Date: 25 June 1855
Recipient: Grace Fenton
Book: Joseph Fenton letter-book, Gernsheim Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin

Istania, Bosphorus – June 25th

Dear Grace,

I told you in my last letter that I should probably start by the Orinoco, well I received a message that the ship was to go next day & that being appointed for the sale of my things, I expected it would go suddenly for those vessels are often ordered off at an hours notice so I made Sparling & William pack hard the night before as they thought very uselessly[.] I sold most of the heavy things but 1 horse would not go off & my best too, there was only £10– offered for him & lots of other horses were sent up for sale none of which were sold [ – ] there have been so many officers killed that there is s perfect glut of such things as are wanted in camp[.] I put my van up but only £26– was offered for it[.] I withdrew it very reluctantly as I did not know how to get it on board[.] After the sale was over the Agent of Mr D came & offered £30 for it but I refused as I should have to make another when I returned [ – ] finally I sold it for £35 – I then sent the horse to Halliwell [sic] to be sold when a chance occurred & then I went to bid good bye to Edmund & I left him a tin containing several of those beautiful biscuits & 6 lbs – coffee & about ½ doz wine with several other things [ – ] he is quite hearty & in high spirits

Getting back to Head quarters by 3 I received a message from by Telegraph that the vessel would leave Balaclava by 4 trusting that 4 would be 8 I packed my clothes paid my bills & loaded the van & set off on my road to Primrose Hill in high glee cracking jokes with every body I met for I have as many acquaintances here as the Parish Pump [ – ] just outside Balaclava I met Stopford who was going by the same ship he pulled a long face & called out I was just 5 minutes too late[.] The Orinoco was off [ – ] well we went on in a more sober mood to my tent [ – ] unloaded the van gave it our blessing as it went on its way to its new owner & began to think what was not [sic] to be done

Having recommended the work & pack [sic] so as to be said ready for any chance I went out to arrange about getting food for them & myself as we were at present on the wide world I had invitations from all sides but I did not know what to do with them[.] I met Col Hardinge the Govenor & he asked me to dine I declined[.] A little further I met Mr Fielder he has been very ill so I stopped to ask him how he was getting on & in doing so mentioned my disappointment about a vessel he said “I have a vessel going to Constantipople [sic] tomorrow I will give you a passage & there you will most likely find the Orinoco[.] I eagerly accepted the offer ran back to the Tent set the men vigorously to work & got them some soup made & next went to tell Col Hardinge that I was going to accept a dinner from him & a bed as well [ – ] it was there about 7 & I found him & his party lounging in his verandah waiting for dinner we had to wait till nine & I got faint but wet [sic] had a jolly meal & then went out to smoke & take coffee outside all of us in turn falling asleep [ – ] next morning at ½ past 3 – I was up & could get no water to wash, nor a bit of bread to eat as in my usual custom here before going out early[.] I felt unwell being attacked with diarhea[.] I got the boxes all put into a boat & with great exertion of the men for I felt too ill to do more than look on got outside All on board [ – ] we had nearly got outside when I began to vomit & felt it was not from sea sickness [ – ] by 9 o’clock I was bad in the cholera & there was no doctor on board every body advised me to take different medicine

I tried so [sic] Rhubarb & peppermint but could not get keep it on my stomach so I got them to make me some nice water & mixed lime juice with it & while it was preparing drank as much lime juice & water as ever I cd vomiting it all up again every 10 minutes but drinking again so as to keep up the supply of fluid to the blood [ – ] at ½ past 10 cramp began in my legs & I had to be held upright & rubbed, in a short time it began in my arms & fingers which began to turn blue. I could hardly breath [sic] & felt my eyes staring very much[.] I never felt much alarmed but thought that it was possible I might be mistaken about my method of cure[.] I had better give Sparling & William such directions as might be necessary especially as I could see that every body present had a much worse opinion of my chance than I had myself [ – ] at noon I felt the tide was turned for my fingers recovered their colour & the cramp became less violent. I had kept on drinking the lime water & by night the diarohea [sic] was stopped though the cramp continued until the middle of the next day[.] William & Sparling took it in turns to watch me & I must say they took great care of me as well as an old Gentleman of the name of Irish who first suggested the arrowroot

I got out of bed the 2nd day to see the entrance of the Bosphorus & got laid on the deck for I felt I could not bear to stand[.] We lay to that night, & next morning I was up at 5 to see the Bosphorus[.] I was a deal stronger but still very green[.] I enjoyed the sight but when half way down we met the Orinoco coming back we puzzled ourselves with this till the vessel cast anchor off Sentario when I sent Sparling on shore to enquire[.] It was Sunday & most of the offices were closed but he learnt that she had gone up the Bosphorus to Istania to coal & would be back the next day to proceed in her route[.] I thought it better to lose no time so sent Sparling with the Commissary’s Interpreter to hire a barge to take us & our boxes by the stream [ – ] he not returning I got uneasy when a Message came from shore to tell our captain to get ready to go to sea by 4 P.M.

I set off in a caique with the interpreter to look for him & found him waiting for the Advent of some Turkish boatmen who were he said with their Padrone at prayers [ – ] we then got several caiques brought them to the vessel & feeling quite ill I left Sparling & William to see about the loading [ – ] as soon as the first boat had got 3 or 4 boxes in the boat man pushed off & would not come back[.] William came running to tell me but it was too late [ – ] the next boat I made Sparling get into first & followed by a 3rd [ – ] he set off before I could put William into the 3rd the 4h boat had only 1 rower & William & I with the rest of our luggage had to get into it & lie down in the bottom for fear of upsetting it[.] I could not see any of the others & felt very anxious feeling that I was too ill to exert myself as much as was even necessary [ – ] we had to pull against the stream which is very strong [ – ] the old boatman in about an hour gave in & ran his boat ashore wanted to be paid for the whole journey & then to divide the load into two boats for the rest of the way[.] I refused the first proposition agreed to the second but when this was settled he & the new boatman began disputing about their share in the prospective pay this lasted about ½ an hour I standing in the sea & getting worser [sic] at at last another man rushed up transferred everything to his boat & after 3 hours work brought us to the Orinoco

Here I am resting we leave in a couple of days & in less than 3 weeks you may expect to see his shaddow – mean while God bless you

Roger Fenton