Captain Deck Bucket has an interview with Pilgarlic. “Well Pil, It’s all over.” Yes, two months have gone and carried with it the happy days I shall never forget. Once more I am alone, and almost stupid. ________ and gave Love and presence to the ____ cabin is with me no more. How Can I write? What shall I say?
Say? Why it is nothing new. You are used to it. Don’t you see the troops of Stormy Petrels welcoming you back? Don’t soft breezes move you to your loved quarterdeck once more? Are not the briny friends of the deep sporting about? Do not soft skies and a mariner sun, smile on you and your stars that never change? _______ __________ do they not twinkle you a “How -dee-doo?”
“Yes, but somehow or other through rainy days in New York were pleasanter far, and it mattered not whether the sun was warm or cold. Something else was there to give cheer. Oh, those happy, happy days. Thank God for those two months full of silent happy, happy days. No thoughts, no words to mar their complete comfort.
So the last voyage is gone and past, ended in good shape. Kind words and kinder deeds from employers. A sweet visit from wife and children. And now, a new voyage is in progress.
Let us look back 10 years. My Deck Bucket. It is just 10 years since I was mate of the old “Dolphin” that water logged, floundering old trap that I clung to over five years as a drowning man to a straw.
Well, what of it? Why? My thoughts then if I only had the Dolphin with Captain Hoyts’…
…pay. It would be about as high as I could get. And when that voyage was ended, and I a broken, ________ pneumatic old Mate, was turned off with not a cent in this wide world, after so many years of ardent fruitful service, with so many cares and anxieties to carry. I thought almost that God had forgotten me, or abandoned me, and thought in my despair that I deserved it, and so I did, perhaps. But nobody but Him ever knew it. But then I put on a bold front, and tried harder, and walked the street ‘till my shoes grew thin, and my coat threadbare, and I still did not give up. And oh how I almost cursed them that treated me so, God forgive me.
“Well, did your turn come?” Oh! My cup wasn’t half full. Many the judgement that’s been on one sinner. But the tide slowly turned. I don’t know when. It has been so mixed up with counter currents, so many rebukes from those I loved so well. So many cuts from those I worked so hard for, that I have turned to Him in agony. “And what?” What then?
Why He seemed to tell me that it was all my own fault. And sure enough, so it was. I expected others to see just as I did. If I tried to do a good thing, I done it so miserably, that not only myself, but others got drawn into the currents and we ain’t out yet. But are we improving? We can see the way, plainer now.
“Well, what has all this got to do with the Dolphin ten years ago?”
Why, I was just thinking that is, it had come at last. I was bound on this same voyage, with a ship as good as ever sailed. A better experience than Capt. Hoyt ever had. As good pay and far more comfort. In those ten years, I have got what no money can buy, a smiling Love, free from all encumbrance, a charming daughter, and two nice boys as ever lived. Rich! I am as rich as Groesus(?) For I am a slave to gold. Yet, though I want it, and mean to have it. If I can get it honestly, for the good it does. Yet, I take huge comfort in what I have, and I have praise for she who has saved what I have got.
Boston Town to Batavia to East Indies.
June 14th, 1870
Latitude: 36 degrees, 00 minutes
Longitude: 60 degrees, 00 minutes
Calm! Calm! Oh how calm! He we are in the ‘Doldrums- the Horse Latitudes”. No wind, and no signs of any. Sultry, sluggish weather. “What shall we do?” Do like the “Ancient Mariner?” Looking around my room, I see Love and those bits of cotton cloth that were clipped by the scissors of her so recently, Love. Precious they are too. They tell me of her. The star that leads the wanderer on.
Troops of beautiful dolphins are darting about the ship. The sailors try to catch them, but they can’t. I took my gun and tried to shoot one, but gave it up. They are too handsome to be shot
I took account of my slop chest yesterday, found the goods, strong and substantial and at such prices that I can readily sell them.
My stock of books is smaller than ever since I have been master. I have no Harper’s weeklies or monthlies, but I can get along. I have the History of the United States by Bancroft to read. Vol. 7 J. Robinson’s Charles the fifth of Spain, 3 volumes and some others. The Seaman’s friend Society, put in a small library of useful books on board, which will be a help. I hope to study my scientific books considerable. What a splendid chance!
It is Eastward Ho now instead of Westward. Cape of Good Hope instead of Cape Horn- so blow gentle breeze. First get us through these miserable doldrums. “What are my darlings doing today?” We hope for the best.
“Unconquered hope, thou bane of every fear, and last deserter of the brave.”
So, we leave them. God almighty will take care of them, Angels will watch over them. God will bless them.
“”Tis but a little faded flower.” There it is all faded. With the evergreens, they hold their color better. The bouquet I got for my darling at Brooklyn ferry, nearly two months ago, is in a tumbler on my shelf and there it shall stay as long as there is a piece of it left.
Well Pilgarlic, what have you been doing since you left?
Why I was five days in the thickest fog that ever covered the sea, drifting around St. Georges shoal. Night and day our for horn played its ceaseless tune. Sometimes we could hear it answered by some passing ship. Sometimes the fog would lift enough for us to see some little fishing schooner at anchor. The weather was cold as winter, and I was of a good mind to put up the cabin stove, but that is past.
Have you looked to your boats? Is your bread and water and compasses ready? Have you fitted your boat? Yes?
I have Old Deck Bucket, have I got a nice one. What is it, and what’s in it? Why I took the large jerkin that our hops came in, and I put a small lantern in it, a small can full of oil, some tallow-to-use if my boat should leak. Some lamp wick to caulk her with. I put in a bottle of wine, a bottle of painkiller, some hermetically sealed ham, some sardines, some fish lines, hooks, sinkers. A journal and lead pencil, a testament and prayer book, and a hymn book. Some matches, and a box of tinder. There! That;’s enough! And I put it right here and set on it. I feel easier for it.
And today, we have got a beautiful breeze from the Southwest and The Franklin is on her way again. We are fourteen days out, and last voyage we were just three days getting where we are. But hope points before and throws the bright tomorrow, let us forget the darkness of today.
“Well Pil, how are you today?”
Oh complete. We have a nice southerly breeze, the sea is smooth, the sky bright and clear. And such magnificent nights. The moon shines “with splendor untold” She came into my room last night and painted everything with gold. And the sea, my old sea, says, “wush, wush, wush”- speaking in those mysterious tones. The steady footfall of the watch officer is all that breaks the sound. There is only one sound sweeter to me. It is the South wind in trees of home when they are inleaf. Those are two wonderful tones, vastly different, but both grand. Shy little birds, the strong Petrel, still follow, but they don’t bring any storm. Maybe they are sorry they have brought me so many, and are trying to apologize. And so, “we careless, wend our way across the sea.”
June 17th, 1870
“The sword of Bunker Hill.” June sweet June. I think if I built a ship, I would name her, The June. It is so fair and sounds so well. The mouths of daisies and buttercups, of sweet smelling field, waving grass. When the dark shadows pass over it, as they do the sea. When the humble bee toils for its sweets, and the birds sing loud and clear. I used to think the Bobolink was a sweet singer. How the boys used to laugh at me. How grand the vessels looked sailing along the river, and the majestic steamers. How they used to beat the water with their swift wheels. And there is another who loves the month, she loves it because her mother did, who was born in it, and who died in it. And now her loving children will carry the flowers of the season to her grave, and hold communion with her, whose spirit answers in silence. And out fathers of Bunker’s Hill who gave up their precious lives on this day, green grows this patriotism we learned long, long, ago- today.
June 18th 1870
A schooner on the weather-bow with colors up Sir!
I see, by jove she is a whaler, hoist the ensign, she shows American colors, she wants to speak. He lowers a boat. Luff to the wind, up mainsail, up crossjack, our ship deadens her way. I live for
that boat! And the prettiest boat that floats the ocean, dances alongside. 5 brawny black fellows handle her like a toy. The captain Steers, a great brawny armed hairy hairy breasted, son of
Likelihood. He stands on deck, a splendid specimen of the American sailor. “Captain- Welcome on board The Franklin”. What Schooner? “The Agate” Captain Atkins of Provincetown. 16 months out, low on Sperm oil. Have not been in port since January . Can you give me a late paper Sir? Yes sir, if you will take a letter. Let the ship go …
…ahead. We will follow. Down dives Pilgaric , he scratches a few lines to his beloved, a few more to (W. J. w. co.?) , then goes on deck, gives captain A. a cigar and has a chat. Captain says he is well acquainted in Hallowell, visited John Atkins some years ago. An uncle of his. Another, Hunter Matilda. When at home went to Togus with Arthur, had a nice time. Visited uncle Louis and got acquainted with Hal thank and size. Thought they were rather lively girls. If had had not been
engaged, I should have made love to Maria Sweetser. What fun for me to listen to all this. Told about hiring a horse of Johnson that liked to run away with him. Says he will go there again. I gave him my
address. I guess he has been there. Well, they are a noble set of fellows those Yankee whalers. Uncle Eben came down to sell his guns at ___1__ said, and he harnessed up his old hoss, and carried
He takes dinner with me. We have oyster stew, codfish, potatoes, and baked beans. Flapjacks, etc. By George a dinner for whalers indeed. He had no potatoes for months, so when he goes, I give him some of Father Lancaster’s best, some onions and beets. What a treat. Again his beautiful boat slips out from our counter and his bowman slips as gracefully up out to meet him. A dipping of colors and we expect, never to meet again. Perhaps, and we feel as though we had been acquainted for years. What a mysterious bond it is that binds sailors together. And God speed that pretty schooner, she carries fifteen stout hearts for Cape Cod.
The captain tells me he and his brother own that schooner. They are both old whaling captains.One is master, the other is mate. and they have made enough this voyage to nearly pay for her.
*Availability subject to prior sale
Sunday the 19th, 1870
Three Sundays ago, where was I ? 4 Sundays ago I was at home and I thought it would be my last there. but Louis came up to Boston and we had a ____, so peaceful and quiet. Well, it is peaceful and quiet enough here today. We have a beautiful breeze, right in the heart of the North Atlantic. We have found a SW monsoon blow up as steady and fresh as were it was in the China Sea, And the nights, they are regal in Heaven.
Come o’er the moonlit sea
when the winds are gently blowing
the sun has sunk to her ___ refreshed
and the winds are gently blowing
Thy bark is on the sea
and she only waits for thee
and she only waits for thee
Come o’er the moonlit sea
So goes the old song, the song our fathers sang.
June 21, 1870
The days are at their greatest length now. They begin to shorten tomorrow. The beautiful Summer Solstice. How splendid it is at home and here too. If we had q little more wind, it is too warm for a calm.
Had my hair cut short to my head two or three days ago. I wonder what Love would say if she should see me now. And don’t I sleep now? I could sleep all the time if I would. I am reading the
history of England. By Macaphy now, it is splendid. So we change. I was looking at the fly leaf of first volume I find I bought in 1854- 16 years ago., and could not read it. I was on my first East India
voyage, bound to Calcutta, there are the pencil marks where I left off, and gave it up. But now it is more interesting than any novel I ever read. Speaking of novels, When I was at dinner at the Franklin’s Haven in Boston, just before sailing, I offered to carry any package for or message to his son in the East Indies. And when I should…
…be on my voyage. They availed of my offer and put up a tin box of books and handing it on board, wrote me a note asking me to read them myself, so I opened the box. It was filled with the latest and choicest novels of the day. But then there were also little packages from mother & sisters and they all looked to me and so loving hands had packed them so kindly that it seemed to me a sin to handle them, so I put them back as carefully as I could and packed the box up, with no wish to open it or look into it again. Five years he had been gone, five long years his mother told me, and Oh! she said if she could only see him once more.
Fond mother, may thy prayers be answered. What love can equal a mother’s? Other than is, and tenderer perhaps, a wife’s. The greatest gift God ever gave to marry but there must always be a
place for a mother’s even then.
“ Blow South breeze, and on your wings, our long expected success bring old song.”
We have been utterly becalmed now two days. Our way was slow enough before that, but now- oh dear!
What can we do, but sit still and wait for the wind.
There are two barks in sight a long way off our heading as we are the other, opposite. So we are not all alone. The ocean is filled with seaweed, but there are no fish in sight. Everything is so still. Not a noise not a word hardly. The block don’t so much as squeak. The cook is the principal man now. And he appears to be the right man in the right place. His galley or kitchen is as neat as a pin. His meals are always ready and of the best quality. He is the best cook I have seen for many a long day, but the little Darkie cabin boy! My eye! It will take a whole paper to describe him.
South, he has no conception of it. Don’t know what it means. He says he is sixteen years old, that he was born in Bermuda, but father, mother both are dead a long time. He has been cabin boy of small English vessels some time. Has been captured in the Haytian? war twice, carrying contraband goods. At least 8 months ago, he was set adrift in Boston with $20 dollars. His boasting mastered, got all that. Then another one, a colored aspirant to the Massachusetts legislator, told him if he would come and help in his house, he would send him to school. But 6 months he stayed, and no school. So much for Mr. Mulligan. I know him, Louis knows him too. Well, he ran away from him and went another, then the city mission found him and set him to go to…
… Sunday school, then they got him an evening school and got him so he could read. So much for the city mission. All this time he was trying to get a ship, but couldn’t. And finally, he saw me, and I took him. His Sunday school teachers came to see me about him, to see if I would be good to him, to find out anything about what kind of a captain he had got. I asked them if he was satisfied He said had heard good accounts of me, so he gave the boy a book and here he is, book and all. I don’t know yet what I shall do with him. I expect he will need whipping.
I have got a boy from Haverill, a pretty smart manly boy, seventeen years old. He wanted to learn navigations. I hear him recite. He gets his lessons the best of any boy I ever saw. Wish I had a whole crew like him. I like to learn a boy that takes hold as he does. He will make a good, will man Lynn B. Ladd.
Saturday, June 25th 1870.
24 days out.
Longitude 44.00` west
The sailors caught a dolphin last night. This morning, at daylights 3 sails in sight, one a dutch brig. Another French bark, steering for la Belle(?) France- another English ship for merry England- and lastly, the clipper ship “the Herald of the Morning”, 10 days from New York for San Francisco so he says. He came right up along side and passed us as though we were at anchor. I was in company with their ships once, off cape horn- five days. “The Fearless” was the ship to take her down. It was dreadful to think we were so much longer out than She this morning, but I could not help it.
Sunday, 26th of June 1870
Latitude 29 North
Longitude 43.00` west
When up some woodland dale we catch
the many twinkling smile of ocean
Or with pleased ear bewildered watch
His chain of restless motion
still as the surging waves retire
they seem to gasp with strong desire
such signs of love old ocean gives
we cannot choose but think he lives
(-Keblis A. Year?)
Today is beautiful. The ocean does live, lives in schools of dolphin, lives in fleets of gay barques, that are bounding homeward o’er his bosom. We have seen both for the last 24 hours oftener than usual. We have a better breeze today and have actually made 92 miles. It is all because it’s Sunday. I hope they will always be our best days. The clouds have changed somewhat and give us peace of mind, for “Mackerel clouds and Mare’s tails make lofty ships carry low sails.”