November 16-17, 1895
Chapter 32, Following the Equator
Sunday, 17th. Sailed last night in the Flora, from Lyttelton. So we did. I remember it yet. The people who sailed in the Flora that night may forget some other things if they live a good while, but they will not live long enough to forget that. The Flora is about the equivalent of a cattle-scow; but when the Union Company find it inconvenient to keep a contract and lucrative to break it, they smuggle her into passenger service, and "keep the change."
They give no notice of their projected depredation; you innocently buy tickets for the advertised passenger boat, and when you get down to Lyttelton at midnight, you find that they have substituted the scow. They have plenty of good boats, but no competition—and that is the trouble.
When the vessel got out into the heavy seas and began to pitch and wallow, the cavern prisoners became immediately seasick, and then the peculiar results that ensued laid all my previous experiences of the kind well away in the shade. And the wails, the groans, the cries, the shrieks, the strange ejaculations—it was wonderful.
The women and children and some of the men and boys spent the night in that place, for they were too ill to leave it; but the rest of us got up, by and by, and finished the night on the hurricane-deck.That boat was the foulest I was ever in; and the smell of the breakfast saloon when we threaded our way among the layers of steaming passengers stretched upon its floor and its tables was incomparable for efficiency.
A good many of us got ashore at the first way-port to seek another ship.
"That night was dark and rainy, but Joseph Kinsey and his daughter May accompanied the Clemenses and Smythe on the train to Lyttleton, about twelve miles away, to board their ship to Auckland via Wellington and New Plymouth,..."
"Anniversary Day in Canterbury is celebrated on 16 November, and people returning to the North Island from horse races and shows account in part for the dreadful overcrowding. In addition, a scheduled second ship 'had been taken off and ... the passengers intended for two vessels had to be crowded into one'," (Shillingsburg)
November 16-17, 1895