A 19TH Century Canadian Time Capsule

Inside the Steamer

Grace saw a long room, with tables, and seats all round the tables; her father told her this was the saloon. She thought the walls were of beautifully carved oak, and could scarcely credit her father’s assertion that they were made of stamped leather…
She next saw the pantry. A man was standing at an open drawer nearly filled with the lumps of white sugar, which he was breaking into it…The lady took her down some stairs, and showed her a little room with sofas all around it; she told her this was the ladies’ cabin.. It had a pretty little grate in it, a table in the middle and some looking glasses on the walls. Grace asked why they had so many closets, and begged the lady to show her a state room…
She was very much disappointed to learn that the only state rooms were those closets…
she was equally so (surprised) at the size of the fires, dangerously large as they looked to her, the engine-men all black and heated, were busy throwing on more coal”…

Ladies in traveling dresses and green veils? Well, they’re not English, French, or Native – must be strangers! The above also gives us a rather nice look inside a typical ‘1840’ steamship.

Here come some more strangers:
“… she wanted them to look at a fine ship at anchor in the harbor. A large boat was rowing away from this ship. Some ladies and gentlemen were in it, and the sailors who were rowing wore large collars turned over their blue jackets, and they had long ribbons flying from the side of their round hats. A great many sunfish were floating about in the water. They looked like pink, or dark-red flowers.”

Weather and scenery:

“The rain was falling in large splashing drops. Grace looked down into the street, which seemed a great river of muddy water. The pigeons were not there as usual, there was not even a dog to be seen.
No living thing was in sight except a milk woman, with a blanket shawl over her head and some large tin cans in her hand”
(Nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow… oh, it’s a milk woman – not a postman).

“The first of May was not sufficiently fine to induce Grace to renew her request for a day in the woods. The clouds were gray and heavy;-the harbor looked very cold and dark, and a north east wind was blowing clouds of dust against the windows”…

“Grace had never been to Dartmouth in the winter, and as she passed a little wooden aqueduct which supplied a mill with water, she stopped to look at the great icicles, as large as herself, which descended from each side of it.”

“It was a beautiful afternoon. The blue lake, half gilded by the declining sun–half shadowed by the wood–the harbor glittering in the distance–the white sails gliding over it in various directions–the gentle wind stirring the branches of the trees–the brown hills of Dartmouth, and the untroubled summer sky”

“This place, erected at so great an expense-so formidable for its strength, and so celebrated for the two sieges it sustained, is now an inconsiderable fishing place, not otherwise distinguished from other harbors in its neighbourhood, than by the name it has obtained in history.”

“The tents on George’s Island were white as snow drifts, and the hills of Dartmouth seemed holding their heads up in the fresh morning air…”
“If you could have your wish, mamma, what would it be?”
“Her mother thought for a moment and said she should like a country house.”

…”she must wait till eleven before crossing the harbor, so she went for her books and sat down to learn the lessons for the next day.”
…”Besides you must take some money,” said her mother; you know you cannot go to Dartmouth without paying the men in the steamboat for taking you across the harbor.”