Letter No. 9, Victoria, December 14, 1869

No. 5 (*16)

My own beloved husband

I can assure you I was glad to receive your letters No. 6 & 7 from Lytton & Ashcroft. Such a gale blew on Friday that the ”Enterprise” could not go out of the harbor she left on Saturday at 6 a.m. & returned on Tuesday afternoon about 4. It was raining heavily but Mashell went in at once & brought the letters it seems such a long time since I had heard from you. I can’t

expect to hear on the return of this boat as you would be a Kamloops indeed I suppose your next will be from Yale on your return. I intended to begin this yesterday but I was not too well & to-day I feel very weak & out of spirits I have made great efforts to get up & about, I think I have overdone it. I have so many anxieties that wear away my strength I don’t know how I am going to manage with three small ones. & Ellen’s

father has written to say he must have her notice on 1st January & this has put her in such a state but she is quite beside herself & does not attend to her duty. I sent her to Church on Sunday & told her to go & see Mrs. Jenns & hear what advice she had to give her. Mrs. Jenns told her not to think of going home & stick to her place & of course I would keep her in spite of him as long as she wants to stay & does her work, but if she is to dream about, I must look for some one else.

My head is bad to-day I am always of course disturbed at night and little Puss has been very restless the past four nights she is suffering with her teeth which I hope she would have cut before this came upon me. Not that there is much the matter with me, her appetite is good as usual and as to Frank he is I really think a little fatter he eats an egg every morning as does the Puss-pie also. We have not had any visits since I wrote last with the exception of Mr. Spence

who called yesterday afternoon for a short time & who was very kind to the children even giving ”Aha” a piggy back ride. It was very funny to see him as you can fancy. Mr. Spence told me that you were well when he saw you at Lytton. I was glad even to hear that little scrap of personal news about you. It was very fine yesterday & Mama is out with Ellen & the children & afterwards Mama went a call on Mrs. Drake.

She saw her up in her bedroom & she told her Mr. D. would not let her come down stairs. I have been going about the house for several days but I don’t know that I have done right for I am not so well to-day. Yesterday a Mr. Mara called with a scrap of paper to John about money. I don’t know if John has let him have it but I have no doubt he will write you what he has done. I objected to giving the money as I could not understand

his story of course I did not see him but John said that he said that he was in the Stage & saw you out hunting with the Cornwalls & stopped the stage, but it seemed very funny to me that you should be provided with the page of an old book when you were out riding & tho in your note to me of the same

date 16th & you say that the stage is waiting in the cold & that you don’t mention Mr. Mara & his business, at the same time I suppose he is a respectable man but why is he in such a hurry to get away. John was very anxious to do what you wished & said he would give him a cheque for the $750. There is only $250 of your credit at the back, no money has been

paid in since you left. I have only drawn one cheque for $62 to pay Mr. Tooley for the wood as he came & said he wanted it on Monday. I shall have to draw for $60 to pay the nurse & there is the duty to be paid on the box $30 beside the freight. I assure you dear one I fret & worry about the expenses more than I can tell you & then I think I am wicked. For how many blessings

I enjoy how can I ever thank Him enough of His late mercies. Here I am actually sitting writing in the dining room, what joy would be if I could see your dear face come in at the door. I am afraid to say anything about your coming down before Christmas. I am so afraid I shall be disappointed. The day after to-morrow week will be the day, if you come, and if not I suppose you will dine with the McKays. Tom (*17) asked me a day or

two ago if you were coming & said ”Oh! Mr. Kily no come no fun.” He very nearly went away but he is more settled now I think. It has been a very great anxiety to me. He actually got another Chinaman here & wanted to go away & leave him in his place but I was determined he should not & I told him that if he went he must take his friend with him. & Mashell would cook for us so he concluded to remain. I told him he would be very bad to

go away when I was sick & you away, this was only five days after the baby was born. I had him to stand at the door & spoke to him myself. Think what it would have been to have had a strange Chinaman in the house knowing nothing. I felt quite out of my mind, and it nearly put me into a fever. Tom was really ill or I should have been disgusted with him but he stayed. John administered 3 pills,

he got better & Mashell so far as I know has done well. I must now tell you that the box arrived and was opened but the contents were not examined nothing was unfolded except the articles I required for the infant so the contents will remain until please God we can look at them together. The box is a large one much more so than its compared in consequences of their being

too many packages & boxes which remain as they came. I did not even get a glimpse of the Chignon & the little ones did not see their presents from Mr. White. Tho ”King” enjoyed the opening of the case. He was seated up on the chest of drawers that he might not use his fingers to disturb anything. He behaved very well on

the occasion. & It was soon closed down again. The little ones still miss you every much they have both been engaged with paper stencils writing to you many kisses they both want to send to dear Papa. To-morrow dearest will be the anniversary of our wedding day this time last year you were not with me and it does seem hard that you are not here now. I wonder if you are thinking of this time six years ago do you remember coming to Fairfield for a few moments

the morning before when you were on you way to Mr. Burnaby’s & I am sure you will think of it tomorrow I feel anxious & worried about you this time your are away darling, perhaps because I am weak. Do take care of yourself for my sake. Last night I had a troublesome dream about you I can’t remember it clearly but the woman woke me as I was crying bitterly. Now good bye my own dear love how much more so than ever six years ago. I was not more as now Your devoted wife.

Carry O’Reilly


*16 This is the second letter that is marked as No. 5.
*17 Tom is a Chinese servant.

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This collection of letters has been digitized from an earlier transcription project and is for informational purposes only. This transcription has not been verified against the originals. Researchers interested in these letters should consult the original documents housed at the BC Archives.

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