Location: marengo, il, United States

Sunday, March 14, 2010

from the journal of seaman aitch lamar

friday, may 23, 1788 at five bells in the forenoon:

the sloop john bedford, under the the respectful command of captain rene magritte, pulls away from the crowded docks of albany. she carries a full load of grain stored below and is bound properly for madeira. there our crew of seven shall trade out our cargo for wine and a few cattle. we pray the weather holds faire.

june 29:

made record time to landfall. the second mate, who is my grandfather, has us all in high spirits. tomorrow we set sail for nassau in the far west indies. several cattle crowd our decks which the two cabin boys attend with goode cheer. our hold is now fully packed with flasks of fine portugee wines. the bovines act restless and noisome, as this is a new experience to their nature.

august 9:

in to port. humid, warm and crawling with activity. captain magritte makes huge profits which he in turn invests in kegs of sugarcane rum. after restocking his craft and settling his affairs, he invites the entire crew into towne to celebrate his great success.

august 10: i am sick and sorely injured, as are several of my fellow mates. a gang of seamen from a three-masted square rigger, all bolstered by large amounts of ale, set upon us last night and did great bodily harme. i feel hurt and broke up.

august 12:

the call goes out frome the first mate for the captain who has been staying ashore. we have been promised to set sail for home port at eight bells, predicts my grandfather, which is where i prefer to be. i do desire to go home.

august 12, 8 bells:

a constable came and took grandfather away before the midday. he over-indulged in our grog rations, we learned, and went mad afterward. he thereby broke into the captain's personal possessions and threw most of them overboard, giving the two cabin boys a terrible fright. a sheriff stone boarded our vessel to question the entire crew. i wish the man would leave us alone.

august 14:

while bartering with the sheriff for his second mate's release, our beloved captain has been forced to fire our cook who got a bad case of islander fits. the mad man tossed all manner of food staples into the bay before turning to our stores of fresh corn, which he devoured like a rabid foxe. why will they not let me go home?

august 23:

captain magritte has hired a new cook today. he has announced plans to hoist up the john bedford's mainsail on the morrow. although that is a comfort to mine ears, i cannot help but think that this is the worst trip i have ever been on.


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