The following is an extract from the book "Three years in Tristan da Cunha" by K.M.Barrow who was the wife of the Reverend J. G. Barrow, Missionary Clergyman in Tristan Da Cunha and fellow-worker with him on that island. The book itself is a remarkable work, being in the form a diary Mrs Barrow kept, documenting the hardships and vicissitudes of life on that extremely remote outpost of the British Empire in the early 20th Century and I can recommend reading it in it's entirety - it is published free as an eBook by Project Gutenburg and can be found at 

This extract recounts the visit of the "Forget Me Not" to Tristan da Cunha and provides some fascinating details and insights into the nature of the voyage and, reading between the lines, something of the character of the Pearson brothers and John Crompton. I am indebted to Paul Woodhead, grandson of Arnold Pearson (the architect desribed below) for uncovering this little gem... thanks Paul.... Mrs Barrow was obviously rather taken with your granddad!



_Saturday, October_ 24.--We have had an unusually exciting day. The small vessel that was sighted yesterday evening and which the people felt sure was an American whaler was seen again this morning. As it was making for the island the men did not hurry to go out. At last three boats went off. It was rather breezy. When the first boat reached the ship, to our surprise it at once began to return, and the other two did not go on. Soon after two o'clock Charlotte Swain came running up from the beach, quite breathless, to say the captain was coming ashore and wanted especially to see Graham, so we went down, thinking he was perhaps bringing letters. We met him on the top of the cliff, and he and Mr. Keytel came with us to the house. This is what we learnt: the stranger's name was Pearson. The vessel was not an ordinary ship, but a ketch, nor had it a regular crew, but was manned by himself, his two brothers, a friend and a Creole. He was not the captain, but his next brother was, and held a master-mariner's certificate. They had come out from Dover with the object of seeing for themselves what these islands and Gough Island could produce in the way of guano. A friend had given them the ketch, and with only three pounds in their pockets they set sail. They had had a most adventurous voyage; for they took nearly five months coming out and were only provisioned for three. Our visitor told us of the straits they had been in for food. They had only flour, tea and a few biscuits left. Their oil had run short and they had just begun to eat uncooked flour. Of water they had only two gallons left. I understood that most of the time they had been without meat and had lived chiefly on dried beans and peas. Mr. Keytel told us that when he went on board they were trembling from weakness. Notwithstanding all they have gone through Mr. Pearson seemed quite cheerful and said he felt better for the voyage. None of them except the sailor-brother knew anything about the working of a boat; one of them was an architect, one a city clerk, and one a secretary. They had not long been out from Dover before these three were down with sea-sickness, and the captain had to do all the work, day and night, through the Channel. As soon as they found their sea-legs they had to take their turn at the tiller, with the result that the course was often very considerably changed from what the captain had set. At a Portuguese island they took in the Creole, who wanted to work his passage to the Cape. I think it was at this place that the Port Officials found the rolling and pitching of the boat too much for them, and had to beat a hasty retreat. The sails of the ketch are much damaged, due not to rough weather, but to having been allowed to flap when she was becalmed.

Our visitor, who is the architect, said he would like to go round the settlement, and was very much pleased with the architecture of the houses, which he thought to be in such excellent keeping with the natural tone of the place. Mr. Keytel has undertaken to get them supplies. To-night we sent them a large loaf of bread, sugar and treacle. Mr. Pearson said they did not want to beg, and offered clothes and books in exchange, but I said receiving was not begging and that it was a pleasure to give. We hear this evening that the American sealer has appeared on the scene, so no doubt they will be able to get something from her. The ketch has come close in and anchored, and looks so small. Their plan after visiting Gough Island is to go on to the Cape and there sell the ketch.

_Sunday, October_ 25.--The American sealer came in and three boats went off to her, taking two of the Mr. Pearsons. They returned about two o'clock, when Graham went down and brought back to dinner Mr. Keytel, the youngest brother, who looks more like a son of the Mr. Pearson we first saw, and the friend, Mr. Crumpton. These two had started off for church this morning, but could not pull through the kelp and had to return. Directly dinner was over we had to hurry to service, the two young men going with us. They did not know what to do with their fox-terrier, but solved the difficulty by bringing it in. It certainly looks as if it had been through a famine, and as regards colour might have been living up the chimney. Later in the day the captain and his brother came ashore and Mr. Keytel brought them in, but they did not stay long as it was getting dusk.

_Monday, October_ 26.--We are having a run of ships; another appeared this morning, and the men decided to go out to her though the sea was rough. We went down with Mr. Keytel who had kindly come in for our letters. I sat on the top of the bank with the Repettos and watched the proceedings. At first only one boat was going, but more men arriving a second was prepared. The sea was "making up" and it looked rather a risky business. They seemed to be hesitating about going, but were only waiting for the right moment to get off. When they did push off the last men who scrambled in got wet up to their waists and for one moment the boat pitched so it looked as if it would turn over, but in a minute or two it was in safer, though still rough, waters. The second boat got off better. Mr. Keytel and Repetto signalled to the men on the ketch to put out to sea on account of the weather. They were in need of water, but it was too rough to take any off to them. Later it got much rougher and a mist came over the sea. The boats had been seen returning from the ship, but afterwards had been lost sight of. As they did not appear in the afternoon it was thought they had landed to the east of Big Point, and would come home by land, and this was so. At about 4.30 smoke was seen on the mountain side; and soon the women hurried out with tea. We followed, and somehow felt sure that it was a ship that had called before, and that we might possibly get letters by it. The first men we met told us that the ship had come to fetch us, which was a great surprise. The captain had hove to all night, and said he could give us four hours to come out, but the men told him it would not be possible because of the weather; as it was, one boat had two of its boards broken and very nearly had to return. Next we heard the joyful news that our surmise was right and that there were letters for us. The post-bag was soaked and some of its contents, but not our letters. We returned with the people, and passing Mr. Keytel's house and seeing him at the door told him the news. He insisted on our going in and having a cup of tea. When we got back we were able to sit down and read our precious letters. I had four; getting news of home seems to bring one so much nearer to it. The men got a good deal of food-stuff from the ship, and, indeed, they are in need of it for they are living on meat only at present.

_Tuesday, October_ 27.--They got 300 lbs. of flour, also rice, tea, sugar and soap.

There was a missionary on board who we understood from the men knew Graham, but sometimes they get a little mixed. Henry Green brought us as a present from the captain some Brown Windsor soap and a bottle of unfermented wine. Had it been fine the captain intended coming ashore.

_Thursday, October_ 29.--The ketch arrived late yesterday evening, having taken all Tuesday and Wednesday to get in. The Pearsons have been on shore to-day and have filled their water-barrels. The captain and the architect dined with us, and the latter spent the afternoon with us. He is an interesting man and has been giving his advice about the stone which should be used for the church and house. He is strong upon the point that houses ought always to be built, when possible, of the material of the place, as that naturally, and, therefore, best, suits the landscape. His view is that nature will do much even where there is no beauty in the local stone itself. He thinks that mountains influence character, and that the people here have melancholy-looking faces which he attributes to the mountains. To an outsider, perhaps, the faces of many of the people do look thoughtful and sad, but their faces are hardly an index of their character.

_Friday, October_ 30.--Four of the islanders, Henry Green, Repetto, Andrew Hagan and Bill Green have been building a new boat which was launched this afternoon. Two new boats are also being built by others. The boats are built entirely of driftwood with the exception of the ribs; for these the wood of the apple-tree is used, unless oak can be had from a whaler. Over the ribs are laid horizontal pieces of wood called slabbies, over which is nailed canvas which is oiled and painted. Henry's boat, the largest yet made, is twenty-two feet long.

_Sunday, November_ 1.--We have had quite a summer-like day. The ketch party including the Creole came ashore early, and the Pearsons came to service and had dinner with us afterwards. We could just manage to sit round the table. Sitting in the garden in the afternoon I was joined by the architect who sat on the grass and discoursed. Soon we were called to tea, the two younger men having arrived, who were followed by the captain. They seemed to enjoy the home life and did not leave till after dusk. They have given much pleasure by presenting John Glass with a clock and Repetto with a watch.

_Tuesday, November_ 3.--We asked the Pearsons to dinner as it was the twenty-first birthday of the youngest, and also to tea, for which had been made a special dough-cake which was much appreciated. To-morrow they intend going to Inaccessible to get samples of guano.

_Wednesday, November_ 4.--I began looking over things preparatory to packing, but did not get through much for two visitors appeared, Martha Green with eggs and Ruth to have her finger poulticed. The four from the ketch had tea with us.

_Friday, November_ 6.--Yesterday we had quite a home-like scene--afternoon tea in the garden at the architect's suggestion. He told me that once in London his weekly food-bill was only two shillings and sevenpence, the result of studying the nourishing values of different food-stuffs, of having no meat and of being his own cook. Presently the two younger men joined us and sat on the grass round the tea-tray. In the early hours of this morning they were off to Inaccessible, taking with them Repetto to show them where to find the guano.

This week I have not been to school but have devoted my time to sorting things and packing, and a great business it has been in these small quarters.

[Illustration: NEARLY FINISHED]

_Monday, November_ 9.--Graham was hors de combat on Sunday with one of his headaches, so I had to take the services. I spoke out plainly about the attendance at church, though only by the way, and said it showed how little they cared about the things of God, and that we could not help asking ourselves if we had been any real help to even one person on Tristan.

This afternoon I gave up to gardening. Just as Ellen and I had planted out some tomatoes Mr. Keytel brought some mignonette plants and put them in. He brought also a sample of a loaf he had cooked which he thought was quite a triumph.

_Thursday, November_ 12.--On Tuesday the ketch returned from the islands and has again anchored. I think the Pearsons are loath to take to sea again. The architect has most kindly drawn a plan for a church here, and I only wish we could carry it out.

We are gradually getting on with the work of packing, and have made lists of what is to be put by when we are gone.

I have taken rather a good view of the front of the house and want to print it on postcards to send home, but this takes time and I have little to spare in the morning.

_Friday, November_ l3.--Our letters are to be taken on board to-day, for with the first north wind the ketch will move out. We wonder when it will reach Cape Town, for we fear it will be a long time on the way. While it has been here there has been a remarkable spell of fine weather.

_Sunday, November_ 15.--The Pearsons have not gone yet. They landed to-day though it was somewhat rough, came to service, and had dinner with us.

_Wednesday, November_ 18.--Our visitors have gone. They came in yesterday to say good-bye. I had to go to the women's meeting, but was back in time to pour out tea for them, after which we saw them off from Big Beach. The ketch, which was called _Forget-me-not_, had anchored off the settlement eighteen days and within half-a-mile of the shore. This was a record for Tristan waters.


 (It is apparent that there were originally a couple of illustrations with this narrative which I am endeavouring to find)

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