When the man-o’-war’s men boarded us, I ran down the companion stairs in search of the captain, whom I found lying senseless at the foot of the ladder. Fortunately for him, and for all of us, he had been stunned by a blow from one of the pirates as he descended, and was thus prevented from carrying out his desperate resolve to fire the magazine.
This was my last adventure upon the voyage, and some weeks later, without further mishap, we sighted a Dutch vessel bound for Amsterdam, to which, at my request, I was transferred.
I ARRIVE AT AMSTERDAM
My first care after arriving at Amsterdam was to interview the goldsmiths with a view to disposing of the jewels I had brought from the Island of Gems, which proved to be of such value that I realized a considerable sum by the sale of a small portion, for I wished to keep some of the best as a wedding present for Anna.
I lost no time in sending my compliments to the Count of Holstein, with a request that I might be allowed to call upon him. He consented to receive me, and I hastened to the Count’s palace, where I found the old nobleman prostrated with grief at the continued and unexplained illness of his only child; but when Anna had seen me, and satisfied herself of my return, she recovered so rapidly that her father, on hearing from me my improved condition, and the sentiments which I entertained for his daughter, gladly gave his consent to our union.
From Anna I learnt of the persecution to which she had been subject from Count Hendrick Luitken, which had mainly been the cause of her illness. Convinced that she would never accept him willingly, Count Hendrick, unknown to her father, had attempted to abduct her to his country estate. With the aid of one of her attendants Anna had made her escape, and believing me dead, while fearing further persecution, she had determined, should she be restored to health, to seek the cloister as her only safe refuge. As her tale proceeded I found it hard to restrain myself from starting off at once in pursuit of the villain who had treated my loved one so shamefully, and I promised myself to bring him to account when the opportunity should arise.
I next sought Hartog at the tavern which I knew he frequented. When he saw me he cried out, “Is it you or your ghost, Peter? I had never looked to see thee again, lad. I’d sooner have thee back than salvage all the gold in the Orient.”
I thanked him for his welcome, which I knew to be genuine, and taking a seat at his right hand, I began to tell him of my adventures since we last met. When he heard it was owing to the treachery of Van Luck I had been cast into the sea to be washed ashore on the Island of Gems, and of the subsequent fate of the island and of Van Luck, he became so interested that he promised to meet me later, when I could give him a more detailed account of all that had befallen me. I offered to share with him my jewels, but to this he would not consent.