Letter (June 5th 1879) 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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U.S.S. "Monongahela"
Yokohama, June 5th. 1879

To the "dear ones at home".

I am a little at a loss to know what to say, having been confined to the ship by storms of wind and rain ever since my last letter was sent. Today being a little more cheerful I have concluded to write a little. The San Francisco mail is due and hourly expected with letter from home. 'Tis hoped I will get good news from my little girl and all of you. I am still waiting for that other picture. The summer is fairly set in, but not nearly as warm as I had expected it would be at this season. Reports come in that Cholera is increasing in different parts of the country

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and working this way, still there is not much alarm. We continue to find rotten places in the ship and bad spots in the boilers which in the end will probably hasten the end of our cruise. I think, without having any intimation to that effect, that we will get home by Spring which will be a most agreeable season. The question natuarally arrises, Will we go to California or some Atlantic port ? I much prefer California where I can see my little girl as soon as possible after our return is decided upon. I can't help thinking what a big girl she is getting to be and how much company she will afford in a few years. I am a little fearful she will not retain the flesh she has acquired so quickly. Still it matters very little so long as she is well and happy. ~
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June 7th.

The mail is in and mother's letter arrived. 'Tis a great happiness to hear my little girl is so well and bright. I cannot control my tears for joy when I read your letters telling me how beautifully she is thriving in all its forms. I will not say the last pictures you sent of her seated in the garden with the violin in her little hand are good, but they show me how much and rapidly she is changing and are other wise a great comfort. Really, I am beginning to think she has tallent for drawing. The pictures are remarkable for one so young and without assistance. I will try to send a little picture by each mail.

Wilson and Seymour came out by this steamer, both for the "Ashuelot" I believe. We can do without Wilson. We had hoped to get orders, or hear something about going home but nothing came. Seymour said new Boilers for us, left New York in the "Three Brothers"

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about the time he left San Francisco. This may or it may not be true. Should it be true it secures our return to Mare Island instead of New York. Of course there is no telling when this last is going to happen. I should like very much to reach San Francisco about the First of April and enjoy the beautiful Spring you always have. 'Tis useless to ask if my little girl enjoyed the season just past ? Judging from your letters my little girl must think her papa is a wonderful fellow and will accomplish great things when he "comes home". Well ! I believe it is natural for the little souls to have an extravagant opinion of their parents. I regret having to disappoint her. Anyhow I will try my best to be her Champion. I am going ashore directly to enjoy the first pleasant day in ten, so far as rain in concerned, but it is hotter than fury. I must dress to suit

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I know that it is all for the best in the end, but I can't help feeling a little disappointed that our darling's tomb had not arrived. I am very glad you thought to plant a piece of the willow by the hydrant. When our darling came to China she told me it was growing beautifully from the water it received from the hydrant. I sincerely hope it will not be long before I can see her grow. 'Tis a great pity the Government does not do something for the grave-yard in the Yard. What surprises me most, is, that those who have friends buried there should take so little interest in it. 'Tis hard to understand ? I hope, at least, to have our darling's lot properly fenced and otherwise protected. Doubtless I will have to do these things and enclose a reasonable space around the grave.
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Yokohama seems to be getting quite lively. They had a boat-race in the afternoon and an Opera-bouffe in the evening. The American crew beat in the race and they say the opera was something terrible in the way of artistic skill. It is an English Company -

As I had said, I went ashore and made three calls, and received an invitation to lunch with Mrs. Tripler, which was accepted. I dread leaving the ship in the middle of the day. 'Tis so very hot - The Admiral has concluded to order Seymour here, and he reported today. I met Sam. Wilson today and he told me he had not drank anything for a year, I met him two hours later when his condition did not justify the statement. It looks as if he has already gone too far to give it up now. Seymour seems to be a nice fellow -

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Mrs. Talcot, came out in the last steamer. She says she is the wife of Lieut. Talcot and he is to join her in August on the station here. She brings no letters and seems to be under no protection. As none of the officers seem to know that Talcot was married it looks just a little strange. However, she says she was married to Talcot while he was attached to the Coast-survey in California some five years ago. Do any of you remember the circumstances? As she seems to be a very nice person so far as manners are concerned, I am inclined to think she is all right, but it is very unusual to send a lady about the world in this sort of way. I have not seen her myself. I get this from other officers on the station, but it will doubtless be found out before many days. She is a Canadien by her own statement -
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I took lunch with Mrs. Tipler today and enjoyed it very much indeed, for it was quite elegant, having six courses. Although I enjoy these things it is quite a relief to get on board the ship again. I hear today that Mrs. Cowls is on her way back to Yokohama having been frightened away from Shanghai. I do not think any of the ladies will hereafter think of passing the Summer there. They seem to take warning from our darling's death. Today I had to come out in full Summer dress and still felt uncomfortable. I believe the heat does not last over a month in Yokohama - Should it get anything like Shanghai I will get a room on shore to sleep in only, and take my meals on board. This living on board of ship is very tiresome work and I am heartily six (sick) of it. Thank goodness there is a prospect of it soon ending.
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Jan 9th. (intended to write "June")

The "Richmond" has at last caught General Grant near Piking and will bring him here some time next month. We don't hear that the "Monongahela" is to take him home. I find that the hot weather has taken about five pounds off me but am feeling very well. I have no fault to find with the climate. So far as I have seen, it is the most agreeable I have seen anywhere. The country is equally beautiful and takes lots of money to see it. I may take a trip somewhere by-and-by. Nothing is said about the ship going away from here. It still looks like an all-Summer's stay. We may go north to Hakoda too for a little while. The Admiral has said positively that he will not send us to China in hot weather again.

The question of Mrs. Talcot is still unsolved. She has convinced

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a few, the consul among them, that there is not about her being Mrs. S. Athers are satisfied that she is an adventuress. I hear that she is without money and acts strangely but positively asserts that she is Talcot's wife. She has taken a room with a woman of doubtless character and keeps her own room all the time. This woman says she knows nothing about her. This unsettled state can't last long, the truth must be known, for everyone is trying to solve it.

My love to all at home and lots of hugs to my little girl. I would write more if there was anything to say.



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