Masts, spires, and strand receding on the right, 
    The glorious main expanding on the bow.

At noon on July 1st, 1876, we said good-bye to the friends who had come to Chatham to see us off, and began the first stage of our voyage by steaming down to Sheerness, saluting our old friend the 'Duncan,' Admiral Chads's flagship, and passing through a perfect fleet of craft of all kinds. There was a fresh contrary wind, and the Channel was as disagreeable as usual under the circumstances. Next afternoon we were off Hastings, where we had intended to stop and dine and meet some friends; but, unfortunately the weather was not sufficiently favourable for us to land; so we made a long tack out to sea, and, in the evening, found ourselves once more near the land, off Beachy Head. While becalmed off Brighton, we all - children included - availed ourselves of the opportunity to go overboard and have our first swim, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had steam up before ten, and again proceeded on our course. It was very hot, and sitting under the awning turned out to be the pleasantest occupation. The contrast between the weather of the two following days was very great, and afforded a forcible illustration of the uncertainties, perhaps the fascinations, of yachting. We steamed quietly on, past the 'Owers' lightship, and the crowds of yachts at Ryde, and dropped anchor off Cowes at six o'clock.

On the morning of the 6th a light breeze sprang up, and enabled us to go through the Needles with sails up and funnel down, a performance of which all on board felt very proud, as many yachtsmen had pronounced it to be an impossibility for our vessel to beat out in so light a breeze.

We were forty-three on board, all told, as will be seen by reference to the list I have given. We had with us, besides, two dogs, three birds, and a charming Persian kitten belonging to the baby. The kitten soon disappeared, and it was feared she must have gone overboard down the hawse pipe. There was a faint hope, however, that she might have been packed away with the new sails, which had been stowed in a great hurry the day before. Unhappily she was never found again, and the children were inconsolable until they discovered, at Torquay, an effective substitute for 'Lily.'

The Channel was tolerably smooth outside the Isle of Wight, and during the afternoon we were able to hold on our course direct for Ushant. After midnight, however, the wind worked gradually round to the W.S.W., and blew directly in our teeth. A terribly heavy sea got up; and, as we were making little or no progress, it was decided to put in to Torquay or Dartmouth, and there await a change. We anchored in Torbay, about half a mile from the pier, at 8.30 a.m., and soon afterwards went ashore to bathe. We found, however, that the high rocks which surround the snug little bathing cove made the water as cold as ice.

Nothing more having been heard of our poor little kitten, we can only conclude that she has gone overboard. Just as we were leaving the railway-station, however, we saw a small white kitten with a blue ribbon round its neck; and all the children at once exclaimed, 'There's our Lily!' We made inquiries, and found that it belonged to the young woman at the refreshment room, who, after some demur, allowed us to take it away with us, in compliance with Muriel's anxious wish, expressed on her face.

About ten o'clock we got under way, but lay-to for breakfast. We then had a regular beat of it down Channel - everybody being ill. We formed a melancholy-looking little row down the lee side of the ship, though I must say that we were quite as cheery as might have been expected under the circumstances. It was bright and sunny overhead, which made things more bearable.

Sunday, July 9th. - A calm at 2 a.m. Orders were given to get up steam; but the new coals from Chatham were slow to light, though good to keep up steam when once fairly kindled. For four long hours, therefore, we lolloped about in the trough of a heavy sea, the sails flapping as the vessel rolled. By the time the steam was up so was the breeze - a contrary one, of course. We accordingly steamed and sailed all day, taking more water on board, though not really in any great quantity, than I had ever seen the good ship do before. She carries a larger supply of coal and other stores than usual, and no doubt the square yards on the foremast make her pitch more heavily. We were all very sorry for ourselves, and 'church,' postponed from eleven until four o'clock, brought together but a small congregation.

On the 8th we were fairly away from Old England, and on the next day off Ushant, which we rounded at about 4.30 p.m., at the distance of a mile and a half; the sea was tremendous, the waves breaking in columns of spray against the sharp needle-like rocks that form the point of the island. The only excitement during the day was afforded by the visit of a pilot-boat (without any fish on board), whose owner was very anxious to take us into Brest, 'safe from the coming storm,' which he predicted. In addition to our other discomforts, it now rained hard; and by half-past six I think nearly all our party had made up their minds that bed would be the most comfortable place.

Two days later we sailed into lovely, bright, warm, sunny weather, with a strong north-easterly breeze, a following sea, and an occasional long roll from the westward. But as the sun rose, the wind increased, and we got rather knocked about by the sea. A good deal of water came on board, and it was impossible to sit anywhere in comfort, unless lashed or firmly wedged in. We were, however, going ten knots through the water, on our course, under our new square head canvas; and this fact made up for a good deal of discomfort.

The thirty extra tons of spare sails, spars, and provisions, the fifteen tons of water, and the eighty-four tons of coal, made a great difference in our buoyancy, and the sea came popping in and out at the most unexpected places; much to the delight of the children, who, with bare feet and legs, and armed with mops and sponges, waged mimic war against the intruder and each other, singing and dancing to their hearts' content. This amusement was occasionally interrupted by a heavier roll than usual, sending them all into the lee scuppers, sousing them from head to foot, and necessitating a thorough change of clothing, despite their urgent protest that sea-water never hurt anybody.

After our five o'clock dinner, however, we very nearly met with a most serious accident. We were all sitting or standing about the stern of the vessel, admiring the magnificent dark blue billows following us, with their curling white crests, mountains high. Each wave, as it approached, appeared as if it must overwhelm us, instead of which, it rushed grandly by, rolling and shaking us from stem to stern, and sending fountains of spray on board.

Tom was looking at the stern compass, Allnutt being close to him. Mr. Bingham and Mr. Freer were smoking, half-way between the quarter-deck and the after-companion, where Captain Brown, Dr. Potter, Muriel, and I, were standing. Captain Lecky, seated on a large coil of rope, placed on the box of the rudder, was spinning Mabelle a yarn. A new hand was steering, and just at the moment when an unusually big wave overtook us, he unfortunately allowed the vessel to broach-to a little. In a second the sea came pouring over the stern, above Allnutt's head. The boy was nearly washed overboard, but he managed to catch hold of the rail, and, with great presence of mind, stuck his knees into the bulwarks. Kindred, our boatswain, seeing his danger, rushed forward to save him, but was knocked down by the return wave, from which he emerged gasping. The coil of rope, on which Captain Lecky and Mabelle were seated, was completely floated by the sea. Providentially, however, he had taken a double turn round his wrist with a reefing point, and, throwing his other arm round Mabelle, held on like grim death; otherwise nothing could have saved them. She was perfectly self-possessed, and only said quietly, 'Hold on, Captain Lecky, hold on!' to which he replied, 'All right.' I asked her afterwards if she thought she was going overboard, and she answered, 'I did not think at all, mamma, but felt sure we were gone.' Captain Lecky, being accustomed to very large ships, had not in the least realised how near we were to the water in our little vessel, and was proportionately taken by surprise. All the rest of the party were drenched, with the exception of Muriel, whom Captain Brown held high above the water in his arms, and who lost no time in remarking, in the midst of the general confusion, 'I'm not at all wet, I'm not.' Happily, the children don't know what fear is. The maids, however, were very frightened, as some of the sea had got down into the nursery, and the skylights had to be screwed down. Our studding-sail boom, too, broke with a loud crack when the ship broached-to, and the jaws of the fore-boom gave way.

Soon after this adventure we all went to bed, full of thankfulness that it had ended as well as it did; but, alas, not, so far as I was concerned, to rest in peace. In about two hours I was awakened by a tremendous weight of water suddenly descending upon me and flooding the bed. I immediately sprang out, only to find myself in another pool on the floor. It was pitch dark, and I could not think what had happened; so I rushed on deck, and found that, the weather having moderated a little, some kind sailor, knowing my love of fresh air, had opened the skylight rather too soon; and one of the angry waves had popped on board, deluging the cabin.

I got a light, and proceeded to mop up, as best I could, and then endeavoured to find a dry place to sleep in. This, however, was no easy task, for my own bed was drenched, and every other berth occupied. The deck, too, was ankle-deep in water, as I found when I tried to get across to the deck-house sofa. At last I lay down on the floor, wrapped up in my ulster, and wedged between the foot stanchion of our swing bed and the wardrobe athwart-ship; so that as the yacht rolled heavily, my feet were often higher than my head. Consequently, what sleep I snatched turned into nightmare, of which the fixed idea was a broken head from the three hundredweight of lead at the bottom of our bed, swinging wildly from side to side and up and down, as the vessel rolled and pitched, suggesting all manner of accidents. When morning came at last, the weather cleared a good deal, though the breeze continued. All hands were soon busily employed in repairing damages; and very picturesque the deck and rigging of the 'Sunbeam' looked, with the various groups of men, occupied upon the ropes, spars, and sails. Towards evening the wind fell light, and we had to get up steam. The night was the first really warm one we had enjoyed, and the stars shone out brightly. The sea, which had been of a lovely blue colour during the day, showed a slight phosphorescence after dark.

Thursday, July 13th. - When I went on deck, at half-past six, I found a grey, steamy, calm morning, promising a very hot day, without wind.

About 10.30 a.m., the cry of 'Sail on the port beam!' caused general excitement, and in a few minutes every telescope and glass in the ship had been brought to bear upon the object which attracted our attention, and which was soon pronounced to be a wreck. Orders were given to starboard the helm, and to steer direct for the vessel; and many were the conjectures hazarded, and the questions asked of the fortunate holders of glasses. 'What is she?' 'Is there any one on board?' 'Where does she come from?' 'Can you read her name?' 'Does she look as if she had been long abandoned?' Soon we were near enough to send a boat's crew on board, whilst we watched their movements anxiously from the bridge. We could now read her name - the 'Carolina' - surmounted by a gorgeous yellow decoration on her stern. She was of between two and three hundred tons burden, and was painted a light blue, with a red streak. Beneath her white bowsprit the gaudy image of a woman served as a figure-head. The two masts had been snapped short off about three feet from the deck, and the bulwarks were gone, only the covering board and stanchions remaining, so that each wave washed over and through her. The roof and supports of the deck-house and the companions were still left standing, but the sides had disappeared, and the ship's deck was burst up in such a manner as to remind one of a quail's back.

We saw the men on board poking about, apparently very pleased with what they had found; and soon our boat returned to the yacht for some breakers,[1] as the 'Carolina' had been laden with port wine and cork, and the men wished to bring some of the former on board. I changed my dress, and, putting on my sea boots, started for the wreck.

[Footnote 1: Small casks, used for carrying water in boats, frequently spelt barricos, evidently from the time of the old Spanish navigators.]

We found the men rather excited over their discovery. The wine must have been very new and very strong, for the smell from it, as it slopped about all over the deck, was almost enough to intoxicate anybody. One pipe had already been emptied into the breakers and barrels, and great efforts were made to get some of the casks out whole; but this was found to be impossible, without devoting more time to the operation than we chose to spare. The men managed to remove three half-empty casks with their heads stove in, which they threw overboard, but the full ones would have required special appliances to raise them through the hatches. It proved exceedingly difficult to get at the wine, which was stowed underneath the cork, and there was also a quantity of cabin bulkheads and fittings floating about, under the influence of the long swell of the Atlantic. It was a curious sight, standing on the roof of the deck-house, to look into the hold, full of floating bales of cork, barrels, and pieces of wood, and to watch the sea surging up in every direction, through and over the deck, which was level with the water's edge. I saw an excellent modern iron cooking-stove washing about from side to side; but almost every other moveable article, including spars and ropes, had apparently been removed by previous boarders.

It would have delayed us too long to tow the vessel into the nearest port, 375 miles distant, or we might have claimed the salvage money, estimated by the experts at 1,500_l. She was too low in the water for it to be possible for us, with our limited appliances, to blow her up; so we were obliged to leave her floating about as a derelict, a fertile source of danger to all ships crossing her track. With her buoyant cargo, and with the trade winds slowly wafting her to smoother seas, it may probably be some years before she breaks up. I only hope that no good ship may run full speed on to her, some dark night, for the 'Carolina' would prove almost as formidable an obstacle as a sunken rock.

Tom was now signalling for us to go on board again, and for a few minutes I was rather afraid we should have had a little trouble in getting the men off, as their excitement had not decreased; but after a trifling delay and some rather rough play amongst themselves, they became steady again, and we returned to the yacht with our various prizes.

A 'Mother Carey's chicken' hovered round the wreck while we were on board, and followed us to the 'Sunbeam;' and although a flat calm and a heavy swell prevailed at the time, we all looked upon our visitor as the harbinger of a breeze. In this instance, at least, the well-known sailor's superstition was justified; for, before the evening, the wind sprang up, and 'fires out and sails up' was the order of the day. We were soon bowling merrily along at the rate of seven knots an hour, while a clear starlight night and a heavy dew gave promise of a fine morrow.

Friday, July 14th. - We still have a light wind, right aft, accompanied by a heavy roll from the westward, which makes it impossible to sit anywhere with comfort, and difficult even to read. By 6 a.m. the sun had become very powerful, though its heat was tempered by the breeze, which gradually increased throughout the day, until, having set all our fore-and-aft canvas, as well as our square sails, we glided steadily along, in delightful contrast to the uneasy motion of the morning, and of the past few days. Under the awning - with the most heavenly blue sky above, and the still darker clear blue sea beneath, stretching away in gentle ripples as far as the eye could reach - it was simply perfect.

Our little party get on extremely well together, though a week ago they were strangers to each other. We are all so busy that we do not see much of one another except at meals, and then we have plenty to talk about. Captain Lecky imparts to us some of his valuable information about scientific navigation and the law of storms, and he and Tom and Captain Brown work hard at these subjects. Mr. Freer follows in the same path; Mr. Bingham draws and reads; Dr. Potter helps me to teach the children, who, I am happy to say, are as well as possible. I read and write a great deal, and learn Spanish, so that the days are all too short for what we have to do. The servants are settling down well into their places, and the commissariat department does great credit to the cooks and stewards. The maids get on satisfactorily, but are a little nervous on rough nights. We hope not to have many more just at present, for we are now approaching calmer latitudes.

In the course of the day, whilst Tom and I were sitting in the stern, the man at the wheel suddenly exclaimed, 'There's land on the port bow.' We knew, from the distance we had run, that this could not be the case, and after looking at it through the glasses, Tom pronounced the supposed land to be a thick wall of fog, advancing towards us against the wind. Captain Brown and Captain Lecky came from below, and hastened to get in the studding-sails, in anticipation of the coming squall. In a few minutes we had lost our fair breeze and brilliant sunshine, all our sails were taken flat aback, and we found ourselves enveloped in a dense fog, which made it impossible for us to see the length of the vessel. It was an extraordinary phenomenon. Captain Lecky, who, in the course of his many voyages, has passed within a few miles of this exact spot more than a hundred and fifty times, had never seen anything in the least like it. As night came on the fog increased, and the boats were prepared ready for lowering. Two men went to the wheel, and two to the bows to look out, while an officer was stationed on the bridge with steam-whistle and bell ready for an emergency; so that, in case we ran into anything, or anything ran into us, we should at least have the satisfaction of knowing that, so far as we were concerned, it had all been done strictly according to Act of Parliament.

Saturday, July 15th. - Between midnight and 4 a.m. the fog disappeared, as suddenly as it had come on. We must have passed through a wide belt of it. At 5.30 a.m., when Tom called me to see a steamer go by, it was quite clear. The vessel was the 'Roman,' and she passed so close to us that we made our number, and exchanged salutations with the officers on the bridge.

Towards the afternoon a nice breeze sprang up, and we were able to bank fires and sail.