Irving, John to Catherine Irving (née Caddell) (1845/06/02)

H.M.S. “Terror,” Stromness, Orkney,
Monday, 2d June 1845.

My dear K.,—I suppose you know we left the Thames this day fortnight. On our way to the north we have had a bad passage, getting here only on Saturday night. We had steamers to tow us, but off the coast of Suffolk it blew so hard that we had to anchor. We then got separated, and got here as we best could, it being our appointed rendezvous. The steamers came here, two days before us, looking for us, and then went back to Aberdeen and picked us up off there.

We start again to-morrow, having watered and repaired some damages, also replenished our livestock on board the transport, four of the oxen having died from the weather and pitching of the vessel.

The Orkney people are very kind, and think they cannot be too civil to us. We made a great show in the harbour of Stromness,—two men-of-war steamers, our two ships, and the transport. The third steamer was obliged to return, having suffered considerable damage at the beginning. We are all well and in good spirits; and, I believe, notwithstanding our delay, we shall be in Baffin’s Bay quite soon enough for the clearing away of the ice, which does not break up before July. I shall write you by the transport when she leaves us, as that will be the last opportunity of writing for a long time. We have had very fine weather for the last six days, and it looks likely to last, and afford us a good passage to Greenland. This is of some importance on account of the cattle and sheep on board the transport, as we can get no further supplies after leaving this place. We are commanded by a fine old fellow, of whom you have read, I daresay, eating his own boots—Sir John Franklin; and I have no doubt he will persevere this time also. By the time you get this we shall be far off on the wide Atlantic. By the end of September you may expect to hear from me by the transport. Till then farewell, my dear Katie. My kindest love to Lewie.—Your affectionate brother,                                 

 John Irving.

Tuesday morning.—We are off Stromness now, and I send this on shore by the Orkney pilot, who is about to leave us. The steamers accompany us a hundred miles further. Farewell for a couple of months more.

Back to John Irving’s Letters Overview