Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about Across India.

This talk was followed by a concert by the band.  The ship sped on her course, though something to instruct and amuse was going on all the time.  At the time set Madras was in sight, and a little later the surf was seen rolling in on the shore.  The depth is shallow near the land, which causes the water to break.  The Guardian-Mother was anchored in the deep water, and Lord Tremlyn invited the party to proceed to the apartments at the Royal Hotel which he had bespoken for them.  The commander made no further objections to the matter of expense, and the invitation was promptly accepted.  A number of the masulah-boats, not the rafts, were engaged to land them.  They were much like any other boat, though they were paddled, and not rowed.  They saw the catamarans, constructed as the Hindu gentleman had described, paddled on the waves by a single man, wearing a sugar-loaf hat.

The masulah-boats went to the shore very comfortably, and carriages were in waiting for the party on the beach near where they landed.  As they passed through the streets everything seemed to be very much as it was in Calcutta; and they saw similar palanquins, bullock-carts, and elephants.  The Malabar Hindu was not very different from those of other sections of the country, though he had some peculiarities of costume.

When they reached the hotel, which was a very comfortable one, in English style, it was two hours to tiffin, and most of the party preferred to pass the time in the parlor.  The live boys could not keep still, and they went out for a walk.  The sights were not novel enough to hold them; and when a driver of a bullock-cart salaamed to them, and pointed to his vehicle, Felix suggested that they should take a ride.  Of course, they could not speak a word of the language; and, however it may have been with other conductors of vehicles, this one did not know a word of English.

“Mavalipoor?” interrogated the driver, when the “Big Four” had seated themselves in the corners of the vehicle, which had a body like an omnibus for four, with a top like the dome of a small temple.  They had no idea what the word or sentence used by the driver had been, but supposed it was something worth seeing in the town.  Two palanquins went by them at full tilt, and they saw what was to be seen in the street.  They went on several miles, till they appeared to be leaving the city behind them, and they thought it was time to call a halt.  They talked vigorously to the cartman, and all of them pointed back to the city, and yelled “Madras!”

“Mavalipoor!” screamed the driver, pointing with equal energy in the direction the cart was headed.  But the fellow would not stop, and the lively boys all leaped out of the cart to the ground.  He would not go on without them; but fortunately a gentleman in English costume came along on horseback.  The quartet touched their hats to him, and he stopped his steed.  Louis stated that they wished to go to the Royal Hotel.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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