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I LEFT Brindisi one bright day in February for Alexandria, in the steamer Teheran, which plied between Venice and Bombay, touching at this point for the India mail from London. The first day out was rough, so that few passengers appeared, and our company at the dinner-table was small; but towards evening it began to clear off, and people who had kept their state-rooms all day began to show themselves on deck. A trip on an Indian steamer is almost an education in itself; one sees on board representatives of every race and almost of every country. The crew were Indians shipped at Bombay; they did not understand a word of English, except the commands on board ship. Their turbans were bound to their heads with red sashes, and they presented a very picturesque appearance as they hauled in on the ropes, keeping time with a peculiar melody of their own. Their helmsmen were Manilla men, and the ship's carpenters, etc., Chinamen.

The diversity and variety among the passengers was even greater than among the crew. For instance, I noticed a young man of prepossessing appearance who spoke English a little, and who I took to be a native of Southern Europe, but I soon found that he understood neither Italian, French, nor Spanish. "Perhaps," said I to myself," he is a German." I tried him on my limited stock of German, and found he did not know a word of it. That finished me, and I gave him up as a hopeless case. Some time afterwards it occurred to me to smoke a cigar. I offered him one also. He said that while it was not in the least disagreeable to him, his religion prohibited it. There is only one religion in the world which prohibits smoking, and that is the Parsee. They are fire worshippers, and consider smoking a profane use of fire. And so it proved; he was a Parsee from India, and, except English, did not know a word of any other language in the world but his own.

We had on board several English noblemen, among whom was the Duke of Sutherland, who is famous at home for going to all the fires in London. The policemen on the beats near his home have standing instructions to call him whenever there is a fire of any consequence anywhere in the city. He was the roughest-looking person on the ship in his attire. The Indian English, of whom there were a great number on board, were more intelligent and infinitely more agreeable and courteous than their countrymen who have always lived at home. They appear to have lost their insularity.

As far as I knew, there was but one other American on board besides myself, and he was of that kind of whom we often read, but fortunately seldom meet. The days were not long enough for him to recount the wonders he had seen and done, and all with the most utter contempt of probability and disregard of grammar. He had recently been married, - for the second or third time I should judge, - and had his wife, a blooming maiden of twenty or so, with him, and as he was between fifty-five and sixty himself, he was conducting himself as absurdly as is usually the case under similar circumstances. On the morning of the third day after leaving Italy we came in sight of Alexandria, and about noon we arrived at the port, where those of us whose destination it was disembarked, and bade farewell to our friends of three days' standing.


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