Fourteen Months Abroad – S.S. Mohawk-Atlantic Transport Line

July 18, 1897.—Yesterday morning L. and I came on board the steamer after having spent two weeks of very hot weather with relatives and friends, and Friday night (July 16) at the Palace Hotel, New York. This is the beginning of our first voyage to Europe. L. said yesterday that it “seemed almost like beginning life over again.” It is a great event in our lives and is undertaken with the hope that L.’s health will be improved thereby. The ocean has been smooth and the weather on deck delightful.

We have been to see the cattle and have seen the fins of a shark this afternoon.

There are fifty-eight passengers, all first-class, and I am finding interesting people all the while. We resemble one large happy family.

July 19.-It is difficult to realize that yesterday was the Sabbath—our first on the ocean. Last evening a pleasant song service was held. We were in a dense fog during the latter part of yesterday afternoon and during the night. All night long the dreadful whistle kept blowing in my, ears. Now the fog has lifted and it is delightfully cool without being rough. We are thankful indeed for such smooth sailing.

July 20.—L. and I played shuffle-board this afternoon with Prof. Stoller and Mrs. Nicholson. It was a pleasant pastime which we enjoyed with our new friends.

July 21.—We are crossing the fishing banks about two hundred miles south of Newfoundland. These banks extend four hundred miles from the shore. The water is a hundred and eighty feet deep.

July 22.—Today the water is said to be three miles deep. All day long there have been fishing boats in sight—large schooners with small row boats attached. The ocean has been a most exquisite blue in color—not green. We are glad there was no fog on the banks. There usually is, they say.

July 23.—We are not all so happy today. The ocean is somewhat rough. I am holding on to the upper berth as I write. Quite a number are sea-sick. L. and I so far are exempt. We were influenced to cross the Atlantic by this line because the steamers are built purposely to prevent sea-sickness among the cattle. We also hope to escape.

July 24.—Last evening we could hear the man at the bow of the boat call out, “All’s well—the lights are burning bright.” This he does all night long, every half-hour, in response to a bell that is rung on the Captain’s bridge where the man at the wheel is and where the captain and other ship’s officers are. We saw the sailors practice on the life-boats this afternoon.

July 25.—This morning we attended “divine service” in the saloon, conducted by Captain Thomas Gates, who read the Episcopal service. A hymn for sailors was sung and for others. The President of the United States and Queen Victoria were prayed for. There was other singing. Miss Smythe, who played the piano, is an English lady on her way home from Florida. She sits next to me at our table. Each day we turn our watches about a half hour faster.

July 28.-I was the first person on deck this morning—before it was washed. The sea gulls were flying about and resting on the water. We are in the English Channel off the coast of Devonshire. During the night we passed the Scilly Islands. The Lizards were hidden by the fog. When the air became clear we saw the Eddystone light, opposite Plymouth, then a low strip of land, then the high promontories and cliffs beyond Dartmouth and Brixham. We were interested in the barracks of the coast guard; the farms, their hedge rows of hawthorn and crops ; the cliff on which is the signal station from which our arrival was telegraphed to London and elsewhere; the lighthouse on Start Point; the chalk cliffs, some of which are white; the half hidden houses of Dartmouth, and the brownish red sails of the trawlers fishing with their long lines. Can it be that we are looking upon the shores of England! We passed the Isle of Wight, which we saw through a veil of mist and could see, through a glass, the towns of Ventnor and Shanklin. This evening lights from watering places are visible. Sat in my wraps for a portrait drawn by Mr. Blashfield at the request of Miss Field who wished it as a souvenir of the voyage ! A horrid affair !