“This is vastly better than anything I expected to find here,” replied Louis, as he pushed his crony over against the partition, and lay down at his side.
“But where do the elephants and the tigers come in?” asked Scott, as he called upon Moro to “shine” his shoes. “I haven’t seen an elephant since I came here.”
“Elephants are not worked in this country,” added Morris. “The Moguls use them when they want to go in state, and sometimes when they go hunting tigers; and then the big beast gets most of the hard scratches.”
“But the elephant can take care of himself when the mahout allows him to do so,” argued Scott.
“Is the mahout his schnout?” asked Felix.
“You know better than that, Flix. The mahout is the fellow that sits on the elephant’s neck and conducts him. He is the driver,” replied Morris.
“Is he afeerd of schnakes?”
“He needn’t be, perched on the top of the pachyderm,” answered Scott.
“Who is he? Oi’ve not been introjuced to ’m.”
“Are you going among elephants, Flix, and don’t know what a pachyderm is?” demanded Scott.
“Oi see, it’s the elephant, and ye’s call him so bekase he carries his pack on his bachk; and ’pon me worrud that’s the roight place to carry it.”
“I wonder if we are to have any hunting out here where we are going,” suggested Scott. “How is it, Louis? You are in the ring with the Grand Moguls.”
“Sir Modava told me that the Maharajah whom we shall visit at Baroda is a great sportsman, and always treats his guests to a hunt,” answered Louis.
“Is it after schnakes?”
“No; but after tigers.”
“But I want to hunt some schnakes; I’d loike to bring down a good-soized cobry,” said Felix, rising from his reclining posture.
“No, you wouldn’t, Flix,” sneered Scott. “If you saw a cobry, you would run till you got back to Ireland.”
“Is’ht me! Wud I roon from a cobry? Not mooch! Ain’t I a lineal dayscindant of St. Patrick?—long life to him! And didn’t he dhrive all the schnakes and toads out of the ould counthree! Jisht show me a cobry, and thin see me roon!”
Before the Milesian could tell how he intended to kill the cobra if he saw one, the train stopped; and a moment later Sir Modava, the commander, and Mrs. Belgrade appeared at the door.
“We have come to make things a little more social,” said the Hindu gentleman as they entered the compartment; and the servants brought stools from the toilet-room, so that all were seated, making quite a family group.
“Are there any snakes where we are going, Sir Modava?” asked Felix, before any one else had a chance to speak. “I am spoiling for a fight with a cobra;” and he came back to plain English, which he could use as well as any one.
“Plenty of them, Mr. McGavonty,” replied the East Indian. “You will not get badly spoiled before you fall in with all you will wish to see.”