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



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March 25, 1853

Who Was Jean Paul?
Fun Fact about Jean Paul
History of Maria Antoinette by John S.C. Abbott
The History of Cleopatra by Jacob Abbott

March 25th

A beautiful day with more wind. Our progress has been rather slow of late but we are six days ahead of last voyage.

As we were walking together one or two evenings ago, Williams mentioned the possibility of our remaining home the next voyage. At first I hardly liked the idea of remaining home for one year with the expectation of going to sea the next. I was for making all the money necessary first and then enjoying a more permanent home, but Williams’ reasons though have quite convinced me, and I hope it may be so. Some chance is necessary for all and particularly those leading the quiet retired life we do. We shall run some danger of rusting out. As for myself I feel quite too indolent and listless, there is nothing to stir one up and this is not good for mind and body. A year spent on shore in company of friends and the beautiful works of God will be truly delightful. Oh, how I long to see the beautiful fields, hills, streams and trees of our beautiful country. It will do us infinite good: body and mind and will be a change. Hitherto, when we have been at home all has been excitement and fatigue and we have had little comfort. I trust our next visit home, let it be short or long, will be one we can more comfortably enjoy.

Yesterday after dinner Willie was creeping around imitating a pussy cat. I don’t think he has seen one, even for a few moments, more than once or twice. I could no longer resist the pleasure of giving him a very pretty cat with her two little kittens his aunt Marie had given me for him. The little fellow was perfectly delighted and has played with it very prettily ever since; holds it on his lap and stroking it says the little song of “I love little pussy, her coat is so warm”. His bow-wow along with pussy has come into great favor, he seems ever to associate the two together. Willie improves very much and is a dear good child, very bright and interesting with a heart full of affection and love. It is really wonderful how much that a child of twenty-nine months knows. It seems to me he remembers pretty much everything that is told him. He is very fond of looking at pictures and always wants them explained. With all kinds of animals, he is delighted and even wants to know their names. A family book with him is a geography with pictures many, and maps. The hour after tea is a great time with Willie; “Mama show Willie pretty book”. “Yes Willie, what shall it be?” “Oh big book”. The geography then is introduced. Two or three evenings ago to try the little fellow I commenced with “Willie what’s that” and I was perfectly surprised to hear that child name animal after animal with perfect correctness, as also nearly all the pictures in the book – and very long and hard some of the names were.

I am enjoying the life of “Jean Paul”; it is very beautiful and interesting. I so love the German character from all I know and read of it, and look with pleasure upon their country as my “fatherland”. Oh, how I long to wander through its length and breadth. I wish with all my heart I possessed Jean Paul’s writings and had them with me now. It would be so pleasant to read them in connection, but I hope someday to do so and only wish I could read them in the original. Williams is reading aloud Abbott’s “Cleopatra”. We have read his “Marie Antoinette”. Found nothing new whatsoever in it but her story never fails to interest me. Her history in connection with husband, sister and children is the saddest I have ever read. I like Mr. Abbott’s views of her character.

I wish I had something interesting to write in my journal but we do lead such a quiet one-day-like-another life that there is nothing to excite or stir one up.

We have seen very few vessels and very little of anything this voyage and no remarkably beautiful sunset. This last I really long to see. Former voyages we have seen very many splendid ones.

March 29, 1853

Tierra del Fuego, Strait of Le Maire and Cape Horn

March 29th

I do not mean to neglect thee my journal, but from one cause or another, days do pass and we hold no communion.

44 days, I think, from New York and Tierra Del Fuego has been in sight since early this morning. We are now quite near and I am in hopes we shall pass through the Straits of Le Maire before dark and then for a good wind to take us speedily around the Cape and far up the Pacific. This morning it was very clear and beautiful and the snow crowned hills looked beautiful in the sunlight but alas, it is cloudy this afternoon. Hope no storm is to fall to our portion in these parts; having just passed through some terribly rough weather and am somewhat tired of mountain waves. Sunday was a very rough day. Our ship, Williams says, tossed and twisted about – jumped and plunged more that day than she did the whole of the preceding voyage. It was also bad enough yesterday. Of course, poor me kept to the settee both days, feeling just sick enough to be most uncomfortable. However the days are nothing to the nights, for my little Willie cannot become accustomed to a rough sea at night, but is constantly waking and throwing himself about in all positions to find some one a little more comfortable than the last. Poor child, I do feel so sorry for him. He is sleepy as he can be, would sleep but cannot, and then the motion of the ship often suggests unpleasant dreams, and he wakes much frightened.

Mary has just come down with little Willie; she tells me it is snowing – delightful prospect. There seems to be much snow on the hills of the island; much more than I have ever seen before. Williams says that this no doubt is owing to the late storm, the effects of which we have just felt in the very rough sea. And this rough sea was all that fell to our portion, for both Sunday and yesterday were beautifully clear and bright, but I could not venture for a moment on deck, as all decks were constantly washed by the waves. All who had to be on deck were as much clothed in their rain clothes as if the rain was pouring from the clouds.

Sunday, as I was laying on the settee and Williams sitting by my side, we both were startled by an immense wave breaking over the quarter deck. In a moment we felt some of it pouring down in our Cabin close by my side, our skylights for some reason or other not being very tight this voyage. Such a thing never happened before. Williams went to the deck and very soon returned with the compass, the retreating wave having been so high as to fill and disarrange the compass. It certainly sounds as if much more damage had been done on deck, and my first thought was that one or both of the boats had been loosened from their moorings on deck.

I love not this rough weather. I enjoyed it the first voyage. The ten or twelve days we then had off of Cape Horn were very tempestuous, nothing like it have we since seen. It was one scene of exciting enjoyment to me and nothing delighted me more than to have Williams take me on deck when such a thing was possible. There, clinging to the ropes, I would enjoy the exciting, magnificent scene and when the waves would come striking against the prow or forward part of the ship and the spray would rise, curling up, and then dash over our vessel so that we would feel it even where we stood, I would exclaim to Williams “beautiful, oh, how beautiful”. But such feelings with Williams had then passed away and he sometimes would try to check my too evident delight. Then I could not understand him; now much better. He then thought of the great discomfort produced by such scenes to the many. This had taken place of the enjoyment he also took in these scenes at one time. This is now my third voyage round the world and I think with him, that storms and a rough sea are not desirable. Is this to be my last voyage or am I to visit these scenes again?

March 30, 1853

Plutarch’s Lives

March 30th

Here we are beating about and although five o’clock in the afternoon are in the Straits of Le Maire. The wind has been ahead all day and whether we bid this Strait farewell or not tonight remains yet to be seen. All things were so unpropitious last evening, or rather late yesterday afternoon that although close to the Strait, Williams concluded not to attempt entering so the ship lay by all night. It is distressing thus to be delayed on our way when we are so anxious to reach our port, but I must not complain, for without a doubt it is best and right that it should be so, and then I enjoyed, because Willie did, a good night’s rest – something I have not had for several nights. The ship was so quiet that it was almost like resting on shore.

This morning was delightful, but this afternoon it is dark and cloudy and our sea is becoming quite rough. It was very much so a little while before dinner. This morning immediately after breakfast, we all hastened to the deck, and as I welcomed these to me quite familiar hills and banks, I missed much Molly dear, who has ever before been our sea companion. It seemed as if I must see her, if I but turned my head, but alas she was far away. I thought, would this scene ever again meet her eyes; would the Albatrosses and Cape Pigeons that were flying round our ship, or floating on the water, ever again be seen by her. They seemed this morning associated with her and I longed to have my sister with me. She has been in my thoughts constantly today.

This morning there were a great many and quite a variety of birds flying round us. Four beautiful white breasted ones had alighted on a small island of floating seaweed and in this pretty style came floating on and past our ship. It really was a very pretty sight. The Cape Pigeons were the most beautiful birds I have seen at sea. Their wings are beautiful and breasts snowy white. But the Albatross is the most stately in its flight – only at times do you see any motion to its wings. Stately and graceful in its flight as it soars on high or descends to the waves. I love to watch these ocean birds. They are generally far more graceful than the land birds. But I must give up writing as it is becoming very rough.

My dear, dear Williams I only wish you could find time to take a little nap. Up late, up early and on deck all day – so busy, and with so much care that I hardly like to disturb you even with a question. But here he comes.

Evening – it was impossible to make our way through the Straits and with dark night coming on, Williams sailed a little to the Northward, I believe far enough to just clear the Straits and here we are again lying by, waiting for some change for the better. May it come speedily. Our ship is again quiet, rolls a little but not enough to trouble anyone and Willie has taken advantage of it since tea to have his usual frolic with me, and it has been the wildest evening we have had yet. He is a regular boy and as wild as such a little fellow can sill be. Dear Williams is again on deck but hopes to come down soon.

Read a very pretty story this morning, “Katie Istiont”. I suppose Williams will hardly read aloud again till we are safe round and to the North of the Cape, and glad indeed shall I be when we are so.

We are now reading “Plutarch’s Lives”. Strange to say I never read them. They are extremely interesting but as familiar as if I had often read them before. Thanks to good Mrs. Milligan who drilled me pretty well in ancient history. It being her pet study, I believe. My Gibbon also proceeds but slowly, about ten pages a day. I have half finished the first volume. There are three and I want to finish them and read Alison’s History of Europe before my return. And now for a few words to Molly.

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