March 31, 1884
Dr Lowrie

Very dear friend,
I would rather not think just now how long it has been since I wrote to you. Although my work is to some extent distinct from Sisters & Mr D yet have often soothed a troubled conscience by thinking they write often. I cannot write good little letters & never want to see what I written afterwards.

For some time after your last letter was recd my head was full of what I would write to you, smiling often at the idea of writing about such things to Dr Lowrie! The train of titles was suggested by ‘The domestic should not be overlooked’ shining plainly. You have the right view of the Indian question. Their false ideas of dignity & labor requires much patience to change, with the male portion at least. But to my subject – the women.

When I think of the improved appearance of women & children in the last few years as I see them in the great congregation I am much encouraged. The same remark with a different prefix would express my feelings after visiting them in their homes. But saying we white women would not do any better with as little to do on, perhaps find them washing a dress in a tin pan or running stream their little farms provide food & enough to sell for the groceries & very plain clothing. They are indeed industrious in providing for the winter. Sister thinks that a great improvement. The most of them ambitious to be respectably clothed on the Sab. but beyond this only the few seem to care. I cannot see how there can be much change in their homes until they take up larger farms & are helped some to begin farming on a larger scale & the men willing to work out in the field without the strong arm & cheering presence of a woman ever near. The boys & girls away at S. now will come back with different ideas doubtless.

But you want to hear about my S. For some reason there has been a greater appetite for S & more interest in it than in any previous year. Had during the winter eighteen pupils, fourteen married women, two maidens, two little girls & five babies (for good measure). One new pupil last week, perhaps not a very hopeful one for her husband is still in his blanket. She wore her first white woman dress in the S. room, as did two others who entered in the fall. Mrs James Lawyer (not one of the two however) was one of my new pupils this year. Sister thought she ought not to be in S. at all that my views are too liberal. But I could not see how I could refuse a good woman a place there because of a plotting husband. Have never had a pupil more anxious to learn domestic ways that she. Wish you could have seen her look of intense interest as she stood in the circle around my kitchen stove while that emblem of sin was made (yeast). She was the only one who accepted my offer ‘Anyone who will bring me cornmeal I will show them how to make dried yeast.’ A few words on the subject. Every woman who has ever been in my S. and some outside have been taught to make yeast bread. But I’m certain only a few who have given up the time honored flat-cake. No trouble with any of them, if I would provide the yeast. Oh, they have not the things to make or nothing to keep it in, or forget to keep fresh. They do not like care – want to work hard then rest. Now Dr in my S. room there are two wall packets full of patterns. Every pupil of my S from the first has had of the same for pattern use. Not only the women of my S. but any - every woman who came wanting to dress like a white woman has had the same. Oh how often when tired have I seen a woman slipping around to the back door & knew she had the material for a dress (no lining) under her shawl or blanket. The basting had to be done at first, or as likely as not & much likelier that woman or that timid child would be to the front the next Sab. with the gores turned the wrong way. This work of pattern making ought never to have been such a tax upon my time but for the native who in my good [illegible] carefully concealing their wisdom but their work shews [illegible].

The knitting not so intricate & not so easily kept (under the bushel) for I find some in the ‘region beyond’ knitting, getting corners turned somehow. Each pupils of my S. has knit at least one pair of stockings. Yarn for the same & needles a present to her. They soon [illegible] some of tem very speedy. The men love to shew their wives handwork, have heard of several making some excuse to take the boot or shoe off. One while at Lapwai displayed his bright stripes hunting for something that hurt his foot. Very children in some things.

The subject of personal cleanliness needs the "Here a little & there a little" all the way along. We found the "Line upon line" one day this winter while searching the Scriptures for what God says upon the subject with regard to the Worshipper. It is so easy to slip a better dress on outside & off to church, or don the cover all blanket – two of the best readers read the references each recd a slip with them on to read against & prove to others that God is not silent on this point. How tender the conscience & devote these poor children are when sure the word come from Him. In the closing prayer that day how touching the petition "Oh Lord we did not know that before, please forgive us. Many of their expressions hold up Jesus as a dear ever near friend. Said the Father is ‘kupkinekih’ (just on the other side) of Jesus. Not bearing on this point however. An other one in prayer prayed for not only ‘Dr L – Our World Guide’ but for his wife, his household. I could not help wonder thinking how bewildered this poor people would be if call upon to ‘transfer’ their affections to another leader of another board. It is hard for them to understand some things.

Last year wrote to you thru the Phil Ladies to take $100.00 from my sal. for Enochs wife then in Spokane country. I see the needs are pressing every where - no trouble in spending money here & not extravagantly either. I cannot see how Miss Dixon gets along on $400. If the people there charge for what they do & sell as here. Take it any way. I think some of my expenses may be less in another year. As for instance the S.S. I had borne all the expenses of it from the first – the people are indeed poor in all but land & I think they do well in contributing towards Roberts sal. I see in looking over statistics of Sisters now ready to send to you. My class is not included – as indeed it could not well be for it includes all the women of the congregation seats & floor.

Please say to Mr Rankin check has been recd and another due 1st April.

Perhaps you may not think this a very encouraging letter from K. I could have taken a few of my dear women who are becoming so clean & nice in person & homes & tasty in appearance & made a beautiful truthful picture of them. But the vision beyond would be obscured. I have not forgotten to whom I am writing although some of it may need a lady Interpreter and I try not to forget that whatever advances the people is for the Masters Glory. And am happy in the doing of it only when some [missing] found my own heart comes between His face and mine.

Sister is in her usual health. (Mrs D has been sick but better by last accounts.) Will hear again in a short time as some of our people are down there now & will return with piles perched on the ponies back. I hope the reading of this light letter by yourself & Mr Rankin will enable you both to see clearer what is needed among all Indians truly the domestic should not be overlooked
With much love to you from

Kate C. McBeth