Sunday, 29 January 2017
'Will You Miss England?' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT. Private Life, Public Record. A narrative about a moment in the life of my ancestor Eleanor Wells.
“You ask me: How do I feel leaving my home country of England?
“Well, I have many feelings and concerns. Firstly I have to leave three of my children behind. The three we’ve buried. I shan’t be able to visit them anymore. The grief of them dying was hard, but now … to sail the seas so far away … is even harder.
“I wish my husband understood how deep my grief is. He is so excited about starting a new life in a new land he won’t talk about our loss.
“Of the four children with us Eleanor, my namesake, is just like me. We understand each other. At thirteen she misses her older sister the most. We always visited the graves together. On our walk we collected flowers along the way to spread on their beds.
“I am so worried for our other children that they may become unwell on the trip and not survive. I have heard that there are often deaths on board.
“Thomas my husband is a gardener just like his father was. But will there be work for him in this foreign land? I can always do housework or serve in tea-rooms but will there be gardens for Thomas to tend?
“I miss my family already, standing here on the wharf. My mother loved to help me with the children but she will not be here in the future. I will not be able to walk down the road to see her, to share tea and chat together.
“My answer is – I am terribly anxious about the whole trip.”
PROV: Index to Assisted British Immigrants 1839-1871.Book 10, p 7. Ann Milne, Jan 1853.