China sea. April 2nd 1871
Lat. 2 degrees, 00 minutes N
Long. 105 degrees, 30 minutes East
38 Days from Rangoon, 4 from Singapore.
‘Twas just one year ago today, that I remember well.
Here begins my story again, and firstly, my mind is filled with the days of long ago. One year ago my loved one stepped on to the deck of this ship in New York. We were just arrived off a long voyage round the world. I have lived on that happy time a whole year. Most of the rest is a blank, in some respects. How, how beautiful she looked to me that day.
But that’s nothing to do with this, Pilgarlic, why will…
…you ever be looking back Pilgarlic? Look ahead, I say and try and get back to New York and head for your wife and have her with you again.
Oh, Deck Bucket, it is all well enough for you to talk. You have got no wife. I shall look back and look ahead too. Now.So, a year has gone. Empires and Kingdoms have been made and dissolved. War has carried millions to the grave. Anguish has _______ over many happy homes. And, ‘Here we are again.” We were trying to get to Singapore from the west through the straits of Malacca. Well, in _______ many hard drags, sleepless nights, anchoring in head currents, baffling against head winds, drifting back at times till we well nigh disappointed, we made out. All one night and day.
The demon hand to hand right in sight of the town and it’s twinkling lights. First a week ago this morning, we dropped anchor there. Three days and nights, we had not closed our eyes. There were many things to write about, but we were too tired and _______. We bought fresh fish out of tiny boats, with whole Malay families on board. We saw many gallant ships and steamers pass, the other way, as we toiled on. We saw the rocks and shore close to that would have piled us up for ever. The Plummet, the never failing monitor of danger, kept it’s unceasing ______ like a pendulum and at last we found rest! And how sweet that Sunday. We kept it sacred. Performed ____ service in the cabin at 2 o’clock, reading the passage of Israel through the Red Sea. The squalls and rain of Malacca ______ _______…
How black and pitiless they were especially in the night, and after all, we got used to it, and did not mind it so much- Well! Pilgarlic, did you get any letters in Singapore? Yes, I got a short one from home. They were all well. Thank God. What a burden was lifted from me. They had heard of my arrival at Batavia. The wind and tide was directly ahead in Singapore, so I laid there three days. It rained in torrents most of the time. The first night I spent on shore with my agent. I get lots of fresh stock for the ship’s company to eat; fresh water, wood, etc. new Chests, and plenty of late news from Boston, New York, , and California. A rich treat to me, when in my tedious passage up the China Sea. I feel so much better now. I feel as though I could get along now, for we have plenty of sea room.
It is rather funny that the clipper ship, “Herald of the Morning” that passed us 10 from New York bound to San Francisco last June, should meet us here. Fifty days from California, bound to Rangoon. I went on board and saw Capt. Windsor of Fairhaven and his amiable wife, and have a real homelike visit. Heard all the news from California, and got lots of papers. So we have some bright spots. The Chinaman who chartered the ship came on board, was delighted with his cargo. And after the China custom, gave me a present. A nice satin dress for my wife, a box of Ginger, and a Canary bird. Luckily for me, an American whaling Bark The Kathleen was bound home to New Bedford and would take it home to my wife.
The Capt. Bottle? Of Martha’s Vineyard. I shall long remember us a social and intelligent gentlemen. I called on our Consul Doctor Jewell & Lady, and had a pleasant time. They told me most of the political news from Washington and I got some rare coins from him to help my collection. I visited New Harbor where we coppered our ship a few months ago, and found things there about as I left them. Got a pretty bouquet, some slips and hid them all. A long ____.
While in Singapore, the steamship, ____/____, my old friend Capt. Black in command, came in from China. She looked quite natural. Well, Tuesday night there was nothing more for me to do, so I pulled off to the ship (six miles) in a drenching rain squall. The boat nearly swamped, but we got safe along-
-side and at 12 midnight we were underweigh for Hong Kong. next day we anchor at Pt. Romania, to stop the tide, and at 12 midnight, started again. It is no foolish job heaving up the anchor. It tires everybody completely out. And now we are fairly at it once more. The N.E. Trades though ahead are fresh and nice. The sky looks clear, the deck men are getting well and all goes merry like a “Marriage Bell”. But now I have got time to stop and think. I am growing old, turning grey, but no matter. I will try hard to make up for lost time. In reading over the papers, I see the loss of the S.S. Steamer, Laginan- on a desert Island in the __1__ of the Pacific Ocean. What have our troubles been to theirs? And the passage of the boat crew, of thirty days to the Sandwich Islands? Still, I have…
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… sometimes thought that even loss would be deliverance from this living, harrowing care and anxiety, of a ship 22 feet deep in such places and nights as I have been in.
But “Such is life.”
And now hurrah for better days. Hurrah for the breeze, and for the China Sea, and come what will, will try and weather it. For our boys are getting to be old sailors now. They reek with salt and __1__ the wayward wing.
This is Palm Sunday and we will begin to count the Sundays between us and home. Home, how the word thrills the poor wanderer. Yes, there is a home for us somewhere. We are going towards it better than we know. Oh God, make us fir for it, through Jesus Christ our Lord
April the 6th, 1871 China Sea.
Lat. 3.36 degrees N. Long. 105.10 degrees East
9 days from Singapore 42 days from Rangoon
Calm- Three days now, and not a breath of wind, save what comes baffled down to us from the sails as they slat to and fro. So be it. The sea is so glassy. I go and lean over the (Taffrail?) and I see a northern ship- her gilded carved work, her motionless rudder. A shadow of a man, which waves to all from within the beams of light which penetrate full many a fathom down. He has a white sun hat on and he looks swarthy with long black whiskers and moustache. He looks old and careworn- That must be Deck Bucket, floating about him are immense fields of Medusae. Bits of seaweed. Sometimes a fragment of tree torn from some…
…far off shore. Now schools of fish come up from the depths and frolic all over the surface, then away they go, as Madame shark attended by half a dozen young ones, swim lazily along. What a world is this deep! Did you want a cuttlefish for your Canary? Quick, the draw bucket! Here, give it to me, and up it came onto the deck, and our life wears on. No motion, no action, we are living in a dream. Sleep! I should think so. No land to trouble now, no unknown currents. Not even a spindly squall, how changed all in the last few days. Our anxiety now is, will we ever have any wind? Yes, patience, the monsoon in turn, in weeks, comes from the south fast, it is the change now.
…Pilgarlic you must wait, this is a tedious year, others come and go, and fortunes are made-and- lost. But you’re chained like Ixion to the wheel, , where hopes to
one of the wheels of conscience. It will revolve one of these days and for you will turn up again. “That’s so Deck Bucket.” I have been reading files of home papers since I left and have now a pretty good insight into what they are doing there. I have got them all finished now and have since read Charlotte Prentis’ book “villette.” I don’t like it, yet there are some powerful passages in it. Some that I would have written, did I know how, long ago. For instance, writing of those who got through life so easy without struggle, or trouble. She says, ”But it is not so for all, What then? His will be done, as done it surely will be, whether we humble ourselves to …
…resignation or not. The impulse of creation forwards it, the strength of powers, seen, and unseen, has its fulfillment in charge. Proof of a life to come must be given. In fire and in blood, if need be, if needful that proof must be written. In fire and blood do we trace the ____ through our nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins; look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners join in friendly company. Dark through the wilderness of the world stretches the way for most of us; equal and steady be our tread; be our cross, our banner. For Staff we have His promise, where “Word is tried, where way perfect,” for present hope this providence. “Who gives the shield of Salvation, whose gentleness make great, for final home, His Bosom, Who Dwells in the light of Heaven”, for crowning prize a glory, exuding and Eternal. Let us so run that we may obtain. “Let us endure hardness as good soldiers, let us finish our course, and keep the faith, reliant in the issue to come off more the conquerors.” Art thou not from everlasting mine Holy One? We shall not Die!
So wrote Charlotte Prentis, poor girl long gone to the eternal. Yes! Poor grumble Pilgarlic that you are. Have you not read? What, this scorching Tropic sun, you have every protection. How long since you learned of the passage of that Lapinain’s ____ bout of thirty days on the dark sea, and death, as the gates of deliverance opened. What ____ have you suffered like that? Come, come!
My plants are doing nicely, and my little four o’clock flower blossoms every day as regularly as four o’clock comes. I doubt if Piciola in the ____ ever watched his prism flower more closely than I do this little plant. My Canary begins to sing, it sounds so sunning to hear his tiny voice chirping away. I hope they will all life thrive, they are so much company. A noble great Steamer Frigate went rushing past us yesterday under a full head of steam. Ah!
These Steamers, they are things to go, how they leave their poor wind brats behind. But it must be awful ____ near their fires in this weather, when the thermometer stands (temp missing here in the shade all day. A sweltering heat glowers all through the sky, so thick at the horizon as to nearly hide it.
April 12th, 14 days at sea. We are now in the latitude 5.00 North, and Longitude 105.33 East and have sailed or drifted 240 miles, or about 11 miles per day! This is encouraging. It is the charger of the monsoon and I suppose it is not likely we shall get any wind for some time to come. But in the course of two months, or so, we may get some. Meanwhile, we must look our for our water, wood etc. There is a help for it, so “Pray let the world jog along as it will” in the good time…
…coming ”when Johnny comes marching home it will be alright” a year ago we were in clover. Let me live on that. ____ the old cat has lugged her kittens into the cabin for us to feed. Poor old thing she looks poor enough, and asks so pitiful for something to eat. We have got a stranger on board, A Mr. Jackson of Plymouth, Mass. A journeyman who was recently mate of the Ship Bengal of Boston. Capt. Burgess, he was loading in java for Boston, when he was taken with fever and and had to leave his ship for the hospital. After a while he found he way to Singapore, and I gave him his passage to Hong Kong (if we ever get there.) It is his first voyage mate, and it is hard to go among strangers sick, and lose so much time. The Bengal of which he was mate, had a near…
…accident on her passage to Singapore.
It was thus as Mr. J. relates it.. It was near the Equator when violent sudden squalls with heavy rain is ____, they had got the S.E. Trades, and were standing on their course back sharp up. It was 8 o’clock at night and raining so hard that they could see nothing, and the ship going 10 knots, when suddenly the lookout sang out “Sail Ho!” In an instant a terrific shriek, they had struck another ship right amidships. They ran to the side and saw her keel over and go down. It was an English Bark from Mauritias bound for Liverpool. They had got short of water, and all hands were, even the man who should have been at the wheel, was busy catching it, when the Bengal ran into them. Half a dozen men clambered up the ship’s side, the rest went down. They saw the Captain run up from below, and they threw him a rope and hauled him nearly up to the side of the B. when he exclaimed, “I must give up and let go, and went down in the whirlpool. He had his sister with him. How sad!
They lay by all night , and in the morning sent a boat, and picked up two more men, then kept away for Rio Janerio. The Bengal’s stern was completely gone and had she not struck end on, must have gone down also.
Such is the end of many fine ships reported missing.
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I have been filling up my collection of coins lately. I have now the money, more or less of twenty five countries. It makes quite a show, and has not cost me much either. If Captains would take a little trouble, they would be well repaid. How few of our friends at home have seen monies of different nations, whose names they are so familiar with. And another thing, their intrinsic value is always equal to all they cost, and to collectors of coins, more. I have much pleasure and amusement in getting them. One day in Rangoon. I was introduced to a Norwegian Captain of the Bark Gazelle. He was much a of a gentleman, spoke English perfectly, and had even been in the United States since I had. We talk of the War, etc.- until finally I asked him if he had any Norwegian currency. He said he believed he had. I told him I was collecting and should like just a coin or two. He said if I would come on board, he would give me some, if he was out, then his wife would be happy to get them for me. Of course I went. It was not there. The ship was discharging Cardiff coal, the dirtiest, smuttiest cargo, that ever was put in a vessel. Why the dust will penetrate to your inner trunks and soil your linens through and through.
Although they had done what they could to protect the cabin, it was no use. Mrs. Marness met me with her child in her arms. The blackest, smuttiest women I ever saw. I could not tell her color, but she had splendid hair and eyes. She put her boy (as dirty as his mother) down and gave me her hand, says, ”My husband spoke of you. Welcome Sir. I cannot ask you to sit down. You will be covered with dirt, but will excuse us, you know how it is.. I do not try to keep clean. It is no use ‘til this villainous coal is out. She spoke in fine English, only with her foreign accent. She was Prussian from (Steltin?). I would not stay to annoy her about the coin, but she must come again. I did afterwards when her husband was there and he gave me Danish, Prussian, Russian, Norwegian, and Swedish, and Spanish coins. At par, he was collecting for his father on a large scale, had full sets of all our coins as high as 20 dollar gold pieces. I only get a few in silver and copper. But I was delighted to see this lady so frank about her appearance. How many would have been mortified and refused to be seen.
I was invited then to tea afterward. They had quite a party, mostly Germans, one of them…
..fought all the way through our war and rose to rank and honor. I asked how our soldiers compared with the English. He said we were far ahead of them in everything ____/____, and no soldiers in the world, could have stood before Sherman’s legions, as they marched to the sea.
I called on board a number of German ships. I found them educated, polished, refined, and immensely patriotic. They are thoroughly acquainted with our country and many have their money in our bonds. The ships are (tasly?) and even elegant. Many of their cabins are adorned with rare and costly plants and birds- they all talk fluently in English and French, and I almost felt ashamed of myself. They one and all said they should take England to Account for her perfidy, next they said they knew what they were fighting for and were delighted to think they had once more a untied Germany, their “Fatherland.”
As they are all passionately fond of music, I most invariably met them in the gardens on band nights. There were a few French Captains. I made bold to ask one, one day, why everything had ____/ ____ against France. He shrugged…
…only one little word. Captain”Treason” _____ everywhere. They felt very dejected about their sad fate but put on a pleasant outside always.
Going along the street in Rangoon one day- I saw a large number of children coming towards me with some catholic priests behind them. When I got close to them, I saw the children were carrying something white. It was a tiny little white coffin, all covered with flowers. It was a strange sight to me. I suppose it was an infants funeral- but there didn’t seem to be any parents or friends, only the schoolchildren I took them to be.
Another day I was trudging along when a Burmese carriage came along. In the center set a young boy dressed in great ____ of pomp and tinsel, and another each side of him, but not quite so much dressed. Others were running alongside holding great white umbrellas over their heads. I enquired the cause of all this and was told it was a boy going to a monastery to be made a priest, or “Phoongi”, as they call them here. Some queer sights I saw sometimes. One day I saw the streets filled with curiously drawn carts…
…adorned with plumes of Peacock feathers, the carts were drawn by cream colored oxen or Bullochs, covered with bells. It was a Burmese Gala day, and their vehicles were filled with men, women, and children, dressed and painted to kill. (The women paint their faces white and their eyebrows black) They were country folk coming into town on a picnic or pleasant excursion. I should like to see them going through Farmingdale-
There is a missionary in Rangoon, who is independent of the rest. He is the son of American parents, born in this country, educated in the United States. Hid name is Vintori, a daring, enterprising fellow, a great hunter, naturalist, etc. He entertained me one evening with some account of his marches through the country. He has charge and control of a vast tract of __1__ religious matters and goes from place to place. His wife often goes with him, they either ride an elephant, or canoe by water. He is looked at by the native that are not converted as a god. Not long ago…
… he killed the largest elephant ever shot in Burma. I got much information concerning elephants from him. There is one kind untamable, that goes about destroying whole villages, fields of produce, etc., human beings etc. , and such a one he killed just now, and gave me his head. I wonder if ever I shall have it stuck up in my garden? One day the King sent an ambassador down to Rangoon and called on Mr. V. to go to the Governors with him, after that he said he would like to go on an American ship so they called on me. The Ambassador looked gravely on everything. At last he spied my guitar and asked me to play him a tune. He never moved a muscle. When he got on shore, someone asked him etc., when asked hoe large she was (He was very careful when in the hold to lean in close) he gravely replied”as large as 1500 hundred elephants.” That was his way of measuring. It brought out a tremendous roar of laughter. Our visitor was much excited to over a snake I got in Java. The next time I saw him was at ____ meeting, he had found out. It pleased him to be able to tell what it was.
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“A breeze, a breeze, my Kingdom for a breeze”
14th April 1871
Latitude5.30 North, Longitude 100.00 East.
50 days from Rangoon, 15 days from Singapore
Come at last. A nice gentle breeze from the S.E. , the yards are engaged and we begin to make the “ripple” again. Oh! Ain’t it sweet. It was so discouraging yesterday- to know that that at the rate we had been going it would take a hundred days more to get to Hong Kong. Capt. Deck Bucket sounded the fresh water and ordered the officers not to use any more for washing. Took account of stock, found we were in our last barrel of flour, joined the cook, told him to “Splice” with Indian meal. Measured the molasses, and oil, and went round like a madman, as I think he is sometimes. But I hope his fears were groundless for with this breeze we can go to our port in 15 days. You see, everything depends upon the breeze. “____”, have you seen my ____ of apple sauce says ____/____. But really this breeze is delicious, and how quick we begin to think of Hong Kong, news, letters from home, etc.
It seems as though the plants knew we had a fair wind, for they sprout and grow today, so we can almost see them. I never was so fond of them before. One or two has died. I got some slips in Singapore- ____, ____, and Heliotrope, the Chrysanthemum is rooted nicely, in the place of the others, Chutah, the China boy has got a thick growth of rice, or paddy. It looks real pretty waving in the breeze. He is a coon, he picks little bunches and ties it up for Pepy, the Canary, who is awful fond of it.
Chutah is a very bright, smart fellow, though I think he lies and takes just a little out of my brandy bottle. I have got a China carpenter, and they are great chums. Chu (shoe-fly) I call him is awful proud if I get the carpenter to do anything in the cabin. So much for the “Heathen Chinese” Feb 20th was Chinese new Year, were in Rangoon then, and I invited the Chinese ____ with the supercargoes to dinner on board. They came in full fig. richly dressed in satin and silk. They were very gentlemanly and polite, got along safely without chopsticks, but the fun of it was to see shoe fly, ____/_____, his head newly shaved, and but ____ on, he was perfectly beside himself. His smile when he helped us to tea, or how that wished to have been was like that of John Holnicks, or a dying Dolphin. All I give him is ten dollars a month, and he is worth a dozen of the cook who gets forty, so if the Chinamen want to come to America, why let them come.
We had another excitement I did not write about while we were in Rangoon. One day, I was waiting at the wharf for my boat to come off, just as the Calcutta Steamer was hauling in. There was a large crowd at the wharf waiting for ____ business, etc., so I mingled with them. I kind of felt as I had, when I was waiting for the Steamer in New York to bring my loved one. Deck Bucket was there and laughed at me. I had been reading Dickens, Sketches of Boz, when ____ old clothes with ____ /_____ etc., and so I said to D.B. I am just trying to tell what those people are on board the boat. That Man, no mistaking him is an officer of the British Army, there is another in the Civil Service. “But those young Ladies, says D.B? They are rather pretty, but most too familiar with the gentlemen for me. How- they show their necks. I guess they are “Girls of the period.” But then seen that chap, he looks just like Sam Lamb, a fancy plaid suit, a knobly hat, heavy moustache, long piggled hair. A “bonnet to his jib”, and rakish eyes. There is another one more stately looking, rather melancholy. They are professional men. I should think one was a manager, for a nigger minstrel ____ the other agent, etc. Next day, sure enough! The first thing I saw as I went on the shore was “just arrived. The great American Circus”-wonderful performance- Mr. Abel- Madame Louise & Co.
They had a great time. When I got to Singapore, what should I see, but the tent of the “Great American Circus”. They had taken Steam and got there before me, and Madame Louise opposite me at the hotel at dinner, that day. I thought I had seen her before somewhere. They take care out here of the natives, who look upon their performances as something supernatural . They will work a month for money enough to go to circus one night.
April 13th, 5a days out. First Sunday after Easter. Latitude 71/2 degrees North, 43 miles from Singapore. 23 miles a day! Can’t help it, nothing to write about. We have had company the last ten days. A French Bark bound to Saigon I presume, so we are not alone, although she is a long way off. We don’t get very near any vessel now, in the Bay of Bengal we did. We saw a ship sailing close to, one morning, and I sent the mate in the boat to call on him, Gamming, as it is called on the Sea. It was the North German ship, Caroline of Bremen from Singapore for Akyab. He said he had recently captured by a French Man O’ War, but released again. He sent me a Singapore paper. A few days after that we anchored on what is called the North Lands, a dangerous…
…shoal on the Straits of Malacca. The current runs so swiftly that ships often have to stop, when it is ahead. The English have a light ship to warn ships of the breakers. I sent the mate on board there also, with my compliments and some cigars. In turn they sent me a nice fish and some London papers. (A terrible lonely life they have- no land in sight. Their vessel pitched and rolled about to a great rate, for they have no sail to keep her steady. A steamer visits them once a month, and then after six months they have a furlough three months. I should not like it. They do not have their wives. How much better it would be if they had.
While we were in Rangoon, The ship Tanjore of Boston came there and loaded for England. Capt. Cobbs of Exeter, N. H. was in command. He had his wife, a Boston Lady, and a very superior woman. She had no children and always went with her husband. How neat the cabin looked. Handsome tidys on the chairs and sofas. Nice bookcase. Nobody but a woman could make things look so. I was then to Tea, a real dainty meal, nice bread and butter, preserves, and a small slice of meat, with cake afterwards. I wonder if I ever shall see them again.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.”
This is in the portion of scriptures by the Episcopal Church to be read today. How many will read it? And how hard is it to believe. Did He mean all men for all ages, when He spoke of the Israelites? Who can tell? Who dare judge! We can only trust and hope.
Monday the 17th, I believe my darling’s birthday is somewhere nearby. I wish I knew. I dare not tell her age. She would not like it. Perhaps I hope to be with her on the next. But now, I am in this awful solitude. It is calm today and we have drifted 30 miles- it can’t last forever. I know the fair monsoon must come soon, or I should go crazy. I can see the wrinkles grow on my face and hands as it is. The sea is full of fish, some the size of herrings, some are as large as a shad, and they are so thick on the surface that they show their white bellies, just as when a large haul is taken in a sieve at home. And beside there is so much squid or whale feed, as sailors call it, that we can smell it easy. Great streaks of it lay along top of the water, and it looks like streaks of sawdust that blew away from a saw mill at home.
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Monday April 18th- Lat.8.22 degrees North, Long. 101.08 degrees East.
20 days from Singapore.
“Lynn you go up the main Skysail yard and loo round ‘till you see something.” “Aye, aye Sir!” Well, what do you see? “Land Sir -on the Nor’most, and a sail on the starboard bow.”
Yes, land again. Pulo Condese, a group of Islands skirting the S.E part of Cochin China, and near the French Colony of Saigon. Pulo is a Malay word and means island. It is about 40 miles off, but we don’t want anything to do with it. It only serves to tell us how unerring science points out our position in mid ocean.
Last night we had callers. A chinese (Junk?) __1__ in sight and kept right for us. What could it mean? Visions of pirates etc. rose up before me at once, and had it been nearer Hong Kong, I should not have permitted him to come very close. My pistols and muskets were all ready. The wind was light and he did not draw up very fast. At last he lowered a boat. There were a number in it and plenty on board the Junk. Before they got alongside, they stopped. I could see their were a couple of chickens. Then they held up an empty bucket and made motions as though to put water in it. Yes, water hits…
… what’s the matter, so fearing they were from sickly port, I kept them off and called Chutah to hold a parley. They were from Hainan(an Island a little to the Southward of Hong Kong), were 22days out bound to Singapore and had been without water three days! And had lost their way. I at once told the mate to give them some water. Meanwhile the Junk came nearer, as they passed their empty tubs up the ship’s side. I took my glass and looked at the Junk to see the effect, up went their hands with a shout, and such a chattering and hollering, one never heard. Meantime the first bucket that was filled went down over the side- good God what a sight. They stuck their heads into it, fought over it drank it, spilled it, ‘till we had to stop them. I could write a volume about those mute upturned faces a as they looked their mute appeal for a drink of water. Sentiment is it? Yes! Very likely. Such a scene will find sentiment if there is such a thing. One is very apt to think of the time when he will want a drop of water to cool his burning lips, then will ring the trumpet tones, “In as much as you have done it to the least of them, thy brethren, so shall it be done to you.” We gave them all their tubs full, and one of our boat (carks?) (which we always have ____) beside and a bag of ice of 200 lbs. out of the cargo. Yes, stole it from the cargo, which did…
…not belong to us, for those poor starving wretches. To try them, I told them they must empty the bag which did not belong to me and bring it back from their vessel. They promised. Among the things they brought to bring water in was an old jar of curious shape. I at once “blackmailed” that to keep as souvenir of the occasion. When they left, the attitude of devotion they made beat the Rangoon Pilot all to pieces. The wind was up and the Sun was setting but they started back from their Junk with the empty bag. Seeing this I waved them to keep on their way. I told them how far it was to Singapore and that they must take care of their water. They did not know how many miles they had sailed. I suppose they would go by the land when they see it.
I was once short of water myself. I know the horror of being in a tropical climate without water, and what is worse, when added to it no wind.
It was in the Old Captain of Bath, Capt. Mr. W. H. Truphant? Was in command. He had his wife, and his sister, Miss Houldah Forte, with him. We were from Pensacola bound to Philadelphia. It was in the summer of 1851, and we had had an awful hurricane near the Tortuga Isles which decimated us, stove our water casks, and blew our sails away.
It was trying to see the poor women crying for water. I used to be at the wheel, and could see them. The cook was a miserable thing, and wasted what we gave him to cook with. Each one hoarded his allowance and watched it like gold. We gave up having anything cooked, but just ate hard biscuits and drank it straight. Henry L. Keene of Augusta was one of the crew. How he would growl over his lot. We had a Swede, a splendid fellow from the city of Stockholm. He would drink his all down at a swig and go without all day. I had cut a picture out of Godey’s Lady’s Book and pasted it on the till of my chart. He would beg of me to let him look at it. It was “The old Oaken Bucket” At last we got very low, great clouds of rain would sweep up close to us and we would get all ready to catch water, then, they would move tauntingly away. No work was done, nothing said. But one morning, at early dawn, a spec was seen on the horizon. A sail! Quick! Run the boat! Put in a cask! And off we went, the mate steering, I pulled the boat oar. We had a long pull, the Sun came out pouring fire on us, and it was breakfast time when we got alongside The Stranger. It was the ship Coquimbo of Boston, from New Orleans bound to Liverpool, Capt. Grimsby. If Charles Dickens had given him that name he couldnot have hit it better. There he stood, grim as his name. A tall white __1__ hat on, Lord of all…
Pages 33 & 34 are sketches of the two boats near each other.
… all he surveyed. ”What boat’s that?” growled he. From the Captain yonder Sir. Can you spare us any water Sir? What have you done with it? (your water) Lost it in the hurricane. Humph…”Shore I must.” Comes like pulling teeth though. “Got a long passage before me”, But Sir think of the poor women Sir, The Captain’s wife and sister. ’Well, well!” Send us up your cask, for which he gave us an old cask half filled with muddy Mississippi water, about 90 gallons. We get it safe into the boat, also a barrel of pork. The mate went up to pay for it, and as their breakfast was ready, he could not do more than ask him in, beside the $18.00 dollars in gold, softened him some. How quick we boys followed up the side. “Come in my Leasties. Come in here shipmates, and take “potluck”, said the sailors, calling us into their forecastle. Generous pots of coffee were steaming on the floor. A ____ potato hash was in the middle and clean nice white biscuits set modestly on one side, while a huge boulder of beef flanked the other. I always did like hash, but from that moment on it was mine forever, and the…
…beat all! We nearly killed ourselves, and not ‘till” get into the boat then, you Caspian men” roused us did we dream, we had got to back to short allowance again. That cask of muddy water helped us a great deal, but it was many a day before we caught rain enough to get any cooking done.
Thursday- 20th, April. 54 days out. Lat.9 1/2 degrees North.
Fanning along a little now, we made sixty miles yesterday, which is wonderful! We could go to Hong Kong in sixteen days at that rate. I was on the bow looking for cuttlefish for my canary bird, when I saw something glittering and shining far down in the water. It looked like a streak of silver, the light shining through the waves made, represents something like this( small sketch here). It was a snake coming up to have a look at us. When he came to the surface, he lifted his head up and looked at us, astonished as could be. He was fully five feet long and shaped like an eel in the belly. We are scrubbing everything now, moving everything, and Oh!, the ants and cockroaches and moths and mosquitoes. It is awful…
…I have two youngsters on board that is comical to see. One of them came from Boston with me. His name is Sam Glover, about eighteen years old, a very good steady sort of a youth.
The other I shipped in Singapore before going to Rangoon. He was in the Samuel Russell that was lost just before then. When he came up to ship, I asked him his name. He replied Reginald Harold Clary Sir! Well Mr. Reginald Harold Clary, how old are you? Eighteen Sir! Where do you belong? To Greenwich Connecticut Sir! He is the prettiest boy I ever saw, or ever may. Features and complexion as fair as any girl I ever saw. He said his mother was a widow and he the only child. He had been fitted for college, but took it into his head to go sea. It almost killed his mother. The other Captain told me she came up to New York to see him off, and prayed the Captain to take good care of him for he was her all, but as soon as we got out, what an old salt. The first time he came to the wheel he had a __1__ of tobacco in his mouth nearly as large as an egg. Not long after that I heard a string of oaths coming out of him as long as the (Title of something here). I very soon made him stop….
…that. A few days ago, same came out with a pair of tight hipped and flowing legged pants, one of the sailors had made for him, but to complete his requisitions as a sailor, he went and got his arm all tattooed with coats of Arms, flags, etc. The other one came out with a goddess of liberty pricked into his. I was amused enough. The artist that does this ornamenting is Tom Burgess. I shipped him in Rangoon, but he says he is from Baltimore, married in Bengal, where he has been an engine driver on one of the India railways. From the locomotive to the forecastle is quite a step. My boy, Lynn B. Ladd of Haverhill, is a fine young handsome fellow now, and very intelligent. One of the missionary ladies at Rangoon, asked him after church one night, what denomination he belonged to. He told her Universalist!! How she dropped him. I used to let several of them go at a time (to meeting) while in port. The best sailor boy I have got is Tom Ingalls of Bristol, Eng. I have another fine young fellow from Nova Scotia. The Liverpool men are bad treacherous customers. I have got one Portuguese, Frank DeSilvers, a prime good man- and Pete, the same. Another and one old grey headed sailor, Dunn, that reads his bible and hymns book, and all the tracts he can get.
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Latitude 11.20 North
China Sea 25 days from Singapore- 67 from Rangoon.
Today we are about half way to Hong Kong from Singapore. A weary, long half way it has been too. Still, ships are often 50 and 60 days making the passage. Yesterday we passed one of the great landmarks, a kind of halfway milestone. Anxiously looked for always by navigators in this sea- “Pulo Sapatic” is it’s Malay name. Pulo means island, sapatic means shoes. “Shoe Island”- a great barren rock, 360 feet high, visible 30 miles in clear weather. It is of whitish-grey color, not a green thing on it, and it is almost inaccessible to man. Birds go there to lays their eggs, etc. It is an of God’s heavens to keep ships off the dangerous shoal that lies near it. We passed close to it at night, and at daylight were beyond it. Near it are two thers similar. They are all called the “Catinoks”. I had just been reading, Victor Haines’ ‘Toiles of the Sea”. How grandly he writes about these lone ocean rocks. Nothing could be more apropos of these terrible ocean monitors than his book’s description.
We left on the other hand as we came ____ the Island of “Cecir De Mir”. They kept me up all night, thinking of rocks, Victor Hugo, home. But we had such a nice breeze for a wonder, and then there nothing but currents to fear.
I had lately read “The cruise of the Midge”, a standard English Nautical story, fine and romantically written, but nothing to compare to Hugo’s work, for fancy, ____ paths, and subtlety.
Thus, this kind of rocks, which in the old sea dialect, were called”Isoles”, are, as we said, strange places. The sea is alone there, she works her own will, no token terrestrial life disturbs her. Man is a terror to the sea. She is shy of his approach and hides from him her deeds. But she is bolder among the lone sea rocks. The everlasting soliloquy of the waves is not troubled then. She laborers at the rocks, repairs its damage, sharpens its peaks, makes them rugged or renews them. She pierces the granite, wears down the soft stone, and denudes the land. She ____, dismembers, loves, perforates, and grooves. She fills rocks with cells and makes it sponge, like hollows out the inside, or sculptures it without. In that scant mountain, which is hers, she makes herself eaves, sanctuaries, palaces. She has ____ splendid and monstrous vegetation, composed of floating plants which, ____ and monsters which take root, and all she hides away all the magnificence in the twilights of her deeps, among the isolated rock. No eye watches over her, no spy harasses her movements. It is then that she develops liberty, her mysterious side, which is inaccessible to man. How she keeps all strange____ of life here that the unknown wonders of the sea are assembled.
So out of all this idleness, I get some information, find what others have found and described before me. Victor Hugo was prisoner of the Channel Islands. I am prisoner of the China Sea.
Yesterday we saw an English Tea Clipper( ships that carry tea are called that) coming up with us all __—Spars were aloft, skysail yards and all, but was not a rag of canvass set, everything was furled, yards squared, and she looked exactly like a ship at anchor. But we soon discovered what was the matter. She has auxiliary steam power, and that is what it is coming to. “Steam”. All the English ships will soon be converted into Steamers. Sailing ships are played out and I am glad of it. While she passing us on one hand thus-deep loaded for China going ____ with the wind dead ahead. The mail Steamer from China bound to ____ went by on the other hand thus, carrying a long line of foam with her and the wind fair. A swift heeled fellow, and us between them both. The poor Franklin was nowhere. It is an awful humility to be left behind so, but there is no help for it ‘till the wind comes.
And so the boy says today, ”Light airs and calms, hot sultry weather”Short chopping sea on. Cape “Padaran” court of Cochin China in sight, bearing 11 ½ North ____ 40 miles. At nine AM, held service in the forward cabin.
Second Sunday after Easter” He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the Knowledge of the Most High”, which saw the vision of the almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open. I shall see Him, but not now. I shall behold Him, but ____, Then shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel and shall smite the corners of the ____, and destroy all the children of (Sheth?)”
Numbers XXIV 16,17
And April wears away, and far is my New England home, her refreshing showers, bring forth May flowers. No showers for us, all is arid and parched. I begrudge the men their water, they drink almost, for I know that every drink brings them nearer to the bottom of the tank. But I have got some flowers though, my sacred plant bears steadily and every morning I can pick it’s beautiful waxy blossoms, and my four o’clock blooms daily. I ought not to growl about flowers.
But Capt. Deck Bucket says he has some verses his daughter ____/____ old D.B. ____ out and let’s put some of them in here if they are good enough. I don’t know Pil, They are only some of my foolish Fancy’s getting up. My tired brain will throw off something once in a while- I know that they are not what scholars call readable, but ___ takes them such as they are.
Tell me Father, now you’ve come
Back to your own cottage home,
What made you stay away so long
And leave Mother and I to live alone?
Where have you been the long, long time
Since the winter has frozen the summer clime
Since you sailed away o’er the darling ____
Away, away and left brother and me
“Twas a beauteous child on his fathers knee
(rest of poem is Illegible- Water Damage
____ ask me child where I have been,
I’ll tell you darling daughter mine,
I’ve been as far as man can go; quite
Round the world my Nancy oh!
But that’s not what I want to know,
Tell of the places where you did go,
Of what you’ve seen and what you’ve done,
As you followed after the setting sun
I’ve seen the sun for nearly a year.
Rise and set in the water dear
If grim old ocean, vast and blue,
As we plowed it’s waters thro’ and thro’
I’ve seen the storm God in His wrath,
Pour storm and fire o’er our vessel’s path
I’ve seen the waves run mountains high
‘Till they seemed to carry us to the sky.
But other and fairer scenes than those
I saw in lands far ‘yond the seas,
there persuasive breezes ever blow
where there is no storm, and there’s no (faded word here)
From California’s golden plain,
I’ve seen her gems brought down to the main,
And ____ from cold Alaska sent,
To grace fair forms of the ____,
The dusky children of the Hawaiian Isles,
Have reckoned me with songs and smiles,
To their coconut groves and their ____,
As they hang their hammocks in leafy lowes.
On, on to the land of the celestial race,
My Bark sped fast in the ocean chase,
Part reef and shoal, part rocks and Isles,
We measured full many thousand miles.
And there in the land of the rising Sun,
to Hong Kong Isle and proud cantors
Or where Yangtze River rolls down to the sea,
with its yellow flood like eternity.
I’ve wandered among the Asian men,
with their flowing robes and lordly mane,
And seen their women crippled and lame,
With disfigured feet, and without ____
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Wednesday, 28th- April. 28days from Singapore
Lat. 14 degrees North, Long. 112 degrees East
Now we are “getting on” as the English say, making close to 60 to 70 miles per day , with beautiful clear weather, smooth water, and gentle breezes. Eight days like the last will put us in Hong Kong. We are in the latitude on Manila today, and it is not very far from us. We are house cleaning, moving, scraping, and scrubbing everything. We have so much vermin it is quite a job. I can hardly realize we were going thro’ this same thing seven months bound to Batavia. We ought to be home to Boston now. Instead of that we are going backwards. We have three kinds of ants, and hordes of them- swarms of cockroaches of all sizes, crickets, moths, spiders, rats and mice. The rats lay low for as soon as one of them shows their heads, they are wanted by the cats. And last, though not least Mosquitos, any amount. I am almost discouraged about them sometimes, but we get to most everything.
Last year I cleaned house at home…
I suppose they will soon be at it again. Who will do it this year?
My “Shoe Fly” would be the boy for them. I wrote about the boys tattooing themselves on another page. The Burmese are the boys to do that. Every male is tattooed from the knees to the waist, all over. As they go nearly naked, it shows plainly. They are a queer race. I was told they have no marriage, but live with one another as long as was agreeable. This would suit some of the American Burmese I think pretty well. They are not very ambitious, nor industrious, all they care about is having a good time.
Last night I went to bed tired for I had been to work all day, but sleep I could not. I don’t know why. I was tired every way but it was no use. While I lay thinking, “Sail Ho!” was cried out from forward. I sprang up, grabbed my night glass and ran. I met a man coming aft. quite alarmed. He said she was right ahead, and close too. When I got forward, I could see him. She was rather near, and evidently did not see us. He has not lights out, though ours were burning brightly, all at once he discovered us and put on his lights in great confusion, and altered his course, by a little management we cleared him. But that was why I could not sleep.
Sunday, the last day of April
Hong Kong 100 miles distant. 32 days from Singapore.
So we are pretty near our journeys end after all this (time?) This last week we have been doing nicely and yesterday we sailed 140 miles. A beautiful breeze is blowing and although it is ahead, we are thankful for it. It gives new life vigor and all that a man needs. If we could get in tomorrow, it would be a Capital passage after all, for the Franklin at this ____ of the year. Many better sailors have been from sixty to 90 days, so no more grumbling about that .
The last of April- I think I arrived home one year ago today. It was beautiful to me. How different the situation this year! How Changed all! And April showers bring forth May flowers, but no showers or May flowers for us. We have not had a shower since we left Singapore. But never mind, all in good time, all in good time. I shall see my Nancy bringing in May flowers. I hope. So God bless them all today, where ever they are. He knows how much I think of them.