AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 19 April 1886

Arose at 3 am to get a good shower bath before the ladies got up. We got one of the sailors to turn the shower pipe on us thereby getting a rattling good bath.

To-day is primrose day which we held up by wearing a bunch each.

There has been a very sad accurance on board today, one of the passengers attempting to commit suicide by drinking spirits of salts. He is a young man about 23 years of age, and a draper by trade. He has been carrying on a mad career since leaving London – drinking, gambling and spending his money. He had borrowed a good deal from the passengers promising to repay them as soon as he could get his money out of his box, which was in the hold. When his box came to be brought up there was no money to be found, so the passengers told him what they would do for him when they landed. He consequently went to the storekeeper and asked for some spirits of salts to solder his water can with. When he had drunk the stuff he ran on deck shouting that he had poisoned himself and roaring horribly. His body swelled until his skin would scarcely hold his flesh in a few minutes. The Dr gave him a draft which made him vomit. The only excuse he could give for his rash act was that all the passengers were against him so he thought he would do away with himself. We took him to the ship hospital. There were two others in, one with rheumatic fever, and another with a broken leg.

Distance 297 miles.

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