We were now anxious to reach some port where new masts and rigging might be obtained, as our progress under jury-masts, which carried only a limited spread of canvas, was necessarily slow. Donna Isabel was in favour of abandoning the “Golden Seahorse” at the first port we came to where another ship could be purchased to convey our treasure to Spain, but neither Hartog nor I would consent to this proposal, having no desire to see the interior of a Spanish prison, or to taste of the horrors of the Inquisition. It was astonishing how quickly Donna Isabel and her son, Pedro de Castro, appeared to have forgotten the obligation they were under to us for having rescued them from the desert island upon which they had been marooned. Both now spoke as if we were indebted to them for having put us in the way of enriching ourselves with the gold obtained from the Islands of Armenio, and Donna Isabel declared that the treasure really belonged to her, since she had possessed the secret which led to its discovery. I was so disgusted by the ingratitude of these Spaniards that I could hardly bring myself to speak of the matter with patience.
Hartog now proposed that we should make for Sumatra, and as this proposal appeared to promise a way out of, our difficulties, I had nothing to say against it.
Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands, having Malacca on the north, Borneo on the east, Java on the south-east, and the Indian Ocean on the west. It is eight hundred miles long and about one hundred and fifty broad, and it possesses a fine harbour capable of containing any number of the largest ships. Here we arrived without mishap, within three weeks after setting our course for this port, and cast anchor in a sheltered spot close to the shore. The harbour is commanded by a strong fortress, well fortified, and mounted with cannon. Three ships were at anchor, a Spanish frigate and two smaller vessels, one flying the flag of England, and the other displaying the colours of the Netherlands. We had barely found our moorings when a boat from the man-o’-war came alongside, steered by a young Spanish officer, who bore as much arrogance in his demeanour as there was to be seen gold lace and brass buttons upon his uniform. He haughtily demanded an interview with the captain, but upon Hartog stepping forward his manner became less offensive, and finally they descended together to the cabin, being shortly afterward joined by Donna Isabel.
Since I was not invited to this conference, I was forced to remain on deck, feeling very jealous of the influence which Donna Isabel exerted over Hartog, to the destruction of the mutual trust and confidence which had formerly existed between us. I felt, also, there was trouble in store for us. Hartog, although brave and resourceful upon the sea, was but a child when it came to dealing with business matters ashore, and I well knew that he would prove no match for the wily Spaniards with whom he was now in consultation.