From Dreaming Spies:
While the Colombo-bound passengers and day-trippers jostled noisily down one set of gangways and the coal and coconuts streamed up another, I retired to a deck-chair with my book. Holmes glowered down at the teeming dockside below. I pointedly kept my eyes on the pages.
Steamers were filthy, no way around it. All that coal burning in the depths came out in the smokestacks, and steamer guides of the period often urge the traveler to leave any precious or light-colored garments in the hold lest they be irrevocably stained by the combination of the all-pervasive smuts and the clammy effects of salt air. Of course, loading coal was done at every port, and was even filthier for those tasked with doing the job.
My upcoming events are here.