( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Monday P. M. August 14, 1865.
DEAR MOTHER,- My first letter from abroad shall be to you. It will not be much of a letter, for nobody feels like doing anything on shipboard, and especially this afternoon, when the ship is rolling worse than it has yet. We have had a splendid passage so far ; I have not been seasick for a moment since I came on board, and we are now more than half-way across. Father and William gave ,you my biography up to the moment of sailing. They came pretty near having to go to Europe themselves. The first days out were very smooth, and we were well used to the motion of the vessel before the rough sea began. There has been considerable seasickness aboard.
We spend almost all the time on deck. I have scarcely been below except for meals and sleep. It is the nicest, laziest, and pleasantest life in the world. We breakfast at 8.30, lunch at 12, dine at 6, and sup at 7.30. There is the funniest collection of people here : English, French, Germans, Portuguese, Jews, and Secessionists ; lots of Southern people going to foreign parts to hide their shame. I have made some very pleasant friends, especially a nice English family, whose son has been in our army. They live in Cheltenham, England, and have invited me to visit them.
We had service yesterday the Captain (Judkins) read service and a sermon. It was quite interesting. I thought of you all at home, and felt that you were praying for us. It is hard to count these things, though, for we have gained already two hours on you, and are getting farther and farther to the eastward all the time. We have not had the sensation of danger yet, except the last two nights, when it has been very foggy, and we have run along blowing our whistle almost all the time, not knowing what ship or iceberg we might run into any minute. As yet all is safe.
It is wonderful how fast the time goes here. The days have not dragged at all, though there is next to nothing to do. We read a little, and walk the decks, and look for ships, and the hours slip by delightfully. Father told you, I suppose, that the Langs were on board. I am burnt up as brown as a berry, and never was so well in my life. It is a splendid beginning of my tour.
How I would like to look in on you at home, or rather how I would like to have you all here ! You would enjoy it intensely. It would not be so agree-able if one were sick, but everybody says the voyage has been most remarkable.
I leave the next page to be filled up between here and Queenstown.
It is still beautiful and delightful. Just a week since we sailed, and the most splendid week I ever passed. Last night on deck, with a high wind, clear starlight overhead, and the phosphorescent water below, was glorious ! I shall be almost sorry to land, except for the nights, which are very disagreeable in these miserable little berths. My room-mate is an Englishman, just returning from a tour around the world. He is intelligent and civil, but I see very little of him. They say we shall be in at Queenstown on Thursday night. I will mail this on board tomorrow, and then write again to you from Dublin.
Thursday Morning, August 17.
All has gone well, and we shall come upon the coast of Ireland to-night. To-morrow morning I go from Cork to Dublin, where I shall stay till over Sunday. Perhaps this letter will reach you a little earlier by being mailed on board, so I will close it here. You may consider our voyage as prosperously over, and me as safely into the Old World. No stranger ever got into it easier. When I write again, there will be more incidents to record. Now I only ask you to thank God with me for my safe voyage. Give lots of love to all the household, beginning with father and going down to Trip. How I shall depend upon your letters at London.
Your loving son, PHILLIPS.