Fig Tree Lodge
First written in 1904, the main narrative and text of this incredibly fascinating and rare memoir account - "travel story" - is by Marie E Duncumb. And like something straight out of a fiction novel; this one hundred and ten year gem had been hidden away in a chest in the attic of an old country house in Essex, England, and until it recently rediscovered in 2008.This "First Edition" is exactly that for it has never been published anywhere in the world before and you can count yourself among the very first privileged readers to ever set eyes on Marie's delightful first-hand accounts and experiences of her travelling from London, England, via Kings Cross Railway Station to Liverpool Docks - the boarding of the S.S. Celtic and sailing onto New York. The ship was then the world's largest ship afloat and owned by the White Star Line and years prior to the tragic sinking of the S.S. Titanic. Marie notes: "We were much later than we expected to be getting to Sandy Hook, the cause being that we had to steam a good many miles further south than we otherwise should have done to avoid the icebergs." Written in impeccable English, her overwhelming and mesmerising attention to fine-detail, statistics, facts, figures and the types of materials used etc. and the abundance information about the trains, ships, towns, cities and the places they all visited and the people they met, including a private meeting at the White House with President Roosevelt; - is impressively logged and documented. With her own enchanting "Home & Hearth", "W.I." type of "Can-Do" women's attitude, along with her own sweet narrative and insight; make it extremely difficult for the reader to not feel captivated or able to escape from being not only impressed; but enthralled, entertained and educated in the same process. Especially about how things were back-in-those-days and in a "politically incorrect" language that is today totally unaccepted to many as it's often misconstrued as being racist - or in fact it is. Though it is precisely due to this "political in-correctness", her voice and tone that is encapsulated within this typical style of a well educated middle-class Englishwoman that along with the Victorian overtones and the influences of those times obviously had on Marie and others like her; her education and fairly wealthy upbringing is exactly what makes her story so refreshing and unique. The reader can quite easily forgive themselves for imagining they were actually there with Marie, her husband and party of fellow travellers whom had booked their "holiday" with the London Polytechnic Touring Association: - today known as Lunn Polly and who organised this round tour to the 1904 St Louis Exposition and other places of interest in America and Canada. This 2014 rendition is indeed its "First Edition" as it has never 'gone to print' via a publisher. However, this story was written and "printed" by Marie Duncumb on her return from America as her in-laws owned a stationary business in Stratford, East London, and this permitted her to do so. It appears to be a kind of "Vanity" publishing", as you'll see it's dedicated: "To my Husband, I dedicate this little memento of a very pleasant Holiday Tour", M. E. Duncumb. - It was then given away to family and close friends. Printed with: "With the Compliments of the Season", which seems to suggests this was Christmas 1904.The original booklet has an outer sleeve made from green vellum and with the main title printed in gold lettering. The text is in single-block paragraphs with one paragraph centred on each page. The entire text and narrative in this 2014 book is "verbatim" - and transcribed directly from Marie E Duncumb's' own written account in which she first documented back in 1904.
We were sitting about the fire in the lodge on Two Medicine. Double Runner, Small Leggings, Mad Wolf, and the Little Blackfoot were smoking and talking, and I was writing in my note-book. As I put aside the book, and reached out my hand for the pipe, Double Runner bent over and picked up a scrap of printed paper, which had fallen to the ground. He looked at it for a moment without speaking, and then, holding it up and calling me by name, said:-
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