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There are five people at our table, including myself. I've already learnt a great deal about them in the short time we have been at sea, although we rarely meet except at meal-times.
First of all, there is Dr Stone - my favourite, I must confess. He is a man of about sixty-five, with grey hair and a humorous face. He gave up his practice a short while ago and is now travelling round the world before he retires to some quiet country village. As a young man, he served abroad for many years as a doctor in the Army. He speaks several languages and has told us a great deal about the ports we are going to call at. He seems to have been everywhere. During the day, when he is not talking to his fellow passengers (one gets the impression that he already knows everybody on board!), he sits on deck reading or else gazes out to sea through an old-fashioned telescope.
Then there is "grandmother". I call her that because her name escapes me. In spite of being a grandmother, she looks remarkably young, not more than forty-five. She is on her way to visit a daughter who emigrated to Australia some years ago. Naturally she is very excited at the thought of seeing her again, and her three grandchildren, whom she has never seen. She can talk of little else. This voyage is a great adventure for her: she has never been abroad before.
Then there is a man I do not care for very much, an engineer by the name of Barlow. He has been on leave in England and is now returning to his work in Singapore. He seems full of energy: He swims or plays tennis the best part of the day. I have never in my life met a man with such a loud laugh. He has the cabin next to mine and I can hear his laugh even through the wall!
The other person who sits at our table is Mrs Hunt. I have found out hardly anything about her. She is extremely quiet and rarely talks, except to consult the doctor about her children's various ailments. She is on her way to join her husband in India.