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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Lady Brassey

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[Illustration: SIR THOMAS BRASSEY.]

In 1869, after Sir Thomas and Lady Brassey had been nine years married, they determined to take a sea-voyage in his yacht, and between this time and 1872 they made two cruises in the Mediterranean and the East. From her childhood the wife had kept a journal, and from fine powers of observation and much general knowledge was well fitted to see whatever was to be seen, and describe it graphically. She wrote long, journal-like letters to her father, and on her return The Flight of the Meteor was prepared for distribution among relatives and intimate friends.

In the year last mentioned, 1872, they took a trip to Canada and the United States, sailing up several of the long rivers, and on her return, A Cruise in the Eothen was published for friends.

Four years later they decided to go round the world, and for this purpose the beautiful yacht Sunbeam was built. The children, the animal pets, two dogs, three birds, and a Persian kitten for the baby, were all taken, and the happy family left England July 1, 1876. With the crew, the whole number of persons on board was forty-three. Almost at the beginning of the voyage they encountered a severe storm. Captain Lecky would have been lost but for the presence of mind of Mabelle Brassey, the oldest daughter, who has her mother's courage and calmness. When asked if she thought she was going overboard, she answered, "I did not think at all, mamma, but felt sure we were gone."

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"Soon after this adventure," says Lady Brassey, "we all went to bed, full of thanksgiving 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 endeavored 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 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."

No wonder that a woman who could make the best of such circumstances could make a year's trip on the Sunbeam a delight to all on board. Their first visits were to the Madeira, Teneriffe, and Cape de Verde Islands, off the coast of Africa. With simplicity, the charm of all writing, and naturalness, Lady Brassey describes the people, the bathing where the sharks were plentiful, and the masses of wild geranium, hydrangea, and fuchsia. They climb to the top of the lava Peak of Teneriffe, over twelve thousand feet high; they rise at five o'clock to see the beautiful sunrises; they watch the slaves at coffee-raising at Rio de Janeiro, in South America, and Lady Brassey is attracted toward the nineteen tiny babies by the side of their mothers; "the youngest, a dear, little woolly-headed thing, as black as jet, and only three weeks old."

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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