In Queenstown, the Niagara picked up the pilot who would take the ship to the coast of Wales. On the morning of April 28, a thick fog slowed their progress, but the fog lifted by mid-morning. Making landfall in Wales, the ship took on a Welsh pilot who took them up the coast to Liverpool. The tides, however, prevented their entering the harbor for several hours.
Eliza Baylies Wheaton did not handle waiting particularly well. An active woman who was accustomed to keeping busy, she found the delays as the ship approached Liverpool particularly frustrating. After having waited for the tide to turn so that the ship could clear the sand bar that blocked the harbor at low tide, she chafed at the time the customs house officers took to question the passengers and examine their luggage. “This examination,” Wheaton wrote, “which sh[oul]d have taken place at the bar while we were detained took two hours or more.” She was not amused.
The steamship company did handle one piece of business in a way that impressed her. While the ship had been in Queenstown the night before, the company had telegraphed ahead to Glasgow to notify the family of the man who had broken his knee that he would need to be met in Liverpool. Taking the train from Glasgow, the young man met his father’s ship and assisted him on the final leg of his journey home.
Wheaton, her husband, and Major Holman took a cab to Angel’s Hotel. “On entering the house,” Wheaton remarked, “we found it manned by women—tastefully dressed, modest in demeanor & intelligent— They assign the rooms, attend the bar, and in fact do all that men do in our Hotels— The porters are men—so in the Coffee rooms there are only male attendants.”
She found the rooms comfortable enough, with “a cabinet for sickness—a luggage chain and curtains for the bed.” But she disliked the way the bed curtains were used. “At Eve. a servant comes in,” she wrote, “and draws the curtains around the bed so you may be thoroughly poisoned by your own breathing— Of course, I undid what they did.”
Eliza Baylies Wheaton, Travel Journal, Wheaton Family Collection (MC089), Marion B. Gebbie Archives & Special Collections, Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.