Saturday, January 29, 2011

Letter 3: Visitors, Visitors

Magical Mystery Tours. Marion, seated in front in of what is most likely Clayton Hill's car. (A boy and a girl can be seen in the original picture.

Sunday, June 11, 1911

Dear Norman,

Your letter to Edith received Friday morning. As she was not here I opened it.


She had left an hour before with Dr. and Mrs. Skinner in the auto going to Montreal. Her letter said they had a delightful ride. Left here 10 am. Arrived in Waterloo at 12.30. Had dinner. Left at 2 o'clock. Arrived safely in the city at 6 without any any stops.


They said when leaving that they would be home Tuesday.



I had a letter from Herb from Qu'Appelle. Said the bank's manager was going to have his holidays and that he was to be Manager for two weeks. Says he does not like the town one bit and if he does not get transferred he will leave. I hope you will write him to stay until he is sure of something better.

I hope William Neilson will visit him.

Mrs. Neilson was down for three days. She stayed with us and attended the church sale.

Friday night the Ladies' Aid met here in the evening. There were 16 ladies! So that that is over for another year. Just when we were preparing, Aunt Christie and Malcolm arrived from a visit to Lingwick. They did not send any word that they were coming.

Saturday morning Malcolm walked home to Kingsbury. Uncle Alex (Watters)came down about 5 o'clock to take Christie home.

So Flora and I are finally having a quiet time. We did not get up until quarter to nine and we both went to Sunday school. It will be a rest for her as her exams begin tomorrow morning.

Moore cut the lawn for us, took him three evenings.

We put our tomato plants out and beans in. Taylor said he would put the plants in Tuesday.

I will enclose you a clipping from the paper about Dr. Moffatt's loss. Mrs. Montgomery was telling me that they had offered him 50 cents on the dollar, that is a loss of 4,000. I suppose he made it on stocks so he need not feel it so much. Mrs. Moffatt was working at the church sale but did not mention it to me. Only she was rather short in the temper. They have sold all their horses.

Uncle Alex had a great many questions to ask about you. He knows more about that part of the country than I could tell him. Had to come up to the office to look at the map, of course. Cochrane was not on it. I was trying to tell him it was quite civilized around there.


I will tell Alex all the good points, he always wants to know your business before you know it yourself.

Uncle Dan and Grandma are well.

Let me know if you feel any of the indigestion.

With Much Love,

Your Loving Wife
Margaret.

Visitors, visitors. They could be welcome and unwelcome in 1911, but you still harboured them, because in turn they harboured you. Alas, with no maids, visitors were a lot of work.

Dr. Moffatt was the Nicholson's GP and he also was related to them by marriage. He was a victim of an Eastern Townships stock market swindle, the Nicholsons cut out a newspaper clipping. Like so many other Nicholson relations and neighbours, he would soon move out West.

Linguick was nearby farm country, where many of the the Isle of Lewis Scots of Quebec landed in the mid 1800's. Norman's people were originally from Flodden(The Gore). His sister Christie Watters lived in Kingsbury in 1911, according to the Census. Kingsbury is Margaret's natal village.

These immigrants were empoverished crofters (tenant farmers) cleared from the land to make way for sheep. Margaret's people, the story goes, had to be thrown on the boats at Uig Carnish to come to Canada, they were so reluctant to leave their barren but beautiful homeland.
These were Gaelic speakers. Margaret's mother spoke only Gaelic and Margaret was bilingual, but clearly not 'tri-lingual'.
Both Flodden and Kingsbury are marked on the modern day Google Maps despite the fact these places hardly exist as destinations consisting of crossroads, farm houses and fields.


Norman is plagued with indigestion. According to an article in The Canadian Magazine "Driving Steel Through Wilderness": the food on the railway was excellent:"One may wonder at the plenty and variety that is placed before him at mealtime, but it must be regarded largely in the light of a bribe. He must be fed well to hold him and this the contractor recognizes. That is why one finds these hard worked navvies feasting abundantly on roast beef and port, steak and potatoes, beans, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, bread and rolls, pudding and pie, cookies and cakes, jam and preserves, crackers and cheese. All of these items of food are within the limits of the bill of fare at one meal. "

In 1908, Margaret had visited Norman near La Tuque and described 'dinner on the line':They had tomato soup, then roast lamb and roast pork with potatoes and dessert cake with peach preserves.

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