Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/24

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is as careful as any old nurse? I know that if I were sick he would insist on coming to the rescue, but as yet he has not had the smallest chance of showing me such attentions; for though we had one really rough day, the ship is so very large and steady, that you scarcely perceive any motion. You did not half see her; she really is a noble vessel, and all her machinery is so beautifully kept—such a display of polished brass and steel—brighter than on most English men-of-war. Of course I have been duly lionised over every corner of her, and I think the most novel sight of all, is serving out rations, and seeing wine pumped up from huge vats, to fill the small barrels, each of which represents eight men's daily allowance. What immense supplies must be laid in when such a ship starts on a long cruise! They are sufficiently startling on board such vessels as the Messageries Maritimes, where every soul on board drinks vin ordinaire at every meal, and where there is daily consumption of about two hundred bottles, and the store laid in at Marseilles has to suffice for the voyage to Yokohama, and back to Marseilles.

The little cabin assigned to me is charming—so full of natty contrivances to make the most of space, and all so pretty. I believe that several of our kind friends on board have contributed to make it so. One lent a beautifully carved mirror, another a pin-cushion of pale-blue silk and lace. Fixed to the wall are fascinating flower-vases of black Chilian pottery, brought from Lima, and most delicate little kava bowls from the Wallis Isles, now utilised to hold soap, sponge, and matches. I find a whole chest of drawers empty, and various shelves, which I know can only have been cleared at great inconvenience. A small bookcase contains a very nice selection of French and English books—for my especial host, M. de Gironde, has travelled a good deal in England and in Scotland, and reads English well, as do several of the others. Having so generously given me his cabin, he has taken up his abode in the chart-room on the bridge, and declares he likes it far better; that it is much cooler, and that he never was so comfortable, &c. In short (in common with all the others), he tries to make me really feel as if I were conferring a huge obliga-