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  • MONDAY APRIL 21st

    A rare day of fun and frolic, this morning upon the passengers awaking and glancing round, the first thing they beheld was all their bedfellows with their faces blackened, everybody's face being tattooed smeared all over with grease and soot, the roars of laughter as each one woke up and beheld their bedfellows with his face in that state, was deafening, but upon discovering his own to be the same the fun was tremendous, each one laughing at the other to see what pretty devils they looked. Great preparations on deck to receive old Neptune and his band, who shortly after arrived amidst thunders of applause, attended by as motley a group of pirates and water nymphs as you would ever wish to set eyes on.

    The scene at this moment is first rate, there is a large sail along the deck, 1/2 full of sea water, and suspended over it is a tub, cut to represent an armchair, around this the seamen are standing awaiting the orders of Old Father Neptune, who is seated on his throne (a cannon block on four wheels) holding in one hand to his Trident of Office and in the other a bottle of rum, which he continually plays to his lips much to the annoyance of the l loving patron of his life - Mrs Neptune - who keeps gently nudging his elbow to give her a drop.

    The costume of this lady is truly sublime and in pure taste for the latest fashion, imagine, a fair creature as black as ink and about 6 ft. 2in. high, dressed in a down made of sail cloth and highly ornamented with seaweed, drapery hanging in graceful flounces around her bounteous form, her hair is purely flaxen, being made of toe and hanging in graceful curls bounteous form.

    TUESDAY APRIL 22nd

    A wet day, but a very hot, ship moving slowly. A laughable thing occurred on deck this day. One of the Irish passengers named Jack Sullivan was standing on the top of a grease tub to reach a rope and fell bang in, he came out a pretty beauty smothered in grease and fat. More fun at night, a continuation of the blackening of faces and having found some of the passengers asleep on the deck we tied a rope around their legs and pulled them all around the ship, almost frightened them out of their wits.

    WEDNESDAY APRIL 23rd

    Very fine weather and good breeze, some thousands of porpoise fish playing around the vessel, they appear to be about 4 or 5 ft. long. Saw a vessel homeward bound from Rio de Janero and a very large whale it seemed about 40 feet long. Child died and thrown overboard during the day. Two men put in irons for stealing brandy but let out again as soon as they were sober.

    THURSDAY APRIL 24th

    Another child died at 1/2 past 7. N.B. It is a remarkable fact that all the children on board seem to gradually get thinner and pine away and die, mere skeletons, it is really shocking to see the poor little things pine away and die in this manner, this is the 4th child died within this last 2 days, in fact it is getting so common we think nothing of it.

    THURSDAY MAY 1st

    Heavy breeze blowing but fine sunshiney day. There was a pretty but strange sight today, about nine o'clock in the morning there was a cry of land oh! And upon going on deck, we saw, at about 20 of 25 miles off, a small speck upon the ocean like a cloud and soon afterwards there were several descriptions of birds seen flying around the ship, some very beautifully marked and very large, measuring 8 or 9 ft. from tip to very of wings and about 10 flock, we came within 2 or 3 miles of it and it proved to be one of the Trindade islands, it seemed in a huge mass of barren rocks about 30 miles in circumference with here and there a small speck of green pasture. It was covered with birds, some very beautiful in plumage, I should dearly like to have gone ashore there.

    SATURDAY MAY 10th The mate caught three large birds today, the first was a cape hen measuring 4 ft. from the tip of each wing and similar to a duck colour, dark brown. The second bird was smaller and quite black. The last was a large Albatross, 9 ft from tip to tip of wings and the colour of a swan and a very noble bird.

    SATURDAY MAY 17th

    Heavy storm, the waves about 50 ft. high and the sea washing over the decks. This is a splendid sight, the passengers could neither walk nor stand on the decks or lie comfortable in their beds. Many of them asked us if there was any danger, which made me laugh to see the long faces they pulled.

    Image: Line crossing ceremony on board the boat Meduse in 1818, painted by Jules de Caudin (Creative Commons)
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