Doctor at Sea

Vol. 8 No. 1 - 2001

Doctor at Sea

by Rosalind Hadden


Journal of Craigavon Historical Society


A marine interlude in 1884 for Dr William Edward Hadden (1858-1949), a doctor's son from Skibbereen in County Cork, before he settled in Portadown, County Armagh - prepared by his grand-daughter Rosalind Hadden from his surviving letters and journals.

My grandfather was the youngest of six brothers in a very Methodist and medical family. Five of the six sons became doctors - but there was room for only one to succeed to the practice of their father Dr David Hadden in Skibbereen. Young "Eddie", as he was called by the family, started by being apprenticed to his father; then he went to the new Queen's College in Cork - but had barely begun his formal medical studies there when his father died in February 1878, leaving a complicated will for whose bequests there was unfortunately not enough money. Later that spring Eddie himself was seriously ill with typhus fever - caught from a patient - and in the letters he wrote to his widowed mother he frequently refers to continuing worries about his health as well as his finances.

During August-September 1882 the letters show that Eddie - or perhaps it is better to refer to him here as WEH - having completed his degree was working as a holiday locum for a brother-in-law Dr George Vickery in Kinsale, from whom he got a glowing reference to add to his excellent academic testimonials. But it seems to have been hard enough for an idealistic young doctor to find a good job.

In November 1882, still aged only 24, he found his first proper post in England as assistant to a Dr James Marr in Castle Eden, a colliery village near Durham, at an annual salary of £90. WEH started work there on Wednesday 29 November - but gave notice again on 28 December.

Jan 3rd 1883 Castle Eden

My dear Mother ... I am afraid the time is a long way in the future when I can settle down - it is very hard to do anything without a little Capital ... All the boys had a great advantage over me. Now I have no-one even to advise me as to what I ought to do. Only that I would not like to be so far from you I would go to sea - as I think money can be made quicker that way than any other ... If you knew Dr Marr you would not like me to to stay here - though Friendly enough to me he is a most unprincipled man & acts like a brute to his children & servants - he has a frightful temper at times - & there is no religion of any kind here - I often walk out of the room on account of the way he talks. He cares nothing whatever about his patients except to make money on them and tells lies whenever it suits him...

WEH 's next post was as a resident assistant in the South Dispensary at Liverpool. He tells his mother that he had help in getting this from his eldest brother John (a doctor in Lincolnshire), and from a Liverpool cousin Harry Atkins (son of Dr David Hadden's sister Anne, who had married a Methodist minister). WEH was elected to the Dispensary "by a majority of 1 from 17, at £9 per month all found except diet, with bedroom and sitting room"; he started work in the first week of February 1883. Liverpool was a more friendly place for him, with his aunt Anne and family, and his married sister Mary Ellen, living locally.

But those worries about his health ( " ... my heart has not lost its trick of intermitting...") finally led him to look for a post as ship's doctor on board one of the many ships which called at Liverpool in those days. On 31 March 1884 he tells his mother that he has been offered a job on the American Line "British Crown", sailing to Philadelphia, but has turned it down in favour of a suggested Mediterranean cruise for 2 - 3 months accompanying the two nephews of a local Banker, who has also promised to keep the Dispensary post open for him. However, that quickly proved a mirage.

On 8 April WEH writes to say "Today I have been offered the Sarnia - the pay is bad only £8 a month & no shore pay but I feel so poorly that I think it is right for me to take a voyage."

April 18th 1884 South Dispensary Liverpool ... "I am off on Tuesday for Canada..."

From now on, WEH's letters are on ship's notepaper headed "Dominion Line of Steamers between Liverpool and Quebec in summer and Portland in winter, also to New Orleans via Corunna and Havana," together with a picture of a sailing steam-ship (sails and funnels). All his voyages were to be between Liverpool and Quebec/Montreal; and he wrote to his mother in fascinating detail about life on board and his sightseeing trips on shore.

S.S. Sarnia

S.S.Sarnia, at Belfast Bay, Apl 25th 1884, 10.30 am

My dearest Mother

Just a line to say that we have arrived so far on our journey after a very pleasant night - it was perfectly calm. We left the River in L'pool at about 6 oC last evg & anchored here at 6 oC this morning. We have 812 passengers on board, including 30 Saloon - & a Tender with about 30 more Emigrants is to leave Belfast at ½ past Eleven. We will sail about noon - this is a beautiful Bay - Belfast in the distance - & Carlingford Carrickfergus (I think) on the other side - we are about 2 miles from land.

This is a fine vessel. Almost the whole of the officers are new- All I think except the Chief Engineer & Chief Steward - The Captain & other officers are very friendly - & I think I will enjoy the voyage - of course everything here is not so "swell" as in the New York lines, but the Saloon is a comfortable little one - situated amidships - my Cabin & Surgery (all in one) is almost in the centre of the vessel too - so that the noise of the screw is not very unpleasant.

The whole trip will be about 5 weeks. The voyage will be about 10 days from this.

I was disappointed at not having a line from you before I left L'pool yesterday morning -

With very best love to all & hoping to have the "Eagle" [the Skibbereen Eagle newspaper] on my arrival I am Dearest Mother

Your ever loving son Eddie

We will be about 10 days in Montreal.

S.S.Sarnia, off Newfoundland, Thursday May 1st 1884, 9 o'C pm

My Dearest Mother,

I am commencing a letter to you now so that there will be but little delay in posting it after we arrive in Quebec. We are at present & have been all this Evening lying still - as we are in one of those thick fogs which are almost constant off the Newfoundland "Banks".

We are out just a week & are about 300 miles from land - if we continued as we had been doing all the week we ought to have landed in Quebec about Sunday - but it will be much later if the fog continues.

I suppose you got the line I sent you from off Belfast. We remained from 6 oC in the morning until 2 pm in Belfast Lough. The trip from there around the Irish Coast was very pleasant. We saw the Mull of Cantyre (part of Scotland) quite plainly. We also had a view of the Giant's Causeway.

I am surprised at my good fortune in escaping sea sickness. I was only sick on Sunday morning after Breakfast - for a couple of hours - with the exception of Lunch that day I have taken my place at the head of the second table at every meal - the Chief Engineer sits at the foot. The Captain & Chief Officer are at the other table.

We have about 30 Saloon Passengers, 62 "Intermediate" and over 800 Steerage - besides a crew of I think 84 officers & men - so you see we have not far from 1000 people on Board.

I have a good deal to do in one way or another. I have to go with the Captain through the Steerage every morning - to "inspect" the Ship - to see that ventilation &c is all right. I have also to go myself a couple of times during the day, to see patients & at meal times, when any complaints about food &c are to be made to me. Then I am an hour & a half in the morning & two hours every afternoon in the surgery (which consists of a few Bottles & a Medicine Chest in my Cabin) to attend to my cases.

We have only 3 meals in the day. At ½ past 8 - Breakfast, consisting of Porridge - several varieties of Meat & Tea or Coffee. At 1 oC Lunch - Soup, Meat (cold generally) and Fish - Sweets. At 6 pm Dinner - same nearly as Lunch - Soup - Fish - Meat, joints &c - Sweets - Fruit - & tea or coffee. To wind up I get a cup of coffee with Biscuits taken to my Cabin every night about 9 - when the Captain also has something.

The weather has been fine up to the present. The sea was rough a couple of days but nothing like a storm. You would be surprised at the way the vessel is rolling all the evening since we have stopped steaming - it is impossible to stand without some support. It was the most amusing sight at dinner to see the way the plates & glasses &c rolled about - there are guards to keep them from falling off. I quite enjoy the motion now that I have got accustomed to it.

I have been very unfortunate about my luggage. I had to come on Board at L'pool with the steerage passengers & my trunk got with theirs - & was put into the hold from which it is impossible to get it until we arrive at our destination so you can imagine how I am off for Collars & Cuffs & Shirts as I have only what I wore the day I started - fortunately I had my Comb & Brush in a little hand bag. I had to borrow some paper Collars from the Chief Steward & am trying to get on as well as I can - I have a "swell" cap, but I feel shabby enough every other way - I have not even a night shirt.

I have a few games of Chess every day with an old gentleman - one of the passengers - a Mr Ritchie, who is a well known writer for several papers, especially the "Christian World" - he writes under the nom-de-plume of "Christopher Crayon".

I have not yet decided whether I will take more than the one voyage in this ship. If I remain any time at sea I would much prefer getting into a better line - not only on account of the pay - but it would be pleasanter in every way - a better class of passengers &c. The majority of the saloon passengers are young men going out farming in Canada.

We have got into very cold weather now - we are expecting to see Icebergs every day - the usual route these ships take is through the Straights of Bellisle, but being so early in the year we cannot go that way (which is shorter) on account of the ice - so we go by the south of Newfoundland. I believe we return by the south of Ireland - but do not call anywhere.

There are generally only a few Saloon passengers on the return journey. We are to sail from Quebec on Saturday the 17th of May - & again from L'pool on the 5th of June. All the passengers are landed at Quebec & we go on to Montreal & remain there.

I feel a little tired now - & will lay this aside for the present - to finish when we get near Quebec. Excuse scribble as the pen is very bad & the vessel is tossing about like a cork.

S.S. Sarnia used both steam and sail (National Maritime Museum, from Tommy Cecil's book "the harsh winds of Rathlin")

Monday - 2 o'C. pm in St Lawrence River

This is now the pleasantest part of the trip as yet. We entered the river this morning & can now see the land at each side covered with snow still - the water is as smooth as a lake & not the slightest wind - we are 256 miles from Quebec & hope to get in tomorrow morning. We will take the Pilot on board in a few hours.

We were in among Icebergs all day on Friday. They are very pretty - some very large, 4 or 5 miles around - & 40 to 90 feet high - a whitish green color. We had to steer out of the way of some on Sunday - we were among the Field ice & it was very cold & rough.

We had a service yesterday. The Capt. asked me to take part in it - he gave out the hymns - I read part of two Chapters & a gentleman on board a Baptist gave a very nice address. I like the Captain very much. It makes me rather lonely to think that all the passengers are leaving tomorrow just when we are beginning to know each other - some are nice & friendly - in a short time we will have the tables surrounded with new faces.

There is to be a Concert tonight. There are 51 Boys on board being sent out from Dr Stevenson's home in London - to be put with Farmers in Canada. The Captain had them all in the Saloon on Sat evening singing for us - principally Sankey's hymns - he then distributed lots of nuts among them. Any change of that sort is pleasant to relieve the monotony of the voyage.

I have enjoyed the time so far very much - we had nothing whatever even approaching a Storm - I have almost made up my mind to continue in this boat for the summer.

We saw land first on Saturday (Newfoundland) since we lost sight of Ireland on Friday week - & last night we had our first view of Canada.

I intend sending this letter via New York as I thnk it will go quicker. I will send a line also direct from Canada. I am looking forward with pleasure to see the "Eagle" - it is like being out of the world not to have any idea of what is passing beyond the ship.

Quebec Tuesday We have just arrived 12oC noon - after a most enjoyable trip.

Your ever loving son Eddie

S.S. Sarnia at Montreal, 12th May 1884

My Dearest Mother,

I was very glad indeed to get your letter & the "Eagle" on Wednesday - the day after we came here. We left the Wharf at Quebec at 7 oC on Tuesday evening & came about 9 miles up the river, where we anchored (as the tide did not suit) until 3.30 am when we came on & arrived at 4 oC pm - a distance of 180 miles. The trip up this river is really magnificent - it is almost worth the journey across the Atlantic to see the scenery on the St Lawrence between Quebec & Montreal.

We landed all the passengers at Quebec - so that we were quite alone coming up. We were quite close to land on both sides all the way except for about 20 miles where the river widened into Lake St Peter. Along both banks the whole way is a continuous series of French Canadian Villages - in some places it is a Continuous row of houses for miles & miles - & there are churches every mile or two which are roofed with Tin or Zinc which gleams brilliantly in the sun.

It was really grand to see our large vessel going at full speed in & out along the channel. The navigation of the river is very dangerous - but the Pilots know every yard of the way. We had one Pilot from the Mouth of the river to Quebec & another from Quebec to Montreal.

It was great excitement getting in the first Pilot at 9 oC on Monday night - it was the first communication we had with land from the time we left Belfast on the Friday week before & you should have heard the cheering for the "Sarnia" when we heard that the Mail Boat - the "Sarmation" - which left L'pool the same time as we did was not in yet - & what excitement there was looking over a Newspaper which was brought by the Pilot for the Captain - of course we had not the slightest idea of what might have happened in the old country since we had left.

WEH in his "swell cap" is at the back of this group
on ship-board in 1884.

What an awful accident that was to the "State of Florida". I almost shudder when I think how much worse it would have been had it happened to our Ship with 1,087 souls on board ... Our Captain is a very careful man ... Don't you be at all anxious if we are late getting home - our boat is a slow one & may take any time from 11 to 14 days according to weather... With very best love, & hoping to see you in L'pool when I arrive [staying with WEH's married sister Mary Ellen Atkins] I am Dearest Mother your ever loving son Eddie.

That afternoon, Monday 7 July, WEH was handing in at Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, a telegram to tell his mother in Liverpool "Sarnia stranded at Rathlin Island. All well." Fuller details followed about his first experiences in the northern part of Ireland.

Rathlin Island, scene of many wrecks: the Sarnia grounded at Rue Point to the south, just days after the Girvan had grounded near the westerly Bull Point

S.S.Sarnia, at Rathlin Island, Monday night July 7th, 1884

My Dearest Mother,

You will have had my Telegram I hope telling of our accident & our safety - before you saw the account of our stranding, in the evening papers - I landed with the passengers so that you would hear as soon as possible. It is a sad termination to our voyage.

We were hoping to arrive in L'pool at about midnight tonight & to land on Tuesday morg - I never saw anything so sudden - it was quite clear & we were all looking at a ship which had been wrecked on Saturday night on the west extremity of this island - & while we were looking - almost in an instant a thick fog covered the island & hid it completely & then surrounded us. The engines were slowed in a short time - in about 5 minutes after I heard another signal from the Bridge to the Engine room & I ran to see what it was & found it "Full Speed Astern" - I could then see the rocks a little ahead & we gradually glided quietly on to them - the Fore hold began to fill - All the Boats were lowered & the passengers (about 65 in number) were being put aboard when a steam tug came & took them all over to Ballycastle on the mainland. Tugs - Lighters - and Steam Pumps are on their way from Liverpool - when the Cargo will be taken out & they hope to get the Ship afloat about 9 oC tomorrow morg.

It is a great pity - I feel very much for Captain Gibson - he is liked by everyone - I expect it will mean his dismissal - we are on the eastern point of the Island - if we had been about a hundred yards farther in towards the mainland we would have cleared it all right - the fog lifted a few minutes after we struck.

Hoping to see you in a few days & tell you everything, I am dearest Mother your ever loving son Eddie

In June 1884 WEH writes after his second crossing to Quebec:

"I have had my Curiosity gratified at last by being on the Atlantic during a storm. We had a very heavy Gale on the Sunday night & Monday morning after we left L'pool. One of our sails was taken away & another split - & several of the Ventilators thrown down & broken. The Waves were washing right over the vessel from Stem to Stern & several times I saw the railings at the stern right under the water. I rather enjoyed it ... I was not sea sick at all on this voyage - I was sick one or two mornings on waking from the close smell of the damp in my cabin, so I have taken possession of one of the best state rooms on the upper deck & have kept my old cabin entirely for a surgery ... I was regretting very much that I had not a camera - as I had a splendid opportunity of having some views of an immense Iceberg..."

On 16 June he writes again from Montreal:

"The weather here is warm - the Thermometer about 90 in the shade - I never perspired so much in my life before but I don't mind the heat as much as I thought I would . We had two of the grandest displays of fireworks two evenings here that ever I saw. I mean those accompanying "Heaven's Artillery". I can safely say that I never saw a real Thunder storm before ... I have a couple of Roots of fern for you. There is a beautiful variety of Maiden-hair growing wild in the greatest luxuriance in Mount Royal Park (in the wood) - after bringing some back with me I heard it was strictly forbidden to touch them..."

The second homeward voyage was due to begin on Saturday 28 June, arriving at Liverpool on 7 or 8 July. But the reality was very different - shipwreck! Well, perhaps not actually shipwreck, but at least a running aground. WEH had to break off in the middle of a pencilled note:

S.S.Sarnia at old Ireland 7th July 1884 We are in a fog - not the first but hope the last - we have just passed a wreck, but gave us no signal of especial distress.

We expect to reach Liverpool early in the morning, unless detained too long here.

Cannot say our journey has been very pleasant - since we left Belle Isle last Monday we have had unpleasant times - but now we are all feeling ...

S.S.Sarnia, at on Rathlin, Wednesday Evg. July 9th 1884

My Dearest Mother

I don't see any probability of our getting away from this for some time - several days I am sure. They made an attempt to get us off the rock today but did not succeed - all the crew as well as gangs of men from shore are removing the Cargo to tugs to be taken to L'pool

There is water in two of the Holds - the Diver has been at work yesterday & today stuffing Blankets into the holes & we have Two Steam Pumps from L'pool - also 3 Tugs.

They intend to try to move her again tomorrow morning at high tide - the vessel will be very much injured if she remains here much longer as she bumps against the rocks when the swell is great. There is only a small part of her bow on ground. Don't imagine that we are far out in the water. The Island is only about 12 yards from the Bow & the Inhabitants spend all the Evening admiring us.

I hope all the friends are well & that you are quite strong.

I had only one letter from you in Montreal - & one Eagle - it is a long time now since I had news from you.

Don't be in the slightest degree anxious about me as I am all right & quite safe.

With best love to ... Mary Ellen & all at Aunt's I remain your loving son Eddie.

Things were sorted out surprisingly quickly. On 4 August, WEH was once again in Montreal, though on a different ship, the S.S. Ontario. This time he has taken a camera with him - probably the ancient wooden model from Liverpool which is still in the attic. He writes:

"I have not done very much with my Camera - the weather is so hot that the Gelatine Plates are injured by it & do not stand much washing. Any more that I take - I intend not to develope until I get away from this. They are fixing up stalls for Cattle on the deck to within about a dozen feet of the Saloon Entrance ... I am far more comfortable than I was on the "Sarnia" excepting of course the position of the Saloon..."

Probably WEH himself on a board-walk
somewhere in Canada

And by early September the Sarnia herself was back in action, though with a different captain, and setting sail again for Canada. On this fourth trip WEH notes meeting Mr Faulding "a great geologist, has 2½ tons of specimens at home, shewed me some specimens of stone, very beautiful ... He is the inventor of the Fret work saw, made over £1,000 a year for panels for Broadwoods pianos..." There are also notes of playing shuffleboard on deck, and of some more exciting incidents on the return voyage:

Wednesday 1 Oct.

When I got up this morning the ship had a most decided list to Starboard so much so that it was almost impossible to walk on deck until ropes were fixed to hold on to. This continued all day - Rain & wind, which compelled us to stay below nearly all day. The funnel on the Starboard side was nearly on a level with the water. It was almost impossible to walk on any deck as the sea was rough & the ship rolled a bit. No games on deck today. After dinner I got a message to go aft to see a steerage patient. When I went I found it was a woman in labour (Jane Yeates - Bristol). She expected it on next Saturday 4th Oct - Her husband was coming over (working his passage) the Monday after she left (Saturday) in a Cattle boat. The Child was born very soon after I got to her - a girl - both did very well. Weather very wild.

Thursday 2nd Oct.

This morning the wind which blew very hard during the night came down something and after breakfast we had shuffleboard & Quoits. Mother & Child doing well. Towards evening the weather got thick & the wind began to blow hard from the south west. We had all sail set for some time until about 8 oC when it began to blow from the East. Sail was taken down and from that until the morning it blew a gale. The ship rolled dreadfully. Everything in my room was thrown about.

Friday 3rd Oct.

When I awoke this morning I found everything tossed about my room. The passage outside was covered with water rolling to & fro so that I could hardly get to breakfast without wetting my stockings. After breakfast I went to see my patient (Yeates) & fell on the deck both going & returning. The ship rolled very much. Spent all day below. After dinner (about 8 oC) we were on deck. The weather cleared but the ship was still rolling & the sea was very high. The wind had gone more to the West - square sails set. A rope was stretched on port side of deck. The Capt Mr MacKay Mr Haskell & I were talking & telling stories near the rope. The ship gave a greater lurch than usual & Mr Haskell & I who were outside made an effort to catch the rope. I succeeded but he missed and came against the funnel very forcibly. The pit of his stomach came against the rail & he was very near going overboard. I caught him by the back & brought him back & laid him on deck. He was nearly stunned & scraped both knees. His hat was lost. After giving him some brandy we got him to the Saloon deck house where he sat for about an hour (had to get him more brandy) after which we took him to his berth & put him in bed. (While I am writing 2 oC the ship is still rolling very much but the wind is favourable.) Capt Sharron & I remained with him for some time. Could get no observation today - sailed about 260 miles - Barometer rising.

Saturday 4 Oct.

Slept until 9 oC. No one called me. Morning fine with light Easterly wind; good sea on - ship rolling a good deal which increased towards Evening. After inspection Capt asked me to get up a concert which I did. Mr Haskell much better, nearly all right. Shuffleboard on deck in the forenoon but got so rough had to stop. Spent greater part of the day below, getting up programme &c. Nothing unusual occurred. At 8 pm the concert began. We had very interesting address from Prof. Macadam on trip to Rocky Mountains after which songs &c. Capt & Mate not able to come down, weather getting thick. Eclipse of moon. Collected over £2 for Seamen & Orphans. Went to bed about 12. Weather fine, middling sea on. List to port improved by shifting coal. Mr Watson (Ch Engineer) came in as I was going to bed & talked for about ½ an hour. Midwifery case doing well - 264 Miles. No observation today.

Sunday 5th Oct.

Morning fine. Wind South West. Sea rather calmer. Bf steak as usual for breakfast. Service at 10.30 by Mr Kane (Baptist) after which he "said a prayer" over the child born on Wed. & gave her a name - "Sarnia Sophia Yeates". A collection for the Mother was taken up which amounted to £3-16-6. Sermon about Heaven. (Study principal occupation.) Saw a ship sailing West about 2.30 - only one since last Sunday, 4 or 5 miles off. Smoked & walked deck until dinner. Evening service at 8 oC. Mr Kane (only minister aboard) preached. Gave his experiences when dead for a short time. Was dying 8 times. In his coffin for 24 hours at one time. Stood beside his own corpse. Angel of death took him to river - water black - told him to steer course & not give up helm until Angel took it from him. Saw his mother & friends in Paradise - let go helm - for his disobedience had to put boat back to where he started & come back to his body again. This occurred when he was 1st Lieut. in American Navy where he acted as Chaplain also for 11 months. Yellow fever broke out 200 died. He caught it & was thought to be dead when this experience happened in 1863, Novr. He wrote a book about it 6 yrs ago called "Adrift on the black wild tide". Mrs Yeates is doing very well. Sitting up in bed. She is an R.C. but attended service last Sunday. Will get child baptised again on shore. Her husband is Protestant - he is working his passage in a cattle boat which left the Monday after we did (weaver). After Service remained in smoke room until 11 oC & then went to bed - 246 miles today. Good chance of observation. Hope to see land tomorrow at noon. About 280 miles from Tory Island.

Monday 6th Oct.

Beautiful morning - sky clear - sea calm - & everyone in good spirits. Saw ship in the distance going West about 10 oClock. Shuffleboard going on all fore & afternoon. At about 11.30 the first glimpse of land was seen. We passed Tory Island about 12.30 - signalled at Mallin Hd at about 4 oC. We passed Rathlin & continued our course South by East. During this time, after going round the ship with the Chief Steward (the Capt did not come with us on Saturday or Sunday or today) I spent the time walking the deck & smoking in the smoke room. Walked the deck &c from Lunch to Dinner after which I began to pack my portmanteau. At 9 oC I went to smoke room for a chat, remained there for about an hour and played two games of "Euchre" which I learned for the first time on Saturday afternoon. After this I had 3 friends in my room who had been kind to me during the voyage viz. Messrs Haskell & Beaton & Capt. Sharron. As it was our last night on board I got a bottle of whisky for the occasion. When they left I asked Mr Watson (Chief Engineer) in to have a chat. He made me a present of a nice Knife as a memento of my trip on the "Sarnia". We hope to get into dock before noon tomorrow. 279 miles today. Mrs Yeates sat up for about an hour.

Tuesday 7 Oct.

Did not wake this morning until near 9. Mr Watson called me but I fell asleep after. Had to stay on board until near 6 oC then I went to Mary Ellen's where I remained for the night

WEH's fifth and final trip was on the Sarnia - with Captain Gibson now re-instated - arriving at Quebec on Monday 27 October:

"My Dearest Mother ... We had a very rough passage - the Monday after we left it began to get very wild & on Tuesday night we had a regular hurricane. I never heard anything like the way the wind was whistling through the rigging - some heavy seas struck us & sent a quiver through the Boat from Stem to Stern..."

Finally, on 3 November 1884, he wrote sadly from Montreal:

"My Dearest Mother ... I felt splendid all the voyage out & the first few days here - but my heart commenced to bother me, as of old, a few days ago - I don't know what to blame for it unless perhaps I was eating too much meat so I am trying low diet now & feel a little better. I believe this Ship is to lay up for the winter - it is likely that I will go to Dublin & knock around the Hospitals for a few weeks & then look out for an assistancy - I don't know what else there is for me to do..."

So by the start of 1885 WEH, now aged 26, was back on dry land and once again unemployed. The next chapter of his life took him to York as assistant to a Dr Petch, whom he liked much better than Dr Marr - Dr Petch lived with an unmarried sister and their father, who was a retired Methodist minister. But Ireland still beckoned.

And so to Portadown

From York WEH pursued enquiries about a possible opening for a Methodist doctor in the Methodist-minded town of Portadown. Iin the summer of 1886 he crossed the Irish Sea again, borrowed £50 from a cousin, bought a brass plate with his name "Dr Hadden" on it, and at last in County Armagh he was able to set up on his own account - but that is another story.