October 1913 - "You are the ideal of my dreams."
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 1, 1913
My dear Fred,
...So often, you ask me what I have done that I am thinking of sending you daily schedules like this;
Now isn't that a pretty good timetable?
... So you are afraid you'll get to a point from which you cannot move. Oh, I've thought about that. You can't see people who have been married for years and not think about it. That doesn't make me like it any more. Don't you know, dearest, I asked you if you weren't afraid that a time would come when you wouldn't want to kiss me any more. Now my father rarely kisses my mother, yet I know they love each other. I suppose, at least I've read, that growing old has its compensations. As yet, I've failed to see them. Perhaps because I haven't grown old. I wonder if what you and I both fear is Shelley's "love's sad satiety" which he speaks of in "The Skylark."
I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed in me if you expect me to be a "mental stimulant" like Elizabeth. That's what I want you for. I've got very stupid this last year. And this coming year, I'll have less time than ever for reading. But the year after, we can read together. It's really so unsatisfactory reading alone. I'm going to read some of George Meredith to you - I don't know when I've wanted an audience so much as when I was reading The Egoist. Little hidden puns, humorous, unexpected twists of expression, so many things called loudly for appreciation. And singular appreciation is a poor thing.
So Elizabeth never saw a good Rugby game in Toronto! What was Fritz doing all the time? I guess I was fortunate, I missed one Inter collegiate game and I was even offered tickets for that, but I sent them back because my escort couldn't go with me.
I was thinking to-day about a spree in my second year. In the middle of exams, Marion Pettit, Zim,(1) Eldridge(2) and I went to the Island to a baseball match. We took a notion to walk home from Queen St, with the result that we reached home long after. Miss Addison met us and told us she wished we'd tell the gentlemen to get us in earlier. We explained to her where we had been. Then she asked what we were going to do about dinner. We told her we were going to eat oranges. "Oranges," she exclaimed indignantly, "there's a lot of nourishment in them. Go in and get some rice-pudding." "But I don't want rice-pudding," I complained. I hated the kind we had there. It had eggs in it and they served it hot with cream to put on it. "Well then," she said, "Go and get some bread and milk." so we marched obediently into the pantry and soon could be seen, sitting at the table eating bread and milk - a rather ignominious ending for a base-ball match. Marion was what might be termed "A good sport." I liked nothing better than to hear her spar with Eldridge. They were both as sharp as needles and enjoyed a chance at each other.
Zim otherwise Mr Zimmerman, had a great crush on Marion during our first and second years, and he was a little slow. He used to get rather sore when Marion and Eldridge got started together. I guess he wasn't as appreciative an audience as I was, being too deeply interested in one of the entertainers.
Speaking of Eldridge, I had a letter from Dell [Flatt] concerning him some time ago. Did I tell you that I had heard something dishonest in connection with "Varsity" attributed to him? She wrote to tell me it was false, that all the money that should have been there, was in the bank. About six months ago, he left home, saying he was going to New York, and that he would write. No one has heard from him since. His motherís health is very poor, and this must worry her dreadfully. I cannot understand how he can treat her so if he is in a position where he can relieve her anxiety. Of course they do not know that I know this, and there is no need that they should know.
...We expect Dell to recite for us the Friday before Christmas at our choir concert. Also we are to have the Epworth League Convention here this month - the twenty-third and twenty-fourth. Getting ready for that will mean some work.
Oh yes, I got your second Beamsville letter on Tuesday night, and the first one Saturday I think, but I’m not sure. I hope the office-boy enjoyed the seals on my next to last letter. My ring is all right - I don’t know what people think - I nearly always have my gloves on when I see anybody. You see, we don’t have many visitors here, and we don’t visit much. Ah, I don’t want people here to see it yet. Let them get Ora done before they start on me. You know, there are such things as gossips. I’m telling my real friends but these watchers - no thanks. Do you mind that?
I'll admit I was a little surprised when I found that Elizabeth liked to rub cheeks. It's not a suitable employment for a man and woman because he can't feel through his beard and she feels too much.
Here is dad home from prayer-meeting and mother came in some little time ago. I wonder what you're doing. It's 9:15 here. You may rest assured that I do think of you. Every day? Oh no, every hour, almost all the time.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 2, 1913
My Dear Fred,
Mother and I have been sitting sewing away, keeping up a sort of conversation. Ora is upstairs, writing or reading, and I have been thinking that this is the way it will be after Christmas, and then after a time, mother will be all alone. I can't bear to think of the evenings she'll have to spend all alone - about four out of a week.
Before I started to sew I finished a little story “Cousin Phillis” by Mrs Gaskell. There’s not much to it, just a simple story of a girl who loved a man who went away to Canada and married a French girl. It is strange how fascinating her stories are. I wonder if it isn’t partly their monotony that attracts, and in consequence of the uneventful character of the lives of her people, any incident that occurs is given double predominance. I remember reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in my last year (I had to) and I got in bed, pulled my light around, and finished the book about two o’clock.
If there's one thing I love, it's to get a book that fascinates me, and get in bed and read till I finish it. I can't do it at home, and I didn't do it very often at college. I didn't have time for novels except those on the curriculum which were very few. And I didn't read nearly all them. In our first year we had The Mill on the Floss - I had started it several times but didn't like it and so never finished it. On exam the question was given to compare the second part of the book with the first, in regard to its workmanship or novelistic value, something or other. Having never read the second part, I said it kept up the high standard set by the first and gave my reasons for my belief. On my way home from the exam I was informed that it was considered very inferior to the first part. Nevertheless I got first class in that subject. Probably the courage of my conviction impressed the examiner. ...
Do you know, I remember the first essay that I really thought out? And it gave me such a glow of mental exhilaration. It was in my third year, and dealt with the Scotch and their reason for wishing the return of James or else for giving up their allegiance to Charles. Before that, I had read things, rearranged them and handed them in. But this thing I read about, thought about and reached a conclusion. You can imagine my delight when Mr. Bell said after I had read it, “You have put some thought in that, haven’t you?” He was a delightful little chap - just here for two years, and we had him for lectures and tutorial history in our third year. I am so anxious to get at some sort of mental work, I feel my brain growing soft from lack of exercise. ...
I have been almost fearing to get your Sunday letter, because I knew you wouldn't get one from me on Saturday. ... Evidently the football game was too much for you and you didn't write Friday. Letters take one day longer than they used to, because I used to get your Sunday letters Thursday night. I didn't write last Saturday because the letter wouldn't have gone out till Monday anyway. Ah, I know, you were expecting a letter from me tonight, and I one from you. And we're both disappointed. Ora is just reading an extract from Art’s epistle re work in the hospital.
...I'm afraid, sweetheart, you will be disappointed about our wedding, for the chapel won't be the place. I suggested it to mother and she seemed hurt that I could think of having it any place than at home. And so dearest, you'll have to give up your fond hopes. I'm sorry, very sorry, but we couldn't do it when she feels the way she does about it.
The leaves have turned in the last two or three days and are very beautiful. One tree at the entrance to the house across the way is particularly lovely, a brownish red at the top, shading into yellow on the lower boughs. We had a thunder storm and it has been dull and damp all day. I made pickles and read a little, played the piano a little, and went down town with mother when she went to Missionary meeting. I went to the post-office, and came home in the rain, without a hat or umbrella or my rain-coat. See how I lost my wits over going to the post-office, and for nothing too.
Mr. Myer has instigated his board to sue five corporations for school taxes $9,000 in all. They have won three times, and the companies have only one chance yet - the Supreme Court I guess it is - he feels very jubilant. The public high schools are together, and he wants the public school in a house of its own, and the high school to become a collegiate. Ora said he stopped her in the street to tell her the good news.
There are three months left in this year, there are five months in next year - and then. Well, I hope I won’t be writing to you. Won’t you read to me, once in a while?
Your own loving little girl.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,
It's twenty minutes to twelve. I intended writing a good long letter tonight, but first one thing then another presented.
One of the ex hermits Mr Reilly who left here about 8 months ago is back for a visit. Poor fellow, he’s now walking on two artificial legs and but for the accident that made these necessary he’d probably be a hermit still. He’s a young fellow of about 25, rather clever, but inclined to travel a slightly different road from that of his brother who is assistant pastor at St James Meth. in Montreal. One of the coldest nights last winter Reilly wandered away from the city and was found two days later by a search party, hidden in a haystack about 6 miles from Calgary. He was brought back to the house and then it was found that both feet were badly frozen.
After suffering terribly for a time he had both legs amputated above the knee. Of course he had to give up his position - manager of one of the branch banks of the city - and he went back home to Red Deer. This is the first time he has been in Calgary since the accident and he is here partly on pleasure and partly on business. You see the insurance company has refused to pay his insurance claiming it was not an accident, but that he was either drunk or attempting suicide. Reilly himself doesn’t remember what made him go off as he did but I am inclined to think he was drunk. At any rate, he is suing the insurance Co. for the accident insurance and it is partly in connection with that action that he is here now.
Well, another of the ex-hermits, F.E. Pegler, who forsook the order about three months ago to join the society of Benedicts, called tonight with his bride to see Reilly, and incidentally the rest of us. As none of us have been to Pegler’s house yet, and as this was their first visit to the Hermitage, I couldn’t very well absent myself for the whole evening. I did leave however about ten o’clock and went to Brownlee’s to meet Hercules Burwell Vic ’10 who is on his way to China. Do you know Burwell? He is a nice chap and I knew him quite well during his first two years at college as he roomed in the same house as Brownlee. I was very glad to see him again today.
I was just five minutes too late last night. The post office had closed. I was disappointed but I was kind of glad too for I wanted the pleasure of having your letter to start the day with, and this morning when I did get it I was doubly glad that it had been saved for me. I thought I loved you just the same, and couldn't love you any more than I have been doing. But when I get such letters as you have been writing lately, and particularly this last one I just feel - no, I can't tell you how I feel - but to use your own expression, the fires of my love, burst into a living flame, and I want you with all the intensity of my hitherto pent-up nature. It's worth waiting three days to get a letter like this morning's.
I can't tell you dearest what your letters mean to me, but some time after we're married we'll read them over together and then I'll try to make you understand though I can't do it now. And you used to be afraid we wouldn't be chums! You can't fear it now or you wouldn't be able to write such intimate chummy letters. Oh, my darling comrade, the more you reveal yourself to me and the better I get to understanding myself, the more perfectly satisfied I am that we were meant by God for each other and that we will be friends and chums and comrades in the deepest and truest sense and as husband and wife we shall be really and truly one. ...
How can I make you understand dear, the absolute confidence I have that we two together can fearlessly face every foe in the battle of life? I think this supreme trust must be foundational of all true love, and just as you said recently about me, so I can say about you, I've always felt that with you I could face all the issues of life. And if we have this mutual trust and confidence, I don't think we need either of us have worried very much about whether our love for each other was the right sort. But, I'm so glad, dearie, that with this precious trust, there is something more, so much richer so much more satisfying.
What is love? We were discussing this last night at the office. I used to think I knew a little about it ... But now, I can't attempt to define love, I only know that with me there's a great big everpresent longing for you - not your body, nor your mind, nor even your soul, but the whole wonderful woman that makes up You, my darling, my love, my life.
You say sometimes you are afraid lest you'll find next year that you have been loving an ideal and not the real me. That's just what I've been afraid of and that's the reason I've tried to tell you I am not what you think I am. I'm neither clever nor good, but very, very ordinary and with lots of petty little weaknesses and little faults that you'll see and dislike when we are together. That's the reason I've tried several times to get you to look at me with impartial eyes - if you can from the viewpoint of a disinterested observer.
Do you understand now, one reason for my former reserve? I thought that by holding myself in check at first, you wouldn't get to expect so very much and then I'd try to surprise you later by revealing unsuspected sides to my nature. And that was partly the reason my letters were reserved before I went east, that and the other reason, that I, like you, was a little afraid I was loving and ideal, and as I hadn't seen much of you for so many years, perhaps you had changed so that the real girl was very different from the one I thought you to be. And so I didn't want my letters to even appear that I was fond of you until I had a chance to see you again with my own eyes and make sure that my ideal really existed in flesh and blood. I didn't need to wait long to find out.
I knew at once, in fact I think in my subconscious self I always knew you must be what I thought you, because you couldn't be anything else but true. And imagine how I felt to find that you were not only what I had pictured you but oh, so much more, and so altogether adorable. Oh, that you were here now that I might imprint that word upon your dear lips. When we see each other, darling, we'll have a lot of kisses to give each other to make up for all this time we can do it only in the spirit but not in the flesh.
There's a great deal more I wanted to say but my time is up. It's just striking one, but tell me this dearie, even before I went east and while my letters seemed so cold and reserved to you, didn't you love me even then, else why should you have cared what my letters were like? It was such things as your criticism that gave me hope - just as did your remark in Bala that you always though we might get to hate each other.
Evelyn to Fred
Friday, Oct. 3, 1913
My dear Fred,
There is only about half an hour before choir practise, so you won't get a very long letter. You ought to be glad I didn't write this afternoon, for I was feeling pretty nasty. You don't think I can be nasty, but I do have sarcastic fits, when I like to vent my ill-humour on those I like best. Luckily to-day, I kept it to myself and no one knew the horrid things I was thinking. I think your letter started me off. Whenever you say anything about the Wrights it upsets me, for I have a presentiment that we won't agree on that subject - no, it isn't a presentiment, I know that we don't agree.
I know you can’t help but think me pharisiacal (pharisaical) and cruel, but the thought of associating with such a woman is revolting. I did not even read the later records of that horrible thing, they were too nasty. And she contributed some of the nasty features. I know you say she is not to be blamed too harshly, but yet one is not entirely dependent on heredity and environment. I know how unChristian this sounds to you. . The woman, you’ll say is trying to lead a different life, and will you pull your skirts away from her as if she might defile you? Well. it’s best that you should see now what a harsh judge I am than to be disappointed later on.
You know who Dell Flatt is. Well, she has an aunt who has not lead a simple life. While very young she married a man who proved to be the vilest of the vile. She did not live with him for quite a time before his death, and went on the stage. She has married again, this time to a man who has had a past but who is now living a decent life. Not content with having her faith in mankind blasted, she told her story of life to her innocent nieces and I owe to her, thus indirectly, a knowledge of things that ought never to have been told to a mere child. Why, Dell had seen and known so much of the seamy side of life that she hardly trusts Heber. No, she isn't sure of him. And it isn't Heber's fault, it is what she has known of other people that gives her such a jaundiced view of life.
Can't you see how children pass on what they learn, even merely by intuition, at home? I'm sorry to have to say this, but I have to say it sometime. It seems wrong, but it's the way I feel most of the time about it. And I have always worried about this particular thing. Long before you came home this summer, I feared lest you should expect or desire me to do more than I could, and that in the event of my refusal to comply with your wishes, you would be vexed. And I can't bear to have you feel that way toward me.
Your letter set me off on this cheerful strain. Then the mouse-trap went off and bit my finger and scared me into a mild attack of hysterics. But after the dishes were washed, mother and I went for a walk and it was wonderful how the crisp air took the sordid thoughts out of my head. We passed a beautiful bit of Virginia Creeper covering a porch, a vivid crimson it was. The trees are just becoming lovely, and it is lovely out-of-doors, if one has sense enough to get there. Then we came home to our respective tasks - mother to paint and I to embroider. I got the tea.
Say, do you like onions in things? If you don’t you’d better start cultivating a taste for them because I put them in anything where they are at all suitable. I made pickles again to-day, and dad ate them as if they were peaches.
...Ora wants you to ask Fritz by what line they sent their furniture and how much they paid for their car. Art says it would cost about two hundred dollars.
Now I know this has been a horrid letter, but you ought to have a little dash of cayenne to add variety to your sugared existence.
You want me to tell you I love you. Well, I was wondering about that this afternoon, but when I went upstairs I took you picture and I kissed it, and I told you I was sorry for my horrid thoughts. Yes. I do. That was what my prayer was in the chapel that day, that I should be sure.
Maybe I won't write tomorrow. It's Saturday and unless I get it done for the afternoon mail, it would only be in the office.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear little sweetheart,
I'm writing this in bed. No, don't get frightened - it's not because of sickness for I ate three meals today as per usual, only a little more so but a couple of the boys invited some mixed company in for the evening. I had been reading first J.M. Barrie's When a Man's Single and then some selections from Robert Louis Stevenson, and it was so bright and cheery before the fire that I hated to leave, but I didn't want to be bothered by the inane chatter of the company that I knew was coming, so at the first sound of their approach I fled via the back stairway to my retreat here in my own room. ...
I’ve promised to go out to Fritz’s for a little while this evening. I haven’t been there since last Sunday and [Clinton]Ford’s are there tonight. Ford’s built a house this summer and have just moved into it. I was taken through it about a month ago but I haven’t been in it since it was finished.
Thanks, dearie, for remembering to send me a letter for Saturday, and do you know that for the first time you called yourself my own sweetheart? Do I believe now that you love me? Why dearest, I think I’ve believed for ever so long a time that you loved me. Anyhow I’ve never doubted it since this last summer, and never will. Just the same I like to hear you tell me you do. It’s sweet to read such words, but it would be ineffably more sweet to hear them from you own dear lips.
Once you said I was a sort of comfortable person. Doesn't that mean that we're true chums - just what you used to be afraid we couldn't be? That's what I've always felt about you, dearest, that you understand things, that no matter what I might talk to you about, there'd always be the "silent sympathy" that Wordsworth speaks about. And the funny part about it is that I feel you're so opposite to yourself. What I mean is this. On the one hand you can understand and know me without my telling things ... On the other hand I have always felt that you could be admitted to the most sacred chambers of my being and that all could be laid bare before you. I could never feel the same about anyone else, and it was when this truth was firmly impressed upon me - then, I knew that I loved you.
What are you doing tonight dearest? For the first time I can't talk fully to you - not because I don't want you tonight, rather because I want you so much that I'm seized with a sort of blind impatience that cannot wait the months that stretch out before us, and that jumbles all my thoughts into one great big all absorbing desire to have you near me, to see the deep trusting loving look in your eyes, to feel the clasp of your hands and the touch of you lips and to know that you are mine, to cheer and strengthen and uplift and love.
I've told you before that you are my inspiration - that your goodness and undimmed vision of the best things are my guiding state to lead me up out of the slough of mediocrity and selfish worldliness into which I have been falling. Stevenson expresses the idea in these words. "It is thus that we run when mortified to the woman that we love, not to be called better, but to be better men in point of fact." Oh, I want you so tonight, I'm like a man crazed and tied in by bars that chafe and fret me so that I can't think or talk coherently. I want you. I want you. I want you.
At this point one of the fellows came up and asked me to go downstairs, so I should make myself a little presentable before, for I hadn't shaved this morning. I guess I'm horribly out of humor today for after I got cleaned up I felt I didn't want to go down to meet the people at all. It didn't seem a bit like Sunday. They went laughing and playing rag-time music and besides I don't like some of the people at all - they're nothing but empty-headed nincompoops - although I must say there are two very nice girls, Misses Moffat, formerly of Brantford.
Well, after when I came downstairs there was a clear way of escape to the front door without being seen and I made a hasty exit. I thought I’d go to Fritz’s for half an hour or so - it was then 9:20, but on the street corner I met Art Smith. He lives about 2 blocks beyond Fritz and he insisted on going home first with him for some music. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan were there and a friend of Mrs Smiths’ from Winnipeg. Mrs. Cowan and Mrs. Smith both sing well, and so I was persuaded thinking I’d call at Fritz’s on the way back. I stayed at Smith’s until 10:15. And when I came past Fritz’s the house was dark so I came on home. I thought I’d still be in time to see all the people and thus save my reputation for at least a shred of courtesy, but they had all gone home. Do you think I’ve been terribly ungracious?
Last night the postponed banquet to Mr and Mrs Oaten was held in the Young Mens' Club Rooms of the church. There were the choirmembers and their husbands or wives and 3 or 4 outsiders of which I was very glad to be one. Both Mr and Mrs Oaten are thoroughly glad to get back to Calgary and you may be sure everybody here is more than pleased to see them back. You know Mrs O. was a Miss Gallagher of Hamilton. I believe her people had a good deal of money. At any rate they were and still are very prominent socially, ...,
Have you ever told me of a Miss Findlay of your year? Last night Tommy Coran, one of the choir members said he had been down in Eastern Ontario recently visiting the girl to whom he is engaged, who is a great friend of Miss Findlay’s. Somehow my name was mentioned Miss Findlay claiming to be a friend of a very good friend of mine. I couldn’t think of anyone but you as the mutual friend. Through you I come in for a little reflected glory now and again.
I suppose Miss Adams [Edith] has gone by this time, but when you see her again thank her for her letter. I suppose I should answer it, but I never was a very extensive correspondent and now I am concentrating more that ever, so everyone but you is pretty badly neglected. I've meant to write to Miss Dickenson [Elleda] and still mean to. I'm afraid Dearie, you'll have a lot of apologies to make to your friends for your husband. I'll never mind a great deal so long as you don't have to apologise for me to yourself. I never could bear that. Sometimes I'm so fearful that what you spoke of in your last letter may come true, that you'll find you've been loving what you think I am rather than the real me.
That’s why I want you to stand off and “size me up” as it were so that you can see what I really am and am not. Even your sweet constancy could not take away the sting and awful suffering of a disillusionment. That’s why, too, I want you to teach me your ways and your thoughts now. It’s no idle phrase when I say you are my inspiration. Do you see what I mean?
Every time, dearie, you urge me to go home at Xmas you fairly tug at my heart strings. I try not to think of it, because I can't bear the thought of not going, and yet I'm sure I can't. So you'll know the reason why I don't speak of it, if I fail to mention it again. Now feel in the humor for writing. I could say a lot to you but it's midnight - and past.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 5, 1913
You would have enjoyed yourself very much, I am sure, had you been with me to-day. We were out at the S.S. Rally at Beaver Dams. It is beautifully clear, and warm as a day in August. ...
The superintendent at Bank’s has the same name a those people we went to see in St. Kitts, Henseler. How do you spell it. A couple years, or one year ago, they asked me to go out to Bank’s to sing at the Rally-Day. They have an awful old organ, and whenever it was played put out all the wind she could, with the result that I could scarcely be heard at all, but Mr. Henseler told me to go on, that maybe it would get better. I sang at Beaver Dams to-day, and last year and the year before.
...No letter came last night, and, strange to say, I was expecting one. In lieu of one, I re-read some former ones, which can stand re-reading - and they get it too. I think you must have been thinking pretty hard about me last night, for I felt you with me so plainly. I too think you must have learned the way to kiss me. There's the supper call.
Supper's over, the dishes are washed and it's only a quarter after six. If only we could go to church together through the beautiful evening. Or come home together a few hours later, and sit and read or sing, or talk. I wondered the other day when I got your letter, why you were so much more homesick than I am, and then I saw it was because you are away from you folk, as well as away from me. Mother is playing "The Little Brown Church in the Vale" and I am humming it as I am writing.
I must tell you something funny that happened this afternoon, the significance of which I did not see at the time it occurred. Last year they had a hot fight in Thorold township for Local Option.(3) Our side won, by a very close margin.
To-day Mr. Wilson in calling on Mr. Henseler said something about the important part he had played in the Local Option campaign. The next speaker he introduced in a rather original way. “Here’s another man the whiskey fellows would like to have a shot at, Sammy Smith.” And father was telling us that several of the antis were sitting in the front seats.
You said in one letter that you were going to get back to work. Have you? In your record of events, I see no mention of it. When are you going to start? Don't wait too long, my dearest. And don't expect too much from me. We must each do our part. You want me to make you good. I cannot do that, but I will do all I can to make you want you to be, and so help you. You said you would not be good because I expected you to. Wouldn't you if I put the emphasis on the I? I think so.
Ora is talking of going to London next week. Clara wants her to go up before she leaves in November. Ora told her about us, and she was delighted, but not surprised, as Elizabeth had hinted some time before that father might soon have two daughters out West. Strange, isn’t it, how we can’t surprise anyone. I hate to see Clara go, it seems as if she were dying. Oh, my darling I’m so glad I don’t have to go, and don’t feel I’m doing wrong not to.
Your Own Elnora.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear "Coonie,"
Who ever said Blue Monday? It's the best day of the week for me. Cos why? For three times now it has brought me two letters from a little girl I'd rather hear from than any one else in the whole world. I'm awfully sorry dearie that I wrote such a horrid letter yesterday. I guess I was in a more ornery mood than usual even for me. To begin before the beginning, I went down to the office late Saturday night hoping to get a Sunday letter, for I was expecting one even though I had already had a nice one in the morning.
I was disappointed at finding none - the more so because I was sure you had written and that the delay must have been in the mails. Then I was frightfully tired and sleepy when I went to bed and looked forward to a good night's rest, but instead I had the worst sleep in a long time. The reason was purely lack of air. ... I woke up unrefreshed and out of sorts I guess, though I wouldn't have admitted it to myself at the time. ... breakfast was hurried, the sermon long, but tiresome and the whole world just a wee bit out of joint. It is too bad I inflicted my ill-humor on you. I'll try not to do it again. ...
I don't know what I'm to do for superlatives in describing your letters. They've been getting better so fast I can't imagine what they'll be like by next June. You'll have to slacken off sometimes or they'll become so good I'll not want to marry you and stop them. No, you know dearest, I don't mean that but they are just the very bestest imaginable. I thought the letter I got last Tuesday was the very best, and in one way it still stands alone - it was more self-revealing and sweetly intimate than all the other, or perhaps I should put it another way and say that it opened the floodgates and now your soul is pouring forth free and unrestrained.
Your last two letters have said less about love than some of the earlier ones, but there seemed to me to be a spontaneity and chumminess that wasn't there before, They were so delightful - it was just as if you were here talking to me in the most unconscious way - as if I have become so dear to you that you don't think of the dearness but just live in it and expand like the flower in sunlight - and so in the transposed words of Tennyson, "you do but sing because you must, and pipe but as the linnets sing," That's the way I want to make you happy, dearest, so that you'll not think much about it, but just be it.
No, I haven't been writing one-sheet letters because of the expense. Even in the west the financial stringency isn't so acute as to necessitate such economics, but writing five times a week takes a little time and I must put on the curb somewhere. Besides length isn't measured by the quantity of paper. ... You didn't think dearest that I was serious when I spoke of the cost of the paper I was using. I didn't think it would sound the way it must have struck you. And you know, too, that I want the best I can get when writing to the best girl in the world. You don’t think so poorly of me that I would consider our intimacy and love a reason for being less respectful or complimentary to you than to an ordinary friend. Why dearest, I want you to have the very best I can give you.
So your father and mother are still worrying about the effect of this terrible climate on your health. Some bold people, Dr. Moshier among them, say that this is one of the most healthful places in Canada, and that even women on whom the altitude at Calgary is supposed to have such an injurious effect as a general rule are as healthy here as anywhere. Have you heard from Elizabeth yet? I'm rather curious to know what she'll have to say to you on this subject. Anyhow, dearest, you know that with me business wouldn't weigh for one minute against your health. ...
But to speak perfectly frankly I have often been troubled about bringing you to Calgary to live for, Dr Moshier to the contrary notwithstanding, and despite the case of Elizabeth, who has had better health since coming west than for a long time before. I believe this climate is hard upon women. But we'll not worry about this dearest. Perhaps for you, as for Elizabeth, this will be the very place to keep you well and strong. And speaking of health, I haven't been examined yet as I told you I would, but I mean to be before very long.
So you think "rubbing cheeks" is rather fanciful than otherwise, at least when indulged in at close quarters. Now I have one more reason for wondering why God ever invented beards for man. Well, if the personal contact is objectionable because I like to feel right now that your dear cheek is pressed against mine and that in a few minutes it will rest against mine on the pillow. I thought you said once you wanted a man with a "skin face." I guess you were thinking only of the skin and not of the whiskers of "The man for whom you don't care a rip."
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 6, 1913
My Own Dear Man,
If I didn't get a letter Saturday, I was amply rewarded for my waiting, for guess how many I got to-day? On the eight o'clock mail this morning came the one you wrote Monday, which you expected to arrive here last Friday. At noon there were two more, one written Tuesday and the other Thursday. It's queer why they should bunch up together like that. I just had to laugh at the fierceness of the first letter. Knowing how quickly you would change your tone when you learned the truth, I had a good laugh, and so did mother and Ora. ... I didn't think Mabel would do such a thing. ... My dear judge, you need to learn to reserve judgement. I have found in many cases, it is the wisest thing to do.
Your letters were so good. Oh, I wish we were together. You have changed so much since you went away. When you were here, I thought you were all any girl could possibly dream of, so tender, so thoughtful, and so much a lover. But you have improved on what you were. You said you feared I did not appeal to you in one way. On thinking the matter over, I've come to the conclusion that what I meant when I told you that first day or two that I was afraid I'd hate you, was just that. Although sex is of lesser consequence than spirit and intellect, is nevertheless very important, and I find that I want you to love me that way, as well as the others. It is necessary for the ideal love. You know, there are cases where a man loves one woman one way and another in the other way. To the normal woman, neither love would be wholly satisfying. But I am oh, so glad, my darling, that you love me the other, the best way. I know you will love me all ways when I am with you.
I don't think I ever sought intentionally to attract any man through his sex. I have always fought so hard against that part of my nature, that I think I was considered cold and impassive. Sometimes when I have been talking and laughing with a man I liked, I've caught myself looking at him in a way I didn't just mean. I guess mother would call it flirting. And I never really meant it, and so I would look away and cease to be attractive. But I don't need to be that way with you. I won't need to be afraid of rousing forbidden emotions in you, I won't fear that you might want to kiss me. I can be all of me to you, I can cease to repress myself.
Do you know, I think there is a difference in my attitude towards other people? I mean the people I like. I am a little more demonstrative, and it isn't quite so hard for me to show them how much I love them. I don't think I'm getting gushy, but I guess I was a sort of an iceberg. And just think, it's you who has brought about this change. My heart is singing "I love you, I love you, I love you. You are the ideal of my dreams. I always knew, 'twould be someone like you. I've loved you forever it seems.
For years in my mind’s fondest fancy, a picture of your face I drew, and I knew it somehow, when I met you just know. You are the ideal of my dream. One night at your Uncle Simeon’s when Fred Hetherington, Ora, Art, and I were there, they wanted me to sing and I started this. I sang one verse but said it was too silly, I wasn’t going to finish it. It wasn’t that really, but I didn’t mean it for anyone there and it embarrassed me to sing it. How many things we characterize as silly when we mean they’re intimate and sacred.
I didn't know your mother felt like that. I'm so glad, so glad that she's willing to give you to me.
And about the house. Do I care if we don't furnish it all at once? Why no, sweetheart, I hardly expected it. How much can we do? We can be comfortable with a very little. We could get along with a kitchen, dining-room and bedroom, or we could combine the second and third. I really wish we could have two bedrooms though, because our respectable parents will soon be coming to visit us now, we hope, don't we? And Ora and Art? Just think how lonely it will be at Christmas. ...
Must go to League.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 7, 1913
My dear Fred,
I'm almost too tired to write, so I think I won't do much but will finish some- time tomorrow. I was tired when I got up, and we certainly did a lot, ironed and made peach jam, and pickled peaches. ... I guess there'll be enough for you when you come home. Oh, how I wish you were here tonight. ...
Aren't you a little afraid that I won't know how to play the role of the devoted wife, since I have had no training as an engaged girl? ... You said that your people always thought you paid more attention to Ora than to me, and you said I knew the reason. I don't. What was it? Moreover, Ora never thought that, and neither did I. It seemed to me, when you were at college, and used to write to all of us, that your letters to me were different, a little. And you used to talk to me about things, once in a while, which I didn't think you ever mentioned to her. ...
One week out of October has passed. It doesn't seem real to me that I am going to marry you in a few months. I guess it won't seem real until it is so. I have dreamed so much about being married and about having found my man, that this seems only like a particularly vivid dream. But when you come, when you look in my eyes - you won't look away as you did so often this summer, and when you kiss me, as your letters, and as your spirit, tell me that you will, Oh then, I shall see my dream in reality. ... Please tell me, fair sir, if your former argument against frequent letters were true, when you say that people have got on long so long without writing every day why should they change their habit because they are going to marry? Tell me, why should they marry, if they have existed existed is the proper word - so long without each other?
I had a letter to-day from my dear friend, Mae. [Finch] It makes my heart ache every time I think of her. When she first came to college, there were two boys who paid her a great deal of attention. The one I knew pretty well, as with Eldridge the four of us used to go tobogganing. I thought she liked him pretty well, and I was nearly worried to death when I found out that he drank. I asked him about it and he did not deny it. The other chap I always considered a fine fellow, so you may now how glad I was last Christmas to hear that he and Mae were engaged. Of course they were young, and in a way it was foolish, but I was so glad it wasn't the other chap. The one to whom she really became engaged had sought her out constantly during all her college course. I heard little from her last spring, until in June she told me that her engagement was broken. Why, she did not know - only Duffy(4) told her he didn't love her any more. And he certainly had enough chance to know her. She loved him truly I believe. She is at Faculty now, and he at Osgoode(5) and she meets him occasionally. It makes me so mad whenever I think of it. What business did he have to make her love him, then throw here aside and say she needn't blame him, that his conscience was clear?
She is so glad that I love you and that you love me, But, oh my dearest, it makes me cry when I think of her. She never had a father, which was bad enough, and then to have this happen. Her father left her mother when she was about three years old, ran away with another woman. If Duffy treated her that way, he couldn't have been the man she thought he was, and so she didn't love him. That is logical enough, but I guess logic is hard to live.
I'm so afraid something will happen to you, before I really know you.
Goodnight my true man. I love you, all the time.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 8, 1913
My dear Fred,
Today is Wednesday, and at noon I received your letter written last Friday night. I didn't get any letter from you on Tuesday, but I hardly expected one after the three I got on Monday. When I don’t get one, I just re-read some I have and they bring you very near me.
You wonder if I look for your letters as eagerly as you do mine. How can I measure my feelings with an unknown quantity. Is it sufficient to say that I think I am sure that I love you, after I read your letters. When I start to write to you and thus put into words, I long so for your visible presence. I didn't used to feel that way. Not even when you first went away. Last night when I said good-night to you it seemed as if you had your arms around me, and you said "My little girl" so plainly that I started, as one does when a voice breaks the silence of a supposed loneliness.
I don't think you understood what I meant when I said I was afraid I might find out next year that I had been loving a dream, and not a reality. I didn't know what I meant when I said I was afraid I'd hate you. I think I very much underrated the real value of physical attraction. ... Now it seems to me that a woman and man might love each other mentally and spiritually, and yet without a physical love, they would not really desire marriage, especially the woman. And the man's passion has to overcome her inherent state of warfare against the other sex, it must be so powerful that she is absolutely overcome. And I guess that was what I felt lacking in you, unconscious though the feeling was.
You used to kiss me sometimes and I felt a pang, it seemed as if I were merely permitting you to kiss me, I didn't feel a bit like returning it. I seemed so horribly passive, and I secretly felt that if your caresses meant no more to me than that, that I should very, very soon tire of them. Sometimes I felt about like a block of ice. Yet all the time I knew that between you and me existed the tie that could bind closest. The tie of absolute trust and confidence. I've read so often that love is a fire. I felt no fire, and I wanted to. It must be that such a fire consumes - the reasons why one shouldn't love another. So you see dearest, it isn't that I have been dreaming of you as such a perfect man - I don't expect even you can possibly be that, but I have been dreaming of you as a man that is wholly, absolutely mine.
I guess now you won't have any fears as to my disillusionment. Don't bother explaining all your faults - I'll see them soon enough. But though I see as plainly as anyone the faults of those I love the most, I do not consider it my duty to dwell on them to the exclusion of their virtues. You may be surprised at what I have written at the top of the page. I did change towards the last, didn't I? And you have changed, else you couldn't write such letters. Oh, tell me you love all of me, but don't say it if it isn't true.
You ask me if I didn't love you before you came home. Well, I guess I must have, because I didn't feel a bit different after you asked me to marry you than I did before. I thought I had explained this to you darling. I told you that several years ago I deliberately made up my mind that I would not love you. And when I learned that somebody else did love me, what was I to do. Naturally, I sought to find whether he could measure up to the standards I had set in my mind, which I knew you fitted. And when I found that he didn't. Well, it hurt in more ways than one, but I am ashamed to say that I was almost glad, for I felt that I had no further responsibility. I tell you, it almost seemed to me that it was my duty to make a man out of that boy, not to marry him, because I knew he had not made good, but to help him all in my power. And when I learned what I did it seemed as if a big load had been removed. I was never so happy since I was a little girl, as I was last spring. I think you saw it in my letters. And I seemed to wake up to the knowledge that you cared for me.
Can you imagine what it meant, to think that the one to whom I had always looked up, but whom I considered not meant for me, to think that he cared. It was like having a beautiful pattern given one, after having failed in a poor imitation. Sometimes I'd say to myself. "What if he doesn't love you. Then what are you going to do?" For a moment I'd be downcast, but I didn't worry much, except a night or two before you came. Of course I had to make some plans for the benefit of others, but really I never expected to go to Faculty this fall. I just had a feeling that I wouldn't. But I was a little proud. I wasn't going to have you find me waiting for you to come and fill the blank of my future.
The ink won't flow out of my pen without constant attention. It will fade too soon for our children to read my letters, as Ora and I did some of Dad's. Then when we wanted to tease Mother we'd start off "My Darling Jennie - It is such a long time since I have seen you. I drove six miles to get your last letter." She should have kept them hidden from such inquisitive eyes as Ora's and mine.
... Did you kiss me? Oh, I want you so much, I am almost crying, but they aren't unhappy tears. Now, you have never made me cry that way, not that I can remember. Oh, yes, there was one time, a long time ago. It's in my diary, and I thought you didn't like me any more. ...
Do you remember one year when Miss Stellwood and Miss Jenkins stayed at our place a few weeks? One Sunday night you came in, and although you sat beside me you talked to her. Do you know, I was so jealous of her that I almost hated her. Of course I got over being so silly, but I didn’t think much of her that night, I can tell you.
I have been writing nearly an hour, and so has Ora. Just think of all the time we'll save next year, an hour a day, a day a month. We'll take that for a holiday, won't we? How many kisses for good night? Remember what that old rake of a Catullus said “Give me a thousand kisses.”
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,
You don't need to apologize for letters such as I got today. You surely don't think I expect or want you to be a sort of honey extractor all the time. As you say, a certain amount of spice is good for a fellow and if you hadn't enough ginger in your make-up to get "riled" sometimes and to show it too, I don't think I'd love you - at any rate not so much. Too much sweetness cloys. Now I don't mean to imply by that, that I don't want you to love me or be nice to me, for I do - but according to my way of thinking your willingness to have me know of and share your troubles and annoyances is as much a proof of your love as any protestations or demonstrations you might make. It shows that you want me to understand you - and be chums with you.
Neither do I expect you and me to see eye to eye on every question. If we did there could be only one explanation - that one or other of us lacked convictions. What we both should strive to do is to respect the other's convictions - and I have no fear that either of us is so stubborn or unreasonable as to be unable or unwilling to do so, I believe you remarked once that I was very positive and tenacious of my opinions - and I think perhaps you are right - but I don't think I am so bad that I can't respect other people's ways of looking at things whether I agree with their points of view and conclusions or not. And as for you - well, it's one of your many delightful characteristics that you are always ultimately fair and just, whether your first attitude is so or not - and what's more, you have the backbone and grit to acknowledge you've been harsh and unfair where you think you have been.
But to come to the case in point - Mrs C.M. Wright - I didn't write what I did to try to covertly win you to my way of thinking. You know that, dearest, don't you? I just wrote about her as I would about any other person in whom I am interested and I didn't think at the time that the subject might be distasteful to you. I didn't say anything about the Wright's when I was east because I know how you have felt all along, and I thought the subject had better not be raised until you had a chance of meeting them for yourself if you wanted to and there forming opinions based upon personal knowledge. I will confess, dearie, that I had hoped you would get to be friends with them, for I look upon "Rosie" as my second-best (second only to Fritz and Jim, not sure about that even) man friend in all the world. I don't mean by this that
I expect to see as much of "Rosie" in the future as lots of other friends. There are many reasons why it could not be so, but friendship, if it is the right sort, doesn't depend merely upon meeting. It is inevitable that we should grow apart in our interests but I expect always to keep my belief in him as one of the biggest men I have ever met. But, believe me, dearie, I have never had a thought of thrusting my opinions of the Wrights upon you or of having you be friends with them for my sake if you didn't think them worthy of our regard.
You surely didn't think that I could be so selfish and small and unhusbandlike as to sacrifice my wife for any friend. Don't you realize, my darling, that you come first of all the world? Forgive me for mentioning this matter. I'll not speak of it again, but in view of your letter I wanted to make this explanation - and also to add this further word - you surely don't think I would take the attitude I have towards Mrs Wright if I believed the things that most people believe about her past life, do you? Like you, I didn't read only a very little bit of the paper's stories at the time of the trial. I only know that her character was seriously questioned, and her reputation torn to shreds. Perhaps you will say if I had read more I would believe less in her. Perhaps, but I have based my judgement upon my knowledge of her during the past four years, and though it may appear incomprehensible to you, I believe that she not only is, but always has been, pure, and believing that I don't see how my attitude could have been other than it has.
What you say about Dell Flatt's aunt is no news to me, I had heard about her from Miss Carey. ... it's nearly midnight so I'll have to quit soon and go to bed. A couple of days ago I started a rather bad cold and I'm trying to nurse it tonight. This same cold is partly responsible for my failure to write last night - I felt so tough I was afraid my letter wouldn't be readable, ,and besides, as I pointed out once before, a letter written on Wednesday would only lie in the P.O. at Toronto over Sunday - and it would never do for you to get two letters on Monday - at least not yet - though I can’t say to what depths of foolishness I may feel some day.
Tell Ora that, Art to the contrary notwithstanding, it will be cheaper for her to ship herself to Edmonton by the carload than any other way. Fritz didn’t get a car and it cost him $60.00 to bring his ?? and ?? to Calgary - this sum including cartage and insurance. He could have brought a whole carload as settlers’ effects for some $57 or $58 exclusive of cartage etc. I asked him the disadvantages of the car rate and he said that where goods are sent as settlers’ effects there is a much lower limit to the amount that can be recovered from the railway in case of damage.
If Ora’s ideas of household requirements are as big in everything as in towels, I should imagine a special train would be advisable. I have observed that Ora likes to practise what she preaches. I’m glad too to see that Ora and Art believe that husband and wife should be complementary to each other: evidently she expects to personify the cleanliness. Art will have to furnish the Godliness to keep the balance there.
Do I like onions? My acquaintance with that lachrymose vegetable has never reached the point of real intimacy but we have a mutual respect for each other, which with encouragement under favorable circumstances by a sponsor of whom I am very fond, might develop into a positive liking.
Your scouting in the field of my gastronomical tastes has awakened a mild curiosity to know whether you are putting first things first or are tentatively feeling me out. I notice our questions thus far have been entirely of condiments and spices. You have expressed a disbelief in the “Love in a Cottage” diet for everyday consumption! You don’t expect to substitute a ration of relishes and spices do you? You don’t mind a wee bit of “jollying” do you dearie? I’ll like what you make for two reasons : because they’ll be good - and because they’ll be made by you. Don’t think, Kiddie, because I don’t often mention it that I’m not interested in what you are doing and making every day - not expecting even embroidery. I like to hear about your work - only I’m afraid from what you say that you are doing too much. It looks to me as if you were “bossing the ranch” and not only managing, but doing most of the work. Isn’t that so.
So you are just as foolish as I am and you've actually kissed my picture. I've done it to yours lots and lots of times. I keep it facing me on the dresser so that yours is the last face I see before turning off the light, and then I still see you in the dark and I take you in my arms and kiss you goodnight, And you are afraid that after we're married a while I'll not want to kiss you. Well, I'm not worrying very much about that time. I don't think I'm in much danger of reaching that stage of placidity - if present feelings are any indication.
I'm not going to make any promises for the future, but if my desires outrun my expectations there as much as they have in the past two months, I don't think you'll have cause to complain because of any lack of affection on my part. I know this, that I love you more dearly; if that is possible, every day. Oh, my dear, dear girlie, I can't tell you how much I love you - neither can I show you by caresses. I just want to live my love so that its atmosphere will be the very breath of life to you.
Last evening Miss Ferguson, Edmanson and I called in to see Patterson and his wife. It's the first time any of us have been to see them in their own house. Naturally we "reminisced" a good deal and my thoughts went back to a year ago. What changes one short year has brought. Ford, Brownlee, Fritz and "Pat" all married and in houses of their own. Even Miss Ferguson will be married next month and then I'll be the only one left of all our first household. But it has been worth while waiting to get the best girl of the whole lot. I remember once, when I was a boy having one of my mother's cousins tell how she had waited five years for her husband and it seemed such a long time. But you know how long I have waited for you dearest? Over ten years. How long I wonder have you been waiting for me?
Do you know there was one unconscious revelation in your letter that made me happy? Speaking of the Wrights, you said you had been worrying before I went home lest we shouldn't agree upon that subject. If you didn't love me and really respect me in your heart of hearts, why should you have cared? You did really love me before this summer, didn't you dearest? But whether you did or didn't doesn't matter since I know you love me now and, even at this hour in slumber land, are clasping to your heart one who loves you more than all the world.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 10, 1913
My dear Fred,
Ora saw my last letter, and she said she'd be ashamed to send such a looking thing as that - the inside she meant. I was sort of too, I know I write very badly indeed, especially when I write fast. I never could write decently, and that capped with four years of writing notes certainly does make an unsightly mess. It's half-past five but I don't need to get supper for a while, as dad is away and Ora won't be home until half-past six.
Dad has gone out into the country. He said he didn’t know whether he’d get any supper though, because the people where he is going never ask him to stay. One time he went there and the old lady who lives with her married daughter went to get five dollars which she had subscribed. While she was away the mistress of the house thought it a fitting opportunity to remark that preachers were always after money. Her mother heard her and turned and went to her room and brought him five dollars more. People don’t very often say mean things to him, but wasn’t that small?
I was going to write last night but some people came in and stayed late. These people always do, because I guess we like each other. Mrs. Clarke, the choir leader’s wife, with her cousin to protect her came over to see mother on business, and then he came over after her. It’s getting unsafe for women to be out alone late, at least the policeman said so. There have been several men held up and robbed lately. ...
...I've had a debate all day whether to be cross or good-natured. I made gingerbread and it burned and wasn't a very great success. Then I washed my hair, and it always irritates me to try to get work done when horrible straight ends persist in sticking in my eyes. So when I had finished my work I went and had a little rest, and so the good-nature won out. Some nights I don't rest one bit, when I wake up I am tired out, my muscles even, as well as my nerves, are tense. ... When I feel tired I get so disgusted with myself, I think it is very foolish of me to think of marrying you. I hate to run at half-speed, but I have to do that or else stop for a while.
Ora and I expect to go over to Toronto tomorrow if it keeps nice. This week has been like an ideal September. The leaves are off some of the trees, but we are wearing summer dresses without coats. The sky is beautifully clear and blue and so high up. But all the same, I don’t want to go to Toronto, I’m afraid again.
Ora is going to get her furs and she wants someone to advise her.
Now I must get something to eat for my hard working sister. Last night I got a big bunch of verbenas, and two dahlias from the plant you tied up. Your good deeds follow you.
Good-bye for the present.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 12, 1913
My dear Fred,
I’ve just come in from a brisk walk in the wind. Do you know what would suit me best of all just now? You and a fire and a book. Sometimes on Sunday nights we’ll have “lap suppers” and we’ll make toast over the fire. ...
... We had a good trip over to Toronto yesterday morning, but after we had got to the store for Ora's furs it started to rain, and I guess it rained all the time we were there. We didn't have to go out much, except from the fur store up to Simpson's. The other times we had to go out our friends, who met us there, lent us their umbrellas. Ora got beaver furs, and they are simply lovely, so silky and rich looking. The man from whom we got them married an old time friend of ours. I thought beavers were big animals, but he showed us whole skins, baby beavers or kittens, as they call them are about the size of a big cat, while the full grown ones are like collie dogs. The fur as it comes from the animal is long, shiny and coarse. That long hair is all plucked out, leaving the soft thick short fur underneath.
I didn't spend all my money, but I got a lot of things. I got a pair of five dollar Queen Quality shoes for two dollars and forty five cents. No, I'm not a bargain hunter but I got one when I didn't hunt.
Mae Finch came down to see me, and I was so glad to see her. Oh, I feel so sorry for her. I told you about her before. It seems that this boy’s parents have persuaded him that he didn’t love her enough to marry her. What Mae does not know, and what may be the reason they do not want him to marry her is that she was born too soon. Her father is a bad man. He left her mother who is his second wife, and lived with another woman in B.C. until her death, and I believe is re-married. But Mae is a good girl. Her mother has done her utmost to make up to Mae for the wrong she knows she did her. And it doesn’t seem fair that her life should be spoiled on account of her father’s wrongs. But it often is so, I do not know what to say to her. there is absolutely nothing I can say or do that will help her.
... It was raining when I got on board, so I had to sit out at the back on the lower deck. For the most of the time my only companion was a black haired man. The sunset was magnificent - the rain stopped in time for that. There were great broad banks of lemon and pink lines across the Western sky. The upper part of the sun was red, while the lower half was tinged with yellow. It was wonderful, and I wished you were with me. Other times I would have wished for somebody to enjoy it with me, but my Somebody has become You. As we got near home it got pretty rough, and every once in a while there'd be a thud and the water would dash up over the railing. I didn't get sick, pat me on the back, but I couldn't have stood any more.
Don't you go to church Sunday nights? You seem to have so much time on your hands then. And didn't you go last Sunday morning? If so, why didn't you shave before you went? There are some queries arising from your Sunday letter. I suppose it did appear rude not to go downstairs last Sunday night, but I don't blame you. If you didn't approve of the way the people were acting, I really see no just reason why you should make yourself one of their number.
My hand is stiff. It hasn't yet got warm since I came in from my walk. I've just thought of something that has puzzled me. Do you get the Globe? If so, how can you get it fresh? ? And how do they in London?
I saw the picture of Hon. Herbert Samuels the other day. He is evidently a Hebrew. For evidence? His face, and the fact that Mr. Rowell invited some Rabbis to his banquet. His speeches about the work Liberalism has done made me think of a book I consulted in my fourth year. It was quite new, and I take a great pride in the fact that I told Dr. Edgar about it, and that I afterwards found him with it in his possession. It is Dicey's Law and Opinion in England in the Nineteenth Century.
Have you read Hobson’s Liberalism? I have it, but it is in Toronto just now. And another of which I have read only part is Herbert Spencer’s The Man vs the State. It shows the change that has come over Liberalism since the time of Cobden and Bright, how that it has as its characteristic at present the making of restricting laws instead of the freeing of the individual. Dicey gives one an idea of the extent of these laws, particularly in factories. Factory owners, of some sorts - such as paint and glass factories have to provide bathrooms, soap, and towels for their men, and the men have to make use of them. ...
I have just been thinking we'll catalogue our library. So you see, I can be a librarian after all. Do you think you would like book cases built in the wall? I think I should like some that way. Aren't you going to get a furnished house for the first year? I don't care what we do. you know what is best in that respect. I've just been dreaming a living room. I don't want it first thing, it'll have to grow.
We’ll use the library first. But I don’t want a big rug on the living room floor, just little ones, and a fire-place of course, and brass, and gold things where possible, and reddish brown colours in the rugs. Then we can introduce a note of old olive. I’d like the dining-room tan and brown, and the library green and brown. But of course I may change my mind.
Oh, I saw some of the most beautiful Oriental rugs at that store on King Street East. They were having a big sale. ...
I didn’t get your letter yesterday but I knew it was the fault of the service of King George, not of Frederick the Great. It’s half past five so it’ll soon be morning when I know I’ll get one.
I'm cold so I'm going in to light the gas. Lucky man, you have a grate.
Your own little girl wrote this.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 13, 1913
My dear Fred,
This is a clear, cold, windy day, but we have a fire going in our furnace, so are quite comfortable. Mother and I are alone. Father is at Springvale and Ora in Toronto. We had a very cosy time last night. We had tea in front of the gas stove in the back parlour. Then after we came home from church we sat down to read, but mother couldn’t find a book to suit her and so she went to sleep.
This morning, before daylight, I was so cold I went and got in bed with her ... , We didn't have any watch and we were surprised when we came downstairs to find that it was after nine o'clock. Then we got at the washing and hustled it, I tell you. ...
We had lunch outdoors in the sun, but we had to put on warm coats too. Then I went to the Post-Office and got three letters for myself, one from Grace Dempster and two from you, and as I was reading them on the way home I forgot to get the Globe.
This afternoon I copied out some music we are to sing at the Thanksgiving supper. It is a double quartette, all ladies. Our piece is "Love's Old Sweet Song" and our encore in "Comin' Thro' the Rye." Mr Clarke, our trainer, says he'll see that we get an encore. I have to sing second soprano and it's beastly hard because I want to sing the air all the time. The first is a pretty old piece. Likely you know it. I'll learn to play it by heart for you.
Mother went to the church to a meeting and I started to make an apron for her, but I got the pockets in way up above her waist and had to rip them off. She asked me what I was thinking of when I did it - I ought to know how to do them for I’ve made several, and I said I guessed I wasn’t thinking of what I was doing. She said, “No, you were thinking of the guy. I’ll soon begin to get cross at him.”
So Elizabeth has had her Reception! Did Fred [Fritz] put in an appearance in the evening? They were scrapping about it when they were home and we are rather anxious to know which won out. We said he wouldn't. You'd better make up your mind to bear your lot with patience. Not only are you going to have your dinner down town sometimes, but you have to take me too. When I get so tired of getting dinners I’m going to take a holiday, and you’ll have to come with me or starve or inflict yourself on your friends who have more submissive wives. ...
At League tonight we are going to have as the speaker the electrician of the St Lawrence Paper Mill. He spent two years with Dr Grenfell(6) in Labrador, and he will speak of his experiences there. I suppose you have heard Dr. Grenfell. Did you ever see his views of the Labrador? The icebergs are most wonderful in their varied colours.
Don't you worry honey, about not mailing your letter. If I thought you weren't careful it would hurt me, but I know you are, so little slips don't matter. The thing about you that matters most is that you want to 'follow the gleam.' Oh, my dear, if you didn't want to.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 14, 1913
My Dear Fred,
Mother wants to know if you chaps have a sort of devotional hour after dinner when you all write to your girls. Then she wondered how Edmanson employed his time, and I said he studied law to get ready to support his. What an old sobersides you must think me if you think it necessary to ask if I mind a little “jollying.” It would be pretty hard on me living in this house if I did. And as for cooking, say, I made some “riz” biscuits tonight that did their duty. It seemed funny for Ora to come out in the kitchen and ask, “What are we going to have for supper? Are you going to make biscuits?” Pretty soon I’m going to start bread. ...
To-day, Tuesday, I got the letter you wrote Thursday. Contrary to your calculations, a Wednesday letter would not lie over Sunday in Toronto, but a Tuesday one might. And please don’t feel constrained to write to me every day if you don’t feel like it. I don’t write on Saturday principally because I know it wouldn’t go out till Monday morning, and besides I get lazy. Do you know just how easy it would be not to write to you, or how easy it is not to write - to my other friends. Just put it off a little too long.
Your letter meant very much to me. I am glad you spoke about the Wright's as you did. You know, don't you, that I don't want to be harsh or unkind, but also that opinions die hard?
You said also that you could not tell me how much you loved me, that you could only live your love. I don't know when, if ever before, you seemed so inexpressibly dear to me, I don't think I ever felt so much that way before but you seemed - yes, dear is the only word that expresses it, something that I need and want and value very highly. You ask me so often if I didn't love you before you came home. I don't now whether you'd call it love. I knew you were coming home to me. And I think always I've known that you were one man I could love, only I willed that I wouldn't love you. But nearly all this year, I have felt sure you loved me and as I told you in a recent letter, this spring I began to realize that you personified the things I sought. And I was so happy when I saw the light. Had you told me last summer what you did this, I don't know how it would have gone. But even then I was pretty sure you cared very much for me.
Do you remember that night we sat down by the water? I wondered just how much of what you said applied to you. But you were so self-contained that I turned my attention where it had been invited. When you went away last summer, didn't you look at the last? And your look told me something, even if you didn't mean it to. And the way you used to shake hands with me, and look at me when you said good-bye, all told me something, which I would not admit to myself until this spring.
A couple years ago, I was telling Annie Price about you, and I said, “Doesn’t it seem a pity that this rather peculiar friendship should sometime cease?”
I used to try to imagine you married to somebody but I couldn't. I didn't want anybody else to have you. I don't think you know how much you meant to me when I was growing up, how anxious I was to have you think well of me, and how pained when I knew you were displeased with me. When I lived at Beamsville I always considered you my best friend. The younger boys I knew were well enough, but they were very juvenile. And besides, that didn't have any ambition, any ideas, or any ideals. I was going to college, and I knew that in a few years I shouldn't enjoy their company. Yes, I guess I put rather too high an estimate on college, but just the same, I'm glad I wasn't with those boys as much as some of the other girls were.
Do you know, I was too proud to be with the ones that liked me? I didn’t want my name coupled with Ray Hewitt’s for instance, as some were coupled! He said “Aint,” and he said “learn” instead of “teach.” Do you think I am a snob in some respects? What way do you ask? Well, intellectually, for one way.
I've just had a little talk now about centre pieces. Ora is embroidering a pillow-case and mother is crocheting a buckle. We are going down for the mail and to the library now. ... Oh, I can't write any more, there is too much conversation about bride elects. Well, I'm glad I'm one, though the time is yet distant.
How many kisses do you want, old man?
Fred to Evelyn
My dear Nora
I'm supposed to be working but I've inveigled a couple of the other men into doing what I should be working at and from the open door on my room I can see into the outer office where they are busily engaged while I snatch a few minutes for a little talk with you. It's ten o'clock and of course you are in bed and asleep, but you can hear me just the same, can't you dear?
I’ve just been down to the post office thinking there would be a nice long letter from you. This morning I received the one you wrote last Friday. Well I was disappointed tonight but I’m sure it’s not your fault. About and hour ago there was a fire at the Post Office and the employers have been busy straightening up after the fire that the mail from the East hasn’t been touched. Our old post office - built about 6 years ago - is far too small and the gov’t is going to build a fine new one. They haven’t started to tear down the old one yet but it has been vacated and temporary premises are being occupied. It is in these that the fire occurred. Luckily little damage was done and I believe no mail was destroyed.
Aren't you working too hard, dearest? It seemed to me your Friday letter sounded tired, and you said yourself you sometimes felt discouraged, and that often you arise in the morning unrested and unrefreshed. I've been thinking maybe this is partly due to our nightly talks. Don't you often lie awake after you are in bed -and don't you often think of me in your sleep? If one is to rest at sleep the mind should be perfectly easy and as nearly as possible a blank before going to sleep. Otherwise the rest is liable to be broken.
It’s awfully nice for us to be able to talk to each other while separated by half a continent, but I believe such thought transference or mutual telepathy must be a nervous strain. I don’t feel it so myself but perhaps you do, and if so, dearest, say so and we’ll do less of it. One reason why I believe these long distance communications are a mental strain is that I cannot talk to you when I don’t feel well.
In your last letter you said you couldn’t talk to me last Thursday or Wednesday night and you wondered what the matter was. Those nights I was suffering from a bad cold and I realized at the time that I couldn’t talk to you. I felt numb and lethargic and it seemed like reaching out against a stone wall and groping in blank space when I tried to touch you. Please, dearest, let me know if you find what I say is true. I’d much rather forego the pleasure of our communications now even if they all had to be stopped than to have you suffer because of them.
Do you want me to be really cross with you? If not, please don't say again you think it is foolish to think of marrying me. Do you think I am marrying you for the amount of work you can do and the number of dollars you can save me by cooking my meals and mending my socks and by keeping my house? You know that isn't true and yet it would be implied from your remark. I know dearest that you haven't the physical strength to do as much work as some other girls but I don't love you any less for that and I don't want you to think you must work after any other person's pace.
Every person must learn his or her own limitations of strength and endurance and should work accordingly. I love you because you are you - and perhaps if you were big and strong like an Irish washerwoman even with all your other qualities, I might not love you - at any rate - not so well.
Wouldn't it be a poor kind of love that didn't care for weaknesses as well as strength? Why, my dearie, I want to protect and shield and guard you. Doesn't the marriage ceremony say "love, cherish, and protect"? Oh my dearest can't you learn to know that's the way I love you? Can't you lean your dear head upon my breast and feel that I'll sympathize with you and care for you and keep you over life's rough places? I'm afraid you've been working as you have to please me and while I do appreciate your motive, love, please understand that nothing you can do can in the smallest degree add to the value of yourself. It's you I want and love - not the things you can accomplish.
On reading this over it sounds as if I were complaining and I don't mean it that way. You know that don't you, my darling? I don't want you to be afraid to tell me when you feel tired or out of sorts for fear I'll come back with a lecture about working too hard. If I've said anything, dearest, that would frighten you in any way into not telling me your troubles and sorrows as well as your victories and joys, believe me, I don't mean it that way. If we're to be truly mates and husband and wife there must be the fullest confidences and I want to know when you're downcast as well as when you are uplifted. Somehow I never was any good at cheering people, but I want to learn. Won't you be my teacher?
Please don't say anything about my handwriting. I sometimes wonder whether you can read mine at all or not. I know it must be difficult and my letters don't look attractive, but we'll not say anything more about this, the main thing is for us to hear from each other. As long as I get a letter from you I don't care how it longs or what the writing is like if it is yours.
Did you go to Toronto last Saturday? And did you have a smooth passage? Would you have been afraid, dearest, if I had been going along? Or did you dread the trip because you were afraid the memory of that one we took together would make you homesick for me? I'd like to think so. Is that selfish of me?
I’m going home now in a few minutes. Please excuse this paper once again. If I write very many more times at the office I’ll have to get some respectable paper here. At any rate I’ll give this an outward appearance of respectability by taking it home and of putting it in a decent envelope.
I hope, dearie, you are feeling better by the time you get this, but whether grave or gay, weary or fresh, ill or well, believe me I am always your own true lover.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 15, 1913
My Own Dear Esau,
... Oh, my dear, dear man, your Friday letter [missing] made me laugh, but it almost made me cry too. To think you have been worrying about your appearance. You didn't tell me anything I didn't know. Don't you think I have eyes, and don't you think I use them? And don't you know, my darling, that I love you, and that the warmth of your love has overcome what used to be a physical dislike? I don't understand it one bit, but when I used to look at your hands, I used to feel like being as obstinate and opposite as I possibly could. They looked so strong, and capable, and they made me want to be bad. But it's so different now. I guess it was because I wanted you to love me, and you wouldn't, so that made me want to outdo you in obstinacy. I suppose if I made you myself, I might make a few changes, but not many. I think I can honestly say that what you have told me, doesn't make any difference. My dear, I love you, not your shell. Don't you think you place almost too much value on eugenics, and not enough proportionally on ethics?
I cannot but smile at your ideals of pre-natal influence, for I think you place too much faith in it. However, we'll see. And I don't think you need to worry about the future generation. At any rate, they'll have pure blood, which is more than can be said of an appallingly large number of people.
But speaking of hairs, I wonder if you’ll think me immodest if I tell you something funny. Dell Flatt is the most inquisitive girl along some lines. She wanted to find out what caused them on the upper lips of women and she asked Heber [Moshier]. He tried to put her off, because the reason, I guess, isn’t one he wanted to explain to her. So when she got a chance, she got one of his books, and started to hunt it up. She’d just got the place when he came in and she had to close the book. So she is still in ignorance.
When I was at her place we were talking about having children. She told me she peeked through the key-hole when her sister’s last child was born. Her sister nearly died, and consequently Dell is frightened. Do you think it strange for me to tell you this. I think it was funny. I just have a picture of her looking. “Why.” I said, “You great big fool. What did you do that for?” And she answered, “I just wanted to see.” She loves to describe critical operations the Heber has performed. She got telling me about one one night, till I couldn’t stand it any more, and I made her stop. I can’t bear to hear about operations, it makes my flesh creep. It is well that she is the one who is going to marry the doctor, for I shouldn’t enjoy his recital of his surgical feats.
...I was out with Eva Laughlin, selling tickets this afternoon. We both hate it like everything, but our mothers got us in for it. I don’t believe in it one bit. If people want to come to our Thanksgiving supper, all right, if not don’t ask them for their money. So we didn’t go in places that were doubtful, we asked our own people and the ones that usually come. Eva said that last year she thought if she didn’t sell many they wouldn’t ask her again.
Ora was down at the Stamford Township School Fair, this afternoon, judging cakes, pies, bread, aprons, patching, and drawing. I was going with her, but decided I needed to get those tickets sold and some aprons made. ... The Department of Agriculture gives the prizes and in the spring gives the children seeds, bulbs, and eggs. ... I think this event, and preparation for it, will have a great influence on the girls and boys in awakening a pride in their work, and in the quality of it. ...
Now I’ll tell you a joke Ora read a few minutes ago. A little girl went over to play with a neighbour child, who was very stingy about her toys. The child told her mother about it when she went home and her mother said, “When I was a little girl, if I had gone to visit another little girl, and she had treated me like that, I’d have come home.” “Well,” responded her offspring, “Times have changed since you were a little girl. I slapped her face and stayed.”
Quite a number of houses have been taken by the canal, and there are very many new comers. Board is hard to get, nearly everybody has roomers or boarders. We are talking of renting our two back kitchens. Work has started on the new canal, at least, they are very busy getting houses built and tracks laid to bring in their materials. We are going to be flooded with foreigners. They say the hotels can be ordered closed if the contractors demand it. I should think they would. Imagine five thousand foreigners on the outskirts of a town this size, which already has a foreign population of several hundred.
I'm glad you're not gambling in oil. I really don't approve of taking such huge risks. I've been too lately a companion of Ruskin, not to think of unearned increment. I'm quite contented with your finances as they are. It is demoralizing to make money too easily. Honestly, I think it would be bad for me.
Now you are satisfied, aren't you sweetheart, that I love you. Even the parts that you consider blemished.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 16, 1913
My Dear Fred,
Ora is embroidering, mother crocheting, and I have just finished a couple little bags which I stuffed with roseleaves, which, by the way, came from the roses you gave Ora and me. ...
I haven't done much to-day. Oh, yes, I accomplished quite a lot. I cleaned out a great big box we call "the coffin." I had a fine time. Mama says she likes to give me jobs of that sort as I always enjoy them so much. I trimmed a hat too. For the next week we'll be pretty busy. Mother's friend, Mrs. Sheppard, is coming tomorrow and my Aunt Pearl and the children tomorrow or Saturday, for over Thanksgiving. Monday night there is a big supper at the church. Thursday and Friday are the Convention days.
This afternoon mother and I went out calling but the first lady wasn’t home. We made another call and then went to see the girl whose mother had just died when you were here. ... When we came home it was nearly six and it was beginning to darken. There was a smell of burning leaves in the air, and it was just cold enough to make one want to walk briskly. I had to go back over town to get some bread, and coming home, I was just thinking about next year. Don’t you want me to come to meet you some nights, and walk home with you? Then we’ll go home together. Just think of that! As I got near the house I thought that I knew something of how you felt about having a home. And we’ll go in together, and I’ll have the dinner ready in a little while. Then after that we’ll sit by the fire, or we’ll sing. I felt so well tonight when I came home, I felt as if I could do anything.
It's just struck ten and Ora says, "Come on now and go to bed. You know I'm to keep my eye on you and see that you don't overwork yourself." ... Dad has just got home from his tour. I think he must have called on thirty or forty people since he went away Saturday. He gave a lecture at Springvale Monday night. ... They said they hadn't had anything worth attending since he left, that they were broken-hearted when he said he couldn't come, in fact, that he simply had to come.
Mother and Ora have gone to bed, and I'm going too. This is a short letter, but I don't feel like talking. I'd just like to sit with you in the big chair we're going to have and do absolutely nothing, just rest. Oh, it is lovely to have such a glorious future, isn't it my own? I'm so afraid something will happen to spoil it. It seems too good to be true.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girlie,
Two days isn't a very long time is it? And yet, how they can drag out when a fellow doesn't get a letter. Wednesday and yesterday were mere blanks, but this morning brought a nice one that started the day off right- the letter you wrote on Sunday. ...
I'll tell you what prevented my writing yesterday dearest, for I don't want to have any secrets between us, though at first I thought I wouldn't say anything about it, but would surprise you some day if the venture turned out all right. But don't breathe a word to anyone not even to your folks. Do you remember about a week ago I spoke of the strike of oil near here? Since that the company has been taking out crude oil and so pure is it that without any refining they are selling it in the city - like ordinary gasoline and it is being used to run automobiles. The like has never been heard of anywhere in the world before.
The only question that now remains is - how large is the flow? This one company - the Calgary Petroleum Products Co. Ltd. is one of two that have been drilling for about a year - and oil has been struck only in the one well as yet - and in it they have only touched the oil bearing rock. It is expected that as soon as they go deeper in this rock they'll strike a regular gusher. Whether they will or not only time will tell. But even at the present flow they are getting about 30 barrels a day. Well, the news of the Calgary Petroleum Co's strike has set Calgary on fire - and the excitement is rapidly spreading over two continents. You must before this have seen reports in the Eastern papers.
The local people have been very conservative in the reports they have sent out and I suppose Ontario people are very skeptical and think the whole thing is only a western boom. A boom it is sure enough and one that bids fair to outrival the greatest land boom this country has ever seen, but whether the oil strike will prove to be of oil in commercial quantity only the future can reveal.
The quality we have, and in the opinion of the experts, we have the geological formation over a great portion of Alberta adjacent to the mountains that should produce oil, and the news of the strike has awakened the interest of the big oil men of New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Texas and Mexico and capitalists in London, England. They are flocking in from all parts, and the hotels are already crowded and besieged with applications for reservations. Yesterday no fewer than 40 telegrams for reservations at the hotels were received from distant points in the States.
Many of the business men here are still skeptical but the general public is going wild. Owing to the tightness of money there can't be any extended speculation until outside money comes in, but people are doing the best (or worst) they can. The Act relating to petroleum and natural gas rights (a Dominion Act) is pernicious in the extreme and lends itself readily to speculation. Some tithes to land carry with them the mineral rights but the majority do not, and for the most part the rights to petroleum and natural gas are still in the Crown, while the surface rights are all privately owned.
According to the Dominion Lands Act any person may apply to the Minister of the Interior for a lease of the petroleum and natural gas rights from the Crown upon payment of an application fee of $5.00, together with a rental of 25 cents per acre for the first year and 50 cents per acre for each succeeding year, with the proviso that during the first year at least $5,000 must be spent in development. No one person may lease more than 3 square miles.
You can see what happens. People file applications investing nothing but $5 - the application fee. The rental money is payable within one month. For nearly a year, people have been filing, expecting oil to be struck within the month. They wouldn't pay the rental but allow their claims to lapse and either have the applications renewed by some other persons in their name or apply for different lands themselves. This has been going on for months and some few have already cleaned up a thousand or two on a $5 investment.
Now that the oil has really been struck of course people are paying up their rentals, or selling their claims to others who do - except where the claims are away off from the scene of the discovery, and in these cases people are still filing in the hope that they may unload if a real gusher is struck and the public goes entirely crazy A lot of this is gambling and wildcatting of the worst sort. I've already told you that the whole territory from the Bow River on the North to Pincher Creek on the south and from High River on the east to the mountains on the west has been filed on. Of course there is this much to be said. This whole territory is believed to be oil-bearing although of course it won't be struck in paying quantities everywhere. But no one knows and each person thinks his may be the lucky spot.
Most of the lands in what is considered by experts to be the oil area were taken up long ago, but I could have got claims very near to the present well a month ago. And I'm kicking myself now that I didn't - for I've believed for a long time that they'd strike oil and I knew pretty well what was going on. For $16 I could have got a lease for a year on 1 square mile and if I had done this last summer I might have sold out now for anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 and then dearie we wouldn't need to worry about our trip to England. Well, I didn't and if it's any consolation, all the rest of my friends are in the same boat. Of course since the discovery a week ago, people are still filing but it's all on stuff that I think isn't worth anything. Perhaps some of it may be but it's a great gamble. For the most part, it'll be good only to unload on some sucker.
But to come back to the part I don't want you to tell. Adjoining Calgary and extending to within 20 miles of Discovery Well, is the Sarcee Indian Reserve - an unsurveyed territory. All of the filing so far has been on surveyed lands, but yesterday Patterson, who used to be in our house, was looking over the regulations and came to the conclusion it is possible to file on oil rights under this Reserve land. The only difference is, the applicant must not only file his application with the local Dominion Land Agent as in the case of surveyed lands, but must also locate his claim by staking out the ground as in the case of a gold mining claim.
Remember, we are not sure yet that the Reserve land can be filed on at all, and that's why I don't want anything said about it. I don't want people to know if nothing comes of it. Well it seems no one ever thought of the Reserve until the night before last when a party, including a local lawyer went out and staked during the night. I believe a couple more parties went out yesterday, but the idea is not generally known and yesterday afternoon, Patterson, Wilber Horner, Fritz and I determined to try the game.
We left here in Horner's car at 3.30, drove through the reserve for about 20 miles and then left the car and walked the rest of the way. It is necessary to put two stakes on each claim - the stakes to be at least 4 inches square and 4 feet above ground so we had to carry eight stakes, some smaller slabs, a couple axes, a hammer etc.
After we left the regular trail we three walked, while Mr Horner tried to drive the car across country to save us carrying the stakes etc. The country at this point is very hilly and covered with scrub. After going for about a mile, over some of the worst country imaginable - through 3 barbed wire fences, one of which we lifted up posts and all, so that the car went under, and the others - we pulled out the posts, laid the fences flat down and drove the car over after covering the barbed wire with out stakes and overcoats as a protection for the tires, we finally got stuck in the scrub and could take the car no farther, so we left it in the scrub and started on foot about 5:15.
From that time until 9: 45 we never stopped except to drive in our stakes and write out and post up our notices which we did by the light of a glorious moon aided by an electric dark lantern. It may not sound very romantic, but believe me, it was stern work.
The air was clear but frosty - the thermometer being about 15 degrees below freezing point. The ground was rough and broken, with bogs and hummocks, in places - and for the most part a succession of steep hills and valleys and all was covered with a rank growth of grass, on top of which was four or five inches of loose snow. To add to the difficulties of our pilgrimage, in many places there was a thick growth of scrub and small trees, as a deep scratch the length of my face bears witness today.
We had no supper, but pegged away as fast as we could the whole time, and in spite of the cold air, what with struggling up and down hills bundled as we were, dodging in and out among the bushes, and slipping sideways and backwards in the loose snow, long grass and hummocks we had no need of fires to warm us. My chief discomfort arose from a pair of wet legs.
About 6 o'clock I broke through apparently frozen ground into a pool of ice water up to my knees and about ten minutes later I again broke into a bog to the same depth. For the rest of the evening my lower limbs were encased in a congealed mass of frozen ice, mud and trousers. My feet kept fairly warm while on the march but got cold when we stopped to drive our stakes and put up our notices.
Lest you are anxious dearest, let me say, I haven't caught cold in spite of wet feet. The greatest damage is to my clothes - which for lack of time are the ones that I wore to the office yesterday. But in spite of the strenuousness of our march we all enjoyed it. The night was perfect and as we neared the foothills we could see the mountains standing - great walls of white - gleaming in the moonlight ahead of us. We started out to stake 4 claims but we soon saw we couldn't do it and return before 3 or 4 o'clock and we were afraid the auto would be froze.
You must remember we had to tramp a long distance from the car before we got to the land we wanted to stake. So after staking the two we turned homeward, intending to go out and complete tomorrow. Luckily we found the auto all right, and after getting it out through the wire fences into the road again we started on the 20 mile run home at 10.25. Horner drove fast, and though we had overcoats and robes, facing the wind caused by the car, our faces soon began to tingle. We had all been perspiring and now we began to get chilly.
We got home about 11.00 o'clock all cold as we wanted to be. I can tell you, I immediately took off my frozen clothes, got some supper consisting of toast, tomatoes and strawberries, took a hot bath and went to bed. I did intend to write you but I thought you'd forgive me if I didn't for I was afraid of catching cold unless I got into bed in short order. I got up at the usual hour this morning and felt all right except for the scratch on my face and sore eyes from facing the wind last night. Fritz and Horner have bad colds. So you see your man is about as tough as the rest, if he is small and fat. I must admit though I felt sleepy tonight and I lay down on the sofa and slept from 8 until 10.30.
It's now a few minutes past midnight. I want to write tomorrow but you'll understand dearest if I don't. We're going again in the afternoon and may not return until late. Oh, how I wish you could have seen the mountains last night in the moonlight. Some day you will see them with me, dearie - I’ll answer the questions in you last letter on Sunday.
I'm sorry I've taken up this whole letter with talk about oil and our trip, Do you know, last night whenever I felt tired or the way was particularly rough I said to myself "It's for my little sweetheart." Perhaps nothing will come of it. The most we expect to make is a few hundred dollars. I never wanted anything so much for myself, but oh my darling, I do want success for your dear sake.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 17, 1913
My Dear Fred,
I’m not going to write a very long letter because you haven’t given me any ammunition. It’s Friday afternoon but your Sunday letter is still in cold storage. I was just re-reading your last letters, and I had a laugh out of them I hadn’t noticed before.
You were speaking about investing in oil lands and you said something like this, "You would rather live modestly than have me make a pile and lose all. Anyway, I'm not going to invest." You're going to be safe aren't you whether I advise you that way or not? ...
Do you really mean that Fritz and Elizabeth didn't love each other before they were married? You say "They were afraid to look beneath their external selves for fear of disappointment," I should think the wiser plan to look to prove that they were not disappointed. I used to think an engagement as sacred as marriage, but I've changed my mind to some extent. For people do not really know each other until they are engaged, and engagement seems to me a permission to know each other. If when they do know each other they find they are not suitable, there is only one thing to be done. But a broken engagement is to me a sorry thing, yet it isn't so terrible as it used to be.
I have read stories, I have known cases, no, I haven’t known cases to go quite this far, but I have read stories which seem quite true, where one or both of the parties found out the mistake, and afterwards it seemed as if the experience helped to a fuller appreciation of real love. ... It doesn’t seem that you are you. Don’t you think Margaret [Albright] would be surprised if she knew how often we wrote to each other, for she knows how lazy I am in this respect? ...
I think you Moyer's are a fussy lot. Some of you despise a manifestation of emotion as weak, and some are very free to express emotion. ... Sometimes I think of you as I know you now, and compare you with the man I knew a few months ago. It doesn't seem that you are you. ...
You seem anxious for me to realize that you have faults? Why? Do you imagine that I think you perfect? But I do believe you to be true, and a man who has his ideals. Can you imagine a man, or a boy, who at the beginning of his life confesses, "I have no ideals?" It seems incomprehensible, doesn't it, and yet there are such. ...
You say you want your boys to be what you are not. Aren't you going to allow any feminists in your family? Now I have planned just how I am going to educate my daughters. Of course they've all got to study music, early, and they're to study different instruments so that we can have an orchestra. Then of course, they'll all go to college, for they'll all be well enough. And after that they're to take a short course in Household Science. Then each one is to have complete charge of our home for six months. And we have to go abroad sometime too.
But I shouldn't know what to do with boys. I'd be afraid they'd want to drink or smoke cigarettes or marry some silly girl. Do you know I think it's the strangest thing that some children are one kind and some another, and it can't be decided by their parents which kind they'll be. And it's funny too, isn't it, that although people might want a child to be one kind, and it turns out the other, they like it just the same.
It’s rainy and dark this afternoon. Ora is at the Falls. We expect our company about seven o’clock. Ora’s going to have a Fashion Pageant. I told you about the one they saw at Eaton’s, didn’t I? She’s going to display several of her gowns, her hats, her suit, coat, and furs. You ought to see her furs, they’re so soft and velvety. Do you like to feel nice smooth things, like silk and velvet? Mother and Ora tease me about my delight in them. Mother says she won’t paint me a tea set because if she does you’ll be afraid to wipe them and so you’ll get out of helping me. But I said I’d teach you to be careful. Sometimes I feels almost sorry for you, you don’t know what a cul de sac you have run in to.
I have to go to choir practice tonight. We have a double quartette for Monday night. We were to have practised Monday night and three of the girls didn't come. I'm afraid we won't know it, and I can't learn my part all alone.
Good-afternoon. I hope you'll soon return my call.
Your Lady of Leisure.
Fred to Evelyn
My own sweetheart,
... The story of the day is a comedy of errors. As I told you last night we decided to go out again today to finish staking our oil claims. It was agreed that we get an early start and though Saturday forenoon is always very busy, and this morning was particularly so, I hurried as much as I could hardly taking time to read your Monday letter, and left in the middle of several things that should have been attended to in order that I might not keep the others waiting. Patterson is out of town today and the party consisted of Wilber Horner, his brother Austin Horner, Fritz and myself. Wilber was to call for me at the house at 12:30.
I left the office at noon, caught an auto and was home with my clothes changed by 12:25. I ate some egg sandwiches standing, and was ready for the trip by 12:30, but no one came. I phoned Horner and he said he had been delayed. I waited until half past one before the Horners came. Something had gone wrong with the car. Then we called for Fritz and had got nicely started when we had to turn back for something he had forgotten. Thus we were carrying out our plan of getting an early start. But the day was lovely and we were in good spirits, and everything was going fine when suddenly about 7 miles from town, on the edge of the Reserve, the car stopped. A hasty examination revealed hot cylinders, and Wilber in a tone of pained surprise said the lubricating oil had run out. A nice predicament we were in. The nearest house was a mile away and it was by no means certain we should be able to get any oil there anyhow. But there was nothing to do but try.
Leaving Wilber with the car Austin, Fritz and I all set out in different directions to rustle some oil. I called at three places without success, and as there were no more houses in my direction for a long distance I turned back, after having tramped about 2 miles. When I got back near the scene of our discomfiture I saw Austin perspiring and irate, carrying a two gallon can at arm's length. But not another living thing could be seen as far as the eye could reach. Austin was - well - slightly ruffled, but being a good, Christian young man, the turbulence of his spirit wasn't manifested in words that could do justice to the occasion. I couldn't help laughing at him, hat, his clothes smeared with oil ...
But I must confess he had some justification for his frame of mind. He had run most of the way to the farmhouse where he got his oil, then hurried back holding the can at arm's length so the seeds from the long grass and weeds couldn't get in the oil - and his clothes were wet with perspiration, and oil too. When he reached what he thought was the place where the car had been left and saw nothing, he thought he had lost his way, remember he had never been out in this part before. So he ran up and down the road - across into the reserve - followed another trail and then came back again, where I ran across him. He thought he was lost and didn't know till I told him that the car was really gone.
And where was Fritz? We searched and finally found tracks showing the car had been turned around. So we guessed some other auto had come along and lent enough oil to start our car, and Wilber, thinking we'd not likely get any oil decided to run back to the city for it, and that he must have picked Fritz up on the way. It was now 3 o'clock, one whole hour having been consumed in searching for oil and as there seemed nothing else to do, we sat down to wait their return.
We had brought along our guns in the hope of bagging some prairie chicken, but guns, lunch, overcoats - everything was in the car. Austin was so warm, we walked for a while until he cooled off. Luckily, the afternoon was warm and the sun smiled on us. Still as time passed and no car came the situation began to look serious. There was no use getting cross so we watched the passers by, wished for our guns when a mink ran across the road in front of us, and again when a prairie chicken flew within range, gazed at the mountains gleaming through the surrounding haze, rolled over on the grass and kept up a desultory fire of small talk until half past four o'clock.
We were beginning to think seriously of jumping on the next auto that passed and going back to town, when Fritz and Wilber appeared with a livery team. It seems that after we had left, the engines cooled sufficiently for Wilber to get the car started as he struck for town, picking up Fritz on the way. After he got oil at the garage, the car stopped again and then he found that the overheating had caused one of the connecting rods to break. They would have stayed in but for us, so they got a livery rig and we decided we might as well spend the rest of the day with the prairie chicken. We had the best livery team I've ever ridden behind and soon we were about 8 miles in the Reserve.
Now we were violating the law in 2 particulars - We had no license and shooting on the Indian Reserve is forbidden. I hope you don't think we were terribly wicked. Oh, I almost forgot to say that on the way out the harness broke; the little strap holding the harness together broke and let the harness slide back over the horse's shoulder. As luck would have it this is a particularly fiery horse and he has run away on numerous occasions. However he stopped and stood quite still today. Our next problem was to mend the thing for the strap was lost. Finally we cut a strap of a borrowed gun case and with our patched equipment proceeded on our way.
We saw quite a lot of chicken but they were wild and we couldn't get near enough to do any execution. Austin bagged one - the only one. But if we didn't have luck with the chicken we had a glorious time tramping through the brush and over the brown turf. The mountains were magnificent. Several times I stopped and gazed until I almost forgot about the shooting, and oh, my dearest I wished you were with me to enjoy it too.
The west may lack a good many things but if you don't fall in love with the mountains, that is if there's enough left of you to fall in love with anything but your most worshipful servant - I am very much mistaken. We'll take rides and drives together, dearie, and you'll interpret the prairies and the mountains to me. Oh, I'm so anxious for the time when I can see everything through your eyes.
You said once the supreme test of my love will be to sit with you and listen to sublime music. I don't think dear I'll disappoint you in that way. I don't understand music - I wish I did - but I feel it, and when I hear really good music I just sit silent - I can't talk about it. And if I like your music, so I know, dearie, will you like my mountains and prairies. Oh, my darling, I know that we'll be truly one and that our companionship will be sweet and wonderful. How I long for the time when we can really be together - for ever. Do you realize, dearest, what that means? That instead of visiting each other as we have done in the past we'll live each in the other's life until we grow to be really one.
But to come back to our trip. To show you what kind of team we had, I'll tell you that we started for home at 10 minutes to six. We were then 10 or 11 miles from the outskirts of the city and we reached Fritz's house by twenty minutes to seven. And we just let the horses take their own gait. I never rode behind such a team before. So after all my hurrying this morning most of the afternoon was wasted waiting, first, here at the house and later out on the road, and we never went near the scene of our staking operations. However we are going out early Monday morning. Patterson will be with us then too.
How are you going to spend Thanksgiving Day, dearest? I wish I could be with you and I'd try to show why I have greater reason for being thankful to God this year than ever before, because somewhere in a little town in Ontario there's a dear little girl with eyes which she says aren't blue, but which are deep and pure and steadfast - and because with all their clarity of vision, those same dear eyes have been dimmed enough to prevent her looking beyond to a great and good man who is really worthy of her, but instead to fasten them on one who, if not good or wise, at least can and will always be your own true man.
Fred to Evelyn
I can see from your letter of last Sunday [Oct. 12] that you are a wee bit anxious about my church going. Well, I'm glad you are, I wouldn't care for you half so much if you were indifferent in such matters. But whatever else I may do or not do, I don't think you need worry much on that score. I've always prided myself on being regular in attendance at church services. Often, I wondered, and I still wonder - whether I would not do better to stay at home and improve my time by reading a good book, or taking a long walk in the fresh air, than to go and try to listen to a sermon that doesn't appeal to me in the least.
For the most part Mr. Marshall’s sermons are theologised drivel and meaningless repetition of stock pulpit phrases, and I often allow myself to wander on thought far from sermon and Calgary to distant places and entirely different themes - and in particular to a dear little girl whose whole life is a worship of God and a bright example of what it really means to be a servant of Christ. Do you remember sitting beside me in the Presbyterian church in Bala one Sunday night last year?
I thought then how beautiful it would be to have you always beside me in church, and many and many a time since I’ve pictured you as you looked then. I say it in all reverence - you seemed to me holy - a woman above and apart from the ordinary crowd - ennobled by a loftier purpose inspired by a purer and clearer vision, - a perfect blending of angel, madonna and woman. Oh my darling the man whom you couldn’t raise must be a poor thing indeed, and if for no other reason than for your dear sake - to try to measure up as best I can to your standard, I'd go to church. But I go for my own sake too. I’ve come to the conclusion, that whether the sermon on any particular occasion appeals to me or not is of far less importance than that I’ve found in the House of God - if only for the sake of example to others.
But to come back - though there’s no virtue in being less careless than someone else, while we were in our old house I was the most regular attendant at church of the whole lot, - Brownlee, Ford, Fritz and Pat put together. It was very seldom that I didn’t appear at both morning and evening service. Of late however, I’ve changed in this way.
I think one can spend too much time even in a church, and can make the Sunday services a burden rather than an uplift. From now on I don't expect to go very often more than once a day, and to Sunday School of course. I didn't go this morning , but spent the time in preparation of my Sunday School lesson. Two weeks ago when I wrote the letter that caused your enquiry was an exception, and I confess on that day I didn't go at all, but there were special reasons. I was pretty well tired out and I thought it would be better to stay home and rest all day which I did. That day was exceptional all around. I usually shave as soon as I get up.
You say I seem to have so much time on my hands. You don't know dearest how rushed I am through the week, and I haven't been indulging in any social events either. The days are one continuous rush from early morning until night - and the evenings should be devoted to reading law, for there's no time during the day, but usually about three nights a week there are executive meetings of some sort - and what with these and the time I spend writing letters, the evening study of law becomes almost a negligible quantity - and I haven't been going to bed very early either. General reading is something longed for but almost entirely crowded out, except for what I can do on Sunday. So you see dearie, Sunday must be a day of rest and it isn’t so, if I go to church twice and Sunday School in the afternoon. How this theme has spun out. I guess I truly earned a reputation at college for loquaciosness loquacity.
This is the second Sunday for my bible class and I enjoyed it thoroughly. the number was rather ominous - 23, but there was a very evident interest and I hope we’ll have a good class before the winter is over. One difficulty in the way is the number of clowns, but perhaps they’ll open up in time.
This is another glorious day, and it only needs your presence to make it perfect. I had about a 3 mile walk this morning and a short one to and from S. S. this afternoon. Oh, if you were only here, dearie! Sunday should be your day, and after we are married I don't want it to be so filled up with church going that we can't have a good part of it to ourselves. That isn't selfish, is it dearest?
I'm glad you had such a good trip to Toronto, and so you have been using your eyes? Aren't you the little girlie who said she didn't have any ideas about house furnishing? You've proved a very fertile soil for the germination of new ideas if that statement was correct for your last two letters are delightful in their description of our nest that is to be. Never fear, my darling, you'll know how to make our home the homiest and most attractive in this whole city. Please go on telling me your plans. I like to hear them even though I may not say anything in return. As I told you before I must lack imagination for I can't picture or describe what I want, but I'll know when I see it, and I want to see things through your eyes too.
Yes we get The Globe, three days late. The effete east also sends us the Saturday Night, the University Magazine, the Canadian Courier, Montreal Standard, etc, etc. Edmanson takes the first. I get the next two and the rest are variously distributed. So you see we don't entirely lose connection with affairs in the east.
And I heard Mr. Samuels at a Canadian Club luncheon here. I thought I had told you. He made the most finished after-dinner speech I ever heard. The only one that can compare with it in style was given here about a year ago on a similar occasion by Sir John Willison.(7) Not only did Samuel's speech please but it impressed. He is a big man and treated the Imperial problem in the biggest way I've ever heard it presented. Yes he's a Jew, though you'd not guess it from his appearance. He looks his nationality slightly in a photograph but far less in the flesh. Isn't it remarkable how many Jews are at the head of affairs in England? And Samuel's love for the Empire is as strong and deep as that of the purest of Anglo-Saxons. What a wonderful tribute to the character of the British nation, and its institutions and to the power of a great idea!
No, I haven’t read any of the books you mention, I’m sorry to say. I mean to get Dicey's book. He's a wonderful writer - particularly on the Constitution. ... Thanks for mentioning these books to me. Do you understand now what I meant, dearest, when I said you are inspirational? I like to get you views of things: they’re fresh and interesting and you have a faculty of getting pretty well at the heart of things, - and persons too, shall I say, as witness my own capitulation.
Yes I do like bookcases built in the wall. I think there's no comparison between them and detached ones. I'd like to have them built on both sides of a fireplace. ... You ask if we are going to get a furnished house for a while. That is my present intention but a good deal depends upon circumstances next year. ...
I believe you're cold-blooded aren't you? You so often speak of being cold I sometimes fear for you out here. Elizabeth is frightfully cold-blooded too. But then I know the air is damp in Thorold and I don't believe you'll mind it as much here as there. Anyhow, I'm going to make you get so strong and healthy from outdoor exercise that you'll forget all about ever having been chilly in the house.
And so you crept into your mother’s bed to get warm, and beguiled her into forgetfulness of the proper hour to arise! How shocking Are you going to try to work the same trick on me so that I’ll be late for the office some morning? If so, you should have kept your plans secret, for I’m counting the days till the time when you can chat away and make me forget the daily cares and toils and think only of you. And if you get cold, dearest, I’ll just take you in my arms and press you to me until you’re warmed with my very heart’s blood. How I wish I could take you in my arms and kiss your dear lips now. Never mind summer will come again soon.
...No Elizabeth didn't receive at night. The function was all over by 6:30 so Fritz fared pretty well, as there was lots of ice cream etc. left over. I don't think he appeared until after the crowd had gone but I haven't asked particulars. So you are going to insist upon my assisting at your affairs are you dearie? Well I'll give in - for the present.
I was just called to the window to look at a glorious sunset, or afterglow. The whole horizon in the west is one blaze of flaming color shading off gradually to an opalescent grey. That's another beautiful thing the west can produce - sunsets. Oh, there are lots of pleasures in store for you dearest, and I hope not the least will be to stroll home Sunday night after church in the twilight or moonlight with
Your own true lover,
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 19, 1913
I was showing Auntie and Lenore some pictures in my album. There were several I have meant to take out, and so to-day I did it. I have been almost afraid to look at them. I took yours down, and I compared two faces. I wanted to be absolutely sure that no other face could any more have any power over me, and I stared at this one, calmly and searchingly. And I looked in your face, and I kissed your lips over and over again.
Then I opened my diary, which hasn’t any entry since nearly two years ago, and I read two or three entries. I’ll let you read it and then you’ll see in those few last entries, the perplexities, and the sorrows that coloured the joy of my two last years. I was amazed as I read the last two or three pages that I could write like that. I could not but notice the vocabulary and the vividness of the writing. My expression now, compared with that, seems insipid. I have lost power in that direction since I left college and to a great extent ceased reading. But there is little satisfaction in doing anything alone. Every day I see how much I need you, intellectually, if I don’t dry up.
... I hope, oh, I hope, my darling, that you won't be disappointed when you come home to me. I don't think you will, but I simply couldn't bear it if you were. Do you know that last night, when you said that you thought that what you had expected to feel was merely sensuality, I was afraid to let you know how much I wanted your voice, your touch to thrill me? I was afraid you'd think me impure. And yet I knew that a voice could make my pulses bound, and I felt it. I knew that a touch could make me leap to greet it. And I thought you thought that wrong, that it should be repressed. But I wanted you to love me in every way, I wanted to love you in every way, for I knew that only then could there be absolute safety for both of us. It is natural that each part of our nature has its counterpart in some other one, but a marriage is not ideal unless each whole person complements the other.
Don't you think it strange that you should have to go away from me to learn what you did? You said I kissed you once in a way that was different. I didn't. It was you. I made you though. All the time our lips were pressed against each other, I was telling you how much you love me. And the more I told you, the more you kissed me. Sometimes you kissed me just the way dad does, and I didn't want that. I wanted you to awaken me, I didn't want to awaken you. It was true what I told you, that you stopped too soon. Evidently it seemed to you that further effort was useless. That isn't the principle on which men drilling for oil act, is it? You see, I have you at a safe distance, and can tease you all I like, whereas, if you were here, you might possibly think of an effective way of stopping my mouth.
My dearest, if you didn't used to think you would like to have me tell you I loved you, what did you expect you'd want me to talk about. I never dreamt of receiving such letters as I have from my man. If you were still self-contained and didn't tell me over and over how much you loved me, I'm afraid I might get to think that you didn't love me much anyway, and then I'd try to convince myself that I didn't care. You know we have had a very short wooing time, haven't we? To be with each other two or three weeks, and then marry each other at our next meeting. We need to be pretty sure of ourselves don't we? But I'm growing surer all the time.
Every morning when I wake, I think of you, and wish I were with you. And I wish the forenoons were spent in our house, that I were getting dinner for you and at night, I wish I were there, that we spent our evenings together and when I go to sleep, your dear arms are around me. I was afraid to tell you that because, as I told you, I thought you'd think me immodest. And here I am, telling you my most secret thoughts, my special little thoughts that no one else ever saw.
Please don't misunderstand what I said about broken engagements. They leave a scar that cannot be healed, yet sometimes they are wise. I'm not thinking of breaking ours, though, are you? I find it difficult to understand how you had the temerity to ask me to marry you, when you were such a Thomas. Did you remember that I ever promised to marry you? I don't, not in words.
...It’s cold and cloudy to-day. I didn’t go to Sunday school this afternoon, for no other reason than I didn’t want to. I was quite tired out last night. We have four visitors. In the afternoon I went to the church to help decorate and got home at six. The Ladies’ Aid were supposed to go, so I went in mother’s place.
... I too have been afraid lest we get "talked out" or too well acquainted, ... It's just a little after four - oh, nearly half-past. I'm going to start supper. We're going to have scalloped potatoes. Like 'em? I hope.
Your favorite cook.
Fred to Evelyn
My darling little girl,
If the day had brought no other cause for thankfulness it would be really and truly a Thanksgiving day for me because of your Tuesday letter which I've just read. After that I feel I could write to you for hours - there are so many things I want to say, but I must content myself with only one sheet tonight for it's now a quarter after ten and tomorrow will be a very heavy day, so after the strenuousness of today I need a good night's rest, and then too I must have a bathe and shave before I go to bed. Both were perforce omitted this morning as I overslept.
It was arranged that we would leave at 7:30 and I meant to get up at 6:30 for two reasons, to give myself plenty of time to get ready and to wake Patterson by phone. It doesn't often happen that I oversleep but I did this morning. On the stroke of seven I awoke with a start and for the next half hour there was some quick work at the Hermitage. Luckily the others were a little late too so I had time to eat my usual breakfast of toast, poached egg, fruit and coffee. We left about a quarter to eight.
From the foregoing you will see that we carried out our plan of finishing staking our oil claims today. This time there were 5 in the party - the two Horners, Patterson, Fritz and "the man for whom you don't care a rip." We thought we might as well have a little sport along with the work and took along four guns, we would have taken five if we could have got an extra one but this being a holiday, nearly everyone who had a gun was out - and the stores that rent guns had their whole stock spoken for days ago.
It was a day of days - a gem even for Alberta in autumn. Softened by a mild chinook last night, the air today was beautifully mild, and no words of mine can describe the wonderful coloring of earth and sky and mountains as we sped across the reserve in the early morning.
While waiting for dinner tonight I hurriedly read in Toronto Saturday Night an article on the Sarcee Indian Reserve by [Carlton] McNaught - a local newspaper man - and a grad of Varsity(8) of '10 (I think). ... The reserve he speaks about is the one we drove through and were staking in today. It is 6 miles wide north and south and 18 miles long east and west and the nearest corner is only about 6 miles from Calgary to the south west. We were working today along the southern side and near the western boundary. The country there is one succession of valleys running in the main parallel to the mountains. We were at the beginning of the foothills and as we climbed westward we rose higher and higher until our last stake was driven, as I figure, about 1,000 feet higher up than where we left our car. Don't get the idea that the country is rolling prairie. After we left the car, for 5 miles west the whole country is covered with brush about 6 to 10 feet high or with poplar and spruce trees some of which are quite large enough to be merchantable.
How can I give you any idea of the vast sweeps of the hills before us - and even in the distance but apparently so near it seemed we could walk into them in an hour or two - were those impregnable masses of rock with jagged, jutting peaks covered from top to base with snow and ice gleaming white and blue and green and purple according to the angle at which the sun struck them. It was a sight to thrill the most unemotional - I thought of the words of the Psalmist "I will look into the hills whence cometh my help" and in very truth our help came from the hills today.
There were only 3 or 4 fences in all the distance we travelled. The base line along which we put our stakes followed the fence boundary of the Reserve, but in our quest for partridge we often wandered a couple of miles from this line, and it is no wonder that in the scrub, with no compass to guide them Austin and Pat both got lost, Austin twice and Pat once. On two occasions the mountains gave them their bearings. On one occasion however Austin was down in a deep valley, where even the mountains were not visible and there he used the shot signals we had previously agreed upon.
You've read of the beauty of the heather in the Scottish Highlands. It seemed to me today as I looked out over miles and miles of undulating scrub covered country that it must be something like the heather. Purplish brown it was, shading off into a bluish gray where softened by a slight haze at the foot of the mountains. And oh my dear, the sense of bigness and freedom that pervaded everything set our blood coursing faster and gave us all a pride in our province we hadn't felt before. You'd simply have been held spellbound if you had been with me. Some day dearest, we'll stand together where I stood today - and we'll tramp the same trails and eat by the campfire in the open and sleep out under the stars. Do you remember the quotation from R.L.S. you gave in one of your letters? My dear, we’ll translate it into an actual living experience and oh, I do so want it to be in the shadow of the mountains.
My time is up and I find I haven't told you anything about our day after all. I'll do it tomorrow, for I must quit tonight. Don't you think sweetheart, that I write every day because I feel I must. Well I guess I do after all, but the must isn't because of a sense of duty but because of a compelling force inside me that makes me want to. The day doesn't seem right if I don't talk to you on paper and if I miss any day, you'll know it's because I can't help it and not because I don't want to. That's another change you've wrought in me. You're my sweet magician.
You don't know how happy your letter made me tonight. I just want to tell you over and over again I love you. I love you. I love you.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 20, 1913
My Own Dear Laddie,
... Don't think I am working to gain your approval. The work I am doing has nothing whatever to do with you. Our house is big and takes a great deal of care. And Ora's things have been getting the finishing touch. Please don't ever talk to me again about me thinking of how much money I can save you. You'll find me more prone to be extravagant than saving. And one - no, two things I know full well, one, that I cannot do as much physical work as others, and the other that I cannot appear at my best when overtired.
I do not see any reason why I should tire myself doing physical work if I don't have to. Here, I must take my share, (you'd think I was killed) but you may make up your mind to this, that I haven't any intention of working as hard as my mother has. She has done it so that we might have the advantages we have had. You think it was selfish of us to let her? ... But her work has told on her. I don't want to have to struggle all the time against overstrained nerves.
I've been thinking that one thing I must guard against is letting my voice get into a whine. When I first went to college, Marion said I whined, and she teased me out of it. I often got good and mad, but her teasing was good for me. Half the time she called me Babe and that used to make me sore, because I was a couple years older than she was, and I knew she thought me babied. And I was, I have to acknowledge with extreme reluctance.
I have twenty-seven letters from you, up to the present time, so I guess I’ve done as well as you, because you counted yours a week ago. Now as to our nightly communications. As a rule, I don’t talk to you very long, and I’ve dreamed of you only once or twice. Have you been flattering yourself that you held possession of my unconscious, as you do of my conscious self? Nay, that is a fond fallacy. ... My dreams are generally of things and people that scarcely enter my mind when I am awake.
You haven’t told me about Mrs. [Jack] Brownlee. Is she better? Or hasn’t she had the operation yet?
...One more thing you mentioned. You were somewhat cross because I said something about not being well enough to marry you. It wasn’t on account of work - forget that idea, will you?, but because I have always felt that a girl shouldn’t marry unless she were in good physical condition. Art told Ora some time ago that I’d be better when I got married, though what difference that’ll make, I fail to see. However, we’ll see what kind of prophet he is.
...Sometimes if I am tired, it does take a great deal of effort to talk to you, and sometimes, I just kiss you good-night, and calmly drop off to sleep. Do you know, I have been trying to imagine our next meeting? And I can't. I get so far, but I can't make any progress from that point, so I start at the beginning again. I wish you were here, right now. I'm tired and I want to lie in your arms. I wonder what you are doing now, four o'clock here.
... .I’m glad I went to college. Much as I want to marry you, and much as I want some day, some children, I'm glad I had my college course. It will make our life so much richer, and I'll have so much more to give them I'm sure they'll be philologists. At any rate, they'll early in life, imbibe a realization of the meaning and beauty of the English language.
One more thing you mentioned. You were somewhat cross because I said something about not being well enough to marry you. It wasn't on account of work - forget that idea, will you, but because I have always felt that a girl shouldn't marry unless she were in good physical condition. Art told Ora some time ago that I'd be better when I got married, though what difference that'll make, I fail to see. However, we'll see what kind of prophet he is.
...What makes you think I thought there was a danger of you treating me as Duff did Mae? It never entered my head, you know that, and I don’t think you could possibly, even with all of your ingenuity, read that meaning into my words. Just tell me what I said. You’re a regular fake.
Your favorite cook.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear little Pet,
I don’t know where to begin tonight. There is so much I wanted to say to you before I got your last two letters, and since then my heart had been singing a song of gladness such as it has never known before. If you were here, darling, I’d try to kiss my thanks but since you aren’t I’ll have to save up these kisses until a time when there’ll be no limitations of time or space to bar - and I don’t think they’ll be the kind you once were afraid you’d tire of. You said my letter of a week ago Thursday meant so much to you. `How can I tell you how your last two letters just made me glad through and through?
Do you think, darling, there are any barriers of reserve left between us? I don't, I can feel in your letters that you are free and your own dear natural self, and I know that for my part, I already feel that perfect confidence that knows no reserve. If in any way I fail to make you understand and know my real self it is only because I haven't words to tell my love. Oh, my darling, I never imagined any love could bring the joy that mine has - or that it could so completely take me captive and unite us that I want to reveal my every thought to you. I think I never before knew the meaning of complete surrender, but now I am yours - wholly yours, my life is your life and my love lives in you.
Your last Wednesday's [Oct. 15] letter came this morning and I just read and reread it until every word is ground in my memory. I don't know what there is about it more than the others that makes it so precious: there doesn't seem to be much difference, only running all through I can feel a spirit of perfect love in a way you never made me feel it before. I don't think dearest, I'll ever again ask if you love me. I know you do and that your love will last beyond life itself. Now it seems to me we are truly man and wife already for each knows he or she loves the other and that the love is returned - and we have fully surrendered ourselves to each other. And now, darling, that the capitulation is over, all we have to do is to help each to build up the other's life - and with you beside me, dearest, I know that I'll achieve the best that is in me. Can I do the same for you?
I wonder if our intercourse isn't a little out of the ordinary. I never imagined that unmarried people, even if engaged, would speak as frankly of sex questions as we do. If I had been told that any other lovers spoke of the same things we have, I would have been very much inclined to say theirs was not true love but a base passion. But isn't it strange that we can look upon these things differently? No. it isn't strange, it's because our love is pure and holy and based upon something higher than mere physical attraction.
No, my darling, I don't think it is immodest for you to tell me the things you did in your last letter. I'm honored by your confidence, and I took it as one of the most delicate tributes you could pay me, because it shows you have been perfectly unreserved with me. Before I wrote the letter to which your last is a reply, I was troubled with what I now know to be a false modesty, and I was afraid you would misunderstand my motives in speaking of the things I did. And yet I felt that it was only fair to you that I should say them. It seems to me that young lovers too often hide their real selves from each other and disillusionment is sure to follow later.
...Perhaps it is indelicate to suggest how each will look to the other when seen for the first time as man and wife, or to mention the possible effect of mental or moral peculiarities upon offspring, but why shouldn't people consider such things before marriage, just as much as their suitability in more superficial characteristics. And so, my darling, I haven't consciously withheld any information about myself that I think you should know and I'm so glad you've understood and taken it as I meant it. How much better we understand each other because of it, and how much nicer it will be when we are married to feel that because of our frankness now there will be fewer disappointments because of discoveries of things about each other that we don't like.
And if I'm relieved because you know what I told you about myself, words can't express my joy at reading your sweet words of love and comfort. Surely love is made perfect when the loved one's blemishes and faults are so insignificant in comparison that they aren't thought of. Somehow I can't realize even yet, dearest that you can love me quite the same as if I were a bigger man with a better physique, a finer presence, a better intellect and a nobler and purer heart. Never mind, thank you a thousand times for the sweet words of assurance and love in your last letter. How can I repay you? I can't do that - but one thing I can and will do, love you and cherish you and protect you with body soul and spirit. I could write reams tonight, but it's midnight and I must quit.
Pat and I were at Fritz’s for dinner - we poached our partridges - and so the evening has been cut short.
Tomorrow night dearest I'll try to tell you something more about yesterday and the other things I wanted to tell you. Good night my dear little comfort.
Kisses! As many as you can receive.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 21, 1913
My Own Dear Sweetheart,
You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Why do you disturb me, even at my prayers? You call me so insistently to come and talk to you that I have to tell you over and over, to wait until I can give myself up absolutely to communion with you - when the lights are out and I am all alone. It was quite a bit after twelve last night when I went to bed, so I wonder if you were writing to me then?
Our supper was a success, I guess, as the church was crowded. We didn't have to sing our quartette after all, because Mrs Clarke was sick. I was very much relieved. ... Do you think it shows a great reserve of nerve to get up before a whole houseful and sing a song I'd not sung for some time, which the pianist had never seen before, much less practised with me? Well, I did it, and I felt that I was singing better than I had for ever so long before. ... Do you think I can study vocal next year? I had planned it for myself before you upset my calculations. It's out of the question this year. I had a nice little time-table made out for several years to come but I didn't want to look too far ahead. But now I'm not afraid, if I always see you with me.
... A year ago last winter I put the matter of my volunteering [as a missionary] before him, [Dad] and he said he didn't see how God could ask me to go, when Ora was going away too, but that I was to do what I thought right. I think that you are God's plan for me; I don't think it was a choice between you and what He wanted me to do. ...
I'm not going to write you any more to-day. I haven't had my letter yet, but likely it will come tonight. I have to go over to Mrs. Clarke's now to practise a duet for the convention. When I come home I have to fix up a hat for Mother and one for myself. ...
I haven't heard from Elizabeth yet. My dear, just imagine, it's taken me three-quarters of an hour to write this. Why, Mother'll be home before I get away. I have to change my dress, sew a button on my shoe, and comb my hair. Isn't that a long list? Luckily I washed my ears this morning, and I've just washed dishes so my hands are clean. I'll see that you have no difficulty in keeping yours clean, when I get at you. Aren't you scared? I think there's reasons for it.
I wonder if you'll get this Saturday night. If you do, you'll know that I wish I could be with you, failing that I send you this, to convey my love and a hundred kisses.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,
Do you remember about a year ago quoting from R..L.S. “Tread often the path to thy friend’s house, etc”? I’m beginning to realize how true that is. Not that my love for you is such a poor episodal thing that it couldn’t live even if we didn’t see or hear from each other for a long long time. I know it’s fed by our daily intercourse. As I see it, intimacy must be one of two things, - increase, or decrease people’s love for each other.
Thank heaven our love grows the better we get to know each other, and while I know it would be true through time and space separate us, yet, it would not grow but would stand still, while now I see new beauties in you and new reasons for loving you with almost every letter. Tell me, dearest, does it ever seem a trial for you to write to me every day? If I can judge especially from your later letters it’s a pleasure, because they seem so spontaneous and right from the heart. If they were written under compulsion I think I’d know it. Oh, my dearest, they’re so good, and they mean so much to me. If there were no other reason for being you I’d have to because of them.
So your mother thinks I should send you off alone. Well, we’ve each travelled the lonesome trail long enough and now we’re going to enjoy the rest of our lives together, I’m afraid I’ll be “tagging after” you so much after we’re married that you’ll get tired of me and want to go off and enjoy things all by yourself sometimes. Yes, dearie, I’ve pictured our house many times and how you’d come down town to meet me and we’d walk home together. Have you ever imagined the sensation of entering our house together? Many and many an evening after dinner we’ll sit down before the grate fire and you’ll lead to me or play and sing some of the songs of love that have been in your heart and that you have never had an opportunity of singing to me yet.
Yes, dearest, I want children to make our house complete and I don't want boys only. I want some dear girlies just like their mother. Does it seem strange, dearest, to think that word mother means you? And I've made plans for our children too, and they're very much the same as yours. But oh, my darling, perhaps I'm selfish, but I feel that for quite a long time I don't want even children - I just want you, with nothing and no person to divide our interest. There's such a wealth of happiness in store for us just as husband and wife that I don't want to change into father and mother for a while.
Oh, I'm so anxious for the time to come when we can be together for keeps. I never did approve of long engagements and now I know I don't like them. And do you know how it pleases me that you are in a hurry to be married too? I used to be afraid you'd want to put our wedding off. Do you remember a year ago you said you'd want a long time to make up your mind? And then too I thought that as you are younger than I you'd like to have a few years more of "freedom" as they call it though goodness knows what kind of freedom it is for people who really love each other to live apart.
Perhaps I shouldn't have said what I did about Fritz and Elizabeth. I may have given a wrong impression, and besides I don't like to talk about other people's private affairs so please don't say anything of this to anyone, but know the subject is broached, and you ask me a straight question I must answer - no I don't think they really loved each other before marriage.. They thought they did but I'm not sure they even thought very hard. For one thing they didn't know each other.
At college they had been more or less fascinated by what each thought the other's mental brilliancy, but Elizabeth was Scotch and very reserved and had lived a very different sort of life from Fritz, and they didn't really get to know each other much below the surface. Then during the years Fritz was out here they grew apart. Of course they'd both deny this, but I know a good many things that neither of them think I do - and that they don't even acknowledge to themselves, and I'm sure I'm right. ... They do love each other now very, very dearly, and you'd be surprised at the change in both of them. They've been transformed and both for the better.
I don't know whether I agree with your idea about an engagement or not. I used to be very positive in a very different opinion. It seemed to me an engagement was sacred and people should not become engaged until they were sure. The thought of a person's enjoying the intimacy of an engagement with one person and then breaking it off, and getting to know some one else in the same way has always been repellent. It seemed to rub the bloom and some of the sweetness off the flower of love. But perhaps you are right. At any rate as the question is only of academic interest to either of us it's not worth the arguing about.
I wish dearest you could have seen the sunset tonight. The greater part of the sky was overhung with dark clouds and over in the south-west a low chinook arch - a very small segment of a circle - revealed within itself an absolutely cloudless bit of sky. The sun had set but from behind the mountains the rays cast a wonderful glow upon the fringe of the arch - a perfect riot of golden color extending way around the horizon on the south even beyond the chinook arch. I never before saw such a wonderful color contrast, the pearl grey of the arch, the gold and scarlet and orange of the bordering fringe of clouds - and above and beyond the dark lowering masses piled fold on fold. Mr. Oaten and I were walking up together from the office and we just stood and gazed in speechless admiration. My darling, I can feel the beauty of such a scene, but I want you to see it with me, and interpret for me the thoughts I cannot put into words.
And the wonderful air tonight. The soft chinook wind came this morning and at noon it was so warm I was uncomfortable in my light overcoat. Tonight for a long time we sat out on the verandah. and after we came indoors we threw open all the doors to get the benefit of the soft night air. Oh, Calgary isn’t all wildness.
So you've been feeling particularly well lately. I'm glad of that. Just keep on doing it dearest. And I'm glad you like to have things dainty and sweet. I've never forgotten my first impression of you and every time I've seen you since then I've been so glad that you have grown in your neat and dainty ways. I'm plain and unpolished but I'm so glad you are different, dearie, and that you'll teach me your ways.
...And so you think you are too serious and are slow to see a joke. I’ve never found you so. Your ready wit and keeness of perception always delighted and attracted me even when you were a child. Perhaps we both do take life a little seriously, but I’ve been counting on your taking me out of myself and making me grow young again. Oh, you’ll have lots of missionary work to do without going to China or Japan.
Will you think I'm very changeable if I tell you I have invested a little in oil after all? Don't tell anyone for fear it doesn't turn out well. I borrowed $40 from the bank to buy 12 shares in the Dingman Company at 7 times par value. I don’t think this is so very risky for I know the men who are in the company and I know they are very confident that they will get a really large flow. There is none of this stock on the market but I was able to pick this up from a man who is very hard pressed for cash. If they do get oil in any quantity my stock will be worth more than I paid for it. - If not, - it’s worth little or nothing, but this is no wildcat company but one that owns about 2000 acres of surface rights and 11,000 acres of oil rights, besides having done actual development work. It’s a sound company and the only question is whether oil is struck in large quantity or not.
Even if I do make a little money I’ll not make a big thing because I paid high for the stock, but most other propositions are pure gambles. This I look upon as near an investment as a speculation in oil at this stage can be. I think it required some nerve to borrow the money from the bank. We are the solicitors for the Union Bank and the manager is very good to me. I told him frankly what I wanted the money for and though he said I as a d---- fool he was willing to let me have it without security.
This I look upon as near an investment as a speculation in oil at this stage can be. I think it required some nerve to borrow the money from the bank. We are the solicitors for the Union Bank and the manager is very good to me. I told him frankly what I wanted the money for and though he said I was a d-- fool he was willing to let me have it without security. That's not bad credit for a time when the banks absolutely refuse to loan to most people for speculative purposes.
I had thought of keeping this as a surprise for you if it turned well, but it wouldn't be treating you frankly and I want to do that. If we’re to be on, it isn’t right for me to keep all my business affairs to myself is it? I expect to follow my own judgement pretty much in matters of business for that's my part of the work of the partnership, but it's no reason for keeping you in ignorance of what I'm doing when you are as much affected by the results as I am. What do you think about it my darling?
...I'm at the end of my letter again and still haven't told about our hunting trip on Thanksgiving Day. Well it will keep but my kisses won't.
Your own man.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 22, 1913
My Own Dear Fred,
... I have been rather sick all day. I've just been wondering what you'll do if some days I'm sick and don't feel like looking after you. I'm beginning to feel the weight of my responsibilities, I'm glad you were sensible enough not to sit up Thursday night writing to me. I don't want you to feel that you have to. Also I'm proud of you to think you didn't catch a cold. I’m afraid you know so much about taking care of yourself that you’ll think I don’t know anything about it.
...I had a letter from Noble to-day. He said I was a duffer for not telling him right out like a man instead of leaving him to guess what I meant. He said some very nice things about both of us. One thing was so funny. He said he told me once that he thought I would stimulate a man, and would not be satisfied with ordinary efforts, but that he didn’t express it that way. He said I wouldn’t be satisfied, that I’d be a nagger, because he liked to tease me. I remember when he said it, and I was rather sore. I told Ora and she said she guessed I didn’t need to worry about it, as there didn’t seem to be much likelihood of me having a chance to nag anybody. That was some time ago.
I've been sewing cushions and pillows to-day. Mother put the feathers in, and I sewed most of them up. Then too, I've put some initials on towels that I am going to embroider for Christmas presents, I won't get started tonight, and I won't have a chance tomorrow either I'm getting intoxicated over embroidery, you'll think. But I can keep from it, if I had a good and sufficient reason.
...Do you know, I think I want you most when I’m not feeling well? I guess that’s natural too, because I don’t work, and so have more time to think. Say, just because I mentioned this, for goodness sake, don’t think I’m sick, because I’m not.
...I wonder if you went out to the Reserve again on Saturday, and if you had as exciting a time as you did on Thursday. And also, you surprise me that when you say it was fifteen degrees below freezing. ...
I'm sorry this is such a scrappy letter, but there has been so much conversation mixed up with it that it can't help but be so. It may be that I won't write tomorrow. I really don’t see that I’ll have any opportunity. I'm on the Reception Committee and will have to be at the church shortly after one o'clock. We'll have our tea there, and won't be home till late.
...See here, honey, I don’t want you staying up till after midnight, writing to me. You can’t stand it. Don’t you dare to get any fatter than you were this summer. If you do, I won’t marry you when you present yourself next summer. ...
Good-night, my dearest.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 24, 1913
My Dear Fred,
... I'm tired and sleepy. I'm as cross as can be, and nothing suits me at all. The back of my neck hurts and that makes me cranky anyway. We've led too strenuous a life this last week.
You spoke of your idea of Sunday. Well, it isn't rest here, it's downright hard work, and if I couldn't rest through the week I'd have to cut out some of the services. I've just been thinking that it's all very well from our point of view to think that people ought to attend three services, but could we stand it if we were in their positions? If we had Sunday School before church it would help, there would still be three services, but they’d be shortened, and people could at least have an afternoon to rest.
You say Sunday should be my day. I'm a little afraid we'll live too much to ourselves. Oh, I can't talk about this. I feel like tearing the whole horrid thing up. And I don't want to write one bit. If there were anything on which I could vent my rage, I'd likely do it, but there isn't anything. Oh, I know what's the matter. My nerves are just about giving out, but I'll have a good sleep and that will make me better. I haven't been doing much work myself this week, but I've just felt unstrung, and I don't understand why I should be. Ora teases me and sets me nearly crazy, but she doesn't know it bothers me. I thought this spring I was all better, but I know I shouldn't get feeling this way.
I'm looking to you even for health, and surely I ought to be able to get that for myself. I think had I known how long it would have taken me to get over the effects of the noise, I would have been wise to get out of the Hall [Annesley] and get into a quiet house. The noise in the corridor, the slamming of doors, and girls talking late at night, used to set me nearly wild, and occasionally they set me crying. I have a grudge against Miss Addison. I asked her to let me sleep in the infirmary, but she couldn't arrange it. I suppose she didn't think I was as bad as I thought I was. She had so many to look after that she couldn’t give way to all their whims and fancies, and there were some who were really ill who had to receive first aid.
You must not think mother isn't doing her best to spare me all she can, for she is, I don't tell her these things, because it isn't any use bothering her, and I suppose it's mean to tell you. But I just can't write anything else tonight.
... I got your Saturday letter yesterday morning, the Sunday one at night, and none to-day. The letter you wrote Sunday was very lovely, but I am afraid you see me through rosy glasses. At present I don’t look like and feel less like an angel. Still, I’m glad you have an exalted opinion of me because it gives me something to strive for.
Either I express myself very badly or you sometimes misread my letters. I said the supreme test of my love for you was to hear music with you. It always makes me feel so unutterably lonesome that sometimes I cry. And if I hear it with you and don't feel lonesome, but feel glad when you take my hand in yours, then I'll know that I love you even in moments when I know I am not my common work-a-day self. And maybe that is the way you feel about the mountains. It is a pity we cannot test each other before next June, isn't it?
I'm not going to write any more. I'm too blue to inflict you any longer. If I could only lie in your arms, I know I shouldn't feel so lonesome. Well, I'm glad there's just a boon as sleep. Tomorrow the sun will shine, I'll get a letter from you, and I'll be rested in the morning. If you start worrying about me I won't tell you again when I'm out of sorts. Summer seems a long way off to someone who wants you now.
Fred to Evelyn
My own sweetheart,
Just a short letter tonight for I'm tired and I want to go to bed early. It's now ten o'clock. But if my letter is short my talk isn't for I've been lying here half asleep in the big chair before the fire dreaming of you and talking to you for an hour past, just about the time you were getting ready for bed. Did you hear me dearest and did I interrupt your prayers again? Perhaps I ought to be ashamed of myself, but if so I'm shameless for I'm glad that thoughts of me can mingle with your prayers.
Don’t you see my darling, that you must love me very dearly and very truly if I am with you at such times? I don’t need any more assurances that you love me, I know it, but yet it is nice to have you tell me so yourself and to use endearing words in talking to me. Isn’t it strange, I used to think that the use of such words was largely affectation and wholly silly, but I’ve changed my mind. Is there something of the woman about me that makes me want to be caressed and spoken to with loving words? Whether there is or not, I do want it from you and it’s like the very bread of life to know that you are fondling me even in my absence and are whispering sweet loving words to me.
...I have been alone and it was delightful to lazy here in reverie before the blazing grate. The only thing necessary to make it perfect is some soft dreamy music and you. Oh my darling, just think of the evenings like that we'll spend together in our own home. I'm getting so anxious for the time to come when our visions of the future shall become realities. Aren't you! Do you remember about a month ago you said you weren't anxious to get into our home for a while but that you wanted to be wooed for a while just to make up for the time we haven't been "going together" like most lovers? Well, I intend to keep on wooing you after we're married but haven't you changed lately and aren't you anxious now for us to get started in our own nest? ...
So you had a nice Thanksgiving and a pleasant visit with your auntie and her little family, and the concert proved an unqualified success. It seems to me dearest, that without you music would languish around the church. I'm so glad dearie that you are fond of music and that you can play and sing to me. My love of music has become a sort of byword among my friends. Elizabeth says I fall in love with every good singer that comes to town and that I don't care for any girl who can't sing. I don't believe I could really love you if you didn't care for music, and life would be a dreary prospect, no, I don't really mean that, with you under any circumstances life would be glorious - but how much brighter the future looks because we can have music, and especially because you will be the one to furnish it.
Like you, dearie, I've planned that our children shall have every opportunity to study music, and I do so hope they'll be talented in that line. But to come to the more immediate future. I'm so glad you want to take vocal lessons next year. I had been hoping you would and was going to suggest it myself. Won't next year be a glorious one?
I suppose you wonder what has been the result of our oil staking. After keeping the wires hot to Ottawa we've been definitely informed the government has decided not to lease oil or gas rights on the Indian Reserves, so we've had our trouble for nothing. We had our fun anyhow, and the excitement and shooting and tramps in the open were sufficient compensation, so none of us regret what we did. Only I'll not make any pin-money for you that way dearest.
The oil excitement continues unabated and now people are filing all over the southern part of the province almost as far east as Saskatchewan and as far north as Red Deer. I haven't filed on anything.
... Elizabeth says I'll be giving you too exalted an idea of the beauty here and you'll be disillusioned. I hope not, but if you are you'll have to turn all the more for comfort and consolation to
Your own true lover.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 25, 1913
My Dear Fred,
... I've just got dressed for the afternoon and have trimmed a hat in five minutes besides. I had my afternoon all planned out when mother suggested that I make her a design for a cup and saucer, but I objected, I said I was going to get my letter written before night, when she'll be wanting me to go to bed. I hope when I get married that I'll be able to do as I like, and that you won't always be telling me to go to bed.
... Ora says she wants to know how you're going to stand the trial of waiting for me to get breakfast ready, and waiting for me to get ready to go places. She says you laugh at it now, but there'll come a time when you'll exclaim, "I don't see why that child wasn't trained to do things on time." Then she wished that you'd have a child, slower than I am, just to see how well you'd train it, but mother doesn't see why she wishes afflictions on you.
The final word of Ora for this time is that you're to start saving for her Christmas and wedding presents because they both have to be big. She said she couldn't eat those roses, and so I asked her if she wanted her Christmas and wedding presents to be in the line of eatables. She isn't going to get much out of me for Christmas anyway, no matter how much she hints. Really, when she gets her tongue going, it's likely to say almost anything.
You'll observe from the tone of what I have written that I'm feeling fine to-day. I even felt so well that after my work was done, I cleared up two drawers in my dresser, and that was not light undertaking. I still have a box of college stuff, papers, letters, programs, all kinds of keepsakes, that I have to sort out. I'll need a whole afternoon at that.
We were just discussing this morning the people Ora is going to invite to her wedding. She's going to ask a cousin out of each family, but you see Art hasn't any here, so she can do that, but I can't, because you have a cousin I don't want to ask.
...I'm going to try to get most of my Christmas presents made next week. Then I'll do some sewing on my own account. Tonight I'm really going to write to Hazel, and maybe to a sick cousin, tomorrow to Clara so she'll get it on board the steamer. Ora and I are invited out for tea tomorrow night, quite an event. ...
I wish I didn't have just a nasty temper. I go and spoil a whole afternoon by saying a few nasty words. And it's so easy to do it when anybody else leads up to it. I guess I'd better go and do my best to make amends.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,
It's half past four and I've just returned from S.S. The day is so beautiful and the air is so warm if it weren't for you I'd be sitting on the porch with a book. Just see how you've interfered with my comfort since you came into my life. No, I don't want to pose as a martyr or as a generous person. I'm writing you because I'm intensely selfish. I'd rather do it than anything else, so there's not much virtue in it is there?
... I've already told you a little about our day's quest for oil. We started early in the morning intending to make a day of it and as we didn't expect the staking would occupy all our time we took four guns along. About half-past eight, while going through the Reserve where shooting is forbidden to all but the Indians, we suddenly saw a flock of chicken standing on a little rise about 100 yards away. The car was stopped, our guns pulled out of their cases and four of us began to creep towards the birds. Wilber Homer was ahead and instead of waiting until the rest of us were near enough to shoot he took a pot shot while the birds were standing on the ground - and got 2. But the rest were out of range of the rest of us and none of us got a shot. These were the last chicken we shot, although we saw a few more flocks, but they were too far away and we didn't want to wander far until our staking was done.
We left our car, with most of the lunch, at a farm house on the edge of the Reserve, and then started on our tramp westward through the brush country with the mountains ever looming up before us. Oh it was a grand sight. Talk about the prairies being flat and uninteresting!
During the course of the morning we shot all told 5 partridge and 2 rabbits and about 11 o'clock we lay down under the spruce trees and ate the little lunch we had brought with us. This spot was where we had left off in our staking on the previous Thursday so after lunch, we spent little time with our guns, though we carried them along, but kept close to the reserve line, determining to get our staking done with as little delay as possible.
From now on the country was more rough and hilly, and the grade became much heavier. We were getting into the foothills and rising steadily to the mountains looming up ahead. Wilber and Fritz began to tire, for what with our chasing after partridge and rabbits we'd tramped a long way, but Pat and I felt pretty fresh.
To lend a bit of excitement to the work, just as we were on our last half mile we came across a man with a gun who told us that another party was staking from the opposite direction and was very near. Fearing to lose part of our claim , Pat and I started up the hill on the run, and landed at the farther limit of our claim and had our stake driven before the other party appeared. Then we turned back toward home, and though we were going downhill most of the way we began to feel a bit tired after our day's tramp, I figure we tramped at least 20 miles.
On the way we got 2 more partridge, so at five o'clock, when we reached the auto, we had 9 partridge, 2 chickens and 2 rabbits. After a fast drive, about an hour later, I stayed out at Fritz's for dinner, and afterwards Elizabeth and I had quite a discussion which I mean to tell you about but I'm afraid I haven't room in this letter. ... The supper bell has just rung and I find I've been writing exactly one hour. ...
Do you know I'm going to carry you upstairs sometimes, and at other times you're going to curl up in my lap, and we'll sit before the fire and you'll put your arms around my neck, and tell me about your troubles and worries of the day and I'll kiss them all away - and then you'll read to me or tell me stories. You'll have to practise on me, you know, so that you'll be experienced by the time you have other ears to listen to them. Oh, my darling I can picture you dear eyes - "that aren't blue" gazing dreamily into the flames and then suddenly turning up in a flash to me with a light in them that twinkles in a dear way peculiar to you - and that tells me of your deep and steadfast love, that nothing can ever change. Won’t we have just perfect evenings where my little colleen and I are together by our own fireside with all the world shut out?
I guess my letters must sound terribly serious to you and I can't seem to say anything in earnest without your thinking I'm cross. I hope, darling, you didn't think I was angry with you about working so much. I don't remember just what I said or how I said it, but I didn't mean that. But I'll not say anything more about your working if you don't like it, nor about your trying to save me money. And, my dear lassie, I know you can't stand as much physical work as some women, and I don't intend you shall attempt it, we'll try to start out by setting our own pace and not trying to follow some other person's won't we? I wouldn't want my wife to do no housework for I'd be afraid then she'd lose interest in her home, but I know you'll never do that, and I want you always to be at your best - for when you're not physically tired you don't know how entertaining and gracious and bright and inspiring and altogether charming you are.
You asked about Mrs Brownlee. I didn't tell you, dearest, that when she was in the hospital about six weeks ago she lost a baby born before its time. It was all because of an attack of appendicitis. The doctor said she shouldn't be operated on until she had fully recovered from the first illness. She has wonderful vitality and she soon got around and was back in her own home looking as well as could be.
Didn’t I tell you about being up there one night about 3 weeks ago when Hercules Burwell ‘10 stopped in Calgary en route for China? At that time Mrs. Brownlee though she wouldn’t have the appendicitis operation for 3 or 4 months, but what was my astonishment last week when Jack told me she was then in the hospital and had come through the operation successfully and was recovering as fast in fact faster, than could be expected. One thing that makes it easier for her is the presence of her elder half sister who is assistant superintendent and the head nurse at the hospital - a wonderfully capable woman and with a sweetness and sympathy born of sorrow.
No, dearie, I wasn't cross because you said you sometimes felt you were not well enough to get married - only I didn't want you to think, as your remark suggested, that it would make any difference to my love for you. Don't I love you, and doesn't that mean in sickness as well as health? I always have, and still do agree with you, that neither man nor woman should get married if really unwell physically unsound, unless they can make up their minds not to have children - and that can't be the truest kind of marriage, but as I told you when I was with you, I've changed my mind on this subject.
I feel that if I hadn't placed too much reliance, as you say, on eugenics, I'd have confessed my love to you long ago and all these years would not have been wasted. I blame myself and perhaps that is why the mention of the subject by you struck me so forcibly. Can't we forget this, dear? We both love each other dearly, and we're both sound and well enough physically to get married so let's think no more of such possible objections. ... As for your health, I feel sure too that it will be better after we are married because I think you will take better care of yourself. I'll exert my authority as a husband and make you, and you are so organically sound even if your nerves have been severely strained.
Art told me the same thing he told Ora, I guess he should know a little about such things. You know some women get poor health after marriage, while others who have been more or less sickly seem to build right up and Art says he thinks it will be so with you. So, my darling, you’ll not worry about this any more, will you?
You know I was just fooling when I spoke about your being afraid of my treating you as Duffy did Mae [Finch]. I know you never thought of such a thing but sometimes without thinking you put sentences into a juxtaposition that leaves itself open to a curious interpretation - and I couldn’t resist the temptation.
Did I ever say I was afraid we'd run out of subjects to talk about? Here I'm at the end of my paper and I haven't said half the things I want to say. There are several questions in your last letters I haven't answered yet but I'll do so tomorrow. Meanwhile here are good-night kisses from your awakened man.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 26, 1913
My Dear Fred,
... Several of my English and History note books are in Toronto, but I'm going to get them when I go over. They have in them the names of so many books I meant to read sometime, for I didn't have time to do it when they were given to me. ... We used to get huffy at Dr. Edgar because he expected us to have read so much, and we used to wonder if he thought young girls really enjoyed such works as he suggested. Of course we would now, but we never had much time for reading, and our tastes hadn't grown up when we started college. ... In the spring of my graduating year he asked me, “Well, what are you going to do next year? Stay at home and just have a good time?” I said, “No,” and he asked “Oh, you’re not going to have a good time?” “Not, just have a good time,” I answered - I wondered to myself what he would say to the social whirl in which I swing, and I told him rather complainingly that all the people here did was to work and go to church.
...When I get thinking of books, I’m so anxious to get back to work, but there isn’t time this year. I don’t think you need to have fears about embroidery taking up too much of my time, when once I get my chum with me, and we can get to work in right earnest. Dr. Harding was always giving us subjects for articles. I have some incidents in my head that are as good as Arnold Bennett’s, though still the truth. I’m not much taken with the few stories I’ve read. However, I haven’t read many and so cannot really pass judgement on them.
...The Anglican bells are ringing. They're simply awful. I just told mother the Lord's Day Alliance ought to go after these people for desecrating the Sabbath. They keep them going about half the time, week-days and Sundays.
I didn’t get your Tuesday letter last night, as I suppose you meant me to do. I’ll get two tomorrow likely, and anyway, I had your Thanksgiving,Day letter yesterday.
Nearly two months have passed since you left, dearest. And it's only eight months till you will come again. You know, or maybe you don't, I was just a little afraid I shouldn't enjoy talking books to you. I don't know how that idea crept in. But I know that's going to be one of our chief delights. Now, I must hurry.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear sweetheart,
It’s half past seven and I haven’t much time just now for I want to go down to the church. The special service was to have been held last night with the story of Mr Brown’s life and there was an enormous crowd many of whom I imagine came out of curiosity, for you know Mr. Brown is an ex New York policeman, drunkard and convict and during the meetings already held he has made references that indicate the kind of life he lived. Talk about miracles! The transformation of the Divine power as any miracle of the olden days. ...
...Owing to a change of plan whereby it was decided to continue the special services for another wee five days, Mr. Brown didn’t tell his life story, reserving it for the closing service next Friday night. I never saw so many people stay to an after-service before. The main body of the church, - not the S.S room, which in the evening is thrown open too - was filled and there was a fair sprinkling of people in the galleries.
The first Sunday Mr Brown was here I didn’t think I liked him - I thought he was going to be a blatant American sensationalist, but he isn’t, he’s just a plain man who had been very wicked - redeemed by Jesus Christ and now anxious to tell others about Him. He isn’t educated but he’s sincere, intensely earnest and compelling by the power of his conviction.
Last night after church I walked home with the Moyers and then finished my letter to you. I felt I could keep on writing until midnight but I stopped with the second sheet and wrote to Maggie instead. Oh, I forgot to tell you - I went to church yesterday morning too, - so you see I’m improving. Rev E.S. Bishop the assistant pastor preached in the morning - an excellent sermon. It’s nearly eight and I must go now. Will finish when I return. Meanwhile kisses and a longing for you to be with me.
Before I came home I went to the P.O. hoping I might get your Thursday letter, but there was nothing for me. Perhaps it’s best for then I’d be sure not to get one tomorrow morning and now I have that to look forward to.
My poor frightened little girlie! What have I said or done that you should be so afraid to tell me when you don't feel well? Am I always to be a sort of ogre to be propitiated with smiles and laughter and the abounding spirits of perfect health? How many times must I tell you that I love you and that it doesn't make any difference in my love whether you are well or ill? I couldn't always truthfully have said this. I used to want a wife of perfect health and that's one reason I used to get so cross when I saw how your close application to study was undermining your health.
At that time I felt I couldn't marry anyone who was likely to be an invalid - and I was afraid you were on that road. I hated myself for such thoughts for I couldn't reconcile them with my idea of true love. I thought true love wouldn't think of such things nor could I understand how such selfishness could exist side by side with love. I didn't understand myself, I felt sure I loved you and yet I thought my love must be a poor weak sort of thing or I wouldn't think of your poor health as an obstacle. And so I hesitated to declare my love. I wanted to be more sure.
Now my darling, do you understand something of the struggle I went through that night we sat on the beach at Bala a year ago? Do you remember I said I felt sort of apathetic and that some great sorrow or trouble would have to come to wake me up. What I meant was - I couldn't feel sure of myself for the reasons I've given - I wanted, oh so much to tell you that night I loved you. But I couldn't forget my doubts on account of your health and then I was racked by the question. "What if this isn't the deepest truest love after all. Is it fair to her or to yourself?" And so I let the opportunity pass, but do you remember, as we made our way back through the wood, once you grasped my hand and held it tight - and then it was only by a powerful act of will I kept from speaking.
Despite the good time I had, my whole visit that summer was one continual torture. It seemed to be a battle between heart and judgement, and while my judgement said I did right by waiting my heart kept crying out that I had been worse than a fool, and as I said before I despised myself because my love wasn't big enough to swallow up all else, it seemed to be only a detached part of me, not the whole of me as I wanted it to be. And the poignancy of my feelings made me cruel.
You've told me a couple of times that I never caused you pain. I thank you darling for saying so but I know it's not quite true. Have you forgotten the last afternoon at Bala that summer, when you were lying in the hammock and I said something that made you cry? I don't remember what is was but I know it was something about your health. I have no excuse to offer and I hated myself the minute after I said it, but I just felt a sort of blind rage at the thing that was keeping us apart and making me realize how despicable I was and unworthy of your love. Oh my darling I hope I'll never say anything cruel to you like that again.
But to come back to the subject - I have changed in this as in other ways, and I can truthfully say now that it doesn't matter one whit that you are not so well or strong as perhaps most other girls. I love you just the same, or perhaps the more because I feel that I can in real truth be your support and stay. Please, please, don't feel any constraint any more, and I want to know when you don't feel quite so well as usual. What is a lover good for if he can't sympathize and cheer when his sweetheart is in the dumps?
How can I make you forget - no I don’t want you to forget that I used to care about your health - but how can I make you understand that your love had changed me and that now I’ll not scold or make you feel hurt - oh, no, no, - when you tell me you don’t feel well. If you were here I’d just take you in my arms and kiss you back to health and vigor, but while I can’t do that I can at least make you feel that my heart is beating for you and that I am really near to comfort you.
Now, dearie you'll not worry any more about your responsibilities or what we'll do if some days you don't feel well enough to get up and perform the usual daily tasks. What will I do? you ask. Why I’ll just turn the tables and wait on you. It will give me an opportunity of proving what I’ve just been saying to you. And you needn’t pity me either.
Do you think you are going to monopolize the joy of service? If it is going to be a pleasure for you to do things for me and to care for me, do you think it will be any the less a pleasure for me tenderly to watch over you and wait upon you? Why my darling - my foolish little girl - you must think our marriage is going to be a very one sided affair if you expect to do all of the waiting on. Well or ill you've got to be the waited on sometimes! You are my queen and shall I be denied the pleasure of serving you? Now, tell me you'll never express any such foolish doubts again unless you want to make me angry.
My poor dear little lamb, did you get a shiver when propped up in bed and reading about fifteen degrees of frost here in October? Don't be frightened: that isn't half as bad as it sounds and if you were here you wouldn't have thought of furs unless you had been out driving. I feel confident that you'll not suffer from the cold here nearly so much as you do in Thorold and I've been expecting to see you become a blooming prairie flower. ... Never fear, sweetheart, you'll not suffer from the cold here. Just the same when I get you for my very own I'm going to get you a nice set of furs, if only for the sake of looks. You always look so kissable when wrapped up in soft fluffy things.
...Don’t worry about my staying up late writing to you and don’t think I don’t because I have to: I have to because I want to, and I’m not losing enough sleep to make me thin. I was weighed today - and find - now please don’t be terribly disappointed for I’m not a real rolly-polly [sic] yet - that I’ve gained nearly five pounds since summer. In my street clothes, I tipped the scale at 159, - the most I’ve ever weighed. You’d better apply for a divorce at once.
...But fat or no fat, I never felt more healthy in my life. I feel in fighting trim all the time and seem to require less sleep than I used to. Formerly, I needed 8 hours to feel at my best. Now from 7 to 7 1/2 is quite sufficient, I’m usually in bed by midnight and I get up at from 7 to half past. I think I take less sleep than any other man in the house, but no one is in better health. ...
... Elizabeth told me last night Miss German [Clara] is to arrive Thursday and for everyone's sake - yours most of all, I'll do what I can to make her stay in Calgary pleasant. ... Miss German's praises have been sounded so long and so often, I expect to fall in love with her. A few weeks ago I told Elizabeth I'd offer my hand and heart, but she said there is no one on earth good enough for Clara, and so I had to be content to fall back on you. Isn't it disconcerting to be turned down in that disdainful fashion? But I'm not inconsolable while I know one dear heart beats true for me - that is more to me than all the world beside.
...There are several questions in you letters of last week I’ve wanted to answer, but each time I fail to find room... Just keep on writing, only, don't overtire yourself when you're not feeling well. I'd rather know you are well than to feel that a letter that gives me joy gives you pain.
It's midnight now ...,
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 27, 1913
My Dearest Friend,
... Your Tuesday and Wednesday letters arrived to-day. ... I'm so afraid something is the matter with you. I suppose that is all nonsense though, .... It seems as if next summer will never, never come.
You said in your Wednesday's letter that you didn't want to have any children for a while. I was afraid you wouldn't feel that way, and that you'd think me selfish because I want my few years of "freedom", after, not before I'm married. We haven't had very much time together, not like people who live near each other at any rate, I don't feel ready to have children yet, I don't feel old enough or sure enough of myself. And I guess I'm a little jealous, I want you to love me and nobody else, for a while. But we can have such good times together, now that we never could after we got to be the head of a family. Of course that will be lovely, but why be in such a hurry, and so miss joys that will never come our way again. I don’t see how that can be selfish, do you?
You ask me if I ever find it a bore to write to you? Well, sometimes, when I'm tired or out of sorts, I must admit, I'd rather forget myself in a story than rake up unpleasant details for you.
Must go to League now.
I've just got home from League. After it was over we went for a walk with one of the girls who was going over to her brother's. It's now nearly ten o'clock. Mother had the topic "Woman in the Home," and so often I thought of you. Do you know how absolutely dear you are becoming to me? I don't know why it is, but you are just what I want all the time. I do know partly the reason, it is that you love me. And I am finding you are what I have been waiting for so long.
You know you said once that you had been waiting for me a long time. In one sense you have, you have been waiting for your wife, but you haven't been waiting for me as such. And you know it. You didn't want me to be that, you wanted to put me out of your thoughts and your life. You said in another place that you didn't speak to me because you wanted to be fair with me, but later on wasn't your reason that you didn't want to love me? We've both had a good fight against each other, and have each both lost and won. Now, I'd like to say that I've always loved you, but I can't because it's not true. I found myself on the verge of it, I knew I could love you, but I turned away. Tell me, dearest, when did you really make up your mind that you wanted me more than you wanted eugenics? ...
And so you are bound that our lives may run smoothly, if oil can help. Yes, I am glad you told me. I know how it hurts mother when dad goes and makes investments without consulting her. ... While you are at liberty to run your own business, I think it is my duty at least to try to understand them.
Do you know, one of the big things I like about you is your attitude towards the woman question. While we hold the same views as to a woman's first duty, I think we also agree that her activities are not confined to her own home, but that they may find a place outside, they nevertheless react on the home. I never could get over John's attitude, and we used to clash repeatedly on that subject ... Well, Fred, I am so glad that you have an open mind. I really don't think I'd love you if you didn't have.
You said my eyes were dimmed so that I couldn't see a better man beyond. Thank God, they are opened so that I know you are the best and truest man they have seen. You are clever enough for me and big enough, but most of all, I count on your trustworthiness.
Sometime I’m going to tell you two things I don’t like about you. I’ll tell you you now. One is poking around at the station when you ought to be on the train, and the other is making me wait while you talk to people. ...
... I may not have time to write tomorrow as I rather expect to go to a Missionary Convention at the Falls going at 1:30 and returning late at night. Bed-time now.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear Nora,
How did you come to sign your name that way? Do you like that name? I've intended for a long time to call you Nora when I see you again but I was going to hold it back until then and surprise you. But I guess you like it alright or you wouldn't have used it yourself.
Do you know dearest, your short note written last Thursday pleased me more than a letter would have done - not because of its brevity but because it showed me that even when you were too busy to write a letter, you still thought of me and remembered that I'd be expecting word from you. Don't misunderstand me, you know full well I like to get long chatty loving letters, but I like best of all to feel that you care for me all the time, and it's just such little acts of thoughtfulness which seem a vital part of your nature that endear you to me.
... How did you guess that today I’d be particularly hardworking? Anyhow it’s true both yesterday and today have been unusually full - just a rush and a tear from 9 to 6, and the prospect is no brighter for the rest of the week. Then, too for rest of the week social affairs may interfere.
... Tomorrow night I'm invited to the Oatens for dinner and on Thursday as you know Miss [Clara] German is to arrive. I wished she were going to be here next week for on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Margaret Anglin(9) plays here in Shakespearean roles. We have one really fine theatre and when we get good artists we can enjoy to the 'ultimost' even if good seats are $2.50 each.
Yesterday Mr Robertson and I had lunch at the Hudson's Bay, and near us was a rather pretty girl that captivated him. Once he remarked that she had a very kissable mouth. Assenting, I asked him to explain what in his opinion constituted a kissable mouth. What do you think of his answer? "One with a natural redness, not too large, rather full and with a slightly downward curve." Not bad is it? Of course you can't imagine whom I thought of when he was speaking. I'm so glad, honey, your lips are red and curved and so kissable. Only next time I kiss them they'll leap back to kiss me, won't they? A unilateral kiss isn't much good after all. It's got to be reciprocal to be worth anything.
In your letter of the 14th you told me something I've been longing to hear, that for a long time you have really cared for me and you understand a few little signs I gave from time to time that I cared for you. I always greeted you after an absence and said good-bye at parting differently from any others. I often wondered if you knew it. Even while I was at college and you were still a little girl and I didn't want to tie you up by an open profession of love, I wanted you to feel that I was always there in the background - loving you and to be depended upon if you ever needed me or if you could learn to love me. And so I did shake hands with you as with no one else, and I fancied you pressed mine in return. Didn't you sweetheart?
Did you ever notice that, ever since I first left Beamsville, whenever I said good-bye to a number of people, of whom you were one, I invariably said good-bye to you last? I always wanted your hand to be the last to touch mine, even as your image lingered in my eye and heart. And then last year in particular, when I went away, I looked at you to tell you so that no one else might know but that you must understand if you loved me at all, that I was going away thinking of you and determined to come back to you and for you. I felt sure then that my next visit east would settle whether or not you would be my wife. And I meant to put something of my thought into my look. I'm so glad, darling that you understood.
Do you know I've always felt there was a sort of secret understanding between you and me about many things - as Wordsworth calls it - "a silent sympathy." - and that we had a little world all our own into which other people did not enter. It has been delightful to me to think that there could exist this subtle understanding which needed not words to make itself known, and I've thought if surely two people like that must be fit mates for each other. If we were so much at one with each other in the past, how much more so will [we] be after marriage?
... What have you been doing this evening, I wonder? Of course you've been in bed long ago. Do you know I feel most like talking to you between nine o'clock and midnight by our time, just when you are asleep. Do I disturb your rest?
Thursday afternoon I begin a course of lectures in Practice to the law students and I haven't started to prepare yet. Must get at it now, though it would suit me far better to be talking to my little girl ...
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 28, 1913
My Own Dear Man,
I won’t write at any great length as it’s quarter after four and I expect to go the Falls on the twenty-three after five car. ...
Oh, I'm getting so tired of writing letters. I want to see and talk to you. So you feel very, very happy, do you? I guess I do, but I also feel that I can be more consciously happy.
... Do you know what I thought this morning? That I write better than I talk? I mean by that, that in writing I express my real thoughts; very often in talking I merely skim the surface. That is true with my intercourse with most of my friends, I am much freer in my writing than in my speech.
Something else that has been occurring to me is that if you lived near me, I shouldn't have got myself engaged to you so soon. You didn't give me time to make up my mind, so now, when you are away, I unmake it and make it up again. You see, it is so hard to make you real, and we have had so little time together that I may live over again. To-day, when I was coming home I thought, "What if I should get married and then make up my mind I didn't want to be? I'm so sorry it was all done in such a hurry. I could have had such a lovely time flirting you, and here we are both so certain of each other that there's no excitement at all. Of course, when we're so far apart, I wouldn't have it any other way. But you'll pay up for this Mr. Man, and I'm going to flirt outrageously with you the next time I see you. Only, maybe I shouldn't have warned you. Yes, that's fair to give you a chance to fortify yourself. Then my victory will be all the more complete.
Did I give you to understand that I thought I was slow to see a joke? I didn’t mean it, because I rather pride myself on my ability to see the humourous side of things. What I did mean to say that I was serious, but not nearly so much so as I used to be. I’m glad you appreciate my wit. It’s lucky for you, otherwise your life with me would be a life of torment. ...
...Must go now. It's a few minutes to five. Hope you'll get this Saturday night. It'll be November then. Heigh ho. Not sorry are you
Please accept my very best love.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 29, 1913
What did you mean by your letter I received to-day - the one you wrote last Friday? You said at the end, “And so your idol has fallen. - - I cannot exactly understand you feelings because I didn’t have to tear down any image to put yours in its place.” Is that what you think I’ve done for you? Do you think that you have come second? Did you think that all this time we have been pledged to each other, that I cared for somebody else? Haven’t I made you understand? I can’t bear it that you should think that I ever really loved anybody before I loved you.
I shall write about this tonight, I hope for the last time. I am not telling you these things because I feel I ought, but because I want you to understand fully. I tried to tell you some of them, but my telling was rather confused. I scarcely know how to begin. You must surely know that ever since I was a little girl, long before I knew you even, I had an ideal. He was a very queer sort in the beginning. All I remember about him is that he was very tall and very dark. Why? I suppose because Ora liked dark men. and why her preference? Because Violet Flatt was in love with a dark man. As I grew older, my ideal man grew more clearly defined, and I fell into the habit of taking the men or boys I liked, and pretending that they were the man. Several had their turn at this - you among the number.
Eldridge and I were chums for a couple years, but I never dreamed that he cared particularly for me. For one reason, he was over a year younger, and oh, I don’t know, I didn’t think things like that happened so soon. You’ll think this was a very immature affair. It was in a way, but I cannot but remember that Heber has loved Dell, ever since he was a lad. Well, I never always thought it was queer that he liked to be with me, as I told him once “We don’t fit,” but I liked him the more the more I knew him. He never asked me to marry him, but he did once ask me if I were going to, and I said “no,” “oh, I don’t know.”
When unintentionally, I found he showed me how he felt toward me it I was absolutely thunderstruck, I thought I ought to cease all communication with him, but then decided there was no necessity for that since that time, almost four three years ago, he has been at college, then away again, but so far as I can see, has followed no settled course. Bu I cannot but feel that I was somewhat to blame for his leaving college, but I didn’t make his nature and he could have stayed had he had more pluck. I used to see him occasionally, not very often though, I knew that I didn’t love him as I could love. I told him that our we might match physically and mentally, but not spiritually. He seldom made me happy, more often he caused me to feel dumbly sorrowful. I wanted to love him, I wanted him to be a man I could love.
Do you think that strange? It isn’t, for he is very charming. And also, I liked his father so much and he is very much like his father in some ways. Well, you see how it was. I knew he wasn’t the man I could love, but I wanted to love somebody, so in my dreams, I pretended he was my ideal man. I do live very much in a world of my own. When things or people do not suit me I just make believe that they do. Yet all the time I had him dressed up, I knew he wasn’t really that. And when Dell told me what she did, it was my pride and my dreams that suffered most. I cannot but feel a great responsibility and I never think of him but with sadness.
And now, I’m going to tell you what makes me so ashamed. One day we were snowshoeing, and we sat down, and he took me in his arms. And we laid our cheeks against each other. He didn’t kiss me, because he knew I didn’t want him to. He never took advantage of me, and I think it took a lot of self control for him to act as he did. A year ago last summer you used to talk about the girl you wanted to marry, how you didn’t want one who had been handled by other men. It made me feel ashamed, and it made me angry too.
I will not have you think that you have taken his place. You can’t get in it, it’s too small. He is still my old chum. He never was my lover. We very rarely spoke of this. Now I forget his faults and think of his good qualities. I don’t want to think of him bitterly. He has enough without that. I know he is thinking of me, because he comes to my thought home but I haven’t much time to entertain him. I keep thinking and wondering what he will say when he does come in person. What Dell has told me, he must never know. She is afraid of what he might do.
The part I knew would be incapable of revenge; but I have learned that he has a dual nature. I think with you, dearest, that we have said enough about sex attraction. There is no reason for fostering the growth of that part of our natures; I think it is a part that has to be checked. I don’t always want you to kiss me so that you thrill me. No, I should tire of that kind of kisses, indeed, I am afraid, too many would repulse me. I just want you to kiss me in your “comfortable” way. Yes, I remember very well how you kissed me that day. At the time, I thought nothing of it, but later I did and I can feel them yet. And these are the only kisses of that kind I ever received. It seems a queer statement for any engaged girl to make, doesn’t it? But you know how true it is.
When I grew older, I was very much ashamed that I had placed myself in such a position. I never blamed you. You warned me, but I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be stopped by that. For I was only a little girl then. When I did get older, I was, as I said, ashamed, and yet - I thought about them. Do you remember the time Margaret and I went over to Toronto with you, and we sat up in the bow of the boat coming home? I liked being with you then. And on the car you had to stand up, and you wondered if it would be “comme il faut” if I sat on your lap. Evidently I didn’t think it would be because I didn’t answer you. I thought you must have been very tired to make such a silly suggestion. At any rate, I wasn’t going to second your motion.
Do you remember another time you came in one morning when I was all alone, and I was ironing? You wanted me to go for a walk in the woods, but instead I persuaded you to go with me for butter. The idea of the walk in the woods didn’t suit my idea of the proprieties. And you said you had two questions to ask me, but when we went you asked only one and I couldn’t coax you to tell me the other one. I was very curious, chiefly because you were so firm in your refusal to tell me. Do you remember the time you and Margaret came over to Toronto in my third year? I thought you seemed rather cold and distant. Was that when you were making up your eugenic mind?
There seems to be a great big hole in me. I don't want anything but you. My longing isn't bitter though, because I know we'll soon be together. ... I do not like sickness; it is very uninteresting and stupid. So let’s be well and clever and interesting to each other.
I was going to tell you about the Convention, but I haven't room. Now I have to go and get a bath.
How I wish you were here so that I might give you one hug and one kiss.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,
I was rushed terribly yesterday and after I returned from Mr Oatens’ I had to prepare for a lecture today in “Practice” to the law students. Then it was so late I thought you’d forgive me for not writing, but I’m sending these few lines this morning by the same mail a letter would go on if it had been written last night. I’m stealing these few minutes so I must be brief.
Fritz told me a little while ago that Miss German arrived this morning and leaves on Saturday morning by the same train. Elizabeth was planning to have a few people in this evening but owing to the serious condition of Uncle Freeman she’s waiting in the fear of getting a telegram today announcing the end. I didn’t know until this morning that he was worse.
My poor frightened little bird - why do you fear so that I'll be angry when you are sick? Can't I make you understand somehow, that I mean what I've been telling you these past weeks? Sorry? Why of course I'm sorry that you have to suffer pain - but not because it may cause me trouble. Can't you understand dearest that my feeling is for you and not for myself. I'm not utterly selfish Oh, words can't tell but when we're married I'll try to show you that my love isn't such a poor thing that it will weaken because you are sometimes ill.
How could you think I'd scold you? I can't say any more now, but please show me that you trust me burdening yourself whenever you feel like it. I want to know when you are ill, dearest, for though I can't express my feelings well, I do sympathize with you in your pain and if I could only help you how gladly I would! I hope some day I can convince you that my sunshine love isn't the love of sunshine - but is the sunshine of love. Isn't our love to brighten the dark places of life as well as to make more glorious the light ones?
Now my skeptical one, will you believe, and will write a longer letter tonight, and though it isn't the witching hour of night, here in broad daylight he makes bold to kiss away those tears of grief and pain.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 30, 1913
My Dear Fred,
I have been very busy all day serving and doing housework, so that I haven't even read the paper. I must go to choir practice too. You are the filling in the sandwich. Maybe you don't like being that, maybe you'd rather be the whole thing.
...I haven't had a letter yet to-day. I don't see how I got through the afternoon. I finished my apron that I started the other day. Mother laughed at my buttonhole and said it was wrong. And I cried - I told her that that was the way she and Ora did, just laughed because I didn't do things right, but never showed me how. And they do. Ora expects me to know how to cook, just by instinct I guess. Well, Mother showed me how to make a buttonhole, so now I'll be able to make one, ...
I've just been planning some clothes you're going to wear, and I've decided that it's going to be lots of fun to have a man to dress. You're going to have white flannel trousers, a white cashmere shirtwaist, a blue coat and a straw with a stiff brim. Oh, and white shoes. That's for when you play tennis. And I'll dress all in white too. How will you like that? ...
You haven't spoken of Mrs. Brownlee. Has she had her operation yet? She must have been in a critical condition indeed.
...I suppose you’ll be at Fritz’s tomorrow night, as Clara is to be there then
...I haven't time to write any more, I have to pumice stone my hands and put on my shoes before I go to the church. I hope tonight's mail will be better to me than this morning's. I'd rather do something else than go to choir practice. Guess what, I'll tell you if you guess right.
Your own Nora.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear Nora,
I'm afraid you'll think I've been terribly neglectful, my letter yesterday, and only a scrap the day before. Believe me it is not because I didn't want to write, but I've been rushed more than usual and to have stayed up last night would have meant a loss of sleep that I couldn't very well afford. Even tonight I must be brief for it’s half-past eleven and I must wake up at 5 o’clock to call Fritz’s on the phone so that Clara will not miss her train which leaves at 6:15. Fritz’s have no alarm clock and early rising isn’t one of their strong points.
Tonight is Hallowe'en, but it has been so quiet I can hardly realize it. Last year Fritz, Edmanson and I were at a masked party that didn't break up until two o'clock and we had a very gay time, though I must confess some of the people were a little too free in their actions to suit me. I can't see why people who object to dancing on the grounds of too great intimacy physically, will indulge in the most free and suggestive attitudes in games such as are commonly played on Hallowe'en. Such things always disgust me.
But tonight we had a far different sort of amusement. Elizabeth had planned a sort of Vic. old boys and girls taffy pull. You know they had about 25 quarts of maple syrup sent out from the east last spring, and so we were treated to taffy made from real maple syrup. She had invited the Brownlee’s the Fords, the Wrights, Staples, Ray and myself. But the Wrights had a previous engagement and the Fords aren’t going out just now, even to a gathering of intimate friends - can you guess why dearest? - and of course Edmanson had made other arrangements. So the party consisted of The Fritz’s, Clara, the Brownlees, Staples and I.
Mrs Brownlee has only recently come out of the hospital and isn’t feeling very strong yet but she looked very well tonight. She must have a remarkable constitution to have undergone two operations in such a short time and recover as rapidly. She is one person who says the west agrees with her better than the east. So you see, my darling, all women don’t find the climate of Alberta hard on them.
Clara has to take the early morning train so we didn't stay late but we had a very enjoyable time while it lasted. Do you remember you wrote last spring when Clara was visiting at your place, saying she was so adaptable and seemed pleased with whatever was done or not done for her entertainment. I've come to realize that is true.
Last night I was at Fritz's for dinner and today I took them all to the Hudson's Bay for lunch. ... Do you know Elizabeth told her [Clara] about our bet that she would marry Gordon Jones. I had bet she would some day and Elizabeth contra. I wasn’t sure at first how Clara would relish being the subject of such a bet but she took it in good part and jokes about it...
I'm awfully sorry, dearie, that you felt so ill last Friday after the excitement of the convention, but I'm glad you wrote me about it, and as I told you the other day, I want you always to feel free to pour your woes into my ears. That's what they're for. I guess your fit of the blues passed away suddenly for there was no trace of them in your Saturday or Sunday letters....
Have you seen Uncle Freeman lately? Fritz tells me he has been very low and is not expected to recover. I’m so glad, dearest, that we went down to see him that last night. You have always been a favorite with him and I like to think that he saw us together there for he may never do so again.
Two whole months have passed since I saw you. It seems much longer and yet you are more real to me now than you were then. ... Please forgive me for this poor scrappy letter but I'm very tired and sleepy tonight. Oh if only you were here tonight.
Your lonesome one.
Evelyn to Fred
Oct. 31, 1913
My Dear Fred,
I suppose you are enjoying yourself tonight. I hope so at any rate. Mother and I have been sewing and talking. ...
I was stupid not to remember what you said about being at the Brownlee's. ... I'll tell you why I thought so much about her. You probably remember having heard me speak of my friend, Emily Dickenson. She had gall stones, and they brought on a premature birth. She died as a result, and so, although you didn't tell me what the complications were, I knew, and was anxious to hear if she had recovered.
... You say you like me to caress you. That's fine, for I'll like to do it. Do you remember, not likely you do, one day this summer when we were at your place, I was sewing and you went to lie down on the sofa. I wanted so much to go over to you, and put my hand on your head, but it just seemed as if I couldn't move, so I sat still, and sewed on. I'm afraid that when you come home, I'll be somewhat stiff at first. Maybe you will be too. It will be a little difficult to realize that you are really the man I have been talking to all year. Does this seem queer? This will explain it. My thoughts have been bold and free, while my actions have ever been timid and restrained. In writing I do but express my thoughts; they have not had to be unbound. But my actions are different. ...
You make me curious as to the subject of your discussion with Elizabeth. Don't forget to tell me about it. ...
You told me once that you didn't like me so well when I went to Model, [school] and only afterwards. When did you start liking me again? When I was fifteen or sixteen you and Ora and others used to credit me with wanting a "career." I never did for myself, not one that would deep me unmarried, but I claimed that if a woman wanted to remain unmarried, she had the right of choice. I was so determined to prove this to you, that I didn't bother to show you that it was only theoretical, although I was hurt that you didn't understand it anyway. Do you know, when I lived at Beamsville, I always regarded you as in some way belonging to me? ...
My dearest, I won't say anything more about "Eugenics." I didn't really understand how I must have been hurting you. I haven't been trying to "get even," I only meant to tease you a little.
You ask if I'm not anxious to get into our home. I always was. But didn't I say I wasn't so anxious to get there, but that I could have a European trip as a prelude.
Now honey, I'll go at the bread. This is a sample of what I'll be saying next year.
I've a new name for you - Rusty. Like it?
1. Zim - probably refers to Richard Ernest Zimmerman, class of 1914, Victoria College. "... Nearly everyone knows 'Zim,' so why advertise his faults to those who do not."
2. Eldridge Moshier, old boyfriend of Evelyn's. Brother of Heber Moshier.
3. Local Option pertained to laws which regulated the liquor trade within a given district or municipality, each area having the option to remain 'wet' or 'dry.'
4. Duffy Sleiman, Mae Finch's boyfriend.
5. Osgoode Hall, School of Law at the University of Toronto.
6. Dr Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, 1865-1940. Medical missionary in Newfoundland & Labrador. He was a forceful speaker and dedicated fundraiser. Grenfell opened several medical centres in the area. Norman Duncan, the author, gathered material for his fiction writing through his meetings with Wilfred Grenfell.
7. Sir John Willison. 1856-1927. Journalist, historian, imperialist, publicist. One time editor of the Globe. Canadian reporter to the Times 1909-1927.
8. University of Toronto. Carlton McNaught wrote about this outing in Women's Saturday Night, Oct 18 1913 in his article Autumn in the Foothill Country.
9. Margaret Anglin. 1876-1958. American Shakespearean actress, born and educated in Canada. Later came to New York. Toured with several companies. Also acted in modern plays.