On the way again!
Singapore for Rangoon British Burma In the Straits of Malacca
December 23rd, 19870-
Here begins my chronicles again, I little thought it would be resumed here. “How long ago is it Pilgarlic?” “About two and a half months ago, and I was beating
through the Straits of Sanda. You remember Deck Bucket. Oh, yes but you have not told us about that yet Pil. No? Well, it is a long story, but I will try. Well, we had very light headwinds, and sometimes we went backwards and we could not anchor, the water was so deep. It wore me down a good deal Deck Bucket, what
with anxiety, and care, and sleepless nights. It grew into nothing less than agony. The cargo of ice was melting fast, and were were having a dreadfully long passage. And what made it worse was that I had promised the owner that I would try and get out in 90 days!Well I done my best and that was all anybody could do and I don’t believe the owner worse or so bad as I did,…
Because I did not do it. To anybody else but one so worn and tired as I was with watching the nights would have been magnificent. Of St.Nicholas point one night. It was entirely calm with us. There had been a little breeze, but we had sailed out
of it. A large fleet of ships had been in sight all day astern and now they came up with us. It was midnight and the moon shone in full splendor. While our ship remained perfectly motionless, three vessels came up to us, one by one. Some with the wind one way, some another, and everyone of them went past. Some so close that we could toss a biscuit on board. Not a word was spoken. Not a whisper was heard. Not a blocked squeaked. Nothing but the everlasting wushsh-sh of the water. As their great white sails shone in the clear moonlight, and their long yards swung silently round to the different currents of air( There was no wind), they looked like so many sheeted spectres throwing long arms about wildly, till they silently vanished in the distant darkness. It was a beautiful scene we long to…
… be remembered. For in the distant horizon lay the prime Mountains of Java, and we could faintly see the groves of coconuts fringing the shore. The setting moon, cast a long road of liquid fire over the water through which these ships moved
away. But no dreaming hey? I want to know? What time have you to dream Pilgarlic? Here’s a breeze, ahead it’s true, as usual. But call the hands, brace the yards, and look sharp now, for you will be onto that island then, and so we go. Want of sleep, overstraining the eye, and out watching all night. The wind works itself into all kinds of fancies and pictures, things never seen by the mortal eye. The next day we get a little wind, just enough to stem the tide and go ahead a little. We passed a ship at anchor. He had been in company with us of a number of days. It was the ship “Baron Von Rosendale” of Rotterdam. He was all tired out and had anchored. We hailed. He said he was 127 days out, loaded with coal. It was on fire! He had dug down into ______…
…300 lbs. overboard and had not got all the fire out yet. So you see, there were those who were worse off than us. For all of the evils from fire at sea, “Good Lord deliver us.” And so we moved slowly on that ship with her hold full of Fire, and
ours with a hold full of Ice. At last a little boat came along, he said was a pilot sent out to look for the “George Peabody”. He hadbeen looking for a day and a half and was tired and hungry. So I said, “If you want to go back now, pilot me instead of the G. Peabody. So agreed to for $20.00. Then the G. Peabody is coming is she, yes, passed_______ three days ago, and telegraphed to Batavia for a pilot. In a few hours, she was in sight coming up our stern. How glad her Captain, my old friend, Bursley will be to beat me, won’t he? She anchored on Batavia about three hours after us, having beat us by 20 days. But then, she was light with bull out, and we full and deep as a ______ _______.
A Merry Christmas, Deck Bucket!
How quick the time has flown away. Last Christmas we were soliloquizing somewhere off the “the Isle of France”on our way home. What has the year done for you, Pilgarlic? Well! Not much perhaps, but
here I am again at any rate. Like the clown in the circus. Just a week ago yesterday, we sailed from fair Singapore on our way up the Bay of Bengal and Gulf of ________. Something new, we never were in Burmah before. Well, we’ll tell about it after we have been there. We left the wharf in Singapore, a rainy morning, and was towed out into the Malacca Straits by a steamer. We bothered about near the rocks all the day, but in the night, we took a fine breeze and stood up the coast. We have got a native pilot on board, __________ a devout ________. I call him faithful _____. he is no more fit to be a pilot than I am to be a prophet, but he wanted to get a passage to Rangoon and so I gave it to him for his services. He thinks he is doing it all. Since last Sunday, we have had…
…all headwinds until yesterday, and a great deal of head current. In some places the passage is narrow and filled with lurking and dangerous sands and shoals. The Anxiety. The care. The sleepless nights and days are sometimes too mighty to
bear, especially in a ship this size twice as large as generally sail here. If, we by chance, get to sleep, it is a “troubled dreamy sleep.” He is landing his vessel into yawning gulfs, or trying her over impossible mountains. _______ ships are running at him to destroy, or monster leviathans threaten to devour, ’till he frightened, wakes to find his ship is breaking off as the saying is, and he must go about at once. Here we pass the celebrated Mount _____, where Solomon is supposed to have sent his ships for gold. There is the celebrated city of Malacca, once the most opulent, and to the ancients, supposed to be the farthest city in the East. And now we are off Pulo Penang(?), one of the S_______ of _____,
rich in _____, coffee, and spices. I was here many years ago, a number of voyages, and the last time I sailed _____ her direct home to my young and _____…
…wife. What lots of memories it all recalls. My old Captain, to whose heights as shipmaster, I wondered if I ever could attain, has long since left off and I am here again, wandering in his old tracks.
Night before last, we were beating along, and while I was taking a nap, the wind changed. The second mate, who was officer of the deck, thought she must go on the other tack and altered her course. It was not long before then loomed out of the gloom, a great _______ rock, and we did not go a great ways from it. Such are some of the lions in the path of the Captain. But, the good Lord is watching, and verily, we are led.
Now we have got the open sea before us, and plenty of room . The NE monsoon is blowing _____ and the day is bright. The water foams and splashes and all is “Merry as a marriage bell.” It is the first day we have been out of sight of land for many weeks. The thermometer stands at about 90 in the shade. The seawater is 84 degrees. The tides are very strong here, and where the two meet, they send spray up into the air like…
…sea breaking on the rocks. We have two Chinese gentlemen on board. They are going to buy the rice to load the ship with. One has an English education and is a fair young fellow. They eat at our table, but they have many dishes of their own.
Instead of the nigger boy, I had in the cabin, I have now a Chinaman, his name is Chutah(?) and he is worth a dozen of the other fellows. I have some new men, but most of my old crew are here. One boy I have got from the wreck of the “Samuel Russell”. He is a pretty young fellow of eighteen and belongs to Connecticut.
“What is your name Sir?” “Reginald Harold Clary!” Romantic enough isn’t it? But I notice he has got as big a _____ of tobacco in his mouth as any man. He could not be a sailor without that. And so, Christmas has come again. The year has gone and many have gone with it, and one that hallowed Christmas more perhaps than any other man since it’s great author, a namedear as ‘Household _____”… Charles Dickens.
December 27th 1870
Latitude 11degrees, 48’ North
Longitude 95 degrees, 48” East
Bay of Bengal, off L_________ coast, 10 days out
We are having delightful weather now. The air is just cool enough and an invigorating breeze sends it circulating into every crack and cranny, and it does
one good to breathe it for it goes clear to the bottom of the lungs. Last week it was hot and stifling and there was no rest for anybody, much less Pilgarlic,
tormented with headwinds and vicious shoals. Who could rest or sleep? It is not one’s own carcass that one cares about, but the lives of so many and so much valuable property. Now, we have fine NE monsoon, a leading wind, Plenty of sea room to stretch away hundreds of miles without fear, and the deep blue sea under us. But this too”Will soon pass away.” It is a precious season of rest to me. I can sleep, write and read or rest to my hearts content. I have not felt so light and well for many a day. A day or two however…
…will bring us to the mouths(or delta) of the ______________( that’s how the name sounds) and then there will working and watching enough. Anybody would think to read the book of directions it was dangerous, but it is no use to be
frightened, we never look out for the “L’s” Lead. Log. Lookout. In our port beam lien, the famous Nicholas and Andaman Islands, famous for it’s casualties. Many a ship’s once who have landed there have been eaten up and that, not long ago. I hope my children’s father won’t be served up for any of them, he is not very plump and perhaps they would not eat him. Our Pineapples are nearly gone and the bananas have disappeared. We had a splendid lot on leaving. But we have green coconuts yet, They are my favorites, when the sun is hot and I am thirsty, I cut a hole in one and put the hole to my lips, Ye Gods!! Better than any nectar than Jupiter ever sipped. The other day I took the remains of all my dried up bouquets that I have had from New York, 8 or 9 months. A lot of evergreen was in a good state of preservation…
…so I made a wreath, and put it over my darling’s portrait. I never thought it was
Christmas ___! until last night as I lay looking at it. I wonder if they put evergreen over my portrait at home? I suppose they think of the old fellow anyhow. It is a hallowed time there, and it should be here. I try to think of how fast the years are flitting away. Next Sunday is New Year’s and my 37th birthday. I can’t see where the year has gone. Our little stay at home, that’s all, the rest is all a vacant space. And this is it.
I have been very busy getting my accounts closed up. I never can bear to have them left open. After leaving port and are always a perfect slave to fear if I do. I have been to two ports, and coppered the ship and it has cost a lot of money. And I have got it all fixed nearly. The Chinese have a capitol custom, if a man does not close up all his accounts and pay all his bills at the close of the year, he is
forever dishonored. I wish it were so in America.
Dec. 28th, 1870 11 days out. Made 45 miles today, or as the Chinamen sat, “last day”and Rangoon city is still 250 miles distant. Getting tedious again. But the weather is beautiful. I ought not to complain. I wish I could always think so, I finished reading the “Seanberg – Lotta(?)Family” last night. Before it, I read “Gates Ajar”. They are both good and read in this dreary life, interesting. So slowly fades away the old year. Who can tell us of the war in Europe, that’s the question! The last telegrams from England were, “Serious complications with America.” So it may be war there. Quien Sabe? ( It means (who knows?) in Spanish.)