Mr Captain and the Nymphby Wilkie Collins
Format of Original Source: Novella
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Promising
“Go!” she cried; “go away in your canoe before our island is destroyed!”
He did his best to quiet her alarm. Was it the shock of earthquake that had frightened her? No: it was more than the shock of earthquake–it was something terrible which had followed the shock. There was a lake near the Temple, the waters of which were supposed to be heated by subterranean fires. The lake had risen with the earthquake, had bubbled furiously, and had then melted away into the earth and been lost. Her father, viewing the portent with horror, had gone to the cape to watch the volcano on the main island, and to implore by prayers and sacrifices the protection of the gods. Hearing this, the Captain entreated Aimata to let him see the emptied lake, in the absence of the Priest. She hesitated; but his influence was all-powerful. He prevailed on her to turn back with him through the forest.
Reaching the furthest limit of the trees, they came out upon open rocky ground which sloped gently downward toward the center of the island. Having crossed this space, they arrived at a natural amphitheater of rock. On one side of it the Temple appeared, partly excavated, partly formed by a natural cavern. In one of the lateral branches of the cavern was the dwelling of the Priest and his daughter. The mouth of it looked out on the rocky basin of the lake. Stooping over the edge, the Captain discovered, far down in the empty depths, a light cloud of steam. Not a drop of water was visible, look where he might.
Aimata pointed to the abyss, and hid her face on his bosom. “My father says,” she whispered, “that it is your doing.”
The Captain started. “Does your father know that I am on the island?”
She looked up at him with a quick glance of reproach. “Do you think I would tell him, and put your life in peril?” she asked. “My father felt the destroyer of the island in the earthquake; my father saw the coming destruction in the disappearance of the lake.” Her eyes rested on him with a loving languor. “Are you indeed the demon of the prophecy?” she said, winding his hair round her finger. “I am not afraid of you, if you are. I am a creature bewitched; I love the demon.” She kissed him passionately. “I don’t care if I die,” she whispered between the kisses, “if I only die with you!”
Excerpt intimates that this is a love story involving a mermaid.
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