“So say we all of us,” sang the doctor with Sir Modava.
“I may say that if I had gone on board of the Guardian-Mother for the first time in the harbor of Bombay, I should have felt the same, and had just as strong a desire to assist you in seeing India. When gentlemen of education and character come here from England, the officials give them a warm welcome, and do their best to enable them to see the country, its manners and customs, and its institutions, to the best advantage. We should do the same with Americans; and I account myself fortunate in being the first to greet you, and welcome you to India.”
The other two heartily responded to the sentiments of the speaker, and the commander could say no more. By this time the steamer was in the midst of the fishing-boats and other craft. Louis called for three cheers for the guests, and they were given with vigor and sincerity. The party separated, and its members gave themselves up to an examination of the surroundings.
ARRIVAL OF THE GUARDIAN-MOTHER AT BOMBAY
The coast of Bombay was in plain sight, the province, or state, whose capital has the same name. Groves of cocoanut, date, and other palm-trees bordered it; and far back of it was a range of mountains, the Western Ghats, a chain extending for hundreds of miles along the shore, though from twenty to fifty miles from it.
The fishing-boats were Oriental, and nothing new to the tourists; but the men in them were swarthy-looking fellows, not abundantly provided with clothing. The greater portion of India has a warm climate, and the dress of the people is adapted to it. For the most part, the natives are bundled up in loose white cotton cloth, or what was originally white, which they twist about their bodies with a skill acquired by practice. But these boatmen were almost in a primitive condition.
The distinguished guests on board of the Guardian-Mother were perfectly familiar with Bombay and its surroundings, as they were with all of the country, and their services were just now in demand. The Woolridges had attached themselves to Lord Tremlyn; Louis Belgrave was very likely to be in their company most of the time, and the viscount had manifested no little interest in the young millionaire. He was pointing out the country, and describing it, to this group of four.
Dr. Ferrolan was not so much of a ladies’ man as his two younger companions, and was rendering similar service to his professional brother, Uncle Moses, and Professor Giroud. They formed a quartet of educated men, and were more in touch with each other than they might otherwise have been. Sir Modava Rao had attracted to his side Mrs. Belgrave; Mrs. Blossom was usually her shadow; and of course Captain Ringgold, when not employed in his duties in the navigation of the steamer, gravitated, not materially but sentimentally, to this group; for wherever Mrs. Belgrave was, the commander was not far off.