Narcissa spent her 28th birthday, March 14, in Pittsburgh, having spent the previous day in bed with a headache at the Exchange Hotel, while Marcus attended the East Liberty Presbyterian Church with the 2 Nez Perce boys. Tuesday morning, March 16, they left Pittsburgh on the steamboat Siam. Narcissa wrote her mother: “It is delightful passing so rapidly down the waters of this beautiful river. The motion of the boat is very agreeable to me, except while writing, Our accommodations are good; we occupy a stateroom where we can be as retired as we wish.” The Siam steamed down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, arriving at noon on Wednesday, March 17.
Here Narcissa met Eliza Spalding for the first time. On April 7 she wrote that her impression was that Eliza did not “look or feel quite healthy enough” for the trip. However, Narcissa admired Eliza’s fortitude and resolution and found her of the “right temperament” to match Henry Spalding. She wrote, “I think we shall get along very well together.”