"Because you are turning your back on the Indian peninsula."
"What! Captain Burton."
"I am not Captain Burton," said John Mangles.
"But the SCOTIA."
"This vessel is not the SCOTIA."
It would be impossible to depict the astonishment of Paganel. He stared first at one and then at another in the utmost bewilderment.
Lord Glenarvan was perfectly grave, and Lady Helena and Mary showed their sympathy for his vexation by their looks. As for John Mangles, he could not suppress a smile; but the Major appeared as unconcerned as usual. At last the poor fellow shrugged his shoulders, pushed down his spectacles over his nose and said:
"You are joking."
But just at that very moment his eye fell on the wheel of the ship, and he saw the two words on it: Duncan. Glasgow.
"The DUNCAN! the DUNCAN!" he exclaimed, with a cry of despair, and forthwith rushed down the stairs, and away to his cabin.
As soon as the unfortunate SAVANT had disappeared, every one, except the Major, broke out into such peals of laughter that the sound reached the ears of the sailors in the forecastle. To mistake a railway or to take the train to Edinburgh when you want to go to Dumbarton might happen; but to mistake a ship and be sailing for Chili when you meant to go to India-- that is a blunder indeed!
"However," said Lord Glenarvan, "I am not much astonished at it in Paganel. He is quite famous for such misadventures. One day he published a celebrated map of America, and put Japan in it! But for all that, he is distinguished for his learning, and he is one of the best geographers in France."
"But what shall we do with the poor gentleman?" said Lady Helena; "we can't take him with us to Patagonia."
"Why not?" replied McNabbs, gravely. "We are not responsible for his heedless mistakes. Suppose he were in a railway train, would they stop it for him?"
"No, but he would get out at the first station."
"Well, that is just what he can do here, too, if he likes; he can disembark at the first place where we touch."
While they were talking, Paganel came up again on the poop, looking very woebegone and crestfallen. He had been making inquiry about his luggage, to assure himself that it was all on board, and kept repeating incessantly the unlucky words, "The DUNCAN! the DUNCAN!"
He could find no others in his vocabulary. He paced restlessly up and down; sometimes stopping to examine the sails, or gaze inquiringly over the wide ocean, at the far horizon. At length he accosted Lord Glenarvan once more, and said--
"And this DUNCAN--where is she going?"
"To America, Monsieur Paganel," was the reply.
"And to what particular part?"
"To Chili! to Chili!" cried the unfortunate geographer. "And my mission to India. But what will M. de Quatre-fages, the President of the Central Commission, say? And M. d' Avezac? And M. Cortanbert? And M. Vivien de Saint Martin? How shall I show my face at the SEANCES of the Society?"
"Come, Monsieur Paganel, don't despair. It can all be managed; you will only have to put up with a little delay, which is relatively of not much importance. The Yarou-Dzangbo-Tchou will wait for you still in the mountains of Thibet. We shall soon put in at Madeira, and you will get a ship there to take you back to Europe."
"Thanks, my Lord. I suppose I must resign myself to it; but people will say it is a most extraordinary adventure, and it is only to me such things happen. And then, too, there is a cabin taken for me on board the SCOTIA."
"Oh, as to the SCOTIA, you'll have to give that up meantime."
"But the DUNCAN is a pleasure yacht, is it not?" began Paganel again, after a fresh examination of the vessel.
"Yes, sir," said John Mangles, "and belongs to Lord Glenarvan."
"Who begs you will draw freely on his hospitality," said Lord Glenarvan.
"A thousand thanks, my Lord! I deeply feel your courtesy, but allow me to make one observation: India is a fine country, and can offer many a surprising marvel to travelers. These ladies, I suppose, have never seen it.