CHAPTER XVIII. HONOLULU TO YOKOHAMA.
As slow our ship her foamy track
Against the wind was cleaving,
Her trembling pennant still look'd back
To that dear isle 'twas leaving.
Thursday, January 4th. - It was very rough, but fortunately the wind came from a favourable quarter. Sorry as we all were to bid farewell to these charming islands, I could not help rejoicing that we had picked up a fresh fair wind so unexpectedly soon.
While we were at Honolulu a regular epidemic of influenza prevailed in the place, affecting both man and beast. This is often the case during the prevalence of the south wind, which blew, more or less, during the whole of our stay. We none of us suffered from the malady at the time, but now nearly everybody on board is affected, and some very severely.
Friday, January 5th. - The fresh fair breeze still continues. At noon we had sailed 240 knots. The head-sea we could dispense with, as it makes us all very uncomfortable. Muriel, Baby, the three maids, and several of the crew, are ill to-day with influenza, and I have a slight touch of it, so I suppose it will go right through the ship. Towards the evening the breeze increased to a gale.
Saturday, January 6th. - The gale increased during the night, and the head-sea became heavier. There was a good deal of rain in the course of the day. The wind dropped about sunset, and was succeeded by intervals of calm, with occasional sharp squalls. Baby was very poorly all day, but seemed better at night. We have now regularly settled down to our sea life again, and, if only the children recover, I hope to get through a good deal of reading and writing between this and Japan. At present they occupy all my time and attention, but I think, like the weather, they have now taken a turn for the better.
Sunday, January 7th. - A very rough and disagreeable day, with much rain. All the morning we rolled about, becalmed, in a heavy swell. Steam was ordered at half-past twelve, but before it was up the fair wind had returned, so the fires were put out. We had the Litany at eleven, and a short service, without a sermon, at four.
Baby was very ill all night. Everything was shut up on account of the torrents of rain, so that the heat was almost insufferable, and we tossed and tumbled about in the most miserable manner.
Monday, January 8th. - All the early part of the morning we were in the greatest anxiety about Baby; she could hardly draw her breath, and lay in her cot, or on her nurse's lap, almost insensible, and quite blue in the face, in spite of the application of mustard, hot water, and every remedy we could think of. The influenza with her has taken the form of bronchitis and pleurisy. The other children are still ailing. Heavy squalls of wind and rain, and continuous rolling, prevailed throughout the day.
Tuesday, January 9th. - The wind fell light, and the weather improved; but we tumbled about more than ever. The thermometer in the nursery stood at 90 deg. The children are a shade better.
Wednesday, January 10th. - Very hot, and a flat calm. Steam was up at 7.30 a.m. Mabelle is convalescent; Muriel not so well; Baby certainly better. In the afternoon one of the boiler-tubes burst. It was repaired, and we went on steaming. In the evening it burst again, and was once more repaired, without causing a long stoppage.
(Thursday, January 11th, had no existence for us, as, in the process of crossing the 180th meridian, we have lost a day.)
Friday, January 12th. - Wednesday morning with us was Tuesday evening with people in England, and we were thus twelve hours in advance of them. To-day the order of things is reversed, and we are now twelve hours behind our friends at home. Having quitted one side of the map of the world (according to Mercator's projection), and entered upon the other half, we begin to feel that we are at last really 'homeward bound.'
At four a.m. Powell woke us with the announcement that the boiler-tube had again burst, and that we had consequently ceased steaming. Letting off steam, and blowing out the boiler, made a tremendous noise, which aroused everybody in the ship. It was a lovely morning, but a flat calm, and the sun rose magnificently. The few light clouds near the surface of the water caught and reflected the rays of light most brilliantly before the sun itself appeared, and assumed all manner of fanciful shapes.
About six o'clock a very light breeze sprang up, which increased during the day; but the sea remained perfectly calm. We think we must have got into the trade again. This weather is indeed a luxury after all the knocking about we have lately gone through; and I feel as if I could never rest enough. The constant effort to maintain one's balance, whether sitting, standing, or moving about, has been most fatiguing, and the illness of the children has made matters worse. Baby is, I hope, now quite out of danger.