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Title: Ernest Cochrane, to Miss K [Katherine?] Finlay, County Down.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCochrane, Ernest/14
SenderCochrane, Ernest
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationprovost sergeant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginCalgary, Canada
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientFinlay, Kate
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT.3504/1/21: Copied by courtesy of Mr. A. D. Finlay.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9310403
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by C.R., 14:10:1993.
Word Count1524

FEB [FEBRUARY?] 4th 99. [1899?]

My dearest Katie
How good of you to write me the long, kind
letter I got this morning. You have the gift of writing
nice, bright, readable letters: and they are a great joy &
comfort to your old friend "Scally". Indeed things would not
be over-pleasant for me, if I did not hear from you. I am
glad the photo got to you safely: and that you are pleased
with it. To me it is a very flattering likeness of myself.
As to the peculiar look of the eyes - it is owing to having
been "snow blind" several times when riding on the prairie.
Once you get this you have the habit of closing the eyelids.
"Pig" is brown, with curly hair. If you look closely at the
photo you will see that which you take for his tongue, is a
little patch of sun on the boards behind him.
So you have not fallen in love with any of the groupe
[group?]. As to their history I know nothing. The one man
I do like is the one standing beside me. Stevenson is his
name - he is Vet. for the Troop. He is a Canadian & self
made: but is honourable & straight forward. Between myself
and the other 3 there is an "armed neutrality" & we go for
each other as occasion turns up. The centre figure is the
Sergt. [Sergeant?] Major Since the photo was taken he has
gone & got married to girl 20 years younger than himself. He
is illiterate & murders the Queens English & drops his "h's"
all over the ship! You are very good to be so pleased with
getting the photo, that it makes me very happy. When the
weather lets up & you can safely go out I do want you to get
your phooto [photo?] taken. When it comes I am going to get
the best frame this place can produce & it will be put over
my cot, for so far not a single picture or photo adorns the
walls of my room.
Its just splendid to hear you are making so good a
secretary Nothing could give me greater pleasure: and the
news has lifted a load off my mind. As to being uneasy,
thats natural And tho'[though?] its against your commands I
am going to fuss over you as much as I please. Dont forget
you are all I have got to trust or care for. We are having our
winter now. Poor little woman you could not live a day here.
For a week it has been 40o [degrees?] below zero, that is 72o
[degrees?] of frost, accompanied by a strong wind The
furnace that heats my room is not working, so you can guess
how it is. I have to turn out at 6.15 a.m. & struggle into
frozen socks etc & by the time I get to the Guard Room my
eyelashes are frozen together!! Such is life: and yet I like
it. Oh I was well enough looked after: I hate having anyone
near me when I am sick Our cook used to bring me my food:
and taking all things into account I was comfortable For
this last fortnight "La grippe" has been with us. It has
gone right through our Mess and attacked everyone but me.
When all hands were down real sick in bed, I was feeling
splendid. The Dr. [Doctor?] was all right, a Frenchman named
Rouleau. Thinks no end of me, as I keep the prisoners &
prison so clean, there never is any sickness; so no extra
trouble for him. I would like you to see the "pig". And yet
I fear he would not take to youk [you?] as he has an
antipathy to your sex. The matron is gone long ago. We only
have one when there is a female prisoner, which thanks be to
goodness is not often. I have one here now with a year old
baby. Mother in for theft It would be nice to go back
[m--ton?] strong & well. For from what you have told me it
must be nice. Oh yes we have musquitoes [mosquitoes?] here,
sometimes so bad that men have had to go Hospital through
their bites. But they are only for two months in the year.
I often have had to light a pail of wet grass in my room
before turning in & tho' [though?] that drove them away
going to bed in a smokey room & your eyes smarting was not
comfort. What a lot of Xmas [Christmas?] greetings you had.
It shows how well you are liked by your friends: and I am so
glad. Re [Regarding?] the necklace - some of these days you
will be writing to me telling that someone has won the right
to wear it for good. Lucky somebody! Look here, there's
going to be trouble if you talk about being ashamed etc as
to answering my letters promptly. Why my darling Katie it's
a blessing to hear any time from you. And I know full well
how hard it is to get time, when one is only getting strong &
has household cares & visitors & the routine that has to be
got through. You have been more than good to me, little
woman & I dont think a day comes to me, that I do not think
of you & hope you are well and happy. The longer I have the
Hymn Book the more I like it & the higher I think of the
giver On the 16th of last month this Troop gave a Ball.
Needless to say I did not go. I retired to my room with my
pipe & the pig; & me dilated on life's frivolities,
particurlary losing ones sleep for the purpose of dancing
with the Trash this Calgary produces. My dear, you are
doing me good - a world of good, already so you need not
wish for the time to come. It has come & you are as good as
gold. The ship will come. I feel it, & you will see John &
wont you have a high old time, talking after all these years
of absence. It was thoughtful (but when are you not) to send
me the paper. I was most interested in the Launch & the
paper is now going the rounds of the Barracks, as the old
country men are proud of the biggest ship. Now my dear
little one I know you like me: but I also do know you think
me a far better man than I really am. And this is not
pleasant & makes me feel ashamed. Believe me, & I ought to
know, I am a very ordinary individual & there are hundreds of
men in this Force far better. So just tone down your ideas &
get nearer the facts. Your opinion is the only one I care
for; & the only one I would make an effort to be up to her
standard & so I am a bit nervous of you giving me qualities I
dont possess.
You are a stiring [sterling?] friend, dear heart, & oh I am
proud of your friendship & will try & always deserve it. I
am glad the boys are doing well & I hope that a long life of
prosperity may be their portion. A lot of prisoners have
been coming and going lately & this means a lot of writing
for me; as I have to keep [to?] a very elaborate set of Books
But as I have got To be very methodical like a bolt in
machinery I dont mind. Just think, on the 23rd of next
October I will have been 14 years in this force. What a
slice in a man's life! My time will be up: but I am going to
re-enlist as 20 years gives me a pension. There is nothing
better out here & tho' [though?] my life is nothing to boast
of I am stopping a gap in life's mill. I wish I could thank
you enough for your letter: and I wish I knew how bright &
cheerful your letters make my life. You always were of a
sunny disposition Well dear Katie in all sincerity I truly
believe you are a treasure for some man & he will know if he
ever gets you. Our Xmas [christmas?] was kept on Monday not
much going on. I was on duty & that meant business & not
pleasure. I hope dear that this may find you stronger than
when you wrote & that all your people are well.
Every good wish I could have goes to you. Not that I place
much value on them, but such as they are - they are yours
only. I have not been so happy for many a long days, as I
have been since I heard you are gaining in health & strength
Goodbye dearest Katie
With best love
Your affectionate friend
Ernest Cochrane.
Greetings from the "Pig"