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Across India by Oliver Optic

He has been travelling with Lord Tremlyn


It

is an English custom to follow a toast to a distinguished personage with this refrain, as expressive of the sentiments of the company; and though it was not adapted to Sunday use, it was sincere and heartfelt on the part of all who sang it. Captain Ringgold rose and bowed his thanks, and Lord Tremlyn spoke again:--

"It is very natural that you should desire to know something about the guests who have been so fortuitously cast into your kindly embrace, and especially in regard to the calamity which has made us the recipients of your generous hospitality; and Captain Ringgold gives us this opportunity to gratify your reasonable curiosity. I am no orator, like my brother, the commander of the Guardian-Mother, and I shall call upon my friend and secretary, who has been travelling with me in India for his health, to give you the desired information." Though it was Sunday, even the commander joined in the applause that greeted the doctor when he mounted the rostrum.

"Mr. Commander, and ladies and gentlemen, I beg to inform you that my Lord Tremlyn is quite as capable of speaking for himself as I am for him; but as I am called upon to make this explanation, I shall do so with pleasure. I have the honor to be the secretary of the Right Honorable Viscount Tremlyn, the son of the noble earl who is Secretary of State for India. He has been on a mission in the interests of his father to obtain certain information, though

he holds no official position.

"Sir Modava Rao has held several official positions in India, and is perhaps more familiar with the country and its British and native governments than any other man. He has been travelling with Lord Tremlyn, to assist him in obtaining the information connected with his unofficial mission. My lord has completed the work assigned to him; but the viceroy wished him to visit the Imam of Muscat unofficially for a certain purpose I am not at liberty to state.

"In a small steam-yacht owned by Sir Modava, the most devoted friend of his lordship, in which he had been all around the peninsula, and up several of its rivers, we embarked for Muscat, and safely reached that country. Then the viscount decided to proceed to Aden, where he had important business; for he intended to return to England by the Euphrates route, in order to inform himself in regard to the navigation of the river. We sailed for Aden, believing we should have the calm and pleasant weather of the north-east monsoon.

"Yesterday we encountered the gale from the south-west, which was very unusual. But the Travancore was an able seaboat, and we went along very well until we were run into by a steamer in the darkness and mist early this morning. The side of the little steamer was stove in, and she began to fill. We put on our life-preservers, and prepared for the worst. We stretched a life-line fore and aft, and listened to the gurgling waters below deck. Suddenly, when she was partly filled with water, she capsized. We clung to the life-line, which unhitched forward.

"Of course we expected she would go down; but she did not for several hours. We had our life-preservers on, and we made fast the lines forward, which saved us from being washed off the bottom of the vessel. I had a revolver in my pocket, and when I saw the port light of your steamer, I fired it, and we all shouted at the top of our lungs.

"We could hear the air and the water bubbling and hissing under us at times, and it was understood that the confined air above the water in the hull had kept her afloat. But this air had all escaped as the Guardian-mother approached us, and with no warning she went to the bottom. We were floated by our life-preservers till your boats picked us up, though we were fearfully shaken and tossed about by the waves. Our gallant saviours know how we were rescued--all honor and glory to them!"


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