The Diary of the Honourable Richard Arthur Horatio Hornblower
by Sarah

Part One

The diary of The Honourable Richard Arthur Horatio Hornblower born 1811 son of Lady Barbara Hornblower and Admiral Lord Horatio Hornblower R.N. Order of the Bath Etc

May 4th 1836

I can't belive my father called me a stupid child. I'm 25 years old i am a man. I'm fed up of him dictating my life, when i need him he is too busy when i want to be indipendant i cant get rid of him. And mother is not much help with all her "oh! Richard dear, your going to wear such and such? Your not going out of the house dressed like that! And why don't you join a respectable proffesion? Why don't you want to join the Navy?" I don't want to join the navy because i might get killed thats why. I prefer to concentrate on my studies. I want to discover more about the past i want to uncover some lost civlisation like atlantis. I have already learnt 5 languages. My tutor calls me a genius but my parents dont seem to agree.

May the 5th 1836
Tonight my parents are holding a party they have invited all these Navy types. I think they,re hoping that if I meet some other people from the navy that I will change my mind about joining. No chance! But I have a plan. I have heard that there is a fellow who is investigating some pyramids in Egypt and I have written to him asking weather, I could help. I received the reply this morning, he would be glad for me to join him. Apparently its hard work documenting all the hieroglyphs in the pyramids so I am to join him as his assistant. But there,s a problem I asked my
parents for the money to travel there, they said- No! So I am going to see weather I can persuade one of the captains at the party to give me passage on their ship. Of course I might tell a few white lie, embellish some facts. But if it will get me where I want to go then so be it. My contingency plan is to join the navy as my parents wish then desert when I get to where I want to go, but that would bring more shame on the family that the latter course of action. Apparently tonight when we have dinner I will have to sit between Admiral Pellew and Captain Gerard, both will probably be dull as dishwater anyway.

May 6th 1836

No luck this time no one would risks their jobs by giving me passage.

But they did tell me of a German named Karl Richard Lepsius, apparently he is a year older than me and

is here in England to study Egyptian archaeological collections in Britain and that if I was interested in Egyptology I should write to him.

I was told this piece of information by a Dr Maturin who seemed to share my passion for the past.

Although he talked mainly of philosophy, I was able to keep up with him only because I had had a classical education (father had insisted).

I will write to this Mr Lipsuis maybe he will allow me to come with him on his tour of Egyptian archaeological collections, mother cant have any objections to my visiting museums.

Maybe I will get to see the Rosetta stone?

May 7th 1836

Went into town today to post my letter to Mr Lepsuis. I met Miss Jones, Isabelle there. Isabelle is the niece of father's late friend captain Bush, he has told me several times of how they escaped and were able to capture 'The witch of Endor'. Isabelle is an intelligent girl who I have formed a friendship with. Mother does not approve of the connection, but she does not approve of anything I do. Apparently I am a source of constant vexation to her. Isabelle tells me that she has been told that she has the countenance of her uncle; her fiery hair matches her volatile temperament, which keeps me on my toes. She invited me to her family home for tea and to play cards this evening. Of course I agreed although I do not know what my parents will think of this little excursion.

 

When I told Isabelle about my plans she virtually insisted that she should accompany me. She is a very forward young lady and into women suffrage and all that, One of the many reasons mother objects to her so. She swings from one extreme to another emotionally and she knows more words than a young lady should know. I couldn't believe it she practically threatened me said that me leaving her here to go 'wherever' would be a crime. That if I left she would have to marry some dull man of property, when she could come travelling with me an interesting man of property. She could no conceive the impropriety of a young unmarried woman travelling with a young unmarried man. Then she said that she would kill herself if I left, I don't want to be held responsible for my dear lady friend's demise but I was hard pushed to dissuade her from this foolish course of action. I may even concede to her demands if she persists in this stupid pretence, the fool I am. I do fear that I have a more of affection for than a friend should, and that I care if she ends her existence as a result of my actions. If only I could suppress my emotions so wholly as my father appears to, years of naval discipline has seen him become devoid of feeling. To me he seems in a constant state of misery and depression, I fear he will never be truly happy.

9th May 1836

This morning I had the pleasure of receiving a reply to my correspondence to Mr Lepsuis. He writes telling me that he is pleased that I have an interest in his passion for history and would be pleased to have my company for the time he is in London, which is to the end of the month. I personally am very excited by this trip I told my parents that I was going to London to visit a school friend, they had no objection to that.

 

 

10th May 1836

I am writing this while waiting for the horses to be changed, for one of the horses went lame on our way here. I say we as Isabelle, who has forced her presence on me for this journey, accompanies me. She tricked me, she asked me that before I left if I would come and say goodbye to her, of coarse I agreed. But the cheek of the girl when I pulled up she was waiting there to greet me dressed in her travelling clothes. While we were talking unbeknownst to me she had her travelling case put in the coach. Then when I climbed back into the coach she climbed in after me and refused to get out. She sat there stubbornly saying she wouldn't let me take off without her, and that she didn't care what people thought she was coming with me.

I tried to persuade her otherwise but she is an obstinate, proud girl who never will admit defeat even if she knows she's wrong. I don't know why but I let her come, I always seem to be the one who gives in to her demands, she can manipulate me so easily. I don't know why I always do it maybe its because I feel that if I don't give in I will hurt her? Well let's just see what happens 'time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all'.

 

11th May 1836

Today was a complete disaster; we didn't arrive in London till late. The only place with vacancies only had one room. And that impertinent proprietor assumed we were married, or eloping. I put him straight on the matter, yet Isabelle was no help. It was even harder to convince him of my sincerity with her making eyes at me.

We finally sorted it out she would sleep in the bed. I would sleep on a mattress on the floor. I have sent word to Mr Lepsuis informing him of the 'situation'. I hope he will be understanding and civil about the matter. One last comment Isabelle talks in her sleep, it is abominably annoying!

 

12th of May 1836

This morning at around seven thirty I received a written reply to my letter. Apparently Mr Lepsuis has gone of to Egypt and that he says if the 'young lady' and I wish to follow. We are to board The Evanescence a ship bound for Egypt. Mr Lepsuis has kindly reserved tickets for us. Although my father or I will have to pick up the bill. It leaves in two hours but I fear we will not reach it in time. For Isabelle seems to be taking a centaury to get ready.


We are finally onboard The Evanescence. I realise now why the tickets were so reasonably priced. The accommodation isn't exactly luxury; the food is definitely not gourmet and some of the crew look extremely ruff. One of them came up to me an older grey-haired bulky pot faced man and a younger man who I presume was his son. He inquired of my name, and then proceeded to tell me how he had served under my father. It always seem that someone has served with or under him at sometime. But this sailor styles I believe his name was. Got excited when Isabelle told him whom her uncle was. And started off on some story involving a ship called the Hotspur and some steward. I was ready to dismiss this sailor but some of the stories he told us about my father were rather interesting...

 

13th May 1836

I have now spent my first whole day at sea. It has not been the most pleasant experience. Isabelle chattering in one ear miscellaneous sailors telling tales about what happened when they were under my fathers command in the other. Although I'm sure these 'honest tars' only meant well.

As me and Isabelle being the only paying passengers aboard the vessel we had somewhat been spoilt by the crews attentions. We had a surprise when it came time for dinner. The crew had decorated the main deck and had set out a table and chairs. And while we ate our meal under the open sky, Twilight just about creeping in. we was serenaded by several of the crew. It's amazing how resourceful these hardened sailors can be. After our meal the table etc. was cleared away and some of the crew put on a display of what might be considered dancing. Over all it was an enjoyable evening. Though I am sure that Isabelle thought that I had presumed to arrange the whole thing. Isabelle and myself taking the last dance ended the evening.

 

15th May 1836

As you may of noticed yesterdays entry is missing. This is because last night before I had written my entry for that day. We were hit by a fierce storm. The ship was battered terribly. In the cabin where I was sleeping it felt as if someone had picked up the ship and was shaking it violently. This incessant motion caused me great discomfort. It felt as though my stomach was churning more than the sea.

Although I was suffering discomfort my worry was for the safety of my travelling companion. So I dressed and decided to check on her. But to my amazement I found Isabelle awake standing there in trousers shirt and jacket. Garb wholly inappropriate for a young lady to be wearing. Although from my previous experience Isabelle neither cares about nor is conforms to other people's views.
When I enquired as to her countenance she replied that she was fine, and that she had dressed because she wished to go on deck to see what was happening. I of coarse tried

15th May 1836

As you may of noticed yesterdays entry is missing. This is because last night before I had written my entry for that day. We were hit by a fierce storm. The ship was battered terribly. In the cabin where I was sleeping it felt as if someone had picked up the ship and was shaking it violently. This incessant motion caused me great discomfort. It felt as though my stomach was churning more than the sea.

Although I was suffering discomfort my worry was for the safety of my travelling companion. So I dressed and decided to check on her. But to my amazement I found Isabelle awake standing there in trousers shirt and jacket. Garb wholly inappropriate for a young lady to be wearing. Although from my previous experience Isabelle neither cares about nor is conforms to other people's views.

When I enquired as to her countenance she replied that she was fine, and that she had dressed because she wished to go on deck to see what was happening. I of coarse tried to dissuade her from such an action. Yet in her own special way talked me into going up with her and then claimed it was my idea. We obtained some waterproofs and went out on deck. Only to be fist nearly blown away in the gale that was blowing then throw off by the lurching of the ship. If that was not enough we had to suffer the constant barrage of water from the waves washing over the deck and the rain pelting down with such force that it stung my face terribly.

The instant we were out we could see that the ship was in dire straights and that it was being battered into a hulk by the storm. The ship was barely afloat. The storm seemed to keep going for hours. Each time it looked like it was dying down the storm instead went up a gear. When it finally did abate the damage to it had done to The Evanescence was clear. A solemn captain told us that the ship was likely to sink and that we should gather up our belongings. The bear minimum of our belongings and get into one of the lifeboats. Fortunately I had bought only a few belongings and they were quickly gathered up. Isabelle had put all her belongings inside her bed sheet and tied it into a kind of bundle, so as to save on weight. We were placed into one of the smaller boats and told that the captain and one of the other seamen would join us. But they never did the ship sank soon after we had left it and we were left on our own.

Now I have got up-to-date I will tell you of our current situation. Isabelle and me are alone in a small boat in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by water with only the smallest of provisions. We are in dire straights indeed. If I do not die of hunger and thirst I will die from Isabelle's constant ministering. She has decided to take charge and believes that she can navigate back to civilisation using a watch a compass and a makeshift sextant. I fear that her efforts will be in vain and that we will die before we reach any form of help. But at least Isabelle has made some worthwhile gadgets. She has spread out a sheet as a kind of a tarpaulin so that we are sheltered from the sun. And that if by chance there is a light shower we might catch some drinking water. She has also made a makeshift fishing line using an old broach pin and her hair ribbons tied together. So maybe we will live just long enough to see hope fade.

 

To be continued...