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Memory For Voices.
After the bear incident I spent some time in London, then joined the emigrant ship "Oriental," bound to Adelaide, South Australia. I was third officer. We took on board about one hundred families of excellently selected farm labourers, shepherds, and ploughmen, and after having made a good voyage arrived safely in Adelaide. The Immigration Commissioners came on board and inspected the passengers. The result was most satisfactory. There was no complaint of ill-treatment or deficiency in supplies, and in less than thirty-six hours every family was engaged and sent into the country. And the Commissioners awarded to our doctor fifty pounds sterling, the chief officer fifty pounds for his supervision, and myself fifty pounds for the supervision of the commissariat department.
After a short stay in Adelaide, we sailed for Madras, in India, and after a good voyage we arrived and anchored in the evening when it was quite dark. There was quite a number of native business men came off in catamarans and "mussulah," or surf-boats. Among the number was one noble-looking man, who stepped up near to our captain and, addressing him, said, "How do you do, Captain Mackintosh?"
"How do you know my name is Mackintosh?"
"By your voice, sahib. When you were here in the 'Lady Mary Harrison,' eighteen years ago, I was your dubash."
This was quite correct. This man recognized the captain's voice after all these years.
In 1879 I had a similar experience in my own case. I was travelling in Scotland, and in Edinburgh I met some friends and inquired for an old lady whom I had known as a child. I found that she was living at a place called Aberladye, on the seacoast. I decided to go to see her, and was directed to take the train to Dreme Station, and there I should find a conveyance to take me to Aberladye. When I arrived the conveyance was filled with local travellers and I started to walk three and a half miles to my friend. After I had gone about half a mile I passed by a magnificent entrance to a fine estate. Soon after this I heard a carriage coming, and when it caught up to me the gentleman who was driving in the dog-cart pulled up and asked if I was going to Aberladye and invited me to take a lift. I thanked him and mounted beside him. He asked where I wanted to go. I told him to Rose Cottage, when we entered into general conversation. He learned that I was from China, so we had quite a pleasant time, and, arriving opposite to Rose Cottage, he pulled up and graciously pointed to the house, bade me good-bye, and hoped we might meet again.
I went up to the door and rang the bell, and the old lady herself answered it all in a flutter, as she had seen me set down from the trap, which was driven by Lord Rosebery himself. Well, I asked if Mrs. McKippen lived there. She replied, "Yes; I am she." I said, "Perhaps you don't remember me?" She said, "No; but I know your voice." I told her that I was Arthur Knights. "Aye, laddie," she cried, "I heard that you was drowned at sea twenty-five years ago." Well, I need hardly say that I was welcome to her and her husband, who was a retired business man. Poor old gentleman, he cried as a child when she told him of my taking the trouble to come and see her, and how when I was a small boy at a juvenile party I was sore distressed by my dancing slippers being too big and that they kept slipping off. Then she came to the rescue and took me to one side and stitched them to the heel of my stocking to enable me to have a good time.
I spent a couple of days with my friends and then went on my way, and I have often wondered whether that lady could possibly have connected my manhood voice with that of my childhood.