Page:Yule Logs.djvu/237

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221
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

"The ship is about one hundred and fifty miles south of the Kuria-Muria Islands in one direction, and between four and five hundred in the other from Aden."

"What in the name of Heaven did the captain anchor here for?" asked Captain Shaw.

"His idea was, that lying here in smoother water, he might be able to remove the ironwork of the paddle-wheels, which would render the ship unmanageable under canvas, and then he intended, I believe, either to sail her back to Bombay, or to wait until the monsoon broke, and try to reach Aden."

"Poor fellow, poor Captain Skeed, I'm sure he would have done the best thing possible," exclaimed Mrs. Woodruff.

"No doubt he was a good officer," said the professor. "But what's to be done now?"

"Of course," said Mr. Urquhart, "that plan is knocked on the head now. The ship is, to all intents and purposes, a wreck."

"What chance is there of our being seen and picked up?" asked the professor.

"Not a very encouraging one, I am afraid; there is no regular trade along this coast," replied Mr. Urquhart.

"But vessels pass this way occasionally, don't they?" said Captain Shaw.

"Sometimes country vessels, as they are called—ships that go trading about to all sorts of coast ports, in the employ of native merchants—may pass this way, bound to or from the Persian Gulf, but I can't say I know anything at all about them."

"And how about the natives?" said the professor; "are they likely to be friendly or hostile to us, do you suppose?"

"There, again, I am sorry I can give you no information; but I shall make it my business to see that we are prepared to give them as warm a reception as we can, should they attempt to molest us."