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Title: Stewart, Frances to Beaufort, Harriet, 1840
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginDouro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
DestinationDublin, Ireland
RecipientBeaufort, Harriet
Recipient Genderfemale
Relationshipfriends (ex-pupil - ex-governess)
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2443
Genrenews, family life, society
Transcript1840: December 1474
To Harriet Beaufort, Dublin, Ireland

Douro, Monday 14th Deer 1840

My dearest Harriet

I have at last the pleasure of telling you that the little box with the Tartan has arrived after all our fears & frights as to its safety. It has been sadly delayed somewhere for Edward saw it in Montreal at the beginning of October & as he was not returning immediately he desired them to send
it on under charge of the public forwarders & expected to have heard
of it having arrived here long before he did. But it never came till last
Thursday. However, it is all safe & dry & in good order & just the thing we
wanted & every body likes & admires it & we are up to our chins in work
preparing dresses for all our boys. Each of the six are to have little tunics or coats & trowsers with black belts & blue caps & Kate is to have a frock & cloak of it too & Tom says he must have a coat too but it will look horrid & we all want to prevail on him not but he seems determined. Well my
dear on Wednesday last a rich post came in & brought a long letter from
you & another from Catharine by the new Halifax route. They were dated
3d Nov'r & we got them 8th Deer so you see that was very nice. They
reached Halifax in 14 days but the tedious part is between that & this.
I am writing with a pen made of one of those nice quills you sent in
the box which are, I assure you, treasures but from some cause I can't
discover I cannot write at all decently. The pen looks plausible enough
and the ink is that which you sent me properly diluted to prevent it from
thickening too much, but I cannot write you see so I must try a steel pen
but they cramp my hand. However, I will write small & close & give you,
I am afraid, a little more trouble to read it. I am so glad that you & Mrs.
Flood have met & I hope you may often meet for I think the more you see
of her the more you will find in her character that is estimable & valuable.
We only knew her well latterly for poor dear little soul, she was always
under such restraint before that we could not half know her best qualities,
fear of exposing her brute of a husband, & her own sorrows made
her so extremely reserved that people considered her quite an oddity. But we had the more reason afterwards to admire her for the very reserve &
apparent coldness to many who wished to be her friends. Tom thinks
it is better not to have that declaration or certificate drawn up which
you mentioned Mrs. Lucas was desirous of having. He does not think
it would do any good for of course Mrs. Floods friends never could or
would believe any such fabrications as she thinks he has set afloat & what
matter for the opinion of strangers. However, Tom will consult Stafford
& Doctor Hutchison & Mr. Sanford who are all her friends & equally
acquainted with her & aware of her trials & provocations & if they think
it prudent to have such a document written he will have it done. But he
thinks it should not be done hastily as, if Mr. Flood heard of it, it might
irritate him afresh & do more harm than good. Tell Mrs. Lucas that if we
could see the least good likely to arise from it we never would hesitate but we have already done so much & have been blamed so much for interfering
between man & wife that we are cautious of doing more.

Wednesday Dec. 16th 12 oclock, day. Just as I had got so far on
Monday even'g in came Mr. Haycock & Frederick & as Tom had just
gone out I was obliged to sit & do civilities all evening & yesterday being
a busy day from beginning to end I never could write till now, so here I
am & I must return to Mrs. Flood. I expect to see Dr. Hutchison today
& I will speak to him about her & perhaps have some more to say. If I
don't see him I will write again. I don't myself see what use it would be.
I don't well understand what Mrs. Lucas meant, whether it was the stories
Mr. Flood told here before Mrs. Flood left this that she alludes to or
whether he has written home stories about her. If she means anything he
has said here, no certificate is necessary for not one person of respectability believes anything he says against her. He is disliked so much & if he has been writing home, it seems to me equally useless to contradict stories which of course her own friends would never believe, & does Mrs. Lucas wish to have this certificate sent home to her? for we don't understand exactly you see. I wrote to Mrs. Flood a few days ago but of course did not hint at this at all as I had the message from Mrs. Lucas & not from her. You did not tell me half enough of what she said about us,
particularly about Ellen, who was her greatest favourite & who she used
to call "her better judgement [ ]" because Ellen used to help her to cut & make up things & arrange & pack up. She had a fancy to have Ellen married
to her brother in law Mr. William Flood but she need never expect
that for none of us like the name or connection tho Ellen liked Mr. WF.
very well as an acquaintance.
Here again I have been interrupted by two sleighloads of visitors,
Mrs., Miss & Mr. J. Forbes, Mr. Dixie to whom Miss E is going to be
married, Mrs. Tho's Fortye, Mrs. George Hall. Months have passed
since we had so many visitors as have come within the last few days. 2
causes have brought them. 1st, sleighing has begun & the roads are in
tolerable order now & 2nd, many friends have called to enquire about
our poor Edward who lately met with an accident which alarmed us
greatly & might have been very serious but most providentially has
turned out not so bad. A gun went off accidently and wounded him in
his shoulder. He bled most profusely, indeed frightfully, so that he was,
as I thought, lifeless when brought home & for some hours we feared he
never could live but miraculously the Dr. says no vital part was touched
tho' the space was inconceivably small between the wound & a great
artery on one side & a muscle on the other which was only grazed but
which would have injured the use of his arm. Thank God he has escaped
in every way & is now recovering tho still wan & weak St suffering a
good deal of pain. But we all have reason to feel thankful that the life of
our poor excellent friend has been spared. He is such a useful upright
honourable young man so perfectly free from vice of every kind & so
attached to Tom & indeed to all our family. He has been so long with
us & is so very trustworthy, he is quite like one of our family & is generally supposed by strangers to be my nephew as his name is the same as
mine was. Tom is going to give or rather has given him the promise of
100 acres of land which he was to have had two years ago but still Tom
has not been able to arrange it. Indeed he is so useful I don't know how
in the world we shall do without him. But he is now old enough to feel
anxious to settle & I have no doubt he will be one of the most successful
settlers here for he is industrious & steady, experienced & is able to do
so many different things which will save him laying out money. He is a
first rate carpenter as well as farmer & a good enough saddler to be able
to make all sorts of harness. Then he is a shoemaker which has saved him a good deal here. He was to have begun to put the frame of our new
building together & got all the boards ready to raise & finish it in spring
but this wound will I fear put an end to that. We get on very slowly as all
poor folks must do. Our labourers who were excavating were obliged to
stop to go home & dig their potatoes & a few days after they returned
the frost set in so severely as to end their labours for this season as the
ground was as hard as iron.

Thursday 17th. Another interruption came. Up drove the Kirkpatricks
& old Mrs. Fortye, then came dressing Edward's arm & then up came
another cutter, Mr. & Mrs. Rodger, a nice dear little couple. They paid
but a short visit but it was a very pleasant one. They are young people, at
least only 4 years married. He is the Presbyterian minister at Peterboro,
a well educated & exceedingly pleasing person, very mild & quiet but
cheerful & even merry sometimes & one that all who know must love. Mrs. Rodger is just what a clergyman's wife should be. She too has had
a very good education & is rational & pleasing as well as conversable &
they seem so happy together that it is delightful to be admitted into their
little domestic circle. They are both Scotch & I like their way of speaking
too. The Scotch accent is not broad enough to be vulgar as some have it.
This time 24 years [ago] my dear Harriet I was a bride and driving
along the road to Drogheda. It is a long time to look back to & good proof
I have around me. My ten children all drank our health today & Tom is in
better spirits than I have seen him for months. He is enjoying it so much &
indeed, though I may have had trials, yet I have had unbounded blessings
which more than balance them. I have seen a good deal of life here tho' so
secluded & the more I see of others the more reason I have to be thankful
for domestic peace & happiness. We are indeed a happy & united family &
the only thing that ever clouds it is seeing dear Tom cast down by anxiety
& care, & this anxiety & care chiefly on my account. So it is his love for me which causes it. He is going tomorrow to Cobourg for a day with Stafford
K. to some meeting about Emigration & I think it will do him good. He
has been so very little from home of late. I often wonder how he bears the
sameness of the life he leads here, passing months without ever leaving
home except to church or seeing anyone except when the Haycocks come.
I was near forgetting to tell you about the Plaister of Paris. It has been
found that sprinkling or dusting Plaister of Paris over plants or fields will improve their [ ] & vegetation, not by enriching the ground, but by drawing or causing moisture on the plant. Tom dusted his oats & pease in this way last summer & in all the spots where he used it the luxuriance was
visible & remarkable. Also some apple trees. He used the Plaister on one
side of some trees & that side was greener & the fruit larger than on the
other. There is [a] story told that a gentleman who was bald was dusting
a tree in this way & some of the P of P fell on his head & made his
hair grow but you may believe it if you can. Another story is of a Yankee
woman who had a very old much worn Broom & she told her servant to
take some Plaister of Paris & dust it on the Broom to make it grow new!!
So much for nonsense.
Ellen is going to send you the rest of her journal in the form of a
large letter but at present she is so busy making up the boys clothes she has not a moment as Papa says they must be ready for church on Sunday.
My time is divided between attending Edward who is still helpless as his
right arm is disabled, dressing his arm 3 times a day, writing & cutting
out the work for the girls to do. I am going this evening to walk to drink
tea at the Reids. They are just going on as usual, growing old & the young
ones growing old too. John is quite grey & a curious little old bachelor.
Mr. [ ] has been at Toronto & I suppose will soon pay us another visit. I
don't think he is quite as cordial with us as he used for we rather discourage poor Henry's advances. I think they wished for a connection but he has fallen off so much of late years that we could not like it. He is a good young man now but is stupid & dirty & careless in his habits & person & seems to have sunk in the esteem of his friends. But I must always feel a
particular interest & affection for all the family of these dear kind friends.
I find I must now send this to the post & love to all my own dear friends
who are kind enough to care about me, to all my own dear & near relatives
& to the dear kind Hamiltons, Lynes & all. I hope you gave my love
to poor Catherine Hamilton & do so too to [ ] Wade.
I have never got any letter from Aunt Sutton about money at all. Oh
yes pray by Uncle Sutton to pay Mrs. Flood £10 on our acc't & at the
Marie Frosberry & the Gerrards, [ ], Thompsons & all. And now my own
dear Moome, Adieu — Ever your own child FS.
I wrote to Lou last month & this day month began a letter to you.