Wednesday, 24th July.
Off the Scilly Isles, 6 P.M.
When I wrote last Sunday, we put our pilot on shore, and went down
Channel. It soon came on to blow, and all night was squally and
rough. Captain on deck all night. Monday, I went on deck at
eight. Lovely weather, but the ship pitching as you never saw a
ship pitch - bowsprit under water. By two o'clock a gale came on;
all ordered below. Captain left dinner, and, about six, a sea
struck us on the weather side, and washed a good many unconsidered
trifles overboard, and stove in three windows on the poop; nurse
and four children in fits; Mrs. T- and babies afloat, but good-
humoured as usual. Army-surgeon and I picked up children and
bullied nurse, and helped to bale cabin. Cuddy window stove in,
and we were wetted. Went to bed at nine; could not undress, it
pitched so, and had to call doctor to help me into cot; slept
sound. The gale continues. My cabin is water-tight as to big
splashes, but damp and dribbling. I am almost ashamed to like such
miseries so much. The forecastle is under water with every lurch,
and the motion quite incredible to one only acquainted with
steamers. If one can sit this ship, which bounds like a tiger, one
should sit a leap over a haystack. Evidently, I can never be sea-
sick; but holding on is hard work, and writing harder.
Life is thus:- Avery - my cuddy boy - brings tea for S-, and milk for
me, at six. S- turns out; when she is dressed, I turn out, and
sing out for Avery, who takes down my cot, and brings a bucket of
salt water, in which I wash with vast danger and difficulty; get
dressed, and go on deck at eight. Ladies not allowed there
earlier. Breakfast solidly at nine. Deck again; gossip; pretend
to read. Beer and biscuit at twelve. The faithful Avery brings
mine on deck. Dinner at four. Do a little carpentering in cabin,
all the outfitters' work having broken loose. I am now in the
captain's cabin, writing. We have the wind as ever, dead against
us; and as soon as we get unpleasantly near Scilly, we shall tack
and stand back to the French coast, where we were last night.
Three soldiers able to answer roll-call, all the rest utterly sick;
three middies helpless. Several of crew, ditto. Passengers very
fairly plucky; but only I and one other woman, who never was at sea
before, well. The food on board our ship is good as to meat,
bread, and beer; everything else bad. Port and sherry of British
manufacture, and the water with an incredible borachio, essence of
tar; so that tea and coffee are but derisive names.
To-day, the air is quite saturated with wet, and I put on my
clothes damp when I dressed, and have felt so ever since.
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