Travel Letters: On The Steamship City Of Rio De Janeiro (1889)

DEAR ARTHUR, — Japan is far behind us. We are almost halfway across the Pacific Ocean. McVickar is on deck talking to some English people, and I remembered the letter which I was very glad to get from you just before I left Yokohama last week. I want to answer it, first to thank you for it, and then to say how sorry I am that I must not allow myself to think of accepting your kind invitation to visit Minnequa on my way across the continent. It would be a very pleasant thing to do, but I shall not much more than get home to Boston for Sunday, the 22d of September, and I have promised myself to preach there on that day. Then I shall have one quiet week at North Andover to get my wits and clothes in order before I start, on the 2d of October, for the great campaign of General Convention. It will not do to try and get in anything besides, and the first that I shall see of you and Lizzie will be when I appear at breakfast on the morning of October 3, and we go together to the great opening service at St. George’s. It was very good and thoughtful of you to propose the visit, but it must not be.

This it a good, slow, steady steamer, with a very multifarious lot of folk on board, and all is going very pleasantly. We shall have two Thursdays this week, picking up the lost day which we dropped here in the mid-Pacific two months ago. But, in spite of that, we shall not be in San Francisco until Friday of next week. Then we are going up to Vancouver and home by the Canadian Pacific via Winnipeg, St. Paul, and Chicago. It has been a great success, — the worst thing of the summer being the steamboat ink with which I am trying to write this letter. I hope that all goes well with you, and that Minnequa is gayety itself. Well, well, another winter’s work draws very near!

My kindest love to Lizzie, and counting on much talk in October, I am,Affectionately, P.

STEAMSHIP CITY OF RIO DE JANEIRO,

Pacific Ocean, September 6, 1889.

DEAR WILLIAM, — We shall be at Frisco tonight, then I will send this last letter of the summer, which will tell you we are safely across this mighty pond, and that I shall be with you before two weeks more are passed. We have had a slow voyage, because the ship is not a fast one, needs cleaning, and has not been pressed. We were also one day late in leaving Yokohama, owing to the severe storms raging in the Chinese Sea, which were expected to delay the steamer in arriving at Japan. The whole voyage has been calm and peaceful. For days and days the ocean was almost without a wave, and at her worst the ship has not rolled enough to hurt the weakest traveler. We have about twenty first-class passengers, a curious lot, Americans, English, Scotch, French, German, Russians, Japanese, and a whole lot of queer Chinese in the steerage, who cannot go ashore in San Francisco, but will be passed on to Mexico and other places which do not yet refuse to take in the poor Celestials. The voyage has not been dull or tedious, but it will be rather good to go on shore early tomorrow morning and telegraph to you that I am safely here. We shall spend Sunday in San Francisco, and in the evening start by way of Sacramento for Portland and Puget Sound. We shall probably arrive in Boston Thursday, the 19th, and then for a quiet, delightful week at North Andover before the General Convention at New York.

I hope to hear to-night that all is well with you. If I hear that, the summer will be perfect. It is five weeks since your last dates, and one cannot help feeling a bit anxious. I believe all will be well. You shall hear from me, by and by, just when I will arrive. Until then, be sure that I am anxious to get home, and with the best of love to all, count me

Affectionately your dear brother, P.