This description by Helga
On board the "Star of Bethlehem" the possession of the sailor
drowned in the last episode are auctioned in order to collect money
for his widow. To everybody's surprise, Anne suddenly offers the
exceptionally high sum of £5 - for once leaving a consternated James
The ensuing argument later in the cabin is one in a series of
quarrels between Anne and James, with each of them becoming more and
more impatient with the other. The focal point of their heated
discussions are Jessop's activities on board. Jessop continues his
propaganda for improvement of working conditions, but he also makes
it clear that he is not fighting any private war with James or the
Onedin Line. Rather, working conditions on board the "Star of
Bethlehem" are symptomatic of the plight of sailors on sailing ship
in general: very long and irregular working hours, low wages,
malnutrition, almost unrestrained powers of senior officers.
Meanwhile back in Liverpool, Robert is dreaming of becoming "a man
of means" and the invitation to Emma Callon's dinner party seems to
be another promising step towards this. But apart from Robert's
helpless attempts at keeping up a spirit of general bonhomie, the
party seems to be primarily a stage for the mutual rivalries and
jealousies of Albert, Daniel, Elizabeth and Emma.
When James returns to Liverpool, Albert complains about Robert's
"treason" which had helped make Daniel rather than Albert the new
Chairman of the OL, but James soon realizes that with Robert's
additional 1500 shares there is actually now a balance of shares
between Emma and the Onedins.
Soon after Jessop's return to Liverpool, the general strike of the
town's 10 000 seamen begins and as Mrs Jessop had feared all along,
her husband plays a leading role in it. First attempts of
negotiation between the strikers (represented by Jessop and a
"committee") and the ship owners (represented by Daniel Fogarty and
James) fail because from the beginning Fogarty is determined to keep
to an uncompromising hard line.
compromising or pragmatic approach finally leads to a "separate
peace" between the sailors and the OL, but just as James is
rejoicing at the thought of his huge profits from this individual
agreement, Fogarty brings in "blacklegs" and their militia, the
strike is broken, Jessop and others are arrested, the strike ends in
scenes of riot and destruction.
An incensed James is coming home to find Anne baking unusually large
quantities of bread and for the first time he becomes aware that all
the time Anne has been supporting the strikers' families from her
A heated argument
about a wife's right to spend money without her husband's approval
follows; Anne turns to bring the provisions to Mrs Jessop, James
warns her that if she leaves the house against his "express wishes"
she "needn't bother to come back" - Anne leaves, slamming the door.