Page:Yule Logs.djvu/226

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210
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

bows, dimly seen at times through the thick driving rain that enveloped her, as it were, in a dreary and isolated world of her own.

"This is a pleasant prospect," thought I to myself, as I buttoned up my oilskins and ascended the bridge ladder to relieve Mr. Urquhart at eight o'clock.

"Keep her west-sou'-west," said that officer, "and call the captain if there is any change."

"All right, sir," said I. "What's she going?"

"Five and a half," replied the chief officer; "twelve revolutions. Keep a good look-out for ships, Mr. Hardy."

"Ay, ay, sir," said I. "There's one comfort, that we can't change to much worse weather than we've got."

"No," said he with a laugh, as the Serampore buried her broad bows right up to the heel of her bowsprit, over an extra heavy sea.

The chief officer and his satellite, the fourth, who kept watch with him, after divesting themselves of their oilskins, betook themselves to the comfortable and well-lighted saloon, where such of the ladies and gentlemen as had not succumbed to the influences of the weather and the diving of the ship, were endeavouring to get up a show of sociability; though not even Miss Reed, who had struck me at dinner as being a lively, agreeable, and pretty person, had courage enough to attempt a performance on the piano.

"I wonder how many days we're in for of this," thought I to myself, as I paced the bridge, the pitching of the vessel jerking me against the rail at every other step. "Let me see—it's about 1700 miles to Aden, I think. At the rate we're going, we shall have nearly a fortnight of this. It's enough to make one savage;" and to relieve my feelings, I immediately yelled out to the two look-out men who were on the forecastle (Lascars, of course)—

"Koop dek agle" ("Good look out forward").