The Indian Ocean--New Year's Night at sea--Extreme cold--Waves and currents--The albatross--Passengers' amusements--Modern voyages --The 'Odyssey'--Spiritual truth--Continued cold at midsummer.
IF cold weather lay before us we had not yet reached it. After a brilliant sunset the sky clouded, and wind came up from the west. The air was thick and close; the sea rose, the ports were shut, and as the waves washed over the deck, the sky- lights were battened down. I tried the deck myself, but was driven back by the wet. The saloon, when I went down again, smelt of dead rats or other horrors. I took shelter in the deckhouse, and lay there on a bench till morning, snatching such patches of sleep as were to be caught under such conditions. It continued wild all next day, but the temperature cooled and brought back life and freshness. This was the last day of the year, and at midnight the crew rang in its successor. All the bells in the ship were act swinging; the cooks' boys clanked the pots and pans; the emigrants sang choral songs. The exact moment could not be hit. Time is 'made' at midday, and remains fixed, so far as man can fix it, for four-and-twenty hours. In itself it varies, of course, with every second of longitude. 1885, however, had arrived for practical purposes. I slept when the noise was over as I had not slept for months, till late into the morning. 'Adsit omen,' I said to myself; 'here is the new year. May I and those belonging to me pass through it without sin.' As a book for the occasion, as a spiritual bath after the squalor of Cape politics, I read Pindar, the purest of all the Greek poets, of the same order with Phidias and Praxiteles, and as perfect an artist in words