SEAFARING WOMAN - THE JOURNAL
Chapter 1 The Beginning
I had a troubled life and the whole thing began with me being a woman of the sea.
It all started when I was a child: born of an English mother and no father on American soil. My mother got married before I was born to a man named Josiah Pendegrass a good and loving man who cared a lot for my mother and for me. He was there for us both.
Josiah was a rigger and a shipbuilder. Had his own shipyard where he built and repaired ships. On the day I was born. Josiah was commissioned to repair or rebuild the ship 'Alexandria'.
He was a fair and good man when it came to dealing with a person of the sea, who's live, depended on the sea.
Josiah was in the middle of a discussion on how the repairs of the 'Alexandria' should start when he got a note saying that his wife just gave birth to a little girl.
He got up and excused himself form the group. As he was leaving he caught the eye of his manager James, who walks toward Josiah and met him at the door.
Josiah told James what was needed, and since he knew and trusted James, he was sure that things would get done, and done correctly.
As Josiah sat in the carriage on his way home to see his wife and baby, he was thinking how he met Mary Fitzgerald. She was standing on the pier alone. He felt sorry for her and went up to talk to her.
Mary being startled by his voice, turned around to see who was talking to her.
"Can I help you in some way? Do you need a room to stay?"
Mary was not the kind of person to feel shy about taking help when it was offered. She was alone, and pregnant. She needed help, so she accepted.
Josiah picked up her baggage and had it placed on the carriage. Then helped her inside, sitting across from her.
"My name is Josiah Pendegrass. I know of a place where you stay as long as you need?"
Mary was very tired. The long trip from England and how it came about made her very tired indeed. She smiled at Mr. Pendegrass?
"My name is Mary Fitzgerald, and thank you for your kind offer. I'll take you up on it sir, if you please?"
They both rode in silence as the carriage drove up to the door. There was Albert the butler, and Mimi the housekeeper waiting. As Josiah stepped out of the carriage, looked at Albert, and Mimi. He held out his hand to Mary to help her out.
"Will you see to Miss Fitzgerald, and please make sure that she gets the best room in the house?"
Mary was very surprised that it was his house. Where she ended up?
"Sir I can't stay here?"
"Why not Miss Fitzgerald? You need a place to stay, and I have so many rooms. It's no bother at all?"
Mary was far too tired to argue about it. She felt sick knowing for sure that she was at least a month pregnant.
Six month after their first encounter, Josiah asked her to marry him. He said it was best for the child to have a last name, and she agrees with it.
The carriage came to a jarring stop, and Josiah was awaken from his dream. It has been two month since he, and Mary were married. Now the baby was here.
Josiah just sat in the carriage looking out to the sea, thinking. Now he was a father, and must make plans for Mary and the baby.
He got out of the carriage walked up to the door. As he reached for the doorknob, the door flung opened and there stood Mimi, crying.
"What's wrong Mimi? Why the tears?"
Mimi just looked up at his face and smiled, her face stained with tears.
"Sir there is no trouble. It's just that I'm so happy that madam and the baby made it safely, with no harm at all. Both are sleeping sir?"
He stepped in. Mimi took his coat and hat from him. He climbed up the stairs by leaps and bounds. He was up at the top in no time.
He walked down the hall to the second door on the left, where Mary and the baby were. He opened the door very quietly and looked in. Mother and child were peacefully asleep.
Mary was holding the baby cradled in her arms, and had a sweet smile on her face while sleeping. He was moved to say a prayer, feeling grateful that Mary was in his life. He loves her very much. He also knows that she felt the same.
Josiah went over to the bed and bent over to kiss Mary and the child. She opened her eyes and looked at him.
"What is it dear?"
"I was looking at you and the baby. Mary she looks awful?"
"Josiah? All babies look awful at birth. Dear she will look a lot better as time goes by."
Josiah thought for one moment that she was not his child, but he promised to himself to raise her as his own; the baby needed a father and a last name after all.
"Have you thought of a name for her yet?"
"Well yes -- Kathryn, but I would like middle name for her. Do you have a mother, or sister or any relative."?
"Yes I do. My mothers' first name was Jane. It would please me to give unto Kathryn her name?"
"So be it then --- she will be named Kathryn Jane Pendegrass, for this time forth."
As Mary lay in bed she was thinking how luck she was that she had found Josiah --- or was it Josiah who found her? --- She held Kathryn to her breast, feeding the child.
She closed her eyes, and looked back at what could have happened to her and the child if both of them had stayed in England.
She left England on account of the man she thought she loved. He was wealthy, with title. He swept her in whirl; wine and dined, and finally made love to her.
Afterwards, she found out that he was married, and that she was only considered in his life as another conquest.
He had no intentions of marrying her at all; just use her for his own needs. When she found out that she was pregnant, she knew she couldn't stay in England. She got some money from friends and booked a passage on a ship to America.
She knew very well what would have happen if she stayed in England, and she didn't like the thought at all. Mary knew she had to start a new life, and so she did; with a man who took her in, and cared her. Loved her for what she was. And in time she came to love and respect him dearly.
Yes, she had much to be grateful for!
Chapter 2 Growing up
Little Kathryn was sitting in her high chair Playing with her toy ships as Mary and Mimi were getting ready for the dinner party.
"Mimi do we have the silver punch bowl and it's cups."
"Can you go get them? We need to polish them, and get them ready."
They both heard a clatter, and a scream then crying coming from the kitchen.
"Now what is she up to?"
Mimi went up the stairs to find the punch bowl, and Mary turned to go to the kitchen. There was Miss Kathryn sitting there in her chair crying.
Mary went up to Kathryn and put one of her fingers under the chin to move her face up so she could see it. Mary smiled and thought what a beautiful child. Josiah and I are blessed.
Mary picked up Kathryn from her chair and looked straight at her.
"Now what is going on here Miss Kathryn why all the screaming, and crying. What is the fuss."?
As Mary turned to take Kathryn upstairs her foot kicked something on the floor. There was one of her toy ships broken. She bent down to pick the pieces and put them on the table. As she did Kathryn was clinging to her, and was starting to cry.
"Now Kathryn please stop crying. We'll have Papa fix it for you. I guess it's your nap time."
So Mary carried Kathryn upstairs to her bedroom and laid her down. She felt tired, and knowing that she had dinner to give. She lay down beside her daughter scooped her up into her arms the fell sleep.
Mary awoke and found Kathryn gone. She looked around, and found Mimi changing Kathryn into a pink lacey dress Kathryn was putting up a big fuss.
Mimi was looking at Kathryn.
"Well Miss Kathryn you want to look nice for your father?"
Kathryn shook her head no. Mary got up and went to Mimi.
"Mimi just put her in a pair of britches and a shirt. I do not want her to be upset before her father gets home?"
"How is the arrangement for the dinner going? I was asleep for along time."
"Fine Ma'am. Everything is ready. The cook is getting the dinner started. That should be done by the time the guest arrive."
"Ok Mimi thanks?"
"Yes what is it."
"I think you should start your bath, and get ready."
"You're right I should."
"I'll see to Miss Kathryn."
Mimi took Kathryn downstairs, and left Mary to get ready. The bath was drawn for her, and the screen was put around the tub.
Mary stood for a moment in her dressing gown thinking how her life has changed. From a chambermaid to a woman of wealth.
She knew that Josiah had worked hard to gain what he had, and this dinner is to affirm everything he had worked for.
She stepped out of her dressing gown into the tub. Something came to her mind she stopped for a moment trying to grasp at what flashed through her mind. She knew it had to do with the family, but what. For now it will have to wait.
She started bathing. About twenty minutes or so she was done, and put the dressing gown on. The chambermaid had laid out her clothes.
The maid came in to help her dress.
"Has Mr. Pendegrass come home yet?"
"Not yet ma'am."
Mary thought. Now what I hope he's ok. She went on getting dressed. She was doing her hair when the bedroom door opened, and there stood Josiah looking tired.
He came in and sat on the bed. He looked at Mary and smiled. She looked so lovely. The dress, hair, and the face all combined made her look like an angel. He gave a sigh.
"Josiah what's wrong?"
"Nothing Mary I'm just tired. There was a lot of work at the dockyard. I had to over see the work on the Alexandria. It appears the ship is rotten. The wood is so far gone. There is nothing to save at all?"
"Josiah we don't have to give this party?"
"No Mary? I want to give this party. I need it, and it will be good see my good friends anyway."
"Well then you better get started, and get ready?"
"Yes my love?"
Mary finished her hair, and went downstairs to see what had happen to Kathryn, and Mimi. She found them in the study playing.
Kathryn had all her toy ships on the desk where she was sitting. Mimi was next to her. They were having so much fun that Mary did not want to disturb them.
So Mary went to the kitchen to see what was going on. It seemed that everything was going just fine.
The dinning room, and sitting room both looked nice and ready to receive guests.
She heard someone behind her. She turned around and found Mimi, and Kathryn.
"Well how are you doing young lady?"
Mimi was holding Kathryn in her arms. Kathryn reached out to her mother Mary took her, and played with her for a moment.
"Mimi will you take Kathryn up to her bed its getting late it is past her bed time?"
"Yes ma'am. Come Kathryn upstairs we go. Before we go lets get something to eat first?"
Kathryn fought a bit gave in, and went back to Mimi. They both went toward the kitchen.
Mary finished the inspection of the house. She turned to go up the stairs. As she looked up there stood Josiah.
"Yes my dear?"
"You look so handsome my love?"
Josiah came down the stairs to meet his wife
"Thank you dear, and you look so beautiful. Like and Angel."
They both stood at the bottom step looking at each other kissing long and hard before they parted.
"I love you so. I'm so grateful that you took us in. It means so much to me?"
"I know dear. I love you too. You have blessed me so much Mary. I can't express it?"
They heard some noise from the kitchen. As they entered there was Kathryn sitting in her chair with a plate of soft food playing in it having so much fun.
Throwing it all over the kitchen. Mary came in looking at the mess.
"Sorry ma'am. She just got of hand? I just turned for a moment to get something for her, and there she goes!"
"Take her upstairs. Get her cleaned up, and put her to bed. I'll be up to tuck her in."
Mimi finally got Kathryn out of the chair upstairs in bed. Mary went up to tuck Kathryn in bed.
"Now Kathryn you'll be good for Mimi while father and I are downstairs at the dinner party. Ok dear?"
"She'll be fine ma'am?"
Mary went downstairs. Josiah was greeting the guest at the door. Mary joined him.
The dinner conversation was mostly of ships, dockyards, and the harbor. What was going on in the harbor that kept the men enthralled?
Mary didn't like the harbor, or the goings on that pertains to it. She knew it was Josiah way of life, and she tried to keep a good face upon it, or never let him know how she felt about it.
As the dinner was coming to an end the men took the port and cigars to the study. The women went to the parlor where they had tea. The conversation there was more of the household and family things. Not of ships and harbors.
Mary was getting tired and was hoping it would soon end. She heard some noise from the hall, and there stood at the parlor door was Josiah.
Mary got up, and went to him. The others followed. They all said their goodbyes it was over.
She looked at Josiah face it seemed calm and happy.
"Well dear how did it go?"
"Mary it went well very well indeed?"
The dinner was a success. It went the way Josiah had hoped for. He garnered much in the way of customers for his business.
Mary was tired, and Josiah noticed
"Dear lets go to bed?"
"Yes Josiah, but I want to check on Kathryn before I go to bed."
Mary looked in, and seen the bedclothes all over the floor. Kathryn was lying there with one of her toy ships in her arms.
Mary thought as she stood there looking at her daughter. What is Kathryn going to be like as she grows up? What is she going to do with her life? She picked up the bedding put it back on Kathryn, and gave her daughter a kiss. Then left the room.
CHAPTER 3 THE DANCE
Many years have passed. As I sit and look at my journals that I had kept for as long as I can remember. There was a section of it that I remember with a fond affection. It was about my fist dance. It happened when I just turned sixteen.
"Kathryn are you getting ready!"
Mary decided to check on her daughter to see if she was getting ready. As she looked in there was Kathryn sitting on the bed fully clothed breeches and all.
"What's wrong dear."?
"Mother I do not want to go to this dance?"
"Because I do not know any one, and I'll feel uncomfortable?"
"I understand dear, but this is why you should go. To meet some young people your age?"
"Oh mother I don't even know how to dance!"
"Well maybe your father can show you some basic dances?"
"No? Mother I'll deal with it when it happens?"
"You'll go then?"
"I'll send in Mimi?"
Kathryn sat on the bed thinking what a mess. In came Mimi with the screen followed by Maxwell with the tub. Mimi filled the tub. Mary stuck her head in and said.
"By the way Melinda is coming over to get ready with you Kathryn. So start taking your bath."
"Oh Mimi why do I have to go."
"Because Kathryn your parents expect you to go?"
"I know, but why?"
"It's the first dance of the social season, and you are at the age where you should be out seeing and meeting new people?"
"Mimi that's what mother said. That I should do? Meet People my own age?"
"So now Kathryn lets get these clothes off, and you in the bath. Melinda will be here soon. I at least want you in your clean underclothes before she gets here?"
"Oh! Mimi lets get it over with?"
The screen was around the tub that was filled with hot water.
I stepped in and Mimi started to scrub, and abuse me. It felt like abuse, but it wasn't. It was her way of caring for me. After she bathed me. She allowed me to sit and soak for a while.
I was allowed about fifteen minutes to sit and soak. Mimi came back in and told me to get out of the tub and dry off, also to get into my underclothes.
"Melinda will be here soon? Now get ready Kathryn?"
I started with my drawers then my chemise. There was a knock on the door. I opened the door, and in stepped Melinda.
"Oh Kathryn! I can't wait? I've been planning for this dance for awful long time, and I'm so glad that I'm going with you!"
"Oh what? What did you say?"
"What's wrong Kathryn?"
"Melinda I just do not want to go? Why should I! I know to meet people. Oh! I just get angry!"
"Please? I need you to be with me?"
"The thing is that I can't dance? I do not like wearing dresses, and this whole underclothing. This corset. She holds up the corset. What good it is for? Just make you look smaller around the waist, and your bosom fuller! What bosom? I don't have any?"
"Kathryn! We have to get ready? So please help me!"
"Ok Melinda? Lets get this dressing thing over?"
The girls got dressed with the help from Mimi and Alice. The dresses were beautiful. Mine was of dark blue silk trimmed in light blue satin knots, and bows.
Melinda's dress is yellow satin trimmed with colorful flowers. I can't explain the style of dress, but I do know that my bosom are exposed somewhat. I don't like it.
As I looked into the full-length mirror I thought to myself. "This corset is a real pain! My bosoms? What bosoms? No waist at all? Why then the corset?
I turned to look at Melinda who was standing with Alice getting her Pelisse, which is a long coat that protects the dress from the dirt and other messes that occur when going outside.
"Come Kathryn get your Pelisse we're about to leave!"
"Yes Melinda I'm coming?"
I got my pelisse and went downstairs. There stood my mother and father at the end of the steps.
Mary thought how my child has grown. With tears falling down her cheeks. She stepped up to Kathryn, and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. She turned to go.
"Mother I'm scared? I just don't know what to do, or how to act?"
Mary turned toward her daughter.
"Just be yourself. Act with confidence, and politeness toward you elders. Show your good manners? That all dear?"
"Oh mother I love you, and father so much. Thank you for every thing!"
My father looked at me, also Melinda, and smiled.
"My dears your carriage a waits!"
My mother chimed in.
"Mr. & Mrs. Stokes will be your chaperones for this dance and they will be there for you if you need any help along the way?"
My mother and father stood at the door just looking waving goodbye.
"Josiah our daughter is growing up so fast. Where has the time gone?"
"I know dear?"
The carriage rolled down the street. I sat there looking at Mrs. Stokes. Now! There was a jolly woman if I ever seen one. She was rotund. The dress she wore well what a sight it was.
What can I say every time we hit a bump in the road? Her bosoms almost come out of her dress.
Mine aren't as full as Mrs. Stokes, and my dress pretty much covers what I got. Oh! I must look else where, or else I'll start laughing. I do not want to do that right now?
I'm sitting by the window. Oh good! I stared out looking at the passing scenery. Before I knew it we were at the Governors Hall. I was scared.
Mr. Stokes helped Melinda and I out of the carriage. We both stood and waited while he helped Mrs. Stokes from the carriage.
Then we all went up the steps, and into the building. We entered the big hall. I was amazed at the beauty, and the grand structures. High vaulted ceilings with chandeliers hanging from them. Oh just so much beauty that I can't explain them.
Someone took our pelisses and hung them up and gave Mr. Stokes a stub.
I was stunned at the grandeur of the ballroom. The Chairs, and tables were around the outer edge. Someone like me could sit? The musicians sat in the balcony playing.
The sights, sounds, and smells were all overwhelming. I had to sit so I did. Melinda was beside herself with excitement!
"Oh Kathryn look! Just look at the beauty? Ooooh I just can't believe I'm here! How about you Kathryn? How do you feel?"
I just looked at her and smiled.
"I too am amazed at this beauty Melinda, but?"
"But what Kathryn tell me what's wrong? I would like to know?"
"Not now Melinda! I just don't feel right being here? Ok! Go have fun and dance the night away?"
"Alright? Will you be ok? Mr. and Mrs. Stokes are here if you need them?"
"I know? You have a good time."
A nice young man came up to Melinda, and asked her to dance. Off she went dancing.
As for me I turned down a lot of young men during the night?
Except for one. He didn't ask me for a dance. He sat with me and talked. I found out that he was British, and his father is the ambassador from England.
He too didn't like to dance. So I was not alone?
"My name is Henry James, and yours is?"
I looked at him with a faint smiled on my face.
"Well sir it's Kathryn Pendegrass."
"Well Miss Pendegrass it's nice to meet you?"
"It's nice to meet you Mr. James?"
We sat, and talked about a whole lot of things. Took a walk outside in the garden. He knew about my father and his work. It was a nice evening. Before long I heard my name being called. It all ended so quickly. Where did the time go?
"Kathryn where were you. I was looking all over for you!"
"Melinda I was talking to Henry James?"
At the time I didn't know it, but he's the man I'm going to marry?
"Well Miss La De Da! It's time to go home? Mr. and Mrs. Stokes are looking for you?"
As the carriage was bumping along I was thinking about Mr. James. Tall, extremely muscular a very good-looking face also exceedingly strong. Well I know what I'm going to do tonight?
When I got home. Mother and father were waiting for me. They wanted to know every thing that had happen? Did I dance or what?
"No I didn't dance? But I did find someone who had the same feelings I had about dancing, and all we did was talking all night. So it wasn't a waste at all?"
Father looked at me, and said.
"Who was the young man?"
"My dear I would like to know if there's a future son in-law?"
"Papa! We just met, and anyway I'm to young for marriage?"
"I know dear I was only making a comment, but I would like to know his name anyway ok?"
"Yes papa. His name is Henry James. His father is the Ambassador to America from England. He doesn't like dancing. He's here to learn shipbuilding. I told him if he wants to learn about ships he should come, and see you."
"My dear child? Well thanks for the vote of confidence, but he a busy young man?"
Mother chimed in.
"You must be tired from your busy evening. Lets get you out of that gown."
"Yes mother I am very tired, and I want to get out of this corset right now!"
Mother looked at me there was a tear, and a faint smile on her face.
"Mother I love you very much, and thank you for every thing?"
Mother helped me out of the dress, corset, and into my nightgown.
"I love you, and father thanks."
"We know dear, now go to sleep, or try to."
I lay in bed for a long time before I fell asleep. Had such sweet dreams?
The next morning there was a note waiting for me. I opened it, and it was from Henry James.
Thanks for the wonderful time, but I'm sorry to say this. I must leave for England. My mother is most ill. My father thought it was best that I go back. I'm the eldest of the family so I'm the one to take care of the family estate while my father is here.
I'm so sorry for bearing this bad news. I was hoping to talk with your father about ships, but that is not to be?
Mother was standing in the doorway of the kitchen looking at me. She notices I was crying.
"What's wrong dear?"
"Oh mother. He's going back to England, because his mother is sick, and I?"
I fell into my mother's arms sobbing with great emotions.
"Who is it dear tell me? I would like to know?"
"Well I met him at the dance. We just sat and talked all night. I felt that there was something there. That I never felt before. He just sat there, and talked to me? Mother. Just to me a plane looking girl?"
"Honey there must have been something for this young man to come and sit with you. When there were so many young girls to sit with?"
"I know mother?"
"What's his name dear?"
"Henry James. I'll never know?"
Many years will pass, and the love I felt for Henry James will
still be there?