Travel journal kept by Cornelia Clapp 1871

[Each of the Roman numerals started a new page and entry in the journal.]

No. I

Steamer Westernland
July [sic - should be June] 27 1886 -

Here we all sit on deck! Miss Hooker sitting beside me with closed eyes, in a state of ecstacy [sic], exclaims "It dont seem possible that the 'time we long have sought & mourned because we found it not' has really come." Such perfect weather, and a perfect steamer, such a complete party - such a combination how rarely seen! -

Lucia Clapp and Prof. Bryan sit near by, carrying on a most interesting discussion over something - This Prof. Bryan is one Charles Augustus - He is the "same kind of a boy" - He goes to Berlin to study Philosophy - I think he & Lucia are now discussion Carlyle - They are quite congenial friends so soon, I perceive -

Stone is in the 7th heaven: Says he never enjoyed any thing so much - He wanders over the Steamer looking over & into everything, and taking it all in -

Carter is a real nice boy, about as I expected, enthusiastic to the last degree.

The weather being so fine, every one shows off to wonderful advantage for the first day out -

Only two or three are in a quiesent [sic] state. Miss Hazen feels rather "tired" - Misses Stevens & Scott are also somewhat so.

We watched a school of porpoises at the bow this morning - Had the spot where the Oregon went down pointed out last eve. Mr. & Mrs. Gaylord are "chipper" and seem perfectly delighted with everything. In fact we seem to be a remarkable party - Prof Jordan inquired what I am writing about, & I reply "I am writing them up" at which he says the [sic] he is the "old story" - which he is, but it is vastly amusing to some of us to see the way the females flock around to see the "lion." Miss Hooker overheard one of the Northampton crowd - a girl - ask the head steward if she could sit at the table with Prof. Jordan - By the way, the latest is this, L.L.D. has been conferred on Jordan by Cornell Un. He is the second person who has received this degree for the Un - He seems to be making his mark as a literary individual now in Indiana - He is now engaged in teaching Norwegian to Miss Peck - who is a very apt pupil. Repeating Norwegian poetry is also in order, in which Miss Hooker delights to join. Lucia found a box of flowers for her this noon - had not discovered them before.

Emma & Lu. came to the dock to see me off, but they were so late that they could not get aboard, so I only saw them in the distance - talking distance however, for a very few moments - Emma said she should write mother that she saw me.

Uncle W. insisted that I take enough more money to make up the letter to $400. Said it would be all right to let it ($80.00 so) go until next fall.

No. II

Monday June 28 1886

I found this noon that Jordan had the letter I wrote in N.Y. still in his pocket, so you will not have gotten what I intended you should before I started. Perhaps I shall enclose this old letter rather than begin over again, as I shirk letter-writing as much as possible -

I commenced a letter yesterday as you will see, but soon fell into conversation, and the result was several extracts from lectures &c which I will enclose to fill up this letter. Three different persons contributing. Prof. Bryan, it seems has been lecturing in Indiana with Jordan & frequently, as I understand, they would follow each other the same evening. They are on the "Future of Indiana["] (Bryan) & the other on "College Education" (Jordan), Carter being invited to contribute - the third extract from something followed. At the present writing, Bryan & Lucia, Stone & Miss Bartholomew are up in the bow reading together - and having a good time - Miss Peck & Jordan industriously studying Norwegian - Carter reading "The Prophet of the Great Smoky" - Clara Stevens & Addie Pettee reading together. Fy Ayer sitting in the stern forever watching the waves - all by herself - always - The others I know now where, except Miss Hazen, Etta & I sitting here in our steamer chair - just arousing from our after dinner naps -

This morning we had one sensation[.] The temperature of the water is taken quite often and when they drew up some for this purpose - just after we struck the Gulf Stream - we found two of the loveliest transparent creatures in it. I knew the moment I saw them that I had at last set my eyes upon a rare thing that I had long wanted to see alive, alcoholic specimens being all I have known. It was soon discovered that Carter had studied these animals while at Wood's Hole last summer & he gave us quite a lecture on the Salpa as we watched the interesting evolutions of the animals.

And now for the weather! The like was never seen - on the sea, by me - After making sure that all should be provided with wraps & blankets &c, not one extra thing has been needed thus far, & I even have seen a lady fanning herself on deck. It is decidedly hot. We range from stem to stern trying to keep cool -

The steamer walks steadily & firmly along - hardly any thing that could be called rolling about, & certainly we are not rocked in the cradle of its [...] yet -It is delightful to see how much Mr. & Mrs. Gaylord enjoy everything. They seem perfectly happy - Misses Scott & Crumpton occupy the same stateroom with Lucia & me & are pleasant people - Miss Scott, Miss Hazen & Martha Clark have absented themselves from table two or three times - the rest of us are chipper. I dont [sic] seem to have any qualms.

Mrs. George B. McClellan & daughter are here on deck -

The lady who was put into the one remaining berth of our section, turns out to be none other than an old Sem. graduate. Mrs Cutter, wife of a Prof. of Western Reserve College, Cleveland. She left in '48. Knew Miss Lyon -


Tuesday June 29th 1886

The day is perfect - ocean calm, & we [are] pushing steadily eastward at the rate of 350 miles a day - I was actually too warm on deck yesterday, and this P.M. is the first time that I have wanted on as much as my Jersey -

There is nothing more monotonous than a sea voyage - in one sense this is true, but we succeed in keeping up some variety in life.

This morn Bryan, Miss Peck, Lucia & Martha Clark talked on metaphysical subjects - this P.M. the four (Lucia & Bryan, Alice B & Stone) have retreated to the shadow of one of the life boats to have their afternoon "read" together - the rest of us are distributed about the deck, reading, sleeping &c[.] I am reading the Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains - Carter has finished the book & has written it down, as he intends to keep a list of the books read this summer! He is an omnivorous devourer of books I perceive -

Miss Hazen thinks it is a long time since we set sail, & comes the nearest to the "unpleasant state of body" of any of us. We are making such good time now that they say we may see land in less than a week from now - (How stupid, all this will be to read when you get it)

We found yesterday that Miss Scott is going to Cambridge Eng. to study Philosophy - Bryan says that this "crew" is quite a remarkable one - all sorts of interesting characters aboard. I have not investigated yet, outside our own party.

No. IV

Wed. June 30th 1886 -

The biggest thing to record to-day is the visit to the lower regions of our floating world -

Stone challenged me to go down to the fires and I went. Down, down down until we came to a horrid torrid climate, where 24 fires are constantly kept going, and there is an apparatus that records each pulse beat of the engine. and It now stands 369524 and it will stand when we reach Antwerp 900000 -

The machinery is beautiful & we saw & went nearly the whole length of the shaft that runs the screw way down in the lower regions - This is a very fine steamer, and the ocean is so quick - at times today, as smooth a sea as I ever saw any where - that we dont seem to realize at all that we are on a rolling billowy sea - We have pretty good times, too, and dont think much about the way time goes. There is nothing quite like life on an ocean steamer.

Alice Bartholomew sketches, and we have become acquainted with an artist on his way over to study art, who is trying his hand on sketching some members of the party. There is a regular crew of teachers on board - Vassar & Smith are well represented besides Holyoke, of course ladies predominate - We have been reading Mark Twain's description of the German language & Kingsley's Water Babies. I am writing a letter to Richard. I think you will have to send some part of this to Mary Bradford to Ruth and No. 777 P.O. box I believe, at any rate in care of Dr. Gilchrist -

I am at this writing perched in my (upper) berth & ready to drop off to sleep at any moment - Goodnight

No. V

July 1st 1886 -

Saw a whale spout three times to-day. Now I think we have seen all the regulation things - one half way across, and there is nothing more to write. The sea stays as calm and quiescent as ever.

Fy Ayer has had her hair cut, & is envied by at least one of the party -

No. VI

July 2nd The sensation this morn. is the "drawing of the pig," with the eyes shut. Cranbo was the thing yesterday and with the word "shoe" for a word, & the question "What is the greatest fun?", Carter got off this -

There is no fun
Under the sun
to fun [?] so pure & mellow,
As to see the toe
Of her father's shoe
Under the other fellow."

This is a good sample of "life on the ocean wave" - in one of its aspects. There are several other aspects that come to the surface in this party, as in all others - concerning which it is difficult - impossible even - to write, one must be along to take it in.

The pleasant faced artist from the 2nd cabin is over here a great deal inspiring our special artist Miss Bartholomew to her best efforts. It sometimes takes several consecutive hours of exclusive conversation in the bow of the boat, or down by the railing under the life boats, to come to a full understanding of this great matter of portrait taking - and then we are victimized (I mean get our portraits taken), one after another & find ourselves immortalized in sketch books -

Lucia is a universal favorite. - and keeps thing lively - she evidently enjoys things hugely - when Prof. Bryan leaves the party - she will miss him.

I have been having some fun watching the arrangement & rearrangement of plans on the part of Jordan. It is all fixed to-day, and tomorrow lo! it is fixed again, some other way. Great stability of purpose does not seem to characterize our friend on this trip. The latest report is this, that the Norway trip will be taken with us, & possibly a few days of Switzerland, if business in Paris will allow -

Miss Scott & Miss Peck will go to Paris instead of to Eng. & Scotland, and probably Miss Crumpton also. I must tell you the joke of last night. Miss Hooker wanted the light turned off from her stateroom early, & getting up a German sentence sent me out with it to the steward, I ran out as he was passing by & delivered it, when lo! I discovered that I told him to turn on more light, at which he stood aghast. "Maken [sic] sie das Licht auf." instead of "ab"[.] And so the days go by. Dreadfully small things absorb our attention[.]

I sit on deck still without the sign of a wrap about me. No use for blanket, shawl, not even anything on my head. It seems tropical fairly -

As a specimen of steamer gossip this - Mrs. G. B. McClellan is on board with her son & daughter. The Belgian minister is her attendant - the daughter buys about a white mouse for a pet, & a Brazilian beetle which is suspended round her neck & to which she gives a drop of water occasionally - letting it run around on the table at meals - I should think they were all humbugs - she has two maids constantly attendant on the family -

Lucia sits here writing letters this morn. at a great rate. I reckon Fannie Chenery could give you points on this trip. Stone sits here reading Prophet of Great Smoky, an[d] Etta reading Norwegian Testament. Miss Peck taking her reading lesson as usual & Prof. Bryan is exerting himself to hold Lucia's inkstand for her while she writes - So the days go by.


July 3rd 1886 The sensation to-day is the visit to the Steerage - The Capt. himself accompanied us - took us into the store room at the stern, & showed us the immense wine lockers, & the place where they carry the mails & money - This steamer is capable of carrying 1500 steerage passengers, but at present there are only about 300 passengers in all on board. (- cargo in steerage going East.)

This morning is the most beautiful one yet. Not a cloud in the sky, & the air so balmy & warm that not a wrap is thought of -

We are beginning to talk of land now. Next Monday even. at 9. P.M. we are expecting to see the Lizard light. There will be a crowd on deck then I surmise.

I found Mr. Williamson knew Brayton of Indianapolis & we have been talking him up this morning. He calls him a regular Bohemian - happy-go-lucky fellow - agrees with me in his ideas of him - I have been reading in "The Ocean Wave" this morn. and the following paragraph is awfully true - "Men of the highest genius seem to be transformed as soon as they get at a distance from land in a rolling vessel. There is an inability to control the mind while at sea, a difficulty in concentrating the attention on the task of even writing in one's diary or reading even the most trifling fiction."

No one of the party is the least big sea sick, and we now range over this great boat from stem to stern whiling the time away -

Last evening the regular dance on deck took place - gymnastic feats - leap frog & the like - a set of young men with the banjos have taken to serenading in the passage ways -, as it is difficult to get outside the windows!

The table waiter said to day that he never saw such a passage as this before - He has had us to wait on most regularly - not more than three have lost a single meal - It is simply delightful. (I repeat it again lest I should not have put it on every sheet of paper written.)

We sight ships occasionally - a single stroke of the bell in the bow gives the signal - but none have been within speaking distance. We take an extremely southern route - thus avoiding fogs off Newfoundland, icebergs and such! and certainly we must have struck one of the dry, still times in mid ocean -

At lunch to-day Miss Stevens gave me an account of the Reception at the Sem. I had not thought to ask her about it before & she told me of her pleasure in meeting my brother & Miss Metcalf - the first intimation that I have had that these persons were present in that occasion. What prizes were taken, I heard of some by a graduate of Ag. Coll. Stone remarked the other day that he wished my brother was aboard. He seems supremely happy - Miss Bartholomew has a fine sketch of him. A Wellesley teacher has turned up now on board - such a boat of school marms! -

We have just now come upon a steamer going the same way - It is about five or six miles away, I suppose but it seems quite like having company along - No. Ger. Lloyd. One week ago this hour we set sail - left the lovely New York harbor - on that charming afternoon.

The distance in the last 24 hours has been 335 miles. We have been guessing on it & Bryan & Carter hit it right -

Miss Hooker & I are talking of fees - We shall soon have to begin to live again - spend money that means - We take quite a rent [?] on ship board - Now I must start & read German with Miss Pettee - Clara Stevens talks of going to the German cities -


Sunday July 4 1886 -

There is a display of bunting - the day is perfect again - the service at 10.30 in the salon was enjoyable to a high degree - another service on deck at the same hour - episcopal - was held. The bells on the steamer were run for service, & there was a complete simulation reproduction of the church bells of a city ringing together - It was simply delightful - this service. Pres. Cattell of Lafaette [sic] Coll. & a Rev. Mr. Lowrie conducted the service & a German - a fine singer - led the singing. The quality of this ships' company grows upon one day by day. I think it must be rather unusual - many remark it, and this voyage is like something one dreams of, but never expects to really see. Lucia says that she has not seen one unpleasant moment or any thing that could be called monotonous, and I think this is so, for she is very popular, & is constantly in conversation with someone or is reading to or hearing somebody else read - Porpoises! is the ry & away I go to see - & there is. by play [?] -

Later - only 430 miles from the Lizard - We say now Antwerp on Wednesday, Bruges on Thursday Wed. night, Dover on Friday Thurs Canterbury on Friday. Dover on Sat. & London on Sat. night. By next Sunday this absorbing steamer life will have so completely passed by that it will seem like a myth - Spain [?] will meet us at Dover - Jordan will go to Bruges, with party & then Misses Scott, Crumpton & Peck will go with him to Paris for two weeks - & some of them will meet us at Hull for the Norway trip -

Carter has many of his Grandfather's friends to see in Edinburg, among them Dr. Guthrie -

Etta is writing up her journal - if you want to get something to read send for it - Mary Bradford could furnish you with it. Mr. Gaylord gave some of us quite an exposition of "new departure views" in theology this morning - I think I have mentioned the names of all the party in the course of the previous remarks - (somewhat extended, you will think I well know) that if I have omitted any, I will remark that there does not yet appear a single objectionable feature in the party.

Mr. Williamson tells Miss Hooker this P.M. that he thinks that he shall have to join the party. He wants to hear from home first, but as he has not time to get a reply he thinks he will risk it -

We imagine that he will be quite an addition to the party - He went 2nd cabin in order to get a chance to talk German with some one who was going there -

And so the days go on - We let our watches run on with American time so we can tell the better what you are at - four hours behind us now -

I shall hear from home next Sunday - shall I not?

The gong for dinner sounds -

[A note was added in the blank margin:]

July 6th

I am putting what I have written in several envelopes & directed them to three individuals - & to get things in order - you will have to get them together - Hattie, Mary & Charles

No. IX

July 5th Celebration of this Glorious Fourth is in order to day. The Grand Programme I think I shall have to enclose - We were wakened this morn by the din of gong, horns, bells &c in the passage ways, & when we came on deck, every flag that could be scared up was flying, & the people all began to decorate themselves with the national colors. Then a procession of the passengers was formed & in couples we marched all over the ship, with an accordion music to march by - Everybody seems to have the carnival air on - The "tug of war" between a party of Germans & Italians came out in favor of the "Deutsch", the race - Princeton versus Harvard - was won by Princeton & the "orange color" is prominent.

One comical proceeding was the playing of leap frog by Pres. Cattel & another man - The mock trial of a Rev. Kimble is to come off this P.M. He is charged with murder - murder of sleep - He is known as the snorer. Any amount of fun has been poked at him, & as he takes it good naturedly, they keep in & this trial will be rich.

They have the announcement of the trial all up in regular style - Prof. Jordan is on the jury.

They let the prisoner out on bail this morn to go in the procession -

And so the days go on -

Bryan thinks now that he cant go to Norway with us, but says he shall get so home sick that he thinks he shall have to join us in Switzerland when we get back.

Fourth of July -
Steamer Westernland -

1 General Rachet - commencing 7 A.M.
2 Refreshments in Saloon 7-9 "
3 March of the Amazons - Col. Hazeltine
    All passengers will form in his ranks
    at 9 A.M. and march to music. 4. Sports of the Arena -
    Tug of War 1st cabin & 2nd cabin
    Races ect - etc - [sic]
5 Rest and Refreshments 12 M. to 2 P.M.
6 Athletic Sports - High Jump - Low Jump
    Foot race Harvard vs Princeton 2.30 PM
7 Mock Trial - Forward Main Deck
    Judge F. M Getchell Mr D.
    Counsel for prosecution
    F. S. Hasseltine & C. A. Marsh
    Counsel for defense
    J. L Car[t]er & B Bedell
8. Grand Fourth of July Oration 4 P.M.
    By the great unknown.
9. General Support (Dinner) in Saloon 5-6 PM
10 Grand concert 8 P.M.

[Reverse side is in different handwriting]

Dear Miss Bradford.

We will be delighted to see Miss Hookers journal, if you are willing to send it. We can return it. We wanted to get down to S. to see you while you were there, but the horse was not to be had, and we were obliged to give it up.

Doesn't this letter make you wish you were one of that joyful party? This is the only letter received but a number of postals have come.

No time for writing letters.

Yours M. E. Clapp -

No. Xth and last of steamer nonsense -

This is July 6th and we are sailing up the English channel - I must tell you just a little more about yesterday's performances. I have seldom had so exciting a 4th as we experienced yesterday. From morn. till night we were in the midst of a general carnival no other word for it. Everybody felt good - and many were exceedingly funny -

That mock trial that came off was about the best thing of the kind I ever heard of -

There were five lawyers who conducted proceedings - and I told you that they had a Rev. for a prisoner - charged with murdering sleep - Miss N. S. Sleep (Natures Sweet Resters) & every thing was carried out capitally. The Rev. was brought in with a big rope around him & the whole thing was ridiculous beyond description - the gravity with which it was carried out made it quite complete, for fun -

There is no describing the scene[.] It was rich! - The questioning of the witnesses - cross questioning, &c was too funny -

I wish you could have been here!! Then there was a tug of war between 6 sailors & 10 Germans on deck that was quite rousing. A concert in the evening was good - so they say - but I could not afford to lose the views at the bow & stern as we came in sight of the Lizard light - the signaling, the sunset - about which I cannot write. It was beyond anything of the kind I ever saw. The sun dropped into the sea just as Land's End launched it, and the golden light over the whole sea & sky was - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Oh, its no use - As Bryan says on such occasions "Well, Well, Well." Whether in the body or out do not quite know - & this morn. another perfect day - the thin haze over the Eng. coast - the Isle of Wight looking just as it did 7 years ago when we sailed by it - only more lovely - because it looked national-like.

Prof J. remarked this morn that any one who was not satisfied with the trip so far was hard to suit -

It has been an uninterrupted succession of lovely days - with not a single thing to mar the equinimity [sic] of mind or body - in the case of all but two or three who felt it their duty to miss a meal or two - the first of the trip, but have been all right since.

Mr Williamson has dicided [sic] that he must not join us until we get to the continent, as he does not want to decide to go without hearing from home - He is as fine a youth as I have seen in many a day. I have taken a great fancy to him - such a nice frank, noble kind of a boy -

If you succeed in getting much out of these scrawls - you will do well - I think the incoherence will strike a casual observer, but if you will be so kind as to use this collection with a larger measure of good judgment, I shall be duly grateful. This is not for the general public, remember. I dont care for Mary Bradford but I reckon there is nobody else who will care for this - so here goes -

6 P.M. We are up near Dover - the cliffs show beautifully to day - Tomorrow morn. we breakfast on the steamer & then go ashore - see the cathedral at 12 M. then go to Bruges on 2 o'clock train on to Ostend Thursday over to Dover in P.M. & THEN "TAKE TO THE OPEN ROAD"

Took our pilot at 2 P.M. to-day. The first time the engine was stopped a stroke since leaving N.Y. It seemed queer -

July 6th 10 P.M. All packed up -

We formed a procession & carried our steamer things to our trunks down below - (all now dressed up in our usual habiliments) & (hope) fixed our valises for the summer, and now occupy our time in getting our U.S. money into Francs ready to "fight the tiger" in French speaking Antwerp - & finding out about trains for Bruges - getting our letters ready to send &c. &c. &c

Prof. Jordan has offered to be post boy & his coat pockets are rapidly protruding to an alarming extent. He has a "coat of mail" somebody says. The feeing business has been brisk all day - the table waiters, stewards of several sorts, and lastly a contribution for disabled seamen of this line has got us into a humorous mood on this subject & many on the happy twins made -

For standing jokes we have Miss Hooker's & Carters appetite - Lucia Clapp & Stone taken for brother & sister - and a few others on which the changes are many, & will continue to be I think -

We read Flushing in about an hour, and lie off for the tide which will "give us a lift" about four oclock to-morrow morning then up the Scheldt - reaching Antwerp about seven or eight they say -

We hail our gathering at the stern to see the sun set gloriously once more - and now we disperse more or less - to meet again later on -

I dont suppose you will be likely to get many letters from me after I get on land - so you can console yourselves while reading this long drawn out affair - I do so wish you could all [...] such a voyage as this has been

Good night
Your loving Cornelia -

[The following is another entry in the journal, though it did not begin with a Roman numeral like the other entries]

Borgund Church in sight
July - Aug 3, 1886

We are sitting on the housetop (I am on the ridge pole which consists of stones.) - some of us. - Miss Hooker is gathering grasses & flowers here on the turf roof - posies, sorrel cinquefoil are among the dozen varieties to be found. Miss Hooker has just jumped off with her bouquet & I will follow suit - for dinner is ahead at Husum. This church reminds me of Japan (looking inside I find this is a kind of clocksmith shop), China or Turkey, but not of Norway - the old bell tower, a little way from the church, tells us of 12 & 13 century, & they say it dates from that time - but nobody knows, perhaps. The wood - the entire thing is covered black with tar - it is lighted only by 10 small round holes near the top, it is quite small - reminds one of a heathen temple, designed as a sort of shrine, rather than a place of assembly. The mountain we have climbed is just above us - the days in Norway are nearly numbered - we are beginning to retrace our steps down this valley - then we go down the Sogne fjord again - thro' this mild Naerodal again - I am so glad for that - and back to Bergen - where we must "set sail" again for Rotterdam - Now I must jump down - here is a flower from a house top near the Borgund church - [no longer with the letter]

The crowd has disappeared over the hill - I am alone in Norway - so it would appear - It is a great temptation to fall behind once in a while -

Later - 7 o'clock The troop are coming in in squalls to the Hotel here in Lardalsøren - where we stay to-night & take the steamer in the morning. The walk to-day of 25 miles is the best record yet. Lucia has walked more than 11 miles without stopping to rest at all. She is quite elated to find that she can walk further than I did from So. Hadley to Montague in one day. A story which she says quite startles the good people of Montague & she says she has heard it told again & again as a great feat - and now she has outdone me by two miles -

After leaving the Borgund chuch, I soon caught up with Miss Hooker - we came on to Husum to dinner & then she found the boy who drove the her Stolkjaerre yesterday - a small Norwegian that I think she may "collect" & preserve as a good specimen. She got him to produce his Song book & give us some singing. I dont know how she stood that song "what shall I see if ever I go over the mountains high"? He has read Bjornson's stories, has seen him when he travelled thro' this valley - they are shouting S u p p e r & I go -

Since supper - Have been distributing washing - and my room smells like some washerwoman's houses in America - I must away to bed as breakfast at 6 & 3/4 is announced - we ride on steamer up the beautiful fjord then walk to some place for the night walk or day after to morrow until we come to some railroad & take our first car ride in Norway to Bergen, where we stay one day - & where we get letters. No word have I yet received from you written after you got a letter from me -

[change of pen]

On the "Ingerid", just getting into Rotterdam. Have bidden farewell to Norway & have been on the North sea since Friday evening -

Miss Stevens & I are going to branch off in Deucthland [sic]until next Sat. night -

Will write more fully when we rejoin the party - we may have some jokes that the rest will not get - but they are bound to have enough -

Adieu - &c

Here comes the customs house officer.