CHAPTER I. THE VOYAGE TO THE BRAZILS.
DEPARTURE FROM VIENNA - STAY IN HAMBURGH - STEAMERS AND SAILING VESSELS - DEPARTURE FROM HAMBURGH - CUXHAVEN - THE BRITISH CHANNEL - FLYING-FISH - THE PHISOLIDA - CONSTELLATIONS - PASSING THE LINE - THE "VAMPEROS" - A GALE AND STORM - CAPE FRIO - ARRIVAL IN THE PORT OF RIO JANEIRO.
On the first of May, 1846, I left Vienna, and, with the exception of slight stoppages at Prague, Dresden, and Leipsic, proceeded directly to Hamburgh, there to embark for the Brazils. In Prague I had the pleasure of meeting Count Berchthold, who had accompanied me during a portion of my journey in the East. He informed me that he should like to be my companion in the voyage to the Brazils, and I promised to wait for him in Hamburgh.
I had a second most interesting meeting on the steamer from Prague to Dresden, namely, with the widow of Professor Mikan. In the year 1817, this lady had, on the occasion of the marriage of the Austrian Princess Leopaldine with Don Pedro I., followed her husband to the Brazils, and afterwards made with him a scientific journey into the interior of the country.
I had often heard this lady's name mentioned, and my joy at making her personal acquaintance was very great. In the kindest and most amiable manner she communicated to me the results of her long experience, and added advice and rules of conduct, which proved afterwards highly useful.
I arrived in Hamburgh on the 12th of May; and, as early as the 13th, might have embarked on board a fine fast-sailing brig, which, besides, was christened the "Ida," like myself. With a heavy heart I saw this fine vessel set sail. I was obliged to remain behind, as I had promised my travelling companion to await his arrival. Week after week elapsed, with nothing but the fact of my staying with my relatives to lighten the dreariness of suspense; at last, about the middle of June, the Count came, and shortly afterwards we found a vessel - a Danish brig, the "Caroline," Captain Bock, bound for Rio Janeiro.
I had now before me a long voyage, which could not be made under two months at the least, and which, possibly, might last three or four. Luckily I had already lived for a considerable period on board sailing vessels during my former travels, and was therefore acquainted with their arrangements, which are very different from those of steamers. On board a steamer everything is agreeable and luxurious; the vessel pursues her rapid course independent of the wind, and the passengers enjoy good and fresh provisions, spacious cabins, and excellent society.
In sailing vessels all this is very different, as, with the exception of the large East Indiamen, they are not fitted up for passengers. In them the cargo is looked upon as the principal thing, and in the eyes of the crew passengers are a troublesome addition, whose comfort is generally very little studied. The captain is the only person who takes any interest in them, since a third or even the half of the passage-money falls to his share.
The space, too, is so confined, that you can hardly turn yourself round in the sleeping cabins, while it is quite impossible to stand upright in the berths. Besides this, the motion of a sailing vessel is much stronger than that of a steamer; on the latter, however, many affirm that the eternal vibration, and the disagreeable odour of the oil and coals, are totally insupportable. For my own part, I never found this to be the case; it certainly is unpleasant, but much easier to bear than the many inconveniences always existing on board a sailing vessel. The passenger is there a complete slave to every whim or caprice of the captain, who is an absolute sovereign and holds uncontrolled sway over everything. Even the food depends upon his generosity, and although it is generally not absolutely bad, in the best instances, it is not equal to that on board a steamer.
The following form the ordinary diet: tea and coffee without milk, bacon and junk, soup made with pease or cabbage, potatoes, hard dumplings, salted cod, and ship-biscuit. On rare occasions, ham, eggs, fish, pancakes, or even skinny fowls, are served out. It is very seldom, in small ships, that bread can be procured.
To render the living more palatable, especially on a long voyage, passengers would do well to take with them a few additions to the ship's fare. The most suitable are: portable soup and captain's biscuit - both of which should be kept in tin canisters to preserve them from mouldiness and insects - a good quantity of eggs, which, when the vessel is bound for a southern climate, should first be dipped in strong lime-water or packed in coal-dust; rice, potatoes, sugar, butter, and all the ingredients for making sangaree and potato-salad, the former being very strengthening and the latter very cooling. I would strongly recommend those who have children with them to take a goat as well.
As regards wine, passengers should take especial care to ask the captain whether this is included in the passage-money, otherwise it will have to be purchased from him at a very high rate.
There are also other objects which must not be forgotten, and above all a mattress, bolster, and counterpane, as the berths are generally unfurnished. These can be purchased very cheaply in any seaport town.
Besides this, it is likewise advisable to take a stock of coloured linen. The office of washerwoman is filled by a sailor, so that it may easily be imagined that the linen does not return from the wash in the best possible condition.