‘Oh, Louis, is there anything more satisfying than finding like-minded people from home when traveling abroad?’ Rose asked excitedly after meeting the Comptesse de Roquefeuille in Rio de Janeiro.
And this morning, although I am not traveling abroad at the moment I felt that I had met a like-minded person. We ‘met’ when Susanna Hoe emailed me to say that, like me, she is fascinated by Rose and has included some of her writing in a book called Travels in Tandem: The writing of women and men who have traveled together. While mine is a non-fiction account of Rose’s life based on her letter’s and journal, Jacque Arago’s three volume journal and Louis’ official report to the Minister for the Navy, Susanna’s book is a non-fiction collection of the travel writing of men and women from as far back as the seventeenth century.
I did, however, cross Bass Straight last week and found this ship moored at Constitution Dock in Hobart. It is very similar to Uranie, although in this case the cannon ports (those black rectangles lined up around the hull) are only painted on. But the thing that struck me once again, as it did when I saw the ship at the Musee de la Marinein Toulon, is just how small it is. I could immediately see Rose sitting at the table in her tiny cabin, trying to keep her hand and her paper steady as she wrote to Caroline of being ‘tossed about on the vast ocean in a fragile craft’.