“It is a sailor’s duty, and a large part of his religion, to assist those in peril and distress on the sea, the poor and the rich alike, and I dislike to have my men rewarded in money for a service of this kind,” said he rather warmly.
“It was the good Father in heaven who sent your ship to our aid when we were perishing; but he works through human agencies, and I feel it to be a solemn duty to recognize my obligations to those so providentially sent to save us,” replied his lordship, taking the hand of the commander with much feeling in his tone and manner. “I shall never cease to be grateful to Heaven for this interposition in my favor, and that of my companions; for all of us were in the very jaws of death.”
“I can understand your feelings, my Lord; but all my people, as well as myself, may soon require the same service we have rendered to others, and I desire to let what we have done be placed to our credit against the possible debt of the future,” added the captain.
“I shall feel better and happier when I have done, in connection with Sir Modava, what I propose, and I beg you will withdraw your objections,” persisted the viscount.
They argued the question for some time; but at last the commander yielded the point. Every seaman, fireman, and waiter received five pounds, and every officer a larger sum, in proportion to his rank, after the manner in which prize-money is distributed on board of ships of war. The same apportionment was made on board of both steamers, and Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava were most vigorously cheered by the two ships’ companies.
Due notice had been given to Captain Sharp of the intention to sail for Surat on Tuesday; and on the day before the cabin party of the Blanche, which included Dr. Henderson, the surgeon of the ship, came to dine with their friends at the Victoria Hotel. General Noury, who had been taking leave of his Mussulman hosts, was attended by three of them, who were at once invited by his lordship to join them at dinner, and the band of the Blanche had been sent on shore for the occasion.
The general had been taken about the city and its vicinity by his host, and they were anxious to retain him longer in Bombay. He was on excellent terms with Lord Tremlyn, who, though a strict Churchman, was not a bigot; and his connection with the affairs of India had brought him into intimate association with men of all religions, and there were about thirteen million Mohammedans in the Punjab.
His lordship renewed his invitation to the general to join the party who were going across India, and he seemed to be inclined to accept it. His Mussulman friends declared that he would be most cordially welcomed by all the people of their faith, especially if attended by such excellent Christian people; and they appeared to have none of the bigotry so often found among the followers of the Prophet.
“I don’t quite understand your plan, Captain Ringgold,” said Captain Sharp. “You go to Surat, and from there across the country;” for the conductors had decided not to go to Kurrachee. “But what becomes of the ships?”