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A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba

Mrs. Cecil Hall

Book Overview: 

In 1881, Mrs. Cecil Hall’s brother went to Manitoba to farm. In 1882, she went out for a visit of some two months, and followed that visit with a long sojourn in Colorado, returning to England as the snows began to fall. While there, she had to give up her “Lady’s ways” and help on the farm in many ways she’d never stoop to at home. She makes hay, cooks, paints the barn roof, and cleans. Through it all, the newness helped her keep her temper, and these letters home show an insight into the settlement of Western Canada.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I don't think we shall either of us care to ride or drive much.

We have fallen into it (the life) wonderfully quickly; completely sunk the lady and become sort of maids-of-all-work. Our day begins soon after 6 o'clock by laying the breakfast, skimming the cream, whilst our woman is frying bacon and making the porridge for the breakfast at 6.30. Mr. B—— and A—— are out by 5 o'clock, in order to water, feed, and harness their horses all ready to go out at 7 o'clock, when we get rid of all the men. We then make the beds, help in the washing-up, clean the knives, and this morning I undertook the dinner, and washed out some of the clothes, as we have not been able to find a towel, duster, or glass-cloth, whilst Mrs. G—— cleaned out the dining-room. The dirt of the house is, to our minds, appalling; but as Mrs. G—— only arrived a few days before we did, and all the winter the four men were what is called in this country "ba. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba would have been better titled A Lady's Extended Vacation on a Farm in Manitoba or A Lady Visits Manitoba and Thinks It's Great but Returns to London After a Few Months. This is one of the old-fashioned books where everyone's name is obscured by means of initials,

I tried this book for Nonfiction November. I perfer letters to a memoirs. I always suspect that writers of memoirs are skipping over a lot. Letters I expect that a lot was not written. Still...this was a trying book.

The author isn’t Cecil Hall, it’s Mrs Cecil Hall. Or more precisely Mary Georgiana Caroline Hall.
It was an interesting read, but with the usual racism of its time.

It's such a good journey to the country side

Sort of an adult version of a condensed Little House on the Prairie series with A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mts. It discusses farming, ranching and agricultural development. Letters written back home in England.
Letters #25 - #37 about traveling to the Rocky Mts. #26 references Lady Bird's book! So I

1882 trip to Manitoba via NY, DC, Chicago etc. Time spent on a farm in Manitoba, at a mining town in Colorado, etc. Told in letters back to London.

Am so loving this. Finished this last week - totally brilliant. I like letter based books and this one really gives a window into a time and way of life I couldn't even begin to imagine.....a little like Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups.