With Beatty off Jutland: A Romance of the Great Sea Fight! A Young Readers Classic By Percy F. Westerman! AAA+++by Bdp
Lieutenant Richard Crosthwaite, D.S.O., the "owner" of the destroyer, was one of those young officers who had made good use of the chances that the war had thrown in his way. Specially promoted for good work in the Dardanelles, he found himself at a comparatively early age in command of a destroyer that had already made a name for herself in the… See more details below
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Lieutenant Richard Crosthwaite, D.S.O., the "owner" of the destroyer, was one of those young officers who had made good use of the chances that the war had thrown in his way. Specially promoted for good work in the Dardanelles, he found himself at a comparatively early age in command of a destroyer that had already made a name for herself in the gallant but ill-starred operations against the Turks.
"Well, Mr. Sefton?" he asked.
"Nothing much to report, sir," replied the acting-sub. "But we'll get it yet," he added confidently.
Evidently "it"--hardly ever referred to by any other designation--was more elusive than Crosthwaite had imagined. A shade of disappointment flitted across his tanned features. The task upon which the trawlers were engaged was a matter of extreme urgency. At Whitehall anxious admirals awaited the news that "it" had been fished up; but "it", reposing serenely on the bed of the North Sea, had resolutely declined to receive the embraces of a couple of heavy grapnels.
Crosthwaite, after giving a searching glance to windward, stepped to the head of the ladder. An alert bos'n's mate, awaiting the signal, piped the starboard watch. Saluting, Sefton gained the deck and went aft, his mind dwelling on the prospects of breakfast and a much-needed sleep.
The ward-room, a scantily-furnished apartment extending the whole width of the ship, was showing signs of activity. From one of the adjoining dog-boxes, termed by courtesy a cabin, a short, full-faced, jovial-featured man had just emerged, clad in regulation trousers and a sweater. His curly light-brown hair was still wet, as the result of his ablutions, a slight gash upon the point of his chin betokened the fact that he had tempted fate by shaving in a stiff seaway, and by the aid of an ordinary razor dulled by the penetrating salt air.
"Oh, it's quiet down here----" he began singing in a ringing baritone.
"No need to rub that in, Pills," exclaimed a drawling voice. "The fact is patent to all. Can't you give us 'They don't run Corridor Cars on our Branch Line' by way of a change?"
Thereon hung a tale: something that took place when Jimmy Stirling first joined the mess at the Portsmouth Naval Barracks as a Probationary Surgeon, R.N.V.R.
"I called attention to the fact that it was quiet down here with deliberate intent, my festive Box-spanner," retorted the surgeon. "At last, after weeks of expostulation, your minions have succeeded in quelling that demon of unrest, the steam steering-gear. For the first time for a fortnight I have slept serenely, and, thanks to that blessed balm, I feel like a giant refreshed. Now, how about it?"
He made a dive into the adjoining cabin, where the engineer-lieutenant was in the act of struggling with a refractory collar. The next instant the two men lurched into the ward-room engaged in what looked to be a mortal struggle.
Cannoning off the stove, sweeping a sheaf of books from the wall, glissading from the cushioned lockers, the high-spirited officers tackled each other with mock-serious desperation until, with a violent heave, the athletic doctor deposited his engineering confrère fairly upon the table. With a series of crashes, cups, saucers, tureens, teapot, coffee-pot, eggs and bacon sidled in an indescribable state of chaos upon the floor.
"Time!" exclaimed Sefton authoritatively. "Look here, you fellows. I haven't had my breakfast, and I suppose you haven't had yours? Not that it matters to me. And, Pills, has your supply of bromide run out?"
The combatants separated and began taking stock of the damage.
"You logged a gale of wind last night, I hope, Sefton?" asked the engineer-lieutenant in tones of mock anxiety. "Must account for this smash-up, you know---- Any luck? Have they got it?"
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