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Mr. Ernest Bayes

Rushden Echo, 17th January 1908, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Rushden Colony in America
How Some Rushdenites Spent Christmas
Interesting Letter from Mr. Ernest Bayes
Are Red Cabbages Greengrocery?
What Does “W.C.T.U.” Mean?

The following letter has been received by Mr. George Bayes, of Rushden, from his son Ernest, who is living at Aberdeen, in the United States, and will, we are sure, interest the readers of the “Rushden Echo”:-

911 7th Avenue East,
South Dakota, U.S.A.
Christmas Eve

Dear Dad, and all whom it may concern—I write you a few lines at this season when, more than at other times, we think of the “old folks at home.” It is 9.45 p.m. here, so it must be between 3 and 4 a.m. on Christmas day with you, and doubtless you are all at rest, sleeping to your hearts content. Christmas 1905, in England; Christmas 1906, in Canada; Christmas 1907, in the States. Goodness knows where Christmas 1908 will be spent. Master Ivan Linnitt, Walter’s child, has been rather fretful today, and, as the mother has just succeeded in getting him to sleep, singing is out of the question, and I am forbidden by autocratic decree from singing those hymns so appropriate to the occasion:- “As with gladness men of old,” “Angels from the realms of glory,” and that

Grand Old Favourite

of my father’s, “Old Tom Brown, he had a little injun,” so, as singing is prohibited, and, not being in a fit frame of mind for tackling “Morley’s Life of Gladstone,” vol. 2, I thought I would write a brief epistle to you all. I received your letter on December 21st.

I should be glad if ------- would write me some time, stating his views on the fiscal question, the destruction of armaments, women’s suffrage, and those two momentous and important subjects which so far transcend these first three, viz., “Is red cabbage greengrocery?” Walter has just come in from the store and brought with him

A Handsome Present

his employers gave him. He and his wife are delighted with it. We have got a day’s holiday tomorrow, so shall continue my epistle then; so hoping you are as well as I am for Xmas, I must wish you all goodnight.

Christmas Day, 10 a.m.

Well, here we are again on the war-path. After a good night’s rest Walter and I rose by 6 a.m. and decided to go round carolling. The temperature was below zero, so we donned our coats and sallied forth. First, we visited Mr. John Mackness’s residence, giving them “Christians awake,” “While shepherds watched,” “Hark the herald angels,” etc., etc.

Then we visited in turn George French, Joe Mackness, Mrs. George Bull, Wm. Everard, senior and junior; in fact, we called on

All the Rushdenites

with the exception of brother Charles Freeman, who lives away on the north side.

It is superfluous for me to inform you that in each case the “Christians awoke” before we had sung two lines, and we were rewarded with happy greetings from all, and at Mrs. George Bull’s we had a lovely cup of hot tea. Arthur Everard has just been down to the P.O. to see if there was any mail for us, but like one of old he’s come “empty away.” I wonder if Dad is writing me a long letter, similar to the one he wrote me last year.

There is a branch of

The W.C.T.U.

in Aberdeen. What do those mystic letters mean? I will tell you. “Women Can Talk Unceasingly.” How’s that? But up to the present my wife has not joined.

2.15 p.m.

Like a celebrity of old I will again take up my parable. Walter and I went over to see Mr. and Mrs. C. Freeman this morning and found them quite well. On returning home we found Mr. Wm. Everard there. He had come in to extend to us the compliments of the season. We sat down to our Yule-tide dinner, and I never had one I enjoyed better. Baked pudding such as no Yankee or Canadian ever knew how to make; leg of mutton, surpassing in taste and tenderness any

Ever Sold in Rushden;

wound up with plum pudding and jelly and whipped cream; and now that my inner man is renewed I will see if my composing powers are equal to finishing this letter. My employers gave me a cheque for a Christmas present and the clerks in the office gave me a very nice present and another friend sent us a nice clock.

When you are sending, kindly forward those pictures and books I left at home. The pictures I refer to are those of Gen. Booth, Hugh Black, James Chalmers, and John Knox. I wonder what sort of weather you are having. We have a splendid day—rather chilly, but nice and clean; in fact, during my long life of many vicissitudes and changes, I have never known such beautiful weather as we have experienced during our four months’ sojourn in Aberdeen containing many really good photos.

We are all going to Mr. John Mackness’s to supper, and from there we shall migrate to Bull’s and participate in

A Rushden Re-Union,

so I take another interval and will finish tomorrow.

Dec 26th.

Another fine day. We had an enjoyable supper at Mr. Mackness’s, and had a good deal of talk about Rushden, and its inhabitants. Mrs. Mackness and her daughter Louie told us about a brake drive the Rushden B.W.T.A. had about seven years ago, when Mr. John Claridge and Dad were the only two men present. On the return journey Dad taught the ladies to sing

“From Wibbleton to Wobbleton

is fourteen miles,” etc., and they assured us not one of the party went to sleep.

After supper we went to Bull’s and met a host of Rushdenites, and innumerable company, whom no man could number. We heard gramophone selections, and, being a strictly teetotal party, I was called upon to oblige with “The old Bull and Bush.” We got home at 12.15. Happiest Christmas day yet.

Rushden Echo, 30th October 1908

An Old Rushdenite—From a letter sent to Rushden by Mr. Ernest Bayes (son of Mr. G. Bayes), now of Cresbard, U.S.A.:- “How I would love to have heard Judge Willis’s lecture. John Milton and I are friends. I have a short time with him every day.” Referring to his wife, the writer says she is too busy to write, she is preparing for the winter (canning fruit). He says: “This is the country where they eat what they can, and can what they can’t. So far as I can remember she has canned rhubarb, crabs, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, blueberries, cranberries, and grapes. You don’t know what you have missed staying over there in the little ‘sea-girt’ isle. There are many people in Rushden, scores of men and women working hard, who will never get five cents ahead. If they were to come here and work as hard, in a short time they could retire. In this town there is nobody to do any washing. If I could get some of the Rushden washer-women who are slaving for 1/0 per day to come out here, they could make eight times that amount six days a week, even seven if they wanted it. I send my collars to the State of Wisconsin to be starched and ironed and many people send all their laundry that far. Girls as servants and for sewing are in great demand, and in fact there are openings for everyone who wants.”

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