August 11, 1917
Dear Mr. Harkness,
Yours received yesterday and contents carefully noted. This is Saturday my very busy day, so thought I better answer [illegible]. Five weeks ago to-day I wrote to Tom – but he did not receive it. He also wrote to me – & our letters crossed & to-night a sad note to his brother-in-law. It seems to me almost unbeleivable. And I’m so sorry and words are so thin.
I called to see the undertaker Mr. Churchill and he wished is name not to be used. So I know these remarks will be treated strictly confidential. I know nearly everyone for miles around and I’m not refused anything I try. So I asked him plain questions
I acted on the strength of the telegram of instructions which was found waiting at the train time 6.p-m. I had quite a hard struggle to even see it and got straight replys. He is a very consientious man. I cant write all to-night but he said the bill was steep. Flavelle is only a furniture dealer and undertaker not an embalmer so took an embalmer along from Sprucedale near Parry Sound. So that was double expense instead of acting a man and pass the order on. That is from the money side. even if had no heart. I’m sorry I did not go up the day before – I suggested things at Canoe Lake, but was refused. If I see you I can tell you all. However Mr. Churchill said to act as per your letter. They include here everything with the price of the casket. The one from Kearney was not any better. & Rough box was not painted & I don’t think it had handles on. Mr. Churchill always pays his own keep when out. He says it is not right as he would have to pay for it while home. A copper lining costs more than the casket itself. So you see he is billing a good amount. I would suggest to use your own judgement as you know the contents of the first telegram. Thought [illegible] composed – and you know the tangle now that has to be unravelled – owing to the thoughtlessness of not having a sealed casket – which anyone knows is needed in a case of that kind and also required by law. If you knew Mr. Fraser I think you would use your own judgement. This is strictly confidential as the Frasers are alright in their way. I certainly would love to visit the grave at some future date. So perhaps may see [you] then, if I should not write again.
Please excuse pencil as my time is limited this eve, so I thought I could make better time with my scribbling. After I got ans. to what was going on at Canoe Lake – I did all in my power to get things righted. I was told there it could not be done, but I thought I’d have a try and I knew that time was precious. When I got to Scotia arriving at 730p.m. the wires were down between Hville [Huntsville] and Scotia. So then I looked up the agent & sent out message after message to Hville all free of charge, & perfectly lovely about it all. I had to wait there till nearly 3. am.
We are friends with the Frasers, as we have a swell House at Canoe Lake, where each summer it has been our custom to Holiday there. But I could explain better if you knew them.