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Men Tell no Tales
Nothing is so
easy as falling in love on a long sea voyage,
except falling out of love. Especially was this
the case in the days when the wooden clippers
did finely to land you in Sydney or in Melbourne
under the four full months. We all saw far too
much of each other, unless, indeed, we were to
see still more. Our superficial attractions
mutually exhausted, we lost heart and patience
in the disappointing strata which lie between
the surface and the bed-rock of most natures.
My own experience was confined to the round
voyage of the Lady Jermyn, in the year 1853. It
was no common experience, as was only too well
known at the time. And I may add that I for my
part had not the faintest intention of falling
in love on board; nay, after all these years,
let me confess that I had good cause to hold
myself proof against such weakness. Yet we
carried a young lady, coming home, who, God
knows, might have made short work of many a
It was half-past twelve when I returned
to the Albany as a last desperate resort. The
scene of my disaster was much as I had left it.
The baccarat-counters still strewed the table,
with the empty glasses and the loaded ash-trays.
A window had been opened to let the smoke out,
and was letting in the fog instead. Raffles
himself had merely discarded his dining jacket
for one of his innumerable blazers. Yet he
arched his eyebrows as though I had dragged him
from his bed.
"Forgotten something?" said he, when he saw me
on his mat.
"No," said I, pushing past him without ceremony.
And I led the way into his room with an
impudence amazing to myself.
"Not come back for your revenge, have you?
Because I'm afraid I can't give it to you
single-handed. I was sorry myself that the
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