10. London to Philedelphia

I’m sorry Peter; he thinks Liverpool is a drab city.  Brian, I have been in Philadelphia – it’s a lovely city – he’s in a hurry to get to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

The map below shows the path of chapter 9 in pink, chapter 10 in blue with popups, and the path of chapter 11 in Orange.

View the First Ten Segments Without Popups This is a preview showing the path Hayes records in the diary up to age 22 without synopses.  Look at it in Google Earth if you can.

View the first twenty segments without popups on Google Earth If you click this button it will offer a google earth download.  You will need to have Google Earth Installed.  This is by far the best way to view all his trips to age 25.

View the first nine segments with popups on Google Earth This will mean a download again.  But it’s worth it.  Because…  when you have it up in google earth you can close the windows, then open them in order to see his progression.

Requested photo places (see About Photo Requests):

– Scilly Islands
– Cap Grinez
– Spurn Head
– Hull, England
– London, England (any of the sites mentioned)
– Liverpool, England
– Queensland, England
– Philadelphia PA

Previous photo requests

Here and There Synopsis:

10.1  Scilly Islands, Racing a Freighter

March 4, 1899

Only Tom the Australian, Tom the negro, Riley and Hayes could resist the “colleen”; all the other men are broke and will have to sign on with other ships in London. Fagan has a dozen pair of green socks with embroidered shamrocks to remind him of the old country.

Passing the Scilly Islands, the Austrasia caught a fair wind and ran the “Longships,” a narrow strait between the islands and land’s end. In the brisk winds of the strait, the skipper ordered every sail aloft as their sailing ship drew alongside a steam driven freighter. As long as the wind held, the Austrasia flew past the great ship, but once past the islands the wind fell light and the freighter left them wallowing.

Another prank from Hayes: In these cold northern waters, he and Fagan had taken to slipping into the officers’ locker “during intervals between bells”. The hated Bews locked it to keep out the riffraff. So Hayes drove a piece of teak wood into the lock. The carpenter broke a reamer off trying to fix it and now the officers are locked out of their own locker. The captain has offered a pound for the culprit. The men know who did it but none will tell.

10.2 In the Throat of the Channel

March 7, 1899

In this confined channel, short waves break constantly over the ship drenching all. Hayes counts 105 trawlers fishing the channel at one time. Europe lives off the sea.

Some French fishermen from Cap Grinez board the ship with red wine to trade for old clothes. The giant boatswain, who would trade his soul for a drink, and the giant Dublin ransack their scant store of clothing looking for something to trade for this “belly wash.” The Frenchmen are clad only in light undershirts seemingly heedless of the cold.

10.3 Paid off at Hull

March 13,1899

A sturdy tug tows the Austrasia past Spurn Head upriver to Hull where the men are immediately paid off. Only Tom the Australian, Tom the Negro, Wally Lawrence and Hayes have funds for a trip to London. Fagan, the Montana cowpuncher, Baker and several others are wondering what to do – perhaps they have enough to go at least to Cardiff in Wales with the Boatswain.

All the apprentices must stay with the ship for their term of four years before becoming officers. They are a decent lot and Hayes will miss them.

10.4 At the Sailor’s Home in London

March 13, 1899

After paying passage to London, Hayes, the two Toms, Wally and Arthur McCoy, who is drunk already, take rooms at the Sailor’s Home right in the heart of the worst slums of London. To be safe, Hayes banks his earnings at the office of the Sailor’s Home. With eyes popping at the sum Hayes deposits, the proprietor thinks Hayes must be a robber. From now on Hayes will be the rich Yank at the Home.

In the short time Hayes takes to deposit his earnings, all his companions are now “sodden with drink.” While writing his usual two-paragraph lament for the plight of the prostitutes thronging the port district, Hayes admits his own moral shortcomings while wishing better from himself. The tone of his description of the district is not particularly condemning, more heartsick at the way of the world: Watching barefoot children who’ve never had a decent meal in their lives, “rushing the can to the pub,” is more than his world-weary twenty-one year old soul can bear. “Even the tiny children drink.”

March 20, 1899

Leaving his friends behind in the squalor of the riverfront, Hayes walks the more prosperous districts of London on a poor man’s sight seeing tour: The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the zoo, Kensington Gardens, the museum of Natural History at South Kensington, Barnum and Bailey Circus at the Olympia (“a breath of the homeland”), Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’, the naval observatory of Greenwich, and the wild animals at Regent’s Park which enchant him the most.

After nine days in London, even the sailors who had resisted “bumboat Mary” and her colleen are now broke and looking for ships. Tom the Australian, Arthur McCoy, and Wally depart for Cardiff where they will catch a ship to Australia. Hayes would like to go with these “good mates” but the time is not now so he must say goodbye.

March 24, 1899

A visit to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum underscores for Hayes the sharp distinction between the wealth of the West End and the poverty of the East End. Rich philanthropists who pay their help, “sailors for instance,” starvation wages to amass a great fortune see their likeness cast in wax but beware the workingman who steals a crust of bread; it’s prison for such as him.

At St. Paul’s cathedral, dressed neatly but as a sailor, Hayes asks a parishioner how he might “find salvation from the sins that so constantly beset him.” The worshiper regards Hayes disdainfully – as he would a beggar asking for money. After a little music and the reading of the first chapter of Joshua Hayes “left the place disappointed.”

10.5 Liverpool, a Drab City

March 27, 1899

Hayes pays full fare for 204 miles by rail from London to Liverpool through rural country of neat cottages with thatched roofs, gloomy castles, and vast country estates. The countryside is beautiful in contrast to the redbrick monotony, smoke, and chill along the docks of Liverpool.

No ship bound for America will sign a Yank sailor only to have him jump ship once across the Atlantic. Hayes turns down a Norwegian bark bound for Brazil electing instead to pay passage back to the States. As he is “half dead with cold,” and near the end of his stake, the good wages he made mining turn him back toward the American West.

10.6 Loading Immigrants at Liverpool

March 29, 1899

The S.S. Belgenland, an old Red Star boat of 3,000 to 4,000 tons headed for Philadelphia, carries mostly Russian and Polish immigrants crammed into quarters “horrible beyond description.” Amid the babble of so many languages, each passenger wears a tag identifying his or her nationality showing callous sailors down which shoots to herd these human cattle.

March 31, 1899

At Queensland another great hoard of Irish immigrants shoves on board, every one “ignorant of what lies ahead.” In the long rolling seas off Cape Clear, Russians, Poles, and Irish huddle miserably on deck sick in body and spirit, longing for homes all across Europe in this, “frightful ship that may sink at any minute.”

10.7 Rough All the Way Across the North Atlantic

April 3, 1899

The ship sails a great circle route to shorten the trip and seas remain rough this far north. The Russians have regained strength on the ship’s food which Hayes hears called by various names: “burgoo” at breakfast; “Mulligan” at noon; “lamb stew, haricot mutton, sea pie, haricot veal, or Irish Stew [for supper]; and at last when it will no longer hang together hash.” He notes however that each name describes exactly the same meal.

10.8 Philadelphia, all roads have their end

April 10, 1899

Hayes and all other ship’s passengers face a formal physical examination as the ship draws into port at Philadelphia. Many of the Irish, enfeebled by the journey, fail inspection and now face the same rough, cold journey right back to where they started. Hayes too is down with influenza and barely makes it into the country himself.

Without dallying for even a day in Philadelphia, Hayes boards a train (paying fare) bound for Colorado where he hopes the pure Rocky Mountain air will clear his lungs. Sick and worked nearly to death at sea, his spirits ebb: as he passes the heads at Capes May and Henlopen he wonders if he’ll ever see “the cold, grey sea” again.

4 Responses to 10. London to Philedelphia

  1. Tim Bell says:

    Hi John

    I wanted to let you know that I am thoroughly enjoying these postings. Many thanks for putting them together!

    Regarding the Red Star ship S.S. Belgenland, used by Hayes when returning from europe – I see many hits after doing a quick web search. Hayes was probably on the 1878 Belgenland, which is shown at the top of the page here:

    At least two other ships were named Belgenland, but that was in 1914 or later.

    Cheers –

  2. Tim Bell says:

    So sorry about my previous comment – that link should be:


    (note picture versus pictures)

    • johnmmartin says:

      Thanks Tim. Hayes is sailing at an interesting juncture in shipbuilding – the transition from Sail to steam power. Does the Belgenland show both masts and steam stacks? I never did hear if Peggy is following along too?

      • Tim Bell says:

        Hi John

        > […] the transition from Sail to steam power. Does the Belgenland show both masts and steam stacks?

        Yes indeed, the 1878 version shows both in the photo.

        Peggy (turned 90 years old in February) is well, but I’ll have to ask if she is following this thread.

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