Page:Yule Logs.djvu/224

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208
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

gage, and before he had well got it out of the gangway, the quartermaster of the watch called out—

"Look out, sir; captain's coming alongside."

"Shove that bunder-boat off, out of the way! Clear the gangway there!" and in another minute the Serampore's white gig flashed up alongside, and Captain Skeed sprang up the accommodation ladder.

All of us on deck saluted him, and turning hastily to the chief officer, he asked—

"Have you ordered steam, Mr. Urquhart, for nine o'clock?"

"Yes, sir."

"The ship appears to be down by the stern. Isn't she, Mr. Urquhart?"

"I believe she is, sir, a little. The carpenter hasn't given me the draught this morning."

"She appeared to me, as I pulled off in my gig, to be eight or nine inches at least, if not more."

"I thought she would do better in monsoon weather a little by the stern, but I'd no idea she was as much as that, and there's nothing in the cargo stowage that I'm aware of to account for it," said the chief officer.

"Well, I don't know that it matters very much," rejoined the captain; "at all events, we can't alter it now. See everything ready for slipping from the buoy at nine o'clock. Now we'll have breakfast," added he, as eight bells struck. "Has the purser come off with the ship's papers yet?"

"Not yet, sir; but he's been gone some time. I expect he'll be here every minute," replied Mr. Urquhart, as they entered the saloon together.

At the appointed hour the Serampore slipped from her buoy, and steaming away through the shipping at anchor, soon passed the light vessel, and leaving Colaba lighthouse on her quarter, began to breast the heavy seas and face the rain and spray that the fierce monsoon blast