Saturday, December 11, 2010

Alexander Caulfield Anderson

"Everything around us wears now the aspect of winter; certainly a premature one, but nevertheless, in appearance, bona fide the winter of the good year 1844.
"Would I could predict with honest Sir Hugh that 'there are pippins & cheese to come' -- but alas! I fear cold fingers and hunger will be the more probable lot of many in the interior, and we, who are comparatively in comfort, have reason to be thankful that we are so.
"Yet are we but too prone, while contemplating the difficulties that seemingly environ our own lots, to compare them with the lot of others, in appearance more fortunate; while we lose sight of our neighbours' great misery, with which our own comparative comfort ought properly to be contrasted.
"But these are trite truths, as old as the days of Solomon, and which are perhaps misplaced in the common place diary of a plodding Indian trader.
""But who among mortals is always wise?" Wherefore I will avail myself of my plea; and like sager men urge it, for sometimes playing the fool upon paper.
"T'is a glorious privilege to be able to write nonsense now & then, when there is no censor of the press, or rather of the pen, to check one -- Enough! A good fire, a warm house, & divers acceptable concomitants, with a foot of snow around one, are circumstances that may well occasion a momentary glimpse of contentment in a mind not always swayed by cheerful emotions."

Alexander Caulfield Anderson, October 25, 1844, written after the first severe snowfall of the winter.
Source: Fort Alexandria Journal, 1843-1845, B.5/a/6, fo. 13, HBCA.
"Pippins and cheese to come," is from William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Sir Hugh refers to the character Sir Hugh Evans, a Welsh parson.

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