"on my way to Marseilles, where I was proposing to take one of the Messagerie ships for Singapore"
Messageries Maritimes
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMessageries Maritimes - Credit: Björn Larsson

The Messageries Maritimes was established in the 1800s, after shipping lines were opened to complement mail coach and railway services. The ships functioned to transport troops in the Crimean War, as a postal service,  and in commercial exchanges. The company was an essential support to colonial expansion. During World War I the ships were used as hospitals as well as to transport troops.