Saturday afternoon & evening, August 16, 1650
With the afternoon the sky grows increasingly overcast, with the wind rising to where it sways branches and small trees; the weather remains no less pleasant, however, and rain seems to avoid falling ... so except for some slight pressing of the wind while walking, you make fairly good time.
As you approach Oldenburg you pass more and more loaded carts filled with hay and seed, and sometimes with asparagus and kale. Then when you reach Oldenburg itself, you find some sixty or seventy wagons standing and waiting outside the town gate, jamming up the road and parked upon either side. It is about an hour before dusk, and by sending Emmanuel forth to enquire you find out that the guards are not allowing any normal traffic tonight into the town, as they are processing wagons entering after the harvest.
You have little choice but to bed down outside the walls for the night. The sky remains overcast, but the wind lessens. The smoke jumps around a fair bit that night, forcing the party to change seats again and again between keeping warm, but Jack is pleased to tell stories.
He tells the first about being a cabin boy out of Newcastle and shipping out to the Arctic, where he met the little people called halflings in a town called Archangel. He then tells a story of how on his second voyage he sailed to India, where his ship was plundered and half the crew taken to a pirate cove Hajipur, sometimes called by the Portuguese pirates Diamond Harbour, in the Great Bengal Delta, where he was for four months until his ransom was paid. Having made the acquaintance of a fakir called Lassafar, he and twelve others crossed through the hills of Odisha and onto the plains of Bihar, where he saw a great many amazing things about the people called Hindoos, and how they burned their dead on the shore of the Ganges, and how they believed in thousands of gods, and how free their women were with strangers, even sometimes being given by their husbands as sleeping companions to guests.
From Bihar he travelled up into the valley of the Teesta River, climbing thousands of feet to Darjeeling, where they make a marvelous kind of tea, and higher still into Sikkim, where the air became so thin he could not breathe, though the natives could run back and forth as though the air were as thick as by the sea. Though he climbed many more feet above Gangtok, where the king of Sikkim met he and his companions, finally Jack could climb no higher, though he learned that there were still people who lived in villages which were as high as the mountains that soared up on every side. He heard tell of yetis and rocs, though he never saw either, and he learned that over the passes was mystical Tibet and beyond that China, but he and his companions declined to go further.
Returning to England his ship was driven by a storm into the coast of Arabia, where it was driven upon rocks. He was washed overboard near a place called Sayhut, and for days wandered along a desert shore between the great inland desert they call the Empty Quarter, before he was found by a sheik of Hadramaut, in whose country he was. There he lived for three weeks before gathering provisions to reach Sayhut port, and during that time he lived with the sheik's daughter as though they were husband and wife. In Sayhut he found his ship under repairs, and rejoined it. To regain their lost cargo, the captain decided to enter the Red Sea to buy goods from Ethiopia, and it was there that Jack saw a place where lava bubbled up from beneath the sea in a region called Eritrea, so that the sea boiled.
He has been back now for three years in England, and has since found little interest in living any life but one upon the road. He hopes again to sign with a ship, perhaps in another year's time, and see America, or perhaps Africa, for he has seen none of the south part of that continent save the cape where his ship rounded on its way to India.