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 +<​html>​
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
  
 +<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 spaced 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 />
 +<br />
 +BY<br />
 +</​small>​
 +W. CLARK RUSSELL,<​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 />
 +<br />
 +VOL. III<br />
 +<br />
 +LONDON<​br />
 +HURST AND BLACKETT, LIMITED<​br />
 +13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET<​br />
 +1888<br />
 +<​i>​All Rights Reserved</​i><​br />
 +</p>
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +PRINTED BY<br />
 +TILLOTSON AND SON, MAWDSLEY STREET<​br />
 +BOLTON<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​h2>​CONTENTS<​br />
 +OF<br />
 +THE THIRD VOLUME.
 +</h2>
 +
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +<table border="​0"​ cellpadding="​2"​ cellspacing="​0"​ summary="">​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​CHAPTER</​td><​td align="​left">&​nbsp;</​td><​td align="​right">​PAGE</​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​I.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE TELL OUR LOVE AGAIN</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_1">​1</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​II.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE SIGHT A SAIL</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_10">​10</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​III.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE DEATH SHIP IS BOARDED BY A PIRATE</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_28">​28</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​IV.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​MY LIFE IS AGAIN ATTEMPTED</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_56">​56</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​V.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​A TEMPEST BURSTS UPON US</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_79">​79</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VI.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE SPRING A LEAK</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_112">​112</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​IMOGENE FEARS FOR ME</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_131">​131</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​VIII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​LAND</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_155">​155</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​IX.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​WE BRING UP IN A BAY</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_174">​174</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​X.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​THE WEATHER HELPS MY SCHEME</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_203">​203</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XI.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​MY POOR DARLING</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_222">​222</​a></​td></​tr>​
 +<​tr><​td align="​right">​XII.&​mdash;</​td><​td align="​left">​I AM ALONE</​td><​td align="​right"><​a href="#​Page_244">​244</​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><​br /></​div>​
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER I.<br />
 +WE TELL OUR LOVE AGAIN.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I had passed from the deck, where I slept, to
 +the cabin in too great a hurry to notice the
 +weather. Now, reaching the poop, I stood a
 +moment or two to look around, being in my
 +way as concerned about the direction of the
 +wind as Vanderdecken himself.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It still blew fresh, but the heavens lay open
 +among the clouds that had thickened their
 +bulk into great drooping shining bosoms, as
 +though indeed the crystalline blue under
 +which they sailed in solemn procession<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_2"​ id="​Page_2">​[2]</​a></​span>​
 +mirrored the swelling brows of mighty snow-covered
 +mountains. The sea ran in a very
 +dark shade of azure, and offered a most
 +glorious surface of colours with the heave
 +of its violet hills bearing silver and pearly
 +streakings of sunshine and foam upon their
 +buoyant floating slopes, and the jewelled
 +and living masses of froth which flashed
 +from their heights and stormed into their
 +valleys as they raced before the wind which
 +chased them with noisy whistlings and notes
 +as of bugles. The Death Ship was close-hauled&​mdash;​when
 +was the day to come when
 +I should find her with her yards squared?&​mdash;​but
 +on the larboard tack, so that they
 +must have put the ship about since midnight;
 +and the sun standing almost over the
 +mizzen topsail yard-arm showed me that we
 +were doing some westing, for which I could
 +have fallen on my knees and thanked God.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The captain and the mate were on deck,
 +Vanderdecken abreast of the tiller, Van<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_3"​ id="​Page_3">​[3]</​a></​span>​
 +Vogelaar twenty paces forward of him, both
 +still and stiff, gazing seawards with faces
 +whose expressionlessness forbade your comparing
 +them to sleeping dreamers. They
 +looked the eternity that was upon them, and
 +their ghastliness,​ the age and the doom of
 +the ship, fell with a shock upon the perception
 +to the horrible suggestions of those two
 +figures and of the face at the tiller, whose
 +tense and bloodless skin glared white to the
 +sun as the little eyes, like rings of fire eating
 +into the sockets beneath the brows, glanced
 +from the card to the weather edges of the
 +canvas.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet I found comfort in their entranced
 +posture and disregard of me, for the less I
 +engaged their attention the safer I should be
 +whilst in their ship, and memory being with
 +them a deceptive and erratic quality, I might
 +hope in time to find that they had forgot to
 +hate me.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I quitted the poop, not choosing to keep<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_4"​ id="​Page_4">​[4]</​a></​span>​
 +myself in view of Vanderdecken and Van
 +Vogelaar, and walked about the quarter-deck,​
 +struggling hard with the dreadful despondency
 +which clouded my mind, whilst imagination
 +furiously beat against the iron-hard conditions
 +which imprisoned me, as a bird rends its
 +plumage in a cage, till my heart pulsed with
 +the soreness of a real wound in my breast.
 +The only glimmer of hope I could find lay, as
 +I had again and again told Imogene, in the
 +direction of the land. But who was to say
 +how long a time would pass before the needs
 +of the ship would force Vanderdecken shore-wards?​
 +And if the wind grew northerly and
 +came feeble, how many weeks might we have
 +to count ere this intolerable sailer brought
 +the land into sight? Oh! I tell you, such
 +speculations were sheerly maddening when I
 +added to them the reflection that the heaving
 +of the land into view might by no means
 +prove a signal for our deliverance.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​However,​ by the time Imogene arrived on<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_5"​ id="​Page_5">​[5]</​a></​span>​
 +deck I had succeeded in tranquilising my
 +mind. She took some turns with me and
 +then went to the captain on the poop and
 +stayed with him, that is, stood near him,
 +though I do not know that they conversed,
 +till he went to his cabin; whereupon I joined
 +her, neither of us deigning to heed the mate's
 +observation of us, and for the rest of the
 +morning we were together, knitting our
 +hearts closer and closer whilst we talked of
 +England, of her parents, the ship her father
 +had commanded, and the like, amusing ourselves
 +with dreams of escape, till hope grew
 +lustrous with the fairy light our amorous
 +fancies flung upon it. And lo! here on the
 +deck of this Death Ship, with Van Vogelaar
 +standing like a statue within twenty paces of
 +us, and the dead face of a breathing man at
 +the tiller, and silent sailors languidly stirring
 +forwards or voicelessly plying the marline-spike
 +or the serving-mallet aloft, where the
 +swollen canvas swayed under the deep-breasted<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_6"​ id="​Page_6">​[6]</​a></​span>​
 +clouds like spaces of ancient tapestry
 +from which time has sponged out all bright
 +colours&​mdash;​here,​ in this fated and faded craft,
 +that surged with the silence of the tomb in
 +her through hissing seas and aslant whistling
 +winds, did I, in the course of our talk, find
 +myself presently speaking of my mother,
 +of the little town in which she lived,
 +of the church to which, under God, I would
 +lead my sweetest, there to make her my
 +bride!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She blushed rosy with delight, and I
 +marked the passionate gladness of her love
 +in the glance she gave me, as she lifted the
 +fringes of her white eyelids to dart that
 +exquisite gleam, whilst she held her chaste
 +face drooped. But looking, as though some
 +power drew me to look, at Van Vogelaar,
 +I met his malignant stare full, and the chill
 +and venom of his storm-bruised countenance
 +fell upon my heart like a sensible atmosphere
 +and poison.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_7"​ id="​Page_7">​[7]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​For the life of me I could not help the
 +shudder that ran through my frame. "Do
 +you believe,"​ said I, "that the men of this
 +Death Ship have any power of blighting
 +hope and emotion by their glance? The
 +mere sighting of this vessel, it is said, is
 +sufficient to procure the doom of another!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She shook her head as though she would
 +say she could not tell.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There is something,"​ said I, "to ice the
 +strongest man's blood in the expression Van
 +Vogelaar sometimes turns upon me. There
 +is an ancient story of a bald-pated philosopher
 +who, at a marriage-feast,​ looked and
 +looked a bride, and the wondrous pavilion
 +which the demons she commanded had
 +built, into emptiness. He stared her and her
 +splendours into thin air, sending the bridegroom
 +to die with nothing but memory to
 +clasp. There may be no philosophy in
 +yonder Dutch villain, but surely he has all
 +the malignity of Apollonius in his eyes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_8"​ id="​Page_8">​[8]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Do you fear he will stare me into air?"
 +said she, smiling.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I would blind him if I thought so," said
 +I, with a temper that owed not a little
 +of its heat to the heavy fit of superstition
 +then upon me. "In the times of that
 +rogue it was believed a man could pray
 +another dead; but did one ever hear of
 +a stare powerful enough to dematerialise
 +a body? Sweet one, if that pale ruffian
 +there could look you into space, what form
 +would your spirit take? Would you become
 +to me, as did the girl of his heart to the old
 +poet&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"The very figure of that Morning Star<br />
 +That, dropping pearls and shedding dewy sweets,<​br />
 +Fled from the greedy waves when I approached."<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He cannot part us!" she exclaimed.
 +"Let me be your Morning Star, indeed,
 +flying to you from the greedy waves, not
 +from you, Geoffrey! Do not speak to me of
 +Van Vogelaar, nor look his way. Tell me<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_9"​ id="​Page_9">​[9]</​a></​span>​
 +again, dear, of your mother'​s home; talk to
 +me of flowers&​mdash;​of English flowers&​mdash;​and of
 +that old church."</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_10"​ id="​Page_10">​[10]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER II.<br />
 +WE SIGHT A SAIL.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>As the day advanced, the breeze weakened,
 +the sea grew smoother, the surge flattened
 +to the swell, and the wind did little more
 +than crisp with snowy feathers those long,
 +low, broad-browed folds swinging steadily
 +and cradlingly out of the heart of the mighty
 +southern ocean. Every cloth the Braave
 +carried had been sheeted home and hoisted.
 +She looked as if she had been coated with
 +sulphur, as she slipped rolling up one slant
 +and down another brimming to her channels;
 +the hue of her was as if she had been
 +anchored all night near to a flaming hill
 +and had received for hours the plumy,
 +pumice-coloured discharge of the volcano.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_11"​ id="​Page_11">​[11]</​a></​span>​
 +There was nothing to relieve this sulphurous
 +reflection with flash or sparkle; the sunshine
 +died in the green backs of the brass swivels,
 +it lay lustreless upon the rusty iron cannons,
 +it found no mirror in the dry and honeycombed
 +masts, and it touched without vitalising
 +the rounded canvas, whose breasts had
 +nothing of that hearkening, seeking look
 +which you find in the flowing swelling of a
 +ship's sails yearning horizon-wards to the
 +land beyond the sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was heading about north west by
 +north, on the larboard tack, the yards as hard
 +fore and aft as they would lie; and though
 +she was making more leeway than headway,
 +'twas certain her bowsprit&​mdash;​for the first time
 +during the days I had spent in her&​mdash;​was
 +pointing fair for the Cape passage. It was
 +this that had softened Vanderdecken'​s fierceness.
 +As bit by bit the Death Ship stole up
 +to this heading, so had his temper improved;
 +insomuch that throughout the afternoon he<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_12"​ id="​Page_12">​[12]</​a></​span>​
 +had exhibited towards me a manner marked
 +in no small degree by the haughty courtesy
 +and solemn and stately urbanity which I had
 +observed in his treatment of me in the first
 +day or two of my being with him. This,
 +I promise you, singularly rejoiced me, as
 +exhibiting precisely the influence necessary
 +to neutralise the hideous malignity of the
 +mate. It also showed that he was still so
 +much a sea-captain in soul as to be rendered
 +bland and obliging, or savage and dangerous,
 +by the turn of the weather, or rather by the
 +direction and strength of the wind. Indeed,
 +had his character contained more strokes of
 +the humanity that is familiar to us, I should
 +have heartily sympathised with the rage
 +which contrary gales aroused in him. But
 +the Curse had made a <​i>​lusus naturæ</​i>​ of him.
 +Much of what had, in 1653, been sailorly had
 +been eaten out by time, and he flourished
 +chiefly on those instincts which had miserably
 +won him his doom. Hence, however greatly<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_13"​ id="​Page_13">​[13]</​a></​span>​
 +you wished to feel pity, you found you could
 +not compassionate him as you would a living
 +and real person. And of this, indeed, I
 +was especially sensible that afternoon, whilst
 +watching him and reflecting that though to
 +be sure he could speak to me now without
 +striving to blast me with his eyes and to
 +damn me with his frown, yet let the wind
 +suddenly head us and blow hard, and 'twas
 +odds but that I should be hiding away from
 +him, in the full conviction that it might need
 +but a single indiscreet word to procure my
 +being thrown overboard.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was half-past five o'​clock in the afternoon.
 +I had come up from supper, leaving
 +Vanderdecken smoking at the head of the
 +table. Imogene had gone to her cabin for her
 +hat. Van Vogelaar was off duty, and very
 +likely lying down. Arents had the watch.
 +There was a fine sailing wind blowing, and
 +but for the choking grip of the trim of the
 +yards on the creaking, high, old fabric, I<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_14"​ id="​Page_14">​[14]</​a></​span>​
 +believe the ship would have got some life out
 +of it.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was the first dog-watch&​mdash;​an idle hour&​mdash;​and
 +all the ghostly crew were assembled
 +forward, every man smoking, for tobacco was
 +now plentiful; and their postures, their faces,
 +their different kinds of dress, their lifelessness,​
 +save for the lifting of their hands to their
 +pipes, and above all their silence, made a
 +most wonderful picture of the decks their
 +way; the foreground formed of the boats,
 +a number of spare booms, the close quarters
 +for the live-stock, the cook-house chimney
 +coming up through the deck and trailing a
 +thin line of blue smoke, whilst under the
 +arched and transverse foot of the foresail
 +you saw the ship's beak, the amazing relic of
 +figure-head,​ the clews of the sprit-sail and
 +sprit-topsail pulling aslant&​mdash;​between being
 +the men, a dismal, white and speechless
 +company, with the thick fore-mast rising
 +straight up out of the jumble of them, whilst<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_15"​ id="​Page_15">​[15]</​a></​span>​
 +the red western light flowed over the pallid
 +edges of the canvas, that widened out to the
 +crimson gold whose blaze stole into the
 +darkened hollows this side and enriched the
 +aged surfaces with a rosy atmosphere.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I stood right aft, carelessly running my
 +eye along the sea-line that floated darkening
 +out of the fiery haze under the sun on our
 +weather-beam,​ till in the east it curved in a
 +deep, blue line so exquisitely clear and pure
 +that it made you think of the sweep of a
 +camel'​s hair-brush dipped in indigo. I gazed
 +without expectation of observing the least
 +break or flaw in that lovely, darkling continuity,
 +and 'twas with a start of surprise and
 +doubt that I suddenly caught sight of an
 +object orange-coloured by the light far down
 +in the east, that is to say, fair upon our lee-quarter.
 +It was a vessel'​s canvas beyond
 +question; the mirroring of the western glory
 +by some gleaming cloths; and my heart
 +started off in a canter to the sight, it being<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_16"​ id="​Page_16">​[16]</​a></​span>​
 +impossible now for a ship to heave into view
 +without filling me with dread of a separation
 +from Imogene, and agitating me with other
 +considerations,​ such as how I should be dealt
 +with, on a ship receiving me, if they discovered
 +I had come from the Flying Dutchman.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I waited a little to make sure, and then
 +called to the second mate, who stood staring
 +at God knows what, with unspeculative eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Herr Arents, yonder is a sail&​mdash;​there,​ as
 +I point."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He quickened out of his death-like repose
 +with the extraordinary swiftness observable
 +in all these men in this particular sort of
 +behaviour, came to my side, gazed attentively,​
 +and said, "Yes; how will she be heading?"​
 +He went for the glass, and whilst he adjusted
 +the tubes to his focus Captain Vanderdecken
 +arrived with Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you see, Arents?"​ asked the
 +captain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_17"​ id="​Page_17">​[17]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A sail, sir, just now sighted by Herr
 +Fenton."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken took the glass and levelled
 +it, and after a brief inspection handed me the
 +tube. The atmosphere was so bright that
 +the lenses could do little in the way of clarification.
 +However, I took a view for courtesy'​s
 +sake, and seemed to make out the square
 +canvas and long-headed gaff-topsail of a
 +schooner as the sails slided like the wings
 +of a sea-bird along the swell.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How doth she steer, mynheer?"​ said
 +Vanderdecken,​ as I passed the telescope to
 +Arents.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why,"​ I answered, "​unless the cut of
 +her canvas be a mere imagination of mine,
 +she is close-hauled on the larboard tack and
 +looking up for us as only a schooner knows
 +how."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you call her?" he exclaimed,
 +imperiously.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A schooner, sir."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_18"​ id="​Page_18">​[18]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whether he had seen vessels of that rig
 +since their invention I could not know, but it
 +was certain the word schooner conveyed no
 +idea. It was amazing beyond language that
 +hints of this kind should not have made his
 +ignorance significant to him.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sight of the amber shadow on the lee
 +quarter put an expression of anxiety into
 +Imogene'​s face. She stood looking at it
 +in silence, with parted lips and shortened
 +breathing, her fragile, her too fragile profile
 +like a cameo of surpassing workmanship,​
 +against the soft western splendour, the gilding
 +of which made a trembling flame of one
 +side of the hair that streamed upon her back.
 +Presently turning and catching me watching
 +she smiled faintly, and said in our tongue,
 +"The time was, dear, when I welcomed a
 +strange sail for the relief&​mdash;​the break&​mdash;​it
 +promised. But you have taught me to dread
 +the sight now."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I answered, speaking lightly and easily,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_19"​ id="​Page_19">​[19]</​a></​span>​
 +and looking towards the distant sail as
 +though we talked of her as an object of slender
 +interest, "If our friend here attempts to
 +transfer me without you, I shall hail the
 +stranger'​s people and tell them what ship this
 +is, and warrant them destruction if they offer
 +to receive me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The time passed. Imogene and I continued
 +watching, now and again taking a turn
 +for the warmth of the exercise. As on the
 +occasion of our pursuit by the Centaur, so
 +now Vanderdecken stood to windward, rigid
 +and staring, at long intervals addressing
 +Arents who, from time to time, pointed the
 +glass as mechanically as ever Vanderdecken'​s
 +piping shepherd lifted his oaten reed to his
 +mouth.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Shortly after six, arrived Van Vogelaar,
 +who was followed by the boatswain, Jans;
 +and there they hung, a grisly group, whilst
 +the crew got upon the booms, or overhung
 +the rail, or stood upon the lower ratlines, with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_20"​ id="​Page_20">​[20]</​a></​span>​
 +their backs to the shrouds, suggesting interest
 +and excitement by their posture alone, for, as
 +to their faces, 'twas mere expressionless glimmer
 +and too far off for the wild light in their
 +eyes to show.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Thus in silence swam the Death Ship,
 +heaving solemnly as she went, with tinkling
 +noises breaking from the silver water that
 +seethed from her ponderous bow, as though
 +every foam bell were of precious metal and
 +rang a little music of its own as it glided
 +past. But by this time the sail upon our
 +lee-quarter had greatly grown, and the
 +vigorous red radiance, rained by the sinking
 +luminary in such searching storms of light
 +as crimsoned the very nethermost east to the
 +black water-line, clearly showed her to be a
 +small but stout schooner, hugging the wind
 +under a prodigious pile of canvas, and eating
 +her way into the steady breeze with the ease
 +and speed of a frigate-bird that slopes its
 +black pinions for the windward flight. Her<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_21"​ id="​Page_21">​[21]</​a></​span>​
 +hull was plain to the naked eye and resembled
 +rich old mahogany in the sunset. Her sails
 +blending into one, she might, to the instant'​s
 +gaze, have passed for a great star rising out
 +of the yellow deep and somewhat empurpled
 +by the atmosphere. It was our own desperately
 +sluggish pace that made her approach
 +magical for swiftness; but there could be
 +no question as to the astonishing nimbleness
 +of her heels.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​After a while, Vanderdecken and his men
 +warmed to the sight, and fell a-talking to one
 +another with some show of eagerness, and
 +a deal of pointing on the part of Jans and
 +Arents, whilst Van Vogelaar watched with a
 +hung head and a sullen scowl. Occasionally,​
 +Vanderdecken would direct a hot, interrogative
 +glance at me; suddenly he came to
 +where we stood.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What do you make of that vessel,
 +mynheer?"​ said he.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Sir,"​ I replied, "to speak honestly, I do<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_22"​ id="​Page_22">​[22]</​a></​span>​
 +not like her appearance. Two voyages ago
 +my ship was overhauled by just such another
 +fellow as that yonder; she proved to be a
 +Spanish picaroon. We had a hundred-and-fifty
 +troops who, with our sailors, crouched
 +behind the bulwarks and fired into her
 +decks when she shifted her helm to lay us
 +aboard, and this reception made her, I
 +suppose, think us a battle-ship,​ for she
 +sheared off with a great sound of groaning
 +rising out of her, and pelted from us under
 +a press as if Satan had got hold of her tow-rope."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What country does her peculiar rig
 +represent?"​ he asked, looking at the vessel
 +with his hand raised to keep the level rays
 +of the sun off his eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I cannot be sure, mynheer; French
 +or Spanish; I do not believe her English
 +by the complexion of her canvas. She
 +may prove an American, for you may see
 +that her cloths are mixed with cotton."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_23"​ id="​Page_23">​[23]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The word American seemed to puzzle
 +him as much as the word schooner had,
 +for in his day an American signified an
 +Indian of that continent. However, I
 +noticed that if ever I used a term that
 +was incomprehensible to him, he either dismissed
 +it as coming from one who did
 +not always talk as if he had his full mind,
 +or as some English expression of which
 +the meaning&​mdash;​as being English&​mdash;​was of
 +no concern whatever to his Dutch prejudices.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Doth she suggest a privateer to your
 +judgment?"​ he inquired.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I answered "Yes; and more likely a
 +pirate than a privateer, if indeed the terms
 +are not interchangeable."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On this he went to the others, and they
 +conversed as if he had called a council of
 +them; but I could not catch his words, nor
 +did I deem it polite to seem as if I desired to
 +hear what was said.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_24"​ id="​Page_24">​[24]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Do you really believe her to be what you
 +say, Geoffrey?"​ said Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I do, indeed. The dusk will have fallen
 +before we shall have her near enough to
 +make out her batteries and judge of her
 +crew; but she has the true piratical look,
 +a most lovely hull&​mdash;​low-lying,​ long and
 +powerful&​mdash;​do you observe it, dearest? A
 +cutwater like a knife, a noble length of
 +bowsprit, and jibbooms, and a mainsail
 +big enough to hold sufficient wind to send
 +a Royal George along at ten knots. If she
 +be not a picaroon, what is her business
 +here? No trader goes rigged like that
 +in these seas. '​Twould be otherwise were
 +this the Pacific. She may be a letter of
 +marque."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Look!"​ cried Imogene, "she hoists her
 +flag."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I hollowed my hands and used them for
 +telescopes. The bunting streamed away over
 +the stranger'​s quarter, but it was a very<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_25"​ id="​Page_25">​[25]</​a></​span>​
 +big flag, and its size, coupled with the
 +wonderful searching light going to her
 +in crimson lancing beams out of the hot
 +flushed west, helped me to discern the
 +tricolour.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​French!"​ I exclaimed, fetching a quick
 +breath.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken had seen the flag, and
 +was examining it through his ancient
 +tubes. After a little he gave the glass
 +to Van Vogelaar, who, after inspecting the
 +colour, handed it to Arents; then Jans
 +looked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken called to me, "What signal
 +is that she hath flying?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I responded, "The flag of the French
 +Republic."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He started, gazed at the others, and then
 +glanced steadfastly at me as if he would
 +assure himself that I did not mock him. He
 +turned again to the schooner, taking the
 +telescope from Jans.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_26"​ id="​Page_26">​[26]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The French Republic!"​ I heard him say,
 +with a tremble of wonderment in his rich
 +notes. The mate shrugged his shoulders,
 +with a quick, insolent turning of his back
 +upon me; and the white, fat face of Jans
 +glimmered past him, staring with a gape
 +from me to the schooner. But now the
 +lower limb of the sun was upon the sea-line;
 +it was all cloudless sky just where he was,
 +and the vast, rayless orb, palpitating in
 +waving folds of fire, sank into his own
 +wake of flames. The heavens glowed
 +red to the zenith, and the ruby-coloured
 +clouds moving before the wind looked like
 +smoke issuing from behind the sea where
 +the world was burning furiously. The
 +grey twilight followed fast, and the ocean
 +turned ashen under the slip of moon
 +over the fore yard-arm. The stealing in
 +of the dusk put a new life into the wind,
 +and the harping in our dingy, faded
 +heights was as if many spirits had<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_27"​ id="​Page_27">​[27]</​a></​span>​
 +gathered together up there and were
 +saluting the moon with wild hymns faintly
 +chanted.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_28"​ id="​Page_28">​[28]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER III.<br />
 +THE DEATH SHIP IS BOARDED BY A PIRATE.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I will not say that there is more of melancholy
 +in the slow creeping of darkness over
 +the sea than in the first pale streaking of the
 +dawn, but the shining out of the stars one by
 +one, the stretching of the great plain of the
 +deep into a midnight surface, whether snow-covered
 +with tossing surges or smooth as
 +black marble and placid as the dark velvet
 +sky that bends to the liquid confines, has a
 +mystic character which, even if the dawn
 +held it, would be weak as an impression
 +through the quick dispelling of it by the
 +joyous sun, but which is accentuated in the
 +twilight shadows by their gradual darkening
 +into the blackness of night. I particularly<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_29"​ id="​Page_29">​[29]</​a></​span>​
 +felt the oncoming of the dusk this evening.
 +The glory of the sunset had been great, the
 +twilight brief. Even as the gold and orange
 +faded in the west so did the canvas of our
 +ship steal out spectrally into the grey gloom
 +of the north and east; the water washed past
 +wan as the light of the horny paring of moon;
 +the figures of the four men to windward were
 +changed into dusky, staring statues, and the
 +wake sloped out from the starboard quarter
 +full of eddying sparkles as green as emeralds.
 +The canvas of the schooner, that had shone
 +to the sunset with the glare of yellow satin,
 +faded into a pallid cloud that often bothered
 +the sight with its resemblance to the large
 +puffs of vapour blowing into the east.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I should be glad to know her intentions,"​
 +said I, uneasily. "If she be a piratical craft
 +it will not do for you to be seen by her
 +people, Imogene. Is it curiosity only that
 +brings them racing up to us? May be&​mdash;​may
 +be! They will be having good glasses aboard<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_30"​ id="​Page_30">​[30]</​a></​span>​
 +and have been excited by our extraordinary
 +rig."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why should I not be seen, Geoffrey?"​
 +asked my innocent girl.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Because,​ dearest, they may fall in love
 +with and carry you off."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But if they should take us both?" said
 +she, planting her little hand under my arm.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ but one would first like to know their
 +calling,"​ I replied, straining my eyes at the
 +vessel that, at the pace she was tearing
 +through it, would be on our quarter within
 +hailing distance in twenty minutes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​What did Vanderdecken mean to do?
 +He made no sign. Fear and passion enough
 +had been raised in him by the Centaur'​s pursuit;
 +was I to suppose that yonder schooner
 +had failed to alarm him because he was
 +puzzled by her rig and by the substitution of
 +the tricolour for the royal <​i>​fleur de lys</​i>?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Speak to him, Imogene,"​ said I, "that I
 +may follow. They may resent any hints<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_31"​ id="​Page_31">​[31]</​a></​span>​
 +from me if I break in upon them on a
 +sudden.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain,"​ she called in her gentle voice,
 +"is not that vessel chasing us?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He rounded gravely upon her: "She is
 +apparently desirous of speaking with us, my
 +child. She will be hailing us shortly."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But if she be a pirate, captain?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Doth Herr Fenton still think her so?"
 +he demanded.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She has the cut of one, sir," said I; "and
 +in any case her hurry to come at us, her
 +careful luff and heavy press of sail, should
 +justify us in suspecting her intentions and
 +preparing for her as an enemy."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Will the Englishman fight, think ye,
 +captain, if it comes to that?" exclaimed Van
 +Vogelaar, in his harshest, most scoffing voice.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Taking no notice of the mate, I said in a
 +low voice to Imogene, speaking quickly,
 +"<​i>​They</​i>​ have nothing to fear. It is not for a
 +Frenchman'​s cutlass to end these wretches'<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_32"​ id="​Page_32">​[32]</​a></​span>​
 +doom. I am worried on your account.
 +Dearest, when I bid you, steal to my cabin&​mdash;​you
 +know where it is?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And remain there. 'Tis the only hiding-place
 +I can think of. If they board us and
 +rummage the ship&​mdash;​well,​ I must wait upon
 +events. In a business of this kind the turns
 +are sudden. All that I can plan now is to
 +take care that you are not seen."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I should have been glad to arm myself,
 +but knew not where to seek for a weapon;
 +but thinking of this for a moment, it struck
 +me that if the schooner threw her people
 +aboard us, my being the only man armed
 +might cost me my life; therefore, unless the
 +whole crew equipped themselves I should
 +find my safest posture one of defencelessness.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Do these men never fight?"​ I asked
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There has been no occasion for them
 +to do so since I have been in the ship,"<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_33"​ id="​Page_33">​[33]</​a></​span>​
 +she answered. "But I do not think they
 +would fight. They are above the need of
 +it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yet they have treasure, they value it,
 +and this should prove them in possession of
 +instincts which would prompt them to protect
 +their property."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​God manages them in His own fashion,"​
 +said she. "They cannot be reasoned about
 +as men with the hot blood of life in them
 +and existing as we do."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet their apathy greatly contradicted the
 +avidity with which they seized whatever of
 +treasure or merchandise they came across
 +in abandoned ships, nor could I reconcile it
 +with the ugly cupidity of the mate and the
 +lively care Vanderdecken took of those capacious
 +chests of which he had exposed to me
 +the sparkling contents of two. Blind as they
 +were, however, to those illustrations of the
 +progress of time which they came across in
 +every ship they encountered,​ they could not<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_34"​ id="​Page_34">​[34]</​a></​span>​
 +be insensible to the worthlessness of their
 +aged and cankered sakers and their green
 +and pivot-rusted swivels. Their helplessness
 +in this way, backed by the perception in them
 +all that for some reason or other no harm
 +ever befel them from the pursuit of ships or
 +the approach of armed boats, might furnish a
 +clue to the seeming indifference with which
 +they watched the pale shadow of the schooner
 +enlarging upon the darkling froth to leeward,
 +though I am also greatly persuaded that
 +much of the reason of their stolidity lay in
 +their being puzzled by the rig of the schooner
 +and the flag she had flown; nor perhaps were
 +they able to conceive that so small a craft
 +signified mischief, or had room for sailors
 +enough to venture the carrying of a great tall
 +craft like the Braave. But Vanderdecken
 +could not know to what heights piracy had
 +been lifted as a fine art by the audacity and
 +repeated triumphs of the rogues whose real
 +ensign, no matter what other colours they fly,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_35"​ id="​Page_35">​[35]</​a></​span>​
 +is composed of a skull, cross-bones,​ and hour-glass
 +upon a black field.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The moon shed no light; but the wind was
 +full of a weak dawn-like glimmer from the
 +wash of the running waters and from the
 +stars which shone brightly among the clouds.
 +In all this while the schooner had never
 +started a rope-yarn. Her white and leaning
 +fabric, swaying with stately grace to the
 +radiant galaxies, resembled an island of ice in
 +the gloom, and the illusion was not a little
 +improved by the seething snow of the cleft
 +and beaten waters about her like to the boiling
 +of the sea at the base of a berg. She
 +showed us her weather side, and heeled so
 +much that I could not see her decks, but
 +there was nothing like a gun-muzzle to be
 +perceived along her. A gilt band under her
 +wash-streak shone out dully at intervals to
 +her plunges, as though a pencil had been
 +dipped in phosphorus and a line of fire
 +drawn.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_36"​ id="​Page_36">​[36]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was looking up to cross our wake and
 +settle herself upon our weather quarter.
 +Nothing finer as a spectacle did I ever behold
 +at sea than this spacious-winged vessel
 +when she crossed our wake, rearing and
 +roaring through the smother our own keel
 +was tossing up, flashing into the hollows and
 +through the ridges with spray blowing aft
 +over her as though she were some bride
 +of the ocean and streamed her veil behind
 +her as she went, the whole figure of her
 +showing faint in the dull light of the night,
 +yet not so feeble in outline and detail but
 +that I could distinguish the black, snake-like
 +hull hissing through the seas, her sand-coloured
 +decks, a long black gun on the
 +forecastle, and a glittering brass stern-chaser
 +abaft the two black figures gripping the tiller,
 +the great surface of mainsail going pale to
 +its clew at the boom end, a full fathom
 +over the quarter, the swelling and mounting
 +canvas, from flying-jib to little fore-royal,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_37"​ id="​Page_37">​[37]</​a></​span>​
 +from the iron-hard stay-foresail to the
 +thunderous gaff-topsail on high, dragging and
 +tearing at the sheets and bringing shroud
 +and backstay, guy and halliard, sheet and
 +brace so taut that the fabric raged past with
 +a kind of shrieking music, filling the air
 +as though some giant harp were edging
 +the blast with the resonance of fifty wind-wrung
 +wires. Great heaven! how did my
 +heart go to her! Oh, for two months'​ command
 +of that storming clipper with Imogene
 +on board!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas a rush past with her; all that I saw
 +I have told you, saving a few men in the
 +bows and a couple of figures watching us
 +near to the two helmsmen. If she mounted
 +guns or swivels along her bulwarks I did not
 +see them.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I overheard Vanderdecken exclaim, "It is
 +as I surmised; she hath but a handful of a
 +crew; she merely wishes to speak us."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Van Vogelaar returned some gruff answer<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_38"​ id="​Page_38">​[38]</​a></​span>​
 +in which he introduced my name, but that
 +was all I heard of it.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Once well on our weather quarter, the
 +schooner ported her helm, luffing close;
 +her gaff-topsail,​ flying-jib, royal and topgallant
 +sail melted to the hauling upon clewlines
 +and downhauls as though they had been
 +of snow and had vanished upon the black
 +damp wind; but even with the tack of her
 +mainsail up, they had to keep shaking the
 +breeze out of the small sail she showed, to
 +prevent her from sliding past us.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ ze sheep ahoy!" sung out one of the
 +two figures on the quarter-deck,​ the man
 +coming down to the lee rail to hail, "What
 +sheep air you?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As with the Centaur, so now, Vanderdecken
 +made no response to this inquiry.
 +He and the others stood grimly silent
 +watching the schooner, as immobile as
 +graven images.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said to Imogene, "'​Tis dark enough to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_39"​ id="​Page_39">​[39]</​a></​span>​
 +show the phosphor upon the ship. That
 +should give them a hint. Mark how vividly
 +the shining crawls about these decks."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ze sheep ahoy!" shouted the man from
 +the schooner that lay to windward, tossing
 +her bows and shaking the spray off her like
 +any champing and curvetting steed angrily
 +reined in and smoking his impatience through
 +his nostrils. "What sheep air you?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken stepped his towering figure
 +on to the bulwark; "The Braave,"​ he cried,
 +sending his majestic voice ringing like a note
 +of thunder through the wind.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vhat ees your country?"​ yelled the other.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken did not apparently understand
 +the question, but probably assuming
 +that these sea-interrogatories followed in the
 +usual manner, answered, "From Batavia to
 +Amsterdam,"​ speaking as the schooner'​s man
 +did in English, but with an accent as strongly
 +Dutch as the other'​s was French.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Thought I, he will see that we are a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_40"​ id="​Page_40">​[40]</​a></​span>​
 +Holland ship, and as France and their
 +High Mightinesses are on good terms he
 +may sheer off. But even as this fancy or
 +hope crossed my mind, a sudden order was
 +shouted out on the schooner and in a breath
 +the vessel'​s hatches began to vomit men.
 +They tumbled up in masses, blackening the
 +white decks, and a gleam of arms went
 +rippling among them.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken!"​ I bawled, "that
 +fellow is a pirate! Mind, sir, or she will be
 +aboard of you in another minute!"​ And not
 +stopping to heed the effect of my words, I
 +grasped Imogene by the hand and ran with
 +her off the poop. "Get you to my cabin,
 +dearest, they are pirates and will be tumbling
 +in masses over the rail directly."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I pressed my lips to her cheek and she
 +glided like a phantom down the hatch-ladder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​What I relied on by advising her concealment
 +I could not have explained; since those
 +who rummaged the vessel were pretty sure<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_41"​ id="​Page_41">​[41]</​a></​span>​
 +to enter the cabins. But my instincts urging
 +me to hide her away from the first spring of
 +the men on to our deck, I took their counsel
 +as a sort of mysterious wisdom put into me
 +by God for her protection; it coming to this
 +in short&​mdash;​that there might be a chance of
 +their overlooking her if she hid below, whereas
 +they were bound to see her if she remained
 +on deck, to be ravished by her beauty, and,
 +supposing them pirates, to carry her off as a
 +part of their booty, according to the custom
 +of those horrid villains.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I stepped away from the hatch, lest it
 +might be supposed I was guarding it, and
 +stationed myself in the deep shadow under
 +the quarter-deck ladder, where it and the
 +overhanging deck combined cast an ink-like
 +shade. There was small need to look for
 +the schooner, you could hear her hissing like
 +red-hot iron through the water as she came
 +sweeping down upon our quarter under a
 +slightly ported helm, ready to starboard for<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_42"​ id="​Page_42">​[42]</​a></​span>​
 +the heave of the grapnels and the foaming
 +range alongside. There was no show of
 +consternation among the crew of the Death
 +Ship; nay, if emotion of any sort were at all
 +visible, you would have termed it a mere kind
 +of dull, muddled, Dutch curiosity. I had
 +fancied they would jump to arm themselves
 +and assume some posture of defence; instead
 +of this they had gathered themselves together
 +in several lounging groups about the waist
 +and gangway, many of them with pipes in
 +their mouths, the fire of which glowed in
 +bright, red spots against the green and
 +lambent glitterings upon such woodwork as
 +formed their background; and thus they
 +hung with never a monosyllable uttered
 +among them, their silence, their indifference,​
 +their combination of ghostly characteristics,​
 +with their substantial,​ glooming shapes, more
 +terrifying to my mind than had every man of
 +them a carbine pointing from his shoulder,
 +with a crew forward as numerous again<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_43"​ id="​Page_43">​[43]</​a></​span>​
 +standing match in hand at twenty murdering
 +pieces!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All in an instant the shadow of the
 +schooner'​s canvas was in the air deepening
 +the gloom upon our decks with a midnight
 +tincture; you heard the snarling wash of
 +water boiling between the two vessels; the
 +claws of the grapnels flung from the bows
 +and stern of the Frenchman gripped our aged
 +bulwark with a crunching sound, and the
 +mystical fires in the wood burnt out to the
 +biting iron like lighted tinder blown upon.
 +Then, in a breath, I saw the heads of twenty
 +or thirty fellows along the line of the bulwark
 +rail, and as they sprang as monkeys might
 +into our ship, one of them that grasped a
 +pistol exploded it, and the yellow flash was
 +like the swift waving of a torch, in the glare
 +of which the faces of the silent, staring, indifferent
 +sailors of the Braave glanced in a very
 +nightmare of white, unholy countenances.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was some yelping and howling<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_44"​ id="​Page_44">​[44]</​a></​span>​
 +among the Frenchmen as they tumbled inboard&​mdash;​indeed,​
 +the seamen of that nation
 +cannot budge an inch without making as
 +much noise as would last a British forecastle
 +several voyages; but their clamour sounded
 +to me very much like the cries of men who
 +did not relish their errand and raised these
 +shouts for the same reason that sets a boy
 +whistling on a road in a dark night. They
 +jumped from the rail in slap-dash style indeed,
 +waving their cutlasses and flourishing their
 +pikes; but whether it was that they were
 +suddenly confounded by the silence on our
 +decks, or that they had caught sight in the
 +pistol flash of the faces of the Death Ship's
 +crew, or that the suspicion of our true character,
 +which must have been excited in them
 +by the glow upon our hull and by the ancient
 +appearance of our spars, was quickly and in
 +a panic way confirmed and developed by the
 +glitterings upon our deck, the aspect of our
 +ordnance, the antiquity suggested by the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_45"​ id="​Page_45">​[45]</​a></​span>​
 +arrangement of our quarter-deck and poop&​mdash;​all
 +of these points visible enough in the wild,
 +faint light that swarmed about the air but all
 +of them taking ghostly and bewildering,​ ay,
 +and terrifying emphasis from the very dusk
 +in which they were surveyed; whatever the
 +cause, 'tis as sure as that I live who write this,
 +that instead of their making a scamper along
 +the decks, charging the Dutch seamen, flinging
 +themselves down the hatchways and the
 +like, all which was to have been expected, they
 +suddenly came to a dead stand, even massing
 +themselves in a body and shoving and elbowing
 +one another, for such courage, maybe, as
 +is to be found in the feel of a fellow-being'​s
 +ribs, whilst they peered with eyes bright with
 +alarm at the phlegmatic sailors of Vanderdecken
 +and around then at the ship, talking
 +in fierce short whispers and pointing.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It takes time to record the events of thirty
 +seconds, though all that now happened might
 +have been compassed whilst a man told that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_46"​ id="​Page_46">​[46]</​a></​span>​
 +space. 'Twas as if the frosty, blighting Curse
 +of the ship they had dashed into had come
 +upon their tongues, and hearts and souls.
 +Over the side, where the grappling schooner
 +lay, heaving with a cataractal roaring of water
 +sounding out of the sea between, as the Flying
 +Dutchman rolled ponderously towards
 +her, loud orders in French were being delivered,
 +mixed with passionate callings to the
 +boarders upon our decks; the schooner'​s
 +sails waved like the dark pinions of some
 +monstrous sea-fowl past ours, which still
 +drew, no brace having been touched. I
 +guessed there were thirty in all that had
 +leapt aboard, some of them negroes, all of
 +them wildly attired in true buccaneering
 +fashion, so far as the darkness suffered my
 +eyes to see, in boots and sashes, and blouses
 +and lolling caps; there they stood in a
 +huddle of figures with lightning-like twitching
 +gleams shooting off their naked weapons as
 +they pointed or swayed or feverishly moved,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_47"​ id="​Page_47">​[47]</​a></​span>​
 +staring about them. Some gazed up at the
 +poop, where, as I presently discovered, stood
 +the giant figure of Vanderdecken,​ his mates
 +and the boatswain beside him, shapes of
 +bronze motionlessly and silently watching.
 +But the affrighting element&​mdash;​more terrible
 +than the hellish glarings upon the planks,
 +bulwarks and masts, more scaring than the
 +amazing suggestions&​mdash;​to a sailor'​s eye&​mdash;​of
 +the old guns, the two boats and all other such
 +furniture as was to be embraced in that gloom&​mdash;​was
 +the crowd of glimmering faces, the
 +mechanic postures, the grave-yard dumbness
 +of the body of spectral mariners who surveyed
 +the boarding party in clusters, shadowy, and
 +spirit-like.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I felt the inspiration,​ and, with a pang of
 +Heaven-directed sympathy with the terrors
 +working in the Frenchmen'​s breasts, which
 +needed but a cry to make them explode, I
 +shouted from the blackness of my ambush, in
 +a voice to which my sense of the stake the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_48"​ id="​Page_48">​[48]</​a></​span>​
 +warning signified in its failure or success, lent
 +a hurricane note: "<​i>​Sauvez vous! Sauvez
 +vous! C'est l'​Hollandais Volant!</​i>"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​What manner of Paris speech this was,
 +and with what accent delivered, I never
 +paused to consider; the effect was as if a
 +thunder-bolt had fallen and burst among
 +them. With one general roar of <​i>​l'​Hollandais
 +Volant!</​i>​ the whole mob of them fled to the
 +side, many dropping their weapons the better
 +to scramble and jump. Why, you see that
 +shout of mine exactly expressed their fears,
 +it made the panic common; and 'twas with
 +something of a scream in their way of letting
 +out the breath in their echoing of my shout
 +that they vanished, leaping like rats without
 +looking to see what they should hit with
 +their heads or tails.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I sprang up the quarter-deck ladder to observe
 +what followed, and beheld sure enough,
 +the towering outline of Vanderdecken standing
 +at the rail that protected the fore-part<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_49"​ id="​Page_49">​[49]</​a></​span>​
 +of the poop-deck gazing down upon the
 +schooner with his arms folded and his attitude
 +expressing a lifelessness not to be conveyed
 +by the pen, though the greatest of living
 +artists in words ventured it. Against the
 +side were the two mates and Jans looking
 +on at a scene to whose stir, clamour, excitement,
 +they seemed to oppose deaf ears and
 +insensible eyes. Small wonder that the
 +Frenchmen should have fled to my shout,
 +fronted and backed as they were in that
 +part of the ship into which they had leapt,
 +and where they had come to an affrighted
 +stand, by the grisly and sable shapes of
 +Vanderdecken and his comrades aft, and by
 +the groups of leprous-tinctured anatomies
 +forward.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I peered over the rail. The two vessels
 +lay grinding together, and as the tall fabric
 +of the Death Ship leaned to the schooner,
 +you thought she would crush and beat her
 +down, but with the regularity of a pulse the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_50"​ id="​Page_50">​[50]</​a></​span>​
 +dark folds of water swept the little vessel
 +clear, sometimes raising her when our ship
 +lay aslant to the level of our upper deck, and
 +giving me, therefore, a mighty good prospect
 +of what was happening in her. Both vessels
 +were off the wind and were surging through
 +it with a prodigious hissing betwixt their
 +sides.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The fright of the boarders had proved
 +contagious. I shall never forget the sight!
 +Small as the schooner was, there could not
 +have been less than ninety men on her decks,
 +and they made a very hell of the atmosphere
 +about them with the raving notes in their
 +cries and bawlings. My knowledge of
 +French was small, but some of their screams
 +I could follow, as for instance: "'​Tis the
 +Flying Dutchman!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Cut us adrift! Cut us adrift!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Flatten in those head-sheets! Shove her
 +off! Shove her off! Pole her, my children,
 +with a couple of sweeps!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_51"​ id="​Page_51">​[51]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Now she starts. No! What holds
 +her? Ha! ha! the weather topsail-brace
 +has fouled the Hollander'​s fore-topsail yard-arm.
 +No use going aloft! Let go of it&​mdash;​let
 +go of it&​mdash;​that it may overhaul itself!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imagine about four-score throats&​mdash;​some
 +with the guttural thickness of the negro'​s
 +utterance&​mdash;​all together roaring and delivering
 +orders such as those of which I have given
 +you specimens! Figure the decks throbbing
 +with men rushing with apparent aimlessness
 +from one side to the other, from one end to
 +the other&​mdash;​not a vestige of discipline among
 +them&​mdash;​a drowning yell or two coming up
 +from between the ships where some wretch
 +that had fallen overboard was holding on&​mdash;​the
 +sails shaking, the water washing
 +beyond in a glaring white that gave a
 +startling distinctness to the shape of the
 +schooner as she rose softly to the level of
 +our upper deck bulwarks upon the seething
 +snow!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_52"​ id="​Page_52">​[52]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Why,​ no matter how strongly imagination
 +should present the picture, what is the simulacrum
 +as compared to that reality which I
 +need but close these eyes to witness afresh?
 +The wildness of the scene took a particular
 +spirit from the frowning, rocking mass of
 +the Death Ship&​mdash;​the tomb-like silence in her&​mdash;​the
 +still and glooming shapes watching
 +the throes and convulsions of the terrified
 +Frenchmen and negroes from the poop and
 +forward over the rail&​mdash;​the diabolic glowing
 +in her timbers&​mdash;​the swaying of her dusky
 +canvas like the nodding of leviathan funeral
 +plumes&​mdash;​the dance of the slender slip of
 +moon among the rigging, defining the vast
 +platforms of the barricaded tops, monstrous
 +bulgings of blackness up there as though a
 +body of electric cloud swung bulbously at
 +each lower masthead.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​They had the sense to cut the lines which
 +held them by their grapnels to our ship, and
 +presently to my great joy&​mdash;​for if they were<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_53"​ id="​Page_53">​[53]</​a></​span>​
 +true pirates, as there was good reason to believe
 +from their appearance and manner of
 +laying us aboard, 'twas impossible to feel
 +sure that the fiercer spirits among them
 +might not presently rally the rest&​mdash;​the
 +schooner went scraping and forging past
 +ahead of us; snapping her topgallant mast
 +short off, with the royal yard upon it, by
 +some brace, stay or backstay fouling us in
 +a way the darkness would not suffer me to
 +witness, and in a few minutes she had
 +crossed our bows and was running away
 +into the north east, rapidly expanding her
 +canvas as she went, and quickly melting
 +into the darkness.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I stopped to fetch a few breaths and to
 +make sure of the Frenchman'​s evanishment
 +by watching. More excitement and dread
 +had been packed into this time than I know
 +how to tell of.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I slipped to the hatch on the upper deck,
 +descended a tread or two, and softly called.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_54"​ id="​Page_54">​[54]</​a></​span>​
 +In a minute I espied the white face of my
 +dearest upturned to me amidst the well-like
 +obscurity.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They are gone," said I, "the danger is
 +over."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She instantly stepped up.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I heard you cry out 'The Flying Dutchman!
 +Save yourselves!'"​ she exclaimed,
 +with a music almost of merriment in her
 +voice. "It was a bold fancy! What helter-skelter
 +followed!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I took her hand and we entered the
 +cabin. The richly-coloured old lamp was
 +alight, the clock ticked hoarsely, you heard
 +the scraping of the parrot clawing about
 +her cage.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,"​ she cried, "what a dismal place
 +is that they have given you to sleep in!
 +I believed I was hardened to the dreadful
 +flickerings upon the deck and sides, but
 +they scared me to the heart in that cell&​mdash;​and
 +the noises too in the hold! Oh, Geoffrey,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_55"​ id="​Page_55">​[55]</​a></​span>​
 +how severe is our fate! Shall we ever
 +escape?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ my dearest, but not by ships, as I
 +have all along told you. A chance will offer,
 +and be you sure, Imogene, it will find me
 +ready. Wondrous is God's ordering! Think,
 +my dear, that in the very Curse that rests
 +upon this ship has lain our salvation! Suppose
 +this vessel any other craft and boarded
 +by those villains, negroes of the Antilles, and
 +white ruffians red-handed from the Spanish
 +Main&​mdash;'​tis likely they were so and are
 +cruising here for the rich traders&​mdash;​by this
 +time where would my soul be? and <​i>​you</​i>&​mdash;​ay,​
 +there is a virtue in this Curse! It
 +is a monstrous thought&​mdash;​but,​ indeed, I
 +could take Vanderdecken by the hand
 +for the impiety that has carried you clear
 +of a destiny as awful in its way as the
 +doom these unhappy wretches are immortally
 +facing."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She shuddered and wept a little, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_56"​ id="​Page_56">​[56]</​a></​span>​
 +looked at me with eyes the brighter for those
 +tears which I dared not kiss away in that
 +public cabin.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_57"​ id="​Page_57">​[57]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER IV.<br />
 +MY LIFE IS AGAIN ATTEMPTED.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken and the mate came below
 +soon after this, and Prins set a bowl of punch
 +before them. The captain seated himself in
 +his solemn way, and the mate took Imogene'​s
 +place&​mdash;​that is, over against my seat&​mdash;​she
 +being at my side. They filled their pipes
 +and smoked in a silence that, saving
 +Vanderdecken'​s asking me to drink, would,
 +I believe, have remained unbroken but for
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She said: "​Captain,​ there is no fear, I
 +hope, of those pirates attempting to board us
 +again in the darkness?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Did Herr Fenton tell you they were
 +pirates?"​ he replied, with the unsmiling softness<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_58"​ id="​Page_58">​[58]</​a></​span>​
 +of expression he was used to look upon
 +her with.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Surely they were pirates?"​ she cried.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Be it so, my child,"​ said he, "what doth
 +it signify? They are gone; I do not fear
 +they will return."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Being extremely curious to know what
 +sense he had of this strange adventure, I
 +exclaimed, "It is very surprising, mynheer,
 +that a score of ruffians, armed to the teeth,
 +should fling themselves into this ship for no
 +other purpose, seemingly, than to leap out of
 +her again."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They imagined us English, Herr Fenton,"​
 +said Van Vogelaar, with a snarl in his
 +voice and a sneer on his lip.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I did not instantly catch the drift of his
 +sarcasm.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Doth any man suppose,"​ said Vanderdecken,​
 +rearing his great figure and proudly
 +surveying me, "that the guns of our admirals
 +have thundered in vain? You seek an interpretation<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_59"​ id="​Page_59">​[59]</​a></​span>​
 +of the Frenchman'​s behaviour?
 +Surely by this time all Englishmen should
 +understand the greatness of the terror our
 +flag everywhere strikes! Twice you have
 +witnessed this&​mdash;​in the hasty retreat of your
 +man-of-war, and this night in the conduct of
 +the French schooner. Tell me," he cried,
 +with new fires leaping into his eyes, "how I
 +am to resolve the panic-terror of the boarding
 +party, if I am not to believe that until they
 +were on our decks, had looked round them
 +and beheld our men, they knew not for
 +certain the nation to which the Braave
 +belonged?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I bowed very gravely as I acquiesced.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Skipper,"​ cried Van Vogelaar, "is it not
 +likely that they imagined us English? They
 +showed no fear till our country spoke in the
 +faces of our sailors."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A faint smile of scorn curled the lips of
 +Imogene, but the contempt of her English
 +heart quickly faded into an expression of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_60"​ id="​Page_60">​[60]</​a></​span>​
 +compassion and sadness when she let her
 +eyes travel from the sinister and ugly mate
 +to the majestic countenance of the commander.
 +But no more was said. The two
 +men puffed at their pipes and sipped at their
 +silver mugs in silence, and at long intervals
 +only did Imogene and I exchange a word.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​That they should so easily have been able
 +to satisfy the surprise which the behaviour of
 +the schooner must have excited in them was
 +astonishing. Yet a little reflection made me
 +see that, since they did not know they were
 +accurst and were ignorant of the horror and
 +terror with which mariners of all countries
 +viewed them, it was almost inevitable they
 +should attribute the flight of ships from them
 +either to a selfishness and indifference to
 +their needs or to the dread which they inspired
 +as a vessel that flew the Dutch flag.
 +Yet may I, without irreverence,​ suggest that
 +much of the venom of the Curse must be
 +neutralised by their ignorance of their condition<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_61"​ id="​Page_61">​[61]</​a></​span>​
 +and their inability to drive conjecture
 +to the truth of whatever befel them? The
 +shaping of their doom is beyond the power of
 +reason to grasp, and I feel, therefore, the
 +impiety of criticism. Nevertheless,​ I must
 +say that, since it is Heaven'​s will these
 +wretches should be afflicted with earthly immortality,​
 +it is inexplicable that the torments
 +which perception of the truth would create,
 +should be balsamed into painlessness by
 +ignorance. For hath not the Curse the idleness
 +of that kind of human revenge which
 +strikes and mutilates an enemy already dead?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene withdrew to her cabin at about
 +half-an-hour after nine; Vanderdecken went
 +on deck and I sat alone smoking, thinking of
 +the surprising events of the evening, scheming
 +how to escape and making my heart very
 +heavy with a passionate hopeless yearning
 +for the time to come when, secure upon the
 +soil of our beloved land, I should be calling
 +the delicate, lovely, lonely girl&​mdash;​the amber-haired<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_62"​ id="​Page_62">​[62]</​a></​span>​
 +fairy of this Death Ship&​mdash;​my own!
 +The slow, rusty, saw-like ticking of the ancient
 +clock was an extremely melancholy noise,
 +and I abhorred its chimes too, not because of
 +the sound, that was very sonorously melodious,
 +but because it startled the parrot into
 +its ugly, hobgoblin croak. It was a detestable
 +exclamation to salute the ears of a man
 +whose thoughts ran in the very strain of that
 +coarse, comminatory confirmation of them.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The ancient salt and weedy smell of the
 +ship&​mdash;​a distinguishable thing in the after part&​mdash;​if
 +it was somewhat mitigated forward by
 +the greasy smoke and steam of the cook-house&​mdash;​lent
 +a peculiar accentuation to the various
 +shinings of the lamp, in whose many-coloured
 +radiance some of the dusky oval-framed
 +paintings loomed out red, others green, the
 +ponderous beams of the upper deck blue, the
 +captain'​s tall, velvet-backed chair yellow, and
 +so on; all these tints blending into a faint
 +unearthly atmosphere as they stole dying to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_63"​ id="​Page_63">​[63]</​a></​span>​
 +the bulkhead of the state-room, behind
 +whose larboard door my love lay sleeping.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was glad to quit the place, and went
 +on deck. There was nothing to be seen
 +saving the foam that flashed near and
 +crawled afar, the glitter of the low-lying
 +stars like the sparkle of torches on ships
 +dipping upon the horizon, a sullen movement
 +of dark clouds on high, and the moon red as
 +an angry scar up-curled over the western
 +horizon. 'Twas on a sudden I noticed that
 +we were making a fair wind of the breeze.
 +Yes, on looking aloft I perceived that the
 +yards were braced in, lying so as to show the
 +wind to be blowing about one point abaft
 +the beam. It was strange that in the cabin
 +I had not heard any noise to denote that the
 +men were trimming sail, no sound of rope
 +flung down in coils, no rusty cheeping cry
 +from the aged blocks, no squeak of truss or
 +parrel, or tread of foot. That was, maybe,
 +because the men had fallen dumbly, as usual,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_64"​ id="​Page_64">​[64]</​a></​span>​
 +to the job of hauling and pulling, so that my
 +attention had not been drawn to such noises
 +as were raised. Be this as it may, for the
 +first time since I had been in the ship the
 +wind had come fair. By the situation of the
 +Cross, I guessed she was being headed about
 +west-north-west,​ which would carry us to
 +Agulhas, and also into the Ethiopic Sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​For a little bit I was sensible of a degree
 +of excitement; there had come a break; it
 +was no longer a hopeless ratching to the
 +north, then a bleak, slanting drift into the
 +mighty solitude of the south; the ship was
 +going home! But with that thought my
 +spirits sank. Home? What home had she
 +but these wild, wide waters? What other
 +lot than the gentle cradling or tempestuous
 +smiting of these surges, the crying of the
 +winds of the southern ocean in her rigging,
 +the desolate scream of the lonely sea-bird in
 +her wake, the white sunshine of the blue
 +heavens, the levin-brand of the electric storm,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_65"​ id="​Page_65">​[65]</​a></​span>​
 +the midnight veil of the black hurricane, the
 +wide, snow-like light of the northern moon,
 +over and over again! No! I was mortal, at
 +least, with the plain understanding of a
 +healthy man, and was not to be cheated by a
 +flowing sheet as though mine, too, was the
 +unholy immortality with its human yearnings
 +and earthly labours of the men who manned
 +this Death Ship. The change was but one
 +of the deceits of their heavy sentence, and
 +with an inward prayer that for me and for my
 +precious one it might work out some profitable
 +issue, I went to my cabin.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The door hung on a hook that held it open
 +by the length of a finger; outside swung the
 +lamp that sent light sufficient to me through
 +the interstice. At midnight, this lamp was
 +borne away by Prins, whose final duty before
 +going to his sleeping-place lay in this. It
 +was a regular custom, and whenever it happened
 +that I stayed on deck beyond midnight,
 +then I had to "turn in," as best I could, in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_66"​ id="​Page_66">​[66]</​a></​span>​
 +the dark. Yet, dark I could not term my
 +cabin at night, 'twas rather "​darkness visible,"​
 +as Milton hath it; for though the glowing
 +crawlings yielded no radiance, no, no more
 +than a mirrored star shining out of the wet
 +blackness of a well, yet such objects as intercepted
 +it, it revealed, as a suspended coat,
 +for instance, that, hanging against the bulkhead,
 +had its figure limned against the
 +phosphor, as though 'twas blotted there in
 +ink, very faithful in outline.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was enough in the events of the
 +evening to keep my brain occupied and my
 +eyes open, and I lay thus for some half-hour,
 +thinking and watching the unnatural lights,
 +and wondering why they should be there,
 +since I had never beheld the like glowing in
 +the most ancient marine structure I had ever
 +visited, when, on a sudden, I was sensible of
 +someone standing outside the cabin door and
 +listening, as it appeared. It was a peculiar,
 +regular breathing sound, that gave me to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_67"​ id="​Page_67">​[67]</​a></​span>​
 +know this&​mdash;​a respiration as rhythmic as that of
 +a sleeping man whose slumber is peaceful.
 +An instant after I heard the <​i>​click</​i>​ of the hook
 +of the door lightly lifted out of the staple, but
 +all so quietly that the noise would have been
 +inaudible amid the straining of the rocking
 +vessel if my attention had not been rendered
 +piercing by that solemn and strong breathing,
 +rising very plainly above the sounds in the
 +hold.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I sprang on to the deck; being in my
 +socks I fell on my feet noiselessly. Against
 +the greenish glitterings about the cabin I
 +easily made out the figure of a man, standing
 +within the door, holding it in a posture of
 +eager listening. My breath grew thick and
 +short; the horror of this situation is not to
 +be conceived. It was not as though I were
 +in an earthly ship, for in that case, no matter
 +who the midnight intruder, he would have
 +had a mortal throat for my fingers to close
 +upon. But whoever this shape might be he<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_68"​ id="​Page_68">​[68]</​a></​span>​
 +belonged to the Death Ship, and 'twas
 +frightful to see his outline, black as the
 +atmosphere of a churchyard grave, thrown
 +out, in its posture of watching and listening,
 +by the fiery, writhing fibrines of the phosphor,
 +to know that the deep and hollow
 +breathing came from a figure in whom life
 +was a monstrous simulation, to feel that his
 +confrontment by an Hercules or a Goliath
 +would as little quail his endevilled spirit as
 +the dead are to be terrified by the menaces
 +of the living.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched with half-suffocated respiration.
 +Since his outline was plain it was sure mine
 +was so likewise; but I could not distinguish
 +that he was looking towards the place where
 +I stood, that is, in the middle of the after
 +bulkhead, a couple of paces from the foot of
 +the bed, whither I had backed on his entering.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He very softly closed the door, on which I
 +drew myself up waiting for the onslaught I
 +was certain he designed, though when I considered<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_69"​ id="​Page_69">​[69]</​a></​span>​
 +what thing it was I should be dealing
 +with, the sense of my helplessness came very
 +near to breaking me down. Having closed
 +the door he approached the bed, and bent his
 +head down as though listening; then, with
 +amazing swiftness, stabbed at the bed four
 +times, each blow, with the vehemence of it,
 +making a distinct sound; after which he hung
 +over the bed with his arm uplifted and his
 +head bent as though he would make sure by
 +listening that he had dispatched me. His
 +figure was so plain that it was as if you should
 +cut out the shape of a man in black paper and
 +paste it upon a dull yellow ground. From
 +the upraised hand I could distinguish the
 +projection of a knife or small sword not less
 +than a foot long. He was not apparently
 +easily satisfied that I lay dead; for he kept
 +his menacing, hearkening posture while I
 +could have counted sixty; he then went
 +lightly to the door, opened it and passed
 +out.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_70"​ id="​Page_70">​[70]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whether he walked in his sleep&​mdash;​and certainly
 +his motions were those of a somnambulist&​mdash;​or
 +whether he was influenced by some
 +condition of his doom, of a character as
 +unconjecturable as the manner in which
 +vitality was preserved among the crew, who
 +were years and years ago dead in time, I
 +could not conceive; but, resolved to discover
 +him if I could, I followed on his heels, catching
 +the door as it swung from his grasp; but
 +there was no need to close it nor slip a foot
 +beyond the coaming; for, the glimmer all
 +about serving my sight, I saw him enter the
 +cabin opposite&​mdash;​that in which Van Vogelaar
 +slept, whereby I knew who it was that would
 +have assassinated me that night had I slept
 +when I lay down.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​You will easily credit that this man had
 +murdered sleep so far as I was concerned. I
 +would not go on deck, and I would not lie
 +down either, for what I had beheld had so
 +wrought in my imagination that the mere<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_71"​ id="​Page_71">​[71]</​a></​span>​
 +idea of resting upon the holes which the
 +villain'​s blade had made in the aged mattress
 +filled me with horror. So for the rest of the
 +night I walked about the cabin or rested on
 +the edge of the bed, praying for daylight, and
 +repeatedly commending myself to God; for,
 +this being the second time my life had been
 +attempted by the same hand, I could not
 +question, if it was the will of Heaven this
 +hideous cruise should be prolonged, the third
 +venture would be successful, and in the
 +dreadful loneliness and luminous blackness
 +of that cabin I viewed myself as a dead man,
 +and could have wept with rage and grief
 +when thinking of my helplessness and of
 +Imogene'​s fate.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​However,​ I clearly saw that no good could
 +attend my telling Vanderdecken of his mate's
 +hunger for my life. If Van Vogelaar had
 +walked in his sleep he would not know what
 +he had done; he would call me a liar for
 +charging him with it, and I might count<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_72"​ id="​Page_72">​[72]</​a></​span>​
 +upon Vanderdecken siding with him in any
 +case. The Dutch are a less savage people
 +than they were, but in the age to which this
 +ship's company belonged they were the most
 +inhuman people in Europe, perhaps in the
 +world, and such were the barbarities they
 +were guilty of, that the passage of two centuries&​mdash;​and
 +it would be the same if it were
 +the passage of two hundred centuries&​mdash;​leaves
 +their crimes as fresh and smoking to God as
 +the blood of their victims at the time of their
 +being done to death. Consider their treatment
 +of sailors: how for a petty theft they
 +would proclaim a man infamous at the fore-mast;
 +torture him into confession by attaching
 +heavy weights to his feet, running him
 +aloft, and then letting him fall; keel-haul
 +him, that is, draw him several times under the
 +ship's keel; affix him to the mast by nailing
 +him to it by a knife passed through his
 +hand; flog him to the extent of three hundred
 +to five hundred strokes, then pickle his bleeding<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_73"​ id="​Page_73">​[73]</​a></​span>​
 +mangled back; fling him ironed into the
 +hold: there half-starve him till they met with
 +a bare, barren, lonely rock upon which they
 +would set and leave him. Read how they
 +treated the English at Amboyna! No! I had
 +the Dutch of the seventeenth century to deal
 +with in these men, not the Hollanders of my
 +day, borrowing fine airs from the Germans
 +and sweetening their throats with French <i>à
 +la mode</​i>​ phrases. But how to escape them?
 +There were moments when I paced my cabin
 +like a madman and with a madman'​s thoughts
 +in me too.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I brought a haggard face with me to the
 +breakfast table, and Imogene surveyed me
 +with an eye full of inquiry and anxiety. My
 +thoughts, acting with my wakefulness,​ had
 +told, and I fancied that even Vanderdecken
 +suffered his gaze to rest upon me as though
 +he marked a change. Van Vogelaar'​s
 +manner satisfied me that he had acted in his
 +sleep or under some spell that stupefied the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_74"​ id="​Page_74">​[74]</​a></​span>​
 +understanding whilst it gave the spirit full
 +play, for he discovered nothing of that wonder
 +and terror which had been visible in him
 +when I entered the cabin after his former
 +attempt to destroy me, which certainly had
 +not been the case had he quitted my
 +bedside in the belief that I was dead of my
 +wounds.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken talked of the fair wind; a
 +sort of satisfaction illuminated his sombre
 +austerity; though his dignity was prodigious
 +and his commanding manner full of an
 +haughty and forbidding sternness, he was
 +nevertheless politer to me than he had ever
 +yet been, going to the length of talking
 +about the food on the table, the excellent
 +quality of the African Guinea fowl and
 +bustard, recommending me to taste of a dish
 +of marmalade, and relating a story of a
 +privateer having left behind him, in a ship he
 +had clapt aboard of, a number of boxes which
 +seemed to be full of marmalade, but which<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_75"​ id="​Page_75">​[75]</​a></​span>​
 +in reality were loaded with virgin silver.
 +But it was the fair wind that produced this
 +civility, though after last night'​s business
 +'twas welcome enough let the cause be what
 +it would.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>No sooner had Imogene and I a chance
 +of speaking alone than she asked me what
 +was the matter. I told her how Van
 +Vogelaar had entered my cabin and stabbed
 +at my bed. She turned white; her beautiful
 +eyes grew large and bright with terror; she
 +clasped her hands and for some moments
 +could not speak. Her agitation diminished,
 +however, when she understood that Van
 +Vogelaar walked in his sleep, though she
 +was still very white when she cried: "If
 +you had been sleeping when he entered you
 +would now be dead!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I answered: "What he does in his sleep
 +he may do awake. This action is like the
 +whispers of a dreamer, babbling out his
 +conscience. It is in his soul to kill me, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_76"​ id="​Page_76">​[76]</​a></​span>​
 +long thinking upon it has moved him to the
 +deed in his sleep."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ Geoffrey, did I not beg you to secure
 +your door?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay&​mdash;​that shall be looked to in future, I
 +warrant you. But why should this man, of all
 +the others, especially thirst for my life? How
 +have I wronged him?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She replied by pointing out that the crew
 +of my ship had fired upon him; also that in
 +the days of his natural life he was no doubt a
 +villain at heart and that all the features of his
 +devilish nature attended him through his
 +doom; that being more jealous, rapacious
 +and avaricious than the others, he might
 +regard my presence as a menace to his share
 +of the treasure, and hunger after my destruction;​
 +so that, come what might, I should
 +never be able to report the wealth that lay in
 +the ship's hold.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​There was no doubt my darling was right,
 +impossible as I found it to reconcile these<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_77"​ id="​Page_77">​[77]</​a></​span>​
 +earthly and human passions and motives
 +with his supernatural being; and particularly
 +the indifference he exhibited on the previous
 +evening when the Frenchman came running
 +us aboard, with his concern for his share in
 +the gold, jewels and plate below. But I had
 +long abandoned all speculation concerning
 +what I must term the intellectual aspect of
 +these miserable creatures. You will suppose
 +that we found a fruitful text in this mate's
 +somnambulistic attack upon me, and that we
 +talked at great length about our chances of
 +escape and the necessity Van Vogelaar'​s
 +malignant hate put me under of inventing
 +some method to deliver ourselves by, be
 +the risks of it what they might. Yet it was
 +but talk.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Indeed,​ never did prisoners'​ outlook appear
 +more hopeless. Compared to this floating
 +jail, compassed about by the mighty sea, the
 +walls of a citadel were as paper, the bars
 +of a dungeon'​s window as packthread. But<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_78"​ id="​Page_78">​[78]</​a></​span>​
 +the most bitter and invincible barrier of
 +all was Captain Vanderdecken'​s resolution to
 +carry Imogene with him in this ship to
 +Amsterdam.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_79"​ id="​Page_79">​[79]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER V.<br />
 +A TEMPEST BURSTS UPON US.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I did not, as I had told Imogene, need a
 +second hint to secure my life by night, however
 +it might fall out with me in the day.
 +By looking about I met with a piece of ratline
 +stuff which I hid in my cabin, and when the
 +night came I secured one end to the hook of
 +the door, passing the other end through the
 +staple and then making it fast to my wrist;
 +so that, the door being shut, no one could
 +enter without tweaking or straining my arm
 +with such violence as was sure to awake me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Meanwhile the fair wind hung very steady,
 +blowing about south, a pleasant breeze that
 +yielded a pure blue sky and small puff-shaped
 +clouds exceedingly white; the sea was also of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_80"​ id="​Page_80">​[80]</​a></​span>​
 +a very lovely sapphire, twinkling and sparkling
 +in the north like a sheet of silver cloth
 +set a-trembling. The Braave stole along
 +softly, with but little seething and hissing
 +noises about her now that her yards lay
 +braced well in. I would think whilst I
 +watched her flowing sheets, the long bosoms
 +of her canvas swelling forwards with the slack
 +bolt-ropes arched like a bow, and the mizzen
 +rounding from its lateen yard, backed by the
 +skeleton remains of the great poop lantern,
 +that she needed but the bravery of fresh
 +paint, a new ancient, pennons and streamers,
 +bright pettararoes or swivels, glass for the
 +lanterns and gilt for her galleries and beak, to
 +render her as picturesque and romantic a
 +vessel as ever sailed in that mighty procession,
 +in whose van streamed the triumphant
 +insignia of the great Spanish, Dutch and
 +Portuguese Admirals.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas impossible to doubt that every man
 +in the ship believed that he was going home<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_81"​ id="​Page_81">​[81]</​a></​span>​
 +this time. There was an air of alacrity in
 +them that had never before been noticeable.
 +They would look eagerly seawards over the
 +bows, gazing thus for long minutes at a time.
 +Whenever the log was hove I'd mark one or
 +more inquire the speed of the men who had
 +held the reel or dragged in the line, as they
 +went forward. They smoked incessantly,​
 +with an air of dull and heavy satisfaction in
 +their faces.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I observed a lifting, so to speak, of the
 +stupor off Vanderdecken. His trances&​mdash;​I
 +mean those sudden fits of death-like insensibility
 +which I can only liken to cataleptic
 +attacks&​mdash;​were few, whence I concluded that
 +his spirit, or whatever might be the nature of
 +the essence that owned his great and majestical
 +frame for a tabernacle&​mdash;​had gathered an
 +increase of vitality from the invigorated hope
 +and brisk desires which the fair wind had
 +raised. In Van Vogelaar I witnessed no
 +change. Possibly the dark shadows of my<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_82"​ id="​Page_82">​[82]</​a></​span>​
 +fears being on him held him gloomy and
 +malignant to my sight. Likewise, I was
 +careful to keep a wide space between us, save
 +at meals, and never to have my back upon
 +him, for to be sure, if I was to be murdered
 +by the rogue, it should not be for the want of
 +a bright look-out on my part.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This state of things continued for three
 +days. A powerful current runs to the westward
 +in these seas, and adding its impulse
 +to our progress, I calculated that in those
 +seventy-two hours we made not less than an
 +hundred and thirty-three leagues. As time
 +passed my wonder increased, for though I
 +knew not our position, and never durst ask
 +Vanderdecken what situation his dead-reckoning
 +assigned us, I could not conceive&​mdash;​recollecting
 +the place in which the Saracen
 +was when we sighted the Death Ship&​mdash;​that
 +we had been blown, during the time I had
 +been on board, into a very remote sea; and
 +hence 'twas reasonable that I should think it<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_83"​ id="​Page_83">​[83]</​a></​span>​
 +wanted but a few days sailing after this
 +pattern to carry us round the Cape. Therefore
 +I say my wonder grew, for whilst it
 +was impious to suppose that the Devil could
 +contrive that this ship should outwit the
 +Sentence, yet our steady progress caused me
 +to waver in my faith in the stern assurance
 +of the vessel'​s doom.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I would say to Imogene: "The breeze
 +holds; see how steady is the look of the
 +southern sky! Is it possible that this wind
 +will carry her round?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To which she would answer: "No, the
 +change will come. Oh, Geoffrey, it will come,
 +though no more than the ship's length lay
 +between her and the limit which you believe
 +the Curse has marked out for her upon this
 +sea."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Then I would agree with her. But afterwards,
 +coming on deck in the afternoon, or
 +next morning, and finding the Death Ship
 +pushing along, her head pointing north-west,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_84"​ id="​Page_84">​[84]</​a></​span>​
 +her sails full, the wake sliding away astern
 +in a satin smoothness, wonder and doubt
 +would again possess me, and twenty odd
 +fancies occur, such as, "​Suppose the Sentence
 +has been remitted! Suppose it be
 +the Will of Heaven this ship should return
 +to Amsterdam, that a final expiation of
 +Vanderdecken'​s wrong-doing might be
 +accomplished in his and his miserable crew's
 +beholding with their own eyes the extinction
 +of those houses they had yearned for, and
 +the tombs&​mdash;​if aught of memorial in that way
 +remain&​mdash;​of those hearts whose beating they
 +hoped to feel upon their own?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Such thoughts would set me talking to
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Conceive of this ship's arrival in the
 +Texel! What consternation,​ what astonishment
 +would she arouse! What mighty
 +crowds would flock to view her!" And in the
 +hurry and ardency of my imagination,​ I would
 +go on figuring the looks and behaviour of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_85"​ id="​Page_85">​[85]</​a></​span>​
 +the people as our ghastly crew stepped
 +ashore, asking one and another after their
 +wives and children, those Alidas, Geertruidas,​
 +Titias, Emelies, Cornelias, Johannas, Fedoras,
 +Engelinas, and Christinas, and those Antonys,
 +Hendricks, Jans, Tjaarts, Lodewyks, Abrahams,
 +Willems, Peters, and Fredericks, whose
 +very memory, let alone their dust, was as
 +utterly gone as the ashes in any pipe forward
 +there when the fire had been tapped out of
 +the bowl overboard.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​During the night of the third day the wind
 +held steadily. I left the deck a little before
 +midnight, having passed some hours of the
 +darkness in the company of my love, and
 +our sails were then full with the prosperous
 +wind, the ship passing along over the quiet
 +sea in a great shadow, the stars very piercing,
 +and the light of their colours sharp and
 +lovely; but on coming from my cabin next
 +morning, I found the breeze gone; the ship
 +was rolling upon a swell coming with some<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_86"​ id="​Page_86">​[86]</​a></​span>​
 +power from the westwards; and the dead
 +cloths of the canvas striking a small thunder
 +into the motionless air as they beat against
 +the masts with the weary, monotonous swaying
 +of those spars.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The change had come! The swell was
 +full of foreboding; it was as my heart had
 +foreseen, spite of the wonder and inventions
 +of my imagination;​ but nevertheless,​ the
 +perception of that polished sea heaving into
 +the dimness of the distant sky, the sight of
 +the deadness of the calm that had slued the
 +Death Ship till her sprit-topsail veiled and
 +disclosed the oozing sun as she bowed with
 +her beak pointing into the east, brought
 +a disappointment that sickened me to the
 +soul.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Great God," I cried within myself, "is
 +this experience to end only with my death!"​
 +and I entered the cabin in so melancholy a
 +mood that I could scarce hold up my head
 +for the heaviness in my eyes and brain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_87"​ id="​Page_87">​[87]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene was alone. I kissed her hand
 +and fondled it. She instantly observed my
 +depression, and said, gently, "I feared this
 +calm would dishearten you. But it was inevitable,
 +dear. It was impossible a change of
 +some kind should be delayed."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ but it breaks me down to think of
 +another long, soul-starving,​ stormy drive into
 +the south-east, another terrible spell of
 +Vanderdecken'​s savage manners&​mdash;​of Van
 +Vogelaar'​s murderous attempts, and of the
 +hopelessness afterwards. Oh, my love! the
 +hopelessness afterwards!&​mdash;​when the weather
 +breaks and the wind blows fair again. Will
 +it never end?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She cast her eyes down with a swift motion
 +of her finger to her lips. I turned, as
 +Vanderdecken approached. The darkness of
 +his inward rage lay heavy upon the folds
 +of his brow; 'tis no exaggeration to apply
 +to his appearance the strong words of
 +Beaumont:</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_88"​ id="​Page_88">​[88]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"There are a thousand furies in his looks,<​br />
 +And in his deadly silence more loud horror<​br />
 +Than, when in Hell, the tortur'​d and tormentors<​br />
 +Contend whose shrieks are greatest!"<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<p>He came without speaking to his chair, turning
 +his fiery eyes from Imogene to me without
 +saluting us. A moment after Van Vogelaar
 +arrived.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We took our places, but none spoke. One
 +side-long look the mate darted at me under
 +his parchment-coloured lids, and malice and
 +hate were strong in it. I could see that
 +Imogene was awed and terrified by the captain'​s
 +manner. You dreaded to hear him
 +speak. His stillness was that of a slowly
 +ripening tempest and his sultry, forbidding,
 +darkening bearing seemed to thicken the
 +very atmosphere about him till you drew your
 +breath with labour. He drank a silver cupfull
 +of wine, but ate nothing.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The mate on the other hand plied his
 +knife and fork with a surly heartiness. For
 +my part, I felt as though a mouthful must<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_89"​ id="​Page_89">​[89]</​a></​span>​
 +choke me; yet I made out to eat that
 +these men should not think I was afraid.
 +I believe Imogene would have gone to
 +her cabin but for her anxiety to support
 +and encourage me, so to say, by her
 +presence.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What horrible curse do we carry in this
 +ship," presently exclaimed Vanderdecken,​
 +speaking with a hoarse muttering that had
 +no note of the familiar melodious richness,
 +"that all winds which might blow us westwards
 +die before the meridian of Agulhas is
 +reached? What is there in these masts to
 +poison the breeze? Do we spread sails
 +woven in the Devil'​s loom? Have we a
 +Jonah among us?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Skipper!"​ cried Van Vogelaar, "Is it
 +Herr Fenton, think you? Measure the luck
 +he carries by what hath happened since he has
 +been in this ship. Six days of storm!"​ He
 +held up his fingers with a furious gesture.
 +"​Twice,​ in a few hours, have our lives, our<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_90"​ id="​Page_90">​[90]</​a></​span>​
 +treasure, our ship been imperilled! Note,
 +now, this westerly swell, this stagnant atmosphere,
 +and a dimness in the west that will
 +have grown into storm and wind ere the
 +afternoon watch be ended."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​He speaks to my prejudice,"​ I exclaimed,
 +addressing Vanderdecken;​ "let him be candid.
 +His tongue is injurious to the Hollander'​s
 +love of honour. Mynheer, consider:
 +He talks of the six days of storm&​mdash;​that
 +weather had been brewed before my ship
 +sighted yours. Of the English man-of-war
 +and the French pirate; why not of the wreck
 +that yielded you a bountiful store of needful
 +things? He knows&​mdash;​as you do, Herr Vanderdecken,​
 +that Englishmen&​mdash;​least of all
 +English mariners&​mdash;​are not among those who
 +practise sorcery. This change is the concern
 +of that Being who has yet to judge this man.
 +If he charges me with the control of the
 +elements, then, by the Majesty of Heaven,
 +he basely lies even in his rash and impious<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_91"​ id="​Page_91">​[91]</​a></​span>​
 +effort to do me, a weak and erring mortal,
 +honour!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​With which I turned upon the villain and
 +stared at him with eyes fuller of more potent
 +fury flashed into them by the rage of my
 +healthy, earthly manhood than could possibly
 +possess him out of that dusty sepulchre of
 +his body which lived by the Curse alone.
 +He shrunk away from me, looking at his
 +skipper.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken,"​ broke in the
 +sweet voice of Imogene, "you will not let
 +Herr Van Vogelaar'​s intemperate accusations
 +influence your love of justice. Herr Fenton
 +is not accountable for this calm; 'tis monstrous
 +to suppose it. Charge me sooner with witchcraft;
 +I have been longer in this ship than
 +he; in that time you have met many adverse
 +winds; and if his being an Englishman is
 +his wrong, hold me also answerable for the
 +failure of your hopes, since I am English too!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He looked at her, then at me, then back<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_92"​ id="​Page_92">​[92]</​a></​span>​
 +to her, and methought her beauty coloured
 +the stormy cloud of his expression with a
 +light of its own, not softening it, but robbing
 +it somewhat of its terror. He moved his lips,
 +talking to himself, folded his arms and leaned
 +back, staring straight up at the deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I fancied by saying more yet I could mend
 +my case, and would not meet Imogene'​s eye
 +for fear of being checked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain Vanderdecken,​ I am here as a
 +shipwrecked man&​mdash;​dependent upon your
 +generosity as a fellow-being,​ of which you
 +have given me so abundant an illustration that
 +my heart sinks when I consider that I am
 +too poor to make you any return saving in
 +thanks. Had I tenfold the powers your
 +mate imputes to me, could I work you evil?
 +Give me the control of the wind, and such a
 +gale would follow this ship that you should
 +be speedily counting the date of your arrival
 +at Amsterdam in hours. Is it reasonable
 +that I should seek to delay this voyage? I,<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_93"​ id="​Page_93">​[93]</​a></​span>​
 +who have but these clothes in which I stand&​mdash;​who
 +am divorced from my home&​mdash;​who am
 +helpless and defenceless among the enemies
 +of my country&​mdash;​among men from whom I
 +should have nothing to hope if they had not
 +long given the world to know that their generosity
 +as foes is alone equalled by their
 +heroism as mariners!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He had slowly turned his eyes upon me
 +when I began to speak, and now made a
 +haughty gesture with his hand as if bidding
 +me hold my peace. And perhaps my conscience
 +felt the rebuke, though he merely
 +designed to let me know that I had said
 +enough; for, between ourselves, I had as little
 +opinion of Dutch generosity as I had of
 +Dutch valour, and should have despised myself
 +for this flattering had I been talking to
 +human beings.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Happily nothing more came of the tempest
 +that lay muzzled in the captain'​s breast.
 +Whether my standing up for myself, my<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_94"​ id="​Page_94">​[94]</​a></​span>​
 +heated manner towards his mate, gave a new
 +turn to his mood, he did not speak again of
 +the change of weather, and as speedily as
 +ceremony would permit, I got up, made my
 +bow, and went on deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The appearance in the west was sullen
 +enough, though merely with a faintness there
 +that was unrelieved by any edging or
 +shouldering outline of cloud. A few patches
 +of vapour lay streaked along the sky, otherwise
 +the heavens hovered in an unstained
 +hollow, but of a faded, watery blue, unwholesome
 +and with a sort of blindness of fog in it;
 +and up in the north-east hung the sun, shorn
 +of his rays, a squeezed yet uncompacted mass
 +of dazzle, like as I have seen him show when
 +setting in a belt of vapour that has not
 +entirely hid him, and casting a wake as dim
 +as burning oil. The swell had grown in
 +weight even while we had been breaking our
 +fast. There being not the faintest draught
 +of air to steady the vessel&​mdash;​no,​ not so much<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_95"​ id="​Page_95">​[95]</​a></​span>​
 +as to put the most delicate curl of shadow
 +upon the heads of the muddy-blue, grease-smooth,​
 +liquid roundings which came with a
 +sulky brimming to the channels. She rolled
 +with stupid heaviness, her sails rattling like
 +a discharge from great ordnance, and a sort
 +of song-like cries twanging out from the sharp
 +fierce strains put upon the shrouds and backstays,
 +and many noises in her hold. You
 +would have thought that her huge round-tops
 +and heavy furniture of spar and rigging
 +would have given some regularity to her
 +pendulous swaying: but the contrary was
 +the case, her action being so jerky, abrupt, and
 +unforegatherable by the legs, that walking
 +was impossible.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I passed the morning partly on deck, partly
 +in the cabin, nearly all the while in Imogene'​s
 +society, Vanderdecken'​s passionate mood
 +being too vehement to suffer him to notice
 +either me or my dearest. Indeed, I sought
 +the cabin chiefly to remove myself from his<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_96"​ id="​Page_96">​[96]</​a></​span>​
 +sight, for as the weather darkened round
 +his wrath mounted with it&​mdash;​visible in his
 +tempestuous stridings, and above all, in the
 +flaming and cursing eyes he would again and
 +again level at the heavens; and I sometimes
 +felt that nothing less than my life might be
 +the forfeit of my even provoking his regard
 +and constraining his attention to me in his
 +present satanic posture of mind.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​When the dinner hour came, he fiercely
 +ordered Prins to bring him some drink on
 +deck: he could not eat. All the morning he
 +had been directing his gaze into the south
 +and north and east for any blurr of the
 +polished folds that should exhibit movement
 +in the air in those quarters; and from the
 +undulating sea-line, which he searched in
 +vain, his eyes seemed to reel with the very
 +sickness of wrath into the west where, as I
 +knew, the Curse was busy.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene and I were as mute as images at
 +table. We had agreed not to utter a syllable<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_97"​ id="​Page_97">​[97]</​a></​span>​
 +whilst the mate was present, and some time
 +before he had finished his meal, we left the
 +cabin for the quarter-deck,​ where we sat
 +hidden from Vanderdecken,​ who marched
 +about the poop near the tiller, with a tread
 +whose echo rang through the solid deck, and
 +with a mien that made me ready to witness
 +him at any minute repeat, waking and sensible,
 +the horrid blasphemous part he had
 +performed in his sleep.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The faintness in the west deepened into
 +thickness. The atmosphere grew hot, and
 +the fanning of the canvas that had before
 +filled the decks with chilling draughts became
 +a refreshment. By two o'​clock in the afternoon
 +the heads and shoulders of ponderous storm-clouds
 +had shaped themselves above the
 +dingy blueish obscurity in the west; they
 +jutted up with a ghastly sheen of sickly
 +bronze upon their peaks and brows and made
 +a very frightful appearance. You would have
 +thought there was a great motionless fold of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_98"​ id="​Page_98">​[98]</​a></​span>​
 +heat suspended, viewless, in the middle of
 +the heavens, and that it was magnetically
 +drawing up volumes of black fumes from
 +some pestilential land lying hidden behind
 +the sea. The strange light, rusty with the
 +ominous storm-tinge,​ made the sea appear
 +round and hard, cheating the eye with the
 +illusive complexion, till the eastern sea-line
 +looked thirty leagues distant, and not closer
 +westwards either, spite of its fading out in a
 +jumble of ugly shadow that way. The sky
 +still had a dirty sort of blue where the sun
 +went out behind it, and I tell you 'twas scaring
 +to find him sunk out of sight in a kind of
 +ether whose hue, deceptive as it was, caused
 +it to look clear enough for him to float in.
 +It was in its way a sheer drowning of the
 +luminary, like the foundering of a flaming
 +fabric in the sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The gloom stole gradually into darkness
 +as though some giant hand was warily drawing
 +a sable curtain over our mastheads.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_99"​ id="​Page_99">​[99]</​a></​span>​
 +Never did I watch the growth of a storm
 +with such awe as now filled me. To my
 +alarmed sight, the gathering seemed like an
 +embodiment of the Curse in dreadful, swelling,
 +livid vapours, whose dull hectic, whose
 +sallow bronze glaring out of the murkiness,
 +showed like the overflowing of the blue and
 +scarlet and sunlight fires pent up in those
 +teeming surcharged bosoms. My plain sense
 +assured me that the tempest could not hold
 +for this Death Ship the menace that would
 +render its aspect terrifying to the mariner on
 +board an earthly craft; yet it was impossible
 +for my instincts as a seaman to accommodate
 +themselves to the supernatural conditions
 +which begirt me, and I found myself trembling
 +for the safety of the ship when I discovered
 +that the tempest was suffered to grow
 +without an order being given to the men to
 +shorten sail and prepare for it.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I left Imogene and stepped furtively along
 +the quarter-deck to command the poop, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_100"​ id="​Page_100">​[100]</​a></​span>​
 +saw Vanderdecken standing aft, surveying
 +the storm with his arms folded, his chin
 +depressed, and his face staring out ashenly
 +against the gloom. I watched him for some
 +minutes, but never once did he stir. Arents
 +and Van Vogelaar were on the other side of
 +the deck, leaning over the rail, gazing at God
 +knows what, but never speaking as I could
 +be sure in the silence that rested upon the
 +ship. The men hung about in groups forward;
 +mere cunningly devised shapes of
 +human beings without the faintest stir of restlessness
 +among them. Many of them
 +smoked, and the pale wreaths went from their
 +paler lips into the air straight as staffs.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Imogene,​ look at that sky!" I whispered,
 +"did mortal ever behold the like of it?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas two o'​clock;​ a tempest-coloured
 +twilight, in which the sails to the flattened
 +swell swayed like visionary wings grown
 +languid with long flight, and feebly hovering
 +and almost noiselessly beating over the ship;<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_101"​ id="​Page_101">​[101]</​a></​span>​
 +out of the gloom over the side came now and
 +again the yearning moan of water, foamlessly
 +laving the bends and run of the vessel; in
 +each death-like pause you heard the silence
 +tingling in the air with the low phantasmal
 +muttering of a weltering sea, a sound as of
 +an imagination of unreal breakers upon a
 +faery shore.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​With hands clasped upon my arm, my
 +darling looked as I pointed. In the extreme
 +west the shade of the heavens was a sort of
 +dismal slate, and there was an incessant
 +winking of lightning all about it, like a mad
 +dancing of stars of piercing brilliance; this
 +enlarged into dense masses of dark vapour
 +streaked as sand is ribbed by the action of
 +surf; then zenith-wards was a space of faint
 +green sky, very dim as though beheld through
 +smoke, and past this lay a floating body of
 +thin vapour thickening over our mastheads
 +into an amazing appearance of clouds like to
 +the bush that shags the New Holland slopes,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_102"​ id="​Page_102">​[102]</​a></​span>​
 +merging eastwards into a vast array of clouds
 +twisted into the aspect of whirlpools, and
 +in their brooding motionlessness resembling
 +vortices suddenly arrested when most madly
 +gyrating. But this description,​ though imitated
 +to the life, conveys not the least idea of the
 +horrid appearance of that sky, for there is
 +nothing in words to express the effect upon
 +the mind of the contrast of the several shades
 +of colour all combinating to fill the sea with a
 +malignant hue, and the keen throbbing of the
 +lightning low down, the washing sweep of the
 +sick and ghastly ocean into the western
 +dusk, the stooping soot of the vaporous
 +maelstroms overhead, only waiting, as it
 +seemed, for some storm-signal to start off
 +every one of them into a very madness of
 +revolution, boiling out into wet and crimsoned
 +tempests.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​After a little all these appearances melted
 +into one great cloud of an indigo tint, ridged
 +with layers of black vapour and blackening<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_103"​ id="​Page_103">​[103]</​a></​span>​
 +into very midnight on the western seaboard
 +where the lightning was shooting. The sea
 +had strangely flattened; the weighty swells
 +which had precoursed the growth of the
 +storm had run away down the eastern waters;
 +it was as though the hot heaviness of the
 +rising and spreading blackness had pressed
 +down the ocean into a smooth plain.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As not an order had yet been given, not a
 +clewline nor a halyard touched, I had made
 +up my mind to presently behold an astonishing
 +exhibition of magic; that is to say, I was
 +to witness a sudden violent blast of storm
 +strike this Death Ship with every sail she
 +carried abroad, and no harm to come to her
 +from it. All at once there was a great stroke
 +of lightning that flashed up the heavy oppressive
 +obscurity, and the whole ship leapt
 +to the eye in a blaze of emerald fire. There
 +fell a few huge drops of rain, covering the
 +decks with circles as big as saucers. A sullen
 +shock of thunder boomed in a single report<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_104"​ id="​Page_104">​[104]</​a></​span>​
 +out of the west, and then it was that the
 +voice of Vanderdecken rang out like a
 +vibratory echo of the deep storm-note that
 +had died away.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Clew up the topsails and topgallant
 +sails!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​In sprit-sail and get the yard fore and
 +aft!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Some hands this way and stow the
 +mizzen!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Lower the main-yard and furl the sail!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Stand by to double reef the fore-course!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​These and other orders he delivered one
 +by one, and they were repeated by the two
 +mates and the boatswain.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I cannot believe that any fantastic vision
 +was ever wilder, stranger, more impressive
 +than the picture offered by the Death Ship
 +when her men went to work to snug her
 +down. Their mechanically-moving shapes
 +hauling upon the ropes, running like shadows
 +along the decks, vanishing in the sullen,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_105"​ id="​Page_105">​[105]</​a></​span>​
 +swarming thickness as they mounted the
 +shrouds, every man as silent as a spectre;
 +the fitful trembling out of the whole vessel to
 +the white and green and violet glimmer of
 +the yet distant lightning; the dark sea dimly
 +glancing into a kind of light, wan and indeterminable
 +as the sheen of stars in polished
 +steel, under the play of those western glitterings;​
 +the blackness overhead now settled
 +down to the eastern seaboard, over the
 +horizon of which there yet hovered a streak
 +of dusty green&​mdash;​it was a spectacle to need
 +the hand of Dante or Milton.</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +Compar'​d to these storms, Death is but a qualm,<​br />
 +Hell somewhat lightsome, the Bermudas calm;<br />
 +Darkness, Light'​s eldest brother, his birthright<​br />
 +Claims o'er the World!<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<p>It was as black as night. What the men
 +were about, with what dispatch they worked,
 +it was impossible to see. No songs or cries
 +came from them to enable me to guess their
 +movements. If ever Imogene and I exchanged
 +a word it was in a whisper, so heart<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_106"​ id="​Page_106">​[106]</​a></​span>​
 +subduing was the darkness and the horrible
 +element of suspense and uncertainty in it. I
 +had her close to the cabin-front under the
 +poop, ready for the shelter of it at the outburst.
 +Ten minutes went by, and then it
 +seemed to me as if a deeper shade yet had
 +penetrated the darkness. Suddenly, I heard
 +a far-off humming noise, a kind of growling
 +sound, not to be likened to thunder, though
 +you seemed to catch the note of that too in
 +the multitudinous crying. It was as if the
 +denizens of a thousand forests were flying
 +before the roaring of a tornado among the
 +trees, every savage beast raising its own
 +savage cry as it went, the whole uproar so
 +remote as to resemble a mountain'​s reverberation
 +of the horrible clamour leagues and
 +leagues distant inland.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What is that?" cried Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Ere I could speak, the heavens were split
 +in twain by a blast of lightning that looked
 +to fly like a dazzling shaft of flame from the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_107"​ id="​Page_107">​[107]</​a></​span>​
 +north sheer over our mastheads into the
 +south. It was almost instantly followed by a
 +crash of thunder, ear-splitting as the explosion
 +of the batteries of a dozen first-rates all discharged
 +at one moment. And then fell the
 +rain in a whole body of water, charged with
 +hailstones as big as pigeon'​s eggs. The fall
 +raised such an uproar on our decks that you
 +looked to see the whole substantial fabric
 +shattered by it. The surface of the sea
 +foamed in fire to that lashing of water and
 +hail. There was now a perpetual blaze of
 +lightning, but the thunder merely deepened
 +the prodigious noise of the rushing wet without,
 +its claps being distinguishable in the
 +dreadful tumult. We had immediately withdrawn
 +to the cabin, and closing the door,
 +stood looking on through the window. The
 +decks were full of water, which, cascading
 +through the ports and all other freeing orifices,
 +added its roaring to the other notes of the
 +tempest. The ship seemed on fire to as high<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_108"​ id="​Page_108">​[108]</​a></​span>​
 +as we could see with the hellish and continual
 +flaming of the lightning.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas of several colours, and in the same
 +breath you saw spars, rigging, bulwark-rails,​
 +all blazing out as though lumined with
 +brushes dipped in blue and crimson, and star-white
 +and yellow and dark violet fires.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But no wind as yet; not a breath! That
 +I could tell by the droop of the fore-course
 +hanging by its gear, and faintly fanning dark
 +and wet from its yard. But I knew it could
 +not be far off. Those sounds I had heard as
 +of a thousand affrighted wild beasts were&​mdash;​my
 +ear well knew the noise&​mdash;​the echoings
 +high in the middle air of a prodigious wind
 +bellowing as it swept the ocean into white
 +rage. My heart beat swiftly; all was so
 +fearfully real that I could not grasp the supernatural
 +conditions of the life of this ship and
 +crew, which had otherwise assured me that
 +the Curse that triumphed over the monarch
 +Death must be superior to the wildest<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_109"​ id="​Page_109">​[109]</​a></​span>​
 +hurricane that ever piled the ocean into
 +mountains.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hark!"​ I exclaimed, "it is upon us!" and
 +as I spoke the gale smote us like a bolt from
 +heaven, falling upon us with a long and frightful
 +scream and amid a volley of lightning that
 +made the sky a blinding purple dazzle from
 +sea-line to sea-line. I held with both hands
 +to one side of the frame of the window, and
 +Imogene, half-swooning with terror, lay against
 +me, nothing but my body saving her from
 +being dashed against the side of the cabin.
 +Such was the sharpness of the angle to which
 +the first frenzy of the liberated hurricane
 +heeled the vessel, that for some minutes I
 +veritably believed she was foundering. The
 +ocean boiled in a flat plain of froth, and the
 +ship lay steady upon the enraged whiteness,
 +with the rail of her bulwarks under, and you
 +heard amid the seething and shrill shrieking
 +of the wind, the sound of the water pouring
 +on to her decks over the upper and quarter-deck<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_110"​ id="​Page_110">​[110]</​a></​span>​
 +and forecastle-rails,​ as the cataract
 +thunders, coiling with a pure head, over the
 +edge of some rocky abrupt. If I had opened
 +the door&​mdash;​if indeed I could have taken
 +action on that violent headlong steep of deck&​mdash;​it
 +would have merely been to drown the
 +cabin and Imogene and myself. There was
 +nothing to be done but attend the issue, and
 +for several minutes, I say, I stood holding
 +on, my dearest clasping me and so supporting
 +herself, scarce knowing whether the vessel
 +was under water or not, unable to speak for
 +the horrible clamour without, the lightning
 +continuously holding the fabric visible through
 +the window in its mani-coloured blaze, and
 +the enduring steadiness of the hull upon the
 +flat foam putting a terror into the situation
 +you would not have remarked in her labouring
 +in a hollow sea.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Presently,​ to my great joy, I perceived that
 +she was recovering her upright posture. They
 +had succeeded in getting her to pay off, and
 +after a little, giving her tall stem to the gale,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_111"​ id="​Page_111">​[111]</​a></​span>​
 +she went before it as upright as a church, the
 +water on her decks pouring away overboard,
 +the piercing fury of the wind robbed to the
 +extent of the velocity with which the vessel
 +drove, and no other sound rising up off the
 +sea but the amazing hissing of foam.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Curse or no Curse,"​ said I, "​Vanderdecken
 +knows his business as a sailor, and
 +call me a Dutchman if here has not been
 +a noble stroke of seamanship!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Wy zyn al Verdomd!"​ said the parrot.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_112"​ id="​Page_112">​[112]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VI.<br />
 +WE SPRING A LEAK.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I never remember the like of such a storm
 +as this in these seas, though I have made the
 +passage of the Cape four times and have met
 +some frightful weather off the great Agulhas
 +Bank. Amazing suddenness and violence in
 +the first bursting of a storm you have reason
 +to expect in the inter-tropical regions eastwards
 +of the African continent, but not down
 +here. Captain George Bonny, of the ship
 +Elizabeth Tudor, is the only person that I
 +am acquainted with who has had experience
 +of so sudden a tempest as I have attempted
 +to describe off this African headland; and
 +who is to say that he had not happened upon
 +the neighbourhood of the Death Ship and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_113"​ id="​Page_113">​[113]</​a></​span>​
 +unwottingly tasted somewhat of the doom of
 +that vessel, whose passage over the limits of
 +her fate the storm the Elizabeth Tudor
 +encountered was designed to furiously arrest?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>Be this as it will. I passed from the cabin
 +into as raging and affrighting a scene as was
 +ever witnessed in any ocean. The sky was
 +made unearthly by the flashes of lightning,
 +whose blinding leaps seemed to bring the
 +blackness down like a wall upon the eyes,
 +and if ever an interval lasted long enough to
 +suffer the light to resume its powers, then
 +you found that blackness horrible with the
 +unspeakable shade it took from the plain of
 +boiling froth that stretched like a world
 +covered with snow to the sea-girdle, fading
 +from startling, staring, glaring whiteness
 +around us into a pallid, ghastly dimness,
 +where it sank and melted into the levin-riven
 +inky folds.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I struggled on to the poop and crawled on
 +my hands and knees to the little deck-house,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_114"​ id="​Page_114">​[114]</​a></​span>​
 +against the foremost end of which I stationed
 +myself; and here I was protected from the
 +rain and wind. Straight as an arrow over
 +the seething smother the Death Ship was
 +running, and her keel slided smooth as a
 +sledge through the feathery surface. The
 +tempest lay like a red-hot iron sheet upon
 +the waters, making it boil and furiously hiss,
 +but stifling all life of billow, ay, of ripple
 +even, out of it. The men had contrived to
 +shorten sail down to the double-reefed fore-course,​
 +and under that strip of curved and
 +lifted canvas&​mdash;​a steel-hard belly, black as a
 +cloud against the white water beyond the
 +bows&​mdash;​the ship was driving, three men at
 +the great tiller, and others attending the
 +tackles attached to it. With every blue or
 +green or yellow flash, you saw the rain
 +sweeping along in crystal lines, complexioned
 +by the electric dartings, now like silver wire,
 +now as if the heavens were shedding blood.
 +'Twas like a sea of water in the wind, and the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_115"​ id="​Page_115">​[115]</​a></​span>​
 +shrill harsh singing of it above, and the
 +vehement sobbing of it upon the decks, were
 +sounds of themselves amid the universal
 +shrieking and hissing. There was an incessant
 +explosion of thunder, sometimes right
 +overhead, the echoes answering in volleys,
 +and the rattling sharper than the speaking of
 +great guns in mountain scars and hollows.
 +The dazzling play made a fiery tapestry of
 +the scene, and the flying ship came and went
 +in flames, leaping out of the black tempest,
 +then vanishing like a burning shape, eclipsed
 +and revealed by the speeding of sooty
 +vapours.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Amid these fierce swift shinings I would
 +catch sight of the towering form of Vanderdecken
 +standing at the mizzen-rigging,​ one
 +hand on a shroud or backstay, sloping his
 +figure against the tempest and his beard
 +blown straight out before him. The others
 +being abaft the little house I could not see.
 +The scene now did indeed astonishingly<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_116"​ id="​Page_116">​[116]</​a></​span>​
 +realise the doubtful traditions which depicture
 +the Flying Dutchman perpetually sailing amid
 +storm. Since I had been on board I had
 +viewed her in many conditions of weather;
 +but though her supernatural qualities and
 +characteristics best appeared when they stole
 +out to the faint, waving silver of the moonshine
 +trembling along the oil-like blackness
 +of a midnight calm, yet she could never
 +be more impressive than when, as she was
 +now, fleeing like a witch driven mad by
 +pursuing demons, whose numbers darkened
 +the heavens, the lightning streaming about
 +her like ordnance in Titanic hands fired to
 +bring her to, all her rigging in a scream as
 +she ran, showing in the spaces of dusk
 +betwixt the flashes a great, black, phantasmal
 +shape upon the floor of ringing and frenzied
 +whiteness which the tempest swept along
 +with her, and which broke not therefore in
 +the lightest curl from her stern, nor yielded a
 +hand'​s-breadth of wake.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_117"​ id="​Page_117">​[117]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was flying dead into the east, and
 +every minute her keel passed over as many
 +fathoms of sea as would take her hours of
 +plying to recover. I frequently directed my
 +eyes at Vanderdecken,​ suspecting his wrath,
 +and prepared for a tragical exhibition, whose
 +furiousness should be in awful correspondence
 +with this insanity of sea and sky, but had the
 +life been struck out of him as he stood there
 +his posture could not have been more fixed
 +and unmoving.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It was, however, impossible for such wind
 +as this to blow many minutes without raising
 +a sea. The increased soaring and falling of
 +the black wing of canvas forward against the
 +boiling that rose in a faintness of spume and
 +lustre of its own into the air denoted the
 +gradual hollowing of the water, and then no
 +sooner had the talons of the storm succeeded
 +in scooping shallow troughs out of the levelness
 +of foaming snow than the surge grew
 +magically. Every liquid side was shouldered<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_118"​ id="​Page_118">​[118]</​a></​span>​
 +by the tempest into hills, and the hills
 +swelled into such mountains as you must
 +come down into these seas to behold the like
 +of. Half-an-hour after the first of the hurricane
 +the ship was plunging and laying
 +along amid a very cauldron of infuriate
 +waters, scarcely visible amid the fleecy fog of
 +spray, heights of the sea reaching to her tops,
 +spouting their prodigious lengths alongside,
 +sometimes tumbling in thunder upon her
 +forward decks, sometimes curling in blown
 +snakings ahead of her. Heavy as had been
 +some of the hours of my first six days
 +of storm, the wildest of that time was but
 +as a feather to the weight of this tempest.
 +The lightning ceased, and but for the evening
 +that was now descending, and that had put
 +the shadow of night into the shade of the
 +storm, the heavens must have shown somewhat
 +pale by the thinning of the electrical
 +vapour; but this scarce perceptible clearance
 +did but leave larger room for the wind, and it<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_119"​ id="​Page_119">​[119]</​a></​span>​
 +was now blowing with extraordinary spite.
 +It would be impossible for the ship to run
 +long before the swollen acclivities,​ whose
 +foaming heads appeared to brush the black
 +ceiling under which they coursed as they
 +arched in the wake of the vessel'​s narrow
 +stern, and methought they would have to
 +bring her to speedily if she was not to be
 +pooped and swept and smothered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Even whilst I thus considered, the tempestuous
 +voice of Vanderdecken swept in a
 +roar along the deck.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Settle away the fore-yard and secure the
 +sail!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Some men aft here to the mizzen and
 +show the foot of it as she rounds!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas more like the spiriting of canvas
 +than the hands of men going prosaically to
 +work on jeers and clew-garnets when the
 +fore-yard slowly slided down to the bulwark-rails,​
 +and the sail was smothered as though
 +frapped by airy fingers forked out of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_120"​ id="​Page_120">​[120]</​a></​span>​
 +whirling dusk. Some of the crew with glimmering
 +faces came crawling aft, probing the
 +solid substance of the wind with figures
 +bowing sheer into it, and all in silence the
 +helm was put down amid a sudden mad
 +flogging of liberated cloths aft, and the ship
 +lying along gave her round bow and side to
 +the seas which flashed in storms of water over
 +her as she met them to the pressure of the
 +hard-over rudder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Once with the sea fair upon the bow, the
 +ancient structure rose as buoyantly as a
 +wooden castle to the heave of the mighty
 +surge, for all her labouring with full decks
 +and the veiling of her by clouds and storms
 +of spray. But had her situation looked to be
 +one of frightful and imminent peril, I must
 +by this time have viewed it with unconcern.
 +The sense of the Curse that held the ship
 +vital was strong in me. Out of the first
 +terrific blast of the hurricane 'twas odds if the
 +newest and stoutest ship could have emerged<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_121"​ id="​Page_121">​[121]</​a></​span>​
 +without damage, supposing she had not been
 +sunk outright; yet did this vessel survive
 +that fearful outfly, aged as she was. Not a
 +yarn of her old ropes broken, nor a spar nor
 +yard, whose rottenness caused them to glow
 +in the dark, sprung or strained; more
 +staunchly than could have been possible to
 +her, even in the hour of her launch, did she
 +breast the great black seas which swept her
 +to their mountain-tops with yelling rigging
 +and masts aslant, to hurl her a breathless
 +moment afterwards into stagnant valleys,
 +echoing the thunder of the gale that touched
 +not their depths.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I quitted the deck and returned to Imogene
 +in the cabin. The lighted lamp swung wildly,
 +and though the uproar of the tempest was
 +muffled below, yet the noise of straining
 +was so great that I had to put my lips close
 +to my dear girl's ear to make myself heard.
 +I gave her a description of the sea,
 +acquainted her with the posture in which the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_122"​ id="​Page_122">​[122]</​a></​span>​
 +ship lay, and told her that the incredible
 +violence of the storm was promise enough
 +that it would not endure; though it was
 +horrible to think of the miles we had been
 +forced to run into the eastwards, and of the
 +leagues off our course the drift of the ship,
 +even in twelve hours, would compel us to
 +measure.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Prins came to inquire if we would eat. We
 +answered "​No."​ That evening was the most
 +dismal I had ever spent in the accursed ship.
 +I held my sweetheart'​s hand, and speech
 +being, as I have said, as good as impossible,
 +I afflicted myself with a thousand miserable
 +thoughts and dark and ugly fancies. Great
 +heaven! With what loathing did I regard the
 +sickly mask of the ship's side, the gloomy
 +ovals, the ghastly revelry of the lantern'​s
 +colours flashing to the prodigious swinging of
 +the tempest-tossed fabric! And from time
 +to time the parrot, affrighted by the noises
 +and by the dashing of her cage against the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_123"​ id="​Page_123">​[123]</​a></​span>​
 +bulkhead, burst suddenly out with her horrid
 +croak of "Wy zyn al Verdomd!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Neither Vanderdecken nor his mate came
 +below. Nothing could better have illustrated
 +their ignorance of their true state than the
 +anxieties which held them to the deck in the
 +heart of that raging wind. Their solicitude
 +might indeed deserve another name for the
 +impious passions which informed it, yet it
 +had a character sailorly enough to make it
 +intelligible to human sympathy, and 'twas
 +truly soul-subduing to sit in that cabin and
 +hear the uproar of the tormented waters
 +without, the outcry in the rigging, the straining
 +and groaning below, and think of those
 +men&​mdash;​of Vanderdecken,​ at all events&​mdash;​watching
 +his ship as though Batavia were but six
 +weeks distant and Amsterdam a certain port
 +presently.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>At half-past nine Imogene withdrew. I
 +led her to her cabin door, tenderly kissed her,
 +then returning called for a cup of spirits and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_124"​ id="​Page_124">​[124]</​a></​span>​
 +water and went to my sleeping place. I
 +thought to have stayed a minute on deck to
 +look about me, but the wind came with so
 +much fury of wet in it that, having no mind
 +to turn in with drenched clothes, I hastily
 +raised the hatch and dropped below. I believe
 +I lay awake the greater part of the
 +night. My memory is not clear owing to the
 +confusion my brain was in. It was not only
 +a feeling akin to conviction that my fate was
 +sealed, that my dearest and I were never to
 +be rescued nor suffered to deliver ourselves
 +from this Death Ship, though to be sure such
 +apprehensions,​ so keen and fierce, might have
 +caused a stouter mind than mine to fall distraught,
 +the movements of the ship were so
 +excessive, being very high, light and broad,
 +and the seas so extraordinarily hollow, that,
 +without disordering me with sickness, they
 +wrought an alarming giddiness in me, and I
 +lay as one in a sort of fit.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In some such condition as this I languished,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_125"​ id="​Page_125">​[125]</​a></​span>​
 +I believe, through the greater part of the
 +night, but contrived to snatch sleep enough
 +to refresh me, so that when I awoke I felt
 +better, the dizziness gone and with it something
 +of the distress of mind. The action of
 +the ship showed that the gale was considerably
 +abated, but I had no sooner my senses
 +than I took notice of an unusual sound, like
 +a slow and measured beating in the ship, as
 +though some stout fellow with a heavy mallet
 +regularly struck a hollow object in the hold.
 +This excited my curiosity, and I went on
 +deck. The moment my head was through
 +the hatch I saw what produced the noise.
 +The men were pumping. There was but
 +one pump seemingly that would work, and
 +this four seamen were plying, the water
 +gushing freely from the pipe and washing
 +away overboard through the scuppers.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The old engine made so melancholy and
 +uncommon a sound that I might have lain a
 +week in my bed speculating upon it, without<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_126"​ id="​Page_126">​[126]</​a></​span>​
 +even hitting the truth. I took notice that
 +the water came up clear and bright as glass,
 +a sure sign that it was entering freely. A
 +sullen shade still hung in the weather, the
 +sky was of slate, with a small scud flying
 +under it of the hue of sulphur, but the breeze
 +was no more than a fresh gale of which we
 +were making a fair wind, the yards braced
 +very nearly square, and the Braave sulkily
 +swinging through it with a noise of boiling at
 +her bows.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was not a little excited by this combination
 +of glass-bright gushing and square yards,
 +and after going forward for the comfort and
 +sweetness of a canvas bucketful of salt water
 +foaming like champagne as I lifted it out of
 +the snow-flaked,​ dark-green surge, I walked
 +on to the poop, where stood Arents alone,
 +and stepped up to the binnacle. The card
 +made a west-north-west course, the wind
 +on the larboard quarter. I ran my eye over
 +the sea, but the olive-complexioned hue<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_127"​ id="​Page_127">​[127]</​a></​span>​
 +worked with a sulky sinuosity naked against
 +the livid shadow, and the deep looked indescribably
 +gloomy and swollen and confused,
 +though the sun had been risen above
 +half-an-hour. Arents was not a man I held
 +in awe, albeit many might have deemed his
 +unearthly pallor more dreadful than most of
 +the others because of the great breadth of
 +fat and hairless face it overlay; yet I was
 +determined not to question him lest he
 +should repulse me. I therefore contented
 +myself with a short salute and lay over the
 +rail watching the swollen bodies of water and
 +wondering what plan Vanderdecken was now
 +upon, until the chimes of the clock in the
 +cabin made me know it was breakfast time.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The captain came to the table with a
 +stern and bitter expression in his countenance.
 +It was possible he had been on deck throughout
 +the greater part of the night, but he
 +exhibited no trace of the fatigue you would
 +expect to see in one that was of this earth.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_128"​ id="​Page_128">​[128]</​a></​span>​
 +Methought, as I glanced at him, that sleep
 +must be a mockery to these men, who, being
 +deathless, stood in no need of that repose
 +which counterfeiting death, reinvigorates our
 +perishable frame every morning with a quickening
 +as of a resurrection. What has one to
 +whom the grave is denied to do with slumber?
 +Yet if a whiter pallor was possible in Vanderdecken
 +I fancied I witnessed it in him now.
 +His eyes were angry and bright; the skin of
 +his forehead lay in folds upon his heavy
 +brows, and yet there was the stillness of a
 +vitality, numbed or blasted by disappointment
 +or exhausted by passion, in his manner.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Van Vogelaar did not arrive, maybe he
 +was sleeping, with Arents'​ leave, well into his
 +watch on deck. Imogene had a wan and
 +drooping look. She answered my concerned
 +gaze by saying she had not slept, and she
 +smiled as she spoke, but never more sadly to
 +my knowledge; it seemed but as a light
 +playing over and revealing her melancholy.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_129"​ id="​Page_129">​[129]</​a></​span>​
 +Lovely she appeared, but too fragile for my
 +peace, and with too much of the sorrowful
 +sweetness of the moon-lily when it hangs
 +down its white beauty and contracts its milky
 +petals into leanness with the waning of the
 +silver orb it takes its name from.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Suddenly she pricked her ears. "What is
 +that sound?"​ she exclaimed, in English.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is the seamen pumping the water out
 +of the ship," I replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Strange!"​ she said. "Long before dawn I
 +heard it indistinctly and have ever since been
 +listening to it with a languid, drowsy wonder,
 +not imagining its nature. It has been working
 +continuously. Is there water in the ship?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I have not dared inquire,"​ I answered,
 +with a side-long look at Vanderdecken,​ who
 +ate mechanically without heeding us.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Captain,"​ she said, softly, touching him
 +on the arm with her hand, which glittered
 +with his jewels, "the men have been pumping
 +for some hours&​mdash;​why?​ Will you tell me?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_130"​ id="​Page_130">​[130]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>He brought his eyes slowly to hers with
 +a blank look that caused her to repeat her
 +question.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whereupon he answered: "The heavy
 +working of the ship in the small hours has
 +caused her to start a butt or hidden end."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She is leaking?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He answered: "Yes, my child."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Can the leak be stopped?"​ she asked,
 +encouraged to these questions by my glances.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,​ 'tis below her water-line. But it
 +does not gain. Continuous pumping keeps
 +the water level. We shall have to careen to
 +get at the leak."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Are we sailing to the coast?"​ she asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,"​ he answered.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_131"​ id="​Page_131">​[131]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VII.<br />
 +IMOGENE FEARS FOR ME.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>On hearing that we were sailing to the coast
 +my delight was so keen that I came near to
 +suffocating myself by the sudden checking of
 +the shout of joy that rose to my throat like
 +an hysteric throttling thickness in the windpipe.
 +To be sure, had anyone asked what
 +there was in the news to fill me with this
 +transport I should not have been able to offer
 +a sufficient reason, for it was not as though
 +Vanderdecken meant to steer for a port. I
 +was sensible that he would head for some
 +desolate bay upon a hot shore of sand,
 +backed by great mountains, and leagues
 +distant from any settlement, whether Dutch
 +or British. Yet so great had been the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_132"​ id="​Page_132">​[132]</​a></​span>​
 +depression excited by the tempest and the
 +barrenness of our chances, that the mere circumstance
 +of a change having come about,
 +the mere happening of a departure from our
 +rueful business of beating to the windward,
 +raised my spirits to a very great height;
 +nor must it be forgotten that though I
 +conjectured in darkness, I had for a long
 +time felt persuaded that if ever we were
 +to remove ourselves from the Death Ship,
 +the only opportunity that could offer would
 +attend our dropping anchor off the African
 +Coast.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I will not say that Vanderdecken did not
 +observe the change in my countenance when
 +he made his answer to Imogene. But whatever
 +might have been his reflections they
 +were concealed by his frowning brow and the
 +dark and stormy shadow of passion upon his
 +face. He ceased to speak when she ceased
 +to question, and went on deck without calling
 +for his usual pipe of tobacco, which was a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_133"​ id="​Page_133">​[133]</​a></​span>​
 +very remarkable illustration in him of his
 +wrath and concern.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,"​ said I, going to Imogene'​s side,
 +"it has been a dark and cheerless night with
 +you I fear. Would to God it were this day
 +in my power to give redness to the roses that
 +now lie white in your cheeks. Yet this is
 +great news that Vanderdecken has given us."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She smiled in a questioning way.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Why,"​ said I, answering her, "'​tis very
 +certain that we shall never escape from this
 +Death Ship whilst she sails the seas. But
 +though I could not here say for the life of me
 +what the land may do for us, I feel that the
 +coming to an anchor close to it may give us
 +a chance, and it will go hard indeed if a
 +sailor'​s cunning, sharpened by despair, does
 +not contrive some remedy for this horrible
 +enthralment."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She mused a little and said, "​Geoffrey,​ I
 +have made up my mind to this: if you can
 +carry me away with you I will go&​mdash;​whatever<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_134"​ id="​Page_134">​[134]</​a></​span>​
 +resolution you may form will be mine, as shall
 +be your fortune. But, dearest,"​ says she,
 +smiling to my grasp of her hand, "I am also
 +determined that your liberty shall not depend
 +upon my escape; if you are able to get away
 +alone, but not with me, then I stay."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ah!"​ said I, shaking my head, "your
 +gaze cannot have sunk very deep into me or
 +you would not talk thus."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She put her finger upon my lip. "​Geoffrey,​
 +consider this. You are a man, you are
 +young, the world is before you, liberty is your
 +precious jewel&​mdash;​nay,​ you have a home and a
 +mother to return to. I am an orphan&​mdash;​lonely
 +in this great world of water as any sea-bird
 +that solitarily follows our ship. I sometimes
 +feel that there is a cold hand on my
 +heart and that my time is not long. If it
 +is to be my destiny to remain in this vessel, I
 +am too certain of a short residence to fear it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She stopped suddenly and wept.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We were alone, and I took her in my arms.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_135"​ id="​Page_135">​[135]</​a></​span>​
 +I saw how it was with her, how the fear of
 +the tempest, how sleeplessness,​ had wrought
 +in her delicate health and depressed her
 +powers, and I comforted and cherished her
 +as my heart'​s love best knew how; yet her
 +foreboding concerning her time in this world
 +struck a chill into my blood, for it just then
 +found solemn accentuation in her unusual
 +pallor, her languid eyelids, the sadness of her
 +smile, her low voice and tears.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​However,​ I borrowed comfort from the
 +reflection that the health of the heartiest
 +maiden might well fail in such an existence
 +as this girl passed, spite of the wine-like
 +invigoration of the salt winds; that she had
 +survived hard upon five years of experiences
 +so wild and amazing that a few weeks had
 +tended not a little to pale my own face and
 +even rob me of something of my manhood;
 +that it was inevitable she should break down
 +from time to time, but that her sweetness
 +would soon bloom and be coloured into a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_136"​ id="​Page_136">​[136]</​a></​span>​
 +loveliness of health when this Death Ship
 +had become a thing of the past, and when I
 +had safely lodged her as my bride in my
 +mother'​s pretty home, with flower-gardens
 +and fields to wander in, upon floors unrocked
 +by billows, in rooms irradiated at night by
 +fires never more mystical than the soft flame
 +of oil or the silver of star and moonshine.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The weather brightened as the day advanced.
 +By noon the sky had broken into
 +lagoons of blue, with fine large clouds that
 +rained here and there upon the horizon and
 +filled the air down there with broken shafts
 +of rainbow, like to windgalls, only that the
 +colours were very sharp and even glorious.
 +There was now plenty of sunshine to give life
 +and splendour to the ocean, whose dye of
 +azure looked the purer and more sparkling
 +for its cleansing by the great wind and rain
 +and fire-bolts of the past night. The swell
 +of the sea was from the southward, no longer
 +a turbulent movement, but a regular respiratory<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_137"​ id="​Page_137">​[137]</​a></​span>​
 +action, with weight and volume yet that
 +made you think of the deep as a sentient
 +thing, with something of the violence of its
 +hellish conflict yet lurking in its rhythmic
 +breathing.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​About this hour a number of whales showed
 +their black, wet backs at the distance of a
 +mile. The sunshine turned their spoutings
 +into very beautiful fountains, which fell in
 +showers of diamonds and rubies and emeralds;
 +and their great shapes and solemn
 +movements, with now and again the dive of
 +one with a breathless lingering of tail that
 +showed like a gigantic fan of ebony, or the
 +rise of another, floating its sparkling blackness
 +above the violet fold of a brimming
 +swell, as though a little island had been hove
 +to the surface by some deep-sea convulsion,
 +afforded Imogene and me some twenty minutes
 +of very agreeable diversion. The wind was
 +a trifle to the southward of west, a brisk
 +breeze, and the ship swarmed and swirled<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_138"​ id="​Page_138">​[138]</​a></​span>​
 +and rolled along at a speed of some five or
 +six marine miles in the hour, every cloth
 +abroad and already dried into its usual dingy
 +staring tones. But the pump was worked
 +without intermission. The clanging of the
 +brake upon its pin, the gushing of the bright
 +water flowing to the scuppers and flooding
 +the deck thereabouts with every roll, the
 +hissing of the slender cascades over the side,
 +grew into sounds as familiar as the creaking
 +of the bulkheads, or the cries of the rudder
 +upon its ancient rusty pintles.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Those pumping gangs made a strange,
 +mysterious sight. They toiled, but their
 +labour was not that of living seamen who
 +change their posture again and again, who
 +let go an instant with one hand to smear
 +the sweat from their brows or to bite an
 +end of tobacco, who break into choruses
 +as they ply their arms or growl out curses
 +upon this hardest of marine tasks, or raise
 +a cheerful call of encouragement one to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_139"​ id="​Page_139">​[139]</​a></​span>​
 +another. There was the same soullessness
 +in this as in all else they did. No dew was
 +distilled from their death-like faces. Once at
 +the pump they never shifted their attitudes.
 +A seaman of seventy, and perhaps older yet,
 +would work side by side with one of twenty
 +years, and at the end of the hour's labour&​mdash;​for
 +each gang was relieved every hour&​mdash;​the
 +aged sailor would exhibit no more fatigue
 +than the younger one. Their aspects came
 +out startlingly as they stood close together,
 +their countenances bearing expressions as
 +undeterminable as the faint smile or the dim
 +frown of horror or the slumberous placidity
 +on the features of the dead; and never was
 +the sense of the wild conjecture of the
 +Saracen'​s mad captain so borne into me as
 +when I viewed one group after another
 +coming to this pumping business, and contrasted
 +their faces and perceived how every
 +man&​mdash;​young,​ middle-aged and old&​mdash;​showed
 +in dreadful vitality the appearance he would<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_140"​ id="​Page_140">​[140]</​a></​span>​
 +have offered at the hour of his death, no
 +matter his years, had the Curse not stood
 +between him and the grave.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​That afternoon, happening to be alone on
 +the poop&​mdash;​I mean, without Imogene&​mdash;​for
 +when she was absent I was more alone,
 +though the whole of that ship's grisly company
 +had gathered around me, than ever I
 +could have been if marooned on some mid-ocean
 +rock&​mdash;​and listening a little to the
 +monotonous beat of the pump-gear, a thought
 +came into my head and I stepped over to
 +Vanderdecken,​ who leaned upon the weather-rail,​
 +his chin upon his hand.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mynheer,"​ said I, "I ask your pardon
 +for breaking in upon you. The labour of
 +pumping is severe&​mdash;​I know it from several
 +stern experiences."​ He lifted his head and
 +slowly looked round to me. "This ship," I
 +continued, "has rescued me from death and
 +proved an asylum to me. 'Tis but right I
 +should share in the general toil. Suffer me<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_141"​ id="​Page_141">​[141]</​a></​span>​
 +then, mynheer, to take my turn at the pump
 +with the others."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He eyed me a little with his wonderful
 +fiery gaze, and answered: "It is not necessary.
 +Our company is numerous, there are
 +hands enough. Besides, sir, there is no
 +urgency, the water doth not gain if it do not
 +decrease."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I bowed, and was leaving him, but he
 +added: "I fear you have but an imperfect
 +knowledge of the character of the Dutch.
 +Yet you tell me you have often visited
 +Rotterdam."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is true, mynheer, but only as a sailor
 +liberated o' nights and forced therefore to
 +form his judgment on such company as the
 +ale-house supplies."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That seems so," said he, "​otherwise you
 +would suspect from such treatment as we
 +have shown you that we regard you as a
 +guest, and it is not customary among us to
 +use our guests as labourers."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_142"​ id="​Page_142">​[142]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I bowed again, contenting myself with
 +merely thinking how, as a guest, I went in
 +fear of my life&​mdash;​to say no more. I thought,
 +however, I would use his seeming willingness
 +to converse with me, and said in as deferential
 +a manner as I could command, "Sir,
 +the mere circumstance of my being your
 +guest should properly teach me to believe
 +that a time must come when I shall have
 +wearied your courtesy by imposing too great
 +a burden of my company upon it."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I paused, hoping he would make haste to
 +assure me to the contrary; but he did not
 +speak, merely eyeing me steadfastly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You will therefore judge, mynheer,"​ I
 +continued, "that I am actuated by no idle
 +motive of curiosity in asking you whether
 +your present design is to steer the ship to a
 +port?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​To what port?" he exclaimed.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I told him I did not know.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Nor I," said he. "What settlement is<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_143"​ id="​Page_143">​[143]</​a></​span>​
 +there on this seaboard? You do not suppose
 +that, with yonder pump going day and night,
 +I should be willing to head for any other
 +point of the coast than the nearest bay in
 +which to careen and get at the leak?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Will that bay, mynheer,"​ said I, still
 +speaking with the utmost modesty and deference,
 +"be far distant?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He answered: "It lies a few miles south
 +of the parallel of thirty-four degrees. To
 +reach it we shall have to sail an hundred and
 +eighty leagues."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Five hundred and forty miles!"​ I exclaimed,
 +with an involuntary dejected glance
 +aloft and at the passing water. "At this
 +rate of progress, sir, the passage will occupy
 +about five days."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Our gaze met as I said this and I observed
 +a sudden fire in his eyes.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Does the execution of any project you
 +have in your mind depend upon the time we
 +will take in reaching the coast?"​ said he, with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_144"​ id="​Page_144">​[144]</​a></​span>​
 +suspicion sounding fiercely in the rich deep
 +notes of his utterance.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I felt the blood in my face as I answered:
 +"​Mynheer,​ I have no project. Methought,
 +if you sailed to a port, you would rid yourself
 +of my company. I have been long in your
 +ship; every day increases my sense of trespass&​mdash;&​mdash;"​
 +which said, I broke off, being
 +really dismayed by the passionate fixity of
 +his regard. Such a searching for the heart
 +in one's face was unbearable. My imagination,​
 +perhaps my conscience, imparted a
 +wizard-like power to his burning eyes, and I
 +felt that if I lingered, I should be constrained
 +into a revelation of my intention to escape
 +with Imogene, as certain birds are fascinated
 +into motionlessness and charmed to their
 +devourment by the gaze of serpents. With
 +the abruptness of alarm I bowed and left
 +him. As I walked I could feel that his
 +searching, scorching gaze followed me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​However,​ it was something to have found<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_145"​ id="​Page_145">​[145]</​a></​span>​
 +out our whereabouts,​ to have gathered his
 +intention, and to be able to calculate the time
 +of our arrival off the coast. On this I plumed
 +myself, making pretty sure that if my questions
 +had caused him to suspect some project
 +in my mind, his memory would loose its hold
 +of the thing after a few hours. But I was
 +mistaken, as you shall now see.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whilst we were seated at the last meal, and
 +with us in that Death Ship formed of soup or
 +wine for drink, and such victuals as remained
 +from dinner, I observed a peculiar air of distress
 +and anxiety in Imogene'​s face. I do not
 +know that she made the least effort to disguise
 +it. A sharp gleam of resentment would
 +sparkle in the soft violet depths of her eyes
 +as she now and then turned them on Van
 +Vogelaar or Vanderdecken,​ and then as they
 +came to me they would soften into an exquisite
 +wistfulness that was very near to a
 +look of grievous pain.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On the captain filling his pipe I went on<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_146"​ id="​Page_146">​[146]</​a></​span>​
 +deck and stood out of sight of the cabin on
 +the poop-front, wondering what Imogene'​s
 +manner signified. Presently she joined me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sun was gone down; the stars shone
 +singly or in clouds of bright dust over our
 +northward-pointing bowsprit, and the air
 +was soft and faint with the delicate light
 +of the moon that was drawing out of her
 +first quarter, and that could now rain her
 +pearls with power into the dark waters under
 +her.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What is amiss, dearest?"​ said I, taking
 +her hand in mine, and moved in a way I
 +could not give expression to by the pallor
 +of her face, her eyes showing large and dark,
 +the paleness of lip and hair and throat&​mdash;​her
 +whole countenance,​ yes and her figure too;
 +stealing out of their realness into an elfin-like
 +unsubstantiality to the wan complexion of the
 +moon.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She answered: "Did not I tell you I was
 +sorry you had questioned Vanderdecken?<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_147"​ id="​Page_147">​[147]</​a></​span>​
 +He is full of suspicion, and there is always
 +Van Vogelaar at hand to exasperate his
 +captain'​s temper and fancies by the poison
 +of his own reptile-nature."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Has Vanderdecken spoken to you of my
 +questions?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,"​ she replied. "What has happened
 +is this:&​mdash;​Half-an-hour before supper I was
 +in my cabin. The air was close, and I put
 +the door on the hook and was near it combing
 +my hair. Vanderdecken came into the
 +cabin and spoke to Prins. Soon afterwards
 +Van Vogelaar entered, and told the captain
 +that he had been among the crew and informed
 +them that he hoped to make the coast
 +in four or five days, and that on their arrival
 +at Amsterdam they would receive additional
 +pay for their labour at the pump. They
 +talked a little, but I should not have heeded
 +them had not I suddenly caught the sound of
 +your name. On this I left off combing my
 +hair and crept close to the door. Vanderdecken<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_148"​ id="​Page_148">​[148]</​a></​span>​
 +said:  'I believe he hath some
 +scheme. He shrunk from my gaze and the
 +colour mounted to his cheeks. He quitted
 +me with the air of one whose conscience is
 +like an exposed nerve.'"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Heaven defend us!" I exclaimed, "your
 +true Dutchman is very fit to be a hangman.
 +Yet this unholy creature did certainly look at
 +me to some purpose. 'Twas time I walked
 +off!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She continued: "Van Vogelaar answered,
 +'I would not trust that man further away from
 +me than my hand could seize him. Skipper,
 +I ask your pardon, but was it wise, think
 +you, to exhibit samples of the treasure below
 +to this Englishman? There is a noble
 +fortune for him in those chests could he but
 +come at them. What sort of egg is that
 +which, beyond question, his mind is sitting
 +upon, and that will be presently hatched?
 +He is eager to learn your intentions. He
 +manifests this eagerness in defiance of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_149"​ id="​Page_149">​[149]</​a></​span>​
 +contempt and anger with which you have
 +again and again crushed down his curiosity
 +into the silence of terror. Suppose he hath
 +some plot to secure the stranding of this ship;
 +or that he intends her a mischief that shall
 +force us to beach and perhaps abandon her?
 +He is a sailor and an Englishman; we are
 +Hollanders! Skipper, the like of that man
 +needs no help from sorcery to contrive our
 +ruin.' Vanderdecken answered, 'He must
 +be got rid of,' in a voice that showed how
 +Van Vogelaar'​s talk worked in him. I did
 +not need to look, Geoffrey, to know what
 +sort of expression his face wore. They were
 +silent awhile. Vanderdecken then said:
 +'​Twould be mere barbarous, useless murder
 +to take his life; there is no evidence against
 +him. But we have a right to protect ourselves
 +since he hath been mad and ungenerous
 +enough to raise our suspicions&​mdash;&​mdash;'​ Van
 +Vogelaar interrupted:​ ''​Tis more than suspicion&​mdash;'​tis
 +conviction with me, skipper&​mdash;&​mdash;'<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_150"​ id="​Page_150">​[150]</​a></​span>​
 +'This occurs to me as a remedy,'​ said Vanderdecken:​
 +'he must be set ashore before we
 +sail; but he shall not be left to starve. A
 +musket and ammunition will provide him
 +with food, and he shall have a week's provisions.
 +He is young, and with stout legs,
 +and cannot miss his way to our Settlement if
 +he hold steadfastly to the coast.'​ The mate
 +said, 'Ay, that will be dismissing him lovingly.'​
 +They then went to the other end
 +of the cabin and talked, but I could not hear
 +them."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It would be barbarous, useless murder,"​
 +I cried, "to hang, or stab or drown me, but
 +kindness, nay, lovingness, to set me ashore
 +with a week's provisions and a fowling-piece,​
 +to give me a night to be torn to pieces in by
 +wild beasts, or a week to be enslaved by the
 +Homadods, or a month to perish of hunger!
 +The villains! Is this to be their usage of
 +me?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Geoffrey,​ if they put you on shore I will<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_151"​ id="​Page_151">​[151]</​a></​span>​
 +follow. The future that is good enough
 +for you is good enough for me. And, indeed,
 +I would rather die a hard death on shore
 +than be left to miserably live with men
 +capable of cruelly destroying you."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I reflected a little, and said, "Their resolution
 +keeps me safe for the present, at all
 +events. If I am to be marooned they will
 +let me alone meanwhile. Therefore I consider
 +that their determination greatly improves our
 +chances.... No! there is nothing in
 +their intention to scare me. I like their
 +meaning so well that our prayer to God must
 +be that Vanderdecken may not change his
 +mind."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She was at a loss to understand me until I
 +pointed out that, as I gathered from her
 +report, they would not send me ashore until
 +just before they were about to sail, so that I
 +should have plenty of time to look about me
 +and consider the surest method of escaping,
 +whilst the ship was being careened and the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_152"​ id="​Page_152">​[152]</​a></​span>​
 +leak repaired and the vessel in other ways
 +doctored.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And,​ dearest,"​ said I, "it has come to
 +this with you, too: that sooner than remain
 +with these fierce and dreadful people you will
 +take your chance of that African coast you so
 +greatly feared."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I will share your fortune, Geoffrey, be it
 +life or death&​mdash;​let come what will," said she,
 +nestling close and looking up at me out of
 +the phantom faintness of her face with her
 +large eyes in whose liquid darkness the moon
 +was reflected in two stars.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​My precious one! I could not leave thee!
 +If the terrors of the shore&​mdash;​the fears of the
 +savage, the wild beast, the poisonous serpent&​mdash;​triumphed
 +over your desire of escape, I
 +would remain with you, Imogene, if they
 +would let me. '​Twould be a hard fate for
 +us both, dearest, to wear out our lives in this
 +ship. But we cannot be parted&​mdash;​not of our
 +own will, at least, however God may deal<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_153"​ id="​Page_153">​[153]</​a></​span>​
 +with us, or the knife or yard-arm halter of
 +these villains. Wherever you are I must
 +be&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes!"​ she cried, passionately.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It may not indeed come to our delivering
 +ourselves by using the coast. Another
 +scheme is in my head, though of it I will
 +say nothing, since too much of fortune must
 +enter it to fit it for cold deliberation. But it
 +may end in our escaping to the land and
 +lurking there in hiding till the ship sails.
 +And it makes my heart feel bold, Imogene,
 +to hear you say that sooner than languish and
 +miserably end your days in this accursed
 +fabric you will dare with me the natural
 +perils of that shore."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​And I say this: that had I been sure our
 +life would prove the forfeit of attempting to
 +escape by the coast, I would have welcomed
 +death for her and myself sooner than live to
 +think of her locked up in this detested ship,
 +passing the long horrid days in the society<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_154"​ id="​Page_154">​[154]</​a></​span>​
 +of unearthly men condemned of Heaven, and
 +stealthily weeping away her heart at the
 +thought of our severance.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_155"​ id="​Page_155">​[155]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER VIII.<br />
 +LAND.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<​p>​But for Imogene having overheard his conversation
 +with Van Vogelaar, I should never
 +have been able to guess that there was any
 +change in Vanderdecken'​s resolution respecting
 +me; I mean any change in his intention
 +to carry me to Europe in his ship. There
 +was the same uniformity in the variety of his
 +moods; he was sullen, haughty, morose,
 +often insanely fierce, sometimes talkative,
 +then falling into trances, in all such exhibitions
 +as heretofore. In Van Vogelaar, however,
 +there was a slight alteration. At
 +moments I caught him peering at me with
 +a look in his eyes that might have answered
 +very well as a dark malicious merriment of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_156"​ id="​Page_156">​[156]</​a></​span>​
 +soul of which the countenance was capable of
 +expressing the villainous qualities only, I
 +mean, not the mirth also. Sometimes he
 +would make as though to converse; but this
 +I cut short, repelling him very fearlessly now
 +that I understood his and his captain'​s plans,
 +and that I had nothing to fear this side the
 +execution of it.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On my side, I was extremely wary, walking
 +cautiously in all I said and did, and never
 +venturing a remark to Imogene, even when
 +we had reason to believe we were absolutely
 +alone, without sinking my voice after a careful
 +probing glance around as if I expected to
 +see an human ear standing out on any beam
 +or bulkhead my sight went to.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I busied myself in certain preparations
 +in which I got Imogene to help me. Since,
 +in any case, our escape to the land would
 +have to be profoundly secret, 'twas necessary
 +we should get ready a small stock
 +of food to carry away with us, and I told<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_157"​ id="​Page_157">​[157]</​a></​span>​
 +Imogene to make some bags out of the
 +stoutest stuff she could come at to store it in,
 +and to privately convey to me such provisions
 +as I indicated, which she, as well as I, was
 +to secrete when alone, during Prins' absence,
 +when the table was prepared.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said: "You have needles and thread?"​
 +for she had told me that some of the apparel
 +Vanderdecken lent or gave her she had been
 +obliged to alter. "We shall require three or
 +four bags. Linen will do for the material."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There is plenty of linen,"​ said she. "I
 +will make the bags. But what is your project,
 +Geoffrey? Tell me your full scheme&​mdash;​I
 +may be able to put something to it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I have two schemes,"​ I answered: "but
 +I will speak only of the one that concerns the
 +shore. Vanderdecken is sure to bring up
 +close to the land; I have little doubt of being
 +able to swim the distance, and shall make a
 +small frame of wood to sit about your waist
 +on which you will float when I lower you into<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_158"​ id="​Page_158">​[158]</​a></​span>​
 +the water, and then I shall softly let myself
 +down and tow you to the land by swimming."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I thought to see her countenance change,
 +but she regarded me fearlessly, indeed with
 +an emotion as of triumph colouring her face.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How am I to enter the water?"​ she
 +asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I will lower you from the quarter-gallery
 +outside your cabin,"​ I replied, "the height is
 +not great. The blackness under the counter
 +will hide you, and I shall contrive to float us
 +both away very quietly."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She said, gazing at me fondly and smiling:
 +"​Everything is feasible so far, Geoffrey. But
 +now imagine us arrived on shore."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I must carry you as far as your strength
 +will suffer,"​ I replied. "Of course, Vanderdecken
 +will send in pursuit of us, but there
 +should be no lack of dense vegetation full of
 +hiding places. Yet in this as in all other
 +things, my dearest, we must rely upon God's
 +help. That given there is nothing to fear;<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_159"​ id="​Page_159">​[159]</​a></​span>​
 +denied&​mdash;​then it would be better for me if I
 +threw myself overboard at once."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Geoffrey,"​ she said, "I do not question
 +you, dear heart, for dread of what we may
 +encounter, but merely that by letting your
 +plans lie in my mind my girlish spirit may
 +grow used to them and unswervingly help
 +you when the time comes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Brave little woman!"​ I cried, "do not
 +believe I could misjudge you. You would
 +ask me what is to follow when this vessel
 +quits the coast and leaves us alone there?
 +How can I answer? We must attempt
 +what others have successfully achieved, and
 +struggle onwards to some settlement. I
 +know&​mdash;​I know, my darling, that the outlook
 +is black and affrighting. But consider what
 +our choice signifies; the fate that awaits us if
 +you remain and I am marooned; or the
 +chances&​mdash;​meagre indeed, but chances, nevertheless&​mdash;​which
 +offer if we escape to the land.
 +And we shall be together, dearest!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_160"​ id="​Page_160">​[160]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I kissed her brow, and her love leapt in
 +her to my impassioned greeting; beautiful as
 +she was, yet did she appear transfigured by
 +the rich hue in her cheeks, her smile, the
 +sparkle of her chaste and maidenly joy in the
 +dark heaven of her eyes. Call me not cruel
 +for thus deliberately preparing to bring her
 +face to face with the horrors of the African
 +coast&​mdash;​with those barbarous features which
 +her heart had long ago recoiled from the mere
 +thought of. She was my sweetheart&​mdash;​my
 +affianced&​mdash;​my life's blood. Oh! how dear
 +to me for her beauty, her sweetness, her
 +passion for me, the miracle of our meeting,
 +her loneliness under the sun and stars of the
 +mighty Southern Ocean, amid shapes more
 +spectral than ghosts, more horrible with their
 +survival of human vices than had they been
 +dead bodies quickened into life without soul
 +or brain.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​How could I leave her? How could I
 +endure the idea of my being forced ashore&​mdash;​alone&​mdash;​and<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_161"​ id="​Page_161">​[161]</​a></​span>​
 +of her sailing away forever from
 +me in this grisly company? I had considered
 +all these things; how if we gained the beach
 +she would have to walk, as far as her limbs
 +suffered, in drenched clothes and her delicate
 +flesh chilled to the bone; how in our hiding-place
 +the dews of a deadly climate would fall
 +upon her by night, with creeping abominations
 +of reptile and vermin swarming in the
 +tangle where she lay&​mdash;​enough! I say that
 +all perils which experience or imagination
 +could crowd into such a deliverance as that
 +I had in my mind and was steadfastly working
 +out had been present to me from the
 +beginning&​mdash;​but to what purpose? Only to
 +make me feel with the power of every
 +instinct, with the impulse and strength of all-influencing
 +and heated passions, that my
 +fortune must be hers and that we could not
 +part!</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A sailor will wonder perhaps to hear me
 +speak of three or four bags of provisions, and<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_162"​ id="​Page_162">​[162]</​a></​span>​
 +wonder also that I should not see that
 +if there was the least movement in the
 +water when I lowered Imogene with these
 +bags about her into it, the provisions would
 +be spoiled by the wet. But 'tis proper to say
 +here that this proposal to float her in a frame
 +and tow her ashore by swimming was but an
 +alternative scheme which, at all hazards, I
 +would go through with, if the other and less
 +perilous venture should prove impracticable,​
 +and in case this should be so, I said nothing
 +to her about it, that by her growing accustomed
 +to the dismal and dangerous project
 +she would not tremble and shrink if it came,
 +as I feared it might, to our having to escape
 +ashore. Three small bags secured about my
 +darling'​s shoulders, well out of the water,
 +were less likely to be wetted than one big
 +one that must needs hang low, trice it as I
 +might; and anyway the three would be as
 +good as one, let the manner of our escape be
 +what it would.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_163"​ id="​Page_163">​[163]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She made me these bags, and I hid them
 +in my cabin, along with some biscuit which
 +had been taken from the wreck, a few pieces
 +of salted meat cooked, a small jar of flour, a
 +little silver cup for drinking, and other compact
 +and portable things, such as the flat
 +banana cakes the cook sent to the cabin, a
 +bottle of marmalade of the size of a small
 +pickle jar, and the like. These things she
 +and I took from the table by degrees, and
 +they were not missed. I would have given a
 +finger for a musket and powder and balls;
 +but if there was an arms-chest on board
 +neither she nor I knew where to find it.
 +And suppose it had been possible to me to
 +have secreted a musket&​mdash;​what they used, I
 +believe, for shooting game and cattle were
 +match-locks with barrels about three and a
 +half feet long, and the bore of the bigness of
 +a horse-pistol,​ and cartridges in small hollow
 +canes, each holding a charge of powder&​mdash;​ammunition
 +was not to be had without asking.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_164"​ id="​Page_164">​[164]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She stitched me four bags, but three I
 +found when loaded would be as heavy a load
 +as it was prudent to put upon her; because
 +when I came to look about me for wood for
 +a frame for her to float in I could only meet
 +with five small pieces, and even the purloining
 +of these was attended with prodigious
 +anxiety and trouble, as you will judge when
 +I say that to get them I had to watch till I
 +was unobserved and then kick a piece, as if
 +by accident, under a gun, or to any corner
 +where it might lie until I could carry it below
 +under cover of the night.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​All these things I hid under the bed-place
 +in my cabin, where I had very little fear of
 +their being found; for the good reason that,
 +to my knowledge, no one ever entered the
 +berth.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Meanwhile,​ the wind held bravely, with&​mdash;​on
 +the third day&​mdash;​but a few hours of stagnant
 +atmosphere and a flat and brilliant sea,
 +followed by a shift into the westward of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_165"​ id="​Page_165">​[165]</​a></​span>​
 +south that worked into a hearty wind, before
 +which the Death Ship drove under all cloths,
 +the clear water gushing from her scuppers
 +to the clanking and spouting of her
 +pump. Bearing in mind our situation after
 +the tempest, as given me by Vanderdecken,​
 +and narrowly, if furtively, observing the
 +courses we made, I kept a dead reckoning
 +of our progress&​mdash;​for by this time I could
 +measure the vessel'​s pace with my eye as
 +correctly as ever the log could give it&​mdash;​and
 +when the fifth day arrived I knew that at
 +eight o'​clock that morning either we were
 +some twelve leagues distant from the African
 +coast or that Vanderdecken was amazingly
 +wrong in his calculations.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>My excitement bade fair to master me. It
 +needed a power of will such as I could never
 +have supposed I possessed to subdue my
 +demeanour to that posture of calmness which
 +the captain and his mates were used to see
 +in me. Happily, Imogene was at hand<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_166"​ id="​Page_166">​[166]</​a></​span>​
 +to control any exhibition of impatience or
 +anxiety.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let them suspect nothing in your manner,"​
 +she would say. "Van Vogelaar watches
 +you closely; the least alteration in you might
 +set him conjecturing. Who knows what
 +fancies his base and malignant mind is capable
 +of? His heart is bent on your destruction,​
 +and though he hopes that must follow your
 +being left alone on the coast, yet a change in
 +your ordinary manner might fill his cruel soul
 +with fear that you had some plan to escape
 +with your life, in which case I fear, Geoffrey,
 +he would torment and enrage Vanderdecken
 +into slaying you either here or on shore."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Well,​ as I have said, at eight o'​clock that
 +morning I reckoned we were some twelve
 +leagues distant from the coast. The breeze
 +had slackened somewhat, but it still blew a
 +fresh air, and the water being quiet and such
 +small swell as there was, together with the
 +billows, chasing us, our speed was a fair five<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_167"​ id="​Page_167">​[167]</​a></​span>​
 +and a half knots. Yet there was no sign to
 +advertise us of the adjacency of land. A few
 +Cape hens flew along with us on our starboard
 +beam, but this kind of sea-fowl had
 +accompanied the ship when we were as far
 +south as ever we were driven since I had
 +been in her, and they could not be supposed
 +to signify more than that we were "​off"​ the
 +South African headland&​mdash;​which term may
 +stand for the measure of a vast extent of sea.
 +The ocean was of as deep and glorious a blue
 +as ever I had beheld it in the middle of the
 +Atlantic. My suspense grew into torment;
 +anxiety became anguish, the harsher and
 +fiercer for the obligation of restraint. There
 +was no dependence to be placed on Vanderdecken'​s
 +reckoning. For several days he
 +had been hove-to, and his log would certainly
 +neither tell him his drift nor how the currents
 +served him. My only hope then was in the
 +supernatural guiding of the ship. I might
 +believe, at least, that the instincts of the sea-bird<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_168"​ id="​Page_168">​[168]</​a></​span>​
 +would come to one whose dreadful and
 +ghostly existence lay in an aimless furrowing
 +of the mighty waters, and that he would
 +know how to steer when the occasion arose,
 +as does the ocean-fowl whose bed is the surge
 +as its pinion is its pillow, but whose nest
 +must be sought in rocky solitudes, leagues
 +and leagues below that sea-line in whose
 +narrow circle you find the creature flying.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I dared not seem to appear to stare
 +earnestly ahead; the part I had to play was
 +that of extreme indifference;​ yet, swift as
 +were the looks I directed over either bow,
 +my eyes would reel with the searching,
 +passionate vehemence of my stare, and the
 +blue horizon wave to my sight as though it
 +swam upon a swooning view.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Shortly after twelve o'​clock,​ I was standing
 +alone on the forward end of the poop,
 +when I observed a clear shade of blue haze
 +upon the horizon directly ahead. I watched
 +it a little while, believing it no more than a<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_169"​ id="​Page_169">​[169]</​a></​span>​
 +darkening in the dye of the sky that way;
 +but on bringing my eyes to it a second time,
 +I found a fixity in the atmospheric outlining
 +of the shadow that was not to be mistaken for
 +anything but the blue faintness and delicate
 +dim heads of a distant hilly coast. I turned,
 +with a leap of heart that was a mingling of
 +rapture and dread, to win Imogene by my
 +manner to view the land, too; but she
 +stood with Vanderdecken near the tiller, with
 +her back upon me, apparently watching the
 +motions of a bird that steadily flew along
 +with us, some three cables'​ length on our
 +larboard quarter, flying no faster than we
 +sailed, yet going through the air as straight
 +as a belated homeward-bound rook. One of
 +the men forward saw the azure shadow, and
 +seemed to call the attention of two or three
 +others to it in that voiceless, mechanical
 +way, which furnished a ghostlier and grislier
 +character to the bearing and movements of
 +the crew than ever they could have taken<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_170"​ id="​Page_170">​[170]</​a></​span>​
 +from the paleness of their faces, and the
 +glittering, unreal vitality of their eyes only;
 +and they went towards the beak to look,
 +dropping whatever jobs they might have
 +been upon, with complete disregard of discipline.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Broad as the day was, abounding as the
 +scene with the familiar and humanising glory
 +of the blessed golden sunshine and the snow-topped
 +peaks of shallow liquid sapphire
 +ridges, yet the figures of those men, showing
 +under the swelling and lifting foot of the foresail,
 +peering under the sharp of their hands
 +against their foreheads, silent in postures of
 +phlegmatic observation,​ gave the whole picture
 +of the ship a wild and dismal colour and
 +appearance, and the black melancholy, the
 +cold unholiness of it, stole biting as polar
 +frost-smoke to the senses through the genial
 +splendour of the noon-tide. Yet, like those
 +men, did I stand looking with my hand against
 +my brow, for there was a wonderful and almost<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_171"​ id="​Page_171">​[171]</​a></​span>​
 +blinding magnificence of light upon the
 +shivering waters under the sun that was
 +now floated north, but the resplendent haze
 +did not dim the substantial line that was
 +growing with a deepening hue into the
 +atmosphere, and already methought I could
 +discern the curve and sweep of inland airy
 +altitudes with the dainty silver of clouds
 +streaking them.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Land,​ Herr Fenton!"​ cried a voice in
 +my ear.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I started. Van Vogelaar stood close beside
 +me, pointing with a pale leathern forefinger,
 +his harsh and rugged face smileless,
 +though his eyes grinned with malice as they
 +lay fastened upon mine.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I see it, mynheer,"​ I replied, coldly.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It should rejoice your English soul," he
 +exclaimed. "Your countrymen will not count
 +you as a mariner of theirs if you love not the
 +land! See! Remote and faint though it be,
 +how substantial even in its blue thinness doth<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_172"​ id="​Page_172">​[172]</​a></​span>​
 +it show! No sea-sickness there, Herr Fenton!
 +No hollow seas yawning black as
 +vaults!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Had this man been of the earth I needed
 +but to catch him by the scroff and breech and
 +bring his spine to my knee to kill him. And
 +he looked so much as if I could have served
 +him so that it was hard to regard him without
 +pity. I said, quietly, "Will that be the land
 +the captain desires to make?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,"​ he answered, snarlingly, "the Dutch
 +are sailors."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I thought to myself, yes, when they have
 +the Devil for a sea-cunny they will hit their
 +port.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You will be glad to step ashore if but for
 +half-an-hour?"​ said he, looking at me.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That is a matter that concerns your
 +master,"​ I answered, turning from him. A
 +low ha! ha! broke from him, muffled as the
 +sound of a saw worked under deck, as
 +musical too, and as mirthless. Yet Imogene'​s<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_173"​ id="​Page_173">​[173]</​a></​span>​
 +quick ear caught it, and she turned swiftly to
 +look. And methought it had penetrated
 +further yet, for upon the heels of it, there
 +rose up, as an echo, from the cabin, that
 +harsh and rusty cry, "Wy zyn al Verdomd!"</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_174"​ id="​Page_174">​[174]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER IX.<br />
 +WE BRING UP IN A BAY.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I could not at that time know what part of
 +the South African coast was this we had
 +made, but I have since learnt that it lies a
 +few miles to the eastward of the meridian of
 +twenty-two degrees, and about an hundred
 +and sixty miles from Cape Agulhas. When
 +it first came into sight, as I have said, it was
 +but a faint, long-drawn shade in the light
 +blue of the sky over the horizon, with such a
 +fairy tincture of flanking eminence beyond
 +that the whole was as delicately tender as
 +the visionary shore of a dream.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But before the dinner-hour had come
 +round we had stolen nearly two leagues
 +closer to it, and the coast lay plain enough<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_175"​ id="​Page_175">​[175]</​a></​span>​
 +and very brave with colours, the green of
 +several dyes, the mountain sky-lines of an
 +exquisite clearness of cutting in the radiant
 +atmosphere and against the hard azure
 +brilliance of the heavens, and the tracts
 +of white sand low down as lustrous as the
 +foam of a dissolving surge.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Soon after the land had hove into view,
 +Imogene joined me. She had kept her
 +feelings under whilst near Vanderdecken.
 +Now, by my side, she stood with twenty
 +emotions working in her, her nostrils quivering,
 +her lips pale, the colour coming and
 +going in her cheeks, the bright light that a
 +passing hope flashed into her eyes dying
 +out to the tearful shadowing of some bitter
 +fear.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said to her, very softly, and keeping my
 +face as expressionless as my inward agitation
 +would permit&​mdash;​for Vanderdecken and his
 +mates conferred together near us, sometimes
 +stopping close, sometimes pacing&​mdash;"​If this<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_176"​ id="​Page_176">​[176]</​a></​span>​
 +pace holds our anchor should be down by
 +dusk."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What will they do?" she asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I have been asking that question of
 +myself,"​ I replied. "Were they human&​mdash;​of
 +this earth&​mdash;​I could foretell their movements.
 +No sooner were they come to an anchor than
 +they would turn to and get the guns and
 +cargo over to one side, that by listing the
 +ship they might bring the leak out of water
 +and save themselves this starving job of
 +pumping. But we have to base conjecture
 +upon men who are neither dead nor alive,
 +who are Dutchmen besides, I mean of a
 +dull and apathetic habit, and they may wait
 +for daylight and so obtain rest, of which
 +they should get as much as they want with
 +the reliefs they are able to send to the
 +pump."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What should best fit your project,
 +Geoffrey?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,"​ said I, under my breath, "if we are<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_177"​ id="​Page_177">​[177]</​a></​span>​
 +to escape we shall need a deserted deck and
 +a sleeping ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If this should come about to-night will
 +you make the venture?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I cannot tell. Put it thus: if they shift
 +the cargo after coming to an anchor with the
 +idea of raising the leak clear, the work may
 +occupy them all night. So all night long the
 +ship will be alive and busy, and there will be
 +no chance for me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But the ship will also be alive if they
 +continue to ply the pump, which must be
 +done if she is not to sink."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,"​ said I, "so I may have to wait till
 +to-morrow night."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She cried, with a quick blanching of her
 +face that cruelly proved her stock of strength
 +but slender, "If they careen the ship to-night
 +they will be able to repair the leak in the
 +morning, and be ready to sail before the
 +evening."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I do not fear that."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_178"​ id="​Page_178">​[178]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yet it might happen, Geoffrey! They
 +will put you on shore before sailing&​mdash;&​mdash;"​ She
 +stopped, bringing her hands together with a
 +passionate clasp.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I do not fear that," said I again. "Much
 +will depend on where the leak is. If it be
 +low down they may not be able to come at
 +it without discharging cargo, which, seeing
 +that they have but those two boats yonder
 +to work with, and that they will have to
 +make tents ashore and protect themselves
 +against the natives&​mdash;​if any there here be&​mdash;​should
 +keep them on the move for a long
 +month. No, dearest, I do not fear that they
 +will get away by to-morrow night&​mdash;​not if
 +they were ten times as numerous and as
 +nimble; nor is it probable that Vanderdecken
 +would suffer me to be marooned till the
 +ship is ready to start. My one anxiety is
 +just now the weather. There is tranquility
 +in that dark blue sky over us; the wind
 +weakens as we approach the land, and there<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_179"​ id="​Page_179">​[179]</​a></​span>​
 +is promise of a calm night. May God help
 +me to achieve my purpose before another
 +twelve hours have rolled by."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She looked at me with eagerness and
 +alarm. "​To-night!"​ she cried. "If this ship
 +lies here for days, as you imagine, how, when
 +we are ashore, dare we hope to escape the
 +strenuous search Vanderdecken is certain to
 +make for us?" I smiled; she continued, with
 +a feverish whisper: "​Consider,​ dearest! If
 +we are captured&​mdash;​he will have your life!
 +God knows into what barbarities his rage
 +may drive him!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,"​ said I, gently, "let us first get
 +out of the ship."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​And here we broke off, for our whispering
 +had lasted long enough. Soon after this we
 +went below to dinner. At the start we none
 +of us spoke, our behaviour and perhaps our appearance
 +answering very exactly to the poet's
 +description of a party in a parlour who sat&​mdash;</​p>​
 +
 +<div class="​poem">​
 +"All silent and all damned!"<​br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_180"​ id="​Page_180">​[180]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Outside,​ the sun shone gloriously, and the
 +blue air had the purity of polished glass;
 +but only a small portion of light found admission
 +through the small windows in the
 +cabin front, and we ate and gazed upon one
 +another in a sullen atmosphere as gloomy
 +as the expression on Vanderdecken'​s face.
 +At this moment I see him plain, as on that
 +day; his beard falling to his waist, his head
 +slightly bowed, and his glance travelling in
 +a gaze that would often stop and become
 +fixed, his skin bleak and high and drawn
 +with pallor. He was attired in a sort of
 +blouse of dark-green cloth, confined about
 +his waist by a yellow belt fastened by a
 +small metal clasp, that would have given him
 +a romantic and buccaneering look but for
 +the austere majesty and fateful character of
 +his appearance, which inevitably neutralised
 +every suggestion that did not accord with
 +the solemn, horrible mystery of his being.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We sat for some time, as I have said, as<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_181"​ id="​Page_181">​[181]</​a></​span>​
 +silent as the dead; but on reflecting that there
 +was nothing, in reason, I could say likely to
 +procure me a harder fate than that already
 +designed by these men, I determined to ask
 +a question or two, and said: "Has your carpenter
 +ascertained in what part of the ship
 +the leak is, mynheer?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He turned his eyes round upon me slowly.
 +He was indeed stately in all he did. I never
 +beheld him glance quickly nor start, and the
 +only time in which his dignity fell, torn in
 +rags from him, was that night when he acted
 +over the scene of the Curse in his sleep.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He answered, "​Yes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Is it far down?" said Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The ship will need heeling to four
 +strakes,"​ he replied.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I dropped my knife on to the deck for the
 +excuse to pick it up that I might hide the
 +delight in my face. A list of four strakes
 +would prove but a very small matter to bring
 +about, and my fears that the vessel would<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_182"​ id="​Page_182">​[182]</​a></​span>​
 +linger for days, perhaps for a month, on this
 +coast vanished.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I hope," said I, "it may not prove worse
 +than a started butt-end."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is that, and no more," said he.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How much more would you have, Herr
 +Fenton?"​ exclaimed Van Vogelaar, in his
 +ugliest manner. "Dost suppose our pump
 +can deliver half the great South Sea with
 +every stroke?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It should take us four days of easy
 +working,"​ said I, "to careen, repair, and
 +start afresh snugly stowed."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You are in a hurry to get home, sir,
 +no doubt?"​ exclaimed Van Vogelaar.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Sir,"​ said I, "I am addressing the
 +captain."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Skipper!"​ cried the man; "Herr Fenton
 +is in a hurry to get home! We should put
 +him in the way of making a speedy passage."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I expect to return in this ship," said I,
 +speaking with my eyes on Vanderdecken.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_183"​ id="​Page_183">​[183]</​a></​span>​
 +"I am well satisfied. Nothing stauncher
 +floats. Consider, mynheer, how nobly she
 +has acted in the gales we have encountered.
 +It would please me to entreat you to use
 +such poor skill as I have as a mariner in
 +helping your men; but your courtesy is
 +magnanimous&​mdash;​of the form that is to be met
 +in highest perfection in the Hollander of
 +lineage&​mdash;​and I will not risk my own civility
 +by further requests."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He motioned with his hand, contenting
 +himself with whatever answer the gesture
 +signified. I perceived there was no further
 +information to be obtained from him&​mdash;​from
 +Van Vogelaar nothing but sneers and insults&​mdash;​and
 +so held my peace. Yet I had learnt
 +something.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​When,​ after dining, I went on deck, the
 +land looked as near again as it had when I
 +went below. This was owing to the amazing
 +transparency and purity of the atmosphere,
 +insomuch that every twenty fathoms the ship<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_184"​ id="​Page_184">​[184]</​a></​span>​
 +measured was like adding a fresh lens to a
 +perspective glass. Yet it was not until four
 +o'​clock that the coast lay so clear as to render
 +every detail of it a visible thing, and then the
 +sight was helped by the sun being on the
 +larboard side and showering his glory aslant,
 +which, mingling with the golden splendour
 +rising out of his wake in the sea, put an extraordinary
 +shining into the atmosphere, but
 +without the lustrous haze that had been
 +rising when he was right over the land and
 +kindling the water under our bows. 'Twas a
 +picture of a bay with a shelving beach thickly
 +green with bushes and trees, in and out of
 +which there winded lengths and lines of
 +exceeding white sand that trembled to the
 +sunshine with the shivering metallic sheen of
 +frosted silver. The sea went blue as the sky
 +to the shore and tumbled into foam, in some
 +places leaping up in creamy dartings, in
 +others making a small crystal smoke with its
 +boiling, elsewhere lapping tenderly and expiring<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_185"​ id="​Page_185">​[185]</​a></​span>​
 +in ripples. The azure heights beyond,
 +which had seemed to closely flank the coast
 +when first beheld, drew inland with our
 +approach, marking their remoteness by the
 +retention of their lovely atmospheric delicacy
 +of colour, and their height by the lengths of
 +vapour that clung to their mighty slopes at
 +various altitudes, like fragments of great
 +silken veils or cloths of pale gold which had
 +been rent whilst blowing along. The seaboard
 +went in a rugged line east and west by
 +the compass, sometimes coming very low
 +down, sometimes soaring into great forelands,
 +plentifully covered with wild growths, as you
 +saw by the several dyes of green that coated
 +it, and in one place&​mdash;​about a league from the
 +bay&​mdash;​a pale blue smoke rising up denoted a
 +bush-fire, and, as it was easy to suppose, the
 +presence of natives.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sky was catching a tinge of brassy
 +hardness from the westering sun, and the
 +complexion of it where the mountain heights<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_186"​ id="​Page_186">​[186]</​a></​span>​
 +were somehow made you think of measureless
 +miles of hot and cloudy sand glowing
 +yellowly up into that feverish reflection. The
 +weak swell that lifted us rolled in wind-wrinkled
 +folds into the bay, which yawned
 +unsheltered to the south. I knew from experience
 +that it needs no great wind on this
 +coast to raise a monstrous sea, and it was
 +with unspeakable eagerness and anxiety that
 +I directed my eyes from the land to the sky
 +overhead and on our quarters. But the
 +promise of tranquility seemed to deepen with
 +the drawing down of the sun. It was sheer
 +sapphire in the south, melting eastwards into
 +violet, and the sea that way was like an
 +English lake, and to the left of the sun
 +there floated a few purple clouds, which I
 +watched some time with attention but could
 +not tell that they moved, though a breeze
 +was still about us, humming pleasantly aloft,
 +keeping our old sails rounded, and sending
 +the aged structure gliding at four knots an<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_187"​ id="​Page_187">​[187]</​a></​span>​
 +hour as quietly through it as a seagull
 +paddling in the level water of an harbour.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But for the tedious clanging of the pump
 +and the fountain-sounds of its discharge, the
 +stillness on board would have been as deep
 +as the hush upon the land. Still, lovely as
 +was that afternoon, I very well remember
 +wishing it had been a month earlier or
 +later than this. We were in the stormy time
 +of the year in these parts, though it was
 +summer at home, and a violent change might
 +quickly come. If it came, Vanderdecken
 +would have to put to sea, leak or no leak, for
 +it was not to be supposed that mere hemp
 +could partake of the Curse; and the cables
 +which I saw some of the crew getting up out
 +of the hold and bending to the anchors at
 +the bows were assuredly not going to hold
 +this lump of a craft, high out of water and as
 +thick as a tower aloft, for twenty solid
 +minutes in a seaway and in the eye of a stout
 +wind.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_188"​ id="​Page_188">​[188]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Therefore it was, when I was alone with
 +Imogene, the coast being then about a league
 +distant and the sun low, that I said to her:
 +"​Dearest,​ I have made up my mind to make
 +a desperate effort to get away with you
 +to-night."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am ready,"​ she answered, instantly;
 +"you need but tell me what to do."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We must make use of this noble
 +weather,"​ I continued; "it is a fickle season,
 +a change may come in half-a-dozen hours and
 +force Vanderdecken to sea with his pump
 +going. Imogene, it must not find us aboard."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There will be no moon till eleven; we
 +must be away before she rises, for she will
 +glow brightly in that sky."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,​ I am ready,"​ she repeated.
 +"But, Geoffrey, risk nothing on the mere
 +chance that the weather will change. You
 +might imperil your life by haste&​mdash;​and to-morrow
 +night may be as reposeful as this<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_189"​ id="​Page_189">​[189]</​a></​span>​
 +that approaches, and with a later moon
 +too!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes,​ but do not bid me risk nothing!"​ I
 +exclaimed. "We must risk everything&​mdash;​our
 +chances aboard and our chances out of
 +the ship&​mdash;​or you are as good as chained to
 +this vessel for life."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She smiled her acquiescence. I looked at
 +her with passionate inquiry, but never did a
 +braver and more resolved heart gaze at a
 +lover from a maiden'​s eyes. I found the
 +fearlessness of her devotion the more admirable
 +for the dread she had expressed concerning
 +the perils of the coast, and for her
 +speaking thus to me with the land close to
 +and all its wildness and melancholy visible to
 +her, together with the distant smoke, towards
 +which I had seen her glance again and again,
 +and whose meaning she perfectly understood.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The ship swam slowly forwards. The
 +coast dried the wind out of the atmosphere,
 +but so much the better, for there was enough<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_190"​ id="​Page_190">​[190]</​a></​span>​
 +to carry us in, and then it could not die too
 +soon to serve my turn. All was ready with
 +the anchors forward, and the men hung about
 +in pallid gangs waiting for orders to take sail
 +off the ship. The vitality of the wondrous
 +craft seemed to lie in the pump and its
 +automatic plyers, so deep was the silence
 +among the crew and so still their postures;
 +but now and again the heavy courses would
 +swing into the masts to the soft bowing of
 +the fabric and raise a feeble thunder-note like
 +to the sound of bowls rolling over hollow
 +ground. The red light in the west lay upon
 +the head of the shaggy line of coast, and the
 +far-off mountains that had been blue went up
 +in a dim purple to the sky; the crimson haze
 +seemed to float over the rugged brink and
 +roll down the slope to the shore, so that the
 +scene was bathed in a most exquisite delicate
 +light&​mdash;​all features touched with red; a bronze
 +as of English autumn upon the green; the
 +white sand gleaming rosily, and great spaces<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_191"​ id="​Page_191">​[191]</​a></​span>​
 +of reddish rubble-like ground glowing dark
 +as blood. But the loneliness! I figured
 +myself ashore there&​mdash;​the ship gone&​mdash;​Imogene
 +gone! I stood in fancy upon the
 +beach looking out on this bare sea; an aged,
 +perhaps worthless firelock by my side, a few
 +cartridges, a week's store of provisions! The
 +moan of the surf was in my ear; every
 +creaking and rustling of the wind in the near
 +bushes startled me. To right and left rolled
 +the coast for endless leagues, and the vast
 +plain of sea, whose multitudinous crying
 +found echoes in a thousand caverns, east and
 +west, and in the reverberating heart of giant
 +cliffs, whose walls were best measured in
 +parallels and meridians, went down into the
 +heavens where the uttermost ends of the
 +earth were.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet,​ hideous as was the prospect of that
 +shore when I thought of myself marooned
 +upon it, its horrors shrunk into mere perils,
 +such as courage, patience and resolution<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_192"​ id="​Page_192">​[192]</​a></​span>​
 +might overcome, when my imagination put
 +my darling by my side, and with her hand in
 +mine, I looked round me upon the vast
 +scene of solitude. In her weakness I found
 +my strength; in her devotion my armour.
 +Great God! How precious to man is Thy
 +gift of woman'​s love! But for Imogene
 +where would have been my purpose and
 +determination?​ I have but to recall the
 +condition of my spirits when I looked at the
 +shore and thought of myself as alone there
 +to know.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sun had been sunk an hour, the twilight
 +had melted into darkness, and the sky
 +was full of stars, when the Death Ship floated
 +in a breathless manner to abreast of the
 +eastern bluff or foreland of the bay, and with
 +an air as faint as the sigh of a spirit expiring
 +upon the black drapery of her higher canvas,
 +she slided the blotting head of coast on to
 +her quarter, and came to a dead stand within
 +half-a-mile of the beach.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_193"​ id="​Page_193">​[193]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I heard Vanderdecken tell Arents to drop
 +the lead over the side. This was done. The
 +captain exclaimed: "What trend hath she?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​None,​ sir. The line is up and down like
 +an iron bar."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Clew up the topsails and topgallant-sails.
 +Up with the courses. See all ready to let go
 +the anchors, Van Vogelaar."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​These orders were re-echoed. In a moment
 +the decks were alive with dusky shapes of
 +moving men; one after another the sails
 +dissolved against the stars like clouds, amid
 +the hoarse rumbling of blocks, the whistling
 +of running ropes, the rattle of descending
 +yards.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Are you all ready forward?"​ cried Vanderdecken,​
 +his rich voice going in notes of
 +deep-throated music up into the gloom.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​All ready!"​ answered Van Vogelaar from
 +the forecastle.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Then let go the anchor!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The heavy splash of a great weight of iron<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_194"​ id="​Page_194">​[194]</​a></​span>​
 +was followed by a hot seething sound of cable
 +torn through the hawse-pipe; the water
 +boiled to the launching blow from the bow
 +and spread out in a surface of dim green fire.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I watched to see if the vessel would swing:
 +but there was no air, neither was there tide
 +or current to slue her, and she hung in a
 +shadow like that of a thunder-cloud over her
 +own anchor, her mastheads very softly beating
 +time to the slow lift and fall of the light
 +swell.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Keep all fast with the larboard anchor!"​
 +exclaimed Vanderdecken. "​Overhaul the
 +cable to the fifty fathom scope. Aloft men and
 +stow the canvas. Carpenter!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A hoarse voice answered, "​Sir?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Sound the well and let me know what
 +water there is."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In a few minutes a lantern flickered like an
 +<​i>​ignis fatuus</​i>​ and threw out the sombre shapes
 +of men as its gleam passed over the decks
 +which rippled in faint sheets of phosphoric<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_195"​ id="​Page_195">​[195]</​a></​span>​
 +light. He who bore it was the carpenter.
 +When he came to the pump he handed it to
 +a seaman whilst he dropped the sounding-rod
 +down the well. The light was yellow, and
 +the figures of the fellows who were pumping
 +and the stooping form of the carpenter stood
 +out of the gloom like an illuminated painting
 +in a crypt. A foot or two of water gushing
 +from the pump sparkled freely to where the
 +darkness cut it off. Against the glittering
 +lights in the sky you saw the ink-like outlines
 +of men dangling upon the yards, rolling up
 +the canvas. I watched the carpenter pore
 +upon the rod to mark the height to which the
 +wet rose; he then came on to the poop and
 +spoke to Vanderdecken in a voice too low for
 +me to catch what he said.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene had left me ten minutes before,
 +and I stood alone in the deeper shade made
 +in the gloom upon the poop by the mizzen-rigging.
 +The beating of my heart was painful
 +with anxiety. From one moment to<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_196"​ id="​Page_196">​[196]</​a></​span>​
 +another I could not tell what the next order
 +might be, and if ever I seemed to feel
 +a breath of air upon my hot temples, I
 +trembled with the fear that it was the forerunner
 +of a breeze. As it stood, 'twas such a
 +night to escape in that my deepest faith in
 +God's mercy had never durst raise my hopes
 +to the height of its beauty and stillness.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On the opposite side of the poop slowly
 +walked Vanderdecken;​ in the starlight such
 +of his skin as showed was as white as wax;
 +he sometimes looked aloft at the men there,
 +sometimes around at the ocean, sometimes
 +coming to a stand to mark the gradual swinging
 +of the ship that was now influenced by
 +some early trickling of tide or by the motions
 +of the small heaving in the sea, or by some
 +ghostly whisperings of air overhead.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Ten minutes passed. Though the ship
 +was full of business, not a sound broke from
 +the men, and the hush you felt upon the dark
 +line of shore would have been upon the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_197"​ id="​Page_197">​[197]</​a></​span>​
 +vessel but for the clanking jerks of the pump-brake
 +and the noise of flowing water.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A figure came up the poop-ladder and
 +softly approached. It was Imogene. I
 +lightly called and she came to my side in the
 +shadow.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What are they doing?"​ she asked.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​They are furling the sails; nothing more
 +as yet," I answered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Will they endeavour to lift the leak out
 +of water to-night?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,​ I am waiting to see what they
 +mean to do."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I will ask Vanderdecken,"​ said she, "he
 +always answers my questions."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I seized her hand. "No! He may suspect
 +I sent you. Let us walk carelessly
 +here and there. Lurking in the shadow
 +might give an air of conspiracy to the prattle
 +of infants to the suspicions of such a mind
 +as his."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We moved towards the taffrail&​mdash;​the helm<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_198"​ id="​Page_198">​[198]</​a></​span>​
 +was lashed and abandoned&​mdash;​and then quietly
 +to and fro, speaking under our breath.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Geoffrey,​ we may find no water to drink
 +when we get on shore; have you provided
 +for that?" she said.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I started. I had thought of all things, as
 +I fancied; yet I had overlooked the most
 +essential of our certain needs.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,​ I have not provided for that," I
 +exclaimed. "How now to manage?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I thought of it just now in my cabin.
 +There is a pitcher there and the sight of it
 +put it into my head to ask if you had included
 +water in your stock of provisions. It holds
 +about two gallons. It has a narrow neck
 +and may be easily corked. But how can we
 +convey it ashore. My weight and the bags
 +and it would sink a bigger frame than the
 +one that is to float me."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said: "Is there fresh water in it?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is nearly full. Prins keeps it replenished."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_199"​ id="​Page_199">​[199]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said: "Are bottles to be had?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She reflected and answered: "There are
 +jars in which wine is kept, but I do not know
 +where to find them."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas my turn to think. I then cried:
 +"There is a silver flagon in the box under
 +the table; that which Prins took away
 +last week and brought back filled with
 +sherry for Vanderdecken. Can you get
 +it?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We may not need it; if so we will leave
 +it. Vanderdecken shall not say that we have
 +plundered him though we must risk a graver
 +charge even than that if there be occasion.
 +Dearest, convey that flagon to your cabin.
 +Fill it with fresh water in readiness. We
 +shall find fresh water sweeter than the richest
 +wine. Also contrive to have the pitcher
 +filled to the brim. Prins will do that and
 +suspect nothing. You will invent a reason,
 +and when it is filled cork it as securely<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_200"​ id="​Page_200">​[200]</​a></​span>​
 +as possible and bind the head with stout rag
 +that what you use as a cork may not fall
 +out."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She said she would go and see about it at
 +once.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A moment,"​ I whispered. "Is the
 +window of your quarter-gallery open?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No;​ but I will open it."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Do so; stand at it till you hear me
 +cough. Then grasp a rope that I will let
 +hang against the window and coil it away as
 +you pull it in."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She understood me with the readiness of a
 +sailor'​s child and a sailor'​s sweetheart, and
 +left me. The mizzen-yard was lowered; the
 +sail had been stowed some time. Rove
 +through a small block at the end of the yard
 +was a length of thin line termed signal halliards
 +used for the showing of colours. I
 +waited till Vanderdecken came to a stand at
 +the head of the ladder that was, of course, at
 +the forward end of the poop, and then with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_201"​ id="​Page_201">​[201]</​a></​span>​
 +a mariner'​s swiftness overhauled the halliards
 +through the block, catching the end as it fell
 +that it might not strike the deck, and threw
 +it over the quarter, coughing distinctly as I
 +did so. I felt her pull it; I paid it out
 +cautiously, narrowly watching Vanderdecken
 +till the whole length was gone, then sauntered
 +forward to where the shadow of the
 +mizzen-rigging blackened the air.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I had not stood there a minute when Vanderdecken
 +cried out, "Van Vogelaar!"​ The
 +mate answered from the forecastle.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let a hand remain on the main-topsail
 +yard to receive a tackle for hoisting out both
 +boats."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I turned my back, putting both my hands
 +to my face in an ecstatic burst of gratitude
 +to the great God of Heaven for this signal
 +mercy. 'Twas what I had been hoping
 +and waiting for, with a heart sickened by
 +doubt and fear. The order was given, and
 +had I been suddenly transported with<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_202"​ id="​Page_202">​[202]</​a></​span>​
 +Imogene into a ship bound for England my
 +soul could not have swelled up with keener
 +exultation!</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_203"​ id="​Page_203">​[203]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER X.<br />
 +THE WEATHER HELPS MY SCHEME.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>I will say now that the alternate scheme I
 +had all along had in my mind was escaping
 +by means of one of the boats. But I had
 +held this project back from Imogene; nay,
 +had kept it in hiding almost away from my
 +own consideration for fear that I should be
 +unable to secure a boat. Perhaps, indeed, I
 +had counted upon Vanderdecken practising
 +the custom of his day, which was to get the
 +boats over on coming to an anchor; yet it
 +was but a hope, and not daring to think too
 +heartily in this direction I had talked wholly
 +to Imogene of delivering ourselves by floating
 +and swimming ashore.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But now the boats were to be lifted over<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_204"​ id="​Page_204">​[204]</​a></​span>​
 +the side, and my next proceeding must therefore
 +be to watch an opportunity to enter one
 +of them with Imogene and silently sneak
 +away.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>To see what they were about, the men
 +hung several lanterns about the waist and
 +gangways. The canvas had been furled, and
 +the yards lay in thick black strokes against
 +the stars. The coast looked like peaked
 +heights of pitch, and the sea, with a sort of
 +dead gleaming floating in it with the motion
 +of the folds, spread out brimful to the dim
 +flashing of the surf. You could hear nothing
 +for the noise of the pumping, yet it seemed
 +to me but for that, God knows what mysterious
 +whisperings,​ what faint noise of
 +howling cries, what strange airy creeping of
 +hisses and the seething of swept and disturbed
 +foliage and burrowed bush I might
 +catch the mingled echo of, hovering in a kind
 +of cloud of sound, and coming, some of it,
 +from as far away as the deeper blackness<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_205"​ id="​Page_205">​[205]</​a></​span>​
 +that you saw in the land where the cerulean
 +giants of the afternoon steadied their burdened
 +postures by pressing their brows
 +against the sky. There was a red spot upon
 +that part of the coast over which you would
 +be looking for the crimson forehead of the
 +moon presently. 'Twas a league off, and
 +expressed a big area of incandescence,​ and
 +was the fire whence the smoke I had noticed
 +arose.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​One after the other they swung the boats
 +clear of the rail to the water, and secured the
 +ends of their painters, or the lines by which
 +they were fastened, to a pin, on either quarter,
 +thus leaving both boats floating under the
 +counter. Vanderdecken then gave orders
 +for the second anchor to be let go, the ship
 +having some time since slided imperceptibly
 +back to the fair tension of the cable already
 +down.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I now thought I had been long enough on
 +deck, that further lingering must suggest too<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_206"​ id="​Page_206">​[206]</​a></​span>​
 +much persistency of observation;​ so I went
 +to the cabin. It was empty. I coughed, and
 +in a minute or two Imogene came from her
 +berth. The lamp swung over the table and
 +the white light that fell through the open
 +bottom of it streamed on my face.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She instantly exclaimed: "You are flushed
 +and look glad! What is it, Geoffrey?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We are as good as free!" I cried. She
 +stared at me. Then I explained how Vanderdecken
 +had ordered the boats over as
 +though in sober truth he had as great a mind
 +as I that we should escape; how our deliverance
 +by one of the boats had been my second
 +but concealed scheme; how both boats were
 +under the counter, to our hands almost; and
 +how nothing more remained to be done but
 +wait a chance of entering one of them and
 +dropping hiddenly out of sight.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Then we need not land!" she cried.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said, "​No."​ She clasped her hands
 +and looked at me with a rapture that made<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_207"​ id="​Page_207">​[207]</​a></​span>​
 +me see how heavy though secret had lain the
 +horror of escape by the shore upon her.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said to her: "Slip into your quarter-gallery
 +and look over and tell me which boat
 +lies under it, whether the little or the large
 +one. Also if the rope that holds her is
 +within reach. Also distinguish what furniture
 +of oars and sails are in the boats&​mdash;​if any
 +there be. I dare not go to your cabin lest
 +Vanderdecken should arrive as I come out."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She went, and was gone about five
 +minutes. During this interval I took notice
 +of a sobering down of the movements of the
 +men about the deck, as though they were
 +coming to an end with their various jobs of
 +coiling away and clearing up. But the pump
 +gushed incessantly. I grew extremely eager
 +to know if they meant to handle the cargo
 +and guns, towards careening the vessel, that
 +night. But whether or no, I was determined
 +to leave the Death Ship, and before the moon
 +rose&​mdash;​if possible.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_208"​ id="​Page_208">​[208]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>'​Twas now a little after seven o'​clock.
 +Imogene returned. She glanced about her
 +to make sure I was alone, and seating herself
 +close to me, said: "It is the bigger boat
 +that is under my quarter-gallery."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Good!"​ I cried. "She will be the safer
 +for our purpose."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Where the other boat lies the gloom is
 +so thick 'tis impossible to see what is in her.
 +But I can distinctly perceive the outline of a
 +sail in the big boat."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​There will be a mast as well," said I.
 +"Since the sail is there she will have been
 +lowered fully equipped. And the rope that
 +holds her?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It tightens and droops with the lifting of
 +the boat and the heaving of the ship," she
 +replied. "But I think it may be grasped by
 +standing upon the rail of the galley."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​This I had expected, for the boat rode to
 +a very short scope of line.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Now,​ dearest,"​ said I, "this is my plan:<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_209"​ id="​Page_209">​[209]</​a></​span>​
 +the line you dragged in, when middled and
 +doubled, will serve me to lower you down
 +with. When in the boat, you must throw
 +the line off you, so that I may use it to send
 +down the pitcher of water and the bags of
 +provisions. I will then come down by it myself.
 +Retire as early as you may under
 +pretence of being weary, then clothe yourself
 +in your warmest attire and select such apparel
 +as fits most closely, for flowing drapery cannot
 +but prove troublesome. Leave your
 +cabin door unlatched, but seemingly shut,
 +that I may enter by pushing only. Meanwhile,
 +stay here. I shall return in a few
 +minutes."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I walked to my cabin below. The gang of
 +pumpers clove to the brake like a little
 +company of spectres clothed as seamen, and
 +their manner of toiling suggested a horrid
 +mockery of the labour of earthly beings. I
 +shot a swift glance along the deck ere
 +descending the hatch, but, saving the men<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_210"​ id="​Page_210">​[210]</​a></​span>​
 +who pumped, could see no more than a
 +shadow or two moving in the distance
 +forward. I took the bags of provisions from
 +under the bed; the smallest of the three
 +fitted my hat, which I put on my head; the
 +other two I crammed into my coat pockets,
 +which were extremely capacious. A goodly
 +portion of the bag in the larboard pocket
 +stood up, and the head of the other was very
 +visible; but I covered them by keeping my
 +arms up and down; and so conveyed them
 +to the cabin, which I surveyed through the
 +door before entering.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene instantly took them to her berth,
 +and then returned. She had scarce resumed
 +her seat when Vanderdecken entered. He
 +came to the table and looked on a moment,
 +and said: "​Imogene,​ where is Prins?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I have not seen him," she answered.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He stepped to the door and called, and
 +then came to his chair and seated himself,
 +not offering to speak till Prins arrived.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_211"​ id="​Page_211">​[211]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Get the supper,"​ said he. "Mix a bowl
 +of brandy punch. My limbs ache. I have
 +stood too long."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Encouraged to address him by his breaking
 +the silence, I said, "​Mynheer Vanderdecken,​
 +may I ask if it is your intention to
 +careen to-night?"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He looked at me sullenly and with a frown,
 +and said: "Why do you inquire?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That I may crave a favour, sir. My
 +cabin is close to the pump; the clattering of
 +that engine is extremely disturbing, and
 +therefore I would ask your permission to use
 +this bench for a bed to-night if you do not
 +intend to careen to the leak, and so render
 +further pumping unnecessary."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He considered awhile, eyeing me sternly;
 +but it was not conceivable that he should find
 +any other than the surface-meaning in this
 +request.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He answered: "I do not intend to
 +careen; the weather hath every promise<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_212"​ id="​Page_212">​[212]</​a></​span>​
 +of continued fairness; the men shall have
 +their night'​s rest; they will work the more
 +briskly for it to-morrow. As the pump must
 +be kept going, your request is reasonable.
 +You can use this cabin, and Prins shall
 +give you one of my cloaks to soften your
 +couch."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I made him a low grateful bow, secretly
 +accepting his civility, however, as does a man
 +condemned to death the attentions of a gaoler
 +or the tenderness of the hangman.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Prins prepared the table for supper, and
 +then set a bowl of steaming punch before the
 +captain. Shortly afterwards arrived Van
 +Vogelaar and Arents. Our party was now
 +complete, and we fell to. I said: "​Gentlemen,​
 +you will forgive the curiosity of an
 +English mariner who is unused to the discipline
 +of the Batavian ships. How, Mynheer
 +Vanderdecken,​ are the watches among you
 +arranged when in harbour, as in a sense we
 +may take ourselves now to be?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_213"​ id="​Page_213">​[213]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene observing my drift came to my
 +help and said in Dutch: "The practice is as
 +with our countrymen, Herr Fenton."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Then the commandant stands the watch
 +till midnight, and the mates together till sunrise,"​
 +said I, speaking inaccurately that I
 +might draw them into speech.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,"​ exclaimed Arents. "With us the
 +commander keeps no watch. The mates
 +take the deck as at sea, I till midnight,
 +Van Vogelaar till four, then I again."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That is as it should be," said I, smiling
 +into Arents'​ large, fat, white face.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​And it is very proper,"​ said Van Vogelaar,
 +in his coarse sarcastic voice, "that English
 +sailors should apply to the Dutch for correct
 +ideas on true marine discipline."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Gentlemen,"​ said I, suavely, "I have
 +learnt much since I have been with you."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The mate darted one of his ugliest looks
 +at me. And it was made infernal by the
 +twist of leering triumph in his heavy lips,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_214"​ id="​Page_214">​[214]</​a></​span>​
 +though he could not suppose I exactly understood
 +what it meant.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>We fell silent. Vanderdecken served out
 +the punch with a small silver goblet. I
 +drank but a mouthful or two, dreading the
 +fumes. The others quaffed great draughts,
 +making nothing of the potency of the liquor,
 +nor of the steaming heat of it. Had they
 +been as I was or Imogene&​mdash;​human and real&​mdash;​I
 +should have rejoiced in their intemperance;​
 +but 'twas impossible to suppose that
 +the fumes of spirits could affect the brains of
 +men immortal in misery.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​When they had done eating they called
 +for pipes, and Vanderdecken told Prins to
 +bring him such and such a cloak, naming
 +and describing it. The fashion of it was
 +about eighty years old; 'twas of very dark
 +velvet, with a silver chain at the throat and
 +silk under-sleeves. He motioned to Prins to
 +put it down, giving me to know by the same
 +gesture that it was at my service. I thanked<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_215"​ id="​Page_215">​[215]</​a></​span>​
 +him with a slight inclination of the head,
 +grateful that he did not speak, as I knew not
 +what effect the news of my desire to sleep in
 +the cabin might have upon the malignant
 +mate's suspicious mind.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene observed a strict silence. Sometimes
 +I caught her looking at Vanderdecken,​
 +sometimes round upon the cabin. At such
 +moments there came a softened light of wistfulness
 +into her eyes; nay, rather let me call
 +it pensiveness,​ for there was nothing of
 +yearning in it&​mdash;​merely the emotion that
 +would attend the thought that, under God,
 +this was the last night she would ever pass
 +in the Death Ship; the last hours she would
 +ever spend in the company of Vanderdecken.
 +The old fabric had for nearly five years been
 +her ocean home&​mdash;​the only refuge in the wide
 +world for her. 'Twas associated with the
 +desolation of her orphaned state&​mdash;​with the
 +anguish of her loneliness in the open boat.
 +Her very being had merged into the ancient<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_216"​ id="​Page_216">​[216]</​a></​span>​
 +timbers&​mdash;​to the spirit of her life a voice and
 +an expression had been given by each hollow
 +straining sound, by the roar of wind in the
 +rigging, by the musical stirrings of air in the
 +quiet night, by the sob of gently-passing
 +waters, by the thunder of the storm-created
 +surge. And he at whom she gazed&​mdash;​cruel,​
 +fierce, scowling, imperious as he was&​mdash;​lifting
 +God-defying eyes to the heavens, his giant
 +frame volcanic with the desperate perturbations
 +of a soul of fire&​mdash;​yet had that man
 +ever been gentle to her&​mdash;​he had tended her
 +with something of a father'​s love; he had
 +held her to his breast as an ocean-stray
 +for whom, Heaven help him! he believed
 +that there was an asylum, that there was
 +affection, that there was motherly and sisterly
 +sympathy in his distant home at Amsterdam.
 +She could not have been the Imogene of my
 +adoration, the fresh, true-hearted virginal
 +being of this Death Ship, mingling something
 +of the mystery of the doomed structure<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_217"​ id="​Page_217">​[217]</​a></​span>​
 +and something of the mighty deep, with the
 +pure, chaste, exquisite vitality of a living and
 +a loving woman, had not her violet eyes
 +saddened to the thought of parting for ever
 +from her floating home and from that stately,
 +bearded figure whose affection for her was
 +even fuller of pathos than his dream of those
 +whom he deemed yet slumbered at night in
 +far-off Amsterdam.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But no sentiment of this kind coloured my
 +view of him. To me, that was to be put
 +ashore by his command and left miserably to
 +perish there, he was a cruel and a murderous
 +rascal; of which qualities in him I had so
 +keen a sense that I never for a moment questioned
 +that if my scheme miscarried and he
 +found out what I intended, he would have me
 +swung at the yard-arm right away out of
 +hand, though it should be pitch dark and they
 +should have to hang me by lantern-light.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Presently Arents put down his pipe and
 +went on deck. Van Vogelaar, leaning on his<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_218"​ id="​Page_218">​[218]</​a></​span>​
 +elbow midway across the table, muttered with
 +the long shank of his pipe between his teeth
 +to Vanderdecken about the routine and rotation
 +of the pumping-gangs. The captain let
 +fall a few instructions touching the morning'​s
 +work. Imogene rose.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am like you, Captain Vanderdecken&​mdash;​weary,"​
 +she said, smiling, whilst her pale face
 +fully warranted her assurance. "I shall go
 +to bed."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Tis early,"​ said he, sending a look at the
 +clock; "you seem dispirited, my dear. It
 +will not be this brief halt here, I trust? We
 +shall be under weigh again in a couple of
 +days, homeward-bound&​mdash;​one great ocean
 +already traversed. Think of that!" She
 +put her fingers to her mouth simulating a
 +yawn. "But if you are weary,"​ he continued,
 +"go to rest, my dear."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She smiled at him again, curtsied to me,
 +and with a half-bow to Van Vogelaar went to
 +her cabin.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_219"​ id="​Page_219">​[219]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Vanderdecken,​ dipping the silver goblet
 +into the punch-bowl, bade me extend my cup.
 +I thanked him, said my head ached, and that
 +with his leave I would take the air above for
 +a spell. On gaining the poop I walked right
 +aft and looked over the taffrail. The boats
 +there rose and fell in two lumps of blackness
 +under the quarters. They strained very
 +quietly at the lines which held them, and this
 +enabled me to observe, by noting the trend
 +of the land, that such surface-motion as the
 +water had was westerly. I was fretted to
 +observe the sea unusually phosphorescent.
 +Every time the rise and fall of the ship's
 +stern flipped at one or the other of the boat's
 +lines the sudden drag raised a little foam about
 +her, and the bubbling flashed like the reflection
 +of sheet lightning in a mirror. This, I
 +say, vexed me; for the dip of an oar must
 +occasion a fire as signalling in its way as a
 +flare or a lantern, though the boat itself
 +should be buried in the darkness.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_220"​ id="​Page_220">​[220]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I came away from the taffrail after a very
 +brief look over. Arents at the head of the
 +poop-ladder stood apparently gazing at the
 +men pumping on the main-deck, but I knew
 +the motionless postures into which he and
 +the others fell too well to guess that any
 +speculation would be found in his eyes could
 +they be peered into. The bush fire burnt
 +like a great red spark on the black outline to
 +starboard. Out of the western ocean the
 +stars looked to be floating as though they
 +were a smoke of silver sparkles, meeting in a
 +mass of diamond-light over our swaying
 +mastheads, with scatterings of brilliant dust
 +among them, suggesting the wakes of winged
 +star-ships; but past the starboard yard-arms
 +all this quick, glorious scintillation of planet
 +and meteor, of fixed stars and the Magellanic
 +clouds, with the beautiful Cross sweetly
 +dominant, went wan and dying into mere
 +faintness. This however I did not particularly
 +heed, though the habits of a sailor<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_221"​ id="​Page_221">​[221]</​a></​span>​
 +would cause me to fasten my eye upon the
 +appearance; but presently looking for the
 +crimson scar of bush-fire, I found it was gone
 +with many of the stars which had been glittering
 +above and against it.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A few minutes put an end to conjecture;
 +'twas a true South African fog coming along,
 +white as gunpowder smoke, and eating out
 +the prospect with long feelers and winding
 +limbs till the whole body was fluffing thick
 +and soft as feathers about the ship, eclipsing
 +everything save a golden spike or two of the
 +lighted lantern that hung against the main-mast
 +for the comfort or convenience of the
 +pumpers.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_222"​ id="​Page_222">​[222]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XI.<br />
 +MY POOR DARLING.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>It was ten o'​clock. For half-an-hour had I
 +been sitting in the cabin alone waiting for
 +Vanderdecken to come below and go to bed.
 +I heard the parrot angrily clawing about her
 +cage to the chiming of the bell, as if impatient
 +of the slowness of the strokes and
 +enraged by their disturbing notes; and when
 +the last chime died out she violently flapped
 +her wings and cried, with an edge of scream
 +in the ordinary harshness of her voice, "Wy
 +zyn al Verdomd!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Verdomd for you, you vile croaker!"​
 +thought I, involuntarily clenching my fist as
 +I looked towards her. "Such another yell
 +might bring Van Vogelaar out of his berth."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_223"​ id="​Page_223">​[223]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​But she was never again to utter that
 +curse in my hearing.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I went to the cabin door, and found the
 +thickness boiling black about the decks, not
 +an outline visible, nothing to be seen but the
 +lantern-shine,​ dim as a glow-worm in the
 +crystalline denseness. The clanking of the
 +pump seemed to find twenty echoes in the
 +great concealed fabric of round-tops and
 +square yards on high. How ghostly the
 +stillness with which the brake was plied!
 +You listened till your ear seemed in pain for
 +the sound of a human laugh, the growl of a
 +human voice.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Whilst I stood looking into the thickness,
 +Vanderdecken came down the quarter-deck
 +ladder. The wet of the fog sparkled in his
 +beard, and his fur cap glistened to the lamplight.
 +He stood in the doorway and stared
 +at me under his great heavy brows as though
 +surprised, and even startled, to see me; then
 +exclaimed, "<​i>​Ach</​i>,​ I had forgotten you sleep<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_224"​ id="​Page_224">​[224]</​a></​span>​
 +in this cabin to-night. The lamp can be left
 +alight, if you please."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​If you please, mynheer,"​ said I, with a note
 +of careless indifference in my voice. In fact
 +I would rather have been in darkness, but it
 +was my policy to seem as if his wishes were
 +all the same to me, let them run as they
 +would.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Tell Prins when he comes, it is my order
 +he should leave the lamp burning,"​ said he,
 +speaking quietly and in a manner that recalled
 +my earliest impressions of him when he
 +talked low lest he should disturb Imogene.
 +He gave me a stiff bow and walked to his
 +cabin.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Five minutes after arrived Prins.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Tis the captain'​s wish," said I, in a low
 +voice, "that the lamp should be kept alight."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Good,​ sir," he replied, imitating my soft
 +speech.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is for my convenience;​ I sleep here
 +as you know, that the pump may be less disturbing.<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_225"​ id="​Page_225">​[225]</​a></​span>​
 +Captain Vanderdecken is good
 +enough to consult my comfort, but as the light
 +is bright, pray dim it, Prins. That may be
 +managed, I hope?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Easily,"​ he answered, and climbed upon
 +the table to come at the lamp.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​So,"​ said he, turning down the mesh,
 +"how is that, Herr Fenton?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A little fainter yet&​mdash;​so! I thank you,
 +Prins. Have you made an end of your work?
 +I am in no hurry to lie down."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He slipped off the table with a look round,
 +and said: "My work is finished, Herr. You
 +can take your rest at once for me." He
 +yawned. "These African fogs make one
 +gape. Good-night, sir."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Good-night,​ Prins."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He halted in the doorway.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I will shut this door to keep the damp
 +out," he said. I motioned with my hand as
 +though bidding him shut it, which he did,
 +and I was left alone.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_226"​ id="​Page_226">​[226]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I wrapped Vanderdecken'​s large rich cloak
 +about me, and stretched myself along the
 +bench, using my arm as a pillow. I resolved
 +to lie thus for at least half-an-hour,​ conceiving
 +that this would be long enough to weary any
 +one who should take it into his head to watch
 +me through the cabin window. As to Vanderdecken,​
 +I did not fear his seeing me
 +whilst he kept his door closed. The bulkhead
 +of his berth was thick and apparently
 +seamless, and his door fitted into overlaps of
 +the jambs, for the exclusion of draughts of air
 +after the fashion in old shipbuilding. I lay
 +very quiet hearkening to the dulled beating
 +of the pump and watching the clock, the
 +great hand of which was just visible. When
 +it came round so as to lie upon the quarter
 +before the hour, I rose with the utmost
 +stealth, arranging the cloak in such a fashion
 +as to make the dark shape of it resemble a
 +recumbent form, and holding my breath, stole
 +on tiptoe to Imogene'​s cabin and pushed the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_227"​ id="​Page_227">​[227]</​a></​span>​
 +door. It opened; I entered and pushed the
 +door to again, and it jammed noiselessly upon
 +the soft substance that had kept it closed
 +before.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Imogene sat on the side of her bed, that
 +exactly resembled the bed in Vanderdecken'​s
 +room which I have described. She was fully
 +dressed, and had on a fur or sealskin cap,
 +with flaps for the ears. A small silver lamp
 +of a very ancient pattern hung from a hook
 +in the great beam that traversed the ceiling
 +of her cabin, but she had trimmed or depressed
 +the mesh into a feeble gleam. The
 +little door that led to the quarter-gallery
 +stood open. I kissed her cold forehead, and
 +whispered, "Are you ready?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Yes!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I held her hand whilst I could have
 +counted ten, but found it steadier than mine.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Come,​ dearest!"​ said I, and I stepped
 +into the gallery.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The fog put an intolerable blackness into<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_228"​ id="​Page_228">​[228]</​a></​span>​
 +the air, and the chill of it was like frost upon
 +the flesh. But for the phosphorescence of
 +the sea, which I had before lamented, I
 +should not have been able to see the boat
 +under the counter. As it was, the tweaking
 +of the line to the rise and fall of the Death
 +Ship kept a small stir of water about the
 +boat; the greenish-yellow shining showed
 +through the fog and threw out the figure of
 +the structure. The railing of the gallery rose
 +to the height of my breast. I leaned over it,
 +waving my hand in the blackness for the
 +rope, and not catching it, bade Imogene
 +seize my coat to steady me, and jumped on
 +to the rail, and in a moment felt the line and
 +grasped it; then dismounted, holding the
 +rope. In a few seconds I had the boat's
 +head&​mdash;​that was square and horned, as you
 +will remember&​mdash;​fair under the gallery, and
 +in that posture I secured her by hitching the
 +slack of the line to the rail.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Everything continued to help us; first the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_229"​ id="​Page_229">​[229]</​a></​span>​
 +fog, that made an astonishing blackness of
 +the night, though I guessed this would grow
 +into a pallid faintness presently, when the
 +moon was up and had gathered power; next
 +the phosphoric shinings upon which the boat
 +rose and fell like a great blot of ink; then
 +the noise of the pump, which, to the most
 +attentive ear on deck, would absorb all such
 +feeble sounds as our movements were likely
 +to cause; and again, there was the small
 +but constant grinding of the sudden jumping
 +of the rudder to the action of the swell,
 +very nicely calculated to lull the suspicions of
 +Vanderdecken in the adjacent cabin should
 +he be awake and hear us. But this I did
 +not fear, for the quarter-gallery was outside
 +the ship, and we worked in the open air, and
 +made no noise besides.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Not a moment was to be lost; the halliards
 +I had unrove from the mizzen-peak lay in a
 +heap at my feet. I ran the length through,
 +doubled it, and made a bowline-on-the-bight<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_230"​ id="​Page_230">​[230]</​a></​span>​
 +of the two thicknesses. This bight or loop I
 +slipped over Imogene'​s shoulders, bringing
 +the running or lowering part in front of her
 +that there should be no pressure to hurt her
 +tender breasts, and then took two turns round
 +a stancheon on the quarter-gallery.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,"​ I whispered, kissing her, "keep
 +a stout heart and do exactly as I bid. First,
 +in what part of the cabin shall I find the
 +pitcher and the provisions?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Between the foot of the bedstead and the
 +door. They are covered with a dress."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Right. I am now about to lower you
 +into the boat. I will lower very gently.
 +The moment your feet touch the boat, cough&​mdash;​but
 +not loudly&​mdash;​as a sign for me to lower
 +handsomely, for the rise and fall of the boat
 +necessitates smart action. When you are
 +safe&​mdash;​that is when you are gotten into the
 +middle of the boat&​mdash;​sit down, and throw the
 +rope off you. I will then send down the
 +pitcher and bags by the line which you will<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_231"​ id="​Page_231">​[231]</​a></​span>​
 +cast adrift from them. It will then be my
 +turn to join you."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>So saying I took her in my arms and
 +lifted her on to the rail, seating her there
 +an instant, then taking in one hand the end
 +of the rope which was twisted round the
 +stancheon, with the other I gently slided her
 +over the rail, easing her down with my arm
 +round her till she hung by the line. In
 +another moment she was in the boat.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I hauled up the line, went for the pitcher
 +and bags and sent them down to her, she
 +receiving and detaching them from the line
 +with a promptitude equal to anything I could
 +have hoped to find in that way in a sailor.
 +I called to her softly&​mdash;​that she might know
 +why I lingered&​mdash;"​I am going for the
 +cloak,"​ for the moment I saw it I had made
 +up my mind to carry it off as a covering for
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I opened her cabin door breathlessly and
 +peered out; then stole soft as a mouse to the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_232"​ id="​Page_232">​[232]</​a></​span>​
 +cloak and threw it over my arm. The
 +interior lay in a sullen gloom to the dim
 +shining of the lamp. Our stock of provisions
 +was small, and my eye catching sight of the
 +chest under the table I recollected having
 +seen Prins put a canvas bag full of biscuit into
 +it after supper. This I resolved to take. So
 +I went to the chest, raised the lid, and found
 +the bag, but my hurry and agitation being
 +great I let fall the lid which dropped with a
 +noisy bang. Heaping curses upon my clumsiness,
 +I fled like a deer into the cabin and
 +on to the quarter-gallery,​ threw the cloak and
 +bag into the boat, and followed headlong
 +down the rope I had left dangling from the
 +rail.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I was scarce arrived when the faint light
 +that streamed from Imogene'​s berth into the
 +quarter-gallery was obscured, and to my
 +horror I saw the loom of a human shape
 +overhanging the rail.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Imogene! Imogene! Come back&​mdash;​come<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_233"​ id="​Page_233">​[233]</​a></​span>​
 +back!" rang out Vanderdecken'​s deep and
 +thrilling voice. "Herr Fenton, restore to
 +me the treasure thou wouldst rob me of and
 +I swear not a single hair of thy head shall be
 +harmed."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>In mad haste I sawed through the rope
 +that held the boat with my pocket-knife.
 +He could not see, but he heard me; and
 +springing on to the rail, roared, in his
 +thunderous notes, "​Arents,​ Arents, the
 +Englishman hath seized one of the boats
 +and is kidnapping Miss Dudley. Do you
 +hear me? Speak&​mdash;​or you swing!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I heard the clattering of heavy boots
 +running along the tall echoing poop high
 +over our heads.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Sir&​mdash;​sir&​mdash;​I am here! Your orders, sir?"
 +bawled Arents.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Again roared out Vanderdecken,​ in a
 +hurricane note fit to awaken the echoes of
 +the inland mountains, "The Englishman is
 +kidnapping Miss Dudley, and hath already<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_234"​ id="​Page_234">​[234]</​a></​span>​
 +seized the larger boat. Send the men from
 +the pump to man the other boat!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,​ by Heaven, you don'​t!"​ I shouted,
 +mad with the excitement of the minute. The
 +line that held us was severed; the boat's
 +head swung round; I leaned half my length
 +over the gunwale, caught the other boat, and
 +severed the rope that secured her to the
 +ship; then, in a frenzy of haste, tumbled a
 +couple of oars over and pulled away. But
 +I had not measured five boat's lengths when
 +the fog in which the ship, even at that
 +short distance, lay completely swallowed was
 +gashed and rent by a blaze of red fire. The
 +explosion of a musket followed. I knew, by
 +the flame leaping out of the quarter-gallery,​
 +that it was Vanderdecken who had fired, and
 +with set teeth strained with all my might at
 +the oars.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A dead stillness reigned. The clanking of
 +the chains had ceased. I could hear nothing
 +but the grind of the oars in the pins, and the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_235"​ id="​Page_235">​[235]</​a></​span>​
 +sound of the water seething to the unnatural
 +vigour with which I rowed. After a little I
 +paused to gather from the noise of the surf
 +how the boat headed. I bent my ear and
 +found that the boiling was on my left.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How does it strike you, Imogene?"​ I
 +asked, in a broken voice, being terribly
 +distressed for breath.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She answered, very low, "The sound is
 +on your left."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​That should signify,"​ said I, "that we
 +are heading out to sea. The breakers are
 +heavy in the west, and 'tis down there the
 +noise of them seems greatest. We must
 +head right out, or this bay will prove worse
 +than a rat-trap."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>As I spoke I heard the scattering reports
 +of some six or eight muskets discharged one
 +after another, but the glare of the explosions
 +was absorbed by the fog.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ha!"​ cried I; "they shoot in hope!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I fell to rowing again, and held to the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_236"​ id="​Page_236">​[236]</​a></​span>​
 +weighty job stoutly for a good quarter-of-an-hour.
 +Weighty it was, for not only was the
 +boat extremely cumbrous about the bows&​mdash;​if
 +one square end of her more than another
 +could be so termed&​mdash;​the oars were heavy,
 +the blades being spoon-shaped,​ though flat,
 +and the harder to work not only for the
 +breadth of the boat, but because of the pins
 +being fixed too far abaft the seats.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I had now not much fear of being chased.
 +Even if they found the boat I had liberated
 +by sending men overboard to swim in search
 +of it&​mdash;​there was movement enough in the
 +water to glide it very swiftly into obscurity&​mdash;​I
 +did not apprehend they would venture to
 +pursue me in so great a fog. I threw in my
 +oars and listened. A faint air stirred in the
 +blackness, and if I was correct in supposing
 +that we were heading seawards, then this
 +draught was coming about south-east. The
 +sound of the surf was like a weak rumbling of
 +thunder. I strained my hearing to the right<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_237"​ id="​Page_237">​[237]</​a></​span>&​mdash;​that
 +is, to starboard, for I sat with my back
 +to the bows; but though indeed I could catch
 +a faint, far-off moan of washing waters that
 +way, the noise of the boiling was on our
 +left.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I am sure we are out of the bay," said I;
 +"were we penetrating it we should be by this
 +time among the breakers. I heartily pray
 +now this fog will soon thin out. It may
 +whiten into something like light when the
 +moon rides high. There is a faint wind, and
 +I should be glad to step the mast and set the
 +sail. But that isn't to be done by feeling.
 +Besides, there is no rudder, and what there
 +may be in the stern to steady an oar with I
 +cannot conceive."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I paused, thinking she would speak.
 +Finding she was silent, and fearing her to be
 +cold and low-hearted,​ I said: "My dearest,
 +you will gain confidence with the light.
 +Meanwhile, we have good reason to be grateful
 +for this blackness. They might have<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_238"​ id="​Page_238">​[238]</​a></​span>​
 +killed us could they have seen the boat, for
 +they were prompt with their fire-arms."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Geoffrey,​ dear," she exclaimed, in the
 +same low voice I had before noticed in her,
 +"I fear I am wounded."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Wounded!"​ I shrieked, springing to my
 +feet.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The instant Vanderdecken fired&​mdash;​if it
 +was he&​mdash;"​ she continued, "I felt a stinging
 +blow in my shoulder. I am very cold just
 +there; I am bleeding, I believe."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ my God! Oh, my God!" I cried,
 +for now she spoke at some little length I
 +could hear in her voice the pain she was in;
 +and the feebleness of her voice was like to
 +break my heart, as was the thought of her
 +suffering and bleeding in silence until I had
 +rowed the boat a long distance from the
 +ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I felt for her, and took her in my arms,
 +but the shiver that ran through her warned
 +me that my caress increased her pain. I<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_239"​ id="​Page_239">​[239]</​a></​span>​
 +would have given ten years of my life for
 +a light. 'Twas maddening to have to sit in
 +such blackness, with nothing but a dim star
 +or two of the green sea-glow rising with the
 +invisible heave of the water to the gunwale
 +for the eye to rest upon, and to think of my
 +precious one bleeding&​mdash;​perhaps wounded to
 +death&​mdash;​utterly concealed from me, so that I
 +could not staunch her wound, nor comfort
 +her except by speech, nor help her in any
 +way. 'Twas the doing of Vanderdecken!
 +the murderer! Oh, why, when there was all
 +the wide black air for the shot to whistle
 +through, had it struck my life, my love, the
 +darling whom I had snatched to my heart
 +from the huge desolation of the deep, and
 +from the horrible companionship of beings
 +accurst of God?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I groped about for the cloak I had flung
 +into the boat, and found it; I made a bed of
 +it, and pulling off my jacket rolled it up into
 +a pillow. I felt for her again, and told her<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_240"​ id="​Page_240">​[240]</​a></​span>​
 +that the bleeding might lessen if she would
 +lie down. She answered, "I will lie down,
 +dearest."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I took her in my arms very tenderly and
 +carefully, and laid her upon the cloak with
 +the wounded shoulder uppermost, covered
 +her as far as the skirts of the cloak would
 +suffer, and chafed her hands. I was in so
 +great a confusion and agony of mind that had
 +I heard the dip of the oars astern and knew
 +Vanderdecken was after me in the other boat,
 +I should not have let go her hand. I could
 +not have stirred from my kneeling posture
 +beside her to help myself. But now that
 +we were out of the bay, as I might be sure
 +by the sound of the surf, I knew that our
 +keel would be in the grip of the westerly
 +current, and that whether I rowed or not
 +every hour must increase our distance from
 +the Death Ship, and improve our prospect of
 +escape.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I asked her if she was thirsty, understanding<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_241"​ id="​Page_241">​[241]</​a></​span>​
 +how quickly wounded persons crave in
 +this direction. She answered "​No;"​ but, as I
 +believed, out of the sweetness of her heart, to
 +save me anguish by any kind of confession of
 +suffering beyond what she had already owned
 +to. Believing her to be bleeding all the time,
 +I held her hand, in constant expectation of
 +feeling it frosted and turning heavy with
 +death. The sea, in its mighty life of a
 +thousand centuries, has upborne many dismal
 +and affrighting pictures to the chill eye of the
 +moon, to the fiery inspection of the sun, to
 +the blindness of the cloud-blackened sky; but
 +none worse than what our boat made; no
 +torments direr than what I suffered. I could
 +not see her face to observe whether she
 +smiled upon me or not; the love in her eyes
 +was hidden from me, and my heart could
 +take no comfort from imagination when, for
 +all I knew, the glazing of approaching dissolution
 +might have iced those liquid violet
 +impassioned depths into an unmeaning stare.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_242"​ id="​Page_242">​[242]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Add to her lying in the blackness, wounded
 +and bleeding; add to the anguish with which
 +I probed the ebon smother for the merest
 +glimpse of her, till my eyes burned like red-hot
 +balls of fire under my brows; add to this,
 +those elements of mystery, of horror, which
 +entered into and created that black, sightless
 +time; the desolate thunder of surf, defining
 +to the ear the leagues and leagues of savage
 +coast aswarm with roaring beasts, with hissing
 +reptiles, with creatures in human form
 +fiercer and of crueller instincts than either;
 +the magnitude of the ocean on whose breathing
 +breast our tiny bark lay rocking; the
 +wondrous darkness of the deep shadow of
 +the fog upon the natural gloom of the night;
 +the commingling of sullen and mysterious
 +tones in the sulky obscurity&​mdash;​notes that
 +seemed to come out of the seaward infinity,
 +that seemed to rise from each swinging respiring
 +fold under us, in voiceless sound that
 +made you think of a moody conscience in<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_243"​ id="​Page_243">​[243]</​a></​span>​
 +some labouring breast troubling the ear of
 +imagination with mutterings whose audibility
 +was that of the inarticulate speech of phantoms.</​p>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_244"​ id="​Page_244">​[244]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +<​h2>​CHAPTER XII.<br />
 +I AM ALONE.</​h2>​
 +
 +
 +<p>It was about midnight, as I was able presently
 +to gather, when a sort of paleness
 +entered into the fog; and hard upon the
 +heels of this change, the air, that had been
 +weakly breathing, briskened somewhat, fetching
 +a deeper echo from the booming roll of
 +the surf on the starboard side; and the water
 +came to the boat in a shivering phosphoric
 +light of ripples that set her a-dabbling.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The light brightening&​mdash;​that is the fog
 +growing more luminous, without appearing
 +to thin&​mdash;​the boat's outline lay visible, together
 +with her furniture, such as the sail
 +and the oars. I tenderly laid Imogene'​s cold
 +hand down, and turning the sail over, found&​mdash;​as<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_245"​ id="​Page_245">​[245]</​a></​span>​
 +I had expected&​mdash;​the mast lying under
 +it; and partly peering and partly groping, I
 +made out an iron clamp fitted to the foremost
 +thwart or seat, with an hollow under it in the
 +bottom of the boat for receiving the heel of
 +the mast.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I lifted the spar and very easily stepped
 +it, discovering that the halliards for hoisting
 +the sail were ready rove through a small
 +block seized to the head of the mast. I
 +hauled upon this rope to clear the sail, and
 +perceived it to be shaped like a lug, fitted to
 +a yard, only the yard was arched, causing the
 +head of the sail to appear like a bow when
 +the arrow is drawn upon it. Before setting
 +the sail I went aft, and by dint of feeling and
 +staring discovered a rope grummet or hempen
 +hook fastened to the larboard horn, but close
 +in, so that it lay out of sight against the
 +boat's stern. 'Twas very clear that this was
 +meant to receive an oar for steering; but
 +whether or not it would serve my turn for<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_246"​ id="​Page_246">​[246]</​a></​span>​
 +that purpose; so without more ado I rove an
 +oar through the grummet, then hoisted the
 +sail, making the tack fast to the larboard horn
 +on the bow, and came aft with the sheet.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The boat instantly felt the pressure, and
 +the wind being abaft the beam, she slipped
 +along like a sledge, as you will suppose, when
 +I say that her bottom was shaped like the
 +side of a pea-shell, and that her whole frame
 +might have been imitated from one of those
 +black pods of sea-weed which are furnished
 +by nature with wire-like projections,​ and
 +which may be found in plenty upon our sea-coast.
 +The oar controlled her capitally.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The double motive I had for getting away
 +from this place&​mdash;​first,​ to run out of the fog
 +and so get light to enable me to minister to
 +Imogene, and next to remove myself so far
 +from the Death Ship as to render pursuit
 +hopeless even should the thickness in the bay
 +clear up and enable Vanderdecken to recover
 +his boat which I had cut adrift; this double<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_247"​ id="​Page_247">​[247]</​a></​span>​
 +motive, I say, lifted my anxiety and eagerness
 +to the height of madness. My dearest lay
 +with her head towards me, and in the glistening
 +white obscurity I could discern her pale
 +face upon the pillow of my coat, but could not
 +tell whether her eyes were open or shut.
 +She did not moan; she lay as still as the
 +dead. I asked her if she was in pain. She
 +said "​No,"​ but in a voice so feeble that I had
 +to bend my ear to catch the syllable.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I could not think of her but as slowly
 +dying to the streaming away of her precious
 +blood. What to do I knew not; and in
 +addition to this dreadful state of despair was
 +the obligation upon me to watch the boat
 +and shrewdly and seriously attend to my
 +course by the warning surf-thunder floating
 +back against the wind from the echoing
 +strand. From time to time I would address
 +Imogene, always with a terror in me of
 +winning no reply, of touching her and
 +finding her dead. Once she answered that<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_248"​ id="​Page_248">​[248]</​a></​span>​
 +she believed the bleeding in her shoulder
 +had stopped; the icy-coldness was gone, and
 +there was a small smarting there as if she
 +had been burnt, but nothing that she could
 +not easily endure. But I knew by the tone
 +of her voice that she spoke only to give me
 +comfort; either that she was suffering above
 +the power of her love for me to conceal in
 +her faltering whispers or that her strength
 +was unequal to the labour of utterance.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Yet,​ as I have said, what could I do? I
 +was no chirurgeon; and I wonder that my
 +heart did not break to the bending of my
 +scorching eyes upon my love lying wounded
 +and bleeding at my feet.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>An hour passed; the fog still compassed
 +us, but the white splendour of the moon was
 +upon it. Methought that I heard Imogene
 +whisper; I dropped on my knee, and she
 +asked for water. I let go the steering oar,
 +that jammed in the grummet and that could
 +not therefore go adrift, and with great<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_249"​ id="​Page_249">​[249]</​a></​span>​
 +trouble found the little cup that I had hidden
 +in one of the bags, and poured some water
 +out of the pitcher into it. She moaned in
 +pain when I put my arm under her head to
 +raise it; but she drank greedily, nevertheless,​
 +and thanked me in a whisper when I tenderly
 +let sink her head on to the jacket.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I resumed my place at the oar, and through
 +the blackness drove the boat, the sail pulling
 +briskly, the water shining very brightly in
 +our wake, and, as my ear seemed to fancy,
 +the noise of the surf dwindling somewhat,
 +whence I conjectured we were hauling off the
 +coast and standing more directly seawards.
 +I do not know that I should have been without
 +hope for my beloved if it had not been
 +for the haunting and blasting thought that
 +nothing but misery could attend association
 +with Vanderdecken and his doomed ship. It
 +seemed to me now&​mdash;​though on board I had
 +been too eager to escape with her, too
 +wrapped up in my love for such consideration<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_250"​ id="​Page_250">​[250]</​a></​span>​
 +to occupy my mind&​mdash;​that nothing less than
 +the death of one of us could expiate our
 +involuntary and unhappy connexion with the
 +banned and fated craft. Ships that spoke
 +her perished, often with all hands; misfortunes
 +pursued those who merely sighted her.
 +What sort of death could the Curse involve
 +for one who had lived for years or for weeks
 +in the monstrous fabric, who had conversed
 +familiarly with her abhorred occupants, who
 +had been admitted into close inspection of
 +her secret life, beheld the enactment by Vanderdecken
 +in his sleep of the impious and
 +horrible drama of his Christ-defying wrath,
 +eat of his bread, drank of his cup, yea, and
 +hearkened with sympathy to his talk of home,
 +to his yearning speech concerning those he
 +loved there?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sense of the doom that was upon her
 +as upon me&​mdash;​upon her in her young and
 +beautiful life, upon me in my love for her,
 +upon both in the crushing separation of the<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_251"​ id="​Page_251">​[251]</​a></​span>​
 +grave, whether 'twas for her to die or for me;
 +oh! I say, the sense of this thing weighed as
 +iron and as ice upon my heart, crushing out
 +all hope and leaving me as blind in my soul
 +as my eyes were in the fog to steer the boat
 +through the silence of that vaporous night,
 +hearing nothing but the rippling of the water,
 +and the blunted edge of the surf's wild beat,
 +and beholding nothing but the outline of my
 +dearest&​mdash;​of my dearest&​mdash;​stricken and dying
 +at my feet!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Suddenly the fog broke up. It was then
 +about two o'​clock. The vapour floated into
 +league-long streaks, lunar-tinted here and
 +there into an ærial mockery of the rainbow,
 +and over the edge of one great steam-like
 +body the moon with an ice-like, diamond-splendour
 +of radiance looked down upon us
 +out of a pool of black sky. The lustre had
 +something of the sharpness of daylight, only
 +that the flooded pearl of it wore the complexion
 +of death, all things showing out wan;<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_252"​ id="​Page_252">​[252]</​a></​span>​
 +and in that illumination the delicate gold of
 +Imogene'​s hair melted into the extreme
 +pallor of the forehead on which it stirred to
 +the wind, and her lips were of the colour of
 +her cheeks, and her half-closed lids like wax.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I let go the oar to kneel and look at her.
 +She lay so still, with such unheeding eyes,
 +that I made sure she was dead, and my brain
 +reeled as though my heart had stopped.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said hoarsely and hollowly, "​Imogene."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The fringe of her eyelids trembled, and I
 +marked a faint smile on her lips.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Dearest,"​ cried I, "how is it with thee?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She returned no answer.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I said "I shall be able to see the wound
 +now, and perhaps check the bleeding. I can
 +cut the dress clear of the shoulder and you
 +need not stir."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​She exclaimed&​mdash;​but,​ my God, how feebly!&​mdash;"​Dearest,​
 +let me lie as I am," speaking
 +with a sort of sigh between each word.
 +And then she added, "Kiss me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_253"​ id="​Page_253">​[253]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<p>I pressed my lips to hers; they were cold
 +as the mist that was passing away in wreaths
 +and clouds. I saw how it was and let her
 +have her way. It would have been cruel to
 +touch her with more than my lips. And
 +even though I should have cut away her
 +apparel to the wound and saw it, what could
 +I do? Suppose the bleeding internal&​mdash;​the
 +bullet lodged within, the lung touched, or
 +some artery severed?</​p>​
 +
 +<p>A wild feeling seized me; I felt that I must
 +leap upon a seat and rave out madly or my
 +head would burst. The efforts to control
 +myself left me trembling and weeping. I
 +wiped from my brow the sweat that had leapt
 +in drops there out of my weakness, and put
 +my hand upon the oar afresh. The fog had
 +settled away to leeward; it looked like a
 +vast cliff of snow-covered ice, and the moonshine
 +worked in it in shifting veins of delicate
 +amber and dim steel-blue. Out of it, trending
 +a little to the south of west, rolled the loom of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_254"​ id="​Page_254">​[254]</​a></​span>​
 +the dusky land; it died out in the showering
 +haze of the moonlight, whence ran the dark
 +sea-line to right astern of us&​mdash;​nothing in
 +sight but the land growing out of the fog.
 +Over the horizon the stars hung like dew-drops,
 +giving back the glory of the central
 +luminary and set twinkling by the wind.
 +They soared in sparkling dust, rich with large
 +jewels, till they died out in the cold silvering
 +of the sky round about the moon.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>My hysteric fit sobered down and I fell to
 +sharply thinking. The nearest refuge was
 +Simon'​s Bay, and that would lie some three
 +or four hundred miles distant. How long
 +would it take me to sail the boat there?
 +Why, 'twas a thing idle to calculate. Give
 +me steady favourable winds and smooth seas
 +and I could answer; but here was a boat
 +that, like the ship she belonged to, was fit
 +only to be blown along. She could not beat,
 +she had no keel for holding to the water.
 +Hence progress, if any was to be made, was<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_255"​ id="​Page_255">​[255]</​a></​span>​
 +so utterly a matter of chance that conjecture
 +fell dead to the first effort of thought. If I
 +was blown out to sea we might be picked up
 +by a ship; if we were blown ashore I might
 +contrive to find a smooth spot for landing; if
 +the wind came away from the east and south
 +it might, if it hung there, drive me round
 +Agulhas and perhaps to Simon'​s Bay. That's
 +how it stood&​mdash;​no better anyhow; but how
 +much worse you may reckon when you reflect
 +in what part of the ocean we were, when you
 +consider the season of the year, how few in
 +comparison with the mighty expanse of those
 +waters were the ships which sailed upon it,
 +how worthless the boat as a sea-going fabric,
 +how huge the billows which the gales raised,
 +how murderous the shore to which the
 +breakers, roaring on it, might forbid escape.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Twice my darling moaned for water. Each
 +time she thanked me with a smile, but the
 +mere task of swallowing seemed to rob her
 +lips of the power of pronouncing words. The<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_256"​ id="​Page_256">​[256]</​a></​span>​
 +moon went down in the west towards the
 +black line of land, and when it hung a rusty-red
 +over the ebon shadow under which trickled
 +the blood-like flakes of its reflection, the
 +dawn broke. For above an hour I had not
 +been able to see Imogene, so faint had fallen
 +the light of the westering orb, and for longer
 +than that time had she neither moaned, nor
 +whispered, nor stirred.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I directed my burning eyes into the east
 +for the sun, and when the pink of him was
 +in the sky, ere yet his brow had levelled
 +the first flashing beam of day, I looked at
 +Imogene.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>I looked, and yet looked; then knelt. She
 +was smiling, and by that I believed she lived;
 +but when I peered into the half-closed lids&​mdash;​oh,​
 +great God! The sun flamed out of the
 +sea in a leap then, and I sprang to my feet
 +and cursed him with a scorching throat for
 +finding me alone!</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_257"​ id="​Page_257">​[257]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The sequel to this extraordinary narrative
 +must be told by another pen.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>On the morning of the second day of
 +October, one thousand seven hundred and
 +ninety-six, the full-rigged ship Mary and
 +James, bound from Tonquin to London,
 +dropped anchor in Table Bay. She had
 +scarcely swung to her cable when the gig
 +was lowered, and her master, Captain William
 +Thunder, a small, bow-legged man, with a
 +fiery nose and a brown wig, entered her and
 +was rowed ashore. He marched, or rather
 +rolled, into the town, which in those days
 +was formed of a mere handful of low-roofed,
 +strongly-built houses, and knocking at one
 +of them, situated not a musket shot distant
 +from the grounds of the building of the
 +Dutch East India Company, inquired for
 +Mr. Van Stadens. The coloured slave, or
 +servant, showed him into a parlour, and
 +presently Mr. Van Stadens, an extremely
 +corpulent Dutchman, entered.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_258"​ id="​Page_258">​[258]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​They talked awhile of business, for Van
 +Stadens was the South African agent for the
 +owner of the Mary and James, and then said
 +Captain Thunder:</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mr. Van Stadens, I'm going to tell you
 +the most wonderful thing you ever heard in
 +all your life."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​By Gott, Toonder, and so shall you,"
 +replied Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​See here," said the captain, polishing his
 +forehead with so much energy that he unconsciously
 +shifted his wig, "we were about
 +ninety miles to the eastwards of Agulhas, the
 +weather clear, the wind about south, a quiet
 +breeze, the ship under all plain sail, and the
 +second officer in charge of the deck, when a
 +hand aloft sung out there was a vessel three
 +points on the lee bow. When we had her in
 +sight from the poop and caught her fair in
 +the glass, I was so much struck by the cut of
 +her canvas, which was a lug, narrow in the
 +head and secured to a yard more arched than<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_259"​ id="​Page_259">​[259]</​a></​span>​
 +either of my legs, that I bore down to see
 +what was to be made of her by a close
 +squint."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​So,"​ said Van Stadens, crossing his legs
 +and putting his hands upon his waistcoat in a
 +posture of prayer.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​She proved to be a canoe or boat," continued
 +Captain Thunder, "​rounded at bottom
 +like one of Crusoe'​s periaguas, with horns
 +sticking out at each square end of her. She
 +was, or I should say she had been, painted
 +red inside. The blades of her oars, shaped
 +like a Japanese fan, were also painted red.
 +Her sail looked to be an hundred years old&​mdash;​I
 +never saw the like of such canvas. The
 +most perfect description of its colour, patches,
 +texture would have sounded an abominable
 +lie to me if I hadn't viewed it myself."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​So,"​ said Van Stadens, nodding upon his
 +four chins, which resembled layers of pale
 +gutta-percha,​ with the elastic properties of
 +that stuff.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_260"​ id="​Page_260">​[260]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​In fact," said Captain Thunder, "she
 +was of the exact fashion of the boats you see
 +in old Dutch paintings&​mdash;​ship'​s boats, I mean."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​How oldt?" asked Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Two hundred years old," said Captain
 +Thunder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Goot. Is dot der fonder, Toonder?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Not by all the distance from here to the
 +top of Table Mountain, Mr. Van Stadens,"​
 +answered the captain. "I said to the second
 +mate, '​That'​s no natural boat, Mr. Swillig.
 +If she belongs to the age in which she
 +appears to have been built she ought to have
 +been powder or ooze a hundred and fifty
 +years ago. Can you make out anybody in
 +her?' He said '​No,'​ and argued with me
 +that there was something unnatural about her,
 +and recommended that we should haul to the
 +wind again and appear as if we hadn't seen
 +her, but my curiosity was tickled and we
 +stood on. Well, Mr. Van Stadens, we passed
 +close and what we saw fetched a groan out of<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_261"​ id="​Page_261">​[261]</​a></​span>​
 +every man that was looking and brought our
 +main-topsail to the mast in the wink of a
 +muskeety'​s eye, sir. A girl lay dead in the
 +bottom of the boat. She looked beautiful
 +in death, in life she must have been as lovely
 +as the prettiest of the angels of God. But
 +her dress! Why, Mr. Van Stadens, it
 +belonged to the time the boat was built in.
 +Ay, as I sit here to say it!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The Dutchman shook his head.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​You shall see it for yourself, sir&​mdash;​you
 +shall see it for yourself!"​ cried Captain
 +Thunder, with excitement. "We all said
 +she had been floating about in that boat for
 +two hundred years, and was a dead saint
 +watched by the eye of God, and not to be
 +corrupted as you and me would be. There
 +were three Dagos in our crew, and when
 +they saw her they crossed themselves. But
 +that wasn't all&​mdash;​not nearly all. In the bows
 +lay the figure of a seaman&​mdash;​an English sailor,
 +dressed as my mate is. We thought he was<span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_262"​ id="​Page_262">​[262]</​a></​span>​
 +dead, too, till we lowered a boat, when on a
 +sudden he lifted his head out of his arms and
 +looked at us. There was a shine in his eye
 +that showed us his wits were gone. Such a
 +haggard face, Mr. Van Stadens!&​mdash;​unshaven
 +for weeks, and his hair all of a mat; yet you
 +saw he had been a handsome man and was
 +a young one too. Well, his being alive
 +settled any hesitation I might have felt had
 +they both been corpses. I sung out to my
 +second mate to bring him aboard and the
 +girl's body also, proposing decent burial; but
 +the sailor man wasn't to be coaxed out of the
 +boat; he grinned with rage to Mr. Swillig'​s
 +invitations,​ flung himself upon the girl's body,
 +howling like a dog when my men boarded
 +him, and caused such a scuffle and a melee
 +that both boats came very near to being
 +swampt. They bound him with the painter,
 +and brought him and the corpse on board
 +along with three bags of provisions-such
 +bags, Mr. Van Stadens, and such provisions,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_263"​ id="​Page_263">​[263]</​a></​span>​
 +sir! But ye shall see '​em&​mdash;​ye shall see 'em,
 +and a pitcher half full of water and a silver
 +cup&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Eh?"​ grumbled Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A silver cup."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​So,"​ said the Dutchman. "Now ve com
 +to der fonders."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ay,​ sir, as you say. Look here!"</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He pulled a ring out of his waistcoat
 +pocket and held it up. It was a diamond
 +ring of splendour and beauty. The gems
 +flashed gloriously and Van Stadens gaped at
 +their brilliance like a wolf yawning at the
 +moon.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vere got you dot, Toonder?</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Off the girl's finger. 'Tis but one, Mr.
 +Van Stadens."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​But fon, hey! By toonder, Toonder,
 +but dot ring is der fonderfullest part of your
 +story as yet."</​p>​
 +
 +<p>He took it in his hand and his eyes danced
 +greedily to the sparkle of the beautiful bauble.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_264"​ id="​Page_264">​[264]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Well,"​ continued Captain Thunder, "we
 +put the man into a spare cabin, and gave the
 +job of watching him to the steward, a stout
 +hearty fellow. The girl was stone-dead, of
 +course. I ordered her dress, jacket and hat
 +to be removed, likewise the jewellery about
 +her&​mdash;​specially a noble rope of pearls&​mdash;&​mdash;"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​By toonder, no! You shoke, Toonder!"​
 +cried Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ye shall see with your own eyes&​mdash;​ye
 +shall see with your own eyes!" exclaimed the
 +captain. "I gave these orders more with
 +the idea of the things proving of use to
 +identify her by than for their value. I never
 +saw such under-linen,​ sir. 'Twas exquisitely
 +fine and choice. Beyond description,​ Mr.
 +Van Stadens. There was a ball-wound in
 +her shoulder, with a caking of blood about it.
 +That the fellow below had done this thing I
 +could not suppose. There were no arms of
 +any kind&​mdash;​if you except a big clasp knife&​mdash;​on
 +him or in his boat. We buried the poor,<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_265"​ id="​Page_265">​[265]</​a></​span>​
 +sweet, murdered thing in her fine linen,
 +giving her a sailor'​s hammock for a coffin
 +and a sailor'​s toss for a last farewell. As for
 +the boat, she looked unnatural and unlucky,
 +and I think my men would have mutinied
 +if I had ordered them to sling her over
 +the side. We unstepped the mast and sent
 +her adrift for the <span class="​smcap">​MAN</​span>​ she belongs to to
 +pick up, if so be he stands in need of
 +her."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vot <span class="​smcap">​MAN</​span>?"​ inquired Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vanderdecken,"​ responded Captain Thunder,
 +in a low voice, and with as much awe in
 +his face as his fiery pimple of a nose would
 +suffer to appear.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vot!"​ shouted Van Stadens. "Der
 +Flying Deutchman!"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Captain Thunder nodded. The other
 +smiled, and then broke into a roar of
 +laughter.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Hark,​ Mr. Van Stadens, wait till I've
 +done," exclaimed Thunder, with his face full<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_266"​ id="​Page_266">​[266]</​a></​span>​
 +of blood. "All that day the man remained
 +moody, with a lunatic'​s sullenness. He
 +refused to eat or drink. I was in and out a
 +dozen times but couldn'​t get him to speak.
 +Well, sir, at nine o'​clock in the night the
 +steward came and told me he was asleep.
 +He was watched all night, but never stirred;
 +all next night, and the day after that, and the
 +night after that, sir, but he never stirred.
 +For sixty hours he slept, Mr. Van Stadens,
 +or may I not leave this room alive! and I
 +thought he meant dying in that fashion.
 +Then he awoke, sat up and talked rationally.
 +His mind had come back to him and he was
 +as sensible as you or me."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Vell?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Well,​ he fed and rested a bit, and then
 +feeling stronger, he told me his story."​ And
 +here Captain Thunder repeated what is
 +already known to the reader.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Mr. Van Stadens listened with his fat face
 +full of incredulity.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_267"​ id="​Page_267">​[267]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Tis fonderful, inteet,"​ said he, "but it
 +isn't true."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I believe every word of it," said Thunder.
 +"Blast the Flying Dutchman! who doubts
 +him?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Your sailor man is mad," said Van
 +Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Oh,​ indeed,"​ sneered Thunder. "Then
 +account to me for the boat I saw him in, for
 +his female companion lying dead of a gunshot
 +wound; for this," said he, holding up the
 +diamond ring, "and for other matters I'll
 +show you when we get aboard."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Ve vill go on boort at oonst,"​ cried Van
 +Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​They repaired to the ship and found
 +Geoffrey Fenton in the cabin. He looked
 +haggard, weak, extremely sorrowful; but he
 +was as sane as ever he had been at any time
 +of his life. Thunder introduced Van Stadens,
 +and to this Dutchman Fenton repeated his
 +story, relating it so artlessly, with such<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_268"​ id="​Page_268">​[268]</​a></​span>​
 +minuteness of detail, above all unconsciously
 +using so many old-fashioned Dutch words,
 +which he had acquired from Vanderdecken,​
 +that the wonder in Van Stadens'​ face grew
 +into a look of stupefaction. He muttered,
 +frequently, "​Fonderful! fonderful! By toonder,
 +amazing!"​ But the measure of Captain
 +Thunder'​s triumph over the agent'​s incredulity
 +was not full till the articles belonging to
 +Fenton&​mdash;​for so they were regarded&​mdash;​were
 +produced. Van Stadens examined the pearls,
 +the rings which poor Imogene had worn, the
 +silver goblet, the antique dress, jacket and
 +sealskin cap, Vanderdecken'​s velvet cloak,
 +the pitcher, the articles of food which had
 +been preserved, these things, I say, Van
 +Stadens examined with mingled admiration
 +and consternation,​ such as a man might feel
 +to whom another exhibits a treasure he has
 +sold his soul to the Devil for.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Do you believe now!" cried Captain
 +Thunder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p><​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_269"​ id="​Page_269">​[269]</​a></​span></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​It is fonderful! it is fonderful!"​ returned
 +the Dutchman. "Do you go home with
 +Toonder, Herr Fenton?"</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​No,"​ said Thunder, "I am sorry; I dare
 +not do it. The crew have got scent of the
 +experiences of our friend here and wouldn'​t
 +sail with him for tenfold the value of the
 +plate and silver in the Death Ship's hold."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​I do not blame them," said Fenton, with
 +a melancholy smile.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​What I have proposed to Mr. Fenton is
 +this, Mr. Van Stadens,"​ said the captain:
 +"You are a man of honour and will see that
 +right is done to this poor gentleman."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​So,"​ said Van Stadens.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Let these articles be sold," continued
 +Thunder.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​All but the diamond ring," interrupted
 +Fenton.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​All but the diamond ring," said the
 +captain. "No one need know how they
 +were obtained; not a syllable of Mr. Fenton'​s<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_270"​ id="​Page_270">​[270]</​a></​span>​
 +story must be repeated; otherwise he'll get
 +no ship to carry him home."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​Van Stadens turned to Fenton and said
 +in Dutch: "I will buy these goods from
 +you. Their value shall be assessed to our
 +common satisfaction. Meanwhile, a room
 +in my house&​mdash;​my house itself&​mdash;​is at your
 +service. Remain awhile to recruit your
 +strength, and I will secure you a passage to
 +Amsterdam in the Indiaman that is due here
 +about the end of this month."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​They shook hands, and half-an-hour later
 +Fenton had taken leave of Captain Thunder
 +and his ship.</​p>​
 +
 +<p>It is proper to say here that the hospitable
 +but shrewd Dutchman gave Fenton eight
 +hundred dollars for the Vanderdecken relics,
 +and when Fenton had sailed, sold them for
 +three thousand ducatoons, of eighty stivers
 +each, after clearing some thousands of dollars
 +by exhibiting them.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>​The subsequent safe arrival of Geoffrey<​span class="​pagenum"><​a name="​Page_271"​ id="​Page_271">​[271]</​a></​span>​
 +Fenton in Europe may be gathered from his
 +narrative. Necessity forced him back to his
 +old vocation and he continued at sea, holding
 +various important commands down to the age
 +of sixty. Among his papers is a curious note
 +relating to the fate of the vessels which had
 +encountered the Death Ship during the time
 +to which his narrative refers. The Plymouth
 +snow, after speaking the Saracen, was never
 +again heard of; the Saracen was lost on one
 +of the islands of the Chagos Archipelago,​ but
 +her people were saved to a man by the boats.
 +The Centaur, three days after sighting the
 +Death Ship, was dismasted in a hurricane
 +and struggled into Simon'​s Bay in a sinking
 +condition. The fate of the French corsair is
 +not known, but it is satisfactory to know
 +that the James and Mary reached the Thames
 +in safety after an uneventful passage.</​p>​
 +
 +
 +<div class="​center">​THE END.</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +<​small>​
 +PRINTED BY<br />
 +TILLOTSON AND SON, MAWDSLEY STREET<​br />
 +BOLTON<​br />
 +</​small>​
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<h2>
 +HURST &amp; BLACKETT'​S<​br />
 +STANDARD LIBRARY.<​br />
 +</h2>
 +
 +<div class="​figcenter"​ style="​width:​ 300px;">​
 +<img src="​images/​emblem.jpg"​ width="​300"​ height="​297"​ alt=""​ />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<div class="​center">​
 +LONDON:<​br />
 +13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, W.<br />
 +</​div>​
 +
 +<hr class="​chap"​ />
 +
 +<p class="​center spaced space-above">​HURST &amp; BLACKETT'​S STANDARD LIBRARY<​br />
 +OF CHEAP EDITIONS OF<br />
 +POPULAR MODERN WORKS.<​br />
 +ILLUSTRATED BY<br />
 +<span class="​smcap">​Sir J. E. Millais, Sir J. Gilbert, Holman Hunt, Birket Foster,<​br />
 +John Leech, John Tenniel, J. Laslett Pott, etc.</​span><​br />
 +Each in a Single Volume, with Frontispiece,​ price 5s.
 +</p>
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​I.&​mdash;​SAM SLICK'​S NATURE AND HUMAN NATURE.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The first volume of Messrs. Hurst and Blackett'​s Standard Library of Cheap Editions
 +forms a very good beginning to what will doubtless be a very successful undertaking.
 +'​Nature and Human Nature'​ is one of the best of Sam Slick'​s witty and humorous productions,​
 +and well entitled to the large circulation which it cannot fail to obtain in its
 +present convenient and cheap shape. The volume combines with the great recommendations
 +of a clear, bold type and good paper, the lesser, but attractive merits of being well
 +illustrated and elegantly bound."&​mdash;<​i>​Morning Post.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​II.&​mdash;​JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​The new and cheaper edition of this interesting work will doubtless meet with great
 +success. John Halifax, the hero of this most beautiful story, is no ordinary hero, and
 +this his history is no ordinary book. It is a full-length portrait of a true gentleman, one
 +of nature'​s own nobility. It is also the history of a home, and a thoroughly English one.
 +The work abounds in incident, and many of the scenes are full of graphic power and true
 +pathos. It is a book that few will read without becoming wiser and better."&​mdash;<​i>​Scotsman.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​This story is very interesting. The attachment between John Halifax and his wife is
 +beautifully painted, as are the pictures of their domestic life, and the growing up of their
 +children; and the conclusion of the book is beautiful and touching."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​III.&​mdash;​THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY ELIOT WARBURTON.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Independent of its value as an original narrative, and its useful and interesting
 +information,​ this work is remarkable for the colouring power and play of fancy with
 +which its descriptions are enlivened. Among its greatest and most lasting charms is its
 +reverent and serious spirit."&​mdash;<​i>​Quarterly Review.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​Mr. Warburton has fulfilled the promise of his title-page. The '​Realities of Eastern
 +Travel'​ are described with a vividness which invests them with deep and abiding interest;
 +while the '​Romantic'​ adventures which the enterprising tourist met with in his
 +course are narrated with a spirit which shows how much he enjoyed these reliefs from
 +the ennui of every-day life."&​mdash;<​i>​Globe.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​IV.&​mdash;​NATHALIE.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY JULIA KAVANAGH.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Nathalie'​ is Miss Kavanagh'​s best imaginative effort. Its manner is gracious and
 +attractive. Its matter is good. A sentiment, a tenderness, are commanded by her which
 +are as individual as they are elegant. We should not soon come to an end were we to
 +specify all the delicate touches and attractive pictures which place '​Nathalie'​ high among
 +books of its class."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​V.&​mdash;​A WOMAN'​S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​These thoughts are good and humane. They are thoughts we would wish women to
 +think: they are much more to the purpose than the treatises upon the women and daughters
 +of England, which were fashionable some years ago, and these thoughts mark the
 +progress of opinion, and indicate a higher tone of character, and a juster estimate of
 +woman'​s position."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​This excellent book is characterised by good sense, good taste, and feeling, and is
 +written in an earnest, philanthropic,​ as well as practical spirit."&​mdash;<​i>​Morning Post.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​VI.&​mdash;​ADAM GRAEME OF MOSSGRAY.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY MRS. OLIPHANT.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​Adam Graeme'​ is a story awakening genuine emotions of interest and delight by its
 +admirable pictures of Scottish life and scenery. The plot is cleverly complicated,​ and
 +there is great vitality in the dialogue, and remarkable brilliancy in the descriptive passages,
 +as who that has read '​Margaret Maitland'​ would not be prepared to expect?
 +But the story has a '​mightier magnet still,'​ in the healthy tone which pervades it, in its
 +feminine delicacy of thought and diction, and in the truly womanly tenderness of its
 +sentiments. The eloquent author sets before us the essential attributes of Christian
 +virtue, their deep and silent workings in the heart, and their beautiful manifestations in
 +the life, with a delicacy, a power, and a truth which can hardly be surpassed."&​mdash;<​i>​Morning
 +Post.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​VII.&​mdash;​SAM SLICK'​S WISE SAWS AND
 +MODERN INSTANCES.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We have not the slightest intention to criticise this book. Its reputation is made, and
 +will stand as long as that of Scott'​s or Bulwer'​s novels. The remarkable originality of
 +its purpose, and the happy description it affords of American life and manners, still continue
 +the subject of universal admiration. To say thus much is to say enough, though we
 +must just mention that the new edition forms a part of the Publishers'​ Cheap Standard
 +Library, which has included some of the very best specimens of light literature that ever
 +have been written."&​mdash;<​i>​Messenger.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​VIII.&​mdash;​CARDINAL WISEMAN'​S RECOLLECTIONS
 +OF THE LAST FOUR POPES.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A picturesque book on Rome and its ecclesiastical sovereigns, by an eloquent Roman
 +Catholic. Cardinal Wiseman has here treated a special subject with so much generality
 +and geniality that his recollections will excite no ill-feeling in those who are most conscientiously
 +opposed to every idea of human infallibility represented in Papal domination."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​IX.&​mdash;​A LIFE FOR A LIFE.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We are always glad to welcome Mrs. Craik. She writes from her own convictions,​
 +and she has the power not only to conceive clearly what it is that she wishes to
 +say, but to express it in language effective and vigorous. In 'A Life for a Life' she is
 +fortunate in a good subject, and she has produced a work of strong effect. The
 +reader, having read the book through for the story, will be apt (if he be of our persuasion)
 +to return and read again many pages and passages with greater pleasure
 +than on a first perusal. The whole book is replete with a graceful, tender delicacy;
 +and, in addition to its other merits, it is written in good careful English."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"'​A Life for a Life' is a book of a high class. The characters are depicted with a
 +masterly hand; the events are dramatically set forth; the descriptions of scenery and
 +sketches of society are admirably penned; moreover, the work has an object&​mdash;​a clearly
 +defined moral&​mdash;​most poetically, most beautifully drawn, and through all there is that
 +strong, reflective mind visible which lays bare the human heart and human mind to the
 +very core."&​mdash;<​i>​Morning Post.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​X.&​mdash;​THE OLD COURT SUBURB.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY LEIGH HUNT.</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A book which has afforded us no slight gratification."&​mdash;<​i>​Athenæum.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​From the mixture of description,​ anecdote, biography, and criticism, this book is very
 +pleasant reading."&​mdash;<​i>​Spectator.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​A more agreeable and entertaining book has not been published since Boswell produced
 +his reminiscences of Johnson."&​mdash;<​i>​Observer.</​i></​p>​
 +
 +
 +<p class="​center">​XI.&​mdash;​MARGARET AND HER BRIDESMAIDS.</​p>​
 +
 +<p class="​center">​BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE VALLEY OF A HUNDRED FIRES."</​p>​
 +
 +<​p>"​We recommend all who are in search of a fascinating novel to read this work for