The Young Rajah

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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The “Glamorgan Castle” on her Voyage to India—Her Passengers—Our Hero—Combined Effects of a Kick and a Roll—Violet Ross—Cupid at Work—Our Hero’s Gallant Exploit—The Ship reaches the Hooghly—Parting of Reginald and Violet.

The stout old Glamorgan Castle, with studding-sails on either side, was running before the trade-wind on her course to India. The passengers were lounging about on the poop, sheltered by an awning from the burning rays of the sun, which struck down with no inconsiderable force, making even the well-seasoned Indians grumble and incline to be quarrelsome. Of passengers the ship had her full complement, for all the cabins were full. There were among them generals, and judges, and officers of all ranks; as well as married dames returning to their husbands, and young ladies committed to their care; but few of them need be noticed. There were Colonel Ross, with his sweet, blooming daughter Violet; and Major Molony and his pretty little round wife, to whom he had lately been married; and Captain Hawkesford, going out to rejoin his regiment,—a handsome-looking man, but with a countenance not altogether prepossessing, for it betokened selfishness and want of feeling, or the lines about his firm set mouth, and large grey eyes, belied him.

The commander, Captain Lyford, was a fine specimen of a sailor. He made himself agreeable to his passengers, and kept his ship’s company in good order. When nothing occurred to excite him, his face was calm and unimpassioned; but it lighted up in a moment, and his clear, ringing voice when issuing an order to the crew showed that there was no lack of courage and determination in his composition.

There were the usual disputes and misunderstandings on board, which gave the good skipper, who always acted as peacemaker, no little trouble to settle. The ladies not infrequently fell out; and their quarrels, he confessed, were the hardest matters to put to rights, especially when jealousy set them by the ears. Mrs Brigadier Bomanjoy considered that she did not receive the same attention which was paid to Mrs Lexicon, the wife of the judge; and Miss Martha Pelican, who was making her second expedition to the East, complained that the officers neglected her, while they devoted themselves to silly Miss Prettyman, who had no other qualifications than her pink cheeks and blue eyes to recommend her. The “griffins” not infrequently had warm disputes; but the captain quickly managed to settle their more noisy quarrels, and restore them to good-humour.

“Come, come, lads,” he used to say, “let’s hear what it’s all about, and then we will get the whole matter into a nut-shell. It can be stowed away in less space than that, I’ve no doubt; and when it’s there, we’ll heave it overboard. Now then, shake hands, and forget all about it.”

He did not, however, venture to interfere when husband and wife fell out, considering that a third person would only make matters worse; and more especially did he avoid interfering in the everlasting squabbles of Major and Mrs Molony—which were indeed rather amusing than otherwise, the object of the little lady being apparently to bring her lord and master under the complete subjection of her imperious will, to which he, good-tempered as he was, had no intention of yielding....