July 31, 1842 – The heat!

017_Page 15Sunday. 31.st. July. 1842.
Thermometer at 90 in the shade. it
fell to [50?] in the afternoon.

We did not venture to Church; I could not
stand the heat. Slept all the morning, while
Garret read.
A singular black cloud came over at two oclock,
makeing the air. cool, and terminating in a heavy
rain. The change was very great, and we all
put on our flannels, and were still chilly.
Remsen would not go to bed, I was compelled
to whip him, to enforce my commands.

July 30, 1842 – “Catharine’s recuperation”

017_Page 15Saturday. 30.th. July. 1842.

A very warm day. A shower at
four oclock p.m.

I feel the heat sadly to.day; Catharine, was
still miserable, and spent some time on the bed.
But with all her languor, she is the most agreable [sic]
sister I have; I only regret my limited means
will not allow me to give her more pleasures.
She would leave me to.day at five oclock, after
the shower had cooled off the air. I went up
with her, Julie, and Louis also. We walked almost
the entire distance, the children would not walk
all the way. C, did however to my astonishment.
Found all well, took tea, and returned at eight.

July 29, 1842 – “The fire at the exhibit at Catherwood’s Rotunda”



016_Page 14Friday. 29th. July 1842.

A pleasant summers day. a shower
in the evening with thunder, and lightening.

C. and I spent our morning sewing, the chil.
dren rather troublesome.
C. very weak, and faint at intervals but she
managed to sew, lay on the bed, and amuse
me in spite of draw backs.
Our coal came to day. “Eight tons.”
I set off in the evening for Chelsea, with Julie, and Louis, but the stages were too full. We walked
around the park, and returned home to tea. The panorama of Jerusalem, and Thebes(1), was
consumed by fire, during the thunder shower.
It is a great loss to Mr Catherwood , they say,
“ten thousand dollars.”
Their last collection of Mexican curiosities were
also destroyed. What a grief to Mr C., an
event so unlooked for, and so discouraging.
We saw the flames from our house; The
thought of this sad loss would have drawn
tears from my eyes.

catherwood1)In July of the same year these pieces of Maya pottery and carved wooden lintels, dated with glyphs, from the ruins of Kabah and Uxmal were put on exhibit at Catherwood’s Rotunda, along with hundreds of his large sepia drawings. The public scarcely had time to see them, however, for on the night of July 31, 1842, the Rotunda caught fire. Philip Hone, the New York merchant whose Pepysian diary is a shrewd, opinionated record of all that took place in those times, was himself a witness:
 “Catherwood’s Panorama of Thebes and Jerusalem burnt last evening about ten o’clock and those two valuable paintings were destroyed together with the other contents of the building, among which were a large collection of curiosities and relics … collected by Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood in their recent travels. … This will be a severe loss … to science and the arts in general.
The New York Herald on the following day recorded that the building and its contents were totally destroyed and estimated their value at $20,000. Catherwood and his partner Jackson were not the sole sufferers. There was also Stephens himself, who had brought back the Maya remains at so great a personal sacrifice; he especially grieved for the great carved wood lintel, decorated with the glyphs that would have told the date of the Kabah structure. “I had,” he said, poking among the ruins the morning after, “the melancholy satisfaction of seeing their ashes exactly as the fire had left them.”

- American Heritage Magazine, June 1961

July 28, 1842 – “Catharine, the invalid”



015_Page 13Thursday. 28.th. July. 1842.

Not as warm as yesterday, a breeze cooling
the air.

I was busily employed all the morning, and
did not dress. Catharine, came in to make
me a visit, she looks pale, and unwell.
We eat a slight dinner, and soon after C. was
taken sick, and obliged to vomit through the day.
She laid on my bed untill night, and then
felt much relieved. I was in great distress
being unaccustomed to an invalid.
Her spirits are good, but bodily health will affect
the lightest heart. She is so kind, so good, so dis
interested, so agreeable, that it seemed to me, a cruel
blight on so rare a flower. To see her in health
would be a great, and unspeakable pleasure to
my heart, as the few days she spend with me,
gave me a sad proof of the corroding disease
which preys both on her body, and mind.

At night C. sat up although she was very weak;
we had a long chat to-gether, on old friends.

July 27,1842 – “Reflections on Julia’s anniversary”

014_Page 12Wednesday Thursday 27.th. July.1842. –New York.

Extremely warm. Thermometer at 90
in the shade.

This is the seventh anniversary of my wedding
day, but it was not remembered by either of
us untill dinner hour. Garret, drank my
health in a bumper of port and spoke of
a ride, but I declined on account of the heat.
I felt much oppressed by the weather, and could
not sit up, slept morning, and afternoon.
Did not attempt to sew, read Mr Shimeall’s
world“Age of the world”, when my eyes were open.
The evening was rather cooler, we passed
our evening together, G, and I , and recalled
the events of the past seven years.
My wedding day was beautifull, not so
debilitating as this, I do not think I
could have mustered courage, had it been
as unpleasant.
Every event of that eventfull season, crowded
back to my memory, and when by an ex-
perience so long, I yet have nothing to regret,
Am I not happy, much happier than when
treading life’s paths alone?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 430 other followers