Love Strong as Death: Lucy Peel’s Canadian Journal, by J.I. Little

By J.I. Little

A transcription of Lucy Peel’s splendidly readable magazine used to be lately stumbled on in her descendent’s condominium in Norwich, England. despatched in commonplace installments to her transatlantic kinfolk, the magazine provides an intimate narrative of Lucy’s Canadian sojourn along with her husband, Edmund Peel, an officer on depart from the British army. Her day-by-day entries start with their departure as a tender, newlywed couple from the shorelines of britain in 1833 and finish with their determination to come back to the comforts of domestic after 3 and a part years of exertions as pioneer settlers.

Lucy Peel’s evocative diary makes a speciality of the semi-public international of relations and neighborhood in reduce Canada’s jap Townships, and fulfils an analogous position as Susanna Moodie’s writings had for the higher Canadian frontier. notwithstanding their standpoint was once from a small, privileged area of society, those genteel girls writers have been sharp observers in their social and average atmosphere, and so they offer important insights into the ideology and behavior of the social classification that ruled the Canadian colonies in the course of the pre-Rebellion period.

Women’s voices are hardly heard within the reliable files that contain a lot of the old files. Lucy Peel’s intensely romantic magazine finds how crucially very important domesticity used to be to the neighborhood British officers. Lucy Peel’s diary, like these of such opposite numbers as Catherine Parr Traill, additionally means that genteel ladies have been higher ready for his or her position within the New global than Canadian historians have in most cases assumed.

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Edmund, who was in the top birth had many narrow escapes, every thing in the Cabin fell down, I never saw such a place as it was the next morning. There is a little doctor amongst the second class passengers, he was so frightened that he went on deck in his shirt and told the Captain he thought the ship was on her beam end and that he was cutting away her V Book One 25 masts, he begged to be made useful. The Captain told him there was no danger and that he had better go below and dress himself or he would take cold, he did so, but came on deck again as he dared not remain below, so he left his poor wife and child to take care of themselves.

I walk upon deck without any shawl. We have had only two days quick sailing and then we got on pretty well, but I begin to be heartily tired of this slow work and I wonder any one can find charms on the sea, I shall be delighted to find myself once more on shore. Edmund is as kind and attentive as possible, and indeed it requires all his affectionate care to make up for the many disagreeables on board a ship, which when contrasted with the comforts of Mount Cottage, and the present company with those dear friends I have left and have thought so constantly of since I parted from them, are doubly hard.

Edmund joins me in love to all at Church Bank [where Edmund’s parents live] & remember us to the one dearest to you Dear Bessy your affect sister Lucy Peel 30 Love Strong as Death U No 2 Sherbrooke May 24th 1833 My dearest Mamma Here we are at last after a most tedious journey. We left New York on Saturday in the ten oclock steam packer. The greatest beauty I ever saw, it had only run one day before, it is more like an Hotel than a boat. You enter it on a very large lower deck covered all over which makes it cool.

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