The passage to the West Indies in the 1870s took about twenty days. In a typical voyage, after boarding at Southampton, one left behind the Wolf Rock lighthouse on the Scillies—the last sight of Britain and, indeed, of any land worth mentioning. Then one spent the next four miserable days tossing on the Bay of Biscay and another two weeks or so crossing the Atlantic deeps in the company of a cow, some sheep, and a small poultry-yard; a menagerie whose initial racket diminished steadily as the voyage went on. There was plenty to eat, hot water to wash with, but only cold seawater baths. Unless marred by a hurricane, the trip was safe, comfortable, and monotonous, the featureless days broken only by meals, watching petrels and flying fish, and the sweepstake on the ship’s daily run.
KeywordsTyphoid Fever Yellow Fever Lunatic Asylum Maximum Brain Feminine Occupation
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