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   Chapter 27 No.27

The Phantom Ship By Frederick Marryat Characters: 11325

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


The raft was found to answer well; and although her progress through the water was not very rapid, she obeyed the helm and was under command. Both Philip and Krantz were very careful in taking such marks and observations of the island as should enable them, if necessary, to find it again. With the current to assist them, they now proceeded rapidly to the southward, in order that they might examine a large island which lay in that direction. Their object, after seeking for Amine, was to find out the direction of Ternate; the king of which they knew to be at variance with the Portuguese, who had a fort and factory at Tidore, not very far distant from it; and from thence to obtain a passage in one of the Chinese junks, which, on their way to Bantam, called at that island.

Towards evening they had neared the large island, and they soon ran down it close to the beach. Philip's eyes wandered in every direction to ascertain whether anything on the shore indicated the presence of Amine's raft, but he could perceive nothing of the kind, nor did he see any inhabitants.

That they might not pass the object of their search during the night, they ran their raft on shore, in a small cove, where the waters were quite smooth, and remained there until the next morning, when they again made sail and prosecuted their voyage. Krantz was steering with the long sweep they had fitted for the purpose, when he observed Philip, who had been for some time silent, take from his breast the relic which he wore, and gaze attentively upon it.

"Is that your picture, Philip?" observed Krantz.

"Alas! No, it is my destiny," replied Philip, answering without reflection.

"Your destiny! What mean you?"

"Did I say my destiny? I hardly know what I said," replied Philip, replacing the relic in his bosom.

"I rather think you said more than you intended," replied Krantz, "but at the same time, something near the truth. I have often perceived you with that trinket in your hand, and I have not forgotten how anxious Schriften was to obtain it, and the consequences of his attempt upon it. Is there not some secret-some mystery attached to it? Surely, if so, you must now sufficiently know me as your friend, to feel me worthy of your confidence."

"That you are my friend, Krantz, I feel-my sincere and much valued friend, for we have shared much danger together, and that is sufficient to make us friends-that I could trust you, I believe, but I feel as if I dare not trust anyone. There is a mystery attached to this relic (for a relic it is), which as yet has been confided to my wife and holy men alone."

"And if trusted to holy men, surely it may be trusted to sincere friendship, than which nothing is more holy."

"But I have a presentiment that the knowledge of my secret would prove fatal to you. Why I feel such a presentiment I know not; but I feel it, Krantz; and I cannot afford to lose you, my valued friend."

"You will not, then, make use of my friendship, it appears," replied Krantz. "I have risked my life with you before now, and I am not to be deterred from the duties of friendship by a childish foreboding on your part, the result of an agitated mind and a weakened body. Can anything be more absurd than to suppose, that a secret confided to me can be pregnant with danger, unless it be, indeed, that my zeal to assist you may lead me into difficulties. I am not of a prying disposition; but we have been so long connected together, and are now so isolated from the rest of the world, that it appears to me it would be a solace to you, were you to confide in one whom you can trust, what evidently has long preyed upon your mind. The consolation and advice of a friend, Philip, are not to be despised, and you will feel relieved if able to talk over with him a subject which evidently oppresses you. If, therefore, you value my friendship, let me share with you in your sorrows."

There are few who have passed through life so quietly, as not to recollect how much grief has been assuaged by confiding its cause to, and listening to the counsels and consolations of, some dear friend. It must not therefore appear surprising, that, situated as he was, and oppressed with the loss of Amine, Philip should regard Krantz as one to whom he might venture to confide his important secret. He commenced his narrative with no injunctions, for he felt that if Krantz could not respect his secret for his secret's sake, or from good-will towards him, he was not likely to be bound by any promise; and as, during the day, the raft passed by the various small capes and headlands of the island, he poured into Krantz's ear the history which the reader is acquainted with. "Now you know all," said Philip with a deep sigh, as the narrative was concluded. "What think you? Do you credit my strange tale, or do you imagine, as some well would, that it is a mere phantom of a disordered brain?"

"That it is not so, Philip, I believe," replied Krantz; "for I too have had ocular proof of the correctness of a part of your history. Remember how often I have seen this Phantom Ship-and if your father is permitted to range over the seas, why should you not be selected and permitted to reverse his doom? I fully believe every word that you have told me, and since you have told me this, I can comprehend much that in your behaviour at times appeared unaccountable; there are many who would pity you, Philip, but I envy you."

"Envy me?" cried Philip.

"Yes! envy you: and gladly would I take the burden of your doom on my own shoulders, were it only possible. Is it not a splendid thought that you are summoned to so great a purpo

se,-that instead of roaming through the world as we all do in pursuit of wealth, which possibly we may lose after years of cost and hardship, by the venture of a day, and which, at all events, we must leave behind us,-you are selected to fulfil a great and glorious work-the work of angels, I may say-that of redeeming the soul of a father, suffering indeed, for his human frailties, but not doomed to perish for eternity; you have, indeed, an object of pursuit worthy of all the hardships and dangers of a maritime life. If it ends in your death, what then? Where else end our futile cravings, our continual toil, after nothing? We all must die-but how few-who indeed besides yourself-was ever permitted before his death to ransom the soul of the author of his existence! Yes, Philip, I envy you!"

"You think and speak like Amine. She too is of a wild and ardent soul, that would mingle with the beings of the other world, and hold intelligence with disembodied spirits."

"She is right," replied Krantz; "there are events in my life, or rather connected with my family, which have often fully convinced me that this is not only possible but permitted. Your story has only corroborated what I already believed."

"Indeed! Krantz?"

"Indeed, yes; but of that hereafter: the night is closing in, we must again put our little bark in safety for the night, and there is a cove which I think appears suited for the purpose."

Before morning, a strong breeze right on shore had sprung up, and the surf became so high as to endanger the raft; to continue their course was impossible; they could only haul up their raft to prevent its being dashed to pieces by the force of the waves, as the seas broke on the shore. Philip's thoughts were, as usual, upon Amine, and as he watched the tossing waters, as the sunbeams lightened up their crests, he exclaimed, "Ocean! hast thou my Amine? If so, give up thy dead! What is that?" continued he, pointing to a speck on the horizon.

"The sail of a small craft of some description or another," replied Krantz; "and apparently coming down before the wind to shelter herself in the very nook we have selected."

"You are right; it is the sail of a vessel, of one of those peroquas which skim over these seas-how she rises on the swell!-she is full of men, apparently."

The peroqua rapidly approached, and was soon close to the beach; the sail was lowered, and she was backed in through the surf.

"Resistance is useless should they prove enemies," observed Philip.

"We shall soon know our fate."

The people in the peroqua took no notice of them, until the craft had been hauled up and secured; three of them then advanced towards Philip and Krantz, with spears in their hands, but evidently with no hostile intentions. One addressed them in Portuguese, asking them who they were?

"We are Hollanders," replied Philip.

"A part of the crew of the vessel which was wrecked?" inquired he.

"Yes!"

"You have nothing to fear-you are enemies to the Portuguese, and so are we. We belong to the island of Ternate-our king is at war with the Portuguese, who are villains. Where are your companions? on which island?"

"They are all dead," replied Philip; "may I ask you whether you have fallen in with a woman, who was adrift on a part of the raft by herself? or have you heard of her?"

"We have heard that a woman was picked up on the beach to the southward, and carried away by the Tidore people to the Portuguese settlement, on the supposition that she was a Portuguese."

"Then God be thanked, she is saved," cried Philip. "Merciful Heaven! accept my thanks.-To Tidore you said?"

"Yes; we are at war with the Portuguese, we cannot take you there."

"No! but we shall meet again."

The person who accosted them was evidently of some consequence. His dress was, to a certain degree, Mahometan, but mixed up with Malay-he carried arms in his girdle and a spear in his hand; his turban was of printed chintz; and his deportment, like most persons of rank in that country, was courteous and dignified.

"We are now returning to Ternate, and will take you with us. Our king will be pleased to receive any Hollanders, especially as you are enemies to the Portuguese dogs. I forgot to tell you that we have one of your companions with us in the boat; we picked him up at sea, much exhausted, but he is now doing well."

"Who can it be?" observed Krantz, "it must be some one belonging to some other vessel."

"No," replied Philip, shuddering, "it must be Schriften."

"Then my eyes must behold him before I believe it," replied Krantz.

"Then believe your eyes," replied Philip, pointing to the form of

Schriften, who was now walking towards them.

"Mynheer Vanderdecken, glad to see you. Mynheer Krantz, I hope you are well. How lucky that we should all be saved. He! he!"

"The ocean has then, indeed, given up its dead, as I requested," thought Philip.

In the meantime, Schriften, without making any reference to the way in which they had so unceremoniously parted company, addressed Krantz with apparent good-humour, and some slight tinge of sarcasm. It was some time before Krantz could rid himself of him.

"What think you of him, Krantz?"

"That he is a part of the whole, and has his destiny to fulfil as well as you. He has his part to play in this wondrous mystery, and will remain until it is finished. Think not of him. Recollect, your Amine is safe."

"True," replied Philip, "the wretch is not worth a thought; we have now nothing to do but to embark with these people; hereafter we may rid ourselves of him, and strive then to rejoin my dearest Amine."

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