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Title: Ernest Cochrane, N.W.T Canada to Kate Finlay Co. Down.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCochrane, Ernest/71
SenderCochrane, Ernest
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationprovost sergeant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginCalgary, Canada
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientFinlay, Kate
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT3504/1/19: Copied by Courtesy of Mr A.D. Finlay.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9407012
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 01:07:1994.
Word Count1581
TranscriptFrom: Ernest Cochrane
The Barracks,
Calgary, N.W.T. [North West Territories?]

To Katie Finlay,
County Down,

December 3rd 98 [1898?]

My dearest Katie
I cannot tell you how
glad I was to get your letter
of oct [October?] 29th: and how much good
it did me. For just then I wanted
a bit of cheering up, as I was
not feeling all right. But I am
now; & a good deal of the feeling
so well, belongs to your credit.
All this last Autum [autumn?] we had
a lot of sickness. Typhoid struck
us. Every one was feeling sickly
Some went ot Hospital & are there
yet: and, alas, some went out of
the Barrack gate on a Gun Carriage
to God's Acre on the hill. I had
a touch of it was down for 10
days: but as you see by this letter
pulled through. There was no
accomodation for me in our
Hospl [hospital?] here, so I kept my room,
with the faithful "pig". A man
came with food 3 times a day
& had to carry the said Pig down
stairs for his meals. Poor little
beggar, he would not eat much,
and then sat on the side wall outside
my quarters & howled till someone
let him in! But I never felt
better in my life than I do now;
& my knee has not given me a
twinge for months. Between our
selves my health & good spirits are
largely due to the thought that a
certain little person who is very
dear to me, gaining in health &
strength. For a large percentage of
my thoughts drift her way. And in
a quiet, undemonstrative way, I
have done a certain amount of
fretting. But with your cheering
news, Scally is himself again
Your description of the necklace
is, to say the least of it,- tantilising [tantalising?]
But I know who you would like to
wear it: and the world and this life of
mine, has made me wise, & dreams
don't come to me. You have given
me your confidence, dear heart:
and you seem to have great faith
& trust in me. What is your secret
is mine; & for the faith and trust, I am
not only proud, but deeply grateful.
Please never say anything about
delay in answering me. As long
as I can feel you are in health &
happiness, I am content. And I
would rather not hear from you,
than think, that one letter caused you
a moment discomfort; or that
you took a few hours from any
pleasure to write. I am not the
slightest uneasy about your getting
selfish. Or, if there was any chance,
then you are changed - awfully changed.
How nice it is to have so many
friends asking after you. I am
hoping to hear from John soon.
As you say there is no one like him:
And I think next to yourself; He
claims a lot of regard
did not think so highly of me.
And place to my credit, [talents?]
very foreign to my nature.
Don't wish old age on me. I
want to clear out with the uniform
on. The pension is only a few
cents a day, & winding up with
that in a strange land gives
me a bit of a shiver. Reddys
arrest was away back in 87 [1887?]
But as that sort of thing comes
to us like a day's pay, nothing
is thought of it. Not long ago
1 man killed 3 of us before he
was caught. What a start in life
Bob got: & I wish him all good
luck. No, thanks you will never be
puzzling yourself over a similar
present for me. I am out of that
sort of thing: & the girls I have
known since I came out here
could be counted on one hand, with
a finger or too [two?] to spare. I thought
I told you about the matron.
Well she cordially hated me. She
was an awful flirt & as I had
a lot of young recruits as escorts,
my hands were full, nipping in the
bud any attempts at spooning
in the Guard Room. In confidence
she told several, I was an "old
wretch" & neither "heart or feeling"
I wont fret if she does not change
her mind!! Well if she dislike me,
the "pig" paid her out. He simply could
not bear her. And all the time she was
on duty, used to sit under a guard
bed, and glare at her. I want your letters
to be all self and nothing but self.
Not but I like to hear of your people
But in truth its you I want to
hear about. You wonder dear, why
they were taken and you left. If we
look into it, it is Gods all wise
law - "the survival of the fittest'
He only knows what they were
saved. But those who were left had
the gifts and the stamina to live in the
world. You have a long useful life
before you; & I dont despair to see
you Dream of a little realm of your
own. My dear one, if you only knew
all that I have gone through;
if you only knew what awfulness
of crime and misery, I have had
to see and know, you could understand
how thoughts of pure, good girls
like you three, have & do, do me
good Its an honour & a heaven
for a man's life to have known
you. And if I [told?] all of what I
think, you would be I fear, inclined
to vanity! A short time ago, a
photographer came up to Bks [Barracks?]
& without warning the Sergts [Sergeants?] Settled
to be taken in a groupe [group?]. The
result goes to you by this mail
I expect you will recognise me
but I will give you a hint, the
"pig" is between my feet. That is
my working dress. I am the
heaviest & oldest man in the
crowd and top the others by 3 inches
in chest measurement. I need
not describe the others, we are no
very fast friends: but if you,
girl [will?] take a fancy to any of
them, fullest particulars will be
forwarded by reference!! It is
splendid to think how well the
boys are getting on. Now [-------?]
Now I am not going to lecture
you: but what am going to say, I
want you to read carefully &
act accordingly. I can see by
every letter you still think
we will meet again. Katie darling
we never will. There are reasons
upon reasons & all of them good.
My old life and I parted, all through
fault of mine. that life can never
come back to me: & in sober earnest,
say - I dont want it to. I am now
what I will be to the end - a very
humble, insignificant piece in
life's machinery. I hope I am, in
my way, doing good work for the
pay I get: and my officers say
the best Provost in he force. Well that
is good. I am content. You are
really & truly the only friend I
have got. The last link with the
past. When my people died & I felt
for a while the uttterly alone feeling,
& my thoughts, as if naturally, turned
to you. You have helped me & I
know will always have a kind
thought fo me. I'd like, oh so
much to see you, & not know
It would do no good our meeting
I dont think I could stand it:
The joy would make a fool of me:
& I might say or do something, I
could be sorry for, & you would not
like and I cant afford to have you
the only one, think less of me.
Women's eyes & instincts are keen
& you might, if you saw me, find
out something that would cost you
pain: and that I have & hope to
keep to myself. So dear when your
ship comes home & you make for
the coast & friends, slip by here.
The train passes in the night & so
it would be difficult for us to meet
if we wanted to. Now that is all -
it is for the best. I have lots of
comfort, my life is not hard. I have
got into a groove: & it would take
a lot to fine [find?] me out. Above all I
am content. But I would be more
so if a certain very loveable little [?]
Soon be with us; & I wish you &
yours many happy returns. Have
a good time & take all the enjoyment
you can. Think of me as being
all right & content. Dont get
absurd notions with that active
brain of yours that my life is
a sad & lonely one. Far from it.
I have a lot of blessings to be
thankful for. The work suits me.
I am no seer of visions. the present
is my all. The past I can look on
now quietly; and the "might have" been
does not disturb me.
i am telling you all this so that
you may be happy & not anxious
about your old friend.
Write when you feel inclined;
& believe me dearest Katie
that you will always have the
honour & love of
Your affectionate friend
Ernest Cochrane
better Known as Scally
The pig is staring me out of
countenance. I presume he wants
to be remembered.