Crossing the Equator

Crossing The EquatorIt seems a long time since HMS Northumberland and its accompanying squadron left Plymouth heading for Jamestown, St Helena yet it is only six weeks and the man previously known as Ennor Jolliffe is playing his role to perfection.
Treated as l’Empereur by the French contingent and as a respected General by the largely English crew everything he said and did was exactly as would be expected by the man who had recently been Emperor of the French.
His routine on board was fixed. He kept to his cabin throughout each morning, appearing on deck in uniform at two in the afternoon, retiring at four to the after cabin for a game of chess or piquet before repairing to his cabin to prepare for dinner – always served at six. There was little to break the monotony of the long voyage.
On 15th August, Napoleon’s birthday, a special dinner was held.
On 23rd August they took on fresh provisions in Funchal, Madeira but they did not stop at Tenerife (which they passed on 27th August) or the Cape Verde Islands (1st September).
A young woman travelling with his large entourage was encouraged to allow ‘the distinguished passenger’ to pass at least some of his time in female company and in June 1916 a baby was born whose paternity she never divulged.
On 23rd September the squadron crossed the Equator – in that year the Equinox – the event was celebrated in traditional form with offerings made to Neptune though ‘Napoleon’ played no part in the festivities.
They would not reach St Helena until 15th October.
The world was somewhat larger in those days….