Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 1, 1914
My Dear Rusty
When is that picture coming along? I had hoped it would be here when I got home, but no, I like your idea of getting just two of the one sitting. Do you know, I was half ashamed to show Margaret my purse? She is skimping herself pretty much I think, and it didn't seem fair that you should give me things that she hasn't. ...
...I forgot to tell you about a dream I had some time ago. I dreamed that we were married and that you had forgotten a present for Ora, and that the guests at the wedding weren’t the ones I wanted at all. It was a horrid dream. ...
These are small [dress material] samples,(1) Mother asked why I didn't send a thread. But it's the colours I want you to see. The old rose is for a dress, likewise the blue stripe. The blue with a lot of flowers is for a kimono, and the other blue is for a dress. The white is upstairs and I'm too lazy to go up after it. The faint pink is to be a dress. There is a little bit of green in it also.
I woke at 7.15 this morning but dozed off again. An oriole wakened me. I had my window wide open and the hall window was open too, and it was great to hear the birds. ... I never appreciated bird songs as I did last spring and as I do now. Suppose I bring some out with me, do you think they'd stay.
Tomorrow we have the Missionary society. We are going to have lettuce sandwiches, white cake and gold cake. Oh, you ought to hear Art talk about Ora's cooking. He says she has a reputation for making fancy dishes without having half the neighbours help her.
Dad said, now don’t you repeat this, “Well, I guess Art’s folks weren’t much as cooks.” I wonder if you’ll be as tickled over your wife’s attempts! I’m afraid not - but you won’t starve or be poisoned, at any rate you’ll understand. I’m not so tired tonight.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 2, 1914
My Dear Torchy,-
... Mother and I walked down to the post-office, through the snow and mud, but we didn't get much for our pains. Never mind, there'll be a nice fat Sunday letter tomorrow.
I had a letter from Ora to-day and she said that Estelle [Carey] was in town. You haven't mentioned the choir concert. Didn't you attend? How did you like the samples I forgot last night? I must be sure to send them tonight.
We had the Missionary meeting her to-day. Mother and I each made a cake this morning. Hers was yellow, mine white and almond cream cake, and I put on it a soft white icing with chopped n [sic] in it. I think it’s the nicest cake I ever made, and I don’t think Ora could beat it.
You know, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make the “groom’s cake,” but I have become so conceited that I think maybe I can. I think I’ll make that kind. I made pies too, and took them out before they were cooked. The apples were just hot, but I put them in and cooked them some more. I forgot to tell you that while at Luella’s I made a cocoanut [sic] pie, the first I ever tried. So maybe I’ll be able to manage the Hermitage special. ...
I wonder if you are going to Edmonton for Easter, and if you want your letters sent there. Guess I won't risk them anyway. To have some letters awaiting you is some recompense for going back. That’s the way I felt when I came home - I said to myself “There’ll be some letters there from Fred,” and there were two.
I'm beginning to have stage fright, for fear I don't have my clothes for the 16th or 17th. Which is it?
Evelyn, if you like to call me that.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 3, 1914
My Dear Man,-
You must have been pretty tired last Sunday after your very full week. I’m not going to let you work so hard when I get taking care of you. How’ll you like that?
Do you know what our marriage ceremony is like? There is no part "Who giveth this woman etc" therefore why can't I walk up the aisle with my father and why can't he then take his place inside the altar? And as for assistants, it's quite customary. In fact there are often three ministers. I think Papa would prefer one. He couldn't have got through Ora's ceremony alone; as it was he had to stop in the middle of his part and hand the book over to Mr. Smith. If Ora doesn't come home, we'll have no attendants, if she does, you won't need one anyway.
Mama wants Ora to be the matron-of-honour. I think she's mean if she doesn't come, even if Art can’t. If they don’t come, I’ll have the kind of ice-cream Art is crazy over and I’ll write and tell them so too. ...
I went down on the car with John. He hasn’t been very well; in fact he’s afraid he’s had a touch of appendicitis. He was joking about it at home, and his mother said he shouldn’t joke about sacred things. He wasn’t aware that his appendix was sacred. Oh, I didn’t say the Glee Club was really going abroad. I don’t know.
Do you know what I was picturing tonight coming up on the car? The first day we get settled in our home. It's going to be great fun, isn't it? I wonder if we'll spend the first night reading French or German? What do you say? Only this, I've determined that I won't kiss you until you're satisfied or you won't want me to any more. How am I to determine the proper stopping place?
Mother and I are going to the Falls tomorrow - the other side, to get a suit for her. We won't smuggle it.
Your loving girl.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 4, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
We went to the Falls, and we did smuggle.
First we got some cotton dresses one each - paid 2.49 for the material and 32 1/2 % duty or 82 cents. No one else on the car paid any. Mama got a suit and she said another girl wore it home. It would have cost her eight dollars duty. It makes me mad to pay it, coming from the States, but I don’t suppose it’s honest not to, so I’ve made up my mind not to buy goods there. But hang it all, I’m no Tory, and protective laws aren’t laws like laws against murder or stealing.
Dad doesn’t think it’s right to bring things over without paying duty. Well, mama tried to get a suit here and couldn’t. She was getting discouraged and wasn’t going to try in that store - and say, it’s a pretty suit she’d got tired in another one, when I said, “Well, you might happen to get one.” - very fashionable, but it takes away her stomach. I shouldn’t have thought she could wear that style. Now I’m going to have her get a nice soft crêpe de chine waist, and I tell you she’ll look pretty nifty.
Talk about cold chills - for me there are four dresses and a kimona and a couple waists - for mama two dresses and a waist to be made here at home. Moreover there is housecleaning. Do you see any work for us? I guess some of the pillow-cases won’t get made just yet.
No, I won’t tell you what I meant in that letter. You know partly but I can’t write it to you. I’ll tell you after we’re married, sometime when I can hide my face on your shoulder. I’m not afraid of you, if I were I wouldn’t marry you. I don’t understand the right and wrong of that subject and I’ve been told that I’m fanatical, and for that reason it has bothered me. But quite likely it will turn out that we think the same.
I saw a nice young couple in a store to-day, and I said to myself, "Soon my husband will be going shopping with me." I'm not bad at that really, except when buying shoes. But as a rule, I know at once if I like a thing, though the trouble is to get that one particular thing. Sometime I'm going to ask you something about your trousseau. I know you'll laugh, but it means a great deal to me.
I got weighed on a cent scale and it said 111, but I’m not fat. It told my fortune too, said to be careful of my friends.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 5, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
I don’t like Sunday any more. Guess why! I don’t get any letter. I wonder if there’ll be two tomorrow.
It seems as if our letters are very short of late, but I think it's partly because we're both too impatient to write longer ones, and of course we're busy too. But I don't want to write to you, I want to see you and sit down and read with you near me. We'll have nice times Sunday afternoons, even if we do go to Sunday-school. That sounds funny - what I meant was that we'd have time. I'm not going to write letters on Sunday. If I can't find time during the week, they won't get written, that's all. ...
... If I don't get a chance to read on Sunday, I feel as if I had been cheated out of the day. And often I don't. I've written to Ora, and a short letter to Mae, and now it's almost five o'clock. That's one reason I like to come home after church, and don't like to have even my friends come in - I'd rather read than talk to anyone that comes here, I think. Perhaps if I weren't so busy sewing, and consequently had more time to read, I might then be more sociable. I don't know why it is, but sometimes the people I term my friends bore me frightfully. It seems as if they are squeezed dry of ideas, I never used to feel that way with Mae, Annie, Hazel and Susie and Marion. I guess we had more to talk about - life was more eventful.
This morning mama told me I'd have to learn to be less entertaining at meal-time or I'd make my home unpleasant that waiting for me wouldn't always be a joke. It made me sore, because as a rule our meals are not conspicuous by their conversational opportunities. I hope we shall make ours more interesting.
Papa never talks of ideas with mother, and of course he doesn't with us. People are our main source of conversation and they do become tiresome topics. You'll have to train me to become a good conversationalist. I'm not one, partly because of the reason I've given, and partly because often I'm too lazy to exert myself. I know I'm slow, but honestly, I'm no so bad as I used to be, and for your sake I'll try to go on improving.
Monday [April 6]
If you haven't procured the passages, you had better change the date if it suits you. The tenth, or anything after that will do for us. You know what you asked me the other day? That is the reason I'm changing the date. I couldn't tell you before, I thought I had it right, but I find we can have the wedding earlier if you would like. Of course, if you have made arrangements, why it's all right. ...
Mama is going down for the mail now. We had a three weeks' washing, but it's done, thank goodness.
Good-bye for the present
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 6, 1914
My Dear Fred,-
One thing I don't like about getting married, is that I'll have to take your name, and I like my own better. I don't want to be a "Mrs." either but I suppose I "gotta" do both. Then sometimes I wonder if I really want to be married to live in a place I certainly should not choose for myself, to make another person's friends my friends. It seems so, so lamblike a course that it makes me mad. But that's the result of happening to care more for one particular man than for all the rest of them put together, excepting always my first man. I don’t mean that he comes first now, but that he came first. And of course a father and a husband can in no wise be compared. But these are ideal fancies. ...
Papa came home this afternoon with a nice new gray suit. What kind are you going to have? He was telling us about a friend of ours up in Glanford. He leased his farm for 99 years. A big flow of gas has been struck, and he had the place leased so that he could can have all the gas he wanted to use, if he piped it himself, but that is all he can have. The well yields 50,000 ft. a day, I think, at any rate it’s a big yield. He can’t sell the place unless subject to that lease. Why would any man be so foolish as to tie his farm up like that?Mama and Papa are at League. I didn't go, else you wouldn't be getting this now. Does the time between letters seem very long to you? It does to me, and yet I don't want to write to you, I just want to have you with me. I'm getting tired of writing.
I want you to make out a careful list of those you want invited, and of those to whom you want announcements sent. Begin right away, because you can't think all at once of those to whom you want announcements sent.
I planned to read some tonight, but I can't find the book. It was one on housekeeping and I had read part of it. There are some more upstairs (Ora's) but I'm afraid to go up after one. I'm not going to stay alone nights: if you have to go out, I'll go some place and stay. There have been so many tramps around lately, and there are such tough people in town, that I am really quite nervous. I hate to think of mother being alone so much as she will be next year. Why down at Harris Abbatoir, the night watchmen heard the men in the bunk house comparing notes about the different jails they’d been in.
They dug the holes for our verandah to-day. It is to be nine feet wide and will extend across the front of the house. I wish we’d had it long ago, but at any rate, it’s to be done by the first of June. June seems a long way off, it’s so cold now, and there’s snow. The clothes froze when they were hung our this morning.
Mama cut out a dress for me this afternoon. This is one to wear now, because my other one is going to pieces. I wish we didn't have any housework for a couple months, and then we might get our sewing done. I'm going to try to get tag ends finished this week, and next week then I can start something new.
So you don't want me to have slit skirts! I'll give you to understand that I'll have them if I like. That doesn't sound right, particularly in view of what I'm going to ask you sometime, so I guess I'll take that back. It doesn't read well, and I merely meant to joke, I want you to like my clothes. You generally have, haven't you? And I don't want to go down in your opinion
Are you anxious to have the wedding the eleventh or do you wish it to be later? It's up to you and the steamship lines. By the way, are we going?
Your loving one.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 7, 1914
My Dear Fred,-
Your Tuesday and Wednesday combination letter came last night, but none has come to-day. I believe Thursday night was to be a party night, n’est-ce-pas? Very well, you are excused.
... Your thought for meine mutter, [my mother] pleased me more that I can tell you. And I'm so glad you are sending Margaret a flower too. Do you know, I was ashamed to tell her of the lovely flowers you sent me on St. Valentine's day? It seemed so much for me, and nothing for her. So things are getting partially balanced.
Did I tell you how selfish I was over those same flowers? I thought I might have sent a few to Elsie, but I wanted them myself and so I kept them. And I didn’t enjoy them so much as I should have if I hadn’t been so selfish. Easter lilies are only a dollar and a quarter here - some are a dollar. I told the man to get me the best he could find. He didn’t have any in, but said he’d get it. I know I can rely on him, because he has always been very careful about pleasing us. Poor chap! He’s a nice enough man only he gets so drunk. I told you about dad picking him up and taking him home one cold night. ...
I think we’ll give the lily to mama and the hyacinths to dad, he will appreciate them, and Mama can give the other one to anybody she thinks would appreciate it. Do you like that arrangement? Oh my dearest, I wanted to hug you last night, it was so dear of you to think of that. ...You seemed to have the impression that I didn't like to talk about babies. Why, I don't mind. But I'll explain myself. I don't want any for about three years, and my reasons are these. It will take me at least a year to become accustomed to my new position. The next year we will probably be building a house. I want some time with you alone.
Perhaps if we'd been together I might feel differently, but we've missed a great deal that people who live near each other have. Besides, and this is really the most important I suppose, I am not so strong as I expect to be, and it isn't fair to either a mother or child for not to be in first class physical condition. I think also, it is a good plan to have some money ahead.
Budge Hara, who is on the canal staff, was married last year. They have a baby a month old. Mrs Hara contracted blood-poisoning, and is yet in a very critical condition. Injections of serum alone have cost about a hundred dollars. John was telling me that tonight, and he said, “It’ll take all Budge’s salary for doctor’s and hospital bills.” They have just bought (partially of course) a house of their own.
And to make matters worse, if Mrs. Hara does get better, it will be about a year before she is really better. The anxiety about her health would be enough, without having added to it the haunting spectre of debts. It was because of these things that I have given you the impression I have. But you agree with me, don't you dearest? I don't understand why people should want their babies the first thing. I don't think many of them do, until of course they know they're coming anyway. Well, I don't want ours to come that way, I want them to be wanted from the beginning. I don't think I'll speak of this any more until after we're married.
In two months you'll likely be here. Does it seem to you that you are going to be married? I can scarcely realize it, but I'm glad, just the same.
Your own one.
Fred to Evelyn
This has been a very much cut up evening. We have to move on Friday and as I'll be very busy tomorrow evening. I started packing tonight. You might think a bachelor wouldn't have much stuff to move. Everybody says, "Oh, it can't be much trouble for you to move." But it is astonishing what a lot of junk a fellow can accumulate in the course of a few months. I hope we never have to move more than once, dearie.
Well, I got part of my stuff packed. Then Tait, Mack and I went out to the new house to look things over. Incidentally we took some of our belongings along, for our new landlord called for us in his auto. The new house is much nicer than this in its furnishings but there isn't nearly so much room. One of us will either have to sleep outside on the balcony or "triple up" with two others in one room. As I don't expect to stay very long, I think I'll sleep outside. We are going to put a tent up for shelter and I'll get fresh air for a sleeping draft.
... Did you ever hear the Toronto Ladies' Quartette? They have been out west every year for the past 4 years. The Young Men's Club had them here twice and we boys gave them a good time when they were here. This year there is only one of the original 4 - Miss Maude Buschleu - violinist. All the rest of the original quartette are either married or about to be. The present quartette gave a concert here last night under the auspices of the Presbyterian Young Peoples’ Society - I didn’t go to the concert for I was at the Court House library working until late, but afterwards I called to see Miss Buschleu for a few minutes. She’s a very fine girl, I think. I was going to take her out to lunch today only I was too busy.This afternoon I went to the steamship office and made some enquiries about sailings. What do you say about taking the new Cunard boat the Audania? She is a two class boat put into commission last year, and about the best of the two class boats sailing from Canadian ports. She sails from Montreal and Quebec on June 20th. That would give us Friday and Saturday in Quebec and Montreal. How would that suit you? Personally I would be glad of 2 days at Quebec and we could take one to go out to St Anne de Beaupré.
I have been thinking over your suggestion and have talked to a good many people and have about decided that it would be nicer to take passage on a boat that carries only 2 classes - than to go second class on a boat that carries 3 classes. Personally I’d prefer to take the Allan or C.P.R. line but the only boats sailing about June 20th are the Audania of the Cunard line, one of the White Star boats and the Alsatian the new Allan liner which carries 3 classes.
If you could hold the date of the wedding open for a little while longer I’d be glad because it may be we’ll have to go by a different boat yet. The agents are writing and trying to get definite information about the bookings. I’m pretty sure If we take the Alsatian we’d have to be married on the 16th as she sails on the 18th.
Will let you know as soon as possible, but from present indications I think we’ll take the Audania.
Please excuse this margin scribbling. Goodnight dearest.
Your own Rusty.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 8, 1914
My Dear Fred,-
The concert is over and mama is making some cocoa. The church was jammed, and I guess they must have made about a hundred and fifty dollars. I had to sing the second on the program. I guess I got along all right. I felt like singing when I got up. There were some Scotch mill girls behind us, and mama said they made comments on everyone. When I went up to sing they said, "There, see the style go up." See what a prize you're getting. I wore my pink "wedding" dress. There was another girl who was "style" and they liked her dress better than mine.
Mr. Clarke looked very handsome in his evening clothes. I was thinking contentedly of the nice times we'll have going to concerts. I like wearing nice clothes and seeing other people wear them.
The lily didn't come to-day, the man thought it was too cold to bring it, and consequently, mother still thinks it's for me. I got some yellow tulips and gave them to her, and she is greatly pleased, as is dad with the hyacinths. Of course the first thing he said was, "Well, we can take these to the church Sunday, can't we? ...
It's after eleven and I'm sleepy.
Goodnight my own dear.
Fred to Evelyn
I've been longing so for you today. Perhaps it's partly because seeing Ora reminds me so much of you, and seeing her so happy in her home makes me long for the time when we shall have our little nest too. Ora is very happy here in spite of the fact that she is not yet in a house of her very own. I only hope dearie that I can make you as happy as Art has Ora. It will be my fault if you aren't happy, won't it, for one thing is certain, no two people can love each other the more truly than we do, and if anything is lacking it will be because of my thoughtlessness and selfishness.
... Yesterday was a day of unusual rush, both in the office and later at home. I had to finish packing last night and made a trip out to the new house taking some things such as hats, pictures etc that I didn't care to put in my trunk or suitcase. Consequently I was busy as I could be until 10.30 when I left for the station. I expected Marjorie on the 10.50 train but she had come on an earlier one arriving at 9.15. She had waited for me for some time around the station then went out for an auto ride with some friends of a Taber friend of hers who accompanied her. So her time was filled up and she was back at the station about 11.30 when I went back to board my train. I didn’t recognize her at first though she says she knew me at once. My, she has grown. She is taller than I am. I was very glad she had found those other friends so that she didn’t have a long dreary wait for me at the station or hotel.
After I met the 10.50 train I went down to the P.O. to get your Sunday letter, but I was disappointed to find the P.O. closed. Usually it closes at 10 o’clock but before holidays and on Saturdays it remains open until midnight and I was expecting it would be last night. Well there’s this consolation - there should be 4 letters waiting for me Monday morning instead of 3.
Just before I left last night I heard there was a fire in the store below Fritz’s offices. I don’t know how bad it was - it was almost out when I left for the train and I don’t think any damage was done in the law office except possibly from smoke. If there had been worse I would have seen something in the Edmonton morning paper.
We arrived here at 7 o’clock this morning and Art met us at the station. Marjorie said she hardly slept last night and I slept the least I ever slept on a train. Usually I can sleep quite well in a sleeper but whether it is because I was unusually tired or because the car was more stuffy than usual I didn’t rest well at all. And Marjorie’s saying she couldn’t sleep made me think of you dear, and I was wondering whether you would be able to sleep on the train.
I wouldn’t want you to be unable to rest, and if I thought such would be the case we’d plan to stay overnight in Toronto and travel from to Montreal in the daytime. I was asking Ora how she found it and she said she’d rather travel at night than in the day time, for it’s tiresome during the day too. What do you think, sweetheart? Do you think you’ll be able to sleep on the train?
After breakfast this morning we went out in the car. It has been a beautiful, bright clear day. ... we kept on going all morning. ... we went out along the river west of the city for about 7 or 8 miles. Out that way there is the most beautiful scenery. Looking back from the bridge over a little wooded ravine down the deep winding valley of the river, one is reminded very much of some spots in Rosedale, Toronto. In fact I don't think the Rosedale section is as beautiful as this. For natural beauty I don't know of any city site that surpasses Edmonton's. I'm sorry to say, dearie, that Calgary isn't the same.
There is no doubt about that. For beauty of situation Edmonton and Calgary are not in the same class. But just the same, Calgary as a city is much ahead of Edmonton. It is more compact, more business-like, cleaner, better paved and less raw and crude generally. When you get tired of me and Calgary, dearie, I'll send you up here to Ora and Edmonton. Isn't that a fair exchange?
... Ora got a letter from you today and of course your dress samples came in for their well deserved share of praise. I was asking Ora about going home for the wedding, and she says it's impossible. She seemed surprised when I said you had been expecting her. It takes a good deal of money and she feels that they need to be pretty careful because times have been pretty close, - and then it is always a hard scramble to get started in a profession for oneself. There is so much expense that can't be avoided. And she feels that as it is such a short time since she was home, she'd rather wait and go home in the winter. However she'll write you herself.
We all felt pretty "yawny" this evening and are going to bed early. It's just ten o'clock now. Goodnight my own dear kiddie.
Evelyn to Fred
Friday night [April 10, 1914]
My Dear Fred,-
Everybody's upstairs, and I can't write much. I am sleepy, tired, and out of sorts. I don't know what's the matter with me. I want you so much. And yet if you were here I'd likely be nasty to you. No, I don't think we'll understand each other's moods; it would be impossible for you to fathom mine. And we don't see eye to eye by any means. What makes it worse is that I'm afraid you won't understand me if I try to explain my position; therefore I must needs keep quiet.
If it hadn't been that I didn't write yesterday, I certainly should not do so tonight - I cut a gash in my thumb, opening a can of peas, and it makes writing rather difficult. ...
Edith came before dinner. We had a lovely long walk. I don’t see why you call all your nasty days “Ontario weather.” That’s not fair. One would think by that that we never had nice days. To-day was grand, hazy, but bright and snappy. The birds are here in goodly numbers.
You'll be at Ora's tonight. Had I known for certain that you were going there, I should have sent your letters to her address.
It is now nearing twelve. I wonder if you'll know how to deal with my nasty moods, when I was younger, I got spanked for them.
Fred to Evelyn
King Edward Hotel,
It's 2.15 p.m. I've just had lunch here and have three quarters of an hour before an appointment that may keep me the rest of the afternoon. I knew I'd be busy nearly all day so when I left the house this morning I told Ora I'd not be back for lunch. It’s luck I did for I was kept busy until after one o’clock and if I had gone back to Strathcona I wouldn’t have got back much before two o’clock. It’s about 3 miles across to Art’s from here.
I've been talking to Ora about the wedding and was surprised to learn that she hadn't wanted one, but that your mother had insisted. Is it the same with you dear? I've not said anything about it before, because I thought you wanted it, but what Ora said made me think that perhaps you didn't either. If so, why have an invited wedding? Don't you think it would be nice just to be quietly married in the presence of our own immediate families without any fuss?
What I'm most afraid of is that you will be so tired out planning and preparing for the wedding that you'll be nearly ill and will not enjoy the boat trip. If one is at all inclined to seasickness, the best preventive is good health while on the other hand over fatigue is almost sure to bring it on if it needs any encouragement.
Ora says the excitement of getting married is sufficient without the additional nervous strain of preparing for a lot of guests and she is as much afraid as I am that both you and your mother will be worn out, particularly in view of the work you'll have with the conference delegated. I can't bear to think, dearie, that our honeymoon may be spoiled by preparations for a wedding.
When J.M. Carson of our firm got married, there were no invited guests at all, although the bride was one of the best known of Calgary girls both, in the Presbyterian church and in good society, for her people are among the oldest residents of the city and her father is a prominent merchant. They were married quietly in Knox Church, and were unattended, except that the bride entered with her father who led her to the altar and left her there. There wasn't even a reception afterwards but the bride and groom left very shortly after the ceremony for the train. And there are others I know who have been married the same way. I guess most men prefer simplicity and absence of fuss at such a time.
Personally, I rather like the idea of a wedding where real friends are invited, but when it involves more work than the bride can stand, I'd a thousand times rather cut it out. And that's what I'm afraid of, dearie. You don't misunderstand me do you? I'm afraid your mother doesn't realize just how much of a strain it will be for you anyhow.
It would be different if we were going somewhere for a few weeks to be quiet, but first there'll be a long railway journey at night, which you are unaccustomed to, then the ocean trip with its menace of seasickness and then travelling about from place to place sleeping in strange beds and seeing new sights which in itself is a severe nervous strain. And if our honeymoon is to be a time that you'll look back upon with pleasure it must not be spoiled by tired nerves caused by overwork and worry in preparation for the wedding.
Oh, my dearest, you'll understand I'm not complaining won't you? But I do feel anxious about you.
Must go now to keep my appointment. I hope the Easter lilies are nice.
With love from
Evelyn to Fred
Saturday night [Apr. 11, 1914]
I’ve had my bath, and am waiting for Edith to get ready for bed. I meant to add to last night’s scrap, and post it this afternoon, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t get it done.
...You know, or don’t you, that you take for granted that people are as good as you think they are. I have noticed that in opinions you have expressed of people I know. For instance, you thought Elleda sweet-tempered. She enjoyed that immensely, for she knows, better than I do, that she has an irritable disposition. But she tries to rule it, instead of letting her it rule her. And I could name several other cases in point, concerning other people.
The natural conclusion is then, that you misjudge me, and though it would be lovely to think that I’m as nice as you think I am, yet, if my logic is good and if my premises are well taken, the conclusion is that I’m not. And I know it. You are honest, and you think everyone else is as clearcut and straightforward as you are. ’d rather have you overvalue than undervalue, because if no one has ideals for another, what is there for them to work for.
Your picture came to-day. I went into my room when it was partly dark, and I could see your face dimly, and I kissed you and laid my face against yours. I'm so glad you're mine, I do wish I could have a face to face talk with you. One can't write as one can talk. I'm so afraid of saying things wrongly; I can't foretell the mood in which you will be when you receive my letters. But I don't need to worry, do I? Because when you don't understand or don't like what I say, you are generous to give me the benefit of the doubt.
Good-night or it's nearly good-morning.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 12, 1914
My Dear Fred,-
I was thinking about you all through church, and reached this conclusion - that tomorrow I'll tell you what has been bothering me lately. You'll think I'm always fretting over something, won't you? I hated to explain myself, because I know it won't put me in a very good light, but I am going to tell you what I think and feel, even if my thoughts and feelings aren't as lovely as they should be. I'm not going to write my usual two-page Sunday letter; I'll write a long one tomorrow.
Edith is going tomorrow afternoon, and it doesn’t seem very polite to write for a long time, particularly as papa and mama are out some place. She takes it as a matter of course that I should write to you every day. I didn’t get to know her very well until our last year, but she is certainly a fine girl.
We have had a busy day. The organist was here for dinner and tea, and another girl and a man besides. Edith and I have just finished the dishes, which we left till after church. We talked till 2.30 last night. She wanted me to tell her what you were like. It took me nearly two hours, and she remarked that I didn’t appear tired of my subject even then.
I like your picture so much; it is almost as if you were sitting looking at me. Oh, I couldn’t stand not seeing you for much longer. Never before did writing seem so futile.
...To-day we had the graduation exercises of the primary class. 10 girls & five boys ... It was really wonderful to hear them. The only thing in which they became confused was the recitation of the commandments. They gave their teachers a little gift, and truly they were surprised. They got dad to write an address which one of the girls read very nicely. ...
Oh, my dear one, I haven't been writing nice letters lately, I know, but at any rate, you know, you know I love you, don't you, even when I am cranky? Oh, it won't be long now until I can creep into your arms, and show you that I love you. And sometimes you'll lay your head on my breast, my dearest.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 13, 1914
My Dear Rusty,
... Everybody's magazine is conducting a series "What Do You Know about Rum?" and is asking for the best solution of the problem. I think I'll write my opinion - it is a contest for readers. I won't have time to get up much, but it seems to me that such incidents would be better that statistics. And the way to deal with it? Surely, surely there is no other way than to cease its manufacture. I have never yet heard that it was absolutely necessary.
Edith went home this afternoon. We started over to the car to go to the station, and decided that it was such a lovely day that we’d walk. When we got nearly there we got afraid that we’d miss the car, so we took a short cut, and- the path looked dry, but it froze last night, and melted this morning. Our boots were a sight when we got to the station. There were more horrid men there to-day than I ever saw there before. They stared and stared at us. I turned my back, but I felt their stares, and ached to give them a good, hard kick, or slap their ugly, leering faces.
...How much do you want Estelle at our wedding? You know, Dell is my friend, and I don't intend to ask her. Apart from that - my opinion of Stell differs very much from yours. I have scarcely seen her since I moved to Beamsville. I can remember being at her place twice, and of seeing her and hearing her sing three times. That is all I have seen of her since I was thirteen.
What I know of her is the impression I had of her as a child, and what I have heard of her since. I never since I got older, felt at home with her. I never felt that she was sincere. Things I have heard of her are of both kinds, but the preponderance of evidence goes to prove that she was spoiled. ... She wasn’t one of my special chums at school either. She was a good ball player, I remember.
Now, I fully realize how unkind it will appear to you for me to have said this about her, particularly since you have spoken about the nice things she has said about me. I can't help wondering what they are.
I hated to say I didn't want her, but honestly I don't. I don't feel sure of her. If it were anything other than our marriage! I have hated to say this. It will make you think badly of me, and besides you appear to want her. Of course you'll say it doesn't matter, but I'm afraid you'll have a feeling that I might have considered your wishes a little. But - well, it's our marriage, and all the rest are people who are friends.
It's made me feel badly ever since I got your letter - not that you should want her, but that I cannot agree with you. And it seems as if it has happened so often that I'm always looking for the worst in people. Honestly, I don't think I am, but on the other hand, probably first opinions easily harden into prejudices. I remember two cases. How I wish I could have told you this, instead of having to write it.
I wonder if you got my Friday and Saturday combination letter. After I posted it yesterday I saw the box door open and the letters lying, some in the basket, which was upset, and some around on the floor - They’re terribly careless - They’re R.C.’s.
... It is time for bed. I hope I haven't offended you.
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Tuesday evening Apr. 14/14
This evening we have been moving. There aren’t enough bed clothes to fix up a bed for me on the porch, so I am to share a room with Ray and Carson. Their room had 2 single beds and insufficient dresser accommodation. Last night we thought Carson was going to stay at J.M.’s and I was going to sleep in his bed. Then he came home after all and so we put the two single beds side by side and I slept in the middle - mostly on the crack. It did fairly well for one night, but I wouldn’t want two months of it.
Miss Rogers had a double bed so tonight we moved her bed into our room and gave her one of the single rooms beds. We also had to move dressers and other paraphernalia and I partially unpacked. Doesn’t unpacking take a long time? I hate it and hope I haven’t much of it to do. Nearly the whole evening has been taken up in this way, and I haven’t more than made a beginning. I really don’t intend to unpack all my things - just for the short time I’ll be here.
Today at noon Percy and I went home with J.M. Carson for lunch, and he took me upstairs to see the baby’s trousseau. Mrs. Carson is in a maternity hospital and the house seems awfully empty without her. But the preparations for the baby! I never imagined there could be anything like it. It seems as if she had provided every conceivable thing for the baby’s use and comfort, - and J.M. says she made nearly everything herself. It all looked so dainty - and showed so much thought and love. It was a revelation to me. Babies are one of the chief topics of conversation at the office these days. When Mr Clarke, Macleod, Carson and Smith get together the rest of us feel like retiring.
Did your mother enjoy the lily? I'm so glad, dearie, that you didn't feel neglected because I didn't send you one. That's one thing I always liked about you that you are so thoughtful of others and unselfish. It isn't every girl who would rather have someone else get a present than herself. I'm glad there was money enough to get some other flowers and that you got some for your father, only I do wish you could have had one for your very own. Did you have a pleasant Easter? Our next will be spent together won't it?
There wasn’t any letter today, but after the feast I had yesterday I couldn’t complain. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that in addition to the letters yesterday I got yours and your mother’s Easter cards.
How soon do you want my list of people to whom I wish wedding announcements sent? It's a good suggestion to start making it out now. I'm beginning tonight, and I know that I'll think of other names from time to time. What is my limit? As long as I tell you how many there'll be you'll not want the name and addresses until I go home will you?
What is it you want to ask about my "trousseau," dear? It seems funny to use that word in connection with a man's clothes doesn't it? I had expected to get a couple new overcoats - winter and spring - for both mine are pretty well worn out, - and a fair supply of other clothes too, but they can be bought for about half price over in England, and so I'm not going to get very many now but just what I'll really need, - and then I'll get some over in England. You have some suggestions you want to make, haven't you, dearest? Don't be afraid you'll hurt my feelings if you criticize. I know I haven't worn as nice or as good clothes as I might have. But I don't think you'll be ashamed of me after we are married.
So you think getting married and taking your husband's name is too "lamb-like?" Well, how would it suit you to keep your own name as Miss Cassan did when she was married a few years ago. ... I guess it isn't troubling you very much though, is it, dearie?
Are you wondering about my gamble in oil? There has been a great deal of development work during the past winter. There are now 7 companies drilling, and during the last few days indications have been exceptionally favorable at the Dingman well. Wouldn't it be great if I could make enough out of oil to pay for our wedding trip. But I'm not counting on it.
There’ll be a nice letter for me tomorrow morning, won’t there? Good night, my own sweetheart.
Thank your mother for me for her Easter card.
For yours here’s a great big kiss.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 14, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
Today's letter was full of talk about boats. Since you wrote you have received my letter, telling of the possibility of an earlier date, but you can suit yourself, as it doesn't make any difference to me. Only, I thought you might like to go as early as possible.
What about rugs? Elleda got a beauty over in England, but we'll have to have something going over, won't we? My cousin could get us a nice one if need it. He’s a traveller and his line is leather goods. ...
I’m tired tonight and my shoulder aches. We’ve worked hard to-day - washed and in the afternoon sewed. We nearly made my kimona. Of course mama did most of it. ...
Did I tell you we are getting a new verandah? The contract called for the floor to be laid in white lead. The[y] paint the edges of the boards, so that they will be filled in. Mother thought the boards didn’t look very well put together, so she told dad. He said they were hammering them as lightly as they could. She went and read the contract and found out about the white lead. They weren’t putting it in at all, and had half the flooring down. That made dad mad and he told the man he wouldn’t accept the work. ...
Dad was mad all afternoon. He said he hated to get angry but it looked as if they thought there wasn’t anyone to look after the business and therefore that they’d do it as quickly as possible. He hates any mangling like that, and so do I. When we build our house we mustn’t forget about the white lead. Also there’ll have to be some agreement made so that I can have tubs and sinks put up high enough. They’re always too low, even for me. ...
... You asked about Margaret. About the first thing I said when I saw her was, "How fat you are." Her face is like the moon at present. I think that probably she'll be stronger when she finishes than she was when she began. ... I don't know whether I'll have time to go Beamsville. There's a great deal to be done in two months.
Goodnight dear Rusty.
Fred to Evelyn
Wednesday Evening Apr. 15/14
My dear little neglected kiddie,
I hardly know whether to laugh or cry this morning when I got your graphic little note. For terseness and expressiveness it is a fair rival of Caesar’s famous veni, vidi, vici. I really couldn’t help but laugh - it was so really funny. the falling tears and the pathetic droop to your mouth were more reproachable than any words could have been.
Oh my dear, dear girlie, I am so sorry you were disappointed. I know I wasn’t at all faithful about writing the week before last and when I did write my letters were miserable excuses. I’m afraid some of them sounded as if I were finding fault. Please, please, don’t think I meant to do so. And don’t think, dearie, that I want to have my own way about our wedding. You would be quite justified in thinking so, I know, but I want you to go on and have things just as you like.
I’d be a pretty poor sort of man, wouldn’t I, if I wasn’t anxious that my wife should have her wishes carried out on her wedding? So, I want to take back what I’ve said about bridesmaid and best man, and minister, and everything else. You just have things as you want them and you let me know whom you want to assist your father in the ceremony and I’ll try to see that your wishes are carried out.
At any rate they will be as far as I have power to do it. It was so dear of you not to complain because you didn’t get a letter nor the photo, but to send the drawing which you did. It just made my love go out to you in a great bound and I wanted so much to have you here so that I could take you in my arms and tell you how I love you. And your thought was so clever too. I was am very proud of my little girl. It is one of the very cleverest things I’ve ever seen.
I haven’t done much tonight. I brought 4 files home with me to work at but I haven’t looked at one. J.M. Carson came up for dinner tonight and afterwards we talked for a while. Then I went down town in the car with Percy and we called back at the hospital and I saw the baby. J.M. is awfully proud of it. I never used to be able to imagine him holding a baby in his arms but married life has changed him wonderfully.
It was nearly nine o’clock when we left the hospital and then I called at the Oaten’s for an hour. They are giving up their house on May 16th. Mrs. O. senior is then going to Minneapolis for the summer to stay with a sister and Mrs O. junior is going home to Hamilton for the summer. Wilfred is going to stay here, and board. It will save a good deal of expense to give up their house and store their furniture for their rent is $55 per month. It’s too much.
We were thinking of fixing up a tennis court on the vacant lots next our house, and today Wilson was talking about it to F.C. Lowes who lives right across the street. Lowes told him we were welcome to use his courts, for Mrs. L. is going away for the summer very soon and he very seldom uses the courts. It’s very nice of him to make the offer, for his courts are about the best in town and right along the river bank. It will be great to be able to play there.
We had a nice warm spring rain today. ... Is the grass green in Ontario now? I do wish I could be down there when the blossoms are out, - and see my very own little flower which is prettier and sweeter than all the other flowers in nature's garden.
Did you like the photo?
Your own Rusty.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 15, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
I was reading your remarks about weddings out to mother and she went up in the air when you suggested that perhaps she didn't know what a nervous strain it would be for me. She said, "He acts as if nobody else had ever thought of taking care of you. I wonder if he'll be as careful of you after twenty-five years as your mother is." And I giggled and seconded her motion.
Really, you are funny. Do I want a wedding? Well, why do you think I'm going to get married? I hate these "quiet" affairs. I want my friends with me, to share my happiness. The reason Ora had to have a wedding was that I wanted one, and papa insisted that everything should be the same for both of us. And if Ora thinks it's such a strain, why doesn't she come home and help us? I've always counted on having a wedding to which I'd invite the people I liked best, and "he", whoever "he" happened to be, might invite some too.
Now imagine what a joyful time there’d be with your father and mother, Margaret and Ray, and my father and mother. Or New Year’s with the four of us and Art! Why, everybody would be crying their eyes out. As it was, we had a cheerful time, except for dad who went off to the study to mourn. But he didn’t stay long, because Mr. Sheppard was here.
I don't want a wedding so that there'll be a show - it will be very simple, but I want it because I want my friends with me. I don't give a hang what Mr. Carson did. I know what I want, and I'm going to have it. And I think Ora might come home, even if Art can't. I don't expect it would be reasonable for Art to come, but I think I'd make a strenuous effort to get home to my only sister's wedding. Mama is quite cut up over it. I was half expecting it, and I'm sort of on my dignity - we can get along without her.
But mama wants her to come, and says she would come if she could. Well, I’m not going to coax her. I suppose she does want to come, but I don’t think she does so much as mother does. She doesn’t get homesick - I never saw her homesick in my life, and she says she never is. But my poor mother.
Sometimes I get angry with you for causing me to go so far away - but never with myself for wanting to go. I told mama that as soon as I go out this fall, I am going to start saving money to come home again. I always get homesick before I go away, I have started it already.
Oh, I don't want to be the head of a house, or - beg pardon, one of the heads. I've got too lazy, I'm afraid I'll fight you often. I'm not sweet and meek and lovely. Sometimes I almost hate you, and just want to tease you. It's when you look like Ray that I feel like that. I like Ray but he makes me want to fight him. We were very good friends until there came a time when I didn't confide in him, and then he thought I wasn't his friend. We've never been the same toward each other since he got that foolish idea in his head.
Oh, I can't tell you what I mean. But sometimes it is as if I were a block of ice, and as if you tried to thaw it. If your efforts were feeble, the block would freeze harder, but if your efforts were strong, the block would melt and the water would get so hot that it would bring up your temperature. ...
Of course I'd rather travel by night. I don't want to waste that time. And what if I am seasick? The sickness won't last all the voyage, and it will make me better. What a joyful time you will have for the first few days. All the pretty good sailors will have you spotted as an eligible - when lo! on the horizon darkly frowning, appears the figure of a rapidly recovering Frau. Then imagine the decline in your popularity. ...
I’m glad you had such a good time in Edmonton. Your Friday and Saturday letters both came at noon. For some reason I got only one letter Monday, the other came Tuesday, and so thus I haven’t had a letterless day so far, even if you didn’t write Thursday.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 16, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
I thought last night after I went to bed that some parts of my letter didn't sound very nice. Some things I have said lately may sound as if I don't care for your opinion - in fact for anybody's except my own. And some of those things have been said partly in fun. Maybe they won't seem that way to you when you read them. If so, I am very sorry. ...
I know you’ll like the dress we have been making to-day. It’s the blue one with the little green spot. I think it’s very becoming, and is so soft that I like to feel it. My kimona is done too all but some silk which we’ll get in the city on Saturday. I can hardly wait to show you my things. Of course they aren’t elaborate, but they are pretty. After supper mama and I cut out a blue and white striped cotton dress, and I basted it up. I am going to try to make it all tomorrow. If we get up early, I guess I can. ...
... I'm sorry for what I said about Ora. I had a little cry last night after I went to bed. She said once that you'd make more money than Art. And I think she can't but feel it if we go abroad, because she expected to go before I dreamed of it - with you I mean. They'll likely blow in half the price of a ticket on getting us a present. If only they'd give us nothing and let her come home.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 17, 1914
Whatever day we have spoken about that is finally our choice, will be over two months from to-day. Do you realize what it means? I’m certain I don’t but just as sure am I that I wish it would hurry up and get here. I am so glad and happy. If you were here you’d have kisses galore. I think you’d like me tonight, I’m in a very good mood. Tomorrow I’ll get your Monday letter in reply to those you’ll find awaiting you.
To-day I have been thinking about you when you came to Toronto one winter, in my third year I think it was. I remember one day on the rink you stood and watched me, and it made me angry. That same time you, Margaret, Ernest and I were down town for lunch. You insisted on ordering chicken for me, but all you ate was a baked apple. You ate it and then sat and stared at me, till I was really quite embarrassed. Only I was hungry and managed to get along. I have never been so much in love that my appetite has gone. I cling to that through thick and thin. I wonder what you were thinking about me then! Was that during the period when you didn't like me?
Our verandah is nearly built. The people are talking of buying the place across the road for a town park. Wouldn't that be fine for us? This street is going to be paved too. By the time we move this will be a beautiful place to live. I like it now.
There are so many birds around in the summer. You should hear the frogs croaking tonight. I didn’t get my dress quite finished. A cousin, who lives in Saratoga Springs, was here a couple hours. We were glad she came though. She is a Christian Scientist, and talks a great deal about it.
Good-night dear one.
Fred to Evelyn [Calgary]
Sunday evening, Apr. 19/14
... Did you think I ended this morning’s letter abruptly? I intended writing last night but it was very late when I left the office and so I went to bed thinking I’d have time before church this morning. But I overslept and even as it was I was late for church. I walked home after church and then there wasn’t much time for writing and I was anxious to get the letter off on this afternoon’s train.
It was a good thing that I stopped when I did because I got out on the platform just as the first section pulled out. I couldn’t watch the mail car but I gave the letter to the brakeman who was standing on the rear platform. I hope he doesn’t forget it. I don’t think he will. The train officials are pretty good in that way.To resume where I left off today - I never spoke of the Cuthbert(2) tour before for 2 reasons - because I wanted to be alone on our wedding trip and because I don't like the idea of rushing about sightseeing in that scheduled businesslike fashion. It is making work out of pleasure, and being "on the go" so continuously and so strenuously is very tiring, and I was afraid you wouldn't enjoy it, or be able to stand it. So I never even took the trouble to enquire about prices.
But yesterday when Mr. Wray showed me the prospectus I became interested, particularly when he said that it was easy to make satisfactory arrangements to leave the party at certain points and then join them later, an allowance being made for the time one is absent. Of course if one departed from the scheduled route it would be at his own expense. Now this puts a little different light upon things. There are some parts of the Cuthbert tour where it would be nice to be with them, - and so much cheaper, - for example on the motor trip through Wales - and up into Scotland.
And I was thinking that with such a low price we could for the most part plan our own trip and then at times join them and still be money ahead. I certainly would not like to take in their whole tour. In fact you simply could not stand it and besides, it wouldn’t seem like a honeymoon.
Oh, I look forward so to spending some time with you alone and in the country, where we can take long walks in the summer evenings, when the sheep bells are tinkling, and in the distance we’ll hear the chimes of the parish church bell, - and perhaps the nightingale’s song. Oh, I don’t want anyone else around then, - just us. That will be seeing England, and that is my ideal of a honeymoon.
Then too, on the continent it is better to be with a party, for the first time anyhow because of the differences of language and the trouble over customs etc. The Cuthbert party leaves London for the continent on July 27th. Its continental tour is very comprehensive, but I thought it might be possible to go with them for say a week. Or, I have been thinking today that even if we go on an earlier boat - not in the party, - we might make arrangements to join them on a few of their shorter trips and save a little expense that way. For example it would be pretty expensive to have an auto to ourselves, - but we could have a fine auto tour through Wales at very little expense in a party. So I didn't know what to think dearest, and I wired you last night
I figure that we'd save at least $300 by going on the party, but in spite of that I'm almost hoping there'll be a wire tomorrow saying you'd rather go alone. It would seem more like a honeymoon wouldn’t it?
Have I told you how much I expected our trip will cost? I was estimating the total of the trip including my expense from Calgary and our expenses back to Calgary and the wedding expenses at $1500. I don’t think we ought to spend more than that, for it will take just about all the money I have, but I don’t think we’ll be able to do it for less and see what we want to see without stinting ourselves. I do want our honeymoon, dearie, to be one unallayed pleasure for you.
Now how about returning? I really should not be away from the office more than 2 1/2 months and I don't want to unless it simply can't be avoided. After we return from abroad we would have a week in Ontario for buying things - in case we decide to buy some furniture and for packing up and seeing our people. Allowing then for the time to and from Calgary and the time of the wedding, we'd have about 6 weeks abroad.
So if we sail on June 16th we ought to leave for home about Aug 7th or 8th, or at any rate not later than Aug 12th. How will that suit you dearie ? To make sure of getting return accommodation when we want it we'll have to engage it before we leave here, for the boats are very much crowded returning in August and September.
No, I hadn't forgotten about steamer rugs, but I was thinking maybe we might rent one on the boat going over and then buy one in England. I hate to buy those things here when they are so much cheaper over there. Of course it would be nicer to have our own going over but they have them for hire on all the boats. What do you say?
I guess that’s all about boats for this letter, oh, yes there’s one thing I forgot to say - about the Cuthbert tour, I don’t like going so late, besides I was afraid it wouldn’t suit you at that time. I had that in mind when I wired. However, I’ll hear from you tomorrow and will know then what you prefer.
Once again about the date of wedding - If we do sail on the 16th it will be awkward to wait around between the 11th and 16th and if you don’t want the wedding of the 12th or 13th how would it be to have it on the 15th - Monday? Monday is a bad day I know, and it wouldn’t give us any time in Quebec but we could catch the boat in Montreal and have the ride down the St Lawrence river, and on our return we could stop at Quebec.
On Sat. I was pricing clothes. I'm going to get a frock suit and a light overcoat made and I was thinking of a summer suit also, but here again, I hate to buy things when I could get them so much cheaper in England. A summer suit here will cost $42.00 with a discount if I get the other clothes too - of $7.00. In England I could get the same for at most $25. I'd like to have all new clothes for my wedding but what would you say dearie if I waited until I got to England. I have a blue suit practically new that I could wear on the boat and a check suit that I have worn a little to the office that I might wear while travelling for a few days until I get to London. Would you rather have me get the suit here?
Anyhow I was about to write you a couple days ago that it might be well not to ask her, because Mrs. Oaten is going east in about a month and I’d certainly want her, if I asked any other outsiders and if we start doing that there’ll be too big a crowd, and so it would be best not to invite either. Besides I never thought how it would look to have Estelle and not Dell. So we’ll just leave Estelle out and send her an announcement instead.
Good night my own little sweetheart.
Elizabeth has given up hope of getting an answer to her letter.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 19, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
...Yesterday Mother and I went down to the city. We took two dresses to be made, the white one and the old rose. Your time for backing out has gone. Now that the dresses are in the dressmaker’s hands, you’ll have to see the thing through.
I don’t know which date we’ll decide on. The twelfth or thirteenth. Saturday isn't a very good day for a wedding, but we haven't settled it yet. Why are you going to wire me? I'm not in such a hurry as all that. I'm not going to have it announced till about the first of June, I think will likely decide on the twelfth. That will give us rather a long time between our wedding and the time of sailing won't it? But I guess we can stand a couple days in Quebec,
You asked me if I thought it was foolish to spend so much on a trip. If you think we can afford it, I am satisfied. I was saying something of the kind to mother and I said I never wanted anything, except my college course, so much as I want this trip. It doesn't seem fair, though, that I should go, when mother has wanted to go places all her life, and hasn't gone. I'd like to take her to California sometime.
Now about insurance. Last year I had made up my mind to take out an endowment policy of a couple thousand. I want it for father and mother. I could take a straight life, but the chances are that I'll live longer than they will. ...
I want some kind of insurance for them before I go away, but I haven't enough to pay for the premium, because I've spent it to get my clothes. Since you have "butted in" you'll have to pay the price. Of course I haven't said anything to them about this. I know that they haven't enough to build a home and live comfortably after superannuation if dad should superannuate now. Had I been earning money, of course I'd put some money in a home for them. If instead I marry, I still owe them as much.
Some women are made to feel that because they are married, the money their husband earns is his, and that they have nothing. That isn't fair, marriage is co-ordination, not subordination, isn't it? Now, I know that my father and mother wouldn't take any money from us, but I do hope that by the time they are ready to buy a home, we shall have some capital to invest for them. Please don't think I am thinking solely of my father and mother, but I know their financial standing, and you know yours. I want yours to be mine, and mine to be yours. I am referring to parents, you understand.
You said you'd rather save some way, other than in our wedding trip. Why don't you get a flat instead of a house? Of course I like a house better, but we could be very happy in a flat, for one winter, couldn't we? It seems to me it would be much cheaper. Honestly, I am very niggardly about rent. We've never had to pay it since I can remember, and the very name is a bugbear. A flat would mean much less work for me, and I wouldn't require very much help then. I think it would be rather fun for a short time.
When we get our own place, we'll have a garden, won't we? Maybe we can’t build such a house now as we’d like later on. I wish we could have enough land now, so that if we wanted a bigger house, we could enlarge the first one. I wouldn’t ever want to sell our home, to move into another one, would you? Rather, I’d have it grow with us. I’ve been thinking I’d like a low stone wall between the front lawn and the garden.
Won’t we have good times in the garden. We’ll get up in the morning and go out and work for a while. It will keep us both well. I don’t mean just a kitchen garden, but one with grass and flowers. We’ll have plenty of hollyhocks - pink ones, and nasturtiums and sweet peas, and asters too.
I meant to tell you it was very hot yesterday and it’s close rainy and sultry to-day.
I didn’t write last night. I slept ten hours.
Fred to Evelyn
Monday Evening Apr. 20/14
My dearest Elnora,-
I was expecting a telegram from you all day and when it didn't come I was sure there'd be a lettergram tonight. So after leaving the office about 9.30 I went around to the telegraph office. ... I felt pretty sure the message would be there. Sure enough it was. At first the boy refused to give it to me saying lettergrams could not be delivered until the morning, but I finally prevailed upon him.
Your opinion is about the same as my own. I was hoping you’d not want the Cuthbert tour for the reasons I’ve given in my letters and I was glad to get your wire confirming my own desires. But though we’ll not go with the Cuthbert party, I intend to try to arrange to join them while over there for a few of their trips. I’ll write Shaver tomorrow.
Do you want to go via New York, dearie? I've never had any very great desire to see the American cities, although I suppose one should see New York, but I have been so anxious for you to see Quebec and take the St Lawrence trip that I haven't seriously considered New York.
Tuesday morning. [April 21]
At this point I was interrupted last night by the arrival of cocoa. Then we sat around the fire talking ... Then I went to bed. I now have a few minutes to spare before breakfast and if I don't get this finished now I will later at the office.
As I was going to say, the New York route never seriously entered into my calculations although I got time tables of the Cunard and White Star lines and I find that except for one Cunard boat sailing from Boston there neither of those lines have any 2 class boats sailing about the time we want to go. As a matter of fact all of the White Star boats from New York are 3 class and the prices are higher than from Canada. The local agent told me also that leaving for June sailings the New York boats are probably filled already, or if not entirely so, there would be so little accommodation still available that we would not get the best service or price.
You understand don’t you that the prices are not absolutely fixed. It is true all the boats have a summer and a winter minimum rate but apart from these, the price varies according with to the traffic. If the bookings are heavy you will be charged the maximum for a room, which you might get at the minimum rate if there was lots of space available. That is the reason I am getting this special rate on the Royal Edward.
Since getting your wire however, I have been thinking that it might be nice to see little old New York, and possibly we can arrange to come back that way. I don’t think there’s any chance of getting satisfactory accommodation now going that way even if we didn’t have a good chance on the Royal Edward. - So I guess dearie we may consider it settled for the Royal Edward on the 16th. I’ll tell the agent this morning to reserve room 121 and if he can’t get it he’ll know in a couple days and I’ll wire you.
Must go now to breakfast.
Coming down on the car I saw the steamship agent and told him to reserve room 121 on the Royal Edward. He said he’d write to Winnipeg today and he was sure there would be no difficulty about getting it. If there is they will wire him from Winnipeg and then we can choose some other room. He is sure of getting at least one of the rooms mentioned in their letter of last week.
I’ve already dictated a letter this morning to Mrs Cuthbert asking for rates in case we should join her party for part of the tour of the British Isles. Miss Lambertson my stenographer - smiled when I said I would want accommodation for my wife as well as for myself. Of course she has known for some time that I expect to be married in June - in fact nearly everyone in the office knows it now.
I think I'll wire you tonight about the boat so that you can finally fix the date for the wedding. It must have been rather disturbing to you for the past couple weeks not to know exactly what I was going to do next. I didn't realize how unsettling it must have been to you dearie, and I'm very sorry. However we are getting things under way now aren't we?
I was glad to get your letter this morning. It explained some things in your last two or three letters that did seem rather uncharitable. That's one dear thing about you, - that you are always very quick to make amends and explain yourself when you have said anything that might be misunderstood. Oh, I just wanted to take you in my arms and kiss you after I got this morning's letter. But if I can't do it now I'll do it some day.
Your own Fred.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 20, 1914
Your telegram didn't come until this morning. I don't know anything about that Cuthbert trip, and was afraid it would mean trying to see a great deal, regardless of enjoyment. I'd rather see intensively than extensively. The time might suit, and it might now, I can't tell. I wouldn't mind it, if I were sure I'd be well on my wedding-day but that date, 26 or 27, is not likely to be a good one for me.
I fussed all day over what to say to you. Dad said I ought to say the cheapest way, but somehow, I felt I didn’t want a crowd around, with somebody planning for us. However it would be easy to have everything done for us. So whichever way you have settled it, when you get this, will be all right. And don’t you dare change it.
I’ve phoned the reply to the city. The boy who brought the message had a knowing grin, and I wasn’t going to send if from here. Besides, the message comes to St. Kitts first, and is telephoned here.
Must stop and go to League. It's Election of Officers.
Your puzzled girl.
Fred to Evelyn
Tuesday Evening, Apr. 21/14
My dearest Nora,-
Here is the evening nearly gone and I was intending to write you a long letter. You’ll have to blame Elizabeth for it. Immediately after dinner I ran over there for a little while. At first I read the L.H.J. while Fritz was digging in the garden. I was about to leave for home when he came in and Elizabeth began talking about a meeting of the local council of women which she attended today.
From that the conversation drifted to one of her pet topics - the lack of culture in Calgary. I don’t think it is necessary to tell how the sides lined up, but we talked (she and I for the most part) until, silenced, though possibly not convinced. She looked appealingly at Mrs Clarke, and then I suddenly looked at my watch and saw the minute hand pointing to a quarter after ten. I hardly waited long enough to say a decently polite good-night, but came right home.
Since then I have applied the nightly dose of yellowness to my hair - eaten 2 oranges, talked a little to Carson & Miss Rogers and now I have uninterrupted quiet for a talk with you. Only the trouble is you are asleep. I wonder if you ever feel that I am talking to you. Do you?
You don't know how glad I was to get your letter this morning and how sorry to think I had misunderstood you again. This was another instance of the wisdom of not saying what one thinks on the spur of the moment. I was about to say some things last night that would have been unkind and I'm afraid would have hurt you, then I thought I'd wait until I had time to think things over, and sure enough this morning's letter showed me I had been at least partially mistaken in what you meant.
I have been wondering, dearie, whether our experience in letter writing may not prove useful to us in teaching us to be slow to retort when the other says something we do not like. Perhaps if we wait a little we’ll find that we have been in the wrong ourselves or that we have misjudged the other’s meaning.
I see now, dearie, that what you said about Ora was because your own heart was aching for your mother and for her - rather than that your pride was wounded as your first letter would indicate. It’s very dear of you to think of her as you do and wishing she could have the same trip as we’ll have. As I said this morning, you are always ultimately fair and just even if your temper does make you say things sometimes that you don’t mean.
Now I know how you really feel perhaps I shouldn’t say anything further about these matters, but I’ve been thinking that possibly there is another point of view that it is only right you should know. You’ll understand then that what I say isn’t in any complaining spirit won’t you dearie?
First about Ora’s going home for the wedding - until I got this morning’s letter I thought you had been very uncharitable and unjust towards her. I know that Ora would like, more than I can say, to be home for your wedding. At the same time I think she is acting wisely in not going. Your mother doesn’t appear to realize that it takes money to go from Edmonton to Thorold and that when a young doctor is starting a new practice, the dollars don’t just roll in even good times - much less in times of financial stringency such as we are experiencing now. Besides that, Ora and Art have to think of getting a home of their own - and that means more money and work and thought.
I know children are often inclined to pay too little regard to their parents wishes, but sometimes parents are unreasonable too. Now I don’t think your mother during the first few months of her married life, in similar circumstances, thought of adding to your father’s financial burdens by taking trips home - that is if they lived far from her old home - however much she wanted to go home, - and it isn’t fair to Ora to suggest that she could go home if she wanted to very badly. Of course she could, but the question is should she under the present circumstances?
Even from your parent’s standpoint, surely Ora’s visit will be more appreciated next winter when they will be all alone and when they will have time to visit than this summer when there will be the bustle and excitement of Conference and the wedding. What time will there be then for a real visit, and how much of a rest would it be for Ora, for surely she is entitled to a rest and visit - and not work when she goes home?
Besides, you will still be with your parents this summer and next winter when you are away too they’ll be more lonesome, and Ora’s visit will be more appreciated. Of course, I know you’ll say that the matter shouldn’t be reasoned out in this cold-blooded fashion, but we have to face facts as they exist and I for one think Ora has shown remarkable courage and wonderful love and loyalty backed up by common sense, and I don’t think it is fair to make things harder for her by urging her to come against her own best judgement or suggesting that she doesn’t love her folks if she doesn’t come. Please, don’t make it hard for her in this way. I know your mother gladly saved, and sacrificed her own desires many a time during her early married life because of scarcity of money. Why shouldn’t she be proud she has a daughter who is willing to do the same thing?
Now about the wedding - I’ve already written saying I want you to do just as you like. I do want you to have things as you want them. You understand that dearie, don’t you, and that what I’ve my objectives were because I was concerned for you? But I guess you’ll get along all right. Anyhow I don’t want to interfere in any way, and if you want to have a bridesmaid and best man, why we’ll have them. I guess I don’t know much about such things and I shouldn’t have presumed to butt in. It will be awkward for you without a bridesmaid if you have a bridal veil and flowers and all that sort of thing, won’t it? You see I never thought of these things. The only people I have ever seen married have been married in ordinary clothes. That’s different isn’t it? So you go ahead and get your bridesmaid and I’ll get Ray for best man.
You said I was funny. May I retort in kind? Here are two sentences from your Tuesday letter. “Do I want a wedding? Well, what do you suppose I am getting married for?” Really, that is confusing the end and the means with a vengeance. I never before have sometimes heard it suggested that some people live to eat, but this is the first time I ever heard any one suggest getting married for the sake of having a wedding. Isn’t the risk of a whole lifetime of nuptial married unhappiness a pretty big price to pay for a few brief minutes wedding?
You say your mother resented my suggestion that she wasn't careful of you. I never meant to suggest anything of the kind. Of course she loves you dearly and wants to shield and protect and care for you, but I don't think she is always wise in her care. It is one thing to want to care for a person but it is quite another thing to do it intelligently and wisely.
And you know, dearie, you have often said yourself that your mother doesn’t measure either her own or your strength, - that if she wants to do a piece of work, she’ll go at it regardless of how she feels - and get it done - and then probably be sick for two or three days in consequence.
And I was afraid of that very thing in connection with the wedding - that under the strain and nervous excitement she would have both you and herself doing far worse than you can stand - and that there’d be the inevitable reaction afterwards. And that is what Ora was and is afraid of and she knows your mother pretty well - and the limitations of strength of both of you.
In matters of health, I think both you and Ora - Ora particularly know and practise far more than either of your parents. Oh, my dearest, I hope you’ll not misunderstand me about this. It sounds harsh I know, but it’s because I love you so that I feel as I do. I’ve never said anything about this before but for years I was so angry with your father and mother that I could hardly keep quiet, because I felt that they were ruining your health.
You had naturally a good constitution and with proper care you should always have had the best of health and it seemed to me almost like murder for at one time I was afraid - oh I can’t say it. - A year ago last summer when I was home and saw how your nerves were shattered and your general health run down when you should have been vigourous and happy. I was so angry with your parents that I’m afraid sometimes I was very rude and no one knew the reason.
It fairly made me boil to think of the change in you from the little girl you were when I first knew you. And I felt that it all could have been avoided with reasonable care and the exercise of good common health sense. Years ago I had tried to warn your father but he wouldn’t listen and it seemed to me he was sacrificing your health on the altar of his pride and ambition for you. I had seen other instances similar.
You never knew my cousin Florence Lane did you? It fairly drove me wild when I thought that you might go as she had gone - and from the same cause. Now I knew your mother wasn’t responsible in the same way - but it seemed to me that she should have known more about proper care for you physical nature.
It is a hard thing to say, but I don’t think either your father or mother have ever known how to take proper care of their health or that of their children. They have often laughed at Ora, but she knows more than both put together, and what is more, she practices what she does know. She realizes just what I have been saying - and she says she thinks you’ll have better health when you get away from home for those reasons.
So do you wonder, dearie, that I feel as I do? It isn’t that I minimize your mother’s love for you. No man can measure or understand another love. I’ll not say she loves you more than I do. - I don’t think mother love and that of a husband should be compared. She may even pet and humour you more than I will, and think that in so doing she is caring more for your health than I, - but I don’t think your mother knows how to take proper care either of your health or her own, and that is the reason I was and am so solicitous about you.
Oh, I know you’ll say I shouldn’t blame your parents for your own foolishnesses, - that a good deal of your ill-health was brought about by your own neglect. but the fact remains - your parents shouldn’t have allowed you to injure your health as you did and should have studied your physical needs as well as your mental and moral and spiritual needs - and therefore they are in a great measure responsible.
Oh, my darling, let us see that our children are as carefully looked after physically as in any other way. And this all comes back to what I said a few weeks ago about the wedding. Ora, partly perhaps because she has been engaged in household science teaching - partly perhaps because she has married a doctor has learned to count the physical cost of doing things - and she didn’t like it because she felt a wedding was forced upon her. It isn’t fair to her to say she should come home and help if she thinks the strain is too much for yourself and mother. That’ s the very trait in your mother that has caused her so many days sickness - the determination to do something she wished to do - regardless of the cost.
I have been reading this over and I have been wondering if you’d misunderstand me. Oh, it isn’t meant as a criticism of your parents. You know that don’t you, dearest? Though I did at one time, I’m not blaming them now. They have tried to do the best they could for you and they love you dearly; but I felt that in fairness to you I ought to be frank and explain how these things had appeared to me and I do hope, my darling, that you’ll take this - not as a complaint - but as an explanation - and in the spirit in which it is written.
Oh, how I wish I could talk to you now instead of writing. I know we'd understand each other then and there'd be no danger of misjudging each other or misinterpreting what the other is trying to say. One thing you do know don't you that if in any of my judgments of others I have been harsh, it has been because of the greatness and the jealousness of my love for you. It's nearly one o'clock and I must go to bed. I wired you tonight that I had reserved passage on the Royal Edward for the 16th.
When are you going to have the wedding?
Goodnight my own little girlie.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 21, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
No letter to-day, but never mind. I got my usual two yesterday. You shouldn't have felt so badly over my drawing. I meant it for a joke. (Evelyn's 'pictorial' letter of April 9 - see Original Documents section at end.)
Dearest, I know that sometimes it is hard to write, so please understand that I don’t think you are neglecting me when you don’t write.
I suppose if you refrained for a long time, I’d feel hurt, but you don’t. I am anxious to hear from you though, concerning a couple letters I have written.
Next Monday I ought to know what you have decided about our trip. Oh, won't we have a good time! do you know, I don't know much where I want to go, only to London, of course, Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford, Surrey and Devon. I want to go to Canterbury too, and we'll pretend we were taking that journey in that company with Chaucer. ... And Ireland, of course, ...
We had a regular row to-day. When Hazel [Farley] was here, we had some friends of hers here for tea. Papa was jollying her about one of the boys. Some time ago I began hearing reports of her engagement to a civil engineer near here. I couldn’t imagine where it started. I had a letter from her to-day.
That same night a man, secretary for Lord’s Day Alliance, was here. He has a daughter at college. It came through them. We were indignant, but dad claimed that the man didn’t say it, but that likely his daughter changed what he said. He had no business, anyway, to tell what he surmised.
The whole thing is horrid, and really spoiled Hazel’s visit, or at least the memory of it. I was trying to make things pleasant for her, in entertaining her friends. And that is the result. For, of course, she is not engaged to that boy. And, woman-like, she’ll take her revenge by slighting him, the blameless one.
Oh, about your clothes. Don’t laugh at me honey, but I was hoping you wear pajamas. I saw Mr Scott with his on once, and he looked quite dressed - Papa looks so funny in his nightgown. I wonder why men don’t have them long enough to cover up their feet. I wasn’t going to tell you this before you came home, but I thought I might as well.
Why, I’m not ashamed of your clothes. All that ever I didn’t like was your suspenders outside your shirt. I guess you’ve more items against my dressing than that. I have been wondering if I’ll need a winter suit out there, as well as a big coat. And if so, I was thinking about getting it in London.
You talk like a bachelor when you speak of babies. Of course women use their best taste and centre their attention on their babies’ clothes. And if they’re the right sort, they want to make them themselves.
...Tomorrow I'm going to iron and finish my waist. We hope to get a couple dresses nearly done too. ...
The flowers were out last week.
Yes, the grass is green on our lawn, the maples are in bud, and the bushes are showing green. You're homesick for Ontario, dear one.
Fred to Evelyn
Wednesday Evening, Apr. 22/14
.... Now is a good time to buy cheaply for cash in Calgary. However there’s no use regretting We’re going abroad instead. Then I went to Brownlee’s for a few minutes while Fritz and Elizabeth went on home. Mr & Mrs Ford were at Brownlee’s. It’s the first time I’ve seen them together for a long time. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I wished so much that you were here. Everybody seemed to have someone but me. I’m as glad as you are, honey, that the time is drawing near when we’ll have each other for all time to come. ...
Once again may I point out a funny thing in one of your letters? You said you wanted a wedding because you wanted your friends to come and share a joyful time with you, and then in the next sentence you point the most doleful picture imaginable - Why! You speak as if a wedding would be a mournful thing in itself unless there were outsider present to make us forget what it's all about. Surely if our immediate relatives are going to look glum it isn't going to be very pleasant for guests. But I know dearest you didn't mean it this way.
I had the whole of the previous sheet written, - then after reading it over and thinking about it I was afraid you'd misunderstand what I said and be hurt, - so I tore the sheet in two and have burnt up the one part. Oh, my darling, I don't want to have you misunderstand me. If only we could talk about things face to face.
One thing I spoke about was your father's breaking down during the ceremony, - and looking so glum that it was unpleasant, - for Art particularly. Now, my dearie, I don't want to complain, for your father is of an entirely different temperament from me, and I can't understand such a thing, so I have no right to judge. But I don't want our wedding to be marred in the same way. Both Ora and Art felt hurt about it, and you know a fellow doesn't just relish being treated as if he were a bandit.
But what I care most about is the ceremony. I think it is nice for a father to want to marry his own daughters, but I can't understand why he'd want to try it when he is afraid he can't carry it through. Oh I'd hate to have him break down during the ceremony. It would be like turning a wedding into a funeral. Do you suppose there is anything you could say or do, dearie,which could influence him in any way so that he'd be sure of himself and be able to carry the ceremony through?
Oh, I'm afraid, that though I have tried to be careful of my words, yet you will not understand me. You will not misjudge me will you? I don't want to appear to complain, but this has troubled me a good deal, and for a long time I have been afraid to say anything about it, but finally it seemed to me that I should speak frankly to you as you have to me. If only I could talk to you instead of writing! Oh, I do hope you understand me.
There is just one other thing I want to speak of - and I guess then there'll not be anything else that you'll be liable to misinterpret. It's about Estelle. - As I wrote a few nights ago, I think it is best not to have her after all, - but don't you think you have been brought up to be rather uncharitable in your opinions of others, and that Hazel Farley was pretty nearly right?From what Mrs. Oaten and others - yes and Estelle herself told me, - I think very likely she was spoiled - but I think she had developed wonderfully and that she deserves a great deal of credit for being what she is. Unlike you, I think she is sincere and also I think she is good. But it isn't because of your opinion of her in particular that I want to speak. She is only one instance. What I mean is this. Don't you think that you should reserve judgment and in the meantime accept my friends because they are mine? That's what I do with yours.
There may be several of your dear friends which I couldn't choose for myself, but I think I ought to accept them without question because they are yours, unless and until I have some good positive reasons for not making them my friends. Don't you see that if we don't do this we are, perhaps unconsciously but none the less surely, reflecting seriously upon the other's judgment and taste?
Again with reference to Estelle you said "Well, it's our marriage and all the rest are people who are friends." Whose friends? Certainly not mine - many of them - except that they are yours and that is enough for me. Some of those whose names you have mentioned, I would never think of as friends: As far as I know them I don't care for them - but I don't for that reason suggest they shouldn't be asked. Perhaps I don't know them well, or I would like them better, but whether so or not makes no difference to me. The fact that they are your friends is sufficient for me, and because you like them they must be worthy, but whether in my own judgment they would be worthy or not should not matter.
Surely one of the essential elements of the married relationship is trying to see things from the standpoint of the other partner and in respecting the other's opinions and judgments. Don't you think, dearie, you are a little too slow to do this? For example, in this particular instance I suggested only one person as guest outside of a few of my relatives, - and that one you rejected.
I'm afraid what I have said will sound unkind and complaining. I don't want you to take it that way or to think that I care particularly about Estelle not being invited. I've already told you that I think for other reasons it would be best not to invite her. She is only the occasion or, shall I say, the incident, which happens to illustrate what I have been trying to say, and that is the reason I have spoken about her at all.
Oh, I do hope I haven't said anything that will sound harsh or that will hurt you. I have meant to speak kindly and I hope that you will take it so. I know you would if we were talking instead of writing. ... It's because I love you so that I can't bear you should not appear to be what you really are at heart - absolutely just and fair and charitable and kind to everyone. Oh, you know that I love you very, very dearly, don't you?
My own darling. Goodnight
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 22, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
I’ve been re-reading your Thursday and Friday letters, which arrived by the same mail, and Mae’s letter too. I felt like writing to her first. It makes my heart ache whenever I think of her. It is hard to think that happiness isn’t the sole aim in life, but rather goodness. I must admit that she is a different girl, but the price of the change is a big one.
... I'm all dressed up, in my velvet slippers and new, old rose silk dress. This isn't one of "your" dresses, it's one I have to wear now, because my other went to pieces. I put this on to get used to it, and also because I wanted to see how it looked. It's pretty long and rather narrow around the bottom - though wider than the pattern, and is queer to walk in. I don't know how I'll manage the train on my white dress.
...What are the names and addresses of those aunts of yours? Will you mind if our announcements are printed instead of engraved? Ora's were printed - she thought engraving cost too much, and so of course I can't suggest it for ours.
To-night papa got a Cunard S.S. circular. You can go around the world for $495. Sometime, maybe, you'll get a year's vacation, and we can go. Of course, that will be years and years from now. Oh, I hope we don't lose the romance of life. Mother hasn't, but I sometimes wonder if papa hasn't partly. And there's the tragedy.
Your picture arrived in good condition.
Fred to Evelyn
Thursday evening, Apr. 23/14
How the days do fly! At the beginning of each week I think “I’ll be able to get a lot done this week.” and then before I know it half the week is gone and then Saturday night arrives and I seem to have accomplished very little. I wonder what you have been doing today. Busily working at your sewing of course.
Do you know I never was interested in clothes before - I mean as clothes. Of course I liked to see people well-dressed and I always noticed whether they were or not, but except when worn clothes never interested me. But it’s so different now. I think dearie, I am as much interested in your trousseau as you are, even if I don’t say much about it. Isn’t it strange how our interests change and what new ones we get when The Other Person comes into one’s life?
I didn't post last night's letter until noon today but it was in time to catch the afternoon train. I didn't know whether to send it or not, - I was so afraid you would misunderstand me. As I told you I rewrote some of the parts twice last night and even this morning after it was sealed I opened the envelope and re -read it to see if I shouldn't leave out part of it. But I finally decided to send it; but almost the minute after I posted it I wished I had it back. Please, please, dearest, forgive me if I have said anything that hurts you. Oh I'll be glad when we don't have to write letters any more.
Yesterday Mr. Robertson told me he may be married in June too. I had thought he was planning for Xmas time but it’s to be sooner than I thought. He would have been married before this if he hadn’t been afraid of tubercular trouble, but now he feels so much better and he thinks there is little danger if he takes care of himself.
This was a day of rejoicing in the Carson home, for Mr & Mrs Carson came home with the son and heir who is now enthroned in state and proudly exhibited as the most wonderful boy that ever happened. Mrs. Carson is feeling very well and has been a source of wonder to many of her friends. Of course she has good health naturally but I think the chief reason for her quick recovery is that she took a great deal of exercise and fresh air before the baby was born. Why, she even walked down to the office to meet J.M. and walked home with him - about a mile each way - the day before the baby came.
... Your Friday letter which came yesterday, was very sweet. Yes I remember quite well the times you speak of - on the rink and down at Eatons' for lunch. It was the first time I was home after coming west. Why did my looking at you, make you angry, dearest? You ask how I felt towards you then. How can I say? I knew deep down in my heart that you were the only girl for me, and yet I was afraid for the reasons I have told you about. And there was a terrible battle going on inside of me - it seemed to me a battle of heart against judgment.
I don't know how I looked, except that my love wanted to show itself and I didn't want to let it. I don't know whether I was most glad to be with you or angry because I felt that we were separated on account of your health. Oh, those were not pleasant days for me -and the struggle lasted many months - yes years. But now, my love, there is nothing in my feeling but pure gladness and thankfulness that you are mine - my very own oh, may I ever cherish you and try to be worthy of your wonderful love!
Just think! Two months from today we should be in England - "Oh, to be in England now that April's here," so sang the poet. But there's a place I'd rather be right now. You know where don't you dearest.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 23, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
Your account of the Cuthbert tour came to-day. It certainly sounds like a bargain, but all the same I'm glad we're not going to take it. What room for adventure is there in such a cut and dried program, especially when one is married. Were one single there might be the chance of meeting one's affinity. But, seriously dearie, I don't want to be told what to look at, and what to see, do you? I want to see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears, and feel with my own heart.
I was telling mama and papa about it, and they think they’d like to go that way. I think it would be a good way for them too. Hazel wants to teach and earn some money to go with the teachers.
I have a grand plan for saving some money. Mama bet me a dollar you wouldn’t let me do it, and I said the dollar would buy brass handles for the dressers. My idea is to buy a cheap dresser, with a good mirror, and good lines, a cheap bedstead, a chair and rocker, and paint them white, and stencil a pattern on them. I saw some in the Journal.
I like to paint things and I bet you I could save fifty dollars on a set. I could make a very dainty guest chamber with that furniture, a pretty rug, and maybe a little table.
We could get a good set of bedroom furniture, and this other would do for a time. In a couple years we could get another good set, and have three bedrooms furnished. You say, why paint them myself? Because you pay away too much for white furniture. It is wonderful what one can achieve with a couple cans of paint. ...
We got along badly with our sewing this morning, but did better this afternoon. Mother is making a blue striped dress, and I am at my light, summer dress.
Oh, aren't we going to have a good time living together? If only mother and dad weren't so far away.
She’ll be alone so much.
We went for a long walk, about an hour tonight. It was grand.
I'm so glad I have you to love.
Fred to Evelyn
Friday evening, Apr. 24/14
My dearest Nora,-
In spite of the longer paper, you’ll not get a very long letter tonight for I have to do some work. Instead of going down to the office I brought a couple files home with me. It’s a bad habit, I know, and I’ll not get confirmed in it. Even if I did in bachelordom you’ll have no trouble, dearie, in breaking me of it. ...
I feel pretty well satisfied in one way tonight. I succeeded in settling an action for the Union Bank for $1800.00 when it might have been stuck for $5000 if the case had gone to trial. It’s another case of mismanagement by a branch manager and though it goes hard to pay out such a sum of money to a former customer who was a crook, still the bank is very lucky to get off so easily.
Guess I’ll charge $100 more than I expected. You see our charges are not inflexible. There are two principles we observe - to charge (1) according to the results obtained and (2) according to what “the traffic will bear.” For example we wouldn’t think of charging a poor man the same as a rich one for the same services rendered.
Carson is standing behind me with his back to the fireplace. He just remarked “Say I’d like to know what you write every night” “Why,” I replied, “I don’t say the same things every night.” “Well,” he said. “I never used to be able to think of anything to say except how much I liked her and she said that satisfied her pretty well.” I’ve been wondering, dearie, whether you would be satisfied with that. Would you? The trouble is that’s just one thing I’m not able to do. I might use up all my remaining stock of paper and I’d still be as far from telling how much I love you as I am now. ...
You're a dandy. I was afraid you would not want the wedding on Friday, or the 13th and I'm awfully glad you aren't foolish about those old superstitions. Do you know it seems to me as if of late in particular you have tried every way to sink your own preferences and to suit yourself to my convenience. It is very dear of you, but I don't want you to do all the giving in - It isn't fair. You've got to let me have my way sometimes, and my way is going to be that I'll make you have your way. How will you like that?
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 24, 1914
It is ten o’clock and I have just come in from choir practice. I’m pretty tired, as I’ve worked all but half an hour all day. It was rather an unlucky day for me, I had to take out so much of my work. However, we got mama’s dress finished. We hope to finish our sewing next week. Of course after that there’ll be odds and ends. My sheets and pillow slips aren’t embroidered, the few I was going to have done, and as for centre pieces and cushions - I’m badly off indeed.
... You're a funny boy, to write so much about that Cuthbert tour, and then say you hoped I wouldn't decide in favour of it. Well, I didn't want to go that way one bit, it wouldn't be half the fun. I want to go with you, and you with me, and nobody else. I was going to suggest joining them later, if you wished. I shouldn't mind the 12th or 13th. Why do you take it for granted I am so silly? But we've about decided to have it the 15th. You want leave the first of June, will you? Why not allow yourself just the time you want to be at home? If you come to Toronto, and want me to, I can meet you there. But I think it would be better to have any time here on our way back, and have as much as possible in England.
About your suits, I certainly would wait. Dad got a nice new gray suit, made to order at Oak Hall’s for $28. It fits him beautifully and is a good-looking suit. I’m thinking I’ll buy my clothes in the East if they’re so expensive out there.
About coming home. Don't you think we could get a two-passenger boat if we got at it early enough? I’m sure there are cheaper ones than the “Canada.” I’m positive Mrs. Raff, and Miss Addison didn’t pay $80 to go over.
I’m going to reward Elizabeth for her lack of faith some day.
Good-night - I’m very sleepy. Sweet dreams
The letter you gave the brakeman arrived on time - N.
Fred to Evelyn
Sunday Apr., 26/14
...There was the smallest crowd for dinner today that we’ve had for a long time only Wilson, Mack and myself - we had a fine dinner, - roast beef & vegetables and Hermitage special pie, of which we each had 2 pieces. Do you know I don't like the idea of having a special dinner on Sunday. It seems to me it's the last day for an extra big dinner for two reasons because one is not working and needs it least and because it makes too much work for the cook on a day when she deserves a holiday as well as everyone else.
It was very late when I got home last night and so I thought I’d write this morning. Before coming home I went to the P.O. but there wasn’t any letter. I guess you didn’t write on Tuesday.
Early last evening after dinner Mack, Wilson and I were shovelling earth for flower beds and a little vegetable garden plot. There isn’t any here now, and yesterday afternoon we bought a large load of black loam, and we’re fixing up a border bed around the verandah and a little plot for lettuce and such back of the kitchen. ...
I got up late again this morning and didn’t have time to write before church. After church I walked home with Mrs Oaten - she says she’s starting to pack up already. I told you didn’t I that on the 15th of next month they are going to give up their house and she is going east then?
I’m awfully sorry, dearie, that my lettergram caused you so much worry. I was afraid after I sent it that perhaps it would but I didn’t want to do anything without consulting you first. Do you know I’ve been thinking that your preferences were a good deal stranger than your lettergram or letter would indicate but that you didn’t say everything you felt because you thought it might inconvenience me. It’s very dear of you. Do you know you couldn’t take a surer way to get me to do what you want just that - to show yourself so willing to consult my wishes?
Oh, my darling, the more we get to know each other, the more convinced I become that we will fit in to each other’s ways and that we shall be truly one - in our everyday lives as well as in our thought and love.
Haven't time to finish this. Must close now to catch the train. Will write more tonight
Your own Man.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 26, 1914
My Dear Rusty,-
I’m just home from S.S., and after coming to my room I have been looking at your picture. I think I love you comfortably. I have read about love being pain, but I don’t believe it is when two are good friends first, do you? I think that sort of love must be intoxication, not a sane state of enjoyment.
Yesterday afternoon I went out to her Aunt’s with Mildred Johnston. We went to the mountains, a couple fields away, and got great bunches of flowers, hepaticas, blood-root, a few adder tongues and a couple white violets. The flowers seem all coming out at once. I got so many blue and pink hepaticas. …
I expect to go again this week, on a nice day, so that I can get some pictures. In one front yard we passed the daffodils were out and in bud. The yard was full of them.
In the summer there are roses there. It is an old place, falling into a state of ruin. The father of the man who lived there owned several farms; in fact, they were one of the richest families in this community.
And the cause? Drink, of course, and careless living - The farm next - in fact now two farms, and another across the road, and $35.000 were left to a man who lost all and is now running a pool-room at the Falls. I hate to see farms neglected, and buildings going to pieces.
I have been thinking what I’d like on our house, across part of the far back and part of one side. That is, a verandah bricked up part way. In the summer we could practically live there, and in the winter have it enclosed with glass windows. The water or steam pipes from the furnace could be put in it. Then we could use it nearly all the year round.
Let us plant bulbs this fall and winter, and thus have fresh flowers all the time. Will they freeze if left outdoors there? I’d like to have beds of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, oh yes, and lily-of-the-valley. Will they grow there? Oh, it will be so good to have a place that will be ours, permanently ours I know once I get one, I’ll never want to leave it.
…Mr. Steadman came up for his bath last night. Did I tell you about him? When we were away, he stayed with dad one night, and had a bath. He was telling mama about it, and she told him to come any time he liked. He came last night. You see, they haven’t a bath-tub at the place where he boards.
I remember Emily Dickenson used to ask me if I wanted to have a bath when I went to her place. It wasn’t because she thought I was dirty, but she knew how much I liked it.
…There, it’s five o’clock, I must write a note to Susie. I haven’t written for about three months. I simply can’t write decent letters to the girls for the next few months -But I don’t intend to drop them.
I don’t want to come back by N.Y.
Fred to Evelyn
Tuesday evening, Apr. 28/14
Here’s almost the whole evening gone again. About 8 o’clock Shouldice came in with one of his clients for whom I have a case in District court that should be tried on Thursday. But the fellow who lives about 100 miles away didn’t bring in his most important witness and I refused to proceed with the case. He wanted me to go on without him, but it would mean certain defeat and of course I refused.
The chap is a self important Irish American who tries to tell every one else what he should do and he began talking in the same strain to me - so I had to say a few forceful words myself. - But what made me cross was that Shouldice had brought him up here to the house to talk business after hours - and then they stayed and stayed although I gave lots of hints to them that I didn’t desire a prolongation of the visit.
I simply must start at the exam paper tonight. I took the book with me to Macleod but didn’t touch it - and I’m supposed to have the paper in the hands of the Registrar of the University of Edmonton by May 1st. Just think how the time is flying! I have such an enormous amount of work to do that I’m afraid, dearie, some of my letters will be short from now on. You’ll excuse me, please won’t you. ...
Why should I laugh at you for speaking about pajamas? Do you know I had a sort of intuition some time ago that you felt that way and would speak about it sometime? I don't know why. In one way it sometimes makes me feel queer to think that we can speak so freely to each other about intimate things and yet it makes me glad too. I wonder if other engaged people talk as freely as we do. I hardly think so, but as you said in one of your letters last fall, I feel sure we know each other much better than most people before marriage, in spite of the fact that we have scarcely seen each other since we became engaged.
But to return to the subject of pajamas - isn't it funny that I've never cared for them. I've always worn a night gown. I never bought but one pair of pajamas in my life and that I've had for nearly a year and never worn once. However, dearie, I'll change my ways. Most of my gowns are worn out anyhow and all the new night gear I'll get will be the kind you want.
Oh, I know now why I thought you didn’t like nightgowns on men. It is because of something you said about your father’s Do you know, one sentence in your letter sounded funny, as if you had a rather extensive acquaintance with men in night attire. Forgive me for mentioning it but the way it was put sounded funny.
And now, dearie, that you have mentioned the subject may I make a suggestion about your own nightwear? Will you have a gown cut rather low in the neck, with some lace around the throat and on the sleeves and with the sleeves cut short? I've always pictured you as very dainty and you'll not think it immodest of me, will you when I say one of my dreams of you is just like that?
Do you remember that night in Thorold when you said you could be far more beautiful after you were married - and I didn't understand what you meant until you began to speak of having beautiful arms and then I knew - and it was after that, that I first pictured you in a night gown such as I have described. Oh I know you'll laugh, it's a man's description all right but I think you understand what I want - something simple and dainty and just for me.
What about the date of our return? The agent was asking me about it today. It’s important that we get our passage booked early, before the end of May at the latest. Would you prefer to return via New York? I do want you to have the ride down up the river from Quebec to Montreal - and we can only have it on our return if we stay in Quebec on the way over, for we’ll have to take the train to Quebec. However let me know what you prefer and I’ll see if the passage can be arranged to suit.
About the announcements - I don't want to interfere with your arrangements, but if it is merely a question of expense I would prefer to have them engraved and pay for it myself. I guess I'm "notionified" about some things, but I've always been that I'd prefer to do without a great many things but some things I always want the best of or not at all. But if you don't want to have them different from Ora's why, that settles the question.
Have you decided yet on the date? And what are you going to do about a bridesmaid? I've been thinking that without a bridesmaid or flower girl or something you'll have no one to hold your flowers or gloves when I'm putting the ring on. As soon as you decide, please let me know, so that I can make any necessary arrangements.
Your own Man.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 28, 1914
My Dear Fred,-
I didn't write yesterday, I was afraid to. I got your Tuesday and Wednesday letters then, and in spite of the fact that you tried not to hurt me, I think you could scarcely have worded then so that they would have cut more.
I was so looking forward to Monday when I'd get two letters, and what I got was a lengthy criticism of my parents, closing with a most unkind remark. You said, "Don't you think you were brought up to be uncharitable?" If you had said, "Aren't you uncharitable," I might have acknowledged it, but to lay the blame on my parents was most unkind. I know I criticized my mother, and I was heartily sorry for it afterwards. It cut pretty deep to have my unkind remarks thrown up to me by you.
At another time I might have accepted your judgement of me; but it was too much on top of the other. You censure me for being harsh in my judgements of people for whom, relatively speaking, we care nothing, but you judge my father mother and me just as harshly. When I wrote to you about Estelle, I felt very sorry that I could not see eye to eye with you concerning her; I did not realize that you could have established a very lasting friendship in the short time you had known her, and moreover, since you made such a fuss about the wedding, I concluded you couldn't care much about who was there.
Oh, very selfish of me, I acknowledge. But I was willing to ask her, if you wanted her very much. And I was so distressed about it that I told you about it. You stood me in a corner, and told me how very naughty I was. I came to you very penitent, but I don't feel that way now. I knew perfectly well that it didn't appear very well to challenge the only one besides your relatives you suggested, but it wasn't my fault you chose to select only one. This was the cause of a beautiful lecture.
You ask if I'm not too slow to accept your friends at your valuation. Probably. You say you accept mine until you have some grounds of your own on which to base your opinion. Whom of your friends have I refused to accept on your valuation whom I did not know before you did? ... I'm not malicious, and, even though you don't appear to believe it, I do like to think the best I can of people. For these reasons, I think your accusation was unfair, and I cannot say that it is true. It is quite probable that I cannot accept the truth, though I don't think I am such a stiff as that.
Oh, I cannot bear to feel so toward you, and to have you angry with me. Surely I have suffered enough these last two days. You did not seem like my Rusty, but like a cold, old schoolteacher. I don't think you meant to make me feel like this. Oh, if I have been harsh with you, I am sorry, sorry. It takes the bloom off of love. It seems as if there were no bottom to anything, as if one were alone, absolutely alone.
I am sorry you have been worrying about daddy and the ceremony. It wasn't that he felt hard towards Art. Why, I cried a couple tears, and I'm sure no one wanted them to be married more than I did. But I can't bear to see people married, because it makes me want to cry. It's so solemn and final - for I don't believe in divorce except in a few cases, and never in re-marriage while one of the parties is alive.
There's a girl downstairs to see me.
Evelyn to Fred
Apr. 29, 1914
My Dearest Rusty,-
I wonder if you want a letter from me tonight. I hope so, oh, I hope so. Are you quite, quite sure you want to marry me?
... We had a letter from Ora, Monday, and she said if things kept on as they had that week, she could come home. If she comes I suppose she'll be matron-of-honour, and in such a case, you'll have to impress Ray [Albright] into service. I know he won't want to do it, will he?
And about the date - do you care whether it is the 12th or 15th? Saturday wouldn’t be a good time. Of course Monday is rather awkward, but we can have it about four in the afternoon - or five. I’d like to have it on dad’s birthday when it is so near.
I didn't want to go by New York, only I thought you might possibly get a boat there if you couldn't on the Canadian lines, at the time desired.
We finished two waists, one for Ora and one for me, white ones. I am going to make hats tomorrow. I started tonight. It’s too early to wear my summer hat, and I don’t want to get a new spring hat just to wear a few times.
Hasn’t Elizabeth got through with her non-cultural Calgary theme? I’m afraid she’ll find me very low-class.
Some 'Women's Institute' books came to-day. There is much that is valuable in them - one article on women & business and another on women & law, which I must read. I'll save the book on Sewing, Darning and Patching for you. You ought to be able to keep yourself in repair after studying it.
1. The small samples of dress material are not enclosed with this letter. Evelyn realizes afterwards that she has forgotten and sends them with her letter of April 2, 1914, where they have remained.
2. Cuthbert, a commercial tour operator.