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“We went ashore at Port Said . . .”

November 17, 2009

We went ashore at Port Said, but as it was in the evening after it was dark, we could not see much of the place.  We however saw various coffee houses, small theatres, and gambling shops.  The dregs of all European countries gather here; Port Said is therefore noted for its immorality.  On 25th March during night time we left Port Said and entered the Mediterranean.  We received fresh passengers in Egypt, among whom was an American Missionary of a certain persuasion.  He was delighted to see a magnificent crop of heathens on board the vessel, and he at once set to commence his harvesting operations.  He began from the beginning, and told us first all about the Creation.  He told us about the rebellion in heaven, about the creation of Adam and Eve, about their fall, and all the subsequent results that came out of it.  We on our part told him our version of the story.  We said that we Bráhmans came out of the Creator’s mouth, our warrior caste came out of His hand, our trading caste came out of His thigh and our cultivating caste came out of His feet.  He laughed at what is related in our books, and said that our account of the Creation is simply absurd and entirely false.  He wondered how our people could put faith on such a childish story.  This gentleman then especially warned us of the Satan, whose constant delight is to take human souls to the place where he lives, not a very comfortable place we were told.  He firmly believed that the world would come to an end within five years, and therefore earnestly urged upon us to prepare for that final catastrophe.  Interesting discussions of this kind were however soon interrupted.  The wind rose, the weather became unpleasant, high waves dashed against the vessel, making it roll heavily, the whole deck was inundated with spray, and both the Missionary and his audience felt that they were going to be turned inside out.  Most of the passengers were now sea-sick, but I was not one of the number, and cannot therefore describe the queer sensation which people indisposed in this way are said to feel.

A Visit to Europe by T. N. Mukharji, 1889.  From the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Original images here and here.

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