Still, the bare facts alone were sufficiently appalling. Reading what had
been permitted to gain publication, Lanyard experienced a qualm of horror
together with the thought that, even had he drowned as he had expected to
drown, such a fate had almost been preferable to participation in those
awful ten minutes precipitated by that pale messenger of death which had so
narrowly missed Lanyard himself as he rested on the bosom of the sea.
Within ten minutes after receiving her coup de grace the _Assyrian_ had
gone under; barely that much time had been permitted a passenger list of
seventy-two and a personnel of nearly three hundred souls in which to rouse
from dreams of security and take to the lifeboats.
Thanks to the frenzied haste compelled by the swift settling of the ship,
more than one boat had been capsized. Others had been sunk--literally
driven under--by masses of humanity cascading into them from slanting
decks. Others, again, had never been launched at all.
The utmost efforts of the destroyer, fortuitously so near at hand, had
served to rescue but thirty-one passengers and one hundred and eighty of