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 +<​html>​
 +<p class="​center half-title">​THE DEATH SHIP</​p>​
  
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<h1>
 +THE DEATH SHIP<br />
 +A STRANGE STORY;<​br />
 +</h1>
 +
 +<p class="​center space-above">​
 +<​small>​
 +AN ACCOUNT OF A CRUISE IN "THE FLYING DUTCHMAN,"​ COLLECTED<​br />
 +FROM THE PAPERS OF THE LATE MR. GEOFFREY FENTON, OF POPLAR,<​br />
 +MASTER MARINER.<​br />
 +</​small>​
 +</p>
 +
 +<p class="​center space-above spaced">​
 +<​small>​BY</​small><​br />
 +<​big>​W. CLARK RUSSELL,</​big><​br />
 +<​small>​
 +AUTHOR OF<br />
 +"THE WRECK OF THE GROSVENOR,"​ "THE GOLDEN HOPE," "A SEA QUEEN,"<​br />
 +ETC., ETC.<br />
 +</​small>​
 +<br />
 +IN THREE VOLUMES<​br />
 +VOL. II<br />
 +<br />
 +LONDON<​br />
 +HURST AND BLACKETT, LIMITED<​br />
 +13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET<​br />
 +<br />
 +1888<br />
 +<​i>​All Rights Reserved</​i><​br />
 +</p>
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +<​small>​
 +PRINTED BY<br />
 +TILLOTSON AND SON, MAWDSLEY STREET<​br />
 +BOLTON<​br />
 +</​small>​
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​h2>​CONTENTS<​br />
 +<​small>​OF</​small><​br />
 +THE SECOND VOLUME.</​h2>​
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +<table border="​0"​ cellpadding="​2"​ cellspacing="​0"​ summary="">​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​CHAPTER</​td><​td align="​right"​ colspan="​2">​PAGE.</​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​I.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​IMOGENE SAYS SHE WILL TRUST ME</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_1">​1</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​II.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​VANDERDECKEN EXHIBITS SOME TREASURE&​nbsp;&​nbsp;</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_17">​17</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​III.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​IMOGENE AND I ARE MUCH TOGETHER</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_37">​37</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​IV.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE GALE BREAKS</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_55">​55</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​V.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE DEATH SHIP'S FORECASTLE</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_80">​80</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VI.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE SIGHT A SHIP</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_99">​99</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE WATCH THE SHIP APPROACH US</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_120">​120</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VIII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE CENTAUR FLIES FROM US</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_138">​138</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​IX.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​VANDERDECKEN WALKS IN HIS SLEEP</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_168">​168</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​X.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE SIGHT A DISMASTED WRECK</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_191">​191</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XI.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE DEAD HELMSMAN</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_204">​204</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE DUTCH SAILORS BOARD THE WRECK</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_213">​213</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XIII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE DUTCHMAN OBTAINS REFRESHMENTS</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_227">​227</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XIV.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​MY LIFE IS ATTEMPTED</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_239">​239</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XV.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​MY SWEETHEART'​S JOY</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_257">​257</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +</​table>​
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<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></​div>​
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER I.<br />
 +
 +IMOGENE SAYS SHE WILL TRUST ME.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>A half-hour passed, and during that time
 +I had sufficiently recovered from the distressful
 +croak of the parrot to wonder, as any
 +sailor would, how the ship was navigated;
 +for I could not doubt that the clock kept
 +pretty close to the true time, since the easting
 +and westing made by the ship was small,
 +never, perhaps, exceeding ten degrees; and
 +the circumstance of noon having struck set
 +me wondering in what fashion the captain
 +and mates navigated the ship, whether they<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_2"​ id="​Page_2">​[2]</​a></​span>​
 +used the cross-staff or relied on dead reckoning,
 +or were supernaturally conned.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>At half-past twelve arrived Prins, to prepare
 +the table for dinner. I was so dull that
 +his coming was extremely welcome, and I
 +watched him go about his work with interest,
 +not, perhaps, unmixed with fear. Out of the
 +great drawer, under the table, he withdrew
 +the cloth, knives, forks, silver goblets and
 +the like, which had been set out for breakfast;
 +but his movements were those of a
 +marionette rather than a man's, he scarcely
 +looked at what he did, putting a goblet here,
 +a knife and fork there and so on, with the
 +lifeless air of an object controlled by
 +mechanism. Small wonder that the unhappy
 +wretch should know his business! He had
 +been at it long enough! Yet it wrung my
 +heart to watch him and to think that he
 +would still be arranging the cabin tables for
 +meals, and attending upon Vanderdecken and
 +his mates when Heaven alone knows how<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_3"​ id="​Page_3">​[3]</​a></​span>​
 +many times the wave of civilisation should
 +have followed the sun round the globe, and
 +how often our British Islands should have
 +lapsed into their ancient savageness and
 +emerged again.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whilst he was at this work, Miss Dudley
 +stepped out of her cabin. She came to a
 +stand, not instantly recognising me in my own
 +clothes, but quickly satisfying herself, she advanced
 +with a smile and sat down near me,
 +with no further sign of timidity than a slight
 +blush which greatly heightened her beauty.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where is Captain Vanderdecken?"​ said
 +she.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I left him on deck three-quarters of an
 +hour since,"​ I answered. "We were talking
 +when he suddenly broke off, and I should
 +have supposed him in a fit but for his erect
 +posture and the fiery life in his eyes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​This happens to them all," said she, "as
 +you will find out. I do not know what it
 +means or why it should be."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_4"​ id="​Page_4">​[4]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Possibly,"​ I exclaimed, recalling the conjecture
 +I have already written down, "the
 +death in them grows too strong at periods,
 +for the power that sustains them, be it demoniac
 +or not, and then follows a failure of the
 +vitality of the body, which yet leaves the
 +spirit&​mdash;​as one sees it flashing in Vanderdecken'​s
 +eyes&​mdash;​strong enough to recover the
 +corporeal forces from their languor. But
 +how terrible is all this for you to be living
 +familiarly with!&​mdash;​the sweet, fresh, human
 +life of the world your beauty would adorn
 +and gladden, hidden from you behind the
 +melancholy sea-line, and the passage of
 +months, yes, and of years, finding you still
 +aimlessly beating about these waters, with no
 +better companions than beings more frightful
 +in their shapes and behaviour as men than
 +were they phantoms which the hand could
 +not grasp and whose texture the eye can
 +pierce."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What can I do, Mr. Fenton? Captain<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_5"​ id="​Page_5">​[5]</​a></​span>​
 +Vanderdecken will not part with me. How
 +can I escape?"​ she cried, with her eyes
 +brimming. "If I cast myself overboard,
 +it would be to drown; if I succeeded in
 +gaining the shore when we anchored near
 +to the coast, it would be either to perish
 +upon the broiling sands, or be destroyed by
 +wild beasts, or be seized by the natives and
 +carried into captivity."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But if a chance offered to make good
 +your escape without the risks you name,
 +would you seize it?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ yes!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Well,"​ said I, speaking with such tenderness
 +and feeling, such a glow and yearning in
 +my heart that you would say the tiny seed of
 +love in my breast, watered by her tears, was
 +budding with the swiftness of each glance at
 +her into flower, "​whilst I have been sitting
 +melancholy and alone I have turned over in
 +my mind how I am to deliver you from this
 +dreadful situation. No scheme as yet offers,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_6"​ id="​Page_6">​[6]</​a></​span>​
 +but will you trust me as an English sailor to
 +find a means to outwit these Dutchmen, ay,
 +though the Devil himself kept watch when
 +they were abed?... One moment, Miss
 +Dudley&​mdash;​forgive me, it had not been my
 +intention to touch upon this matter until time
 +had enabled you to form some judgment of
 +me. But when two are of the same mind,
 +and the pit that has to be jumped is a deep
 +one, it would be mere foppery in me to stand
 +on the brink with you, chattering like a
 +Frenchman about anything else sooner than
 +speak out and to the point as a plain seaman
 +should."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mr. Fenton,"​ she answered, "I will trust
 +you. If you can see a way to escape from
 +this ship I will aid you to the utmost of my
 +strength and accompany you. You are a
 +sailor; my father was of that calling, and as
 +an English seaman you shall have my full
 +faith."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was not only the words, but her pretty<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_7"​ id="​Page_7">​[7]</​a></​span>​
 +voice, her sparkling eyes, her earnest gaze,
 +the expression of hope that lighted up her face
 +with the radiance of a smile rather than of
 +a smile itself, which rendered what she said
 +delightful to me. I answered, "​Depend upon
 +it your faith will animate me, and it will be
 +strange if you are not in England before
 +many months, nay, let me say weeks, have
 +passed."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Here leaning her cheek in her hand she
 +looked down into her lap with a wistful
 +sadness in her eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Not conceiving what was passing in her
 +mind, I said, "​Whatever scheme I hit upon
 +will take time. But what are a few months
 +compared with years on board this ship&​mdash;​years
 +which only death can end!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh!"​ she answered, looking at me fully,
 +but with a darkness of tears upon those violet
 +lights, "I don't doubt your ability to escape
 +and rescue me, nor was I thinking of the
 +time you would require or how long it may<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_8"​ id="​Page_8">​[8]</​a></​span>​
 +be before we see England. What troubles
 +me is to feel that when in England&​mdash;​if it
 +please God to suffer me to set foot once more
 +upon that dear soil&​mdash;​I shall have no friend to
 +turn to." I was about to speak, but she
 +proceeded, her eyes brimming afresh: "It is
 +rare that a girl finds herself in my situation.
 +Both my father and mother were only
 +children and orphans when they married, my
 +mother living with a clergyman and his wife
 +at Rotherhithe as governess to their children
 +when my father met her. The clergyman
 +and his lady are long since dead. But were
 +they living, they would not be persons I
 +should apply to for help and counsel, since
 +my mother often spoke of them as harsh,
 +mean people. The few relations on my
 +mother'​s side died off; on my father'​s side
 +there was&​mdash;​perhaps there yet is&​mdash;​an uncle
 +who settled in Virginia and did pretty well
 +there. But I should have to go to that
 +country to seek him with the chance of find<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_9"​ id="​Page_9">​[9]</​a></​span>​ing
 +him dead. Thus you will see how
 +friendless I am, Mr. Fenton."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are not of those who remain friendless
 +in this world,"​ said I, softly, for can
 +you marvel that a young man's heart will
 +beat quickly when such a beauty as Imogene
 +Dudley is, tells him to his face that she is
 +friendless. "I implore you," I added, "not
 +to suffer any reflection of this sort to sadden
 +or swerve you in your determination to leave
 +this ship&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,​ no!" she interrupted,​ "it will not do
 +that. Better to die of famine among the
 +green meadows at home than&​mdash;​oh!"​ she cried,
 +with hysterical vehemence, "how sweet will
 +be the sight of flowers to me, of English
 +trees, and hedges blooming with briar roses
 +and honeysuckles. This dreadful life!" she
 +clasped her hands with a sudden passionate
 +raising of her eyes, "these roaring seas, the
 +constant screaming of the wind that bates its
 +tones only to make a desolate moaning, the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_10"​ id="​Page_10">​[10]</​a></​span>​
 +company of ghost-like men, the fearful sense
 +of being in a ship upon which has fallen the
 +wrath of the majesty of God! Oh, indeed,
 +indeed it must end!" and burying her face in
 +her hands she wept most grievously, sobbing
 +aloud.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What will end, mynheer? And what is
 +it that causes thee, Imogene, to weep?" exclaimed
 +the deep, vibratory voice of Vanderdecken.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I started, and found his great figure erect
 +behind me, a certain inquisitiveness in the
 +expression of his face, and much of the light
 +shining in his eyes that I had remarked
 +when he fell into that posture of trance I
 +have spoken of. I answered as readily
 +as my knowledge of his tongue permitted,
 +"Miss Dudley weeps, sir, because this
 +gale, as others have before, retards the
 +passage of your ship to Amsterdam; and
 +'tis perfectly natural, consistent, indeed, with
 +the wishes of all men in the Braave, that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_11"​ id="​Page_11">​[11]</​a></​span>​
 +she should wish the baulking storm at an
 +end."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He came round to his high-backed chair,
 +and seated himself, and, putting his arm
 +along the table, gently took Imogene'​s wrist,
 +and softly pulled her hand away from her
 +face, wet with her tears, saying, "My dear,
 +your fellow-countryman is right; it is the
 +sorrow of every creature here that this gale
 +should blow us backwards, and so delay our
 +return; but what is more capricious than the
 +wind? This storm will presently pass, and it
 +will be strange,"​ he added, with a sudden
 +scowl darkening his brow, and letting go
 +Miss Dudley'​s hand as he spoke, "if next
 +time we do not thrust the Braave into an
 +ocean where these north-westers make way
 +for the strong trade wind that blows from
 +the south-east."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She dried her eyes and forced a smile,
 +acting a part as I did; that is to say, she did
 +not wish he should suspect her grief went<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_12"​ id="​Page_12">​[12]</​a></​span>​
 +deeper than I had explained; though I
 +could not help observing that in directing
 +her wet, sweet, violet eyes, with her mouth
 +shaped to a smile, upon him, a plaintive
 +gratitude underlay her manner, an admixture
 +of pity and affection, the exhibition of which
 +made me very sure of the quality of her
 +heart.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To carry Vanderdecken'​s thoughts away
 +from the subject he supposed Miss Dudley
 +and I had been speaking about, I asked her
 +in Dutch what she had been doing with herself
 +since breakfast. She answered in the
 +same language that she had been lying down.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Have you books?"​ said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A few that belong to the captain. Some
 +are in French and I cannot read them. The
 +others are in Dutch. There is also a collection
 +of English poetry, some of which
 +is beautiful, and I know many verses by
 +heart."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Are these works pretty new?" said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_13"​ id="​Page_13">​[13]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She answered, "Of various years; the
 +newest, I think, is dated 1647."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ said Vanderdecken,​ "that will be
 +my friend Bloys Van Treslong'​s book upon
 +the tulip-madness."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Finding him willing to converse, I was
 +extremely fretted to discover that, owing to
 +my ignorance of the literature and art of his
 +time, I could not "bring him out" as the
 +phrase runs, for looking into the Batavian
 +story since, I find scores of matters he could
 +have told me about, such as the building of
 +ships at Hoorn, the customs of the people,
 +the tulip-madness he had mentioned, the
 +great men such as Jan Six, Rembrandt, Jan
 +Steen, Van Campen who designed the Stadhuis
 +and others, some of whom&​mdash;​as happened
 +in the case of the great Willem Schouten&​mdash;​he
 +may have known and haply smoked pipes
 +of tobacco with.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But be this as it may, we had got back
 +again to the gale when Prins brought in the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_14"​ id="​Page_14">​[14]</​a></​span>​
 +dinner, and in a few minutes arrived the mate,
 +Van Vogelaar, whereupon we fell to the meal,
 +Imogene saying very little and often regarding
 +me with a thoughtful face and earnest
 +eyes as though, after the maiden'​s way in such
 +matters, she was searching me; I taciturn, the
 +mate sullen in expression and silent, as his
 +death-like face would advertise the beholder
 +to suppose him ever to be, and Vanderdecken
 +breaking at intervals from the deep musing
 +fit he fell into to invite me to eat or drink
 +with an air of incomparable dignity, hardened
 +as it was by his eternal sternness and
 +fierceness.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>At this meal I found the food to be much
 +the same as that with which we had broken
 +our fast. But in addition there was a roasted
 +fowl and a large ham; and into each silver
 +goblet Prins poured a draught of sherry&​mdash;​a
 +very soft and mellow wine&​mdash;​which I supposed
 +Vanderdecken had come by through
 +the same means which enabled him to obtain<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_15"​ id="​Page_15">​[15]</​a></​span>​
 +coats for his own and his men's backs, and
 +ropes for his masts and sails, and brandy and
 +gin for his stone jars&​mdash;​that is, by overhauling
 +wrecks and pillaging derelicts, for certainly
 +strong waters were not to be got by lying off
 +the coast and going a-hunting.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet though the wine put a pleasant
 +warmth into my veins, insomuch that I
 +could have talked freely but for the depressing
 +influence of the captain and his mate,
 +them it no more cheered and heartened, it
 +gave them no more life and spirit than had
 +they been urns filled with dust into which the
 +generous liquor had been poured. Several
 +times, indeed, whilst I was on board that ship,
 +have I seen Vanderdecken,​ Vogelaar, and
 +Arents swallow such draughts of punch out
 +of bowls, as would have laid me senseless in
 +five minutes, yet these capacious jorums gave
 +rise in them to not the least signs of jollity;
 +as, indeed, how should it have been otherwise,
 +for their brains were dead to all but<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_16"​ id="​Page_16">​[16]</​a></​span>​
 +the supernatural influence that kept them
 +moving&​mdash;​dead as the works of a going watch&​mdash;​and
 +what is there in the fumes of wine to
 +disorder embodied ghosts?</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_17"​ id="​Page_17">​[17]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER II.<br />
 +
 +VANDERDECKEN EXHIBITS SOME TREASURE.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​When Vogelaar left the cabin to relieve
 +Arents on deck, Vanderdecken exhibited a
 +disposition to talk. He gently took Imogene'​s
 +chin in his hand and chided her very tenderly,
 +yet without the slightest quality of what we
 +should call pleasantness in his manner. For
 +this would have brought him to some show
 +of good-humour,​ whereas never during the
 +time I was thrown with him did I see the
 +least light of merriment on his face; I say, he
 +chided her, but very gently, for crying at the
 +delay caused by the storm, and exclaimed,
 +motioning to me, "Here is a seaman. He
 +will tell you that this is a stormy part of the
 +ocean, and that at this season of the year we<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_18"​ id="​Page_18">​[18]</​a></​span>​
 +must look for gales from the north-west; but
 +he will also know that these tempests are
 +short-lived and that a breeze from the east,
 +north or south, must carry us round the Cape
 +as fairly as our helm controls us."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh! that is so indeed, Miss Dudley,"​
 +said I, quickly, and darting a meaning glance
 +at her; and wishing to change the subject
 +I went on: "​Mynheer,​ when I was in your
 +cabin last night shifting myself, I noticed a
 +cross-staff. '​Twould be of no use to you
 +to-day, the sun being blotted out. Failing
 +an observation,​ upon what method do you
 +rely for knowing your position?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What else but the log?" he exclaimed.
 +"I compute entirely by dead-reckoning. The
 +staff hath often set me wide of the mark.
 +The log fairly gives me my place on the sea
 +card, and then there is the lead."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I bowed by way of thanking him, for in
 +this direction I gathered by his rejoinder as
 +much as he could have acquainted me with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_19"​ id="​Page_19">​[19]</​a></​span>​
 +in an hour's discourse, besides, the earnest
 +regard of the pair of sweet light eyes opposite
 +reminded me that I must be very wary in
 +showing myself inquisitive.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You have a sharp sight, sir," said
 +Vanderdecken,​ but speaking without any
 +fierceness, "to see that fore-staff in my cabin
 +by the faint light there was. What else did
 +you observe?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I told him honestly, for I could imagine no
 +challenge to his wrath in answering, that I
 +had seen a speaking-trumpet,​ sand-glass,
 +pictures, and the like.  But as though
 +Imogene knew him better and desired to
 +shield me, she instantly said, "Oh, captain,
 +will not you show Mr. Fenton the pictures of
 +your wife and children? They will charm
 +him, I know."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On this he called Prins to bring the pictures.
 +If ever I had doubted this ship was
 +the veritable Flying Dutchman the portraits
 +would have settled my misgivings once and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_20"​ id="​Page_20">​[20]</​a></​span>​
 +for all. The material on which they were
 +painted was cracked in places, and the darkness
 +of age lay very gloomy and thick upon
 +them. They were all of a size, about ten
 +inches long and six inches broad. He put
 +his wife before me first and watched me with
 +his fierce eyes whilst I pored upon the painting.
 +The picture was that of a portly lady
 +in a black close-fitting cap, the hair yellow,
 +the bosoms very large, a square-shouldered
 +heavy woman of the true Dutch mould, round-faced,​
 +not uncomely, and perhaps of five and
 +forty years of age. How she was dressed I
 +could not tell, but the arms were bare from
 +the elbows, and they and the hands were,
 +methought, very delicately painted and exquisitely
 +life-like. The others were those of
 +girls of different ages. Which of them Captain
 +Vanderdecken imagined Miss Dudley to
 +resemble I could not conceive; there was
 +nothing in these darksome likenesses, albeit
 +they represented maidenhood and infancy, to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_21"​ id="​Page_21">​[21]</​a></​span>​
 +suggest a resemblance to the English beauty
 +of the fragile, large-eyed, gold-crowned face
 +of Imogene Dudley.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She that was named Geertruida was of a
 +style that came close to good looks, eyes
 +merry, dainty mouth, but cheeks too fat.
 +Here was little Margaretha, for whom the
 +piping swain had been purchased, peering at
 +me with a half-shy, half-wondering look out
 +of the dusky background.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As I returned them one by one, the captain
 +took them from me, lingering long upon each
 +and making such comments as "'​Tis Johanna
 +to the life!" meaning his wife. "What art
 +is more wonderful than this of portrait painting?
 +No age is likely to beat our time, and
 +no nation the Dutch. How alive is the eye
 +here! Methinks if I spoke angrily to her
 +she would weep!" or "You will find this girl,"
 +meaning Geertruida, "a true sister, Imogene,
 +homely, honest and innocent, so fond of fun
 +but yet so dutiful, that there is no woman in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_22"​ id="​Page_22">​[22]</​a></​span>​
 +all Holland who would make a better wife,"
 +or "Ah! little one, thy father will be with
 +thee ere long," stopping to kiss the painting
 +of his daughter Margaretha.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Prins stood by to receive the pictures, but
 +Vanderdecken hung over this one for some
 +minutes, falling motionless, insomuch that I
 +thought another one of his strange fits or
 +trances had seized him; and perfectly still for
 +those moments were Miss Dudley and I,
 +often glancing at each other as though both
 +of us alike felt the prodigious significance
 +imported into this spectacle of a father'​s love,
 +by the bellowing of the wind, and the long,
 +yearning, sickening, broadside rushes of the
 +ship, ruthlessly hurled back by the surge and
 +storm into the deeper solitude of those waters
 +whose confines she was never to pass.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Now Arents left the table, never having
 +given us, nor our talk, nor the pictures, the
 +smallest imaginable heed. His going brought
 +Vanderdecken back to life, so to speak; and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_23"​ id="​Page_23">​[23]</​a></​span>​
 +he handed the picture of his child to Prins.
 +I looked at him, expecting, though God
 +knows why, to see a tear. But whatever
 +sensibility Heaven had permitted this man
 +to retain did not appear in his face. Had it
 +been cast in brass it could not have been
 +harder and more impenetrable. His eyes
 +were full of their former passionate scornful
 +life and light. They made me think, supposing
 +him to show now as he would have
 +appeared at the time of his death, that he
 +was one who would have met his end full
 +of impatience, imperious rage, and savage
 +decrial of the holy ordinances of Nature.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But oh, the sadness, the sadness of the
 +spectacle I had contemplated! This tender
 +perusal by a husband and father of the beloved
 +lineaments of those whom he deemed
 +living, ay! and still looking as they looked at
 +him from the canvas, but who had been dead
 +so many years that time had perhaps erased
 +the name from the stone that marked the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_24"​ id="​Page_24">​[24]</​a></​span>​
 +burial-place of the youngest of them all&​mdash;​the
 +little Margaretha! And how much longer
 +would these portraits last, I asked myself?
 +'Twas certain by the evidences of decay in
 +them that they had not the vitality of the
 +ship and of those who sailed her. What
 +then? The years would blot them out. Yet
 +mercy he would surely deserve who loved
 +his wife and children as this man did. And
 +I still sometimes fondly hope that memory
 +may be permitted to serve him in lieu of
 +his eyes, so that in gazing upon the time-blackened
 +canvas he may as truly see with
 +intellectual sight the faces of his dear ones
 +as though they stood out bright, fresh and
 +life-like, as at the hour in which they were
 +painted.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All the time I looked at these pictures
 +I would notice Miss Dudley watching me,
 +quickly averting her gaze when mine met
 +hers. I put down this scrutiny to her wish
 +to gather my character, though I need not at<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_25"​ id="​Page_25">​[25]</​a></​span>​
 +this distance expect to be reproached for my
 +vanity if I say that I thought that was not
 +her only reason for following me with her
 +eyes. I pray you consider the life she had
 +led since the destruction of her father'​s ship
 +and the loss of her parents; how that she
 +was now grown to be a woman; and how
 +that I was not only a young, but bright,
 +fair, merry-eyed sailor, her own countryman,
 +of the calling she loved for her father'​s sake,
 +and the sweeter to her sight for breaking in
 +upon her mournful life and offering to snatch
 +her from the frightful companionship of the
 +Death Ship's crew.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But more of this anon.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whilst Prins was in the captain'​s cabin
 +hanging up the pictures, she exclaimed, "It
 +is a dull and dreary day. How are we to
 +kill the time?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As she spoke the clock struck, and the
 +parrot, instead of using her customary expression,
 +laughed out loudly, "Ha! ha! ha!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_26"​ id="​Page_26">​[26]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That bird," said I, "seems to know what
 +we are talking about. It is a pretty notion
 +of hers to laugh at your inquiry when she
 +sees how vainly old Death in the clock
 +yonder stabs at time."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This I spoke in English.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you say, mynheer?"​ demanded
 +Vanderdecken.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ captain!"​ exclaimed Miss Imogene,
 +as if she was carrying on the sense of my
 +remarks, "could not we prettily dispatch an
 +hour by looking at some of the treasure you
 +have below?"​ She laid her little white hand
 +on his, and pleaded with her eyes. "It will
 +be a treat to Mr. Fenton to see the fine
 +things you have, and I am still childish
 +enough to love the sparkle of precious stones."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He turned to me and said, "Sir, I have
 +no objection, but our countries are at war,
 +and in case of your being transshipped I have
 +to ask you, on your honour as a gentleman
 +and a seaman, not to give information of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_27"​ id="​Page_27">​[27]</​a></​span>​
 +the objects the lady desires me to show
 +you."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I never before witnessed a finer dignity in
 +any man's air than that which ennobled him
 +as he spoke. I gave him my assurance,
 +feeling that I cut but a mean figure in my
 +manner of answering after his own majestic
 +and haughty aspect and the rich and thrilling
 +tones in which he had delivered himself, nor
 +will I pretend that I was not moved at the
 +vanity and idleness of the obligation of silence
 +he imposed upon me, for whatever treasure
 +he had would be as safe in his ship as on the
 +sandy bed of the sea, even though on my
 +escaping I should go and apprise all the
 +admirals in the world of its existence.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He said no more but, calling to Prins,
 +ordered him to clear the table, bring pipes
 +and tobacco, and then take some seamen with
 +him into&​mdash;​as I understood&​mdash;​the half-deck and
 +bring up two chests of treasure, those which
 +were lashed on the starboard side, close<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_28"​ id="​Page_28">​[28]</​a></​span>​
 +against the bulkhead. The cloth was removed,
 +we lighted our pipes, and after we
 +had waited some little while, Prins, with
 +several sailors, appeared, bearing among
 +them two stout, apparently very heavy,
 +chests, which they set down upon the cabin
 +floor, taking care to secure them by lashings
 +and seizings to the stanchions, so that they
 +should not slip with the ship's lurches.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sailors interested me so much that,
 +whilst they were with us, I looked only at
 +them. It was not that there was anything in
 +their faces, if I except the dreadful pallor, or
 +in their attire, to fix my attention; it was
 +that they were a part of the crew of this
 +accurst ship, participators in the doom that
 +Vanderdecken had brought upon her, members
 +of a ghostly band the like of which
 +it might never be permitted to mortal man to
 +behold again. One had very deep-sunk eyes,
 +which shone in their dark hollows with much
 +of the fire that gave a power of terrifying to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_29"​ id="​Page_29">​[29]</​a></​span>​
 +those of the captain. Another had a long,
 +grizzly beard, over which his nose curved in a
 +hook, his little eyes lay close against the top
 +of his nose, and his hair, that was wet with
 +spray or rain, lay like new-gathered seaweed
 +down to pretty near his shoulder-blades.
 +This man's name, I afterwards heard, was
 +Tjaart Van der Valdt, whilst he that had the
 +glowing eyes was called Christopher Roostoff.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​They all went about in the soulless,
 +mechanical way I was now used to, and,
 +when they had set down the chests, Prins
 +dismissed them with an injunction to stand
 +by ready to take them below again. The
 +cases were about three feet high, and ranging
 +about five feet long; they were heavily girt
 +with iron bands, and padlocked with massive
 +staples. Prins opened them and flung back
 +the lids, and then, to be sure, I looked down
 +upon treasures the like of which in quality,
 +I'll not say quantity, in one single ship, the
 +holds of the Acapulco galleons could alone<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_30"​ id="​Page_30">​[30]</​a></​span>​
 +rival, or the caves in which the old buccaneers
 +hid their booty. Miss Dudley, seeing
 +me rise, left her seat, and came to my side.
 +Vanderdecken stepped round, and leaned
 +against the table, his arms folded, and his
 +body moving only with the rolling of the
 +ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I should speedily grow tedious were I to
 +be minute in my description of what I saw,
 +yet I must venture a short way in this direction.
 +In one box there were fitted four trays,
 +each tray divided into several compartments,​
 +and every compartment was filled with
 +precious stones, set in rings, bracelets,
 +bangles and the like, and with golden ornaments,
 +such as birds for the hair, brooches,
 +necklets, chains for wearing about the waist
 +or neck, and other such things of prodigious
 +value and beauty of device. I asked leave
 +to examine some of these objects, and on
 +picking them up noticed that some were
 +of a much more antique character than<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_31"​ id="​Page_31">​[31]</​a></​span>​
 +others, insomuch that I said to Miss Imogene
 +in English, "I suspect that much of
 +these splendours our friend will have collected
 +at different periods."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She answered in our tongue, "He can tell
 +you what he purchased at Batavia, or what
 +was consigned to him for delivery at Amsterdam,
 +but his memory after that is a blank,
 +and the last wreck he can recall, in which he
 +found several quintals of silver and unminted
 +gold, is the Fryheid that he met&​mdash;​I cannot
 +tell where&​mdash;​in a sinking condition."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There is more treasure aboard than this!
 +cried I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Much more!" she replied. Then turning
 +to Vanderdecken,​ who had fixed his eyes on
 +me without moving his head, she said, "I
 +am telling Mr. Fenton that these chests
 +represent but a handful of the treasure in
 +this ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am dazzled by what I see, mynheer,
 +said I, speaking whilst Prins raised the trays<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_32"​ id="​Page_32">​[32]</​a></​span>​
 +disclosing many hundreds of guineas'​ worth
 +of ornaments and stones. "Had I but the
 +value of one of these trays alone this should
 +be my last voyage."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ said he, "there is much that is
 +beautiful here. Much that will yield good
 +sums. But a large number of the articles in
 +that chest belong to a merchant; there are
 +likewise consignments,​ and my own share is
 +but a speculation."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The other chest had but one tray, in which
 +lay many golden crucifixes of different sizes,
 +goblets, flagons, candlesticks,​ all gold, whilst
 +beneath were numbers of a kind of small
 +bricks or bars of pewter, which Miss Imogene
 +told me were gold that had been originally
 +disguised in this way as a blind to the pirates.
 +In addition were several great canvas bags,
 +into which Prins, moving always as an
 +automaton, thrust his hand, bringing forth
 +different sorts of coins, such as rix-dollars,​
 +ducatoons, ducats, Batavian rupees, Spanish<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_33"​ id="​Page_33">​[33]</​a></​span>​
 +dollars, and even schillings, worth no more
 +than six stivers apiece.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There is a pleasure in looking at bright
 +and sparkling objects, at the beauty of gold
 +worked into strange or fantastic shapes, at
 +jewels and stones in their multitude, gleaming
 +out in twenty colours at once. And
 +had I been a picaroon or a woman, I could
 +not have surveyed this collection with sharper
 +delight, though I hope you will not suppose
 +that I felt the buccaneer'​s thirst for the
 +things. But when my glance went to Vanderdecken,​
 +all the shining seemed to die out,
 +and the richest of the jewels to lose its
 +glory.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Not that this was actually so; it was the
 +reflection excited in me that darkened the
 +radiance of that treasure. There stood the
 +great, majestic captain, with his arms folded
 +over his beard, and his eyes fixed on the
 +chest, frightfully symbolising&​mdash;​more wildly
 +and sternly than could the corpse of a miser<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_34"​ id="​Page_34">​[34]</​a></​span>​
 +lying in a coffin, into which had been poured
 +all the ducats he had hoarded in his life&​mdash;​the
 +worthlessness of that wealth of which the
 +desire makes devils of men in secret oppressions
 +and bitter, hidden cruelties. Had Vanderdecken
 +been veritably dead&​mdash;​recumbent&​mdash;​a
 +corpse&​mdash;​the sight of him alongside those
 +cases of costly things would not haply have
 +affected me; 'twas the simulation of life in
 +him, his unhallowed and monstrous vitality,
 +that rendered his typification of the uselessness
 +after death of that for which many
 +among us sell our hearts, nay, diligently toil
 +to extinguish the last spark of the Heavenly
 +fire which the Creator sends us into this life
 +radiant with; as who, looking at a babe's
 +face, but sees?&​mdash;​that rendered, I say, his
 +typification terrible. You could see he took
 +no joy whatever in the contents of the
 +cases; he eyed them stonily; you witnessed
 +no pricking up of his ears to the tinkling and
 +jingling rattle made by the coins as Prins<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_35"​ id="​Page_35">​[35]</​a></​span>​
 +poured them out and back again. Nor, had
 +the money been shingle and the jewels and
 +gold ornaments pieces of coal, could Prins
 +have worked with duller eyes or more
 +mechanical motions.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said to Miss Imogene, pointing as I
 +spoke to the chests that Vanderdecken might
 +suppose we talked of the treasure in them,
 +"He does not appear to care the snap of a
 +finger for what is there. If the sense of
 +possession is dead in him, why should he take
 +whatever he can find of jewels, gold or silver,
 +from the ships in which he is fortunate
 +enough to find such things?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If your brain will not help you to such
 +matters, how should mine?" she replied, with
 +a faint smile. "The idea has never before
 +occurred to me, but be sure 'tis a part of his
 +punishment. He may feel no pleasure in the
 +possession of his wealth; yet he knows it is
 +on board, and it may be intended to render
 +every gale that beats him back more and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_36"​ id="​Page_36">​[36]</​a></​span>​
 +more bitter and hard by delaying him from
 +carrying his cargo home."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This was shrewdly imagined, I thought,
 +though it did not satisfy me, because since
 +'twas sure that he had lost recollection of
 +preceding gales, succeeding ones could not
 +gain in bitterness. In truth, we were afloat
 +in a fearful and astonishing Mystery, from
 +which my eagerness to deliver the sweet and
 +fragrant girl by my side grew keener with
 +every look of hers that met mine, and with
 +every glance I directed at the captain and
 +around the ancient interior that time had
 +sickened to the complexion of the death
 +which worked this ship in the forms of men.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Having satisfied me with a sight of these
 +treasures, Vanderdecken ordered Prins to
 +have the chests removed, and we then returned
 +to the table to smoke out the tobacco
 +that remained in our pipes.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_37"​ id="​Page_37">​[37]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER III.<br />
 +
 +IMOGENE AND I ARE MUCH TOGETHER.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>So far I have been minute, accounting for
 +every hour and all things which happened
 +therein since I was picked up by the mate of
 +the Death Ship and put aboard her. My
 +first impressions were keen and strong, and I
 +have sought to lay them before you in the
 +order in which they occurred. But to pursue
 +this particularity of narrative, to relate every
 +conversation,​ to regularly notice the striking
 +of the clock, the movements of the skeleton,
 +and the hoarse comminatory croak of the
 +parrot, would be to speedily render this tale
 +tedious. Therefore let me speak briefly for
 +a little space.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The storm blew with steady fury for six<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_38"​ id="​Page_38">​[38]</​a></​span>​
 +days, driving the tall fabric to leeward to a
 +distance of many leagues every twenty-four
 +hours, the course of the drift being as I should
 +suppose&​mdash;​for it was impossible to put much
 +faith in the compasses&​mdash;​about south-east by
 +east, the larboard tacks aboard and the ship
 +"​ratching"​ nothing. It was so continuous
 +and heavy, this gale, that it began to breed a
 +feeling of despair in me, for I felt that if such
 +weather lasted many weeks it would end in
 +setting us so far south that we should be
 +greatly out of the road taken by ships rounding
 +the Cape, and so remote from the land,
 +that should Vanderdecken desire to careen or
 +water his vessel it would occupy us months
 +to fetch the coast, so that the prospect of
 +escaping with Miss Imogene grew small and
 +gloomy. Added to which was the melancholy
 +of the cell-like cabin in which it was
 +my lot to sleep, the fiery crawlings, the savage
 +squeakings of great rats, the grinding, groaning
 +and straining noises of the labouring<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_39"​ id="​Page_39">​[39]</​a></​span>​
 +structure, likewise the sickening, sweeping,
 +soaring, falling motions of the high light
 +vessel, movements which, as we drove further
 +south, where the seas were swollen into
 +mountains by the persistent hardness of the
 +gale and the vastness of the liquid plain along
 +which they coursed, furious with the fiendish
 +lashing of the thongs of the storm, grew at
 +times so insupportable that, sailor as I was
 +and used to the sea in all its moods, I would
 +often feel faint and reel to a sensation of
 +nausea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But Imogene was never in the least degree
 +discomposed. She was so used to the ship
 +that its movements were to her what the
 +steadiness of dry land is to other women.
 +She seldom came on deck however. Indeed,
 +the gusts and guns were often so fierce&​mdash;​coming
 +along like thunderbolts through the
 +gale itself&​mdash;​that any one of them catching
 +her gown might have carried her light
 +figure overboard. Moreover, twenty-four<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_40"​ id="​Page_40">​[40]</​a></​span>​
 +hours after the gale set in, it drew up thick
 +as mud; the horizon was brought within
 +reach of a musket-shot;​ and out of this
 +thickness blew the rain, in straight lines,
 +mixed with the showering off the heads of
 +the seas; the sky hung steady, of the colour
 +of slate&​mdash;​no part lighter or darker than
 +another, but so low that it appeared as if a
 +man could whip his hand into it from our
 +masthead whenever those reeling spars came
 +plumb.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As it gave me no pleasure to linger on
 +deck in such weather, you may suppose that
 +Miss Imogene and I were much together
 +below. Often a whole morning or afternoon
 +would pass without a soul entering the cabin
 +where we sate. Whether Vanderdecken was
 +pleased to think that Imogene had a companion&​mdash;​a
 +fellow-countryman,​ with whom she
 +could converse, and so kill the time which
 +he would suspect from her recent fit of weeping
 +hung heavy on her spirits; or that,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_41"​ id="​Page_41">​[41]</​a></​span>​
 +having himself long passed those marks which
 +time sets up as the boundaries of human passions,
 +he was as incapable of suspecting that
 +Imogene and I should fall in love, as he
 +clearly was of perceiving the passage of
 +years; 'tis certain he never exhibited the
 +smallest displeasure when, perchance, he
 +found us together, albeit once or twice on
 +entering the cabin when we were there he
 +would ask Imogene abruptly, but never with
 +the sternness his manner gathered when he
 +addressed others, what our talk was about,
 +as if he suspected I was inquiring about his
 +ship and cargo; though if, indeed, this was
 +so, I don't doubt the suspicion was put into
 +his head by Van Vogelaar, who, I am sure,
 +hated me as much because I was an Englishman
 +as because our panic-stricken men had
 +fired upon him.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It takes a man but a very short time to
 +fall in love, though the relation of the thing,
 +if the time be very short, is often questioned<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_42"​ id="​Page_42">​[42]</​a></​span>​
 +as a possibility,​ sometimes heartily laughed
 +at as an absurdity, when deliberately set
 +down in writing. Why this should be I do
 +not know. I could point to a good many
 +men married to women with whom they fell
 +in love at a dance, or by seeing them in the
 +street, or by catching sight of them in church
 +and the like. I have known a man to become
 +passionately enamoured of a girl by
 +beholding her picture. And what says
 +Marlowe?</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?"<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p>​Depend upon it, when passion is of slow
 +growth and cultivated painfully, you may
 +suspect a deficiency somewhere. Either the
 +girl is not delightful of face and shape and
 +her virtues and good qualities are hard to
 +come at, or she is a tease and a coquette,
 +and, in a manner of speaking, puts her foot
 +down upon a man's heart and prevents the
 +emotion there from shooting. There will be
 +something wanting, something wrong, I say.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_43"​ id="​Page_43">​[43]</​a></​span>​
 +Association may indeed lengthily induct one
 +into a habit of affection, but the sort of love
 +I have in my mind springs like a young god
 +into a man's intelligence from a maiden'​s
 +eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But whether this swift passion is more
 +lasting than the affection that is formed by
 +slower mental processes, and which of them
 +is the safer to trust to, is no riddle for such
 +as I to bother over. And in sober verity, I
 +am sorry to have been led into these remarks,
 +which certainly should be omitted if they
 +were not necessary as an apology.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​For the truth must be told, and it is this:
 +that the very first morning I met Imogene I
 +fell in love with her beauty, while the long
 +days of the storm which threw us greatly
 +together confirmed the first movement of
 +my heart by acquainting me with the extraordinary
 +sweetness, innocence, gentleness and
 +purity of her nature. These qualities, unlike
 +the enchanting hue and brightness of her<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_44"​ id="​Page_44">​[44]</​a></​span>​
 +eyes, the golden falls of her hair, and her
 +many other fairy graces, were not quickly
 +discoverable,​ but they stole out during our
 +many conversations. Who that has been to
 +sea knows not how speedily character is discovered
 +on shipboard? And I say that before
 +that gale was ended I was so much in love
 +with this fair and tender girl that I could
 +have laid down my life to serve her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This I should not have confessed, nor
 +indeed made any reference to my love-passage,​
 +if it did not concern the influence exercised
 +by the Death Ship on the lives and fortunes
 +of those who have relations with her.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In this time our conversation was about all
 +sorts of things&​mdash;​her parents, her home, her
 +childhood, the loss of her father'​s ship, the
 +friendless condition she would be in on her
 +arrival in England should I manage to deliver
 +her from Vanderdecken. Though when she
 +came to that, I begged her to dismiss her
 +fears at once and for ever, by assuring her<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_45"​ id="​Page_45">​[45]</​a></​span>​
 +that my mother would gladly receive her
 +and cherish her as her own daughter, having
 +but me to love, who was always absent. At
 +which a faint blush sweetened her cheeks as
 +though she suspected what was in my mind;
 +but I was careful to hurry away from the
 +subject, since I did not wish her then to
 +suppose I loved her, for fear that, not having
 +had time, as I believed, to love me, she might
 +fall into a posture of mind calculated to baffle
 +my hopes of carrying her away from the
 +Braave. I told her all about myself, of the
 +famous Fenton from whom I was descended,
 +of my voyages, of the Saracen, whose passage
 +to India I feared would have an ill issue now
 +that she had met the Dutchman, and I talked
 +again of Captain Skevington'​s amazing, and,
 +as I supposed, accurate theories touching the
 +living-dead who navigated this ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She had much to tell me of Vanderdecken
 +and his ship; of unsuspecting vessels they
 +had fallen in with, which had sold them<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_46"​ id="​Page_46">​[46]</​a></​span>​
 +tobacco, butter, cheese, and the like. Of
 +others that had backed their topsails to speak,
 +then taken fright and sailed away in hot
 +haste.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I asked her if it was true that the captain
 +hailed passing ships for the purpose of sending
 +letters home. She answered no; it was
 +not true; that was the general belief as she
 +had heard from her father; but, as Vanderdecken
 +did not know that he was curst&​mdash;​as
 +he went on year after year, firmly believing
 +that next time he should be successful in
 +rounding the Cape&​mdash;​why should he desire
 +to send letters home, more particularly as
 +he regarded the Braave as one of the swiftest
 +vessels afloat. She added, "I have never
 +seen him write a letter, and I am certain
 +he has never endeavoured to send one."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But if he finds a ship willing to speak, he
 +will send a boat?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ always; but merely for necessaries
 +of which he is constantly in want. Now it<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_47"​ id="​Page_47">​[47]</​a></​span>​
 +is tobacco; another time it will be spirits.
 +Some few weeks since we met a ship, from
 +which he purchased several cases of marmalade
 +and some hams, for which Van Vogelaar
 +paid in coin that scared them, when they put
 +the age of the money and the appearance of
 +this ship together; for they threw the mate
 +overboard, and instantly made off."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I suppose Van Vogelaar could not be
 +drowned?"​ said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,"​ said she; "he, like the rest, have
 +no other business in life than to live. They
 +had put the hams and marmalade into the
 +boat, and when they threw him in the sea,
 +he swam very quietly to his companions."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What was the ship?" I asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A Spaniard,"​ she replied. "After they
 +had put the ship before the wind I saw a
 +number of them on the poop on their knees
 +crossing themselves."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I cannot understand,"​ said I, "why this
 +ship should be termed a Phantom. What<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_48"​ id="​Page_48">​[48]</​a></​span>​
 +could be more real than these timbers and
 +the requirements of the people who navigate
 +her?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Besides,"​ exclaimed Imogene, "if she is
 +a Phantom, how could Vanderdecken write
 +those letters in her which he is supposed to
 +desire to send home? If you have a real
 +letter, such as a person can put into his pocket
 +and deliver, you must have real materials
 +to produce it, ink, pens, paper, wafers, and
 +something hard to sit upon, or kneel upon, or
 +write upon."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Certainly!"​ said I. "Of a Phantom the
 +whole must be phantasmal. Suppose a ghost
 +dressed, its attire must be as unsubstantial as
 +the essence it covers."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The truth about this ship is not known,"​
 +she continued, "and it never can be known,
 +because her influence is dreaded. Vessels on
 +finding out her character fly from her, and
 +those who sell to her unsuspectingly pass
 +away without giving her further thought."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_49"​ id="​Page_49">​[49]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Or,"​ said I, gloomily, "​perhaps are never
 +more heard of."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In this way would we talk, and you may
 +conceive we were at no loss for topics. On
 +several occasions she showed me some of the
 +dresses Vanderdecken had furnished her with;
 +of which I chiefly remember a chintz gown,
 +spotted with roses, with sleeves swelling out
 +like ruffs at the elbows; ​ a pink dress, with a
 +girdle to bring the waist close under the
 +bosom; and a slate-coloured dress, with a red
 +shawl for it, to be worn like a sash, and a
 +kerchief for the throat; and I also recollect
 +that she showed me some strange, very
 +dainty caps, one to sit on the back of the
 +head, another of black velvet and a feather,
 +which she told me Vanderdecken had said
 +was worn on the side of the head. She put
 +it on to explain its use, and a man's true
 +darling she looked in it.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Once she came into the cabin dressed in
 +the pink dress with the high waist; and very<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_50"​ id="​Page_50">​[50]</​a></​span>​
 +sweet did she appear. But I said to her that
 +of all the apparel she had shown me nothing
 +pleased me better than the black velvet
 +jacket in which I had first seen her, and
 +thereafter she constantly wore it.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In short, the clothes Vanderdecken had
 +stocked her cabin with, including much fine
 +linen, lace, collars, long gloves, shoes of
 +several colours, and the like, were such as to
 +suggest a costly theatrical wardrobe by reason
 +of the variety of the styles representing
 +fashions from the middle of the seventeenth
 +century down to within twenty years of the
 +time in which happened what I am here relating.
 +It has been already explained how
 +these things were gotten. You have only to
 +consider that this ship sailed from Batavia in
 +1653, with a large stock of dresses, linen,
 +jewellery, plate and so forth in her hold,
 +besides her cargo, which stock Vanderdecken,​
 +in whom there must still work the
 +thrifty instincts of the Hollander, just as he is<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_51"​ id="​Page_51">​[51]</​a></​span>​
 +suffered to love his pipe and bowl, and pine
 +for both when the tobacco and spirits have
 +run out, had replenished by appropriating
 +such wares, treasure and apparel as he had a
 +fancy for out of the ships he encountered
 +abandoned at sea or cast away upon the
 +African coast. You have only to consider
 +this, I say, and bear in mind the great number
 +of years he has been afloat, and how many
 +scores of richly-laden merchantmen have
 +passed and repassed that part of the ocean to
 +which the Curse confines him, to find nothing
 +to marvel at in any catalogue of the contents
 +of the Braave that could be offered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Besides having all these strange and often
 +sumptuous articles of attire to show me and
 +talk about, Imogene had a great deal to tell
 +me concerning the weary years she had spent
 +in the vessel, wondering how her life was to
 +end, how she was ever to get to England or to
 +any other civilized country if Vanderdecken
 +refused to let her leave him, because of his<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_52"​ id="​Page_52">​[52]</​a></​span>​
 +fatherly affection for her and his conviction
 +that he was homeward bound, and only temporarily
 +delayed by the north-west gales
 +which beat him back. She said that after a
 +time she began to fear that she would lose
 +her own language and be able to speak no
 +tongue but the ancient Dutch in which Vanderdecken
 +and his men conversed, to preserve
 +herself from which calamity she regularly
 +perused the collection of English poetry that
 +the captain most fortunately had among his
 +books. Her grief was that the book, instead
 +of poems, was not the Holy Scriptures, but
 +she knew many prayers and hymns her
 +mother had taught her, and these she never
 +omitted reciting morning and night.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​You would have been touched had you
 +heard her, marked the sadness that rendered
 +Madonna-like the character of her fragile,
 +delicate beauty, observed the girlish innocence
 +of the expression that shone with
 +the moisture of unwept tears in the eyes she<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_53"​ id="​Page_53">​[53]</​a></​span>​
 +fixed on me, and then considered how she
 +had been bereaved, how frightful for tediousness
 +and dullness, and for the association of
 +the mysterious beings into whose society
 +she had been cast, must have been the five
 +years she had spent on the Death Ship. I
 +remember asking if she knew what religion
 +Vanderdecken was of; she answered she did
 +not know for certain, but that she had heard
 +him speak of his wife and family as having
 +worshipped in the Oude Kerk.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Indeed,​ Mr. Fenton,"​ said she, "I don't
 +believe he is or was of any religion at all.
 +Van Vogelaar is a Calvinist; he told me
 +so one evening when I was speaking with
 +surprise of Antony Jans being a Catholic, as
 +it is almost impossible to reconcile the fatness
 +of that man with the austerities and
 +mortifications of his creed."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There can be no doubt,"​ said I, "that
 +Vanderdecken was&​mdash;​when human like you
 +and me, without religion. His shocking de<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_54"​ id="​Page_54">​[54]</​a></​span>​fiance,​
 +and the condemnation that followed,
 +proved that he acted out of sheer sin in his
 +soul, and not out of a passing passion. And
 +yet you would have supposed that a Dutchman,
 +no matter how secretly impious, would
 +have behaved with more discretion than this
 +skipper."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I dare say he would have been more
 +discreet,"​ said Imogene, "had he imagined
 +what was to follow."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was in this way, and in such talk, that
 +we killed those six days of storm; and now I
 +come to other matters.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_55"​ id="​Page_55">​[55]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER IV.<br />
 +
 +THE GALE BREAKS.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>On the sixth day, during dinner, Vanderdecken
 +said he believed we had seen the
 +worst of the storm. There was a small lull
 +in the wind, and a faintness sifting up, so to
 +speak, from behind the peaks and valleys of
 +the horizon into the sky all around, like a
 +very dim dawning of fair weather innumerable
 +leagues distant yet.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I shall be glad to see the sun again,"​ said
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let us get quit of these waters,"​ exclaimed
 +Vanderdecken,​ moodily, and often
 +dropping his knife and fork to take his beard
 +in both hands and stroke it with a fixed look
 +in his eyes, which would have made you<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_56"​ id="​Page_56">​[56]</​a></​span>​
 +swear he beheld a vision, "and we shall have
 +so much sun every day climbing higher and
 +higher until it hangs right over our mastheads
 +like a flaming shield that the coolness
 +of the Biscayan Sea and the entrance of the
 +English Channel shall be sweet as drink to a
 +dry man."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Pray,​ mynheer,"​ said I, "how far to the
 +eastwards do you suppose this gale has
 +driven us?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He looked at me with a sudden temper in
 +his face as if he would crush me for daring to
 +ask. Nevertheless,​ he answered, but with a
 +deep thrill in the rich tremble of his voice,
 +"About one hundred and fifty leagues, sir;
 +and what of that?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ and what of that?" exclaimed Van
 +Vogelaar, who had turned a scowling eye on
 +me on my asking this question.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why,​ nothing, gentlemen,"​ I answered,
 +warned by the violet eyes that dwelt upon
 +me to slide out of this matter as quickly as I<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_57"​ id="​Page_57">​[57]</​a></​span>​
 +could. "The ground to be recovered is not
 +great, and a pretty little south-east wind
 +should float us, with square yards, round the
 +Cape in three or four days."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken made no response; his eyes
 +fell away from me to the table, at which he
 +gazed in the posture of one who dreams
 +waking. Van Vogelaar, on the other hand,
 +continued to stare at me for a long minute,
 +which, as he sate on my right hand and consequently
 +had to turn his head and hold his
 +face full towards me, proved a very severe
 +trial to my temper, insomuch that I could have
 +beat him for his insolence. But a very little
 +reflection taught me to consider this steadfast,
 +surly and abusive regard as meaningless
 +as a dead man's stare would be if moulded
 +to the expression Van Vogelaar wore; so I
 +waited till he should have made an end of his
 +scrutiny, and the captain shortly after rising,
 +I followed him on deck, the weather as yet
 +being too heavy and wet for Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_58"​ id="​Page_58">​[58]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was as Vanderdecken had said. The gale
 +had broke and we might look for a clear sky
 +presently, yet the sea still ran fearfully high,
 +and the wash and weltering of it along the
 +sea-line that was now indifferently clear, suggested
 +a vast sierra whose sides beyond were
 +in sunshine, whilst over our trucks lay the
 +sombre twilight of the tempest. There was
 +still a fine rain in the air, though not such as
 +to cloud the ocean, but I was so fascinated by
 +the picture of the Flying Dutchman'​s fight
 +with the mighty combers which rolled at her
 +from the north and west that I lingered
 +gazing till I was pretty near as soaked as
 +when I had been fished up and brought
 +aboard.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But a sailor makes no trouble of a wet
 +jacket so long as he has a dry shirt for his
 +back, which I had, thanks to Vanderdecken,​
 +who had been so good as to lend me several
 +shifts of linen.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I do not know that I ever saw or heard of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_59"​ id="​Page_59">​[59]</​a></​span>​
 +a ship that threw from her such bodies of
 +foam as did this vessel. She would rise at
 +the sea buoyantly enough, yet at every
 +lean-to to windward for a giddy sliding swoop
 +into the hollow, she hurled an enormous space
 +of seething and spitting and flashing froth
 +many fathoms from her, into which she would
 +sink as though it were snow and so squatter,
 +as 'tis termed, and lie there whilst you might
 +count to ten or fifteen, ere rising out of it to
 +the irresistible heave of the next leviathan
 +sea. Often had I watched this picture during
 +the six days, but the light breaking around
 +the whole circle of the sea, like radiance dully
 +streaming through greased paper, the decreasing
 +force of the wind, that while leaving
 +the surges still monstrous, suffered the ship
 +to fall with deader weight to windward, thus
 +enlarging the snow-like surface she cast from
 +her whilst rendering it fiercer in its boiling,
 +made this particular example of the ship's
 +sea-going qualities a marvel in my sight,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_60"​ id="​Page_60">​[60]</​a></​span>​
 +and I stood for a long time looking and
 +looking.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>If ever a man was to guess the deathless
 +character of this craft it would be at such a
 +time as this. The giant forces of nature
 +with which she had warred were languishing.
 +The beaten storm, not indeed yet breathless,
 +was slowly silencing the desperate roar of its
 +invisible artillery; the seas, like battering-rams,​
 +thundered against her sides, but with a
 +gradual lessening of their fury, and the victorious
 +ship, her decks streaming, her bows
 +and sides hound-like with salival drainings,
 +a fierce music of triumphant shoutings aloft,
 +her reefed courses swollen as are the cheeks
 +of trumpeters urging to the conflict, rose and
 +fell, pitched and strained, among those liquid
 +heights and hollows, every nerve in her
 +ancient fabric strung taut for a battle that
 +was to be repeated again and again, whilst
 +the faintness round the horizon waxed into a
 +delicate brightness of sunshine streaming off<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_61"​ id="​Page_61">​[61]</​a></​span>​
 +the edge of the canopy that still hovered on
 +high, and the wind sank into whistlings,
 +without admixture of thunderous intervals,
 +and the surge-slopes drooped out of their
 +savage sharpness.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>By seven o'​clock that night the gale was
 +spent, and there was then blowing a quiet
 +breeze from the west-south-west. The swell
 +rolled slowly from the quarter from which the
 +wind had stormed, and caused the Braave to
 +wallow most nauseously, but she grew a bit
 +steadier after they had shaken the reefs out
 +of the courses and made sail on her. I
 +watched this business with deep interest.
 +Vanderdecken,​ standing on the poop, gave
 +his orders to Van Vogelaar on the quarter-deck.
 +The sailors went to work with true
 +Dutch phlegm and deliberateness,​ taking
 +plenty of time to unknot the reef-points,​
 +then carrying the fore and main-jeers to the
 +capstan, and walking round without a song,
 +sullen and silent. There was no liveliness<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_62"​ id="​Page_62">​[62]</​a></​span>&​mdash;​none
 +of the springing and jumping and
 +cheerful heartiness you would expect in a
 +crew who, after battling through six dismal
 +days of black winds and lashing seas, were
 +now looked down upon by a Heaven of stars,
 +shining gloriously among a few slowly-moving
 +clouds.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Ay,​ you saw how dead were the bodies
 +which the supernatural life in them kept
 +a-going. They set their topsails, topgallant-sails
 +and mizzen, which I have elsewhere
 +described as a lateen-shaped sail secured to
 +a yard, like to the triangular canvas carried
 +by xebecs and gallies, then hoisted their jib
 +or fore-staysail and let fall the clews of the
 +spritsail, keeping the sprit-topsail handed.
 +The larboard tacks were still aboard and the
 +ship heading north, lying up for the coast
 +that was now about two hundred and fifty to
 +three hundred leagues from us. She made a
 +wild picture, not wanting in solemnity either,
 +yet charged with an element of fear. Twi<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_63"​ id="​Page_63">​[63]</​a></​span>​light
 +is but short-lived in those seas and it
 +was dark&​mdash;​though the sky as I have said
 +was full of radiant galaxies&​mdash;​some while
 +before they had ended the business of crowding
 +sail upon the ship. Amid the fury and
 +froth of the gale the phosphoric gleamings of
 +the timbers had been hidden; but now that
 +peace had come and there was no other
 +commotion than such as the long cradling
 +swing of the swell produced, those grave-yard
 +lights glistened out afresh and they
 +made you think of the eyes of countless
 +worms creeping in and out of the rottenness
 +of an hundred and fifty years. It was certain
 +that Vanderdecken and his mates saw these
 +misty, sickly, death-suggestive glimmerings;​
 +for the faint lights trembled along the decks,
 +twinkled upon the masts, shone with sufficient
 +power on the sides to make&​mdash;​as I had observed
 +when the ship first drew near to the
 +Saracen&​mdash;​a light of their own in the black
 +water; they must have been noticeable things<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_64"​ id="​Page_64">​[64]</​a></​span>​
 +to the crew, even as to Imogene and me;
 +for they saw what we saw&​mdash;​the sun, the stars,
 +the ocean, the sails, the directions of the compass&​mdash;​whatever
 +was to be seen.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Why,​ then, was it that this fluttering, malignant
 +sheen did not catch their notice? I
 +know not. Maybe the senses permitted to
 +them went so far only as to impel them to
 +persevere in making the passage of the Cape.
 +For besides these phosphoric crawlings, the
 +aged condition of the ship, her antique rig,
 +and a variety of other features illustrating the
 +passage of time, would have been visible to
 +them, had their perception not been limited
 +by the Curse to the obligations it imposed.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​After a little Vanderdecken went below,
 +and presently returned bringing Imogene
 +with him. On the poop 'twas all darkness
 +save for the phosphorescence in the ship and
 +the sea-fire over the side. The captain and
 +the lady came close before I distinguished
 +them.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_65"​ id="​Page_65">​[65]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Fair weather at last, Mr. Fenton!"​ she
 +exclaimed, after peering to make sure of me,
 +and then stopping so as to oblige Vanderdecken
 +to stop too, for he had her arm in his,
 +and I think he meant to walk to and fro the
 +deck with her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,"​ I replied, "​Heaven is merciful.
 +Such another six days I would not pass
 +through for the wealth in this ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Pray speak in Dutch, sir, that I may
 +follow you," said Vanderdecken,​ with a
 +certain stern and dignified courtesy.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If I could converse with ease, mynheer,"​
 +said I, "I should speak in no other language
 +aboard this vessel. As it is, I fear you do
 +not catch half my meaning."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ yes! you are intelligible,​ sir," he
 +answered, "​though you sometimes use words
 +which sound like Dutch but signify nothing."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Nothing to you, my friend,"​ thought I;
 +"but I warrant them of good currency in the
 +Amsterdam of to-day."​ In short, his language<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_66"​ id="​Page_66">​[66]</​a></​span>​
 +was to mine, or at least to the smattering
 +I had of the Batavian tongue, what the
 +speech of a man of the time of Charles II.
 +would be to one of this century&​mdash;​not very
 +wide asunder; only that one would now
 +and again introduce an obsolete expression,
 +whilst the other would occasionally employ
 +a term created years after his colloquist'​s
 +day.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But it pleases me, captain, to speak in
 +my own tongue,"​ said Imogene. "I should
 +not like to forget my language."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It will be strange if you forget your language
 +in a few months, my child!"​ he
 +answered, with a slight surprise.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A sudden roll of the ship causing the great
 +mainsail to flap, he started, looked around
 +him, and cried out with a sudden anger in his
 +deep voice, to the steersman, "How is the
 +ship's head?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​North-by-east,"​ was the answer.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We want no easting,"​ he cried out again,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_67"​ id="​Page_67">​[67]</​a></​span>​
 +with the same passion in his voice, and strode
 +with vehemence to the binnacle where stood
 +Antony Arents, who had charge of the deck,
 +and who had gone to view the compass on
 +hearing the skipper call.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​This will not do!" I heard the captain
 +say, his deep tones rumbling into the ear as
 +though you passed at a distance a church in
 +which an organ was played. "By the bones
 +of my father, I'll not have her break off!
 +Sweat your braces, man! Take them to the
 +capstan! If we spring our masts and yards
 +for it she'll have to head nothing east of
 +north!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was a fierce impetuosity in his
 +speech that made the delivery of it sound like
 +a sustained execration. Arents went forward
 +and raised some cries. I could see the figure
 +of Vanderdecken black against the stars, up
 +and down which he slided with the heave of
 +the ship. He was motionless, close to the
 +binnacle, and I could imagine the stormy rise<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_68"​ id="​Page_68">​[68]</​a></​span>​
 +and fall of his broad and powerful chest under
 +his folded arms.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The watch came aft to the braces and
 +strained at them. 'Twas a shadowy scene.
 +There were none of those songs and choruses
 +which seamen used to keep time in their
 +pulling and hauling and to encourage their
 +spirits withal. The boatswain, Jans, was on
 +the forecastle attending the fore: Arents
 +stood on the quarter-deck. Occasionally one
 +or the other shouted out an order which the
 +dim concavities on high flung down again out
 +of their hollows, as though there were ghosts
 +aloft mocking at these labours. You saw the
 +pallid shinings writhing about the feet of the
 +sailors, and the sharper scintillations of the
 +wood-work wherever it was chafed by a rope.
 +When they had trimmed, but not yet with
 +the capstan, Arents called to the captain, who
 +returned an answer implying that the ship
 +had come up again, and that the trim as it
 +was would serve. Thereupon the men stole<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_69"​ id="​Page_69">​[69]</​a></​span>​
 +out of sight into the darkness forward, melting
 +into the blackness as do visions of a
 +slumberer into the void of deep and dreamless
 +rest; Arents returned to the poop and stood
 +near the captain, who held his place with
 +the entranced stirlessness I was now accustomed
 +to see in him. But, no doubt, his
 +eyes were on the needle, and had I dared
 +approach, I might have beheld a fire in his
 +eyes keener than the flame of the mesh with
 +which the binnacle was illuminated.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You would know him as one not of this
 +world,"​ said I to Imogene, "even should he
 +pass you quickly in a crowd."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There are some lines in the book of
 +poetry downstairs which fit him to perfection,"​
 +she answered&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"'​Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face<br />
 +Bears a command in it; though thy tackle'​s torn,<br />
 +Thou shew'​st a noble vessel.'"<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ said I, "they are wonderfully pat;
 +they might have been made for him."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Here are others,"​ she continued&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_70"​ id="​Page_70">​[70]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"'​He has, I know not what,<br />
 +Of greatness in his looks and of high fate,<br />
 +That almost awes me.'<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And when his moods change these verses
 +are always present&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +'​Read'​st thou not something in my face that speaks<​br />
 +Wonderful change and horror from within me?'"<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p>​She put a tragic note into her voice as she
 +recited; the starlight was in her eyes, and
 +they were fixed on me; her face whitened
 +out to the astral gleaming till you saw her
 +hair throbbing on her forehead to the blowing
 +of the wind. She continued&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I could quote a score of passages marvellously
 +true of the captain and his fellows,
 +serving indeed as revelations to me, so keen
 +are the eyes of poets. And little wonder,"​
 +says she, with a sigh, "for what else have I
 +had to read but that book of poetry!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Just now," said I, "he asked if you
 +thought it likely you should lose your language
 +in a few months. This plainly shows
 +that he supposes he met with you in his pas<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_71"​ id="​Page_71">​[71]</​a></​span>​sage
 +from Batavia&​mdash;​that is his last passage.
 +Now, since his finding you dates nearly five
 +years back, and you tell me that he has only
 +memory for what happened within the past
 +few months, how does it fall out that he
 +recollects your story, which he certainly does,
 +for he asked me if you had related it to me?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It must be," she answered, "​because he
 +is constantly alluding to it in speaking of the
 +reception his wife and daughters will give
 +me. It is also impressed upon him by my
 +presence, by my frequent asking him to put
 +me on board a homeward-going ship, and so
 +it is kept in his mind as a thing constantly
 +happening&​mdash;​continually fresh."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Suppose I should stay in this ship say for
 +six months, never speaking of the Saracen
 +nor recalling the circumstance of my coming
 +on board, you believe his memory would drop
 +the fact, and that he would view me as one
 +who happened to be in the ship, and that's
 +all, his mind stopping at that?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_72"​ id="​Page_72">​[72]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How he would view you I cannot say;
 +but I am certain he would forget how you
 +came here, unless there was incessant reference
 +to the Saracen and to her men shooting
 +at Van Vogelaar. But time would bear no
 +part in this sort of recollection:​ he would
 +still be living in the year of God 1653, and
 +sailing home from Batavia; and if he thought
 +at all he'd imagine it was in that year that
 +you came on board his ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Well,​ here was a piece of metaphysics a
 +touch above my intelligence and above this
 +sweet creature'​s too, for she could only speak
 +as she believed, without being able to account
 +for the miraculous conditions of this ship's
 +life and of that of her crew. And indeed
 +I should not have teased her with such
 +questions but for a great craving to obtain a
 +just conception of the amazing character who
 +has been, and must ever remain, the terror of
 +all mariners; whilst beyond this again was a
 +secret dread lest this fair enchanting woman<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_73"​ id="​Page_73">​[73]</​a></​span>​
 +should have been chosen to play a part in the
 +marine tragedy; which I would have a right
 +to fear if I found Vanderdecken'​s relations
 +with her, as regards his memory for instance,
 +different from what they were in all other
 +directions. Plainly I mean this: that if she
 +were being used as a Divine instrument, then
 +it was certain that I should not be suffered
 +to deliver her from the Death Ship&​mdash;​an insupportable
 +reflection at any time, but a
 +mortal blow now that I had come to love
 +her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Meanwhile,​ the giant figure of the Dutch
 +captain stood motionless near the binnacle;
 +close to him was the second mate, himself
 +like a statue. The tiller-tackles,​ grasped by
 +the helmsman, swayed him with every blow
 +of the sea upon the rudder, yet even his
 +movements had a lifelessness in them that
 +was as apparent as though the man had been
 +stricken dead at his post, and swung there
 +against the dancing stars.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_74"​ id="​Page_74">​[74]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>A quick jerk of the ship causing Imogene
 +to lose her balance, she grasped my arm to
 +steady herself by, and I took care she should
 +not release me. Indeed, from almost the first
 +hour of our meeting there had been a yearning
 +towards me, a wistfulness of a mute sort
 +underlying her demeanour, and this night I
 +found assurance of it by her manner, that
 +was not indeed clinging, having more of
 +nestling in it, as if I was her refuge, her
 +one hope. She may have guessed I loved
 +her. I cannot tell. My eyes may have said
 +much, though I had not spoken. But there
 +was that in her, as she stood by my side,
 +with her hand under my arm, that persuaded
 +me her heart was coming to mine, and haply
 +more quickly because of our sole mortality
 +amid the substantial shadows of the Death
 +Ship's crew. You felt what that bond meant
 +when you looked around you and saw the
 +dimly-looming figure of Vanderdecken beside
 +the compass, the ghostly darkness of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_75"​ id="​Page_75">​[75]</​a></​span>​
 +second mate's form, the corpse-like swaying
 +of the helmsman, as of an hanging body
 +moved by the wind, and thought of the
 +amazing human mysteries lost in the darkness
 +forward, or slumbering in the hammocks,
 +if, indeed, sleep was ever permitted
 +to visit eyes which death was forbidden to
 +approach. 'Twas as if Imogene stood on
 +one side a grave, I on the other, and clasped
 +hands for the courage we found in warm and
 +circulating blood, over a pit filled with a
 +heart-freezing sight.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We shall escape yet&​mdash;​fear not!" said I,
 +speaking out of the heat of my own thoughts
 +as though we were conversing on that subject.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​May our Saviour grant it!" she exclaimed.
 +"See how black the white water
 +around the ship makes her in spite of the
 +strange fires which glow everywhere!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I felt her shiver as she cried, "The vessel
 +seems to grow more terrible to my fancy. It
 +may be because we have talked so much of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_76"​ id="​Page_76">​[76]</​a></​span>​
 +her, and your views of Vanderdecken and
 +the crew have raised terrifying speculations
 +in me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We shall escape yet!" I repeated, hotly,
 +for the very sense of our imprisonment and
 +the helplessness of our condition for the time
 +being, that might be long in terminating,​ was
 +a thought so maddening that I felt in a
 +temper to defy, scorn and spit in the face of
 +the very Devil himself was he to appear.
 +But I had her right hand pressed to my
 +heart; 'twas sure she felt the comfort of it,
 +and together for some while in silence we
 +stood viewing the ship, the fabric of whose
 +hull stood out as though lined with India ink
 +upon the ashen tremble of froth that seemed
 +to embrace her length like shadowy-white
 +arms, as the wind blowing mildly into her
 +sails forced her to break the water at her
 +stern as she slided athwart the swell. She
 +made a sight to shrink from! The sailor'​s
 +heart within me sank to this feebly-luminous<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_77"​ id="​Page_77">​[77]</​a></​span>​
 +mystery of aged yet imperishable hull, holding
 +within her creatures so unnatural that the
 +eye of man can view the like of them nowhere
 +else, and raising her structure of ancient
 +sail and masts to the stars which glided in
 +blue and green and white along the yards
 +with the rolling of her. Little wonder that
 +she should affright the mariner who meets
 +her amid the lonely paths of the vast ocean
 +she haunts.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I clasped my brow with bewilderment in
 +my brain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Surely,"​ I cried to my companion, "I
 +am dreaming. It cannot be that I at this
 +moment am standing on the deck of the
 +Death Ship!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She sought to soothe me, but she was
 +startled by my behaviour, and that perception
 +enabled me to rally. If she as a weak and
 +lonely maiden could bravely support five years
 +of life amid this crew, what craven was I to
 +have my brain confused by only seven days'<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_78"​ id="​Page_78">​[78]</​a></​span>​
 +association,​ spent mainly in her company?
 +Heaven forgive me. But methinks I realised
 +our condition&​mdash;​all that it might hereafter
 +signify&​mdash;​with a keenness of insight, present
 +and prophetic, which would be impossible in
 +her whose knowledge of the sea was but a
 +child'​s when she fell into Vanderdecken'​s
 +hands.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We must have patience, courage and
 +hope, Mr. Fenton,"​ she said, softly. "Look
 +at that starry jewel yonder,"​ and she turned
 +up her face to the cross that hung above
 +the mizzen topmast-head,​ gleaming very
 +gloriously in a lake of deep indigo betwixt two
 +clouds. "It shines for me! and often have
 +I looked up at it with full eyes and a prayer
 +in my heart. It shines for you, too! It is
 +the emblem of our redemption, and we must
 +drink in faith that God will succour us from
 +it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She continued to gaze at it, and there was
 +sheen enough to enable me to see a tender<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_79"​ id="​Page_79">​[79]</​a></​span>​
 +smile upon her upturned face. How sweet
 +did she then appear, fairer than the "​evening
 +air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars,"​ as
 +the poet wrote. I looked up to that sparkling
 +Cross and thought how strange it was
 +that the Sentence pronounced upon this ship
 +should doom her to sail eternally over waters
 +above which there nightly rises the lustrous
 +symbol of Compassion and Mercy.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Take my arm, my child; 'tis chilly work
 +standing,"​ said the deep voice of the captain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Again had he come upon us unawares, but
 +this time he found us silent, together gazing
 +at the Cross of stars. She withdrew her
 +hand quickly from my arm and took his,
 +showing wisdom in her promptness, as I was
 +quick to see. Then, being alone, I went to
 +the quarter-deck and fell to walking briskly.
 +For Vanderdecken was right, the wind came
 +bleak.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_80"​ id="​Page_80">​[80]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER V.<br />
 +
 +THE DEATH SHIP'S FORECASTLE.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Next morning was clear and sunny. I was
 +up betimes, being always glad to get away
 +from my cabin, in the which I needed all my
 +long training at sea to qualify me to sleep,
 +not only because of the rats and the noises in
 +the hold, and those mystic fires in the timbers
 +that never failed to send a shudder through
 +me if I opened my eyes upon them in the
 +darkness, but because of my bed, which was
 +miserably hard and wretched in all ways, and
 +in which I would lie down dressed, saving
 +my boots and jacket, never knowing when I
 +might not be obliged to spring on deck in a
 +hurry, though I took care to refresh myself
 +o' morn by going into the head, pulling off<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_81"​ id="​Page_81">​[81]</​a></​span>​
 +my shirt and sousing myself with a bucketfull
 +of salt water&​mdash;'​twas an old canvas bucket, I
 +remember&​mdash;​no man of the crew speaking to
 +or noticing me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This morning being very fine, the first
 +bright day that had broken since I had been
 +in the ship, I thought, since it was early, an
 +hour to breakfast, Vanderdecken in his cabin
 +and Arents alone on the poop-deck with the
 +man who steered, that I would look a little
 +closely into the vessel, and ascertain if possible
 +where and how the men slept, where
 +they dressed their food and the like. But
 +first I snatched a glance around to see if any
 +sail was in sight. No! 'Twas all dark-blue
 +water meeting the clear sky in an unbroken
 +girdle, that by holding its sapphire hue against
 +the light azure of the heavens there, stood
 +out with surprising sharpness. The swell
 +left by the gale was not gone, but it came
 +with a steady rhythmic flowing of folds from
 +the north-west that seemed to soothe rather<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_82"​ id="​Page_82">​[82]</​a></​span>​
 +than to vex the ancient ship, and the heavings
 +made the eastern sea-board a rich and dazzling
 +spectacle, by catching the brilliant white
 +sunshine on the polish of their rounded backs,
 +and so carrying their burden of blinding
 +radiance to the verge of the visible deep.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The ship was under all the canvas she had.
 +That studding-sails have been for ages in use
 +we know on the authority of Sir Walter
 +Raleigh, in his writings on the improvements
 +in ships since Henry the Eighth'​s days; yet
 +I can answer that this Death Ship had no
 +irons on her yards, nor could I anywhere see
 +any spars that answered to the booms used
 +for the spreading of those sails. However,
 +even if she had been furnished with such
 +canvas, this morning it would have been
 +no use to her; for the breeze still hung,
 +westerly and she was going close-hauled,​
 +steering something to the west of north and
 +moving through the water at about three
 +knots.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_83"​ id="​Page_83">​[83]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I spied the corpulent figure of Jans, the
 +boatswain, forward of the fore-mast. He was
 +standing with his arms folded, staring ahead.
 +His posture somehow suggested a vacancy of
 +mind, and you thought of him as looking into
 +God knows what distance, with the unmeaningness
 +you observe in the fixed gaze of a
 +babe sucking.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I could not say whether the decks had
 +been washed down; they seemed damp, as
 +if newly swabbed. One whom I supposed
 +to be the ship's carpenter was sawing wood
 +near the house in which were the live stock.
 +Two others, hard by him, sat upon a sail,
 +stitching at it. There was a seaman in the
 +fore-top, but what doing I could not see;
 +little more than his head showed above the
 +barricade. I walked forward to where the
 +boatswain stood, and, on observing that he
 +took no notice of me, I touched him lightly
 +on the shoulder.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He turned his round face, ghastly as<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_84"​ id="​Page_84">​[84]</​a></​span>​
 +death yet as fleshy and plump as life, and
 +gazed at me. I felt nervous&​mdash;​it was dreadful
 +to accost these conformations,​ which were
 +neither men nor devils&​mdash;​but I was resolved
 +to go through with the business I had on
 +hand, impelled by the thought that if I was
 +suffered to come off with my life from this
 +experience there would be that to relate to
 +the world beyond anything which seamen
 +have told of the ocean life.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said to him, "Good morning, Herr Jans.
 +Here, to be sure, is a fine sky with noble
 +promise."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​True,​ sir," he answered, seeming to step
 +out of the mystery of his stillness and
 +vacancy without effort. "She looks fairly
 +up: but so tedious a nor'​-wester should be
 +followed by a southerly gale!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Heaven grant it!" cried I, gathering
 +courage from his civility. "You will be glad
 +to see old Amsterdam again, no doubt!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ said he, "I warrant you; and my<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_85"​ id="​Page_85">​[85]</​a></​span>​
 +wife, Amana, too, and my daughter, Tobina.
 +Ha! ha!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​His laugh was like that of the parrot,
 +mirthless; and not a wrinkle stirred upon his
 +countenance to give reality to his shocking
 +merriment.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To come at what I wanted&​mdash;​for I did not
 +wish Vanderdecken to arrive and see me
 +forward&​mdash;​I said "Yes, meetings are made
 +sweeter by a little delay. Pardon me, Heer:
 +I am an Englishman not well acquainted
 +with the shipboard usages of the Dutch. In
 +the ship of which I was second mate, we had
 +what is called a topgallant forecastle in which
 +the crew slept&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He interrupted with a shake of the head.
 +"I do not understand,"​ said he.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This was not strange, for as I did not know
 +the Dutch words, I called it topgallant forecastle
 +in English.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They slept under a deck resembling the
 +poop," said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_86"​ id="​Page_86">​[86]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ha!"​ he exclaimed.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where do your crew sleep?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Down there,"​ he responded, pointing to
 +a hatch answering to the forescuttle of these
 +times.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is it a comfortable cabin?"​ said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He made a face and spat behind his hand,
 +which caused me to see that sailors in all
 +times have been alike in the capacity of
 +grumbling, and that even in this man, who
 +by virtue of the age he had attained had long
 +ceased to be human and was kept alive only
 +by the Curse it was his lot to share with the
 +skipper, the instincts of the seaman still lived,
 +a few sparks among blackened embers.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Judge for yourself if you will," said he.
 +"My last ship was the Maagt van Eukhuysen,
 +and though her forecastle raised a mutiny
 +among us for its badness, I tell you, mynheer,
 +'twas as punch is to stale cold water
 +compared to this."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He motioned me to descend, but I asked<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_87"​ id="​Page_87">​[87]</​a></​span>​
 +him to go first, for how was I to guess what
 +would be my reception if the men saw me
 +entering their abode unaccompanied?​ "Very
 +good," said he, and catching hold of the
 +coaming he dropped his great figure through
 +the hatch, and I followed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We descended by a ladder in perfect correspondence
 +with the rest of the fittings of
 +this ship&​mdash;​the hand-rails carved, and the
 +steps a sort of grating&​mdash;​different,​ indeed,
 +from the pieces of coarse, rough wood nailed
 +to the bulkhead, which in these days form
 +the road down through the forescuttle. The
 +light of the heavens fell fair through the
 +hatch, but seemed powerless to penetrate the
 +gloom that lay around. I was blinded at
 +first, and stood a moment under the hatch
 +idly blinking and beholding nothing. Then
 +stepping out of the sphere of the daylight,
 +there stole upon my sight the details of the
 +place one by one, helped by the wan, sputtering
 +and smoking flame of a lamp shaped<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_88"​ id="​Page_88">​[88]</​a></​span>​
 +like a coffee-pot, the waste or mesh coming
 +out of the spout fed by what the nose readily
 +determined to be slush.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Jans stood beside me. "Can you see,
 +mynheer?"​ said he.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ 'tis growing upon me by degrees,"​
 +I replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Master,"​ exclaimed a hollow voice, proceeding
 +from the darkest part of this forecastle,
 +"if you could help me fill the bowl of
 +a tobacco-pipe I should be grateful."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Very luckily I had the remains of what
 +sailors term a prick of tobacco in my pocket,
 +which Prins when he dried my jacket had
 +very honestly suffered to remain there. The
 +piece had been so hard pressed in the making,
 +and rendered so water-proof by the rum in it,
 +that my falling overboard had left it perfectly
 +sweet and fit for smoking. By a stingy and
 +cautious use of the knife there was enough of
 +it to give all hands a smoke. I pulled it out
 +and handed it to Jans to deliver to the man<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_89"​ id="​Page_89">​[89]</​a></​span>​
 +who had addressed me. Jans smelt it and
 +said "Yes, it was tobacco, but how was it to
 +be smoked?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I pulled out my knife, and stepping into
 +the light under the hatch, put the tobacco
 +upon one of the ladder-steps and fell to slicing
 +or rather shaving it, and when I had cut
 +enough to fill a pipe bowl I rolled up the
 +shreds in my hands, and taking a sooty clay
 +pipe from Jans, charged it, and bade him
 +light it at the lamp. He did so, speedily returning,
 +smoking heartily, puffing out great
 +clouds, and crying out, "Oh, but 'tis good!
 +'tis good!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It is tiring work cutting up this kind of
 +tobacco, and Jans now understanding how it
 +was done, took the knife and the tobacco and
 +shred about an inch of it, there being in all
 +between three and four inches. Whilst this
 +was doing I had leisure to gaze about me.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>No sooner had Jans lighted his pipe, so
 +that all could see he was smoking, than from<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_90"​ id="​Page_90">​[90]</​a></​span>​
 +several parts of that gloomy interior there
 +slided a number of figures who quickly
 +clustered around the ladder, over one of
 +whose steps or treads the boatswain leaned,
 +pipe in mouth, whilst he sliced and shaved.
 +The daylight fell upon some of them, others
 +were faintly to be seen in the dim illumination
 +which the lustre, passing through the
 +hatch, feebly spread. From rows of old
 +hammocks, that died out in the gloom, these
 +men had dropped, and mariners half-perished
 +with hunger could not have exhibited more
 +delirious eagerness for food than did these
 +unhappy creatures for a pipeful of the tobacco
 +Jans was at work upon. A dismaller and
 +wilder, nay, a more affrighting picture I defy
 +the imagination to body forth. It was not
 +only that many of these unhappy people were
 +half-naked&​mdash;​most of them still swinging in
 +their hammocks, when I descended&​mdash;​it was
 +their corpse-like appearance, as though a
 +grave-yard had disgorged its dead, who had<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_91"​ id="​Page_91">​[91]</​a></​span>​
 +come together in a group, quickened and
 +urged by some hunger, lust or need common
 +to the whole, and expressing in many
 +varieties of countenance the same desire.
 +All about Jans they crowded, fifteen or
 +twenty men; some thin, with their ribs showing,
 +others with sturdy legs of the Dutch kind,
 +some nearly bald, some so hairy that their
 +locks and beards flowed down their backs
 +and chests, some dark with black eyes, others
 +round-faced and blue-eyed; but every man
 +of them looking as if he was newly risen,
 +Lazarus-like,​ from the tomb, as though he
 +had burst the bondage of the coffin, and
 +come into this forecastle dead yet living, his
 +body formed of the earth of the grave, and
 +his soul of the Curse that kept him alive.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I had particularly hoped to see some of
 +them sleeping, wondering what appearance
 +they presented in slumber; also whether such
 +as they ever dreamed, and what sort of expressions
 +their faces wore. But the place<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_92"​ id="​Page_92">​[92]</​a></​span>​
 +was too dark to have yielded this sight even
 +had I been at liberty to peer into their hammocks.
 +When my eyes grew used to the
 +twilight of the slush-lamp and I could see
 +plain, I found there was not much to whet
 +curiosity. Here and there stood a box or
 +sea-chest. Against the aged sides, hanging
 +by nails or hooks, were coats, trowsers, oilskins,
 +and the like, most of them differing in
 +fashion, swaying with the heaving of the
 +ship. Some odds and ends of shoes and
 +boots, a canvas bucket or two, a tall basket,
 +in which were stowed the dishes and mugs
 +the men eat and drank with, completed, with
 +the hammocks overhead, all the furniture
 +that I could distinguish of this melancholy,
 +rat-gnawed, yea, and noisome forecastle.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>By this time Jans was wearied of slicing
 +the tobacco, and the fellow called Meindert
 +Kryns was at work upon what remained of
 +it. All who had pipes filled them, and I was
 +surprised to find how well off they were in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_93"​ id="​Page_93">​[93]</​a></​span>​
 +this respect, though my wonder ceased when
 +I afterwards heard that amongst other articles
 +of freight Vanderdecken had met with in a
 +derelict were cases of long clay pipes. It
 +was both moving and diverting to watch these
 +half-clad creatures smoking, their manner of
 +holding the smoke in their mouths for the
 +better tasting of it, the solemn joy with which
 +they expelled the clouds; some in their hammocks
 +with their naked legs over the edge;
 +others on the chests, manifestly insensible to
 +the chilly wind that blew down through the
 +hatch. No man spoke. If aught of mind
 +there was among them, it seemed to be
 +devoted to keeping their pipe-bowls burning.
 +Jans stood leaning against the fore-mast, puffing
 +at his pipe, his eyes directed into the
 +gloom in the bows. That he had forgotten
 +the errand that brought him below, that I had
 +no more existence for him than would have
 +been the case had I never fallen from the rail
 +of the Saracen, was clearly to be gathered<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_94"​ id="​Page_94">​[94]</​a></​span>​
 +from his strange rapt posture and air. I
 +touched him again on the shoulder, and he
 +turned his eyes upon me, but without starting.
 +'Twas the easiest, nimblest way of
 +slipping out of a condition of trance into
 +intelligence and life that can be conceived.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I wished to see all I dared ask to look
 +at, and said, "Where do you cook your
 +food?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I will show you," he answered, and
 +walked to some distance abaft the forescuttle.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I followed him painfully, for I could scarce
 +see; indeed, here would have been total
 +blackness to one fresh from the sunlight.
 +There was a bulkhead with an opening on
 +the larboard hand; we passed through it,
 +and I found myself on a deck pretty well
 +filled up at the after-end with coils of cable,
 +casks, and so forth; a windward port was
 +open, and through it came light enough to
 +see by. In the middle of this deck was a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_95"​ id="​Page_95">​[95]</​a></​span>​
 +sort of caboose, situated clear of the ropes
 +and casks. 'Twas, in short, a structure of
 +stout scantling, open on either side, and fitted
 +with brick-work contrived for a furnace and
 +coppers for boiling. A man&​mdash;​the cook, or
 +the cook's mate&​mdash;​his feet naked, his shanks
 +clothed in breeches of a faded blue stuff, and
 +his trunk in a woollen shirt&​mdash;​was at work
 +boiling a kind of soup for the crew's breakfast.
 +Another man stood at a dresser, rolling
 +paste. This fellow was a very short, corpulent
 +person, with a neck so fat that a
 +pillow of flesh lay under the back of his
 +head. Never in my time had I viewed a
 +completer figure of a Dutchman than this
 +cook. You would have supposed that into
 +this homely picture of boiling and pie-making
 +there would have entered such an element of
 +life and reality as was nowhere else to be
 +found in that accurst ship. Yet so little was
 +this so, that I do not know that in all the
 +time I had been in the Braave I had beheld<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_96"​ id="​Page_96">​[96]</​a></​span>​
 +a more ghastly picture. It was the two men
 +who made it so; the unreality of their realness,
 +to comprehend which, if this phrase
 +should sound foolishly, think upon the vision
 +of an insane man, or upon some wondrous
 +picture painted upon the eyes of the dying or
 +opening upon the gaze of some enthusiast.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The flames of the furnace shot a crimson
 +glare upon the first of the two men I have
 +described; he never turned his head to look
 +at me, but went on stirring what was in the
 +copper. The place had much of the furniture
 +of one of our present cabooses or galleys.
 +There was a kind of dresser and there were
 +racks for holding dishes, an old brass timepiece
 +that was as great a curiosity in its way
 +as the clock in the cabin, a chair of the last
 +century, a couple of wooden bellows, and such
 +matters.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was moving, when the little, fat cook
 +suddenly fell a-sniffing, and turning to Jans,
 +said, "Is there tobacco at last?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_97"​ id="​Page_97">​[97]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,"​ answered Jans; "this Heer had a
 +piece which he has distributed. 'Tis all
 +gone. But there is a smoke left in this
 +pipe; take it."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He dried the sooty stem upon his sleeve,
 +and handed it to the cook, who instantly
 +began to puff, uttering one or two exclamations
 +of pleasure, but with an unmoved
 +countenance.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is there no tobacco on board?"​ said I,
 +following Jans into the forecastle.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The skipper has a small quantity, but
 +there is none for the crew," he answered.
 +"Had your ship supplied us with a little stock
 +'​twould have been a godsend; welcomer, sir,
 +than the powder and shot you wantonly bestowed
 +upon our boat."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We were now in the forecastle, and this
 +reference to the action of the terrified crew
 +of the Saracen, in the hearing of the seamen
 +who overhung their hammocks, or squatted
 +on their chests, smoking, alarmed me; so<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_98"​ id="​Page_98">​[98]</​a></​span>​
 +with a quickly uttered "​Good-morning"​ addressed
 +to them all, I sprang up the ladder
 +and gained the deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_99"​ id="​Page_99">​[99]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VI.<br />
 +
 +WE SIGHT A SHIP.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>It was like coming out of a sepulchre to step
 +from that forecastle on deck where the
 +glorious sun was and the swaying shadows,
 +and where the blue wind gushed in a soft
 +breathing over the bulwark-rails,​ with weight
 +enough in it to hold the canvas stirless, and
 +to raise a gentle hissing alongside like the
 +seething of champagne. I spied Vanderdecken
 +on the poop and near him Imogene,
 +so I hastened aft to greet the girl and salute
 +the great bearded figure that nobly towered
 +beside her. She looked fragrant and sweet
 +as a white rose in the dewy morn, wore a
 +straw hat turned up on one side and looped
 +to stay there with a parti-coloured rosette,
 +and though this riband was faded with age<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_100"​ id="​Page_100">​[100]</​a></​span>​
 +and the straw yellow and dull through keeping,
 +the gear did suit her beauty most
 +divinely, and I could have knelt and kissed
 +her hand, so complete a Princess did she
 +appear in the royal perfections of her countenance
 +and shape.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To turn from the sparkle of her violet eye,
 +the rosiness of her lip, the life that teemed in
 +the expression of her face, like a blushing
 +light shining through fragile porcelain, to
 +turn from her to the great silent figure near
 +her, with piercing gaze directed over the taffrail,
 +his beard trembling to the down-rush of
 +air from the mizzen, was to obtain a proper
 +contrast to enable you to realise in the aspect
 +of that amazing person the terrible conditions
 +of his existence and the enormous significance
 +of his sentence.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​With a smile of pleasure at the sight of me,
 +Imogene bade me good-morning,​ saying, "I
 +am before you for the first time since you
 +have been in the ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_101"​ id="​Page_101">​[101]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I was out of my cabin half-an-hour ago,
 +perhaps longer,"​ said I. "What, think you,
 +I have been doing? Exploring the sailors'​
 +quarters and inspecting the kitchen."​ And
 +I tossed up my hands and turned up my
 +eyes that she might guess what I thought
 +of those places. Then meeting Vanderdecken'​s
 +gaze, which he had brought to bear
 +upon me with a frowning roll of the eyes, I
 +took off my hat, giving him a bow. He
 +greeted me in his imperious stormy way, and
 +asked me what I thought of his ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I replied, "She is a very fine vessel, sir."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Did they lift the hatches to show the
 +cargo to you?" he exclaimed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I answered smartly, "​No,"​ perceiving
 +that he was aware I had been below in the
 +fore-part.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How does my forecastle show to your
 +English prejudice?"​ he said.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ mynheer!"​ said I, smiling, with a
 +look at Imogene, whose eyes were fixed in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_102"​ id="​Page_102">​[102]</​a></​span>​
 +the quarter over the stern into which Vanderdecken
 +had been staring, "so far from
 +Englishmen being prejudiced, at all events,
 +in naval matters, we are continually taking
 +ideas from other nations, particularly from
 +the French, whose ships of war we imitate
 +and admire. Perhaps,"​ said I, "that is
 +one of the reasons why we are incessantly
 +capturing the vessels of that nation."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But the conceit was lost, because this man
 +had flourished before we had become the
 +terror of the French that our admirals have
 +since made the English flag to be.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene cried out in Dutch, "Do you
 +know, Mr. Fenton, that there is a sail in
 +sight?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>My heart gave a bound, and following the
 +indication of her ivory-white forefinger, which
 +pointed directly astern, I saw the tiny gleam
 +of what was unquestionably a ship's canvas,
 +resembling the curved tip of a gull's wing.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ to be sure, yonder'​s a sail!" I ex<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_103"​ id="​Page_103">​[103]</​a></​span>​claimed,​
 +after keeping my eyes fixed upon it
 +a while to make sure, and I added in Dutch,
 +"Which way, madam, does the captain say
 +she is steering?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Directly after us," she replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Judge for yourself, sir," said Vanderdecken,​
 +motioning with his hand toward a
 +telescope that stood against the deck-house.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was the ancient, heavy tube I had observed
 +in his cabin. I picked it up, rested it
 +upon the rail&​mdash;​it was too weighty for the
 +support of my left hand&​mdash;​and worked away
 +with it at the sail astern. It was a feeble old
 +glass, magnifying, I should suppose, to the
 +proportion of a crown to a groat. In fact I
 +could see as well with the naked eye. It was
 +Vanderdecken'​s telescope, however, and a
 +curiosity, and still feigning to view the sail, I
 +secretly ran my eye over the tubes, noticing,
 +in very faint letters, the words, "​Cornelius
 +Van der Decken, Amsterdam, 1650," graved
 +in flowing characters upon the large tube.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_104"​ id="​Page_104">​[104]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She is heading after us, you think, mynheer?"​
 +said Vanderdecken as I rose.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I could not say, sir. Has she grown
 +since you first observed her?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He took the glass and levelled it very
 +easily, and I met Imogene'​s gaze as she
 +glanced from him to me, as though she was
 +sure I could not but admire the massive,
 +manly figure of that man, drawn to his full
 +height, and in such a posture as one would
 +love to see him painted in.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She is certainly steering our course,"​ said
 +he, speaking with his eye at the tube, "I
 +hope she may not prove an English man-of-war.
 +Who can tell? If a merchantman,​ be
 +her nationality what it may, we'll speak her
 +for tobacco, for that's a commodity we must
 +have."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I looked earnestly and with a face flushed
 +with hope at Imogene; but she glanced
 +away from me to the sail, signalling to me by<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_105"​ id="​Page_105">​[105]</​a></​span>​
 +this action in a manner unmistakable,​ to be
 +wary.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken put down the glass, cast a
 +look aloft at the set of his canvas and the
 +trim of his yards, and then called to Arents
 +to heave the log. Some seamen came aft, in
 +response to the second mate's call, and,
 +bringing out a reel and sand-glass from the
 +deck-house, measured the speed of the ship
 +through the water, precisely as we at this day
 +do, so ancient is this simple device of telling
 +a ship's speed of passage through the water
 +by paying out a line marked with knots to
 +the running of sand! I heard Arents say that
 +the vessel was going three knots and a half.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​At that rate," said I to Imogene, whilst
 +Vanderdecken remained aft, watching in a
 +soulless manner the automaton-like motions
 +of the men engaged in hauling the line in and
 +reeling it up, "that vessel yonder, if she be
 +actually heading our way, will soon overhaul
 +us."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_106"​ id="​Page_106">​[106]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mr. Fenton,"​ said she, with subdued
 +energy in her soft voice, "I earnestly pray
 +you, neither by word, look or sign to give
 +Captain Vanderdecken the least reason to
 +suspect that you mean to escape from his
 +ship and rescue me whenever the chance shall
 +offer. I will tell you why I say this: just now
 +he spoke of you to me, and said if an opportunity
 +offered he should put you on board
 +any vessel that would receive you, no matter
 +where she was bound to, and then he asked
 +what you and I chiefly talked about. There
 +was more sternness in his manner than ever
 +I recollect in him when addressing me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If I thought him capable of human
 +emotions,"​ said I, "I should reckon him
 +jealous."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But he <​i>​has</​i>​ human emotions&​mdash;​he loves
 +his wife and children,"​ she replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ but who is to know that that love is
 +not left to linger in him as a part of his curse?"​
 +said I. "By which I mean, if he was not<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_107"​ id="​Page_107">​[107]</​a></​span>​
 +suffered to remember his wife and children
 +and love them, he might not show himself
 +very eager to get round the Cape. Possibly
 +he wants to get rid of me, not because he is
 +jealous, not because he dislikes me as a man,
 +but because that malignant baboon, Van
 +Vogelaar, may have been speaking against
 +me, putting fears into his head touching
 +his treasure, and working upon his duty as
 +a Hollander&​mdash;​a compatriot of De Ruyter,
 +God help him&​mdash;​to hate me as an Englishman."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But he loves me too, Mr. Fenton,"​ said
 +she.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​As a father might,"​ said I, not liking this,
 +yet amused by her sweet tenaciousness.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ as a father; but it shows he has
 +capacity for other emotions outside those
 +which you deem necessary for the duration of
 +the Sentence."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I ought to believe so if he hates me,"
 +said I, looking his way and observing that he<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_108"​ id="​Page_108">​[108]</​a></​span>​
 +had turned his back upon us and was watching
 +the sail astern. "But be all this as it
 +will, you shall find me as careful as you can
 +desire."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If,"​ said she, plaintively,​ "he should
 +become even faintly suspicious of your intentions,
 +he might set you ashore, should we not
 +meet with a ship to receive you, and then
 +what would become of you and what would
 +become of me, Mr. Fenton?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Have no fear," said I; "he shall discover
 +nothing in me to make him suspicious. As
 +to his setting me ashore, that he could do,
 +and whether I should be able to outwit him
 +in such a man&​oelig;​uvre,​ I cannot tell; but in no
 +other way could he get rid of me, unless by
 +throwing me overboard."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He would not do that," she exclaimed,
 +shaking her head; "nor do I think he would
 +force you from this ship if he could find no
 +ground for distrust. But something affecting
 +you has worried his mind, I am certain, or he<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_109"​ id="​Page_109">​[109]</​a></​span>​
 +would not have declared his intention to send
 +you to another vessel. He believes he is
 +going straight home. Why, then, should he
 +not be willing to carry you? Maybe he
 +heard from Arents that you were below
 +exploring the ship. Oh, Mr. Fenton, be
 +cautious! If not for your own sake, then for
 +mine!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She involuntarily brought her little hands
 +together into a posture of prayer with the
 +earnestness of her entreaty, and her warmth
 +flowed rosily to her cheeks, so that, though
 +she spoke low, her manner was impassioned,​
 +and I saw how her dear heart was set upon
 +my delivering her, and how great was her
 +terror lest my thoughtlessness should end in
 +procuring our separation. However, I had
 +no time to then reassure her, though I
 +resolved henceforth to walk with extraordinary
 +circumspection,​ seeing that the people
 +I had fallen amongst were utterly unintelligible
 +to me, being so composite in their<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_110"​ id="​Page_110">​[110]</​a></​span>​
 +dead-aliveness that it was impossible to come
 +at their motives and feelings, if they possessed
 +any resembling ours. I say I had
 +not time to reassure her, for Prins arrived
 +to report breakfast, which brought Vanderdecken
 +to us.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Little was said at table, but that little was
 +quite enough to make me understand the
 +wisdom of Imogene'​s fears, and to perceive
 +that if I did not check my curiosity to inspect
 +the ship so as to be able to deliver a true
 +account of this strange and fearful fabric,
 +I stood to lose Imogene the chance of escape
 +which my presence in the vessel provided
 +her with. No matter which of the two
 +mates had the watch on deck, Van Vogelaar
 +always sat down to meals first, Arents following.
 +He was beside me this morning as
 +usual, coming fresh from his cabin; and
 +when we were seated, Vanderdecken told
 +him there was a ship astern.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How heading, skipper?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_111"​ id="​Page_111">​[111]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​As we go, without doubt. She hath
 +grown swiftly since first sighted, yet hangs
 +steady in the same quarter."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let her hoist any colours but those of
 +this gentleman'​s country!"​ said Van Vogelaar,
 +with an ugly sneer.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Should that happen, captain, will you
 +fight her?" I asked, quietly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If she be a ship of war&​mdash;​no;​ for what
 +are our defences against the culverins and
 +demi-culverins of your ships, and how shall
 +we match perhaps four hundred sailors with
 +our slender company?"​ replied Vanderdecken,​
 +with an evil glitter in his eyes, and grasping
 +his beard as his custom was when wrathful
 +thoughts surged in him.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She may prove a harmless merchantman&​mdash;​perhaps
 +a sturdy Hollander&​mdash;​that will give
 +you plenty of tobacco for a little of your
 +silver,"​ said Imogene, striking in with her
 +sweet smile, and melodious voice, like a sunbeam
 +upon turbulent waters.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_112"​ id="​Page_112">​[112]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If you are in doubt why not shift your
 +helm, gentlemen?"​ said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ah,​ skipper!"​ cried Van Vogelaar, sardonically,​
 +"we have an adviser here. It is
 +fit that a Dutch ship should be served by an
 +English pilot!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I held my peace. At this moment the
 +clock struck, and the parrot, as though some
 +fiend was inside her green bosom prompting
 +her to breed trouble, cried out "Wyn Zyn al
 +Verdomd!"​ with fierce energy, severely clawing
 +her wires, and exhibiting more agitation
 +than seems possible in a fowl of naturally dull
 +and leaden motions.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I believe she speaks the truth,"​ exclaimed
 +Van Vogelaar, turning his face towards the
 +cage. "The parrot hath been known to
 +possess a witch-like capacity of forecasting
 +and divining."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ but you know, Heer, that she
 +had that sentence by heart when the
 +captain bought her," said Imogene, with a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_113"​ id="​Page_113">​[113]</​a></​span>​
 +mixed air of distress and petulance in her
 +face.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I know, madam,"​ he replied, "that yonder
 +bird never spoke those words with such
 +energy as she now puts into them before
 +this gentleman arrived."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken looked at him and then at
 +me, but did not speak.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you suspect from the increased
 +energy of the bird's language?"​ said I, fixing
 +my eyes upon the mate.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He would not meet my gaze, but answered
 +with his eyes upon his plate, "What is your
 +motive in examining this ship, sir?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The harmless curiosity of a sailor,"​ I
 +replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He was about to speak, but I lifted my
 +hand, meaning to entreat silence whilst I
 +continued, but he, mistaking the gesture for
 +a threat, shrank very abjectly from his
 +seat, proving himself a timorous, cowardly
 +fellow, and the more to be feared, perhaps,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_114"​ id="​Page_114">​[114]</​a></​span>​
 +for being so. "​Captain Vanderdecken,"​ said
 +I, keeping my hand lifted, that he and his
 +mate might understand I intended no menace,
 +"I know not what base and degrading
 +charges Herr Van Vogelaar would insinuate.
 +I am an honest man and mean well, and, sir,
 +add to that the gratitude of one whose life
 +you have preserved. You were pleased, on
 +one occasion, to speak kindly of my countrymen,
 +and regret that feud should ever exist
 +between two nations whose genius seems to
 +have a common root. I trust that your
 +sympathy with Britain will cause you to turn
 +a deaf ear to the unwarrantable hints against
 +my honour as an English seaman, dropped
 +by your first mate."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To this speech Vanderdecken made no reply;
 +indeed, I would not like to swear that
 +he had heeded so much as a syllable of it.
 +Van Vogelaar resumed the posture on his
 +seat from which he had started on my raising
 +my hand and went on with his meal. Shortly<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_115"​ id="​Page_115">​[115]</​a></​span>​
 +after this Imogene left the table and entered
 +her cabin, on which, weary of the sullen and
 +malignant company of the mate, and the
 +ghostly silence and fiery eyes of Captain
 +Vanderdecken,​ I rose, bowed to the skipper,
 +and went on deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I walked right aft, past the helmsman, and
 +stood gazing with a most passionate yearning
 +and wistfulness at the sail astern. The
 +stranger had not greatly grown during the
 +time we had passed below, but her enlargement
 +was marked enough to make me guess
 +that she was overhauling us hand over fist, as
 +sailors say, and I reckoned that if the wind
 +held she would be within gunshot by three
 +or four of the clock this afternoon. I went
 +for Vanderdecken'​s glass and examined her
 +again; the lenses imparted an atmospheric
 +sharpness and pellucidity of outline which
 +showed plainly enough the royals and topgallant-sails
 +of apparently a large ship slightly
 +leaning from the wind. I could not persuade<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_116"​ id="​Page_116">​[116]</​a></​span>​
 +myself that she was "​reaching,"​ for though
 +our yards were as sharply braced as they
 +would lie, the stranger, if she were close
 +hauled, could have luffed up three or four
 +more points, but as she held her place it was
 +certain she was making a free wind and
 +coming along with her yards braced-in somewhat.
 +Therefore she was not bound to the
 +westwards, and if for the Indian Ocean, what
 +need had she to be heading due north?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I put down the glass, but the yearning
 +that rose within me at the sight of the vessel
 +ceased when I thought of Imogene. Suppose
 +that ship should prove the instrument of
 +separating me from her! I had talked big
 +for the sake of comforting her, of fearing
 +nothing from Vanderdecken save being set
 +ashore or tossed overboard, for I counted
 +upon any and all ships we met refusing to
 +receive me if they found out that this ancient
 +fabric was the Flying Dutchman. But suppose
 +Vanderdecken should heave me over<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_117"​ id="​Page_117">​[117]</​a></​span>​board
 +on nearing a vessel, leaving it to her
 +people to succour me if they chose?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​These were the fancies which subdued in
 +me the eager wistfulness raised by yonder
 +gleaming wing of canvas, whitening like a
 +mounting star upon the blue edge of the
 +ocean in the south.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Lost in thought, I continued gazing until
 +presently I grew sensible of the presence of
 +someone standing close beside me. It was
 +Imogene. On the weather quarter was Van
 +Vogelaar surveying the sail with folded arms
 +and stooped head. His face wore a malignant
 +expression, and in his stirlessness he
 +resembled an effigy, wrought with exquisite
 +skill to a marvellous imitation of apparel
 +and shape.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where is the captain?"​ I asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He is smoking in the cabin,"​ Imogene
 +answered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yonder rascal is evidently my enemy,"​
 +said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_118"​ id="​Page_118">​[118]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​All will be well if you show no curiosity,"​
 +she replied, softly. "Do you not remember
 +that I cautioned you at the very beginning?
 +My belief is that the mate is mad you should
 +know of the treasure in this ship, and will
 +be eager to get rid of you lest you should
 +contrive to possess it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But how?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​By acquainting the master of the ship
 +you are transferred to with the wealth in this
 +vessel. Add to this fear&​mdash;​for he has a share
 +in all they recover from wrecks, and in a
 +portion of the cargo&​mdash;​his hatred of you for
 +your men firing at him."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I begin to see," said I, "that there are
 +several strokes of human nature still to be
 +witnessed among these unhappy wretches,
 +spite of their monstrous age, the frightfulness
 +of the Curse they are under, and their
 +being men who are alive in death&​mdash;​corpses
 +reflecting vitality just as the dead moon
 +shines. But needs must where the Devil<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_119"​ id="​Page_119">​[119]</​a></​span>​
 +drives; speculating will not serve; we must
 +wait."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched her whilst she looked at the sail
 +in our wake; emotion darkened and lightened
 +in the violet of her eyes as the blue folds of
 +Heaven seem to deepen and brighten with
 +the breathings of the wind; through her delicate
 +lips her rose-sweet breath came and went
 +swiftly. She started, looked at Van Vogelaar,
 +aloft at the canvas, round the deck, with
 +a sharp tremble running through her light
 +form, and cried out with an hysteric swiftness,
 +and in a voice full of tears, "You will
 +not leave me to this wretched fate, Mr.
 +Fenton! You will not leave me in this
 +dreadful ship!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I grasped her hand. "I swear before the
 +Majesty of that offended God whose eye is
 +on this ship as we thus stand, that if I am
 +forced to leave you it will be at the cost of
 +my life!"</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_120"​ id="​Page_120">​[120]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VII.<br />
 +
 +WE WATCH THE SHIP APPROACH US.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>We stood in silence for some moments, hand
 +in hand; then finding Van Vogelaar furtively
 +watching us, I quitted her side; at the same
 +moment Vanderdecken came on deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I went to the foremost end of the poop
 +and there stayed, leaning against the bulwark,
 +my mind very full of thought. Though
 +I had been in this vessel a week, yet now, as
 +on many occasions, I found myself conceiving
 +it to be a thing incredible that this craft
 +should be the famous Death Ship of tradition,
 +the talk and terror of the mariner'​s forecastle;
 +and such a feeling of mystification thickened
 +my brains that a sudden horror stung me
 +from head to foot with the sensation the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_121"​ id="​Page_121">​[121]</​a></​span>​
 +nervous are possessed with, when, in a
 +sudden panic, they fear they are going out
 +of their minds. But, by keeping my eyes
 +fixed on Imogene, I succeeded ere long in
 +mastering this terrible emotion, even to the
 +extent of taking a cheerful view of my
 +situation; first, by considering that, for all
 +I knew, I had been led by the Divine hand
 +to this ship for the purpose of rescuing the
 +lovely girl from a fate more dismal and
 +shocking than tongue could utter or imagination
 +invent; and next, by reflecting that
 +if God spared my life so that I could
 +relate what I had seen, I should be famous
 +among sailors as the only seaman that had
 +ever been on board the Phantom Ship, as
 +she is foolishly styled, eaten with her commander,
 +mixed with her crew, beheld the
 +discipline of her, and looked narrowly into
 +all circumstances of her inner or hidden life.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It seemed to me incredible that any vessel
 +could encounter her and not guess what she<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_122"​ id="​Page_122">​[122]</​a></​span>​
 +was, though, of course, I believed what
 +Imogene had said, that now and again an
 +unsuspicious ship would traffic with Vanderdecken
 +in such commodities as the one
 +wanted or the other had. If her character
 +was expressed at night by the fiery crawlings
 +like red-hot wire upon her, in the daytime
 +she discovered her nature by signs not indeed
 +so wild and terrifying, but to the full as
 +significant in a sailor'​s eyes. Supposing her
 +to have been built at Hoorn, in 1648&​mdash;​that
 +date, I believe, would represent her birth&​mdash;​there
 +would be nothing in the mere antiquity
 +of her hull, or even in the shape of it, to
 +convict her as Vanderdecken'​s ship; because
 +the difference between the bodies and forms
 +of ships of the time in which she was built
 +and those of many vessels yet afloat and
 +actively employed, would not be so great as
 +to let the mariner know what she was.
 +For instance, there was a vessel trading in
 +my time between Strangford and White<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_123"​ id="​Page_123">​[123]</​a></​span>​haven
 +that was an hundred and thirty years
 +old. She was called the Three Sisters, and
 +the master was one Donnan; she was also
 +known by the name of the Port-a-Ferry
 +Frigate. Her burthen was thirty-six tons,
 +and 'twas positively known she was employed
 +at the siege of Londonderry,​ in 1689. Now,
 +here was a craft once beheld by me, who am
 +writing this, that was nearly as ancient as the
 +Flying Dutchman. She was often to be met
 +coasting, and, in consequence of her having
 +been the first vessel that ever entered the
 +Old Dock at Liverpool, was ever after made
 +free of all port charges. Yet, no sailor
 +shrank affrighted from her, no grave-yard
 +fires lived in her timbers; when encountered
 +at sea she was regarded as a venerable piece
 +of marine architecture,​ and that was all. But
 +why? Because her rig had been changed.
 +She had been a ship; when I knew her she
 +was a brigantine. Aloft she had been made
 +to keep pace with all improvements. Then<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_124"​ id="​Page_124">​[124]</​a></​span>​
 +her hull was carefully preserved with paint,
 +her voyages were short, and she was constantly
 +being renewed and in divers ways
 +made good.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But this Death Ship was now as she had
 +been in 1653 when she set sail from Batavia
 +for her homeward passage. Aloft she was
 +untouched&​mdash;​that is, in respect of her original
 +aspect, if I save the varying thickness of her
 +standing gear, which would not be observable
 +at a short distance. For a century and a
 +half, when I met her, had she been washing
 +about in this ocean off the Cape of Storms,
 +and the exposure had rotted her through and
 +kindled the glow of deadwood in every pore.
 +It might be that the Curse which held her
 +crew living was not yet quick in her. By
 +which I mean that she had not yet come to
 +that condition of decay which would correspond
 +in a ship to the death of a human
 +being, so that the repairs, careening, calking
 +and the like which her men found necessary<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_125"​ id="​Page_125">​[125]</​a></​span>​
 +for her might be found needful for some years
 +yet, when she would become as her crew
 +were&​mdash;​dead in time but staunch and enduring
 +so long as the Curse should be in force.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​These were the speculations of a troubled
 +and bewildered mind. I glanced at the sail
 +astern and guessed it would not be long
 +before that shining pillar of canvas swept the
 +hull beneath it on to the delicate azure that
 +went trembling to the heavens there. Prins
 +had brought a chair for Imogene and she sat
 +near the tiller. Vanderdecken stood beside
 +her, watching the distant ship. Van Vogelaar,
 +who had the watch, stumped the weather
 +side of the poop, often coming abreast of
 +where I stood to leeward, and occasionally
 +sending a scowling furtive glance my way.
 +It was not my policy to intrude. Nay, the
 +rising of that vessel in our wake furnished a
 +particular emphasis to Imogene'​s advice to
 +me, for if haply I should irritate Vanderdecken
 +by some unwise remark or indiscreet<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_126"​ id="​Page_126">​[126]</​a></​span>​
 +behaviour, and the ship should turn out an
 +Englishman and act in some such fashion as
 +did the Saracen, my life might have to pay
 +for the incivility of my countrymen.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I had the yearning of the whole ship's
 +company in me for a pipe of tobacco, but I
 +had parted with all I owned&​mdash;​which now
 +vexed me, for my generosity had brought me
 +no particular kindness from the men&​mdash;​and
 +had not the courage to solicit a whiff or two
 +from the skipper'​s little store. Sometimes
 +Imogene would turn her head as if to view
 +the ship or glance at the sea, but in reality to
 +mark if I was still on deck, but I could not
 +discover in her way of doing this the slightest
 +hint that I should approach her. Occasionally
 +Vanderdecken addressed her, often he
 +would stand apparently wrapped in thought,
 +heeding nothing but the vessel astern, if one
 +might suppose so from his eyes being bent
 +thitherwards. From time to time Van Vogelaar
 +picked up the glass and levelled it at the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_127"​ id="​Page_127">​[127]</​a></​span>​
 +ship, and then put it down with an air of
 +angry impatience&​mdash;​though you found the
 +motion suggested rather than showed as
 +an actually definable thing the counterfeit
 +passion displayed in the gestures and carriage
 +of an automaton.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Leaning against the rail of the bulwarks
 +as high as my shoulder-blades,​ I quietly
 +waited for what was to come, yet with a
 +mind lively with curiosity and expectations.
 +What would Vanderdecken do? What
 +colours would the stranger show? How
 +would she behave? What part might I
 +have to take in whatever was to happen?
 +To be sure the stranger would not be up
 +with us for some while yet, but since breakfast
 +the breeze had slightly freshened, and
 +by the rapid enlargement of those shining
 +heights astern you knew that the wind had
 +but to gather a little more weight to swiftly
 +swirl yonder nimble craft up to within
 +musket-shot of this cumbrous ancient fabric.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_128"​ id="​Page_128">​[128]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I looked over the rail, watching the sickly-coloured
 +side slipping sluggishly through the
 +liquid transparent blue, marbled sometimes
 +by veins and patches of foam, flung with a
 +sullen indifference of energy from the hewing
 +cutwater, on the top of which there projected
 +a great beak, where yet lingered the remains
 +of a figure-head that I had some time before
 +made out to represent an Hercules, frowning
 +down upon the sea with uplifted arms, as
 +though in the act of smiting with a club. It
 +was easy to guess that this ship had kept
 +the seas for some months since careening by
 +observing the shell-fish below the water-line,
 +and the strings of black and green weed she
 +lifted with every roll. But, uncouth as was
 +the fabric, gaunt as her aged furniture made
 +her decks appear, inconvenient and ugly as
 +was her rig, exhibiting a hundred signs of
 +the primitiveness in naval construction of the
 +age to which she belonged, yet, when I lifted
 +my eyes from the water to survey her, '​twas<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_129"​ id="​Page_129">​[129]</​a></​span>​
 +not without a sentiment of veneration beyond
 +the power of the horror the supernaturalism
 +of her and her crew raised in me to correct.
 +For was it not by such ships as this that the
 +great and opulent islands and continents of
 +the world had been discovered and laid open
 +as theatres for posterity to act dazzling parts
 +in? Was it not with such ships as this that
 +battles were fought, the courage, audacity,
 +skill and fierce determination exhibited in
 +which many latter conflicts may, indeed,
 +parallel, but never in one single instance
 +surpass? Was it not by such ships as this
 +that the great Protector raised the name of
 +Britain to such a height as exceeds all we
 +read of in the history of ancient or modern
 +nations? What braver admirals, more skilful
 +soldiers, more valiant captains, stouter-hearted
 +mariners, have flourished than those
 +whose cannon flamed in thunder from the
 +sides of such ships as this?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Ay,​ 'twas a structure to dream in when<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_130"​ id="​Page_130">​[130]</​a></​span>​
 +the soul could let slip the dread which the
 +thought of the Curse and the appearance of
 +the crew inspired; a wizard to hearken back
 +the imagination to olden times and show the
 +sun sparkling, and the Heavens blue, and
 +the sea azure in pictures, not more dead,
 +and not less vital either, than the company
 +who manned her, who were beings with
 +loving hearts and blood-fed skins in that
 +distant age into which she drove fancy,
 +romancing and recreating.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The time passed; at the hour of eleven, or
 +thereabouts the hull of the ship astern was
 +visible upon the water-line. The breeze had
 +freshened, and the long heave of the swell
 +left by the gale was whipped into wrinkles,
 +which melted into a creamy sparkling as they
 +ran. Under the sun, upon our starboard bow,
 +the ocean was kindled into glory; through
 +the trembling splendour the blue of the sea
 +surged up in fluctuating veins, and the conflict
 +of the sapphire dye welling up into the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_131"​ id="​Page_131">​[131]</​a></​span>​
 +liquid dazzle, where it showed an instant,
 +ere being overwhelmed by the blaze on the
 +water, was a spectacle of beauty worthy
 +of life-long remembrance. Elsewhere, the
 +crisped plain of the ocean stretched darker
 +than the Heavens, under which were many
 +clouds, moving with full white bosoms like
 +the sails of ships, carrying tinted shinings
 +resembling wind-galls, or fragments of solar
 +rainbows, upon their shoulders or skirts,
 +as they happened to offer them to the
 +sun.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>By this time you felt the stirring of
 +curiosity throughout the ship. Whatever
 +jobs the crew had been put to they now neglected,
 +that they might hang over the sides
 +or stand upon the rail to watch and study the
 +ship astern of us. Many had an avidity in
 +their stare that could not have been matched
 +by the looks of famine-stricken creatures.
 +Whether they were visited by some dim
 +sense or perception of their frightful lot and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_132"​ id="​Page_132">​[132]</​a></​span>​
 +yearned, out of this weak emotion, for the
 +ship in pursuit, albeit they might not have
 +been able to make their wishes intelligible to
 +their own understandings,​ God knoweth.
 +'Twas moving to see them; one with the
 +sharp of his hand to his forehead, another
 +fixedly gazing out of a tangle of grey hair,
 +a third showing fat and ghastly to the sunlight,
 +a fourth with black eyes charged
 +with the slate-coloured patches of blindness,
 +straining his imperfect gaze under a bald
 +brow, corrugated into lines as hard as
 +iron.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken had left Imogene and stood
 +on the weather quarter with the mate. The
 +girl being alone, I walked aft to her and said
 +in English, feigning to speak of the weather
 +by looking aloft as I spoke, "I have held
 +aloof long enough, I think. He will not
 +object if I join you now?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No&​mdash;​his head is full of that ship yonder,"​
 +she replied. "For my part I am as weary<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_133"​ id="​Page_133">​[133]</​a></​span>​
 +of sitting as you must be of standing. Let
 +us walk a little. He has never yet objected
 +to our conversing. Why should he do so
 +now?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>So saying she rose. Her sheer weariness
 +of being alone, or of talking to Vanderdecken,​
 +was too much for her policy of
 +caution. We fell to quietly pacing the poop
 +deck to leeward, and with a most keen and
 +exquisite delight I could taste in her manner
 +the gladness our being together filled her
 +with, and foresee the spirit of defiance to
 +danger and risks that would grow in her
 +with the growth of our love.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>No notice was taken of us. The eyes and
 +thoughts of all were directed to the ship.
 +From time to time Vanderdecken or Van
 +Vogelaar would inspect her through the
 +glass. Presently Antony Arents and Jans,
 +the boatswain, joined them, and the four
 +conversed as though the captain had called
 +a council.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_134"​ id="​Page_134">​[134]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She is picking us up very fast," said I
 +to Imogene, whilst we stood awhile looking
 +at the vessel. "I should not like to swear
 +to her nationality;​ but that she is an armed
 +ship, whether French, or Dutch, or English,
 +is as certain as that she has amazingly lively
 +heels."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How white her sails are, and how high
 +they rise!" exclaimed Imogene. "She leans
 +more sharply than we."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ said I, "she shows twice her
 +number of cloths. Is it not astonishing,"​ I
 +continued, softening my voice, "that Vanderdecken,​
 +and his mates and men, should
 +not guess that there is something very wrong
 +with them, from the mere contrast of such
 +beautifully cut and towering canvas as that
 +yonder with the scanty, storm-darkened rags
 +of sails under which this groaning old hull is
 +driven along?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ at least to you and me, who have
 +the faculty of appreciating contrasts. But<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_135"​ id="​Page_135">​[135]</​a></​span>​
 +think of them as deficient in all qualities but
 +those which are necessary for the execution
 +of the Sentence. Then their heedlessness is
 +that of a blind man, who remains insensible
 +to the pointing of your finger to the object
 +you speak to him about."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Would to God you and I were quit of it
 +all," said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We must pray for help, and hope for it
 +too!" she answered, with a swift glance at
 +me, that for a breathless moment carried the
 +violet beauty and shining depths of her eyes
 +fair to mine. An instant'​s meeting of our
 +gaze only! Yet I could see her heart in that
 +rapid, fearless, trustful look, as the depth of
 +the Heavens is revealed by a flash of summer
 +lightning.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Suddenly Vanderdecken gave orders for
 +the ensign to be hoisted. The boatswain
 +entered the little house, and returned with
 +the flag which he bent on to the halliards
 +rove at the mizzen topmast-head. The<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_136"​ id="​Page_136">​[136]</​a></​span>​
 +colours mounted slowly to his mechanical
 +pulling, and they were worthy indeed of
 +the dead-and-alive hand that hoisted them,
 +being as ragged and attenuated with age as
 +any banner hung high in the dusty gloom
 +of a cathedral. But the flag was distinguishable
 +as the Hollander'​s ensign, as you saw
 +when it crazily streamed out its fabric, that
 +was so thin in places, you thought you spied
 +the sky through it. One should say it was
 +a flag seldom flown on board the Dutchman,
 +to judge from the manner in which
 +the crew cast their eyes up at it, never
 +a one of them smiling, indeed, though here
 +and there under the death-pallor there lay
 +a sort of crumpling of the flesh, as of a
 +grin. 'Twas a flag to drive thoughts of
 +home deep into them, and now and again
 +I would catch one muttering to another
 +behind his hand, whilst the most of them
 +continued to steadfastly regard the ensign
 +for many minutes after Jans had mast<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_137"​ id="​Page_137">​[137]</​a></​span>​headed
 +it, as though they fancied home could
 +not be far distant with that flag telling of
 +it.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_138"​ id="​Page_138">​[138]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VIII.<br />
 +
 +THE CENTAUR FLIES FROM US.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Now the Dutch flag had not been flying
 +twenty minutes when, my sight being keen,
 +I thought I could perceive something resembling
 +a colour at the fore-royal masthead of
 +the ship. I asked Imogene if she saw it. She
 +answered "​No."​ I said nothing, not being
 +sure myself, and was unwilling to intrude
 +upon the four men standing to windward by
 +asking for the telescope. On board our ship
 +they had set the sprit-topsail,​ and the forward
 +part of the dull, time-eaten, rugged old
 +vessel resembled a Chinese kite. She was
 +doing her best; but let her splutter as she
 +would 'twas for all the world like the sailing
 +of a beer-barrel with a mast steeped in the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_139"​ id="​Page_139">​[139]</​a></​span>​
 +bunghole. And this, thought I, was the
 +vessel that gave the slip to the frigate belonging
 +to Sir George Ascue'​s squadron!
 +The wake she made was short, broad and
 +oily&​mdash;​a square, fat, glistening surface of about
 +her own length&​mdash;​not greatly exceeding the
 +smoothness she would leave aweather if drifting
 +dead to leeward under bare poles; different
 +indeed from that suggestion of comet-like
 +speed which you find in the fleecy swirl of a
 +line of foaming waters boiling out from the
 +metalled run of a fleet cruiser, and rising and
 +falling and fading into dim distance like a
 +path of snow along a hilly land.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On board yonder ship they would have
 +perspective glasses of a power very different
 +from the flat lenses in Vanderdecken'​s tubes;
 +and since by this time it was certain they had
 +us large in their telescopes, what would they
 +be thinking of our huge, old-fashioned tops,
 +fitter for the bowmen and musqueteers of
 +Ferdinand Magellan and Drake than for<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_140"​ id="​Page_140">​[140]</​a></​span>​
 +the small-armsmen of even the days of the
 +Commonwealth,​ of the antique cut of our
 +canvas and the wild and disordered appearance
 +its patches and colour submitted, of the
 +grisly aspect of the wave-worn, storm-swept
 +hull, of the peaked shape and narrowness of
 +our stern, telling of times long vanished, as
 +do the covers of an old book or the arches in
 +an ancient church?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene and I continued our walk up and
 +down, talking of many things, chiefly of
 +England, whereof I gave her as much news,
 +down to the time of the sailing of the
 +Saracen, as I carried in my memory, until,
 +presently coming abreast of the group of
 +four, still on the weather quarter, every man
 +of whom, turn and turn about, had been working
 +away with the telescope at the ship,
 +Vanderdecken called me by name and
 +stepped over to us with the glass in his
 +hand.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Your sight is younger than ours, myn<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_141"​ id="​Page_141">​[141]</​a></​span>​heer,"​
 +said he, motioning towards Jans and
 +the two mates. "What flag do you make
 +yonder vessel to be flying at her fore-topgallant
 +masthead?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I took the glass and pointed it, kneeling to
 +rest it as before, and the instant the stranger
 +came within the lenses I beheld Britannia'​s
 +glorious blood-red St. George'​s Cross blowing
 +out&​mdash;​a great white flag betwixt the fore-royal
 +yard and the truck that rose high above.
 +Pretending to require time to make sure, I
 +lingered to gather, if possible, the character
 +of the ship. From the cut of her sails, the
 +saucy, admirable set of them, the bigness of
 +the topsails, the hungry yearning for us I
 +seemed to find in the bellying of the studding-sails
 +she had thrown out, it would have been
 +impossible for a nautical eye to mistake her
 +for anything but a State ship, though of what
 +rate I could not yet guess. There was a
 +refraction that threw her up somewhat, and
 +in the glass she looked to be swelling after us<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_142"​ id="​Page_142">​[142]</​a></​span>​
 +in a bed of liquid boiling silver, with a thin
 +void of trembling blue between the whiteness
 +and the sea-line.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I rose and said, "The colour she shows is
 +English."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken turned savagely towards the
 +others and cried, "​English!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Arents let fly an oath; Jans struck his
 +thigh heavily with his open hand; Van
 +Vogelaar, scowling at me, cried, "Are you
 +sure, sir?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am sure of the flag," said I; "but she
 +may prove a Frenchman for all I know."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken clasped his arms tightly
 +upon his breast and sank into thought, with
 +the fire in his eyes levelled at the coming
 +ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​See there, gentlemen!"​ I exclaimed. "A
 +gun!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Bright as the morning was I had marked
 +a rusty red spark wink in the bow of the
 +vessel like a flash of sunshine from polished<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_143"​ id="​Page_143">​[143]</​a></​span>​
 +copper; a little white ball blew away to leeward
 +expanding as it fled. An instant after,
 +just such another cloudy puff swept into the
 +jibs and drove out in a gleaming trail or two.
 +Presently the reports reached our ears in two
 +dull thuds, one after the other.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken stared aloft at his canvas,
 +then over the side, and joined the others.
 +My excitement was intense; I could scarce
 +contain myself. I knew there was a British
 +squadron at the Cape, and 'twas possible that
 +fellow there might be on a reconnoitring or
 +cruising errand.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are sure she is English?"​ Imogene
 +whispered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She is a man-of-war; she is flying our
 +flag. I don't doubt she is English,"​ I replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The girl drew a long tremulous breath, and
 +her arm touching mine&​mdash;​so close together we
 +stood&​mdash;​I felt a shiver run through her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are not alarmed, Imogene?"​ I exclaimed,
 +giving her her Christian name for<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_144"​ id="​Page_144">​[144]</​a></​span>​
 +the first time, and finding a lover'​s sweetness
 +and delight in the mere uttering of it. She
 +coloured very faintly and cast her gaze upon
 +the deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What is going to happen?"​ she whispered.
 +"Will they send you on board that
 +ship&​mdash;​keeping me?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No! they'​ll not do that. If she be an
 +Englishman and has balls to feed her cannon
 +with&​mdash;&​mdash;"​ I cried, raising my voice unconsciously.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hush!"​ she cried, "Van Vogelaar
 +watches us."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We were silent for a space that the attention
 +I had challenged should be again given
 +to the ship. During the pause I thought to
 +myself, "But can her guns be of use? How
 +much hulling and wounding should go to the
 +destruction of a vessel that has been rendered
 +imperishable by the Curse of Heaven?
 +What injury could musket and pistol, could
 +cutlass and hand-grenades deal men to whom<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_145"​ id="​Page_145">​[145]</​a></​span>​
 +Death has ceased to be, who have outlived
 +Time and are owned by Eternity?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken,​ who had been taking short
 +turns upon the deck with heated strides,
 +stopped afresh to inspect the ship, and as he
 +did so another flash broke from her weather-bow,​
 +and the smoke went from her in a curl.
 +The skipper looked at the others.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She has the wind of us and sails three
 +feet to our one. Let the mainsail be hauled
 +up and the topsail brought to the mast. If
 +she be the enemy her flag denotes, her
 +temper will not be sweetened by a long pursuit
 +of which the issue is clear."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Van Vogelaar, scowling venomously,
 +seemed to hang in the wind, on which
 +Vanderdecken looked at him with an expression
 +of face incredibly fierce and terrible.
 +The posture of his giant figure, his half-lifted
 +hand, the slight forward inclination of his
 +head as if he would blast his man with the
 +lightning of his eyes&​mdash;​it was like seeing<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_146"​ id="​Page_146">​[146]</​a></​span>​
 +some marvellous personification of human
 +wrath; and I whispered quickly into Imogene'​s
 +ear, "That will be how he appeared
 +when he defied his God!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was as if he could not speak for rage.
 +And swiftly was he understood. In a breath
 +Jans was rolling forward, calling to the men,
 +Arents was hastening to his station on the
 +quarter-deck,​ and Van Vogelaar was slinking
 +to the foremost end of the poop. The crew,
 +to the several cries that broke from the
 +mates and boatswain, dropped from rail and
 +ratline, where they had been standing staring
 +at the pursuing craft, and in ghastly silence,
 +without exhibition of concern or impatience,
 +fell to hauling upon the clew-garnets and
 +backing the yards on the main.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>So weak was the ship's progress that the
 +bringing of the canvas to the mast immediately
 +stopped her way, and she lay as dead
 +as a buoy upon the heave of the sea. This
 +done, the crew went to the weather side,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_147"​ id="​Page_147">​[147]</​a></​span>​
 +whence, as they rightly supposed, they would
 +best view the approaching vessel. Jans held
 +to the forecastle, Arents to the quarter-deck,​
 +and the mate hung sullen in the shadows cast
 +by the mizzen-shrouds upon the planks. My
 +heart beat as quickly as a baby'​s. I could
 +not imagine what was to happen. Would
 +yonder man-of-war, supposing her British,
 +take possession of the Braave?&​mdash;​that is,
 +could she? English powder, with earthquake
 +power, has thrown up a mighty
 +mountain of wonders; but could it, with its
 +crimson glare, thunder down the Curse by
 +and in which, this ship continued to sail and
 +these miserable men continued to live? I
 +shuddered at the impiety of the thought, yet
 +what ending of this chase was to be conjectured
 +if it were not capture?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken,​ on the weather quarter,
 +watched the ship in his trance-like fashion.
 +How majestic, how unearthly, too, he looked
 +against the blue beyond, his beard stirring<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_148"​ id="​Page_148">​[148]</​a></​span>​
 +and waving like smoke in a faintly moving
 +atmosphere to the blowing of the wind! He
 +wore the aspect of a fallen god, with the fires
 +of hell glittering in his eyes and the passions
 +of the damned surging dark from his soul to
 +his face. Imogene and I had insensibly
 +gained the lee-quarter,​ and our whispers were
 +driven seawards from him by the breeze.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How will this end?" I asked my sweet
 +companion. "If there be potency in the
 +Curse this ship cannot be captured."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She answered: "I cannot guess; I have
 +not known such a thing as this to happen
 +before."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Suppose they send a prize crew on board&​mdash;​the
 +Sentence will not permit of her navigation
 +beyond Agulhas&​mdash;​there is not a hawser
 +in all the world stout enough to tow this ship
 +round the Cape. As it is, is not yonder
 +vessel doomed by her chasing us, by her
 +resolution to speak us?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was a deep stillness fore and aft.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_149"​ id="​Page_149">​[149]</​a></​span>​
 +No human voice broke the silence. You
 +heard but the purring of the surges frothing
 +against our sides, the flap of a sail to the
 +regular roll of the fabric, a groan from the
 +heart of her, the soft shock of the sudden hit
 +of a billow. Nothing more. The silence of
 +the unmeasurable deep grew into a distinct
 +sense undisturbed by the gentle universal
 +hissing that went up out of it. The sails of
 +the oncoming ship shone to the gushing of
 +the sunlight like radiant leaning columns of
 +a porphyritic tincture breaking into moonlike
 +alabaster with the escape of the shadows to
 +the sunward stare of the cloths. Bland as
 +the fairy glory of the full moon floating in
 +a sea of ethereal indigo was the shining of
 +those lustrous bosoms, each course and topsail
 +tremulous with the play of the golden
 +fringe of reef-points,​ and delicate beyond
 +language was the pencilled shadowings at the
 +foot of the rounded cloths. Like cloud upon
 +cloud those sails soared to the dainty little<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_150"​ id="​Page_150">​[150]</​a></​span>​
 +royals, above the foremost of which there
 +blew Britannia'​s glorious flag, the blood-red
 +cross of St. George upon a field white as the
 +foam that boiled to as high as the hawse
 +pipes with the churning of the shearing cutwater
 +storming like a meteor through the
 +blue. Oh, she was English! You felt the
 +blood of her country hot in her with the
 +sight of her flag that was like a crown
 +upon an hereditary brow, making her queen
 +of the dominion of the sea, roll where it
 +would!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She approached us like a roll of smoke,
 +and the wash of the froth along her black
 +and glossy bends threw out the mouths of
 +her single tier of cannon. She was apparently
 +a thirty-eight-gun ship, and as she
 +drew up, with a luffing helm that brought the
 +after-yard-arms stealing out past the silky
 +swells of the sails on the fore, you spied the
 +glitter and flash of the gold-coloured figure-head,​
 +a lion, with its paw upon Britannia'​s<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_151"​ id="​Page_151">​[151]</​a></​span>​
 +shield. When she was within a mile of us
 +she hauled down her studding-sails,​ clewed
 +up her royals and mizzen topgallant sail, and
 +drove quietly along upon our weather-quarter,​
 +still heeling as though she would have us
 +note how lustrous was the copper, whose
 +brightness rose to the water-line, and what
 +finish that ruddy sheathing, colouring the
 +snow of the blue water leaping along it with
 +a streaking as of purple sunshine, gave to her
 +charms.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All this while, the master, mates and crew
 +of the Death Ship were as mute as though
 +they lay in their coffins. Vanderdecken
 +leaned upon his hand on the rail above the
 +quarter-gallery,​ and the motion which the
 +heave of the ship gave to his giant form by
 +the sweeping of it up and down the heavens
 +at the horizon emphasised his own absolute
 +motionlessness. Nevertheless,​ his gaze was
 +rooted in the ship, and the brightening of
 +the angry sparkle in them to the nearing of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_152"​ id="​Page_152">​[152]</​a></​span>​
 +the man-of-war was a never-to-be-forgotten
 +sight.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How is this going to end?" I whispered
 +to Imogene. "Is it possible that they are
 +still unable to guess the character of our
 +vessel?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The frigate had drawn close enough to
 +enable us to make out the glint of buttons
 +and epaulets on the quarter-deck,​ the uniform
 +of marines on the forecastle, and the heads of
 +seamen standing by the braces or at the guns
 +along the decks. She now hauled up her
 +mainsail but without backing her topsail,
 +luffed so as to shake the way out of her,
 +giving us, as she did so, an oblique view of
 +her stern very richly ornamented, the glass
 +of the windows flashing, and the blue swell
 +brimming to her name in large characters,
 +"​Centaur."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ship ahoy!" came thundering down
 +through the trumpet at the mouth of a tall,
 +powerfully-built man erect on the rail close<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_153"​ id="​Page_153">​[153]</​a></​span>​
 +against the mizzen-rigging:​ "What ship is
 +that?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken made no answer. The wind
 +blew in a moaning gust over the bulwark,
 +and there was the sound of a little jar and
 +shock as the old fabric leaned wearily on the
 +swell, but not a whisper fell from the men.
 +Meanwhile it was grown evident to me that
 +our ship was greatly puzzling the people of
 +the frigate. It looked indeed as if the men
 +had left their stations to crowd to the side,
 +for the line of the bulwarks was blackened
 +with heads. A group of officers stood on
 +the quarter-deck,​ and I could see them pointing
 +at our masts as though calling one
 +another'​s attention to the Braave'​s great
 +barricadoed tops, to her sprit-topmast,​ the
 +cut and character of her rigging, and to
 +the many signs that would convert her into
 +a wonder, if not a terror, in the eyes of
 +sailors.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ship ahoy!" now came down again, with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_154"​ id="​Page_154">​[154]</​a></​span>​
 +an edge of anger in the hurricane note.
 +"What ship is that?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>At this second cry Vanderdecken broke
 +into life. He turned his face forward.
 +"Bring me my trumpet!"​ he exclaimed, in a
 +voice whose rich, organ-like roll must have
 +been plainly heard on board the frigate,
 +whether his Dutch was understood or not.
 +The ancient tube I had seen in his cabin was
 +put into his hand. He stepped to the rail,
 +and placing the trumpet to his mouth, cried,
 +"The Braave."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where are you from?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Batavia!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where bound?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Amsterdam!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was another pause. The line of
 +heads throbbed with visible agitation along
 +the sides, and I saw one man of the group on
 +the quarter-deck go up to the captain, who
 +was speaking our ship, touch his cap, and say
 +something. But the other imperiously waved<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_155"​ id="​Page_155">​[155]</​a></​span>​
 +him off with a flourish of his trumpet, which
 +he instantly after applied to his lips, and
 +shouted out, "Haul down your flag and I
 +will send a boat."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken looked towards me. "What
 +does he say?" he exclaimed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I told him. He called to Van Vogelaar,
 +who promptly enough came to the halliards
 +and lowered the flag to the deck. I watched
 +the descent of that crazy, attenuated, ragged
 +symbol. To my mind it was as affrighting
 +in its suggestions of unholy survival as the
 +whole appearance of the vessel or the countenance
 +and mechanic manners of the most
 +corpse-like man of the crew of her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Scarce was the ensign hauled down when
 +there came to our ears the silver, cheerful
 +singing of a boatswain'​s pipe, the main-topsail
 +was laid aback and the frigate'​s length
 +showed out as she fell slightly off from the
 +luff that had held her canvas trembling in the
 +wind. We were too far asunder for the nice<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_156"​ id="​Page_156">​[156]</​a></​span>​
 +discernment of faces with the naked eye, but
 +methought since there seemed no lack of
 +telescopes aboard the frigate, enough should
 +have been made out of the line of deadly
 +faces which looked over our bulwark-rail,​ to
 +resolve us to the satisfaction of that British
 +crew.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Again was heard the silver chirping of the
 +boatswain'​s whistle; a pinnace was lowered,
 +into which tumbled a number of armed seamen,
 +and the blades of eight oars flashed like
 +gold as they rose feathering from the first
 +spontaneous dip.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They are coming!"​ cried Imogene in a
 +faint voice.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let us keep where we are," I exclaimed,
 +"​Vanderdecken does not heed us. If we
 +move his thoughts will fly to you, and he may
 +give me trouble. Dear girl, keep a stout
 +heart. They will be sure to carry us to the
 +ship&​mdash;​proud to rescue you, at least; then,
 +what follows must come&​mdash;​you will be safe!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_157"​ id="​Page_157">​[157]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She put her hand under my arm. Tall as
 +were the bulwarks of the Braave, there was
 +swell enough so to roll the ship as to enable
 +me with every windward sway to see clear to
 +the water where the boat was pulling. With
 +beating hearts we watched. On a sudden
 +the oars ceased to rise and fall; the seamen
 +hung upon them, all to a man, staring at our
 +ship with heads twisted as if they would
 +wring their necks; then, as if impelled by
 +one mind, they let fall their oars to stop the
 +boat's way, all of them gazing with straining
 +eyeballs.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The officer who steered stood erect, peering
 +at us under his hand. The ship, God
 +knows, was plain to their view now&​mdash;​the age
 +and rottenness of her timbers, her patch-work
 +sails, the sickliness of such ghastly and
 +dismal hue as her sides discovered, the
 +ancientness of her guns and swivels; above
 +all, the looks of the crew watching the boat's
 +approach&​mdash;​an array of figures more shocking<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_158"​ id="​Page_158">​[158]</​a></​span>​
 +than were they truly dead, newly unfrocked
 +of their winding sheets and propped up
 +against the rail to horribly counterfeit living
 +seamen.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why have they ceased rowing?"​ cried
 +Imogene, in a voice of bitter distress, and
 +withdrawing her hand from my arm to press
 +it upon her heart.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As she spoke a sudden commotion was
 +perceptible among the men in the boat; the
 +officer shrilly crying out some order, flung
 +himself, as one in a frenzy, in the sternsheets;​
 +the larboard oars sparkled, and the desperate
 +strokes of the men made the foam fly in
 +smoke, whilst the starboard hands furiously
 +backed-water to get the boat's head round
 +swiftly, and before you could have counted
 +ten she was being pulled, in a smother of
 +froth, back to the frigate.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was about to leap to the side and shout
 +to them, but at the instant Vanderdecken
 +turned and looked at me. Then it flashed<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_159"​ id="​Page_159">​[159]</​a></​span>​
 +upon my mind, "If I hail the boat, he and
 +Van Vogelaar, all of them, may imagine I
 +design to inform the frigate of the treasure!"&​mdash;​and
 +the apprehension of what might follow
 +such a suspicion held my feet glued to the
 +deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They have guessed what this ship is!"
 +said Imogene, in a voice full of tears.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I could not speak for the crushing disappointment
 +that caused the heart in me to
 +weigh down, heavy as lead. I had made
 +sure of the officer stepping on board, and
 +of his delivering the girl and me from this
 +accursed ship on hearing my story, and acting
 +as a British naval officer should when his
 +duty as a sailor, or his chivalry as a man, is
 +challenged; in conformity with that noble
 +saying of one of our most valiant admirals,
 +who, on being asked whither he intended to
 +carry his ship&​mdash;"​To Hell!" he answered, "if
 +duty commands!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet one hope lingered, though faintly<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_160"​ id="​Page_160">​[160]</​a></​span>​
 +indeed; the captain of the frigate had imperiously
 +commanded the boat to be manned,
 +as I gathered by his manner of waving away
 +the officer, who had addressed him in a
 +remonstrant manner; would he suffer the
 +return of the boat's crew until they had
 +obeyed his orders?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched. Headlong went the boat,
 +smoking through the billows which arched
 +down upon her from the windward, and her
 +oars sparkled like sheet lightning with the
 +panic-terror that plied them; the excitement
 +in the ship was visible enough, discipline had
 +given way to superstitious fear. I could see
 +the captain flourishing his arm with threatening
 +gestures, lieutenants and midshipmen
 +running here and there, but to no purpose.
 +The whole ship's company, about three hundred
 +sailors and marines as I supposed, knew
 +what ship we were, and the very frigate herself
 +as she rolled without way, looked like
 +some startled beast mad for flight, the foam<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_161"​ id="​Page_161">​[161]</​a></​span>​
 +draining from her bows to the slow pitching,
 +as a terrified steed champs his bit into froth,
 +and shudder after shudder going up out of
 +her heart of oak into her sails, as you would
 +have said to watch the tremble and filling and
 +backing of them to the wind.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was as I had feared, and had the captain
 +of the man-of-war promised to blow his ship
 +and men into a thousand atoms if the boat's
 +crew refused to obey his orders to board us,
 +they would have accepted that fate in preference
 +to the hideous alternative adventure.
 +In a trice the pinnace was alongside the
 +frigate, the crew over the rail, and the boat
 +hoisted. The yards on the main flew round,
 +royals and topgallant-sails were set, studding-sails
 +were run aloft, and before ten minutes
 +had elapsed since the boat had started to
 +board us, the frigate, under a whole cloud of
 +canvas, was heeling and gently rolling and
 +pitching over the brilliant blue sea, with her
 +head north east, her stern dead at us, the gilt<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_162"​ id="​Page_162">​[162]</​a></​span>​
 +there and the windows converting her betwixt
 +her quarters into the appearance of a huge
 +sparkling square of crystal, the glory of
 +which flung upon her wake under it a splendour
 +so great that it was as though she had
 +fouled a sunbeam and was dragging the
 +dazzle after her.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I looked at Imogene; her beautiful eyes
 +had yearned after the ship into the dimness
 +of tears.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​My dear, do not fret,",​ said I, again
 +calling her my dear, for I still lacked the
 +courage to call her my love; "this experience
 +makes me clear on one point: we shall
 +escape, but not by a ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How,​ if not by a ship?" she cried,
 +tremulously.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Before I could reply, Vanderdecken looked
 +round upon us, and came our way, at the
 +same time telling Van Vogelaar to swing the
 +topsail-yard and board his main tack.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Tis in this fashion,"​ he exclaimed, "​that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_163"​ id="​Page_163">​[163]</​a></​span>​
 +most of the ships I meet serve me. It would
 +be enough to make me deem your countrymen
 +a lily-livered lot if the people of other
 +nations, my own included, did not sheer off
 +before I could explain my needs or learn
 +their motives in desiring to board us. What
 +alarmed the people of that ship, think you,
 +mynheer?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Who can tell, sir?" I responded, in as
 +collected a manner as I could contrive.
 +"They might suspect us hardly worth the
 +trouble of capturing&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He motioned an angry dissent.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Or,"​ I continued, abashed and speaking
 +hurriedly, "they might have seen something
 +in the appearance of your crew to promise a
 +bloody resistance."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​By the Holy Trinity!"​ he cried, with the
 +most vehement scorn, "if such a thing were
 +conceivable I should have been glad to confirm
 +it with a broadside!"​ and his eye came
 +from the frigate that was fast lessening in the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_164"​ id="​Page_164">​[164]</​a></​span>​
 +distance to his poor show of rust-eaten sakers
 +and green-coated swivels.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was sure that he had no suspicion of the
 +truth. Not knowing that he and his ship
 +were accurst, how was it possible for him to
 +guess the cause of the behaviour of the ships
 +which fled from him? You would suppose
 +that he and the rest of the crew discovered
 +many signs of satisfaction and delight at this
 +escape from a ship to whose commands they
 +had hauled down their flag; instead, they
 +hung upon the rail watching the frigate shifting
 +her helm for a hasty flight without a
 +murmur, a note of speech; nothing appeared
 +in them but a dull, leaden, Dutch phlegmatic
 +curiosity, if indeed this quality at all possessed
 +them, and when Van Vogelaar sang out to
 +them to brace round the yards on the main,
 +they fell to the job of trimming sail and
 +getting way on the ship with an incredible
 +ghastly indifference in their countenances
 +and in their movements, as they went about<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_165"​ id="​Page_165">​[165]</​a></​span>​
 +their silent labour. Indeed, whatever passions
 +they had seemed to pertain to what
 +was to come; I mean, the heaving in sight of
 +a ship would make them eager for tobacco or
 +for whatever else they needed and she might
 +have; but when the incident, the adventure,
 +the experience&​mdash;​call it what you will&​mdash;​was
 +passed, they turned a black and passionless
 +mind upon it, without the capacity of grief or
 +gladness.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was an hour after our usual dinner-time,​
 +and Prins arrived to tell the captain the meal
 +was on the table. He put Imogene'​s hand
 +under his arm caressingly,​ and I followed
 +them with one wistful look at the frigate that
 +was already a toy and far off, melting like a
 +cloud into the junction of sapphire ether and
 +violet ocean. I saw Vanderdecken level a
 +glance at her too, and as we entered the
 +cabin he said, addressing me, but without
 +turning his head, and leading Imogene to the
 +table. "It will be a disappointment to you,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_166"​ id="​Page_166">​[166]</​a></​span>​
 +mynheer, that your countrymen would not
 +stay to receive you?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It was your intention,"​ said I, "that I
 +should go with them?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Certainly,"​ he answered, confronting me
 +slowly and eyeing me haughtily; "you
 +are an Englishman, but you are not my
 +prisoner."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We may be more fortunate next time," I
 +said, coldly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Tis to be hoped!"​ said Van Vogelaar,
 +who had followed last, speaking in his
 +harshest and sourest tone.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I turned to eye him; but at the moment
 +the parrot, probably animated by our voices,
 +croaked out, hoarsely, "Wy Zyn al Verdomd!"​
 +on which the fellow broke into a coarse,
 +raw "ha! ha!" yet never stirring a muscle
 +of his storm-hammered face. '​Twould have
 +been like fighting with phantoms and fiends
 +to war in words with these men. I am here,
 +thought I, and there is yonder sweetheart<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_167"​ id="​Page_167">​[167]</​a></​span>​
 +to rescue before I am done with this Death
 +Ship; and with a smile at her earnest, half-startled
 +eyes I seated myself.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_168"​ id="​Page_168">​[168]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER IX.<br />
 +
 +CAPTAIN VANDERDECKEN WALKS IN HIS
 +SLEEP.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​This incident of the English frigate satisfied
 +me that it was Vanderdecken'​s intention to
 +get rid of me at the first opportunity that
 +offered. There could be no doubt that Van
 +Vogelaar had poisoned his mind against me,
 +for, certainly, at the start of this experience
 +of mine, the skipper had treated me with
 +humanity and a sort of heated, lofty courtesy;
 +and since he deemed himself homeward
 +bound, and regarded his vessel as a good
 +sailer, he would not think it necessary to
 +tranship me if his mind had not been
 +acidulated.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I remember when the evening came on<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_169"​ id="​Page_169">​[169]</​a></​span>​
 +that same day we had been chased and
 +abandoned by the Centaur, walking up and
 +down the lee-side of the short poop alone,
 +Arents, who had charge, standing silent near
 +the helmsman. I had worked myself up into
 +great confusion and distress of mind. Dejection
 +had been followed by a fit of nervousness,​
 +and when I looked around me at the
 +unmeasurable waste of ocean darkling in the
 +east to the growing shadows there, at the
 +ancient heights of canvas above me, with the
 +dingy rusty red of the western light slipping
 +from the hollow breasts and off the sallow
 +spars, till the edges of the sails melted into a
 +spectral faintness upon the gradual gloom, at
 +the desolate, grassy appearance of the decks,
 +the dull motions, the death-like posture of the
 +three or four men standing here and there
 +forward&​mdash;​I felt as if the curse of the ship had
 +fallen upon my heart and life too&​mdash;​that it was
 +my doom to languish in her till my death&​mdash;​to
 +love and yet be denied fruition&​mdash;​to yearn for<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_170"​ id="​Page_170">​[170]</​a></​span>​
 +our release with the same impotency of desire
 +that governed the navigation of this Death
 +Ship towards the home it was the Will of
 +God she was never to approach.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet in any other mood I should have
 +found an exquisite repose for the soul in this
 +interval. There was an aroma as of the
 +tropics in the gentle north-west wind. The
 +ship, faintly impelled, went with a small curl
 +of silver at her bow, as softly along the sea as
 +the reflection of a star slides upon the brow
 +of a smooth swell. The peace of the grave
 +was in the floating tomb, and had my spirits
 +been easy there would have been something
 +of the delicious rapture of intellectual enjoyment
 +that the opium smoker is said to inhale
 +through the stem of his pipe in the indolent
 +watching of this ancient ship, swimming out
 +of daylight into darkness, with the reflected
 +hectic on the larboard beam creeping like
 +vermilioned smoke up her masts and over
 +her sails, and vanishing off the trucks like the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_171"​ id="​Page_171">​[171]</​a></​span>​
 +trailing skirts of some heavenward flying
 +vision.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On turning from a short contemplation of
 +the sea over the stern, I observed Imogene,
 +at the head of the ladder conducting from the
 +poop to the quarter-deck,​ watching me. It
 +was the first opportunity which had offered
 +for speaking with her alone since dinner-time.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken has gone to his
 +cabin to take some rest," said she. "I knew
 +you were above by your tread."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ah! you can recognise me by that?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ and by the dejection in it, too," she
 +answered, smiling. "There is human feeling
 +in the echo; the footfalls of the others are as
 +meaningless as the sound of wood smitten by
 +wood."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am very dull and weary-hearted,"​ said
 +I. "​Thanks be to God that you are in this
 +ship to give me hope and warmth."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And I thank Him, too, for sending you
 +to me," said she.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_172"​ id="​Page_172">​[172]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I took her hand and kissed it; indeed, but
 +for Arents and the helmsman, I should have
 +taken her to my heart with my lips upon
 +hers. "Let us walk a little,"​ said I. "We
 +will step softly. We do not want the captain
 +to surprise us."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I took her hand, and we slowly paced the
 +deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​All the afternoon,"​ said I, "I have been
 +considering how we are to escape. There is
 +no man among this ghostly crew who has a
 +friendly eye for me, and so whatever is done
 +must be done by me alone."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You must trust no one," she cried,
 +quickly; "the plan you light upon must be
 +our secret. There is a demon imprisoned in
 +Vanderdecken;​ if it should be loosed he
 +might take your life!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I don't doubt it. And suppose I went
 +armed, my conflict would be with deathless
 +men! No! no! my plan must be our secret,
 +as you say. But what is it? If but a gleam<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_173"​ id="​Page_173">​[173]</​a></​span>​
 +of light sank its ray into this darkness I
 +should take heart."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She pressed my hand, saying, "The
 +frigate'​s abandoning of us has depressed you.
 +But an opportunity will surely come."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ the behaviour of the frigate has
 +depressed me. But why? Because she has
 +made me see that the greatest calamity which
 +could befall us would be our encountering a
 +ship willing to parley with us."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is it so?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I fear; because Vanderdecken would
 +send me to her, and separate us." Then
 +bethinking me, by observing her head sink,
 +how doleful and unmanly was such reasoning
 +as this, such apprehension of what might be,
 +without regard to the possibility of our salvation
 +lying in the very circumstance or
 +situation I dreaded, I said, heartening my
 +voice, "​Imogene,​ though I have no plan,
 +yet my instincts tell me that our best, perhaps
 +our sole chance of escaping from this ship<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_174"​ id="​Page_174">​[174]</​a></​span>​
 +will be in some necessity arising for her to
 +drop anchor off the coast, for careening, or for
 +procuring provisions and water. Think, my
 +dear, closely of it! We dare not count upon
 +any ship we meet taking such action as will
 +ensure our joint deliverance. No body of
 +seamen, learning what vessel this is, would
 +have anything to do with her. Then, as to
 +escaping from her at sea, even if it were in
 +the power of these weak, unaided arms to
 +hoist one of those boats there over the side
 +unperceived,​ I know not whether my love
 +for thee, Imogene&​mdash;​whether,​ O forgive me if
 +I grieve you&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She stirred her hand, as if to remove it,
 +but I held it the tighter, feeling in the warm
 +and delicate palm the dew that emotion was
 +distilling there.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was silent, and we came to a stand.
 +She said in a weak and trembling voice:
 +"You do not grieve me. Why should I
 +grieve to be loved?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_175"​ id="​Page_175">​[175]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are beautiful and good and a sailor'​s
 +child, my dearest,"​ said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And friendless."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No! bid me say I love thee?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She bade me whisper, drawing closer to
 +me. I swiftly kissed her cheek that was cold
 +with the evening wind. Great Heaven!
 +what a theatre was this for love-making. To
 +think of the sweetest, in our case the purest,
 +of emotions having its birth in, owing its
 +growth to, the dreaded fabric of the Death
 +Ship! Yet I, that a short while ago was
 +viewing the vessel with despondency and
 +fear and loathing, now for a space found her
 +transfigured! The kiss my darling had permitted,
 +her gentle speech, the caress that lay
 +in her drawing close to me, had kindled a
 +light in my heart, and the lustre was upon
 +the ship; a faint radiance viewless to the
 +sight, but of a power to work such transformation,​
 +that instead of a gaunt phosphoric
 +structure sailing through the dusk, there<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_176"​ id="​Page_176">​[176]</​a></​span>​
 +floated under the stars a fabric whose sails
 +might have been of satin, whose cordage
 +might have been formed of golden threads,
 +whose decks might have been fashioned out
 +of pearl!</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We were silent for awhile, and then she
 +said, in a coyly-coquettish voice with a
 +happy note of music in it, "What were you
 +saying, Mr. Fenton, when you interrupted
 +yourself?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dear heart!"​ cried I, "you must call me
 +Geoffrey now."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What were you saying, Geoffrey?"​ said
 +she.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why,"​ I replied, "that even were it
 +possible for me to secure one of those boats,
 +and launch it unperceived,​ my love would
 +not suffer me to expose you to the perils of
 +such an adventure."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​My life is in your keeping, Geoffrey,"​
 +said she. "You need but lead&​mdash;​I will follow.
 +Yet there is one thing you must consider: if<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_177"​ id="​Page_177">​[177]</​a></​span>​
 +we escape to the land, which seems to me the
 +plan that is growing in you&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said, "​Yes,"​ watching the sparkling of
 +the stars in her eyes, which she had fixed
 +on mine.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Are not the perils which await us there
 +greater than any the sea can threaten, supposing
 +we abandoned ourselves to its mercy
 +in that little boat yonder? There are many
 +wild beasts on the coast; often in the
 +stillness of the night, when we have been
 +lying at anchor, have I heard the roaring and
 +trumpeting of them. And more dreadful
 +and fearful than leopards, wild elephants
 +and terrible serpents&​mdash;​all of which abound,
 +dear&​mdash;​crocodiles in the rivers and poisonous,
 +tempting fruit and herbs&​mdash;​are the savages,
 +the hideous, unclothed Kaffres, and the barbarous
 +tribes which I have heard my father
 +tell of as occupying the land for leagues and
 +leagues from the Cape to the coast opposite
 +the Island of Madagascar."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_178"​ id="​Page_178">​[178]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>A strange shudder ran through her, and
 +letting slip my hand to take my arm&​mdash;​for
 +now that she knew I loved her she passed
 +from her girlish coyness into a bride-like
 +tenderness and freedom, and put a caressing
 +manner into her very walk as she paced at
 +my side&​mdash;​she cried, "Oh, do you know,
 +Geoffrey, if ever a nightmare freezes my
 +heart it is when I dream I am taken captive
 +by one of those black tribes, and carried
 +beyond the mountains to serve as a slave."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was so much truth in what she said
 +that I could not listen to her without an
 +emotion of distress; since, my own judgment
 +forbidding the escape by the boat&​mdash;​if it were
 +possible for us so to escape&​mdash;​her dread of the
 +land was like the complete shutting out of all
 +self-deliverance. However, I felt that no
 +good could come of a conversation that
 +insensibly led us into disheartening reflections,​
 +so I gradually worked our thoughts into
 +another channel, and presently found myself<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_179"​ id="​Page_179">​[179]</​a></​span>​
 +breathing my passion afresh into her ear and
 +hearkening to hurried answers, sighed rather
 +than spoken, so gentle was her utterance.
 +The dusk had thickened into night, the stars
 +swung in glory to the majestical motion of
 +the mastheads, there was a curl of moon in
 +the west like a paring of pearl designed for a
 +further enrichment of the jewelled skies, the
 +phosphor trembled along the decks, and all
 +substantial outlines swam into indistinctness
 +in an atmosphere that seemed formed of fluid
 +indigo. Visible against the luminaries past
 +the quarter-gallery was the figure of the
 +mate; but the helmsman near him was
 +shrouded by the pale haze that floated
 +smoke-like about the binnacle. Flakes of
 +the sea-glow slipped slowly past upon the
 +black welter as though the patches of stardust
 +on high mirrored themselves in this
 +silent ebony water. From time to time a
 +brilliant meteor flashed out upon the night
 +and sailed into a ball of fire that far outshone<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_180"​ id="​Page_180">​[180]</​a></​span>​
 +the glory of the greatest stars. The dew fell
 +lightly; the crystals trembled along the rail
 +and winked to the stirring of the wind with
 +the sharp sparkle of diamonds; and though
 +we were in the cold season, yet the light
 +breeze, having a flush of northing in it, was
 +pure refreshment without touch of cold, so
 +that a calmer, fairer night than this I do not
 +conceive ever descended upon a ship at sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was a young fellow in those days. My
 +passion for the lonely and lovely girl who
 +walked beside me was keen and hot; that
 +she loved me as I loved her I could not be
 +certain, for women are slower, and therefore
 +the surer, in their capacity of loving than
 +men; but that she did love me she made me
 +know by a subtle sweetness of words and
 +behaviour. I was young, I say, of a naturally
 +merry and sanguine heart, and the gladness
 +of my love entered into the night, smoothing
 +out all the alarms and anxieties from my
 +mind, and making me so much myself that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_181"​ id="​Page_181">​[181]</​a></​span>​
 +for my light spirits I might have been on
 +board some English ship with my sweetheart,
 +swiftly heading for home, instead of treading
 +with her the deck of a vessel accurst of
 +Heaven, and moving through the night, a
 +ghostly shadow palely gleaming with death-fires,​
 +on a voyage that was never to have an
 +end.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Thrice the clock struck in the cabin, and
 +whenever the first chime sounded I would
 +start as if we were near land and the sound
 +was the note of a distant cathedral bell; and
 +punctually with the last stroke would come
 +the rasping voice of the parrot, reminding all
 +who heard it of their condition. Occasionally,​
 +Arents moved, but never by more than a
 +stride or two; forward all was dead blackness
 +and stillness, the blacker for the unholy,
 +elusive shinings, the stiller for the occasional
 +sighing of the wind, for the thin, shaling
 +sound of waters, gently stemmed, for the
 +moan now and again that floated muffled out<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_182"​ id="​Page_182">​[182]</​a></​span>​
 +of the hold of the ship. Twice Imogene said
 +she must leave me; but I could not bear to
 +part with her. The night was our own, yea,
 +even the ship, in her solitude wrought by the
 +silent figures aft and the tomb-like repose
 +forward, seemed our own; and my darling,
 +being in her heart as loth as I to separate,
 +lingered yet and yet till the silver sickle of
 +the moon had gone down red into the
 +western ocean, and the clock below had
 +struck half-past eleven.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Then she declared it was time, indeed, for
 +her to be gone; should Vanderdecken come
 +on deck and find her with me he might
 +decide to part us effectually by sending me
 +forward, and forbidding me to approach the
 +cabin end; so, finding her growing alarmed,
 +and hearing the quick beating of her heart in
 +her speech, I said, "​Good-night,"​ kissing her
 +hand, and then releasing her. She seemed
 +to hurry, stopped and looked behind; I stood
 +watching her; seeing her stop, I held out my<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_183"​ id="​Page_183">​[183]</​a></​span>​
 +arms, and went to her, and she returned to
 +me. With what love did I kiss her upturned
 +brow, and hold her to my heart!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was yet in my arms, when the great
 +figure of Vanderdecken rose above the ladder,
 +and ere I could release her he was close to
 +us, towering in shadow like some giant spirit.
 +The start I gave caused her to turn; she saw
 +him, and instantly grasping my hand drew
 +me against the bulwark, where we stood
 +waiting for him to speak. Love will give
 +spirit to the pitifullest recreant, and had I
 +been the most craven-hearted of men the
 +obligation to stand between such a sweetheart
 +as Imogene and one whom she feared,
 +though he stood as high as Goliath, would
 +have converted me into a hero. But I was
 +no coward; I could look back to my earliest
 +experiences and feel that with strictest confidence.
 +Yet, spite of the animating presence
 +of Imogene, the great figure standing in front
 +of us chilled, subdued, terrified me. Had he<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_184"​ id="​Page_184">​[184]</​a></​span>​
 +been mortal I could not have felt so; nay,
 +had his demeanour, his posture, been that
 +which intercourse with him had made familiar,
 +I should not have suffered from the superstitious
 +fears which held me motionless, and
 +made my breathing laboured. But there was
 +something new and frightful in the pause he
 +made abreast of us, in the strange and menacing
 +swinging of his arms, in the pose of his
 +head defiantly held back, and in his eyes,
 +which shone with a light that owed nothing
 +to the stars, in the pallid gloom of his face.
 +His gaze seemed to be rivetted on the ocean-line
 +a little abaft of where we stood, and
 +therefore did he appear to confront us. The
 +expression in his face I could not distinguish,​
 +but I feebly discerned an aspect of distortion
 +about the brow, and clearly made out that
 +his under-jaw was fallen so as to let his mouth
 +lie open, causing him to resemble one whose
 +soul was convulsed by some hideous vision.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene pressed my hand. I looked at<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_185"​ id="​Page_185">​[185]</​a></​span>​
 +her, and she put her white forefinger to her
 +mouth, saying in accents so faint, that they
 +were more like the whispers one hears in
 +memory than the utterance of human lips:
 +"He is walking in his sleep. In a moment
 +he will act a part. I have seen this thing
 +once before;"​ and so fairily speaking she
 +drew me lightly towards the deeper gloom
 +near the bulwarks where the mizzen-rigging
 +was.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​For some moments he continued standing
 +and gazing seawards, slowly swinging his
 +arms in a way that suggested fierce yet
 +almost controlled distress of mind. He then
 +started to walk, savagely patrolling the deck,
 +sweeping past us so close as to brush us with
 +his coat, then crossing athwartships and
 +madly pacing the other side of the deck,
 +sometimes stopping with a passionate violent
 +suddenness at the binnacle, at the card of
 +which he seemed to stare, then with denunciatory
 +gesture resuming his stormy striding<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_186"​ id="​Page_186">​[186]</​a></​span>​
 +now lengthwise, now crosswise, now swinging
 +his great figure into an abrupt stand to view
 +the sea, first to starboard then to larboard,
 +now standing aloft; and all with airs and gestures
 +as though he shouted orders to the
 +crew and cried aloud to himself, though
 +saving his swift deep breathing that, when he
 +passed us close, sounded like the panting of
 +bellows in angry or impatient hands, no
 +syllable broke from him.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Some spell is upon him!" I exclaimed.
 +"I see how it is!&​mdash;​he is acting over again
 +the behaviour that renders this ship accurst."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I saw him like this two years ago; 'twas
 +earlier in the night,"​ whispered Imogene.
 +"He so scared me that I fainted."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​That Arents and the helmsman took
 +notice of this strange somnambulistic behaviour
 +in their captain I could not tell: he
 +approached them as often as he approached
 +us, and much of the dumb show of his rage
 +was enacted close to them; but so far as I<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_187"​ id="​Page_187">​[187]</​a></​span>​
 +could judge from the distance at which we
 +stood, their postures were as quiet as though
 +they were lay figures, or passionless and in
 +sensible creatures without understandings to
 +be touched. It was a heart-subduing spectacle
 +beyond words to tell of. Bit by bit his
 +temper grew, till his motions, his frenzied
 +racings about the deck, his savage glarings
 +aloft, his fury when, in this distemper of
 +sleep, his perusal of the compass disappointed
 +him, were those of a maniac. I saw the
 +white froth on his lips as he approached us
 +close to level a flaming glance seawards, and
 +had he been Satan himself I could not have
 +shrunk from him with deeper loathing and
 +colder terror. The insanity of his wrath, as
 +expressed by his gestures&​mdash;​for he was as
 +mute as one bereft of his voice by agony&​mdash;​was
 +rendered the wilder, the more striking
 +and terrible by the contrast of the night,
 +the peace of it, the splendour of the stars,
 +the silence upon the deep rising up to those<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_188"​ id="​Page_188">​[188]</​a></​span>​
 +luminaries like a benedictory hush! For
 +such an infuriated figure as this you needed
 +the theatre of a storm-tossed ship, with the
 +billows boiling all about and over her, and
 +the scenery of a pitchy sky torn by violet
 +lightning and piercing the roaring ebony of
 +the seas with zig-zag fire, and the trumpetings
 +of the tempest deepened by a ceaseless
 +crashing of thunder.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He continued to lash himself into such
 +a fury that, for very pity, misery and horror,
 +you longed to hear him cry out, for the
 +expression would give relief to his soul,
 +strangling and in awful throes. Suddenly
 +he fell upon his knees; his hands were
 +clenched, and he lifted them on high; his
 +face was upturned; and as I watched him
 +menacing the stars with infuriate gestures, I
 +knew that even as he now showed so did he
 +appear when he blasphemously dared his
 +Maker. A soft gust of the midnight air blew
 +with a small moan through the rigging.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_189"​ id="​Page_189">​[189]</​a></​span>​
 +Vanderdecken let drop his arms, swayed a
 +while as if he would fall, staggered to his
 +feet, and with his hands pressed to his eyes
 +as though indeed some sudden stroke of
 +lightning had smitten him blind, came with
 +wavering gait, in which was still visible a
 +sullen and disordered majesty, to the poop
 +ladder, down which he sightlessly went,
 +steered by the wondrous, unintelligible
 +faculty that governs the sleep-walker.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I pulled off my hat and wiped my forehead,
 +that was damp with sweat.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Great God!" I cried. "What a sight to
 +behold! What anguish is he made to suffer!
 +How is it that his human form does not
 +scatter, like one broken on a wheel, to the
 +rending of such infernal passions as possess
 +him?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene was about to answer when on a
 +sudden the first stroke of midnight came
 +floating up in the cathedral-note of the clock.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hark!"​ she exclaimed. "It is twelve!<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_190"​ id="​Page_190">​[190]</​a></​span>​
 +Arents will now be relieved by Van Vogelaar.
 +If that malignant creature spies me here at
 +this hour with you, oh, '​twould be worse
 +through the report he would give than if
 +Vanderdecken himself had surprised us.
 +Good-night, Mr. Fenton!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She quickly slipped from my grasp, and
 +faded down the ladder. As she vanished I
 +put my hand to my heart to subdue its beating,
 +and whilst I thus stood a moment the last
 +note of the clock vibrated into the stillness
 +on deck and scarcely less clear than had the
 +accursed croak sounded close beside me, rose
 +the parrot'​s detestable cry:</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Wy zyn al Verdomd!"</​p>​
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_191"​ id="​Page_191">​[191]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER X.<br />
 +
 +WE SIGHT A DISMASTED WRECK.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Terrible as must have been the sufferings of
 +Vanderdecken in the tragic passage through
 +which his spirit had driven in a silent madness
 +of sleep, yet next morning I could perceive
 +no trace of his frenzy in the cold and ghastly
 +hue of his face. I found him on deck when
 +I quitted my melancholy cabin, and he responded
 +to the good morning I gave him with
 +a touch of civility in his haughty, brooding
 +manner that was not a little comforting to
 +me, who had been kept awake till 'twas
 +hard upon daylight by remembrance of the
 +spectacle I had witnessed, and by apprehensions
 +of how a person of his demoniacal
 +passions might serve me if I should give him,
 +or if he should imagine, offence.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_192"​ id="​Page_192">​[192]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The draught&​mdash;​for the breeze was little
 +more&​mdash;​had come more northerly, and the
 +ship, as I might guess by the sun, was heading
 +about north east. There were swathes
 +and circles of gleaming ribbed clouds of gossamer
 +texture all about the sky, and they
 +looked as if some mighty hand had been
 +swinging pearls, as a sower hurls seeds, about
 +the heavens, which had been compacted by
 +the wind into many different figures. They
 +sobered the dazzle where the sun was, so
 +that his wake lay upon the ocean in flashing
 +streaks, instead of the fan-shaped path of
 +glory he would have wrought had he shone
 +in unstained azure.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There should be promise of a breeze,
 +mynheer,"​ said I, "in the shape and lay of
 +those high clouds and the little dimness you
 +notice to windward."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,"​ he answered, darting a level glance,
 +under his bushy, corrugated brows, into the
 +North quarter; "were it not for what hath<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_193"​ id="​Page_193">​[193]</​a></​span>​
 +been sighted from aloft, I should be steering
 +with my starboard tacks aboard."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What may be in sight, sir?" I asked,
 +dreading to hear that it was a ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He answered, "The sparkle of a wet,
 +black object was visible from the cross-trees
 +at sunrise. Arents finds it already in the
 +perspective glass from the fore-top. He
 +reports it the hull of an abandoned ship.
 +He may be mistaken. Your sight is keen,
 +sir; we greatly need tobacco; but I would
 +not willingly lose time in running down to a
 +vessel that may be water-logged,​ and therefore
 +utterly unprofitable."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You wish me to go aloft and see what I
 +can make of the object, sir?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If you will be so good," he answered,
 +with a grave inclination of the head.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken,"​ said I, "I should
 +be glad to serve you in any direction. I only
 +regret your courtesy will not put me to the
 +proof."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_194"​ id="​Page_194">​[194]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>He bowed again and pointed to the telescope
 +to which Arents had fastened a lanyard
 +that he might carry it aloft on his back. I
 +threw the bight over my head and walked
 +forward, guessing now that Vanderdecken'​s
 +civility was owing to his intending to make
 +me oblige him in this way. Coming abreast
 +of the weather fore-shrouds,​ I jumped on to
 +an old gun, thence leaped to the rail and
 +swung myself into the rigging, up which,
 +however, I stepped with the utmost caution,
 +the seizings of the ratlines looking very
 +rotten, and the shrouds themselves so grey
 +and worn that they seemed as old as the ship
 +herself, and as if generations of seamen had
 +been employed to do nothing else but squeeze
 +the tar out of them. There was a good-sized
 +lubber'​s hole through which I easily
 +passed, the barricadoes prohibiting any other
 +entrance into the top; and when I was
 +arrived, I found myself on a great circular
 +platform, green as a field with moss and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_195"​ id="​Page_195">​[195]</​a></​span>​
 +grass, and surrounded by a breastwork of
 +wood to the height of my armpits, the
 +scantling extraordinarily thick, but answering
 +in age and appearance to the rest of
 +the timber in the ship, with loop-holes for
 +muskets and small cannon.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The foot of the fore-sail having a very
 +large curve, I had a clear view of the sea on
 +both bows under it, and the moment I ran
 +my naked eye from the windward to the
 +leeward side, then I saw, fair betwixt the
 +cathead and the knighthead, the flashing of
 +what was unquestionably the wet side of a
 +dismasted ship rolling to the sun. The
 +regular coming and going of the sparkling
 +was like the discharge of a piece fired and
 +quickly loaded and fired again. I pointed the
 +telescope, and the small magnification aiding
 +my fairly keen sight I distinctly made out the
 +hull of a vessel of between three hundred and
 +four hundred tons, rolling with a very sluggish
 +regularity and shooting out a strong blaze of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_196"​ id="​Page_196">​[196]</​a></​span>​
 +light whenever the swell gave her streaming
 +sides to the glory. I was pretty sure, by the
 +power and broadness of this darting radiance,
 +that her decks were not submerged, that
 +indeed she would still show an indifferently
 +good height of side above the water, and
 +thereupon threw the glass over my back for
 +the descent, pausing, however, to take a
 +view of the ship from the height I occupied,
 +and wondering not a little, with something
 +of amusement, too, at the extraordinary
 +figure her body offered thus surveyed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In fact, she was not three times as long as
 +she was broad, and she had the sawn-off
 +look of a wagon down there. After every
 +swimming lift of her head by the swell, the
 +droop of her bows hove a smearing of froth
 +into the large blue folds, that might have
 +passed for an overflowing of soap-suds from
 +a wash-tub; and upon that whiteness all
 +the forward part of her stood out in a sort of
 +jumble of pondrous catheads, curved head<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_197"​ id="​Page_197">​[197]</​a></​span>​boards
 +sinking into a well, out of which
 +forked the massive boltsprit, as the people
 +who fashioned it would have spelt it, with its
 +heavy confusion of gear, yards, stays for the
 +sprit-topmast,​ and the like. I had a good
 +sight of the sails up here, and perceived they
 +were like the famous stocking of which Dr.
 +Arbuthnot, or Pope, or one of the wits of
 +Queen Anne's reign, wrote; that is, that
 +though they might have been the same cloths
 +which the Braave sheeted home when she
 +set sail from Batavia, yet they had been so
 +patched, so darned, and over and over again
 +so repaired, that to prove they were the
 +same sails would be as nice a piece of metaphysical
 +puzzling as to show that they were
 +not.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet the sun flung his light upon their
 +many-hued dinginess, and as I looked up they
 +swung to the heave of the ship with a hard
 +blank staring of their breasts that seemed like
 +the bending of an idiot'​s gaze at the clusters<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_198"​ id="​Page_198">​[198]</​a></​span>​
 +and wreaths, and curls of pearly vapour over
 +the lee horizon, and though my glance was
 +swift yet even in a breathless moment a confusion
 +was wrought, as though the shining
 +prismatic clouds were starting to sweep like
 +some maelstromic brimming of feathery foam
 +around the ship and founder her in gradual
 +gyrations of blue ether and snow-like mist.
 +Great God! thought I, here, to be sure, is a
 +place to go mad in! To lie upon this dark
 +green platform, to hearken to the spirit-whisperings
 +amid this ancient cordage, to behold
 +these darkened sails sallowly swelling towards
 +some bloody disc of moon soaring out of a
 +belt of sooty vapour, to listen to the voices of
 +the fabric beneath and to the groans of her
 +old age dying in echoes in the caverns of
 +her stretched canvas&​mdash;​by my father'​s hand!
 +thought I, if I am to save my brain I must
 +put myself nearer to Imogene than this; so
 +I dropped with a loud heart through the
 +lubber'​s hole, and stepped down the ratlines<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_199"​ id="​Page_199">​[199]</​a></​span>​
 +as fast as my fears of the soundness of the
 +seizings would suffer me to descend.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you see, mynheer?"​ asked
 +Vanderdecken.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The hull of a ship, sir," I replied. "She
 +is deep in the water but not too deep for
 +boarding, I believe, for the sunshine finds a
 +wide expanse to blaze out upon when she
 +rolls."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Well,"​ he exclaimed, "an hour or two can
 +make but very little difference,"​ and he sent
 +his impatient, imperious gaze into the blue to
 +windward, and fell to marching the deck
 +athwartships,​ opposite the tiller-head,​ becoming
 +suddenly as heedless of my presence
 +as if I had been a brass swivel on his
 +bulwarks. But I was less likely to be
 +chagrined by his discourtesy than by his
 +attention. It had, indeed, come to my never
 +feeling so easy in my mind as when he perfectly
 +neglected me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Our bringing of that hull within sight from<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_200"​ id="​Page_200">​[200]</​a></​span>​
 +the deck ran into more than an hour or two.
 +Close-hauled,​ and the breeze light, the Braave
 +scarce seemed able to push her bows through
 +the water at all. The bubbles and foam-bells
 +slided past as languidly as the tide of ebb
 +in its last quarter wrinkles against the stem
 +of an anchored vessel.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>At breakfast nothing else was talked of,
 +and little enough was said about it too. We
 +were, in truth, a silent party. Every look of
 +Imogene caused me to see how the memory
 +of last night worked in her&​mdash;​a night of sweetness
 +and terror&​mdash;​of kisses and caresses, and
 +entrancing revelations&​mdash;​and of an horrific
 +spectacle of enormous and speechless anguish,
 +humanly devilish! On deck, in the early
 +sparkling breeziness of the morning, I had
 +been sensible of no recoil on meeting Vanderdecken;​
 +but at table I sat close to him;
 +to his presence the recollection of the foam
 +upon his lip, his fallen jaw, the soul-devouring,​
 +feverish restlessness of his enraged move<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_201"​ id="​Page_201">​[201]</​a></​span>​ments,​
 +his dreadful posture of imprecation,​
 +imparted insufferable emphasis; and when
 +I quitted the cabin for the deck, not having
 +spoken half-a-dozen syllables during the
 +meal, the feeling of relief in me was like the
 +removal of a cold hand from my heart.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was two hours-and-a-half after sighting
 +the hull from the masthead, that it lay visible
 +upon the sea from the deck. Luckily, the
 +breeze had stolen a point or two westerly,
 +which enabled our ship to keep the wreck
 +to leeward of our bowsprit; otherwise, we
 +should never have fetched it by two miles,
 +without a board, and that might have ended
 +in a week's plying to windward. The crew
 +had long got scent of this object ahead, and
 +being as keen for tobacco as was ever a
 +sharp-set stomach for victuals, they were
 +collected in a body on the forecastle, where,
 +in their dull, lifeless, mechanic way they stood
 +staring and waiting. Although those who
 +had the watch on deck had been at various<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_202"​ id="​Page_202">​[202]</​a></​span>​
 +sorts of work when the wreck hove into view
 +over the forecastle rail&​mdash;​such as making
 +spun-yarn, sawing wood, (as I supposed for
 +the cook-room) sail-mending,​ splicing old
 +running gear, and the like&​mdash;​yet,​ I remarked
 +they dropped their several jobs just as it
 +suited them, and I never observed that
 +either of the mates reproved them, or that
 +the captain noticed their behaviour; whence
 +I concluded that the Curse had stricken the
 +ship into a kind of little republic, wherein
 +such discipline as was found was owing to a
 +sort of general agreement among the men
 +that such work as had to be done must be
 +done.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I found myself watching the wreck with a
 +keener interest than could ever possess the
 +breasts of the wretched master, mates, or
 +crew. Was any stratagem conceivable to
 +enable me to use that half-sunk vessel as an
 +instrument for escaping with Imogene from
 +this Death Ship?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_203"​ id="​Page_203">​[203]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>My dearest girl came to my side whilst
 +my brain was thus busy, and in a soft undertone
 +I told her of what I was thinking. She
 +listened with eager eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Geoffrey,"​ said she, "you are my captain.
 +Command me, and I will do your bidding."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​My darling,"​ I replied, "if you knew
 +what a miserable, nervous creature this Death
 +Ship has made of me you would guess I was
 +the one to be led, you to direct. But yonder
 +craft will not serve us. No! Better that
 +little boat there than a hull which the
 +crew, ay, and perhaps the very rats have
 +abandoned."</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_204"​ id="​Page_204">​[204]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XI.<br />
 +
 +THE DEAD HELMSMAN.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I proved right in the estimate I had formed
 +from the fore-top of the size of the wreck.
 +Her burthen was within four hundred tons.
 +We gradually drove down to her, and when
 +we were within musket-shot Vanderdecken
 +ordered the topsail to be laid aback. The
 +breeze had freshened, the little surges ran in
 +a pouring of silver-gushing heads, the broad-backed
 +swell rose in brimming violet to our
 +channels, and our ship rolled upon it helpless
 +as an egg-shell. The wallowing of the wreck,
 +too, was like the plashing and struggling of
 +some sentient thing heavily labouring, with
 +such fins or limbs as God had given it, to
 +keep itself afloat.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_205"​ id="​Page_205">​[205]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​That there was no lack of water in her was
 +certain; yet, having the appearance of a ship
 +that had been for some days abandoned, at
 +which time it might be supposed that her
 +people would imagine her to be in a sinking
 +condition, it was clear that in a strange
 +accidental way the leak had been healed,
 +possibly by some substance entering and
 +choking it. All three masts were gone
 +within a foot or two of the deck. Her hull
 +was a dark brown, that looked black in the
 +distance against the blue, with the mirror-like
 +flashing from the wet upon it; she had a
 +handsome stern, the quarter-galleries supported
 +by gilt figures, wherefrom ran a broad
 +band of gilt along her sides to the bows.
 +Under her counter there stole out in large,
 +white characters, with every heave of her
 +stern, the words "​Prince of Wales,"​ and
 +'twas startling to see the glare of the letters
 +coming out in a ghastly, staring sort of way
 +from the bald brow of the swell, as it sloped<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_206"​ id="​Page_206">​[206]</​a></​span>​
 +from the gilded stern. Her name proved
 +her English. You could see the masts had
 +been cut away, by the hacked ends of the
 +shrouds snaking out into the hollows and
 +swellings over the side. Her decks were
 +heavily encumbered with what sailors call
 +"​raffle"&​mdash;​that is, the muddle of ropes, torn
 +canvas, staves of boats and casks, fragments
 +of deck fittings and so forth, with which the
 +ocean illustrates her violence, and which she
 +will sometimes for weeks, ay, and for months,
 +continue to rock and nurse, and hold intact
 +for very affection of the picture as a symbol
 +of her wrath when vexed by the gale, and of
 +her triumphs over those who daringly penetrate
 +her fortresses to fight her. The confusion
 +to the eye was so great, and rendered
 +so lively and bewildering by the hulk's rolling
 +that, scan her as you would, it was impossible
 +to master details with any sort of rapidity.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Suddenly Imogene, grasping my wrist in
 +her excitement, exclaimed, "See! there is a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_207"​ id="​Page_207">​[207]</​a></​span>​
 +man there&​mdash;​he seems to steady himself by
 +holding the wheel&​mdash;​look now, Geoffrey, as
 +she rolls her decks at us!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I instantly saw him. The wheel was in
 +front of the break of the poop, where the
 +cuddy or round-house windows were; and
 +erect at it stood a man, on the starboard side,
 +one hand down clutching a spoke at his
 +waist, and his left arm straight out to a spoke
 +to larboard, which he gripped. Methought
 +he wrestled with the helm, for he swerved as
 +a steersman will who struggles to keep a
 +ship's head steady in a seaway.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is he mad?" cried I. "Ay, it must be
 +so! Famine, thirst, mental anguish, may
 +have driven him distracted. Yet, even then,
 +why does not he look towards us? Why,
 +were he actually raving, surely his sight
 +would be courted by our presence."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Pray God he be not mad," whispered
 +Imogene; "he is certain to be a sailor and
 +an Englishman; and if he be mad, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_208"​ id="​Page_208">​[208]</​a></​span>​
 +brought here, how will these men deal with
 +him?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes;​ and I say, too, pray God he be not
 +mad!" I cried; "for back me with a hearty
 +English sailor and I believe&​mdash;​yes,​ I believe I
 +could so match these fellows as to carry the
 +ship, without their having the power to resist
 +me, to any port I chose to steer for to the
 +eastward;"​ for with her cry of, "He is sure
 +to be a sailor and an Englishman,"​ there
 +swept into my brain the fancy of securing the
 +crew under hatches, and imprisoning Vanderdecken
 +and his mates in their cabins&​mdash;​the
 +least idle, in sober truth, of all the schemes
 +that had presented themselves to me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hush!"​ she exclaimed, breathlessly,​ and
 +as she closed her lips to the whisper, Vanderdecken
 +came to us. But not to speak.
 +He stood for some minutes looking at the
 +wreck, with the posture and air of one deeply
 +considering. The seamen forward gazed
 +with a heavy steadfastness,​ too, some under<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_209"​ id="​Page_209">​[209]</​a></​span>​
 +the sharp of their hands, some with folded
 +arms. I heard no speech among them. Yet
 +though their stillness was that of a swoon,
 +their eyes shone with an eager light, and
 +expectation shaped their pallid, death-like
 +faces into a high and straining look.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There were no signs of life aboard the
 +wreck, saving the figure of the man that
 +swayed at the wheel. I was amazed that he
 +should never glance towards us. Indeed, I am
 +not sure that the whole embodied ghastliness
 +of our Death Ship matched in terror what
 +you found in the sight of that lone creature
 +grasping the wheel, first bringing it a little to
 +right, then heaving it over a little to left,
 +fixedly staring ahead, as though such another
 +Curse as had fallen upon this Dutch ship had
 +come like a blast of lightning upon him,
 +compelling him to go on standing at yonder
 +helm, and vainly striving to steer the wreck&​mdash;​as
 +terribly corpse-like as any man among
 +us, and as shockingly vital too!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_210"​ id="​Page_210">​[210]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>It struck my English love of briskness
 +as strange that Vanderdecken should not
 +promptly order the boat over, or give
 +orders that should have reference to the
 +abandoned hull; yet I could not help thinking
 +that his Holland blood spoke in this
 +pause, and that there intermingled with
 +the trance-like condition that was habitual
 +in him, the phlegmatic instincts of his
 +nation&​mdash;​that gradual walking to a decision,
 +which in Scotland is termed "​takin'​ a
 +thocht."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​After a while he said to me: "​Mynheer,​
 +the wreck hath an English name; she will
 +be of your country therefore. May I beg of
 +you to take my trumpet and hail that person
 +standing at the wheel?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I shall not need your trumpet, sir," said
 +I, at once climbing upon the rail and thinking
 +to myself that 'twas odd if there was not
 +wanted a trumpet with a voice as thunderous
 +as the crack o' doom to bring that silent,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_211"​ id="​Page_211">​[211]</​a></​span>​
 +forward-staring man's face round to his
 +shoulder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Wreck ahoy!" I bawled, with my hand to
 +my cheek, and the wind took the echo of my
 +voice clear as a bell to the hulk.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was not a stir in the helmsman
 +beyond that dreary monotonous waving of his
 +figure in his struggle to steady the wheel. I
 +watched the foamless leaning of the wreck
 +into the hollow, bringing her decks aslant to
 +us, and the trailing and corkscrewing of the
 +black gear that was washing over the side,
 +and the sparkling of the broken glass of a
 +skylight contrasting with the dead black of
 +an half-dozen of carronades, and the squattering
 +of the dead-eyes of her channels upon
 +the blue volume of sea like the ebony heads
 +of a row of negroes drowning; and then,
 +wash! over she rolled to larboard, bringing
 +a streak of greenish copper sheathing out of
 +the white water which the fierce drainings
 +from her side churned up, with a mighty<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_212"​ id="​Page_212">​[212]</​a></​span>​
 +flashing of sunlight off her streaming side,
 +and a sharp lifting of the dark shrouds and
 +stays and running ropes out of the seething
 +welter, making her appear as though scores
 +of sea-snakes had their fangs in her timbers,
 +and that 'twas the very agony of their teeth,
 +and the poison, which caused her to roll from
 +them.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I shouted again, and yet again; then dismounted.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He is deaf!" said Vanderdecken.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He is dead!" said I, for this was forced
 +upon me, spite of the erect and life-like posture
 +of the figure, and what resembled the
 +straining of his arms to steady the wheel.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_213"​ id="​Page_213">​[213]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XII.<br />
 +
 +THE DUTCH SAILORS BOARD THE WRECK.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>"​Get the boat over," cried Vanderdecken,​
 +turning to Van Vogelaar, "and go and
 +inspect the wreck. Look to the man first:
 +Heer Fenton declares him dead; and particularly
 +observe if there be aught that hath
 +life in it aboard."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On this, Van Vogelaar went forward,
 +calling about him. In a few minutes a white-faced
 +seaman, with yellow beard trembling to
 +the wind, and his eyes looking like a rat's
 +with the white lashes and pink retinas,
 +leisurely climbed aloft with a line in his
 +hand, and swinging himself on to the main-yard,
 +slided out upon the horses to the
 +extremity, or yard-arm as it is termed, which<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_214"​ id="​Page_214">​[214]</​a></​span>​
 +he bestrode as a jockey a steed; and then
 +hauled up the line, to the end of which was
 +hitched a tackle. This tackle he made fast
 +to the yard-arm, and by it, with the help of
 +steadying-ropes or guys, some of the crew
 +on deck hoisted the little boat out of the
 +bigger one and lowered it away into the
 +water alongside.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched this business with a sailor'​s
 +interest, wondering that so great a ship as
 +this&​mdash;​great,​ that is, for the age to which she
 +belonged&​mdash;​should carry no more than two
 +boats, stowed one in the other after the
 +fashion of the north-country coastmen. Nor
 +was I less impressed by the aged appearance
 +of the boat when she was afloat. She had
 +the look of a slug with her horns, only that
 +those continuations of her gunnel rail projected
 +abaft as well as from the bows. And
 +when Van Vogelaar and three of the crew
 +entered her, then, what with the faded red of
 +her inner skin, the wide, red blades of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_215"​ id="​Page_215">​[215]</​a></​span>​
 +short oars, the soulless movements of the
 +seamen, the hue of their faces, the feverish
 +unnatural shining of their eyes like sunshine
 +showing through a cairngorm stone, their
 +dried and corded hands, which wrapped the
 +handles of their oars like rugged parchment&​mdash;​the
 +little but marvellous picture acted as by
 +the waving of a magic wand, forcing time
 +back by a century and a half and driving
 +shudders through the frame of a beholder
 +with a sight whose actuality made it a
 +hundredfold more startling and fearful than
 +had it been a vision as unsubstantial as the
 +Death Ship herself is mistakenly supposed
 +to be.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The wreck being within hailing distance,
 +the boat was soon alongside her. The
 +heavy rolling of the hull, and the sharp
 +rise and fall of the boat, would have made
 +any human sailor mightily wary in his boarding
 +of the vessel, but if ever there was
 +an endevilled wretch among the Phantom'​s<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_216"​ id="​Page_216">​[216]</​a></​span>​
 +horrible crew, Van Vogelaar was he. The
 +fiend in him stayed at nothing. The instant
 +the boat had closed the wreck the fellow
 +leaped, and he was on deck and walking
 +towards the figure at the wheel, whilst
 +the other&​mdash;​that is to say, two of them&​mdash;​were
 +waiting for the hull to swing down
 +for them to follow.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The mate went up to the figure, and
 +seemed to address him; then, receiving no
 +reply, he felt his face, touched his hands,
 +and pulled to get that amazing grip relaxed,
 +but to no purpose. The others now joining
 +him, they all stared into the figure'​s face;
 +one lifting an eyelid and peering into the
 +eye, another putting his ear to the figure'​s
 +mouth. Van Vogelaar then came to the
 +side, and shouted in his harsh and rusty
 +voice that it was a dead man. Vanderdecken
 +imperiously waved his hand, and
 +cried, "Fall to exploring her!" and motioned
 +significantly to the sky, as if he would have<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_217"​ id="​Page_217">​[217]</​a></​span>​
 +the mate misgive the weather, though there
 +was no change in the aspect of the pearly
 +wreaths and glistening beds of vapour, and
 +the draught was still a gentle breeze.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dead!"​ I whispered to Imogene; "yet I
 +feared it!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Will he have been English, think you,
 +Geoffrey?"​ she said.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes!"​ cried I, feeling a heat rising to my
 +cheeks, "name me a foreigner that would
 +so gloriously have confessed his nation!
 +English?&​mdash;​ay,​ a thousand times over! For
 +what does that posture indicate, that stern
 +holding to his place, that dutiful grip of his
 +iron hands? What but those qualities which
 +give the British sailor the dominion of the
 +deep, and which rank him foremost among
 +the noblest spirits the world has ever seen?
 +He has died at his post&​mdash;​one of thousands
 +who have as heroically perished."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I noticed Vanderdecken looking at the
 +body. There was deep thought in his im<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_218"​ id="​Page_218">​[218]</​a></​span>​perious,​
 +menacing expression, with a shadow
 +of misery that his fierce and glittering eyes
 +did but appear to coarsen and harshen the
 +gloom of, and I wondered to myself if ever
 +moments came when perception of his condition
 +was permitted to him, for it truly
 +appeared as though there were a hint of some
 +such thing in him now whilst he gazed at the
 +convulsive figure at the wheel, as if&​mdash;​Jesus
 +have mercy upon him!&​mdash;​the sight of the
 +dead filled his own deadly flesh with poignant
 +and enraging yearnings, the meanings of
 +which his unholy vitality was unable to
 +interpret.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​When Van Vogelaar had spent about half-an-hour
 +on the wreck, he and the others
 +dropped over the side into the boat and
 +made for us. We had scarce shifted our
 +position, for the courses being hauled up and
 +the topgallant-sails lowered, there was too
 +little sail abroad for the weak wind then
 +blowing to give us drift, and the swell that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_219"​ id="​Page_219">​[219]</​a></​span>​
 +drove us towards the wreck would also drive
 +the wreck from us. The mate came over the
 +side, and stepping up to the captain, said,
 +"She is an English ship, freighted with
 +English manufacture;​ I make out bales of
 +blanket, clothing and stores, which I imagine
 +to have been designed for troops.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What water is in her?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Seven and a quarter feet by her own
 +rod."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Her pump?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She hath two&​mdash;​both shattered and
 +useless."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Does she continue to fill?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I believe not, sir; I would not swear to
 +it; she rolls briskly, but," said he, sending
 +his evil glance at the wreck, "it does not
 +appear that she is sunk deeper since we first
 +made her out."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yonder figure at the wheel is dead you
 +say?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​As truly dead a Briton as ever fell to a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_220"​ id="​Page_220">​[220]</​a></​span>​
 +Dutchman'​s broadside."​ I exchanged a swift
 +look with Imogene. "His eyes are glassy;
 +his fingers clasp the spokes like hooks of
 +steel. He must have died on a sudden&​mdash;​perhaps
 +from lightning&​mdash;​from disease of
 +some inward organ&​mdash;​or from fear." And
 +there was the malice of the devil in the sneer
 +that curled his ugly mouth as he spoke,
 +taking me in with a roll of his sinister eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched him coldly. Remonstrance or
 +temper would have been as idle with this
 +man and his mates as pity to that unrecking
 +heart of oak out there.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What is to be come at?" demanded
 +Vanderdecken,​ with passionate abruptness.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The other answered quickly, holding up
 +one forefinger after another in a computative
 +tallying way whilst he spoke, "The half-deck
 +is free of water, and there I find flour, vinegar,
 +treacle, tierces of beef, some barrels of
 +pork, and five cases of this&​mdash;​which hath the
 +smell of tobacco, and is no doubt that plant."<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_221"​ id="​Page_221">​[221]</​a></​span>​
 +And he pulled out of his pocket a stick of
 +tobacco, such as is taken in cases to sea to be
 +sold to the crews.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken smelt it. "'​Tis undeniably
 +tobacco,"​ said he, "but how used?" His eye
 +met mine; I took the hint, and said: "To
 +be chewed, it is bitten; to be smoked, it has
 +to be flaked with a knife&​mdash;​thus,​ mynheer."​
 +And I imitated the action of cutting it.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Some of the crew had collected on the
 +quarter-deck to hear the mate's report, and
 +seeing the tobacco in the captain'​s hand and
 +observing my gestures, one of them cried out
 +that if it was like the tobacco the Englishman
 +had shown them how to use 'twas rare smoking!
 +Whether Vanderdecken had heard of
 +my visit to the forecastle I do not know: he
 +seemed not to hear the sailor'​s exclamation,​
 +saying to me, "Yes, mynheer, I see the convenience
 +of such tablets; they hold much and
 +are easily flaked."​ And then, sweeping the
 +sea and skies with his eyes, he cried: "​Get<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_222"​ id="​Page_222">​[222]</​a></​span>​
 +the other boat over: take a working party in
 +her and leave them aboard to break out the
 +cargo. The smaller boat will tow her to and
 +fro. Arents, you will have charge of the
 +working party&​mdash;​you,​ Van Vogelaar, will
 +bring off the goods and superintend the transhipments.
 +Away, now! There is stuff
 +enough there to fill the hollowest cheek with
 +fat and to sweeten the howl of a gale into
 +melody. Away, then!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was excitement in his words, but
 +none in his rich and thunderous voice, nor in
 +his manner; and though there seemed a sort
 +of bustle in the way the men went to work
 +to hoist out the large boat, it was the
 +very ghost of hurry, as unlike the hearty
 +leaping of sailors, fired with expectation,​
 +as are the twitchings of electrified muscles,
 +to the motions of hale limbs controlled by
 +healthy intellect.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet,​ to a mariner, what could surpass the
 +interest of such a scene? As I leaned<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_223"​ id="​Page_223">​[223]</​a></​span>​
 +against the bulwark with Imogene, watching
 +the little boat towing the big one over
 +the swell, with now a lifting that put the
 +leaning, toiling figures of the rowers clear
 +against the delicate, vaporous film over the
 +sky at the horizon&​mdash;​the red blades of the
 +oars glistening like rubies as they flashed
 +out of the water, and the white heads of
 +the little surges which wrinkled the liquid
 +folds melting all about the boats into creaming
 +silver, radiant with salt rainbows and
 +prismatic glories&​mdash;​and now a sinking that
 +plunged them out of sight in a hollow, I
 +said to my dear one, "Here is a sight I
 +would not have missed for a quintal of the
 +silver below. I am actually witnessing the
 +manner in which this doomed vessel feeds
 +and clothes herself, and how her crew
 +replenish their stores and provide against
 +decay and diminution. What man would
 +credit this thing? Who would believe that
 +the Curse which pronounced this ship im<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_224"​ id="​Page_224">​[224]</​a></​span>​perishable
 +should also hold her upon the
 +verge of what is natural, sentencing her to a
 +hideous immortality,​ and at the same time
 +compelling the crew to labour as if her and
 +their life was the same as that of other crews,
 +in other ships."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If they knew their doom they would not
 +toil," she answered; "they would seek death
 +by famine or thirst, or end their horrible lot
 +by sinking the ship and drowning with her."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How far away from the dread reality is
 +the world'​s imagination of this ship, and the
 +situation of her people!"​ cried I. "She has
 +been pictured as rising out of the waves, as
 +sailing among the clouds, as being perpetually
 +attended by heavy black storms, and thunder
 +claps and blasts of lightning! Here is the
 +reality&​mdash;​as sheer a piece of prose at first sight
 +as any salvage job, but holding in the very
 +heart of its simplicity so mighty, so complicate,
 +so unparalleled a wonder, that even
 +when I speak to you about it, Imogene, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_225"​ id="​Page_225">​[225]</​a></​span>​
 +suffer my mind to dwell upon it, my mind
 +grows numb with a dread that reason has
 +quitted her throne and left me fit only for a
 +madhouse!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You tremble!"​ she whispered, softly;
 +"nay, you think too closely of what you are
 +passing through. Let your knowledge that
 +this experience is real rob it of its terror.
 +Are we not surrounded with wonders which
 +too much thought will make affrighting?​
 +That glorious sun; what feeds his flaming
 +disk? Why should the moon shine like
 +crystal when her soil perchance is like that of
 +our own world, which also gleams as silver
 +does though it is mere dust and mould and
 +unreflecting ashes? Think of the miracles
 +we are to ourselves and to one another!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She pressed my hand and pleaded,
 +reproved and smiled upon me with her eyes.
 +Was she some angelic spirit that had lighted
 +by chance on this Death Ship, and held it
 +company for very pity of the misery and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_226"​ id="​Page_226">​[226]</​a></​span>​
 +hopelessness of the sailor'​s doom? But
 +there was a human passion and tenderness in
 +her face that would have been weakness in a
 +glorified spirit. Oh, indeed, she was flesh
 +and blood as I was, with warm lips for
 +kissing, and breasts of cream as a pillow for
 +love, and golden hair too aromatic for
 +phantasy.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_227"​ id="​Page_227">​[227]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XIII.<br />
 +
 +THE DUTCHMEN OBTAIN REFRESHMENTS.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Above an hour passed before the big boat,
 +deeply laden, was towed by the little one
 +from the wreck. Of what a proportion of
 +her freight was composed I could not tell,
 +much of it being in parcels and casks. They
 +had made sure of the tobacco by bringing
 +away, at once, all that they could find. I
 +observed a number of hams stitched up in
 +canvas, and some sacks of potatoes, two bags
 +of which were lost by the bottoms bursting
 +whilst they were being hoisted, on which Van
 +Vogelaar broke into several terrible oaths in
 +Dutch, though 'twas like a dramatic rehearsal
 +of a ranting and bullying scene, for Vanderdecken
 +took no notice and the men went<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_228"​ id="​Page_228">​[228]</​a></​span>​
 +on hoisting and lowering away in the old
 +phlegmatic mechanic fashion as though they
 +were deaf. There were likewise other kinds
 +of provisions of which I need not tease you
 +with the particulars. I believe that all the
 +loading of the boat&​mdash;​in this her first trip, I
 +mean&​mdash;​consisted of articles of food; for some
 +of the parcels which puzzled me proved to
 +contain cheeses and the others might therefore
 +as well represent stores of a like kind.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is it their custom to bring away the
 +provisions first,"​ I asked Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​As a rule," she answered, "they take
 +whatever comes to hand, that is, if the
 +articles be such as may be of use. What
 +they chiefly secure as soon as possible is
 +tobacco and spirits; then provisions and
 +clothing; and then any treasure they may
 +come across, and afterwards any portion of
 +the cargo they may fancy that is light to
 +handle, such as silks, pottery, and so forth."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But they cannot take very much," said I,<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_229"​ id="​Page_229">​[229]</​a></​span>​
 +"or a few meetings of this kind would sink
 +their ship for them with overloading."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There are many of us," she replied, "and
 +the provisions they bring away do not last
 +very long. The pottery they use and it is
 +soon broken. Silk and such materials as
 +they bring are light; and then, my dear,
 +they do not meet wrecks every day, nor of
 +the wrecks they meet may you count one in
 +five that yields enough to sink this ship by a
 +foot."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am heartily sorry,"​ said I, "that they
 +should find so much to eat aboard yonder
 +hulk. With so goodly a store of provisions,
 +Vanderdecken will not require to run into the
 +land to shoot; and until this ship brings up
 +I see no chance for ourselves."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She sighed and looked sadly into the
 +water, insomuch that she suggested an
 +emotion of hopelessness;​ but in an instant
 +she flashed out of her expression of melancholy
 +weariness into a smile and gave me<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_230"​ id="​Page_230">​[230]</​a></​span>​
 +the deep perfections of her violet eyes to
 +look into, as if she knew their power over
 +me and shaped their shining influence for
 +my comfort and courage.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​When the boat was discharged of her
 +freight, the men's dinner was passed over
 +the side for the fellows to eat in snatches,
 +working the while to save time. The wind
 +remained weak and quiet, but it was inevitable
 +that the hamper we showed aloft should give
 +us a drift beyond the send of the swell; and
 +to remedy this Vanderdecken clewed up his
 +topsails and took in all his canvas, leaving his
 +ship to tumble under bare poles, and by this
 +means he rendered the drift of the vessel
 +down upon the wreck extremely sluggish
 +and scarcely perceptible.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All day long the big boat was towed to
 +and fro, making many journeys and regularly
 +putting off from the wreck very deep with
 +freight. Vanderdecken ate his dinner on
 +deck. You would have found it hard to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_231"​ id="​Page_231">​[231]</​a></​span>​
 +reconcile any theory of common human
 +passions such as cupidity, rapacity and the
 +like, with his bloodless face and grave-yard
 +aspect; and yet it was impossible to mistake
 +the stirring of the true Dutch instincts of the
 +patient but resolved greed in the air he
 +carried whilst he waited for the return of
 +the boat, in his frequent levelling of the
 +telescope at the wreck as one who doubted
 +his people and kept a sharp eye on them, in
 +the eagerness his posture indicated as he
 +hung over the rail watching the stuff as it
 +was handed up or swayed by yard-arm
 +tackles over the side, and the fierce peremptoriness
 +of the questions he put to Van Vogelaar
 +as to what he had there, how much more
 +remained, and so on, though nothing that the
 +mate answered, satisfactory as must have
 +been the account he gave, softened the captain'​s
 +habitual savageness or in any degree
 +humanised him. Of the majesty of his
 +deportment I have spoken; likewise of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_232"​ id="​Page_232">​[232]</​a></​span>​
 +thrilling richness of his voice, the piercing
 +fire of his fine eyes and of his mien and
 +bearing, so haughtily stately in all respects as
 +to make one think of him, after a Pagan
 +fashion, as of some god fallen from his high
 +estate; but for all that he was a Dutchman
 +at heart, dead-alive as he was; as true to his
 +Holland extraction in 1796 as he had been
 +an hundred and fifty years earlier, when he
 +was trading to Batavia and nimbly getting
 +money, and saving it, too, with as sure a hand
 +as was ever swung in Amsterdam.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The threads and lines and beds of vapour
 +extending all over the sky served to reverberate
 +the glory of the sunset, as the crags
 +and peaks of mountains fling onwards the
 +echoes of the thunder-clap. In the east it
 +was all jasper and sapphire, reds and greens,
 +and a lovely clear blue slowly burning to a
 +carnelian in the zenith, where the effulgence
 +lay in a pool of deep red with a haze of light
 +like fine rain floating down upon it half white,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_233"​ id="​Page_233">​[233]</​a></​span>​
 +half of silver; then followed a jacinthine hue,
 +a lustrous red most daintily delicate, with
 +streaks of clear green like the beryl, till the
 +eye came to the west, where the sun, vastly
 +enlarged by refraction, hung in enormous
 +bulk of golden fiery magnificence amid half-curtained
 +pavilions of living splendour, where
 +'twas like looking at some newly-wrought fairy
 +world robed in the shinings of the Heaven of
 +Christ to see the lakes and lagoons of amber
 +purple and yellow, the seas of molten gold,
 +the starry flamings in the chrysolite brows of
 +vapour, and the sky fading out north and
 +south in lights and tints as fair as the reflections
 +in the wet pearly interior of a sea-shell
 +gaping on a beach towards the setting sun.
 +The small swell traversing the great red
 +light that was upon the sea put lines of flowing
 +glory under the tapestries of that sunset,
 +and the appearance was that of an eager
 +shouldering of the effulgence into the grey
 +of the south quarter, as though old Neptune<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_234"​ id="​Page_234">​[234]</​a></​span>​
 +sought to honourably distribute the glory all
 +around, and render the western sea-board
 +ambient.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Then it was, while the lower limb of the
 +luminary yet sipped from the horizon the gold
 +of his own showering, that the picture of the
 +wreck, and the Death Ship heaving pale and
 +stripped of her canvas, became the wonder
 +that my memory must for ever find it. How
 +steadfastly the dead seaman at the wheel kept
 +watch! The quieted sea now scarce stirred
 +the rudder, and the occasional light movements
 +of the figure seemed like starts in him,
 +motions of surprise at the Dutchmen'​s antlike
 +pertinaciousness in their stripping of the
 +hull.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​And they? In that mani-coloured western
 +blaze they partook more of the character of
 +corpses, in those faces of theirs, which stared
 +our way or glimmered for a breath or two
 +over the bulwarks, than ever I had found
 +visible in them by moonlight or lamplight<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_235"​ id="​Page_235">​[235]</​a></​span>​
 +or the chilling dimness of a stormy dawn.
 +The sun vanished and the pale grey of evening
 +stole like a curtain drawn by spirit-hands
 +out of the eastern sea and over the waning
 +glories of the skies, with a star or two glittering
 +in its skirts; and the wind from the north
 +blew with a sudden weight and a long moaning,
 +making the sea whence it came ashen
 +with gushings of foam which ran into a colour
 +of thin blood on passing the confines of the
 +western reflection. Vanderdecken,​ seizing
 +his trumpet, sent a loud command through
 +it to the wreck; but the twilight was a mere
 +windy glimmering under the stars, which
 +shone very brightly among the high small
 +clouds by the time the boats had shoved clear
 +of the hull and were heading for us, and the
 +night had come down dark, spite of the stars
 +and the silver paring of moon, ere the last
 +fragment of the freight of rope, sail, and raffle
 +from the wreck had been passed over the side
 +from the big boat.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_236"​ id="​Page_236">​[236]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>It grew into a wild scene then: the light
 +of the lantern-candles dimly throwing out the
 +bleached faces and dark figures of the seamen
 +as they hoisted the boats and stowed them one
 +inside the other, the ship rolling on the swell
 +that had again risen very suddenly as though
 +some mighty hand were striving to press it
 +down and so forcing the fluid surface into
 +larger volumes, the heads of the seas frothing
 +spectrally as they coursed arching and splashing
 +out of the further darkness, the eastering
 +slip of moon sliding like a sheering scythe
 +among the networks of the shrouds and gear,
 +and nothing to be heard but the angry sobbing
 +of waters beating themselves into hissing foam
 +against the ship's side, and the multitudinous
 +crying, as of a distant but piercing chorussing
 +of many women and boys, of the freshening
 +wind flying damp through the rigging.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It had been a busy day, it was still a busy
 +time; but never throughout the hours, if I
 +save the occasional cursing of the mate, the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_237"​ id="​Page_237">​[237]</​a></​span>​
 +captain'​s few questions, his command trumpetted
 +to the wreck, my talk with Imogene,
 +had human voice been heard. It was not so
 +noticeable a thing, this silence of the ghostly
 +crew, in the broad blaze of sunshine and amid
 +an exhibition of labour that was like sound to
 +the eye, as now, in the darkness, with the
 +wind freshening, sail to be made and much
 +to be done&​mdash;​much of the kind that forces
 +merchant seamen into singing out and bawling
 +as they drag and pull and jump aloft.
 +The wreck was a mere lump of blackness
 +tumbling out to windward upon the dusky
 +frothing welter, and I thought of the dead
 +sentinel at the helm. What in the name of
 +the saints was there in that figure to put into
 +the sea the enormous solitude I found in the
 +vast surface glimmering to where it melted
 +in shadow against the low stars? What was
 +there in that poor corpse to fling a bleakness
 +into the night wind, to draw an echo as
 +chilling as a madman'​s cry out of the gusty<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_238"​ id="​Page_238">​[238]</​a></​span>​
 +moaning aloft, to sadden the very star-beams
 +into dull and spectral twinklings? The canvas
 +shook as the silent sailors sheeted it home
 +and voicelessly mastheaded the yards. At
 +three bells in the first watch the Death Ship
 +had been wore to bring her starboard tacks
 +aboard, and under all the canvas she had she
 +was leaning before a small gale with her head
 +to the southward and westward, her sides and
 +decks alive with the twistings of the mystic
 +fires which darkness kindled in her ancient
 +timbers, and her round weather-bow driving
 +the rude black surge back into boiling whiteness.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_239"​ id="​Page_239">​[239]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XIV.<br />
 +
 +MY LIFE IS ATTEMPTED.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Heading out to sea afresh! Once again
 +pointing the ship's beak for the solitude of
 +the ocean, and starting as it might be on a
 +new struggle that was to end in storm and
 +defeat, in the heavy belabouring of the
 +groaning structure by giant surges, and in
 +a sickening helpless drift of God alone knew
 +how many leagues, ere the sky brightened
 +into blueness once more!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Never had I so strongly felt the horror
 +and misery of the fate which Vanderdecken'​s
 +hellish impiety had brought down upon his
 +ship and her company of mariners as now,
 +when I saw the yards braced up on the starboard
 +tack, and the vessel laid with her head<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_240"​ id="​Page_240">​[240]</​a></​span>​
 +to the south and west. The fresh wind seemed
 +to shriek the word "​Forever!"​ in her rigging,
 +and the echo was drowned in the wild sobbing
 +sounds that rose out of each long, yearning
 +wash of the sea along her dimly shining
 +bends.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​How was I to escape? How deliver Imogene?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was a sailor, and whilst the ocean found
 +me business, whilst it defined the periods of
 +its detentions of me, I loved it! The freedom
 +of it was dear to my heart; it was my home;
 +it was a glass in which was mirrored the image
 +of the Creator I worshipped. But the prospect
 +of continuously sailing upon it in the
 +Death Ship, of fighting its subtle winds and
 +furious storms to no purpose, converted it
 +into a melancholy waste&​mdash;​a liquid plain of
 +desolation&​mdash;​a mere Hell of waters upon
 +whose sandy floor Hope, with tempest-torn
 +wings, would speedily lie drowned, whilst its
 +surface should grow maddening with the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_241"​ id="​Page_241">​[241]</​a></​span>​
 +reflected icy sparkling of that Starry Crux,
 +which shone but as a symbol of despair when
 +the eye sought it from these accursed decks
 +and beheld the quick light of its jewels trembling
 +over the yard-arms of the Death Ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Shortly after midnight the wind freshened,
 +and it came on to blow with some weight. I
 +had been in my cabin an hour, lying there
 +broad awake, being rendered extraordinarily
 +uneasy by my thoughts. The sea had grown
 +hollow, and the ship plunged quickly and
 +sharply with a heavy thunderous noise of
 +spurned and foaming waters all about her. It
 +was sheer misery lying intensely wakeful in
 +that desolate cabin, that would have been as
 +pitchy black as any ancient castle dungeon
 +but for the glimmering lights, which were so
 +much more terrible than the profoundest shade
 +of blackness could be, that had there been any
 +hole in the ship where the phosphor did not
 +glow, I would cheerfully have carried my
 +bed to it, ay, even if it had been in the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_242"​ id="​Page_242">​[242]</​a></​span>​
 +bottom of the fore-peak or in the thickest
 +of the midnight of the hold. The rats
 +squeaked, the bulkheads and ceilings seemed
 +alive with crawling glow-worms, groans as
 +of dying, cries as of wounded men sounded
 +out of the interior in which lay stowed the
 +pepper, mace, spices and other Indian commodities
 +of a freight that was hard upon an
 +hundred and fifty years old!</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I suspected from the motions of the ship
 +and the hollow, muffled roarings outside, that
 +a gale of wind was brewing, and I resolved
 +to go on deck and take a look at the
 +weather since I could not sleep, for if the
 +wind was north west it would give us such a
 +further drift to the eastwards as would set
 +the African coast at a fearful distance for our
 +round-bowed sea-wagon to come at. On
 +the other hand, the gale might have veered
 +to a quarter favourable to heading for Cape
 +Agulhas. Should this happen, how would
 +the Curse operate? Would the ship be per<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_243"​ id="​Page_243">​[243]</​a></​span>​mitted
 +to near the Cape before being blown
 +back? But I suspected the operation of no
 +fixed laws in this doom. To suffer the Death
 +Ship to draw close, to fill the minds of
 +the crew with triumphant assurance of their
 +weathering the Cape of Storms, would be a
 +mere hideous tantalising of them that could
 +surely form no part of the sentence which
 +obliterated from their minds the recollection
 +of past failures. For, let the readers of my
 +narrative bear this steadfastly in view: that
 +if Vanderdecken and his men knew of a
 +surety that they were never to pass the
 +cape into the South Atlantic Ocean, then, as
 +beings capable of thinking and acting, they
 +would long ago have desisted from the attempt
 +and sought rest&​mdash;​if they could not
 +procure death for themselves&​mdash;​haply in that
 +same island of Java from which they had
 +sailed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I crawled into my clothes by feeling for
 +them, and groped my way on to the poop.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_244"​ id="​Page_244">​[244]</​a></​span>​
 +The sky was black with low-flying cloud,
 +from the speeding rims of which a star would
 +now and again glance, like the flash of a
 +filibuster'​s fusil from the dark shrubbery of
 +a mountain slope. But there was so much
 +roaring spume and froth all about the ship,
 +that a dim radiance as of twilight hung in
 +the air, and I could see to as high as the
 +topmast heads.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I stepped at once to the binnacle without
 +noticing who had the watch and found the
 +ship's head south-east by south. I could
 +not suppose the ancient magnet showed the
 +quarters accurately, but, allowing for a
 +westerly variation of thirty degrees, the
 +indication came near enough to satisfy me
 +that the wind was as it had been ever since
 +the night I first entered this ship&​mdash;​right in
 +our teeth for the passage of the Cape, and
 +that though we might be sluggishly washing
 +through it close-hauled,​ we were also driving
 +away broadside on, making a clean beam<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_245"​ id="​Page_245">​[245]</​a></​span>​
 +course for the heart of the mighty Southern
 +Ocean.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This vexed and harassed me to the soul,
 +and occasioned in me so lively a sympathy
 +with the rage that adverse gales had kindled
 +in Vanderdecken,​ that had he contented himself
 +with merely damning the weather instead
 +of flying in the face of the Most High and
 +behaving like some foul fiend, I should have
 +deeply pitied him and considered his case the
 +hardest ever heard of. The main-yard was
 +lowered and a row of men were silently knotting
 +the reef-points. The topgallant-sails had
 +been handed, reefs tied in the topsails, and
 +the vessel looked prepared for foul weather.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But though the wind blew smartly, with
 +weight in its gusts and plenty of piping and
 +screaming and whistling of it aloft, there was
 +no marked storminess of aspect in the heavens,
 +sombre and sullen as was the shadow that
 +ringed the sea-line, and fiercely as flew the
 +black clouds out of it in the north west; and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_246"​ id="​Page_246">​[246]</​a></​span>​
 +with this appearance I essayed to console
 +myself as I stood near the mizzen-shrouds
 +gazing about me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Seeing a figure standing near the larboard-shrouds,​
 +I stepped over and found it to be
 +Van Vogelaar. My direct approach made
 +some sort of accost a formal necessity, but I
 +little loved to speak with this man, whom I
 +considered as wicked a rascal as ever went to
 +sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​These nor'​-westers are evil winds,
 +mynheer,"​ said I, "and in this sea they
 +appear to have the vitality of easterly gales
 +in England. What is the weather to be
 +like? For my part, I think we shall find a
 +quieter atmosphere before dawn."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He was some time in answering, feigning
 +to watch the men reefing the mainsail, though
 +by the light of the white water I could catch
 +the gleam of his eyes fixed upon me askant.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What brings you on deck at this hour?"
 +said he, in his rasping, surly voice.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_247"​ id="​Page_247">​[247]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I answered, quietly, that feeling wakeful
 +and hearing the wind, I rose to view the
 +weather for myself.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A sailor is supposed to rest the better for
 +the rocking of seas and the crying of wind,"
 +said he, with a mocking, contemptuous tone
 +in his accents. "That saying is intended no
 +doubt for the Dutch seamen; the English
 +mariner nobly shines as a sailor in his own
 +records, but you will admit, sir, that he is
 +never so happy as when he is ashore."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Sir,"​ I replied, suppressing my rising
 +temper with a very heavy effort, "I fear you
 +must have suffered somewhat at the hands of
 +the English sailor that you should never
 +let slip a chance to discharge your venom
 +at him. I am English, and a sailor, too,
 +and I should be pleased to witness some
 +better illustrations of Dutch courage than
 +the insults you offer to a man who stands
 +defenceless among you, and must be beholden,
 +therefore, wholly to your courtesy."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_248"​ id="​Page_248">​[248]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>He said, in a sneering, scornful voice,
 +"Our courtesy! A member of a dastardly
 +crew that would have assassinated me and my
 +men with their small arms, hath a great
 +claim upon our courtesy!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I was aft, and ignorant of the intentions
 +of the men when that thing was done," said
 +I, resolved not to be betrayed into heat, let
 +the struggle to keep calm cost what it would.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To this he made no reply, then after a
 +pause, said in a mumbling voice as if he
 +would, and yet would not have me hear him,
 +"I brought a curse into the ship when I
 +handed you over the side; the devil craved
 +for ye, and I should have let you sink into
 +his maws. By the holy sepulchre, there are
 +many in Amsterdam who would have me
 +keel-hauled did they know this hand had
 +saved the life of an Englishman!"​ And he
 +tossed up his right hand with a vehement
 +gesture of rage.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was a stoutly-built fellow, full of living<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_249"​ id="​Page_249">​[249]</​a></​span>​
 +and healthy muscle, and I do solemnly affirm
 +that it would not have cost me one instant of
 +quicker breathing to have tossed this brutal
 +and insulting anatomy over the rail. But it
 +was not only that I feared any exhibition of
 +temper in me might end in my murder; I
 +felt that in the person of this ugly and
 +malignant mate I should be dealing with a
 +sentence that forbade his destruction,​ that
 +must preserve him from injury, and that rendered
 +him as superior to human vengeance
 +as if his body had been lifeless. And what
 +were his insults but a kind of posthumous
 +scorn, as idle and contemptible as that inscription
 +upon a dead Dutchman'​s grave in
 +Rotterdam, in which the poor Holland corpse
 +after eighty years of decay goes on telling
 +the world that in his opinion Britons are poor
 +creatures?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I held my peace, and Van Vogelaar went
 +to the break of the poop, whence he could
 +better see what the men were doing upon the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_250"​ id="​Page_250">​[250]</​a></​span>​
 +main-yard. The enmity of this man made
 +me feel very unhappy. I was never sure
 +what mischief he meditated, and the sense of
 +my helplessness,​ the idleness of any resolution
 +I might form in the face of the supernatural
 +life that encompassed me, made the
 +flying midnight seem inexpressibly dreary
 +and dismal, and the white foam of the sea
 +carrying the eye to the ebony cloud-girdle
 +that belted the horizon, suggested distances
 +so prodigious that the heart sank to the sight
 +of them, as to thoughts of eternity.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was running my gaze slowly over the
 +weather sea-board, whence came the endless
 +procession of ridged billows like incalculable
 +hosts of black-mailed warriors, with white
 +plumes flying and steam from the nostrils of
 +their steeds boiling and pouring before them,
 +and phosphoric lights upon them like the
 +shining points of couched spears, when
 +methought a dim pallid shadow, standing just
 +under a star that was floating a moment<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_251"​ id="​Page_251">​[251]</​a></​span>​
 +betwixt two flying shores of cloud, was a
 +ship; and the better to see, I sprang on to
 +the rail about abreast of the helmsman, for
 +my support catching hold of some stout rope
 +that ran transversely aft out of the darkness
 +amidships. What gear it was I never
 +stopped to consider, but gripping it with my
 +left hand swayed to it erect upon the rail,
 +whilst with my right I sheltered my eyes
 +against the smarting rain of spray, and stared
 +at what I guessed to be a sail. I have said
 +that the creaming and foaming of the waters
 +flung from the vessel'​s sides and bows made
 +a light in the air, and the sphere of my sight
 +included a space of the poop-deck to right
 +and left of me, albeit my gaze was fastened
 +upon the distant shadow.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All on a sudden the end of the rope I
 +grasped was thrown off the pin to which it
 +was belayed and I fell overboard. 'Twas
 +instantaneous! And so marvellously swift is
 +thought that I recollect even during that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_252"​ id="​Page_252">​[252]</​a></​span>​
 +lightning-like plunge thinking how icy-cold
 +the sea would be, and how deep my dive
 +from the great height of the poop-rail. But
 +instead of striking the water, the weight of
 +me swung my body into the mizzen-channels
 +by the rope my left hand desperately gripped.
 +I fell almost softly against a shroud coming
 +down to a great dead-eye there and dropped
 +in a sitting posture in the channel itself which
 +to be sure was a wide platform to windward
 +and therefore lifted very clear of the sea,
 +spite of the ship's weather rolls. My heart
 +beat quickly, but I was safe: yet a moment
 +after I had liked to have perished, indeed, for
 +the rope I mechanically grasped was all at
 +once torn from my fingers with so savage a
 +drag from some hand on deck that nothing
 +but the pitting of my knee against a dead-eye
 +preserved me from being tweaked into the
 +hissing caldron beneath. I could see the
 +rope plain enough as it was tautened, through
 +the pallid atmosphere and against the winking<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_253"​ id="​Page_253">​[253]</​a></​span>​
 +of the stars sliding from one wing of vapour
 +to another, and perceived that it was the
 +main-brace, the lowering of the yard or
 +reefing the sail having brought it within reach
 +of my arm. Then, with this, there grew in
 +me a consciousness of my having noticed a
 +figure glide by me whilst I stood on the rail;
 +and, putting these things together, I guessed
 +that Van Vogelaar, having observed my
 +posture, had sneaked aft to where the main-brace&​mdash;​that
 +was formed of a pendant and
 +whip&​mdash;​was made fast and had let go of it,
 +never doubting that, as I leaned against it,
 +so, by his whipping the end off the pin it
 +would let me fall overboard!</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was terribly enraged by this cowardly
 +attempt upon my life and was for climbing
 +inboard at once and manhandling him, ghost
 +or no ghost; then changed my mind and
 +stayed a bit in the channel considering what
 +I should do. Thin veins of fire crawled upon
 +this aged platform as upon all other parts of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_254"​ id="​Page_254">​[254]</​a></​span>​
 +the ship; but the shrouds coming very thick
 +with leather chafing-gear to the dead-eyes
 +made such a jumble of black shapes, that I
 +was very sure Van Vogelaar could not see me
 +if he should take it into his head to peer down
 +over the rail.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​After casting about in my mind, the determination
 +I arrived at was to treat my tumble
 +from the rail as an accident, for I very
 +honestly believed this: that if I should
 +complain to Vanderdecken of his mate's
 +murderous intention, I would not only harden
 +the deadly malignity of that ghastly ruffian'​s
 +hatred of me, insomuch, that it might come
 +to his stabbing me in my sleep, but it might
 +end in putting such fancies into the captain'​s
 +head as should make him desire my destruction,​
 +and arrange with his horrid lieutenant
 +to procure it. Indeed, I had only to think of
 +Amboyna and the brutal character of the
 +Dutch of those times, and remember that
 +Vanderdecken and his men belonged to that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_255"​ id="​Page_255">​[255]</​a></​span>​
 +age, and would therefore have the savagery
 +which one hundred and fifty years of civilization,​
 +arts, and letters have somewhat abated
 +in the Hollanders, to determine me to move
 +with very great wariness in this matter.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But I had been dreadfully near to death,
 +and could not speedily recollect myself. The
 +white heads of the surges leaped, boiled and
 +snapped under the channels, like wolves
 +thirsting for my blood; and the crying of the
 +wind among the shrouds, in whose shadows
 +I sat, and the sounds it made as it coursed
 +through the dark night and split shrilly upon
 +the ropes and spars high up in the dusk,
 +ran echoes into those raving waters below,
 +which made them as much wild beasts to the
 +ear as they looked to the eye.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But little good could come of my sitting
 +and brooding in that mizzen-channel;​ so,
 +being in no mood to meet the villain, Van
 +Vogelaar, I very cautiously rose, and with
 +the practised hand of a sailor crawled along<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_256"​ id="​Page_256">​[256]</​a></​span>​
 +the lap of the covering-board,​ holding by the
 +rail but keeping my head out of sight, and
 +reached the main-chains,​ whence I dropped
 +on to the deck unseen among the tangled
 +thickness of the shrouds, and slided, as stilly
 +as the ghostliest man among that ghastly
 +crew could tread, to my cabin.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_257"​ id="​Page_257">​[257]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XV.<br />
 +
 +MY SWEETHEART'​S JOY.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Once asleep I slept heavily, and it was
 +twenty minutes past the breakfast hour by
 +the time I was ready to leave the crazy and
 +groaning dungeon that served me for a
 +bedroom.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I entered the cabin, but had scarcely made
 +two steps when there sounded a loud cry in
 +a girl's voice, half of terror, half of joy; a
 +shriek so startling for the passions it expressed
 +that it brought me to a dead stand.
 +It was Imogene. I saw her jump from her
 +seat, make a gesture with her arms as though
 +she would fly to me, then bring both hands
 +violently to her heart with a loud hysterical
 +ha! ha! as if she could only find breath in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_258"​ id="​Page_258">​[258]</​a></​span>​
 +some such unnatural note of laughter, whilst
 +she stood staring at me with straining eyes
 +that filled her violet beauty with a light like
 +that of madness.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The clock struck the half-hour as she
 +cried, and the echo of her voice and the deep,
 +humming vibration of the bell were followed
 +by the parrot'​s diabolical croak:</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Wy zyn al Verdomd!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​God in Heaven!"​ exclaimed Vanderdecken,​
 +in a tone deep with amazement, "I
 +thought that man was drowned!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was a picture of consternation that I
 +should not have dreamt to expect in men
 +who had outlived life and in whom you
 +would think of seeking qualities and emotions
 +outside those which were necessary to the
 +execution of their sentence. Vanderdecken,​
 +leaning forward at the head of the table upon
 +his great hands, the fingers of which were
 +stretched out, glared at me with a frown of
 +astonishment. Prins&​mdash;​whose attendance<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_259"​ id="​Page_259">​[259]</​a></​span>​
 +upon me in my cabin had long been limited
 +to his placing a bucket of salt-water at my
 +door without entering&​mdash;​Prins,​ I say, arrested
 +by my entry whilst in the act of filling a cup
 +of wine for the captain, watched me with a
 +yawn of wonder, and stood motionless as
 +though blasted by a stroke of lightning;
 +whilst Van Vogelaar, with his head upon his
 +shoulder, the blade of the knife with which
 +he had been eating forking straight up out of
 +his fist that lay like a paralysed thing upon
 +the table, eyed me with a sunk chin and
 +under a double fold of brow; his level, enchained
 +stare full of fear, and cruelty and
 +passion.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I saw how it was, and giving the captain a
 +bow and my darling a smile, I went to my
 +place at the table and sat down. Van
 +Vogelaar shrunk as I passed him, keeping
 +his eyes upon me as a cat follows the motions
 +of a dog; and when I seated myself he fell
 +away by the length of his arm, dropping his<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_260"​ id="​Page_260">​[260]</​a></​span>​
 +knife and fork and watching me. Imogene,
 +breathing deeply, resumed her seat; nothing
 +but Vanderdecken'​s amazement hindered him
 +from observing her agitation, which was of a
 +nature he could not possibly have mistaken,
 +if indeed he still possessed the capacity of
 +distinguishing such emotions as love.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She merely said, letting out her words in a
 +tremulous sigh: "O Geoffrey, thank God!
 +thank God!" The food in front of her was
 +untasted; but what grief there had been in
 +her face before was lost in the confusion of
 +feelings which worked in her loveliness with
 +a vitality that made her red and white in the
 +same moment. She repeated under her
 +breath to herself: "Thank God! thank God!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This,​ while the others stared.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I turned to Van Vogelaar. "​Mynheer,"​
 +said I, "you regard me with astonishment."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He shrank a little further yet, and, after a
 +pause, said, "Are you man or devil?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_261"​ id="​Page_261">​[261]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken,"​ said I, "has your
 +mate lost his reason?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On this Van Vogelaar cried out: "​Captain,​
 +by the Holy Trinity, I swear it was as I have
 +reported. This Englishman, after prowling
 +on deck last night in the early hours of the
 +middle watch, suddenly clambered on to the
 +rail, for what purpose I know not, and leaned
 +his weight against the starboard main-brace,
 +the sail then reefing. I looked round&​mdash;​on
 +turning again he was gone! and Nicholas
 +Houltshausen,​ who was at the helm, swore
 +he saw him rise black upon the white eddies
 +of the wake."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken frowningly questioned me
 +with his eyes. I should have been acting a
 +sillier part than a fool's to have jested with
 +these men, besides, I had long since resolved
 +to be plain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Herr Van Vogelaar,"​ said I, "​doubtless
 +refers to my having fallen into the weather
 +mizzen-channel last night from the rail, whilst<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_262"​ id="​Page_262">​[262]</​a></​span>​
 +peering at what I believed to be a ship. The
 +main-brace, upon which I had put my hand
 +to steady myself, yielded very suddenly,"​ and
 +here I shot a look at the mate, "but I fell
 +lightly, and after sitting a little to recover my
 +breath, made my way to my cabin."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Van Vogelaar'​s death-like face darkened.
 +An oath or two rattled in his throat, and returning
 +to his old posture he fell to the meat
 +upon his plate with the ferocity of some
 +starving beast, insomuch that the veins about
 +his forehead stood out like pieces of cord.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The feelings with which Vanderdecken
 +received my explanation I could not gather.
 +He gazed hard at me with fiery eyes, as
 +though, mistrusting me, he sought to burn
 +his sight down to my heart, and then, slowly
 +resuming his knife and fork, went on with his
 +breakfast in his familiar trance-like way, mute
 +as a dead man.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I constantly exchanged glances with Imogene,
 +but held my peace since she remained<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_263"​ id="​Page_263">​[263]</​a></​span>​
 +silent. She struggled to compose her face,
 +but her joy at my presence shone through her
 +mask of reserve, twitching the corners of her
 +mouth into faint smiles, and dancing in her
 +eyes like sunshine on the ripples of a sapphire
 +pool. Her love for me spoke more in this
 +quiet delight than she could have found room
 +for in a thousand words. How sweet and
 +fair she looked! The light of her heart lay
 +with a fair rosiness upon her cheeks, which
 +had been as pale as marble when she had
 +risen with her shriek and laughter to my first
 +coming.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Presently Van Vogelaar left the cabin,
 +going out scowling and talking to himself,
 +but not offering so much as to glance at me.
 +There was a piece of hung meat on the
 +table, of what animal I did not know; it
 +proved indifferent good eating. This and
 +some cakes made of flour, with a goblet of
 +sherry and water, formed my breakfast. I
 +ate slowly, knowing that Vanderdecken would<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_264"​ id="​Page_264">​[264]</​a></​span>​
 +not smoke whilst I breakfasted,​ and wishing
 +to tire him away that Imogene and I might
 +have the cabin to ourselves. But my stratagem
 +was to no purpose. He started suddenly
 +from his waking dream&​mdash;​if,​ indeed, it was
 +to be credited that any sort of intellectual
 +faculty stirred in him when he lapsed into
 +these cataleptic stillnesses&​mdash;​and bade Prins
 +go and get cut up some of the tobacco they
 +had removed from the wreck, and then erecting
 +his figure and stroking down his beard,
 +he looked from me to Imogene and back to
 +me again, and said, "The weather promises
 +to mend; but this wind must come from a
 +witch'​s mouth&​mdash;​and a witch of deep and
 +steady lungs. I hope you may not have
 +brought us ill-luck, sir?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I hope not," said I, shortly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There are malign stars in the heavens,"​
 +he continued, in a voice that trembled richly
 +upon the air, like the waving echoes of
 +some deep-throated melodious bell, "and there<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_265"​ id="​Page_265">​[265]</​a></​span>​
 +are men born under them. North of the
 +Baltic, on Muskovite territory, is a nation of
 +wretches who can bewitch the winds and
 +sail their ships through contrary gales. They
 +are not far removed from Britain,"​ said he,
 +significantly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They are as close to Holland, mynheer,"​
 +said I.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ captain!"​ cried Imogene, "you do
 +not wish to say that Mr. Fenton has had a
 +hand in the fixing of this wind?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He leaned his forehead upon his elbow,
 +and stretching forth his other hand, drummed
 +lightly on the table with his long, lean,
 +leprous-coloured fingers as he spoke. "Why,
 +Mynheer Fenton, Miss Dudley must allow
 +that a curious luck attends you. How many
 +of a crew went to your ship?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Forty,​ sir."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mark your star! Of forty men you alone
 +fall overboard! But fortune goes with you
 +and you are rescued by Van Vogelaar.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_266"​ id="​Page_266">​[266]</​a></​span>​
 +Observe again! Of forty men you alone are
 +delivered into a ship whose nation is at war
 +with yours! Yet fortune still attends you and
 +you are hospitably received, yea, even made
 +welcome, and clothed, and fed and housed."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I bowed.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​More yet! Last night you fell from the
 +bulwark-rail. What sorcery is it that sways
 +you into the mizzen-channel and presently,
 +unseen, to your bed? Nicholas Houltshausen
 +is noted among us for his shrewd sight.
 +Did not he swear he saw you rise black after
 +your plunge among the froth of the ship's
 +wake? What was it that he beheld? Can
 +the soul shed its body as the butterfly its skin
 +and yet appear clothed, substantial,​ real as
 +flesh and blood?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I exactly explained that accident,"​ said I.
 +"If there be sorcery in my having the luck
 +to tumble into a ship's mizzen-chains instead
 +of the water, then am I a witch fit for a
 +broomstick and a grinning moon!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_267"​ id="​Page_267">​[267]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken does but amuse
 +himself with you, Mr. Fenton,"​ said Imogene.
 +"It is true, mynheer,"​ she continued,
 +putting on an inimitable air of sweet dignity,
 +which was vastly reassuring to me as proving
 +that she had recovered her old easiness of
 +mind and was now playing a part, "that
 +we believed you had fallen overboard last
 +night, and this being our conclusion you may
 +judge how greatly your entrance just now
 +amazed us. For me, I was so frightened that
 +I shrieked out, as you doubtless heard.
 +Truly I thought you, the dead, arisen.
 +Captain Vanderdecken cannot recover his
 +surprise, and would have himself to believe
 +that you are a sorcerer. You, who are so
 +young, and an English sailor!"​ She laughed
 +out, and a truer ring she could not have put
 +into her forced merriment had she been a
 +Pritchard, or a Clive, or a Cibber. "​Indeed,"​
 +she added, "to be a necromancer,​ you need
 +a beard as long and as grey as the captain'​s."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_268"​ id="​Page_268">​[268]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was no temper in the look Vanderdecken
 +cast upon her, nay, it almost deserved
 +the name of mildness in him whose eyes were
 +forever fiery with hot thought and passions
 +of undivinable character. But not the phantom
 +of a smile showed in his face in response
 +to her laughter.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Madam,"​ said I, putting on a distant air
 +in conformity with the hint of her own
 +manner, "I am no sorcerer. For your sake
 +I would I were, for then my first business
 +would be to veer this wind south, and keep it
 +there till it had thundered our ship with
 +foaming stem into the smooth waters of the
 +Zuyder-Zee."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This seemed to weigh with Vanderdecken.
 +He reflected a little and then said, with
 +something of lofty urbanity in his mode
 +of addressing me, "Had you that power,
 +mynheer, I do not know that I should
 +object to your presence were you Beelzebub
 +himself."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_269"​ id="​Page_269">​[269]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene'​s smile betrayed the delight she
 +felt in her gradual, happy, nimble drawing of
 +this fierce man's thoughts away from his
 +astonishing suspicions of me as a wizard.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Have you ever heard, Mr. Fenton,"​ said
 +she, "of that nation to the north of the Baltic
 +of whom Captain Vanderdecken has spoken?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh! yes, madam,"​ I replied; "they are well
 +known as Russian Finns, and are undoubtedly
 +wizards, and will sell such winds to ships as
 +captains require. I knew a master of a vessel
 +who, being off the coast of Finland, grew impatient
 +for a wind to carry him to a certain
 +distant port. He applied to an old wizard,
 +who said he would sell him a gale that
 +should enable him to fetch the Promontory of
 +Rouxella, but no further, for his breeze ceased
 +to obey him when that point was reached.
 +The captain agreed, holding that a wind to
 +Rouxella was better than light airs and
 +baffling calms off the Finland coast, and paid
 +the wizard ten kronen&​mdash;​about six and thirty<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_270"​ id="​Page_270">​[270]</​a></​span>​
 +shillings of English money&​mdash;​and a pound of
 +tobacco; on which the conjurer tied a woollen
 +rag to the fore-mast, the rag being about half
 +a yard long and a nail broad. It had three
 +knots, and the wizard told him to loose the
 +first knot when he got his anchor, which he
 +did, and forthwith it blew a fresh favourable
 +gale."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That is so?" demanded Vanderdecken,​
 +doubtingly, and folding his arms over his
 +beard.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I knew the captain, mynheer,"​ I
 +answered; "his name was Jenkyns, and
 +his ship was a brig called the True Love."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Did the first knot give him all the wind
 +he wanted?"​ asked he.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,​ sir. It gave them a brisk west south-west
 +gale that carried them thirty leagues
 +beyond the maelstrom in the Norwegian
 +sea; then shifted, on which Captain Jenkyns
 +untied the second knot, which brought the
 +wind back to its own quarter. It failed them<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_271"​ id="​Page_271">​[271]</​a></​span>​
 +again, but when the third knot was untied
 +there arose so furious a tempest that all hands
 +went to prayers, begging for mercy for
 +choosing to deal with an infernal artist instead
 +of trusting to Providence."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was not easy to make out the thoughts
 +in Vanderdecken'​s mind, not less because of
 +the half of his countenance being densely
 +clothed with hair, than because of the white,
 +iron rigidity of as much of his face as was
 +visible; yet I could not doubt that he believed
 +in those Finnish wizards from a sudden
 +yearning in his manner, followed by a flashing
 +glance of impatience at the cabin entrance,
 +that was for all the world as though he had
 +cried out "Would to God there was a purchasable
 +wind hereabouts!"​ But the reader
 +must consider that this man belonged to an
 +age when wise men soberly credited greater
 +wonders than Icelandish and Finnish wind-brokers.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>By this I had made an end of breakfast,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_272"​ id="​Page_272">​[272]</​a></​span>​
 +and Prins arriving with a jar full of the
 +tobacco, flaked and fit for smoking, the
 +captain filled his pipe, first pushing the jar
 +to me, and then fell into one of his silences,
 +from which he would emerge at wide intervals
 +to say something that was as good as
 +a warrant he was thinking no longer of the
 +sorcery of my fall and appearance. When he
 +had emptied his bowl, he went to his cabin.
 +Imogene instantly arose and came to my
 +side.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ my dearest!"​ she whispered, with a
 +sudden darkening of her eyes by the shadow
 +of tears, "I did believe, indeed, you were
 +lost to me for ever! My senses seemed to
 +leave me when Vanderdecken accounted for
 +your absence."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dear heart! My precious one!" I
 +answered, fondling her little hand, which
 +lay cold with her emotion in mine; "I am
 +still with thee, and hope with us may remain
 +fearless. But it was a narrow escape. Van<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_273"​ id="​Page_273">​[273]</​a></​span>​
 +Vogelaar came red-handed to this table. For
 +hours he has had my blood upon his devilish
 +soul. No wonder the villain quailed when I
 +entered this cabin."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What did he do?" she cried.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I believed I saw a ship," I answered;
 +"I jumped on to the rail to make sure, and
 +leaned against the brace that governs the
 +main-yard. He slipped aft and let go the
 +rope, meaning that I should fall overboard,
 +but my grip was a sailor'​s,​ and I swung with
 +the rope into the mizzen-chains."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The wretch! He told Vanderdecken that
 +you had climbed on to the bulwarks and
 +fallen. I could kill him!" She clenched her
 +white fingers till the jewels on them flashed
 +to the trembling of the tension, and a delicate
 +crimson surged into her face. "I could kill
 +him!" she repeated.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hush,​ sweet one! It is our business to
 +escape, and we need an exquisite judgment.
 +I, too, could kill the treacherous ruffian, only<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_274"​ id="​Page_274">​[274]</​a></​span>​
 +that he is deathless. You, brave heart, will
 +advise me that we are not to know of this
 +thing. No, let it be an accident of my own
 +doing. We are in a shipful of devils, and
 +must act as if we believed them angels."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Her face slowly paled, her fingers opened,
 +and the angry shining faded out of her eyes
 +leaving the soft, violet pensive light there.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ you are right; we must not know
 +the truth of this thing,"​ said she, musingly,
 +after a little. "But be on your guard,
 +Geoffrey; keep well away from that rogue.
 +His Spanish treachery is made formidable by
 +his Dutch cunning. How swiftly he acted
 +last night! His thoughts must have been
 +intent for some time or even the demon in
 +him would not have been equal to such
 +readiness. See to your cabin door at night&​mdash;​O
 +Geoffrey, he might steal in upon
 +you."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I smiled. "He has spoken once; I shall
 +not require a second hint."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_275"​ id="​Page_275">​[275]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​O that I had a man's arm, Geoffrey, that
 +I might be your sentinel whilst you slept!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Precious one! You shall sentinel me yet!
 +Patience, meanwhile! It is this ship that
 +makes home so distant. Once clear of this
 +groaning vault and we shall be smelling the
 +sweetbriar and the violet."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken came out of his cabin and
 +went on deck. He walked with impetuosity
 +and passed without regarding us. Through
 +the open door leading to the quarter-deck I
 +saw him stand a minute with his face upturned
 +and then toss his hand with a gesture
 +of baffled rage.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He is cursing the wind," said Imogene.
 +"How often has he done so since I have
 +been in this ship! And when will a last day
 +come to him, when there shall be no wind to
 +curse, when death shall have paralysed his
 +tongue and silenced his heart? How fiercely
 +it now throbs! Surely there is more stormy
 +passion in one day of its beating than in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_276"​ id="​Page_276">​[276]</​a></​span>​
 +twenty years of a human pulse! O, my
 +dear, that you had the northern wizard'​s
 +power of evoking prosperous gales!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I should be glad of that power,"​ said I,
 +"for better reasons than to help this man to
 +fight against his Sentence. Can you guess
 +what I would do? I would straightway blow
 +this old ship ashore. Dread the Afric coast
 +as you will, dear one, it will be our only
 +chance."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I dread it for its savages&​mdash;​the thought of
 +captivity beyond the mountains is horrible!
 +I have heard my father tell of the wreck of
 +an East Indiaman named the Grosvenor, in
 +which were ladies of distinction,​ who were
 +seized by the natives and carried far inland
 +and made wives of. That is not more than
 +twenty years ago. O, Geoffrey, sooner than
 +that&​mdash;​I would be content to die in this ship&​mdash;​to
 +go on sailing about in her till my hair
 +was as white as the foam about our keel!"
 +and as she said this she grasped a handful of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_277"​ id="​Page_277">​[277]</​a></​span>​
 +her golden hair and held it to me, unconscious
 +in the earnestness of her fears of the
 +child-like simplicity of her action. I put my
 +lips to the tress, that flowed from her head
 +through the snow of her hand and thence
 +down like a stream of sunny light or the
 +raining of the jet of a golden fountain, and
 +told her not to fear, that I loved the natives
 +as little as she, and would contrive to give
 +them a wide berth; and then I changed the
 +subject by wondering what the consequences
 +would be if last night'​s business and Vanderdecken'​s
 +talk this morning put it into the
 +minds of the crew that I was as much a
 +wizard as any Finn and could control the
 +breezes if I chose.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She shook her head. "​Better that they
 +should regard you as what you really are&​mdash;​an
 +English sailor. Suppose they persuaded
 +themselves that you could raise and sell
 +winds, they might determine to test you,
 +and imprison, even torture you in the belief<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_278"​ id="​Page_278">​[278]</​a></​span>​
 +you were stubborn and would not do their
 +bidding; or, if they came to consider you a
 +wizard, they might think your presence in
 +the ship unlucky, and, being half-savages,​
 +with demons for souls, as I believe, and with
 +instincts belonging to a time when the world
 +was brutal and human life held in no account&​mdash;​there
 +is no imagining how they would
 +serve you."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ Imogene!"​ cried I, "you are my
 +good angel&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A true sweetheart must ever be that to
 +the boy she loves,"​ she whispered, looking
 +down and softly blushing.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are my true sweetheart, Imogene!
 +And how faithfully you are able to guide me
 +through the marvellous experience we are
 +both passing through, I know by the words
 +you have just uttered,"​ and I went on to tell
 +her how Van Vogelaar had under his breath
 +talked as if to himself of my being a curse in
 +the ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_279"​ id="​Page_279">​[279]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>As I said this, Prins came to the cabin
 +door, and stood looking in. Perceiving him,
 +Imogene rose and saying quietly, "He has
 +perhaps been sent to report if we are together;
 +go you on deck, dearest; I will
 +join you, presently,"​ went to her berth.</​p>​
 +
 +
 +<div class="​center">​END OF VOLUME II.</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<div class="​center">​