Page images
PDF
EPUB

tion of sending a favourable report of all on board by her to Bombay.

At five in the afternoon we weighed anchor, and set sail, with the hope of making a speedy passage to the Cape, which was the next place we wanted to go to for replenishing provisions and water for the rest of our passage.

We were gazing on the shore till it was quite dark, and bade adieu to the fair land of Hindostan for some time to come.

Before we reached the Cape we fell in with a great many ships, exchanged colours with some, and spoke to many of them ; but it would be tedious and unnecessary to enumerate them all here, however on the eighteenth of May we fell in with the barque Earl of Liverpool, we exchanged colours, and she came alongside at six in the evening; she had left Bombay a few days after us, and the news she gave us of that place was of very little importance. The following morning we saw her within a hundred yards of us, and it being a perfect calm the commanders of both ships found it an excellent opportunity of comparing their chronometers.

The Commander of the Liverpool in consequence came on board our ship after breakfast, and left after dinner; it was indeed pleasing to all on board to see a stranger at sea, which was a change from the monotony of our passage, and served as a topic of conversation.

On the 22nd of May we were between the Fish Bay and the cape Lagullas, on the southern coast of the continent of Africa, and were now expecting to encounter a heavy north-western gale, which commences blowing here from May till August; the barometer was going down rapidly, and all were in apprehension. The Captain had ordered every thing to be prepared to meet the expected gale, when, on the afternoon of the same day, it began to blow hard; all the sails were taken in immediately, except the foretopsail, which was double reefed; the gun deck ports were shut, and our cabin presented a most gloomy appearance; the ship began to roll and pitch a great deal, and we had to give additional security to our things in the cabin for fear of any giving way; this was the very first time we were in such a sea, and here we felt the necessity of warm clothing. We had hitherto had a favorable passage on the whole, considering the season of the

year, but we began to feel uneasy when we were told that the gale would not subside at least for a fortnight, and we very much regretted not having left Bombay by the overland route, because we should have been very near the place of our destination by this time. On the morning of the following day, we were informed that the jibboom and the sprit-sail yard were carried away during the night. The gale kept on blowing very hard, the sea ran mountains high, and the ship

rolled and pitched to that degree that we could hardly stand on our legs; our cabin was so dark and gloomy that we could not bear sitting for an hour in it.

The dim light admitted from a bull's-eye, and a small scuttle through the side, was not sufficient to read a book, and when we endeavoured to do so, we found it a difficult task because of the motion of the vessel. You are obliged to hold anything that is a fixture with one hand to keep yourself steady, and your book in the other; but then how are you to turn the leaves as you

read them? If you loose your hold the next lurch will throw you off your seat, and you are in the danger of breaking your neck. On the deck the wind was so cold and blowing so hard, that it was no pleasure or enjoyment to pass a few hours there; thus we were sadly in want of amusement, and not we only, but we believe all the passengers on board.

It also a difficult task for our servants to prepare our victuals, as they could hardly keep the cooking utensils steady on the fire.

Though the Captain had allowed us a separate caboose, which was placed between the foremast and the riding bits, in a portable house built for the purpose, our cook dared not move from it, because close to it was stowed a quantity of hay, for a fine Arabian steed and two cows which were on board. The things on the cuddy table were

was

often carried away, and we found much difficulty in taking our meals; the plan we adopted was that of holding the plate in our hand and eating out of it, but the most laborious task was that of taking tea; we were obliged to hold the cup in our hands, and pour out the liquid and drink it off as fast we could. Such was the difficulty we had to encounter during this gale: here we were strongly reminded of the comforts of home, and we lamented undertaking the voyage by sea; and, indeed, had there not been the number of happy innocent children on board, whose playful tricks and smiles amused us, it would have proved an extremely tedious passage. We, therefore, strongly recommend those who leave England or India for either country, by all means to go by the overland route if they can possibly afford it. It may appear presumptuous of us to recommend a route we have not travelled by, but we have heard a great deal from those who have had experience in it, and by comparing them to the narrative of our voyage, we have drawn a conclusion in its favor, and have resolved to return to Bombay by the same conveyance.

We hear that the track is so completely beaten, that there is very little fatigue attending it, except crossing the desert of Suez, but you are amply repaid for it by reaching to your destination much sooner, and seeing the countries which you traverse. However, with all the inconveniences here cited, we

had reason to be thankful to the Allwise Providence for landing us safely on the shores of England.

The contrast in the appearance of the ship was remarkable; hitherto she had carried many large and wide sails, but now a triangular one (called storm-sail) was her lot, and she was as it were deprived of her beautiful clothing. It was quite depressing to see her in that state.

We continued on thus till the 4th of June, and, unfortunately, much of the live stock which we had taken at Cochin died every day during this tedious gale, and there were only two sheep on board; and it was the opinion of all, that the wind would not change its direction for a fortnight, at least there was every appearance of its continuing to blow from the same quarter ; and as we were taking tea in our cabin our kind friend Mr. Stuart, the purser, came in and said that he had an unpleasant message from the Captain to deliver ; it was this, we had hitherto been allowed mutton and fowls, but as there were no fowls on board, and only two sheep, the Captain regretted he could not supply us with any meat after they were consumed, and as it was uncertain when we should reach the Cape, we were requested to subsist upon rice, peas, &c. till then. There was a great quantity of salt beef and ham on board, but we could not as Parsees partake of them from our religious scruples.

« PreviousContinue »