Incidents of a Whaling Voyage (1841)(LONG!)

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Mon Jan 28 07:06:29 UTC 2002

Accompanied by numerous lithographic prints
by Francis Allyn Olmsted
Charles E. Tuttle, Publishers, Rutland, VT

   A masterpiece.
   OED has zero citations from this book.  It's a crime!  A check of "Olmsted" has 291 hits, most all from the book SLAVE STATES (1856).
   I didn't find "luau" or "mahimahi" in a very quick search, but so much else is here--in convenient quotes.  It's fabulous for whaling terms, and they should make OED whether or not these are the very first cites.
   Olmsted wanted to be a doctor.  He graduated Yale Medical School (that's a school in New Haven, CT), but he passed away at about age 25.

Pg. 15:  "So much for sailing on Friday," an old salt would say.
Pg. 73:  There is also in these latitudes a gelatinous substance, a species of the medusae, called by the seamen the "_sea cucumber_," from a resemblance to the garden cucumber in size and shape.
Pg. 77:  We did so much against our will, as the promise of "fresh grub," was exceedingly tempting, after the liberal exercise we have had upon "salt junk," for some time before.  (Junk food?--ed.)
Pg. 88:  During the hours of work, no trifling of any kind is allowed, and any one seen indulging in "skylarking," subjects himself to the danger of being sent aloft, or stationed at the wheel for many tedious hours, besides going without his usual allowance.
Pg. 89:  ...are smoking their pipes, "spinning yarns," or listening to a song....
Pg. 92:  This evening we partook of rather a novel dish--"flippers" flavored with porpoise's brains!
Pg. 93:  The natives of some of the Pacific Islands consider _baked dog_ a great luxury....
Pg. 104:  There are two kinds, the _baboon jacket_, a short coat without any skirts, and the _monkey jacket_, differing from the other in having a kind of ruffle around the lower edge answering to skirts.
Pg. 105:  My fingers too are swollen with that annoying complaint the "chilblains," so common an occurrence at home, although usually confined to another part of the system.
Pg. 110:  Calm and beautiful day, with occasional "catpaws" or puffs of wind sweeping over the ocean in every direction.
Pg. 111:  A young albatross was captured this morning which made an excellent "sea pie," or fricassee for supper, resembling veal in taste, although one or two of the officers refused to partake of the dish, inasmuch as the bird has no gizzard.
Pg. 114:  ..."chock pin"....
Pg. 115:  The usual cry is "Ho!  Ho!  Hoi!" or "Ho!  Ho!  Heavo!" which is sung by some one of them, while the rest keep time. (See "heave-ho" in ADS-L archives--ed.)
Pg. 118:  The most numerous variety was the "Booby," as he is called by the sailors, a bird about the size of a goose.
Pg. 146:  There are several varieties of fish that accompany ships, the most common of which, are the _albacore_ and _bonetta_, or "skip jack," as he is called by the sailors.
Pg. 152:
   On Monday, corn and beans and pork, sans potatoes; on Tuesday, codfish and potatoes; on Wednesday _mush_ and beef; on Thursday, corn and beans and pork again; on Friday, rice and beef; on Saturday, codfish and potatoes again; and Sunday, beef and _duff_, a sort of pudding known universally to sailors.  A ship without her _duff_ on Sunday, would be considered by all sailors, as certainly heterodox, as would the celebration of Christmas appear to an Englishman without his plumb pudding, or of thanksgiving in New England without pumpkin pies.  The receipt for duff, used by Mr. Freeman our _primum mobile_ in such things, is as follows: "To a quantity of flour, more or less, (_more_ would be prefereable in Mr. F's opinion,) wet up with equal parts of salt and fresh water and well stirred, add a quantity of "slush" or lard, and yeast; the mixture to be boiled in a bag, until it can be dropped from the top-gallant cross-trees upon deck, without breaking, when it is cooked."
   This has been the bill of fare for all on board, and (Pg. 153--ed.) such has been its regularity, that our calendar is determined by it, and the days of the week are fancifully named, "mush day," "duff day," corresponding to Wednesday and Sunday old style.  With the failure of potatoes, our bill of fare has met with sundry important changes, and we have had to adopt another mode of reckoning time.  Our breakfasts and suppers are somewhat similar to our dinners, with the addition in the cabin and steerage of "flippers," or "slapjacks," for breakfast, and occasionally for supper.
Pg. 158:  ..."square the yards!" shouts the captain....
Pg. 158:  ...and "breeching," or "fan-tailing," i. e. displaying their flukes in the air.
Pg. 159:  ...the "planksheer," or the level of the deck.
Pg. 173:  The _Cocoa-nut tree_....  The _Pine Apple_....
Pg. 182:  "Mother Carey's chickens," as the sailors call these birds, are found in every latitudeall over the globe. (...)  The "Mother Carey's chicken," was formerly regarded with superstitious fancies by the mariner.
Pg. 207:  *The process of _lomi-lomi_, consists in rubbing and kneading with the hands the person who subjects himself to the operation, and it is extremely reviving when one is fatigued.
Pg. 222:  Each of them had a _surf board_, a smooth, flat board from six to eight feet long, by telve to fifteen inches broad.
Pg. 230:  ...the _pancho_, an oblong blanket of various brilliant colors, having a hole in the middle through which the head is thrust.
Pg. 232:  The feather and flower _leis_ which are also obnoxious to some of the missionaries, are brilliant garlands of gay feathers and flowers, with which, many of the native women enrich the head and neck, and are very tasteful and pretty ornaments in my opinion, for which they ought to be commended rather than censured.
Pg. 233:  The _lasso_, the principal instrument in their capture, is made of braided thongs, upon one end of which is a ring forming a slip noose, which is thrown with astonishing precision around any part of the animal.
Pg. 234:  The pommel is surmounted by a large flat knot, termed the "loggerhead," from which the lasso of the hunter depends.
Pg. 340:  The condition of our stores may be inferred from the fact, that for several days we have subsisted upon "salt junk, and hard tack,"* with beans for variety at regular intervals....
*Salt meat and sea-bread.
Pg. 358:  Sometimes, for variety, a preparation of hard bread and beef and pork is served up, which with some slight variation, is known by the elegant denominations of "lobscouse" and "lobdominion."
Pg. 359:  The tea which sailors drink, is not always the growth of the celestial empire.  One variety is said to flourish in North Carolina, and from the huge sticks entangled with the herb, which rise upon the surface of the fluid as they are successively disengaged, receives the appellation of "studding-sail boom tea," a very expressive soubriquet.  It has nearly as delicate a flavor as might be expected from a decoction of mullen stalks.
Pg. 359:  Cape Hatteras, opposite which we crossed the Gulf Stream, like most high headlands, is famous for sudden gusts of wind, called by seamen "white squalls," that without any warning, strike a ship in all their fury, and the first intimation the navigator has of their presence, is indicated by the falling of the spars over the side of the vessel.  (...)  Hence this admonitory distich is treasured up in the mind of the mariner as he navigates these seas:
   "If Bermuda let you pass,
    Then look out for Hatteras."

(There's probably more good stuff, but the library was closing--ed.)

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