Peter to Caroline, Victoria, December 10–11, 1888 No 27

10th Decr. 1888.

My dearest Wife.

I have this day had the great pleasure of receiving your very welcome letters of the 17 21st & 24th insts. both numbered 24, you appear to be fond of that No. for I have now recd three. No matter as long as I get them, I am content, particularly when they bring me some good news of you & our dear ones. I am very thankful to notice that you write in better spirits indeed I think you have every reason to do so. You tell me that our dear Kit is so much better, (naughty girl not to write to me). this alone goes a long way to make up to me for your absence. if you can but feel that she has quite got over this weakness. how very thankful we shall be; then you send me Franks letter. the best, & most encouraging we have had from him, it is also so well written & expressed an excellent letter. I noticed that he sends you good advice in which I fully endorse – “have your teeth attended to at once”, dont I pray you neglect the opportunity, he is right also about the dust coats be sure you have them when you travel. they save your dress, & keep you clean. I further emprise you to set about your packing in time. dont leave it to the last. I know too well what that means that you will be overcome with fatigue, & you wont at the last have room for your things. Dont let your dresses &c appear to be new, if possible wear each, if only for a couple of hours.

I have now to confess that I have deceived you to a very small extent. but I know that were I to tell you at the time it you would have worried your self, just what I dont want you to do. I arrived, as I told you, quite well how the main land, but two days later I cought a very sever cold which compelled me to remain in the house for a week. I was afraid I was in for a winter attack, Hick was really wonderfully good & John came constantly to see me. the Jacksons were also pressing that I should go to the. but I remained in our own house, & thank God I am nearly well again, the cold has left me though I am still a little hoarse there is no humbug. I am honestly all but well as ever — This unfortunately happened when Lord Listowel arrived, & I could not call upon him before Saturday last. He had been inquiring for me. Well I paid my visit the day before yesterday Saturday & had a long & pleasant chat with him & Capt. Wyndham. He is, naturally, very much depressed about his son. the Dr. reports of him, are I am happy to say, better today & yesterday though he is not yet out of danger. On Sunday I went to St. Johns, & from there with Sir M.B. to the Club where he met Capt Wyndham who told me that he had been commissioned by the Earl to ask me to dine with him that evening at the “Clarence” I went there at 7. I was the only one there, & I am the first person he has asked he is very pleasant & makes you feel at home with him at once, he told me a great deal about his son and he is very fond of talking about his brother Capt. H. A number of people have called on him, among them the “Lord of the Isles”, with whom he has dined. He dines with the Vernons, on Tuesday, tomorrow, with Sir M.B. on Thursday – when I am asked to meet him and will you believe it? John & Zoe have asked him to name his own day to feast with them at Fairfield I have also recd a written invite from Zoe.

Now comes another important fact that I have to communicate & of which I hope you will approve. The father of the young man mentioned to me that he was anxious to have his son removed from the hospital, so soon as it can be done with safety, & asked if I knew of any place suitable. I do not, but I told him our house was empty, & if considered suitable I would have a couple of rooms prepared for him. (The Dr. says there is no fear whatever of infection.) he thanked me much & he is to come tomorrow to inspect. I have had Mrs. Ward here today to clean up the passage dining room & my study, [?] bedroom: tomorrow at 12.O.C. the inspection is to take place. I had intended to post this tonight, but John came & remained till nearly 8.O.C. though his own dinner was to be ready at 7-. He is most amusing about their proposed dinner party – how I wish I could tell you, & do the subject justice. it is Zoe who insists the other one as John calls her. As I cannot post this tonight I shall be able to tell you about the house tomorrow. If he wishes to have it, I will do the best I can to make it comfortable for the poor sick young man, if he thinks it wont answer, I shall have done the civil as I would like to do for any friend of Capt. Howes’. It is a sad case. I feel very much for them, & hope the young fellow will recover. Dr. Hannington has sole charge which I think a mistake, if my advice had been asked. I should certainly have recommended Davie. Ld Listowel has asked me to go to see him whenever I can and I will of course do so though unfortunately I cant do much. How I miss you for this cause and for every other you can name.

I spent Saturday evening at F.field the anniversary of the Johns wedding 8th. The two Newton girls are staying there, & of course, one cannot talk before them. I am to dine with them on the 15th but it will be a dreary day with you so far away. Five & twenty years will have passed since I took my darling away from Fairfield. I like to dwell on her goodness, & thank God for having blessed me with such a wife — It is a grief to me that we should be parted now, & it is also with sorrow that I have been obliged to refuse your entreaties to go to you. I would not do so were it possible, but were I to apply for leave, I feel certain it would be refused. May we be spared to each other for many more years of happiness.

Yesterday I went to see poor Clem Cornwall, it is very sad to see him stretched on a couch thin & worn. they are trying to feed him up to prepare him for an operation, Davie tells me he hopes to save the leg, but he says the knee will be stiff forever.

I also called on the Pinders. they were all looking well. Joe is very tall & thin, but a nice child. Beecher has improved wonderfully. & I thought them all much improved this was the first I saw of them they were at Comox when I returned from England. She has been very attentive at the Hospital. in supplying Soup, Jelly Milk, &c. which is very proper if she did not others would do so the McDs of Armedale are most anxious to get a hand in with their connection. —– From the Pinders I went to see Mrs. Seaton Mr. Comptons cousin who lives close by the Pinders. they are, I fear, in great distress though she, poor woman, is doing everything in her power to get on. I fear they are in absolute want & will try to assist them. I know you would do so if you were here.

Maggy McTavish is paying her mother a visit to Bobille[?] is, I am told, always in attendance. the young lady returns to N. York on Thursday next. I must try to see her, both she & her father were very nice to us in N.Y. & no doubt will be so again when you arrive there.

Mrs. Jenns has at last told me of Flo’s engagement. they did not, she said, like to make it known before they had heard from his people, now it is all right. I always told you Frank was weak in that quarter. Mrs. J. told me Flo had recd a letter from him — I am interested in all you tell me about Nutty. I like her, & I am very pleased you have had her to stay with you – it will be very hard, if she is driven to marry because she is unhappy in her home. It is now after 12 O.C. night & I have said nothing about your dear self & our dear Kit or Jack. Before many days you will be made happy by the sight of the “sweet fellow” – how I long to see him, you cannot be more anxious than I am to be with you all during the coming holiday. If I could afford it I would throw up my appointment rather than forego that pleasure. good night God bless & Keep you all.

Tuesday 11th Decr.

This morning Mrs. Ward came for an hour, & made the place somewhat presentable, she could remain longer, her husband is very ill, she did a great deal in a short time, but you were not here. At 12 O.C. I called for his Lordship & Capt Wyndham, & we walked out, he first admired the lawn, which is looking very well, then the boathouse, & said it is the prettiest place he has seen. I then took him into the house. my writing room, then showed him the drawing room which they both pronounced to be a beautiful room. the furniture is of course all covered up in the center, we then inspected our bed room. I told him that was the room I intended his son to occupy – he was very profuse in his thanks & said nothing could be nicer, & if the Dr. approved, he would gladly avail himself of my kindness. I walked back to town with them, sooner than he wished to go, but he had an appointment at the hospital at 2-PM. I suppose I shall know about the house tomorrow, though it is not likely he can be moved for some days. You will be glad to hear that the young man continues to improve, though slowly. Lord Listowel asked me today about Davie. I told him he had very large experience in treating this form of fever, & had been most successful in treating such cases. I told him also how fully his treatment of me had been approved in England. Hannington I said had a large practice here, & is considered a rising man. I dont know what he will decide on but I hope Davie may be called in. Tomorrow I am to take them over the foundary, the sawmill, the Sash factory (Muirhead & Mann) & the new Steamer. The “Islander” just arrived from Scotland. Of course I will do my best to help them to spend their time but it must be very dreary for him particularly. I have now given you a pretty good long chapter of the Lord — & will go to some other subject.

I think you ought to get some Rep to cover the arm chairs, & sofa in the writing room. I am afraid I shall have to ask you to get me a light over coat – not light in colour. The one I got from the Stores before I went to England is not wearing well, & had faded greatly. I have certainly worn it a good deal. John read me a letter from Joe written from the “Metropole”. I am very glad they had so good a trip & were so well: he says Emily & Grace met them at the station, & dined with them. I shall be most anxious to learn how they behave towards you, don’t have any disagreeable with them, if can avoid it. Give them my love if you like. From what you say, I fear the Wind is not amiable, what is the cause of the offense?

I am glad the Mrs. Davy & Lisa are nice to you. Does Carry H. follow her mothers example?
I should indeed have enjoyed hearing Canon Fleming recite. it is a great drawback not being able to hear him preach occasionally. I have heard his equal. You talk of going back to Clarges Str. for the Xmas holidays – this makes me wonder where you will spend Xmas day, but I feel sure you will all be together & I do indeed hope you, Kit & Jack will have a very happy time. I will be with John. I suppose the Pinders will be at F.Field also but I cant say that I look forward to it with much pleasure. I think I would rather be alone writing to you. People constantly ask when you are coming. I feel awkward in not being able to give an answer. If you really are coming, dont put it off till too long after Xmas. I am troubled about Jacks clothes. I think I would have him measured by Wells. What do you think? I am glad Kit had even one ride. I hope you wont forget Sir M. I owe him a letter, but whenever I sit down I like to keep scribbling to you. A great deal of what I say about Lord Listowel is only for yourself.

No letter for a long while from Jack. Xmas will be past when you get this. My very best love to you my beloved wife to our dear Kit, & to our sweet Fellow. May the New Year be one of happiness & profit to us all. My we be with Gods blessing, spared to meet in health and happiness. Kind messages to all our friends the Wards, Hughes &c &c.

Always your devoted husband

P. O’Reilly

[written vertically on first page]

Read the clipping. dare you try the prescribed remedy. it is harmless I will write again to Frank during Xmas. Kit & Frank are both in debt. Try to help the dear fellow with his studies during the vacation.


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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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