Across India eBook

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

Another meeting was held in the evening, which was varied by some speaking on the part of the gentlemen, including the guests, Uncle Moses, Dr. Hawkes, and the commander.  At the conclusion of the exercises, Sir Modava begged the company to close by singing another of Bishop Heber’s verses, which he repeated from memory, though it was in one of the books:—­

“God that madest earth and heaven,
Darkness and light;
Who the day for toil hast given,
For rest the night,—­
May thine angel guards defend us,
Slumber sweet thy mercy send us,
This livelong night!”

With this musical prayer on their lips, the company retired.  Most of them went to their staterooms; for the guests were very tired, and the regular inmates of the cabin had left their berths at an unusually early hour in the morning.  All of them, whether technically religious or not, had been greatly impressed by the music and the speaking of the evening.  Dr. Ferrolan was a more inveterate smoker than his companions in misfortune, and he went with the commander to the deck, and was invited to the captain’s cabin, where he was provided with cigars.

“As you have already learned, Doctor, I am greatly interested in the educational feature of my ship,” said Captain Ringgold, after they had conversed a while.  “I desire to make it as attractive as possible, and I have studied to vary it all I could.”

“You have turned your ship into a noble and useful institution,” replied the guest.  “Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava have both spoken in the highest terms of this feature.  And these lectures are mainly for the benefit of Mr. Belgrave, your owner?”

“The plan was introduced principally on his account; but it has grown into an exercise for all the cabin party, and most of them are speakers as well as listeners; for it makes all of them feel a greater interest in the conferences,” replied the commander.  “To-morrow we are to begin upon India, dwelling upon its geography, civilization, government, and history.  Now, I wish to ask you, Doctor, if there would be any impropriety in my asking the members of your party berthed in the cabin to take part in these exercises?”

“Not the slightest, Captain Ringgold.”

“Probably you are all better informed in regard to the affairs of the peninsula than any three other men I could find if I were to search for them here and in England,” added the commander.

“You are not far from right, sir, as far as my associates are concerned; for officially or unofficially they have visited every part of India, and studied up in detail everything relating to the people, the country, the army, and the institutions, both native and British.”

“As you have been with Lord Tremlyn in his travels, you must be very familiar with the affairs of India, Doctor.”

“Reasonably familiar; but not so well acquainted with them as my companions,” answered the physician.  “Perhaps I do not violate any confidence in saying that his lordship and his Hindu friend had a conversation just before dinner to-day, in which they were discussing in what manner they could best assist you in seeing India.  As you suggest, they are the two men who know more of India than any others I think of, not excepting the governor-general and his subordinates.”

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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