“In a small steam-yacht owned by Sir Modava, the most devoted friend of his lordship, in which he had been all around the peninsula, and up several of its rivers, we embarked for Muscat, and safely reached that country. Then the viscount decided to proceed to Aden, where he had important business; for he intended to return to England by the Euphrates route, in order to inform himself in regard to the navigation of the river. We sailed for Aden, believing we should have the calm and pleasant weather of the north-east monsoon.
“Yesterday we encountered the gale from the south-west, which was very unusual. But the Travancore was an able seaboat, and we went along very well until we were run into by a steamer in the darkness and mist early this morning. The side of the little steamer was stove in, and she began to fill. We put on our life-preservers, and prepared for the worst. We stretched a life-line fore and aft, and listened to the gurgling waters below deck. Suddenly, when she was partly filled with water, she capsized. We clung to the life-line, which unhitched forward.
“Of course we expected she would go down; but she did not for several hours. We had our life-preservers on, and we made fast the lines forward, which saved us from being washed off the bottom of the vessel. I had a revolver in my pocket, and when I saw the port light of your steamer, I fired it, and we all shouted at the top of our lungs.
“We could hear the air and the water bubbling and hissing under us at times, and it was understood that the confined air above the water in the hull had kept her afloat. But this air had all escaped as the Guardian-mother approached us, and with no warning she went to the bottom. We were floated by our life-preservers till your boats picked us up, though we were fearfully shaken and tossed about by the waves. Our gallant saviours know how we were rescued—all honor and glory to them!”
The doctor finished his explanation and took his seat.
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.”