Page:Yule Logs.djvu/238

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222
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

"And what is your idea that we should do eventually?" asked Captain Thompson.

"I'm afraid that we can do nothing at all at present. Fortunately we have plenty of provisions and water to last for a considerable time, and all the boats are in good condition, if the weather would permit us to make use of them. We can only prepare ourselves to resist any attack that the natives, should they be hostile, may make upon us, and keep a good look-out for any vessel that may be passing. If any of you, gentlemen, can suggest anything, else, I shall be quite pleased to adopt it."

The next day Captain Skeed's body was taken on shore to be buried. Mr. Urquhart had caused a grave to be dug in the sand, near a remarkable mass of rock about some five hundred yards from the beach. Several of the passengers, and all the ship's company, attended the funeral, all the ship's boats being lowered when the time came; and after the funeral service had been read by the purser, a heap of stones of all sizes, collected by the crew, was piled upon the grave.

I cast my eyes around me as I watched this melancholy performance, but I could see nothing in the distance in the shape of a living creature. It was all a trackless waste of sand and rocks.

After we returned on board, Mr. Urquhart sent for the chief engineer, and told him to bring Mr. Williams, the second engineer, on the quarter-deck. When he appeared, Mr. Urquhart said—

"It was Captain Skeed's intention to have disrated you from your position as second engineer, in consequence of your gross neglect in omitting to see the ship's bunkers properly filled with coal, and for your insubordinate conduct to the chief engineer."

"It was just as much Mr. Stewart's business to see to the coaling as mine," replied Williams.

"Silence if you please, sir. Under the present cir-