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Across India by Oliver Optic

Interposed the chief engineer of the Travancore


The

doctor finished his explanation and took his seat.

CHAPTER VIII

AN INTERVIEW IN THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN

"Our log-book indicates that we passed a steamer to the northward of us at four bells in the mid-watch," said Captain Ringgold, when Dr. Ferrolan finished his narrative. "She was headed about west by south; and very likely it was the one which ran into the Travancore, for no other was reported."

"She was a vessel of about four hundred tons," added the viscount. "I was in the pilot-house at the time, though the weather was so thick that I could hardly make her out as she slipped off from our starboard bow, and went on her course."

"Didn't she hail you, and offer to stand by you?" inquired the commander.

"I heard something like a shout coming from her, and in a moment she was beyond hailing-distance. I supposed we were going to the bottom in a few minutes, and had my hands full, so that I had no time to look out for her, though I supposed she would come about and render assistance; but we did not hear from her again."

"It is possible that she did so, and was unable to find you, for it was very dark, and the sea was very rough," suggested the commander.

"But her conduct looks heathenish, and I will warrant that she was not an English steamer; for the British tars never pass by their fellow-beings on the ocean in distress without rendering assistance."

"It was a new experience to me," added his lordship, "and perhaps I neglected something I ought to have done."

"I think not; for your first and supreme duty at that time was to look out for the safety of your own vessel," replied Captain Ringgold.

"So far as that was concerned, I believe I did all I could do to repair the mischief," continued the viscount. "The chief engineer reported to me that the side of the yacht was stove in near the bow, and that the water was pouring into the hull. He suggested that a double sailcloth be hauled under the vessel. We had no sails, but we promptly made use of an awning, and we succeeded in drawing it under the bottom, and covering the aperture."

"That was precisely the right thing to do," said the commander.

"Probably it enabled us to float a short time longer than we should otherwise have done; but the yacht had taken in too much water before we applied the remedy, for suddenly, on the top of a huge wave, she made a heavy roll, capsized, and came up with her keel in the air. I am only afraid that I did not do all that might have been done."

"I could have done no more if I had been there with all my ship's company," the commander declared; for the amateur captain of the Travancore was a conscientious man, and desired to relieve his mind of all blame for his conduct; and he had really done all that could be done, though the remedy applied was a failure.

"My chief engineer was an experienced man, and I followed his counsels in everything," added the viscount.

"His lordship did all that it was possible for any man to do in such a case," interposed the chief engineer of the Travancore, who was seated on the platform. "I can only thank God that we were all saved, and I am sure that no one is to blame."


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