Transcript: Stangroomletter18661010_A [Page 1] Steamer Arago Wednesday Morng 10th Oct 1866 My Dearest Mother We are about eighty miles from New York and expect to get in at six or seven this evening, which will make our passage from Falmouth about 13 ½ days. We may consider ourselves fortunate in doing even so well as this, as we had very rough weather for six or seven days, so rough as to cause much excitement and some confusion owing to the breaking of furniture. The Persia (as we learn from the Pilot who has just come on board), the second best Cunard Boat whose passage is generally 9 or 10 days, was out 13. The Saxonia, the Crack Boat of the Hamburg Line, generally out 10 ½ to 11 days, was out 17, and the Ville de Paris, the famous French Boat, came very near to foundering. So by comparison, we did very well indeed [Page 2] For a short period of six or seven hours, the gale was the strongest the Captain had ever seen during 25 years on the Atlantic ocean. We lost one poor fellow overboard (a sailor) and got about 1500 [pd?] for his widow and orphan. Some of the big bugs also subscribed among themselves $650 for a testimonial to the Captain, but I did not feel called upon to contribute although I consider him a good sailor and a gentleman. We had great fun during the three or four roughest days, though the poor women and some few of the men suffered a good deal. This turned out to be an American ship and the passengers are almost all American and a pleasant set enough. I have spent most of my time in the smoking room and have only spoken to one lady (age 52) who sits near me at table with her family since I came on board, so although there are several nice-looking girls on board, I cannot be accused of flirting much. I expect to land this evening and, if early enough, [Page 3] to go up to the Brez's. Tomorrow I expect to get my letters and, unless there is something in them relieving me from hurry, to leave by the California Steamer at noon if there is room in her. If I send this, you will know I have gone. In the event of my staying, I shall go overland, starting about Monday. My pipe has been universally admired and envied and, as during the turmoil I smoked and smoked and smoked, I think nothing but a special providence could have kept it from being broken. We have now calm weather, and the only likely contingency about one getting on shore tonight is that we may be detained at quarantine until morning, though that is improbable and would make it almost impossible for me to catch the other steamer. A fortnight has already and when you get this a month will have passed out of the next three years. I suppose you feel already as if you had been dreaming, as I shall [Page 4] also feel when I get settled down again, but it will be a very happy dream to look back to and think over, and I feel triumphant over fate to the extent of three happy weeks of which I made use and of which I cannot be robbed. I feel well and in good spirits and much more disposed to look forward a few years than I expected to be willing to do. Whatever may have led to it or whatever may be the result of my prolonged absence, I am very very glad I went and think it will not only have given me a short happiness but give a better tone to my life until we meet again. Goodbye, dearest mother, with all possible love to Pa and Charlotte. Your affectionate Boy M. L. Stangroom Tell Charlotte I will write to her next and to give my love to Charles.