Satan Came to Eden

Dore Strauch

Bibliography Texts
Information about text
Illustrations by Dr. Ritter, in 1936 edition only
Part I
I The End of One Life
II The New Life Begins
III We Find Our Eden
IV Difficulties
V Hugo
VI Mary Pinchot (1935);
Marauders (1936)
VII Mizpah
VIIIMany Annoyances
Part II
IX The Would-Be's
X The End of Captain Bruuns
XI Burro, the New House …
XII The Tug of War
XIIIWe Gain a Friend …
XIV Shadows Before
XV The “Baroness”
XVI The Baroness Takes Possession
XVIIThe Baroness Wins Me Round
Part III
XVIIIA Suspicious Event and …
XIX The Baroness is Disappointed
XX The Stage is Set
XXI Hit and Miss
XXII Deposed
XXIIIDeath in Daylight
XXIV Clues
XXV All Is Over
  Allan Hancock Postscript

These pages compare the text in the 1935 and 1936 editions. A single column displays text common to both editions, with some minor variations in punctuation ignored. Two columns display text that varies between editions. If the differences are contained within short phrases, they are {enclosed in braces/and separated by a forward slash}. If there is no phrase on one side of the slash, there is no equivalent for the phrase on the opposite side of the slash. An empty column indicates text in the adjacent column appears only in that edition. A correction is inserted on first occurrence of a typographical error, but the error is left as is thoughout the text.

Multiple-paragraph text on a white background appears in the 1935 edition only; a grey background indicates 1936 edition only. Both are spread across the page to save space.

Dr. Ritter's first name is spelled “Frederick” in both editions, though “Friedrich” in his Atlantic Monthly features and elsewhere. The author's first name is spelled “Dore” in all accounts except the 1935 Jarrolds edition of her own book, where it is Dora.

1935: Jarrolds1936: Harper & Brothers

Chapter XVIII: A Suspicious Event and …

An Exposure

a Showdown

The Baroness had certainly improved the original impression she made on me, but her ingratiating ways encouraged me to think that if she had been able to disarm me it could not be difficult to arrange a peace all round. We had extended a return invitation to her and her companions, and three weeks later I held a grand luncheon party for them all at Friedo.

I made it a point not of rivalry but of honour to show what our plantation could produce, and so composed a meal that a far better housewife than I might have been justly proud of. There was rice soup and kohlrabi stuffed with a puree of peas, and a salad made of my marvellous cucumbers, which grew like weeds and had an unusually fine flavour. With the third course I wanted especially to please young Lorenz; this consisted of the otoy dish with peanut butter, his favourite. I made a cake for dessert, and the flour in it was the only ingredient in the whole meal which did not actually come from Floreana. We had sugar-cane juice flavoured with pineapple to drink. It took a long time to prepare this native meal, and our guests arrived before I had quite done putting the finishing touches to it.

It was {therefore/} not until they were seated at the lunch table that I noticed with regret that Lorenz was missing. Remembering his hatred of the man Philippson, the dark-haired lover whom the Baroness foolishly insisted on referring to as her “husband,” I wondered whether the two of them had arranged to keep Lorenz working on that day. It annoyed me to think this might be so, for my invitation had been extended to him as well, and I thought it would have been both better manners and better policy not to display domestic differences so blatantly as by his absence.

Annoyance changed to consternation, however, at the Baroness's explanation as to why Lorenz had not come. She was extremely voluble. She used those conscious modulations of the voice which I had already noticed were a sign of particularly lurid lying on her part. The present situation called for the registering of deep emotion, so we were told in rich contralto that the poor, unfortunate, dear boy had suddenly been taken with a most alarming sickness. It was difficult to diagnose, but was apparently one of those tropical ailments. The sudden infection seemed to have brought on a recurrence of his tuberculosis. It was all terribly alarming, and for fear it might take a rapid, fatal turn, she had put him down at the Casa, though of course it was most dreadful that the wretched house was so far away, and one almost perished of alarm lest the next time one went down to see the patient, one would find him dead.

An almost imperceptible smile on Frederick's face betrayed his thoughts clearly enough, but he did not say aloud that he found it very strange that a doctor on the island had not been called in for so serious a case as this, nor did he ask what treatment was being given, nor whether there was anyone down at the Bay keeping watch over a sick man in such dire condition.

As for me, I was absolutely speechless. Either this woman was the most abysmal liar and there was nothing wrong with Lorenz at all, or else she was a fiend of callousness and cruelty to have put him out of her way down at the Casa, all alone, to fend for himself as best he might. I did not believe in the tropical ailment, nor did I believe in the tuberculosis.

Another possibility entered my mind, but this was so outrageous that I put it violently away from me, and was furious at myself for allowing the Baroness to encourage in me thoughts as melodramatic as her own. I looked at her sitting there perfectly unmoved, rattling off words of deep concern which she obviously did not feel, and eating her luncheon with good appetite, while—supposing the alleged illness were true—a man who loved her, whom she had at least once loved, whose career she had ruined, whom she had brought out to this wild place under false pretenses, lay suffering, perhaps dying, a stone's-throw away. As I watched her I began to believe that Lorenz really was ill, and in spite of all my inner protest, the hideous suspicion invaded me again, refusing this time to be banished.

During the weeks between our visit to the Baroness and this return call there had been unusually much to do at Friedo, and as if to emphasize our remoteness from the life she represented and had brought to the island, Frederick and I had shut ourselves more closely inside our own world, reading and studying, and immersing ourselves more deeply and uninterruptedly than we had done for some time in the philosophy which was at once our refuge and our universe. Lorenz had not been down to see us since, and we had paid but scant attention to Wittmer's weekly gossip. But now it came back to me that he had told us there had been much violent quarreling at the Baroness's, clearly audible at the Wittmers', for

as they both had to be close to the spring, the houses were very near each other.

the houses were near each other on account of the spring.

One day there had been a fearful scene, with everybody shouting together, he told us, and thereafter Lorenz had been seen no more at the caves, though Wittmer had met him at Post Office Bay. I remembered that he had told us that the climate of the island was evidently not agreeing with the young man, who seemed in a state of abnormal exhaustion, hardly able to do more than drag himself about; also that a bad catarrh troubled him greatly, and that a skin eruption was spoiling his good looks. I must have stored this information up unconsciously, for it all returned now clearly to my memory. I pitied the boy from the bottom of my heart and wished that I had had the wisdom not to let him come and see us.

I blamed myself for not having saved him from the vengeance of this woman, if she suspected that he had been betraying her secrets. After all, nothing was more likely than that the spy, Valdivieso, had gathered from Lorenz's unfinished work that he had gone off somewhere, and guessed that it might be to us. He might even have surprised him, coming or going. It was not as though I had not noticed, even on the first day, how terrified the Baroness was lest Lorenz move out of earshot, and I felt that I should at all costs have remembered this and warned him.

Luckily for the outward peacefulness of the luncheon party the Baroness evidently did not notice that I grew completely silent. As usual, she addressed herself chiefly to the men present, keeping up an incessant flow of conversation about herself and her thrilling experiences in every corner of the globe. But had my life depended on it, I could not have talked to her in that moment of chill horror which followed the sinister conclusion I had begun to draw as to the cause of Lorenz's sickness.

The absolutely non-committal calm of Philippson made him seem horrible to me. He said little, hardly speaking unless spoken to, and then it was almost always the Baroness herself who drew him into the conversation. While she was telling us about Lorenz's illness, I noticed the mask-like absence of expression on this man's face; I knew that these two men were rivals, that Lorenz, the ex-favourite, had been deposed in favour of this other, and that, while both were slaves to the woman, even to the extent of sleeping with her together in one bed when she commanded them to do so, a deadly hatred existed between them. It was not the wholesome, if primitive, hatred of rivals in love, but the unspeakable mutual loathing of two men, each seeing in the other the picture of his own debasement, compelled to live together.

Had Philippson taken advantage of the Baroness's present preference for himself to induce her to remove his mirror from his sight? Had she, bored with or afraid of Lorenz, used her power over Philippson to make him her accomplice against his enemy? Was the Ecuadorean the mere employee he seemed, or was his actual role something quite different, that I could not even guess at? Suddenly the voice of my Burro broke into the turmoil of my thoughts. I could have kissed him for that interruption. I got up—how thankfully!—from the table, and went to let him into the corral, where the Baroness's donkey was. When I returned, she had come to the feminine topic of Parisian styles, and needed me now for her audience. I had to make a show of interest. Hardly was she well started than Burro made himself very determinedly heard again—of course, I had forgotten to take him water. The Baroness was much displeased, but the remark she made was only a shade caustic, and I attended to my donkey's wants.

When I came back the Baroness continued the interrupted theme. She said the very latest thing in Paris was white lace. “You know,” she said, “the kind of thing they put all the virgins into for their first communion.” She said this with unmistakable suggestiveness, but the situation was once more saved—and wrecked—by Burro, this time trampling furiously to be let out. The Baroness had no {hesitation/reserve} about her annoyance at having been balked of a conversational success by the ill manners of a donkey.

When I came back at last, she said, “If you treat your husband as well as you do your donkey, what a happy man he must be!” The words and tone were full of venom.

I felt sorry for my poor Burro that he had incurred such jealousy. I should have been far sorrier had I dreamed that his innocent incursion into the center of a stage where the Baroness was already established would cost him his life.

The talk did not return to fashions. On the contrary, from that moment till the end of the visit it became more and more menacing and uncanny. The Baroness began to tell us of her hunting expeditions on the island. She boasted of her marksmanship, and though I doubted almost everything she said about herself, I felt that it was true that she was a good shot with a gun. I could hardly believe my ears as she proceeded to relate her hunting tales. We had cured Hugo of the wanton slaughter he had been accustomed to wreak among the wild cattle of Floreana. Now we were to hear that this had recommenced on a far larger scale. The Baroness informed us that she ate no meat except the best cuts of veal or pork, and had to be well supplied with these. She left us to surmise what this implied.

If this {was all/sounded} extravagant {and disproportionate/}, it was as nothing{, however,/} compared with her procedure with the wild dogs. It seemed she wished to own a dog or two, but the wild ones roaming the island had refused to let themselves be caught or lured into the precincts of the Baroness's land. She therefore devised another means of getting hold of them.

“Men and dogs are all alike,” she said. “If they won't come willingly, you bring them down by force, and then you make them well again. They will stay then, and it does them good to know who is their master.” Incredible as it may sound, this was literally her method. She had gone out on the pampa and shot two wild dogs in the belly, though not fatally. Then she had brought them round, and apparently they had remained with her, though one of them, according to her own story, had been crippled for life.

These and similar experiences were now the Baroness's themes, but I had ceased to listen. I looked around at Friedo, the place of peace, that had been made to harbour good living and good thoughts. In Frederick's time and mine, at least, it had seen no cruelty or violence, but all animals could come there without fear, and all human beings received an honest welcome. What was this woman doing here? She seemed to turn the place into a travesty of itself. I felt as Eve must have felt on learning that the serpent was the Evil One.

Near where we sat lay the pile of gifts with which we had marked the cordial intention of this occasion—a date palm, otoy and sugar-cane plants, pineapple shoots, aguacate and vine shoots; also seven different kinds of banana plants, for although the Baroness had planted bananas, the Friedo species had acquired a reputation up and down the Ecuadorean coast as the best obtainable. I could not wait for her to go and take these things with her; the very sight of them was an offence, and nothing in the world would have an offence, and nothing in the world would have induced me to touch a single leaf of them again. It was as though through the mere fact of having been accepted by this person they had become tainted.

What was my consternation when the Baroness's voice cut into these dark thoughts of mine, saying, “Oh, Dr. Ritter—do tell me! Is it true that milk's the antidote for arsenic poisoning?” I turned and looked at her so sharply that if she had noticed, something awful must have happened. But she noticed nothing. The question had been asked as though quite idly, flung out in the incoherent and irrelevant way she had. I wondered if Frederick, who had as usual not been given time to answer the question, had been made thoughtful by it. But his face was calm.

At long last this hideous afternoon came to an end, and the Baroness and Philippson rose to leave. The courteous Frederick accompanied them to the edge of Friedo. I excused myself on the pretext of having to feed my animals. I stood where they had left me, listening to the sound of the donkey's footsteps, very audible in the silence, and almost fearing to ask myself the question—had Friedo harboured murderers that day?

When Frederick came back I searched his face for the look which would betray that his thoughts were the same as mine. But he was quite calm, merely a little bored.

“Such a waste of time,” he said, “chattering with a woman all afternoon.”

I stared at him in blank amazement.

“You must be blind!” I said. “Can't you see the woman's a criminal?”

Frederick looked at me and smiled. “My dear child,” he said. “Don't tell me you're becoming theatrical, too!”

This was too much. The anguish I had been through had brought me to such a pitch of nervousness that I could not contain myself a moment longer. I broke out into a storm of accusation. I insisted on Frederick's immediately going down to Post Office Bay to find out whether Lorenz was alive or dead, and help him if it was not too late. I said that we must absolutely get a message to the Ecuadorean authorities, telling them the island was unsafe so long as this slutty woman inhabited it. I said that ordinary humanity demanded that we come to the aid of that unfortunate young man who, whatever he might be, was as entitled as anybody else to protection against murderers.

Frederick very wisely waited till this storm subsided. Then he said, “Listen, my dear, you are much too excited not to resent it if I tell you that I think you take this woman far too seriously. I think she's just an actress. But even supposing she was everything you suspect—what would be her advantage at present if she murdered this young man? Murders of such a kind always have a motive, and the Baroness, though hysterical, is shrewd enough. Of course, I don't believe for a moment that Lorenz has tuberculosis. It ought to show you what a fool she is, to think that she could take in a medical man with such a piece of nonsense. But murder? There would be inquiries. That would be very embarrassing to her, for I am qualified to make a post-mortem; and as she hasn't seduced me yet and is not likely to, I should naturally report the truth. As for leaving Lorenz quite alone down at the Casa, where at any moment people might land and take him off the island and put him into a hospital where he could talk unchecked, that is even less likely. So you see, this is obviously a scheme of sheer intimidation. The woman is undoubtedly a person who would stop at nothing, but it isn't in her interest to do what you suspect.”

As always, I had to admit that Frederick was right, but though reassured on the main point, I was still unreconciled. I asked Frederick if he meant to look up the sick boy, and see what he could do for him, but he said no. To do so would only bring a mountain of trouble upon us, and would, moreover, do a very ill turn to Lorenz, even to the extent of putting him in serious danger, for the Baroness was a woman who would brook no interference. Her vindictiveness would know no bounds if she once thought she had been double-crossed, and until there was grave reason to believe that Lorenz's life was in danger, he would keep his hands off and so must I. But the next time Wittmer went down to the Bay he should ask Lorenz if he wanted to consult a doctor. Then it would be professionally correct, and Frederick would on no account refuse his services, whatever the consequences. I insisted that we write a letter to the Ecuadorean government or to the German consul, but Frederick shook his head. “There would be no more use in that,” he said, “than in the other letter I wrote to very much the same effect after her outrageous performance that time with Stampa. That one was also ignored.”

“I simply cannot understand it,” I said. “Surely those people owe us some protection.”

When Wittmer came down the next time we told him to try and get Lorenz to let Frederick see him, but no such call came.

The end of January brought us a pleasant surprise. Our friend Captain Hancock, {the musician-scientist/of the cruiser Velero}, returned. He overloaded us with gifts which we could only inadequately repay with the sincerity of our pleasure at meeting him again. Naturally the party on the Velero had heard all about the Baroness and were much intrigued. We gave but non-committal answers to their questions, turning off their demands for our opinion by saying that we preferred to let them form their own.

I knew very well that the Baroness would be in a fever of excitement at the arrival of the first of the millionaires she hoped to bait, and I was curious to see what would happen. At Captain Hancock's request, Frederick showed him and his party the way up to the Baroness's house, but I did not accompany them. A few hours later they returned, the Baroness and Philippson with them. With the many gifts strewn about the veranda, the place looked like a birthday, and I saw a gleam of sharp resentment in the Baroness's eyes as she saw these tokens of friendliness towards us.

Contretemps large and small, and much veiled and unveiled malice marred the remainder of that day, so that I was almost glad this time when the visitors took their leave, promising to come back in a week, when they hoped to have completed a botanical expedition to the other islands.

A second group from the Velero had joined their friends at Friedo, coming up from Post Office Bay and bringing Lorenz with them. I saw him recoil when he caught sight of the Baroness and Philippson on the veranda, but one look from her, and an almost imperceptible yet most imperious movement of the hand, brought him to her side. For a moment they chatted together, in the most natural manner in the world. Though hatred might now bind these two people as love had bound them formerly, nothing could have been more flawless and complete than their understanding of each other. It was like the unhallowed mutual understanding of a wild animal and its circus trainer. The more I saw of the Baroness and Lorenz, the more apt this comparison seemed to me, with all the frightening possibilities that it implied. In Lorenz's greeting to me and Frederick there was a touch of hesitancy, as though he feared that we had drawn dangerous conclusions from his ignoring our offer to be of help to him. But I took the bull by the horns, and said in a very distinct voice, “We are glad to see you up here again after all these months, Herr Lorenz. Are you better? We heard that you'd been ill.” I saw the Baroness dart me a look of sheer malevolence, and she answered for him before he had time furtively to seek his cue from her.

“Herr Lorenz has quite recovered, thank you. If another doctor had been necessary, I should, of course, have consulted Dr. Ritter.”

“Another doctor?” asked someone, who happened to be sitting next to her.

“Oh, yes !” she answered charmingly. “I'm practically that as well, though I know I don't look much like such a blue-stocking! Just think, this place affected our Lorenz so queerly he fell most frightfully ill. I even thought we might lose him, but I pulled him through all right. Didn't I?” and she turned towards Lorenz.

Lorenz looked a wreck indeed; his nice fresh colour had all gone, he had grown thin and gaunt. One would hardly have recognized him as the handsome, debonair young man who had arrived so short a while ago. But he made a brave, convincing answer, and the topic changed to something else.

As Captain Hancock left, I swore that I would tell him everything on his return, and ask him not to inflict the Baroness's presence upon me again. But when it came to the point I did no such thing.

The Velero took the Ecuadorean, Valdivieso, off Floreana. His contract with the Baroness had expired, and he refused to renew it. There had been a fierce set-to between them, but Valdivieso turned upon the Baroness and Philippson so threateningly that they retired in confusion. This information was brought us afterwards by Wittmer. He claimed that Valdivieso was fed up to the back teeth because of the threesomes with Robert Phillipson and the Baroness. He was tired to act as a stallion for her and for Robert at the same time. That sucked him! At the time of the visit, we only knew that the man was leaving, and I guessed that this could not fail to affect Lorenz's situation, for who would act as policeman over him? It occurred to me that perhaps a kind of reconciliation had been arranged, and I almost hoped so for his sake.

As soon as we were alone, I complained bitterly to Frederick about this woman's wrecking of my peace. He did not take me seriously, but passed it off as “women's bickerings”, and advised me with the utmost urgency to remain on outwardly good terms with her.

“She is not harmless,” he said, “but she is not so very dangerous either. Only one thing you must remember—she has come here to make her fortune by fair means or foul, and she is a determined person. She will sooner push us off this island than we her, because we are less ruthless than she. Open war could only mean our leaving. The choice lies entirely with ourselves—in fact with you, Dore. Is Friedo worth this effort of self-control to you?”

“How can you ask?” I answered.

“Very well, then, we must act accordingly. And I don't believe that she will be here longer than about another year at the very outside. We can well afford to wait.”

This was all true, but hard to admit. For the hundredth time I resolved to forget her existence as far as possible, and hoped that Friedo would be spared unnecessary reminders of it.

The Sunday following the departure of the Velero showed how vain this hope had been. Unannounced and uninvited, the Baroness paid a call upon us with the inevitable Philippson as escort. I could not imagine the Baroness doing anything without a purpose, but what the object of this visit was I could not guess and was never to find out.

The conversation began harmlessly enough but I felt that this was but a prelude. I have no liking for, and little patience with, empty social chatter, so when the talk flagged I did not trouble much to fill in the pauses.

All at once the Baroness said, “Too kind of you to have sent fodder to my donkeys at the Bay! I suppose that Captain Hancock thinks your kindness to animals most awfully touching—it's not a bad trick!”

“Captain Hancock,” I answered, “saw that those poor beasts were almost starved to death, and asked me to send them down some sugar-cane. As to the rest of your remark, I prefer not to have heard it. But at any rate, if Captain Hancock thinks I'm decent to my animals, he could hardly think the same of you, after seeing the state that yours are in.”

The Baroness laughed. “Oh, not at all, my dear,” she said. “He was absolutely horrified about the poor things. But he doesn't for a moment believe that I had anything to do with them. We told him they were yours!”

This took me so utterly aback that I could only gasp.

“You'll have your work cut out explaining that away to him, won't you?” she said. I could not even answer her.

“I think it might be just as well, you know,” she went on after a pause, “if you confined that extreme kind-heartedness of yours to animals. It's a lot safer.”

“I don't know what you mean,” I said.

“Well, in future, just let the state of Lorenz's health be my affair, won't you? Of course, we thought your interest very touching and all that, but it's after all none of your business. Or are you perhaps in love with him?”

“If you have come to my house to insult me, Frau Wagner,” I said, “I think perhaps you'd better go before I ask you to.”

Again she laughed, but this time more ingratiatingly, and I waited for the next sally, knowing that she was not done with me yet.

“Your Captain Hancock is very generous to his protégés,” said the Baroness.

“Frederick and I are nobody's protégés,” I answered, “but Captain Hancock has been very kind to us.”

“He was simply charmed with my place,” said the Baroness. “When he comes back we're going to make a film.”

“Indeed?” said I.

“Yes. It's to be called The Empress of Floreana. That's me!”

“I wasn't aware of it,” I said. “Have you bought the place by any chance?”

“No,” said the Baroness, “but the aristocracy are the natural rulers of the places they come to. It's in my blood—you wouldn't understand—it's a feeling one has to be born to, don't you know! But please don't be afraid that I'll put on airs with you. I'm really very democratic, and have always got on excellently with the common people.”

“Oh, my dear woman,” I said, “we're not acting in your film. You know I don't believe you're any more a Baroness than I am!”

For half a second she was disconcerted, then putting on her most regal air she said, “You are very insolent, but I suppose you don't know any better.”

I really had to admire the woman. She was indeed, as Lorenz had said, a superb actress.

“On the contrary,” I answered, “I know a good deal better. I know, for instance, that your nickel spoons and forks are unfortunately decorated with the wrong coronet. Quite ordinary commoners learn in school that the barons have five points and the counts seven.”

This caught her off her guard and she was plainly rattled, but again only for a moment. Still smiling, she said, “I congratulate you, my dear woman! But as it happens, my silver belonged to my mother, and the coronet engraved on it was hers.”

“I see,” I said.

But now my hunting blood was up, and I resolved to corner this quarry, though rather despising myself for relishing so mean a sport. I led the conversation to the exigencies of the tropical climate, and said that valuable metals rather suffered through exposure to the heat and being washed in the peculiar kind of water on Floreana. I said that we had brought very little cutlery with the exception of {Nirosta/nerosta [sic]} ware, and had found that this was by far the most suitable metal for the tropics.

Knowing my pigeon, I added, “But, of course, {Nirosta/nerosta} is horribly expensive.”

I knew quite well that this would draw her, for if there was one thing she could not endure, it was the thought that anybody possessed anything of more value than something of hers, no matter what it was. “Much dearer than silver,” I repeated meaningly.

“I rather doubt that,” said the Baroness, and turned to Philippson. “How much was it, darling, that we paid for our cutlery—not including the engraving, of course?” This was to me.

I laughed outright. I had brought down my bird, and now began to feel really sorry for her, more sincerely unhostile than at any time since I had met her. The poor thing could not deal with this situation, and did exactly the wrong thing. Talking fifteen to the dozen, she plunged into the wildest account of her antecedents, her childhood, her education, her experience at court where her mother, so she said, had been a lady-in-waiting, of balls and parties and illustrious suitors. But in every other sentence was a contradiction, and as she forgot one lie before she had composed the next, her tale became a pitiful kaleidoscope of foolish boastings, until I myself would gladly have interrupted her for her own dignity's sake. Philippson was in the throes of dire embarrassment, but she ignored the warning pushes of his foot against hers underneath the table, all easily visible to me; she was so wound up that only the exhaustion of both breath and fantasy could stop her.

After it was all over, she said, “Now perhaps you believe me!”

I had really no serious enmity against her now. I regarded her as a thing of tinsel, rather to be pitied. I should have answered her accordingly, but I suppose I had not yet downed the imp of cruelty inside me, and so I said instead, “Of course I don't! What nonsense!”

But Philippson had had enough. “Come, little one,” said this young man to his mistress of forty-four, “ you have been sufficiently insulted. Let us go.”

Now Frederick came upon the scene and received the full flood of animadversion against me. Remembering the talk we had had about an open war, and his advice to me, which I had promised to take, Frederick ranged himself on the Baroness's side—as I thought, inexcusably. Thinking herself secure in this unexpected and powerful protection, the lady then made the mistake of allowing herself to fling at me an epithet of a kind which is considered even among the lowest of the low a little strong for use in mixed company. But Frederick was a wise man, and knew how to turn this to advantage.

He said, “Well, Baroness, after that expression, I think that you and Dore are at least quits, no matter what she may have said to you. Let us come back and eat lunch together, and not waste time with all this nonsense.”

It was impossible for the woman to refuse. A curious change had taken place in her whole manner. She became less careful of the words she used, and her talk was often that of a woman of the streets. It astounded Frederick, as I could see, and made him blush for her. He was offended and uncomfortable. But I was glad, and thought it served him right. I was in good humour at this meal and afterwards, and when the company left and Frederick looked as though he were about to rebuke me, I said, “You need not bother, my dear. It's just as well this happened, in fact excellent for all concerned. It was I who won, and not the Baroness.”

But I was flattering myself.

Chapter XIX: The Baroness is Disappointed

Whenever Herr Wittmer went down to Black Beach to get his skiff and row round to the Bay to see whether mail had come, he would drop in at Friedo and ask us if there was anything we wanted him to do for us. One day early in February he came by and stopped awhile to tell us the {neighbourhood/neighborhood} news.

Up at the caves, the social atmosphere was very sultry and it could not be long, he said, before he and his {neighbours/neighbors} had a show-down. We believed him when he said that he was a man who would do almost anything for the sake of peace, and make a thousand compromises rather than fight; but too much was too much, he said, and he was almost at the end of nerves and patience.

It was no easy matter to raise the baby on Floreana, and they had waited in some anxiety for the arrival of forty tins of condensed milk they had ordered. This indispensable supply had not arrived and his wife was very worried, for there was no chance whatever of obtaining milk otherwise. It was impossible to ask the Baroness to sell them milk from her cows even if she had been willing to do so for a high price, because the poor beasts were in the last stages of neglect, almost of starvation, and could probably not have produced a cupful between them. While they were waiting for the tinned milk to arrive, he said, they often thought what an irony it was to have a herd of good strong cattle roaming on the {pampa/pampa} but quite impossible to domesticate. It was Captain Hancock who had been kind enough to say that, as he was returning so soon to the island, he would be glad to bring not only the milk but blankets also, and a bolt of cotton for clothes. Meanwhile the Captain had come and gone again, and Wittmer had not seen him. He had gone down to the Bay but the supplies had not been landed. He could not help suspecting that there was something very odd about this, as Captain Hancock would certainly not have left the baby in the lurch like that.

A day or two later the Baroness had sent Philippson over with a few blankets “which she hoped Frau Wittmer might care to make use of.” There was no great friendliness in this action, for the things were very shabby and soiled. But Frau Wittner had accepted them gladly, and on the whole the relations between the two houses became again fairly pleasant, though still far from cordial.

Now, however, Wittmer was convinced that all the things he ordered had been brought, and that the Baroness had simply stolen them. The whole business was too much like the rice episode.

My intercession in the cause of peace had caused the resumption of relations between the Wittmers and the Baroness; now seemingly she had once more abused them. But I will do Herr Wittmer the justice to say that he would not hold me responsible for the imminent rupture. Both Frederick and I had by now formed an excellent opinion of Herr Wittmer. He had shown himself in many ways to be a thoroughly likable and honourable person. We thought him most unfortunate in his partner, who was neither so well-bred nor so kindly a person as he, and who was, moreover, quite obviously dazzled by the proximity of the nobility, and hand-in-glove with the Baroness.

Frau Wittmer was a rather ordinary type of woman and a great gossip. We were quite sure that life in the wilderness would lose its charm for her comparatively soon. Herr Wittmer certainly felt that we were not attracted to his companion, and was tactful enough not to invite us too often to his house. But he came faithfully every week to Friedo, and we were always glad to see him.

He {also/} told us on this visit that since the departure of Valdivieso, Lorenz had been taken back into the family bosom and was living at the Baroness's. Apparently he and Philippson had also called a kind of truce; at any rate, for the time being there had been no more alarming quarrels. I was sure that it would have been better if Lorenz had had as much courage as Valdivieso and had gone away also. I could not believe that that triangle up at the caves would remain intact, and knew that when it broke apart it would do so only at the cost of considerable havoc.

Hardly had Wittmer left for Black Beach than he was back again, shouting to us furiously that his boat had disappeared. It could not possibly have been washed out to sea; no one had been there but Captain Hancock and a small yachting party of Englishmen—all of them people obviously incapable of stealing a boat, and having no use for it in any case. The only remaining possibility was the Baroness. Frederick said, “Why don't you ask your {neighbour/neighbor}? She could probably tell you where it is.” If the Baroness had played this trick on Wittmer it was one of sheerest malice, for she could not use the stolen property without being discovered as the thief. If she had destroyed it—and we thought she must have done so—it was out of sheer envy. This theory was amply borne out when, later, we learned what had really happened to the boat.

NOTE: The sentence at right seems to have been omitted here by accident.

The Baroness had made the Ecuadorean, Valdivieso, take it along with him when he left.

She herself, however, told a different story, which ran as follows: The English yachtsmen had stolen it, and it had been bought from them at Panama by a Frenchman who performed the striking feat of paddling it all the way from Panama to Chatham.

At Chatham, so she told Herr Wittmer, it would now be found.

It was now at Chatham, so she told Herr Wittmer.

Considering that the boat was a frail, collapsible affair and the voyage from Panama no short or simple one, we sensed that this was only another of the lady's {romances/yarns, and that actually the Ecuadorean had taken the boat and left it where he landed.} This insensate jealousy of the Baroness's was becoming almost intolerable. She begrudged everybody everything. Even my Burro had become an object of her {special/especial} hatred since the day when he had broken into her conversation, and especially since she had heard some American visitors to the island talking admiringly about him. Her open hatred of this harmless animal had reached such a pitch that Wittmer, when he borrowed him, as he sometimes did, never dared let him loose except at a safe distance from the woman's place.

After the incident of the stolen boat, Wittmer, in consultation with Frederick, wrote to the Ecuadorean authorities, reporting the theft. To this complaint Frederick added a general report upon the present condition of the island, stating that the presence of the new settlers was rapidly rendering the place intolerable for all others. He asked that something be done, and suggested that the most immediate need was for a qualified medical expert to come over and examine the woman as to her mental condition. He was convinced that she was not altogether sane, but still held to his opinion that her infirmity was nothing more serious than acute hysteria.

One morning we were busy sorting papayas when we noticed, approaching our side of the island, a yacht and a smaller craft that looked like a fishing-boat. They both seemed to be making for Black Beach, and as the yacht came nearer we could tell by its yellow funnels that it was the Nourmahal, and that we could look forward to a third visit from Mr. Vincent Astor. Before the ship had even anchored, a row-boat put off rapidly from the fishermen's side, stopped for a few moments at the yacht, and then returned where it had come from. Immediately afterwards Mr. Astor's motorboat left the yacht, and we made ready to receive him in about half an hour. Frederick went down the path to meet our guest, while I stayed to feed my Burro, who had been neglected during the sorting of the papayas, and was now demanding his breakfast with much indignation. He was a particular pet of Mr. Astor's, who loved his deep bray and called him the “Caruso of Floreana.” Another trick of Burro's, which he had learned all by himself, was his loud announcing of all visitors, just like a dog. He had a special voice for this. No sooner had he heralded Mr. Astor than the whole party arrived. Frederick was pushing a brand-new wheelbarrow before him.

When the first greetings had been exchanged, Mr. Astor showed his party all over Friedo. He was as familiar with everything as we were ourselves, and seemed to take special pleasure in doing the honours in our stead. Mr. Astor was amused. He had, he said, received an extremely hospitable invitation from the Baroness, who was apparently all set to receive him in great style. But he did not think that he would go. While some of his friends protested that if he did not, they could not very well, and that he was depriving them thereby of a good show, Burro again announced the approach of visitors, and Frederick hastened to the gate. It was the {padrone of Isabella/padrone of Isabela/ with his young wife, whom he had brought to consult Frederick, as she had been ailing of late. They had an exciting tale to tell. They had come to Floreana in a hired fisher-boat and had seen the Nourmahal anchored in Post Office Bay. The moment they landed, a young man stormed out of the Casa towards them, and insisted that they order their boatman to take him immediately to the yacht. There was such agitation in his manner, in fact he seemed so thoroughly beside himself, that they thought he must be in some awful trouble, so they did not hesitate a moment, but urged their man to make all speed to convey the stranger where he wished to go.

Their interest had been very much aroused, especially as he had not told them why they were to render him this service, so they waited on the beach to see what would happen next, speculating meanwhile as to what might be the contents of a letter the young man was waving frantically in his hand, as though in a fever of anxiety and suspense. When they saw the big ship suddenly begin to move rapidly off so that it would be quite impossible for the rower ever to catch up with it, they felt dreadfully distressed about the poor young man. They almost expected the excited señor to jump into the sea, and were in great alarm as to what would happen if the mysterious letter went undelivered. In due course the boatman brought the young man back, and if he had been agitated before, he was in a frenzy now. Before they knew what was happening to them, he had fairly bundled them both back into the fishing-boat and was imploring them to make all haste to reach Black Beach, whither, he said, the yacht was bound. The situation was the more difficult, as the young man could speak no word of Spanish, and the {padrone/padrone} could only make shift to understand his French. The rest of the incident as they related it corresponded to what we had seen, and they were no wiser than we. It did not take much guessing on our part, however, to figure out that the excited messenger had been none other than Philippson and that the letter was the Baroness's invitation. Mr. Astor did not go to see the Baroness. We spent the evening with him on the Nourmahal; when we reached Friedo later we turned for a farewell look to see the yacht gliding off towards {Isabela/Isabella}, with all her shining lights reflected in the midnight waters.

Early next morning we heard a loud voice calling outside Friedo, and the next moment Philippson appeared. We were not over-pleased to see him but went towards him with a polite word of greeting, which he scarcely returned. Without waiting for our invitation, he strode towards the house. His conduct was so strange that for a second we could find nothing to say. He cast one searching look around that took in the whole veranda, then penetrated farther into our “reading room.” Arrived there, he again looked around him with a strange expression but offered no explanation for this singular behaviour. We stood and watched him, thinking that he had probably gone mad. This would not in the least have surprised us, for we were beginning to think that a half-insane woman like the Baroness could easily turn the brains of anyone who lived at close quarters with her for any length of time. Philippson's face was white with a kind of suppressed fury and he seemed to be holding himself in check with all his strength. Suddenly the bonds of self-control snapped, and gripping the edge of the table tightly with both hands, he burst into such a torrent of recrimination against us that it fairly took our breath away. When we were finally able to make out what it was all about, we learned that we had used our influence with Mr. Astor to keep him from the Baroness, and that we alone were to blame for the insult he had inflicted upon her through his ignoring of her invitation.

“My dear man,” said Frederick quietly, “you're talking utter nonsense. We are not interested in other people's affairs and it is certainly nothing to us whom Frau von Wagner chooses to invite or who accepts or declines her invitations. I think you'd better go. Good morning!” This calm rejoinder caused a fresh explosion. I should never have thought it possible that this man and the Philippson we knew could be one and the same person. His good-looking features were distorted with rage. He seemed hardly to know what he was saying, and his tirade ended by his suddenly whirling round on Frederick with his hand lifted for a blow.

During this scene I watched Frederick's excitement steadily rising, and was in terror lest it overcome him suddenly so that he would knock the young man down. I thought of the trouble this might lead to, and stood by in anguish, hoping that nothing would happen. Frederick had been sitting down. I saw the superhuman effort with which he forced his voice to calmness, and conquered the tide of fury which had surged up in him. Now quite quietly he got up and took Philippson's upraised arm, looking him so powerfully in the eyes that the younger man, like a cowed animal, wilted before him. Then he took him to the gate, which Philippson, in his excitement, had left wide open. Philippson went without another word. I watched him following the path back to the caves, and there was something in the way he walked, so dejected and somehow so lost, that vanquished all my anger against him. He seemed to me only the poor slave he was, terrified to go back with his mission—whatever it had been—unfulfilled.

When Frederick returned from showing our visitor the door he had almost regained his serenity, but not quite. He went straight into the house, to where he had fixed up his little workshop, and came out again with the machete. He did not tell me what he was going to do with it and I did not ask. After a while I went out to find him, and see whether I might help. I found him labouring with grim efficiency at the making of a new path. I could guess the meaning of this. Hitherto, in order to reach the Baroness's plantation, one had to pass by Friedo. Now Frederick was making another road, in order that the Friedo path need not be used by strangers. This visit was to cost him weeks of work, and what was worse, he had to sacrifice to it many of the mornings which had always been devoted to his studies. This was the hardest blow of all, for Frederick was one of those who know that time lost can never be regained, and that the longest life is far too short for the perfecting of a system of philosophy.

The next day was the day of Wittmer's weekly visit. He came down full of curiosity to hear what had happened. We told him the whole story and received from him the key to the mystery of Philippson's weird behaviour. It seemed that the Baroness firmly believed that Mr. Astor had smothered us in gifts of foodstuffs. She further believed that we deliberately concealed this fact, in order not to share with anybody, and one of the reasons why we prevented these rich people from visiting the other settlers was, she insisted, because we were hoarders and grabbers of the worst description. She had therefore instructed Philippson to spring his surprise visit upon us, calculating that since we were not expecting it we would not have thought of hiding these important gifts away. He was to look around and see what we had got. When he came back and reported that he had seen nothing, she sent him to the beach to look for our cache there.

Frederick and I looked at each other. Here was the little, envious, mistrustful, grasping, grudging world in miniature, pursuing us even here at the ends of the earth. There was nothing to say and nothing to do, but try and ignore it as far as it would let us. Wittmer was greatly interested in the new path. “With such people as these,” said Frederick, “the only thing to do is to give them as little ground for fight as possible. It's really their path I'm making—not ours—and any visitors who are inspired to go to them may now do so without even being seen by us. Perhaps that will give us a little peace in future.” Wittmer said in his dry way that he certainly hoped so, but the presence of this woman on the island seemed rather a guarantee of the reverse. He had plenty to tell us about his {neighbours/neighbors}, but his reports were largely second-hand. He himself now kept out of their way as much as possible, but Frau Wittmer had become the bosom friend and inseparable companion of the Baroness. The young man, Philippson, he told us, had again received letters from home, saying that his mother's illness was very grave, and that she wished him to return. Lorenz had often told us how anxiety about his mother often depressed Philippson, who was devoted to her, and sometimes suffered agonies of homesickness.

One day, while Frederick was at work upon the path which Philippson's outbreak had forced him to make, he caught sight of Philippson himself not far away. He was sitting on a stone, the picture of desolation, with his head bowed in both hands, and his shoulders bent as though a fearful burden weighed upon them. A deep pity for him stirred in Frederick and made him want to go up to this unhappy youth and talk to him like a father. Philippson must have heard the strokes of the machete, and known who it was who wielded it, and Frederick waited for a while to see whether he would look up or make some movement towards or away from him. He did nothing, but sat on as though unconscious of every sight and sound, as though the {neighbourhood/neighborhood} of neither friend nor enemy could mitigate his dejection. Frederick considered the hopeless situation of this boy, comparing him with Lorenz, his companion in slavery. And his wide experience and great knowledge of such matters made him realize that there was nothing to be done for either of them, least of all for this one, whose passion for the woman was so absolute and so consuming that until it had burned itself out—if ever it did—he could never come back to his real life {again/}. So Frederick did not speak to him. He must have worked a good two hours longer{, and, when/. When} he left, Philippson was still sitting on the stone, and had not moved.

Chapter XX: The Stage is Set

As time went on, the strangeness of the atmosphere surrounding the Baroness and her household increased, until one found oneself moving in a maze of clues and counter-clues wherever her least action was concerned. Try as we might to keep ourselves withdrawn from all the petty sordidness she brought with her to our island, it was inevitable that we should become continually involved directly and indirectly in “situations.” There were no more visits exchanged between Friedo and the “Hacienda Paradise,” as she had dubbed her place, but on the other hand it proved possible to avoid open hostilities. Since Lorenz came no more, our chief source of news was Wittmer, with whom we very nearly quarreled, owing to the Baroness's inspiring him with the idea that it was most likely we who had stolen his boat. Perhaps it was because he found us so unmoved by this insinuation that Wittmer decided to examine more closely the incidents of all thefts of which he had been the victim. When he had done this, he could hardly escape the conclusion that the Baroness bore the guilt.

This led to a fresh scene, which ended in Wittmer's forbidding his wife to associate with the Baroness in any way in future. On one of Wittmer's visits he brought us two documents to look at, which he had found pinned on the barrel at Post Office Bay. Whether anyone but himself had seen them he could not say. They were written in German—rather stupid and ineffectual, I thought, considering that most callers would be more familiar with English or Spanish. One contained a formal charge against Frederick and me for having slandered the Baroness, and against Frederick for having refused to render her medical aid when called upon to do so. Needless to say, no such request had ever been made. The second document was an equally formal charge against Herr Wittmer, accusing him of trespassing upon her property, and of falsely accusing herself, her “husband,” and their “comrade Lorenz,” in the matter of certain goods (milk, lead, etc.) alleged to have been received by her in his behalf and not delivered.

Besides these, there was a “Wanted to Purchase” bill for four hundred sheets of corrugated iron, forty window frames, and hardware. From this it was not hard to deduce the ambitious dwelling the Baroness had it in mind to build. For further information, contractors were requested to inquire at “Hotel Paradise”.

This public attack on Frederick and me naturally infuriated me at first, but afterwards I tried to treat it with the same indifference that Frederick did. Wittmer made it the more difficult to do this by informing us that we were the butt of much vituperation at the Baroness's camp, and that I especially was accused by her of much scandalous and highly vicious behaviour. So far, I knew, she had not had much opportunity to spread such stories beyond her immediate and unimportant circle, but it was deeply humiliating and painful to me to think that acquaintances of ours might visit her when calling at the island, and perhaps believe the things she said. But there was nothing to do about it, and I could only hope that the good opinion of people who had found me otherwise would remain proof against her calumnies.

When we are enduring great physical suffering, depression takes. more powerful hold upon us than when we are well, and at that time I was going through acute physical torment. My teeth had become so bad that they now had to be drawn, not one but all of them, and this with primitive instruments—for Frederick had not brought his dental equipment—and no anesthetic whatever. Nor did we have a single pain-relieving drug. I shall never forget the agony I went through during those weeks and months. I had suffered a great deal of pain in my life, but nothing in comparison with this. It pulled me down until my resistance was utterly gone. I was too much of a wreck to profit by my own admonitions to myself, and all the weary assurances of my mind, telling me that this woman with her malignant attacks should be a touchstone of my power over myself, were like a voice heard talking words one can understand but has somehow lost the meaning of.

In the mental apathy and bodily torment of that period, I think I could have let myself be driven from the island and hardly known it. I felt utterly destroyed and desolate and it was only with the greatest effort that I was able to force myself to attend to the animals I was so fond of, and show them still the little marks of affection they were accustomed to receive from me. During all that time it was poor Frederick who went short, for I was literally incapable of following his work with the intensity of interest and mental clarity which it demanded. He felt this very much, for he had become used to discussing every point of his philosophy with me. It gave him ideas to be able to talk about these things, but now he had to do his morning's studying all alone, which he found very hard at first. My depleted strength made it also impossible to do much work in the garden, and what I could no longer manage fell to Frederick's share, overburdening and overtiring him. It was a miserable time.

As I have said, for a long while after Lorenz was taken back to favour by the Baroness, he never came to Friedo. Now suddenly one day he turned up again. He was alone, and I wondered whether he meant to renew the visits of the past. He looked very ill but had no complaints to make as before. He told us that he had just come from Post Office Bay. There was no reason why he should not have come from there, but instantly I knew that he was lying.

I do not know what the instinct was that developed in me about that time, but I constantly found myself involuntarily making observations which supported my unbelief of all these people. So now, I glanced at Lorenz, at his shoes, and they were innocent of any of the marks which the walk from Post Office Bay to Friedo must inevitably have left on them. They were quite clean, and had obviously not traversed any lava field that day. He wore a rucksack on his back and this was empty—a further proof that he had not been at the Bay, for no one of the Baroness's household ever went down there without having something to bring up from the Casa. I felt ashamed to be making these covert observations, and it embarrassed me further that the young man might have noticed something.

“The Baroness has no idea I'm here,” he said.

“And I expect you'd better not let her find out, either,” I answered, “or you'll be having trouble!”

“That wouldn't matter a damn to me any more,” he said, and went on talking of more or less general things. But he dropped some clear hints now and then that there was a shortage of stores at the Hotel Paradise, particularly of fresh fruits and vegetables which were even more of a necessity in that climate than bread. I think that I can say without boasting that I am not inhospitable, and Friedo's garden was showing a good crop of bananas and other desirable things just then. But all at once the hidden purpose of this visit dawned upon me, and I knew as positively as though I had participated in the whole scheme that Lorenz had been sent out by the Baroness to cadge my pity for his hungry state, and come back well provided from my garden. We had heard from Wittmer that she was a poor manager, having far too much one day and nothing at all the next. Her wastefulness and lack of skill in household management must have caused her menfolk many a pang of hunger; they were truly criminal traits in a place like Floreana. My disgust at the transparency of this revictualing trick enabled me to harden my heart, and although I supplied him with everything there was while he was in our house, he left with hands and rucksack as empty as when he came.

Frederick asked him how he was feeling, and he answered rather evasively. He said that he was getting better. He no longer wished to leave the island, but had decided to stay on. It was clear to see that he was far from happy, but now his whole manner expressed a terrible resignation, as of one who knew himself caught in toils of misery from which he could no longer even make an effort to free himself.

In May, the Ecuadorean government graciously consented at last to regard the several complaints which had been sent in by the settlers on Floreana and sent a high official to investigate matters and act as arbiter. This gentleman brought us the assurance that Friedo was ours as long as we cared to live there. Upon his request Frederick gave him an account of everything that had happened, very precise and impartial, but also very plain-spoken. The important visitor then called upon the Baroness but found her out. She had gone flamingo-hunting at one of the lagoons, for she was gathering a bird collection for the zoo of Floreana fauna, which was to be one of the attractions of the “Hacienda Paradise.”

The government party left for other islands in the group and returned a few days later, when the plenipotentiary was received by the Baroness in a manner befitting both his importance and her purposes.

Reliable information afterwards gave us to understand that whatever might happen in the future, one thing had now been made certain: the Baroness had secured the tenure of her property for as long as she cared. This she had bought at a price—as she herself boasted—and the representative of Ecuador had left the next day in high feather. It is true that the Baroness's hospitality had not brought her the title to forty hectares of land, which she had hoped to obtain, but only to the twenty allotted to all settlers alike.§ On the other hand, she had won in the dispute about the spring at the Wittmer farm, which was declared free for the common use of both settlements. Now Heinz Wittmer would have the pleasure of being overrun by her and her men at all times, and with all impunity.

§ In her 1961 Floreana Adventure, Margret Wittmer states (pp. 70-71):

   At any rate, the governor granted her [the Baroness] a title to four square miles of land—for her hotel. … He granted us a title too, but only for fifty acres: we were only simple settlers, not budding empresses. The same applied to Ritter, who was naturally furious about the outcome of this official visit.

This decision could not fail to lead to open war between the two households at the caves, with mutual recriminations and all the other accompaniments of such a situation. We were infinitely grateful that Friedo was a good two hours away from all of them. The Ecuadorean envoy was so pleased with the Baroness that he invited her to come to Chatham for a trip. She was delighted to accept, but very wisely, perhaps, took Philippson along with her. After some days the Manuel y Cobos brought her back. I could not help thinking, as I heard this, that that ancient and notorious bark could scarcely ever have carried a more appropriate passenger.

The returning Baroness had a surprise in store for us. The departure of Valdivieso had left her rather short-handed, so that when Wittmer told us she had brought a third man back with her we thought this only practical. What was our blank astonishment to learn that the new member of the Hacienda party was none other than the long-lost Arends, the youthful partner of Captain Bruuns, whom we had last seen a day or two before he set out in search of the ill-fated Norge.

We had heard from Indios of the tragic ending of that search, and of how Arends had wept beside his friend's grave; but none of these natives who returned from time to time to Floreana had ever been able to find out what had become of him after that, or even whether he was still alive. Since he had now come back to the scene of his luckless fishing enterprise, his survival, at least, was certain, and we hoped that we should now see him again, and hear the story of his subsequent adventures. We had liked him very well in the old days.

Yes, the old days. Floreana had become another place since all the settlers had come, bringing with them to our island dissension, mistrust, envy, hatreds, all the mean and trifling pother of the world which they pretended to have put behind them.

But Arends never came. Even had Wittmer not told us the reason why, we should have known it—the Baroness had found another slave, and for every member of that household, free or bound, Friedo was forbidden territory. Arends, we learned, occupied the position of the new favourite. She had met him on Chatham, and ostensibly hired him at a monthly wage of 80 sucres. As the new lover, however, the working clauses of his contract were not regarded very seriously, and the major portion of the daily labour fell, as before, to Lorenz. This, and other details of domestic life at the “Hacienda Paradise,” were told us later by Lorenz himself, and in a manner which made it impossible not to accept them as true.

If Philippson retained the position of husband by night, Arends held it by day. Hardly a day went by but the Baroness and he set out on “hunting expeditions”, returning very often with no bag at all, sometimes with only a piece or two.

Whatever the reasons that had brought Lorenz with the Baroness to Floreana, they were not all love. Doubtless she had him erotically in her power, but the prospect of retrieving the financial position she had ruined helped to lure him there. Not so Philippson. He had lost himself entirely to love. He had left everything for her sake; he would have followed her unquestioningly into the bottomless pit.

The advent of Arends was more than he could endure. Day after day, he was forced to watch this stranger supersede him in a thousand ways, until at last he broke out into one of those insensate passions of his—we had experienced one such paroxysm at Friedo—and hurled the whole of his rage and jealousy and wretchedness at the Baroness in one indescribable scene.

The woman struck him with her riding-whip, and his face bore a flaming weal for many days. On another occasion he stormed at her across the dinner table, and she took up her plate of boiling soup and flung it at him, scalding him badly. Without so much as waiting to find out whether the hot stuff had seriously injured his eyes, as even Lorenz, his enemy, feared, she went away with Arends, and was seen no more that day. Lorenz was still a very sick man. The mysterious disease had not killed him, but had robbed him of his whole vitality and strength, so that he could only drag himself painfully from task to task. They seldom left him time to rest; he was quite done for, but so apathetic that he now no longer even planned escape. The situation created by the new lover brought him fresh torment, for Philippson, helpless against the woman, vented his fury upon the still more helpless Lorenz. He stood over the toiler like a brutal overseer. When Lorenz flagged, he beat him savagely; he allowed him neither food nor drink; he treated him as he must have longed to treat the stranger, Arends. This was the Baroness's Floreana, a place where cruelty and evil passions could run wild, because there was no “world,” with police and public opinion, to check their worst excesses. Satan had come to Eden with this woman, who called her hacienda “Paradise.”

Chapter XXI: Hit and Miss

The general invitation to the “Hacienda Paradise,” posted on the barrel at the bay, brought numerous visitors to the place. They would call at Friedo afterwards and tell us many a curious story of what they had experienced there. Thus we learned that Lorenz was no longer cavalier-in-waiting; he had evidently been degraded in rank, for he was now addressing the Baroness by her title, no longer as “darling,” as when they had come to Friedo on that first day. This form of address was exacted of him only while visitors were present. Philippson was still given out as the husband, and Arends was the hired man.

Callers at the “Hacienda Paradise” did not find the Baroness in the garden to receive them. Her men performed this office, took the names and went indoors to ask whether Madame would care to see the strangers. If she was so disposed, the visitors were then admitted to her presence. It was a kind of royal audience.

The Baroness received reclining on a divan in riding dress—shirt, breeches, and high boots, and the riding-whip that never left her hand. The excessive condescension of her manner would have fitted the Empress of the World, not merely of the Galapagos; but for all this, most of the visitors came away charmed with her cultivated manner and worldly graces, and looked upon her as an eccentric denizen of the grand monde. As I have said, the Baroness was a truly superb actress.

It happened now and then that she was caught by strangers in a less favourite role than that of the Circe of the islands. Once a party surprised her in the midst of a strenuous washing day. It was unusual for her to do any manner of work, but the inexperienced and clumsy hands of men are somewhat hard on fragile clothes and such, therefore it did happen from time to time that she did a little laundry. On this occasion, the visitors found a very different Baroness, hot and disheveled, and, at least for a moment, furious at having been taken unawares. She may have retreated in scattered order, but when she emerged again she was splendidly mistress of the situation and herself. She could afford to treat the accident with humour, for a greater transformation between the laundress and the empress could hardly be imagined. She had on much the same costume as when we saw her the first day she arrived, and she made on these guests, as on me, an impression of grace and smartness. The only difference was that her hair had lost its blondness and had now gone back to its natural dark colour, for her supply of dye had run out, and Chatham had been unable to accommodate her with a new store.

But dark hair suited her at least as well, and I should not mention so trivial a detail as this were it not that it seemed to me neither accidental nor quite significant that this woman, as she moved from the invented melodrama of her life towards the true one of her death, gradually reverted to her natural appearance.

{To/In} European papers the “Galapagos story” still cropped up again from time to time, though now it was not concerned merely with Friedo and its peaceful occupants. Lurid reports of the Baroness's doings had also got about—some, as I shall later show, spread by herself.

Especially since {the/her} visit to Chatham, Floreana had become an inexhaustible theme of gossip among the islands. The Baroness had had a free hand describing her fellow-settlers to the Chatham people, and had not failed to profit by this opportunity to the full. She had also made the most of her chance to tell about herself in the most alluring way. This, together with the stories of fishermen who called from time to time, to say nothing of the impression which the Stampa episode created in the course of sensational repetitions, had all made Floreana appear to the other islanders in the most extraordinary light. Now there gathered on the scene the persons in another drama only slightly less dark than the main plot slowly moving towards its merciless denouement.

One {day/} Nuggerud, the Norwegian skipper of a fishing-smack from Santa Cruz, brought a young German journalist to Floreana.§ This youth had heard great tales of the doings at the Hacienda and could not rest until he had seen things with his own eyes. He landed at Black Beach and called at Friedo first. We asked him, as it was rather late in the afternoon and the Hacienda was a good two hours away, whether he would like to spend the night with us and go on to the Baroness's and the Wittmers' in the morning. He accepted our invitation eagerly, and we showed him over our plantation, which was looking very thriving just then.

§ Trygve Nuggerud. The word “day” is omitted in the 1936 edition, probably in error. His boat was the Dynamita, and the journalist was the Swedish (not German) Rolf Blomberg.

We were all standing talking in the garden when a call came to our ears. I turned round, and to my great surprise there stood Arends at our fence. Frederick and I hastened over to him, very pleased that he had finally decided to break his bonds so far as to come and call upon us. We felt almost rebuffed at the scared uneasiness with which he hesitantly responded to our cordial greeting. It was as though he hardly dared admit that he had known us before, and this seemed to me the more unnatural for the fact that he was quite alone. The Baroness must have got him as completely in her power as

the other two for him to be in such a state of panic, though there was no one from the Hacienda in sight to spy upon him.

she had the other two. There was no other way to account for his state of panic.

He asked us with mysterious haste whether it was not Nuggerud who had put in at Black Beach that afternoon. We told him that it was, then asked about himself and why he had never come to see us. Although it was impossible not to notice the prohibition that had been laid upon him, we nevertheless asked him to come in. Hardly had the invitation left Frederick's lips when a slight cough sounded from the bushes a few feet away from the fence, and there I saw the Baroness glowering at us. The thicket only half concealed her, as she stood with arms folded like a Satanic overseer, keeping baleful watch. There was something so sinister in her expression and in her attitude that a cold chill ran down my back. The slave, Arends, obeyed the warning and the summons. With a hurried word of farewell to us, he was gone. We watched them moving off together, then turned and exchanged a look which told each other more than words.

We had both seen and heard more menacing things about the Baroness than this. In itself it was a trivial scene, but somehow it seemed to tell more about her and her whole life on Floreana than anything had ever done before. It is not often that one knows at what particular moment one becomes aware of the inevitability of certain future happenings, but this was one of those rare moments; as I turned and went back to our guests, I knew that dire events were on the way, violence and death—and for the first time vague and ominous presentiments which I had felt before crystallized into a foreboding of murder.

The next morning the young journalist went to the “Hacienda Paradise” and called at Friedo for a moment on his way back to Black Beach. He said little, but it needed no words to show us that the Baroness had made another conquest. There was nothing surprising in this; we only thought it a pity. Nothing has ever shown me more plainly than the story of the Baroness that the gullibility of people is the greatest encouragement and incentive to the evil in the world. The victims walk so cheerfully and willingly into the traps set for them; not only do they not avoid them, they seek them out and are not to be withdrawn from them by any warnings either from the outside or from their own sane instinct within. It often seems that it is not wickedness that harms, only credulity.

The journalist told us that the Baroness had tried hard to prevent him from going to the Wittmers'. He had not taken her efforts seriously but said he was determined not to leave the island without having visited other settlers. Thereupon she had put as good a face as possible upon the situation, and offered to act as his guide. Ordinarily this would have seemed hardly necessary, since the Wittmers' house was only a stone's throw from the Hacienda, but the Baroness had a plan. She had taken him, as she promised, to the caves, but they were different caves from where the Wittmers lived. When they had got there, he had looked round and asked where the house was, and she had answered with a thrilling account of how recent floods had made it impossible to visit her neighbours. He had only laughed, and when she saw she could not have her way she simply left him and went home again. When he got to the Wittmers' it was, of course, to find that there was no trace whatever of an inundation. But this did not disturb him; he only thought it {rather/} amusing.

A few weeks later this young man returned, together with a friend. It was not Nuggerud but the Cobos that brought him. {This was no accident/There was no accident in this}. Like a bird of ill-omen, the Cobos came to Floreana whenever evil was due. The ancient, sinful craft changed its name [to San Cristóbal] but to us she was and could ever be only the Manuel y Cobos of yore.

That day I watched her put in at Black Beach, moving with that kind of heavy stealthiness that made her look so sinister and guilty. Though a new skipper was her master now, to me she was still Bruuns' ship, that knew and kept his secrets and the secrets of Watkins and Cobos—and who knows how many other of their kind? It was no mere fancy of mine that whenever the Cobos came, something untoward was brewing for the island, and as I saw a rowing-boat put out from its side I wondered whom it could be bringing, what new character was being introduced upon our stage.

I did not have to wonder long, for very soon the young journalist was introducing his friend to us. I think I have never seen a handsomer young man. I took his age to be about the latter twenties. He was very tall and had wavy blond hair, and the bluest eyes imaginable. It was clear to see what would occur when the Baroness set eyes upon him. At the same time, I was convinced that the appeal in this case would be all on one side, for there was something so frank and normal about this young man, he was so much the reverse of the good-looking weaklings with whom the Baroness surrounded herself, that I was sure he would not fall a victim to her wiles. Both Frederick and I found him delightful and it pleased us greatly, too, to see that the other young man, after his momentary and superficial enthusiasm for the mistress of the Hacienda, seemed now to have cast off all that foolish dazzlement and become as sane and nice again as he had been on his first visit to Friedo. The two young men had made friends with a fellow-passenger, a young Ecuadorean soldier who had been sent to Floreana to bring us our mail. Since the Baroness had tampered with our post, the Ecuadorean authorities kindly sent it all by special messenger.

The trio stayed with us that night, and on the morning of the second day set out for the caves and for a visit to the Baroness. We had invited them to make Friedo their home for the few days they were to spend on Floreana, until the Cobos should return to pick them up. They went off, saying that they would be back again for supper, and Frederick and I went with them to the gate. As they left, one of them turned back with a laugh and said, “Be sure to expect us—we'll not be sleeping three in a bed elsewhere!” Later on I had good reason to remember that remark.

The day passed in work and study, and towards evening I began to prepare a hearty supper for our guests. I took much pride in showing how our plantation could perform in this respect, and these young men had pleased us both so much that I was more than usually anxious to do my kitchen's best by them. The sun was getting low, and there was still no sight of them. A year before we should have been extremely anxious about them, for it was not hard then to lose one's way between the caves and Friedo, but since then good paths had come into existence, and many visitors had used them. Certain trees and groups of rocks had become familiar landmarks, so that even by moonlight it was fairly safe going. The wild animals that came down to drink at Friedo's spring used other routes; and besides, there was no danger of their ever attacking people. The ghost of Watkins held terrors only for Indios, and would not frighten two stalwart young Germans and an Ecuadorean soldier. So we were not alarmed lest some mishap had overtaken the three; perhaps we were slightly annoyed that they failed to appear when we had made the most hospitable preparations for them that we could.

It was night before we sat down to the spurned supper, which we enjoyed the less for having expected to share it with those pleasant guests of whom the Baroness apparently had cheated us.

It was now late. We had invited them to spend the night, and having had no message to the contrary, we felt that hospitality demanded our preparing sleeping accommodations for them, in case one or three should come back, after all. We therefore laid out mattresses and bedclothes, and then we went to bed.

I do not know how long I had been asleep when we were suddenly aroused by footsteps rushing, stumbling up the path towards the house. Without even waiting to light the lantern, we jumped out of bed to find out who it was, hastily throwing something over our nightclothes, for it was very cool.

It was the journalist. It was more than the pale moonlight that made him look so ghastly; he had obviously been running all the way from wherever he had been and his face wore an expression of desperate alarm.

“An accident!” he gasped. “There's been an accident!” Frederick meanwhile had fetched the lantern and lit it. I thought immediately that something must have happened to his friend, but before I could ask the question Frederick had done so.

“No,” was the answer. “It's Arends! He's been shot!”

“Shot?” I said, a thousand awful possibilities storming in upon me. “How?”

“We were out hunting,” the journalist replied. “Will you come, Doctor?”

But Frederick had not waited to be asked. At calls like this, all the physician in him immediately revived, and almost before one knew it, he was dressed and ready, with his instruments and medical supplies collected and packed, as though a midnight call still belonged to his familiar daily round. He hesitated just a moment, however, remembering the Lorenz episode and how the Baroness refused to have him called.

“That household doesn't usually consult me,” he said to the young man. “Were you asked to come?”

“No, damn it, I wasn't,” said the other fiercely. “She didn't want me to. But I don't pay any attention to rot like that. He's been shot to blazes, so the less she says the better. For God's sake come on, Doctor, though I shouldn't wonder if it's too late already!”

With a confused word of apology to me for the disturbance, he went away with Frederick. I heard the gate of Friedo shut, and listened to their footsteps, until these were lost in the clamour of the Floreana night.

I went back to my bed in the “cage,” but there was no more sleep for me that night. Try as I would, I could not force out of my mind the conviction that if Arends had been shot, not accident but purpose underlay the act. I thought at once of Philippson, driven at last through jealousy to a sudden, or even premeditated, death of violence. It would not be hard to arrange—the Baroness's many hunting expeditions would offer ample opportunity to a man bent on ridding himself of an enemy

The cattle-hunting on Floreana was no hunting in the proper sense. One simply waited till the herd appeared, picked out one's beast and shot at it. It was mere child's play, and totally lacking in danger except in such rare cases as the bull-and-Hugo episode. Pig-sticking might have been another matter, but this was not the Baroness's sport.

The more I thought about this shooting, the more suspicious it appeared to me, and once I had begun to consider it in all its sinister implications, I was seized with anxiety for Frederick's fate up there among those people. I knew the Baroness disliked him now, and suddenly it seemed to me that in his readiness to help he had deliberately placed himself in mortal danger.

For the first time in months I experienced a repetition of all the terrors that beset me in our early days, whenever he went off alone about the island. I realized with a kind of shock that I had always, at the back of my mind, harboured a fatal fore-knowledge that something would happen to Frederick on Floreana, and that he would never leave the island alive.

I could not stay in bed, but got up and dressed, holding myself in readiness for any call or message that might come. My impulse was to find my way alone to where the shooting had occurred, but on reflection I soon realized that this would be foolish and could serve no purpose.

The excited journalist had not said where the accident {had happened/took place}. One gathered it was on the {pampas/pampa}, but it might also have been in the bush. Nor was there any knowing whether the wounded man still lay where he had been shot down, or whether they had taken him back to the Baroness's, or to the Wittmers', or even into Watkins' cave. Hindered by lameness, I could not hope to get there in less than several hours, and in the meantime Frederick might come or send for me.

Therefore I stayed at home, a prey to direst forebodings, and in unbearable suspense. Never had the noises of the Friedo night so tortured me as then. Listening as intently as I did, with every nerve strained to catch the slightest echo of a human footstep, the trampling of the wild cattle, the braying of the asses, the howling of the wild dogs, and all the other nightly din made it impossible to distinguish a step until it was close upon one.

After what seemed an age of waiting they returned—Frederick, the journalist, his friend, and the Ecuadorean soldier. I could have wept with the relief of seeing them safe and sound.

Frederick, I noticed, was very silent, but the other three were burning to tell me their story, which I was no less anxious to hear. It did not come out as clearly as I shall try and give it, for each one had seen it from a different angle, but when it had all been told it left one wondering in stunned amazement how such things could be.

It seemed that they had got to the “Hacienda Paradise” about lunch time and found a scene of domestic harmony. Lorenz and Philippson were darning moth-holes in their evening suits; Arends was working in the garden. As described before, the Baroness was at the wash-tub. The men could see that the moment she caught sight of the handsome stranger his fate, so far as she was concerned, was sealed. She made this so obvious that the journalist, with a presence of mind which told of much experience, introduced his friend as his future brother-in-law. This little subterfuge failed, however, to quench the light of the chase in the Baroness's eye.

After lunch, the two young Germans expressed a desire to call on the Wittmers. They paid their visit, returning to the Hacienda about four o'clock, thanked the Baroness for her hospitality, and were about to leave in order to get back to Friedo well in time for supper. But the lady would not hear of this. She put on the most disappointed air in the world, and said they were spoiling her whole fine plan to take them on a little shooting expedition to the pampa. It was quite near, she pointed out, and she had so looked forward to it; she had even had her gun cleaned and made all the arrangements while they were away.

The three young men could not refuse without being positively boorish, and though they feared that they would be keeping us waiting for our supper, they could not but go, as they were asked to watch the Baroness display her prowess as a marksman.

All the way up she kept close to the handsome visitor at her side, exerting her well-tried wiles upon him. Her voice became a little sharper and her advances more deliberate as she saw that he seemed proof against her charms; something fierce and edged came into her manner then which startled the young journalist, who was watching her closely. His friend was well aware of everything and rather amused than otherwise. The Baroness had met her match in him and he, seeing this, rather enjoyed the game.

Suddenly she began to talk to them of us. She said it was very foolish of them to waste the few days they would be on Floreana down at Friedo, where there was nothing to do and only those Ritters to talk to. Her further descriptions of us were interrupted by the arrival of the party at the {pampas/pampa].

For the moment the herds were not in sight, but they were sure to appear immediately, for late afternoon was the time they were always on the plain. Pending their appearance, the Baroness arranged her forces, as she called it.

The three visitors and Arends were to stay together in a group; Philippson was posted a considerable distance away; she herself took up a position at an angle from Philippson, some fifty meters farther down the field. The herd, when it appeared, stood in a compact group, at an equal distance from all of them, some hundred {yards/meters} ahead.

The hunters were variously armed. Arends and the soldier had rifles, the Baroness a shot-gun of light caliber. The two young Germans both carried revolvers, perhaps in some vague spirit of adventure, but certainly never thinking they would need them on the island. The Baroness arranged that she would give the signal to shoot, when she had picked out the member of the herd she wished to bring down.

The signal came. Two shots rang out, one from the Ecuadorean's rifle. Meanwhile the positions of the four young men had altered slightly, Arends having moved up to a spot practically abreast with the journalist's friend. Philippson had stayed where he was, well off to one side.

The herd scattered and ran; neither shot seemed to have taken any effect. Suddenly Arends who had knelt down to take aim, was seen to stagger to his feet, and then collapse. The three beside him gathered round and Philippson rushed up. The Baroness had apparently not noticed that anything was wrong. She began quite calmly and without haste to saunter towards the horrified group. One of them called out, “Arends is shot!” Even in the midst of all their agitation they were astounded at her answer:

“What! Arends?” For a noticeable moment, astonishment clearly overcame every other emotion in the Baroness; then she flung herself down beside the motionless Arends, embracing him and calling him endearing names.

She turned to the journalist and said, “You did it with your revolver!” But this had not been fired.

“Who did shoot, then?” she asked sharply, and the Ecuadorean answered that he had obeyed the signal that she had given; at the same instant the second shot had hit the wounded man.

“It wasn't that shot that hit him,” said the Baroness—“ you did it yourself. Your bullet must have ricochetted and done this to him{!/.}”

“I'm going to fetch Dr. Ritter,” said the journalist as the debate threatened to become endless. “We must get him up here at once!”

“Nothing of the kind!” the Baroness objected. “I can look after him perfectly well myself. My medical training is quite enough for that and I don't want any other doctor. It's not necessary. We'll take him home and I'll have him all fixed up in no time.”

But the appearance of the wounded man was sufficiently alarming to cause her to reconsider this boast, and after a while she said with bad grace, “Well, go and get him if you must!” and immediately returned to Arends. Again she began caressing him and calling him endearing names.

When Frederick arrived, she tore herself away from Arends and seemed to wait in some suspense for the verdict. The bullet had grazed the arm and entered the abdomen. There was no fever and apparently but little pain. But on no account, Frederick said, must the man be moved, for the bullet had lodged in a critical place, and there was great danger of peritonitis setting in unless the patient was kept absolutely quiet and, as far as possible, in one position.

He would have to lie out where he was, on the open {pampa/pampa}, until his condition made it possible to move him. When the Cobos came back to fetch the others, he must be sent with it to Guayaquil and taken at once to a hospital. Meanwhile, he must be nursed where he was and Frederick would try to see to it that no dangerous complications {would/} set in.

In a flash, the Baroness had switched over into the new role. She ordered Philippson to go and fetch whatever was necessary, and declared that she herself would stay and nurse the wounded man, and never leave his side until the boat came.

Frederick, tired of these theatricals, turned to the others and asked what had happened. They gave him a true account, each relating what he himself had heard or seen of the incident. The Baroness now broke in upon the narrative, declaring that the unlucky shot had been fired by the journalist or the Ecuadorean, but Frederick brushed these protests aside.

“This is impossible,” he said. “Not only did this shot come from a greater distance, but the angle at which it struck does not coincide with the positions of either of these two men. Moreover, I can tell by the nature of the wounds that they were caused neither by a revolver nor by a rifle.”

At this the Baroness gave up this pretense in favour of another. With a gesture that would not have disgraced a tragedy queen she thrust her gun towards Frederick, crying:

“Take it—take it away! I shall never shoot again!”

Then she turned back to Arends, and flung herself again upon the ground beside him.

“Darling, forgive me!”

The next moment, however, she had again plunged into new explanations as to how the accident happened. As usual, each thing she said belied the last, so that it was impossible not to deduce the truth.

They then saw clearly that the quarry she had meant to take home that day was the handsome and reluctant Joseph, whom she had not been able to win by other means. Precisely in the same manner as she had told us once she “tamed” the wild dogs of the island, she had thought to tame the unwilling lover. She had meant to wound him in the leg, slightly but enough to prevent his spending the remainder of his stay on Floreana at Friedo with the Ritters. She was too good a shot to fear that she might miss, but not so good a clairvoyant as to foresee that Arends would choose that moment to move, and receive in a much more dangerous place the comparatively innocent shot intended for his rival of a day.

Frederick gave orders that Arends' temperature be taken carefully at certain intervals and his condition noted; every morning some one from the Hacienda was to come and report to him at Friedo how the night was. This duty devolved upon Philippson, for Lorenz was still being kept away from us.

The next day Philippson duly appeared. I had no wish to see him, so kept myself out of sight behind a curtain. I was curious to know how he would carry off his difficult assignment, face to face with the three strangers, whose singular experience with the Baroness might have ended tragically for one of them. He clung to the role of husband and referred to the Baroness as “my wife.” His clumsy loyalty to the woman misled him into saying foolish things.

“My wife was aiming at a calf,” he said. “I can't understand it. I've never known her to miss before!” He turned to the Ecuadorean soldier. “It is impossible!” he repeated. “It can only have been you who hit him.”

“We won't go into that again,” said Frederick, looking very grave. “Of course I understand how you feel on Frau von Wagner's account, but there's not the slightest doubt whatever as to how the whole thing happened, and it is, moreover, easily proven.”

Poor Philippson looked despairing. “I suppose I'll have to break it to my wife,” he said, “but she'll never stand it. It's terrible—it's terrible!” His anguish was really pitiable and showed the whole sincerity of his love. But the young Adonis, whose charms had been to blame for the whole affair, was not so sympathetic.


“I wish I'd seen what she was up to,” he said dryly, “I'd have shot at her myself.”

Day after day went by without a sign of the Cobos. The accident on the {pampa/pampa} completely disarranged our lives at Friedo.


Every day Frederick had to make the long and toilsome way to his patient and back, and at home I had the three young men incessantly on my hands.

What made it worse was the state of mind they were all in, nervous and completely out of sorts—the shooting had given them all a bad shock, and none of them, with the exception of the young Ecuadorean soldier, thought of helping me with my work. The young journalist reproached himself for having brought his friend; the friend felt somehow guilty because another man had been hit in his stead. One could see by the way in which they both scanned the empty sea sometimes for hours together that they were longing for the ship to come and take them off this hateful island.

But it was the young Ecuadorean who roused my greatest sympathy. He was not eager for the Cobos to arrive. He went about in anxious silence, turning over and over in his mind how he could get his neck out of the noose the Baroness was determined to put it in, if ever an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting should be undertaken by the Ecuadorean authorities. There had been gossip enough to make him well aware that the Baroness was a favoured person, whose word would be taken before his, and even before Dr. Ritter's. I too was very doubtful of his chances before a court if Arends were to die, which seemed at that time probable. It was no light thing, at the outset of one's life, to stand exposed to a charge of manslaughter without a single witness one could call to prove one's innocence; for although two others had been present next to him, these were both his friends, and their evidence would be disqualified as biased. I tried to cheer him up as best I could, and I think that he was grateful for my efforts, for he found a hundred little ways of showing this in those helpful small attentions which say so much when words come less readily.

At last, after five long days of waiting, the Cobos put in at Black Beach. She came late in the afternoon, {whilst/while} Frederick was with Arends.


He had to be fetched to Friedo to talk to the first officer, who had been informed of the accident and was waiting at Friedo to consult with him about it. When Frederick came, he showed the officer the sketch of the scene of the mishap which he had taken the precaution to make when they had first fetched him.

The Cobos had to sail that night, so there was little time to be lost in getting Arends placed upon a stretcher and taken to the beach. His condition had not grown worse and it was now possible to move him, though not to set him on his feet. A ladder was brought in from the garden and we tied a mattress onto it, a very primitive litter for so sick a man, but Floreana offered nothing better. By this time it had grown dark, and the bearers set off in the moonlight for the {pampas/pampa}.

At midnight the journalist and his friend came back, and told us that the stretcher party was on the way. They described the scene out on the {pampas/pampa} when the officer arrived.

The Baroness, realizing that Arends could not be sent to Guayaquil without some member of the Hacienda household to accompany him, had arranged for Lorenz to go. He was there, all prepared and dressed for the departure. The officer, however, had quite a different plan. He was very stern and entirely impervious to the lady's emotions, hardly listening to what she said. He asked only one simple question, indicating Philippson and Lorenz.

“Which of these two men was witness to the shooting?”

She had to admit that it was Philippson.

“Then he is to come with us,” said the officer.

The Baroness begged and pleaded, but it was no use. She said she could on no account remain without Philippson, that she would send him over to Guayaquil later, if necessary, but could not spare him now. She seemed to have some desperate reason for keeping Philippson there, the young men said. They could not tell whether jealousy made her afraid to let him go alone, or whether she feared to be alone with Lorenz.

The officer disregarded everything she said, and simply repeated that Philippson must go.

Then to the unbounded amazement of everybody present, Lorenz, who had been standing absolutely silent, burst into an almost insane frenzy of protest at not being allowed to go as Arends' escort. He raved, as though more than his life depended on his getting off the island, and as though this were the only chance of his ever doing so. He wept, he cursed, he implored the man on his knees to take him.

The Baroness had failed to perturb the officer of the Cobos, but the wild revolt that suddenly blazed out of Lorenz, as unexpected as it out of Lorenz, as unexpected as it was uncontrollable, moved them all profoundly.

“We thought the Hacienda was a kind of joke,” said the young journalist. “But we have found out that it is at least three tragedies.” He little knew how truly he {had spoken/spoke}.

They said that there had been an almost horrible grotesqueness in the close of the strange scene upon the {pampas/pampa}. When it became certain that not Lorenz but Philippson would have to go, the two men had had to exchange clothes there and then.

The Hacienda's elegance and good equipment were evidently falling into quick decay, if these once well-dressed cavaliers had come down to a single suit between them. This was a great surprise to me, for I had gained the impression, when I was there, that they had come to Floreana with means enough among them to keep up their original style for at least two or three years.

At last they came. The Baroness was her old self no longer. She looked ten years older, her face was drawn and pale and deeply lined. It was the first time I had seen her without make-up. Her manner, too, was for the moment at least completely altered. She was almost humble. She had assumed the expression of a penitent and had adapted every gesture and inflection to the exigencies of this new {role/rôle}.

At the risk of repeating it once too often, I am compelled to say again that the world missed a great actress in the {“Baroness.”/Baroness.} It went through my mind that this woman might be the cause of the murder of everyone on Floreana, and yet be able to play upon {the credulity of a jury as to get herself acquitted/popular sympathy}. I thought of that other day—it seemed not months, but years and years ago—when, looking at her sitting at my table, I had thought she was {a murderess/capable of anything}. But Lorenz had lived{, though perhaps this did not make the woman less his murderess at heart/}. She had let him live, but what must his life have been for him to have enacted that scene of wild despair upon the {pampas/pampa} before all those strangers?

She came to me with the expression of a holy martyr and held out her hand in silence. I took it, adding a friendly word which was not merely formal. I felt sincere sympathy for a trouble which I could not think was all feigned. Amid general farewells the party then left Friedo. As the stretcher was set down at the gate before beginning its rough way down to the beach, I brought another pillow to put under Arends' head, and said good-by to him, devoutly hoping that his young life had not been sacrificed to a cheap and foolish gesture. I was convinced that Floreana would never see him again.

But what I did not know at that time was that in removing him from the island with an alarming though not mortal injury, a kind fate was sparing him from the violent end which must have been his had he stayed.

Chapter XXII: Deposed

The Cobos was gone again, and apart from hoping that Arends would recover and thus relieve the poor young Ecuadorean soldier of his fears, the shooting episode, so far as Frederick and I were concerned, was over. But we were not to be allowed to put it out of our minds for long. One afternoon Frederick came to me where I was working in the garden, with a look of more than mere displeasure on his face.

“The Baroness and Lorenz are here,” he said.

“What do they want? Must we see them?”

“They're standing at the gate,” said Frederick, “I haven't asked them in and I don't want to.”

“Neither do I,” I answered. “We'll stay here until they go away again.”

“They've brought us some gifts,” Frederick went on, “I suppose to thank me for looking after Arends, but I don't wish to accept the things or have anything more to do with those people. I shall wait inside until they have gone away.”

Thereupon he went into the house, though he hesitated for a moment, for it was the first time that we had ever refused to open the gate of Friedo to visitors, and in a way it hurt him to do so now. But I too was determined not to have that woman near us any more. On the night when Arends had been taken away I had felt sympathy for her, sensing a real distress beneath all the play-acting of grief and repentance. But I had had time to think the matter over more dispassionately since, and had come for the dozenth time to the conclusion that the less association there was between Friedo and the “Hacienda Paradise,” the better it would be for all concerned. Everything the Baroness represented in her person was what I most disliked and rejected in life. I would make a clean break now, especially since no quarrel had led to it, with the small resentments that these things leave behind. As I turned to follow Frederick into the house I could not refrain from looking towards the gate just once. There stood the Baroness with Lorenz. I saw the yellow brightness of a pumpkin which he held across his arms, evidently a present from the Hacienda's garden How long they stood there I do not know, but we gave them plenty of time. When I went out again to the gate, I found the large pumpkin in fragments on the ground. Though I had not been there to see, I knew as well as though I had witnessed the whole outburst that, after seeing we would not receive her, the Baroness had dashed the huge thing out of Lorenz's arms with such force that its thick rind smashed to bits. In my mind's eye I could see her going off in a high fury. But I little guessed how dearly I was going to pay for our inhospitality.

Then one day suddenly my Burro was missing. This was not the season that he usually preferred to spend out on the pampa with his family; on the contrary, he had been coming back to his corral every night and was very often at Friedo during the day as well. I knew that some mischief was afoot.

One day as we were near the caves on our way to the grove of wild oranges, we heard a voice behind us calling Frederick's name. It was the Baroness, all friendliness.

“Oh, Dr. Ritter,” she said, “there's been a stray donkey at the Hacienda lately. I wonder if it could be yours. Of course he's done a little work for us, but you surely won't mind that, will you?”

Frederick answered as though he had not noticed the malice in the voice; it had been very plain to me.

“Just turn him loose, then, and if it's Burro, he'll come back home again. He knows the way.”

When we got back to Friedo, Burro was there. But he did not greet me as before with the joyful braying for which he was so celebrated. I found him in his pen, standing all sadly and forlorn, and when he turned and looked at me, I could have wept to see the desolate expression in his eyes. I hurried over to him and said consoling words, caressing him and offering him fresh green things to eat. But he would touch nothing. He seemed broken and apathetic. Only his look spoke of the suffering he had been through.

Then I saw how the woman must have treated him. His soft gray fur had been literally sweated off, and the skin was raw and broken where the ropes had rubbed him till the blood came. It was plain to see that he had been unmercifully put to work, transporting things far too heavy for so old an animal, and it was no less clear that they had maltreated him abominably in other ways. It was long since he had done any work for us. We thought him too old, and simply kept him because we were fond of him. Many days went by before I got my Burro back to a semblance of his own self, and I was happy then to see him going off and coming home again as he always used to do.

It would not have been possible to keep him tied up without making him still more unhappy, for I knew how he would miss his family. Sometimes I saw him with his wife and their newest baby burro, obviously trying to persuade her to come by daylight to his home at Friedo. He would convince her partially, and she would come a little way, only to draw back finally as though she could not bring herself to share his trust in us. But in the mornings I could often see that she and the baby had been there with him at night. No, I felt I could not shut my Burro up. Had I known what was still in store for him, I should certainly have done so.

He disappeared again. I listened for him night after night, but something told me he was gone this time forever. And so he was. Still, hoping against hope, we would lie awake, straining our ears to catch the familiar click of his corral gate as he went in, and his sonorous voice in the nightly chorus of wild asses at the spring. We would have recognized that voice among a hundred others, but we were never to hear him again.

Our old enemy, the giant boar, after a period of truce, had begun anew his depredations in our garden, doing damage which took us weeks repairing. Though the old fence he used to trudge alongside on his former raids had long been torn down, he was beating a new trail precisely on the site of his old path, which was now in the very center of our extended garden. One night, hearing suspicious noises at the sugar-cane, Frederick crept out with his gun and shot in the direction of the thief. I went out after him, glad to think we might be rid of our old adversary at last, and saw Frederick coming through the moonlight carrying a curious burden over his shoulder. It was a baby donkey, no more than a few days old. Frederick was dreadfully distressed at having deprived the little creature of its mother by mistaking her for the wild boar, and this made him more than ever determined to carry on the fight against the invincible opponent.

We brought the donkey baby into the house. He was a charming creature. I named him Fleck, because of a black spot he wore upon his nose. His large dark eyes looked at me full of confidence, and reminded me so sadly of the Burro I had lost that I could have wept.

The little Fleck thrived wonderfully, and I adored him. He was bright and playful, and much cleverer than my Burro. When one day it occurred to me that this must certainly be Burro's own child, I loved him all the more. On the night we shot Fleck's mother, Burro had been missing for a long time. His family, well knowing where he was to be found, must have come looking for him. It could only have been they, for no other wild donkey ever came near a settler's place, not even to us, though by that time we rather flattered ourselves that among the wild animals on Floreana we stood in good repute.

Little Fleck was indeed a joy and a consolation, but I never ceased to miss and mourn my Burro, and one day I asked Wittmer if he could perhaps tell me anything about him. If he had been made the victim of the Baroness's spite against us, the evil that had certainly befallen him must have happened in Wittmer's immediate vicinity. It is true that Burro was old, and donkeys, like many other animals, always go into solitude to die, but somehow I knew that Burro died no natural death. My suspicion was more than confirmed by the look of confusion which came over Wittmer's face; as he turned away, saying that he knew nothing about a missing donkey, his expression was so strange that I did not press the matter. But I knew that one day he would be able to tell us what had happened.

On Christmas day he came to Friedo with a present of a large turtle. He said its name was Isidore and that it was quite tame. He had bought it, he said, to take my Burro's place. I thought it very odd that he should do this, for he knew that Burro's child had succeeded him at Friedo. But the gift convinced me that Wittmer had willingly or unwillingly been implicated in my Burro's disappearance. My feeling towards Wittmer changed. He was obviously concealing something from us, and I felt that Burro's disappearance was not the only secret he could have revealed to us if he had wanted to.

The devil-pig had cost our little Fleck his mother, but this was to be the last misdeed of his earthly career. Frederick set up still another trap to catch him in, a clever and murderous arrangement, simpler than the others, with a rifle trained to hit a vital spot. The pig must automatically release the trigger as he lumbered down the familiar path. This time it worked. In the morning we found him dead at last.

He was dead but not vanquished, for now there occurred in quick succession one sinister event after another. It was impossible not to think that the demon which had assumed the form of the great boar was pursuing us with redoubled malice. The time had come already when we looked back, as on a period of long-vanished peace, upon the days when the old raider had been our only enemy. Since then far worse had come, greater harm, greater treachery. By shooting him we must have forced whatever demon had inhabited his form to assume another guise. But we never recognized its incarnations. We only knew that drought and misfortune, violence and murder, followed the old boar's death—and who is there so rational as to assert that all these things were not connected?

I have already said that since the advent of the Baroness newspaper interest in Floreana had, to our gratification, veered from us to her. We used to read the accounts of “Hacienda Paradise” in various papers of the world, and sometimes smile at the crudeness and stupidity of it all.

But one day a far more sensational piece reached us from America. It was topped by huge headlines and contained the purple story of the “Empress of Galapagos.” This potentate was described in such a way that it could be none other than our Baroness. This was confirmed a few lines farther down, where she was mentioned with full name and title. It told of a cruising party; among them was a honeymoon couple wandering down around the romantic islands. A boat brought them to land, where they were greeted much in the manner in which Stampa had been received, only more so. The newspaper's pen-and-ink artist had given his fancy free rein in an affecting picture of the bride upon her knees, pleading for mercy to the Empress of the islands, who stood with folded arms, adamant. According to this yarn, the Baroness kept the whole party imprisoned for some days, then set them adrift in rowing-boats, presumably to perish on high seas. The whole was flavoured with the buccaneering touch, readers being given to understand that the ship in which these people had come had been taken by the Empress as a prize.

It was impossible for us to take this nonsense seriously, but still one never knew—the Baroness was capable of anything. The only thing certain was that we had seen nothing of these arrivals, which was odd considering that the Floreana shore was highly dangerous and inaccessible except at Post Office Bay and Black Beach, and that not even the smallest boat could land at either of those points unseen by either Wittmers or ourselves. We seldom went down to the Bay, but Wittmer often did, and he would have noticed a party of prisoners. They could not have been kept anywhere but at the Casa, and there they certainly had never been. Nor was there any trace of a ship recently acquired by the Baroness. Since Valdivieso had stolen Wittmer's skiff and taken it to Chatham, the island had possessed no boat at all. We therefore dismissed this foolish story from our minds.

We were not reminded of it again until the captain of the Mary Pinchot recalled it to us. He had come back to the island, and this time, he told us, he meant to make a film of the Baroness, whose dramatic talent he esteemed at its true worth. It was to be a pirate film, he said.

Thereupon, putting a simple two and two together, I realized that the Baroness, anticipating some such chance as this, had invented the whole story and got it into the American press. The captain told us that he had asked her point-blank whether it was true in the form in which he himself had read it—in the same newspaper we had seen. The Baroness, with every appearance of contrition, admitted that it was. She had been most humble about it, he said, and heaped reproaches upon herself for the great ardour of her temperament which, when dramatic situations offered, invariably ran away with her, leaving her afterwards the prey of deep remorse. She said she knew that it was a terrible thing to have treated those two young people so cruelly, but she had always been subject to strange satanic moods which she had no power to subdue.

The film was made.

Captain Hancock then went on another of his scientific cruises, returning some three weeks later to Black Beach. There was a tourist ship, the Stella Polaris, anchored in Post Office Bay, Floreana having now become one of the stops on round-the-world trips. The captain told us that we had been billed on the program as one of the “sights,” and that many people on board to whom he had talked had expressed great interest in our idea, and said that they would like to meet us. He asked us, as a special favour to himself, not to refuse to put in an appearance, and so of course we did not.

Accordingly, in the afternoon we went down and found a large crowd gathered in the ship's saloon. They made much of Frederick and me, and plied us with a thousand questions. They were extremely friendly, and some of them we found so agreeable that we were sorry that they would be sailing away too soon for us to ask them up to Friedo.

During a lull in the animated talk, I happened to glance across to a far corner of the large saloon, and there I saw the Baroness. She was quite alone. She wore a pair of green silk knee-pants, and an embroidered peasant blouse. It was a most peculiar costume, certainly designed to attract attention. But if it did so, one could only regret it, for those garments did not suit her. I had sometimes been sorry for the Baroness before, but never as much so as at this moment in that trivial, childish masquerade, which made a mockery of the genuine talent for dress that she possessed, and of her ability to make a good appearance.

Suddenly one of the women got up and went over to her and a moment later I heard her saying loudly “… miss the theater? Oh no! I consider this island life my greatest role. It's like a wonderful revue. …” She said this with the theatrical intonation I knew so well, and with an expression of spurious vividness, which badly matched her dismal air of a moment before. The conversation was a short one and soon she was alone again. I had an impulse to join her, but something held me back. I fear that some of my answers to the strangers' questions sounded vague enough, but my thoughts were riveted to the Baroness, solitary in her corner, looking so old and grotesque in that inexplicable costume.

At last she rose and crossed to the conductor of the orchestra.

“Herr Kapellmeister,” she began—though why she should have chosen the German mode of address I did not understand—“Oh, Herr Kapellmeister, do play a waltz from my dear Vienna!” She emphasized her plea with her brightest smile and a look which had not always been so disregarded, for the leader of the orchestra merely glanced round at her with an expression of annoyance, and ignored her.

I do not think that anybody but myself observed this little episode, but I saw the Baroness cast a strange swift look around the big saloon as if to see whether the rebuff had been a public one. Her self-assurance dropped away from her. She seemed to hesitate a moment, then walked slowly back to the corner where she had come from.

Amid the pleasant talk and laughter from which some unspoken veto banished her, I looked across the room again. I would go and talk to her; I could not see her there alone like that. But she was gone.

How often I regretted afterwards that I postponed that trifling act of courtesy until it was too late! For that was the last time I ever saw the Baroness.

We returned with the captain to the Mary Pinchot, and to our astonishment found Philippson on board. He gave out that he had come to borrow some medicine, but this, I knew, was a mere pretext. It was his task to smuggle his way, invited or uninvited, on to all the yachts that came, and scrape or renew acquaintance with their owners. In nothing did this young man show the extent of his devotion to the Baroness more than in the outward fortitude with which he suffered the humiliation she caused him at the hands of others.

Philippson did not stay long. As he left, I watched his vigorous and handsome figure going down the deck. He was so young, and with such strength and good looks it seemed impossible that he might not have lived a more worth-while life in the world, had only his destroying passion not come between him and a young man's normal, sane career.

Remembering how the Baroness, his lover, had looked that afternoon, a woman at the very end of her rope, for whom there was no way back and none forward, Philippson seemed to me even more tragic at that moment than on the day when Frederick had seen him on the Friedo path bowed down with trouble. In the falling darkness the boat that rowed him back to shore was soon lost to sight. Nor was I ever to see Philippson again.

Post Office Bay presented an unusual sight that day, very different from the times of before—there were three ships anchored there at the same time. The third of these had brought a Danish expedition to the islands and on the next day this party visited us at Friedo.

Our old acquaintance, Nuggerud, was with them, having run over to Floreana in the hope of gathering a few orders for supplies. While our new visitors were walking around the garden, and making friends with little Fleck, Nuggerud told us of a scene which had taken place at the Bay the night before. It must have been very late, he said, when all at once a huge bonfire was lighted near the Casa close to the water's edge. From the ship's deck one could clearly discern two figures performing a weird dance in the light of the flames. It was the Baroness and Philippson, reeling and staggering crazily, shouting at the top of their lungs and singing in blatant voices. Strangers might have thought that this orgy was being staged with a watchful eye upon the audience in the yachts, but Nuggerud knew better. He said that they were quite oblivious to their surroundings, and obviously extremely drunk.

While Nuggerud was telling us this story, which he thought most humorous, some of the others had come up and joined in his laughter, adding a touch here and there to his description, for they had all enjoyed the scene. But I was not amused. Drinking was not the Baroness's habit—this we knew from Wittmer, who would have been the first to inform us if the wild doings at the Hacienda ever included drunkenness. Something now told me that things up there must be going very wrong for the Baroness to drown her disappointments in alcohol.

I could not laugh about her with the others. She seemed to stand before me, a phantom of her outer and inner self—the face with the strained green eyes, often over—full of malice, in which no light shone; the studied gestures, the false cordiality, the bluff, the dramatizing; all the empty charm which lured even me at first, and all the ruthlessness and cruelty of arsenic for Lorenz and horse-whip for her lover, Philippson. And I remembered Arends, who had only just escaped the island with his life. Yet behind all this there must have been some semblance of a real person somewhere, sometime, but very long ago perhaps. Again I felt a pity for her, such as had never moved me in all the time before.

I did not know then that the Baroness's life was almost done. But she had shown me a great truth—that the human being may shed all his substance and become the mere outward semblance of a man, yet so long as he remains within the shelter of the social world, no one will know that he is nothing but a simulacrum of himself. In the wilderness, this falsehood cannot stand.

Neither Frederick, nor I, nor any of the visitors had seen Lorenz.

Chapter XXIII: Death in Daylight

The last year on Floreana—1934: The first two months were over. Friends had come and gone. We were alone again, yet not alone. The atmosphere of uncanniness, of gathering evil, was closing in again upon the island. I felt it enveloping us anew, as I had felt it years ago, before the security of Friedo had become our safe haven against the demon gods of Floreana. In the meantime they had gathered power, or else it was their will to make an end of all intrusion, for now they came with a weapon {against which/} human wits and strength are powerless{/ against}.

The drought began towards the end of February. Heat such as we had never known on the island now scorched and blasted every growing thing. The sun hung in a sky of brass, and at night the burning earth gave forth a heat as though a furnace blazed beneath its rocky surface. The strong plants withered up, leaves blackened on the trees. The spring, that was the source of life to Friedo, had ceased to flow, and had become a thin trickle of water, wearily crawling out of its dry bed.

A strange wind rose. It drove with violence across the island like a vast fan of invisible fire; everything perished under its sweeping breath. Banana trees went down like straws before it, and it did not cease for several days and nights. It was succeeded by a heat more intolerable than before. We {recorded/measured} 120 degrees in the shade.

The rains were months overdue, but though we scanned the skies for some sign of a cloud, none came.

The silent days were followed now by silent nights. The thirsting beasts knew that the water had dried up; they seemed to join the earth and sky in one great silence of foreboding. The island was strewn with the carcasses of those the drought had killed; it exhaled the odours of decay and death. The fence that we had built round Friedo could not keep out this, and with it came the knowledge, at least to me, that powers were abroad on Floreana which we would pit our puny human strength against in vain.

Wittmer still came to Friedo every week to see us. He was having a hard time, with his spring reduced to almost nothing and his ground less good than ours. But at the Hacienda things were much worse still, he told us. The Baroness's animals were starving, the garden had become a waste of dry leaves and stalks. It had ceased to produce foodstuffs for the household of three, and Wittmer could not tell how they subsisted, unless, as he surmised, they still had a fair store of bought supplies. But if this drought went on and no ships came, he said, they would be calling on us all to help them very soon.

I anticipated some such visit daily, and wondered what form the roundabout ways of the Baroness would invent for it. I expected Philippson to come again with some excuse, perhaps to ask Frederick for professional advice, for a prolonged drought is hard upon the health of Europeans.

It was not Philippson who came, but Lorenz. Not the cautious, frightened, later Lorenz, but the fierce, resentful, and not quite hopeless youth who had come to us in the early days to talk himself out. We had disliked him violently in the other phase, but now our old sympathy for him returned. He had grown terribly thin and gaunt, and looked so starved and ghastly that I wondered whether he had come to us to die. But some strange strength, some remnant of will-power stronger than exhaustion and proof against the final hopelessness, still held him up. It was extraordinary.

He told us what was happening at the Hacienda. We heard again of fearful quarrels, much more bitter than in the past. He told us how his only remaining hope and wish in life was to get off the island.

He had demanded money of the Baroness—just enough to get away—and it had then come out that her money was almost gone. A large proportion of it had been swallowed up by the very costly aftermath of the accident to Arends. Far from ending fatally, the accident had proved by no means a financial disadvantage to the victim.

When Lorenz realized that she would not give him any of the small fund she had left, he said he would throw himself upon the kindness of some caller at the island and get away to Guayaquil free, and demanded that she hand him out his other belongings. This too she refused. She locked up all his things, and kept such watch that it was impossible for him to get at them. He understood why she was afraid to let him go away alone. She feared he would spread a tale about her sadly at variance with the legends she had spread about herself.

By this time he was desperate; he meant to go if anyone would take him—if necessary, without clothes, without money, without anything. He could not bear the Hacienda any longer. He lived in terror lest a passing boat might call and go away without him, and so his plan was to go down to the Casa and wait. But at the Casa there was neither food nor water. He begged and besought her to let him have enough to keep him alive just for a day or two; he pleaded with her as a man might plead for his last hope of salvation, even with tears.

{And she had/She} answered: “Get out of my sight, you spawn—you dog—you low-down bastard! Go down to your damned Bay and rot there for all I care.”

Philippson stood by and laughed at him.

Then Lorenz {had seen/saw} red. He forgot that they were two against one, that the woman had a horsewhip in her hand, that Philippson was powerful and still well-nourished, more than a match for two of him in his condition. He forgot everything but that his clothes and the few poor things that he possessed were locked up in a cupboard in that room. He seized a chair and swung it round his head, to dash it against the frail cupboard door and break it in. He heard the crack and splintering of wood, he saw a mocking laugh upon the woman's face; something hit him a sickening blow upon the head, and then he knew no more.

When he came back to consciousness he found himself lying on the path outside the Hacienda. Gradually he became aware that he was racked with pain.


Welts on his limbs showed that he had been brutally flogged while he was still unconscious.

After a long while he managed to stagger to his feet but could hardly walk a step. He had neither eaten nor drunk since early morning, and the sun beating down upon his head had given him a kind of sunstroke, so that nausea overcame him at every step. His clouded brain contained but one idea, which was to get to Friedo, though it was rapidly growing dark. He thought that he must be near death, but dreaded to perish by the wayside like the poor beasts that strewed the island in the drought. He knew that we would not refuse him shelter and that Frederick would find some means of alleviating his great pain.

Night overtook him on the way, and he must have fallen down again in a long fit of unconsciousness. For two days after this he roamed about the island, with such a rage of humiliation and resentment gathering in him that he was conscious of neither thirst nor hunger, nor lack of sleep.

He had at last found his way to Friedo, but he did not ask us to take him in. Perhaps he hesitated to involve us with the Baroness; at any rate, he seemed to take it for granted that he could stay at Wittmer's. He asked us to write out a notice for him to post on the barrel at Post Office Bay, to the effect that a German settler wished at all costs to leave the island, and begged anyone willing to take him off to notify him at Wittmer's. We gladly complied with this request, though even as we did so we believed that in spite of all he had been through he would still not have the courage nor the strength of will to resist the Baroness if she should again make a serious attempt to turn him from his purpose.

And yet something had changed in Lorenz. It was like a strength but it was not strength. It was a fierce and burning desperation which, in a man less physically broken, might have blazed out in madness. I feared for him. I did not dream that it could be the others I should fear for.

The heat continued. The blighting wind swept over Floreana. The drought lay on the island like a curse that never would be lifted. Or did these gods require some human sacrifice?

It was noon of the 19th of March. Frederick and I had both tried to do our morning's studying in spite of the intense heat, but it had proved impossible. We gave up and lay down to rest awhile. In all such climates, the midday hour is the hour of silence, and in the thirsting, death-filled days of the great drought on Floreana, the stillness was hardly to be borne. It weighed upon the soul like the dumb anguish of all that suffering earth and the poor beasts that went upon it. Not a leaf stirred. The wind had suddenly dropped entirely.

All at once a long-drawn shriek gashed the silence. It was an outcry of such panic terror that it was hardly human, and yet it was a woman's voice. It froze the marrow in our bones, and paralysed us for a moment. It sounded neither near nor far. It seemed like no earthly sound at all, and almost before it had been uttered the silence closed about it once again, as water closes over a drowned corpse, showing no trace where it went down.

We got up. Frederick went to the gate, I following him. If some one had been hurt, Friedo was the first place at which help would be sought, and we expected every moment to hear footsteps rushing down the path towards us. We waited endlessly, but no one came. We went back to the house quite shattered. Frederick was as white as a ghost, and so, he said, was I. We hardly dared to speak of what we had heard. It was almost as though each tried to make the other believe he had but imagined the fearful scream.

I said, “The drought is playing havoc with our nerves.”

And Frederick answered, “There may be something in the atmosphere at seasons like this that could exaggerate or distort sound.”

But we both knew that we were only talking for the calm and comfort of hearing each other's natural voice.

The next day was the day when Wittmer usually called, but he did not come. We could not forget the cry of terror, and meant to ask him whether he had heard it. The day following{ Lorenz arrived/, not he, but Lorenz, came}.

This was a different Lorenz{/ from the time before}. His fearful load of hatred and despair seemed to have lifted. He still looked very ill but was in good spirits. The bright, engaging smile which had been his chief feature when we met him first had not returned, still he had regained something of his former youthfulness. He was unusually voluble and had so much to say that we both forgot to ask him whether he had heard the scream the day before.

We said that we were glad to see him looking so much better, and presumed that a kind of truce had been concluded once more between this rebel of the Hacienda and the others.

“Have you made it up with the Baroness?” I asked.

“Not this time,” he answered.

“Oh, then you're staying at the Wittmers'?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Doesn't she mind?” was my next question, for I knew the Baroness well enough to know that she would lose no time in going to the Wittmers' and demanding Lorenz back.

“Mind!” said Lorenz. “I've told her once and for all where she gets off!”

“Will she remember it?” said I.

“I think she will,” Lorenz answered.

This astonished us very much. He must have seen the almost incredulous question in our eyes, for suddenly he went red and began to talk very fast about all kinds of things—but incoherently, as though, realizing that he had been caught saying something he should not have said, he was trying to cover it up with irrelevant chatter, and cause us to forget what we had heard.

We knew that Lorenz was {evasize/untruthful}; that is to say, he told the truth, but always only up to a certain point, when he would begin to prevaricate and go back on the things he said before.

Suddenly we became aware that he was relating a story, and now I paid close attention. He had been staying at the Wittmers' for three days, he said, when the Baroness came after him. (My supposition had been right, then.) She did not come into the garden, but stood outside the gate and called to him. He was doing a little job for Wittmer some distance off, at which Frau Wittmer was helping him. Frau Wittmer then went over, as he ignored the call, and asked the Baroness what she wanted.

“Why won't you come in?” she asked. “You needn't shout at him from here.”

But for some reason, the Baroness did not accept the invitation. Frau Wittmer then went back to Lorenz and said that he had better not have any dealings with her outside, for one never knew whether he also might not be shot.

While he was hesitating, the Baroness changed her mind and came into the garden. She seemed peaceable, and asked Lorenz where a certain wrench was that she needed. She and Philippson had looked for it everywhere, but couldn't find it. Lorenz told her where it was.

“I wish you'd come and help me bake some bread,” the Baroness then said. “You know I never can do that alone—and Robert's worse than useless as a baker!”

She spoke so winningly, he said, just as though nothing had happened. But he was not to be caught like this again, so he assured us.

He remained quite hard and said, “If you give me back my things I'll help you. But don't expect me ever to stay with you again. I've had enough. I won't stand for that swine Philippson any more.”

With that, he said, he turned his back upon her. But she persisted, and brought up every unlikely reason why he should return to the Hacienda. The talk went on for hours; then she went away.

“ Well,” I said, “at any rate you've shown her at last that you can take a stand against her!”

“Oh,” said Lorenz, “but she'll be back again—I know her. She will never leave me in peace. She'll always find a new excuse to come around again.”

I looked at him. How weak his face was, after all. I did not believe that in a tussle of those two wills, his and the Baroness's, he would have the firmness to resist, no matter what might be at stake for him. But before I could answer, he had suddenly jumped to another theme.

“Oh, by the way,” he said, “I've just acquired two Flecks.”

“Really,” I said. “Baby ones?”

“Yes,” he replied. “I caught them.”

Now this was surprising, for nothing is so hard to catch as wild donkeys, and why Lorenz should suddenly have gone out chasing them I could not conceive. He had never done such a thing before, and there was certainly even less reason to do so now than there might have been in the transport days when, through ill-treatment, the Hacienda donkeys soon broke down.

It seemed very odd, but I was pleased, for I should have liked to have a foster-mother for my Fleck, who was a little difficult to bring up on the bottle.

But Lorenz had leaped from his chair suddenly in burning haste to go. I asked him about the mother donkey, but he seemed not even to have heard me. At the edge of the veranda he turned round and said hastily, “Herr Wittmer will be along on Sunday. “ And he was gone.

We let him go. This visit had done nothing to illuminate the strangeness of everything around us.

March the 25th is my birthday and I baked a cake to celebrate it. Wittmer came down, and he too—or did I merely imagine this?—seemed unlike his usual self. He produced a letter from his pocket.

“This is for you,” he said, and put it on the table. It was not addressed to us but to a certain “Alec.” It described life at the Hacienda very briefly, but attached a written copy of an article by one “Franke” concerning a visit to the Baroness's paradise.

The letter contained a reference to a book which some American yachtsman, after visiting the Hacienda, had written and published about the Floreana settlers. Frederick and I—whom the man had never laid eyes upon—came off extremely badly in the book, as well as in the documents. They were of no special interest except in one respect: namely, that we now had proof of how the Baroness had been faking reports about the Hacienda and the island, sending them out to various newspapers of the world, signed by the name “Franke.” It amused me to learn that the glory of the Hacienda was “a central avenue of banana trees over a mile long.”


I had never yet felt envy of the Baroness, but I should certainly have been quite green with jealousy if anybody on the island had achieved an avenue of even fifty banana trees that the first serious gust of wind did not blow over.

Both Frederick and I ignored the cheap and foolish insults which the letter and the “article” contained. The letter had been signed “Antoinette, Robert, Lorenz,” so that even Lorenz apparently had been ready to malign us at the Baroness's bidding.

But such things did not really affect us.

But we considered such things negligible.

“The only thing I'd like to know,” said Frederick to Wittmer, “is how you come to have these compositions in your possession.”

“Lorenz brought them,” Wittmer answered. “He got them off the table at the Hacienda.”

“I see,” I put in. “So he did go back, after all!”


Just as Lorenz had done, now Wittmer went off at a tangent, leaving my implied questions conspicuously unanswered.

“It is an outrage,” he began. “The woman is a danger to us all. We let her get away with everything. I know you're hard to move in such matters, but what I want is for us all to get together now, and do something to put an end to all this rottenness. Now that you've got proof of the sort of story she is spreading against you, perhaps you will be more ready to join me in some action against her. It's no use appealing to Ecuador. We've tried that often enough and it leads to nothing. We've got to take our protection into our own hands now.”

Wittmer began to talk himself into a raving fury against the Baroness. We had never seen him in this state before. When he had done, he turned to Frederick and said, “We are our own law here on Floreana!”

But Frederick answered coldly, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. Everyone is responsible for his own actions. That is enough.”

Frederick had spoken, but the gods of Floreana had spoken before him. For justice had already been done to the Baroness; she had been tried by the island and found wanting. Philippson had also fallen, the victim of his own destructive passion, as the Baroness had been the victim of passions she inflamed in others—love that turned to hatred, jealousy ending in revenge, frenzy of the captive abused too long. Man in the grip of passions is the gods' tool and Lorenz stood all ready to their hand.

Chapter XXIV: Clues

The Baroness had been murdered. Phillipson had been murdered. Four other people on the island knew it, as it was known to every ghost and spirit that went about upon that haunted ground. Only Frederick and I did not know it yet, though often in the watches of the days and nights a shudder still went through us at the recollection of the scream that we had heard. It seemed as though the very air had changed, and all the natural and familiar things had grown mysterious and incomprehensible. Why had Lorenz been confused? Why had he fled from us that day at Friedo? What was the explanation of Wittmer's sudden storm of rage against the Baroness, since neither he nor his wife had been so much as mentioned in the article and letter he had brought?

Frau Wittmer, as I have said, had never been to see us. Now suddenly one day she came, not with her husband but with Lorenz.


I made them welcome, but all the while I was sure that something evil lay behind this visit. This strange conviction, far from being refuted, was intensified when Frau Wittmer set out gifts upon the table—belated birthday presents, she called them with a laugh: a cake and half a dozen handkerchiefs delicately embroidered. She said her sister had sent them to her, but that she would like me to have them. At this visit, precisely as at her husband's and Lorenz's before, the to-and-fro conversation suddenly stopped, and gave way to the telling of what seemed like a set story. This time Frau Wittmer was the narrator and her story was more astonishing than those of the other two had been.

It must have been on Monday morning, she began, when a great deal of animated talk from the direction of the Hacienda indicated that a number of guests had called upon the Baroness. The following morning Harry Wittmer and Lorenz went out to gather firewood, and while they were away the Baroness came once more to ask for Lorenz, not entering the garden, but standing, as before, outside the gate. Her husband, Frau Wittmer went on, sent her out to see the woman, not wishing to talk to her himself. The Baroness was in high excitement, we were told. She told Frau Wittmer that the strangest thing had happened—a party of old friends, making a tour of the world in a private yacht, had paid her a surprise visit in order to get her and Philippson to join them on a South Sea cruise.

Frau Wittmer gave a circumstantial account of all the Baroness had had to say upon the subject of one's business chances in the South Seas, how the hotel scheme would work out better there and the plans which she had hoped to put into effect on Floreana prove more feasible in those more favoured regions. We heard how the Baroness suffered in the drought, which she found terrible, and in conclusion Frau Wittmer told how she said:

“We're glad we're going. It must have been troublesome to you to have us always running to your spring for water, when there is so little of it for yourselves.”


(But the spring had been declared the common property of the Wittmers and the household at the hacienda.)

She {had gone/went} on, Frau Wittmer said, to leave a message of farewell for Lorenz, and would Frau Wittmer beg him in her name to take good care of all the animals?


(This point in the story caught my attention particularly, for I well knew the treatment animals received at these people's hands.)

The message for Lorenz ended, it seemed, with a general verbal bequest to him, not only of the Hacienda but of everything it contained; he was to consider it all as his own, and was free to dispose of it as he saw fit.

And the Baroness's last words which, said Frau Wittmer, were spoken with much intensity, were a petition to the absent Lorenz to forgive her for what share she might have had in causing him the suffering he had endured, and to remember her as kindly as he could.

“It's rather strange she didn't wait for him to come back,” I put in at this point. “After all, one does prefer to say such things direct.” But Frau Wittmer had another interpretation of this

I thought it strange the Baroness did not wait to see Lorenz, But Frau Wittmer explained this, to me,

most unlikely behaviour on the part of the Baroness, who would never in life have let slip so unique a chance to play a touching scene! Lorenz and her stepson, she said, returned about an hour afterwards; by that time the Baroness must almost have arrived at Post Office Bay, whither Philippson had preceded her, together with her friends. Frau Wittmer declared that it was she herself who brought all her influence to bear on Lorenz not to follow the Baroness down to the Bay to say good-by, for she feared that this might be another ruse of Philippson's to harm him. So Lorenz did not go. In fact Fran Wittmer, who, we were told, pitied him terribly on account of the ill-treatment he had received, kept him closely within her own garden until the Baroness and Philippson should have got safely off the island.

“It must have been quite a large party,” I said.

“Oh, quite a crowd,” Frau Wittmer answered.

“About what time would it be when she went down to the Bay?” asked Frederick.

“It must have been about twelve,” answered Frau Wittmer, “because I remember saying it was time for me to go and give Rolf his dinner.”

Frederick seemed satisfied with this reply; I had been struck by the close attention with which he had followed Frau Wittmer's story, for usually such things interested him but little.

Lorenz, Frau Wittmer said, wisely let himself be prevailed upon, and did not even go as far down the path as to see the ship go out which was taking the Baroness, his former mistress, and Philippson, his tormenter, away from him forever. That they were gone, there could be no doubt whatever, so Frau Wittmer said, for utter silence reigned in the direction of the Hacienda.

Towards the end of the day, the story continued, Lorenz went over to take possession of his legacy. He found the place in indescribable confusion, everything inside and outside bearing witness to the haste of the departure. All the suitcases had disappeared, including Lorenz's, for this was one of the first things he looked for, having, as Frau Wittmer said, but one desire—to leave the island now himself as soon as possible.

The Baroness was reported to have ridden down to Post Office Bay upon the only donkey she had left, and it did not come back. Lorenz found two baby donkeys in the stall, one belonging to the Hacienda's only surviving she-ass, the other an orphan of a second she-ass that had died shortly before. Feeling sorry for them, he brought them back to the Wittmer's.

“I thought he hadn't caught them,” I said to myself, recalling Lorenz's own version of this part of the story. But I did not voice my thought aloud.

Now Lorenz took up the thread of Frau Wittmer's narrative. He burst into a savage tirade against the vanished Baroness, declaring that she had ruined him body and soul, and calling her by every dreadful name that he could think of.

“Good riddance of foul rubbish,” he said savagely, his flushed face distorted with hatred. “I hope they both get shipwrecked and eaten up by sharks!” His voice was shrill with passion, and I looked at him sharply, unable to account for the sudden intensity of his emotion.

To my still greater astonishment, his excitement subsided as suddenly as it had risen, and it was in a perfectly cool and matter-of-fact voice that he asked us if we wouldn't buy some of the Baroness's things from him. They had left no money for him, he said, and he was burning to get off the island, which he could not do in a destitute condition.

I was sincerely glad that Lorenz was now free to go and only too ready to help him, so I immediately answered that of course we should be glad to buy what we could.

This seemed to be the sign for the visit to end, for no sooner had I spoken than Frau Wittmer and Lorenz got up to go.

They said they would send a donkey on the following Sunday, the 1st of April, to take me up to the caves, and we arranged that we should then all go to the Hacienda, in order that Frederick and I might choose what we wanted. We accompanied them to the gate, and saw them off. All the way up the long garden path to the house Frederick was silent.

“What are you thinking about?” I asked him.

“You played your part extremely well, Dore,” he said. “I didn't think you had it in you.”

“My part?” I repeated. “What part?”

Frederick was looking very grave. “My dear child,” he said, “is it possible that you believed

all that?”

all that? The whole story was nothing but lies from beginning to end. I haven't yet made out exactly what the purpose of it was, but one thing is very clear …”

A chill of horror rippled down my spine. I felt my face go white. My eyes were fixed on Frederick's face. I hardly dared to speak, and yet I felt that I must know the truth.

“Tell me what you mean,” I whispered. “Hasn't the Baroness really gone?”

Frederick's strong and steadying hand took mine, and held it very close.

“Yes, she has gone all right,” he said.

“Oh, Frederick!” I said. “Whatever shall we do?”

“We can do nothing,” Frederick answered calmly. “But I shall write down everything we have heard and whatever else we may observe. It will be safer so!”

I sat appalled. One by one the recollections of the past few days defiled before my mind—two of them stood out in unspeakable hideousness: the first, that fearful scream—we knew now what it had been—the second, Lorenz's good humour on the day when he had come to see us, when we had expected Wittmer. I thought of that expression of relief that I had noticed in his face and in his manner. I remember that he had even laughed.

After a while Frederick got up and went back to his work. I sat on for a while where he had left me, but suddenly could bear the place no longer. I felt that Friedo had been desecrated and could never be the same again. I remembered the luncheon long ago when I thought a murderess was sitting at our table, but all the time the fate she seemed to be preparing for another was being spun for her. I got up and left the house. I felt that I must go down to the clearing where I could see the ocean and regain my calm in contemplation of its vast serenity. A great pity for the unfortunate Baroness rushed over me. While she lived I would have given anything to see her leave the island, but now that she was dead, and dead in so horrible a way, I would have given just as much to see her back again. True, she had brought her tragedy upon herself and it was nothing but the evil she herself had caused that had been visited upon her and her poor companion. And yet the manner of retribution that had overtaken her at the hands of some one who had loved her once filled me with gloom and horrified dismay.

I returned to the house and the first thing my eyes fell upon was the birthday gift of the embroidered handkerchiefs. Somehow I knew that these had not come from Frau Wittmer's sister—they were the Baroness's. I stood and looked at them, so delicate and feminine with their fine embroidery lying shimmering on the table in the falling dusk. And suddenly I seemed to see them stained with blood. I picked them up and took them into the garden far from the house and made a hole and buried them. It was horrible to me to think that we had promised Lorenz to buy some of “his” things. I would sooner have lent him money had I thought of it. Now it was too late. It would not do to refuse.

As this thought entered my mind, it brought with it the realization that a new fear had seized upon me. I knew that henceforth I should be possessed by the dread that Frederick and I would be the next victims of the murderer that stalked the island. We had been drawn into the web of all these people's lives and we could hope for no escape.

We must now act a part, the part that had been written for us by the invisible authors of the tragedy which was at last to free the island of intruders. We did not know what end they had designed for us, but it was plain to me that for the moment our safety, indeed our very lives, depended on our keeping our suspicions to ourselves. It was with dread that I looked forward to the following Sunday and the visit which must be endured.

Lorenz and the Wittmer boy came punctually with a donkey, which I rode back to the caves. I was grateful to Frederick for keeping close beside me, and tried to engage young Harry Wittmer in talk in order not to hear the terrible abuse of the Baroness with which Lorenz beguiled the whole long way. But it was impossible not to hear a great deal of what he said, and much of it enlightened one still further as to the character of that strange woman.

We learned that she had been in the habit of addressing letters to herself to Panama, with the object of having them brought to Floreana by the passing pleasure yachts.§ She had conceived of her life as a series of dramatic {roles/rôles}, and no one knew, herself perhaps least of all, at which point her real life ceased to exist and {the fantastic began/merged entirely with theater}.

§ Strauch offers no explanation of how a letter sent to a Panama address could find its way back to the Baroness in Galápagos.

Once she sent an order to a big American cigarette factory for twenty thousand cigarettes, accompanying her letter with a photograph bearing the double autographs of “The Empress of Galapagos and Robert Philippson, her Minister.” She was insatiable for publicity, no matter what it cost. And in the end, it cost her everything.

We passed the Hacienda. It was dazzling noon and very hot, but an icy shudder shook me as I rode by. The fence and gateposts were gay with bright paint. The whole place looked inviting, cheerful and well kept, a smiling mask that hid confusion, evil memories and crime. I trembled at the thought that we should come back later with the Wittmers, and have to enter the house ; it needed all my self-control not to turn the donkey's head and rush back to Friedo.

This was the first time we had seen the Wittmers' new house. It was built solidly of sandstone and contained several rooms. It looked very handsome and did credit to the builder's talent as architect as well as to his immense and tireless energy. For to have erected a place like that with his own hands was a considerable achievement for a man.

Frau Wittmer had done her share in the interior arrangements, which were excellent.

Frederick and I performed our parts at least adequately, for neither our hosts nor Lorenz suspected that we knew or guessed anything different from what we had been told. This we could tell by their ease of manner towards us. I wondered why the Wittmers should so completely have made Lorenz's cause their own. It was no trifle to defend a murderer, especially the murderer of a woman, and there was something incomprehensible to me in the perfect casualness of these two people's attitude towards this man of violence, whom they had taken into their house. For what we guessed, they must have known; and as I watched them both, my mind was full of questions.

I tried to penetrate their casualness, to find out whether it was but a cloak for fear like mine. Their fear might conceivably have been greater than mine because of the child, who would be exposed to certain death if anything should happen to them. Or could it be that friendship and sympathy had so far triumphed over judgment that crime had ceased to be a barrier? I could find it in my heart to envy and admire this, if it were so. And what of Wittmer's son? Was he, a young boy, also in the secret?

We lunched at the Wittmers. It was

The lunch was very good, and

skillfully cooked. The table was covered with a beautiful pink damask cloth , and when the plates were cleared away a very handsome tea set took their place. I had seen the tea set and tablecloth before, but they had been at the Baroness's then.


Still I said nothing, and no one saw that I had noticed.

Frederick said that he had drawn up a document containing everything that Lorenz and Frau Wittmer had told concerning the departure of the Baroness. He had brought it with him and he read it aloud. It was an absolutely faithful record of their story and they corroborated it approvingly, but asked him why he had gone to the trouble of writing it all down.

“It's better not to trust to memory,” said Frederick, “and it is always good to make a note of such unusual happenings.”

“I don't think it was necessary,” {Lorenz/Wittmer} said. §

§ Here, and again a few paragraphs below, “Lorenz” is presumably an editing error.


“Evidence is out of question in a case like this.”

“Still somebody might come asking questions about her or Philippson, and their whereabouts” Frederick explained earnestly{, but the other laughed./The others laughed.}

“So long as she's gone, why worry how she went?” “Am I my brother's keeper?” “They say bad pennies do turn up again, but we can wait and see.” These were rejoinders, all quite lightly spoken.

I exercised what subterfuge I could, to delay as long as possible the evil moment when the signal would be given to go to the nearby Hacienda. To keep the talk on other things, I asked about the little donkeys and said that I should like to see them. I told about the difficulties I had had in bringing up Fleck by hand after he had lost his mother, but the Wittmers said that their orphans were doing very well.

“We've had them five weeks,” {Lorenz/Wittmer} said, “and they thrive on everything we give them.” Just in the nick of time I kept myself from showing my surprise. So Lorenz had told still another lie—my mind went back, and farther back. There was the scream, and two days later Lorenz's visit. Yes, he must have gone straight there—afterwards.

My thoughts were drawn away from this theme by hearing Wittmer {mention/speak my} Burro's name. At last I was to learn what had become of him. It now came out that the Baroness had hated him ever since the day when he had so annoyed her down at Friedo, and her resentment had been fed by hearing his praises sung by all the visitors to Floreana.

{When the time came/When it was time} for me to be made to feel the lash, she thought that she could do this no more effectively than through the animal I was fond of. And so she had contrived one night to lure him into the Wittmers' garden, knowing that there marauders would be shot with very little ado, for Wittmer was not sentimental where despoilers of his plantation were concerned.

When Wittmer saw which donkey it was that he had so summarily shot, he was filled with distress, and did not dare to tell me. He confessed it now with honest pain, and what could I do but say that I forgave him? Lorenz profited again by this occasion to tell how the Baroness had gloated at the successful issue of this cruel plan of hers. She had especially hated me, he said.

The Hacienda was hardly more than a stone's throw away from the Wittmers' house

and we set out for the inescapable visit. As we

but as we set out for the inescapable visit, I leaning gratefully on Frederick's arm, I could have wished that some magic would prolong the road such endless miles that we would never reach that eerie destination. I felt, rather than saw, that it was costing even Frederick an effort to maintain his calm composure. I felt like an intruder on the dead. When we

passed through the gate, it seemed to me that the Baroness's ghost and Philippson's accompanied our every step.

{Until that moment the day/The day, until that moment,} had been absolutely still, without the faintest breeze. Now all at once a sudden scorching wind swept up, and rustled horribly through the parched and straw-like leaves of the bananas. A harsh, dry whispering seemed to go all through the garden, as though a crowd of unseen, spectral watchers

mocked us.

mocked and discussed us. Such terror gripped me that, if Frederick had not held me up, I might have fallen. The pressure of his arm in mine was a reassurance and a warning, and I summoned all my strength for the ordeal to come.

It was the house I dreaded most to enter.

It was the house I dreaded most to enter.

Lorenz led the way, closely followed by the Wittmers. They all went in with a casualness I could not understand. There was something in it hideously jaunty. Within the doorway I hung back for a second to take a first look round, in order to defend myself from any sudden revelation. It was a purely instinctive impulse, but instinct, at such times, always saves one.

It was well that I did so or I should have screamed at the sight of the first thing my eyes encountered. It was the Baroness's hat upon the table. Against the wall were all her shoes in a neat row, as I had seen them once before. In a far comer stood her luggage. The trunks and suitcases were piled up as they had always been.

We had been told that the sudden departure had left the house in a state of wild confusion; we found it perfectly tidy. True, there had been time enough to clear up any disorder, but there were other signs which showed that no cleaning up had been done. For dust lay thick on everything, more than a fortnight's dust. In an ashtray lay the recognizable remains of the long-stemmed Russian cigarettes the Baroness always smoked. We had been told that they had taken most of their belongings, yet family photographs, one of Philippson's mother, were still where they had always been. And there was the hat upon the table. …

The Baroness had often spoken of one small possession which she regarded almost as a talisman. She had had it for years, she told us, and it went with her everywhere. We had Lorenz's word for it long ago that this was true. It was a copy of Dorian Grey, and she had said that it was not only the work itself but that particular volume, to which, for sentimental reasons, she was inseparably attached. She told me she never went on a trip without it. The book was still there.


Meanwhile Lorenz, with the most cold-blooded matter-of-factness, was bringing various objects forward, and spreading them about the room for us to choose from. This was almost more than I could stand. I had, by this time, only one idea left, and that was to get away from the Hacienda as quickly as possible. Without looking at the things, I pointed out one or two at random and said that we would buy them. Frederick did the same.

But suddenly I could not bear the thought of seeing them removed from this house. It made me feel as though we were being made robbers of a tomb. As Lorenz started dragging them together I said, “Perhaps after all it will be better not. Suppose she were to come back?”

And at that moment I said this honestly, in a last desperate effort to persuade myself that there was a chance that the Baroness and Philippson were alive.

But this flimsy illusion was finally destroyed as Lorenz answered, in a tone of such fierce mockery as I had never thought him capable of:

“Don't worry, there's no danger of that—not any more.”

Chapter XXV: All Is Over

With the tragic and obscure passing of the Baroness all that was weird in the island had returned. The awareness of supernatural forces inimical to us, which had been so strong in me before she came, had been banished almost entirely by the element of concrete enmity and strife which she had brought with her. The days that followed our visit to the Hacienda, where we found such indubitable proof that she and Philippson had been done away with, were the most haunted and uncanny I had known.

Added to this was the quite practical fear that Frederick and I might be implicated, should even an investigation into these disappearances be made. We could only tell the story as we knew it, but who would believe us?

And then there was another danger—Lorenz himself.

And then there was another danger—Lorenz himself, the murderer.

We said to each other that a man who could go to such lengths to regain his freedom would not be scrupulous about securing it at the expense of anybody whom he felt might be a danger to him; therefore the slightest slip on our part, that might lead him to suspect that we had made all too accurate deductions, would inevitably expose us to the same fate as had overtaken the two others.


Our certainty about the murders sometimes seemed strange to me. Not the least doubt ever entered our minds but that the Baroness and Philippson had been removed by violence. We never found their bodies, and perhaps no one ever will. We did not believe that they had been thrown into the sea, for the sea is often not a very safe hiding-place. It is extremely probable that they were burned, for a furnace of acacia wood burns with such intensity that even bones consigned to it are consumed to fine ash. We ourselves had proved this with cattle bones, which we often disposed of in this way. During such a drought even the hard acacia wood would burn like tinder.

There was another possibility, and this was the one which made the island beyond Friedo unholy ground to me from this time on. The ghost of Watkins had never disturbed us before. Now, passing the many caves and crevices one had to pass even on so short a tour as to the orange grove, and remembering what hundreds of such caches the island contained, it was most sinister and horrible to feel that any one of these might harbor the murdered bodies of the Baroness and Philippson. If they are there, they surely will come to light one day, but undiscovered or discovered, the people of the islands and of the Ecuadorean coast number them already, and with certainty no less than mine, among the ghosts of Floreana.

Lorenz was in a fever to leave the island, but it seemed as though all weather and all {accident/incident} had conspired against him. Not weeks but months went by, and not a ship touched Floreana. It was as though an unseen barrier had been cast around us which no ship could penetrate, and rendering—who knew?—the whole island invisible.

I have it in my diary that on April 21st the first rain fell. The terrible drought was broken, and a few days later Lorenz and Wittmer appeared at Friedo, bringing us mail and gifts from Commander {Macdonald [sic]/McDonald}, an airgun and some seeds. {It would have seemed/Evidently} a ship had come, but we had not seen it.

My impulse was to ask Lorenz how he still came to be there and why he had not gone away, since the chance had come at last, but I refrained from putting him this question. I need not have done so, however, for he anticipated it, asking if we had any use for a few more of the Baroness' things—his money was not yet sufficient to enable him to get away. I knew that this was not the reason but said nothing, for I could discern but not explain the hidden lie.

Though I could hardly bear the thought of making any more purchases from the Hacienda, I thought it might be wiser not to refuse, and so I said that I would think it over.


Then suddently I understood—no ship had called at all. Letters and gifts were among the many things of ours which the Baroness had intercepted, and for some reason or other Lorenz and Wittmer had decided that it would be more politic to restore these things to us. That this instinctive supposition was true was proved on opening the letters afterwards. They bore old dates.

It was not until the middle of July that a boat at last appeared upon the empty sea, and then it was no more considerable a craft than Nuggerud's small sailing boat. He had brought another journalist to Floreana, this time a Swede, and through this man the story of the Baroness' disappearance went out into the world. Needless to say the version was the Lorenz-Wittmers'. Frederick and I commented little upon the story as the Swede repeated it to us. Perhaps we hinted what we thought, but we were careful, and, besides, we knew that no one would believe the tale we could tell.

Lorenz, the journalist and Nuggerud had lunch with us at Friedo before sailing. I could not help but being reminded of that other lunch, where he had been so noticeably absent. I thought of the long time we had known this young man, for time in {places and/a place and in} circumstances like ours is measureable not by days but by experience. I sat comparing him with the Lorenz who had come to Floreana, debonair, healthy, youthful, with hope intact. And looking at him now, ravaged by ill-health, bitterness and disappointment, I could not help but feel that of all the people who had come to the island he was by far the most pitiable. How he had longed to go away! But now the time had come, and he was sunk in gloom and black depression.

Suddenly all the recoil which I had felt against him as a man with blood upon his hands subsided, leaving me filled with sympathy for this wrecked life which might have been so different.

I tried to cheer him up and said: “Come, Lorenz, don't be sad. Be happy that you can go away at last. You've plenty of years before you to make good all that you've lost, and one day you'll look back on all this and think you only dreamed it.”

But Lorenz answered {sombrely/somberly}, and in a low tone so that the others would not hear: “I'm afraid—I don't know why—but I'm afraid of this trip somehow.”

“Why?” I asked, but Lorenz did not answer.

It was a brilliant day, but all at once I seemed to sense a darkness in the air, as though a shadow which loomed up behind Lorenz had for a moment dimmed the sunshine. I knew that death was near for him.

During the next few weeks no other ship arrived. The atmosphere of Floreana had become so sinister that for the first time Frederick and I talked about whether we, too, should go away or not. The peace of Friedo had been profoundly shattered by all the attacks from the outside which had so long besieged us. We did not know whether it had not been forever ruined.

It was a further irony that the woman who had been responsible for the destruction of our paradise kept us entrapped there after she was dead. For it was the thought of the murder that, more than anything else, made us decide to stay. It would have looked like guilt had we abandoned the island at that time. Looking back later upon this decision I realized that it, too, had been dictated to us by the unseen authors of the tragedy of Floreana. We stayed.

{The 20th of August/August 20th} was a day of one of the rare Pacific storms. The usually quiet surf rose up in furious breakers, rolling in from very far and making the whole coast quite inaccessible.

Like a bird of ill-omen the Cobos had appeared. We watched her trying to put in at Black Beach in the storm, but finding this impossible the skipper veered and made for Post Office Bay. Frederick went down to be {there/on the spot} when the skipper landed.

We had been a very long time without letters or news from anywhere. The Cobos had brought mail for us and for the Wittmers, and a large number of letters and newspapers for the deserted Hacienda. The first words that greeted Frederick was the question we were soon to hear incessantly repeated.

“What happened to the Baroness? Who was it murdered her and Philippson?”

The Lorenz-Wittmer version of the story seemed not to have received blind credence, and the Swedish journalist had drawn conclusions of his own—we knew how true.

Lorenz was missing. The journalist had had himself landed at Santa Cruz, from where Lorenz had engaged Nuggerud to take him in all haste to Chatham, in order that he might not miss the Cobos which was due to sail for Guayaquil.

Nuggerud had shown the greatest reluctance to put out for the other island, lest they be becalmed, which was a dangerous thing on account of the fatal current which swept the {archipelago/Archipelago}. But to every objection Lorenz had answered by offering the fisherman a higher price until at last Nuggerud had yielded. He had, however, made no secret of his grave misgivings to all his friends in the harbour of Santa Cruz, from whom the skipper of the Cobos had the story. With the exception of a little negro boy, Nuggerud carried no crew. The sailing boat had not been seen or heard of since.

Summer came and went, with occasional visitors and the now stereotyped catechism as to the Baroness' end. We found that many theories had been evolved, some assuming suicide, others accepting the hypothesis of murder, still others naively crediting the story of the mysterious yacht. The fact that months had passed without bringing a single clue as to the whereabouts of the Baroness and Philippson, alive or dead, did not disturb the faith of those who thought that they were still alive.

A strange mood had come over Frederick. He suddenly withdrew into the seclusion of his philosophic work, and laboured at it unceasingly from early morning to late at night. A fury of productivity seemed to possess him, rendering him oblivious of every outside thing. The garden and the animals, the daily duties of the house and the plantation were left entirely to me, whilst Frederick wrote and pondered as though in desperate haste, lest something come to hinder the achievement of his work. His philosophic work was finished, and now he had begun to make an English translation of it in order, he said, that it might not be misinterpreted to the world.

Another change had come as well. We had found perfect harmony and peace together. All differences had been smoothed out, and we had reached that infinite understanding of each other which no words can tell. Frederick had become considerate and tender. All storms had ceased. And amidst the debris of its outward peacefulness, the inner life of Friedo's founders had acheived perfection.

A stillness and a happiness that we had never known before united us in that last month in more than human oneness.

The tamarinds and aguacates which we had planted came into bloom for the first time. But it was not the herald of re-birth for Friedo. It was like the last spring of a world that would never know another summer.

On November 6th a handsome American radio broadcaster, {Philip [sic]/Phillips} Lord, visited us at Friedo, having made the whole long voyage in a schooner, the Seth Parker. Frederick talked with him for a long time about his philosophy, and when he said that I had been the only woman who had ever understood his work I felt that he had set the seal of achievement upon my life with him.

[A possible editing error here. Given the omission of “Phillips Lord's party” in the 1935 edition, the “these new friends” (note plural) below makes no sense.]

In Phillips Lord's party there was a man who all at once reached across the table, took my hand and began to read my palm. I did not take this very seriously, though by the expressions of his companions I could see they did. When he had done he turned to Frederick and said, “Let me see yours, Dr. Ritter.”

Frederick laughingly complied, saying to me, “Now you'll hear how long you're going to have me on your hands.” Then, with a smile towards the palmist, he said, “Tell her the truth.”

The stranger took Frederick's hand and glanced at it; suddenly the whole proceeding seemed to become earnest, and I scanned his face to catch its first expression. It did not escape me, and I knew that in the second's pause between the reading and the announcement something had been told me without words.

It was, however, with an air of cloudless candor that the American looked into Frederick's eyes and answered, “Oh sure I'll tell her the truth—she'll have you for another fifty years.”

Frederick laughed too and said, “By that time we'll be about ready to go together—but we'd do that in any case, wouldn't we Dore?”

I smiled back at him. Was he to die before me or was our flowering Friedo soon to be our common grave? The question did not weigh upon me. It did not seem to be important.

When these new friends had gone we sat up for a long time talking about the strange and dark events which had occurred upon the island in our time, and almost interruptedly since we had come.

“We do not know what causes underlie the fate of men like Watkins,” Frederick said. “Nor can we really put ourselves so far into the minds of people who are alien to us—the Baroness, for instance—as to be able to interpret their destiny. But if misfortune and even tragedy should come to us two here, I shall know what it was we were punished for.”

I waited in silence for him to go on.

“The proper tasks of life lie within the frame of the community,” he said. “Therefore the individual who fails to see this, or seeing it tries to escape and seeks his tasks elsewhere, will inherit the consequence of all wrong-doing.”

I could not think that we had greatly sinned in coming to Friedo, and I knew that Frederick would not find his way back to a world which had never understood him, and to which he had always felt himself bound by superficial ties. I thought back over our life on Floreana, and felt that if chastisement were to come, we would not feel that we had bought our years there at too high a price, no matter what it was.

The long drought had ruined out season's crops, and the absence of ships had made it impossible for us to replenish our stores. We were once more in a serious predicament concerning food, for we would on no account seek help from the Wittmers.

One day, with great reluctance, we decided that we must overcome our aversion and have one of our fowls for dinner. That there was a certain degree of danger in this we very well knew, for our chickens had been decimated lately by a curious sickness which we could only attribute to my having given them preserved pork to eat, all other food having long since run out.

Since we had no more eggs, we had to supplement the vital materials contained in these by whatever means we could, for previous experience would have taught us, even without Frederick's medical knowledge, that sickness follows upon the absence of certain elements in diet. Frederick and I took every possible precaution in preparing the poultry, and when he thought that all the latent poison in it had been neutralized we put it in a dish and took it to the table. We ate one spoonful of it each for the sake of the necessary nourishment it should contain and made the rest of the meal of our vegetarian fare.


And on November 21st, 1934, Dr. Frederick Ritter died.

During the following days waves and waves of profound grief swept over me; but gradually deep surrounding silence—nothing moved and even the animals were quiet—eased my soul and I became conscious of our essential oneness: our two souls became a unity—for only the world of illusion divided us into “I and Thou.” I felt the reunion of our souls had taken place and that Frederick's spirit would guide me still. I have only to be submissive and to overcome by own waywardness.

Reflecting over the last month I could see that a fundamental modification of our life had taken place. We had both tried to pierce the future to learn what lay before us.

When, two years ago, new settlers intruded upon our solitude the doctor could not rid himself of the feeling that we should be forced away from the island. He, whose aim was to overcome the world of appearances and illusion and to merge his intellect and spirit in the rhythmical movement of the impersonal all, was dragged down in the whirlpool of ghastly mundane events. He had to submit for a time to the dominance and material cares from which his spirit had long freed itself.

He suffered intensely from the publicity which attended our experiment and from the visits of shallow and unworthy sightseers.

The doctor did not admit that one could see in his manual labour alone, fruitful though it was, the essence of his life-task. True, with pride we showed our visitors Friedo—our garden won from the Galapagos wilderness, but few saw the counterpart to this manual labour. Few could comprehend the measured and balanced oscillation between the material sphere and the intellectual.

The last months had been—without our knowing it—a preparation for death. Never before had Frederick been conscious of only one aim. However, the last months of his life he spent from morning till night translating his philosophy into English. I am glad that I could help him a little. A silent joy flows through me when I recollect the happy hours by his side. Sometimes my hand touched his arm tenderly, and he would interrupt his eager writing and press my hand softly. When he found just the right word he would look lovingly at me, nodding his head. I admired him for the endurance and devotion with which he pursued his aim right up to the fateful day.

One morning he awoke feeling ill. He had had a stroke, and was paralyzed on the right side. As he lay there immobile he told me again what he often told me: “In reality I have fulfilled my tasks on earth. In the material world I have built Friedo; in the psychical world I have obtained control of my affections and emotions; in the mental world I have thought out and written my philosophy; but the task in the religious world, the ultimate reality, the mingling of the ego with the all—that only can be solved by death.”

Before our usual bed-time, Frederick lay down, complaining of feeling rather ill. He had a headache. Instantly alarmed, I asked him if he thought it could be the meat. But I had eaten some as well, and felt no ill-effects.

“It may be something else,” said Frederick, “but don't worry. I shall be all right.”


I took a chair and sat down by his side, watching him anxiously. There was nothing frightening in his appearance; he was neither flushed nor pale. But after a while he said in a queer voice, “My tongue feels heavy.”


I gave him charcoal mixed with calcium carbonate, and quickly made strong coffee as an antidote. Nausea set in and agonizing pains. The whole of that awful night was spent in trying to relieve the attacks, and stem the tide of poison which was overwhelming Frederick's tortured body.

At last an icy sweat broke out—it was the sweat of death. He knew that he was lost and I could only look on, ignorant and helpless.

I sat by his bed and began to read. And because Friedrich Nietzsche's Zarathustra was always close at hand I read some favourite extracts.

He asked me to read Zarathustra to him, indicating the page, and when I came to one of his favourite passages, he said in a faint voice and with a wonderful expression in his eyes, “Mark these lines, Dore, and remember them always … in memory of me.”

In the pauses between the attacks, despair surged over me. Frederick was dying—what should I do at Friedo alone?

I went over to the table and took another mouthful of the meat, meaning to eat it all and die with Frederick. But suddenly I checked myself with horror. What if he did not die but remained ill and helpless, or even paralyzed for life? If I were dead, then I should have failed him in his hour of greatest need. I could not bear the thought, and prayed that if I had now poisoned myself, God might not punish me by killing me while Frederick still needed my help.

Frederick awoke out of a kind of coma. I told him I would go to the Wittmers' and get help. He tried to answer me, but could not speak. I brought him paper and pencil, so that he could write down what he wished to say. He made me understand that I should not attempt to go up to the caves alone. With my lame leg he feared that I would never manage it. But I felt that I must go, for I was afraid that not to ask the Wittmers' help might be to deprive Frederick of his last faint chance of life.

Even now I cannot bear to talk or think about that journey. The panic haste that I was in had numbed me, so that my lame leg all but refused to move. Every few yards I had to stop, and then I seemed to hear Frederick's voice calling out to me, in the failing consciousness of the last moment, not able to understand why I had left him all alone.

It took me three hours to get to the Wittmers'. I shouted to them long before I reached the gate, and my call brought Wittmer's son. Wittmer himself was out. He had gone down to the Bay. But Harry took me back to Friedo on their donkey, while Frau Wittmer, leaving the baby alone, hurried down to the Bay to fetch her husband. When I got back Frederick was tossing feverishly and catching his breath in long and painful gasps.

“Where's Wittmer?” he wrote, and I told him, fearing that he might not live the hour that it must take before the man could come.

He followed the progress of his illness with close attention. Towards the last he begged for the revolver. But I did not realize how ill he was and I refused. The Wittmers also, who had immediately responded to my appeal for help, believed as I did in his recovery.

When the Wittmers arrived, the power of speech had left him entirely, though he could understand all that was said and was still able to write. He took the pencil and scribbled, “This is choking me … give me my gun.”

In the little cupboard beside the bed his revolver had lain, always ready to his hand since violence had come to Floreana. While Wittmer sat dismayed and terrified, trying to soothe him with encouraging words, I slipped round and removed the gun, though this was not necessary, for paralysis had set in on that side and Frederick could no longer move.

At the thwarting of his wish, his face became distorted with maniacal rage, terrible to behold. I saw that the Wittmers could do nothing, and that the sickness must take its deadly course.

By evening he was quiet, and I went out into my garden and lay down upon the ground, leaving the Wittmers to watch beside the bed. There, where we both had laboured side by side planting our Eden in the wilderness, I prayed that Frederick might get well again. The Wittmers went outside when I came back, and I lay down for a moment on my bed, hardly daring to breathe for fear of disturbing Frederick, who seemed to lie quite peacefully, though I could not tell whether he was asleep or not, and dared not talk to him for dread of waking him.

When I reached his bed he was violently twitching. He was seized with convulsions—it was the death agony—but I did not know it.

Suddenly he began to twitch from head to foot, and drum with his feet against the foot of the bed. I leaped up, terrified. This was surely the end. I watched, appalled.

Suddenly he opened his great blus eyes and stretched his arms toward me.§ His glance was joyously tranquil, and he seemed actually to say to me: “I go; but promise you will not forget what we have lived for.” I called his name in astonishment. It seemed to me as if he would draw me with him. Then he sank back, and I began to caress his forehead tenderly. He became quite still, and that was death.

Frederick sat up. He stretched out both his arms toward me.§ All trace of pain and torment had vanished from his face, which was transfigured with a look so lucid, so triumphant, so calm, so tender, so illuminated with the knowledge that surpasses understanding, that I could only gaze and gaze upon him like one who sees a miracle. Then he fell back, before I was able to utter a sound.

§ The skeptical reader may wonder how the paralyzed patient could sit up and stretch out his arms. But aside from this discrepancy, if the rest of her description is reasonably truthful, Ritter's symptoms better describe diphtheria than conventional ptomaine poisoning. With an incubation period of two to five days, or possibly longer, he may have contracted the disease from some tainted food not shared with Dore. Another possibility is tetanus, acquired through a wound. In either case, this would explain why Dore did not suffer the same symptoms, and would also exonerate the recently-departed chickens from accusations of fowl play.The diphtheria supposition is also supported by Heinz Wittmer's account that Ritter, Dore and some of their cats had all eaten the same meat, yet neither Dore nor the cats suffered the same fate as did Ritter. And, conspicuous by its absence, Heinz's account says nothing of Ritter's paralysis.

Suddenly I felt I should have kissed this life from his lips perhaps, and failing to understand, I had had to wait three days before I could feel clearly the reunion with his spirit.


The linen I had brought from home made Frederick's shroud. We buried him in the corner of the garden which he liked most, and which had cost him his hardest toil.


Flowers from the Wittmers' garden decked his grave.

The Cobos was not due for several weeks. I longed for her return, for now I had but one wish—to leave the island. I did not know what I should do back in the world again. I had no plans. But go I must.

I began to pack the few possessions that I treasured, carefully gathering all Frederick's writings which I hoped one day to give to the world, according to his dearest wish. The Wittmers were kind, and would gladly have had me stay with them if I had cared to, but I preferred to be alone at Friedo. After the first despair and anguish caused by the sudden shock of Frederick's death a great calm filled by soul. Although I missed his visible presence, I never had the feeling I was alone. He was beside me everywhere and at all times, in the night when I lay listening to the wild animals coming to the spring, and in the mornings when I rose to face the day alone.

But as the days wore on, unrest returned. One day when this mood was very strong upon me I caught sight of a fishing boat. It seemed to be making for Post Office Bay. I knew the men could not see me if I waved, but it had suddenly come into my mind that I must send word home, and to our friend, Captain Hancock, telling them what had happened.

The boat was far away. All at once the sensation of being trapped, that feeling which we both had had since the murder, swept over me again, and I turned, as I had always done, for help to Frederick.

“Oh Frederick, let me get the message to them somehow!”

I think I even said the words aloud, for they were still in my ears when I heard my name called. It was Wittmer, on his way down to the beach. I knew now that my messages were safe and hastened into the house to write them out.

“Frederick is dead,” I wrote to Captain Hancock, “please help me.”

Quite calm again, I picked up a piece of embroidery which Frederick had designed for me, and went on working at it till the sun went down. The next day Herr Wittmer called again and said: “I'm sorry, but your telegrams didn't go. The fishing boat went past without calling at the Bay.”


But I was undismayed. I knew that Frederick would never fail me.

[Another possible editing error here. Given the omission of this paragraph in the 1935 edition, the following paragraph makes no sense.]

Hardly had Wittmer sat down when visitors entered Friedo's garden. The Esperanza had called at the island and found the telegrams, which they would immediately send out. They had come up to tell me so. I begged them to take me back with them, but they said that this was quite impossible for there was no accommodation, nor could they wait while I made even the shortest preparations.

When they had left, I felt disconsolate and weary; and cried myself to sleep that night. I had yet to learn that Frederick would never fail me.

After a black and almost sleepless night I got up sadly in the early morning. I went down to the clearing where, looking out across the sea, I now sent my morning greeting to Frederick. It was the 6th of December. The sun danced upon the smooth waters, the air was fresh and sweet.

[Same comment as above.]

The sunlight, flashing on a mirror, drew my eyes toward the Beach. Some one was signaling to Friedo.

The Velero had come—the Velero! I could not believe my eyes. The telegram I sent could not yet have reached land, yet here was Captain Hancock come in answer to my call.

When I saw him coming up the path at Friedo, gratitude to him and Frederick overwhelmed me and I burst into a flood of tears.

Captain Hancock had, of course, received no word from me. But he had had a presentiment that all was not well with us, and felt that he must come, though it was close to Christmas time, when every American prefers to be at home.

Through the newspapers he had learned all about the Baroness' disappearance. I told him our interpretation of the story and when I had done he said: “I can give you some news.”

The Velero had touched the island of Marchena, having put in there because Captain Hancock had heard that Lorenz and Nuggerud were there—but dead.

The currents Nuggerud had feared had swept them to their doom, and landed them on the most arid island of the archipelago, where neither water nor edible plants existed.

For Lorenz, all the long struggle and the final crime had been for nothing, and Nuggerud, the experienced seaman who had sold his wisdom for a piece of gold, had made a tragic bargain. They had perished of hunger and thirst. The fierce sun had dried their corpses out like mummies and they lay as they had fallen in the last exhaustion, their skeleton fingers clawing the white sand in agony.

Captain Hancock, at my request, sent up to the caves to tell the Wittmers I was leaving and ask them to come to Friedo. Soon they arrived and I put Friedo in their charge as long as they might stay upon the island. They said that they would look after it for me well and truly.


We and the Wittmers never had been friends, but we had been something more than merely neighbors. I wished them well on Floreana. I took them to the gate of Friedo and watched them take the path back to the caves—the last guests. With them went Fleck. He turned his little head to look at me again and again until the ciruela thicket hid me from his sight.

I said good-bye to Frederick's grave, but did not feel as if I was leaving him there, cold in the hostile Floreana earth. In some strange way that I cannot find words for I did not feel that he was dead, but simply bodyless.

I said good-by to Frederick's grave, but did not feel as if I was leaving him there, cold in the hostile Floreana earth. In some strange way that I cannot find words for I did not feel that he was dead, but that he had just began to live.

And as the thought came to me like a great illumination I knew that the great task which I had found in him had only just begun. The look with which he died had told me that our experiment had not failed.

As the thought came to me like a great illumination I knew that the great task which I had found in him had only just begun. The look with which he died had told me that our experiment had not failed.

That Floreana was only one stage in my life's work I can never doubt again. The gods of Floreana slew Frederick but can have no power over him! He must live on through me.

Floreana was only one stage in my life's work which I can never doubt again. The gods of Floreana could have no power over Frederick, whom they slew; he must live on through me.


Note: This Postscript appears only in the 1936 edition.

Captain G. Allan Hancock, whose friendship was to prove so great a boon to Dore Strauch in her sorest trial, has written an interesting commentary on the events on Floreana. The portion reproduced here, by courtesy of Captain Hancock, has to do mainly with Lorenz.

We first met him two years ago, half way up the mountain. A pitiful figure he made as he sat for a moment and rested by the side of the trail. His great sunken blue eyes seem to haunt me yet. Five feet in height and so wasted in frame by the ravages of the dreaded white plague that I doubt if he would have moved the scales to an even hundred pounds. His clothes were in rags, he was hatless; and burned by the sun to the shade of a native, his skin contrasted strangely with his light blond hair. Over his shoulders was a pack which in the tropics it would sorely have puzzled me to carry. Where was he going, where was he from, we asked him in Spanish, only to be met with a dumb uncomprehending stare. Why we tried our halting stammering German on him, I do not know, but at once he became the most voluble of persons. In a moment we had his name, his story, his tale of regrets and of disillusionment. His unhappiness seemed to leave him for a time. We stood for a new hope, for a chance to escape the drudgery of his everyday life, and the constant reminders of the days when he was well and strong and still the favorite of the Queen. Would we take him away, he wanted to leave so badly. How much would it cost to get back to Paris? Once there he would not have to work so hard, and soon he would be well again. His eyes glowed as he thought of scenes so far away, the pinkish spots on his cheeks became brighter, he coughed a little, slumped over and in a hopeless, listless tone said, “I think I am not as strong as I was.” He rested a moment, his eyes dulled as his thoughts came back to the present. “Won't you come up the trail with me?” he said. “I know that the Baroness will be glad to see you. Then too I want you to see our new gate which we have just completed. It is so bright and pretty with the paint which we received from Chatham on the last boat.”

Toiling up the mountain, we seemed never to reach the top. Then, quite unexpectedly, we came into a clearing, and before us was Paradiso. A shout, an answer, and, his troubles forgotten, he rushed forward to meet his queen. Again he was the serf, happy in her service, content with a glance now and then. Devotedly her slave.

A strange figure she presented as, with flying hair, she hurried down the path to greet us. A green sweater, a very abbreviated pair of shorts, and well-worn tennis shoes comprised her apparel. Her hair was streaked with a broad band of white which had come in a night. Wayward and imperious, she was controlled by a temper which flashed into evidence upon the slightest provocation. She may have had dreams of being a feudal queen, with servants, retainers and slaves to carry out her slightest wish. Philippson, a strapping fellow of pleasant manners, was her intended husband, so she told us.

We must come into the house, she was very proud of it. If we would wait Lorenz would make us some wonderful cakes. But it was quite impossible for us to stay to dinner; it was getting late and the trail would not be easy for us should we be overtaken by darkness before we reached the beach again. They accompanied us down through the wild lemon trees, and at the edge of the clearing bade us goodbye. We started along only to be stopped by a shout. Philippson had gathered the Baroness up in his arms as one would a baby. She was laughing and waving to us, and as we looked they turned about and hurried along, he carrying her up the trail to Paradiso. Even the look of fury, yes, and of hatred which swept over the face of Lorenz as he watched them stride away, did not convey to us the feeling which came over him as he saw a more successful suitor carry away his idol. His eyes filled with tears. Then his expression changed, he too smiled, and waved goodbye to us. “Aufwiedersehen,” he called.

A year passed. Rumors came at times of trouble on Floreana. Then late one night my telephone rang. It was the press. Did I know Lorenz? Two men had been found dead beside an over-turned boat on the black lava sands of Marchena Island. Some letters as yet unmailed were scattered about, and among them was a passport apparently belonging to one of them. In a day the mystery of their identity, the reason for their journey of death, became front page news all over the world.

In a week we were on our way south again. Eight days and nights, through storms and calms, our ship steered straight for Marchena Island, that strange, dead, truncated remnant of an ancient volcano which stands sixty miles northward of its nearest Galapagan neighbor. We landed where the black sands of the beach had been pushed high up onto the lava by the tremendous breakers constantly rolling in. Far above the reach of the waves we could see the wreck of a small home-made boat. Slowly, soberly we climbed the hard packed sand. We reached the top, paused, and there in front of us a gruesome sight presented itself. Two bodies, men both of them, lay sprawled in attitudes of the utmost despair. Lorenz, for there was no doubt that it was my friend from Paradiso, was on his face, one arm cramped beneath him, his hand clasped over his heart. The other arm was crooked above his head, as if in a last futile effort to ward off the broiling rays of the sun. He was dressed as I had last seen him. I would have known him anywhere. Blue denim trunks, the edges bound with a curious running stitch, a gray-brown sweater-hatless and barefoot as usual. His camera, the only possession he really owned, was at his side. His shrunken body, dried by the torrid sun, had taken on a darker color, but the skin drawn tight over the fleshless face had retained his features. Thirst, the curse of the Galapagos, had left the marks of the agony which had preceded death. Quietly we walked along the sands to the boat, and there we found the other, Nuggerud, a man who had called at the ship a year ago as we lay in Academy Bay.

For hours I sat upon the beach, and looked over the rolling waves with the eyes of those poor fellows who had sat there so many weeks before. The clouds, gathering on the mountain, obscured the sun as the chill of approaching night crept down upon me, or was it something else? Was it the loneliness of that desolate beach now turned cold? Quickly I arose, we launched the boat through a surf which chilled us to the bone, as curling breakers half-filled our craft with water. Back to the ship, to light and warmth and safety, to dream of the ghastly forms which we had left there upon the sand.