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Title: Agnes Shakespeare (Nesta), to "My darling Mother".
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileShakespeare, Agnes/35
SenderShakespeare, Agnes
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginAlberta, Canada
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD3590/M/4/1-16: Deposited by Godfrey Higginson Skrine
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9909232
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 21:09:99.
Word Count1174
Transcript High River, Alberta. Aug. 5th, 1897

My darling Mother.

I can think of you every day now, in your
double rejoicing over Archie and over Hessie. I feel so
glad and so happy myself that every day is a 'giorno di
festa'. Not only for them, but because you and Lou Lou
and May must be having such a descent of peace and rest
from wearing anxiety. Mind you take it! I mean, don't
let any future be weighing on you before its time. Just
let us all be glad and thankful to God together, and if
only his loving mercies to us might teach us all to have
faith in His goodness, and His love for those we love; the
longest lesson of all to learn. And I need it the most,
for I have not one of you in sight.
I have been thinking ever since I heard it, how
dreadful the double anxiety must have been at Rockport,
about Archie and Hessie together. Of course I was thinking
only of Archie; and it does seem rather heartless to remember
how far from my thoughts poor Hessie was, just in the time
of her greatest need - the poor child! I am just longing for
the next news of them both - of the three of them, I should
say! And I want so much to hear from you something of your own
feeliing about your little grandson that has come. ("uto Maria!
to have such a word to write!). I must say to me it is a very,
very great pleasure. Which you may think odd, considering my
sentiments expressed not so long ago. - But never mind that -.
I think it is right, and splendid too, that this family with
its manifold virtues, so well recognised by all of us its
members, should be carried on to another generation. And of
course this little boy is really a child of ours, just as
much as if her were a son's son, instead of a daughter's
son. I can tell you I am awfully glad about it, for
our sakes quite apart from Hessie and Francis. And to them
of course the possession of a son is the desire of their hearts.
Though I never heard anything about it, I am sure of that.
Even Walter remarked, "Well, natuarlly Francis would wish
for a son - he's an eldest son himself, and it's part of
his business in the world. I'm a youngest son, and it's none
of mine!" - On this subject he has been perfectly killing.
I wish he would write the letter to Francis he says he is
going to. Of course I shall hear in time the day of the
christening. I particularly want to, that I may read the
Service to myself, as I did their marriage service. Do tell
me, if you sent the beautiful little lace cap that dear
father wore at his christening, for the new christening?
It seems so like what would be done at Rockport, that I feel
almost sure you did. I have been thinking a lot about the
child's name. Of course Francis will wish to have his father's
name given. And in spite of everything, I believe it's only
right. You may be sure Hessie, if only her own feelings
were in the case, would have had the name, Charles Henry
Barkly. But it is nice for us that John is quite a
Higginson name. There were our grandfather, and Uncle John,
and the dear little eldest brother. I think I will say
that to Hessie in my next. I must say I hope they will call
the child Jack, when he is old enough. I wonder if Hessie
has been able to nurse the baby herself. But of course I
shall hear it all from home. I want the next mail awfully
badly both for Hessie and Archie; so Billie Hurly will be
sent to the [symbol- bar-U] on Sunday. But this must go
before the other comes. The same Billie has nothing to do
in the house now any more, where Hannah reigns supreme,
and I live in complete idleness - most grateful to my nature,
for these August days are hot. And I do so like sitting on
the veranda, looking at the flowers and reading a book the whole
morning. The garden has quite a few flowers in it. But my
little white foxgloves I'm much afraid will die of the heat,
tho' I have them in a shady place. The California Poppies
here are in three colours, orange, yellow, and white. They
look rather pretty mixed up with [nighouette?]. By the way -
do you know that 'quite a few' in the West means a good many?
The Chinese pinks are very gay this year, all sorts of
colours, but no scent. I believe Sweet pinks and Carnations
too would grow all right, if I could get them. I ought to
have lots of Columbines next year for the Rockport seed has
produced heaps of little plants. The kitchen garden has been
quite a success. We have had new potatoes and peas every day
for the last ten days. I am always wishing I could send them
to Archie. You know how he liked green peas. We have more
than we can eat now, and no neighbours to give them to. The
hay is in full swing, and I am earnestly calculating it week
by week, as I want the calculation to prove how much better
we have done by putting up our own hay than others have done
in getting it put up by contract. The first week ending
last, resulted in a large stack, 120 feet long, with seventy
loads of hay on it. Wasn't that pretty good for four men?
But it was a particularly favourable week, not a drop of rain,
and not a hitch in the machinery. We couldn't expect that
sort of thing every week. But your good wishes took effect,
you see, at once. It pleases Walter very much, your remembering
what he is doing and sending him messages about sundry things.
Poor boy, he is so totally unaccustomed to people who use
their imaginations and their sympathies to keep in touch with
those far away. I wish to goodness his own people had a little
of the gift. But it's no use blaming people for what they
are not, and never will be. They can't help it. They mean to
be very kind, but it isn't in them to have the slightest
comprehension of things not passing under their immediate noses.
After all, with one old man, much preoccupied, and one invalid
woman scarcely up to letter writing, it's no wonder that
correspondence languishes. But Mary wrote to me very kindly
about Archie, which I do not forget. Even now I can hardly
realize how wonderful his escape from fever has been, after
his first escape with his life itself. Best love from us both.

Your loving daughter,