We are in the Hooghly and shall be in Kidderpore Dock to-morrow morning early. Actually the voyage is at an end. I may as well finish this letter and send it with the mail which leaves Calcutta to-morrow. We can’t pack, because Mrs. Albert Murray is occupying all the cabin and most of the passage. We shall creep down when she is quite done and put our belongings together.
Everyone is flying about writing luggage labels, and getting their boxes up from the hold, and counting things. Curiously enough, I am feeling rather depressed; the end of anything is horrid, even a loathed sea-voyage. After all, it isn’t a bad old ship, and the people have been nice. To-night I am filled with kindness to everyone. Even Mrs. Albert Murray seems to swim in a rosy and golden haze, and I am conscious of quite an affection for her, though I expect, when in a little I go down to the cabin and find her fussing and accusing us of losing her things, I shall dislike her again with some intensity. We have all laughed and played and groaned together, and now we part. No, I shan’t say “Ships that pass in the night.” Several people—mothers whose babies I have held and others—have given me their cards and a cordial invitation to go and stay with them for as long as I like. They mean it now, I know, but in a month’s time shall we even remember each other’s names?
It will be a real grief to part to-morrow from Mrs. Crawley and Mrs. Wilmot. The dear women! I wish they had been going to stay in Calcutta, but they go straight away up country. Are there, I wonder, many such charming women in India? It seems improbable. I shall miss all the people at our table: we have been such a gay company. Major Wilmot says G. and I have kept them all amused and made the voyage pleasant, but that is only his kind way. It is quite true, though, what Mrs. Crawley says of G. She is like a great rosy apple, refreshing and sweet and wholesome.
What is really depressing me is the thought that wherever I am to-morrow night there will be no G. to say:
“Good-night, my dear. Sleep well.”
And I shan’t be able to drop my head over my bunk and reply:
“Good-night, my dear old G.”
It will seem so odd and lonely without her.
The ship has stopped—we are to anchor here till daylight.
FLESHPOTS OF CALCUTTA
Calcutta, Nov. 18.
In India. I don’t think I have quite realized myself or my surroundings yet, but one thing I know. Boggley has been better than his word, for we are not camping in a corner of the Maidan, but have a decent roof to cover us.
But I shall go back to where I left off on Wednesday night.
We spent a hot, breathless night in the river. Towards morning I fell asleep and dreamed that the ship was sinking in a quicksand and that I, in trying to save myself, had stuck fast in the port-hole. I wakened cold with fright, to find it was grey dawn and they were getting up the anchor.