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‘… as we ran past I went outboard for the salvage o’ three hunder thousand pound. Man, it was perishin’ cold, but I’d done my job judgmatically, an’ came scrapin’ all along her side slap on to the lower gratin’ o’ the gangway. No one more astonished than me, I assure ye. Before I’d caught my breath I’d skinned both my knees on the gratin’, an’ was climbin’ up before she rolled again.’


This is from ” ‘Bread upon the Waters’ ” in The Day’s Work.

McPhee, a senior ship’s Engineer, is telling the story of how he had been dismissed by his company for insisting on expensive repairs to a ship. Another Engineer has taken it out, and – as McPhee had predicted – it had foundered out in the Atlantic. McPhee had followed it in another vessel, and here is going aboard to salvage the stricken ship at peril to his life.