Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/399

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the longest voyage on record. We have lain becalmed for days, which both the captain and his wife attribute to my perversity in writing letters on board! They say it always happens when passengers write, and that it ought to be an irrevocable law that all ink-bottles are emptied when their owners embark. Unaccountable currents have drifted us far out of our course, and the irregular behaviour of the trade-wind has driven us right to the west of the Sandwich Isles, and yet had not the kindness to blow us close to Honolulu, where I might have met some vessel running in and transhipped,—Captain Nissen would not have dared to land me himself, as he would thereby have broken his mail contract. But we passed close to Kauai, which, seen from the sea, is a very uninteresting-looking island; and then we sailed so close to Niihau that we could distinguish every house. It did seem a pity that the aggravating contract should prevent my landing at once, instead of my having to go on all the way to San Francisco, just to return in a steamer! We have actually made a voyage of 6000 miles since we left Papeete! For my own part, I really have not disliked it. We have had lovely weather; everything has gone on most pleasantly; and what with reading, working, and painting, the days have been well filled.

Yesterday was Good Friday, which in Germany and Denmark is called "the quiet day,"[1] and it was observed by the Danes and Germans, and all the crew, by a cessation from all manner of work not positively necessary. The Rarotongans are all Christians, and have their own books, which they read quietly on Sundays.

Now we are off the coast of California. We are nearing the Golden Gates, and hope to find ourselves safe in harbour, before the dawn on Easter morning.


  1. Der stille Tag.