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is fresh. the foresails of the ship are all set & turned aslant to catch the wind. We are sailing at the rate of 9 Knots an hour, an old Tar standing beside me here tells me. he says this is a fine vessel but that one in which he sailed before went regularly 13 Knots an hour So much for his Yarn. We have a notice put upon the Cabin 8 am every day telling us in what latitude & longitude we are in & the progress made every day which is calculated from the degrees of latitude & longitude. to day it stands thus Lat: [Latitude] 42.3 N. Long:[Longitude] 10.39.W. 213 miles this is ascertained by taking the suns Altitude in the heavens every day at 12 oclock by Means of the Sextant. all the officers of the Ship are out with them every day, We have had some rifle shooting today & also some revolvers were being tried. A soda water bottle was hung up at the yardarm one man first Smashed the bottle with one Shot left the neck hanging. he Shot away the neck with the Second with his revolver
& this too with the bottle tossing about with the wind. I never Saw a better shot made. I have got hold of a book called prairie Bird which I am reading just now. I have read it before but it keeps to pass away the time it is a lazy life on board Ship. Nothing at all to do but eat & sleep & pass away the time as you best can. I intend beginning to learn Hindoostanee as soon as I feel all right & fit to study in the meantime I could not Settle to it, so as to make anything of it.
Wednesday. August 19th 1854.
Nothing has happened to day worth noting in. fact it is the Same thing over & over again every day. at 2 o clock we saw another homeward bound vessel about 5 or 6 miles distant. We are always too far distant from them to send off a boat & I don't Know that it would be safe in Such a rough Sea -- to do so the cheif engineer when I asked him whether we even likely to stop to Send letters home in any vessel he said he did not think they would as it would cost 3/ a minute all the Time
they stopped. I expect that we will soon get sight of land now. Via Madeira. We are not to stop at the Cape if it can be avoided but push right on to Ceylon & there take in a fresh supply of coal We are now put on short allowance of water. One jugful each being the allowance. I do not know why they should do so because they have only to condense the steam produced by boiling Salt water. We have Salt water baths which we can have either hot cold or shower. I have not tried either yet but intend to begin soon. To night some of the young officers got up the rigging. the Sailors were very soon after them & tied them to the rope ladders. Until they paid their footing which was either 5 or 10/- (Summat to drink the genelmans health with) as they called it. There was one very green young fellow of an officer who was nicely caught. he was led into it by the others. They proposed to try a race to the top of the rope ladder & down the other side. This young fellow got off his coat to it The others let him
pass them the sailors were immediately up on each side & pinned him fast to the crosstrees the rest were gathered on deck laughing at him asking how he felt? Was he proud of his victory? how amiable he looks? & such like remarks. On paying his 10/- he was loosened & came down rather crestfallen. There is no end of good living here we have breakfast lunch dinner tea supper & all of them in the very best style. We have Claret to breakfast & we go by the Indian custom so far as to have rice & curry at every dish there being a good many old Indians on board like it very nice but those who have been in India say that it is nothing compared with the curry we will get in Calcutta. In the evening between 8 & 9 oclock all kinds of fruit are placed on the table With wines of every kind which every one may take as much of as he pleases Which I think is a great pity as several rather noisy Scenes take place afterwards I have made a point of not going into the Saloon at all as yet at night I generally remain on
deck until 9 or 10 oclock when there is singing going on both among the sailors in the forecastle & the passengers on the Quarter deck. Some of the sailors sing well & with good taste & feeling & I must say I like better to listen to the singing of these honest heated fellows than to be in the company of the more distinguished & fashionable Most of them seem to think of nothing else from morning to night but playing cards gambling & betting I can see the sovereigns change owners very quickly I believe there is one man on board who has already lost £150. I can notice that they play for higher stakes every day I dont know what it will be before we reach Calcutta The surgeon tells me that In a ship which he went out before one man gambled away not only all his money but even his outfit & landed without a shirt to out on. So much for gambling - we passed in a line