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Travel to go (page 4)


Before going further in the story of these journeys let us notice the remarks which our author reserves for the English whom he does not still know but with which, during his career, he will have to deal with especially professionally for he traveled several times to United States and even more often to England and especially as he spoke fluently their language. It is interesting to quote what he writes when passengers went on board at Suez:" an Arabic village promised to a certain future "…

"The English, except studies which have a direct practical purpose, try little to deepen the circle of their knowledge; so they would be people the most bored in the world during a crossing which tears away them suddenly from all the activities which, on land, fill their life if provident nature and knowing their traveling temper had had no care of giving them a stomach of a power and an extreme kindness. One may rather judge on day aboard of an english steamer: At 6 o'clock in the morning steward wakes you up by presenting you some tea, coffee and biscuits, one jumps out of bed, takes this first foretaste then goes to one of the bathrooms: during some minutes one plunges into delightfully cool water which a pump sucks up from the sea; this done, one gets dressed, steps up on the bridge, paces up and down in a regular movement and by greeting his acquaintance with a 'good morning' and a shakes hand which English only have the secret of.

I have never seen best friends showing on their face the least friendly expression by addressing this greeting; one would believe rather a watchword which soldiers go run with indifference pushed by the orders. Besides, when does English lose its stiffness? From the origin one could believe that it results from a feeling of personal pride but fortunately, and it is the best excuse for this people, this stiffness is still at it a gift of nature. But eight-and-a-half rings and the butler's bell gets on move immediately and suggests to the strollers that the breakfast is ready; every one gets back to his place in front of a table loaded with dishes which would seem to us heavy and indigestible and which one makes disappear with a magic speed; the whole is 'laced' with pale-ale and wine in proportional quantity.

Nevertheless although I was never a gourmet it was not difficult to recognize at first that English are late of several centuries in what looks at kitchen and I was able to convince myself it is not only aboard of packets and in colonies but in England itself; if they are well skillful to prepare some dishes they know, on the other hand, the list of them is exhausted soon. At 10 o'clock the last latecomers of the breakfast rise on the bridge. At midday the bell of the butler interrupts all the games. If you remember it is already the third meal; to be true it consists only of cold pieces, ham and poultry mainly. In order not to stay alone on the bridge and also to enjoy the phenomenal appetite of my companions I did not miss to get back to my place; but I could not refrain from being ashamed of my soberness, which nevertheless later was often useful for me.

However at half past four the bell calls to a 4-th meal dinner; one goes to it with a sort of self-importance because it is the most serious and the longest of the day. Certainly I shall not begin to describe all the enormous dishes of gooses, ducks, poultry, beef, veal, mutton that one sees successively appear and disappear. A complete service of pudding, fruit-tarts and of various pastries gives way to this first avalanche of food etc. At seven, dinner finished and we arrived just in time to admire these magnificent sunsets, which the Red Sea, in this time, has, let us say the privilege…. At eight o'clock the tables of the dining room refilled: it was tea time and grog and everyone poured out whisky, brandy or gin and what one did not miss to give dressing with some toasts and butter. Such is, in summary, the historic of day on board. "

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