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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, February 8, 1876] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 1876-02-08

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 Fort Simpson, B.C.  February 8th 1876    My dear Mother,   It is time now to begin a letter which I want to make as fully as possible - our str. may be here now any time.  I like to tell you even about very little things sometimes - and I know you will not think me foolish to do so - you know there are so many things I have no one to talk to about, except indeed my good husband and he has no time to listen to all the little things that go to make up a woman's life - and especially the life of a woman with a baby.     Then there are many very serious things which I must speak of too - for you know we have much to contend with, and much - to all human appearance - depending upon us.  A very gracious Providence has been over   us as a family - we have been kept in health with scarce a slight ailing to any of us - and our little   pet - our Jessie - we have seen grow day by day sweeter and more interesting.  She has been on the whole   very well - though once she had a slight cold and once for a day or two she seemed not very well - I   think from requiring a change of food.  We gave her a little medicine and changed her food and she has   seemed better since.  Indeed we have much reason for thankfulness and I trust that, when we hear from   you, we shall know that you all have been kept well and happy by the same kind care.  Our thoughts and   our words, too, so often fly to you - it comforts us to think that your prayers go up for us, and there is one home for us all beyond.  I hope you and my father have been comfortable in Toronto.  I often am   afraid you perhaps feel lonely and are worried by little daily cares and duties - or perhaps are not   well.  And then I often think how pleasant it would be to have you with us - how much I should have to   say to you - but it is all right, is it not?  But I do wish you could see our home, and our little   daughter - our little "moonbeam" as she stands now on a chair at the table when I write - one of the   girls holding her - and pretending to read from an old envelope she has.  She has so many funny little   ways - she tries hard to talk - and to put on her own shoes and stockings. The pictures on the walls are   a great delight to her.  She is never tired of pointing at them and talking about them in her own words.    She is so lively and full of fun. Singing is like a charm to her - you would laugh to hear her singing   with us - at family prayers or anywhere she wants to join in.  The girls are very fond of her and take   change of her a good [deal] - though seldom away from one of us - however lately I have been leaving her   with one or the other of them Sunday afternoons while I went to S.S. where teachers are so much needed   that I could scarcely conscientiously stay away.  That is the only public service I have been at for   some time - I do not like to take Jessie while it is so cold - no fire & such a miserable house.  She   makes no attempt yet at walking alone but likes very much to have some one lead her about - I do not   care to hurry her.  She is growing tall but is thin rather, and has only three teeth yet.  I nurse her   now only at night - she has been taking as food chiefly sago and crackers with corn starch once in a   while for a variety.  I have given her also occasionally a little weak soup with bread in it.  The bread   as you sent me word - with boiling water and sugar- I could never get her to take well.  We often wish   we had good milk for her - but we are thankful she has been kept so well with what we have had to give   her.  Her father takes her out every day unless it is very stormy - sometimes, two or three times in a   day, which is, I believe, a great benefit to her, and which she enjoys most heartily herself.    Feb 15th - My little girl is asleep and I have a chance to go on with my letter.  I did not forget   Georgie's birth-day, just passed, and hope and pray that he may have heaven's best blessings through a   long life.  O how anxious I am to hear from and about you all - and yet I almost dread as well as long   for the coming of the "Otter".  But I must cease my misgivings and go on to tell you some of the many   things that it is on my mind to say.  About our house - there have been many improvements made this   winter.  The lumber shrank so that the partitions and the lining of the walls had near all to be taken   down and put together again.  That was an awkward difficult thing to do but it was done.  Then the   mantel shelves were completed and the study and dining room stained and varnished.  The stain is a light   brown, the doors, window casings &c. being a darker shade.  This was all done at very little expense and   looks very well indeed.  Then a neat little sideboard has been built into the recess intended for it in   the dining room, which nicely stained and varnished is quite an ornament to the room.  The up-stairs has   been finished too - roughly to be sure - but nicely enough for any use to which it is likely to be put.     There are some rasp-berry and currant and rose bushes set out in the garden.  I hope the cold   has not injured them.  I would like to tell you about a show we had last fall.  The Indians were the   exhibitors, and there were some curious things.  They brought samples of Indian food - fish grease and   dried salmon and seaweed and berries &c. - vegetables were also exhibited - and cedar mats - such as we   use on our floors - many little carved wooden dishes - toy canoes - and a model of a steamboat that was   very complete - the Capt. and officers all on board and the cook - and casks and bales of freight &c.    Then there was a nice little rocking [chair] and patch work and book marks worked on cardboard and bead   work and stockings and gloves knit in most elaborate patterns of many colors - the more the better.  Our   Christmas time was celebrated much as the previous year.  The singers went round and had coffee and   biscuits served to them at the Mission house - then there was feasting - and the Christmas tree - and   the companies coming Christmas morning to shake hands.  We gave a tea to all the village.  We made about   seven hundred buns in the house & had besides rice and biscuits & tea.  This of course was arranged in   an Indian house - the largest in the village.  But everything has not gone smoothly with us.  I suppose   it is best that there should be some things to try us.  Our enemy at the Mission seems determined to   leave no stone unturned to undermine our efforts here.  The whole craft and cunning of his mind - and he   evinces an uncommon degree of these qualities - seem turned to this one object and he loses no   opportunity of sowing discontent and making trouble among these people.  He tells them they will never   have any land unless they attach themselves to him and that ours is not the true church and so on -   anything to weaken our hands.  Just before Christmas a case came up in his court - though it was really   a case in which he could have no jurisdiction - in which Thomas felt concerned so he went down and sat   for three days in that little court and had to listen to a torrent of abuse all designed to bring him,   if possible, into contempt with the Indians, and, of course, these simple ignorant people can be   impressed often by what would merely amuse an intelligent man.  The Metlahkatlah people are many of them   friendly.  Mrs. Morrison's mother has a house there - though she is here most of the time - and there   Thomas slept - while the widow of an old Indian chief and her daughter were extremely kind & made him   very comfortable during the day.  The missionary who is assistant to Mr. Duncan was also very friendly   and almost cordial, when he had an opportunity - even going so far as to invite Thomas to call upon his   wife, though in a way that said he was almost afraid to do it, but Mr. D. is all in all there.  No one   else seems to have much voice.  All this sometimes makes me feel really badly - but I like to think that   God's work can not be destroyed by man's devices - and if it is our own work and not His we are doing   here, then let it perish.    March 6th - Our mail came three days - and O how welcome it was - I did long so to hear from you all,   and we were very thankful indeed that from all there was good news.  Thank you dear Mother for the   pretty neck-tie and the gaiters but most of all for the little stockings for Jessie - she was needing   them - one of the pairs you sent her before are too small now and are quite worn out.  Thank Papa for   settling the Book Room a/c - I enclose one sent by this mail, which however I suppose is the same as   Papa has paid - if so, destroy it .  I also enclose a Notice from the Ins. Company which is likely also   worthless.   Our little pet has not been at all well for the last weeks.  She seemed to have taken a severe   cold - for two days she had a high fever - however that left her - and though she still has a cough it   appears to be quite loose, and she seems very much better.  But what makes me uneasy is this - she is   troubled very much with constipation - she has always been more or less inclined to it.  We have given   her medicine several times but do not like to repeat that too often. She has the fourth tooth now, but   no sign of the coming of the others as far as I can see.  I am going to give her rice today for her food   - to see if that change will help her - and I think we must try to wean her altogether very soon.   I think she must have taken cold in this way - I took her to church Sunday before last - it was   a mild day and being used to the fresh air I thought it would not hurt her - but the next day her cold   appeared.  She is such a frail little body.  I do hope we may soon see her as well as ever.   Will you please send this letter to the girls - I have not time to write much to them.  I   thought I should have heard from Auntie, but no letter came.  My love to all at Barrie and especially   love to my father.  Dear Mother, believe me.   Your most affectionate daughter.     Emma   Thomas sends love. Feb 76    Dear Mamma - Would you some day when you are at the stores buy a linen picture book for Jessie - she is   so fond of books & pictures but of course is very destructive of them.  That will put me more in your   debt but we will settle it.  E    March 7th - Dear Mother - I enclose an order on the Mission Rooms which will cover I think all Papa has   paid out.  Any margin over will come in for probable future accounts.  Jessie seems better this morning.    I think she is getting quite over her sickness.  We are just closing our mail.   With love    Emma


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