Resting in Todgers palace the party catch up with affairs as their main and orders finally catch up with them. In the weeks while the Victoriana sails around the coast to pick them up, Gladstone delivers his dispatches and is "asked" if he would care to divert his ship to investigate reports of events relating to the representative there one [James Brooke] who appears to have upset the Sultan of Brunei. This is a long way out of the way and the part decide that it would put paid to their chances of being home by Christmas - and being entertained in Cawdor by Lady Elsbeth. Glasdtone politely refuses and is recommended back to london for R&R for his gammy leg. DMs note another plot put to one side
Todgers busies himself with setting up The Bengal and Empire Railway company, with permissions granted into Peshawar, Kathmandu and Dorje Ling he invites investors from the Calcutta, Begal and European exchanges to buy shares.
Matre's letters finally catch up with Lady Elsbeth. A series of ever more strident missives about decorum and a womans proper place are delivered by an ernest solicitor under insturction to deliver them to Lady Elsbeth personally.. who pursues her for a week before she finally relents. The upshot of 5 pages of world class approbrium is that Lady Elsbeth is to have her allowance cut off unless she is married to a proper gentleman before Christmas.
Discussing this terrible connundrum with the party she fails to notice Wallace nearly failing to loose his manly reserve. Finally after much prompting fromTodgers and Gladstone Wallaces' affection for Elsbeth is revealed. With a (very valuable if rather large) ring thrust into his hand by Hamilton Wallace drops to his knee and hesiitatingly declares his love before asking for Lady Elsbeth's hand in marriage. In her usual slightly off hand way she declares 'oh well al-right then' professing pleasant surprise as the tales of derring-do and single flowers left outside tents are told.. Hamilton holds a grand celebratory party and instantly writes an announcement in the Times.
With The Victoriana loaded with tea and spoils and after a week of much celebration and congratulation from the great and good of Bengal the party head back towards ole blightly, electing to go the quicker route, crossing Persian overland. With the Victoriana dropping them off then sailing back around the Cape and re-joining them in London (hopefully).
While laying on stores in the swampy an hot delta town of Karachi [map]the party learn that pirates are very active in Persian Gulf.