They were certainly strenuous days, but we were well and had good appetites for the excellent meals which were served to us by our capable Chinese steward and cook. The doings and sayings of our cabin boy would fill a book, but he was trustworthy and attended faithfully to our wants. One night after I had retired, a heavy thunder storm came up which might have caused us considerable trouble had not our usual strict discipline been carried out. Having become so used to confused sounds on deck I did not realize that the ship had been struck by lightning, though I heard a sound which in my dozing condition I laid to something falling down in the bathroom. When the Captain came in to ask if I were all right I sleepily said, “Why not? I think something has fallen down.” He did not tell me until morning that the ship had been struck and had caught fire aloft. By changing the course the sparks were made to fall overboard while men were sent aloft to cut away the blazing fragments. About ten minutes before the vessel was struck, a dozen men were aloft furling a sail just where the lightning struck us, and when the storm was over it seemed a special act of Providence that we still had these men with us.
I have so often been asked what could we possibly have to eat that would be appetizing for such lengthy voyages. We always carried fowl in large numbers and it was very seldom that we did not have fresh eggs enough for our table during the voyage. Potatoes, onions, and lemons we always had in abundance and they were very important items of our food. The following is one of the menus served to us on quite a stormy day as we were running across the Indian Ocean. For breakfast: baked beans, fish balls, brown bread, hot biscuits, tea and coffee. For dinner: soup, roast chicken, cold tongue, boiled potatoes, squash, and onions, English pudding, hard sauce, and coffee. For supper: warm biscuit, cold chicken, cold tongue, fried potatoes, cake and tea. In fine weather our menus were more elaborate and I never knew any one to complain of being hungry aboard ship while I was going to sea.