leted his investigations forward, came rushing up the poop ladder and, wild with excitement, shouted to the skipper--
"We can't live five minutes, sir! We are cut down from rail to bilge; there is a hole in our side big enough to drive a coach and six through, and the water is pouring into her like a sluice!"
"And where is the steamer?" demanded the skipper.
"She has backed out, and vanished in the fog," answered the mate.
"My God! what an appalling mess," ejaculated the distracted skipper. "And all through the lubberly carelessness of those foreign fellows, who were too lazy to sound their syren until they were aboard of us! Now, Mr Ferris, what is the news of the boats? Hurry up and get them into the water as smartly as possible. Back the main-yard, Mr Pryce."
This mention of the boats, added to the ill-advised candour of the mate's loudly proclaimed statement as to the condition of the ship, took immediate hold upon the mob of anxiously listening people who were crowding
Talk about luck!
I'm a sucker for tales of the sea and marooning, so managed to finish this remarkable tale with most of my sanity intact. Dick and his gal friend go through more adventures than Robinson Crusoe and Dick Hawkins (Treasure Island) combined. I'll try to keep this brief.
At sea every possible mishap occurs except hitting an iceberg or battling a sea serpent. As to the atmosphere, they confront no flying saucers, but every wind that blows strikes them at one time or another. Geologically ditto.
Using knowledge gained as a naval officer combined with an amazing willingness to work, Leslie manages wonders with almost no assistance from his girl beyond asking her to hold the end of a rope now and then. She's a gently-raised Victorian girl who must be protected from all dangers and physical demands, and is prone to fainting when danger is in the offing.
After six months or so of living on a desert isle they achieve the intimacy of using first names, and after a year I'm fairly sure they exchange a kiss… though maybe not. The facts of life never make it into this tale.
With all that, Collingwood is a decent enough writer who simply suffers from an out-of-control imagination.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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