Brilliant! We left Devonport today, heading for interesting lands and islands. I still find it hard to believe that I am Charles Darwin's assistant. The Beagle is a beauty of a ship, a ten gun brig, but I still am not really looking forward to the voyage ahead.
You see, I get sea-sickness, and unlike Mr Darwin, I'm not suited to be a sailor.
We are sailing close to the coast (Ha Ha! That sounds quite splendid!) and we passed the first of the Galapagos islands today. Mr Darwin called me out of the cabin this morning, so out I go, and then I saw it. The sun was behind the peak of the island, making it glow orange and red.
I'm not ashamed to say that I started crying. Darwin merely said "Splendid." and clasped his hands behind his back and walked back inside the cabin. I followed a short time after, crying like a little girl, the captain laughing his fat head off.
Starting to get sea-sick now, but we will reach Porta Praya in a day's time. Mr Darwin is coping well, but I'm the opposite. Can't wait to get to Porta Praya.
I just realised that anyone reading this might get the impression that I am a woman. I'm not. I'm a man, and a very handsome man at that.
Porta Praya is in sight! A small, volcanic island, bare of vegetation, but it's better then this dingy. When we landed, I was eager to get off the ship and onto solid ground again. I went quickly to the gang-planks, but Mr Darwin was quicker. Shoving me out of his way, he jumped onto the gang-planks and ran across at top speed. He tripped half-way across, and fell head first into the water. It was a long way to the water, so he must have heard me laughing before he hit it.
I managed to get across fine, perfectly graceful, like a cat.
The ground is completely bare, there is no vegetation to speak of. Darwin is in his element though, he keeps saying 'splendid' and the fact that he lost his top hat when he fell into the water doesn't seem to bother him, and his clothes dried quickly in the Mediterranean heat.
Then it was back to the ship for dinner. Afterward, I had a brilliant idea, so I rushed to Mr Darwin's room (for his room involved my devious plan.) I wanted to read some of his journal, the journal that he always wrote in.
I searched for it for ages, but I couldn't find it. Then I heard footsteps on the hall outside, walking along the wooden floor. Quickly I went and hid in the wardrobe and looked out through the keyhole. Mr Darwin walked in then, and lay on the bed. I watched as he reached behind his pillow and pulled out his journal.
Exhilarated, (I'm quite easily excited) I tried to read what he was writing. But I couldn't, and so I waited until he stood up and left the room.
Then out I hopped, grinning to myself and grabbed the journal from behind the pillow, triumphantly holding it above my head with my legs planted squarely on the floor and a delighted expression on my face. I held the pose for several seconds, then settled on the bed, opening the journal. I flicked through it, reading bits and pieces. Then I noticed with anger that I hadn't seen my name anywhere in the journal. Franticly, I searched in vain for my name. It was not there. Darwin didn't mention me once! I couldn't believe it. So I read what he had written down the last few days.
"The island was deemed unfertile following a relatively recent volcanic eruption that burned all of the plants to a crisp. Also the frequent rain washes the soil down the steeply sloped island into the sea, carrying with it the island's ticket to become a fertile paradise once more. There is quite a sizable amount of wildlife on the island. Of the birds, chiefly the king-fisher, which preys on small lizards."
I read down a bit further and noticed something.
"There were a few large mammals also, mainly goats, though I saw one cow."
A cow? He wrote about a cow and not about me! There wasn't even any cows there! He must have mistaken the captain for one.
The next day we rode to the village of Tortalma, a journey that I will never forget. We rode on the backs of donkeys. Darwin of course is a natural but not me. I'm as graceful as a cat on my own two feet, but I don't cope too well on the back of any animal. After I had fallen off twice, Darwin taught me a word to make the donkey calm down when he was about to knock me off. So the next time he started to stray from the trail I shouted "Eel!!"
I knew it hadn't worked when I felt the hard ground hit my back.
"It didn't work!" I shouted, jumping back onto the donkey, who reared and threw me off again. Darwin laughed in a high pitched woman's voice.
"That's because you said 'eel'. The correct pronunciation is 'heel.'"
"That's what I said, eel!"
Then our guide told us that if we kept arguing we would make the volcano erupt. That shut old Darwin up, with his correct pronunciation and all that.
Then a butterfly flitted past and Darwin named it as a "wingus claudus islandus buttermaximus."
He made it up if you ask me. Then we finally reached Tortalma and I gladly jumped off my donkey, giving it an 'accidental' kick as I stepped down.
The villagers were friendly, but Darwin got into a fight with one of the locals because he said that the man's wife had evolved from apes. In the end we were hunted out of the village, and I was glad to trudge back to the ship on foot rather then on a donkey. We walked along the coast, which should have seen us back to the ship in half an hour, but it took us two hours because Darwin spotted his top hat floating in the sea about fifty metres offshore. I advised him to leave it, but he insisted on building a raft and going on a rescue mission to rescue his hat. In the end it turned out to be a piece of seaweed, but Charles didn't mind, because it was a 'dampitus lambosis' specimen and he brought it back to the ship and we had to eat with it on the table, because he refused to put anywhere else.
"You yourself once were a piece of seaweed, James."
"No I wasn't."
"Yes you were. Now don't insult him anymore."
"Oh right!" I said with exaggerated realisation.
I have now concluded that Charles Darwin is not well mentally. But I'm not a gossip, so I haven’t mentioned it to any of the crew, though I'm sure they've managed to work it out for themselves by now. Though my view of him has changed since the start of the journey, I still respect him, and hope we can become friends...
Darwin just read that last sentence over my shoulder and proceeded to collapse on the arid soil laughing. He says we shall never be friends as I am an anal retentive who is not at one with nature and he is a free spirit, apparently. With this statement he whipped off his clothes and declared that he no longer needed them as he wasn't under the restrictions of human society. What does he think I am, a cockroach? Although I admit I could be mistaken for a cat with my extreme grace and poise and agility and balance and figure and intellect and delicateness. I wonder what I would look like with whiskers. I should use this opportunity of isolation to experiment with my look.
The last girl I proposed to turned me down because she thought I looked boring. She said if it wasn't for that and my utterly self-obsessed and boring personality she would have accepted my offer.