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Round the World in Seven Days   By:

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First Page:

ROUND THE WORLD IN SEVEN DAYS

by

HERBERT STRANG

Illustrated by A. C. Michael

1910

CONTENTS

CHAPTER.

PRELUDE

I THE CABLEGRAM

II EASTWARD HO!

III ACROSS EUROPE TO THE BOSPHORUS

IV A FLYING VISIT

V THE TOMB OF UR GUR

VI WITH GUN RUNNERS IN THE GULF

VII THE WHITE DJINN

VIII A SHIP ON FIRE

IX A PASSENGER FOR PENANG

INTERLUDE

X SOME PRAUS AND A JUNK

XI AUSTRALIAN HOSPITALITY

XII STALKED BY PIGMIES

XIII THE RESCUE

XIV SIR MATTHEW IMPROVES THE OCCASION

XV HERR SCHWANKMACHER'S CABBAGES

XVI A STOP PRESS MESSAGE

XVII A MIDNIGHT VIGIL

XVIII THE LAST LAP

POSTSCRIPT

PRELUDE

Lieutenant George Underhill, commanding H.M. surveying ship Albatross , had an unpleasant shock when he turned out of his bunk at daybreak one morning. The barometer stood at 29.41'. For two or three days the vessel had encountered dirty weather, but there had been signs of improvement when he turned in, and it was decidedly disconcerting to find that the glass had fallen. His vessel was a small one, and he was a little uneasy at the prospect of being caught by a cyclone while in the imperfectly charted waters of the Solomon Islands.

He was approaching the eastern shore of Ysabel Island, whose steep cliffs were covered with a lurid bank of cloud. If the shore was like those of the other islands of the group, it would be, he knew, a maze of bays, islets, barrier reefs, and intricate channels amid which, even in calm weather, a vessel would run a considerable risk of grounding, a risk that would be multiplied in a storm. Anxiously noting the weather signs, Underhill hoped that he might reach a safe anchorage before the threatening cyclone burst upon him.

As is the way with cyclones, it smote the vessel almost without warning. A howling squall tore out of the east, catching the ship nearly abeam, and making her shudder; then, after a brief lull, came another and even a fiercer blast, and in a few minutes the wind increased to a roaring hurricane, enveloping the ship in a mist of driving rain that half choked the officers and crew as they crouched under the lee of the bulwarks and the deckhouse.

The Albatross was a gallant little vessel, and Underhill, now that what he dreaded had happened, hoped at least to keep her off the shore until the fury of the storm had abated. For a time she thrashed her way doggedly through the boiling sea; but all at once she staggered, heeled over, and then, refusing to answer the helm, began to rush headlong upon the rocks, now visible through the mist.

"Propeller shaft broken, sir," came the cry from below to Underhill as he stood clinging to the rail of the bridge.

He felt his utter helplessness. He could not even let go an anchor, for no one could stand on deck against the force of the wind. He could only cling to his place and see the vessel driven ashore, without being able to lift a hand to save her. Suddenly he was conscious of a grating, grinding sensation beneath his feet, and knew that the vessel had struck a coral reef. She swung round broadside to the wind; the boats on the weather side were wrenched from their davits and hurled away in splinters; and in the midst of such fury and turmoil there was no possibility of launching the remaining two boats and escaping from the doomed vessel.

All hands had rushed on deck, and clung to rails and stays and whatever else afforded a hold. Among those who staggered from the companion way was a tall thin man, spectacled, with iron grey hair and beard, and somewhat rounded shoulders. Linking arms with him was a young man of twenty two or twenty three: the likeness between them proclaimed them father and son. The older man was Dr... Continue reading book >>




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