• Woman's Voyage To Liverpool Aboard First Modern Ocean Liner Described In Strong Detail

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    The SS Servia, also known as RMS Servia, was a successful transatlantic passenger and mail steamer of revolutionary design, built by J & G Thomson and launched in 1881. She was the first large ocean liner to be built of steel instead of iron, and the first Cunard ship to have an electric lighting installation. Maritime historians often consider the Servia to be the first modern ocean liner.


    One year after the Servia’s launch, a Mother, signing as S.D.W., writes a wonderful travel letter to her son, Will,  5 ¼ x 8 ¼, 11 pp total. The letter begins on October 4th and concludes on the 11th. Coverage is very good, with excellent detail as she travels to Liverpool.  She writes of the beautiful waves, dining on the upper deck, the state room conveniences and refers to the ship as “The strong noble ship so inspires me with confidence that even with a storm, I should not be fearful.”  She writes of speaking to sailing vessels – “one by flags and the other by rockets.”  She describes the saloon as “...cheerful and pleasing...and when not affected by the motion, my most desirable for writing.”  This is her first ride in “Old England. Its green fields & lovely landscape. How beautiful they are.  Buttercups...& the green banks...”


    In very small part, “Would that you could have had this sight of the sea with us today provided you could have had the preparation...so as to have enjoyed it without sea sickness.


    “The waves have been just splendid, and the shades of blue green to the water, together with the white spray, just magnificent...Rained a little this about ten as we came on deck and this commotion of the water comes from the cleansing storm. I would not have missed the grandeur of this sight...


    “The Servia is the ship for me...We have found everything connected with the voyage, so much more comfortable than we anticipated...


    October 4th: “...All of us walked on the Hurricane deck after sunset, had a lovely red horizon...


    October 11th: “...The ship’s reckoning for today, the best we have made, 400 miles!!


    “But everything else pales before the grandeur and magnificence of the waves today...With our chairs fastened, we have been able to stay out most of the time, but one big wave washed up directly before us and that I was told even went over Hurricane Deck...Many who have crossed several times say they have never seen them [the waves] so grand...You were so thoughtful and kind to do everything for our comfort so that in reality we have no care for this trip. The comforts of this ship are so great, one hardly enquires [about] comfort...


    “...October 8th...Did not attempt writing. I was all I could do to carry myself straight. A choppy sea...Am glad to have taken my first sea voyage on the Servia.”


    In excellent condition.


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