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A Holiday Trip to Canada
Chapter II

I left Paddington by the Canadian Northern Special for Bristol, on an afternoon towards the end of July, 1911. There was, of course, the usual bustle and confusion pertaining to these specials; heavy vans of postal bags, and piles of luggage, threatening to fall upon and overwhelm the scurrying crowd of passenger, who, like myself, were no doubt looking forward with pleasure to being on the water, met ting the cool sea breeze, and leaving the great heat of 94" in the shade behind in London On arrival at Avonmouth we at once went on board; there were over eleven hundred passengers all told. The dock strike had not yet been settled, and several of the firemen were clamouring to get ashore again; but as they had “signed on," their desertion would have been a criminal offence, and the police kept them from going with their kitbags down the gangway. They looked very determined, and one or two seemed rather as it they had been coerced into leaving, but they were all kept on board except three, who left by the pilot boat later in the evening.

At last, the mails were all aboard, the last farewells waved from friends on shore, and we cast off, steaming very slowly out of dock.

All was bustle for awhile, every one getting his bearings about the ship. The hand baggage, as well as the heavier luggage, had been carefully labelled with different coloured labels for first, second, and third class, number of cabin, number of berth, and a special label bearing a large initial of the surname of the passenger, so that all one's belongings for cabin use were conveyed by stewards on the boat to their proper place without confusion or delay.

Fortunately I had been given a berth in a first-class state-room which was a deck higher up than the second, and where it was not so intolerably hot as on the lower deck.

After a good dinner, I at once betook myself on deck to get a little accustomed to my surroundings, and to see the last, for awhile, of old England. It was so hot that I remained on deck until night came, and we could only distinguish the towns by their lights, and. when we had passed Ilfracombe, I turned in.

The state-room and the passages leading to it were very hot, my room being an inside one. I will here describe, as well as I can, the arrangements and positions of the cabins. They reminded me somewhat of the formation of the bookcases in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which are built in blocks, dissected by seemingly interminable narrow passages. In something the same way were the cabins arranged.

Imagine long narrow passages lengthways through the vessel, the inner sides being used principally for the staff; the outer side, consisting of blocks of four cabins, forming a square with a short passage between each block; thus two of each block of four must necessarily be inside cabins without a porthole; for example:

so that the inside cabins have practically no air, and only artificial light. We had two fixed lights and one movable one, to the latter of which could be attached a fan. The cabins are most luxuriously fitted, and were, I should judge, about seven feet by eight, each cabin accommodating three passengers, two berths being on one side and a couch on the other. A wardrobe (hanging), with a oval-glass door, and a deep drawer at the bottom, was placed at the, foot of the berths, and a second one at the foot of the couch, and opposite the entrance to the cabin was a mock chest of drawers, which, when pulled out or let down, contained every possible toilet requisite. The bunks were made with wire springs under the hair mattresses, and were fitted with sweet little cream curtains with a quaint design in pale green and pink, to draw along your bunk at wall Towels were never left to be used a second time and the cabins were kept delightfully fresh and clean; the walls were enamelled white, and the furniture, I think, was of mahogany with silver plated mountings.

The boat having its full complement of passengers, we were three in the cabin, the sofa having to be used for a berth, but by arranging amongst ourselves that we would not all dress at the same time, we managed very comfortably, and it will be a very long time before I forget the delightful times we had in that cabin.

My two companions were a merry couple, one, who was, I should think, nearing middle age, was going out to Peterborough to be married; the second was a young schoolmistress, a very bright and refined girl of about twenty-two, going out on the advice of, and with, some friends she had accidentally met at home; that she should be going at all seemed rather pathetic, as she was the only child of a widowed mother for whom my heart sometimes ached when thoughts of her, without her girl, left by herself in the homeland, crossed my mind.

In spite of everything being new and strange I slept fairly well; though the ship was ploughing through the water at a great rate, the movement was scarcely perceptible, and, on waking up I had to wait, breathless for a second or two, to be sure that we were moving at all.

In the morning I was more surprised than I can say, to find that I had the dreaded mal de tier, as also had my two companions, and we were altogether a sad trio. We could not account for this sickness in any way; I have been many short, rough sea passages—across the North Sea to Norway, round the coast of Scotland from Leith to Liverpool, from London to Edinburgh, across the Bay of Biscay, and have had many stormy journeys across the Irish to and English Channels, but have never even felt ill, whilst here, with the sea like the proverbial mill pond, we were, all three, too ill to dress. Later in the day two of us crawled up on deck, but I could not take any kind of food, nor even a sip of tea or water, for forty-eight hours.

How I bemoaned the utter loss of two whole days’ enjoyment of my ocean journey! I did not like this enforced rest—it was not at all the kind of rest that I sought. The attendance in our cabin was everything we could desire; the stewardess and the bedroom steward vied with each other in their kind ministrations; the latter was quite a humorist, threatening all kinds of penalties if we did not rise, and yet kindness itself in getting and doing everything possible for our comfort. We named him the “fairy” as he was always popping in and out, to have a look round and see if we were quite comfortable or needed anything. The stewardess was a certificated nurse and cheerful under all conditions. We were always the brighter for her visits, even whilst we were ill. By the third morning we were quite ourselves again, and began thoroughly to enjoy our very excellent meals, usually with the keenest appetites, waiting for the gong to sound to get to our places in good time for the first course.

It was the clear bracing air which made us so hungry, not lack of food. Tea or coffee were brought to our cabin as early as we cared to ring for it, an ample breakfast was served at eight o’clock, delicious beef tea brought on deck at eleven o’clock, luncheon at twelve-thirty, tea at four o’clock, dinner at six-thirty, supper at nine p m., and anything within reason that one might ask tor between meals, without extra charge. How liberally we fared may be seen from the copy of the menu of our first lunch and dinner on board, which I give below.


Lamb’s Head Broth.
Fried Haddock, Italian Sauce
Singapore Curry and Rice.
Boiled Leg of Mutton and Caper Sauce. Rice Espagnoli
Mashed and Plain Potatoes,


Soused Salmon.
Roast Ribs of Beef
Canadian Ham.
Galantine of Veal
Corned Brisket of Beef.
Forequarter of Lamb and Mint Sauce. Salad.

Stewed Peaches and Custard
Eccles Cakes.


Consommd Julienne.
Halibut. Syrienne Sauce.
Epigrammes of Mutton, Jardiniere
Compote of Pigeons
Roast Chicken, Bread Sauce.
Roast Ribs of Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.
Turnips—Broad Beans—Roast and Plain Potatoes. Salad.

Turkish Pudding. Swiss Roll. French Ice Cream and Wafers Desert—Cheese-—Coffee.

All this served beautifully and delicately, quickly and hot. A bugle is sounded for first class saloon meals, a gong for second class, and a bell for third class. The meals are informal, and you need not sit through a long wearisome meal; everything is ready, and you may order what you please from the menu, instead of waiting its service in rum, as at a table d’hote meal.

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