19 August 1871
A start from home and the adieu to friends of years and years standing is trying to the feeling when the journey is so great as the one about to be made, and the time, with its consequent changes, so prolonged.
By way of a final solace we sat at your table with some old friends the evening before Dunny and I bade adieu to you all. We had little time to think until we found ourselves
after being hurried on to the “Java” then quietly placed in our berth. Introductions to the Captain and Chief Officers soon followed, who assigned to us what is hel[unclear: d] to be the seat of honor viz. the seat next the Captain. The ship looked splendid. We sailed at one o’clock with a nice breeze down the river Mersey, partaking, meanwhil[unclear: e] in the calm of a good dinner, lest inquietude of days migh[unclear: t] follow, and incapacity to eat. We had however fine weather to Queenstown where we arrived next day at half past eight in the morning. Here we fell in with 7 ships of the Ironclad Fleet, which made our steamer appear but a small vessel. They had arrived from Gibraltar. It soon began to rain hard and to blow a gale; and we were evidently in for a duster No one landed. The Passengers by Rail came on the steam tender. We were condemne[unclear: d] to spend as miserable a Sunday as can well be wished for. Oh the prospects! Oh the prospects in facing this gale. Good-bye appetites! At four o’clock we left, at once plunging into heavy weather. The meals are badly attended. How horrible to hear the plates and dishes “clanking”
and to smell the viands when you cannot enjoy the eating, - and so often too:- breakfast at 8.30; lunch or tiffin at 12; dinner 4; tea at 6; supper 10; and all lights out at 11.
Poor Fielding, my servant, has not been visible for some time. The Passengers are as yet unknown to us, except Lord Adare. Judging by brogue the Scottish predominate on board. We see the porpoises sporting alongside for miles; - but after all, we conclude that there is no place like home. The weather grows worse at nightfall; and the “things” in our
cabin berth pitch and toss, as if they had possessed themselves of spirit life. Then the creaking of the ship, the unearthly noises, the close atmosphere of the cabin the vain endeavor when lying down in the berth to avoid being churned and rolled about, in addition to the squeamishness which is inevitable, give us quite a different idea to what we learn from the song.
“Rocked in the cradle of the deep”
“I lay me down in peace to sleep”
That’s very fine, but a landsman can’t do it, at least at first start. It is hard to read work or do anything, every one is squeamish and quietude is best. The cries for “George” and “Steward” are numerous at times, but each one must take his turn no matter what happens.
Captain Martyn is an intelligent man.