MB: living and writing the early days of parks canada

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

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Feb. 6/34.

Dear Rufus,

            Regular spring day. Sun shining chick-a-dees singing & the old gardener out digging in the garden to coax things along. We seem to have had your sunshine this year but Eng. sunshine has a special quality all its own. Very soft & mellow – makes colours look perfectly lovely. I saw an old blue awning one day that turned the heavenliest turquoise in sunshine. The skies are lovely too, such


piles of juicy-looking clouds. Makes you want to paint just to look at them. I love the vistas down the streets with a sort of blue haze between the buildings & behind the trees & of course when it rains & the lights come out it’s just “too juicy.” The other day we had a hoar frost (terribly cold! 28°F) & every little leaf in the hedges had a frill of white frost round its edge & all the twigs looked as if they had been dipped in powdered sugar & only so alive. I almost heard them talking.

            Haven’t been reading much - the extraction of my offending molars being the first item of business. Three darlings now lie side by side in alcohol, revealing a hidden depravity that


has shocked even my dentist, who is not easily shocked. He is quite interesting, an M.D. as well as a D.L.S. with a whole string of letters. His father was a Harley St. physician & he went through for medicine & surgery - spent 4 years in the navy during the war & has been pretty well round the globe.  So that he has “seen life.” But he knows his business, I am sure, and he has excellent arm muscles and the way he reasons with my sternly resistant Gibraltar’s, is, as they say here, “a fair treat.” Only 4 more & then I expect to start a new life and to make up for all the enforced self-denials of the past 10 months.

            I didn’t see Mädchen in Uniform but I


have seen the actress in another play & like her very much. Her new play (film) is here now “Anna & Elisabeth.” Story of a girl faith healer. They say she does it awfully well. Watch out for Elizabeth Bergner in “Katharine the Great.” She interests me very much.

            Tony Guthrie has had two new successes in “The Tempest” & Wilde’s “Importance of Being Ernest.” I hope to see the latter. London is just so full of good things it is impossible to see them all. As soon as I am better we intend to start on a Shakespere dissipation. She goes regularly to the Shakespere fellowship, which doesn’t believe in


Wm. of Stratford as I told you. M. Percy Allen, author of [[blank space]] is the leader & Mrs. H. has met some very interesting people. Marjory Bowen, the novelist & a Miss Evelyn, a descendant of the famous diarist. She [[Evelyn]] is coming to tea soon. Do you wonder I want to get better. But already I feel lighter & brighter than for weeks. Poor Mrs. H. has a very bad cold this week on her chest with Dr. in attendance. But she is much better to-day. Blanche has been very sweet to us both & such a good nurse in spite of her C.S.

            You asked me about what one of the girls said as to modern life being bad for [women] life. What did I think about it? It’s almost


too big a question for a letter. But I came across a book of [Powys' ?] the other day “The Fruits of Solitude” [Is she referring to “The Philosophies of Solitude” by John Cowper Powys?] which I thought might mean something to you. You know Jung’s division of people into Extraverts & Introverts or more simply - the people that things happen to and the people that things happen in. Life nowadays tends to produce Extraverts - things happen outside us. It’s usually only when we are alone that they happen in us. Yet every one who compares the two experiences knows that there is a much greater sense of reality to inner experience than to outer. A feeling of being more alive-of greater happiness. In most ages this has been mixed up with religion - think naturally so [Powys?] tries to


Re state it without any religious terms. Undoubtedly it is a capacity that can be cultivated - or killed. Like an art sense. No doubt you have his book. See what you think.

            Hope you liked your frock. If you can save enough pieces for a hat, think that would be very chic. Black gloves & bag. New hats here either halos or “sailors”. Silk sailor very smart. Shall keep my eyes open for the mater. What sort of occasion does she need things for.

            Long letter from Alison chiefly about family. Says Ethe Fairburn fell


and broke her hip. Thought you or G. might write to her.

            Your Sunday light-meals sound rather wonderful. but low calorie!

            Toujours bon amour





M.B. Williams, “MB Williams to her niece Ruth ("Rufus"), Feb 1934,” MB: Living and Writing the Early Years of Parks Canada, accessed April 24, 2018, http://mbwilliams.academic-news.org/items/show/21.


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