“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.”
“I am told that our cabin waiter and four coolies were picked up by the other steamer,” said Lord Tremlyn, as he looked about him.
“That is true, sir,” interposed Mr. Boulong, who stood on the deck by the platform. “Sir Modava told me there were eleven persons on board of the wreck. I saw that number saved myself.”
The details of the wreck of the Travancore were fully explained, though individuals continued to talk about it until lunch-time. At the mid-day repast the commander gave up his plan of seating the party, and invited the members of it to select their own places; and they all took those they had occupied at breakfast. In the afternoon the rough sea had almost entirely subsided under the influence of the north-east monsoon, and the motion of the steamer was easy and pleasant.