Day 50

I slept well under the mountain of blankets on my bed. Miss Waterman's letter had several readings before I finally rose and dressed and took my breakfast with the family.

Mr. Gamble has ply'd me all the forenoon with tobacoo and liquor for tales from the States and my adventures.

Upon complimenting my friend on his fine house, Mr. Gamble confided that he had not been happy with it since he purchased it from Sir John Honywood in 1800. Gamble used such a hushed tone to tell me this, that I was afraid that Sir John might have been nearby to overhear him express his displeasure. He then laid out all his plans to make alterations to the house, complete with plans laid out on the drawing room tables, the corners of the papers weighted down beneath books from the shelves. His plans to add a balcony on the first floor, and a larger portico to the front with ionic columns. I suggested that perhaps doric columns may be less pretentious.

Much to Mr. Gamble's delight but his wife's sorrow, their son, young Master John has been accepted as midshipman in the Royal Navy. He is, in a few day's time, to set off to Portsmouth to board his first assignment. His new uniform completed, he has not taken it off for days, and been all about the house, torturing his sisters and the house staff with the point of his sword, while his poor mother frets over the contents of his sea chest.

I have been mightily amused by the contents I have been able to make note of thus far:

  • A small crate of Preserved Meat
  • 3 Jars of Pickles
  • A great tin of Green Tea
  • 2 large bottles of Cherry Brandy
  • James's Powders
  • A bundle of Rags for wounds
  • Epsom Salts
  • A volume on Domestic Medicine
  • A heavy Winter coat
  • A Scarf
  • a heavy fur cap
  • Gloves for Boxing
  • A Cricket bat
  • Ice Skates
  • An absurd assortment of books

I have watched Mrs. Gamble wander past the chest a dozen times today and add things that spring into her mind as the day passes. The great chest is full to bursting with the boy's things.


  1. Dear Doctor,

    What a charming scene you paint! As a mother myself, my heart grieves for poor Mrs. Gamble -- the pain of setting your own dear child afloat to take up an uncertain, hard, and often dangerous life must be terrible indeed. I hope your travels continue to bring you much amusement, and look forward to reading future accounts of your adventures!

  2. Hmmmmm an absurd assortment of books - perchance you might share the titles of said tomes?

  3. It is difficult to make out the titles in the picture...

    (Drawing by Captain Frederick Marryat)