Kamloops, B.C. 31 Jan 1885 6-pg Marcus Smith Letter to his wife
Lot 67 in our auction Saturday 8th October 2022
Jan 31st 1885
My dear Wife
I have just received your letter of the 14th inst. and am glad to learn that all is going on so well – Your arrangement for the childrens allowances I perfectly approve – Arthur’s I suppose is intended to cover all his expenses including clothing.
My stove and office furniture came up from Port Moody only a fortnight ago – and the weather being cold I could not do anything to the repairs of the office till I got the stove going – since then I have been very busy getting the office in order – It is an apartment in the rear end of a one story log house which I purchased for winter quarters for the commissariat officer on the surveys ten or eleven years ago.
The apartment is 15 ft x 18 feet divided into two equal parts by a board partition I had to line it inside with cheap cotton on which I put cheap wallpaper and the spaces between the logs I had to stuff with hay on the outside which will be replaced with clay in the spring when the frost gets out of the ground. The back room was damp and had a stuffy musty smell so I had the boards taken up and found the joists dead rotten. These I had removed and replaced with new joists then covered the ground between the joists with lime so I think it will within a month be safe to sleep in. The floor is covered with linen matting and I have a trestle bed and fine warm blankets on it. The office floor is covered. with strips of cocoa matting. all of which I had from the office at New Westminster now vacant-
I had to do most of the work myself with occasional assistance of a day laborer and have made a nice job of the paper hanging
by this means the whole cost including 3 cords of wood has come under the amount allowed ($50) and I have worked the last two or three days in the office and find it very comfortable I shall be very glad when I get free altogether of the boarding house except meals – for there is no privacy – and little sleep as there is a racket all night long sometimes by drunken me(n) coming in and going out. – The meals were good at first but now they have got a greasy cook and I can eat but little my stomach rejects such food – But I go with Mr. Cambie tomorrow down to Port Moody – expect to see Tom on the way – and shall then go to Hastings or Granville – The New Terminus – on Burrard Inlet – There is a good clean and cheap Hotel at Hastings and as I don’t expect there will be much for me to do here I shall stay there probably till the end of February – unless called back here by telegram –
It will save the Govt $240 of rent for the year by my going into this Govt building which only cost them $50 but this $240 was to cover all expenses of attendance & everything so I am not allowed an (sixeman) or office attendant – However I will insist on the Govt finding firewood and light for the office at least as I write to Mr Trutch who has gone to Ottawa – The only firewood we have here is poplar – and fir – and slabs from the saw mill which we pay for as follows
Wood per cord $4.50
cutting up 1.50
Total per cord _ 7.00
and in the very cold weather it would take 3 to 4 cords a month to heat the office.
However Spring comes early here and after 1st March not much firewood will be required.
My overcoat has not come yet but as I have not had to go out much I have not suffered from the want of it. as since the New Year the weather has been very mild only two cold snaps down to 25° below zero which lasted only two or three days, but the changes are very sudden sometimes 30° – in 12 hours and most of us have had colds – I feel weak and languid and think the sea air will do me good You will go to the express office about the overcoat and make them trace it – or sue them for it see Don O’Connor –