The Crimean War
Dr. Peter Parker’s Shipwreck
The Middle Kingdom by S. Wells Williams
Final Memorials of Charles Lamb by Thomas Noon Talfourd
Who Was Charles Lamb?

November 13th

We hope to reach St. Helena early tomorrow. Williams says just long enough to get water, which we can signal for and have nearly by the time we approach, so I shall be disappointed and not go on shore. Mr. Taylor will go off in a boat and get papers, all being anxious for the latest news, particularly about Turkey and Russia. Seems to be that Russia will hardly go to war when she will have England and France to cooperate with Turkey. I hope we shall gain certain news.

Our voyage thus far has been very good. There is not more than three days difference between last year’s voyage from China and this, though this was commenced at a bad season of the year. I regret this stopping at St. Helena, if not able to go on shore. We shall lose one day by it, perhaps more.

Our whole party have settled down as quietly as possible; reading is the order of the day. Certainly we ought to gain much knowledge. However, I must except Mr. Taylor who at present is rewriting letters on India and China intended for the “Tribune”. The original ones were committed to the care of Doctor Parker when about to return to Canton from Shanghai but the steamer was wrecked on the rocks and the letters lost. He finds it rather a wearying job but perfectly remembers all that he formerly wrote.

Mr. Contee is deep in Gibbon. Mr. Parkman in Macauley’s “England”. My good husband in Layard’s “Nineveh”, etc. I, in the “Middle Kingdom” which I do not find anything like as dry as expected. Indeed I am quite interested but I do not confine to this, having read since I last wrote in this Talfourd’s Volume on “Charles Lamb”, Bulwer-Lytton’s “Disowned” and Kimball’s “Saint Leger”; the last I read yesterday and liked exceedingly. I like these discoursings – revealings of the inner life. It is well-written and shows a well cultivated and reflecting mind. I had a pleasant conversation with Mr. Taylor on the book this morning before breakfast, he having read it lately.

With Talfourd’s Volume, I was exceedingly interested. How beautiful the friendship between Charles and Mary. So pure and holy. I feel as if I loved them like old and dear friends. A singular and sad lot was theirs on earth and how nobly born. I have ever felt deep interest in their history from the first time I knew aught of Charles Lamb and his delightful writings, but this work has doubly interested me. Their sad lot at times, made me shed bitter tears as I read. I feel now as if I must read again all his writings. Now that I know and love the man, his writings will have double interest. I shall enter into all his feelings and thoughts and understand them as I never could before. I feel that they will be indeed to me like the writings of some loved friend.

I have just been looking at my Willie who stands naked in his tub; he is in fine glee, eyes bright, cheeks all rose, certainly Cupid never looked more bewitching; his little tongue is going as fast as possible. Willie is very, very good. Williams and myself both came to the conclusion last evening while walking on deck that he was a good as any child need to be. He is as full of life, spirits, fun and frolic as can be, and he loves to do little mischievous things but nothing that is ugly or naughty. It has been a great thing for Willie thus constantly to have been under his parents’ care; he is ever with us. We let him enjoy all that he can and encourage him to make the most of everything, talk with him, play with him in every way we can think of and also with his playthings. When he is inclined we enter into all his little pursuits; make cows, horses, etc. with and for him and in return the little fellow feels that we are his own dear parents, his companions and playmates and his blessed and dearest friends. Not all the little children of Macao could entice him from me when I came among them and thus may it ever be. May his parents be his first, dearest and most confidential friends. May his thoughts, feelings and wishes ever be fully told to his mother. It is my wish and intention ever thus to enter into his occupations and pursuits and as he grows older we will read and study together with how much pleasure. I look forward to superintending the early part of his education.

I have ever endeavored to make him observant and call forth his love of the beautiful and I have ever, even from his infancy, met with a response. When no more than eight, indeed seven, months he loved to look at the moon and stars and would clap his little hands with glee to see them. I shall never forget my taking him out on the terrace the first time we visited China to see the full moon. It was August and he but 9 months. Owing to the long afternoons the little fellow had not seen this moon, but this evening his Amah had kept him out longer than usual and l kept him up on purpose a little longer. Mrs. Williams and several others were out on the terrace at the time I carried him out in my arms. They hardly knew what to think when they saw a baby stretch out his arms towards the moon and say “pretty, pretty moon”. He was delighted and would not take his eyes from the moon till I carried him in the house. I was told to make up my mind to the child’s being a poet; for one he certainly would be. Content shall I be if he is a noble and grand one – one to rank with the first, sorry if otherwise.

Willie’s great love for stories does not abate one jot. Indeed he loves them better than ever. I remember for him those I loved in childhood. I make stories out of what I read for him and describe beautiful scenes to him. He loves them all and hears more or less of them every day. When I describe scenes to him such as the Falls of Niagara, etc., the little fellow listens most intensely; looks as if he almost saw them in imagination, then says “Mamma and Willie will go there when Willie is a big boy”. “Why Willie?” “Because Willie wants to see them”. I really believe if the little fellow were to see them now they would make an impression that a hundred years could not efface.

Last Sunday I wrote a long letter to Georgie. I must now write John Cobb and Mr. Morgan.

Mary seems quite to have recovered her good nature and is indeed quite pleasant. I trust she now understands why and the spirit in which I spoke to her. It would all be right and pleasant if it were not for some intolerably impudent things she said in what I suppose was anger. When I told Williams, he was most indignant and said I ought not to forgive till she made an apology. However, I do not think she has any idea of doing so and I should be sorry if (which I much doubt) she is inclined to remain with me to send her away. If she leaves me and I take another voyage, I think I shall content myself with my Chinese boy to run after Willie.