29th Nov. 1888
My dearest Wife
I have not written to you for over a week. I arrived here on the 26th & have not had a moment since. As your know, I have been always almost entirely since my return to B.C. & have not had any time in the office to do any thing, now not a day passes without receiving letters & telegrams are received asking for reports on all manner of things connected with my work so that I have been & am still very busy.
Thank you, dear one, for all your letters it is a great comfort to me to get this. I long for every bit of news about you, and to hear what you all are doing. I am very thankful to hear that our dear Kit was so well. I am also glad to find that you have found comfortable lodgings at Folkestone, it will be better than remaining so long in London, but it is disappointing to learn that you have not found a good music instructor for Kit. I am greatly pleased at Frank’s good fortune. I have had a nice letter direct from Him, it does not however contain any more, or later news of him than that you sent me. We ought to be very thankful that he was so well & has been so successful in obtaining employment so soon after his arrival.
I spent a day at Ashcroft on my way down, that are all, I fear, in very bad circumstances. Clement & his wife are terribly cut up about Clem, he is in a “Home” recently opened by some lay Sisters. Drs. Helmcken, Hannington, & Davie are in attendance & they think it will be necessary to take one of his legs off. The trouble has been brought on by a bad attack of Rheumatic fever. I am very sorry for them. Henry C. is worse than ever, a confirmed invalid. I think it would be an act of kindness if you would write to Mrs. C. it would be a good time just after I have been there.
Georgia & all at Penticton were very kind to me, it is just as you said, they have fed me too well, & I am too stout again. Did I ask you to send Georgia a photo of our three. I wish you would do so.
Mrs. Haynes & family have rented the McKay house near the Wards. While the McKays live at Saturna Island in Mr. Pikes house, a strange sort of arrangement. My money from the Haynes Estate is safe enough, but it wont be paid before next summer. More money to be spent on the Gas works since the reduction in price, the consumption has increased, & we shall get a div at the rate of 5 per cent.
Young Ashley ought to have his neck twisted. I thought he had given up that folly. —— I hope you wont give Sir M. or Lady S. any cause of offence by not writing to them. Puss ought to write to the girls. We should not forget his kindness to us particularly all he tried to do for Frank.
Why, dear one, do you persistently find fault with yourself every one thinks you do things so well. I have not found fault with you for buying what you think we require at the stores. What I said was that we were very short of room for storage but I will have more shelves put up for you. The cats have again got into the store cupboard at the head of the cellar stairs but fortunately there was not much for them to eat.
I am glad you have been to see Jack. I know what a pleasure & comfort it was to you to be with him even for a couple of days. dear wee man, I wish he was well of those nasty warts: thank you for the letters, or part of letters from him which you sent me. I wish he would get into the way of dating & numbering his letters. I am glad you told him not to go to Rockingham uninvited. I hope nothing will be allowed to interfere with your getting someone to help Jack with his studies during the vacation it will be a satisfaction to you to know hereafter that you have assisted him over some of his difficulties. You wont neglect to try to arrange with Mr. Compton or someone to take Jack during his vacations, it is hard to think that he has no where to go on those occasions.
My dearest Carry, you urge me to go to England again. I need not tell you what pleasure it would be to me to be able to do so but it is quite impossible. I could not obtain leave & if I went it would be to leave the Service & that I cannot afford to do. You must know what a trial it is to be separated from you, & how it grieves me to be obliged to refuse, and not to be able to gratify your every wish but indeed, dear one, it would be wrong of me to throw up my appointment at present. I cannot bear to think that I shall not be with you and our two dear ones at Xmas but it will be worse if you dont enjoy yourself & have a very happy time with them & it wont be happy for them if you are not cheerful, so for all our sakes make an effort, dont worry yourself, you have done everything well, better than nine out of ten could do. I am quite satisfied with all, except that it is hard that so much should have fallen to you to do unaided. I should not say unaided, for have not you got our dear Kit always with you, & I know she can be a great help.
I have had your letters before me, & I have endeavoured to refer to the different subjects you wrote about. I will now tell you the little I know of Victoria’s doings.
I found John Joe & Charlotte very well & comfortably settled at Fairfield. I dined there the first night, & the next at the Jacksons. There is I am told a great deal of sickness about the town & neighbourhood. You will be sorry to hear that Mr. Auston he lives above the Gorge has lost two of his children by Dipptheria the others are all down with the same disease & but small hopes are entertained of their recovery. Fever is also prevalent. Maude Drake has a bad cold it had settled in her chest. she is to spend the winter in California. Mr. Drake has also been laid up with cold, but is about again. I called to see the Wards today & found them blooming Alice fully recognises her responsibility and appears to take great care of the younger members of the household. If you see Mr. Ward say all that is kind to them from me, & tell him that I intend to write to him before long. Say the same to Joe & Julia with my love if they are nice to you.
The box from Goode, & from Hall & Lowe have arrived. Mr. Green is immensely please with everything particularly with the “Fish eaters”, they are very handsome why did you not send a card to go with them as you said you would. You would be sorry to hear that a number of articles from Goode were broken in this case. I have told him to make out a list, we must try to get them duplicated. The pruning scissors are too small. Why did you not have a list of our things separately? I gave Mrs. Jackson her gloves she thought there would also be a box of paints. Beetons charges are very heavy. I cannot make out the list sent from the I.A. & N.s. the ink has run on thin paper, making it illegible. I notice in Beetons list a cart of wine. I suppose it is the Spanish wine you like but I have no invoices and shall not be able to pass it at the Customs House when it comes try to get one. This paper is too thin. I wont use it anymore.
This night twelve month about this hour 12 O.C. we were all pretty well used up, & were about to go on board the Str. What a deal has taken place since then but we are spared to hope & pray that we may be spared to meet again: how little I thought that our dear Frank would be so far away from us, but thank God he was well & I hope happy & in a way to prosper. Now I am alone thinking of you all, & wishing that I knew how to make you happy, to ease your troubling about trifles, & to be cheerful. Hick is wonderfully attentive & does all in his power to take care of everything. he has written a letter to you & one to Frank which he has asked me to send. dont pass them round to be laughed at. he is evidently very fond of Frank & very often talks to me about him. Rocket is fat & well cared for because he is “Mr. Franks dog”. Hick has had a hard time, very lonely for a year, but now that I am back he is all right again. the two last nights I have come home so that I may write to you. This will be posted tonight, & will leave as we did last year on 1st Decr. We reached London on the 18th.
Note when you get this.
It is but a stupid letter, the fact is I have been so long away that I dont know what has been going on & I have nothing of interest to write about from here & I would like to go on writing about yourself the dear Kit Frank & Jack. I will write again but you had better consider this your Xmas letter though it is such a poor one.
I hope & pray that you may all have a prosperous & happy time together, & that we may be spared to meet & spend many a happy return of the Xmas. I suppose you will likely dine with Joe or he with you. I shall hear about it in due time. The Jacksons, the Jenns’ & some one else has asked me to dine with them on Xmas day but I suppose I shall be with John. Did I tell you he is looking so well the fact is, he has been out shooting, all he wants is plenty of exercise. I have not seen the Pinders as yet, but they are all well I hear.
Now my dearest wife may God bless you & our dear children, and grant you every good thing both here & hereafter. My best love to each of you. You may be sure that I will think of you on the 25th Decr. as indeed I do every day. Neither will I forget my good wife on the 15th. Give my love also to all our friends at the Bank House
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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.