Fannie De C. Miller.

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

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a beautiful, richly-endowed country. At North
Vernon, Indiana, we take a direct course south
ward to Louisville. It is quite warm, but

Cincinnati is a business breathing city; its
people are active, and commendably attentive
to their own affairs. The sandy banks of the
Ohio, with its slow-moving waters on our left,
is spanned by two immense railroad bridges,
one leading to Covington, Kentucky, the other
taking us along the road to Louisville. We



recross the Ohio near the latter city, and for the
first time I see canal locks and am shown how
they operate, the Ohio River having a canal
here that is kept in order, the river proper be
ing liable to change.

We arrive in Louisville at high noon, and
register at Louisville Hotel. The town is lit
erally alive with people, who are celebrating
the Harvest Festival with processions, balls,
fairs, etc. The prettiest women and hand
somest men I have yet seen are in this city.
To-night they are crowding the hotel, and the
streets are lined with people.

We took a carriage to-day and went wherever
fancy suggested. Drove down the fine thorough
fare called Broad way, where we noted handsome
residences, also saw the new custom house, and
the handsome Union Depot. Drove into and
around Mr. Dupont s private park, a tame, old-
fashioned looking place. In all the city have
only seen two superior teams of carriage horses,
whereas I looked for fine horses everywhere in
Kentucky. Mules there are without number
or character, with darkies as Jehus in every

We take supper, and at eight o clock start for
St. Louis on the 0. & M., sleeping on the train.

Friday , October 2.

Upon arriving at St. Louis we were taken di-


rectly to the Southern Hotel. After some delay,
Mr. S. succeeded in securing rooms, although
every one had been engaged, it being the carni
val week, and fete of the Veiled Prophet. The
hotel is now said to be absolutely fireproof,
and is carried on on the American plan, It is
thronged with guests. The city is elegantly
illuminated. Broadway Street is lit up in half
circles across the thoroughfare, and others have
lamps within globes for a stretch of seven
miles, giving an enchantingly beautiful effect-
During the forenoon we rested. Early in the
afternoon Miss O Meara and Miss Taylor, with
her brother, called to arrange for a drive. I
decline to go, as my malarial tendency is again
troubling me, and I prefer to follow the doctor s
orders and try to rest. In the evening we all
attend the Royal Arcanum Society s Concert,
by Gilmore s Band, a charitable institution for
the benefit of widows and orphans. Some of
the music is of a high order, and the songs by
the male quartette are very fine. We returned
early, to seek needed repose.

Saturday, October 3.

Misses O Meara and Taylor called to guide us
around town, and conducted us to the public
library, a well-filled establishment of select
reading matter splendidly arranged, under the


superintendence of Mr. Anderson, a scholarly
man, with literary taste. A superbly carved
figure in wood of Robert Burns, with four of
his best poems illustrated on the pedestal, is a
unique piece of art I particularly admired in
one corner of a room adjoining the library.
Other fine art treasures belong here, and some
valuable canvases are stored on its walls.

Jewelry stores are next visited for souvenir
spoons, and, as usual, Mrs. Murphy favors me
with another. My friends are about to attend
the matinee, so I return to the Southern, to
await their coming to dinner at five.

In the meantime I take an outing in the
park. A life-size statue of Frank Blair, who
saved Missouri from secession, stands at the
entrance. The park is a pretty driveway, and
does not seem as large as I am told it is, being
second to Fairmount in size. Druid Hill is
still my favorite.

We dined at five, then all went forth to view
the illuminations, which presented a Monte
Christo effect at night the most charming and
beautiful scene I ever witnessed, as a varied and
magnificent luminance.

Miss Tessie O Meara, who is the soul of hos
pitality, manifests a cheerfulness in dispensing
it that is fascinatingly magnetic. She invites
us to her "sweet home" for a few hours, where


or THB



we pleasantly discuss our trip over a menu of
unexcelled delicacy and liberal provision, after
which, with a little music and conversazione, we
discover the hours far advanced and take the
cars at the door for the Southern. Mr. John
O Meara gracefull} r shares with his sister the
happy privilege of dispensing the honors of
the house, and I judge him to be a man of lofty
principles, whose character, I m told, soars
above reproach. The mainstay and strength
of the household, he lovingly assists in rocking
the " cradle of declining age," for his gentle
mother is advanced to the years of Dr. Oliver
Wendell Homes, and celebrates her birthday
on the same date with the venerable author.

October 4-

We attempted to attend mass at nine o clock,
but the hour has been changed for the summer.
I feel very weak and feverish, and am obliged
to keep my room for the day. Had my dinner
upstairs, but at four o clock am prepared for the
evening, when we shall take our departure for
the far West. Mrs. Murphy and the rest at
tended mass, then spent some time at the Con
vent of the Sacred Heart, at Maryville, and
returned at five. After supper our St. Louis
friends attend us to the Union Depot, and at
8:15 we enter the " Clebourne" sleeper, and, hav
ing crossed the river, retire for the night.


October 5.

Awoke this morning in St. Joseph s, an ex
tensive city, but at one time a modest trad
ing post. It was to this vicinity, I believe, that
our pioneers first drifted. They then settled in
Atchison County, which, being subdivided,
located them in Holt County, after which they
determined to go farther west, and successfully
reached our peerless sunland. The remains of
Grandmother Murphy rest in Missouri soil,
therefore the grand old State has a claim to our
reverence and affection.

Our attentive, generous, patient escort, Mr.
Shriver, parts with us here, after carefully at
tending to the details of our baggage, and
making everything as easy as possible for us.
He has been most kind and thoughtful for our
comfort, yet the "best of friends must part."

Steaming over the southernmost line of Ne
braska, we find it dried and bleak looking, illy
comparing with its fresh green appearance of
two months ago. Here it is raining. A heavy,
leaden sky throws a gray gloom over the land
scape. We are on the Burlington and Missouri
River Railroad until we reach Denver, then
change to another sleeper, this one returning to
St. Louis.

Tuesday, October 6.
In Nebraska we encounter snow; it is ev-


erywhere visible to Denver, where we are
brought to a sudden halt by our engine jump
ing the track, and we stop with a quick jolt.
Ordering a carriage, Mrs. Murphy takes charge,
and we are rapidly deposited at the Union
Depot, where she secures passage on the next
train to Salt Lake. Breakfasting at the depot
restaurant, the steward comes forward to inquire
regarding our whereabouts since he had seen
us at the Windsor two months ago. We are
all amused, and Evie s countenance is sub
merged in laughter.

On the " Buda " vestibule car we resume our
journey. Snow, snow, snow, on every side.
The mountain steeps, rugged and wild, are
wrapped in soft white blankets of snow, and as
we approach the great Royal Gorge of the
Arkansas, we take seats at the rear of the car to
get the benefit of the view. The cliffs seem
very familiar to me, so indelibly impressed are
they upon my memory. The rest of the party
seem very well, but I feel weary and weak.
We lunched on the cars at Palmer Lake, and
dined at Salida, Monte Christo Hotel, where
we had a good warm meal.



Wednesday, October 7.

WE are up at 7 o clock and breakfast at
Palmer House, near the desert. A few
miles more and we cross Green River and come
upon the desert, which we traveled over by
night before. It is a lengthy stretch of desolate,
sandy country, with only here and there tufts
of desert grass. Sand is drifting everywhere,
and the eye only meets desolation as it wanders
in search of an oasis.

We reach Price about eleven o clock and
lunch on the car, as we pass through Castle
Gate. Here a jewelry vender enters our par
lors and Mrs. Murphy purchases spoons, etc.
Evie asked the name of a station, and the itiner
ant jeweler answered, " Helper, and don t you
think one needs a helper here ? " Evie collapsed .

The foliage has all changed. The gorgeous
dyes of Autumn, the full-blown matron of the
year, are in strong contrast with the green of
two short months ago. Only industry and



Mormonism could thrive in this sage -ridden
country. The Book Mountains are a curiosity
indeed, the strata, or layers, lying like books,
even and continuous, and they carry the eye
along in wonder until the next bowlder repeats
the last or reaches more determinedly to cloud-

At two o clock we steam along through the
happily reel aimed Great Salt Lake Valley, which
is again extended before us for miles under
greenswards and teeming orchards. The city
of Zion gained at four o clock, we listen to the
repetition of Albany s confusion of hackmen,
and finally secure the Walker House coach.
At the hotel I find a letter awaiting me from
Josie, which, of course, I eagerly read.

Mrs. Murphy ordered a carriage, and we
were driven by a cockney coachman all over
the city, and, being glib of tongue and full of
wit, we had double benefit in our sight- seeing.
Temple Square incloses the tabernacle and
temple, but their doors had just been closed,
and we were deprived of an interesting sight.
The Assembly House is also a feature in this
square of fine buildings. Thence we viewed
all the late Brigham Young s possessions, his
own grounds being defended by an adobe and
stone wall. The graveyard where lie his re
mains is in the center of the town almost, and


beside him repose six of his wives. "The rest
are with the prophets." We were shown two
of his daughters and a son and I think about
& thousand sons-in-law and other connections.
The Tithe house adjoins Brigham Young s
dwelling, but the Endowment house has been
burned down. The far-famed prophet Young
had been the father of sixty-one children, but
only eighteen were living at the time of his
death enough, however, to perpetuate his

We saw three of the twelve disciples. There
is nothing suggestive of religious dignity in
their bearing or manner. Mormonism has
been somewhat bettered of late years. The
Edmunds Bill, considerable legislation, and
Mrs. Walker s and Miss Kate Field s lectures
have all contributed towards the amelioration
of the deluded Mormon women, who formerly
were the slaves of the elders. The number of
wives is limited, and the husband is required
to support all properly. It is said that some of
the elders wives agree perfectly, drive out to
gether, dine, and call, and tender to each the
courtesy of refinement and respect, whereas
other wives do not even glance at each other:
it is a trial of temperament and character.

From Prospect Hill we watched the sun sink
ing down the western sky, its brilliant gleams


reflected most gorgeously in the calm, broad
waters of Great Salt Lake ; it was a beautiful
picture. The Jordan winds its way to the lake.

We are in the city of Zion; the apostles are here.
May it not be the New Jerusalem? Yet no,
for the Jews are Gentiles here. Well, it is a fine
city. The streets are one hundred and thirty-
five feet wide, with twenty feet for sidewalks.
The trees are thrifty, varied, and numerous.
We are shown the residence of Bishop Scan-
Ian, built of brick, with stone front, also the

After a look at Fort Douglas, the rough spurs
of the Uintahs, the pass through which the
hardy Mormons entered the valley, we return
to the Walker and dine. We take a room for
the night, and at 12:30 P. M. we are ready for
the West-bound train, whereon Mrs. Murphy
has secured a drawing room. Upon presenting
our tickets, however, it is discovered that the
drawing room has been sold in Chicago through
to California, so we hearken to an animated
discussion between the guilty agent and Mrs.
Murphy, and the mistake is finally adjusted
after w r e reach Ogden. They give us three
lower berths, so, at two o clock, we claim them,
very weary-eyed and languid.



Thursday, October 8.

AWOKE at Terrace, Nevada, The same old
bleak, bald pate of the prairie looms up be
fore us, and the wings of desolation, folded since
we left the Colorado desert, have been flapped
over this dreary, lonesome place. Our breakfast
is served from the buffet. The porter informs us
that we shall reach San Francisco at 9:15 to
morrow morning, which for me means that I
gain the threshold of home in the evening, and
be again amongst rny loved ones. It seems so
long since I left them, and in the quietude of
that happy scene of serenity and love, I shall
experience indescribable pleasure in relating
the incidents of this tour and the enjoyment it
has afforded me.

We reached Elko at noon, and received the
San Francisco papers, looking at them as into
the faces of familiar acquaintances. I have
felt ill all day, and as night draws her man
tle, am ready for repose. There are several

11 (161)


peculiar characters on board, who present a
different phase of life to those unsophisticated
in its ways, as myself, and they are a source of
disgust to us.
Friday, October 9.

During the night we passed over the Sierras,
and I have again missed seeing them. At five
o clock this morning we stopped at Sacramento,
and we rise, dress for sight-seeing, and behold
the broad bosom of the Sacramento Valley
bared before us. There is a familiar look to
the country, and erelong we steam into Benicia,
thence crossing on the Solano, whose motion is
hardly perceptible. The serrated peninsula of
Marin lies dreamily on our right, the calm blue
waters of San Pablo laving its base, as they
shine in the morning sunlight.

At 9:15 we step off the ferryboat fit the foot
of Market Street, and friends near and dear
greet us home, and we keenly realize that

o >

" Mid pleasures and palaces," etc.,

"There s no place like home."
And now my companions go south to San
Jose, and I turn north to San Rafael, each filled
with happy meinorie^^fegJa^gure given and


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