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leagues. It presented a bold and lofty headland, but too undefined to admit of particular description.
Jan. 1st, 1818. A brisk breeze from the N. W. A sail hove in sight which gained considerably upon us by ten o'clock, when she made signal to speak us; and we accordingly backed the main sail and waited for her. She proved to be the Three Sisters from Glasgow, eighteen days out, bound to Kingston, Jamaica.
Jan. 2d. Light breezes from the W. and by N., making scarcely any way in our
3rd. Becalmed. Captain Sharpe had the jolly boat lowered, and rowed round to see the trim of the ship, after which I accompanied the Colonel, Captain , and Lieutenant about two hundred yards from the vessel, where we hathed.
4th. A gentle breeze sprung up from the N. Going from four to five knots.
5th. Caught the trade winds, and made good way during the night.
6th. Throughout this day proceeded on our course, going from seven to nine knots,
and during the night from ten to eleven, wind E.—We parted company in the afternoon with an aquatic stranger that had been constant in his attendance during this and the preceding day. Our fellow voyager was a white shark, the largest and most destructive species of this voracious animal; and we were, probably, indebted for the honour of his society to the hope of procuring from on board something to gratify his ravenous appetite. He appeared about twenty feet long, and generally kept within fifty yards of the vessel, sometimes, however, approaching considerably nearer. Every exertion to secure him failed, either in consequence of extreme cunning, which enabled him to discover the hook intended for his destruction ; or, which is more probable, owing to his having recently feasted to the full extent of his inclination. There is no animal to which sailors entertain so great an aversion as the shark, and the capture of one of these monsters is uniformly to them a source of the highest exultation. The officers on board were continually firing at him from rifles, whenever
he presented his head above water ; but, although the balls must frequently have struck him, it appeared evident they produced but little effect. We calculated that this shark accompanied us for nearly 400 miles, and frequently reminded us of our imprudence in openly bathing in the midst of the Atlantic.
7th. Spoke the Dauntless. During the remainder of our voyage no event of any importance occurred; an account of the proceedings of each day would, therefore, be little more than a transcript of those of the preceding.
On crossing the Tropic the ceremonies, uniformly adhered to on similar occasions, were performed with inore than ordinary burlesque solemnity, and without the slightest deviation from good humour and harmony. The general nature of this maritime frolic is well known; but a description of the manner in which it was celebrated upon the present occasion will be perhaps excusable, as serving to vary the monotonous character of a sea journal. Had our course been so far to the south this whimsi
cal custom would have been delayed until our arrival on the Line; but when a ship’s destination renders her crossing the Equator unnecessary, the ceremonies are performed immediately on entering the Torrid Zone.
The night preceding this festive day amongst the sailors, a hollow voice was heard from the bows of the vessel, proclaiming in a loud and menacing tone the arrival of a deputation from Neptune; announcing his aquatic majesty's intention of coming on board the following day at twelve o'clock, with his entire suite, for the purpose of levying .contributions and exercising his jurisdiction over those who had now, for the first time, visited the seat of his dominions.
Having performed his mission, the ambassador retired ; and in order to produce the semblance of his recession from the vessel in his car, a large tarred hogshead had been imperceptibly set fire to, and lowered into the sea, where its flaming appearance, as it occasionally rose upon the
bosom of the waves, had a very curious and pleasing effect.
At the appointed hour on the ensuing day the king of ocean's approach was announced by a flourish of trumpets, and immediately after, upon drawing aside a sail curtain which screened the forecastle, the procession advanced in grand state, preceded by martial music; Neptune, and the fair partner of his watery throne, being seated in due form upon a gun-carriage surrounded by a numerous train of Nereides. The mighty ruler of the waves was represented by the seaman considered best qualified to give proper dignity and spirit to the character ; whilst Amphitrite was most delicately personated by another jack tar, attired with all the grace and elegance that oakum and sailcloth could bestow. The preliminary formalities, fc., being terminated, a considerable number who had not acceded to the monarch's tributary demands, or whose proffered forfeitures had been rejected, experienced the luxury of a tropical shaving ; but this part of the ceremony