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Susanna Moodie to Katie Vickers
June 08 1872
Patrick Hamilton Ewing Collection of Moodie-Strickland-Vickers-Ewing Family Papers (National Library of Canada)

North Douro
June 8, 1872

My Own Beloved Katie

I have only just got dear Robert's letter, with the sad news of our dear Johns illness. Too late for any post before tuesday next. Oh, that I had wings to fly to you, for old though I be, I could yet nurse baby, or sit by the dear sufferer's bed and attend to his wants, when you were absent about the house. If I can be of the least use or comfort, telegraph for me when you get this. It is very provoking that there is but one post here during the day, which comes in at noon, and goes out at half past two, but generally too late to answer any letters received until the following day.

I have a thousand things to say to you, but I have not the power to write them down. God knows my darling good child, how much I feel for you, and my kind dear son. But keep up your heart. All may yet be well. A few hours may restore your dear one as it did before. I can well imagine that if Fraser has left him, the double trouble and worry has been the cause of his present seizure. He needs rest of both mind and body. Perhaps change and sea air might prove beneficial. That close office is too much for him, and the pressure of his great business. How I wish he could sell his mines and leave it altogether. His life is of more value than millions of dollars. If the anxiety of his office was less, his health would steadily improve. But after all, this is mere conjecture. The future is with God, to Him my darling you must look for help in time of trouble. We may build, and plant and plan, but He only can bless the work of our hands, and if we suffer, it is to bring us nearer to Him. All the riches of earth will appear to us as nothing when we come to bid our last adieu to the world and its fleeting vanities. 'Hold every thing here Susanna, with a loose hand,' dear old Mr Hodson used to say to me, but for all that -- I held them tight, and smiled at the admonition -- Yet how true it is. --

I have seen everything slip from my hand, and am really more contented than when I had a home, and held a fair position in the world.

I am so glad that dear Robert is with you in your trouble, as I know he loves both you and John with sincere affection, and will do all in his power to help you.

He does not say how the children are getting on with the whooping cough, or how you are off for servants. I was troubled about you after I got your letter, and found that you had lost Annie and that your other servants were going to leave you, but I did not foresee the greater need of help. But cheer up dear heart, I trust the good God ere this has lessened your anxiety, that the dear husband is able to comfort you and raise your spirits. I hope nothing has gone amiss in the office that Fraser left. I thought he was too much attached to Mr. Vickers ever to leave him. It was a greater loss than all the house servants.

I have been down this evening to the Village to get a tooth taken out, but could not find either of the Doctors at home. I have been suffering with tooth ache for several days and my jaw is terribly inflamed, healing I fancy by the throbbing.

I received a letter yesterday from Donald. He is still out of employ and on the eve of starvation. This made me very sad as I had not the power to help him. I wrote to Allen Ransome enclosing his letter and asking him to recommend him to any house in America with which he had dealings. A forlorn Hope, but it was the only thing I could think of. He has left New Jersey City and is boarding in cheap lodgings at Newark, New Jersey.

Walter Strickland goes up on Monday morning by the five o'clock train. How I wish that I were going with him. For though an old woman is not of much use, I am not too proud to wash dishes and dress little ones, and if you think I could be of any use, don't hesitate a moment, but send for me right away. All here are deeply concerned for your husbands illness, and sympathize with you most sincerely. This wet weather makes poor Aunt very rhumatic -- ...


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