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Chapter 1

Ship Julia G. Tyler
Monday Sept. 16th, 1861
We have been at sea one week today, and until this morning I have not been able to raise spunk enough to commence my journal, but I guess I'll soon be able to say, "Richard's himself again," although I have not quite come to that pitch of felicity yet. The first two days and nights we were out a heavy storm raged; and all, with three exceptions, were seasick; and in that one little sentence, "All were seasick," an unexperienced person little dreams of how much misery is contained. It seems to me that if all the misery and wretchedness, pains and aches, colics and cramps, in short, all the ills that flesh is heir to "were gathered up," put in a bag, shaken together, and then turned out, the sum total of all would be seasickness. Words cannot express nor pen describe it. If I had an enemy against whom I cherished the most implacable feelings of revenge and hatred, the vary worst thing I could wish him would be that he might be seasick for a week.

On the night of the 10th the gale was very heavy; the water came into the cabin and most of the state rooms. I could see the white foaming waves dash across the skylight over my berth. Nobody undertook to sleep. The winds and waves literally played ball with me. I would be sent flying from my birth the whole length of the stateroom, clear across Mrs. Ballard's berth, bump up against the wall, and then back again to my own just as if I didn't cost anything. I carry the marks of that night yet and expect to for a good while. Fortunately, I was not a bit afraid. Sick and banged about as I was, I laughed every hour of the night. Mrs. Ballard was real mad at me two or three times for laughing, but who could help it. Such a scene as it was -- The room lighted by a little smoky lamp suspended from a nail; the ship rolling and pitching at an awful rate; the storm roaring and the sailors shouting and swearing outside; I in my berth at one end of the state room so sick I didn't care a cent if the ship and all in her went down the next minute. Mrs. Ballard's Harry in a berth at the other end ditto, only a little
more so, with their heads both over one basis. Harry cries; his mother tries to hold his head but fails in the attempt and lets it drop. Harry cries louder, his cries intermingled with other interesting sounds.

"Harry dear, don't cry; Mamma feels very -- New York, New York -- sick too; try and keep a little more -- New York, New York -- Oh, Oh -- quiet and then you'll feel -- New York -- better." Then a series of "New Yorks" from both followed by a succession of the most heart-rending groans, and both subside down into bed again for about five minutes when the vessel gives an extra roll, and the scene is re-enacted. Meantime I would be in convulsions of laughter, but once in a while sick myself. Mrs. Ballard was far worse than I was and could not rise at all from her berth but would once in a while call on me for something. I would get up; but the minute my feet touched the floor, would be precipitated with the utmost violence from my berth, over all our trunks, which were rolling in confusion from one end of the room to the other, clear across her berth and back again into my own without having accomplished my mission. Oh, it was dreadful and ridiculous in the extreme. I verily thought I should not have a whole bone left to take to China. All this time, "New York" was being echoed from every state room; every chair, table, and sofa in the cabin was pitching and rolling about.

One of the sailors was brought in with his arm broken. Two more were taken sick; and when morning broke, a more uncomfortable looking place and set of people it would be hard to find. We are all getting pretty well over it now except Mr. Paul and Mr. Foster, who are in a most miserable condition yet; and we are really beginning to be afraid that they will die, as they are both in poor health to begin with.

Last night we had a very hard blow and were followed by one of Jeff Davis' privateers. But thanks to the gale, we outran her. The captain does not care how soon we meet one, as we are all ready for them. We carry four heavy rifle cannon, all the crew are armed with muskets, and most of the passengers have revolvers. So, let Jeff come, the sooner the better.

We have a very heavy sea today and are rolling at a great rate, but the wind is fair, and we are making 9 knots an hour. I like these great high waves, and our good ship rides them beautifully. We stay on deck nearly all the time, as very few of us can face the dinner table yet, and the weather is so rough that we get sick if we stay below. But I am getting much better and can stay below long enough to write a short time. Pa and Ollie are getting better too, but slowly.

Tuesday, Sept. 17th
We have been becalmed all day, making little or no speed. The weather is splendid but warm, as every day brings us nearer the tropics. We have been on deck all day reading, talking, getting better acquainted, singing, whistling, cracking nuts, but especially fishing for sea weed and sharks. Mr. De Silver is the "fool" of the company. Misters Paul and Foster the invalids. Dr. McClellan - chief musician, and each of the others have their own character. I think the Doctor is about the best fellow on board. He is so kind and attentive to the sick; and when that fellow got his arm broken, he attended to it in such a self-possessed, cool, clever way and has waited on him ever since and is so quiet and gentlemanly about it. He is a first rate fellow and sings most splendidly.
Pa says he is five years younger since he came to sea. His trip to Clinton made him ten years younger, so there are fifteen years gained already; that's good. I have not done a single thing since we came to sea, not one thing. And time begins to be heavy. This afternoon I cut out another "sea shirt" for Ollie and will sew tomorrow. I can have plenty to do if I want. For I have a whole web of muslin besides plenty of "little work" which I did have the wit to supply myself with in New York. But having it to do and doing it are two different things.

There are two sails in sight. The crew are drilling with muskets. We see a good many flying fish today.

Wednesday, Sept. 18th
We are still in a dead calm. Not a breath of air is stirring, and the surface of the sea is as smooth as glass. Still there is a heavy underswell which keeps us rolling.

The Captain and Mr. Hanford both dreamed last night that we were attacked by Jeff's privateers, so this morning the guns were rigged and got in readiness, but we have not seen Jeff yet.

About an hour ago Mr. De Silver caught a shark; one of the gentlemen took me up on the gallant forecastle, and I saw the whole operation; his three pilot fish would hardly leave him, but one clung to him and was drawn up on deck along. Doctor superintended the dissection of him. Great excitement prevailed. Pa was very active in the cutting up business and ate an immense dinner after it. Some dolphins are reported now, and the forecastle is again the scene of operations. I took a ducking in salt water today but would like it better if we could use soap with it. The salt water got into my eyes too; and that I did not like either, which not withstanding, I guess I might say now without fibbing, "Richard's himself again." All the sick are getting well; and if we only had a fair wind, we would be as merry, happy and contented a set as anybody could find.

9 o'clock. Have been on deck all evening. It is a lovely night. Moonlight on land is splendid, but moonlight at sea is most glorious. I will not spoil it by attempting to describe it. Heigh ho, old Buttonwood.

Thursday, Sept. 19th.
Still becalmed away out here in the Atlantic. The weather still extremely hot. Captain begins to be very impatient; four sails in sight. They fired one of the cannon this morning. The cat was sitting on it at the time. I called to the second mate, who was touching it off; but he laughed, and the next minute puss disappeared in a cloud of smoke, nobody knew where. But in the course of half an hour of so, he came quietly out of the cabin, none the worse for the wear. Surely a cat has nine lives.

I dreamed last night that we were attacked by Jeff's pirates and told the Captain just for fun. He looked very grave and pushed his warlike preparations. He is rather superstitious about dreams and such things. Most sailors are. That Harry Ballard keeps me in a continual passion. He is the most odious young one I ever saw, having all the bad traits of a Yankee, which are many, and none of the good ones, which at best are but few. He sits next me at dinner; and I am always expecting that the next time the vessel rolls, he will run his fork clear down his throat. He rules his mother with a perfect rod of iron and is altogether hateful in the extreme.

9 O.C. Had a regular farce on deck this evening. Mr. De Silver and Uncle John played the clown for the amusement of the rest. It is a fine night. I have been sewing today a little. Mr. Williams, the first mate, asked me to make some powder bags for the cannon, so I cut out 36; and Mrs. Cooper and Ballard helped make them. Finished a shirt, all but the buttonholes, which Mr. De Silver promised to make.

Friday, Sept. 20th.
Have just finished dinner and seem to feel decidedly comfortable. Our daily routine is by this time quite settled. We rise in the morning about seven. Anyone who wishes it has a cup of tea or coffee sent to their room; breakfast at eight: beefsteak, hash, fried or boiled onions, potatoes, hot rolls, pilot bread, light bread, butter, molasses, tea, coffee, besides other things too numerous to mention. Breakfast over, the gentlemen smoke; the ladies read, sew or do nothing -- just as they like. At eleven we have tiffin: cold meats, bread and butter, cheese, pickles, cakes, claret, champaign, port, lemonade, whiskey or brandy or all. Then the gentlemen smoke again; the ladies lounge with them on deck until 3 o'clock when we dine. First course soup; 2nd roast beef, corned beef, potatoes, turnips, rice, beets, pickles, pilot bread, loaf bread, butter and different kinds of sauces. Dessert -- pudding, pie, nuts, raisins and wine if we want it. We spend a long time at dinner; and by the time we rise, it is beginning to get cool; so we all go on deck -- the gentlemen smoke; the ladies chat; all are very sociable; and at 6 we go down to tea and coffee, toast and butter, pickles, bread, ginger bread and sundry other viands, after which we adjourn again to the deck, enjoy the moonlight; the gentlemen smoke again. When they get through, all form in groups, talk, sing, and do a great variety of things, some of which Bell could probably guess at. Altogether we lead a free and easy, indolent, contented sort of life, perfectly contented with it while it lasts, but when it is ended will welcome a change. Fair wind. Hurrah for China.

Saturday, Sept. 21st.
I wonder what is the reason that just after dinner the spirit always moves me to write up my log. It cannot be that I am at that time in a remarkably good humor. My seat at the table is between that hateful little Harry and Mr. Paul, who is a disagreeable, egotistical, selfish bear; but in spite of them both, I manage to enjoy my dinner very well.

Fair wind today and smooth sea. Uncle John is laid up on his mattress on deck with the rheumatism, produced by too frequent bathing.

Yesterday a suspicious looking craft dodged about us all day and at night fall piled on all her canvass and gave direct chase. She was a fore and aft schooner and sailed very fast. All were a good deal alarmed. It was some excitement for us. All our sail was soon hoisted, and we had a grand race in the moonlight. The captain was really frightened and sat in the stern with his glass, watching her movements and expecting every minute that she would send a ball across our bows. I was not a bit scared but much excited and was cutting up at a great rate. When Mr. Paul, who was pale with fright, undertook to scold me for it and called me foolhardy -- wasn't I mad -- I just turned around and let out what I had been holding in for some time. Told him he was a coward and didn't stop until I had entirely relieved myself. When he picked up his chair sheepishly and walked away, all the rest were glad; for Mr. Paul is universally disliked.

At last the schooner gave up the chase and changed her course. We have a good wind today, all hands in excellent health excepting Mr. Paul &
Mr. Foster, who are still a good deal the worse for the wear.

Sunday, Sept. 22nd.
No wind today, and the heat is most intense. We have mattresses on deck and all hands lounge. The doctor this morning read a chapter from the Bible aloud to the rest of us on deck. Then Mr. Foster got his flute and a book of sacred music, and the way we put through the Methodist hymns wasn't slow. Had a great big watermelon after dinner, just out of the ice house, which was extra nice.

Saw a beautiful "Portuguese-man-of-war," a species of nautilus with all
the colors of the rainbow, floating on the water. This morning the stewardess threw the cat overboard to the great horror of the sailors, who as well as the mates, are very superstitious about cats and regard such a thing as an evil omen.

I don't find the voyage monotonous as yet, but am perfectly well, content and happy. Once in a while I wish for Bell or [word or words missing] along. I am one by myself here. Mrs. Ballard & Mrs. Cooper are very thick together which suits me exactly -- for one is a Yankee and the other English, and I have no idea of having over much to do with either of them. All the rest are gentlemen. I am the only girl on board and everybody looks after me, teases me, and waits on me by turns; so I fare finely and have lots of fun. I am also first rate friends with the captain and mate. Pa and Ollie want me to let my hair grow, but I really cannot do it now, as I have no way of putting it up.

I should like to run over and spend the evening at Buttonwood, but don't see any prospect of my being able to do so, so I guess I'll go on deck for a change. No matter; I expect to spend a good many evenings at Buttonwood yet.

Monday, Sept. 23rd.
A fair wind this morning and going along nicely, not so warm as it has been either. I do wonder if ever I will get in a place where I will not have anybody establish themselves as my "guardian Angel" when it is none of their business, where I can turn around or say three words or (as Frank Anderson says) "look crosseyed" without everybody criticizing it. In short, where I will be let alone and allowed to pursue the "even tenor of my way" unmolested. I cannot talk, laugh or promenade with one of the gentlemen but that Mrs. Ballard & Mrs. Cooper get their heads together and pronounce it a flirtation as if it was any of their business and as if I am going to change my ways for them. They are good-natured enough about it, and both seem to like me. But they don't seem to have any sense and sometimes put me in an awkward position. I should think that two ladies of their age and experience would know better and have more wit than to talk to a girl the way they do. It is disgusting.

We saw seagulls today. They are snow white and very pretty. One was floating on the water, another dived away down and caught a fish. The water is very blue and a great deal of sea weed is floating. I have not sewed any today. Mrs. Ballard and Mrs. Cooper sent me for my work half a dozen times, but I didn't go. Uncle John is still pretty sick. Mr. De Silver is sick too from the effects of injudicious bathing. They both might know better, I should think.