Latitude 24⁰30’ South 33 days out
Away past Rio de Janiero and fine breeze after us. Sea smooth and bright and sky brighter.
Yesterday we spoke to a Yankee brig, the Henry and Louisa (not John Henry and Louisa). He said he was 5 days from Rio, bound to New York, and would report us. So they will hear of us at home in a month if nothing happens.
The sun was overhead yesterday and passed us on his way north. Flame away Old Sol; you and I have met before. I have often begged of you to carry plenty of light and warmth to my dear ones, and bring me good tidings from them; and to guide me back to them again. I won’t ask you any more, for you
will do it I know, and you will look into the windows I loved to look in at. And you will thaw on the old Kennebec and make it all beautiful just as I was there looking at it. And that garden that I was too lazy to hoe in. You will look out for that, would you, Old Sol? And when Mary and Danny go out you’ll follow them and take care of them. And now as for me, why let the wind take of me. Not much matter about this old carcass, I don’t deserve much. There, belay that, Pil; go and tend to your sick second mate. Oh dear, my sec mates are always in a category, as Captain Truck says; I wish I could get them out. 20 grains g quinine in a few drops of elixir vitriol and water. Sugar of lead for the eyes, iodide potassium for ________, a little wine for the stomach’s sake.
Once in a while I get doubtful about my spiritual welfare, whether I am doing as I ought to or not. Reading some book will start me. I try and look down deep into my heart and see what is there. “What do you see Pil?”—nothing very good, it looks bad enough. I see so many giving themselves up to the doctrine of Jesus and trusting all to their would-be faith, and what has been handed down to them, that I exclaim to myself “So many, they must be right” and I dive into the New Testament and read ‘til it is all a blur before me. Then I pray “Oh God, if I am an Unbeliever, have mercy. Forgive and teach then me, of Lord, that which Thou wouldst have me believe. And Thou, oh Lord Jesus, that we are
taught to believe and ready to hear, come to me and help Thou my unbelief. I cannot of myself be reconciled to all they would have me; Thy precepts are the highest, the grandest of all, Thy love the purest.” But they all strike me as having been through all ages and are but the still small voice that was speaking to us from our own hearts; and they strike a chord in every bosom. Then I find myself asking myself “Is this Jesus the offspring of these truths the highest good wrought into manhood? For the example? Or are they born of him.” And was he God come to give them to us? But why needs be called “Son of God”? I am not enlightened on that subject. Why has this thing been left so obscure? Then I fall back on the Father; Him I never doubted. He has made all the grand universe and me and you in it. He loves his children. Am I richer for this?
I try hard to believe; would that I could. Then again I say, believe it, Pil, it’s the best doctrine ever devised. It can do you no harm; it makes millions happy; here all these doubtings are at an end; they find rest at last in the bosom of Jesus. But can I be true to myself when someone asks me if I really believe in all that has been so obscurely handed down to us?
I can’t do it yet. And so I go. I believe it is all right. I trust in Him who made me and I believe I am as happy as very many good Christians, but the moment I touch doctrine or its necessity, the mysterious future, I am in the dark; and what this existence is, what it HAS BEEN, or is to be, Oh how lost in the maze of thought; no light breaks in upon me. In His own good time I may know; He may send me or give me to know.
I cannot but liken it to something that once happened to me on board ship. We left port in a great hurry for a long voyage; scarcely anything was ready. The wind blew a great gale and every arm was strained to its utmost to get ready for night and the worst. The gale raged on, but as long as daylight lasted we could see the compass to steer by, our stout ship pressed boldly on, for the wind was fair. But suddenly it began to snow; early night set in on us at once. And the helmsman called for a light to see the compass by: “A light, Steward; a light in the binnacle”. But the steward had neglected to trim his lamps. It was Winter and then we found our oil was congealed—the storekeeper had put spurious stuff on board—and it would not burn. Now the ship yawed wildly, this way and that, the great hungry waves seethed up alongside and fell over us. No friendly star was there to guide the ship to. All was confusion
and blackness. But the captain, who stood on the house holding on to the rigging, one hand feeling of the wind, “Now port—Steady— Starboard—- Keep her right before the wind”, thought of his candles. They were lit, put in the binnacle, brought the needle out in plain sight, and the ship’s head brough to her point, and all was plain and safe.
So with me sometimes. Oh Lord for light, light to find the way. I cannot see the compass, it is so dark. Then I hear a voice “Trust in God”; he will send a light ere the billows swamp you.
“Hark! Hark to God” the chorus breaks.
Sometimes I find myself longing to be the hero of some great deed. But we can’t all be heroes in one sense of the word. Then I hear a voice:” Here you are; here’s your sphere; be a hero now. Yours is the ship, officers and men, the world.” And oh, yourself, is there no deep hidden cankering sin to be overcome? In your own self? Then I go and hide my head in shame that I have gone in sin so long. And so this New Year, “Physician, heal thyself”. A holy calm sometimes tells me I shall win; then again, I am almost in despair and have no more strength to fight than a child. This I always come back to the old saying “He is always the hero of his own things”.
The steward is a hero at any rate: he gets up all sorts of dishes, contrives endless dishes of this and that, whirls the plates about, rings the knoves and forks, clatters the spoons, flaunts his towels and dishcloths to the breeze, and does all his work complete.
He has watched me fix my fish for dinner (Louise says she never saw anybody podge up such a mess); and today he came in with the fish all cut up just as I cut it; it was handy. He gets up the best stripped fish I ever ate. I live plain now, no passengers, and I don’t want any extras; it is as much as I can do to keep the steward within bounds. He makes splendid rye and Indian bread that is plain, whjolesome and sweet. I have plenty of rye for the first time.
Today we are in 30 South Latitude; 35 days out, and skirting the coast of South America in splendid style. The ship moves along as stately as a mountain, hardly a motion. It is quiet, save the everlasting mush-wush of the waves, How that sound has grown into my very life. Why couldn’t I have brought my family? How are they? Little Dority Mamie singing “There is something to do”. And Dannible chirruping away, while the Old Lady has gone over to Happy’s house. They are getting ice on the Kennebec now, while the thermometer is 84 here. I hope they will get the letters I sent home on the 9th. How glad they will be and how I wish I could see them.
Story behind the Trade Wind Journals and Jewelry Collection
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Winds Collection is made by his great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868 on our website, along with all the jewelry from the Trade Wind Jewelry Collection. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.