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



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February 25, 1853

Napoleon and the Duke d’Anghien

February 25th

A beautiful day but with scarce any wind. Only 84 miles today, rather slow work, but I am very hopeful that we shall make it up somewhere on our way to San Francisco and have a short voyage of it.

Williams and Willie better today. Have had my hair shaved for the last time today; it has been shaved three times, once a week. The barber said it ought to have been done four times, but Williams said “no, three is enough.” I think he is very anxious that my hair should grow out again as fast as possible. He likes not to see me in this wig – neither do I. However, I care not much living in hope of a fine head of hair.

How lovely my birdie does sing – one can almost fancy being in the country and surrounded by beautiful green fields, trees and lovely hills. When he pours forth his voice in such joyous continuous warbling, I am glad I have the little creature with me.

I have been reading some chapters in Napoleon this morning; was much interested particularly in his account of the Duke d’Enghien. It has always seemed like such a dark plot on Napoleon and I never before so fully understood the motive by which Napoleon actuated. Napoleon was justly exasperated by the wrongs he was constantly receiving from the Emigrants with the Bourbons at their head, and was thus rashly lead on to do a deed he afterwards felt regret for. But if a man ever had provocation for such a deed, Napoleon had – and this account is certainly the most satisfactory as regards Bonaparte as any I ever read; the clearest, fullest.

February 27, 1853

The Astor House NYC

February 27th

Yesterday and today both very fine; just warm enough to make it delightful summer weather. And yet we may expect it very warm, if not hot weather, being between eight and nine hundred miles north of the Equator.

Williams, to my great joy, feels a good deal better today. Dear Williams, I hope he will improve as much or more every day. How thankful I ought to be when I think of his wonderful escape. This evening, while walking on deck, we spoke of Mr. Carey who had a similar fall just one week after Williams. But oh! how different the result; he, Mr. Carey, so very much injured. I suppose it will yet be a long time before he can even leave his room. As we spoke, my thoughts rose in praying thankfulness to our kind Heavenly Father and in supplication for blessings for my own beloved husband.

I have been thinking much of the dear children we left behind us. God grant that they are well and happy, and may He bless them and keep them from every evil, and permit us all to meet again. Dear Franky, I hope he gets along well at school and that they will take good care of him. I hope his poor ears are quite well. I am sorry that I forgot to give him parting directions concerning them. How fortunate I am in having two such stepchildren. I love them dearly and they are so good and affectionate. I only wish that we could be more together, and when together have a more quiet, pleasant time. Our last visit was most unfortunate – Williams sick most of the time and the latter part all company or going out. And so it was with our visit a year ago; bustle and excitement from beginning to end. I was glad to get back to sea both times. There is very little comfort at a Hotel, that is, situated as we are when there. My only home feeling is on board our ship. I do sincerely hope our next visit home will be much more quiet and pleasant and that I will have more time to give my children and be able to take them out with me so that we all shall have a very enjoyable time.

 Have just this moment finished giving Noah his lesson. He says he wants much to learn to read English well. I do not think he acts much as if he did. He is not always ready, complains of want of time, but that is nonsense, for if he chooses or was anxious he could find plenty of time.

Willie seems quite well today. Dear little fellow, he enjoyed his play fairly this afternoon. Mary sitting him upon a piece of square canvas used for covering a skylight and then taking two ends in her hand, drew him around the deck for a long time, and he was perfectly delighted. His eyes shone like stars, so bright and clear they looked in their dark blue light. I hope his eyes will always look as dark. They are a beautiful deep, dark blue and the shape of them is perfect, but I fear they will grow lighter. Blue eyes are so apt to and I do not think that even now they are as dark as they used to be – it may be fancy only.

Yesterday, I took under my particular protection and care one of our boy sailors – a son of Judge Campbell of New York. He is a little delicate fellow sent to sea on account of his health. His mother, though a stranger, called to see me at the Astor House and told me all about this son – the sea being recommended, and yet her dread to part with one so delicate. I could enter fully into her feelings and promised to do all I could for him in case he should be sick or need my care in any way. He has been sick with his old complaint, some difficulty about the chest, ever since we left. Another painful disease. So yesterday, or day before, I was finally successful in urging Williams in letting him come to me – as my going even for a few moments out to see him Williams would not hear of. I am glad he is in the Cabin. The poor little fellow is very unwell and feels sad and homesick, though he struggles like a little man to keep up. I feel very much interested in him. He is an intelligent, pleasant, and very gentlemanly little fellow. I hope he will become well and strong, but Williams does not think he will. I read and talked to him and tried to cheer him up. He is most grateful for all that is done.

I have been reading “Mrs. Ware’s Memoirs” – read some last Sunday, keep it a sort of a Sunday book. Have been rather disappointed in it today, got tired of reading – do not find that interest as yet that I expected. Presume it will be more interesting as I read on. So far, it has been almost entirely letters written to an intimate friend. They are very personal and read more like religious dissertations. No doubt but she was an excellent and superior woman and I shall become more interested. Last evening, I finished all I have of Abbot, “Napoleon”. It is aggravating to read so good and interesting a work in this way. When it is all published, I shall read it again in one continuous whole.

Today one hundred and sixty odd miles – hope tomorrow we shall make more.

Tomorrow, I must commence a letter ether to Franky or Horatia – in case we may have an opportunity to send.

Tomorrow evening I hope Williams will re-commence reading aloud. It will make it so much pleasanter. I shall be glad when he has finished with his newspapers as they, so far, have constituted about his only reading.

February 28, 1853


February 28th

Another fine day, good wind all day. We are now about six hundred miles from the equator – gained two hundred and four miles today.

Williams feels much better, for this I am rejoiced. Willie quite well – full of fun and frolic. Williams thinks I give too much of my time to poor little sick Colin Campbell, and in consequence neglect my Willie boy. I read one of the Arabian Night’s Tales, or rather part of a long one, to the poor child this morning. He was suffering sadly from pains in his chest and side, also from a headache, and looked so sad and lonely that from my heart I pitied him. Was glad to be able to read and so afford him any amusement. I also played three games of chess with him early this morning and found him a much better player than myself. This is all I have done for him this day, except talking to him occasionally for a few moments. I hardly think, as Williams fears, that my Willie boy’s love will be weaned from me.

This evening, and indeed every evening lately, I played backgammon for about an hour with Williams and afterwards a few games of cards. For a wonder I kept awake. I don’t know why it is, but cards almost invariably put me to sleep. Let me be ever so wide awake when I commence, soon my eyelids began to feel wondrous heavy and my head will nod. I love this not. I used to like a game well enough occasionally, but have had so much of them ever since being at sea that their sight almost makes me sick.

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