18 Victoria Park Road
Feby. 4th, 1869

My ever dear Alexander

Your letter dated the 1st January came to hand yesterday. How is it that is has reached in a shorter time than usual? Some Railway has been started I expect. Well any circumstance which tends to bring news from "a far country" more swiftly will ever be acceptable.

The account of your health somewhat disturbs me: it is however mingled with some phrases of a favorable nature, for instance, "your partner" has dislodged - about 150 feet! The thought of it is terrific. I hope he will be got rid of altogether and that speedily. I understand but little about the complaint as, when children, you were some of you troubled with worms.

I rejoice to hear that business is prospering with you and that in the course of time there will, I suppose, be no necessity for you to keep a store but your income will be produced from Ground Rents; in that case there would be no difficulty in you coming to England, as your brother could attend to your rents in your absence. I suppose, too, he will transact your law business. By what you have said about his being so much engaged I hope he is doing better. An influx of population must be a benefit to you both. I wish you were both inclined to get enough and settle down in Old England. Here we have the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour preached to almost every creature. I often think you will never realize the love of Jesus until you visit your native country; a heathen country is sad, sad, but as you increase in numbers I expect you will have Missionaries come amongst you.

I like amazingly the account you have given me of the Chinaman. I wish you had more such about you - a good honest servant is a great treasure and deserves the respect of the family he is in. I can imagine that you and dear Andrea are very kind to him.

You ask me how I am getting on. Well, at present looking up my rents, - the expenses upon the cottages are more than you have an idea of - for instance, 72 pounds pr annum to pay the Building Society until they are redeemed; 24£8 taxes and £6/19 for repairs and reletting. Of course there are the rents coming to me provided they are let throughout the year. They amount to no more that £72 but to have them let thus is not to be expected. The houses being in a locality where there are a numerous number of new houses to let, some will not, or cannot pay their rent; others are changing about, that it requires the greatest vigilance to keep them in a paying state. Half of my time has been given up to them and my thoughts day and night. How is it possible an Agent could enter into my interest as I do myself or give them that attention when perhaps they have 100 houses to collect for. I am hoping and expecting they will be taken for the railways, a circumstance which would rejoice me. I have been poring over my accounts lately in order to see my profits or loss during the year 1868. My greatest difficulty consists in not meeting with honest tradesmen, for instance the roofs and drains - Oh they torment me! These men will look a widow in the face and rob her if they can. I know many who would like to become my collector but what would they do? Why repair them with a view of their being ultimately for sale and would buy them. You will say what a humbling opinion of human nature, but it is so in Bethnal Green. I do believe the men who purchase small property are the most avaricious set to be met with. I am quite sure were your dear father alive he would say I was right to persevere.

This being forced from home is in some respects good for my health. I often get an appetite through it. Some phases [?] of the business is rather pleasant, but much depends on the weather and tenants, but enough of the houses.

John Kraushaar has left London not being fitted for business. He is now with his brother-in-law, Mr. Roberts, at Northampton to be instructed in the business of a salesman. Poor boy, he is too much like his father to like anything but books. With them he has stuffed himself. Elijah is walking the hospitals. He visits me occasionally. Your sister Mrs. Evans is in very poor health. She is troubled with spasms. She and Mr. Evans are now at Weston Super Mare for change of air and scene. Anne tells me her husband is doing exceedingly well in business, but really when we hear of such failures as Gurney & Peto there is no knowing where money is safe. I do not like the responsibility of money lest I should lose it. The Bank of England gives but 3 pr cent interest. Our Building Society gives 5 pr cent and I have reason to think is safe but I do not like all my eggs in one basket. I hope you understand where your money is safe - are you insured? only think of Horace Browne. I expect he is a ruined man, --

[Part of this letter missing: D Bilodeau]