Page:Yule Logs.djvu/223

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207
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

course for Aden right in the teeth of the monsoon, it would be better policy to edge away across the Arabian Sea on a nor'-west course, making the monsoon a leading wind, because he declares it his opinion that on the Arabian coast the monsoon will be either much lighter or have drawn more to the southward."

"What did you say to that?"

"Oh, I said I thought it might be so, but that we should have to traverse considerably more distance; to which he replied that the speed at which the ship would travel under the improved conditions of weather would make up for that."

"I'm not at all sure about it," said the second officer.

"Nor I," said Mr. Urquhart." But I believe he's going to try it this voyage anyhow. Good-night, you fellows; I'm going to turn in."

Early next morning several bunder-boats came along-side. The bunder-boats of Bombay, I may mention, are the most convenient water-carriages possible, and very suitable for the wet and blowy weather prevailing in the monsoon. They are large, roomy boats, with a covered-in cabin in the after-part, capable of holding four or five people comfortably. They are rigged with two short masts and a patémar, or lateen sail, and carry a strong crew. The first passengers to appear were two ladies, two children, and an ayah. These proved to be Mrs. Woodruff, her sister Miss Reed, and her two children, the lady having been ordered home from Allahabad, where her husband's regiment was stationed, on account of her health. A captain and subaltern of the same regiment, invalided; then two officers, Captains Thompson and Shaw, from Poonah, with their wives, going home on furlough; a professor from the university, named Spiller; and two more ladies, wives of civil servants, made up the number. While the fourth officer was busy looking after the bag-