Saturday, 1 September 2012

Catharine Parr Trail

Further exploring Canadian history today, I decided to delve a bit into the life of Catharine Parr Traill, sister to Susannah Moodie, and I must say, I think I am in love.

Gotta say, having read a couple of excerpts from The Backwoods of Canada. Being Letters
from the Wife of an Emmigrant Officer, Illustrative of the Domestic Economy of British North America
(London, England: Knight, 1836), lady's got sass. In letter II, she is constantly pestering her husband, the captain, the surgeon, and anyone else who will listen for opportunities to explore ashore in the New World. She describes in detail the flowers and fresh fruits that are brought to her to mollify her (I should note here her interest in botany). Once having begun their homestead, she maintains that same spirit and optimism and sense of adventure, it seems, reading Letter VII. Although I am certain, had I read the whole book, I would come across her down phases and periods of lost hope, I am also certain she would have conveyed these with the same dry wit she exhibits in the two excerpts, rendering her depression palatable to the reader. Yes, I just said that. Although ultimately, the Traills, like the Moodies wound up moving to the city, abandoning their dream of homesteading, you can tell, just from photographs of the elderly Catharine, that for her, at least, life in the New World was a blazing success. 

Should you like to read the excerpt I read, you can find it in pdf here.

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