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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0002-0005

Author: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1784-07-06

Tuesday July 6th.

I was not able to write yesterday the wind blew so fresh; and not very fair, so that there was too much motion of the Ship. In the afternoon it came on rainy, and continued so through the night, this morning a small north east wind cloudy and unpleasent. Whilst our Friends on shore are melting under a mid Summer Sun; there has been no day so warm at Sea; but what I could wear a double calico Gown, a Green Baize over that a cloth Cloak; and a camblet cloak; lined with Baize; wraped round me, when ever I went up upon Deck.1 I had no Idea of the difference before I came on Board; this morning before I { 164 } rose the Dr. came down into the Cabbin and invited us to come up upon Deck and see a porpoise which the mate had killd with a harpoon; this creature has a fine smooth skin; a head resembling a Hog, two fins which he throughs out of water when he swims and rolls over as we often see them; a tail like an anchor and cross way of his Body, a very small Eye, in proportion to its Body; his inwards resemble those of a Humane Body.
We have so few objects to take up our attention on Board that we hardly know how to amuse ourselves. There is no great pleasure in working. I read as much as possible, but sometimes I feel unfit even for that, my Head swims and my sight leaves me. In the evening we generally make a party at Cards. This Mr. Foster who is a passenger with us, is the youngest son of Deacon Foster of Boston; lately married to a daughter of Mr. John Cutlers of Boston; he is in partnership with his Brother William and part owner of this ship. He is a Gentleman of soft and delicate manners, natural good understanding, a merchant, not much acquainted with Books, appears to have a taste for domestick Life, and speaks of his wife as I love to hear every married man speak; with tenderness and affection.
We shall make but small progress to day; our ship moves but slowly.
1. Thus punctuated in MS . It is not easy to say how many layers of clothing AA is here enumerating.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0002-0006

Author: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1784-07-08

Thursday July 8th.

If I did not write I should lose the Days of the Weeks. Yesterday a cold wet day. Could not go upon deck. Spent a large part of the day in writing to Mrs. Cranch.1 Any thing for amusement is agreeable, where there is such an unavoidable sameness.

“Were e'en paridice my prison,

I should long to leap, the cristal walls.”

The Ship itself is a partial prison, and much more so, when we are confined to our cabbin; we work, read; write; play; calculate our Distance; and amuse ourselves with conjectures of our arriving in port. Some say 28 days, some 30, and some 33, which to me is most likely; if we meet with no worse weather than we have already; we may set it down for an excellent passage tho it should amount to 33 days. To day is wet and fogy, but a fine fair wind, which must reconcile us to the weather. Last evening Mr. Foster came and invited me upon deck; to see what he had heard me express a wish for, the sparkling of the Water, and its firery appearence; this is a phenominan in Nature hitherto unaccounted for; the ocean looks in a light flame, with { 165 } millions of sparkling Stars, which resemble the fire flies in a dark Night.
This morning saw a large Ship a stern; scarcly a day but what we have seen Birds. The Sailors call them Mother Carys Chickens, and that they portend wind. They have an other adage. That there is no want of wind, when they have women on Board.
1. On 6 July AA had begun an epistolary journal of her voyage addressed to her sister Mrs. Cranch; this amplifies the present journal at some points, and it continues well beyond it (through 30 July). The original is now in MWA; it was printed by CFA in AA's Letters , 1848, p. 157–186||, and has since been printed in Adams Family Correspondence, 5:358–386.||