Now that the pursuit was over, Desmond ventured to steer due northeast, and the coastline became more distinctly visible. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon, judging by the height of the sun, when the serang, pointing shorewards, said:
“There is Bombay, sahib.”
“You are sure?”
“Yes; I know it by the cluster of palmyra trees. No one can mistake them.”
Moment by moment the town and harbor came more clearly into view. Desmond saw an extensive castle, a flag flying on its pinnacled roof, set amid a green mass of jungle and cocoanut forest, with a few Portuguese-built houses dotted here and there. In front a narrow jungle-clad island, called, as he afterwards learned, Old Woman Island, stretched like a spit into the sea. To the left of the fort, at the head of a small bay, was the Bunder pier, with the warehouses at the shore end. Still farther to the left were the docks and the marine yards, and; at the extremity of the island on which Bombay stands, a frowning bastion.
Feeling that he had now nothing more to fear, Desmond ordered Fuzl Khan to be cast loose and brought to him. The man wore a look of sullen surprise, which Desmond cheerfully ignored.
“Now, Fuzl Khan,” he said, “we are running into Bombay harbor. You know the channel?”
The man grunted a surly affirmative.
“Well, you will take the helm, and steer us in to the most convenient moorings.”
He turned away, smiling at the look of utter consternation on the Gujarati’s face. To be trusted after his treacherous conduct was evidently more than the man could understand. The easy unconcern with which Desmond walked away had its effect on the crew. When orders were given to take in sail they carried them out with promptitude, and Desmond chuckled as he saw them talking to one another in low tones and discussing him, as he guessed by their glances in his direction.
The Gujarati performed his work at the helm skilfully, and about five o’clock, when the sun was setting, casting a romantic glow over the long straggling settlement, the Tremukji ran to her anchorage among a host of small craft, within a few cable lengths of the vessels of Admiral Watson’s squadron, which had arrived from Madras a few weeks before.
The entrance of a strange grab had not passed unnoticed. Before the anchor had been dropped, the harbor master put off in a toni.
“What grab is that?” he shouted in Urdu, as he came alongside.
“The Tremukji, sir,” replied Desmond in English.
“Eh! what! who in the name of Jupiter are you?”
“You’d better come aboard, sir, and I’ll explain,” said Desmond with a smile.
The harbor master mounted the side, rapping out sundry exclamations of astonishment that amused Desmond not a little.