The rain, which fell in torrents, soon made its way through every seam and pore of deck or moulding. Down the stair-way, through the joints and crevices, it came, saturating first the carpet, then the bedding, until, finally, we were completely driven, “by stress of weather,” into the Gentlemen’s Cabin. Way was made for us very gallantly, and every provision resorted to for our comfort, and we were congratulating ourselves on having found a haven in our distress, when, lo! the seams above opened, and down upon our devoted heads poured such a flood, that even umbrellas were an insufficient protection. There was nothing left for the ladies and children but to betake ourselves to the berths, which, in this apartment, fortunately remained dry; and here we continued ensconced the livelong day. Our dinner was served up to us on our pillows. The gentlemen chose the dryest spots, raised their umbrellas, and sat under them, telling amusing anecdotes, and saying funny things to cheer us, until the rain ceased, and at nine o’clock in the evening we were gladdened by the intelligence that we had reached the pier at Mackinac.
We were received with the most affectionate cordiality by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stuart, at whose hospitable mansion we had been for some days expected.
The repose and comfort of an asylum like this, can be best appreciated by those who have reached it after a tossing and drenching such as ours had been. A bright, warm fire, and countenances beaming with kindest interest, dispelled all sensations of fatigue or annoyance.
After a season of pleasant conversation, the servants were assembled, the chapter of God’s word was solemnly read, the hymn chanted, the prayer of praise and thanksgiving offered, and we were conducted to our place of repose.
It is not my purpose here to attempt a portrait of those noble friends whom I thus met for the first time. To an abler pen than mine should be assigned the honor of writing the biography of Robert Stuart. All who have enjoyed the happiness of his acquaintance, or, still more, a sojourn under his hospitable roof, will carry with them to their latest hour the impression of his noble bearing, his genial humor, his untiring benevolence, his upright, uncompromising adherence to principle, his ardent philanthropy, his noble disinterestedness. Irving in his “Astoria,” and Franchere in his “Narrative,” give many striking traits of his early character, together with events of his history of a thrilling and romantic interest, but both have left the most valuable portion unsaid, his after-life, namely, as a Christian gentleman.
Of his beloved partner, who still survives him, mourning on her bereaved and solitary pilgrimage, yet cheered by the recollection of her long and useful course as a “Mother in Israel,” we will say no more than to offer the incense of loving hearts, and prayers for the best blessings from her Father in heaven.