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Chapter 7


Friday, March 14th
Rainy day; just now got up from the sofa, struck my head against the lamp and broke a piece of my comb off. Had a heavy squall in the night. Came up in about a minute and caught the ship unprepared for it. Struck her like a shot, sending her flat aback. Blew very hard for about 15 minutes. Everybody woke up and nearly all went on deck. I looked out at the dead light awhile; promenaded around the stateroom; ate some bananas; and when it was over, turned in. We were under full sail; the night was clear and fine. Starboard watch and second mate on deck when the squall struck her. Called up the port watch and tried to shorten sail; loosed the spanker, but the wind caught it, and it would not come down; tried to haul up the crossjack and mainsail, but could not; loosed the royals, and in half a minute they were torn to ribbons. Topgallant sails shared the same fate, and such a noise -- the sails flapping, splitting and tearing; the wind roaring through the rigging; men shouting and running. The old ship spun round awhile, then went off before the wind like a "streak of Jersey lightening." It was fortunate that the blow did not last very long, or we would not have a stitch of canvas left. We have had such still, quiet weather for so long that a gale seems quite funny. Matters in a bad condition; all very indignant; insult after insult offered to the passengers by the captain. I wonder how the gentlemen on board this ship can keep their hands off him. I know what I'd do very quick if I could. I'd hang the captain up to the yardarms, shut up his wife in her stateroom, tie a bottle of brandy around Uncle John's neck and Mr Craven's neck and throw them overboard, make Mr. Williams captain and go into Hong Kong with flying colors.

Saturday, March 15th
Good stiff breeze. "Boeron" in sight; two sails in sight. Pleasant day but squally. All the gentlemen busy with sandalwood. Mr. De Silver mad. I have been teasing him; he gets as mad as he can be but still goes on making me all manner of pretty things. If I were in his place, I wouldn't do it; and I told him so; but he just says, "Oh yes." Some folks are too good-natured, and he is one of them. He takes more off me than I would off anybody. I tell him so, and doesn't he get mad!

Sunday, March 16th
No wind all morning; a little this afternoon. "Vancluse" is quite close. Captain Nelson came aboard and took off the doctor. Captain is coming back to dinner. One of his sailors looks like John Martland very much but is not he. A squall is coming up; and if Captain Nelson has any wit, he will stay aboard his own ship and not leave it. A small brig in sight. Wind rising.

Monday, March 17th
Just as I thought. Captain Nelson came aboard to dinner, leaving his ship in charge of the mate, a young and inexperienced man, with four sick men and only four well ones to manage the ship. While at dinner a squall came up; the wind rose and the sea got up very high. We immediately got under full sail; so did the "Vancluse," both ships heading the same way. Ran 8 or 9 miles, then tacked ship -- so did the "Vancluse." Dinner lasted until half past five, but they were too intent on their wine to know what was going on outside.

About 6 Captain Nelson came up to take his boat, a little the worse for his wine; but the appearance of things soon sobered him. It was quite dark, blowing very hard, a heavy sea on, both ships under good headway, and the "Vancluse" evidently unmanageable. He got in his boat and made for his ship, but she shot ahead like an arrow, and in a few minutes his little boat was miles astern of us both on a rough sea without a light and both ships going away as fast as they could. His mate evidently had not seen the captain put off; and it was more than he could do, with only four men and a high wind, to manage the ship. Captain Cooper at once hove the ship aback, and we feared the boat would be lost as the darkness increased and the wind and sea rose very minute.

All hands were on the quarter deck watching with intense anxiety for the boat, and presently we could see with the glasses the little boat dancing up and down over the waves. She soon came quite near, for the men were rowing for their lives, and they shouted to us. We had hung a light over our stern and one in the rigging; and the mate, who has a tremendous pair of lungs, had tried to hail the "Vancluse"; but the wind came against us; and they couldn't hear. In a few minutes Captain Nelson and his men were all aboard, but what to do was the question. We were near the shore exposed to strong currents; and if any mischance happened to the ship while the captain was off her, it was almost death to him; and the mate was evidently bewildered and could not do much. The two captains stood on that deck, and if they didn't curse and swear, then I wouldn't say so. Captain Nelson vowed he would kill his mate when he got aboard. So we had to tack ship again; and after much trouble and many oaths, the "Vancluse" was overhauled, hailed and directed to heave aback. Then when she was quite close, the captain took his boat and went to her; hung a light in the rigging to let us know he was safe. Then both ships set sail again, and away we went.

Had a breeze all night; dead calm today. "Vancluse" close along side, but Captain Nelson will not be persuaded to come on board.

Been writing all morning -- copying an article for Pa. 1500 miles from Hong Kong. We really had a very exciting time last night. I went to bed and dreamed all night of being out at sea in an open boat, and the sailor that looked like John Maitland was strongly mixed up in it all. This is St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 18th
A pleasant day; nice breeze going our course. Started some embroidery. I am so tired doing nothing. Pa is always asking me, "What would Mother say to see the end of all her training -- you so idle?" He knows as well as I do though that I can't help it. We are through the Pitts Passage and just entering Gilolo. Hurrah for Hong Kong, three times three for the old "Tyler"; that is, if we ever get there. Very mean dinner, but who cares as long as we are getting along? Not I for one. Mrs. Ballard very mad indeed. Hope we may keep this wind.

Wednesday, March 19th
A very hot day; becalmed just off three of the most beautiful islands covered down to the water's edge with palm trees. The "Vancluse" close along side. Captain Nelson aboard here.

Thursday, March 20th
Good wind all night. Eleven islands in sight this morning just in the middle of Gilolo Pass. Expect to cross the line tomorrow.

Friday, March 21st
Just off Zebe (sp.?) Island. Crossed the line today and expect to be in the Pacific tonight. Six proas in sight. Captain thought they might be coming off with fruit and hove to to wait on them, but they steered off in another direction. Captain swore and then set sail again. He is a perfect fool, so he is. Days very hot, nights ditto only a little more so. Cockroaches swarm and all manner of bugs. They held a midnight revel over me last night. Got up my sleeves and crawled and raced around over me generally. Thought they were going to do like the fleas did at Tristan Da Cuna -- carry me off bodily -- but they didn't, I guess, as I found myself in the same place in the morning. Light wind.

Saturday, March 22nd
In the Pacific; flat calm all day, but a little wind rising now. Lay down on deck in one of the gangways all morning. Pa brought me up his shawl for a pillow and then read Byron to us all until I went to sleep and dozed a good while.

Finished rigging a ship this morning. Mr. De Silver and I intend to launch her soon. We launched a beautiful one at Kupang, and she sailed like a duck. Shouldn't wonder if she was at New York by this time. Mrs. B down on me heavy. She overheard Mr. De Silver saying something to me about her. I managed to get out of the scrape pretty well as I had not been listening to Mr. De Silver and of course did not reply. I don't hear the half he says anyhow. He makes me sick. I can't bear to see any young man make himself such an abject slave to any girl as he does. I cannot respect him at all. Oh, won't I send him when I get to Hong Kong. I'd do it now, but Pa and Ollie both say not to "Fall out with Tom. He'll be useful in Hong Kong." Wish we were there.

Sunday, March 23rd
Pretty good breeze; very hot. Got into my berth at 10 and stayed until 1 reading "Salt Water Bubbles." Not a very good Sunday book, but I can't help it. Very mean dinner. After it Pa and I subsided into his stateroom, took a glass of wine and a pomelo and complain of feeling much better. Wish I was getting into the carriage at home to go to Church. Expect the first time I go to Church again, I'll talk out loud and be turned out for bad behavior, having forgotten by this time how to act in Church. There are a good many things which have all my life been so familiar to me that they seemed to be a part of my existence which now, after seven months heathenism, would seem quite strange to me. But none the less welcome for all that.

Monday, March 24th
Not much wind and hot as love in summer time.

Tuesday, March 25th
The longest day I ever passed. A squall seems to be coming up. Come on as fast as you can! Blow, I say, blow like cats and dogs going to Dover, anything in the world to blow us out of this. I'm sick of it for one. I haven't a single idea in my head, not one, no nor half a one. Haven't a solitary thing to do or look at or talk about or think about or any place to go. It's too hot to go on deck in the day time, and I just have to keep going from the cabin into my stateroom, then back into the cabin, then into Pa's stateroom and back into the cabin again. Then turning into my berth and getting out again, then getting in again, then trying to write and failing, trying again and finishing by throwing everything across the stateroom, spilling my ink and busting my pen, then getting lectured for giving way to angry temper, as if anybody could keep from getting mad. Confound this ship, I say. I wish she would pile up on a rock. I wish she would turn over or sink or blow away or something. Don't care what.

Wednesday, March 26th
Very hot, very dull; a light wind all day.

Thursday, March 27th
Good wind all night; a heavy squall this morning. Captain drunk and don't know where abouts we are. About noon the man on the lookout sang out, "Breakers ahead," and there sure enough was a reef just off our lee bow. We could see the breakers plainly from the deck -- a very dangerous reef. We were fortunate to pass it in daylight, and the captain don't know anything. Pa jumped up out of his berth in such a hurry to see the breakers that he bumped his head until the blood came.

Friday, March 28th
Pa's birthday; he is fifty-two today. He says if he was only off this rascally ship, he would be ten years younger. He is certainly in excellent health. I never saw him looking so well. Wish Mother could see him. Flat calm and dreadfully hot.

Saturday, March 29th
200 days out today. Dead calm.

Sunday, March 30th
Dead calm. All hands as dull as possible. Took a bath in the wash basin and darned my last suit of sea clothes. Feel very worthless. No shade on deck. Captain drunk and hateful as usual. Won't let an awning be put up. I hate that man. I could look on and laugh at seeing him hang. I never thought he would have turned out the wretch he is when he was so pleasant and good natured at first; and he wouldn't if it had not been for his red headed wife. Sure enough, a woman at the bottom of every scrape in the world. I wonder why it is that when a woman undertakes to be a devil, she can't be a decent one but must be such a mean, contemptible one. If we ever get to Hong Kong, then comes our day; let them look out. If we ever get out of this floating den of wickedness, I think I'll say my prayers six times a day for a month.

Monday, March 31st
Began French. Pa wants me to think I can master it without much trouble. Not sailing much.

Tuesday, April 1st
Sam's birthday, little creature. I'd like to see him. High wind; two points off our course. Mr. De Silver and I finished our ship, rigged her barkentine fashion, intend to launch her this afterooon.
Tuesday evening.
Have just been out launching the ship. It was a beauty and no mistake about that. All had assembled on the poop deck to see her off. We had launched two more, which sailed beautifully some time before; but this one was to be the crowning glory of all. So we stationed ourselves in a corner of the quarter deck and lowered her over the side; but alas, no sooner had she touched water than the wind caught her, and as she had no ballast and a great deal of sail, she immediately captsized and went astern bottom upward. Instead of three cheers, there were three groans. Wasn't I mad? And while I was looking at her upturned keel, gritting my teeth, off blew my hat and went astern after her. My Kupang hat. Wasn't this child mad then, I wonder! I immediately left the scene of operation in excessive disgust, went below to bed and consider myself a complete "April fool."

Wednesday, April 2nd
Head wind. Have been working all day at my French verbs. Played chess a little. Land in sight. Just off the Philippine Islands.

Thursday, April 3rd
Moll Henderson's birthday. Good Moll, with her big blue eyes. Hope she will have a pleasanter birthday than it is here, for it rains cats and dogs. Wish I could see her round face.

The ship has done nothing all day but turn round and round. The wind shifts continually. She has headed toward every point of the compass. Every little while a squall strikes her, and they take in canvas, but in ten minutes it is all over and up goes the sail again. And so it is from morning to night and from night to morning.

Friday, April 4th
Rained the whole livelong day; very dark, so I can't see to write. Such a long, long day. Boo hoo! I want to go home.

Saturday, April 5th
Rather pleasant day but no wind. Studied French and played chess.

Sunday, April 6th
Sighted the Palau (sp.?) Islands and walked right past them. Have a pretty fair wind, and the current is with us for a wonder. Mrs B is sick; Mr. Miller sick; Captain and his club out of whiskey, begging of the passengers, who they have treated so meanly, for gin; but nobody will give them any although Mr. Miller, Pa and one or two of the others have it. Serves them right. I'm glad of it.

We are about 12 days decent sailing from Hong Kong. We have been in the doldrums and done little or nothing for two weeks.

Monday, April 7th
A good wind; think we have got the NE trades. About time! All in good spirits, thinking strongly of getting to Hong Kong. This child is thinking of something else too, but no matter what. A good wind always blows us good; it makes such a difference. We sing, laugh, talk, cut up and have a good time evenings. Can't help it. But when it is calm ----Oh, excuse me. Three cheers for a wind!

Tuesday, April 8th
Good wind still; make 120 miles a day, which is good for us. We have learned to be thankful for small favors, and all we ask is that we may keep this wind all the way to Kong Kong.

Wednesday, April 9th
Made 150 miles last 24 hours. 1100 miles from Hong Kong. Expect to get there in a week or ten days. Great excitement.

Thursday, April 10th
Only 1000 miles from Hong Kong now. Can hardly believe it.

Friday, April 11th
Have changed our course and are heading straight for the Bashees. Running before a splendid wind. Excitement very high. Don't care much for eating; and it is well we don't; for we haven't anything to eat but hard, wormy bread and salt beef. All hands beginning to gather up their traps. Pa has drawn up a paper which we are all to sight, and it is to be printed in the Hong Kong papers. It will fix the captain nicely. There will be some gay doings when this crowd arrives there. Our day is coming. Smells very loud of tar. They are tarring down the rigging and painting the ship.

Saturday, April 12th
Saturday night; sweethearts and wives -- this is our 31st Saturday night at sea, and we hope it will be the last this trip. 200 mils from the Bashees and 600 from Hong Kong. Ship rolls a great deal. Mrs. B got out her traveling dress and aired it. Looks like getting there sometime. I must rake mine out too. Beautiful day, pleasantly cool. All in high spirits. Dinner didn't suffer much today.

Sunday April 13th
Wind not quite so good; very hot indeed.

Monday, April 14th
Had a hard blow this morning. Suddenly the cloud lifted, and lo and behold the Bashees in full sight on our starboard bow. Such excitement! Didn't this child dress in two minutes and skip out on deck to see four immense rooks rising straight up out of the sea and splendid breakers. We are tearing along now at the rate of 9 knots an hour before a high wind under close reefed topsails. Only 400 miles now. Hurrah for Hong Kong, three cheers and nary a groan. Looks like a storm. Ships always have heavy weather off the Bashees. Who cares so we get there? Not I for one.

Monday afternoon
Been very rough all day; rocky islands all around us. Ship rolls most awfully. Such a time at dinner; everything flew around loose. Have just entered the China Sea and are making 8 knots under topsails. Blows very hard. Pa is a little sea sick. Ollie has a boil, cross as a bear. Mrs. B is packing. Don't catch this child packing until we sight Hong Kong; then my packing will be pitching.

Tuesday, April 15th
Every body packed up today; so did I. Never had such a time in my life. Don't know how to pack. By the time I got everything pulled down and both trunks open, I gave up and thought I would never get all in. Mrs. B offered to do it, but I thought I would never learn younger. Went to work and after a hard siege, got all in. Some things are just as Mother put them yet. All things in good order with a few exceptions. Kid gloves all spoiled, two or three night wrappers mildewed and bonnet trimming spoiled from the sea air and ducking it got in salt water coming off from Cape Town. But I can soon get that fixed. There are also plenty of kid gloves in Hong Kong, and I think I have come off pretty well for an inexperienced person on a seven months sea voyage.

Wednesday, April 16th
Good wind; nearing port. Have been hearing the lead all morning. Expect to get in by tomorrow noon. All hands ready for a start and impatient. Thirty or 40 sails in sight. Chinese fishing boats. We are going right through them. Looks as if we were really getting there.

Thursday morning, April 17th
Land Ho! 102 sails in sight all around us; called a junk and got some fish for breakfast. Have taken a pilot on board; very foggy, land very dim. Got Mr. Foster to cut my hair. Can't write a bit. What's the use?

Afternoon -- Such a long, long day to be in expectation and suspense. We expect to anchor about 7 o'clock this evening. We, who are strangers, will not go ashore before morning. Gentlemen all dressed up and strutting about at a great rate. It seems very funny to have on good clothes again. They don't do much but admire themselves and one another. Very foggy; can't see land at all plainly, but our pilot knows the way.

Friday, April 18th
Came ashore this morning at 7:30 o'clock. Went to the Oriental; took breakfast and engaged rooms. I ate bread and butter until Pa felt called upon to apologize on the score that I hadn't had anything to eat for two months. Went out after breakfast with Mr. De Silver; didn't want to go and refused, but Pa insisted. Went through several curiosity shops; saw many beautiful things. Mr. De Silver wanted to make me several elegant presents, but I resolutely refused. After that went up the mountain. Came back and dressed for dinner. Took a big stiff. Mr. Congar, the American Consul, and his wife called. Dined at 7. Ollie invited Mr. De Silver to dine with us, which he did. Mr. Mills and doctor both stop here too. Ollie and doctor made friends again.

Splendid dinner, long time at the table -- a dozen courses, troops of Chinese servants with long tails, great many gentlemen, no ladies but me. Spent a gay evening.

Saturday, April 19th
Went shopping this morning. Congar's chair called for me at 10 and I went up to his house and spent the day. Pa, Ollie and Mr. De Silver dined with us there at 4. Left about 6; went down to see Mrs. Ballard. She is flourishing. Ollie goes aboard the steamer "Fesin" tonight bound for Amoy. No accommodations on her for any more passengers, so Pa and I wait here.

Easter Sunday, April 20th
Went to church; seemed quite funny. Preacher was Irish. Sermon nothing to brag of. About 6 ladies there, also the soldiers from the garrison. They came in like a parcel of school boys let loose, with their ugly red jackets and their swords clashing. Looked very heathenish. Went back to the hotel. After tiffin Mr. De Silver called to take me to a Chinese temple, but we did not go. Pa was very angry because he came to my room, although it is just a private parlor, and I do receive calls there as the drawing rooms are too public. Pa was there too, and Mr. De Silver saw him through the window, or he wouldn't have come up. Pa came down on me very hard and doesn't want me to have anything to do with him any more. If he had let me do as I wanted and dismiss Mr. De Silver when we first came here, all this would not have happened. But now it has put not only me but Pa himself in an ugly predicament; for Pa has always made a good deal of Mr. De Silver and asked him to do him some favors here.

Monday, April 21st
Mr. De Silver came up last evening. I was sulky. He asked me what was the matter. I told him plainly that I did not want him ever to come to my room again, moreover, that Pa did not wish me to go out with him any more; but when he wished to see me to send up his card, and I would come to the drawing room. He seemed to feel badly but thanked me for telling him so frankly, grit his teeth and tried not to swear and took his leave. This morning he called, sent up his card. I came down, but Pa was there first and never took his eyes off either of us. Mr. De Silver soon left, and I was glad of it. Called again in the afternoon, sent up his card, but I sent a card down saying I could not see him. I don't want him to call any more and want to tell him so, but Pa says no, and I must do as I am told.

Very hot; have not been out today. It is not proper for a lady to go out alone here. Pa cannot stand the heat, his conscience will not let him ride in a chair, and he does not wish me to go out with any of the gentlemen.

Tuesday, April 22nd
Went shopping, then went down and stayed all afternoon with Mrs. Ballard. I don't like Mrs. B, but I'm glad to escape from this hotel for awhile. Mr. Foster and Demurick (sp?) called. Mr. Miller came down for me. Went back to the Oriental and dressed for dinner. Have a China boy for dressing maid and find him very handy. Want to see my Mother.

Wednesday, April 23rd
Mr. Miller sailed today for Manila in the "White Swallow," and Pa and I went in a boat to the ship to see him off. It is a noble ship and a good captain. Doctor sailed today also for Shanghai. So Pa and I only are left. We expected to get off today in the "Swatow," but she is waiting for the mail.

Thursday, April 24th
Feel very mean and worthless. Nothing to do but dress and undress. Sent some clothes to be washed, and the wash man brought them back today -- three muslin dresses, a skirt and white muslin jacket -- all done up most beautifully for the insignificant sum of 15 cents. If that ain't cheap enough! Mr. De Silver calls once or twice every day to know if he can do anything for me, but I cut him off very short. I do wish he would keep away. I wish the "Swatow" would hurry and sail.

Friday, April 25th
Off at last. The "Swatow" sailed at 7:30 this morning, and I am almost as glad to leave Hong Kong as I was to leave the ship. The "Swatow" is a very nice vessel, got up in very handsome style. Captain Bell is a first rate fellow. I like him much. We keep up China customs on the ship, have 8 or 9 courses for dinner and sit over our wine for two or three hours. It suits me well now. I have nothing to do; but if I was going off for a ride or to a muster, it would be a great bore. Captain Bell says China will spoil me. I will have so many servants and young gentlemen to wait on me; but I've had so much of all that for seven months that I feel like making a change and would be glad to wait on myself for awhile. These China servants consider it their duty to do everything no matter what it is. One can hardly carry their own fan and handkerchief. I am very impatient to get to Amoy and get the news from home.

Saturday, April 26th
Anchored before Swatow; it is quite a nice place and a good many ships are here. Who should come off to see us but Mr. Bradley. He is Consul here. I was in the cabin reading when Pa brought him in and introduced him. I don't know whether I did anything awkward or not. It would be strange if I didn't after being teased about him the the way I have. He is a "slab sided Yankee," very gentlemanly and only passably good-looking. He made a short call and left, saying he would return soon. I wish we would soon get to Amoy. My home has been under my hat for so long that I would like to be dropped down some place to stay awhile and consider home.