Herman Melville: Journals of a Voyage from New York to London, 1849 [part 2/3]

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sunday, Oct 14

A regular blue devel [sic] day. A gale of wind, & every one sick. Saloons deserted, & all sorts of nausea noise heard from the state-rooms. Taylor, McCurdy, & Adler all in their berths — & I alone am left to tell the tale of their misery. . . . I forgot to say that shortly after the loss of the crazy man (a Dutchman by the way) some of the steerage passengers came aft & told the Captain that there was another crazy man, an Englishman in the steerage. This morning, coming on deck, I saw a man leaning against the bulwarks, whom I immediately look for a steerage passenger. He stopped me, & told me to look off & see the steamers. So I looked for about five minutes, — straining my eyes very  hard, but saw nothing. – I asked the 2d Mate whether he could see the steamers; when he told me that my informant was the crazy Englishman. All the morning this poor fellow was on deck, crying out at steamers, boats, &c &c. I thought that his mad feelings found something congenial in the dining saloon, & struck the Steward, who knocked him down, & dragged him forward. We have made no progress for the last 36 hours; wind ahead, from the Eastward. The crazy man turns out to be afflicted with delirium tremens, consequent upon keeping drunk for the last two months. . . .

 Monday, Oct 15

The gale has gone down, & we have fine weather. By noon the passengers were pretty nearly all on deck, convalescent. They seem to regard me as a hero, proof against wind & weather. My occasional feats in the rigging are regarded as a species of tight-rope dancing. Poor Adler, however, is hardly himself again. He is an exceedingly amiable man, & a fine scholar whose society is improving in a high degree. . . . Drank a small bottle of London Stout to day for dinner, & think it did me good. I wonder how much they charge for it? I must find out; . . . .

 Tuesday Oct 16

Beautiful weather, but wind against us. . . . Read little or nothing, but lounged about. The sea has produced a temporary effect upon me, which makes me for the timincapable of any thing but vegetating. . . .

 Wednesday, Oct 17

Fine weather, quite warm & sunny. The decks lively, the ladies lively, the Captain lively, & the ship now going her course. Spent a good part of the day aloft with Adler, in conversation. In the evening had a sort of concert. An Irish lady, an opera singer they say, leading off with a guitar & her voice.

 Thursday Oct 18

Delightful day, & the ship getting on famously. Spent the entire morning in the main-top with Adler & Dr Taylor, discussing our plans for the grand circuit of Europe & the East. Taylor, however, has communicated to me a circumstance, that may prevent him from accompanying us – something of a pecuniary nature. He reckons our expenses at $400.

 Friday Oct 19

No events; spent the morning in lounging & reading; and after a hand at cards, retired.

Saturday Oct 20

For the first time promenaded with some of the ladies – a Mrs ——– of Monmouthshire, England, & a Miss Wilbur (I think) of New York. The former is flat: the latter is of a marriagable [sic] age, keeps a diary & talks about “winning souls to Christ.” – In the evening for the first time went into the Ladies’ Saloon, & heard Mrs Gould the opera lady sing. There was quite a party – the saloon is guilt & brilliant, & as the ship was going on quietly, it seemed as if I were ashore in a little parlor or cabinet. . . . Read a chapter in Pickwick & retired pretty early. Towards morning was annoyed by a crying baby adjoining.

Sunday Oct 21

Rainy – near the Banks. Can not remember what happened to day. It came to an end somehow.

 Monday Oct 22

I forgot to mention, that last night about 9 ½ P.M. Adler & Taylor came into my room, & it was proposed to have whiskey punches, which we did have, accordingly.  Adler drank about three table spoons full — Taylor 4 or five tumblers &c.  We had an extraordinary time & did not break up till after two in the morning. We talked metaphysics continually, & Hegel, Schlegel, Kant &c. were discussed under the influence of the whiskey.  I shall not forget Adler’s look when he quoted La Place the French astronomer – “It is not necessary, gentlemen, to account for these words by the hypothesis” &c. . . .

 Tuesday Oct 23

Every one in high spirits. Captain told a rum story about a short skipper and a long mate in a little brig, & throwing overboard the barrels of beef & turpentine &c.

Wednesday Oct 24

Saw several land birds – very tame, lighted on deck – caught one.

— Herman Melville, Journals

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