|Anne Everitt [1791 - 1866]|
Diary of her trip in 1853
to USA and Canada
This Diary can be downloaded (AnneEvertDiary.docx)!
* Click to Download Diary *
DIARY OF A TRIP TO USA AND CANADA by ANNE EVERITT [1791 - 1866]
May 13th, 1853. On board the mail steamer Africa, about or nearly half across the Atlantic.
A rainy morning, which prevents my going on deck; the first time I have felt inclination or perhaps power for any employment. On this, the 6th day of my voyage, I am going to make my first attempt to record its few but to me new incidents.
I left Yarmouth by train for Norwich on Tuesday the 26th of April; my first step towards this my grand expedition. I took leave of friends and reached London on the 27th - whence after a few days of farewell visits, I proceeded on to Liverpool, May 3rd, whither Mrs James Sherrington accompanied me. On Saturday May 7th, at 9:00 o'clock a.m., I joined this vessel, I hope destined to carry me to the American shore. My sister Charlotte, Mrs J. S. and Mr Arthur accompanied me. As soon as they left, I proceeded (according to advice) to get my packages in some order and found the little cabin most commodious, but sadly smelling of new paint. My companions (whom I would gladly have excluded) I found to be a great acquisition: kind and useful. I was soon ill, and obliged to confine myself to the sofa, and I was glad enough to get to my snug little bed, at an early hour. While I continued lying, I did not feel very ill, and after upon the whole a comfortable night, I appeared at the breakfast table.
[Sukie Hunter comments: As far as we know, Anne Everitt's sister Charlotte was unmarried. 'Mrs J. S.' must be Anne Everitt's niece, Anne Brookes Thurtell, who was married to James Norton Sherrington. There was also a Mary Brookes Thurtell who married Samuel Benjamin Sherrington and must have been Anne Brookes Thurtell's sister.]
Next morning, I was awoke out of my first sleep by the steward coming to enquire whether he could give me anything. I started at the unusual appearance! - but immediately asked "What of the night?" and some particulars of the ship. I found his crew to consist of 130 persons, besides the mail officials, and the cooks and various attendants upon the passengers. Of the latter class there were about 70. The hour bell sounding, my kind little steward instructed me in the mysteries of its note and, thenceforth, I could always tell the time when I heard the chime. After kind wishes, he took leave and I was soon again relapsed into one of those many short sleeps which composed the night.
May 8. I went on deck; the sea was smooth as glass, but my feelings were not very pleasurable. After dinner, there was a fresh of wind, which freshened my internal commotion and I was glad to retire to my cabin sofa, which but for fresh paint would have been very comfortable.
Monday 9th. I did not dress, but in the afternoon managed a wash. And putting on my flannel gown, lay on the sofa and felt better than I expected.
Tuesday 10th. The day was charming, the ocean as smooth as possible, the sun shining, and everything to make a day's sailing delightful, but I felt neither ill nor well, and could not enjoy anything; was surprised to find myself unable to walk on the apparently quiet deck. The nights have been better than I expected, the bed most comfortable.
Wed. 11th. It rained and blew a gale. I could not hold up my head to see the ocean mountains which kept giving the vessel fearful thumps, but by lying quietly I was not seriously ill, although feeling very uncomfortable and realizing the solemnity of my exposure to all the possibilities of storm and tempest. Still I felt myself in my place, and had no misgivings but that all would be right. "Come storm, come calm -" I slept much in the night, although waking frequently and ever realizing my position by the mercy of God. I awoke in the morning better than I expected; soon, the day calmed down to a most glorious one, but I felt poorly in mind and body. The voyage seemed all gloomy, dangerous and trying. The horizon beyond not cheering, everything had changed colour!
13th Friday. I began to write, but felt qualmy 'til I went on deck, when the beautiful air restored and refreshed me, and I have again enjoyed my meals, and felt some return of energy.
Saturday 14th. Wet and foggy, but I was some hours on deck, and upon the whole had a comfortable day, but always in my mind, that at any moment the fair face of things might change and fire, storm or sickness and death prevail; yet remembering also "Who gathereth the wind in His fists".
Sunday 15th. Weather very cold and thick. We had nearly run down a vessel in the night. At breakfast, all started up to see a ship we were passing. I rose with the multitude but, meeting rain and wind and a flight of steps to ascend, retired to the saloon with my curiosity ungratified. We had prayers at ½ past 10 o'clock, read by the surgeon in the saloon. Part of the crew, with their shining faces and neatly turned down blue collars being present, it was an interesting service. To be thus acknowledging the God of Gods, in the midst of the mighty waters, seemed to me like Jonah crying out of the belly of the whale. The day was extremely cold. I went outside for some time, but after dinner kept entirely in my own cabin. In the evening, some of the gentlemen passengers of the second cabin attempted to join in singing hymns, and at last sent to ask if I could lend them a psalm- or hymn-book. I did not know where mine was, but was fortunate enough to find it, and had much pleasure in hearing this group, collected as it were from the four corners of the earth, uniting in singing the praises of Him, in whose hands are the "issues of life and death". They were of several nations. An Englishman by birth but an American by citizenship, told me an interesting tale of the funeral of an Indian at which he once assisted. He was travelling in the "Far West" and with another person had to pitch his tent in a secluded wilderness, near to a tribe of Indians, who were at that moment hostile to the whites. A young man had died, I forget whether by foe or accident. These Americans proposed to assist in carrying him to the place of interment. He described the carrying the body up a long hill, digging the grave and gave a touching picture of the grief, grace, gratitude of a young Indian woman, either wife or sister to the deceased. Henceforth these men were in no danger: an act of kindness secures hospitality and gratitude. A German also described their skill and care in making caches or hiding places, to defend their treasures, such as skins, dried meat etc. from men and wolves. It was almost as curiously contrived, and as skilfully executed as the cell of the bee, or the hill of an ant - so great caution was used to prevent men from seeing or animals from scenting the track of footsteps.
Monday 16th. Still extremely cold; we are not likely to be in New York before Thursday. Please God, restrain the winds: a day seems of no moment.
Wednesday 18th. Monday afternoon and night and part of yesterday we had boisterous headwinds. I was very sick, more ill than at the beginning of the voyage. Today, the weather is charming, everybody, everything couleur de rose, although headwinds still retard our progress and we must not hope to reach N. York, before tomorrow noon. I have walked the deck alone, and feel extremely well; may a happy arrival close our voyage.
Anne EverittThursday 19th. A hazy and afterwards wet morning, preventing us from enjoying the picturesque scenery, which met our admiring eyes as we neared the land. The beautiful soft fresh green was very refreshing to our hitherto sea-girt eyes; and classical-looking buildings in terraces one above another mixed so fancifully and prettily with them as they stood peering above the sea, that they made very striking pictures, but rain threw all into shade, and obliged us to hide our disappointed eyes below deck while the bustle, the novelty, of the scene of entering so large a port - and the beauty of the port itself - was hidden from us, and I was anxiously listening for the voice and bustling step of my nephew John T. who was, I had hoped, in New York to meet me; his not appearing; fears about him darkened the already gloomy picture; after two or three hours of waiting, rain falling heavily, we at length got cleared at the Custom House in Jersey City. And I and my goods were transported through mud to a carriage containing not only the two usual seats, but with a swinging apparatus for two middle passengers if occasion required, placing them in quite near enough contact with the ordinary passengers. After again waiting in this carriage, till an immense steam bridge had discharged its string of carriages, carts, passengers, etc., we took our place on this moveable bridge, amongst many other carriages. We were under cover and I could not understand what was going on, 'till a slight motion and then one of the gentlemen explained that we were crossing the Hudson. In in a very few minutes, we were fairly in N. York and this bridge is fastened to the quay by enormous cables and very soon I was at the Irving House Hotel, Broadway, a most extensive and splendid establishment, accommodating 700 inmates with a vast amount of comfort and luxury. As soon as the carriage stops, black servants meet and conduct you to a reception room, where you are requested to wait 'till your name is entered and a room found for you. You are asked where you came from and whither you are going (I believe the latter). A chambermaid conducts you to a bedroom, the luggage is already carried there, and I was thenceforth Mrs Everitt, 294, the number of my room, and letters and parcels for me should be thus addressed.
I made my debut in New York in a sad, muddy state and was glad of a long afternoon in my room to refresh and renew my personal appearance. I had scarcely completed my toilette, when a young person knocked at the door, and came in, to tell me something of my new abode, and hear my wishes. This proved to be the housekeeper, and a very sensible well-behaved person I found her. At six o'clock a gong was sounded for tea, and she kindly came again to conduct me downstairs. I had previously found the rules of the hotel and the price to be paid per day, on a printed paper posted inside my bedroom door. I was showed into the very elegant drawing rooms and told they were for my use. There was one very handsomely fitted up for the gentlemen, and two very large ones appropriated to the ladies and gentlemen visiting them. They were carpeted with the most lovely tapestry carpets, papered with silver and white, with gold mouldings. The cornices to the four large windows in each room were very deep and elegant gilt ones. The drapery of the curtains, rich rose-coloured silk, the curtains white muslin. The furniture was rosewood covered with rich dark brocade silk. Chandeliers superb, and brackets and glasses very handsome. Sofas, settees, rocking-chairs, and easy chairs in great variety. White marble mantelpiece, white marble centre table in one room, with a large silver tray on which was placed a tall silver jug, two goblets and a vase to empty the water in. This tall jug is filled often in the day with iced water, which in that warm climate seems a necessity rather than a luxury. There was a rosewood carved piano in each room.
I was then conducted to the tea room; there is one for mixed company and one for the gentlemen. They are noble rooms. A troop of black servants are in attendance. One meets each party at the door, shews his teeth in a most politesome manner, motions you to follow him to a seat which he draws from the table for you, and when he has asked what you will take, supplies and attends to you. Each party rises as soon as they have finished and retires, some to the drawing rooms, some to their bedrooms, and others to walk, concert, theatre or private party. While chatting in the separate parties, usually music, and a few books pass away the time till bed. Many had friends to call on them, and I rather envied the many pleasant greetings and chattings I witnessed. They seemed a cheerful unaffected people. Many of them looked and conducted themselves quite like ladies and gentlemen, but many of them were evidently from the provinces. Some of them decidedly common vulgar people but all were well-behaved, and the attentions of the gentlemen old and young to the ladies in their parties were uniform and striking. The happy groups I saw brought my own youth forcibly to my mind.
I retired to rest early, but the excitement of the day, and the rattling of the carriages, prevented me from sleeping. At ¼ to 4 o’clock I began my day's work, and did not reach the breakfast room till 9, where I had the pleasure of meeting a German lady, Mrs Hick, a most interesting companion of my voyage, on her way with her husband to California, that is to say to San Francisco. The kind attendant of the previous day shewed Mrs P. and myself over the establishment. We went into the rooms occupied by Jenny Lind, which were on the drawing-room floor, but the bedrooms are small and to my taste but half-furnished, and I found them so, both in the States and in Canada. There is an office to every hotel, where the names of all the visitors are entered and through which all business passes. The washing department is capital. All thick linen is rubbed on a board with smooth grooves, instead of wrists and hands, boiling water is let into each trough for scalding, and the linen is dried in hot closets in a few minutes. But the charge is very high, a dollar per day. Every hotel has the washing done in the house, and by means of the hot drying closets, a few hours suffice to supply the travellers with clean linen.
After this I wrote to my brother, to Mrs Hocken and to a gentleman for whom I brought a parcel, and then sallied forth alone to call on Mr Hale, 80 Nassau Street. The day is charming. Verdure, fruits, vegetables and warm soft air remind me quite of summer. I have already left off some off my flannels and gone out without my respirator, which I had worn all the voyage - but the inhabitants call the weather cold! This hotel is nearly opposite the park, a small square of trees, looking very pretty, but not answering to English ideas of a park. In it is the City Hall of white marble, looking as new as if just erected, and a noble classical-looking building it is. But as I went to Nassau the bustle, building, dirt, and poverty-stricken looking houses and stores mingled in unpleasant confusion; I saw one very splendid store and returned in time for 2 o'clock dinner, which is a capitally served affair, although not with so much silver and show as in our best hotels. We were waited upon by black men carefully trained to their duty. I opened a wrong door in the morning, going the round of the house, and saw a body of them going through their evolutions, as if they were drilling for military service. The cookery as far as I tried it was excellent: soups, fish, meat, made dishes in great variety - vegetables, snow peas, asparagus, new potatoes, the most delicious sweets, ice creams, fine apples, etc. Very fine apples graced the dessert every day. Altogether it was a most enjoyable affair. At this early dinner, visitors were served with what they wanted from a printed bill of fare and rose as they finished. At the later dinner, at half past three o'clock, we were served in courses as in England, and left the table nearly at the same time. There was an abundant supply of iced water, ice on the butter, etc. Very little wine is taken, which is of course an extra charge. Champagne was most drunk. The breakfasts are supplied bountifully, with everything that can be eaten at breakfast, meat, preserves, eggs in every shape, vegetables, fish. At tea most delicious preserves, bread of all kinds, cakes, tongue, radishes, etc. A second tea was served at 9 o'clock for the accommodation of travellers or gentlemen engaged in business. I generally took a cup of tea at this hour, before going to bed. And for all this accommodation - and more than I can mention - the charge is 2½ dollars for a day! No extra charge but for wine, washing and carriages.
May 21st. I found my way to the post office, in hope of arriving at some tidings of my nephew John, but in vain. I do not think I shall like N. York, beautiful as the climate now is. Grandeur and meanness, finery and dirt, seem such close neighbours, all is progression! There is something good, then come paint, gaudy colors, and a grand pull-down, with all its attendant dirt, rubbish and annoyances. No street seems finished. And where they are building, they permit immense blocks of bricks to be piled up in the middle of thoroughfares, to the great inconvenience of passengers and the detriment of anything like beauty.
I went into a capital store opposite our hotel, Steward's. In contradistinction to the American custom of placarding the whole exterior of their houses with immense letters, this store has no name to be seen at all; nor any goods displayed at the windows, which are flat, and of ground glass, but it is carried on in the style of our best London shops. The proprietor is an Englishman. I also visited several other good stores; but they do not equal the best London shops - I should think not in any way. I am getting tired of New York, having no one to go about with me, and seeing nothing worth staying for in the society of the hotel.
Sunday 22nd. I had made many inquiries about churches for my Sunday refreshment. I could hear nothing very satisfactory but decided on going to Calvary Church, 4th Avenue and 21st Street, and reached it by means of a curious car, traversing certain thoroughfares on iron tramways propelled by two horses. They hold 40 or 50 persons, and are most commodious and safe conveyances, although most clumsy-looking machines. Omnibuses not being permitted to run on a Sunday in American cities and towns, these cars are in great request; and the one I now entered was extremely crowded. However the gentlemen all stood to accommodate the ladies with seats. I had about two miles to go. Calvary Church is a beautiful stone edifice, the light softened by coloured glass. The woodwork very dark oak. The communion table is raised very high, under a dome, and on a lower platform are the rails, which are again approached by 5 or 6 steps. At the back of the table, the building is circular, like the dome it supports, lighted by five windows of stained glass, representing Calvary with a strong red light, the ladder by the cross, but the Saviour not there. It must be after the descent. In the recesses between the windows were stalls with canopies for one person, and on each side were armchairs. On the left hand as I stood before the table, was a side table. *I forget what that table is called. On this stood the flagon of wine, it being Sacrament Sunday. I think the bread was on the communion table covered up, as with us. *This side table is called a prothesis, or credence table, on which the elements are placed before consecration. The use of this table has been adjudged by the highest ecclesiastical court to be illegal in England.
See judgement of Sir Ness Trust on the Stone Altar case. On a beautiful little white marble font in front of the rails, and between the desk and pulpit, which was very plain, was perched a cross. Altogether the appearance was so like a Roman Catholic church that I began to think I had made a mistake, and was not in a Protestant place of worship. I walked boldly up the centre aisle, and a gentleman in one of the best pews kindly opened his door, and I was soon most comfortably seated. The service commenced beautifully and I never heard it before so effectively read. There was no mannerism; every word, every intonation, fixed the sense and marked the right feeling of any beautiful liturgy. There were slight verbal alterations, but only such as replaced obsolete words or made the sentence more grammatical. I so enjoyed the service that I felt startled to hear "the President of the United States and all in authority under him" prayed for instead of our gracious Queen. The organ was fine, the chanting and singing first rate, but the professional voices only being heard, it did not realize my idea of church singing. Some of our repetitions of the Lord's prayer were avoided. One deviation from our service struck me as an appropriate and striking addition. Immediately after the commandments are read, the clergyman says "Hear also what Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment, and the second is like unto it, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this." 22 Matthew verses 37, 38 & 39. Altogether I never heard a more solemn serious beautiful enactment of our liturgy. The sermon was preached by Dr Hawks, from 14 John 15th verse upon love as the only principle to affect the heart and improve the character. Other motives were examined and their insufficiency showed. Abstract principles were examined: "virtue is its own reward", "the path of duty is the path of happiness" etc. All these were good as far as they went, but the principle of self-interest, even if it could prevail, the lowest motive of action. Christianity contained all these and much more. Engage the affections and the heart and conduct became conformed. We then desired to keep God's commandments, were unhappy if we did not keep them, etc. I am spoiling a very excellent, practical and spiritual discourse, referring to the Holy Ghost as our helper, and everything to make the sermon most complete. But there was a manner of treating the subject somewhat different to what we hear in England, of which I wish to preserve the impression. Dr. H said we were too wise to train our children for the business of this life, by mere abstract reasoning or wise aphorisms, we endeavoured to engage their interest, their affection in the faith we proposed for them, and christianity was a business of the highest moment, a business for eternity. When the sermon was finished, the other clergyman came up to the rails and began reading the introductory verses of the communion service, two verses being read, two chanted, while the offerings were being collected; and I began to think the whole congregation were going to stay the sacramental service, but after the collection, very many of the people departed, leaving still a large number of communicants, but not a very large number of gentlemen. The service was concluded in every way as at home and I felt it a great privilege to see our service so well carried out and to join with a congregation so well ordered at so great a distance from home. The prayers of the congregation were asked for, and an especial prayer used for the crew of a vessel just about to sail to the Arctic regions in search of Sir John Franklin, and a knot of sailor officers were pointed out to me, as some of those commended to our prayers. This was very interesting; altogether I have enjoyed this more than anything else in New York, and I desire again to thank God that I have been brought thus far in safety and been permitted again to worship in a Christian assembly. Ah! For a heart to love and serve him better.
Pm. 10 o'clock. Three times this day has the appointed gong announced fires in the city, and twice yesterday. Once we were disturbed by the sound of the fire engines passing, but usually nobody heeds the announcement. It does not seem even to engross a moment of the passing attention or conversation. Those whose duty it is are expected to attend, and nobody seems to heed the whereabouts or who may [be] the sufferers. The gong denotes by the number of strikes, constantly repeated from what district the fire proceeds.
Monday 23. I walked out with a kind young American widow, Mrs Degolyer. Looked over Steward's store, a very complete and European-like looking shop, and afterwards sauntered again down Broadway. In the evening, I took a short walk with Mrs Degolyer and her father, Mr Parker, and this ended a very dull day as far as my American objects are concerned.
Tuesday 24th. Mrs D and myself found our way by one of the convenient slow town-cars to the new Crystal Palace. It is after the manner of our own, but very much smaller, and still many weeks from completion. We were not allowed to enter, but ascended the Croton Water Works reservoir, and overlooked it capitally. The waterworks are a most solid and grandly proportioned stone structure, terminating an aqueduct 40 miles long which supplies New York City with water from the Croton River. The public are allowed to ascend the staircases and walk on its spacious flat walls enclosing the waters. Very near is in course of erection a high tower to which Mr Barnum's name is attached; it already consists of 13 storeys, and they talk it is to be 2,000 ft. high, I suppose from the level of the sea. It is intended for a tower of observation, and the public are to ascend by means of a platform to be raised by steam, in the manner of our ascending room of the Colosseum, but they are to rest on every storey. It already looks very like a Tower of Babel. We returned by omnibus, through a new part of the city, where handsome houses are building almost without end in streets with wide pavements and a row of trees before them. The stone is of a darker colour, or one would not be able to tell whether we were passing through the better new streets about London or New York. These are noble streets; and those connecting them with the city are also very fine streets and have quite enlarged my ideas of the American metropolis. My new friend and I went shopping, were caught in the rain; and I did not go out again.
I found that Mrs Degolyer was from the neighborhood of Syracuse in my route to Canada. I received a most kind and pressing invitation from her and her father to go and stay a night with them at Baldwinsville. Perhaps I may stay a night at Syracuse on my way, and manage a short visit to them.
25th. I have this morning visited the Greenwood Cemetery on Long Island, about five miles from New York. The modes of crossing the river are very easy. We passed through Brooklyn, the west end of New York, but much of our drive was a very uninteresting one. I was kindly invited to accompany a Mr, Mrs, and Miss Kyle from Baltimore. I was much pleased with the daughter, who appeared a ladylike, well-conducted and amiable person. Mr K is of Irish blood, but a naturalized and most devoted American. He is an elderly person and seems to have forgotten in his devotion to his new country, that if America has progressed, England also has been awake during the last 20 years, and has made great strides in the right direction. He was vaunting much of the dignity of man, and the equality of rights enjoyed in America, "that nothing but character and education should be recognized as a distinction, all men being equal in the sight of God," etc. When I could not help interrupting him with the exclamation "Except the coloured population!" which drove the gentleman a good deal aback. He had previously been so eloquent upon the respect we paid to royalty, rank, and station. He immediately acknowledged the exception, said "that the declaration of American independence was untrue with regard to the rights of the coloured population, and that he would enter into the subject another time"; but it was never resumed.
But to the cemetery: it contains *500 acres, the surface most picturesquely undulated, rising and falling in every direction. It is well planted and commands on one side a fine view of the river, city and country. The allotments are spacious and divided in all ways. The monuments are chiefly of white marble, some of granite. Columns seem to be the favourite device, ornamented in all sorts of ways, no architectural order being observed, indeed there seemed a mixture of all orders according to taste. Some of the columns were beautifully sculptured. I observed only one broken column, so prevalent in English cemeteries. There was a part of the ground common. The graves seemed by their size to be chiefly children's - many of them were touchingly ornamented with little household articles. There is one most elaborate mausoleum erected over a young French girl who was killed by an accident on her return from school. Her friends dedicated her fortune (20,000 dollars) to this record of their affection. In the centre of a well-planted square, on a pedestal stands a figure of a Portuguese Captain, full-sized, a likeness dressed in his uniform with a sextant???????? raised as if taking an observation. This gentleman is still alive, and has caused this to be erected as a monument to himself. It is a most quaint affair, looking like life in the midst of death. There are five little lakes in the cemetery. The ground is so diversified, the space so ample, the green slopes so pretty, the monuments so neat and varied. That is a most beautiful spot.
* (I have since found there were only 250 acres.)
26th. A third rainy day. No letter from my brother. No notice of my nephew John. In the afternoon I walked to Mr Hale's and after a long chat returned in the wet. The day would have been very dull, but for my interesting Hamburg lady Mrs Hicks [Peck????].
Friday 27th. No letter. I have again written to Benjamin. I have been to Brady's Daguerreotype Gallery, and had two likeness taken. This is but May. I remarked at a confectioner's window today. Grapes, nectarines, peaches, figs, cherries, strawberries and some beautiful bouquets. I made my way into the striking and beautifully white City Hall. The buildings here are not dis-coloured by smoke and soot like our London ones, but there seemed nothing worth looking at. The rooms being small, perfectly plain and devoted to business, with which the graces of painting and sculpture do not at present intermix, and the filth of the white marble floor, I will not describe. The facade of the building is very imposing. In front of the City Hall was placed temporarily for the inspection of the citizens, a bronze colossal statue of General Picton intended for the Greenwood Cemetery. It was so surrounded by crowds, that I could not see the bas-reliefs. There were five large columns piled on the platform. The General had been, I believe, a useful man in carrying out public works.
May 28th. Last evening I received my long looked for letter. My dear brother cannot meet me quite so soon as I had expected, having embassy business to attend to in Toronto. I must stay another day or two in N.Y. and then, d.v., I will hie me to the noble Falls. I spent my morning in the Dusseldorf Gallery of pictures, the only public collection of pictures, I believe, in N.Y. It is a small gallery of modern paintings, all of one school; some 8 or 10 of the pictures are very beautiful. The gem is the Adoration of the Magi by Steinbruch, a noble picture. I could have looked at it for hours - the light - the faces especially those of three angels, were truly angelic; I will say nothing of their being robed angels; one in blue, one in buff, etc. But oh! Their exquisite faces, and wings also. They were truly wings; and the simple beauty of the Virgin. Her eyes are cast down upon the new-born baby, as she lifts off the covering to show him to the Magi - Joseph - the uncertain step of the blind man, but the faces of all and the light, so beautifully thrown on all, emanating from the centre of the picture - the sleeping babe also is charming. The high finish reminded me of Correggio's pictures; only that I am so ignorant as to prefer this to any I have seen of that celebrated master. This picture alone was quite a treat. There is also a fine Madonna and Child by Carl Muller. The Martyrdom of Huss is also a very fine picture by Lessing, but the subject too painful for me to admire it. A landscape by Pulian, that reminded me extremely, in colouring and treatment, of Crome's June on the Norwich River. The Student's Examination at the University by Hasenclever, is also a capital picture - one of a series of three. The City Hall Ghent by Pulian, Storm on the Coast of Sicily by Andrew Achenbach. Landscape by Lessing. ............by D........ King Lear by Hildebrand. The Reconciliation of Cardinal Wolsey and Queen Catherine is a good picture by Carl Clasen - Wolsey's dying face. These were nearly all the pictures I admired. There are some others I should think clever pictures - likenesses of the Dusselsorf painters, the wine tasters, and I had almost forgotten - Diana and her nymphs.
On my return to the hotel, I again met a Mr & Mrs Chambers from Louisiana, with whom I had been friendly on my first arrival. They had been visiting in Philadelphia and were proceeding on to the Falls, and going in the same boat with me, so that my comfort seems provided for. Let me not forget the giver of these mercies. No tidings of my nephew.
Sunday the 29th. A most glorious day, but heat excessive. I went by car again to Calvary Church, but Dr Hawks was from home. The service was very well conducted. There are very few evening services in America. At least so I concluded. For I could not on the former Sunday evenings find a church open within a walk of me. I had heard much of an independent church called The Tabernacle, and hearing there was evening service, sallied forth to attend it. It was 340 Broadway. I was too early - the service was not commencing 'till quarter to 8 o'clock. There was a previous prayer meeting which I joined, but the whole services were of a mediocre kind, the proper minister being in Europe for his health. I was puzzled, often, to discover the relationship existing between different parties. Whether they were husband and wife or engaged parties, or brothers and sisters, as but few of the American married ladies wear a plain gold ring, and all appeared to wear fancy rings on what we call the wedding finger, so that there was no outward distinction.
On Monday I was chiefly engaged packing.
At half past six on Tuesday morn, the 31st, accompanied by my southern friends, I left the well-managed and elegant Irving House Hotel to take a boat up the Hudson for Albany. As soon as we had cleared the city, the scenery became very pretty, reminding me extremely of our own Lakes. The reaches of the river seemed often hemmed in with rocky shore and lofty foliage, but nowhere was it so grand as I had expected. On the left bank for miles are rocky formations, very high, and cut down as it were so perpendicularly that they are called The Palisades, and most gigantic palisades they are. About halfway up the river in some very rugged scenery, we passed the military school of West Point - very near the scene of our interesting countryman Arnold's inglorious mission and sad and inglorious death. Altogether, my recollections of this river are more striking than my impressions at the time. I fear my expectations were too highly raised, or I should have been more pleased with this beautiful & picturesque scenery. I cannot say how it was that the day was a tedious one, so that I wished we had taken the cars, which run along the riverside to Albany, skirting the water, sometimes crossing reaches of the river itself, then dashing along through tunnels in its rocky sides, appearing and disappearing in the most fantastic manner, pursuing what appeared a very dangerous course. But I did not hear that any accidents had occurred. The cars perform the journey in about 5 hours, while we were 13 hours in reaching Albany - but our boat was by no means a first-rate one. It was, however, very commodious and very cheap - only one dollar for the 150 miles.
Between 8 and 9 o'clock, we were getting a capital tea in Congress Hall Hotel, Albany. The hotels here far exceed any I have heard of in my own country in neatness, comfort, accommodation, and the satisfaction of not feeling one's self liable to be overcharged; as everywhere the prices and rules of the establishment are affixed on the door of your own apartment. All the hotels in this country have ladies' and gentlemen's drawing-rooms, and a large eating saloon. The fare and attendance are excellent and no matter what you partake of (that is provided), you pay the same. There are no extra charges, but for wine, washing and carriages.
June 1st. At 7 o'clock, my kind companions and myself were in the cars for Syracuse, my first introduction to these conveyances. Albany appeared to me a handsome town - there were so many trees inter-mixed with good buildings, but the streets were up hill and down dale: there seemed no flat ground to rest on. The cars are very differently shaped from our own, being very long, with seats across for two persons on each side, allowing a passage up the centre. There is a window to every seat. The seats, or rather chairs, for two are nicely stuffed, and made to turn over like those in ships, so that four persons may seat themselves vis-a-vis or in rows of two in the usual manner. They seemed to me to travel about as fast as our own. They have but one class of passenger carriages; and I paid but a dollar and a half for my journey to Syracuse, where we arrived at one o'clock.
* See below ["Refer to pg. 61" in original.]
Here I again parted with Mr and Mrs Chambers who went on to Niagara that evening, whilst I availed myself of Mr Parker and Mrs Degolyer's invitation to pay them a visit. I found the trains so impracticable that I began to think I must have given up my intention. I dined, unpacked my trunks, dressed and proceeded to Baldwinsville, intending to have returned immediately - on account of said trains. Mrs D. and her brother-in-law met me at the station and would not hear a word of my returning that night, and I consented to go back with them. The brother went home for their buggy and gave me a nice drive round to their house, which I much enjoyed. Everything looked so green and so lush and the country was pretty, but the roads indifferent. The houses mostly of wood painted white, with gardens and trees before them, the churches as far as I recollect were likewise of wood, painted white - which amongst the beautiful green foliage looked very pleasing, but the whole appearance was that of a newly created country town. Each house had a verandah in which much time is passed during the hot weather. The gardens I saw were anything but neat. I was most hospitably received and spent a pleasant evening. Mr Parker, a long-headed lawyer, and an iron-looking man, devoted his evening to me. And the conversation was very agreeable, but nothing about the house or garden looked as neat, comfortable and complete as a family of the same grade would have occupied in England. In short the high price of labour tells here as it does in Canada.
At 9 o'clock in the morning June 2nd, I entered the cars, returned to Syracuse, packed up my trunks, walked as far as my legs and the great heat would enable me to do, dined, and about half past one o'clock entered the cars for Niagara. There are salt works about one or two miles from this town, but I had not the time to go and see them. Syracuse is the nucleus of a large town - wide streets and large buildings everywhere present themselves; but no street that I went into was finished. I had now no one to see about my luggage or, as the Americans call it, "baggage" - but the arrangements for travelling in this country are so complete that I had no trouble, no extra charge for my two large trunks and two large bags. I could take my place only to Rochester, where I had to change cars, but by taking tickets for my luggage, the duplicates of which were strapped on each package, they became what is called ticket luggage and were under the special charge of the railroad porters, who removed them, without any attention on my part - and there was no extra charge for this great accommodation. I had a long and tiresome stay at Rochester, owing to my not understanding the arrangement and feeling afraid to leave the car with my shawls etc., so that I missed seeing what I might have done of Rochester, which is a large and flourishing city, and has some falls, .........
.........and fine situations, besides losing my tea. However, about 9 o'clock I had the gratification of finding myself within sound of the grand cataract. It being dark, I had many fears about getting my luggage, and finding the hotel etc. On arrival, a row of porters stood by the side of the cars vociferating the name of the different large hotels to which they belonged. I had before agreed to go to the Cataract Hotel, on mentioning the name of which, the coachman of the omnibus from that hotel took charge of and conducted me to the carriage. My tickets were again given to the porter appointed, who secured the luggage, and carried it in his van to the hotel, and I was soon in the noble reception hall of the Cataract Hotel with many others waiting to have a room appropriated to me, my name entered, etc., within sound of the roar of the great cataract itself, and within two or three hundred yards of the foaming precipice.
But here I must pause to insert a page or two of my journal which I have managed to skip.
* When I entered the cars on Wednesday morning, great was my surprise and pleasure to find the features of the country so English-like, that after I had travelled 50 or one hundred miles, and as my eyes had become accustomed to some local peculiarities - such as the snake fences - I should not have been reminded, but by memory, on which side of the Atlantic I was rushing along. There were not indeed our rural fences, the wooden zig-zag ones everywhere supplying their places, but they do not catch the eye at a distance, and the belts of forests, everywhere left in straight lines, rendered unequal in height, and indistinct by the undulating mixture of the land, well supplied their places. The first portion of country was not very luxuriant, but pretty, such as one sees hundreds of acres of at home. Afterwards, the constant rising and falling of the surface, nicely studded with trees (although I had not yet seen any very high ones or large timbers), they having, I imagine, been cut down, as numberless patches of stumps (not very English) indicated. These showed that they must have stood too thickly to have attained any great size. Everywhere was presented the soft verdure of early summer. The pretty Mohawk River meandered by our railroad route, and we passed some large lakes. We had also specimens of lofty broken rocky projections of which I had seen exact prototypes in the north of England - indeed as we proceeded to Syracuse, the country reminded me of the neighborhood of Caxton.
The first half of my way, the land did not look to be well cultivated, and I saw very little stock, so that I was not impressed with the idea of luxuriance from Syracuse to Niagara. Farms and farmhouses were more frequent and of a better description, many of them small, comfortable-looking homesteads. Some of them were handsome brick houses. The villages were frequent, and in every one rose two or three little white spires indicating places of worship. The country was varied and very pretty, and so like home that in spite of wooden fences and wooden buildings - some of the latter even painted red (shewing Dutch extraction), many of them white - the greater number in the same colour as the hand of nature left them - I could scarcely realize the fact that I was travelling on the western side of the broad Atlantic. As far as country is concerned, any Englishman might feel himself at home in any of the five hundred miles I had passed through, and at this season the climate is glorious.
June 3rd. And now I may return to the grand, the glorious Falls, of whose mighty roar I have already made mention. How can words describe what the pencil must fail to portray? The grandeur, the sublimity of this stupendous creation! A mighty river seems ever emptying itself; the first idea is that this river has just broken its bounds, and the spectator is arrived at the instant, to behold the out-pouring flood. The second thought has to be entertained by degrees, that this mighty flood is never staunched, and will probably continue its present rush and flow and roar till time shall be no more. It is a grand idea and a grand sight, but it is also inexpressibly, absorbingly beautiful. As one stands on the Canadian side, on a level with the Horseshoe Fall, which is close at one's right hand, stretching the eyes forward, one sees the rapids, an immense sheet of water tearing over its rocky bed, and hastening to its fall at one's feet. The thick curling sea-green waves, rolling bodily over the precipices, appearing to be fifteen or twenty feet in volume. These green billows as they fall, are lost in a dense cloud of milk-white foam which, rising again far above the surface, becomes a fine mist, felt on the face and detected on the dress when it cannot be perceived by the eye. The height of the Fall, from 160-164 feet, does not show itself fully. The vast breadth of precipice over which the water is flowing helps to mislead the eye (the whole is 1200 yards long, or 2/3 of a mile, including Iris Island; of this, the Horseshoe occupies about one half); and the thick foam in which everything is lost long e'er it reaches the bottom, of course conceals the real depth - but this is better seen and ascertained by approaching the Falls in a boat, which I did not accomplish. The many indentations in the rock break these falling gigantic billows in frequent but irregular white foamy stripes, to which the bright sun gives a silvery brilliancy, and beauty - not to be described - but I must say and enumerate some of the features of this glorious scene. Still standing with the Horseshoe Fall on one's right hand, opposite to the spectator - and dividing the Horseshoe from what are called the American Falls, or Straight Falls - is the picturesque Goat or Iris Island, a mile in circumference, covered with lofty trees, its side broken into all sorts of shapes by the unceasing rush of water past it. There are also several other pretty little islands in the rapids, covered with trees, looking like baskets of verdure in the ocean And then the gulf itself, through which the turbulent water escapes (as soon as one has time and breath to look at it), is in keeping with the magnificent whole - enormous masses of broken stone, trees in every variety of growth, foliage and position - the precipitous sides clothed with the wild grandeur and beauty of nature - the still angry looking water hastening away. Endeavour to realize this mere catalogue of wonders and you will have the best picture of it, that I can give. I crossed four times the slender-looking vibrating wire bridge, which spans the ravine a little below the falls - and thought it sufficiently perilous. It is 230 feet above the water and in length 759. Mrs Thurtell was very nervous at passing over this bridge; my brother consoled her by saying "that our height from the water made no difference, for the strong current would carry us away irresistibly, even though we were not hurt in falling into the water"!
On the Friday evening, I had a charming walk to Goat Island over the slight wooden bridge which spans the rapids, but there was some rain, which hindered my going far.
On Saturday June 4th, I explored the islands on the American side of the cataract, ascended the little tower marvellously erected in the rapids, for the purpose of seeing them better; sat in favoured spots, watching and admiring the grandeur and beauty by which I was surrounded 'till dinner. This side of the cataract may perhaps be less sublime than the other, where at one view the eye takes in the height and the breadth of the precipices - the volume of falling water, the rapids - the boiling like mist - and hears the roar, but it is nevertheless very grand and beautiful and full of interest. One can sit here and think over the wonders of the place. The lofty trees of Goat Island, and the beautiful basket-like groups of shrubs which interrupt the dash of the rapids and vary its scenery, are very charming; and then one watches the water rushing to its fearful leap, observes portions of the falls and hears all its wild tornado.
I had retired to my room to rest awhile after my dinner, when a gentleman was announced at the door, which I quickly opened, gazed at the stranger for a few seconds, and recognized my dear brother, whom I had travelled thus far to meet. He did not at all know me, and therefore stood with his hat in his hand, looking very formal, or I believe I should not have been an instant in doubt. I exclaimed "It is Benjamin", and he immediately came into my room. His face is somewhat altered; the loss of teeth has thrown out the nose, so as quite to change its character - he is grey, and much thinner - but is upon the whole, looking very well, and healthy. The expression of the eye discovered to meet the brother whom I sought, and it was quite unmistakable. I accompanied him to the hotel, where he had left his wife. It was a glorious, a happy meeting for us - for which I shall, I trust, thank God as long as I live, and now that its difficulties, its dangers, its anxieties are over, (as well as its enjoyments), it seems daily to rise in interest and pleasure.
Sunday 5th. We all attended the Episcopal Church, standing on a platform as it were side by side with another church belonging to some other denomination of Christians. In rushing through the American small towns, I was much struck with so often seeing three pretty little white spires, in close contact with each other, looking very harmonious. The church at Niagara was pretty, neat and commodious. As far as I recollect, it was but a wooden structure, but the inside was painted wainscot, and it had a stained glass window, or windows. The service was exceedingly well conducted. We had a very good sermon. A good organ, and singing and chanting as usual. In the afternoon, I accompanied my brother and sister to the grand Canadian view of the Falls; crossed and recrossed the suspension bridge. The afternoon sun was not so favourable for the clear sight of them as the morning sun had been; but the torrent seemed more and more angry; the volume of water more immense. After tea, I fitted up my little apartment, and received in it my very kind southern travelling companions, Mr & Mrs. Chambers, to introduce them to my brother and his wife, who took another walk; and we all retired to rest, ready for the morning's start.
June 6th. My brother, wife, and self took a carriage to Lewiston, seven miles; caught a last glance at the noble Falls in passing, and after an hour's drive through a country rendered interesting by its having been not only the seat of the war between the Americans and the English, but because each belligerent power must have overlooked the other, as only the Niagara River divided them. Traces of the commotion were still visible. Lewiston is a mere village on the river, but while we sat at the hotel waiting for the boat by which we were to sail, six or eight or more stagecoaches arrived, filled with passengers, for different boats about to start. Opposite to us on the Canadian side of the river was Kingston, General Brocks monument, etc. At one o'clock we embarked in the Rochester steamer, crossed over to take in passengers at Kingston, saw the fine wire suspension bridge, which now connects the territories of the two countries, and I had soon the very great pleasure of steaming down the Niagara enjoying my brother's society, with the feeling that my great undertaking was accomplished, that I was now under his care, chatting as fast as tongues could go - everything green, fresh, new, pleasant, interesting, the air charming!!!!
We passed between the two forts, St. George and Niagara, once frowning at each other in battle array. dashed into the beautiful Lake Ontario - into its clear green smooth water, turned our faces to the west, kept near the southern shore, but we could see both shores of the lake - and at length entered Burlington Bay, curiously formed by two tongues of land stretching out from the mainland north and south, and leaving but a passage to the harbour, which about six o'clock we reached. I have omitted to mention the Welland Canal, where we stopped to take in passengers. This is at present the grandest British work in Canada. It opens a navigable communication between Lakes Erie and Ontario, which the rapids and falls of Niagara prevent altogether. This was one of the most enjoyable days of my excursion, and its every way sunny character stands foremost in memory's store.
The city of Hamilton is not at first very prepossessing. The omnibus carried us, through mud roads, muddy scenery, and wooden huts, improving as we went on, 'till at the end of a mile, we were deposited in front of a capital large hotel, on the same plan as those establishments in the States - of course somewhat less grand than the one I had occupied in New York. The ladies' drawing room was as usual well furnished - I may say elegantly. One settee was novel to me, and I thought very convenient: it consisted of a straight ottoman, at each end of which was a commodious stuffed easy chair,which chairs turned quite round without removing the centre, and independently of each other; it was covered with pale straw-coloured figured satin. We had our tea as usual in the general refectory. The servants were partly black, but everything was on a somewhat lower grade than at Niagara. Here as everywhere, the bedroom accommodation is very inferior to the style of the sitting apartments.
About 9 o'clock on Tuesday morning, we took our places in a stagecoach for Guelph, and I had a good opportunity of seeing the numerous embryo streets of this already populous city, by being driven miles round it to take up two passengers. At length our horses' heads were fairly towards Guelph. At first the country was well cultivated, and some of the scenery (about Dundas) very beautiful. Soon I was introduced to the first log buildings. The road was excellent all the way, to which my brother constantly directed my attention - sometimes telling me their horrible state when he first settled in the country. The country became more and more wild - patches of stumps, a frequent and sometimes picturesque feature in all the American scenery I had passed through, became painful deformities to the eye. The ground was everywhere undulating, but the clearings were so intermixed with broad acres of unsightly stumps, and tall wild pine woods, with so much rubbish lying about, the mean looking log buildings, everything wearing such an unfinished appearance, that my first impressions of my brother's country ,were anything but prepossessing. Of course I kept this to myself - for he was everywhere noting such great improvements, in his time; and his mind was so full of the future of Canada, that he would scarcely be alive to the great difference existing at the present between the face of that country and our own well cultivated rural districts.
The drive dreadfully dusty, at length we reached the town of Guelph - a straggling incomplete looking place, reminding one of that period of one's life, when one is neither a child nor a woman, educated or not educated. Nothing looked finished. There were congregated all the neighboring people to attend an exhibition of horsemanship under a large canvas circus. We drove to the principal hotel and met many of my brother's kind neighbors who came to welcome him home - and to be introduced to the stranger - and amongst the rest, Mr Strowger, whom I knew. Mr Davey had driven my brother's youngest son to see the show and therefore my brother found his own carriage and horse at the hotel - which was soon brought round, and about five o'clock I was affectionately welcomed to my dear brother's log house home, to the great surprise of my niece Harriet, who had not received her mother's note, and was not expecting our return for two days. She had allowed the female servant to go to "the horseriders" and consequently the "stool's foot was not laid in water", greatly to her dismay - and she felt the reverse of delighted to see me, at this precise moment, although I am quite sure she was in heart as glad to see me as anyone.
I found my brother's house and premises much as I expected, perhaps somewhat rougher and more unfinished than I had thought about - a settler who buys wild land, and erects his own homestead, has for the first few years such a press of building and clearing upon his hands that he is glad to do without anything not absolutely necessary - and habit so well seconds necessity that by degrees he finds comfort independent of that finish and convenience to which he had once been accustomed. Window sashes are scarcely ever hung in a Canadian house. The sash is lifted, and a piece of wood inserted to preserve equilibrium, kept by for this use. None of the houses are painted outside, and there is but little paint wasted inside the apartments. The door fastenings, hinges, glass, etc. are of a most primitive description. I was daily seeing little improvements, which could easily be made; but there was so little need of these trifles, which were more or less the lot of all, and so much real comfort and hospitality, and heartiness of welcome, that I had soon forgotten that I was not in a splendid mansion; finding it at least a very comfortable one - indeed I must have been ungrateful and ungracious not to have been happy in the midst of the circle of dear friends, vying with each other in every kindness and attention - and then all my dear brother's neighbors and friends were pressing round to welcome the stranger to their "free forest land".
Wednesday June 8th. The weather is charming - warm, clear and fresh. After arranging my packages etc. I wandered out into the fields and found my brother and we strolled on together, he taking down logs off the fence to enable me to get over them. We came to a field where the larger stumps were on fire, and a lad with an axe and chain was dragging up the smaller stumps and laying them on the burning larger ones - one of the means resorted to year by year to diminish the number of these unsightly occupants of the soil. When the land is first cleared, they stand so thickly that it seemed to my eye impossible either to cultivate between them or to grow anything, but on the contrary, I found upon inquiry that the first crop of corn was always abundant - despite this pre-occupation of the soil - the virgin land is so rich, when the trees are first cut down the land is soft and requires merely to be dragged with a heavy harrow of triangular shape, calculated to pass between the stumps. This is done two or three times, and then the corn is sowed. We had visitors in the afternoon.
Thursday 9th. This is my dear brother's birthday; he is 58 years old. Harriet drove me to my nephew Edward Browne's; where I was introduced to my new niece and her sweet, pretty, lively son. E. B. was not at home. Mrs B and her babe returned with us to tea.
On Saturday we had visitors who staid tea.
Sunday 12th. I accompanied my brother, his wife and son to church at Guelph, five miles distant. The church has been partly rebuilt of late years, by way of enlarging the accommodation. The new part is most substantial, in the Norman style, and beautifully finished. It is intended at some future time to pull down the old part and complete the structure - so that they are literally building half a church at a time. Mr Palmer has been the incumbent ever since my brother has lived in Guelph. He is a clever man and a good reader, and the services are extremely well conducted, precisely as in our own country, except that by the order of the bishop, the offertory is read after the sermon, and a collection made from pew to pew every Sunday. The congregation never appeared to me very large, although collected from the adjacent country, even to eight or ten miles distance, there being no other places of worship within considerable distances. But a variety of sects are represented in Guelph - Roman Catholic, the three principle sections of the Scotch church - Methodists, Independents, etc. I returned with Edward Browne to dine, and he drove me to my brother's after tea. On passing the creek near the Brownes' I heard the very peculiar sound emitted by the bull frogs - not unlike a Jew's harp.
Monday 12th. I paid my first visit to a log house. On returning I first heard the whip-poor-will.
Tuesday 13th. We were I think alone.
Wednesday 15th. Mrs Thurtell drove me to Captain Vale's, a very comfortable house - partly log, partly frame. The garden and ground are in nice training to make a very pretty place. The Canadian houses have generally verandahs, which in the summer are great comforts. We had a lovely drive home, and as we passed through the lower ground, the air was made brilliant by the myriads of fireflies which shot across our road, and I again distinctly heard the whip-poor-wills. The weather is daily becoming hotter, but there is great freshness in the air.
16th Thursday at home. Heat excessive, the thermometer on the 14th and 15th had been 92 - 91 in the shade.
Friday Mrs E. Browne came. Rain in the evening, which cooled down the atmosphere.
Sunday we were all prepared to go to church, when the announcement reached us that the shaft of the carriage had been broken in putting in the horse. A splice was effected and we began our drive; but had not proceeded far, when the piece loosened and we were obliged to return, and my brother went to town on horseback. Had we not wasted time in patching the fracture, the horses could have been put to the waggon - formerly their only conveyance - and I should have been introduced to the tender mercies of these gentle cars, but it was already too late to arrive in time for service and we had all of us to miss going to church except my brother. The air was warm, but not oppressive. The longest day in this latitude is an hour and half shorter than in England and the shortest day an hour and half longer. The twilight is shorter than with us, but Canada is not destitute of that musing moody hour. (Thermometer 84, fine, clear air.)
Monday and Tuesday 20th and 21st. We were at home without visitors. My brother was in Guelph on town business. Thermometer 90 both days.
Wednesday 22nd. Thermometer 91. Mrs T and I walked to a log barn raising. The logs were ready cut and oxen to which they were fastened dragged them to the places as knowingly, winding in and out among the logs, as if they perfectly understood their business. Sixteen or eighteen men raised the log to its height. Men stationed at the corners of the building received, or rather placed, it and with their axe a small groove was chopped and the log firmly fixed. The men who superintended the corners were responsible for the logs being placed square, etc. These were usually selected as the most expert builders, others being only required to lift. When the walls became high, the logs were raised by means of poles with notches at the end and the last tiers of logs were lifted by ropes passed under them. They were soon adjusted in their places, the work being made light by plenty of hands. But log buildings are going out of date, more substantial ones being now within the reach of most of the settlers. The day's work is enhanced by good humour and good cheer. (This is called a bee.)
We had many visitors to tea, and in the morning I had the pleasure of seeing my dear niece Elizabeth Cooper, her husband and two children. I could have recognized her anywhere, but the family complexion is greatly heightened by the excessive heat of this climate, and careless exposure to the air. She is to stay with me a few days, and I am to go and see her, but I fear only once - she lives at so great a distance.
Friday 24th. Elizabeth, her children, Harriet and I drove to call upon the Mickles. We afterwards took tea at Mrs Browne's, and had a charming drive home, but poor E suffered severely from tic douloureux.
Saturday 25th. Mrs T. drove us again to Mrs Browne's and we returned to tea at the McCreas' - a most complete log farmstead and house, the cow house particularly comfortable for the poor beasts.
Sunday 26th. My brother, Harriet, Mr Davie, George, and myself went to church.
Monday rain all day. A letter from Sarah Everitt, posted the 9th., arrived in 17 days. Heard of my nephew's safe arrival in New York. We were both of us in that city at the same time - and through the negligence of the post office people missed seeing each other!!!!
Tuesday 28th. We had many visitors. Mr and Mrs Palmer, and two young ladies among others.
Wednesday 29th. We drank tea at the Coopers'.
Thursday 30th. Dear Elizabeth and her children left. Mr And Mrs Murton came to tea.
Friday July 1st. We went to a party at Mr Squires'. We were all Suffolk and Norfolk people. There were to have been sixteen. The house was a most incommodious one, but everything was arranged for the best, and very comfortably, and we passed a very agreeable evening. My brother was prevented from coming for us, as he had promised to do. Mrs T staid later than usual expecting him, and we altogether made an unnecessary business of returning - as Mr Cooper rode on horseback before us, and it was a lovely starlight night, which enabled us to pilot our way amidst the many discrepancies of our nevertheless good road - but Mrs T. was too timid to drive, and we accepted the services of Mr Squires' eldest son.
Saturday we drove to Guelph.
Sunday went to church. On our return, we were overtaken with a real earnest Canadian shower, which only lasted a few minutes, but sent us home in the condition of drowned rats. The weather during the week has been warm, but there has been a very pleasant freshness in the air. We have had great variations in the degrees of heat, ranging as high as 92 in the shade; and the week before last, there was one frosty night, and one evening in which we were glad of a fire. The changeableness of our English climate seems to me no greater than that of other countries - South Africa, Australia, and America, to wit, for in both the former mentioned portions of country I have friends, who have especially remarked upon the sudden changes of temperature. It is probably the humidity of our English climate which is so much inveighed against. Here, although the air has been very hot, it has been seldom oppressive; there is a very pleasant freshness and pureness.
Tuesday July 5th. A glorious day. Harriet drove me to Puslinch. We had some amusing adventures with our cunning old horse, but at length we reached my dear niece Ellen Mickle's residence. The last half mile, when we turned off the turnpike, introduced me to a real bush road, and a sufficiently formidable one it was. At length we turned into the enclosure, where stood my niece's log house, and all the paraphernalia belonging to a steam saw mill. We had to pilot our way amongst the decapitated stumps, where there seemed just short space. We had to pass over a sort of bridge with some of the planks broken, as if to enveigle a poor horse's foot, but Harriet assured me their horse was too clever to put his feet in any such traps - and at length I had the pleasure of beholding my dear niece Ellen, surrounded by her little ones - and a most interesting young mother and wife she appeared to me. Her face too, I perfectly remembered, but she would not have known me. She is just 26 years old and has six children, her youngest born a week after my arrival in Guelph. Our visit was a most pleasant one. Dear Ellen was well enough to bear our interminable chats. The house is an awkward one, built pro tempore - it had one large parlour. We were sitting at work one morning when a man knocked at the door, and wanted to see the "old woman" - Mr M. being out of the way. He had come to pay money, and had an order to give for timber, and he thought the "old woman" would do. This is the appellation the common Scotch people use one towards another - it is not intended disrespectfully and is said without (as we have seen) any reference to age; it sounded very oddly to my ears.
Harriet and I left on the Thursday afternoon - we had a curious adventure with a dog. We stopped an hour for shopping in Guelph and reached home about 8 o'clock.
Friday July 8th. Mrs Thurtell and I went to a horticultural show in Guelph. There were two very curious swamp plants, some nice bouquets, and a few good flowers. But nothing very recherché - in fact the show was too early: the fruit was not ripe, and not in much variety. There were some fine lettuces, and rhubarb, peas, French and Windsor beans, spinach, cucumbers, potatoes - asparagus was nearly off - and the onions, parsnips, carrots, and beetroot were small. This society is at present in its infancy, and the season had been unfavourable; but the next show is expected to be rich in autumnal fruit and flowers, plums being particularly fine in this country.
July 9th. I had a busy day at home.
Sunday 10th. Mr Stewart preached.
Monday July 11th. Harriet and I went by stage to Galt on our way to see Elizabeth. Mr & Mrs Thompson called on us and we returned with them, and staid till nearly ten o'clock. Mrs T. looked very delicate. On Tuesday we shopped; and afterwards dined with the Thompsons, Mr T. kindly driving us to St. George. The country was very undulating and pretty, but dreadfully dusty. We passed many farmhouses - some of them good stone or brick buildings. There were good orchards to all, and the ripe corn gave such a golden colour to everything that we enjoyed the drive, despite the horrid clouds of dust and the long dusty miles. We reached Mrs Cooper's, with whom we had a cosy visit of five clear days, but at length parting time came, for it was too far for me to venture again. And she was not in a state again to visit me.
I felt very poorly on Monday the 18th and was much concerned to leave Elizabeth surrounded with so many troubles, but her health and spirits are excellent; and she and her husband seem most deeply attached to each other - but his health is bad and prospects by no means cheering. This was my first parting - but great had been my pleasure in meeting with all these dear relatives, and the sorrow of passing had to be gone through as the "bitter herbs" to every "sweet morsel". We were engaged to dine with the Thompsons on our way back and Mrs. T. had insisted upon asking my brother, who was to meet us at Galt, to join us. But what a change had come over Mr & Mrs T. in one short week! Severe symptoms of chest disease had attacked Mrs T. Her medical men had urged a return to England, as the only chance for her recovery and arrangements were already made for that purpose. The auction was fixed, they were in the midst of packing and were hoping to leave in a few days. Poor Mrs T's state made it doubtful how she might bear her long voyage home. Since my return, I have learned that at Quebec, Mr Thompson was attacked with brain fever, and that his poor enfeebled wife had to nurse him night and day - she had not had her clothes off for nine nights! But it pleased God to spare him, and I am glad to hear she seems in better health. I desire to thank God for the health given to me for this undertaking. My brother met us at Galt, and we had a charming drive home, but I felt too poorly to enjoy it.
Tuesday, I was attacked with heat eruption.
Wednesday 20th. I still felt poorly; but went to the Mickles' in the evening, the party having been made for me and the weather clear and warm, I ventured.
Thursday 21st. Dear Ellen, her husband, and two children arrived.
Friday 22nd. My dear brother brought home a letter from our long-lost nephew Edward B. T. from whom no one had heard for many years. My brother had at my request written to the postmaster of his last address requesting measures to be taken to ascertain his fate; which letter had produced this answer. But Edward had just previously received a letter from his brother, had missed the chance of seeing him, and had thrown off his incognito, by first writing to him. He has a wife and five children, and is farming in Wisconsin State. He is in good health and tolerable circumstances, having surmounted great difficulties by his own exertions, industry and frugality - poor fellow! He has made a great mistake, to have estranged himself from family and friends - from their affection, sympathy and perhaps help. He seems to feel deeply the having missed the chance of seeing his brother.
Saturday. I have just dispatched the letter to his sister Mrs James Sherrington; it will be welcome news to his mother, brother and sisters, who seem fully to have believed him dead.
Sunday 24th. I felt too poorly to go to church. Received letters from Oxborough and London.
Monday 25th. I have written to Edward begging him to come and see me. I forgot to say how pleased my brother, his wife, and family all were to hear of Edward's safety; they each remember him with great affection.
Tuesday. Ellen Mickle, Harriet, and I drove to Guelph for the purpose of shopping - we had a tiring afternoon.
Wednesday 27th. My brother began harvest - weather fine and clear, the thermometer 76. It has since I last noted been ranging between 72 and 89. We had a party at home - the Mickles, Vales, etc.
Thursday 28th. Dear Ellen and her children left, promising to give me another look at them before I left.
29th. Benjamin drove his wife and I to Elora - we had a capital turnpike road all the way. As usual very hilly, and very high hills were cut down 10 or 20 feet and thrown into the valley, leaving still tremendous long hills, but the incline made gradual and easy. There was some very pretty scenery, and especially about Elora itself, which is only one remove from the bush. The river and its banks are very picturesque but I did not see them to advantage, on account of the long drought. One must not separate beauty in this new country - from large clearings of unsightly stumps - there they will remain for some years (causing beauty to weep), in the woods, and in the plains, amongst the houses and gardens, they stand thickly, like guardian angels or wood demons according to your fancy - but still the village has many very pretty points. One has to see these temporary uglinesses, as though one saw them not. Elora seems a thriving place, it has its horticultural shews. And I walked through the gayest garden I have seen in Canada; belonging to Mr Newman, who has married one of Mr Farrow's daughters. He is a great gardener and is living in a pretty cottage in his garden - but a good house (brick or stone) is building close by, on high ground, commanding a beautiful view of the river and country. We had a most pleasant day and I accompanied Mrs Baker home, as far as I went her road, as she had brought her sister and left her with her Aunt Farrow. Mrs Farrow I thought more altered than any person I had met out.
Benjamin says he has 8 combines of fine white wheat per acre this year. The whole sum of taxes he pays amount to about [?] an acre, and these the inhabitants impose on themselves by municipal council, and expend themselves. No rent, and no tithes, Mister Alexander. The horses in this country have suffered much from the new gravel turnpike roads. The old ones did not like travelling upon them at first. No horses had bad feet, however much worked, on the old wretched, dusty and hillocky roads.
Saturday at home.
Sunday 3ist. Thermometer 85. Went to church. No rain has fallen for a month - the cattle suffering much for want of water, as well as the land.
Monday August 1st. At home. Slight showers.
Tuesday 2nd. Harriet and I drove to Guelph to fit my dress, dust laid and the drive delightful.
Wednesday August 3rd. Mrs T. drove me to Guelph after a nurse for Elizabeth - the air soft, warm and dust not troublesome. This day Edward will I hope have received my letter.
5th. Mrs T. again gave old Kitty the treat of taking us to town to visit the cemetery; where already lie three of my nieces - Louisa, Mary, and Anne Everitt - and Mr Davie, whom I knew. The ground lies at the back of the town. A most substantial wall around it has just been completed. Each family secures a small enclosure, which is palisaded in. My brother's is a large oblong in the centre of the ground, which will hold 9 or 12 graves. A very neat white stone marks Louisa's grave, a smaller stone or two the two younger children. I also visited Mr Strowger's and Mrs Wilson's graves, but their stones have not been erected, as the town council have determined upon purchasing ground for a new cemetery at a distance from the town, and as soon as that is made ready, the old one will be closed. Mrs T. and I dined with the Bakers and then drove two miles out of town to take tea with Mrs George Murton (late Strowger). We called upon Mr Newson (one of the Hopton Newsons), but there was no one at home. No rain, the weather clear and fine - ther: 85 - my brother at home busy carting wheat. We had a fine drive home and I saw Mrs Newson. She and the children were gathering raspberries in the woods.
Sat. 6th. We drank tea at Edward Browne's to meet the Grensides, Vales and Mickles.
Sunday. Mr Stewart preached from 11 Hebrews 33rd verse.
8th. Monday. My brother finished getting up his wheat, the weather so dry, that the last two acres were cut and carried the same day. My brother, wife and self drank tea at Mr Davie's; he has kindly been keeping for me a register of the weather and has built me a model log house.
Tuesday at home. Heat excessive: thermometer 87 - but cloudy and hot.
Wed. Aug. 10th. Fine clear weather, heat 93. We drank tea at Mr McCrea's to meet a party.
Thursday Heat 94 degrees. We drank tea at Capt. Vale's. The gentlemen sat under the verandah and listened to our music etc. Miss V. dressed herself in an elegant Turkish dress belonging to her father and suited it very well.
Friday 12th. I had an invitation to the Hoggs', but did not go. Was glad to be at home. Ther: 98. Ponds and pumps drying up fearfully.
Saturday 13th. Heat and drought continue. Benjamin cut and carted pease.
Sunday 14th. Went to church. Day extremely hot, therm. 92. I looked out for my nephew Edward in the church, having been expecting him for some days, to the amusement of the rest of the party, who did not at all encourage my expectation of seeing him.
Monday 15th A little change of temperature and night cool but ther: 92. Miss Vale with us.
Tues. 16th. My brother drove to Guelph and brought Mr Strowger home to dinner. Mrs T. came in and said that he had also brought home with him Mr Wilson (which she thought). I had been chatting with Miss Vale, and at that moment had forgotten [my] expected visitor. I rose to speak to Mr Strowger and went forward to do the same to Mr Wilson. When I looked up, I saw that it was not Mr Wilson and was going to apologize for my familiar manner, when a twinkle in the eye, and a change of countenance brought to my remembrance my long lost nephew Edward Brookes Thurtell. Dear fellow! I felt truly glad to see him, and I hope gave him a warm welcome: it was 17 years since he had left England, where I last saw him, 15 since he had parted from his Canadian relatives, and 7 or 8 since he had been heard of at all; [so] that it seemed almost a resurrection. We none of us thought him more altered than the years and climate might lead us to expect. He is slightly grey, very scorched by the sun; his features wear an expression of patient endurance, almost painful to behold, yet he does not seem to be unhappy: but his fine eyes want buoyancy and cheerfulness. I was glad to find him very earnest and attentive, when any of his family or friends were spoken of; and his questions showed that he had forgotten no one. He seems much shut-up, but it is not a selfish concentration, for the more I have seen of him, the more his own thoughtful kind persevering character comes out. If the casket be somewhat lowered from the hard pressure of circumstances, and want of suitable association, his heart is still right and just and true, and his principles of a very high character. He has come at a time when leave-taking visitors are filling our rooms every day, which hinders our free communication; and Edward is of a reserved temperament, requiring drawing out. We were all however too glad to see him amongst us again, to suffer vain regrets to interrupt our still abundant opportunities of communication. As we saw more of him and occasionally drew forth smiles and sallies of temporary merriment, the expression of his countenance became less painful; but still, the habitual mould of his face, and cast of expression, is thoughtful, enduring; but kind, and with no tinge of moroseness.
Wednesday. A large Suffolk invited party invaded our precious moments, but to many of them Edward was known, and all welcomed him amongst them again - the Vales, McCreas, Squires, etc.
Thursday. I do not remember that we had any visitors.
Friday 18th Mr And Mrs Farrer [Farrow??] came to stay all night - house already full!
Saturday 19th. Ellen Mickle, her babe and second girl came for the farewell visit - she was delighted to welcome her cousin. Elizabeth was not able to come and see him, and lived too far off for us to spare him to visit her.
Sunday 20th. Edward felt poorly. I went to church. The Brownes added to our tea table party.
Monday 21st. Edward drove his Aunt Ellen M and myself to call upon the Hawes, a real bush drive, in which we encountered corduroy roads, precipitous slopes, stones of all dimensions, and all the disagreeables of new country. Travelling far more fit for waggons than spring carriages. We went very slowly and lightened the springs by part of us walking. This primitive road led to land newly cleared, where Mr & Mrs Hawes were settled in a comfortable log house of their own building - and convenient farming premises were near - but we passed through a colony of stumps to reach the house, and where they were not hidden by the tall corn, there was nothing to be seen but the skirting woods and stumps. Part of the stump lawn was to be converted into gardens and orchard. Prospects were bright and promising, the proprietors satisfied and happy. They liked the country, were proud of their location and property, and sent all sorts of thankful messages to their friends. They went every Sunday to Guelph, 7 miles off, to a place of worship, in their own waggon, rough roads being no drawback to them; they were soon expecting to have a buggy. The ground about them was broken and when the hideous stumps are removed, they will have a pretty place. Their position is so independent and so improving that I do not wonder at the fondness with which they look upon their daily creations around them.
Tuesday 22nd. Dear Ellen and I parted - the house full of leave-taking guests.
On Wednesday, Mr & Mrs Richardson came to dinner. These were grievous interruptions, but obliged to be put up with. Mrs T. drove me to pay a farewell visit to the elder Mickles, when we met Mr & Mrs Murton on their way to our home - where we had been obliged to leave the Richardsons - and this was our dear Edward's last day, for on Thursday morning as early as six o'clock he was off to Guelph, in time to take the Hamilton stage which leaves at 7. We parted with dear Edward thus early in the day to give him some daylight at Hamilton, that he might have a daguerreotype likeness of himself taken for me to bring with me to his family - and Harriet availed herself of the opportunity of driving him for the sake of an hour's chat, and now have we again all of us parted with our lately found and dear relation: most of us forever.
In the morning, I was busy packing; and in the afternoon Mr& Mrs Edward Browne came to make their farewell visit - and on Friday August 25th at 7 o'clock in the morning, I took leave of my dear Guelph relations, except of my brother, who was driving me to Hamilton; cast my last lingering looks upon the interesting and familiar scenes of the last 12 weeks, endeared to me by so much affectionate attention; and "girding up the loins of my mind" - amidst all the glories of a fine warm clear summer morning - and the pleasure of travelling gently along (my dear brother still with me) - a pleasant past, scarcely out of sight - my face homewards - this painful separation, one of the conditions with which this long thought of journey had been undertaken. One of [the] things for which I came amongst them -[to the place?] I dared not give way to any but thankful feelings for that abundance of mercy which had carried me out in safety; and to which I was again earnestly committing myself that I might be brought home again in peace.
We had a delightful drive to Hamilton, 31 or 32 miles. At Guelph, we stopped for a few minutes at Mr Baker's, where Capt. Vale met us. At Puslinch, 7 or 8 miles further, dear Ellen Mickle's two elder children met us, with the request that we would go and lunch there, but my brother felt it best to decline this. We stayed at a small halfway house hotel, dined and rested our horse, and again we traversed the but partially cleared forest land between Guelph and Hamilton [on] the turnpike road, excellent through miles of lofty bare-looking trees: more like forests of untrimmed masts than the noble widely spreading trees of our own country. About Dundas, the scenery was very grand, the ground here having risen from undulations to a mountainous and picturesque character, and we found ourselves on the summit of one of these gigantic hills, with a most beautiful and varied valley at our feet, which we had to cross, but we had also to descend from our eminence, an exploit too perilous for my taste in the carriage; and my brother kindly permitted me to walk, while he tacked his horse from side to side of the spacious and excellent road and reached the valley in safety. We passed under a railroad in the course of making. The country was now better cultivated, the farm houses were better, and the gardens and orchards more luxuriant, the scenery varied and pretty. Our long journey had everything but the coming cloud to make it delightful. At length we reached Hamilton and were soon enjoying on the balcony of our comfortable hotel, the beauties of the fine summer evening. Here Charles Cooper, the husband of my dear niece Elizabeth met us, with tidings that she was going on well since her confinement. He had kindly brought me a model of a log house but I found it so large, that I did not venture to bring it away.
On the Saturday morning, an omnibus conveyed us to the wharf, where a most extraordinary scene of noise, bully and bluster was enacted by men from each of the three large steamers lying there; to induce the passengers to select one or the other, as any one voice could gain the ascendancy in the outrageous chorus. We selected the champion, a noble vessel, and were soon on the placid bosom of Lake Ontario, on our way to Toronto - weather still everything that was enjoyable. Toronto is a fine English-looking town, beautifully situated on the lake, spreading itself along its side from west to east on rising ground. At a short distance from the city, overlooking the lake, is the fine asylum for lunatics, and further back embosomed in trees, but very conspicuous, is the new and highly ornamented building of Trinity College. A curious narrow strip of land running into the lake forms a harbour here, and by half past 10 o'clock we were on shore. King Street, the main artery of the city, runs from east to west and this is intersected by numerous short streets at right angles - so that every few minutes in traversing the great thoroughfare, one's eves are regaled by the green waters of the beautiful lake. We visited the Town Hall, post office, market house, etc. At the latter were the first peaches I had seen this year and most delicious ones they proved. After an early dinner, we drove to the fine asylum with a frontage of 500 feet towards the lake and another handsome front towards the country. It has 100 acres of land enclosed, which in garden and corn land is cultivated by the inmates. This is a county charge and all the different townships have presentations for pauper lunatics, while it also receives those who can pay for separate apartments. I passed through some of the wards, but the sight was very painful. I was not gratified to find my own sex maintaining the characteristics of loquacity in their wreck of mind.
I missed driving through College Avenue, the fashionable and pleasant promenade and drive, as my brother and the cabman could not agree to terms. In the morning, my brother and I had a very nice walk through a long new street in which very fine houses were erecting.
Sunday August 28th. We went to the new cathedral: it is a beautiful building, not yet finished - the foundation left for a tower, to be added at some future time - bishop not present. We had a nice service - not intoned as in our cathedral, chanting and singing very good; the organ, said to be the finest in America, built at Montreal. No omnibus in the streets on the Sabbath - no cabs on the stands. My brother's barber could not shave him on the Sabbath day - "he did not wish to do so - bye-laws of the city did not allow him". Still, from what I saw, I cannot think the Americans a churchgoing people. The congregations did not appear to me large and they have but few evening services. In the evening, my brother and I went to a small Scotch church which we had entered in the morning while waiting for our own services, and found there Judge McLean, whom my brother knew. He had, according to Canadian law, been associate judge with him, and I was introduced to him. He was a mild-looking gentlemanly person, and was teaching or superintending the school duties going on in the church. The evening congregation was very small. Before retiring to rest, my dear brother adjourned to the dining room of the hotel with me, for our last chat.
On the Monday morning, Mr & Mrs Charles Mickle came to the hotel on his way to the bush on business. My dear brother made all the arrangements for me he could, and soon came the hour for parting. He saw me on board the Meynet Steamer for Montreal and while the boat was filling and the preparations making for starting, we stood looking listlessly one at the other, now and again exchanging a sentence or two. At length the minute came for him to go on shore, and we exchanged our last kiss, our last pressure of the hand, and he passed the plank and he stood with his arms folded looking towards me - I at him, and they were looks I shall never forget. We were waiting the arrival of a boat from the Falls. In the pressure of the incoming throng of passengers, two of my fellow-passengers across the Atlantic accosted me. I spoke to them, turning my eyes from my brother and when again my eyes reverted to the place where he had stood, they saw him no more! He had turned away, as his letters since tell me, because he felt the scene too painfully to be able to bear it any longer.
But at this instant our cable was loosened, and I was on my way to Montreal and thus was ended, a most interesting and delightful meeting - so unexpected that it seems to be a link between time and eternity; and a most bright, pleasant, happy peek at my dear brother, his family, friends, locality, etc. it has been. May we both be the better for it. I have had the satisfaction of leaving him in good health, in independent circumstances (although not rich), fully satisfied in his position and happy in it, surrounded by family and friends, and loved and valued by them. He has been many years a magistrate, the duties of which office are his pleasure and relaxation. He is also a reeve of his township; and has been three times warden or mayor - the mayoralty extending over 17 districts. Altogether, I have seldom seen a more useful or happy man. He is kind to all, disinterested and faithful in all his dealings, and this seems to me the secret of the regard in which he is so evidently held; integrity and kindness; and so dear brother, dear nieces, adieu. I must finish in another book the short story of my safe return to England.