The travellers safely reached Karachi, the seaport town on the mouths of the Indus with its numerous tributaries, where Mr. Kennedy’s high position procured them admission to the select Sind Club, where the attendance and lodging were all that could be desired. The club was almost entirely deserted by its regular visitors, since, in addition to the officers, all officials who could be dispensed with had joined the army. But neither the Kennedys nor Edith and Heideck had any taste for interesting society. Their only wish was to leave the country as soon as possible, and to see the end of the present painful condition of affairs. As the result of inquiries at the shipping agency, they had decided to travel to Bombay by one of the steamers of the British India Company, and to proceed thence to Europe by the Caledonia, the best vessel belonging to the P. and O. line.
In the afternoon, before going on board, Heideck hired a comfortable little one-horsed carriage and drove to Napier mole, where an elegant sailing-boat, manned by four lascars, was placed at their disposal at the Sind Club boathouse. They sailed through the harbour protected by three powerful forts, past Manora Point, the furthest extremity of the fortified mole, into the Arabian Sea.
“Really, it is hard to leave this wonderful land,” said Heideck seriously. “It is hard to take leave for ever of this brilliant sun, this glittering sea, and these mighty works of men’s hands, which have introduced luxury and the comforts of a refined civilisation into a natural paradise. I have never understood Mr. Kennedy’s sorrow better than at this moment. And I can sympathise with the feeling of bitterness which makes him shut himself up in his room, to avoid the further sight of all this enchanting and splendid magnificence.”
Edith, clinging to his arm and looking up fondly into his face only answered, “I only see the world as it is reflected in your eyes. And there its beauty is always the same to me.”
THE ETHICS OF ESPIONAGE
The steamer from Karachi to Bombay had about twenty officers and a larger number of noncommissioned officers and men on board who had been wounded in the first engagements on the frontier. The sight of them was not calculated to relieve the gloomy feelings of the English travellers, although during the three days of the voyage the weather was magnificent as they proceeded through the bright, blue sea along the west coast of India, so lavishly supplied with the beauties of Nature.
The harbour of Bombay, one of the most beautiful in the world, presented a singularly altered appearance to those who had seen it on previous visits. There was a complete absence of the French, German, and Russian merchantmen, which usually lay at anchor in considerable numbers; besides English steamers there were only a few Italian and Austrian vessels in the roadstead.