The summons was obeyed promptly, but how few responded to it! There was Branscombe, with his arm in a sling and an ugly gash on his cheek; little Perkins, the Fifth Officer, who had never before smelt powder; Holmes, the purser, and Adams, the steward, both looking like butchers after tending the wounded; Heatherington, the junior wireless operator; and fifteen of the deck-hands, several of whom bore visible signs of the gruelling they had undergone. In addition were Withers and Nuttall and seventeen firemen of the "watch-below", the rest under Angus remaining at their posts in the engine- and boiler-rooms. Of the rest of the officers and crew eleven had been killed outright or mortally wounded, including the First and Second Officers, and close on twenty hit HKUE amec
The officers and men who had fallen in on the boat-deck, unaware of the trend of events, were watching the pirate with puzzled looks.
Burgoyne went to the skipper to obtain further instructions before obtaining assistance in order to take him below. Captain Blair was unconscious. Wounded in half a dozen places, he had carried on until the ship was no longer his to command. As senior surviving deck officer, Alwyn was now responsible for the act of surrender HKUE amec
We've given in," he announced to the assembled men. "There was no help for it. The cruiser has promised us quarter. Lower the ensign."As the torn, tattered, and smoke-begrimed Red Ensign was lowered and untoggled, wild yells burst from the throats of the ruffian crew. They did not know how to cheer; they could not if they did. It could only be compared with a concerted roar of a hundred wild beasts HKUE amec
The shouts ceased, not abruptly, but in a long-drawn-out howl. The captain of the pirate cruiser was shouting himself hoarse in an endeavour to obtain silence. When comparative quiet had been gained, he stepped to the end of the bridge and raised a megaphone.Ship Donibristle!" he shouted. "Obtain way off ze ship an stan' by to receive boats."Aye, aye!" replied Burgoyne.
Hitherto the Donibristle had been forging ahead at her present maximum speed, which by this time was a bare five knots; while the pirate cruiser had slowed down to the same speed, causing her to yaw horribly.
For the first time Burgoyne noticed that the engine-room telegraph was no longer workable. The voice-tube, however, was intact.
"Mr. Angus," he began.
"Aye, it's Angus," replied that worthy's rolling voice "Is't Captain Blair speakin'?"