Oh to be here.
A new steamer and quiet. Not like the ones that come back with all the children headed for boarding school. Odd. So many of them but no schools there. None anywhere. All sent back to the mother country.
A few babies but babies not coming with puppies and kittens to race back and forth. Time to sit on a deck chair all morning and stare at the African coast. Place after place and a blue-green sea.
Sierra Leone. Monrovia and whatever comes next. Hard to remember. So many haunted forts that the Portuguese built, all slipping from their rocks into the sea.
The brochure that shows it all back in the cabin. A ribbon map like uncle had for the Mississippi steamers but alas no. An American thing and the British never that clever.
But better that way, maybe. Everything blended into a fuzzy line of trees and beaches with whitecaps. Men with fishing canoes and ladies with babies tied to their backs.
Tea and then dinner. Not the captain’s table but the second officer’s. Almost as good. If only the new governor wasn’t going out too. Aide after aide and the governor’s wife with some sort of glorified companion pretending to be a lady in waiting. Captain’s table otherwise but then one would not be by the window with its lovely view.
Mutton and potatoes with pudding for dessert. Supper under a jacaranda tree being rather more pleasant but for later, not now. No. Time to sit and rest and clink the wineglass with every toast . . . now to act like a proper lady and time later to be a girl only a year off being presented at court . . . hopefully, a husband soon . . Cape Town supposed to be filled with bachelors . . . . .one need only walk down the street to meet ten . . .