December 16, 1819 – no entry. (Thaddeus Journal)
“This has been a peculiarly interesting day to all of us, having spoke a vessel, bound from Calcutta to Boston, in which we have sent letters to America, but very much regretted not having more time, which was not more than 20 minutes. The boat, which took off our letters, returned and brought with it a Portuguese Man-of-war, as the sailors call it. An animal substance (if substance it may be said to possess, for it appears more like blubber than anything else) resembling a turn-over pie. with ten thousand fibrous legs and as many joints, each a foot long. The touch of this animal produces a sensation somewhat like an electric shock – the Dr. only, tried the experiment.
The colour is a changeable red and blue which gives a purple luster. We often see them floating upon the surface of the water, and they are objects of great curiosity to us who have never beheld many wonders of the sea. My jonny cake eats very well, which brother Sam’l told you about in his letter yesterday — altho at home you know I was never fond of Indian cakes – but anything that is fresh goes well at sea.
We have everything that is wholesome and good to eat and drink, that is, for hearty people, but I have not been long enough at sea yet to get an appetite for it. Monday we have pork and beef and puddings (rice and flour); Tuesday, pork and beans or peas; Wednesday, salt fish and potatoes &c. ; Thursday, fowls or a sea-pye; Friday, pork. baked; Saturday salt fish &c. Sabbath. fresh pork and pudding.
For breakfast we have coffee and hash; supper – tea, crackers and cheese; and now and then we are allowed the rich repast of water gruel. This is the greatest luxury I have enjoyed since I took up my residence upon the water.
I must drop my pen, it being past ten Oc. & all asleep but myself – a dread solemn seems to fill the whole ship – no sound or noise to be heard but the dashing of the waves against our vessel, which skims over the Maine at the rate of 8 miles an hour, and the gentle footsteps of the man at helm. and the watch, who walks with half his weight. for fear of waking his brother tars, who are asleep below.” (Lucia Ruggles Holman)