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Captain Breaker took Christy by his right arm to support him as they returned to the deck of the Bellevite, and to assist him over the bulwarks. The wounded had all been cared for, and the crew were swabbing up the deck; but the moment they discovered the captain and the executive officer on the rail, they suspended their labor and all eyes were fixed upon the latter.
"Three cheers for Mr. Passford!" shouted the quartermaster who had been at the wheel when Christy sprang into the mizzen rigging.
Three heartier cheers were never given on the deck of any ship than those which greeted the hero of the action as he appeared on the rail. Not satisfied with this demonstration, they all swung their caps, and then gave two volleys more. There was not a man that did not take part in this triple salute, and even the officers joined with the seamen in this tribute.
203 "I hope Mr. Passford is not badly wounded, sir," said Quartermaster Thompson, touching his cap most respectfully. "And I speak for the whole ship's company, sir."
"Mr. Passford is not very severely wounded, Thompson," replied the commander, while Christy was acknowledging the salute. "He did not mention the fact that he was hurt, and lost more blood than was necessary, so that he is very weak."
The quartermaster reported the answer of the captain to the ship's company, whereupon they gave three more cheers, as Christy and his supporter descended to the deck; and the hero acknowledged the salute. At the companion they encountered Dr. Linscott, who had just come on deck from the cockpit. Graines was standing near, waiting for an opportunity to speak to his late associate in the expedition.
"You gave us a bad fright, Mr. Passford," said the surgeon, as he took the right hand of the wounded officer. "But you will do very well now. I have something here which will keep you comfortable;" and he proceeded to place the left arm in a sling, which he adjusted with great care, passing a band from it around his body so as to prevent 204 the member from swinging, or otherwise getting out of position.
"Is it necessary that I should take to my berth, Dr. Linscott?" asked the patient. "I am feeling very nicely now; and since my arm was dressed it gives me very little pain."
"Dr. Davidson ordered you to your berth because you were so weak you could not stand," replied the surgeon.
"But I have got over that, and I feel stronger now."
"We will see about that later, Mr. Passford. Captain Breaker, all our wounded except a few light cases, which my mates can treat as well as I can, are disposed of," added the doctor.
"I am very glad to hear it," replied the captain.
"May I stay on deck, doctor?" asked Christy, who did not like the idea of being shut up in his stateroom while the arrangements for the disposal of the prize were in progress.
"You may for the present if you feel able to do so," answered the surgeon. "But you must have a berth-sack or an easy chair on deck, and keep very quiet."
"Punch!" called the commander; and this was 205 the name of the cabin steward, who was not, however, as bibulous as his surname indicated. "Pass the word for Punch."
The steward, like everybody else on board able to be there, was on deck, and immediately presented himself.
"Bring up the large easy-chair at my desk, and place it abreast of the mizzen mast," added the commander.
Something else called off the attention of Captain Breaker at this moment, and the surgeon remained in conversation till Punch reported the chair in position. Dr. Linscott conducted Christy to it, and adjusted him comfortably, sending for a blanket to cover his lower limbs. The captain soon returned, and saw that the patient was easy in a position where he could see all that transpired on the deck.
"As you have finished your duties on board of the Bellevite, I desire to reciprocate the kindness of Captain Rombold in attending to Mr. Passford when perhaps he needed the attention of his own surgeon more than our patient, and I desire to have you dress the Confederate commander's wound," said Captain Breaker.
206 "With all my heart!" exclaimed the surgeon earnestly. "I will be with you in a moment, as soon as I procure my material;" and he hurried below.
"You will find me with Captain Rombold," added the commander, as he hastened to the deck of the prize.
"I am glad to see you again, Captain Breaker," said the Confederate chief very politely.
"I have come to tender the services of our surgeon, who has disposed of all our seriously injured men, to dress your wound, in the first instance, for I fear you were more in need of such assistance than my officer when you so magnanimously called Dr. Davidson to dress Mr. Passford's wound. He will be here in a few minutes," returned Captain Breaker, proceeding to business at once.
"I am exceedingly obliged to you, Captain, for I am beginning to feel the necessity of attending to my wound. The thirty-pounder, which was to have reduced the ranks of your crew by one-half, as I am assured it would have done, made terrible havoc among my own men. In addition to the dead who have already been committed to the deep, we have a great number wounded," replied Captain 207 Rombold. "The cockpit is full, and I have given up my cabin to the surgeon, who is extremely busy. I accept the services of Dr. Linscott very gratefully."
"He is extremely happy to serve you."
By this time the surgeon of the Bellevite appeared with one of his mates, and some pleasant words passed between him and his new patient.
"Now, where is your wound, Captain Rombold?" asked Dr. Linscott.
"In the ri............
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