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Some Reminiscences of old Victoria   By: (1847-1923)

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[Illustration: FORT VICTORIA, 1859.]






Toronto William Briggs 1912

Copyright, Canada, 1912, by EDGAR FAWCETT.


Sir Richard McBride. K.C.M.G.



To My Readers:

A preface is, as I understand it, an explanation, and maybe an apology, for what follows. If such is the case, I must explain several things contained in these "Reminiscences of Old Victoria" and its pioneers. Had I not been laid aside with the typhoid some eight years ago, it is likely I should not have thought of writing down these early memories, but many know what convalescing after a sickness is how one longs for something new, something to do. I was at this time at the seaside, and all at once decided to pass my time in writing. Seated comfortably on the beach with my writing pad, I commenced "A British Boy's Experiences in San Francisco in the Early Fifties," and so have continued on from time to time during the last eight years.

I have been much encouraged, by pioneers and friends, to gather the result of these pleasant labors together, and I feel I have succeeded in a very imperfect manner; but, dear reader, consider how little I should be expected to know of book making; therefore take faults and omissions in the product of my labors cum bona venia , for there are sure to be many imperfections. There are repetitions of which I am aware, and have decided to let them stand, as I think they fit in in each case. Had I been a man of more leisure I should not have had to apologize for so many of these imperfections.

I have to thank Mrs. Macdonald, of Armadale, the venerable Bishop Cridge, and Alexander Wilson, for valuable information, and also Mr. Albert Maynard and Reverend A. E. Alston for many photographs to illustrate the book. We all know that a book in these days is nothing without pictures. There are others who have helped me in other ways who will accept my thanks.

With these explanatory remarks, and in fear and trembling, I submit the book to your favorable consideration.

Dingley Dell, Christmas, 1911.


All the Fawcetts I ever heard of from my father and mother came from Kidderminster. My father's father was a maltster, and the sons, with the exception of my father, the youngest, were carpet weavers. The family were strict Nonconformists, and produced one or two noted divines of George the Third's day, one of whom preached before that king. There was also a kinship with the Baxters of "Saint's Rest" fame.

My mother was Jane Wignall, whose father was a Birmingham smallarms manufacturer in rather a large way of business, but who through the dishonesty of his partner was nearly ruined and brought to comparative poverty. The daughters, who were all well educated, had to take positions as governesses and ladies' companions. My mother, in this capacity, lived and travelled in France and Spain, and spoke the languages of both countries. In a voyage to her home from Barcelona she was wrecked in the Gulf of Lyons, but through the timely assistance of a Spanish gentleman and his Newfoundland dog, who bore her up, she was brought to shore in little more than her nightdress. I have to day a letter from the British consul at Marseilles which he gave to my mother, recommending her to the care of other British consuls on her way to England. The Spanish gentleman who saved her life made an offer of marriage, which my mother declined, I think, on account of his being a Roman Catholic. He would not take no for an answer, but later on followed her to England and offered himself a second time without effect. Shortly after this she and my father were married, and on the advice of Rowland Hill, his cousin (Sir Rowland Hill), he took his young bride to Australia... Continue reading book >>

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