“Patna is the fifteenth city in India in population, one hundred and forty miles from Benares,” replied the viscount. “It extends nine miles along the Ganges, and an average of two back from it. The streets are narrow and crooked. The houses are mostly of mean appearance, and there are but very few buildings there of any importance. You laid out your list of cities to be visited yourself, Captain, and generally very judiciously; but if I had made it out I should have omitted Patna. It has a population of about one hundred and sixty-five thousand.”
“I asked the question with a view to omit it from the list if there are no sights of importance, and, after what you have said, I shall do so; and tomorrow we will take the train for Calcutta,” added the captain.
This decision pleased the party, and at six the next morning the special started with them for the greatest city of India.
ALL OVER THE CITY OF CALCUTTA
“I shall be glad to be on board of the Guardian-Mother again,” said Scott, after the four live boys had taken a place by themselves in the conference carriage. “I have seen enough of India.”
“But you have not seen one-half of India,” replied Louis.
“I read a story in an old schoolbook Uncle Moses had used when he didn’t weigh as much as I do now, which was called ’The Half is Better than the Whole;’ and it proved the proposition with which it started out. That is just what is the matter now.”
“But you have been seeing new things all the time, and learning something,” added Louis.
“That’s very true; but we have seen all the big mosques and things, and enough is as good as a feast,” suggested Scott. “I suppose if we stayed here a couple of years more we should not see the whole of the country. We have got a specimen brick of the principal cities; and a dozen specimens of the same thing don’t amount to much.”
“But you haven’t seen Calcutta yet, and that is the biggest toad in the puddle,” said Felix. “The ship will be there, and if you are homesick you can go on board of her.”
But the call for attention from Captain Ringgold interrupted the conversation, and Sir Modava had seated himself in front of the company to give one of his “talks.”
“Our route will be along the Ganges till we come to Luckieserai Junction, where the loop-line falls into the main line,” the Hindu gentleman began.
“Is it much of a fall, sir?” asked Felix.
“I don’t understand you, Mr. McGavonty,” replied the speaker blankly.
“The expression ‘falls into the main line’ is somewhat different from what we use at home; but the young man ought to have understood you,” interposed the commander.
“What would you have said, Captain?”
“The loop-line we call a branch, and we say connects with instead of falls into,” replied the captain. “But your meaning was plain enough, and our boys must fall into the methods of expression used here.”