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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

Cherchez La Femme

Cherchez La Femme.

"Friday, September 2.—An inquiry was made this morning to find out how the sailors had got the spirits. It is supposed that the maid who looks after the cow is the guilty person. She has heen in the habit of lounging about the steward's room, and, during his absence, helped herself to two or three bottles of brandy and gave it to the sailors. What made the suspicion so strong against her was that the riotous sailor was a great sweetheart of hers, and as she was the only person who had access to the steward's room there can be little doubt but that she is the guilty person. As it cannot be proved no punishment can be put upon her, only that she has been suspended from the office.

"The mate went to see 'the New Zealander' this morning, but the spirit was not quite out of his head, and he still threatened vengeance. The captain ordered a place to be cleared out for him down the hold, where he was put with his hands fixed behind his back with irons, and also his legs fixed closely together by the ankles—a very tiresome position in which to be confined. He was locked in the dark hold, and ordered to be fed on a biscuit a day and half a pint of water—I should think not a very enviable situation. The sailor who conducted himself so foolishly last night would not go to his work to-day. A place was prepared below, the irons got ready, and the captain and the mate each got a pair of loaded pistols and put them in their pockets.

"The captain then ordered the man forward, but the man refused. The captain said he would order a good flogging if he had the power. The sailor coolly replied it was as much as his commission was worth. The captain then ordered him to be put in irons. He very deliberately allowed the mate to do so, without the least resistance, and was ordered below to a place similar to that in which 'the New Zealander' was confined. The other sailors were very obedient to-day, and felt sorry for their conduct last night. They will be punished by being ordered to do the disagreeable jobs about the ship. Such is the end of the mutiny on board the Jane Gifford.

"I may here remark that sailors, when sober, are the most obliging class of men I have ever seen, and, when tipsy, the very opposite."

"Sunday, September 4.—After dinner Mr. D. brought his wife out on the poop for the first time. She seems to be in good health and spirits. Mr. D. has been making all the inquiry he can regarding the two prisoners, and seems to think they were in the right. He admires the conduct of the sailor most admirably, and as Mr. D. is a barrister he has been studying law books. He has a great dislike to the captain, and it is supposed he is doing all he can to get a case against him. However, the captain has walked upon sure grounds, and he is not afraid of the consequences, but says that if Mr. D. goes any further with the case he (the captain) will order him to be put in irons also."

"Thursday, September 8.—About one o'clock a fresh gale came on. Something went wrong with the helm when it was hard up, and page 44 it could not be put back. The consequence was that the ship turned her head to the wind, and the flying jibboom was carried away. I got up out of bed, and saw by the captain's face that all was not right. The men had all run to the jibboom to prevent it being carried away, in place of trying to put the helm right. The captain got the helm in order again, and soon put all in order. Had the helm been two minutes longer out of order the consequences might have been serious."

"Wednesday, September 14.—A cold stormy day. About noon a sudden squall came on and carried away the lower main studding sail, making ropes and spars spin about the masts like straw in a stackyard on a blowy day. The wind burst the other studding sail, and for about an hour all was in confusion."

"Saturday, September 17.—A beautiful day. Running all day at 11 miles an hour. We are now making up for the lost time we had at the outset. It is very cheery when we are sailing well with a fair wind."

"Saturday, September 24.—About 12 last night a gale came upon us while we had all the sails set…. The ship was lying over very much, the deck being covered with water. For six hours we were under double topsails. The steerage passengers were very frightened, both men and women roaring with fright. As for myself I lay in bed but could not sleep. Others slept the whole time, and knew nothing about it till they were told this morning."

"On Wednesday, September 28, they sighted Tasmania, and the passengers began to get excited about reaching their destination. Four days later, on the Sunday, a terrific hail storm broke over the ship, and the passengers picked up stones of unusual size. One that was measured went an inch and a-quarter in diameter, and another was one inch and three-quarters in circumference."

"Tuesday, October 4.—A good breeze. The ship is doing eight knots. We are about 250 miles from New Zealand. I now feel that I would not care if we had a month's sailing yet to do; I will feel so sorry to part with our kind captain and the doctor and other associates."