“I came to this conclusion when I learned the nature of their mission.”
“Sir Modava is personally acquainted with all the native princes; and he and his lordship are regarded by them as second only to the viceroy, as he is often unofficially designated. Every door in India, except those of a few mosques and Parsee temples, open to them, and procure for them and their friends all the privileges that can reasonably be expected. We respect the religious exclusiveness of the sects, and do not ask them to exempt our people from the operation of their rules and customs. The British government rules India in the spirit of kindness and toleration, and interferes with the religious, or even political, institutions only so far as humanity and progressive civilization require. Both of them propose to volunteer to attend you in your travels in the peninsula, if agreeable to you.”
“We should be delighted to have such conductors, and I shall gladly pay all the expenses incurred,” the commander declared, with an earnestness that attested his sincerity.
“The expense is a matter of no consequence to the two gentlemen; for both of them would be multimillionaires in America, though pounds don’t count so numerously as dollars. I am not at all sure they wouldn’t gladly pay the expenses of your party as well as their own; but I am not authorized to speak on this point. I advise you not to mention expense to either of my associates. But you can form no idea of the depths of gratitude in the hearts of the three quartered in your cabin for the timely and skilful service you rendered in saving us from certain death. I base my views on what I have heard them say, and what I feel myself,” said the doctor with enthusiasm. “I am certain that any suggestion in regard to expense would hurt the feelings of my friends and companions.”
“I thank you, Dr. Ferrolan, for the frankness with which you have spoken, and I shall assuredly profit by what you have said,” added the commander.
“In what I said about expense I have been moved by what I should do myself if I had the control of the matter, and were as able as Sir Modava and his lordship to incur a heavy outlay; though I have a sufficient income to support a bachelor, I am a poor man compared with them.”
The interview closed, and the doctor retired at the end of his cigar. The next morning Captain Ringgold obtained the ready assent of the two gentlemen to take part in the conference appointed for half-past nine, and later that of Dr. Ferrolan.
Concerningthe geography of India
“Ladies and gentlemen, it affords me very great pleasure to present to you Sir Modava Rao, who has kindly consented to give you a lesson on the geography of India,” said Captain Ringgold when the company were seated in Conference Hall.
This announcement was greeted with unusually stormy applause, in which the ladies joined, and then flourished their handkerchiefs as an additional welcome to the handsome Hindu.