Sunday, 9 June 2013

Monday, 26th December, 1836

Yesterday being Christmas Day I had thought to have much to report, this being my first Christmas in a strange land. Yet, remarkably, I have nothing to speak of, having no memory of anything very much that happened yesterday.

I do remember speaking to Mrs Hindmarsh and the girls early in the day and exchanging pleasantries and small gifts that we had all had in store since Rio. One of the girls presented me with a monogrammed hand kerchief that she had purchased on that Isle of Wight shopping trip they made months ago.

Just before noon Captain Lipson joined us on board for Christmas Lunch, bringing with him several bottles of excellent Madiera that he had laid in in Rio.

After that, I am afraid, I have nothing more to add, having no memory of the rest of the day. I must have been tired in the extreme and dozed off at table. Certainly today I have an ache in the head which can only have been caused by tiredness. I trust Captain Lipson was not offended if I was bad company for him.

Though apparently offended he was not as this morning I found a note from him in my cabin: "What larks, eh Jack?". I am at a loss to understand quite what he means.

I am also at a loss to explain why Mrs Hindmarsh is not speaking to me and leaves the cabin each time I come in. Perhaps she is upset at the state Tinkles the cat is in. He appears to have been struck by some form of alapecha, as much of his hair has suddenly dropped out. Ridiculous as it might sound it almost looks as if he has been shaved.

I have had a number of strange looks from Passengers and Emigrants alike and although this in itself is not unusual the comments that I have heard have enabled me to piece together the story that one of the crew dropped his trousers and relieved himself from the bowsprit in full view of the assembled ship's company during Divine Service.

Mr Fisher stated that he had never seen anything like it before, although Mrs Fisher made the somewhat cryptic comment that she had, only larger, which I was at a loss to understand.

I am also surprised to see Charlie Howard with a black eye. I asked him about it, being concerned for his welfare, but he merely turned on his heel and walked off. Perhaps he did something he is ashamed of, hence his diffidence.

Mr Stevenson told me that he was "Thoroughly disgusted with the conduct of such ruffians and their conduct was without parallel". He spoke of "violence & profane & abominable oaths directed at Charlie Howard that drove all from the deck to seek refuge from the outrageous profanity in their own cabins."

Naturally I questioned the crew closely to discover who the vile perpetrator was, but to a man they kept sniggering and saying "We wouldn't like to say Captain". One did ask after my own health, asking if I had caught cold from not rugging up, which prompted yet another round of silly sniggering.

I do not like to accuse a brother officer, but I am beginning to suspect Lipson's actions and fear that the whole day was spoiled by him being unable to hold his drink.

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