C.P.R. Engineer’s Office Victoria, B.C. 21 Nov 1884 Marcus Smith letter
Lot 79 in our auction Saturday 18th June 2022
Engineer’s Office, Victoria B.C.
Nov. 21st 1884
My dear wife
I have come to Victoria to deposit some plan papers &.c in Mr. Trutch’s office – and return to New Westminster to- morrow – next day I go up the railway and shall stay a few days with Tom and expect to reach Kamloops about the end of the month – I have found no place to stay there yet and have no office – as the small building I could have rented when Schreiber was there for $20.00 a month is missed through his indecision to give so large a rent without consulting the Minister was let immediately and could have been so ten times over within a week – so that I am now worse than I have been for 30 years without house, home or lodgings for I cannot even get a room at a hotel or tavern there being only two in the place and two stores and more than 3000 men with foremen and subcontractors working on the railway in the neighbourhood – I have put my trunk and papers in the cellar of a store in New Westminster – and will take on one trunk with such clothes as I actually require also some blankets and a tent – I tried to get a rough ready made overcoat here but have not succeeded my own spring overcoat being as warm as any I could find to fit me – and I expect my clothes from Stovel’s soon these with warm underclothing and a Scotch plaid I can borrow from Tom as he does not want it here – will make me tolerably comfortable – You may remember it was a heavy plaid Mrs Peter Grant brought out from Scotland – The weather is very mild and foggy yet – no frost whatever but up at Kamloops it gets 30 below zero – There has been much sickness Typhoid fever in Victoria – my old friend Dr. Helmcken has been down with it five weeks he is now very low and it is very doubtful if he will get over it – I forgot to say I have only two night shirts and both are worn thin – could you make me two of rather heavy cotton – The Govt work is likely to terminate as I always dreaded in meaness and misery – though it is more due to the wretched previous Chief Engineer than to the Ministers who don’t want any such thing – However there is only one year more at most – possibly not that – and all we can do is to use all economy consistent with comfort and the proper education of the children – I hang on in spite of every slight for there is no chance of getting such a salary or so constant except under the Govt – you must remember that besides my salary I have an allowance here of $50 a month for board and extra for travelling expenses this allowance however will not keep me at Kamloops and I fear I will have to draw on you but we shall see – and I will spend as little as possible –
Love to the children