‘At what a terrible cost’

[Author’s note: This series of excerpts from Regina Shober Gray’s diary began here.]

PP231.236 Regina Shober Gray. Not dated.
Regina Shober Gray by [Edward L.] Allen, ca. 1860. Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, Item PP231.236
While in Zurich, the Grays[1] met some friends from home and had some Philadelphia news:

Hotel Baus-au Lac, Zurich, Sunday, 14 July 1878: The sweet clangor of changing bells fills the air, curiously crossed, to our New England ears, by waltz music from a band near by! The day is overcast & it is no use to go to see an Alpine view under cloudy skies!

Our ride here from Ragaz on Thursday P.M. would have been lonely but for the “rain, that raineth every day” and persecutes us! We skirted the beautiful Wallensee,[2] with its high mountains, exquisite cascades, ruined farms, villas, &c., all wh[ich] we could see & enjoy from our nice 1st class [train] car, wh. we had to ourselves – but the more distant views of opening valley & lovely vistas were shut out; and for part of the ride on [the] borders of Zurich Lake we might as well been looking out over an open, fog-ridden ocean. Dr. [Gray] had a comfortable day yesterday, in spite of a poor night (indeed the worst evening he has had since Paris) – … to day [he] is poorly again; but he keeps out & about, and quite enjoyed our steamboat excursion yesterday p.m. to Horgen.[3] The lake is lively with steamers & bateaux & canoes.

Friday p.m. we drove round the city – visited the Grosse Münster, where Zwingli[4] preached – a very plain early Gothic building – 11th to 13th century with a niche in one of the towers where Charlemagne sits enthroned with gilt crown & sword; also the Ecole Polytechnique, which has a choice gallery of casts from antique sculpture, and a fine view from its balcony … ditto from the top (an old bastion) of the Botanic Garden.

This hotel is excellent – our rooms very pleasant, Mary [Gray] & I each having a window that commands the tranquil lake, on wh. last evg. a full moon poured down its rippling silver. The shaded garden between the house & lake is a delightful lounging place.

It is pleasant to meet the George Waleses[5] of Boston here – they are kindly social people, very rich with no children to save for – & spend a great deal of money on art matters, ceramics & bric-a-brac, and travel luxuriously with maid & courier. We hear nothing from the Curtises as yet.

If the clouds would lift we should get, on dit, a fine view of Alps & eternal snow beyond the far end of the lake – and they did lift a little yesterday giving us a glimpse from the steamer-deck.

Mrs. Wales tells us of Mr. Bloomfield Moore’s[6] death of pneumonia, very suddenly; his wife is in broken health, with failing faculties, from an accident, which injured the base of the brain. Fortunately both her daughters are with her this season at Newport; one married the Swedish Count von Rosen; & the other also married some Swede of noble birth.[7]

Boston papers speak of the funeral of C.C. Burleigh,[8] one of the early Anti Slavery men, when to be such was to be hated, scorned, and ignominiously insulted at every turn by all the Mr. High-minds of Vanity Fair! Now he [has] died honored, having seen the great cause to which he sacrificed all the worldly ambitions of his youth & prime, triumphant – but oh, at what a terrible cost of slaughter and loss. But thank God – loss that was not in vain. William Cullen Bryant[9] died last month – poet & editor – in his 84th year.

Continued here.


[1] Hedwiga Regina Shober of Philadelphia (1818–1885) was married to Dr. Francis Henry Gray of Boston 1844–80. They were traveling with their daughter Mary Clay Gray (1848–1923) and son Samuel Shober Gray (1849–1926). Both entries from the Hedwiga Regina Shober Gray diary, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections.

[2] The Walensee, in the Canton of St. Gallen.

[3] On the south bank of Lake Zurich.

[4] The Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531).

[5] George Washington Wales (1815–1896) was married to Maria Wharton Dow (1816–1902).

[6] Bloomfield Haines Moore (1819–1878) married Clara Sophia Jessup in 1842. This entry was a sequel to one Mrs. Gray wrote on 27 November 1864:

“There was a dashing wedding too in Walnut St., opposite my brother’s at the Bloomfield Moores’ – shoddy people living before the war in utter obscurity in some of the northern suburbs of Philad. – rag & junk men I believe – but who have made their 2 millions since the war, moved into the choicest part of the city, spent freely for themselves, and freely for the Sanitary and similar public charities – and will in time make their [way] into the society of Philad. no doubt; and the sooner because, obscure as they were, they are New Englanders, respectably educated as all New Eng’s are, bright, capable, not afraid to assert themselves, with the ready power of adapting themselves to their more elegant and refined circumstances, which all native born Americans possess to so remarkable a degree.”

[7]  Ella Carlton Moore (1843–1892) married Carl Gustaf Count von Rosen on 10 November 1864.

[8] Charles Calistus Burleigh (1810–1878) died on 13 June; his wife, Gertrude Kimber, was a connection of Mrs. Gray’s Kimber cousins.

[9] William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878) died on 12 June.

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

One thought on “‘At what a terrible cost’

  1. The Grays must have been well-to-do to be traveling Europe that way. Interesting to have first hand account and her perspective of the world.

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