Sarah’s Journal2021-12-20T02:45:12+00:00



Last Journal Entry…December 20th!

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March 31, 1853

March 31st

A beautiful day. A good wind came to our rescue this morning and we have left the Straits behind and are now going on our way at the rate of six or seven knots an hour with a smooth sea.

Have spent this morning in walking, reading a few pages of Gibbon and writing letters.

April 1, 1853

Sea Shanty! “Around the Wild Cape Horn”

April 1st

But alas, alas, we are today but 50 miles north of the Cape, having had somewhat of a miserable time in this wretched place. May we never have occasion to visit it again. We have had winds and gales of all kinds but the right and heavy head seas plenty, besides rough seas of all kinds, squalls of rain, hail and snow and have been way South to fifty-eight and one-half degrees latitude. But today a change has come over the spirit of our voyage – a most favorable one. May it last. We have a beautiful day, fine wind carrying us northwest at the rate of 10 knots.

April 20, 1853

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

April 20th

A lovely day but scarcely any wind – made 90 miles today, yesterday 80, and so it has been about every day for the last month. Truly we are somewhat unfortunate with regard to winds. I fear my hopes of a short passage will not be fulfilled.

It is some time since I have written in my journal, owing mostly to rough weather making it impossible to write and part to laziness and want of energy. Our life has passed on in the same quiet routine, sewing and writing some, reading more, and being read to and last but not least, helping to take care of Willie boy who is improving fast in every way. Surely I have many, many mercies and my heart ought to be filled with thankfulness – the kindest and dearest of husband, constantly caring for me – lovely, good children and a kind heavenly Father constantly watching over us, who has kept those of us at Sea from every danger and in good health. Wilt Thou also Our Father have our dear absent ones also in Thy holy keeping and permit us all to meet again? Others might think that we would tire and long for the faces of absent friends, true it would be delightful to see and enjoy their company, but we are very happy and content as we are. Our home is in each others’ hearts and they are filled with love. Surely we ought to be happy and thankful.

Williams dearest and myself have again resumed our delightful walks on deck and now that the weather is so truly delicious, we do not confine ourselves to the long evening ones, but can walk anytime through the day. But this will last but a day or two more, then it will be too warm – our wind fast carrying us to the Northward (latitude today 33, same as Valparaiso). Our evenings at present are moonlight and very beautiful and pleasant.

Last evening Williams for the thousandth time spoke to me about use of words. We do not exactly agree about the right application of one or two words that I am much in the habit of using. I always laugh and maintain I am right, but it troubles him. I think perhaps by writing it down more, I may be more apt to remember. There is another thing Williams does not like, neither do I, though I confess I often sin here. And that is in the use of extravagant expressions and words. Often has he spoken to me and often read some scrap from an author touching this subject; telling of poor intellect and great poverty of ideas, trying to reduce themselves and make a show by these extravaganzas; the offspring of a barren mind. I agree with him in condemning them. They are not elegant, certainly, but I do not think them the infallible proof of a mean intellect of fine order. I rather think Carlyle comes in for a goodly share here. At any rate, it is my business to try and overcome all these displeasing habits and I certainly will try. I sometimes feel vexed when Williams corrects me thus, and show it too, but also even feel sorry, for I well know that it is his deep interest in me that prompts him. He wishes me to appear as well as possible and nothing pleases him more than when he thinks me successful. I only wish it was in my power even thus to please him, and to take that place in society I might. Were it not for my deafness. But who can appear to advantage when hearing only half that is said and sometimes not at all, not even knowing the subject of conversation. Oh, this has indeed been a bitter, bitter trial to me, how bitter none can know but God himself who sent it, no doubt, for some wise purpose. And if it effects that purpose and I submit with cheerfulness, then, no doubt, I shall feel that it has been a mercy sent in disguise. May I so feel, and may the bitterness of this trial pass away. I long that it should be so. I shall be much happier, repining in any thankfulness for all blessings I shall not only gain inward bliss and happiness but add much to the happiness of him and those most dear to me. I do not know whether I am any more resigned than I need to be – I trust I am. At any rate I do not complain as much. I keep my sad bitter feelings when they arise to myself and well I ought for they are most ungrateful – for has not my Father a right to do for me and with me as He sees fit and shall I when I have such unnumbered blessings feel or utter a complaint. Give me grace oh, my Father, to submit with thankfulness to all Thou see’st fit to do unto me – grant that the means I use for recovery may benefit me. If not, aid me to cheerful submission.

What a sweet little companion our little Willie is – so full of intelligence, affection and life. Books continue to be his great amusement, very many of them (for he now has a large basket full) he knows them from beginning to end, and amuses us greatly by reading them aloud. Lately he has taken a great fancy to Robinson Crusoe. Colin Campbell has a fine copy full of illustrations and every day after tea is generally the time Willie wants me to go through the book with him, giving him a full account of every picture. The little fellow just two and one-half years, will sit by my side listening with the most fierce attention for an hour or more, and he remembers well what I tell him. Very often now, I call upon him to give the explanations and he is ever ready and right. Mary, his nurse, is quite a singer and sings a good deal for Willie and has quite a sweet voice. Willie has learned several of her songs and sings them with her, and ”soon” as he says “will keep the tune very nicely”. He amuses us upstairs much when he and Charlie pull the ropes, singing as he does with such a hearty good will. I trust he will not look back when older upon his sea-life as offering any attractions. That is, as far as a profession goes. It would almost break my heart. I never could give consent. I would be wretched indeed could I not be constantly with his dear father.

Willie highly amused his father and myself yesterday morning. We were all on deck before breakfast. The wind was unsteady and the sails required his watchful eye most of the time and very often he had to give orders to the sailors. While doing so he would generally stand at the forward end of the quarter deck and clasp his hands behind him. Willie with the most serious face imaginable would stand by his side, hands clasped behind, eyes now raised to the sails, even to the topmast, and then off on the clouds – and when an order was given his little voice was heard repeating it in his loudest tones. Then when his father would turn to walk up and down the deck, Willie would walk by his side both hands clasped behind. It seems to be Willie’s ambition to do all things as much like his father as possible, and nothing pleases him more than to have me talk about his being a big man like his father. But I must stop for today. Williams has just taken his seat opposite and he and I want to read, though I have many things I would like to write of Willie. I want to treasure up everything concerning him, dear precious child. My love for him grows stronger and stronger every day. May I be enabled to train him up rightly, and he prove a rich blessing to us.


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