Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Across India.

“We are all profoundly impressed by the kindness, the unbounded hospitality, which have been extended to us in our unfortunate, I may say our forlorn, condition; and I am sure that not one of us, from the amateur captain of the Travancore, to the coolies who were saved by the Blanche, will ever cease to bless the commander, the officers, the crew, and the passengers of the Guardian-Mother for the overwhelming kindness and care they have all bestowed upon us.  Though we are not at the festive board, I venture to propose to you the health of Captain Ringgold, as the representative of all to whom we are so gratefully indebted.”

“For he’s a jolly good fellow! 
For he’s a jolly good fellow! 
For he’s a jolly good fellow! 
So say we all of us!”

To the astonishment, and perhaps to the disgust, of the two Methodist ladies, Dr. Ferrolan struck up this refrain, singing with a vigor which proved his earnestness.  Sir Modava, the engineers, and the cook immediately joined in with him.  Dr. Hawkes, Uncle Moses, Mr. Woolridge, and others, because they approved the sentiment of the words, struck in at the second line, and it became a full chorus before the last line was reached.

It is an English custom to follow a toast to a distinguished personage with this refrain, as expressive of the sentiments of the company; and though it was not adapted to Sunday use, it was sincere and heartfelt on the part of all who sang it.  Captain Ringgold rose and bowed his thanks, and Lord Tremlyn spoke again:—­

“It is very natural that you should desire to know something about the guests who have been so fortuitously cast into your kindly embrace, and especially in regard to the calamity which has made us the recipients of your generous hospitality; and Captain Ringgold gives us this opportunity to gratify your reasonable curiosity.  I am no orator, like my brother, the commander of the Guardian-Mother, and I shall call upon my friend and secretary, who has been travelling with me in India for his health, to give you the desired information.”  Though it was Sunday, even the commander joined in the applause that greeted the doctor when he mounted the rostrum.

“Mr. Commander, and ladies and gentlemen, I beg to inform you that my Lord Tremlyn is quite as capable of speaking for himself as I am for him; but as I am called upon to make this explanation, I shall do so with pleasure.  I have the honor to be the secretary of the Right Honorable Viscount Tremlyn, the son of the noble earl who is Secretary of State for India.  He has been on a mission in the interests of his father to obtain certain information, though he holds no official position.

“Sir Modava Rao has held several official positions in India, and is perhaps more familiar with the country and its British and native governments than any other man.  He has been travelling with Lord Tremlyn, to assist him in obtaining the information connected with his unofficial mission.  My lord has completed the work assigned to him; but the viceroy wished him to visit the Imam of Muscat unofficially for a certain purpose I am not at liberty to state.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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