18940908 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/txtj-bb41


S.S. “Nile”                                               Bay of Biscay

8th  Sept.  94


My dear Mother,

I sent you a wire from London, another from Southampton & a few lines in pencil from the steamer, the first a little late in the day perhaps, but I hope you were not uneasy.

I paced the decks of the Stranraer steamer most of the time talking to Mr Pirrie. He was going to London first & then to Scarborough to join Mrs P. He asked me if I had ordered my “sleeper”! He says he is now extravagant in travelling, but economizes in other things. When he was a clerk in Harland & Wolff’s[1] at a salary of £80 a year he crossed frequently to & from Liverpool, & used to take a steerage ticket, paying the first mate 4/- for the use of his cabin, thus saving about 6/-.

Stranraer ferry from an early 1900s postcard of the piers.
Stranraer ferry from an early 1900s postcard of the piers.

However a modest shilling to the guard at Stranraer secured me a comfortably cushioned 3rd class carriage to myself as far as Carlisle & subsequently every ticket-checker that appeared locked the door, so I had the whole compartment to myself from Stranraer to Euston without any further tips to pay. I pulled down the blinds, stretched myself on the seat with my rug & pillow & slept the sleep of the just. I dined and slept at Adelaide Road & was treated with the usual kindness.[2]

I am comfortably fixed on board. My room mate is a young fellow called Nicholson. He hails from Edinburgh & knows Miss Robertson, the charming young lady who was visiting the Barretts, very well.

The Captain, Chief Off., 2nd Off., Dr, Chief Engineer, & Purser, are all old acquaintances of mine & I know several of the passengers; – Mr Boxwell of Pernambuco, Messrs Gildermeister & Wilson, of the same place, Mr Hampshire, of Santos, & a few others.[3]

The Chief Engineer asked me to join his table, but unfortunately my neighbour on the right is very deaf & if I want to converse with him I have to shout. The ship is nearly full – about 120 1st saloon passengers I think.

I had letters from Bertie, Sissy, & Mr W., at Southampton, & I shall answer them meanwhile collectively.[4] Besides I want to write from Lisbon to the Pater. I have finished a letter to Julie.[5] So having so much correspondence I cannot make this letter any longer.

The photo sent to Southampton was a group of “the bridesmaids” for myself – very nice indeed.

The pillow was very useful in the train, & Mrs Wilson, a nice little Irishwoman from Cork, was very grateful for the use of it today. The cake is to be produced tomorrow at afternoon tea, & there are several people looking forward to tasting it.


Best love to all



A train at Paddington station in 1892.
A train at Paddington station in 1892.

  1. Harland & Wolff = the famous Belfast shipyard.
  2. 205 Adelaide Road (Hampstead) was the address of JMcC's uncle Ferdinand Adolph Loewenthal (senior) and his family. He was known as Adolf (or uncle Addie), was Julius’ brother and the one who registered their mother Minna’s death in Hamburg along with Abraham Lewandowsky, Minna's sister's son in law
  3. John Harvey Boxwell (b ~1845 Wexford), "Brazilian Merchant". In references to “The English Pernambuco” one reads that Boxwell & Co. were the largest cotton baling establishment locally. See Index to People. W. Gildermeister was a frequent traveller between Southampton and Pernambuco, noted as “single and foreigner” on ships’ manifestos.
  4. Bertie = Bertie Weinberg (Herbert James Weinberg), son of Isaac Julius Weinberg. Sissy = Sissy Weinberg (Zerlina Adele Weinberg), daughter of Isaac Julius Weinberg, Mr W = Julius Isaac Weinberg, co-founder and senior partner of Moore and Weinberg. See Index to People.
  5. Julie = JMcC's younger brother Julius.


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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