The trooper continued its course through the Indian Ocean. Down below in the floating hospital other death-scenes went on. On deck there was carelessness of health and youth. Round about, over the sea, was a very feast of pure sun and air.
In this fine trade-wind weather, the sailors, stretched in the shade of the sails, were playing with little pet parrots and making them run races. In this Singapore, which they had just left, the sailors buy all kinds of tame animals. They had all chosen baby parrots, with childish looks upon their hooknose faces; they had no tails yet; they were green, of a wonderful shade. As they went running over the clean white planks, they looked like fresh young leaves, fallen from tropical trees.
Sometimes the sailors gathered them all together in one lot, when they inspected one another funnily; twisting about their throats, to be seen under all aspects. They comically waddled about like so many lame people, or suddenly started off in a great hurry for some unknown destination; and some fell down in their excitement. And there were monkeys, learning tricks of all kinds, another source of amusement. Some were most tenderly loved and even kissed extravagantly, as they nestled against the callous bosoms of their masters, gazing fondly at them with womanish eyes, half-grotesque and half-touching.