“All right. You bring to hotel jeldi (quickly). Come along, Noreen,” said Mrs. Smith, walking off and utterly ignoring the Hindu engineer who had stood by unnoticed all this time with rage in his heart.
Noreen, however, turned to him and said:
“What are you going to do, Mr. Chunerbutty? Where are you staying?”
“I am going to my father at His Highness’s house,” he replied. “I should not be very welcome at your hotel or to your friends, Miss Daleham.”
“Oh, of course you would,” replied the girl, feeling sorry for him but uncertain what to say. “Will you come and see me tomorrow?”
“You forget. You are going to the gymkhana with that insolent English officer.”
“Now don’t be unjust. I’m sure Captain Charlesworth wasn’t at all insolent. But I forgot the gymkhana. You could come in the morning. Yet, perhaps, I may have to go out calling with Mrs. Smith,” she said doubtfully. “And how selfish of me! You have your own affairs to see to. I do hope that you’ll find your father much better.”
“Thank you. I hope so.”
“Do let me know how he is. Send me a chit (letter) if you have time. I am anxious to hear. Now I must thank you ever so much for your kindness in looking after me on the journey. I don’t know what I’d have done without you.”
“It was nothing. But you had better go. Your haughty friend is looking back for you, angry that you should stop here talking to a native,” he said bitterly.
Ida was beckoning to her; even at that distance they could see that she was impatient. So Noreen could only reiterate her thanks to the Hindu and hurry after her friend, who said petulantly when she came up:
“I do wish you hadn’t travelled up with that Indian, Noreen. It isn’t nice for an English girl to be seen with one, and it will make people talk. The women here are such cats.”
Noreen judged it best to make no reply, but followed her irate friend in silence. Their dandies were waiting outside the station, and as the girl got into hers and was lifted up and carried off by the sturdy coolies on whose shoulders the poles rested, she thought with a thrill of the last occasion on which she had been borne in a chair.
THE PLEASURE COLONY
A town on the hill-tops; a town of clubs, churches, and hotels, of luxury shops, of pretty villas set in lovely gardens bright with English flowers and shaded by great orchid-clad trees; of broad, well-kept roads—such is Darjeeling, seven thousand feet above the sea.
At first sight there is nothing Oriental about it except the Gurkha policemen on point duty or the laughing groups of fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked Lepcha women that go chattering by him. But on one side the steep hills are crowded with the confused jumble of houses in the native bazaar, built higgledy-piggledy one on top of the other and lining the narrow streets and lanes that are thronged all day by a bright-garbed medley of Eastern races—Sikkimese, Bhuttias, Hindus, Tibetans, Lepchas. Set in a beautiful glen are the lovely Botanical Gardens, which look down past slopes trimly planted with rows of tea-bushes into the deep valleys far below.