And that is how it came to be that, on this very day in the year of Our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and forty three, The Cutty Sark, not the first and nor the last of that name, a lively clipper, slipped her moorings in the Liverpool Docks and on the afternoon tide, made her way down the River Mersey and into the Irish Sea, carrying a disparate group of unexpected travellers, entered into the Passenger Manifest as:
Sir Parlane MacFarlane, Loch Gairloch, Scotland
Lady Belinda MacFarlane, (Wife of the above) Ditto
Miss Emmeline MacNamara, (sister of the above) Ditto
Master James MacFarlane (child of the first and second above), Ditto
Mr Darcus Doubleday, Kingstown, Jamaica
Mr Richard Swiveller, Liverpool (Shipping Clerk)
for on their rattling ride to the Docks, the simple story had been concocted: as the Captain and Crew of the ship were all from Boston – according to Mr Swiveller, who had done business with Captain Ebenezer Scrooge before – and were unacquainted with the wives of the two missing husbands, they would be passed off as sisters, one of whom was the wife of Sir Parlane, and young Jeemy as his son, off to take possession of a Plantation in Jamaica, while Mr Doubleday would act as the Agent for that Estate, and Mr Swiveller was himself, despatched with the party to carry out business on behalf of his employers who were also investing in the same property; all, Dick assured them, a normal part and parcel of the business carried on by his two – now missing – employers; the two ladies and the boy were allocated a cabin on the Starboard side, the three gentlemen, on the Port; on the first evening, Jeemy, who had never crossed water except by a bridge – or in the case of a burn, stepping stones, suffered sea-sickness, and took to his little truckle bed, where his dreams were a phantasmagoria of lovecraftian images of fearful form, interspersed with a smidgeon of what he later described as faxlore – in which Border Legends, Fairy Tales and Old Wives Tales acquired the apparent substance of Facts and awakened him to further vomiting, followed be gentle ministrations from the two ladies who nursed him diligently throughout the night; and being particularly fond of the poetry of Alexander Pope, and especially The Rape of The Lock, his child's-mind associated Mrs Wheelwright (or Lady MacFarlane as he must think of her now) with the other Belinda, who is the object pursued by her assailant – who snips off a lock of her hair without permission, thus arrogating a right to which he has no entitlement, and this Popeiana caused him to cling so tightly to her that even after he had subsided into a more regular and peaceful sleep, she fell asleep herself with the child in her arms, utterly exhausted by the unexpected events of the worst day and night of her life!