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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, May 18, 1874] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 1874-05-18

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 San Francisco   May 18th 1874    My dear, dear Mother,   The first thing this Monday morning after breakfast, of course, and a few other necessary things, must be a good long letter to yourself & my father.  There is nothing to tell so far, I am thankful to say.  That's good news.  All along our journey we have been taken care of and blessed.  Scarcely a cause of annoyance ever has there been - the wrong trunk was taken to Waukegan but that was only a trifle and we were delayed some on Saturday morning so that it was ten o'clock at night before we reached San Francisco, but that I could not grieve over as it brought us by daylight through some of the finest scenery I suppose there is on earth. We have indeed every reason for gratitude and to feel that the hand of the Lord has been upon us for good.  To be sure the long days on the train were sometimes rather trying - especially when the route afforded nothing very interesting - and a few times, I confess, I fell to thinking more about you all at home and what I had left than was good for me - but my good husband was always ready and had a word in season that suited exactly, so I would soon get back to the light again.  I shall need a great deal of help every day, I know - help from on high and help from my husband but neither, I believe, will ever be wanting so long as I look for what I need.  Do not feel anxious about me Mother dear.  My God will supply all my needs, and I trust that the future may bring cause of rejoicing to all of us.  It would be as well, perhaps, for me to begin the history of our   journey with what occurred just after we left you, as the letters I have sent were so short, and then   there will be less likelihood of my omitting anything I want to tell you.  Our parting was so hurried   that morning - and yet perhaps it was as well for us both that it should be so.  I know, I think, Mother   dear, all you would feel, and you, I believe, know my heart towards you and my father - always you must   be first among those I love in my thoughts and prayers.  But to begin - we reached Toronto in good time.    Mr.C. had some business to attend to and I thought I would rather go with him to some places than   remain alone.  So I went up to Mr. Brown's - there I was left a few minutes and had a little talk with   Mr. Hunter (S.J.) who happened to be there.  We had then just time to take a lunch at the depot before leaving for Hamilton. On our way there we had the company of Mr. Lewis of St. Catherines.  Mrs. Sandford I think I told you met us at the station - Mr. S. was away - and with her we went for dinner.  Miss Robertson had come up to meet us.  Mrs. S. was very kind indeed.  After dinner T.C. had to go to the depot to see after the freight there and Miss R. & I proceeded to the college.  My husband joined us after a while.  There the teachers were all gathered in Mrs. Wright's room and all were so cheerful and so cordial, it was not trying at all as I had thought, and it seemed so good to have Marie sitting at my feet again and Mollie & Ellie and all the rest about me.  We four got away for just a few minutes talk together, but the time was not long and I wanted to see all as much as possible.  Dr. Rice was there.  There was no opportunity of seeing the students - nor, perhaps, would it have been best to have met them all again.  Ever so many of the teachers came to the depot to see us off and I shall not soon forget how they stood there on the platform so cheery and kind, till the train moved off and the last good-bye was said.  Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson were on the train on their way home.  We had a little talk with them and a kind farewell.  At Woodstock twenty or thirty friends of Mr.C.'s had come to say good-bye.  Ten minutes of hand-shaking and we were off again.  Mary C. and her father were at Ingersoll to meet us, and we drove at once to their home.  I was tired then - and the next morning there were letters to write and so much to be done.  I could not really become acquainted with the family as I should have liked to have done.  Mary is really a fine, good girl.  She was so busy all that morning.  Nothing seemed too much for her to do - and then in the afternoon she and her father and two younger sisters drove to Ingersoll with us.  There I found two sisters of Miss Robertson's and one of our old students wanting to see me at Mr. C's sister's house.  We had tea and took the train.  Then for the first time I really felt that we had parted with all whom we had most cared for.  Passing London three friends of Mr. C's were at the train - among them one of the Abbots.        Our trunks were not even opened at Detroit.  I told you, I think, a good deal about our visit to Waukegan.  We went round the pond.  I took a turn at rowing to prepare me for future canoe paddling and we walked through the woods and inspected the stock &c.  Uncle and all were just as kind as they could be.  We have their sympathy I know, and prayers, I believe, will go up from Waukegan for us through our being there and my husband's preaching on the Sabbath.         Mr. Muir of the G.W.R. kindly left a pass in Toronto for us both from Detroit to Chicago and from Chicago to Omaha.  Mr. C. got half fare for himself - that was all the reduction allowed us on any part of the route.  Leaving Chicago there was nothing of particular interest, only as we went westward through Iowa the orchards we found in full bloom and vegetation more advanced than eastward.  We reached Omaha Tuesday morning.  There was an hour's bustle and hurry, such numbers of passengers and immigrant families with their huge provision baskets and bags - and yet the arrangements for checking and securing tickets and berths and so on on these American railways is so perfect that really travelling is made as safe and comfortable as it seems possible to make it. I should have mentioned perhaps the prairie fires we saw east of Omaha.  They were a novelty to me and one at night was a fine sight - though none of them were on a very large scale.  A day's journey from Omaha through a monotonous country, over vast plains - a village here and there and large herds of cattle on the prairies.  Wednesday morning found us on high ground - crossing a broad plateau skirted with a line of hills on all sides and snow capped peaks in the distance - grass and stunted bushes about the only vegetation, huge piles of rocks rising abruptly from the plateau.  Wednesday we passed Sherman station the highest point on the road.  The air was cool and bracing with a strong wind.  In some places snow still remained on the ground.  We passed through several snow sheds also. Thursday afternoon the really grand scenery began, passing Castle Rock through what are called Echo and Weber canyons.  There the rocks in all kinds of grotesque forms of towers and columns and all imaginable shapes tower away above us, sometimes rising perpendicularly with the track just at their base - here and there a deep awful looking gorge and perhaps just the other side of the track a series of rolling hills - their tall sloping sides covered with grass.  The Devil's gate was one particular point of interest - a stream of water rushing along at the foot of an immense pile of rocks.  Then we came to Ogden, Utah where there was another change of car.  I had spent nearly all the afternoon on the platform of the car where it was rather windy and cold so I found myself quite tired by tea time, at which time we found ourselves at Ogden.  There we had tea and then on we went past Salt Lake, a pretty lake as we saw it in the evening sun, bordered on the opposite shore by a long line of hills.          Friday we traversed a barren desert like country with scarcely any vegetation but sage brush with hills of course still to bound the view.  By evening however we reached Humboldt, an eating station - where by means of irrigation and cultivation there has been produced a fertile - a very fertile spot in a desert.  The greenest of grass, fine little trees and well cultivated fields with a fountain before the station house are refreshing and pleasant after such a dusty, monotonous route.  As to dust however we had much less of it than I expected - even in  the girls on Friday and shall try to write to them all again before we leave on Wednesday.  Give my kindest love to Auntie and Sallie and Mr. H. also - and let me assure both you, dear Mother, and my father, that you both have the fondest love of   Your affectionate daughter,    Emma Crosby growing up their sides to the very summit.  Just beyond that was a valley where the morning mist had gathered giving such a softness to the view as it was intensely delightful to look at.  I wish I could describe all this as it should be described.  Here the snow was even then six or eight feet in depth in some places - and we entered a long line of snow sheds and tunnels, between twenty and thirty miles in length.  This hid from us much fine scenery of course, but here and there when there would be an opening in the side of the shed we would catch just a glimpse of some deep sloping valley with the shadows of the dark pines thrown across the sparkling snow.  We stopped for breakfast right here among the mountains where the snow lay, I suppose, eight feet in depth.  Here as you may suppose it was quite wintry and a warm shawl was a comfort.  But we were on our way to a much warmer climate and on we sped till the snow disappeared except as we saw it on distant summits, as it could be seen from pretty much every point of our route through California.  But now the air grew mild and we came to lovely hill sides and valleys beautifully green.  Here was Cape Horn.  I do wish I could give you an idea of the view we had.  Fancy a tall almost perpendicular mountain - some fifty feet from the summit is a shelf encircling it round which the train sweeps.  Down below us, almost straight down, rolls a view.  Way before us stretches a long valley on either side of which rises a line of high hills, their sides clothed with the richest verdure.  The guide book says that at this point - rounding Cape Horn - "Timid ladies shouldn't" &c., but I enjoyed it too much to feel any fear whatever.  Very soon now we found the wild flowers in profusion all along the way - and passed the scenes of mining operations - tracing the water courses caused along the sides of the mountains and from one mountain side to another in flumes - and a most beautiful country these miners have to live in.  Beautiful bouquets of roses & all kinds of flowers were brought to the stations now as we passed and strawberries and oranges in abundance.  The course lay through what seemed to me one lovely garden.  Most beautiful effects - nature & landscape gardening - clumps of trees of various kinds and most charming little works and grassy glens where the flowers bloomed in endless number & variety.  It was very warm by this time - by noon - so different from the morning among the snows.  We reached Sacramento City about three.  The hay and grain were being harvested here in the valley and the pears were formed on the trees and the flowers were lovely.  We passed some beautiful gardens.  It grew cool again towards evening - about ten when we reached San Francisco.  The railroad does not run into the city.  We crossed the bay on a ferry boat - but as soon as could be expected we found ourselves safe at the Russ house.        I have said nothing about any people we met on the train.  Well there are no particular celebrities to be detailed upon - those we had most to say to were a lady & gentleman of San Francisco who came through from Chicago - fair samples of Americans with more money than they were born to.  He, by his own story had been a California miner and now, I believe has a music store.  He gave us his address & requested us to call at his store, having learned of our destination, and estimated that he would be happy to give me some songs for my use in our distant home.  The lady was on her way home from a European tour bringing a few foreign airs with her - but was very kind and invited me to call upon her.  However that could not be very well.  Americans certainly are very friendly with each other and really seem to enjoy themselves anywhere.  One young girl who came from Omaha to within a few miles of San Francisco kissed me good-bye though I had not even learned her name.  I did not go out yesterday morning - but my dear Thomas went to one of the M.E. churches, and speaking to the minister after the service was pressed into work for the evening in a church whose minister was absent somewhere.  The people showed quite a little sympathy with us - a number came to be introduced to me - and more took pains to speak to Mr. Crosby - one gentleman slipping a half eagle into his hand for his wife.          Today has been spent quietly.  I have not been out except for a walk this afternoon.  Tomorrow we intend going about the city more.  The boat leaves Wednesday morning so we shall probably reach Victoria by Tuesday some time. So you see, Mother dear, by all this that a kind Providence has been with us so far and we have reason to thank God and take courage.  I do hope that we may be always faithful to our work and successful in it.  There will be a good deal for me to overcome, I know.  My own feelings and prejudices may have to be sacrificed - but I believe the power I trust in is stronger than my own nature which has to be overcome.  Pray for us - I know you will, both of you - that we may be useful and happy.  May the Lord take care of you and us, and bless us abundantly.  I have written to you, Mother at greater length than I shall be able to do to the girls.  If you think it worth while you might send this letter to them to read - and to Georgie.  Perhaps I have said more than I need have done but I wanted you to know what our journey had been like.  I trust I shall find a letter from you in Victoria if not when we arrive there, soon after.  I shall look so anxiously for letters and to know that everything is going on happily and well with you will be such a comfort to me.  Remember, dear Mother, I am in the hands of God.  He has given me a good kind husband in whom I know I may trust for all any human friend can give.  I might not say this so plainly if you were to have the opportunity of seeing if for yourself, as you would if we were to be with you.  And I believe so long as I am true to myself and my husband and to God and the work he has given me, my life must have a sufficient blessing resting upon it.  My dear Thomas has written to you too - so you will have his view of things as well as mine.  I sent a postal card to Georgie and one to each of


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