The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 107

an engine broke down, and they drifted for two
days while temporary repairs were being made. Then a squall struck
them unaware, that carried overboard nearly everything above deck that
was portable. Later two of the seamen fell to fighting in the
forecastle, with the result that one of them was badly wounded with a
knife, and the other had to be put in irons. Then, to cap the climax,
the mate fell overboard at night, and was drowned before help could
reach him. The yacht cruised about the spot for ten hours, but no sign
of the man was seen after he disappeared from the deck into the sea.

Every member of the crew and guests was gloomy and depressed after
these series of misfortunes. All were apprehensive of worse to come,
and this was especially true of the seamen who recalled all sorts of
terrible omens and warnings that had occurred during the early part of
the voyage, and which they could now clearly translate into the
precursors of some grim and terrible tragedy to come.

Nor did the croakers have long to wait. The second night after the
drowning of the mate the little yacht was suddenly wracked from stem to
stern. About one o'clock in the morning there was a terrific impact
that threw the slumbering guests and crew from berth and bunk. A
mighty shudder ran through the frail craft; she lay far over to
starboard; the engines stopped. For a moment she hung there with her
decks at an angle of forty-five degrees--then, with a sullen, rending
sound, she slipped back into the sea and righted.

Instantly the men rushed upon deck, followed closely by the women.
Though the night was cloudy, there was little wind or sea, nor was it
so dark but that just off the port bow a black mass could be discerned
floating low in the water.

"A derelict," was the terse explanation of the officer of the watch.

Presently the engineer hurried on deck in search of the captain.

"That patch we put on the cylinder head's blown out, sir," he reported,
"and she's makin' water fast for'ard on the port bow."

An instant later a seaman rushed up from below.

"My Gawd!" he cried. "Her whole bleedin' bottom's ripped out. She
can't float twenty minutes."

"Shut up!" roared Tennington. "Ladies, go below and get some of your
things together. It may not be so bad as that, but we may have to take
to the boats. It will be safer

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