Extract from Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge’s London Travel Diary
|Thursday. 2nd May. |
As I approach America the thought of my children, from whom I am again so soon to part, saddens rather than cheers me.
Tuesday 9th April was my last evening in England. I passed part of it with my friend Mrs Stevenson. On my return to my lodgings, after bidding her a sad farewell, I found Mr Coolidge hard at work settling accounts and making preparations for departure, assisted by his kind and excellent friends, Mr Sindry & Mr Bowman. I sat up till one o’clock and Mr Heard aided me in the examination of my last household accounts, which being completed I sought my solitary bed, for Mr Coolidge was kept up all night by the necessity of making various arrangements before leaving London. Mr Bowman staid with him until three o’clock and returned in the morning to an early breakfast. Finally, on Wednesday 10th April 1839, all being ready for our departure, we took our seats at 8. A.M. Mr Coolidge, Mr Heard, Josephine, Jefferson & myself, in the Portsmouth Coach called the Rocket. I drove in my own comfortable carriage to the starting point. Mr Bowman & Capt. Wormeley walked with Mr C. & Mr H. to the same place, and here taking leave of these good friends, we were soon whirled away, passed rapidly down Piccadilly by Hyde Park Corner & turned our backs on the great Metropolis. I was thinking too intensely of all that happened since last I passed the same road to pay much attention to it now. We had one inside passenger, a lady from the Isle of Wight, the rest of the coach being occupied by Jefferson, Josephine & myself. She was a pleasant person, who talked enough and not too much, was courteous without being intrusive, and helped to make my last impressions of England & the English favorable, as so many previous impressions have been.
We reached Portsmouth by four o’clock & found the ship, which was not to arrive before night, already there & waiting for us. We left the Rocket Coach to enter the boat which conveyed us to the Quebec. Her anchor was up and all ready for sailing. I was somewhat dismayed, on being hoisted on board, to see the vessel so crowded & so dirty. It was a foretaste of the excessive discomfort of the voyage—but a fresh easterly wind was filling the sails, and we soon found ourselves borne rapidly onward and bade a long adieu to beautiful England.