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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, February 13, 1877] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 1877-02-13

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 Fort Simpson, B.C.  Feb. 13th 1877    My dear Mother,   Again we are preparing for our opening mail.  This is the first of my letters.  We have been   more favored than usual this winter with mails.  Twice an American str. called here & once a schooner   brought our letters &c. since the "Otter" was last here so the monotony has had very pleasant breaks.  I   sent you a letter by one of these opportunities early in January which I trust has reached you before   this.  I am anxious to get letters from you all - to know how you spent your Christmas and of your   welfare in all respects and then it is such a comfort to me to read the kind words that come from home.    I should feel far more lonely than I ever do if I thought I was not remembered kindly amongst you all.    Only a few days after I had despatched my letter to you, another mail reached us bringing a letter   containing two scarfs for which, thanks, and more for the letter.  The book for Jessie reached us the   same time.  I wish you could have witnessed her delight.  She has a great fondness for books and I told her you had sent her one.  As I untied it she stood almost breathless and when she had it fairly in her   hands her pleasure was unbounded.  And having such a variety in it she never tires of it, and asks often   to have her favorite pictures found for her by representing them herself.  Indeed most of her   conversation is carried on by signs and mimicry.  She talks but little, but can make us understand   almost anything in this way.  She is a funny little thing - the life of the house.  It would amuse you   to see her with her doll.  The poor thing has been without arms and legs a long time, but is no less   precious on that account.  She talks and sings and reads to her, scolds her, shows her pictures and her   own new clothes, sometimes makes her look out of the window and in a looking glass, puts her to sleep,   feeds her, gives her medicine &c.  She seems well, but grows slowly and is very thin.  Perhaps partly   because she is so active for both bodily & mentally she is in constant activity.  She is affectionate   and unselfish in disposition, but has a strong will.  I think she will be very like her father. Jessie   and baby are like a pair of turtle doves, they are so fond of each other.  Jessie's great delight is to   get baby in her arms or to be left in bed with her in the morning and baby seems to like it about as   well as Jessie.  As for baby, our little Gracie, she is growing finely, is very fat and healthy and   usually good.  She is almost as large as Jessie.  I put her in short clothes some weeks since.  Our   children are indeed a comfort to us.  But I must tell you about something besides my babies.     Our Christmas passed very happily.  The whole village were busy scrubbing, washing &c. the   Saturday previous, for though the house may be disorder & dirt unmitigated all the rest of the year, it   must be reduced to something that has a smack of neatness for Christmas.  Midnight Sunday the bell   sounded & guns were fired which were a signal for the putting up of evergreens and illuminating of   windows the village over.  An arch was put up over the church gate and the road leading to it decorated   with evergreens & lit with lamps.  Then the carols began - and very sweet the singing sounded.  Our   house was near the last visited, and the singers had coffee and biscuits served to them.  Then when this   was over we went to bed again a little while.  During the morning the people kept coming to shake hands   and a service was held in the church.     For dinner we had a fine roast of beef - an animal had been killed at the Fort - potatoes,   cabbage, I think, tomatoes and an excellent plum pudding.  We sent parcels of tea, sugar, rice & buns to   about fifteen or twenty sick people.  In the afternoon we started out to visit from house to house -   children and all.  I gave out before we had been over the whole village, but Mr. Crosby and Miss Knott   called at every house except one that stands some distance from any other.  In the evening we were too   tired to do much but rest.  The Thursday following the Christmas tree was given.  We had made a good   many aprons and neckties and with some other things managed to find some little present for each of   about 120 children - besides which each one received a parcel containing a couple of buns, an apple and   a trifle of candy.  A watch night service was held, and New Year's night the Magic Lantern was   exhibited.  A few days after this we gave a feast of biscuits & buns & tea and a few apples to some   strangers who were spending their Xmas in the village, and to the Council, after which the sapunt [?]   Council-men were pleased to bestow Tsimpshean names on Miss Knott and on Little Gracie.  The former was   called Kundoch - meaning an eagle seizing its prey.  Baby was called Ihudathl - or a young woman.  When   the excitement of Christmas festivities was over special meetings were held in different parts of the   village with apparently very good results.  The difficulty with these people seems to be to show them   that something more is needed than a mere outward change.  This is especially the case with the older   people.  The younger men & women are many of them, I believe, really roused, and as they gain in   knowledge, as they are constantly doing, we hope to see them become intelligent earnest Christians.  The   school is well attended, as are also all the services.   The winter has been a very mild one, but almost constantly we have had strong winds and very   frequently most violent storms.  The school being now provided for and that church building wound up,   Mr. Crosby is free to go about visiting neighbouring places more than he has done in the past.  This is   attended however with considerable danger at this season of the year, on account of the prevailing   storms and the rocky, dangerous character of the coast.  Some weeks ago Mr. Crosby started for Naas,   about 45 miles away, with a crew of ten men, but a contrary wind met them about half way to their   destination and for two nights and a day they camped on the beach unable, through the violence of the   storm, to move either way.  We knew that it would be impossible for the travelers to accomplish their   journey, and that they must be camped somewhere on the way - and also we suspected that their provisions   would not hold out more than a few days.  I was anxious to send a canoe to their relief but for a time   that was quite impossible on account of the wind.  However, Thursday morning - it was Monday Mr. Crosby   left - one of the chiefs started off with a very large canoe, and eighteen men, and a large supply of   provisions.  That morning, though it was still very rough, Mr. Crosby & his men had ventured out and   after passing some very perilous points, met the canoe that was in search of them.  Their provisions   were just about out - a very few dried salmon and a can or two of preserved meat were about all that was   left.  However both canoes sailed in finely in the afternoon, and were met with much rejoicing, flags   flying &c.  Since then Mr. Crosby has visited Naas but on his return was again delayed by the weather.    He also made a visit lately to a village about 60 miles to the south of us.  These Naas people sent a   very urgent request that Mr. Crosby visit them, and they seem very desirous that a mission be   established among them - and if it should be that the Society do not take it up as we hope they will,   still Mr. Crosby will likely keep some one there on his own responsibility to begin a school and carry   on services, while as often as he can he will visit there himself.  I expect Mr. Crosby will make a trip   to Wrangle before long, but that will likely be by the str.  I cannot but feel sorry when we have to be   left at home alone, still I believe it would not be right for Mr. Crosby to stay at home when there are   calls from all sides, and while he is so kindly guarded, we are kept in comfort at home, and receive so   much help and kindness from the people, what should I say?  The children are a great help to me at these   times, and Miss Knott is very good company, indeed, her being here is a daily comfort to me.  She has   taken our old bed-room down stairs now, while we have moved into a new room that was added to the house   last summer.  This latter room is about 14 x 14, has a fire place across one corner, has a large clothes closet and a small room we call the bath room opening from it.  We sit here a good deal and I find it   very cosy and convenient - the only drawback being that with the wind in one certain direction the   chimney smokes, but this we hope may be remedied.   I am hoping that it my not be long before I shall be able to visit Victoria - unless some great   obstacle comes in the way I mean to be there fore the summer is over.  I may go with Mr. Crosby in the   Spring if he goes to the Dis. meeting - if not, then later with Miss Knott.  I am making things up for   the children already with a view to this.  I have a girl who is helping me with sewing.  She is a Hydah   girl who has lived a long time in Victoria but was lately married here.  Her husband, Thomas sent to   Wrangle, so we took her into the house.  She has a large machine & sews well.    Feb 17th.  Last night the str. came in bringing your letter of Jan 30th.  We were very glad to know you   were all well, and comfortable.  How I wish we could see you!  Thanks for the bootees - they are very   pretty.  You need not have feared them being too small.  My babies are tiny things, you know.  You ask   what would be most useful to me - well, dear Mother, any little things for the children come in useful -   nothing more so than stockings.  I do not know what the children would do without the stockings you have   knit them.  Baby wears Jessie's old ones now. I wear out very few clothes myself.  If I go to Victoria   I shall have to get a new bonnet - perhaps a wrapper and alter two or three old dresses a little - that   is about all.   I shall have to ask you to send this letter the round of the family - and to Auntie.  I have not   been able to write fully to all.  Our kindest love to both yourself and my father and kind regards to   all friends who remember us in Toronto.  Yours was the only letter from home by this mail.   With much love,   Your affectionate daughter    Emma 


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