The author stepped in lighthearted, for a six months’ cruise, and the first half-hour round the crowded harbour showed that the Moslems would be as kind in their welcome of the little craft as the Norsemen had been, and the Swiss, and the Indians of Ottawa in his other journeys. The officials of the Canal Company overwhelmed the author with hospitality, barely concealing a suspicion that their guest was at least half-crazy; and a fortnight’s careful observation on his side did not settle the question whether it is most difficult to cut a canal, to keep it open, or to make it pay. Men fire at sea-gulls among the shops; pelicans toss upon the waves, flamingoes fly over the houses, and porpoises tumble in the harbour. Critics need not be hard upon this ready way of addressing strangers, while their own clever thoughts are daily proffered to each of us in London streets.