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Chapter One

The sad life of the Married-Widows-of-the-Sea; how the Author passes her days while her husband is at sea; the reasons she decided to write a diary.


BEING married is fine, but being married to a ship-surgeon hardly feels like being married at all. We last saw our Papa[15] two days ago, as we were waving our good-byes at port. The Antelope was carrying him away from us, and we were all in tears. As I was hugging my sobbing children, I couldn't help shed tears as well. Will we ever see him again? Will my poor children still have their father when they grow older?

     I sometimes lament the misfortunes of my children, having a father who is in love with the sea and with adventure, more than he loves his family. But on the other hand, I am fortunate to have my two surviving children to comfort me and to fill-up my days with cherished duties. I might consider myself lucky not to be heavy with child every year, like my neighbours, the shopkeepers’ wives. But on the other hand, while my man is at sea for the next two years or so, I have no one with whom to share my bed[16].

* * *

I am a dexterous worker and my chores are quickly done. What a better way to fill-up my lonely hours, than to write the story of my life? Not that there is much to tell, but perhaps, if I will start writing, something exciting, surprising, titillating, shaking -- might happen to me?


(L to R) Mary, Johnny, Betty and Lemuel, crying their goodbyes at port.
Artist: Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville (pseudonym of J. J. Grandville), 1835 
Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville

Wapping, Wednesday the 6th of  May, 1699

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