November 1913 - "You haven't any doubts now have you?"
Fred to Evelyn
... Once again it's Saturday night and the beginning of another month. Does the time seem long, dearest? You don't wish any more than I do that we could see each other again before next June though perhaps my reasons aren't quite the same as yours. You want to see me again to make sure that we care for each other as much when together as apart. In reality aren't you a little bit afraid that we are idealizing each other and building up a person of fancied virtues which neither of us in the actual flesh will correspond to? I don't think so, sweetheart.
Perhaps we might be inclined to do so if our only knowledge of each other were based upon the few short days we spent together last summer and upon our subsequent correspondence. But we really have known each other for about ten years - and despite the fact that for several of these years we didn't see each other very often I think we actually understand and got to know each other more truly than most friends.
Do you know I like to have you call me your friend. I wouldn't if I thought you looked upon me as a friend merely, and not as a lover, but I know you don't. Friendship isn't love of the kind that is necessary for marriage - and without love it would be no good at all, but to my way of thinking it's a pretty good foundation for love, and it's better to have the friendship first and the love second, than love first and friendship second. And notwithstanding we used to fight against our natural feelings for each other as you say, we were and are still friends in the truest sense, n'est ce pas?
Of course all lovers must idealize each other. Courtship would be a sorry thing if we had to stick close to hard facts, and for my part I’d like nothing better than to see the idealization continue throughout married life. Sometimes I think the love of true mates is like God’s love in this, that while recognizing frailties and faults in the loved one we don’t dwell upon them but forgive them and think only of the good qualities and by so doing we actually succeed in driving out those bad qualities and make our mate conform to the ideal that has been ours.
And so my darling, I'm not the least bit afraid that we've been making a mistake or that we'll be disappointed in each other if we don't meet again until next June. Of course it would be lovely to be together - just for the sake of being together, but if we can't have the usual pleasures of betrothed people before marriage, there'll be nothing to prevent our enjoying them afterwards - and perhaps our communion then will be all the sweeter for the discipline that has been ours and our love will be all the richer and stronger because not based upon propinquity, but upon an enduring affection that time nor space can weaken.
Then too, I wish I could be with you to cheer your lonely hours and comfort your sad ones. I’d like in some way to show you that I’m not a fair weather lover, but that I’m your helpmeet at times when you feel ill or depressed as you did after the Epworth League Convention. But you’ll have to take my word for it now and I’ll prove my words after we’re married. Sometimes, dearest, I’m afraid to make such promises, not because I’ll not mean to carry them out, but I’m only a man who is very thoughtless - and who understands women no better than most men and I’m afraid I’ll often fail.
... Oh, it would be lovely to be together at Christmas time. I hate to think of it, because it makes me homesick, but I'm afraid, my darling, our joy will have to be in knowing that we love each other and are one in spirit, though our bodies be far apart.
I stopped at this point to go down to the office where I put in a couple hours work in preparation for some applications in Chambers on Monday. It has been very warm all day, but tonight a soft snow has been falling and the streets are wet and sloppy. My feet felt quite damp so when I came in I took off my boots and sat down before the fire for a few minutes with a couple of "McIntosh Reds" and the Ladies Home Journal. Now I feel warmed outside and refreshed inwardly so I'll finish the evening by finishing this letter. ...
... As per arrangement I awoke this morning at 5 and called Fritz on the phone. I didn’t go down to the station myself because I knew I had a very heavy day ahead and I was feeling very much in need of rest. Perhaps it was selfish, but it did seem senseless to go away out to Fritz’s and then down to the train when Fritz’s were going anyhow.
This evening I learned that instead of going at 6:20 the train was late and didn’t leave until 9:30. All of the intervening time was spent by Clara and Fritz’s waiting at the station - and that too after they had hurried so and got an auto because in the early morning the street car service is infrequent and they were afraid they’d be late.
Elizabeth is pretty tired today. And that reminds me, lassie, you needn’t fear about you not being strong enough to get married, for I guess you can hold your own physically as well as in every other way with Elizabeth. I believe you are every bit as strong and have just as good health as she, - and I don’t think she considers married life a failure.
... This summer it was a choice between keeping you waiting and not being with you - and I though you preferred the former. As for last summer at the Falls - I remember perfectly. - it was when I was fighting against my desire to love you and know now I did things that weren’t courteous to say the least, but it seemed there couldn’t be any half way, - if I didn’t act boorish, I’d be sure to show my real feelings.
But as for the particular act you spoke of. I don’t think the main reason really was I thought I was supernumerary and that you and John wanted to be together and alone. It seemed to me you both indicated it very plainly, and so it never entered my head that I wasn’t really doing you a good turn. However, I’ll watch myself sweetheart, and try not to be guilty of this offence again anyhow regardless of the past.
What next? Kisses I guess.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 1, 1913
My Dear Fred,
I’ll talk to you as long as my pen consents to do business, but as you see, it’s nearly dry. The ink is upstairs. I couldn’t write this afternoon because we went to St Kitts. There isn’t any mail out of here on Sunday, so I’m just going to give you a short spiel. You are upsetting my correspondence sadly, but tonight I wrote to a sick cousin (I told you about a week ago that I was going to) and to Keren (Kerenhappuch) Lukes, whose last communication was received in the spring.
You wonder how many girls I write to? Very few outside my own circle, but Keren gets one or two a year. In my last year I visited her over a Sunday, and it was lovely, so quiet and restful. She is a dear. I was almost getting a cold so she fussed me up with hot lemonade before going to bed. ...
Talk about college girls being stiff. I think when you find them out you’ll discover that they’re very human and delightful. On Saturday afternoon we had tea in front of the grate fire. Keren’s brother’s mother-in-law came in. She was the funniest brightest little old lady - an Englishwoman who has lived in the West Indies and Canada for a few years. She had been in B.C. for some time and she said she liked Canada so much because there was room to breathe here. In England it was like being shut up in a nut shell.
Keren’s father has a lovely big house, with beautiful grounds. The library had a beamed ceiling and the furniture and woodwork were of the same kind of wood. They had a brass screen before the fire and brass tongs and poker. It was such a comfortable room, ...
Keren’s mother isn’t well, so she does the superintending of the house, bosses the maid, and does it well. I was filled with admiration at her housewifely skill. The day I got there they unpacked a grandfather clock they had had sent them from England. It was all chipped and scratched, a dreadfully battered old granddad. ...
... We picked out my dress to-day and bought mother's. Her's is black brocade silk. Mine is pink and white silk. Its picture is in the November Journal. Don't you wish you could see me wear it for the first time? That will be the first of January.
It's very blustery to-night. It snowed Thursday night, and in shady spots the snow is unmelted. Oh, I wish we were together tonight, don't you?...
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little sweetheart,-
... I intended writing immediately upon my return from S.S. afternoon but I hadn’t been in the house five minutes when the phone rang and Mr Clarke asked me to go down to the office to go over some matters preparatory to his leaving tonight for Ottawa to attend the sittings of the Supreme Court. Obviously I don’t work on Sunday but sometimes as in this case it can’t be avoided.
... I had planned doing some reading today, but I got up rather late and after getting dressed and taking a walk down town to mail last night's letter I had only had half an hour to read "The Jam Girl" in the last two numbers of the Ladies Home Journal. Then after lunch I studied my S.S. lesson had a half hour’s nap. Had a splendid time in class this afternoon - 31 present - the most in months they tell me - and there was a very interesting discussion. the attention and interest increases each Sunday and I’m enjoying the work very much. ...
This has been another glorious day. This morning there was a thin covering of snow on the ground but in the warmth of a chinook it soon disappeared and unlike the east, didn't leave mud and slush, but the streets were soon dry - and with the bright sunshine and soft air my morning walk was delightful - only fell short of being perfect for want of the presence of my little Irish colleen. After S.S. this afternoon I wanted to go for another walk and oh, how I wished you were here. Never mind dearest, next year we'll have some glorious Sundays together.
Have just returned after seeing Mr Clarke on his train. I didn’t enjoy the sermon tonight for I felt “dopey” and a good deal of the time I was half asleep. - Besides the sermon was frightfully long and we didn’t get out until a quarter to nine. I immediately went to the office thinking in half an hour I’d be back home writing to you, but I was doomed to disappointment. However I still have a good hour and the fire is bright and the chair comfortable. ...
... I’ve read your Monday letter four times. I was a dandy I guess when you wrote it, you had recovered you normal health and spirits, hadn’t you? No I haven’t read V.V.’s Eyes, but after your recommendation I’ll try to, though when I’m to work in the time I’m sure I don’t know. I haven’t touched that book of Arnold’s you lent me. ...
From all I can see, there’ll be less time than ever from now until the end of the year. What time I have at night for reading, should properly go to the preparation of my lectures to the law students and in reading cases. Do you see, dearest, is one reason I’m counting so much on you to be my mental stimulus. ...
... I don’t want you to worry or to be really troubled about me, but it shows me a little more that you really care very much for me. Never fear, little girl, no one can steal from me what I haven’t got. My heart’s in your keeping and you needn’t be afraid anybody else can get it unless you give it up. And if you should do that - well I guess then I’d just keep it myself in remembrance of you anyhow.
If we talk much more about who loved the other first or why we fought against each other etc. we'll soon have as interesting a story of self-revelations as any popular novel. ...
When did I first decide I wanted you rather than eugenics? I think I always wanted you but the question for me was - ought I to love you? I think I didn’t make myself quite clear in the letter you referred to. I must have made two apparently contradictory statements.
In the first place, when I went away to college, my only reasons for not speaking to you were just what I have told you. (1) that you were so young I felt it was only fair to you to give you a chance to grow up and see other men, otherwise you might promise to marry me thinking you loved me only to learn later that it was nothing more than a girlish admiration, and not true love and (2) that I was poor and as I thought not in a position then or likely to be for many years, to ask a girl to marry me, and I didn’t believe in long engagements or want to tie you up for so many years.
Perhaps too that was a third reason - that all along I had a sort of subconscious deep seated conviction that you and I were meant to be mates and that no matter what happened to either of us in the intervening years we’d come together when the time was ripe. But at this time there was no thought of eugenics. Later, I’ll confess there was. To show that I really felt.
All the time you were at school at Beamsville I was jealously watching you, and I felt very cross with your father when I saw how your health was being injured, as it seemed to me, through his false pride in wanting to see you head of the class. It wasn't merely friendly interest that made me so concerned, but it was because I loved you. I'll admit it wasn't the same kind of love as I feel for you now it was a selfish love, but still I loved you. Then as time went on and you went to college and your health again seemed to be carelessly sacrificed I began to think more of eugenics all the time I was here in Calgary until sometime last winter I was torn between eugenics and you. I can't say just when love won the day, but it wasn't because the other fellows got married.
I don't think I ever told you how near I came to "chucking" and declaring my love a year ago just before I left Toronto on my return to the west. The last night in Toronto I came pretty near taking the train for Bala then I thought, "if we are really meant for each other and my love is strong enough to overshadow all objections it will not hurt to wait another year. As a matter of fact I think I decided soon after I returned to Calgary, that so far as I was concerned you would be my wife. I was then in doubt, however, whether you didn't love John and I had a notion to write you and have the matter settled one way or another. But I didn't want to propose by letter. I wanted to tell you I loved you. And then too I wanted to see you again. I was sure enough that I loved you.
And then too I wanted to see you again. I was sure enough that I loved you or what I thought you were when absent. I loved your qualities of heart and mind, but I still wasn’t quite sure about yourself and I wanted to wait until I saw you again. I knew that if I could forget your and love your body when I was with you, that there could be no possible doubt. So I decided to wait until I saw you.
I went east this year for no other purpose then either to declare my love or bury it forever. It wasn’t that I was homesick for a house because I saw the other fellows happy in theirs, but I was anxious to find out whether what I thought was love was the real thing or not. My writing that one letter which you say sounded lonesome was not so much to tell my own feelings as to see if there was any response from you. When your letters began to break through the ice of reserve I was so glad, because I began to feel sure that you could care for me if only you could be sure that my love for you were the truest and best possible.
I knew no sham feeling or partial love could deceive you, and that unless I were sure of my own feeling I couldn’t hope to win your love. Besides it would be mockery that I couldn’t indulge in in fairness to myself. But when I saw you this summer I knew there could no longer be any doubt. But, you’ll say, I didn’t know until after I came back that I loved you in every way. Quite true, but while I was east, I had a conviction that everything would be all right. I don’t think I really loved your body then, but I felt as sure as could be that with the love I did feel for you this last would come. And it has my darling.
And so I think really have been waiting for you as my wife. Certainly no other girl ever could oust you from the niche you occupied all through these years. You were the standard I judged others by and they all fell short. I just couldn't seem to fit any other woman to the position of wife. Friends I had in plenty, but you are the only one I could ever satisfyingly think of as my mate. Now are you satisfied my dearest?
The clock has just struck midnight - the time when all good boys are in bed. Perhaps you'll think I haven't been very good today, so I'll try to end the day right anyhow. I know of no better way than by writing to my own little girl.
Evelyn to Fred
Sunday 4:15 [Nov 2, 1913]
... Your Monday letter arrived last night. I think I am very fortunate to get such dear letters. And it's so nice to know that I'll get just as good a one the next day. I sort of count my time from the arrival of your letters.
I remember that night at Bala very well. I thought you acted very strange, and I wondered why you wanted to go off alone with me to tell me that. I also wondered if you were talking about yourself and who your guiding star was and I wondered why you wanted to tell me about it. That time at the gate when I put my hand in yours, I was frightened because I heard a noise. You put your other hand over mine in a way that meant but one thing.
Often and often since I have felt your hand clasp, and I couldn’t understand you. That time when you think you made me cry. It wasn’t exactly what you said that made me cry. I don’t know why I did. You said in contrite tones, “Oh, I didn’t mean that,” and I answered, “I know what you meant by “that”. I remember have a feeling that I wanted to cry, and so I cried, not for any particular reason. Unconsciously sometimes I find myself acting, just to experiment on effects. So here you’ve been blaming yourself for nothing.
And so you thought I was on the road toward invalidism! Nothing is further from my intention. Before I went to Beamsville, I was a regular tomboy, scarcely had an ache or a pain. But the change was too sudden, and I didn't take enough exercise, or play enough. Mother says she doesn't think I had a fair start. You see, I'm a twin. There was a little boy who was born several months before I was. It has always seemed strange to me since I knew about it, and I have felt that there was some special reason why I was meant to live. ...
Ora and Mother have been teasing me, saying I have been quite worried during the two days Clara was in Calgary. Did you never meet her before? ...I used to be afraid of Clara and thought her so high above the ordinary throng that I felt ill at ease in her presence. She is above the ordinary, but she’s not the one who makes you feel it. I never had a more pleasing visitor, she’s so easy to entertain, and one doesn’t feel it a strain.
Ora and I were just discussing who would have the New Year’s dinner next year, and she said we had to have it. It will still be the “Bunch”, won’t it? I think she’s going to ask Margaret, Ray, John and Wray this year. I don’t know though. ...
Now Ora’s talking about your fat. Does it show much? Because if it does you can just exercise it off. I don’t want you to look as you did a year ago. You were just right this summer. You look older when you’re fat, and I don’t want you to look old. I’m glad you’re well, though that’s the way you ought to be. You said you boys were going to the Y. but I haven’t noticed you say anything about going.
...Yesterday we didn’t get up till about nine o’clock. We had breakfast, did up the work, and went to town, intending to have our dinner when we got back about half past four. We didn’t get back until half-past five and I was nearly sick, I was so hungry. We were going to see (y)our Uncle Freeman, but we didn’t have time. We heard that he was a little better, but that they hadn’t been allowing anyone to see him.
Did I tell you that I was going into business again this winter? Last year I helped Mr. Smith in his jewellery store, and when he was at our church supper he asked me if I were coming again this year, and I said if he wanted me. I heard some things he said about me, and he thinks I'm very bright, in fact, quite a business woman. ... Now I must go to peel oranges. Goodbye, my dearest. Next year we'll be getting our tea, won't we?
Fred to Evelyn
On days when you get two letters do you often think you'll put one aside until later in the day so that the joy of reading them will be spread out over a longer time? I've often promised myself to do it but when the time comes I open both at once and read the one right after the other. But this morning I had to put both in my pocket until later in the day. ...
It was nine o'clock when I reached the office. I had overslept and didn't awaken until 10 minutes to eight. I was very sorry for I knew this would be an especially busy day for many reasons. For one thing Monday is Supreme Court Judge's Chamber day. ... points of law and practice are decided in Chambers as in open court and often cases are tried summarily in Chambers and never get into court. In fact, chamber work frequently test one’s knowledge of procedure and even of law more than the actual trial of an action, which is concerned more with getting adducing evidence.
I do nearly all the chamber work for our office and it means that at least 3 days a week I’m out nearly all forenoon and sometimes longer. ...Chambers opens at 10:30. Before that I had to get off some dictation, see a couple of clients and prepare a couple cases for chambers. I just didn't dare spend a minute to read your letters though they were burning holes in my pocket. On the way to the court house - a fifteen minute walk, - I read part of the first one. Then I finished it on my way home to lunch.
I was very late for lunch - 1:45 - and had only about 10 minutes, for I had to be back at the Court House, but I skimmed through your other letter then and it gave me a warm comfortable glow all over. Besides it put ginger into me and helped me win a very important case in chambers ... , I didn't get back to the office until after four, and then I was busy with clients until half past six, and all my mail is lying untouched, as also the other work I should have been doing today. This is just a sample of many days. It's a rush from morning until night. ... and often things turn up to completely overturn one’s plans. Many a day I’ve had my work planned and then, owing to some new business coming in that needed urgent attention I’ve been unable to do one single thing I intended doing. ... There was also an executive meeting of the Canada Forward Club,(1) and it's now very near midnight.
I would like very much to have seen Margaret Anglin tonight in Twelfth Night but I couldn't spare the time. She is here for 3 days - tomorrow night in As You Like It and the following in The Taming of the Shrew. Margaret Anglin is an actress even you would enjoy seeing my darling, and I hope to be able to see her this week, though I confess it looks doubtful. I do hope dearest you will change your opinion about the theatre ... I do think the legitimate drama and opera have their place in the life of today - as an entertaining, education and uplifting influence. I don't want to force my views upon you, but I would so like to look forward to seeing some really good plays with you. Your knowledge of literature and your study of the Drama would make you enjoy them so much. But whatever you attitude in the future may be, I want it to be based upon your own free will.
Today's letters, particularly the last one made me very happy. You ask several questions that I haven't time to answer tonight and I'll leave them until later. But do you realize, my darling, how delightfully contradictory you are, - and variable? I don't mean variable in reality - for I think you are as true and firm as the eternal hills - but apparently you are changeful. For example in your first letter you say you are sorry we had to get engaged so soon, you would have liked longer to make up your mind and now that I am away you unmake and make it up again. And then the very next day you write that you are perfectly sure and you tell how much you love me. Which am I to believe? ... Perhaps, though I guess a man doesn't look at these things from the same point of view.
Perhaps a young man looks forward to a delightful period of courtship, but I believe most men - at any rate those who have become at all mature - are anxious for the complete joys of wedlock, rather than courtship. But I guess with a woman it's different, and you feel about this a little the same as I have always felt about my boyhood that I was cheated out of it - I never had a real boyhood like most boys. - I was old when I was young in years - I was always refraining from boyhood's pleasures because I had to work or to save the money that they required for their indulgence.
So my darling I have to live my youth and you will have to bring it back to me, and live it with me. I really believe I am younger in spirit today than I was 5 or perhaps 10 years ago. ... I'm sorry, sorry that I have been the means of depriving you of the womanly joy of being consciously sought for a mate, and of using your woman's arts to prolong the chase ...
...I wouldn't like you to flirt with other people - Oh, it's a very womanly trait and it shows me another side of your character which I used to think you didn't possess. There's something of the wild bird about you isn't there? You don't want to think you've been captured by a hunter of the kind that takes a pot shot at birds sitting on the ground too stupid or unaware to fly, but you want to feel you've been free to use your wings and have been taken in fair flight. Isn't that what you mean? I guess so and I love you for it. We'll have to play the game all over again dearest when we're married. How would you like me to flirt a little too? But you'll always flutter back to the nest of your true hunter. Won't you dear?
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 3, 1913
My Dear Rusty-Coat,-
...I got your Tuesday and Thursday morning letters. It’s too inexpressibly delightful to feel sure that there’ll be one tomorrow, one the next and the next, all through the year.
... You are going to get me a set of furs are you? That is very dear of you and it may be for you, but may I offer a suggestion? I have a set that is pretty good as yet, and that can be made to look very nice by expending a little money. So I think I'd rather have a coat. Or isn't one necessary in you tropical climate? I don't want Persian lamb. They look like old maids and widows. Don't tell Elizabeth that, because Clara has one, and she'd give you such a crushing retort that you would be stunned, and never after would you be the same. ...
I washed windows this morning, upstairs, outside and Mother came and helped me to finish. Then we came down to devour a large portion of a small roasted chicken. Dad was in St. Catharines to-day and went to see Uncle Freeman. He is somewhat better. I don't think he was so seriously ill as Fritz thought. ...
...We had the Masons at church last night, and got eighteen dollars collection. You aren’t a member of any of those societies are you? I think they’re rather silly. The Masons in this town are really a decent lot of men though, better than the crowd they had at Beamsville. ...
I must tell you about Mr. Clarke, our choir leader. I’ve told you about their four nice children. Little Harry is a beauty, flaxen curls and brown eyes. His Sunday clothes were spoiled the other Saturday, and Mrs. Clarke said to Ben, “whatever will that child wear tomorrow.” Before she was up Sunday, Mr. Clarke took Harry into the bathroom, washed him and dressed him in a brown corduroy velvet suit he had sent to Eaton’s for and sent Harry in to his mother who was still in bed.
The kiddies are (all) pretty small, but he is such a help. He’s as good as a woman, can start in and do the dishes, undress the youngsters and put them to bed, so that she can get out nights. She’s greatly interested in missions and is our Missionary /vice-President in the League. I ’ll have to take you over and show you off, when you come to me. She’s a lovely woman. He’s a fine man, only he has a nasty temper which he doesn’t control as well as he ought to. He’s a good man though. But then I’m not making comparisons. He’s not in the same class with one man I know, and that man’s mine. So he needn’t offer his heart and hand to a furrin missionary.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 4, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
You won't get much from me tonight, as I have to leave before eight and go over to Mrs. Clarke's to a meeting of our Mock Trial Committee. The League is getting one up in connection with the Missionary work. Thursday and Friday I have to go to the church. Sometimes when I have to go so often, and hear church matters discussed so much at home, I'm just sick of the whole thing. It seems as if there's nothing but work and church, and it is nauseating. I couldn't be contented for long with this life, but I recognize that it is not a normal condition. I have no time to read, except the paper, sometimes, and a magazine story occasionally. I don't mean this to be a grumble, honey, don't think that, but it certainly isn't my ideal of living, by all means. ...
.... I suppose you were at Elizabeth’s Thursday evening, and had a good time, I know. You will have decided that Clara’s really very feminine, even if she is a missionary-to-be. I wonder why we have such queer ideas of missionaries, thinking that the women are sort of the offscourings of the west, when in reality, they are our bravest and most intelligent,and most womanly women. Did Elizabeth tell you of the presents Clara received from the church and its various societies? What struck me most was a pearl necklace from the Missionary Society.
...I was very lonely last night. Monday seems to be my bad night. I do get tired of talking to my pillow; its answers aren't very satisfying. I was glad I wasn't going to marry that man who was here to-day. He was a Yankee, and looked the part of a blatant American I can't express my disgust of the type of democracy the United States has produced. If one thought they had solved the problem of government, one must of necessity clamour for an aristocracy.
There was quite a lot of interest in the paper to-day. Christobel or Sylvia Pankhurst(2) to organize an army, Wilson's(3) note to Mexico, and New York elections. I'd like to hear Emmeline, to hear what she has to say for herself and her methods. When she was in Toronto some years ago, I wasn't enough interested in woman suffrage to go and hear. In fact, I guess I considered suffragists pretty nearly crazy. I'm not a tremendous democrat, though I feel I ought to be. And in the suffrage question, there are some parts I haven't seen satisfactorily answered. However, I guess I believe in it theoretically. If we have universal manhood suffrage, we ought to have it for the women too, but it seems to me it ought to be restricted. ...
...Ora and mother are discussing my new dress, and naturally I’m interested. Now, my headache is all gone, and I’d like to stay at home tonight instead of going out in the cold world. I was planning on getting so much work done this week. And I haven’t done much more than an hour’s work on it. I want to get all my Christmas presents finished next week. I’m going to make a slip for Ora. Do you know what that is? Well, you needn’t ask Elizabeth. It’s a dress to wear under her outside one, and I’m going to embroider this one a little bit. ...
My time's up, and I must comb my hair and put on my tan boots. Wouldn't it be lovely, dearest, if we could just sit down together and have a nice evening, reading or talking. I'm afraid we're going to be selfish of each other.
Your own Nora.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl, -
This is the first night in a long while that I’ve had all to myself - no not to myself but to ourselves, and I’m going to make the most of it. What are you doing now I wonder? - It’s 8:30 here.
After supper we had almost an hour's discussion of household management - the chief point in the talk being whether we are to run our housekeeper, or be run by her. Miss Rogers is an excellent cook and a very capable housekeeper generally, but she has assumed the airs of a proprietress a little too much to suit some of us. She's been with the Hermitage for nearly four years and on account of her efficiency the fellows have given in to her too much. She has a very uncertain temper and she doesn't hesitate to order us around if we don't do things to suit her. And I for one will not stand for it.
What I objected to tonight is Miss Rogers' refusal to give us dinner at night because it makes her more work than at noon. I can quite appreciate her point of view, but from our standpoint dinner in the middle of the day is most undesirable. No man wants to eat a big meal at noon or he feels dopey in the afternoon. It's all right for anyone doing manual labor but not for office work. Besides at noon we are all more or less irregular, oftentimes one or other of us is detained at the office unavoidably, and we are late. Either that or we are compelled to rush back in a hurry. Now it is neither pleasant nor healthy to eat a heavy meal under such circumstances. But at night we all have leisure to gather together an a regular hour and eat sociably and with some time for the meal to digest.
We've repeatedly asked Miss Rogers otherwise known as "Bill" to accede to our request but she has always refused. This time we decided to tell her she had to or quit. We're paying the very top price and giving her all sorts of privileges, and in return we have a right to expect service for our benefit and not merely such as will suit her convenience. As it is she has every afternoon and evening free. She does all her own serving, and has lots of time to go calling in the afternoons and to the theatre or elsewhere at night. We were figuring up today that we pay $60 per month and board for the service we get, figured this way: Miss Rogers $45, a woman twice a week who does the washing and cleaning, $10.75 per month, and then in addition, $5 per month for laundry that is sent out. This of course doesn't include any of our personal laundry. Surely we are paying enough, and giving privileges enough, to entitle us to have dinner at night if we want it. Anyhow we're going to have it. Does this sound as if we're an awful crank? I don't think I'm unappreciative or inconsiderate of the work of the housekeeper, but in this particular case there doesn't seem to be any give and take. It's all give on our part.
Last night I started a letter to you after I came home from the theatre about midnight but I was interrupted and thought I'd finish this morning at the office. I didn't get the chance and so I started all over tonight. I hope dearest, you will not be too greatly disappointed. I'm awfully sorry to have to miss a day - not only for your sake but for my own as well. The day doesn't seem right that I don't write to you, but sometimes it simply can't be helped. Last night it could if I hadn't gone to see Margaret Anglin in As You Like It. I had wanted to go so much but I decided not to, partly because I felt that if I went I should invite Mr and Mrs Oaten, or some other friends who have shown me much hospitality, and I didn't want to spend the money just now - good seats are $2 - and partly because I didn't think I could spare the time. ... I did go to the office for an hour, but then I decided it was not right to miss such an opportunity, for Calgary doesn't see Shakespearean plays every week and so I made one of a stag party of three, taking 75 cent seats....
The theatre was crowded as it had been the night before, which shows that the people will patronize the best things when they get a chance. I enjoyed the whole play very much. The cast was very well balanced and of course Margaret Anglin needs no words of praise. You were actually present to me in the flesh last night in the person of Margaret Anglin as Rosalind. She was just an adorable woman with a woman's sweet caprice, delightful variability and dazzling contradiction and yet withal an intensity and constancy of devotion that always wins a true man's homage. You are just like that and I wouldn't have you any other way my darling.
Sometimes lately when I read your letters lately I was inclined to smile especially over that one where you bewailed the fact that we got engaged so soon - so soon - after all these years! and where you said you wanted to flirt with me. I could just imagine what a Rosalind you would make if you had the chance. Do you know I'm glad you have a touch of coquetry about you. I used to be afraid you didn't - and that you would take lovemaking too seriously.
Of course I wouldn't want you to be a regular coquette, but I'm so sure of your love I'd like you to flirt with me sometimes just to show some of the delightful transitions of women that are so adorable. It's always easy to criticize the other fellow, but do you know I think Orlando was frightfully stupid not to recognize Rosalind, and to see through her woman's wiles? But then I guess all men are dumb where women are concerned.
Do you think it immodest of me because I liked Rosalind in boy's clothes? It isn't because of the clothes, but because so many times the woman's nature showed so plainly that the clothes were no disguise. This has always been one of my strongest arguments against the so called feminist movement. The two sexes are essentially different and no similarity of dress or occupation or environment will eradicate this difference. In times of great emotion the woman shows, no matter what the dress. And so it was with Rosalind, with all her swashbuckler's manner she couldn't forget that she was a woman.
Do you know dearest that I've seen a picture of you in boy's clothes and I think it's perfectly sweet! Elizabeth has a picture of you and some other girl from the Hall whose name I forget. She wanted me to promise not to tell you I'd seen the picture as she said you'd be cross if you knew she had showed it to anyone. But you're not, are you, sweetheart? I couldn't help thinking of you every time I looked at Rosalind. Does it make you jealous when I say I just wanted to rush on the stage and take her - no not her - but you - my Rosalind - in my arms and kiss you?
Last Friday's letter came this morning. So you have been anxious about Mrs. Brownlee. Surely, my dear, you are not worrying about such things on your own account. I can't bear to think that. Haven't we promised each other that we are going to be well and strong, and if one is well there's very little danger of such things happening. But if, my darling, for any reason you feel there's danger to you why we just won't have any children, that's all. I'll not have our married life marred by a dread of childbirth. Much as I want children, haven't I made you understand that I want you more than all else? So please don't worry about these things any more, dearie. It makes me feel as if I were a beast, to be the cause of such fear on your part.
And so you were afraid to caress me when I was east. Wasn't it because you were afraid I was too stiff and reserved? Now you know differently, you'll not hesitate any more will you? I'm not afraid that we'll be stiff to each other when we meet again. Oh how I wish it could be soon!
Do you realize how funny you are? In one letter recently you were bewailing our separation and saying you wanted to talk to me face to face, and in the same letter you said you expressed your thoughts more fully and unreservedly on paper than in conversation. If that is true, I’m getting to know you really better than if I were where I could see you every night, am I not? But just the same I’d rather be with you, and I’d risk your being reserved. I don’t think we really can be that way to each other any more, do you?
Yes, I remember that last night at Bala, and I heard what you said. I didn’t understand the cause but it really made me feel hopeful because I felt sure that unless you really cared for me you wouldn’t be angry with me, and that you didn’t understand the cause of your anger yourself. Of course I had no idea what I had done, or what the immediate cause of your feeling was, - and I just let it pass from my mind. To be perfectly frank however I must say I was a little hurt for I thought it was partly another evidence of the independence you had formerly shown in not wanting to be helped over rough places or over fences etc. I think it’s part of every man’s nature to want to support, and I want to feel that I can help you and that you need me and want to lean on me. I don’t think I could love you if you were so self sufficient and independent that you always wanted to walk alone and to make your own way.
You ask what I would do without Fritz’s place to go to. Of course they are good to me and I run in and out there almost as if it were my own home, but I don’t look for places to visit. The trouble is to find time to go to the places where I’d like to. Of course there are Pattersons, Fords, and Brownlees. Then there are the Oatens, Art Smiths’, Charlie Adams’ and lots of other places which I simply can’t get time to go to except occasionally. There are really lots of nice people in this city and I wouldn’t be a bit lonesome except for a dear little girl that I’d rather have with me than the whole of Calgary put together.
When did I start liking you again? I never started again - I always liked you, yes I think loved you, even when you were so much bent as it seemed to me upon a career.
I'm glad to have you say that at Beamsville you looked upon me as belonging to you. That's the way I felt. Do you remember the time we went for a drive to Jordan Harbor? I often wanted to ask you to go with me but I very seldom asked you to go alone for the reasons I’ve already given several times. But I always felt cross to think anyone else was around. Even though I might talk to other people more I was inwardly wanting you only.
Yes, I remember the time we went to Toronto together. Part of the time you were very nice and intimate but I remember how much I wanted to be with you alone ... to talk only to you and you seemed to take a perverse delight in preventing it. Why? Was it unconscious or intended on your part? ...
...I guess most men are more particular about their wives' clothes than their own. I am anyhow. It doesn't matter so much about a man, but I do like to see a woman becomingly dressed, and that I know you'll always be. Will you think it indelicate of me, dearest, if I say I always like to see women wearing dainty underclothes? No, I don't mean that as it sounds. (I don't want to see them but one likes to know they are there.) I hate to see a woman with nice top clothes, and then discover that they're not nice and dainty in the parts that don't show. Well, I know you're not like that.
How did the bread succeed? I don't want you to have the work of making bread for me. The bakers in Calgary wrap it - but I'm glad you're learning now.
Goodnight sweetheart. How many kisses tonight?
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 5, 1913
My Dearest Sweetheart,-
Of course I don't think you neglectful for not writing last Thursday. I hardly expected that you would have had time if you went to Fritz's. I think his father is getting better. I expect to go to the city tomorrow, and if so, I'll go down to see him. ...
I didn't get up very early this morning, Mother told me last night to sleep. So I did. When she thought it time for me to get up, she came and stuck your picture on my pillow. Shortly after dad came in with your Friday letter. One morning, I didn't want to get up and Ora came in, got your picture, flourished it in my face and called, "come on now Non get up and get my breakfast." You have some very sympathetic friends here, for they think you are rushing blindly to destruction
Ora made the bread today and it was splendid. But dad thought I'd made it. At supper mother said, "Isn't this good bread?" And he said, "Oh, pretty fair." Mother exclaimed "I think you're mean. Why, I think this is the best bread Ora ever made." He looked surprised and explained himself by saying, "Oh, I thought Non made it." So I told Ora he favoured her. ...
Last night as father was coming home from the mission he met two men who asked him for a match. He got talking with them and they proved to be men working on the [Welland] canal. They have a great big boarding house down at the town line, where five hundred men live. When these two men learned who father was they asked him if he wouldn’t go down and preach to them on Sunday. He went down to see about it to-day.
The superintendent was writing to the men in Toronto who runs the boarding house, and he is sure they’ll have permission. The contractors for the canal didn’t build the boarding houses, they have let the contract to a Toronto man for six years. They serve good meals - anyone can get a meal for 25¢.
There are some single bedrooms, reading rooms, and they are well heated. The superintendent told father that by next spring there could be two thousand men there. Of the five hundred there now, two hundred are English speaking. One of the boys was telling me last night that there is talk of a seven-million-dollar paper mill locating here, that the promoters are just waiting to find learn the exact route of the new canal. Father thinks this ought to be a special mission. Certainly there is a great deal of work to be done.
I was thinking last night about what kind of curtains we’d have for our library I just got an idea when I was at Mr. Clarkes. I think they’ll be raw silk, and I’m not sure yet if they’ll be stencilled or embroidered. They’ll hang from brass rings. Do you like brass? I love it in brown or tan or green rooms. Aren’t we going to have a lovely time, darling, furnishing our home? And planning it too.
I wish it were seven months from now, don't you? I used to hate to have the time pass, but now I wish it would get a move on. But after next June I don't want it to hurry, do you? The time has passed very happily since you left, for I have had such pleasant things to think about. Do you know, in my thoughts I have you kiss me so much. I wonder if I do more than you.
Do you remember one time at Beamsville, when I had a white silk dress, I got for Sadie’s wedding? We were home from church and you and Margaret, I suppose, were stopping talking to us. You were out of the buggy, standing beside it, and you looked and looked at me as if you would bore a hole through me. I wondered why you stared at me so hard, and finally decided that you thought the yoke in my dress was too thin. So after that, I fixed it differently.
Don’t you just wish something would happen to the old C.N.R. so that you’d have to come East? You see, I don’t want you to neglect your business but, Oh, I want you so much. I think I want you more, every single day. Is that the way you feel?
So you were tired and sleepy and lonesome Friday night. My poor laddie. You may be tired and sleepy when I come, but you won't be lonesome any more, will you darling? I know a cure for loneliness. Two arms about your neck, two lips against yours. If one application doesn't cure repeat until the patient has fully recovered. Don't you think I deserve a doctor's degree for that?
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,-
... If you were here now we could have a lovely time. We'd turn off the lights and you'd sit on my lap in the big chair before the fire and tell me again how much you love me, and we'd plan our house and the evenings we are going to spend together by our own fireside. Oh, how I wish next year were here!
You wondered about my talk with Elizabeth on Thanksgiving Day. It was very much along the line of former conversations only it went farther. Of course it wasn't merely a tête-a-tête between us two. Mrs. Clarke and Fritz also put in a word occasionally but as on most such occasions Elizabeth (Don't you think that's much too big a name for such a little girl, especially for everyday use?) - and I did most of the talking. She was bewailing the lack of mental stimulus and blamed it on the lack of culture and mercenary spirit of the west. She said the people she meets here didn't seem capable or desirous on any conversations except superficial commonplaces. I tried to point out that she had really met very few people.
You know she didn’t have her reception until recently so the only people she has got to know are a few people at the church and the Fords Pattersons and Brownlees. There are lots of really interesting people here, whose thoughts rise above cards and dancing and small talk, but she hasn't met them. It must be hard for a woman coming to a strange city. It's so much easier for a man to become acquainted, but I guess women stand more on ceremony. But then I think Fritz might have done more than he has to make her acquainted with really interesting people. One reason is he doesn't think, but the principal one is, before he didn't make real friends of many people of the kind Elizabeth wants to meet. He cared more for going out riding and having a good time with some of the lighter set.
Of course it would never do to suggest such a thing to Elizabeth for she considers Fritz a paragon of all the virtues but it's the case nevertheless. ... Anyhow the result has been that for the most part the people she has met have been distinctly ordinary, and naturally she has judged the whole city to be the same while I could name a large number of my acquaintances whom it would be a pleasure to have you meet, who could spend a pleasant evening talking about other things than the weather, real estate, oil or the latest motion picture show.
Then too, I pointed out to Elizabeth that she was making unfair comparisons, - that she was comparing Calgary business and professional people with college men and women - not with people of the same classes in the east. She tries to tell me that there was more culture in the average Ontario town. I had said that things were stagnant in most Ontario small places.
It seems to me that the average people in the east spend as much of their time in cards and dancing and pink teas and naive conversation as they do here, and finally when closely questioned she admitted that she didn’t have many more congenial friends or acquaintances in Picton than in Calgary. I’ll admit that in many respects Ontario possesses more culture, but I think unconsciously college bred people are inclined to compare their lot with what they knew at college. No matter where one goes when a man or woman gets out in the world at the serious business of life other interests must to a large extent supplant the purely intellectual joys of studying Browning or Michael Angelo.
And as for Calgary - we're improving. Last year a Symphony Orchestra started and this year it has been put upon a permanent basis. An orchestra of fifty pieces giving a program of 6 concerts during the winter betokens some desire on the part of Calgarians other than a passion for making more money.
I mention only this one organization but there are others which indicate a growth of a higher life that is very encouraging. When you think of it, it’s ridiculous to condemn wholesale the people of this city for lack of culture or refinement when you think that nearly all our professional people are college men and women from the east or from the old land.
The trouble with Elizabeth is she never did anything before marriage, except study or teach school. She never knew even the first rudiments of housekeeping, and I think unconsciously she is comparing the time she had then for reading with what she has now - not realizing that it would be the same whether she lived in Calgary or Timbuctoo. Now don't get the idea she's dissatisfied for she isn't - and she admitted she wouldn't exchange her present work for teaching or anything she did before marriage. She's been learning the meaning of home. As a matter of fact I don't think she ever knew the real meaning of that word before. She and her mother had merely existed for so much of the time - at least it seems so to me.
I was interrupted by the rest of the boys and now my time is gone, and I don't seem to have said anything, at any rate not in the way I meant to. This is only part of the discussion that night, the other related to woman's place in the home. I’ll tell you about it some other time. We both talk a good deal for the sake of hearing the other's view point, and she doesn't mean half she says.
Perhaps you'll retort that "Rusty" doesn't either. He does when he sends his love to you anyhow.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 7, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
I went to the city yesterday and stayed all afternoon. On my return, as soon as we had had our tea, Ora and I went to the church, and stayed till ten. I knew better than to propose writing a letter at that hour - you see how abject a condition is mine - although Ora and mother spent nearly an hour upstairs discussing ways and means of enlarging a dress for Ora. It is a lovely white evening dress that she got a few months ago. Now, alas! it is too tight. I’m coming to the painful conclusion that I am getting fat too. Painful? My clothes make it that.
I went down to your Uncle Freeman’s and your Aunt Carrie’s for a little while. Your uncle seemed better after they had moved him upstairs. The day before he had asked the doctor what to do about sending for Fritz’s, and the doctor said not to send. But to-day father came home at noon and said that your uncle had had a stroke. I suppose you’ll know this by the time you get this letter.
... We didn’t go for the mail last night - father was away, so I got your Sunday letter this morning. From your tone I judge you are becoming weary of self revelation and would fain hark back to your former conventional talk. ...
Really, I have been thinking and re-thinking so much about our S.S. class, that I'll have to open my heart to you. That man Woolley is really an object fit for a museum. Thank heaven he's rare. I don't think a single girl in the class can stand him. For one thing, he doesn't know how to teach. He studies his lesson out of the book we all have, and if we read it, we know everything he's going to say when we get there. ... Last night we had the election of officers. He took charge of the meeting, and did all of the work. It seems to me that the retiring President should conduct the elections, and the secretary write the names. He tries to run the whole thing.
Now he wants a reading circle - to read “Hamlet.” We’re not to “vivisect” it - a favourite work of his - he heard a professor use it once, we’re just to read it and enjoy it. One of the girls said it would take a lot of preparation on the part of the one who read it. He said no. - She said she couldn’t read it and explain any difficult parts without a great deal of preparation. He appealed to me, because last year I suggested that if by the constitution we were supposed to have a semi-monthly meeting that we have it. We did two last winter.
But for my part, I have enough to do, without adding anything else that I ought to go to. I get so sick of that. Our class motto is, "In love and friendship, serve one another," but among ourselves whenever we speak of him it is only to know. And it makes me sick.
Last night we weren’t giving him a very good hearing when I happened to look at his wife. She was staring into her lap, with her lips tightly compressed. I felt sorry for her, and pretty much ashamed of ourselves. But he is so inane. All summer he has neglected the class, and now that he has taken a notion to attend again, he thinks we should all hop around at his command. We got so disgusted with him because he before their child was born, he stayed home with his wife about half the Sundays. And he didn’t come to church either. I guess that’s enough of him. But I hate jangling and we’re getting into a very bad habit.
When we are together again, we’re not going to exhibit our love for each other before the public gaze. I’m not going to take your arm when we walk. I don’t like it. They do it and everybody thinks they’re awfully soft. One reason why you found me so unresponsive was that we were seldom alone, without fear of interruption.
Yesterday and to-day are Indian summer days. ... It seemed so quiet on the residential streets where I was walking, and was so clear and sunny I thought of a certain day I went to a Rugby match in my second year. It was just such a day, only warmer, because I wore a cream serge suit. My friend Irene Stitt had new black fox furs and she persuaded herself that it was cold enough to wear them. Eldridge [Moshier] and I had a good laugh over her idea of the weather.
... Harold Smith used to think quite a lot of her [Irene Stitt]. Why were you glad his fiancée isn’t the Pittsburgh girl. I remember her as a very charming girl. Her aunt is a great friend of Hazel’s [Farley].
You surprise me when you say you thought I cared for John. I didn't think anyone thought that. ... Now I'm going down town to post this, and to go to the stores.
Goodbye, my dearest,
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 8, 1913
My Own Dear Sweetheart,-
I have just finished dressing, and am going to write you a short note and post it this afternoon so that you won't have to skip a day. This noon brought your Monday letter. ...
Father has gone down to see your Uncle Freeman - if he'll be allowed to see him. The doctor said he might live a week. I'm telling you this in case you may not have heard, except through the telegram to Fritz. I'm so sorry they are coming home under such conditions. It seems as if our parents ought to stay with us always.
We were practising for our Christmas cantata last night and I think it's going to be nice. ... Instead of the children receiving presents at the Sunday School concerts, they bring presents and give them to some needy children who are invited. ... I have decided what we'll give our mothers a year from this Christmas. We'll get them nice tablecloths and napkins, and I'll hem them and embroider monograms on them. I'm bound to convince you that fancy sewing isn't a waste of time, at least not the kind in which I indulge. Some of it is worse than useless, but other things are beautiful, and that is reason enough for their being. I don't like ready made clothes, as a rule. I have scarcely ever had any. ... I'm going to enjoy making my clothes. I like to plan colours and to use my own taste in designs.
... Ora says she's going to stop writing to Art pretty soon. Strange isn't it? I guess I'll keep up a correspondence with you for a few months. What do you say to that.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little girl,-
It's just half past twelve. Dr Moshier is coming up for dinner and I'll fill in the time before his arrival by talking to you.
I didn’t go to church this morning. It was after twelve when I went to bed last night and I was very tired for I’ve had a very heavy week - and have a like one in prospect. ..
...It was a beautiful morning for a walk, with a delightful autumnal haze overspreading foothills and mountains. The air is warm and soft. Don't think we've been having cold weather ever since that time we were staking oil. That was the coldest night we've had this year. Since then the weather couldn't be improved upon. I'm wearing my summer underwear and have no desire or need for heavier clothes. We've had an ideal fall so far.
I expected to go to Fritz's last night. I think I told you I intended staying with Elizabeth and her mother at nights while Fritz is away. But last night I was working late at the office at something that had to be done before Monday and Elizabeth said they'd rather stay alone than stay up until I could get there. They usually go to bed about ten or shortly after. Besides, last night her friend Miss Gill from Victoria who came in the morning was with them and they were not afraid.
I was interrupted at this point by the arrival of Dr Moshier and he's only just gone. Had you told Dell of our engagement. Because if you did she is a very discreet young lady. I told Heber today and he was very much surprised - said he had never guessed at it. Say, do you know when they expect to be married, or where they count on going for a wedding trip?
A remark Heber made in casual conversation the other night made me wonder whether he wasn’t expecting to be married about the same time as we do. I didn’t say anything to him about it. In fact I’m not sure that he thinks I know Dell or that they are engaged. ...
Had a very pleasant visit with Heber today although it was short, as he had an appointment he had to keep. Moshier’s becoming official physician to Clarke McCarthy & Co. ...
Monday 1:10 p.m.
I'm writing this letter by installments. I thought I'd finish it yesterday after Sunday School but there was a short after service and then I had to see R B Bennett, M.P. and the interview lasted a whole hour - which made me late for supper at Elizabeth's. ...
This was another rushing day and I had to put your three letters in my pocket unopened. I read them at intervals of leisure while waiting in chambers. Have just come from there and as none of the other fellows are home for lunch, I'm snatching these few moments. I'm hoping I'll get this posted yet before the train leaves, but I have to go from here direct to the Court House again and so may not get the chance.
Poor little girlie, it's too bad that I've fallen down so badly in my correspondence the past few days. What will you think of me? And the worst is - the prospect is no brighter for a little while, though I'm hoping that after this week I'll be back to normal again. But if my letters have been poor, yours have been correspondingly better. I wish I could tell you how much they mean to me. If possible they make you more dear everyday, though I don't see how you can be dearer to me than you are now. There's the lunch bell. If only I was going to sit opposite you, dearest, at the table.
Your own Fred.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 9, 1913
My Dear Fred,-
Ora is washing the tea dishes, isn't she a good sister? When I came home from Sunday School I sat down and read a little in some L.H.J.'s. Did you notice in an article on "The Right Man" that one woman said she believed that a long acquaintance and a short engagement was the best preparation for marriage.
I was lying down for a few minutes before tea, and I was wondering if there'd be any times when we could spend part of the afternoon and all of the evening together. It will sometimes be a great temptation to stay home from church at night, won't it? I was thinking pretty hard about you, and I want so much to be with you. I don't know why I love you. Oh, I know some reasons, but there has come in my feeling toward you, a great yearning for you, and such a wave of tenderness. It seems, sometimes, as if I see a grown woman loving her husband with all her power. But it also seems that I merely look at that woman and know how she feels. I am outside, a selfish careless girl. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. Do you ever? And I lie awake for a few minutes and think of you. Then I fall asleep again, and it is almost as if I had been near you. That happened last night.
To-day has been terribly stormy. I woke this morning to find snow coming in my window. Later, the snow turned to rain, and it has simply poured all day. Needless to say, we had a very small congregation. This district is having a missionary campaign, and the ministers are exchanging work. This morning, Dr. Langford, who is supplying for Dr. Henderson, preached. ... Dr. Langford was a colleague of old Mr. Howard who lived at Hagersville. Their circuit, Warwick, took in six townships. and they had nineteen appointments. Dr. Langford was there two years, and then he was sent to Hamilton, under Dr. Rice. Hamilton was then under one board, having three preaching places.
Mr. Howard used to tell us wonderful tales of that early life, when they rode on horseback through the fields, visiting the scattered homes. One place where they went to stay all night, the woman was going to make the children get up and give the preachers their bed, but the preachers preferred the settle. There were too many occupants of the bed. Now I guess I'll have to get ready for church. ...
Dr. Langford was telling us that they have brought the old bell up from Cobourg and put it on the new residences. His grandson gets his lunch at the dining Hall and says the meals are satisfactory. I was surprised to learn that the residences aren’t filled with Victoria students but that some of the students are registered in University College. I expressed my surprise and Mr. Beatty said they were glad to get in. “Then, I said, “Maybe they won’t look down on us quite so much.” Did you ever notice that tendency? That they seemed to think that Arts meant those registered in University College, that we were low caste and our men babies? They’ve had to eat some of their unspoken words when our students have beaten them in their work and in sports.
So you will flirt with me! That will be something new for me, for I don't think men ever flirted with me. Probably they thought it not worth while, or I may have been too stupid to understand. So we'll have plenty of flirting tournaments just you vs me. You say I'll flutter back to my hunter's nest. Hardly, I thought it was snares that hunters set for unwary birds, snares all covered with pitch or something sticky. I think you understand the way I feel. But yet, dearest, I feel that in one way you have wooed me ever since you knew me. You have lived right, so that you have made yourself the man I could love. It's only the decorations that have been lacking, but the solid foundation is there. And then too, I have something to which I may look forward. I think it's going to be very interesting to flirt with my husband, though of course, the end is known. However, there are various ways of working out a given plot, aren't there?
I must tell you that I am going to follow your good example, and am going to start teaching a Sunday-school class. I said some time ago I'd like to have this class, and to-day the superintendent asked me to take it. There are five or six boys. They have been without a teacher, and have become rather noisy and rude. Ora asked me what I'd do if they didn't behave, and I said I'd call her in. I hope we can get along well together. ...
Mother had Russell Smith telephone today, to find out about your Uncle Freeman. He was resting easily to-day, and they think he may live until Fritz gets home. What a sad home-coming it will be! And how different from the one they had planned sometime ago! ...
You simply must not get fat. ... If you find yourself getting so, you'll have to roll. Did you read "The Pink Corset" in the Journal some time ago. That was a funny story about a woman who rolled on the floor to reduce her flesh. I want some rings in some room in our house, probably the bathroom on which to take exercises. We might both grow taller if we stretched. At any rate, they're good for my neck. I used them at the Hall.
... Sorry you're so busy but don't let me make you miss your sleep. Just tell me how much you love me and then go sleep.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear Nora, -
Yesterday I was rushed all day from early morning until midnight - in fact I guess I broke the Sabbath for when I left the office last night about ten o'clock so that I'd get home before Elizabeth and Mrs Clarke were in bed. I brought a couple files with me. ... Well, I was poring away over them and didn't notice how time was passing until I suddenly looked at my watch and found it was half past twelve. I decided it was too late then to write to you, so I'm scribbling this short note this morning. ...
I'm in a very unconventional garb. It's just nine o'clock and the other people aren't out of bed yet. I slipped on a dressing gown - and came down stairs to light the gas heater to get hot water for a shower and bath. My slippers are at the Hermitage, so I'm here in the den clad only in dressing gown - with bare feet. ...
Won't it be nice to sleep late on Sundays and then sometimes I'm going to get up and get your breakfasts. What do you like for breakfast, dearie? I guess you know my stand-by - porridge, toast, egg or fruit (or both) and coffee. Until recently I had an egg and fruit both, but the Hermitage eggs have given marked evidences of too prolonged a seclusion from the active affairs of the world and so I've refrained from them of late. As a consequence, I've been making a lighter breakfast and I believe it's better for me. I believe I enjoy breakfast the most of any meal. It seems so much more private and homelike than the other meals.
I've often and often pictured you sitting opposite me beside the coffee urn, wearing some dainty negligée or house gown cut a wee bit low at the throat. Do you remember you told me you were going to have one made just for us too - so that I could kiss your throat? I'm going to call that your kissing gown. And then before I leave the house in the morning for the office, you're going to put your arms around my neck and kiss me, aren't you, dearest? You know I used to think it was pure silliness and softness that made husbands and wives kiss each other whenever they parted.
I remember in particular one beautiful couple I met in England. They were between 50 and 60 years old, - their family all grown up, some of them married and in Canada - the husband in business wasn’t at all the kind of man you’d expect to be affectionate or demonstrative, just a typical burly hardheaded business man, but I never saw anything more beautiful that the real affection of that man and wife. He never left the house even for a very short time without kissing her good bye, - and he was so tender and proud of her. Perhaps he carried the kissing a little too far, at first it seemed to me rather too much of a parade before strangers, but I don’t know. Anyhow it was delightful to think that after more than 30 years of married life they were still lovers. That’s the way we’re going to be aren’t we darling?
Must quit now and have my bath. Will write more this afternoon.
Your own Rusty.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 10, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
You'd better ask Elizabeth for another look at that picture of me in boy's clothes. For you see, dearie, the boy was another girl, and I am the girl in the nightie, transformed into a dress by means of a big sash. Oh, that is a fine joke on you. And I looked so nice, did I? ...
Another item in your letter that interested me very much. You saw what a bald statement you had made when you said you didn't like to see women wear shabby underwear. You tried to mend your remark, but merely made it worse by saying you didn't like to know they did. Really, I am quite shocked. I took you for an innocent, modest bachelor. And what do I find? Innocence! Modesty! Why, their names even are unknown to you. ...
Dad had just had a man to see about renting his house, and he thinks the man may buy it. I hope he does, but of course he can get a good rent for it, seventeen dollars. That’s pretty high.for a five roomed bungalow with bath, isn’t it?
Father has just come home from seeing a man who just lost his baby. They had been married a long time, and this was their first child, a beautiful one, daddy says. It died at birth. Why did you think I was worrying about Mrs. Brownlee's case, darling? I never thought about myself when I asked you that. I was just hoping that she had got well. I know a great many women do die when their children are born, but I never was afraid of that. So you don't need to make up your mind that you're going to be childless.
Here are some people to be married. I guess I'll have to stop. I may have time to write a little later. Maybe not, because we have to practise after League.
Fred to Evelyn
My darling Nora,-
... I've so much to say and so many questions to answer I hardly know where to begin. But at the outset let me once again thank you dearest for the lovely letters I've received during the past week. They mean so much to me - but dear as they are, they can't take the place of yourself. Rather, the better the letters, the more I long for your presence. Oh, if you were only here tonight my own dear little girlie! I never hear music but I want you to share it with me.
Just now Elizabeth is playing soft dreamy things. I guess she's lonely for Fritz. She fairly worships him, and indeed he has been very good to her, and he loves her dearly. Marriage has made a new man of him. And I've just been wondering, dearie, if, after we're married and if I should have to go away for a few days, whether you'd feel very lonely without me. We don't want to be separated, do we dearest? But sometimes if it is necessary, think of the joys of reunion.
I often picture what it will be to come home after the day’s work in the office to meet a bright welcome on our own threshold and to feel a pair of soft warm arms about my neck and your dear lips pressed to mine. Won’t that be a homecoming worth while? Don’t you sometimes wish you were a man just so you might come home to a dear wee wifie and a sweet welcome like that? If a man couldn’t do his best during the day with such a reward in prospect each night he isn’t worth much.
Elizabeth has been laughing at my change of views on letter writing. Not so many months ago I was very emphatic in my scoffing of lovers who wrote each other every day. Recently Roy told her that I had joined the ranks of those I formerly despised and she very naturally tried to take a fall out of me. Then she made a remark very similar to one I used to make “I should think you’d run out of material.” I haven’t noticed any dearth of material in your letters and I certainly haven’t run short myself. The trouble isn’t how to find things to talk about, but the time in which to tell them. Isn’t it strange how one’s ideas change?
I’m enclosing under separate cover a copy of “The Herald” which has one page devoted to the Symphony concert. Like all true Calgarians I'm very proud of the Orchestra and it is a very telling earnest of what Calgary can and will do along lines of culture. That the "cow-town" of Canada is the only one of all her cities to support a purely professional symphony orchestra is worth proclaiming from the housetops.
Let me also remind you that there isn’t another single city of less than 100,000 population in the whole of the continent of America which can boast a real symphony orchestra. That the business men of the city have so generously and willingly agreed to finance what cannot possibly be a self supporting organization speaks well for their public spirit and their interest in those things which will elevate and educate the people.
Regarding the concert itself I'll say nothing. I'm not a competent musical critic, but I've never heard orchestral music anywhere that to my mind surpassed it. I was simply held in thrall form beginning to end. ... Once you said the supreme test of our love would be to hear music together. I was wishing, oh how I was wishing last night that you were beside me with your hand in mine. Don't you ever tell Mrs Clarke I said this, or she might not think me very gracious or gallant. It was more than kind of her to invite me and I wouldn't have missed the concert now for more than I like to say. I intend going to all the rest if at all possible. I wish you were here for them, dearest. Never mind we'll go to the concerts next year. Won't that be glorious? Even Calgary has its compensations.
This morning Arthur (the office boy) was grumbling to the assembled crowd of students and stenographers “Mr Albright always mixes up all the business and personal mail looking for that one letter with the green seal.” You know he always sorts the mail into 2 piles - personal and business and he evidently thought my anxiety to get a certain letter was responsible for a disarrangement of his plans. Do you know you are very much an object of curiosity and wonder around the office these days? I shouldn’t be a bit surprised your ears often burn?
So you’ve been teased about losing your man to a desperate foreign missionary. It was a terrible pull but I’ve managed to withstand the pressure that was brought to bear on me. You see my motives of resistance were purely mercenary. I have a bet that Clara eventually marries Gordon Jones. You wouldn’t have me ruin my chances of winning by offering myself would you? So this danger is past and I’m still all your very own, - and likely to remain so until you get tired of me.
Did I ever meet Miss German before? Why of course. She’s one of the comparatively few girls I met at college. I always admired her and liked - within limits- to talk to her occasionally, but I can’t honestly say I ever really liked her, - possibly because I didn’t know her well enough. I can’t say I’ve changed my mind, although I’m willing to accept your judgement....
And so you are half a twin. I never knew that before, and I never thought it possible that one could be born so long before the other. Is that what caused your mother's illness for such a long time after you were born? Well no matter whether as your mother claims, you didn't have a fair start, we're going to see that you have a clear field from now on aren't we dearest? And I believe with you that you’ll get perfectly well and strong after you are married. I’m going to try to help you take care of yourself. We’ll be out in the open air as much as we can and get as much exercise as possible
Elizabeth is counting on the time when we'll all go out riding together. It will be glorious to go for long rides together, and you and I will sometimes race Elizabeth and Fritz and we'll beat them too, won't we dearest? And then, I believe the change of climate and change of occupation will be good for you. I think I can appreciate what you mean by the complaint about the rush and pressure of religious meetings and petty interruptions for other people's affairs. And while I don't want that we shall live selfishly to ourselves, I do mean to prevent your being worked to death over church affairs and religious observances.
And lastly, I believe you are one of the kind of women who grows stronger after marriage. I've often heard doctors remark about some women who before marriage were the very picture of health, and afterwards became ailing, while on the other hand women who had seemed particularly strong as girls became perfectly well and strong through marriage. I believe you to be in the latter class.
No, rest easy, my dearest I’m not afraid you are on the road to invalidism. We’re both going to keep well and strong if care and love can make us so, - and we’re going to be happy anyhow, well or ill. ...
So you are worrying about my fat. I’m not getting fat in the way I was a year ago, and I guess that’s what you object to so much isn’t it? My belt waistline isn’t any bigger than it was when I was home this last summer. I don’t want a big “corporation” any more than you do, dearie, and I don’t intend to get it if I can help it. And when I have you with me, you’ll smooth out all the wrinkles and keep me from getting old. If only you were here tonight to caress me and lie in my arms. I’d tell you a thousand times I love you and seal each declaration with a kiss.
How soon do you start your business career? Perhaps it will be a pleasant change for you. Anyhow I'm glad you're going if you like it and feel it will do you good. Only please be careful not to be on your feet too much, and don't let yourself get too tired. ...
your very own sweetheart.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 11, 1913
My Own Dear Rusty,-
...I got stopped last night by some English people, who, foolish creatures, wanted to get married. She arrived here Thursday morning from England. She is the age of twenty-two years, rather too old to be tripping across the Atlantic. She was as bright an English girl as I have seen, I mean, for one of her class. She was pretty, and neat too. Thursday she saw some Pollock [Polish?] women coming from some factory, and thinking them to be full fledged Canadians, she decided that Canadian women were queer looking, in some cases, positively ugly.
We were speaking of the King and Queen, and the groom said, “Oh, nobody at ‘ome thinks anything of them. He boozes too much.” And then he said, “This is the way she goes,” and he minced across the room with his nose in the air. It was very funny. He was in Australia some time ago, but she would not go there ‘it was too fah.”... They were really a very interesting young couple.
... To-day your letter containing part of your talk with Elizabeth came. Her college course "took" pretty hard, didn't it. Our year was essentially not a class of highbrows, and I always felt very humble in her presence. For one thing, I'd like to know where she got her idea of culture prevalent in a small Ontario town. If Calgary is any worse! You know Beamsville. I never thought it overflowing with literary geniuses. Hagersville was worse in that respect, except for a musical coterie. This town is worse still. Hardly half, well doubt if half the people with whom I am thrown in contact here have ever gone one year to the High School.
The majority of the people here do not value an education. There are about fifty in the High School, in a town of nearly three thousand inhabitants. As soon as they are old enough, girls and boys alike, start to make their own money. The girls spend their money pretty largely in clothes. People are too busy working to have much time to read, and the majority are too lazy to think. And talk about backsliding! I scarcely read at all. However, I consider this an exceptional year. But I know that keeping house is different from attending college. One certainly has time to think though, and if I weren't so lazy mentally, I might give my brains some exercise. ...
An Acta has arrived. I wrote them to stop my subscription. Now I'll have to do it again. Ray [Albright] figures in Locals and in a picture too. There's a good picture of the residences. Or are you more loyal than I am, and do you still subscribe?
Father just came in Your Uncle is not any worse. Fritz has arrived. So Elizabeth did not come. This isn't a lovey letter is it? It would take more than two sheets to tell you how much I want to be with you.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear sweetheart,-
This morning's mail brought your Saturday and Sunday letters. ... Why did you say you judged I was "becoming tired of self-revelation and would fain hark back to my former conventional talk." You really don't think that do you? Weren't you only saying it by way of a well-justified criticism of my recent letter darling,? I couldn't bear to have you think that I want to become stiff or formal with you. You know my darling, that it isn't so, but that I love you better every day and want to reveal my real inner self with all my longings, hopes and fears to you who are my better half - nay the whole of me.
Surely the very fact that I have said as much recently about my business would tell you that I don't want to hide anything from you. I hate talking about my business, or telling how busy I am - it seems so much either like boasting of what I'm doing, or apologizing for not writing. However it may sound, I don't mean it in either way. I've only told you because I think it only fair to you that you should know what I am doing and even to give you the privilege of scolding me if you think best. But please, please, dearest, don't think I've changed. Yes I have changed. I love you more than I ever did and I think of you more and long for you more and kiss you more - yes and talk to you more even if I haven't put my thoughts to paper.
Every night no matter how tired I am, and while you are fast asleep in the arms of that old Morpheus - I'm very jealous of him and if I had my way it wouldn't be in his arms you'd rest. I talk to you and fondle and kiss you, and oh how I long for you to be with me! How can I make you understand my darling just how dear you are to me and how much I want you? I just can't find words to tell you and if I can't make you feel it by the strength and persuasive power of my love I don't know how I can make you understand until I am with you. But something tells me your own heart tells you what I cannot put into words. If I didn't really believe that I'd be miserable indeed.
Poor little girlie, I know only too well that you have cause for complaint, not only about my letter of a week ago Sunday, but of most of them since then. You don't need to tell me that they were poor insipid things, I realize it only too well, and that it really isn't fair to you to inflict such poor excuses upon you especially when you have been sending me such dear letters yourself. But please dear, don't judge too harshly.
Don't you yourself feel less like writing when you are tired or rushed for time? It isn't that you think any the less of me but when your mind and body are fagged with the day's rush and bustle and worry you can't put your thoughts into definite shape for others to read. At least I can't. In fact I don't seem to have thoughts at all - just a heart ache for your presence and cheer and love, - an ache none the less real - nay - all the more so -because it can't be expressed in language of the mind. The feeling is deep seated and far-reaching and intense but the usual powers of expression are lacking. And so, dearest, it has been with me very much during the past two weeks.
Don't think I am getting careless and trying to let work crowd out thoughts of you. But remember, dearest, that sometimes - just as at present, the amount of work that crowds upon me is partly beyond my control, - and besides, that what I am doing now is not for myself alone but for us and for our home that is to be. If you take delight in planning the furnishings of our home, don't think I fail to realize that what I do now and what I earn now and the place I make now for myself in my profession all are to the end that we may pay for and enjoy our home together.
Don't think I work for the fun of it. I do enjoy my work and wouldn't be idle for anything. I like the joy of struggle and achievement - but ever since you put your arms around my neck that morning in the hotel in Toronto and said "Don't you think I'm giving my answer?" my great incentive and motive has been the building of a house for you. I'm not saying any of these things by way of excuse for the poor letters I've written, but so that you will be as lenient as you can in your judgement and that you will endeavor to realize, no matter how much I seem to fail you, my heart is in the same place - in the keeping of a dear little girl with a kissable mouth in the Methodist parsonage at Thorold.
Are you afraid that after we're married I'll want to make you take my arm on the street if you don't want to? Personally, I haven't the same objection to that, that I used to have. I don't like people to be "soft," but I think familiarity of husband and wife even in a public place isn't objectionable so long as it isn't assumed, or obnoxious to the other people. However I don't intend to try to overcome any of your deep rooted objections along these lines. You don't expect me to be a sort of drill master do you? Why I want to be your husband not your boss. And right here, let me say that I don't want to make a public exhibition of love either. It's something sweet and precious for us - not for vulgar curiosity, - but at the same time I'm not only in love with but I'm also proud of my sweetheart and when I'm married I don't expect to put on a long face and try to give people the impression that I'm an unwilling victim doing penance for some past sin. ...
You wonder why I am glad Harold Smith didn't choose the Pittsburg girl. Because I think she has deliberately chosen the poorer part . From what Harold told me, I judge she was not only charming but accomplished. But you know what she has been doing don't you? She was physical directress at the same Y.W.C.A., or similar institution in Pittsburg, and I imagine she got to think so much of her body that she didn't want anything to come in the way of her physical pleasures. She didn't want to marry because she didn't want to lose her so-called freedom - and because she didn't want children.
From what Harold said, to judge she has a beautiful figure and perfect health. Quite properly she enjoys life physically, but I am afraid it is to the exclusion of the mental and spiritual things. She has wanted to go on the stage - as a chorus girl, perhaps she has already. Now chorus girls may be alright, but I confess I lose some respect for a girl who deliberately, with her eyes open to want she is doing - when she isn't compelled by necessity - chooses to display her physical charms on a public stage, gloss it over as you will, that's what most of the chorus girls' work consists of.
I admire the human form as much as the next man, but I think a woman must lose some of her finer feelings when she prostitutes her physical beauty to such uses as their display in public. I think a woman's form should be kept to be admired only by the man she loves and marries. That's one reason I hate so many of the dresses that have been worn of late. They seem to have been designed solely for the purpose of revealing woman's physical charms. That's one of the things, dearie, that I've always liked so much in you.
You've always been my ideal of daintiness and womanly modesty. I'd hate to think that I were not the first to really see you - oh I know, most people would say I'm a crank - that good women don't really display themselves to men generally. Well, they don't show their whole selves but so many women who really think themselves nice and modest - seem to take a delight in half-revealing their forms and they do as much harm by suggestive lures and attitudes - perhaps more - as if they stalked about the streets in nature's garb.
Doesn't this sound brutally frank? Well, I feel strongly on this subject, - and I'm so glad my darling that in this regard as in so many others you are my perfect ideal incarnated in the living flesh. I love every bit of you - the parts I have not seen as well as the parts I have seen, but I'm so glad that with your body as with your heart and mind - there are beauties unrevealed to the ordinary person and that they will be seen and admired and loved only by your own, - your very own, man.
Why are you surprised because I thought you cared for John? Certainly he cared for you, and most people thought the feeling was mutual. I will confess I always had a sort of feeling that you didn't really love him, though I thought you were very near the border land of love, and to outward appearances you had crossed beyond the border. However, I know now you didn't, and I also know you are my very, very own little sweetheart, and I am yours.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 12, 1913
My Own Dear Rusty,-
... You won't get a very long letter tonight because I'm not in the mood for writing. I have the 'grippe,' but I haven't a cold, only I ache all over. I hate to feel tough, sick people are always so uninteresting. I don't like to tell you when I feel ill because I seem to be whining and complaining all the time, whereas I'm well most of the time, and I'm going to be better when I come to you.
My dear, let us not get in the way of speaking harshly. Some people speak so emphatically that they let their voices get harsh unconsciously. They get rather provoked at me here because I object to loud talking. You said I spoke so low you often could not hear me. I don't want to do that. But to have people shouting is most disagreeable. And oh, I don't want to be fault finding. I suppose we'll each see faults in the other, but when we do, let us tell each other kindly, not scold. I believe scolding is often the result of overstrained nerves. ... Will you help me to keep from finding fault? And also from whining. Marion Pettit accused me of it when I started to college, but she made fun of me so much that I got over it. I hope the cure will prove permanent.
You say you think a man cares more about his wife's dress than his own. If she dresses to please him, doesn't he owe her the same consideration. If there is one thing I like it is to see a man carefully groomed, and especially an elderly man. They so often get careless as they grow old. Our S. S. teacher is so careless at the age of twenty-four or five, that sometimes when he comes to a meeting even his hands look dirty. ...
So you hope I have changed my views on the theatre! I have, gradually, and quite a time ago, I decided that I would go when I left home. This is one more case where I have been bold in thought, but timid in deed. Of course, I think people ought to use a great deal of discrimination. And I'm not sorry I didn't go at college. I don't think I approve of it for the immature. Now you'll smile, won't you? So you'll have to stay at home, and I'll go. How will you like that?
This is a night when you would read to me, and I should lie on the couch where I'd be nice and warm. There are very uninteresting little chills plying around my back bone. But I'm going to have a hot bath and go to bed soon. Was intending to write to Margaret tonight, but she'll have to wait a little longer.
No letter as yet to-day, but dad may bring one. No, I can't kiss you. You might catch my chills. But I'll be better tomorrow and you'll make up for it then.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 13, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
This forenoon dad came rushing home with a registered parcel and pretended he was going to open it. I knew it was for me so we had a little scuffle, Ora of course joining in. But I refused all entreaties to open it until tomorrow which is the day. It's upstairs under my pillow now so that I can open it the first thing in the morning. To-day brought cards from Hazel and Dell and a letter from Art. I'll thank you better for my gift when I can expatiate on its beauty. But I wish you were here, dearest, so that I could thank you with more than my pen. At any rate, it's my last birthday without you, isn't it darling?
... I wish it would hurry up and be tomorrow so that I can open the box. I know what I think it is. ... This is half of November gone. Do you count the days and months too. But they're all happy, because we have each other.
Goodnight my future pal.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear little sweetheart,-
I came out here right after dinner this evening, and while Elizabeth and her mother chatted with a neighbor who had called I pored over a file I brought from the office relating to a case that comes on for trial next week. The incompetence of the average United States lawyer is proverbial, but I really didn't expect such a glaring exhibition as was revealed to me tonight.... The evidence has just come back and I was reading it over tonight. Judge of my disgust at finding the fool attorney who represented us forgot to prove the most essential feature of the whole case. ...
But to return to more pleasant topics than overdrafts. How have you spent the day, dearest? You've now reached the time, haven't you, when women cease to have birthdays? But I'm hoping that this is really the first one you've known as a woman. All before have been girlish anniversaries, haven't they? But now you've awakened to the real joys of womanhood this should really be a first birthday rather than an anniversary. Is it not so?
So last Sunday afternoon you were longing specially for me, dearest. It must have been about the time I was on my way to Sunday School, after Heber left. Just at that time I was with you in thought and longing so much for your presence. Don't you believe in telepathy? Yes, I've thought too. That there'll be a great temptation to stay home sometimes from church - but then we'll have our evenings to ourselves. Let's make it a rule not to make Sunday a visiting day. Of course I'd like sometimes to have a few intimate friends like Fritzs' come in but for the most part I'd like to keep Sunday for a day of rest and worship. Does it sound sacrilegious to say, that when I'm not worshipping god, I'll worship you?
You ask me to tell how much I love you. How can I? I don't know myself. There's nothing to measure it by. It doesn't mean much to say that I care for you infinitely more than for anyone else in the world. Words can't tell. As I've told you before, I'll have to let my life tell instead. It is now, though you may not know it, I'm not as selfish as I was. Though I never fully realized it, my first thought used to be of myself. Now, it's of you. Real selfishness can't exist with true love, can it?
Do you know I am so glad to hear you say you don't know why you love me. It seems to me that where a person feels that way, if the love is founded upon respect and esteem and trust, there can be absolutely no doubt about it's being the best kind. If you could logically analyze your love for me - reason it out and talk of it in terms of cause and effect - could point to my various qualities that are responsible for it - I’d be afraid that it wasn’t after all more than a highly developed friendship and esteem.
But when you say there is some great yearning which you can’t explain, that exists without any apparent reason - then I know your love is the holy and everlasting love of a woman for her true mate. I’m so glad my darling that you told me this. It makes me very happy. You haven’t any doubts now have you?
No, I very seldom lie awake nights or waken up in the middle of the night - never - unless I have been over-tired or my nerves over-wrought during the day. It has not happened once since I was home this summer. As a rule I fall asleep almost immediately after my head touches the pillow - unless I intentionally lie awake for a time thinking of you before I say good night to you. And in the morning I don’t awaken gradually as some people do. ...
Much as I like to have you think of me, dearest, I'd rather for your sake you didn't do it in the middle of your sleep. I'm afraid it will tend toward insomnia and nothing is worse for the nerves than irregular or broken sleep. So try, dearest to sleep right through the whole night without waking. ...
Today I had a letter from Bill, [Albright] written at Prairie Lodge on October 29th. They arrived safely on the 26th, after a rather more arduous trip than they had anticipated. The letter was very short and didn't tell anything about the country, except to say that it was much as he had expected only slightly more rolling. I do hope they'll not get homesick. Just imagine, - being practically three weeks journey from a railway! It seems really too much to ask a woman to go into a country like that. Of course Eva will have her own parents near her so it isn't like going into an utterly strange country.
Are you really worrying dearest about my fat? I don't think you have much cause, for though there is a family tendency that way, I think it can be overcome partially by exercise and proper dieting. What you dread most is corpulence isn’t it? Well I’m not any more so than when I was home and I don’t think I’ll become so in the near future. ... as for the future, I'll trust you to keep me thin. Just see how many different schemes you can try on me - beating carpets, rolling on the floor, lacing in pink corsets, turning somersaults, jumping through rings like a performing puppy ...,
... And you are going to try the ring stunts too are you? All right dear we’ll have a regular gymnasium fitted up and we’ll have daily performances. Shall we get a pair of boxing gloves and a punching bag too, or am I to serve as a punching bag, and stand up and let you pound the fat off? It will be as good exercise as kneading bread, won’t it?
Talk about the strenuous life! I see I’m in for it with a vengeance. But seriously, dearest, I think your idea is a good one, especially if those exercises are good for your neck. How is it? Does it pain you still? I don’t like to think that you are suffering in that way. Can’t something be done to cure it completely. When I get the right to look after you, I’m going to have you see a specialist.We’re not going to suffer poor-health, if it cant be prevented, are we dearest?
How I wish you were here for a goodnight hug and kiss, one, did I say? Nay, a thousand, until you dropped off to sleep from sheer happiness.
Goodnight, my own true love.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 15, 1913 #1
Yesterday your Monday letter came. I was surprised. Of course I noticed that your letters were short and impersonal, but I thought you were busy or tired. I know often I don’t feel like writing much and then I don’t do it. I don’t want it to be a burden to either if us. But, frankly, it made me smile to think of you being jealous. I’d like to give you a good hug and drive away your silly thoughts. Your [sic] a great big baby, but I don’t know that I like you any the less for that. Yet you are funny. I hope you don’t mind if I laugh at you. As for forgiving you, that is my answer. If you didn’t want me to love you, why then I should have cause for complaint, but not because you want me to. Never that.
These last two months have been pretty strenuous for me, but, honestly, I don’t love you any less for that. You didn’t understand that, as yet, I am my father’s daughter, and not your wife. So you see, I have to act the part. ...
Yesterday we went down to the city. I bought some lovely towels which Hazel is going to cross-stitch for me, and some material for a boudoir cap. Do you know what kind of an animal that is? I'm not going to tell you, I'll show you when you come home. There is some of the prettiest pink voile, with pink rosebuds in it, that I think I’ll have. It’s so pretty, I wanted it the minute I saw it. See what an acquisitive disposition I have! ...
This was our "Go to church Sunday," and despite the slush, about 650 people went. It has been a lovely spring day. The boys were on pins and needles to-day, I told them they acted as if they had St. Vitus' dance. One called it St. Viper's dance. It was hard work teaching to-day. Now it is ten o'clock and I'm going to bed. I'm pretty tired.
Good-night my dearest. You're not my jealous one - you're fair now.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 15, 1913 #2
My Dear Rusty,-
You're not the only one to be ashamed, so please stop making excuses when you miss a day. I could have written yesterday afternoon, but I was feeling so tough I lay down all afternoon. ... Yesterday morning when I woke up I found some lumps on my body so I decided I must have chicken-pox. Dad went to the doctor and reported my symptoms. He said, cruel man, that it was my liver. Last night I was covered with these pimples, and they're present to-day, but I think they're getting better. Of course I have some dope now. I was free from it all summer. But maybe when these lumps are gone my blood will be completely purified. I feel well to-day, last night the things itched like everything and I was half awake nearly all the time, and decided that I could never get up in the morning and put my clothes on. I was dreaming about Miss Rogers also. You haven't told me the result of your council-of war.
Yesterday I woke before it was light, but decided I wouldn't open my parcel for a while longer. Then as soon as it was light Ora came in and I opened it. It is very beautiful and I am very proud of it. I was going down town yesterday so that I could have an excuse to carry it, but I didn't go. Had I known before just how nice it would be to have a sure enough beau, I'd have had you long ago. You smile, Villain How much you will bet that I wouldn't? I don't want to thank you, that seems too formal. So I'll give you something that is much more informal.
I meant to write a longer note to-day, but I must hurry to the post ... Say, if that doctor is coming in here, I wanted get this posted. And he is. Oh. confound him.
Well, he says I have chicken pox. Hope you don't catch it. He says they don't quarantine for it so you can't prevent me writing. But it's too late for the mail now, so I'll finish this later. ...
Do you ever feel as if you were a sort of machine that just went and in which you yourself had no interest? I seems this last few days as if nothing interests me particularly. I guess I have a dose of ennui. I haven't been outdoors much this week, so perhaps that accounts for it. Friday afternoon I was half asleep for a couple hours and I was with you all the time. But nights you don't come when I call you. Is it because you have decided you won't talk to me because you fear lest it tire us? Will you be disappointed when I tell you that I don't think I'll ever find housekeeping an absorbing pleasure? But that it is something necessary, that has to be done, and therefore a good deal of satisfaction can be derived from doing it well. But I want some interests outside that.
Here are the Catholics coming home from church, long lines of them. It is cold to-day, yet quite bright. I wish I were at school again. This is the time of year when I care most about being back. My dear, you'll have to find some time to study your S.S. lesson other than Sunday morning. I don't like staying home from church in the morning - I feel so stupid and cross when I don't go. ...
Well, my dear, the dishes are washed once more and the church-goers have once more wended their way thither. I've been reading for about five minutes, but thought I'd talk to you first. I'm starting The French Revolution in real earnest this time. I suppose you are astounded that I never read it before. I bought it several years ago, but when I wanted to read it, didn't have time, when I had time didn't want to read it. I'm getting rather empty of ideas, so I must start to read something worthwhile. It is so easy to read stories that I'm getting mentally lazy.
You said you were going to get a set of Dickens. Somewhere a short time ago, I know, it was in “V.V’s Eyes,” the author was describing a library which was filled with “Sets” of books, so displeasing to the true book-lover. I was thinking to-day that we’ll have to have some order for our reading, and we’ll read French and German as well as English, won’t we dear? That sounds ambitious, doesn’t it? I know it will be slow work at first, for we are both pretty much out of practise, ...
When I go into business, I won't have much time to write to you, because at the end I have to work nights. It's grand when there's a rush. It's very interesting to watch the presents the girls and boys buy for each other. One girl paid a deposit on a fob for her beau and she'd come in a couple times a day to look at it, to make sure she liked it. What do you want me to steal for you? Guess I'll get you a nice big signet ring ... You have to wear a wedding ring after you get married. I'm not going to have you pose as a man free and unattached after once you are properly fastened. ... By the way, did you pick out my bag all by yourself, or did Elizabeth help you. Merely curiosity prompted this question as Art's sister-in law's sister often helps him in that delightful task. It is fun now, isn't it?
Oh my dearest, I'd like to snuggle up close to you to-day. I'm getting so lonesome for you I'm glad we're not going to have such a long time to wait as Ora has had.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 16, 1913
My Own Dear Fred,-
The family has just left for church. The doctor said I didn’t need to stay in, but I thought I shouldn’t thank anyone for giving me chicken-pox, so I decided to stay home. I wanted to go too, as it is our E.L. Rally, ...
... You don't need to worry about me having this childish disease. It is rather unpleasant because I'm both sore and itchy. And mother wouldn't let me take a bath last night. There's a big spot on my chin and I'm afraid it will leave a mark. I'm not scratching my face, so maybe it won't be spotted. For one thing I am devoutly thankful that what I have is chicken-pox, and not Cuban itch, which is going around town. It takes two months to get cured of that in the winter. But enough of rashes.
You asked if I had told Dell of our engagement. No. I was going to have a pleasant surprise for her when she came down. Now see what you've done. She'll know probably two weeks before I intended that she should. Nobody here knows it either. I wear my ring nearly all the time, but nobody sees it. After New Year's I'll wear it I guess. I hope it doesn't make any difference to you. I don't see how it can anyway. Yesterday mother was saying that when she was young, people didn't announce their engagement as soon as it happened. I said "yes, but they 'went together' from the time they were in swaddling clothes and they never got engaged. They just took it for granted that they were." ...
Oh! you asked me about Dell and Heber. I think they expect to be married next summer, so probably they'll select June. Where are they going mooning? I know not. What was in your mind? A quartette? Dell's been making things for two or three years now, and her mother had a whole boxful of things stored up over at her son's, in expectation of the great event. She used to buy things and give them to Dell and it made Dell angry. So she just kept on buying, but she hid them. Then when Dell became engaged, she brought out her hoardings. Dell was no longer angry, on the contrary she was pleased. Won’t she think that I’m going to be “shy” of a good many things she has? I was going to say I don’t care, I do. But I’d rather have what I’ll have than all she may have, because I have a man who brings the scales way down in my favour...
Portion of letter missing.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 17 1913
You are that, aren't you. If you were here "seeing" me tonight, we'd have a good time, even if the wind does howl most mournfully. ... I am all alone again tonight. All alone? Oh, no, I'm talking to you. If I could only lay my head on your shoulder! Or would you be afraid of getting my chickens? Mother said that I tried to sit near Fritz last night, so that I could send them to you - I did mention those pickled peaches though, that I am determined you shall have.
It seemed rather funny last night for Fritz to be here, and you likely at his place. I was sitting beside him on the lounge and he said he guessed he could do it because you acted like that to his wife. ... but I started out to tell you how lonesome I felt last night. Fritz was a sort of connecting link and because he sort of belongs to you it made me more homesick than ever to see you.
When I was lying in bed last night I played make believe that we were together. We were sitting opposite each other at the library table you studying and I writing letters. ... I never realized so clearly as I did last night, just how you do love me. Your eyes, my darling, can tell me things your lips can not. Sometimes I've seen the shine in Art's eyes after he has been looking at Ora, but yours shone for me. I don't really see why you love me but I'm so glad you do. And though in one way time seems long, yet in another way, it passes quickly for I have a pleasing subject for meditation.
Elizabeth's long-looked for letter has at length arrived. It is a very nice letter, and I'll keep it to show you. She didn't forget the lack of mental stimulus but put it up to me to create it for myself. Aside from that she showed the best side of things, and said she was never so happy in her life. I like their practice of having Saturday afternoons together, don't you? And she recommends riding, with all its aches and pains. Won't we have grand times together? It seems like a fairy story really, and I can hardly believe it's true, that at last you and I have found each other. We have been waiting for each other for so many years.
Do you know when I was a little girl at Beamsville I think it was, I started praying for the man I was going to marry. And you thought I wanted a career. I did, and I do, but I never wanted one that would take me out of my home. ... But I haven't given up all my hopes of literary achievement. Once upon a time I made a visit to Miss Jean Graham and one piece of advice she gave me was this, “Write a little every day.” See now how you are preparing me to enter the field of journalism. My plea has always been that I haven’t had time. Perhaps I didn’t make time. But I haven’t felt quite ripe. I see things more clearly now than I did two or three years ago. One must live in order to write anything worth reading.
...And you thought I was finding fault with your letters because they were short, or told about your business? My dear, I like to hear about your work. I don't think it sounds like boasting or like an apology. The work is to be done, you are there to do it. When I am tired I simply cannot write decently. I don't want to write at all, it's too much of an effort. So why should I expect anything different from you? I think you have written me lovely letters. Don't you think I understand that there are times when letters have to go below par. as well as stocks? And just pause to think too, that you have scarcely had time to have replies to the letters you called "insipid."...
I'm not going to write to you any more tonight, but shall now indite (a beautiful word) a few sentences, words, or phrases, to my friend Mae Finch. There are only five or six more, due some time ago. Will have to take an evening a week to write our letters won't we. Go to Symphony Concerts, will we? Ummm.
Goodnight dearest Rusty.
Nora sends her love.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear sweetheart,-
... Do you know, sweetheart, I've felt for a long time that I'm far too serious in my letter writing? My letters would be far more interesting and bright if sometimes written in a lighter vein. I suppose they best reflect my habits of thought. If so I must be getting to be more or less of an old "fogey." It's not a pleasant realization but candor compels me to admit it, and I've been counting on your bright influence to woo me back to some semblance of my former self for I wasn't always this way. I used to be light and even frivolous on occasion - perhaps too much so.
Even now I can "chaff" or "jolly" but that seems such a poor thing. Perhaps after all, the seriousness of my letters to you is mostly due to their earnestness. Certainly there's nothing light in my feeling for you. I care for you so intensely that my whole nature seems to cry out in a fierce endeavor to make you realize that I love you with every atom of my being. Perhaps after I become more accustomed to the conviction that you know this and that you love me, there'll be a change in the tone of my letters. What would you like dearie?
... So you wouldn't open the box until the day. You say you guessed its contents. Tell me, dearest, whether you guessed right will you, and if the joy of realization was as great as that of anticipation? Do you know I never liked to receive thanks before, but oh, how I wish I could be with you to receive yours!
At this point I was interrupted last night by some men with whom I had an appointment which kept me until midnight. Haven't time to finish now but will try to write a decent letter tonight.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov 18, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
What a big, delightful letter I got from you to-day! You had got none from me that day, so I think it's good for you, and that you write better letters when you don't get any. ...
When did we become engaged, you ask? Well, I don't know. Certainly I didn't mean it to be that morning in Toronto. When I came down that morning, did I deliberately walk over to you and put my arms around you? I don't believe it. The next thing you'll be trying to convince me that I proposed to you! When I went over to you, you pulled me down towards you and asked me if I weren't going to give you my answer. Then I asked you if you didn't consider that I was doing it. I really asked that to find out what you thought about it. I had been letting you kiss me two nights and here you were asking me if I weren't going to give you my answer. And I wanted to know if you thought I could let you caress me, as I had allowed you to do, if I hadn't really promised you.
Yet at the same time I wasn't a bit sure of myself, and that morning in the chapel I was actually frightened, for it seemed that without any intention on my part, without really meaning it, I had got myself engaged to you. And I was afraid. Do you understand? I don't see how you can, for I can't. I knew I wanted you then, I didn't want to be apart from you at all, but I didn't see how I could be sure that I'd always feel like that. Anyway, you took a base advantage of the question of a troubled soul. You acted as if you thought your answer to the question was the only right and proper one. When a man proposes to a girl, is it the custom for him to kiss her before she gives him the right to do so. You acted as if you didn't need to wait for an answer I wish I'd let you finish your plan of seige. You'll make up for it some day, and don't think you'll always find me such and easy prey as I was this summer.
I didn't like you much when we were out on the water, you were so cold and priggish. But I liked you on the train, and the nearer we got to Toronto the more I liked you, until by the time we got there I didn't want to say good-night to you, and would gladly have travelled all night that I might stay with you. That's very strange, isn't it, but it's true that my feelings did change during that ride. You came out of your shell and you proved very interesting. I used to get tired of hearing you talk sometimes, I wanted you to talk to me, just to me, and it bored me to have you talk to the general public. But that night you devoted yourself to me to such good purpose that I felt that I wanted more of you, all of you there was, is, and ever shall be - except the corporation.
You say you wanted to take me in your arms that last day in Bala. I really expected that you would. I think it is very strange that I knew somewhat of what was passing in your mind, but that it did not interest me very much. I knew from the tone of your voice that you were fighting hard against yourself. I knew you looked at me as long as you could see me, but you had said nothing of love to me. And I was rather proud and stubborn too, so I went on my own way, but I can't add, rejoicing.
Do you remember before we went to Muskoka, we sat on our verandah one morning stemming cherries? And you were talking about love. I said that if either of us knew anything of it we wouldn't tell the other anyway, so why discuss it. And you agreed with me. Do you remember one day you asked me to go for a walk with you in the woods at Beamsville, but instead I made you go down to Tufford's with me. When you asked me to go you said you had two questions to ask me, but when we went you would ask only one - my opinion about titheing when one didn't have much to tithe. And I often wondered what the other question was, but you refused most emphatically to tell me.
Once in my first year, you came for me to go for a walk and we went up over the hill at the head of Bathurst street. I remember that we had a nice walk, but that you seemed constrained. Like Margaret, I can deduce after I know. And I believe that I knew for a long time that you loved me, but that I was determined to act as if I were not aware of that fact, because you had tried so hard to conceal it from me.
You ask me what I want to do my next birthday? Why I hadn't thought of anything, except that I'd be with you. But, oh my dear, I hate to leave my mother. She will be so lonely. This morning I didn't get up early because I was sick last night, and when I came down she said, "well, how does my kiddie feel?" She calls me that when she teases me about you. And she said, "When he comes home at noon and finds you have just got up and there is no lunch ready, do you think he will feel as pleased about it as you mother does?" I had to acknowledge that I didn't think you would, but you're not going to come home on such days, if there are any. You'll have strict orders to stay downtown and if you don't obey you'll be court martialled. I will not have mutiny in my ranks. We'll have three days to celebrate next year, your birthday, mine, and our wedding birthday. We might be rich enough to afford a candle for the last one, but for the others - it would bankrupt us, I'm afraid.
...I was going to speak about our house. I certainly do want to have one of our own as soon as possible. Did you think it would be best to build one or buy one? You see, if we bought one right away we could get furniture that would suit a house we would build. When we got ready to build, we could sell the first one, but we will need some time to plan what kind we want to build. Like marriage, house-building is not to be undertaken lightly or unadvisedly.
Ora and Art are going to get their furniture through Clarence Buck. He said that the store in which he was in Edmonton charged twice east price for their goods. Buck’s and Easterners charge forty per cent above cost. Mr. Buck handles the same kind of furniture as Simpson’s do. Eaton’s is an inferior make. Clarence will order from the various factories, have the furniture shipped to Beamsville, and then pack it in a car for them. He offered Ora furniture at ten percent above cost, but Art says he ought to have more, because that is his business. ...
What are you going to send Margaret [Albright] for her birthday? I thought it was about time for her so I looked it up in my book, so it comes a week from Saturday. It’s hard on you, having us both come in the same month.
I'm going to stop now ... For every kiss you give me, you'll get your reward.
Your own sweetheart.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 19, 1913
My Dear Fred,-
Not a very long letter to-day, for I am going "out" to tea, and it's now half-past two. I have to dress and then go to the store before I go to Mrs. Baker's, so I figure that it will be nearly four o'clock before I get there. It will take me some time to get my hands in fit condition to wear a diamond ring. I cooked some apples to make jelly this morning and had to squeeze the jelly bag, with the result that my hand looks the part it plays, that of the right hand of a kitchen scullion.
Thanks for the pictures. Fritz looks so handsome in the one picture, and you and Elizabeth so well suited with each other in the second snap, that I have half a mind to trade men. You tell her that and see what she has to say about it. Fritz said she cried when he gave the pup away. It was a dear in the picture, but I suppose it’s grown up now, and with age has become uninteresting.
... I'm rather tired now, dearie, and correspondingly dopey. ... I think I'll leave you now dearie, and see if some water won't restore my wanted lively spirits. Oh, it's starting to pour. Good-bye my lover.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear neglected little girl,-
What will you think of me - practically skipping two days in succession? Each day and night this week has been worse than the previous one. But never mind, dearie, next week will not be so bad, nor as far as I can make out now - any succeeding week until New Year's anyhow. Oh I'll be busy enough, but I don't expect that it will be absolutely necessary to work both night and day. I'm going to have a good rest on Sunday. Last night for the first time, I was really too tired to go to sleep as soon as I got in bed. I feel all right today only "yawney."
The case that was tried on Wednesday and for which we had to make such preparation lasted two days - and we lost. However we’re appealing. Mr Clarke thinks we’re almost sure to win an appeal.
I was awfully sorry to hear you had the chicken-pox. I suppose they're gone by this time, or will be by the time you get this letter, so it's no use warning you not to take cold. Even chicken pox is dangerous to a grown person if one has a relapse. Isn't it funny that we should both have our infantile diseases after we're grown up. I had mumps when I was teaching and measles after I came to Calgary. The only diseases I could boast of having emerged victor from when a boy where whooping cough and chicken-pox. When a youngster I felt really slighted because dangers had passed me by. ...
I know dearest you'll not measure my love by the length of this letter. It couldn't be done by any letters as long as from here to Thorold.
Goodnight my own sweetheart.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 21, 1913 #1
My Dearest Rusty,-
The twenty-first of November, and I'm sitting by an open window. It is beautifully warm, and the sun is shining. ... I didn’t get a letter written yesterday, so I’m writing this to go out on the same mail as yesterday’s letter would go, but I’m afraid it will be short, just as the last one was.
I’ll tell you how I came to fail yesterday. In the morning of course I was busy - made quince jelly. After dinner I went with Aunt Mina to the station, and as it was such a lovely day, I walked home. It was a little too long a walk for me, and I was pretty tired. I did some shopping on the way home, among my purchases being the last Journal. I had to read the Jam Girl right away. After that I ripped out the hem out of my skirt, and helped get tea. Mr. Wilson stayed until almost eleven, and I was so tired I went to bed at once. This morning I washed the storm windows, and now mother is doing the windows outdoors. It is so warm it is an excellent day for this piece of work. ...
...I'm going over to Toronto for the day. It's coming out of the railway company. Graft sure enough. Mrs. Baker wants to go over and she doesn't like going alone, so she wanted either Ora or me to go. Ora couldn't go next week, so I am to go. ... In the morning we are to shop and in the afternoon we will make calls on our friends. I'm quite excited at the thought of a little "spree." It will be a little one, for Mrs. Baker is saving her money for taxes on Western real-estate, and I'm saving mine for Christmas presents. I'll be able to take my new purse. I had it out for an airing yesterday, and it told me it liked to be used better than to be packed away in wool. I'll write some more later to-day, ... They [Mr & Mrs Baker] are to come tomorrow for tea. Ora has been going to have them for a long time. She is going to use her new china dishes. Don't you wish you could be here and enjoy them? I made some jelly in cute little moulds, and it's good jelly too, quince. Now I'll write the other notes, and will write more to you later.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 21, 1913 #2
My Own Dear,-
It is just time to go to choir practice but I am going to write, even if only a few lines to tell you that I love you very dearly, and that I want you right now, this very minute.
So you are going to get my breakfast for me sometimes! That will be delightful. What do I like? Well, I do not like eggs for breakfast; bacon is my standby. We're going to have grapefruit, that has been sugared overnight.
If you want to see my kimono that's going to be, look in the November Journal at the right hand page of Christmas presents from one to five dollars. At the bottom are two kimonos. How do you like the blue one draped up at the side, with lace around the neck? Must go now - No, I have ten minutes more. You know the gown I said I was going to have. I'm not going to have it until after we are married and I'll make it myself. It isn't going to be made in any particular style, and mother would think me perfectly crazy if she saw it. She said to-day that we were soft, writing to each other so often. I said that we weren't, that other people who were engaged spent a great deal of time together, but we spend only about one hour a day, and sometimes not that. So she concluded that it isn't so silly after all.
I was telling mother and Ora about you ideals of luxury. Ora's is an Ostermoor mattress, and the chance to use it for twenty-four hours. Mother's is to have all the serving done, mine to have fresh linen table, bed, personal, every day. I had a whole string of luxuries, but Ora said I should condense them. Another idea is to have afternoon tea downtown any time I want it and to ride home in a comfortable car. I didn't like autos - until I tried them, but a lovely drive last fall in the Dickensons' car converted me completely. I think I'll go now, I have inked my fingers and shall have to clean them.
We have just finished the work, and the table is laid with Ora's nice painted dishes. There are four nice little moulds of jelly that I made the other day, and look very pretty all together in their little dish. Ora has some pretty things with which to start housekeeping, hasn't she?
Your Monday letter arrived a couple hours ago. Mother and I were re-potting our plants so I didn't get a chance to read it until after lunch. By the way, are you having dinner at night? I am rather curious to know the outcome of your indignation meeting. You speak of Elizabeth and her difficulties in regard to finding suitable friends. I was going to tell you about the Bakers. She was brought up in Tillsonburg, a very correct social town. She was an only child, and her mother was most careful as to whom she played with. As a result she knows only one set of people, or one kind, I might say more properly. In that town there is a great deal of social life, and members of different churches meet socially. Here the churches are by themselves in their social life almost as much as in their worship. In our church there is practically no social life, among the young people.
The Bakers have never been out to tea since they came here two years ago. He has, but she hasn't. And they have tried to get acquainted with our young people. They will not respond, so as a result the Bakers are going with the Anglican set, who of course dance and play cards. I met some of that set at the tennis court, and I must say that they are a jolly crowd and I could enjoy myself with them. But they never called on us. They act as if they were superior, not when we meet them there, but by their actions. There is so little intermingling socially. Well, I am sorry to see the Bakers have to leave our people for social life. They say they won't leave our church, but I wonder. As I was telling them the other night, I had been wondering what I should do were I expecting to live here long. They want to make friends, they expect to make this their home. I can't blame them very much, they have been very lonely. They don't like to play cards particularly, but that crowd doesn't.
Our young people do nothing but entertain their beaux. I know I haven't been very thoughtful of strangers, I sort of regarded myself as a stranger. And I didn't ever regard this as my home. I never expected to spend so much of my time here, and it's hard to be in earnest about anything one doesn't expect to be fairly permanent. ... Just now I can't get interested in this place: I don't expect to be here long, and I am so very busy. I suppose that is a selfish attitude, and that it is no excuse to say it is natural.
I have come to the conclusion lately that Ora and I have had a training that the majority of girls do not have. We ought to be good "mixers" because we have known all sorts and conditions of people. We have never met many of the social butterfly type - I don't think they form a very large part of our population anyway, do you? Women of high social standing we have met, but they are generally something else besides that.
I must admit that I like afternoon teas. I like to be dressed in my best, to see other women well dressed, and to chat with them for a short time. And I like big dinners - I used to think that I didn't like society, but I do, if it's the right sort. ... Like St. Paul "I know both how to abound and how to suffer want. I have learned in whatever state I am therewith to be content."
Last night it was warm and for a long time I sat at the open window listening to the wind in the tops of the trees, and watching a searchlight. I went through our wedding, even to the fear that someone might trip on a horrid little step just coming out of the church. I think we can have it at the church. I've always thought I'd like to be married in the church. Of course, there will be people there besides guests, but I don't care. If they want to come, let them. I won't be ashamed of my man, and so they can just all come and look envious. Whom are you going to have to "help" you, and, whom will you have for ushers, who would you like to have at the wedding? I won't promise to do what you suggest, but I'd like to know what you have been thinking in this respect. ...
P.S. How do you like my closing?
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Sunday morning Nov. 23 1913 #1
My dearest Nora,-
My pockets are bulging out like those of a small boy in green apple time. With what? Your unanswered letters. You see I always carry your letters with me until they are answered and I've been so remiss during the past week that the accumulation would be appalling if it weren't for the delightful sense of wealth it gives me. ... It isn't merely because your letters are unanswered that I carry them around with me. There's another reason. It gives me a feeling of nearness to you, and whenever I have a spare moment, as for example, if I am waiting in chambers, I pull out one of your letters and reread it.
Your Sunday and Monday letters were delightful. Were you trying to heap coals of fire on my head by writing such dear letters when you had been receiving such scraps from me? Or were you merely making a virtue out of necessity and whiling away you convalescing moments in writing? N’Importe! The result so far as I am concerned is the same in either case and as long as I get the benefit,- whether of your good nature or your necessity - I’m content. It’s sufficient for me to know that the sun is shining without troubling myself about all the laws of the universe that govern it. And it’s sufficient for me that you love me and I love you without knowing the why and the wherefore.
I did mean to write a nice long letter last night, but we were informed late yesterday afternoon that we'd have to go on with a trial tomorrow that we expected would not take place until Monday of the following week. Consequently some scurrrying was necessary and I didn't get to bed last night until long after midnight. 1:30 to be exact. Elizabeth and her mother had gone to bed long before I arrived and late as it was I sat down and re-read your Monday letter.
... There's nothing dull about the house now, I can tell you. This is the event of the day when the lord and master of the household returns and we are not allowed for one moment to forget it. Elizabeth has been humming a gleeful air ever since she got up, and I'm sure even the sun shines brighter than it has for the past two weeks - for her at any rate. I wonder, dearie, if you'll ever be as joyful over my homecoming if I have to go away any time. Yes, I know you will. If you miss me now as much as you say you do, you'll miss me infinitely more after we've been living together. ...
I didn't get this finished before church as I expected. It's now the interval between church and dinner. ... This is a glorious day, bright and sunny. The ground is covered with snow, but there's no slush, though the air is just a few degrees below freezing point. One night last week, the thermometer went down to 5 below zero. Does that frighten you dear? You needn't be alarmed in spite of what Elizabeth may say, for I am still wearing my summer clothes and haven't felt the need of anything warmer even on that day when it was coldest.
Oh, this weather simply can't be beaten. If you were here we'd have great walks and you look fresh and blooming with the rosy hue of health in you cheeks. Haven't I said you are my wild Irish rose? To be true to the name you'll have to be out in the open air a great deal. I don't intend to have you shut up close in a house all the time. That's one trouble with Elizabeth. She's very cold-blooded and disinclined for physical exertion of any kind unless it's skating. She doesn't give her blood half a chance to circulate, but shivers over the register and takes a hot water bottle to bed with her. If she'd get out and stir about more she'd have far better health. I'm going to be an apostle of the fresh air doctrine, and we're going to roam the prairies together aren't we darling?
Do you know I feel sure we're going to help each other to be well and strong and that we'll not have much illness in our family, not if eating proper food and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise can prevent.
It's time to quit now if I'm to catch this mail. How are "Mother Carey's Chickens"? All gone?
With love from Your own Rusty.
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Sunday Evening Nov. 23/13 #2
Elizabeth is worrying for fear you gave Fritz the chicken pox. Poor little boy! Wifely devotion is very nice but I must confess that perfect adoration sometimes falls on the other fellow. I used to think that perfect adoration was like complete sanctification - a thing to theorize about but impossible of attainment. ...
The barometer of my fair cousin's spirits has fallen suddenly and sharply. 'Cos why? Merely because the arrival of her dearly beloved has been postponed by 3 hours owing to the lateness of the train. It is due at 6:45 but the latest bulletin says 9:55 will be the hour, - owing no doubt to the tie-up caused by the wreck on the north shore of Lake Superior of which you've doubtless read. When I conveyed the sad news to her she doubled herself up in her chair with the plaintive cry "I don't want any supper." You see she had been planning to have a nice hot meal for him when he came home - it's such fun to watch the animals eat - and now she's disappointed.
How have you spent the day, I wonder, confined to the house still with the pox? My day hasn't been much like Sunday. I had to get someone else to take my class this afternoon while I spent several hours going through a mass of documents and correspondence for tomorrow. ...
So Elizabeth didn't forget to suggest the lack of mental stimulus in Calgary! I'm not saying this by way of criticism but more in defence of my own position on this point. Elizabeth, it seems to me has not yet grasped the real significance of life. She appears to have some fool notion that work is a thing to be endured with patience if possible and to be gotten through with that the main business of life - reading - talking discussing problems of state and church etc. etc. etc - can receive as much attention as the time left over from work will allow.
She hasn't yet learned the lesson that the "Plain Country Woman" in the L. H. Journal has tried over and over again to teach as her philosophy of life - namely that if we can't glorify our common tasks there'll be precious little glory for us anywhere or at any time wither in this world or the next. I wonder how she expects the male portion of humanity to justify their existence if it is only noble to do things outside of the work that the daily business of life brings.
It would be a sorry outlook indeed for us if we had to feel that all our working hours were waste ones that were keeping us back from those higher flights of the soul into regions of pure ethereal delight and beauty. Elizabeth still has fool notions about the value of the academic life. She has set up a false standard - the examination standard, not realizing that college life, grand as it is cannot be an end but only a means to an end.
If you can get the issue of Nov. 22 of the Sat. Eve. Post and read the article entitled “Autobiography of a Happy Woman.” It’s theme is the necessity of learning efficiency for every walk in life - not the least of which is - home-making, Here’s a paragraph - “Many a girl thought all she had to do was first - pass inside the sacred portals: - second - pass the men in her studies: Third - pass the examinations with ninety nine or one hundred per cent, - and all life would open before her an easy golden way.” “Well she did those things -------but somehow life did not open an easy golden way,-------”
While the girls were cramming diluted, second hand book knowledge the boys out on the campus taking knocks and kicks from men they might hate ----- were having bumped into them-------first hand facts of life.” “The boys were failing in their examinations but learning how to play the game of life and having the reptile vices of littleness knocked out of their souls. The girls were capturing prizes but learning no more of the big world arena than their grandmothers.” There were some of them growing a fungus of hopes in studious shades bound to rot in the bitterness of after life.”
Again she says, - “it’s the word career to me has come to be a sort of marsh light leading into the death swamp.” You attend to your job. Your career will take care of itself.-------Though we have preached home as woman’s sphere for a thousand years what training have we provided for efficiency on the job? --------Plus a trip abroad that is exactly all the training for her job she acquired: And she has been like a huge feather bed or millstone about the husband’s neck ever since.”
Now the trouble with Elizabeth is, she hasn't realized the necessity of efficiency for the job of homemaking. Nor has she realized the importance of homemaking. To her it signifies housekeeping which she doesn't like and which is an irksome task to do and forget as soon as possible. And the result is - in my judgement - their place looks like an inhabited house - not a home. I can't tell what is lacking but it's the indefinable something one involuntary expects where a woman's presence is felt. I don't think Elizabeth is altogether to blame. Her mother never trained her, and I imagine her mother didn't really make much of a success as a homemaker herself.
Really Fritz is a better one than either of them, and though they don't know it, that's the real reason his absence makes such an hiatus in the life of the household. Now please, dearie, don't whisper a word of this to anyone - not even to your mother. I don't want you to think I'm criticizing. Fritz and Elizabeth will have to learn their own lesson and they'll work out their own problem. Elizabeth is already beginning to see a little. I just mention this because it seems to me only fair you should know something of her point of view before you attach too much weight to her opinions on this subject.
You said a couple of times in an apologetic sort of way that you were afraid you wouldn't like housework, and you seemed to be afraid I would think you should. Why my darling, I know full well that lots of your work is disagreeable and I'm not so inhuman as to think you shouldn't have natural dislikes. I never expected you or any woman would prefer doing all sorts of household tasks to everything else. Such a woman could be nothing but an animal automaton. I don't want a wife whose horizon is bounded by the rim of her mop-pail.
No, no, no, I want a wifie like you dearie with lofty ideals, yet not too fixedly gazing on the distant stars to fail to observe gleams of sunshine round about your pathway every day. I don't care whether you really like housework or not. I know you are a homemaker, and I have no fear that your home will ever be open to the criticism I've just made about the one I'm in now. And if I do my part in the office and you yours in the home, and neither of us make those kinds of work our gods or masters, we'll have lots of time for mutual inspiration and help and to look out upon and study something of the larger interests that lie in the great world beyond.
Oh, my dear, dear, sweetheart, the more you reveal yourself to me and the more I think of the future the more glorious with possibilities it becomes. I do think we are truly mated, eugenics or no eugenics, and I'm longing for the time when your dream of sitting opposite me at the library table - yes, and on my lap, with your dear arms about my neck and your lips pressed to mine - may be a real present.
You say I don’t come to you any more when you call me at night. It’s partly for the reason you suggested and partly because latterly I’ve been so busy working about the time you would be going to bed. Later when before I retire I try to talk to you a very little, but then you are fast asleep. Never mind, dearie, it will not be long until we can talk - not long distance - but face to face.
You will forgive me, dearest, won't you for not writing more last week? When do you start work in St Kitts? Don't think then you must write me every day, for I know you'll not have time. I'll love you just the same.
Evelyn to Fred Thorold, Ont.,
Nov 23, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
There’s a whole hour before it is time to get ready for Sunday school and I’m going to spend it with you. I started to study my lesson last Sunday when I was staying home alone, and I studied it a little while Friday night. Last night after I went to bed I went over what I wanted to emphasize so I’m going to trust to my “native ability” to carry me through. Teaching school brings out what one knows, and a quick wit makes helps to cover up what one does not know. Not in mathematics though. ...
So you think I have more brains than your cousin, [Elizabeth Moyer] and use them to better advantage. ... I think one reason that I regard Elizabeth as I do, is that she was a senior when I was a freshette. And I was very shy, ... She was a very wonderful being to my youthful eyes. Was she not a senior? And did she not carry the Senior Stick? Was she not critic at Lit.? And very clever? Yet my opinion has somewhat changed. When she was in her Third year, Mary Crawford (class of 1911) told me she ran for President of Lit. and that she really wanted the office. I don't think you will think me conceited if I tell you that I think I should have had that office had I consented to let my name stand. For one thing, when I wished to remove my name, I had to have the consent of my nominators. These proved to be four girls, representing different years. ... they appeared to give their consent with reluctance. It was hard for me to make up my mind to do that, because I did want that office too. But I was afraid for my health. Oh, how I often wish I had been strong when I went through college. I think I should have had a different record. I always felt I was living, working, playing at half speed. And how I hated it.
Mrs. Baker, Ora, and I are going calling tomorrow. We are going to call on the wife of the man who was with Dr. Grenfell in the Labrador. She was there too, but I do not know for how long. One winter the matron of the Children's Home went home to England, and they looked after the youngsters. It must have been shortly after they were married. Did I tell you what Mr. Cushing had for his first dinner at a rich man's home in the Labrador? On his plate was a seal's flipper, on that cabbage and potato, and on that a thick slice of plum duff. They had to eat the plum duff first. The dessert was another slice of plum duff. Cabbage is considered a luxury. The poorer people live on fish and hard tack.
Norman Duncan's stories are not overdrawn, I guess. One night the doctor had to stay all night at the house of the poorer sort. Of course they had no spare bed, so he said he'd sleep on the chicken coop which was in the living room. It was all right until the chickens woke up. There was a rooster there who began to crow early. The doctor put his hand through the slats, got hold of that rooster's neck, and quieted him. Then when he would fall asleep, his hand would relax its grip, the rooster would crow, and he would wake up again. He decided there were better things than chicken coops on which to sleep.
...I have been thinking about us. We'll have to get up early enough for you to have a few minutes to read the paper before you go to the office. In those few minutes I'll clear the breakfast table, and put on my street clothes. Then I'll walk with you to the grocery store, or the butcher's and I'll order the things we need. That will enable us to have a nice walk together in the morning. How do you like my plan? But how am I going to get enough sleep if you can get along with seven hours and a half, while I require nine to feel perfectly fit? ...It’s so hard for me to wake up in the morning, it’s like untying hard knots.
...Nearly the end of November. It won't be so very long before you come to your expectant.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dearest,-
... You say I write better when I don't get letters. Don't mistake a coincidence for a cause. It may be only because of the accumulated inspiration that comes from a number of unanswered letters. So it is now. ...
Now for a brief chronicle of a few of the important events. I lay down on the sofa last evening for a snooze and was about 8:45 and was wakened at 9:30 by Elizabeth in great fear lest we be late in arriving at the station to welcome the earth, sun, moon, stars, and all the other planets combined that were to arrive in Calgary . . . By hasty scrambling we managed to reach the station at the time when the belated train should have arrived, - but it didn't come until 10:15 - an agonizing 20 minutes for Elizabeth.
I never had occasion to question her good taste before, but I have my doubts after seeing the way she forsook me immediately her permanent husband stepped into the electric light, - I was going to say limelight but it sounds rather theatrical for Sunday night doesn't it? - No - after last night's performance I hardly think it worth risking snubbing to ask her, as you suggest, whether she'd not like to trade husbands. Besides it would be a very useless proceeding, for even if she did consent I'd most emphatically refuse to "swap wives.
Do you realize you're no longer a free agent but that you are mine - my very own? My love is selfish enough to want you for myself. I don't care a hang whether you're ready to run off with some other fellow or not, - I'm going to assert my marital authority and keep you for myself, my own dear wifie. But say, dearest, what would you think if after you had been away for two weeks and I met you at the station, I was too much afraid of what people would think to kiss you a welcome home? You are not so averse to a display of affection in public as to want me to greet you merely with a handclasp are you? Yet that's the way Fritz and Elizabeth greeted each other last night. I seemed so constrainedly silly to me. I give you fair warning now that when I next see you I'm going to take you in my arms and kiss you - I don't care if the whole town of Thorold are spectators. If they don't want to look they can just go about their business somewhere else. What will you say to that, dearie?
You've heard of John S. Ewart,(4) K.C., of Ottawa of course. Have you read any of his Kingdom Papers? You know he is an advocate of complete nationhood for Canada, with no constitutional or legal tie of any kind to the United Kingdom. He would have us a sovereign state, still bound, it is true, to the old land and the other dominions of the King by ties of blood, tradition, sentiment, and with a common King, but completely independent in name, as we are now if fact. He arrived in Calgary on Saturday, so the Canada Forward Club got busy at once and arranged for a special meeting tonight that he might address us.
We had a splendid turn out for such short notice, - about 55 sat down to dinner. His speech was a masterly presentation of his case, logical, lucid and forceful, typically and essentially legal in its style and delivery. He's a wonderful man and I have been fired with a desire to know something more of his ideas. I intend getting his Kingdom Papers at the earliest opportunity. The first several numbers are now bound in one volume and the pamphlets are used from time to time. If you can, get hold of some of the Kingdom Papers and read them.
So you are afraid, dearest, that I'll not be as kind to you as your mother nor as tender or forgiving. Well, all I can say is, wait and see. Poor dearie, haven't I told you that when you don't feel well I'm going to wait on you? I'm not making any rash promises that I expect to break. I don't think when a man is working hard long hours at the office that he should be expected to do a lot of work about the house too if the wife is well and there are no exceptional circumstances.
In this way I think Elizabeth doesn't treat Fritz fairly. She and her mother have surely not too much to do, and yet she expects Fritz, as a matter of course, to get his own breakfasts if she doesn't feel like getting up, - and doing a good many other things which he does willingly and gladly because it's for her. Just the same, I don't think it's a fair division of labor. She has her rest hours during the day when he is working. If then he has to do as much as she at night, where does his rest come in?
But I know you'll not be that way. And I'll enjoy helping you, if for no other reason than to be with you, - and you say I'm a good "cuddler" - well I'm going to cuddle you when you don't feel well - and I don't think you'll ever have cause to say your husband is more exacting or less thoughtful of you than your mother. If I am it will be because I'm a good deal more stupid than I've thought myself. Do you know I've always liked the name Kiddie for you but I was afraid you didn't like it. You are my own dear little kiddie aren't you? What am I to you -
Your old Sobersides?
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 24, 1913
My Dear Fred,-
... You want to know if I was pleased when I saw your present. I just guess I was, and I'm so proud of it that I carry it whenever there is a seasonable opportunity. I want to take it to Toronto with me, but I am afraid I'll lose it. However, I guess I'll risk it, and try to hang on to it good and tight. We expect to have a very nice time. I'm afraid you won't get a letter that day, but I'll send you a card at least. ... Must go to League at once. Sorry this is so short.
Fred to Evelyn
Nov. 25 1913
My own sweetheart,-
Court adjourned for lunch from 12:30 to 2 p.m. I didn't go back to the office but came directly home as we don't have lunch until about 1:15 I have a few minutes in which to start a letter to you. ...
In your Wednesday letter you spoke of the abominable weather you’d had. What a contrast to sunny southern Alberta! On Sunday Eliz. and I were discussing this and she said Fritz and I were unfair in our comparisons - that we always compared the best in Alberta with the worst in Ontario - and she remarked particularly on the delightful Octobers and Novembers in Ont. I was willing to acquiesce readily and heartily regarding October but I made a most decided mental reservation about November.
However in because of her state of unprotected widowhood I refrained from disagreeing very strenuously. But one of the first remarks Fritz made after leaving the station was about the abominable changeable, raw and rainy weather he had experienced - said there were only 2 nice days all the time he was in Ontario. He also paid a well deserved tribute (?) to the excellence of the roads the morning of his arrival in Welland, - saying the ruts were certainly not more than 15 inches deep. I looked at Elizabeth but generosity held my tongue silent.
Oh, my darling, I do hope you'll like the climate here. I really do believe it will agree with you and you'll have better health here than you ever would in the Niagara peninsula. The past several days in particular have been delightful -warm and yet just cool enough to keep the little snow there is from melting much and forming slush or mud. Lunch is ready. How about a kiss for an appetizer?
It's eight o'clock I didn't get home for dinner until seven. In the first place it was nearly half past six when I left the office and then Mr. Carson and I went up to look over the new offices. You'll be thinking our new offices are a joke. I had expected - or rather hoped - that they'd be ready on my return from the east this summer. Ever since Sept. the contractors have set the date ahead two or three weeks until we have come to think the Psalmist was right when he said "All men are liars." But at last the work is nearing completion. Some of our books will be moved on Thursday and the rest will be done on Saturday so that we can start in with the first of December. The offices are indeed fine - much better than anything else in town. We have the whole top floor of the Canada Life Bldg. - a six story block with white terra cotta facing - 75 feet by 75 feet. We'll all be glad when we move for now we're packed like sardines in a box.
Tonight is the occasion of the annual meeting of R.B. Bennett, K.C., M.P. when he'll tell his constituents how he runs the British Empire. I would like to go, but I have some pressing work and want to get to bed early.
Do you realize how delightfully inconsistent you were in you letter of the 18th? In one place you say you didn't intend to get engaged that morning in Toronto and that I took a mean advantage of you. Then on the very same page you ask me if I thought you'd let me kiss you if you didn't mean to be engaged? Yes I did think you thought that because you let me caress you even though you wouldn't let me kiss your lips you could have only one answer for me. As a matter of fact you had given a sort of provisional promise only you said you weren't sure, and that morning in Toronto your actions seemed to say that you had become sure of yourself. Your putting your arms around my neck told me but I wanted to hear it from your own lips. You say I acted as if there could be but one answer to my question. - Well there wasn't, was there, dearie ? And as I've told you before, I was sure all along I knew your own heart at that time better than you did yourself,- so perhaps that accounts for the self assurance at which you took such umbrage.
You ask if it is the custom for a man to kiss a girl before she gives him the right to do so. I'm sure I don't know. I never did it to any of the other girls I ever proposed to, but then you see I never made a serious proposal before, so how can I be expected to know. I wasn't troubling myself very much about custom. I considered in such a case every man ought to be a law unto himself. I'm truly penitent if I didn't do things either in an orthodox or a romantic way. ... If you'll sketch a proper plan of campaign I'll see if I can't follow it next time. Meanwhile, the all important and wholly satisfying fact to me is, I've got you. You surely don't contemplate setting aside the engagement and quashing the whole proceedings on the grounds of irregularity, do you? Thank goodness, there's no appeal from this kind of court(ing).
But seriously, dearest, your letter made me very, very happy. And I don't blame you for having got cross because I seemed to talk to the general public. You wanted to be made love to didn't you? And I wanted to do it only I was fighting against you - no against myself,- and I couldn't keep from revealing something of my true feeling toward you without taking refuge in a mask of generalities and impersonality. But I'll remedy all this, dearie. I'll have a whole lifetime to live to you only, and to talk to you to the utter exclusion of the general public.
So you enjoyed that ride from Bala? I though you did. It was a delightful ride to me, and I made up my mind I was going to lay aside all constraint and let you see that I was happy just at being with you. Yes, I remember that morning on the parsonage verandah, and the day we went down to Tufford's. Can't you guess now dearie what the other thing was that I refused to tell you? I had made up my mind to tell you I loved you and to ask you if there was any chance for me but then on second thoughts I decided not to, for reasons I've already give. Oh, my darling, there were many, many times I wanted to tell you of my love. I wonder in what way our lives would have been different if I had. Anyhow, I'm glad you guessed something of my feeling all along, and gladdest of all that I wasn't too late in the end.
Goodnight my own wee wifie.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 25, 1913
My Dear Fred,-
I’m afraid you’ll have to be content with two consecutive notes. ...
Last night the subject at League was Woman Suffrage. The arguments against it were so flimsy I couldn't keep still, and I asked the leader if he wasn't going to give us a chance to talk. So I got up and gave a little spiel, and they clapped when I sat down. I don't care if they did think it strange for me to speak out, I just couldn't keep still. For one thing, the writer talked about democracy - then said that because women knew nothing of politics (which he did not prove) they should not vote, or in other words should remain ignorant. Now the basic principle of real democracy is trust and belief in the ability of people to measure up to the responsibility given them, and also, the putting of that trust and belief into practice by intrusting the government to the people.
Then in another case, he talked about woman entering industries outside her home, as if that were what would happen in the future if wo they were enfranchised, whereas that condition is here, and she asks the vote as a means of protection. One more other point he tried to make was that women had nothing to do with big industries. They may not own them, so much as men do, though they do to some extent, but they certainly do have something to do with big industries, because they are part of the machinery.
I don't believe in universal suffrage, any more than I believe in universal manhood suffrage. They are trying to put three hundred Italians here on the voters' list. Imagine in a town of three thousand. I don't see why an educational test isn't feasible. I was just thinking to-day, what questions I’d put on such a test. One was, our relation to Great Britain, another, the powers of the Dominion and Provincial Parliament, and of municipal councils. Another would be a question as to how we are governed, and the answer required would be a brief account of our party system of party government.
Now, I'd be in favour of no women being granted suffrage unless they could answer some such test, and of no men's names being added either unless they also could answer it. I don't see why such a plan isn't feasible. Of course the objection will be raised that it would cause graft. I don't see why anymore than in the present system of compiling the voters' list. ...
I have received your Tuesday letter, but none came to-day, and only the one yesterday, whereas I generally get two. I hope you are not ill - I don’t care because you haven’t time to write, if only you are well. ...
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 27, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
... We left here at 6:10 and arrived at the Union Station at 9:00 exactly. ... We shopped until 3:30 when a friend of Mrs Baker's met us with their car, and took us up to their home for tea. On our way up we made a very hurried call on Mrs. Raff(5) at the school. I had told her of our engagement, and she said she wanted to look at me, to see if you were the right one. She decided that you must be. She was asking about Elizabeth and we were just speaking of her when the car came back and I had to go. ...
I was in the furniture department at Eaton's for a short time, and I was looking at the writing desks. They certainly had some beauties. I also noted a clock, price two hundred dollars, if you please. It was a tall one with a mahogany case, and big brass weights. We were so busy getting things we had to have that we didn't have time to look about us and really see what there was. We were going to take only one club bag, but we took two and they were both filled when we came home. ...
Mr. Baker had supper ready when we got home at nine o'clock. He had baked potatoes, and they tasted good. When we went out to the kitchen and his wife saw that he went had the water boiling for tea, she kissed him, and I left. There was a homesick feeling, and I didn't want to watch them. She was telling me some things yesterday that convinced me that we know each other better than very many engaged people. And I am so glad we do. ...
Do you know though, dearest, that I want you more, and miss you more the more you talk to me through your letters? I know last week was busy, and that you didn't have time to write to me, but it has seemed different to get short letters instead of long ones. You don't think I'm complaining, do you honey? I'm not, I'm merely telling you how much your letters really count, a fact I didn't fully realize before. ...
I am so sleepy and stupid I’ve made a lot of blunders. It has struck ten and I am going to bed. Oh, how I wish you were near to give me even one kiss in very reality.
Your sleepy, unkissed girl.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 28, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
This has been a very busy week indeed, and you haven't been getting very good letters, and I haven't been getting very long ones. But never mind, it won't always be thusly. Next month it will be worse, for I don't see how I'm going to write when I work nights. Oh, don't start to fuss. Of course I get tired, but it doesn't hurt me. A bit of excitement now and then is good for me.
... I'll tell you the little things mother and I have for Ora that she hasn't seen. Well, some aren't made yet but they're going to be. Bed socks trimmed with blue, a boudoir cap with blue rosettes, blue kid bedroom slippers, silk stockings, silver beauty pins (I've had them nearly two months) and a little linen handkerchief case. I was just finishing the last named article to-day, and the cap was lying on the table, when I happened to go to the window and there she was coming in the gate, one hour earlier than usual. I certainly got those things put away in a hustle. I guess we are going to give mother some knives and forks. Mother wants us to get dad a coat. She says he won't get it for himself, will say he doesn't need it, but he does.
I got the little stickers for my Christmas cards, and I'll send you one as soon as I get them made. I think they're going to be quite cute. I wonder if you can possible be interested in this chatter. At any rate, you'll have to listen to it the rest of your life, so you had better get hardened as soon as possible.
Oh, dearie, I wish I were with you now. It's such fun to make and buy Christmas presents. When I start early enough, they are wholly a pleasure to me. Won't we have a good time next year. Say, honey, do you want me to suggest something for you to give Ora. You know Art has been more than good to me, and I have a pardonable degree of pride in my man. You said once that you wanted me to remind you of things you forgot. You haven't forgotten I know, but I just want to know if you want my suggestion, or if you have thought of something yourself.
I swept upstairs this morning and Ora helped me dust. I was just starting to peel the potatoes for dinner when the door bell rang, and on opening it I discovered my twin cousins from Simcoe. They’re about eighteen I guess, nice boys, but so quiet and shy. They don’t make any noise when they come in a room, or when they move around. ...
I must stop now, and if there is a scrap of time before Choir practice, ...
I wish you were here to go with me, don't you?
Fred to Evelyn
...I’ve just finished lunch and a hurried reading of a letter from Bill, [Albright] the second he’s sent since their arrival in Grande Prairie. The first letter was very brief and non-committal in tone. This last, however contained a good deal of information about the place and from its general tone as well as from the positive expressions of satisfaction I judge that they are quite pleased, if not agreeably surprised, with the place. He says he had not expected to find the district nearly so well settled. Apparently the chief drawback to the place is its isolation and its difficulty of access. Apparently the trip was more arduous and trying than they had anticipated. But they all stood it well - even Eileen and now are enjoying the best of health.
Did I tell you about the murder trial that has been in progress for the past few days? Art Smith has been defending the accused - a mere boy of about 22 named Joseph Collins. In the spring of 1912 Collins came to Alberta as a sort of servant to a man named Benson, - from Missouri. Benson was a Missourian lawyer but took up land near Alsaska, which is on the border of Alta. and Sask. He and Collins put up a shack and lived together for about two weeks, Benson's wife intending to follow shortly. One morning Collins rode to the neighbour's and said the shack had burned while he was feeding the horses - presumably from an explosion of coal oil or gasoline, - for they had a gasoline stove.
He repeated this story at the inquest and nothing more was thought of the affair. But Collins returned to his former home in Missouri and began living very high, spending money freely - a boy who had never been known to have any money before in his life. Suspicions were aroused and a Pinkerton man was engaged. The charred body which had been brought back to Missouri for interment was exhumed and an autopsy performed. Finally Collins was arrested and he subsequently confessed, though under pressure. Benson had taken to Canada $3,500 in U.S $20 bills on a Missouri bank. Collins had been spending some of these very bills and a search revealed $1,800 in similar bills in his trunk.
The long and short of it is he was tried in Missouri, extradited and brought back to Calgary where he has just been tried for murder. There is no doubt he was guilty and the sentence of hanging imposed on him this morning is the only one that could result - but my blood did boil at the way he had been treated by those miserable Yankee skunks. I almost wanted to see him get off, just to puncture some of the conceit out of those Yankee toughs. The Crown must have spent about $10,000 on this case.
There were 10 witnesses brought from Mo., who have all been here more than a week - and it takes 4 days and 5 nights to come from Mo. to Calgary. There were the District Attorney, the sheriff, the town constable, the Pinkerton man and a lot of others. The whole bunch looked like a lot of ignorant bloated Yankees of the typical Yankee type. One couldn't help comparing these minions of the American law with our judges, court officials and the Northwest Mounted Police. - No - there is no comparison, and after seeing those fellows and their sweatbox methods of bringing crime to earth, one doesn't need to be surprised at the lack of respect for Justice in the States and the prevalence of lynch law. In fact they had feared lest Collins would be lynched by his fellow townsmen, so strong was local feeling and the chief justice in his charge to the jury commented on this difference between American and British forms of justice.
As an evidence of the respect (?) which these Missourians have for their courts, I might say one of them expressed great surprise that he wasn't allowed to put his heels up on a chair in front of him or to keep his hat on in the court room and that everyone had to arise when the judge entered the room or left the bench. One of the witnesses went into the box chewing gum or slippery elm and the chief justice had to ask him to remove it. I tell you I was proud to be a Britisher. That's the kind of Yankee I simply cannot stand.
Art Smith put up a great fight, but it was like bucking against a stone wall. Incidentally I might remark he hasn't got a cent for it nor does he expect to. Lawyers sometimes work without money and without price.
Must quit now if I'm to catch this train. Very much in haste, but none the less your own love.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 29, 1913
... I had to tell Mother what you said about Elizabeth being so much in love with Fritz. That wasn't what you told me not to tell her. We came to the conclusion that you were jealous. You know very well that I know you too well to be blind to your faults, and so you are jealous of Fritz who has such an adoring wife. Isn't that it, honey?
As for them shaking hands with each other at the station - I think that's too funny for anything. But you're not going to kiss me at the station this first time you come home. I won't come to meet you unless you promise me that you won't. You know, you've never really kissed me, and when you do I want it to be when we two are alone. I've thought about it so much. You will let me have my way, won't you dear? After we are married though, you won't see me shaking hands with my husband when I meet him at the station. Why are they so prim? It doesn't seem to me to be like Fritz, so I must blame it on Elizabeth.
So she was afraid I gave him the chicken-pox! Wouldn't it be terrible if his fair brow should be marred by a tiny scar! If she's such a baby as to worry over that, I almost wish he would get it. I'll bet he'd cuss some when he got good and warm at night and he started to itch in two hundred places at once. But such behaviour would be too much of a shock to her, wouldn't it? No. far be it from me to be the cause, however innocent, of showing her the clay feet of her idol.
... Do you remember that joke you told me about the Eugenics baby? I suppose it was a joke, but honestly, I didn’t see the point. I’m not trying to be prudish, but I am telling you the honest truth when I say that I didn’t see anything to laugh at in it. You used to hurt my feelings when you insinuated that I was a prude, and that I assumed an air of modesty which was easily shocked. I felt that to be very unjust. I wasn’t a prude, and I was shocked when you thought or pretended that you thought I was shocked.
I'm not going to write any more to you to-night. I must write to Art and to Auntie Smith, and study my Sunday School lesson.
Your own kiddie.
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Sunday, Nov. 30/13, #1
My own sweetheart,-
As you see I didn’t write last night either, but I’m going to write two letters today to make up. I'm all alone in the office. Have spent about an hour in preparation for S. S. since church and have the rest of the time until 3 o'clock free for a talk with you. I don't know just what time it is for I forgot to bring my watch with me but I imagine it is about one. You'll wonder when I'm going to have dinner. At 4:00 p.m. This is the occasion of the annual reunion of Hermits past and present, and from as far as Edmonton on the north, Lethbridge on the south and Regina on the east they have been gathering since yesterday afternoon. I really don't know how many will sit down to dinner today, for I left this morning before the rest of the fellows were up, but Miss Rogers expects 15. Some of the former hermits have been transformed into benedicts, but today is to be a strictly stag affair and all hermitesses are barred. I don't altogether approve of having such a reunion on Sunday and as a matter of fact I'll see little of it - I may not even be home in time for dinner.
Last night as many as were in town went in a body to the theatre - all but Edmanson and myself. I was working, and Roy was here at the "office warming." Did you ever hear of such a thing before? We've just moved into our new offices and the students and stenos made arrangements for a dance last night. I’ve told you we have the whole top floor and the private offices are all on the outside of the building leaving a large space inside for stenos and students...The floors are hardwood and have been rubbed and rerubbed until they were better for dancing than those of many regular dance halls. The dancing space as you see is in the form of an L, being about 50 ft. in length each way and 10 feet or (15 feet if allowing for pillars) in width.
There was quite a crowd last night for nearly all the members of the firm - and some of their wives as well as a few outside friends of the staff, were present. Democracy stalked naked and unashamed all through the evening’s festivities, as witness, George the office boy, dancing with Connie, Mr. Clarke’s eldest daughter, etc etc.
As for myself, I was here but not of the number of merry makers, you remember I told you about a trial begun last Tuesday, and adjourned until tomorrow so that we could get a witness from Toronto. He arrived at 8:45 last night, and Mr. Clarke and I were closeted with him for the whole evening - at least until after eleven in preparation for tomorrow. When we finished I was too tired to stay for the fun but went directly home and to bed. So you see I missed both the Hermitage jubilation and our own office celebration.
I had intended going home yesterday afternoon for a sleep but I called on Dr. Moshier to be examined for life insurance - I'm taking out a $2,500 policy in the Imperial - and I stayed a little while afterwards to chat and we ended up by his going with me to dinner at the Hudson's Bay. I had intended taking him to the Hermitage but when I phoned Miss Rogers she didn’t get enthusiastic - said she had been so busy making preparations for today she had nothing much for dinner last night - and so I thought it would be hardly fair to her under the circumstances and we went to the Bay instead.
Heber made the most thorough examination for insurance that I ever underwent. In this case too I told him I wanted it to be thorough and to get some information on my own account. I've been feeling a wee bit puffed up ever since, for his report was about as favorable as it could be. He seemed particularly impressed with my chest expansion - 5 inches - and my blood pressure - 116 - both of which he said were exceptionally good. ...Heber said mine was unusually low, his own being 138. So his conclusion is that I am organically sound as can be. I always thought I was but it's good to hear it from a man who knows.
Do you mind, dearest, that I spoke to him about our marriage and asked his professional opinion about the wisdom of our union from the standpoint of the future generation - or eugenics, whichever you prefer to call it? He said he thought the main thing was to be organically sound - which we both are - and that the question of size was unimportant - in fact he seemed to think we were just suited to each other from a physiological standpoint, I might also say he dashed cold water on some of my theories of pre-natal influence.
He doesn't think there is anything in the theory that the size or the physical characteristics of the children can be at all determined or influenced by any act of will, by either parent prior to birth - except of course such benefit or harm as would flow from the tranquility or otherwise of the mother's state of mind before birth by affecting her own physical health. So, according to professional opinion you are right and I'm wrong. If you wouldn't retort that I am stubborn I'd say I still have some faith in my own theories. Dr Moshier to the contrary notwithstanding. You don't mind my having spoken to Heber about these matters do you dearest?
My own frankness with him led him to tell me some things he said he had never mentioned to anyone else. They were told in confidence and hence, I’m not at liberty to repeat them, dearie, even to you. They concern himself and Dell, - but please don’t mention to anyone that he said anything to me. Before yesterday I guess I judged Heber to a great extent through your eyes, and from your standpoint his conduct in many ways seemed careless, to say the least. But there are two sides to every story and I want to say right now, that I think Heber has been unjustly and harshly criticised, and treated either with frankness or trust, - and that hurts. I’m not blaming Dell.
He didn’t say a word or suggest such a thing about her but I do think her people might leave Heber and Dell alone and not try to poison her mind with unfair and unwarranted suspicions. The situation appears to me to be that he has tried to be - yes has been - frank just along the same lines that you and I have been, - and his frankness has been misinterpreted and some harsh things have been said to and about him. Heber has a lot of pride and these things hurt - more than one can imagine.
Perhaps he hasn’t taken the right course in withdrawing more or less into himself, but that’s his way, and I must say I think there’s some justification for him. He’s been fighting a terribly hard fight - and fighting all alone. As he said, last night, if he hadn’t been so tremendously busy and thrown himself so unreservedly into his work he doesn’t know what he’d have done, for, no matter what you or others may think, he loves Dell very dearly. Some may think Heber’s one great passion is ambition to make a name for himself in his profession. Well he is ambitious, but the troubles he has had have driven him into self-absorption in work as a safety-valve. I tell you, I shall be more lenient in my judgement of him because of the revelations of yesterday. - Now please, dearie, be careful, not to mention this to anyone.
It’s time for S.S. now so must go. Will write another letter this evening. ... How can I close better than by telling you once again that I love you, and would like to tell you so this very minute with arms and eyes and lips?
Your own Rusty.
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Sunday Evening, Nov. 30, 1913 #2
The big dinner is over, and a delightful one it was, not only as to viands but as to good fellowship and true comradeship. Out of a total of 18 men who in the past 3 years have been hermits, fifteen sat down around the festive board. Of the 3 absentees unfortunately Edmonson was one. He had made a previous engagement for a turkey dinner at the house of the lady of his choice and he gave that as an excuse for his absence. ...
Shall I enumerate a few of the good things Miss Rogers provided for us? She excelled herself, and that is saying a good deal. Here are some of the principal items on the menu. Tomato soup, celery, olives, pickles of various sorts, bread and butter, a big roast turkey, 8 roast prairie chicken and partridges, potatoes, peas, asparagus, brown gravy, plum pudding, individual mince pies and "hermitage special" pie. This last is a kind I've never eaten anywhere else, and I want you to learn how to make it, dearest. The chief constituents are pineapple with an appropriate filling similar to that in a lemon pie, with whipped cream on top. It's a dandy. I don't like plum pudding or mince pie, but I made up by eating a half of a "hermitage special" pie.
Oh, yes there were tea and coffee, oranges and nuts - and some of the fellows - about half of them had beer. Needless to say the quantities (I'm not referring to the beer) were no less in evidence than the various varieties of foods. There was no set hour for stopping - only when the intervening space between one's self and the table ceased to intervene.
After dinner everyone was called upon to make a few remarks, the older members indulging in interesting reminiscences. None of the speakers were long winded and so this part of the dinner was correspondingly appreciated. Dinner started at 4:45 and we rose from the table at 7:15. Then several flash lights were taken. If they turn out well I'll send you some.
... You know dearie, up until the present no wives have been allowed at this reunion. What about next year? How will you like me to go off all by myself for such a celebration? Will you apply for a divorce? There's only one objectionable feature about this affair - and that is having it on Sunday, but the out of town fellows could hardly come at any other time than for a week-end. But I don't think the hilarity was such as to amount to Sabbath desecration to any serious extent.
This is the last day of November and the delightful weather still continues. If only we could have such a November next year for your first one in Calgary! No matter what the winter may be, the fall has been one that I’ve never seen surpassed - and never expect to.
Just think! Three whole months have passed since I saw you. How the time has flown! It must be because of our daily intercourse, and partly too, I suppose, because I've been very busy. But I feel I know you so much better than I did in August. It's difficult to define my feeling - or change of feeling - but it's something like this. When I left you I had a firm conviction that you loved me and I knew I loved you. Yet this deep-grounded conviction had to battle against flurrying doubts and questionings.
Now all these are gone, and the battling conviction has now settled into the calm assurance of certainty. It's just as if we had been married for years and I had the same calm assurance - calm did I say? No that's not right- my feeling is anchored - grounded on the rack of trust and confidence, but it's not calm all the time. There's a sort of tumultuous joy because you are mine - my very own - and because you now are sure that you love me. Oh, I can't explain how I feel. But then who ever could explain love anyway?
The thing that counts is that you and I love each other more dearly than we ever guessed or possibly thought we could and the best of it is - I'm sure our love will still progress and grow from more to more just as I hoped it would. Oh, my darling, I want you tonight so much, and yet won't it be delightful, - isn't it delightful - to look forward to the joy of our meeting next June? The gladness of reunion will be doubly great because of the rediscovering of ourselves. Just six months more and then we shall be together never to part again.
When I think, dearest, of all there's to do in the meantime, I'm appalled. There seems so much to do towards getting our home ready. I'm afraid we'll not be able to have things at first as nice as I had planned, because money is still tight and looks as if it would get tighter, - but we'll start and build up our home together, won't we dearie? I wish I could bring you to a home all ready, but then we'd miss the joy of planning it wouldn't we? I wish I could tell you how much I'm counting on the joy of living in the home which your love and thought has planned.
Do you remember my showing you a card that came from a wee girl travelling with her parents in Europe? They expected to stay for a year but they came back a couple weeks ago and today Mrs. Brown and Donna were at church and sat beside me. Donna is a dear little kiddie and though she sat on the other side of her mother, during the sermon she lay on Mrs Brown's lap and placed her wee hand in mine. Do you know what I thought? I was wishing it was my own sweetheart's hand that I was clasping, and my thoughts wandered away from the sermon - and it was a good one - to the far-away town of Thorold where I knew my little girlie was thinking of me - perhaps at that very moment singing a love-song to me. Were you dearest?
Your own Fred.
Evelyn to Fred
Nov. 30, 1913
My Dear Rusty,-
Mother and Ora are having a fit because I'm starting a letter to you, when there's one in the desk that I haven't posted. I tried to explain that I am going to post that one to-day and this one tomorrow. ... I will be glad when we are together though, even for this one thing. I don't like the writing of letters, I mean the physical part. When we are together we can talk and do other things at the same time.
I'm going to S.S. early, as there are some things I want to attend to. For one thing, I want to find out which boys are in my class. Last Sunday there was another class put in with mine. Besides, the boys said the books were mixed up, so as that I was quite at a loss as to which boys were which.
One reason I am so anxious to know is that the Christmas entertainment is not so far off, and I want to know with which boys I have to deal. I broached the subject to them last Sunday and one boy said, “did you ever know Thompson’s class to do anything decent?” I was never at their entertainments so that I couldn’t answer his question very well. That same lad is a bright youngster, but a trifle hard to manage. I am hoping that we’ll get along better today than we did last Sunday, though it wasn’t so very bad. I’m going now, to post my letters.
Monday Eve. [Dec 1]
We have been very busy to-day. We washed the clothes and then washed all the curtains. Dad had to go away too, so that meant we had the heavy work to do. I had a sleep after dinner, I was so tired, but that rested me very much.
... I got along pretty well yesterday with my boys. There were only two there. The other man was there and took his own class. One of the boys who should have been in my class decided to go in his class. I wasn’t sorry, for I don’t like that boy very well. ...
... I have not seen The Kingdom Papers. Oh, my dear, I am reading nothing much that is worthwhile. The little time I have to read, I am too lazy to read anything which requires mental exertion, and I know I am going behind. But just now I can scarcely do anything else. Surely there will be more leisure after we are married. We'll just have to make it.
This man was telling us that the contractors will not employ Canadians on the canal. They say they are not steady. When they want more men, they go to Europe and get them. But people have come here in the hope of getting work on the canal, and they can't get work. There are thousands of men in Toronto out of work. This will be a hard winter. I never remember a time since I've been old enough to think about it, when men couldn't get work.
What did I say that made you think I thought you smoked. You’re wrong. I never imagined for one second that you did. You misunderstand me sometimes. I write hurriedly and don’t re-read my letter, so perhaps that accounts for it.
I got your Thursday note at noon. As you speak of lunch, I conclude Miss Rogers acquiesced when you demanded your rights.
This is long enough for you.
1. Probably refers to one of the Canadian Clubs, which had associations in all parts of the country.
2. Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia and Christobel were prominent leaders in the Women's Suffrage Movement.
3. (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson. 1856-1924. 28th President of the United States (1913-1921.)
4. John Skirving Ewart K.C. 1849-1933.
5. Mrs. Emma Scott-Raff, on staff at Victoria College.