Travel: Leaving Australia

Naturally we are reluctant to take leave of those places which dwell in our memories with the most pleasant associations. But reluctant or not, the time has come for us to turn our attention to other scenes. We bade good-by to the kindest of friends in Melbourne, leaving by express-train for Adelaide, to which port the ship had already proceeded. It was spring-time, and the bright-colored flowers which in places lined the railway made permanent the pleasant impressions already received of the country. After a comfortable night’s ride, we crossed the Murray River in the early morning, from which point the line ascends the range of hills lying between the river and the waters near which Adelaide is situated, as previously described. When the western summit is reached, a scene of beauty is presented from the sides of Mount Lofty.

After a day and a night spent with friends in Adelaide, the steam-lighter took us and our belongings close to the black sides of the huge P. and 0. steamer ” Massilia.,” and in a few hours we were out upon the “vasty deep.” The afternoon being pleasant, our hopes were buoyant that Neptune would kindly give us a gentle start, at least until we had time to get our sea-legs. But we hoped in vain, for during the next four days and nights old ocean showed us what it could do on the Australian Bight. But the ship was as staunch and steady as it. was possible for a floating thing to be under such circumstances. We came to anchor in the port of Albany during the night, and left it a few hours later. The next morning, at daylight, a few headlands were all that remained to our sight of Australia.

The next thing was to cultivate an acquaintance with our fellow-passengers. This is not usually a difficult task. No formal introductions are necessary, generally a very small in cident, perhaps a little civility, will sufficiently open the way. Among those on board were several who were on their way to India, having spent their vacation in the colonies. It was particularly gratifying to meet these, as India was the country to which we were now bound.

It was ten days before we saw land again, except a little dot of an island not on our maps, where a lone Scotchman lives. Our course was northwest, through the midst of the Indian Ocean. During this time we scarcely saw the sun, and yet the weather was not very stormy. We occasionally met vessels going toward Australia, and one day sailed past the German steamer ” Hohenzollern,” going in the same direction. Outstripping another vessel is one of the pleasantest experiences to selfish human nature that ocean travel furnishes. It always seems to be gratifying to find some one Who is not so well off as ourselves.

The time on board was spent in the usual way,-reading, writing, visiting, walking the deck, eating and sleeping. A fine sea-water bath in the morning, and a cup of coffee with bis cuits for those who wish them, are the first thing on the day’s programme, then a brisk walk on the deck, breakfast at eight, reading, quoit-pitching, or perhaps a nap, with sundry chats, fill the time till the lunch at one o’clock_ At noon the result of the daily reckoning, which gives the distance run in the previous twenty-four hours, is posted in the main gangway, and is an event of interest. At five or six o’clock dinner is served, and tea in the evening, with supper still later for those who wish. Light lunches in the forenoon and afternoon fill up the gaps, so that eating becomes the chief end of life on shipboard. We did not adhere to the popular programme, however, in every instance. Tea and coffee have no part in the dietary of those who have the best regard for health, and eating continuously cannot be regarded any more favorably. Besides, those who desire to make a good use of time on shipboard may do so, when not sick, if they provide themselves with good books and writing materials.

By a certain and, unfortunately, quite a large class of men passengers, most of the time is consumed in smoking, drinking, and gambling. Professional gamblers traversing the sea for the purpose of fleecing unwary travelers, easily gain the confidence of their victims by means of the close companionship into which people are thrown on shipboard. Many an unsophisticated youth, robbed of every cent he has, is landed upon an unknown shore to begin life in a forlorn condition, and he often does it with some desperate deed. Besides games of cards, other methods of gambling are resorted to in order to vary the amusement (?). Betting on the distance that the vessel will run during the next twenty-four hours, on the time of her arrival, or in fact on any slight pretext, is indulged in for this most wretched way of disposing of money.

Speaking of squandering money, we find that this is as easily done upon the ocean as in any other place. Here is a small army of stewards and waiters upon whom the passengers are dependent for food and attention. They receive but small pay from their employers, with the understanding that they will accept “tips” or presents from the passengers. As a matter of course, their principal interest in the passenger is proportionate to the sum which they receive or expect to receive from him. It accordingly stands the traveler in hand to place himself on good terms with his table and bedroom stewards, and with as many others as he finds himself dependent upon. The sum required by each one is not great. Generally, for a trip across the Atlantic it is from fifty cents in the second class, to three or four dollars in the first saloon, to each steward who serves you. The same table and state-room steward attends the passenger during the voyage.

While it is true that the tipping system is almost an intolerable bore by sea and by land, still a person who does not recognize it is considered very mean, and when we consider the poor men who work so hard for our comfort, and have to depend largely upon our generosity for their support, we are apt to violate our sense of right by giving the expected amount rather than to withhold it. Not only at sea is this practice prevalent, but everywhere except in America, and it is becoming customary here. When traveling, one is expected to keep up a continual stream of giving and tipping.