All-Over-the-World Library—Third Series
LIVE BOYS IN THE FAR EAST
AUTHOR OF "A MISSING MILLION" "A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN" "A YOUNG KNIGHT-ERRANT" "STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD" "AMERICAN BOYS AFLOAT" "THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS" "UP AND DOWN THE NILE" "ASIATIC BREEZES" AND UPWARDS OF ONE HUNDRED OTHER VOLUMES
LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS
10 MILK STREET
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MY LONG-TRIED FRIEND OF MORE THAN FORTY YEARS, WITH WHOM IN ALL THAT TIME, I HAVE NOT HAD A BICKER OR A SHADOW OF UNPLEASANTNESS THOUGH HE HAS BEEN MY SENIOR PUBLISHER FOR MORE THAN AN ENTIRE GENERATION, AND TO WHOM I HAVE NOT DEDICATED A BOOK FOR THIRTY YEARS
IS RESPECTFULLY AND CORDIALLY INSCRIBED BY HIS FAITHFUL AND EVER GRATEFUL FRIEND
WILLIAM T. ADAMS
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"Across India" is the first volume of the third series of the "All-Over-the-World Library," in which the voyage of the Guardian-Mother is continued from Aden, where some important changes were made in the current of events, including the disposal of the little steamer Maud, which figured to a considerable extent in the later volumes of the library, though they also comprehended the addition of another and larger consort to the ship, in which the distinguished Pacha, as a reformed and entirely reconstructed person, sails in company with the voyagers.
A few days out from the port of departure, a stirring event, a catastrophe of the sea, adds three very important personages to the cabin passengers of the Guardian-Mother, and affords two of the "live boys" an opportunity to distinguish themselves in a work of humanity requiring courage and skill. These additions to the company prove to be a very fortunate acquisition to the party; for they are entirely familiar with everything in and relating to India. They are titled individuals, two of the trio, who have not only travelled all over the peninsula, but have very influential relations with the officers of the government, and the native princes, rajahs, kings, maharajahs, and nobles.
The commander, the professor, the surgeon, the young millionaire, and others who have hitherto given the "talks" and lectures for the instruction of the young people, and incidentally of the older ones also, find themselves almost entirely relieved from duty in this direction by those whom the ship's company have saved from inevitable death in the stormy billows of the Arabian Sea. The gratitude of the two titled members of the trio, and their earnest appreciation of the educational object of the long voyage, induce them to make themselves very useful on board.
They do not confine themselves to the duty presented to them in "Conference Hall;" but they are profuse, and even extravagant, in their hospitality, becoming the hosts of the entire party, and treating them like princes in the principal cities of India, in all of which they are quite at home. One of the Hindu maharajahs proves to be an old friend of both of them, and the party reside a week at his court; and the time is given up to the study of manners and customs, as well as to hunting and the sports of the country.
Felix McGavonty, with Kilkenny blood in his veins, is firm in his belief that he ought not to be afraid of snakes, and does for India a little of what St. Patrick did completely for Ireland. The other "live boys," though not so much inclined as the Milesian to battle with the cobra-de-capello, have some experience in shooting tigers, leopards, deer, pythons, crocodiles, and other game, though not enough to wholly satisfy their natural enterprise.
The tour of the party is made by railroad in India, from Bombay, taking in Lahore, Delhi, Agra, Cawnpoor, Lucknow, Benares, Calcutta, and by the Guardian-Mother to Madras and Ceylon. On the way and in the cities the titled conductors continue their "talks" and lectures about the places visited, with as much of history as time would permit, including an epitome of those great events in India, the Mutiny of the Sepoys, the "Black Hole," and other events of the past. The speakers were assisted by elaborate maps, which the reader can find in his atlas. Statistics are given to some extent for purposes of comparison. Brief notices of the lives of such men as Bishop Heber, Sir Colin Campbell, Henry Havelock, and others are introduced.
The party did not claim to have seen all there was of India; simply to have obtained "specimen bricks" of the principal cities, with a fair idea of the manners and customs of the people.
WILLIAM. T. ADAMS.
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ABOUT FINDING THE LONGITUDE. 1
THE WRECK IN THE ARABIAN SEA. 10
A REVIEW OF THE PAST FOURTEEN MONTHS. 19
FIRST AND SECOND CUTTERS TO THE RESCUE. 30
THE TITLED GENTLEMEN OF THE TRAVANCORE 40
THE GENERAL INTRODUCTION IN THE CABIN. 50
DR. FERROLAN'S EXPLANATION OF THE WRECK 60
AN INTERVIEW IN THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN. 70
CONCERNING THE GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA. 80
THE FLORA AND THE SNAKES OF INDIA 90
A PLEASANT DINNER-PARTY AT SEA 100
THE POPULATION AND PEOPLE OF INDIA 109
LORD TREMLYN DISCOURSES MORE ABOUT INDIA 118
SIR HENRY HAVELOCK AND THE MUTINY 128
ARRIVAL OF THE GUARDIAN-MOTHER AT BOMBAY 138
A MULTITUDE OF NATIVE SERVANTS 148
A HOSPITAL FOR THE BRUTE CREATION 158
A SNAKY SPECTACLE IN BOMBAY 168
MORE SNAKES AND THE CAVES OF ELEPHANTA 178
A JUVENILE WEDDING AND HINDU THEATRICALS 187
JUGGERNAUT AND JUGGLERS 197
A MERE STATEMENT ABOUT BUDDHISM 207
THE UNEXAMPLED LIBERALITY OF THE HOSTS 217
THE RECEPTION OF THE MAHARAJAH AT BARODA 227
FELIX MCGAVONTY BRINGS DOWN SOME SNAKES 237
THE MAGNIFICENT PROCESSION OF THE SOWARI 246
VARIOUS COMBATS IN THE GUICOWAR'S ARENA 256
AT THE CAPITAL OF THE PUNJAB 266
THE WONDERFUL CITY OF DELHI 276
THE MAGNIFICENT MAUSOLEUM OF AGRA 286
THE TERRIBLE STORY OF CAWNPORE AND LUCKNOW 296
MORE OF LUCKNOW, AND SOMETHING OF BENARES 306
A STEAMER TRIP UP AND DOWN THE GANGES 316
ALL OVER THE CITY OF CALCUTTA 327
A SUCCESSFUL HUNT IN THE SUNDERBUNDS 339
THE PARTING FESTIVITIES ON THE HOOGLY 351
THE FAREWELL TO CEYLON AND INDIA 367
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"HE WAS DRESSED IN THE MOST MAGNIFICENT ROBES OF INDIA" Frontispiece
"A READY SEAMAN SEIZED HIM BY THE ARM" 45
"MISS BLANCHE WAS WALKING THE DECK WITH LOUIS AND SIR MODARA" 90
"THE YOUNG MILLIONAIRE WALKED BY THE SIDE OF THE VEHICLE" 155
"SNAKES! SCREAMED MRS. BELGRAVE" 184
"HE SAW A HUGE COBRA DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HIM" 242
"THE STRIPED BEAST WENT UP INTO THE AIR" 263
"CAPTAIN RINGGOLD BROUGHT DOWN ANOTHER" 349
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ABOUT FINDING THE LONGITUDE
"Well, Captain Scott, what is the run to-day?" asked Louis Belgrave, the owner of the steam-yacht Guardian-Mother, which had at this date made her way by a somewhat devious course half way round the world, and was in the act of making the other half.
The young magnate was eighteen years old, and was walking on the promenade deck of the steamer with a beautiful young lady of sixteen when he asked for information in regard to the run, or the distance made by the ship during the last sea-day.
"Before I answer your question, my dear Louis, I must protest against being any longer addressed as captain, for I am not now entitled to that honorable appellation," replied the young man addressed by the owner.
"Once a captain always a captain," replied Louis. "One who has been a member of Congress is still an 'Honorable,' though his term of office expired twenty or forty years ago. The worthy commander of the Guardian-Mother was always called Captain Ringgold in Von Blonk Park and New York, though he had not been in command of a ship for ten years," argued Louis.
"That's right; but the circumstances are a little different in my case. In the first place, I am only eighteen years old, and my brief command was a very small one, as the world goes. It hardly entitles me to be called captain after I have ceased to be in command. In charge of the little Maud I was the happiest young fellow on the Eastern Continent; but I am just as happy now, for this morning I was formally appointed third officer of the Guardian-Mother, at the wages paid to Captain Sharp when he had the same position."
"I congratulate you, Mr. Scott," said Louis, grasping the hand of the new officer, though he had been duly consulted in regard to the appointment the day before.
"Permit me to congratulate you also, Mr. Scott," added Miss Blanche, as she extended to him her delicate little hand.
"Thank you, Miss Woolridge," replied the new third officer, raising the uniform cap he had already donned, and bowing as gracefully as a dancing-master. "Thank you with all my heart, Louis. I won't deny that I was considerably broken up when the Maud was sold; but now I am glad of it, for it has given me a position that I like better."
"Now, Mr. Scott, what is the run for to-day?" asked Louis, renewing his first question.
"I don't know," replied the third officer with a mischievous smile.
"You don't know!" exclaimed Louis.
"I do not, Louis."
"I thought all the officers, including the commander, took the observation, and worked up the reckoning for the longitude. We got eight bells nearly an hour ago, and the bulletin must have been posted by this time."
"It was posted some time ago. All the officers work up the reckoning; and I did so with the others. The commander and I agreed to a second."
"What do you mean by saying you do not know the run?" demanded Louis.
"I do know the run; but that was not what you asked me," answered Scott with the same mischievous smile.
"What did I ask you?"
"The first time you asked me all right, and I should have answered you if I had not felt obliged to switch off and inform you and Miss Woolridge of my new appointment. The second time you put it you changed the question."
"I changed it?" queried Louis.
"You remember that when Mrs. Blossom asked Flix where under the sun he had been, he replied that he had not been anywhere, as it happened to be in the evening, when the sun was not overhead."
"A quibble!" exclaimed Louis, laughing.
"Granted; but one which was intended to test your information in regard to a nautical problem. You asked me the second time for the run of to-day for the last twenty-four hours."
"And that was what I asked you the first time," answered Louis.
"I beg your pardon, but you asked me simply for the run to-day."
"Isn't that the same thing?"
"Will you please to tell me how many hours there are in a sea-day?" asked Scott, becoming more serious.
"That depends," answered Louis, laughing. "You have me on the run."
"You will find that the bulletin signed by the first officer gives the run as 330 miles; but the answer to your second question is 337 miles, about," added the third officer. "Just here the day is only twenty-three hours and forty minutes long as we are running; and the faster we go the shorter the day," continued the speaker, who was ciphering all the time on a card.
"I don't see how that can be," interposed Miss Blanche, with one of her prettiest smiles.
"There is the lunch-bell; but I shall be very happy to explain the matter more fully later in the day, Miss Woolridge, unless you prefer that Louis should do it," suggested Scott.
"I doubt if I could do it, and I should be glad to listen to the explanation," replied Louis, as they descended to the main cabin; for the new third officer was permitted to retain his place at the table as well as his state-room.
The commander had suggested that there was likely to be some change of cabin arrangements; for it was not in accordance with his ideas of right that the third officer should be admitted to the table, while the first and second were excluded; and Louis was very desirous that his friend Scott should remain in the cabin. The repasts on board the steamer were social occasions, and the party often sat quite an hour at the table, as at the present luncheon. But as soon as the company left their places, Louis and Miss Blanche followed the third officer to the promenade deck, to hear the desired explanation of sea-time.
"Of course you know how the longitude of the ship is obtained, Miss Woolridge?" the young officer began.
"Papa explained it to me once, but I could not understand it," replied the fair maiden.
"Then we will explain that first. One of the great circles extending through the poles is called the prime meridian; and any one may be selected, though that of Greenwich has been almost universally adopted. This place is near London. From this prime meridian longitude is calculated, which means that any given locality is so many degrees east or west of it. Sandy Hook is in longitude 74 deg., or it is that number of degrees west of Greenwich. Aden is in 45 deg. east longitude."
"Then you find how many miles it is by multiplying the number of degrees by 69," suggested Miss Blanche.
"You have forgotten about knots, or sea-miles," said Louis.
"So I have! I should have said multiply by 60," added the young lady.
"That would not do it any better," replied Scott.
"Degrees of latitude are always the same for all practical purposes; but degrees of longitude are as—
'Variable as the shade By the light quivering aspen made,'"
continued the third officer, who was about to say "as a woman's mind;" but he concluded that it was not quite respectful to the lovely being before him.
"What a poetical sea-monster you are, Mr. Scott!" exclaimed Miss Blanche with a silvery laugh.
"I won't do so any more," Scott protested, and then continued his explanation. "Degrees of longitude vary from nothing at the poles, up to 69.07 statute, or 60 geographical or sea-miles, at the equator. We are now in about 15 deg. north latitude; and a degree of longitude is 66.65 statute miles, or 57.9855 sea-miles, near enough to call it 58. By the way, Louis, multiply the number of statute miles by .87, and it gives you the sea-miles. Divide the knots by the same decimal, and it gives the statute miles."
"I will try to remember that decimal as you have done," replied Louis. "Now, Mr. Scott, don't open Bowditch's Navigator to us, or talk about projection,' 'logarithms,' 'Gunter,' and 'inspection;' for I am not capable of understanding them, for my trigonometry has gone to the weeping willows."
"Talk to us in English, Mr. Scott," laughed Miss Blanche.
"Let us go up to Conference Hall, where there is a table," said the third officer, as he produced a book he had brought up from his state-room. He led the way to the promenade, where he spread out a chart in the "Orient Guide," which had twenty-six diagrams of a clock, one at the foot of every fifteen degrees of longitude. At this point the commander came upon the promenade.
"Formerly the figures on a timepiece in Italy, and perhaps elsewhere, went up to twenty-four, instead of repeating the numbers up to twelve; and these diagrams are constructed on that plan," continued Scott.
"An attempt has been made to re-establish this method in our own country. I learned once from a folder that a certain steamer would leave Detroit at half-past twenty-two; meaning half-past ten. But the plan was soon abandoned," interposed the captain.
"Aden, from which we sailed the other day, is in longitude 45 deg. east. Every degree by meridians is equal to four minutes of clock-time. Multiply the longitude by four, and the result in minutes is the difference of time between Greenwich and Aden, 180 minutes, or three hours. When it is noon at Greenwich, it is three o'clock at Aden, as you see in the diagram before you."
"Three o'clock in the morning, Mr. Scott?" queried the commander.
"In the afternoon, I should have added. Going east the time is faster, and vice versa," continued the young officer. "At our present speed our clocks must be put about twenty minutes ahead, for a third of an hour has gone to Davy Jones's locker."
"I understand all that perfectly," said Miss Blanche with an air of triumph.
"You will be a sea-monster before you get home. The sirens were beautiful, and sang very sweetly," added Scott jocosely.
"They were wicked, and I don't want to be one. But I do not quite understand how you found out what time it was at noon to-day," added the young lady.
"For every degree of longitude sailed there is four minutes' difference of clock-time," Scott proceeded. "You know that a chronometer is a timepiece so nicely constructed and cared for, that it practically keeps perfect time. Meridians are imaginary great circles, and we are always on one of them. With our sextants we find when the centre of the sun is on the celestial meridian corresponding to the terrestrial one; and at that instant it is noon where we are. Then we know what time it is. We compare the time thus obtained with that indicated by the chronometer, and find a difference of four hours."
"I see it all!" exclaimed the fair maiden, as triumphantly as though she had herself reasoned out the problem. "Four hours make 240 minutes, and four minutes to a degree gives 60 deg. as the longitude.
"Quite correct, Miss Woolridge," added Scott approvingly.
"If I could only take the sun, I could work up the longitude myself," the little beauty declared.
"You have already taken the son," replied Scott; but he meant the son of Mrs. Belgrave, and he checked himself before he had "put his foot in it;" for Louis would have resented such a remark.
"I have seen them do it, but I never took the sun myself," protested the maiden.
The sea had suddenly begun to make itself felt a few hours before, and a flood of spray was cast over the promenade, which caused the party to evacuate it, and move farther aft. It was the time of year for the north-east monsoons to prevail, and the commander had declared that the voyage would probably be smooth and pleasant all the way to Bombay. It did not look much like it when the ship began to roll quite violently.
THE WRECK IN THE ARABIAN SEA
It was a sharp squall that suddenly struck the Guardian-Mother, heeling her over so that everything movable on her decks or below went over to the lee side, and sending no small quantity of salt water over her pilot-house. It had begun to be what the ladies called rough some hours before; and with them Captain Ringgold's reputation as a prophet was in peril, for he had predicted a smooth sea all the way to Bombay.
The Blanche, the steam-yacht of General Noury, which was only a trifle larger than the Guardian-Mother, rolled even more. She was following the latter, and seemed to be of about equal speed, though no trial had been made between them. Miss Blanche and Louis had retreated to a dryer place than the promenade when the shower of spray broke over the pilot-house upon them, leaving the commander and Mr. Scott there.
Captain Ringgold frowned as he looked out on the uneasy waves, for the squall appeared to be a surprise to him; but it proved to be more than a white squall, which may come out of a clear sky, while with a black one the sky is wholly or partly covered with dark clouds. It continued to blow very fresh, and the commotion in the elements amounted to nothing less than a smart gale.
"This is uncommon in the region of the north-east monsoons," said the commander, who was planking the promenade deck with Scott. "During January and February the wind is set down as moderate in these waters. I have made two runs from Cape of Good Hope to Bombay, and we had quiet seas from the latitude of Cape Comorin to our destination both times; and I expected the same thing at this season of the year on this voyage."
The captain was evidently vexed and annoyed at the failure of his prediction, though squalls were liable to occur in any locality; but the present rough weather had begun to look like a gale which might continue for several days. The north-east monsoons were what he had a right to expect; but the gale came up from the south south-west. The commander appeared to be so much disturbed, that the young officer did not venture to say anything for the next half-hour, though he continued to walk at his side.
At the end of this time the commander descended to his cabin, inviting Scott to go with him. On the great table was spread out the large chart of the Indian Ocean. From Aden to Bombay he had drawn a red line, indicating the course, east by north a quarter north, which was the course on which the steamer was sailing.
"Have you the blue book that comes with this chart, Captain Ringgold?" asked Scott, rather timidly, as though he had something on his mind which he did not care to present too abruptly; for the commander was about the biggest man on earth to him.
"This chart is an old one, as you may see by the looks of it and the courses marked on it from the Cape of Good Hope," replied the captain, looking at the young officer, to fathom his meaning. "I put all my charts on board of the Guardian-Mother when we sailed for Bermuda the first time. If I ever had the blue book of which you speak, I haven't it now; and I forget all about it."
"I bought that chart at Aden the first day we were there, when I expected to navigate the Maud to Bombay; and with it came the blue book, which treats mainly of winds, weather, and currents," added Scott. "I studied it with reference to this voyage, and I found a paragraph which interested me. I will go to my state-room for the book, if you will permit me to read about ten lines from it to you."
The captain did not object, and Scott soon returned to the commander's cabin with the book. The autocrat of the ship was plainly dissatisfied with himself at the failure of his prediction for fine weather, and perhaps he feared that the ambitious young officer intended to instruct him in regard to the situation, though Scott had conducted himself in the most modest and inoffensive manner.
"I don't wish to be intrusive, Captain Ringgold, but I thought it was possible that you had forgotten this paragraph," said the young officer, with abundant deference in his tone and manner.
"Probably I never saw it; but read it, Mr. Scott," replied the commander.
"The weather is generally fine, and the sky clear, with neither squall nor rain, except between Ras Seger and the island of Masira,'" Scott began to read, when the commander interrupted him, and fixed his gaze on the chart, to find the localities mentioned.
"Ras Sajer," said the captain, placing the point of his pencil on the cape whose name he read. "That must be the one you mention."
"No doubt of it, sir; and I have noticed that the spelling on the chart and in the books doesn't agree at all. The island is Massera on my chart."
"They mean the same locality. Go on, Mr. Scott," added the captain.
"'And the vicinity of the bay of Kuriyan Muriyan, where the winds and weather are more boisterous and variable than on any other part of the coast,'" continued Scott.
"Where is that bay?" asked the commander.
"It is between the two points mentioned before; but it is Kuria Muria on the chart;" and the captain had the point of his pencil on it by this time.
"We are within three hours' sail of the longitude of that bay, but a hundred and fifty miles south of it," said the commander. "The information in the book is quite correct. Is there anything more about it?"
"Yes, sir; a few lines more, and I will read them: 'Respecting Kuriyan Muriyan Bay, Captain S.B. Haines, I.N., remarks that the sudden change of winds, termed by the Arabs Belat, and which blow with great violence for several days, are much dreaded; but what surprised me more than these land winds were the frequent and heavy gales from the S.S.W. during February and March, blowing for six days together.'"
"This gale, for such it appears to be, instead of a mere squall, as I supposed it was at first, has come before it was due by a few days; but it proves that what you have read is entirely correct," said the commander. "My two voyages in the Arabian Sea took me twenty degrees east of this point, and therefore I had nothing but quiet water. But, Mr. Scott, you have put an old navigator into the shade, and I commend you for the care and skill with which you had prepared yourself for the voyage of the Maud to Bengal."
"I protest that it was only an accident that I happened on that paragraph!" exclaimed Scott, blushing under his browned face.
"You found what you were looking for, and that was no accident. I feel that I have added an excellent young officer to the number of my officers," added Captain Ringgold.
"I thank you, sir, with all my heart; but may I ask one favor of you?" inquired the third officer.
"Name it, and I will grant it if possible."
"I earnestly request that you do not mention this little matter to any person on board of the ship."
The commander of the Guardian-Mother was an honest and just man, and he was disposed to give credit to any one who deserved it, even at his own expense, and he looked at the young officer in silence for some moments. Then they argued the question for a time; but the captain finally granted the new officer's request, praising him for his modesty, which was rather a newly developed virtue in his character.
The steamer continued to roll violently when Louis assisted Miss Blanche down the stairs to the main cabin. The dozen passengers who had not gone on deck after luncheon were in excellent humor, for all of them were experienced sailors by this time, and beyond the discomforts of seasickness. All of them held the commander in such high respect and regard, that not one of them mentioned the failure of his prediction of fine weather for the next five or six days. Perhaps all of them wondered, for the captain's predictions before had been almost invariably verified; but not one of them spoke of his missing it in this instance.
The gale continued the rest of the day and during the night. When the morning watch came on duty at four o'clock, Captain Ringgold was pacing the promenade deck, peering through the darkness, and observing the huge waves that occasionally washed the upper deck. He had not slept a wink during the night, though he had reclined an hour on the divan in the pilot-house. He was not alarmed for the safety of his ship, but he looked out for her very carefully in heavy weather.
He was particularly interested in the conduct of the Blanche. She had taken a position to windward of the Guardian-Mother, and appeared to be doing quite as well in the heavy sea as her consort. She had been built with all the strength and solidity that money could buy; and she was as handsome a craft as ever floated, not even excepting her present companion on the stormy sea, and she was proving herself to be an able sea-boat.
"Good-morning, Mr. Scott," said the commander, as the young officer touched his cap to him.
Scott had been temporarily placed in the watch with the first officer, and his post of duty was at the after part of the ship.
"Good-morning, Captain Ringgold," replied Scott, as he halted to ascertain if the commander had any orders for him. "The gale does not appear to have moderated since I turned in, sir."
"On the contrary, it blows fresher than ever. I did not expect such a nasty time as we are having of it," added the commander.
"According to Captain Haines of the Indian navy, we may expect it to last five days longer, for we have had nearly one day of it."
"Not quite so bad as that, Mr. Scott. If we had stayed in the vicinity of Kuria Muria Bay, we might have got five days more of it; but this is a local storm, and we shall doubtless run out of it in a day or two at most, and come again into the region of the north-east monsoon."
"I hope so for the sake of those in the cabin; and I did not think of the local feature you mention."
"The deck is well officered now," added the captain with a gape, "and I will take a nap in my cabin for an hour or two. Mr. Boulong will have me called if the storm gets any worse."
The commander went to his cabin, and Scott walked aft to the compass abaft the mainmast. The binnacle was lighted, and he looked into it. The course was all right, though the ship yawed a good deal in the trough of the sea, the gale pelting her squarely on the beam. Though it was not an easy thing even for a thorough seaman to preserve his centre of gravity, the young officer made his way fore and aft with the aid of the life-lines which had been extended the evening before. He watched the motions of the Blanche, for there was nothing else to be seen but the waste of angry waters.
Far ahead the light of the breaking day began to penetrate the gloomy black clouds. It was a pleasure to come out of the deep darkness, and he observed with interest the increase of the light. While he was watching the east, the lookout man in the foretop hailed the deck. He listened and moved forward to the foremast to hear what passed between him and the first officer.
"Steamer on the port bow, sir!" reported the man aloft.
Scott saw the vessel, but she was too far off to be made out. She passed and disappeared; but about the moment he lost sight of her, he thought he heard the report of a musket, or some other firearm, to the northward of the ship. He listened with all his ears, and then distinguished very faintly shouts from human voices. He waited only long enough to satisfy himself that he had not mistaken the roar of the sea for calls for help, and then went forward to the pilot-house, where he announced that he had heard the shots and the cries.
"Are you sure of it, Mr. Scott?" asked the first officer.
"Very sure, sir."
"We have heard nothing, and the lookouts have not reported anything," added Mr. Boulong.
"On deck, sir! Wreck on the port beam!" yelled the lookout aloft.
"Call the captain, Mr. Scott," said the first officer, as he went out on deck.
He made out the ominous sounds, and judged that they came from a point not more than a mile distant. The commander and Scott appeared immediately; and with the increased daylight they discovered several men clinging to what appeared to be a wreck.
A REVIEW OF THE PAST FOURTEEN MONTHS
The Guardian-Mother had sailed from New York about fourteen months before she appeared in the waters of the Arabian Sea. She was a steam-yacht of 624 tons burden, owned by Louis Belgrave, a young man who had just entered his eighteenth year. His native place was Von Blonk Park, in New Jersey, most of whose territory had been the farm of the young gentleman's grandfather, who had become a millionaire by the sale of his land.
The terrors of the War of the Rebellion had driven the old man to convert his property into gold, which he had concealed so effectually that no one could find it. His only son, more patriotic than his father, had enlisted in the loyal army, and had been severely wounded in the brave and faithful discharge of his duty, and returned to the home of his childhood a wreck of his former self.
His father died during his absence, and Paul Belgrave, the soldier, was his sole heir. His physical condition improved considerably, though he never ceased to suffer from the effects of his wound. The homestead of his father, which had not been sold with the rest of his land, afforded the invalid a sufficient support; and he married Maud Nashwood, the only daughter of one of the small magnates of Von Blonk Park, which had now become a thriving town, occupied mainly by business men of New York.
Paul Belgrave was a millionaire without any millions; for he was never able to find the large property of his deceased parent. For ten years he dug over the cellar bottom of the old house, and the ground in the vicinity; but the missing million entirely eluded his search, and he died as soon as he gave up all hope of finding the treasure.
Mrs. Belgrave was left with their son, then eight years old; but the estate of her husband, with the property of her father, supported her comfortably. The widow had been married at sixteen; and she had the reputation of being the prettiest woman in the Park after her husband died. She had many suitors, but she finally married a handsome English horse-trainer, who called himself Wade Farrongate, though that was not his real name.
For some reason not then apparent, this man at once became the enemy of Louis Belgrave; and the war between them raged for several years, though the young man did all he could to conciliate his stepfather. The man was a rascal, a villain to the very core of his being, though he had attained a position of considerable influence among the sporting gentry of New York and New Jersey, mainly for his skill as a jockey, and in the management of the great races.
Louis discovered a plan on the part of Farrongate to appropriate the stakes and other money dependent upon the great race of the season, and escape to England with his wife and stepson. In this scheme Louis, after he had obtained the evidence of the jockey's villany, went on board of the steamer which was to convey them all over the ocean, and succeeded, with no little difficulty, in convincing his mother of the unworthiness of her husband; and she returned with her son to Von Blonk Park. The young man went back to the steamer, and by skilful management obtained all the plunder of the villain, who sailed for England without his treasure.
Farrongate, or rather John Scoble, which was his real name, was a deserter from the British army. He was arrested on his return, and compelled to serve out the remainder of his term of service. The death of an uncle in India recruited his finances, and he returned to New York. It afterwards appeared that he had some clew to Peter Belgrave's missing million, and he was therefore anxious to recover the possession of the wife who had repudiated him.
A successful conspiracy enabled him to convey her to Bermuda. At this stage of the drama, Captain Royal Ringgold, an early admirer of the pretty widow, became an active participant in the proceedings, and from that time he had been the director of all the steps taken to recover Louis's mother.
In the interim of Scoble's absence, Louis, assisted by his schoolfellow and devoted friend, Felix McGavonty, had accomplished what his father had failed to achieve in ten years of incessant search: he had found the missing million of his grandfather, and had become a millionaire at sixteen. The young man fancied that yachting would suit him; and he proposed to Squire Moses Scarburn, the trustee of all his property, to purchase a cheap vessel for his use.
The spiriting away of his mother gave a new importance to the nautical fancy of the young man. Captain Ringgold condemned the plan to buy a cheap vessel. He had made a part of his ample fortune as a shipmaster, and had been an officer in the navy during the last half of the War of the Rebellion. He advised the young man's mother, who was also his guardian, and the trustee to buy a good-sized steam-yacht.
A New York millionaire had just completed one of the most magnificent steamers ever built, of over six hundred tons' burden; but his sudden death robbed him of the pleasures he anticipated from a voyage around the world in her, and the vessel was for sale at a reasonable price. The shipmaster fixed upon this craft as the one for the young millionaire, declaring that she would give the owner an education such as could not be obtained at any college; and that she could be sold for nearly all she cost when she was no longer needed.
This argument, and the pressing necessity of such a steamer for the recovery of Mrs. Belgrave, carried the day with the trustee. The vessel was bought; and as she had not yet been named, Louis called her the Guardian-Mother, in love and reverence for her who had watched over him from his birth. After some stirring adventures which befell Louis, the new steam-yacht proceeded to Bermuda, where Scoble had wrecked his vessel on the reefs; but the object of the search and all the ship's company were saved.
The Guardian-Mother returned to New York after this successful voyage, though not till Captain Ringgold had obtained a strong hint that Scoble had a wife in England. The educational scheme of the commander was then fully considered, and it was decided to make a voyage around the world in the Guardian-Mother. She was duly prepared for the purpose by Captain Ringgold. A ship's company of the highest grade was obtained. The last to be shipped was W. Penn Sharp as a quartermaster, the only vacancy on board. He had been a skilful detective most of his life, and failing health alone compelled him to go to sea; and he had been a sailor in his early years, attaining the position of first officer of a large Indiaman.
The captain made him third officer at Bermuda, the better to have his services as a detective. He had investigated Scoble's record, and eventually found Mrs. Scoble in Cuba, where she had inherited the large fortune of an uncle whom she had nursed in his last sickness. Scoble had come into the possession of the wealth of a brother who had recently died in Bermuda. He had purchased a steam-yacht of four hundred tons, in which he had followed the Guardian-Mother, and had several times attempted to sink her in collisions.
Officers came to Cuba to arrest him for his crimes at the races, and he was sent to the scene of his villany, where the court sentenced him to Sing Sing for a long term. The court in Cuba decreed that his yacht belonged to his wife; and her new owner, at the suggestion of the commander of the Guardian-Mother, made Penn Sharp, to whom she was largely indebted for the fortune to which she had succeeded, the captain of her. The steam-yacht was the Viking, and Mrs. Scoble sailed in her to New York, and then to England, where she obtained a divorce from her recreant husband, and became the wife of Captain Sharp, who was now in command of the Blanche, the white steamer that sailed abreast of the Guardian-Mother when the wreck in the Arabian Sea was discovered.
From a sailing-yacht sunk in a squall in the harbor of New York, the crew of the steamer had saved two gentlemen. One was a celebrated physician and surgeon, suffering from overwork, Dr. Philip Hawkes. He was induced to accept the commander's offer of a passage around the world for his services as the surgeon of the ship. His companion was a learned Frenchman, afflicted in the same manner as his friend; and he became the instructor on board.
Squire Scarburn, Louis's trustee, who was always called "Uncle Moses," was a passenger. Mrs. Belgrave had taken with her Mrs. Sarah Blossom, as a companion. She had been Uncle Moses's housekeeper. She was a good-looking woman of thirty-six, and one of the "salt of the earth," though her education, except on Scripture subjects, had been greatly neglected. Felix McGavonty, the Milesian crony of Louis, had been brought up by the trustee, and had lived in his family. The good lady wanted to be regarded as the mother of Felix, and the young man did not fully fall in with the idea.
When Louis recovered the stolen treasure of the jockey, he had applied to one of the principal losers by the crime, Mr. Lowell Woolridge, then devoted to horse-racing and yachting, for advice in regard to the disposal of the plunder. All who had lost any of the money were paid in full; and the gentleman took a fancy to the young man who consulted him. For the benefit of his son he discarded racing from his amusements. He invited Louis and his mother to several excursions in his yacht; and the two families became very intimate, though they were not of the same social rank, for Mr. Woolridge was a millionaire and a magnate of the Fifth Avenue.
The ex-sportsman was the father of a daughter and a son. At fifteen Miss Blanche was remarkably beautiful, and Louis could not help recognizing the fact. But he was then a poor boy; and his mother warned him not to get entangled in any affair of the heart, which had never entered the head of the subject of the warning. When the missing million came to light, she did not repeat her warning.
After the Guardian-Mother had sailed on her voyage all-over-the-world, Miss Blanche took a severe cold, which threatened serious consequences; and the doctors had advised her father to take her to Orotava, in the Canary Islands, in his yacht. The family had departed on the voyage; but before the Blanche, as the white sailing-yacht was called, reached her destination, she encountered a severe gale, and had a hole stove in her planking by a mass of wreckage. Her ship's company were thoroughly exhausted when the Guardian-Mother, bound to the same islands, discovered her, and after almost incredible exertions, saved the yacht and the family.
The beautiful young lady entirely recovered her health during the voyage, and Dr. Hawkes declared that she was in no danger whatever. The Blanche proceeded with the steamer to Mogadore, on the north-west coast of Africa, in Morocco. Here the ship was visited by a high officer of the army of Morocco, who was the possessor of almost unbounded wealth. He was fascinated by the beauty of Miss Blanche, and his marked attentions excited the alarm of her father and mother, as well as of the commander. He had promised to visit the ship again, and take the party to all the noted places in the city.
The parents and the captain regarded such a visit as a calamity, and the steamer made her way out of the harbor very early the next morning, towing the yacht. The Guardian-Mother sailed for Madeira, accommodating her speed to that of the Blanche. The party had been there only long enough to see the sights, before the high official, Ali-Noury Pacha, in his steam-yacht come into the harbor of Funchal.
The commander immediately beat another retreat; but the Fatime, as the Moroccan steamer was called, followed her to Gibraltar. Here the Pacha desired an interview with Captain Ringgold, who refused to receive him on board, for he had learned in Funchal that his character was very bad, and he told him so to his face. When the commander went on shore he was attacked in the street by the Pacha and some of his followers; but the stalwart captain knocked him with a blow of his fist in a gutter filled with mud. Ali-Noury was fined by the court for the assault, and, thirsting for revenge, he had followed the Guardian-Mother to Constantinople, and through the Archipelago, seeking the vengeance his evil nature demanded. He employed a man named Mazagan to capture Miss Blanche or Louis, or both of them.
Captain Sharp, who was cruising in the Viking with his wife, while at Messina found the Pacha beset by robbers, and badly wounded. The ex-detective took him on board of his steamer, procured a surgeon, and saved the life of the Moor, not only in beating off the robbers that beset him, but in the care of him after he was wounded. They became strong friends; and both the captain and Mrs. Sharp, who had been the most devoted of nurses to him, spoke their minds to him very plainly.
The Pacha was repentant, for his vices were as contrary to the religion of Mohammed as to that of the New Testament. Captain Sharp was confident that his guest was thoroughly reformed, though he did not become a Christian, as his nurse hoped he would. Then his preserver learned that the Pacha had settled his accounts with Captain Mazagan, and sold him the Fatime.
It appeared when Captain Sharp told his story to the commander of the Guardian-Mother at Aden, that Mazagan had been operating on his own hook in Egypt and elsewhere to "blackmail" the trustee of Louis. The Pacha had ordered a new steamer to be built for him in England; and when she arrived at Gibraltar, he had given the command of her to Captain Sharp, to whom he owed his life and reformation.
At Aden, Captain Ringgold discovered the white steamer, and fearing she was the one built for the Pacha, as Mazagan had informed him in regard to her, he paid her a visit, and found Captain Sharp in command of her. The Moor was known as General Noury here, and he made an abject apology to the visitor. Convinced that the Moor had really reformed his life, they were reconciled, and General Noury was received with favor by all the party.
The Blanche was sailing in company of the Guardian-Mother for Bombay when the wreck with several men on it was discovered. And now having reviewed the incidents of the past, fully related in the preceding volumes of the series, it is quite time to attend to the imperilled persons on the wreck.
FIRST AND SECOND CUTTERS TO THE RESCUE
It was still but a dim light when the commander appeared on deck. He could not have slept more than an hour, but he was as wideawake and active as ever before in his life. He had a spyglass in his hand, with which he proceeded to examine the wreck as soon as he had obtained its bearings; for he never did anything, even under such desperate circumstances as the present, until he had first ascertained what was best to be done.
"How long is it since you made out the wreck, Mr. Boulong?" he inquired, still looking through the glass.
"Mr. Scott reported cries from that direction not ten minutes ago, and the lookout aloft hailed the deck a minute or two later," replied the first officer.
"Make the course north by east," added the captain.
"North by east, sir," replied Mr. Boulong, mounting the promenade, and giving the order to the quartermaster through the window. "Steer small till you get the course, Bangs."
The captain and the third officer remained on the promenade deck, still observing the persons on the wreck, who continued to shout and to discharge their firearms till they saw the head of the steamer slowly turned to the north, when they appeared to be satisfied that relief was at hand.
"They are in a very dangerous position," said the commander. "I cannot make out what they are clinging too; but it is washed by the sea at every wave, and they cannot hold out long in that situation. I wonder that all of them have not been knocked off before this time."
"They must have some strong hold on the thing that floats them, whatever it is, for they are under water half the time," replied Scott, who was also using a spyglass. "I can't make out what they are on; but it looks like a whaleback to me, with her upper works carried away."
"There are no whalebacks in these seas," replied the captain.
"But I saw one in New York Harbor; and I have read that one has crossed the Atlantic, going through the Welland Canal from the great lakes."
"They have no mission in these waters, though what floats that party looks very much like one. Call all hands, Mr. Boulong, and clear away the first cutter."
By this time the Guardian-Mother was on her course to the northward. The storm was severe, but not as savage as it might have been, or as the steamer had encountered on the Atlantic when she saved the sailing-yacht Blanche from foundering. The ship had been kept on her course for Bombay, though, as she had the gale on the beam, she was condemned to wallow in the trough of the sea; and stiff and able as she was, she rolled heavily, as any vessel would have done under the same conditions.
The change of course gave her the wind very nearly over the stern, and she pitched instead of rolling, sometimes lifting her propeller almost out of the water, which made it whirl like a top, and then burying it deep in the waves, causing it to moan and groan and shake the whole after part of the ship, rousing all the party in the cabin from their slumbers. The ship had hardly changed her course before Louis came on deck, and was soon followed by Felix McGavonty.
"What's the row, Mr. Scott?" asked the former.
"Are ye's thryin' to shake the screw out of her?" inquired the Milesian, who could talk as good English as his crony, the owner, but who occasionally made use of the brogue to prevent him from forgetting his mother tongue, as he put it, though he was born in the United States. "Don't ye's do it; for sure, you will want it 'fore we get to Bombay."
"Don't you see those men standing upon something, or clinging to whatever floats them? They are having a close call; but I hope we shall be able to save them," replied the third officer.
The captain had gone to the pilot-house, from the windows of which the wreck could be seen very plainly, as its distance from the ship was rapidly reduced. By this time the entire crew had rushed to the deck, and were waiting for orders on the forecastle. Mr. Boulong, with his boat's crew, had gone to the starboard quarter, where the first cutter was swung in on her davits. The boat pulled six oars, and the cockswain made seven hands.
With these the cutter wad quickly swung out, and the crew took their places in her, the bowman at the forward tackle, and the cockswain at the after. It was the same crew with which the first officer had boarded the Blanche when she was in imminent peril of going down, and he had entire confidence both in their will and their muscle. He stood on the rail, holding on at the main shrouds, ready for further orders.
In the pilot-house, with both quartermasters at the wheel, the captain was still observing with his glass the men in momentary peril of being washed from their insecure position into the boiling sea. Felix had gone aft with the first officer, and had assisted in shoving out the first cutter from the skids inboard, and Louis had come into the pilot-house with Scott.
"Has any one counted the number of men on the wreck, or whatever it is?" inquired the commander.
"There are eleven of them," promptly replied Scott, who, as an officer of the ship, was in his element, and very active both in mind and body.
"Too many for one boat in a heavy sea," added Captain Ringgold. "You will clear away the second cutter, Mr. Scott, and follow Mr. Boulong to the wreck."
"All the second cutters aft!" shouted the third officer from the window; and the crew of this boat rushed up the ladder to the promenade deck, and followed the life-line to the davits of the cutter.
"Bargate, who pulls the stroke oar in the second cutter, has the rheumatism in his right arm, and is not fit to go in the boat," interposed Mr. Gaskette, the second officer.
"Let me take his place, Captain Ringgold!" eagerly exclaimed Louis Belgrave.
"Do you think you can pull an oar in a heavy seaway, Mr. Belgrave?" asked the commander, who always treated the owner with entire respect in the presence of others, though he called him by his given name when they were alone.
"I know I can!" replied Louis very confidently.
"I do not object, if Mr. Scott is willing."
"I am very willing, for Mr. Belgrave's muscle is as hard as a flint."
"Very well. Hurry up!" added the captain.
Four other men were sent aft to assist in the preparations for putting the second cutter into the water; and in as short a time as Mr. Gaskette, who usually went in that boat on important occasions, would have required to do it, the cutter was ready to be dropped into the water when the order was given.
The captain and the second officer continued to watch the party on the wreck, expecting every moment to see some of them swept into the savage waves that beat against their frail support. The ship went at full speed on her course; for the commander would not waste an instant while the lives of so many human beings depended upon his action.
"Can you make out what they are clinging to, Mr. Gaskette?" asked the commander of the only person besides the two quartermasters who remained with him in the pilot-house.
"Yes, sir; I am just getting an idea in regard to it, though the thing is awash so that I can hardly make it out," replied the second officer. "I think it is the bottom of a rather small vessel, upside down; for I see something like a keel. The party have two ropes stretched the whole length of the bottom, to which they are clinging."
"You are right; that is plainly the bottom of a vessel, and I wonder that the craft has not gone down by this time. How she happens to be in that situation, and why she has not sunk, are matters yet to be explained. Go aft, if you please, and see that both cutters are ready to be lowered into the water, Mr. Gaskette. It is not prudent to go much nearer to the wreck, for the gale may drift us upon it."
The second officer left the pilot-house, and found the crews all seated in their boats, with everything in readiness to obey the order to lower away; and he reported the fact to his superior.
"Starboard the helm, Bangs, and steer small!" said Captain Ringgold as soon as the officer returned with the information he had obtained.
To "steer small" is to move the rudder very gradually; for if the course were suddenly changed a quarter of the circumference of the compass in such a sea as was then raging, it would be liable to make the steamer engage in some disagreeable, if not dangerous, antics.
"Steady!" added the captain when the steamer was headed a point south of west.
This position brought the starboard side of the ship on the lee; that is, this part of the ship was sheltered from the fury of the wind and the waves, and it was the proper situation in which to lower a boat into the water; for on the windward side these two powerful forces would be likely to stave the cutter against the side of the steamer.
After the commander had struck the gong to stop her, he gave the order to the second officer to lower the first cutter; and he left the pilot-house for this purpose. Mr. Boulong was an exceptionally skilful officer in the handling of a boat in a heavy sea. Watching for the favorable moment, he gave the order to the cockswain and bowman to lower away, with the aid of the oarsmen near them.
"Cast off the after fall, Stoody!" said he sharply to the cockswain; and the order was promptly obeyed. "Cast off your fall, Knott!" he added almost instantly. "Let fall! Give way!"
A receding wave carried the boat away from the side of the ship, precisely as Mr. Boulong had calculated. The six oars dropped into the water as one, and the men began to pull, getting a firm hold on the receding wave, which sent the cutter to a safe distance from the ship. As soon as she was clear, the commander, who had remained in the pilot-house, rang the gong to go ahead. When the steamer had gathered sufficient headway, she was brought about as cautiously as before.
The second cutter was on the port quarter of the vessel, and this movement placed the boat under the lee. Mr. Gaskette had remained aft, and when the ship had stopped her screw and nearly lost her headway, the captain shouted to him through his speaking-trumpet, which the roar of the waves and the escaping steam rendered necessary, to "Lower away!"
"Lower away when you are ready, Mr. Scott!" repeated the second officer.
Though Scott was only eighteen years old, he was an intuitive sailor, and had a good deal of experience for his years. He had never before occupied his present position; but his nautical genius, fortified by sundry combats with wind and waves, made him feel quite at home. As the first officer had done, he seized the auspicious moment when the retiring wave promised its efficient aid, and gave the orders to cast off the falls.
The six oars grappled with the water on the smooth side of a great wave, and carried it to the apex of the next billow; and she went off as handsomely as the first cutter had done. Mr. Gaskette saw these manoeuvres successfully accomplished, and then started for the pilot-house, to report to the captain. On his way he could not help giving an inquiring look at the manner in which the substitute for Bargate performed his duty.
At eighteen Louis was a healthy, vigorous, athletic fellow, developed by an active life on the ocean, and weighing one hundred and fifty pounds. In any trial of strength he was more than the equal of any other member of the "Big Four," as the four young men berthing in the cabin called themselves, borrowing the name from a combination of railroads in the West. He was well trained as an oarsman, and the second officer was satisfied that he was doing his full share of the work.
As Mr. Gaskette reached the pilot-house there was a commotion there, and it was evident to him that something unlooked for had occurred. He glanced at the two cutters; but they were all right, and were steadily making their way to the locality of the wreck.
"The wreck is going down, sir!" exclaimed Bangs with startling energy just before the second officer reached the door.
"It is all up with that craft!" added Twist, the other quartermaster.
Captain Ringgold said nothing, but calmly surveyed the men who were now struggling in the water. They seemed to be all able to swim; but it was a closer call than they had had before. The two cutters appeared to be their only possible salvation, and they were still at a considerable distance from the scene of peril.
It was a terribly exciting and harrowing spectacle; but the commander looked as impassable as ever. He rang the gong for the ship to go ahead; and Mr. Gaskette wondered what he intended to do, though he was not left more than a moment in suspense.
THE TITLED GENTLEMEN OF THE TRAVANCORE
The first and second cutters of the Guardian-Mother were struggling bravely with the huge billows, but not making very rapid progress, though the gale was in their favor. The eleven men floundering in the water where the wreck had disappeared under them were provided with life-preservers, it was now discovered, and their chances were somewhat less desperate than they were at first taken to be. But the waves rudely knocked them about, and sometimes upset them so as to require a struggle to regain their upright position.
"The Blanche is close aboard of us, Captain Ringgold," said Mr. Gaskette. "She is running at full speed for a position on our port hand."
"Very good," replied the commander. "That is the right thing for her to do, if she don't come too near us."
"She is at a safe distance, sir, and her starboard quarter-boat is manned and ready to drop into the water."
"Captain Sharp will do the right thing at the right time," replied the commander, whose gaze was riveted upon the struggling party in the water.
"I trust we shall be able to save the whole of them."
"The chances are good for it," answered the second officer.
"How is the second cutter doing?" inquired Captain Ringgold.
"She is doing very well, sir, though she is some distance behind the first cutter, for she got away from the ship later. Mr. Belgrave is pulling a stroke as vigorous as the rest of the crew. The Blanche is coming about, and she will have her starboard boat in the water in a few minutes more."
As her head swung round to port she stopped her screw, and then backed for a few moments, till she had killed the most of her headway; for Captain Sharp knew better than to drop the boat into the water while the vessel was making sternway. In a very short space of time the six-oar craft was pulling with all the muscle of her British tars for the scene of peril, and not more than two cables' length astern of the second cutter of the Guardian-Mother.
Captain Ringgold observed the boats with the most intense interest as they approached the unfortunate men in the water. The Blanche came about again, and her other quarter-boat was soon pulling after the first. Possibly there was some feeling of rivalry among the crews of the boats in the good work in which they were engaged, for they were all putting their utmost vigor into their oars.
But no boat appeared to gain on the others, and the one which had started first continued to maintain her advantage till the work of rescuing the sufferers actually began. By this time the action of the waves had separated the party, so that they were scattered over a considerable surface of the breaking billows. Mr. Boulong could see that some of the men in the water were nearly exhausted; for many of them had wasted their strength in useless struggles.
The first cutter was approaching a man who was at the extremity of the western wing of the party. He was a European of thirty years or less; and though his head, hair, and beard were dripping with salt water, there was something in his expression, as he bestowed a single glance upon the boat now close to him, which commanded the respect, and even admiration, of the first officer. He was cool and self-possessed in spite of the peril of his situation, and was observing with painful solicitude the struggles of a person about ten fathoms from him.
"Stand by to lay on your oars!" said Mr. Boulong with energy, when the first cutter was within a boat's length of the individual. "Hold water! Stand by to haul him in, Knott!" he added to the bow man. "Stern all!"
These orders were given as the boat came within her length of the man; and Knott was unshipping his oar, when the stranger raised his left hand, pointing to the struggling person he had been observing in spite of the near approach of the cutter.
"Save that man first, for he is drowning!" he shouted in tones full of anxiety, if not positive suffering. "I can take care of myself for a while longer."
Mr. Boulong's vision had taken in the drowning man, and he fully realized that the person's situation was desperate, if he was not already hopelessly lost. He had struggled and twisted himself in his involuntary efforts, till his life-preserver had worked its way down to his hips, and then it overthrew him; for he turned a somerset, and disappeared under a coming wave. He had utterly "lost his head," and was like an infant in the fury of the billows.
The men were still backing water with their oars, in obedience to the order of the officer; but as soon as the oars would go clear of the self-possessed gentleman, Mr. Boulong gave the command to "Give way!" and again the cutter went ahead.
It required but a few strokes to give the necessary headway to the boat; and Knott was again ordered to stand by to haul him in. The great wave ingulfed and swept over him, and again left him aimlessly battling with the killing billows. The bowman was in position, and leaned over so far to reach the sufferer, that the officer ordered the next two men to seize him by the legs, to prevent him from being dragged overboard.
Knott grasped him by his upper garment, and drew his head out of the water. He held on like an excited bulldog, in spite of the erratic vaulting of the boat and the struggles of him whom the deep sea seemed to have chosen as its victim. But the bowman was a muscular seaman of fifty, and he won the victory over the billows, and hauled the man into the cutter. He was a person of rather swarthy complexion, dressed in Hindu costume. He was passed along through the oarsmen to the stern-sheets, where Mr. Boulong proceeded to lift him up with his feet in the air, to free his lungs from the salt water he must have imbibed.
By this time the second cutter came up to the scene, and Scott in command wondered why the first officer had passed by one man to save another; for in the commotion of the waves he had not been able to realize the condition of the Hindu, as he appeared to be. But the cool gentleman had been over-confident; and instead of waiting for one of the boats to pick him up, he had disengaged himself from his life-preserver, and attempted to swim to the first cutter. Mr. Boulong was so occupied with his treatment of the first man rescued, that he did not see him, or hear his shout above the noise of the savage waves, and had directed the cockswain to steer for the next man, who seemed to be an older person than either of the others.
The Hindu had not entirely lost his senses; and when he was disburdened of the load of salt water he had swallowed, he looked about him, though still in a somewhat dazed condition.
"Dr. Ferrolan!" he exclaimed. "Oh, save him!" He pointed to him as the stern of the boat rose on a billow; and he proved to be the person towards whom the cockswain was steering the boat. "Where is Lord Tremlyn?" he asked, as he surveyed the surrounding waters. "There!" he screamed wildly, as he pointed over the stern, where the person indicated was swimming for the first cutter.
"The other boat is close aboard of him, and will soon pick him up," said Mr. Boulong, turning his attention to one ahead of the cutter.
As he spoke, a booming billow struck Lord Tremlyn, as the Hindu had revealed his name, just as Scott was running his boat up to take him on board. He was caught just in the comb of the wave, and it upset him, making him turn a complete somerset, as his companion had done; but he was master of himself, and when he came up, he appeared to dive through the crest of another billow, and came out close alongside Scott's boat, near the bow. A ready seaman seized him by the arm, and, with the aid of another, hauled him into the boat, where he was passed into the stern-sheets.
"Was Sir Modava saved?" he asked, with no little excitement in his manner, as he spit the salt water from his mouth.
"Don't know him, sir; but they just hauled a man into the first cutter," replied Scott.
"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.
"I congratulate you, sir, on your escape from the wreck of your ship," said he. "I thank God most earnestly that we have been able to save all your party. I hope none were lost before we made you out on the wreck."
"Not one, Captain; and I join with you in reverent gratitude to Him who rules the sea in calm and storm, for our preservation from certain death, which would have been our fate, one and all, but for the care and skill with which you have worked out our salvation. I thank you and the brave and noble officers and crews of your boats with all my mind and heart. I speak not for myself alone, but for all the ship's company of the Travancore, now gone to the bottom," replied Lord Tremlyn, again grasping the hand of the commander.
In a short time the saved from the first cutter joined the others on the promenade deck, and the Guardian-Mother proceeded on her course to Bombay.
"Were you the captain of the Travancore, sir?" asked the commander.
"I am only an amateur sailor," said his lordship; "but I was in command of the unfortunate vessel, which was a steam-yacht of small dimensions, in the service of the Indian government. Ah, Dr. Ferrolan," he continued as those from the first cutter crossed the deck; and he grasped the hand of the person addressed, "let us thank God first, and then the commander of this ship, that we have been preserved,—all the ship's company, I am informed."
"I join you most heartily, my Lord," replied the doctor. "Captain——"
"Captain Ringgold," prompted Mr. Boulong, by whose boat he had been saved.
"Captain Ringgold, I am your debtor for life;" and he proceeded to express his obligations more at length. "Permit me to present to you Lord Tremlyn, a gentleman who came to India on semi-official business."
"I am happy to know you, Lord Tremlyn," replied the commander; but the title did not appear to make a very profound impression upon him.
"Captain Ringgold, allow me to introduce my particular friend, Sir Modava Rao, a gentleman high in the favor of the Indian government, and I may add of all the native princes."
"I am very happy to make your acquaintance, Sir Modava," replied the commander, taking his dusky hand.
The captain then invited the two titled gentlemen and the doctor of the party to the cabin, while the two engineers were turned over to Mr. Sentrick, the chief engineer.
THE GENERAL INTRODUCTION IN THE CABIN
It was still early in the morning, and the cabin party were not disposed to remain any longer on the promenade deck; for it was almost impossible for some of them to stand up, even with the aid of the life-lines and the rails, and all of them retreated to the boudoir and music-room. None of them had been introduced to the strangers; for they had asked to be excused, as they were not in a presentable condition.
The trio of distinguished individuals who had been conducted to the main cabin by the commander were of course soaked with water, and chilled after remaining so long in their involuntary bath; and for this reason no questions were asked of them to bring out an explanation of the cause of the disaster of which they had been the victims. There were three vacant state-rooms, to which they were assigned, and each of them had a bathroom connected with it. The two cabin stewards had already been ordered to prepare these rooms for the occupancy of the newcomers. Warm baths were ready for them when they took possession of the apartments.
"All this is more luxurious than we have been accustomed to lately," said Lord Tremlyn, when the commander ushered him into No. 11, which was provided with everything belonging to a suite of rooms in the best hotels of the United States.
"I hope you will be able to make yourself comfortable, sir; but your greatest need at the present moment appears to be dry clothing, when you have restored your limbs to their normal condition in the bath, and I will endeavor to supply this want," replied the commander.
"You are very kind, Captain Ringgold, and I shall never cease to be grateful to you for the service you have rendered to me and my companions; for all of us would have perished when the wreck of our steamer went down, without the prompt assistance you rendered to us," said the principal personage of the party, who was still shivering under the influence of the chill he had received in the cold waters of the sea.
The captain retired, closing the door of the room. He went to No. 12, to which Sir Modava Rao had been shown, and then to No. 13, which had been appropriated to Dr. Ferrolan. He assured both of them that dry clothing would be provided for them, and both of them stammered forth their obligations very profusely from between their chattering teeth. The doors were closed upon them after they had been instructed to call upon the stewards outside for anything they needed.
The commander had taken the measure of the trio, and knew where to apply for the clothing needed. The surgeon of the party was about the size of Mr. Sage, the chief steward of the ship; and he was asked to supply a full suit, including undergarments, shirt, socks, collar, and cravat. His lordship was about the size of Mr. Woolridge, who was more than happy to provide for the needs of this gentleman. Professor Giroud was a rather slender person; and from his wardrobe came the suit and other furnishings for the titled Hindu. The clothing of each person was placed on a stool at the door of his room, and he was notified where to obtain it.
"Mr. Sage, you understand by this time that we have sixteen places to be taken at the table," said Captain Ringgold to the chief steward.
"I think I had better set two tables, for sixteen would be rather crowded in the space we use now," replied Mr. Sage, who was a Napoleon in his calling. "I propose to arrange them as they were at the big dinner you gave at Aden."
"And while you are about it you may arrange for nineteen places at the tables," replied the captain; but he did not explain who were to occupy the three he had added to the number.
The commander went to his private cabin, after he had visited the pilot-house, and made a diagram of the two tables, assigning places to each of the party and the guests, but leaving three of the end places vacant. He showed it to Louis and Mrs. Belgrave, and they made no objection to the new arrangement. It was handed to the chief steward, who put a card with the name of the occupant of each seat on the plate in front of it. The revolving chairs at the tables had to be all changed, and more added to it; and Stevens the carpenter, with his assistants from the crew, were busy for an hour making the change.
When the commander visited the music-room, he was unable to answer any of the questions of his passengers as to the details of the wreck of the Travancore, though he gave the names and quality of the three gentlemen who had been invited to go below. The sleepers in the cabin had been aroused by the erratic movements of the steamer before daylight, especially by the change from rolling to pitching. There was a thundering roar of escaping steam at times, and all of them had "turned out" to ascertain the cause of the commotion. Felix and Morris had been the first to go on deck, and they had informed the others of the nature of the event which had caused the commotion on board.
The regular passengers had seen the strangers as they came down to the promenade deck from the cutters. They were naturally filled with curiosity to ascertain who and what the trio were. One was a lord, another a sir, and the third a surgeon; and this was all that was known to any one.
"Have we really a live lord on board, Felix?" asked Mrs. Blossom, as they were waiting for breakfast in the music-room.
"He is not a dead one, sure," replied the Milesian, "though he would soon have been a very dead one if we had not happened along when we did."
"One of them was a colored man," added the good lady.
"Sir Modava Rao!" exclaimed Felix. "He is not more than a shade darker than you are, Aunty; and he is a great man in the country we visit next. But dry up; the captain is going to say something."
The commander gave the names of the three distinguished persons who were then in the cabin. It was very nearly breakfast-time, and the trio had had abundant time to dress themselves in the garments provided for them, and he requested all the party to descend to the cabin, leading the way himself. They found the rescued party seated on the divans between the doors of the state-rooms, and they all rose to their feet as soon as the commander appeared.
They presented an entirely different appearance from what they did in their drabbled garments; for those who had supplied them with clothing had brought out their best clothes, and the three gentlemen seemed to be in condition to go to church. Lord Tremlyn hastened to the captain with extended hand as he stepped down upon the floor of the cabin.
"I desire to express my gratitude anew to you, and to the gentlemen who have made us capable of coming into your presence in proper condition," said his lordship, as the commander took his offered hand, which was wrung with the utmost cordiality.
"So far as I am concerned, my Lord, I have done nothing but my duty; for I am a sailor, and the true son of the ocean is always ready to sacrifice even his life to save a shipwrecked brother of the sea," replied the captain.
"Then you are a true son of the ocean, Captain Ringgold, and I shall remember you as long as I live in my prayers!"
"So shall we all!" exclaimed Sir Modava, taking the hand of the commander.
"I indorse the sentiment," added Dr. Ferrolan.
"In regard to the clothing," said the commander, as he threw back his head, elevated his shoulders, and spread out his arms, so as to exhibit to its full extent the height and breadth of his stalwart form, "I was, unfortunately, unable to contribute to the supply of garments for your party; for mine on any one of you would have been like a shirt on a handspike."
"But a London tailor could hardly have fitted us any better," replied the spokesman of the trio.
"I am happy to see you in such excellent condition so soon after the disaster. With your permission, gentlemen, I desire to introduce you to each of my passengers, promising to indicate those whose garments you wear," continued the commander.
"With the greatest pleasure," replied Lord Tremlyn; and the other two bowed their acquiescence.
"This, gentlemen, is Mr. Belgrave, the owner of the Guardian-Mother, the steam-yacht in which he is making a voyage round the world."
"I am extremely pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Belgrave," added Lord Tremlyn, as he took the hand of the young millionaire. "We owe our lives to the fortunate presence of your magnificent steam-yacht in this part of the Arabian Sea. Permit me to present to you Prince Modava, who has been knighted for his distinguished services to the British Crown, and who prefers to be known by his English title."
"That's your colored man!" whispered Felix to Mrs. Blossom.
"Good gracious!" exclaimed the motherly lady. "A live prince!"
"It affords me very great pleasure to become acquainted with you, Mr. Belgrave," with a smile so sweet and expressive that it ravished the hearts of the ladies. "I am under a burden of obligation to you which I shall never be able to repay; and I hope I shall be able to render you some slight service in assisting you to see India, for I learn that you are bound to Bombay."
"I thank you, Sir Modava; and we shall gratefully accept any favors you may extend to us."
"Let me add, my Lord, that Mr. Belgrave pulled the stroke oar in the boat which picked you up after you had sent our first cutter to the relief of Sir Modava," interposed the commander.
"Then I shall have an additional reason to remember with gratitude the young gentleman," added Lord Tremlyn.
"Mrs. Belgrave, gentlemen, the mother of our owner," the captain proceeded, as he took the lady by the arm.
"I congratulate you, madam, on being the mother of such a noble son; for not many young men with the fortune he has at his command would pull an oar in such a gale, such a storm, even to save his fellow-beings from perishing in the angry waves," said his lordship, as he took the hand of the lady. "Blessed be the mother of such a boy!"
The members of the Woolridge family were next presented to the trio; and the distinguished strangers had something pleasant to say to each of them. The "live lord" was only twenty-eight years old, and Sir Modava but thirty, while Dr. Ferrolan was forty-six; and all of them seemed to be greatly impressed, and even startled, when Miss Blanche dawned upon them; for she was as beautiful to them as she was to everybody else, and they seemed to be unwilling to allow her to make room for the others to be introduced.
Every person in the cabin seemed to enter into the spirit of the occasion; and the wearers of the borrowed clothing, as the owners of the garments were indicated, brought forth many humorous remarks from both sides, which it would be pleasant to report if space permitted. The ceremony was finished in due time, though it was rather a long time.
"We are not accustomed to the companionship of titled personages," said the commander at its conclusion. "But we are eminently a social party, and we desire our guests to make themselves as much at home on board of the Guardian-Mother as if they owned her, and were running her for their own pleasure."
"Thank you, Captain Ringgold. Titles are not men, and we know that you are all republicans. If we do not make ourselves worthy of the generous welcome you have extended to us, we shall not ask any consideration on account of the titles that have fallen upon us through the nature of our constitutional government. I believe that we all stand on the same level before our Maker; and whatever social distinctions prevail in our country, they do not exempt any Briton from being a gentleman and an honest man," replied Lord Tremlyn. And his remarks were warmly applauded by both English and Americans; and the gentleman bowed his thanks for this appreciation of his sentiments.
At a nod from the captain the bell was rung for breakfast. Taking the "live lord" by the arm, he conducted him to the seat next him on his right. Louis conducted Sir Modava to the place on the commander's left, and placed his mother next to him. It was found impracticable to heed the names that had been placed on the plates, for it would have taken too much time. Louis took Miss Blanche to the place next to his mother, and seated himself at her right.
Dr. Hawkes took possession of Dr. Ferrolan, and placed himself and Uncle Moses on each side of him. The professor took charge of Mrs. Blossom. The captain invited those who remained standing to take such seats as they chose; and when all were placed at the table, he reverently said a brief grace. Everybody was unusually social; but as the commander had announced that the particulars of the wreck of the Travancore would be detailed in due time by Dr. Ferrolan, the subject was ignored, and the voyage of the Guardian-Mother was the general subject of conversation. The chief steward had "spread himself" on the breakfast, and the meal was far more elaborate than usual; and the wrecked trio proved that they had excellent appetites.
DR. FERROLAN'S EXPLANATION OF THE WRECK
With the rising of the sun the gale had broken, and by the time the party in the cabin left the table, the north-east monsoon was soothing the ocean with its gentle blast. The angry sea was rapidly becoming good-natured again, though the waves were still high enough to give the ship an uneasy motion. But all the party, and no less the trio added to their number, had their sea-legs on, and no reasonable motion disturbed any of them.
The two engineers from the wreck of the Travancore had been as carefully looked after as the strangers in the main cabin. They had been supplied with clothing, and they had breakfasted in the mess-room on the best the larder afforded. The third person brought in by the second cutter was the Hindu cook of the wrecked steamer; but he spoke English very well, and had been otherwise Europeanized. He had been turned over to Baldy Bickling, the second cook of the ship, who had clothed and fed him, and seemed to be unable to do enough for him.
The three gentlemen in the cabin were as sociable as could be desired; and though it was Sunday morning, the scene at the tables had been very animated.
When the meal was finished, the guests at their own request were shown over the ship; and they were not at all reserved in the expression of their admiration at the elegance with which she had been fitted up, and not less at the convenience of all the arrangements.
Lord Tremlyn was particularly interested in the educational feature of the Guardian-Mother, as Captain Ringgold explained his pet scheme in the library, or study, abaft the state-cabin, as it was called on the plan of the vessel prepared by the gentleman for whom she had been built. The guests looked at the titles of the books, considerable additions to which had been made at Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere.
"This is not a library of romances," said his lordship with a smile, as he took in the encyclopaedias, books of travel, scientific treatises, and geographical works.
"No, sir; they cover a broad range of useful information," replied the commander. "Those of our company who are disposed to read novels supply themselves with that kind of literature. Quite a number of them are lecturers"—
"Lecturers!" exclaimed the distinguished guest. "Then a large number of your passengers must be scientific people."
"Not at all, sir; the large majority of them are men and women of good education, and Professor Giroud is a learned Frenchman who has been a lecturer at various colleges and schools. Dr. Hawkes is a leading member of his profession, and is sometimes a lecturer in various medical and surgical institutions in New York. Both of these gentlemen are making this voyage to regain their health, injured by over-work."
"You are fortunate in having such men on board," added his lordship.
"But most of our lecturers are persons of fair education, and only three of them have been graduated from the university. We assign subjects to them some time in advance, and they prepare themselves for the occasion. This gives the unprofessional people an interest in the exercises they would not otherwise have. For example, Mr. Woolridge"—
"I beg pardon, but he is the father of the beautiful young lady who was seated at the table next to Mr. Belgrave, is he not?" interposed Lord Tremlyn.
"The same, sir. At first he considered the lectures a bore; and doubtless they were such to him, for he had been a sporting-man and a yachtsman, though he has since abandoned the races. But I gave him as a subject the horses and other animals of Egypt. He did very well with it in his peculiar way; and since that he is one of the most interested in the lectures,—or perhaps I had better call them simply talks," added the commander.
"Then this voyage will create a new taste for him."
"I have no doubt of it. He is a Fifth Avenue millionaire, and he is able to cultivate any taste he may acquire. Mr. Belgrave is one of our most useful speakers, for he studies his subjects very faithfully. He is a devoted student, speaks French fluently, and gets along very well with Spanish. This voyage is a college course for him."
"Do your ladies take an interest in these lectures, Captain Ringgold?"
"All of them, though I have assigned a subject to only one of them. They all manifest their interest by asking questions. Like myself, Mrs. Belgrave and Mrs. Blossom are Methodists, while the Woolridge family are Episcopalians, though none of us are bigoted. The sisters of my church are very favorable to religious topics, such as were suggested on the Nile; and when we were near the land of Goshen and the Sinai peninsula Mrs. Belgrave spoke to us in this connection. Mrs. Blossom is one of the "salt of the earth," a very good woman, very religious, and her studies have been confined to the Bible and her denominational newspapers. Her education was neglected, and she is rather tonguey, so that she asks curious questions; but we all esteem her very highly, though her American peculiarities may seem very odd to you."
"I have known similar people in England, and your description of her leads me to respect the lady," replied the titled gentleman, who appeared to be very democratic so far as homely merit was concerned.
Dr. Hawkes had taken his professional brother in charge, and Louis, Sir Modava, as the commander had Lord Tremlyn, and they were showing them over the ship. We need not follow them or repeat their explanations; but they finally reached the promenade deck, where all the officers were presented to the guests of the steamer. At Conference Hall the three couples met, and the lectures were again commented upon; for this subject was uppermost in the mind of the commander.
"Do you have a lecture to-day, Captain Ringgold?" asked his lordship.
"No, sir; this is Sunday, and we keep the Sabbath in a reasonable manner, and the conference is usually omitted on this day, though when the subject is appropriate for the day the lecture is given. The professor is a Roman Catholic; but we have not had the slightest friction in regard to any man's creed. The owner and voyager in our consort, the white ship abreast of us, whose boat picked up five men of your ship's company, is a Mohammedan, though the captain and his wife are Congregationalists. We have a religious service on board at eleven o'clock, to which your party are invited, though no umbrage will be taken if you prefer to absent yourselves."
"I shall certainly attend," replied his lordship; and his companions said the same. "Have you a chaplain?"
"We have not, and I am obliged to act in that capacity for the want of a better," replied the captain. "We Methodists are all trained to 'speak in meeting,' whether we have the gift or not."
At the appointed time the gong was sounded for divine service, and four whistles were given, that all on board might hear the call. Chairs had been provided for the guests, and all the party were seated when six bells struck. The two engineers of the Travancore were seated on the platform with, the cook, and all the officers and seamen who could be spared stood within hearing.
Most of the party were provided with tune-books, and the captain gave out "The Life-Boat." Books were passed to the strangers, and the commander led off in the singing. Lord Tremlyn and Dr. Ferrolan joined in with vigorous bass voices. Captain Ringgold then followed with an extemporaneous prayer, in which he poured forth his thanks to the God who rules the sea and the land for the mercy that had spared their brothers from other lands from the mighty power of the raging billows. Instead of reading a printed sermon as usual, he gave an impromptu address relating to the event of the early morning. Its bearing was very religious, and it was as eloquent as it was homely compared with studied discourses.