In Clive's Command eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 411 pages of information about In Clive's Command.

“Why,” continued Merriman, “we’d given you up for dead long ago.  So you’re the plucky and ingenious fellow who did so much to help Mr. Burke in the famous escape!

“Surendra Nath was one of my best clerks, Mr. Burke.  His father is my head clerk for Company’s business.

“He hasn’t been the same man since you disappeared.  You must tell me your story.  Come up to Mr. Bowman’s house on the Green tonight; I am staying there.”

“I shall be most glad to return to my desk in Calcutta, your Honor,” said the Babu.  “But I do not like the sea.  It has no sympathy with me.  I think of accomplishing the journey by land.”

“Good heavens, man! it would take you a year at the least, if you weren’t swallowed by a tiger or strangled by a Thug on the way.  You’ll have to go by water, as you came.”

The Babu’s face fell.

“That is the fly in the ointment, your Honor.  But I will chew majum and bestow myself in the cabin; thus perhaps I may avoid squeamishness.  By the kindness of Burke Sahib I have a modicum of money, now a small capital; and I hope, with your Honor’s permission, to do trifling trade for myself.”

“Certainly,” said Merriman with a laugh.  “You’ll be a rich man yet, Surendra Nath.  Well, don’t forget; you’ll find me at Mr. Bowman’s on the Green at eight o’clock.”

Chapter 18:  In which Angria is astonished; and our hero begins to pay off old scores.

Time sped quickly.  Desmond made the best use of his opportunities of learning navigation under Captain King and the harbor master, and before two months had expired was pronounced fit to act as mate on the finest East Indiaman afloat.  He took this with a grain of salt.  The fact was that his adventures, the modesty with which he deprecated all allusions to his part in the escape from Gheria, and the industry with which he worked, won him the goodwill of all; he was a general favorite with the little European community of Bombay.

Apart from his study, he found plenty to interest him in his spare moments.  The strange mixture of people, the temples and pagodas, the towers of silence on which the Parsees exposed their dead, the burning pyres of the Hindus on the beach, the gaunt filthy fakirs {religious mendicant (Mohammedan)} and jogis who whined and told fortunes in the streets for alms, the exercising of the troops, the refitting and careening of Admiral Watson’s ships—­all this provided endless matter for curiosity and amusement.

One thing disappointed him.  Not once during the two months did he come in contact with Clive.  Mr. Merriman remained in Bombay, awaiting the arrival of a vessel of his from Muscat; but Desmond was loath to ask him whether he had sounded Clive about a cadetship.  As a matter of fact Mr. Merriman had mentioned the matter at once.

“Patience, Merriman,” was Clive’s reply.  “I have my eye on the youngster.”

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In Clive's Command from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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