“How hot is it, Louis?” asked his mother.
“It isn’t hot at all; it is only 70 deg..”
“The glass varies here from 52 deg. to 100 deg.; but we don’t get the latter figure except in summer,” added Sir Modava.
“But you have awful cyclones here, an English lady told me last night,” said Mrs. Belgrave.
“We do; but we never have them at this season of the year; they come in May, September, and October, and sometimes in November the belated ones. In 1867 we had one in the latter month which destroyed thirty thousand native houses; but you know they are built of bamboos and such stuff, and it does not take much of a breeze to demolish them. Another in June, 1870, did nearly as much damage.”
“I should think the bore would make mischief here,” suggested Louis.
“The monsoons here begin in July, and during their time the bore is the most mischievous. The big wave comes up the river at the rate of twenty miles an hour. All boats run for the middle of the river, where the billow does not break against the shore. Ships often part their cables, and knock themselves to pieces against the walls. Sometimes the bore is twelve feet high, though not much more than half that generally.”
“What are the prices at a hotel like this one, Lord Tremlyn?” asked Dr. Hawkes.
“Here is the list of prices,” replied his lordship, handing him a card taken from the wall.
“Coffee at six in the morning, breakfast a la fourchette at nine, tiffin at one, and dinner at seven. Price, Rs. six per day,” the doctor read. “I suppose Rs. means rupees; and that makes it about twelve English shillings, or three dollars a day, which is not high.”
“There are no extras except for wines, liquors, and beer, which none of your people use,” added the viscount. “But you have to pay for your own attendance; and your servant’s pay is from eight to ten rupees a month, or about a pound.”
“Cheap enough!” exclaimed the surgeon. “I have to pay my waiter at home six pounds a month.”
“Now, what is there to be seen in Calcutta?” asked the commander after breakfast.
“If you wish to see mosques, temples, pagodas”—the viscount began.
“We do not,” interposed the captain. “At first those were very interesting; but we have seen enough of them.”
“I supposed so,” added Lord Tremlyn. “I have ordered carriages, and to-day we will take a general view of the city.”
This plan was agreeable to the party, and it was carried out. From the hotel they proceeded to the river. There was a crowd of shipping at anchor, and at the landing-stages and jetties. Among them Louis was the first to discover the Guardian-Mother. She was in the middle of the river, off Fort William. Half a mile below her they saw the Blanche. At the request of the commander, the carriages went down to the fort, where the passengers all alighted, and gathered together on the shore. The gentlemen cheered, and the ladies waved their handkerchiefs.