Naturally there was nothing in her mission to interfere with the Renown's ordinary routine at sea.
Training, gun-drill and inspections went on as usual and it was impossible not to be penetrated with the fact that these things were admirably done.
The circumstance and ceremonial of the departure, the pomp of Royalty and the glitter of an Imperial mission had all merged, before the sun set in the cloud-bank of that March afternoon, in the sense of function and routine, detached and disregarding, that controls life in His Majesty's ships at sea.
She moved steadily at eighteen knots an hour from the time she left Portsmouth, a pace which, for this last word in fighting machines, is mere half-speed, though it is as fast as most suburban trains can travel.
She is so big that surprisingly little motion is noticeable at sea, though waves wash freely over forecastle and quarter-deck, contracting the space available for the exercise and training of the large fighting crew she carries.
It is built by one who travelled, as a correspondent, with him all the way.
As the train slowed down at Portsmouth Harbour they looked from the carriage windows and saw the fighting tops of a big battle-cruiser lifted grey against the sky above the houses of the foreshore, and one said to another "There she is." There she was, the Renown, in alongside, waiting to sail with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Australasia.
The Renown was no less amphibian than others of her class.
The accommodation contrived for the Prince was itself liable to ruthless visitation, and even the cabin on the superstructure, which held the chroniclers of his Odyssey, and was the highest inhabited spot beneath the bridge, occasionally took considerably more than enough water to dilute the ink.
Dockyard officials gave orders with more responsibility than ever immediately under their caps.
The travellers from Waterloo went up the gangway to the quarter-deck, successfully passed the officer of the watch, and found their quarters. The red carpet was spread and the Chief Passenger went up the gangway, with every sign and circumstance by which his country could mark the occasion of his going.
This book attempts to be a gangway to the Renown for the reader who would travel by battle-cruiser, by train, on horseback, by motor, and on foot, the forty-five thousand miles of his Australasian tour with H. They sat together and smoked, and exchanged experiences and speculations.