Voyage de Siam par l’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XXIV

Esteemed Readers, our voyage is getting better day after day. Now we are passing by the Islands of Amsterdam. The weather is perfect, so you can sunbathe. A sad news: Robin has passed away! Poor old chap!

Aboard the Oiseau, 12 July 1685

“The wind has returned & it is stable. We have clewed up our topsail. The sea is not heavy. There are only little waves. The sun rises & it is not cold anymore. We do two lieuës per hour. We see seaweed & birds. We have the Islands of Amsterdam on the starboard side & the Islands of Romerios on the port one…”

Aboard the Oiseau, 13 July 1685

“We move as fast as we wish & when the weather is fine it is going to be much better. The wind is good: we are in full sail. The sea is quiet: two lieuës & a half per hour. Sail as much as you need! I recommend you to be satisfied.

I’d like to tell you the same during next three weeks. It is always good weather…We do almost three lieuës per hour without any problem. It is smooth sailing & when it lasted for twenty four hours we became sixty lieuës closer to Siam. The latitude is 33 degrees, the altitude is 99 degrees, respectively…”

Aboard the Oiseau, 15 July 1685

“Today we have ended our Novena for a good wind. Since we started it we have made a progress. We have sailed more than 400 lieuës in 8 days. It is obvious that God wished us to pray Him…

Robin has died. We are going to cook him. This is a special sheep among those of his kin famous for his voyages. He has made plenty of happy travels. He has seen the American islands always staying between two decks heading for those who learnt his swaying & rolling. Having passed the line (the Equator), having doubled the Cape of Good Hope this strong animal passed away in 500 lieuës from Batavia. The reason is his back leg. Robin became too fat. The worst of it was that he could not lose weight. So we stopped feeding him. This accident quarreled the crew. Some people noticed Robin being no more than a machine. A heated discussion followed. Everybody participated in it telling what dogs, monkeys & other animals can do, M.Vachet mentioned elephants. Everybody did each of his own way. However opinions caused only a new wave of arguing, screaming without any solution. Supporters of the machine concept had pleased countenances. The rest believed that their points of view were based on the common sense & an ancient tradition. But when the retreat sounded everybody went to bed reserving his own opinion & being proud of himself…”

Dieu Vous Ait en Sa Sainte Garde,

Vostre l’Abbé de Choisy ”

Previous posts of the Voyage (I-XXIII) is here.

Image: Tapestry, 17th century, France

Maria KethuProfumo


About kethuprofumo

Reconstructing the Past for the glorious Future
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7 Responses to Voyage de Siam par l’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 XXIV

  1. Sounds like Robin was a victim of a confused crew. Stopped feeding him? You have to wonder about that decision. Thanks for the update Maria

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