“Which is the first cutter?” asked Lord Tremlyn, looking about him.
“The one just ahead of us, sir.”
“Thank God, he is saved!” ejaculated his soaked lordship. “Kindly pull up to her, and let me be sure of it.”
“That is easier said than done, sir. The first cutter has just picked up another man, and now she is pulling for all she is worth for the next one. I couldn’t overhaul her if I tried, and just now our business is to save those in the water,” answered the third officer.
“You are right, Mr. Officer,” added Lord Tremlyn, as he seated himself in the place pointed out to him.
There were still eight others in the water, and all of them were to the north of the boats. Those from the Blanche had noticed this fact, and were pulling in that direction. Mr. Boulong had directed his boat, after taking in Dr. Ferrolan, as the Hindu called him, to the person the farthest to the eastward, leaving the others to be saved by the boats nearer to them.
It is enough to say that all the wrecked party were saved, without giving the details of the picking up of each of them. The vessel in which they had foundered had entirely disappeared, and nothing was seen belonging to her. Against the head sea all the boats pulled back to the two steamers. The first cutter of the Guardian-Mother had saved three, the second three, and the two boats of the Blanche had picked up five.
“Now give three cheers, Mr. Scott,” said Louis Belgrave in a low tone, as the second cutter, ahead of the first on the return, approached the ship. “The captain will understand from that we have saved all the party.”
Scott approved the suggestion, and the cheers were given with a will, and repeated by the crew of the first cutter, not far behind. They were returned from the ship; and the voices included those who belonged in the cabin, as well as the officers, seamen, and waiters, while the ladies, clinging to the rails of the promenade, vigorously waved their handkerchiefs, as the sun rose clear from the eastern waves, though it soon disappeared in the clouds. It was evident to the officers that the gale was breaking; or perhaps, as the commander put it, the ship was running out of it.
Each of the boats got under the lee in turn; the falls were hooked on, and both cutters were hoisted up to their davits, as they had come from the scene of their exploits. Mr. Gaskette was directed to get the ship on her course again; and Captain Ringgold went aft to welcome the shipwrecked mariners, or whatever they were.
The seamen assisted the dripping passengers to the deck; and the masculine tenants of the state-cabin crept along the life-lines to take part in the scene, or at least to witness it. As the steamer was headed to the eastward, the second cutter was the first to be hoisted up. The first person to be assisted to the deck was Lord Tremlyn, though those who had saved him were not yet aware of his quality. The commander extended his hand to him, and it was cordially grasped.