Chapter 20. Return to the East Indies
Published:June 01, 2015
Extract from beginning of chapter:
ON THE SEA
Once more [mid-summer 1914] the sea: the luxury of a long rest in open air on a comfortable vessel, of an ample stateroom to one's self on the upper deck of a clean, German steamer, the Princess Alice.1 After the confusion and fatigue of long railroad journeys, I enjoyed three weeks of repose and physical inaction under most favorable conditions—the wonderfully blue Mediterranean, brilliant skies, the coast of Italy, Stromboli, the Aeolian Islands, a close view of Messina (not yet recovered from the great earthquake); long days of calm seas and fair breezes; and just enough sociable companions to avoid the monotony of loneliness.
Port Said and the canal [Suez] broke the monotony of the sea, but without the fascination of the previous passage by moonlight after the wonderful coloring of an afternoon at Suez. This time the Red Sea was reached before daylight, and the Egyptian coast was shrouded in haze. The trip to Aden was memorable for the temperature, which grew hotter until we passed the island of Sokotra and caught the southwest monsoon sweeping up the east African coast. It was the middle of July, that terrible month in which the venom of an envious hate was infecting the dogs of war about to be loosed upon Europe and the world at large.
Long swells across the Indian Ocean, and periods of doubtful equilibrium; ashore at Colombo in Ceylon to enjoy flowering trees and the sight of palms; another stretch of ocean; and