Sarah A. Wilkinson
The Diary of Sarah.A.Wilkinson

Transcribed by
Debbie Arseneau

July 4th

    Great excitement, crossing the line. A glass prepared for those who have not been over before. On the Equator 3.30 pm. Expect to reach Liverpool in 25 days.

July 15th

    There suddenly comes on a white squall which does not last long. We are alarmed by another. Sails quickly. We are now out of the Tropics & in the Gulf of Florida.

July 28th

    Vessels in sight, signal to one. It is the " William Edwards ". A boat gone to her, great disappointment from some of our passengers because they could not go, return with only a little tea & sugar. Boat goes off again & returns with bags of sugar & goes the third time for more. The vessel comes very near, they send some papers which are eagerly read. Vessels seem to be all round us but none so near as the " William E ". Mr. Wright brings us 1 orange.

August 1st

   Very little sleep so much noise on deck all night. See from the stern a barque, which we have lately gained upon. There is not much sea on but she seems to be rolling fearfully, nothing like our good steady ship, with all her faults. On deck early, another vessel approaching, signals, she wishes us to take her pilot back to Liverpool. It is " Lord Goff " American. A boat is lowered. Great excitement from our ship to see the Liverpool pilot, presently the top of a black hat appears over our ships side, ( all rush to have a first look ). Then the most remarkable face & figure of a man, short, immense mouth, eyes protruding & shaggy hair. Miss D has said she hopes he is a single man as she & Miss G will attach him, but when she sees the interesting individual she vanishes. A great deal of fun about him. He is watched, followed & questioned all over the deck. A beautiful little pilot boat is seen approaching , about 70 ton. She comes very near & inquires are there any passengers for shore. She cannot get near enough to hold much conversation but no one goes. The Captain says they would likely want 5 or more pounds. The interesting stranger to lunch. We see land about 11 this morning. It is Kinsale. Come near Cape Clear last but so foggy that it was not seen

August 2nd

    Called on deck early to see land, Irish Coast, Wexford. A great many houses scattered about. The Luskar Lighthouse, have a good view, go within 2 miles, many ships in sight, at 3 almost calm. After dinner see the Welsh Coast, Mountains, see the sun setting over the hills of old Ireland.

August 3rd

    Sunday - Awoke at 4 in the morning by news a steamer alongside, see it from Mrs. Rourke's window also another coming up, after a great deal of talking taken in tow by United States steamer. I go on deck see Holyhead and a good view of Welsh Coast. Obligated to go below, the decks being washed. Up again 1/2 past 6 with Miss. G. Walk till breakfast, have a good view of Holyhead Suspension Bridge & the rocky coast. See a large steamer from Halifax coming up, 2 vessels lowered and the large steamer going out. Several small ones crossing the channel. The pilot come on board before breakfast but did not create such a sensation as the former one although much handsomer. On deck for a minute to look at Point Lyrios, the place where the Royal Charter was wrecked. All then so smooth and calm like glass. Who would imagine the scene that must have occurred on that fearful night, where now all is so peaceful. I have been for days thinking of this place and can well imagine the feeling of those poor creatures, so near home. Below finish packing. On deck with Miss. G , very hot. The Captain comes and talks to us a little, says we should have all got on very well if Mr. D had behaved himself. The day beautiful and we had a fine view going up the Mersey, saw Waterloo, New Brighton on one side & Birken Head on the other. The entrance looked very grand so many docks & as to steamers they were crowded, passing by every minute. While at dinner 2 strangers came, Captain Williams & another. Just as we were fineshed Mr. Ramsay's brother came & while we were putting on our bonnets Mrs. Bowman came to say good-bye, their relatives had came. We watched then from Mrs. R window. When we were on deck someone came to take Mr.Young off, so they were all meeting friends. Papa thought we had better go on shore also, so I, Papa and Mrs. G said good-bye to the poor old Marco Polo. Captain & passengers went on shore in steamer & were told that all we had would have to be searched, which was quickly done. My boxes the Master passed without opening, only asking if I had any silver in. We then drove off to hotel. St. Anns St., did not like our bedroom. I & Mrs. G occupied one large one, we felt quite lost at first, felt very ill & low, had tea, on sofa till bedtime.

August 4th

   Our first morning in Liverpool, go out & buy parasol, down to landing & find steamer gone, take a boat and go on board. Met by Mr. B, Gunns & Miss D there. Hear a gent has been inquiring for Miss G., stay sometime. Steamer comes alongside, Miss G cousin comes. We see all our luggage off & then go in steamer leaving. Mrs. Rourke, her boy and Fanny meet again. I & Miss G go shopping, she then goes in cab to her cousin's office. We are invited to luncheon there, tomorrow back to hotel, Papa got his hair cut and buys a hat. At 7 we go to St. George's Hall, expecting to hear the organ, but it is not till Thursday, go in, it's a beautiful building, so large and lofty, immense pillars of Scotch granite, statue of Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Brown & several others, the ceiling is very elegant. Go to exhibitions of waxlooks, see her Majesty & several Royal personage & some horrid ones (Murderers), children dead, Madeline Smith. To me the Princess Charlotte was the prettiest. A very good one of the Princess Royal & her husband. Back to hotel & in my room. To bed 1/2 past 12 & have dreadful dreams of war, fighting & shooting.

August 5th

    Up at 6:30 & in my room, go out with Papa at 7 to the markets, disappointed see very little there, back to breakfast. Go with Papa to landing place, in steamer to Birkenhead, pass close to the old Marco. Drive in a cab to Mr. Fox, find them out but left a message for us to wait. Mr. F & Miss G come, they decide not to go to park until after lunch, have it served up in style. Lamb, fowls, veg marrow, potatoes, pudding, plum tart, cheese, cake & wine. 1st meal in a private family. Find Mrs. F a kind open & lively creature. Get ready to go to park but prevented by rain. Start a second time, go through park which is beautifully laid out with winding walk, thick green foliage on either side, Sycamore, Oak & many others. Winding stream with bridges here & there. I am so very tired that I do not enjoy it as I ought. My feet blistering & very painful. Leave Miss G near home & back crossing the river. See Fanny, Mrs. R & boy. Fan waves her hand to us. Back to tea, after walk about to lose our way, meet Mr. Deguoy, back at ten.

August 6th

    Town at 7-30, go to market. See some fine strawberries, plums & gooseberries not so very large. Home to breakfast, fried sole. Then to library, a large & beautiful building, built solely at the expense of Mr. Brown of this place & presented to his fellow townsmen.In the first entrance you are stopped by a policeman, who directs you to turn to your left, where another of the same order receives your parasol & gives you a ticket. You then return to the Hall & pass through a turning gate into a large square hall with a gallery round. On each side are statues male & female exposing their forms to view. Through these we quickly passed , up 12 steps up the far end then there are others branching off to either side to the gallery which we passed through. In this there are nice seats for resting on, which we are truly glad of by the time we get back. From here we entered the museum. The first thing that attracted our attention was a large snake in a glass jar sitting on eggs, then some tortoises also alive gold fish & many sea monsters, stickleback, crabs etc, all in square glass boxes, some beautiful sea anemones, some red and some white & pale pink, & violet colour. We then pass into another room which seemed to be devoted to fish of all sorts & sizes, many preserved in bottles. There was an immense tortoise which was hoisted over the door by several ropes & pullies. I should think it girth 5 ft. Then the next room all birds of every description, ducks, geese doves etc. In the next birds all round & minerals, corals, shells on table in the centre. I think there were 6 rooms. There was an immense bird, something of the Ostrich tribe 8 ft high black and white with tail something like the black swan. It's legs on thighs were like human flesh rather high, colored but not the least sign of a feather. There were also Flamingos, red with long necks. Even Tasmanian robins were there, humming birds of every variety, indeed far to many to even think of. We spent 2 1/2 hours there. Down through the hall & by a side door into the Reading Room. There were seats with narrow tables about 2 ft wide on each side. Closely seated and nearly all occupied with mankind each with a book before him & leaning over the table. There is a notice that no speaking is allowed in there. The appearance was very strange, everyone so intent & such a silence. There are some fine large oil paintings.
   We left there with intentions of going to Botanical Gardens. After walking more than a mile we were told we had not got more than 1/2 way so entered an omnibus which took us to the park gates. The grass is indeed beautiful & such a bright green. It is like treading on a carpet of rich velvet. This is the 1st day I have yet seen & have admitted we have nothing to equal it in our country. The park is laid out very prettily with walks, seats and trees, from there we entered the gardens. They have a very peculiar way of making the beds of many shapes, curves, rings, diamonds & in one place an immense bird all made with bright flowers & shaped out by the grass carpet around them. We went through the hot houses, immense ponds bananas, ferns, aloes & pines. Felt very tired but after resting retraced our steps through park. I had almost forgotten to mention the Water Lily, quite new to me, beautiful white blossoms. Walked out to see where omnibus stopped, got into one & drove toward home.
   After tea set out to find Wesley's Chapel. Pitt St. walked a long way then took cab, found it 21/2 miles. Heard a sermon for 1st timein many months. Subject, Christ healing centurion servant, nice organ but poor chapel and very few there.

August 7th

    Not up till 8-30, go to see Town Hall, have card of admission, enter large doorway & give in our cards. Upstairs into an immense room used for dining, very lofty. Large granite urns & bases. I counted 40 lights. Walls and ceiling beautiful figures of angels, pillars polished marble, we were told when room was lighted it looked beautiful. Then to suite of rooms carpeted & furnished, furniture all alike crimson satin. Ballroom beautifully painted 2 very large chandeliers, ceiling & ornaments surpassing the others, then grand staircase. Thence to shipping & walked miles & miles along vessels, warehouses & carts. One warehouse 4 stories high & no windows in each story. Walked on to see the Great Eastern, came to an opening through which we reached the river & saw huge ship along way beyond, was not so much struck with her immensity. We returned by way we knew nothing of & Papa says we have gone 10 miles. When near St. George's Hall met Mrs. Bowman had tea then to St. G Hall to hear performance of the organ. Music very grand but to me to powerful. Hall looked very beautiful & well lighted with gas in every part. Was very surprised to see some gents there with their hats on & talking very loud.

August 8th

    Rain all night, get cab & go to call on Mrs. MacKay & Mrs, Rourke, so glad to see us. Annie not so well, Mrs. Rourke & John the steward say good-bye probably not meet again.

August 9th

    Up early, start at nine, go in cab to station. Leave Liverpool pass through beautiful country, very green trees & herbage, reach Euston Square Stn. London 6:30 great crowd there, find Edgeware is 10 minutes out. Start after some little altercation with cab man, going on & on asking for Brockley Grange no one knows such a place. After sometime reach Edgeware Post Office & find we have 2 miles further to go. The horse seems very tired, ask at several places, at last get out & walk. The shades of night are falling fast & we are getting very tired. Think of returning to first Inn & at last come suddenly upon us & are kindly welcomed. Mr. H has been to London to meet us, waited for 2 trains & leaves thinking we have not started. He has only just had his tea. Very tired see little change in Mr. H & Maryann. Nice little room prepared for me. All my letters on dressing table & beautiful little bouquet. Sit up reading them till morning.

August 10th

    Up to breakfast, go upstairs, talk didn't we talk. Intend going to church but to late. After dinner I & M.A. take books & go out into fields to read but sit under haystack & talk. After tea to village church.

August 11th

   After dinner across beautiful green fields. Pa and Mr. H go for drive. I & M.A. to village shop. After tea play old game that we have often played in childhood & call to mind many events of those youthful days.

August 12th

    Up early, go in dog cart to Harrow Station, from there by train to Kensington, thence omnibus to Great Exhibition. Not many there then, but soon it was filled. I cannot describe my 1st impression, there seemed to be so much to be taken in, it was bewildering, passed down centre of building just glancing as we went along. Entered the Australian Courts. Here in the French, Roman & Spanish Courts, into the galleries where we had a beautiful view of immensity of the building. Great crowd collected there. Saw fountain sending forth perfumed water, very beautiful piece of tapestry, " The Queen receiving the Treaty of Commerce from Emperor of the French ". In British collection of paintings, one very beautiful " The Lost Shepherd " lying in snow, one dog upon him the other howling at his feet, in which position he is found by his wife. To refreshment rooms to dinner, then into gardens, hear band play. Into Greek House, coming back someone calls to Papa. It is one known by name of Limbo Peck. Through the Exhibition & home. Never remember feeling so done up. After tea into the garden & hear the band.

August 16th

    Papa & Mr. Hunt into London.

August 19th

    Go by train to Frasers, they have nice furnished apartment in Bayswater. Find Mrs. Grey & deliver parcel.

August 23rd

    Mr. & Mrs. Fraser spend the day at Brockley. Weather beautiful, we about fields and lanes enjoy it very much.

August 24th

   Walk to Edgeware, go to independent chapel, hear a Mr. Simson preach. After go to meet Mr. & Mrs. H who had gone to church, saw in grounds the " Tomb of the Harmonious Blacksmith ". In this church is the organ on which Handel used to play, just heard a few notes of it.

August 25th

    I & M.A. go with Papa to Walford St. he starts for North Hampton.

August 26th

    I & M.A. go in by omnibus, call at Kilburn Café, not at home, call on Mrs. King, then go to Soho Bazaar. M.A. leaves me in bus to go to Mrs. Frasers, find her in, very tired. Same eve get letters from Pa and Mrs. Powell.

August 28th

    To Exhibition, through several courts, very tired.

August 29th

    In bus to the circus. Hence to see Nelson's Monument. Have an excellent oyster lunch, then to Somerset House, through the court out on to the terrace. Have my first view of the Thames, a dirty muddy looking river. Then out to tower, get tickets, see armory etc. Queen Elizabeth as she was dressed going to St. Pauls, after the Spanish Aramada, handsomely dressed on horseback with a page at her bridle, then to the Regalia, saw Queen's crown. Prince of Wales & one other king's coronation bracelets. Sing " Grace his a Charming Sound. " He reads a Psalm 85th & explains, prays again & then takes his text, 5 & 6 verses, applying it to charm in his natural sinful state, then about grace, free grace. He then gave out " Plunged into a Gulf of Dark Despair ", telling them to sing very softly. When he came to " G for his love etc", he told them to give it the full thunder of their music. He is a wonderful speaker. Home across London Bridge. Out in eve to independent chapel, do not care much for the minister.

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