Hen Frigates

Joan Druett, Author, Druett, Author
Joan Druett, Author, Druett, Author Simon & Schuster $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-684-83968-4
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Historical sidelights can be as intriguing as major events, as in this study of 19th-century sea captains' wives who sailed with their husbands and recorded their impressions in journals and letters. Druett (Petticoat Whalers) points out that in some instances finances dictated that wives be taken along, for a captain who put all of his capital into a ship might have no funds for a home on land. But there were other motivations, too, such as enjoying a honeymoon or sharing experiences. The Victorian female was as ""submissive, timid and impregnably virtuous,"" but the work on shipboard put no premium on submission or timidity. Children were born and raised on ships, with the captain often delivering his own offspring; the captain's wife frequently served as cook and repaired torn sails, and the couple joined forces to fight wind and weather as well as illness. The book provides solid entertainment along with interesting information. Illustrations. (June)
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