This week sees the unhappy passengers and crew of the Cygnet still anchored in Rio Harbour. While Boyle Travers Finniss chafes under continuing delays, the crew mutinies, refusing all work. Brazilian soldiers come to arrest four of the ringleaders, but the defiant crew insists on a mass arrest. The captain seeks solace in drink.
We finally hear something of the voyage of the Emma, from a letter written by South Australian Company employee Charles Hare. Even at this early stage of the voyage we can see tensions emerging on this ship too, with the passengers dividing along village lines to quarrel with one another. Hare thinks that some good sermonizing is called for and proceeds to deliver it, but the captain’s wife has other ideas and she prevails. Hare’s grumble to Angas about the interference of ‘Mrs Captain Nelson’ reflects resentment commonly expressed at this time, at ‘petticoat government’ – meaning any attempts by women to assert authority.
On the John Pirie meanwhile, tragedy finally strikes. Mrs Chandler continues to decline, despite all attempts to nurse her back to health, and on 1 July she finally dies, in considerable pain and mental anguish, afraid for the ‘future Welfare of her soul’. We see a second burial at sea, a melancholy affair, with Mrs Chandler’s body sewn into ‘two or three old Sack’s’ [sic] and committed to the sea, weighed down with iron to make it sink. We can only guess at the feelings of her husband and young children.
At about the same time Mary Thomas, on board the Africaine, bids a tearful farewell to England. She has particular reason to be fearful, because unbeknown to the authorities, she has brought two sick children on board, and the third is now ill too, with the highly contagious and potentially deadly scarlet fever. If the disease spreads the death rate amongst other children on board could be very high.
Also on board the Africaine is Robert Gouger, whose views sometimes differ from those of Mary Thomas. He is travelling with his wife Harriet, and describes her anguish at parting from her family, perhaps for ever.