Page:Yule Logs.djvu/250

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234
"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"

off the rocks they were replaced by others, and the numbers on shore seemed to be augmented from time to time by men coming in various directions from one knew not where.

After a time Mr. Urquhart tried the effect of the nine-pounders, which did great execution amongst the crowd; but he was obliged to be very careful, on account of the limited number of shot he had, and the not very large supply of powder. The shot we supplemented with small canvas bags of old nails and iron bolts, which made a very good substitute for grape-shot. The fight lasted under these conditions till sunset, not one of the natives having got nearer the ship than to touch her on the outside. The attack then ceased for a time, and we had leisure to refresh ourselves.

When I took my watch I could hear the sound of the multitude on shore, who would no doubt recommence the attack in the morning. The night was calm and still, for the monsoon had broken, and now only blew at intervals in moderate breezes.

I had an opportunity of exchanging a few words with Miss Reed when she came up on deck for a few moments.

"I hope you are not hurt, Mr. Hardy," she said.

"Not at all," said I. "I trust you'll keep your spirits up. I've no doubt we shall settle these fellows in the morning."

"I hope you will; and oh how I pray for a ship to come and take us away from this terrible spot!"

"Perhaps we shall see one sooner than you expect; but keep your courage up, dear Miss Reed, all will be well."

At early daylight, as the enemy was all massed together, Mr. Urquhart loaded both the nine-pounders to the muzzle with his own particular grape, and pointing them carefully into the midst of the crowd, where the leaders were to be seen, discharged both simultaneously with terrible effect, many natives being killed.