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Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/37

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CHAPTER I


New York and Westward Ho—1853-4


MY landing upon American soil took place under anything but auspicious circumstances. I was utterly destitute of money, had but a limited supply of wearing apparel, and that not suited to the approaching cold season, and I literally did not know a single person in New York or elsewhere in the Eastern States to whom I could apply for help and counsel. To crown all, I could not speak a word of English.

It was natural that this consciousness of my condition should weigh upon my spirits. I felt, indeed, greatly oppressed, and spent the first day in gloomy thoughts at the Hotel Constanz. A travelling companion who had tried to persuade me to accompany him to California noticed my depression, and guessed its cause from what he had drawn out of me on the voyage about my antecedents and plans. He generously offered to lend me twenty dollars, which I accepted, of course, with joy. As my weekly board-bill was to be only five dollars, I felt quite relieved from immediate anxiety, and sufficiently at ease in mind to look the future straight in the face. I resolved to seek some sort of employment without delay, but, at the same time, I could not feel at all sure of success, and determined to make an appeal for help to my relatives in the West. At home I had become acquainted with several of them — my great-uncle, Theodor Adolf Engelmann, the brother of my step-grandmother, and Johann Scheel, who married

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