Cannington Manor

Assiniboia

N.W.T.

Canada

 

December 10th '92

 

My Dear Namesake

I received your kind letter & the lovely Xmas card on the 12th. Thank you very much for it. I am sure it is the nicest one I ever had. The words are so nice, I intended to get a nice one for you, but it is impossible in this outlandish place.? You are right, it seems a long time to wait for a letter, but I am quite accustomed to it by now. I have not had a letter from home or from my brother never since September so that's longer still. I suppose I am out of sight - out of mind. I expect some letters this coming week. Yes, this time last year, little did we think that nearly 5 thousand miles should separate us. Such a happy family as we used to be when we all met now and then about 9 p.m. You bet we would spend a very happy Xmas now If we had the chance we would not be scared at the robber's whistle, or Watkins's false alarm. Do you ever hear anything about Mrs. Balfour?s servants? I hope that Dame Durden has got some very nice modest young women now. I often wonder if ever she heard anything about the time of her absence. We often used to call that place over but really we used to have a lot of fun there. I feel so dull now on Sundays till I can hardly contain myself, although everyone is very nice. Mrs. Humphreys tries to keep up as much style as she can.? The boys do not believe in it. The girls are getting pride into them a great deal more than when I came here. Mrs. Humphreys is a real fiddler - she never says anything to me, but she just goes round and moves everything for no earthly use. The girls laugh at her very often. They told me before she came home that she was an awful fiddler, but I have no fuss if the meals are not ready. One of the family always sets the dining room table. The 4 boys and the chaw boy and myself have our grub in the kitchen but all has breakfast in the kitchen. We don't do more than we can help on Sunday. I always clean the kitchen on Friday and there's pastry & cakes etc. made on Saturday to last the week. I live a great deal better now than before. 12 is our regular number on Sunday - generally 14 or 15. There is an english doctor living near here & his brother & also a parson's son called Ned Fleming from London. He does the doctor's work. They have no female in the house. They do their own washing. The doctor gets up his white shirts his self. Those three are here nearly every Sunday. The doctor is really very nice. He comes in the kitchen to help to dry up the dishes & make some very funny jokes for us. He has to torture one or the other's teeth nearly every week. I have had one aching bad, it is the furthest tooth on the lower side. He has taken 3 pieces of it out & still there is some left in. I thought he was going to pull my head off. I have to bake every Tuesday & Friday to keep such a large family in bread, and churn once a week to keep butter going - also I make our own barm. I think you must feel more contented now, especially your wages risen - also if you are kept in boots - that is a fine help. I only wish I had something to go and see like you have in London. It must be very nice to see so much, but thank goodness I have been here over 7 months. Next summer I am going many hundred miles nearer you. My uncle - mother's brother - he is in New York State. I don't intend coming back here. All his children are married. Well about Johnnie. He thought he would not write to Dulas because he talked so much about leaving. He wrote to Alex Lindsay so I suppose he got my address from him or the Dufferin by his letters. I think he must feel very energetic. He has not forgotten our little house & he says that the washing & mending of his clothes is the very dickens of it when he is out of town. When in town he has it done in a Chinese laundry. I get now 12 dollars a month and one dollar is 4 shillings and 2 pence, so that is 2 pounds 10 shillings a month in English money. The first 6 months I had only 10 dollars a month. I am quite an old servant here now. There is no girl stays in a place long out here. There is a drill for to learn dancing at the village once a week, but I don't mean to join that. We are going to have a xmas tree on the 28th. Well you never could believe how cold it is here. There is more snow here than has been for 10 years. Since the beginning of November it generally stays on the ground until April - no rain all through the winter. Your time is 6 hours before ours. It is 9 o'clock with us now so it is 3 o'clock with you and you are sleeping in bed. Well, I hope you have a happy Xmas & lots of presents. Everyone here is going to give me presents. I will tell you next letter what they are. Do you remember our Xmas dinner last year?? The poor rabbit. Never mind, it will be better this time. We have a pudding - 14 lb., and a cake - 10 lb. Feeding is all people think about in this country. Every birthday we have a 10 lb. cake. I have made 17 pork pies this winter and going to make a lot more yet. I have bought a sealskin cap to come down over my ears, which cost me 18 shillings & 6 pence. I am going to get a warm cloak or ulster soon. Thank goodness I have not got to go out & chop wood in the snow or I should be frozen. There is only 2 fires here - that is the kitchen stove and the furnace warms the house. This house is very large - 11 rooms on the first floor and 13 rooms upstairs - and there 15 another storey above that. Every bit is wood - there is no stones in it. H.C. Mogrens girl & family is gone about 40 miles to a place called Estavan. She has helped me to wash up. She was staying here before they went. He is thinking to spend Christmas with her. Please excuse mistakes,

 

With fondest love

From your old friend

 

Martha

 

 




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