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Page 141

LITERA SCRIPTA MANET

found its way into the body of the vessel. As it is even more desirable to prevent the entrance of water into your ship than to assist its exit, these valves are of a strictly " non-return " variety, and no amount of pressure from the outside should ever prevail upon them to play the part of Mr Facing-Both-Ways. The very life of the ship depends upon them ; and the enterprising individual who tampers with their mechanism in such a manner as to convert what is meant to be an Emergency Exit into a sort of Early Door for the rolling deep, does so at the risk of coming into immediate and painful collision with the criminal laws of his country.
Mr Angus, it appeared, had been employing some of his spare time during the voyage in reversing one of these bilge-valves, with such skill and finesse that, as we have seen, one had only to give a turn to a worm-and-wheel gear in the engine-room to admit the Atlantic Ocean in large quantities.
" Oh, he has a heid on him, 'has Angus !" commented Mr Goble with professional appreciation "even when he's fou'. He made a rare job o't. But how he managed to contrive that imitation o a collision, merely through some jookery-packery wi' the reverse-gear and throttle, wi'oot tearin' the guts oot o' her, I div not ken. Man, it was a fair conjurin' trick ! By rights the link motion should be twisted intil a watch-chain and the cross - heids jammit in the guides. But they're

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