W3837 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER FROM CATHERINE MCILWAINE.
Dec 18 1884
To: Rev. Thomas Baker. 3 Bold Street, Hamilton, Ontario.
From: Mark Street, Portrush, Ireland.
My dear Brother
I received your welcome kind, comforting letter, on the 13th and dated the 1st of Dec. Oh! What a quick passage over the great Atlantic and what a matter of thanksgiving that friends and relatives at such a distance from each other have such a wonderful speedy Medium of communicating their thoughts & wishes to each other. It made me glad indeed to read your letter and find you were all well, and that you youself were able to write so clear, inteligent [sic], and so instructive a letter, at your time of life! God in Mercy grant you man yet be long spared to do the same, and be such a blessing to all your dear relatives & friends, is my sincere prayer.
You sympathise with me about my dear brothers health and I am sure you would feel yet more deeply if you knew all the state concerning him. You never knew anyone so much altered, his mind has in a great measure given way not that he is out of mind thanks God but his faculties have failed his Memory, that he cannot do businefs [sic], and his powers of mind so that he cannot write a letter and this I feel so much as he was an excellent letter writer & Conducted the correspondence of all the house- at times he would Converse with you, as sensible as Ever he did, and in a few moments he would be rambling on some foolish story that never happened some say it is early dotage but others that threw the strain his mind has been subjected to for years past with a wife who was never a help [?] and a large family to provided for these all seem to think his mind has been over strained & it has bent but dear Mr. Baker, what is my greatest sorrow & trouble concerning him in this- He gave too little concern to his eternal interests, while his mind was strong and gave but a feeble hope of his interest in Christ- and now that he has lost the power of fully realizing these great essential truths, that he needs, and that would make his demise so different to bear- Oh! You could not imagine the trouble these thoughts give me & how much my heart
is grieved all my consolation is to pour out the sorrows of my soul & to the sympathizing High Priest of my profession" to help in this time of great need, He alone can do it- It might be yet his will to restore his mental faculties that he will be brought to feel her great need of that blessed & only Mediator- and I request an Interest in your prayers for him.
I was deeply affected at your touching remembrance of the Cemetary where the dust of our dear departed ones rest in hope of a blessed ressurection, what a comforting thought it is to us when looking down into the graves of our loved ones, to be able to look up to Him who hath brought life & immortality to light by the Gospel"- and whom we trust will one day raise us all up out of these graves & reunite us in that happy world where sin & sorrow never [unite??]!!!- I will feel very pleased by your sending me the books you speak of- no matter how old, or worn looking they are they will be dear & valued by me as having been in the passes sure these of her that was so dear to me, and who is seldom long out of my memory at once!
As I told your dear daughter, did not wish her to send me anything of any real value by way of remembrance of her that is gone, as in a short time I will be following her, and leaving some behind that I would care to leave them with- I often think of distributing while I am alive all the little trinkets I have got of any value and there is one article that I with my dear niece to receive and she to leave it to Tiny Mary. It is a Broache [sic] containing the hair of my beloved brother Captn McIlwaine sent to me by his wife shortly after his death in 68 as a memorium gift, & though plain looking & of little value she said that they were made by their own Jeweller in London and Cost 5 pounds, or guineas, each one for my sister & one for me, mine whc [which] I will send was scarcely ever worn- I always intended Sundays at to your dear wife and my esteemed sister, but it was deferred till too late.
18th Dear I am finishing my letter as I wish to have it ready for this Mail and I have just returned from the Post Office where I reserved your Magnificent gift of money- as the letter always precedes the money, & a few days need I say that I receive it with many many thanks and a truly grateful heart-
I am astonished at your liberality. I would feel content with the half of it- God has given you a large heart and I do pray that He will return it in to your own bosom seven fold with His choicest blessings & gifts.
Money is valuable in these days when there is such depression every where, a letter I had a few days ago from my Nephew in my brothers land he tells me that this is the worst year for Ireland or rather for Farmers remembered as his beautiful Wheat was sold for [?] per stone & everything in accordance. I had no idea that this depression has extended to the Dominion till I read your letter, no wonder that Isaac feels anxious with so much in hands. I had no idea of the extent of her works till you have explained it to me, I am glad to hear that your weather is not so cold yet- I dread the Cold Weather. Our weather as you will see by the Newspapers, One storm after another Wild Cold Stormy Weather, in this part my health is pretty good thank God. I was very poorly during the Autumn loss of appetite & strength failing and I am troubled with Rheumatism going down rapidly.
I am sometimes dreadfully lonely in the evenings musing over former day.
Oh what a value true are the Scriptures and good books
You will smile at me sending you a Xmas Card, but it is a view of the Presbyterian Church in this Village the Minister Collected the Money all in the United States that built it first & remoddled [sic] it again he is so proud & fond of the Americans that lately he set up the Eagle in a Crofs [sic] [??] above the Pulpit to the annoyance of many of his [Servers??].
I was amused at what you told me about little Tom he must be a most interesting child & what a blessing that they are all so healthy & well. I got my letter weighed in the Office & I have room for this other little card I was going to send it as yr. [?] but I fear that his antic ways may soon demolish it, so I write Calvin's name. I have room to say nothing more but conclude with wishing you & yrs every blessing and favor from our God and I remain yr [sic] grateful and affect'nate Sister
[Christmas Card with picture of Portrush Presbyterian Church:]
Happy may thy New Year be,
And many of them may you see.