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Their plans altered by disease in the islands, Matkin writes to his cousin Tom on July 21 while en route to Cape Verde. He describes media oversaturation of current events, his homesickness, and the reason for their change in plans.

July 21
...I suppose the blackberries will be looking up by the time this reaches you, and I would rather have a walk along Barrowden pasture again than at all the Madeiras, S. Michael's or Teneriffes we have been to, or shall visit.

I read in the papers all about the Shah's visit, & should have liked to have been in the "Audacious" at the time. If ever the Shah visits England again, I should think they won't make such a fuss about him, or waste so much money, for I have never read or heard that he has done us any good, and don't expect he ever will. Still I suppose like the Siamese Twins and the two headed Nightingale, he was a novelty for about 10 minutes.

We only stayed 24 hours in Madeira for the smallpox was very bad there, so of course no leave was given, so am glad I went on shore when there in January. We took in a whole lot of splendid wine for the ship's company, also Fresh Meat, Vegetables, Bread, Fruit &c. Peaches, Bananas and Figs were very plentiful there. The Captain gave a party just before we sailed, and took them in the ship over to the Desert Islands, 25 miles off, but the ladies were very sea-sick and glad to return. Our brass band was playing all the afternoon, and the Ladies and Officers were dancing on the upper deck. At 7PM the same evening the Captain issued Wine to all hands, after which we set sail for S. Vincent, Cape Verdes, distant 1040 miles.

 

This letter goes on to introduce the latest chapter in the Challenger schoolmaster saga.