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Schaw's grave East Indian servant, who almost magically made up for deficiencies in the menu when live stock Page 5 and food had been swept overboard and the passengers were facing possible starvation.
And that the Journal might lack no element of romance, there were the fine English sailors, the honest mate, the subservient supercargo, hand in glove with the unscrupulous captain; the pitiful emigrants smuggled aboard and treated like slaves; frightful storms and rumours of pirates; and hovering in the background, always the sinister figure of Parker, the rascally owner of the vessel, whose evil deeds constantly came to light during the perilous voyage on which the Schaws were embarked.
As a narrative, the Journal falls naturally into four parts, dealing respectively with the voyage from Scotland to the West Indies; with life and experiences in the West Indies at Antigua and St. Kitts to the Cape Fear River; with life on the Cape Fear just before the American War of Independence; and, finally, with the various adventures and experiences of Miss Schaw and her companions in Portugal on her way back to Scotland. Oliver, who has compared his copy with that in the British Museum, says that although there are differences in binding and pagination, the two manuscripts are in the same handwriting and are apparently identical, word for word.
Nowhere in our manuscript does the name of the author occur, and, for the most part, the names of persons referred to are in blank; so that only after much following of clues and searching in the records of England, Scotland, Ireland, the West Indies, and America have the editors been able to trace the careers of those who play the leading parts in the story. Our belief is that both are copies of the same manuscript, which, in turn, may have been the original; for these letters, written to a dear friend, probably a woman back in Scotland, by this same "Jen.
900K Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001.
Sinche and Natalia Smith Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Bryan Sinche and Natalia Smith First edition, 2001 ca.