|Title:||Stewart, Frances to Waller, Maria, 1859|
|Collection||Revisiting Our Forest Home_The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]|
|Origin||Douro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada|
|Genre||family, family life, news|
|Transcript||1859: April 4|
To Aunt , Ireland
Douro — Monday 4th April 1859.
My own darling Aunty
I have just been reading over for the third time your kind & precious
letters of 26th Feb'y which I received on the 25th March along with
one from my dear Charlie. I do indeed feel deeply thankful for your
great kindness in writing to me so regularly & telling me so much
that is so interesting. I often think I don't know any person in Canada
amongst the hundreds who have left their homes & friends who is so
fortunate as 1 am in hearing so constantly from those dear ones who
I left so many many years ago who still retain me in their home circle
by constant intercourse on paper & communicating those small incidents
which keep up our close union so much more than the mere
mentioning of subjects which perhaps might be of more importance
in the opinion of many but to me the small ones are most precious &
which I think may be considered the "pith & marrow" of love & friendship
between members of one family and which take away much of the
pang of feeling separated from those we love best. It always seems so
lonely to think, "If I were now at home I should hear & know all the
little things going on," but I have seldom felt this for any length of time.
Soon nice letters come from different quarters, each conveying news of
the nearest & dearest interest from the different parts of the country so
that by degrees I know more than could almost be expected of all my
darlings beyond the Atlantic.
Our winter has been like yours, very mild, & our spring is unusually
early, so much so that ploughing was commenced about the 20th March
in this neighborhood which is some weeks earlier than usual & the buds
of currants, Lilacs & other shrubs are actually bursting open & the tops
of the trees in the woods have lost the hard grey appearance they have in
winter & now look quite a reddish green from the swelling of buds, but
alas! all this fine mild weather has its own disadvantages. These sweet
buds now encouraged to open will I fear be nipped by the frosty nights we may expect to have between this time and the middle of May which is
the most trying season in the year to vegetation as well as health.
There has been much illness this winter. Influenza of a new species
has come in fatal force into many families attacking the head & brain &
swelling the ears & neck most painfully. Thank God none of my family
have had it in that form. None of my numerous offsets have had more
than bad coughs & common feverish colds, but poor Bessie for about two
months had dreadful agony from neuralgia in her head & face which latterly
extended to her neck & throat but I am thankful to say took its departure
there & has not returned for nearly a fortnight. So I am in hopes it
has gone for this year at all events. She is beginning to look more Uke her
bright little self again....
I grieve to say we have had no tidings of my dear Frank since the
wretched letter of last July written in the depth of despair. His truly admirable little wife is still with her parents who are aged & not well & require her care. The eldest boy little Willie has always been delicate. But little Alex'r the Baby now 20 months old is a fine child. I earnestly hope they may prove comforts to their dear Mother. Your favourite, George, was staying with Ellen & for some days with John lately. He was employed in
Surveying that neighborhood. He suffered a good deal from walking so
much & had a great deal of pain in the front of his ankle near the instep
which I am inclined to think must be from rheumatism. He was greatly
tired every evening after his days work as it is so disagreeable walking in
deep wet snow. I wish dear George had not taken his marrying fit so early
but had spent a year then visiting the auld country & married afterwards.
He often regrets he cannot now hope ever to be able to see the wonders
of Art & Nature with which Charles letters are filled as well as to become
acquainted with the many relations & friends who have given his brother
such a kind reception.
Dear George would I am sure make as many friends as Charlie has
done tho' he is more reserved and of a more thinking disposition than
Charles. Kate had a very pleasant letter from dear Charlie yesterday dated
the 11th March. He was still at Leicester where he had been detained by
the illness of his Uncle who had been in France & requested Charlie to
stay with his Aunt till his return. He finds is quite a difficulty to get away. His Aunts heart seems to have opened & bestowed on him all the love
she has for years back withheld from all her own relations. It seems very
strange that this poor wanderer from the backwoods of Canada should
be the only one of her nephews she has ever seen. I don't understand
where she kept her heart. He was to go to London the next week & on to
Bristol & accross from that to Cork!! We have had terrible high winds &
the papers filled with disasters at sea which make my heart beat when I
think of his going that apparently tedious route.
But I suppose he does [ ] some advice or instructions from the Hoare
family as their relations are Cork people & friends of the Cork Beauforts
& I am glad Charlie will be able to see them as well as the southern parts
of Ireland. He has travelled over a large part of G't Britain in a short time.
I don't know how he will reconcile himself to our homely ways but I
know he is my own dear old Charlie still in heart.
I have not seen Anna Hay for a long time as I have been shut up
from bad roads. She is very well as I hear constantly of & from both her
& Ellen. The latter walked here one day about ten days ago, 3 good miles!
& home again after early tea so you may conclude she is well. Anna has
taken a small house in Peterboro as she is now quite strong & able to
undertake the management of her own affairs & family & I think will be
much happier living independently as long as her health continues good
which I trust may be for many years yet.
I had a very kind letter from Allenstown on Saturday. James sent me
his half yearly account & notice of having sent the draft for my money
to Thos. Kirkpatrick from whom I hope to have it soon & when I do I
will write to James to tell him of its safe arrival. I also had a charming letter from Anna Waller who is so kind in writing to me as if we had been
cousins & well acquainted all our lives. You don't know how I delight
in these proofs of kindness. Dear good Mary also wrote me a very nice
letter some time ago which I have not answered. This winter has been a
time of so much care & anxiety to me from many causes, that I sometimes
cannot rouse myself for writing to anyone.
I have had rheumatism all over me constantly for many weeks &
today it is in my right arm so much that at times I can scarcely guide my
pen as you probably have observed by my rambling writing. But I find I am drawing near the end of my 2d sheet & must "curb
my genius." Indeed it is time I should release you from this weary job.
Bessie unites with me in [kindest] love to you & Bessy & all your dear
surroundings, and believe me
my ever loved Aunt
Your grateful & attached
niece & child, E Stewart