The Breckinridges departed New York for Europe on September 20, 1894. KCB writes to her brother (no idea which one) on September 19, 1894 giving him details of the impending journey. Unfortunately I didn’t photocopy these letters so you will have to content yourself with my transcription.
Hazelwood. September 19th 1894
My darling brother,
I can only send a hire this morning to say goodbye. We sail early tomorrow morning on the Augusta Victoria, Hamburg American Line and go into the city tonight. That hire offered the most reasonable rates – but if it continues so stormy, I think I will feel sorry we did not go on a Cunarder! I just have your letter. We have not engaged Adam Boggs but I think we will. I have given up the idea of the school altogether. Our address will be United States Legation
You know we expect to be a week each in London, Paris, and Berlin allowing for the trip, you can tell about where we will be in each place. A letter to the care of the U. S. Legation in either city would reach us.
I did not have a chance to get the presents for the boys after all. There was so much to look after and so many in [illegible]. So I have them the money last night. You will be sorry to hear that poor Susie Marshal is in a very serious condition mentally. Her health is poor which may have something to do with it. Auntie has sent for some of her family to come on. It is something like religious mania, but symptous (sic) of violence at times. She will have to be put in an institution I think.
I have still several things to do. And goodbye must be said. God be with you and yours. My dearest love to all.
I will write to you from each city.
Your devoted sister
Katherine C. Breckinridge
About 10 days later, KCB writes another letter to her brother – might be the same brother or it might be a different brother – from the steamer.
Steamer “Augusta Victoria”
September 30th, 1894
My dearest brother,
We expect to reach South Hampton to-night about 2 o’clock and I want to have some letters ready to mail there. This vessel goes right on to Hamburg, so they land us in [illegible], which I fancy will not be a pleasant performance in the middle of the night. Fortunately the weather is clear.
We were delayed two days before starting – the vessel being repaired. I indended (sic) to write you but I didn’t.
Cousin Minnie got to Hazelwood the day we left. She was very much overcome and did not look at all equal to the task before her. Susie however was quieter that day and I trust continues to improve. Susie had been very violent, and needed to be watched every instant. They have a professional nurse. The speciallist (sic) who was sent for to see her thinks she will never be entirely well. She may be well temporarily, but always [illegible] to a return of the disorder and each time probably in a more violent form.
We have had what would be called I suppose a pretty fair trip: But enough of a storm to show us what the ocean can do. I was glad to see it in its majesty. The little girls have suffered greatly with sea sickness specially Lees – I tried Dr. [illegible] prescriptions, but I don’t believe any thing does any good. I have felt it less than any of the party, and don’t believe I would have felt it at all if I had not had the little girls to look after. But I have lost much rest and sleep and feel tired out. We expect to spend tomorrow quietly in Southhampton and go to London Monday.
This ship is said to be one of the steadiest on the water as we probably would have suffered much more than we have. Our cabins are very comfortable and roomy, everything is clean. The service and fare first class. I will [illegible] letters to my other brothers at the same time. I mail this.
Love to all. Your devoted sister.