Before accepting a situation in Canada, a girl should consult the Y.w.c.a. or the G.f.s. The latter especially is well-informed about Canadian conditions, and will make inquiries for her. There are disagreeable people and bad employers everywhere, and it is naturally the worst employer who writes the most promising letter.
The girl who intends to take up domestic work can generally be sure of a position within a month of landing, even if she does not choose to engage herself before she sails. But if she wishes for other work she ought to have funds to tide her over six months at least. It is, of course, folly for any woman to emigrate who cannot cook and sew, even though she may not wish to earn her living that way, because if she marries she will certainly have to do it, and, in any case, it is the one trade at which she can always be certain of employment.
At the Y.w.c.a. homes, and also at those belonging to the Girls' Friendly Society in all the colonies, board and lodging can be obtained, the prices average about 21s. a week, sometimes less, and it is far better for an English girl to put up at one of these hostels, where she will be perfectly safe, and will obtain advice, than to go to hotels or boarding-houses. All information about the local branches can be obtained from the parent institutions in London, the addresses of them are: the G.f.s., 39, Victoria Street, S.w., and the Y.w.c.a., 25 and 26, George Street, Hanover Square, W.
Choosing a Colony
Canada is the favourite place at present, because it seems nearer home, the journey takes little over a week, and second-class passage on a comfortable boat can be had for £\o 5s. But it must be remembered that this sum only lands the traveller at Montreal, and that the country is as large as Europe. The journey on to Winnipeg, for instance, "the centre of the 'opportunity' district," as it has been called, takes two and a half days, and costs £5 9s. Iod. in "tourist car" (about equal to English
Woman's Work third class), with sleeping accommodation, but without food, for which about another Ios. a day must be counted, unless the traveller imitates the emigrants and carries her own supplies. The first-class fare, including use of the sleeping carriage, is over £9. Railway travel in Canada costs about 1 1/2d. a mile, half as much again as in England, and the distances are so enormous that travelling comes expensive.
To Australia the journey is also rather expensive, the five weeks at sea costing about 22 third class (the same to New Zealand) in a two-berth cabin, which is very much superior to steerage accommodation to America, as there are not so many low-class Continental emigrants. Of course, however, the second class (from 40 to 45) is a great deal more comfortable if one can afford it.
Australia has certain advantages over Canada, the climate is perpetual summer, and the people are less strenuous, and perhaps more inclined to welcome English people. I have been assured by an Australian that an English girl, who is good company and a really good musician, might visit for a year from one new set of friends to another without it costing her a penny. Perhaps this is too rosy a view, and, in any case, a sensible girl would prefer to set to work at once to earn her living, but it illustrates the hospitable, pleasure-loving nature of the Australian people.
South Africa varies very much in its conditions. The fare runs from 13 (third) and 24 (second class) to Cape Town, to about £5 more to Beira, and after that the railway fare has to be considered - £5 or so to Kimberley, £15 to the Victoria Falls (second class).
All these details can be obtained from the various steamship companies, and they must be borne in mind when counting the cost of emigration.
The colonies are served respectively by the following principal steamship lines:
New Zealand: P. & O., White Star.
Canada: Allan, 103. Leadenhall Street, E.c.; Cunard, 93, Bishopsgate Street Within, E.c.
South Africa: Aberdeen, 4, East India Avenue, E.c.; Union-castle, 3 and 4, Fen-church Street. E.c.
The ignorance of English people on the subject of colonial climates is quite monumental. Canada is looked upon as a frozen land, whereas the truth is that Canadians suffer terribly in England from the raw winter cold! Canada is very hot in summer, and very cold in winter, but with a dry cold, which is not felt, even at extreme temperatures, as is muggy English weather, so Canadians assert. The houses are kept at an even temperature, so warm that women wear thin blouses all through the winter, putting on extra garments when they go out.
The Australian climate, like that of New Zealand and South Africa, is perpetual summer, occasionally rather hotter summer than the English emigrant appreciates. The South African climate is extraordinarily beneficial to people with any consumptive tendency, and all these colonies have very low death-rates. The air in Canada, especially, is "like wine," and women from the west have told me that they could hardly breathe or think when they first came to London because of the terrible oppression of the atmosphere.
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Homestead. A photograph being taken for the old folks at home
South Africa offers perhaps less scope for women to set up for themselves, but more opportunities of marriage, than the other colonies. It is, at present, a poorer country, living is more expensive. Kaffir servants, moreover, although they are cheap, are very unsatisfactory. Australians and Canadians, however, alike declare that one can live in either country as cheaply as in England when one has learned where to shop. Certain articles are more expensive, but others, notably food, are cheaper.
The time has passed when it was necessary to take as complete an outfit for a colony as if one were going to a desert island. The clothes that do in England will serve equally there, and there are excellent shops.
For Australia and South Africa shady hats and plenty of summer things are needed, for Canada warmer underclothing than is worn in England will be required in winter, but the emigrant should take plenty of articles like gloves, shoes, tailor-made costumes, hats, and the little etceteras of the toilet, which, as imported goods, are always more expensive under a tariff. As a rule, colonial women think a great deal of dress, and put on their clothes more smartly, more in French fashion than English women; but a girl who is going to do strenuous work as a home-help will, of course, need sensible working clothes, print dresses and overalls, as well as pretty things.
It is useless for any girl to emigrate if she is a failure in England, because the younger nations have far less patience with failures. The race out there is to the strong, the adaptable, the energetic, and the tactful person. Colonials are extremely sensitive to adverse criticism, absurdly so to English eyes, and there is a decided prejudice against English people among many Canadians, because we are said to be supercilious and given to explaining how much better things are managed at home. The Canadian does not believe this, and detests to hear it said.
A girl who wishes to succeed must adapt herself to the country, and be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. It is especially necessary that she should shed her social prejudices. She has to realise that there is no leisured class to set that tone of detachment from business, which English people strive after. Business, commerce, is the breath of life to the colonist, more especially to the Canadian, and culture is an afterthought which he is quite prepared to do without. All the little shibboleths of pronunciation and etiquette which we agitate ourselves so much about in England, are meaningless in the colonies, where the man counts, not his manner, and a girl who dislikes what she is pleased to call the " lower classes " is not likely to get on, because a great many of the most amiable and intelligent people she will meet will be of the artisan class.
Colonials, however, are good sportsmen, and full of life and "go." They are also full of camaraderie. The thing which returned colonials most dislike in England is the stiffness which sets up so many petty barriers between people living in the same town and in the same street. There is little of that in the colonies, and a charming English girl will have every opportunity to make her charm felt and win troops of friends. She will not live year after year in a place without enlarging her circle as she may do at home.
And, after all, emigration to a colony is not irrevocable. If a girl does not find her feet there she can but come back again. So that it seems really extraordinary that parents who can afford to make the experiment should not more often give their girls that chance of larger life and wider opportunities which England overseas affords.
List of Canadian Government Agencies where intending emigrants may obtain full official information: -
Emigrants' Information Office
Chief Clerk, 31, Broadway, Westminster
High Commissioner for Canada
17, Victoria Street
Assist. - Superintendent of Emigration
11 and 12, Charing Cross
Mr. A. F. Jury..............
Old Castle Buildings, Preeson's Row
Mr. G. H. Mitchell
Newton Chambers, 43, Cannon Street
Mr. J. Webster..............
35-37, St. Enoch Square
Mr. H. M. Murray
81, Queen Street
Mr. E. O'kelly ...........
17-19, Victoria Street
Mr. J. H. Burnett...........
16, Parliament Street
Mr. J. J. Mclennan
26, Guild Street
Photo, International Studio