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HALF-PAST six, on the twentieth of the
month. Although, according to the calendar,
Spring has commenced, a corroding morning
mist rolls in acrimoniously between the
crevices of the crazy cab, and bites its way
straight to the inner man. The fog is dense
and brown; and the horse labours through it;
it so shrivels up the driver, that he is careful
to occupy the smallest surface possible on his
freezing perch: at the South-Western Railway
Station, it has huddled together, for the sake
of warmth and gossip, a knot of porters; who
rapidly disentangle themselves to compete
for any active employment that a carpet-bag
may afford: it drives the money-taker to
the effeminacy of mittens, and he slides the
cold change, singly, across the counter with
the tips of his fingers: it slanders the
countenances of the three ladies on the platform,
with a suspicion of jaundice; and,
when the eldest (with ringlets) ventures
into the waiting-room and stands at the
fire, her crisp, hoar-frosted curls thaw and
descenddank, straggling, and unlovely: it
freezes the breath of the military officer in
his moustaches, which stick out, stark as
bristles: it stiffens the Mackintosh of the
fox-hunter around his jack-boots and buckskins:
it enters the very souls of all the
passengers; for they are cross and uncommunicative.
The dishevelled lady returns to
her friends, gazes silently on a heap of luggage,
and weeps. The blazing red labels,
marked CALCUTTA, communicate to all beholders
but her, a factitious glow.

The bell has rung; the passengers are
locked up in their locomotive cells. The fluffy
engine blows and pants impatiently; the
distressed ladygiving vent to her emotion
and straightening her curls at the fireis
dragged across the platform between a porter
and a strong-minded sister. She is thrust
bodily into the carriage beside me. " Are
you right, forward? " shouts the guard.
"Yes! " shrieks the engine. We are off.

As this is the early passenger train for the
conveyance of travellers for India to the end
of their first stage, Southampton, I am curious
to know which of my companions are on their
way to the far East. The sportsman is
evidently not attired for the jungle; neither
does the wife of the moustaches seem very
well providedwith a knitting-boxfor a
journey of ten thousand miles. And, surely,
the most useful adjuncts for the overland route
are not a bundle of swords, umbrellas, fishing-
rods, and walking-sticks; all the apparent travelling
apparatus belonging to the moustached
lieutenant. To judge, also, from the accompaniments
of the young Scotch gentleman, he cannot
be going to a very great distanceperhaps to
Winchester College. He passes, after much
admiring scrutiny, the contents of three or
four paper parcels into the pockets of his
paletôt; his only travelling bags. They consist
of a cutty pipe in a morocco case, a
canister inscribed " Latakia," a small poetical
work entitled the "Stunning Warbler," a
comprehensive clasp-knife to serve instead
of a chest of tools, a pocket compass, a
weighty watch-chain, a tiny spirit-case, a
packet of steel-pens, an American revolver,
a portable inkstand, and a bran-new prayer-
book. The individual opposite to me, whose
travelling appointments are complete from
top to toeand whose valise, protruding
from under his seat, very much circumscribes
the lawful space for my legsmust be
our only India-bound companion. I'll ask

His reply is, " No, sir; I'm not bound for
India, sir. I'm going to Isleworth."

Somebody remarks that he has got into a
train which does not pass that village.

"Then, pray, ma'm, where are you going?"
He addresses the officer's wife. The lady
looks up from her crochet, and answers

"To Hong Kong."

The querist is utterly dumfoundered.

At Kingston, the hunter (bound for a
"meet" at Hampton Wick) and my vis-à-vis
(overshot, with his huge valise, far beyond
Isleworth) leave the lieutenant and his wife
to continue their journey to China, the
loosened curls to be blown by wind and steam
to Calcutta, and the young Scotchman from
Addiscombe (who is not going to Winchester)
to be shot across the globe to
Koondooz, at the northern foot of the Hindoo

And, really, now that I step on board the
P. & O. S. N. Co.'s (technical ellipsis for
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation