Thursday, March 27, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 3

Enos Christmas booked passage on the clipper ship Europe, but its departure from the Philadelphia port was delayed for several days. While waiting, Enos exchanged letters with Ellen and fellow apprentice Peebles Prizer and learned that his good friend DeWitt Clinton Atkins would be joining him on the voyage.

The couple's prolonged parting proved painful. "I had a daguerreotype likeness taken, which will be sent to you with this," Enos wrote Ellen on June 30, 1849. "Take it, and may it ever be a source of comfort to you. Should I have the good luck ever to return, I hope the mutual pledges given by us may be fulfilled, and believe me that I cannot change. My feelings at parting now, you can better imagine than I can describe."

Ellen was candid in her reaction, writing on July 1: "I return many, many thanks for your likeness. You could not have sent me anything which would have been half so valuable. When I look upon it, it will serve to call up pleasant recollections of the past. But I shall need nothing to remind me of you. The likeness is most excellent but what an unspeakable pleasure it would have been to have taken one more look at the original. I must bear the trial and keep it to myself. I must appear cheerful and indifferent while my anxiety for your future comfort is beyond description…"

The Europe departed the harbor on July 4. It would not reach San Francisco for another 221 days. Enos had anticipated stormy seas, seasickness and even regret of his decisions during a voyage of many months, but he could never have imagined what else he and Atkins would endure before their feet once again touched land.

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