Fannie De C. Miller.

Snap notes of an eastern trip, from diary of Fannie de C. Miller online

. (page 7 of 8)
Online LibraryFannie De C. MillerSnap notes of an eastern trip, from diary of Fannie de C. Miller → online text (page 7 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

round curves and shallows, the spirit of merri
ment rules the hour. Right here Evie thought
she had encountered her kismet, but there was
"a difference in the morning " !

As we stroll back to the house of our hostess,
I inquire about it, and the reason of the title
"Union Mills," and am informed that the an
cestors of the possessors of this property ob
tained it in 1797, engaging in the milling bus
iness, and by united exertion in the management
of flour and grist mills and a successful saw
mill, they designated their combined property
as " Union Mills," which name is retained.
The home of our entertainers was built in 1828,
and is a commodious dwelling, located near the
turnpike, and almost encompassed by neatly-
cropped lawns and selected shade trees, among
which I was shown a specimen of {he mahog
any, the only one I have ever seen.

Retiring about eleven, I enjoy somnolent re
pose, my mind replete with "a picture on the

, Sunday, September 20.

At half past seven we are in the prayer-
inspiriting little chapel, attending the divine
office, celebrated by Fr. Grannan, being served


by Mr. Herbert Shriver and his little son Jo
seph, whose grandmother walked up to the rail
ing to receive the blessed sacrament as spryly
as the young people, although eighty-three win
ters have left their snows upon her head.

The holy services ended, we repair to the
breakfast room for our morning meal, and dis
cuss an excellent repast. Enjoying the lovely
day we saunter about, and climb the lawn-
covered slope to "Avalon," the home of Mr. B.
F. Shriver, and are introduced to his interest
ing family. Glancing down from the porch of
his handsome residence, a fine sweep of coun
try is overseen, with a living stream meander
ing through the center, which I am told is Big
Pipe Creek, so called from the custom of the
Indians to smoke the calumet on its banks. A
stroll " down by the old mill stream," another
cheery row on its sparkling waters, and the
hours roll on to midday, when we lunch.

Another outing directs our wanderings to a
substantial stone bridge over the creek, whose
graceful arches mirrored in the stream claim
my longing wish to sketch, and what a pretty
picture I would have ! This bridge was con
structed in 1807, and has nobly withstood
storm and tempest for more than eighty years.
We were initiated into the mysteries of mill
ing flour, which is an interesting process, but,


although a Miller born rr^self, I am not compe
tent of penning the result of to-day s schooling
in the art which causes man to appreciate the
moisture "of his brow."

I have been feeling ill all this afternoon, my
old annoyance, neuralgia, troubling me, so I
seek the charms of repose. Mr. A. K. Shriver
took the party out driving, and they express
great delight and pleasure with the cruise of
enjoyment afforded them.

At four o clock p. M. we attended benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament, given by Fr. Grennan,
and the remainder of the day passes pleasantly
away. Maud, spicily amusing herself with a
callow youth from across the pike, is an au
dible goddess of laughter was there ever an
other? Evalyn is engaged with me, admir
ing the exquisite handicraft of Miss Mollie
. liriver, beautifully en wrought on the altar
clo hs, vestments, and other articles belonging
to the chapel, which evinces the devout spirit of
the gentle toiler whose fair hands accomplished
all th : s dainty artistic work. After tea, which
is indeed supper, we repair to the parlor, bid
ding moments speed on the wings of sweet
harmony. Nearing the witching hour o mid
night we claim Morpheus as our king.

Monday, September 21.

After hearing mass celebrated for a deceased


member of tlie family, we breakfasted, bade
adios to the kind, hospitable friends of "Union
Mills," whose voices in our " echoing hearts a
sound must long remain," and take carriages
for Westminster, to meet the Baltimore train,
Fr. Grennan accompanying us.

Rolling into Baltimore at eleven o clock, we
soon meet Messrs. Foley, Senior and Junior,
who kindly come to hail our return, and with
them we do a round of shopping, lunching
at the Rennert, and at 4:45 take the train
for Washington, D. C. Over an excellently
balanced road we rapidly speed, snatching
glimpses of wood-embossed valleys, dimpled
hills, and brawling streams, and reaching
Washington at 6:30 p. M., as the gray curtains
of dusk begin to droop.

Taking apartments at the Arlington, a
splendid hotel, we are again satisfactorily sit
uated, and prepare to acknowledge a bevy of
letters from home, which anticipated our arrival.



Tuesday, September 22+

THIS morning, at ten o clock, we board the
Chax. McAlester, a pretty little steamer
that floats down the Potomac like a bird, for
Mt. Yernon. The day is extremely warm, yet
we imbibe the beauty of the scenery on both
banks of the river, over which hangs in dreamy
languor, a glamour of soft haze. At 11:30 Mt.
Yernon heights are seen, and we set foot on the
landing, canopied, and beautified by Mrs.
Hearst, the Regent for California.

Pursuing our way up the slope, we reach the
tomb of our first President, and reverently note
its most salient characteristics; thence, follow
ing the path, we inspect the mansion, the
rooms and furniture, so patriotically reclaimed
from the ruining possession of idle time by the
stout-hearted women of America.

The view from the veranda of the mansion
is a picture for Bierstadt s brush. The blue
waters of the almost national river sweep



smoothly by, bearing stately vessels on their
tide, that salute with flying flag and tolling
bell this site of beauty and renown. The men
tal impulse to indulge in dreamy retrospective
pleasure is peculiarly strong when standing
upon the ground where lived and died the
noble hero of American history, who gazed
upon the charming scenes we now view admir
ingly, and with sincere desire to preserve in the
"amber of memory." Mrs. Murphy had our
group photographed on the lawn, with the
mansion for a background. It is a neat
souvenir of the lovely place.

Leaving Mt. Vernon at 1:30 we steam up
the river, passing by Alexandria, the " city of
ruins," where we are shown the house wherein
Colonel Ellsworth, the first victim of the Re
bellion, was killed; also old Christ Church, in
which Washington was vestryman. I must
note that in Alexandria Washington cast his
first vote, in 1754, and his last, in 1799. It is a
city of memories, for " tis a city of ruins."

As we approach the metropolis, the Wash
ington Monument, standing in its towering
might of five hundred and fifty -five feet, looks
majestic and grand, reflected for a mile in the
dimpling waters of the Potomac. The capitol
also is an imposing structure seen from the


Having lunched on the boat, a miserable
meal, we have time to drive around the city
and shop. Evie is ailing under the oppressive
heat of the day. Martin and Maud attend the
Wednesday, September *23.

Accompanied Mrs. M. on a shopping tour,
and then to Georgetown College, to leave Mar
tin. The town is not a particularly pretty
place, the university being perhaps the chief
building of prominence, and I am told it is the
object which gives the town note. It is a hand
some gray stone structure, formidable -looking
and somewhat suggestive of pictures I have
seen of the new Catholic university, which I
expect to view later. Fr. Richards took us all
through the fine establishment, and we obtained
a pretty view of Virginia across the river,
Arlington Heights, formerly the Lee plantation,
Roselands, and the monument, etc., etc. George
town is now called Western Washington, so
closely does it hug the once more distant city.

Driving back to W , we find several friends
at the hotel awaiting us. After dinner with
them, they escort us for a walk, showing us the
different public buildings, etc.

Thursday, September 2 4-
The Messrs. H. and A.-K.Shriver called this


morning, and, having secured a three-seated
carriage, drove us to the Soldiers Home and
Catholic university, around by Ecklands, which
was an excursion of most pleasing reminiscences.
At the university we were presented to Bishop
Keane, the " silver-tongued orator " of the Cath
olic pulpit. He is a man of most attractive
address, and with whom I am particularly
charmed. Here, too, we met Fr. Grannan, who
kindly afforded us the pleasure of an insight of
the elegant college interior throughout a priv
ilege enjoyed through our escorts, Dr. Grannan s
friends, and for which we are deeply indebted.
The magnificent buildings- stand on a high
knoll in bold relief, trees girting the base of
the eminence, and the broad front of the mass
ive structure is almost as enduring in strength
as the truths taught within its granite walls.

After lunching at the Arlington, I was invited
to see the Botanical Gardens and Smithsonian
Institute, all of which I heartily enjoyed. After
dinner we all went for a walk, and Mr. S. left
for Baltimore on an evening train.



September 25.

A FTER our matutinal meal, we call for a
-*-*- carriage and go to the capitol, hire a
guide, and see the entire interior of the won
derful building, the paintings, frescoing, and
statuary, all of a high order of art. In the
old Hall of Representatives stands Vinnie
Ream s statue of Lincoln, for which the
talented little woman received from the gov
ernment ten thousand dollars. It is a fine
piece of work. Bierstadt s picture of Monterey
is not up to my idea of the artist s possibilities.
Henry Hudson discovering the river is a finely
conceived poem on canvas. The large fresco
piece " Westward the Course of Empire Takes
Its Way," illustrating the rugged road to Cali
fornia in 1848, is excellent. The Golden Gate
beneath, with dear old Marin s rocky cliffs pro
jecting over their water-washed base, is familiar
as sunlight.

The United States Senate chamber is very
handsome, and the United States Supreme



Court room is plainer but serious looking. The
President s room, where he signs the bills passed
by Congress, is especially beautiful, the fresco
ing elegant. The lobby is interesting, and, oh,
if its walls could speak ! We tried the acoustic
properties of the old Hall of Representatives,
where stands Franzoni s clock, and were inter
ested and amused. Next we visited the " Gold
Room," where the speaker of the House re
ceives his friends. The lobby here is lined
with portraits of ex -speakers, most prominent
of whom is James G. Elaine.

The rotunda regained we pass out. Imme
diately in the center of the rotunda is a bit of
white marble, marking the spot where is placed
in state the bier holding the remains of the
nation s honored dead. Here rested the pall of
Lincoln, Garfield, Grant, and others.

Leaving the capitol, we take our way to the
Monument and ascend in the elevator to the
summit, five hundred feet; the other fifty-five
feet are above us. This monument was eleven
years building. It stands on the Potomac s
edge and commands a matchless view of the
river. In the elevator were about thirty per
sons, and we were nearly smothered in the
crowd, being as closely packed as sardines in a

Visiting the Corcoran Art Gallery, I was de-


lighted to see an original Paul Veronese, repre
senting a scene in the "Passion of Christ." I
enjoyed the handsome pictures and statuary
groups very much.

I feel very tired and ill, possibly the result of
the sultry weather and unusual walking in
doors, which is wearisome to me. Received
letters from home, which, of course, were like
dear friends faces, welcome and pleasing.

Saturday, September %6.

Am very uncomfortable to-day; the sultry
warmth is exceedingly depressing, and a fever
ish, malarial feeling, most unwelcome, to say
the least, is asserting itself. Rousing myself
from the languorous influence, I go out shop
ping with Mrs. Murphy, and purchase gifts for
my California friends. My cousin friend selects
Mt. Vernoii and Washington spoons, that are
art studies of beauty, and with the late addition
of Baltimore, Enniscorthy, and Union Mills
souvenir spoons, my collection from Mrs. Mur
phy is constantly enlarging.

Returned to the Arlington overheated and
ailing. On an evening train from Baltimore
Mr. A. K. Shriver arrived, and after dinner
took Misses Maud and Evie and myself for a
jaunt through the park, through the grounds
of the White House, and elsewhere. Martin



attended his mother on her return from the col
lege and gayly greets us as we enter the hotel.
He is enthusiastic in praise of Georgetown, and
I think will take due advantage of the oppor
tunity here afforded towards a liberal education.
Now a care-free, good-hearted, unaffectedly
humorous young man, the outlook of his future
is excellent under the regime of Georgetown,
after which there is much to be expected.

Sunday, September 27.

We all attend mass at St. Matthew s Church,
Rev. Dr. Chappelle, the bishop elect of Albu
querque, New Mexico, offering up the Holy
Sacrifice, arid preaching a farewell sermon to
his flock, during which he is tearfully affected.
For the first time since leaving California Maud
succumbs to climatic influence, and almost
faints in church. It is very warm and sunny.

At nine o clock we take our breakfast, and
retire to our rooms to write letters, Mr. S. leav
ing for Baltimore, and the happy "tease,"
Martin, returning to Georgetown. The oppress
ive heat has almost prostrated me. Am un
able to withstand much heat, having once been
partially sunstruck.

Mrs. Edward Martin, of California, is at this
hotel with her sons, students of Georgetown.

After an outing we retire, with our windows


wide agape, mosquitoes lively and hungry, and
the air heavy and hot. We find rest a wished-
for thing with which we are not to be blessed.

Monday, September 28.

After returning from the breakfast room I
feel indisposed and unrefreshed. Dr. Wales
beg pardon, no kinsman to the prince has
been sent for, and his orders are for rest and
sleep, neither of which I may justly claim while
traveling. However, I remain for the day in
my room, as close as I can reach his advice.
Am very much fatigued, the effects of immod
erate walking, to which I am a stranger. At
noon Mr. Sh river came over from Baltimore,
bringing us letters. Evening finds us packing
for home.

To-day Mrs. M. and Maud attended the Pres
ident s reception. It continues sultry and sick
ening. During the calm of twilight Mr. Shriver
took Evie and myself for a drive and kindly
introduced us to parts of the city with a view
of which we had not before been favored.

The Chinese Legation, and mansions of the
British and French Legations, with others, and
the fire-ruined house of Secretary Tracy, wherein
his wife perished, the house of interesting his
tory occupied by Mr. Blaine, and innumerable
others were shown us, with a thousand objects


of remark and interest. The bronze figures of
our national heroes adorning every available
space of ground stand out in bold relief twixt
our vision and the opaline sky.

The evening was lovely. The delightful out
ing ended, we retraced our course, to regain our
rooms for early rest.



Tuesday, September 29.

TTAVE bad no sleep, and but little rest all
-* - *- night. I am pleased that it is our last
day in Washington, which handsome city I
haveheen able to only dreamily enjoy, the ener
vating climate having deprived me of all energy
and spirit to mingle in scenes around which
the enchantment of interest revolves.

We take leave of Martin, who keeps bravely
up in parting with his loved ones. Our belong
ings having been forwarded to the depot, Mr.
Shriver takes charge of the party and accom
panies us to Baltimore, where we are to take
the afternoon train on our homeward-bound
trip. The Rennert is gained about noon. I
feel wretchedly ill, alternately feverish and
chilly, and cross as a bear. I m sure everybody
will know that I am a " native daughter of the
Golden West." Our Baltimore friends called
to wish us Godspeed and prevailed in soft per
suasion to postpone our departure until the



morrow. Mr. Shriver and Mr. Tom Foley ten
dered us "a. spin" through the park, which was
exceedingly pleasant to those feeling well and

Having accepted Mrs. Mark Shriver s invita
tion to tea, and to spend the evening in her
sweet home of domestic bliss, thither we re
paired as the dusky brow of eventide began to
lower. A warm welcome from the kindliest
hearts in Baltimore, and the evening s pleasure
was assured. With my dear favorite, old Hor
ace, I sincerely believe that nothing on this
earth can "with a true, genial friend compare,"
and such I take our host to be, and his lovely,
amiable, dark-eyed wife. After the prettily-
served supper, Mr. Foley escorted Misses Maud
and Evie to the theater, and the rest sped the
winging hours with cards.

During the evening Mr. C. C. Shriver and
his charming wife, formerly Miss Fuine, of Vir
ginia, dropped in, and in the opportunity of
fered to become acquainted through conversa
tional influence with her admirable character,
I did not regret the awkwardness of card han
dling that kept me from joining the players to

With the waning hour towards midnight
we betook ourselves hotel ward, and, in parting,


the refrain of Moore, so full of sentiment, welled
upward from my heart:

" Farewell! but whenever you welcome the hour
That awakens the night song of mirth in your bower,
Then think of the friend who once welcom d it too,
And forgot his own griefs to be happy with you."

Wednesday, September 30.

With the first burst of daylight I am up and
about. Mr. Foley and Miss Lillie called, hav
ing traveled from "Enniscorthy"this morning.
Upon invitation I accompany them to their city
house, through which Lillie leads me to inspect
the comfortably-planned, elegantly-furnished
home, whose solid joys keep happy the winter
and spring months of the year, the summer and
autumn calling its cherished inmates to the sea
of greenery swelling and encompassing sweet

We return for breakfast at eleven o clock,
after which Miss Lillie and Mr. Charlie
Murphy, of Baltimore, take us to visit the
Johns Hopkins Hospital, a munificently en
dowed institution for the needy, and conducted
on plans of magnificent liberality. Of the staff
of physicians in charge, Dr. Osier, a refined-
looking, entertaining gentleman, politely at
tends us through the beautifully-kept dormi
tories, wards, halls, and rooms, and throughout
I note with inquisitive glance all modern im-



provements and convenient appurtenances,
with a ventilating system peculiarly its own.
Rooms of superior comfort are reserved for
those able to pay. The staff of nurses is not
excelled in America; nearly all are young,
strong, healthy-looking girls, under the care
and direction of a competent matron. The
hospital is the gift of Johns Hopkins, a worthy
and creditable philanthropist of Baltimore,
who died about eight years ago, and is now des
ignated as "St. Johns Hopkins" by his admir
ing friends.

The memorial room is fittingly furnished
with his own belongings. Particularly at
tractive is a long, expensive, massively- carved
black table, with six legs, placed in the center
of the room. Bric-a-brac, rich and rare, adorn
the walls, and from this room one carries away
a unique impression.

The Nurses Home adjoins the hospital build
ings, and we were permitted a peep into the
matron s apartments, which bespeak the char
acteristics of the occupant, respectability and
strict sense of discipline every where discern
ible. The genial Dr. Osier cunningly invited
us to join the force of nurses, and, as induce
ment, admitted that one of the most aristocratic
members of the medical staff had lately mar
ried one of the trained nurses inducement
enough, and promotion.


I am gratified with the pleasure afforded by
this visit to the Hopkins Hospital, and have
enjoyed it thoroughly. Reaching the hotel,
we find Mrs. Frank Smith, a friend of Miss
Foley s, who has called to meet us, on Lillie s
invitation. She is a gentle, suave lady, refined
and kind. Mr. Herbert Shriver and his chil
dren also greet us, soon followed by Mr. Foley,
and Messrs. Al. Myer and Tom Foley. At 1:30
we accept Mr. A. K. Shriver s invitation to
lunch, and at table form an interesting group.

At 2:30 we drive to the B. & 0. R. R Depot,
and sorrowfully say farewell to the dear friends
who have been so hospitable and kind during
our stay in their midst. Mr. Shriver, however,
takes advantage of our westward course to
make a business trip to St. Louis, and we are
delighted, having found, too, the need of a man
a distressing reality.

Turning from Baltimore we run into Wash
ington, remaining fifteen or twenty minutes,
then steam directly west, en route for Cincin
nati. About eighty miles from Baltimore,
along the Potomac and its canal, we come to
the oft-heard-of Harper s Ferry, and cross the
Potomac at its junction with the Shenandoah.
The Blue Ridge drags its length to the east
ward. The peak of Jefferson s Rock, where
the noble statesman harangued the people, to


the left, almost overhangs old "John Brown s
Fort," and the village which was once the place
for manufacturing arms, etc., for the govern
ment. The "Fort" is a small brick house and
is not formidable-looking, yet I suppose has
served its purpose. Stonewall Jackson s posi
tion on the bluff holding possession of the val
ley is proudly indicated, when General Banks
was driven back in slaughter. The arsenal
was burned, of course, but its foundation re
mains, ruined and worthless.

The broad valley of Virginia stretches be
tween the Blue Ridge and Alleghanies, in
places thirty miles in extent, and is a beautiful,
wooded, fertile country, fully recovered from
the results of the army inroads thirty years
ago. It runs south, or to the left of us, and the
Cumberland sweeps to the north neath the
shadow of the Blue Ridge. Winding along the
south bank of the Potomac, we pass through
and witness scenery as boldly grand and pic
turesque as may be found in any part of Swit
zerland, or other boasted scenic country of Eu

West Virginia is now to be seen at its best.
The scarlet leaves of the dogwood are being re
touched by nature s brush, and other brilliant
foliage charms the sight and claims the ad
miration of nature s lovers of the beautiful.


The reflection of mountains, trees, blossomed
bushes, and tangled shrubbery in the clear
streams is enchanting almost ideal. War-
noted hamlets, among which is Martinsburg,
are being indicated by Mr. Shriver, who is
familiar with the country hereabout.

As twilight settles upon the silent waters of
the river, it tips its softly-flowing ripples with
silver and throws the tree shadows in darker
relief, and still we skurry along at tremendous
rate, halting but a moment at intervening sta
tions between Harper s Ferry and Cumberland,
a distance of one hundred miles. Cumberland,
the queen city of the Alleghanies, is very pret
tily nestled in the heart of the mountains, but
the darkening night clouds nearly conceal
its beauties. The Narrows suggest the Colo
rado Gorge, and Deer Park is brilliantly ablaze
with electric light. Garrett s Cottage, wherein
Mr. Cleveland spent his honeymoon with his
lovely bride, is a feature of the place. I regret
that the afterglow of sunset has faded, evening
has merged into night, and I must retire with
out further view of this exquisite picture on
nature s own canvas, which I so much enjoy.


Thursday, October 1.

~T> ESTLESS and unrefreshed, I am wearily
-^ dull. We crossed the Ohio River near Mari
etta during the "wee sma hours of the dawn,"
and reached Cincinnati at 7:30, but could not
remain long, so boarded the Ohio and Mississ
ippi train for Louisville, Kentucky. Coursing
along the banks of the Ohio, with Kentucky on
our left, we pass into Indiana and find that same
ness in the scenery which wearies, although it is

1 2 3 4 5 7

Online LibraryFannie De C. MillerSnap notes of an eastern trip, from diary of Fannie de C. Miller → online text (page 7 of 8)