Letter from Harriet to Sarah, October 1, 1874

noyes_c_cor_648.pdf

Dublin Core

Title

Letter from Harriet to Sarah, October 1, 1874

Subject

Typhoons; Near-death experiences

Description

Harriet retells the experience of a typhoon that happened recently in Macao. In the midst of the storm, Harriet thought they would not survive, and Mr. Williams almost died. It was a terrifying experience for her.

Creator

Noyes, Harriet Newell

Source

Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection

Publisher

Unpublished

Date

1874-10-01

Contributor

Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant

Format

PDF

Language

eng (English)

Type

Text

Identifier

noyes_c_cor_648

Coverage

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

[Note: Additional writing sideways in the left margin of page one]
WE are so sorry to hear that you seemed so worn out when
you got home last summer. [u]Do[/u] be careful of your health
Dont be too
[u]ambitious[/u]
I used to
have a full
share myself
but I think
it has
Evaporates
in this
trying climate
Canton
Oct 1st 1874
My dear Sarah,
You will I doubt
not hear from [u]Home[/u] of our [u]typhoon[/u]
Experience. I intended to write
to you while in Macao but
although I wrote over forty
letters while there yours was
not one of them. WE intended
to return to Canton on Friday
Sept 25th . Tuesday night the
22nd the place was visited by
the most fearful typhoon that
has Ever been known here at least
since Europeans have lived in
China. Tuesday Eve we watched
the sun set and noticed the
peculiar appearance of the sky
and the deep rich coloring of the
clouds little dreaming what it
indicated. Between eleven and
twelve the wind begun to rise
and by one - o - clock the hurricane
was at its height. You cannot
imagine what the words mean

and I cannot describe it, nor
the work of destruction the Elements
during the hours that followed before
day-break. When the morning came
it was a sad sad scene of
desolation and ruin that we
looked upon. Macao [u]was[/u] a
beautiful place built in a semicircle
around the harbor perhaps half a
mile from End to End. There was
a massive stone sea-wall and
a border of beautiful banyan
trees that Extended the whole
length of the Praya Grande as
the broad street between the water
and the houses is called. In the
morning the sea wall was washed
away immense stone blocks tossed
about like feathers the trees were
all gone and not a single house
that was not more or less damaged.
The house in which we were
was just about the middle of
the semi-circle where the waves
dashing across the Praya struck
it with full force. There were
in the house Mr + Mrs Williams and her
sister we three and a Mrs Godsell with
[u]six[/u] little children Mrs Williams sick

baby making seven children.
About half past one Mr Williams
said we must leave the house for
fear the sea would wash out
its foundations and it would fall
over our heads. I felt that it was
useless to try to leave the house and
that however dangerous it might be
to remain it was our only hope of
Escape . Finally Mr Williams went
down himself to see about getting out
There was [u]only[/u] the front door and
the sea was coming in there with
such force that before Mr Williams
reached within eight or ten feet
it washed him right out to
sea . Three times he struggled
to regain his footing and three
times was carried back but finally
he succeeded in grasping the
window bars and by climbing up
he got upon the roof of the building
next the one in which we were.
He could not tell where he
was but spent all the rest of
the night upon the roof and in
the morning he was helped down
by the inmates of the house next

ours. There he was told that our home
had fallen in long since WE had given
up [u]all hope[/u] of ever seeing him again
so that we did find Each other
after the storm it seemed both to him
and us, almost like receiving friends
back from the dead. All through the
night worse than everything else was
the anxiety we felt for Mr Williams
and the effect we feared it might
have upon Mrs Williams who is very
nervous and delicate. The worst
of the typhoon was from one until two
but we could not tell that the
wind had abated until the morning
for it blew furiously until the turn
of the tide about five-o-clock. About
three in the morning we saw that the
city was on fire in different places
WE were shut in by the sea and it
seemed as though if the fire should
reach our house we would only have
to take our choice of perishing in
the flames or waves . At first we
thought the fire was in our own home,
but soon saw that it was not and
that [u]unless the wind shifted[/u] it would
not be likely to reach us. All those long
hours we spent in silence almost, feeling
that our trust was in God alone for no
Earthly arm could do anything for us.
I could not feel that we would all be
lost but I had scarcely a ray of hope
that Mr Williams would Ever come back to us.

[Note: Letter concludes sideways on page four]
You will I expect get fuller details from others source but I am
sure that nothing you can read will Enable you to imagine what
the reality I am very glad that I was there but it was
a fearful experience Your loving sister
Hattie --


【多余的一张纸左边书写】
我很抱听说去年夏天回家的时候很不舒服。
你多注意一下健康
不必太过雄心壮志
/
我曾经也很雄心壮志
/
/
但是
那个时候
已经不复存在
/
/

广州
1874年10月1日
亲爱的Sarah,
你可能还没有听说过我们这边台风的经历。
/
我在澳门的时候
我想写给你来着
但是我写了40多封信就忘了写你的。
/
/
我们9月25日星期五打算回广州。
周二,22号
这个地方遭遇了很可怕的台风
/
这是欧洲人开始在中国居住以来最严重的台风。
/
周二晚上,
我们看到了日落,
看到了天空不一样的一面,
云彩的颜色很深,
这也是个预兆。
11点到12点的时候,
就开始刮风了,
一点左右
龙卷风就到达了它的高度。
我无法想到什么词来形容它,

/
大自然一夜之间造成的破坏是难以想象的,
/
早上的时候,
是一副悲痛的景象
还有废墟。
澳门是个美丽的地方
在港口建成一个半圆形,
一共有大约1英里。
/
有巨大的石头做的海墙,
在南湾,
还种满了很漂亮的榕树,
/
因为水中间有一条很宽的街道,
他们就这么称呼。
早上的时候,
海墙的巨石被冲走
树就像羽毛一样被吹走,
而且没有一栋房子幸免于难。
/
我们住在南湾中间的房子里,
被海浪猛烈地击中。
/
南湾被掀起。
/
Williams夫妇和她的姐姐,
Godsell太太和六个孩子
和Williams太太生病的孩子,总共7个孩子

都在家里。
大约1:30 的时候,
Williams说我们必须离开这栋房子
因为害怕被海水冲走地基,
然后房子塌了砸到我们。
我觉得,
离开房子没有用,
这可能弄得我们更危险,
也失去了我们逃生的唯一希望。
最后,Williams先生下去了,
去看看我们有没有可能出去。
只有前面,
而且在Williams先生到达之前,
已经被海水淹没了8-10英尺
/
直接把他冲到了海里。
他三次挣扎着返回
三次被冲回海里
但是最后抓住了窗户框爬上了房顶,
回到了我们身边。
/
/
/
他没有办法说出来他在哪,
但是回到了我们身边。
然后第二天早上,
他被我们的邻居救了上来。
/

他听说我们的家没有了,
我们放弃了所有的希望
永远不会见到他了
以至于暴风雨后我们找到彼此的时,
就像看到了死而复生的人
/
/
那晚比一切都让我们为Williams先生着急
/
我们的害怕也会影响Williams太太,
弄得她更紧张、更脆弱。
/
台风最坏的一部分是一点到两点一直没有停
但是我们无法判断
直到早上五点
/
潮水才正常。
3点左右,
我们发现城市里有些地方着火了。
我们被海水困住,
看起来火可能会烧到我们
我们只有被淹死或烧死的可能。
/
/
开始我们觉得火是从我们家里烧的
但是很快发现不是,
而且除非刮大风,
它都不一定烧的到我们。
很长一段时间我们几乎是在沉默中度过的,
感觉我们把一切希望寄托在上帝
认为地球就不了我们。
我感觉不到迷失
而是有一丝丝希望
认为Williams先生可以回来。

【第四页边缘书写】
你可以通过不同职业了解全部的细节
但是我肯定,无法想象到真实的情况
我很高兴我还活着,但是这确实是个很可怕的经历
爱你的姐姐
Hattie --

Original Format

Letter

Citation

Noyes, Harriet Newell, “Letter from Harriet to Sarah, October 1, 1874,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed February 29, 2024, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/711.

Output Formats