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´╗┐Title: A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba
Author: Hall, M. G. C. (Mary Georgina Caroline)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.



A LADY'S LIFE ON A FARM IN MANITOBA.

BY MRS. CECIL HALL.



PREFACE.

These letters were never intended for publication, and were only
the details written to our family of an every-day life, and now
put in the same shape and composition; not as a literary work, but
in hopes that the various experiences we underwent may be useful
to future colonists intending to emigrate and farm, either in
Manitoba or Colorado.

M. G. C. H.



A LADY'S LIFE ON A FARM IN MANITOBA.

       *       *       *       *       *

Queenstown, April 14th.

What joy! four hours in harbour given us to recruit our emaciated
forms and write you a few lines of our experiences and trials. You
wished us to keep a diary with every detail, which we will try our
best to do, beginning by telling of the cheerless journey to
Liverpool in rain, the elements even seeming to lament our
departure. The bad weather has lasted more or less ever since,
just one gleam of sunshine brightening us up on leaving the wharf,
but we saw nothing of the Mersey or the surroundings. The only
thing that struck us most forcibly was the smallness of our ship,
though it was 6,000 tons. It has just been re-docked and
overhauled, and still smells horribly of paint and full of
workmen, whom, however, we drop here, in exchange for 1,200
emigrants. These, with about sixty first-class passengers and a
hold full of potatoes, form our cargo. We began life bravely last
night, enjoying a very good dinner, and after playing a rubber of
whist retired to our berths congratulating ourselves on what
excellent sailors we were going to be; but alas!... Dressing this
morning was too difficult, the ship rolled fearfully, even the
friends who came with us thus far, and consider themselves first-
class sailors, think that it will be more prudent to go by train
through Ireland home, instead of waiting for the return boat of
the same line which calls here on Sunday and is to take them to
Liverpool. We almost wish we could turn tail; the prospect of ten
days more of the briny ocean is not what at this moment we most
fancy. However, in the short time we have been in harbour we have
been recruiting to start afresh, and hope for better weather.

        *       *       *       *       *

Mid Atlantic.

Dearest M.

I sadly fear I must have contributed more paving-stones for a
certain region; for many good resolutions did I make in starting,
and not one of them has been kept, not even so much as writing
daily a portion of a letter to be sent home from New York. And now
my long story will have to be cut short, and the doings of the
last fifteen days will have to be crowded into a very limited
space; for we are in sight of land, and our excitement can only be
compared to that of school boys the last day of the term. The joy
of landing will not be unmingled with regrets in parting from our
fellow-passengers, with whom we have become fast friends; and we
are inclined mutually to believe in transmigration of souls, and
that we must have known each other in some prior state. Some are
going into Minnesota, three of them having bought 13,000 acres in
the Red River valley, which they are going to farm on a large
scale, and hope in four years to have made fortunes, another owns
mines in Colorado, having been one of the first pioneers of the
San Juan district; he is in a fair way to a princely fortune. I
fear golden apples will not be strewn on our paths, even though we
are bound the furthest west. Fifteen days have we been out of
sight of land; two days out from Queenstown we broke a piston-rod,
which obliged us to lay to, in a fearfully rough sea, for five
hours. Next day one of our four boilers burst, and again another
piston-rod; which accidents, combined with contrary winds and
heavy seas, reduced our speed to nearly half for the remainder of
the journey. Our spirits have not flagged, as, thanks to various
small games such as pitch-and-toss, running races when the ship
was rolling, quoits, and cards, we have not found time unbearably
long. The last few days we have had big sweepstakes on the run of
the ship; but, unfortunately, none of our party have won them. One
evening we had a concert; but you may imagine the talent on board
was not great when they had to call upon one of us to accompany
the _prima donna_, and the other to sing a second in a duet;
another evening we danced--or rather tried to--our band consisting
of a concertina and a flute, played by two of the steerage
passengers, but the vessel rolled so persistently that we often
lost our equilibrium and reeled like drunken men and women.

I must stop: curiosity bids me go on deck. We shall shortly be in
the quarantine harbour, the entrance of which is said to be very
fine; though I very much doubt our being able to see anything, as,
in spite of being in this much boasted climate of the new world,
it is raining and is dull enough to rejoice the hearts of true
John Bulls like your daughter's.

        *       *       *       *       *

NAVY YARD, NEW YORK, April 30th.

I hope you will have got our letters sent off by the ship's boat
the night before we were allowed to land, as, though we arrived in
the quarantine harbour at 7 o'clock, it was too late for the
Custom-house and medical officers to inspect us; we therefore had
to lay to, and only moved up to the wharf about 8 o'clock the next
morning. We were greeted by a most kind letter of welcome, and the
first thing we saw as we got to the dock was the Navy Yard Tug
with the Commodore and daughters on board to receive us; and,
thanks to them, we had no difficulties or bothers. The Custom-
house men went through the form of opening two of our boxes and
inquiring into the age of our saddle, which had been used but
looked terribly new, hardly as if it had been in wear six months,
which is the given period for things to pass in free of duty. We
then steamed round New York through much shipping and under a most
marvellous new suspension bridge, which is to join New York and
Brooklyn, to the dockyard; where we had another most hearty
reception from our hostess. They had all been in a fidget at our
being so many days late, and directly the ship was telegraphed off
Sandy Hook the last night, in spite of the pouring rain, the
Commodore had gone down in the tug to the Quarantine Harbour to
try and get us off.

Since our arrival we have been "doing" New York, and are woefully
disappointed in the size of the streets. Fifth Avenue I expected
to find a Parisian Boulevard with trees lining the "side walks,"
instead of houses of all shapes and sizes, which are good inside,
judging by one of the large ones we went to see, but nothing much
from the outside. Day-light in the streets is almost shut out in
the "City" part of the town by the endless telegraph wires and
advertisements hung across, to say nothing of the elevated
railroads built on iron girders, which circulate round at the
height of second-floor windows. We have made a good deal of use of
the railroad; it is pleasanter than our under-ground, the
atmosphere being "rather" clearer, though at first it is startling
to see the twists and curves the trains give to get round the
corners of the streets, and to watch the moving of objects at
about forty feet below you.

I am not at all surprised people do not care to drive much, as
tramways pass through every street almost, and all are so badly
paved that paint and springs would suffer. The ferry-boats which
ply between the cities, starting every five minutes from different
wharves, astonished us most; waggons, carriages, &c., all drive on
twenty at a time, and three or four hundred foot-passengers, the
latter paying two cents per passage.

On the whole I think we have seen almost everything that is to be
seen. We spent an afternoon in the Central Park, lunched at both
of Delmonico's restaurants, dined at the invitation of our banker
at "Pinards," where the roses were lovely, the centre bouquet
measuring two feet across, and each lady having different-coloured
bunches on her serviette; a play at Walleck's, theatre both pretty
and well-ventilated, and a most splendid exit, the stalls on the
same level as the street--the whole place seemed to empty itself
in about five minutes; and a day's expedition to Statten Island,
from which we had a lovely view of New York, its surroundings, and
the whole harbour. To-morrow we are to go for three nights to
Washington, returning here to start westwards on Monday, though
everybody tells us we are going too early in the year. The spring
in Manitoba has been very late. A----, writing on the 26th of
April, says they are just starting work, but cannot do much at
present on account of the water from the melted snow not having
run off. The rivers have broken up. The Red River carried away one
of the two bridges at Winnipeg. He happened to be in town at the
time, and although he didn't see the bridge go, saw it afterwards
and the jam. The ice was blocked for about a mile above, tumbling
all over the place, making the river rise about ten feet an hour,
washing out all the neighbouring houses. It lasted about ten
hours, then crash it all went, floating quietly down the stream,
the water receding at the same time. There has been so much snow
this year, which makes everything backward; but it has all gone in
a week. It must be quite marvellous how quickly it disappears, as,
going from one farm to the other, distance about seven miles,
starting at 4 o'clock A.M. with the thermometer showing twenty
degrees of frost, when the sun got up it was so hot he, A----,
couldn't get back. Next morning, starting equally early, he only
travelled two miles; the snow was so soft the horses sank at every
step above their knees. He was trying to take a sledge-load of hay
over to his "Boyd" farm. The cattle there having run very short
lately, they even had to take some of the thatching, which was of
hay, off the roof of the stable to feed the animals. We may have
difficulty in getting up to Winnipeg, as the railroad is washed
away within about eighty miles of the place, and the passengers
are transferred to a steamer, which takes them twenty miles to
another train. There was a fear of famine in Winnipeg, as no
provisions could be got up. Lots of emigrants, when they saw the
water, turned back. Good-night, we have packing to do to be off
early in the tug which takes us over to Jersey city to catch our
train to Washington at 10 o'clock on the Pennsylvanian Railway.
The Commodore's son, who is home on leave, goes with us, and we
have many introductions. We are bidden to a reception at the White
House, and have been vainly endeavouring to get into some of our
hostess's smart gowns; but, alas! they are all too short, so we
shall have to be content with our own black foulards.

        *       *       *       *       *

RIGG'S HOUSE, WASHINGTON, May 2nd.

We had our first experience of drawing-room cars coming down here,
with very comfortable arm-chairs, and one seems to do the journey
of 200 miles easily, in about six hours, through very pretty
country. I never saw such people as Americans for advertising; all
along the line, on every available post or rail, you see, "Chew
Globe Tobacco," "Sun Stove Polish," &c.

We enjoyed the reception at the White House. Our invitation was
from 8 to 10 o'clock P.M.: we arrived before the doors were open,
and had to wait some few minutes in the entrance, which is glazed
in, and where the drums of our ears were sorely tried by a noisy
military band, which when you get into the rooms and at a distance
sounded well, but not just alongside. After depositing our cloaks,
we filed by two and two past the President, shaking hands with him
and the wife of the Secretary of State, who receives when there is
no Mrs. President, and then wandered through the six remaining
rooms, being introduced to several people as Mrs. H---- of
England, and Miss W---- of England, which we thought would not
convey much to their minds excepting that we were two very un-smart
Englishwomen; though we were much consoled about our clothes
which did not look so peculiar, every sort of costume being worn,
even to bonnets. No refreshments are given, so that we were glad
that supper was included in the "Menu du jour" at our Hotel.

I shall not pretend to describe Washington to you. Any guide-book
would give a more satisfactory account, but it is much more my
idea of a city of the New World; the streets are well paved, are
nice and broad; then the houses are generally standing in their
own grounds, with trees and flowers; altogether it may be called
an "elegant" city. The people were most kind and civil to us. One
afternoon we made two "cabinet" calls on ministers, but the other
afternoon we went for a drive across the Potomac to Arlington, the
ancestral place of the Lees, which was confiscated after the war
and is now a soldier's burying-ground. It has an exquisite view
across the river. The only thing that distressed us was the
bearing-reins on the nice little pair of chesnuts in the buggy.
The reins are crossed over their nose, passed between the ears,
and fastened tight to the saddle, which forces the head right back
and nearly saws the mouth in two. We never rested until we had
loosened them, which was supposed to be the reason why the horses
broke in their trot afterwards, as they were supposed to require a
support.

The weather has been quite delightful, bright sunny days but not
hot; and if only the houses and hotels were not kept at such a
suffocating temperature, we should be very happy both in and out
of doors. The artificial heat has completely knocked us up in
Brooklyn. We had a lovely big room with a large bay window besides
another window, where we often retired for a blow of fresh air;
the result has been that we both have had bad crying colds.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHICAGO, May 11th.

We are now half way to Manitoba, and have really done the journey
thus far so easily that it seems nothing of a drag; and if it
wasn't for the Atlantic, A---- would not seem to be at the end of
the world, which we fancied whilst in England.

We left Brooklyn on Wednesday morning, very sorry to part from the
Commodore and his family, who have been most kind and friendly,
trying their best to make us feel at home. Unfortunately, having
only just got the appointment and lately taken up their residence
at the Navy Yard, they could do no entertaining. Anyhow, we have
had a very pleasant insight into the home life of America, which
differs in small ways a good deal from ours, and in character,
habits, and everything there is a widish gulf between the two
races.

Our train here was a splendid one, stopping only about sixteen
times, and doing the nine hundred miles in thirty-six hours. We
had a section in the Pullman, which makes a double seat facing
each other by day, and at night the two seats are converted into a
bed, with the second bed pulled down from the roof, on which
mattresses, blankets, and sheets are all arranged with a
projecting board at the head and foot, and a curtain in front, so
that one is quite private, and we slept like tops. We had also a
dining-car on, where every luxury of the season, to strawberries
and cream, were served by the blackest of niggers in the whitest
of garments, for the sum of a dollar a head per meal.

Only fancy our delight, after leaving Harrisburgh about 3 o'clock
in the afternoon, to find friends in the train, people from an
adjoining county in England who knew all our friends, and with
whom we had much in common. I need hardly tell you that we did
"chin" it until our ways parted at this station, they going to the
Grand Pacific, we to the Treemont which had been recommended to us
as being a quieter hotel for ladies alone.

Men make these hotels their club, where they smoke and lounge all
day; but as there is a second door for ladies, one is not bothered
in any way unless you want to go to the office for information.

We are astonished at the enormous piles of buildings in this city;
land, one would think, must be cheap. All the shops cover an
equally large area, though, in many, several offices are on one
floor. It is too marvellous to think, when one looks at this
place, that three and a half square miles in the centre of the
town, which is now in regular handsome broad streets, the fire of
eleven years ago should have so completely burnt everything to the
ground, though now not a vestige of the conflagration is left. The
houses have even had time to get quite blackened with the smoke of
the soft coal they use, which is found in great quantities all
through Pennsylvania; the mines and furnaces we passed on our way
up.

The country the whole way was very pretty. We crossed the
Susquehana river, which is grand in width and scenery, and started
the Juanita through a chain of mountains turning in and out with
every bend of the river, so that one felt always on the slant and
could generally see either end of the train. Unfortunately it
poured with rain the whole way, so any distant views or tops of
mountains were invisible. Some of the country is like England,
undulating, rolling, well-cultivated fields, enclosed with
pailings which overlap each other and would be awkwardish
obstacles in a hunting country; but one misses, like abroad, the
cattle--we saw one or two stray cows, but little else. Around
Chicago it is a flat plain, and, as there has been a good deal of
rain lately, water is out everywhere. For the last hour of our
journey we came through the suburbs, and, as there is no
protection whatsoever to the line, we had to come very slowly
(about seven miles an hour), ringing a great bell attached to the
engine to announce our arrival, as children, cows, vans, &c. go
along the line in the most promiscuous way; it is extraordinary
that more accidents do not happen. By law, I believe, the train
ought to go very slowly wherever lines cross each other; anyhow
they must ring the bell, the result being that the bells seem
going all day when you are anywhere near the station. We were
given introductions to one or two people here, one gentleman
putting himself at our disposal to show us "around straight away;"
and we visited the principal shops, streets, park, which is land
reclaimed from the lake, and the tramways, which are worked with a
pulley from a centre about six miles off. A Chinaman in San
Francisco was once heard to describe the said tramways as "No
horsey, no steamy, go helly."

The weather has, unfortunately, been wet and much against sight-
seeing, the streets in consequence are too indescribably dirty,
mud inches deep, and everyone is so busy making money that they
have not time to pull up those who are responsible and insist on
the streets being cleaned, though the money is yearly voted by the
municipality, and generally supposed to be pocketed by the
authorities. We leave this to-night for St. Paul, much impressed
on the whole with Chicago. There are one or two more sights I
should like to have seen, such as the two tunnels under the river,
but I fancy one leaks and the other is unusable for some other
reason. I should also have liked to have been to one of the
Niggers' revival meetings; but not to the pork manufactory, where
pigs go in alive, are killed and cured ready for exportation in
less than twenty minutes. Our friends went there this morning, and
the descriptions they gave were not particularly inviting. The
lady hadn't been able to touch a mouthful of food all day
afterwards, and declared it would be years before she could eat
pork. I also have been dying to see a house on the move, but had
to content myself with looking at a large brick house, which not
three years ago had been moved back 150 yards bodily. Chicago is
getting too old a city, and ground is too expensive, for people to
be able to change the sites of their houses when the fancy takes
them; in St. Paul or Winnipeg we may have the satisfaction of
meeting one coming down the street.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MERCHANT'S HOTEL, ST. PAUL, May 16.

We left Chicago Friday night for this place at about 9 o'clock,
and, thanks to a letter of recommendation to the conductor, two
lower berths were assigned to us, and we even had the privilege of
not having the uppers pulled down. It is a curious regulation in
the Pullman cars, that should the upper not be tenanted it must be
opened or else paid for by the occupant of the lower; so unless
one takes a whole section one is bound to have a great board just
above one's head, which in nine cases out of ten prevents our
sitting up in bed, and one never can have much ventilation.

We were awoke earlier on Saturday morning than we either of us
quite appreciated, to be in time for breakfast at La Crosse at 7
o'clock. La Crosse is a large settlement of sawmills on the banks
of the Mississippi, for cutting up the wood brought down by the
curiously flat-bottomed steamers worked by a paddle in stern the
same width as the boat, and which push innumerable rafts of wood
before them. We saw several of these steamers, and were detained
for a long time on the bridge which crosses the Mississippi, said
to be a mile and a quarter long, whilst the farther end of it was
drawn aside to allow of two steamers passing through. Our railroad
skirted the banks of the river, and we were very excited at seeing
an Indian and his squaw in a canoe going down stream. The
conductor of the car conversed with us a good deal the whole way,
was most anxious to know all about our comings and goings, and
told us he would be glad to "learn the train by which we returned,
as no ladies would ever be allowed to leave Manitoba."
Unfortunately we took his advice about the hotels in this place,
and on arriving came to the wrong inn. This one is the most
frequented, being close to the station, but certainly is not as
pleasant, either as regards company or situation, as the other,
the Metropolitan. We found one of our fellow Atlantic passengers
at the last-named, and I never saw anyone so genuinely glad to see
friends. He is one of the three men we told you about, who have
invested in thirteen thousand acres in Minnesota. He is down here
trying to hurry the contractors who are to build their houses and
stables at Warren; also to buy farming implements and lumber. His
horses and mules he intends buying at St. Louis. He gives a most
vivid account of all the roughing they have under gone. They are
living in a small way-side inn, nine men in one room with no
furniture. One of them managed one night to get hold of a
stretcher in lieu of a bed, and just as he was settling down to
his first beauty-sleep a carter came and told him to move on, as
the stretcher was his. He suggested that as we are to pass Warren
we should pay them a visit on our way up; that he would take up a
tent and furniture, besides provisions; but I do not think it
sounds inviting enough, as, though I do believe we should do the
community a good turn, besides the pleasure of our company, they
would have a tent and a few luxuries after our departure, instead
of feeding, as they daily do, on beans and bacon, living in a
filthy hotel and having had nothing to wash in until they bought
themselves a bucket. Last night, just after we had gone to bed, a
loud knock was made at our door, and a man asked "if we intended
getting up to-night," at which we were furious; but he persisted
in the most determined way in questioning us as to whether "it
wasn't Mrs. H----'s room," and we had time to get more than angry
before we recognised A----'s voice and simultaneously both jumped
out of bed to receive him, _en deshabille_. It is very nice
of him coming all this way, four hundred miles, to meet us. He
looks much the same as ever, only as brown as a berry from the
reflection of a fortnight's sun on the snow. He is wonderfully
cheery, seems glad to see us, has so many questions to ask of you
all, and swears by the healthiness of the Canadian climate and the
life they lead at the farm. We are none of us ever to be sick or
sorry again!

We have been a long drive to-day, starting at 11 o'clock, and only
back just in time to do our last packing, send off this letter,
and dine before we go on to Winnipeg at about 7 o'clock. We drove
across a bridge on the Missouri to Fort Snelldon, a miniature
Aldershot, with huts and tents, and a beautiful stretch of grass
for manoeuvres or galloping, on to the Minhaha Falls, where, we
stayed some time gazing and admiring and even walking under the
falls. The volume of water falling seemed extraordinary, but was
completely eclipsed by the falls of St. Anthony at Minneopolis,
which we saw later. The latter originally fell perpendicularly;
but to utilise them for the enormous saw-mills built at the
water's edge they have been under-planked, so that the water goes
down in a slant. We were most fascinated by the sight, and watched
the torrent from various points of view.

Minneopolis is much like other Western towns we have seen, semi-
detached houses standing in their own grounds, the grass in many
instances well kept, but utterly destitute of flowers, which one
misses so much. This place, St. Paul's, is beautifully situated,
built on both sides of the river, the banks of which are very
steep. Good-night; in twenty-four hours more we hope to be at our
destination in the far North-west. But we are not to go out
immediately to the farm, as we are arriving rather earlier than
A---- expected, and the men who have been living with him all the
winter cannot turn out before Friday to make room for us; so we
are to stay in Winnipeg for a day or two.

       *       *       *       *       *

WINNIPEG, May 18th.

Here we are, and we do feel ourselves really landed in the far
North, after a most prosperous journey the whole way. We arrived
"quite on time" last night, rather an unusual thing with these
trains, particularly since the floods, when the passengers were
dependent on the steamer, we saw yesterday as we passed high and
dry on the prairie, which had to convey them from one train to
another across the floods close to St. Vincent.

O the prairie! I cannot describe to you our first impression. Its
vastness, dreariness, and loneliness is appalling. Very little is
under cultivation between this and St. Paul, so that only a house
here and there breaks the line of horizon. There are a few cotton
and aspen trees along the Red River Valley, but with that
exception the landscape for the last fifteen hours' travelling has
been like the sea on a very smooth day, without a beginning or an
end.

We were met at the station here by one of A----'s friends, who
drove us out about a mile and a half from the town across the
Assiniboine over a suspension bridge built exactly opposite the
old Fort Garry, and somewhere close to the spot where our first
English pioneers must have landed from the river steamer some
twelve years ago to a very comfortable house belonging to another
mutual friend, a dear kind old gentleman whose wife and daughter
being away has placed the whole house at our disposal until we can
get out to the farm, which we find is sixteen miles off.

It will be very difficult to describe everything to you. To begin
with, the depot or station presented a curious appearance, such
crowds of men loafing about with apparently no other object but to
watch the new arrivals; so different to English stations where
everyone seems in a hurry either coming or going. And then the
roads we had to drive along defy description. The inches (no other
word) of mud, and the holes which nearly capsize one at every
turn. Even down Main Street the roads are not stoned or paved in
any way. We bumped a good deal in our carriage, and for
consolation at any worse bumping than usual were told, "This is
nothing, wait until you get stuck in a mud-hole out west." Then
our route, thanks to the floods which have been very bad this year
and are still out enormously--the upper floors of two-storied
houses only being visible in many places,--was most intricate. We
had to be pioneered over a ditch into a wood, supposed to be
cleared, with the stumps of trees left sticking about six inches
out of the ground for your wheels to pass over, on to a track, and
then through a potato garden to the house.

We were quite ready for our supper, it being about 8 o'clock when
we got here; and the food at Glyndon, where we stopped twenty
minutes in the middle of the day to "put away" the contents of
sixteen dishes of some various mess or another, had not been of
the most inviting of meals; and though the chops here were the
size of a small leg of mutton and had the longest bones I ever
saw, hunger was the best of appetisers, and we did credit to our
meal, which had been cooked by our host.

This morning we were awoke by the same kind person depositing a
can of water at our door for our baths. He gets up very early, as
he has to fetch the water, milk the cow, feed the calf, etc., all
before breakfast and starting off for his office.

There is a man-servant here who gets 5 to 6 pounds a month, apparently
to do nothing, as he is the only one on the premises who can
afford to be idle and smoke his pipe of peace; but servants are so
difficult to get in this country, and our host being on the move,
having got a better Government appointment at Perth, is anxious
not to change now, so, like everybody else, puts up with anything.
The last servant they had in this house was the son of a colonel
in the English Army, who was described as "a nice boy but very
lazy"; but this man-servant hasn't even the recommendation of
being nice. He was out at the farm working for his board and
lodging, and no wages for some months, but A---- could not stand
his idleness.

We all had to cook our breakfasts this morning, and as everyone
was, by way of helping, either making toast, poaching the eggs,
cooking hunks of bacon, or mending up the fire, the stove was
pronounced much too small. The moment we had finished our meal we
had to retire upstairs and make the beds and tidy up a little; a
half-breed woman living about half-a-mile off is supposed to come
in for an hour and wash up and clean the house, but if it is bad
weather she is unable to get through the mud; therefore when the
ladies of the establishment are away the house is left a good deal
to its own devices, the dust and cobwebs not often disturbed.

       *       *       *       *       *

C---- FARM, May 21st.

Our last letter to you was written with the first impression of
our colonist life whilst in Winnipeg, where we had a very good
insight of the way English people will rough it when they come
out. It would horrify our farmers to have to do what gentlemen do
out here. They are all their own servants. That lazy servant in
Winnipeg, we were told, gave notice to leave, because one night he
was requested to keep the kitchen fire in so that we might have a
kettle of hot water when we went to bed.

We spent as little time as we could at our suburban residence, so
as to save him any extra trouble, always lunching and sometimes
dining in Winnipeg; and though all the restaurants are bad, still
the food was almost as good as what we cooked ourselves. Our chief
mistake for our first meals was that we put everything on the fire
at the same time, and, funnily enough, our fish boiled quicker
than the sausages, and they again much quicker than the pudding.
Once there was a bread-and-butter one, about which there has been
a good deal of chaff, as it was supposed to be first cousin to
bread-and-milk!

The weather was very bad, constant rain, and we had a fair specimen of
Winnipeg mud. To these buckboards (which is a buggy with a board
behind for luggage), or to any of the carriages, there are no wings to
protect one from the mud, so that we always came in bespattered all
over, a great trial to our clothes. But in spite of the rain and bad
weather we were determined to come out here on Friday. We hired a
democrat, a light waggon with two seats, and started during the
afternoon in the rain, hoping it might clear which it eventually did
when we were about a third of our way. It was awfully cold, and the
jolting of the carriage over the prairie so fearful that our wraps
were always falling off. I had always understood the prairie was so
beautifully smooth to drive over; but found it much resembling an
English arable field thrown out of cultivation, with innumerable
mole-hills and badger-holes, and natural cracks about an inch wide,
which drain the water off into the marshes. If your carriage is
heavily weighted it runs pretty easy; but woe betide you if driving by
yourself--you bump up and down like a pea on a shovel.

We nearly upset, shortly after leaving Winnipeg, as a house was on
the move, or, more properly speaking, had been, as it was stuck in
a mud-hole; a load of hay, trying to get round it, had stuck as well;
and the only place given us to pass was fearfully on the slant down to
a deepish dyke, into which a buggy had already capsized. We caught the
first glimpse of our future home eight miles off, the house and
stables looking like three small specks on the horizon. It is very
difficult to judge distances on the prairie, and the nearer we seemed
to get to our destination the further the houses were removed. The
farm had an imposing appearance as we drove up to it. Mr. B----, who
met us at the gate, was most anxious that on arrival we should be
driven to the front door and not to the kitchen one, which, being the
nearest, is the handiest. He, poor man, has given up his bed and
dressing-room to us, and we find ourselves very comfortable.

       *       *       *       *       *

C---- FARM, May 24.

The two young men, Messrs. H---- and L----, who inhabit a tent
about two miles from here, and who are building themselves a
stable, are going into Winnipeg to-morrow for more lumber; and as
I don't know when I shall have another opportunity of sending
letters in, I send you a few lines. These two men have been living
with A---- all the winter, and only turned out for us the day we
arrived. It was such bad weather they hoped and speculated on our
not coming; so that when we were seen in the distance there was a
general stampede to clear out. I must say I should have been very
loth to turn out, during this cold weather, of a comfortable house
into a tent, and, had I been they, should have wished us somewhere. We
have already had a taste of the cold in these regions. Friday, when we
drove out here, was bad enough; but on Saturday, when E---- and A----
went into town again to take our carriage back, they were nearly
frozen with the biting wind and sleet they had to face the whole of
the sixteen miles home. On Sunday the thermometer was down to 22, or
ten degrees of frost, with a bitter north-west wind, and we had an
inch of snow on the ground; and though the sun melted most of it, the
thermometer at night went down again to 24. I don't think I ever felt
so cold in bed, in spite of a ton weight of clothes. Luckily the
stoves are still up in the house--in summer they are generally put
away in the warehouse to give them room--so that we have been able to
make a light both night and day. We are told the weather is most
unusual; anyhow, it is mighty cold. Those poor men in the tent
have suffered a good deal; one night the pegs to the windward
gave, and the snow drifted against their beds as high as their
pillows. They luckily have got a stove, but are obliged to leave
their door open to allow of the pipe going out; unfortunately they
have no extra tin or iron to put on the canvas round the pipe,
which is the usual way to prevent it catching fire.

To describe our life here will take some doing, and, after the
novelty has worn off, it will not amuse us quite so much; nor
shall we be so keen of helping our Abigail, who is the wife of the
carpenter and maid-of-all-work, in everything, excepting that she
must always have a great deal to do for a large household like
ours, consisting of four men and our two selves, and we shall
always want employment, and I don't think we shall either of us
care to ride or drive much.

We have fallen into it (the life) wonderfully quickly; completely
sunk the lady and become sort of maids-of-all-work. Our day begins
soon after 6 o'clock by laying the breakfast, skimming the cream,
whilst our woman is frying bacon and making the porridge for the
breakfast at 6.30. Mr. B---- and A---- are out by 5 o'clock, in
order to water, feed, and harness their horses all ready to go out
at 7 o'clock, when we get rid of all the men. We then make the
beds, help in the washing-up, clean the knives, and this morning I
undertook the dinner, and washed out some of the clothes, as we
have not been able to find a towel, duster, or glass-cloth, whilst
Mrs. G---- cleaned out the dining-room. The dirt of the house is,
to our minds, appalling; but as Mrs. G---- only arrived a few days
before we did, and all the winter the four men were what is called
in this country "baching it" (from bachelor), namely, having to do
everything for themselves, it is, perhaps, not surprising that the
floors are rather dirty and that there is a little dust. The
weather is much against our cleaning, as the mud sticks to the
boots and, do what you will, it is almost impossible to get it
off; not that the men seem to have thought much about it, as,
until we arrived and suggested it, there was no scraper to either
door. Poor Mr. B---- was rather hurt in his feelings this morning
on expressing some lament at the late sharp frosts, that all his
cabbages would be killed, when we said that it was a pity he had
sown them out of doors, as he might almost have grown them on the
dining-room carpet. He also amuses us by lamenting that he did so
much cleaning and washed the floors so often; he might just as
well have left it until we arrived. Our time is well filled up
until dinner, at 12.30, at which we have such ravenous appetites,
we are told, no profits made on the farm will pay our keep. At
half-past 1 when the men turn out again, we generally go out with
them, and some out-door occupation is found for us; either driving
the waggons or any other odd jobs. There is a lot of hay littered
about, and that has to be stacked; also the waste straw or rubbish
which is burnt, and the fires have to be made up. Three-quarters
of an hour before either dinner or supper (the latter meal is
about half-past 6) a flag, the Union Jack, is hoisted at the end
of the farther stable--if neither A---- nor Mr. B---- is about, we
undertake to do it--to call the men in; and they declare the horses
see the flag as soon as they do and stop directly. The class of horse
here is certainly not remarkable for its good looks; but they are
hard, plucky little beasts, and curiously quiet. The long winter makes
them, as well as all the other animals, feel a dependence upon man,
and they become unusually tame. The cows, cats, and everything follow
the men about everywhere. They used to have to keep the kitchen door
shut to prevent one of the cows walking in. A---- has got a jolly old
cat who follows him like a dog, sleeps on his bed, and sits next to
him at meals. Mr. B---- has a dear colley with whom he carries on long
conversations, particularly on the subject of the coolness of the
morning and the water in his bath; so you see we have plenty of animal
life about. The men at the tent have a black water-spaniel, which
greatly prefers our fare and warm house to the tent, so is nearly
always here.

       *       *       *       *       *

May 25th.

We over-slept ourselves this morning, it being a dull day and no
sun to wake us up, so that it was past 6 before any of us made our
appearance. The way we work here would rejoice Uncle F----'s heart
and amaze some of our farmers' wives and daughters. My advice to
all emigrants is to leave their pride to the care of their
families at home before they start, and, like ourselves, put their
hand to everything. We have had some funny experiences; but for
all our hard work we get no kudos or praise, it is all taken as a
matter of course. I would not live in such a place for worlds, but
while it lasts it is great fun; and I think we have done good by
coming out, if only to mend up all the old rags belonging to these
four men. We were much in want of dusters, etc., the first days,
and were told that when the three months' wash which was in
Winnipeg returned we should find everything we wanted, instead of
which there was a fine display of torn under-linen, and stockings
by the dozens, which we have been doing our best to patch up and
darn, but no house linen. We shall do as much washing as we
possibly can manage at home, I expect, as the prices are so
fearful, to say nothing of the inconvenience of being ages without
one's linen. I will just quote a few of the prices from our bill
of the Winnipeg Steam Laundry. Shirts 15 cents, night ditto 10
cents, vests and pants 25 to 50 cents, blankets 50 cents,
counterpanes 35 cents, table-cloths 15 to 35 cents, sheets 10
cents, pillow-slips 5 to 15 cents, night-dresses 15 cents to 1
dollar, petticoats 30 cents to 1 dollar, etc., everything in
proportion. We thought one dollar per dozen all round was
exorbitant, but when hardly anything is less than eightpence (as a
cent, according to the exchange, is more than a halfpenny) it
seems ruinous.

We get 4 dollars 80 cents only for the sovereign here, being
tenpence short of the five dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

May 28th.

Our weather is improving, to-day has been lovely; but alas! with
the warmth have come the mosquitoes. I don't believe you will ever
see us again; they (the mosquitoes) bite so fearfully, even in the
day-time, that they will devour us up entirely. A---- is having
wire coverings made for the doors and windows; but, unfortunately,
owing to the floods after the melting of the snow, all the stores
which ought to have arrived in Winnipeg a month ago have been
delayed, and the shops are very short of goods of all sorts and
kinds. There are said to be 4,000 cars with provisions, etc.
between this and St. Paul. A---- and I spent an afternoon at the
other farm, "Boyd," which he rents of a Mr. Boyd, three thousand
acres for 40 pounds a year. It is covered with low brushwood with a
few trees here and there, and a good deal of marsh, and therefore
unfit for cultivation, so they keep it entirely for their cattle
and for the cutting of hay in summer. It is a much prettier place
than this, the house being surrounded by trees, whereas here we
haven't one within seven miles, though last year they did their
best and planted nearly five hundred round the house as avenues to
the drive; but only a few survived the drought of last autumn and
severe cold of winter, the rest are represented by dead sticks. We
tried to see the cattle at Boyd's, but they were away feeding on
the marsh and could only be looked at from a distance, as we
neither of us felt inclined to run the chance of being bogged or
of wetting our feet.

In coming home we called at the tent, and I was surprised to find
how quickly Messrs. H---- and L---- were building their stable,
which is to be large enough to hold two stalls and a room beyond,
which, when they have a house, will make a good loose-box; but for
the time being they intend to live in, either sleeping in the loft
or tent.

To build a house or stable is not very difficult; but with no
carpenter or experienced man to help it wants a certain amount of
ingenuity. You lay out your foundation by putting thick pieces of
oak called "sills" on the ground in the shape of your house. In
town these "sills" are nailed to posts which have been driven
eight feet into the ground; but on the prairie are simply laid on
the flat; on to the sills come the joists, planks 2 x 6 placed on
edge across, two feet apart. Then the uprights, which stand on the
sills two feet apart, form the walls. To these you nail rough
boards on each side, with a layer of tar-paper in between if
building a stable; if a dwelling-house, on the inside you put
against your rough board, laths, and then plaster, on the outside
the tar-paper and siding.

The floor is made by nailing rough boards on the joists, then
tar-paper, and on the top of that tongued and grooved wood fitting
into each other, to make it air-tight.

The roofs, which are almost always pointed on account of the snow,
are composed of rafter 2 x 4, two to three feet apart, with rough
boards across, then tar-paper and shingles; the latter are thin,
flat pieces of wood laid on to overlap each other.

We send you a small sketch of our buildings, which will give you a
better idea of these "frame" houses than any description. They can
be bought ready-made at Chicago, and are sent up with every piece
numbered, so that you have no difficulty in putting them together
again.

Our own house is twenty-four feet square with a lean-to as
kitchen. The dining and drawing-rooms are each twelve feet square,
separated by sliding-doors; A----'s bedroom, the entrance-hall,
and stair-case dividing the remainder of the house. Our front-door
is not quite in the centre; but, thanks to the verandah, one does
not perceive it. Above, looking due south, we have a bed-room,
dressing-room, and large cupboard for our clothes. There are two
other rooms at the back for the men.

The other house is for the labourers, of whom there are eleven, with
a woman as cook, the wife of one of them; it is also for a warehouse,
where all the spare implements and stores are kept.

Besides these houses we have two good stables, one holding
fourteen horses, the other the remaining six (also the cows, pigs,
and chickens during the winter); piggeries; and last, but not
least, my chicken-house. A---- has presented me with a dozen hens,
for which he had to pay thirteen dollars, which with the seven old
ones are my special charge, and are an immense amusement and
occupation.

His farm here, as he has other land elsewhere besides the Boyd
Farm, consists of 480 acres; half of one section and a fourth of
another.

All the surveyed country in the North-west Territory has been
divided into townships thirty-six square miles, and they again
into sections of a mile square, which are marked out by the
surveyors with earth mounds thrown up (at the four corners) in the
form of right-angled pyramids, with a post about three feet high
stuck in the centre. The mounds are six feet square, with a square
hole on each side. To the marking of sections a similar mound is
erected, only of smaller dimensions.

The sections are numbered as shown by the following diagram:--

                  N
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
   | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 |
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
   | 30 | 29 | 28 | 27 | 26 | 25 |
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
   | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 |
 W +----+----+----+----+----+----+ E
   | 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 |
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
   |  7 |  8 |  9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
   |  6 |  5 |  4 |  3 |  2 |  1 |
   +----+----+----+----+----+----+
                  S


The Townships are numbered in regular order northerly from the
International Boundary line or 49th parallel of latitude, and lie
in ranges numbered east and west from a certain meridian line,
drawn northerly from the said 49th parallel, from a point ten
miles or thereabouts westward of Pembina.

When the Government took over the territory from the Hudson Bay
Company in 1870, two entire sections in every fifth township and
one and three-quarters in every other, were assigned to the
Company as compensation. There were also two sections reserved as
endowment to public education, and are called School Lands, and
held by the minister of the Interior, and can only be sold by
public auction.

The same was done for the half-breeds; 240 acres were allotted to
them in every parish. Their farms are mostly on the rivers, along
the banks of which all the early settlers congregated; and to give
each claimant his iota the farms had to be cut up into long strips
of four miles long by four hundred yards wide.

On every section-line running north and south and to every
alternate running east and west nine feet, or one chain, is left
for roads. Our farm-buildings are not quite in the centre of the
estate, on account of having to make the drive up to the house
beyond the marsh on the eastern boundary.

I have drawn you a plan of the farm; the spaces covered with
little dots are the marshes: the one on the west extends for
miles, and has a creek or dyke dug out by Government to carry off
the water. From the drawing it looks as if there was much marsh
around us; but this bit of ground was the driest that could be
found not already taken up. As it was, A---- purchased it of a man
who has some more land nearer Winnipeg, giving him five dollars
per acre. The Nos. 30 and 31 mean the sections of the townships.

For emigrants wishing to secure a "homestead," which is a grant of
160 acres given by Government free, with the exception of an
office-fee, amounting to ten dollars on all the even-numbered
sections of a town-ship, he will now have to travel much further
west, as every acre around Winnipeg is already secured, and has in
the last two years risen most considerably in value.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad Company, which was given by Government
25,000,000 acres, besides the 25,000,000 dollars to make the line
across the country from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to the Rockies,
sell their land (which is on odd-numbered sections of every township
for twenty-four miles on each side of the track, with the exception of
the two sections, 11 and 29, reserved for school-lands) for two
dollars fifty cents, or ten shillings per acre, to be paid by
instalments, giving a rebate of one dollar twenty-five cents, or five
shillings per acre, if the land is brought into cultivation within the
three or five years after purchase.

A man occupying a "homestead" is exempt from seizure for debt,
also his ordinary furniture, tools, and farm implements in use,
one cow, two oxen, one horse, four sheep, two pigs, and food for
the same for thirty days; and his land cultivated, provided it is
not more than the 160 acres; also his house, stables, barns and
fences; so that if a man has bad luck, he has a chance of
recovering his misfortunes.

In one of your letters you ask if a poor man coming out as labourer,
and perhaps eventually taking up land as a homestead or otherwise,
would encounter many difficulties. I fancy not, as both the English
and Canadian Governments are affording every facility to emigrants,
who can get through tickets from London, Liverpool, or Ireland at even
a lower rate than the ordinary steerage passenger. They can have
themselves and their families booked all the way, the fares varying
from nine pounds five to the twenty-eight pounds paid by the saloon.

On board ship the steerage have to find their own bedding and
certain utensils for use; otherwise everything else is provided,
and, I am told, the food is both good and plenty of it. Regular
authorised officers of the Dominion Government are stationed at
all the principal places in Canada, to furnish information on
arrival. They will also receive and forward money and letters; and
everyone should be warned and put on their guard against the
fictitious agents and rogues that infest every place, who try to
persuade the new-comers into purchase of lands or higher rates of
wage.

We heard the other day of an English gentlemen being taken in by
one of these scoundrels, and giving a lot of money for land which
on examination proved to be worthless. Luckily for him, there was
some flaw in his agreement, and his purchase was cancelled. Men
who intend buying land should be in no great hurry about their
investments; the banks give a fair percentage on deposits, and it
is always so much more satisfactory to look around before
settling.

E---- has been very busy arranging the garden; a most fatiguing
process, as she has to cart all her own sods to make a foundation
and then heap soil on to them; but having brought a quantity of seeds
from England she feels bound to sow them, and hopes they will make a
grand show later on, and the place quite gay. You should have seen the
beam of delight which shone on the countenance of a stranger who had
come out from Winnipeg for the night, when on arrival he was
immediately pressed into E----'s service to carry water for these said
seeds. The temperature is now at 64 degrees, and, as things grow as if
by magic, we hope they  will soon put in an appearance. Oats planted
only a week ago are now an inch above ground. We have had a nice
breeze the last two or three days, so that the mosquitoes have not
worried us so much.

The prettiest things to see here are the prairie fires at night.
The grass is burnt in spring and autumn so as to kill off the old
tufts and allow of the new shoots growing for hay. The fires look
like one long streak of quivering flame, the forked tips of which
flash and quiver in the horizon, magnified by refraction, and on a
dark night are lovely. In the day-time one only sees volumes of
smoke which break the monotony of the landscape, though I don't
know that it is picturesque. With a slight breeze the fires spread
in a marvellous way, even at the rate of eight or nine miles an
hour. The other day A---- and Mr. H----, whilst putting up their
tent, did not perceive how near a fire they themselves had lighted
at some distance was getting, until it was upon them. They then
had to seize hold of everything, pull up the tent pegs as best
they could, and make a rush through the flames, singeing their
clothes and boots a good deal.

The pastures on the burnt prairie are good the whole summer, and
animals will always select them in preference to any other. The
wild ponies, be the snow in winter ever so deep, by pawing it
away, subsist on these young shoots and leaves of grasses, which
are very nutritious and apparently suffer little by the frost,
which only kills the upper leaves but does not injure what is
below. The mirage is also very curious; the air is so clear that
one often sees reflected, some way above the horizon, objects like
the river, trees, and even the town of Winnipeg, which we could
not otherwise see; we could actually one evening, at sunset,
distinguish the gas-lights.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sunday.

This is a real day of rest, and the men really do deserve it. We
all have a respite, as regards breakfast, it being at 9 o'clock
instead of 6.30; and do we not appreciate the extra forty winks!
The whole day is spent more or less in loafing, we having no regular
church nearer than Winnipeg, sixteen miles, though an occasional
service is given at Headingley, eight miles off. The men lie stretched
on the straw-heaps in the yard, basking and snoozing in the sun. We
generally have some stray man out from Winnipeg, and are much struck
with the coolness of their ways. Colonial manners, somehow, jar a good
deal on one; they take it quite as a matter of course that we ladies
should wait on them at table, and attend to their bodily comforts. On
the other hand, they never seem to object to any accommodation they
get, and are perfectly satisfied with the drawing-room sofa for a bed,
even with sheets taken out of the dirty linen bag, which has been once
or twice the case when our supply has run short. I don't object to
their coming, only that our Sunday dinners have to be in proportion,
and as all our provisions come out from Winnipeg it is rather
difficult catering. We have no outside larder or anywhere to keep our
meat and butter, so have instituted a lovely one by putting all our
things down the well, which is nearly dry and is under the kitchen
floor. In winter there is never any need of a larder, as the meat is
frozen so hard that it has to be twelve hours in the kitchen before
they can attempt to cook it.

Our food is very good and we have the best of all receipts,
ravenous appetites for every meal. Our breakfast consists of
porridge, bacon, and any cold meat, jam, and any quantity of
excellent butter and bread. Dinner, a hot joint and a pudding of
some sort, finishing up with coffee. Supper, much the same. We
have coffee for every meal, and, as the pot is always on the hob,
anybody can have a cup when they like. The men have about two cups
apiece before breakfast when they first get up. We never mind any
amount of coffee, but wage war against the cocktails, taken before
meals as appetisers. A cocktail is a horrid concoction of whisky,
bitters, sugar and water, which are all mixed together with a
"swidel" stick, which stick is always on the wander and for which
a search has to be made. Nipping is too much in vogue in this
country, but we are told that a lot of support is wanted, the air
is so rarefied and the water has so much alkali in it, and
therefore not supposed to be healthy, but it is most beautifully
clear and delightfully cold to drink.

It certainly does disagree with the horses and cattle when first
imported into the district.

       *       *       *       *       *

June 3rd.

If you happen to know of anybody coming out here, and so many do, and
you would like to give A---- a present, I wish you would kindly send
him a few table-cloths, dusters, towels, and pairs of sheets; in short
any linen would be most acceptable as we are so short. How these men
managed when the linen went into Winnipeg to be washed, and was
sometimes kept a month ere it came home, is a mystery. These extra men
living in the house have none. They facetiously describe their ideas
of dirt by saying, if the table-cloth, however filthy it might look,
when flung against the wall didn't stick, it went on for another week;
if it stuck, was then and there consigned to the dirty-linen bag.

Since we have been here we have instituted a weekly wash, every
Monday and Tuesday. E---- and Mrs. G---- preside at the tub all
day, and even then our sheets and towels often run short.

Every colonist ought to provide himself with two pairs of sheets,
half a dozen towels, two table-cloths, and a few dusters; and as
those things and his wearing apparel, if in use six months
previously, are allowed into the country free of duty, they might
as well bring them over as everything of that sort in Winnipeg is
so fearfully dear I do not like buying anything there. We sent for
some unbleached calico the other day, worth twopence-halfpenny;
was charged twelve cents or sixpence a yard. Besides the four
yards of calico there were ten of bed-ticking, also ten of
American cloth; and the bill was six dollars seventy cents, nearly
seven-and-twenty shillings. Everything is equally dear, the demand
is so much greater than the supply. Beef is tenpence to
thirteenpence a pound, mutton about the same, bacon tenpence, pork
tenpence, chickens four and twopence each. We use a good deal of
tinned corned beef; and very good it is, it makes into such
excellent hashes and curries and is so good for breakfast.

A---- also wants a pair of long porpoise-hide waterproof boots
sending out; they are quite an essential, as after the heavy rains
water stands inches deep in our yards, and he has so much walking
into the marshes. In the spring, when the snow has melted, the
"sloughs" or mudholes along all the tracks and across the prairie
are so deep that horses and waggons are repeatedly stuck in them,
and the men have to go in, often up to their waist, to help the
poor animals out. The only way sometimes to get waggons out is to
unhitch the horses, getting them on to firm ground, and by means
of a long chain or ropes fastened to the poles, pull the waggons
out which as a rule have previously had to be unloaded. The
clothes these men wear are indescribable. A---- at the present
moment is in a blue flannel shirt, a waistcoat, the back of which
we are always threatening to renew. Inexpressibles somewhat
spotty, darned, and torn, and, thanks to one or two washings, have
shrunk, displaying a pair of boots which have not seen a blacking-
brush since the day they left England. Coats are put on for meals,
to do honour to the ladies, but seldom worn otherwise. The coarser
and stronger the clothes are the better. A----'s straw hat is also
very lovely, it serves periodically for a mark to shoot at with
the rifle on Sunday mornings, or when company come out from town.
We both of us feel much like our old nurse when we are doing our
mendings, cutting up one set of old rags to patch another; but
thanks to ammonia and hot irons, we flatter ourselves we make them
almost look respectable again.

There is a half-breed called L'Esperance who lives about eight
miles from here, on the banks of the Assiniboine; and one of our
neighbours telling us the other day he had several buffalo robes
to sell, we drove over to inspect them, and saw some real beauties
for ten or twelve dollars; at the Hudson Bay stores, in town, they
ask sixteen for them. L'Esperance himself wasn't at home when we
got there; but his wife, a fine, tall woman, speaking a peculiar
French patois, showed us "around," also the pemmicain, which is
buffalo-meat pounded, dried, and pressed into bags of skins, it
keeping good for years in that way. It looked nasty, but the
children were chewing it apparently with great relish. Whilst in
the shanty we heard a great noise, and, running out, found our
horse, which had either taken right or been stung by some fly,
tearing past us with the buggy through the old lady's potato-field
into the bush. E---- tore after it, and in a few hundred yards
came up to the horse standing trembling, and gazing at the shattered
remains of our poor vehicle. He had tried to turn the corner, when
the whole thing capsized topsy-turvy, and he had almost freed
himself of all the harness; luckily he was considerate enough not
to have given that "one more struggle" which would have indeed
settled the whole question, and obliged us to foot it on our ten
toes home. Curiously enough the shafts were not broken, but the
splinter-bar was. There was quite a procession back to the shanty,
the half-breed woman and one girl dragging the buggy, one child
carrying the cushion, another the whip and wraps, and E---- leading
the horse. We set to work to make good the damage as best we
could, with thin strips of buffalo-hide, and started homewards;
but without buying our robes, not daring to add to our weight. The
man at the ferry-boat gave us an extra binding up, and by going
cautiously we got home, though we feared every moment would be our
last, as regards driving, as the bound-up parts creaked most
ominously all the way, and we fully expected at every rough bit to
go in half. The horse is generally so quiet that we never mind
where we leave him standing. I luckily have just given A---- a new
carriage, which will come in very handy. It is to be a "democrat,"
double seats, and one long enough to be able to carry luggage.
These small buggies are beautifully light, but will carry next to
nothing; and we always have difficulty in accommodating all our
parcels every time we come out of Winnipeg.

       *       *       *       *       *

June 6th.

A waggon is going into town to-morrow to fetch a sulky and a gang-
plough, and some potatoes for seeding; and we hope a few also of
the latter for eating, as hitherto our only vegetables have been
white beans and rice. You may be wondering what these ploughs are:
a sulky is a single-furrowed sixteen inch plough, to which are
harnessed three horses, a man riding on a small seat and driving
them instead of walking; and a "gang" is a two-furrowed twelve-
inch plough, and drawn by four to six horses, and which will break
over four acres a day; the sulky about three. A---- has had one
for some time, but as yet only the deep ploughing or backsetting
of last year's breaking has been going on, and until the seeding
and harrowing is finished, which ought to have been done before
now, but this year has been delayed by the lateness of the spring,
and the snow being so long in melting, no fresh breaking has been
begun.

There are still about two hundred and eighty acres to break, or, more
properly speaking, two hundred and forty, as forty acres are in marsh,
in which water stands so deep no cultivation would be possible,
though, later on, the marshes yield beautiful crops of hay; rather
coarse-looking stuff, but undeniably nutritious, and not distasteful
to either horses or beast. It has often been speculated as to whether
there was any means of draining the marshes, but, owing to the extreme
level character of the country, you could get no fall, and tiles would
not do on account of the severity of the frosts, which penetrate
deeper into the ground than the drains could be carried. The
Government have cut good-sized ditches at right angles to the river,
and they are found to be the only practical drainage which is
feasible, and, when once cut and the water set running, have no
tendency to fill up, but gradually wear deeper and broader, so that in
time they almost become small rivers. We have one running through our
west marsh, and on a bye-day we sometimes fish in it for pike; not
that any of our party have been successful, but some of our neighbours
catch fish, and very fair-sized ones.

The land is wonderfully rich and good. A black loam (which colour is
no doubt due, partly, to the gradual accumulation of the charred
grasses left by prairie fires), of about two feet in depth, with a
clay and sandy sub-soil, and in which, they say, they will be able to
grow cereals for the next twenty years, without manure or its
deteriorating; though if there was only time to do it before the snow
falls, it seems a pity not to put the manure on to the land instead of
burning it, as they do at the present moment. Perhaps when all the
land is broken, which they hope will be by the end of next summer,
they won't be so pushed for work as they are.

The ground here requires a great deal of cultivation. It is first
of all broken with a fourteen or sixteen inch plough, so shaped
that it turns the sod over as flat as possible, generally from the
depth of two to two-and-a-half inches deep, the shallower the
better, and then left to rot with the sun and rain for two months
and a half.

It has often been tried, and with very good results, to put in a
crop of oats on the first breaking, sowing broadcast and turning a
very thin sod over them; and the sod pulverizes and decomposes
under the influence of a growing crop quite as effectually as if
only turned over and left to itself. There are also fewer weeds,
which is of importance, as it often happens that the weeds which
grow soon after the breaking are as difficult to subdue as the
sod. If the soil is nice and soft a man and team of horses will
break an acre and a half a day, and average throughout the season
an acre. The breaking goes on until the middle of July, and the
end of August the "backsetting" begins, which is ploughing the
same ground over again about two inches deeper.

The following spring the harrows (which are "disc" of a peculiar
shape, twelve to eighteen razor-wheels on an axle, and in going
round cut through and break any sods), are run over repeatedly
both before and after the seeding; the ground is also rolled and
then left, and for the two-and-a-half bushels of oats or two
bushels of wheat-seed per acre, hopes for a grand return being
always entertained.

By some experts late autumn sowing is strongly advocated, as,
during the fall, owing to the dryness of the atmosphere, there is
scarcely any growth; so that the grain sown late cannot germinate,
nor can it absorb water or rain enough to rot it, the winters
being so dry. And when the first days of spring come the snow
melts, the starch of the seed has changed to grape-sugar, and
begins to germinate; so that the young plants will in no way be
damaged by subsequent droughts, nor by the frosts which sometimes
come after heavy rains in August and much injure the crops. At the
present moment we are craving for rain, and should the crops not
be as plentiful this year as expected, on account of the drought,
I should feel much inclined to try autumn sowing.

Before the prairie is broken, the turf is very tough, and requires
a great deal of force to break it; but when once turned the
subsequent ploughings are easy.

Our chief difficulty and trouble are the stones; they generally
lie just beneath the surface, differing very much in size. Some
are huge and have to be regularly trenched round and horses
harnessed to a chain put round them to raise them out of the
ground; when they are put on to the stone-boat and conveyed to the
boundary fence. It generally falls to E----'s and my special lot
to drive the stone-boat or the waggons, whilst the men with
crowbars and spades go before the ploughs clearing them all away,
for fear they may blunt the shares and throw them out of the
furrow.

The last two or three days, when not stone-picking, A---- and Mr.
B---- have been stretching the barb-wire with which they are
enclosing the property; and there has been great chaff about our
"Jehuship." The wooden posts along which the wire is run are put
in the ground, and they then have to be rammed down with a
fearfully heavy wooden mallet, which I can hardly lift. To get
purchase on the mallet A---- mounts into the waggon, which
accordingly has to be driven quite close up to the post without
touching it.

The two old mares we drive are more than difficult to turn or stop
to a nicety, the result being that once I went too near and broke
off a piece of the waggon. Another time, after a corner-post had
been driven in most securely with props, E---- drove up against
it, taking the whole concern away bodily.

The weather is quite delightful, no mosquitoes as yet to speak of;
but the two big marshes on either side of the farm harbour them
dreadfully.

Wild duck also abound in these marshes; there are thousands about,
and we have found many nests and been revelling in the eggs, a
delightful change to our regular _menu_. The nests are very
difficult to find; we two went one afternoon in the buggy to look
for some, and the men declare we looked in the marshes themselves
for them, which was not certainly the fact; though after driving
round all the outsides, and not having been warned that the marsh
on the eastern boundary of the farm was very deep, we came home
that way, not at all liking the water coming up to the axle-trees
and the horse floundering about at every step. To turn back was as
bad as to go on, and as we saw wheel-tracks along the fence we
stuck to them, thanking our stars when we got through safely.

       *       *       *       *       *

June 12th.

We have had a real visitor lately--I mean one who has brought a
change, and a toothbrush; and for the auspicious event we rigged
him up a stretcher bed, the most comfortable of things, canvas
stretched on to a wooden frame, with a mattress on the top. You
could not wish for anything softer. He was one of our ocean
companions; his nickname of Mike still sticks to him. On getting
to Winnipeg at night he had great difficulty in finding our
whereabouts; even at the Club he was told the only W---- known
kept a store in Main Street. Luckily from the Club he went to
A----'s livery stable, which is exactly behind it, where a man
offered to drive him out forthwith, having driven another man here
only four days ago; but he preferred waiting till the morning,
getting here somewhere about 9 o'clock, when he was set down
immediately to work to stone the raisins for a plum cake, and when
tired of that had to help A---- planting potatoes. He declares he
never will come here with his best clothes and a "boiled" shirt on
again, as we have worked him so hard.

The accounts he gives, in an exaggerated Irish brogue, of his
experiences in Minnesota have kept us in fits of laughter. The
description of their first drive, when both he and his companions
were all bogged; and how that twenty-seven mules and twenty-eight
horses bought at St. Louis all arrived one night at the station
about 5 o'clock, after sixty hours' travelling with no food or
water, had to be unloaded from the cars, and they hadn't a halter
or even a rope to do it with. Eventually they got all the poor
beasts into a yard with wooden pailing round, but, something
startling them, they made a rush, the fence gave way, for which
damage the proprietor charged them ten pounds, and all galloped
straight on to the prairie, and it took the men all night getting
them together again. One pair of horses disappeared altogether;
but were brought back when a reward of thirty dollars was offered;
they had wandered nineteen miles.

Mike slept in A----'s room. They talked so much, and told so many
funny stories, that we despaired of ever getting them down to
breakfast; Mike declaring he would like to bring his bed along
with him, as he hadn't slept in one, or been between sheets since
leaving New York, six weeks previously. We drove him over one
afternoon to fish in the creek about two and a half miles off; but
as we had to go in a light waggon, and with only one spring seat,
both Mike and A---- had to hang on behind, with a plank as seat,
which was always slipping and landing them on their backs at the
bottom of the waggon. When we were about half a mile from home
E---- made a wager that she would get through the wire fence and
home across the prairie before we could get round and the horses
be in their stable. We had a most exciting race; the gates, which
are only poles run from one end of the wire to another, were a
great impediment, and I believe it was really a dead heat, through
all the labourers entering into the joke and rushing to unhitch the
horses, which were disappearing into the stable as E---- was at
the kitchen-door.

I fancy that on the whole, in spite of his hard work, Mike enjoyed
his visit, not only for the pleasure of our society, but as he had
never seen a piece of meat, nor anything but pork and beans and
bad coffee at Warren, nor had a bed to lie on, nor as much water
as could be held in a tea-cup to wash in; he must have felt he had
dropped into a land of Goshen by some happy mistake.

To give you a clearer insight into our daily life, and as I have
nothing really to write about this week, I think I cannot do
better than copy out our journals, which we try to keep regularly,
though in our monotonous every-day life it is sometimes difficult
to find incidents to chronicle.

_Monday_.--Wash and cook all the morning; E---- and A---- plant
willows in the marsh during the afternoon. I wander about the prairie
in search of a duck's nest I saw yesterday and thought I had marked;
but the tracks, stones, and ridges on the prairie are so alike, that
it is almost impossible to remember any place; anyhow, I cannot find
the nest. I could not take it yesterday, as I was riding, and the
animal will not stand still to let you mount, and had I had to
scramble up on to her I should certainly have broken all the eggs I
took. An exhausting day with a hot wind blowing; we are craving for
rain, and thankful for the slight showers that fell during last night.
It is marvellous how quickly vegetation will grow. Some sample wheat
planted in the garden, of which there was no sign yesterday, thanks to
the rain and sun has grown quite an inch by 6 o'clock this evening.
The grass is beginning to look so green and nice.

_Tuesday_.--E---- and Mrs. G---- finish their wash which they could
not get through yesterday. I go up to the tent, with Mr. H---- to
drive his waggon, and help to unlumber the wood he brought out
yesterday from Winnipeg. Riding on these waggons loaded, and
without a spring seat, is anything but pleasant over the prairie,
but Mr. H---- is so accustomed to it now that he can stretch
himself on the top and sleep soundly; and once or twice, coming
out from town, has found himself in quite the wrong direction by
allowing the horses to go their own way.

E---- and I spend our afternoon cleaning up the tent.

_Wednesday_.--A---- and I drive into Winnipeg. We have had various
commissions to do, and A---- had to attend a meeting at the Club. Mr.
W. H---- has most amiably put his house, consisting of two rooms and a
kitchen below, at our disposal whenever we want to rest; so I spent my
whole afternoon there, nominally reading the "St. James's Gazette,"
but, I fancy, indulging in "forty winks" whilst waiting for A----. We
afterward dined with the judge in his very nice pretty house called
"The Willows," driving home later. The cold was so great that A----,
who had brought no great-coat, was forced to run behind the buggy some
way to get warm and produce circulation. The prairie fires quite
lovely, on all sides, quivering high flames for miles, and the night
being dark, they looked very bright.

_Thursday_.--Was so tired after my day in town that I breakfasted in
bed; disgraceful! By the time I get down the family have all dispersed
to their various works. After dinner E---- and I drive a waggon over
to the Boyd Farm to fetch oats for Mr. H----. The students, who
haven't much to do, are enlisted into the filling and loading of the
sacks; rather glad, we fancy, of some occupation. On our return we
found a friend of Mr. B----'s, who, having heard of our proximity, he
living at Headingley, has come over to dine and sleep. Our "parlour"
sofa, as usual, is called into requisition. It will soon be worn out,
so many sleep on it. I think last week it was occupied nearly every
night.

_Friday_.--We have had very smart company to-day, as the judge, his
wife, niece, and another man came over. We hoped they would star to
dinner, and had "killed fatted calf"; but I fancy the ladies dreaded
the prairie by night, and insisted upon returning--we could hardly
persuade them to take a cup of tea--fearing that they might be
benighted.

_Saturday_.--Hard at work cleaning all the morning. Mr. B----'s friend
leaves after dinner, and I drive the mares in the waggons whilst the
men stretch the wire-fencing. E---- rides to the tent with letters. We
sustained rather a shock to our nerves to-day; about 12 o'clock a
buggy was seen coming towards the house just as we were sitting down
to dinner, and as our food was scanty we did not know how we possibly
could feed three extra men. Luckily they only came to enquire their
route to the tent, and it was a relief when they drove on; though we
felt we ought to have given them some food, as the tent could only
provide bacon and biscuits.

_Sunday_.--Mrs. G----, our factotum, has a holiday, and goes over with
some of the other labourers to spend the day at the other farm. E----
and I have to undertake the _menage_ for the whole day. Our mutton, a
leg, was very nicely done, also our vegetables, rice, and beans; but
the "evaporated" apples, which we use much, required boiling previous
to being put in a tart, which we neither of us knew. Therefore they
were not done, and the crust was all burst. The men from the tent, who
generally spend their Sundays here, were allowed some dinner, on
condition they washed up afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *

June 18.

I am afraid our letters will not be so interesting as the novelty
wears off: the monotony of our life may begin to pall upon us. We
hardly ever go two miles beyond the farm; to take our neighbours
at the tent their letters or parcels brought out from town, is
about the limit to our wanderings. We did drive one of the waggons
to our neighbour Mr. Boyle to fetch home some oats the other
night, and we also have been into town to pay our respects to the
Governor and his wife. We happily don't want much outside
attraction, for we have so much to do on the farm. The men work us
pretty hard, I can tell you; as, besides all our indoor work, we
have had three afternoons cutting potatoes for seed, until our
hands are too awful to look at, and the water is so hard that we
never shall get them a decent colour again. Some "white elephants"
potatoes, planted three weeks ago (thirty in number we cut into
420 pieces) already make a great show, and will want banking up
next week. About ten acres of ground close to the house have been
reserved and are called "the garden," in which have been planted
turnips, flax, beet-root, lettuce, tomatoes, and potatoes; in
short, all the luxuries of the season. But I am afraid none will
be ready before we leave, if we carry out our idea of going to
Colorado early in August.

We have been craving for rain, and at last, luckily, had a
delightful shower a few days ago, which has freshened us up and
will make things grow. There is no grass as yet above four inches
in height, and this time last year they were hay-making. The men
are beginning to fear there will be none; but with a little warm
weather and a certain amount of rain everything grows as if by
magic, so we may still hope to have a good season.

Only very few of the garden-seeds have made their appearance,
which is disappointing after all the trouble they were; but the
wild flowers are beginning to come out on the prairie, small
bushes of wild roses are all over; there are also very pretty
sunflowers, a tree maiden-hair, several different vetches,
sisters, yellow-daisies, &c.; many we cannot name, indigenous to
this country we conclude.

       *       *       *       *       *

June 26.

We quite feel as if we had been here years instead of about five
weeks; and though it was prophesied before we left England that,
after turning the house up-side down and making the men very
uncomfortable with our cleanings, we should then go on strike, it
has not been altogether fulfilled. We certainly did try to clean
up a bit, but we still help in housework, and have to do as the
servants at home. If we expect visitors, or on a Sunday, put on a
tidy gown; otherwise we generally live in the oldest of frocks
(which are more or less stained with either mud or the red paint
with which we have been painting the roofs of both the stable and
the labourers' house), very big aprons, sleeves to match, and our
sun-bonnets. E---- has concocted for herself a thin blue-and-white
shirt, and as she generally lives with her sleeves tucked up, her
arms are getting quite brown and sunburnt. Our boots are the only
things we do not much like cleaning, they get so soon dirty again;
and we have come to the happy conclusion that unblacked boots have
a "cachet" that blacked boots have not. When we first arrived the
men promised to do them for us every Sunday; which promises, like
so many, have partaken of the nature of pie-crusts.

We are both of us delighted to have come, the whole experience is
so new, and what we couldn't have realised in England; and I am
sure, in spite of the _bouleversement_ of the bachelor _regime_, it
is a great pleasure to the men we are here. Our Winnipeg acquaintances
tell us that A---- is quite a changed man, so cheery and even
bumptious, and that everything is now "What we do at the farm."

It is all very well, however, in the summer; if obliged to stay
through the winter, it would be quite another "pair of shoes." The
thermometer often registers forty degrees of frost, though the
effects of this extreme temperature in the dry exhilarating
atmosphere is not so unpleasant as might be imagined, but the
loneliness and dreariness of the prairie with two or three feet of
snow would be appalling. The cold is so great that you have to put
on a buffalo coat, cap, and gloves, before you can touch the stove
to light the fire, and notwithstanding the coal stove which is
always kept going in the hall to warm the up-stairs room (through
which the pipe is carried), the water in buckets standing
alongside gets frozen.

Then the blizzards, which are storms of sleet and snow driven with
a fierce wind, and so thick that it is quite impossible to get out
of doors, or see at all, would be too trying.

Even to get across the yard to the further stable the men have to
have a rope stretched as guide so as not to lose their way; and
these storms sometimes, as they did this last year, continue for
three weeks consecutively.

The snow on the prairie is never very deep, but it drifts a good
deal, and was to the depth of twelve feet on the west side of the
house.

No work can be done much in the winter on account of the cold and
snow, so that from the middle of April, when the snow begins to
go, until the beginning of October everything has to be rushed
through and as many hands put on as they can possibly get, who are
all discharged at the end of the summer and only two or three kept
to look after the animals. After threshing, these men have little
or nothing to do: digging out the well to water the horses,
teaming hay into the town on sleighs, and fetching timber over
from the other farm, is about their only outdoor occupation. All
the animals in the shape of horses, cows, pigs and chickens are
huddled together in the stables for warmth.

       *       *       *       *       *

July 5th.

We have received our letters most unexpectedly to-day; two of our
gentlemen coming out last night from town brought sundry parcels,
newspapers, etc., but never thought of turning round to see if all
was safe in back of carriage, declaring it was such rough driving
they could only think of how to hang on and not be jolted out, so
that by the time they got home, letters, a horse-collar, spare
cushions, etc. were all gone. It was too late to send after them;
but one of the men started back at 3:30 this morning, finding most
of the lost things strewn broadcast over the prairie, even to
within a short distance of Winnipeg. He went on to feed and bait
his horses, at the same time enquiring for letters, finding ours
just come in, and which would have lain there until our next
opportunity.

Our variety to-day has been the absence of our cook, and we are
again left in charge, and we flatter ourselves the dinner was
"immense." Stewed-beef, rice, mushrooms, (of which some were
rather burnt, others not quite done enough, but that is a trifle),
yorkshire pudding (baking-powder making an excellent substitute
for eggs), and an apple tart. What more could you want? We are
quite ambitious now, and have curries, rissoles, etc. A---- used
to say he hoped, we should not expect either him or his friends
to eat our dishes, as they would have to go to bed afterwards for
at least three or four hours; but they very much appreciate any
change made in the _menu_.

We are longing to make bread, which takes up a great deal of our
factotum's time, as it has to be set over night and kneaded three
or four times the following day; but are begged to defer that
amusement until within a few days of our departure, as it would so
entirely upset our American trip if we had to attend A----'s
obsequies. The bread is perfectly delicious, so light and so white
in colour. The flour is excellent. It is not made with brewers
yeast, but with a yeast gem dissolved in warm water, to which is
added a handful of dried hops boiled beforehand for about ten
minutes, and strained. To that is added a cupful of flour a
teaspoonful of salt, and one of sugar, and the whole is put into a
warm place to ferment; when fermented, which takes about twelve
hours, into a cool place, where it will remain good and sweet some
time.

_A Receipt for Bread-Making_.

Put ten large spoonfuls of flour in a breadpan, and add enough
warm water to make it into a thin batter, add half a pint of
yeast, mix well, and, having covered the bread-pan with a cloth,
put it in a warm place near the stove over night. During the night
it should rise and settle again. In the morning add enough flour
to make it in into a thick dough, and knead it on a bread-board
for ten minutes. Put it back into pan for two hours and let it
rise again. Grease your baking-tins, knead your dough again, and
then fill the tins half full, put them close to the stove to rise,
and when they have risen thoroughly, grease the tops of your
loaves with a little butter (preventing the crust breaking and
giving it a nice brown colour) and put them into the oven and bake
for an hour to an hour and a quarter.

As E---- had not Mrs. G---- to wash up with her, she enlisted one
of the men, and it was very funny to see him in a hat three times
too big for his head, pipe in his mouth, sleeves turned up, drying
the dishes and putting a polish on them. Talking of hats, E----
has at last got one and a half, it literally covers even her
shoulders, and at midday she declares she is as much in shade as
under a Japanese umbrella; for trimming a rope is coiled round the
crown, the only way to make it stay on the head. Of her gloves
there is only the traditional one left; the other is among the
various articles we have left on the prairie, bumped out of the
buggy one day when she took them off to take care of them in a
shower of rain.

That driving on the prairie is loathsome, but if we want to get
about at all we must do it, as we don't like the riding horses. At
the present moment we have got one of the plough animals, which is
rideable. The poor beast was frightened one night three weeks ago,
during a fearful storm of thunder and lightning, and ran into the
barb wire, wounding itself horridly on the shoulders and neck. The
skin had to be sewn up, and it cannot wear a collar for the
present so we have it to ride if we like. It is not a slug like
the other two.

The thunder-storms here are frightful; they are also very grand to
watch, as we can see them generally for miles before they come up.
We, luckily, have about ten lightning conductors on the houses and
stables, so that we feel safe. A thunder-bolt fell pretty near the
other day, destroying about six posts and the wire of our north
fence. Thanks to the rain we have lately had, and the warm sun, we
find such quantities of mushrooms all over the prairie. They grow
to such a size! We measured two, one was 21 1/2 inches round, the
other 21, very sweet and good, and as pink underneath as possible.
The labourers have been so pleased with them that last Sunday they
began picking and cooking them in early morning, going on with
relays more or less all day, so that by the evening they couldn't
look another in the face, and it will be some time before they
touch them again. We have them for every meal.

Our diaries here are more or less public property, and as we have
been nowhere or seen anything at all exciting since we last wrote,
I am going to copy down from the journals the incidents, if any,
of the last week. You seemed to appreciate it the last time we
sent you home a copy, but you must forgive if it is somewhat of a
repetition to our numerous letters. The weather, for one thing, is
daily chronicled, as it takes up much of our thoughts, so much in
the future depending on its being propitious just at this time of
year, when the seeds are all sown and the hay almost ready to cut.

_Tuesday_.--Beautiful day, so warm and nice, without being
hot; everything growing, too, marvellously; even the seeds in the
garden, which we began to despair of, are coming up.

The men have been very low, on account of the scarcity of rain;
but we have had one or two thunder-storms lately which, have done
good, and in this climate I do not think one ought ever to give up
hopes. E---- has been painting wild flowers, which at this moment
are in great profusion and variety all over the prairie, most of
the day, varying her work by painting the doors of the room, which
were such an ugly colour, a pale yellow green, that they have
offended our artistic eyes ever since we have been here. I am said
to have wasted my whole morning watching my two-days-old chickens,
supposed to be the acme of intelligence and precocity. The
afternoon was spent in shingling the hen-house. It was only roofed
over with tar-paper laid on to the rafters, which answers well if
the wind doesn't blow the paper about, or that it has not any
holes; but as the hen-house is only a lean-to of the stable, the
roof of which we have been very busily painting, it has been
trodden upon a good deal in getting on and off the roof, and, in
consequence, the paper is much like a sponge, letting any rain in,
and drenching the poor sitting fowls; but with the shingles
overlapping each other on the tar-paper, the roof, will be quite
water-tight.

_Wednesday_.--Our factotum has gone into town, and we are
left in charge, E---- parlour-maid, Mr. B---- scullery-man, and I
cook. We have heaps of mushrooms at every meal, a most agreeable
change to the rice and white beans we have only hitherto had.

_Thursday_.--Hot day. A---- went into town to some meeting at
the Club. We have been dreadfully tormented with mosquitoes today,
also the big "bull-dog" fly, which, whenever the kitchen door was
left ajar, came into the house in myriads; but we find that
Keating's powder most effectually destroys them, and in a very few
seconds. We have been busy making a mattress and pillow for Mr.
H----, really one does not realise how clever one is until our
genius is put to the test in an establishment like this. E---- and
I drove up to the tent after supper with our handiwork, and had
great pleasure in seeing it filled with hay. Our drive was not of
the most enviable: we had a waggon with no spring seat, only a
board, which was always moving, to sit upon; one horse would tear
along, the other not pull an ounce, in spite of applying the whip
a good deal, and we were nearly smothered with mosquitoes, I never
saw such clouds of them, and on our return home there was a
general rush for the bottle of ammonia, which is the only thing
that allays the irritation.

_Friday_.--Excitements have been crowding in upon us to-day.
Bob, one of the labourers, who went into Winnipeg yesterday, only
arrived home at 3 A.M. this morning. He left town at 6, but the
night being dark he lost his way, and finding himself on the edge
of a marsh, having a feed of oats with him, wisely unhitched his
horses, tied them to the wheels, and waited patiently for
daylight. Just as we were sitting down to dinner, three men who
have been surveying the Government ditch near here, came and
begged to be fed. Luckily we had soup and plenty of cold meat; but
our pudding--the less said about that the better. We always have
the evaporated apples as a stand by, and they are delicious; so
with quantities of butter and milk we never need starve.

Then in the evening, when Mr. B---- was going to the stable to
serve out the oats for the horses, he came in for the finish of an
exciting race between two of the plough horses. The jockeys or
riders were told forthwith that a waggon was going into town the
following morning, and that their services would be dispensed with
in future. Just as we were going to bed we heard A---- coming in,
and with him a stranger who turned out to be our cousin, only
fifteen days out from England, _via_ Canada. He looks very
delicate.

_Saturday_.--We had made no preparation for E. P---- last night, so he
had to occupy the "parlour" sofa, and says he slept like a top;
doubtlessly did not require much rocking, as he had travelled through
almost without stopping. We were busy all this morning writing letters
for the discharged miscreants to take into town. It has been very hot
and close all day. I, rode up to the tent, and hurried home, seeing a
thunder-storm coming up, which was grand; and it was very lucky that I
got home, as it began to rain at 3 o'clock, and is still pouring in
perfect torrents at 10 o'clock P.M.

_Sunday_.--The yard is in such a fearful state of dirt, and the water
standing inches deep, that it has been nearly impossible to move
beyond the door. I put on A----'s long waterproof boots, and managed
to get as far as my hen-house, and found two of my chickens dead.

Another sitting hen has been a source of great anxiety, as she
will peck her chicks to death as they hatch, and out of a sitting
of eleven eggs we have only been able to save five birds. A wet
Sunday hangs very heavily on our hands here, as there is nothing
to be done.

_Monday_.--Big wash as usual all the morning, and just as E---- and I
were to drive a waggon over to Mr. Boyle for some oats which required
fetching, we had quite a scare. A _lady_ and gentleman were seen to be
riding up. We both of us rushed up-stairs to put on some clean aprons
to do honour to our guests, who, with another man, also out from town,
remained the whole afternoon. We have never dined as many as nine
people in our vast apartments before, but we managed very nicely.

We have had heavy showers with a high wind, and the thermometer
down to 50 all the afternoon. We tried to persuade our lady
visitor to stay the night, A---- offering to give up his room; but
she persisted in going back, and, I am afraid, will have got very
wet, in spite of E---- lending her waterproof jacket.

_Tuesday_.--The household had a long turn in bed this morning,
Mr. B---- only getting down at about 7.15, when various things
were offered him to prop open his eye-lids when he did appear.

The weather has been slightly better than yesterday, but the wind
has been high, and it was really quite cold; varied by slight
showers of rain in the morning. In the afternoon we all made hay.
I worked my rake until my horse beat me by refusing to move in any
direction excepting homewards; and I had to call A----, who was
stone getting, to my rescue. He, with judicious chastisement in
the shape of a kick or so, made the horse work. E---- and E. P----
loaded hay. Thanks to the late rains the marshes were heavy, and
they very nearly stuck once or twice in going through them. There
were no mosquitoes, which was a blessing, but one is never
troubled with them in a high wind.

       *       *       *       *       *

July 9.

You should have seen A---- and his equipage start into Winnipeg
two days ago. He and the men from the tent had to go in and bring
out a waggon and the new "Cortland waggon" (my present), and they
had to take in the broken buggy to be mended. So they started with
a four-in-hand to their cart, the broken buggy tied on behind, and
another pair of horses behind that again. The buggy they say very
nearly capsized going over the bridge of the creek when near
Winnipeg, otherwise they got on beautifully; but it was a funny
arrangement altogether, and they seemed to cover a quarter of a
mile of ground as they left here. Winnipeg grows in a most
astonishing way; every time we go in, a new avenue or street seems
to have started up. Emigrants, they say, are coming in at the rate
of a hundred a day. A few years ago the population was about five
thousand, in 1878 about ten, now over forty thousand, a fourth of
whom are living under canvas.

It was estimated last winter that the building operations this
season would amount to four million dollars, but double that
amount is nearer the mark, and many are obliged to abandon the
idea of building on account of the difficulty of getting timber
and bricks. Every house or shanty is leased almost before it is
finished. Winnipeg, as you know, was formerly known as Fort Garry,
and one of the chief trading stations of the Hudson Bay Company.
Of the old fort, I am sorry to say, there is very little left, and
that is shortly to be swept away for the continuation of Main
Street. The Governor, now occupying the old house, is to have a
splendid building, which, with the Houses of Legislature, are in
the course of construction, rather farther away from the river.

The town is built at the confluence of two great rivers, the Red
and Assiniboine, the former rising in Minnesota, and flowing into
lake Winnipeg 150 miles north, navigable for 400 miles. The
Assiniboine has many steamers on it; but the navigation being more
difficult, the steamers often sticking on the rapids, it is not
much in vogue with emigrants going west, particularly now that the
railway takes them so much more rapidly.

There is a large suburb of the town the other side of the Red River
called St. Boniface face, the see of a Roman Catholic Archbishop;
possessing a beautiful cathedral and a great educational school for
young ladies; for some reason or other we never managed to get over
there to see it, though the cathedral is a grand landmark for a great
distance.

The railway traffic also is enormous. During the flood 4,000
freight waggons were delayed at St. Vincent; now they are coming
in at the rate of 4,000 per week, and still people cannot get
their implements, stores, &c. fast enough. We have asked several
times for some turpentine at one of the shops, and the answer
always given is, "It is at the depot, but not unloaded."

We have been wanting turpentine to mix with the brown paint with
which we are painting, the dining-room doors. But first of all the
paint fails, and then the turpentine, and I fully expect our
beautiful work of art will not be finished before we leave.

       *       *       *       *       *

July 12th.

It is very certain that no gentleman ought to come out to this
country, or, when here, can expect to prosper, unless he has some
capital, heaps of energy, and brains, or is quite prepared to sink
the gentleman and work as a common labourer.

The latter command the most wonderful wages, there is such a
demand for them that one can hardly pick and choose. A plough-boy
gets from four to six pounds a month, an experienced man from
eight to ten pounds, besides their board and lodging; a mechanic
or artisan from fourteen to sixteen shillings a day; women
servants are very scarce, they get from four to six pounds a
month. We were so astonished at the wages in New York; the head
gardener in the Navy Yard was receiving one hundred and fifty
pounds a year, his underling, seventy-five pounds, the groom one
hundred pounds. It is surprising to me that the whole of the
poorer classes in England and Ireland, hearing of these wages, do
not emigrate, particularly when now-a-days the steerage in the
passenger ships seems to be so comfortable, and that for about six
pounds they can be landed on this side of the Atlantic. We have
nine Britishers and two Canadians on this farm, and the amount of
ground broken up does everyone great credit, considering that the
whole place is only of a year and a half's growth. Since we
arrived we can mark rapid and visible strides towards completion.
The house has been banked up and grassed, a fence put to enclose
all the yard, and we have actually had the audacity to talk about
a tennis ground, which would take an immense deal of making, from
the unevenness of the soil. The water, having no real outflow,
makes itself little gullies everywhere, which would be very
difficult to fill up level; but I don't know that, until we are
acclimatized to the mosquitoes, said to be the happy result of a
second year's residence, that we should feel inclined to play
tennis, as we could only indulge in that diversion of an evening
when work was ended, and that is just the worst time for these
pests. They spoil all enjoyment, we never can sit out under the
verandah after supper which we should so like to do these warm
evenings. They bite through everything, and the present fashion of
tight sleeves to our gowns is a trial, as no stuffs, not even thin
dogskin, are proof against them, and our faces, arms, and just
above our boots are deplorable sights. Ammonia is; the only remedy
to allay the irritation. I am not drawing a long bow when I say
that in places the air is black with them.

The poor horses and cows are nearly maddened with them if turned
out to graze, and the moment the poles across the road are
withdrawn they gallop back into their stables. The mosquitoes are
great big yellow insects, about half an inch long.

The house and country at Boyd's farm is much prettier than this,
from the lot of trees round it, and the ground not being so flat;
but we wouldn't change for all the world, it is so stuffy, and the
flies and mosquitoes are much worse there than here, where we
catch the slightest breeze of wind, which always drives them away.
We were dreading making the hay in the marshes on account of them.

I do not think we shall suffer much from the heat, as nearly
always, even in the hottest part of the day, there is a breeze;
and as yet the nights are deliciously cool, we have never found
one blanket too much covering.

We talk of going an expedition up west next week, taking the
carriage and horses, and driving as far as Fort Ellice. I don't
know that we either of us look forward to the expedition very
much, as we fear we shall have to rough it too greatly; but, on
the other hand, it seems a pity not to see something more of the
country. There are hardly any inns or resting-places; the
accommodation may be fearful. We hear that about fourteen people
are lodged in one room as an ordinary rule. A---- has gone into
Winnipeg to make arrangements; and if he finds we cannot depend on
the inns, we shall take a tent, and camp by the towns, going in
for our meals to restaurants.

       *       *       *       *       *

 In the Train 200 miles West of Winnipeg, July 24, 1882.

As we seem to stop every two or three miles for some trifling
cause or another, I am in hopes I may get through a long, maybe
disjointed letter to post to you on our way through Winnipeg
to-night, which we wish to reach about 6 o'clock, giving us time to
drive out to the farm before it is quite dark. I told you we were
proposing a trip up North-west, and we really have had a most
successful journey. A---- has a friend, Manager of the Birtle Land
Company, who with others has bought up land, intends breaking so
many acres on each section and then reselling it, hoping thereby to
clear all expenses and make a lot of money besides; and as he had
to go up and look after the property, it was settled we should all
go together, and very glad we are that we did do it, though we have
had some very funny experiences. We are pleased to find that all
the North-west is not like the country around Winnipeg, so awfully
flat and without a tree; on the contrary we have been through
rolling prairie, almost hilly and very well wooded in places.

We started last Monday, the 18th, having got up at 4:15, which we
did not think so terribly early as we might have done before the
days we were accustomed to breakfast at half-past 6, but had even
then a terrible run for the train. We had had some heavy thunder
storms on the Sunday; and though we allowed two hours and three-
quarters, to do our sixteen miles into Winnipeg station, the roads
were so heavy, and the mud so sticky and deep, that we really
thought we should be taken up for cruelty to animals, hustling our
poor little mare. As it was, we arrived just in time to get into
the cars, our packages and bundles being thrown in after us as the
train was on the move. Luckily we managed to get all on board, and
found plenty of friends travelling west; one a Government
inspector, a most agreeable man, who has to certify and pass the
work done on the line before Government pays its share of the
expenses. He was telling us how he and two other men spent three
hours finding names for all the new stations along the line, and
could only think of three! The stations are placed at the distance
of eight to ten miles apart, and they are bound not to have any
name already taken up in Canada, so that for a railway extending
over three thousand miles to the Rocky Mountains names are a
difficulty. We did him the favour of writing out a few, taking all
the villages one was interested in in the "Ould Countrie," for
which attention he seemed much obliged, and has promised a time
table of the line with the nomenclature of its stations when
opened. They are building the Canadian Pacific at the rate of
twenty-five miles a week, and every available man is pressed into
the service, so that it is not so surprising the poor farmers
cannot find labour. The wages, two dollars to two-and-a-half a
day, are more than we can pay. There has not been much engineering
required or shown on this line, as we went up and down with the
waves of the prairies, had only two small cuttings between
Winnipeg and Brandon, three hundred miles, and were raised a few
feet above the marshes; but considering how fast they work and how
short a time they have been, it is creditably smooth.

We disembarked at a city called Brandon, which last year was
unheard of, two or three shanties and a few tents being all there
was to mark the place; now it has over three thousand inhabitants,
large saw-mills, shops, and pretentious two-storied hotels. We
found our carriage, which had been sent on two days previously,
waiting for us at the station, as we were to have driven on that
night to Rapid City; but, owing to the Manager not being able to
get through all his business, and his not liking to leave the two
labourers he had with him on the loose, for fear they should be
tempted by higher wages to go off with someone else, we decided to
remain that night at Brandon, and were not sorry to retire to bed
directly after dinner, about 8.30. We were given not a very
spacious apartment, the two double-beds filling up the whole of
it. In all the hotels we have been into, they put such enormous
beds in the smallest of space, I conclude speculating on four
people doubling up at a pinch. We luckily had brought some sheets;
the ones supplied looked as if they had been used many a time
since they had last been through the wash-tub. I cannot say we
slept well, chiefly, I think, owing to lively imaginations and the
continual noise of a town after the extreme quiet of the farm; and
as there was only a canvas partition between us and the two men,
who snored a lively duet, we had many things to lay the blame to.

We were on the move again about 5.30, intending to breakfast at
half-past 6, and start on our travels directly after; but somehow,
what with one thing and the other, the various packing away of our
different packages and parcels into our three waggons, it was past
8 o'clock before we got off.

We were rather amused at the expression at breakfast of our
waiting-maid when asked to bring some more bread and then tea. She
wanted much to learn if we had any more "side orders."

Alcoholic spirits are quite forbidden in this territory; to bring
a small keg of whisky and some claret with us we had to get a
permit from the Governor. I am afraid the inhabitants will have
spirits. The first man we met last night was certainly much the
worse for liquor; and though in our hotel there was no visible
bar, an ominous door in the back premises was always on the swing,
and a very strong odour of spirits emanated therefrom.

Our cavalcade, A---- and the Manager in the democrat, we two in a
buggy, and the two labourers with a man to drive in another
carriage, produced quite an imposing effect. We had to cross the
Assiniboine on a ferry, and then rose nearly all the way to Rapid
City, twenty-two miles, going through pretty country much wooded
and with hundreds of small lakes, favourite resorts of wild duck.
The flowers were in great profusion; but we saw no animals
anywhere, excepting a few chipmunks and gophirs, which are sort of
half-rats, half-squirrels. The chipmunks are dear little things
about the size of a mouse, with long bushy tails and a dark stripe
running the whole length of the body.

Rapid City is a flourishing little town of some fifty houses, and
is growing quickly. It is prettily situated on the banks of the
Little Saskatchewan, and has a picturesque wooden bridge thrown
over the river. We had lunch, picnic style, and a rest of two
hours. There was a large Indian camp just outside the town, and as
we sat sketching several Indians passed us. Their style of dress
is grotesque, to say the least of it; one man passed us in a tall
beaver hat, swallow-tail coat, variegated-coloured trousers,
mocassins, and a scarlet blanket hanging from his shoulder. The
long hair, which both men and women wear, looks as if a comb never
had passed near it, and gives them a very dirty appearance. They
all seemed affable, and gave us broad grins in return for our
salutes.

The Indian tribes on Canadian territory are the Blackfeet and
Piegans. The former used to number over ten thousand, but now are
comparatively few. The small-pox, which raged among them in 1870,
decimated their numbers; also alcohol, first introduced by
Americans who established themselves on Belly River, about 1866,
and in which they drove a roaring trade, as the Indians sacrificed
everything for this "fire-water," as they called it, and hundreds
died in consequence of exposure and famine, having neither clothes
to cover them nor horses nor weapons wherewith to hunt. Luckily in
1874 the mounted police put an entire end to this abominable sale
of whisky.

The Indian is naturally idle--to eat, smoke, and sleep is the sole
end of his life; though he will travel immense distances to fish
or hunt, which is the only occupation of the men, the women doing
all the rest, their condition being but little better than beasts
of burden. The Indian of the Plain subsists in winter on buffalo
dried and smoked; but in spring, when they resort to the
neighbourhood of the small lakes and streams, where innumerable
wild fowl abound, they have grand feasting on the birds and eggs.

The tribes living near the large lakes of Manitoba, Winnipeg, and
Winnipegosis have only fish as food, which they dry and pack for
winter use, and eat it raw and without salt--which sounds very
palatable?

When the Dominion Government obtained possession of the North-west
Territories, by the extinction of the Hudson Bay Company's title
in 1869, it allotted to the tribes inhabiting the country, on
their resigning all their claims to the land, several reserves, or
parcels of ground, which were of sufficient area to allow of one
square mile to every family of five persons. On these lands the
Indians are being taught to cultivate corn and roots. Implements,
seeds for sowing, and bullocks are given them, besides cows and
rations of meat and flour, until they are self-sustaining. They
are also allowed five dollars a head per annum, so that several
wives (polygamy being allowed) and children are looked upon as an
insured income by a man.

This treatment by Government has been very successful, and many
tribes are abandoning their precarious life of hunting.
Horsestealing in former days was looked upon by the young men as
an essential part of their education; but now the settler need be
in no dread of them, as they are peaceably inclined and kept in
check by the mounted police, a corps of whose services and pluck
all who have had any dealings with them cannot speak two highly.
The officers are men of tact and experience, and the corps numbers
about 500 strong. They move their head-quarters from fort to fort,
according to the movements of the Indians and the advance of
emigration.

On leaving Rapid City, we took a shorter track than what is
generally taken, thereby saving ourselves at least forty miles to
Birtle. Our first night, distance about twenty miles after
luncheon, we spent alongside of a small store-house on the Oak
River; we had passed some very comfortable-looking settlements
that afternoon, one, where we got information about our road,
belonging to a man called Shank, who had been settled about four
years, and had quite a homely-looking shanty covered with
creepers, and garden fenced in. At Oak River we had rather
speculated on getting both food and lodging; but when we found the
fare offered no better than ours, we decided to have our own
supper, getting the woman to boil us some water for our tea. We
also refused the lodging. The house was scrupulously clean, ditto
the woman, but we couldn't quite make up our minds to share the
only bedroom with her, her husband and two other men, one ill with
inflammation of the lungs, rejoicing in an awful cough, and rather
given to expectoration; so we had our first experience of real
camping out. Our tent was an A tent, just big enough to allow of
two people sleeping side by side; the only place to stand up in,
was exactly in the middle, but we arranged it very fairly
comfortably by putting some straw under our buffalo robes, and our
clothes as pillows. The men had to make their couch under the
carriage with whatever cloaks we didn't want, to keep the dew off
them; and by lighting a large "smudge" to keep off the mosquitoes,
we all slept pretty well, though Mother Earth is very unrelenting.
If, however, we wanted to change our position we were sure to
awake. The following morning, Tuesday, the men had a bathe in the
river, which we very much envied them; though, having brought our
india-rubber bath, and there being plenty of water handy, we did
very well. We were off again at 7 o'clock. Our breakfast bill of
fare not much varied from that of last night--tea, corned beef, ox
tongue, and bread and butter. The country through which we passed
was not so pretty as on Monday, with fewer trees. Our cavalcade
was increased by another man in his buggy, who was on his way to
Edmonton, and he travelled with us most of the day. Mid-day, after
eighteen miles, we came on a small settlement of four Canadians,
who were just finishing their dinner. They were very nice,
delighted to see ladies, placed the whole of their place at our
disposal, and though, of course, they could do but little for us,
we were not allowed to wash up our plates nor to draw our own
water. They had everything so tidy and nice, rough it was bound to
be. Like thousands of Canadians, they have taken up land, 240
acres apiece, and are working them together, with two yoke of oxen
and a pair of Indian ponies. Whilst we were resting, the Manager
drove on to find his farm; but as they have bought several
sections in different townships from the railway company, it was
difficult to find out on which section his men were working. The
only thing he knew was two of the numbers of the section and that
the Arrow river ran through the property. The Canadians told us
that Ford "Mackenzie," for which we had been steering all the
morning, was six miles further on; so that when we left them about
2 o'clock (amidst many expressions of regret; they repeated to us
several times how delighted they were seeing ladies, not having
seen a petticoat since they came up last spring), we had to wander
many a mile before finding either the ford or the farm. As it was,
we mistook the ford and had to cross and recross the river three
times, which we, in our buggy, didn't at all appreciate; the banks
were so steep we felt we might easily be pitched out.

At Mackenzie's Ford we found a wretched man who, having settled
here two years ago, and was getting on well, had last month
brought his wife and children up by steamer on the Assiniboine,
where they had caught diphtheria; two children had succumbed to
the disease, and his wife, he greatly feared, couldn't live. We
luckily had some whisky with us, and were glad to be able to give
him some, as the doctor had recommended stimulants to keep up the
poor woman's strength.

From him we heard where the Manager's camp really was, and reached
it, very tired, about 7 o'clock, to find everything in the most
fearful state of disorder and mismanagement; not even a well dug
to provide water for man or beast. The men had mutinied, ten of
them gone off, and only three and a woman as cook left; she had
known much better days, and was perfectly helpless and unable to
manage the stove or the cooking in a shed made of a few poles with
a tarpaulin thrown over.

A---- is the most splendid man; whatever difficulties there are he
makes light of them; and directly the horses had been unharnessed
he set to work to put our tent up and lay out our supper, which
was improved by the addition of some fried potatoes. Our table was
the spring seat of the waggon, our seats the boxes; the stores
have come in, or our bundle of rugs; and though the ground was
harder to sleep on, as we had no straw under our buffalo-robe,
still we got a fair amount of rest at night. Two very pretty
Italian greyhounds we had brought up with us kept our feet warm,
as it was quite chilly, the dews being very heavy. The men were
horribly disturbed all night by the mosquitoes, which were in
myriads. No smoke of the smudges really keeps them off, though it
stupifies and bothers them a good deal.

On Wednesday, contrary to expectation, we got some water to wash
with, the Manager having had a hole dug. Water is so easily
procured with digging, and at no great depth, that there is no
excuse for not having it in abundance. We then spent our morning,
whilst the men were going over the various sections, in trying to
teach the woman to, cook, making biscuits, which were not a
success, mending clothes, and writing up our diaries; so that the
time flew all too quickly.

We drove on twenty-two miles in the afternoon, and, being all down
wind, were pestered with mosquitoes and most fearfully bitten.

The country much the same as the previous day, very little taken
up; but the wild flowers lovely. We counted forty-two different
specimens; those yellow orchids you are so proud of at home, also
red tiger-lilies, phloxes, and endless other varieties. Birtle,
another mushroom town, looked so pretty and picturesque as we came
down upon it, by the evening light, situated in a deep gorge much
wooded on the Birdtail-Creek.

You would have laughed to see us arrive at what we thought our
destination--a nice house on the top of the opposite hill
belonging to a friend of the Manager's, where we were to be
hospitably entertained. The house was locked up, but that was no
obstacle; we forced the windows open, and whilst A---- put the
horses up, the Manager went down the hill for water, I foraged for
eatables, E---- for wood to light the fire, and we very shortly
afterwards sat down to a very fair meal; our neighbours' bacon and
tea, but our own bread. Luckily a Winnipeg lady, hearing of our
arrival, came up to offer her services in the shape of food or
lodging; the latter we two gladly accepted, instead of pitching
our tent outside the house, which was already full, three
bachelors living there and our two men intending steeping between
the walls, _coute que coule_. The house we spent our night in
was a log one, and though unpapered, looked very comfortable, and
was prettily hung round with Japanese fans and scrolls, and
various photographs. We had a funny little canvas partition in the
roof allotted to us; but were not particular, and did great credit
to our feather bed.

And how excellent our breakfast was next morning, porridge and
eggs; we hardly knew when to stop eating. We started early to Fort
Ellice, one of the Hudson Bay forts, hoping to find the steamer on
the Assiniboine to take us back to Winnipeg; but unfortunately it
had stuck on the rapids. So after waiting twenty-four hours at the
fort, we determined to drive down to the end of the Canadian
Pacific Railway, and so home. The old fort is very little altered
from what it used to be, surrounded by its wooden pailings, and
having a store on the left side of the entrance gate, where all
the Indians come to make their purchases in cotton-goods and
groceries in exchange for their blankets, moccassins, or furs. The
Assiniboine we crossed just before getting to the fort, on a
ferry. It is a grand winding river with fearfully steep banks, 380
feet almost straight up, which was a pull for our horses, the
tracks being very, bad, and not well engineered, going perpendicularly
up the hill. Mr. Macdonald is the "boss" at the fort, and had known
two of our friends who were up here several years ago.

There is a Lincolnshire man farming on a large scale settled not
very far away from the fort; but we had neither time nor
inclination to go further north. We hoped against hope that the
steamer might get up, but on Saturday gave it up as useless, and
settled to drive towards Gophir Ferry, trying to find a friend
who, when out at C---- Farm, told us he was living on section xxvii
by 13, and near two creeks. For the first five miles our road lay
along the Beaver Creek, which was pretty; but afterwards the
scenery much resembled Winnipeg, flat and uninteresting, not a
tree, and without even the beautiful vegetation and flowers we had
had on our previous drives. We had to stop several times to look
at the section-posts, it was quite an excitement to mark every new
number we came to. Our road took us pretty straight to the Mouse
Mountain trail; but at a shanty being advised to leave the track
and go straight over the prairie, we overshot the tents we were in
search of by a short distance.

Our friend had not returned from Winnipeg, but we made ourselves
quite at home, pitching our tent alongside of his men's. He had
four Englishmen working for him, two of them were tenant-farmers
at home; one man, who had been out two years, had had a large farm
near King's Lynn, and has taken up a section close by; but as he
bought his land too late in the spring to do anything to it;
beyond hoping to build himself a shanty before the winter set in,
he is working for our friend, who has 2,000 acres. Another of the
men was a newly-arrived emigrant; he and his three children were
nearly devoured by mosquitoes, and were most grateful for some
concoction we gave them to allay the irritation. He had been quite
a "gent" in his own country, but bad times and alcohol I had been
too much for him. I don't think he at all relished the work he had
to do, ploughing with oxen all day, &c. They plough almost
entirely with oxen up in this country. The oxen are easier to
feed, and don't suffer so much from the alkali in the water. But
most of the Englishmen when they first get out here dislike using
them, they are so slow; and I should agree with them.

A great many new-comers find the ways and means difficult to
conform to, and would give a good deal to go back; but after they
have been out a year or two they drop into fresh habits and seem
to like the life.

On Sunday we started late, for two reasons. The horses which had
been very restless all night, driven mad by the mosquitoes, could
not be found, having wandered over the brow of the hill to the
river edge, to catch the slight breeze blowing; and secondly we
thought we would have a rest, and did nothing but regret it all
day, as the heat, was fearful, and as we went down wind the
mosquitoes were ditto. Also we got into camp very late at Flat
Creek, where we had hoped to find a freight train, to get on as
tax as Brandon, whereas we had to camp close to a marsh just
outside the city--the "city" comprising a cistern to provide the
engines of the train with water and half a dozen tents all stuck
on the marsh. We were rather amused by the name of one lodging
tent, "The Unique Hotel"; in other words, beds were divided off by
curtains, so that you were quite private!

We pitched our tent on the highest spot we could find; but the
mosquitoes, to accommodate us, left the marshes and came in
perfect myriads around us. We lit smudges on all sides, but as
there was hardly a breath of air the smoke went heavenwards, and
consequently we had to sit almost into them and could hardly see
to eat for the denseness of smoke. Query, which was the worst, the
evil or the cure? That last night was the most uncomfortable of
the whole lot, and I don't think any of us disliked the prospect
of a comfortable bed. But in spite of all our roughing we have
enjoyed it, and very glad we went. It is satisfactory to know that
all the prairie is not as flat as around us at C---- Farm, that it
is rolling, and covered with bluffs or brushwood. A---- is pleased,
as he has seen no ground as good as his own, and declares he
wouldn't exchange his 480 acres for thousand up west. The land is
certainly of a much lighter nature, having more sand in it, and is
easier to get into cultivation in consequence, but he doesn't
think it will stand the same amount of cropping.

The trails, which are only tracks made by the half-breeds and
Indians on the prairie, have been good throughout, but in spring
are full of mud-holes or sloughs.

The new carriage has turned out quite a success and been very
useful, as it has carried all our clothes, buffalo robes, buckets
and oats for the horses, our provisions, etc., even to our tent,
the poles of which were slung along the carriage just above the
wheels, and the whole so light that A---- pushed it easily three or
four hundred yards when we were moving our camp at Fort Ellice.

       *       *       *       *       *

QUEEN'S HOTEL, WINNIPEG.

July 25.

We cannot fancy ourselves in this elegant brick edifice; but it's
an ill wind that blows no one any good, and had we not been
nervous of driving sixteen miles in a raging thunderstorm last
night you would not have received a letter by this mail. The heat
is so great that I am afraid my ideas won't flow. It is a hot
thundery day, cloudy and close, the thermometer is at 109 degrees in
the shade, and everything one touches seems to be at melting point!
Unfortunately we have had all our cool things for our journey, and
they are too dirty to wear in a "live" town. These three last days
are the only days we have had to grumble at the heat; and, I
expect, if we bad been out at the farm, quietly doing our various
works, we should not have felt it so much; but a tent on a hot day
is like a stove-house, quite fearful.

We have had a very successful tour of seven days, sleeping five
nights on Mother Earth, which was mercilessly hard. Lived chiefly
on corned beef, tea, and marmalade, three times a day. Driven 173
miles, nearly the whole time in pretty, sparely inhabited, wooded,
and undulating country. Had another 300 miles to and fro in the
train, and arrived here last night hoping to get home to our own
beds, when we distressed at finding no buggy from the farm, though
we sent them a telegram early in the morning before leaving Flat
Creek, which we conclude they haven't received.

Just as we were starting, and before our small packets could be
fetched from the station, a fearful thunder-storm, preceded by a
dust-storm, came on; and we had to take refuge in an hotel, which,
contrary to our expectations, was not only clean, but comfortable.
The climax to all our troubles has been that the man from the
livery-stable was unable to get our hand-bags, so that we actually
had to go to bed last night and get up this morning without a
sponge, comb, toothbrush, or any blessed thing. We were nearly
sprinkling ashes on our heads and rending our garments when the
fact was broken to us; but, considering we had no other clothes to
fall back upon, we suppressed our feelings (and drowned our tears)
in sleep, putting in nearly twelve hours, as it was 9.15 when we
woke this morning, and it was not very late when we retired. We
had neither of us slept well the night before, and it had been a
hot, suffocating day for travelling, so that we were very tired
when we got in. What useful things hair-pins are! I have always
found them excellent bodkins, button-hooks, wedges for misfitting
windows, &c., but until to-day had never realized what a capital
comb they would make, held tightly.

I don't know that we have had any very amusing adventure; but the
whole expedition has been an adventure, and therefore, as it
proved the business of the day, it was taken seriously--I mean, we
hardly laughed when we all shared the same drop of water in a
bucket to wash our face in turns, and then hands, drying ourselves
with the same towel, which was not always of the cleanest, and
when we shared the same tin cup to drink out of. Of course we
managed to get in a very fair amount of chaff. I used often to
drive, and it was said that if ever there was a hole or stone on
the trail I used to bump, bump over it, shooting the others almost
out of the carriage, so that there were cries of "danger ahead,"
when they declared they had to hang on to each other for safety.

We had to leave A---- behind us yesterday at Flat Creek with the
carriages and horses, to follow us in a freight train, and he has
just turned up, very hot and weary and out of temper with the
railway authorities, as they make so many unnecessary difficulties
in unloading. Instead of following us directly yesterday, as he
was told he would do when he first put the horses on the train,
they did not start until late in the afternoon, and have been
travelling all night, A---- sleeping very peaceably in the
horsebox.

We are to go out to the farm as soon as the horses have been fed
and we can reclaim our lost baggage of last night.

I am thankful to say that we never came across any snakes during
our expedition, though they are said to abound by Brandon and
further west. The only one we saw was when the conductor on our
train brought us a parcel and showed one coiled up inside. It was
a trial to our feelings, but I believe it was dead. There are none
around Winnipeg, not even a worm.

       *       *       *       *       *

C---- FARM, July 30th.

We found the most lovely batch of letters, almost worth being away
from home for ten days, on our arrival here at 12 o'clock P.M. on
Tuesday, which completely revived our drooping spirits; we were
feeling rather limp and tired after a long day in Winnipeg, and
losing our way across the prairie coming home. It was very dark,
and the only guide we had was when the vivid flashes of lightning
reflected the farm-buildings; as it was, we drove through the big
marsh, the mosquitoes nearly eating us up; and A---- so worried by
them that he couldn't think of the trail, and trusted to the
horses finding their way. The joy of coming upon our own fence is
better imagined than described. I pictured to myself that we
should be like one of our labourers, who, having gone into town
just before we started up west, lost his way coming out,
unharnessed his horses and picketed them, and sat down quietly,
waiting for daylight before he ventured on. It is marvellous that
anyone finds their way on the prairie. There are numberless trails
made during the hay-harvest, which may mislead; and in a country
which has been surveyed, some time back, the section-posts have
almost entirely disappeared, the cattle either knocking them down
or they having been struck by lightning.

We found our bedroom very full of mosquitoes, so that our sleep
was much disturbed, in fact we never slept properly till after the
sun rose; but our letters cheered us up and were far more
refreshing than ten hours' sleep.

The netting over our windows had got torn from the tacks, so that
the mosquitoes had come in by shoals just to show how they
appreciated the attention of having things made easy for them.
Otherwise, we are not generally much bothered with them in the
house, netting being over every door and window.

The cat sometimes thwarts our protection by jumping through them in
the morning, and no thumpings seem to impress her with respect for the
said net.

We are told the mosquitoes will be gone in a fortnight; certainly
the big yellow ones have lived their time and are, not so
plentiful, but they have been succeeded by a small black species
which is quite as venomous, and not so easy to kill.

We went to Church yesterday at Headingley: quite a red letter day.
It was only the second time we have been able to manage it in the
ten weeks we have been here; and though it was very hot in Church
we were ashamed to take our gloves off, on account of the scars.

The Church is quite a nice little building, and the service
delightful after so many weeks of not hearing it. We had to take
our horse out, tie it to the churchyard paling, and put the dog,
in the buggy to take care of our goods and chattels.

We are getting quite low at the thoughts of leaving this in ten
days' time; being rather like cats, attached to any place where
one has heaps of occupation, and where one is kindly treated and
well fed, however ugly that place may be.

We have been very busy haymaking since we got home, and a grand
stack is in the course of erection nearly opposite the dining-room
window. You never saw anything so astonishing as the way the oats,
potatoes, etc., have shot up in our absence. Even the puppy, which
we left a fluffy ball, seems to have grown inches. Then, all my
chickens are hatched, and are an endless pleasure and anxiety. I
am supposed to spend hours over them.

We have received four sheets of official paper from Mr. W----,
full, of directions about our journey to Colorado, describing his
home, etc., even to the nickel-plated tap we shall find in his
kitchen, which is to supply us with an unlimited amount of water.
He tells us we need bring nothing but a saddle and a
toothbrush,--he will find all the rest; and that we are to make it
a note that it is one of the strictest rules of mining camps that
guests are never allowed to pay for anything. As we hope he is
making a fortune by his mines, we shall not have so much
compunction of accepting these terms. We are to sight-see, climb
I mountains, go into the mines, fish for trout, and do nothing the
live-long day but amuse ourselves.

I am afraid A---- will miss us terribly, dear old soul! He is very
fond of having us here, and is always bemoaning our departure. I
think it will make a great difference to him and to his humdrum
hard-working life, as we are always cheery and have never had a
difficulty or annoyance of any sort.

       *       *       *       *       *

August 6th.

We are rejoicing now that we have settled to go to the Rocky
Mountains, as the hot weather we speculated on avoiding has come
in with a rush, and for a whole week the thermometer has been at
80 to 85 degrees. One morning before a thunder-storm, when it fell
forty degrees in a few hours, it was up to 90 degrees. We have had
some rain, but not the heavy if storms we have seen wandering round
which generally follow the course of the Assiniboine--a relief to our
minds, as our hay is still out.

It has been cut nearly all round the property outside the fence,
in spite of the risk one runs of having it subsequently claimed by
the owner of the section, who is generally a half-breed, a loss
only to be avoided by leading it home at once, which we are doing.

This has happened to our neighbour, with whom, I am afraid, we do
not sympathise very keenly, as he had taken up the marsh which our
men cut last year, and had the full intention of doing again this
year, so they looked upon it in the light of their special
property.

We have only two waggons working here, as nearly all the men and
horses are gone over to Boyd's; and as our hay is a mile and a
half away, we don't get much more than five loads a day, so that
the stack does not grow very fast.

Our excitement this week has been a cricket match with Boyle's
Farm; four of their men we challenged. It really was too amusing.
They had a bat and ball, stumps, but no bales, and played on the
prairie, which was so fearfully rough that it was almost
dangerous, the ball shot in such various directions after hitting
the tufts of grass. Everybody fielded, but a ball going into the
wheat-field behind the wickets was not counted as a lost ball. The
total score of the two innings was only ten, and in one our
opponents went out without a single run; so you may fancy the
howls of either applause or derision at every ball.

       *       *       *       *       *

August 17th.

The Farm with all its toils and pleasures is a thing of the past;
we were both very low when we turned our backs upon it and its
inhabitants just a week ago. We have been in such robust health
the whole of our three months, hardly a headache or finger-ache.
Our maid-of-all-work life has suited us, and we have acquired such
an immense deal of practical knowledge that for those reasons
alone, we might be gratified and pleased we came. Since then we
have been staying with Mike in Minnesota, where we were either
riding or driving (anything to do with horses) all day long.
Driving four miles, jumping the horses over a pole, taking them
down to water, having a mule race (which was truly amusing as the
course was just in front of the house and several bolted home),
and driving, a gang plough, were a few of the "diversions" found
for us. Our host was most kind and anxious to make us comfortable;
he worked heaven and earth to get his house ready, the contractors
having taken so much more time than they said; anyhow, he turned
the carpenters out of the house the day previous to our arrival,
carried in the furniture, nailed up mosquito blinds, and did many
things himself, so that everything should be in spick and span
order.

As these men, Mike having two partners, are farming thirteen
thousand acres, they are on a much larger scale as regards
buildings, numbers of horses, etc., to anything we have seen
before. Their living-houses are about double the size of C----
Farm; they have also huge stables, which A---- fancies will be cold
in winter, but have a most imposing appearance, as have also their
implement house, sheds, etc. The land seemed much the same as
ours, a rich black loam, but very much wetter, marshes everywhere.
They have broken two thousand acres since the beginning of June,
and were busy, whilst we were there, cutting hay, Mike hoping he
had already got over five hundred ton up!

We drove one day to see a neighbouring farm which is said to be
the "boss" one in all the country, belonging to a man who has been
out five years. He was just starting to cut his two square miles
of wheat, and we watched the seven self-binding machines with
great interest. They seem as light as a reaper, and the machinery
comparatively not intricate.

We were driven through some standing corn, which was rather
agonizing to our British ideas, but he thought nothing of it. The
straw was four and a half feet high, and he hopes to get forty-two
bushels to the acre. His farm being on the Snake River, and having
many creeks running through as drainage, is a great advantage. His
vats were pronounced no better, if so good, as ours at C---- Farm.

We remained at Warren a day longer than we had intended, as we got
to the station just in time to see our train move off. We accused
Mike's Irish groom, who is quite a character, of bringing round
the carriage too late on purpose. If he did, I think all the party
forgave him; we were very happy, it gave us another night of
A----'s society. Mike was low at our going. Poor man! one cannot
be much surprised at his liking to keep us, as, besides the
fascinations of ladies' society, he has no neighbours whatsoever,
and, excepting the two men he has in the house, there is not a
gentleman nearer than Winnipeg. He offered me seventy-two dollars
a month to be his housekeeper. E---- was to have two dollars a
week as parlour-maid, which she considers an insult; or she might
have seventy-five cents a day if she would drive the ploughs.

Servants and labourers get higher wages there than in Manitoba,
all the men were averaging thirty-five to forty dollars a month
and their keep. They were all Swedes and Germans, of whom there is
an enormous colony in the state.

We are now trying to spend our day at Council Bluff, a large
junction of the Grand Pacific Railway, having come in here at 8
o'clock this morning, and our train to Denver not leaving till 7
o'clock this evening. The hotel is right on the station. The
weather is so hot, that as yesterday, at St. Paul's, where we also
had to spend a whole day, we have never summoned up courage to go
beyond the door. It was suggested we might take the tram and go up
into the City; but E---- has a notion that one city is much like
another, particularly on a hot day.

It is curious how Americans live in hotels; there are several
families in this, and if my letter is not very intelligible you
must forgive me, as I am writing in the grand corridor to try and
catch the slight draughts of air blowing through, at the same time
that half a dozen children are playing up and down.

The scenery yesterday from St. Paul's all along the banks of the
Missouri was very pretty. We both of us sat outside the Pullman as
long as daylight lasted, feasting our eyes oh the water, trees,
etc. The height and luxuriance of the latter seemed quite
incomprehensible after the total absence of forest scenery for so
many months. It is pretty round here; and by the time we get to
the Rocky Mountains we shall have got beyond the stage of thinking
a hillock a mountain, and fairish-sized trees not so wonderful
after all; but at the present moment we are in that pleasing
state, ready to admire anything and everything. We hope to get to
Denver on Saturday night, and rest there Sunday and part of
Monday, and we also hope to get to Church there. Mike offered to
drive us into Warren last Sunday; but as the service was a Swedish
Presbyterian, we didn't think we should be much edified.

       *       *       *       *       *

DENVER, August 2lst.

We arrived here Saturday evening, very tired and not at all sorry
to exchange the Pullman for a comfortable room and bed, which we
had telegraphed for, and therefore not, like so many of our
fellow-passengers, obliged to seek shelter elsewhere. The
Pullman's are most comfortable, and for a long journey like ours
nothing could be so good; but I am glad that in England we don't
have either these or the ordinary American car in general use. The
publicity is so odious, and one does get bored by the passengers
constantly wandering up and down the train, and the boys who pass
and repass every ten minutes selling books, newspapers, cigars,
candy, and the unripest of fruit, which they are always pressing
you to buy; to say nothing of chewing, spitting Americans one has
to countenance all day long. The last four-and-twenty hours of our
journey have been very tiring. The scenery has been so monotonous;
endless long undulating plains like the waves of the sea, covered
with grass quite dried up, a few flowers, and a bee-shaped cactus.
The heat was very oppressive, a hot sirocco, wind blowing which;
obliged us to keep our windows shut on account of the fine
alkaline dust. E---- had her window open last night, and awoke this
morning to find herself in a layer of ashes.

We skirted the South Platte River most of the time; it was only a
bed of shingles, wide and shallow, with not a drop of water in it.
These plains, extending for thousands of miles in all directions,
are the great "ranching," or cattle-farming districts, formerly
the favourite breeding-grounds and pastures of the buffalo, which,
alas! have all disappeared. We only saw a few tame ones amongst
the herds of cattle; they have been killed in the most ruthless,
indiscriminate way for their furs, and will soon be "things of the
past."

We wondered much, with the river and every visible stream so dry,
how the large herds of cattle and horses were watered; but have
since been told that water is so near the surface the herdsmen
have no great depth to dig to procure any quantity. We thought we
could have made a good pick or two amongst the horses, but we
didn't care for long-legged ugly big-horned cattle brutes. Here
and there was a herdsman mounted on a small Indian pony with a
high Mexican saddle, enormous spurs, and a long lasso, galloping
and dexterously turning his animals.

Our train had to pull up several times and whistle loudly to turn
the animals off the track, there being, as usual, no rail or
protection; but pulling up for them was not half as exciting as on
Thursday night, when we stopped repeatedly to turn a man off the
train who, not having paid his fare, nor apparently intending to
do so, had swung himself in some marvellous way under the cars,
hanging on by the break. Whenever we slackened speed he jumped
off, walking quite unconcernedly alongside; but the moment we
moved on he got on again. We never knew how far he continued his
perilous ride, I fancy that even the officials gave up
remonstrating; anyhow, as long as daylight lasted and we could
watch the men, no efforts on their part seemed to make the
smallest impression.

Three hours before getting into Denver we had our first glimpse of
the Rockies, and although they were then only in the blue distance
we were quite excited about them; and at Greely Station (much
impressed on our minds by having read Miss Bird's book just before
coming here), we came in full view of Long's Peak,--almost wishing
"Mountain Jim" might still be alive to ascend it with us,--and
the whole of the gorgeous range; and quite one of the loveliest
sights I ever saw was watching two thunder-storms on either side
of the Peak break and disperse, whilst the reflections from the
sunset-glow lit up the rest of the heavens. The railway and Denver
City itself is about thirty miles distant from the mountains, but
the atmosphere is so clear that they look as if quite within an
easy gallop.

It is difficult to understand why the town has been built so far
from the mountains, situated as it is on a sandy, treeless plain.
It is growing, like most of the western towns, at a tremendous
pace, and we are lodging in a luxurious hotel, our room on the
fourth floor numbers 454. We found the avenues of trees lining
every street an immense boon this morning in going to church at
the cathedral.

The heat, though great, is not so oppressive as either at St.
Paul's or Omaha, but then we are at the height of 5,000 feet; and
this afternoon the air has been cleared by a thunderstorm preceded
by a great sand-storm, which we watched from our windows
encircling the town, so thick that mountains and all view was
obliterated for the time being.

Denver is a great resort for invalids, chiefly those suffering
with asthma.

       *       *       *       *       *

August 22.

Before leaving Denver we went to a gunsmith and invested in a
fishing-rod and numberless flies, with which we intend to do great
execution. We also went to the exhibition, opened a month ago and
still unfinished; one of the leading men, to whom we had a letter
of introduction, showed us everything. It is chiefly interesting
to miners, as the display of minerals from Western America is
unrivalled. There seemed, in the specimens, enough gold and silver
to make us rich for ever; unfortunately our ignorance on the
subject of ore is too great to thoroughly appreciate it.

       *       *       *       *       *

OURAY, August 24.

It is not easy to sit down and write after forty-eight hours
travelling, as we have been doing since leaving Denver on Monday night
at 7 o'clock; but in such scenery and air so exhilarating we do not
feel as tired as we expected. You should have seen the omnibus,
stage-coach, charridon, or any other name you please to give the
lumbering vehicle in which we performed our last twelve hours' drive;
it looked truly frightening when it drove up to Cimarron depot, one
tent, last night, to pick us up, intended for twenty passengers and
any amount of luggage, and swung on great straps. It was wonderfully
well horsed, and we changed our teams every ten miles; but only then
came at the rate of five miles an hour. We both of us started for our
sixty-four miles' drive on the box-seat with the driver, who happened
to be an extremely nice man and an experienced whip; in former days he
had driven the stage-coaches across from Omaha to San Francisco, a
journey of three weeks. But he took up much room on the seat, and
every time he had to pull up his horses his left elbow ran into me,
until "he guessed my ribs would be pretty-well bruised."

About midnight, when our only other fellow-passenger turned out
from the inside of the coach, I entered it, though I expected
nearly every moment would be my last, the bumping was so fearful.
I managed to get a few winks of sleep towards morning. E---- sat
outside all night, finding it very difficult not to drop off the
coach from drowsiness. The early hours of the morning, after the
moon went down until dawn, were truly wretched, what between the
outer darkness, the flickering of our lamps, the unevenness of the
road, and the clouds of dust, and one almost began to wonder if
the journey was worth so much trouble.

But with daylight we quite altered our opinions; as really I do
not think, if you searched the whole world over, you would find
anything more beautiful than the Uncompahgre valley and park
looked in the morning light.

Mr. W---- met us at 5 o'clock A.M. at the "Hot Springs," so called
from the boiling water that gushes out of the ground, and which is
said to give the name of "Uncompahgre" to the district, that being
the Indian word for hot water. He brought us out hot coffee and
food to refresh us, and drove us the last nine miles up the
valley. We came slowly, thoroughly enjoying the scenery. On either
side of the road are well-cultivated farms. Within two miles of
Ouray the park narrows into a magnificent gorge, bounded on each
side by precipitous cliffs of red sandstone, covered with pines
and quaking aspen, the whole crowned by arid peaks. From this
gorge you suddenly come upon the town, situated in an amphitheatre
of grand gray, trachyte rocks.

Our house is in Main Street. The ground floor is an office; our
four rooms are on the first floor, to which we ascend by a wooden
staircase outside.

Every nook and corner is filled with some curiosity or mineral
specimen. Our host being a great sportsman, there are various
trophies of the chase--a mountain lion, wild sheeps' heads, bears,
cranes, even to a stuffed donkey's head; there are also cabinets
of fossils, specimens of ore, etc., and great blocks of the same
piled on the floor.

Our family consists of our two hosts, Messrs. W---- and B----, two
Indian ponies, a mule, two setters, and two prairie dogs, which
are reddish-buff marmots. We are only to remain here one night,
and, if thoroughly rested after our journey, go up to the log
cabin in the Imogene Basin, 3,000 feet higher. We are both looking
forward to it immensely. It is right in the heart of the
mountains, 10,600 feet, and with no one near us, as all the mines
surrounding the cabin belong to a company which had to suspend its
works last month for want of funds, so that they are not being
worked. The air is glorious, and we feel already perfectly
restored to our usual health, though we are warned that strangers
cannot walk much at first, the air is so rarefied, that one is
soon out of breath. Anyhow the atmosphere has been so clear that
it much added to our enjoyment in seeing the ever varying beauties
and distant mountain view all along our journey from Denver here.

We unfortunately came through the "Grand Canyon" at night. Had it
been clear the porter on the car was to awake us to see it; we
could quite picture to ourselves its beauties by the scenery in
the Black Canyon we came through yesterday by daylight. The
engineering all along the line is marvellous, the way we rose
nearly 7,000 feet by a zigzag over the Marshall Pass, or the Great
Divide, going down nearly as many feet on the other side and then
through these canyons, which are only narrow gorges for a raging
torrent to rush through on its headlong career.

Our train was a very narrow gauge with bogie wheels, and we
twisted so, in and out of the bends of the river, that the engine
often looked as if it might easily come into contact with our
carriage which happened to be the last. It is the great advantage
of the Pullmans they are always on last to the train when passing
through any pretty country, and when there are no other carriages
of the same, so that one can sit on the rear platform and see all
the scenery.

We entered into conversation with two Germans, and were amused by
one of them surreptitiously bringing us two pink trout from his
luncheon at the wayside hotel, we having remained in the carriage
for our frugal meal; and though we had got to the "Sweets" stage
felt hound to begin again, and much enjoyed our fish. The food
provided at these wayside inns is generally so bad and dear, a
dollar a head charged for sixteen to eighteen dishes, of almost
uneatable messes, that we prefer the tinned meats and fruits we
have, in our luncheon basket; and for drinks we have beautifully
iced water in all the carriages, the ice being replenished at
every big station.

The last forty miles of our railroad journey was over a line only
opened ten days ago, by which, I am thankful to say, we avoided
twelve hours more of the stage-coach and a night in a Colorado
inn, which, we are told, is anything but pleasant, there always
being many more bed fellows than what one bargains for; and we
should not have seen the Black Canyon and its thirteen miles of
grandeur and sublimity. The railway track is cut out of the sides
of the over-hanging rocks, and in places is built on a bed of
stones in the creek itself.

The rocks at times almost seemed to meet overhead, then widened,
we crossing and re-crossing the torrent by wooden bridges which
shortly are to be replaced by iron ones. The colouring was so
beautiful, the chasm being generally in shade with the mountains
above standing out in glorious sunshine, covered as they were in
many places, even as far down as the water's edge, with pines.
Nature is marvellous in its productions, but the ingenuity of man
is also wonderful, and we quite came to the conclusion that the
scenery of that canyon was worth coming all these thousands of
miles to see.

       *       *       *       *       *

OURAY, August 27th.

The name of Ouray, given to this town, is from the last chief of
the Utes, who, with his tribe, lived to within a couple of years
on a reserve down in the Park. The first stake is said to have
been struck by white men in 1865, but no cabin was built until
1874, and from that time the town has been growing rapidly, having
now about 1,000 inhabitants. In the south-west portion of the
basin in which it stands, and where the waters of Canyon Creek
flow into those of the Uncompaghre, there are some lovely canyons
and picturesque gorges, and here, in places where the hot springs
overflow the banks of the main stream, the rocks are covered with
maiden-hair and other ferns. These hot springs serve to keep the
river unfrozen even in the severest weather.

       *       *       *       *       *

MOUNTAIN BAT'S NEST, IMOGENE BASIN,

August 29th.

This is a glorious region, and we send you the enclosed sketch to
show our picture of comfort and perfection. I assure you, nightly
as we sit down to our evening repast, or later round our wood fire
in our "parlour," we congratulate each other, and fancy we would
not change places with the highest of the land, the air and life
are so intoxicating.

After twenty-four hours in Ouray we came up here, sending the
darkie Henry and our luggage on before us in a waggon. We have
brought nothing but the bare necessaries of life--all our heavy
boxes are gone to Chicago to await our return--being warned to
bring as little as possible, on account of the difficulties of
transport in the mountains, also of only being allowed 50 lbs.
weight on the coach, every extra lb. charged ten cents. We
ourselves rode up here, arriving about 6 o'clock, and found poor
Henry waiting outside, not having been able to get into the cabin,
the door-key being carefully in Mr. W----'s pocket; but as
everything is always left in order it didn't take us long to make
ourselves comfortable; and as at sunset the cold had been piercing,
a fire soon lit was very acceptable.

This cabin is quite unique. It consists of two rooms on each side
of the front door, with a tiny passage used as larder, wood-hole,
saddle-room, &c.

Our room is our bed and drawing-room combined, which is hung all
round with every imaginable skin, wolf, skunks, lynx, &c., stuffed
animals and birds, guns and traps, to say nothing of shelves
covered with different specimens of ore taken out of the adjoining
mines. It was quite creepy, the first night, having to sleep with
a bear's head at the foot of our bed, with a stuffed fox just over
our head, which has the most awful squint, and is the first object
that catches the eye on awaking, and a dried root, the fibres of
which so much resemble a man's beard that it looks horridly like a
scalp. The hay-mattress on our bed has to be; shaped into grooves
for our poor bones to rest comfortably. In the day-time it is
covered up with skins, and then is called the "lounge."

Our washing-stand is primitive, a box standing on end, in which
our tin bason and cans are concealed, so that we can consider our
"parlour" quite correct. Our other room is the kitchen, and fitted
up with four bunks against the wall, which Mr. W---- and Henry
occupy. We breakfast and dine out of doors, at a table placed just
outside the cabin, and on the only bit of flat ground we have
near, as we are situated on the slope of a mountain, and a most
beautiful stream of water runs about forty feet below us with the
clearest and coldest of water. One of our first occupations in the
morning is to take the animals down to water, and afterwards to
picket them in amongst the long grass, growing in great profusion
and height during the short summer on all the foot hills and
wherever there is an open space. The first afternoon we were up
here we went for a ride round Imogene basin, and were delighted
with the wild flowers, which are quite innumerable--columbine,
phloxes, blue gentian, dandelions, harebells, vetches, and fifty
other species. E---- picked a good many, and hopes to draw them
for the benefit of you all at home. The flowers shoot up almost
before the snow has melted, and make the most of their short
existence which lasts about two months and a half. We tasted the
"bear berry," which grows as a bush and has a round brown berry,
quite bitter, but, as its name shows, is much appreciated by the
bears, who come any distance to get it.

       *       *       *       *       *

September 4th.

We are enjoying this mountain life; the weather is all we can
desire, and we are in the most robust of health. We live almost
entirely out of doors, sketching all the morning, in the
afternoons making expeditions either into some of the mines, or
over a mountain-pass; and for "tender-feet" the name given to all
new-comers, are pronounced to be good mountaineers; but our ponies
and mules are so sure-footed and pleasant that we follow any
trail, however narrow and uneven, with the greatest confidence.

The scenery everywhere is far beyond our sketching capacities, but
we find spoiling many sheets of drawing-paper a never-failing
amusement and occupation; and we can sit out anywhere, as neither
snakes nor mosquitoes are known in these altitudes. Our darkie's
criticism might be discouraging, he saying he cannot understand
our wasting so much time on "things not at all like nature," were
it not counterbalanced by the praise given us in the "Ouray Times"
which paper we sent home to you last week. The balsam pine, which
is about the only tree we have, is rather monotonous and sombre-
looking, being of a blackish-green; and we have not here, as in
the valley around Ouray, the beautiful sandstone and porphyry
rocks for background; only never-ending blue distances, brought
out so clearly on account of the extraordinary dryness and purity
of the atmosphere.

We have been escorting two men to-day over a pass 12,500 feet,
part of the way to San Miguel, going as far as the ridge, from
whence we had a most glorious view and panorama, as we could see
into the valleys and canyons some miles below; Mount Wilson, which
unfortunately was shrouded in dark, stormy clouds; a range of
mountains in Utah called Sierra la Sal, about 120 miles distant;
and a long way into New Mexico.

In returning home we got into clouds, and could hear a thunderstorm
raging in the valley below us, for some little time losing our trail,
and not sorry when we found it again and were able to descend from
higher regions, the cold was so intense; not so surprising, as we
found when the mist lifted that snow had fallen on all the surrounding
peaks.

       *       *       *       *       *

IMOGENE BASIN, September 12th.

Two days' after our expedition to San Miguel we awoke to find
ourselves in a "white world," the snow being two inches deep. It
is said to be a most unusually early storm, but it was not
altogether a surprise: the glass had been falling and storms had
been audibly growling all round us. The snow only lasted about
twenty-four hours, just long enough for us to realise and admire
Imogene in its winter garb, and enable us to try and walk in snow-
shoes. We did not attempt either going up or down hill in them, so
that our performance was confined to the small space in front of
the cabin.

With the exception of this one storm our weather continues lovely;
bright, sunshiny, warm days--we do not even require an extra
jacket out of doors until after sunset--with a slight frost every
night.

Last Monday we started early, taking provisions with us, and spent
a long day in Red Mountain Park, sketching the marvellously
brilliant scarlet peaks, whilst Mr. W---- shot grouse, of which he
got three and a half brace. The grouse are much like ours, only
larger, and roost in trees. These parks abound in game. We have
been wishing to see a bear; at a safe distance, perhaps, but have
never succeeded, though several have been killed since our
arrival. Whilst shooting, Mr. W---- came upon the fresh trail of
one and its unfinished meal of a gophir not very far from where we
lunched; only fancy what a stampede there would have been had the
bear appeared. We are always looking out for thin trees round
which a bear's claws would overlap, and therefore they could not
climb, to take refuge up in case of danger; but they very seldom
attack, unless wounded or a she-bear with cubs. In the spring and
autumn these parks abound in deer; but in summer they go above
timber line to graze on the succulent bunch grasses and to be free
from flies. There are also mountain-sheep, coyotes, and foxes, and
along the streams several beaver; but we never have seen any
animal bigger than a prairie-dog, or smaller than a coney.

Chipmunks and the mountain-rats disturbed our slumbers at night,
running about the cabin, and I do not at all think we should like
our dormitory were we not watched over during our slumbers by a
cat, the most sociable of beasts, who as a rule sleeps between us,
and protests loudly if we either of us move or wake him.

       *       *       *       *       *

September 7th.

By degrees we are learning something of the mines and miners; also
are beginning to know all the packers who daily go up and down the
trails, each with a train of ten donkeys carrying the ore from the
mines. The men's appearance is of the roughest, but they, one and
all, are most civil, both of speech and manner. Women are rare in
these districts, the wife of the manager of the Wheel of Fortune
Mine being the only one living up here. She has been here two
years, and is quite idolized by the miners and trappers, as she
has never been known to refuse hospitality to any. We were much
amused, whilst going through the Wheel of Fortune tunnels last
Saturday, to hear one of the miners ask who we were, and when told
with the ready answer, natural to this country, that "we were
Duchesses," he wished much to know if that was not something like
the Prince of Wales.

We went into a lower shaft whilst two fuses were fired in an
upper. The anticipation of the shock was worse than the
realisation. Each of us carried a candle, and the concussion blew
them all out; but beyond that, the smell of gunpowder, and smoke,
we experienced no harm, and as we had matches and the candles were
soon relit, we had not to grope our way back in darkness.

We have been into several of the tunnels on the eight well-defined
lodes in this basin, also into some in Sneffels; these veins may
be all traced through into Red Mountain Valley, which seems to be
the volcanic centre of this neighbourhood. The porphyry vein
matter or ore-bearing quartz, having decomposed more readily than
the trachyte of the mountains which they intersect, in some
instances, as in the peak just above our cabin, they have cut deep
notches in the summit of the ridges, making the outline very
jagged and rugged looking.

The mineral wealth around us is astounding, hundreds of rich mines
have been discovered in all the surrounding mountains, and are
being discovered now. Three men, whilst at dinner a month ago in
Red Mountain Valley, in picking round with a small axe where they
were sitting, knocked off a piece of rock which, when analysed,
proved to be so valuable a lode, that they have since then sold
their claim for 125,000 dollars.

Any man can stake a claim of 1,500 feet on a vein if not previously
done; but he has to expend 100 pounds on it in the first five years to
enable him to obtain a patent from Government, which secures the
property to him for ever.

There must be a certain amount of excitement to miners as to what
treasure will be produced after every blast of gunpowder; but oh!
how I should hate the life, living underground in these
subterranean passages, which are all more or less wet from the
water percolating through the rock, and never able to see the sun
or the beauties of nature. The wages of the men are enormous, able
miners getting four dollars a day; sorters, or the men who break
and turn over the stone, three and a half.

Mr. W---- had a hard life when he first came out here in 1877; as
he and his partner worked with no other help for four years
underground mining, besides having to build their cabin, being
their own blacksmiths, assayer, cook, &c., and he declares he
enjoyed it immensely, with the exception, perhaps, of the first
winter, when, getting in their supplies very late, they had to
live on bacon (and that rancid) and flour, but little else.

Stores for the winter have to be brought up in October, as the
trails early become impassable, and all outer communication can
only be kept up on snow-shoes. The snow averages about seven or
eight feet, though in this basin it has been known to be thirty-
eight deep, but in the Uncompaghre Valley and down by Ouray it
averages only a few inches. Animals are left out to graze there
all the winter.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RANCH, UNCOMPAHGRE PARK, September 16. Ten miles below Ouray.

Amidst many tears and regrets, we have torn ourselves away from
the cabin, where we could have spent another month or six weeks in
perfect contentment; but a storm being predicted, and duck-shooting
and fly-fishing being part of our Colorado programme, we accepted the
loan of a house on a farm down in the valley, and are installed in it.
It wanted a certain amount of pluck, on first seeing our
accommodation, to come down. Our house is one room, thirty feet long
by about eighteen wide, an open roof with plenty of air-holes, and no
partition whatsoever, excepting what we have made by hanging three
blankets from a rafter, behind which is our bed (or lounge in
day-time), the washing-stand, a box set up longways, and a tin bason,
an arm-chair which consists of two pieces of wood, and an old
wolfskin, much worn, and a rickety table, at which I am writing now,
lighted by a candle stuck into a bottle. On the other side of the
blanket-partition is the kitchen stove, big table, store shelves, a
pile of saddles, &c. Mr. W---- sleeps in a tent outside; Henry in a
waggon: he, poor man, is not at all happy, as he imagines bears and
coyotes are nightly intending making their evening meal off his portly
form. He is the greatest coward I ever saw, and came in horror
confiding to me that he had seen a snake, yards long, which Mr. W----
killed the day following, and it proved to be a small water-snake,
hardly ten inches.

Henry affords us a great deal of amusement; he does not at all
presume, but, in his quaint way, wishes to tell, and asks so many
things, queries which often are almost unanswerable. The day we
spent in Ouray on our way down from the cabin here, we much
distressed him by not "striking a show" in the street, and not
wearing smart clothes which had a "tong," if it were only to show
that we consider Mr. W---- a "big bug."

He left his wife in the South eleven years ago, and, in spite of
all our protestations and lectures, informs us he is going to
marry again, as in the Bible he reads "that it is wrong for man to
live alone."

It is a matter of infinite surprise to him how we can remain out
of doors with no covering to our heads, he could not stand the
rays of the sun as we do; and why our complexions in consequence
are not as dark as his is a mystery to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RANCH, UNCOMPAGHRE PARK, September 24th.

Although this house does consist of only one room, is situated in
a stony field, with not a tree near us, and that we are not having
good sport, either trout-fishing or duck-shooting, we should be
quite happy and contented were it not for the B flats which
abound, the first we have come across, which, Henry assures us,
are not from dirt, but grow in the pine-wood. Why are they not,
then, in the log cabins which are entirely built of pine? We have
not disclosed the fact to Mr. W----, he is so thoroughly enjoying
his holiday, as we know that we should be instantly ordered back
to Ouray, where he would have to begin his work. Whilst he is out
shooting, we make expeditions, exploring over all the foot-hills.
One day, after wandering up a beautiful valley, we came upon a
Park or "Mesa," and I do not ever remember having seen such a
view: miles of grass on which wild cattle and horses were feeding,
with clumps of trees artistically dotted here and there, and for
background the orange and scarlet tinted foot-hills, pines on
higher regions, and a glorious panorama of snow-capped mountains
beyond. But for the mountains, one might almost fancy oneself in
some English park, and at every turn we felt we ought to come upon
an Elizabethan House. There were many tracks of deer, but none
were visible. We overtook a man driving a team of ten oxen with
lumber, and of him asked our way, as one might very easily lose
oneself in these rolling park-like glades, intersected with deep
canyons, with no trails or roads, excepting here and there one
made by lumberers. In coming down the hill again, close to a large
saw-mill, we watched a man breaking in a horse of five years old.
He had secured a dozen, all wild, in a corral or fenced enclosure,
and had thrown a noose over this one's head. He was trying to draw
it up by means of a thick rope to the fence, the rope getting
tighter and tighter as the animal backed or tried to gallop round
with the other horses. Finally, when the poor brute was almost
choked, and perspiration was streaming down him, he allowed the
man to go up to him, who very dexterously and quickly slipped a
halter over its head. The horse then was tied up to the post, the
others turned out, and the man intended keeping him there until
the following morning without any food, when he would put a saddle
on, and ride him, and hoping to sell him as broken for eighty
dollars.

Many of these horses are not broken at all; we were shown a
good- looking mare of thirteen years old who had never had a bit
in her mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RANCH, September 29th.

This is the country I should like to have a farm in, were I bound to
emigrate. In this valley every sort of grain and vegetable seem to
grow in the most luxuriant way, and we have been feasting on tomatoes,
cabbages, beets, lettuces, etc. The butcher, who is also greengrocer,
sent a potato twelve inches long by nine round, "hoping the ladies
would take it in their trunks to England as an average specimen." Then
on the "Mesa" or parks above the foot-hills, large herds of cattle can
always graze through the winter. We have had jelly made of
squawberries and the Oregon grape, which is excellent. There are also
wild gooseberries and black currants, both of which we have found.
This ranch is 160 acres; the only buildings the owner has put up are
the dwelling-house and one shed as a stable and implement-house. Hay
last year was selling at 10 to 12 pounds a ton, potatoes 3d. to 6d. a
lb., oats 4d. a lb., and everything in proportion; eggs 3s. to 4s. a
dozen all the year round, milk 6d. a quart; so that any man ought to
make a very large profit, the land originally costing him nothing,
and, excepting in hay or harvest time, very little labour required.
Oats are cut very green and stacked for winter fodder. These fertile
valleys are very limited in number, and as the consumption must be on
the increase, mines being discovered and opened out, some time must
elapse and the railway come nearer, ere competition reduces the
prices, or the farmer's profits are lessened.

The people round are most kind and friendly, and would be more so
had they received the slightest encouragement; but Mr. W---- gave
out we wanted to know no one, that we were not to be in Ouray, and
that all our time was to be taken up seeing the country. We went
one day up Bear Creek, as Mr. W---- was asked to see a mine, and
dined with the manager and his wife. They gave us a sumptuous
repast, and tried to persuade E---- and I to remain the night,
though we were only about four miles from home; but even we two
are not enough un-Englishified as yet not to object to sleeping
with two other people. They had only one room for kitchen, bed,
sitting-room, &c.; and it is curious how little one now thinks of
the bed standing in one corner, the washing-stand in another,
whilst kitchen-stove, and scullery fill up a third. I suggested
that when strangers did sleep there they gave them the adjoining
cabin; but was told that a trussel bed put alongside of the host's
"took no room whatsoever." Mr. W---- tells a funny story of a
picnic party in the mountains in an old cabin of his, which only
contained one room, and where five women and six men had to sleep
the night, the women occupying the bunks, the men (after
promenading outside whilst the women were getting into bed)
sleeping on the floor. They all laughed and talked so much that
daylight almost appeared before any of them got to sleep, and
there was a regular stampede under the blankets among the ladies
when a match was struck, one of the men objecting to his neighbour
lying alongside of him with all his clothes on.

       *       *       *       *       *

October 3rd.

How the time flies! in forty-eight hours from now we shall have
said good-bye to the most fascinating of regions, and Ouray and
the Rocky Mountains, with all the glorious scenery, will only live
in our memories and be things of the past.

I fancy one could never tire of it, and wish so much I could describe
the view we had from our Ranch looking up the Uncompahgre.--the valley
bright yellow with the grasses and aspen trees turning colour from the
frosts, the scarlet dwarf oak on the foot-hill, and the mountains lost
in the blue distance. During our six weeks' stay we have tried all the
different phases of life. The cabin life in amongst the mountains and
miners, the Ranch, and town, and certainly give the palm to the
first-mentioned. As we anticipated, our Ranch life was brought to an
abrupt end the moment we owned to Mr. W---- how our slumbers were
disturbed with the B flats; we had to return into Ouray, and have been
living here some days.

Mr. W---- found such an accumulation of work on his return, that,
excepting at meals, we never see him; and have to content
ourselves wandering and exploring on our ponies all the different
trails, and we shall soon be acquainted with every one within
miles. The only ride we do eschew is the Toll Road up the park,
the only piece of flat ground anywhere about, and fit for
cantering along. It is the favourite resort of the ladies of the
town, who are smartly arrayed in very long-skirted habits
ornamented with brass buttons and velvet jockey-caps, and who must
naturally look down upon us as disgracefully turned out in our
every-day gowns and broad-brimmed hats, which, to say the least,
have seen better days.

Ladies riding alone are required to pay no toll; a custom we think
ought very much to be encouraged all over the civilized world.

We have spent one more night at the cabin in Imogene, leaving
Henry in Ouray and "doing" for ourselves; and whilst Mr. W---- and
the "expert," for whom we went up, were inspecting mines, we two
fetched the water, made bread, and had a general sweep out. The
cat was supremely delighted to see us, and could not apparently
make enough of us when not allowed on our knees, stood up against
or walked round us.

The heavy snow-storm of last week destroyed all the grass and
flowers; they were so high when we left that a mule could hardly
have been seen whilst grazing, and now they are laid quite flat
with not a vestige of their beauty left. The wind was very high as
we went up the canyon, so we had to hurry past the patches of
aspens growing on the rocks and having very little hold for their
roots, which were being blown over unpleasantly near us.

This will be the last letter you will receive, as when once
started we shall go as fast as the stage-coach, rail, and steam-
boat can take us to England, I having had a telegram which hurries
us home.

Good-bye, we look forward immensely to seeing you all again; but
we have had such a pleasant trip throughout, without a single
_contretemps_, that we can but be delighted we came, and shall
always look back with immense gratification on our six months'
sojourn in the Western hemisphere.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON, December, 1882.

Since arriving in England I have received the following letter
from my brother in Manitoba, and as I want this book to be a sort
of guide to colonists I think it well to add it:--

C---- FARM, November 14th.

I am writing now to send you a kind of statement of our farm
accounts; though it cannot be quite correct, this year's crop of
oats not having been thrashed out, so that the calculation can
only be approximate.

1st. _The Land_.--The cost of the land is taken as the first
purchase-money and the amount it has cost to bring 410 acres under
cultivation.

2nd. _The Buildings_.--They consist of two dwelling-houses and two
stables; one of the houses, being for the men, is also used as a
warehouse and granary.

The contract price was very low, and also the price of timber; now
both gone up, but put down at the original cost.

3rd. _The Horses_.--Valued, I think, rather low at 250 dollars a team;
500 dollars for the stallion. The 4,326 dollars include their cost;
the amount of oats and hay they have eaten.

_The Cows_.--Include their original cost, hay and percentage of keep.
The price of cattle now is high; we sold two cows this summer at an
average price of 75 dollars.

_Implements_ have been reduced about 35 per cent for their two years'
wear.

_Carriages_ being new, we have taken nothing off them.

_Pigs_ have the cost of their feeding added; the young ones taken at
an average of ten dollars.

_Furniture_.--A slight deduction for wear and tear.

_Oats_.--We are calculating 2,500 bushels off 181 acres.

_Hay_ is difficult to calculate; I do not think we have 400 tons. The
price now is very low; 5 dollars a ton, and it would cost us three
dollars to get it into Winnipeg.

_Potatoes_ are uncertain. They are worth one dollar a ton now, and if
we can manage to keep them during the winter they will be worth a good
deal more; but they are difficult to keep, although we have a good
root-house; If the frost happens to get to them they will all spoil;
and it is difficult to keep the frost out, going as it does twelve
feet into the ground.

_The Fence_ is quite worth the money; so you see that putting most
things at a low price, one has a certain profit, though not in hard
cash; and it is satisfactory to find that one hasn't been working for
two seasons for nothing. No one expects a farm to pay in this country
during the first two years.

Original Value. Dollars. Present Value Dollars
Land, 480 acres     4,110      worth 30 dollars an acre     14,400
Building 2 houses and 2 stables 4,814                        4,814
Horses--2l horses   4,326                                    3,000
       1 stallion
Cattle--84 cows     2,668       80 cows and 46 calves        3,700
Carriages             229                                      229
Harness               407                                      300
Implements          1,810                                      800
Pigs                  125       Pigs and 29 young              350
Poultry                20       33 chickens                     40
Furniture             495                                      400
Profit and Losses  10,681
Oats                            2,500 bushels at 50 cents    1,250
Hay                             400 tons at 5 dollars        2,000
Potatoes                        1,000 bushels at 1 dollar    1,000
Flax                                                           100
Wire Fence                                                     500
                   ______                                   ______
                   29,180                                   32,888
N.B.--The profit and loss comprises the wages to labourers and cost
of living of both masters and men.

This estimate is given after two years' farming.





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