Militum Sigillum

Militum Sigillum

June 2, 1917

I finished my first sketch for George Bartlett this morning. I decided to use several design elements of the secret society seals that I’ve seen. There’s a lot of them out there. As a finishing touch, I added the phrase from the Knights Templar “Sigillum Militum.” It means the “The Seal of the Soldier of Christ.” I switched the order of the words and I’ll let him catch the error if he sees it. I also figured he’d like the All Seeing Eye on top of pine tree along with Sun, Moon and Stars. It gives the seal an omniscient flair and I’m sure he’ll like that too. I’ll get this to Mark in the next day or two. I’ll hide it in my sketch box between my sketching papers and boards. Annie knows enough not to open the box, because it’s difficult to close again. I purposely left it that way so I would know if anyone was snooping. I have letters from Florence and Winnie in there too.

As I promised to Annie, I visited Taylor Statten on Little Wapomeo Island. He had arrived with his family a couple of weeks ago. He’ll be staying until the better part of June and then he’s going to a YMCA course in the States for a month. In 1912, shortly after he got the leasehold on the Island he envisioned setting up a summer camp for boys. He isn’t quite there yet. That’s why he was going down to the States to get some training on how to set up a boy’s camp.

I got to Talyor’s around noon. I timed my visit so I would get a lunch out of the deal. They were always very gracious hosts and I returned the favour by giving them catches of trout. Taylor greeted me as I pulled up to shore.

“Morning, Tom.”

“Morning, Taylor”

Taylor helped me pull the canoe onto the shore and, just as I had predicted, invited me for lunch with Edith and Taylor Junior or “TJ”, as I called him. TJ insisted on sitting on my lap during lunch pulling at my hair. I didn’t mind, but Ethel, seeing my distraction, swept TJ away and disappeared into the other room of the cabin. I didn’t ask her to do that, but most wives of the day automatically follow the “out of sight, out of mind” rule when the men start talking seriously.

I delivered my message, “Annie wants to have an Ecumenical Service tomorrow. It’ll be at the Algonquin Hotel. Part of Ed’s lay service.”

“That’s fine. We can be there. It’s at 11?”

“Yep, Annie’ll be happy if you can come”

“OK, I can bring a reading from the Institutes of Calvin, that should be a real barnburner.”

With the ecumenical business dispensed with, we got on to other topics. Sims Pit, to be exact. When I asked him about what was going on there, he gave me a strange look.

“There’s a camp there, you know. An internment camp or a prison labour camp. I’m not sure which. But I do know there’s several kids there, not older than sixteen or eighteen. And they can’t speak English.”

The news of the kids at the camp was surprising, but still didn’t count for the strange look he gave me. There was something more.

“Bartlett’s asked me to teach English to these boys, a couple of times a week.”

Now that was a surprising request by Bartlett. But upon reflection, it wasn’t that too far out of order. Despite his stern measures, Bartlett considered everyone under his watch to be his charges and he was ultimately responsible for their welfare. Whenever there was a death in the Park, Bartlett made sure that things were wrapped up tight. He didn’t like loose-hanging ends, and he would make sure that lumber companies paid the families for their loss but also to keep them quiet. Death wasn’t good for tourism. Forced labour camps didn’t help the tourist trade either.

Bartlett didn’t like the internment camps, but he had no choice to follow orders from the  Dominion Government and the Province. But when he found out there were kids in the camp, he went through the roof. He called his friend Sam Hughes to fix the situation, but with with Hughes diminished influence in the Government he could only manage to get a few concessions. Reduced work for the kids and an allowance for English lessons. Since Taylor was closest to the Sims Pit, Bartlett asked Mark Robinson to approach him for the job and he and he accepted. I was surprised the Mark never mentioned this arrangement to me. Mark and I talked about everything else, but then again Mark was a man who followed orders and gave his unquestioned loyalty. You couldn’t fault him for that.

I went back to Mowat Lodge and told Annie the outcome of my chat with Taylor. He would do a reading at the service tomorrow. Annie was happy. I could see that this was important to her. Despite the different religions, she wanted some demonstration of harmony in the community. None of the anti-Catholic nonsense from the Orangemen. She was glad there was no Orange Lode around these parts. I didn’t tell her what was going through George Bartlett’s mind.

Afterwards, I walked up to Hotel Algonquin to relay the successful liturgical addition to Ed, but I saw Molly first. Molly was outside by the linens and she had her whistle in her mouth. She blew a three short tweets and a long one, and Ed showed up a minute later. Molly had a summoning system that had a different whistle for each employee, including one for her husband. I could tell she was proud in showing that could  summon up any one of her staff at a moment’s notice. I’m sure the guests can’t stand hearing the whistles. I know I can’t.

I went to back to Mowat Lodge. The poor weather (rain drizzle) and Annie’s good cooking was too much of a draw to stay the night at the campsite. Besides, I was planning to write a letter to Florence tonight, and it would be better to write it by the lamplight.

Saturday night was games night at Mowat Lodge. The crokinole board was out and so was the chessboard. After some convincing, Shannon hauled out the shuffleboard from out back and put it on the dining room table (he didn’t like heavy labour. That’s why it took convincing.) We played late into the evening, and when the quests trickled back to their rooms I sat down and wrote my letter to Florence. I was also thinking about Winnie. Still no news from her. The next mail wouldn’t be until Tuesday, so that would be the soonest I’d hear anything. She wouldn’t dare send a telegram.