Letter from Harriet to Em


Dublin Core


Letter from Harriet to Em


Sewing machines; Scheduling; Rent charges


Harriet writes to her sister Em about her daily schedule. She talks about what she does throughout the day, what she eats, and the inevitable chores like sewing and mending clothing. She says almost all of the other ladies there have sewing machines. Harriet asks about the state of the house at home and tells her sister about her house in Canton. They pay $200.00 in rent a year.


Noyes, Harriet Newell


The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection, Box #5






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


Canton China
My [u] darling [/u] Em,
I have seated myself
pen in hand for a little chat with
you before breakfast. Shall I give
you the programme that I have marked
out for my daily work. I find it
impossible however to adhere to it very
closely for something will come up
every day to break in somewhere.
In the morning I rise at six & spend
till seven in my room. Then at seven
we have prayers & breakfast immediately
after usually consisting of boiled rice
& eggs & toast. If we get through breakfasts
on time I sometimes go down & hear
two or three of the scholars that I am
teaching to play on the melodeon,
but there is not often much spare
time before eight o clock when we
have prayers with the Chinese in
the chapel. Afterwards I stay & sing
with the scholars until about nine
o clock. At nine I commence study
and study for an hour with Le Sin Shang

Henry's teacher. From ten to one I
study with Aho. At one we have
dinner and at two Aho comes back
again and if I can study
with her until four and then go
into the school for half an hour.
The clock has just struck seven
so I must leave you for the present.
To continue the subject. At half
past four I come back & take a
bath and dress for evening. We
usually go out on Shamin about
six and walk for an hour or so
having tea after we come back
& evening prayers afterwards &
then there is usually an hour or
so for reading writing or sewing.
So you see how the time goes. I
[u] hardly [/u] ever get the six hours for study
as I would like to & although I
cannot feel quite comfortable when
I do not perhaps it is just as well
for a good many say that six hours
is too long to study in a day.

I often think that I could manage
very well if there never was any sewing
to do but clothes will wear out here
the same as on the other side of the
world. We have talked about a sewing
machine nearly all the ladies here
have one, but the expense of a machine
would hire a great deal of sewing
done by the Chinese & it is a kindness
to give them work. There is no trouble
in getting it ready is the greatest part
sometimes. I expect you are as
busy as ever at home. Do tell me if
the sewing machine works well or if
it runs as hard as it used to sometimes.
I hope the piano gets used a great
deal. Does the carpet on the floor in
the parlor get any brighter. I [u] often [/u]
wish that we could send you a roll
of the nice matting we have here.
It is just like that Mrs Dorsey had &
they spoke about getting it for the church
It seems to me she paid $1.00 a yard
for it but we can get it here for 12 cts.
It is checked red & white & looks very
nicely for a while.

We have just been having our parlor
& sitting room floors covered & I cannot
tell you how much good it does us to see
them so much improved. The old matting
was so very [u] very [/u] shabby & faded and we
could not take it up because the floors
are so poor. We would have had it
done long long ago but we did not
know how long we should stay in
this house. When I first came we
thought before this we would commence
building "our house" but as the Board
did not give us permission to build we
will have to wait a little longer. At the
commencement of another year I think
Henry will send another application, &
as the lease of this house expires in about
a year & we pay $200.00 a year rent
it seems as though the Board would
surely think it advisable to build
After Mr Folsom left Mr Preston wanted us
to come into their house but Dr & Mrs Kerr
have taken it until their new house will
be finished which will not be before
next spring. I have written this in
about half an hour and I know
that when I write so fast I do not put in
much that is worth reading but perhaps

[Continued vertically on the first page]
it will be better than nothing Goodbye dear Em we shall
look anxiously
for the
next mail.
Mattie Crane
tells me
you have
given up
giving to
this year.
I do hope that
[u] sometime [/u]
you can
go there
Your own

中国广东 我亲爱的Em 我在早饭之前 打算给你写一点。 / 我给你我的每天工作标记的日程了吗。 我认为不可能坚持按照计划行事, 因为会出现很多其它必须处理的事情。 但是和别的事一起做会很轻松。 / 我早上六点起床, 在我的房间里待到七点。 七点我们很快吃早餐:米饭/粥、鸡蛋、吐司面包, 就要祈祷。 如果我早饭吃的快, 我有时会去楼下 听听两三个我的学生演奏, / 但是很多时候八点前我们要用中文祈祷 / 都没有空。 之后,我等着并且和学生们唱歌 直到九点左右。 九点,我开始和Henry的老师李先生学习。 / / 10点到1点,我和Aho学习。 一点我们吃饭, 两点我们回来, 如果我能和他她学到四点 就可以回学校待上半个小时左右。 刚好7点, 所以我现在必须离开你继续工作。 / 四点半我回来洗澡换衣服。 / 我们经常6点沙面 走一个小时或者喝杯茶 / 晚上回来祈祷, 然后会有一小时读书、写作或者纺织。 / 因此,你可以看出来时间怎么过的。 我几乎不会学6个小时, 因为我就是这么计划的, 即使我不学习的时候, 没有觉得很舒服, 只是觉得有很多好处, 一天六个小时真的太长了。 我经常觉得我可以管理好 如果不需要纺织, 但是这边出门一样要穿衣服。 / 我们说过,在这里每个女人都有一台缝纫机, 买一台缝纫机很贵, 但是要花钱雇中国人来纺织不贵, 这也是支持当地人工作的好办法。 / 给他们工作机会是好的。 有时候,准备工作不占用很多时间。 我想你和在家的时候一样忙。 一定告诉我 缝纫机是否好使, 或者有时候不好使。 我希望钢琴好使。 地毯还干净吧。 / 我经常想给你寄点这边好看的地毯。 / 就像Dorsey太太说的 给教堂弄一个。 看起来1美元一码 但在这里我们可以以每码12美分买到它。 是红白条纹的, 看起来很好看。 我们在起居室和卧室都有, / 我无法告诉你有多好, 给我们提高了很多。 旧的那条很破旧还褪色了, 我们不能取下来,因为地板很差。 我们很久之前修理过的 但是我们不知道我们会在这栋房子待多久。 / 我第一次来的时候, 我们想过我们会开始建造“我们的房子” 但是因为传教组织不允许我们建造 / 我们不得不等一段时间。 明年年初,我寻思Henry会交一份申请, / 我们这栋房子的租约明年过期 我们每年交200美元租金 看起来, 组织认为建房还可以再协商。 在Folsom先生离开后, Preston先生想让我住进他的房子, 但是Kerr太太住进去了, 直到明年春天之前,她们的房子才被装完。 我写信用了大约半小时 我知道 我写得太快 没有太多有价值的东西读, 【纵向书写】 但是也比啥也没有强。再见了亲爱的Em 我们 焦急的等待 下一个邮件。 Mattie Crand告诉我 你不会 放弃 今年去 牛津大学的。 / 我希望你可以去 / / / 和 Mattie 一起去 你的 Hattie.

Original Format



Noyes, Harriet Newell, “Letter from Harriet to Em,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed May 19, 2022, http://noyesletters.org/items/show/539.

Output Formats