provide. Our decks were
 +constantly full of water; by one great sea
 +that fell over into the waist there were
 +drowned no less than six of the sheep we had
 +taken in at the Cape, with a hog and many
 +fowls; the carpenter's leg was broken by a
 +fall, and an able seaman was deeply gashed
 +in the face by being thrown against a scuttlebutt;
 +'twas impossible to get any food
 +cooked, and throughout that week we subsisted
 +on biscuit, cheese and such dry and
 +lean fare as did not need dressing. In short,
 +I could fill a chapter with our sufferings
 +and anxieties during that period.</p>
 +<p>I had supposed that when brought face to
 +face with the stern harsh prose of such
 +weather as this, the mournful, romantic stuff
 +that filled the captain's head would have<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_78" id="Page_78">[78]</a></span>
 +been clean blown out of it; but no! he
 +repeatedly said to me, and I believe on more
 +than one occasion to Mr. Hall, that he considered
 +this weather as part of the ill-luck
 +that was bound to come to us from our
 +having spoken a vessel that had been passed
 +within hailing distance by the Phantom Ship.</p>
 +<p>On the fifth morning of the gale, the pair
 +of us being in the cabin, he informed me that
 +a man named Cobwebb, who was at the helm
 +the night before, had told him that some of
 +the crew were for putting this foul storm
 +down to one Mulder, or some such name, who
 +was a Russian Finn, a sober, excellent seaman,
 +and one of the only two foreigners in
 +our forecastle; that to neutralise any magical
 +influence he might possess, a horse shoe had
 +been nailed to the foremast and the mainmast
 +pierced and scored with a black-handled
 +knife. He smiled at these superstitions but
 +did not seem to suspect that his own, as being
 +received by a man of thought and tolerable<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_79" id="Page_79">[79]</a></span>
 +education, might by many be deemed much
 +more worthy of ridicule.</p>
 +<p>But on the sixth day the gale broke,
 +leaving our ship considerably strained, by
 +which time, in spite of the current and the
 +send of the sea, we had contrived to make
 +forty miles of southing and easting, owing to
 +our pertinacity in making sail and stretching
 +away on a board at every lull.</p>
 +<p>It was shortly after this, on the Tuesday
 +following the Friday on which the gale
 +ended, that, it being my watch on deck from
 +eight o'clock in the evening till midnight, I
 +carried my pipe, an hour before my turn
 +arrived, into the carpenter's cabin, which he
 +shared with the boatswain, to give the poor
 +fellow a bit of my company, for his broken
 +leg kept him motionless. It was the second
 +dogwatch, as we term the time, 'twixt six
 +and eight o'clock, at sea, the evening indifferently
 +fine, the wind over the starboard
 +quarter, a quiet breeze, the ocean heaving in<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_80" id="Page_80">[80]</a></span>
 +a lazy swell from the south, and the ship
 +pushing forward at five knots an hour under
 +fore and main-royals. The carpenter lay in
 +a bunk, wearing a haggard face, and grizzly
 +for lack of the razor. He was a very sensible,
 +sober man, a good artificer, and had served
 +under Lord Howe in the fleet equipped for
 +the relief of Gibraltar, besides having seen a
 +deal of cruising work in earlier times.</p>
 +<p>He was much obliged by my looking in
 +upon him, and we speedily fell to yarning;
 +he lighted a pipe, and I smoked likewise,
 +whilst I sat upon his chest, taking in with a
 +half-look round, such details as a rude sketch
 +of the bo's'n's wife nailed to the bulkhead,
 +the slush lamp swinging its dingy smoking
 +flame to a cracked piece of looking-glass
 +over against the carpenter's bed, an ancient
 +horny copy of the Bible, with type pretty
 +nigh as big as the letters of our ship's name,
 +a bit of a shelf wherefrom there forked out
 +the stems of some clay pipes, with other<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_81" id="Page_81">[81]</a></span>
 +humble furniture such as a sailor is used
 +to carry to sea with him.</p>
 +<p>After a little, the carpenter, whose name
 +was Matthews, says to me, "I beg pardon,
 +sir, but there's some talk going about among
 +the men concerning the old Dutchman that
 +was cursed last century. My mate, Joe
 +Marner, told me that Jimmy&mdash;meaning the
 +cabin-boy&mdash;was telling some of the crew this
 +morning, that he heard the captain say the
 +Dutchman's been sighted."</p>
 +<p>"By anyone aboard us?" I asked.</p>
 +<p>"Mebbe, sir, but I didn't understand
 +<p>Now, as every hour was carrying us
 +further to the eastward of the Cape, away
 +from the Phantom's cruising-ground, and as,
 +moreover, the leaving gossip to make its own
 +way would surely in the end prove more
 +terrifying to the nervous and superstitious on
 +board than speaking the truth, I resolved to
 +tell Matthews how the matter stood, and with<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_82" id="Page_82">[82]</a></span>
 +that, acquainted him with what the master of
 +the snow had told Captain Skevington. He
 +looked very grave, and withdrew his pipe
 +from his lips, and I noticed he did not offer
 +to light the tobacco afresh.</p>
 +<p>"I'm sorry to hear this, sir," says he.</p>
 +<p>"But," said I, "what has the Lovely
 +Nancy's meeting with the Dutchman got to
 +do with us?"</p>
 +<p>"Only this, sir," he exclaimed, with his
 +face yet more clouded, and speaking in a low
 +voice, as one might in a sacred building, "I
 +never yet knew or heard of a ship reporting
 +to another of having met the Dutchman
 +without that other a-meeting of the Ghost too
 +afore she ended her voyage."</p>
 +<p>"If that be so," I cried, not liking to hear
 +this, for Matthews had been to sea for thirty-five
 +years, and he now spoke with too much
 +emotion not to affect me, "for God's sake
 +don't make your thoughts known to the crew,
 +and least of all to the captain, who is already<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_83" id="Page_83">[83]</a></span>
 +so uneasy on this head that when he mentions
 +it he talks as if his mind were adrift."</p>
 +<p>"Mr. Fenton," said the carpenter, "I
 +never yet knew or heard of a ship reporting
 +to another of having met the Dutchman,
 +without that other meeting the Ghost too
 +afore she's ended her voyage," and thus
 +speaking he smote his bed heavily with his
 +<p>I was startled by the emphasis his repeating
 +his former words gave to the assurance,
 +and smoked in silence. He put
 +down his pipe and lay awhile looking at me
 +as though turning some matters over in his
 +mind. The swing of the flame, burning from
 +the spout of the lamp put various expressions,
 +wrought by the fluctuating shadows,
 +into his sick face, and it was this perhaps
 +that caused his words to possess a power
 +I could not feign to you by any art of my
 +pen. He asked me if I had ever seen the
 +Dutchman, and on my answering "No," he<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_84" id="Page_84">[84]</a></span>
 +said that the usual notion among sailors was
 +that there is but one vessel sailing the seas
 +with the curse of Heaven upon her, but that
 +that was a mistake, as it was an error in the
 +same way to suppose that this ocean from
 +Agulhas round to the Mozambique was the
 +only place in which the Phantom was to be
 +<p>"There's a ship," said he, "after the
 +pattern of this here Dutchman, to be found
 +in the Baltic. She always brings heavy
 +weather, and there's small chance afterwards
 +for any craft that sights her."</p>
 +<p>"I've been trading in the Baltic for five
 +years without ever hearing that," said I.</p>
 +<p>"But it's true all the same, Mr. Fenton;
 +you ask about it, sir, when you get back, and
 +then you'll see. There's another vessel, of
 +the same pattern, that's to be met down in
 +the mouth of the Channel, 'twixt Ushant and
 +the Scillies, and thereabouts. A man I know,
 +called Jimmy Robbins, saw her, and told me<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_85" id="Page_85">[85]</a></span>
 +the yarn. He was in a ship bound home
 +from the Spice Islands; they were in soundings,
 +and heading round for the Channel; it
 +was the morning watch, just about dawn,
 +weather slightly thickish; suddenly a vessel
 +comes heaving out of the smother from
 +God knows where! Jim Robbins was coiling
 +down a rope alongside the mate, who,
 +on seeing the vessel, screams out shrill, like
 +a woman, and falls flat in a swound; Jim,
 +looking, saw it was the Channel Death Ship,
 +a large pink, manned by skeletons, with
 +a skull for a figurehead, and a skeleton
 +captain leaning against the mast, watching
 +the running of the sand in an hour-glass
 +he held. She was seen by twelve others,
 +besides Jim and the mate, who nearly died
 +of the fright. And the consequence of meeting
 +her was, that the ship Jim Robbins was
 +in was cast away on the following night on
 +the French coast, down Saint Brihos way,
 +and thirty-three souls perished."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_86" id="Page_86">[86]</a></span></p>
 +<p>The gravity with which he related this,
 +and his evident keen belief in these and the
 +like superstitions, now rendered the conversation
 +somewhat diverting; for, as I have
 +elsewhere said, though I never questioned
 +the existence of the one spectral ship, in a
 +belief in which all mariners are united, holding
 +that the deep, which is full of drowned
 +men, hath its spirits and its apparitions
 +equally with the land, yet when it came to
 +such crude mad fancies as a vessel manned
 +by skeletons, why, of course, there was
 +nothing for it but to laugh, which I did,
 +heartily enough, though in my sleeve,
 +for seamen are a sensitive people, easily
 +afronted, more especially in any article of
 +their faith. However, he succeeded, before
 +I left him, in exciting a fresh uneasiness
 +in me by asseverating, in a most melancholy
 +voice, and with a very dismal face, that
 +our having spoken with the snow that had
 +sighted the Dutchman was certain to be<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_87" id="Page_87">[87]</a></span>
 +followed by misfortune; and these being
 +amongst the last words he exchanged with
 +me before I left his cabin, I naturally carried
 +away with me on deck the damping and
 +desponding impression of his posture and
 +appearance as he uttered them, which were
 +those of a man grieved, bewildered, and
 +greatly alarmed.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_88" id="Page_88">[88]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER VIII.<br />
 +<p>For some time after I had relieved the deck,
 +as it is termed, that is to say, after the mate
 +had gone below and left me in charge, I had
 +the company of the captain, who seemed restless
 +and troubled, often quitting my side as
 +we paced, to go to the rail and view the
 +horizon, with the air of a man perturbed by
 +expectation. I need not tell you that I did
 +not breathe a word to him respecting my talk
 +with the carpenter, not even to the extent
 +of saying how fancies about the Dutchman
 +were flying about among the crew, for this
 +subject he was in no state of mind to be
 +brought into.</p>
 +<p>The moon was rising a little before he
 +joined me, and we stood in silence watching<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_89" id="Page_89">[89]</a></span>
 +her. She jutted up a very sickly faint red,
 +that brightened but a little after she lifted her
 +lower limb clear of the horizon, and when
 +we had the full of her plain we perceived
 +her strangely distorted by the atmosphere of
 +the shape&mdash;if shape it can be called&mdash;of a
 +rotten orange that has been squeezed, or of
 +a turtle's egg lightly pressed; she was more
 +like a blood-coloured jelly distilled by the
 +sky, ugly and even affrighting, than the
 +sweet ice-cold planet that empearls the world
 +at night, and whose delicate silver the lover
 +delights to behold in his sweetheart's eyes.
 +But she grew more shapely as she soared,
 +though holding a dusky blush for a much
 +longer time than ever I had noticed in her
 +when rising off the mid-African main; and
 +her wake, broken by the small, black curl of
 +the breeze, hung in broken indissoluble lumps
 +of feverish light, like coagulated gore that
 +had dropped from the wound she looked to
 +be in the dark sky.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_90" id="Page_90">[90]</a></span></p>
 +<p>There was a faintness in the heavens that
 +closed out the sparkles of the farther stars,
 +and but a few, and those only of the greatest
 +magnitude, were visible, shining in several
 +colours, such as dim pink and green and wan
 +crystal; all which, together with one or two
 +of them above our mastheads, dimly glittering
 +amidst feeble rings, made the whole
 +appearance of the night amazing and even
 +ghastly enough to excite a feeling of awe in
 +the attention it compelled. The captain
 +spoke not a word whilst the moon slowly
 +floated into the dusk, and then fetching a
 +deep breath, he said&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"Well, thank God, if she don't grow round
 +it's because of the shadow on her. Keep a
 +bright look-out, Mr. Fenton, and hold the
 +ship to her course. Should the wind fail call
 +me&mdash;and call me too if it should head us."</p>
 +<p>With which he walked quietly to the
 +hatch, stood there a moment or two with his
 +hand upon it and his face looking up as<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_91" id="Page_91">[91]</a></span>
 +though he studied the trim of the yards, and
 +then disappeared.</p>
 +<p>My talk with the carpenter and the behaviour
 +of the captain bred in me a sense as
 +of something solemn and momentous informing
 +the hours. I reasoned with myself, I
 +struggled with the inexplicable oppression
 +that weighed down my spirits, but it would
 +not do. I asked myself, "Why should the
 +cheap, illiterate fears of such a man as the
 +carpenter affect me? Why should I find the
 +secret of my soul's depression in the superstitions
 +of Captain Skevington, whose arguments
 +as to the endevilment of the dead
 +exhibited a decay of his intellect on one side,
 +as phthisis consumes one lung, leaving the
 +other sound enough for a man to go on living
 +with?" And I recited these comfortable
 +lines of the poet:&mdash;</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +"Learn though mishap may cross our ways,<br />
 +It is not ours to reckon when."<br />
 +<p>Yet in vain. There was an intelligence of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_92" id="Page_92">[92]</a></span>
 +my spirits that was not to be soothed, and I
 +found myself treading about the deck, stepping
 +lightly, as a man might who walks upon
 +ground under which the dead lie, whilst I felt
 +so much worried, down to the very bottom of
 +my heart, that had some great sorrow just
 +befallen me I could not have been sadder.</p>
 +<p>As the night wore on the moon gathered
 +her wonted hue and shape, though her
 +refulgence was small, for the air thickened.
 +Indeed, at half-past ten all the lights of
 +Heaven, saving the moon, had been put out
 +by a mist, the texture of which was illustrated
 +by the only luminary the sky contained,
 +around whose pale expiring disc there was
 +now a great halo, with something of the
 +character of a lunar rainbow in the very delicate,
 +barely determinable tinctures, which
 +made a sort of shadowy prism of it, more
 +like what one would dream of than see. The
 +ocean lay very black, there was no power in
 +the moon to cast a wake, the breathings of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_93" id="Page_93">[93]</a></span>
 +the wind rippled the water and caused a scintillation
 +of the spangles of the phosphorus or
 +sea-fire, the weight of the lower sails kept
 +them hanging up and down, and what motion
 +the ship had was from the swelling of the
 +light canvas that rose very pale and ghostly
 +into the gloom.</p>
 +<p>I had gone to the taffrail and was staring
 +there away into the dark, whither our short
 +wake streamed in a sort of smouldering
 +cloudiness with particles of fire in it, conceiving
 +that the wind was failing, and waiting
 +to make sure before reporting to the captain,
 +when I was startled by the report of a
 +musket or some small arm that broke upon
 +my ear with a muffled sound, so that whence
 +it came I could not conceive. Yet, for some
 +minutes I felt so persuaded the noise had
 +been seawards that, spite of there having
 +been no flash, I stood peering hard into the
 +dark, first one side then the other, far as the
 +sails would suffer me.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_94" id="Page_94">[94]</a></span></p>
 +<p>Then, but all very quickly, concluding that
 +the explosion had happened aboard and
 +might betoken mischief, I ran along the deck
 +where, close against the wheel, I found a
 +number of seamen talking hurriedly and in
 +alarmed voices. I called out to know what
 +that noise had been. None knew. One
 +said it had come from the sea, another that
 +there had been a small explosion in the hold,
 +and a third was giving his opinion, when at
 +that instant a figure darted out of the companion
 +hatch, clothed in his shirt and drawers,
 +and cried out, "Mr. Fenton! Mr. Fenton!
 +For God's sake, where are you?"</p>
 +<p>I recognized the voice of Mr. Hall, and
 +bawled back, "Here, sir!" and ran to him.
 +He grasped my arm. "The captain has
 +shot himself!" he exclaimed.</p>
 +<p>"Where is he?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"In his cabin," he answered.</p>
 +<p>We rushed down together. The great
 +cabin, where we messed, was in darkness,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_95" id="Page_95">[95]</a></span>
 +but a light shone in the captain's berth.
 +The door was open, and gently swung with
 +the motion of the ship. I pushed in, but
 +instantly recoiled with horror, for, right
 +athwart the deck lay the body of Captain
 +Skevington, with the top of his head blown
 +away. It needed but one glance to know
 +that he had done this thing with his own
 +hand. He had fired the piece with his foot
 +by a string attached to the trigger, standing
 +upright with his brow bent to the muzzle, for
 +the bight of the string was round his shoe,
 +and he had fallen sideways, grasping the
 +<p>The sight froze me to the marrow. Had
 +I killed him by accident with my own hand I
 +could not have trembled more. But this
 +exquisite distress was short-lived. It was
 +only needful to look at his head to discover
 +how fruitless would be the task of examining
 +him for any signs of life. Some of the seamen
 +who heard Mr. Hall cry out to me<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_96" id="Page_96">[96]</a></span>
 +about this thing had followed us below,
 +forgetting their place in the consternation
 +roused in them, and stood in the doorway
 +faintly groaning and muttering exclamations
 +of pity. Mr. Hall bid a couple of them raise
 +the body and lay it in its bunk and cover it
 +with a sheet, and others he sent for water
 +and a swab wherewith to cleanse the place.</p>
 +<p>"You had better go on deck again,
 +Fenton," says he to me; "the ship must
 +be watched. I'll join you presently."</p>
 +<p>I was glad to withdraw; for albeit there
 +was a ghastliness in the look of the night, the
 +sea being black as ebony, though touched
 +here and there with little sheets of fire, and
 +stretching like a pall to its horizon that
 +was drawing narrower and murkier around
 +us minute after minute, with the wing-like
 +shadow of vapour that was yet too thin to
 +deserve the name of fog; though there was
 +this ghastliness, I say, aided by the moon
 +that was now little more than a dim, tarnished<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_97" id="Page_97">[97]</a></span>
 +blotch of shapeless silver, wanly ringed
 +with an ashen cincture, yet the taste of the
 +faint breeze was as helpful to my spirits as
 +a dram of generous cordial after the atmosphere
 +of the cabin in which I had beheld
 +the remains of Captain Skevington.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_98" id="Page_98">[98]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER IX.<br />
 +<p>The news had spread quickly; the watch
 +below had roused out and most of the men
 +were on deck, and they moved about in
 +groups striving to find out all about the
 +suicide. The death of a captain of a ship at
 +sea is sure always to fill the crew with uneasiness;
 +a sense of uncertainty is excited, and
 +then again there is that darkening of the
 +spirits which the shadow of death particularly
 +causes among a slender community who have
 +been for months associated as a family, and
 +amid whom, every man's face, speech, and
 +manner are, maybe, more familiar than his
 +own brother's or father's.</p>
 +<p>Yet of all the souls on board I suspect I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_99" id="Page_99">[99]</a></span>
 +felt the captain's self-murder most sorely, for
 +owing to there being in my mind much more
 +that was akin to his own moods than he
 +could find in Mr. Hall, we had had many and
 +long conversations together. Then there was
 +the Death Ship for me to recall, with his
 +thoughts on it and his conviction that evil
 +was sure to follow his boarding the Plymouth
 +snow. Moreover, I was the last with whom
 +he had exchanged words that night, and in
 +his manner of quitting me, after looking at
 +the moon, there was positively nothing that
 +even my startled and imaginative mind could
 +witness to indicate the intention that had
 +destroyed him.</p>
 +<p>Presently Mr. Hall arrived on deck fully
 +dressed, and stepping over to where I stood
 +in deep thought, exclaimed, "Did you have
 +a suspicion that the captain designed this
 +fearful act?"</p>
 +<p>"No, not a shadow of a suspicion," I
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_100" id="Page_100">[100]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"'Tis enough to make one believe he was
 +not far out when he talked of the ill-luck he
 +expected from speaking a craft that had
 +sighted Vanderdecken," said he, very uneasily,
 +which made me see how strong was
 +the blow his nerves had received; and running
 +his eyes restlessly over the water here
 +and there, as I might tell by the dim sparkle
 +the faint moon-haze kindled in them. "Oh,
 +but," he continued, as if dashing aside his
 +fancies, "the mere circumstance of his being
 +so superstitious ought to explain the act. I
 +have often thought there was a vein of
 +madness in him."</p>
 +<p>"I never questioned that," I replied.</p>
 +<p>"'Tis an ugly-looking night," said he, with
 +a little tremble running through him, "there
 +is some menace of foul weather. We shall lose
 +this faint air presently." He shivered again
 +and said, "Such a sight as that below is
 +enough to make a Hell of a night of midsummer
 +beauty! It is the suddenness of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_101" id="Page_101">[101]</a></span>
 +it that seizes upon the imagination. Why,
 +d'ye know, Fenton, I'd give a handful of
 +guineas, poor as I am, for a rousing gale&mdash;anything
 +to blow my mind to its bearings,
 +for here's a sort of business," looking aloft,
 +"that's fit to suffocate the heart in your
 +<p>Such words in so plain and literal a man
 +made me perceive how violently he had been
 +wrenched. I begged his leave to go below
 +and fetch him a glass of liquor.</p>
 +<p>"No, no," said he, "not yet, anyhow. I
 +must speak to those fellows there."</p>
 +<p>Saying which he walked a little distance
 +forward, calling for the boatswain.</p>
 +<p>On that officer answering, he said, "Are
 +all hands on deck?"</p>
 +<p>"I believe most of the crew are on deck,
 +sir," replied the boatswain.</p>
 +<p>"Pipe all hands," said Mr. Hall.</p>
 +<p>The clear keen whistling rose shrill to the
 +sails and made as blythe a sound as could<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_102" id="Page_102">[102]</a></span>
 +have been devised for the cheering of us up.
 +The men gathered quickly, some lanthorns
 +were fetched, and in the light of them stood
 +the crew near to the round-house. A strange
 +sight it was; the shining went no higher than
 +half-way up the mainsail that hung steady
 +with its own weight, and as much of it as was
 +thus illuminated showed like cloth of gold
 +pale in the dusk; above was mere shadow,
 +the round-top like a drop of ink upon the
 +face of the darkness, the sails of so weak a
 +hue they seemed as though in the act of
 +dissolving and vanishing away; the crowd of
 +faces were all pale and their eyes full of
 +gleaming; the shadows crawled at our feet,
 +and, with the total concealment of the moon
 +at this time, a deeper shade fell upon the sea
 +and our ship, and the delicate rippling of the
 +water alongside seemed to stir upon our ears
 +in a tinkling as from out of the middle air.</p>
 +<p>Mr. Hall made a brief speech. He explained
 +to the men how, on hearing the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_103" id="Page_103">[103]</a></span>
 +report of a musket, he had sprung from his
 +bed, and perceiving powder-smoke leaking
 +through the openings in the door of the
 +captain's cabin, through which some rays
 +of light streamed, he entered, and seeing
 +the body of the captain, and the horrid condition
 +of the head, was filled with a panic
 +and rushed on deck. That the master had
 +shot himself was certain, but there was no
 +help for what had happened. The command
 +of the ship fell upon him; but it was
 +for them to say whether he should navigate
 +the ship to her destination, or carry her back
 +to Table Bay, where a fresh commander
 +could be obtained.</p>
 +<p>He was very well liked on board, being
 +an excellent seaman; and the crew on hearing
 +this, immediately answered that they
 +wanted no better master to sail under than
 +he, and that, indeed, they would not consent
 +to a change; but having said this with a
 +heartiness that pleased me, for I liked Mr.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_104" id="Page_104">[104]</a></span>
 +Hall greatly myself, and was extremely glad
 +to find the crew so well disposed, they fell
 +into an awkward silence, broken after a little
 +by some hoarse whisperings.</p>
 +<p>"What now?" says Mr. Hall.</p>
 +<p>"Why, sir," answers the boatswain, respectfully,
 +"it's this with the men: there's
 +a notion among us that that there Plymouth
 +snow has brought ill-luck to the ship, one
 +bad specimen of which has just happened;
 +and the feeling is that we had better return
 +to Table Bay, so as to get the influence
 +worked out of the old barkey."</p>
 +<p>"How is that to be done?" says Mr. Hall,
 +coming easily into the matter, partly because
 +of his shaken nerves, and partly because of
 +the kindness he felt towards the hands for
 +the way they had received his address to
 +<p>Here there was another pause, and then
 +the boatswain, speaking somewhat shyly,
 +said, "The carpenter, who's heard tell more<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_105" id="Page_105">[105]</a></span>
 +about the Phantom Ship and the spell she
 +lays on vessels than all hands of us put
 +together, says that the only way to work out
 +of a ship's timbers the ill-luck that's been put
 +into them by what's magical and hellish, is
 +for a minister of religion to come aboard,
 +call all hands to prayer, and ask of the Lord
 +a blessing on the ship. He says there's no
 +other way of purifying of her."</p>
 +<p>"Can't we pray ourselves for a blessing?"
 +says Mr. Hall.</p>
 +<p>The boatswain not quickly answering, a
 +sailor says, "It needs a man who knows
 +how to pray&mdash;who's acquainted with the
 +right sort of words to use."</p>
 +<p>"Aye," cried another, "and whose calling
 +is religion."</p>
 +<p>Mr. Hall half-turned, as if he would
 +address me, then checking himself, he said,
 +"Well, my lads, there's no wind now, and
 +small promise of any. Suppose we let this
 +matter rest till to-morrow morning; Mr.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_106" id="Page_106">[106]</a></span>
 +Fenton and I will talk it over, and you
 +forward can turn it about in your minds. I
 +believe we shall be easier when the captain's
 +buried and the sun's up, and then we might
 +agree it would be a pity to put back after the
 +tough job we've had to get where we are.
 +But lest you should still be all of one mind
 +on this matter in the morning, we'll keep the
 +ship, should wind come, under small sail, so
 +as to make no headway worth speaking
 +of during the night. Is that to your fancy,
 +<p>They all said it was, and thereupon went
 +forward, but I noticed that those who were
 +off duty did not offer to go below; they
 +joined the watch on the forecastle, and I
 +could hear them in earnest talk, their voices
 +trembling through the stillness like the humming
 +of a congregation in church following
 +the parson's reading.</p>
 +<p>Mr. Hall came to my side and we walked
 +the deck.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_107" id="Page_107">[107]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"I am sorry the men have got that notion
 +of this ship being under a spell," said he.
 +"This is no sweet time of the year in these
 +seas; to put back will, I daresay, be only to
 +anger the weather that's now quiet enough,
 +and there's always the risk of falling into
 +Dutch hands."</p>
 +<p>I told him of my talk with the carpenter,
 +and said that I could not be surprised the
 +crew were alarmed, for the old fellow had the
 +Devil's own knack of putting his fancies in
 +an alarming way.</p>
 +<p>"I laughed at some of his fancies," said I,
 +"but I don't mind owning that I quitted his
 +cabin so dulled in my spirits by his talk, that
 +I might have come from a death-bed for all
 +the heart there was in me."</p>
 +<p>"Well, things must take their chance,"
 +said Mr. Hall. "I'll speak to the carpenter
 +myself in the morning, and afterwards to the
 +men; and if they are still wishful that the
 +ship should return to Table Bay we'll sail her<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_108" id="Page_108">[108]</a></span>
 +there. 'Tis all one to me. I'd liefer have a
 +new captain over me than be one."</p>
 +<p>We continued until five bells to walk to
 +and fro the deck, talking about the captain's
 +suicide, the strangeness of it as following his
 +belief that ill-luck had come to the ship from
 +the Plymouth vessel, with other such matters
 +as would be suggested by our situation and
 +the tragedy in the cabin; and Mr. Hall then
 +said he would go below for a glass of rum;
 +but he refused to lie down&mdash;though I offered
 +to stand an hour of his watch, that is from
 +midnight till one o'clock&mdash;for he said he
 +should not be able to sleep.</p>
 +<p>Most of the crew continued to hang about
 +the forecastle, which rescued the deck from
 +the extreme loneliness I had found in it ere
 +the report of the fatal musket startled all
 +hands into wakefulness and movement. The
 +lanthorns had been carried away and the ship
 +was plunged in darkness. There still blew a
 +very light air, so gentle that you needed to<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_109" id="Page_109">[109]</a></span>
 +wet your finger and hold it up to feel it.
 +From the darkness aloft fell the delicate
 +sounds of the higher canvas softly drumming
 +the masts to the very slight rolling of the
 +ship. I went to the binnacle and found that
 +the vessel was heading her course, and then
 +stepped to the rail, upon which I set my
 +elbows, leaning my chin in my hands, and in
 +that posture fell a-thinking.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_110" id="Page_110">[110]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER X.<br />
 +<p>Now I might have stood thus for ten
 +minutes, when I was awakened from my
 +dream by an eager feverish muttering of
 +voices forward, and on a sudden the harsh
 +notes of a seaman belonging to my watch
 +cried out, "D'ye see that sail, right broad
 +a-beam, sir?"</p>
 +<p>I sprang from my leaning posture, and
 +peered, but my eyes were heavy; the night
 +was dark, and whilst I stared several of the
 +sailors came hurriedly aft to where I stood,
 +and said, all speaking together, "There&mdash;see
 +her, sir? Look yonder, Mr. Fenton!"
 +and their arms, to a man, shot out to point,
 +as if every one levelled a pistol.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_111" id="Page_111">[111]</a></span></p>
 +<p>Though I could not immediately make out
 +the object, I was not surprised by the consternation
 +the sailors were in; for, such was
 +the mood and temper of the whole company,
 +that not the most familiar and prosaic craft
 +that floats on the ocean could have broken
 +through the obscurity of the night upon their
 +gaze without tickling their superstitious instincts,
 +till the very hair of their heads
 +crawled to the inward motions. In a few
 +moments, sure enough, I made out the loom
 +of what looked a large ship, out on the starboard
 +beam. As well as I could distinguish
 +she was close hauled, and so standing as to
 +pass under our stern. She made a sort of
 +faintness upon the sea and sky where she
 +was: nothing more. And even to be sure
 +of her, it was necessary to look a little on
 +one side or the other of her; for if you
 +gazed full she went out, as a dim distant
 +light at sea does, thus viewed.</p>
 +<p>"She may be an enemy!" I cried.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_112" id="Page_112">[112]</a></span>
 +"There should be no lack of Dutch or even
 +French hereabouts. Quick, lads, to stations.
 +Send the boatswain here."</p>
 +<p>I ran to the companion hatch and called
 +loudly to Mr. Hall. He had fallen asleep on
 +a locker, and came running in a blind sort of
 +way to the foot of the ladder, shouting out,
 +"What is it? What is it?" I answered
 +that there was a large ship heading directly
 +for us, whereupon he was instantly wide
 +awake, and sprang up the ladder, crying,
 +"Where away? Where away?"</p>
 +<p>If there was any wind I could feel none.
 +Yet some kind of draught there must have
 +been, for the ship out in the darkness held a
 +brave luff, which proved her under command.
 +We, on the other hand, rested upon the
 +liquid ebony of the ocean with square yards,
 +the mizzen furled, the starboard clew of the
 +mainsail hoisted, and the greater number of
 +our staysails down. Whilst Mr. Hall stared
 +in the direction of the ship the boatswain<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_113" id="Page_113">[113]</a></span>
 +arrived for orders. The mate turned smartly
 +to me, and said, "We must make ready, and
 +take our chance. Bo's'n, pipe to quarters,
 +and Mr. Fenton, see all clear."</p>
 +<p>For the second time in my watch the
 +boatswain's pipe shrilled clear to the canvas,
 +from whose stretched, still folds, the sounds
 +broke away in ghostly echoes. We were not
 +a man-of-war, had no drums, and to martial
 +duties we could but address ourselves clumsily.
 +But all felt that there might be a great
 +danger in the pale shadow yonder that had
 +seemed to ooze out upon our eyes from the
 +darkness as strangely as a cloud shapes itself
 +upon a mountain-top.</p>
 +<p>So we tumbled about quickly and wildly
 +enough, got our little batteries clear, put on
 +the hatch-gratings and tarpaulins, opened the
 +magazine, lighted the matches, provided the
 +guns with spare breeches and tackles, and
 +stood ready for whatever was to come. All
 +this we contrived with the aid of one or two<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_114" id="Page_114">[114]</a></span>
 +lanterns, very secretly moved about, as Mr.
 +Hall did not wish us to be seen making
 +ready; but the want of light delayed us,
 +and, by the time we were fully prepared,
 +the strange ship had insensibly floated down
 +to about three-quarters-of-a-mile upon our
 +starboard quarter.</p>
 +<p>At that distance it was too black to enable
 +us to make anything of her, but we comforted
 +ourselves by observing that she did
 +not offer to alter her course, whence we
 +might reasonably hope that she was a peaceful
 +trader like ourselves. She showed no
 +lights&mdash;her sails were all that was visible of
 +her, owing to the hue they put into the darkness
 +over her hull. It was a time of heavy
 +trial to our patience. Our ship had come to
 +a dead stand, as it was easy to discover by
 +looking over the side, where the small, pale
 +puffs of phosphoric radiance that flashed
 +under water at the depth of a man's hand
 +from our vessel's strakes whenever she<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_115" id="Page_115">[115]</a></span>
 +rolled, no matter how daintily, to the swell,
 +hung glimmering for a space in the selfsame
 +spot where they were discharged. Nor was
 +there the least sound of water in motion
 +under our counter, unless it were the gurgling,
 +drowning sobbing you hear there
 +on a still night, when the stern stoops
 +to the drop of the fold, and raises that
 +strange, hollow noise of washing all about
 +the rudder.</p>
 +<p>"I would to mercy a breeze would come if
 +only to resolve her!" said Mr. Hall to me in
 +a low voice. "There's but little fun to be
 +got out of this sort of waiting. At this rate
 +we must keep the men at their stations till
 +daylight to find out what she is. Pleasant if
 +she should prove some lump of a Dutch man-of-war!
 +She shows uncommonly large, don't
 +you think, Fenton?"</p>
 +<p>"So do we to her, I dare say, in this
 +obscurity," I replied. "But I doubt that
 +she's a man-of-war. I've been watching her<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_116" id="Page_116">[116]</a></span>
 +closely and have never once caught sight of
 +the least gleam of a light aboard her."</p>
 +<p>"Maybe the officer of the watch and the
 +look-out are sound asleep," said he, with a
 +slight and not very merry laugh; "and if
 +she's steered on her quarter-deck she'll be
 +too deep-waisted perhaps for the helmsman
 +to see us."</p>
 +<p>I heard him say this without closely heeding
 +it, for my attention at that moment was
 +attracted by what was unquestionably the
 +enlargement of her pallid shadow; sure proof
 +that she had shifted her helm and was slowly
 +coming round so as to head for us. Mr.
 +Hall noticed this as soon as I.</p>
 +<p>"Ha!" he cried, "they mean to find out
 +what we are, hey? They've observed us at
 +last. Does she bring an air with her that
 +she's under control, or is it that she's lighter
 +and taller than we?"</p>
 +<p>It was beyond question because she was
 +lighter and taller, and having been kept close-hauled<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_117" id="Page_117">[117]</a></span>
 +to the faint draught had made more
 +of it than we who carried it aft. Besides, we
 +were loaded down to our chain-plate bolts
 +with cargo, and the water and other stores
 +we had shipped at the Cape. Yet her
 +approach was so sluggish as to be imperceptible,
 +and I would not like to say that our
 +gradual drawing together was not as much
 +due to the current which, off this coast, runs
 +strong to the westward, setting us, who were
 +deep, faster towards her than it set her from
 +us, as it was also owing to the strange attraction
 +which brings becalmed vessels near to
 +each other&mdash;often indeed, to their having to
 +be towed clear by their boats.</p>
 +<p>Meanwhile, the utter silence on board the
 +stranger, the blackness in which her hull lay
 +hidden, the strangeness of her bracing-in her
 +yards to head up for us without any signal
 +being shown that she designed to fight us,
 +wrought such a fit of impatience in Mr. Hall,
 +that he swung his body from the backstay<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_118" id="Page_118">[118]</a></span>
 +he clutched in movements positively convulsive.</p>
 +<p>"Are they all dead aboard? On such a
 +night as this one should be able to hear the
 +least sound&mdash;the hauling taut of a tackle&mdash;the
 +rasping of the wheel-ropes!"</p>
 +<p>"She surely doesn't hope to catch us
 +napping?" said I.</p>
 +<p>"God knows!" cried the mate. "What
 +would I give now for a bit of moon!"</p>
 +<p>"If it's to be a fight it'll have to be a
 +shooting match for a spell, or wind must
 +come quickly," said I. "But if she meant
 +mischief wouldn't she head to pass under
 +our stern, where she could rake us, rather
 +than steer to come broadside on?"</p>
 +<p>Instead of responding, the mate sprang on
 +to the bulwark-rail, and in tones such as only
 +the practised and powerful lungs of a seaman
 +can fling, roared out&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"Ho, the ship, ahoy!"</p>
 +<p>We listened with so fierce a strain of attention<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_119" id="Page_119">[119]</a></span>
 +that the very beating of our hearts rung
 +in our ears; but not a sound came across the
 +water. Twice yet did Mr. Hall hail that
 +pallid fabric, shapeless as yet in the dark air,
 +but to no purpose. On this there was much
 +whispering among the men clustered about
 +the guns. Their voices came along in a
 +low, grumbling sound like the growling of
 +dogs, dulled by threats.</p>
 +<p>"Silence, fore and aft!" cried the mate.
 +"We don't know what she is&mdash;but we
 +know what we are! and, as Englishmen,
 +we surely have spirit enough for whatever
 +may come."</p>
 +<p>There was silence for some minutes after
 +these few words; then the muttering broke
 +out afresh, but scattered, a group talking to
 +larboard, another on the forecastle, and so
 +<p>Meanwhile the vessels, all insensibly, had
 +continued to draw closer and closer to each
 +other. A small clarification of the atmosphere<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_120" id="Page_120">[120]</a></span>
 +happening past the stranger, suffered a
 +dim disclosure of her canvas, whence I perceived
 +that she had nothing set above her
 +topgallant-sails, though it was impossible to
 +see whether she carried royal-masts, or indeed
 +whether the yards belonging to those masts
 +were crossed on them. Her hull had now
 +also stolen out into a pitch-black shadow, and
 +after gazing at it with painful intentness for
 +some moments, I was extravagantly astonished
 +to observe a kind of crawling and
 +flickering of light, resembling that which
 +burnt in the sea, stirring like glow-worms
 +along the vessel's side.</p>
 +<p>I was about to direct Mr. Hall's attention
 +to this thing, when he said in a subdued
 +voice, "Fenton, d'ye notice the faint shining
 +about her hull? What, in God's name, can it
 +<p>He had scarce uttered these words when a
 +sailor on the starboard side of our ship, whom
 +I recognised by the voice as one Ephraim<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_121" id="Page_121">[121]</a></span>
 +Jacobs, an elderly, sober, pious-minded seaman,
 +cried out with a sort of scream in his
 +<p>"As I hope to be forgiven my sins for
 +Jesu's sake, yon's the ship that was curst
 +last century."</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_122" id="Page_122">[122]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XI.<br />
 +<p>The mere putting into words the suspicion
 +that had been troubling all our minds made
 +one man in action of the whole crew, like the
 +firing of forty pieces of ordnance in the same
 +instant. Whatever the sailors held they flung
 +down, and, in a bound, came to the waist on
 +the starboard side, where they stood, looking
 +at the ship and making, amid that silence,
 +the strangest noise that ever was heard with
 +their deep and fearful breathing.</p>
 +<p>"Great thunder!" broke in one of them,
 +presently, "d'ye know what that shining
 +is, mates? Why, it's the glow of timbers
 +that's been rotted by near two hundred years
 +of weather."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_123" id="Page_123">[123]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Softly, Tom!" said another; "'tis Hell
 +that owns her crew; they have the malice
 +of devils, and they need but touch us to
 +founder us."</p>
 +<p>"Wait, and you shall see her melt!" exclaimed
 +one of the two foreigners who were
 +among our company of seamen. "If she is,
 +as I believe, she will be manned by the
 +ghosts of wicked men who have perished at
 +sea; presently a bell shall strike, and she
 +must disappear!"</p>
 +<p>As this was said there was a commotion
 +forward, and the carpenter, borne by two
 +stout hands, was carried into the midst of the
 +crew, and propped up so that he might see
 +the ship. I was as eager as any of the most
 +illiterate sailors on board to hear what he had
 +to say, and took a step the better to catch his
 +words. A whole minute went by whilst he
 +gazed; so strained and anticipative were my
 +senses that the moments seemed as hours.
 +He then said, "Mates, yonder's the Death<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_124" id="Page_124">[124]</a></span>
 +Ship, right enough. Look hard, and you'll
 +mark the steeve of her bowsprit with the
 +round top at the end of it, and the spring of
 +her aft in a fashion more ancient than is the
 +ages of any two of the oldest men aboard.
 +Note the after-rake of her mizzen-mast, and
 +how the heel of the foremast looks to step in
 +the fore-peak. That's the ship&mdash;born in 1650&mdash;Vanderdecken
 +master&mdash;what I've often
 +heard tell of&mdash;raise my head, mates!"</p>
 +<p>And here, whether through pain or weakness
 +or horror, he fainted, but being laid
 +upon the deck, and some water thrown over
 +his face, he came to in a short while, and lay
 +trembling, refusing to speak or answer questions.</p>
 +<p>A slight thinning of the vapour that hid
 +the moon had enabled us to remark those
 +points in the ship the carpenter had named;
 +and whilst he was being recovered from his
 +swoon, the moon looked down from a gulf in
 +the mist, but her light was still very tarnished<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_125" id="Page_125">[125]</a></span>
 +and dim, though blurred and distorted as was
 +her appearance, yet there instantly formed
 +round her the same halo or wan circle that
 +was visible before she was hidden. But her
 +apparition made a light that exquisitely
 +answered to those two lines of Shakespeare&mdash;</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +"Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,<br />
 +Pale in her anger washes all the air."<br />
 +<p>For such radiance as fell really seemed like a
 +cleansing of the atmosphere after the black
 +smother that had encompassed us, and now
 +we could all see the ship distinctly as she lay
 +on our quarter with her broadside somewhat
 +to us, her yards trimmed like our own, and
 +her sails hanging dead.</p>
 +<p>It was the solemnest sight that ever mortal
 +eye beheld. The light left her black, so
 +there was no telling what hue she showed or
 +was painted. Her bows lay low in the water
 +after the old fashion, with head-boards curling
 +to her beak, that doubtless bore an ornament,
 +though we could not distinguish it. There<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_126" id="Page_126">[126]</a></span>
 +she rose like a hill, broken with the bulwarks
 +that defined her waist, quarter-deck and short
 +poop. This was as much as we could
 +discern of her hull. Her foremast stood
 +close to where the heel of her bowsprit came;
 +her mizzen-mast raked over her stern, and
 +upon it was a yard answering to the rig of a
 +felucca; the clew of its sail came down clear
 +of a huge lantern whose iron frame, for all
 +the glass in it was broke and gone, showed
 +like the skeleton of some monster on her
 +taffrail. It was a sight to terrify the stoutest
 +heart to see the creeping of thin, worm or
 +wire-like gleamings upon the side she showed
 +to us. I considered at first she was glossy
 +and that those lights were the reflection of
 +the phosphoric fires in the water under her;
 +but it was soon made plain that this was not
 +so, as, though to be sure a greenish glare of
 +the true sea-flame would show against or near
 +her when she slightly leaned, as we did, to
 +the swell, this charnel-house or touch-wood<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_127" id="Page_127">[127]</a></span>
 +glimmer played all along her without regard
 +to the phosphorescence under her.</p>
 +<p>Now, ever since I was first going to
 +sea, I had, as I have said, believed in the
 +existence of the Spectre Ship, which all
 +mariners I have sailed with feared to encounter;
 +but so many imaginative stories
 +had come of her&mdash;some feigning, as the
 +carpenter's version showed, that she was a
 +death ship, filled with spectres who navigated
 +her; others that she was a spectral bark,
 +laden with souls, against whom the gates of
 +Purgatory were closed; others that she was
 +a vessel for ever beating against gales of
 +wind, sometimes appearing in a tempest that
 +surrounded her when the rest of the ocean
 +was smooth, sometimes rising from the
 +waves, sometimes floating among the clouds,
 +buffetting up there as though the masses of
 +insubstantial vapour were solid and massy
 +folds and acclivities; I say I had heard so
 +many stories that they had ended in leaving<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_128" id="Page_128">[128]</a></span>
 +me with a belief of my own, which was that
 +the Phantom Ship&mdash;rightly so named&mdash;was
 +an airy incorporeal thing&mdash;a vision to be
 +encountered but rarely in these parts, a sea-ghost
 +that had been too often beheld in the
 +course of years to be denied, and as truly a
 +spectre in its way as any that may be read of
 +in Holy Writ, or that has stood at the bedsides
 +of men and women and delivered
 +messages from futurity.</p>
 +<p>This being my belief, then, though I was
 +mightily terrified by the ancient shape of the
 +ship and the mystery of her purpose, and the
 +darkness and silence that clothed her, I could
 +not believe that she was the true spectre that
 +the sailor dreads; for, that she was as substantial
 +as our vessel&mdash;"a quarry of stout
 +spurs and knotted fangs"&mdash;was undeniable,
 +not more from her quiet, heaving motion
 +than from the dull sounds I had now and
 +again caught of the movement of her gear
 +aloft, such as the scraping of a rope in a<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_129" id="Page_129">[129]</a></span>
 +block, or the soft slap of a cloth against a
 +spar by the heave of the fabric setting some
 +light sail a-fanning.</p>
 +<p>"What think you of her, Fenton?" said
 +Mr. Hall, speaking softly, but with much of
 +his excitement and uneasiness gone. "Does
 +she resemble the craft that the master of the
 +snow told Captain Skevington he sighted
 +<p>"Why, yes, I think so," said I; "but it
 +does not follow that she is the Phantom Ship.
 +The Plymouth hooker's yarn owed a good
 +deal to terror, and it would not lose in its
 +passage through the brain of a lunatic, as I
 +fear poor Skevington was."</p>
 +<p>"She has a very solid look&mdash;she is a real
 +ship, but the like of her I have never seen,
 +save in old prints. Mark those faint fiery
 +stripes and spirals upon her. I do not understand
 +it. The wood that yields such light
 +must be as rotten as tinder and porous as a
 +sponge. It could not swim."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_130" id="Page_130">[130]</a></span></p>
 +<p>By this time the mysterious ship had
 +floated out her whole length, unless it were
 +our vessel that had slewed and given us that
 +view of her. No light save the lambent
 +gleams on her sides was to be seen. We
 +could hear no voices. We could discern no
 +movement of figures or distinguish any outline
 +resembling a human shape upon her.
 +On a sudden, my eye was caught by an
 +illumination overhead that made a lustre
 +strong enough to enable me to see the face
 +of Mr. Hall. I looked up conceiving that
 +one of our crew had jumped aloft with a
 +lantern, and saw at our main yard-arm a
 +<i>corpus sant</i> or St. Elmo's light, that shone
 +freely like a luminous bulb, poised a few
 +inches above the spar. Scarce had this been
 +kindled, and whilst it was paling the faces of
 +our seamen who stared at it, there suddenly
 +shone two bright meteors of a similar kind
 +upon the strange ship; one on top of the
 +topgallant-masthead that was the full height<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_131" id="Page_131">[131]</a></span>
 +of the main spars, and one on the summit of a
 +mast that stood up from the round top at the
 +end of the bowsprit and that in olden times,
 +before it was discontinued, would have
 +been called the sprit-topmast. They had
 +something of the glory of stars; their reflection
 +twisted like silver serpents in the dark
 +waters; and as though they had been flambeaux
 +or lamps, they flung their spectral
 +glow upon the strangely-cut sails of the
 +vessel, upon her rigging and spars, sickling
 +all things to their starry colour, dimly illuminating
 +even the distant castle-like poop, showing
 +clearly the dark line of bulwarks, whilst a
 +deeper dye of blackness entered into the hull
 +from the shadow between the <i>corpus sants</i> on
 +high and their mirroring beneath.</p>
 +<p>"Thanks be to God for the sight of those
 +lights!" exclaimed a deep voice, sounding out
 +among the men. "It's a saint's hand as
 +kindles them, I've heared; and there'll be a
 +breeze with luck behind it presently."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_132" id="Page_132">[132]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"See, Mr. Hall!" cried I, pointing; "do
 +you observe the figures of men? Look along
 +the line of the forecastle&mdash;one, two, three&mdash;I
 +count six there; and look right aft on that
 +bit of a poop. Do you mark a couple of
 +shapes viewing us as if with folded arms?"</p>
 +<p>"Yes!" He paused, staring, then added,
 +"Those lights are familiar enough to me,
 +I've seen them scores of times," speaking in
 +whispers, which trembled back to their
 +former notes of consternation, "but there's
 +something frightful about them now&mdash;and
 +yonder one," pointing to our yard-arm, "and
 +the sight they show. She's no natural ship,"
 +he said, pulling off his cap, and passing his
 +hand over his forehead. "Would to God a
 +breeze would come and part us."</p>
 +<p>"Hail him again, sir!"</p>
 +<p>"Hail him you, my throat is dry."</p>
 +<p>I walked right aft to bring me more
 +abreast of the silent motionless figures on the
 +stranger's poop, and jumping on to the rail<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_133" id="Page_133">[133]</a></span>
 +caught hold of the vang of the spanker-gaff
 +to steady myself, and putting a hand to my
 +mouth, roared out, "Ship ahoy! What ship
 +is that?" and stopped breathless, so that I
 +seemed to hear the echoes of my own voice
 +among the sails of the stranger.</p>
 +<p>"What ship is that?" now came back in a
 +deep, organ-like note, and the two figures
 +separated, one walking forward, and the
 +other stepping, as I had, on to the bulwark
 +over the quarter-gallery.</p>
 +<p>"The Saracen, of London, bound to
 +Indian ports," I responded.</p>
 +<p>"I will send a boat!" cried the man, in the
 +same deep-throated voice.</p>
 +<p>"If you do, we'll fire into it!" screamed a
 +seaman on our deck.  "Mates&mdash;Mr. Hall,
 +you see now what he is! Keep them off!&mdash;keep
 +them off!" at which there was a sudden
 +hurrying of feet, with many clicking sounds
 +of triggers sharply cocked, by which I knew
 +our men had armed themselves.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_134" id="Page_134">[134]</a></span></p>
 +<p>The <i>corpus sant</i> at our yard-arm vanished;
 +in a few seconds it showed itself afresh midway
 +up the mainmast, making a wild light
 +all around it; those on the stranger burned
 +steadily, and I believed a third had been
 +kindled on her till I saw it was a lantern
 +carried along the deck. There was a stillness
 +lasting some minutes. What they were
 +about we could not see; anon came a creaking,
 +as of ropes travelling in blocks, then a
 +light splash; the lantern dropped jerkily
 +down the ship's side, plainly grasped by a
 +man; flashes of phosphorus broke out of the
 +water to the dip of oars, like fire clipped from
 +a flint. I felt a faint air blowing, but did not
 +heed it, being half-frenzied with the excitement
 +and fear raised in me by what I could
 +now see&mdash;thanks to the light of the St. Elmo
 +fires, and the mystic crawlings of flames on
 +the vessel's sides. I saw a boat, square at
 +both ends, with the gunwale running out into
 +horns, rowed by two figures, whilst a third<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_135" id="Page_135">[135]</a></span>
 +stood upright in the bows, holding high a
 +lighted lantern in one hand, and extending
 +his other arm in a posture of supplication.</p>
 +<p>At this instant a yellow glare broke in a
 +noon-tide dazzle from our own ship's rail,
 +and the thunder of twenty muskets fired at
 +once fell upon my hearing. I started with
 +the violence of the shock breaking in upon
 +me, heedlessly let go the vang that I had
 +been grasping with my left hand, and fell
 +headlong overboard.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_136" id="Page_136">[136]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XII.<br />
 +<p>I rose to the surface from a deep plunge,
 +but being a very indifferent swimmer it was
 +as much as I could do&mdash;clothed as I was&mdash;to
 +keep myself afloat by battling with my hands.
 +I heard the rippling of the water about my
 +ears, and I felt a deep despair settle upon
 +my spirits, for I knew that the air that blew
 +would carry my ship away from me and that
 +I must speedily drown.</p>
 +<p>Indeed, to the first impulse of wind the
 +Saracen had moved and I could see her, a
 +great shadow, drawing away with the <i>corpus
 +sant</i>, that a minute before had sparkled on
 +her mainmast, now shining on her fore-topsail
 +yard-arm. I had not the least doubt<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_137" id="Page_137">[137]</a></span>
 +that, in the noise of the shooting, and amid
 +the general alarm excited by the approach of
 +the boat, neither the splash I had made in
 +striking the water nor my disappearance had
 +been noticed, and I remember thinking with
 +the swiftness peculiar to persons in my
 +situation&mdash;for as Cowper says&mdash;</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +"He long survives who lives an hour<br />
 +In ocean self-upheld&mdash;&mdash;"<br />
 +<p>I say I remember thinking that even if I
 +should be immediately missed it was most
 +unlikely the crew would suffer Mr. Hall to
 +stop the ship and seek for me, for they would
 +be mad not to use the new wind and sweep
 +away from waters accurst by the presence of
 +what was undoubtedly the Death Ship,
 +whilst if even Mr. Hall's persuasion should
 +prevail, yet long before that time I should
 +have sunk.</p>
 +<p>I struggled hard to keep myself afloat,
 +freely breaking the water in the hope that the
 +light and whiteness of it might be seen.<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_138" id="Page_138">[138]</a></span>
 +Four or five minutes thus passed and I was
 +feeling my legs growing weighty as lead,
 +when I noticed a light approach me. My eyes
 +being full of wet, I could see no more than
 +the light, what held or bore it being eclipsed
 +by the spikes or fibres that shot out of it; as
 +you notice a candle flame when the sight is
 +damp. I could also hear the dip and trickle
 +of oars, and tried to shout; but my brain was
 +giddy, my mind sinking into a babbling state,
 +and in truth I was so exhausted, that but for
 +the sudden life darted into me by the sight of
 +the lamp, I am sure I should then and there
 +have clenched my hands above my head and
 +<p>The lantern was flashed full upon my face
 +and I was grasped by my hair. He who
 +seized me spoke, and I believed it was the
 +voice of one of the men in my watch, though
 +I did not catch a syllable of his speech.
 +After which I felt myself grasped under each
 +arm and lifted out of the water, whereupon I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_139" id="Page_139">[139]</a></span>
 +no doubt fainted, for there is a blank between
 +this and what followed, though the interval
 +must have been very short.</p>
 +<p>When I opened my eyes, or rather when
 +my senses returned to me, I found myself
 +lying on my back, and the first thing I noticed
 +was the moon shining weakly amid thin
 +bodies of vapour which the wind had set in
 +motion and which sped under her in puffs like
 +the smoke of gunpowder after the discharge
 +of a cannon. I lay musing a little while,
 +conscious of nothing but the moon and some
 +dark stretches of sail hovering above me;
 +but my mind gathering force, I saw by the
 +cut of the canvas that I was on board a
 +strange ship; and then did I observe three
 +men standing near my feet watching me. A
 +great terror seized my heart. I sprang erect
 +with a loud cry of fear, and rushed to the
 +rail to see if the Saracen was near that I
 +might hail her, but was stayed in that by
 +being seized by the arm.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_140" id="Page_140">[140]</a></span></p>
 +<p>He who clutched me exclaimed in Dutch,
 +"What would you do? If you could swim
 +for a week you would not catch her."</p>
 +<p>I perfectly understood him, but made no
 +reply, did not even look at him, staring about
 +the sea for the Saracen in an anguish of mind
 +not to be expressed. Suddenly I caught
 +sight of the smudge of her, and perceived she
 +was heading away on her course; she was out
 +on our starboard beam. I cast my eyes aloft,
 +and found the yards of the ship I was in
 +braced up to meet the wind on the larboard
 +tack, whence I knew that every instant was
 +widening the space between the two vessels.
 +On mastering this I could have dashed myself
 +down on the deck with grief and terror.
 +One of the group observing me as if I should
 +fall, extended his hand, but I shrunk back
 +with horror, and covered my face, whilst
 +deep hysteric sobs burst from my breast, for
 +now, without heeding any further appearances,
 +I knew that I was on board the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_141" id="Page_141">[141]</a></span>
 +Phantom Ship, the Sea Spectre, dreaded of
 +marines, a fabric accurst by God, in the
 +presence of men dead and yet alive, more
 +terrible in their supernatural existence, in
 +their clothing of flesh whose human mortality
 +had been rendered undecaying by a fate that
 +shrunk up the soul in one to think of, than
 +had they been ghosts&mdash;essences through
 +which you might pass your hand as through
 +a moonbeam!</p>
 +<p>I stood awhile as though paralysed, but
 +was presently rallied by the chill of the night
 +wind striking through my streaming clothes.
 +A lantern was near where the three men
 +were grouped, no doubt the same that had
 +been carried in the boat, but the dim illumination
 +would have sufficed for no more than
 +to throw out the proportion of things within
 +its sphere, had it not been helped by the faint
 +moonlight and a <i>corpus sant</i> that shone with
 +the power of a planet close against the blocks
 +of the jeers of the mainyard. 'Twas a<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_142" id="Page_142">[142]</a></span>
 +ghostly radiance to behold the men in, but I
 +found nerve now to survey them.</p>
 +<p>There were three, as I have said: one
 +very tall, above six feet, with a grey&mdash;almost
 +white&mdash;beard, that descended to his waist;
 +the second was a broad, corpulent man, of
 +the true Dutch build without hair on his face;
 +in the third man I could see nothing striking,
 +if it were not for a ruggedness of seafaring
 +aspect. I could not distinguish their apparel
 +beyond that the stout man wore boots to the
 +height of his knees, whereas the tall personage
 +was clad in black hose, shoes with
 +large buckles, and breeches terminating at
 +the knees; their head-dresses were alike, a
 +sort of cap of skin, with flaps for the ears.</p>
 +<p>"Do you speak Dutch?" said the tallest of
 +the three, after eyeing me in silence whilst a
 +man could have counted a hundred. He it
 +was who had responded to my hail from the
 +Saracen, as my ear immediately detected&mdash;now
 +that I had my faculties&mdash;by the deep,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_143" id="Page_143">[143]</a></span>
 +organ-like melodiousness and tremor of his
 +<p>I answered "Yes."</p>
 +<p>"Why were your people afraid of us?
 +We intended no harm. We desired but a
 +little favour&mdash;a small quantity of tobacco,
 +of which we are short."</p>
 +<p>This speech I followed, though some of
 +the words, or the pronunciation of them,
 +were different from what I had been used
 +to hear at Rotterdam. He spoke imperiously,
 +with a hint even of passion, and,
 +rearing himself to his full stature, clasped
 +his hands behind him, and stared at me as
 +some Indian King might at a slave.</p>
 +<p>"Sir," said I, speaking brokenly, for I was
 +a slow hand at his tongue, and besides, the
 +chill of my clothes was now become a pain,
 +"first let me ask what ship is this, and who
 +are you and your men who have rescued me
 +from death?"</p>
 +<p>"The name of this ship is the Braave,"<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_144" id="Page_144">[144]</a></span>
 +he answered, in his deep, solemn voice.
 +"I, who command the vessel, am known
 +as Cornelius Vanderdecken; the three seamen,
 +to whom you owe your life, are
 +Frederick Houtman, John de Bremen, and
 +this man," indicating the rough, uncouth
 +person who stood on his left, "the mate,
 +Herman Van Vogelaar."</p>
 +<p>I felt a sensation as of ice pressed to my
 +chest when he pronounced his own name,
 +yet, recollecting he had called his ship the
 +Braave, I asked, though 'twas wonderful he
 +could follow my utterance&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"What port do you belong to?"</p>
 +<p>"Where are you from?"</p>
 +<p>I said, "When did you sail?"</p>
 +<p>"On the twenty-second of July in last
 +year! By the glory of the Holy Trinity, but
 +it is dreary work; see how the wind heads us
 +even yet!" He sighed deeply and glanced<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_145" id="Page_145">[145]</a></span>
 +aloft in a manner that suggested grievous
 +<p>"Last year!" I thought, a sudden elation
 +expanding my soul and calming me as an
 +opiate might, "if that be so why, then,
 +though this ship had made a prodigiously
 +long voyage of it from Java to these
 +parallels, there is nothing wildly out of
 +nature in such tardiness." Last year! Had
 +I caught the true signification of the words
 +he used?</p>
 +<p>"Pray, sir," said I, speaking in as firm a
 +voice as the shivers which chased me permitted,
 +"what might last year be?"</p>
 +<p>The mate, Van Vogelaar, growled out
 +some exclamation I could not catch, the
 +captain made a gesture with his hands, whilst
 +their burly companion said in thick, Dutch
 +accents, "It needs not salt water, but good,
 +strong liquor to take away a Hollander's
 +<p>"Last year!" exclaimed Vanderdecken, unbending<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_146" id="Page_146">[146]</a></span>
 +his haughty, imperious manner,
 +"why, mynheer, what should be last year but
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_147" id="Page_147">[147]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XIII.<br />
 +<p>When he said this I felt like one in whom
 +there is suddenly wrought a dual action of
 +the brain; where from one side, so to say,
 +there is darted into the mind thoughts utterly
 +illogical and insane, which the same side
 +marvels at, and seeks to reject, though if
 +the fit linger the whole intelligence may be
 +<p>I recollect of seeking for confirmation of
 +the words of the man who styled himself
 +Vanderdecken, in the ship, and of noticing,
 +for the first time, that upon the planks of the
 +deck which were out of the reach of the
 +<i>corpus sant</i>, were the same crawling, elusive
 +fires, as of phosphorus, creeping and coming<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_148" id="Page_148">[148]</a></span>
 +and going upon a dark wall, which I had
 +observed on the vessel's sides. Several
 +figures of men moved forward. Close
 +beside me was a small gun of the kind
 +carried by ships in the beginning of the
 +last century, termed a light saker, and discharging
 +a six-pound ball. There were
 +three of these on the larboard side, and, in
 +the haze of the moonlight and the sheen of
 +the jelly-like star that shone with a pure,
 +pale gold over my head, I could discern
 +upon the bulwarks of the quarter-deck and
 +poop several swivels furnished with handles
 +for pointing them. I also observed a short
 +flight of steps conducting to the quarter-deck,
 +with two sets of a like kind leading to the
 +poop, the front of which was furnished with
 +a door and little window.</p>
 +<p>These matters I took in with a sweep of
 +the eye, for the light was confusing, a faint,
 +erroneous ray glancing from imperfect surfaces
 +and flinging half an image; and then<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_149" id="Page_149">[149]</a></span>
 +an indescribable fear possessing me again, I
 +looked in the direction where I had last
 +beheld the smudge made by the Saracen,
 +and, not seeing her, cried out wildly, in my
 +broken Dutch, "Sirs, for the love of God
 +follow my ship, and make some signals that
 +she may know I am here!"</p>
 +<p>"Skipper," exclaimed the smooth-faced,
 +corpulent man, who proved to be the boatswain,
 +named Antony Jans, "after their
 +cowardly inhumanity in firing upon a small
 +unarmed boat, and putting in peril the life
 +of our mate, Van Vogelaar, we should have
 +nothing more to do with her."</p>
 +<p>"Henceforth this Englishman will know
 +that the Dutch are a merciful people," said
 +Van Vogelaar, scornfully. "Had our nationalities
 +been reversed, he would have been
 +left to drown as a tribute to the courage of
 +his comrades."</p>
 +<p>Whilst this was said, Vanderdecken continued
 +to regard me steadfastly and with great<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_150" id="Page_150">[150]</a></span>
 +sternness, then on a sudden relaxing his
 +frown, he exclaimed in that wondrous voice
 +of his, which put a solemn music into his
 +least utterance: "Come, you shiver with the
 +cold, and have the look of the drowned.
 +Jans, send Prins to me; sir, please to follow."</p>
 +<p>He motioned in a haughty manner towards
 +the poop and walked that way. One desperate
 +look I cast round the sea, and then
 +with a prayer to God that this experience
 +might prove some eclipse of my reason from
 +which my mind would float out bright afresh
 +ere long, I followed the great figure of the
 +captain, but with a step so faltering from
 +weakness and grief, that he, perceiving my
 +condition, took me by the elbow and supported
 +me up the ladder to the cabin under
 +the poop.</p>
 +<p>Whether it was this courtesy or owing to a
 +return of my manhood&mdash;and I trust the
 +reader will approve the candour with which I
 +have confessed my cowardice&mdash;whatever<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_151" id="Page_151">[151]</a></span>
 +might be the reason, I began now to look
 +about me with a growing curiosity. The interior
 +into which Captain Vanderdecken conducted
 +me, was of a dingy yellowish hue,
 +such as age might complexion delicate white
 +paint with. An oil lamp of a very beautiful,
 +elegant and rare pattern, furnished with eight
 +panes of glass, variously and all choicely
 +coloured with figures of birds, flowers and
 +the like, though the opening at the bottom
 +let the white light of the oil-flame fall fair on
 +to the table and the deck, swung by a thin
 +chain from a central beam. The cabin was
 +the width of the ship, and on its walls were
 +oval frames, dusky as old mahogany, each
 +one, as I suspected, holding a painting. Over
 +the door by which the cabin was entered was
 +a clock and near it hung a cage with a parrot
 +in it. Of ports I could see no remains, and
 +supposed that by day all the light that
 +entered streamed through the windows on
 +either side the door.</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_152" id="Page_152">[152]</a></span></p>
 +<p>The deck was dark as with age. At the
 +after end there were two state cabins bulkheaded
 +off from the living room, each with
 +a door. The several colours of the lamp
 +caused it to cast a radiance like a rainbow,
 +and therefore it was hard to make sure of
 +objects amid such an intricacy of illumination;
 +but, as I have said, the sides of the cabin were
 +a sickly dismal yellow, and the furniture in it
 +was formed of a very solid square table, with
 +legs marvellously carved, and a box beneath
 +it, two benches on either hand, and a black
 +high-backed chair&mdash;the back of withered
 +velvet, the wood framing it cut into many
 +devices&mdash;at the head or sternmost end of it.</p>
 +<p>All these things were matters to be quickly
 +noticed. The captain, first removing his cap,
 +pointed to a bench, and lifting his finger, with
 +a glance at the starboard cabin, said in a low
 +tone, "Sir, if you speak be it softly, if you
 +please," and then directed his eyes towards
 +the entrance from the deck, standing erect,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_153" id="Page_153">[153]</a></span>
 +with one hand on the table, and manifestly
 +waiting for the person he had styled Prins to
 +arrive. A ruby-coloured lustre was upon his
 +face; his waist down was in the white lamplight.
 +He had a most noble port, I thought,
 +such an elevation of the head, such disdainful
 +and determined erectness of figure, as made
 +his posture royal. There was not the least
 +hint in his face of the Dutch flatness and
 +insipidity of expression one is used to in those
 +industrious but phlegmatic people. His nose
 +was aquiline, the nostrils hidden by the
 +moustachios which mingled with his noble
 +Druidical beard. His forehead was square
 +and heavy, his hair was scanty, yet abundant
 +enough to conceal the skin of his head; his
 +eyes were black, impassioned, relentless, and
 +a ruby star now shone in each which gave
 +them a forbidding and formidable expression
 +as they moved under the shadow of his
 +shaggy brows. He wore a coat of stout cloth
 +confined by buttons, and a belt round his<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_154" id="Page_154">[154]</a></span>
 +waist. This, with his small clothes which I
 +have described, formed a very puzzling
 +apparel, the like of which I had never seen.
 +There were no rents, nor darns nor patches&mdash;nothing
 +to indicate that his attire was of
 +great age. Yet there was something in this
 +commanding person that caused me to know,
 +by feelings deeper than awe or even fear, by
 +instincts indeed not explicable, such as must
 +have urged in olden times the intelligence to
 +the recognition of those supernatural beings
 +you read of in Scripture, that he was not as I
 +was, as are other men who bear their natural
 +parts in the procession from the cradle to the
 +grave. The tremendous and shocking fears
 +of Captain Skevington recurred to me, and
 +methought as I gazed at the silent, majestic
 +seaman, that the late master of the Saracen
 +who, by his ending, had shown himself a
 +madman might, as had other insane persons
 +in their time, have struck in one of his finer
 +frenzies upon a horrible truth; the mere<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_155" id="Page_155">[155]</a></span>
 +fear of which caused me to press my hands
 +to my eyes with a renewal of mental
 +anguish, and to entreat in a swift prayer
 +to that Being, whom he who stood before
 +me had defied, for power to collect my mind
 +and for quick deliverance from this awful
 +<p>Not a syllable fell from the captain till the
 +arrival of Prins, a parched-faced, bearded
 +man, habited in a coarse woollen shirt,
 +trousers of the stuff we call fearnought, and
 +an old jacket. He made nothing of my
 +presence nor condition, scarce glancing at
 +<p>"Get this Englishman a change of clothes,"
 +said the captain. "Take what may be needful
 +from my cabin. They will hang loose on
 +him but must serve till his own are dry.
 +Quick! you see he shivers."</p>
 +<p>All this was expressed in Dutch, but as I
 +have before said, of an antique character,
 +and therefore not quickly to be followed;<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_156" id="Page_156">[156]</a></span>
 +whence I will not pretend that I give exactly
 +all that was spoken, though the substance of
 +it is accurately reported.</p>
 +<p>The man styled Prins went to the larboard
 +cabin at the end, whilst the captain, going to
 +the table, pulled from under it a great
 +drawer, which I had taken to be a chest,
 +from which he lifted a silver goblet and a
 +strangely-fashioned stone bottle.</p>
 +<p>"Drink, sir," he exclaimed, with a certain
 +arrogant impetuosity in his way of pouring
 +out the liquor and extending the goblet.</p>
 +<p>'Twas neat brandy, and the dose a large
 +mouthful; I tossed down the whole of it, and
 +placed the goblet, that was very heavy and
 +sweetly chased, on the table with a bow of
 +<p>"That will put fire into your blood," said
 +he, returning the cup and bottle to the
 +drawer, and then folding his arms and
 +looking at me under his contracted brows,
 +with his back to the lantern whilst he leaned<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_157" id="Page_157">[157]</a></span>
 +against the table. "Are you fresh from your
 +<p>I told him that we had sailed in April
 +from the Thames, and had lately come out
 +of Table Bay.</p>
 +<p>"Is there peace between your nation and
 +mine?" he inquired, speaking softly, as
 +though he feared to awaken some sleeper,
 +though, let his utterance be what it would,
 +'twas always melodious and rich.</p>
 +<p>I answered, "No; it grieves me to say it,
 +but our countries are still at war. I will not
 +pretend, sir, that Great Britain has acted
 +with good faith towards the Batavian Republic;
 +their High Mightinesses resent the
 +infraction of treaties; they protest against the
 +manner in which the island of St. Eustatia
 +was devastated; they hope to recover the
 +Cape of Good Hope, and likewise their possessions
 +in the Indies, more particularly their
 +great Coromandel factory."</p>
 +<p>Mere courtesy would have taught me<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_158" id="Page_158">[158]</a></span>
 +to speak as soothingly as possible of such
 +things, though, but for the brandy, I doubt
 +if my teeth would not have chattered too
 +boisterously for the utterance of even the
 +few words I delivered. In honest truth, I
 +felt an unspeakable awe and fear in addressing
 +this man, who surveyed me with the
 +severest, most scornful gaze imaginable from
 +the height of his regal stature.</p>
 +<p>"Of what are you speaking?" he exclaimed,
 +after a frowning stare of amazement; then
 +waved his hand with a gesture half of pity,
 +half of disdain. "You have been perilously
 +close to death," he continued, "and this idle
 +babble will settle into good sense when you
 +have shifted and slept." He smiled contemptuously
 +with a half-look around, as
 +though he sought another of his own
 +kind to address, and said as one thinking
 +aloud, "If Tromp and Evertzens and De
 +Witt and De Ruyter have not yet swept
 +them off the seas 'tis only because they<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_159" id="Page_159">[159]</a></span>
 +have not had time to complete the easy
 +<p>As he said this the clock over the door
 +struck two. The chimes had a hollow,
 +cathedral-like sound, as though indeed it
 +was the clock of a cathedral striking in the
 +distance. Glancing at the direction whence
 +these notes issued, I was just in time to
 +witness the acting of an extraordinary piece
 +of mechanism, that is to say, there arose
 +to the top of the clock-case, that was of some
 +species of metal&mdash;the dial plate of blue enamel
 +protected with horn instead of glass&mdash;there
 +arose, I say, the figure of a skeleton, imitated
 +to the life, holding in one hand an hour-glass
 +on which he turned his eyeless sockets by a
 +movement of the head, whilst with the other
 +hand he grasped a lance or spear that, as I
 +afterwards perceived, he flourished to every
 +stroke of the clock-bell, as though he pierced
 +something prostrate at his feet. The figure
 +shrank into the inside of the clock when the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_160" id="Page_160">[160]</a></span>
 +chimes were over. As if to complete the
 +bewilderment under which I laboured, scarce
 +had the second chime of the clock rung its
 +last vibration, when a harsh voice croaked
 +out in Dutch&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"Wy Zyn al Verdomd!"</p>
 +<p>I started, and cried out involuntarily and
 +faintly, "My God!"</p>
 +<p>"It was the parrot that spoke," said
 +Captain Vanderdecken, with a softening of
 +his looks, though he did not smile. "Tis the
 +only sentence she seems able to pronounce.
 +It was all she could say when I bought her."</p>
 +<p>"Have you had her long, sir?" I inquired,
 +feeling as though I lay a-dreaming.</p>
 +<p>"I bought her from a Chinaman of
 +Batavia two days before we sailed as a gift
 +for my eldest daughter&mdash;&mdash;"</p>
 +<p>Here he was interrupted by the arrival of
 +Prins. "The clothes are ready, skipper,"
 +said he.</p>
 +<p>On this Vanderdecken, motioning me to<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_161" id="Page_161">[161]</a></span>
 +be silent&mdash;a piece of behaviour that was as
 +puzzling as all other things&mdash;conducted me
 +to the cabin from which Prins had emerged,
 +and viewing the clothes upon the bed,
 +said, "Yes, they will do; wear them,
 +mynheer, till yours have been dried. Leave
 +this door on the hook, you will then get
 +light enough for your purpose from yonder
 +<p>The dress consisted of warm knitted
 +stockings, breeches of an old pattern, and a
 +coat with a great skirt embellished with metal
 +buttons, several of which were missing, and
 +the remains of some gold lace upon the cuffs.
 +In addition, there was a clean linen shirt, and
 +a pair of South American hide boots, fawn-coloured.
 +'Twas like clothing myself for a
 +masquerade to dress in such things, but for
 +all that I was mighty pleased and grateful to
 +escape from my own soaked attire, which by
 +keeping the surface of the body cold prohibited
 +my nerves from regaining their<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_162" id="Page_162">[162]</a></span>
 +customary tone. I went to work nimbly,
 +observing that Captain Vanderdecken waited
 +for me, and was soon shifted, but not before
 +I had viewed the cabin, which I found to be
 +spacious enough. The bed was curious,
 +being what we term a four-poster, the upper
 +ends of the posts cleated to the ceiling,
 +whilst the lower legs were in the form of dolphins,
 +and had one time been gilt with gold.
 +There were curtains to it of faded green silk&mdash;as
 +I judged&mdash;ragged in places. There were
 +lockers, a small table, on which lay a fore-staff,
 +or cross-staff as it was often called, a
 +rude ancient instrument used for measuring
 +the altitude of the sun before the introduction
 +of Hadley's quadrant, and formed of a wooden
 +staff, having a scale of degrees and parts of
 +degrees marked upon it, and cross-pieces
 +which could be moved along it. By it stood
 +a sand-glass for turning to tell the time by.
 +Against the bulkhead that separated this
 +from the adjoining cabin were hung two ox-eyed<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_163" id="Page_163">[163]</a></span>
 +mirrors, the frames whereof had been
 +gilt, also four small paintings in oak-coloured
 +borders richly beaded. I could see that they
 +were portraits of females, dim, the hues
 +being faded. The ceiling of this cabin
 +showed traces of having been, once on
 +a time, very handsomely painted with the
 +<p>Other things I noticed were a copper
 +speaking-trumpet and an ancient perspective
 +glass&mdash;such as poets of Vanderdecken's time
 +would style an optic tube&mdash;very weighty,
 +and formed of two tubes. This thing stood
 +on brackets, under which hung a watch, of as
 +true a sphere as an orange, and of the size of
 +<p>Indeed, look where you would, you could
 +not fail to guess how stout and noble a
 +ship this Braave, as her captain named her,
 +must have been in those distant years which
 +witnessed her birth.</p>
 +<p>My costume made me feel ridiculous<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_164" id="Page_164">[164]</a></span>
 +enough, for, whereas the boots might have
 +belonged to a period when Shelvocke and
 +Clipperton were plundering the Spaniards in
 +the south seas, the coat was of a fashion of
 +about thirty years past, whilst the breeches
 +were such as merchant captains and mates
 +wore when I was first going to sea. However,
 +being changed and dry, I stepped forth,
 +bearing my wet clothes with me, but they
 +were immediately taken from me by Prins,
 +who had been standing near the door unperceived
 +by me. On my appearing, Captain
 +Vanderdecken rose from the chair at the
 +head of the table, but seemed to find
 +nothing in my dress to amuse him. The
 +vari-coloured light was extremely confusing,
 +and it was with the utmost pains that I
 +could discern the expression of his face, but,
 +so far as I made out, it was one of extreme
 +melancholy, touched with lights and shades
 +by his moods, which yet left the prevailing
 +character unchanged. Indeed, the dreadful<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_165" id="Page_165">[165]</a></span>
 +fancies of Captain Skevington smote me
 +fiercely once again, for, as I live to say it,
 +the countenance of this tall and haughty seaman
 +did suggest to me the melancholy you
 +notice on the face of the dead&mdash;meaningless
 +as that look in them may be&mdash;but in his case
 +irradiated by the tints and expressions of
 +vitality, insomuch that I fully felt the force
 +of the remark the master of the Plymouth
 +snow had made to Captain Skevington touching
 +the man he had seen on board the Death
 +Ship, namely, that he was a corpse artificially
 +animated and most terrible to behold for his
 +suggestions of death-in-life.</p>
 +<p>"Will you go to rest?" said he.</p>
 +<p>"I am willing to do whatever you desire,"
 +said I. "Your kindness is great and I thank
 +you for it."</p>
 +<p>"Ay," he replied, "spite of the war I'd
 +liefer serve an Englishman than one of any
 +other country. The old and the young
 +Commonwealths should be friends. On<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_166" id="Page_166">[166]</a></span>
 +either hand there are mighty hearts, you in
 +your Blakes, your Ayscues, your Monks;
 +we in our Van Tromp, whom the King of
 +Denmark, to my great joy before I sailed,
 +honourably justified to the people of Holland,
 +and in Van Galen, Ruyter, with other skilled
 +and lion-hearted men, whom I shall glory in
 +greeting on my return."</p>
 +<p>He seemed to reflect a moment, and suddenly
 +cried, with a passionate sparkle in his
 +eyes, "But 'twas cowardly in your captain to
 +order his men to fire upon our boat. What
 +did we seek? Such tobacco as you could
 +have spared, which we were willing to purchase.
 +By the vengeance of Heaven, 'twas a
 +deed unworthy of Englishmen."</p>
 +<p>I did not dare explain the true cause, and
 +said, gently, "Sir, our captain lay dead in his
 +cabin. The men, missing the chief, fell into a
 +panic at the sight of this ship, for she showed
 +large in the dusk, and we feared you meant
 +to lay us aboard."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_167" id="Page_167">[167]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Enough!" he exclaimed, imperiously.
 +"Follow me to your cabin."</p>
 +<p>He led the way on to the deck and we
 +descended the quarter-deck ladder.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_168" id="Page_168">[168]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XIV.<br />
 +<p>I had been in too great a confusion of mind
 +to heed the movements of the ship whilst I
 +was under cover, but on emerging I now
 +noticed that it had come on to blow very
 +fresh. The vessel under larboard tacks&mdash;I
 +could not see what canvas she carried&mdash;lay
 +along very much, being light and tall, and
 +rolled with peculiar clumsiness in the hollows.
 +I caught sight of the water over the weather-rail,
 +and judged with the eye of a seaman
 +that what progress she was making was
 +wholly leeway; so that we were being blown
 +dead to the eastward, without probably
 +"reaching," as it is termed, by so much as
 +half-a-knot an hour. The moon was now<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_169" id="Page_169">[169]</a></span>
 +deep in the west and showing a very wan
 +and stormy disk. North-west, where the land
 +lay, the sea looked to rise into a fluid blackness
 +of thunder-clouds, wherefrom even as I
 +glanced that way there fell a red gash of
 +lightning. There was a heavy sound of
 +seething and bombarding billows all about
 +us, and the whole picture had a wildness
 +past language, what with the scarlet glare
 +of the northern levin-brands and the ghastly
 +tempestuous paleness of the westering moon
 +and a dingy faintness owing its existence to
 +I know not what, if it were not the light of
 +the foaming multitudinous surge reflected
 +upon the sooty bosoms of the lowering
 +clouds over our stern.</p>
 +<p>Captain Vanderdecken stood for a moment
 +looking round upon this warring scene, and
 +flung up his arms towards the moon with a
 +passionate savage gesture, and then strode
 +to a narrow hatch betwixt the limits of
 +the quarter-deck and the mainmast, down<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_170" id="Page_170">[170]</a></span>
 +which he went, first turning to see if I
 +followed. I now found myself in a kind
 +of 'tween-decks, with two cabins on either
 +hand, in the doorway of the fore one, on
 +the starboard side, stood the man Prins,
 +holding a small lantern.</p>
 +<p>"This, sir," said Vanderdecken, pointing
 +to the cabin, "must serve you for a sleeping
 +room; it has not the comfort of an inn, but
 +'tis easy to see you are a sailor, and, therefore,
 +one to whom a plank will often be a
 +soft couch. In any case, here is accommodation
 +warmer than the bottom of the ocean."</p>
 +<p>With a cold and condescending salute he
 +withdrew. Prins hung the lantern on to a
 +rail beside the door, and said he would return
 +for it shortly. I wanted to ask the man some
 +questions about the ship and her commander,
 +but there was something about him so scaring
 +and odd that I could not summon up heart to
 +address him. He appeared as one in whom
 +all qualities of the soul are dead, acting, in<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_171" id="Page_171">[171]</a></span>
 +sooth, like a sleep-walker, giving me not
 +the least heed whatever, and going about
 +his business as mechanically as the skeleton
 +in the cabin clock rose and darted his lance
 +to the chimes of the bell.</p>
 +<p>The compartment in which I was to sleep
 +was empty of all furniture saving a locker
 +that served as a seat as well as a box, and
 +a wooden sleeping-place, formed of planks,
 +secured to the side, in which, in lieu of a
 +mattress, were a couple of stout blankets,
 +tolerably new, and a sailor's bag, filled with
 +straw, for a pillow. I was wearied to the
 +bone, yet not sleepy, and lay me down in my
 +strange clothes without so much as removing
 +my boots, and in a few minutes Prins arrived
 +and took away the light, and there I was in
 +pitch darkness.</p>
 +<p>And yet I should not say this, for, though
 +to be sure no sensible reflection penetrated
 +the blackness, yet when the lamp was removed
 +and my eyes had lost the glare of it, I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_172" id="Page_172">[172]</a></span>
 +beheld certain faint crawlings and swarmings
 +of phosphoric light upon the beams and
 +bulkheads, such as were noticeable upon the
 +outside of the ship, only not so strong. I
 +likewise observed a cold and ancient smell,
 +such as I recollect once catching the breath
 +of in the hold of a ship that had been built in
 +1702 and which people in the year 1791 or
 +thereabouts viewed as a curiosity. Otherwise
 +there was nothing else remarkable. Whatever
 +this vessel might be, her motion on the
 +seas was as natural as that of the Saracen,
 +only that her wallowing was more ponderous
 +and ungainly. Yet, merciful Heaven! how
 +did every bulkhead groan, how did every
 +timber complain, how did every treenail cry
 +aloud! The noise of the labouring was truly
 +appalling; the creaking, straining, jarring, as
 +though the whole fabric were being dashed
 +to pieces. I had not immediately noticed
 +this when I followed Captain Vanderdecken
 +below, but it grew upon my ears as I lay in<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_173" id="Page_173">[173]</a></span>
 +the blackness. Yet they were natural sounds,
 +and as such they afforded a sort of relief to
 +my strained brain and nervous, yea, and
 +affrighted imagination. The stillness of a
 +dead calm would have maddened me, I truly
 +believe. Phantasms and other horrors of my
 +fancy, rendered delirious by the situation into
 +which I had been plunged, would have played
 +their parts upon that stage of blackness,
 +hideous with the vault-like stirring of the
 +glow of rotted timber, to the destruction of
 +my intellect, but for the homely thunder of
 +the sea without and the crazy echoes within.</p>
 +<p>I asked myself what ship was this? That
 +she had a supernatural life, that he who
 +styled himself Vanderdecken&mdash;which tradition
 +reported was the name of the master of the
 +Phantom Ship, though it has been averred
 +that his real name was Bernard Fokke&mdash;I
 +say that he and the others I had seen, more
 +particularly the man Prins, had something
 +goblin-like about them, something that carried<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_174" id="Page_174">[174]</a></span>
 +them far out of the range of our common
 +humanity, spite of the majestic port, the
 +noble presence, the thrilling tones, like the
 +music of distant summer thunder, of the commander,
 +I could no more question than the
 +beating of my own heart as I lay a-thinking.
 +I knew by what I had heard and viewed
 +already, even in the brief hours packed full of
 +consternation, during which I had been on
 +her, that I was aboard of the Flying Dutchman,
 +the Phantom Ship, the Death Ship, the
 +Sea Spectre, as she has variously been
 +<p>Yet there was so much to puzzle me that I
 +was fit to lapse into idiotcy. If Vanderdecken
 +had sailed from Batavia in 1653, why did he
 +speak of it as last year? If the Death Ship
 +was a ghostly object, impalpable, an essence
 +only as is a spirit, why was this vessel so
 +substantial that, heavily as she resounded
 +with the crazy echoes of her material state,
 +no first-rate could hold a stouter conflict with<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_175" id="Page_175">[175]</a></span>
 +the seas? If she had been battling off the
 +Agulhas for one hundred and forty-three
 +years, how came she to have oil and waste for
 +her lanterns, clothes such as I wore, such as
 +the men I had seen were habited in, brandy,
 +blankets almost new like those I lay on,
 +and other stores; for I might be sure, from
 +the jar of brandy the captain had produced,
 +that the crew ate and drank as all men do
 +and must!</p>
 +<p>These and other points I could not reconcile
 +to my conviction that the ship I was
 +aboard of was the craft dreaded by all men
 +because of the great God's ban upon her and
 +the misfortunes she brought to others with
 +the very winds which filled her canvas. I
 +would have given all I owned&mdash;though, alack!
 +that would have been small enough if I lost
 +what belonged to me in the Saracen&mdash;for
 +leave to keep the deck, but I did not venture
 +for fear of incurring the displeasure of Vanderdecken.
 +So for several hours did I lay<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_176" id="Page_176">[176]</a></span>
 +broad awake in my black dungeon of a cabin,
 +watching the loathsome, ghostly phosphoric
 +glow all about me, and listening to the
 +bellowing of the wind that had grown into
 +a storm, and marking the furious rolling of
 +the ship, whose wild inner creakings put a
 +note of frenzy into the thunder of the gale;
 +but never once hearing the sound of a
 +human call nor the echo of a man's tread,
 +I then fell asleep, but not before the dawn
 +had broken, as I might tell by the radiance,
 +which was little better than an ashen twilight,
 +that streamed down the hatch and showed in
 +an open space above the cabin door.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_177" id="Page_177">[177]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XV.<br />
 +<p>I had scarcely fully woke up, when the man
 +Prins opened the cabin door and peered in,
 +and perceiving me to be awake, he entered
 +bearing a metal pitcher of water, an earthenware
 +dish, and a rough cloth for drying the
 +skin. He put down the dish so that it could
 +not slide, for the ship was rolling very heavily,
 +and then poured water into it, and said, as
 +he was in the act of withdrawing with the
 +pitcher, "The skipper is on the poop."</p>
 +<p>I answered by asking him for my clothes.
 +He shook his bearded, parchment-coloured
 +face and said: "They are still sodden," and
 +immediately went out.</p>
 +<p>I might have guessed they could not be<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_178" id="Page_178">[178]</a></span>
 +dry, but I presented so hideous a figure in
 +the apparel that had been lent to me that
 +I should have been glad to resume my own
 +coat and breeches, wet or no wet; but there
 +was no help for it. I rose and plunged my
 +face in the cold water, used my fingers for a
 +comb, which sufficed, since I commonly wore
 +my hair rough, having much of it and hating
 +a tye, and putting on my hat that had held to
 +my head in the water, and that had not been
 +taken from me to dry, I stepped out of the
 +cabin, climbed the steps that led through the
 +hatch, and gained what was in former times
 +termed the upper deck; for let me make you
 +understand me by explaining that, beginning
 +right aft, first there was a poop-deck elevated
 +above the quarter-deck, which in its turn
 +was raised above the upper-deck, along which
 +you walked till you arrived at the forecastle
 +that went flush or level to the bows and was
 +fortified by tall, stout bulwarks, with ports for
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_179" id="Page_179">[179]</a></span></p>
 +<p>For some considerable while I stood near
 +the hatch gazing about me, as this was my
 +first view of the ship by daylight. Right
 +opposite soared the mainmast, an immensely
 +thick "made" spar, weightier than we should
 +now think of using for a craft twice this
 +vessel's size; the top was a large circular
 +platform, protected by a fence-work half as
 +tall as a man, looped for the projection of
 +pieces such as culverins, matchlocks and the
 +like. Under the top hung the mainyard,
 +the sail was reefed and the yard had been
 +lowered, and it lay at an angle that made me
 +understand that but little was to be done with
 +this ship on a bowline. The shrouds, which
 +were very stout, though scarce one of them
 +was of the thickness of another, came down
 +over the side to the channels there, and the
 +ratlines were all in their places, only that
 +here again there was great inequality in the
 +various sizes of the stuff used. There were
 +iron hoops round the masts, all of them rusty,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_180" id="Page_180">[180]</a></span>
 +cankered, and some of them nearly eaten up.
 +I looked at the coaming of the hatch, and
 +observing a splinter, put my hand to it and
 +found the wood so rotten that methought it
 +would powder, and I turned the piece about
 +betwixt my thumb and forefinger, but the
 +miraculous qualities of the accursed fabric
 +were in it and iron could not have been more
 +stubborn to my pinching. The guns, which
 +I had on the previous night recognised as an
 +ancient kind of ordnance called sakers, were
 +as rusty and eaten into as the mast-hoops.</p>
 +<p>How am I, who have no paint but ink, no
 +brush but a goose-quill, to convey to you an
 +idea of the mouldiness and rottenness of this
 +ship? 'Twas easy to guess why she glowed
 +at night, when you saw the rail of her bulwarks
 +and marked a rugged unevenness such
 +as I might liken to the jagged edge you
 +observe through a telescope in the moon on
 +the side where the earth's shadow is, as
 +though time had teeth, indeed, and was for<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_181" id="Page_181">[181]</a></span>
 +ever gnawing at these banned and sea-tossed
 +timbers as rats at a floor.</p>
 +<p>There lay a great hatchway in front of the
 +mainmast covered with tarpaulings, handsomely
 +mended in a score of places. These
 +matters I took in with a sailor's quickness;
 +also that the ship was blowing away to leeward
 +under reefed courses, above which no
 +canvas was shown; also that the foresail and
 +mainsail had a very dingy, collier-like look,
 +and had manifestly been patched and repaired
 +many times over, though whether
 +their capacity of standing to a gale was due
 +to the cloth being stout and substantial still,
 +or because of their endevilment, I could not
 +tell, nor did I like to conjecture. There was
 +no one to be seen, but, as I afterwards found
 +out, that was because the crew were at breakfast
 +<p>I ascended the quarter-deck, and, perceiving
 +Vanderdecken standing on the poop,
 +went up to him, touching my hat as a sailor's<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_182" id="Page_182">[182]</a></span>
 +salute; but the coat I was rigged out in was
 +so outrageously clumsy and ample, that the
 +wind, which blew very hard indeed, filling
 +and distending the skirts of it, was within an
 +ace of upsetting me, but, happily, a lurch of
 +the ship swept me towards a mizzen backstay,
 +to which I contrived to cling until I
 +had recovered my breath and the surprise I
 +was under. There was a small house in the
 +middle of this poop, about ten feet from
 +where the head of the tiller would come
 +when amidships, possibly designed for the
 +convenience of the captain and officers for
 +making their calculations when in narrow
 +waters, and for the storing of their marine
 +instruments, flags and the like. Be that as
 +it may, Captain Vanderdecken beckoned
 +me to it, and under the lee of it the
 +shelter was such as to enable us to easily
 +<p>I looked at him as closely as I durst. His
 +eyes were extraordinarily piercing and passionate,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_183" id="Page_183">[183]</a></span>
 +with the cruel brilliance in them such
 +as may be noticed in the insane; the lower
 +part of his face was hidden in hair, but the
 +skin of as much of it as was visible, for his
 +cap was dragged low down upon his brows,
 +was pale, of a haggard sallowness, expressed
 +best in paintings of the dead where time has
 +produced the original whiteness of the pigment.
 +It was impossible that I should have
 +observed this in him in the mani-coloured
 +lamplight of the preceding night. Yet did
 +not his graveyard complexion detract from
 +the majesty and imperiousness of his mien
 +and port. I could readily conceive that the
 +defiance of his heart would be hell-like in
 +obstinacy, and that here was a man whose
 +pride and passions would qualify him for a
 +foremost place among the most daring of
 +those fallen spirits of whom our glorious poet
 +has written.</p>
 +<p>He was habited as when I first saw him.
 +We stood together against this deck-house,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_184" id="Page_184">[184]</a></span>
 +and whilst he remained silent for some
 +moments, meanwhile keeping his eyes fixed
 +on me, my gaze went from him to the ship
 +and the sea around us. It was a thick,
 +leaden, angry morning; such weather as we
 +had had a dose of in that storm I wrote about,
 +and of which forerunners might have been
 +found on the preceding night in the lightning
 +in the north-west and in the halo that girdled
 +the moon. The wind was west-north-west;
 +the seas had the height and weight you find
 +in that vast ocean, amid whose hollows we
 +were driving; 'twas all greyness and a flying
 +of spumy rain and a heavy roaring coming
 +from the head of every sea as it arched its
 +summit for the thunderous downwards rush
 +that filled the valley at its foot with a boiling
 +of white water. The sky was a hard leaden
 +blankness; and whenever there came a break
 +of faintness amid the seemingly stirless ceiling
 +of vapour, you would see the scud, thin and
 +brown, like drainings of smoke from a<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_185" id="Page_185">[185]</a></span>
 +chimney-pot, flying with incredible velocity
 +to the east and south.</p>
 +<p>But it was the sight of the ancient ship
 +that rendered the warring ocean so strange a
 +scene that, had I never before witnessed a
 +storm at sea, I could not have wondered
 +more at what I saw. She was lying to under
 +her reefed fore and mainsail, surging dead
 +to leeward on every scend of the billows, and
 +travelling the faster for the great height of
 +side she showed. From time to time a sea
 +would strike her with a severe shock upon
 +the bow or the waist, and often curl over in
 +a mighty hissing and seething, though the
 +wet quickly poured away overboard through
 +the ports. Through the skeleton-iron frame
 +of what had once been a great poop lantern,
 +the blast yelled like an imprisoned maniac,
 +and shook the metal with a sound as of
 +clanking chains. The vessel had her topsail
 +and topgallant-yards aloft, and the sails lay
 +furled upon them. The height of her poop,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_186" id="Page_186">[186]</a></span>
 +the depth of her waist, the roundness of her
 +great bulwarked bows, her beak, which I
 +could just catch a glimpse of under her bowsprit,
 +the unequal thickness of the rigging,
 +the indescribable appearance of the sails, the
 +hugeness of the blocks aloft; the whole
 +plunging and rolling amidst the frothing
 +troughs, whilst at the long tiller, the end
 +ornamented with a lion's head, stood a
 +strangely-attired, muffled-up man, grasping a
 +rope wound round the tiller-head, presented
 +such a picture of olden times, made as living
 +as the current moment by the action of the
 +seas, the vitality of the persons I gazed at,
 +the solid substantiality of the aged fabric
 +itself, that the memory of it often chills
 +my brain with fear that I am crazed, and
 +that my experience is but a black and
 +melancholy fancy victorious over my understanding.</p>
 +<p>And I say would to Heaven this were so,
 +for better that my soul should be racked by<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_187" id="Page_187">[187]</a></span>
 +a diseased and disordered mind than that
 +I should have suffered the heart-breaking
 +sorrow, the irreparable loss it is my present
 +business to relate in this narrative.</p>
 +<p>The captain, having inspected me narrowly,
 +asked me how I had slept. I answered
 +"Well," for I was now resolved to present a
 +composed front to this man and his mates, be
 +they and their ship what they would. I had
 +given my nerves play and it was about time
 +I recollected I was an Englishman and a
 +<p>"All vessels but mine," said he, in his
 +thrilling, organ-like voice, glancing about
 +him with a scowl, "catch the luck of the
 +wind. Had the weather lingered as it was
 +for another three days, we should have
 +had Agulhas on the beam and the ship's
 +head north-west. 'Tis bitter hard, these
 +encounters of storms, when a few hours
 +of fair wind would blow us round the
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_188" id="Page_188">[188]</a></span></p>
 +<p>He clenched his hands fiercely, and shot a
 +fiery glance at the windward horizon.</p>
 +<p>Just then the man styled Herman Van
 +Vogelaar, the mate, arrived, and without
 +taking the least notice of me, said something
 +to the captain, but what, I did not
 +catch; it doubtless referred to some job he
 +had been sent forward to see to. I was
 +greatly struck by the rugged, weather-beaten
 +look of this man; his face in the daylight
 +discovered a mere surface of knobs, and
 +warts, and wrinkles, with a nose the shape
 +of one end of a plantain that has been cut
 +in two, and little, misty eyes, deep in their
 +holes, and surrounded by yellow lashes; his
 +dress was that of a sailor of my own time.
 +But what affected and impressed me even
 +more than did the utter indifference manifested
 +towards my presence by him and by
 +the helmsman&mdash;as though, indeed, I was as
 +invisible as the wind&mdash;was the pallor underlying
 +the lineaments of this mate. Had I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_189" id="Page_189">[189]</a></span>
 +been asked what would be the complexion of
 +men dug up from their graves after lying
 +there, I should have pointed to the countenances
 +of Vanderdecken and Van Vogelaar&mdash;yes,
 +and to Prins and the seaman who
 +steered. It was, in truth, as though Captain
 +Skevington had hit the frightful reality in his
 +dark and dreadful ideas touching the crew
 +of this ship being men who presented the
 +aspect they would have offered at the time of
 +their death, and who, wearing that death-bed
 +appearance, were doomed to complete
 +the sentence passed upon them&mdash;no longer
 +"pensioners on the bounty of an hour," as the
 +poet Young terms us mortals, but wretches,
 +rendered supernatural by the impiety of that
 +fierce but noble figure, whose falcon-flashing
 +eye looked curses at the gale whilst I
 +watched him.</p>
 +<p>The mate left us and went to the helmsman,
 +by whose side he stood as if conning the ship.
 +The captain showed no heed of my presence<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_190" id="Page_190">[190]</a></span>
 +for a minute or two; when, glancing at me,
 +he said, "'Tis fortunate you speak Dutch,
 +though your pronunciation has a strange
 +sound. For my part, I just know enough
 +of your tongue to hail a ship and to say, 'I
 +will send a boat.' Where did you learn my
 +<p>"I picked it up during several voyages I
 +made to Rotterdam," I replied.</p>
 +<p>"Do you know Amsterdam?"</p>
 +<p>"No, sir," said I.</p>
 +<p>He mused a little, and then said, "They
 +will think me lost or sunk by the guns of the
 +enemy. Add the long and tedious voyage
 +out to the months which have passed since
 +last July!" he sighed deeply.</p>
 +<p>"When did you sail from Amsterdam, sir?"
 +I inquired, for I was as particular as he to say
 +<p>"On the First of November," he answered.</p>
 +<p>"In what year?" said I.</p>
 +<p>He cried out, fiercely, "Are your senses<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_191" id="Page_191">[191]</a></span>
 +still overboard that you repeat that question?
 +Certainly last year&mdash;when else?"</p>
 +<p>I looked down upon the deck.</p>
 +<p>"I have reason to remember my passage
 +through the narrow seas," continued he,
 +speaking in a softened voice, as though his
 +sense of courtesy upbraided him. "I sighted
 +the squadron of your Admiral Ayscue and a
 +frigate hauled out in chase of me, but the
 +Braave was too fleet for her, and at dusk
 +we had sunk the Englishman to his lower
 +<p>As he said this I felt yet again the chill of
 +a dread I had hoped to vanquish strike upon
 +my senses like the air of a vault upon the
 +face. It was impossible that I could now
 +miss seeing how it was. If this man, together
 +with his crew, were not endevilled, as Captain
 +Skevington had surmised, yet it was certain
 +that life was terminated in him with the Curse
 +his wickedness had called down upon his ship
 +and her wretched crew. Existence had come<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_192" id="Page_192">[192]</a></span>
 +to a stand in his brain; with him it was for
 +ever the year of our Lord 1653; time had
 +been drowned in the eternity of the punishment
 +that had come upon him!</p>
 +<p>I lifted my startled eyes to Vanderdecken's
 +face and convulsively clasped my hands,
 +whilst I thought of the mighty chapter of
 +history which had been written since his day,
 +and of the ashes of events prodigious in their
 +time, and in memory still, which covered&mdash;as
 +do the lava and scoriƦ the rocks of some
 +volcanic-created island&mdash;the years from the
 +hour of his doom down to the moment of our
 +meeting. The peace of 1654&mdash;the later war
 +of 1665&mdash;Ruyter at Sheerness and Chatham
 +and in the Hope&mdash;a stadtholder of Vanderdecken's
 +country becoming a King of England&mdash;the
 +peace of Ryswick&mdash;Malplaquet&mdash;the
 +semi-Gallican founding of the Batavian Republic&mdash;with
 +how much more that my
 +memory did not carry? All as non-existent
 +to this man at my side as to any human<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_193" id="Page_193">[193]</a></span>
 +creature who had died at the hour when the
 +Death Ship sailed on her last passage home
 +from the island of Java!</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_194" id="Page_194">[194]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XVI.<br />
 +<p>At this moment Prins stepped on to the
 +poop, and informed the captain that breakfast
 +was ready.</p>
 +<p>"Sir," said Vanderdecken to me, with a
 +courtesy that I guessed to be as capricious
 +as his passion, "you will have feared I meant
 +to starve you."</p>
 +<p>"No, mynheer," I replied.</p>
 +<p>"You will find our fare poor," he continued.
 +"Be pleased to follow me."</p>
 +<p>"Sir," said I, "forgive me if I detain you
 +for an instant. I am too sensible of your
 +kindness not to desire that you will enable
 +me to merit it by serving you in the navigation<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_195" id="Page_195">[195]</a></span>
 +of this ship in any capacity you choose
 +to name, until we meet with a vessel that
 +shall rid you of my presence."</p>
 +<p>"You appear to have but a poor opinion
 +of us Dutch," said he, still speaking with
 +courtesy; "be pleased to know that a
 +Hollander is never happier than in relieving
 +distress. But come, sir, the shelter of the
 +cabin will be grateful to you after this stormy
 +<p>I said no more, and gathering the flapping
 +skirts of the coat on me to my side, that
 +the gale might not sweep me off my legs, I
 +followed him into the cabin under the poop,
 +marvelling, as I went, at the miracle wrought
 +on behalf of this ship, that her hold should
 +still yield provisions and water for her crew
 +after a century-and-a-half of use.</p>
 +<p>Now you will have deemed by this time
 +that I had supped full enough of surprises.
 +But conceive of my astonishment on entering
 +the cabin, that was less darksome than I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_196" id="Page_196">[196]</a></span>
 +should have conceived it, on seeing a girl of
 +from eighteen to twenty years of age, seated
 +at the table on the right hand of the captain's
 +<p>I came to a stand, struck motionless with
 +astonishment; whilst she, uttering an exclamation
 +of surprise, hastily rose and stood staring
 +at me, leaning with her right hand on the
 +table to steady herself. It was as certain that
 +she had been as ignorant of my presence on
 +board as I, to this instant, of her existence.
 +The thought that instantly flashed upon me
 +was that she was Vanderdecken's daughter,
 +that the Curse that had fallen on the ship
 +included her, as it had all others of the vessel's
 +miserable company of men, and that in consonance
 +with Captain Skevington's mad but
 +astonishing theory, touching the people of this
 +Death Ship, she discovered the appearance
 +she would have presented at the hour of her
 +death, though vitalised in that aspect by the
 +sentence that kept the Braave afloat and her<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_197" id="Page_197">[197]</a></span>
 +people quick and sentient. I was the more
 +willing to suppose this by her apparel, which
 +was of the kind I had seen in old Dutch
 +paintings at Rotterdam, for it consisted of a
 +black velvet jacket, very beautifully fitting
 +her figure, trimmed with fur and enriched
 +with many small golden buttons; a green silk
 +gown, plain and very full, as though made for
 +a bigger woman. There was a rope of pearls
 +round her neck, and I spied a diamond of
 +great splendour blazing on the forefinger of
 +the hand on which she leaned. She wore
 +small red shoes and her hair was undressed.</p>
 +<p>Observation and the power of comprehending
 +what one sees are rapid, otherwise it
 +would have been impossible for me to have
 +mastered the details I have set before you in
 +the short time that intervened between my
 +entering the cabin and seating myself at the
 +table. Yet, short as that time was, it enabled
 +me to witness in this girl such sweetness,
 +fairness and loveliness of face as I vow no<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_198" id="Page_198">[198]</a></span>
 +man could conceive the truth of who had not
 +beheld it with his own eyes. 'Tis an old
 +poet who writes of "the still harmony, whose
 +diapason lies within a brow," and of the
 +"sweet silent rhetorick of persuading eyes,"
 +and another more delicately choice yet in
 +fancy, of</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +<span style="margin-left: 3em;">"The daintie touch,</span><br />
 +The tender flesh, the colour bright, and such<br />
 +As Parians see in marble, skin more fair,<br />
 +More glorious head and far more glorious hair;<br />
 +Eyes full of grace and quickness, purer roses&mdash;&mdash;"<br />
 +<p>but of this beauty, shining sun-like in that
 +labouring ancient cabin, gazing at me half-wistful,
 +half-amazed, with an inclined posture
 +of her form as though she would on a sudden
 +race to greet me, what could the noblest poet
 +of them all sing, only to tell of the soft violet
 +of her eyes, of her hair of dusky gold, self-luminous
 +as though the gilding light of a
 +ruddy beam of sunset lingered amid the thick
 +abundant tresses heedlessly knotted with a
 +riband a little lower than the line of the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_199" id="Page_199">[199]</a></span>
 +ears, thence falling in a bright loose shower
 +down her back, whilst over her forehead,
 +white as though wrought out of the sea foam,
 +the gilded curls were gathered in a shadow
 +only a little darker than amber.</p>
 +<p>All this I saw and more yet, for whilst I
 +stood looking at her the mate of the ship,
 +Van Vogelaar, arrived, and both he and the
 +captain, and the man Prins, turning their
 +faces towards me, the warmth, the life of
 +her skin, the living reality of her surprise,
 +the redness of her lips, the diamond glance
 +of her eyes, were so defined by the paleness,
 +the deathly hue, of the flesh of the men's
 +skin, that the fear that she was of this
 +doomed company fell from me, and I knew
 +that I was face to face with one that was
 +mortal like myself.</p>
 +<p>The captain pointed to the bench on his
 +left hand. I approached the table, giving
 +the girl a low bow before sitting. She
 +curtsied and resumed her seat, but all the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_200" id="Page_200">[200]</a></span>
 +while looking at me with an astonishment that
 +greatly heightened her beauty; nor could I
 +fail to see by the slight, but visible changes
 +in the expression of her mouth, that my
 +presence was putting a pleasure in her that
 +grew as perception of my actuality sharpened
 +in her mind.</p>
 +<p>A coarse, but clean cloth, that was a kind
 +of duck or drill, covered the table, and upon
 +it were a couple of dishes of cold meat, a
 +dish of dried fish, another of dried plantains,
 +a jar of marmalade, and a plate of a singular
 +sort of cakes&mdash;yellow and heavy&mdash;resembling
 +the crumb of newly-baked bread. These
 +things were kept in their places by a rude
 +framework of wood set upon the table and
 +lashed to it underneath. Before each person
 +there stood a silver cup&mdash;one of one design
 +and size, another of another; also an earthen
 +plate, of a grey colour, of Chinese baking, and
 +of the kind exported years since in great
 +quantities from Batavia; and a knife and fork<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_201" id="Page_201">[201]</a></span>
 +of a pattern I had never before seen. On our
 +seating ourselves, Prins went round the table
 +with two jars&mdash;one holding a spirit, which I
 +afterwards found was a kind of gin, and the
 +other cold water, with which he manufactured
 +a bumper for us three men, but the girl drank
 +the water plain.</p>
 +<p>Not a word was said whilst Prins was at
 +this work. As he was filling my cup, the
 +clock over the door struck eight, the skeleton
 +appearing and flourishing his lance as before,
 +and scarce was this ended when the parrot
 +croaked out, "Wy zyn al Verdomd." I had
 +forgotten this bird, and the harsh utterance
 +and dreadful words coming upon me unawares
 +so startled me that I half-sprang to my feet.
 +The girl looked down on the table with a
 +sad face, whilst Vanderdecken said, "'Tis the
 +clock that excites that fowl; we shall have to
 +hang her out of hearing of it."</p>
 +<p>He never offered to make me known to
 +the fair creature opposite, but that did not<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_202" id="Page_202">[202]</a></span>
 +signify, for, after stealing several peeps at
 +me, she asked in Dutch, but with the artless
 +manner of a child, and in a sweet voice, if I
 +was a Hollander.</p>
 +<p>I answered, "No, I am an Englishman,
 +madam," feeling the blood warm in my face
 +through the mere speaking with so delicate a
 +<p>"I, too, am English!" she cried, in our
 +own tongue.</p>
 +<p>"Indeed!" I exclaimed, transported out of
 +myself by hearing this, and by perceiving
 +how warm, real and living she was. "But,
 +in the name of Heaven, how is it that you
 +are alone upon this strange ship, amid these
 +mysterious men?" for that question I could
 +no more forbear asking right out than I could
 +conceal the admiration in my eyes, whilst I
 +felt no diffidence in talking, as I made no
 +doubt the English language was unintelligible
 +to the others.</p>
 +<p>She swiftly glanced at me, but did not<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_203" id="Page_203">[203]</a></span>
 +answer. I took this as a hint, and was silent.
 +And yet it did not seem that Vanderdecken
 +or Van Vogelaar heeded us. They appeared
 +as men sunk in deep abstraction, even
 +whilst they ate and drank. Some meat was
 +put before me; Prins offered me a cake, and,
 +being hard set, I fell to. I found the meat
 +salt, but sweet and tender enough, and
 +turning to the mate asked him what it was.</p>
 +<p>"Antelope," he replied, "yonder," pointing
 +to the other dish, "is buffalo."</p>
 +<p>"Sir," exclaimed Vanderdecken, with a
 +wonderful stateliness in his manner, "be
 +pleased to despise ceremony here. Such as
 +our fare is, you are welcome. Take as you
 +may require, and Prins will fill your cup as
 +often as you need."</p>
 +<p>I bowed and thanked him.</p>
 +<p>"The wind blows hard, Imogene," said
 +he, addressing the girl. "It storms directly
 +along the path we would take. It is miserable,"
 +he continued, turning to me, "that<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_204" id="Page_204">[204]</a></span>
 +a change of weather should come upon us
 +just about those parts where the breeze
 +freshened into this gale last night. But we'll
 +force her to windward yet&mdash;hey, Herman?&mdash;though&mdash;though&mdash;&mdash;"
 +he looked at the lady
 +he had named Imogene and halted abruptly
 +in his speech, but I noticed he could not
 +quickly clear his face of the passionate mad
 +look that darkened it, though it did not
 +qualify the paleness of the skin, but was like
 +the shadow of a heavy storm-cloud passing
 +over the upward-gazing features of a dead
 +<p>The countenances of the mate and Prins
 +darkened to his savage mood. May Heaven
 +pardon me for the thought, but when I considered
 +the bitter vexation of a head wind,
 +and how this vessel was being blown dead
 +away to leeward faster than any line-of-battle
 +ship hove-to, I could not but secretly feel a
 +sailor's sympathy with these unhappy persons,
 +though that this would have been the case<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_205" id="Page_205">[205]</a></span>
 +had Vanderdecken expressed with his tongue
 +the fearful thoughts which he looked with his
 +eyes I do not think possible, if I know myself
 +at all.</p>
 +<p>There fell a silence among us, through
 +which we could hear the dreary howling of
 +the wind, the falls of heavy masses of water
 +upon the decks, and the lamentable complaining
 +of the whole fabric, though as these
 +noises were chiefly in the hold the notes rose
 +somewhat dulled. Presently, feeling it indecorous
 +in me to sit silent, I asked the captain
 +what his cargo was.</p>
 +<p>He answered, "We have much wrought
 +and raw silk, and cloves, musk, nutmegs,
 +mace and pepper, wood for dyeing, drugs,
 +calicoes, lacker-ware and such commodities,
 +<p>"And how many of a crew, sir?"</p>
 +<p>Van Vogelaar turned to look at me.</p>
 +<p>"Ask no questions," exclaimed the girl in
 +English. "You will be misunderstood."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_206" id="Page_206">[206]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Our guns are few, but the Braave is a
 +swift ship," said the mate, with a very stern
 +and sullen expression on his rugged face.
 +"She has outsailed one English frigate, and
 +by this time our Admirals should have left us
 +little to fear from the fleets of your Cromwell."</p>
 +<p>"Pray," said the lady, addressing Vanderdecken,
 +and glancing in like a sunbeam upon
 +this sudden darkness of temper, "tell me of
 +this gentleman&mdash;how it happens he is here;
 +I find he is my countryman. Converse with
 +me about him."</p>
 +<p>If it were possible for human affection to
 +touch into softness the fierce majestic countenance
 +of the noble looking being, whose
 +mien as he sate at the table might have been
 +that of some dethroned emperor, with the
 +pride of Lucifer to sustain him, I might seem
 +to have witnessed the tenderness of it in his
 +ashen, bearded face when he turned the cold
 +glitter of his eyes upon the girl.</p>
 +<p>"We spoke his ship late last night, when<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_207" id="Page_207">[207]</a></span>
 +thou wast asleep, Imogene, and Van Vogelaar
 +went in our boat to buy tobacco, if they were
 +willing to sell, but on seeing the boat they
 +fired upon her. A light air blew, and the
 +ship moved away. Our boat was returning,
 +when she spied this gentleman fast drowning.
 +Van Vogelaar dragged him out of the water,
 +and&mdash;here he is!" saluting me with a grave
 +inclination of the head.</p>
 +<p>"Had we changed places," said the stormy-minded,
 +rugged mate, "what would have
 +been my fate?"</p>
 +<p>A colour flashed into Imogene's face, and
 +she cried, "Oh, Herr Van Vogelaar, your
 +pardon, if you please. English seamen are
 +as humane as they are brave."</p>
 +<p>"Yes," said the mate, with a sneer that
 +rendered his ugliness quite horrible with the
 +distortion of it, "because English sailors are
 +brave they fire upon an inoffensive boat, and
 +because they are humane they leave their
 +comrade to perish!"</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_208" id="Page_208">[208]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Madam," said I, softly, "the character of
 +this ship was known to us."</p>
 +<p>She slightly raised her eyes, and such a
 +sadness came into them that I feared to see
 +her shed tears. Meanwhile, Vanderdecken
 +had his gaze fixed upon me. He seemed to
 +be musing upon what the mate had said.</p>
 +<p>"It was your Commodore Young," said
 +he, in his resonant voice, that, to be sure,
 +sounded grandly after the harsh pipes of the
 +mate, "who provoked us. Why should your
 +nation exact the honour of the flag? Has it
 +bred greater seamen than Holland? There
 +is my friend Willem Schouten&mdash;many a pipe,
 +when I was a young man, have I smoked
 +with him in his summer-house at Hoorn.
 +Does even your Drake surpass Schouten?
 +No, no! It was not for England to be
 +mistress of the seas!" he exclaimed, with a
 +solemn shake of the head, not wanting in a
 +grave kind of urbanity.</p>
 +<p>I caught a glance from the girl, but I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_209" id="Page_209">[209]</a></span>
 +needed no hint to keep my tongue still.
 +'Twas maddening and terrifying enough to
 +hear this man speak of Schouten as a friend&mdash;Schouten,
 +who greatly headed the grand
 +procession of mariners such as Dampier,
 +Byron, Anson, and many others who, since
 +his day, have sailed round that Cape Horn&mdash;which
 +the stout Hollander was the first to
 +pass and to name&mdash;into the great South Sea.</p>
 +<p>And yet, spite of the effect produced upon
 +me by this man's speech and references, I
 +was sensible of a distinct pricking of my conscience
 +by my patriotism. To hear England
 +sneered at by the natives of a country which
 +has been described by a poet that flourished
 +in the days of Blake and Tromp as the "off-scouring
 +of the British sand," and as the
 +"undigested vomit of the sea," was by no
 +means to my liking. But to remonstrate
 +would have been but a mere warring with
 +the dead.</p>
 +<p>The captain appeared to delight to talk of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_210" id="Page_210">[210]</a></span>
 +the war between the Dutch and the English.
 +I remember that he praised our Commodore
 +Bodley, and said that if the States' ambassador,
 +Adrian Paaw, had been a person of
 +understanding, the treaty might have stood.
 +This I recollect, but very little more, for, to
 +be plain, it was not only a frightful thing to
 +listen to him, but my thoughts were thrown
 +into the utmost confusion by the loveliness of
 +the lady who confronted me&mdash;by the assurance
 +of the sweet eyes, warm colour, and her
 +maidenly youth, which lived in every movement,
 +word, smile, or sad look of hers, that
 +she was no true member of the unholy
 +and fearful company she lived amongst; by
 +my wondering how she came to be in this
 +Death Ship, and how it happened that she
 +was finely dressed; not to speak of other
 +speculations, such as how the food upon the
 +table was provided, and by what means this
 +ship, which I knew had been struggling
 +against the will of the Omnipotent for hard<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_211" id="Page_211">[211]</a></span>
 +upon one hundred and fifty years, should
 +be supplied with a liberal stock of the
 +conveniences of life.</p>
 +<p>But we had now done eating. The mate
 +rose and quitted the table, but his place was
 +shortly afterwards taken by another man
 +whom I had not before seen, the second mate
 +as I afterwards discovered, named Antony
 +Arents. This person looked to be about
 +fifty years of age. He wore high boots and
 +a cloak and a soft flapping hat, which he
 +threw down on entering. His left eye had a
 +cast and the bridge of his nose was broken,
 +but his countenance was of the true Dutch
 +character, and in some points he was like the
 +boatswain, Antony Jans, whom I had seen on
 +deck when waking into consciousness, only
 +that he had less flesh to his belly. But in
 +him was the same ghastly hue of skin you
 +saw in the others; 'twas in his hands as in his
 +face; had you come across him in his sleep
 +you would have said he had been dead some<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_212" id="Page_212">[212]</a></span>
 +days. And, indeed, never did I view a
 +corpse made ready for casting overboard that
 +had the aspect of the dead so strong upon it
 +as these men. He helped himself to food,
 +taking not the least notice of me.</p>
 +<p>Prins meanwhile had put a box of tobacco
 +and some long clay pipes upon the table, one
 +of which Vanderdecken took and filled, asking
 +me to smoke. I thanked him, wondering
 +what sort of tobacco time had converted this
 +weed into, took the tinder-box from the captain
 +and lighted my pipe. Well, if this was an
 +ancient tobacco age had not spoilt its qualities.
 +It smoked very sweet and sound.</p>
 +<p>"We are on short allowance," said the
 +captain. "Our stock has run low. It will
 +be a hardship if we should come to want
 +<p>I made no reply, being determined to learn
 +all I could about this ship and her people
 +from Miss Imogene before offering suggestions,
 +for though there is no living man<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_213" id="Page_213">[213]</a></span>
 +whose nose I would not offer to stroke for
 +calling me a coward, yet I am not ashamed
 +to say this Captain Vanderdecken terrified
 +me and I feared his wrath.</p>
 +<p>The girl, with her elbows on the table and
 +her fair chin resting on her hands, which
 +made an ivory cup for her face, watched
 +me continuously with eyes whose brightness
 +the large and sparkling diamond on her forefinger
 +did not match by many degrees of
 +<p>"Are you long from England?" says she
 +to me presently in Dutch, that Vanderdecken
 +might know what we talked about.</p>
 +<p>"We sailed in April last," I replied. "And
 +you, madam?"</p>
 +<p>She either did not hear the question or
 +would not answer.</p>
 +<p>"Are you married?" asked the captain of
 +me, smoking very slowly to get the true
 +relish of the tobacco, whilst the second mate
 +chewed his food with vacant eyes, squinting<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_214" id="Page_214">[214]</a></span>
 +straight ahead or meeting in a traverse on his
 +<p>"No, sir," I replied.</p>
 +<p>"Are your parents living?" he said.</p>
 +<p>"My mother is alive," I answered.</p>
 +<p>"Ah!" said he, speaking as one in a reverie,
 +"A sailor should not marry. What is more
 +uncertain than the sea? The mariner's wife
 +can never make sure of her husband's return.
 +What will mine be thinking if we continue to
 +be blown back as we are now by these
 +westerly gales? It seems longer than months,
 +yea, it appears to me to be years, since I last
 +beheld her and my daughters standing near
 +the Schreyerstoren, weeping and waving
 +their farewells to me. My eldest girl,
 +Geertruida, will be grown sick at heart with
 +her long yearning for the parcel of silk I have
 +for her. And Margaretha&mdash;&mdash;" he sighed,
 +softly. Then turning to Imogene, he said,
 +"My dear, show this gentleman the toy I am
 +taking home for my little Margaretha."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_215" id="Page_215">[215]</a></span></p>
 +<p>She rose with a look of pain in her face,
 +and stepped to the cabin that was next the
 +captain's. I now understood why he had
 +desired me to speak in subdued tones last
 +night, for that was the room in which she
 +slept. The ease with which she moved upon
 +that heaving deck was wonderful, and this
 +verse of a ballad came into my head as I
 +watched her go from the table to her cabin&mdash;</p>
 +<div class="poem">
 +"No form he saw of mortal mould,<br />
 +<span style="margin-left: 1em;">It shone like ocean's snowy foam;</span><br />
 +Her ringlets waved in living gold,<br />
 +<span style="margin-left: 1em;">Her mirror crystal, pearl her comb."</span><br />
 +<p>Ay, the ocean might have owned her for a
 +child, with such dainty, elegant ease did she
 +accommodate her form to the sweep and heave
 +of its billows, as denoted by the motions of the
 +ship; as some lovely gull with breast of snowy
 +down and wings of ermine airily expresses the
 +swing and charge of the surge by its manner
 +of falling in each hollow and lifting above
 +each head on outstretched pinion. Her
 +costume too, that was so strange a thing,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_216" id="Page_216">[216]</a></span>
 +giving to this interior so romantic an appearance
 +that, had the ship been still and you had
 +looked in at the cabin door, then, with this
 +lady's beauty and dress, the majestic figure of
 +Vanderdecken smoking in his high-backed
 +chair, the second mate at his food, Prins
 +standing like one that dreams, all the faces
 +but the girl's and mine ghastly, the strange
 +beauty of the lamp that swung over the table,
 +the oval frames holding paintings so bleared
 +and dusky that it was difficult to make out
 +the subjects, the dim and wasted colour of the
 +cabin walls, and the bald tawdriness of what
 +had been rich giltwork, the clock of ancient
 +pattern, the parrot cage&mdash;I say, had you been
 +brought on a sudden to view this interior
 +from the door, you might have easily deemed
 +it some large astonishing picture painted
 +to the very height of the greatest master's
 +<p>In a moment or two Miss Imogene returned,
 +and coming to the table placed upon<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_217" id="Page_217">[217]</a></span>
 +it a little figure about five inches tall. It
 +was of some metal and had been gaily
 +coloured as I supposed from what was left of
 +the old tints. Its style was a red cloak falling
 +down its back, a small cap with a feather,
 +shoes almost hidden with great rosettes, hose
 +as high as the thigh, and then a sort of blouse
 +with a girdle. Both arms hung before in a
 +very easy and natural posture and the hands
 +grasped a flute.</p>
 +<p>Vanderdecken, putting down his pipe, took
 +a key from under the cloak of the figure and
 +wound the automaton up as a clock, when it
 +instantly lifted the flute to its mouth, in the
 +exact manner of life, and played a tune. The
 +sound was very pure though piercing, the
 +melody simple and flowing. In all, the figure
 +played six tunes without any sound of the
 +clock-work within, and it was undoubtedly a
 +very curious and costly toy.</p>
 +<p>The second mate stalked out in the middle
 +of this performance, having finished his meal,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_218" id="Page_218">[218]</a></span>
 +and showing no more sensibility to what was
 +doing than did the table the figure played on.
 +The eyes of the man Prins had a sickly, faraway
 +look, to be imagined only, for no one
 +could describe it. Vanderdecken lighted his
 +pipe when the automaton struck up, and
 +nodded gravely to the fluting with as much
 +pleasure in his face as so fierce and haughty
 +a countenance could express. The girl stood
 +leaning upon the table, with a listlessness in
 +her manner and constantly regarding me.</p>
 +<p>Scarce had the sixth tune been played,
 +when the parrot called out from his cage,
 +"Wy zyn al Verdomd!" clearly showing that
 +she knew when the entertainment was over.
 +Her pronouncing these words in Dutch robbed
 +them somewhat, to my ear, of their
 +tremendous import, but still it was a terrible
 +sentence for the creature to have lighted on,
 +and I wondered what her age was, for she
 +could not have been newly-hatched when
 +Vanderdecken bought her, as&mdash;he had told<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_219" id="Page_219">[219]</a></span>
 +me&mdash;she then spoke the same words. However,
 +the captain was full of his flute-player,
 +and neither he nor Imogene noticed the
 +<p>"This should delight my little Margaretha,"
 +said he, lifting the figure and
 +examining it; "'tis as cunning a toy as
 +ever I saw. I bought it at Batavia, from
 +an old friend of mine, Meeuves Meindertszoom
 +Bakker, who had purchased it of a
 +sailor belonging to the company's ship,
 +Revolutie, for eight ducats. 'Twill rejoice
 +my child; you shall present it to her,
 +Imogene. I would not sell it for five
 +hundred dollars; 'tis worthy to be John
 +Muller's work."</p>
 +<p>He ceased speaking, lifting his hand; then
 +exclaimed, "Hark! how the wind continues
 +to storm."</p>
 +<p>He gave the figure to the girl who returned
 +it to her cabin.</p>
 +<p>In a few minutes he put down his pipe and<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_220" id="Page_220">[220]</a></span>
 +bade Prins bring him his skin or fur cap, and
 +then rose, impressing me as keenly as though
 +I viewed him for the first time by the nobility
 +of his stature, his great beard flowing to the
 +waist, the sharp supernatural fires in his eyes
 +as if the light there were living flames. In
 +silence he quitted the cabin, acting like a man
 +influenced by spells, without the governance
 +of the logic of human behaviour.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_221" id="Page_221">[221]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XVII.<br />
 +<p>Being in the way now of enjoying a talk with
 +Imogene, the ridiculousness of the dress I
 +was in struck me, and I asked Prins, who was
 +clearing the table, whether my own clothes
 +were yet dry. He answered they were hung
 +up in the furnace near the cookhouse, by
 +which I suppose he meant the caboose, and
 +that when they were dry he would bring
 +them to my cabin.</p>
 +<p>"In these things," said I, addressing Imogene
 +in English, whilst I turned my head
 +about to catch a sight of my tails, "I feel
 +like a fool in a carnival. What ages this
 +garb represents I cannot conceive, but it<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_222" id="Page_222">[222]</a></span>
 +surely does not represent less than a century
 +of fashion."</p>
 +<p>"And what must you think of my attire?"
 +said she, seating herself in the captain's chair,
 +which her beauty made a throne of in a
 +breath, the light of her hair gilding it. "But
 +all things are wonderful here," she added,
 +with a half-glance at Prins, whose movements
 +and manner as he removed the dishes from
 +the table were as deaf and soulless as the
 +behaviour of the figure that had just piped to
 +us. "You know, of course, what ship this is?"</p>
 +<p>I said "Yes," in a subdued voice, and sat
 +down on the end of the bench near her,
 +adding, "Will the captain take it amiss if we
 +<p>"No," she answered, "but should he forbid
 +it and then find you speaking to me, his
 +temper would be dreadful. He is a terribly
 +passionate man. Yet he is gentle to me, and
 +speaks of his wife and children with exquisite
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_223" id="Page_223">[223]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"His wife and children! God help him!"</p>
 +<p>"Oh!" she cried, trembling, "I cannot
 +express to you the horror and pain I feel
 +when I hear him talk of them as though he
 +should find them as they were&mdash;altered by
 +the length of a year only&mdash;when he parted
 +from them. He does not know that he is
 +cursed&mdash;none of them on board this ship
 +know it of themselves."</p>
 +<p>"Is that so?" I exclaimed. "Surely their
 +repeated failures to pass the Agulhas point
 +must convince them that the will of God is
 +opposed to their attempts and that they are
 +doomed men."</p>
 +<p>She leaned her fair cheek upon her hand
 +with a thoughtful absent expression in her
 +violet eyes, though they remained fixed upon
 +me with a child-like simplicity extraordinarily
 +fascinating. I particularly noticed the beautiful
 +turn of her wrist, the fairy delicacy of her
 +nostrils and mouth, and the enchanting curve
 +of her chin to her throat. Her figure was<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_224" id="Page_224">[224]</a></span>
 +full, and in the swell of her breasts and the
 +breadth of her shoulders, fining down into a
 +waist in admirable harmony with her stature
 +and make, you might seem to have witnessed
 +every assurance of robustness. But you
 +found a suggestion rather than a character of
 +fragility in the beauty of her face that caused
 +the very delight you took in the gold and
 +lilies and violets of her loveliness to grow
 +pensive. There was a complete absence
 +of embarrassment in her manner towards
 +<p>"If you please, what name am I to know
 +you by?" she asked.</p>
 +<p>"Geoffrey Fenton," I answered, "and
 +<p>"Imogene Dudley." I bowed to her, and
 +she continued, "Are you a sailor?"</p>
 +<p>I raised my hands half-mockingly, and
 +said, "Do I not look my calling?" but recollecting
 +my apparel, I burst into a laugh and
 +exclaimed, touching the faded finery upon the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_225" id="Page_225">[225]</a></span>
 +cuff of my coat, "You will have thought me
 +a beadle or a footman."</p>
 +<p>She shook her head smiling, but instantly
 +grew grave, and now spoke in a most earnest
 +voice. "I will tell you all I know about this
 +ship and about myself. My father was
 +Captain Dudley, of Portsmouth, and nearly
 +five years ago, as closely as I can reckon
 +time where time has ceased to all the others,
 +he commanded a ship named the Flying
 +Fish, and took me and my mother with him
 +on a voyage to China. We called at Table
 +Bay, but when we were off the coast where
 +Algoa Bay is situated, the ship was set on
 +fire by one of the crew entering the hold
 +with a lighted candle and attempting to steal
 +some rum. The flames quickly raged, the
 +ship was not to be saved, the boats were
 +lowered and my mother and I and a seaman
 +entered one of them, but suddenly the ship
 +blew up, destroying the boats that were
 +against its side, and when the smoke cleared<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_226" id="Page_226">[226]</a></span>
 +off nothing was to be seen on the water but a
 +few pieces of blackened timber. Our boat
 +had been saved by my father ordering the
 +man to keep her at a good distance lest a panic
 +arose and she should be entered by too great a
 +number. The shock so affected my mother
 +that she lost her mind." Here Imogene hid
 +her face. When she looked at me again her
 +face was wet, nevertheless she continued:
 +"She died on the night following the loss of
 +the ship, and I was left alone with the sailor.
 +We were many leagues from the land, we had
 +no sail, the oars were heavy. I was too weak
 +and ill to help him with them, and the fierce
 +heat soon melted the strength out of him, so
 +that he left off rowing. He was good to me,
 +gentle and very sorrowful about me. I cried
 +so much over losing my father and mother,
 +and at our dreadful situation, that I thought
 +my heart would break, and I prayed that it
 +might, for indeed I wanted to die." She drew
 +a deep hysteric breath, tremulous as a long<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_227" id="Page_227">[227]</a></span>
 +bitter sob. "We drifted here and there for
 +five days, after which thirst and hunger bereft
 +me of my senses, and I remember no more
 +till I awoke in this ship. I then learnt that
 +they had passed our boat close, and had
 +stopped the vessel to inspect her. The seaman
 +was dead, and they supposed me dead
 +too, but Captain Vanderdecken, fancying a
 +likeness in me to his daughter Alida, called to
 +his men to bring me on board. They did so
 +and found life in me."</p>
 +<p>"And you have been in this vessel ever
 +since!" cried I.</p>
 +<p>"Ever since!" she responded.</p>
 +<p>"That is to say," I exclaimed, scarcely
 +realising the truth, "for hard upon five
 +<p>She hid her eyes and shook her sweet face
 +in the cover of her hands, as if she could not
 +bear to think of it. I waited a little, partly
 +that she might have time to recover her tranquillity,
 +and partly that Prins might make an<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_228" id="Page_228">[228]</a></span>
 +end of his business and go, though, let me
 +declare, he gave us no more heed than had
 +he been the clock; much less, indeed, than
 +did the parrot that, having rounded her head,
 +after the manner of those birds, till her beak
 +was uppermost, watched us with the broadside
 +of her face, and therefore with one eye,
 +with horrid pertinacity and gravity.</p>
 +<p>"But can it be, Miss Dudley," said I,
 +"that Captain Vanderdecken never intends
 +to part with you?"</p>
 +<p>She looked up quickly, and said, "My
 +position is incredibly strange. He has a
 +father's fondness for me, and declares that,
 +as I have no relations, I shall be one of his
 +children, and live with his wife and daughters
 +at Amsterdam. But he has no sense of time.
 +Neither he nor the miserable crew can compute.
 +To him and the others this is the year
 +1654, and he supposes that he sailed from
 +Batavia in July of last year, that is, as he
 +conceives, in 1653. At first I tried to make<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_229" id="Page_229">[229]</a></span>
 +him understand what century this was, but
 +he patted my cheek, and said my senses had
 +not returned, and, when I persisted, he grew
 +angry, and his temper so terrified me that I
 +feigned to agree with him, and have ever
 +since done so."</p>
 +<p>I reflected, and said, "It must be as you
 +say, and as I have already noted; for, did
 +the Almighty grant him and his crew any
 +perception of the passage of time, is it conceivable
 +that he would talk of his wife and
 +children as still living, and be eager to return
 +to them? When did you discover that this
 +was the Phantom Ship?"</p>
 +<p>"I had heard that there was such a vessel
 +from my father, and when Captain Vanderdecken
 +talked to me and I marked the
 +colour of his face and the appearance of the
 +crew, and the glow that shone upon the
 +vessel in the dark, with other strange things,
 +such as her ancient appearance, I soon satisfied
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_230" id="Page_230">[230]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Father of Mercy!" I cried, "what a
 +situation for a young girl!"</p>
 +<p>"When I felt sure of the ship," she said,
 +"I should have drowned myself in my misery
 +and terror, only I dreaded God's wrath. I
 +felt that if I humbly resigned myself to His
 +Holy Will He would suffer the spirits of my
 +father and mother to be with me and watch
 +over me. But, oh! what a tedious waiting
 +has it been, what bitter weariness of sea and
 +sky! Again and again have I entreated
 +Captain Vanderdecken to put me on board
 +some passing ship, but not conceiving of the
 +years which run by, and every tempest
 +that obstructs him melting as a memory into
 +the last, so that the rebuffs of a century past
 +are to him as forgotten things, or possessing
 +the same sort of recentness that in a day or
 +two this gale, which is now blowing, will
 +have, he thinks to encourage me by saying
 +that next time he is certain to round the
 +headland, that, as he has adopted, so he must<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_231" id="Page_231">[231]</a></span>
 +not part with me, but carry me in his own
 +ship and under his own protection to his wife
 +and home."</p>
 +<p>I understood her and admired the cleverness
 +with which she rendered intelligible to
 +me the state of mind of the captain and crew
 +of this ship, that is to say so far as concerned
 +their incapacity to compute the passage of
 +the days. For is it not evident that if these
 +men knew that they were doomed never to
 +round the Cape, they would cease striving to
 +do so? And would they not long ago have
 +understood the character of the Judgment
 +that had been passed upon them had they
 +been permitted to comprehend that year after
 +year rolled on, ay, even into centuries, and
 +still found them beaten back regularly from
 +the same part of the ocean to the passing of
 +which their struggles had been directed?
 +How far memory in them was suffered to go
 +back so as to count the number of times they
 +were driven afresh to the eastwards, I could<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_232" id="Page_232">[232]</a></span>
 +not imagine; but no doubt Imogene, who
 +knew Vanderdecken well, was right when she
 +said that the recollection of the last rebuff
 +melted into every present one, so that, in
 +short, in this respect they were as men without
 +memory. And this must have been so,
 +for they worked with hope; whereas hope
 +would have long since died in them could
 +they have recollected.</p>
 +<p>"What are your thoughts," I asked her, "as
 +regards their mortality? Are they human?"</p>
 +<p>"Yes, Mr. Fenton, they must be human,
 +for they think of their homes and wives and
 +children," she replied.</p>
 +<p>I was struck with this, though I said,
 +"Might not their very yearning be a part of
 +the Curse? For if you extinguish their desire
 +of getting home, the impulse that keeps them
 +striving with the elements would disappear,
 +and they would say, 'Since we cannot get
 +westwards and so to Europe, we'll head for
 +the east and make for the Indies?'"</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_233" id="Page_233">[233]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"It is a thing impossible to reason upon,"
 +she exclaimed, sadly, and pressing her hand
 +to her brow. "The Great God here, in this
 +ship, has worked in miracles and mysteries
 +for purposes of His own. Who can explain
 +His ways? Sometimes I have thought by
 +the dreadful hue of the skin of their faces
 +that they are men dead in body, but forced
 +into the behaviour of living beings by the
 +strength of the Curse that works in them."</p>
 +<p>I replied that in saying this she had exactly
 +hit upon the fancy of my late captain, who
 +had taken his own life on the previous
 +evening, which fancy now struck me as an
 +amazing inspiration, seeing that it was her
 +own opinion and that my own judgment fully
 +concurred in it.</p>
 +<p>"'Tis impossible," said she, "that they can
 +be as we are. They are supernaturally alive.
 +Oh! it is shocking to think of. Is it not
 +wonderful that my long association with
 +these people has not driven me mad? Yet<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_234" id="Page_234">[234]</a></span>
 +the captain loves me as a father; such is his
 +tenderness at times when he talks of his
 +home and strives to keep up my heart by
 +warranting that next time&mdash;it is always next
 +time&mdash;we shall pass the Cape and all will be
 +well with us, that I am lost in wonder he
 +could have ever so acted as to bring the curse
 +of an eternal life of hopeless struggle upon
 +him and his men."</p>
 +<p>"Ay," cried I, "and why should his men
 +be accursed?"</p>
 +<p>"I have often asked myself that whilst
 +watching them," she replied. "But then I
 +have answered, why should innocent little
 +children bear in their forms, and in their
 +minds too, the diseases and infirmities caused
 +by the wickedness and recklessness of persons,
 +perhaps several generations removed
 +from them? We dare not question&mdash;'tis
 +impious, Mr. Fenton. In this ship especially
 +must we be as mute spectators only, for we
 +are two living persons standing amid shadows,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_235" id="Page_235">[235]</a></span>
 +and viewing so marvellous a mystery that
 +I tremble to the depth of my soul at the
 +thoughts of my nearness to the Majesty of
 +an offended God!"</p>
 +<p>By this time Prins had quitted the cabin,
 +and the girl and I were alone. There was
 +a great weight of sea running, and the rolling
 +of the ship was very violent. This end of
 +the vessel was so tall that it rose buoyant
 +from the head of every billow that leapt at
 +her afterpart; but the thunder of the seas
 +smiting her in the waist would roar like a
 +tempest through the ship; you could hear
 +the waters washing about the deck there;
 +then the groaning and complaining below
 +was continuous, and the sounds which penetrated
 +the cabin from the gale in the rigging
 +made you think of the affrighted bellowing
 +of bulls chased by wolves in full cry.</p>
 +<p>"There seems to be a fierce storm blowing,"
 +said Imogene, who had watched my
 +face whilst I listened; "but since I have<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_236" id="Page_236">[236]</a></span>
 +been in this ship there have been far wilder
 +tempests than this."</p>
 +<p>"No doubt, in all the weary years you
 +have spent here. What has been your experience
 +of the winds which regularly oppose
 +the ship? Do they happen naturally, as in
 +the case of this one, which was plentifully
 +betokened by the look of the moon and other
 +signs, or do they rise on a sudden&mdash;in such
 +wise, I mean, as would make one see they
 +were for this vessel only, and are a temporary
 +change in the laws of nature hereabouts that
 +the Curse may be continued?"</p>
 +<p>"I cannot answer; all that I can speak to
 +is this: as punctually as we arrive at a given
 +place the wind heads us, as used to be my
 +poor father's term and as all seamen say.
 +And sometimes it blows softly and sometimes
 +it rises into fury. But let it come as it will
 +the vessel is blown or driven back a great
 +many leagues, but how far I cannot say, for
 +Vanderdecken himself does not know."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_237" id="Page_237">[237]</a></span></p>
 +<p>I would not trouble her with further
 +questions touching what I will call the
 +nautical routine of the ship and the man&oelig;uvering
 +of the unhappy creatures the vessel
 +carried, because already I suspected that I
 +should have rather more leisure than I should
 +relish to look into these matters myself. But
 +as she manifestly took a pleasure in conversing
 +with me, and as I wished to obtain
 +all the information possible about this Death
 +Ship, and as, should Vanderdecken forbid
 +my associating with or addressing her, there
 +might be no one else on board of whom I
 +could venture to make inquiries, I determined
 +at once to push my researches as far as
 +courtesy permitted.</p>
 +<p>"I trust, Miss Dudley," said I, finding a
 +singular delight in the pure virginal resting
 +of her violet eyes, sparkling like the jewels of
 +a crown, on mine as I talked to her, "that my
 +questions do not tease you&mdash;&mdash;"</p>
 +<p>"Oh, no!" she interrupted. "If you but<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_238" id="Page_238">[238]</a></span>
 +knew how glad I am, how it gives me fresh
 +heart to hear you speak, to see your living
 +face after my long desolating communion
 +with the people of this ship!"</p>
 +<p>"Indeed I can conceive it!" said I. "May
 +God grant that what I viewed last night as a
 +most dreadful misfortune, full of terror, ay,
 +even to madness, may prove the greatest
 +stroke of good luck that could have befallen
 +me. But of what is to be done we must
 +talk later on. I shall require to look about
 +me. Tell me now, madam, if you will, how
 +is this ship provisioned? Surely these men
 +are not miraculously fed; and 'tis certain that
 +the meat I tasted this morning has been
 +cured since 1653!"</p>
 +<p>She smiled and said, "When they run
 +short of food or water they sail for some part
 +of the coast where there is a river. There
 +they go on shore in boats, armed with
 +muskets, and come off with all that they can
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_239" id="Page_239">[239]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Ha!" cried I, fetching a deep breath,
 +"there is some plain sailing in this unholy
 +business after all. But how do they
 +manage for ammunition? Surely they must
 +long ago have expended their original
 +<p>"I can but guess. About a twelvemonth
 +ago we met with an abandoned ship, out
 +of which Vanderdecken conveyed a great
 +quantity of tobacco, powder, money and
 +articles of food, a few cases of marmalade
 +and some barrels of flour. Whether these
 +shipwrecked vessels are left lying upon the
 +sea for him to take provisions from by the
 +Power that has sentenced him to his fearful
 +fate I cannot say, but since I have been in
 +this vessel we have fallen in with three
 +deserted ships, both floating and ashore on
 +the coast, and this may have been their
 +method throughout of providing themselves
 +with what they needed, backed by such
 +further food as I have never known them<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_240" id="Page_240">[240]</a></span>
 +to miss of with their muskets and fowling-pieces."</p>
 +<p>"So!" cried I, greatly marvelling. "Now
 +I understand how it happens that the captain
 +can lend me such latter-day clothes as these
 +from his seventeenth-century wardrobe, and
 +that you&mdash;forgive me, madam&mdash;are attired as
 +I see you."</p>
 +<p>She answered, "In their hold they have
 +a great quantity of silks and materials for
 +making gowns for women. This jacket,"
 +said she, meaning that which she was wearing,
 +"is one article out of several chests of
 +clothes Captain Vanderdecken was carrying
 +home for his wife and daughters and friends.
 +Do you notice the style, Mr. Fenton?" she
 +added, turning about her full and graceful
 +figure that I might see the jacket, "it
 +is certainly of the last century. In the
 +captain's cabin is the portrait of one of
 +his daughters dressed in much the same
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_241" id="Page_241">[241]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"You, at all events," said I, "are not likely
 +to run short of clothes."</p>
 +<p>"Oh!" she answered, with a toss of her
 +head, half of weariness, half of scorn as it
 +seemed to me, "there is a chest in my cabin
 +full of clothes fit for the grandest Duchess in
 +England. I use such as come most readily
 +to my hands. What need have I," she exclaimed,
 +pushing her hair from her forehead,
 +"to care whether the colours I take match,
 +or whether the gown is too full. This jacket
 +fits me as do all the clothes that were intended
 +for Geertruida Vanderdecken." Then,
 +noticing my eyes resting on the pearls, she
 +said, taking the beautiful and costly rope in
 +her hands, "There is a great stock of finery
 +of this kind in the ship. About a fortnight
 +or three weeks after I had been rescued, the
 +captain ordered Prins to bring a large case
 +into the cabin; it was put upon the table and
 +the captain opened it. 'Twas like a jeweller's
 +shop in miniature, containing several divisions,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_242" id="Page_242">[242]</a></span>
 +one full of pearl ornaments, another of
 +rings, of which he bid me choose one to wear,
 +and I took this," holding up her forefinger
 +whereon the jewel blazed, "a third of earrings
 +and many other trinkets; some, as I
 +should fancy, more ancient than this ship,
 +others of a later time. How he got much of
 +this treasure I know."</p>
 +<p>"How?" asked I, deeply interested.</p>
 +<p>"Well," said she, letting fall the pearls
 +around her neck to toy with the ring, "a fair
 +proportion he had purchased for a merchant
 +of Amsterdam; chiefly eastern jewellery that
 +had made its way from Indian cities to Java;
 +other parcels he was taking home on his own
 +account; but much of it, too, along with a
 +store of further treasure&mdash;some of which I
 +have seen, and which consists of virgin silver,
 +bars of gold, coated with pewter to deceive
 +the pirates and buccaneers, candlesticks and
 +crucifixes of precious metal&mdash;he found in the
 +wreck of a great Spanish ship which lay<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_243" id="Page_243">[243]</a></span>
 +abandoned and going to pieces on a shoal
 +off the coast of Natal. This happened during
 +his progress from Batavia to the Cape, before
 +he was cursed, and therefore it falls within his
 +memory. What other treasure there is, his
 +men have no doubt brought away from the
 +wrecked vessels they have examined for food,
 +powder and the like, during the years they
 +have been sailing about this ocean."</p>
 +<p>"So," cried I, lost in amazement by what I
 +heard, "it is in this fashion that the Phantom
 +Ship supplies her wants. As ships grow
 +more numerous, her opportunities will increase,
 +for 'tis terrible to think of the number
 +of vessels which go a-missing; and,
 +besides, this is the road to India, along which
 +pass the most richly freighted of Europe's
 +merchant fleets. Now I understand how
 +Vanderdecken manages to keep his crew
 +supplied with clothes, and his ship with sails
 +and cordage. But, Lord!" cried I, "if there
 +be nothing magical in this, yet surely<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_244" id="Page_244">[244]</a></span> the
 +Evil Spirit must be suffered to have a
 +hand in the keeping of the bones of this old
 +fabric together!"</p>
 +<p>As I said this, Prins entered the cabin,
 +and said, shortly, "Your clothes are dry,
 +mynheer; they are below."</p>
 +<p>On which Imogene rose, and giving me a
 +bow, went to her own cabin.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_245" id="Page_245">[245]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XVIII.<br />
 +<p>I stood a moment or two at the door watching
 +the clock whilst it struck, and greatly
 +admiring the workmanship of the skeleton
 +that rose and speared with his lance, keeping
 +time to the sonorous chiming, which sang
 +with a solemn interval between each beat.
 +The great age of this time-keeper was
 +beyond question, but the horn that protected
 +the face of it prevented me from perceiving
 +if there was any maker's name or date there.</p>
 +<p>As the skeleton sank, I could not but
 +admire the aptness of the mechanism to the
 +condition of the ship and her crew, for what
 +could surpass the irony of this representation
 +of Death perpetually foiled in his efforts to<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_246" id="Page_246">[246]</a></span>
 +slay Time, which was yet the case of Vanderdecken
 +and his men, whose mortality was
 +constrained to an endless triumph over that
 +force which drives all men born of woman
 +through Nature into Eternity.</p>
 +<p>The parrot hanging near, I stayed yet to
 +look at her and then spoke to the creature in
 +my rugged Dutch, but to no purpose; with
 +the slow motion of her kind she contorted
 +herself until, with her beak uppermost, she
 +brought her larboard eye to bear full upon
 +me; and so fixed and unwinking was her
 +stare that I greatly disliked it, nay, felt that
 +if I lingered I should fear it, and was going
 +when she brought me to a stand by a hollow
 +"Ha! ha! ha!" just such a note as fancy
 +would give to the ghost of a Dutchman, who
 +had been large, fat and guttural when alive,
 +could the spectre of such a one laugh in his
 +coffin or in a vault. The age which this bird
 +had attained made her mere appearance chilling
 +to the blood, though I am aware these<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_247" id="Page_247">[247]</a></span>
 +creatures are long-lived and that no man with
 +certainty could say they might not flourish
 +two hundred years and more. She was not
 +bald. All her feathers were sound and
 +smooth. Yet, as I made my way to my
 +cabin, it terrified me into downright despondency
 +to conceive of this parrot sharing in
 +the Curse that Vanderdecken had provoked.
 +For if this soulless fowl could be involved in
 +the general fate merely because it happened
 +to be in the ship, why might not my lot prove
 +the same? Oh, my heart! To think of
 +becoming one of the crew, partaking their
 +horrid destiny, and in due course dying to
 +live again accurst and miraculously, my soul&mdash;as
 +theirs&mdash;existing in my body like one of
 +those feeble lamps with which the ancients
 +illumined their tombs!</p>
 +<p>But I was young and was not without an
 +Englishman's courage. I could gaze backwards
 +and perceive in my life no sin such as
 +should fill me with remorse and hopelessness<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_248" id="Page_248">[248]</a></span>
 +in a time like this. I believed in my
 +Creator's goodness, and reaching my darksome
 +cabin, I knelt down and prayed, and
 +after awhile recollected myself and felt the
 +warmth of my former spirit.</p>
 +<p>I was mighty pleased to recover my own
 +clothes; they gave me back the sense of my
 +being my true self again, whereas the masquerading
 +attire Vanderdecken had lent me
 +occasioned a wretched feeling as of belonging
 +to the ship. When I had shifted myself, I
 +neatly folded the captain's coat, breeches and
 +the rest, and then sat down on my bed
 +to think over my conversation with Miss
 +Dudley. What to credit, what to make of
 +her, I hardly knew. She was so beautiful
 +where all was ugly, so fresh where all was
 +decayed, so young where all was withered, so
 +radiant where all was darksome that, on
 +board such a ship as this, that had been consigned
 +to the most dreadful doom the imagination
 +of man could conceive of, how was I<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_249" id="Page_249">[249]</a></span>
 +to know that she was not some part of the
 +scheme of retribution&mdash;a sweet and dazzling
 +tantaliser, a mocker of the home affections of
 +the miserable ship's company, a lovely embodiment
 +of the spirit of life to serve some
 +purpose of an inscrutable nature in its influence
 +upon such spiritual vitality as was
 +permitted to the corpse-like beings who
 +navigated this Death Ship.</p>
 +<p>But this was a fleeting fancy only, and
 +was rendered utterly ridiculous by recurrence
 +to her transporting figure, the golden warmth
 +of her hair and complexion, and above all to
 +the fragility of her lineaments, which stamped
 +her mortal. No! her story was the truth
 +itself; but this I understood, if Vanderdecken
 +were never to comprehend his doom, there
 +was stern assurance of his holding the girl to
 +his ship until she died; because, as she had
 +pointed out, he had adopted her and desired
 +to take her home, and would never understand
 +he was powerless to do so, even should<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_250" id="Page_250">[250]</a></span>
 +time represent the truth to him in her face,
 +should she ever grow old enough for wrinkles
 +and grey hairs.</p>
 +<p>Had I been sent to deliver her? God
 +knoweth, I thought. Yet, what was my own
 +case? Would they refuse to let me leave
 +them? Well, that idea did not frighten me,
 +for he is a poor sailor who cannot find a
 +means of escape from a ship he dislikes, even
 +though she should be commanded by Old
 +Nick himself. But suppose they compelled me
 +to go, set me ashore in their boat, or hailed
 +some unsuspecting vessel that would receive
 +me. I should then be powerless to rescue
 +Imogene from this frightful situation, for as
 +to subsequently helping to succour her, first
 +of all I doubted whether I should find a sailor
 +in any part of the world willing to ship for a
 +cruise in search of Vanderdecken's craft, and
 +next, even if I should be able to range a line-of-battle
 +ship alongside this venerable frame,
 +how should human artillery advantage us in<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_251" id="Page_251">[251]</a></span>
 +such a conflict? 'Twould be but another
 +defiance of the Divine intention, and what
 +mariner was to be found who would embark
 +on any adventure against this dread Spectre
 +of the Deep when, by so doing, he would feel
 +that he was fighting a Vengeance which would
 +swiftly deal with him for so great an act of
 +<p>However, no good could come of meditations
 +of this kind in that gloomy cabin filled
 +with the echoes of the groaning in the hold
 +and the washing and shocks of the seas without.
 +I felt a seaman's curiosity to have a
 +good look at a ship of which there were a
 +thousand stories afloat in every forecastle
 +throughout the world, and so I climbed
 +through the hatch on deck, dressed in the
 +style in which I had made my first appearance.
 +The second mate, Antony Arents,
 +conned the vessel, standing near the helm
 +with his arms folded in a sullen, moody
 +posture, even so as to resemble a man<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_252" id="Page_252">[252]</a></span>
 +turned into stone. Vanderdecken was at the
 +weather-rail, erect and noble-looking, his legs
 +parted in the attitude of a stride that he
 +might balance himself to the rolling deck.
 +He stared fixedly to the windward, his great
 +beard, disparted, blowing like smoke over
 +either shoulder, and his brows lowered into a
 +contemptuous scowl upon his sharp, burning
 +eyes. The ship was under the same canvas
 +I had before noticed on her. Her yards
 +were as closely pointed to the wind as the lee
 +braces could bring them, but whereas in our
 +time a square-rigged vessel close-hauled can
 +be brought to within six points, that is to say,
 +if the gale be north she can be made to head
 +east-north-east, yet this ship, as I easily
 +gathered without looking at the compass, lay
 +no closer than eight-and-a-half or nine points,
 +the wind blowing west-north-west and we
 +lying by as close as the trim of the yards
 +would suffer us, at about south-by-west.</p>
 +<p>In short, we were being driven at the rate<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_253" id="Page_253">[253]</a></span>
 +of some three or four miles an hour dead to
 +leeward, broadside on. Now, as I am writing
 +this in the main that all mariners may have a
 +just and clear conception of the sort of ship
 +Vanderdecken's vessel is, I particularly desire
 +that this matter of her not being able to sail
 +within eight or nine points of the wind be
 +carefully noted; for, then you shall understand
 +how fully with her own tackling, and
 +yards and canvas, she helps out and fulfils
 +her doom.</p>
 +<p>If ever you have read the account of
 +my Lord Anson's voyage round the world,
 +you will recollect, in the second chapter of
 +Book II., the narrative, given at length, of
 +the time occupied by the Gloucester in fetching
 +and casting anchor off Juan Fernandez.
 +She could make no way at all in beating or
 +reaching. She was first sighted from the
 +island on the 21st of June; she was still striving
 +against the head wind on the 9th of July;
 +then she was blown away, and reappeared on<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_254" id="Page_254">[254]</a></span>
 +the 16th, and it was not until the 23rd of
 +that month that she was seen opening the
 +north-west point of the bay with a flowing
 +sail, which means that she had a fair wind,
 +and which may also be said to signify that
 +had the wind not favoured her she might
 +have gone on struggling for years without
 +making the island. Think, now, of a vessel
 +very nearly fitted as our ships are rigged,
 +occupying thirty-two days&mdash;a whole month
 +and a day atop&mdash;in covering a distance
 +which, when the Gloucester was first sighted,
 +was reckoned at four leagues!</p>
 +<p>Is it, then, surprising that a vessel constructed
 +considerably more than a century
 +earlier than the ships of Anson's squadron, in
 +an age when the art of building was little
 +understood, when a ship's hull was as tall as
 +a great castle, when all things aloft were
 +ponderous, when the immense beam, helped
 +yet by the wide channels, gave such a spread
 +to the shrouds that they could make of the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_255" id="Page_255">[255]</a></span>
 +breeze no more than a beam wind when
 +braced up as sharp as the yards would come&mdash;is
 +it surprising, I say, that this Dutchman,
 +so constructed, should never be able to contend
 +with a contrary wind? I am the more
 +pleased to point this out because I have
 +heard it particularly affirmed that if Vanderdecken
 +were a good seaman he would laugh
 +at a north-wester though there should be no
 +other wind in those seas; for he need do
 +nothing but make a long board to the south,
 +to as far, say, as fifty degrees, in order, with
 +his starboard tacks aboard, to pass the Cape
 +and enter the Atlantic, where he would
 +probably catch the south-east trade wind and
 +so make good his return. But this presupposes
 +no Sentence, even if the ship were
 +capable of sailing close-hauled.</p>
 +<p>To resume. Neither the captain, nor the
 +second mate, nor the seaman at the tiller,
 +taking the least notice of me, I determined
 +to keep myself to myself till it should please<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_256" id="Page_256">[256]</a></span>
 +Vanderdecken to address me; so I got under
 +the lee of the house where I had conversed
 +with the captain before breakfast, and gazed
 +about. It was as dirty a day as ever I
 +remember&mdash;the heavens of the colour of
 +drenched granite, the sea-line swallowed up
 +in spray and haze, out of which there came
 +rolling to the ship endless processions of
 +olive-coloured, prodigious combers. The
 +storming aloft was a perpetual thunder.
 +Upon every rope the gale split with a shriek,
 +and there was a dreary clattering of the cordage,
 +and as the vessel swang her spars to
 +windward, an edge of peculiar and hurricane-like
 +fierceness would be put into the wind,
 +as though it were driven outrageously mad
 +by the stubborn swing of the masts against
 +its howling face. Nothing was in sight save
 +over against our weather-quarter a Cape hen,
 +poised on such easy wings that the appearance
 +of the bird made a wonder of the weight
 +of the blast; its solitariness gave a heavy<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_257" id="Page_257">[257]</a></span>
 +desolation to the aspect of the pouring, warring
 +scene of frothing summits and roaring
 +hollows. The reefed courses under which
 +the vessel lay were dark with wet from the
 +showering of the sea, of which great, green,
 +glittering masses striking the weather-bow,
 +raised such a smoke of crystals all about the
 +forecastle that the vessel looked to be on
 +fire with the steam-like, voluminous whiteness
 +soaring there.</p>
 +<p>There were a few men on the decks that
 +way, muffled up to their noses; but I did not
 +see them speak to one another nor go about
 +any kind of work. They had the same self-engrossed,
 +nay, entranced air that was visible
 +in those, such as the two mates and Vanderdecken,
 +whom I had already observed. The
 +ship offered an amazing picture as she soared
 +and sank upon the billows, half-hidden by
 +storms of froth swept by the wind betwixt
 +the masts with wilder screamings than a
 +hundred mad-houses could make. The great<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_258" id="Page_258">[258]</a></span>
 +barricaded tops, her spritsail topmast standing
 +up out of another top at the end of the bowsprit&mdash;she
 +had no jibboom&mdash;and the long
 +yard, after the lateen-style, on her mizzen-mast,
 +gave her so true a look of the age in
 +which she had been built that it would be
 +impossible for any sailor to see her and not
 +know what ship she was. None other
 +resembling her has been afloat since the age
 +of William III., nor is it conceivable that the
 +like of her will ever be seen again.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_259" id="Page_259">[259]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XIX.<br />
 +<p>I had been on deck about a quarter of an
 +hour when Vanderdecken, who all this time
 +was standing motionless at the rail looking&mdash;as
 +who shall tell with what fancies in him
 +and what visions&mdash;at the windward sea,
 +came down to the lee of the house as though
 +he all along knew I was there, though I can
 +swear he never once turned nor appeared to
 +see me, and said&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"Is the lady in the cabin?"</p>
 +<p>"She went to her room, sir," I replied.</p>
 +<p>"Did she tell you her story?" he said,
 +bringing his beard to its place with both
 +hands, and viewing me with a severity
 +that I began to think might be as much<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_260" id="Page_260">[260]</a></span>
 +owing to the cast of his features as to his
 +<p>I replied that she had told me how he had
 +met with her in an open boat, how her
 +parents had perished, and how he had felt a
 +father's pity and love for her and was taking
 +her home.</p>
 +<p>"To adopt her," he exclaimed. "She
 +shall be a child of mine. My wife will soon
 +love her, and she will be a sister to my
 +daughters. She has no relatives, and such
 +beauty and sweetness of heart as hers must
 +be cared for, since how does the world commonly
 +serve such graces when they meet in a
 +friendless woman?"</p>
 +<p>Surely, thought I, he that can talk thus
 +cannot be endevilled! And yet does not
 +the great Milton bestow the tenderness of
 +a sister and a daughter on Sin when she
 +reconciles Satan and Death? Something of
 +human nature there must ever be even in
 +those who most strictly merit Heaven's chastisement;<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_261" id="Page_261">[261]</a></span>
 +and the lustre of the glory in our
 +beginning, though it wane till its glow is no
 +brighter than the dim, fiery crawlings upon
 +this ship's side at night, is never utterly
 +extinguished in the blackest spirit of us all.</p>
 +<p>I had no desire to talk of Miss Dudley
 +lest I should put him into a passion by some
 +remark touching the number of years she had
 +now been on board, or by blundering in some
 +other like manner. If she was to escape
 +through me it behoved me to keep my
 +thoughts mighty close and secret, for let
 +what would be the state of being he had
 +entered into in two centuries of existence,
 +his eyes were like a burning-glass, as though
 +he could focus by them the fires of suspicion
 +and scorch a hole through your
 +body to your soul to learn what was passing
 +there. So putting on an easy manner and
 +throwing a glance aloft and around, I said,
 +"I fear, mynheer, you find weather of this
 +kind strain your ship a good deal."</p>
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_262" id="Page_262">[262]</a></span></p>
 +<p>"Like all vessels she will work in such
 +seas as this," he replied.</p>
 +<p>"How often is she careened?" I asked.</p>
 +<p>"How often should she need it, think
 +you?" he replied, with sudden temper.</p>
 +<p>I said, warily, "I cannot imagine."</p>
 +<p>"I have commanded the Braave for five
 +voyages," said he, softening a little, "and
 +only once&mdash;that is during the second voyage&mdash;did
 +she prove leaky. But this voyage she
 +has been troublesome, and I have had to
 +careen her twice."</p>
 +<p>Twice only, thought I; but you could
 +see that his memory had been shaped so as
 +to fit his doom, and that remembrance of all
 +that befell him and his crew from the time
 +when his sentence was first pronounced faded
 +almost as swiftly as they happened, like
 +clouds upon the blankness of the heavens, so
 +that the very changes that would illustrate
 +the passage of time to you or me, such as the
 +alteration in the rigs and shapes of the ships<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_263" id="Page_263">[263]</a></span>
 +he met, or the growth into womanhood of
 +the girl he had rescued, would be as unmeaning
 +to him and his fellows as to men without
 +memory. Yet was it manifestly part of the
 +Curse that he should have a keen and bright
 +recollection of his house, his family, Amsterdam,
 +the politics and wars of his age and the
 +like. For if the faculty was wholly dead in
 +him, he would be but as a corpse without that
 +craving for home which perpetuates his doom.</p>
 +<p>"Is there any good spot for careening on
 +the coast, east of the Cape?" said I, eager to
 +gather all I could touching the practices and
 +inner life of this wondrous ship without
 +appearing inquisitive.</p>
 +<p>He answered, "Yes, there is one good
 +place, 'tis in a bay; I cannot name it, but it
 +is to be found by the peculiar shape of the
 +mountains at its back. If ever you should be
 +in these seas and need to careen, choose that
 +place, for besides that you may refresh your
 +crew with, and lay in a good store of&mdash;when<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_264" id="Page_264">[264]</a></span>
 +in season&mdash;oranges, plums, wild apricot,
 +lemons, plantains, and other fruits, with abundance
 +of such fish as cod, hake, and mullet,
 +and comforts and dainties such as plovers,
 +partridges, guinea-fowl, and bustards; you will
 +there find a salt spring, the water of which,
 +on boiling, yields salt enough for any quantity
 +of curing, and what should not be less
 +useful to you as a mariner to know is, that
 +about the shore you find scattered a kind of
 +munjack which, when boiled with sand and
 +tempered with oil, is as good as pitch for
 +paying your seams with."</p>
 +<p>So, thought I, and thither, then, is it that
 +you are led when your ship needs to be overhauled
 +or when your provisions run low.
 +With oakum worked from such ropes as he
 +would find on abandoned ships, and the munjack
 +he spoke about, he would have no
 +trouble in keeping the frame of the vessel
 +tight, more especially as the supernatural
 +quality that was in his own life was in that of<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_265" id="Page_265">[265]</a></span>
 +his ship likewise, so that the timber stood as
 +did his skin, albeit the one would often need
 +repairs just as the body of the other was
 +sustained by meat and drink.</p>
 +<p>"I thank you for your information, captain,"
 +said I.</p>
 +<p>"If," he continued, "you let the plantain
 +dry it will crush into an excellent flour. The
 +cakes we had at breakfast were formed of
 +<p>"It is wonderful," said I, "how the
 +mariner forces the sea and the land that
 +skirts it to supply his needs."</p>
 +<p>"Ay," he exclaimed. "It is as you say.
 +But no sailors surpass the Dutch in this
 +particular direction."</p>
 +<p>It seemed as if he would go on speaking,
 +but, looking, that I might attend to his
 +words, I observed that the whole man, with
 +amazing suddenness, appeared to undergo a
 +change. He stood motionless, gazing at
 +the leeward sea, his features fixed, not the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_266" id="Page_266">[266]</a></span>
 +faintest working in them, and nothing stirring
 +but his beard. He was like one in a
 +fit, save for the frightful vitality he got from
 +the glare in his eyes, which were rooted as
 +though they beheld a phantom. I drew away
 +from him with a shudder, for his aspect now
 +was the most terrible revelation of his monstrous
 +and unearthly existence that had been
 +made to me. The change was of the violence
 +of a catalepsy, and this quick transition from
 +the intelligent, if death-like, looks of a man,
 +speaking of homely matters to a mute, petrified
 +figure, to which the fire of the eyes imparted
 +an inexpressible element of horror, so
 +terrified me that I felt the sweat-drops in
 +the palms of my hands. As to reasoning
 +on this condition of his, why, I could make
 +nothing of it. It looked as if the death that
 +was in his flesh and bones, finding his spirit,
 +or whatever it was that informed him, languid,
 +as the senses became through grief or
 +sickness, asserted its powers till it was driven<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_267" id="Page_267">[267]</a></span>
 +into its hiding-place again by the re-quickening
 +of the supernatural element that possessed
 +him. It was also apparent that this unnatural
 +gift of life did but give vitality to a corpse;
 +and that even as a disinterred body that
 +still wears the very tint of life, as though but
 +just dead, falls into dust on the air of
 +Heaven touching it, so do I strictly believe
 +that Vanderdecken and his crew would instantly
 +crumble into ashes, which the wind
 +would disperse, were the power that keeps
 +them intelligent and capable of moving
 +suspended. By which I mean that they
 +would not decay slowly, as the dead in
 +Nature do, but that they would dissolve into
 +dust as men who deceased a hundred years
 +<p>These thoughts are not gay. But what
 +think you of the reality? Never could I
 +so fully compass all the horror of the Curse
 +as now, when I turned my gaze from the
 +figure at my side, majestic in his marble<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_268" id="Page_268">[268]</a></span>
 +motionlessness and alive in the eyes only, to
 +the strained, grey, streaming ancient ship,
 +tossing her forking bowsprit to the sullen
 +gloom on high, bringing her aged, patched
 +and dingy courses, groaning at their tacks,
 +with a sulky thunder against the screaming
 +gale, as though their hollows dimly reverberated
 +yet the cannonading of the vanished
 +fleets of Blake and Tromp; washed by seas
 +which fled in snow-storms over her forward
 +decks, heavily and dismally rolling broadside
 +to the wind that was blowing her with
 +diabolic stubbornness back along the liquid
 +path that she had so lately sailed over!
 +Think of such a life as this, never-ending!
 +Great Mercy! Would not even a year of such
 +a struggle prove to us distracting. Oh, 'tis a
 +merciful provision indeed that these poor
 +wretches should have had all sense of time
 +killed in them, and that their punishment
 +should lie in a perpetual cheating of hope too
 +short-lived as a remembrance to break their<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_269" id="Page_269">[269]</a></span>
 +hearts. Yet there were now two persons in
 +this Death Ship to whom such solace as was
 +permitted to the accurst crew would not be
 +granted, and who, if they could not get away
 +from the vessel, would have to lead a more
 +terrible life than even that of the Dutch
 +mariners, unless they destroyed themselves as
 +Captain Skevington had. And for some
 +time I could think of nothing but how I was
 +to rescue Miss Dudley and make my own
 +escape, for one thing I had already resolved:
 +never to leave the girl alone in this ship.</p>
 +<hr class="chap" />
 +<p><span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_270" id="Page_270">[270]</a></span></p>
 +<h2>CHAPTER XX.<br />
 +<p>There was nothing in sight. Indeed, in
 +that thick gale a vessel would have had to
 +come within a mile of us to be visible. As
 +Vanderdecken neither stirred nor spoke to
 +me, I feared he might take it ill if I hung by
 +his side, for how was I to tell but that he
 +might consider I should regard the withdrawal
 +of his attention as a hint to begone.
 +I therefore walked aft, the second mate no
 +more heeding me than if I had been as viewless
 +as the air, whilst the helmsman, after
 +turning a small pair of glassy eyes upon me,
 +stained with veins, directed them again at
 +the sea over the bow, his face as sullenly
 +thoughtful as the others, albeit he handled<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_271" id="Page_271">[271]</a></span>
 +the tiller with good judgment, "meeting her,"
 +as we sailors say, when she needed it, and
 +holding a very clean and careful luff.</p>
 +<p>My curiosity being great I ventured to
 +peep into the binnacle, or "bittacle" as it
 +was formerly called, a fixed box or case for
 +holding the mariner's compass. The card
 +was very old-fashioned, as may be supposed,
 +yet it swung to the movement of the ship,
 +and I could not suppose that it was very
 +inaccurate since by the aid of it they periodically
 +made the land where they hunted for
 +meat and filled their casks. As neither
 +Vanderdecken nor Antony Arents offered to
 +hinder me from roaming about, I determined,
 +since I was about it, to take a good look at
 +this Death Ship. I examined the swivels
 +which were very green with decay, and tried
 +to revolve one on its pivot, but found that it
 +was not to be stirred. The tiller had been a
 +very noble piece of timber, but now presented
 +the aspect of rottenness that all the rest<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_272" id="Page_272">[272]</a></span>
 +of the wood in the ship had, yet it had
 +been very elegantly carved, and numerous
 +flourishes still overran it, though the meaning
 +of the devices was not to be come at. The
 +rudder head worked in a great helm-port,
 +through which a corpulent man of eighteen
 +stone might have slipped fair into the sea
 +underneath. The gale made a melancholy
 +screeching in the skeleton lantern, and I
 +wondered they did not unship the worthless
 +thing and heave it overboard. I looked over
 +the side and as far down as I could carry my
 +sight, and I observed that the ship was of a
 +sickly sallow colour, not yellow&mdash;indeed, of
 +no hue that I could give a name to, though
 +the original tint a painter might conjecture
 +by guessing what colour would yield this
 +nameless pallidness after years and years of
 +washing seas and the burning of the sun.</p>
 +<p>I then thought I would step forward, not
 +much minding the washing of the seas there,
 +and passed Vanderdecken very cautiously,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_273" id="Page_273">[273]</a></span>
 +ready to stop if he should look at me, but he
 +remained in a trance, like a stone figure, all
 +the life of him gone into his eyes, which
 +glared burning and terrible at the same part
 +of the ocean at which he stared when I first
 +observed him stirless; so I stepped past and
 +descended to the quarter-deck, where there
 +was nothing to see, and thence to the upper
 +<p>Here, near the mainmast, were two pumps
 +of the pattern I recollected noticing in a ship
 +that had been built in 1722, and that was
 +afloat and hearty and earning good money in
 +1791. In front of the mast lay two boats,
 +one within the other, the under one on
 +chocks, both of the same pattern, namely,
 +square stern and stem, with lengths of the
 +gunwales projecting like horns. The top
 +one, for I could not see the inside of the
 +lower boat, had been painted originally a
 +bright scarlet; she contained seats and half-a-dozen
 +of oars short and long, all with immensely<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_274" id="Page_274">[274]</a></span>
 +broad blades, which had also been
 +painted a bright red. The rusty guns, the
 +ends of gear snaking in the froth along the
 +scuppers, the cumbersomeness of the blocks
 +of the maintack, along with the other furniture
 +of that groaning and half-bursting sail, the
 +grey old cask answering for a scuttlebutt
 +lashed to the larboard side, the ancientness of
 +the tarpauling over the great hatch; these,
 +and a score of other details it would tease you
 +to hear me name, gave a most dismal and
 +wretched appearance to all this part of the
 +tossed, drenched, spray-clouded fabric labouring
 +under a sky that had darkened since the
 +morning, and against whose complexion the
 +edges of the sails showed with a raw and
 +sickly pallor, whilst above swung the great
 +barricaded tops and the masts and yards to
 +and fro, to and fro, how drearily and wearily!</p>
 +<p>The bulwarks being very high, enabled
 +me to dodge the seas as I crept forwards,
 +and presently I came abreast of the foremast,<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_275" id="Page_275">[275]</a></span>
 +where stood Jans, the boatswain, along with
 +three or four seamen, taking the shelter of a
 +sort of hutch, built very strong, whence proceeded
 +sounds of the grunting of hogs, and
 +the muttering of geese, hens and the like.
 +As I needed an excuse to be here&mdash;for these
 +fellows believed the time to be that of Cromwell
 +and Blake, and looked upon an Englishman
 +as an enemy, and, therefore, might round
 +upon me angrily for offering to overhaul their
 +ship&mdash;I said to Jans, in my civillest manner&mdash;</p>
 +<p>"Are the men who rescued me last night
 +here? I shall be glad to thank them."</p>
 +<p>"Yonder's Houtmann," said he, bluntly;
 +"the other's below."</p>
 +<p>I turned to the man named Houtmann,
 +and saw in him an old sailor of perhaps
 +three-score, with a drooped head, his hands
 +in his pockets, a worn, wrinkled, melancholy
 +face, his complexion, like that of the others,
 +of the grave; he was dressed in boots, loose
 +yellow, tarpaulin trousers, and a frock of the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_276" id="Page_276">[276]</a></span>
 +same material; he had a pilot-coat on, a good
 +sou'-west cap&mdash;such as I myself wore aboard
 +the Saracen&mdash;and there was a stout shawl
 +around his neck.</p>
 +<p>I put out my hand, and said, "Houtmann,
 +let an English sailor thank a brave Hollander
 +of his own calling for his life."</p>
 +<p>He did not smile&mdash;showed himself, by not
 +so much as a twitch in his face sensible of my
 +speech, save that in the most lifeless manner
 +in the world he held out his hand, which I
 +took; but I was glad to let it fall. If ever a
 +hand had the chill of death to freeze mortal
 +flesh, his had that coldness. No other man's
 +skin in that ship had I before touched, though
 +my arm had been seized by Vanderdecken,
 +and this contact makes one of the most biting
 +memories of that time. Will you suppose
 +that the coldness was produced by the wet
 +and the wind? Alas! he withdrew his hand
 +from his pocket; but, even had he raised it
 +from a block of ice, you would not, in the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_277" id="Page_277">[277]</a></span>
 +bitter bleakness of the flesh, have felt, as I
 +did, the death in his veins, had he been as I
 +<p>The others were variously attired, in such
 +clothes as you would conceive a ship's slop-chest
 +would be fitted with from pickings of
 +vessels encountered and ransacked in a
 +hundred and fifty years. They had all of
 +them a Dutch cast of countenance, one looking
 +not more than thirty, another forty, and
 +so on. But there was something in them&mdash;though
 +God knows if my life were the stake
 +I should not be able to define it&mdash;that, backed
 +by the movements, complexions and the like,
 +made you see that with them time had become
 +eternity, and that their exteriors were
 +no more significant of the years they could
 +count than the effigy on the tomb of a man
 +represents the dust of him.</p>
 +<p>"It blows hard," said I to Jans, making the
 +most of my stock of Dutch, and resolved to
 +confront each amazing experience as it befel<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_278" id="Page_278">[278]</a></span>
 +me with a bold face. "But the Braave is a
 +stout ship and makes excellent weather."</p>
 +<p>"So think the rats," exclaimed Houtmann,
 +addressing Jans.</p>
 +<p>"A plague on the rats!" cried Jans.
 +"There's but one remedy: when we get to
 +Table Bay the hold must be smoked with
 +<p>"I never knew rats multiply as they do in
 +this ship," said one of the sailors, named
 +Kryns; "had we been ten years making the
 +passage from Batavia, the vermin could not
 +have increased more rapidly."</p>
 +<p>"Where do the crew sleep?" said I.</p>
 +<p>Jans pointed over his shoulder with his
 +thumb to a hatch abreast of the after-end of
 +the forecastle bulwark. The cover was over
 +it, for there the spray was constantly shooting
 +up like steam from boiling water, and filling
 +the iron-hard hollow of the foresail with wet
 +which showered from under the arched foot-rope
 +in whole thunderstorms of rain. Otherwise<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_279" id="Page_279">[279]</a></span>
 +I should have asked leave to go below
 +and explore the forecastle, for no part of this
 +ship could, I thought, be more curious than
 +the place in which her crew lived, and I
 +particularly desired to see how they slept,
 +nay, to see them sleeping and to observe the
 +character of their beds, whether hammocks
 +or bunks, and their chests or bags for their
 +<p>I said, "It will be dark enough down there
 +with the hatch closed?"</p>
 +<p>"Ay," said the youngest-looking of the
 +seamen, named Abraham Bothma&mdash;I took
 +down their names afterwards from Imogene's
 +dictation, conceiving that the mentioning of
 +them would prove of interest to any descendants
 +of theirs in Holland into whose
 +hands this narrative might chance to fall&mdash;"but
 +we keep a lamp always burning."</p>
 +<p>"But should you run short of oil!" said I,
 +timorously, for I had made up my mind to
 +pretend to one and all that I believed they<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_280" id="Page_280">[280]</a></span>
 +had sailed from Batavia in the preceding
 +year, and the question was a departure from
 +that resolution.</p>
 +<p>"Oil is easily got," exclaimed Jans, roughly.
 +"What use do you English make of the
 +porpoise and the grampus? Is not the seabird
 +full of it? And fish you in any bay
 +along the coast 'twixt Natal and Cape Town,
 +and I'll warrant you livers enough to keep
 +your lamps burning for a voyage round the
 +world. And what ship with coppers aboard
 +can be wanting in slush?"</p>
 +<p>"Heer Jans," said I, "I am a sailor and
 +love to hear the opinions of persons of my
 +own calling. Therefore I would ask you, do
 +not you consider your ship greatly hampered
 +forward by yonder sprit-topmast and the
 +heavy yards there?" And to render myself
 +perfectly intelligible, I pointed to the mast
 +that I have already described as being fixed
 +upright at the end of the bowsprit, rising,
 +so to speak, out of a round top there, and<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_281" id="Page_281">[281]</a></span>
 +having a smaller top on the upper end of
 +<p>"How would you have her rigged?" asked
 +he, in a sneering manner.</p>
 +<p>"Why," said I, cautiously, "as most of
 +the ships you meet are rigged&mdash;with a jibboom
 +upon which you can set more useful
 +canvas than spritsails."</p>
 +<p>On this, Bothma said, "Let your country
 +rig its ships as it chooses, they will find the
 +Dutch know more about the sea and the art
 +of navigating and commanding it than your
 +nation has stomach for."</p>
 +<p>I could have smiled at this, but the voice
 +of the man, the deadness of his face, the
 +terrifying life in his eyes, the sombre gravity
 +of the others, standing about me like people
 +in their sleep, were such a corrective of
 +humour as might have made a braver man
 +than I am tremble. I dared not go on talking
 +with them, indeed, their looks caused me
 +to fear for my senses, so without further ado<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_282" id="Page_282">[282]</a></span>
 +I walked aft and entered the cabin hoping to
 +find warmth and recovery for my mind in the
 +beauty and conversation of Imogene.</p>
 +<p>The cabin was deserted. The darkness of
 +the sky made it very gloomy, and what with
 +its meagre furniture, the unhealthy colouring
 +of its walls, trappings of gilt and handwork,
 +once I daresay very brilliant and delightful,
 +but now as rueful as a harlequin's faded dress
 +seen by the sun, it was a most depressing
 +interior, particularly in such weather as was
 +then storming, when the ceaseless thunder of
 +bursting surges drove shock after shock of
 +tempestuous sound through the resonant
 +fabric, and when the shrieking of the wind,
 +not only in the rigging but along the floor of
 +the stormy sky itself, was like the frantic
 +tally-hoing of demons to the million hounds
 +of the blast.</p>
 +<p>Not knowing how to pass the time, I went
 +to the old, framed pictures upon the sides,
 +and found them to be panels fitted to the<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_283" id="Page_283">[283]</a></span>
 +ship's plank, and framed so as to form as
 +much a part of the structure as the carving
 +on her stern would be. But time, neglect,
 +dirt or damp&mdash;one or all&mdash;had so befouled or
 +darkened the surfaces that most of them were
 +more like the heads of tar barrels than paintings.
 +Yet here and there I managed to
 +witness a glimmering survival of the artist's
 +work; one representing the fish market at
 +Amsterdam, such of the figures as were plain
 +exhibiting plenty of humour; another a Dutch
 +East Indiaman, of Vanderdecken's period,
 +sailing along with canvas full, streamers
 +blowing, and the Batavian colours standing
 +out large from the ensign staff; a third was a
 +portrait, but nothing was left of it save a
 +nose whose ruddy tip time had evidently
 +fallen in love with, for there it still glowed,
 +a mouth widely distended with laughter, and
 +one merry little eye, the other having sunk
 +like a star in the dark cloud that overspread
 +most of this panel. This, I supposed, had<span class="pagenum"><a name="Page_284" id="Page_284">[284]</a></span>
 +been the portrait of a sailor, for so much of
 +the remainder as was determinable all related
 +to Amsterdam and things nautical. Having
 +made this dismal round, I sat me down at the
 +table, sternly and closely watched by the
 +parrot, whose distressing, croaking assurance
 +I had no wish to hear, she being my only
 +company if I except the clock, whose hoarse
 +ticking was audible above the gale, and the
 +skeleton skulking inside, whose hourly resurrection
 +I was now in the temper to as greatly
 +dislike as the bird's iterative denunciation.</p>
 +<p>I wondered how the young lady contrived
 +to pass her time. Had she books? If so,
 +they would doubtless be dull performances in
 +old Dutch, fat and wormy volumes bound
 +in hard leather&mdash;as sluggish in their matter
 +as a canal, and very little calculated to amuse
 +a spirited girl. Evidently, in the five years
 +she had been sailing with Vanderdecken, she