Winter Thaw


April 7, 1917 Winter Thaw

I didn’t leave the lodge today. The furthest I ventured was to the storehouse which is mostly empty and unheated. This is where Shannon keeps the orange and flour crates for me. He would also bring in his horses to groom them. The light’s  better in the storehouse than in the stable.  Shannon’s plan is to make this into more rooms when it gets busier, but I don’t think he has to worry about it this year.

The storehouse is a pretty good place to sketch from. I can get a good view from the window. If  I need a better view I can look through the door or sit on the front landing. Mowat Lodge is a fair ways back from the shore so it’s a nice view downwards. In the sketch I made, Little Wop Island is front and centre. To the right you can see the ice into the small inlet. In the back, that’s the big hill that leads you into Bonita Lake.

I got to know one of the consumptives a little bit better today. That poor chap that fell into a coughing fit yesterday is Lt. Robert Crombie. He’s bundled up on the porch on the other building.  He’s actually here with his wife, Daphne. I just assumed she was a consumptive as well, but she’s perfectly healthy. They just got married and if you can believe it, they’re here on their honeymoon. Some honeymoon.

Daphne came over while I was sketching. She knew I wasn’t the talkative sort, but she wanted to be friendly and started to ask me a few questions. I didn’t mind the conversation. It was like talking to my sisters. Ask a question. Give an answer. Ask another question. Give another answer.

She told me they’d be here until later spring. Doctors, orders. ‘Robin’ (as she called her husband) had gotten tuberculosis while overseas and was sent home. The prescription was to sit out on the porch in the cold air and to sleep with the window open.

I took a liking to Daphne. I could tell that she wasn’t used to being married, otherwise she wouldn’t have approached me alone in the storage shed. Mind you, Robin was little more than a bundled up convalescent and she was looking for more engaging company than what Annie and Shannon could give.

We were all still pretty shocked by the declaration of War. George Bartlett sent a message to Shannon to keep any eye on any suspicious activity until Mark Robinson is back in his station. George asked Shannon to be sure the meet the trains at Canoe Lake. That meant 11:15am eastbound from Parry Sound and 4:28 pm from Ottawa each day.

Daphne and I talked for about an hour and I finished my sketch just before noon. I helped her bring Robin in and to the dinner table. He looked pretty relieved to be back in the lodge.

It’s a full moon tonight. I plan to stay up to see the moon and see if it will make an interesting sketch. We’ll all be back in the dining room tonight. Someone brought a Ouija board, but Annie has forbade its use in the lodge. If we do use the Ouija, we’ll have to do where Shannon hides his whisky – in the horse barn.