Dr. Hawkes had taken his professional brother in charge, and Louis, Sir Modava, as the commander had Lord Tremlyn, and they were showing them over the ship. We need not follow them or repeat their explanations; but they finally reached the promenade deck, where all the officers were presented to the guests of the steamer. At Conference Hall the three couples met, and the lectures were again commented upon; for this subject was uppermost in the mind of the commander.
“Do you have a lecture to-day, Captain Ringgold?” asked his lordship.
“No, sir; this is Sunday, and we keep the Sabbath in a reasonable manner, and the conference is usually omitted on this day, though when the subject is appropriate for the day the lecture is given. The professor is a Roman Catholic; but we have not had the slightest friction in regard to any man’s creed. The owner and voyager in our consort, the white ship abreast of us, whose boat picked up five men of your ship’s company, is a Mohammedan, though the captain and his wife are Congregationalists. We have a religious service on board at eleven o’clock, to which your party are invited, though no umbrage will be taken if you prefer to absent yourselves.”
“I shall certainly attend,” replied his lordship; and his companions said the same. “Have you a chaplain?”
“We have not, and I am obliged to act in that capacity for the want of a better,” replied the captain. “We Methodists are all trained to ’speak in meeting,’ whether we have the gift or not.”
At the appointed time the gong was sounded for divine service, and four whistles were given, that all on board might hear the call. Chairs had been provided for the guests, and all the party were seated when six bells struck. The two engineers of the Travancore were seated on the platform with, the cook, and all the officers and seamen who could be spared stood within hearing.
Most of the party were provided with tune-books, and the captain gave out “The Life-Boat.” Books were passed to the strangers, and the commander led off in the singing. Lord Tremlyn and Dr. Ferrolan joined in with vigorous bass voices. Captain Ringgold then followed with an extemporaneous prayer, in which he poured forth his thanks to the God who rules the sea and the land for the mercy that had spared their brothers from other lands from the mighty power of the raging billows. Instead of reading a printed sermon as usual, he gave an impromptu address relating to the event of the early morning. Its bearing was very religious, and it was as eloquent as it was homely compared with studied discourses.
After the singing of “Nearer, my God, to thee,” the service closed; but the people were invited to keep their seats. Without any explanation of what was to follow, the captain introduced Lord Tremlyn.
“Mr. Commander, and ladies and gentlemen, I am utterly unable to express my high appreciation of the religious service in which we have all assisted. It went to my heart, and I am sure we who have been saved from perishing in the stormy billows joined heartily with him who officiated in giving thanks to God for our preservation,” his lordship began.