Dear Mr. Higginson;
The journey is over – the goal won; will the award equal in realization what is promised in anticipation yet remains to be seen. I think it will.
You will remember perhaps, we left Clinton June 14th and reached Lawrence the 21st – a journey of eight days only. Our baggage was checked through from Worcester Junction to Suspension Bridge which we reached about 7 oclock Tuesday A.M. Had a clean view of the Falls, which was only an aggravation, as we did not think best to remain over a train.
Arrived in Chicago seven Wednesday A.M. Did not go by the Joliet cut-off as they refused to check our baggage or take our tickets upon the Chicago, Alton & St Louis route; and though we considered them rather unpleasant reasons at the time, found afterward it was well, as those tracks were over flowed with water in some places; while the Illinois Central was not-
Reached Alton Thursday morning – took a steamer for St. Louis, the Mississippi having so risen as to cover railways, wheat fields, and houses even to the second story. It was very delightful sailing down the majestic Father of waters. Passing the mouth of the Missouri one is reminded of Free State men and Border Ruffians – they do not mix well together.
Reached St Louis at 10 o’clk A.M. Remained at the Townsley House until 3 P.M. Mr. Townsly was
most sociable and friendly and we were most kindly and comfortably cared for.
Reached Jefferson City about 10 o’clk P.M. The South Wester came up at 12, very much crowded. We were tired enough to take any corner though, and were promised comfortable quarters as soon as possible. There were 7 ladies for Leavenworth – we made eleven having picked up a fourth no. to our party; Most of them were married having husbands in Kansas, or that were coming soon. More came on board the boat afterwards for the same place.
Reached Leavenworth A. M. morning at two o’clk. Went to the Planter’s hotel, because nearest – pro slavery house where after a little rest and a breakfast of minced flies and potatoes, corn bread and mosquito wings, and a long walk around the city, we found the stage ready for Lawrence.
Now came the “tug of war”. Trunks “must go” and trunks “could not go”. After a week’s travel without once looking at one’s wardrobe, it was quite enough to rouse one’s spirit at the thought of having it left behind indefinitely. Mr. B[ranscome] – who was on the boat with us – acted as mediator.
A compromise was effected. Part of the trunks were taken, the rest to come by next stage. So making the best of the matter we settled down for a pleasant thirty five miles journey & and we had it. The country was beautiful; none of those flat-desolate Illinois prairies, where the houses looked pitifully neighborless, and as though squat
ted down to bleach out in the sun. The gentlemen walked up the hills and we walked on the prairies. We gathered flowers and burnt our faces to a deep brown. Stopped at an Indian’s and eat cakes and crossed the “Big Stranger” is a rickety canoe. Went ankle deep in the mud and jolted through the “cricks” in the stage. A mistake was made once when we changed horses, and we rode back a couple of miles. The driver used wicked words energetically and the passengers groaned and laughed alternately.
Reached Lawrence at five P.M. It was a prettier town than I had hoped for (I detest Leavenworth). Miss Phillips - sister to the Tribune’s correspondant was was on board the boat and we became good friends. She has lived in Lawrence before, but has now left this morning in a huge covered wagon for Salina – a new town one hundred & fifty miles west started by her brother. I like both herself and brother very much. Mr. Redpath ( I knew him from your Kansas letters in the Tribune, is here also. Also a little Mr. Hinton, who wished to know if I ever heard Mr. Higginson say anything about him. I knew him in Boston at the time of the “Ladies Enterprise” swindle.
Mr. Phillips told Mr. Tappan of my arrival and he called to see me. I saw him last night also. He was certainly less gray-headed than I had expected to see, but none the less kind. He thinks I shall get a school before many weeks. Mr. Stearns is very pleasant and seems anxious to assist me if possible. He said Mr. Higginson was the “best man living.” Please don’t be offended, but I cannot write in a stiff dignified way
if I try ever so hard. I called upon Mr. Nute last night as Mr. Tappan, thought I had better show him your letter. I am very sorry, but I did not like him. He and his wife sat up like two icicles. I suspected he was not pleased because I did not come to him first, but I might be incorrect. I asked Mrs. Nute if she like Kansas – she replied “yes”. That was the extent of my acquaintance with her, although she was in the room during my call. I only hope I shall like Mr. Nute’s sermons better than I do him.
Some of the Free State people are very favorably disposed towards her. Same in regard to the Jenkin’s affair. I saw him last night; he looks rather thin and sickly.
The Free State Hotel is a fine building, and would compare favorable with any hotel in your city. There are several large, well filled stores underneath.
It is very dusty here when dry, and muddy when wet. Yesterday morning I found several pounds of mud upon my boots after going out. Some gentlemen said it rains here “eight days out of seven.”
I am going into the high school this P.M. where I shall probably see Mrs Wilder who assists Mr. Edwards. I do not think I shall repent coming to Kansas; and I thank you now more than ever, for I can better realize how much you have assisted me.
Every body is very kind and friendly, and it seems or would if it were a little cleaner, very much like New England, I hope this letter will not be too [xxx]
Please believe me
Yours most sincerely
H. Maria Felt