Ship "James Hovey"
Mch 2d 63
At last we are approaching New Orleans in a way that bids fair to land us there tomorrow morning. We are under tow, about halfway between the Balize and the City. It is now five o'clock, and I have spent most of the day on deck, enjoying the scenery along the banks of the river. An amusing incident occurred just before I came down into the cabin: As we were sailing up, close to the shore we saw two boys, one apparently ten, and the other, seven years of age, standing before the door of a cottage. On either side of the house, orange trees, bending beneath their load of fruit, tempted Fox to call out to the boys to throw him an orange, but with no expectation of their taking any notice of his call. But as though anxious to show him how willing they were, they both ran to the
trees, each seizing a pole on the way, and began to thrash the ripe fruit in good earnest; and then, with as many as they could carry in their arms, they rushed to the water's side and began to do their utmost to throw them aboard. But alas! Their little arms were not strong enough to accomplish the task; and after three or four efforts we had to beg them to desist, as we had only the mournful pleasure(?) of seeing another luscious globe added to those already in the dirty water, at each attempt to throw us one. Then as if glad to think that they had tried to do us a favor, they went skipping back to the house seemingly on the best of terms with every body. The whole did not occupy a quarter of the time taken to write it.
Thus far the banks of the River are low, and water is seen beyond at almost all points. We have now reached the sugar plantations; and more numerous and substantial buildings are taking the place of the squatter's shanties. The shore are lined with orange groves and with white line] oak trees, from all the limbs of which hang immense quantities of moss. Every branch and limb has its yard or more of this pendent moss, resembling at a little distance a huge goats beard swaying to and fro in the breeze. The trees grow to the average height of thirty five or forty feet, and this parasite claims control of the whole. I made inquiry aboard of our tug about "Lucy" but got no satisfaction further than "There is a dutchman by the name of Clowes living opposite N.O. who is part owner of the tug "Downs". He was not aquatinted with the man but was positive he was a dutchman. If possible, I will make time to see him if he be on "exhibition".
We did not leave Hampton Roads until the Tuesday following my note to G. Our whole voyage was very monotonous, with nothing to see but water if I except two or three days about the Bahamas.
From the tenth hour out, until we sighted Great Abacco Island, I would willingly have changed places with the man who wrote "A Life on the Ocean Wave". I felt like sporting one of his verses, thus:-
"A death on the Ocean Wave. A tomb in the rolling deep.
Was the prayer of the sea sick brave- As he scattered what he couldn't keep."
I cannot write now as I felt then; and of course my description cannot do justice to my "feelinks" at that time. My first wish was that I had improved by my former experience, and not gone to sea again. so I blamed myself and asked a favor in this wise:-
Oh why was I fool enough, to again come to sea
The fishes get all I eat. then why not get me
Oh, pray sir; be kind enough to one who you love
To place me upon the sail and give me a shove.
Until we got to the leeward of the Islands I could barely move about and I have not yet forgotten how,
As I laid in my berth, at the ship's every roll
I thought Heaven was parting my body and soul!
When the climax had come, and I saw what'd been done
Then I found not my soul but my dinner had gone!
If I lie on my back; If I lie on my side
Then my head's sure to crack, or the berth is too wide
When I lie on my breast, or in "spoon-fashion" style
My supper reappears in a very short while.
In the morning I eat and then walk upon deck
Then I lean on the rail- am not sea-sick a speck(?)
I see fishes below- they are hungry I know
Out of charity, pure, then, my breakfast can go
You will ask how I lived? If I saved half enough?
I did not. But you see, then, I lived upon snuff
Not the Turkish or Scotch. No; nor any of these
But snuffs, good and strong, of the saltish sea-breeze.
Rather windy I think I hear you say,
I've a secret to tell, which must not repeat.
When you're sea-sick for days, do not practice deceit
When your dinner you eat, and your plate you divest
Put a kink in your neck and wait for't to digest
We are enjoying fine warm weather for early March