February 1, 2012
Waiting for William
Hopedale in January
Hopedale Police Department photos – c. 1950
Waiting for William
My thanks for this story to Kat Moore, a descendant of General William F. Draper and his first wife,
Lydia. (Generally known as Lilla.) Kat transcribed the 46,000 word diary that Lilla kept in 1873. For
much of the year William, Lilla and their sons William Franklin (Frank) and George Otis (Otie) were
touring Europe, but as the year began, Lilla and the boys were in England waiting for William’s arrival.
Kat explained the situation this way: “Lydia and the boys were with her adoptive parents, the Joys, who
lived in Ventnor, Isle of Wight. William was kept behind by some business. Once he arrived, they
commenced their European tour”
Wednesday, January 1, 1873
The morning’s mail brought me two letters from my husband. In two weeks from next Saturday, Wm
will sail Der Volenti, in the Ship Samaria from Boston and we can hope to be reunited in eleven or
twelve days after three months and a half from the day we parted in N. York.
I wrote letters all the morning and went out to mail them. Sent one to the Captain of the Samaria, to
give to Wm when one day out.
I joined the children on the Esplanade and left them there under the care of Mrs. Schofield and Carrie
to take a donkey ride.
In the evening, we went to a temperance meeting which was preceded by an English tea. Admittance
was 1 shilling. I poured tea and had the center for the platform of table. I conversed with an
Englishman and his wife on America. Carrie went home and got Mrs. S. The meeting comprised six
short speeches and eight or nine songs by a choir. The speeches were good and the whole meeting
Thursday, January 2, 1873
The morning mail came just as I started to dress before the fire. It brought me two letters from Wm
and a few words in another envelope which contained the cabinet size photograph which Wm has
had taken to match mine. It is a perfect likeness and seems so near to seeing the original that the
children and I have hugged and kissed it as if it could really respond. Frank pressed it to his face and
cried out, “Have him come right away!” with other expressions of his desire to see his Papa.
This morning, I wrote the last letter which I shall send to Wm in America and this, although it goes to
Boston, is directed to the Captain of the Samaria to be given to Wm when five days out at sea. I have
previously sent one to be delivered to him when one day out.
Friday, January 3, 1873
Carrie and I remained at the party last night until twelve. The entertainment consisted of games,
music and charades. We had tea at 5 ½ cake at 9 ½ and mince pies and apple tarts at 11 ½. At 9 ½,
lemonade and raspberry vinegar were served, instead of wine. The games were Picnic Swap with
cards, Turn the Trucker, and Post Office.
I must remember the last to play at home. Each one gives the name of a city which is written upon a
sheet of paper and becomes the name by which the individual is designated. Then one of the party
reads “a letter went from Boston to London” (or elsewhere), and the two people exchange chairs, one
blindfolded in the center, trying to catch somebody who will take his place if caught, and rightly
named. When the reader says, “general post office,” all exchange places and give a better chance to
the one in the center.
Saturday, January 4, 1873
I dreamed last night of my husband. He hugged me tight in church and I protested, not sure I should
touch him in church.
I have not been out today. Yesterday and today the children and Carrie have amused themselves very
much with their paints. This afternoon, they have considerable exercise with games, for which I am
glad, as they could not go out. I suffered some with head ache yesterday evening and this morning,
but it is all gone since a nap I took this P.M.
I went up and sat with Mother between half past one and three. We looked on my journey to Liverpool
which we find I can accomplish in one day by leaving here at 10 ½ A.M. arriving at 8 ½ P.M.
Yesterday I read under the date of Jan 1st that the Samaria reached Queenstown for Boston. My
hopes rest now upon her safe passage back again to Liverpool with my dear husband on board.
Sunday, January 5, 1873
It was a pleasant day, although the rain poured down while Carrie and I were in church. Otherwise,
today the sun has shone.
We attended Mr. Davies’ chapel and heard a good sermon on the unvarying tenderness of Christ.
The boys, S, Carrie, and I went to the Esplanade after dinner. I have looked over two packages of Wm’
s army letters, written when in East Tennessee nine years ago.
I read in the Daily News that the Abyssinia reached Queenstown at 2 ½ P.M. last Friday. Frank’s
second three weeks are out and Otie sleeps with me now for three weeks. I have been here nine
Monday, January 6, 1873
I worked on my fire screen in the morning. This piece of fancy work will be finished tomorrow. It was
given to Mother last Tuesday the 31st Dec, her birthday.
Mrs. S, Carrie and the boys went to walk directly after dinner. I went by myself after three o’cl, having
waited for the postman, though I tried not to expect anything today. .
I did some shopping on my return and bought a pair of slippers and smoking cap to braid for
William. They are on scarlet cloth and match each other. I got another bottle of syrup of iron, a
“chemical food” which I think much of. It helped the children when they were ill, after the voyage. I
often take iron in some form, and just now am buying this.
Tuesday, January 7, 1873
A letter from William arrived this morning. It seems strange to have ceased writing to him, but I miss
it less than I expected because it establishes the illusion that I am to see him soon.
We went to Bonchurch and on the cliffs to the west of it then back by the cliffs to the Esplanade. There
the tide was out, and the children enjoyed heaping up piles of pebbles. We drove home in a bath
chair stopping to buy oranges and some worsted.
William’s trip was delayed, but on the 21st Lilla learned that his ship had sailed, and on the 25th she
went to Liverpool to meet him.
Sunday, January 26, 1873
I rose and dressed and at ten o’clock. No William had arrived. I ran the risk of passing him on the
street and started out to the docks in a “hansom.”
In a few moments, I met another hansom containing my husband, so impatiently awaited. We each
looked at each other a second before we could believe our eyes and then waved our hands frantically
at each other’s drivers who obeyed the signals to stop, but did not until we had shot past each other a
few feet. There was a happy meeting in the middle of the street. William alighted, and drove back to
the hotel with me in my cab.
What a happy day we have had together, talking fast of the many things which have happened to each
during our three-month separation. We have not cared to go out except for one hour’s drive. Wm had
a very pleasant passing with agreeable companions. One of them, a room mate, Dr. Bray, called on
us in the evening.
I have written to our darlings in Ventnor about their dear Papa’s arrival.
Lilla and William’s marriage, from William’s autobiography.
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