Sarah’s Journal2021-12-20T02:45:12+00:00

SARAH’S JOURNAL

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August 13, 1853

Casa Garden & Camoes Grotto

August 13th

This morning Williams and self reading articles on Japan. I expressed a wish for a map. Williams sent into Mr. Nye for one. He sent us a large illustrated work on the Japan Empire, published more than 100 years ago, having a chart attached to it. Spent some time looking over engravings and contents and intend doing the same again.

At twelve I dressed to make calls with Williams. Just as we were going down the steps to take our chairs, Commodore Perry, Captain Adams, Lt. Contee and Mr. De Silva made their appearances. We walked back with them to the drawing rooms. During the course of conversation, I inquired of the Commodore concerning his family, and then brought myself to recollection by mentioning my maiden name. He instantly claimed me for a cousin saying of course that it was a great pleasure thus unexpectedly to find one so far from home. I had quite a chat with Lt. Contee who looked bright and lively. Captain Adams’ face I liked much but as he sat some distance from me, merely a word or two passed between us. The Commodore inquired most particularly about Mary Lewis, now Mrs. A.C. Richards, telling me that when I wrote to my cousin Mary I must remember him most particularly to her and moreover said tell her “that I admire her as much as it was possible for man to admire woman”.

After they left us, we went on our way to make calls. Found Mrs. De Silva out. Then went to Mr. Spooner’s, it being their reception day and found all home. Also found the Commodore and his friends there. The Commodore welcomed and introduced me as his unexpectedly found cousin. Sat between Mrs. Spooner and Lt. Contee and we soon resumed our pleasant chat aided by Mrs. Spooner. The pleasure of a winter residence at Canton were spoken of – its private theatricals mentioned. He said the sailors often amused them while at sea in the same way, having quantities of all kinds and sorts of dresses. I then asked if they entertained them with the table moving. He knew not what I meant, never till that moment having heard of it. Mrs. Spooner then commenced an account of her sister’s experiences on the subject, but in the midst of it the Commodore rose to leave and the gentleman had to leave with his curiosity all unsatisfied.

Our next call was on Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Redner – to me a very interesting one. We then called, Williams particularly wishing it, at the Nye’s. It was also their reception day. I told Mrs. Nye we had come to make a formal call – all laughed and welcomed us in state. We met the Baron de Cercal there. While there, Mr. Nye mentioned to him the absorbing topic of “table moving” – he shook his head most incredulously, but Mr. Nye producing the “Book and Key”, showed him that experiment which seemed much to stagger him. A few moments after taking leave and reaching my own drawing room, the Baron de Cercal was introduced. He is a Portuguese Baron living at Macao, visiting and visited by most of the foreigners. He was pleasant and on leaving said he would do himself the pleasure of bringing his wife to call on me. The Governor also sent me his card.

In the afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Munroe, Miss Nye, Mr. Perdie, Williams and self visited the Casa Garden. I had visited it several times before and was most anxious to go again. It is indeed a lovely spot – abundance of fine trees shading the beautiful winding walks and one is constantly meeting with immense rocks, sometimes single, at others piled one upon another. The cave of Camoes, the Portuguese poet, is a place of great attraction. It is a curious place, composed of three immense rocks – two standing upright several feet apart, the third resting immediately over the aperture, forming a cool and sheltered room open at either end. Here the poet had his table, desk and chair and committed to paper his inspirations. Truly it is a place to awaken all poetical feelings. I gathered some leaves from the rock so that I might press and carry them along with me. I looked for a singular tree I had seen there some two years before. I was successful in finding it. It is called the Jack fruit tree. The fruit is large, resembling in shape a watermelon, and grows on off the trunk branches of the tree. The tree is a very large one and presents a singular appearance with this large fruit clustering around it.

In the evening Mr. De Silva called, came to explain to Williams that there was no misunderstanding between us as Williams seems to think, and had written him to that effect. He made a very pleasant call – I like much what I have seen of him.

August 14, 1853

Protestant Church

August 14th

A beautiful Sabbath day though rather warm – these bright sunshiny days here are almost too bright for this clime. A cloudy day that shades the sun is far more preferable. However, from our side windows we have a charming breeze and in front of one of these in my delightful sky-parlor I sit writing in the morning.

Mr. Endicott and Mr. Hunt called this morning. Capt. Endicott seems very pleasant. I mentioned to him my regret that Commodore Perry’s ship, the Susquehanna, had gone up to Cum-sing-moon, as I had hoped to have gone on board of her had she remained here. He immediately offered me the use of his fine little sailing vessel that carries him between here and Cum-sing-moon, saying that if I would but make up a party and visit him on board his ship stationed there, he would take us on board of the Susquehanna with much pleasure. A party I could make up immediately and would do so if Williams but remained here. But he leaves for Canton tomorrow very much to my sorrow and regret.

In the afternoon we went to church services commencing at five. Both went in chairs and found it very warm going. The Chapel is a small but pleasant room situated by the side of Casa Garden and has attached to it the burying ground. Mr. Gray, the English minister of Canton officiated. He spoke so fast and indistinctly that even Williams with his sharp ears could not understand more than one half of what he said. As for myself, I heard but a word here and there. Coming home we took the road round the hill leading us down on the Praia. It is a charming walk – most of it by the side of the water – though high above. Mr. and Mrs. S.W. Williams took tea and spent the evening with us.

August 16, 1853

Macao Walks

August 16th

Another bright warm day – the mosquitos multiplying fast. I do wish they would leave me alone, but go where I will, they ever find me out.

Last night at half past eleven my own beloved husband left me, and I feel but like half myself this morning for thou, my own beloved one, art away. It seems as if on thee Williams my very life depended. Thou hast made thyself all in all to me, with thee and my Willie I am supremely happy, perfectly satisfied. God bless thee dearest and keep thee from all sickness and harm and bring thee soon again to thy own loving wife. Williams expected to have left me about one or two yesterday but on account of taking in coal they put off departure till midnight as it was a beautiful moonlight night. No doubt they found it pleasanter than traveling in the hot day. Steamboat accommodations in this country being very poor, such as might have existed thirty or more years ago in our own.

In the morning we had a call from Lt. Contee. He, for some reason, wants to return home, and wants to take passage with us.

Just before he left the Rev. Mr. Gray called. He made us a pleasant and rather amusing call. Told us a long story of his losing his way some time ago while traveling overland to Cum-sing-moon and just escaping a decided stroke of the sun. As it was, he did not entirely escape. He talked at railroad speed, said much of the ladies. He has no doubt been much flattered by them and thinks himself of no little consequence.

Mr. William Lewis also called. He was very pleasant.

After seeing our Willie boy with Mary take his departure for the, to him, delightful afternoon walk, we soon got ready for ours also. I took my chair, Williams walking by my side, but as we got out into the road, I joined him in his walk. We walked up round the same hill we did the afternoon before. These hills have a most picturesque effect crowned as they often are by forts and flags flying. We wound round the hill till we approached the water side – after walking a little distance, the coolie placed my chair seat on the stone parapet and there we took our seats. The view from here was very fine. In front of us was the bay. At some distance, the Nine Islands beyond them. A high island peak with the summit peeping above a long white cloud that rested on the mountain. High land met our view in every direction and land 25 or 30 miles distant looked clear and distinct, so fine was the state of the atmosphere. There we sat for some time chatting and enjoying the cool sea breeze and the pleasant sound of the water dashing over the rocks beneath us. But all things must end, and we returned towards the old road.

There we found Mrs. Fischer sitting in solitude on the parapet. We talked with her awhile when she concluded to join us in our walk home. On reaching the Praia we were joined by Mr. Hunt who told me that he had just parted with my Willie who, tired of waiting for his mamma, had gone on with his nurse. Here Mrs. Fischer took her chair and leave, and I hurried on to overtake my Willie, but it was not to be. We met several friends, and all would stop and talk. Among them, Mrs. Nye and party. We promised to go there to tea.

Soon he joined me and while hearing him his prayers and evening hymns, Mr. and Mrs. De Silva called. They made a very pleasant call of an hour. Williams sent in word by the boy to Mrs. Nye not to wait for us. Mrs. De Silva told me an amusing story connected with Capt. Endicott. It seemed some two or three years ago a captain and his wife came out there and visited Capt. Endicott one evening on board his ship. There happened to be another gentleman present. A short time after, the husband of this lady died, they having left this part of China meanwhile. This third gentleman who was present at Capt. Endicott’s bethought him that he would like to have this same lady for his wife. He wrote her to that effect and if the offer pleased her, wished that she would join him. The lady came, but unfortunately she had mistaken the gentleman, supposing the person who wrote her to have been Capt. Endicott who happened that evening to be very talkative and amusing, while on the contrary, the other gentleman was extremely quiet, hardly spoke, and in consequence made no impression or was forgotten by the lady. When all was explained, the fair one concluded to conceal her disappointment and marry the one who sent for her. Before they left, we took a stroll through our beautiful garden lit by the moonlight.

It was nine when they left. We then left for Mr. Nye’s. Met Mr. Nye just coming out of his gate to see what had become of us, he not having understood the message carried by the boy and consequently were waiting tea till that late hour. We spent a very pleasant evening leaving a little after ten. Mr. Nye has a very large and fine spy glass. It was wheeled out on the terrace and we enjoyed a fine view of the moon and of Jupiter. Mr. Nye also went up to Canton.

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