December 1913 - "It seems so long until the summer."
Fred to Evelyn
Monday Evening, Dec. 1/13
My dearest Nora,
I've had a very long day in court until 6:30 p.m. Usually court adjourns at 5 o'clock but Judge Scott sat late today in order to finish taking the evidence in this case for tomorrow. ... Sunday wasn't much of a day of rest for me, - church in the morning, S.S. in the afternoon the Hermitage dinner and then work all evening. I had counted on getting some rest but I felt pretty tired when I went to bed. I didn't get up this morning until about a quarter to eight. However, this is the last of our large supreme court cases until after Xmas.
Mr. Clarke has several has several appeals but I’m not assisting him with these as they are wholly argument. One appeal case which he has for the Northern Crown Bank involves more than half a million dollars. In this he is to be assisted by Wallace Nesbitt K.C. of Toronto, while opposing counsel will consist of Mr. Savary of Calgary, C.C. McCaul K.C. of Edmonton and E.P. Davis of Vancouver. Quite an array of legal talent, isn’t it?
...I’ll have some district court cases yet and have to prepare several supreme court cases for trial after Xmas but for the most part I’ll be able to devote my time from now until holidays on office work. I’ll need to for my office work is in horrible shape. I’ve been “out” to clients and people generally nearly all of the time for the past two weeks. My desk looks as if a hurricane had passed over it, - and my correspondence – I’m afraid to look at it. Oh, I’ll be busy enough from now on but I don’t expect any more Sunday work and I also expect to have time to write more regularly and faithfully than I have for the past two weeks.
Had a letter today from Harold Smith asking me to procure tickets for him and fiancée for the next Symphony concert – a week from tomorrow. I haven’t seen Harold since Sept. He used to run down to Calgary every week or two. Evidently he’s spending his time now to better advantage.
I've just been reading a little tonight in Toronto Saturday Night. You remember I mentioned an article a short time ago on “The Engaged Girl.” Apparently it was one of a series called “The Seven Ages of Woman,” the last instalment being entitled “The Bride.” As you say you don’t get the paper I’m enclosing the clipping in question. There’s nothing strikingly original in it but it’s very good nevertheless, according to my way of thinking.
Speaking of Saturday Night, a few weeks ago in it's literary columns was the most scathing book review I've ever read, the subject was Hall Caine's latest. The Woman Thou Gavest Me. I noticed a short time ago in list of the best sellers -this book was first in England and second or third in Canada, it appearing that the curiosity aroused by the harsh reviews had overcome people's scruples.
Everyone seems to be seized of a desire to see how wicked the book really is. It's astonishing how curious most people are to look upon forbidden things. Well, I was going to tell you that Fritz bought The Woman Thou Gavest Me on the train and both Elizabeth and Mrs Clarke - imagine! are intensely interested in it. I think I'll have to borrow it from them and gratify my curiosity too. You haven't read it have you? ... My literary life consists chiefly of Literary Lapses, - with apologies to Stephen Leacock.
You’ve asked many questions that I haven’t answered, I scarcely know where to begin. I’ll just take a few at random and answer your letters in greater detail at a later date.
Do I like the name Rusty? I might not get enthusiastic over it if used by some one else, but any name from your lips is sweet to me. You know that, don't you dearest? I was wondering whether it was one of your own inventions or one you had found somewhere. It's quite in keeping isn't it with my physiognomy? So you know what my dad used to call me when I was a youngster? Sorrel-top. And I've already told you that my distinctive cognomen among the hermits is 'Torchy.' So you see they are all pretty much alike aren't they? Yes, I do like the name from you, - I guess chiefly because it seems more intimate - just a name known only to you and me and not used by other people.
...So you've been keeping your eyes open with a new interest in houses and house furnishings. I've meant to but I've been so busy I haven't been out anywhere and haven't gained any new ideas. ... I'm getting to realize that I "belong," to use a word of my own. Does it seem as nice to you I wonder, as it does to me to feel that someone's happiness depends more on you than on anyone else in the world? To me it is a great responsibility. And such a joy!
I haven’t heard anything lately about bread-baking. How is it progressing? Don’t think, dearie that because I don’t say much about them, I’m not interested in the details of your work. I am – in everything you do, and particularly so because I know now that you are doing these things for me. I'm getting to realize that I "belong," to use a word of my own. Does it seem as nice to you I wonder, as it does to me to feel that someone's happiness depends more on you than on anyone else in the world? To me it is a great responsibility. And such a joy!
How are the measles? All gone I hope and suppose, or you wouldn't be going to Toronto with Mrs Baker. Is this the day?..My eyes tell you that I love you do they? I'm glad of that. Do you remember you complained last summer that I wouldn't look straight into you eyes for very long? I've already told you the reason. But the next time we're together, there'll be no reason for attempting to hide the love-light and there'll be no lurking shadows of doubt behind. Oh how I wish, darling, you were here tonight! There'll be a great accumulation of times I haven't "seen" you to make up for when we are together again, won't there, dearie. Must go to bed now. I haven't had enough sleep for a long while.
Evelyn to Fred
Tuesday evening [Dec. 2, 1913]
... I must go to choir practice. I've been busy all day long, and have a headache, so I have neither time not inclination to write a letter. This is a sorry Saturday night message. I wish it were ten or twelve pages, so that you'd have to leave some of it until Sunday to read.
When I showed Ora the size of your letter, she said she knew you'd run out, and mother said she was glad. Sorry you're too busy to get your rest. You'll be moved long before now.
Your own Kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 3, 1913.
My Dearest Rusty,
Oh, my dear, I'm so sorry I have to send you another scratch tonight. But I simply must do some more work, and it's nearly bedtime. Ora said she'd write you a note, so you see what I'm up against. Don't worry and think it's too much. It's hard getting used to that kind of work again, but it really surprises me how things come back. I never imagined myself trying to teach chemistry. It is a joke, isn't it? But I want to teach something, not merely make a bluff at it. I do hate that way of doing things.
I just got a nice letter from Margaret [Albright] tonight, but haven't time to reply. We expect Rose and Mabel [Buck] down Sunday.
Had a letter from Mr. Dale at noon. He wants help on a paper of the life of C.D.G. Roberts, but I don’t know anything about him. I’ll try to go to the city library Friday, and see what I can do there.
Now I must leave you, or mother'll be making me go to bed, and I must get that work done. Good-night my dearest. We'll write better letters sometime - I hope.
Your kiddie? And a school-marm.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 4, 1913
My Dear Mr. Albright,
Now, how does that suit your fancy? Imagine me calling you that! Mother's sitting on the couch, gazing into thin air, Ora is reading the paper. I've just finished my "studies." There are two problems I can't get, but they can go. ... This is an easy school in which to teach. The pupils are really quite well-behaved, and I enjoy it when I get on solid ground. I am finding out things I never knew existed, they didn't exist in our curriculum. But I'm getting on fairly well, I guess, being able to find mistakes and correct them in some cases. To-day, one of the boys in the third form decided he'd be obstinate, and said he couldn't do an easy thing. I laughed at him, and I scolded him too, so that he got busy and did his work.
... You poor chappie, I feel sorry for you if you count so much on my letters. I really won't be able to write decent ones until after New Year's, and that's almost a month. I can't help these mistakes I'm making, because we're all talking.
Ora was saying that a lady told her some girls told her I was a better teacher than Mr. Woolley. Joke. I never knew a teacher to be so disliked by the pupils as he is. ...
There's no use of me trying to write anymore. Tomorrow night I'm going to stay home from the lecture, to write to you and get my work ready for Sunday and Monday. ...
Ah, good-night my dearest.
Your own kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 5, 1913
... Mabel and Rose [Buck] are coming tonight, and I suppose it will not be long before they arrive. To be perfectly frank, I wanted to send word to them not to come this week, as I knew I'd be tired and I wanted a chance to rest. But mother and Ora said it would be the only time Mabel could come.I went down to St. Kitts after school on Mr. Dale’s errand bent.
When I got home I found mother sick. I was so tired myself that I got cross, and I wanted to phone the girls not to come. Mother has been cleaning house. We have all worked hard all week, and she can't stand a continuous stretch of hard work. But she won't use common sense, just works as long as she has any strength and then collapses. It makes me so cross. I've learned my lesson in that respect, and I get cross when mother insists that we finish something just because we can, when I know we’ve done enough for one day. For instance, after washing, some days she wants to iron after supper. I think washing is enough work for one day. I believe in letting well alone. I’m not lazy, but I do think it’s idiotic to get so tired one day that one has to take two to get rested.
Just got a card from Rose that Clarence [Buck] has smashed something about the auto, so they won't be down until the morning. Is it wicked to say I'm glad? Well, I am glad they're not coming until tomorrow. We can go to bed early and have a good, long sleep.
Evidently you didn’t get two letters written on Sunday. ... And you had to miss the dance too! How extremely tragic! My sympathy fair sir. At any rate, you surely won your case. You deserved to for missing both sets of fun.
I was wondering this afternoon - when going down on the car, if we would get used to being apart, and so begin to feel the lack of the necessity of communication. But I don't think so. Whenever our thoughts are free, they take the well beaten track that leads home.
I'm stupid dear, and won't write any more. Think I'll read Prince Otto for a short time, and then go to bed.
Kiss me good-night, sweetheart.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 7, 1913 #1
My Poor Dear Neglected Man,
It's some time between seven and eight Sunday night. I have just finished a note to Mr. Dale, telling him my inability to help him. ...
I didn't write yesterday. I'm sorry, dear, that I've failed to send your letters to the office regularly, even when I did get them written. But there has been a great deal of confusion this last week. Mother didn't get up yesterday nor to-day. I got up yesterday morning with a pain in my back which lasted all day. So I went to bed at seven and took some of mother's 'grippe' medicine.
I don't feel up to much today, I haven't been out any. But I'll be all right in the morning. The doctor looked me over yesterday, only to tell the same old story - more metabolized cod liver-oil (I had two quart bottles this spring and they're mostly whiskey) and more iron pills. Anaemia of course. It's enough to make one sick instead of better, temperature one degree below normal, irregular pulse, and the devil's mind. That's a noise they hear when they put the stethoscope over one's right shoulder, that is, if one has anaemia. Oh, I hate taking dope, seems as if I've done it all my life. But I haven't. I used to be strong and well. I used to consider it as a mean thing that the rest of the family had to have the doctor at Millgrove, and I never had him once. By the way, kind sir, let me kindly draw your attention to the fact that it was chicken-pox not measles that caused my temporary incarceration.
This week has made me realize the necessity of writing to you every day, unless I want to get out of the habit of writing nice, intimate letters. Even when I miss one day, I seem to get so far away from you. How I wish I could see you. I fear I'm getting rather numb.
I got up late this morning, was just combing my hair when the doctor came. He stayed about half an hour. Then I got my breakfast. And I was thinking what good times we’d have Sunday mornings, and all day Sunday, for that matter - I’m afraid it’s going to be hard for us to go to church, shame on me for thinking it!
The girls were speaking of Margaret being in the consumptive ward, and dad mentioned it to the doctor. He said your people wouldn't have her there if they realized the risk she was running, that there are numbers of hospitals where there are no consumptive wards. He has one patient there from here - she was a nurse herself, and contracted it from a patient. I don't want to make you worry unduly or to interfere in Margaret's affairs, but I hate to see her there, especially when she has such a weak throat. This doctor thinks that sometime leprosy and tuberculosis will be proven to belong to the same family. Even under a powerful microscope their bacilli cannot be distinguished - they have first to be put in a culture to form their colonies. ...
It has been nice to have Rose and Mabel here, but I’d rather have company when I feel well, and when mother is well. I’ve really had a good rest to-day, and Ora had a good sleep too. ...
What do you mean, dear, about our house? Do you intend us to start to build it as soon as we go to Calgary? If you do, you'd better give me some idea of the kind and size we are to have, so that I can think about it. I am absolutely at sea, as you have told me nothing of your plans, and of course, since you are "on the ground" you know what is best to do. I didn't suppose we were to build until the following year. We two cannot plan, or ought not to plan, a home in a month. It ought to grow for a long time, so that it will have a fair chance of being perfect.
I'm tired writing, else I'd write six or seven letters, but I never seem to get them done.
Good-night, my old dear. How I wish you were here with me.
Your own, and only Kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 7, 1913 #2
My Dear Rusty,
It's eight forty-five. Dad and Ora are at League, mother is still in bed. I've just finished some Algebra, and incredible dict&EACUTE;e, I got all the problems I was after. When I came home from school Mrs. Baker was here. She wants Ora to go to Toronto with her, and so I guess they’ll go next Monday.
Mrs. Baker was telling what they got for one of the members of the choir who was married recently - a clock. When Ora and Mrs. Baker went upstairs, I read your letter and behold, that it [is] what you have for Ora. The kind they got was an oak one, do you [know] the kind like ours, about a foot long and 9 inches high, looks like a Greek temple with its two pillars on each side. Well, I do hope, dearest, that your clock isn't that style, because Ora expressed her opinion pretty strongly versus the one in question. I'm telling you the truth because I know you want her to like your present, and so that you could, if necessary exchange it, or keep it for us. Do hasten to tell me what kind it is, and don't think her ungrateful, she has her own likes and she doesn't know you have it.
As for Christmas, I thought a box of gloves would suit - gray suede, white kid and black suede, short gloves, size 6 1/4. You see, I want you to give her a nice present this year. If you're poor, you may deduct it from my private account.
To answer some of your questions.
Bed socks are made to wear in bed. Do all women wear them? If they have cold feet and have sense they do. I have two pairs. A slip is a garment made to wear underneath a dress. It has come into vogue along with one piece dresses, as it also is one piece. Anything else? I feel as if I’m instructing you rather freely in the mysteries of a lady’s trousseau.
This is a scrap dearie. I'm going up to see mother a little. When Ora comes I have to go to the Church to practice. Made some Xmas cards and they are pretty, yours to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Your busy but well kiddie.
Fred to Evelyn
Monday Evening, Dec. 8/13
My dear Kiddie,
... I must confess I was disappointed this morning. After a very brief Sat. morning and a shorter note Sat. night I was expectantly looking forward to a nice long letter - a real love letter from you this morning. But I know how busy you must be dearest, and I'd far rather not get any letter at all than to feel that you are stealing time that should be spent in rest and sleep. You are surely busy enough with preparations for Ora's wedding, and to have the added burden of lots of company and of teaching an almost forgotten subject. I'm afraid you are taxing your strength beyond its limit. Please, please, dearie, don't attempt more than you can do without hurting yourself.
As for myself, I thought the rush would end last week, but it continues unabated and now it looks as if there'd be no change until after the New Year. I'm trying the plan of getting down to the office at 8 - giving me an hour before it opens and I find that hour is worth two later in the day.
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting Harold Smith's fiancee, Miss Armstrong of Banff. They and Miss Armstrong's friend, a Miss Bailey, sister of the wife of Fritz's partner D.S. Moffat, went with me to the second concert of the Symphony Orchestra. Miss Armstrong seems a very nice girl, - not striking in any way, but I imagine she would improve on acquaintance. She comes of good Nova Scotia stock. Her people are staunch Methodists, and her father a dyed in the wool Grit, so her pedigree is all right. She doesn't impress me as being an exceptionally intellectual girl but jolly, fairly good looking, true and sweet. I think she'll be the kind of ballast Harold needs. By the way he has made good in his work and in a month the Gov't are going to pay his way to Panama and back. Isn't that pretty fine?
The concert tonight was on a par with the first one - there was possibly a little less variety and more heavy music - a good deal of Wagner. Harold was greatly impressed and he may well be, for such an orchestra is a credit to any city in Canada. The next concert is in January. One good thing the management are doing is to put on a matinee after each concert for the school children who thus have the privilege of hearing the best music for 25 cents. I call that real public spirit.
Midnight now dearest, and I must go to bed. How many goodnight kisses did you give me, I wonder.
Your own Rusty.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear kiddie,
Will you despise me if I 'fess up and tell you that I was on the verge of being cross with you tonight? About what? Because I was again disappointed in not getting a longer letter. It seems so silly now and so unjustifiable and unfair that I'm ashamed of it and I had decided not to say anything about it to you, for it will mean another chip off the already cracked and broken features of your idol of clay.
But now my childish fit of petulance is over I've decided to tell you how I felt even if it does lower your opinion of me, for it may help me not to be so nasty next time something occurs to annoy me. And oh, my dearest, whatever may happen, I don't want ever to be so small and petty as to nurse a fancied wrong or to try to "get even" for it. Will you help me to rise above such littleness? And yet, that is how I felt tonight. I was rather tired I guess and that made me out of sorts, but I came downtown to see if there wouldn't be a letter for me tonight to make up for the one that was missing this morning.
When I took the envelope in your dear handwriting out of the box, I could hardly refrain from kissing it, but I put it in my pocket and came up here to my office ready to enjoy a good long chat from you. And then when I opened it and saw how little there was I felt cross, for it seemed as if you had let choir practice and a thousand and one things interfere. I didn't mind the work, for I realized that it must take a lot of your time that couldn't be helped, but I was jealous of other things. And for a few minutes I just thought I wouldn't write to you tonight but I'd go home and read a little then go to bed. Then I began to realize how unjust I was, for haven't I sent you short scrappy letters too? And what right had I to say that being busy with work in the office was any more justification for not writing than being busy in any other way, even if only socially?
So my darling, can you forgive me for wronging you in my thoughts for those few minutes.? I'm so sorry and as I said, at first I was so ashamed that I wasn't going to say anything about it, but if we are to be really and truly husband and wife, we must be perfectly frank with each other mustn't we? And I think that after the sting is gone it is better that we should "fess up" and it will lead to a better understanding of each other and help each to help the other. Anyhow I don't think I'll ever be guilty of such petty, jealousy again. And oh, my dearie, I don't want you to take from your rest to write me, dear as your letters are. I know you do every bit you can - and more, - and that you would like to write long letters when they are shortest, - and so, please, don't let what I have said trouble you or make you attempt to do more than your strength will stand.
Oh, if only the time were here when we wouldn't need to talk to each other through letters! Ray left tonight for a month’s vacation at home and I longed so to be going with him. If only we could be together on Christmas Day! Have you heard me talking to you lately? For nearly a week, I have talked to you every night and you were so real and present to me. Last night I woke in the night and it seemed as if you were right there in my arms.
And to think my little kiddie is a really and truly school-marm. Poor dear, it must be hard for you to teach those things that you haven't studied for so long. Never mind it will only be for another week for you don't expect to teach after the holidays do you? Anyhow it can't be much harder than standing behind a counter form early morning until late at night. But don't take your work too seriously. What matter if you can't solve all of the problems? It's of more consequence that you feel bright and well for Ora's wedding than that you teach the rising generation how to square the circle or extract radium from the atmosphere.
I see I'm getting didactic again so it is time to quit. Have you a kiss of forgiveness for your own jealous man?
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 9, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
Mother has just been telling me that Mary Beady was in here this afternoon. She wanted mother to take a magazine. When her errand was accomplished she talked about you. She said you were the youngest teacher she ever had, and that she thought you carried your age well because you didn’t look very much older in the summer. That nearly gave me a spasm. Mother said just to wait till you had a wife and family, and Mrs. Mary agreed that they would make you look old fast enough.
... I didn't have to go down to the church after all, last night, and I'd have written some more only I had your letter sealed and stamped, so I made three more cards, two for Ora. ...
You had asked me when I go to St. Kitts. This Saturday, then Wednesday for a week. Not very long, you see. I'm taking three kinds of dope now, and you should [see] how much I eat. I give praise to the walks I have to take. Sunday morning it was warm, Monday morning there was snow. Monday and to-day have been beautiful days, clear and cold, and I have enjoyed my walks. Last week was warm and I was wearing my light coat, but I’m not now, though I haven’t my winter clothes on yet. I hate to get into them. If I were a bear I’d freeze my tail; I’d be so slow getting into my hole that the frost would get it at any rate.
I was rather nasty about that clock honey, but I wrote in a hurry. And I do honestly think that you have good taste - hope you'll like mine as well as I do yours - only I wanted to tell you that Ora doesn't like the Greek theatre clocks. She likes them long and low, the height about half of their length.
You have asked about our spree. Why I guess we are to have about twenty-five guests and I've nearly that many in my head now. You see, you won't have much say in it, except when you give your little speech all by yourself. Does it seem funny to be talking about getting married? It does to me. I want to laugh - But I'll give you a good, big hug, because it makes me so happy that I do want to laugh.
Would you rather give Ora a couple brass candlesticks? There's a pair here at four dollars that she likes, and I could get them for you.
Oh, my dearie, how I wish you could be with us Christmas. The thought of next Christmas is marred by the thought of mother and father alone. I guess they won't be, but they will in my heart. We've always been with them at Christmas.
I have to go to the church tonight. There are a few minutes left, in which I'll write a couple cards.
Your own kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 10, 1913
My Own Dear Man,
This is going to be just a short scrawl like the others you've been having lately. I'm in the midst of doing up my Christmas parcels. - Mother says I must go to bed at 9.30, and I want to get my parcels finished. Tomorrow I'll have a lot of lessons to do, and I want to finish three presents. Then I'll be done. I started early enough, a couple months ago, and it's a good thing I did. I guess I must have known I'd be extra busy just now. We'll have lovely times wrapping our presents.
Do I like getting presents? Well, I guess I do. ... If we go abroad next summer we'll buy our Christmas gifts then. I have quite a number selected already.
No, indeed, I don't want to go in any party. and I don't want to "do" as many places as we have days. Switzerland never appealed to me, Germany, France, England, and Ireland would be my choice. Scotland? Not unless it were Edinburgh and Glasgow. You have your mind set on Surrey, I have mine on Devon, and London of course.
Dearie, please don't tell me not to tell things any more. It makes me feel like a bad five-year-old. I think you strain your point in that score, but Fritz and Elizabeth shall henceforth be absent from my lips as far as anything you tell me is considered. Were you any other man, I'd be sarcastic and horrid, but since you're you, I'll have to swallow my sarcasm. It means a big gulp.
There’s a boy at school who is nasty, but it isn’t for long. The most of them are well-behaved. My two S.S. boys were up to practice. One has yellow hair that shines like gold. They’re nice kids, and the one especially is as bright as a dollar. I wonder what I’d better get them for Christmas. I’ve ordered yours. Won’t it be nice to give you something? I hope you’ll like it for itself, not simply because I sent it to you.
Art is coming in two weeks. Would that you were coming with him.
Good-night. A thousand kisses.
Fred to Evelyn
My own dear Nora,
I didn’t get time to write you last night. As it was I didn’t get to bed until half past twelve, but I’ve got up early this morning and am going to take a little time before the office opens. It's just eight o'clock now and I'm down in my own office. Got up at 6:45. Rising early is like taking a cold morning bath, very dreadful in anticipation but fairly nice in the taking and positively delightful in the after affects. The days are almost at there shortest now and the sun doesn't get out of bed until after eight o'clock, but as I was coming downtown there was the most beautiful morning glow in the sky. Somehow there's a softness of coloring here in the early morning that I've never noticed in the east. And the air was so pure and fresh with just the least touch of frost - enough to make one's blood tingle to be astir.
Then too, I always like to watch the city streets of an early morning. It's like a great waking monster shaking himself from a long sleep. It’s like a great waking monster shaking himself from a long sleep. And to the one who is astir there always comes a glow of righteous self satisfaction that “I am not as other men are.” How unutterably stupid it seems of people to be asleep when they might be out enjoying the beautiful early morning! So you think at the time and wonder what ever can have possessed you to be slothful like ordinary people, and you resolve never to do it again, but to get up every morning before sunrise. Alas for human frailty!
And so dearie, in spite of all my vaunting I daresay you'll find after we're married that I'll be as lazy as the worst of them. Perhaps that will be one occasion when you'll put a premium on laziness n'est-ce-pas? For haven't you told me you hate to get up in the morning? No matter. Sometime when we comport in the foothills or the mountains sleeping in the open, we'll waken to see the glorious herald of the day and oh my dearie, if all the poetry in you nature isn't throbbing with life there, I don't know you.
Do you remember once you quoted R.L.S. in a letter - where he speaks of sleeping in the open beside the woman one loves? If we were only together now it would be glorious to put him to the test. "What?" you say, "In December?" Yes, in December,- not the Ontario December of course, but such weather as we have been having here for the past two weeks is enough to make anyone want to get away from houses and stuffy rooms - out on the broad prairies, kissed by the balmy chinooks with nothing but the diamond-studded vault of heaven for a canopy, ... Well, we'll know these joys some day dearest, but oh, I'm afraid there'll never again be such wonderful autumn weather as we've had this year. But if the weather is not kind, I know one dear little girlie whose arms will twine about my neck and whose warm kisses will caress my lips be weather rough or smooth be life's pathway dark or bright. It will be bright if because we love each other so dearly and so truly.
...Haven't seen Elizabeth since a week ago Monday, and then only for a few minutes. Had a little chat with her over the phone last night and she said Uncle Freeman is improving all the time and is able now to walk as far as the street. Isn't that wonderful?
The Hermitage is becoming almost depopulated. I told you Ray left for the East on Tuesday. Fearman suddenly received notice from the Head Office that he’d be transferred to Fernie B.C. and he leaves either today or tomorrow. Last night a college friend of Smith’s stayed with us. He is en route to Montreal from Vancouver and has persuaded “Crispin” to accompany him on an Xmas vacation. Crispin wired last night for a pass – his father is connected with the Grand Trunk,- and if it comes today he’ll leave tonight for Montreal. Macleod – a student in our office is taking Ray’s place in his absence, but we’ll have to scurry around and get someone in place of Smith and Fearman, or excuses will be pretty high this month for the rest of us.
It's just 5 minutes to nine. Good morning my own sweetheart.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 11, 1913
My Dearest Rusty,
I had a nice time to-day. At noon when Miss Moir (she’s the lady assistant) was coming home, Mrs. Baker was at the door and asked me if I were coming in after school. I said “why no” and she said, “All right then, you needn’t.” Miss Moir said, “why were you going to have afternoon tea?” Mrs. Baker said she’d have it if we’d come in.
After I got part way home I concluded that she wanted to show me her dress that she got for our affair, but I was too stupid to catch her meaning. However, we went in and had toast, tea, macaroons and short-bread. We had a good talk too - Mother asked me what and whom we talked about, and I said we talked about what more than about whom. Mother and father both dislike Miss Moir, but I find her very interesting.
Her mother, on whom she lavished all her love, died a few years ago. Her father is away a great deal of the time, and rather than stay alone nearly all her time, both she and her father decided that it was best for her to teach. Of course there are many things about her that I do not like, but there are many points on which we concede in our views.
It seems that I do nothing but correct theorems. Tomorrow I have chemistry. I made a mistake the other day and tomorrow I must correct it, but I don’t think I have done badly, on the whole. Of course, I suppose it’s wrong to blame a teacher for pupils’ ignorance, but it sees strange that pupils who have spent one term in the second form, should find it hard to add fractions in algebra, ... I don’t know whether they are imposing on my ignorance, but so often they say, “I never understood it.” And the good students say it too. Thanks to Mr. Myer I learned to be thorough, at least in the fundamentals. The strangest part is that what used to seem so difficult, now seems comparatively easy.
I’ve just been making the oatmeal. We cook it at night in a double-boiler. Do you like it? I’m going to have coffee tomorrow. I do like coffee but they’re having this instant postum. I hate it. Whenever I beg for coffee the effective remark is, “Then make it.” So I bought some to-day, and I can come down as soon as I get up, and start it.
I got most of my parcels done up last night. They looked very nice and I was proud of them. ... I finished Elleda's cap tonight, now I have only two of Ora's to finish, and some more cards. Tonight I have to wash my hair, prepare some physics questions, probably write a couple notes, and if I have any time left, sew. I guess I won't get it all done.
We were discussing the wedding tonight.We tease dad and say we're going to have potato salad and cabbage salad. He detests them and gets quite wrought up. He says he doesn't care what he has, but he wants the people to have enough.
... I had a letter from my dear Susie yesterday, long overdue, but it was a good one. She’s the best girl lover I ever had. I wonder if she’s so loving to Irvine. I guess so. He deserves it. He has such honest eyes. He’s her fiancé, and is a lecturer in something at the University. “Don’t tell anybody about it though.” How do you like it? You’ll retort that you aren’t a tattle -tale. Don’t be hurt, honey. That was really a tease, I don’t meant it for a slam. At such a distance one has to guard well one’s tongue, lest misunderstandings arise.
Now I must wash my hair. It will be nice and soft tomorrow. Remember one day I did it for you , dearie?
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 12, 1913
My Dearest Fred,
As usual, my time is limited. I have to go to the church early to practice my solo. I didn't get home from school until five and then I dusted upstairs. Miss Fitz.[gerald] didn't let us out until after ten after four.Then the three of us went on an exploring expedition. Miss Moir had discovered one of the boys coming our of the chemistry room which was supposed to be locked. We found that someone had climbed out of the third form window, on to a roof, over a box placed in front of the chemistry window, through the window, and opened the latch on the door - it’s one of the self-locking kind. These rooms are all upstairs.
Just imagine boys doing that for the mere sake of getting into that room, when they didn’t need to be in there at all. Then Miss Moir and I were having a talk and we didn’t walk home very fast. The teaching has been going better. I like it pretty well, but, oh I’m so glad it isn’t my future.
Your Sunday letter came at noon. If I were only with you to show you how I love you. Don't you think it's a pretty good test that though I may be busy, mentally, all day, when my mind is free it turns to you, and when I feel tired I long for you.
Sometimes at college I found it so very difficult to concentrate my thoughts on a given subject. They would go dreaming. But now, things are different. If there is mental work to be done, it seems easy to keep at it. I suppose the reason is partly that I've had a rest mentally. But also it is because my mind is at ease. I have spent so much time fussing about what I was going to do, but after a while I stopped and concluded that since I couldn't see my future, I wouldn't worry about it.
Now, I cannot write any more. Oh, yes, five minutes more. I've just been telling mother and Ora some of Miss Fitzgerald's opinions. She certainly does say funny things. We have had a pretty good time, the three women of us.
Our clock is slow, so Good-bye.
P.S. I won't have time to write tomorrow. I'll likely be busy all day. But Sunday I hope to spend some time with you. N.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 14, 1913
My Dearest Rusty,
Ora and mother have just gone to post some letters, Dad's at a Temperance meeting and I'm alone. Miss Kennedy wanted me to go to the meeting after S.S., it’s a temperance one, but I knew this was the only time I’d be sure of a chance to write to you to-day.
We're going to have company for tea. For my own part, I enjoy a quiet Sunday evening, with the rare opportunity of reading, but it doesn't suit my father. At college, though I enjoyed going out for tea, yet I also liked the whole evening spent at the Hall - tea in the library, a little service, maybe just singing in the common-room, before the open grate, probably a little chat with Miss Addison or some of the girls, and a little chance to read. As a rule however, I went to church, and often there were letters to write. Couldn't we have had good times had we been at college together. But there's no use regretting - we'll have more than four years in which to chum with each other.
I wonder if you notice any difference in me since last year. It seems to me that I am much more alive. It may be due to my health, but it does seem to me as if my mind is more alert and works better. Maybe it was tired, too, and needed a rest.
Ora's furniture arrived yesterday. Last night when I came home I was taken upstairs. There I was greeted by my sister in her wedding dress, with its little fish-tail train. She has the prettiest white satin slippers. Her dress is lovely. In the upstairs hall is the big, old-fashioned walnut couch mother bought her, a couple chairs, and the writing-desk, which is my gift. They are all walnut-dull finish. The chairs and couch are upholstered in green and brown shades that are very pretty. The desk was made by a man from out of an old table. Ora is to have a library table of the same style. She and dad got a lamp for Art yesterday, and she had this on the desk, to have a pretty living room. Art has a big chair, and she is going to get some of wicker too.
To-day Ora wrote her last letter to Art. I told her to tell him that her family had decided that she should cease all communication with him. He'll be here a week from Wednesday. I hope, I do hope nothing will happen to prevent their marriage on the day they've set. Daddy is quite in love with the writing-desk and said he'd give me five dollars for it. He was afraid I'd want to keep it and that I wouldn't give it to Ora. The other day we were talking about these things we were going to have made, and he said, “But what’s Nön going to have?” He’s always so afraid they won’t divide things evenly. Secretly I was glad to hear him say that, for I’ve fancied that he thought I got the best of most things. I don’t mean that he thought I schemed to get them, but that it had happened so. I think so myself, don’t you?
I was at Mr. Smith's [jeweller] yesterday. He thinks well of me, but I don't think I deserve so much. When he likes a person or dislikes one, he does it to extremes. And I happened to get on the right side of him. No, it wasn't just happen. I tried to please him, not because it was to my own interest, though I now believe it was, but because that was my business for the time. And, as a rule, I try to please people, I don't care who they are. Some democratic, I’m-as-good-as-the-next-man American, would call mine a subservient attitude. ...
Your little short note of Monday [Dec. 8] spoke volumes. I know my letters of late have been very niggardly, but really, I can scarcely help it. I knew it would be like this at this time, but I'm glad we've written often, before, even if we have had to slacken up now.
Dad invited two men to tea tonight, but they haven’t arrived yet. For my part, I’d be glad if they didn’t put in an appearance, but he wouldn’t like it very well if they slighted his invitation.
... Here is one man, so I’ll close, while Ora’s putting the dinner on the table. We’re going to have roast chicken (cold) and scalloped potatoes, and pineapples.
Just two more days to teach. I'm glad I don't have to teach for always, and glad I don't have to work in a store always (though it's fun for a few days) but I'm glad that I have something to which I can look forward with a feeling of the deepest joy, with no mixture of sadness. Do you know, although sometimes I long for you so keenly, yet I cannot feel sad? There's always a little stream of sweet content bubbling underneath. I am so happy because of you, and I'm glad you know it. You do, don't you, my own sweetheart? So when you get a poor thin letter just think of this.
How many kisses? Catullus’ number suits
Your own kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 15, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
So you have had a grouch against me, even if was a small one. Forgive you? It isn't worth speaking about, I merely laughed, because it was so silly for you to feel that way. I told you I was going to be rushed and I thought that that explanation would be sufficient, just as your "busy" explanations suffice, though they do not satisfy. And this is to be another short letter.
Mother was over to see a woman across the road to-day. There are six children, two of whom have been working, but the boy had his foot crushed lately ... and the girl who works in the knitting mill is out of work because her machine is broken. The man is dying of cancer. The sick benefit from his lodge has stopped,... And it is Christmas.
They aren't shiftless people but hard-working, with a horror of debt. The one little boy came into my Sunday-school class yesterday. This is the first time she has had no money coming in. Of course our people will help them, but it is very hard, isn't it? When mother asked her if she had anything for Christmas, she started to cry. She said they had always been able to give the children toys but this year she could do nothing.
Yesterday at S.S. a woman who has scarcely anything said to mama, “Isn’t our class going to give anything for Christmas?” You see, here the S.S. scholars give presents instead of receiving them. Just to think dear, of the people right across the street being in such a pitiable condition. No need of going miles away to find them. This one boy is to say a “piece” and he seems quite enthusiastic. I was going to get something for each of my boys, but I guess I’ll just take the S.S. money and get each a book, and get something for this lad and his little brother. The S.S. allows twenty cents apiece for each scholar. I’m going to propose to the girls in our Class that they insist that that money be not spent on them. Those children need shoes, and four dollars- there are twenty,- in our class, would buy ten pairs.
There's just one day more of school. It's going very well. I'm making the lazy ones in the second form stay in at recess and work. One kid said he didn't understand something in geometry, and I said "I'll explain it to you at recess." "Oh," he said, "I understand it all right." "No you don't," I rejoined, "I'll show you then." I told them to-day that their keen interest in their work surprised me. They didn’t even know where they’d left off in Arithmetic. I wish I had hold of those boys for a few months, I’d just like to make them exert themselves for once, I get so disgusted with their lazy, shiftlessness.
I was thinking of you hard last night. I’ll have to contradict what I said in yesterday’s letter - that I always felt glad, even when I was homesick for you. Last night I was just so completely homesick that there wasn't the slightest bit of room for contentment. I wanted you right then. It sometimes seems so long, so very, very long, that I cannot wait for you.
Must go to League now.
Your loving Kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Tuesday, 10.30 [Dec. 16, 1913]
My Dearest Rusty,
We’re just home from the choir concert, and it went off pretty well, except that the church was so cold that we all shivered and shook. And that made the air too cold to be good for singing. However, it was fairly good. Dell seemed to “take” very well. She certainly is a pleasing reader.
Ora's invitations and announcements have just come. Dad is looking through them, but Dell assures him that they are all the same.
I am going down to the city tomorrow. Don't be foolish thinking that I might not have had a touch of the 'grippe' had I not spent a few minutes writing to you. I think I did get off pretty well when mother was so sick, and dad had a bad cold too.
Oh, my dearie, my dearie, I wish I had you with me. I wonder if I can ever make you understand how much it really means to me that I trust you absolutely. I am so sure, so sure of you, and so happy in the knowledge that we love each other as we do, without the shadow of a doubt. Sometimes the time seems to drag so, it seems so long until the summer. When I say good-night to you then I start counting the time till I can really say good-night to you. You want me to tell you how I say good-night. I don't think I shall, I'll save it for a surprise party for you.
Had a nice funny letter from Noble to-day. He finished with “No message for Ora - she’s too near married.”
I'm glad Harold will be in Banff for a while. Won't it be fun to have them visit us?
I must go now and talk to the company.
Good-night dearie. Your Kiddie.
P.S. I shall send a couple parcels soon. One registered, the other not.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 18, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
I was so tired last night that I went to bed. After I got home from the city I had to go to the church to practise my boys and to help make wings for the angels. I just posed while a couple other girls sewed the cheese cloth over the wide frames.
You really didn't want me to go in the store did you? I liked it last year - it was new. However, I think it is good for me. It's giving me in a different way the training I might have got in teaching school.
I had to go to church last night. When I came home I wrapped up your parcel which is being sent to-day. Then I wrote part of this at the station and this is the noon hour.
Don't worry about my health. I'm fine.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 19,  #1
My Dear Neglected Rusty,
I feel very badly that I didn't have time to write to you more than a scrap yesterday. I am coming home from the S. S. entertainment tonight, as soon as my part is over, and then I'm going to write you your Christmas letter. I am also disappointed because my little gift hasn't arrived yet, which means that you are unlikely to get it before Christmas.
I did this much at the station this morning. Now I am waiting for the car to go home. I'm going to get a letter written tonight - honour bright. I'll do it before I pose as an angle - angel. I forgot how to spell it even.
Here's the car.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 19, 1913 #2
My Dearest Man,
It's eleven o'clock, but I am determined to write you some sort of letter tonight. I got your Sunday [Dec. 14] letter tonight at the church, also your Christmas present. To be quite frank, I like it the best of any I've ever noticed. I picked it from a catalogue and I hope it suits you as well as it does me. Mother says there's nothing of it, but that's what pleases me. But enough, it is a fine idea for me to praise my own gift, isn't it? Oh, my dearie, it is so lovely to be giving you something, even if it isn't very much. Christmas isn't tiresome nor a bore, nor anything but beautiful when it brings us thoughts of giving things to those we love the best. And I love you the best. Do you like to hear me say that? Well, I rather like to say it.
Yes, Ora's wedding day is to be on New Year's. You don't like weddings, eh? Well, I hope you won't have to endure many such painful operations. I like weddings, but small ones.
Do you know, it seems to me very extravagant to think of using all your money on a wedding-trip. And yet, we both want it so much. I'm afraid you'll find that I have rather expensive tastes, but I have had a fair training in economy, so we shouldn't fare so badly. I'm so glad I'm going to be married soon.
Arthur, he's an English boy in the store, asked me the other day how I liked the jewellery business, and I said I liked it for a short time, but that I preferred being at home after I left college. I shouldn't like it if it weren't for you. I should be too lonely, but now, it is a preparation for being at home with you. Oh, dearie, we'll have fun next year at Christmas time. I wonder where we'll be.
Will you be at Fritz's this year? You poor, lonely dear. How I wish you could be with us. We are going down to Mr. Henderson's for the evening, or I should say Doctor, as he has received his D.D. degree lately. I'm going to wear my ring in public that night. Are you glad to hear that?
I must to bed. My letter is short, but it is full of loving Christmas wishes and thoughts.
Your own kiddie.
Fred to Evelyn
My dear Kiddie,
I was almost about to date this the 19th for it’s still a continuation of yesterday. It's now 1:30 a.m. Have just returned from the banquet of the bar association - sober. At the last banquet held in Calgary two years ago nearly everyone got drunk. The toast list was not half finished, and both barristers and judges made fools of themselves and disgraced the profession. Only a very few took no wine or liquor and very few of those who drank at all were sober when the evening closed. It was disgraceful and this year the men in charge of the banquet decided that the amount of liquid refreshments should be limited. As a consequence the affair was respectable and most successful from every point of view. Perhaps 5 or 6 out of 125 took more than was good for them, but for the most part the men were very moderate, and quite a large number didn't drink at all. Perhaps the presence of the chief justice had a restraining influence, for he is a total abstainer. Anyhow the banquet was a great success. . Under separate cover I’m enclosing a programme from which you will see we had as guests Sir Chas. Hibbert Tupper of Vancouver and Dr. McKay of Saskatchewan.
The chief justice was in a reminiscent mood and said that there are only 3 barristers now in Calgary who were here when he came 20 years ago. At that time there were 9 or 10 lawyers in the city, now there are 125. Then 2 judges did the work for the whole of the territory now comprised in the province of Alberta and had ample leisure time at that. Now 14 are utterly unable to cope with the work. Then Calgary had a population of about 3,000. Now it is about 80,000. Several interesting anecdotes and stories of life in the early days were told.
I haven’t time to tell you them all tonight, but here’s one. About 19 years ago there were 2 justices of the peace in Calgary named Brown and Sandow who cordially hated each other. It happened that at one time each was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and of course each would be tried before the other. As it happened, Brown managed to get on the bench first and proceeded with the charge against Sandow. During the progress of the trial Brown left the bench for a few minutes, adjourning the court for that purpose. Sandow immediately went on the bench and proceeded with the charge against Brown. The next act could best be depicted as a pantomime for there was a hand to hand encounter at fisticuffs, which put both of the justices hors de combat, temporarily, and the court was adjourned and the charges dropped. This is an incident of the olden days. Neeedless to say dearie, I’m not asking you to come to quite such a primitive society as the incident I’ve just related would indicate.
Today I got your Friday letter. [Dec. 12] Isn’t it strange that Sunday’s [Dec. 14] came last night? I wish I could tell you dearie how much it means to me to have you tell me in your letters as you have in the last two that you love me. What have I done to deserve such love? Oh my precious little girlie, the knowledge that you love me and that you are trusting your life and happiness in my keeping is like a beacon light set on a hilltop to guide my life and thoughts and habits to make me a better man – one in some slight measure worthy of your love and trust.
I think now I know a little of the meaning of Tennyson’s lines, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” My whole life must be ennobled and purified by our love, even such has its influence been already. What then will it be when you are with me day by day?
I've sent all my Thorold Xmas presents by express addressed to you. They should arrive on Tuesday night. ...
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 21, 1913
My Dearest Rusty,
I’ve just finished addressing some Christmas cards. There was no other time to do it, Elizabeth’s will be a little late in arriving. I’ve had it ready for some time, but forgot about the distance it had to go, and was going to post it with the others.
I didn’t get up until Ora and father got home from church. Then I had to study my lesson and go to S.S. It wasn’t an easy lesson to teach to little boys, especially when I had had so little time to prepare it. However, things don’t bother me much when they are over. I have a new boy. He’s been in the primary class but has been put in my class. ...
Mother and father are out for tea at Russell Smith’s and Ora and I are alone. She is deeply engrossed in R.L.S.’s Prince Otto, and gives me a petulant answer to the questions I have fired at her. By the way, you have remarked once or twice about things I have said in my letters about R.L.S. and his views of sleeping in the open. I didn’t tell you that, I gave it to you to read one night, and you pulled me down on your knee and said, “You always know how to pick out the facts I like best, don’t you?” It doesn’t matter whether I wrote it or showed it to you, only it shows me the quality of your memory. You’ll say you don’t want to be a slave to details. That’s what one generally says to get out of a tight corner.
... I wish I had a sunnier disposition, and didn't get so nasty. Oh, you don't know what I'm like, when I get excited and things don't go right. The other morning mother wanted me to put on a certain waist. I did so and the thing took me so long that I had about two minutes in which to eat my breakfast. Naturally I was cross, because I was hungry and she had what I liked, - and then not to be able to eat it - well it was too much for my angelic disposition. I'm nearly asleep, it's so hot in here. I wish there were about six hours more to-day, for I should like to read a little after I get through talking to you. Yes, I am determined that we will have some time on Sundays to do as we please.
You say it will take all your spare cash if we go abroad next summer. I don't like the sound of that. You don't mean do you, that we'd be spending everything you have saved? Because I couldn't do that. And please what do you mean by living simply? You know, ideas of simplicity vary. I have a bad habit of saying that if I spend money for this thing, I'll do without the other, but somehow, it turns out that I get both.
To-day I made a remark that if anyone wanted to give me a present, I hoped they'd give me a nice beau-pot - in a silver frame. I went upstairs and I heard mother and Ora talking away saying that I'd find out there were a great many necessities, and giving me a general reputation as a spendthrift. After a while I came down and told them that I didn't want them to give it to me, that I meant anybody who gave me anything. That relieved them somewhat. Then I said that I'd like a couple cashmere night dresses. That set mother off again, telling me how nasty they were when they were washed. I told her that she was too practical.
I'll just tell you, I know our opinions won't be the same as regards my needs. Well, I'm not going to have things I don't like. I won't get things if they don't suit me. I hate having to take things I don't like and never will like, simply because they are cheaper. I'd rather not have them at all. I don't know why I'm giving you this ill-natured spiel, unless it's because this dress I have on always makes me cross. The sleeves are long and tight and I feel all the time like giving them a yank and tearing the thing to pieces. But it's the only half-way respectable one I have. You'd better not talk about my goodness and sweetness. It's too much of a mockery. I wonder why it is that I'm not so pleasant at home as away from home. And I honestly try to be.
...It is time for church, so I must go, I won’t be able to write you a long letter again until Christmas Day. Your parcel was registered yesterday. I’m telling you so that you’ll inquire about it and be sure to get it.
How I wish I could see you. I am so lonely, and I do want you so much, so very much. I guess I'm glad I haven't loved you very long, not this way. It hurts too much. I never said, dearie, that I didn't want to love you because of your size. It was never that, but it was because I thought you didn't love me. Good-night, my dearest.
Your homesick kiddie
Fred to Evelyn
Dec. 23 /13
Only one more day until Christmas! Tonight I've been addressing the rest of my cards for the city, and reading a little law on a point I promised to give an opinion about in the morning. I also started out to finish my Xmas shopping, - I still have to get something for my stenographer - and for Elizabeth. I wandered about the stores for a time but finally gave up the quest, until morning.
It is very strange how little we know of the lives of people with whom we are thrown in contact every day. Our junior office boy, Arthur Schultz – the one who took exception to Ora’s sealing wax – is one of a family of eight children of which he is the eldest. His father is a minister of some German sect and has been away in the country for some time and Arthur’s earnings have been the support of the household. One of our stenographers – Miss Burwash – was telling me tonight that a week ago Sunday her teacher told of a very needy case in the poor part of the city where the father was away and one boy was maintaining a family of eight children to which a little baby girl had just come to swell the numbers, and she suggested that instead of waiting for Xmas the class – about 50 – give something immediately.
Donations were made freely and the home visited. For weeks potatoes and salt had been the fare of this family. The mother and baby were cared for, good food and some clothing were given to the family and they have been well looked after ever since. What was Miss Burwash’s surprise a couple days ago to learn that the family ‘s name was Schultz and the breadwinner none other than our Arthur! Arthur is a nice quiet boy and he never said a word of course, nor did his mother. Their condition was only learned by accident. Arthur will get a nice Xmas envelope from the firm tomorrow and the girls are giving him a sweater coat.
Hymen and Cupid are reigning in very truth these days. I saw Miss Ferguson off for Saskatoon this afternoon and tonight Miss Sanders – our accountant said goodbye for a week. She’s to be married tomorrow evening. After a week’s honeymoon she’s coming back to the office during January. She’s a very superior girl and as an accountant is one in a thousand. As a mark of appreciation the firm gave her a purse of $100 in gold.
Notwithstanding the cold weather – the thermometer went 7 or 8 below zero last night – the stork hovers around and last night left a Christmas box at the home of Mr. Clarke, in the shape of a baby girl. We all felt like taking a day off from the office to celebrate. It wasn’t expected so soon but this is Mrs. Clarke’s first baby. I think I told she is his second wife. They were married a year ago last summer. ...
... Didn't get any letter today. I know you've been frightfully busy. After tomorrow dearie, you'll have to rest won't you? Are you too busy to kiss me goodnight, I wonder?
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 23, 1913
My Dearest Rusty,
I came home on the nine o’clock car to-night so that I could go to bed earlier, I’ll do it too, but it would have been ten twelve had I come on the ten car. I’ve had to write a letter to Miss Fritz about some spoons she got for Ora to-day. Then too I’ve had to do up the knives for my boys and everything’s gone wrong.
It's been raining this afternoon and the streets are in a terrible condition. I have had a warning that a cold's coming on. That's why Mr. Smith sent me home early. But I'm going to have a hot bath, some aspirin and quinine and maybe some gin. Then I'll feel fine in the morning.
Poor mother went for the mail and then waited to meet the 10:30 car. She was in a house and of course I missed her. I was too wet to go back after her, but I’m wondering what she’ll think when I don’t arrive. I’m glad tomorrow’s my last day.
Your express parcel hasn't arrived yet, but it will likely come tomorrow. I got two letters last night, probably there'll be another tonight. I hope so at any rate. On Christmas I'll be able to write you a nice long letter. ...
...Now I'll go to bed. Good-night my own darling. How I wish you could "Christmas" with us!
Fred to Evelyn
Thursday afternoon, Dec. 25/13
My own dear kiddie,
... How have I spent the day do you ask? Here's a brief synopsis of the day's events. Arose at 8:30. Bathed, shaved, shampooed and dressed with a few interruptions in the form of telephone calls, telegrams etc until 9:30, when I breakfasted. From 10:00 to 11:30 made a fire in the grate, cleaned out my dresser drawers and put my trunk in partial order and read about 10 minutes. Then I dressed and went to the P.O. There was a lot of mail for the office but none for me. Last night's train from the east was very late and I don't think any of the mail was distributed. As it was, the poor P.O. clerks were working until 3 o'clock this morning. The day before yesterday there were 30,000 pieces of incoming European mail alone. So your present didn't arrive - but it will likely be there for me tomorrow morning. I haven't heard anything from home either.
The very first thing I did this morning was to open the parcel I got from you a few days ago. Thank you and Ora too, very much. They are lovely. Guess I'll have to keep them for initiation until our wedding day, eh?
After my visit to the P.O. I went to Fritz's for dinner and had a nice time. I was the only guest. Elizabeth may not have had much experience in housekeeping before marriage, but you wouldn't have known it from today's dinner. It couldn't very well have been improved upon. The turkey was delicious and done to a turn. At Fritz's I got two nice presents, a set of folding coathangers in a case from Mrs Clarke, and Henry Van Dyke's poems from Fritz and Elizabeth. I've read almost nothing of Van Dyke's poetry but I'm very much in love with his prose, and from the little I skimmed through today I'm sure I'll think even more of his verse.
After dinner today we sat and talked for a while then Fritz and Elizabeth came along with me and we called to see Mrs Ford and the baby. Elizabeth was the only one the matron allowed to see Mrs F. but the baby was brought out for the inspection of all, and Ford was very proud to announce that it was the biggest baby in the hospital. It really is a very bright little thing. Mrs Ford is doing well and will probably be out of the hospital in a week
Must go now and get into my glad rags. This is a rather formal affair tonight. Will finish this after I come back.
12.05 Have just come back from the college. Had a fine time. There was a smaller crowd than usual as a number of the teachers are away. Lovering (Vic ’08) to his home in Coldwater, Ont., Banting (Vic ’13) to Hamilton, Miss Cline, whose sister taught in Beams. [Beamsville Ont.] High School last year, to Vancouver BC.
But in spite of the small number - there were 16 - we had an excellent dinner and a pleasant time afterwards. I've made a start at housefurnishing, dearest, for I won a prize tonight, an aluminium measuring cup. ... Mrs. Oaten and I were partners and we guessed 15 out of 16 and got first prize, - each getting a cup. I think I've told you before about Mrs Oaten. She's a dandy little woman and a mighty good friend of mine so you'd better be getting jealous. If I didn't know you dearie, I'd say she's about the second nicest young lady I know.
How have you spent the day? Happily, I hope, and not too tired to enjoy it. From now until next Thursday you'll be very busy preparing for Ora's wedding won't you? And you'll not get this letter until a very short time before. I received my invitation yesterday. I'm awfully sorry I can't accept. It's all very well to say you'll be there in spirit but a whole army of spirits can't make up for one bit of flesh on some occasions - and this is one.
This will be the last Christmas we'll have to write to each other instead of being together. Oh, my darling it made me homesick for you today when I saw how happy Fritz and Elizabeth were. But we'll be happier still because mine is the dearest and sweetest little girl in all the world.
Evelyn to Fred
Christmas Day, 1913.
My Dearest Rusty,
It's just a little after four and Ora, Art and mother are finishing the dishes. We didn't get up till somewhere around nine. After breakfast we opened our presents which we had put in a bag. I'm going to tell you about them first. We gave dad on overcoat and mother a dozen knives and forks. The public school teacher, who is quite an artist, gave papa a beautiful water colour scene all framed. Art gave him The Inside of the Cup, mother Samantha on the Woman Question, Ora some lovely perfume (he gave her furs too) and me a book on Canterbury. Noble sent me Leacock's latest Behind the Beyond.
Yesterday John sent me some violets. Are you quite, awfully jealous? Dad gave me a pair of fine blankets and some white satin slippers - nice combination. There was a girl in this morning and she said I could keep them for my wedding. That’s what I intend doing but she had no idea she was coming so near the truth. Ethel Scott sent me two lovely guest towels “to help in the good work” as she expressed it though I don’t know where she got her information.
And I got a fussy jabot from Susie Findlay and a collar from Winnie and Hazel, some two brass candlesticks from Ora and Mother, silk stockings from mother, a silk waist from her too, just like the one Ora has for her best suit. Oh yes. Elleda and Auntie Smith each sent me a handkerchief. Ora got a fine suitcase, Art a library lamp and silk socks.
I can't tell you yet what my beau sent me, because it hasn't arrived, but I shall tell you later. Edith Adams sent me a nice centre-piece. Grace Ritchie sent three beautiful doilies that were made in India, which she bought from a missionary. Edna Sheppard and Rose both sent her presents. She just got two express parcels, one a little fern-pot and the other one was from the Dickenson’s. It contained a lovely pair of pillows and a pair of pillowcases from Mrs. Dickenson, a reproduction of Reynold’s Master Hare from Malcolm, and a beautiful brass book-holder from Elleda. Weren’t those lovely presents? I forgot to tell you that one of my boys sent me a box of initialed note-paper. Wasn’t that lovely of him? I got a card from your father and mother which I appreciate very much.
...I had a nice letter from Marion last night, along with two from a man I sometimes call Rusty. I don’t see why he keeps writing to me, because I never write to him, and I don’t care for him in the least. But still he will persist in his unwelcome attentions. You remember Marion was married a year ago last June. She said she got a wedding present a few weeks ago, a beautiful cut glass water set. A man asked them if they’d take such a belated gift, and they “condescended to do.” Wasn’t that funny? But it was pretty nice too, I think.
I'm glad my poor old bachelor is being so well looked after this Christmas. Perhaps there'll come a time when he'll tell his wife about the glorious times before he was married when he had invitations showered on him. I’ve just had a little jaunt, took mother’s shoes off for her, looked at my jabot, ate some candy, and admired Art’s lamp which is lighted. This seems like Sunday, only that we aren’t going to church or Sunday-school.
It was half-past eleven when I got home last night. I was busy when the ten and twenty-after ten cars left, so had to wait until eleven. It was about one when I got to bed, for of course we had to talk a little. I had some cocoa and currant bread, and read my three letters. After that I did up my parcels. I had some of my presents for Ora in my club-bag. Yesterday when mother was going down to the city, she decided to take my bag, and not knowing that I had Ora’s things in it, she laid the whole lot out on one of the chairs in the dining-room.
This doesn't seem much like Christmas. For one thing, when I don't do it, there isn't much decorating done. Ora doesn't care much about it. Anyway, she and mother had enough to do without it. But she always seemed to think it too much bother. On the other hand, I love it. We'll get ourselves decorated next year, I tell you. Mother was saying to-day that she wondered how they'd spend Christmas next year. I said that had been bothering me, and she said in surprise "Why did you think about that?"
Papa is funny. He's as glum as an oyster since Art came, not that he has anything against Art, but simply because he doesn't want Ora to go so far away. And yet, he wouldn't want her to be an old maid. He's more of a baby that mother is, but I guess all men are like that - even you probably are.
It has been misty and cold to-day, not a bit nice. Here and there are a few faint streaks of snow, but except for that, all is dim and dark.
There were two men in the store last night who bought a necklace for a girl, evidently the sister of the man who didn’t buy it. But they had been drinking, just enough to make the one anxious to spend his money. I couldn’t help wondering if the girl would be glad to have a gift from a man in his condition. There were a lot of men on the car last night, and oh, so many had been drinking. What a preparation for Christmas. Even in a jewellery store one see things which make one’s heart ache. And some things make it glow.
One sees so many different aspects of Christmas. Some people say “Do you think he or she would like that?”, others, “I don’t care whether she likes it or not, as long as I give her something,” and again, “Oh, it’s such a bother. What can one give to a person who has everything?”
Do you know, it seems to me that as a rule home-made presents contain a more kindly, Christmas spirit than those that are paid for merely in cash? Of course there are exceptions, I know, but so often bought presents are given for show. When I make a present for a friend, why my thoughts of her are made into it. I haven't made you one yet, have I honey?
...I've no more paper so I'll have to stop. With a good Christmas kiss and my best love.
Your own kiddie.
Fred to Evelyn
Dec. 26 /13
Just a scrap tonight, I'm sorry to say. Your lovely Christmas gift deserves the best letter I can write but I've been working until very late and I must go to bed soon.
So your mother thought there was nothing to your present, eh? Well [it] just suits me exactly. As you know, I'm more or less of a crank on jewellery - I don't like anything that looks flashy or makes too much display. I prefer something modest, just like your own sweet self, and you couldn't have chosen any fob that would have suited me better. I wish dearie, you were here now so I could kiss you my thanks. What a lot of unkissed kisses there'll be stored up when we meet again!
I'm going to write a letter to your father in a few days, but in the meantime please thank him for me for his beautiful remembrance. I wonder if he ever thought how like heaping coals of fire upon my head it is for him to give me anything else after I've robbed him of his dearest and most precious possession. Can you realize dearest how much I owe to the Kelly family? First of all, my becoming a Christian was to a great extent due to your father's influence and your own sweet Christian example. And now, not only my religious life but my really and truly better half I owe to the same source.
Of course you are busy now preparing for next Thursday and I know you'll not have much time for letters. Are you feeling rested after your strenuous week in the store. Had a lovely letter from father and mother today. Mother is worried about Maggie's being in the tubercular ward, and she spoke of her isolation. I'm afraid I've been very thoughtless and might have written her much more frequently than I have in the past. I'm going to do so in the future. You'll not mind will you, dearie, if sometimes my letters are a wee bit shorter because of it. You see we can be together always after this summer, but perhaps I can never again do as much good to Margaret and she's the best sister any fellow ever had.
I had a few minutes this morning when I felt pretty much like hurting somebody. I had ordered plants to be sent to several people in the city and four of them - to Mrs Larson, MacLeod, Smith and Oaten, were not delivered in time for Xmas. I went to the florists and was going to raise some ructions, when he told me that one of the auto delivery waggons had blown up and burned up on Wednesday afternoon. The flowers for these 4 people were among the contents. Of course it wasn't the florist's fault, and there were a good many other badly disappointed people too. I just made the best of it and sent out others today. Perhaps they'll be almost as much appreciated as if they went in time for Xmas.
Must close now. Goodnight sweetheart, mia carina
Your own Rusty.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 26, 1913
My Own Dear Rusty,
... I have quite a chapter of incidents to relate, so shall begin where I left off yesterday. We were going down to Dr. Henderson's, as I told you, last evening. It was a nasty drizzly night when we went, but when we started for the car, it was snowing, and a couple inches of snow had already fallen. They live on Welland Avenue, so we were planning to get the car down near the car-barn. We waited for some time, then went in the office of the freight-shed, which luckily chanced to be open. There were three other men in there too, waiting for the car. There was a telephone and we found out that the power was off, but we were assured that the trouble would be found, and a car sent to the Falls.
After waiting till half-past twelve, we decided to get on a car from the Falls which had got that far and was stalled, and ride up to the station when it should start, because we had learned that the station was packed with people. The power had been off since eight-forty so all the people who had wanted to go on earlier cars were there. I told you before, 'twas a stormy night. When it came half past one and two, we saw that we were due to stay there all night - it was better to do that than to go out in the storm at that hour to get to a hotel, for you see, we weren't near the centre of the city. The car was warm and so we were quite comfortable in that respect.
There was a woman there who had two little children. Her husband was there too, she put the kids to sleep in the baggage rooms. Besides the five of us, there were two boys and a man in the passenger part, and we disposed ourselves as comfortably as possible. Mother and I were quite cosy, I was asleep, when she go a fidgety spell and of course woke me. You can imagine how angelic I felt. Of course I couldn't get comfortable again. Then nothing would suit mother but that I should change my place to a long seat, which being by the door was draughty. That meant another change. Dad snored, one of the boys snored, and mother snored when she managed to get to sleep. At irregular intervals the conductor or somebody would build up the fire, or somebody would come stamping in.
At somewhere around six several men climbed on board thinking it was the six car for the Falls. Two of them were Yankees, and they did more chewing in half an hour than the rest of us did all night. About half-past seven, we waded up town to a hotel and got our breakfasts. Mother stayed at the hotel a time and Art, Ora, and I went uptown. We met mother at the station and just caught the first car which left, which got us home at eleven. We learned that dad had gone Grand Trunk, which was said to be two hours late. And he had the key. However, the train wasn’t late, and he came up on the local car from Merritton which arrived just a few minutes after the High Line.
Now I must pause for a time. I am going to make hot biscuits for tea, and we're going to have honey and cold roast chicken and 'taters. I don’t know if John’ll get here or not. He was to go to Dunnville but maybe the late cars disarranged his plans.
Once more I unfold my M.S.S.to add a few glowing thoughts thereto. John had just gone. He has to get up at five-thirty tomorrow to go to Dunnville. We had a very nice time. It was good to see him again, but I was thinking yesterday that I’d rather have you not so very tall and just as you are, than tall and thin like Art. You’re better to hug.
I got your Sunday letter to-day. Last night when I was awake or dozing I was thinking of you. So often when I am tired I just play make-believe that I am in your dear arms in front of our fire, and it gives me such utter happiness, not to talk nor to read, but just to be near you, even if it is only in imagination. I liked what you said about us sharing each other's ideals. I think that was the decisive point in your favour. I knew that I should always find sympathy and hearty co-operation in anything that was good or beautiful. No, I don't think you are perfect, but you're like the old-time religion - you're good enough for me.
The parcel from you came to-day - Dominion express. It wasn’t opened yesterday. ... The camera is a beauty, but much too good for a beginner like me. I think I’ll get Russell Smith to teach me how to develop, he does it well. Won’t we have some good times with it? I’ll get Elleda to take us on New Year’s.
The family was quite pleased with their gifts, I don't know which one was most so. I think you displayed excellent taste and I'm quite sure, judging from this sample that you are capable of buying your own gifts. Miss Rogers, if she is the one to whom credit is due, had a daintily artistic eye, and the parcels were very pretty when the box was opened up. You are glad to know that we are delighted, but I never realized so much before how one could spurn the gift if only for one glad embrace from the giver. My dearie, my dearie, I think I love you better all the time, and my desire for you grows with each day. You said your desire for me varied directly as the distance you were away from me. You didn’t exactly mean that, did you? Else ‘twere to my advantage, if I want to be loved, to stay as far away from you as possible.
Did you know Douglas Henderson? I forget his year. He is Dr. Henderson’s son, where we were last night. He married Miss Graham ‘08. Probably tomorrow I’ll tell you of some clever things he wrote in a game we played. But my eyes are almost shut.
First I'll put our flowers to bed, and then I'll put away
Your own kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 27, 1913
My Dearest Rusty,
I am enclosing a slip which I wish you would fill out and send to the address given, if you bought the camera a short enough time ago to comply with the rules.
I am sorry I said what I did about that clock. What have you done with it? The kind Ora doesn’t like is those oak clocks with gilt trimmings, but of course she’ll find a clock very useful, and I know she’d like the kind you’d pick out. I suppose by this time you'll have bought her present. She has one dozen sterling teaspoons, and a dozen forks in the Cromwell pattern 1847 Roger Bros. Grace Ritchie and Margaret are going to give her knives. Mr. and Mrs. Baker a plateau, do you know what that is? A table mirror for the centre of the table. Gertrude Ball, who went to Model with us, came out to-day, and she brought Ora a towel. Dad wanted to know if that made her the even hundred. John brought a toaster last night. He wasn’t particularly anxious to come, because Mabel’s was as bad as a funeral and he didn’t enjoy it a bit.
Art went to Toronto this morning, and should be home soon. He said that Noble said that he'd at last have a chance to kiss me next Thursday. I didn't know that was the fashion, did you? ... I was telling Mother about your fear that the kissing part will be left out of the ceremony. Quelle différence?...
I have sometimes wondered why you kissed me this summer. Do you remember after we had dinner that day in Toronto - at the Prince George - you wanted me to sit down and talk to you, and your expression and actions puzzled me. There seemed to be something you wanted to say or do, and I was awaiting further developments with considerable curiosity. After some time, you shut your eyes, as I do when I have to take castor-oil, and kissed me. You didn't seem satisfied, but evidently decided it was the best you could do under the circumstances, and so we left. What was it you were trying to tell me that day, dearest? Your irresolution makes me smile, as I think of you that day.
I had a good sleep last night, and got up at nine. I don’t like irregularities such as we have had this week, but the one good point is that it probably makes us more appreciative of the ordinary routine. I went down town this afternoon. It was a grand day, snow on the ground, crunching under the feet, a cold blue sky, and no wind. We have been having exceptionally mild, dry weather until this last week when it has been colder. I haven’t put on my winter clothes yet, and don’t intend to until after the wedding, if I do then.
We have a choice variety of odours in the house tonight - I cleaned some white gloves with gasoline, mother used banana oil to gild the radiators, there is meat cooking, and my chinese lilies which are in bloom have a very heavy odour.
I got a picture of Mae Finch yesterday. It is very beautiful, but it pains me to look at it, for there is a look, a new look, which has come through suffering. And I cannot bear to see people suffer, even though I know it is necessary and will have a refining result.
Ora says she is going to visit you on her way home, and if Aunt Em doesn’t come East, she’ll go down to see her. When she told me that I said, "Well then, you can just take Fred a jar of pickled peaches." You see I am bound that you are going to get some of those peaches, for they are good, even if I did make them.
I intend to write a couple other letters tonight. I must hurry with my thank-you's. ... I concluded from your letter that your box would get to you on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. I do hope it did - I suppose you had a good time on Christmas. What was it like at Fritz's. And what did they do at night? No, Heber didn't tell Dell anything about us, and she, for one, was thoroughly surprised, so you see I had the pleasure of surprising one at any rate. Everybody else who knows us, seems mildly interested, but never, never surprise. Hazel had the audacity to ask me if we didn’t have a bet on the subject.
If I write any more I won't get the others done, so good-night.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 28, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
... Art wants me to go over to Toronto Friday night and go to see Anthony and Cleopatra. Also to stay over Sunday. Noble wants me to go too. Wouldn't it be fun. But I guess some of the relations will be staying over, and there'll be too much to do to leave mother. Besides, she got sick, so that my new waist isn't made, and I haven't anything to wear. I'd just love to go, but I can't and so I told Ora she was to make Art stop asking me. There's one consolation, I can keep my first theatre for you. But Anthony & Cleo.! Do you know it well? It is marvellous. I was thinking in church of the time when I'd read Shakespeare and poetry to you. And someway or other, to-day I have felt so hungry for you. My arms fairly ache for you, and the time until you come seems so long, so long.
Doesn't it seem foolish that we didn't know each other in our true relation long ago? That we went on blindly hoping for, and searching for our true mate, and all the time we were within reach of each other? So you were afraid that I wouldn't want to get married for a long time. I had to laugh when you started out to persuade me not to go to Faculty. I was so evident that you expected that it would be a difficult task, whereas I never wanted to go to Faculty. I was only trying to make myself think I'd like it, but I really dreaded it. No, I've seen a vision of my true vocation and it gives me great happiness.
So you were glad that I had the strength to stand the work in the store! I'm getting stronger I know, and I also feel sure that it is largely due to a contented spirit. So you see what good you've done me already.
Good-night my own darling.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 29, 1913
My Dear Rusty,
Excitement prevails. A little while ago an express parcel came for Dad. We put it in his room until he came home. Before he came, Jean Mawdesley, the girl whose mother died, came in with a beautiful silver fruit dish, lined with gold, from our S.S. class. It is an exquisite thing, one of the two or three things I admired most in Mr. Smith’s store.
While I was showing the girls Ora's presents, father came home and opened the parcel. It proved to be a silver tea-pot, sugar-bowl and cream-pitcher, the last two gold lined. At first we couldn’t find the card, but at last we discovered a note, and it came from J.S. Case. You’ve heard us speak of Auntie and Uncle Case at Glanford. Well J.S. is a bachelor brother, and he has only one good eye. He is an old man, seventy or more, and has always thought a great deal of Ora. Wasn’t that a lovely present? She and Art are in the city and I am very anxious for them to come home.
I meant to put some roses on my dress this afternoon but I didn't get a chance. I had to go down town to the 'phone for dad and then I went to see Mr. Elliott, the Bank Manager, to get him to play for me tonight - I am an eleventh hour singer. ...
Wray [Moyer] was anxious to know what you gave me Christmas and he though it was fine. He said rather enviously, "I wish I had a girl." And at another time, "If you'd got me you wouldn't have expected these things, would you?" for I showed him my purse too. Ora is so proud of all her gloves, and dad and mother of their presents. Will tell you tomorrow what dad said. Must do up my hair now and help get supper.
Your own kiddie.
Fred to Evelyn
New Year's Eve. 1913
My own sweetheart,
Many people are glad the old year is passing because it has been such a testing time in a financial way. I don't suppose you realize this very much in Thorold but the past year and the past six months in particular has been a very anxious time in financial circles. Many a man who started the year with the buoyant hope and optimism that have characterized all our business dealings as a people during the post few years, have seen each succeeding month tighten the cords of financial pressure and '13 has indeed been unlucky for him. And like all financial depressions, it isn't only the rich who suffer. Thousands of unemployed are walking the streets of all our cities.
Fortunately in the West, the weather has been so mild, there has been practically no suffering as yet, but the pinch of the purse strings has been felt everywhere. Just one example from Calgary. One of millionaires – not a get rich quick real estate man either although most of his money was made in real estate, has been building a grand new house for the past 2 years – costing an enourmous sum, and his bank credit was so strained that he can’t
get borrow enough more to pay $1000 furniture bill from a Toronto wholesale house and it is likely to sue him. The only place where money seems plentiful is in the bar rooms and tonight they are lined up two, three and four deep.
Does this seem a doleful New Year's message? I don't intend it so, for whatever 1913 many have done to others to me she has been the best of Old Father Time's cycles, and while other people are looking eagerly forward to the New Year, hardly casting backward glances except to revile the departing one. I mingle the new with the old and linger lovingly with 1913, for hasn't the promise of this passing year been the sweetest and best thing that has ever come into my life? And if 1914 is sweeter still it will only be because of the fulfilment of that promise.
Oh, my darling, I wonder if my entering your life has meant as much to you as your coming into mine means to me. Either I am different from most men or the poet is wrong when he says "Love is of man's life a thing apart, 'tis woman's whole existence." Many a time I've been told by married men that they never really began to live until they were married - that from the time their wives entered their lives, everything was different, and I always believed it in a sort of way, but now I realize something of what it means.
Since last summer my whole life is changed. True, to the outward observer there might not appear much change but I go on with my work just the same, - but now it's not for money or fame I'm working, it's all for you. Things that I used to enjoy now are not half so good because I want you to share them with me. If I read a book, something within me calls out for you to enjoy it too. The centre of the universe has shifted. Who would ever have imagined that such a little girl could occupy such an important place in the scheme of things?
Do you remember in one of the first letters I wrote after I came back last September I told about being out riding with a girl and I asked you if you cared? Now I laugh when I think of it, because I've never since felt any desire to go our with any girl but you, and since you aren't here, I don't want to go at all. I haven't been to a single "shine" of any sort except the dinner at the college on Christmas Day. I never did go out a great deal, because I always was sort of waiting for you in the back of my heart and while I always enjoyed a good time as well as the next of the fellows I held myself pretty well aloof. But now I feel different still and when I am talking to another girl I feel as if I am stealing so much time that I could spend either writing or talking to you.
I didn't write you last night because I was tired out. I've been working extra hard to close out business for the year, and I knew if I wrote last night my letter would be insipid and dull, so went to bed instead.
Your Christmas letter came yesterday and a nice big one written the day after brightened this last day of the old year for me. I'm glad the box arrived safely and that everyone was pleased, - you most of all. I do wish it had reached you in time for Christmas and I think if you had only called on Wednesday you would have found it there. You see we have no Canadian Express Office in Calgary as yet.
Do you know dearest what I wish? That the very first picture taken with the camera is one of you alone. I wonder if it will be. Will you send me one soon, dearie? I want to see if you are looking as happy as I want you to feel. I want to see the lovelight in you eyes. You know neither of the pictures I have of you were taken for me alone. I want one where you are looking at me only.
Love is selfish after all, isn't it? Here I've been thinking all evening about you with never a thought of what tomorrow will be to Ora. It will be a New Year's Day for her in very truth won't it. May every happiness be hers and Art's. They deserve it for they've waited long and faithfully. Again, I wish I could be at the wedding, but don't whisper it to Ora, most of all so that I could take you in my arms tonight and give you a kiss for every day of this year since you promised to be my wife.
It's just ten minutes to twelve. In this solemn midnight hour, I thank God for the treasure he has given me and oh, I pray that I may help to make my darling happy, the happiest she has ever been in the glad New Year.
Your own love.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 31, 1913 #1
My Dearest Rusty,
I've just been having a little snooze. Didn't get a chance to write yesterday, so am sending a note by the same mail. The three of us were at Mr. Baker’s for tea, and Mr. Elliott was there too. We had lots of fun. ... Ora’s kept on getting presents, and they’re all pretty.
...I'm glad you liked the fob. Ora wanted to know if you said you wore it to the office. You didn't tell me what you got and what you sent Margaret. No, my dearie, I'll be glad if you write to her. I have been very remiss in that aspect myself. I think she shouldn't stay there. Art says the first year is too hard anyway for the girls to go into that ward
This is the last day of 1913. I'm so glad it's going, but when 1914 is half gone, then I wish the wheels of time could be stayed. 1913 has brought me the best gift in the world, and for that I shall always feel kindly towards it.
Must get to work now.
Evelyn to Fred
Dec. 31, 1913 #2
My Dear Rusty,
It's eight thirty and all's well. We are waiting for Art and Noble, and probably a cousin, Jean Collver, Art went to Merritton to meet them, and he hasn't had any supper yet. We have the tables set and they look nice. Aunt Pearl’s laughing at me for writing again to-day. She says if I don’t have time to write tomorrow, she’ll write for me.
Ora's bouquet hasn't come yet, but the other flowers have. I am going to make it up myself. The flowers are Killarney roses (pink) and white daisies. They are to be tied with pink chiffon that was on my graduation bouquet that Art sent me. You see my dress is pink and white too. ... We had a great profusion of narcissus and carnations at the church on Sunday, and Monday night they gave us a great mass of them for Ora. They are downstairs and are going to keep fine.
They also sent a big bunch to the woman across the road. Her husband, the man who had the cancers, is dead, and was buried today, a military funeral. He was through the South African war. I made the flowers into a spray this morning and tied it up with white ribbon. It looked lovely. Then mother took it over.
Mother has been teasing Ora, saying that the Official Board was the only society left to send her a present. Imagine our surprise and pleasure when one of the men brought a beautiful silver dish to-night from the Official Board. It will mean a great deal to father. He gave Ora a beautiful Methodist Hymn-Book and fifty dollars in gold, three tens and four fives. He had them arranged, crowns uppermost in the form of a cross. ...
Ora has my place-card written "Miss Kelly." ... Miss Fitzgerald was up to see Ora this afternoon. She has been sick but was determined to see Ora, so bundled up and came out. She thought a great deal of Ora. She is one who admires efficiency in any form.
We haven't heard from Margaret yet, and are afraid she won't be able to come I am so sorry about her being in that ward. It seems to me it would be safest for her to leave.
So you want me to get jealous because you like Mrs. Oaten so well, do you? Oh, I'll pay you back in your own coin. Art says Noble has been so delighted at his position because he thinks he'll have a chance to kiss me, which he claims he has always wanted to do. ...
Well those boys [Art and Noble] haven't come yet. I think they'll be too hungry to get home. How I wish you were going to be here tomorrow. Never mind dearie, June is only six months off.
Your own kiddie.