Letter from Henry S. Davids to Mrs. Calvin Brown
Preserved by William and Sherry Jandt
digital transcription by Tom L. McFarland in August 2001

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19th Jan (1879)         2

Tis most difficult to find something to write, I see nothing strange or unusual. Life here is not different from it in other parts of the world. Today there was some divertion in trying to mend some stocking; in spite of the temperature I became very warm and had to give it up for the time, but will try it again. Im afraid that kind of economy will not prosper, and will have to wait until my little daughter grows up. Don't you think I will be happy? In one week from today the cruise will be half up, and we will then be going down hill as it were. Not a day goes by but it is not counted against those that remain : they pass slowly enough I assure you. "Charlie" will be five years old, Dear little soul! How I long to see her a big and loving girl. She became very fond of me and would not leave my arms could it have been avoided. I suppose upon my return the acquaintence will have to be renewed. I will tell you

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something that happened last summer. "Charlie" got to be very fond of sewing ; one day I stood up before Addie to have a button replaced, but our little girl insisted upon doing it herself, and made such a time about it that the request had to be allowed. I stood it for a half hour and then had to give up for the heat. She ran the needle in every direction and the stitches to correspond, which did not escape the skin, everything being sewed together. I will never forget how our poor girl laughed at my martyrdom. Many of those events are recurring to my memory, and bring happy recollections of a happy past. Tomorrow will be Sunday. I shall go ashore and have a long walk in the country, which is a pleasure one cannot have in China. The country about Shanghai is most uninviting, being a drab level plain filled with graves and huts of the commonest people. Still, as a city, Shanghai is far superior in every way to Yokohama.
Good night, with love ~ Henry

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Jan 20th

I went ashore today as I had promised myself, but the walk was prevented by a snow storm coming up. It was very light, but its intensity could not be depended upon, so the walk was given up so far as the country was concerned. Still I managed to get pretty well over the town. I heard today that the Adams were to leave the Grand Hotel and go to the International. I am unable to give their reason for the change, though it appears that the price had something to do with it. Mrs. Boughman goes home in the "Tokie" to join her husband at Vallejo. I believe his time is up. Mrs. Barber is still in Hong Kong and will not leave this part of the world until it is decided that the "alert" will not return here. Her stay in China will be short : she left home only on the fifteenth of September. I was weighed today and brought down 168 pounds, which is only ten less than my weight when I left Mare Island. This of course was in winter clothes.

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I am feeling very well just now. In fact I have not felt badly; only thin during the hot weather. I have a most glorious big overcoat. It must weigh 15 pounds - both large and comfortable. I found my big lamp most useful and comfortable. As my room is dark at this season it is constantly lighted. The Masons give a grand ball ; many of our officers will go, as well as some of the Navy ladies - though can't say which ones. The news of General Grant coming out here has given us some excitement. Many of the officers think, but I do not, that we will take this ship to go to San Francisco in early Fall. It makes no difference what they say, I will make no such calculations; the news would be too good. The Admiral has decided that he neither likes the "Monongahela" nor her Chaplain, and will not come on board to live if it can be avoided. He talks to Fitzhough very sharply sometimes. I have not a superabundance of love for him myself.

Good Night - Henry

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Jan. 22nd         3

While it is on my mind, I would like to know if father ever obtained my bank-book from the Trust Company? Some time last summer I sent, in one of Addie's letters, an order for it to be delivered to him. If it is not too much trouble, I would ask him again to call and get it, and when you write again, let me know how much I have on deposit there. I know it is not much. When it amounts to $500.00 I will let father buy a bond for our little girl. I am trying very hard to save something for that dear little soul. Don't you think I am right about it?

I hope it will not be very long before I get a picture of that dear little face. When you have the opportunity, I should like to know her weight. She fell off a little during the very hot weather. In five more days I hope to get a letter. We don't hear a word about leaving here, and unless orders come from Washington sending us away, it is not probable the ship will move for the next three months.

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I can't say I like stopping in one place so long. I feel that a continuation of new scenes would be better, and help to carry off this cruise more quickly. Were it not for reasons already expressed in former letters, I would much prefer Shanghai. This place is exceedingly quiet, while Shanghai is very exciting. I was on shore yesterday afternoon, and saw Mrs. Tripler. She said her mother (Mrs. Hubbard) had considerable trouble with the baggage. I bought a very pretty picture frame and had one of Addie's pictures put in it. It does not quite suit me, and will require some alterations and the addition of a mat. When my little daughter's picture comes, I'll get it a pretty frame. Three inches of snow fell night before last, which necessitated me to buy a pair of Arctics (shoes). But the snow all melted the next day, though it again looks like it tonight. I wonder what Charlie would say over a snow storm. How I would like to have her see everything strange and pretty.

Good night with love to all ~ Henry

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Jan 25th

The San Francisco and Shanghai steamers are both in. The former brings long letters and papers from you at home, and the latter the remains of our dear Addie, which are on their way to you at home. The steamer on which they came anchored about 8 o'clock. I immediately went on board and saw that they had been properly prepared to make their voyage safely. Our darling first lies in a wooden coffin which is covered with one of lead, which again is covered by the outside box. The usual plate is secured to the inner coffin. Tomorrow our darling will be transferred to the "City of Tokio" when I will go on board to see if the boxes are still safe, and take my last look at the lonely home of my devoted and beloved wife. The events of today brings a return of grief, but lessens many deep anxieties. My little child is well and happy, and our darling is really from the land that took her noble and useful life, and on the way to those who will revere her grave. I must again ask you at home to

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try to decide upon a design for a suitable monument for our darling's grave. I have tried to give it my own thought, but at each effort found myself so ignorant and consequently perplexed that I feel compelled to leave it to those who love her quite as dearly. Knowing how tenderly you love even her dust, I have no fear that you will erect a tomb insufficient to our dear Addie's noble character. I trust that you will believe, that whatever you do will satisfy me, knowing as I do my own inability to do more. It is my wish to do all I can for our darling's tomb, that lies within our position and means, without ostentation, or vain show of any kind. I simply wish to do that which would please our darling, her child and ourselves. I have no idea what the cost of a proper monument will be ; sufficient to say, I will be able to send you some more money in a few weeks now. I trust I have said enough to convince you that you are free to act as if I were with you, and that I beg your help in the matter

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