At that moment, however, as our evil fate would [not past]
have it, a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. It was only by putting our helm hard down that we avoided a collision, and before we [could perform two future actions], one, round them and two, recover our way, the Aurora had gained a good two hundred yards.
As I was sitting thinking about this, ...
at that moment, as my evil fate would have it, a leak developed on my bathroom sink. It was only by putting my mouse down hard and rushing to the bathroom that I avoided a flood, and before I could get to InfraBlue's posting to explain to him his errors in analyzing this, fifteen minutes had passed
The underlined portion paraphrased;
and before I could perform [OR before it was possible for me to perform] two future actions, one, of going to InfraBlue's posting, and two, explaining to him his errors in analyzing this, fifteen minutes had passed.
At that moment
, [something happened
and before we could/were able to complete two actions that we had not yet completed, something else happened.
"Pile it on, men, pile it on!" cried Holmes, looking down into the engine-room, while the fierce glow from below beat upon his eager, aquiline face. "Get every pound of steam you can."
"I think we gain a little," said Jones with his eyes on the Aurora.
"I am sure of it," said I. "We shall be up with her in a very few minutes."
At that moment, however, as our evil fate would have it, a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. It was only by putting our helm hard down that we avoided a collision. Holmes cried out, "Before we can round them and recover our way the Aurora will have gained a good two hundred yards."