The Surgeon's Log of Dr J. Irving London to Lyttelton, 1879
It is quite impossible for any one who has not gone through it to imagine what is entailed by the getting off, with a family of eight children and a nurse, for the Britain of the Southern Hemisphere. The date of our sailing was originally fixed for the 25th of June, 1879. Then, finding so many applicants for pas- sages, etc., Messrs Shaw, Savill & Co. put the date forward ten days, and it was well in the end that this was so, for otherwise we should not have got off, for the simple reason that we should not have been ready. As it was I thought what few things - chiefly clothing, boots, and my lathe and tools - I intended to take could be comfortably packed in ten days or a Fortnight to pay my debts, have a last chat with old patients, say farewell to many old friends, who were, or were not, patients, and have comfortable time to shake by the hand all whom I knew - many though they were - but especially those with whom long pro- fessional intercourse had ripened into friendship - friendship much warmer and stronger than I had any idea of until it came to be tested by separation. Alas! how miserably I was deceiv- ed and disappointed. The packing occupied twice as long as I anticipated, and my heavier goods - now ammounting to nearly nine tons - were only sent off on the Saturday before the Friday on which we were to sail. However, there was no help for it I (nay, I may say, we all) worked from early morn to late at night, and fancy more thinking than sleeping had to be done at night in bed, I was much disappointed at not getting to the choral festival at Lincoln on the Tuesday, and I did not even get "farewell" said to my mother-in-law; nor the farewell visit paid to Bennington, so I hope that my friends will pardon me for not wishing them a last farewell. I should have done it if I could, but I am sure that in many cases a painful scene was spared to many of us. Now I trust that I have said enough to convince my good friends that not saying "good bye" was equally unintentional and unavoidable. As I got into the omnibus Mr. Ridge rushed up saying, "are you not going to write an address to the Burgesses of the South Ward?" I re- plied that I had had every intention of doing so, But that time had failed me, and now it was impossible. I must crave pardon of them also, and hope my place will be filled up in November by someone more capable than I was, and with fewer short- comings than I am conscious of. The 'bus started, and if the waving of hands and handkerchiefs was any indication of good- will and affectionate farewell, we had them in abundance. A glorious morning - such a one as we had not had for several weeks - seemed a great contrast to heavy hearts; but that was better than a murky leaden sky, and seemed to portend a bright future. Many friends, determined to get a last look, had as- sembled at the station. Time and trains wait for no man - un- less the latter for directors and we soon had the last peep at Newark, and its grand spire, dotted with sunlight, so that we can truly say we carry away 'sunny memories." Changing so often - three times - was rather a nuisance with so many pack- ages (20), but not so bad as the day before, when I took up our bedding for the voyage. However, we got all safely down to the ship, in the East India Dock, and up to town in the even- ing for dinner, and a day's work in the city next morning. On going to the shipping office, I found that I had to pass the Board of Trade, that is, to satisfy the authorities that I really was who and what I represented mysef to be - not an easy thing to do, with my diplomas, in a zinc case at the bottom of the ship's hold. However, a little conversation with their medical officer, at whose hands I received every courtesy, led to his admitting my identity, so that little trouble was got over. Now I wish it to be borne in mind that I am a landsman, and writing chiefly for my friends at Newark, most, at all events, of whom are landsmen also - though I hope they will not all remain so - and that if anything I describe appears frivolous to those who may be acquainted with such things, they will bear in mind that I write for the greatest number, and not for excep- tional cases. To describe the scene on board the ship when we joined, on Friday the 20th, the day of sailing, would test the descriptive power of much abler men than myself; but it was truly a marvellous scene; cargo was going into the hold at a wonderful pace; passengers were struggling to get to their berths, with bundles of all sizes, all shapes, all colours eager, anxious, careworn, bewilderment depicted on every face; every one bound to do everything for themselves, for the simple rea- son that everyone else had their own several duties to do, and precious little time to do them in. Baskets of ducks, fowls, geese - sheep driven on board, with no uncertainty as to the hurry and inhumanity of the drivers; pigs carried on men's backs by the hind legs, the carrier taking one leg in each hand over his shoulder, and grumphy's head hanging down his back, the poor brute squealing as if he knew what fate awaited him, and making frantic efforts to climb up his captor's back and sit on his shoulder. I thought we should never be able to eat all these things, though I had heard wonderful accounts of ap- petites at sea, but I was not long in ascertaining that we had 204 souls on board, and that I was virtually "an emigration medical officer". The last pig being on board, the signal was given, the steam tug began to puff, and in a little while we were conscious that we had started, the night being dark and misty, we could see but little of what went on. We, like many others, said a last farewell to the loving friends who had accompanied us, and, on waking up in the morning, we found ourselves some eighteen miles down the river, and approaching Greenwich. "A dirty day this, doctor," said the sailor to me, as I looked overboard upon the pea-soup looking stuff upon which we float- ed (not forgetting the ill-fated Princess Alice), for it rained and it blew, and might have been March instead of June. How- ever, there we awaited the officials, who were to arrive shortly to examine the compasses, which entailed swinging the ship around. These being adjusted to their minds they departed, and on came the officers of the Board of Trade, to see that our sanitary arrangements were, as they should be, that our stock of drugs was adequate to the probable demands, that I was ready and in a position to undertake any operation from the most serious amputation down to vaccination. This latter I had to perform when we mustered and inspected the passengers - for we have baby sailors on board, and some who have not yet reached that early stage of existence. As for the amputation, we all hoped it may not come, for with steady hands and head such things have to be done, but with unsteady pins (legs, I mean), the difficulty would be vastly increased, for the pitching of the ship in calm weather is not slight. My stock of instru- ments passed muster, but only having two ounces of quinine, I complained bitterly, and sent ashore for more. I think it time the Board of Trade revised their stock of medicines, unless they intended to send octogenarians out in charge of emigrants, and who had not improved upon their medical knowledge since their encounter with the examiners in Lincoln's Inn-fields. We have no bromide of potassium and eucalyptus, both of which I have already wanted. Of course, I was not aware of their absence until we were well down in the mouth of the Thames, and then it was too late to remedy it. The officers were at last satisfied, and then refreshed, signed our papers, shook us warmly by the hand, wished us God speed, and departed. The miserable wea- ther of Saturday continued, and we all began to look and feel, and be, miserable. I suppose persons who are not sea- sick are the exceptions, and not the rule - to attempt a service on the Sunday would be ridiculous, neither the congregation nor the chaplain were in a fit state, either of body or mind, to undertake such a thing, so thus passed (though very unwilling- ly to me) a miserable Sunday. But, we did not lose heart, and hoped for a better state of things at the commencement of next week. Monday, Tuesday - nearly the whole week - passed with- out anything of much interest occurring. I had a good deal of sickness to treat, which was not without advantage to myself, it diverted my attention from my own ill-tempered stomach which, finding itself neglected, brought itself into a plane of better conduct, and at the end of seven days, it was as accom- modating as could be desired. Contrary winds, a rough, chopping sea, and strong tides, becalmed us in the Channel, for a week or eight days. We tacked about in a wearisome sort of way, sailing a dozen miles to get one ahead. We could occas- ionally get a glimpse of some of the towns on the south coast, but it was misty, and frightfully cold, so we were not sorry when it was night, and we could turn into our berths, there only to be knocked against the sides thereof until arnica for bruises was in great request. Talk about being "cribbed, ca- bined, and confined;" here we have it in perfection. One of our old drawing-room hearth rugs more than covers the stand- ing room in our berth, for it is doubled under at one end, and one of us has to be in bed whilst the other gets dressed, so at night one must go to bed before the other can begin to undress. But one must not grumble. I want to state things as they are for the sake and information of coming emigrants. By Satur- day, the 28th, everyone seemed to have shaken down into their places tolerably well, a few were still sick, one of the worst, if not the very worst, being my daughter Mary. There were about five out of the whole number on board, which I think is a small proportion. In the evening I began to thnk of ar- rangements for the services on Sunday. Unfortunately we had no piano on board, the one which should have come into the saloon was half an inch too wide, to everyone's great disap- pointment. Neither was there any one on board who could play the cornet, so I had to fall back upon two violins. I had my St Leonard's chant book, and we had a large number of "hymns, ancient and modern," on board, and after a few bad starts and a little waste of time, we dd sufficiently Well to be satisfied with the rehearsal. On Sunday we had morning prayer in the saloon at 10.30, many of the second and third- class passengers in to it; and I had arranged that the Roman Catholics in the fore part of the ship should have their ser- vice at the same time, so that the one might not interfere with the other. It was certainly conducted under difficulties, for every now and then we had to catch hold of the nearest object to prevent ourselves falling over or against something, from the rolling of the ship. However, we had no contretemps. I read all the service, but the absolution and the benediction at the end. The singing was fair, and a short sermon upon the necessity of repentance brought my first service to an end. In the afternoon I held one in the fore part of the ship, in what is called the "'tween decks" (between decks). I was afraid at first that it was distasteful to those assembled, but by the time we got to the 2nd hymn every one had joined in, and became really a hearty service. An old box covered with the Union Jack did for reading desk, and I held on to the lattice work of my dispensary door with one hand, whilst holding my book in the other. There was no want of attention on the part of the congregation; indeed, you might have heard a pin fall during the sermon - one of Mr Walsham How's, contrasting time with eternity. In the evening we had a third service in the saloon, all coming who could getin. Everything went better than in the morning; shyness was wearing off the ladies, and all seem- ed to be gaining confidence. I was thankful to have been of use, and to have spent a Sunday better than its immediate pre- decessor, and more in consonance with the occupation on that day which had become one of my pleasantest privileges and duties. Monday, the last day of June.- Miserably cold, wet, a lumpy sea, and we only just getting out of the Channel; it made some of us think we had not quite recovered from seasickness, and the night was such a one as few people experience on a voyage to New Zealand. To sleep was impossible, the ship rocked inces- santly and most violently. Now and again came a huge wave which made the whole vessel tremble. However, we have a good captain, a Welshman, who has been 23 years in command, as jolly a fellow as one need wish to meet; and knowing he was on deck all night, we were not very anxious. Morning came at last, but not very good appetiles. This (Tuesday) morning the sun rose splendidly, for the storm and clouds had cleared away, and the sea was like Frosted silver as we looked towards the sun. Huge waves were seen in all directions, and some- times it seemed as though the ship would be swallowed by the water; then she rose majestically on the next wave like a grace- ful swan on a rough, rippling river. Our great amusement to- day was to watch the porpoises, which were seen in great num- bers jumping out of the water and taking headers in again, and often they could be seen swimming on the side of a wave as we went along parallel with it, for it must be remembered that the wind was still ahead of us. Towards evening the wind quieted down, and we contemplated a quiet night, with less shaking and fewer impediments to sleep. July 2.- To my great annoyance I awoke too late for my bath on deck. The sailors wash the decks every morning at 5.30 or 6, and I turn out at the latter hour, and get a sailor to throw three or four buckets of water over me; it is most refreshing. There are baths in the ship, of course, but they are small, and the water limited in supply, so I prefer the more primitive method; and a glass of grog later on in the day pays for Willy and myself. The sailor is satisfied, and so are we. We are some 103 miles from Cape Orient - that is, we are three-fourths of the way across the Bay of Biscay, and this is one of the most glorious days which can be desired at sea - only we are not going quite fast enough. From five to six or seven knots is the most we have accomplished in the hour to-day, but it is bright and clear, and warmer than it has been. Poor Mary and a Mr Tippins are still sick occasionally. Such stomachs laugh at medicine, and I have been most disappointed with the nitrate of amyl. I once gave some to Mr. M---, and he tried it, but said it was useless to him. I cannot report any better of it. We have a most bountifully served table, and constant variety of both fresh meat and preserved, and cooked in all conceivable ways. Four meals a day, with meat at three of them, and it is astonishing how some people seem to have determined to make up for lost time. The want of exercise is greatly felt on board. Saturday, July 5th. We have had some glorious days and evenings this week, which begin to compensate us for the dis- comforts of seasicknesss in the beginning of the voyage, Catch- ing Mother Carey's chickens has been the chief amusement of the juveniles. They are little birds, not unlike a sand mar- tin when on the wing, but have long legs, which will not bend at the knee, and yellow, webbed feet. They follow the ship constantly, though we are at least 130 miles from any land. The mode of catching is curious:- A bit of paper or biscuit is tied to a long piece of black cotton and let fall upon the water. The birds are continuously flying after it and about it, and get their wings entangled in the cotton, and are then easily captured. They are not handsome either in ap- pearance or behaviour, for as soon as they are on board they empty their stomachs, which is not a pleasant sight when one has only just recovered from such tricks oneself. Still no piano get-at-able. My two having been down at the docks early were put in the hold early, and whether they can be reached or not is yet a doubtful question. The older passengers read, talk, work, smoke, play cards, help the sailors, or do anything else to kill time. I was quite pleasing to see everyone at all four meals to-day - even my daughter May, who might have hired herself out to Mr. Pepper for a ghost, if he had been in want of such a miserably thin creature. However, in spite of most voracious appetites there is an abundance of most excellent food, and in great variety, and always something left. I name this because I was told that "Shaw, Savill and Co. did not pro- vide a good table." So far as my experience goes that is without foundation. I will give a list some day of our meals We have dessert on Sundays and Thursdays, preserved fruits of all kinds, and nuts. I need not say how much they are ap- preciated by the small fry. I am no longer alone at my bath in the morning and its no little fun for us and the sailors, Of course they expect a glass of grog, but a bath is cheap even at that. Monday, July 7th. - We had two capital services yester- day under the awning on the poop deck. Of course many of the second and third class passengers came to it. Having suf- ficient room for all it saved the necessity for a special ser- vice as on last Sunday afternoon. The awning is not an advan- tage as far as acoustics are concerned, it absorbs the voice too much, and the singers on one side of the ship declared they could not hear those on the other, but in the evening when the awning was rolled up everything was heard much better. Still no piano; it seems almost impossible to get to them, but we are to have one more trial Tuesday, July 8th, 10 a.m. (London time 11.30).- We had a glorious day yesterday; a nice fresh breeze which sent us gaily through the water. Of course the evening is the pleatsant- est time of the 24 hours, and all are loth to leave the deck, and but few do when the lights are extinguished at 10 p.m. At midnight the captain called out the fire brigade, and there were many of them in bed, and no one new the captain's inten- tions. Every man was in his place and the pump at work in 3 minutes. One fellow, not being so quick as he might have been, and not exerting himself to the captain's satisfaction, not only got "helped on," but had the pleasure of taking in the skysail - the top one, as its name indicates - and then putting it out again, no grog, and no "bacca" for a month. So he had the pleasure of seeing all the fire brigade, who are not total abstainers, "grogged" this morning, without participating. It is astonishing to see how some of the old hands can let it run down, as though the act of swallowing was a work of super- erogation on such an occasion. It runs down as though through a funnel. The punishment administered to the lazy fellow may appear severe, but I am certain that a review of the facial expression of many of the crew would satisfy the most scep- tical then leniency is not kindness in their cases. The captain is beloved by his men and there is not a murmur of discontent at anything he does or says. July 9, Wednesday - I promised to give a bill of the day's fare, and here it is:- The children breakfast before us. We have ours at 8.30, consisting of porridge, curried rice, mutton chops, liver and bacon, ham, kippered herrings, hot rolls and potatoes; coffee, tea and cocoa. Lunch at 12.30; ham, preserv- ed salmon, lobster, oysters, beef, sardines - all cold, of course. Then the children dine. Our dinner at 4.30; soups, pea and chicken; meats, boiled leg of mutton, roast leg of pork, ox cheek, haricot mutton, potatoes (baked and boiled), parsnips; sweets: gooseberry tart, rhubarb tart, greengage pudding, jam roll, rice pudding, macaroni pudding, cheese. This is a fair sample, and everything was very good. We are driving along to-day, having done about 210 miles yesterday, in the twenty- four hours, that is to-day, we are in latitude 29.43 north, longi- tude 21.56 west. A fresh breeze comes in deliciously under the awning, and the sea was never a more exquisite blue. We hope to fall in with the north-east trade winds soon. Flying fish and albatross are about, and all preparations for catching them are in active progress. I had the mortification to find that my al- batross hooks are useless. Amongst our passengers is an old man who has been in New Zealand for 33 years. He stands 6ft. 3in., and being near upon 70, stoops a little. He is a perfect encyclopedia upon New Zealand affairs, and having been in al- most every country in the world, he is full of anecdotes of ad- venture of all kinds, and is a most entertaining and amusing companion. He never tires of talking to his listeners, and keen- ly enjoys a rubber from 8 to 10 in the evening. I could fill pages with his anecdotes,but as such things lose half their force when not told by the eye-witness, I shall not repeat them here. Tea, as usual, at 7, consisting of tea, coffee, cocoa, bread and butter, and marmalade, all in abundance July 10th, Thursday -- Glorious weather, fresh breeze, and so we go ploughing along merrily, with a tolerably smooth sea and but little motion of the ship. Being my father's birthday, of course we drank his health, the captain joining us, and then his favourite toast, "Absent friends." Four of us have settled down steadily to whist, and I was let in for it in this way. Some young men who are with us began to play soon after we left the Thames, and my old friend previously alluded to, watched them with keen interest. At last he said to me, "Do you play whist, doctor?" "Yes," I said, "a little. Does the Captain?" "Oh, he's sure to." "Well, I do not like joining the juveniles. Can we arrange for a rubber?" So it ended in two others joining us, and we are partners for the week, begin at 8 p.m., and leave off when the lights are extinguished. July 12th. -- I find my professional duties neither few nor trivial. I had a severe case of epilepsy to treat, and no bro- mide of potassium. A case of hernia, irreducible at present, prospect of having to operate, no chloroform for inhalation, no ether, and no assistant; besides a heap of minor ailments. I have just completed a most delightful treat in reading the Life of Bishop Selwyn, of N.Z., of Lichfield. What a privilege to have known such a man, and to have been associated with him. Flying fish seem here in shoals to-day - several hundreds at a time. We hope to catch some soon, for they are said to be very good eating. At a distance they look like little white birds skimming along the surface of the water. July 14th.--Weather getting very hot. I have slept on deck these last two nights in a cot hung up under the spankerboom -an elegant spar which extends from the hindmost mast right aft over the helm. The captain, with his usual kindness and liberality, has lent me a cot, which is the same in principle as a hammock, but made of canvas, having a wooden frame in the bottom it does not come close round you as a hammock does, and is infinitely more comfortable than the bunk in our cabin, cooler, and does not knock one against the sides, for it swings with the ship, and specific gravity keeps one comparatively quiet, though one appears to move. All patients doing well ex- cept the hernia; he is not any better but not any worse; my fingers begin to itch! Our services yesterday were an improvement on the former ones in all respects, except in the number of the congregation. I asked the captain if he could explain it, and he said, "That on the first Sunday or two people were just getting over the sea. sickness, and came; but when they felt better it ceased to be, and so they got fewer every Sunday." It reminded me forcibly of Tom Moore's lines: God and the doctor all men do adore When sickness comes but not before; When health returns both are alike requited, God is forgotten and the doctor slighted. We are well over the t.ropic of Cancer now, and it is ter- ribly hot, the saloon hardly being bearable - temperature 81 deg. Of course we have the services on the poop deck, and though I have got my sea legs I have not got my sea knees, and was very nearly over several times when the ship rolled, so next Sunday we are going to have my reading desk - box covered with the Union Jack - fastened down, then I shall have something to hold on to instead of being distracted with the constant fear of an undefying exhibition. As our week's whist playing left my old colonial friend and myself winning six- pence, our opponents have challenged us for this week also, and of course we accept with due courtesy. July 17th.-The whole of the week had been so hot that clothes are a great nuisance, and we vie with each other who can wear the fewest and the thinnest. Most of the gentle- men passengers sleep on deck, where are slung three or four hammocks beside my cot. This makes it much more comfort- able for us. We have not yet seen one sunset worth naming. To-day a ship is in sight ,homeward bound, some 10 or 15 miles off, but I am afraid we shall not be able to send a line to anxious and loving hearts at home. Life is becoming mono- tonous, read, read, read, nearly all day. After my professional duties are over, quoits made of rope are in great request, and all join as they feel disposed. The fine for sending one of them overboard is a bottle of champagne, and two of my family let me in for one each yesterday. May better luck, or greater skill, attend their future games. I operated yesterday morning on my patient previous}y referred to, minus chloroform, and with the captain as my chief assistant. I had the man on the carpenter's bench on deck at 6 in the morning. Many who had proffered assistance turned pale and had to go; still, every- thing was got over favourably, and I am happy to say the patient is doing well. A passenger, nephew of a leading Lon- don physician, having an ice making machine in his cabin, kind- lly makes ice for patients, which is an immense boon with the thermometer standing at 85 in the saloon, and 110 in the sun, of which, fortunately, there is not much. The beauty of the sea at night exceeds anything which one's imagination had pre- viously pictured. It looks as if strewed with diamonds in most bounteous profusion, whose constant glitter quite dazzles the eye. Then the wake of the ship resembles the Milky Way on a bright, frosty night, and is interspersed with large jelly fish, whose luminosity eclipses for a few seconds all the other bright spangles near them. We have united the dinner and tea, and dine now at five, tea or coffee afterwards for those who like it, and some supper of an unpretentious sort at nine; but our whist, which we play from eight to ten, is far too absorbing to be interrupted. I had a bath fitted up for the second and third class ladies yesterday, and many availed themselves of it this morning. I need not say that they are grateful, and we all acknowledge the captain's kindness and courtesy in carry- ing the matter out so well. One is obliged to read so much that I am beginning to wonder what we shall do when we have read all our books and everybody else's. Pitch and toss is the resource which some are driven to sometimes. However, I have not myself got to that pitch yet. July 19th. - We all had a wonderful diversion yesterday. Soon after breakfast a ship was seen coming in our direction, and ,homeward bound. As soon as it was possible to interpret their signals they said they wanted biscuits, and hoisted up their number, saying also that they would take letters. There was a general rush to the writing materials, and I think by the time the boat from the Candida, of Glasgow, went back to her, there was as many letters written as would fill a peck measure, and certainly the time did not exceed two hours. The mate of the Candida stated that they were from the west coast of Mexico, and been 120 days at sea, and owing to the dirty state of the ship could only get two knots an hour out of her. Our captain gave them three racks of biscuits, one barrel of pork, a hamper of potatoes, a couple of fowls (the crew were 12 in number), and about 1201bs of tobacco; so they went away rejoicing. Someone having set a subscription on foot, the captain interposed just as it was about to be given to them, and ordered it into our missionary boxes - of which we have three on board - (I send them round alternately on Sunday mornings for the offertory), but they went away well satisfied with the result of their visit, and we gave them three British cheers. They reached their ship, and were soon out of sight, and we were delighted to have an opportunity of sending word to loving hearts at home. Though we are not yet at the equa- tor the heat is intense; and having slept below on Thursday night, I was determined not to be frightened again by rain, so I resumed my old position in my cot, and with a piece of sail cloth over the spanker-boom I slept last night on deck again, and though it rained in torrents about two this morn- ing, I only got a few drops on my face, but plenty of cool fresh air. The captain had just come in in a rage, because he went below forward and found bunk No. 6 uncleaned; so, having blown them up well, he ordered the second mate "to stop their grub until it is cleaned." He is a little man, very kind- hearted, but he's a very lion when roused, for, as he tells them, they are imperilling the health of 240 people by their idleness. I do not think there is anything the captain has which he would not give away if he thought it would be of any use to the re- cipients, and no use saying 'no" to him. July 24th (Thursday).-Spoke the Cairnbulg, of Aber- deen, 1557 tons register - we are only 1058. Though we have been sailing parallel nearly all day I think we are distancing her a little. Perhaps may landsmen did not know how ships communicate. It is by flags. Every letter in the alphabet has its flag and every ship has its number; each ship carries a list of the numbers of all ships, and hoist the letters which repre- sent their number, which is at once interpreted from the book and the name found opposite. Afternoon tea has become an institution for the ladies. The captain tried it first on Mon- day, when each one had a new laid egg! His health was en- thusiastically drunk with this rider: " Many happy returns of the day," so the hens are studiously watched and the eggs are again accumulating. On Tuesday it rained - as it only can rain in the tropics - and we were prisoners nearly all day. Tues- day was not much better in the morning, but it had abated sufficiently in the afternoon to allow the youngsters to run about without shoes and stockings, to their infinite delight, and no one seems to have taken cold. Position to-day : 5.17 N.; 21.30 west long.; so we are getting rapidly towards the equa- tor, but we all hope that the hottest of the weather is over. The men lie in bed with pyjamas and a jacket of the same thin material on. The mention of bed clothes makes one perspire at once. My patient in the hospital is doing well, and I am happy to say I have not any serious case. One albatross has been seen, but was not caught, and only one flying fish has been caught; they are like small herrings with large lateral fins, with which they fly, or, rather, skim along. 27th. - We crossed the line yesterday afternoon between five and six, and, of course, it was an occasion of fun to the children - some of whom imagined the line was a reality to the eye instead of geographical position or expression. We see a few whales occasionally, but not many. We are having stiff breezes, and getting along well. Instead of the ordinary even- ing service we had the Litany sung and three hymns, and a sermon at three o'clock - tolerably well for the first attempt, but my choir will not put steam enough on, which is requisite much more under canvas in the open air than in church , how- ever, all join heartily in the hymns, but the ship rolls so much that all the ladies are obliged to retain their seats, and those who stand, including myself, have to, hold on by some fixed object to prevent being pitched hither and thither. The pitch- ing is worst at night, or, rather, least bearable then, for it rolls and bangs one about in bed until sleeping is almost out of the question. When we get further south and alter our course it will not be so bad. August 2nd. - Our waxwork exhibition came off last night - the personations were very good, and we had the babes in the Tower, the Queen of the Cannibal Islands, and little Jack Horner. Then came Chang, Queen Elizabeth, the execution of Lady Jane Grey, and the man at the wheel, who had just returned from the North Pole with Sir G. Nares, and who could have told us all about it, but the intense cold had taken away his speech, so of course he steered clear of that. It re- minded me somewhat of poor Dr Beevor's "Country Fair," which he used to perform so admirably. It lasted about half an hour, was a glorious sight, and everyone seemed pleased to have a nice break in the monotony of the voyage. Wednesday, August 3rd. - We have had five days of squalls; occasionally some of the sails are carried away, i.e., torn from their attachments, and now and then someone gets a ducking from spray coming over the side, but we did 236 nautical miles in the 24 hours preceding 12 o'clock at noon to-day- the best day's work yet. The time hung so heavily with my old colonial friend, nothwithstanding his wonderful liking for tobacco, that I have been obliged out of charity to read aloud to him for an hour twice a day, very much to his delight. The young people have been getting up some wax work exhibitions, at which I am to be showman, but the weather has not been sufficiently propitious to allow of its taking place, so we wait patiently and live in hopes. Notwithstanding all the amusements and reading - rope quoits being one of the chief - time hangs heavily, and one wearies of almost every- thing, so most people take a nap after lunch. As I still sleep on deck, generally see the sun rise, but have looked in vain for one of those beautiful sun rises which we have heard so much of on land. My cot is a hammock with a frame at the bottom of it, so, being suspended in mid-air, I get much less of the motion than other people. August 4th. - We had capital services yesterday, in the evening singing the 145th hymn properly in parts, having had two days' grind at it. The choir is gaining confidence, and we get on better; still it is not easy work to take all the service in a very loud key, and to lead the singing in a louder voice, for the canvas absorbs the sound so much that it increases the effort considerably. During the first lesson in the morning a huge shark (the first we had seen) presented himself, and caus- ed a little flutter. I asked the captain afterwards what it was, and he told me that, "finding what was going on, and that it was no place for him, he speedily cleared out." He did not re-appear, nor have we seen any more. To-day the sea has been like a mill-pond, and many whales have been dis- porting themselves and spouting. We have had a large num- ber of dolphins about - beautiful fish, all colours-and as the sea is as clear as crystal, and we can see to the depth of thirty fathoms, they were seen to the best adivantage. Seeing that the performance on Friday gave such satisfaction, I set about getting up a concert, and when I showed the captain the programme, he very kindly and very emphatically said, "We'll have the piano up, and in the saloon, if I saw the place down. Where's the carpenter? Call him, steward." When he appeared he had his order to 'get in," and it was got in accordingly in the afternoon' and without any harm being done; and now the practice is going on vigorously. August 6th. We are all congratulating each other to-day on last nights concert, which, considering we had twenty-four separate songs and pieces, and only two failures, and both from nervousness, not inability, may be considered a success. We had songs (English. and German), ducts, trios, violin, pic- colo and piano-serious, sentimental, and comic. One of the sailors, dressed as a woman, sang "I wish I'd never got mar- ried, "which produced fits of laughter, and the children sang "The Nursery Rhymes Quadrilles," which also gave great satisfaction. We had a very favourable state of weather, too, and the whole thing went off admirably, finishing up with three cheers for the "Crusader Company," three for the captain, and three for the ladies, and one for the "little Crusader," who made his appearance the day before, and is doing well. Nothing could exceed the captain's kindness, and nothing is looked upon as a trouble if it will conduce to our amusement. It was no little trouble to get the piano, an extra heavy one of Collard's, up from the saloon to the poop deck; it had to be slung in a sheet, and hoisted by tackle. August 11th. - The boon that the piano is to us is quite indescribable. It has had; a little rest, and we look forward with increased delight to having another concert in a few days. We also had a better practice on Friday afternoon, and consequently a better service in the saloon on ,Sunday morn- ing - being compelled to have it thus on account of the cold-- for the thermometer now stands at about 65 deg., with a toler- able breeze, sufficient to run 200 miles and more in the twenty-four hours. We had service on the deck in the after- noon, and by having a little awning put up to screen my head, I managed very well, though it was cold in the wind. The captain's little dog "Venus," the very image of Mrs Hole's "Zoe," comes and lies in the reading desk during service, and never moves until it is all over ; then out she pops, and wags her tail, as much as to say "Have I not been good." In the evening were sung hymns and litanies for some three hours, choosing in turns. We are well supplied with Hymns Ancient and Modern, for, besides our own copies, the "Waterside Mission," at Gravesend, sent a lot on board, and, having pro- vided eighteen copies of the Cathedral Psalter, we got very good time and punctuation in the Canticles. The rolling of the ship makes it very uncomfortable for two in a bunk only 3ft 6in wide, and I should advise married people to have separate ones 2ft 3in., one over the other. We saw the first albatross last Saturday, but it soon "cleared out," as the sailors say, but this morning (Monday) a cape pigeon was caught, chloro- formed, killed and skinned, and its skin is now being preserv- ed. They have beautiful white breasts, the rest of their plum- age being white and grey mixed. Like all sea birds, it was sick as soon as it was over the side of the ship. A species of oil comes up, which the sailors prize for lubricating purposes, and everything needs it on board, for all bright things rust immediately. Vaseline, I find, is very good for preventing it, but even then they want looking at constantly, and having 20 pairs of tooth forceps - I can speak feelingly - and my patients do the same when I use them. I have been into the captain's cabin and found him asleep with Philip in his arms. He is very fond of children, as may be supposed from his tak- ing one of mine to bed with him. He is generally up three, four or five hours during the night, so it is not to be wonder- ed at that he tries to get a nap in the afternoon. He has two little daughters of his own - one Bessy's game, and not unlike her, he says; it is often very amusing to see all the children playing with him. August 21st. - I feel that I have not been a good scribe lately, but various things have contributed to this end. First- ly, soon after the 11th, it became calm, and the ship rolled to such an extent that it was really dangerous going about, and one had to catch hold of everything to avoid falling; so you may fancy what a task it was one day to carve a small boiled leg of mutton on a large dish, with a little caper sauce over it. The thing raced from one side of the dish to the other, and, of course, slipped when I put the fork in, and the dish slid from side to side of the table between the fenders. I wonder if ever Job was so circumstanced? He might have been in less trying circumstances. Well, that little game went on for nearly a week, until we all got very tired of it, and the captain was getting cross. At last up sprung the wind and more Cape pigeons were caught, and my time became fully occupied, for, having had one lesson, I proceeded to put it into practice. I have three properly prepared I believe and hope. Yesterday we were surrounded by albatross, Cape pigeons, ice birds and whale birds. One of the last was caught, but so mutilated in the attempt to kill it that I only cut out the breast and the wings. The albatross would not take a bait, still I hope we shall catch some, and as they are from 10 to 18 feet across the wings it will be no small undertaking to prepare one. We are now south and east of the Cape of Good Hope. The weather is very cold, and, unfortunately, we have not a very good supply of winter clothing; a large ulster would have been better than a pea-jacket, which is all the great clothes I have out. Fortunately the other members of my family are a little better off. August 26th. - We are still surrounded by a large number of birds, but they get so much from what is thrown overboard without a bait upon it that they steadily refuse to take any- thing with a bait on it. However, we caught a mollyhawk the other day which measured 7ft 2in across the wings. Being so large the owner did not wish it kept whole, so we cut the breast off and the wings and head. They are all in process of preparation. The skin and feet make tobacco pouches, and the thin bones of the wings pipe stems. The albatross are so shy of the bait that I quite despair of catching one. The mollyhawk was accidentally hooked in the wing or we should not have had the pleasure of catching it. On Saturday night some of the third-class passengers gave an amateur Christy Minstrel entertainment, which was very good for being got up with so short a notice. It was amusing but not very refined; however, it shows the good feeling which exists in the ship. September 3rd. - We have managed to chant the Psalms this last two Sunday nights, which is a great improvement upon reading them. Of course we are obliged to have the ser- vices in the saloon. It holds all who seem inclined to come, but is generally quite full. A few nights since one of the pas- sengers was sitting upon the pantry skylight when the ship gave a great roll; he slipped, lost his footing, went against the bulwarks, and turned a somersault over the side. For- tunately he caught hold of a rope, and the officer of the watch seized hold of him and held him until more assistance came, when he was hauled in again, but this occupied nearly ten min- utes. It was a very narrow escape, for we were going 14 knots per hour, and if he had gone over there was such a sea on that the captain said he dared not have lowered a boat. During the 36 hours preceding yesterday at twelve o'clock we had sailed 56 miles, and being now in 8 deg. west longitude and nearly 11 weeks out, we are beginning to think of arriving. We have a full moon now and splendid nights, and though cold it's very enjoyable with splendid waves and the ship tearing along through the water beautifully, rising and falling with the waves with great elegance. September 10th. - Having had rough weather lately the poor sailors have had hard times of it. The wind goes all round the compass sometimes in twelve hours, consequently the sailors have to be continually shifting the sails. Two nights running they have been up all night, drenched to the skin. I do not think most landsmen sufficiently appreciate the hardships of a sailor's life or they would support the seamen's charities decently, whereas now they are the most neglected of any. One penny per head from the population of Great Britain would keep these institutions in comfortable circum- stances instead of in a continued state of impecuniosity as they are at present. The rough weather makes feeding a great diffi- culty; yesterday a gentleman disappeared entirely under the table, and his soup went into the lap of his opposite neigh- bour. I hardly know which of the two looked most disconcert- ed. Even the most agile gets a good deal knocked about with the rolling and pitching; yesterday being our worst day, for we could only carry one sail on each mast instead of six, be- sides auxiliary ones. There is another concert waiting to take place, but the cold rough weather prevents it. September 16th. - After four or five days of horrible wea- ther, rainy, cold, blowing horribly, during wthich all the dis- comforts of a voyage were experienced (even a return of the sickness in some of the ladies and children), we had a fine day yesterday and a glorious evening. The concert took place, and was a very great success. Ten of the crew dressed as amateur Christys, with black trousers and white shirts and polished black faces. They sang many songs, all with a chorus, of course; and the chorus was always sung twice over. These were interspersed with jokes about all of us, and riddles. Many of them were very witty. One of the quartermasters is a very facetious fellow, full of fun, and very comical. He was the moving spirit in the matter, and to see him put his head on one side and shut eyes and "listen to see that they sang the chorus" in proper time was highly amusing. The end was that everyone was pleased - very much amused - and highly delighted with everyone else. Grog and bread and cheese were well served out to all the crew, doubtless to their great satisfaction. We hope that we are now within two days' sail of the Snares - which are some rocks right at the south of New Zealand, and are the first land sighted on the voyage. Since the rough weather ceased on Sunday night the wind has been so still that we only go about seven or eight knots an hour with every inch of canvas set, and so smoothly, that sit- ting in the saloon one can scarcely tell that we are moving. The sun shines brightly, and the atmosphere is very clear, and they tell us that we are beginning to experience what the atmosphere of New Zealand is. The passengers have asked me to draw up an address to the captain - a very gratifying task - as he could not have been kinder. Saturday, September 20th. - We have had three days' miserable weather - cold, wet, cloudy - no observations pos- sible; not a very pleasant thing with the Snares right ahead. They are a group of rocky islands rising to various heights above the sea, some nearly 500 feet high. Last night we had prepared a grand concert in honour of the captain's birthday, and it was to be followed by the address, but the unfavourable- ness of the weather was such as to prevent everything and kept the captain constantly on deck. At 8 p.m. we turned and went about to wait for daylight. When it came, we set all sail, and the Snares hove in sight about midday. Even they were a welcome sight after three months' absence from land. We passed to the southward, and then stood up for Stewart Island, and thence along the east coast of the South or Middle Island. September 21st.-We have had our thanksgiving services (which were crowded), with appropriate psalms and hymns, for we feel that we are nearing our destination - a feeling not unmingled with sorrow, for we shall be sorry to part from each other and from the captain and his officers, and the good ship which has brought us so far, and has been our home, in fact, all the world to us, these three months. September 23rd. - All yesterday we were tearing up the east coast with a favourable breeze. About dinner time "Land on the lee bow" was shouted. Nearly all left the table, and there we stood in the miserable cold rain, staring at the pre- cipitious rock, which form the coast of Banks Peninsula. We soon passed Akaroa Harbour and then along the coast; but it was dark and misty, and wet and miserable. I was on deck with the captain until nearly 12 at midnight, when he said, "I'll have to drop the anchor," which he accordingly did, for the lighthouse on Godley Head could not be seen. It is at the entrance to Lyttelton IIarbour. This morning when we awoke a beautiful sight met our eyes. We are lying some five or six miles off the coast, which is very hilly; further inland are very high mountains, snow capped, which glitter in the bright sunshine. The wind is bitterly cold, but the sun warm. We are in 17 fathoms of water, and of course the colour of the water is quite changed, the beautiful blue having become a dirty green. All hands are now busy hauling up the anchor, but with a head wind it is a question of doubt when we shall get into port. Evening. - Imagine our disappointment! Something went wrong with the machinery under the capstan when the anchor was being hauled up, and out ran the cable at a terrible rate. The machinery for getting in the anchor proved to be hope- lessly broken, and all day the sailors and many passengers have been hauling in the chain by tackles, and hard labour it was. We have drifted nearly out of sight of land. At last the end of the cable has come in - the anchor and 45 fathoms of cable are left at the bottom, the sudden jerk when the cable ceased running out having what is called unshackled one of the pins. There is little wind, but we are making slowly for the harbour. Wednesday, 24th. - We are being quietly tugged up the harbour of Port Lyttelton - a beautiful one - with precipitous hills on either side, green down to the water's edge, the scenery not unlike some parts of Wales and Scotland. The pilot came out to us in the night about two o'clock, the steam tug soon followed, and we shall soon be alongside the wharf. Evening: The medical officer of health came on board about ten - found us all healthy - congratulated me as medical officer in charge, and we went alongside the wharf at once. Off immediately to the train to go up to Christchurch, some seven miles, and whose face is the first seen but my brother, who came here some three weeks since; a very agreeable surprise for all, as we did not know that he was here. We took a buggy and drove round and about Christehurch. It is a perfectly flat, square city, containing about 20,000 souls; within the town is a mile square, all the streets run at right angles and quite straight, except one which runs corner-wise. The Cathedral - so much of it as is built - is in the centre of the mile square, and all the streets are named after a Bishopric. Our hotel is in Hereford Street, with Latimer Square just in front, Cran- mer Square being on the other side of the town. The houses are mostly of wood and are very picturesque; the town has been divided into quarter-acre sections, hence most of the houses stand back from the street, in their section, with a verandah and flower garden in front. Many houses are only one storey, but there is a degree of neatness and comfort about them, which is quite refreshing after the dull brick of most of our English towns. Appearances are studied here, but convenience and utility not sacrificed. In England ap- pearance is seldom thought of; at least in and around Newark, though there are some exceptions. One part of the town is within what is called the "fire block;" there the houses are of brick or stone, and closer together; wooden erections are now prohibited. All the streets are wide. An open drain made of cement on each side of the road, next the footpath, with a continual stream from the artesian wells. The footpaths are broad, and one half of them is asphalted. The kerbing is of wood, 2 by 9 or 11. Many of the houses and shops have verandahs extending right over the footpath, some covered with corrugated iron, some with glass painted so as to subdue the light and diminish the heat. All paths are asphalted - no slabbing. As any further description of the country cannot be very interesting to strangers, I shall close here, and write what I have to say of the country and its prospects in a future letter. The men wanted here are small working farmers with five or six hun- dred pounds. They do their own labour, have none to pay for, and consequently reap all the benefits of the products of rich land. Source: The Clipper Ship Crusader, 1928 Converted to electronic form by Corey Woodw@rd
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