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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter II
I wrote to my people asking if I might go - meaning to go anyway, but wanting to do things correctly and at least be polite. My aunt, Mrs. Clare Parsons, wrote that she approved if I had a return ticket - so I got a return ticket. Then I went up to London to buy an outfit for India and having at that time no real monetary restrictions, I bought everything I wanted and had a grand time. I certainly "blew" myself. Incidentally, when the trunks containing all my new things arrived in Quetta, Baluchistan, I found that the entire contents had been stolen and filthy, dirty rags substituted in their place. Fortunately, I had taken plenty of things with me but it was my first important lesson in [65] learning that things are ephemeral. All the same, liking clothes, and I still do, I sent for another outfit.

My sister and aunt saw me off at Tilbury Docks and I must admit that I never enjoyed anything so much as that long three weeks voyage to Bombay. I have always loved travelling (as do all Gemini people) and being also at that time a horrid little snob, I reveled in the consciousness that my deck chair (which had been loaned me by an uncle) had a title on it. Little things please little minds and my mind was very little at that time - practically dormant.

I remember that first trip so well. There were two women besides myself at the table in the dining room and five apparently wealthy and most sophisticated men. They evidently liked us three women but I was appallingly shocked at them. They talked about gambling and racing; they drank a lot of liquor; they played cards and - worse than all - they never said grace at meals. The first meal left me stunned. After lunch I went to my cabin and prayed hard for strength to do the right thing. At dinner time my courage failed me and I had to do some more praying. But the result was that at breakfast the next morning I made a speech, taking care to be in the dining room before the other two girls arrived but all the five men were present. I was utterly terrified and thoroughly ashamed but I did what I thought Jesus would do. I looked at the men and said, nervously and rapidly: "I don't drink and I don't dance; I don't play cards and I don't go to the theatre, and I know you will hate me and I think I had better go and find another table." A dead silence descended upon us. Then one of the men (with a very well known name, so I won't mention it) got up and leaned across the table, held out his hand and said, "Shake. If you will stick to us, we will stick to you and we will try hard to be good." I had the most delightful voyage. Those men were unbelievably [66] good to me and I remember them with affection and gratitude. It was the nicest voyage I made and I made the trip between London and Bombay six times in five years, so I had some experience. Whether these men had a good time is another matter, but they were unfailingly nice to me. One of them later sent me a lot of religious books for one of the Soldiers Homes. Another sent a nice, fat check and still another, a prominent railroad man, sent me a free pass on the Great Indian Peninsula Railroad which I used all the time I was in India.

When we got to Bombay I had expected to trans-ship there and take the British India boat to Karachi and so on to Quetia, Baluchistan. But it was not to be at that time, though I did do that trip later. I found a wire awaiting me, telling me to get off at Bombay and take the express to Meerut, which is in central India. I was appalled. I had never in my life traveled alone before. I was arriving in a continent where I did not know one single human being and I had to change not only my steamship ticket to Karachi, but get train tickets on the G.I.P. to Meerut. Like a homing pigeon, I fled to the Y.W.C.A. where they were very good to me and attended to all the business details. Remember, again, that I was young, pretty, and that girls did not do what I was doing.

At the Bombay railroad station I had a very human and educational experience. This experience goes to show how wonderful human beings are, which, if you will note, is one thing I can and do prove in this book. I was, as you may have gathered, a consummate prig, even if well-intentioned. I was almost too good to live and certainly holy enough to be hated. I had taken no part in the current life of the ship, but had strutted about the deck with my large Bible under my arm. There was one man on the ship who was my pet abhorrence and had been ever since I left [67] London. He was the life of the ship; he handled the daily sweepstakes; he got up the dances and arranged the theatricals; he played cards and I knew that he drank an inordinate amount of whiskies and sodas. The voyage took three weeks in those days and I watched him with disdain all the time. From my point of view, he was the devil. He had spoken to me once or twice, but I had made it very clear that I wanted nothing to do with him. Waiting for the train that day in the big Bombay railroad station, scared stiff and wishing I had never come, this man came up to me and said, "Young lady, you don't like me and have made that very clear, but I have a daughter about your age and I am damned if I would like to have her travelling alone in India. Whether you like it or not, you are going to show me which is your compartment. I want to look over your travelling companion and you can make the best of my decision. I am also coming to fetch you for meals at the stations where we have to get off to eat." What came over me I do not know but I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I am frightened. Please look after me." This he most adequately did and the last sight I ever had of him was standing in his pyjamas and dressing-gown in the middle of the night at a railroad junction, tipping the guard to look after me as he could go no further on my way.

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