Evelyn to Fred
Thursday, Feb 16 /17
My Dear One,-
It is not quite five o’clock but I get sleepy when I try to study, and my thoughts go straying, so I’m going to write to you instead. I wonder if you'll have room to carry my letters! That's rather a silly thing to say, isn't it? I'm going to write to you often, maybe there'll be a page a day for you on your journey - but I do not know how long it will be. You will not need one on the days when you are in Ontario, you had better save them for the ocean.
To-day I was sitting in here, trying to study, and I got so sleepy I put my head down on the desk. Being drowsy, the sound of Miss Macdonald's machine going steadily made me think of the throb of the engines on the boat. We had a lovely trip, didn't we, dear, all except part of the boat and Hyde Park and the dirty eggs in Leamington and the cold in Glasgow & Edinburgh and the rain on the Lochs' trip. It’s a great thing to do things on schedule time, isn’t it, because just think - it’s done whether the weather has been good or not and whether you enjoyed doing it - or not.
I am so glad dear that I have work to do, and I must not fail in my exams. You'd be, well, not ashamed, maybe, but surprised, wouldn't you. I wish they wouldn't make the law books so thick. They are so overwhelming; to start in to study an eight hundred page book makes one weak in the knees. It is like heaping an invalid's plate with food. It makes him feel more than satisfied before he begins.
I do not fully realize that you are going away so soon. The time has been like a cross in the future, towards which every day brought us a few paces nearer, but I could always think that it was ahead - and that there was no use looking at it. I wonder if the time will ever come when we shall not think of it because it is behind us, and we shall not see it unless when we stop to take a survey of the past. I was so hopeful, like Mr. Micawber, you know, that “something would turn up.” ...
They were lovely pictures of England in the Geographic to-day, weren't they? How I long for the time "after the war" when we can see them again together. You'll be there in the spring, won't you dearest. I wish we had a camera again. I'm tempted to get a small one for you. Then we could have the pictures we liked best enlarged. Now this will be all for to-day.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 1 /17
If all our plans fell so far short of perfection as mine for writing you letters for your journey have, we should soon give up planning. But I'm glad they don't. And then we always hope that next time we'll do better. We have of late, had a scarcity of things to talk about, but it is as you said to Mrs. Ford to-day, because there are some things you cannot talk about. And so it is, that even I can find little to write about - the trivial things you know, and the others are too deep for words, even of tongue or pen.
I have been thinking that I'd like to go a little way with you tomorrow; I suppose there will be some people at the station tomorrow, and I do not want to say goodbye before them. I am glad you are going alone. We have had things made a great deal easier for us than some have, haven't we dear one?
Maybe it is better that you should go now than that you should stay around - just waiting. That has a hardening effect on your energies. I am glad you are going to be able to see your folk at home. So many have not had even that chance. It will be lovely in England when you get there. You must write and tell me about it; ... Mr. Winter has been in discussing cases, and it is now after five o'clock, so I'll leave you for the present. ... (Letter ends here)
Evelyn to Fred
Mar 14, 1917
I am beginning to think I’m unlucky. I have lost my fountain pen. I was carrying it home tonight for use at a morning lecture tomorrow, but I do not know where I left it, whether in a store or at the entrance when I got my key out to open the door. I feel quite disgusted - I don’t want to buy another and yet I want one. I don’t think some of the people here are very honest.
... I haven't studied any tonight I was feeling blue and Mrs. Coutts 'phoned to see how I was, so she came over as her husband was out. It is a comfort to have real friends isn't it?
Art Smith had his new Ford stolen last night, but he got it this a.m. The bobby found it out on the North Hill but there was nothing broken. He had a letter from Clarence recently. He, Clarence, is very optimistic about the end being this summer. You know, sometimes I get a blue funk, and nothing seems worth while doing. But someway, the wheels go on moving just the same, and the next day dawns bright and clear. I'm glad there are "next days."
No letter to-day, but I understand trains have been held up on account of storms in Sask. When I think I won't write some days, I think again what a barren day it is that brings no letter from my best beloved. Do you want some more money dearie? I haven't bought any C.P.R.'s yet, but I'm watching it in the Globe.
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 16/17 #1
I did not write last night, so I’ll do it now. I sat down to study, but at nine I got so tired and sleepy I thought I’d lie down for an hour, which I did. But when the hour was up, I got up and undressed and went to bed. I think I feel more downhearted when I’m tired, so it pays to take a short rest.
Ray thinks he has a chance of selling some of that sash and door stuff. He told me about it the other day, but he thought he’d know for sure yesterday. However he didn’t and is going to write to Harrison to get his consent to sell. He does not want to take possession because then the whole claim would be satisfied - I think that’s what he said. Is it right? Well, I told him if he did get it through, we didn’t need to let anybody here know of it, because they knew too much about our affairs now.
We got talking and he unbosomed himself to a great extent. He said he’d never spoken about one thing, but he did feel cut because the firm had never given him a wedding present. Really, it was hardly decent. I’m sure they gave Miss Woodlock a cheque when she was married. He says he knows the men would be satisfied if he left, because Bryenton could take his place. He says that’s why he wants to see conscription, because that he’s ready when his turn comes. Of course, I see lots of faults in his argument, but I sympathize with him. At least he is not passing the whole thing up as being of no possible interest to him.
When I think of what I'm in competition with in this work, it makes me stand aghast. But as Mr. Macleod says "for the sake of my seat," I must do my best. I find that a lot of people are watching me, hopefully I think. I am thinking particularly now of Miss Robbie. I walked down the street with her, and she said “they” whoever she meant by “they” were so anxious for my success.
I was talking to the sheriff yesterday. He thought they’d have over 13,500 last night. Neither Mr. Osborne, Mr. Cushing nor Mr. Burns have been heard from. He says he does not think the way in which Mr. Burns was approached will influence him in his amount, and is confident that nobody could persuade him to give less than 250.
Mr. Graham got a 100 subscription where he expected to get 10. He is quite expects that they’ll have the 15,000 by the opening, without collections. But he does not think, that that sum reached, they ought to approach again those who have given liberally in order to reach a greater amount. And I agree with him. I do not think it could have been wise, for instance, to go to Mr. Shouldice again. You want to leave behind a feeling of satisfaction, and a willingness to give next time.
Mr. Sprung ‘phoned to see if you were coming back. He said “This committee would like to feel that he is coming back.” What do you think about it? I wonder if you have yet heard from Captain Rankin. I judged from his remarks that he thought it would be better for you to do so, if we could afford it.
I had baked beans for lunch yesterday, and invited Miss Scott and Miss Cummer home with me. The beans were good, I wish you had been there to have some, dearest. They are nice girls, aren't they?
I'm sorry I forgot to post your letter yesterday. I sent it down with Miss Fick and Leigh Walsh last night. I don’t know how intimate they are, but she’s a nice girl anyway.
I was down about 9.02 this a.m. Oh, I got my pen yesterday. I had left it at Irwin’s. I was fortunate, wasn’t I?
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar.16, 1917 #2
This isn’t very nice paper, but I’ll get some from the office tomorrow. I've been down to the post-office to send off your books. I hope they will reach you safely. I have a parcel here, your towel and a pair of socks mother sent you, but did not get them wrapped up in time tonight.
I met Laura and Elmer downtown tonight and they took Miss Scott, Miss Cummer and me home. After supper they took me down to the post office and then out for a drive, and they came in afterwards. I haven't done much studying this week, but I did not want to stay alone tonight.
You will know before you get this that the draft is to leave Monday morning. It is like parting all over again. I was quite contented as long as you were in Ontario, Oh my darling, my darling, there may be harder things, but I hope they won't come my way.
Mrs. Adams was entertaining the choir tonight and Ruby and Mother O. [Oaten] were quite anxious for me to go. For one thing, I wasn't asked, but for another, such things have absolutely no attraction for me. I like people, but in small quantities. Why should I go out and guess riddles and do stunts like that? They mean to be kind I know, but anyone who has been lonely would surely know that a crowd of people making merry does not cheer a lonely heart.
I do not want to be selfish, and I do not want to coddle myself, nor to be critical of attempts at kindness yet this sounds as if I am, doesn't it. And I know I ought not to let you know how badly I feel. But you have always been my comforter, and as I talk to you I feel your loving arms around me. Oh, you will never know how much you are to me and how I love, trust and adore you.
J.M. [Carson] gave me a quiz on contracts to-day, and he seemed to think I had the elements, but then you know all you have to do is to start to answer any question he asks you and he'll take it out of your mouth and answer it for you. All the same, he gave me an idea of how questions should be answered and cleared up some fuzzinesses in my brain. And he's going to help me some more. You know, after I had discussed him last night with Roy [Edmonson] I felt ashamed of myself. I am continually resolving not to talk about people, but I so often break my good resolutions.
They have now reached 14,020. How’s that? With Mr. Osborne, Mr. Cushing and Mr. Burns yet to be heard from. When they get 15,000 they are going to meet the board and ask for further instructions. There is a deficit of 3,000 in running expenses which must be met. But that seems small in comparison with what has been done. Do you recall how hard you worked last spring for 400?
It seems to be generally known now that Fritz is going out into the country. I have seen him several times and it seems to me his face looks very different. Poor fellow! I am sorry for him. I am glad you are getting things fixed up for him.
... I had such a lonely letter from mother, I'm going to send it to you at Halifax. It made me want to go home. I'm glad I have some "people."
It's getting late, so I'll go to bed. Oh my sweetheart may you soon, soon be home again with your wife who loves you always, and always loves you more. I'm just getting into bed, dear one - Read Psalm 121, 125 & 2 first verses of 127 and please dearest, get a nice flashlight as a birthday present from me. I'm afraid it might get lost if I sent it through the mail.
If you want money, get it from Dad and I'll send it to him. The cheque is not issued to you until the end of the month, Capt. West says.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 17, 1917
We have been down town and as you will see, are back again. I wanted to buy something from the Ladies’ Aid sale, and ordered some doughnuts, but by the time we got there, they were packed up and the doughnuts were gone, so I took some marmalade instead.
Did I tell you I invested in a fair supply of Robertson’s & Duerr’s? Mrs. Coutts got some too, so there isn’t much left. I also got some Snider’s tomato soup. It is nice and I got it for 15¢ a can. A clerk at Irwin’s told me they could sell them it back to Snider’s now at the same price, and that he thought they were not going to put it up this year on account of the scarcity of tin. It does seem a shame, if this is the case, that old tin cans cannot be utilized.
I gave Helen [Oaten] her supper tonight. She is a sweet baby - Oh my dear, the way she puts her face up to be kissed makes me long for someone I know, so that I could be kissed too.
J.M. was giving me a little talk to-day - he found some old exam papers which he kindly brought in to me. ... he started telling me about an argument he'd had with an atheist, and gave me his reasons for believing in God. Honestly, it made me writhe to hear him talk. I cannot understand the man. All this time his wife was patiently waiting for him in his room. I wasn't so very long, but it is too long. She is foolish to let him walk over her. It makes me sick to see a woman have no more spunk than that.
Mr. Macleod said to-day that I mustn't overwork, with keeping house, being at the office and studying. He asked me if I were intending to keep on housekeeping. You see, yesterday afternoon I was talking to Mrs. Macleod a few minutes, and she asked me what I was doing. Now he'd never have known in years that I went home for lunch, or that I was keeping house, but you see his wife found it out in a few minutes. So you may agree that wives have their uses.
Did I ever tell you, but I suppose you heard it long ago? Fitch was telling me that the Sunday night before J.M. was married, J.M. met Fitch going home from church, and almost forced him to go with him over to his fiancées, where he kept him until about eleven - Fitch said “Why, I’d shoot anybody who came calling on me at such a time.”
I don’t know how Fitch is getting on. I overheard Harper Miller say he’d been after him, and I shouldn’t be surprised if he’d go. Clarence said to-day he wished about three men a day would come after P.R.B. and that then he’d either go or leave the office. Clarence is going to leave soon, is going into the C.N.R. paymaster’s department. He said he did want to keep on at High School, but couldn’t not being one of the younger ones. He is going on with his music now, with Dr. Hodgson. You know he plays in Hillhurst Methodist Church. What a difference there is between Clarence and Harry, although they are about the same age. I should say Clarence shows signs of culture.
I have not wired tonight as I intended. I tried to get Captain Rankin and Major Bennett, but couldn’t. I did get Miss Baird, though, and she advised me to wait until tomorrow, when she will have the Major call me.
These are really wonderful days, aren't they? We can only watch and pray that Russia may be directed aright. I have been thinking that she may emerge from this war absolutely changed - with a democratic government, an outlet on the sea, and a national consciousness. And it seems to me, the greatest safeguard against her playing the rôle of Germany in the future will be democratic government, add to immense territory. She does not need new territory for her population. If there would only be a revolution in Germany, we might have hope of an early peace.
To-day I sent your issue towel and a pair of socks mother sent you to Owen Sound. I hope they will be there in time for you. People are all very kind to me, and it does help some, but after all, we do have to face our own trials by ourselves.
It's time for bed, so we'll go. You'll get some letters at Halifax, darling. I can't write a very connected letter - people are talking. And now I am eating some nut bread Mrs. Crawford made for the [Ladies' Aid] sale. They'll clear about $90.00. It was a little disappointing, ... Goodnight my darling, I'll write some more tomorrow. I love you and send you millions of kisses.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 19/17 #1
My Dear One,-
I was just dressed, ready to go to make a short call on Mrs. Venini, who is sick, when Ruby said that Wilfred was going down to Grace Church, so I have decided to wait for him.
I did not go to church this morning. Ruby was sick and I thought if I’d stay home I could help get things righted, and really, I wasn’t fully awake until about ten. I didn’t do much but feed the baby, but that takes time. First there was orange juice, then she was washed and dressed. After that there was oatmeal and then a biscuit, then a bottle of milk. It really does take a lot of time. Ruby has a bad headache. I rubbed her neck and back for her and she went to sleep. Her stomach is better now but her head still aches.
There isn’t much to tell you since last night. Mr Fallis is sick and Mr. Westman preached this morning. Mr. Baldwin made an appeal for the rest of the money this week. I made a mistake before - it seems that they need 1300 yet. Wilfred said the Kerby’s were quite peeved at being asked for 250 - they gave a cheque for 50. You know, here is all sorts of gossip about what they get, some saying that he gets all his salary at the college, his mgors Major’s pay, and that his wife gets money from the Patriotic Fund as well as her separation allowance.
All that is of course foolish. He does not get his full salary at the college, but he does get some, and his living, and his Major’s pay. That much we do know.
Did I tell you that he had Lieut. Col. Williams and party there all Monday morning? The Col. donated a silk flag and Major Eaton a cup for the best essay on “Why Canada entered the war.” Really, I think that is very funny.
Do you know dearest, when I see other husbands and wives together, I sometimes think they do not know what real love is. It is a beautiful gift we have received, beautiful and costly to us, and therefore doubly prized. I think we had not reached the heights and sounded the depths of love, had it not been for some such experience as this. But I cannot realize darling that you are not coming home soon; at times when I do feel it to a certain extent, a terrible numbness comes over me. But this does no good, so I try to think of happier things. Ah, when you are home again, life will indeed be sweet. I hope then we shall never descend to the plane where sharp words or thoughtless acts are common occurrences.
Major Bennett ‘phoned at noon that he did not know the arrangement, so I’ll not post this until I hear from him again.
Your loving one.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 19, 1917 #2
My Dearest One,-
Your nice letter from your Aunts’ was here at noon when I got home. It did seem such a long time since Saturday when I had your last letter. I wrote to you l last night but did not know where to send it. Mg Major Bennett said he was not at all sure you were going to Halifax, but I think I’ll send this there. It can always be returned, and there’s a chance of your getting it.
Last night after church P.D. took us down to the telegraph office, and I sent you a wire, which I hope you got. And also I hope my instructions to wire you at Owen Sound from Fort William would prove correct.
I am sorry I did not think about getting any money for you and giving it to Major Bennett until too late to get in at the bank.
I haven’t bought any C.P.R. yet. I am going to pay your 50 Mutual Insurance this month. I might as well, don’t you think?
Mrs. Venini asked me over to dinner tonight. She was going to church early, so I got away about 7.30. Then I called in at Laura’s to find out about some material I was going to buy, and that she was going to make into a collar and pair of cuffs for me to wear on my coat. Isn’t that kind of her?
Later in the evening Mrs. Oaten brought down some marmalade I bought at the Ladies’ Aid sale, but she didn’t stay long because she knew I was working. They wanted me to go back up there to stay, but for one thing, I couldn’t study. And for another, I don’t like chasing about all the time. People seem to think that because I’m alone, I haven’t any home life, or at least, don’t want to have any. If I didn’t, I’d board. I don’t mean to criticize, I’m merely analyzing my reasons for wanting to be in our own home. For you really are here, sweetheart, even if you don’t eat and sleep and talk with me. Oh my sweet one, you are increasingly dear to me.
That was a good picture of my grandmother you set me, but not so good of my grandfather. It did not express the sweet, gentle, yet courageous spirit that was his. What a placid expression was hers. It’s nicer to think of her like that than as being the helpless, feeble minded creature she became. How I dread paralysis! How it reduces human beings almost to the condition of animals. Yes, your aunts are wonderful little old women. When you come to find them out, it’s marvellous how many wonderful people there really are in the world.
This isn’t a long letter, but it carries a message of my deepest love. I pray always that God will take care of you, my lovely brave boy. It will soon be your birthday, and I won’t know where you’ll be. Please do what I asked you, and get the flashlight - or something else you want as a tiny birthday gift from me.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar 20, 1917
There was no letter this morning, but it was here to welcome me home tonight. You don't know how like a really truly live welcome it was, dearest. I'm so sorry I do not know where to send your letters, for I know how much it means to get them regularly. However, I'll go on writing and sending them to Halifax in the hope that they'll reach you.
Ah my dear, you are a generous critic of your present correspondent’s epistolary art. But let me promise you and myself this, that this summer is not going to pass by without some attempt being made by me to put on paper some of the ideas that keep running through my head. You may yet be proud of your wife, lover. Eldridge once told me that some day I would be famous. I haven't seen anything to prove him a real prophet, but we shall see what we shall see.
I read parts of your letter from S. Cayuga to Mr. Macleod. He wanted to know if I’d give him a letter of introduction to your Aunts, but I said not till after I’d been there. ...
...When are you going to send the snaps home. And what about any photos? If you do not want to get them, all right, though I can never have too many of you.
Miss Cummer, Miss Scott and I went looking at suits and hats tonight. I am going to get a suit made, I think, and I'll have to have a hat. I hope you don't think me extravagant. I know you don't. But I hope you don't think I think too much about clothes in these times. No, I know you don't think that either. I do have to have something to wear.
You’ll be interested in hearing that my mignonette seeds were up within a week from the time planted. The carnations are coming up too, will be through the earth in the morning I think, that’s nine days. But the elevator man has the record. He has chrysanthemums planted Sunday afternoon up to-day - Tuesday. In the fall I want to get some little tea roses. Don’t you think that would be nice?
Our green vine is growing very rapidly, but the plant you got Christmas has little green bugs on it. Miss Scott gave me some whale oil soap with which to give it a bath but I haven’t done it yet. Will try to do it Saturday.
I am going to Mrs. Morton's for supper tomorrow night - a full day - a lecture in the morning and one at night. Our lectures, on the whole, have been pretty poor this year. Mr. Power came at 9.25 the other morning. It isn’t quite fair, is it.?
Must close now, darling. I am not worrying about you much, but from that you will not deduce that I'm not thinking about you. I'm thinking about the time when my best beloved will be home again, with his loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
I feel peculiarly isolated tonight - for one thing, there was no letter, and for another, I do not know where you are now. Then too, I forgot to pay the telephone bill and I found on coming home tonight that it had been cut off. My cheque for separation allowance did not come until to-day, and the one for assigned pay has not come yet. I spent my last cent last night, and I did not want to get any out of the bank. I'm afraid I'll have to take some out of the savings to pay for my clothes, but it can't be helped.
I wish I didn't have to pay so much rent. This is really too expensive for our purse at present. Oh, it makes me sore sometimes, and I get so disgusted with everything. I don't see why we have to give up so much and the others practically nothing - getting new cars and rugs and pictures and spending money on practically anything they want. Don't take this outbreak too seriously dear, you know I have to growl occasionally, if for no other reason than to exercise my lungs.
I was at Mrs. Morton’s for supper tonight, and Miss Bradley was there too. She was telling us about the reception she got in some homes. She says in many cases they think she’s doing National Service work and they tell her they have no boys. She says only about three out of eight families really go to church. One woman said they used to go to Central - now she’s a spiritualist, her husband a[Christian] Scientist and the children go to Knox. That’s rather a conglomeration, isn’t it?
Went to two lectures to-day one in the morning and one at night. I didn't get up until 8-30 so I was pretty late, but it didn't matter, as he was only going over what he'd said before. Really dear, I'd be ashamed to take your lecture money if I thought your lectures were no better prepared than his. He may be clever, but that really doesn't help us much. Then this morning the three of us had a discussion class for about an hour. It's a good thing, for it clarifies one's ideas.
Wonderful news we're having now, isn't it? Do you get the Globe? In Saturday's issue - the 17th, there was an article by Lacey Amy describing a meeting in Trafalgar Square before the Victory Loan was closed. It's excellent writing.
Good-night, sweetheart - we're one day nearer to the time when you'll be home again - my dear friend, companion, lover and husband. You beat 2 in 1 don't you? I wish I had a way to sign my name. I don't like Evelyn, it seems to formal, and you never call me Noni.
Fred to Evelyn
The Windsor Hotel,
Thurs. evening, 22nd Mar. 1917
I did write one letter today but as I'm afraid I'll not get any chance to write tomorrow I'll send another tonight. I have just mailed under separate cover several of your letters to me. They are more likely to be safely kept by you than if I had them with me. After I get to Eng. I can store them in my trunk, but I have so much stuff now, I'm afraid even of the additional weight of letters.
I told you didn't I about Captain Wray(1) going with us as Medical Officer & that he knows Art. I have been with him a good deal today. He is a very nice man, was born in Waterloo county, taught near Edmonton, went to Alberta College and then to Toronto Med. graduating in '09. He knows Noble very well and was a laboratory desk mate of Heber Moshier. He says Heber is and always was lazy. His [Capt. Wray] wife is a Toronto Grad of ‘11 or ‘12, he isn’t sure which. She took the general course. Her maiden name was Neilson & she lived in Toronto. Do you know her? Dr Wray went to school with Frank & Mabel Durham also.
Tell Percy Carson I met his friend Mr. Stewart, civil engineer from Edmonton. (now Lieut. Stewart) here in the hotel this p.m. He is in the Engineers & has been in barracks at St John's but such an epidemic of typhoid has broken out that everybody had been given 3 week's leave of absence and he came in to Montreal today en route for a 3 weeks sojourn on the farm of an uncle near Ottawa. He wished to be remembered to Percy.
Tell Mr Macleod I met Max Tyske on the street today. Spoke to him for a few moments. I also spent a couple hours with Lowell Hixon. He has been in Mont. for about a year but he has quit his job and is going to Beamsv. tomorrow “Crispin Smith is in Newark. I talked to his mother over the phone.
It has been a beautiful spring day but the streets are very sloppy. There is such and enormous quantity of snow yet, and today it was thawing fast. Nevertheless I went around a good deal - was in St James (Meth) church & St James & Notre Dame Cathedrals. They are wonderful, but I was so wishing you could be with me. Seeing things alone isn’t half the pleasure it would be if you were along.
I have a fairly nice room at the Windsor but not such a good one as we had last year. My room has no bath but Capt Wray's has and he let me have a bath in his tonight. I appreciated it very much. I got both lunch and dinner (the latter with Capt Wray) at Child's restaurant up the street near the corner of St Catherine St. I got both lunch and dinner (the latter with Capt Wray) at Child’s restaurant up the street near the corner of St Catherine St. For dinner had Baked Beans & poached eggs on toast.
An amusing incident occurred this evening. Capt Wray, Lt. Stewart & Lt. (I forget his name) and I were standing near the desk, talking, when in came an officer whose red banded hat proclaimed to be a staff man. He walked right up to us and broke in upon the conversation with a question and stern look at me. "What do you belong to?" "The 191st sir," I replied. "What are you doing here"? "I'm on my way overseas sir" "Where are you from?" "Calgary, sir." "But this is Montreal." "Well, I'm preceding the draft sir" "Is that the way you do things in the west?"
Then turning to Capt Wray, he lit into him, called him down for not saying sir to a superior officer etc., etc. He also spoke to the other officers all of whom were rather red in the face by this time. He really wasn't nasty for he smiled very pleasantly, but he impressed us all as a pompous man fussily trying to show off. After he left us I found out he is Brigadier General Wilson, officer commanding this district. Technically of course he was right, but it was amusing.
Have you bought any C.P.R. stock yet? I see that recent German withdrawal on the Western Front has sent it up several points. It is now about 158. It is good buying at any price under 160 or 170 for that matter, but I think perhaps it will go down again to 165. If it does I'd get 5 shares at least. It’s almost as safe as government bonds and you can’t miss it by getting a little.
How I wish you were here tonight dearest. But then we'd stay up late and I want to be in bed by nine, because I must get up at 3. I'm going now in a few minutes. I always think of you and pray for you especially at bed time, my own brave little wife, and I kiss you with my heart.
Goodnight my own love.
Fred to Evelyn
En Route, near Riviere du Loup, Que.
Fri. evening, Mar 23/17
The train is very jiggery but I shall scribble a little. I was called at 3 a.m. and Capt Wray and I took a taxi for the yards and the train arrived about 4.15. I found everyone in good spirits and they reported a good trip. I was surprised to find things so comfortable. There are only 12 serjeants in our car so we have lots of room. It's tourist - and that's better than I expected. Nearly everyone has a lower berth to himself. None of the uppers are used except for storing kits etc. The meals are served in the car and are very good. Besides there are several boxes of apples and oranges to which we have free access. I have had at least a dozen today myself.
The weather today had been quite warm, the first for a long while so we have been told, - and I can quite believe it for all the way the snow has been at least 2 feet deep on the level - in many places 3 or 4 feet. I never saw anything like it. For miles and miles the track on the roads is higher than the top of the fences. The fences themselves are completely covered except for the tops of the posts. In some places where there are drifts the sleigh tracks are 12 or 15 feet above the ground.
We were off the train once today - at Chaudiere. We walked about town for some time - long enough to get limbered up. We are due to arrive in Halifax tomorrow evening. 3 trains have preceded us and 7 are following. It is reported that 5 transport ships are waiting at Halifax so we shall probably embark at once.
The route we have come must be very pretty in summer. Sometime we'll take it together, n'est-ce-pas? The French people however are absolutely apathetic about the war. From Chaudiere only 3 men have enlisted. Nearly everywhere they stare at us indifferently but tonight, at Riviere du Loup, some boys spat in the faces of 2 or 3 of our men as the train was pulling out. What do you think of that?
It's so hard to write, I'll quit. Perhaps the road will be smoother tomorrow.
Goodnight my darling.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 22 & 23/17 #1
My own sweetheart,-
I wonder where you are tonight, my love, as all alone I sit and - no, I don't dream - I work. It does not seem possible that you are going away, someway, it seems just like a dream. I try not to let it seem any other way, for if I get thinking of all that might happen, it's almost unbearable.
I was up at the Coutt's for dinner and didn't get home very early. I was rather tired anyway, and didn't feel much like studying. Last night, they cut off the telephone, not having received payment of my bill, and Mrs. Oaten called me up several times. She thought I was out all evening and all tonight, so she would probably think my excuse about studying was a rather flimsy one.
I didn't mean you to infer that Ruby "gets on my nerves." She doesn't, but the way the work drags on up there does. I don't like to be staying away from home nights, I like to go out for meals, but I like to come home to sleep. Maybe I'm old maidish.
That was a dear picture of you. What a perfect little darling you were. Oh my dear, my dear. How I want you! I shall treasure, oh, you don't know how much, that picture of you. You are here now, my lover. I feel you very near. If only I could put my head on your shoulder, my comforter - for you have always been that. I love you, oh, I do love you, and you know it, don't you? I'm glad it isn't wasted love, love that you, not knowing about it, could not appreciate. I'll say goodnight for the present, dearie. There's not time to write much now, I've been on the jump since this morning - lectures & discussions re exams all morning.
Mrs. McLung is just now in to pay her bill. I'll write more tonight.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 23, 1917 #2
My Dear Sweetheart,-
I don't know whether to-day or the day before yesterday was your birthday. I'm sorry that I always forget. I wonder where you are tonight, and if you have been getting my letters lately. I hope you have got yourself some little present as if it had come from me, though you know darling, that if I gave you what I'd like, it wouldn't be "some little thing," but the best I could possibly get.
I hope you got some money from father, so that you won’t run short. I do not know when you’ll get your next pay. I guess I’ll have to take some out of the savings to pay for my suit, and to pay for my exams. I had been forgetting about them. Mr. Coutts says they keep the W.W.R. - for all the men who go overseas - for nothing. I started to thank him but he said, “No, we do it for everybody.” That’s pretty nice, isn’t it? And ten dollars is ten dollars, whether to us or to Burroughs & Co.
I had a busy day. We three were going over equity. Williams this morning and then J.M. went over the Land Titles Act with us. I went directly to the L.T.O. from lunch and got back to the office sometime after four. ... I was awfully tired when I got home so I went to sleep and slept till 7.30, when I was wakened by Mrs. Brecken calling me. She may come in a little while tomorrow afternoon. Then I started getting my dinner, and before I got it Laura [Wright] called, and Mrs. Coutts. I was to have gone up to the Sprung's tonight - they were entertaining the choir, but I was too tired to go. It has been horrid the last two days, very windy, and it seems to make my head ache. Mrs Sprung says it affects very many people that way. ...
I was talking to Wray [Moyer] yesterday. I didn't know exactly what attitude to take when I went out there, so I thought I'd better find out. He said Fritz was going to the country before the end of the month. He was out there for dinner the other night and they asked him what he thought of Fritz's new venture, and he said he thought it was a good idea. Elizabeth said she'd rather make a living here and than go out there and make money. Fritz, of course, hasn't told her yet. As Wray said. "His whole life has been a colossal lie to her, and I told him he had no business to take anybody's help, unless things were going to be put on a sound business basis." Poor Fritz, I do feel sorry for him.
I don't write much on the last page because the envelopes are so thin, and the writing shows through.
Had such a nice letter from daddy to-day - also yours of the 18th. The next one will show whether you got my telegram, and if you went to Owen Sound as you said you would. I hope everything has been all right. Goodnight my darling, May God keep you.
Fred to Evelyn
We have stopped here for about 20 minutes to change engines etc. I have been out on the platform for a little walk and then I decided it would be a good chance to write. Besides it is raining - as it has been all day. From the deep snow of Quebec we passed through the night into N.B. and although in the northern part of N.B there is a good deal of snow, we had practically reached the last of it at Newcastle, and at Moncton where we got off for a march we tramped through streets (supposedly paved) of mud and water.
What a tremendous difference there has been between the Quebec and Maritime province towns! I told you that in Quebec we got never a cheer, except from and occasional Englishman or woman. But in N.B & N.S., both on the station platforms on the streets and from doors and windows of stores factories & private houses, handkerchiefs waved and lusty cheers greeted us. In Quebec the people were either indifferent or contemptuous or hostile. The thousands of men who have experienced this treatment will not soon forget it when the war is over.
We are now near the end of the railway journey, we should reach Halifax about midnight but whether we will stay on the train all night or not, not even Capt. Bennett knows. The impression is general however that we will embark at once and sail within the next day or two. The trip has not been tiresome at all. Our (the serjeants') quarters have been comfortable and the food good. We paid 25¢ each per day for the extra accommodation. At noon both yesterday and today we had beefsteak that was almost as good as any I have ever tasted. True the tea and coffee were indifferent, - but on the whole the soldiering thus far has been as different from what one would imagine as possible.
Did I tell you Lieut. Bowes yesterday gave me a parcel from Mr & Mrs. Brown containing a box of raisins, one each of candied figs and oranges and some chocolate nut bars? Wasn't that nice of them? I'm going to write them when on the boat or in England. In the meantime will you please thank them for me?
I'm so glad you put in a wash rag, dearie. At the time I thought it was almost superfluous but now I don't know how I could get along without it. On the train the water is both hard and cold and it is almost impossible to wash clean without a cloth. In this respect I have the advantage of most of the fellows.
I see by today's paper C.P.R. has taken another jump up to 165. It may go down again a little but unless U.S. goes to war I don't think it is likely to go below 160 now. Apparently the investing public has come to the conclusion that the allies are going to win and that even if the U.S. does go to war it will not affect the securities market and the sound Canadian securities are good buying. If you didn't buy any stock before the first rise I don't suppose you have bought yet. In that event I think I'd wait a little while longer though you must use your own judgement. In any event I wouldn't pay more than 165 on borrowed money.
Mind you I think it will go higher than that, and after the war it’s pretty sure to go back to 225 or over. One feature about C.P.R. stock is it is almost as safe as government bonds, and that is a great consideration under our present circumstances.
If I were home and not going to war, I might be inclined to buy something else. Steel Company of Canada for instance. It is selling around 67 and pays a quarterly dividend of 1 per cent with a quarterly bonus of 1/2 per cent. This works out to about 10% on the investment. The company is doing very well, - is soundly managed and there is a great future before the Iron & Steel Industry of Canada. This company is piling up strong reserves. It subscribed for $1,000,000 of the last War Loan and is thinking of doubling that subscription, if it does not buy $1,000,000 worth of Anglo French bonds instead. That shows the company is in a strong position. Still at present I’d rather have CPR stock if it can be bought around 160. Then later it might be possible to get say 10 shares of Steel Co. of Canada.
I thought the train would start before this, I think I'll have time to post this here. Please remember me to all the old friends - particularly the Coutts, Oatens & Fallises I'll write them later. I am particularly grateful for the letters of Mother O. & Ruby. Please don't work too hard dearest. I'm always praying for you and thinking of you - and of course loving you.
Your own Boy.
Fred to Evelyn
Halifax N.S. March 25. 
Mrs F. S. Albright Care Clarke Carson And Macleod Calgary.
EXPECT TO GO ON BOARD SHIP TODAY DON'T KNOW WHEN WE WILL SAIL AM FEELING FINE DON'T WORRY LOVE FRED
Evelyn to Fred
Oh, if I could only talk, instead of write to you tonight. It's the first Sunday night I've been at home since you left, and it seems as if I want you more than ever now. I was to have gone to the Adamses' for this week-end, but they have both been sick, so I was at Fritz's all day. I could have stayed over night out there, but going to bed there is as lonesome as it is here, without you. I could stand being lonesome if I knew you were comfortable - but.
To be honest, I have been reading a little war story, and it makes me think so vividly of the reason why you are away that I can hardly stand it. And I don't know where you are. I can't tell you what I want to say, but maybe it's just as well. You know anyway. I am glad to say that I generally appear bright and cheerful to people I meet, but I'm glad we have a quiet place of our own where we can be alone together.
Mr. Trickey to-day wished to be remembered to you. I gave your message to him and Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Sprung. I did not see the others. They raised 16,007 by Thursday night. Mr. Fallis said at both services that when the reports of the committees came in the chairman said that he thought the first thing they should do was to thank God. That is an advance on P.D.’s part isn’t it dear? Then he said the next thing he thought they ought to do was to send you a telegram though I’m afraid they didn’t know where to send it.
...I gave $2.00 for the Social Moral Reform. It doesn't leave much over when we keep up our general subscription, and there are a lot of things to pay just now. Should I have given more? I want some for my fee at the Y. and really, it hardly seems possible just now to give more than $15 a month. But it did seem like a very little bit for such a very good cause. It hurts not to be able to give more.
I had planned, when I knew I was not going to the Adamses', to have Lena(2) here for dinner to-day, but then Elizabeth wanted us both to go out there. So I had got some things to eat, and I asked Ruby if she were coming down town to come in and have dinner, and bring Wilfred too if she thought he'd like my pie. I made one out of the cherries. I rather like it than not, you know. I made some biscuits and I got some beef and stewed it (20¢ worth and there’s enough for at least two more meals for me) and had the gravy over the biscuits, and potatoes done in the casserole the nice way, and salad. I wonder I didn’t do meat like that for you.
Say, Wilfred didn’t eat more than 6 biscuits and 4 potatoes, but they were small. I did so wish you had been here. Then after dinner I washed my head, and as Ruby was wishing she could have hers washed, I told her to stay & do it. So she stayed all night, and washed hers too. I told Wilfred he could stay the next time.
Elmer has been sick all week from his vaccination - he was in bed several days.
It is such a comfort to be able to write to you, even if I can't talk with you, face to face. It was three weeks Friday that you went away. It doesn't seem possible that you're going on and on until you get there.
Mrs. Venini came in last night and Mrs. Brecken was also in for a short visit. I don't know exactly what to do about Mrs. Venini, whether to do what I can to keep her from being a Catholic or not. She likes to talk about it. The poor girl has had no religious training - her father a Catholic, her mother a Methodist who didn’t act - now a Unitarian.
She was never sent to Sunday school, and doesn't know her Bible. I noticed last night in her talking that at least one of my arguments had stuck. But there's no use in keeping her from being a Catholic, if she merely remains nothing.
Your loving wife.
Got your telegram this morning & hope you will get these letters soon after
Fred to Evelyn
Mon. afternoon, Mar. 26/17
My own wife,-
We are still on board train but it looks pretty certain that we'll embark this evening. I am orderly serjeant for today, and I suppose for the whole week and so I have to "stick around" the car. Everyone else, except the guards was given leave of absence until 5 o'clock this afternoon, and nearly all have taken advantage of it and are away. So I am practically alone. A little while ago one of the men was taken with what looks to be appendicitis. Unless he improves before tonight we shall have to leave him behind.
The orderly serjeant's job is not very onerous on board train, though in barracks it keeps one pretty well on the run. I guess they saved me for it on the boat because I have crossed before. Every serjeant has to take his turn at it.
This is another beautiful day although the harbor is covered with haze and smoke. But it is beautifully warm. This morning we took all the men to the Y.M.C.A. for a shower and plunge bath. They needed it and were greatly improved by it for many of them had their last bath before leaving Calgary. It gave us a tramp of a couple miles and the exercise was beneficial too. I didn't take the bath as I had one yesterday. But I got a hair cut and shampoo which made me feel better. I also bought a flashlight, a roll of films, a cake of soap and an ice cream soda. Harold Smith brought me a collapsible aluminum drinking cup. I didn't see him as I was away when he called.
I have been wondering, dearie, whether I sent you the films I had developed and the prints. I think I did and I can't find them around. Yet I am not sure.
Tell Kent Power I saw his father for a few minutes last night. I didn’t see his sister though I would have if there had been a little more time.
Please don't worry dearie about our voyage. We shall have a strong convoy and there's practically no danger. There are a number of cruisers in the harbor - all painted grey - and others outside. Those silent monsters have more appeal to us now than when we saw them in the summer of 1914.
I hope you are having good weather in Calgary and that you are not studying too hard. As soon as you can try to get some tennis. It will do you good to have the exercise and the fresh air.
I hope Ray’s expected sale of H. & P. stuff was made. He has worked very hard on that thing. I’m afraid though that he will have to wait a long while for a letter from Harrison He didn’t answer my last one.
How are the plants coming on? If you have had nice weather they must be very nice. Is the Wright’s davenport in the apartment yet? If it is the place must be cosy and homelike.
I often visit you. Do you know it?
Must close now and make my rounds again.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 26, 1917
Two letters and a telegram from my sweetheart to-day, with four cents overweight on one. Oh, see how much you cost me! The big envelope with papers came this morning, as did also the telegram, and your Toronto/Montreal letter was here this afternoon. That was pretty quick wasn't it, four days?
This has indeed been a blue Monday, but I'm not going to recount all my trials, for some of them will soon be over. I am going to speak to J.M. though. I can't do all the Land Titles work and study. I spent all afternoon and yet it would take about two hours to finish up what I had for to-day. And if I do it all I'm too tired to study much at night. I'm not going to kill myself and I'm not going to miss my exams either.
I got the certificate for six Union Bank shares, and they asked me to send back a certificate for three for cancellation. I telephoned Mr. Taylor, and he said he'd wire at once, and would write. I wrote too, and explained matters. Such things as that don't bother me now. Isn't it peculiar how the little things worry more then the big ones?
Mrs. Coutts was in a few minutes tonight, and wanted me to go to a Dr. Dyde lecture, but I had too much to do. I'm going to take my book up tomorrow night, as George is going to drill, and I'll stay all night. He is absolutely disgusted with the 193rd, and says most certainly he would never join it again. I hear that the 191st is broken up, the 27 fit men left are to be sent on the line. I must confess I haven't much use for the officers who could go if they'd revert. Of course, I suppose some could not afford it, but it looks pretty bad.
Up to date I believe Fitch has three two recruits. He was greatly excited the other day when he heard one had been brought in, only to find that he - or she- was a morphadite. Things are getting pretty bad when that’s the kind of creature attempting to enlist. Of course he wasn’t taken.
I read in the Globe to-day a report of diseases of returned soldiers. It said that the majority of mental cases were cases of insanity - a development of hereditary weakness due to alcoholic or syphilitic causes. You must take very precaution against those two awful diseases. Mr. Dobson said last night that according to reports 1 out of every 10 in London was afflicted with syphilis, and 60% in New York, and that 1/2 the cases of blindness from infancy were due to infection at childbirth. Oh, it's wicked, wicked, wicked. Verily the sins of the father's are visited on the children, the poor innocent little creatures.
It doesn't seem like over a year since we were in Montreal, does it? The picture of the Windsor [Hotel] looks very familiar. I have been wondering about money. I hope you got some somewhere, for you must surely need it. I was dreaming last night that you were going away and that I was saying good-bye to you. And probably at that time you were leaving me, in very truth. Oh my sweetheart, among many dear ones, the dearest, dearest, dearest one. How I long for you tonight.
I'm glad you had such a nice visit in Toronto. Isn't it nice to think each other's friends prove friends to the other? I'm so glad you were at the Adamses'.
I wonder if you will see Crispin Smith.
I hope you got some letters at Halifax.
Your loving one.
Fred to Evelyn
On board S.S. Saxonia.
Tues. evening, Mar 27/17
My dear wife,-
Three letters from you today surely deserves a letter tonight whether or not it goes before we arrive on the other side of the Atlantic. I don't know how you could have written more helpfully or lovingly than in those three - one written a week ago Sunday from the Oaten’s - one the day before & one the day after.
What wonderful current of power and love finds its terminal in you and me! If my letters express but an infinitesimal fraction of how I feel toward you, you must know that you are my lodestar - and yet wholly a woman "not too bright or good for human nature's daily food." I wonder if many husbands and wives are so completely one as we are. I don't believe there are.
I have had a very busy day. We didn't get aboard last night until about 11 o'clock, although we loaded up our packs and all kit at about 7.30. Then we marched out of the train and then had a long wait in the darkness on the tracks. Then we marched to the docks - about 1/4 mile, - Another long wait & finally on board.
We have excellent accommodation - we are on the saloon deck near the centre of the boat. The serjeants have the second class dining saloon and the grub is very good. Breakfast porridge, without milk, bread & butter, steak or fish & coffee & jam Dinner soup, bread (no butter), choice of meat or fish & potatoes. Supper - tea or coffee, bread & butter, choice of meat - chops etc. & fish, potatoes, jam & marmalade. The meals are well prepared & served.
To resume, there are 4 berths in our cabin. My roomates are all 191 serjts, Shaver, Kimmett & Corvett. The other 191st serjts. are in the adjoining cabins. The ship was loading troops nearly all night so we were late getting around this morning - got up about 8. After breakfast went on deck & got several snaps. They should turn out fairly well for it was a beautifully clear morning although in the afternoon a dense fog arose and still continues this evening. About 7 o'clock this morning the ship pulled away from the dock and anchored in the harbor just inside the submarine net, where we have been all day. Don't know of course when we shall sail.
Very soon after breakfast I learned that no arrangements had been made for the men's meals. And that for breakfast they had to forage for themselves as best they could, getting a hand out of tea & bread so we got busy. You may imagine it was quite a task to arrange for meals for about 2,200 men in a dining saloon that would seat only 850. Mess orderlies had to be appointed (there are no regular stewards) and sittings arranged for and at noon the confusion was terrible. There are a great number of small units on board and in some cases the officers didn't appear to be looking after them at all - and these kept "butting in." Finally we got our men fed by about 1.45 and then we had our dinner. Tonight it was better but still a great deal of work. We hope it will be better tomorrow, as all the officers are meeting tonight and organizing mess arrangements etc. for the whole trip.
Was interrupted last night I had running around of one sort or another until nearly midnight. Up at 5.30 this morning & have been very busy all morning. Just received the mail, 3 parcels - and your letter. Haven't opened your parcel yet as I'm in a hurry to get this off on the mail. Don't worry dearie about the rent. I wouldn't move if I were you, though Dr Patrick should lower the rent $35 right away.
It has been foggy & raining all morning, think we'll pull out today, but of course I don't know.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 28, 1917
I did not write last night but went right to bed. I had a cold, and as soon as I got my work done, I took a hot bath and went to bed. Mrs. Coutts came down and gave me some hot lemonade, and shut up the doors and opened the window. I said it felt like being put in a box.
Lena heard I was sick and came over tonight. She took my temperature, (it was normal) and my pulse, which latter, she said, was too fast, showing I had had a temperature. Really dearie, I should like to have her come here, in a way, but I'm afraid it wouldn't work very long, so I think it's better to have her come when she feels like it. She is very good to me.
Mrs. Bell [cleaning lady] was at Mrs. Howard’s today, I phoned the office, so she came in to see if she could do anything.
Then Mrs. Fallis and Mrs. Jackson called and wanted me to go to dinner tomorrow. But Lena says I had better not go tomorrow, especially as the cold is in my head. Ruby was in too, about six o'clock, on her way down town. So you see, I have not had a lonely time.
I slept until three o’clock, with about an hour off this morning, getting my breakfast. I think the dust storms have had a lot to do with getting a cold, and I have been out in so many lately. Fourth street is awful on windy days, yet it seems too far to go around by first street.
I was busy at the office all day yesterday except for about half an hour, and I'm just not going to go when my eyes bother me.
You will probably know before you get this that the 191st is broken up. I believe there are only 27 fit men left. The officers, I understand, are to be given a month's leave of absence. You know what that means. Capt. Bennett was lucky to go as a Captain. This morning's paper says there are to be no more commissions granted in Canada.
I have not written to Eleanor Turnbull yet, dear, I am so sorry. I’ve been trying to get time, and will try to get the letter written this week.
Don't worry about me. You see, people are so very good, and I never have anything really very much the matter with me. I wonder where you are tonight. My dearest one. I have been thinking about you all day, but not worrying much. You are in God's hands. Did you know that Mrs. Brecken's brother whom they thought dead, is a prisoner-of-war? He says he is recovering, and pays high tribute to the German medical skill. Just the same, I'd feel safer if he were in some other's care. They do such cruel, wicked things.
The day seems incomplete without a little talk with you my chum. Maybe there'll be a letter tomorrow.
I was somewhat disappointed when I opened that thick letter yesterday - only to find some of my own letters. I really don't think they're worth much, not to me at any rate, but I'll keep them till you come back. And may that be soon.
Your loving one.
Evelyn to Fred
Mar. 30, 1917
I've just finished writing to Ora. Did I tell you. No? Well, I'll just send along her letter,(3) which will explain itself.
To-day Mr. Smith said he thought he could place her after the sitting of the legislature, and I told him what she’d said in her letter, but he laughed and said she shouldn’t be too “pernickety” in these little questions of morals. However, I see her view, and admire her for it and have not tried to make her change her mind. Then, as I told her, it isn’t fair for me to ask her to give up good work in her profession, so that I can stick at mine. I was asking Laura if Ora didn’t come, and if she could get it, if she’d think of it. I really think we could live together quite harmoniously. But of course, that’s all in the air.
I did not write last night. I wasn't alone until 10.30, and I didn't feel like writing then, but I always feel ashamed when I don't write. Your letters mean so much to me. Mrs. Bennett called me up last night and said she'd heard I'd heard from you. (Ruby had told her sister, I found out later).
The last she’d heard was from Renfrew, and I’d had your letter from Rivière du Loup. I told her she’d get one to-day, but honestly, I felt a bit sorry for her, because if you could write, so could he. I said that to Ruby and she said a lot of men weren’t very careful about the letters they wrote.
I told Mrs. B. to send her letters in care of you at the R. Colonial Institute, if she liked, as I thought you got leave almost as soon as you reached England, and that letters would be sure to reach him sooner that way than if she waited to hear from him.
Yesterday I stayed in bed again. About one o'clock Mr. Fallis brought Mrs. Jackson over, with some fresh eggs, some cakes and some oranges, and she got my lunch and stayed all afternoon. ...
Miss Burgoin & Miss Cummer were in a little while, and Miss Coutts and David, and in the evening Elmer and Laura and Ruby. So you see, I was well looked after. Elmer brought me over some brown glasses to-day and they have been a great help to my eyes, yet I have not allowed myself to use them much to-day. So tonight I went over to the Wright's a little while.
I felt pretty much upset over Ora's letter and Mr. Smith’s announcement following so closely on its heels - I was just so homesick for you. So often it doesn't seem to matter anyway, it is as if everything had lost its taste. I don't know how I'd live without your loving letters, dearest. What must it be like for poor women whose husbands do not love them "ower" much, and who have no such kind friends as we have?
Mrs. Jackson said she did not know of anyone whose prayers meant so much to her as yours. I quite agreed with her, and oh, I was so proud of you! I was thinking the other night when I was saying my prayers that mine didn’t get very far because they weren’t properly feathered, but I knew yours reached the mark.
Laura was saying last night that they had been planning that you'd go into politics when you came home, and Elmer was going to work for you. He isn't better yet from his vaccination. What was it I was planning yesterday? Oh yes, that if he went soon, Laura would stay with me and we'd go east together. Then she said she'd been planning to go after the war, and he said he'd been planning his profession after the war.
Do you remember that little poem Höffnung, which ends something like this, "And even from the soil of a grave, the flower of hope will spring"? A very poor translation but it will do to express my meaning. So many people seem to fail to see the inner meaning of Watt's "Hope". They think she should be cheerful and erect, failing to see that Hope is most Hope when she can see the dawn coming even while it is yet blackest night. I always feel so calm after a good talk with you, beloved. Oh, we made no mistake when we married, did we, my lover?
Good night and sweet dreams.
Evelyn to Fred
Dearest One: -
There is no need to tell you where I am, you’ll know by the paper. I have been having the laziest restful time. Mrs. Adams and David called for me about three yesterday afternoon, and we got out here about four. We were going for a walk, but it was raw and cold, so we stayed quietly at home, and I did enjoy the rest.
We were in bed shortly after ten, but I was so perverse I couldn’t sleep for a while. I was thinking about you. Oh my dear, I wonder where you are to-day. It is so bright and springlike. The first of April. I wish you were here for us to walk out together.
This is a nice home dearest, I never realized how nice until this time I’ve been here. When will the time come for us to have one of our own?
We did not get up in time to go to church this morning. I got up and thought the rest were downstairs, but they weren't up, I guess really, I need all the rest I can possibly get just now. The exams will be over the end of this month. You know dear, I have so little time at night when I feel like studying, but I must not worry you. I am just going to take the mornings at the office. You see, last week was practically a lost week with me, on account of my cold.
I am counting so much on going home early in the summer. I hope I shall be able to do it. And it would be nice to go down with someone, wouldn't it? I'm so glad your trip wasn't too unpleasant. You must buy yourself fresh face cloths often - it will be easier than for me to keep sending them. I was sorry to find that I did not put in your little bottle of pills that I had already for you.
I don't know what I'd do, dearest, if it weren't for our letters, for reading yours, and writing to you, and talking to you in my thoughts, and thinking about the time when you'll be home. We were out for a walk this morning and went past the Alsdorf’s. You remember him - he has some position in regard to pensions now, and they’re living in a little cottage up past the bend in the road by Dr. Callahan’s.
The Pollard’s have twin girls and we looked at them. They are five weeks old. That makes five children, and the mother can’t get a maid - has to get along with women by the day. She is a fine strong looking woman, though; but she must become very, very tired by night-time.
This lovely bright weather makes me want you at home more than ever. When you do come home, we're going to have Saturday afternoons off, and go out into the country. I'm not going to have work that keeps me till four o'clock in the afternoon and you're not going to always going back to the office are you?
Fritzes are coming out for tea tonight. I think he is going to Drumheller, probably tomorrow. I think if you were going there, I should want to go too, even if it weren't very comfortable. But of course there's her mother to consider. She [Elizabeth] said last Sunday that they couldn't live there unless they built, and that they couldn't build until they sold this house, which they couldn't do until after the war.
I feel sorry for our relationship with each other - I think we both counted on being good friends, but I have made other more intimate friends than she has, and I think she is rather lonely. But I can't seem to help feeling that there is a barrier between us. She has never suffered, and has not enough imagination to enter into one's feelings, although she may have as kind intentions as others.
Mrs. Brown invited me to go to a concert Wednesday night, to hear Graveure, who was here last week. The people who heard him, said he was very good, so I think I can take one night off to hear him. Then I am to go to Mrs. Brown’s the Sunday after Easter. She said she didn’t think Vic would give you the parcel until after you got over there, because she thought he wouldn’t get at his trunk. Do tell me if yours got over all right. I am so ashamed I haven’t written to Eleanor, but, well, you know what it’s like writing letters. My intentions have been so very good, but alas, alas!
David wonders if this is real writing, he thinks it is pretty funny. His mother has sent him in to bother his father while she writes to you.
So Mr. Adams is reading, in a most dramatic tone, some book he himself has been reading all afternoon, and of course he thinks it’s fine.
I haven't treated you very well as regards letters, this last week dearie, but it isn't because I haven't been thinking of you. My thoughts of you are my dearest and best.
Evelyn to Fred
I did not write last night as I went to a concert with Mrs. Brown. Wasn’t it lovely of her? And the concert was lovely - Graveure [Louis Graveure, 1888-1965] and his wife. He sang a song “Pleading” by Elgar - beginning “Will you come home from the shores of dreamland” which made me so lonesome, so lonesome for you.
It will be five weeks tomorrow since you went away, Oh my dear, life is almost meaningless without you. To-day has been so hard; I must get time to study, but I had barely an hour to-day. And then, I had to take money out of the savings. You see last month I had to pay $10.00 for exam fees, $5.00 or so insurance - over the $50.00, and $6.50 for those transfers of yours, and I bought my dress, and a hat to-day. I was afraid I didn't like my hat after I got it home -I got a bronze gold straw and had the woman at the Bay tie a bow, and I put it on tonight.
Then Mr. Macleod bought a car, and and oh, altogether, I hate having my husband away, and having to scrape along and work so hard. So there are my woes, but they don't really bother me much.
I was feeling so depressed when I got home tonight, but I'm not now, only I'm wanting you. You see, it's been rainy and misty to-day. So don't feel sorry for me, for by the time you get this my exams will be over and I'll have forgotten the pinpricks of to-day, I'll only be wanting you. I won't tell you my little worries if you let them bother you; all I want you to do is to kiss me and love me which you do anyway.
I went down to see the Rankins for a few minutes but they were out. They are leaving Saturday night. He is going with the engineers, to Ottawa. Leigh Walsh told him about the present he didn’t give us, but I’m glad to say I didn’t. It wouldn’t have been kind, but they did seem to fit in pretty well together, n’est-ce pas?
You may know that the 191st is being split up and that the officers are being told they may go as privates or go back to civilian life. Mr. Rankin is going as a private. Now I think that’s pretty fine, and we know what it mean’s, [sic] don’t we.
I bought a little flashlight to give him from you and me, and I’m going to get one for Elmer, who is ordered to be ready Friday. People were so good to you, dear one, and we appreciated their kindness so much, that I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we want to pass it on, even if it may seem a trifle extravagant.
I think I'll go to bed now darling, and I'll write more tomorrow. I suppose I might as well write sort of diary letters, as the mails do not go every day. Oh my sweetheart, such darling letters as you have written to me. You seem very near indeed. No, you don't "visit" me, you come home, very often don't you? I pray the time may not be too long, until you come home to stay and stay and stay. You are always my dearest friend, my sweetheart and my husband.
Lots of kisses tonight, no tears, just hugs and hugs and kisses and kisses and then we start over again.
I must have a little visit with you tonight, even if I do not tell you all I have to say just now. ... Yesterday Mrs. Rankin told me Mrs. Jackson had had a cable from Lieut. Jackson, saying that you were sailing Friday, and that you would be twenty-days in the water. But when you get this, you will be over the water. I wonder if you'll get the news - you will hate to miss all the U.S. news - how La Follette - I think it is - our Albertan hasn't come this week - has held up Congress for a day in the declaration of war.
I spoke to Mr. Macleod yesterday about Mr. Edmonson’s present, suggesting that it would look better if they meant to give him one, if it were given on their anniversary. He was amazed and forthwith started things going. At night Miss Cummer said Miss Martin told her that the firm had just discovered they never gave Mr. E. a wedding present. Miss Martin thinks she knows more than she does. If Roy had seen Mr. Macleod start, he would have been convinced that it was an oversight. Mr. Macleod said that you waited so long in giving Shouldice one that he asked if he’d contributed to ours.
I nearly went back to-day. I was standing by the opening by Miss Blackburn’s desk, telling Leigh where to get you, when P.R.B. came up. He said in his stuttering way only more stutterey [sic] than ever “Oh Mr. Walsh, are you going away?-------Well, good-luck,” and held out his hand. Leigh shook hands with him and looked him squarely in the eye, but if he said anything, I don’t recollect what it was. It wasn’t funny but it was an interesting bit of character study.
The time tables for our exams are out and they all come in the afternoon. There are ten days between the law exams and the L.L.B., so if I can get the books, I think I'll take a whack at the L.L.B. I want to make sure of the law exams, but when they're out of the way I might as well try the others.
Did I tell you I asked Art Smith if he could get the position he could get for Ora for Laura? He couldn’t though. She may possibly come back and go in the library, if there’s an opening, and then we’d live together - I spoke to Dr. Patrick, and he was very nice and said the rent would be 35.00 next month. He says he considers this one to the nicest suites, and guess that’s true, for I’d rather be on this floor than on any other, and it has a nice outlook. The janitor told me rents were going up downtown.
We had an offer of $2,000 for H & P [Harrison & Pouton] Machinery & Building, ... He says he wishes you were here so he could talk it over with you. I wish you were here too - I'd tell you how much I love you. That would be useless, for you know, but I'd tell you all the same.
Goodnight dear one.
Evelyn to Fred
Saturday, Apr. 7, 1917
Once more it's Saturday night, but there's no one besides me, to take a bath. I miss you so much more at night than during the day, though I miss you then enough. When I see a man and a woman together I think that you're away, and that I'm alone. Maybe I'll get used to it in time, but I hope not. I have been so ashamed of myself, I wanted you as a confessor.
Mrs. Coutts wanted me to go up for supper last night (Good Friday) and I went, and then her cousin, Iris Bastedo, from Taber, wanted to go to Pantages. I didn’t want to go but I didn’t want to be rude or to keep them at home, so I went. But I’m sorry I went. I don’t feel as if it’s a proper place for me to go, and besides it was so late I’ve been tired all day.
To-day Miss Cummer said she went to St. Stephen’s at night to hear Grace & St. Stephen’s choirs give Stainer’s “Crucifixion”. I thought how differently we spent the days. Oh, things would be different if you were here, lover and keeper of my good intentions.
In the morning I went up to the dressmaker’s. Oh it was a perfect morning, and you walked with me. I called in at Elmer’s on my way back, and then in at Robertson’s to see the baby. He was out raking up ashes when I went by and invited me in to see her. They call here “Rat”, even her mother does. She is a nice baby.
Did I tell you about David Adams the other Sunday? Fritz said the blessing, you know how slowly he says it, and when he got through David said “My, that was a long one.” Whether a child will or will not like a thing depends very much on the way it is presented to him.
Last night I said to David “Won’t your teacher have some fun making you sit still, when you go to school?” And then I was telling him how he would sit in “position” while the teacher told him what she wanted him to do, and how she’d write letters on a blackboard and then tell him to write them, and he sat up in “position” quite absorbed while I told him what “fun” it was all going to be.
To-day I went in for a short time to say good-bye to the Rankin’s. He seemed to appreciate the flashlight very much, and I’m glad we got it, aren’t you? They are leaving tonight, but she intends coming back, and maybe taking a position.
Tonight I went down town with the Wright’s. She was talking to a Mrs. Fleming, a clerk in the “Bay.” She must have been over thirty-five I’m sure. Laura said she used to have a nice home in Elbow Park and they gave it up for her husband to enlist, and now she’s clerking in the “Bay.” When I see things like that, I think I’m very fortunate.
We saw the Shaver’s downtown and they were asking about you. Also I had quite a chat with Mr. McAra was at Irwin’s to-day. He seemed greatly interested in the work, and said he was sure if you’d been there they would have raised $20,000. He pointed out that if we get 1000 back subscriptions we will still be 300 behind in current expenses. Those men all speak so highly of you darling, I feel so proud and happy.
…Laura was trying to get a picture frame for Elmer tonight. You haven’t a picture of me. Would you like one? Shall I cut down that big one? I can put it in a leather case, or would you rather have some snaps? I didn’t think about it until she spoke. You sent the snap taken at Cheadle and the snaps of the college, but no films. Get some more of my husband, will you?
I spoke to Mr. Carson to-day and we are to have some time off, so I guess I'll be able to scrape through. Three weeks from tonight we'll be through writing.
...I told Elmer and Laura to come in for dinner because they're all torn up. I won't go to any trouble though, I have cold meat and I'll put potatoes in the oven when I go to church. I don't like entertaining men when you're not here, ... and I know too that Elmer and Laura will be glad to come in. You know how depressing an upside down house is.
We are not going to have the chesterfield after all, as they can leave it there, and they’ll be saved any expense as to moving. I’m sorry, but of course it’s their furniture and it’s their business to put it where it will be least trouble to them.
Do you know dear, I think J.M. [Carson] really likes you He always speaks so kindly of you, as if he either liked or admired you. Of course he wouldn't abuse you to me, but then, he doesn't need to speak of you at all.
The carnations are up over an inch. My fern at the office has two new shoots, and our green creeper here at home is a very pretty plant now. To-day was violet day. Two years ago we were on our way to Victoria. Remember? Yesterday and to-day have been beautifully warm and springlike. Oh my own one, I love you, and I'll try to be better for your sake.
Evelyn to Fred
Mr. Fallis called me up early this morning, as soon as he got his paper, to tell me that the 191st had arrived. I was thinking you would be sometime longer, and so had thought you had not yet reached the dangerous part of your journey. May the rest of your journey end as speedily and as safely. Last night I was planning your return home. Oh Fred, do you think it will be so very long?
I had a letter from Ora to-day, and she will not come out. In fact, she doesn’t want to, even if she felt she could leave the school, and I suppose I have to reason to ask her to come to a place where she doesn’t want to be. Yet I will admit I was a bit peeved I suppose she didn’t just express herself as she meant, and I was feeling rather rotten.
It was the first letter I’d had for six days, except for a calendar a persistent tailor keeps sending me. I think I’d be almost mad if I didn’t have a lot of work which requires close attention. I don’t see how Ora has stood it to have Art away for so long. He is a changed man, to be M.O. with Canadian Light Horse, B.E.F. France.
...This morning I went to the dressmaker's, called in at the Wrights' to tell them you had arrived (I knew they didn’t take the Albertan) , and studied some. I went down to the office a couple hours to check some accounts, and enter up some work in the books. Then I came home and went to sleep. ... I have been studying the B.N.A. act all evening, and now I'm going to bed to have a good sleep. ...
I wonder where you are tonight. Do you get any sugar? If you do not, I'll send you some. Oh my darling, I love you more every day. I'll try to be good to Fritz and Elizabeth and May. I asked F & E to come in after church, but they didn't go. Poor fellow I don't envy him his job.
Oh my darling, I love you more every day. I’ll try to be good to Fritz and Elizabeth and May.
I asked F & E [Fritz & Elizabeth] to come in after church, but they didn’t go. Poor fellow I don’t envy him his job.
C.P.R. is 158 - I’ll see how it is tomorrow.
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
I am sending you daddy’s letter; it means a lot to get a letter like that.
Your cable came to-day. Thank you, my own one, for your thoughtfulness. I wonder where you landed, and where you are. I have put you in God's hands, and He has protected you so far, and I believe He can, if it is His will, do so to the end. But sometimes one's faith falters.
I went to the office and worked all morning, until one, and then stayed home and studied this afternoon. Two weeks from to-day we'll begin writing, and I'm beginning just to have such a longing for the exams to be over that I forget to worry about them. If I don't get sick, I guess I can make them, only I'd like to do brilliantly - for your sake, and, as Mr. Macleod says, “For the sake of my sect.” As I was telling Fitch the other day, I know a lot of people are watching me, kindly it is true - and I do not want to disappoint them.
Goodnight sweetheart. Were you here to-day? I wanted you very much.
Evelyn to Fred
[Calgary, Apr. 11/17]
My Darling One,-
I’m tired tonight, so I’m going to bed early. I have been studying pretty hard this afternoon and evening. I had about an hour’s sleep this afternoon. I felt I needed it, and I know it’s no use trying to work when I’m tired and sleepy.
There isn't much to tell you that happened to-day. I wrote a short note to your father and mother, but I was sure they would see the announcement of your arrival, because there were Ontario, as well as Western troops mentioned. I hope I have done right.
It was a lovely spring day to-day. I hope you are having many such. Oh darling, I hope you are comfortable, and that you get enough to eat. I can't bear to think of you suffering, while I have so much of comfort here at home. I never knew you meant so much to me. It seems sometimes as if I can't stand it to have you away long, but then - it's only one day at a time we live, isn't it lover? I try not to think of the future, what's the use? But I have always lived so much in imagination it's hard to live in the everyday. And then, what is there in the everyday for either of us? Your work is hateful, and mine, there is so much that I haven't time to think of anybody else.
...I was noticing some books advertised in the back of Anson, and they made me long to get at them. Old English, Middle English and French.
When you come home darling, I'm sure we shall be happier than we were before you went away. I think I am entering more into your ideals of home. No, I understood them before, and love them too - but I did not see how they could be worked out. I was too “cumbered with much serving.”
Miss Burgoin's brother has been wounded. Clarence Smith has been wounded too, and Miss Scott's mother has been very sick. So we're having our own troubles, aren't we?
It is lovely to think, darling, that our absence is bringing us together, as living together might never have done - if only that dread spectre of Fear did not forever lurk behind us, grinning.
My letters may not appear cheerful, but I think you'll see that at least I'm "living" and not exactly moping.
Mrs. Seipman below us has been very sick - has been in the hospital and has a trained nurse now so I try to be as quiet as I can. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have the ones above us immediately over her head.
Goodnight my own dear one, my inspiration.
Evelyn to Fred
My Dear One,-
I won't write much tonight, but I must talk to you a little. I was thinking to-day that you are really more in my thoughts while you are away than when you are at home. This is our wedding-day the twelfth, and tomorrow will be too - Friday. I have been planning your homecoming, and how we'll live when you get home. You are so very, very dear to me.
...Mrs. Coutts said that evap. [evaporated milk] has gone up within the last two weeks - Pears [soap] from 2 for 25¢ to 2 for 35¢, Sunlight from 5¢ each to 4 for 25¢, Criscoe from 35¢ to 50¢. How are people going to live?
Norman Lambert was here on his way to the coast. She says they sit and talk and don’t pay the slightest attention to her, so she goes out. Oh by the way, Whetham got married last week to Miss Meyers. He doesn’t look particularly happy, but I’m mean enough not to feel very sorry for him.
Lena called up to-day - She said Charlie’s were quite happy at being home again, and that Charlie himself is very much delighted. Lena is a kind girl, isn’t she?
I won't write any more tonight - this is rather sketchy, I know, but it carries a lot of love from your wife.
Friday Apr. 13
Dearest One in the World,-
I wonder where you are tonight, my dear one. I am selfishly glad that you are somewhere in England - not somewhere in France. The papers seem full of news of victory, but full of news of sadness too. I'll be so glad, so glad when I get a letter from my sweetheart, though I know I can't have one for a couple weeks yet. I hope you will think to send to the R.C.I. as soon as you have an address. I have just been thinking that there will be letters there almost as soon as you reach there, and that will make it seem like home, won't it dear one?
The boys - Percy Scott and Art Lilly, came in tonight to go over some of the work. It's all right for me to have them, isn't it dear? Of course I have to be careful, but I hardly see how there is any wrong - there is no wrong of course - but lack of convention in it. My, how they despise P.R.B. I don’t blame them for if he tattles on them the way they say he does, he is a poor sort. J.M. appears to admire him. As for me, I have as little to do with him as possible - Did you know that Jack Eaton had been killed?
I went up to the dressmaker's tonight, and will have my suit tomorrow. I've figured up that the dress, with the coat will cost me about thirty dollars. It is pretty, and I think you'd like it if you were here to see it. And I think I really needed it. If one must go on about one's daily tasks, one must have something to eat and to wear. And I have something to love - the dearest best gift in the world, my sweetheart, friend and husband.
I went up to the dressmaker’s tonight, and will have my suit tomorrow. I’ve figured up that the dress, with the coat will cost me about thirty dollars. It is pretty, and I think you’d like it if you were here to see it. And I don’t think I could have gone [sic] anything for any less. And I think I really needed it. If one must go on about one’s daily tasks, one must have something to eat and to wear. And I have something to love - the dearest best gift in the world, my sweetheart, friend and husband - Goodnight. This is our wedding day, and it’s six weeks since you left.
I'll just scribble a little and post this before I go home. It's Saturday morning - or nearly noon. Mr. Nicoloson showed me a cheque from the C.N.R. this morning, but told me just now that it is not going to be distributed. It doesn't make so very much difference, but it would have provided for that $250 insurance. However, I am going to ask for enough of $50 monthly trust funds to pay it, unless I haven't spent what is in the bank on C.P.R. Mr. Taylor advised me to put in an open bid for 155 and wait a week or so. It was at 158 the other week. I think I had better get it though, for the reports from the Western front seem so good that it will send it up I’m thinking.
It's a nice bright day. Laura & Elmer are going to "meal" with us, as they are all packed up. Laura has to do the work, so that's easy for me, isn't it?
Oh, Everett saw Malcolm one day. to-day the Broads got word that Ted was killed. We do not dare look very far into the future, but I try to trust that all will be well.
Your loving girl.
Evelyn to Fred
It's after ten now, and we're just home from church. We had to inspect the organ, and we were talking to Dr. Crummy. I do not think he had me just placed, I forgot that he was a little deaf.
I was so wishing that you were there darling, but you were in spirit, I know. Only I wanted you there so that I could look into your dear eyes, and know that you were appreciating what I was. They had about a third of the organ in, so that it was fit to use. The pipes are all gilt, and the way the light shines on them makes them look beautiful, especially contrasted with the brown wood. You saw the interior decorating before you left, and it all looks good, artistic and church-like.
There was a big crowd this morning, and we went got there at seven tonight, and had our choice of sitting in the gallery or the Sunday school room. Elizabeth says she’s going to take her lunch next Sunday but she’s determined she’ll get there early. I did not see Fritz to-day, Elizabeth and her mother appeared to be alone at night. I’ll be so glad when the exams are over and I can attend to people. I’m going to have them down about the first thing I do.
Did I tell you the arrangement Laura [Wright] and I made? It has worked out well to-day. Elmer did not get home until this morning, and so she stayed all night. The we had breakfast, went to church, came home, had dinner, slept, went to church. We have had something to eat, and Laura is washing up the dishes while I write to you. I slept about an hour and a half to-day. My wisdom teeth are bothering me again, and they make my throat sore, so that I seem to want to sleep a lot.
I'm sorry not to write more to you tonight. How I wish you could have been here to hear Dr. Crummy. In the morning he spoke of “The Priesthood.” He said the greatest tragedy would be to meet the Lord and not know him, and showed how belonging to him would prevent that ever happening. ...
I thought of your prayers. I miss them so much. Oh, you mean so much to me, I can hardly live without you. Yet I would not change it, I am sure, for we both see so clearly what it has meant to you. I can see how it has given me experience that I suppose I needed, but not the kind one craves for.
Mrs. Wilson came up to me after church, and said how much they missed you, and wished you could have been there. Dr. Crummy spoke of the war calling us to prayer, and described the West seven years ago. He said it seemed almost a nightmare to him to think he had lived in a country like it. Don’t you think that realizing the evils, and say the scandals in politics will be a long step towards cleaning them up?
Elmer says - Oh it was in the paper the other night that the government was sending out letters to people who had signed the N. Service cards, telling them to enlist - and he says they’re nearly all grits who are getting these cards. Isn’t it scandalous?
Don’t think I’m getting too thick with them [the Wrights?] and forgetting the other friends. If you saw their house, you’d know how lonesome it is to stay in it. You remember how our house looked after we had moved out of it. And they have had to pack up their dishes, and all their pictures. I am only trying to pass on what others have given us. It is convenient for them, living so close, and it is nice for me too.
We went down to the station last night - but Elmer did not come, so we went and did some shopping, and went to the dressmakers, but I did not get my suit - She was tired and sick so I told her not to try to get it finished last week. She is going away for a week or more, but it really makes no difference to me.
Well darling, oh yes - I wanted to tell you about Dr. Crummy's sons. One has been killed, one is home incapacitated, and the other is over there.
Ray was ushering both morning and evening. I think he is getting pretty much interested in the work.
Now my darling, I'll leave you, though I don't really, but it's like going to sleep, and just stopping the talking. I’m sending you a program. The anthem of Wilfred’s was lovely, and Mr. Horner sang well.
Goodnight, my dear one.
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
I've been trying to study tonight, but my brain seems numbed. I don't know what news you get, but we got news to-day that Everett [Fallis] had been killed. And Gordon Campbell too. Oh, it is terrible. I went with Laura over to the Fallises' and we took them some flowers from the four of us - lovely big snapdragons, and some mignonette. I was afraid to go, I did not want to intrude, but we are so glad we went.
Mrs. Hunt was there, and Mr. and Mrs. Fallis and Mrs. Jackson and Harold were in the room. I wished you had been there darling, I just couldn't say anything for a while, but just sat there and cried. I kissed the women, and I kissed Mr. Fallis too - he seemed so much like dad, and I think it showed him what I felt more than anything I could say. Laura said afterwards she was so surprised when he kissed her. He always has seemed a little like daddy to me, I suppose because I was a minister's daughter. I have always felt that there is a great bone of brotherhood in ministers' families. They had just got a letter this morning from Everett, enclosing a picture of himself in his new uniform for Wesley's(4) birthday - You see, he had just qualified for his commission.
I suppose I wouldn't feel it so keenly if you weren't over there, but I know this, that I couldn't face them if you weren't doing your duty. Fred Shouldice is fortunate to be in Boulougne Hospital. Fortunately, Dr. Crummy was here, and as he has gone through the same thing, he could comfort them. And I think of Gordon Campbell's mother up in the Highlands. I think I'll write to her when I get more time. I wonder how many more of her sons are gone.
I cannot bear to look at men who are shirking their duty. I feel I must speak to Wray; he must not sidestep from the path of duty, though if he honestly thinks his duty lies here, I have nothing more to say. But I feel I must know that. I care too much for him to see him take the too easy road if I can help it.
Good night for now, my own darling. Dr. Crummy told us how to pray. You know how, but I feel I have not done my duty by you in that respect.
You have been in England a week now. I can't expect a letter for two weeks yet, but I do so hope you'll get mine. It is a great comfort to me to know that some must have reached there almost as soon as you did.
... First I'll tell you what's been "eating" me. Last night a woman came down and wanted me to buy a ticket (75¢ or $1.00) in aid of the Red Cross, for a concert under the Auspices of the American Women's Club and the I.O.D.E. at which the children from MacDonald's Academy were to give the dances of all the nations. I didn't buy one, but she looked as if she thought I ought to, and it's made me feel sore. I feel that we're giving about all we can - though I should most certainly like to be giving to the Serbian and Belgian Relief and to the Red Cross.
I had just enough money in my purse to last me till I got a cheque, but that wasn't the whole reason. It's an extravagant way of giving, via the Grand Theatre, and in a good many cases it isn't giving, it's buying. I do not see any reason why I should give in that way if I have a better way, nevertheless I have a feeling that the woman thought me stingy. I wonder how much she did for the Red Cross before the U.S. declared war. They sent things to Germany, I believe, and France , of course, but the Americans have so often discriminated against Great Britain that I can't forgive them very easily. Then too, I had just come home from the Fallises' and the whole idea of the thing jarred on me.
Life seems so dead and humdrum with you away, dear. I suppose it will not be quite so bad when the exams are over, and I do not need to stick at home so closely. But I do not wonder that a lot of people do not succeed in doing what they set out to do, it means so much solid grinding and giving up of the things one wants to do.
I had a letter from Edith Adams to -day. She is going to Denver in June, for her holidays. I hope she can go or come this way.
You have seemed so beyond my reach to-day. I wonder if it is my fault - I know it is not because you are beyond my thoughts, or I out of yours.
... Goodnight darling. I haven't sent you many kisses, have I? Please take all you want.
Your loving girl.
Evelyn to Fred
My Dear One,-
I’ve been going through Common Law at a great rate tonight. I certainly have every inducement to study - a comfortable quiet room, and I think I’m doing fairly well. I can study better at night than in the afternoon, so I sleep an hour or two then and study till eleven. I find it works out pretty well.
I forgot to tell you the other day that a man called up to see how much you wanted for the lot next Mr. Ford’s. I told him it did not belong to you, but to your father, but that I’d find out how much he wanted. I’ve forgotten to write so far. I mean to telephone Mr. Ford first, to find out how much he thinks it is worth. This man said a friend wanted a lot for a home while he could get it cheap. I wonder if he waited until you got away. A nasty thought, n’est-ce-pas?
I was talking to Mr. Taylor today. C.P.R. has gone up again, but he advised me to wait for two or three days - I put in an open bid at 155.
I've been thinking to-day how terribly selfish I am. I have been feeling so sorry for myself, being left alone, almost forgetting that you may be just as lonely for me as I am for you. And then - I have so many physical comforts, and you so few. Every time I sit down to a meal, I think of you on your fare, and wish I could share up. Please dearest, go to any place you can to get a bath, and don't skimp yourself on clean clothes. I presume there are laundries over there still.
It will soon be seven weeks since you went, nearly two months. I oftentimes begrudge that extra two months I spent down east, as I did at the time. It will take a lot of being together again to make up for this, will it not? But then, think how long others have been separated. ...
Saturday. Apr. 21/17
My Dearest One,-
It seems, as if I have been neglecting you dreadfully lately, but I know you'll excuse me, for the next week too. I am going over to Roy’s for over Sunday, and he is going to help me some tonight if I ever get there. I had two invitations out to dinner tomorrow too. Mrs. Brecken’s and Mrs. Crawford’s. People are very good to me, and it helps a lot, even if it seems so meagre in comparison with what I want. But I can imagine how dreadful it would be to be without friends.
Yesterday Elmer went to the country and Laura came down to the office and we had lunch at the Bay. Then she took me to the bank and to the C.P.R. where I got your refund, and home. I studied in the afternoon, and she came a little after six and we went down to Rachon’s for tea. We had a lovely drive first, and over south Mount Royal. It was lovely, about half-past six, and the air smelt spring like, and of that wild thyme, that big purple smelly stuff.
While we were eating a woman came up and spoke to me, and it proved to be Myrtle Young from Mount Hope. She lives up north of Brooks, on a cattle horse ranch - Forster is the name - and came in to see the doctor - and has to stay till her baby is born, which she expects will be about the 29th of May. She has to go to the General now, for a week, then she’ll board two or three weeks and go to the Scottish Nursing Home. I’m glad I’ll so soon be free, so that I can go to see her often, for it will be dreadfully lonely for her here, in this condition. But they are so far from a doctor, it would not be safe for her to stay out there.
Elmer and Laura went to-day. They got word this morning and left the same time you did. The rest go at 2 in the morning, so they did not get away much ahead. I gave Elmer a flashlight from us - you know dearie, we didn't do enough of that, and we could have afforded it. Your gifts showed us how goodly a glow it gave to be remembered, didn't it? He is taking some "sweeties" for you in his trunk, and I gave him some for himself too. And what do you think? All along he was going to store the car and this morning he decided to sell it, and sold it at one o'clock.
I was so excited I could hardly taste what I ate for lunch, and didn’t study a bit this morning, but did some telephoning and running around for her. After they left I went to the office and studied till six. Art Lilly joined up with the artillery to-day, and Scott isn’t coming back.
Clarence left last week, to go into something in the C.N.R. and Miss Cowan is leaving because her mother is sick. Scott want to make some money to go to college.
I'll write more tomorrow, but must have a "bawth" now. With all my love.
Evelyn to Fred
This is my last day before the exams, and I have been "going for" equity, which is the first subject. We write in the Institute of Technology - down East on Twelfth or Seventeenth Ave. I forget which.
I do wish you could have been here yesterday. The services were wonderfully inspirational. Saturday night I was so lonely, I cried myself to sleep, but Sunday night, when I'd had a vision of what you and I could do, through the change wrought in us by this suffering, I went quietly to sleep. But as I was lying in bed you were there too, and kissed me and I dreamed you told me you would soon be home.
I never knew that Ray went down to College intending to go into the Ministry. We were talking about that, and I told him about you. We were trying to plan how our church could be a vital thing in the Christian growth of the city. He is getting aroused - in fact he said this work he has done lately has aroused awakened his old ideals about the ministry. Oh my darling I hope something good will come of all this.
I am sending you a calendar and reports of the sermons, but that doesn’t give you an adequate idea of what the services were like.
In the afternoon I went over to the Hospital to see Myrtle. I was an hour getting there and got home about half-past five. I am beginning to realize a lot of things you tried to teach me, which I should probably have never learned in any other way, such as how much sick people like to be visited, and strangers welcomed.
Mrs. Sprung, Mrs. Brecken and Mrs. Crawford all asked me for dinner yesterday. I am going to stay with Mrs. Brown next Sunday. Gladys Bowes is to be married Wednesday.
I was going to tell you about the crowds. Last Sunday night by 3.30 the School room - and the School room gallery - even in the part where the people could not see the preacher, was filled right up, and the entrances to the church were filled too. Of course a large number of Wesley people were there. In the morning Mr. Peters gave out the announcements, and made the appeal, and in the evening Mr. Baldwin gave an account of the financial situation.
You are ever in my thoughts. I wonder what you are doing. It has been snowing here nearly all day.
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
n.d. [?Apr. 25, 1917]
I'll write a short note tonight, to let you know how I'm getting on. We had equity yesterday, and I know you'd be ashamed of how little I knew. I've been chuckling since how I made a bluff at one question - and got it too pretty well. ...
To-day we had Common Law, and I think I put in a pretty good paper, except for one question, about the right of the Supreme Court to refuse to allow the legal consequences of not paying interest on principal, to take place. I was as innocent as a baby of what was meant, so I said it was when the property - mortgaged was out of proportion in value to the mortgage.
I know that obtains in L.T. actions. It ought to in the Court actions if it doesn’t. At any rate, Kent Power can’t take any marks off, but I hate him to know how ignorant I am. No, my equity paper was not good, but it might have been worse. I answered all the questions in a way - We have Court Law tomorrow. I'll be so relieved when they're all over.
I went up to the Coutts's for dinner last night and am going again tomorrow. How I wished you could have sat with me at the dinner table tonight. I had bacon, creamed potatoes, corn, lettuce, strawberry short-cake and hot water. The strawberries are very good and 25¢ a box.
Miss Cummer 'phoned me this morning that there were two letters from my "sweetheart." Wasn't that good of her? I thought I might have to wait another week, but along they came when I needed them most. No, you are not very far away from me dear one. I spend some of my happiest moments picturing your return and planning our life together. I pray for you always. Oh you are my very dearest one.
Why did you not get some money from my father? You should not have gone with so little. It was strange that I did not get your cable till Tuesday, when the arrival of the troops was announced in the Albertan Monday morning.
Good night dear one. I'll soon be able to write better letters.
Your loving wife.
Evelyn to Fred
It seems as if I cannot write to you without telling you how absolutely I miss you, and yet it seems selfish to keep telling you my troubles, when I know you have enough of your own, and you never complain. But I can't tell anybody except you. The people upstairs have moved and there's a young married couple there. I can't keep down my envious feelings when I hear them talking away to each other.
I was back at the office to-day, and came home very tired. Miss Fick and I went for a little walk after dinner and Ruby came down for about an hour.
I'm certainly glad the exams are over. We had an unfair one Saturday on Real Property. It just about made me sick, and I don't know if I made it or not. Oh well, if I didn't, I didn't, I can't help it now, and I'm not going to worry over it.
Art Lilly had his second medical examination to-day and passed. I think he’ll be leaving the 15th of the month. Scott has gone down south to teach at 85 a month. I told you Clarence had left, and Miss Cowan. Miss Burgoin had an operation for appendicitis on Friday and got along very well. The little girl who used to clean the offices is being tried out in Miss Cowan’s place. Miss Macdonald is leaving to get 100 a month at the Alberta Co-operative Elevator Co.
Ray has not yet sold the Alberta Sash & Door stuff yet, but hope to get something out of it by selling the things piece by piece. He asked me to-day if I knew how much money was divided at Christmas. I thought it was 20,000. He said he had got on the basis on 250,00, but that Nicholson said it was 310,00, and that Roy should have had 300 more only J.M. said he’d had enough.
Did I tell you I got 14.95 as a result of a small re-adjustment? I also got the refund of 1.95 for that ticket, and 2.00 you spent for stamps - Serg. Yorke said he’d speak about it, but I did not really expect to get it.
Mr. Robertson asked me to-day why I didn't take a holiday. I said I did want to go home, but that I didn't see who'd do my work. "Oh," he said, "we'll train another girl. Go home and loaf and stay as long as you like, and when you get tired of it, come back." I thought that was very thoughtful of him, particularly as I've heard that he and Mr. Clarke, at least, are not planning holidays. Mr. Clarke is down at Ottawa for a month. I never know what Mr. Clarke wants. It appears he thought I should have gone in to see him the other morning, but I got the stuff all ready and gave it to Miss Scott, for he was busy, and I always hate to interrupt anyone, especially him, but maybe in time I'll learn how to suit them all. Not that they have found fault with me, I do it with myself.
I had a letter from Hazel to-day. Do you want more socks? She has three pair, which she'll send to you, if you need them, or to pass on. She seemed to think you were pretty nice.
...The organ is lovely. I’m going to pick out the pipe, the sound of which I like best, and call it you.
I had lunch at Rachon’s to-day, and ate with Miss McGarvie. She told me that that man Rowell who used to be about with Miss Heather was married, and that he was some place or other trying to get a divorce from her, and that he dropped Miss Heather like a hot cake, and started going with another girl. I said “What a rotten way to act” and she said, “Yes, but they get paid up for it some time,” she’s a nice girl, isn’t she? She’s coming over for tea some night.
I’ve asked Elizabeth and her mother for Wednesday night. We are then going to hear Mr. W.A. Cameron from Toronto, Major Gerald Birks and Captain Pearson, what was his name - Charlie? Not Bob at any rate.
Dearest one, if there is anything I can send you, that will add to your comfort, do tell me. I have so much, and you so little. Oh my darling, do you think the war is going to last so very much longer? It is hard to find much of interest when you're away, yet I know I'm fortunate compared with some - It is the constant reminder when I see others together, that makes me seem lonesomer than ever. I know this is selfish, isn't it dear? But I'm tired tonight, so you'll please forgive me. Mrs. Brown and Ruby sent their love ... - I have not conveyed your message to the Fallises yet.
I have my new dress home, and I'll soon have a picture taken for you. Good night, my dearest one.
Just got your letter written in hospital [missing]. None have been censored at all. We’ll get some eats ready to send off tonight. I did send some with Elmer. Have sent letters to Royal Colonial Institute & Army Post Office. Roy has just shown me a power of attorney from Harrison & Pouton.
So sorry you have been sick & uncomfortable.
1. Possibly refers to John Stanley Wray, a family friend. He was mentioned in Fred's letter of October 10, 1910.
2. Lena, a friend of Evelyn's. Her surname was not given. (Not to be confused with Lina Moyer who is referred to in earlier and later letters.)
3. Ora had met Fred at the station, on his way east to join his regiment.
4. Wesley Fallis - Everett's younger brother.