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Title: From Bridget Lacy, to Mary Thompson, Ireland.
CollectionAuthentic Letters from Upper Canada [Rev. Thomas Radcliff]
SenderLacy, Bridget
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationservant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginYork, Upper Canada
RecipientThompson, Mary
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1861
Genreaccount of passage, people in the colonies
TranscriptYork, Upper Canada, August, 1832.

Dear fellow Servant, and fellow school-fellow,
For we were edicated together, and printiced out
together—and my blessing on the Committee of fifteen,
and my blessing on them that taught us to read and write,
and spell, that you may know all about me, and I about
you, though there are rivers, and seas, and woods, and
lakes between us—and my blessing on the mistress that
taught us to work, and wash, and make ourselves useful,
so that while health stands by us, we may earn honest
bread in any country. And sure enough, dear Mary, you
shall hear all the good and bad that happens to me, and
I hope to have the same from you.
And now that I am on land, it is only good natured
that I should give you some account of my doings since
I set out.
If I had you with me, I would have been easier in my
mind; but still my mistress was very good, and I got on
bearably, barring the shocking sickness, such as no one in
the cholic, or the breeding way, or the billions fever, or
after hippo, or after sqills, ever felt before or since.
If you were only to have seen how smooth we floated
down the River, and out of the Bay, and away to Wicklow,
where I was born, at the back of the murrough, near
Tinnakilly, you would have said, away you go—eating,
and drinking, and laughing, and cracking jokes; but my
jewel, before the second day was over, we were all knocked
of a heap; and then if you were to hear all around you
as I did, groaning, and raching, and willy wombling, and
calling for water, and nobody to bring them a sup, and
wishing themselves at the bottom of the sea; in troth,
Mary, you would have pitied a dog in the same taking.
The hold was full of people, mighty snug and decent, with
money in their pockets, going out to make their fortunes;
and most of them Protestants, that found home growing
too hot for them; and that they had better save their four
bones, and their little earnings before it was too late, and
sure enough, I believe they're right. There are mighty
good people among them, and mighty pretty girls, that
when they arn't sick, sing psalms in the evening, very
beautiful; and there's one Jenny Ferguson, from the north,
that I am very thick with, and she has a voice like an
angel. In troth there are none of them bad, and its mighty
sweet upon the sea.
Well my dear, when the singing is over, they're all very
merry; and there are some gay lads, and great fun, and
a little courting, but all in a civil way; and I sometimes
make one; but between you and I, Mary, but don't say a
word at all at all, I think there's a servant-boy of a Mr.
Jackson's, one Benson, that's throwing a sheep's eye at me—
but nothing certain, barring a sly pinch here and there,
and other tinder tokens that may end in smoak after all.
They say a girl will soon get a husband in this country.
Some will, and some will not. I'd be sorry to be trusting
to them.
The boy I have told you of, may be settled near us,
and if he is as sweet upon me then, as he is now, he may
put some of their noses out of joint. To say the honest
truth, I would not like to be beholden to them; though
they say they're civil enough in Canada, not all as one as
the States, where they have the impudence of Old Nick.
in making free with their betters.
You would not believe, dear Mary, the forwardness of
them Yankees.
Sure, I heard a gentleman, after coming from Philadelfy,
in the Untied States, telling my mistress of there
going some journey there in a cart, and the horses tiring
and stopping to sleep at a farmers, and when he had got
into bed, and was falling asleep, was roused by one over
him, saying, "I guess I tumble in here," when the greasy
carter that drove him, stretched his ugly carcass alongside
him, and began to snore in three minutes. Now think
of that, Mary. If it was my case, not a pin in my pincushion
but he should have the full binifit of, the impudent
That's liberty and quality as they call it—a nice bedfellow
indeed—instead of his own pretty wife, who was
put to sleep with the young woman of the house, to make
room for this scurvy Gee-ho-dobbin.
The only accidence we had on the voyage was an old
woman that died, and a child born in the hold, and n
little girl choaked with a potatoe, and two doctors on board
—but no blame to them—they weren't called till all was
over—and the Captain, long life to him, put the old
woman decent in a coffin, saying that the sherks should
have a mouthful of sawdust before they got at her old
Oh! but I had like to forget the chief sport. Sure we
had a boxing match, Mary, which I must tell you of, by
and by. But what banged all was the storm. That was
what was near settling us for life. Oh! Mary, Mary, it
was tremenduous—but I can only tell you the beginning
Now, Mary dear, how will I describe it to you?
Do you remember when we were little girls in the
school—and the carpenters working in the yard, and a
great long board, and we and the other girls playing
weighdy bucketdy, and we going up in the air and down
again to the ground. Well then, there's the way it began,
but in troth my dear, it was only a beginning—for before
you could thread a needle, up went my heels as straight
as a ladder, and then down again, that though I was lying
on the broad of my back, I thought I was standing on my
two feet in the bottom of the sea.
Then came on the whillaloo from above, and the cracking
of masts and ropes, and dear knows what—and off
I dropped in a swoon I suppose, for I never saw or heard
any thing more till all the danger was over.
I just remember calling out oh, my jewel, take the
child—and when first I opened my eyes, what should I
see, but my little darling, Miss Mary, tied in her own
mahogany chair, and that same tied to the bed, and the
little dear laughing heartily; and no wonder, Mary, for
you'd have laughed yourself, as I did, and couldn't help
it, when, with a toss of the ship, we saw every thing, big
and little, mugs, jugs, and porringers, &c. all hunting each
other about the floor.
But I promised to tell you about the boxing. Well, my
dear, the next day was quite calm, and we all got up on
the deck. I went forward to talk to my friend Jenny
Ferguson, and there were five or six fellows beside us,
tripping and boxing with big gloves; and we heard one
of them saying to another, "Arrah, Brien, what if you"
were to challenge the big man there above on the quarterdeck,
(meaning my master,) they say he's fond of the fancy”
"Oh bother, (says he,) he's too heavy for me."
"Never a pound, (says the other,)—and he's flabby and
wake,—they say he was sick all the way."
"Sick or no sick, I'll have nothing to do wid him," says he
"You won't then?—O! Brien, is that talk for you, that's
the Bony of all Westmeath ?—there's the back of my hand
to you, and I'm ashamed of you for evermore.'1'
"Well then, if I must, I must," (says he,) so be going,
and asking him will he take a turn." Up they go, and I following them close; and says the
same man to my master, "Plase your honour, we hear
you're fond of the sport, and there's a boy here has got
the gloves.—Would your honour be so free and asy as to
put them on wid him?"
"I don't care if I do, (says my master,) but I am not
very well, and 1 feel weak; but a little sparring will do
nobody any harm."
Upon this they took off them, and put on the gloves.
Oh, Mary dear, isn't my master a fine man?—Sure
you saw him the day we sailed.
Well, my dear, there he stood like a rock, parlying, as
they call it, while the other was striking with all his might;
-—but never a touch was himself able to give my master,
at all at all,—and the upshot was, he was beat to his
heart's content.
But to give him his due, he shook hands with the master,
and said, he begged his honour's pardon for giving him the
trouble of bating him, which he well desarved, for coming
foment so fine a man entirely; and that the only satisfaction
he had was, that it was the first time he was ever
bate in all his life. The master gave him half a crown and
a glass of whiskey, and they were mighty good friends
ever after.
Well, well, well,—I believe this letter will never end; so
that I'll say nothing about the journey from Quebec to
York, only that it was mighty pretty; and beautiful steamboats,
and rumbling coaches, and bad inns, and fine rivers,
and plenty of trees; and here we are at York, and here
we have been for a month, living as bad as in a cholera
hospital, for the whole town was nothing else; and every
day, every day, we never thought we would get over the
next night safe. But we could not run away, for my
mistress was brought to bed of a little girl, as fine a little
crature as ever you see. But we are all well now; and
when my master comes back from the waterfall of
Niggeraga, (they say they were all Niggers here once,)
we are to set out for the estate he has bought in the Huron
Tract; and whatever comes across me there, Mary, you
shall know the particulars of it, as it may be a temptation
for you to come out yourself next year, with your own
black eyes, to throw yourself in the way of the same good
fortune. They say no girl, barring she is old and ugly,
will stand two months. My Mistress says an officer will take
this free, with her own.

So dear Mary no more, (and I'm sure no more would
be agreeable,) at present, from your loving schoolfellow,
And friend,

My next shall be from our own place, and you shall
hear all the ways of it.