Narcissa reported in her diary in September 19th that it had been decided that the women would stay at Fort Vancouver just until Marcus and Henry decided on locations for their missions and began building shelter. The initial intent of the missions board had been to have only one mission, but the decision to have two had been made somewhere along the trail. Marcus chafed at the thought of serving as a doctor on Rev. Henry Spalding’s mission and the two had argued repeatedly during the journey. In addition both the Nez Perce and Cayuse tribes were “anxious to have teachers among them.”
Supplies, including building supplies, home and farming tools, furniture, clothing and more, were purchased at the Fort. Marcus and Henry left with boats loaded with supplies on the 21st.
Narcissa wrote “one thing comforts me; they are as unwilling to leave us as we are to stay and would not, if it was possible for us to go now.”
It pleased Narcissa when Doctor McLaughlin asked her to hear his daughter’s daily lessons. Both Eliza and Narcissa helped in the school for the residents’ children, to the dismay of Herbert Beaver, the Anglican clergyman who believed he had full authority over the school. He protested to Doctor McLaughlin and was chastised and forced to apologize to the women. (Rev. Beaver did not adjust to living in the wilderness and returned to England in 1838.)
Narcissa sang with the children every evening, teaching them “new tunes at the request of Doctor. McLaughlin. She noted “The singing in Mr. Beavers’ church was done by he children. Some of their tunes were taught them by Mr. Parker. Others by Mr. Shepherd of the Methodist Mission.”
The way of life was very different from what Narcissa was accustomed to in Prattsburgh. Upper-class English customs were observed. She wrote “it is not very fashionable for women to do any kind of work. This is done by men and servants. “The wives here are not first rate housekeepers.” She wrote of the magnificent variety in food, but didn’t mention one “article on the table ….. of which I never partake, that is wine. The gentlemen frequently drink toasts to each other but never give us the opportunity of refusing for they know we belong to the teetotal society. We have may talks about drinking wine, but no one joins our society. They have a Temprance Society here and at the Wallamut.”
Narcissa anxiously waited for Marcus to return and take her to their new home to begin their work.