Search This Blog

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fighting for your food

More from the vivacious Eliza Fay

At Sea, 28th October, 1779...

During the first fortnight of our voyage my foolish complaisance stood in my way at table, but I soon learned our genteel maxim "catch as catch can." The longest arm fared best, and you cannot imagine what a good scrambler I have become.  A dish, once seized, is my care to make use of my good fortune: and now provisions running very short, we have grown quite savages: two or three of us perhaps fighting for a bone, for there is no respect of persons. The wretch of a Captain, wanting our passage money for nothing, refused to lay in a sufficient quantity of stock; and, if we do not soon reach our Port, what must be the consequence, Heaven knows.

After meals I generally retire to my cabin, where I find plenty of employment, having made up a dozen shirts for Mr. Fay out of some cloth I purchased at Mocha to replace part of those stolen by the Arabs. Sometimes I read French and Italian and study Portuguese.  I likewise prevailed on Mr. Fay to teach me shorthand, in consequence of the airs Mr. Hare gave himself because he was master of this art and had taught his sisters to correspond with him in it. The matter was very easily accomplished. In short, I have discovered abundant methods of making my time pass usefully and not disagreeably.  How often, since in this situation, have I blessed God that He has been pleased to endow me with a mind capable of furnishing its own amusement.

No comments: