Page:Yule Logs.djvu/231

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215
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

her and the raging sea beneath, when I made a desperate bound forward and caught a firm grip of her dress. At the same time swinging myself round, I was able with my left arm to arrest the headlong rush of Miss Reed against the corner of the skylight, towards which she was helplessly thrown. But the impetus with which she was flung was so great that I could only save myself from falling by pressing my back against the skylight.

In a minute she recovered herself, and seizing the child in her arms, she gave me a grateful look, and murmuring her thanks, allowed me to hand her down the companion.

I had scarcely done this when Captain Skeed popped his head out of his cabin door.

"Send for the chief officer and chief engineer, if you please, Mr. Hardy."

"Ay, ay, sir. Quartermaster, tell Mr. Urquhart and Mr. Stewart that they are wanted by the captain."

In a few minutes both those officers were closeted with Captain Skeed.

As I resumed my walk on the bridge, I confess I felt some curiosity to know what the subject of the colloquy going on in the captain's cabin might be, for I was sure that something or other of importance must be under discussion. I had not long to wait for one result, at all events, of the deliberations. Directly we made it twelve o'clock, and the second officer had handed in to the captain the ship's position by dead reckoning, for we had seen neither sun, moon, nor stars since we left Bombay, I received orders to alter the course.

"Keep her away to west-north-west, Mr. Hardy," shouted the captain from the quarter-deck; "and set the fore and aft sails with a single reef in them."

"Port four points, quartermaster," said I; "keep her west-north-west. Serang, sub adimee seeah carro seede mar" ("Boatswain, pipe all hands make sail").