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Chapter 5

Thursday, Dec. 12th
Dead calm. The sea is as smooth as glass and the sky ditto, so that it is almost impossible to tell where they meet as both seem like one. Nothing but paint everywhere. The masts, yards and standing rigging look beautiful, and now they are painting around the decks.
I am writing letters home every day. Mr. Craven's a little better. I do hope he will be well by the time we get to Cape Town. Had lots of fun on deck last evening. It was a splendid night. Very warm today indeed.

I "ripped out" (as Sam says) my trunks today, lit on the box containing the pictures of the folks at home. They look very natural. Found my "dagger" that Arthur made for me to drill with when Woodie was Captain, with a cord and tassel which Madge made and put on, a piece of calamus that Joe put in, an ear of pop corn which Sam charged me to take to China, and a pair of Arthur's stockings all in one box It put me in mind of the day Mother packed my trunks in the hall. Some of the things are just as she laid them yet. Aunty's picture looks natural and Bell''s as if she was just going to slam the door. I wonder if Bell has got to be as quiet since I left as Mother says I got to be when she was away. I suppose so. Wonder if Hen is at Buttonwood. If she isn't, she ought to be; that's a clear case.

Mrs. Bollard "cleaned house" today in her end of the stateroom. But no sooner had she finished and taken her seat in the cabin with a very self-satisfied air than in came Harry and turned it all upside down again. I felt like breaking his neck.

Did some marketing today but not as nicely as Mother does it. Stuck Mr. Foster with a pin because he plagued me. He tried to take it away, and in the fuss I got my finger pretty badly cut. When he saw the "claret," he was very penitent and nearly broke his neck trying to find a rag and thread to wrap it up with. He is a great "granny," as most Yankee gentlemen are.

Mr. De Silver has been serenading me just outside my door until he has worn out either his patience, fingers, or the banjo strings and has stopped in disgust. So now I will go out as I have filled my page and it is warm in here.

Friday, Dec. 13th
A little wind, but very warm. Felt suffocating in my stateroom; so took my writing materials and went out to the cabin table to write to Hen; but Mr. Craven, who is getting pretty well, and doctor tormented me until I did not know what I was about and had to give up. Mrs. B encourages them, and sometimes I do get out of patience. Mr. Craven got my work bag and began to rummage; and when I made a rush to rescue that, doctor seized my blotting paper full of letters and ran off with it. He saw one addressed "Dear Charlie," immediately became interested, and has done nothing ever since but coax me to tell him who Charlie is. Of course I have no intention of gratifying him. At last I managed to gather up my things, put them to rights, went into my room, shut the door, and went to bed, where I stayed until dinner time.

Put salt in the doctor's mug of water, and he had a dose. Must think up some way to pay Mr. Craven. Guess I'll get a long stick and put some tar on his moustache some of these times when I get a good chance. I must go now and try to finish my letter to Hen while the gentlemen are on deck smoking.

Saturday, Dec. 14th
Got up at 4 o'clock this morning to see the sun rise for the first time since I have been to sea. It was a very pretty sight. But I shan't do it again. It makes the day too long, and then everybody makes such a fuss about it. Mate says I certainly brought a fair wind, but I don't see it. Don't think it agrees with me to get up early. I haven't felt in an over good humor.

Sunday, Dec. 15th
Ollie's birthday, a fine day but no wind and very warm. Were boarded by a whale boat from a ship lying near us, the hardest looking crew I ever saw in my life. Their clothes were patched so that it was impossible even to guess what had been their original color or material. They have been out 32 months. Gave them some papers and tobacco, which they were very glad to get; and they gave us some potatoes, which we were equally glad of. Took a warm, freshwater bath and feel as weak as a cat after it, not having had a warm bath for so long.

Monday, Dec. 16th
Making 4 knots. Stewardess has washed all the towels, sheets, and pillow cases on the ship for the last time, she says, until we get to Hong Kong as after we leave the Cape, no water will be given out for washing. Each has two pair of sheets and pillow cases, which have to last for six months likely. I wish Mother could look in once and see the style of our bed linen. If she wouldn't be horrified! Sometimes when I go to my bed all damp, with the pillow case so black, I am absolutely ashamed to put on a clean night cap the contrast is so striking. I think of the piles of clean sheets at home in the big closet; the trunks full of nice white pillow cases; and the heaps of clean, sweet blankets and quilts. But I can't say it troubles me so much, for I am hardly ever down until I am asleep, and the damp and dirt does not hurt me. I'll appreciate clean things though if I ever get them again. We are 250 miles from the Cape but expect to drift in there some of these days. We hope to get there by Christmas at any rate.

Tuesday, Dec 17th
Mother's birthday today. May she have very many happy returns of it. We celebrated it by catching a porpoise. Mr. Graves, the second mate, harpooned it while we were at dinner; and when it was known, the dinner table was vacated in a jiffy; and all hands went to the forecastle, where he was soon dispatched. It is a very curious animal, looks as much like a pig as a fish, is as large as a small cow minus the legs.

A fair wind and going at five or six knots, which is slowly enough but better than standing still as we have been for so long.

Wednesday, Dec. 18th
Tried to see if the cherry bounce would wash out of Pa's shirts this morning, but it was no go, so it will have to stay in.

Thursday, Dec. 19th
Fair wind and smooth sea; nearing the Cape. 100 days out today. I don't know exactly what to do with myself. Mrs. B sent me to bed. Pa went out forward and got me some sticks to whittle. Mr. Graves sharpened my knife, and I have whittled ever since.

Friday, Dec. 20th
Land ho! Can just see it. Table Mountain looks like a cloud. We are 25 miles off and will come to anchor in the morning. Expect to take dinner tomorrow in Africa. Have been talking about John Maitland. Mr. Craven knows the ship "Bald Eagle" and the captain he went out with very well. Hope we may light on him some day.

Saturday night, Dec. 21st
Have just returned from Cape Town, where we spent a most delightful day. Got lots of fruit, saw many fine sights and had a good time generally. Went shopping and got ever so many little things, among the rest a comb & net. Put up my hair this evening and have been much complimented upon the strength of it. Went first to the Consul's, then from there to a very good hotel where we ordered dinner, of course, first thing. Had an extra good dinner. How the Constantia wine did suffer. It is splendid wine, made here of the pure juice of the grape. Found a piano at the hotel and had some music. Went through the museum; went shopping; went to the Governor's garden; got lots of ostrich eggs, porcupine quills and other things; saw Negroes in their natural state. Were nearly blown away. Came off to the ship in a sail boat over a very rough sea; the waves came over every little while and wet us; went to the port side of the ship as the sea was running so high, and the sailors took us up over the channels. Cape Town is quite a large city. Has many handsome public buildings. We were all dressed up and looked so nice we hardly knew one another when we met on the street. They use the English currency here, which puzzled me a little at first; and Mrs. Cooper, who is an English woman, laughed at me no little.Bought a dark dress to wear at sea, but now comes the tug of war -- to get it made. Had a high time. All enjoyed ourselves. Have got on board a goat, which gives milk; plenty of fresh provisions and live stock. Plenty of wine, brandy, and cigars, which will keep the gentlemen in good humor for awhile.

Sunday, Dec. 22nd
Have put out to sea again but not got fairly started. One of the boys jumped overboard in a fit of desperation, hoping to escape to shore or get drowned. But he was discovered; a boat lowered, manned & sent off; and he was lashed to the mast shivering in his wet clothes. I am perfectly indignant. I cannot help it. The boy has not the life of a dog, and I most heartily wish that he had escaped or been drowned. The captain is going to flog him. He says he will drown himself yet, and I shouldn't wonder if he did. I would too if I were in his place.

We are getting out of the bay. Table Mountain looks beautiful. Mountains all around. We heard the church bells ringing this morning from the shore. Made us a little homesick. All feel the worse for our dissipation yesterday. Pa says we all behaved well on shore. He enjoyed it much.

Monday, Dec. 23rd
Going along pretty well. Aleck, the boy, got his flogging and has to work in the galley a week for punishment. Cut out the body of my dress this morning by the pattern that Mary Jane put in my trunk. Mrs. B helped and got it a very good fit. If that dress does get made in any kind of shipshape. I think I shall never have the heart to throw it away but must take it home to show Mother. When we came back from shore, the stewardess was about dead drunk. She had taken all the liquor she could find in all the staterooms and has hardly gotten over it yet. Spoke a French ship this morning.

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th
Dead calm. One year ago tonight when I was dancing at Cherry Hill if anybody had told me that the next Christmas eve I would be rounding the cape of Good Hope in the "Julia G. Tyler" bound for Hong Kong, I guess I would have laughed in derision.

Woke up about 6 o'clock this morning and found the goat standing in the middle of my stateroom trying to put on my hoops. She had taken her breakfast out of a box under Mrs. B's berth in which some bottles of port are packed in straw. I stared at her in astonishment -- when she gave a little "baaa" and ran out. I was weighed at Cape Town and weighed 124 lbs., which is more than I ever weighed before.

Christmas, Wednesday, Dec. 25th
A lovely day but very warm. Going at 5 or 6 knots. What a high time we have had. Captain said there should not be a drop of water drunk on board the ship today, and I guess there wasn't. It is also Mr. De Silver's birthday. We have been very merry all day. Had mince pie for dinner, very good! But rather too much brandy in them. Sat at dinner about two hours. Had a great many toasts, of course. Mr. Foster got his flute and played, and we sang a great deal. Had a pleasant evening. At 10 o'clock the captain asked us to sing again. So we had all the traditional songs, wound up with "Old Hundredth." Took a glass of wine. Drank the Captain's health and Mr. De Silver's, absent friends, the prosperity of our country, a prosperous voyage, and last to "the ladies," then subsided to our staterooms.

Thursday, Dec. 26th
Finished my dress today, all but the buttons. Got the carpenter to make them and will cover them with velvet. Tried to do it today but didn't get it done. Mr. De Silver sewed patchwork all morning at our door. The wind has almost died away. We are just entering the Indian Ocean.

Saturday, Dec. 28th
A good wind today. Finished my dress and it looks tip top. Went down to Mrs. Cooper's room and stayed awhile, ate an orange, a couple of pears, drank a glass of lemonade and a glass of ale, went to bed and slept until dinner time, ate dinner, staid in the cabin awhile, read a little while, wrote a little while, tucked my balmoral, helped Mrs. B wind some darning cotton, walked up and down the cabin for half an hour, took tea, sang a little with the rest, talked a little foolishly and soberly by turns, walked deck a little, and at 10 subsided to my stateroom. And that is a specimen of my daily life.

It puzzles me to find out what any of us live for on this ship. I wonder why we could not just as well lie torpid. Talk about time being precious -- I only wish some folks who have not time enough had some that we don't know what to do with. It does seem to me that if ever I have any object to live for, I shall enjoy it and pursue it with eagerness after this long period of aimless existence. But it is all wrong to complain in this way, I know. We are all well, and that is one great thing to be thankful for.

(Here a page was torn out. Dec. 29, 30, 31; Jan. 1 and 2 are missing.)

Friday, Jan. 3rd
A good breeze and warm sun. Have been in my state room all day finishing a piece of crochet work which I have had for a standing job ever since I came to sea until I am really ashamed to be seen with it. So I thought I would make an end of it. Dreamed about Frank Courtenay last night. Thought I was at church and sat beside Mr. Boyd. Wish it was true, but it isn't.

Saturday, Jan. 4th
Going at 8 knots. Made 210 miles last 24 hours. How astonishing!

Sunday, Jan. 5th
Wrote letters nearly all morning. Went on deck and sat for two hours in a strong wind with nothing on but my hood. Came down and felt very cold and shivery. Had to leave the dinner table and get a shawl. Was a big fool to come to sea without a warm shawl. Had to borrow one. Put lots of red pepper in my soup in hopes of getting warm, but no use. Shook as though I had the ague. After dinner Pa stowed me away in his berth, covered me up with shawls, gave me a dose of the hottest stuff ever I got hold of. No. 6 isn't a circumstance to it. It is Jamaica ginger, African cayenne pepper dissolved in spirits of wine. He keeps it as a standing remedy; and whenever anyone here gets sick, he makes them march up and swallow a dose. Burnt awfully as it went down, but it put me right to sleep. Slept until tea time, woke up with fever, went down to Mrs. Cooper's room, stayed awhile, then took a glass of hot whiskey punch and subsided to my room, warm at last.

Monday, Jan. 6th
Woke up this morning, found it blowing very hard and the water coming in at both ends of my berth. Decidedly comfortable, that! The gale has been increasing every moment and the glass (barometer) falling rapidly. We are just off Madagascar. Between the wind, thunder and roaring of the waves, it is impossible to "hear our own ears." Things are crashing generally. Ollie took me on deck in a safe place where I stayed for an hour to see the fun. And fun it was. Once in a while we would go down in the trough of the sea, and the waves would be piled up high all around us. Then up we would go on the top of a big one and down again with a plunge that sent things flying and put the forecastle clear under water, taking in so much water that as it flowed about with the motion of the ship, it would wash the sailors around without ceremony. Then would come a flash of lightening, the sound of the thunder being almost drowned by the roaring of the waves. We are laying to now, carrying no sail at all except the fore topsail. The main brace has just parted with a crack.

This morning at breakfast Uncle John went backwards his whole length into the pantry and was picked up somewhat stunned. Several more of the gentlemen, who were on the lee side, capsized; and the breakfast flew in all directions. Dr. Foster lost his sausage on the floor to his great distress; and I found him cabbaging mine, which had rolled over to his side of the table.

Pa is a little sea sick and keeps to his berth. He is very timid in these storms. I happened to have in my pocket a piece of very strong peppermint candy, which he took and feels better. We will be all right as soon as the gale is over. Mr. Paul is also seasick, but all the rest stand it bravely. These storms are common here in the Indian Ocean. We may look for another off Australia. Dreamed about Hen last night. I rather think she would open wide her big blue eyes if she would happen to drop down here on the Tyler this afternoon.

Tuesday, Jan. 7th
The storm still rages with increased violence. Had a "white squall" this morning, which the captain says was the hardest one he ever saw. He took me up the companion way to look at it for half a minute, and it really seemed as if nothing could stand before it. The spanker parted and flew to ribbons and gave way and came down to the deck with a crash. I was glad I wasn't under it. It was expected every minute that the foretop mast would go, as it is much the worse for the wear already. Presently a crash came. All thought it had gone, and they sent for an axe to cut away the mizzen rigging, but it proved to be something else. The sea looked like a great boiling, steaming cauldron. The wind just picked up the waves and blew them to pieces so that we could not see one yard ahead of the ship or around her. The man at the wheel was lashed to it, and he was washed away, down against the lee rail. Fortunately for the ship, the violence of the storm was soon spent. She could not have stood it much longer. We rolled most awfully. Most ridiculous and laughable scenes are constantly being performed in the cabin. I wish that some of our friends could just have peeped down through the skylight over our dinner table and watched us as we dined.

Pa, Uncle John, the captain, and Mrs. Cooper would not venture to the table; but the rest of us did. Soup was dispensed with, as that could not be thought of. We had roast pork. Mr. De Silver carved. The vessel gave a roll, away went his chair from under him. He disappeared under the table; and the roast pork, with the carving fork sticking straight up in it, flew over his head. The potatoes rolled out of the dish on to the floor; bread and other things following suit. Mr. De Silver and the meat were at last picked up, and he proceeded with his carving. Ollie picked up some potatoes off the floor and kindly put them on my plate. I scraped the thick of the dirt off and ate them, the rest doing likewise. The ship gave another roll. Mr. De Silver's chair started and carried him clear to the lower corner of the cabin with a rush, knife and fork with a slice of meat on it in his hand. The roast pork, which seemed determined to follow the carver, was caught by the stewardess just as it was going over the edge of the table. Mr. Foster's dinner left him, came clear across the table, and landed in Mr. Hanford's lap, whose stool immediately flew from under him, causing him to turn a somersault backward, dinner and all. Mr. Foster was so distressed at the loss of his dinner, knowing that any more would be obtained only under great difficulties, that he forgot to keep his balance and came sliding under the table, where he brought up against Mr. Hanford with a whack, and such a pile. I guess the broad cloth and paper collars suffered a lot that time. Meanwhile the sofa, upon which the captain was lying at the upper end of the cabin, got adrift and stood up on end, pitching the captain into the stewardess' stateroom; and Mrs. Cooper, who had sat down on the floor in despair, went rolling after him with such a groan as only she can give. Pa had a biscuit and piece of meat in his hand, sat in his stateroom door watching the circumgyrations of the rest. I had taken his seat at the table, which is against the mast. Ollie had braced my chair with a stool; and with the exception of getting a glass of water, plate of pilot bread, piece of meat, salt cellar, and a few potatoes in my lap, I fared well but laughed so I could only eat between rolls.
The wind is now luffing a little, but a very heavy sea is running.

Wednesday, Jan. 8th
The storm is over. It is a beautiful day. Had a mean dinner. I dined off mustard. Mr. De Silver declares he dined off red pepper and the rest off faith. Slim diet!

Thursday, Jan. 9th
Fine day and fair wind. Captain very sick, threatened with inflammation and suffers a great deal. Doctor tried to bleed him, but the blood wouldn't come. Mrs. Cooper much frightened. She says he is sick from over exertion and exposure during the storm, but we happen to know that he is sick from drinking too much brandy and that during the storm instead of being in his place on deck, he was drunk in his stateroom.

"Ripped out" (?) out my trunks this morning, sewed a little, cut Ollie's hair, mended Mr. De Silver's coat, sewed a button on his shirt, and fixed a visor on his cap. I know he just pulls things to pieces on purpose to get me to fix them for him. Feel out of sorts. Wish I knew exactly what to do with myself.

Friday, Jan. 10th
Fair day but light wind. Read "Catherine Blum." Don't think much of it. Didn't do anything else all day.

Saturday, Jan. 11th
Fine day but calm. Sewed all morning. Trimmed some drawers with Hal's tatting. Little Hal did not think when she gave that to me that it would ever see the Indian Ocean. Neither did I.

The gentlemen are all busy over a little piece of sandalwood, which they are transforming into a silk winder for me. It is going to be very pretty and is keeping them out of mischief. Ollie keeps a very sharp lookout after me. He has taken a great dislike to the doctor and told me to have nothing at all to do with him. I haven't any more to do with him than with the rest of the gentlemen, but he has always been polite to me, and I shall be so to him. I told Ollie so, and he was mad, but he is unreasonable about it. Two sails in sight, a schooner and brig.

Sunday, Jan. 12th
Wrote awhile, then went to bed and staid until dinner time. Harry, the cabin boy, spilt a bowl of gravy all over me. Of course I said nothing, but wasn't this child mad! Of course the boy couldn't help it, but such things are very provoking. Ollie makes me mad too. He has undertaken the hardest job ever he tried before, I can tell him.

Monday, Jan. 13th
A fair wind. Going at 8 knots. Fell in with a schooner and spoke her, the "Calliope" from Boston bound to Shanghai and carrying two small steamers on deck. She came very close, and we had quite a conversation. She was a beautiful little craft and is now away ahead. Of course it wouldn't be us if she wasn't. Sewed all morning. Have taken to hemming ruffles and sat in my berth all morning half buried in cambric and dimity.

Tuesday, Jan. 14th
Breeze still holds good. Very heavy sea. Decks wet all the time. Darned Pa's stockings, covered a meerschaum for one of the gentlemen, called on Mrs. Cooper, staid an hour or so in Pa's stateroom, and ate rather too much curry for dinner. We hope to get up to the islands soon. Hope we may keep this wind until we get there. Roll a great deal today.

Wednesday, Jan. 15th
Am just as mad as I can be today. Could cut somebody's throat and enjoy it. Never mind, this child is smarter than some folks think for as they may find out some day yet.

Thursday, Jan. 16th
A rainy day, inexpressibly dull. Sewed all morning. Slept all afternoon. Promenaded the cabin all evening.

Friday, January 17th
Still rainy. Read all morning in Pa's stateroom. A rainy day on shore is dismal, but a rainy day at sea is almost insupportable. I do wish it would clear.

Saturday, Jan. 18th
Rained cats and dogs all day. Dismal, dull, disagreeable, deplorable, and disgusting in the extreme.

Sunday, Jan 19th
Looks like a clear off. Do hope it is. Glass still falling though. Captain thinks we will have a gale. Ship rolls awfully. Wrote letters this morning, read the Bible. Preached a sermon to some of the gentlemen but am afraid they did not profit much by it. Went on deck and watched a whole regiment of black fish. They are nearly as large as whales. There must have been several hundred of them. They cut great capers. All hands were on deck looking at them. It is refreshing to have something to look at after having been shut up in the cabin for four days.

Monday, Jan. 20th
Going at 9 knots. The old ocean is fairly boiling tonight. Heavy sea running, wind dead aft, ship rolls most horribly. Pa got no sleep last night but has been making up for it all day. I covered him all up, fixed the dead light, shut the door, and came out in the cabin to keep them all quiet. But it was hard work. Thought the best thing I could do would be to leave, so I went down to Mrs. Cooper's room. One or two of the gentlemen soon came in there. The rest went to bed, and Pa got his sleep. Came back at 4 bells. Found Mrs. B in her stateroom with the sick headache. Attended to her and took charge of Harry at dinner, where we were rolled around most awfully. Prospects of a blow. Blow away. I don't care. The harder the better. We couldn't roll worse than we do now.

Tuesday, Jan. 21st
Going at 8 knots; dull weather, but that is nothing as long as we have wind. Sewed this morning. Tried to make something and fizzled. Feel much disgusted. Won't sew any more for a week. Wish I was a frog. I'd stay torpid until we get to Hong Kong.

Wednesday, Jan. 22nd
Pleasant day but cool. A French ship, the "Malouin," passed us very close. She hoisted her colors and so did we but did not speak. I suppose the captain couldn't speak English, and Captain Cooper couldn't speak French, but there was such a sea on that sometimes a wave would roll between us so high that we couldn't see even her topmasts. It is really cold today. Thought I was frozen last night. Dreamed about Mary Jane and little Sammy Edgar. Woke up and found myself about suspended as the vessel was rolling so. Wish it would get warm.

Thursday, Jan 23rd
Fair day and fine wind. All hands in good humor although it is cod fish day. Took a freshwater bath, and of course I am good-natured. Getting warmer. We'll soon have it hot enough.

Friday, Jan. 24th
Fair wind; making six knots. Have a little sore throat. Must have taken some cold after my warm bath yesterday.

Saturday, Jan. 25th
Splendid day. Stayed on deck nearly all morning whittling. Came down, mended Pa's stockings, called on Mrs. Cooper. Two or three of the gentlemen came in. Had lots of fun. Had roly-poly for dinner, abominable stuff. Think man who first invented rolypoly ought to make one more and then hang himself. Wish I had some Buttonwood bread and butter. Wouldn't it suffer though?