an imaginary great circle on the surface of the earth
August 5.—Took the
meridian observation at midday; wind northerly with a great swell. Ship's company in good spirits: but the doctor says we have started on a wild goose chase.
an amount granted, as during a given period
August 10.—The situation of the men from the very fatiguing work made most minute precautions necessary. Double
allowance of Manzanilla served round to-day.
laugh at with contempt and derision
September 9.—The doctor, who has always
scoffed at the idea of the sea serpent, which, he said, was a travellers' tale (adding, sarcastically, and, I think, very inconsiderately, "like the western passage to China"), was silent all the evening.
limbless scaly elongate reptile; some are venomous
September 9.—Officers and ship's company in decidedly less good spirits since the foggy weather began. Sea
serpent incident also caused a good deal of disappointment, the men being convinced we had reached the coast of China, although I had repeatedly explained that we could not possibly make that land for some time yet.
based on or subject to individual discretion or preference
September 12.—This faking has been an easy task, since the log, being only a mean taken every hour and consequently liable to error from the variations in the force of the wind during the intervals, from which an
arbitrary correction is made by the officer of the watch; as this allowance must from its nature be inaccurate, it is very easy to make it more inaccurate still, now, that is to say, that I have squared Roderigo.
open rebellion against constituted authority
September 12.—Ship's company distressingly sulky. If matters continue like this it will end in a
a straight line through a body or figure
September 13.—Have made a startling and disagreeable discovery. There is something wrong or odd about the compass. The
axis of the needle no longer coincides with the geographical meridian it occupies—but makes an angle. This matter must be investigated.
September 17.—Roderigo has constructed an instrument, hanging by a universal joint on a triangular stand, adjusted so as to hang in a plane perpendicular to the horizon, by means of a
plumb line, which is suspended on a pin above a divided circle.
an unexpected and inexplicable change in something
September 17.—The ship's company discovered at dawn to-day the
vagaries of the compass. Situation alarming. They at once said we must go home.
in a dishonorable manner or to a dishonorable degree
September 26.—Steered W. No sign of anything. Wish we had never left Spain. The Alguazil
disgracefully drunk again last night, and rude in his cups.
a relief from harm or discomfort
October 10.—Mutiny. Ship's company refuse to go on. Insist on returning to Spain. If I refuse they threaten to kill me; but I fear they will kill me if I consent. Otherwise the matter would be simple. Have asked for three days'
confidently optimistic and cheerful
October 11.—He said at dinner yesterday that we might come home by the Nile, as we should certainly encounter its source in China. Want of taste. It is only too plain that both officers and ship's company are growing sceptical as to the practical results of our voyage. Wish the King and Queen of Spain had been a little less
sanguine. We shall indeed look very foolish if we come back having accomplished nothing.
located on the right side of a ship or aircraft
October 11.—Saw a light on
starboard bow, but am not quite certain that it wasn't a star.
Hoisted Spanish flag; took possession of the country, which seems to be India, and not China, after all. Call it West India or Hispaniola. Natives talk in a drawling sing-song, chew tobacco and gum, and drink Manzanilla and Vermouth mixed, icing the drink.