Victoria, B.C. 24 May 1874 Marcus Smith Letter to his wife, faults
Lot 71 in our auction Saturday 3rd April 2021
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Victoria B.C. May 24th, 1874.
My dear Annie
I have just received yours of the 29th April and think with you that it will probably be best to send Eloise to the Church school at Toronto. Although it is not less popish than the Catholic schools the lady superior wears a nun’s dress.-
Eloise would there learn to conduct herself properly and learn ladylike habits. but that is what all- I could gather from the lady’s conversation that they considered it a great bore to push on girls in music who had no musical talent. and perhaps the same in other things In a word. It is like the public schools in England for boys-if they are quick and anxious to learn they have the assistance of the Masters but otherwise they are not pushed- Now at both the Convent schools in Toronto Music is taught thoroughly. And at the Loretto, French at least is taught by a native of France while at English schools pupils never make any progress in modern languages worth the time spent- Gamsby told me the reason of the falling off in the number of pupils at the Church school-he had a daughter there and he says the late principal Miss (I forgot the name) left it and started an academy of her own and most of the pupils went with her. She is said to be very clever and Lord Dufferin thought so highly of her school that he asked her to name it after one of his titles and I believe it is called the Dufferin Academy- write to William or Maggie to find out all about it- I like the situation of the church school it must be very pleasant in summer in the beautiful groves in which the school is situated.
I start in a few days either up the coast in a gunboat or across the Cascade mountains from Fort Hope (on the Fraser) to Princeton, Nicola lake and Kamloops- and either journey will take about a month- most likely it will be the land journey that I will take- I shall not go on my long trip away to the big bend of the Fraser above Fort George and across the Chilcotin plains till some time late in July. So you will have time to write about the school and let me know all about it before I go –
A Mr. Edgar has been here as confidential agent for the Dominion Govt.- to get an extension of time for the completion of the Railway- and as a bribe offered to commence the construction of the line from Esquimalt to Nanaimo (Vancouver island) about 60 miles in length. But the Provincial Govt. did not even consider the terms offered alleging that Edgar was not properly accredited and that the Dominion Govt. might refuse to abide by any agreement he made- on the other hand the Provincial Govt. passed a resolution last parliament- during the row- that no alteration of the terms should be made without consulting the people- which means that if any terms are proposed to be accepted by the local Govt. they must dissolve and go before the people for re-election on these terms- and those here who think Edgars terms should have been accepted allege that the ministers here would be afraid to accept any terms as some of them would not be elected again- altogether the thing is in a muddle-which as usual will result in a great deal of trouble to me for instance the people here may take it as their lead any day to accept the terms or some other offered. There I should have orders to start work at once-without any previous survey and the line would take 6 months to locate the same with the line on the mainland- it will be barely possible to complete the preliminary surveys this year so as to decide on the line- and yet they are beginning to have the work begin next April.
I have asked Fleming to state these things to the Govt. so that we might at least commence the surveys of the line on vancouver island at once. But as usual he will do nothing and the Govt. don’t want to do anything till the B. Columbians come to terms- I am heartly sick of it and think after this summer had better look for something else- where we can be all together if even on less income- The hard work on this vast line is wearing me down and I shall get no thanks for it- these cussed policies are a disgrace and will bring ruin to the country- I only wish I were at the Cape now- They have found gold in large nuggets on the Bokvelt- (where Perry and I went one Easter) and everybody is leaving Capetown and they can get no one to fill the public offices- I write to Sybil this evening
Love to all the children