The Journal of Gerald Keegan: Part Two
Day 27- continued
"Of course I know, but I would not tell a gentleman like yourself who hates informers. Remeber Dublin Bay?"
He grounds his teeth and had Aileen not been there I believe he would have attempted to strike me. Wheeling round to the three old women who sat quietly on the hatchway, he asked them.
"Is it the tay ye are askin after? Sure an it wasn't bad, was it, Mrs. O'Flarety?" Dade it was comfortin this mornin, Mrs. Doolam, an good it was ov the gentlemin to send it to us. It's a captain ye should be instead of a mate, my dear."
"Tell me who stole the tea kettle from the gallery", yelled the mate.
"Och dear, don't be shoutin so loud", replied Mrs. Doolan, "if I be old, I'm nor deaf yet. As for stealing yer filty ould tay-kittle, sure I saw the biy with it in his hand this minit."
"Come, no prevaricating. You know what I mean. Who stole the tea?", cried the mate?
"Mrs. Finegan, ye sit there niver saying a word: can't ye tell this swate gintlemikn who stole the tay?"
"You'll be manin the tay the landlord tould us he paid tin pounds into the hands of the mate to give us on the voyage. Where that tay wint I don't know at awl, Do you Mrs. O'Flaherty?"
"For shame, Mrs. Finegan, to be pritindin sich a gentlemin was kep the tin poun. He's agoin to give us tay regular after this, an (here she raised her tin and drank the last drop) this is the first token. If ye pleaze, sir, it would taste betther were ye to put a grain o'shuggar in it."
At this, Aileen, who had been quivering with restrained merriment, burst into a ripple of laughter, lod and long, and an echo from beneath showed there were amused auditors at the hatchway. The mate grew purple with wrath. Seizing Mrs. O'Flaherty by the shoulder he fairly screamed, "You old hag, you know all about it. Show me the thief!"
The woman rose to her feet, her long grey hair hanging damp and limp in straggling locks. Wirh a twinkle in her eye she composedly regarded the mate and dropping him a curtsey, said, she could "not refuse so purlite a gentlemin. Thravvelin in furrin parts is as good for manners as a boarding school eddication, Mrs. Finnigan."
With an oath the mate shouted, "Show me the thief."
"It's the same I'm going to do", she replied. "Come after me", and she put her foor on the ladder that led into the hold. The mate shrank back as if shot. "Are you not acomin?", asked Mrs. O'Flaherty, "indade its proud we will all be to see yer bewtiful face below for ye have never been down to see us yet."
"He's bashful", interjected Mrs. Doolan, "rising, "come wid me, if ye plaze, Mr. Mate and I'll interjuce you".
The mate was glaring with a look in which fear mingled with baffled rage. The crones noted his state of mind and enjoyed it. Can you tell me, Mrs. O'Flaherty, where that fine perfume is coming from?"
"Is it the shit off the mate, yer smellin?", remarked Mrs. Finngan, who had relit her pipe and was looking on with a solumn face. "Sure it's camfire, an he smells av it like an ould maid's chest o'drawers."
"beggin yer pardon Mrs. Finnegan", retorted Mrs. O'Flaherty, "it's a docthur he be, an he's comin down to see thim sick wid the fever."
With a volley of curses the mate turned away. As he went towards the poop he was followed by a chorus of cries from the old women, Wanna ya comme an git the thafe? How did ye like hot say wather for tay?, Rimimber, an send us our tay reglar afther this, this forgittin the shggar. There's a favor patient wants to see ya,sir.
When he disappeared I said to Aileen "none but an Irishwoman could have so settled a bully." "And no other", she laughingly replied, "have captured a cup of tea so neatly." Towards noon, the fog cleared, and the ship made some progress under a light breeze. There was no death today, but there are more cases of fever. The boatswain told me the sight of the sun today showed we were 600 miles from Newfoundland. Saw the topsails of a full-rigged ship at the edge of the horizon before sunset.
28 - Rained all morning and miserably cold. The light breeze we had died away and we rolled helplessly until after dinner, when the wind came up from the south-east, which sent us bowling on our course. A huge staysail that had been bent by the sailors two days ago between the main and the foremat, was hoisted for the first time, and added perceptibly to the ship's speed. Sickness increases and the body of a boy of 5 years of age was dropped into the ocean in the forenoon. The frequency of deaths has made the passengers callous, and especially those of children, call out little comment. When men and women have sounded the deepest deoth of wretchedness, as they have done, they seem to lose both hope and fear. Uncle's wife is not better; so far as I can judge, she is sinking. She might rally had we suitable nourishment to give her but we have nothing. She has not even fresh air, but with every breath inhales the stench of a pestulence. Uncle, unable to do anything else for her, sits at the head of her berth, her hand clasped in his. We had a wonderful sunset. The change of wind brought warmth and dappled the sky wuth fleecy clouds. The forecastle being deserted Aileen went with me and we sat where, looking down, we could see the cutwater flashing the waves into foam, or, looking up, see the cloud of canvas and tracery of rope and black crimsoning in the waning sunlight. The sun was setting so directly ahead of us that it might be supposed the man at the wheel was steering for it. The glittering, burnished pathway it threw across the ocean, our ship sialed up.
"Sure", replied Aileen, "it is the road to the land of promise and the sun himself welcomes us as we pursue it."
"Heaven grant it may be so, but for some on board the land of promise will never be."
"Don't be looking at the dark side, Gerald. See yonder clouds, their downy edges touched with pink. Let us fancy them the wings of angels who are beckoning us to homes of plenty and content beyond that western wave, and cheer up."
As I looked into her face, bright with entusiasm, I felt if angels had beckoned, I had also one at my side to encourage me. We gazed in silence at the glowing scene, marked the sun's disappearance and if the deepening colors in\ cloud and wtaer. Turning our gaze to the ship we could trace the sun's departing rays as they creeped up the tall masts. "Who would think", I said, "to look upon this most beautiful of all man's creations, a ship in full sail radient in the sun's richest tints, that in her hold she is bearing an unspeakable mass of misery and woe? How dark within; how bright without. How deceiving are appearances?"
Nay, Gerald, rather to look at it this way: How God in his goodness beautifies what man mars. Nothing so loathsome the sun will not bathe in the fullness of his brightness and glory.
An in that I thought, the sunshine is a type of woman's love, which is not witheld by what is repulsive and like the sunshine takes no defilement from what it touches.
29 - Uncle's wife died this morning. It would not be correct to say the fever killed her, for it had not reached its crisis. She was weakly when she left home and the sojourn on the quay, waiting to get aboard ship, gave her a bad cold. Her system was so reduced, she could not withstand the disease. Uncle wanted a coffin and the carpenter agreed to make one for five shillings but when he asked permission of the mate he refused, so she was buried like the others, slipped into the ocean. I recited the prayers for the dead, and the deck was crowded, many being there who had not left the hold since we had sailed. Just as they were about to lift the corpse over the gunwale. Aileen suddenly burst into song- that mournful compulatory hymn of the ages, Dies Irae, to whose strains so many millions of the faithful have been carried to the grave. It was her magnificent voice, ascending from the choir-loft of our chapel, that first drew her to me, and, never before, did I hear her put more feeling into her voice than now. When the last starin of melody floated over the waters, there was a hush for a minute , my uncle laid his hand for the last time on the head of her he so dearly loved, there was a plunge and all was over. The breaking out of the fever has produced, even among us hardened to misfortune, something like a panic. The drew are in mortal terror of the infection and will not allow passengers to go on the forecastle, as was their want. The ship being sent to sea purposlefully short handed, the owner relying on saving something by getting the emigrants to help, a few of our lads, who had been given bunks in the forecastle and allowed sailors' rations, have been warned,if they go down to the hatchways to see their people, they need not return. The captain and cabin passengers never leave the poop. As for the mate, he seems to put his faith for protection against infection on camphor and so smells of it that he must have a piece in every pocket. Uncle's sorrows are not ended, for two of his family are very ill.
30- Cold and rainy with fog. A north-west wind is blowing that drives the ship at a good rate, though not straigt on her course. The fever spreads and to the horrors of the steerage is added the cries of those in delerium. While I was coming from the gallery this afternoon, with a pan of stirabout for some sick children, a man suddenly sprang upwards from the hatchway, rushed to the bulwark, his white hair streaming in the wind and without a moment's hesitation leaped into the seething waters. He disapeared neneath them at once. His daughter soon came hurrying up the ladder to look for him. She said he had escaped from his bunk during her momentary absence and that he was made with fever. When I told her as gently as I could that she would never see him again, she could not believe me, thinking he was hiding. Oh the piercing cry that came from her lips when she learned where he had gone; the rush to the vessel's side, and the eager look as she scanned the foaming billows. Aileen led her away; dumb from the sudden stroke yet without a tear.
May 1 - Wind still from northeast; ship beating against it in short tacks. Most disagreeable motion. Cast lead at noon. At 150 fathoms found no bottom. A whale crossed our bows, not a hundred yards away. During the afternoon wind veered to northeast and before dark developed into a gale, before which we are driving. May it last long enough to bring us to land. Two deaths today, which has been a truly miserable May-day.
2 - There has been a flurry of snow during the night, so that yards and deck were white when I went out. The gale still holds and boatswain said if the weather cleared we would see Newfoundland. Two small booms cracked but that has not deterred the captain from keeping on all the sail the ship will bear. At times her leerail almost touches the water, and the deck slants it so it is diffiuclt to cross it. The captain is anxious to end the voyage, and no wonder, for the fever spreads. One child and two adults have died within the last 24 hours. Their bodies were dropped overboard when the ship was going 12 knots an hour. A cold, miserable day.
3 - The gale blew itself out during the night and today it is calm, the ship pitching and rolling on a glassy swell, and the sails flapping as if they would split. There is a mist, and it is very cold, which the boatswain tells me, indicates ice near. Lead cast and surroudings found, showing we are on the Banks. Some of our people, who are fishermen, bargained with the cook for a piece of salt prok and using it as bair cast their lines. Their patience was tried for awhile, until we struck a school of fish, when for half an hour they caught cod and dogfish as fast as they could haul them in. The school then left and few were caught afterwards. They gave a few of the best fish to the cook and in conideration, he cooked what he had, so for one day all between decks had enough to eat. The drinking water has been growing daily worse, and now the smell of it is shocking. The barrels must have been filled from the Liffey near a sewer. Repugnant as it is to sight, smell and taste it continues to be doled out in such meagre measure that the sick are continually crying for water with not a drop to give them. The number now sick is appalling- the young of dysentery, the old of fever. Poor unlce, his lot is a sore one, yet he bever complains. Wind came from the southeast towards evening bringing milder temperatures with light rain. Sighted several fishing schooners and saw sea-birds for first time since we left the coast of Ireland.
4- This has been a variable day; at times bright and warm, at others foggy and chilly, according as the wind blew, and it has veered from west to southwest. Sailors busy getting anchors off forecastle and bitted to the catheads - a slow and laborous task. Passed a number of fishing smacks today and sailed through a school of porpoises. Our own fishermen did pretty well today. The fish they catch is a great boon to our starving people. No death today.
5- Weather thick and bitterly cold no child played on deck today. Passed large fields of ice requiring great skill in handling the ships to avoid them. Captain remained on deck all day. While I have no respect for him as a man, he is an execllent sailor. Passed two ships caught in the ice. Boatswain says they will have to drift with it until the wind opens a channel by which they can escape. Steady wind from north-east all day. One death this evening, body buried by moonlight.
6 - No ice seen today. Boatswain tells me the captain has brought the ship well south of it. Weather continued thick, with wind from east and ferquent showers of rain. Passed a beautifully shaped two-masted vessel, painted white. She hoisted the stars and stripes. Sighted two latge vessels, one like ourselves crowded with emigrants, for her lee bullwark was black with them, looking at us. A patch of floating sea weed drifted by before dark, showing we must be near land. There were three deaths today. If it please God, may this agony soon end.
7 - Stepping on deck this morning to my astonishment saw land on either side - cape North and St. Paul Island, the sunlight bringing the light houses into sharp relief. Both spits looked desolate but were a cheering sight for they were the first land we saw since we lost sight of the Kerry hills. Thank God for his goodness in bringing us to land, the sight of which cheered me beyond expression. It was a thrill of excitement even through the steerage. During the night, the wind changes to the southeast and the ship makes great progress, the water being smooth, for now the Gulf of St. Lawrence we have left behind us in the swell of the Atlantic. As the morning wore on it grew warmer and when the sun had climbed to its heighth his rays became almost unpleasantly hot. Passengers not seen on deck since we sailed, crawled up to have a sight of the land, which we quickly left astern and to bask in the sunshine, until a few except the sick remained below. It was wonderful the change heat and prospect of soon being on land wrought on the spirits of all. Hope sprung afresh and the misery of the past was forgotten. Children played about the deck and the hum of conversation filled the air. There were a number of ships in sight, bound, like ourselves for Quebec. The hours sped and we were bearing down on the Bird-rocks - lonley islets of rock, worn inot fantastic shapes, shooting sheer up from the sea and whose cliffs give a foothold to sea fowl, squadrons of whom were careering above them. While intently watching these sentinals of the gulf of the mighty river we had entered, my eye chanced to fall on the face of an old woman whom Aileen had persuaded to stay on deck. More pinched and sallow it could not be, for she was wasted and worn, but to my alarm, I saw its lines assuming the rigidity of coming death. I touched Aileen's arm to direct her attention. She was down on her knees by her side in a moment. "Mother, dear, are you not feeling well?" The eyelids lifted and the answer came, "I thank God for his goodness" and then they drooped over the poor dazed eyes. I stepped into my cabin for a tin of water and Aileen held it to her lips. She feebly motioned it away. The slip of a girl who belonged to her, a grandchild, now realizing the coming change, clapsed her round the neck. "Granny dear, don't be leavin me all alone; sure we see Amerky now and will soon be walkin in it." The soul was quitting its frail tenemant but the child's voice so far recalled it, that a slight look of recognition lightened the face. "Och, stay wid me, granny, an I'll do yer biddin and nivir vix again. We'll soon be havin lashins of meat in wather, an ye wunna need to be givin me yer share. O stay wid me!" At that moment there was a report of musket fired near by. The passengers, grouped around the dying woman, raised their startled eyes amd saw it was the mate, who had fired at the sea fowl on the rocks we were now passing. The angry scowl at the interruption melted again into sorrow when Aileen, lifting the grey head from her lap, reverently straightened it on the deck, and leaving the body to the care of a woman who crowded near, led the sobbing girl, doubly orphaned, to our cabin. At sunset we buried the body and with it that of a poor cripple, who had been suffering from dysentery. We sat late that night, for the breeze was warm and the speed of the ship exhilarating, while the waters sparkled in the moonlight. I had been in bed sometime when voices outside awakened me. It was the boatswain and a sailor who were talking, and the sound of their voices seemed to express astonishment. I dressed andnd hurried out. "Is there anything gone wrong", I asked. "Did you ever see the like of that?", the boatswain replied, by pointing to the sky. The wind had fallen and glancing up at the masts I saw sail, and rope and black were motionless. Above hung clouds the like of which I had never seen. There were thousands of them, all about a size, all spherical, and all placed together as exactly as the panes in a cathedral window. Though hid from view, the moon was in zenith, and its downward rays fell on the cloudlets, illuminating them and transmitting a ghsatly light, reflected by a ghostly sea. From the horizon to the apex the illusion of the clouds wsas perfect in representing the ship as standing beneath the centre of a great dome composed of spheres of grey glass, through which streamed a light mysterious and fearsome, revealing the face of a glossy sea, dark and dread. "What weather does this portend?" , I whispered. The boatswain shook his head. "It ain't weather, sir", said the sailor. "It's death. You see, if the fever don't grow worse."
8 - I had sat so long on deck during the night that it was late in the day when I awoke. Aileen had gone out but returned when I had dressed and we had breakfast. A western breeze was blowing and the ship was tacking. The boatswain told me the gulf was over 200 miles wide so there was plenty of sea room, but before night we found there was not. As the day wore on the wind increased and the weather became thick, so that the men on the lookout kept sounding the horn nearly all the time. The captain was more afraid of ice than of a collision with another ship, and did not leave the deck after dinner. It was about 6 o'clock, when everything seemed to be going well, the ship tearing through the water on her northern tack, when the fog suddenly thinned, and to our surprise we saw land ahead. We were not over a mile from it. The captain shouted to the man at the wheel, who brought the ship up to the wind, the sails slattering like to break the masts. The yards of the foremast were soon braced round and the question was whether the ship would wear in time to avoid striking, for the land was now so near that we could see the foam of the breakers on the shore. There was a dreadful period of suspense, during which the ship drifted broadside on towards the land, and the sails of the foremost bellied out on catching the wind, when she turned on her heel, and the order tacks and sheets given, when everybody who had been able to get a grip of the ropes hauled with all their strength. Ths ship was now on the other tack, when we left the land astern, and which presented a desolate appearance, a foreground of rock with low hills behind on which there were patches of snow. The boatswain said it was the eastern end of the isalnd of Anticosti, and had we struck the rocks, those who had escaped drowning would have starved to death, for the island, save a lighhouse or two, is uninhabited. I thought it but did not say it, for he is not responsible, that 500 people were being starved to death on board ship. Our having got out of our course, for the captain supposed he was well clear of the island, is blamed on the currents and the tides of the gulf.
9 -Uncle's oldest son dies of a fever soon after daylight. The blow is a crushing one but I have yet to see the first murmur from unlce. His submission to the Divine Will is most touching. The bosy along with two more we dropped overboard when the sailors were at dinner. Tho' near the end of our voyage, the little tyrant on the poop has given no order to increase the supply of water or biscuit. I did not think the stench of the hold could become worse, but the heat we had a day ago has intensified it. To descend into the hole became more than I can well bear. I told Aileen today she must not even go near the hatchways. Wind unfavourable all day, and ship passing.
10 - Wind again in the south but very light. Today in making the weather tack we came close to the south shore, which seemed to be a succession of ranges of high hills with trees to their tops. This was a sad day, five having died. Exchanged signals with a ship. She said she was from Liverpool with emigrants and many were sick. Lead was kept going all day.
11- In beating across the gulf this morning, the wind being ahead, and cold enough to chill to the marrow, we noticed a small schooner bearing down upon us. It was a pilot boat had sighted us. hen alongside, a row boat left her and soon a pilot was climbing to our deck. He was a Frenchman and spoke broken English. When he saw he had got on board an emigrant ship, he seemed to hesitate and looked as if he wished he was back, with the bundle he had in his hand, on the schooner again. "Any seek?", he asked the captain. What the captain answered I could not hear, for he turned and took the stranger to his cabin. When the pilot reappeared he took command, and I noticed he never left the poop. In the afternoon it grew foggy and from the forecastle the didmal sound of the fog horn came. being now well up the gulf we were in the neighbourhood of many vessels, and a collision was possible. We sighted no ship, however, until late in the afternoon, when we saw masttops above the fog. She proved to be a large vessel in splendid order. Ranging close to us, her captain asked if we had a pilot. Answered yes, he replied he had none. Our captain told them to follow us. Instead of that, the order was given to set more sail and in a few minutes she was lost to sight. Our pilot shook his head as he remarked, "She's heading for Minigan rocks." When it began to grow dark, order given to let go the anchor. The nosie of the rattling cable was like thunder. A child died today, a sweet little toddler that Aileen was fond of. Many of the sock are sinking tonight, not one of whom might have lived with proper sustenace, for the period of convalescence that proves fatal in nine cases out of ten. Mouldy sea biscuit of the coarsest kind and foul water simply kill the patient who has got over the fever, yet we have nothing else to offer to satisfy their cravings.
12- Anchor was weighed at daylight and when I came out on deck found we were tacking towards south shore, which was concealed by a fogbank. Afterwards the wind veered to the east, and a drizzling rain set in. Weather thick all day, cold and disagreeable, with satisfaction, however, of knowing we are making good progress. The pilot, like the captain, is anxious to make all possible speed and even the top stun saild were set. This was a sad day betwwen decks. There were four deaths and the number of sick greatly increased. No wonder; the air is that of a chaarnel vault and the people are so weak from want of food that they have no strength to resist disease.
12 - During the night was roused by the noise of the anchor being let go. On leaving my cabin was astonded, for I stepped into brilliant sunshine, in whose beams the waters danced, while, like a panarama, a lovely landscape was unrolled on either side. No longer a weary waster of water, with an unchanging horizon met my view, but a noble river, rolling between picturesque banks. The north was rugged, with lofty hills, wooded to the summit; the south was an undulating slope, along whose lower edge ran a line of a small white-washed houses, so near each other as to form a street. The fields were flushed with green and some of the tree-tops thickened with bud and busrting leaf. Evidently the occupants of each house had a farm, which ran like a riband from the river to nigh the the head of the slope, which was crowned with woods. At regular intervals in the line of houses there is a Church - plain stone edifices with high pitched roofs, which, with steeples, are tinned, giving them a foreign look. we were waiting for the tide to turn, the breeze being insufficient to enable the ship to beat against the current. On the other side of the river were four large ships, at anchor like ourselves. As the morning wore on a boat was seen to leave the shore and row towards us. The gunwale of our ship was crowded with passengers watching her approach. On coming near us, the two men in the boat did not seem to fancy our looks, for they did not throw their line to us. They had evidently come to sell us the provisions they had aboard. "Lay to, what are you afeared of?", shouted the boatswain. One of the men shook his blue cowled head. "Parley vous Franšais?", he cried. "What does he say?", the boatswain asked me. "I think he wants to know if you speak French." Blast his impudence; what does he think my mother was? I wants none sich lingo", retorted the salt. Scared by the row of white faces the men had plainly decided to forego the profits of trade from fear of infection. One had seized his oar to bring the boat's head to shore when , recalling all the French words I had ever heard, I shouted, "Lait" and held out a pail with one hand a sixpence with the other. They swing round, and one of the men caught my pail, filled it and handed it back. Pointing to some loaves he gave us one for a sixpence, and several other passengers bought the rest of them. This done, the boat left. With that milk, Aileen hopes to save the lives of the few infants left. The bread was welcome, although it was heavy and had a peculiar sourish taste. When the tide began to make, the order to weigh the anchor was given. The ships to the north of us were doing the same, and the sailors' songs came over the water with beautiful cadence, blending with the chorus of own own crew, which began with "haul in the bowline, the black ship's arolling" and ending declaring that "Katie is my darling." With a large spread of canvas we moved slowly up the mighty river for the wind was light. In spite of our dismal surroundings, this was a day of quiet delight to Aileen and myself. The extraordinary width of the river, said to be over ten miles, its waters, pure and of deep blue color, clasped at intervals of picturesque and softness of the cultivated landscape on the south, were a constant feast for eyes wearied of the sea. The depth and tender blue of the sky, so much more transparent than in the dear old land, particularly impressed Aileen. As we made our way up the glorious river, the shores trended nearer, the hills on the north grew loftier and the southern bank less steep. The sun had set in a glory of gold and crimson beyond the hills when the order was given to let go the anchor, the tide no longer serving us. Quarter a mile ahead of us the large ship did the same. The evening being calm Aileen got a wrap and we sat watching the darkening waters and the shores that loomed momentarily more faint, until the lights from the house windows alone marked where they were. "What is that?". she suddenly exclaimed, and I saw a shapeless heap move past our ship in an outgoing tide. Prseently, there was another and another. Craining my head over the bulwark I watched. Another came, it caught in our cable, and before the swish of the current washed it clear, I caught a glimpse of a white face. I understood it all. The ship ahead of us had emigrants and they were throwing overboard their dead. Without telling Aileen, I grasped her arm, and drew her into our cabin.
14 - An eventful day, the consequences of which i fear, although recalling every detail, I do not see how I could have acted otherwise. Anxious to see this country, so new and so bright to me, I rose at daylight. The ship was under plain sail, beating against a northwest wind, and making little headway. One of our lads who had been taken to help the sailors was ordered by the mate up the foremast to put to rights some tackle that had got entangled in the last tack. The boy blundered and the mate repeated the order with his customary oaths. Again the lad tried to do what he was bid and failed. Ordering a sailor to go up and do the work, the mate shouted to the boy to come down. He did so reluctantly, for he saw the mate had grasped a rope's end. Cursing him for his slowness, the mate seized his feet while still in the ratlines. He fell violently on the deck, when the mate proceeded to shower blows with the heavy rope on the head and the back of the boy, who cried piteously for mercy. I could not stand it; my blood was boiling. "Stop", I shouted, "have pity on the boy; he did not mean to disobey your order. It was his sorrow for his mother who died last night that confused him." The mate paused in his lashing of the lad and glared at me with such a malignant look as I pray the saints I may never again have cast on me. "Mind your business, damn you, or I'll have you put in irons for mutiny", he shouted and again laid the rope across the lad's quivering body with fiercer strength. It was, perhaps, foolish for my own interests but I could not help it. I sprang at the mate and dealth him a blow in the face. He clutched hold of me and we grappled. He was strong, with muscles toughened by fighting sea and wind, but a Sligo boy of my inches will take odds from no man in a wrestle. We fell time and time again, he beneath me, but he always managed to wriggle up again, until I got a good hold of his neck, then I bent him under me and rained blows on every part of him my right fist could reach. All that the cheating villan had done, his cruelties to my people, his brutal indifference to their sufferings, flashed across my mind and lent vim to every blow I dealt. How the scoundral howled for help and finally, for mercy. Not one of the sailors interfered. The drew off the forespeak and looked on, glad to see his punishment. The passengers who were on deck formed in a circle around us, delighted at the sight. One of them, I recall, popped up from the hatchway and held out a blackhorn to me with the explanation, "To finish him off wid, yet honour." I needed no shillelah. The fear that I might fatally injure the bully alone caused me to pause. I gathered him up in my arms for a final effort, when a strange thing happened to me. I saw in my mind's eye, as they passed before me, the white face of one after the other of the dead I helped to srop into the sea. It was one of those freaks the imagination plays when the mind is intensely excited. This could not have taken over a minute or two, but I saw them all, plainly and distinctly. Solemnized yet strengthened by the sight, I was given a power I had not. I raised the craven, who was whining and sobbing, as high as my breast and flung him away as far as I could. Fortune favored him, he fell on a coil of rope, where he lay helpless. The steward went over to him, wiped the blookd from his eyes, and finally he was able to rise and, leaning on the steward's left shoulder, shuffled off to the cabin. by this time every man of my people able to leave the hold was on deck, an excited throng, eager for fighting. "If they lay a finger on yees for what you've so nately done, we'll break the heads av ivery wan 'i thim", said a County Leitrim man to me, and I knew that was the spirit of them all. Softly opening the door of our little cabin I was thankful to find Aileen asleep. Getting a change of clothes, for those I had on were torn and bloodstained, I slipped out, had a wash in a bucket of saltwater, and then dressed myself. At breakfast, I told Aileen all. She was much shocked at the danger I had run, and when satisfied I had recieved no greater injury than black and blue bruises from kicks and blows and some handfuls of hair the coward had torn from my head, she became alarmed for the result. Assaulting an officer on shipboard I knew was a serious offence in the eys of the law and so did Aileen. "I don't think", I said to her, "you need to fear their punishing me according to law for they know if I am taken before a court, all the villany of the captain and mate toward the passengers would come out. They have broken the law in fifty ways and know it. What I fear is the captain trying to take the law in his own hands before we reach Quebec." We passed the day on deck, as usual, appearing as unconcerned as might be. Whether the captain entertained any notion of arresting me, I cannot say for he made no sign. The sight of a score or so of my people keeping nigh me wherever I moved, from whose coats peeped the end of what they called "a bit av o shtick", may have had some influence in deterring him, but the real cause I opine to be what the boatswain whispered to me in the evening, that the steward had told the captain the sailors to a man would refuse to put a hand on me. They hate the mate, who, by the way, according to the cabin boy, is lying in his berth, alternately groaning with pain and swearing from rage. We made little progress today. The wind was ahead and we kept tacking every half hour or so. In beating up the river thus, a boat overhauled us. She was a Clyde trader, and being shorter she wore more quickly and being heavier laden sailed more closely to thw wind, and owing to these advantages she outsailed us. Our captain, with an oath, rushed down the companionway to hide his mortification. In the afternoon a discovery was made that sent joy to the heart of every passenger. A boy had hauled up a pailful of water to douse his head in, after getting his hair clipped, when he got a taste of it and found it was fresh. The tide was out, and at the point we had now reached, at the slack, the water is fresh. Pailful after pailful was hauled on board and the sick were supplied without stint, with water sweet, clear and cool. Alas, the refreshing draught came too late for seven, who died during the day. I wanted to keep the bodies on board in hopes of giving them burial but the boatswain advised otherwise,as he said, although we were within a short distance of quarentine with the present wind we might be two or three days of making it. Ship anchored at darkening, close to shore.
15 - Remained at anchor all day. Cold with strong wind from north-west. At intervals there were squalls, accompanied by driving showers of rain and hail. Three hours' fair wind would see us at quarantine, yet here we are unable to advance a yard on our way. Five deaths today, I resolved the deaths to be kept for burial. Boatswain told me mate is worse today, being feverish. The pilot bled him and the captain gave him a blue pill. Not being needed to work the ship, all hands were engaged in putting the vessel into her best trim, scraping, scrubbing and painting. Outwardly the ship is neat and clean, a sight to delisght a sailor's eye, and to look at her from the deck it is hard to conceive of the putrid state of her hold. The steward bribed several of the passengers with whisky to clean the steps and alley-ways of the steerage. A steamer painted white with a house the length of her deck passed, going east.
16 - The sound of the anchor being weighed awoke me and I heard it with joy. I dressed and gave the sailors a hand. The wind had veered into the east, and it looked as if rain was coming. The fore mainsail having been set, the ship swept on, keeping the channel as easily as if propelled by sream. When Aileen came out, the church bells were ringing for early mass, and we could make out the people driving along the roads to attend. Reports from the steerage are gloomy. There have been three deaths during the night. It seems as if a number of the sick had reached that point that their dropping off is inevitable. The river was dotted with ships following us, and the sight of so many large vessels moving majestically in a column in our rear fascinated us. By and by the rain came on, when Aileen left to pack our trunks, for we are fully persuaded the wind will hold and that we will land in Quebec before dark, biddinf farewell to this ship of misery. When quarantine was sighted, I dropped in to see how she was getting on, and finding my help not needed, wrote this, in all probablility the last entry I will make on board.