July 11, ‘15
Dear Miss Chapman: -
Your letter was so interesting that I could not let it pass without replying to it, and thanking you for your congratulations and good wishes.
Am very pleased to hear that you are having a pleasant summer. You will be some gardener before next fall. Did the frost fix many of your carefully nurtured tomato and cabbage plants? It hit them hard here, though it does not concern me directly as we do not do any gardening on the farm. My kid brother in town under my Mother's supervision is the gardener. He has just finished writing of his 3rd at school. Your account of Field Days and Picnics - 2 and Kaiser Killings makes me almost envious as I have answered the call from the land rather than that from social gatherings this summer, much though I would have preferred the latter.
But my brother and I are running 7 farms amounting to over 3000 acres and we are tied down to steady hours, a great deal of our time being spent in traveling from one place to the other to keep things going.
I have spent the past 3 weeks 12 miles North of Grenfell near the Qu-Appelle Valley in a very beautiful locality on one of our farms and am returning tomorrow for another week. It was a relief to get back to town yesterday though, after being out in the wilds. The Qu'Appelle is one of Saskatchewan's finest summer resorts and the chain of lakes that are found in it are like oases in the prairie desert. This is so, particularly now that Saskatchewan has gone dry. Isn't it wonderful that with a stroke of one man's pen every bar in the province is closed. Whatever my political view may ever be, Walter Scott will never lose my admiration.
What is the matter with Manitoba's politics? Or rather what isn't the matter with them? I had almost decided to back to Manitoba and take a position on the Staff of M.A.C. as Assistant to the President, but have finally written to President Black to say I will not accept it. I have information that considerable readjustment of the Staff is contemplated, so think it wise to keep out. A change of government probably means a change of President in this case.
I am really surprised at your insinuation that only government positions are good positions. You say you suppose all the Fifth Year boys will soon have good appointments, even government ones perhaps. Do you think those are the ideal ones? Should not the greatest opportunity for service be the deciding factor? I have refused 3 government positions since graduating because the "Back to the Land" feeling is too firmly imbedded in my being to ever be eradicated. To me a public or administrative position is a preparation and experience for greater efficiency, to develop character, individuality and confidence.
You will think I am preaching if I keep on, but far from it, only I felt that I much correct you. Am I right or are you still unconvinced? I am a great believer in the old farm. It offers illimitable possibilities, the reward of which affords a satisfaction that is not to be found anywhere else. The interest in growing things - the production of new wealth - these are what make it worth while.
Lately I have been taking advantage of a luxury. I have never allowed myself to indulge in as much as I would have liked, reading some of the best books. Am taking the authors systematically and reading as many of their books as possible. Since my isolation near the Qu'Appelle, Marie Corralli had furnished the program with "The Master Christian", "Wormwood" and "The Sorrows of Satan". Have you ever read them? Am passionately fond of reading almost as much as of music. Just now our music is rather scarce as my youngest sister, who teaches in Grenfell is away to Regina and another little sister who was married lately and is living in Regina does not get home as often as we would like. She is a graduate of Toronto Conservatory of Music and always keeps a good supply of songs on hand.
I had no intention of writing so much when I started and I am afraid you will have trouble in reading it as farm work stiffens the muscles so that they do not allow freedom of movement.
I'll bet your hired men are sleek and fat this summer. Protein, carbohydrates and fats exquisitely mixed by a charming H.E. expert could not fail to bring results. I see by the papers Miss Trood is busy on the "Saskatchewan Trains" giving lectures.
Surely you are going to take the 5 year course. Let that little girl friend of yours talk to you and you will be convinced.
But I must close and apologize for the length of this manuscript.
Remember that any time you have an idle moment that if you would pen a few lines and start them coming toward Grenfell they would save a life.
C. Douglas Richardson,
P.S. Have seen Dunlop, Gibson, Linnell and Shearer lately.