"Elvin Villa", Grenfell
August 8, ‘15
Dear Miss Chapman:-
You will notice that I am accepting your invitation to write again, for which kindness I am very grateful. I enjoy your letters very much and must confess that I would like to know you better. There can be no harm in an exchange of friendly letters can there? Your ideas and mine seem to blend so harmoniously (particularly about gov't positions etc!) that there seems no chance of us quarrelling. Distance would probably prevent the quarrel being very serious anyway.
It may interest you if I relate a little experience that occurred just a day or two after I wrote you last. I think I told you that I was spending a few weeks at a farm we have on the banks of the Qu'Appelle. Everything was going beautifully until one day a terrible hail storm spread devastation over a very large tract of land reaching the Abernethy to Grenfell. Every head of grain was completely destroyed and no one in that district will need to take his binder out this year. We had 3 farms in the hail belt and the loss to us was over $1000 per minute while the storm lasted, which was about 10 minutes. The wind was fierce - blew the windows out of the house, a door off and took a roof off a granary. My shaving outfit had been left on a window sill and I found part of it blown across the garden, and the rest of it is probably going yet. I thought for awhile that another Regina cyclone had started, but it did not prove as serious.
Of course, it was disappointing to lose the whole year's work but as I drove over the fields next day and all around me seemed barren and desolate, I thought of Browning's words, "Man's reach must needs exceed his grasp, else what's a Heaven for?"
I see that Old Manitoba had decided in no uncertain manner that politics must henceforth be clean. Perhaps I had better be careful what I say, as I would judge from the part your father has been taking at the Conservative convention that you have some Conservative leanings. But I said that we would not disagree, so I will own up to having been raised in a very strongly flavoured Conservative atmosphere, myself, as my father represented this constituency in the Legislature for many years, and was a member of Premier Haultain's Cabinet, or as it was then called the North West Council. By the way - it is just 5 years ago today since he died. I was reminded of the fact when I set the date down at the top of this letter.
I am looking forward with keen expectation of enlisting this fall, probably with the 4th University Company. Am sorry I could not get away before. I really should not go now so far as personal interests are concerned but the need has reached a stage now where Duty makes the choice. You say you wish you were really a Red Cross nurse. I like the spirit that you show. I'd love to be wounded if you were my nurse.
I spent a couple of days at Regina exhibition and saw a large number of M.A.C. boys and 4 of the girls, Miss Trodd, who was giving daily demonstrations, the Misses Bruce and Miss McKillop. Probably you do not know the latter. There were 23 of the boys, among them Brown (the inimitable Jim), Betts, who is married, and is in training now at Montreal for active service, McIntyre, my old team mate, Vannice, Spellman, and many others, most of whom were at College when you were young. It makes me feel old and wise to say that.
Married life must be unbearable when Betts left the day it occurred. However his wife is going to England with him. Brown and I are going to the war together. We are going to file on homesteads first so that if we ever come back our homestead duties will be done, as the time spent at the front counts the same as though one were living on the land.
At present in training at Montreal besides Betts are, Jenkins, Blake, Barnes, Trimble and Mitchell.
Is it very hot in your country these days? "Hot" is no name for it here. I have been stacking Rye Grass for a week and drinking in my spare time. If the government had only moved the bars to the hayfields, what a blessing it would have been! Great weather for camping though! Do you ever go camping? My sister, Cora and her chum are out at the lake (Crooked Lake) in the valley - a perfect Paradise, for a week, and my brother and his fiancé drove out this morning to spend the day with them. My sister, Ethel, from Regina has been here for a few days, but that music I was speaking about has been very conspicuously absent - probably because of the hot weather. Her husband is away quite a lot during the summer as he is a Civil Engineer for the Board of Highway Commission. She has now brought me in a big dish of ice cream and says, "Let me finish your letter while you eat this." Will you have some? Sorry I cannot enclose it.
I would certainly like to hear your little sister sing. I think the little ones are so cute at about that age, particularly when they do not speak quite plainly. I had a little nephew 4 yrs. old who used to sing "Tipperary" and "Soldiers of the King" etc. and we loved to hear his funny little ways of expressing his words. We miss him now very much for he died last spring while I was writing my exams at College. Just before he went, he wanted to see me, and when told that I was far away, he turned to his mother, my sister, and asked her to write a letter to me and send some kisses for him.
I had McIntyre here for a few days last week. He judged horses at our Fair. Mac is splendid fellow, one whom you learn to like better the longer you know him.
I find that I have again exceeded my intentions in the way of the length of this epistle, but I hope it will not over burden you.
Oh! I forgot! That "little girl friend" I meant was the other "Messenger Girl", - Miss Lee. Of course I know you had lots of little girl friends. Just continue your last letter and I shall find time to read it.
As ever Sincerely,
C. Douglas Richardson