|Stewart, Frances to Atwood, Annie, 1866
|Revisiting Our Forest Home_The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
|Douro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
|Gore's Landing, Ontario, Canada
|family, family life
|1866: August 25
To Annie Atwood, Gore's Landing, Ontario
Saturday 25th Aug't 1866
My very dear Annie
I hope to see Mary today and to be able to send you a few lines by her
if she goes to Rice Lake, of which I am at present quite uncertain, as I
have not yet seen her. I have been & still am in a very anxious state about
your dear Mamma, who though she was better when I last heard, was
still very weak, & in a very uncertain state, and the complaint is of such
a nature that one is liable to a return of it soon again. Your dear Mother
has other complaints likewise which may increase the danger, so that
I feel more anxious & uneasy about her than I should about any other
person, independent of the warm & sincere affection I feel for her, which
causes me to bear her continually in my mind & very close to my heart.
I most earnestly hope & pray that she may speedily recover & be yet
spared to her dear family & to all her friends by whom she is so loved for
some years longer, if it is His Will — (in whom we live &  & have our
Bessy) to grant her better health & the full power & use of her faculties.
Without these blessings, who could wish for long life. I am much grieved
that I have not been able to see her yet, but for the last two weeks I have
been poorly & out of breath if I move so that I should not be at all fit for visiting an invalid, for this asthma increases my deafness so much that I feel myself quite a tax on the kindness & patience of my friends to talk
to me. But I hope in a little time when your dear Mother is better able to
talk, that I shall be able to spend a part of a day with her & as you seem to think of being with her next month I shall have the additional pleasure
of meeting you there. This is pleasant to look forward to, & I at present
have hopes of being able to accomplish my part in the performance of it.
I had the great pleasure of reading your nice letter to your sisters which
Mary kindly lent me, & which I most thoroughly enjoyed. I am always
so much interested in all your home details, my own dear Annie. I hope
your dear little children are now quite recovered from the feverish colds
they had when you wrote. This weather is most trying for anyone who is not in robust health or with a good water rain proof roof over their heads,
which by all accounts your present abode is not. But as I hope & expect
you have got some money from your English relations I hope your house
may soon be made more comfortable in every way & that you have got a
good supply of warm clothing for yourself & the little ones. How delightful
it is to have Boxes from home! when they have been filled by friends
who know what is required & useful for country life....
I hope you find your girl comfortable and not dishonest which you
seemed to have some fears of. If she is I fear you have a bad chance, as
I suppose you have not any safe lock up places for keeping your things.
How has your harvest turned out. Here poor Robert has not such good
wheat as usual, all his fall wheat having failed, & the spring wheat had
to be sowed a second time, & the crop he says is the worst he ever had.
Bessie has some good Fall wheat. The grasshoppers have done great
damage & have eaten up all the grass in the pasture fields which is very
miserable, as poor Kate depends so much on her dairy.
You can perceive by my writing how I am shaken. This cold showery
weather keeps our young fry in the house, & having but one sitting room
they are continually in & out & running past my table, as well as (or I
might better say as ill as) making such a noise that my poor ears ring
with it. They all have shrill loud voices. Baby is very good now & sits on
the floor for hours amusing herself with any thing we can supply for her
to play with. She is a dear darling child & is learning many endearing &
amusing ways. But she is very shy, & very petted, & has an awful way of
screaming when vexed, or if her Mamma leaves her, but these fits of temper
don't come very often. I think your boy is two or three months older.
She will be 8 months old on the 1st Sept'r. Kate looked very well for a little while after her return from Grafton, but this last week she has grown thinner than ever & has not felt very well. She has a great deal to do as you may suppose, with such a houseful as we make with the addition of
the two men, Archy & John Hudson who are Bessies & Roberts men. We
have a very active girl & one who is very good matured & patient with the
children. There are 8 cows to milk, but Stewart helps to milk his Mothers
share. The churning, washing, ironing & baking is no trifle for two such
families. We sit down 15 to every meal when Arthur Mathias is at home, which he is now, & there are always two or three in the kitchen besides.
Bessie & Mary help a good deal, chiefly in nursing, but Bee has a great
deal of sewing always doing, & she makes up all her own Butter.
Monday 27th Aug't 1866
You see my dearest Annie I have not dispatched my letter yet & was
greatly disappointed on Saturday at not finding Mary at Malone. I fear
now I have no chance of seeing her so I must send this by Post. Indeed it
is not worth sending, for I am so stupid. A bad Bilious [headache] makes
me almost blind & the noise of the children is wearisome when we want
So ever believe me as of old,