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

July 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Thursday Oct 25

Fine moonlight night, & we rushed on thro’ snow-banks of foam. McCurdy invited Adler the Doctor & I into his room & ordered champagne. Went on deck, & remained till near midnight. The scene was indescribable. I never saw such sailing before.

Friday Oct 26

Towards noon came on calm, with a gawky sea. The ship rolled violantly [sic], & many comical scenes ensued among the passengers. . . . For a few days passed, Adler & I have had some “sober second thoughts” about our grand Oriental & Spanish tour with Taylor. . . . Shall not be able to decide till we get to London.

Saturday Oct 27

McCurdy invited Adler and I to partake of some mulled wine with him, which we did, in my room.  Got — all of us — riding on the German horse again — Taylor has not been in Germany in vain. After another curious discussion between the Swede & the Frenchman about Lamertine & Corinne, we sat down to whist, & separated at about 3 in the morning.

Sunday Oct 28

Decks very wet, & hard work to take exercise (“Where dat old man”?)

Monday Oct 29

Some of the passengers sick again. In the afternoon tried to create some amusement by arraigning Adler before the Captain on a criminal charge. In the evening put the Captain in the Chair, & argued the question “which was best, a monarchy or a republic?” – Had some good sport during the debate – the Englishmen would’nt take part in it tho’. . . .

Tuesday Oct 30

Glorious day – Capital cakes for breakfast. – (“Where dat old man”?) Saw a land bird. . . . Had a superb dinner, which we all relished amazingly. Drawing near port with a fine fair wind makes passengers feel generous. A good deal of wine & porter on table.

Wednesday Oct 31

May be in Portsmouth tomorrow night. All hands in high spirits. Had some mulled Sherry in the evening from McCurdy. Up late, expecting it to be the last night.

Thursday Nov 1st

Just three weeks from home, and made the land – Taylor suggested that he & I should return McCurdy’s civilities. We did, and Captain Griswold joined and ordered a pitcher of his own. . . . Taylor played a rare joke upon McCurdy this evening, passing himself off as Miss Wilbur, having borrowed her cloak &c. They walked together. Shall see Portsmouth tomorrow morning.

Friday Nov 2d

Clear & beautiful day – but every one greivously [sic] disappointed. . . . Melancholy looking voyage, white cliffs indeed. In the evening played chess, & talked metaphysics my [sic] learned friend till midnight.

Saturday Nov 3d

Get in tonight or to morrow – or next week or year. Develish [sic] dull, & too bad altogether. . . . One of our steerage passengers left in the Pilot Boat. Rum scene alongside with the boat. In the evening all hands in high spirits – Played chess in the ladies’ saloon – another party at cards; good deal of singing in the gentlemen’s cabin & drinking – very hilarious & noisy – Last night every one thought.

Sunday Nov 4

Spite of past dissappointments [sic] I feel that this is my last night aboard the Southampton. This time tomorrow I shall be on land, & press English earth after the lapse of ten years – then a sailor, now H. M. author of “Peedee” “Hullabloo” & “Pog-Dog”.

— For the last time I lay aside my “log,” to add a line or two to Lizzie’s letter – the last I shall write onboard. – (“Where dat old man?” – “Where books?)”

— Herman Melville, Journals

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