|Mary Cumming, Liverpool to Margaret Craig, Lisburn.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|T 1475/2 pp15-18: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 25:04:1994.
|Liverpool, August 30th 1811.
My dearest Margaret,
We arrived here yesterday evening about
five o'clock, safe and well after encountering the danger of a
tempestuous sea and the most dreadful sickness I ever endured,
but I will try to give you some account of the passage.
I cannot express what I felt on parting with you all, I
watched you walking along the shore till I could see your
figures no more. Had I been in spirits I would have been
delighted with the view of Rostrevor [Rosstrevor?] and the Carlingford
mountains, which appeared more beautiful than I ever saw them.
The Mourne mountains began to look very black and angry. I
thought we would have a very rough sea before long, and so it
happened. I had not as yet felt the least sickness, and began
to think I would not. About eight o'clock we were asked down
to the cabin to take some tea, we had not been long there when
the ship began to heave in rather an odd kind of manner, so I
thought I would make an exit out of the cabin as fast as
possible. When I came on deck the scene was a good deal
changed, the females were all sick, some of them crying; the
waves were rather higher than I had ever seen them before, but
still I was not sick. Mr Cumming told me there was no danger;
we sat on deck and I amused myself looking at the waves, which
sometimes appeared as if they were on fire, an appearance I had
never before seen. At this time the ship was going very fast
indeed, and I began to feel very sick, which put the thought of
danger out of my head. You cannot, my dear Margaret, conceive
what I suffered from that time till about twelve o'clock the
next morning, it is the most deadly sickness I ever felt.
Mr Cumming thought I would be better if I would go down to
the cabin and try to get a little sleep, but that was impossible.
Figure to yourself me lying in a little bed about two feet
wide, Mr Cumming in one above me, the ship quite on her side, the
waves booming against her in such a manner that I sometimes felt
her side bending, the noise of the men pumping on deck, the cries
of the females above us calling "Oh Captain, the hold is full
of water", the sound of the great waves dashing over the ship,
me as sick as death, thinking every now and then I felt her going
against a rock. Imagine to yourself all these things, and you
may suppose my feelings were not of the pleasantest kind. The
wind got higher about four o'clock in the morning, the water
came into the bed where I was, and I think it was about half a
foot deep in the room where we were. Mr Cumming was sick a
little, but all our troubles are over now, I never felt better
in my life than I do to-day. The wind abated about ten in the
morning, we came on deck, and were delighted with a fine view of
the Welsh mountains.
Mr Cumming is the most affectionate attentive nurse that
can be, indeed he is everything my fondest hopes could wish for.
I believe he thinks he should be more attentive than ever, now
that I am parted from all my friends. Bad as I was the other
night I was amused with the cabin boy who was very attentive to
me indeed. I was lying in my berth about the middle of the
night listening to the sweet murmuring of the waves below me
when I heard in the cabin the most uncommon kind of noise that
you can think of. One of the gentlemen called out "What is
the matter?" "Oh, nothing at all" was the reply, "It is this
door that has gone adrift". I then found out that he was trying
to shut the cabin door. A little after a sweet little boy
that was in one of the berths tumbled out in the cabin, he was
not hurt, however. The next morning Mr Cumming was looking for
my green veil, which had been mislaid somewhere about the bed,
he did not find it however, but he got a dead rat that had been
under my head all night, so upon the whole my first voyage has
not been of the pleasantest kind, but I must think nothing of
these trifles now.
We dined and slept at an Inn, and about half an hour ago
arrived at Mr W. Brown's, where I am at present. Mr Brown and
Mr Cumming are gone to see about our trunks. I believe we will
go to the theatre to-night, some of the London performers are
here at present. Mrs Brown is a very sweet looking woman, I am
sure I will like her very much. They have one little daughter
about six months old, Liverpool seems to be a great bustling
place, but I have not seen much of it yet. I am longing most
anxiously to hear how my dear Father is. I think I will have a
letter on Sunday from you. You will not have to complain of
my not writing often, it is the most pleasing task in the
world. This is a sad confused epistle, but you know I am not
the best hand at letter writing, I will improve, however.
Oh, my dearest Margaret, how often I think of you all, but I
trust I shall soon see all my dear friends again. I feel very
happy, the prospect of being soon with you again will keep up
my spirts for four or five years. I believe Mr Cumming leaves
this for London on Monday, I will write when we get there. I
would have written last night, but I was very much fatigued,
and not myself. I felt as if I was in another world when I
awoke this morning. I am sure I will be very much better after
my sea sickness, there was a great deal of bile on my stomach.
Mr Cumming joins me in kind love to you all. Give my most
affectionate love to Miss McCully and my dear Margaret. Mr
Cumming thinks I will not be sick any more, I am sure I hope so
most sincerely. I have just sent off the keys of my trunks, I
suppose they are going to open them at the custom house. I do
not like such customs at all as they have in this country.
You will hardly be able to make out this bad writing, but I
know you will excuse me, it is well for you my paper is done, for
I think I could write this hour, I think I am talking to you.
I was very much pleased with the view of Liverpool coming
down the river Mersey - I do not know whether I should say down
Farewell, my darling Margaret, expect to hear from me
soon. Be sure to write often to
Give my dear Rachel a kiss from me . Do you know it is like a
second parting with you for me to quit writing. I hope my dear
Father is quite well by this time. Once more adieu.