Mrs. Daw's travel diaries, 1838. Volume 1

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  • UPenn Ms. Coll. 850 Volume 1
  • This two-volume diary traces the nine-month journey (April to December 1838) of Mr. and Mrs. W. Daw as they travel from London, England to Moscow, Russia, and their return trip home. Mrs. Daw writes almost daily about their experiences and observations, which are embellished with eighteen watercolor sketches. Mrs. Daw reports on other travelers, captains of vessels, and their travel companion, Mr. White. The couple travels by ship, steamboat, coach, horseback, and train, stopping at small villages and large cities. On the outbound trip from England to Russia, Mr. and Mrs. Daw travel chiefly by boat through Germany and via the Danube River to Galati, Romania. Mrs. Daw describes the landscapes and towns as seen from the Danube and at stops along the river. From Galati the couple travels to Constantinople, Turkey, and here Mrs. Daw records the dress of Muslims, the mosque, and her experience of watching the dancing dervishes from behind a latticed screen in the mosque; she includes a watercolor of the event. She also records Mr. W. Daw's encounter at a Turkish Bath. Mrs. Daw often interrupts her own narrative to record in quoted passages the observations of her husband; she signs his initials at the end of the entries. Leaving Turkey, the Daws arrive in Odessa, Russia (now Ukraine), where they are quarantined for fifteen days: Mrs. Daw writes about the indignity of the situation, including the fumigation rooms. After quarantine they travel to the Crimean peninsula and stay at Yalta and Alupka, where Mr. Daw and Mr. White go on a three-week journey of their own. Reuniting, the party travels by coach and horseback through the steppes of Russia; Mrs. Daw writes of the landscape and the fields of buckwheat and corn. Arriving in Moscow, they visit the czars' palaces and churches. From Moscow, with a coachman and Jewish guide, Mr. and Mrs. Daw travel through Lithuania. Here Mrs. Daw records the number of versts they have traveled, the desolate land, and the customs and dress of the Jewish families managing the inns along the route to Warsaw. They reach Poland, and Mrs. Daw observes that the country is "feeling the effects of the unfortunate revolution--a people broken rather than subdued." Leaving Warsaw, they visit Mr. White's sister-in-law in Radom, Poland and then continue on to Krakow, a free state at the time. They move on to Czechoslovakia and Austria, staying in Vienna, where, while sightseeing, Mrs. Daw writes that she is much disturbed by Rubens paintings. The Daws leave Vienna, travel through Salzburg onto Germany, where in Stuttgart they take leave of Mr. White. From Cologne, Germany the couple boards a steamship to Brussels, Belgium, where they stay almost a week. They then travel by train to Antwerp, staying for a few days, and continue on to Ostend, where they board a ship to London. Through keen observations and watercolors Mrs. Daw captures many aspects of this lengthy Eastern European journey, including local people, their costumes, customs, religious beliefs, and social attitudes. She describes the landscapes, vistas, hotels, palaces, homes, and buildings. Curiously, Mrs. Daw does not provide the reason for the journey, nor does she reveal the first name of herself or her husband.

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    We left [[London]] on Wednesday April 29th 1838 per steam for [[Rotterdam]], in cold squally weather with showers of snow though the season was so far advanced - We got a good top, with all its usual disagreeable consequences, so that I did not venture out of my birth till we were past the Brille bar, + fairly in Smooth water, I then got on deck as soon as [Ilanto?], + found a flat shore on both sides, with many little church spires + windmills [+varying?] the outline, we passed one or two pleasant looking villages not unlike English villages -

    Hedge row trees, some of them with the branches out, leaving only the top as we see them in [[England]] + by the riverside stunted cut over willows - Vessels of various nations helped to vary the scene which was altogether cheerful + pleasant. At the first view one gets of Rotterdam it seems little more that a village; but we landed at a handsome street, which stretches along

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    the quay, + is lined with a row of elm trees; in this street and within a few steps of where we land, is the [[Hotel du Roys]] was where we took up our quarters, of which is handsome + comfortable - the first view of the Dutch share, reminds me a good deal of some of the views one gets of [[Kirkudbright]] [[Kirkcudbright]] with the flat green grounds + the embankments + about it ---- We were much pleased with the town; it's streets with their canals, shipping (for some of the canals are large enough to serve as havens + are filled with shipping , ) rows of Elm trees, picturesque irregular buildings overtopped by the Cathedral, are very fine - - The little changes that one observed in the ^ dress of the ^ peasentry such as the great wooden Shoes turned up at the toe, flat round caps drawn close to the head large earrings, metal ornaments on the forehead + [s?], were amusing to one that had never crossed the Channel before-

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