1885 - United States


September 30th, 1885

Bingham House, Philadelphia

Came here last evening and proposed calling on a bro. whose name was given me in New York but on enquiry of a man standing outside the hotel door I asked how long North Broad St. was and the answer given settled my not attempting to find him that night - "I guess," said the man, "it's about 17 miles long" and so I find it is - called this morning but found he was not at his business place. The heat here is something terrible - it came on very warm 4 or 5 days ago - was very glad to get in under the shelter of a little print shop this morning for half an hour, I never felt anything like it in England - have been trying for some business here this morning but have not been successful- the large factory here and the heavy duty shut us out completely – I took a splendid order in New York yesterday morning and for our high class goods and have no doubt if I were to set myself out for it in a regular way that I should get hold of a considerable trade, but it is altogether different to our business in England in every way. Everything is frightfully dear here - it seems to me that a half sovereign will go further in the old country than a sovereign here. I was obliged to have a cab in New York on Monday and Tuesday to carry my samples - my a/c was charged 12 dollars 50 cents for this item - that is 4/- an hour for 12 1/2 hours. This is a very fine city but the intense heat today has prevented my visiting some of the spots of interest - the people generally here are the greatest gluttons I ever saw in my life - at the dinner today a young fellow little and thin beside sitting next me had soup and fish to begin with - then the waiter laid a dish of lamb - a dish of beef and a dish of fowl and a dish of each peas - Indian corn - two dishes of potatoes - a dish of stewed tomato and a dish of broad beans - after this he had 3 dishes of pastry - then ice cream and coffee to finish up with - the nigger[1] waiter seemed quite concerned about me because I had only lamb, mashed potato and Indian corn - beside a little apple pie which by the way is excellent. I would rather sit down to one of your nice dinners than the finest they could spread at the Fifth Avenue. The people have but one object here and that is mammon - their trade seems to be immense and the men are certainly very smart but inveterate smokers - the great spittoons are quite a permanent article of furniture in every room. If I had seen the country 25 years ago, I might have taken to it, but not now - old England for ever for Edward. I intended going to Baltimore and Washington from here but the heat is so great that I shall not go further south, and am proposing to go to Pittsburgh tonight in a Pullman car, arriving there at 7 in the morning - shall spend a day or two there with the gentleman we met on board the Etruria and from there I hope to reach Chicago.

I trust you are keeping well and all our dear ones - Arundel told me you were proposing to spend a little time with them - my throat has never had such a chance of recovery as it is having now, except when I am with a person about business my vocal arrangements are all at rest - had a chat with a young Roman Catholic Priest just now and it was quite a change to talk a bit. And now my beloved Angee I commend you to our precious God and Father once more and all our dear ones and believe me with much love to you all.


[1] We recognise that this is an offensive term today. However, Edward Petter used the term "Nigger" as a neutral term to refer to black people. It is clear from the context that no negative connotation is implied. The use of the term on this website does not condone the modern usage. See further here.

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