MB: living and writing the early days of parks canada

MB to Home-birds, Feb 1902

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Feb 18th 1902
Dear Home-birds

All yours just arrived and I feel moved to reply at once. I have just come back from lunch and as work is seldom begun till two I thought I would seize the opportunity and write a few lines at any rate. You don’t know how surprised and pleased I was when I opened my little box, for you must know I did not expect anything from any of you, on act of so many unavoidable expenses, signs, etc. The gloves are lovely my favorite kind as I suppose you knew. I’m going to keep them for very best. The little piece of lace is very pretty too, and however much I might want it something I would not have made for myself. I opened the box in the office and of course then I had to show its contents to everybody & they all think I am very lucky & must have some people who think quite a bit of me. Nobody down here knows of the momentous fact that I celebrate my 24th b-day I didn’t want Mary to know because she is hard up. Has $700 to meet in March. She makes a lot of money but her

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Expenses are very heavy. $300 for the store and about $50 a week to pay the girls, then the expense of keeping house so you see needs to do a good deal. She talks of going to Dawson or Victoria or some place where she could make a good deal of money and not spend much, for a few years, till she made enough to be able to retire and live on her place. I don’t suppose she’ll do it but she likes to talk about it! It seems strange for anyone to be so absolutely alone in the world as she is. MacDuff is the only one she has left and by the way she is not the only one who is talking of going west. The Kennedys say they have made up their mind to go this summer. Uncle Joshn is to go in the Spring to locate, and the others are to follow later. They think it will be to South Alberta, & do not seem to know whether they will ranch or farm. Probably the former. Mrs. Charlie Blair and son have been home visiting from out there and they have done so well and tell such glowing tales of the West that the others have caught the fever. Tho it seems a

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pretty risky thing to me. Two old men, one almost as good as useless, and three delicate airy girls, who cant even set a table alone. Uncle Alex and Aunt Sarah will have the hard part as usual. Uncle John just trusts to Alex and providence and reads half the day long. I think myself Alec has a heavier load than Providence. Aunt Sarah said something about marrying the girls off and perhaps they will, I am afraid that in the ordinary course of events, it would be a much more difficult matter here. Alison is rather a nice girl and quite good-looking, but a little brusque in manner. She seems to be the strongest of the three after all. The other two haven’t an idea more than ½ an inch deep but that’s a nice way to be talking about my own cousins, isn’t it.

Well so I’m at the height of my matrimonial chances am I, Stalky [her brother Ernie’s nickname], & you insinuate I’d best be gathering my rose-buds or perhaps orange blossoms would be better while I may. Also I’m afraid I’ve a very indifferent taste for rose-buds and don’t care if there are any growing in my garden-patch or not. I’ve been doing some

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Calculating lately and I’ve about made up my mind to go to the Normal College a year from this fall. I can’t save up enough to go this year. I guess by doing my very best I’d only have about $100 by Sept. but by the next year I ought to have $200 or more enough to pay every cent of my expense if what I want. You see I’m still thinking of that European tour and I don’t see how I could even manage it in three weeks holidays. There’s not much show here for anything but the slowest advance. You see the Hon. David’s out of it now and perhaps all the liberals will be in a few years. I’ll only be 25, then, (saprish [?] I did not know a person felt so horribly juvenile at that apparently advanced age) and that’s just about the right age to recommend itself to school boards etc. Where is Mabel Smith, have you ever heard anything about her.

Wish I could be home to get the benefit of some of the bacteriology experiments, it will be fine I’m sure. You should read “The Tempest” and to understand Caliban, & the interesting theories connected therewith. We are to have a toboggan party to-morrow night, if it is fine weather, it ought to be moonlight. Just Harry & Dan & Gerald Brown & Mr. Prudhomme to manipulate the toboggans. It’s very eggsciting. If you please I hope you aren’t going to send me anything more for my birthday or I won’t know wot to say. I wonder how many birthdays it will be before we are together again.

Lovingly Fuzzy [MB’s family nickname]

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MB Williams, “MB to Home-birds, Feb 1902,” MB: Living and Writing the Early Years of Parks Canada, accessed September 24, 2017, http://mbwilliams.academic-news.org/items/show/67.

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