“And while you are about it you may arrange for nineteen places at the tables,” replied the captain; but he did not explain who were to occupy the three he had added to the number.
The commander went to his private cabin, after he had visited the pilot-house, and made a diagram of the two tables, assigning places to each of the party and the guests, but leaving three of the end places vacant. He showed it to Louis and Mrs. Belgrave, and they made no objection to the new arrangement. It was handed to the chief steward, who put a card with the name of the occupant of each seat on the plate in front of it. The revolving chairs at the tables had to be all changed, and more added to it; and Stevens the carpenter, with his assistants from the crew, were busy for an hour making the change.
When the commander visited the music-room, he was unable to answer any of the questions of his passengers as to the details of the wreck of the Travancore, though he gave the names and quality of the three gentlemen who had been invited to go below. The sleepers in the cabin had been aroused by the erratic movements of the steamer before daylight, especially by the change from rolling to pitching. There was a thundering roar of escaping steam at times, and all of them had “turned out” to ascertain the cause of the commotion. Felix and Morris had been the first to go on deck, and they had informed the others of the nature of the event which had caused the commotion on board.
The regular passengers had seen the strangers as they came down to the promenade deck from the cutters. They were naturally filled with curiosity to ascertain who and what the trio were. One was a lord, another a sir, and the third a surgeon; and this was all that was known to any one.
“Have we really a live lord on board, Felix?” asked Mrs. Blossom, as they were waiting for breakfast in the music-room.
“He is not a dead one, sure,” replied the Milesian, “though he would soon have been a very dead one if we had not happened along when we did.”
“One of them was a colored man,” added the good lady.
“Sir Modava Rao!” exclaimed Felix. “He is not more than a shade darker than you are, Aunty; and he is a great man in the country we visit next. But dry up; the captain is going to say something.”
The commander gave the names of the three distinguished persons who were then in the cabin. It was very nearly breakfast-time, and the trio had had abundant time to dress themselves in the garments provided for them, and he requested all the party to descend to the cabin, leading the way himself. They found the rescued party seated on the divans between the doors of the state-rooms, and they all rose to their feet as soon as the commander appeared.
They presented an entirely different appearance from what they did in their drabbled garments; for those who had supplied them with clothing had brought out their best clothes, and the three gentlemen seemed to be in condition to go to church. Lord Tremlyn hastened to the captain with extended hand as he stepped down upon the floor of the cabin.