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Chapter 6


Sunday, Jan. 26th
Wrote letters all morning; read awhile; stayed in Pa's stateroom awhile.
Didn't do anything else all day.

Monday, Jan. 27th
Beautiful day, bit light wind. Sewed this morning. Consider myself now quite "sewed out." Shan't sew any more. Getting into warm weather again. Everybody lazy; a great deal of "nothing to do." Chief occupation and amusement whittling. I keep my person busy going forward to get me wood and sharpen my knife. Cabin looks like a carpenter ship, deck ditto. Feel sleepy; guess I'll subside awhile.

Tuesday, Jan. 28th
Dead calm, very warm. Caught a big bluenosed shark 9 1/2 feet long. There is nothing the sailors enjoy so well as catching, tormenting and at last killing a shark; and it is no wonder, for he is the worst enemy the sailor has. He was soon dissected. The Chinaman took part of him for his dinner, and the rest was thrown overboard. There are two more around the ship now. They always come in a calm. It is some excitement to catch them. Seems natural to get into a dead calm again.

Wednesday, Jan. 29th
Dead calm. How natural those two words look. The sea is as smooth
as polished glass, not the slightest ripple, not wind enough to blow a mosquito off the main yards. Everybody quiet and sleepy. Even the sailors have no work to do and are lying around in the sun sewing. The sea looks as if it had settled down and could never be agitated again. We are so perfectly helpless in a calm. Can do nothing at all but just wait. I rather enjoy the calm today. We had been tossed and rolled around for such a long time that this perfect unbroken stillness and quiet is refreshing. I feel so perfectly lazy, listless, and comfortable that it seems to me I must be asleep dreaming. Loafed about all morning then strolled out on the main deck but found I was too lazy to make one foot go after the other. Took to whittling in an idle sort of way. Then one of the gentlemen came out and wanted me to sit down and talk to him. Felt too lazy to do it, had just enough energy left to walk away whenever he came near me. Teased him until he got mad and sat down sulkily, then sharpened a stick and stuck him with it until he was really mad. Then I sat down on the pump handle and talked soberly to him for three quarters of an hour, by which time he was in a good humor and I in a bad one. Then, fortunately, the dinner bell rang. I went to my room, smoothed my hair and temper together and went to dinner amiable. I beg Mother's pardon, not amiable, for that she says her two eldest daughters are not; but I may say good natured. Dreamed last night that Bell and I killed two men, hit them on the heads with a board. When it was done, Bell cried; but I told her "served them right. It was my fault, not hers, and not to cry." I do have very queer dreams, I think.

Thursday, Jan. 30th
Cod fish day. Confound all cod fish, I say. (Think the man who caught and salted the first cod fish ought to catch just one more and then die. Vile truck, only fit for second rate Yankees to eat) along with cold buckwheat cakes and such like duff and 'lasses for dessert, baked bean soup literally thickened with worms and bugs. Have to shut our eyes and eat it. They are painting the decks. Can't go outside at all.

Ollie spun me a yarn which horrified me so that I don't expect to have any appetite for bread and apple sauce this evening, which will be a pity as we only have apple sauce seven days in the week; and of course it is a great rarity. Thought I would be very smart this morning and do some sewing on my own hook. Did it wrong and was so mad that I locked the door and tore it up. Feel a little cheap. How Mother will laugh. Feel played out altogether. Dead calm. Don't expect anything else. Have long since given up all idea of ever getting to Hong Kong. Think that by doing penance for our sins we are doomed to bob around here for the rest of our lives in the Julia Tyler . Feel resigned to my fate. Wish the rest did, but they don't. Who cares!!

Friday, Jan. 31st
Fair day and fine breezes; making 8 knots. Have not done anything all day except read a little. We are all played out, read out, sung out, and talked out. Don't do anything but grumble, growl, and scandalize one another; and live on faith, which is now the chief article of diet and may be very wholesome, but it makes us all ill natured -- I suppose on the same principle that a hungry dog bites everybody.

Saturday, Feb. 1st
Saturday night, "sweethearts and wives"; we always have that toast here. Good wind. Sailing pretty well.

Sunday, Feb. 2nd
Our 22nd Sunday on board. Had a good breeze this morning, fell this afternoon to a flat calm, but it is blowing a little more freshly now. Very quiet today. Seems like Sunday. How funny it would seem to go to Church again. Dreamed I was there last night and hooked a red apple out of old Mrs. McConnel's basket. Thought then that I was at Cherry Hill. What wouldn't I give for a roll in the grass at home with the children and the dogs. Wish I had brought Tony along, but what is the use of wishing.

Monday, Feb. 3rd
Fair wind and smooth sea. Every place all painted. Made a little boat and sailed it in the deck tub all afternoon, Mr. De Silver helping me as usual. That fellow makes about as big a fool of himself as I ever care to see. He puts up with more from me than I would from any living creature. Sometimes he does get mad, and I let him indulge his temper undisturbed. He soon gets tired of it. And how he does beg! How he does hate the doctor, and how the doctor despises him. He undertook the other day to overhaul Mr. Craven for something concerning me, and a sweet row they had of it. Mr. Craven told me afterward that if Tom De Silver undertook to interfere with him again in anything that concerned me, he would wring his neck for him, It is a lovely day. Mrs. B is blue. I'm glad I don't get blue. Last night I broke our looking glass all to pieces, so there is only a small piece left. No danger of our getting vain; but if ever I get on shore again and have a chance to dress up, I think I may indulge in a little vanity.

Tuesday, Feb. 4th
A lovely day; making very good speed; feel as if it couldn't help it. Can't think of anything to write, so I'll let it alone.

Wednesday, Feb. 5th
How fast the days do run round. It seems to me almost incredible that we have been to sea five months.

This morning one of the gentlemen and I arranged a very good seesaw out of one of the pumps and seesawed for ever so long. Last evening Mrs. Ballard, Mr. Foster, Mr. Craven, Mr. De Silver, Ollie, and I took possession of the lower corner of the cabin and played 'pon honor. Had any amount of fun. Some very close questions and plenty of fibs told, I know. Ollie especially spun some very hard yarns.

Thursday, Feb. 6th
Intensely hot; everybody lazy and loafing. Mr. De Silver made me mad last evening, very mad. I was just raising a glass of water to drink it, and I threw it flat in his face, turned on my heel and went to bed. He doesn't know whether to be mad or not today. He wants to, but is afraid it will not be so easy to get pleased again. If it had been any other fellow in the world, he would never have anything to do with me again. He did not say anything wrong last night, only I was in a bad humor, and he irritated me. We are 1400 miles from Timor.

Friday, Feb. 7th
Sailing pretty well. Want to slap everybody. Read awhile and kicked chairs and stools about the rest of the time. We are fast getting down to the point of starvation. Provisions nearly out again. Captain Cooper has no sense. He borrowed money from the passengers at Cape Town to buy provisions, he said; but he bought gin and brandy with it and left out the provisions. Indignation of all steadily on the increase, a row brewing as sure as fate. Everybody is down on the captain and especially his wife; she rules her husband entirely and is no better than she ought to be anyhow.

Saturday, Feb. 8th
A grand breeze. Got into the SE trades; hope to have a good run now up to the islands. There is some fun ahead, I know. I feel it in my bones. Hope it will hurry and come.

Sunday, Feb. 9th
A beautiful day; breeze still holds steady. Wrote a letter to Bell this morning. Hope to be able to mail it at Timor.

Monday, Feb. 10th
Fine wind; making good speed. A grand row in the captain's room this morning. Hard words and threats. Pa went to the rescue and has been trying to make peace all morning.

Tuesday, Feb. 11th
Good wind; all things comparatively quiet and peaceful. Sat in the cabin last evening, a lot of us, and sang about everything we could think of. Mr. Craven said it was a fine night and proposed that we should all go on deck where we might, as he said, howl as much as we liked and disturb nobody. So up we went and had a gay time. We are in the tropics again, and it is extremely hot.

Wednesday, Feb. 12th
Hot as "love in summer time." Helped make a (?) this morning; blistered both hands. Threw Mr. De Silver's hat overboard last night. He dared me to do it, and I won't be dared. He has been going around all morning bareheaded and sulky. I have a sun bonnet somewhere, I think, that I can lend him.

Thursday, Feb. 13th
Awfully hot; good breeze. Made ever so many little pincushions for the gentlemen and mended Pa's trousers.

Friday, Feb. 14th - St. Valentine's Day
The hottest St. Valentine's Day ever I felt. Thermometer 101o in a shady, cool place. Nobody does much of anything but try and keep cool.

Saturday, Feb. 15th
Hot! Hot! Hot! Calm! Calm! All hands mad and hungry. How all these things will end Heaven only knows. I don't

Sunday, Feb. 16th
Fair wind and smooth sea. Nights very oppressive. All the gentlemen (nearly) sleep on deck. Last night I thought I would try Ollie's berth, so I climbed up in it and found it comparatively cool, very public though. I thought of Moll Wilder the day she would not bathe with all the doors locked because some gentlemen were on the porch. Wonder what she would do in my place. It was sleeping pretty much in public, there are no two ways about that; but it can't be helped here. These warm nights we just throw on a dark wrapper and who cares? Not I.

Monday, Feb. 17th
Rained hard all day; head wind this morning. I have been regularly hungry all day. Mother need never tell me again that I never was hungry. We are really in a very bad fix; very few provisions on board and we can not better ourselves until we get to the islands. Oh, for some Buttonwood bread and butter. But what's the use of such thoughts.

Tuesday, Feb. 18th
Becalmed all morning. Get some wind now; rain squalls come up every half hour with thunder and lightening. Slept all morning. Got up at dinner time. Had the hiccups; couldn't get rid of them. Went up on deck, and the doctor told me we had a fair wind, which frightened them away entirely.

Wednesday, Feb. 19th
Almost dead calm; finished our ship ready for launching.

Thursday, Feb. 20th
Cook is sick; one of the sailors installed in his place. Matters in a very bad state. Thermometer standing at 107o in the most breezy place in the cabin. 80 miles from the islands. I wish to good heaven that we were there.

Friday, Feb. 21st
Rained off and on all day. Had a violent thunder storm in the night. One peal was so loud and sudden that it waked up everybody, and the mate at first thought the ship was struck. We are near land. Sandalwood Island is 80 miles distant. If it was clear weather, we could see it. This morning a gray parrot came on board and stayed awhile. Pieces of bamboo and coconuts keep floating past us, just keeping us in a state of aggravation.

Saturday, Feb. 22nd
Not much wind, and what there is is dead ahead. Saw a water spout this morning. Sandalwood Island in sight. A sail in sight too. Everybody wishing the old craft would run ashore. 100 miles from Timor, where we expect to put in. Expect to get there in the course of a month, nothing preventing.

Sunday, Feb. 23rd
Hot as the old scratch! Still off Sandalwood. Making no speed at all. Wrote letters all morning.

Monday, Feb. 24th
Dead calm; just a few miles from land. Can see the tall palm trees and hear the roaring of the surf. The land breeze is perfectly intoxicating: smells like the garden at home after a warm rain. All hands acting like crazy people. The dog got a sniff of the land breeze and could hardly be kept from jumping overboard. Oh! but it is too tantalizing. Broke open the main hatch. A little wind springing up.

Tuesday, Feb. 25th
Got a four knot breeze; Sandalwood away astern. More land on our starboard quarter. Saw lights round the island last evening, which the captain thought might be pirates and had the guns ready. But they were only fishing, I guess. I'm hungry. Wouldn't I like to drop in at home this evening to supper, but I would like them to know I was coming that they might be prepared, for I would eat more than as much as all the rest of the family put together. I fully expect that we will all kill ourselves at the first decent meal we get on shore. I don't think any one house in Hong Kong could stand the press of giving this crowd their first meal.

Mother has seen and been astonished at the eating of hungry beggars, who have been starved for a day or two. But if she had seen us eat our first meal at Tristan Da Cuna, she would cease to be surprised at beggars. But that was not a circumstance to what we will be if we ever get to Hong Kong. We expect to sight Timor some time tomorrow if we keep this wind.

Wednesday, Feb. 26th
A fair day and five knot breeze. Timor is in sight. Hurrah! Three cheers and a groan for us. We'll have something to eat. Only 25 miles from Kupang where we are going to put in. Great excitement prevails. All manner of things floating past the ship.

Thursday, Feb. 27th
Anchored before Kupang within a mile of the shore. It is so provoking to look at the land and not be on it that I can not stand it any longer and have subsided below. A boat had been off with the governor. Mr. Craven went back with him to get the ship's stores. It is a beautiful island. We can see the ripe bananas and coconuts hanging on the trees, some animals and naked natives. They are low of stature and hideously ugly, all chewing betel nut, which stains their lips red and their teeth black. Islands all around us nothing but palm trees. A Dutch steamer, the "Padang," is just going out. We put letters on board of her.
10 o'clock
Mr. Craven has just returned bringing plenty of fruit and very sorrowful news. He went aboard the steamer and learned from a paper that England had declared war against America. When he returned, we were all on the quarter deck singing, but there was no more singing after that. I suppose the folks at home are surrounded by war, and here we are 10,000 miles away. Well, we can't help it now.

It is a lovely night; the steamer went out just before dark. I took Mr. De Silver's rifle and fired a salute to her as she passed us. We are lying just under the guns of a Dutch fort; the 8 o'clock gun made us jump to our feet it was so sudden.

This is glorious weather, very hot, but I like it. I wonder what is the reason that one's blood seems to run ten times as fast here in the tropics as it does at home in our cooler climate.

Friday night, Feb. 28th
All hands went ashore this morning after breakfast and staid all day and had a glorious time. Found several German captains with beautiful Malay wives who spoke broken English and lived in very nice style just like the Chinese do -- low houses with red tiled roofs and floors. We were objects of great curiosity and were always followed by an admiring crowd of naked Malays. Visited a Mohammaden Temple and saw them at their worship. Every house we entered they gave us tea and insisted upon our drinking it; and such tea was worth drinking. Then Pa and Mrs. B stayed at the captain's as they feared the extreme heat, and the rest of us wandered away back into the forest, roamed among a wilderness of palm, banana, and bamboo trees, all sorts of vines, most gorgeous flowers and beautiful waterfalls, in short, a real tropical jungle. Went to Captain Gurst's where we had cakes, coffee, music, and a dance; then went to see his garden, county seat and ponies. Went back to Captain Drysdale's, where Pa and Mrs. B were. Took a bath and had dinner.

Then visited the fort. Inspected the barracks, saw the troops drill, went all through the town, explored the stores and curiosity shops. Went down to the beach. Found Captain, Uncle John, and Mr. Craven awfully drunk. Hired a boat and went back to the ship. Got there safely, found the stewardess sober and all things fixed up very nicely. Had a good supper and altogether have had a tip top time. The bad news in regard to the war has been contradicted to the great delight of us all.

Saturday, March 1st
We are a mad party aboard this ship today. The captain is drunk and as mean as he can be. He told us this morning we might all go ashore. All went in his boat but Pa, Ollie, Mrs. B, Mr. De Silver and me. Captain Gurst came off in his boat to see us, and we were all going ashore with him, but Captain Cooper got mad because Captain Gurst did not make a fuss over him and wouldn't let us go. The hateful, mean, drunken rascal. But we had a good time all day. Dozens of boats came off, and we got lots of things. Late in the evening the boat came back bringing the other party, all complaining that they had not had much fun or a good time. Captain, Uncle John and Mr. Craven still drunk and are likely to be. We have today taken on board 1 goat, 2 little kids, 1 deer, 6 pigs, 8 wild bullocks, 80 or 90 chickens, 150 coconuts, 160 pomelos, 200 limes, some oranges, lemons, any quantity of bananas, besides fresh vegetables of many kinds, 6 or 7 monkeys, as many cockatoos, and some parakeets.

Every one on the ship has got a Malay straw hat. This morning we had green corn for breakfast. The main deck is a perfect farm yard. We have a little dog too that has a face something like Tony. Hope we'll have a good time after this.

Sunday, March 2nd
Head wind and not much of it; got under way at 6 o'clock this morning, been tacking ship but making no speed. Burning hot day; everybody lying around lazy, listless and trying to get a little air. Captain, Uncle John, and Mr. Craven still drunk and likely to be so as they do nothing but drink. Had pumpkin vine soup, roast buffalo and yams for dinner. Parrots and monkeys squealing around everywhere.

Monday, March 3rd
No wind; not out of sight of Timor yet. All hands have been fixing up their possessions today. Any stranger to go into our staterooms would think he was getting into a tropical forest. Great bunches of bananas, baskets of limes and dozens of huge pomelos strung up all around. We also laid in a supply of sugar on our own hook. I have two palm leaf baskets strung up under my berth, one full of limes, the other containing a tin box full of sugar, a pestle and two spoons made of wood and of my own manufacture. I also made some for Mrs. B. She and all the others have some similar arrangements; and so we "keep house" and make our own lemonade independent of the mean, drunken old captain.
Have just been on deck looking through the glass at some fine breakers on the extreme end of the island.

Tuesday, March 4th
One year ago today "Old Abe" took his seat in the presidential chair. Wonder if he isn't tired of it by this time.

Dead calm. Nobody does anything but lie around, eat fruit, drink lemonade and play with the monkeys. Great indignation because the captain, his wife, Uncle John and Mr. Craven stay drunk all the time, eat their meals at a private table, take all the good things; and we get the coarsest kind of living. Things worse, if possible, than before.

Wednesday, March 5th
Very hot day; very mad; very sleepy. Guess I'll go to bed.

Thursday, March 6th
Had a breeze all night. Wrote a letter to Joe this morning. All the gentlemen carving in sandalwood, of which they laid in a large supply at Timor.

Friday, March 7th
Getting into the Ombay pass. A sail in sight. Wrote a letter to Madge and one to Sam. Have a little wind.

Saturday, March 8th
Fell in with the American ship, "Vancluse." Her captain -- Capt. Nelson -- boarded us. Stayed all morning. We gave him some coconuts, half a beef and a keg of oil; and he left us.

Great many pirates up here among the islands. Captain Nelson tells us that a whaler bound home with a great cargo of oil on board ran aground here a week ago, and the cannibals murdered all the crew and destroyed the ship. A proa full of them came alongside of us last night about midnight, when the mate fired one of the big guns and scattered them suddenly. The English Ship, "Maria," passed us this morning. A Dutch schooner is just off our port bow. This pass is very narrow, and so we are all coming together here. Wrote to Arthur this morning. Wind all dead away, quite calm.

Sunday, March 9th
Drifted backwards 35 miles during the night. Very encouraging! We'll get to New York at that rate some day. Mr. Williams, first mate, put off duty and sent to his room. Captain was jealous of Williams because the passengers all liked him better, and he knew ten times as much as the captain did. So he made an excuse for getting mad at him, made a fool of himself, and sent him below. Three ships in sight and a proa. Finished a letter to Mother.

Monday, March 10th
Getting pretty well into the pass. Found the "Vancluse" astern this morning. She had fallen in with an adverse current. We had struck a favorable one for a wonder and had a breeze. So we made signals to her, telling her to steer our way, which she did and came up very close. When she hailed us and her captain and ours had a long conversation from the quarter decks, we all listening. Captain Nelson said that he met with a strong current setting in toward the land and came within an ace of running the ship aground. In the midst of his trouble a large proa full of naked savages came dodging around him. Pretty soon they made signals to the shore. The captain saw he was surrounded by proas. He said he was a scared man by that time. He had no arms on board but a revolver and an old single barreled gun. His crew only numbered 14, three of whom were laid up sick; so he had all the lights put out, mustered his crew on deck, made a fuss with his two old guns, got up a great noise and shook in his shoes. The pirates seemed to hold a parley, but kept around until about 4 o'clock in the morning, when they went away. Captain Nelson then hove to to wait for us as he knew we were well armed. He says he was awfully scared and will stick close to us until we are through these islands. The natives do not use fire arms. Their weapons are knives, which they hold in their mouths while they board a ship, and then they use them. They are much afraid of guns. We have got one of the heavy guns mounted on the quarter deck, one is midships and the others forward. The muskets are also in order. If they come around us, we will have some fun. Captain Nelson is coming off for the doctor as some of his men need him.
Have a nice cool land breeze this evening.

Tuesday, March 11th
Good wind; going along nicely. Had a gale in the night and came near going ashore. Wrote to Moll Wilder today.

Wednesday, March 12th
No land in sight, but a big rock. Very mean dinner. Captain will pay for this yet, see if he don't. Ollie and doctor had a spat in the cabin last night. I only wonder that doctor hasn't thrashed Ollie and Mr. De Silver before now. If anybody treated me as they treat him, I should half kill them or try for it. I hope there will be no fights though. I would like to see the captain hang.

Thursday, March 13th
Rained all day; breeze still continues. A sail in sight; think it is the "Vancluse." Hope to get into the Gilolo (sp.?) Pass tomorrow. I am getting very impatient, very impatient indeed, to get to Hong Kong. All the gentlemen deep in sandalwood. Have more silk winders than I know what to do with. Made a bargain with Mr. Miller -- offered to let him read a page of my log if he would let me read a page of his. He said he would and then backed out. I told him I would put that down in my log.