“The Guardian-Mother will proceed to Calcutta, as soon as we land, in charge of Mr. Boulong,” replied Captain Ringgold. “We shall join her there.”
The commander of the Blanche shook his head; and after some discussion he declined to join the tourists, and his wife would not go without him. Doubtless he had some strong reasons for his decision, though he did not state them; but probably he had not as much confidence in his first officer as Captain Ringgold had in Mr. Boulong. The question was settled that the general should go, and he insisted that Dr. Henderson should go with him; and with three physicians in the excursion they appeared to be provided for any emergency.
The dinner was a very merry affair. The band played to the delight of all; and one of the general’s friends declared that they had no such music in Bombay, to which he replied that he had engaged the best he could find in Italy. The company retired to the parlor, and the band played on the veranda for an hour longer. Some of the most distinguished of the civil and military officers located in the city called at this hour by invitation of the viscount, to pay their respects to the visitors; and Mrs. Blossom declared that she was never so “frustrated” in all her life.
“I should like to take my band with me,” said General Noury, when the officials had all departed. “I am very fond of music, and I think it will afford us all a great deal of pleasure; of course I mean at my own expense.”
“I beg your pardon, General Noury, but it must be at my expense,” interposed Lord Tremlyn. “I was thinking myself what an addition it would be to have such excellent music on our way, and I am sure it will add a great deal to the earnestness of the welcome we shall everywhere receive. As to the expense, I hope and beg that not another word will be said about it. The entire party are the guests of Sir Modava and myself.”
“I protest”—Captain Ringgold began.
“Pardon me, my dear Captain; you are all our guests, and protests are entirely out of order,” interposed Lord Tremlyn.
It was a very pleasant and friendly dispute that followed, and his lordship had carried his point at the close of it. The commander had been to the landlord, and asked for his bill; but the worthy Parsee informed him that it had already been paid. He had remonstrated with the hosts; but they had been inflexible. It was finally decided that nothing more should be said about expense; for his lordship declared that it was a very disagreeable subject to him. The captain believed that he was entirely sincere; and though he had never encountered such extreme liberality before, he gave up the point.
“You can tie your purse-strings with a hard knot, Uncle Moses, for you will not have occasion to undo them again for a month,” said Captain Ringgold. “I don’t quite like it.”