A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs eBook

George MacKinnon Wrong
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 232 pages of information about A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs.
to manage and [I] am afraid it will be difficult to separate [him] from his mother.  He does not speak a word of English; neither do your sisters Mary (now called Polly) or Anny speak any other language than French; but I intend to send them all to Quebec next summer, where it’s to be hoped they will soon learn to understand a little English.”  So to Quebec Tom was sent to begin his education.  By 1798, when only eleven years old, he had gone to the relatives in Scotland and Nairne’s friend, Ker, writes of him:  “I think Tommie one of the sweetest tempered fine boys I ever saw and he will, I doubt not, be the comfort and delight of you all.”  Polly was there too—­“a very good girl ... of great use to her Aunts to whom she pays every attention.”  Tom, like his brother John, was carefully instructed by his father.  He must look after himself, dress, care for his clothes, and keep clean, without troubling others.  Especially must he try to think clearly and speak distinctly—­truly a sound beginning of education.  His brother’s death in 1799 made him an important person, the pride of his house.  “There are many Tams now in this parish,” wrote his father in 1801, “even a part of it is named St. Thomas, all in compliment to our Tom.”  At the time of his father’s death in 1802, a boy of fifteen, Tom was attending the Edinburgh High School.  Before me lies a coverless account book of octavo size in which are written by some careful person, in clear round-hand, recipes, scraps of poetry, problems in arithmetic and geometry, and among other things, “Tom’s Expenses, 1796.”  A quarter at the High School costs 10/6, “Lattin books,” 4/-, school money is 3/-, a ferret 3d., and so on.  His sister Polly’s expenses are entered in the same book and that young lady’s outlay was more formidable.  Items for the milliner such as “making up a Bonnet. 3/6,” (young ladies still wore bonnets) are frequent.  Miss Polly spent 6/- on ear-rings.  Once when she took a “Shaise” it cost her 2/-, while “Chair Hire” is sometimes 1/6 and sometimes reduced to the modest proportions of 9d.  No doubt for her health’s sake she bought for 1/- a “Sacred Tincture” which, we may hope, did her good.

Thomas Nairne was an attractive boy.  He lived with his father’s executor and friend, James Ker, an Edinburgh banker, a wise, prudent, far-seeing, man.  Mr. Ker was married to Colonel Nairne’s niece and he received Tom as his own child.  The boy was the inseparable companion of Ker’s son Alick.  Tom won praises on all sides.  An Aunt wrote seriously that she had feared he was too good to live; and she comforted Nairne’s grief at his son John’s death by the thought of what Tom will be to him.  He is “a happy chearful pleased little fellow always quiet at home”—­but also “happy and at home wherever he goes.”  So thoughtful, she adds, is he that, entirely on his own motion, he deems it proper to write to his mother; one of these letters is before me—­beautifully written in a large but well-formed schoolboy hand. 

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A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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