“You have done a hundred times more than we had any right to expect, and certainly we should not have asked for what you have given us; but it seems to be no more than right that we should pay our own expenses, and we shall be just as grateful to you for the vast service you have rendered us.”
“What we have done does not extinguish a tithe of our obligations to you and your ship’s company. Any money allusion grieves me, and the very thought of being paid almost breaks the heart of Sir Modava. I beg you not to allude to the matter again. Now, my dear Captain Ringgold,” continued his lordship, taking what looked like a picture-frame from a table near him, “I ask the privilege of presenting to you this testimonial of the gratitude of the three cabin survivors of the wreck of the Travancore, which I will ask you to hang up in the cabin of the Guardian-Mother.”
The commander took the frame, in which was a printed testimonial, containing a full account of the rescue of the survivors of the wreck, with a concluding paragraph, expressive of the obligations of the principal persons rescued, to the captain and his ship’s company for their noble and successful exertions in saving them and all the people on board. It had the autographs of Lord Tremlyn, Sir Modava, and Dr. Ferrolan at the foot of the printed statement. It was on parchment, printed in plain, clear type, and the frame was as elegant as money could buy.
“I accept this as the property of the ship, and to me personally nothing could be more valued,” replied the commander, extending his thanks at considerable length; but he said nothing more about payment, though he could not help thinking that their elegant and bountiful hospitality had cost the viscount and the Indian gentleman several thousand pounds.
“But we do not separate just yet; and I have another favor to ask of you, Captain Ringgold, which is that you will give us a passage to Colombo,” added Lord Tremlyn.
“For myself and my party, we shall all be delighted to have you remain with us indefinitely,” replied the commander, taking his lordship’s hand. “I extend to you, Sir Modava, and Dr. Ferrolan a cordial invitation to complete with us our voyage around the world; and we will endeavor to be as hospitable to you in the United States as you have been to us in India.”
“Nothing would afford me so great a pleasure,” replied Lord Tremlyn; “but it would be quite impossible for me to accept the invitation, for I must return to England, and report upon my mission to India.”
Sir Modava and Dr. Ferrolan also declined, for reasons given. The company had called upon some of the officials of the government and officers of the army, at the request of his lordship, and most of them made parting calls the next forenoon; and the viceroy sent his private secretary, with the best wishes of his Excellency for a prosperous voyage, to them. After tiffin they all went on board, where their baggage had been sent before, the Italian band playing all the time on Captain O’Flaherty’s steamer, which put them on board.