"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"
At this moment the look-out at the mast-head shouted out at the top of his voice, "Sail O! a ship in sight near the land."
"Take one of the cutters, Mr. Hardy, and pull out to that vessel. Take a flag with you to wave in the boat. Tell them our condition, and beg them to assist us and take the people off the ship."
With what eager delight and anxiety I proceeded to obey this order the reader can well imagine. As the weather was fine, and nearly calm, I succeeded, after a long pull, in getting alongside the vessel. She proved to be a "country" trader on a voyage from Bombay to Zanzibar, whence she was now on her way to Bassora. She was called the Cowasjee Family, and commanded by a smart young officer named Wilkinson, who willingly proffered every assistance that might be required. He brought his ship in as close to the Serampore as he could, and the natives having been demoralised by our fire, we proceeded to embark the passengers and crew of the Serampore on board his ship. He told us that it was quite a chance he was in that locality, but he had been set out of his course by a strong current. Every effort that Captain Wilkinson could make for the comfort of our passengers and crew was made, and in due time we all safely landed at Bassora. Luckily a steamer was starting the next day for Kurrachee and Bombay, in which we all took passage, and where we safely ended our eventful voyage.
It may be of interest to some of my readers to know that since I got my command Miss Reed has changed her name for mine, and that we are very happy.There was a court of inquiry held at Bombay to ascertain the cause of the loss of the Serampore, and the finding of the court was that Captain Skeed and his officers were exonerated from all blame, the ship having been lost "by default of the engineer."