18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, October 23, 1913:
10/20 – 10/24: It’s been so rainy and dreary this week that I begin to feel awful grouchy. I certainly am under the weather these days. Any way October never was a favorite month of mine. I don’t have much to write about for her.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Yesterday, I shared some excerpts from a 1913 book called A Woman’s Winter in Africa: A 26,000 Mile Journey by Charlotte Cameron Since Grandma didn’t write a separate diary entry for this date I’m going to share some more from the book. I’m still amazed at how adventuresome some women were a hundred years ago.
Here’s some quotes from the chapters about Mrs. Cameron’s visit to Victoria Falls. The falls are located on the Zambezi River at the border between what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In a short time the train stops in a sort of wood. A small tin station stands close by—and a big white wooden signboard spells: “Victoria Falls.”
Five minutes’ walk under trees, and through pretty gardens which, have large whitewashed stones round the flower-beds brought me to the Victoria Falls Hotel. After registering I passed through the hall to the verandah.
A beautiful view greats you as you look down two great gorges covered with fresh trees and kept ever verdant by the ceaseless spring. Victoria Bridge, 600 , foot high, with a cantilever span of 500 feet, is the loftiest bridge in the world, and in the blue distance resembles filigree work I take a hasty breakfast feeling I must lose no time before seeing the Falls. I set off, camera, sunshade, and notebook in hand.
The managing clerk accompanies me to the end of the verandah. “Don’t you think I should have a guide?” I inquire. “Oh, no it’s not necessary,” he responds. “The paths are well laid out, as you will see by the signboards.”
In all the hotel advertisements one reads that the Falls are only a few minutes away. This is quite deceptive. After half an hour’s walk over a rather rough road you come to Victoria Bridge. All along the approach the roar of the Falls increased its thunder; but even so you are totally unprepared for the scene that opens before you?
Everywhere are wonderful trees, crystallized into eternal freshness by the mist They crown and decorate well-worn pinnacles of rocks. They you stand on Victoria Bridge. To the left and far below is the dark brown water, churning in what is called the Boiling Pot. The water rushes in, swirls, runs about in impotent anger, having been hurled over a precipice, down 400 feet, and into this maze from which there is no outlet. At last, however, it rushes under the bridge, flows with loud protest, hissing over rocks, and wends its way through deep and narrow channels to its natural bed.
According to Wikipedia the bridge was constructed in 1904-05. I’m continually amazed at how many technological wonders are more than one hundred years old.