1910 to September 1912 - "Why don't you write?"
Fred to Evelyn
Whenever I get a letter from you I feel I want to sit down at once and answer it. There's always something about it that sort of puts me in the letter writing humour but if I let it go for a few weeks it's always harder to get in the mood again. Tonight I should be working but I don't feel like doing that either. The evenings seem terribly short and after a fellow has worked hard all day he doesn't relish the idea of grinding at night. It's so long since you wrote me that it's so long since I wrote you that I can't just recall how many interesting things have happened in the meantime.
It runs in my mind that I told you of our trip into the country duck shooting on Labor Day. That was one of the outstanding joyful, really happy, restful, fatiguing, back to nature experiences that are becoming all too few with advancing years and thinning locks. We've been hoping to go down to Shouldice's(1) again at Thanksgiving for prairie chicken & coyotes, but I see finances and time both forbid. It takes a day to go and a day to come back and about $10 for the trip, too much money for a struggling law student. But Thanksgiving Day is not to be entirely devoid of pleasure for us. Only a few minutes ago I received an invitation to a Halloween & Thanksgiving blow-out to be held at the same place as our past Labour Day spread. The crowd will be congenial and not too large, only 9 or 10 couples, and all of our bunch will be there. I anticipate a most scrumptious time.
The permanent Vic 'old' Boys contingent in Calgary has increased Rev. G.J.A. Reaney, formerly of Brantford, arrived to take the general secretaryship of the Young Mens' Club here. Staples ‘09 has decided to encore and has gone into law and last Saturday night Rev. G.J.A. Reaney formerly of Brantford arrived to take the general secretaryship of the Young Mens’ Club here. You may have heard of Reaney. Besides being considered one of the very best of the young preachers of the Hamilton Conference he is an excellent singer and a good jolly companion. His throat has caused him so much trouble recently that he was given a year’s rest and left without a station by doctors’ orders. Hence we were able to secure him for the year to look after our work here.
There is a fine lot of young people here at Central Meth. Church and the work in all departments League, Young Men's Club, etc. is most flourishing. Reaney will be a decided acquisition and help in all these lives. We met him at the station last Saturday night and gave him a feed, and bunked him for the night in the same fashion as we had put up several other visitors during the year, by putting 2 beds side by side and making one of them. 5 in 2 beds is only 2 1/2 per bed.
Tomorrow night we hold the opening meeting of the Mock parliament of the Young Men's Club. ... Wednesday night Rev. F.W.H. Armstrong of '07, who has been preaching in the Peace River district will speak at prayer meeting. He is on his way down to Vic to finish theology. I want to hear him for old sakes’ sake but on the same night I have to meet the President of the Southern Alberta Debating League to draft a schedule of debates for the year. On Thursday evening the League gives a social evening to the Normalites and on Friday evening the Law Students have an important meeting .
On Thursday evening the League gives a social evening to the Normalites and on Friday evening the Law Students have an important meeting . You may imagine how much time I get to study. This is a fairly typical week.
I think I told you last winter about the formation of the Debating League. It was started too late in the season to finish the series but this year we are getting down to business early and if the Young Men's Club doesn't win out it will be somebody's fault. The League consists at present of 3 Calgary clubs, Y.M.C. Y.M.C.A. and St Mary's Club and Lethbridge, Medicine Hat & High River. We are endeavouring to get some of the northern towns to join us also, such as Edmonton, Strathcona, Red Deer & thus making the League a provincial. A handsome cup costing $150 has been donated by R.B. Bennett,(2) K.C., M.P.P. and the Y.M.C. is out to win. We count on your good wishes and sympathy. As if I hadn't enough work on my hands, I like a fool, accepted the secretary-treasureship of the League. I wish you'd kick me in spirit. At that distance it ought have a moral effect.
Did I tell you [Dame Nellie] Melba was going to be here? She gave a concert here 2 weeks ago and the skating rink was crowded to its utmost capacity of 7,300 people. Seats ranged in price from $2 to $5, prohibitive prices to the likes of us. Imagine then my surprise and delight the morning of the concert at receiving an invitation from one of our clients to accompany him and sit in one of the best of the $5 seats. Have you heard her? Words are powerless to describe her singing. The whole concert, Melba's singing, the flute, and the harp were all away and beyond anything I had ever heard or imagined before. ...
I'm glad you like Miss Edwards. Though I never met her, I know her sister quite well, and they are all very fine people. ... there are a couple other young fellows I wish you'd look after. Clinton Ford has a brother a fresh soph. who is very bashful, and both Clint and I would appreciate your making him as much at home as possible. If he's anything like his brother he's a fine fellow and excellent company when you get to know him. The other fellow's name is Pullyblank, a freshman. He has been teaching during the past summer in Northern Alberta and I have never met him but he has a sister in Calgary who is a very fine girl. I believe he is going into the ministry.
Am glad Wray Moyer(3) changed to Vic. Do you see much of him? I wish Ray [Albright] could have gone this year. Several old Vic. boys have passed through here recently and stopped off for a day or two. Lloyd Morrison ‘09 and O.U. Jewitt ‘09 both en route for New Westminster to teach in Columbia College and more recently J.V. McKenzie ‘09 who came here from Spokane to visit Ruby Hewitt who is teaching about 60 miles away. J Mac is still here but leaves soon to take charge of a new daily opening in Lethbridge. Last two weeks ago Sunday when Jewitt was here there were 8 old Vic Boys former members of Acta Board Galloway ‘06 Ford ‘07 Brownlee and myself ‘08, Moyer, McKenzie, Staples and Jewitt ‘09.
We had a photo taken to send to Acta(4) but it was taken too late in the day and was too dark to make a cut. I wish I could go in for one of their Receptions. Hope I can strike something at Xmas. Remember me to Stan Wray(5) and anyone else I know, and once in a while when you feel yourself forgetting me remember me to yourself.
Fred to Evelyn
Dear Evelyn, -
It doesn't seem possible that a week ago tonight I was in Toronto. Isn't it funny how sometimes a week seems so short and again at other times so long? Last Wednesday night at this hour I was watching a hockey match in Mutual Street(6) with the thermometer about 15 above zero. Now I'm in the office in Calgary and while it's comfortable enough here outside the mercury hovers at 25 below and the contrast in temperatures just about corresponds with the difference in my moods. I've come down to solid earth and humdrum work with a thud. And yet the cold weather, there's something exhilarating about being back again in the clear rarefied atmosphere of Calgary in the rush and hurry of business. I've learned that every place and situation has its enjoyable features if we only look for them.
I suppose you wonder what kind of trip I had. To begin with our train started 35 minutes late. We had pleasant company in our car and the time passed pleasantly. ... Most of the people were returning holidayers. There was one family from Maple Creek, Sask., father, mother a boy of 7 a girl of 5 and a baby. These youngsters were the brightest and nicest children I've seen on a long time, and they were general favorites. They certainly enlivened things by their prattle. The world would be a pretty poor sort of place without children, wouldn’t it?
We had some fairly cold weather along the north shore but except for that the weather was fairly mild. A few days previous the weather had been terrifically cold throughout the west and the train service had been all blocked. We still felt the effects of the disorganization and, though only one hour late at Winnipeg, were 5 hours behind when we arrived in Calgary. A crowd of the young people had come down to the station to meet me, but it got so late that they left about 1/2 hour before the train pulled in.
It was a beautiful night, clear and starlight with the peculiar exhilarating quality only the west can give, and in spite of the bareness and crudity I experienced a thrill of joy at being back. That's the wonderful thing about the west. You may realize how bald and new everything is and how lacking in the advantages of the east, and yet there's something that calls you back. I can't explain it but the lure is there. Just as Robert Service has sung of the lure of the Yukon.
Well, we had a long chat last night and didn't go to bed until half past one. The boys told about what had been happening in our absence and certainly they hadn't been neglected. Ford(7) had 4 Xmas dinners out, 2 on Sunday and 2 on Monday and 3 New Year's dinners. Wasn't that nice of the people? The people here try to make those away from home feel it at holiday time. Apropos of Xmas dinners I told Ford this morning I thought he was getting stouter. "Yes" he said, "I am gaining, I weighed 150 on Xmas Day, and the day after I was weighed I tripped the scale at 155." And that reminds me, everyone tells me I am looking fit. I do feel wonderfully rested, and much better physically for the holiday. On Monday I didn't work much in the office but puttered around and renewed acquaintances. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Walsh and Mr. Carlton said they thought I'd stay a week longer. If I had only known! But perhaps it's best I came back. The firm have treated me so awfully decent I don't want to impose on their good nature. I may want to go east again some time and stay longer.
I told you, didn't I about the apples, rock biscuits maple cream and canned fruit with which my trunk was stuffed? We have demolished a good deal and are going to have a regular feed at "Rosies"(8) tonight.
Say, do you remember what I said once about interpreting music? There's an article in the December issue of the University Monthly on "The Limitations of Music." It's good. Get the magazine and read it. That same issue has a lot of splendid stuff notably, The Devil and the Deep Sea by Stephen Leacock. For satire wit and cleverness it's as good as anything I've read in a long time. I also read a very funny article in The Saturday Evening Post. It brings back my college days so vividly. In case you haven't read it, I'm sending you the number under separate cover with a few of the especially good parts marked. It's excruciatingly funny.
Jack has just phoned we’re past due now at Rosies. I must quit. Don't work too hard, and when you feel the need of a change be sure a letter will be most warmly welcomed.
Fred to Evelyn
What in the name of all that's provoking is the matter. If you realized how many hours it's taken me to write that first sentence you'd sit up and take notice. I've been intending to write you for the past 26 hours but as soon as I'd sit down the words that came to me were so lurid that I felt they were better left unwritten and as my mood absolutely required something pretty strong, I ended up by throwing down the pen and with it each time, a fair sized chunk of my religion. I've now reached a comparatively even state of mind and once again I repeat what the mischief is the matter and why don't you write?
I've looked & looked & looked for a letter until my eyes are bulging out like Diogenes, and like that old beggar of the tub my quest has been equally fruitless. At first I was amazed then as the weeks went by and still never a word I grew angry but when I lay all last week on my back staring hour after hour at the ceiling of an 8 x 10 bedroom until I knew every square inch of pattern on the paper even to the devious footprints of last summers' flies, and when Fred(9) would come in at night, always empty handed, with the same melancholy shake of the head in answer to my mute enquiry for letters I began to realize the meaning of Job's terrible utterance "Let me curse God and die." As a matter of fact I didn’t follow Job advice - not because I was too good but I didn’t like the idea of the cursing and the dying coming so close together. It seemed to me the dying was too uncomfortably near so I’d let the other part wait a while.
To cut a long story short I again repeat "Why don't you write?" Now you needn't bother answering this question for I don't care a straw only "Do It Now," after all I'm rather glad you didn't write last week for then I'd have been too sick to properly enjoy a letter which I can just revel in it.
I don't know whether to let you think I have been near 'death's door' or not. I might stir up your feelings a wee bit but I guess after all I'd better tell you the truth I really haven't been a candidate for the bone yard in spite of all I've written, but really I did have a most horrible attack of 'La Grippe' all last week. It has been very prevalent and virulent here this winter. Ever since my return from the east I felt fine but the work began to pile up at an amazing rate and like a fool I pitched in. Both of the other students were in the hospital, one with appendicitis and the other with typhoid, so I had their work as well as my own. I caught a cold and doctored it but came out too soon, and the result was like a cross between a boiled egg and a pumpkin. The pumpkin feeling, of course, was more or less natural, but the combination was unusual. I started work today but the most I've done is to stare at the pile of papers on my desk and make excuses to irate clients.
Last week Fred [Moyer] and I were to have debated at Lethbridge, but the debate was postponed on my account until this week. I've been in such shape I can't possibly take it even this week so I guess Ford will help Fred out.
What does the poet say "In my ear is the moan of the pines, in my heart the song of the sea" There has been the song of the sea in my right ear now for several days and my head is the drum. I wish the chorus would let up only for 5 minutes I could get a little rest.
This is becoming a doleful wail so I guess I'd best shut off. Just surprise me sit down and write me a twelve page letter(10) and "Do It Now."
Yours in affection
Fred S. Albright.
Evelyn to Fred
Feb. 27, 1911
My dear Fred,-
To-day is the final game in the Jennings' Cup(11) series, between Vic. and Dents. [Dentistry], and if I were a loyal supporter of my college, I'd be over at Mutual Street Rink. Instead, I'm going to do something else ... Just at this point I went out for a walk, and I've been on the go ever since. It was last Monday, wasn't it that I started this? Well, I set out for "The Bluffs" instead of going to the game. We lost 5-3, but when we got out to Kingston Road we found that there wouldn't be a car till four o' clock, and at that rate I didn't see much chance of getting home much before nine o'clock, so went on down to Scarboro' Beach. ... there's a grand view from there, a great big ice field and then the lake, purple and green. To-day is just such a bright day as last Monday was and I'd like to go down again, but I won't.
Last Tuesday we had our Y.W. Elections, and tomorrow we hold our Lit.(12) elections. I was nominated for president, along with half a dozen others, but I've withdrawn my name. I didn't think I cared so much until I came to do it, but I thought I couldn't stand the strain, and thinking so, had no business to leave my name on. But I don't spend any time now wondering if I'll be sorry. I did enough of that before I took the step.
My 'husband'(13) got one half of Senior Stick(14) and Watson Evans (15) got the other half. We had the greatest fun at the Reception teasing him and telling him he'd get muddled in his speech. He's a very interesting fellow, only like so many of the boys down here mixed up as regards religion. Hazel(16) and I have been trying to decide why it is that the boys have so much more trouble than the girls about such things. I don't like to think that it is because the boys feel more deeply about the matter, as I say it is because girls grow up faster than boys and settle such questions earlier in life. Hazel agrees and adds that girls see things in a flash, and are able to believe hard things more easily than boys, who have to reason everything out and find it so difficult to believe what they cannot prove. Really, it is appalling to see the way some of the boys go. I was telling Mother the other night that I didn't know a single boy here that I was satisfied with. I content myself with thinking that I know only a small percentage. Yet I'm not saying I wouldn't want them to fight things out, they'd not be likely to be men if they didn't, but so many don't seem to arrive at anything after all their fighting, and those who are presumably Christians haven't the backbone to stand up against these others. Now for one thing, I can't see how a fellow who is going into the Ministry can conscientiously patronize the Star theatre. I'm not saying anything against decent plays, but I am against immoral and vulgar and inane ones.
Do you read the Atlantic Monthly? There's a letter in the February number, I think, to the Rising Generation. The writer lays part of the blame for the lack of polish and fineness in the modern youth at the door of the cheap theatre. For, she says, whereas their fathers and mothers went occasionally to see some of the best plays presented by the best actors, modern young people patronize cheap theatres continually, and she adds, whereas these plays may not all be bad or vulgar, if they are not that, they are inane and there is no greater vulgarizing agency than inanity.
I didn't get the Post you sent but I heard that story before ... I haven't read these two articles in the University Monthly yet, but I have read others of Leacock's essays, some in his book Literary Lapses. One about A, B, and C is particularly funny. I got Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes by [Robert Louis] Stevenson last Saturday, but haven't had time to do any more than look at the pictures as yet. If I only had time, I could enjoy myself. I'm horribly busy just now, with two essays on hand, I wish they were in my mind instead and translating I positively have to do.
The Senior Dinner(17) last Thursday night was a decided success. I never really enjoyed one before, but I did this one. The speeches weren't too long, and there was something in most of them. Leo. Macaulay(18) said in his speech, speaking of the greatness of Canada. "It is bounded on the North by the North Pole, on the East by the rising sun, on the West by the whole world, and on the South by the Day of Judgement. " Dr. Biggar was chairman and he quite redeemed himself. He couldn’t do anything else though, for our President wrote to him and told him that all personalities were going to be omitted this year.
I must tell you some news. Noble(19) came over a few weeks ago to find out if I was engaged. He said he had heard it twice. Now will you believe it? He's always getting excited. I remember when Ora first started to wear her little diamond ring that mother gave her on her birthday, Noble was anxious to find out if she was engaged. Mary Crawford(20) told me she was engaged three times since she came down here, and the last time it was to Fritz. [Fred C. Moyer] I thought he had his eyes on somebody else, didn't you? Well you never can tell. ...
I talk about others being in a muddle, but I don't know that anyone is in much of a bigger one than I am. I am beginning to find how strong the bands of custom and conventionality are, and I cannot decide whether I am too bold, or others are narrow. I know now that I have been spoon fed and have seldom made up my mind; I've let it be done for me. I used to be strong willed and determined; now I know my determination has always been largely obstinacy, not wholly, for I'm partly speaking the truth. I also see that I'm vacillating. I generally almost decide on one thing and then go and do the other. Even when I go down town to buy things I often do that. I think there must be something wrong with my brain. Do you know, one day I was afraid I was going crazy? I had been at Faust for about two days, so I think there was not much room for surprise. Mother is over here now. She came Friday afternoon and we were out at night, all day Saturday and nearly all day Sunday. We went to Central in the morning and got a Superannuation Fund sermon, but it was a pretty good one. Wray and I went to church one night and heard Mr. Arnupp. He was fine. Your Mr. Kirby was in Avenue Road last night, but we didn’t hear him.
I am indeed sorry you have been sick only I feel like scolding you for working so hard. Take a lesson from me and don't get the grippe. It's no fun is it? I have obeyed you right well, for here are the twelve pages you told me to write. Why didn't you order forty?
P.S. I see I started this the day you wrote me. E.E.K.
Evelyn to Fred
May 7, 1911.
My Dear Fred.-
I was just thinking about you yesterday when I got your card, and was determined to write some kind of scrap to you today, even though I might not be able to induce myself to write a letter. If you knew what a delightfully, warm, balmy, sunshiney, May, June day it is, you would think that staying in to write to you I have shown the most ardent devotion. Yet you may think again and then you will probably recognize that my motive is not so much to please you as to extract a letter from you which shall smooth my present hilly way. In other words I have a headache and am going down to Myrtle’s in a short time, and she is coming back with me to tea.
You made a bad mistake in your letter, or else I did in mine. Did I tell you I wasn't going to run for President of Y.W.? Well, I did. I just about had to, it seemed so cowardly not to, but it was for President of Lit. that I refused to run. You see there's a vast difference between the two. I have had three English papers so far, and one was the worst I ever tried in my life. The other two were fair enough. I don't know what is going to happen to me in history. I was discussing it with one of the girls yesterday, and I asked her if she thought the boys we were up against in Political Science thought more about such subjects or had brains better adapted for them. She says they think more. Now, I'd just like to get inside their brains and see how they work, and learn what they, I mean those men, think about when they're not working. For me, when I get through with studying, I generally give my brain a change and argue out ethical, at least they seem ethical problems, or else go on a little imagination tour.
Do you always think about your work and your business? Do tell me, for I haven't any other means of knowing how your brain worked. I grant that, maybe men's and women's brains are differently constructed, but history, it seems to me, is a subject for everyone. Dr Horning(21) was saying to me the other day that he didn't think men and women ever looked at a subject from the same light. I think that is largely true as regards the moral codes and probably it's wise so that every aspect of the case gets a proper consideration. However, it seems queer how a man and woman could live together contentedly if they didn't look at such questions in an identical light. And I can't see that it is any more a woman's place for her to take a man's view of a matter than for a man to take a woman's. And yet that is what being broad minded is. They say that every one should work out his or her own belief, and not take anyone else's opinions until each has proved it true. Well, to believe that, you have to take someone else's statement in the beginning. And why not believe what your father and mother have taught you until you have proven it false, or have at least had an opportunity to test its truth?
I haven't seen Wray [Moyer] since we were over at Hamilton before Easter, but I'll make him come over before I go home. I don't want to write any more now. Good luck to you if you haven't had your exams yet.
Evelyn to Fred
June 5, 1911
My Dear Fred,
Do you think I am sleepy? That beginning seems to indicate it doesn't it? Please consider that I got up at a quarter to five, spent two hours on the train, drove out to my school, came back, mowed part of the lawn, played tennis and read a little history. I thought before I turned over to start to the land of nod, I've start a letter to you. I've been trying to get time for it for about two weeks but I've been fairly rushed to death. You see I came home Saturday night and started to work Monday morning. My school is about three miles out in the country. My kind parents take me out in the morning and come for me at night. What they get out of it, I can't see. I have seventeen pupils, and three of them expect to try the Entrance. Two of them tried last year, so that they really ought to pass this year, though I'm rather doubtful of them, for they have had a hard time; with a sickly teacher who can't do her work it is hard to get along well.
Tomorrow I expect we'll know our fate for the next term. Mother thinks Dad is easy, and that he lets himself be run over. I know he is, but I'd hate like everything to think he was a wire puller, I'd rather go to a poorer place than have him do that. However, one place where there is a danger of us going has three appointments, and I think that's too hard for him. He's always worked hard, and I don't think they ought to load it on to him now, for he's not strong enough to do such heavy work as he once did. He feels very proud of the condition in which he is leaving this circuit, ...
I may say I haven't had a letter since I came home from Mr Sheridan at the book bureau, for some books he sent me. Yes, I've had two postcards besides. And I've been home two weeks and two days.
Thursday night [June 8]
Two of my cares are now taken from me. For one thing, we are going to Thorold, and I'm glad. I had a card from Wray to-day and he said that some of the family were glad we were going there. I hope he isn't far from St. Kitts (St. Catharines) this summer, for half the fun of being in Thorold will be being near Wray. You see from that what I think of him. From the fact that the card I received from him to-day was the first I've seen or heard from him since two weeks before Easter, you'll see how completely I engross his attention.
Tomorrow is Convocation. Just think, next year at this time I'll likely be in the whirl. Will you be home in June next year? I do hope you will be. Our year at Vic. did pretty well: I'm not at all ashamed of its standing in comparison with Varsity and Trinity [Colleges].
You’ll soon be seeing Mary Crawford. And I suppose you have already seen Amy Edwards. Hasn’t she pined away dreadfully this winter? Oh, did you get a card from Harold Smith about two weeks ago? He sent you one to the general delivery. He’s always asking me your address and always promptly forgets it.
Now this is the second letter since I got one from you. I'll keep at you until you get so annoyed that you'll send one in self defence. If you have any exams, good luck.
Evelyn to Fred
August 9, 1911
My Dear Fred,
I've now got settled in the hammock, with a cushion as backing and another one as a desk. I was just preparing to get in when a caller came, and as mother is at the Falls [Niagara] at a picnic, I had to go in and entertain her. I did it very well too, I was quite proud of myself. Ora has just gone to Merriton to met Winnie and Hazel, in fact she’s just come back with them in tow. I’ll have to go and kiss ‘em. Well, I’ve got it done. I’ve washed their necks too, they were fearfully dirty.
I've just been re-reading your letter, and I fear that there's not much show for me getting a letter before next Christmas. But honestly, it isn't because I want to break up our correspondence, though it does perhaps seem like it, now that you've mentioned it. My only excuses are work and laziness. After I went home, I went home Saturday, I started teaching school out in the country, and taught till holidays. You know, I was very anxious to go out west , but the people didn't want me to. And thought they'd pacify me by getting me a school at home. But it was the west I wanted to see. Maybe I'll come and stay next year. Five of the girls in my year, four of them from the Hall, are out there this summer. . My chum Marion Pettit is going to move to Saskatoon this October. I’m very much disappointed. She’s the only one I care much about who is in my course.
We haven't any of us been away this summer, but I expect dad will go soon. Last night the Quarterly Board offered him two Sundays' holidays, they to furnish the supply. That is practically three weeks. I don't know where he'll go, but it's my own private opinion he'll go west, though he hasn't said anything about it. We are liking it here very well indeed, and find the people friendly. It certainly is nice to be near St Catharines. The boys have kept us from being very lonesome. I expect they'll be out Friday night We were in at your Uncle Freeman's(22) for tea Saturday night. He was giving me a little advice about not trying to hit the top notches. I don't think I need any of that kind of advice, but I guess maybe Wray told him I was sick one time he was out here. Say, the sun's shining on me, and it's hot !!! I've moved so often that I know how people who have to move on account of rent must feel. ...
Did I thank you for that Post you said you sent me a few months ago? I've forgotten whether I did or merely thought I did. I didn't get it any way, but read and enjoyed the story. Just now we are laughing over “The Varmint” by Owen Johnston. Have you read it? It ran in The Post some time ago, and is the story of a boy at prep school. If you haven’t read it and want something that’ll keep you chuckling while you read, chuckling just often enough to annoy your companion - get The Varmint.
I've started to read the Life of R. Cobden and was amused at his comment on the looks of American women. He said he hadn't seen one good-looking woman during the month he spent in America; over a quarter of them looked as if they were recovering from the jaundice, one quarter as if they were in an advanced state of consumption, and the other half looked like English society women after a hard season. It was interesting too to read of the impression the Falls made on him.
Last summer, in a book by Chateaubriand,(23) I came across a description of the Falls. It brings those people so much nearer to have seen something they have seen. For that reason. how intensely, how absorbingly interesting would it be to study English history in England or French history in Paris or Italian history in Rome or Florence or Venice. I look forward with as great a certainty to seeing those places as to seeing the west. There's a lot to live for, isn't there?
Ora's called us to supper, so must go at once.
P.S. Don't forget to tell me how your exam results placed.
Evelyn to Fred
October 8, 1911
My Dear Fred,-
Such is the power of telepathy that I quite expected to receive a letter from you at the same time as you receive this. I know I don't owe you a letter but I want to write to you and don't you think it's rather mean of you to force me under such conditions, to write asking you to make me owe you a letter? It's a beautiful afternoon, and I was just wondering whether I'd write to you or go for a walk; so I have decided to do both. I think I shall go up to reservoir park. Don't you wish you could come along? Just imagine how lovely the trees up there will be now.
Do I make you homesick for Toronto? It's cruel of me to inflict my feelings on others, but I'm so horribly lonesome whenever I'm alone. I guess it's largely due to being tired, for this week has been a strenuous one, getting ready for a summer exam when I had a cold in my eyes. We didn't have any heat here except two grate fires until the middle of the week, as we were getting connected with the central heating plant. So as a result, during cold, rainy weather, the majority of us did not escape colds. However now we're warm and dry.
Three of my best chums aren't in residence any more, two are still at college however, but the third, Marion Pettit, has moved to Saskatoon. I hope to see her next summer for dad has an idea that he wants us all to take a trip west next summer. Mother, however, thinks she'd rather go to Muskoka, and as she hasn't been at all well lately, I rather think that it would be better for her.
I wish you boys were coming home again this winter; we could see so much more of you living so close. ... We saw a lot of John(24) and Wray last summer. John used to have to wait over between cars and Wray was always coming out to see men. I never saw such a boy to be always on the lookout for men. One day when Hazel and Winnie were down we asked Hugh, John, and Wray, and another boy out for tea. Wray had to stay home because his mother had invited Lina and Pauline over. You may judge somewhat of our remarks to him.
I saw Ray and Walter Friday night. Charlie Perkins was there too. Ray wouldn’t promenade with me, in fact he seemed surprised to think that I was silly enough to do such a thing. Lina thought it was a pity they didn’t dance there. I couldn’t truthfully agree with her. She is a very captivating young lady and is a good sport too. I like her very much, she is a dear, sweet, girl. I feared she might be somewhat blase, but she isn’t. Everything that is pleasing delights her very much. She reminds me often of Margaret, but no one else will agree with me on that point. But I guess it is because they didn’t see enough of Margaret to remember her little mannerisms.
This isn't a very long letter, but it may serve to remind you of your duty towards me. If next Acta doesn't tell you about the changes around the college, I will. Also I'll tell you about going home from receptions at eleven.
Evelyn to Fred
December 7, 1911
My Dear Fred,-
... I'd write you stacks of letters if it weren't for the trouble of writing. I get some beauties thought when I'm walking along the street, or when I'm eating my meals, or after I've gone to bed. But I hate the physical act of writing. It tires my fingers and my back and my feet. If I had a machine something like a typewriter that would write my thoughts direct from my brain, instead of through the medium of my fingers I’m sure I’d be more famous than Jane Welsh Carlyle as a letter writer I mean, that is of course, after I’d had time to die. But I don’t know either, perhaps she wouldn’t have been famous had it not been for her connection with Thomas. Logical deduction? If I were to be famous, I’ll have to find a Thomas too. I can’t. My friends are all too wicked, brilliant as they are, therefore I’m going to Japan to teach school. That’s the attitude of the lay mind towards lady missionaries or rather, not that Thomas’ are too wicked, but that they are absent.
I've been nearly killed. I've been working so hard, I went into an inter-college debate against St Hilda's, oh yes, I got beaten, but you should just have heard us. They say it was one of the best they ever heard, Puff-puff, I really like it, because I can generally get mad. I laughed at my opponent's face when I gave the last five minutes speech. I was showing her something I claimed she hadn't refuted while she thought she had, and unconsciously I turned to her and directed the volley of my argument towards her. Well, you'd have thought I was accusing her of murder. And then they beat us on style ---------- oh well, I never was fashionable anyway, no matter what Ray used to say to the contrary. Our subject was "State Ownership of Railroads," and we had the affirmative. It was a splendid subject but much too big to be handled in fifteen minute speeches. I was almost sorry, when working it up, that I didn't enter Political Science. I did have an idea of so doing, but the English held me back.
Speaking of English, if I’m not a Pelham Edgarian by the time I graduate, it won’t be the fault of my course. I have four hours a week with him now, and shall have him after Christmas. We are all enamoured with him this year. We got our footing with him last year - four hours a week, and now we’re walking right in. I’d just like to know Mrs Pelham. She expects him to wait on her. I saw her one night, and of course he’s a regular gallant. I wonder what he’s really like inside himself aside from all his knowledge. Of course, we do get a glimpse, but it’s tantalizing to have only a glimpse into fairyland and then see the door shut, gently but firmly.
I wish you were coming home Christmas. Even yet I get lonesome for Beamsville. I'm an awful croaker. I like ease and absence of difficulties. It wouldn't make any difference to me how hard I had to work, if only I didn't have to plan and make up my own mind. I suppose if I didn't have one to play with, I'd be an idiot, and that wouldn't be much fun either. Wouldn't it be interesting if the workings of people's minds were able to be transcribed into pictorial form, and that form interpreted. I'd like to know just how badly people feel about things, or just how glad they are. It's very perplexing not to know.
You’ll see plainly by this that I’d be a wire puller had I the chance - because I’m so anxious to be on the inside of things. How did I get here? Oh yes, I was saying I wished you were coming home Christmas. You don't know me any more. I've grown up since you went away, and I don't like it. I want to be a little girl. I don't want to face facts in the face. I want to just dream that the ugly facts are not existent, and that the fanciful beautiful things are true. It makes me angry to think that sorrow or pain can stretch over a whole lifetime, that there's always warfare. I'd much prefer 'In the hollow Lotusland, to lie reclined like gods together careless of mankind,' that is sometimes. At my age one ought to see a rosy pleasant path down which it is a joy to travel; to me, my way stretches across a gray, cold solitary moorland. The wind howls and blows eddies of dead leaves. Away across the country, lights beckon and glow, but I must turn my back on them and tramp, and tramp, until I come to the edge of the moor. And what do I expect at the other end? I do not know what. If it were only something a traveller craved, he might well travel, but to travel, not knowing what to hope for. Robert Louis S, says "To travel hopefully is better than to arrive, and the true success is to labour:" But it must be, to travel hopefully.
You'll likely think I'm rather crazy. I don't care if you do. I'm not writing this to you, I'm writing it just to a mind. Perhaps yours will perceive my meaning, perhaps not. Occasionally I allow myself such discussions when writing or talking to John, but they always perplex him I know. He looks at me as if he wonders what I'm really made of. Perhaps the satisfaction I receive from his perplexity is reward enough to compensate for his lack of understanding. For I always know when I start off, though he try ever so hard to follow me, that I go by paths he knows not of. Isn't it rather a pity that people can want to be really good friends, and yet can't because they aren't fitted? ...
You're doing duty as a diary to-day. I have one, but it's too much trouble to write in it, so I give the benefit of my lofty thoughts to my friends.
Sincerely or insincerely, whichever you think most fitting,
P.S. Hurry up and write to me. Ora and mother are about the only ones who remember me. Of course I can't expect any thing else, because I don't do as I would be done by.
Evelyn to Fred
August 19, 1912
My Dear Fred,
... We've just had two deaths, one a young fellow about twenty, shot himself, the other was the missionary from the Reserve. Saturday he was driving home with some Indians and in going down a hill the tongue of the waggon broke and they were all thrown out. He was brought back here and the woman across the road, Mrs May, had him brought to her house. I don't think she knew him at all, and he wasn't even a Presbyterian minister, he was ours. They found that the jar had fractured the base of the skull and he died to-day. It was good to see how everyone was willing and anxious to do something to help. He didn't really belong to the Conference , was just under the superintendent, and imagine! was getting only four hundred dollars a year They had no children, but his wife will probably have nothing.
... I've been thinking about some of your remarks and having a deep interest in your welfare, I think I'll give you some advice. You're always saying you don't believe in long engagements and from that I've drawn the conclusion, which may be entirely erroneous, that you expect a girl to know her own mind the minute you ask her which way her preference lies. And if you think that you're making a huge blunder. Girls have to have years and years to decide such a momentous question. You'll do one of three things when you read this -
1. You'll smile sardonically
2. You'll think
3. You'll say you never thought that way at all.
Maybe you'll ask me where I got my information. Don't you know I've been collecting data for years? You see I'm going to write a book on why, how, and when a woman ought to marry. I'll say, never, if she hasn't an opportunity. I see I'm replying to my questions backward, how in the ordinary way, and why because she wants to. I expect to be deluged with questions about whether a red haired girl should marry a man with the same coloured hair or one with jet black hair with a mole on his left cheek.
Ada Smith was here to-day. She has been visiting near here for a couple of weeks. Ora and I were over to call on her last Friday night. She’s a very pleasant girl to meet. Well, some more ‘09 grads have decided to live together. Did you know C.C. Washington was married the other day? He was married here in Muskoka to the daughter of the Rev. C.O. Johnston.
We'll probably be here a couple weeks longer, we will if I have my way. I don't want to go home. If I were going back to college, but I'm feeling quite well now and am able to paddle quite long distance. I hope you're feeling better after your holiday.
Fred to Evelyn
Your friend Hazel certainly spoke to some purpose for you’ve seldom written a better letter than your last. I don’t mean now that your letter was “just” nonsense which was evidently her idea of perfection but it was was thoroughly enjoyable. You always have the faculty of making a man think, - or, in slang parlance - “sit up and take notice.”
I think I’ll follow your suggestion about taking my wife for a boat trip - that is - if I can get the wife and also get her to go on the water. I like the irony of your remark - “for then you can fall in love with her over again.” Evidently you look upon love as a sort of hide-and-seek . . . I can’t feel quite sure in my mind whether you are satirizing love in general or the particular brand which you argue yours truly indulges in. ‘Twere charitable to say the latter but . . . . comfortable to say the former. But to return to the water, from which I wandered into this arrid desert of words, - I would like to take my wife, if ever I have one, for a voyage on the ocean. I can’t imagine anything more thoroughly restful and or conducive to thought upon the real problems of life, unless it be the primeval forest. - I’ve always said I’d like to spend my honeymoon either in a trip to the Old Land or in Northern Ontario in the Temagami or a similar district. However this is only my own view of the matter. It might be well to obtain some lady’s consent to having first so as to make a honeymoon possible and there to learn her wishes upon the matter. So you see the farther I go into the question, the more abstract and involved it becomes. “Requiescat in pace
I'm sorry to disappoint you but as matter of fact I didn't do any one of the three things you expected when I read your letter, at least I didn't consciously do any of them. I didn't smile, because it's serious charge; I didn't think much because I was anxious to read what else you had to say, I didn't say I never thought that way at all, because it wouldn't be true and even I still have a little regard for the truth without pursuing the subject into the realm of controversy might I just point out that you don't appear to have defined your position very clearly? I hope I'm not so unreasonable as to think the question of marriage is any less serious for a girl than for a man. It's infinitely more so. The girl surrenders more and risks more. She even expects more, I believe, than does the man. And I believe if a girl is true to her best self she will ponder deeply before she makes here choice, however strong may be the passion that moves her.
But I do not think the time to weigh and consider is after an engagement or even the declaration of love, so much as it is before. I most emphatically believe that men and women should know their own minds thoroughly before any declaration of love is made at all. I used to think that broken engagements and love entanglements after engagements were very rare. I'm sorry to say the past few years have compelled me to think that they are almost the rule instead of the exception. I'm speaking now from observation of my college friends and acquaintances as well as of the general public. Some of the things that have come within my knowledge in this connection have made me fairly heart sick. I for one, don't want as my wife a girl to whom a caress is as a bouquet of flowers or a trifling ornament or one who had "tried out" several men as one would try on a new gown or coat and who in turn has been "tried out" by those same men. Does this sound rather brutal?
Perhaps it is not elegantly expressed but it conveys something of my thought. To me, the relation of engaged persons is little less sacred than that of marriage and it is not to be thought of that it is something lightly assumed, to be thought about later and put off if found unsuitable.
Perhaps this will explain an attitude which you have delicately insinuated to be actuated by conceit or vanity. I must admit however in justice to you that possibly my words at various times have given you some cause to think as you do. Words are often used to conceal rather than to convey one's real thought.
Wednesday evening Sept 18th
This is the third attack. I wrote only a very little the first day when I was interrupted. Then followed the rush of Stampede week ... the work in the office has been so terribly rushed that I've been at it night and day. ...
Did you receive my postcards of the Stampede? The photographs were taken from life and give a fair idea of some of the contests. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing although one or two of the contests are more or less brutal. But it was a wonderfully realistic indication of the life of the early days. You couldn't help but admire the wonderful daring and steady nerve of the cowboys and cowgirls and you are seized with an intense admiration for the qualities that have made pioneering possible. The Stampede was interesting too as marking the passing of the old and the swift incoming of the new regime in the prairie west. It must have seemed strange indeed to Their Royal Highnesses(25), who were Calgary's guests Stampede week, to see the Indians and cowboys in all their regalia cheek by jowl with millionaires and legislators, the former as proud in their carriage and as independent in their actions as if they were the noblest in the land. I heard afterwards that the Duke told a friend he had not enjoyed anything so much since coming to Canada as his visit to Calgary.
Schumann-Heink(26) is in Calgary tonight. I intended going, but felt too tired to enjoy a concert and besides simply had to do some work here tonight. By the way did you know I received my call to the bar last Monday? I'm now fully fledged.
Don't think I can finish another sheet tonight so will quit. Your last letter was a dandy. Keep your hand in by writing another as soon you can. Glad you're feeling better.
1. Probably refers to Fred Shouldice who was with the same law firm as Fred Albright.
2. Richard Bedford Bennett, 1870-1947. Prime Minister of Canada 1930-1935. He became Viscount in 1941.
3. Wray Moyer, cousin of Fred Albright.
4. Acta Victoriana, student publication of Victoria College. Fred was editor-in-chief at one time.
5. Possibly John Stanley Wray, family friend.
6. Mutual Street Rink, known as the Mutual Street Arena. It was superseded by Maple Leaf Gardens and later became a roller-skating palace.
7. Probably refers either to Clint or Harry Ford, friends of Fred.
8. "Rosie" Wright, a friend.
9. Fred is probably referring to his cousin, Fred (Fritz) C. Moyer, Victoria College, class of 1909 " ... Bob Committee, Glee Club, Student Parliament, successful debater and champion orator ... "
10. This directive must refer to a previous letter (missing.)
11. The Jennings Cup for hockey. This game was won by Victoria College in the 1911-1912 season.
12. Evelyn was on the Executive of the Women's Literary Society for 1910-1911, as Recording Secretary.
13. Evelyn was probably referring to her partner or this may be an 'in-joke.'
14. Senior Stick, a Victoria College ritual, begun in 1870, whereby a cane or stick (may have originally been a bedpost) was transferred each Spring to a Junior deemed worthy enough by classmates to receive it.
15. William Watson Evans, Victoria College, class of 1912. "Favoured by a splendid physique and a commanding personality ... "
16. Probably Hazel Farley, Victoria College, class of 1912. "She has acted on the executive of her class, Lit., Acta, Y.W. and the City Volunteer Union."
17. The Senior Dinner was one of the highlights of the College year in which a Farewell Reception was given by the graduating class to the college.
18. Leopold Macaulay, Victoria College class of 1911. "'Mac' is a good man, sympathetic and broad - a man of a clear, active mind." He achieved later success as a Q.C. Macaulay became chairman of the Board of Regents at Victoria College.
19. Noble C. Sharpe, an old boyfriend of Evelyn's. Graduate of Victoria College, class of 1909, M.B. Toronto, 1911.
20. Mary Crawford, Victoria College, class of 1911 " ... she has taken an active part and endeared herself to all her friends by her domestic virtues."
21. Dr Lewis Emerson Horning who taught classics and modern languages at Victoria College.
22. Uncle Freeman - father of Fritz, Wray and Lena Moyer.
23. Chateaubriand, François-René, vicomte de, 1768-1848. Travels in America. A graphic account of the author's climb on Niagara Falls.
24. John, an old boyfriend of Evelyn's.
25. The Duke and Duchess of Connaught were touring Canada at the time. The Duke was the youngest son of Queen Victoria and was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1911, residing in Ottawa.
26. Ernestine Schumann-Heink, 1861-1936. Billed in the Calgary Herald, September 17, 1912 p. 5 as "The Greatest Living Contralto." She sang at the Metropolitan Opera for many seasons in opera and concert and appeared frequently at Bayreuth, Germany.