March 1, 1917 A Night and Day with Florence

March 1, 1917

Florence came in by train from Whitby yesterday afternoon. She came from the station to my place. I had made a supper of boiled potatoes and ham. She hadn’t eaten yet, so I warmed it up on the stove. It wasn’t until after she had supper that she told me that she didn’t have a place to stay so she stayed with me last night. I gave her my bunk above and I set out my blankets and slept on the floor below. It was a bit awkward, I’m glad that that the boys at the Studio didn’t know she stayed over otherwise I’d never hear the end of it.

Both Jim MacDonald and Dr. MacCallum visited me today. Despite the deadline being passed for the Spring Exhibition, they were both still trying to convince me to exhibit. I told them both a flat ‘No!’. Florence witnessed their pleas, and I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were perplexed by her unexpected (and unwelcome) presence. But no questions were asked. Both Jim and the Doc both know when not to ask questions about women- that’s why we’ve remained on good terms. Unlike Fred Varley who tried to set me up with his wife’s sister, Dora. Fred and I have never been on the same terms, ever since his meddling.

Florence and I are very good friends. But I had to tell her once again, in politest way I could, that I wasn’t fit for a girl to marry. I was about to tell her that ‘the wilderness was my woman’ but I stopped it at my tongue’s tip, because it seemed like such a horribly trite thing to say. Instead, I told her that with the War, it’s hard to make any commitments, especially when you have that feeling that you are ultimately destined for the trenches.

She saw my letters on the table. She saw the letter and card from Winnie and asked about her.She knows about Winnie, I’ve told her about her. She knows that Winnie is younger than me (but still old for someone not yet married). She asked some questions about Winnie and I mumbled in return. I forget what I said, but the message was clear, “I don’t want to talk about her.”

After Jim and Doc left, we spent time going through my canvases and sketches. She said my work was fabulous and hoped I would not regret not putting anything in the Exhibition. She’s put in two pieces for the Exhibition.

Today, we went out for dinner at the Busy Bee and then I walked with her to where was staying tonight with friends near Bloor and St. George. Florence did lift my spirits. I was in a pretty bad mood these past few days. I’m glad she did visit, because if she didn’t, I would have probably destroyed the canvas I’m working on. She gave me some good ideas to work with and I feel better about it now.

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