We returned to Basingstoke, passed the few remaining days in looking over papers and packing for the voyage, and, on March 4, 1888, Mrs. Blatch went with me to Southampton. On the train I met my companions for the voyage, Mrs. Gustafsen, Mrs. Ashton Dilke, and Baroness Gripenberg, from Finland, a very charming woman, to whom I felt a strong attraction. The other delegates sailed from Liverpool. We had a rough voyage and most of the passengers were very sick. Mrs. Dilke and I were well, however, and on deck every day, always ready to play whist and chess with a few gentlemen who were equally fortunate. I was much impressed with Mrs. Dilke’s kindness and generosity in serving others. There was a lady on board with two children, whose nurse at the last minute refused to go with her. The mother was sick most of the way, and Mrs. Dilke did all in her power to relieve her, by amusing the little boy, telling him stories, walking with him on deck, and watching him throughout the day, no easy task to perform for an entire stranger. The poor little mother with a baby in her arms must have appreciated such kindly attention.
When the pilot met us off Sandy Hook, he brought news of the terrible blizzard New York had just experienced, by which all communication with the world at large was practically suspended. The captain brought him down into the saloon to tell us all about it. The news was so startling that at first we thought the pilot was joking, but when he produced the metropolitan journals to verify his statements, we listened to the reading and what he had to say with profound astonishment. The second week in March, 1888, will be memorable in the history of storms in the vicinity of New York. The snow was ten feet deep in some places, and the side streets impassable either for carriages or sleighs. I hoped the city would be looking its best, for the first impression on my foreign friends, but it never looked worse, with huge piles of snow everywhere covered with black dust.
I started for Washington at three o’clock, the day after our arrival, reached there at ten o’clock, and found my beloved friends, Miss Anthony and Mrs. Spofford, with open arms and warm hearts to receive me. As the vessel was delayed two days, our friends naturally thought we, too, had encountered a blizzard, but we had felt nothing of it; on the contrary the last days were the most pleasant of the voyage.
THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN.
Pursuant to the idea of the feasibility and need of an International Council of Women, mentioned in a preceding chapter, it was decided to celebrate the fourth decade of the woman suffrage movement in the United States by calling together such a council. At its nineteenth annual convention, held in January, 1887, the National Woman Suffrage Association resolved to assume the entire responsibility of holding a council,