Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/117

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foreordained to hate each other with a ferocity which not even the daily fear of death could diminish. In the presence of such protagonists as these, the ship's company was like a Greek chorus. There was something almost superb in such a feminine feud. It was no peevish quarrel over the tea-cups. Moreover, it could have no dull moments, because both women had vocabularies of singular force and emphasis. The forecastle of the Blenden Hall could do no better in its most lurid moments.

It began with an affectionate intimacy, then squalls and reconciliations, while the stately East Indiaman jogged to the southward and the band played on deck for dancing after dinner. How far these two stormy women were responsible must be left to conjecture, but there seems to have been a vast deal of squabbling and bad blood among the passengers, as indicated by the following entry in the journal of young Alexander Greig, the captain's son:

Although I endeavored to detach myself, as much as possible, from any particular party (by giving two entertainments a week in my private cabin and sending around a general invitation) I received one or two polite requests to meet the writers at the first port we might touch at and to grant them the satisfaction due from one gentleman to another, &c., &c., for alleged affronts that