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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, August 31, 1874] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 1874-08-31

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 Fort Simpson, B.C.  Aug. 31st 1874    My dear Mother,   It does not seem to me that the opportunities for sending letters come so very seldom after all.  We are expecting the Otter again in about a week - but, of course, it is only at the summer season that she comes so frequently.  After October I suppose we shall never know when to expect her.  Three months we may be perhaps without a mail.  Now it seems as though we no sooner get the papers of one boat out of the way before we have to begin writing for the next.  It will likely be a week before we have one now but I do not want to be hurried with letters at the last.   We are getting quite settled in our life here now.  Besides everything else - now that the church & house are to be put up - Mr. Crosby has to superintend all the work.  The ground is being prepared - it requires a good deal of draining, and leveling - and some clearing.  Then there is hewing & sawing & getting out timber - about twenty men are at work.  One Chinaman, two white men - the rest Indians.  Six o'clock in the morning Thomas goes off to see them at work - except, of course, those off in the woods.  Comes back about eight for breakfast and then is busy all day directing the men.  It will be impossible to finish the church before the next summer, but the house must be ready for us to move into as soon as possible.  The site selected is a very pretty one - facing north - indeed the whole hill side on which the village is thought to be built faces north.  It is impossible to get any other frontage - but there will be a little decline to the south behind the house that we hope may do well for a garden when it is drained & dried.  I have taken both schools for the present.  It is quite impossible for Thomas to attend while he has so much else to do.  This takes about two hours in the morning & as much in the afternoon.  Then there are the meetings to be attended & sick to be thought of - and I have to superintend every meal more or less - so altogether I have not much chance to be idle.  However I am well & the happier I dare say for having plenty to do.  The Indians are most of them away now gathering food - sea weed & berries & fishing, but very many of them will return Saturday night for the Sunday & go away again Monday morning. We had the melodeon at the S.S. Sunday before last to the great delight of those present.  It is   altogether too small for such a place but they were very anxious to have it so for once we let it go.    Our Wednesday evening practices are going on.  Quite a number of new pieces have been learned.  Anything   that is lively pleases the Indians.  "The Water of Life" is very popular and "The Old Old Story".   The Indians mostly have an idea of respectful, polite behaviour with us, but sometime[s] their curiosity betrays itself.  I was amused one day, going into the bed-room to find an old man gazing in at the window open on the Fort yard upon that quilt you made - the log cabin - which was on the bed.  He enquired the price.  I suppose he thought he would like to see himself arranged in such a garb instead   of his blanket.  Another day a man stood a long time at the window looking round at the pictures on the   wall & expressing his admiration.  Pictures please them very much.  The stereoscope almost takes their breath away sometimes.  When they are all back - some time in the fall we shall likely have the magic lantern.  I wish I could send you some little Indian curiosities.  Numbers of things have been given us but mostly inconvenient to send away - heads of bears, wolves &c. with the eyes made to roll about & the mouth to open & close.  They used to wear such things as these at their feasts & dances - some of them frightfully hideous.  We had sent by friends in Victoria by last boat a large box of apples, some nuts, candies, and little jar of honey & a few cucumbers.  Very kind, was it not! We have sent to Victoria for tea & biscuits & a good many other things and are expecting butter from Chilliwhack.  The freight will be a good deal coming so far but cannot be more than the price we pay here for butter - sixty cents a pound.  It comes from near Victoria, I suppose.  I was glad to hear that Annie was safely over her troubles.  You have been with her I suppose.  I was very much astonished at the news.   I am going to do my best to write to Auntie this time - if I should not find it possible give her & Sallie my best love.  Love also to Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. McD and any others.  Thomas I hope will get a few minutes to write you.  He will if possible & sends his kindest regards to you all.  I was very glad to get my Father's letter. With much love to him & you & Georgie.   I am as ever yours affectionately    Emma awaken much.  Love to my father and yourself, from<br>   Your loving daughter    Emma<br><br>    Sep 31st  A whole month this letter has been lying waiting for the Otter to come - we fully expected her three weeks ago but there is no regularity to her trips.  Yesterday however she did make her appearance after an absence of seven weeks.  She will likely make another trip next month and then not be here again until January.  It seemed a long time to wait for letters - and delayed the work of building some - as the plans were to come by her - but the schooner arrived also yesterday with the lumber - so things will have to be pushed now, as much as can be.  The heavy fall rains have set in though & we shall likely have very little more fine weather - so our house being ready before winter is very doubtful.  It seems likely now that we shall remain where we are till spring. The wet weather is rather trying but you know I do not take cold readily and on the whole have been very well.  Mr. Crosby, strong as he is, is really more liable to cold than I am and being out often nearly the whole day in the rain I sometimes fear it may be injurious - still all that he does seems to be necessary and I trust his strength may be as his day.   We were between three & four weeks without a bit of butter owing to the delay of the Otter.  However that is not likely to occur.  We rec. a keg of sixty pounds from Chilliwhack yesterday & shall send for a little more from Vic so as to have a supply secure till the spring.  Indeed we mean to depend on the Co.�۪s store for very little they are often so poorly supplied & the prices so high.  The butter is now 75 cts.  Quite a lot of things came upon the schooner - flour, hams, tea, eggs &c.   We had also sent to us by kind Victoria friends two boxes of apples, a dozen jars of preserved fruit & some other little things - and by the family we stayed with there a box of beautiful green gages and egg plums.  It does me good to know we are remembered there.  I am getting in a good supply of cran-berries also.  They are very plentiful so we shall have fruit all winter I believe after all.  I think none of your letters have miscarried.  I see by this boat that from Cobourg & also one from Castleton.  I was quite startled to hear that my scribblings had been read for the edification of the so august a body as the Miss. Con. & I see a letter of Thomas' in the Guardian that was written without any idea of publication.  But I am glad these things should


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