MB: living and writing the early days of parks canada

MB Williams to her niece Ruth ("Rufus"), May 1934

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[Letterhead from Adelphi Hotel, St. Leonards-on-Sea]

Monday May 14,’34

Dearest Rufus,

This is the last week of our stay at the seaside. We go back on Sat. to London. The time has gone very quickly and I would have liked to stay longer but it’s a little more expensive and as the poor old bank account is rather flat since paying the Drs. I think it better not to stay. The sea air has done me a world of good and Mrs. Herridge says I look almost “natural” again. It will be just about a month after I get to London before I sail. I haven’t any clothes and my whole wardrobe consists of rather sad looking left overs but I know that port formality doesn’t call for much so shan’t worry, so long as I am presentable for the voyage. We certainly didn’t have to bother about style here. The provinces


don’t seem to know the meaning of the word. If you could see the charming 1928 models in the windows labelled “very chic” “latest style,” etc. you would be too amused. I wish I had your drawing pencil to do some of the figures that preamble along the front. Punch need never want for subjects. But they are very nice people. Much politer and kinder than in London and they seem to take life easily & kindly.

We have been having a week of real summer. Discarding coats & furs. Its like the first week of June at home. The primroses are all gone but the bluebells are at their height. They are not like ours - single flowers on a fragile stalk, though the blossom is the same shape & colour. They grow about 10 bells to a stalk which is from 5 to 8” high. A patch of them in the wood


is like a blue mist. Makes you catch your breath. And there are such millions of them though I do see dozens of people carrying enormous bunches (mostly wilted) every day. I hope they won’t exterminate them. But I see by “The Times” that they are starting a wild flower preservation society & are putting through a law. Do you know A.P. H’s “There ought to be a law!” I haven’t come across any of the books you mention. You’ll have to save them up for me for the summer.

I think I told you we had Charlotte Whitton down for a day, fresh from an exciting tête-a-tête with H.R.H. the Pr. of Wales. I don’t know whether


This will start a new news story - “P of W. to marry a Canadian” - or not. Charlotte would be equal to taking on a crown & throne & could put a lot of ginger into court dinner tables.

Last week Mrs. H. went up to London for three days & Blanche came down for a little rest. She had a lovely time - a regular dissipation at the Baths. Took a different kind every day, a sea-weed, a Foam & an Oatmeal & lost 4 lbs. Mrs. H. takes them, too, twice a week. I’d love some but they don’t advise them just yet. They pack you in sea weed for 15 minutes, then in hot towels till you perspire thoroughly & then massage you & cool you off. Very rejuvenating judging by my companions.


The local dramatic company put on “A Place in the Sun” & “Lavender Ladies” since I wrote. Both very bright & modern & “outspoken,” is I believe the word. There didn’t seem to be much that we weren’t told, but it’s astonishing how audiences take it now-a-days. These all end happily with the verdict on the side of the angels. So all is well. We sit in our [sanpenny?] seats & drink hot coffee for three pence before the last act & thoroughly enjoy ourselves. If we ever get a million dollars we’ll give London a municipal theatre with a coffee shop attached.


Hope your play comes off well. If you could spend three months over here you could take a course at one of the Dramatic Schools. It should give you quite an insight into production. Our poetical friend - Miss Evelyn - is now playing with the Embassy players. They have a very good school. Wish you had a bigger voice & you might think of it, seriously - but perhaps its better not to be serious about it - just enough for fun.

My little inside clock says lunch time, so must close. It won’t be long now till I am sitting beside Lake Erie instead of the Atlantic looking west to Beachy “East & Heart” to Dover. Lovingly Tante




M.B. Williams, “MB Williams to her niece Ruth ("Rufus"), May 1934,” MB: Living and Writing the Early Years of Parks Canada, accessed April 24, 2018, http://mbwilliams.academic-news.org/items/show/20.


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