Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter 46: Be Glad we are Well

A collage of Nicholson letters from pre 1900 to 1938, showing Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI.

January 10, 1912.

Richmond, Quebec

Dear Norman,

Your letter of the 5th also of the 7th, In the first place I was glad to get such a good account of your trip and that you arrived before this very severe weather.

I judge from your writing that you are feeling well. Your writing was so good. Still I am well; can't judge by mine.

Now, in regard to your last letter, I am sure I don't know what to say.
You know, I would be pleased to have you at home if you could be contented. I am rather inclined to think you would not.

It is too bad, had they sent you that message here about your pay reduction you likely would not have returned but now that you are there and you are comfortable and it is not hard work I would stay for a while, just to see what new developments and if any new men are put on.

Who is this Henderson? Has he the power to dismiss?

If you are feeling well and don't worry any about it.

As you say that $50.00 salary with no expenses is about as much as you could get and in the spring we will have to make some change if they don't give you more.

Dr. Skinner is going in March, Mrs. Skinner thinks she will go out in May. At present she is in bed with rheumatism.

Dan is still in bed. He stays the last few days to keep warm as he says he has no wood. Clayton offered to get some for them but he think he must see it himself. They are certainly saving what little they have.

We are having a very cold spell, 35 below and windy but I manage to keep the house warm. I have stayed at the Skinners nights, lately I go over about 10 pm.

I have not heard from Herb since I am going to write him and will tell about it.

Now you do whatever you think and that will please me only don't worry or think anything about it. It will come out all right.

I only wish there was something I could do! One thing we ought to be thankful that we are well.

I will mail your papers tonight. With much love Margaret.

Since writing Grace Smilie came to see if I would take her to board. I was almost inclined to but it was only from Monday until Friday so I think it was only 7. 00 they wanted to pay. I told her I might possibly close the house Feb to go to Boston.

Still, I don't think I will go as I think it will be cheaper to stay at home.

I have had a very cordial invitation from Mrs. Wyatt of Sherbrooke (where Marion boarded when she taught at Sherbrooke High School in 1906/07) to come up Saturday on the noon train and stay a week or longer.

I have just written her that it is impossible as I have no one to look after the house and I would not like to leave it to Dr. S. as he has enough to look after his boys and his sick wife this cold weather.


Will Enclose Mr. Mc Ray's letter. I read it!
Norman’s salary on the railway is suddenly cut in half, from 100 a month to 50 a month. This is disastrous, but Margaret seems ambivalent about her husband quitting and coming home. She, herself,appears to have many options, many invitations, but she chooses to 'hunker down' at home. Stress?

Taking in boarders was the traditional way women who had a home but were hard up made ends meet. Margaret is not interested in taking a boarder. 7 dollars a week simply wasn’t worth the work. But Margaret wasn’t widowed. Her circumstances were different: her husband was merely away from home.

”I only wish there is something I can do!” This statement is echoed later on when she says in a letter, “I wish I could earn my own living.”

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