Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

October 1. {1857}  No place that I have yet seen in Europe has interested me like Abbotsford; no palace has held such royalty.  I sat down in the chair which Sir Walter Scott had occupied, and I almost felt his presence; his power I had known nearly all my life . . . . It was rather a sad visit as all such visits must be . . . I had half a mind to sit down and cry, perhaps because the “wizard” was dead, perhaps because I was a little homesick.

This date marked the anniversary of Maria Mitchell’s comet discovery on October 1, 1847.  At least one of Scott’s books exists in Maria’s personal library today – and I am sure there were more – handed about among family members, as well as available at the Nantucket Atheneum.  This was truly an experience and education for Maria – touring through Europe.  It was also the first time she had even been away from home for any length of time.  She was entering into her third month away from her family and Nantucket – it must not have been easy.  Keep in mind – no easy communication – letters only, do not forget.  At least a voice at the other end of a phone line can help a bit when one is homesick.  (Yeah, no, I’m not a Facetime/Skype kind of girl.  I do “live” in the 19th century!)