"BY DEFAULT OF THE ENGINEER"
By FRANKLIN FOX
LATE CAPTAIN P. & O. CO. SERVICE
“YE'LL hae the gudeness, Mr. Williams, to be vary parteecular in having the coals trimmed in the bunkers. I've nae been doon in yon bunkers mysel', and I hae nae time at this moment to gang there; but I mind hearin' tell that there's something peculiar about the construction of them, so I'll thank ye to gie your attention to the matter, as I maun gang awa' to the office the noo."
Mr. Williams, the second engineer, gave a rather gruff and surly response to the order of his chief, who immediately afterwards turned away and went on shore.
I, who was the third officer of the Serampore, upon the main-deck of which vessel the above colloquy took place, was standing in the main hatchway attending to the stowage of the cargo, and took but little heed of the circumstance at the time, though events which took place subsequently brought it to my mind.
Owing to some derangement of the Company's lines of service in the Red Sea, it had been necessary to bring forward for immediate duty the old Serampore, a side-wheeler, which, in consequence of the recent introduction of screw-steamers into our fleet, was beginning to be classed amongst the obsolete ones. Orders had been given by