New Westminster, B.C. 31 Aug 1883 Marcus Smith letter to his wife
Lot 91 in our auction Saturday 6th August 2022


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                      New Westminster B.C

                                 August 31st 1883

My dear Nannie

                          I have had two letters from you since I wrote last – the last dated Aug. 15 just received I was over part of the line with Mr. Schreiber which wasted several days – as it was a mere scamper like the visits of the Commissioners on the Intercolonial. Immediately after Mr. Onderdonk and myself walked over the line from Port Moody to Hope 70 miles – it was hot and dusty and we were nearly choked with smoke which has continued nearly two months – so I am tired and foot sore Tom is in camp at Harrison River 50 miles from this has plenty of hard work but looks well.

          In your letter before the last you mentioned the illness of your brother Henry – I have been looking for a breakdown but did not think it would come in that way. poor fellow he has had a hard life for some years – and what splendid opportunities he had about the time we returned to Canada. but want of ballast true education and thought of tomorrow combined with extravagance induced by a silly woman have brought him down. had he been as saving as we are he might have laid up an independent income in 4 or 5 years —

                   I am glad to learn that the children are enjoying themselves but what is Ethel doing ? –

I hope Arthur is not much disappointed I am not I would rather see him in health – and getting on fairly with his education – than breaking himself down with over study.

I believe it is a well known fact that very few boys who take an extraordinary high place at college ever succeed well in after life it would seem that then intellect is weakened by excessive forcing ———-

It is only when I see the rosy cheeks and elastic step of the women and children here that I wish you were all here but there is little chance of that now – as for the Island Railway I fancy that like every else of the kind in Canada is now in the hands of Americans who furnish the Capitol to the nominal contractor –

and for the work I am now on there is little chance of my getting anything more out of it. The contractor from low prices and bad management is getting very much behind financially and he wants to evade the work as much as possible and do it meanly. I fear it is going to be a repitition of the Intercolonial not that they will break down for they have plenty of backing but as usual they want to blame some one else. All this gives me an immense deal of extra Labour and I feel very weary the season is only half over and it seems the longest I have ever passed – if I could get anything else I think I would not come back again – but do not deceive yourself about the Government giving me anything – I hope for nothing from them. had it only lasted a year or two longer and I got about $15,000 more we could have retired and lived quietly – However many are worse off but we must be prepared for a change in our circumstances before another year – Love to all

                           Yours ever

                                   M. Smith

Transcribed as written


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