Across India eBook

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

CHAPTER XXVIII

AT THE CAPITAL OF THE PUNJAB

An early breakfast was provided for the travellers, and at this repast the farewells were spoken.  Speeches were made by all the principal persons of the party of Americans, and by the Moroccan magnate, expressive of the very great enjoyment of the visit, and in praise of the liberality of the kingly host’s hospitality.  Captain Ringgold returned his thanks quite eloquently.

The Guicowar again enlarged upon the service the commander had rendered to India in saving the lives of two of his best friends, who had also been the friends of his country, and his only regret was that the Americans could not remain longer.  Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava could not in a lifetime discharge their obligations to their friends who had entertained them like princes on board of the Guardian-Mother.

The ladies did not make speeches; but they expressed their gratitude to his Highness in a less prominent manner for the kindness extended to them, and at the close of the entertainment Miss Blanche advanced to the king, and presented to him a package containing the photographs of the whole company, and that of General Noury, each with the autograph upon it.

“I am very sorry that our party are unable to present to your Highness a gift in keeping with the magnificence of the hospitality extended to us,” said the beautiful young lady; “but this package contains the photograph of every member of our company, and we beg that you will accept them as the only tribute of our gratitude for your kindness which is available to us at this distance from our homes.  We leave behind us our best wishes for the prosperity, health, and happiness of your Highness.”

The Guicowar declared that he should value the gift more than all the gold and gems that could have been gathered together, and he should always remember with delight the fairy who had presented them to him, and it would afford him the greatest pleasure to look in the future upon the faces of those whose presence at the palace he had so greatly enjoyed.

The actual parting was the scene of a great deal of hand-shaking, mingled with pretty speeches.  The Guicowar went with them to the station, and saw them seated in the great carriage that had been prepared for them.  The train moved off, with handkerchiefs waving at every window, and with a profusion of gestures on the part of the magnificent host.  It required some time to talk about the scenes at the court of the king, though all of the party were observing the country through the windows.

It was a strange country to the Americans; and they found something to look at all the time, though it was a wild and rugged region for the first two hours, with only a single town that was noticeable in that time.  As they were passing out of Baroda, the viscount called their attention to a building at some distance from the road, and called it a “travellers’ bungalow.”  It was a very comfortable house, where tourists may find hotel accommodations, though they are hardly hotels.  They are provided by the government, and are to be found in all the travelled regions of India.  They are sometimes free for the rooms, but the guest pays at a very low rate for his food.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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