The prospectus had included visit with “our friends the Bermudians”. The pilgrims may have sensed a certain irony as most came from the North, and the British colony of Bermuda had openly sided with the South.
The pilgrims were tired and homesick. I suppose we only stopped at the Bermudas, because they were in the programme. We did not care any thing about any place at all. We wanted to go home. Bermuda has only a paragraph in The Innocents Abroad. A few days among the breezy groves, the flower gardens, the coral caves, and the lovely vistas of blue water that went curving in and out, disappearing and anon again appearing through jungle walls of brilliant foliage, restored the energies dulled by long drowsing on the ocean, and fitted us for our final cruise—our little run of a thousand miles to New York—America—HOME.
From his notes:
Days passed—and nights; and then the beautiful Bermudas rose out of the sea, we entered the tortuous channel, steamed hither and thither among the bright summer islands, and rested at last under the flag of England and were welcome. We were not a nightmare here, where were civilization and intelligence in place of Spanish and Italian superstition, dirt and dread of cholera. A few days among the breezy groves, the flower gardens, the coral caves, and the lovely vistas of blue water that went curving in and out, disappearing and anon again appearing through jungle walls of brilliant foliage, restored the energies dulled by long drowsing on the ocean, and fitted us for our final cruise—our little run of a thousand miles to New York—America—HOME. We bade good-bye to “our friends the Bermudians,” as our programme hath it—the majority of those we were most intimate with were negroes—and courted the great deep again. I said the majority. We knew more negroes than white people, because we had a deal of washing to be done, but we made some excellent friends among the whites, whom it will be a pleasant duty to hold long in grateful remembrance.
Captain Duncan wrote in his log:
At daylight, close in to the island, took pilot, a Negro, and passing through narrow, crooked and intricate passages with the bottom plainly in sight, entered the beautiful harbor of St. George and anchored.
The pretty little town, dressed in green and white, situated on the side of a gentle hill, seemed inviting, and breakfast over, our passengers were all landed, and scattered themselves in all directions. The high hill rising from the town on which is situated the fort and telegraph was duly visited, rides and drives to Hamilton taken or organized for the morrow—while we (our family) contented ourselves with sailing about the charming harbor in its bright green waters and among its scores of islands. Riding, driving, walking, sailing were pleasant.
Bermuda had given us an agreeable surprise. We expected nothing but a sand hill and found high ground, green foliage and fine scenery. We were disappointed about fruit of which there is next to none, a few oranges and a few bananas being about all to be had. Everything dear—meats and fowls all received from New York or Halifax. Fish abundant at 3 pence per pound.
There were probably several groups who ventured to Hamilton, as there were 63 passengers. Mary Mason Fairbanks went in one group that followed the North Shore Road with views of Ireland Island and the Dockyard, reaching Hamilton about noon where they registered in the only hotel in town, the Hamilton Hotel. She wrote Hamilton stood above the harbor “like a citadel”.
Sam most likely went with a later group; after a breakfast on board, the Severances and Charles Langdon went to Hamilton. Emily Severance noted buildings and an “immense Indian rubber tree” in front of the postmaster’s house.
November 12 Tuesday – The group rode in carriages to the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, an unusual structure built in 1844-6, mostly from cast-iron parts made in England. The group then returned to the Hamilton Hotel for a meal. Afterward they traveled back to St. George’s for an evening at the W.C.J. and Mary Hyland’s. Hyland was a “fellow Christian and eminent citizen of St. George, where he founded the YMCA and ran the Sunday school” Hyland misspelled but listed Sam as among the guests for the evening: “Entertained Mrs. Fairbanks, Mr. and Mrs. Severance, Mr. Langdon, Moses S. Beach and daughter [Emma] and Mr Clements (‘Mark Twain’).” At midnight the pilgrims headed back to the Quaker City.
The ship was anchored about a mile from shore. A rising wind and current made rowing back difficult. Mary Fairbanks wrote:
“Our oarsmen tugged manfully, and ‘Mark Twain’ held the rudder with a strong hand, while the spray dashed over his Parisian broadcloth and almost extinguished his inevitable cigar”.
November 13, 14 and 15–Stormy weather continued, delaying the departure of the QC until 8 AM.