Thursday 8 September 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

September 8th Margaret Clark is again in disgrace. Yesterday she bit her fellow servant’s arm so as to cause the blood to flow from each indentation of the teeth, and scratched her mercilessly. On the girl’s complaining to me I sent her to the captain and requested him to use his discretion about the punishment to be inflicted. Having heard both parties and finding Clark altogether to blame, he ordered the steward to cut off the hair from one side of her head which was immediately done; the culprit however seemed to treat the matter rather as a good joke, than as a punishment, laughing and talking with the people about her during the whole operation. I cannot but think the girl is deranged; if not, surely there never was so malicious and designing a little jade in human guise. It is our intention to leave her at the Cape under the protection of the Committee of the Children’s Friend Society, in exchange for another girl if one can be procured. The other girl (Vincent) behaves with great propriety and is fast ingratiating herself into the esteem of her mistress. Since Sunday we have had strong breezes; a landsman would perhaps call the wind, a gale. Flocks of the Cape Pigeon are constantly about the ship with some birds of black plumage, and now and then an albatross is seen sailing majestically through the air. The largest of those we have seen would not measure more than perhaps 9 or 10 feet from wing to wing — occasionally they are met with 14 feet in width. Several Cape Pigeons have been caught by the passengers with a line and hook baited with pork, one of which having been given to me, I have skinned and preserved. Of course it turns out to be anything but a pigeon; it has doubtless acquired that name from its flight closely resembling that of the English Pigeon, but, physiologically, it more resembles the gull than any other bird with which I am acquainted. Its appearance in the hand is disappointing, the beauty of the bird being most apparent when flying.

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