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



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June 27, 1853

The Discarded Daughter or Children of the Isle by Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (E.D.E.N.) Southworth

June 27th

Another beautiful day. The weather is getting to be rather hot, thermometer registering 83 degrees. However, this is very bearable but when it is up to 93 to 100 degrees we shall find fans very necessary. Our wind has been better for the last two days – yesterday made 172 miles, today I hope we shall make 180 or more. The more wind the better, if it is only to steady our ship which keeps up a constant roll. Yesterday was the Sabbath, we spent it as usual.

Had some trouble with Willie before his morning nap. His father had to whip him. We both dislike much to resort to this manner of punishment but he was very naughty and perverse. I trust it will have a good and lasting effect. When he woke up yesterday I went directly to him. He put his arms round my neck and kissed me again and again. I asked him if he did not want to love and kiss dear papa and his “yes” was very ready. I carried him to the Cabin where his father was waiting and the little fellow’s greeting was most affectionate. He knew his punishment was necessary and had been done in love for him and his little heart manifested no other feeling than that of love.

Last evening Williams read aloud a sermon by Mr. Weiss of New Bedford occasioned by the death of Daniel Webster. It was most unsatisfactory and lukewarm – neither the one thing nor the other, anything but clear. We, of course, did not like it.

Yesterday I commenced a letter to Mary. I doubt if my letter will amount to much. This continuous rolling makes it difficult to write.

Just after dinner Williams was called out to the assistance of a Chinese robbed of $400. Search was instantly made and the missing property soon found stowed away in some corner. From appearances I should think the money of the Chinese must change hands very frequently. They gamble from morning till night. I never go on deck without seeing gambling parties. 

Commenced reading the “Discarded Daughter, or Children of the Isle”. It is interesting as all this author’s works, but like them, all overwrought and unnatural.

June 28, 1853

The Days of Bruce by Grace Aguilar

June 28th

This morning before breakfast was on deck with Willie about an hour. It was a lovely morning but its loveliness was all lost on me. The latter half hour was a long and very disagreeable one. This was occasioned by the behavior of our first mate. He seems to think himself most wise, knowing better what is right and proper than his commanding officer. It is becoming worse and worse. Several times lately he has seemed fit to differ from my husband, objecting to his orders. I only wish Williams would get rid of him in China – at any rate if we take another voyage I shall most earnestly pray not to have him in the party.

Today made 171 miles. This is the third running that we have made this number. From present prospects it will be something more tomorrow. Finished the “Discarded Daughter” this afternoon. Gave Willie a new plaything – a squirrel with a nut in his paws. He was very much delighted – had it on deck for an hour drawing it about in his wagon.

While we were on deck after tea a barrel of rum was discovered among the Chinese. It was ordered on deck by the second mate and thrown overboard – much to the sorrow, no doubt, of the lovers of this fire water and to the manifest joy of the rest. It was quite a scene.

Enjoyed a pleasant walk and talk this evening with my husband. The evening was perfectly beautiful. Williams is sitting at my side reading “The Days of Bruce”. I shall be very glad indeed when he is able to read aloud again. He loves not to be read to, else I could most gladly read aloud. It is so forlorn not to be engaged in the same occupations. He has his and I have mine and it makes me feel lonely and not like myself. It is strange his ear is not well long before this. Its continuing in this state for so long a time makes me feel rather anxious.

Until this evening our ship has rolled comparatively very little but for the last hour and a half it has been rolling away as hard as ever. I tell Williams it is my night benefit. I have given up all hopes of a quiet undisturbed night. Willie cannot grow accustomed to this motion in his sleeping hours, it makes him very wakeful and very restless. Last evening I tried sleeping out in the Cabin thinking if Willie laid crosswise he would not feel the rolling so much. But, alas, I was glad enough about one or two o’clock to fix up my bed and lay the little one in it. He was waking and crying every five minutes. I shall enjoy with all my heart sleeping on shore again.

Now for our backgammon……

July 2, 1853

July 2nd

We lost a day this week, had no Thursday. Our weather continues delightful, the wind for the last three days has been rather stronger. The change from last year is truly delightful, also so unexpected. Last year from the Sandwich Islands to China was a succession of intensely hot days. Our fans never left our sides night or day. Thus far we have not needed them.

Last evening after putting Willie to bed, I went to join Williams on the deck. He and Mr. Turnbull seemed deeply engaged in conversation. I joined them just heard Williams say “if that is the case I am very sorry you came.” He then saw me and motioned me to walk by myself. Of course, I went off but these few words perfectly unenlightened me as to the subject of conversation. Although Williams had not, I had noticed for a number of days very evident dissatisfaction in the face and manners of this gentleman during mealtime. His complaint was that he could not get anything that he liked to eat. I felt vexed enough to think that my own generous, noble Williams should have complaints of this nature made him. Although it could not be but disagreeable to know that this feeling existed, yet he bore with it all very kindly, making every allowance for the gentleman’s state of health. We have a variety of vegetables on the table always – and rice, hominy and mush, for dinner. But we are limited to salt meat and salt fish, all our fresh stock disappearing about the time of our arrival to San Francisco. Of all this Williams informed the brother of Mr. Turnbull who called to engage his passage. Also that he should not take livestock from San Francisco, it being rather too expensive. This all seemed no objection to the brother – whether he informed Mr. Turnbull, I know not. It only makes it the more provoking. If we take another voyage I trust we shall have no more sick passengers – certainly without our knowing and being prepared beforehand. This gentleman, Williams was merely told, had taken cold – when he has the consumption and pretty far gone I should fear. He looks extremely delicate and is very feeble. I pity him from my heart and would gladly do anything I could for his comfort, but he will not give me an opportunity to become in any sense acquainted with him. He never sits in the Cabin and is either in his room or on the deck and when there always puts himself in some out-of-the-way corner. Now I know him a little better than the first day I saw him and if he continues to act the same we shall part as much strangers in New York as we are now.

Today had a sad time with my little Willie. He was perverse and obstinate – called for a drink of water just after his morning nap – it was brought and he would not touch it. It was then placed on the table and when no sooner done, called for it again and again refused – fretting all the time, till at last I was obliged to take him to my room and keep him there until he could behave. It was a long time before I could subdue him and stop his crying. I feared I would have to whip him but at last he gave up and was as good and affectionate as possible all the rest of the day. I think Willie’s gums were again troubling him. His mouth and gums feel hot and he is much troubled with thirst. I wish from my heart the teeth would make their appearance, as it is he feels uncomfortable and fretful at times – the last not helping the matter, its indulgence making him the more uncomfortable. We have both determined to put a stop to it at once. It troubles and pains me very much to have to punish that darling one in any way, but it is for his good and most necessary to check this growing evil. Darling, darling child I trust there will be no more occasion. Thus, after I heard Willie say his prayers I said, “And now my little boy will try to be very good all day tomorrow will you not?”  “No, no.” “Why Willie won’t you want dear mamma to love you very dearly?” “Yes, I want mamma to love me.” “Well she cannot if you are not a good boy and leave off crying and fretting, and papa cannot love you and Mamie or anyone. But if you are good everyone will love you very, very dearly.” “Then mamma I will try to be a good boy.” And then, mentioning each one of us by name who was in the habit of coming in the Cabin “will they all love me if I am a good boy.”

Had a long walk and a long talk with Williams on the subject of Unitarianism and as he calls it Trinitarianism. It was occasioned by some remarks in “Lyell’s Travels in America”. He speaks of a verse, first John 5-7 I think and says that it is universally allowed among learned men to have been introduced to strengthen the opinions of the latter sects – gives several authorities for saying so. Williams thinks him correct, also thinks that it is generally known among men versed in the subject, particularly ministers, and though they know it full well yet raise not a voice to have it altered – and breathe it not to those who sit and hear them read it from the Pulpit. How can I believe in their sincerity and their Christian characters and yet believe in this – that for fear of opening the eyes of the multitude to a few such mistakes and thus perhaps weaken their trust and firm reliance on the whole, they should thus guiltily commit so great a sin. I should think if this were true the curse pronounced against those who add or take away from the words of this book would be ever sounding in their ears. If I ever have an opportunity I should much like and will ask some learned Divine concerning this, also several other questions I want much to have answered.

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