Main content

Title: Countess of Dufferin, Canada, to her Son, Archie, Co. Down.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileMarchioness of Dufferin/21
SenderHarriot, Marchioness of Dufferin
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationsocialite
Sender Religionunknown
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
Recipient Gendermale
SourceD/1231/H/2/2: Deposited by Lady Hermione Blackwood.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9806860
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 25:06:98.
Word Count807
Transcript(Harriot, Countess of Dufferin, Canada, to her Son,
Archie, Co. Down.)

[Druid ?] June 28th

My dearest Archie,
I begin a little letter to tell
you how we are getting on, though I daresay it will
be some time before I can send it to you - We are
far from Post Offices & telegraphes, and can only
wonder how you all are.
The day we left Tadousae we had a beautiful voyage,
and arrived at the Godbout river at five in the
afternoon. Some gentleman came on board and settled
that we were to get up at six tomorrow morning to go
out fishing -
We were very punctual, and went ashore at the proper
time in a boat, then we walked across a small peninsula
and were met on the other side by canoes, in which we
paddled up the river "Godbout" till we came to some little
wooden cottages where the gentlemen live who came to fish.
They gave us some breakfast, & then Papa, Col. [Colonel?]
Fletcher, & Fred began to throw their flies in to the water
in the hopes that some foolish salmon would come & hook
itself - This day however, they would not bite, they jumped
and [___?] right out of the water, & played about under
the rod, but would not be caught, so that after fishing
all day, the fishermen only caught one each - They went
out again on Friday, but were not more fortunate, Papa
had however great fun with the salmon he caught.-
You know that when a salmon is hooked, he cannot be
pulled ashore like a common fish - he is so strong
that he would break the line if you were rough to
[___?] - so you have to "play" kind; if he pulls, let
him have as much time as he likes, & then when he stops,
wind it gently up again, managing always to let him
feel that he has something in his mouth, without dragging
him too much; at last he gets tired & you guide him
gently to the shore when a man catched hold of him with
a great hook. Well, Papa was playing his salmon, and
it made a great dart and rushed down the stream, Papa
let out his line and ran after it, jumping from rock
to rock with his great rod in his hand; dart - jump
goes the salmon, down goes Papa into the water, up to
his waist - he holds on tight to the rod and in a few
minutes more lands this naughty troublesome fish. -
Papa then went to the huts, and dressed up, in a very
fat gentleman's clothes - and these he has carried off
in the "Druid" for when we came back it was too rough to
send them back in the boat. We saw some Indian huts on
shore, and in one of them they had two Baby beavers, which
we bought and have on board - We christened them Muriel
and May; they live in a barrel, and we give them a bath
several times a day - and potatoes, biscuits, & bread to
eat - Their bodies are covered with fur, but their tails
are flat & smooth their hind feet are webbed, but not the
front ones - I hope we shall get them safe home to Ottawa
where we can make a little pond for them, and see them
build their houses.

June 30th
"The Mingaw" - we have arrived at our river, and are
enclosed in a very good harbour. We had a little row
in a canoe after dinner one night. We were coming
hear [here?] to a small island covered with sea weed.
I said to Papa, "I think there is a man on it" when we
came nearer, the "man" made a sudden plunge and swam
fast out to sea - then he dived under and disappeared.
He must have been a seal, not a man.
Monday July 1st
A very, very sad thing has happened, dear Archie - William
has been drowned. He went out fishing, and was standing on
a rock, when he slipped into the water, and never rose
again - A sailor jumped after him, and dived twice but
could not see nothing of him. About twenty minutes later
his dead body was found.
We saw a piece of bread lying on the rock which he
had just been eating five minutes after he left it there,
he was dead.
He will be buried today in the church yard here.
I hope you will be very careful, not to go near
the sea on those rocks, for you see, even with a good
swimmer there to jump in after you, you may be lost. - This
accident has made us feel very sad here. Goodbye dear
Archie Y [Your ?] loving Mother, H. [Harriot ?] Dufferin.