Page:Yule Logs.djvu/227

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211
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

"Acha, sahib" ("Very well, sir "), came back like a shot from the men on duty, who were getting soused every now and then by the seas that broke over the bows.

The night was dark as well as thick. The wind howled shrilly through the Serampore's rigging, giving me a melancholy accompaniment to my march backwards and forwards across the bridge platform. I kept a bright look-out for any ships that might be about, as we were just now in the track of vessels bound up to Kurrachee or the Persian Gulf, and I knew that there would be scanty time to do anything to avoid a collision should we chance to meet one. Nothing, however, happened to disturb the dull monotony of what sailors would describe as a regular pile-driving business.

At eight bells (midnight) I was glad to deliver up my charge to Mr. Sinclair, the second officer, and betake myself to my comfortable cabin and repose, which not even the staggering and pitching of the Serampore, nor the dash of the spray and rain against my cabin, which was on deck, could disturb.

The next day the weather seemed to be, if possible, worse than it was when we started. The seas were heavier and more irregular, and the wind seemed to blow even harder than it had done. During my forenoon watch the log only showed five knots an hour, and the sky was so thick with rain and mist that we got no sights. Some of the passengers made their appearance on deck, and tried to take constitutionals, pacing fore and aft the raised quarter-deck, but soon gave the attempt up as hopeless, and went below to amuse themselves with books or chess, cards or conversation.

My night watch was only a repetition of previous experience, and I fear it would tire my readers if I favoured them with a longer description of the wind, the sea, and the weather. It is necessary to make a voyage in the south-west monsoon before any one can quite realise what