Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Across India.

Early rising is hardly a virtue in India; for he who sleeps after six in the morning loses the best part of the day, especially in the hot season.  The tourists were up before this hour, and had coffee wherever they were.  They had been treated with the utmost kindness and consideration, and their hosts could not do enough for them.  They were conveyed to the railway station by them, and there found his lordship with a plan of a number of carriages—­they are not cars there.  On this plan he had placed, with the assistance of the commander, the names of the entire party.

They were to leave at seven; for it is pleasanter to travel early in the morning than later in the day, and the train was all ready.  They were not a little astonished when they were introduced to their quarters in the vehicles, to find them quite as luxurious as a Pullman, though they were constructed on a different plan, and were wanting in some of the conveniences of the American palace-car, though better adapted to the climate of the country.

Each carriage contained but two compartments; but they were suites of rooms on a small scale.  The principal one was of good size, and on one side was cushioned to the ceiling, so that being “knocked about” did not imperil the traveller’s bones and flesh.  Against this stuffed partition was a low couch, which could be made up as a bed at night, or used as a reclining sofa by day.

Over it was a swinging couch suspended by straps, which could be folded up, or be entirely removed, and formed a couch like the one below it.  On the other side of the apartment was a toilet-room, with all conveniences required for washing and other purposes, including a water-cooler.  In this compartment the traveller takes his servant, and often a cook, for the valet cannot meddle with culinary matters; and they sleep on the floor wherever they can find a place.  A reasonable additional price is charged for accommodations in this luxurious style.

The journey to Baroda would occupy hardly more than three hours, and these elaborate arrangements were scarcely necessary for the time they were to be used; but the members of the party looked upon them with especial interest in connection with the long travel to Lahore, and that which was to follow to Calcutta, though they were to break the journey several times on the way.

The “Big Four” had a compartment to themselves, with the two servants, Sayad and Moro, who proved to be such good fellows that the boys liked them very much.  Sir Modava had managed to dismiss more than half of the attendants furnished at first, for all the party declared that such a mob of them was a nuisance; and the others had overcome their repugnance to serving more than one person in the face of dismissal, for their perquisites had already been considerable as they valued money.

“This isn’t bad for a haythen counthry,” said Felix, as he stretched himself on the lower couch.  “We’ll git to Calcutty widout breakin’ ahl the bones in our bodies.”

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Project Gutenberg
Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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