Tulse Luper – 9. Passports

The first landfall after Cardiff was Port of Spain. The cargo, demerara sugar.
A tramp steamer, so named because it has no fixed schedule or published ports of call.
The captain is on the bottle, amontillado, Auslese, burgundy, chablis, champagne, claret, marsala, moselle, port, and sherry. He wanders in and out. The crew watch him, and never trust him.
Now the captain can partake of rum, that firewater called cachaça, for they have reached Brazil.
Deals will be done for iron ore, apes and peacocks,
Put in at Shanghai, take on cotton bales.
Mr Mate has done a side-deal on porcelain, and swaddled in yellow newsprint, wedged against the swell, waiting its profit. Mr Mate has also done a deal on opium, which no one knows about.
Up through Suez, the cotton sold and delivered at Piraeus.
Back to Cardiff for more coal, the wandering… Robes are made, hallucinations are made, increasing the grandeur of the earth. Engines are driven.

Mr Mate says you should seek your fortune, who else will do that for you, go to Manchuria and take up with the miners there. The Chinese are hard people to work with, but if you impress them and deliver your side of the bargain, they will always do business with you.
The Boy’s Own Paper says you should keep a manly disposition, but were speaking to public-schoolboys, not to Tulse Luper. The publication also talked of philately, mole-catching, bird-nesting, and had pictures of young rugger players who were now dead from the Great War.
His father had said: “Work hard and you will be rewarded.”
A father that does not give his son a profession is making him to be a thief.
The stoker says the women of Malta are not to be trusted.
There are many impulsions, directions and there is always wandering,
This suitcase a suitcase of passports.

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These suitcases represent the world according to Tulse Luper.


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