Lilian to her husband Charles

December 22nd, 2015

Lilian Emily Bland married Charles Loftus Bland on 3rd October 1911

Lilian in Ireland is writing to Charles, who is en-route to Canada to buy land and set up their homestead.

Special thanks to Brian who transcribed Lilian’s letters.


1) ‘D’ is code for ‘damn’.

2) (W) (one or more unreadable words at that point)
Words following (W) in italics are ‘best guess’

3) Broad Ford (Broad Ford House, Horsmonden, Kent, England)

4) Woodbank – Woodbank, Whiteabbey, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland.
(Six miles north of Belfast)

5) Tub – Tobarcooran, Carnmoney, Belfast.

6) Maidstone, Kent, England

7) Quatsino – Where they will live in Canada. Located on Quatsino Sound at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. 50°32′N 127°36′W


Saturday October 14th 1911

Charles Darling,
Things here are moving at 20 miles per hour, but anyway I have got a weight off my chest.

It started by my daddy asking me to go in and sign some particular papers. He would not tell me what it was except that it concerned me and I said, would it not do if somebody else signed and he said no, it was a secret, so I said I had got one too which he probably would not like.

Firstly I broke it to him gently when I said it was you. He was vexed and said I had better change my mind and referred to the first cousin’s business and I simply said that, to avoid his worrying about that, I had married you etc. He was most awful surprised but took it ever so much better than I had expected and never said anything to me except that he hoped it would turn out happily for my good and I could not talk anymore as ever ‘D’ Aunt Sarah came in and of course I told him not to tell anyone as I don’t want the ‘Woodbank’ crowd down on me. They can know later on when I am ready to depart.

I also told Joe (Bains) as he will have to get work elsewhere when I sell the car and it would not have been fair to fire him out suddenly. But he won’t talk either. He was awfully amusing although very indignant I had not told him before. He said he could have fixed us up here in a week with his own special lawyer and driven us there in the car. I explained the laws were otherwise but he said it did not matter. He pretended he knew about it all the time.

These blots (inkblots on the page) are the fault of Eva’s young man as he writes every day and has used up all my blotting paper. It is soaking with ink.

I just had time to explain to my dad about your supposed sunstroke etc. as I knew he was thinking about it. And he said Mary was a devil. Oh I am so glad he knows and is nice about it because you are the only people that matter. I am going to tell him all about Quatsino when I get a chance as it is much better for him to get used to the idea of my leaving him slowly.

Before I told him he rather put me up a gum tree by asking me what I had done with the thirty five pounds he had given me. I explained a lot of it away. Anyway he seems quite satisfied but I am afraid he will worry for a little while, so write to him with a nice letter and show him Quatsino at its best.

Apparently the paper I had to sign was to give me more money so I am awful glad I didn’t get it as he says he will put it off now until later. I am going to start cooking soon and have been copying out recipes of cakes etc.

You will be pleased to hear that Joe likes you better than Mr. B. and I got extremely indignant with him for comparing you at all. So he got quite apologetic in the end and I explained that he did not know you at all. Poor Joe thinks the end of the world has come but I said if he would like to come out you would get him work and we would look after him until he got it.

I must develop those photos of you soon and I will try to get some decent ones taken of me.

‘D’ the ink and paper.

I guess you’ll be at New York about next Thursday (19th).

I got an awful nice coat in Belfast today for twenty eight shillings. It is a blessing to know I will not be too hard up. Money is such a nuisance when you have not got it.

Now I must end this. I expect you will smile but it had to come out sometime.

Your lovingest love …

I had another talk with dad. He says himself if he were younger he would go out to Vancouver himself and that kind of life is the only one worth living. His only objection is to you. I have been trying to explain which is difficult, however he is getting a better impression of you by degrees. I think his idea is that you are casual (W) and inclined to be wasteful and with no idea of making or keeping money and so on. I explained why you are temporarily hard up and he said it would be a pity for you to sell the land if it was likely to increase in value and he told me to send you the CP bond to go on with, which is what I meant to do, only tell me where to send it and how because they are not registered and anyone who steals it can use it.

Shall I sell it over here and pay in the money to your account at Cox or have you a banker over there? If you keep it you get four pounds a year but if you sell it you get one hundred pounds and all the four pound coupons paid up as well. I forgot how many. I think fifteen or twenty-five. Can I send a registered letter to Quatsino ?

Daddy also told me I could get my share of linen, blankets etc. from the Maidstone store. There is furniture as well but it would not pay to ship it out.

I think I may be able to persuade daddy to go to live in ‘Broad Ford’ and if so, I shall feel more peaceable in my mind. Let me know at once about the money. You may just as well have it now when it would keep you through the winter.

Now I must really go to bed as it is very late my love.


Tobarcooran, Carnmoney, Belfast.
Tuesday October 17th 1911

Do not varnish the floor or walls. The floor must be polished. What wood is it ? Dear little silent love, I wonder how you are feeling this day ? It’s half a gale here and I expect the (W) ship is playing toss up, however I hope you suppress it!

I have been collecting the remnants of various seeds left. Copying out lots of recipes which I shall experiment on here soon and by the way have discovered a book on paper bag cooking. It is quite simple. You put everything into special paper bags, clip them and stick them in the oven and the oven does the rest. As good as a Kodak ad. I am going to send you the book and things later as soon as I can get them here. Great saving as you have no saucepans and things to wash up.

Today I made some jelly from  Pyrus Japonica  berries and I am going to let Aunt Sarah eat it first to see what happens. It tastes queer. Took the car to Holestone on Saturday to (W) visit one of those old ladies but it was (W).

Sunday, Eva and I went to tea. The Sweeney’s and Mrs asked me to (W) setup a thirsty club this Winter. I asked what the drinks were and was much (W) to find she meant Thursday instead of thirsty. I get considerably amused at the people around here congratulating Eva and making sweet remarks to me as to my being the next etc. etc. to find myself from habit telling them I’m a confirmed bachelor and smiling sweetly. I got more of it as I drove Eva to (W) to pay farewell visits ending with ‘Woodbank’.

Uncle E asked about you very nicely and said Jack was very (W) unhappy you had not gone to see him. I said that he had not asked you and also that he did not appear to want to see you when he was here. Uncle E is making a (W). Mary said nuthin but tried to be pleasant to me but I wasn’t taking any. It fell rather flat.

I am going to make you out plans for a greenhouse soon as I guess you could put one up very cheaply. Instead of bricks for a foundation you can use sods, but it would be simpler still to sink it and cut away, one like the tomato house here, facing the ends North and South so that both sides would get the sun. If you can’t get glass easily, mats would keep out the frost. I see some small houses are heated by terracotta or porcelain stones, slow combustion, but I expect the yanks have very cheap boilers. Lamps etc. are no use as they kill the plants.

Lots of the boys around here are going out in April by the “Empress” boats, which also call in at Belfast. I am going to find out about them and I expect Joe (Bains) will come out with me. You can tell me where he will find work on the island but I guess there will be no difficulty about that.

I am going to see their dancing class one night and if they are doing any nice steps etc. I will learn them from Wylie who is the dancing master and one of my aeroplane helpers.

Let me know about the price of (W) out there.

I got a letter from Robert (W) keeper at Randalstown asking me to go (W). He saw Eva and Mr Burton in the car (W) when they went there. I was frightfully (W) I was not in it myself. He was (W) character from Co. Cork and used to lend (W) his gun to poach his owner’s ducks (W). I’m just scraping my feet to be out with you and it does seem such a long (W) distance away. I shan’t have any time to love you when I do get out because there will be lots of things to do but you won’t mind that.

I have had to kick Joe a few times around the motor house as he has an annoying knack of twirling a piece of cotton waste around his left finger and grinning but the exercise is most refreshing and the wise boy is now much more respectful than before.

Eva is going to leave Ruffo with me, and I have the horrible task left me of putting him out of this world, which I don’t at all look forward to. I think a gun is the quickest, if I can get anyone to do it, when I take him out for a walk. He is terrified of a gun so he must not see it. I wish people would do these things themselves.

I expect I will stay at Broad Ford again when Eva is married probably some time in December as I am to go over to Maidstone from there to get anything we want.

Awful work in packing all those store boxes. I have just finished ironing all my ties. Please find out if they have sports ones over your side. You (W) then buy (W) inside and they are splendid, so if they have not got them then I will bring them half a ton and make my fortune to start with. They cost eight (shillings) and six pence over here.

I want to know if your bank (W) there or where does Cox send your money to if I pay in to your account with him? Will he send it on when asked for?

I hope you will get your tooth stopped. It is a great mistake not to because your digestion etc. depends on your teeth. If you don’t make your hair grow I shall buy you a bright scarlet wig so you had better take notice.

I found some of my Japanese prints today. They are quite nice. I will bring them along unframed. The amount of paper and things I have to sort out sometime is appalling.

I find it most uninteresting writing letters and not getting any answers for weeks but I suppose you will still be in Victoria when this arrives. I don’t think I will write any more for sometime or you will get spoiled.

Awful water famine over here especially in Derry and Newry. All the people are leaving the town. Only get water once in five days. Lot of fever and measles around but haven’t met them yet.

There is a perfectly lovely little boy at a cottage here. I think I must photograph him. Eva found him first and feeds him with chocolate. Not often one sees anything like him. Well I must adjourn.

Your lovingest Lil.

Wish I could find a decent pen.

If you can get any large barrels, fix them up around the house and catch the rainwater off the roof. Can always grow creepers over them or they can be sunk to ground level.

1) One ‘d’ is one penny. (12 pennies in a shilling, 240 pennies in a pound)

2) Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada. It is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on BC’s west coast.

Friday October 20th 1911

Charles darling,
I am sending this to the silent one because I don’t know how long you’ll be in Victoria.

Eva left yesterday. She wants me to keep the dog ’til December or until her plans are fixed.

Today I started to sort things out a little. I found all my music. I wonder is it worthwhile pegging it out or not. Also stacks of ancient love letters from various men. Some of the Italian ones were so beautifully written that it seems almost a pity to burn them. But they all went into the boiler and I have no doubt the pigs potatoes were better cooked than usual. Anyway I’m glad. They all regarded me as their guardian angel and were the better for it – not the pigs.

I went through lots of old books (W) acquired since I arrived at this horrible place in 1900, so I have had eleven years off and on, which is quite enough. (W) I also found this poem written out. (W) I suppose I liked it and like bits of it now. What say you? rather (W) the (W) bird. It misses some (W) and feels a bit lonesome not being able to talk to you or you to anyone.

(W) Poor daddy evidently does not like the subject at all. I think he is under the impression that you are only one of my experiments like the aeroplane and he said the other day that he supposed I would not tell anyone but would go out to Vancouver on a hunting trip.

I tried to get down to business today but he will not make any settlement as he has done for Eva. He says he will give me an allowance. This is not very satisfactory. But anyway it is not worth worrying about as if necessary..well anyway you know better than most people that things either come right or finish and personally I don’t care a ‘D’ as long as I get out of this and back to you. I wrote to Cox today and asked how he sends you money. I expect the simplest way is to pay it into your account at Cox and tell them to send it on to you as you ask for it.

I have just got a spirit iron and I’m getting quite an expert at washing and ironing.

I shall have to tackle the cook soon. I am rather doubtful about the paper bag system as I find they cost one ‘d’ each and can only be used once.

I have not had time yet to develop the photos but I have found one of myself here taken taken two years ago which I will send along although it’s rather dead too.

I was driving the car in town today and no less than four people tried to get run over. There was the width of an eyelash between us when I stopped and it was raining hard and very greasy. I was not polite to them.

I suppose I will get a letter from you next week. I wish we had a wireless of our own.

I find that the price of my typewriter was thirteen pounds and they say I ought to get ten pounds if I can. I will sell it as it is very heavy to bring out.

Now I must to bed. I am so glad that there is no cold ghosts here.

Your lovingest Lil.

Will you be surprised to hear that I love you?

1) The coal burning steamship St. Paul, launched in 1885, was one of the first American built twin-screw express steamers. It could cross from Southampton to New York in six days.

2) ‘Claddagh’ pron. Clada, is an old fishing village in the heart of Galway City, overlooking Galway Bay in the West of Ireland.

3) The Claddagh ring shows two hands clasping a heart, surmounted by a crown and is a symbol of love, friendship and loyalty. When presenting the ring, these are the words used:
“With my two hands I give you my heart and crown it with my love”

4) Woodbank (Woodbank, Whiteabbey, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.)

Tuesday October 31st 1911

My beloved Charles,
I wonder what has happened to you cause I ain’t got a letter yet and the St.Paul arrived ages ago. I suppose you and the seed bugs have been shut up in the fumigation. All the same I am beginning to lash at no letter.

I got a frightful shock over the C.P. Bond as I fondly thought I would get two hundred pounds. Instead of that it was worth ninety-four pounds. The next owner gets all the coupons which is perhaps natural. Consequently as I have no money myself at present and want some to go on with, I shall only be able to send Cox fifty pounds for you. However you will be able to get lots of things we want with that. I have not got the money yet, the next settlement being somewhere in November. However I will tell Cox to forward it out to you as soon as I get it.

If you are going to plant any potatoes, now is the time to buy them. Get moderate size ones and store them in layers in your woodshed in the dark. Don’t let the frost get at them. They will then start to sprout. If the sprouts get too long you can check them by giving more light in there. I enclose a drawing for a potato box for (W) stacking one on top of the other. You do not plant out ’til end of April or beginning of May and then put them in the drills fourteen inches apart.

I enclose plan for good greenhouse which would be easy to fix up. If the frame was made with screws and bolts it could always be removed. I don’t expect you will have time to tackle it before I am out.

I find freight rates are only booked as far as Victoria and are expensive, thirteen pounds odd per ton. So I think I shall bring boxes as extra luggage or send them a boat earlier. Shall I direct them to Jones? Otherwise who would send them on to Quatsino , or perhaps he would store them ’til I arrive. Will you find out, to let me know.

I have also got all the regulations about plants. (W) All parcels have to be opened and fumigated so I shall bring anything of that sort with me but I may send by post some vegetable seeds etc.

I had a fine day’s walking over the hills with Joe and some other men, after snipe etc. but they are very scarce. I was pleased to find I could walk them all ’til they melted, without getting a shine on myself.

My other (W) activity was a dance, also Joe’s friends, but I was disappointed in the dancing as they had nothing original and were dreadfully sedate and all the young women sat in one corner and all the boys in the other and I am grieved to say they spat all over the floor. I danced one dance with the boss of the show and he stamped on my toe three times. Fortunately I had long shoes on, so he got the shoe more than me. However I hear they were highly honoured at my presence and I am going to teach the dancing master how to dance at a private seance at the tailor’s. The music was a fiddle and bagpipes played quite nicely. It was really rather fun watching them. The drinks consisted of a bucket of water into which they all dipped the same cup.

Today I spent with the dentist and have to go two more days, an occupation which I dislike extremely.

I told my only lady pal Miss Blackburn about you and she wrote an awful nice letter. Her brother and wife have settled out there on Salt Island and I want her to come out someday for a trip. You would like her. She is very dried up and Scotch with a great sense of humour, by name Blackburn.

Everything is peaceful here and I shall try to keep the news from ‘Woodbank’ and my aunt until the last moment. At present the only people who know are daddy and Joe over here and Beetle the other side.

I enclose a photo of the Claddagh where your ring came from. I found my notes about it. It was the only ring made in Ireland for Queen Victoria and the late king who wore one when he was going through Galway. In the years of the famine, ’47, one pawnbroker in Galway (Mr Kirwin) had five hundred pounds worth of these rings left by the people who were emigrating. (these finally had to be consigned to the melting pot because there was nobody to redeem or purchase them) The origin is unknown. There is a similar design in Brittany and Spain.

We are having an awful weather. Deluges of rain and hail and gales.

— the last page is missing —

1) 5 lbs 14 oz (2.665 Kg)

2) Spoon tackle (A lure used for fishing. Spoons will cast a good distance, give lots of flashing and vibration and give good casting in a strong wind)

3) Campbell River (Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada)

4) Randlstown (20 miles NW of Belfast, Northern Ireland)

5) Broad Ford (Broad Ford House, Horsmonden, Kent, England)

6) Queenstown (Formerly Cove of Cork, received the name Queenstown because of the visit of Queen Victoria in 1849. It is a sea port on the south side of Great Island, twelve miles from Cork, and was served in 1911 by the Great Southern and Western railway from Dublin. Today the town is called Cobh, pronounced Cove)

Friday November 3rd 1911

My beloved Charles,
I got your scrawl of a letter the day I wrote my last. Yes we all got letters from Queenstown and no, I did not pay the extra passage on your ticket. It was I think a special providence, but I hope it will not have to come out of some unfortunate clerk’s pocket, but I don’t expect it will. Thirdly you need not worry about telling me about how to send things out as I am finding out much quicker here. Chetaroute is no use and just as expensive.

Six months it is for settler’s effects and is free of duty. I am sorry you had such a bad crossing and it was extremely foolish of you to get a bad cold. Why did you not take those Formamin tablets.

I have been studying the ‘tent’ book and the most comfortable size is the ‘Cabin’ six foot high by seven foot by seven foot. This in (W) total weighs five pounds fourteen ounces. But I have written to Holding and asked about it being made in silk, with a fly-sheet, as it would then only weigh two pounds. The smaller tents are not long enough to be comfortable.

I have also heard from Hardy about a salmon spinning rod, split cane, steel centre, Murdock, as used on the Campbell river etc. It costs six pounds six shillings and in green heart, two pounds seventeen and six pence. I suppose those spoons and tackle used for BC would also be suitable for Quatsino and his things are much the best made. But let me know by return what weight the salmon and trout in lakes generally run to and also if possible what flies and kind of spoon tackle is in use out there. Any use bringing out sea lines or mackerel rods etc.?

At present I can raise two pounds for my cabin thing so am in no hurry to answer these people. These are the BC spoons. (Here Lilian does some drawings) Made of silver, bronze and gold. Which kind are used most. I don’t expect I will send any boxes from here until February (1912) but I may try to get a parcel of plants through later on.

I motored to Randalstown to see Martin’s fruit trees. He has all the young stock planted two feet apart but I will wait to hear what you say about getting fruit trees out there before I send any.

I have now finished with the dentist. Only two teeth to top. I got some useful information out of him for toothache, which I’ve never had, but might be useful for you.

Number one: A little (W) fluid in warm water. Hold it in your mouth but do not swallow it or it will burn your mouth.

Number two: Oil of cloves. Put it into the tooth that aches.

Number three: If you get it at night put the leather of a slipper against the side of your feet and a couple of socks over that. The leather acts as a poultice and takes the pain out of your head. You see I am now bursting with practical information.

In the intervals I am still wading through books, papers and negatives. I have chucked out about half a ton of glass. What on earth I am going to do with all the beastly things I don’t know.

My dad has just caught rather a bad cold. There’s still vile weather. Nothing but rain and gales of wind.

I found some strings for the guitar and am picking up the notes by degrees.

My aunt has just (W) over me for washing my clothes. She said she would not have them hanging up today etc. I remained like a rabbit and said nuthin, nuthin but mean to continue. She is an old devil and when I think of getting out of this I dance a war dance for joy.

I am probably going to ‘Broad Ford’ on the Friday 24th (November) and may be over for a fortnight or three weeks. However I will have my letters sent on from the post office direct.

My dad still shakes his head whenever I talk of you. He says you are very wasteful and don’t know the value of money and so on. And he hopes I shall be able to make something sensible of you, ahem. I think you are a bit casual myself but after all it saves a lot of bother not to worry about these matters.

Today is number one anniversary of the Claddagh ring and it seems a few years ago. I am not even quite sure it happened are you?

Miss Blackburn wrote and told me I should have to do all the cooking and washing up and I replied that I’d be damned if I would. But she doesn’t understand that you’re different to other people. Well this is to be continued.

(W) Sunday (November 5th)

I enclose a few suggestions for furniture giving useful sizes for holding clothes. I don’t know if you are able to get plain wood at Quatsino but it would not be hard to make these. You could get a whole set in London for ten pounds and less. I also send an old press cutting of the ‘Mayfly’.

Yesterday I was sawing logs for exercise and then chopped them with a hatchet. When four logs had jumped at me and hit me severely hard I handed over the business to Joe.

I have had my various stories bound up together and have been putting in extra photos. It makes quite a nice book of sport.

This morning I got my Sunday washing done. Quite exciting work , not being caught. And having hung it up in my winter room I locked it up and took the key and thought I was safe. But up comes aunt Sarah, tries the door and finds it locked and demands the key. (W) She sees all the washing just done. However I think she saw by the look in my eye that it was advisable to say nothing. Which was lucky as I was beginning to see red.

There has been a howling gale all night and all day. I thought the willows would blow down but they are still holding on.

I hope you have planted most of the bulbs. I shall probably send you some more lilies as soon as they have dried out a bit and they want good soil, sand and leaf mould. Plant them about three inches deep. You had better mark the place where you put bulbs in or you will forget and dig them up again.

They have reduced the price of my car from one hundred and seventy pounds now, which is bad luck for selling it later on.

Is it true that the unemployed are looting shops and shooting people in Vancouver town?

I hope you did not try to get down the west coast in this weather.

Martin has such a good thing fixed up for pumping water. He dammed up his little stream and let the water come through a pipe and fall on to a water wheel and this turned a little pump and sent the water up to the house. He fixed it up himself. Might be useful plant for us. I think I will ask him to send me a drawing. Now I must take the dog out.

— next page is missing —

Spittoon (people who chewed tobacco would spit out the toxic juice into a container called a spittoon)

Wednesday November 15th, 1911

Charles darling,
I wonder when you get letters full of potatoes and furniture, do you feel like I did this morning when I opened a very sleepy eye and saw your large parcel sitting beside me. It was so dark and when I opened it I saw nothing but railway guides and postcards. If I had not been so sleepy I should have danced with rage.

Then finally I discovered you had written something on the back of the postcards and that there was a letter, so you are saved this time and I will try to forgive you for keeping me waiting for so long.

I thought you had probably been murdered in Vancouver but you probably looked (W) after yourself and not hold uppish which consoled me. Well you do seem to have (W) travelled around. I suppose really you got into all the wrong trains. I wish I had labelled you before you left but I am truly sorry that you had such a fierce time. So glad it wasn’t me for I should not have survived it.

I think from your accounts I had better order a flying machine or perhaps a properly constructed bath and my aeroplane engine would do the trick.

I also see they take corpses when fresh. That might be quite comfortable provided I could go to sleep for a few weeks , like a (W) Indian.

Perhaps it is as well that twenty-three persuade you, otherwise you would have stuck in one place, mister thirty-two. Don’t get mad now. You know I know and please I can’t help laughing at you for you are the dearest and quaintest little (W) coon and I am so glad the little boy walked backwards into the spittoon. You see it rhymes.

I have imbibed much useful information and I see there are trains through to Vancouver every day from Montreal which is where I shall land. If I am by my lone I will go first pullman’s etc.

Don’t worry if you can’t get the price for the land as the thirty pounds at Cox will keep you going a little while. I should think if you told Jones what you want in the way of garden or house things, he could tell the shops to send you their lists and you could get them sent around to Quatsino.

Why shouldn’t the bath be a canoe, then I should paddle it over to the place when necessary.

No I certainly will not send one of your kisses to Nora. I got too few myself. Well anyway I don’t like being kissed which I had temporarily forgotten. You can write to her when you have seen the Mariot’s.

I suppose you will get another five or six letters from me at Quatsino and you don’t really deserve this one at all. Perhaps I will manage to write less when I am in England where I suppose I shall be on the 24th (November). I don’t want to go at all.

I drove the fat lawyer out here yesterday and watched his face when I drove fine to false alarm (W) I couldn’t help doing it because I saw he was on pins and needles and he didn’t know that I could stop and turn that car on a sixpence if I wanted to.

Tomorrow I go to tea with the old ladies at Holestone, if fine. They amuse me because they are rather patronising and I let them down gently to see their faces.

I shall probably send you some vegetable seeds soon and a few shrubbery things.

Some of the postcards are very nice. I like the Indian totems and scenery. One can see its a bad imitation of the country, the colouring a bit crude.

What a beastly place New York must be. Oh dear I want to get at my Canadian garden so badly. I think we will have a secret garden of our own down the coast somewhere but I have enough seeds to plant several.

I was searching for gold on the Johnson river last night and the Russian was pursuing me with a gun, so I dropped into a wolf’s den and shot him on the ankle and like Harry, I ask him to imagine it in his eye and he hopped round screaming awful cause he couldn’t find me.

It’s great now when I get bored here I just shut down and walk into Quatsino and have all kinds of thrilling adventures. I don’t think much of the young woman (W) Guess they were dressed up to be photographed. By the way I am busting out of my clothes. With a little arm exercise two year old coats are getting a tight fit, which is sad.

Awful weather still. Only fit for ducks and delays me in things I want to get done.

I have been sorting cameras and lenses and will bring out (W) and things and two cameras. That reflex of mine has two splendid lenses. I think with all its extras it cost one hundred and twenty pounds and has made it twice over.

Well I must do other business. Hope you admire the selections of my photos. There are more to come.

I do feel madder than a hatter at present having heard that you are alright.

It is unfortunate that I can’t think of any devilment to be at in this place. I’ll have to take it out on the car and she waltzes around enough in the slippy weather. Now I am going to play a tune at the New York Hippodrome.

Give my love to Thurbern and Farman and the nice young man who is always getting stuck, and tell him as soon as I know how to make tea cakes they can come and try to eat them.

I do hope I will have the joy of seeing Farman falling off a log soon someday and if he expects me not to laugh he will be blooming disappointed.

And you, small rabbit, if you don’t write again soon you will hear me thumping the danger signal.

Your lovingest Lil.

Less than five months now.

Thirty-two, thirty-two, thirty two.

The port of Fleetwood is is on the Lancashire coast, north of Blackpool, England.

November 20th and 21st. (Monday & Tuesday)

I am using up this official paper. Must economise.

Charles darling,
You are a dear (W) to write such a lovely long letter and I am so glad you sold the land before you got the last (W) This means you will (W) paying off things. Have about three hundred pounds to play with this crack.

My (W) is like a snake story. It has (W) down a bit. However it could be helpful at present and being a cautious person I want to keep enough this side to get over with on my own in case my dad is not able to give me funds at the right time. I will probably have plenty later on which will come in useful for the motorboat etc.

Not counting luggage it will cost me at least thirty two pounds to get to Victoria. The boat is twelve pounds. However if by any chance you do want more in a hurry for good land, I can let you have another fifty pounds by selling rubber shares at their present dumpy state. It would be a pity to miss good, cheap land.

My hat, I have been working hard these last two days and have stood on my head so long over a wash tub there ain’t much sense left in it. I am sending you out a book on motorboats out of which you may pick something up. I have only had time to glance through it as you will see by the remarks.

I am crossing on Friday (W) to Fleetwood and don’t feel at all happy by myself. No theatrical company this time. I expect I will be at Broad Ford for two or three weeks if I can get Daisy to do some clothes for me. At present Eva and Nora are running the clothes show so I won’t get a look in ’til they are off.

Great (W) can help you with the garden. It won’t really be hard once you see how to tackle it. The earliest vegetables to sow are peas and beans in March. I have not ordered the seeds yet. If you can get peas etc. out there it would be better as they weigh rather heavy to send by post. Other seeds are lighter. I guess I will bring a lot of plants with me.

If I were you I wouldn’t tell anything to (W). If you make him crawl he will hate you all the more and try to get back on you somehow. Tell the others and tell ‘M’ not to talk and if you explain reasons why it will be all right. Personally I don’t mind everyone knowing now but my dad does not want them to at present. I am quite ready for them but they, (your family) will probably write you beastly letters however, I guess that would hurt you severely. Of course my aunt would (W) sure make herself unpleasant to me, so there is time enough yet to remain peaceful. The (W) must have been (W)

Haven’t had time to talk to Joe or to paint his nose yet but it got very red when I was driving today and he told me what he would say to me if he had been (W) the owner whose horse’s nose I decapitated with the rear end of the car but I prefer it to colliding with the train. It was safer.

The car was purring today so I let her rip. Joe’s work on railway means pick and shovel or stoker.

By the way if you get two bottles of hair wash from Mason you will know its me. Excellent stuff he has and just you put it on the right way. If you don’t there will be trouble and scarlet wigs. You will be saying ahh right enough when you are at the business end of A.

This is only a short scrawl because I won’t have time to write ’til I get over to the other side and Beetle is in London so no quiet place there to write in.

Your last letter took seventeen days to get here. Guess it depends what boat they settle on if they happen to hit one just going.

Well I must to sleep. ‘Tis now the witching hour of night etc.
Fortunately it’s (W) so I don’t see it yawning.

Hallo, are you there? (W)

— last lines are missing —

Monday November 27th 1911

Charles darling,
I don’t think I can write in the general pandemonium. Its awful. One is chased from one room to t’other to escape. Eva and Nora’s young men in all day and each wanting a separate room to themselves and then clothes, presents and parcels over everything. Thank heavens we did things otherwise.

I have just got your letter sent on from Tub. It is rather sad the sale being off as I’m afraid it will delay matters a little but no doubt will be all the better in the end, only I don’t know how you are managing to exist or how you are able to stay so long in Victoria except in starvation diet. If you are owing any more do take the thirty pounds out of Cox and pay off what you can and also stock in food for yourself. Whatever happens don’t starve as I have no use for skeletons.

I guess I can sell the car pretty soon after I get back, as two or three people are asking after it for spring and perhaps they would take it sooner.

I had a good journey here, carriage to myself. Beetle met me in town and I went to see Hardy’s rods. He has an agent in Vancouver but says one would pay double prices over there and as he would give me five percent off and date the bill for a year back. I think it will be worth getting it here but I am not hurrying to give definite (W) yet ’til I see how things go.

I shan’t worry about a rifle at all but I think the tent abroad would come in useful. There is also the big tent that is in the loft, so even if you can’t build on the Johnson shack, the tents would always give plenty of room.

Nora has got a letter half written to you and hopes to finish it soon. We are going up for the day on Thursday for Eva’s wedding. I think Nora is going to let me off going to hers. They none of them like Burton at all but they can pretend better than me. So I keep out of the way as I hate him more each time I see him. He is an awful (W). I may say he also bolts when he sees me.

You may thank your heavenly stars you ain’t here now and the cold is (W) snow on the ground. I shan’t be able to tackle anything ’til Eva is off. Then I will see about linen etc. at the Maidstone store. Eva gave me an awful nice pair of earrings as a wedding present – not knowing, but going on the crystal gazer tack.

I haven’t tackled freight rates yet but they tell me ten pounds per ton right through to Vancouver. Will find out details when I am ready for them.

I told Mason to send you two bottles of hair groomer. So let me know if they don’t arrive. And if you don’t use them properly, well, you’ll see what will happen.

Eva says her wedding dress is so transparent she (W) wear anything underneath and Nora, who came down this morning in a beautiful nightcap covering her head and curling pins, wants to know how she can take her cap off and put her hair in, without Bill coming in at the wrong moment. We all died laughing and the suggestions were not fit for publication, so I’ll spare you.

Their room resembles a chemist shop with face mixtures and they try on all and compare results. The dressmaker is trying on more clothes now in here and I am getting a bit disconnected.

Nora says that as her night shirts are airy she wants it high. Oh dear, oh dear, I can no more.

Lucky devil to be in Quatsino. Let me know how the plants arrive. If well, I will send some more. I expect I will be here two or three weeks.

It sounds quite good news about the railways. What about that land near that lake?  Perhaps you will be able to see the man who is prospecting for them an get some useful information.

Your lovingest and somewhat distracted Lil.

Knickerbockers are full breeches gathered and banded just below the knee.

Sunday 3rd December 1911

My beloved Charles,
I suppose this will arrive about Xmas and I wonder what you will be doing. I suppose you will be dancing on your light fantastic toe to the tune of a gramophone and I will be getting awful bored (W) with Woodbanker’s at ‘Tub’.

I am sending you a little tie pin but it ain’t ready yet. I went up to town for Eva’s wedding and managed to hustle through a lot of business first, accompanied by Beetle who followed at a trot, gasping. The wedding went off quite cheerfully. The parson got a bit mixed up and invited them to do a preliminary canter up the aisle. Fortunately I had placed myself on a back row where I could feel amused. After that we had to go back for the reception business so I retired to the top of the house to smoke and in peace.

I shall have two quiet days here as all the family go up for Nora’s (wedding) on Monday and don’t get back ’til Tuesday. I got out of going, to my great relief.

I am trying to pack for Nora but as she has far more clothes than she can ever possibly wear she doesn’t know what to do with them. Everyone else goes at a run all day long and are frightfully busy without doing anything. I find the atmosphere decidedly wearying but thank goodness it will be over soon or I might start lashing.

They all know now about you and me and pretend they expected it all the time. But they are very nice about it.

In between worrying we have had great fun more especially when Dot with her nose in the air starts on home truths and Nora, about her appearance in various costumes and without them. We sit on the floor and howl while Dot says appalling things with a perfectly unmoved countenance.

We also get some little amusement out of the will making. Cath and I were trying to get them to leave us some pawnable spoils. In the end Cath (W) some false teeth but they were awful mean about all the nice presents and Nora as usual had hysterics and Cath has had to strap up the corners of her mouth as she was grinning too wide. You need not expect me to write any sense while I am here ’cause there isn’t any around.

I am going over to Maidstone this week to see what sheets, blankets etc. I can raise and the dressmaker is delaying me still more by not being able to tackle my things until she gets through Eva’s.

Don’t forget to let me know where to address the cases to in Vancouver and also where you want me to stay when I do arrive, as I need not cable now you know the boat. The Mariot’s say they are having frosts below zero and snow. Hope you are not getting it too. I want to know how these plants are. By the way if you let me know the size of windows etc. it might be worthwhile bringing out some stuff for curtains. Mariot’s say clothes are very expensive out there and not as good.

I have found a very good tailor in London and awful cheap. He is making me a coat, two skirts and knickerbockers for five pounds five shillings. I also saw Hardy about the rod and Holding about the tent. I may also get oilskins made to fit me here seeing everyone finds it much cheaper to take things out as settler’s effects than to buy over there.

I got these papers you sent and will wait to get a rifle out your side as they are so cheap. The ‘Marlin’ seems the best.

It seems to me the best motorboat is a hybrid hydroplane provided you can afford the engine necessary. I see they are building quite good sea-going hydro ones here which run like an ordinary boat when throttled down. However the best way is to see and try them all first.

I will be sending you some vegetable seeds later on, to arrive somewhere around February. I suppose I will be here about another two weeks and I do get bored. I miss you here much more than I do (W) where I have plenty to (W)

Monday. (4th December)

Today I had to go in to see the lawyers about Eva’s settlement and got more information from the CP. They are writing to me about freight rates but they only book to Vancouver so let me know who I can address the boxes to in Vancouver and forward on to Quatsino. Rates will probably be ten pounds per ton. Via China it was over thirteen pounds and much longer.

I have also phoned to find out if I can get one of the two berth cabins on the ‘Lake Champlain’ which leaves on April 11th. This is the smallest boat but the only one that has the two cabins in a decent position on the promenade deck. And it is better to have one unpleasant person than three. So if I can get one I shall come out on that boat. It is also rather cheaper than the others.

She is eight thousand five hundred tons and as I have cruised the bay from Lakehorn to London in an old tramp of less than one thousand tons I ain’t likely to mind the action of the beast even if it is rough. So now you will know when I shall arrive unless something unexpected happens.

I had a most mad letter from Holding (the tent manufacturer) in which he did not answer any of my questions so I am writing again.

I wonder which place you will make the garden at? As long as you prepare a few strips of ground somewhere it does not matter as young plants can always be moved. I expect the Johnson River will be the best or easiest to work, but you know best which place gets the most sun and after that it is a matter of the best land and water supply in summer and also there might be a market for vegetables in the settlement.

I suppose it would not be any use bringing the car out to drive it on the coach trail when it is made, but I should not think it would be at present.

Joe can’t make up his mind about going out. I think he is afraid of getting stranded and would rather have some work to go to out there. I never met anyone with so little self confidence. Can you fix work for him before he comes out? It is a pity we could not put him on the Johnson River place to make the garden but I suppose if we left him there he would have a fit at being all alone.

Well, I have several letters to write. It is dull writing twenty letters to your one, and by the time I get the answers I shall have forgotten what I asked. Do you want me to see Larry about furs?

Small rabbit I wish you were here or me there, chiefly the latter.

Kindly borrow a hat pin to loose holes in all your hats and assist your hair to grow. Otherwise you know the fate that awaits you.

Your lovingest Lil.

Another ship left Cork on the same day as Lilian’s planned departure from the UK on the ‘Lake Champlain’.
It was carrying over 2,200 people and was called Royal Mail Ship Titanic.

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