- Historic Sites
The Adventures Of A Haunted Whaling Man
August 1977 | Volume 28, Issue 5
—Weighed anchor between 9 & 10 A.M. Strong S.E.ly breeze blowing with occasional squalls. I have sent two letters home from here—… one to Emma in the Ship “Lancer”—.… The water boat came alongside and pumped water through a hose into our hold—Painted the ship outside & I do not expect to have any more chances to send letters home, as we are bound direct for the Indian Ocean—to cruise off Fort Dauphin, Madaga sr
—… While at St Helena each watch had four days liberty—three days of which we each received one dollar from the Captain—upon which large sum we could spree out 24 hours.… There was considerable grumbling about the Captain’s generosity? Though we must certainly know it is for our benefit to draw lightly during the voyage for a better pocket full on returning home.
I visited Napoleon ‘s tomb—it is about 8 ft by 5 by 10 deep. Merely a walled hole in the earth with a dozen steps to descend to the bottom—it is in a beautiful spot and near by is a delicious spring by which !wish I could at this moment sit down—!have come to the conclusion that the land is the best after all—for at sea you never can be quiet and must put up with all sorts of characters. Give one a home on the solid land—with a fairy to love me—and other dear ones that care for me—that would be happiness—. … Ah! The die is cast—and for two weary years & more must I be knocked about at the mercy of wind & wave, before I can think of going home. Then when our vessel does go to that dear land who can tell what happy mortals we shall be—but I am looking too far ahead—we know nothing beyond this minute. God only knows what the future may unfold. He is merciful.…
—Five days from St Helena—Had very stormy weather all the while—.…
I am again getting used to sea life—and do not care to go on shore again till we reach our own dear native land—so I think now but may alter my opinion—I dare not anticipate too much, for the time is too far off—I wish we could fill up ship and start for home in the shortest possible time.
I had a strange dream of home last night—and of Plancks funeral taking place, at the same time great festivities going on— … it is sadly unpleasant for me to have such dreams of home—though it is the second of the kind I have dreamed since leaving—It is seldom I dream unless unwell as I was last night—for all the sleep we can get is too much needed to be frittered away in dreams—Oh! how I wish I could hear from home, what a weight would be lifted from my mind—what joy it would be to see all the dear ones again just as I left them seven months ago—is such a meeting in store for me? My dear father—does he think of me as his son? Oh! how deeply I have wronged you my father—can lever be forgiven. Oh how I wish I had always spoken with the freedom of a son to you—I might not have been here—but under such circumstances this may all be for the best—
While in St Helena I attended church— and O what happiness it was to be again in the house of God—after so long a separation from religious service—Those moments I think were the happiest !have had since we sailed—Our dear little Church is often before me in my day dreams of home & the Hudson—many a wondering thought do I give as to who is there and who not—but my thoughts are not enough to satisfy the craving desire to know something of those at West Point—I anxiously await more substantial intelligence and hope but a few months will bring relief—.…
…All my spare time in a watch below is employed in sewing patches upon my clothes—for there is no disgrace in wearing patches at sea—I wish my sisters could see me in my whaling rig—they’d laugh some, I’ll wager—In the course of a few months, I presume my garments will be a mass of rags & patches, and I don’t know but it would pay to keep one pair of pants to present to Barnum or some such notorious humbug—.…
…The old man cracks on all sail, in order to loose no time—.…
This morning (being my watch below) I am engaged in making a bed quilt of calico and strips of blanket—in preparation for cold & comfortless times that we expect off the Cape [Of Good Hope]—. …In the evening the Captain dealt out some tobacco, the best Albany oak-leaf can’t compare with it—I got four pounds.…