William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By Olive Risley Seward; William Henry Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
FROM BATAVIA TO MADRAS.

An Uncomfortable Steamer.--An Accident.--At Singapore.--British Hospitality.--The Port of Penang.--A Loyal Englishman.--Bay of Bengal.--Half-Way Round the World.--Arrival at Ceylon.--Point de Galle.--A Short Visit to the Shore.--A Hindoo Crew.--Off Pondicherry.

Steamer Singapore, January 31st.--If one wishes to learn how skilfully common-carriers, demanding the highest rates for freight and passage, can inflict the greatest discomfort, we recommend to him a lesson on the Singapore. She was appointed to leave Batavia on the 25th, while the British steamer to Ceylon was to leave Singapore on February 1st. But the Singapore, which is the slowest vessel of the line, did not sail until the 27th. Notwithstanding this change of time, we hoped for two days of rest at Singapore. The cabin is a dove-cote--the holes are reached from the deck by a perpendicular ladder. We had the whole dove-cote to ourselves the night we lay in the roads at Batavia. The next night, and all other nights, we escaped from its stifling imprisonment by having our mattresses spread on the deck and protected by awnings. Our new lodging was made intolerably noisy by the incessant tramp of passengers, officers, seamen, and servants. A dozen milch-cows were hauled by their horns on deck, before we left port. Fifty miles at sea, one of them mutinied, and leaped overboard; the ship gave her stern-chase, bow-chase, and cross-chase, for five hours;

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