Monday, March 28, 2011

Letter 95: Such mean little things


A drawing from Flora Nicholson's Nature diary.


MacDonald Ste-Anne de Bellevue

May 20, 1912

Dear Mother,

Received your letter Saturday morning. I was beginning to think you were sick or something was wrong it was so long since I heard from you. Do you realize it over two weeks since I heard last, so you see we are square , the letter writing. Our exams are in full swing; tomorrow we have composition and writing, Wednesday theory and practice of education, and Thursday geometry and manual training. So you see we are pretty busy.

The exams so far have been quite hard, algebra especially, but when you think what a crazy piece set the exam you don't wonder. I think I could teach five times as well as Miss Robbins and that's not saying much.

I haven't heard anything from my application to the city. I hope I will be accepted because that is where I want to teach but perhaps they are waiting to see if I manage to get my diploma.

Edith, Marion W and Stella Soles , a friend of Marion's were out to see me a week ago Saturday. We had a fine time. Marion W and I went in the tank and we had a grand old time, she can swim fine. I only wish I could.

Wasn't it great about the elections? MacKenzie went in with a flourish. I hope the conservatives will keep quiet for a while now. Our poor old wagon certainly did get good work. Poor Nathan, he must have worked hard.

Have the Crombies moved into Dr. Skinner's yet. Have you got a minister yet?. They might get an unmarried man so that he could have some of the girls that are waiting for just a chance.

Has JR McLeod been to see you lately. Last night I went down to the English church with Connie Cowling to hear Canon Troupe from Montreal preach. Everybody was in raptures over him but he did not appear special to me but perhaps I am prejudiced. I like a good sensible sermon without all those frills that they have. I am quite satisfied at being a Presbyterian and I think I can truly say. "Surely my lines have fallen in pleasant places."

Now, be sure and come for the 13th of June. You had better leave home the Monday or Tuesday before and come out here Wednesday morning as I want you to see the place and there won't be any time on Thursday. Now, don't back out or I will be disappointed. Edith mentioned something about coming out here for the 24th. I hope she will. I must write her today and I ask her if she is coming.

Had a letter from father last week. He seems well only doesn't he seem a long way off. Now don't bother about the work, wait until we all get home for you know a change of work is as good as a rest, surely about four weeks today or less that until we will all be at home.

It is perfectly beautiful here now. The tulips are in bloom and it is perfectly great.

Marion hasn't been or W to see me for ages. She is having such a great time with Romeo, going to the theatre, etc, that she can't spare the time. If Edith can come out for the 24th

I am going to try and get a few girls, Marion K, Aurora Roy and go for a little picnic. Don't you think it would be nice.

A week ago, Mabel, Helen Buzzell and Gladys Lefevre went for a picnic, they did not invite me. Perhaps I shouldn't feel bad but when people do such mean things as that it hurts.

So if Edith comes out and we have a picnic I shall return the compliment by not asking them. Mabel would he allright if she was away from Gladys Lefevre but she thinks there is no one quite like her and Gladys can turn her around her finger. She is one of these dolly faced creatures and is so terribly nervous as she says but I am beginning to take a grain of salt with that as well as other things. If this was the first thing they had done I wouldn't mind so much, but I can't conceive of people doing such mean little things to you, perhaps they will get their reward.

When do you expect Edith home? So they have really got a nurse for Grandma. At Last. It is about time.

I wonder what the Hills would think about Aunt Han staying with you. Don't worry next week if you don't hear from me as I will be so busy I am afraid I won't have the time to write but write to me just the same if you have time. I suppose Mrs. M is asking you her usual question about housecleaning. Have you had your Masonic affair yet.

Let me know how it came off. Is Mrs. Skinner still in Melbourne. Did she stay with you at all. Now I must stop and get to work on those exams so good bye dear mother for now.

Lovingly Flora



From a document in Flora's Macdonald Portfolio: Manual Training may be defined as a special training of the senses, sight, touch and muscular perception by means of various occupations, not so much for themselves, or the material product of the work, as for the training of the mind. The aim of the Manual Training is to instil a taste and love of labour; to develope independence and self-reliance, to train in habits of order, neatness, cleanliness and methodical work; to train the eye to a sense of beauty; to develop industyr, patience and perseverance....(If schools were to address the pressing social issues of the day, the children of the poor had to be trained to be good little industrial age workers..

Miss Robbins was a senior master teacher and daughter of the former Principal of McGill Normal school. She must have had ambivalent feelings for her father as in 1906 he claimed that too many woman teachers in the profession was having a dangerous feminizing effect on the Canadian male.

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