A 19TH Century Canadian Time Capsule

Snapshots of a Picnic:

“Grace brought the basket and placed it on the table by her mother. She saw that it contained a cold tongue. Her mother put into it a loaf of bread, some cakes, and a jar of strawberry jam.”
“She was dressed in a clean white frock
… coming down the stairs with her straw bonnet in her hand.

It is impossible to tell which of the children expressed most delight when they saw the place selected by Miss Martha.

‘How lovely and cool it is under the trees’ cried Sophy.
‘Here is a nice flat stone for a seat,’ said Jane, ‘and here’ said Mary, ‘is a pretty house, all shaded by trees.’ There was room for four of the girls in the house Mary had found

John had brought all the baskets to Miss Martha and her sister, and had procured some water from a cottage that stood in a field not far off. When the baskets were opened, one was found to contain rice pudding, and a sponge cake. Another was filled with slices of ham and little prints of butter; in a third were some bottles of milk and large pieces of ice, which were covered up to prevent them from melting.”

“I once heard of a pic-nic, for which every thing had been provided – except one. There were boiled ham in abundance, each with its paper frill, cold fowls, cheese, salads, fruit, tongue, wines; all these were there, but what do you think had been for-gotten? No one had thought to bring any bread.”
(Oh! The Horror!)

Toys, Fun and Games – 1843

Where does a little girl in 1843 store her toys?
…”running back to her own room, she found a basket filled with doll’s clothes”
What sort of games did children play outdoors?
Who can play at thread the needle? And in a minute, they were all dancing round and round her, until they were all wrapped about her, as the thread is on its reel. While they were unwinding themselves with the same ceremony they had used in the first process, “Thread the needle, dan, dan, lift up the gates as wide as you can”

“Before breakfast she amused herself with watching some boys who were coasting down the hill, and as no one was in the room for her to talk to, she talked to herself. ‘There comes a little boy on a little sled. I don’t think his sled is as large as a wooden shovel that John uses to clear away the snow from the stable door. Here comes two boys on one sled, and one rides backwards-I should not like that; and here comes three in a row-how fast they go; and that one along the other street, with a great dog to draw it; and a great tub of water is on the sled, and the boy is walking at the side.'”

“After dinner, George went to his own room, and returning with a fishing line in his hand, he sat down by the window to mend it” “I shall not be at home again till Christmas, and then” said he, looking admiringly at his completed work, “then I shall want skates instead of fishing tackle.”

“When George had been home a week, he went with a party of boys to skate on a lake at Dartmouth”
“There sat Miss Martha, and her nieces Isabel and Jessy, and it was soon revealed that they, too, were going to look at the skaters on the lakes.”
“…and the parties of skaters were flying over it in all directions. Grace looked about for George, and as she did not see him, she felt sure he was with some boys whom she saw playing at hurley on the ice.”

(Hurley was an Irish field sport – perhaps, Hurley-on-ice was the very early beginning of Hockey).

“The little girls enjoyed riding on this sled until George was tired of drawing them, when they seated themselves on a larger sled, with Mrs. Severn and Miss Martha. This sled was drawn by several young men in front, and pushed along by others”
“…and she and Jessy called the skaters their Reindeer. Bye and Bye they stopped to let the Reindeer rest, one of whom, Grace’s uncle John, indulged her in two or three fine slides, and then the ladies, who did not dare to remain longer in the keen air, unless in motion, went back to town.”

“Those children that had been plaiting grass, or twining wreaths of Linnea Borealis round the crowns of their bonnets…”
“The bonnets which had been tied to the trees, were now tied under the owners’ chins”