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

Transcribed by
Debbie Arseneau

October 9th

    Go to Kensington Gardens, great variety beautiful grapes, fruits from many parks. Walk through grounds & Conservatories. Very cold tired home to dinner.

October 10th

    Crystal Palace with Frasers. Start in bus to London Bridge then train. Walk round gardens then in building to see man walking across rope, he walked on stilts dancing and keeping time to music. Sitting standing & dancing on a chair, turning over playing violin & drum turning over the rope the same time. Went outside & saw him turning along a rope 200 yards from the ground with his head & body in a sack. Wheeled a barrow balancing himself with a pole the same rope. We went outside to see next performance but could not for the crowd. He walked over with his feet in baskets & after took lunch on the rope carrying his own table, chair & provisions. I got one glimpse of him sitting down in chair with the table before him. His last and great feat was carrying Madame over. She came out fancifully dressed & got on his back. He started with the pole in his hand & walked slowly & carefully along. When 3 parts over he seemed to wait for a second & she put her hand on his shoulder & seemed a little afraid. There was great clapping & cheering when Madame bowed. When near the end of the rope the balancing pole came in contact with one of the Chandeliers & seemed to unsteady him for a moment breaking the glass but they got over quite safely. This part I did not enjoy it was to daring, so ended that days sightseeing.

October 13th

    Today is the anniversary of our dear Emma's death. I thought of it when I woke & often through the day.

October 14th

    Papa & I walk across the park, then in bus to bank in another to Victoria Park, quite the other side of London, passing through rather a low part. The park is prettily laid out with water, gardens, walks & a very handsome temple, pillars of granite & fountains.

October 18th

    Go to Exhibition by myself. Have another look at my favorite " Sleep of Sorrow & Dream of Joy " " Reading Girl ". Go to Welsh Concert at St. James Hall 400 voices, many songs sung in Welsh.

October 21st

    Hear Mr. F has been round for us. Start about 4 in cab with Papa, Mr. & Mrs. F for London Bridge en route to Paris. Go to fine Hotel very near station, long walk through the Borough, the streets much wider & nicely lighted.

October 22nd

    Up early, start ¼ to 7. Reach Folkestown little after 10, then hear that storm signals are up, sea so rough that no boat will cross. Drive in great haste to Pavilion Hotel & after some waiting promised beds, place full so many rushing to obtain them.

October 23rd

    Up at nine. After breakfast go to landing stage. Sea threatening storm, advised to stay & after seeing boat off & watching her pitching among the great waves which at times seem to envelope her. We walk about the town, see many churches. Aquaducts & arches. Go to top of very high hill or cliffs overhanging the sea and see towers, round towers with guns on top.

October 24th

    Beautiful day, go on board, many there before us, ¼ past 11, 295 passengers. A Lord Glenely, a nice old gent sat down next to me and at first gave me paper to read, asked me what news was in it about our little Queen, which I told him, (She being then detained by bad weather at Brussels), then had long talk about the sea voyage and when he by questioning became aquainted where I came from , we did talk. He seemed so well aquainted with the Colonies and asked many things about them, said to take his advice and not to think of returning before going to Switzerland. I felt very sick at last but was not really so. It was enough to make anyone sick to see the poor creatures all about on the deck each with a basin before them and the sailors running about to each continually. The Cliffs of Dover looked very pretty as we were leaving in the distance, 2½ hours crossing the Channel. Arrived Bologne where ombibuses were waiting to convey us to station, got into a fine carriage and made ourselves very comfortable. Not being disturbed by any other occupants, went at great speed in some parts, went by several stations to rapid to read them. Arrived Paris 7:30, then in little omnibus to the Grand Hotel. It is truly a grand place, entrance beautiful, rooms supurb.

October 25th

    Out for walk past the (Tuileries) into the (Champ Elysées) which are very grand. On our way there passed through a fine open space called "Place de la Concorde" which has at each corner pavilion and in the centre "The Gbekisk de Luxon" brought from Egypt in 1833. The mode of raising it and the machinery used are engraved on the sides. It is said to have been in front of the Temple of Thebes 1550 years before the Christian era. The height of the single block of granite is (?) ft, and it weighs more than 120 tons. 800 men were employed for 3 months in taking it from it's place at Luxon and conveying it to the Nile. It now stands on the place where the Guillotine was erected in the reign of terror. Walked some distance to the top of the Arc du Triumphe de Cétoile, intended to celebrate the victories which Napoleon had over the Austrains & Prussians and the entry of Marie Louise into Paris. We ascended this my many steps to a height of 152 ft and were well repart by the fine view we got there of Paris, Champs Elysées, Palace & Gardens of (Taileries) etc. I tried to understand an old soldier who was up there & managed pretty well. It was a delightful view of some of the most prominent & beautiful parts of that bright and fine city. After decending & joining the Frasers we retraced our steps through the Champs Elysses & then into the Boulevards saw several fine shops & went through the new Chapel which is just completed, the outside very fine but inside very plain. It is a great thing to see such a building in that part of the world. Back, quite tired & have a nice English dinner.

October 26th

    Sunday, out in morning & walk round the Madeline Church, a beautiful building constructed after the model of a Grecian Temple. On to the Chapel & there to hear a D. Osborn, but do not like him at all, coming out rain heavy. Mr. F gets a cab back to (Louvre) . We all go to Table d'hole for the 1st time, more than 300 persons present, beautifully laid tables down each side & 2 smaller ones in center. I have been greatly surprised at the way in which the day is spent here, no difference, shops open & everyone going about their work as any other day. While in the Chapel could hear the masons in the next building.

October 27th

    Pa & Mr. F take rooms for us at the Hotel de Castylione, as we do not intend to remain at the Louvre. We walk through part of the Truileries, over the " Pont de Solferino , back " Pont de la Concorde " to the Exposition de l'industrie. Find part closed today, get through the Algerian Court then Ex. After by bus to St. Cloud greatly disappointed that we cannot see the Palace, the Emperor being there. We go into a restaurant & directly we are seated, the master calls out "l' empereur" We rush to town but see only their backs & the carriages. If 2 seconds sooner should have had a fine view. Get lunch, then walk as far as the gates of the Palace, which are guarded by 2 horsemen with drawn swords. Then walk back over Pont de St. Cloud & on it have a most beautiful view each way. The river Seine flowing past us. The walks & trees by the river side, women washing on stones, the mansions & houses in the distance & the beautiful scenery altogether quite delighted me, I could stay for hours. It is very much what I have imagined some Italian scenery like. Returned by bus, then to Louvre, pay up there & then to Hotel de Castylione. It is a quiet nice little place, very different to the former but I think we shall feel much more comfortable

October 28th

   Go out after breakfast, walk through The Tuilleries , in front of the Palace. It is looking old, to me there is no beauty of design. Most of the curtains were drawn close. The Emperor is absent. Went to the other side saw an arch on which on which there were many scenes portrayed relating to the victories & exploits of Napoleon 1st , then through the Louvre. Here it is written over the entrance that Catherine commenced one & and the other that Napoleon III united them. Passed through spacious court yard then into a hall, gave up ones parasols to go into Picture Gallery, the official said we must not go in until 12 o'clock, after Mr. Fraser trying to make him understand a little we went up, passed through several rooms & saw many artists at work copying the pictures. One man who had lost his right arm was working deligently with his left, there were many females, some mounted on high ladders to get a nearer view of their subjects. Saw 2 immense vases in one room. Shown into the room where is the Altar & service where Napoleon received the Sacrament, then several looks of his Marie Antoinette, C de Medecis & many others. The hat Napoleon had on when he arrived at St. Helana, and the one he wore there, altogether saw 4 of his hats & the coat worn there, a dark drab or slate colour, very like the present fashion except the collar, his slate coats, knife, fork, spoons, watch and saddle. The handkerchief taken from his bed after death (so said our informant) sewn with a broad hem, his table chair & stool. The table chair & camp bedstead which was made of iron with a canopy over it. The cradle of the little Prince, a table made with map of the world on it to instruct his children, his spurs worn at Waterloo, a chess table presented to him by his sister. After lunch started in cab for Cascade & Bois de Bologna, drove along Champs Elysees, Arc de Triumphe through a very beautiful part. Saw some fine scenery, drives & walks, got out at the Vacherie of the Empereur, saw there some splendid cows, then onward till we came to a lake & a little further on a beautiful waterfall 27 ft high. Went into caves & then to top where we had delightful view. Saw a pretty old mill, as our coachman said 800 years old & near to it the house of the little Prince. We then walked on & had another charming view from the bridge (here there as always soldiers stationed to guard the pass) up & down the Seine like islands, boats gliding past. Paris & St. Cloud in the distance, looked quite picturesque, this was very fine.

October 29th

    Started for Versailles by rail, pass through Courbevoie, Picton, St. Cloud, Ville d'avray, views charming espically St. Cloud & Bois de Bologne. Arrived Versailles, engaged guide & were soon at the Palace, traversing the ground where once Royalty dwelt. Passed through spacious rooms with many pictures of Napoleon 1st as general & Emperor . In one he was taking off his hat as a wounded general, was being carried passed & saying "Honor to the Brave". Many horrid pictures of battles, most beautifully done, each figure seemed a picture. One large picture the French taking Abdel Kader. I think soldiers rushing upon them, ladies, many on camels, looking out from their coverings some in a kind of tent, cattle running in all directions, this picture is 65 ft long & 22 ft wide. It was painted in 8 months by Maurice Vernet. I admire his paintings very much, there is such clearness & truthfulness in all I have seen. Paul David to is another great artist. Paintings of Alma Inkerman Sebastopal, one I think of Balac Caver, our guide said in passing " The unfortunate English lost many men in that battle", there were one on 2 he passed by. In all the pictures of Napoleon, Maria is near him, always in a different dress. Passed through some beautiful rooms (marble) even the sides of the walls between the pictures, 10 in number, with such handsome chandeliers. Through several rooms, each look their names from the paintings on ceiling thus Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Throne room, room of war. Ballroom 242 ft long & 43 ft high, out of this into the room of peace, thence to apartment of Maria Antonette. Saw the door she passed through to go into the Kings chamber & then to the window to show herself to the mob. Kings bedchamber, marble grand staircase is very beautiful. There are doors which none pass through but them. The chapel is very grand and beautiful espically the ceiling, the Royal Pew or seat crimson velvet.Went into theatre, it was here the supper was laid out on the Queens visit. Prince Albert, 2 children & the Emperor & Empress had a table in the Royal gallery & others a little below. Our guide said she arrived at 10 & left at 2. Passed beautiful statuary of illustrious persons, portrait of the Queen & Prince Albert. The former when passing hers said " I am to flattered". We were warned that time of closing was drawing nigh but could have stayed much longer. Went into the grounds for a few minutes, beautiful fountains & long avenue, to station & home, the evening to dark to see the country. We had a priest with us in the morning who very politely spelled the names of each station we were passing as I noted them down. Mrs. F asked him if he could speak english but he shook his head. When we came to Sevres he turned to me & said, " do you not stop here? all the english visit this place ". We were greatly amazed as we did not think he understood us & had been making remarks about him & wondering what book he was reading so intently. He seemed very good humored & bowed to us afterwards as we were driving along to the place.

October 30th

   Go to tomb of Napoleon, go up steps into a dome which is beautifully carved, the ceiling covered with paintings. In one division at on side is the tomb of Jerome Bonaparte, a coffin of black marble on either side, 2 friends of Napoleon on either side. In centre a large round basin or place where looking low down you see the tomb. This is the grand mausoleum of Napoleon, dark granite brought from England. It is placed on a pedastol of green granite around which winds a wreath of laurels beautifully done in Mosiac.Hung round are flags which he took in battle, now dropping to decay. Large altar beautifully decorated, 4 immense marble pillars, each an entire block 22 ft high, great deal of gilding & golden figures about the top, 4 very large candles, the light is let in from painted or yellow glass windows give it a strange appearance . Went below to the back of altar, saw the iron gates at the entrance to tomb, over which is written " Je desire que mes cendres reposent sur les borde de la Seine, au miliew de ce people Francais que J'ai taut aime ". On each side a bronze statue, one holding the globe, the other the imperial septre on cushions. In arecessal each side of the tombs of Bertrand & Turoc. We stayed long gazing at all this splendor, this tomb is guarded continually. After leaving there we walked a long way down by the river side to Notre Dame which we found closed for rapairs, home by Rue de Rivoli.

October 31st

    Go to the Madeleine to see the poor creatures at their devotions. A beautiful church constructed after the model of a Grecian Temple, ceiling very fine, a great deal of gilt & marble & light let in from above, the effect upon decorations is very striking, altar approached by white marble steps, the organ very grand. We wandered down the streets not knowing where we were going, went into church called St. Marie.

November 3rd

   I go with Mr. & Mrs. F 1st to shops in Palais Royale, there are some very fine jewellers there, then in cab to Palace de Luxenbourg which is very beautiful. A french guide shows us through the throne room, spacious grand apartment, throne covered with crimson velvet & also the seats around. Went into the Senate Chamber or House of Lords, here seats covered with green velvet, ceiling very fine, guide explained the paintings to us. Went in to private apartments of Marie de Medecis, saw there the Biblolheque , large doors which are mirrors open all along the side of the room, some paintings here, then into the hall where are statues of the Marechals of France the same as we saw at Versailles, into a large room which adjoins chaple , a table in the centre & crimson seats all round on which we were invited to rest awhile, then into chapel a pretty little place, pictures all round. " The marriage of Virgin, St. Louie pardoning traitors, healing the sick & many others etc. "Went to Hotel Cluney but found the Musee not open today. Went into gardens & saw many ancient columns, arches & stone work the virgin & other figures, also the ruins of the old Palace overgrown with Ivy. A cross very conspicuous taken in the Crimean War, presented by Duke Malakoff. Learned here that the Hotel de Ville is closed today, were then directed to the church of St. Genevieve which we found after a long walk & much inquiry. This is a fine old church with it's left porch & magnificent dome, the inside is very fine, here we saw a fat old priest sitting reading, several women at their devotions, one poor creature went to where he sat gave him money he rose up directly laid his scarf across his head, said a few words with his hands folded, then taking off his scarf presented the ends for her to kiss, which after doing she rose & went her way, poor deluded creatures. Saw many altars & confessionals, then into church which is grand, the pillars immense. There is the tomb of the Saint around which lights were burning, many buying candles while which we were there & lighting them. The priest opened a small lid on the tomb, put his hand in with something in it or else drew from thence a small relic in what from we could not well see, which he seemed to be selling to the woman & children about him which they received kneeling with folded hands. There is a very large organ here also altars & confessionals, there are crutches hanging round which have been left by those who have been healed, I counted 10, a box in which were the clothes of the Saint, very precious. We got into an omnibus which took us to the Place de la Concorde, then walk home, after dinner prepare for starting tomorrow.

November 4th

    Up early start before 9 o'clock for Paris, a beautiful city where I should like to have remained longer, the morning very dull, 2 gents in same carriage, one speaks but the other does not let us hear his voice. This journey to Calais we do not find so pleasant nor the country so pretty as from Bologna. Arrive Calais at 6 go to Hotel.

November 5th

    Breakfast at 9, go out to see a little of town which looks very ancient & like a place deserted. There is a moat, drawbridge & fortifications here. We determined to go to Brussels. Start again 10 past 12 & arrive a little at 3, here have news that we will have to remain 2 hours, walk around town. It has many narrow streets, see town hall, go into restaurant get steak & potatoes, very good, forget the word for well done until the garcon tells me. Since leaving Calais we have passed through St. Omer, Hazelbrouch, etc. Start about 5 through Ronbain Monscron the frontiers, here delayed sometime as the luggage is searched, very amusing & so thought a young officer who spoke to me, I offered the key to my little black box, but he said " Is that all no no " I had left most of my luggage at Calais, We are now in Belguim, pass through several towns, then we had to change carriages, by mistake got into a smoking Carriage, arrived Brussels 10:30.

November 6th

    Out directly after breakfast with a guide 1st to the Ex & Museum. There we saw painting by P. Reubens & P. Veronese, which I did not care very much for, then into Musee'. There was a beautiful skeleton of a whale. Leaving there went through park which looked dreary as leaves were all falling. Saw in distance the King's Palace & that of the Prince of Orange. Went into Houses of Parliament built during the reign of Maria Theresa, entrance hall paved with marble & pillars & stairs to each chamber the same. House of Lords is built in a semi circular form with raised seats. Saw the rooms & beautiful portrait of the Queen of the Belgians which all of us thought was so like M.A.E. & a marble bust of their son the Duke de Brabemt. Fine marble statue of King Leopold, ( in one block of marble ). Saw House of Commons, from there went to church of St. Gudule, the massive pillars which support the roof are very fine & painted windows beautiful, as fine if not finer than any I have seen elsewhere, pulpit a beautiful piece of workmanship carved in oak by Henry Verlrueen, Adam & Eve being driven from paradise by the Angel with flaming sword & death following them, this is the base while on the top overhead is the head of the serpent ( whose body goes up from Adam & Eve, winding round the tree with forbidden fruit. ) The infant Jesus standing on the head supported by his mother. This is a beautiful piece one could spend hours looking at it from different positions & my description I know is very imperfect. There are angels on each side. The altar was hung with black. There were some very fine monuments, one John II de Brabant of black marble, very fine also full length figure of a dear Christ with a covering bordered with lace, the Marie's were round it & 2 disciples lifting the covering. On the body were laid many beautiful wreaths & one on his head while his mother held the crown of thorns. Here to were many confessionals beautifully carved, a seat in the centre for the priest & a little door at each side for the poor creatures who go to him. This church appears a very old one, the floor of marble, some of the chairs cushioned & the names of the owners on them, one to sit on & one to kneel on. The outside is being repaired. After refreshment we walked through some streets, passed the Bourse, Mint & came to the Place de Martyrs where is a statue in marble of Liberty, here the revolution first commenced, where so many thousands were killed (buried after 4 days battle) on the spot. Under were the names of some of them. We did not go down. Our guide told us it commenced at 11 at night when many were returning from Theatre & Opera. Next went to Town Hall. It has a most beautiful tapering spire allowing the light to shine through it, to the top said to be the most elegant in Europe, 344 ft high into some of the apartments. The Counsil had assembled so we did not see all. There was one in which all the civil marriages were made, our guide said " They are binding, cannot be broken, while that in a church can ". There was a seat, a desk or table covered with green velvet, 2 base ottomans placed in front for the bride & groom & at each end seats for bridesmaids & best man. Our guide told us that 74 marriages had been entered into in one day from that place. There were seats railed off for any who wished to witness. After this we passed along streets until we came to a Lace Manufacturing, saw several girls at work, cannot wonder at the price of some laces when we see the great labor, each pattern seems to be made separately with bobbins & then sewn on to the lace. They have a kind of leather under their work. They seem to do it very quickly & keep their hands so close to the work. Many of them go blind. Home to hotel, dinner, after the drum & bugle played under windows.

7th November

   The Hotel de l' Europe stands with many others in the Place Royal in the centre of which is a very fine statue of Godfrey de Borllon, on horseback, where formerly stood a tree of Liberty. Opposite is the church of St. Jacques, streets are very long but not wide. Started at 10 in carriage & pair accompanied by Mr. & Mrs. Fraser to visit the field of Waterloo, the morning damp & foggy. Have a cold drive. When near the village of St. Jean a guide comes to us. We engage him for 5 francs per day, he points out the house where the Earl of Angelsea had his leg amputated, the house where Wellington slept the night before & after the battle. The church at the village of Waterloo we went into, saw many tables there to the memory of those who fell in battle, drove on & passed the spot where Wellington stood most of the memorable day, which had been formally marked by a single tree that had been likely taken down & tables & chairs made from the wood & presented to the present Duke. We then ascended the Lion Mount, there were parties ascending. Several boys there ready to assist you, one little fellow comes to me & said he had helped many ladies up. I said I was to big for him to help me but when we reached the top her cried out " Bravo ". We gathered some broom & after surveying the British Lion descended. Mr. Fraser slipped & fell when one of the boys called out " You fell on the field of Waterloo ". Then walked to Hugomount, saw La Haye Sainte & La Belle Alliance, entered the little chapel at Hugomount & saw where the five had extended to the Crucifix, the foot of which was burnt. At this farm there is a woman who said she was then 4 years old & hid with her mother in the woods during the battle. We walked through the garden & orchard, saw the holes in the walls & also the bullets & holes in the gate, gathered leaves from the orchard & daisies from the battlefield, back to the hotel where we lunched & saw many relics of the battlefield, one room is devoted to these, where letters are preserved & things picked up on the field. Papa bought 2 books giving a better account than I can. Get back to Brussels at 6, rain prevented us going out that evening.

November 8th

   Up & ready before breakfast, rain. Though late I run across to the large church opposite our hotel called St. Jacques. It was hung with black but nothing particular in it. Just before starting find out that the landlady is from Devenshire, leave in carriage & pair for station, get into railway carriage 1/4 before 11 & reach Antwerp at 12. Pass through several towns one seems to have many manufactories in it. ( I think Moulins ), drive to Hotel St. Antoine lunch & then set out with a guide in rain & through narrow streets came to famous pump on well said to have been made with one hammer by Quenton Matsys before he became a painter. It was a wonderful piece for one hammer. We then passed through a square & by Hotel de Ville to the church of St. Paul. In the yard is a most wonderful scene, the representation of Mt. Calvary, a mixture of stone & earth like a kind of granite. Our Saviour on the cross, the blood flowing from his side & being caught by his mother, the other women with John Incodeumus standing around. Christ on the head of the Serpent & below his feet an eagle feeding her young. All around in life size figures, the Prophets on the right side & the Apostles on the left. The meeting in the garden with John, Peter denying Christ & the cock crowing. The whole most cleverly executed, while underneath in a kind of recess are souls in purgatory in the midst of flames & caged in with iron bars. This, to me was dreadful. Some of the faces were pretty & others had such looks of agony. In another recess was the tomb of our Lord. All of these were done by one man called Cocks. We then entered the church where we saw some beautiful carving & the confessional very grand, also the grand altar, these all made by Verbruggen, a beautiful piece here, the decent from the cross. Also some paintings of Reubens & Vandyke. We were much pleased with this church. They were cleaning it & removing many parts of the furniture. This is the end of their week All Saints. In the Place Verte' we saw a beautiful statue of Reubens in bronze, the Vandyke, Leniers, Snyders & Jordaens, painters, were all natives of Antiverp. The museum which was once the Convent des Recollets, we next visited, here we saw many paintings of the old masters, Quentin, Reubens. Also the chair occupied at the Hall of Painters. What greatly astonished me was a living man who from the distance I observed to be sitting in rather a strange position, and on nearer approach found he was painting with his feet, held the brushes with his first 2 toes, his palette & stick with the other foot he quickly changed his brushes & used his toe to wipe off the colour, as I have seen painters do with their fingers. It was indeed wonderful. I watched him sometime. He had on stockings knitted just to the toes, sat upon a stool with a cushion, had his easel like and other painter, only a little lower. We passed on & as we were returning, put up his colours, put on his 1/2 boots & walk to the stove. Our guide said he was born without arms at Bruges, brought up at Antiverp, he was encouraged by many, seemed quite a young man. We then went to the church of St. Jacques. The interior is splendid the roof is plain, but the altars are most beautiful, pillars of solid marble. There are several private chapels round this, one that contains the vault of Reubens. It is of black marble, also one of his paintings representing himself, his 3 wives, his children & his parents. There were some fine paintings here, also windows, but I did not think so good as those at Brussels, the carving of the pulpit there is by the same as here, there was a christening but we were informed none but the parents were allowed to be present. We went into a Lace Manufactory but saw no more than before. Came back wet & dirty went to table d' Hotel, there were only 20 present. One gent who sat opposite me reminded me of Humphrey & I think he must have been trying to remember who I reminded him of. Went to our rooms, we were disappointed with the place. Papa and Mr. F went out for a turn.

Novenber 9th

    Very cold, went to a church. They were in one service, hundreds present, saw little of the church but heard some fine music, from there we went to a small English church, then go for a walk round the wharves, which are very good. To the same church in afternoon, back to dinner & to our rooms, very cold. Have tea in Mrs. Frasers room & retire.

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