Page:Yule Logs.djvu/234

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
218
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

stamping his foot on the bridge. "Well, Mr. Stewart, we must make a sailing-ship of her, that's all. There's the land, and we shall have to keep clear of it under canvas. How long will it take you to disconnect?"

"I dinna ken, sir, that ye can disconnect the paddle-wheels at all; and anyhow, if it's possible to do it, the gear will be set as fast as a rock, for I doubt if they've been disconnected since she was built."

"If you can't disconnect, then, can you take the floats off?"

"There's muckle sea on for a job o' that sort; but maybe by lifting the paddle-flaps at the top we could take the upper ones off."

"Then keep enough steam so as to move the wheels as required, and set all your engineers to work to unscrew the bolts and take the floats off."

"Vera weel, sir," said the engineer, and in a few minutes the four engineers and the boiler maker with all the firemen mounted the paddle-boxes with spanners and hammers, and set to work unscrewing the nuts and removing the floats as fast as they could, the engines in the meantime having been stopped.

The chief officer was then summoned by the captain to commence immediately re-rigging the ship. As the top-masts had to be swayed up and fidded, topsail-yards crossed, and top-gallant mast sent up, besides all the sails being bent to the yards, every soul of the ship's company was fully occupied for the rest of the day.

During all this time the Serampore was gradually drifting towards the land, which became more distinct as we approached it.

By sunset the engineers had succeeded in getting off all the floats, the engines having been turned gently to move the wheels as required, and the sailor part of the ship's company had got matters so far advanced that we were able to set reefed topsails and courses upon the