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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, October 26, 1877] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 Oct 26, 1877

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 Fort Simpson, B.C.  Oct. 26th 1877    My dear Mother,   We are preparing now for what we expect will be out last mail for this year.  I want to write a   long letter but I do not know that I shall have time to write more than one long one, so I shall ask you   to circulate it - that is if you think the girls will want to read it.  There is a great deal to tell   you, but I may not write very fully.  However, Thomas is writing, and you may see something in the   Notices.  The weather has been quite cold.  The mountains are covered with snow and this morning the   ground all about was lightly covered with it, but is bare again now. Thomas has made his long-thought-  of visit down the coast to Kit-a-mat.  He was away about twelve days.  It was a difficult trip - but   little rest night or day.  Still the weather, on the whole, was not unfavorable and Thomas pushes on,   takes every advantage wind and tide afford, and generally makes his journeys with all the haste   possible.  Their visit was very successful as far as could be judged, though they found the people in   the midst of their dancing and feasting.  Just fancy - while they were gathered in one house - many of   the people - just about to begin service Sunday evening - one of these crazed creatures, the conjurors,   whose dire art it is to sieze fire and fling it about in whatever house he enters - rushed from the   house where he was confined - for they are allowed out only at certain times - towards the meeting house   - his tongue protruding, eyes glaring, his body bent over till he walked more like a bear than a man,   and uttering most unearthly yells.  They children screamed and rushed about to find places to hide - and   near every one in the house was in consternation.  Mr. Crosby darted to the door prepared to exercise a   little muscular Christianity if the man attempted to enter the house, but thinking it, I suppose,   prudent not to do so, he passed on.    We hear some wild stories when Mr. Crosby comes home from these trips, you many be sure, but he   is always treated with kindness and respect, even by the rudest.  Do not imagine however, that any such   wild scenes are to be witnessed here - indeed our village is more quiet and peaceable than, I believe,   any place containing the same number of white people.  There is no liquor to be found.  Heathen customs   have quite disappeared, and all feel themselves to be under the guardianship and authority in some sense   of the Mission.  Would you like to know how we prepare for these trips?  Well, first a good supply of   provisions is necessary, bread, butter, meat, cooked or uncooked, generally some canned meat or fish,   plenty of tea, sugar, salt, pepper, a lot of pilot bread (especially for the men) salt fish, dried fish,   potatoes, and anything else that can be preserved - pots, pans, knives, forks & dishes, to serve a   comfortable meal for one person.  These are all packed as neatly in boxes as may be.  Often they get   fish or wild meat on the way.  Then a lot of blankets, a pillow and a comforter that you gave me (a real   missionary comforter) are rolled up in a mat for bedding.  All kinds of odd things are put into the   canoe, and off they start.  When they camp the first thing is to gather a lot of wood to make a fire -   the larger the better - cook supper, then make the beds - with the canoe sails set up on poles as a   protection on the windward side.  If the weather is good this is quite comfortable, but when it is   raining, you may imagine there are disadvantages. While Mr. Crosby was away a wonderful revival began among the people.  The whole village became   in deepest earnest about salvation.  Meetings were held every night in the church besides frequent ones   in the houses.  These still are going on and scarce one in the village remains un-moved.  This is such a   work as we have not seen before since we came.  While every one was ready to come to church and prayer-  meeting and a few were really in the enjoyment of religion - many had only the form without the power.   On the morning of day before yesterday our village was visited with the most violent wind storm   we have seen here.  About half past eight a part of one side of the church roof was blown off.  It fell   - a part of it - within a few feet of our house.  Had the house been struck we cannot say what the   consequences might have been.  Before many minutes the remainder of this side and then the whole of the   other side were rolled off like a sheet of paper.  The excitement in the village was intense.  The men   rushed up, and though for some hours we were in fear that the whole building should fall yet the young   men insisted upon mounting upon the rafters to brace them and fix ropes - nor did they hesitate to do   anything though at the peril of their lives, I believe with a conscientious & loving purpose of thus   serving God.  We were in momentary fear that some lives would be lost but happily about noon the wind   abated, having done no further injury than to remove the roof and some slight breaks in the ceiling &c.    Heavy rain followed however, and, of course, streamed into the church to the ruin of stain and varnish   and the endangering of the floor and walls.  The building was, of course, much shaken, and is now in a   very precarious position.  The building must be repaired immediately or be a total or almost total loss.    The people were unanimous about this and on the afternoon of the day of the injury a meeting was held   in the school house - a most enthusiastic one - and a subscription started which the next day reached to   over five hundred dollars.  I do not believe the same number of people in the same circumstances could   be found anywhere to act more promptly & liberally. Mr. Crosby thinks the required repairs will cost   near a thousand dollars - though it is impossible now to estimate it very correctly, and feels confident   that the money needed will be forthcoming from some quarter.  He has secured a skillful carpenter living   a few miles from here to take charge of the work, that it may be done properly.  The burden will fall   mostly upon Mr. Crosby, though - and the worry and anxiety to him is the part I feel most about.  We   shall have to be very economical to be sure this year, for besides this, the work at Naas will be quite   an outlay - but I have no doubt we shall have all we need.  We have a large family to provide for but   the girls we have now are very careful in the use of things - and I need to spend almost nothing on   clothes for myself, while the children's things cost but little.  Mr. & Mrs. Hall of the Fort are very   friendly.  He gave a large subscription towards the church repairs.  They have no children and make a   great fuss over ours.  Mrs. H. has just made a beautiful pair of little moccasins for each of them.     Jessie is growing very fast, and more amusing every day.  She is very fond of getting a shawl   round her and a black silk handkerchief tied round her face and then she is such a pale demure looking   little lady with her big brown eyes.  She will look very much like you, Mamma, I think.  Gracie is fat   and rosy, with mischievous blue eyes and such a curly head.  She is a Crosby. She has been weaned and   with very little trouble.    Nov 5th  Our mail came in last week.  I was glad to get your letter, and also my father's.  We are much   obliged to Papa for his trouble in attending to money matters for us.  Where the missing receipt for the   Insurance premium is Thomas cannot say exactly but that year he asked Mr. Brown - the stationer - to   attend to it.  He had it paid through the Mission rooms - so if the receipt is not lost it must be   either with Mr. Brown or at the Missions rooms.  I hope it may turn up all right.  Thank you very much   dear Mother for the parcel you sent.  That flannel will be just the thing for my little girls.  I use a   good deal of flannel for them.  The pinafore is very pretty - and the stockings will keep a cunning   little pair of feet nice and warm.   Indeed I had so many things sent me by this mail.  I really feel very deeply these kindnesses   from my friends.  Some mink skins I sent to Annie to be made up came back in first class style as a   present from Harry Hough, with other things from Annie & Susie and a lot of fruit from Victoria and   Nanaimo.   The work on the church has got on so well that about half the roof is shingled - but this is a   great strain on Thomas - up between five and six every morning - and just driving the whole day.  Every   evening after the meeting a room-ful of people to be attended to, besides writing &c., then often called   up in the night to go to see sick persons.  And among an ignorant, inexperienced people like these there   are, of course, numberless little trying worrying little matters arising that require almost endless   patience & wisdom.  A happy Christmas to you all.  We shall be with you in heart and you with us, I   know.     Dear Mother & father we send you our sincerest love,    Your affectionate daughter     Emma

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