W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 195
aLEAVE OF ABSENCE
and we were not permitted to penetrate further than the frontage of the river.
I had, however, the unexpected pleasure of shaking hands with the Commissioner, and should have dined with him, but for the fear of carrying infection on board. He was but little altered ; the same winning smile and the same drawn pale face as of yore.
Sitting on deck that evening and listening to the ripple of the water as it flowed by us, I could not help wondering how it would have fared with me, but for that fever, which drove me from the country. I should without a doubt have possessed a long array of figures denoting rupees at my bankeras, whereas I could now muster but my pay; I should also have been soared the losses and miseries of the mutiny, and separation from a wife, but two months after marriage, on whose account I had to borrow money, that I might keep her comfortably at home until the country had settled down again. In all probability I should even now have been busy in the very place I was now gazing on in the pale light of a fitful moon, and should at any rate have been in a position to retire many years before I actually did, from a land in which I could no longer take the slightest interest. The light had become feeble in the extreme; and a mocking fate has ever laughed at my frantic efforts to make it flare up again. One by one, I am laying my darlings in the cold earth; had I remained, a mound of earth would have sufficed to cover my own remains; and, as far as this life is concerned, that might have been for the best!
The event of that dire scourge augured unfavourably for the sanitary arrangements of the place, or for the result of interfering with a virgin soil hitherto covered with vegetation. During my two years of knocking
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